AMIK ROBERTSON: ALL-IN

By Alex Lewis @(alexlewis226)

About this time last year, I wrote an article about now-Washington Redskins corner back Jimmy Moreland.

Coming out of James Madison, Moreland was undersized and playing at a small school with little credible, quality opposition, but presented some of the most intriguing and impressive highlight reel I had seen in the entire process.

Despite now being an established nickle corner for Washington, Moreland wasn’t always so highly rated.

Despite being just 5”10, the JMU prospect boasted excellent instincts, an uncanny eye for the ball and really sticky coverage, which at least in my mind, had him being drafted well before the end of proceedings in Tennessee.

Eventually taken 227th overall, Moreland has since made himself a major part of the Redskins defence as the nickel corner, even with less than ideal play on the outside by the veterans, with Josh Norman being released after the seasons conclusion.

So here we are in 2020, and I’m seeing chatter begin to grow about another small school, undersized defensive back called Amik Robertson out of Louisiana Tech, so it would be rude not to have a look what all the fuss is about.


What’s to love?


Amik Robertson has a lot to love when you watch his tape from the last year.

Not only can he give you all the coverage ability that you get from some of the top prospects, but he also has some of the more elite instincts of any corner in the draft.

Whether that’s reading the ball in the air and deciding when to come out of coverage to go get it or when to come up and make tackles, Robertson has a confident and enjoyably aggressive play style.

In general, Robertson’s tackling is impressive, and you can find lots of clips from his tape where his reading of the play has led to big hits and crushing blows.

In the modern age where tackling on DB’s is often their weakest link, Robertson’s willingness to get players down by any means necessary is a welcome change.

His attributes, all of which lead me to believe he can become a starting nickel corner in the NFL, show a raw athleticism that should excite scouts and evaluators across the teams.

An injury to his groin means that Robertson will not participate in the combine drills in Indianapolis this week, but if his own predictions are to be believed, a 4.3 40 could have been on the cards.


What’s not to love?


Amik Robertson is not a perfect prospect, despite a whole host of upsides.

The size is certainly not prototype at just 5”9 and 182 pounds, but in his own words, his height isn’t changing, so probably best to try and look past it.

Robertson has good jumping and has addressed the need to put some weight on in the gym, so it should be possible to survive the NFL at his size, his quest likely aided by the increasing need for smaller nickel corners.

In full, his lack of size concerns me far more in the running game than the passing, he understandably struggled with 6”6 Collin Johnson against Texas this past season.

His instincts, as great as they are, also need some harnessing; the splash plays where he blows up a screen in the flat look great when they work but leave his team hurting when they don’t, so any defensive co-ordinator worth his salt will want to control Robertson’s overshoots sooner rather than later.

In reality there is small degree of rawness to Robertson’s game.

In forgoing his senior year as a Bulldog, Robertson will miss out on an opportunity to polish his skills but that shouldn’t be something that people look down on, and instead as a harness-able weapon that some late round picks won’t have to fall back on.


Robertson in review


I find it particularly fitting that Robertson’s twitter profile has a photo of Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu as its header.

The apparent need to inspire players around him through his own passion is visible even through the screen and his character helps to define his potential as a prospect.

I love his instincts, his passion and his desire to make every tackle and every play, and this will carry him through a lot as he adjusts to the size and speed of the pro-game.

Overall though, Robertson is an outstanding prospect with excellent speed and agility which gives him sticky coverage ability in short and intermediate routes.

His height will probably have him move inside to nickel corner at the pro-level and this should help him avoid some of the bigger receivers in an attempt to make him feel comfortable.

Expect a third or fourth round pick to be used on Robertson, but also expect him to make waves the second he gets on the practice field as a pro player.

I look forward to using him as a comparison this time next year.

Player Profile: Jacob Eason, QB, Washington by Lee Wakefield

Is there a prospect that had more intrigue surrounding him prior to the season than Washington QB, Jacob Eason?

The Huskies QB had just sat a year out in 2018 due to the NCAA transfer rules after he left Georgia. Eason, a former 5-star recruit who headed back to his home state to kick start his college career and I, for one, was excited to see what the future would hold for a player who was full of potential.

However, the issue at hand was that in the summer of this year, when we were going through our summer scouting routine, the only game tape we had of Jacob Eason was from 2016, when he was playing for Georgia. Operating in an offense that was different to the Jake Fromm Georgia offense that we see today.

We just had to wait and see…

Fast forward to today and Eason is 10 games into his Huskies career and I feel like now, we can at least begin to assess what kind of quarterback we have on our hands and whether it would be wise for Eason to declare for the NFL draft after this season, his Junior season, with another season of eligibility remaining.

Player Profile

Eason is 6’6 and weighs in at 227lbs, per school measurements. These are nice measurables that NFL scouts and front office staff will love, yet I would like to see Eason pack on a little bit of muscle before entering the pros – I feel like he looks sort of lanky and an extra 10 or 12 pounds would help him be more durable at the next level.

Coming out of Lake Stevens High School in Washington, Eason ranked the No. 4 overall prospect in the nation by 247 sports; rated No. 7 overall, as well as the No. 1 quarterback, by Rivals; listed by ESPN as the No. 13 overall prospect nationally.

So he was pretty good. No shock he was highly recruited and went to Georgia then.

Whilst in a Bulldogs uniform, Eason threw 204/370 (55.1%) for 2430 yards, 16 TD’s and 8 INT’s in his Freshman year.

The next season, in 2017, is when Jake Fromm arrived on the scene and assumed the role of starting QB in Athens. Eason only ended up appearing in 3 games and throwing 7 passes.

So far this season, Eason has completed 63.7% of his passes for 2472 yards, 20 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.

So What’s to Like?

So let’s start to dissect Eason then… Well he’s tall, he’s got a strong arm and he’s white, so he’s nailed on to be a first rounder. End of article. Thanks.


I’m joking, of course…Although John Elway is still an NFL General Manager.

Ok so, whilst (spoiler alert) he’s far from a perfect prospect, Eason is a good QB prospect who has good arm strength, which he can use to push the ball to the sidelines without the ball hanging in the air. He can also push the ball downfield when he needs to – This isn’t something we’ve seen a great deal of but there is evidence that he can do this. Here’s one fantastic throw – Strong armed, accurate and pushing the ball to the sideline from the opposite hash mark. Lovely. 


From the game film I’ve seen, Eason works really well off of play action and both offenses he’s worked in have used this trait to good effect to set up deep shots down the field. This example is again from the game against Arizona earlier this season – Eason has standard 5 man protection out of I-formation and finds his man deep.

When it comes to passing the football, I feel like Eason is best over short to intermediate distances and when he can get the ball out of his hand on time and in rhythm – Eason has a short, sharp release which aides him, especially when looking to hit receivers on horizontal routes. I feel like early in his career, he would often put the ball behind receivers running across the field and his ball placement generally was spotty at best. He’s still not got the greatest ball placement, don’t get me wrong. He still has the tendency to miss receivers high to this day, but it’s certainly an area of his game that he has taken strides in whilst on Washington’s scout team in 2018 and this year as the Huskies starter. Here’s a few examples below:

First off, the good stuff  – Eason hits Hunter Bryant in stride and leads his tight end for a 15 yard gain against Oregon.


Unfortunately, here’s an example of Eason missing an open receiver with a high pass from his Georgia days.


And another from more recently, against Oregon on a clutch 4th down play.


When it comes to being pressured, Eason isn’t afraid to hang in the pocket and find a pass knowing that he’s about to get leveled by an oncoming defender. Although that said, Eason has this crazy tendency to roll to his left when he feels pressure – I felt that this was a big enough issue that I will explore this later in the article. Before that, here’s a great example of Eason delivering a great pass in the face of a blitz and getting a whack for his troubles.


However, it must be stated that this isn’t wholly positive – Eason’s completion percentage drops below 40% when he’s under pressure. That’s pretty alarming and it’s lower than every 1st or 2nd round pick from the past three drafts aside from Giant’s QB, Daniel Jones. 

Just before we close out on the good stuff, I will mention that Eason displays sneaky athletic ability for a man his size when he does choose to tuck the ball under his arm and run. He needs to do a better job of protecting himself and the football when a runner but he is brave and has shown the ability to make tough yardage and a first down. Eason is also the master of the QB sneak – from what I’ve seen, the guy is pretty much Tom Brady-automatic from a yard or less.

And The Bad Stuff?

One thing I absolutely need to see from college quarterbacks is accuracy. If you’re not accurate in college, you don’t magically become more accurate when throwing against defenders who are better in coverage and better athletes at the next level – it simply doesn’t work like that.

Eason has improved his accuracy from 55.1% at Georgia in his Freshman season, to a mark of 63.7% (202/317), which is where he stands at the time of writing at Washington, as mentioned previously.

For comparison, Joe Burrow of LSU currently leads FBS quarterbacks with 78.9% (236/299), that mark is frankly outrageous but even an extremely high volume passer (and less talented QB) such as Washington State’s Anthony Gordon is throwing 71% (323/455) and Eason’s percentage is exactly the same as Hawai’i QB, Cole McDonald – someone who came into the season with questions over his own accuracy.

Food for thought.

The issue for Eason seems to be careless ball placement which crops up at times as discussed earlier. The other issue that I feel Eason is only just weeding out is that until recently, he seemed completely incapable of throwing the ball with any touch.


Woah there Jacob, we know you’ve got a strong arm… your receivers are probably better without broken fingers.

And that leads us into our next problem… Eason knows he’s got a pretty strong arm and at times he trusts it way too much.

This throw was super, ill-advised… trying to hit your guy who was in triple coverage against one of the best defensive backfields in college football.

Silly. Justin Blackmon east those up. 

This was the first of two picks that Eason threw in the game against Utah… the other one, Jaylon Johnson returned for a touchdown.


Speaking of throwing into coverage… Well, this is something that Eason seems to have a pretty annoying habit of doing. Is this a case of not having the mental processing skills associated with high level quarterback play? Yes. Could this improve in future? Maybe.

For every throw like this one against Oregon where he lays it in nicely in between zones…


There’s one like the Blackmon interception or one like this, from his Georgia days against TCU


I mean… Come on, it was a good thing he throws this one long.

Let’s get inside the pocket now and see what Eason is like as a pocket operator.

You’ll notice in the clips I’ve used that one thing that you don’t see much of with Jacob Eason is nifty footwork. In fact, you don’t see much footwork inside the pocket at all; no climbing; no sliding to give himself extra time; I just don’t see much movement.

In the modern NFL, you need your QB to be mobile. I’m not talking Lamar Jackson style athletic ability, that’s ancillary and a huge bonus, I’m talking that bare minimum is Brady/Rivers/Brees type little movements to just avoid that defender’s outstretched arm or just moving up in the pocket to allow your tackle to push the edge rusher downfield.

Eason is a statue, a lot of the time – I feel that this is something that comes with games and experience, knowing when to move, knowing the tendencies of you offensive linemen and of the pass rushers who are hunting you.

Obviously this could develop in time, but it’s just a matter of games,yet there’s no guarantee that it’ll click for him and Eason could just be the next (post Superbowl) Joe Flacco instead of the next big thing.

Now let’s dive into Eason biggest pocket habit…

To the Left, To the Left

Jacob always rolls outta the pocket, to the left…

It is startling to see. For a right handed QB to want to escape to the left this badly just doesn’t make sense. In the video below, you’ll see how often this happens, he even throws in a double spin to the left for good measure at one point.

Don’t get me wrong, he does escape pressure to the left at times but as a righty, it doesn’t make sense.

As a right handed QB, if you’re running to the left, it takes longer to turn your body to reset your feet to throw off of your usual base OR you end up throwing across your body – both of which result in your throw being less accurate and both of which are obviously compounded by having to throw under duress whilst on the move. These will be contributing towards the sharp drop in completion percentage when under pressure, which I went over earlier.

It’s something that Washington Head Coach, Chris Peterson addressed after the Utah game, saying, “We’re trying to emphasise him staying in the pocket. It’s your game to step up [in the pocket], not out”.

Here’s a short video on the issue:


Summary

I feel that Eason has a very high ceiling, both from what I’ve seen on tape and the improvements he’s made from 2016 to now and also the physical traits and measurables that he possesses.

However, the mental side of his game, his footwork and his accuracy aren’t what I would want from an NFL quarterback, especially one that I may be drafting in the first round, and these areas need work.

He simply wouldn’t get away with the shoddy ball placement and throwing into coverage nearly as much in the NFL as he does in the Pac-12.

NFL defensive co-ordinators would gameplan for his tendency to move to his left and just to apply pressure on him generally to see if they could exploit his lack of footwork and he would obviously have to avoid bigger and strong defensive players coming for him whilst trying to process the game quicker.

In short, I feel like Eason simply needs more experience. He’s got the talent but with another year of eligibility left, I feel he would be wise to use it and work on the aspects of his game that need some polish.

Jacob Eason turns 22 years old this Sunday, (17/11/19), next season may be the season when he takes the leap. It seems to be the way of things that QB’s hit a golden zone around the age of 22/23. Patrick Mahomes won NFL MVP at 23, Joe Burrow has taken a giant leap this season when he has turned 23 years old, Lamar Jackson (who is 4 weeks younger that Burrow(!!)) is tearing up the NFL at 22 and will be 23 in January.

Could Eason be the next QB to go through this growth spurt at this time? I think it’d be worth trying to find out… It’s an awful lot easier to develop in college than it is in the NFL.

Stay in school Jacob, it may just be on the verge of clicking.

Follow Full 10 Yards College Football on Twitter @Full10YardsCFB

Follow Lee on Twitter @Wakefield90


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 


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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


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NFC EAST


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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

Full10Takeaways – Week 5

By Lawrence Vos (@NFLFanInEngland) and Shaun Blundell (@Shaun_F10Y)

Ouch!

Image Credit – Joe Sargeant / Getty Images

You could be excused for confusing the NFL redzone coverage on Sunday for an episode of casualty. Several times the electric cart was brought out onto an NFL field on Sunday as what was a day that several players saw their season come to an abrupt end.

2 of the more notable season ending ones were Colts 2nd year pass rusher Kemoko Turray, who broke his ankle in SNF. Tony Jefferson tore his ACL earlier in the day to leave a big hole in the Ravens secondary. Several players left games with varying injuries throughout the day but the scariest of the lot though without doubt was Mason Rudolph lying unconscious on the Heinz Field turf. It certainly wasn’t the worst hit you will ever see but a combination of Brandon Carr from behind and an Earl Thomas helmet to the chin had the young QB out cold.

Thankfully he regained consciousness and walked from the field which was lucky as the electric cart broke!


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16 Weeks on the Road?

Image Credit – Harry How / Getty Images

Talking of injuries, thats a nice link to arguably the most unlucky team in football the LA Chargers.

A team that seemingly gets a bigger slice of the injury pie than anyone else, actually welcomed back a player this week, as Melvin Gordon saw the field. He however was part of a predictable and conservative gameplan which was too much dink and not enough dunk. On a day that Austin Ekeler caught a career high 15 passes the Chargers couldn’t get anything going consistently offensively, as Vic Fangio tasted success for the first time in his short head coach career.

Its unsurprising that this brand of football isn’t attracting fans into watch the franchise as the move from San Diego continues to look like a mistake as the Broncos fans hugely outnumbered the fans of the supposed “home” team.


Texans Feast on Falcons

Image Credit – Troy Taorimina / USA Today Sports

DeShaun Watson is good.

DeShaun Watson when not getting pressured is superb, and that was the case on Sunday as the Texans dropped a 50 burger on the Falcons. A career high 426 yards through the air was accompanied by 5 touchdown passes and a further 47 yards rushing. His main weapon on the day was Will Fuller who caught 14 balls for 217 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Atlanta battled and had the deficit at a 1 possession game for much of the contest but the takeaway here isn’t so much how good Watson and co were offensively but just how bad this Atlanta defense is.

Tim wrote last week about Dan Quinn and his seat getting warmer, displays by the side of the ball he is supposed to be stronger in will do nothing to turn the temperature down a few degrees.


High, Wide and Not Handsome

Image Credit – James Kenney / AP Photo

Cairo Santos, dear oh dear oh dear. In a game that was the most obvious candidate ever to be decided by a small margin, it wasn’t a good night for the Titans kicker to suffer a disastrous tilt.

He left a total of 12 points off the board with field goal misses from 50, 36, 32 and 53 yards away. Missing kicks, especially from 50 plus yards is obviously not uncommon, but Santos was closer to threatening supporters sitting behind the posts as opposed to the kicking net as he kicks were way off throughout.

A strange decision by Mike Vrabel to even attempt the 53 yarder when down by 7 points and under 7 minutes left in what had proven to be the defensive slugfest that we had predicted.

Maybe he will find himself as a member of Jason Garret corner on this week’s podcast?


Super Ted

Image Credit – David Grunfeld / nola.com

Ladies and gentlemen, Teddy Bridgewater can still throw!

For the first time in nearly 4 years the signal caller threw for over 200 yards as he powered the Saints to a dominant divisional win over the Bucs. 4 touchdown passes also found the box score as on the day Teddy remembered how to air it out, Michael Thomas remembered how to dominate on the outside. He was a perfect 9/9 when lined up against press coverage on a day when the Bucs star receiver Mike Evans was held catchless.

The post game interview with Teddy was a reminder of just how far he has come since suffering what many thought to be a career ending injury. He couldn’t tie his shoelaces and now he has steadied the Saints in Drew Brees absence, a remarkable turnaround.


Tottenham triumph 

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Image credit: Pitchcare.com

All the hype about the shiny new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is 101% justified. The stadium is situated right on the Tottenham High Road opposite some local shops such as bookies and kebab outlets.

Fans took full advantage of the road being closed, throwing balls and gathering en-mass to play NFL jersey bingo. Any fans wanting to buy any merch can expect to queue up as the store has security arches. Inside the stadium the views are awesome wherever you are sitting, and the experience is full immersive. The three rings of digital information screens, along with jumbo screens in all four corners mean you will never miss a highlight, a replay or a challenge. The sound is quality and the lights are stunning.

Fans were treated to some pyrotechnics around the roof’s inner ring on Sunday which is something you simply have to be in the stadium to experience. If the NFL plan to lure an existing team to London it won’t be a hard sell on the stadium.

England captain and World-Cup golden boot winner Harry Kane was a guest of honour on Sunday and he looked like he had a whale of a time. If he does decide to one day transition to an NFL kicker, what’s the odds that he doesn’t even need to change his parking pass? 


You’d be crackers not to like Jacobs 

Image Credit: AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

As the top drafted rookie running back on a team in transition with a new (returning) head coach you could excuse the output to less than impressive for the Oakland Raiders Josh Jacobs. Thing is Jacobs is absorbing that pressure like a seasoned veteran.

Jacobs was voted the Tottenham game ‘man of the match’ winner even before he went airborne for the game winning score. Jacobs has been a number one back all season and is easily justifying his high pick position.

After five weeks he is 6th in the league in rushing with 430 yards and four scores. Jacobs picked up the hard yards in London both rushing and receiving, and arguably could have had three scores. Backup RB Deandre Washington was a TD vulture.

Jacobs would not be achieving such positive results without two key factors being delivered – his ability to pass block when called upon and the play of the Raiders offensive line. Khalil Mack flew home with a Union Jack fridge magnet, a six inch Beefeater and a jar of Marmite but had no sack to put them in. 


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Redskins change the locks 

Image Credit: Nick Wass/AP

Jay Gruden, when asked by the media on Sunday, after the Washington Redskins fifth consecutive loss, about his job security he said that he would carry on if his key still worked.

That was enough for owner Dan Snyder and GM Bruce Allen to dial up a locksmith and get a shiny new Chubb installed at the gates of Fed-Ex Field (no Browns fans they did not trade for Nick).

This was the most obvious firing and was inevitable after Tom Brady, in second gear, helped himself to an easy victory against a Redskins team that atrocious to say the least. Gruden was unable to overcome major injuries to stars, failed to develop and true WR talent and had zero playoff wins in his tenure.

New ‘interim’ Head Coach Bill Callahan led the Raiders to s Super Bowl in 2001, and is a true advocate of a strong running game. Gruden seemingly banged nails in his own coffin when he deactivated future Hall of Fame RB Adrian Peterson in Week 1. Trent Williams the All-Pro T is the last remaining holdout, and the defence has been as porous as Sponge Bob Square Pants.

In fact Spongebob would probably be an upgrade in the secondary.  

#NFL100Memories – 14/100

The greatest second quarter ever By Lawrence Vos @NFLFANINENGLAND


It seems like a dream now.

I was 13 years old, had been an NFL fan since 1985, and in only the second ever Super Bowl I was watching live, I was staying up in the middle of the night to watch my team, the Washington Redskins, as they took on the favourites the John Elway led Denver Broncos. It’s a game I will never forget, and over 30 years later the memories are still vivid.

This was the Super Bowl that saw the first African American starting quarterback, Doug Williams, who had endured racism, lack of faith and a career with lots more lows than highs.
Williams took the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to an NFC Championship wearing the creamsicle uniform long before he wore the burgundy and gold.

I recall having my tray of goodies with me (a Marathon bar chopped into slices, peanut M and M’s, and a can of Pepsi) and I knew that unlike the year before I would remain wide
awake to see every play of Super Bowl XXII.

I can remember Redskins head-coach Joe Gibbs running onto the field with his knitted jumper and big glasses. This was during an era where Super Bowl starting line-ups were individually announced, before the Patriots ‘one-team’ ethos ruined the ceremony and drama of the individual announcements as players ran out the tunnel.

The game began as a disaster for my Redskins, after going three and out John Elway hit rookie Ricky Nattiel on a bomb on the Broncos first play from scrimmage and boom we were 7-0 down. Then to rub it in Elway caught a pass himself, again many, many years before the Philly Special. The drive stalled but the Broncos kicked a field-goal and it was 10-0 Denver going into the second quarter.

Fans in the stadium, fans around the world, and me sitting on my sofa in a block of flats on a council housing estate in Surrey (yes they have council estates in Surrey) had no idea what was about to happen….the single greatest offensive explosion in a quarter of NFL football,
which happened to be in the second quarter of a Super Bowl, by a team that looked outmatched and out classed in the first fifteen minutes.

From the moment the quarter began the Redskins went absolutely wild. The first play saw Doug Williams hit Ricky Sanders on an 80-yard bomb, then on the next drive Gary Clark
caught a game-changing score. Technically the 14-10 lead was enough to win the game
there and then, but Williams and Coach Gibbs could not stop.
Absolutely unknown rookie running back Timmy Smith, who was only told he would make his first NFL start hours before the game, then scored a 50 plus yard touchdown, and
Williams then added two more scores through the air, a second to Sanders and his fourth to tight-end Clint Didier.

As this was only my second Super Bowl I thought this was normal, but I pretty soon realised that scoring 35 points in a quarter, in what turned out to be only 18 total offensive plays, was historic.
The Redskins went on to run the ball and play solid defense in the second half to win 42-10.
This game was the first time a team had come back from a 10-point deficit in a Vince Lombardi trophy contest, and Doug Williams was named an incredibly worthy MVP.

Records get broken every year, including Super Bowl specific ones, but I have a feeling this is one record that will stand the test of time.
It’s possible that Patrick Mahomes can somehow break this record one day, but he has to lead his team to the big dance first, something easier to say than do.

That incredible quarter will be my favourite fifteen minutes of NFL watching as long as I live.

NFC East Breakdown

by Lawrence Vos (@NFLFanInEngland)

Last Season 

Dallas 10-6

Philadelphia 9-7

Washington 7-9

NY Giants 5-11

Dallas Cowboys:

Draft selections1st Round traded last season for Amari Cooper WR (via LA Raiders), Trysten Hill DT (2.26), Connor McGovern G (3.26), Tony Pollard RB (4.26), Michael Jackson Sr CB (5.20), Joe Jackson DE (5.27), Donovan Wilson S (6.41). Mike Weber RB (7.4), Jalen Jelks DE (7.27)

Offseason key additions: Alfred Morris RB, Jason Witten TE (came out of retirement), George Iloka S, Randall Cobb WR/RET,

Offseason key departures
: Allen Hurns WR, Scott Linehan Offensive Co-ordinator, Geoff Swain HB, Cole Beasley WR

Super Bowl odds: 20-1

Analysis:

Offense
The Cowboys rose to the top of a murky NFC East bloodbath with a second-half surge, winning seven of their last eight regular season games by just 35 points in total. This was the Zeke Elliot show most of the season as he led the league in rushing. If Zeke can tear himself away from the fajitas and Margaritas in Mexico then he stands a decent chance to repeat this feat. If Zeke is still holding out in September then the Cowboys will lean on rookie Tony Pollard. Dallas’s greatest strength is the offensive line, stacked with Pro Bowlers and led by All Pro Tackle Tyron Smith. The biggest in-season trade last year saw Amari Cooper move to Dallas, and he immediately made an impression, leading the team in receiving yards five times in the second half of the season. With a full off-season in Texas under his belt Cooper is primed to have his best output ever as a pro. Elsewhere Jason Witten has un-retired and will continue his journey to Canton with another season at tight-end. His return will stunt the growth of Blake Jarwin who looked a potential breakout candidate. The Cowboys defense is jam-packed with studs and if the core group can stay healthy this is going to be the first time the Cowboys can legitimately return to the Super Bowl since the days of Aikman, Irvin and Emmitt Smith.

Look out for:  The unfolding situation regarding Zeke holding out. This is nothing to worry about now, but if this is still the case in two weeks then start praying to the fantasy gods. If the Cowboys start 3-1 they have the tools to go to the Big Dance. Rookie running back Tony Pollard, a fourth round pick, will be well worth monitoring in the pre-season. A dark-horse tip for fantasy success is Randall Cobb, who can suck up all the slot catches. Demarcus Lawrence is an unadulterated beast and will be pushing for an All Pro season.

Philadelphia Eagles:

Draft selectionsAndre Dillard OT (1.22), Miles Sanders RB (2.21), JJ Arcega-Whiteside WR (2.25), Shareef Miller DE (4.36), Clayton Thorson QB (5.29),

Offseason key additions:  Desean Jackson WR (returning back), Eli Harold DE, Jonathan Cyprien S, Zach Brown LB, Jordan Howard RB, Malik Jackson DT, Andrew Sendejo S,

Offseason key departuresGolden Tate III WR, Nick Foles QB, Jordan Hicks LB, Jay Ajayi RB.

Super Bowl odds: 14-1

Analysis: The talisman is gone, Nick Foles earned himself a monster monster FA deal in the sunnier climate of Jacksonville, leaving Carson Wentz atop the depth chart with no real challenge (backup Nate Sudfeld broke a bone in his hand in pre-season week 1). The Eagles went for a future replacement for stud T Jason Peters in round one, but the biggest impact rookie will be second-rounder Miles Sanders who will fight tooth and nail with FA signing Jordan Howard for starting snaps. The Eagles have quietly added to their defense with some solid but not headline grabbing signings. Malik Jackson will compliment All-World DT Fletcher Cox, and Zach Brown is a tackle magnet who the Redskins will sorely miss. Zach Ertz is arguably the best TE in the league as long as you are not a Chiefs or 49ers fan. Ertz will not match his 2018 output as Dallas Goedert will be looking to establish a bigger target share. The Eagles weakness is the secondary that will be a mixed bag in 2019, after suffering more injuries than a Saturday night at Holby City Hospital. Philly used 15 defensive backs last season and whilst Malcolm Jenkins and Ronald Darby return they are not a top 10 pairing.

Look out for: Desean Jackson will be tearing down the flanks and will be odds on to lead the NFL in yards per catch as well as being a YAC (yards after catch) madman. Providing the chemistry with Carson Wentz melds together early this could be enough to win a few games alone. The way that Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders work together will be key, and expect both on the field at the same time in certain situations. The season will rest on Wentz staying upright, and that is where the offensive line will determine their destiny. Lookout for a swansong from pocket rocket Darren Sproles, who has the biggest heart in the league.

New York Giants:

Draft selectionsDaniel Jones QB (1.6), Dexter Lawrence DT (1.17), Deandre Baker CB (1.30), Oshane Ximines DE (3.31), Julian Love CB (4.6), Ryan Connelly LB (5.5), Darius Slayton WR (5.29), Corey Ballentine CB (6.7), George Asafo-Adjei OT (7.18) Chris Slayton DL (7.31).

Offseason key additions: Golden Tate WR, Markus Golden LB, Jabrill Peppers S, Kevin Zeitler G, Antione Bethea S, Cody Latimer WR, Olsen Pierre DT, Rod Smith RB.

Offseason key departures: Odell Beckham Jr WR, Landon Collins S, Connor Barwin LB.

Super Bowl odds: 100-1

Analysis: Is it finally here? Is the Eli Manning era finally over when the Giants controversially selected Duke’s Daniel Jones at 6th overall in the 2019 NFL draft. Jones looked efficient in his pre-season debut against the Jets, but this is not real football. We all know RB Saquon Barkley will be over-worked like an Egyptian donkey but he simply cannot take defensive snaps and is powerless for half of every game. The Giants must have a curse over their pass catchers as Golden Tate is suspended four games (pending an appeal), Corey Coleman is lost for the season with injury and Sterling Shephard has a broken thumb. And some other no-name guy left to go and work in a dog pound. The best option Manning has is to find TE Evan Engram early and often (after all he is on my Full 10 yards staff fantasy roster). The Giants went heavy on defense in the draft with a DT and CB in round one. Both will likely move into early starting roles. This is not a dominant defense by any means, arguably one of the weakest in the NFL, with no big names and two new safeties in the form of Jabrill Peppers and Antoine Bethea. If you play the Giants go deep and do it often.

Look out for: The betting line is not going to be about wins in the Big Apple, it’s going to focus on the week that Daniel Jones gets the starting gig. The Giants and Redskins will compete for overall ineptitude in the entire NFC conference, so apart from Barclay I can’t see much to get excited over. After all who drafted Wayne Gallman, Rhett Ellison, Russell Shepherd or Bennie Fowler onto their fantasy rosters – nobody !

Washington Redskins:

Draft selections: Dwayne Haskins QB (1.15), Montez Sweat EDGE (1.26), Terry McLaurin WR (4.10), Bryce Love RB (4.10),  Wes Martin G (4.29), Ross Pierschbacher (5.15), Cole Holcomb LB (5.35), Kelvin Harmon WR (6.34). Jimmy Moreland (7.13), Jordan Brailford EDGE (7.39)

Offseason key additions: Landon Collins S, Case Keenum QB, Jon Bostic ILB, Dominic Rogers-Cromartie CB, Ereck Flowers OT, Donald Penn OT.

Offseason key departuresZach Brown LB, Preston Smith OLB, Jamison Crowder WR, Ty Nsekhe OT, Ha-Ha Clinton Dix S, Maurice Harris WR, Mason Foster LB.

Super Bowl odds: 100-1

Analysis: Remarkably just after the half-way point of the 2018 season the Redskins were 6-3, leading the NFC East, watching two grizzled veterans (Alex Smith QB and Adrian Peterson RB) having outstanding seasons, and then one missed assignment and one hit later and the whole season went to hell in a handcart. Once Alex Smith suffered a gruesome leg break the season went on a downward spiral that would have even been too much for Jamie and his magic torch (look him up on YouTube). Two new quarterbacks, Case Keenum and rookie Dwayne Haskins, will battle it out for starts during the season, but the bigger problem is who will be catching the ball. The Redskins probably have the weakest set of wide outs in the entire NFL, and will be hoping rookies Terry McLaurin or Kelvin Harmon can step up. The offensive line is currently without All Pro Trent Williams who wants to leave, and the running game is questionable with projected starter second-year back Derrius Guice yet to take a regular season handoff. Jordan Reed at tight end simply can’t stay on the field, but at least the supporting cast of Vernon Davis and Jeremy Sprinkle offer some hope. The mega-bucks signing of safety Landon Collins from the Giants will be under the spotlight. Collins grew up loving former Redskins superstar Sean Taylor, if he can be a quarter as good as #21 then this is a winning move. The Redskins traded back up to the end of the first round to grab Montez Sweat a DE/OLB hybrid, who will learn a lot about how to survive in the NFL from Ryan Kerrigan.

Look out for: This season should hold no expectations for Redskins fans as the likes of Dwayne Haskins, Derrius Guice, Terry McLaurin and Kelvin Harmon will be playing their first games in the pros. Late round fantasy tip is Trey Quinn WR, one of my slot machines. CB Josh Norman is now Josh Normal at corner, and S Landon Collins is new and will need to make a big impression in his first month to garnish fan respect. The defensive line is the Redskins only real strength, with high profile draft picks Jonathan Allen and Darron Payne looking for end of season award recognition. Look out for the lesser known DT Matt Ioannidis, he is emerging as a star and has 10 sack potential.

2019 Season Prediction

With the offensive line intact, and the cornerback duo of Byron Jones and Chidobe Awuzie, along with Demarcus Lawrence wreaking havoc and Leighton Vander Esch tackling everything in sight I simply cannot look beyond the Cowboys, who I can realistically see representing the NFC in the Super Bowl this season. This only happens if Zeke Elliot is back, and if Dak Prescott keeps his focus. The Cowboys got off to an awful start last season and they cannot afford to do the same this time. The Eagles will be a quality team again, but Carson Wentz simply cannot stay fit for 16 games. Philly’s running game will be a nightmare for fantasy owners and the pocket rocket Darren Sproles will want to go out on a high. The Giants will wrestle between giving Eli a respectful farewell tour or giving Daniel Jones regular season game reps. I suspect Jones will be starting by Week 10 at the latest. The Redskins will simply be a hot mess. This is one of those years that you simply have to take on the chin if you are a Washington supporter. With no proven wide receivers, a brittle tight end and an offensive line whose best player (Trent Williams) may be gone before the end of pre-season don’t expect a 6-3 start like 2018.

Dallas 12-4* (* = with Zeke from Week 1)

Philadelphia 11-5 (Wild Card)

New York 4-12

Washington 3-13

Pac 12 Conference Preview – By Lee Wakefield

Welcome to the Full 10 Yards Pac 12 Conference Preview

Man, I love myself some west coast college football action. The Pac 12 is probably about as even a conference as you get at the top of college football, which certainly has its drawbacks in some respects but it makes for some competitive action and the 2019 season should be no different.

Looking Ahead…

When trying to call the conference champion, I find myself having a pretty hard time. I feel like there are a lot of really good players in the Pac 12 and there are some really solid teams too. Whether they will trouble the college football playoff is a different matter altogether because, as I alluded to earlier, without one truly outstanding team à la Clemson in the ACC, all of the teams kind of beat up on each other and therefore take a dip in the rankings.

What About 2018?

Last season was a perfect example of these things; Washington State had the best overall record in the conference at 11-2, however Washington won the North division due to their Apple Cup win over the Cougars and went on to win the conference championship over South division champion, Utah (9-5 overall record) by a score of 10-3, with the only touchdown of the game being a pick 6 by now Arizona Cardinals cornerback, Byron Murphy.

Pac 12 teams play each other tough.

Washington State finished the 2018 season the highest ranked team at #10 in the AP rankings too. So yeah, it’s one higgledy-piggledy, mushy mess in terms of trying to figure out who is going to be good again, or good at all in 2019!

Back to Looking Ahead…

Aside from the team’s I’ve mentioned already there are players who I feel are about to set the conference and college football landscape on fire.

The first player that came to mind when I wrote that sentence was Colorado wide receiver, Laviska Shenault.

Shenault was the Buffs offense last season. Unfortunately, Shenault was injured after 5 games of the season… Colorado were 5-0 at that point and the do-it-all wide receiver had accounted for, 708 receiving yards (141.6 apg) and 10 touchdowns (6 receiving, 4 rushing), playing wide receiver, running back, H-back and even some Wildcat QB. For context, the Buffalos had a total of 1,465 passing yards through those 5 games, so Shenault’s 708 receiving yards was a shade over 48% of the receiving yards of the team. That’s O N E player. Like I said, Laviska Shenault is the Colorado offense and I cannot wait to watch him again in 2019. Oh and for further context, the Buffs finished the season 5-7… Yep, they didn’t win without #2 on the field. I hope he can stay healthy in 2019 because I’m really interested in seeing just how far he can drag his team.

Lastly on Colorado, special mention to QB, Steven Montez, who I’d certainly describe as an interesting prospect for the coming year.

Who Else Should You Keep Tabs On?

Well some might say that the Pac 12 is the conference of quarterbacks and this year shouldn’t be any different with my personal QB1 residing in the Pac 12 North – That man is of course, Justin Herbert of Oregon.

During the pre draft process for the 2019 draft, prior to final declarations, I was hoping that Herbert was going to go back to Oregon for his Senior season, even though he’d have probably been QB1 for me in the draft class and would have been a top 10 pick, if not top 5. As you can probably deduce from that, I’m a fan but I do appreciate that Herbert definitely needed some more experience and time in college perfecting his game. I feel that with Herbert at the helm, Oregon can better their 9-4 overall record. However, as always in the Pac 12, it’s how the Ducks navigate their conference games… Let’s see if they can better their 5-4 conference record. 

The Ducks have the most talented offensive line in college football to protect one of the best QB’s in the country, so offensively they should be pretty solid, as long as the likes of Jaylon Redd and Johnny Johnson can step up and fill the void of Dillon Mitchell, who really was the Robin to Herbert’s Batman in 2018

I’m also a fan of Jordon Scott and Troy Dye in the Ducks’ front 7 on defense too. Will it be enough to power them to the top of the Pac 12, or even trouble the college football playoff?

Oregon were the last Pac 12 team to make it to the Championship game since the current format was introduced and one of only two west coast teams to make it to the final four in the same timeframe.

Anyone Else?

Before we talk more QB’s, let’s talk a little defense.

One player who I’m really looking forward to watching more of in 2019 in Utah corner Jaylon Johnson. I feel like Johnson will become a star of this talented Utes defense that had four members voted on to the first team All-Pac 12 defense last year (Johnson, defensive linemen, Bradley Anae and Leki Fotu and linebacker Chad Hansen). This group is stingy, folks.

In my view, Utah will once again be the pick of the Southern conference and I really don’t think it’ll be close… Tyler Huntley is back after his collarbone injury and we all saw what Zack Moss is capable of last year and Utah is just a really, really solid team.

Other defensive players that I haven’t already mentioned that I am going to be keeping an eye on in the Pac 12 are; Corners Paulson Adebo out of Stanford and Darnay Holmes of UCLA, interior defensive lineman Mustafa Johnson of Colorado (who tied the lead for sacks in 2018 with Bradley Anae with 8) and Jaylin Hawkins of the California Golden Bears, who lead the conference with 6 interceptions last year at safety. Defense may not be the strongest aspect of the Pac 12 but there are certainly some dudes worth keeping tabs on.

Back to offense now and back to the sport’s most important position.

Jacob Eason may be the most intriguing player in the whole of the Pac 12 next year. A former 5-star recruit who went to Georgia but couldn’t unseat the King of Athens, Jake Fromm, from his starting berth for the Bulldogs.

Eason ended up transferring the Washington and is now pencilled in to he the Huskies starting QB.

Interestingly, Huskies head coach Chris Petersen, recently said that the transfer portal gives the opportunity for athletes to “tap out” and is harmful for them, which is all kinds of levels of poor self-awareness, given the above.

However, Coach Pete is an awesome coach and if it all clicks in Seattle, Eason could be something really special in his homecoming, given the Lake Stevens native is only a 50 minute drive along the I-5 from his home town.

During my summer film studies, Eason was a really tough evaluation given that all of the tape I could find on him is from 2016 when he was at Georgia but the thing is, the talent is certainly there, it’s just a case of putting it together in a new environment and with a new team.

Washington are another team who I expect to play everyone tough and would bet on them having a good season in the North. Also watch out for Eason to strike up a nice partnership with talented, Senior wide receiver, Aaron Fuller. [Insert Eyes Emoji, Fire Emoji, Drool Face Emoji]

Who Are The Young Upstarts?

J.T Daniels and Amon-Ra St. Brown down in L.A are a pair of Sophomore’s who the Trojans fans will be looking to make some noise. Neither of whom are draft eligible until the 2021 draft but given the hype and buzz around both of these young men, I would imagine we will be hearing lots about them both way before then.

For St. Brown, 60 receptions and 750 yards as a True Freshman says it all. Plus we know there’s talent in the blood lines since older brother Equanimeous plays for the Packers after coming out of Notre Dame and Brother, Osiris plays at Stanford.

As for Daniels, well, USC has a long lineage of QB prospects, of which he’s the latest one and he played in 11 games for the Trojans last year as a True Freshman… that was after the former 5-star recruit graduated from high school early and won the USC starting job a mere three weeks after arriving on campus.

Like I said, this isn’t some Sun Belt Conference school either… This is the University of Southern California, I’m talking about.

Dropping Down a Notch From 2018?

The Washington State Cougars – I just can’t see the Cougs having quite as much success as they did in 2018, which was one of the best in programme history. The loss of charismatic leader, Gardner Minshew and star tackle, Andre Dillard will be a huge blow and I feel it’ll mean a season which will be a regression to the mean for Washington State. Mike Leach is an unbelievable coach and fully deserved his Coach of the Year honour last season but Gage Gubrud just ain’t it when it comes to piloting Leach’s hyper-pass centric Air-Raid offense when you consider that Minshew lead the FBS in passing attempts and completions and was second in passing yardage.

Shout Out to…

Khalil Tate. Man I want to see Arizona get back to what they were in 2017, so badly. The Wildcats took the phrase, lighting up the scoreboard to another level, averaging 41.3 points per game and scoring 71 touchdowns during the 2017 season.

What caught everyone’s eye so much was the method… Arizona’s run game went insane as they rushed for over 4,000 yards on the season.

Who was their leading rusher in 2017? Quarterback Khalil Tate with 1,411 yards at a conference leading 9.2 yards per attempt, whilst scooting in for 12 scores.

E L E C T R I C.

Running back J.J Taylor also got 847 yards and 5 TD’s which made him the 10th best rusher in terms of total yardage in the Pac 12 and with Tate and Taylor, the Wildcats, ran well… wild on their opponents.

Unfortunately, there was no repeat in 2018 as Tate was severely hindered by a high ankle sprain which sapped his mobility and he racked up a poultry 224 yards on the ground – his worst return in Tucson.

Kevin Sumlin will surely want to bring back that running attack for this 2019 season whilst he still has Tate and Taylor available to him, the two players who were absolutely intrinsic to Arizona’s offensive potency two years ago.

I drafted both Tate and Taylor in my most recent CFB fantasy league so I’m the driver of that particular hype train this season. 

And Finally… Who’s Bringing up the Rear?

In the South, UCLA and in the North, it’ll be a familiar story with Oregon State propping up the rest and probably being the worst team in the Pac 12.

Maybe I’m wrong on UCLA, maybe Chip Kelly gets it together in year 2 after a pretty awful debut season but I really don’t see a great deal of proven talent on this roster that makes me think otherwise. I think this is another building year for the Bruins although, I’ll be keeping an eye on Dorian Thompson-Robinson. The Sophomore QB was highly recruited when he attended high school football powerhouse, Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas. DTR, is a lively dual-threat, which can always be utilised well in Kelly’s spread offense.

However, I can’t muster much optimism for Oregon State… Sorry Beavers fans.


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Slot Machines

By Lawrence Vos – @nflfaninengland – 25th July 2019

It’s somewhat fitting that the global marketing machine that is the NFL is soon to have a presence in the city that never sleeps, where day is night and night is day, where it seems people actually have tried to break the will of chefs at an ‘all you can eat’ buffet, and where Mike Tyson’s tiger once got stolen by an orthodontist.

Las Vegas is the home to the grandest casinos and the brightest lights, along with an abundance of slot machines. In fact, it is estimated the region is home to around 200,000 slot machines. The biggest win from one of these machines was just under $40m by a software engineer from Los Angeles.

So why the gambling references in a fantasy football article you say? Well if we are to talk about slot machines, especially ones that can yield the jackpot then let’s examine 10 of the top NFL slot machines, just before you go looking for a 3rd or 4th wide receiver in your upcoming PPR (points per reception) fantasy drafts.

On our visit to Sin City let’s also stop-off at a diner or two and play the 5c machine by the broken payphone and see if we can get a few bucks worth of cheap fantasy slot action too.

To add some show-time flair let’s commence my personal countdown, sung by none other than the nippletastic Janet Jackson, who is only a few days from a two-month residency in yes, you guessed it, Las Vegas (in fact for just $4,102 per person you can get a VIP banquet ticket !!!).

Now I’m not dismissing the likes of Adam Humphries talent but unfortunately he has gone to the team where wide receivers die (the Tennessee Titans) so he does not make my top 10.

10) Braxton Berrios – New England Patriots

Berrios may not have caught a regular season ball in his short NFL career, but he landed in perhaps the single greatest place to develop, under the tutelage of Tom Brady and Sith Lord Belichick. Drafted in the 6th round of the 2018 draft Berrios was a fan favourite at ‘The U’, where he caught clutch touchdowns and established himself as potential replacement material for the likes of Danny Amendola or Julian Edelman if he ever made the pros. It was inevitable that he would end up with the Patriots, and with Edelman currently side-lined with a thumb injury this is Berrios’s opportunity to fight for a place on the 53-man roster. 

9) Trey Quinn – Washington Redskins

Unless you are a hard-core Redskins fan or you have some love for the 2018 Mr Irrelevant (the person drafted last) then you may not be familiar with this guy. Another product of the SMU wide-receiver factory that has produced the likes of Courtland Sutton, Emmanuel Sanders, Aldrick Robinson and Cole Beasley, Quinn is in a position to explode onto the NFL scene in 2019. He will likely have two quarterbacks throwing to him early in the season, which may not help in terms of building confidence. Quinn made a small cameo as a rookie, scoring once in a three-game stint in November and December. The stage is set for a huge upsurge in production – possibly 70 catches for 750 yards and 7 scores, but only if he can stay healthy for at least 15 games.

8) Randall Cobb – Dallas Cowboys

Not quite a Swiss Army knife, but not far off, Randall Ladonald Cobb II has been darting his 5ft 10-inch frame around NFL fields since 2011, starting 100 games and gaining over 5,000 yards on 470 catches. Cobb has been listed as a RB/WR back in 2012, but manning a slot position is the reason he is still around, and in a game of SwapSlot he now replaces Cole Beasley in Dallas. Cobb had a quiet 2018, in part due to injury, and is expected to bounce back in 2019 catching balls from Dak Prescott. Not necessarily great expectations for Cobb in Dallas, as Amari Cooper will look to put up All-Pro numbers in 2019, but he can carve out a quality role and hope for 60-70 catches and around 5 touchdowns.

7) Jamison Crowder – New York Jets

It was always a case of ‘next season he will be a breakout beast’ but it never quite happened in Washington, so the Redskins cut ties and Crowder ended up in the snazzy new Green of the New York Jets in free-agency. Before injury cut short his 2018 season Crowder had averaged 64 catches a year, and also had a cameo role as a returner, but occasional dazzling displays have never gained the momentum to move him into the realm of a fantasy stud. Now in the Big Apple and catching the pigskin from second year passer Sam Darnold we could finally be witness to a Crowder breakout that has been threatening for almost half a decade. With Darnold’s safety blanket Chris Herndon suspended and LeVeon Bell drawing coaches’ attentions Crowder roaming the slot could be an awfully familiar sight for Jets fans by the time the white stuff makes an appearance.

6) Anthony Miller – Chicago Bears

No not the second last criminal to be executed in Scotland (look it up), and no not the son of former Chargers legend with the same name, Anthony Miller the Bears second round pick from 2018 went a little under the radar in his first professional season. 33 catches were par for the course for a rookie, a huge dip considering his junior and senior seasons at Memphis yielded 191 catches for a smidge under 3,000 yards and 32 scores. The Bears were locked on grabbing Miller and traded up to grab him, and his seven rookie touchdowns were a pleasant surprise, they in fact led the Bears and were the most by a rookie since Willie Gault in 1983. Miller will be stronger and more confident in 2019 and will enjoy his trip to London, where he will be able to show a global audience that he is going to be a star.

5) Cole Beasley – Buffalo Bills

If Cole Beasley was a cartoon character he would be Scrappy Doo, as he is a hairy fighter who fights for every yard. Another free agent signing, moving from the warmth of Texas to the chill of upstate New York and the Buffalo Bills. Josh Allen was a fantastic fantasy rookie, surprising everyone with his legs, but now he has weapons, including John ‘Smokey’ Brown, All-Pro returner Andre Roberts and Beasley, who will become a snuggle blanket. With breakout candidate Robert Foster and Brown running the medium to long routes Beasley will be that 8 yards and a smack in the mouth kinda guy, and every team needs one. Beasley won’t set the stats sheet on fire but he will keep it simmering throughout 2019 with 75-85 catches and around 800 yards.

4) Dede Westbrook – Jacksonville Jaguars

I have taken part in a bunch of PPR (Points Per Reception) drafts so far and this guy seems to be one of my mid to late round picks that I simply can’t avoid. With a legitimate, but still erratic, quarterback Nick Foles now taking the reins in Jacksonville now is the time for Westbrook to make his first Pro-Bowl appearance. 16 games in 2018 and 66 catches was a big step in the right direction for a guy who made three playoff appearances as a rookie (in 2017) but failed to make any significant impact in those postseason contests. Now Westbrook can move that production up by 1.5x and push for an eye-popping 90 catches and over 1,200 yards. Not a big name now but give it a year and he will be a legitimate 2nd round fantasy pick.

3) Cooper Kupp – Los Angeles Rams

Blighted by injury, Kupp tore his ACL in a Week 8 game last season and missed the Rams playoff run, including a trip to the Super Bowl, where he was sorely missed. Jared Goff had a torrid time against the Patriots and the lack of a wily fox in the middle of the field was apparent. Now recovered Kupp has a high ceiling, and 2019 could see him catch between 90-100 balls. In half a season he managed 40 catches and a very respectable 14 yards a catch. He caught 73% of passes thrown and caught touchdowns in 5 of his 8 outings. Kupp is a terrier and his FCS college statistics gained at Eastern Washington are in fact legendary, that legendary that he has 6,464 yards in four seasons, more than Jerry Rice. Kupp is waiting to replicate his college production in the NFL and keeping injury free he can lead the Rams in targets, receptions and touchdowns in 2019.

2) Jarvis Landry – Cleveland Browns

Not so much a YAC (yards after catch) monster as he is a ball magnet, Landry does the dirty work, the 6-yard buttonhook on 3rd and 5. With OBJ taking up the mantle of the superstar wide-out in amongst the Dawg Pound, you can’t ask for any more than someone who runs beautiful routes and is not afraid to operate in the trenches. Landry has 481 catches in his 5-year career, mostly by playing disciplined football. If London had a 2020 franchise they could not do much better in the slot than grabbing Jarvis Landry and his superglue hands. Landry boasts the most receptions in the first four years of a career in NFL history, including two seasons with over 110 catches. Simply put Landry is on target to break NFL all-time catching records if he continues this pace. With Baker Mayfield throwing him the ball who is going to bet against him becoming the fastest player to 1,000 catches by 2023. (Incidentally the record is held by former Colts great Marvin Harrison who did it in 167 games.)

1) Julian Edelman – New England Patriots

If Tom Brady is the goat then Edelman is the ferret, wriggling into places that seem impossible to reach, making clutch catch after clutch catch. What more can be said for Edelman than winning a Super Bowl MVP award, one that he fully deserved in a game that even Patriots fans won’t want to watch ever again. Edelman has already written himself into Hall of Fame contention, and on that front is a published children’s author to boot. With Rob Gronkowski retired (well temporarily) Edelman will be the leader of the skill players both on and off the field. Providing his thumb injury heals nicely in August Edelman could produce a season for the ages with 100-110 catches and around 1,150 yards. Tom Brady may not be human, and that cyborg mentality has rubbed off on Edelman who has made more clutch catches than Ben Stokes and the rest of the England cricket team put together.