Full10Takeaways – Week 9

By Tim Monk, Shaun Blundell and Lawrence Vos

Week 9 in the NFL saw the an undefeated team lose, an unsuccessful team win and Houston Texans demolish Minshew Mania in the final game of the International Series in London.

Here’s what else to take away from the weekend’s action.


And then there was one

Image result for new england patriots
Image Credit: Getty Images

With the Ravens beating the Patriots on SNF, that leaves just the San Francisco 49ers as the last undefeated team. The 49ers themselves were run close on TNF by Arizona and as well all know, anything can happen on any given Sunday.

With the schedule toughening up slightly down he stretch, it’ll be a tough ask to expect the 49ers to go the distance, but i am sure their main priority will be to clinch the division and a 1st round bye in January.

They’ll be kept honest from here on out as the Seahawks and Rams are not too far back so the pressure will be on all the way to week 17.


Kiss my butt-ker

Image result for harrison butker
Image Credit:Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports

In a slobberknocker from the early slate, the game between 2 of the better teams in the NFL got in on and the Chiefs were able to come away with the win due to the boot of Harrison Butker.

We all know about the fragility and volatility of kickers, their jobs and reliability but the Chiefs kicker put in a textbook effort that even Johnny Wilkinson would have been proud of.

With his perfect performance of 4/4 on FG (including a 54yard long) and his 2 XPs, Harrison Butker has surpassed HOF Jan Stenerud (356) for the 2nd-most points scored through a player’s first 3 seasons in Chiefs history (trailing only Cairo Santos).

I wonder what price Chicago would pay for him…


Bears Down

Image result for chicago bears
Image Credit: Elsa/Getty Images

Talking of Chicago, there are some real troubles in Illinois. The first half was. not. pretty.

The last time these two met, it was in the divisional round of the playoffs last year (#doubledoink) and ever since that class, it’s all been downhill since.

Mitchell Trubisky had just 2 passing yards at the end of the 1st quarter, the Bears gained their first down INSIDE THE 2 MINUTE warning of the 1st half. Whilst they gained some traction in the 2nd half, if you can call it that (Trubisky ended up with just 10 completions for 125 yards) they were out of sight at that point with no hope of winning the game.

Nagy, Trubisky and even the defence which committed more offsides than a Fillippo Inzaghi masterclass, are all under fire for their performances to date this season.

What made matters worse, returning former Bears Alshon Jeffrey and touchdown scorer Jordan Howard enjoyed a good day on their new teams. They would have gained plenty of pleasure from heaping more misery on their former employers.

For Chicago, they must all be feeling like grizzlys with sore heads.


lockett and load it

Image result for tyler lockett
Image Credit: Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times

With the 12 currently enjoying the prospect of Josh Gordon joining the wide receiving core imminiently, it’s another of their wideouts that is stealing the show.

The Russell Wilson and Tyler Lockett connection is pure poetry in motion and it’s no flash in the pan.

Last season Wilson enjoyed a perfect passer rating when throwing to #16 and it’s easy to see that this has carried forward to this season.

Since the start of last season, Lockett has hauled in 103 receptions from 124 targets, averaging over 14 yards per target and a healthy 83% catch rate. For a team that use a run heavy approah, you could say that Lockett is just as important to the team as QB Russell Wilson and Chris Carson.

Lockett, a former 3rd round pick in 2015 is still searching for his 1st 1000 yard season with the Seahawks but with 615 receiving yards at the half way point, he looks certain to accomplish that achievement. He’s turning into one of the league’s best wide receivers and certainly one of the most reliable.

That will be music to the ears of Pete Caroll, Russell Wilson and the 12 as they make a push for the postseason.


Get 10% off at NFL Europe Shop with code FULL10


The Tank Continues…..

Image Credit – Mark Brown / Getty Images

We have been witnessing a team intent on losing in South Florida for what feels like the entire season. That continued this weekend, but not from the Dolphins themselves who chalked up their first win of the season. The narrative has been that Ryan Fitzpatrick gave them the best opportunity to win and he had himself a nice afternoon, throwing 3 touchdown passes with preseason darling Preston Williams finding the end zone twice.

Surely Adam Gase will be one and done in New York and that should signal the end of his NFL head coaching opportunities for the foreseeable future. The supposed quarterback whisperer oversaw a performance from Sam Darnold that lacked any explosion as short range passing to Jamison Crowder, Lev Bell and Ryan Griffin dominated the game plan. Much optimism in the preseason feels like a distant memory and give me the Dolphins right now to finish with a better record at season end than the men in green.


Same Old Browns

Image Credit – Eric Fox / Getty Images

Remind me next year to not buy into any hype. Another Sunday, another defeat for the Cleveland Browns and the likelihood is that you can “stick a fork in them” when it comes to playoff aspirations. A team that has preached the importance of discipline and execution every day of the week, once again fails to deliver that mantra on Sunday. This weekend it was Jarvis Landry and OBJ wearing cleats which violated the leagues uniform policy. Not to be outdone the starting free safety then had a twitter meltdown and threatened to fight and kill anyone who rightly criticized his awful performance.  

This is a team that looks lost and unfortunately the captain of the ship appears to be all at sea also. Freddie Kitchens continues to make puzzling play calls and personnel decisions such as having Nick Chubb on the bench for 2 running plays inside the Broncos 5 yard line. That sequence led to a turnover on downs and the Broncos marched the field to all but ice the game. In truth, it never felt like the Browns would do anything other than find another way to lose on Sunday.


Backing Up The Backup

Image Credit: Robert Scheer/IndyStar

Jacoby Brissett has played so well this season that the Colts haven’t had to mourn the loss of Andrew Luck on the eve of the season too much. Brissett has proven to be a more than capable starter who has marshalled the troops to a respectable position. Check the injury news this week though as he suffered what appeared to be a nasty looking injury when one of his own lineman first stood and then fell on his leg.

The initial look didn’t look good, but there was encouragement that he walked off the field under his own power, and remained on the sidelines throughout. The Colts will be desperate to get him back as soon as possible but will be fearing the worst as Frank Reich explained it could be an MCL sprain. Brian Hoyer came in and looked pretty much as he always does and proved why he was signed to fulfill the role of backup. The Colts will be hoping in a competitive division that they don’t have to play the backup to the initial backup for very long. 


Double Dolphins celebrations

Image Credit: USA Today Sports / SI

Not only did Week 9 witness the Miami Dolphins win their first game of the 2019 season on Sunday, their legendary 1972 undefeated team remain the only squad to go through a whole season without a loss.

Baltimore Ravens second year QB Lamar Jackson not only got the win against the New England Patriots, he managed to personally elevate himself into the running for NFL MVP in the same game. LJax and the dominant running game stomped all over the Patriots for another team 200+ yards on the ground, and three rushing scores.

Mark Ingram went over 100 yards and LJax scored twice on the ground and once in the air. The scorer of the Ravens passing td was none other than Nick Boyle, a backup tight end, and five year veteran of the NFL, who up until Sunday had bizarrely never scored a touchdown.

I hope he didn’t get too excited and throw the ball into the crowd. At his current rate he won’t get another leather souvenir of that type until 2024. 


Minshew Mania mangled at Wembley

Image result for gardner minshew
Image Credit: Alex Davidson / Getty Images

The 80,000+ crowd on Sunday were treated to plenty of replica moustaches, and even some authentic ones, along with an assortment of bandanas and handkerchiefs wrapped around fans heads as they dressed up in respect of Jacksonville Jaguars rookie QB sensation Gardner Minshew III.

Unfortunately the real Gardner Minshew failed to board the plane from Florida last week as fans were left watching a sixth round rookie perform like a sixth round rookie. Minshew Mania misfired for 60 minutes, including two interceptions, three sacks allowed and two fumbles lost, as the Houston Texans, in large part thanks to two seismic runs from Carlos Hyde, dominated a game that was billed to be a shootout. The 26-3 win for the Texans would have likely been even bigger if their All-Pro DE J.J. Watt would have been playing.

I know its not Halloween anymore but Nick Foles will be smelling blood after Minshew’s misfires. Napoleon Dynamite v Minshew Mania – for the Jaguars starting QB –  sounds like an ITV PPV wrestling matchup. 


Living up to their Bill-ing as an easy scalp

Image result for washington redskins
Image Credit: John Munson / AP

The Washington Redskins are trying, trying fans patience that is, after a third consecutive game without a touchdown. 0, 9 and 9, points per game, consisting of six total field-goals, is not going to earn Bill Callahan a shot at the permanent head coach position at the end of the season.

This was the first official start for rookie QB Dwayne Haskins, who looked uncomfortable all game once forced out of the pocket by the likes of Bills DE Jerry Hughes. To his credit Haskins lasted the whole game and did not commit a single turnover, which is a positive sign, but without any offense aside from Adrian Peterson and fellow rookie Terry McLaurin to move the sticks the prospects for the team in burgundy and gold look bleak. Even punter Tress Way who was leading the league in punt average had an under par game.

Thankfully the Redskins were on the road, against a Bills fanbase that were aggressively booing their own QB Josh Allen despite his team having an 11 point lead at one point in the contest.

Right now Redskins fans don’t care if they deliver 10 yards of offense per half (incidentally more than the Chicago Bears did in the first half of Week 9) if they get a few more wins. 


One for the road…


Chargers now finally plugged in


No-one expected the Packers to lay an egg against Los Angeles this weekend.

Aaron Rodgers and the high flying packers have stormed to an NFC North divisional lead on the back of 4 straight wins.

For the Chargers though, this win puts them at 4-5 and right back in the wildcard hunt.

Mainly down to the dynamic and destructive duo of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, the Chargers defence had it’s way with the Packers offensive line and Aaron Rodgers who turned in a Chicago Bears impersonation in the first half.

Whether the firing of Ken Whisenhunt had anything to do with it, we’ll unlikely to ever find out, but the Chargers, notoriously slow starters, are now giving themselves a chance at playing January football.

For their fans, hopefully it doesn’t take too long to get fully charged.

Half-Term Report: AFC/NFC East

Time to head east for the last 2 sets of Half-Term reports. Quite a few teams in these divisions have underwhelmed and then there’s the Patriots. At the very least the NFC equivalent should be a bit more exciting, but that wouldn’t be hard to do when you are comparing against the AFC East.

Nonetheless, Let’s give them some grades:


AFC East 


Image result for afc east
By Lawrence Vos (@NFLFanInEngland)

Current Standings 

  • New England Patriots – 8-0
  • Buffalo Bills – 5-2
  • New York Jets – 1-6
  • Miami Dolphins – 0-7

*New England Patriots*

Midseason Grade: A+

How has it gone so far? 

At some point the never ending story of Patriots success has to end, but the 2019 season still has the tale without an end in sight.

The AFC’s only undefeated team at the half-way point Sith Lord Belichick and his cyborg QB Tom Brady are continuing to excel, but the offense is being out-shadowed by a defense that is looking like the 1985 Bears on some old-school steroids. A remarkable statistic to come to the fore after 7 games was that the Patriots would have been 4-2-1 if they had all of their offensive touchdowns removed.

Current Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman is still the heartbeat of the offense, catching more balls than a set of snooker table pockets, and the recent acquisition of sure-handed WR Mohammed Sanu from the Falcons will immediately compensate for the loss of Josh Gordon to injury. 

Rest of Season Outlook:

The Pats go up against the Ravens, Eagles, Cowboys, Texans and Chiefs to open up the second half of the season, and you read it here first they WILL lose one of this handful of high-profile games. You can run on the Patriots, just don’t turn the ball over.

Ever since the Patriots shut down the Rams in the Super Bowl they flicked on a switch of defensive dominance and 61 points allowed in 8 games is quite simply amazing. The Patriots are a bit of Mahomes magic from yet another trip to the Big Dance. Just give up betting against them.

Regular season record prediction : 15-1 and trip to Super Bowl. 


*Buffalo Bills*

Midseason Grade: B+

How has it gone so far? 

One of the genuine surprise units of the NFL, aside from a rather lacklustre loss to the Eagles the Bills have played solid defense to help them to five wins in their first six games. Josh Allen has not exactly lit it up so far but he is now completing 60% of his passes.

Free agent WR John ‘Smoky’ Brown is on target for over 1k and the Peter Pan of the NFL RB Frank Gore is leading the team in rushing with 422 yards.

On their defence, the strongest part of their setup, CB Tre’Davious White and S Jordan Power lead a top 10 secondary. The Bills allowed a maximum 21 points against them in the first six weeks.

Rest of Season Outlook

Buffalo’s next four are all winnable, before a tougher ending that includes trips to Dallas, New England and Pittsburgh and home against the Ravens.

The Bills could have a rather shiny 9-2 record heading into Week 12 if they continue their brand of bend but don’t break football. Josh Allen does need to reduce the turnovers and rookie RB Devin Singletary needs to get back on the field.

At some point in the next three weeks Frank Gore will remarkably pass Barry Sanders in the all-time rushing table, with just Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith ahead of him.

This is a team on the rise but likely another one and done in the playoffs.


Regular season record prediction: 10-6


*New York Jets*

Midseason Grade: E

How has it gone so far? 

The Jets have won six games so far, oops that’s the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. The New York Jets unfortunately kissed goodbye to a winning season when their QB Sam Darnold went down with mono. The combination of backups Trevor Siemian and Luke Falk were atrocious.

Mega signing RB Le’Veon Bell has been disappointing, and was even allegedly in the shop window at the trade deadline. His 536 total yards in 7 games is not what was expected and his two scores is pitiful.

With the exception of a bizarre upset win over the Cowboys in Week 6 this is a team heading in the wrong direction fast. Trading away DE Leonard Williams (to the same stadium) will not help matters, but the Jets must love namesake DT Quinnen Williams. 

Rest of Season Outlook:

The Jets have perhaps the softest schedule in the entire league over the next six weeks, including two contests agains the Dolphins and trips to Cincy and Washington.

They should come away with two wins at least in this tea cake of a period. The Jets came into 2019 with a new uniform, a new superstar RB and even a wild-card buzz, but this is clearly not a playoff team, and its back to the drawing board already for Adam Gase, who may not be in post when St Nick comes down your chimney.

Trying to shop your top assets, such as Jamal Adams S and Roby Anderson WR is hardly inspiring confidence and will only serve to further fracture an already shattered locker room.

Regular season record prediction: 3-13


*Miami Dolphins*

Midseason Grade: E

How has it gone so far?

The entire Dolphins team were given a lovely present just before the start of the 2019 season, a one year digital subscription to ‘The World of Tanks’.

With QB Ryan Fitzmagic at the helm Miami are surprisingly competing in games but the feeling is they are told to pump the brakes if there is any danger of actually winning a game. QB Josh Rosen was clearly not the answer, and judging by the trade of RB Kenyan Drake for little more than a handful of conkers, the team is not serious about winning football games.

The ‘Fins trade at the deadline for CB Aqib Talib was merely to get better pick status, and losing CB Xavien Howard to injury is a blow. The tiny ray of offensive light is resurrection project RB Mark Walton who will look for 700 yards rushing.

Anything is better than RB Kalen Ballage, who is averaging less yards per carry than the team’s punter Matt Haack. 

Rest of Season Outlook: 

This is a team capable of going 0-16, having scored less than anyone else to this point, and only behind the Falcons (who have played one more game) in terms of points conceded. Fitzmagic has shown up in patches, and it’s not beyond belief that the bearded wizard pulls off one or two wins against the Jets (two games) or Giants or Bengals.

Problem is Miami will be desperate to get the number one draft pick. The ultimate irony would be to beat a 15-0 Patriots team in Week 17 if they rest their starters and their backups. It won’t happen, but it would put a cap on a historically Sherman-styled season. 

Regular season record prediction: 0-16


Get 10% off at NFL Europe Shop with code FULL10


NFC EAST


Related image

Current Standings 

  • Dallas Cowboys – 4-3
  • Philadelphia Eagles – 4-4
  • New York Giants – 2-6
  • Washington Redskins – 1-7

*Dallas Cowboys*

Midseason Grade: B-

How has it gone so far? 

Despite a horrendous three-game losing streak the Cowboys are still the class of the NFC East and are atop the division, albeit due to having had a bye week.

The Cowboys had a marshmallow schedule to start, and when they had quality opponents (Saints, Packers) Day and Zeke couldn’t get the W, but a monster 27 point win over the Eagles will have Jerry Jones smiling in the executive box.

Ezekiel Elliot is gunning for a third rushing title, with 602 and 6 scores in 7 weeks. WRs Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup are stretching the field – 65 catches, over 1,000 yards and just under 16 yards a catch between them. 

Rest of Season Outlook :

HC Jason Garrett has been in the corner quite a lot this season, clapping to himself as no-one will even give him a high-five. Somehow Garrett is still in post, but this is an appearance in the NFC Championship (most likely as the road team) or bust for the guy who has been in Dallas for 10 seasons.

The Cowboys have a quality roster on both sides of the ball, but they cannot afford to fall asleep at the wheel again for the rest of the season as they did in the shocking loss to the Jets in Week 6.

Look for Zeke to get fed more than Eddie Hall did on his tour of American eateries. 

Regular season record prediction: 11-5 and trip to NFC Championship. 


*Philadelphia Eagles*

Midseason Grade: B-

How has it gone so far? 

The Eagles are a hard team to gauge, so can the real team please stand up.

Losses to the Lions and Falcons and wins over Buffalo and Green Bay is a clear sign that there is a lack of consistency.

QB Carson Wentz has been OK (1,821 yards and 14 touchdowns) and he has sorely missed the deep threat of DeSean Jackson, who returned to Philly after five seasons away. Jackson hasn’t suited up since Week 2 leaving WRs Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor to average under 10 yards a catch combined.

Rookie RB Miles Sanders has played second fiddle to Jordan Howard who leads the team with six scores.

Rest of Season Outlook

Philadelphia’s second half has five very winnable games including three in-division contests, but New England and Seattle games will be season defining matchups. The Eagles defense has regressed and their secondary is their weakness so they will struggle against superior passers like Russell Wilson and an evergreen Tom Brady. Just two seasons away from lifting a Vince Lombardi Trophy this Eagles team is arguably underperforming, and judging by the 4-4 record to date its not clear which team is coming out of the locker room each week. 

Regular season record prediction: 9-7


*New York Giants*

Midseason Grade: D-

How has it gone so far? 

This season will go down in New York history as the end of the Eli Manning era and the start of the Daniel Jones one.

The Giants made a bold move to draft Jones early and doubled up when they inserted his in the starting lineup in Week 3. Jones did come out the gate on fire gaining the Giants two wins on the bounce, but that has been followed by four consecutive losses. Jones is on target for around 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Stud RB Saquon Barkley has already missed three games and only has three touchdowns in the five contests he has played in.

The only other half-decent offensive performer is TE Even Engram who has 38 catches to lead the team.

Rest of Season Outlook: 

With the Jets, Dolphins and Redskins on their second-half slate the Giants should equal their first half win total. Daniel Jones is growing in confidence week by week and the recent return of WR Golden Tate from a suspension will be a big boost.

The Giants need to improve pretty much everywhere on defense and also they need to get better performances from their offensive line. It is a real shame that Saquon is on such a poor team as he has All-World potential.

Another season of frustration in the Big Apple and an emotional farewell to double Super Bowl winning QB Eli Manning in December.

Regular season record prediction: 4-12


*Washington Redskins*

Midseason Grade: E

How has it gone so far? 

It’s no surprise the Redskins are cellar dwellers;

Their best offensive piece T Trent Williams has held out to this point and the team only announced this week that they are willing to trade him.

Veteran QB Case Keenum has been serviceable as a bridge passer, and will likely see more snaps than expected as rookie Dwayne Haskins has been the proverbial ‘deer in the headlights’ in his limited appearances.

The biggest surprise has been rookie WR Terry McLaurin who leads the team in anything meaningful. The biggest move of the season in Washington was the removal of head coach Jay Gruden, who failed to win a game before the locks were changed.

Interim replacement Bill Callahan won (barely) in his first outing, and has changed the mentality of the team on both sides of the ball. In his three games in charge the Redskins have fed Adrian Peterson the ball and played solid defense, only allowing three touchdowns in three games. 

Rest of Season Outlook: 

The season was a lost cause from Week 1 when the Redskins had Coach Gruden in charge. With 8 games left the Redskins will play tough, but their lack of offensive weapons will cost them dearly.

The only achievable target will be trying to finish above the equally woeful Giants in the NFC East. There are two potential Pro Bowl candidates, rookie WR McLaurin and a very under the radar CB Quinton Dunbar, who has shone on a defense that has underperformed considering the early round picks they have spent trying to build a competitive unit.

If they do trade Trent Williams that could at least bring a good pick in the 2020 draft. 

Regular season record prediction: 2-14

#NFL100Memories – 5/100

My first US NFL experience @ Miami Dolphins – by Andy Moore (@ajmoore21)

I saw Jay Cutler’s last NFL throw live, in person. It was 3rd and 7 from the Miami 28-yard line. Cutler dropped back to pass, went through his progressions and threw towards Kenny Stills. E J Gaines almost picked it off.

I’d been to every NFL game in London from 2014 onwards, but this was my first game in the US. Week 17 2017, Hard Rock Stadium, the 6-9 Miami Dolphins hosting the 8-7 Buffalo Bills. The Dolphins were clearly done for the season but the Bills could still secure a play-off berth with a win on New Year’s Eve.

The night before we had attended the Orange Bowl, Miami vs Wisconsin and witnessed freshman Jonathan Taylor rush for 130 yards in a 34-24 win for the Badgers in front of a capacity crowd.

It was a lot different the next day, a sparse crowd knew that Miami would largely field a team of reserves and as such the Bills Mafia were prevalent all around the stadium. The tailgate wasn’t as raucous as the college crowd the night before, but it was still ten times better than NFL UK will ever put on in the car park of Wembley. A short walk from car park to the stadium saw hot dogs, burgers and bud lights pushed towards us with friendly smiles behind them.

After Cutler bowed out of the NFL in customary fashion, Tyrod Taylor got the Bills on the score board with a play action pass to a wide open Nick O’Leary. Buffalo’s scoring only continued and they were 22-3 ahead until Jarvis Landry and David Fales went into end zone to bring the final score to 22-16.

Landry and Kenyan Drake were ejected for fighting after the first of the 4th quarter touchdowns, finally getting the Dolphins crowd off their feet and matching the noise of their Bills counterparts. If you watch the post-game interview it’s quite clear that this was probably the final straw for Landry in Miami, with Adam Gase clearly fed up of his star wide-out’s behaviour.

However, the games biggest drama came after the teams had left the field. In the concourses around the ground Bills fans gathered to watch the final seconds of Cincinnati – Baltimore. They needed a Bengals win to send them into the post-season, but trailing 27-24 and Andy Dalton taking the snap on 4th and 12, it looked like the season was over. Dalton threw to Tyler Boyd who somehow took it to the end zone. Queue pandemonium.

The score may not have gone the way we wanted, but you simply can’t beat the experience of watching the NFL in the US with two sets of passionate fans. As for Cutler he probably went out and enjoyed the evening a lot more than I did whilst driving the six hours back to Orlando.

AFC East Breakdown

By Andy Goddard (@godsy1985)

Last Season

New England Patriots  11-5

Miami Dolphins  7-9

Buffalo Bills  6-10

New York Jets  4-12

New England Patriots:

Draft selections: N’Keal Harry, WR (1.32), Joejuan Williams, CB (2.45), Chase Winovich, DE (3.77), Damien Harris, RB (3.87), Yodny Cajuste, T (3.101), Hjalte Froholdt, OL (4.118), Jarrett Stidham, QB (4.133), Byron Cowart, DT (5.159), Jake Bailey, P (5.163), Ken Webster, CB (7.252).

Offseason key additions: Michael Bennett, DE (Philadelphia Eagles), Mike Pennel, DL (New York Jets), Ben Watson, TE (New Orleans Saints), Jamie Collins, LB (Cleveland Browns), Demaryius Thomas, WR (Houston Texans).

Offseason key departures: Rob Gronkowski, TE (retired), Dwayne Allen, TE (Miami Dolphins), Adrian Clayborn, DE (Atlanta Falcons), Trent Brown, LT (Oakland Raiders), Trey Flowers, DE (Detroit Lions).

Super Bowl odds: 6/1

Analysis:

The New England Patriots, and coach Bill Belichick, have had their annual off-season shake up but this year it just feels …… different. Rob Gronkowski’s retirement has left the Patriots very bare at the tight end position, especially with Ben Watson being handed a 4 game suspension to start the season. On the defensive side, Trey Flowers has joined Matt Patricia in Detroit and Trent Brown got his big payday in Oakland. The addition of Michael Bennett (DE) from Philadelphia as well as resigning Jamie Collins (LB) has covered some of the losses. The strength of the defense is clearly in the secondary and the resigning of Jason McCourty along with the emergence of J.C. Jackson to play alongside Stephon Gilmore should help give the front seven time to pressure. The Patriots have signed a catalogue of wide receivers for training camp as well as drafting N’Keal Harry (WR) in the first round. If Josh Gordon does get reinstated, Josh McDaniels and Tom Brady will have a much more dangerous receiving core. But let’s be honest, the AFC East, as a division, is still pretty awful beyond the Patriots!

Look out for:

The Patriots to start the season 2-2 and everyone to have a melt down! Brady is finished, the dynasty is over, the world is ending! Back in the real world; Sony Michel to lead the offense with a 1000+ yard season as the Pats become a run first team behind a very strong offensive line. New England should win the division at a canter but an early exit in the playoffs could end the chance at a fourth straight Super Bowl appearance but who would ever bet against Brady and Belichick?!

Miami Dolphins:

Draft selections: Christian Wilkins, DT (1.13), Michael Deiter, OL (3.78), Andrew Van Ginkel, LB (5.151), Isaiah Prince, T (6.202), Chandler Cox, RB (7.233), Myles Gaskin, RB (7.234).

Offseason key additions: Dwayne Allen, TE (New England Patriots), Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Josh Rosen, QB (Arizona Cardinals), Chris Reed, G (Jacksonville Jaguars), Eric Rowe, CB (New England Patriots).

Offseason key departures: Danny Amendola, WR (Detroit Lions), Brandon Bolden, RB (New England Patriots), Ryan Tannehill, QB (Tennessee Titans), Andre Branch, DE (Arizona Cardinals), Robert Quinn, DE (Dallas Cowboys).

Super Bowl odds: 500/1

Analysis:

The Dolphins have made big changes during the off-season. New head coach Brian Flores has moved over from divisional rivals New England and quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been traded to the Tennessee Titans. Miami made a very smart move bringing in Josh Rosen and Ryan Fitzpatrick to battle it out for the starting QB job. ‘Fitzmagic’ (as he was known during a spell in Tampa) averaged 9.6 yards per attempt during the 2018 season. The highest mark recorded by PFF for a QB in 13 seasons! But he suffers massively from consistency issues. Kenyon Drake is a decent but not elite running back and losing Danny Amendola could prove to be a big mistake. Defensively, Miami ranked 29th in the 2018 season but Brian Flores is a defensive guy and has a young group to work with. The Dolphins do boast an elite corner back in Xavien Howard and have a solid linebacking group containing Kiko Alonso. They are a team in transition and should be picking quite early in next years draft.

Look out for:

Fitzpatrick to start the season as QB1 but Rosen to take over by week 8. The dolphins are building for the future and although Super Bowl 54 will be held at the Hard Rock Stadium (home of the Dolphins), do not expect to see the Dolphins competing in the big game. A fourth place finish in the AFC East beckons although they should pick up their obligatory win, at home, against the Patriots!

Buffalo Bills:

Draft selections: Ed Oliver, DT (1.09), Cody Ford, T (2.38), Devin Singletary, RB (3.74), Dawson Knox, TE (3.96), Vosean Joseph, LB (5.147), Jaquan Johnson, S (6.181), Darryl Johnson, DE (7.225), Tommy Sweeney, TE (7.228).

Offseason key additions: Cole Beasley, WR (Dallas Cowboys), Frank Gore, RB (Indianapolis Colts), LaAdrian Waddle, T (New England Patriots), John Brown, WR (Baltimore Ravens), Tyler Kroft, TE (Cincinnati Bengals).

Offseason key departures: Charles Clay, TE (Arizona Cardinals), Chris Ivory, RB (Free Agent), John Miller, G (Cincinnati Bengals), Logan Thomas, TE (Detroit Lions).

Super Bowl odds: 100/1

Analysis:

The Bills are built around their defense and they strengthened it further by adding quality through the draft, but they have also improve the offense with some key additions as well. Ed Oliver is a play wrecking defensive tackle and on the opposite side of the ball, Cody Ford could be used at either right tackle or guard to improve a struggling O-line. The Bills pressured opposing quarterbacks on 37% of drop backs last season (6th in the NFL) and there is no reason to think that this stat won’t be similar in 2019. Buffalo worked their salary cap in 2018 to allow them to build for the future and they appear well placed to make steps this season. The addition of Cole Beasley from the Cowboys should give quarterback Josh Allen a prime receiver to keep the chains moving. At running back the Bills have plenty of options led by LeSean McCoy. McCoy averaged just 3.2 yard per carry in 2018 but the offensive line has been greatly improved. As with most teams, the offensive development with very much depend of the progress of Josh Allen.

Look out for:

The Buffalo bills to be around the .500 mark. If Josh Allen can make decent progress, then a record slightly better than this could be achievable with an outside shot at the playoffs. Their run of games from week 13-16 are brutal (@Dallas, vs Baltimore, @Pittsburgh, @New England) and should be a good indicator of how far this team has developed throughout the season. Look for the Bills to cause some upsets along the way but consistency could be their undoing.

New York Jets

Draft selections: Quinnen Williams, DT (1.03), Jachai Polite, DE (3.68), Chuma Edoga, OT (3.92), Trevon Wesco, TE (4.121), Blake Cashman, LB (5.157), Blessuan Austin, CB (6.196).

Offseason key additions: Le’Veon Bell, RB (Pittsburgh Steelers), Tom Crompton, G (Minnesota Vikings), Jamison Crowder, WR (Washington Redskins), C.J. Mosley, LB (Baltimore Ravens), Kelechi Osemele, G (Oakland Raiders), Trevor Siemian, QB (Minnesota Vikings)

Offseason key departures: James Carpenter, G (Atlanta Falcons), Isaiah Crowell, RB (Oakland Raiders), Spencer Long, G (Buffalo Bills), Mike Pennel, DT (New England Patriots), Buster Skrine, CB (Chicago Bears).

Super Bowl odds: 100/1

Analysis:

Adam Gase has moved into the role of head coach after spending three seasons at their divisional rivals, Miami Dolphins. The Jets have made massive improvements to their roster but it was desperately needed! Through the draft, the Jets used four of their six selections on defensive players, selecting Quinnen Williams with the third overall pick. Greg Williams has also joined as defensive co-ordinator and on paper, the front seven looks promising. However, cornerback is still a big cause for concern. Trumaine Johnson picked up a very lucrative contract and needs to start earning that money if the Jets defence are going to take big strides forward. Offensively the addition of Le’Veon Bell at running back is a big upgrade. The Jets offense ranked 29th in 2018 but with Sam Darnold entering his second year with an elite running back and an explosive receiver in Bobby Anderson, I’m expecting to see the Jets finish 2nd in the AFC East and the offense to be ranked much higher in 2019.

Look out for:

The Jets have the personnel on the roster to be a challenger in the AFC. They have a solid defense, playmakers on offense and are building a strong team for the future. However, it may be a season too early for ‘Gang Green’ and I am seriously worried about head coach, Adam Gase! Seriously, what head coach sniffs smelling salts on the sidelines before a preseason game! The Jets were one of my ‘worst to first’ candidates (shameless plug of my last article) and I truly believe they will be very close to a wild card spot in 2019!

2019 Season Prediction

New England Patriots 11-5

New York Jets 9-7

Buffalo Bills 8-8

Miami Dolphins 4-12

Five Fantasy Wastelands

By Lawrence Vos (Twitter: @nflfaninengland) July 13 2019
For many of you that are relatively new to NFL fantasy football the thought of those late round picks may fill you with a bit of fear. After all who is Simmie Cobbs or Jeff Driskel?
Sometimes you need to take a punt, no not a 53-yard coffin-corner, but a shot in the dark at someone who is not a household name and realistically not someone that will make or break your season.
To help you figure out some situations to avoid, Lawrence Vos dons his best Mad Max costume and holds your hand to guide you through some team-unit fantasy wastelands to steer well clear from.

Miami Dolphins quarterbacks
I am saying it here and saying it loudly, the Dolphins are not tanking for Tua (Tagovailoa) they will be trying to win as many games as possible in 2019. Whether they actually obtain more than three wins is a completely different matter. Will there be some Fitzmagic in the sunshine or will everything come up smelling of Rosen? Ryan Fitzpatrick, the veteran bearded wizard, will likely open the season as starter, but despite his gaudy stats to begin 2018 there is no Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson or OJ Howard loitering on South Beach in 2019. Miami bought in former first-round selection Josh Rosen to compete. A better financial move than personnel move, as the Dolphins avoided paying any kind of signing bonus, already absorbed by the Arizona Cardinals. Nobody likes a situation where it’s Havaianas Time on a Sunday morning, and nobody wants to carry two quarterbacks that are not commanding starters. Fitzpatrick can burn brighter than a comet, but his rocket man arm can fizzle too, and guessing the week he is on fire is a lottery. Don’t light a candle in the wind for either of these signal-callers.

Washington Redskins wide-receivers
Much like drinking a Brussel sprout, cranberry and radish smoothie, drafting any Redskins wide-outs will leave you with a lingering bitter taste in your mouth, and likely a bit of something stuck in your back teeth. The situation may be significantly different in a season or two, but the combination of the woefully disappointing Josh Doctson (a first round pick in 2016 who has accrued 1,100 yards, 81 catches and eight touchdowns in three season) two unproven rookies Terry McLaurin (Round 3) and Kelvin Harmon (Round 7) and Paul Richardson, who in his five seasons has averaged 23 catches a year and two touchdowns, is truly unappetising. You have more chance of a breakout season from second-string third-year tight-end Jeremy Sprinkle. If you want to tank with your fantasy team then pick up one of these bundles of burgundy and gold decorated joy. And if you truly want to stun your league then why not add Redskins 5th WR Brian Quick, who had three catches for 18 yards in 2018.

Buffalo Bills running-backs
More messy than Mr Messy after he has done ten shots of tequila and then on the way home decided to douse his kebab in a pint of habanero sauce, the Bills have as eclectic a backfield as anyone in the NFL. Two veteran Pro-Bowlers, a potential rookie stud and an under-the-radar young free-agent. Great for depth and therefore superb for team rushing output, but a cold-sweat inducing nightmare for fantasy owners. Both in their 30’s, LeSean ‘Shady’ McCoy is on the downward spiral of his career arc and Frank Gore it turns out is a cyborg who cannot be terminated. McCoy performed badly in 2018 with rookie Josh Allen handing him the pigskin, averaging a paltry 3.2 a carry and three total touchdowns. Gore is clearly partaking in some wine from Cliff Richard’s vineyard as he continues his inevitable journey to Canton, Ohio via Western New York. Gore, much like Fitzmagic, will get the ball at some stage, and this means carries getting split. Throw in a dynamic rookie in the form of Devin Singletary, who scored nation-leading 32 touchdowns in 2017 for Florida Atlantic, and you have a 5ft 7inch end-zone vulture. Now throw in the grossly underrated T.J Yeldon, who has very soft hands, and averages over 40 catches a season, and you have wonderful talent, but no workhorse and as a team no clear fantasy asset.

New England Patriots tight-ends
He may currently look like he’s had colonic treatment that has sucked half his body weight up a faecal extraction tube, but the odds on Rob Gronkowski coming out of retirement by week 15 is higher than you might think. Rich Eisen recently asked Gronk to perform a mock conversation between him and Tom Brady, and it ended with the tight-end saying ‘call me when it gets to the playoffs’. Meanwhile Brady will be facing at least three months of struggles with the return of Ben Watson delayed for the first four weeks of the season due to a substance misuse suspension. Watson was coaxed out of retirement thinking he could catch 50-60 balls from Tom Brady in a swansong, now he might play a bit-part from week 5 onwards. Sitting atop the depth chart as we stand in mid-July is one of my sleeper sweethearts Matt LaCosse. LaCosse has never been a feature tight-end but he does have the physical tools to develop some early season rapport with Brady. Behind LaCosse is third-year former Texans tight-end Stephen Anderson. You can likely get Watson and LaCosse cheap in deeper leagues, and in some cases one will be available on waivers. This does not mean you should pull the trigger on any Patriots tight-end. Gronk was a unique proposition, and cannot be replaced. If you want to take a gamble late with Patriots skill players grab rookie WR N’Keal Harry who will get a worthwhile target share to justify a spot on your bench.

Denver Broncos wide-receivers
Joe Flacco. The name alone makes you think about mediocrity, middle-of-the-road, conservative, no thrills gameplay. Hardly words that wide-receivers will want to describe the man that is throwing them the ball in 2019. This situation is not only eroded by an uninspiring passer, its due to the depth chart being equally vanilla, and no I’m not talking about Madagascan vanilla pods, I mean the budget ice-cream type you get at a child’s birthday party. Emmanuel Sanders is getting old and coming back from an Achilles injury, and the other two starters Desean Hamilton and Courtland Sutton are only in their second seasons yet they have to start from scratch building a pass catching relationship with the former Super Bowl MVP Flacco. There will be big pressure on Hamilton and Sutton to step up and one will likely establish himself as Flacco’s favourite by mid-season. Put simply there are better bench options to pick-up in the latter stages of your draft. You need big help with your team in you are drafting any Broncos wide-receiver to start. These three will likely sit on your fantasy bench for a few weeks before you lose faith and drop one for a waiver hot-shot. Do yourself a favour and avoid this dilemma wasting any time in your fantasy-football addled brain by avoiding drafting Denver wide-outs.

Are there any other wastelands you are avoiding? Let me know on Twitter personally or direct it at our Full10Yards Fantasy account, @F10YFantasy.

I’ve Got Your Back

By Lawrence Vos, 6 June 2019 (@NFLFANINENGLAND)

In Baseball they are called relief pitchers, guys who come out of a pen, previously occupied by bulls, to try and either maintain a winning position or play an important part in reviving a team’s chance of winning.

In the NFL they are called backup quarterbacks, and their appearance on a playing field is normally one of two scenarios, either as a tokenistic couple of kneel-downs to finish a game that’s outcome has long been decided or to replace either an injured or ineffective starter.

Nobody actually wants to be a backup quarterback, pretending to be the ultimate team player, but secretly wishing the starter throws a pick-six on his first drive.

The position is personified by the iconically named Clipboard Jesus, Mr Charlie Whitehurst. The hirsute wizard played for seven teams, winning two of nine career starts. (A little sprinkling of trivia here, Whitehurst was part of a trade from Seattle to San Diego in 2010 that saw the Seahawks grab Golden Tate with the second round pick they acquired.)

Backups can be both loved and feared by fans, adored if they are about to come in and mount a John Rambo style rescue mission, and frightening if they are that obscure nobody even knows who they are or what college they played for. Cue the likes of Chad Litton in Kansas City who could out-duel Chad Henne this pre-season to gain the spot behind Patrick Mahomes. Litton by the way went to Marshall, was an UDFA in 2018 having been signed, waived, and then moved his entire rookie season to the practice squad with KC.

It also turns out backup quarterbacks make excellent coaches. Who would have thought spending years and years in the shadows of greatness would actually payoff? Three names immediately spring to mind here – Gary Kubiak, Frank Reich and Doug Pederson.

Kubiak, now assistant head-coach in Minnesota, will be hoping to revive the form of another former backup in the form of Kirk Cousins. Kubiak backed up John Elway for nine seasons, including three times in Super Bowls, before moving into coaching in 1995. Kubiak was again patient, and when he returned for a third time to the Rockies he led the Broncos to a Super Bowl win.

Pederson followed in a similar vein to Kubiak, with 10 seasons in the NFL and just three wins (the exact same number a Kubiak), but he managed to get a ring in 1996, backing up Brett Favre in Super Bowl XXXI, getting on the field as the holder on kicks. Pederson went on to win a second ring as the Eagles head coach, behind the talents of yep – a backup quarterback.

In contrast Reich has the unenviable record of being the only backup quarterback in NFL history to be the backup in four consecutive Super Bowls, behind the legendary Jim Kelly.  Now head coach of the Colts, its highly likely he joins Kubiak and Pederson as a Super Bowl winner, maybe even as early as this upcoming season.

The second-string quarterback can make or break a team. Examples of overwhelming success by a backup include Nick Foles with the Eagles (2017) and Jeff Hostetler with the Giants (1990) both who went on to lift the Lombardi Trophy when all was said and done.

Now the full-time starter in Jacksonville, Foles, playing in his second stint with Philly (he was an original Eagles draft pick in 2012) is the most recent example of zero to hero, leading the Eagles to an improbable Super Bowl win, and almost a second consecutive trip to the promised land in 2018. Not that Cody Parkey had anything to do with the Eagles 2018 playoff progression.

So who are the cream of the veteran clipboard (or should I say Microsoft Surface) holding crop coming into 2019? If the likes of Big Ben finally does a London Bridge, or if Mayfield mutilates his meniscus who are the top 10 backup quarterbacks heading into the 2019 season.

10)  AJ McCarron – Houston Texans

McCarron has made this list based on potential and not on any kind of actual achievement. A lifetime backup, with just three starts (in 2015 for the Bengals), McCarron is an insurance policy in Houston. He was signed by the Bills in March 2018 but never played a down, as he was traded to Oakland in September, where he ended up backing up David Carr. McCarron has an impressive, if not legendary, college resume, having won back-to-back BCS titles with Alabama in 2011 and 2012, he has just not managed to translate this winning mentality to the NFL. Deshaun Watson is in some circles being projected as the number one fantasy QB for 2019, but if he goes down with an injury McCarron will be thrust into the spotlight.

9) Blaine Gabbert – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Normally even the thought of Blaine Gabbert sends shivers down fantasy owner’s spines, but like David Dunn (the former football star played by Bruce Willis in Unbreakable) Gabbert does appear to be made of some stern stuff. Aside from 2014, where he managed just 7 pass attempts) Gabbert has somehow managed to start at least 3 NFL games in 7 seasons, including the last four, for three different teams (49ers in 2016, Cardinals in 2017 and Titans in 2018). It’s a bad omen for Jamies Winston that Gabbert is loitering in the background, waiting for his mandatory three game stint. Buccs fans you have been warned – Gabbertime is coming.

8) Nick Mullens – San Francisco 49ers

A name that only die-hard 49ers fans knew before he made his debut in the middle of 2018, Nick Mullens became a media darling after he won in his NFL debut 34-3 forcing fans to go from ‘whoooooo?’ to ‘wooooooh!’ (in a Rick Flair style). Mullens no doubt wears the #4 jersey in honour of some no-name quarterback’s single-season passing record he broke at Southern Miss. For those of you struggling to join the dots yes Nick Mullens owns a passing record in the Deep South once held by Brett Favre. 8 starts in 2018 for a guy who was hoping to remain on a practice squad was some feat. Mullens has proven he can be serviceable when needed, and his grit is clear to see. Jimmy G is the unquestioned starter when fit, but Mullens will only have learnt how to cope well from half a season under center.

7) Josh Rosen – Miami Dolphins

Rosen’s departure video aimed at Kyler Murray as he left Arizona for Miami earlier this year seemed to show him as a genuine decent kind of guy, but inside he must be seething. How often a first round QB gets not only replaced but traded within 12 months is a rarity. How often this could in theory happen two years in a row is infinitesimally small, but if Miami fail to gain any traction in the win column in September and October and we could be Tweeting out the #tankforTua hashtag on a daily basis. Rosen is currently being outperformed by the bearded magician Ryan Fitzpatrick and is on a trajectory to open the season as a backup. Rosen is in a unique position amongst this top-10 as he can viably become the Week 1 starter, but you would be foolish to bet against a 2019 sprinkling of Fitzmagic.   

6) Blake Bortles – Los Angeles Rams

Bortles has missed only 5 games in 5 seasons, producing 17,646 yards and 103 touchdowns for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Where he has failed to get impressive numbers is the win column, with only one successful season (10-6 in 2017) in five, which has included 49 losses. Perhaps a head-scratching move by the Los Angeles Rams to pick-up Bortles, when scrutinised the one-year deal is low risk and low cost, and gives the current NFC Champions a veteran backup who knows how to perform under pressure. Jared Goff has no fear he will be replaced, and for Bortles he will likely be on his third NFL roster by 2020, but surely even he beats having Sean Mannion as your number two.

5) Robert Griffin III – Baltimore Ravens

Talk about a carbon-copy backup. There has to be some sort of irony in this situation where a guy who was criticised for not being able to slide is now backing up a guy who he will replace on the field if he is equally unable to master self-preservation as a runner. RG3 is backing up L-Jax in 2019, names that sound like a couple of Star Wars extras in a Mos Eisley cantina. Lamar Jackson is indeed the shining star in Baltimore, and RG3 is the personification of the faded star. RG3 had one of, if not the finest rookie QB season in NFL history back in 2012, passing for 3,200 yards and rushing for 815, along with just 5 interceptions in 15 regular season games. Never to repeat that season RG3 has only won 6 games between 2013 and 2018. L-Jax has the physical tools to break the NFL single-season rushing record, but by definition he could also suffer an injury in Week 1 as a result. RG3 is poised for a quality pre-season and this will make fans think twice about giving him real game time.

4) Tyrod Taylor – Los Angeles Chargers

When you take a team to the playoffs for the first time in 18 years you become a little bit of a folk hero, which is what Tyrod Taylor did with the Buffalo Bills in 2017. Yes he didn’t get the win and the Bills managed only three points in a loss to the Jaguars, but Taylor deserved credit for giving some life to a living-dead franchise. Taylor was a 2015 Pro-Bowler, quite a remarkable achievement considering his first four NFL seasons in Baltimore saw him pass for a total of 199 yards and zero touchdowns behind Joe Flacco. Taylor had the unenviable job of de-icing the windows and turning on the heated seats in the Brownsmobile as Baker Mayfield, the overall top pick of the 2018 Draft by the Browns took the driver’s seat during week 3. Taylor didn’t get a sniff after Baker took the field, and it’s unlikely he will get any planned playing time in the City of Angels in 2019 behind Old Man Rivers, but this doesn’t diminish his place in this top-10.

3) Case Keenum – Washington Redskins

The Redskins for once had lady luck on their side when Dwayne Haskins landed in their lap in the middle of the first round of the 2019 draft. Haskins will be the fan favourite to start Week 1, with Case Keenum reverting back to his original NFL role of backup. Now with his sixth team in seven seasons, Keenum has been a bit of a rags to riches story since his rookie year with the Houston Texans back in 2012. In the last two seasons Keenum started 30 games (14 for the Vikings and 16 for the Broncos) helping the Minnesota to an improbable NFC Championship in 2017-18. Coach Gruden wanted a veteran presence on the field (as opposed to limping along the sidelines) and Keenum fits the mould. The future is not Keenum, but the Redskins present may well involve some game time for the player voted #51 in the NFL’s top 100 for the 2017-18 season.

2) Jacoby Brissett – Indianapolis Colts

Pretty much the ideal backup, Jacoby Brissett has not only got significant experience starting for his current team the Colts, he has also served his apprenticeship under the real Dark Lord of the Sith – Bill Belichick. There is no controversy in Indy as Andrew Luck is the future Hall of Fame starter. Brissett may have only thrown for 2 yards in 2018, but don’t let that fool you, this is a highly mobile, highly intelligent and above all highly resilient QB. Brissett started 15 games in 2017 for the injured Luck, passing for over 3,000 yards and rushing for over 250. What makes Brissett stand out was that he hung in there two seasons ago, getting sacked 52 times by a porous offensive line. Now transformed to one of the top offensive lines the Colts have a rock solid backup who they may only be able to keep a hold on until the end of the 2019 season.

1) Ryan Tannehill – Tennessee Titans

Ok it’s a bit of a cheat but Ryan Tannehill is now facing his first season with a new team and games a new role of backup quarterback. Having started 88 games in six seasons, Tannehill is a seasoned veteran who will be the most experienced number two in the league. The former Texas A&M wide-receiver (112 catches between 2008 and 2010 for the Aggies) has never played in an NFL game he hasn’t started. He has also failed to ever get his former team the Miami Dolphins to 9 wins mark in a season. With over 20,000 yards passing under his belt and a 2.6% career interception average, Tannehill has a surprisingly good set of stats to show, but this is not reflected in his winning games. Marcus Mariota has been a career underachiever and is one of those fantasy quarterbacks you simply avoid. Tannehill could end up starting for the Titans at some point in 2019 so watch the waiver wire in the latter part of the season if you need a bye-week replacement or a best-ball bargain.

Pick It Apart; Christian Wilkins

Pick it Apart!

The Draft is in the books and the dust has settled. But how well did your team do in the first round?

We are taking a look back at every selection in the first round and giving you the lowdown on the pick; Was it a reach? Was it a steal? We’ll tell you and give you the impact for fantasy football….

Pick: #13

Player: Christian Wilkins

Drafted by: Miami Dolphins

Grade: B

Analysis: I think it’s fair to assume that if you ask 10 different ‘Fins fans about how they thought the Dolphins would approach their first 1st pick in the draft, I think you’d get a lot of different answers;

From trading back and accumulating yet more picks, to a Quarterback such as Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock etc.

I am not too sure how many of them would have selected a Defensive Tackle, and even less of those would have selected Christian Wilkins.

Brian Flores, the former Patriots DC, decided to beef up the O-Line with a 6”3, 315lb brute from Clemson. This will no doubt add help to a defence that were 27th in total points allowed and 29th in total yardage surrendered and bottom 10 in most rushing defence categories.

He’ll be remembered on draft day as the guy who jump bumped the Commish (shame it wasn’t a bit harder) and you can tell by his aura that he is a leader.

He is a hardworker, illustrated by the fact he got his degree in 2 and a half years. On the field, he racked up tackles from his freshman year, all the way to his final year. Wilkins can do it all, break up passes, tackles, stuff the run and sack the QB. The reason the grade is a B (if you haven’t noticed, I’ve given a lot of A’s thus far), is that I question whether or not it was the right pick at this position.

Whilst the Dolphins are lacking in a multitude of areas and have a bucket load of picks in 2020, I wonder if they had any calls from other teams to move up because I think Wilkins would have been there for another 5-10 picks. Even if he wasn’t, there would be comparable alternatives for them to choose from.

The positives though, he has character, talent and the athleticism to succeed in the NFL and will be asked to do a lot of it on his own in year one considering the rest of the talent on the roster. Next year and a few years from now though, if Miami invest wisely, it could be a force to be reckoned with Wilkins being the jewel in the crown.

Fantasy Football Impact:

Miami are not relevant for fantasy defences, unlikely to be too relevant in IDP but will certainly be the stud player and top points scorer of this team in my opinion. Just depends on how many points he can get. The defence will be on the field a fair bit so individual opportunity is there.

Draft Recap

Tim, Lee and Rob take a look back at the draft and give their thought on who had a good draft and those not so good.
We recap picks 1-16 in the first round and for every team that picked, how their drafts as a whole went.
We catch up on the latest news away from the NFL and Rich King joins us for the quiz and we redraw the winner again for the April competition.
Enjoy!