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2017 PRESEASON WEEK 2 – ROOKIE REPORT

TEAM COMMENTS
Computer Hope 1st Rd. LB Hassan Reddick got a little bit of run time but managed a QB hit which was nice and he’s showing flash. 2nd Rd. S Budda Baker had a couple of tackles which was a little bit of drop from Week 1. 3rd Rd. WR Chad Williams had 4 targets but made just 1 catch for 14 yards. He’s pretty raw with character issues. A couple of undrafted guys did well in TE Ricky Seals-Jones & WR Krishawn Hogan. Seals-Jones is a massive WR from Texas A&M moving to TE & Hogan is 6’3. The Cards need weapons.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. edge rusher Tak McKinley had a great game going up against Steelers starting LT Alejandro Villanueva. McKinley only rushed 8 times but got a QBH and 2 hurries. 3rd Rd. LB Duke Reilly also filled it up nicely giving him now 2 solid preseason games. He can be special. 5th Rd. CB Damontae Kazee had 3 tackles which was nice to see. Frankly at this point it doesn’t matter how any other rookies play. If McKinley & Reilly fulfill their promise then Atlanta is going to be quite a bit better on defense.
Computer Hope Ravens 1st Rd. Pick CB Marlon Humphrey made his preseason debut but didn’t collect any stats and otherwise played OK. Getting on the field was a big deal. 2nd Rd. LB Tyus Bowser dropped off a little in Week 2 recording just one tackle. 3rd Rd. LB Tim Williams was solid getting a lot of pressure on the QB resulting in a sack and tackle for loss. 6th Rd. S Chuck Clark continued to get run time and cashed in with a couple of tackles. 3rd Rd. DE Chris Wormley didn’t do much in his 2nd go around.
Computer Hope 5th Rd. QB Nathan Peterman looked great inside the pocket but not so great when asked to make things happen. Peterman was 10/20 for 167yds. Tyrod Taylor looked awful so is there a competition brewing? 1st Rd. CB Tre’Davious White flashed with 4 tackles a TFL. 2nd Rd. WR Zay Jones showed up with 3 catches for 42yds. 6th Rd. LB Tanner Vallejo had a couple of tackles and is a lot like 5th Rd. LB Matt Milano as somewhat of a WIL/S hybrid type of player. Both are sort of tweeners that are tough.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. RB Christian McCaffery played just 9 snaps but in those 9 snaps he rushed 3 times for 33yds & a TD and caught 2 balls for 39 yards & 3 targets. The Titans had big problems with him. 2nd Rd. WR Curtis Samuel still has hamstring issues & you wonder what impact he’ll have. 3rd Rd. DE Daeshon Hall picked up a tackle I still think he’s going to make an impact with his motor this year. We still haven’t seen McCaffery on the field with Cam Newton as Newton has missed the first two preseason games.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. QB Mitch Trubisky was fairly solid again going 6/8 for 60yds & a TD playing mostly the 2nd half. He got a little lucky when a would be pick was dropped & also took a sack. He’s playing well though. 2nd Rd. TE Adam Shaheen caught his only target for 9 yards. 3rd Rd. S Eddie Jackson got some run time & didn’t play bad. 4th Rd. RB Tarik Cohen started & rushed for 77 yards on 11 carries. Cohen is interesting in that he’s 5’6/170lbs! He doesn’t have the size to play in the NFL but he can carve out a role.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. WR John Ross missed the 2nd game & it’s looking like he’s going to be situational in 2017. 2nd Rd. pick Joe Mixon had a tough time rushing for 16 yards on 6 carries but catching his only target. His upside is exceptional. 3rd Rd. DE Jordan Willis had another great game getting a sack, TFL & QBH. 4th Rd. LB Carl Lawson missed time with his shoulder. 4th Rd. WR Josh Malone looked good again with 3 balls on 4 targets. 4th Rd. DT Ryan Glasgow was productive. This is a good looking draft class.
Computer Hope The #1 overall pick, DE Myles Garrett flashed again this week picking up a sack and a QB hit on just 15 pass rushing attempts. Nothing disappointing about Garrett thus far. 1st Rd. S Jabril Peppers saw action and looked good recording 4 tackles. 1st Rd. TE David Njoku had 3 targets but just 1 catch for 1 yard. 2nd Rd. QB DeShone Kizer was iffy going 8/13 or 76 yards & taking 2 sacks. 7th Rd. RB Matt Dayes ran for 15 yards on 5 carries which isn’t great but did have a 10yd run. He also caught 5 passes for 29.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. DE Taco Charlton got after the QB a bit in Dallas’s win over the Colts in Week 2. Charlton is extremely important for the Cowboys pass rush in 2017. 2nd Rd. CB Chidobe Owuzie and 3rd Rd. CB Jourdan Lewis are still nursing injuries. Dallas needs those guys to be big parts of the defense. 4th Rd. WR Ryan Switzer also didn’t get any run time. 6th Rd. S Xavier Woods didn’t have any tackles after leading the team in Week 1. 6th Rd. CB Marquez White played pretty well. Dallas needs to see more.
Computer Hope Oddly enough the only Broncos drafted rookie to really do anything was 6th Rd. RB DeAngelo Henderson who had 6 carries 30 yards & also caught 2 balls for 20 yards. Henderson is an interesting prospect considering that the Broncos have had pretty good success historically with late round running backs. Henderson isn’t huge at 5’7 but is 200+lbs and ran a sub-4.5 40-yard dash. The last two 6th round RBs the Broncos have were Mike Anderson and a guy named Terrell Davis who now sports a yellow jacket!
Computer Hope Detroit’s 1st Rd. Jarrad Davis provided some thump in the middle with a couple of tackles. His upside is fantastic. Davis’ Florida teammate & 2nd Rd. CB Teez Tabor also played fairly well. 3rd Rd. WR Kenny Golladay didn’t have as huge a game as he did in Week 1 but caught a pass. 4th Rd. TE Michael Roberts had 2 more catches bring his preseason total to 6. 4th Rd. LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin flashed with a TFL. 5th Rd. CB Jamal Agnew wasn’t very good & 6th Rd. QB Brad Kaaya was just OK.
Computer Hope 2nd Rd. CB Kevin King had a couple of tackles and a pass defended. He’s catching on and could make the Packers secondary much better. 5th Rd. WR DeAngelo Yancey had a big game in Week 1 but didn’t catch either of his 2 targets against the Redskins. Green Bay had quite a few rookies not get much run time. 2nd Rd. S Josh Jones, 3rd Rd. DT Montravius Adams, 4th Rd. LB Vince Biegel, and 7th Rd. WR Malachi Dupre got little if any run time. Biegel could be getting on the field very soon.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. QB Deshaun Watson didn’t look so hot going 3/10 for 102yds but he did rush for a TD and looked slippery as usual. My favorite Texans draft pick 3rd Rd. RB D’Onta Foreman ran for 17 yards & a TD on 7 carries which isn’t great but also caught both of his targets for 66yds. 2nd Rd. LB Zach Cunningham looked solid with 7 tackles & is ready I think. 5th Rd. CB Treston Decoud had a solid team in the secondary. I think the story here is that Tom Savage looked great so Watson might be behind him now.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. S Malik Hooker saw no action because of injury & this has to be concerning for the Colts after the Ryan Kelly news. 2nd Rd. CB Quincy Wilson played pretty well which at least makes up a bit for Hooker. 3rd Rd. edge rusher Tarell Basham was OK with a tackle. 4th Rd. RB Marlon Mack made his debut & had a significant impact! Mack made A LOT of people miss gaining 45 yards on just 5 carries & catching both his targets. 5th Rd. LB Anthony Walker was second on the team in tackles with 5.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. RB Leonard Fournette was out with a foot injury but 4th Rd. WR DeDe Westbrook had a MONSTER game pulling in 6 of his 7 targets for 131 yards! 2nd Rd. OT Cam Robinson did a good job. 3rd Rd. DE Dewaune Smoot had 3 tackles and a QBH. He’s playing well. 5th Rd. LB Blair Brown had a solid game. He’s an intriguing prospect at 5’11 and almost 240lbs. I’d like to see him make the 53-man roster. 7th Rd. CB Jalen Myrick got some more run time and a made a tackle. Westbrook was the story.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. QB Pat Mahomes showed the 1st round ability that KC traded up in the draft for. Mahomes was 10/14 for 88yds/2TD & he also ran the ball 3 times for 29 yards. Arm strength was fantastic & he had no turnovers. Great night! 2nd Rd. DE Tanoh Kpassagnon looked good again with 4 QBH and I’m excited for him. 3rd Rd. RB Kareem Hunt had 8 rushes & 3 catches for 63 total yards. 4th Rd. WR Jehu Chesson caught 2 of his 4 targets for just 15 yards. 5th Rd. LB Ukeme Eligwe was utterly fantastic.
Computer Hope 3rd Rd. G Dan Feeney was very solid against the Saints playing all 3 interior line positions. Had a couple of bad plays but did a good job. 4th Rd. S Rayshawn Jenkins played well and picked up 4 tackles. 5th Rd. CB Desmond King was fantastic for the 2nd week in a row. The only catch he allowed was for 1-yard and he was even able to get pressure on the QB! King looks like a steal at the moment. 7th Rd. DE Isaac Rochelle had another solid game & I think he’ll be interesting if he can provide depth here.
Computer Hope 2nd Rd. TE Gerald Everett looked good with 4 catches on 4 targets for 30 yards. 3rd Rd. WR Cooper Kupp was a MONSTER and already looks like  Jared Goff favorite. Kupp had 6 catches for 70yds & a TD. 4th Rd. WR Josh Reynolds had a 20-yard TD reception from Sean Mannion. 6th Rd. DT Tanzel Smart was alright but not as impactful as he was in Week 1. 3rd Rd. S John Johnson had 5 tackles and did a good job in containment. LA has to be thrilled with Everett’s & Kupp’s play early on especially with Goff.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. DE Charles Harris again didn’t record much on the stat sheet but got decent pressure and was pretty good. 3rd Rd. CB Cordrea Tankersley was outstanding in Miami’s 31-7 loss. He had one interception and dropped another. He was outstanding on underneath routes. 5th Rd. DT Davon Godchaux racked up a couple of tackles for the 2nd straight week. 6th Rd. DT Vincent Taylor flashed a bit with 4 tackles and a tackle for loss. The Phins have to be happy about Godchaux & Taylor playing well.
Computer Hope 2nd Rd. RB Dalvin Cook flashed big time rushing for 40 yards on 7 carries against Seattle’s firs team defense. Cook also caught a ball for 10 yards. 4th Rd. DT Jaleel Johnson was a monster against the run for the Vikings. Johnson had 5 tackles & 2 TFL & had 5 defensive stops on 15 running plays. As if the Vikings needed more playmakers, Johnson looks like a steal. 4th Rd. LB Ben Gedeon played well too. 6th Rd. TE Bucky Hodges caught 2 balls for 53yds & a TD. Hodges has a lot of upside as he’ll get even better.
Computer Hope New England once again was primarily looking at non-drafted free agent signings. WR Austin Carr caught 3 balls for 31 yards on 5 targets but his closest comp is Wayne Chrebet so he’s about as New England as you can get! 3rd Rd. DE Derek Rivers tore his ACL this past week and will miss the season. 4th Rd. DE Dietrich Wise didn’t do much either. Maybe the Patriots are better off without drafting anyone! DT Adam Butler played OK. LB Harvey Langi had a really good game. The BYU product had 4 tackles.
Computer Hope No run time against for 1st Rd. CB Marshon Lattimore. At this point I think the Saints would just like to see him on the field for the regular season. 2nd Rd. S Marcus Williams got a couple of tackles in limited time. 3rd Rd. RB Alvin Kamara was outstanding gaining 61 rushing yards & a score on only 5 carries while catching a pass for 22 yards. He scored on a 50-yard TD run! 3rd Rd. LB Alex Anzalone looked pretty good & the Saints will need this athleticism at LB. 6th Rd. DE Al-Quadin Muhammad was solid.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. TE Evan Engram flashed a bit in this game with 3 catches for 32 yards on 4 targets including a 21-yard catch. 2nd Rd. DT Dalvin Tomlinson did a great job again inside stuffing the run and getting pressure. He ended with 3 tackles. No 3rd Rd. QB Davis Webb action this week. 4th Rd. RB Wayne Gallman was decent racking up 42 total yards along with 2 catches on 3 targets. I really liked Gallman at Clemson but I can’t wait to see what Paul Perkins does this year. Gallman & Perkins can make a duo.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. S Jamal Adams and 2nd Rd. S Marcus Maye were doing work against Detroit with 3 and 5 tackles respectively. The Jets might not win a ton of games, but that duo will be worth watching. 3rd Rd. WR ArDarius Stewart caught both his targets for 23 yards. 5th Rd. TE Jordan Leggett looked really good with 2 catches for 40 yards & had solid chemistry with QB Bryce Petty. 6th Rd. CB Derrick Jones flashed a bit. New York isn’t going to be that great, but at this point the rookies are doing fairly well.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. CB Gareon Conley missed another game with his shins injuries. 2nd Rd. S Obi Melifonwu also didn’t get any run time. 3rd Rd. DT Eddie Vanerdoes didn’t get any counting stats either. 5th Rd. LB Marquel Lee did manage 3 tackles in a light day for Oakland rookies. 7th Rd. RB Elijah Hood got on the field but wasn’t that effective. 7th Rd. DT Treyvon Hester and 7th Rd. S Shalom Luani got in some run time and Luani flashed a bit at times. Oakland needs to see their top picks a bit more.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. DE Derek Barnett continues his assault on the NFL with racking up 2 tackles, a sack a TFL and 2 QB hits. It’s starting to get scary thinking about how DC Jim Schwartz is going to use this guy. 3rd Rd. CB Rasul Douglas has another solid outing hoping to lessen the impact of losing 2nd Rd. CB Sidney Jones. 4th Rd. WR Mack Hollins had 5 targets but just one catch. 4th Rd. RB Donnel Pumphrey struggled again causing you wonder if his size is going to keep him from being successful in the NFL.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. LB TJ Watt wowed us last week with his pass rushing abilities. This week he turned heads with his ability to seal off the edge & defend the run. He’s outstanding! 3rd Rd. RB James Conner was a focal point of the Steelers offense rushing the ball 20 times for 98 yards! Conner was also targeted 4 times out of the backfield. 4th Rd. QB Josh Dobbs looked awful. He isn’t the heir apparent, but still needs to play better. 2nd Rd. WR JuJu Smith and 3rd Rd. CB Cameron Sutton didn’t get run time against Atlanta.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. DE Solomon Thomas didn’t get any run time but 1st Rd. LB Reuben Foster played pretty well and was dropped back into coverage a lot like he was in Week 1. 3rd Rd. QB CJ Beathard’s stat line looks pretty good going 7/12 for 110yds/1TD, but he missed some easy throws. 5th Rd. TE George Kittle looked good with 3 balls for 33yds/TD. Kittle showed some flash on a 29-yard TD catch. 6th Rd. DE Pita Taumoepena had a solid effort and could become a good situational rusher. Good showing for SF.
Computer Hope 3rd Rd. CB Shaq Griffin got off a bit against the Vikings recording 4 tackles & 2 passes defended. Griffin has big time physical talent but needs to learn the nuances of playing corner.  He couldn’t be on a better team. 3rd Rd. S Delano Hill also chipped in 6 tackles. Griffin & Hill look pretty good & will only add to the Legion of Boom. 3rd Rd. DT Nazair Jones had another great game with 0.5 sacks and a QBH. 4th Rd. S Tedric Thompson led the team with 7 tackles. 7th Rd. RB Chris Carson had a good game.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. TE OJ Howard continues to impress. He did a solid job of blocking Calais Campbell and was able to nab 2 balls for 28 yards on 3 targets. He’s a weapon. 2nd Rd. S Justin Evans had another nice game with a pass defended. Raw but unlimited upside. 3rd Rd. WR Chris Godwin was targeted 5 times & got 2 balls for 30yds. He’s a NICE toy if he can keep improving. 3rd Rd. LB Kendell Beckwith with another solid game. 5th Rd. RB Jeremy McNichols got 11 carries but turned that into just 32 yards.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. WR Corey Davis is still out with hamstring issues but 3rd Rd. TE Jonnu Smith was great leading the Titans in receptions with 5 on 7 targets for 47yds. 3rd Rd. WR Taywan Taylor looked good again with 3 balls for 41yds. 1st Rd. CB Adoree Jackson played pretty well in the secondary & featured more in kick/punt returns which was exciting to see although he didn’t do much returning. 5th Rd. LB Jayon Brown got a bit of run time. I can’t wait to see what Corey Davis can do when healthy.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. DT Jonathan Allen got limited time but did have a tackle for loss. I can’t believe that guy lasted until the 17th pick. 4th Rd. RB Samarje Perine looked a lot better this week rushing for 45 yards on 8 carries & also snagging a catch for 29yds. Perine looked like a stud & was elusive as well. 2nd Rd. edge rusher Ryan Anderson had no counting stats. 3rd Rd. CB Fabian Moreau had 3 tackles and a pass defended. 7th Rd. S Josh Harvey-Clemons got loose again & he’s looking to be a steal from Round 7.

August 22, 2017 Posted by | Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, NFL, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Preseason, Rookies, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins | Leave a comment

2017 BIG 10 PREVIEW AND PREDICTIONS

When you think of overall story lines with the Big 10, there aren’t many you can actually come up with that can make it more of a national interest story the way the SEC easily does. The Big 10 is simply going to come down to 3 games for the most part:

Michigan @ Penn St. on October 21st
Penn St. @ Ohio St. on October 28th
Ohio St. @ Michigan on November 25th

For those story lines to break right, Michigan will need to beat Penn St. in State College and then Penn St. will need to lose to Ohio St. in Columbus which potentially sets up Ohio St. @ Michigan with both teams being 11-0 for a shot at the Big 10 East division title and a chance at the college football playoff. Of course if Penn St. beats both Michigan & Ohio State, the story lines becomes all about James Franklin, Trace McSorely and Saquan Barkley. That itself is a redemption story for the program after the horrific Jerry Sandusky scandal that rocked the program and threatened to decimate Penn State football for good. Penn St. would not only have climbed out of the mire of that situation, but would practically be sitting on top of the college football world again.

But the real story of the Big 10 might not be the incredible talent of Ohio State or the 2 Heisman Trophy candidates at Penn State. It might not be the incredibly talented youth arriving in Ann Arbor. The real story of the Big 10 could unfold on the first Thursday night of the season when Ohio St. begins their road to the playoffs with a road trip to Bloomington, Indiana! The Hoosiers could determine the Big 10 if only marginally. All of this goes for nothing if Indiana loses (which is definitely likely) but what if the Hoosiers catch Ohio St. early and pull off an upset. IU ostensibly loses on the road to Penn State but they get a young Michigan team at home and what if Indiana manages to beat the Wolverines? Their only other road conference games are against Michigan State, Maryland, Illinois & Purdue. All 4 games easily winnable. If Ohio St. beats Penn St. and Penn St. loses another conference game, then Indiana could wind up being the Big 10 East champions! If that sounds insane it is because IT IS!

But if you are looking for story lines outside of the 3 obvious games between Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State then Indiana gives you your best potential story by blowing up the Big 10 East when nobody is expecting it. The Big 10 West could be interesting with Wisconsin, Northwestern and Nebraska all battling it out for the division title. Even Iowa potentially could make some noise and I think Purdue is going to surprise a lot of people this year with David Blough playing for new HC Jeff Brohm, but at the end of the day, Wisconsin, Northwestern and Nebraska aren’t elite teams and mostly like are nothing but fodder for whoever comes out of the East in the Big 10 championship game. Would anyone pick the Badgers, Wildcats or Cornhuskers any higher than 4th if they were playing in the Big 10 East?

Don’t get me wrong. A Wolverines, Buckeyes & Nittany Lions blood bath is MORE THAN ENOUGH of a story line to get everyone excited, but an under the radar Hoosiers squad provides just a hint of scandal that could push the Big 10 ahead of the SEC for national intrigue. It’s an exciting thought that would give the Big 10 more than 3 games to get excited about.

# TEAM BIG 10 EAST
1 Computer Hope Ohio State has averaged 12 wins per season since Urban Meyer arrived in Columbus and this year looks to be no different. JT Barrett returns as QB and is probably the best signal caller in the Big 10. The Buckeyes return an O-Line that features 4 starters from last season & RB Mike Weber also returns. They’ll need some receivers to step up, but this is a tough offense to stop. What separates Ohio St. for me is their defense & particularly their pass rushing duo of Sam Hubbard and Tyquan Lewis. Those two are potential All-Americans & are going to be cut loose as Ohio St. will typically have the lead. Too much talent.
2 Computer Hope If you liked Penn St. last year you should love them this year! The Nittany Lions averaged 38PPG and almost everyone returns on offense. Their O-Line should be stellar and they are blocking for arguably the best RB (Saquon Barkley) in the nation. Trace McSorley isn’t crazy accurate but he limited his mistakes. PSU will need to find a replacement for Chris Godwin on the edge. I think Ohio St. is ahead of Penn St. because of the edge rushers. Penn St. returns just 6 starters on defense & lost both their edge rushers from last season. They also draw Ohio St. in Columbus. They definitely have the ability to finish the season 12-0!
3 Computer Hope Indiana throws a wrench into things in the East by finishing ahead of Michigan and for good reason. Last year HC Tom Allen coached the defense and Indiana improved their D by 10.4PPG and almost 130 yards! The Hoosiers return 9 starters on that unit with some legitimate playmakers in Nate Hoff, Greg Gooch, Tegray Scales & Rashard Fant. It was arguably the best defense the Hoosiers have had since 1993 when Bill Mallory led IU to an 8-4 mark. Offensively IU gets WR Simmie Cobbs back & QB Richard Lagow could make big improvements. They draw Michigan at home after a bye week. They could win 10 games.
4 Computer Hope Jim Harbaugh closed the talent gap between Michigan and the rest of the country in no time. Michigan is arguably as talented as any team in the nation but their inexperience is startling. The Wolverines return only 4 starters on offense losing their top-3 receivers, their leading rusher & 3 starters on the O-Line. QB Wilton Speight returns & has some incredible talent to work with but how will they put it together? Michigan also returns just a single starter on defense & lose 7 of their top-8 tacklers. I love Maurice Hurst, Rashan Gary & Mike McCray but this team is young. They play at Indiana after hosting Michigan State. So 4th.
5 Computer Hope I thought HC DJ Durkin did a solid job taking a 3-9 team he inherited and getting the Terps back to a bowl game. I like what Maryland could do on offense especially if they feature RB Ty Johnson a lot more who averaged a ridiculous 9.1ypc en route to gaining over 1,000 yards rushing. DJ Moore is a solid piece on the outside and Maryland has quite a bit of talent on the O-Line. They’ll have to figure out the QB situation as Perry Hills graduated. Defensively, Maryland returns 7 starters and have some really interesting pieces like Jesse Aniebonam, Shane Cockerille, Jermaine Carters & JC Jackson. They’ll get back to a bowl.
6 Computer Hope Like their rivals Michigan, the Spartans are in for somewhat of a transition year as they return just 4 starters on both offense & defense. Unlike the Wolverines, Michigan St. is falling behind Ohio St., Michigan & Penn St. in the talent race. It’s instructive to note that Michigan St. & Mark Dantonio were wildly successful during the time that Michigan & Penn St. were faltering. That allowed Sparty to get a lot of kids who otherwise might have headed to those other two schools. Now that Jim Harbaugh & James Franklin have righted their respective ships, Michigan St. is sinking. Dantonio needs to figure out how to keep up.
7 Computer Hope Chris Ash has a tough road to hoe in New Brunswick as the Scarlet Knights finished up 2-10 last season and if they aren’t careful they could wind up 2-10 again this season. Rutgers has a talent problem and they aren’t going to be very successful recruiting if they keep losing double digit games a year. What is a coach to do? Hopefully hit the jackpot with transfers. Ash has done this with QB Kyle Bolin (originally at Louisville), WR Damon Mitchell (Arkansas), TE Jerome Washington (Miami-FL), WR Ahmir Mitchell (Michigan) and DB Ross Douglas (Michigan). It’s not a bad strategy but I don’t think it works in 2017.

 

# TEAM BIG 10 WEST
1 Computer Hope Tommy Armstrong was a good QB for Nebraska, but I think a QB like Armstrong hurts you just a bit because he limits your ceiling. He does enough to keep the job but not enough to push you towards championships. I’m buying the hype on Tulane transfer Tanner Lee. At 6’4/230lbs, he’s more of a conventional drop back QB and I think he fits with what HC Mike Riley wants to do on offense. The Huskers have a lot of talent on the O-Line so Lee should stay upright. The defense loses a lot but Freedom Akinmoladun returns & more importantly, Nebraska gets Northwestern & Wisconsin in Lincoln. The win the West.
2 Computer Hope I really like Wisconsin’s O-Line and think it is one of the best in the nation, but I think losing RB Corey Clement is going to be a tough loss and I’m not sure QB Alex Hornibrook is a game changing QB. At least not yet. I like the Hornibrook to TE Troy Fumagalli connection & WR Jazz Peavy has done a good job, but the Badgers are built on running and this questionable. On defense I think losing TJ Watt, Vince Biegel and now Jack Cichy is brutal! TJ Edwards is a beast for sure, but the Badgers have no proven edge rushers. They play at Nebraska the week after they host Northwestern. I think that game costs them the West.
3 Computer Hope I could easily see the Wildcats winning the West. QB Clayton Thorson isn’t the most accurate QB but the junior limits his mistakes on turnovers. RB Justin Jackson is a workhorse back that can grind a defense down and the O-Line has 4 returning starters along with all 5 projected starters being upperclassmen. Defensively the Wildcats bring back 8 starters from a unit that allowed only 22.2PPG a season ago & should be better. Replacing LB Anthony Walker is going to be very tough but NW should be fine. The problem I have with NW is them taking on Wisconsin & Nebraska on the road. However, they won those in 2015!
4 Computer Hope Iowa might be in somewhat of a transition season given that they are replacing their starting QB and breaking in a lot of receivers, but they return a veteran offensive line & RB Akrum Wadley who rushed for almost 1100 yards last year and averaged 6.4ypc! The projected starting QB is Nathan Stanley & if he can limit his mistakes, the Hawkeyes can play some smash mouth football. Defensively Iowa has to replace Desmond King &  Jaleel Johnson which is going to be very tough but they return 8 starters from a defense that allowed 19PPG. They have road games against Nebraska, Wisconsin & Northwestern.
5 Computer Hope I think Purdue surprises a lot of people and not only jumps out of the basement of the Big West, but jumps it by two places. If not for back to back road games against Northwestern & Iowa, I could potentially put the Boilermakers up to 4th. I’m a HUGE believer in QB David Blough & I think he’ll only get better under new HC Jeff Brohm. Purdue is pretty young offensively but RB Markell Jones can run a bit & Blough has a solid TE in Cole Herdman. The defense returns 8 starters on a terrible unit but LB Markus Bailey shows promise and frankly the D can’t get any worse. Getting Minnesota at home off a bye pushes them up.
6 Computer Hope I can’t wait to see how the Gophers “ROW THE BOAT” under new HC PJ Fleck, but this season might get away from the new HC as Minnesota has road games against Purdue, Michigan, Iowa & Northwestern while taking on Wisconsin and Nebraska at home. That could be 6 conference losses before the rowing ever gets started. The good news is that the offense wasn’t awful last season and RB Rodney Smith returns behind a decent O-Line. Minny breaks in a new QB in Demry Croft, but outgoing QB Mitch Leidner wasn’t great. The Gophers bring back just 5 on defense but DT Steven Richardson is a solid player in the middle.
7 Computer Hope Oh Lovie! Illinois is in for some heartache as the Illini bring back 5 starters from an offense that scored 19.7PPG and just 6 starters on a defense that allowed 31.9PPG. Smith had a tough road to hoe when he took over in Urbana-Champaign as Illinois hadn’t been good in almost a decade. The roster was depleted so it needs to be rebuilt. While Smith will hopefully depend on Virginia Tech transfer Dwayne Lawson to take over at QB, Smith is going about things a little bit different than Chris Ash at Rutgers in that he’s relying on recruits to build the roster up. The problem is that he’s not hammering the recruiting trail well.



BIG 10 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

EAST BIG 10 CHAMPIONSHIP WEST
Computer Hope Frankly I think this game is going to get ugly. The Cornhuskers actually host the Buckeyes on October 14th so in some ways we should be able to see a preview of this game before it happens. Nebraska hopefully takes copious notes because on paper this looks like a massive pounding just waiting to happen. From an historical perspective I think it’s interesting because you get two historically great programs, but the on field product might be disastrous for Nebraska. Nebraska doesn’t have any chance to stop the Buckeyes in this one. Computer Hope

August 19, 2017 Posted by | Big 10, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan St., Minnesota, NCAA, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio St, Penn St., Predictions, Preseason, Previews, Purdue, Rutgers, Wisconsin | Leave a comment

2017 SEC PREVIEW AND PREDICTIONS

My college previews kick off with the Southeastern Conference! I think there are some very interesting storylines going on within each division this season. In the West I think it’s going to be very difficult to knock off Alabama given all the weapons they return on offense along with what should be another top-10 defense, but after Alabama it gets really interesting. Auburn draws the Tide at home this year and if Jarrett Stidham takes the reigns for War Eagle and starts rolling, Auburn could make a legit run for the SEC West. I don’t think you can say the same about LSU because their QB situation isn’t ideal and they have to travel to Tuscaloosa, but if they beat Auburn on October 14th in Baton Rouge, then LSU could very well be 8-0 and coming off a bye against a potentially 8-0 Alabama team coming off a bye as well. Those 3 teams will make it interesting but the Auburn/LSU game could determine quite a bit.

After the Big 3 in the West it gets interesting. I think Mississippi St. has some of that 2014 feel to them when they started 9-0 and were ranked #1 in the nation before traveling to Tuscaloosa and dropping a game to Alabama 25-20. Nick Fitzgerald could be on the cusp of being a star and it’ll be interesting to see how he plays. Kevin Sumlin is on the hot seat in College Station and I could see the bottom dropping out on on the Aggies as they try to replace so many players on defense and at receiver. Arkansas should be better or even Bret Bielema could start feeling heat and of course the Ole Miss situation is unfortunate as the Rebels looked to have a talented team with a very talented QB in Shea Patterson. The #4-#7 spots could get interesting in the West and I even think Mississippi St. has a chance to climb into that top-3.

The East is even more interesting as I think teams like Kentucky and South Carolina have a real chance to upset the apple cart and move ahead of division stalwarts Florida and Tennessee. Mark Stoops has built up the Kentucky roster to where I think it can compete if it is a veteran led squad with a favorable schedule. The Wildcats have 17 returning starters and get both Tennessee and Florida in Lexington! South Carolina can be a squad that can compete with Florida and Tennessee on the recruiting trail, and I think Will Muschamp is on his way to doing so with the Gamecocks. Carolina returns 10 starters on offense, but QB Jake Bentley is special. SC gets both Kentucky & Florida at home which I think pushes them to 2nd place behind Georgia in the East. I also think it’ll be interesting to see how much heat Jim McElwain’s seat gets in Gainesville if the Gators have a disappointing season and if Butch Jones can survive another year in Knoxville without an SEC title or even a 10-win season. Would 5-years be enough?

Finally, keep an eye on Missouri & Vanderbilt. Missouri under Barry Odom is quietly getting better and while I think they should be better than last year’s 4-8, it’ll be interesting to see what strides they can take in 2017 because 2018 should be their coming out party. Vanderbilt is also interesting to watch. The program is making strides under HC Derek Mason and it’ll be interesting to see if Mason can take the Commodores to the heights that his predecessor James Franklin reached.

The SEC is the best conference in college football for a reason so it’s no surprise the storylines are endless as we head into the 2017 season!

# TEAM SEC WEST
1 Computer Hope Impossible to go against the Tide at this point. QB Jalen Hurts returns behind a dynamic O-Line. Bo Scarbrough & Damien Harris return at tailback and WR Calvin Ridley is poised to become a 1st Team All-American. Lose LT Cam Robinson? Replace him with Jonah Williams! Defensively the Tide lost a truckload of star talent to the NFL, but it’s Alabama where there are 3-4 five star players on the depth chart. Minkah Fitzpatrick could move to safety alongside Ronnie Harrison. Da’Ron Payne & Da’Shawn Hand are going to dominate up front. I think the 2016 version is better, but they’re still good enough to win it all.
2 Computer Hope If the Tigers didn’t travel to Tuscaloosa on November 4th, I probably would have taken the Bayou Bengals to win the West. Derrius Guice is a MAN playing against boys in college. What makes him scarier is that he’s playing in front of a couple of interior O-Linemen in Will Clapp & Maea Teuhema who could be All-Americans. I think QB Danny Etling will make fewer mistakes & keep LSU away from turnovers. The Tigers lost a TON on defense but return Arden Key who is the best pass rusher in American and DC Dave Aranda is outstanding. With the talent LSU has, they’ll post another top-10 defense in 2017.
3 Computer Hope I’m buying QB Jarrett Stidham and he could be the best QB Auburn has had since Cam Newton was screaming War Eagle and we saw how that worked out in 2010! Gus Malzahn is an offensive genius so if Stidham works out Auburn is going to score in spades with weapons like RB Kamryn Pettway, WR Darius SLaton, WR Nate Craig-Myers & WR Kyle Davis. Defensive the Tigers bring back 6 of their top-7 tacklers but losing Montravius Adams & Carl Lawson will be felt. I think DE Marlon Davidson will need to be huge. This Auburn team has crazy upside & gets Alabama at home. They are playoff contenders.
4 Computer Hope In case you didn’t know, his name is Nick Fitzgerald and the QB is a MONSTER! Last year Fitzgerald passed for 2423yds & 21TD while also rushing for 1375yds & 16TD! The Bulldogs have a little but of that 2014 feel to them and if they can beat LSU at home and upset Georgia & Auburn in back-to-back road games, they have a clear path to 9-0 before they welcome in Alabama on November 11th, a week after the Tide host LSU. That’s a lot to ask but back in 2014, Mississippi St. beat 3 top-10 ranked teams in a row (at LSU, Texas A&M, Auburn) en route to 9-0 and the #1 ranking before being upended by Alabama 25-20.
5 Computer Hope Things haven’t gone exactly to plan for Bret Bielema since leaving Wisconsin, but this season should provide him with a chance to play his style of football. The Hogs lose RB Rawleigh Williams, but Devwah Whaley has immense talent and should be able to replicate Williams production because the O-Line he’ll be running behind is tremendous led by All-American C Frank Ragnow. QB Austin Allen is a senior and should be solid. Defensively Arkansas returns 6 starters and 5 of their back-7. They’ll struggle to get pressure on opposing QBs which I think limits their upside but if they ball control they could win close ones.
6 Computer Hope I don’t know if there is a better RB/WR duo in college football than Trayveon Williams & Christian Kirk, but the Aggies are going to try and break in a rFR at QB in Nick Starkel behind a fairly inexperienced O-Line. Even with Kirk returning, the Aggies lost a ton of outside talent. Defensively I don’t even know how A&M replaces Myles Garrett, Daeshon Hall, Justin Evans & Shaan Washington! HUGE LOSSES. I think there is a good chance A&M loses their opener at UCLA and if that happens then HC Kevin Sumlin’s seat is going to be blisteringly hot! A&M also has some brutal home games. This could get bad in a hurry!
7 Computer Hope Ole Miss is somewhat of a wild card with Hugh Freeze leaving the program and Matt Luke taking over as interim HC. It’s too bad really because the Rebels have some upside to this team. The offense has a potentially outstanding O-Line with 4 starters returning and Greg Little manning LT. QB Shea Patterson has some tremendous upside and the Rebels have solid skill position players. Defensively, Ole MIss returns 6 starters & 5 of their top-7 tacklers. DE Marquis Haynes returned for his senior year & he’ll be one of the best edge rushers in the nation. NT Benito Jones should also be a force up front. Very tough to predict.

 

# TEAM SEC EAST
1 Computer Hope There might be some questions surrounding the offense with the O-Line being young and QB Jake Fromm potentially pushing QB Jacob Eason for starting time but worst comes to worst how hard is it to hand the ball off to Nick Chubb or Sony Michel? These hairy dogs have enough talent on the outside to keep defenses honest. What stands out about UGA is their defense. Trenton Thompson might be the best DT in college football while Davin Bellamy & Lorenzo Carter might be the best pair of edge rushers. Georgia returns their ILBs and secondary as well. HC Kirby Smart knows a thing or two about top defenses!
2 Computer Hope This could be the most surprising team in college football this season. QB Jake Bentley completed 66% of his passes last year as a true frosh and the Gamecocks have 10 returning starters back on offense including all their skill players. TE Hayden Hurst has a chance to make a HUGE impact. Defensively South Carolina is going to need Dante Sawyer to provide a legitimate threat off the edge but LB Skai Moore returns & will combine with Bryson Allen-Williams to give SC a solid pair of LBs. Both corners return & I think Will Muschamp is going to do some great things in Columbia just like another former Florida head coach.
3 Computer Hope I think the SEC is a little topsy-turvy this season and Kentucky benefits by getting both Tennessee and Florida in Lexington. If they can get those wins I think the Wildcats could have a banner season. HC Mark Stoops has a talented roster and UK returns 8 starters on offense & 9 on defense. If there is going to be a time for Kentucky to make a move, it’s this season. CJ Conrad, Benny Snell & Stephen Johnson should keep the offense humming with 4 returning starters on the O-Line. Denzil Ware, Jordan Jones & Mike Edwards should be solid up front on defense. Kentucky could potentially get to 8-9 wins this season.
4 Computer Hope I think Florida is in a precarious situation. They are probably already behind Florida St. when it comes to recruiting the top tier talent within the state, but Mark Richt going to Miami-FL makes things extremely difficult as well. I love Jim McElwain as a HC, but right now I’d say he’s behind Richt & Jimbo Fisher in recruiting. Florida also already has turmoil coming out of the program with the suspensions including WR Antonio Callaway for the opener against Michigan. Florida isn’t sold on Luke Del Rio being the starting QB either & the defense returns just 5 starters. After 2 SEC East titles, this year feels like transition.
5 Computer Hope Like Kevin Sumlin at Texas A&M, I’m going to be surprised to see Butch Jones make it out alive in Knoxville this season. The Vols have talent to be sure, but I think losing guys like QB Josh Dobbs, DE Derek Barnett, LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin and CB Cameron Sutton are going to be hard to overcome. UT also has road games against Florida, Alabama, & Kentucky. They get LSU, Georgia & South Carolina at home which are going to be exceedingly difficult games to win. I think losing Alvin Kamara is going to be bigger than people think. Josh Malone is a loss too. I like the talent here but a lot of key pieces are gone from 2016.
6 Computer Hope It is going to be very difficult for Derek Mason to recreate what James Franklin did here at Vanderbilt but Mason is trying his best. In his first year, Vandy went 3-9. Last year in his 3rd,  the Commodores were 6-7 and got to a bowl game. This year Vandy returns 9 starters on offense including QB Kyle Shumur who has generated some buzz this offseason. Ralph Webb is a work horse out of the backfield & Vandy returns their top-9 receivers from a season ago. Defensively, Vanderbilt has made huge strides since Mason’s first season & while they do lose Zach Cunningham, they return 7 starters from a unit that was solid.
7 Computer Hope I would have had Missouri in 6th but they play at Vanderbilt so I put the Commodores one spot ahead. HC Gary Pinkel is a legend in Columbia, but I hope Barry Odom sticks around because he’s on the cusp of doing something great at Mizzou. This season the Tigers have a TON coming back on offense, but I want to see QB Drew Lock improve his accuracy. Missouri has a chance to be REALLY SPECIAL in 2018 assuming Lock comes back. RB Damarea Crockett is a MONSTER. Defensively I think Missouri misses Charles Harris & Aarion Penton quite a bit. They return 5 starters but again look towards 2018 for this unit.



SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

EAST SEC CHAMPIONSHIP WEST
Computer Hope I think this could be a lot closer game than people would expect and here is why. Alabama is going to try and run the football which they should, but Georgia is STOUT in the middle with Trenton Thompson & John Atkins on the line and LBs Roquan Smith & Natrez Patrick filling it up. If Alabama goes pass then UGA has some ELITE pass rushers in Davin Bellamy & Lorenzo Carter. This of course is assuming that Alabama’s offense can actually be stopped and Georgia can get anything going against what will surely be a tough Tide defense. Alabama wins. Computer Hope

August 18, 2017 Posted by | Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi St., Missouri, NCAA, Predictions, Preseason, Previews, SEC, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas AM, Vanderbilt | Leave a comment

2017 PRESEASON WEEK 1 – ROOKIE REPORT

TEAM COMMENTS
Computer Hope Hasson Reddick was Arizona’s first round pick out of Temple. Had a couple of tackles against the Cowboys in the Hall of Fame game and then didn’t do much against Oakland in Week 1. Projects to be one of Arizona ILBs. Second round pick S Budda Baker had 5 tackles against the Raiders and a PBU. I think it would be interesting to see the Cards get Baker, Tyrann Mathieu & Patrick Peterson on the field at the same time. 3rd Rd. WR Chad Williams had a catch against Dallas but not against Oakland.
Computer Hope Atlanta’s 1st Rd. pick OLB Takk McKinley is still recovering from shoulder surgery and didn’t play in Atlanta’s opener against Miami. The Falcons had to be happy about 3rd Rd. LB Duke Reilly who led the team in tackles with 5 and should combine with Deion Jones & De’Vondre Campbell to give Atlanta a tremendous ILB corps. 5th Rd. CB Demontae Kazee had a couple of tackles. He’s in the running for nickle CB. 5th RB Brian Hill didn’t look so hot with 10 yards on 9 carries. No receptions.
Computer Hope Ravens 1st Rd. Pick CB Marlon Humphrey didn’t get any run time in Baltimore’s opener against the Redskins. Second round pick OLB Tyus Bowser looked solid though with a 3 tackles and getting to the QB a couple of times. The Ravens are hoping Bowser can provide some needed pass rush. DE Chris Wormley had a TFL. Was hoping to see edge rusher Tim Williams, but he didn’t play. 6th Rd. S Chuck Clark got a hit on the QB in limited play. This was a pretty good showing for the Ravens rookies.
Computer Hope I’m not entirely sure he’s their QB of the future but getting QB Nathan Peterman was fantastic value for the Bills & he had a good opener against the Vikings going 13/25 for 112yds & a TD without taking a sack. Not bad considering it’s the Vikings. Peterman even ran the ball 4 times for 26 yards. 2nd Rd. WR Zay Jones had no run time and 1st Rd. CB Tre’Davious White had a tackle in limited time. 5th Rd. LB Matt Milano had a tackle. He’s sort of an interesting WIL/S hybrid type of player.
Computer Hope Was excited to see how Carolina got 1st Rd. RB Christian McCaffery and 2nd Rd. WR Curtis Samuel involved in the offense. Samuel didn’t get run time but McCaffery ran for 33 yards on 7 carries which wasn’t too bad. I was also curious to see how 3rd Rd. DE Daeshon Hall would play as some reports had scouts a bit down on him but he got to the QB a few times which looked pretty good. Hall is one to watch. He’s still somewhat raw with quite a bit of room to get better. I think Carolina might have stole one.
Computer Hope The obvious storyline is #2 overall pick QB Mitch Trubisky lighting it up in his first NFL action. Trubisky went 18/25 (72%) for 166yds and a TD. Trubisky took 47 snaps & looked the part of a franchise QB. It’ll be interesting to see what he does in the 2nd game. 2nd Rd. TE Adam Shaheen had a catch for 9 yards. He’s another one I’m looking forward to seeing more of. Shaheen played college ball at Ashland so he hasn’t seen much competition but he’s 6’6/280lbs with athleticism. Those guys are rare.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. WR John Ross didn’t play but I was more interested in seeing 2nd Rd. pick RB Joe Mixon. Mixon played well running for 31 yards on just 6 carries. He caught his only target resulting in 11 yards. Mixon could push Cincy to the playoffs. Cincy also had to be ecstatic over the play of 3rd Rd. DE Jordan Willis who made a few tackles & got after the QB! He looked good. 4th round WR Josh Malone caught a TD pass. 4th Round DE Carl Lawson didn’t do much. 4th Rd DT Ryan Glasgow got to the QB.
Computer Hope The #1 overall pick Myles Garrett didn’t play a ton but looked every bit the part of an ELITE pass rusher. I wanted to see Cleveland’s other 1st Round picks in DB Jabrill Peppers and TE David Njoku but Peppers basically returned kicks. The story though belongs to 2nd Rd. QB Deshone Kizer who played exceedingly well going 11/18 (61%) for 184yds & a TD. There were still some rough spots but it was a good showing. 3rd Rd. DT Larry Ogunjobi didn’t get much run time. He’s intriguing.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. DE Taco Charlton played well for the Cowboys against the Rams getting 3 tackles, a sack, a TFL and a QBH. The Cowboys need outside pressure so Charlton playing well is a boon. Dallas also needs 2nd Rd. pick Chidobe Owuzie and 3rd Rd. pick Jourdan Lewis to play well in the secondary but neither played in Week 1. The standout player in Week 1 was 6th Rd. safety Xavier Woods who led the team with 7 tackles. Woods was a steal in the 6th round & could help fortify the secondary.
Computer Hope Slated to be Denver’s starting LT when the season starts, 1st Rd. LT Garett Bolles didn’t look so hot in Denver’s opener against the Bears. 2nd Rd. edge rusher DeMarcus Walker looked pretty good which is amazing considering he adds to Denver’s already considerable pass rushing ability. 3rd Rd. CB Brendan Langley got a bit of run time and looked good. 5th Rd. WR Isaiah McKenzie went wild catching just one pass but taking it to the paint for a 47yd TD! McKenzie has some juice to his game.
Computer Hope Detroit’s 1st Rd. pick LB Jarrad Davis wasn’t anything to write home about. He didn’t play much. CB Teez Tabor got some run time and made 3 tackles. 3rd Rd. WR Kenny Golladay had a FANTASTIC day catching 3 balls for 53 yards including 2TD! Golladay has a huge ceiling with his size at 6’4/220lbs. 4th Rd TE Mike Roberts caught 4 balls! 4th Rd. LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin had 6 tackles. 5th Rd. CB Jamal Agnew & 6th Rd. DE Jeremiah Ledbetter played well. 6th Rd. QB Brad Kaaya was great.
Computer Hope 2nd Rd. CB Kevin King had a solid game making some wrap up tackles but getting beat on a couple of balls. He’s still learning. 2nd Rd. S Josh Jones had a great game grading out as one of Green Bay’s top players & making 4 tackles. 3rd Rd. DT Montravious Adams and 4th Rd. LB Vince Beigel didn’t get any run time. 5th Rd. WR DeAngelo Yancey showed some flash with 3 catches for 67 yards. King & Jones playing well is a great for Green Bay as their secondary getting better improves the team.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. QB Deshaun Watson is clearly going to make it a battle with Tom Savage to start at QB. Watson looked pretty good going 15/25 for 179yds. He also ran for 24yds & a TD looking pretty slippery. 3rd Rd. RB Dont’a Foreman also went off rushing for 76 yards on only 9 carries and also caught 2 balls. I know Houston has Lamar Miller but Foreman is a BEAST! 2nd Rd. LB Zach Cunningham led the team with 7 tackles. 4th Rd. DT Carlos Watkins was solid. Overall a very good day for Houston.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. S Malik Hooker got into the game early & did patrol centerfield for the Colts but didn’t see a ton of action but did make 4 tackles. 2nd Rd. CB Quincy Wilson got quite a bit of run time and made 4 tackles. 3rd Rd. edge rusher Tarell Basham had a tackle for loss and played well. I was hoping to see 4th Rd RB Marlon Mack, but he didn’t play. 5th Rd. LB Anthony Walker had a couple of tackles and I think he has a chance to be good. Indy has to be pleased with the effort of their defensive rookies.
Computer Hope Advanced metrics weren’t too pleased with 1st Rd. RB Leonard Fournette, but the LSU product did run for 31yds and a score. He didn’t lack for confidence after the game either which you have to like. 2nd Rd. OT Cam Robinson was outstanding not allowing a sack & looking even better run blocking than pass protecting! 3rd Rd. DE Dawuane Smoot looked good with 6 tackles. 4th Rd. WR DeDe Westbrook had only 1 catch but it was for a 42 yard TD! 7th Rd. CB Jalen Myrick made a couple of tackles.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. QB Pat Mahomes did a great job going 7/9 for 49yds & a TD. Mahomes took some time getting rid of the football but it’s early still & he impressed. 2nd Rd. DE Tanoh Kpassagnon didn’t get a ton of run time but is a load at 6’7/285lbs. 5th Rd. LB Ukeme Eligwe was pretty active in the middle recording 5 tackles. Kansas City didn’t get much out of their skill position draft picks, 3rd Rd. RB Kareem Hunt and 4th Rd. WR Jehu Chesson. Still, Mahomes is the story here & KC has to be pretty happy.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. WR Mike Williams didn’t play as he’s recovering from a back injury. LA hopes to have him in October. 2nd Rd. OG Forrest Lamp was injured before preseason games start & will miss the entire season. 3rd Rd. OG Dan Feeney was OK. 4th Rd. safety Rayshawn Jenkins had 6 tackles while 5th Rd. CB Desmond King had a tremendous game picking up 4 tackles and a pass defended. 7th Rd. DE Isaac Rochell played well with 5 tackles, a QBH and a half sack. He could be interesting going forward.
Computer Hope 2nd Rd. TE Gerald Everett looked decent with 2 catches while 3rd Rd. WR Cooper Kupp looked tremendous grabbing 2 balls for 35 yards, one for 19 and the other for 16. Kupp even had a tackle. 6th Rd. DT Tanzel Smart didn’t get a ton of run time but was very disruptive when he was on the field. Smart is kind of interesting because he’s built a lot like Aaron Donald with some of the same traits. He’ll get to learn from Donald so I wonder if he’ll maximize his talents? Donald & Smart together would be fun.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. DE Charles Harris was OK but mostly went up against a tackle from tackle from Atlanta that was a recent convert from TE. He didn’t accumulate any stats but got some decent pressure at times. 2nd Rd. LB Raekwon McMillan has been lost for the season due to injury. That’s a big loss. 3rd Rd. CB Cordrea Tankersley led the team with 6 tackles but was just OK in pass coverage. 5th Rd. DT Davon Godchaux had a couple of tackles and I know Miami is hoping he can play alongside Ndamukong Suh.
Computer Hope 2nd Rd. RB Dalvin Cook showed a lot of teams they made a mistake passing on him. Cook ran for 13 yards on 5 carries but caught all 4 of his targets for 30 yards. He completely changes the offense. 3rd Rd. C Pat Elflein played well and should continue to do so. 4th Rd TD Jaleel Johnson had a great game grabbing a sack, TFL and QBH. 4th Rd. LB Ben Gedeon had 6 tackles. Undrafted DE Tayshawn Bower was dominant against backups notching a sack and 2 QBH. 5th Rd. WR Rodney Adams caught a TD pass.
Computer Hope 4th Rd. Dietrich Wise made a couple of tackles but the Patriots don’t have very much by way of rookies seeing how they converted quite a few of their draft picks into Kony Ealy and Brandin Cooks. Undrafted TE Jacob Hollister lost his mind catching 7 balls on 9 targets for 116 yards! The two targets he missed were uncatchable. Undrafted RB LeShun Daniels led NE in carries with 11 and had 39 yards. Undrafted WR Austin Carr had 5 catches for 44yds/TD. Undrafted S Damarius Travis was good.
Computer Hope No playing time for 1st Rd. CB Marshon Lattimore which has to be concerning given his injury history. 3rd Rd. LB Alex Anzalone had a great game with 3 tackles and excellent physical ability. 2nd Rd. S Marcus Williams was OK. 1st Rd. OT Ryan Ramczyk didn’t play. 3rd Rd. RB Alvin Kamara looked good running for 35 yards on just 4 carries including a 22-yard jaunt. The Saints need to get their 1st round picks on the field but Williams & Anazalone’s play has to feel pretty good for the defense.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. TE Evan Engram caught one ball for 11 yards but has a chance to be special in this offense. 2nd Rd. DT Dalvin Tomlinson had a great game with 4 tackles and lots of run stops. He even got some inside pressure. New York has to feel good about him replacing Jonathan Hankins. 3rd Rd. QB Davis Webb was just OK but has an odd pocket presence about him. 4th Rd. Wayne Gallman wasn’t particularly effective. The Giants didn’t have a ton of draft picks but Engram and Tomlinson played well enough.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. S Jamal Adams barely played but was versatile lining up as a S, LB and CB. Can you believe he actually plays for the Jets!? 2nd Rd. S Marcus Maye was decent too giving New York’s secondary future a very bright outlook. 3rd Rd. WR ArDarius Stewart caught one ball as did 4th Rd. WR Chad Hansen and 5th Rd. TE Jordan Leggett. For the most part nobody hit any home runs for the Jets in their draft class, but Adams flashed an that is really what Jets fans should be concerned with.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. CB Gareon Conley didn’t play and it’s unclear when he will get on the field with some type of shins injury. 2nd Rd S Obi Melifonwu didn’t get any run time either.  3rd Rd. DT Eddie Vanderdoes got a little bit of time in. I like his game. 5th Rd. LB Marquel Lee was 2nd on the team in tackles with 6 & got quite a bit of playing time. 7th Rd. S Shalom Luani had an outstanding game with 6 tackles and a pass defended. Oakland went big on defense in ’17 draft and their late round picks have shown well.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. DE Derek Barnett was outstanding with 4 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 TFL and 2 QBH on only 16 pass rush snaps! 2nd Rd. CB Sidney Jones is out for the year with an Achilles injury but 3rd Rd. CB Rasul Douglas had a great game and 4th Rd. WR Mack Hollins flashed huge with 4 catches for 64 yards & a TD! 4th Rd. RB Donnel Pumphrey ran for just 5 yards on 4 carries but I was excited to see him. 6th Rd. DT Elijah Qualls had a big day notching 4 pressures and a run stop. Very excited about Barnett.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. LB TJ Watt was A MONSTER! Watt got a ton of run time with 62 snaps but cashed in with 5 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 3 QBH and a pass defended. 2nd Rd. WR JuJu Smith only caught 1 ball for 4 yards. 4th Rd. QB Josh Dobbs had a brutal start to the game, but showed good ability on deep balls which was nice. I was really hoping to see 3rd Rd. RB James Connor and 3rd Rd. CB Cameron Sutton get some run time but neither did. I really liked them as college players and Connor has a fantastic story.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. DE Solomon Thomas was outstanding playing with the 1st and 2nd units. Thomas did a great job getting pressure on the QB but also sealing the edge against the run. 1st Rd. LB Reuben Foster was just as good showing a tremendous ability to drop back into coverage. 3rd Rd. QB CJ Beathard looked good in garbage time going 7/11 for 101 & 2TD although he took 2 sacks. 4th Rd. RB Joe Williams looked good rushing for 60 yards on just 7 carries! 5th Rd. WR Trent Taylor caught a couple of balls too.
Computer Hope 3rd Rd. DT Nazair Jones had a great game playing 34 snaps and recording 4 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 QBH and 1 pass broken up. Seattle fans have to be ecstatic about Jones’ play given the 2nd Rd. DT Malik McDowell’s ATV injury this past offseason that will probably cost McDowell all of 2017. 4th Rd. S Tedric Thompson had a couple of tackles. 7th Rd. RB Chris Carson ran for 2TD & 19 yards on 7 carries. 7th Rd. WR David Moore made a couple of catches & is a good looking receiver trying to make the 53-man roster.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. TE OJ Howard didn’t have a single target but lined up as the TE with the first unit and showed solid blocking ability. 2nd Rd. S Justin Evans has a chance to be a special player in the NFL and he got off to a good start making 5 tackles. 3rd Rd. LB Kendell Beckwith had a monster game with 5 tackles, a sack and a TFL! I was hoping to see Tampa potentially cut 5th Rd. RB Jeremy McNichols loose a bit but he only got 2 carries that went for 12 yards and had just a single target in the passing game.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. WR Corey Davis didn’t play which was disappointing but he’s nursing a hamstring injury & should be ready to go soon. 1st Rd. CB Adoree Jackson showed his versatility lining up at CB but also returning kicks. He looked good against the run. 3rd Rd. WR Taywan Taylor led the Titans in receiving with 4 receptions for 56 yards & was targeted 9 times! 5th Rd. LB Jayon Brown had 4 tackles/1 TFL. 3rd Rd. TE Jonnu Smith was targeted twice but didn’t make any catches. Can’t wait to see what he can do.
Computer Hope Arguably the best player in the 2017 NFL Draft, 1st Rd. DE Jonathan Allen didn’t disappoint racking up a sack and a QB hit in only 21 snaps playing with the first team. 2nd Rd. LB Ryan Anderson didn’t disappoint either racking up a lot of QB pressure off the edge in his debut. 4th Rd. RB Samarje Perine didn’t look so hot rushing for 15 yards on 6 carries. 5th Rd. TE Jeremy Sprinkle had a catch. 6th Rd. WR Robert Davis had a catch & he’s a very intriguing prospect at WR. 7th Rd. S Josh Harvey Clemons was good.

August 18, 2017 Posted by | Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, NFL, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Preseason, Rookies, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins | Leave a comment

TERRIFIC 20: TOP 20 OL FOR 2017 NCAA FOOTBALL

THE BIG UGLIES!!! One thing that is incredible about learning as much as you can about football is realizing how important the O-Line play is. If your team can’t block then it’s screwed. I think the evolution of talent evaluation and where it ranks in building a team roster is interesting though. As teams become more pass heavy, it’s important to realize how to build a winning team. You always have to build your team up with a QB, but for the longest time the thought was that after QB, your LT was the most important position. I think in recent NFL drafts you have seen that change in that teams will now be more likely to build their teams at QB first, but then start in with edge rushers, corners and interior defensive linemen. In an odd way this legitimizes just how important the offensive lineman are, because if teams are valuing D-Linemen at an all time high, then the O-Linemen needed to block them must be equally as important.

One things seems certain. You might be able to have a bad team with a good offensive line because you haven’t properly surrounded that particular O-Line with the right pieces, but it’s practically impossible to have a good team with a bad O-Line. This should illustrate just how important these positions are.

A quick reminder, the 20 players are listed alphabetically by their team. As I’ve said before, I don’t try to actually rank the top-20 because I’m not entirely sure how much value added I’d receive by doing so. The margins are fairly thin between some of the players.

TEAM COMMENTS
Computer Hope Jonah Williams/6’5/301lbs/SO: Williams immediately stepped into the starting role at right tackle as a true freshman and didn’t disappoint earning 3rd Team All-SEC honors playing opposing Cam Robinson who was himself a 1st Team All-American. According to Alabama statistics, Williams actually graded out as a better O-Lineman than Robinson which is crazy. Earned Alabama’s offensive player of the week 5 different times. Didn’t allow a sack in games against LSU or Texas A&M! Williams looks like a 1st Rd. pick.
Computer Hope Frank Ragnow/6’6/319lbs/SR: Ragnow is the best center in college football and should have no problems being a 1st Team All-American. He’s incredibly smart and will be an NFL starter sooner rather than later. In what has to be one of the most amazing stats of current college football players, Ragnow hasn’t allowed a QB sack for two straight seasons! Arkansas should be a lot better on the O-Line this year with 4 starters returning. Devwah Whaley should run well & Austin Allen will be well protected by Ragnow.
Computer Hope Braden Smith/6’6/305lbs/SR: Smith turned down overtures from the NFL last season to return to Auburn for his senior year. A big nasty on the interior of the Tigers O-Line, Smith will kick out to right tackle this year to help protect new QB Jarrett Stidham, the transfer from Baylor. Smith was a 3rd Team All-American as a junior. He was a 2nd Team All-SEC player as a sophomore and made the All-SEC freshman team as a true frosh. He’s made 27 straight starts. He’ll have no trouble moving to RT this year.
Computer Hope Mitch Hyatt/6’5/295lbs/JR: Hyatt stepped in as a freshman in 2015 and started at LT for 15 starts, protecting Deshaun Watson’s blindside as Clemson barely lost to Alabama 45-40 in the national championship game. He did the same as a sophomore except this time Clemson closed the deal and beat the Crimson Tide 35-31. In two seasons as a starter at LT, Clemson is 28-2 during Hyatt’s tenure. Hyatt was a freshman All-American in 2015 and was 1st Team All-ACC in 2016. He’ll be an integral part for Clemson.
Computer Hope Martez Ivey/6’5/305lbs/JR: An outstanding talent, Ivey was considered the best O-Line prospect in the 2015 high school recruiting class by Phil Steele. The Florida native chose the Gators over practically ever other program in the country. Has made 20 starts at LG over his first two seasons but Florida is finally moving him to LT where they had hoped he would eventually wind up. Ivey should handle the transition well. He earned 2nd Team All-SEC honors last season. Florida has yet to not win the SEC East with Ivey.
Computer Hope Will Clapp/6’3/309lbs/rJR: Clapp was an outstanding interior O-Lineman last year for the Tigers helping Derrius Guice and Leonard Fournette combine to rush for 2230 yards & 23TD! Those numbers aren’t a typo! Clapp earned 1st Team All-SEC honors last year at LG and will make the switch to C after Ethan Pocic moved on to the Seattle Seahawks. Pocic was a 2nd Team All-American and I’ve read reports where quite a few people felt Clapp outplayed Pocic at times in 2016. If true, Clapp is in for a monster year.
Computer Hope Maea Teuhema/6’5/315lbs/JR: Big and nasty! Teuhema hasn’t gotten a ton of national attention just yet but I think that is about to change as he’s a legitimate All-American candidate who is going to pave the way for Derrius Guice to have a monster year that should put him in the Heisman discussion. Teuhema was a freshman All-American back in 2015 when he started at LG. Last year he kicked out to RT as a starter but should kick back in to RG this year as his run blocking is outstanding. He could be a 1st Rd. pick.
Computer Hope Mason Cole/6’5/305lbs/SR: Mason Cole became the first player in Wolverines history to start a season opening game on the O-Line back in 2014. Cole has bounced around a bit on Michigan’s O-Line being a tackle in 2015 before being move to center in 2016 an earning 1st Team All-Big 10 honors. Cole will bounce back out to LT this season as the most veteran offensive lineman on Michigan’s line. He’s started in every Michigan game since arriving in Ann Arbor. Cole will be extremely important this year for Michigan.
Computer Hope Brian Allen/6’2/305lbs/SR: Allen is somewhat of an undersized interior lineman who has spent most of his career playing guard for the Spartans but will slide into the center’s role in 2017 for a Michigan St. squad that should be pretty young. Allen is very smart and plays with a mean streak which you see oftentimes in the Big 10 with their interior linemen. He’s been a 2nd Team All-Big 10 lineman the last two seasons. The Spartans will need an outstanding leader on the O-Line and Allen should provide that for Michigan St. in ’17.
Computer Hope Greg Little/6’6/332lbs/SO: Little is HUGE at 6’6/332lbs and has the athleticism and quickness to stick at LT despite his weight. Little really started to get attention in Ole Miss’ 29-28 win at Texas A&M when he held Myles Garrett to just one tackle. Little was considered the best O-Lineman in the 2016 high school class according to Phil Steele and eventually became the starting LT for the Rebels over their last 5 games. He’ll have the responsibility of protecting Shea Patterson’s blindside in what will be a trying season for Ole Miss.
Computer Hope Martinas Rankin/6’5/305lbs/rSR: Rankin came from the junior college ranks to Starkville and didn’t waste much time making an impression. He became the Bulldogs’ starting LT after 3 games and did a great job pass protecting for MSU QB Nick Fitzgerald who had a great season. Rankin also did a solid job in a highly effecting MSU rushing attack. He tested the NFL waters after last season but was given a 2nd round grade so Rankin decided to come back to Mississippi St. and try to improve his draft stock.
Computer Hope Mike McGlinchey/6’8/312lbs/rSR: Amazingly enough Mike McGlinchey never played LT until last season and wound up a 3rd team All-American. McGlinchey is a natural left tackle with a mean streak. He has great size at 6’8 and almost 320lbs. Has elite athleticism and arm length combined with heavy hands. He loves to run block and I’ve read reports where some scouts think he’s quite a bit better than his former teammate Ronnie Stanley who was the 6th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. He can get even better.
Computer Hope Quenton Nelson/6’5/329lbs/rJR: Big and nasty, Nelson is arguably the best guard in college football. He’s huge at 6’5/330lbs and has done a great job opening up holes on the defense during his tenure with the Irish. Nelson has somewhat of a mean streak and is incredibly smart. He’s good in pass protection as well and has had excellent coaching from Notre Dame OL coach Harry Hiestand. Combined with McGlinchey, the Irish have two potential All-Americans who could be 1st round picks. I think he’ll get better.
Computer Hope Billy Price/6’4/312lbs/rSR: Price isn’t flash but all he’s done since arriving in Columbus is start every game for the Buckeyes during a 3-year period in which Ohio St. posted a record of 37-4 and was the starting LG for the national championship team of 2014. Price is moving to center and Phil Steele makes him a 1st Team All-American in his annual, putting him above Arkansas’s Frank Ragnow. He’s gotten much better in pass protection and is already an outstanding run blocker. Price is extremely valuable.
Computer Hope Orlando Brown/6’8/360lbs/rJR: Not quite as big as Washington St.’s Cody O’Connell but Brown is enormous at 6’8/360lbs. Brown had a banner year last season earning 2nd Team All-American honors and being named the Big 12’s offensive lineman of the year. Brown will be a tricky NFL grade. He’s outstanding for the Sooners protecting Baker Mayfield in their high octane offense but he has trouble being in a 3-point stance and is obviously not very quick at the point of attack. Gotta love his size though.
Computer Hope Connor Williams/6’6/288lbs/JR: Immediately started at LT for the Longhorns as a true freshman and earned Freshman All-American honors. Followed that up last season as a sophomore by become only the 4th player in Texas history to be a 1st Team All-American as a true sophomore! Williams will be immensely important in Texas’s ability to compete in the Big XII because he needs to keep QB Shane Buechele upright. He needs to put on a bit more weight to his frame, but he’s probably NFL ready right now.
Computer Hope Scott Quessenberry/6’4/315lbs/rSR: Quessenberry has racked up 30 career starts for the Bruins and is the most veteran lineman for UCLA’s squad this season. I think Quessenberry is going to be an integral part of UCLA’s season because of the return of Josh Rosen. Rosen needs to have a huge season after his disappointing 2016 campaign and obviously having a great center would be important. Quessenberry is a smart savvy player on the interior and should do a great job quarterbacking the O-Line for UCLA.
Computer Hope Trey Adams/6’8/320lbs/JR: Adams enters the 2017 collegiate football season as arguably the best O-Line prospect in college football. He’s ENORMOUS at 6’8/320lbs with the athletic ability to play LT. Last season Adams was a 1st Team All-Pac 12 lineman and also garnered 2nd Team All-American honors. Adams really got noticed with how well he played against Alabama’s fantastic edge rushers in last year’s playoffs. He has great athleticism for his size & should continue to get better. He’s a top-5 pick in the NFL Draft.
Computer Hope Cody O’Connell/6’8/370lbs/rSR: When your nickname is “THE CONTINENT” you belong on a Terrific 20 list! O’Connell is obviously enormous and it’s interesting that he plays guard in the sense that he’s so tall at 6’8 that most coaches feel that a man of his size would clog up the passing lanes. Oddly enough Luke Falk had no problems passing for almost 4500 yards with almost 40TDs! He’s obviously not athletic enough to play in the NFL at a tackle spot but he was a 1st Team All-American guard last year!
Computer Hope Beau Benzschawel/6’6/316lbs/rJR: A kid from Wisconsin with the name Beau Benzschawel is simply destined to play on the offensive line for the Badgers. Benzschawel started in all of Wisconsin’s 14 games last year at RG and earned 2nd Team All Big 10 honors. Benzschawel is a terrific interior lineman with excellent size at 6’6 and almost 320lbs. He’s got a real chance to be a 1st Team All-American this year & make himself into a 1st Round NFL Draft pick. Wisconsin always turns out solid O-Lineman.

FIVE FRESHMAN WHO COULD MAKE A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT IN 2017

Alex Leatherwood/Alabama/6’6/327lbs: Arguably the best O-Lineman in the 2017 recruiting class, Leatherwood enrolled early at Alabama and is now the projected starting RT for the Crimson Tide going into the season. Leatherwood was a Parade All-American as a HS senior and also an Under Armour All-American. It’s not like Alabama’s depth chart is devoid of talent. There are high school All-Americans everywhere so the fact that Leatherwood immediately steps into the starter’s role means something. It means even more considering Alabama is the odds on favorite to win the national championship. Leatherwood should move to LT when Jonah Williams moves on and I’m guessing that Leatherwood is a 1st round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Foster Sarell/Stanford/6’7/320lbs and Walker Little/Stanford/6’7/315lbs: It feels wrong to have a Terrific 20 list of offensive linemen and not see anyone from Stanford or Iowa make the list. Sarell and Little could rectify that problem for the Cardinal as soon as this year. According to Phil Steele, Sarell was the best O-Line recruit in the 2017 class while Little was considered a top-10 O-Lineman. Both immediately become the most talented O-Linemen on the Stanford roster the minute they hit campus and I can’t help but think they won’t get significant playing time early. Both are tall. Both have the requisite bulk to play at the collegiate level so neither should require any redshirting to get their size up enough to play in the Pac 12. David Bright is the projected starting LT this year but Bright is 6’5/299lbs and spent time at left guard last season. The projected RT is AT Hall who is 6’3/287lbs, hardly the right size to play a mauling tackle position on the strong side. Hall started 13 games at tackle last year with 11 of them coming on the left side, but he’s projected to slide right. I wouldn’t be shocked if Sarell and Little take over the tackle spots at some point this season.

Jack Anderson/Texas Tech/6’5/315lbs: A Texas Tech legacy, Anderson was a high school All-American who turned down offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Miami-FL, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Stanford, Texas, Texas A&M and UCLA for a chance to play for the Red Raiders. He was the crown jewel for Kliff Kingsbury’s 2017 recruiting class and is projected to start right away fro the Red Raiders at guard. Anderson is an incredibly smart and intense O-Lineman that likes to maul. Guard suits him well and that is probably where he will wind up in the NFL, but at Texas Tech I could see him eventually move to RT. I think it’s a big year for Texas Tech. They break in a new starter at QB after Pat Mahomes left for the Kansas City Chiefs, but if Anderson works out then the O-Line should be really good with 3 starters returning at WR. Kingsbury & Texas Tech need to get to a bowl. Anderson could be a big part of that up front on the interior line.

Tommy Kraemer/Notre Dame/6’6/313lbs: Kraemer is arguably the most talented O-Lineman in the 2016 recruiting class but actually redshirted last season because the Irish O-Line depth was so deep. Mike McGlinchey & Alex Bars were the starting tackles. Quenton Nelson & Collin McGovern were the guards while Sam Mustipher held down the center position. Bars is moving to RG because ND can’t keep Kraemer down any longer and he’s projected to be the right tackle. The Irish are in a unique situation because in reality they could have as many as 4 potential All-Americans on the O-Line in McGlinchey, Nelson, Bars & Mustipher. ND also has a TREMENDOUS amount of weapons on offense with guys like Josh Adams, Alize Mack, Durham Smythe and Equanimeous St. Brown, Miles Boykin, CJ Sanders, Chase Claypool and Dexter Williams. What will be interesting is the play of QB Brandon Wimbush who is coming off a redshirt year watching Deshone Kizer. The left side of the O-Line has McGlinchey & Nelson. Those guys are going to hold up, but that leaves Kraemer on the right side. If he can hold up his end then Wimbush should have all day to do whatever he wants with the weapons around him.

Obinna Eze/Memphis/6’8/283lbs: Eze is a name probably a bit off the beaten path but I thought this situation was intriguing. Memphis returns practically their entire team except the LT spot which is open. Eze seems like an ideal candidate to red shirt seeing that he’s 6’8/283lbs which is HUGE but light for sure. He could stand to gain 40lbs and he’d still be fairly thin for a guy 6’8. Even so, he’s the most talented O-Lineman on the Memphis roster and right now the projected LT is Harneet Gil who is pretty light himself at 6’7/277lbs. Gil is also coming off a redshirt so he has as much playing time at Memphis in 2016 as Eze does. Memphis is going to score and they are going to score a ton with guys like Riley Ferguson, Dorland Dorceus, Tony Pollard and Anthony Miller. Whoever plays LT for the Tigers will be responsible for Ferguson’s blindside which is going to be very important. If Eze becomes that guy, he’ll have a significant impact on how good Memphis can be in 2017.

August 16, 2017 Posted by | Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, LSU, Memphis, Michigan, Michigan St., Mississippi, Mississippi St., NCAA, Notre Dame, Offensive Linemen, Ohio St, Oklahoma, Predictions, Preseason, Previews, Stanford, Terrific 20, Texas, Texas Tech, UCLA, Washington, Washington St., Wisconsin | Leave a comment

2017 NFC WEST PREVIEW AND PREDICTIONS

The NFC West has been the most split division in football the last 3 seasons. Arizona and Seattle over the last 3 years have combined for a 63-31-2 record while the 49ers & Rams have combined to finish 32-64 over the same time span. The records are almost exactly the opposite of one another & it averages out to the Seahawks & Cardinals going 11-5 every year while the 49ers & Rams finish 5-11. It’s an interesting dilemma that was made very apparent the moment Jim Harbaugh left the 49ers for Ann Arbor.

Speaking of the 49ers, has there ever been a time when such an historically great team has fallen this far this fast? The San Francisco 49ers are without a doubt the worst team in football in my opinion and they might be that way for the foreseeable future unless they can get a QB soon via the draft and it work out in spades. While the defense is full of young talent, they are moving towards a 4-3 scheme which goes against what kind of defensive playmakers they’ve been drafting of late considering they’ve spent quite a bit of draft capital on 3-4 defensive ends.

The Rams aren’t much better off unless Jared Goff improve dramatically so I’d expect there to be the same split within the division that there has been over the past few seasons. What’s really interesting to me about the division and how it will unfold is the play of Cardinals QB Carson Palmer. Palmer wasn’t great over the last half of the season and the Cardinals limped their way to a 7-8-1 record to finish the year. Palmer contemplated retiring this off-season but is coming back for his age-38 season so who knows how it’ll turn out. What’s interesting to me is if Palmer hits the wall because of age, you could arguably be looking at by far the worst division in football that will look eerily similar to what New England has faced the past decade plus with a top heavy dominant team in Seattle followed by 3 non-competitive teams for the most part.

I’m not sure we are looking at competitive playoff teams outside of the Seahawks, but this division is compelling in the sense that you have to wonder what direction the other three teams going? This becomes especially true if age catches up with Carson Palmer and Jared Goff as another bad season as a sophomore. That would seemingly put the division in a tailspin with the Seahawks in a Patriots like situation.

Note: Teams are listed in the order I think they’ll finish for the 2017 NFL season.

TEAM NFC WEST
Computer Hope Seattle has the potential to have some juice offensively but their O-Line projects to be downright woeful yet again which should cause even the most ardent Seahawks fan to question management in trying to keep Wilson upright & healthy. Seattle has some weapons on offense such as Doug Baldwin, Jimmy Graham, Tyler Lockett & potentially Eddie Lacy, but if Wilson gets killed it won’t matter. Defensively the Seahawks are still good enough to get back to the Super Bowl. Injuries are essentially the only thing that can stop Seattle. Cliff Avril hurt probably cost them a Super Bowl. Last year Earl Thomas was hurt. Health matters.
Computer Hope Arizona might have problems on offense. The thought that Carson Palmer is going to be solid is a perilous one given how worn out Palmer was last season. The receiving corps can’t keep relying on Larry Fitzgerald and the O-Line isn’t so good. Arizona has shown a reluctance to give David Johnson the ball 30 times a game and if that remains true in 2017 I could see issues offensively. Defensively the Cardinals should be formidable. I love the draft picks of Hassan Reddick & Budda Baker. They’ll combine with Chandler Jones, Deone Bucannon, Tyrann Mathieu & Patrick Peterson to be dynamic. I think the offense lags behind.
Computer Hope The Rams are trying exceedingly hard to put QB Jared Goff in a position to succeed. They went out and signed Robert Woods this offseason and drafted WRs Cooper Kupp and Josh Reynolds along with TE Gerald Everett. They then trade for Sammy Watkins a week ago. Todd Gurley should rebound and the Rams still have Tavon Austin to use as a situational weapon. The O-Line also upgraded with the additions of John Sullivan & Andrew Whitworth. Defensively I don’t quite understand the idea of going to a 3-4 especially with Aaron Donald around so that is a head-scratcher but this season is about Goff’s improvement.
Computer Hope This is by far the worst team in football. At least the Jets have an average to below average front-7 and offensive line. Every unit the 49ers are going to throw on the field in 2017 projects as below average. How horrible must it feel to be Colin Kaepernick when the 49ers are throwing out Brian Hoyer, Matt Barkley and CJ Beathard at QB and you can’t get a phone call? Defensively the 49ers are intriguing. Solomon Thomas & Reuben Foster were home run draft pics but they are still rookies. I like Eric Reid, NaVorro Bowman, Aaron Lynch, Arik Armstead & DeForest Buckner, but this is a very young defense with big questions.

August 15, 2017 Posted by | Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, NFC, NFC West, NFL, Predictions, Preseason, Previews, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks | Leave a comment

2017 NFC SOUTH PREVIEW AND PREDICTIONS

This is definitely the division where you need to get your popcorn ready! From top to bottom the NFC South has the best collection of QBs of any division in the NFL. It’s really quite amazing when you think about it. Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Cam Newton have all played in Super Bowls. Drew Brees has a Super Bowl win. Jameis Winston hasn’t gotten to a Super Bowl yet, but along with Cam Newton, he can lay claim to an NCAA Championship. There simply isn’t an easy game on the schedule within the division in regards to game planning for QBs which isn’t something you can say for any other division save the NFC East. The NFC East is pretty solid from top to bottom but Carson Wentz & Dak Prescott are entering their 2nd years while Eli Manning is getting a little long in the tooth and showing signs of decline. This puts the NFC South firmly in position as having the best collection of starting QBs.

I think it’s also worth noting that the last two NFC champions have come out of the South. Carolina & Atlanta have won the NFC the last two seasons and if you were looking for an odds on favorite to win the NFC, I don’t think you could look past Atlanta repeating as NFC champions. Furthermore, I think the division has a lot of potential to be a “worst to first” type of division, much in the same way the NFC East has shown to be. Carolina went from first in 2015 to worst in 2016. They did the same in 2002 finishing last only to finish first in 2003 and get to the Super Bowl! The Saints finished in last place in 2005 and 2008 before finishing in first place in 2006 and 2009. They’d win the Super Bowl in 2009. The Falcons were in last place in 2003 and then won the division in 2004. They went 13-3 in 2012 before falling to 4-12 in 2013!

I think we can expect more of the same in 2017. While I don’t think we have any “worst to first” candidates because Atlanta is entirely too good, I wouldn’t be shocked at all by any team in this division winning the crown and even getting to the Super Bowl. This division is just as compelling as the NFC East when you look at the story lines which makes the NFC the conference to watch in 2017.

Note: Teams are listed in the order I think they’ll finish for the 2017 NFL season.

TEAM NFC SOUTH
Computer Hope If Julio Jones isn’t hurt the Falcons are Super Bowl champions. They probably should have been champs anyway if not for ridiculous meltdown that gave the Patriots a win. This is the best offense in the NFL if only because I think the running game is better than New England’s and Julio Jones is a better WR1 than anything NE has. Defensively the Falcons are going to be better. Tak McKinley should be a good compliment to Vic Beasley on the outside and I love the Duke Riley pick who is another Deion Jones. Keanu Neal is a BEAST on the backend and Desmond Trufant returns. I think this is a better team than last year’s squad.
Computer Hope Last season the Falcons ranked 1st in the NFL in point scored and 27th in points allowed. Last season the Saints finished 2nd in point scored & 31st in points allowed. Was Atlanta & New Orleans all that different? They’ll be fine on offense even without Brandin Cooks. I think defensively the Saints made some huge upgrades in the secondary drafting Marshon Lattimore & Marcus Williams. I think Alex Anzalone can play and I’m a fan of Trey Hendrickson. I think Sheldon Rankins gets better on the D-Line too in his 2nd year & Cameron Jordan is a monster. I think there is upside. Brees & Payton are too good to keep losing.
Computer Hope The Bucs are close but what holds them behind the Saints for me is the inconsistent play of QB Jameis Winston and the fact that the O-Line is going to be terrible. Tampa did a solid job of going out and adding a playmaker in DeSean Jackson to go with Mike Evans and I can’t believe they are adding OJ Howard to this mix, but the O-Line is rough & Winston needs more protection. Doug Martin is coming off a bad season & is missing the first 3 games due to a PED suspension. Defensively the Bucs made a nice addition in Chris Baker to go with Gerald McCoy but they are missing dominant edge rushers. They’ll just miss the playoffs.
Computer Hope The Panthers did a good job of getting Cam Newton some new toys to play with in Christian McCaffery and Curtis Samuel. I think the tricky part will be how creating OC Mike Shula can get in getting those playmakers the ball, but also how well Newton can adjust to becoming a QB that isn’t constantly trying to push vertically down the field with big throws. I don’t think it’ll be easy, but Newton needs to make the adjustments. Carolina should have a solid front 7 especially with a healthy Luke Kuechly alongside Thomas Davis but their secondary is shaky. Two years ago this team was in the Super Bowl. You can’t count them out just yet.

August 15, 2017 Posted by | Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, NFC, NFC South, NFL, Predictions, Preseason, Previews, Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Leave a comment

2017 NFC NORTH PREVIEW AND PREDICTIONS

When we talk about divisional domination the easy team to look to is the New England Patriots because the domination has been so final that it’s hard to ignore. The 5 Super Bowl rings are hard to ignore as well, but the NFC North has gone through much the same thing given that the Packers have had Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers playing QB for their franchise since 1992! That’s 25-years! A quarter century!!!

During this time the Packers have won their division 12 times. They’ve finished 1st or 2nd in 20 of the 25 years! They’ve made the playoffs in 19 of the 25 seasons. They’ve been to 3 Super Bowls winning 2 of them. They’ve been to 7 conference championship games. They’ve had 16 double digit win seasons. They’ve had a losing record only twice in the last 25 years! I think the closest someone might come to these kinds of numbers is if the Indianapolis Colts stop screwing around and we get an extended look at how Andrew Luck does an then combine that with what Peyton Manning did before him.

The North is hyper competitive at the moment because the Vikings are built to win a lot of games and the Lions have Matt Stafford at QB who really came into being an ELITE QB last season. But the North still belongs to the Packers who still has the best QB in the conference if not all of football depending on how you feel about Tom Brady turning 40. The storylines will revolve around if Green Bay can be knocked off and if the Lions/Vikings can make a run, but when Aaron Rodgers tells us to relax, at this point we probably should listen!

Note: Teams are listed in the order I think they’ll finish for the 2017 NFL season.

TEAM NFC NORTH
Computer Hope Since 2009, Aaron Rodgers as QB has averaged 11 wins per season and this includes the 6-3 mark he logged in 2013 when he missed 7 games with injury. If your QB averages 11-12 wins per year, you are going to win a lot of division titles which is exactly what Rodgers has done. Could the running game be a little better? Sure, but don’t count out Ty Montgomery just yet & the O-Line is solid. Green Bay has a better defense than they showed last year. Clay Matthews is supposedly healthy & I think Kenny Clark gets better & combined with Mike Daniels up front. The corners are the big question mark, but it won’t be a hindrance.
Computer Hope Leonard Fournette is going to be amazing, but if there is a rookie RB this season who could have an Ezekiel Elliott type of effect in 2017 I think it will be Dalvin Cook. Cook adds a completely different dimension to the offense & with Adrian Peterson gone, I think the Vikings will be able to open up the playbook a bit more. Defensively, the Vikings are STACKED! They have all-pro level players at every level with Everson Griffen, Linval Joseph, Anthony Barr and Harrison Smith. This is a top-5 defense that could be even better than last season. I think the limiting reagent here is the O-Line. It keeps them from winning the North.
Computer Hope I’m hesitant to list the Lions 3rd here because the team should be a lot better in 2017. The Lions lost their last 3 regular season games which caused them the NFC North title and during this time Matt Stafford was battling a thumb injury. Also Travis Swanson missed the last 5 games as well. The O-Line has been upgraded with TJ Lang & Ricky Wagner joining Taylor Decker & Swanson. Detroit needs more out of their running attack but that is nitpicking. Defensively I love the Jarrad Davis draft pick and the defense should be healthier with Darius Slay & Ziggy Ansah returning to health. I simply don’t trust Jim Caldwell!
Computer Hope Chicago has an unsettled QB problem with them signing Mike Glennon and then drafting Mitch Trubisky with the #2 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Oddly enough Jordan Howard can run the ball & the Bears have a solid O-Line. I really like Kevin White as a receiver but right now the QB situation is in flux. Even with the QB situation settled, the Bears have to prove they can play defense. Injuries killed the Bears last season but Eddie Goldman, Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman are all healthy. Pernell McPhee is healthy & down weight. I don’t think Chicago can escape the basement, but they can be better than 2016.

August 15, 2017 Posted by | Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, NFC, NFC North, NFL, Predictions, Preseason, Previews | Leave a comment

2017 NFC EAST PREVIEW AND PREDICTIONS

Since 2005 this has probably been the most competitive division in football. It ranks ahead of the AFC North because the North has had Cleveland which has been a non-competitive football team for a very long time. From 2005-2016, the Giants & Cowboys have both averaged 9 wins per season. The Eagles have averaged 8 while the Redskins have averaged 7. Dallas leads the division with 4 division titles during this span but the Giants & Eagles both have 3 while the Redskins have managed 2 themselves.

There has even been a “worst to first” trend in the division for quite some time. The Eagles won the division in 2004 only to finish in last place in 2005 before climbing back to first place in 2006! The Cowboys accomplished the same feat finishing first in 2014 before falling to last in 2015 only to win the division in 2016! The Redskins finished in last place in 2011, won the division in 2012 and then fell back to last place in 2013. Only the Giants have seemed to avoid the schizophrenic nature of going worst to first and back to worst although in 2004 they went from a tie for last place at 6-10 to the division title at 11-5. What saves New York in this instance is that their 2004 record could also mean a tie for 2nd as 3 teams went 6-10 behind Philadelphia’s 13-3 season.

The 2017 season doesn’t look that much different as the Eagles are probably the best team in the division meaning there is a good possibility the NFC East has another “worst to first” candidate. Even crazier is that with the Ezekiel Elliott suspension, the Cowboys are a decent candidate to go “first to worst”! All in all I think this will be the most compelling and competitive division in all of football in 2017. Every team has the ability to win the division, but every team also has enough pieces that could go wrong that they can finish last.

Note: Teams are listed in the order I think they’ll finish for the 2017 NFL season.

TEAM NFC EAST
Computer Hope With Lane Johnson at RT, the Eagles were 5-1 last season & should have been 6-0 except a late fumble against Detroit caused a loss. Philly has arguably the best O-Line in football and Carson Wentz is proving over & over that he might be the future of the NFL. Philly upgraded his weapons at WR with signing of Torrey Smith & Alshon Jeffery. LeGarrette Blount also gives Philly a rushing element. Defensively all you need to know is Jim Schwartz is the DC. Getting Timmy Jurnigan from the Ravens is a STEAL and Philly’s front-7 should be outstanding. The secondary is weak but Ronald Darby should help. Great team.
Computer Hope There are quite a few landmines with the Giants offensively but the team was 11-5 last season so there is that. I think New York will get huge upgrades with Sterling Sharpe getting better & Evan Engram becoming the TE. Paul Perkins should be better as well so Eli Manning should have tons of help. Signing Brandon Marshall is solid too if he can stave off age. The O-Line is awful and is the weak link. The Giants will once again be led by their fantastic defense. The D-Line is amazing with JPP, Olivier Vernon & Damon Harrison. The secondary is arguably the best in the NFL. I think it’s enough to get the Giants to the playoffs.
Computer Hope I think the Redskins could be a boom or bust type of squad. I think Terrelle Pryor is an upgrade over DeSean Jackson but 2nd year WR Josh Doctson has to replace Pierre Garcon’s production. Kirk Cousins is a franchise QB even if Washington is reluctant to give him a long term deal. The O-Line is great which can cover up their problems in the running game, but if Doctson emerges they’ll score especially if Jordan Reed is healthy. The Skins did a good job upgrading the defense. They got a steal when Jonathan Allen fell to them in the draft. Ryan Anderson also upgrades as does Fabian Moreau. Ryan Kerrigan is outstanding.
Computer Hope Dallas’s season might be over before it begins. At this point in time Ezekiel Elliott is suspended for the first 6 games and I thought even before the season began that both Elliott & QB Dak Prescott might be in for some regression. The schedule isn’t easy either as the Cowboys could easily find themselves starting 0-3 & 1-4 which would decidedly hamper their ability to compete. This is also a team with no real edge rushing ability and an O-Line that is breaking in two new starters. The schedule is more difficult. The teams in the East have gotten better. Dallas always seems to be riding the edge and after last year’s high, they drop low.

August 15, 2017 Posted by | Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, NFC, NFC East, NFL, Philadelphia Eagles, Predictions, Preseason, Previews, Washington Redskins | Leave a comment

2017 AFC WEST PREVIEW AND PREDICTIONS

Last season was an interesting one in the AFC West in that all of the teams entering the season thought they had a decent shot at winning the division which was different than the previous 4 seasons when Peyton Manning was king of the Broncos. Manning led Denver to 4-straight AFC West titles accumulating in a 45-12 record as a starter, reaching 2 Super Bowls and beating the Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl in his last start ever in the NFL.

Oakland had a couple of young stars on both sides of the fooball in Derek Carr and Khalil Mack that were though to be the future of the franchise that could return Raider Nation to the glory of days gone by. Kansas City went 11-5 in Manning’s last season and were thought to be the most likely team to supplant the Broncos as leaders of the West. The Chargers had Philip Rivers and some young guys on defense that could make all the difference. In a QB driven league, having the best QB in the division was a feather in San Diego’s cap. Denver of course was the defending Super Bowl champions and even without Manning, the Broncos still had arguably a top-5 defense that could power their way to yet another division title.

Only Kansas City & Oakland lasted and both flamed out at the end. Oakland lost QB Derek Carr to a broken leg while Kansas City showed absolutely no ability to score in their playoff loss to Pittsburgh. The Chiefs held the Steelers prolific offense to 18 points, but could garner just 16 themselves in a divisional round loss at Arrowhead.

Oddly enough we enter 2017 in much the same way we entered 2016 with all four teams having reasons as to why they can once again win the West. Oakland brings back a healthy Derek Carr and also a healthy Mario Edwards. The Raiders went 12-4 and think the season could have gone a lot differently had Carr not been hurt. The Chiefs went 12-4 and are the defending West champions. Why wouldn’t they think they couldn’t repeat especially with how good the defense can be. Los Angeles’s young players on defense are paying off in spades. They’ve upgraded the O-Line and at this point everyone is healthy. Denver is still Denver. They were Super Bowl champions 2-years ago and their defense is still lethal. All 4 teams have reasons to believe they can be back on top of the West, which should make this one of the most compelling divisions in the NFL.

Note: Teams are listed in the order I think they’ll finish for the 2017 NFL season.

TEAM AFC WEST
Computer Hope Philip Rivers is one of the most ELITE QBs in the NFL but he’s experienced a ton of bad luck lately. San Diego has tried to address this as much as they can by signing Russell Okung to play LT and drafting both Dan Feeney & Forest Lamp to play G. Drafting Mike Williams was huge and Melvin Gordon finally came into his own last year. The Bolts are going to score! Defensively I think Joey Bosa & Melvin Ingram are the best pair of pass rushers in the NFL. The secondary is going to improve with a healthy Jason Verrett. The NFL is about passing & getting sacks. Los Angeles is at an ELITE level in both very important areas.
Computer Hope The Raiders suffered some brutal luck down the stretch with Derek Carr breaking his leg and LT Donald Penn missing time. Those guys are healthy this year and with the addition of Marshawn Lynch at tailback, the Raiders should be one of the most prolific offensive teams in the NFL. I think the defense will depend a lot on the health of Mario Edwards. He is a key part of the defense even though Khalil Mack gets a lot of love from the pundits. I also love Karl Joseph and Reggie Nelson at safety. Oakland needs good play out of their corners & LBs but this defense is solid. They just miss the San Diego but are playoff bound.
Computer Hope Despite their recent success, the Chiefs have serious questions coming into 2017. Offensively this team is about how effectively they can get Tyreek Hill or Travis Kelce the football. There aren’t many other options outside of Spencer Ware & QB Alex Smith is limited physically thus resulting in the Chiefs drafting Pat Mahomes as their QB of the future. Luckily for the Chiefs they should have a top-10 defense once again. I love the outside combination of Tamba Hali & Justin Houston. Eric Berry is a monster at safety & Chris Jones is solid on the interior. The defense is enough to put them in playoff contention, but not the West.
Computer Hope Denver faced the same problems that Cleveland, New York and Houston face heading into 2017. They simply don’t have a good solution at QB when the other teams in the division do. That isn’t a recipe for success and I don’t think Denver can rely on San Diego having bad luck again to keep them out of the basement. The Broncos are a lot like Kansas City in that they’ll have more than enough defense to keep them in games, but at some point the offense has to score and can you trust Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch to lead you to wins? If one of those QBs emerge then Denver is a much different story.

August 13, 2017 Posted by | AFC, AFC West, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams, NFL, Oakland Raiders, Predictions, Preseason, Previews | Leave a comment