After missing almost the whole 2019 season due to injury Ben Roethlisberger is poised for a big comeback.
While I’m not a fan of this man, he’s undeniably a great player and given the problems the Steelers had with their quarterback situation last year, I’m sure most Steelers fans want to see him back. Even though Duck Hodges is undeniably one of the best personalities in the sport, his play isn’t quite up to scratch.
I’m a betting man so my money is on Big Ben winning the comeback player of the year with the weapons around him.
Todd Gurley – RB, Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons landed the former first round running back, giving him a one year deal worth $5.5 Million.
Now this is more of a risky pick given Gurley’s history with injuries, but provided he can stay healthy, Gurley will want to prove what a mistake the Rams made by dropping him the way they did.
The Atlanta Falcons have a ton of weapons going into this season, so look for Gurley to be a big part of this offence and, health permitting, make a big comeback.
Baker Mayfield – QB, Cleveland Browns
Baker Mayfield was, to put it bluntly, a complete shambles last year. After a record-breaking rookie season Mayfield was poised to come in and bring the Browns their first winning season in years. He sadly flopped. You knew by midseason that hacks like Colin Cowherd were foaming at the mouth watching the Browns struggle to put it together come game time, despite their stacked roster.
The biggest reason for the Browns underperformance was having a first time head coach trying to manage a team full of talent and strong personalities. Oh, and instead of getting an extra piece for their offensive line, they just added OBJ and gave up a first round pick. Never change, Cleveland. Never change.
Mayfield has the talent to be a top tier quarterback in the league, and provided he gets the right attention in camp and stays away from filming so many endorsement deals, I see Mayfield being a serious contender for comeback player of the year in 2020.
Mathew Stafford – QB, Detroit Lions
Until his unfortunate injury last season, Matthew Stafford was looking like one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. He ranked 8th amongst quarterbacks in Pro Football Focus grading from week 1 to week 9; no small feat.
Now factor in all the weapons this offence has. TJ Hockenson, Kenny Golliday, Danny Amendola and now D’Andre Swift (Top receiving running back in the draft) among others.
If Stafford can start the season strong, and even string together some decent wins for the Lions, there’s no reason we can’t see Stafford take this award home for a second time. Honestly, Stafford has a good a chance as any.
J.J. Watt – DE, Houston Texans
It’s a shame that a man like J.J. Watt has been so unlucky with injuries. One of the best defensive players in the league and, before Aaron Donald came along, probably the best pass rusher, it’s fitting that the only person that can slow down J.J. Watt is J.J. Watt.
Provided he can stay healthy next year as the Texans push for another run at the playoffs, he’s going to be a force. It would be really great to see the former Walter Peyton man of the year award winner add a comeback player of the year award to his collection.
At 31, Watt’s days in the NFL may soon come to a close, so a return to form would be a fitting conclusion to a storied career. Watch for J.J. to leave it all on the field this year if he can stay healthy.
The 2020 NFL is only months away and one of the biggest questions still remains unanswered… Is Jarrett Stidham any good?
This is uncharted territory for the Patriots. They’ve not had uncertainty at the quarterback position for 20 years. I think the biggest question here is how good can the patriots be without Tom Brady? If we look at it objectively then the Patriots can be just as good with Jarrett Stidham under center given how he stacks up and his coachability. Let’s run through what the Patriots offence has to work with and what makes Jarrett Stidham the Patriots quarterback of the future.
Who is Jarrett Stidham? Is he the next Tom Brady? I’m not sure anyone will be, but he isn’t a scrub that will fall flat on his face. Let’s take a bit of a deeper dive on the Auburn QB entering his 2nd year in the NFL.
Let’s look at his College profile:
The numbers look OK, but he wasn’t asked to do too much of anything. Screens and short passes (Stidham had one of the greater target shares of passing attempts behind the line of scrimmage in his class). His accuracy anywhere near downfield was average at best, and struggled when pressured. However, that doesn’t usually bother New England the Patriots, just look at Tom Brady and his knocks as he was picked #199 overall. We all know the patriots look at what a player CAN do, rather than what they can’t.
Next, I’m going to start by laying out Stidham’s preseason stats for you so you can get some numbers on him. Stidham completed 61 of 90 passes for 731 yards, 4 touchdowns and 1 interception. He also tallied 17 carries for 88 yards on the ground. In the regular season, everyone will remember his pick 6 to safety Jamaal Adams against the Jets and ultimately being benched after being brought in to see the game out, but the foot was hardly on the accelarator. If only Bill and co. had let Stidham try and play some meaningful snaps. It’s hard to draw any conclusions from 4 regular season pass attempts, even if you completed 2 to your team and 1 to the other.
Like I always say though, stats are only half of the story and watching Stidham is where you really get a sense of how he operates.
During his 4 pre-season games he displayed solid pocket awareness knowing when to step up and when to tuck and run if needed. While accuracy was solid he does sometimes need to let his passes go a second or two earlier to hit players in stride. He does have great arm strength and a great understanding on how NFL defenses operate. This IQ allows Stidham to make the right calls in high pressure situations that would avoid turnovers and keep the ball in the Patriots hands.
However, a year behind Brady and learning from Belichick/McDaniels will do wonders for Stidham and he couldn’t really be placed any better to overcome his flaws.
So what has Stidham got to work with? And what state are the Patriots in?
The Patriot’s 2019 offence ranked 8th is passing yards, 18th in rushing yards and 7th in points for. They were 21st in yards per play (5.2), but 13th in total 1st downs (338) and 3rd in total plays. This shows what we all knew about the Patriots offence last year; methodical and efficiently effective, maintaining drives and usually came away with points.
This is all with Tom Brady under center of course, can Jarrett Stidham come in and elevate his game to the level required? And what of those weapons still at his disposal?
Well the first name that comes to mind is veteran wide receiver and Patriots folk hero, Julian Edelman. Despite battling injuries last year Edelman was still Tom Brady’s number one target throughout the season, hitting the century mark for receptions for just the second time in his career which probably says more about the offence in general rather than Edelman’s achievement.
You look at the stats, you’ll see that Edelman’s 2019 was pretty much the eptiome of his career: about 11 yards per target, 6 or 7 TDs and over 3 first downs per game. Edelman is as reliable as they come and it will be interesting to see if Edleman stays with the Patriots with Tom gone, and whether Stidham utilises him in the same way.
Next up 1st round draft pick N’Keal Harry. Sidelined until week 8 of the 2019 campaign Harry did not live up to his 1st round draft capital investment and looked to struggle on the field. Reports from camp last year did seem to show some significant chemistry between him and Stidham though which is a good sign going forwards. Many are also predicting a massive leap forward in year 2.
Now lets move to some of the lesser known guys or players with more things to prove at wide receiver; Jakobi Meyers.
The undrafted free agent had a very pedestrian season last year but he does have a ton of potential and a crazy work ethic which really puts him in a good position inside the patriots organization. The additions of Will Hastings (Jarrett Stidham’s slot receiver from Auburn) former Jaguar Marquise Lee and former Cardinal Damiere Byrd adding some extra veterans to the roster probably doesn’t inspire confidence, but the Patriot way has never really been to have household names unless you are named Randy Moss or Rob Gronkowski.
A name slightly more well known though is Mohammed Sanu, someone who really disappointed last year. I know, I know…he got injured but even then…average at best. While I expect Gunner to see the field too, I don’t think he’ll do more than return punts and kicks in 2020.
At running back we really have some better options and great variety. Let’s start with a personal favorite of mine, James “Sweetfeet” White. White gives this patriots offence a ton of options. He can catch, run and is a real problem for teams in this regard. I expect him to be a great checkdown option for Stidham and a guy who will probably have more receiving yards than he will rushing yards just due to guys like Sony Michel and Damien Harris being a better fit to carry the rock.
Can the Patriots feed Michel, Harris, White and Bolden? That remains to be seen but it’s a bonus for Stidham to have such a wide range of support on the ground. I know I didn’t mention Rex Burkhead but it’s a belief of mine that he’ll be cut before the season begins.
Lastly, let’s talk about tight ends. If I’m being 100 percent honest, I don’t think Ryan Izzo and Matt Lacosse make the final 53 and fully expecting Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene to be the starters come opening week. Both Asiasi and Keene are massive upgrades over Lacosse and Izzo with solid hands but some shortcomings in their blocking game.
To summarise, this Patriots offence is just one or two pieces short of being elite. I can easily see the Patriots slipping into a wildcard slot this year giving Stidham is first taste of post season action. I think 10-6 is a very fair record prediction and not at all a reach like many people would have you believe. I have my ear very close to the ground when it comes to the Patriots and everything I’m hearing is good going forward.
So whilst we know Stidham won’t be asked to come in and be Tom Brady, what will he be, and what will he be asked to do?
Given his play at Auburn it’s clear Stidham can lead and offence and win games, the NFL is different in many ways. This season Stidham won’t be held back though, the coaching staff has belief in him and will expect him to make plays. He’s going to have veteran Julian Edelman in the slot for him, man mountain N’Keal Harry who will be able to high point ball in the endzone and tons of help in the backfield allowing Stidham to check down for 3 to 5 yards when there’s no other options. The offence the Patriots ran with Tom Brady is gone. Due to Stidham being more mobile and having a bigger arm than Brady, look for the play calling to open up a bit more for some designed quarterback runs and some deeper passes down field.
I could talk forever about what Stidham is capable of but the proof is in the pudding. I’m going to throw out some prediction numbers for his first season as an NFL starter and would love to hear what you guys think over on our social media channels, even if it’s to hurl abuse at me!
With Stidham at the helm I see the Patriots going 10-6, Stidham will pass for 3,500 yards, 27 touchdowns and 15 interceptions along with 300 yards on the ground and 5 touchdowns with his feet. Optimistic? Sure, but unrealistic? No, not with the greatest coach to ever do it backing him. Let’s get hyped for the 2020 season Patriots fans, and let’s enjoy life after Tom.
That’s my opinion, but what’s YOURS? Let us know on the social media. Do you think Stidham will be a success? Or is it time for the AFC East have a new king atop of its mountain.
If you enjoyed this article please remember to give it a share and follow me on social media, find me on Instagram @DustCoveredCleats and on twitter @DCCYTFootball and I’ll see you guys in the next article.
With the news coming out about the Cleveland Browns reportedly turning down the Seattle Seahawks offering up Russell Wilson for the first round pick they used to draft Baker Mayfield, I thought it would be a great idea to look back at other proposed trades that would’ve shaken up the NFL landscape.
How many of these do you remember? If there are any you think are missing, please hit us up over on Twitter @Full10Yards!
Aaron Rodgers to the Oakland Raiders
Back in 2007, Aaron Rodgers was still backing up Brett Farve in Green Bay when the Raiders put Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss on the trade block. Aaron Rodgers for Randy Moss would’ve been a hell of a trade. The reason this trade didn’t go through?
Green Bay wanted a first round pick and Moss for Aaron Rodgers. Moss ended up landing in New England and not only setting multiple records with Tom Brady but going 16-0 in THAT regular season.
Rumours surfacing once again about Aaron Rodgers and whether or not he will start and finish his career at Lambeau Field. Are the Raiders FINALLY gonna get to see A Rod?
Ben Roethlisberger to the Oakland Raiders/St. Louis Rams.
Now this one might be surprising to anyone who doesn’t keep up with the off field stories of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger is far from the perfect teammate; he consistently airs team dirty laundry on his radio show, he thinks he’s the GM and not just a player and struggles to get on with most of his star players.
This isn’t just hearsay though, it’s well documented and this is why I think there’s weight behind this trade. In 2010 it was reported that the Steelers organization was fed up with Big Ben and his behavior that was causing trouble inside the organization and were looking at offers.
The Steelers approached Oakland and offered them Ben and the number 18 pick for the number 8 pick. Oakland said no. They also approached the St. Louis Rams and offered to trade Ben for Sam Bradford who had just completed his rookie year…the Rams said no, and that was that. Big Ben stayed in Pittsburgh and continued to annoy and alienate teammates.
Dan Marino to the Oakland Raiders
(I mean seriously? I promise this is the last Oakland one…or is it?)
In 1989, the Miami Dolphins had a very average 8-8 season leading them to another year of missing the playoffs. This wasn’t something Don Shula was happy with so they he thought the best course of action would be to change the signal caller, who was legendary quarterback…Dan Marino.
Shula managed to secure a verbal agreement with Raiders Al Davis but last minute the deal fell through, why? Shula got cold feet and upped the asking price for Marino. Twice. The price was too steep, even for Davis. Miami and Marino still never managed to win a Super Bowl.
It’s one of the one things Marino would be remembered for the one of the best quarterbacks to never win a Lombardi.
Eli Manning to the Jacksonville Jaguars
Going into the 2017/2018 season the Jags were really not happy with their Quarterback situation Blake Bortles wasn’t really cutting it.
The Jaguars needed a solution so they looked north to New York and set their sights on Eli Manning. The 2 time Super Bowl champion had been playing to put it lightly…terrible, but the Jags liked Manning for his Super Bowl experience and his former coach Tom Coughlin was running the Jacksonville front office.
Why didn’t this happen? Blake had a decent season which killed the interest in the trade from the Jags end. Shame Bortles went back to his usual self next season and the “Sacksonville” era was over before it even got started.
Odell Beckham Jr. to The Los Angeles Rams.
A couple of years before he got shipped out to Cleveland for a 1st round pick and Jabrill Peppers the Rams showed serious interest in Odell Beckham Jr.
What did the New York Football Giants want for the spectacular wide receiver? They asked the Rams for two 1st round picks and the Rams only wanted to give them one.
That’s a high price but the Browns eventually paid a similar price giving the Giants a 1st round pick and a 1st round player in Peppers. OBJ has yet to shine in Cleveland would the same thing have happened in LA?
Antonio Brown to the Buffalo Bills
Okay, so this did/didn’t happen but everyone (kinda) remembers where they were when this went down. It was reported that the Steelers had agreed to send AB to the Bills
Twitter did it’s thing once it turned out that this wasn’t going to go through. Antonio Brown ended up being traded to the Oakland Raiders (why always Oakland?) but even then, he didn’t see the field in a Raiders Jersey, being “set free” to eventually wind up in New England for a game before unceremoniously leaving the league and trying to return ever since.
Don’t forget to go and find out about some other winners and losers from the fallout of the NFL draft with Sean’s articles posted recently. Do I agree with his selections? Let’s find out:
With almost every single pick in this entire draft being perfect besides a couple on the back end it’s hard to argue against Cincinnati having probably the strongest draft class this year.
Adding superstar LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with the first overall pick and giving him Tee Higgins with the first pick on day two was just fantastic. AJ Green’s future past 2020 (or maybe even before?) is uncertain so grabbing Higgins ensures that their new shiny toy has a bit of time to perfect his craft before the armbands are taken off.
Later in day two they added stud linebacker Logan Wilson, a player who I’d spoke very highly about in the weeks leading up to the draft. Going into day 3 the Bengals then picked up Linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither, Edge Rusher Khalid Kareem, Offensive Lineman Hakeem Adeniji and Linebacker Markus Bailey.
These are some fantastic picks which give the Bengals a ton of young talent going into the 2020 season.
Coming out of this draft the Miami Dolphins are a scary looking team. Not only did they add a ton of free agent weapons they went crazy in the draft and picked up a ton of talent (honestly, it could’ve been harder to do bad considering they had three first round picks).
They started with a marquee name and picked up though in Alabama Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, grabbed Austin Jackson at tackle to protect him and Noah Igbinoghene to pair with Byron Jones at cornerback.
Going into day two and three they managed to pick up Robert Hunt and Solomon Kindley, even more protection for Tua. Meanwhile adding Raekwon Davis, Brandon Jones, Jason Strowbridge and Curtis Weaver to augment the defense. They added the LSU long snapper Blake Ferguson and Navy wide out Malcom Perry to finish up their draft.
Yes, there were a lot of darts to throw at the board for Brian Flores and company, but the Dolphins managed to hit the bullseye on multiple occasions rather than the floor.
This Miami team is going to be a real problem for the rest of the AFC this year.
Green Bay Packers
This might be one of the most inept drafts I’ve ever seen from a team. They entered a draft rich in wide receiver talent and didn’t draft one.
They could’ve really used some help for Aaron Rodgers but decided to use their first round pick on a below average quarterback with below average stats to sit behind a guy who probably has 3-4 years left at the helm. I can see why Packers fans are calling for blood.
With their remaining selections they picked up AJ Dillon a semi decent running back from Boston college, Cincinnati Bearcats tight end Josiah Deguara. Defensive picks were just as much of a mess picking up Kamal Martin, Vernon Scott and Johnathan Garvin, All very average players. They also added Jon Runyan and Simon Stepaniak to their offensive line but I don’t see either of these guys making a start.
Sorry cheeseheads, it’s going to be a tough season in Wisconsin.
New England Patriots
The Patriots really surprised me by trading out of the first round considering the talent available and the holes we needed filled, regardless on day two we starting making our picks and it wasn’t pretty. With the ESPN coverage indicating it was Bill’s dog Nike making the picks, they really did woof this draft!
The first selection the Patriots made was Kyle Dugger a safety from a DII school who while impressive would’ve been available much later one. Josh Uche and Anfernee Jennings went next with Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene being two tight ends we picked up in the same round. Next off the board was a kicker in Justin Rohrwasser, a man with seriously questionable right wing tattoos and average at best stats.
In the final two rounds, the Patriots picked up Micheal Onwenu, Justin Herron and Dustin Woodard too add to the trenches while defensively we picked up team mate of Logan Wilson, Cassah Maluia. Now we know the Patriots love to pick players who can do one thing extremely well but given the amount of talent available when Bill had to call in his picks, this was extremely poor drafting.
Let’s hope we can have our returning veterans really help elevate these guys come season time.
I will be making another part to this article if you guys enjoyed it! Please let me know your winners and losers from the NFL Draft and more importantly, if you disagree with mine!
Remember to follow me on Instagram @DustCoveredCleats and on twitter @DCCYTFootball
Best quarterback to ever step field in at the college level. Joe Burrow will be the face of the Cincinnati Bengals for the coming years and hopefully take the Bengals back to the playoffs in the coming years.
Another obvious no brainer, the best pass rusher in a long time will add some more punch to the Washington defense. Couple him with Daron Payne and this defensive line is going to cause some headaches in the upcoming season
3rd Pick – Detroit Lions select: Jeff Okudah, Cornerback, Ohio State, A+
Needing a replacement for standout corner Darius Slay, Detroit pick up arguably one of the best corners in recent memory. Jeff Okudah can tackle, defend the pass and most importantly bait quarterbacks. Big upgrade for the Lions secondary going forward.
4th Pick – New York Giants select: Andrew Thomas, Offensive Tackle, Georgia, C
Not who I expected Giants to take with all the lineme but Andrew Thomas is still a great linemen with tons of upside and some great technical ability.
5th Pick – Miami Dolphins select: Tua Tagovailoa, Quarterback, Alabama, B
While Tua has been dogged with injuries he’s still the second best quarterback in this draft class and will be a welcome sight as a signal caller in south beach.
Provided he can stay healthy Miami have a future pro-bowler on their hands.
6th Pick – Los Angeles Chargers select: Justin Herbert, Quarterback, Oregon, D
Despite many analysts and colleagues of mine marveling over Justin Herbert’s amazing raw ability, he’s boom or bust and in my eyes – he’s going to be another Mitchell Trubisky. Hopefully the Chargers coaching staff can refine Herbert to help him realise his potential.
The best defensive tackle in the 2020 draft and a very scary player. Derrick Brown is a massive defensive tackle with a huge frame and freaky strength. A complete mauler the Panthers have a new boogeyman to help them out come season time.
Arguably one of the most talented players in this draft. Isiah Simmons can play in coverage, stuff the run or rush the quarterback. Great side to side speed and a real nose for the ball. Simmons is a great addition to help the cardinals make a run at the playoffs this year.
9th Pick – Jacksonville Jaguars select: CJ Henderson, Cornerback, Florida, B
After losing AJ Bouye it was a no brainer for Jacksonville to pick up another corner who can make a real difference. CJ Henderson showed out in the very strong SEC and made a case for himself time and time again. Henderson will be able to ply his ball hawking trade for the Jags as they hope to push back into the winning ways of 2018.
The best tackle in this draft without a doubt. Jedrick Wills has a huge frame and some great technical ability with an elite kickset and amazing body control. This is the browns first step towards protecting Baker Mayfield and becoming the team everyone expected them to be.
11th Pick – New York Jets select: Mekhi Becton, Offensive Tackle, Louisville, B
Without a doubt the most violent lineman in this draft. Bullying pass rushers in the ACC was what Mekhi did day in day out. Great pick to hopefully stop Sam Darnold seeing so many ghosts on Sunday.
12th Pick – Las Vegas Raiders select: Henry Ruggs III, Wide Receiver, Alabama, A
Is anyone really surprised that the Raiders went for the fastest receiver on the board? Henry Ruggs will take the top off a defense and open up some huge play opportunities for Derrick Carr in Las Vegas.
13th Pick – Tampa Bay Buccaneers select: Tristan Wirfs, Offensive Tackle, Iowa, C
While highly touted I see a lot of problems with Wirfs’ consistency and technique. While it may take him a year to adjust to NFL I think this pick will pay off in a year or so if he can get the coaching he needs.
14th Pick – San Francisco 49ers select: Javon Kinlaw, Interior Defensive Line, SouthCarolina, B
A real great and strong defensive tackle who can impose his will on offensive lines up and down the country. Carolina are serious about turning their defense up to 11 by adding a great anchoring defensive tackle in Javon Kinlaw.
15th Pick – Denver Broncos select: Jerry Jeudy, Wide Receiver, Alabama, A
Arguably the best receiver in the draft Jerry Jeudy is going to make a great target for Sophomore signal caller Drew Lock. With some insane routes and safe hands Jeudy is going to be a fantastic target up in Denver in the approaching season.
16th Pick – Atlanta Falcons select: AJ Terrell, Cornerback, Clemson, B
AJ Terrell was a real difference maker in Clemson during his 2019 campaign. He did nothing but show out all year and help Clemson have one of the strongest defenses in the college football world. A fast strong playmaker who isn’t afraid to tackle will make a big impact in the NFC this year.
It’s hard to go wrong with any of the top wide receivers in this class, CeeDee Lamb is no exception. Fast, clean routes and strong hands make him serious downfield threat to help Dak Prescott this year. This pick gives Dallas one hell of a receiver group.
Another strong Lineman in this class, Austin Jackson was a terror at USC with his large frame and powerful hips allowing him to anchor down and keep a pocket intact.
This was a brilliant choice to keep their number 5 pick safe for his rookie year.
19th Pick – Las Vegas Raiders select: Damon Arnette, Cornerback, Ohio State, B
Moving to the opposite side of the field in 2019 due to a wrist injury took a little shine away from Damon Arnette but even with an injury he continued to be a great compliment to Jeff Okudah at Ohio State. The Las Vegas Raiders have a great piece to augment their secondary here.
With the strength of the 2019 LSU team being one of the best ever seen in college football it was only a matter of time before more key pieces like K’Lavon Chaisson were snatched up. Looking to earn back the moniker of “Sacksonville” the Jaguars pick up one of the strongest linebacker prospects in this draft
21st Pick – Philadelphia Eagles select: Jalen Reagor, Wide Receiver, Texas Christian, C
With receivers like Brandon Aiyuk and Justin Jefferson still on the board this was a massive shock. The horned frog Jalen Reagor has some excellent production and great physical traits but hasn’t really demonstrated himself to be a day 1 talent. The Eagles are hoping they’ve made the right call here.
The perfect replacement for Stephan Diggs, Justin Jefferson has been dominant all year. He can play in the slot or split secondaries out wide with crazy speed and some of the best ball tracking I’ve ever seen in a wide receiver.
23rd Pick – Los Angeles Chargers select: Kenneth Murray, Linebacker, Oklahoma, B
Another top linebacker in a stacked draft Kenneth Murray was one of the reasons the Oklahoma Sooners defense was so dominant in 2019. With physical attributes like this, Kenneth Murray will be a great addition to the rebuilding Chargers.
24th Pick – New Orleans Saints select: Cesar Ruiz, Interior Offensive Line, Michigan, B
A bit of a surprising pick personally but not a bad one. The best Centre in college football was the wolverine Cesar Ruiz. A powerful man hit a great football IQ an amazing hands to control defensive linemen and linebackers looking to stuff the run or sack his quarterback.
25th Pick – San Francisco 49ers select: Brandon Aiyuk, Wide Receiver, ArizonaState, A
A wide receiver who I thought would come off the board a lot earlier is Brandon Aiyuk. Playing alongside fellow first round pick N’Keal Harry in his earlier days Aiyuk developed into a real threat for the sun devils in his last year filling the gap that Harry left. Jimmy G will have a great target in this man.
26th Pick – Green Bay Packers select: Jordan Love, Quarterback, Utah State, F
Honestly a massive shock that Green Bay traded up to get a quarterback with 20 touchdowns to 17 picks in 2019. Maybe they see something that I don’t and maybe Aaron Rodgers can really help develop this raw talent into something tangible.
Either way, I think this pick was a bit of a waste for a team with a quarterback with as many years left as Rodgers.
With Clowney’s future still up in the air the Seahawks needs to make a move at linebacker to help bolster their defense. Jordyn Brooks was a standout on a decidedly average Texas Tech team. Powerful and instinctive Brooks punished opposing offenses with a punishing and fast play style.
28th Pick – Baltimore Ravens select: Patrick Queen, Linebacker, LSU, B
Patrick Queen can do it all, built like a safety he can play coverage, stuff the run or sack a quarterback. One of the best to do it for LSU Patrick Queen was a marvel to watch. With obvious comparisons to former team mate Devin White clearly warranted you can be sure you’ll see Queen at a Pro Bowl very soon.
The second Georgia offensive tackle taken in this first round Isiah Wilson is a big mauler with a violent play style and a frame to match. The Titans clearly wanted someone to move people to get Derrick Henry into the open field and this is the man to do it.
A man somewhat overlooked until Auburn had a fairly decent ending to their season, even beating Alabama in the Iron Bowl. Noah Igbinoghene will be a great piece for this strong Miami roster looking to give everyone problems in the 2020 season.
31st Pick – Minnesota Vikings select: Jeff Gladney, Cornerback, TCU, C
The second horned frog taken in this first round, Jeff Gladney was lights out all season. With some tremendous ball tracking skills and a long frame that he uses to stop receivers getting their hands on passes Gladney will be a solid if not high level player in Minnesota.
32nd Pick – Kansas City Chiefs select: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Running Back, LSU, A
Even though I had him in my “dark horses” article it seems many people finally sat up and listened. The powerful back with quick hips and fast eyes will be a great addition to the superbowl champions roster. Expect to see Cydle Edwards-Helaire in contention for OROY as he plies his trade in Kansas.
33rd Pick – Cincinnati Bengals select: Tee Higgins, Wide Receiver, Clemson, A
The 2019 ACC receiving touchdown leader lands in Cincinnati as a prime target for new franchise quarterback Joe Burrow. Higgins excels at creating separation and using his height and speed to make plays downfield or out ride. Excellent pick for the Bengals to kick off round 2.
34th Pick – Indianapolis Colts select: Michael Pitman, Wide Receiver, USC, B
The 2019 all PAC-12 wide receiver is a new target for Phillip Rivers in Indianapolis. Michael Pitman excels in the slot at 6’4” being a match up problem for any one having to cover him. While not the fastest his high catch point and freak work rate makes him a great pick for the Colts.
35th Pick – Detroit Lions select: D’Andre Swift, Running Back, Georgia B
If you need a guy who can break off some big downhill runs and really exploit holes in a defence this is the guy to do it. D’Andre Swift is a first round talent who managed to really stand out despite the running back pedigree of his college. With solid hands Swift can also make himself a receiving threat when Matthew Stafford needs a safety valve.
36th Pick – New York Giants select: Xavier McKinney, Safety, Alabama A
The 2019 all SEC safety is the newest member of the New York Giants, a physical safety with massive versatility and physical upside. He has played under Nick Saben which gives him a massive defensive football IQ and that shows with his on field instincts.
37th Pick – New England Patriots select: Kyle Dugger, Safety, Lenoir-Rhyne University C
A shock pick to say the least but with great hands and a 42 inch vertical makes him a physical freak. 6 punt return touchdowns and a great nose for the ball gives this man great utility on special teams and defense. With an emphasis on special teams at the Patriots Kyle Dugger will look to make an impact on day one.
38th Pick – Carolina Panthers select: Yetur Gross-Matos, Edge, Penn State C
A tall, athletic defensive end with a great motor is a great pairing with the Panthers first round pick to turn this pass rush into one of the best in the NFL. His size and work ethic make this man one of the first round talents who unluckily fell to the second round. The Panthers get a steal here.
39th Pick – Miami Dolphins select: Robert Hunt, Interior Offensive Line, Louisiana, D
2018 2nd Team all Sun Belt guard from Louisiana is another pick in service of keeping the Dolphins first round quarterback protected. A vicious pass and run protector with a great technical skillset who can be an instant starter in the NFL.
40th Pick – Houston Texans select: Ross Blacklock, Interior Defensive Line, Texas Christian, B
A big defensive tackle to help bolster the Texans line, Ross Blacklock has quick twitch speed and an elite first step which will make him dangerous from day one. Pair him with JJ Watt and this Texas line is going to give people headaches all year.
41st Pick – Indianapolis Colts select: Johnathan Taylor, Running Back, Wisconsin, C
A player with great awareness and physical attributes that make him a three down back. With speed to burn linebackers and jukes to fool the secondary Taylor is one of the top backs in this class and a steal for the colts.
An explosive playmaker with a big physical frame who can use his body to box out defenders and make catches. He can really make things happen on the run after the catch too at 230lbs defenders bounce off him and he will be a big time weapon in Jacksonville.
43rd Pick – Chicago Bears select: Cole Kmet, Tight End, Notre Dame, B
The first tight end of the board and a great pick from the bears. His size and hands make him a great red zone threat. Pair him with Jimmy Graham and the Bears will have some great redzone help in 2020, something that Mitchel Trubisky really needs if he wants to keep his job.
44th Pick – Cleveland Browns select: Grant Delpit, Safety, LSU, A
In my opinion the best safety in this draft, Grant Delpit will be with some LSU teammates in Cleveland. A great safety with big tackling ability, playing close to the line of scrimmage who can really transform a team’s secondary. Great steal for the Browns here at pick 44.
45th – Tampa Bay Buccaneers select: Antoine Winfield, Safety, Minnesota, B
A super smart safety with great side to side speed and crazy good instinct. His hands are crazy good and his motor will keep him in any play on the field. While he’s only 5’8” he makes plays and will be a threat to any quarterback in the league.
46th Pick – Denver Broncos select: KJ Hamler, Wide Receiver, Penn State, C
Breaking the Penn State freshman record for yards KJ Hamler has the dynamic slot skills and great speed in open field. He’s got some great cutting ability and acceleration who can take the top off some of the best defenses in the NFL.
47th Pick – Atlanta Falcons select: Marlon Davidson, Interior Defensive Line, Auburn, B
The sack leader at Auburn last year, Marlon Davidson is a versatile player with some great physical ability that he can use to rush the interior or push the edge to put pressure on the quarterback or snuff out runs before they develop.
Another big defensive pick for the Seahawks, Darrell Taylor is a big defensive end with a huge frame and great quick feet to help him move linemen to make it to the quarterback. A big physical guy with some great upside for the defensive minded Pete Carroll.
The first Canadian player taken in the 2020 draft, Chase Claypool is 6’4” and his size is his biggest weapon. He can high point the ball on go routes and use his body to jump over people and win contested catches in the endzone. A big redzone weapon for the Steelers.
50th Pick – Chicago Bears select: Jaylon Johnson, Cornerback, Utah, B
Jaylon Johnson played very tough and aggressive in 2019 despite being injured. Super aggressive from the cornerback stop who is always trying to make big plays on the balls and change the momentum in games. Comfortable tackling or in coverage makes Johnson very very dangerous in the NFL.
It’s hard to find a cornerback with this size, he’s a lockdown player who can defend a ton of different routes and due to playing at Alabama his defensive IQ and understanding of his position is already very developed and he will be a great replacement for Byron Jones down in Dallas.
52nd Pick – Los Angeles Rams select: Cam Akers, Running Back, Florida State, B
Only the 3rd running back to have more than 1000 yards in a season. Quick, compact and agile Akers had to do it all on his own at Florida State so with some top linemen and a competent offensive coach the sky’s the limit with Akers in Los Angeles.
53rd Pick – Philadelphia Eagles select: Jalen Hurts, Quarterback, Oklahoma, D
The former Alabama and Oklahoma quarterback was a Heisman finalist and SEC championship winner and has all the tools to be successful in the NFL despite the fact he’s a little bit of a project with the right coaching he will be successful in the NFL. Just watch the Eagles use him in a Taysom Hill type roll in upcoming seasons.
54th Pick – Buffalo Bills select: AJ Epenesa, Edge, Iowa, B
Another player who could’ve easily gone on day one. He’s the type of defensive end who can slap down a lineman’s hands and run right through him. Despite playing on the outside in college AJ Epenesa could easily play on the interior and create as much chaos as he does on the edge.
55th Pick – Baltimore Ravens select: JK Dobbins, Running Back, Ohio State, A
A common theme in this second round is the amount of first round talent that still remains. JK Dobbins is one of these guys. He’ll run the gap scheme almost as good as anyone else and will make people miss in open space. A focused and determined back who can really help move the chains for the Ravens.
This Miami defense is looking seriously scary, and Raekwon Davis just makes them even more nightmarish. Davis is very physically gifted and while his pass rushing may need some work he might be one of the most intimidating looking players to have on your defensive line.
57th Pick – Los Angeles Rams select: Van Jefferson, Wide Receiver, Florida, C
The son of Shawn Jefferson with fantastic routes and body control. Great soft hands who can make some very awkward catches and really give defensive backs headaches. Great fundamentals and hands are what make Van Jefferson the ideal weapon for Jarred Goff in LA.
While not highly recruited out of high school, watching Ezra Cleveland play makes it clear that he has the footwork and technique to protect Kirk Cousins in the NFL. Big, strong and technically capable Cleveland is one of the top tackles I’ve scouted and definitely will be a great addition for Minnesota.
59th Pick – New York Jets select: Denzel Mims, Wide Receiver, Baylor, B
Denzel Mims is a player I expected to go in the first round, a player with elite athleticism who can track the ball and high point it as well as anyone in the draft. This is a great pick up for the Jets who are getting a guy with reliable hands who never stops working and will make a play when you need him to.
60th Pick – New England Patriots select: Josh Uche, Linebacker, Michigan, B
Another need addressed for the Patriots, Josh Uche is a hard working linebacker with elite speed and a great IQ to help him run the QB Spy. While his hand to hand skills haven’t been displayed as much as possible due to his elite first step getting him off linemen quickly, trust me when I tell you it’s there.
61st Pick – Tennessee Titans select: Christian Fulton, Cornerback, LSU, B
One of the top corners in this draft with great ball tracking and incredible patients. With amazing timing and incredible double moves he’s very dangerous to every receiver on the field. He also has some amazing make up speed which means it’s very rare he’ll get beaten even against more agile receivers.
62nd Pick – Green Bay Packers select: AJ Dillon, Running Back, Boston College, C
With one of the best combines amongst running backs this year AJ Dillon is an old school running back who is going to drop his shoulder and truck over anyone trying to bring him down. With an imposing stature and great speed Dillon is going to be a tough player to stop when he breaks free from the line.
63rd Pick – Kansas City Chiefs select: Willie Gay, Linebacker, Mississippi State, B
Another needed piece for the superbowl champions, Willie Gay is one of the fastest linebackers in the combine and is a great starter for Mississippi State. Despite some of the field trouble which caused his draft stock to slip this NFL chance will cause him to keep his head straight and focus on his play.
64th Pick – Carolina Panthers select: Jeremy Chinn, Safety, Southern Illinois, C
With some great numbers and nose for the ball Jeremy Chinn has incredible speed and really turned heads at the combine. Great tackling and heavy hits make him dangerous for receivers who aren’t paying enough attention to him or locating him quickly enough.
A player I featured in my draft dark horses, and incredible athlete with great hands and massive frame. The fact he even made it to the third round is honestly a shock. Not only can he pressure the quarterback but he can get into space and pick the ball off too.
66th Pick – Washington Redskins select: Antonio Gibson, Wide Receiver, Memphis, C
Despite being listed as a receiver because of what he can do on the outside Antonio Gibson has great instincts running the ball and can line up in the backfield if needed. Incredibly versatile and can make a real difference as a gadget player when needed.
67th Pick – Detroit Lions select: Julian Okwara, Linebacker, Notre Dame, D
Not the strongest linebacker left on the board but still managed to put up decent numbers in college. With a great work ethic and will to get better Okwara will have a lot of improvements to make if he wants to make a final roster but he definitely has the work ethic to do so.
68th Pick – New York Jets select: Ashyn Davis, Safety, California, C
Originally a walk-on, Ashtyn Davis is a great athlete who needs to work on his consistency to be a top level player but definitely has the tools to do so. In the slot he can really do some work against bigger receivers due to his physical skills and technique.
A massive player who made a perfect 79 for 79 in his assignments against Alabama, Damien Lewis is a talented guard who will shut anyone down when he gets his hands on them. One of the most underappreciated players at LSU this year Lewis is a big reason why Joe Burrow remained upright on route to his 60 Touchdown passes.
A great safety from the storied Texas program, Brandon Jones is a versatile playmaker with the skills to make it on this stacked Miami defense. With great physical ability it will be good to see how he plays alongside the defensive pieces Miami has picked up in this draft and off season especially as a weapon on special teams.
While he’s not the strongest player available on the board it’s clear what Baltimore’s strategy is: sure up the line and make sure you’re as explosive on defense as you are on offence. Decent pick for the ravens. But not who I would’ve taken.
A guy I didn’t expect to fall this far , Josh Jones is a very very talented lineman who can grab and pull on the line and will add some much needed protection for the Cardinals here in the 3rd round. Hopefully this pick will stop Kyler Murray getting sacked less than 50 times in the 2020 season with help from Josh Jones.
73rd Pick – Jacksonville Jaguars select: Davon Hamilton, Interior Defensive Line, Ohio State, C
Really upgrading all 3 levels of their defense here in the draft the Jags grab a brilliant productive nose tackle who can really make some plays and put pressure on quarterbacks and stuff runs before they develop.
74th Pick – New Orleans Saints select: Zach Baun, Linebacker, Wisconsin, A
Another guy who could’ve gone in round 2 Zach Baun is a great athlete with speed and athleticism who can win great one on ones despite his size. His size lends to his versatility and he has proved how he can improve when given the right coaching.
75th Pick – Detroit Lions select: Jonah Jackson, Offensive Guard, Ohio State, B
While not the best guard at Ohio State with the right coaching Jonah Jackson can make a difference on this Detroit Lions team. Tall and long the Rutgers transfer was a guy I said to look out for in the later rounds and getting his number called proves I was right.
76th Pick – Tampa Bay Buccaneers select: Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Running Back, Vanderbilt, D
With some great wiggle and burst when he hits the open field Ke’Shawn Vaughn is a great pairing with Ronald Jones in Tampa Bay. I do have some questions about his speed and instincts which could make him a problem against some of the more athletic guys in the NFL.
Needing to address the defense here in the third round Micheal Ojemudia is a great pick for Denver to make. Despite there being some better players on the board corner was a big need for Denver and this is a decent pick.
78th Pick – Atlanta Falcons select: Matt Hennessy, Interior Offensive Line, Temple, B
A big tough player with an insane work ethic, Matt Hennessy is a fantastic player and is a total student of the game on every level. With a decent skill set when snapping the ball with decent size and skill to anchor in the middle this is a very good pick for Atlanta.
79th Pick – New York Jets select: Jabari Zuniga, Edge, Florida, C
While the Jets needed more instant impact on the edge, Jabari Zuniga has all the physical tools to make it in New York, but he’s very coachable and has some he can make improvements when needed.
80th Pick – Las Vegas Raiders select: Lynn Bowden, Wide Receiver, Kentucky, D
Despite being a great utility player who can provide speed in the slot or a change of pace at running back this wasn’t a real need for Las Vegas and ultimately a wasted pick in my eyes.
81st Pick – Las Vegas Raiders select: Bryan Edwards, Wide Receiver, South Carolina, A
Bryan Edwards is a first round talent who fell in the draft due to his foot injury. A contested catch beast with deceptive yards after catch and a crazy ability to create separation. Good pick up for Gruden and the black and silver.
Neville Gallimore is a strong player who can disrupt the gaps and has a crazy motor and should fit well with the existing Cowboys schemes. Given enough first team reps and you’ll see Gallimore become an important part of the Cowboys defence.
A guy who arguably could’ve been taken in the early second Lloyd Cushenberry is a long powerful blocker who can play anywhere on the interior. His athletic ability makes him a real problem.
84th Pick – Los Angeles Rams select: Terrell Lewis, Linebacker, Alabama, B
While injuries could be a worry with Terrell Lewis he has the full prototypical edge rusher profile. Long, powerful hips and great burst. Lewis can get to the quarterback very well and has super heavy hands. This is a great pick up for the Rams but his injury concerns stopped me from marking him as an A graded prospect.
85th Pick – Indianapolis Colts select: Julian Blackmon, Safety, Utah, A
Making the move from corner to safety Justin Blackmon has elite level instincts, quick hips and great explosive bursts. While he isn’t the fastest he’s a great compliment to Malik Hooker and can play corner if needed.
A hard working player with the ability to drop the hammer on people. While he can lose speed downfield he can make some great jump cuts and leave linebackers tackling the air. Should be a good partner for Devin Singletary in Buffalo.
87th Pick – New England Patriots select: Anfernee Jennings, Edge, Alabama, B
With polished hand work and a wide frame that enables him to set a strong edge Anfernee Jennings is a great run defender who can also make it flat to the quarterback when needed. Not the best pickup the patriots could have made but solid nonetheless.
88th Pick – Cleveland Browns select: Jordan Elliott, Interior Defensive Line, Missouri, B
High motor, Heavy hands and great technique are what make Jordan Elliott so good. While he’s not super athletic and can wrap up too high sometimes these are things that the Browns can develop and turn Elliott into an absolute steal.
While tall and showing prowess in zone and press coverage Cameron Dantzler isn’t very fast and his skinny frame can lead him to be shaken off by bigger wide outs. Despite his great ball skills he doesn’t track very well and can be easily beaten by a receiver who can run a crisp route.
90th Pick – Houston Texans select: Jonathan Greenard, Edge, Florida, B
With a chiseled frame and first round flashes during his college career Jonathan Greenard has great power and his high motor will make sure he’s constantly working on the field. He’s a great prospect and filled a real need that the Texans had.
91st Pick – New England Patriots select: Devin Asiasi, Tight End, UCLA, B
With great ability to separate and create space at the next level Devin Asiasi has some great size to make him a red zone threat, He doesn’t have the ability to be a great blocker or have the long speed of other tight ends but he fits the exact type of player that the Patriots normally love.
A rare type of slot receiver in that he’s faster than he is quick. Small player but can track the ball like a first rounder. Great strong hands, while his release is slow he adds some great speed to the Ravens wide receiver group.
Darrynton Evans is a zone runner with great one cut ability and serious explosion for a man of his size and physique. While he’s not the fastest or best after contact he’ll give some good depth behind Derrick Henry.
94th Pick – Green Bay Packers select: Josiah Deguara, Tight End, Cincinnati, D
Despite being a hard worker and some solid hands there is nothing spectacular about Josiah Deguara’s game at all and this was a wasted pick by Green Bay.
A pass rushing specialist with long arms and active hands. His slender frame seeing him get shut out against the run more often than not but is a very coachable young player with a ton of upside if he works in training camp.
96th Pick – Kansas City Chiefs select: Lucas Niang, Offensive Tackle, Texas Christian, B
While this isn’t a major need for the superbowl champions right now Lucas Niang has some great lateral movement and great size which could really come in handy when he gets some reps as a starter in Kansas City.
97th Pick – Cleveland Browns select: Jacob Phillips, Linebacker, LSU, B
Watching Jacob Phillips is a great jack of all trades linebacker with solid tackling and a large tackle radius. Could be a quality player in Cleveland if given the right chances on the field.
98th Pick – Baltimore Ravens select: Malik Harrison, Linebacker, Ohio State, C
A strong run stopping specialist who can shed blocks and make quick reads. While not especially athletic he can make plays in coverage and fits in well with the Ravens defensive schemes.
99th Pick – New York Giants select: Matt Peart, Offensive Tackle, Connecticut, A
A long athletic lineman with great feed and solid pass protection. Great lateral quickness makes this man a solid anchor that will only get better overtime. Great pick to go alongside first rounder Andrew Thomas.
100th Pick – Las Vegas Raiders select: Tanner Muse, Safety, Clemson, D
Quick and tall linebacker safety hybrid who can sometimes be a problem in coverage. Great speed and can be competent as a blitzer on certain formations. Might not make a massive impact but could see some playtime on special teams.
101st Pick – New England Patriots select: Dalton Keene, Tight End, Virginia Tech, C
Athletic H-Back type who looks to be another special teams pick for the Patriots. He can make some plays after the catch and can make some blocking too when it’s needed. Not a groundbreaking or sexy pick but seriously functional.
102nd Pick – Pittsburgh Steelers select: Alex Highsmith, Edge, Charlotte, C
A great rusher with some nice off the line speed and a fairly decent first step. Doesn’t have the power of some other defensive ends but he’s a solid player who could make some serious improvements with the right coaching.
103rd Pick – Philadelphia Eagles select: Davion Taylor, Linebacker, Colorado, B
A strong player with a ton of raw talent that could be turned into something seriously dangerous with some coaching and guidance. He actually looked fairly decent when playing at cornerback and could have some serious utility value.
104th Pick – Los Angeles Rams select Terrell Burgess, Safety, Utah, B
With solid instinct and coverage skills Terrell Burgess plays with the speed and agility of a cornerback which makes him more than a match to cover slot receivers hitting the second level of the ield. A guy who loves to make plays all across the field is a great addition to the Rams secondary.
105th Pick – New Orleans Saints select: Adam Troutman, Tight End, Dayton, B
With fairly impressive speed and acceleration for his size Adam Troutman has the ability to create separation and make some big plays downfield, while I wouldn’t exactly call him a steal you could easily make a case for Troutman being drafted a lot sooner than now.
106th Pick – Baltimore Ravens select: Tyre Phillips, Interior Offensive Line, Mississippi State, C
A massive immovable man mountain in pass coverage with some solid fundamentals make Tyre Phillips a great little project for the offensive line coaches in Baltimore. While he lacks the hips and kick set of an elite lineman these are things that he can be taught which coupled with his size could make him a great piece in the Ravens trenches.
In the first part of this article I explored four players who I personally felt were overlooked in terms of draft hype this year. For one reason or another these players are slipping through the cracks and despite their talent, they aren’t going to get taken until the final couple of rounds, in some cases. In part two of NFL Draft Dark Horses I’m going to take a look at another group of players who aren’t getting the hype or attention they deserve this year.
Josh Love, QB, San Jose State
Despite winning the 2019 Mountain West offensive player of the year award San Jose State quarterback Josh Love is getting little to no attention in terms of his pro potential.
A pro style quarterback who put up some seriously impressive numbers with 3,923 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and 8 interceptions in his 2019 campaign. While he may not get a lot of looks because of his 6’, 200lbs frame, his play speaks for itself. Love displays great awareness and isn’t afraid to take a hit if he can make a play. He converted pressure to sacks at the lowest rate in the country last year (only 9%) and earned a 68.9 passing grade while under pressure. (9th in the country) While I see Love going undrafted, I think a team like the Patriots, Cowboys or Colts should take a chance and see what Love can bring to their training camp and see if he can produce during a pre-season.
Teams would be stupid not to give this kid a chance.
Jonah Jackson, IOL, Ohio State
A graduate transfer from Rutgers, Jackson figured some time in a powerhouse program was all that was needed to raise his game to the next level if he wanted to go pro.
Boy! What a year he had.
Ohio State led the conference in rushing this year, in no small part to Jackson’s great run protection work in the trenches. While PFF don’t think Jackson has the quickest feet or most powerful frame for his position these things are offset by some great short sets and quick hips, Jackson is a nightmare for anyone he gets his hands on.
Jackson also won 58% of his one-on-ones despite splitting time between 3 different interior positions. This sort of versatility is a big bonus for Jackson given his projected draft position.
While he sometimes handles his run blocks a little up the frame, his aggressiveness and ability to run second level blocks vertically on outside zone concepts is a valuable asset that will serve him well in the pros.
Marc-Antoine Dequoy, S, Universite de Montreal
Now this might actually confuse some people who aren’t really clued in on Canadian football and Canadian colleges but the rules in Canadian football are a little different to what you’re used to in the NFL or American college systems. 3 downs, vertical movement is allowed by receivers pre snap, bigger field and different kicking rules.
However, with a guy like Dequoy his raw talent makes this a non issue. A 4.36 40 yard dash time should be enough for teams to take a little notice of him – This is a kid who made the All-Canada team 3 times across his college career, (2x first team selections). The 6’2” 200lbs safety has all the traits to make him a valuable pro player, his 2019 campaign saw him rack up 37 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 pass breakup and 3 interceptions across 8 games.
With other Canadians making an impact in the NFL it would be good to see a team take a chance on this guy with a late round pick and possibly develop his talents to see how far he can go in the NFL.
Ben Bartch, OT, Saint John’s (Minnesota) (DIII Program)
Now unless you lived in Minnesota or watched the senior bowl there’s a good chance you have no clue who Ben Bartch is. If you did watch the senior bowl then you’ll know that this DIII program offensive lineman came in and showed out against guys from Alabama, Florida and other big name programs.
He’s a 6’6”, 309lbs beast who allowed just 4 quarterback pressures inside 12 games…that’s pretty impressive if you ask me.
You may know him for his repulsive weight gain shakes that enabled him to add 60 pounds to his frame as he moved from tight end to offensive tackle.
Bartch has great technique and athleticism, and if you package that with his grit and determination they make up some great qualities in what you’re going to need in the trenches in the NFL.
I think if a team like the Texans or Seahawks pick this kid up it will really take their passing offence up a notch – Wilson and Watson will get better with more time to throw. These are bold claims to make but I’m 99% sure Bartch’s ability will back these claims up when he’s given some game time in the pro’s.
Every year, draft websites and draft coverage is always focused on the Joe Burrows and the Chase Youngs of the world but often there’s some amazing talent hiding in days 2 and 3 of the draft. So today we’re going to break down some of the top Dark Horses in this year’s draft – These guys are players that I think should be rated higher than they are or players who are going to really prove that they really are a first round talent.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU
If we’re talking underrated players going into the 2020 draft Clyde Edwards-Helaire is a talent that needs a lot more attention, because I think personally he’s a first round talent and should be picked on day one. The Baton Rouge native was nothing short of electric this year picking up 1,414 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns, accompanied by 453 receiving yards and a singular touchdown.
You didn’t come here to read stats though, you came here to hear exactly why these players deserve to have more eyes on them.
The most impressive thing about Edwards-Helaire is his lateral movement and vision, which is why you’ll see his best moments at LSU when they run gap schemes. Edwards-Helaire doesn’t possess the necessary downhill speed to tear off big 50-60 yard touchdown runs, he has the hips and lateral speed to exploit gaps and give you 10-20 yards on a play.
There is no other player in this draft that can spot a gap, pop his hips and make a play like Edwards-Helaire.
Anthony Gordon, QB, Washington State
Gordon battled Gardner Minshew for the Washington State starting job in 2018 and only just fell short to the eventual NCAA passing leader.
Despite a 3 year wait before he won the starting job Gordon proved he was worth the wait, with 5,579 passing yards, 48 passing touchdowns with only 16 interceptions and was named second team all Pac-12. Gordon possesses a ton of traits that set him up well for when he makes it to the pros and not just in a gunslinging air raid system like the one Mike Leach ran with Gordon at the helm.
Although sometimes rattled by interior pressure, Gordon is willing to take a hit to deliver a pass and makes some great anticipatory throws in the middle of the field. His delivery is compact, efficient and he can really lead receivers in stride underneath when it is called for.
While Gordon is on some teams boards as early as the 3rd round I personally think Gordon is a day one talent.
Colby Parkinson, TE, Stanford
In his last season at Stanford, Parkinson put up very average numbers with 29 catches, 485 yards and 7 touchdowns, however Parkinson didn’t drop a pass and came down with the most contested catches amongst draft eligible tight ends.
So besides being a huge target with safe hands what does Parkinson do to set himself apart from the other tight ends in this class? Physically, his height and length create some huge matchup issues in the red area and he is able to extend the high point to play over safeties – Parkinson has incredible body control to help him make adjustments downfield. My only real issue with his size as I think he needs to bulk up a little bit to really be a top level tight end in the NFL.
Parkinson certainly has day one talent and a bunch of upside with very little downside, if you want a big pass catching tight end this is the player for you!
Logan Wilson, LB, Wyoming
Despite being a two time All-State player coming out of high school Logan Wilson only had two scholarship offers, Weber State and Wyoming. I’m sure plenty of colleges were kicking themselves after seeing this kid play.
Cementing himself as one of the best linebackers in college football and by far the best linebacker in the Mountain Western Conference (MWC), Logan Wilson has been nothing short of amazing.
Yet still some mocks have him going as late as the 4th round and I have no idea how!
In his 2019 campaign Wilson tallied 62 solo tackles (105 total), 1 sack, 1 forced fumble and 4 interceptions. While the MWC not exactly being stacked with top tier teams is still very very impressive.
Colleagues at the Full 10 Yards joke that I use the word “Instinct” too much but if I’m being honest, Wilson has it. His build and ability would allow him to play MIKE or SAM linebacker and he has a high motor runs hot and means that Wilson is getting after it on every single down he’s on the field. Lastly, Wilson has elite fundamentals and impressive recognition that help him diagnose and shut down plays easily.
However, Wilson’s high motor can cause some jitters meaning he will need to balance his activity level with patience – That’s another small downside that can be worked out early in NFL training camps. This can also lead to Wilson being baited out of position with some false keys by more complex offences but once again…training will fix that.
Hopefully Wilson lands with a team that recognizes his talent and gives him the chance to shine, maybe the Patriots…please Bill!
If there’s any players I’ve missed feel free to message me on social media with anyone I could possibly add to a part 2!