2020 Schedule: Game-by-game NFL betting analysis for all

NFL teams most likely to go from worst to first in 2020

We have talked a lot about the draft, biggest remaining needs for every NFL team, some breakout candidates and other stuff, so let’s now get back to more of a big picture and look at some teams from an angle of where could they go next season. In this article, I am analyzing those teams that finished fourth in their division this past year and why they could win it in 2020 or land at the bottom once again, plus an outlook where I actually see them.
Of course much of this is about these eight teams and how much better or worse I feel about them than the general public, but it was heavily dependent on their three division rivals as well. The top half I could certainly see earn a playoff spot and surprise some people if everything goes right. After that a lot of my faith is more built around the lack of great competition and giving some hope to these respective fan bases. As the cliché goes – everybody is 0-0 right now.


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1. Arizona Cardinals


Why they can win the division:
Let’s just start with the main point here – this Cardinals squad has all the ingredients to make a big jump in 2020. I expect Kyler Murray to enter the superstar conversation in year two, after impressing with his arm talent and ability to extend plays in a (somewhat controversial) Offensive Rookie of the Year campaign. Steve Keim managed to unload a bad David Johnson contract and basically acquire an elite receiver in DeAndre Hopkins for a second-round pick. Kenyan Drake now has a full offseason to learn this offense and make himself a major factor once again, following up an outstanding second half of the season once the Cardinals traded for him with Miami. He perfectly fits into this offense with a lot East-West based rushing from shotgun sets and his involvement in the pass game, including those quick throws as an extension of the rushing attack. Arizona’s defense should be a lot better with run-stoppers being added in the draft that fit their 3-4 base front with Utah’s Leki Fotu and LSU’s Rashard Lawrence, since they can stay in those packages against the other teams in their division running a lot of 12 and 21 personnel probably. Add to that a do-it-all player with ridiculous range and overall athleticism in Isaiah Simmons at eight overall, plus all the other guys being in their second year under DC Vance Joseph. I love Budda Baker as a missile from his safety spot and I think some of the other young guys on that unit will take a step forward, like second-year corner Byron Murphy, who I talked about last week. Now let’s get to rest of the West – every other team in that division has some issues. The 49ers are facing the objects of a potential Super Bowl hangover and some limitations with Jimmy G at the helm. The Seahawks have question marks on the edge on either side of the ball with Cedric Ogbuehi and Brandon Shell fighting for the starting gig at right tackle and Jadeveon Clowney still on the open market, with a bunch of draft picks these last couple of years having to step up. And the Rams had one of the worst O-lines in football last season and they lost some pieces on defense. The Cardinals already gave all these teams issues in 2019 and have now added pieces that were clearly missing when last matching up against each other.

Why they could finish last again:
Most importantly, I am still not completely sold on the Cardinals offensive line, with D.J. Humphries being signed to a rather expensive deal as a below-average left tackle, third-rounder Josh Jones – while earning a late first-round grade from me – still needing an overhaul on his footwork before he can slide in at right tackle and guard Justin Pugh finally having played a full 16 games for the first time since 2015 last season. NFL coaches had a lot of time to study Kliff Kingsbury’s Air-Raid offense, which when you break it down is pretty simplistic in the amount of schemes they run. Yes, he diversified it a little as last season went along, going under center and running some pro-style rushing plays, but at its core, you can learn how to create some issues for all those mesh concepts and spread sets. As far as the Cardinals defense goes, it is more about pieces than proven commodities. Patrick Peterson is seemingly on the decline, they are thin in the secondary and could Chandler Jones follow soon, after he has been one of the most underrated pass-rushers in the league for a while now? You are staring the reigning NFC champs in the eyes, a team that was a few inches away from earning a playoff bye and another squad that went to the Super Bowl just two years ago. This is probably the best division in the entire league.

Bottom line:
I still believe the 49ers have done enough to repeat as division champs, re-tooling for all the losses they have suffered this offseason. However, I’m feeling pretty good about the Cardinals earning a wildcard spot. While I believe in the Seahawks quarterback and the Rams head coach respectively to not allow their teams to not have throwaway seasons, I also see enough issues with those squads to make me believe the Cardinals could have the second-best year of anybody in the West. To me they are pretty clearly the best of these eight teams, because they have a young phenom at quarterback, stars at pretty much every position, a different type of system around them and what I’d like to call “juice” coming into 2020.


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2. Detroit Lions


Why they can win the division:
Matt Stafford is back healthy and when he was in the lineup last season, this was a team that defeated the Eagles, Chargers and only didn’t finish the job against the eventual Super Bowl champion Chiefs because of some crazy stuff going on late. The veteran QB stood at 19 touchdowns compared to five picks and was playing at a near-MVP type level. However, Detroit’s identity will be built on the run game with re-investments in the offensive line as well as adding D’Andre Swift to form a dynamic one-two punch with him and Kerryon Johnson. Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones may be the most underrated receiving duo to go with Danny Amendola as a tough guy in the slot and T.J. Hockenson coming into year two as a top-ten pick a year ago, having shown flashes when he was healthy. The defense is finally starting to take shape with third-overall Jeffrey Okudah as an elite corner prospect being added to an underrated secondary, Jamie Collins being a chess piece in the front seven after already having worked well with Matt Patricia and some young guys up front trying to prove themselves to go with the versatile Trey Flowers. Maybe more importantly than the Lions themselves – Nobody else got that much better and none of the other three really stand out to me. Other than the Vikings probably – who had the advantage of making a record-breaking 15 selections – the Lions might have had the best draft within the division. Thanks to that last-place schedule, they get to face the Redskins in the East (instead of Eagles & Cowboys) and Cardinals in the West, who I just talked about taking a step forward, but are still a better draw than the reigning conference champions or possibly having to travel to Seattle. I believe that new regime in Detroit has finally built an identity on both sides of the ball with the heavy investments in the run game and back-seven on defense. Winning ten games might earn you a division title, if everybody plays each other tough.

Why they could finish last again:
Can these guys finally stay healthy? Matt Stafford to my surprise played a full 16 games in eight straight years before last season, but a lot of that had to do with his toughness to fight through pain and he had major issues with that shoulder early on in his career before basically breaking his back after putting the team on it for the last decade. Kerryon Johnson has missed 14 of 32 possible starts and he has never carried the ball more than 118 times a season. Their receiving corp has been banged up quite a bit too. More glaring even – how will all these additions of former Patriots players work out? Can Matt Patricia build a New England 2.0 in Michigan or is he just bringing in players he knows will listen to him and the way he wants things to be done? Detroit could also rely on a lot of rookies to be immediate impact players – possibly two new starting guards on offense, running back D’Andre Swift probably sharing the load with Kerryon, Jeffrey Okudah having to immediately become their CB1 and Julian Okwara being asked to become a much more consistent player if they give him major snaps. And I recently talked about how their uncertainty at punter could be an issue for their ball-control, defense-minded style of play. They also have an early bye (week five), which I’m never a big fan of, after facing the Bears, Packers, Cardinals and Saints, which probably includes three playoff teams. If Chicago can get any competent QB play, all these teams should be highly competitive.

Bottom line:
I don’t think any team in this division wins more than ten games. Unfortunately I don’t see the Lions go over that mark themselves either. The Packers won’t come out victorious in so many close games (8-1 in one-possession affairs), the Vikings have lost a few proven commodities and look for young talent to immediately replace those and the Bears still have a quarterback competition going on. So if Detroit can do any better than just split the season series with those three teams, I see them finishing above .500, but ten wins is the ceiling for me. In terms of the competition inside the division, the Lions may be my number one team in this conversation, but I see a much clearer path to things crashing down for Matt Patricia and them having another disappointing season than I do with the Cardinals. No team in this division may finish below that 8-8 mark.


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3. Miami Dolphins


Why they can win the division:
When you ask the general public, the Buffalo Bills right now are the favorites to win the AFC East, but they haven’t done so since 1995 and they still have to prove they really are that team. The Patriots lost several pieces on defense and Tom Brady of course, which probably leads them to starting a quarterback, who over his four career pass attempts has thrown more touchdowns to the opposing team than to his own. The Jets are still building up that roster, with GM Joe Douglas trying to plant seeds on burnt earth, and they face a BRUTAL schedule. So Miami has a lot of things going in their favor for an organization that I believe in what they are trying to build. Depending on what happens at quarterback, you could have a veteran in Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was by far the best inside the division in several key categories last season and/or Tua Tagovailoa, who had one of the most prolific careers we have seen from anybody in the SEC. They added at least two new starters on the O-line, they now have one of the premiere cornerback trios in the league with the all-time highest paid player at the position in Byron Jones and first-round pick Noah Igbinoghene to go with Xavien Howard and with some added beef up front, they are finally looking a lot like what Brian Flores had in New England. DeVante Parker really broke out over the second half of 2019 and Miami should have a much better rushing attack because of the additions up front and two quality committee backs in Jordan Howard and Matt Breida being added. They have two other young pass-catchers ready to break out this upcoming season in tight-end Mike Gesicki and a UDFA receiver from a year ago in Preston Williams. Whenever Tua’s name is called upon, he will be a perfect fit for Chan Gailey’s horizontal passing game.

Why they could finish last again:
As much as I like what I see from this entire organization, it is probably just a year too early for Miami. So many young players could be thrown into the fire and a lot of them I look at as needing that experience – 18th overall pick Austin Jackson (USC) is more of a developmental tackle still with his footwork and hand-placement issues, 30th overall pick Noah Igbinoghene (Auburn) has only played cornerback for two years and was bailed out by his athletic tools at times, third-rounder Brandon Jones has to develop more of a feel in deep coverage and at least one more rookie lineman will likely start for them. Even outside of this year’s draft class, they already had several players on their roster that are still moving towards their prime. Whether you look at last year’s first-rounder Christian Wilkins, a lot of second- and third-year pass-catchers or their young linebackers outside of Kyle Van Noy. The Bills are entering year four of that turn-around under Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane, the Patriots still have the greatest coach of all time and will be a tough matchup solely based on that and the Jets at least have people playing for their jobs, plus a very talented young quarterback I still believe in. As much as I doubt Adam Gase, as long as Sam Darnold doesn’t get mono again, the offense should at least be competent, and the defense could potentially have a top-five player at every level with All-Pro Bowl safety Jamal Adams, an 85-million dollar linebacker in C.J. Mosley and my number one prospect in last year’s draft on the interior D-line with Quinnen Williams.

Bottom line:
As I mentioned before, the Bills are the front-runners in this division for me. As much respect as I have for Bill Belichick, I haven’t seen enough from Jarrett Stidham to make me a believer and he shrunk in some big moments at Auburn. The Jets to me could be a lot better than they were in 2019 and still go 6-10 just because of the type of schedule they are up against. So the Dolphins to me could easily finish anywhere from second to fourth, depending on how some of the players on that roster progress. I wouldn’t bet on them actually making the playoffs, but they could absolutely be a pain in the butt for some of the better teams in the AFC and in 2021 they might be the pick here.


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4. Los Angeles Chargers


Why they can win the division:
First and foremost, this Chargers defense is absolutely loaded with no real hole that you can point to. Derwin James is back healthy after a first-team All-Pro rookie campaign, Chris Harris Jr. comes in to make this secondary one the elite units in the NFL to go with two more Pro Bowlers among it and they have some guys I expect to break out like Jerry Tillery, Drue Tranquill and Nasir Adderley. In terms of having matchup pieces and a versatile pass rush to challenge Kansas City, nobody in the league may be on the same level as these guys. Offensively, Ihave talked about how the left tackle spot is concern for L.A. with a battle between Sam Tevi and Trey Pipkins for the starting job, but the other four spots are as good as they have been in a while, acquiring Pro Bowl guard Trai Turner via trade, signing a top five right tackle in Bryan Bulaga and getting Mike Pouncey back healthy. Tyrod Taylor can steer the ship and even if Justin Herbert is thrown into the fire – which I wouldn’t recommend – they have the skill-position players and willingness to run the ball to take pressure off those guys. While the Chiefs return 20 of 22 starters from a year ago, this wouldn’t be the first time we saw a Super Bowl champion have some issues the following season and as much as we want to hype up the Broncos and Raiders, both their quarterbacks (and other players of course as well) have a lot to prove still. Outside of KC, the Chargers likely have the smallest changes to what they do other than moving on from Philip Rivers and we saw that formula work the year prior, when they challenged Kansas City until the very end for the division crown and the conference’s top seed potentially. While they probably would have liked to bring in Tom Brady over the offseason, the fact they decided against signing Cam Newton to a roster that is ready to win right now, shows you the confidence they have in that quarterback room.

Why they could finish last again:
I’m not a huge fan of Derek Carr, but the Chargers will probably have the worst quarterback in the division in 2020. And their starting left tackle could be the worst in the entire league. As good as their defense will probably be, you can not consistently win games in which your offense doesn’t put up 20+ points in the league today – especially when all these teams in their division have spent so much on acquiring offensive firepower these last couple of years. I believe all three of their division rivals got better this offseason and the Chargers spent their top draft pick (sixth overall) on a young quarterback, who might not even help them win games this season. As I already mentioned, Kansas City brings back almost their entire starting lineups and they went 12-4 despite Mahomes seemingly having his knee cap facing the sideline while laying on his back. I have uttered my thoughts on Denver several times now, which you can read up on later. As for Las Vegas’ new team, they did start last season 6-4 and just heavily invested into their two major issues – wide receiver and linebacker. And while I don’t like to talk about it – injuries have been a huge issue for this Chargers team in recent years and I don’t really know what it is even, but I can’t assume that they all of a sudden can stay healthy.

Bottom line:
In terms of talent on the roster outside of the quarterback position, you could make a pretty compelling argument that the Chargers are ahead of all the other teams on this list. That’s the reason they have a pretty high floor of finishing around .500 and if everything works out, they could absolutely be a playoff contender. However, for this exercise in particular, I believe their upside is capped by what they have under center. Tyrod Taylor can be a top-20 quarterback in the NFL this season and in terms of upside, Justin Herbert has all the tools to become a difference-maker once he steps on the field, but they don’t have the explosiveness the Chiefs or the Broncos have for that matter. With so much continuity on a team that has the best player in the entire league, I can’t go against the Chiefs and in the end we are evaluating the chances to actually win the division.


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5. Washington Redskins


Why they can win the division:
These guys are very reminiscent of the 49ers with their defensive line, in terms of having invested a lot of high draft picks into the unit these last couple of years and now with that second overall pick bringing in a true stud from Ohio State – this time in Chase Young. When you look at all those guys up front – with the Bama boys patrolling the middle, Matt Ioannidis capable of moving around the front, Montez Sweat looking to break out in year two and Ryan Kerrigan still being there as a productive veteran – they will wreak some havoc this season. Ron Rivera could finally bring some structure to this organization and help them turn it around on defense with the addition of an old companion in Thomas Davis, plus some high-upside players like Reuben Foster and Fabian Moreau looking to prove themselves. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins had a very underwhelming rookie campaign, but he clearly wasn’t ready to be out there and found himself in a bad situation in terms of the support system around him. I like a lot of their young skill-position players the front office has surrounded him with, when you look at Terry McLaurin trying to become a young star in this league, who produced despite shaky quarterback play last season, Kelvin Harmon and Antonio Gandy-Golden being two big-bodied targets I liked these last two drafts, Derrius Guice hopefully finally being able to stay healthy to lead this backfield and this year’s third-round pick Antonio Gibson being a chess piece that you can manufacture touches for. Somebody I forgot to mention in this discussion recently is Steven Sims Jr., who is a jitterbug with the ball in his hands. New offensive coordinator Scott Turner will implement a system that should make life easier on his second-year signal-caller as well, while relying heavily on the run game.

Why they could finish last again:
Haskins is by far the least proven QB of the bunch, with Daniel Jones even being head and shoulders above him in their respective rookie seasons. No pass-catcher outside of Terry McLaurin had any major production to speak. Counting on a 37-year old Thomas Davis to not only be a leader for them, but also make plays on the field, could create issues, and Washington lost some pieces in the secondary. This offseason is a challenge for any team, that is looking to implement a new system on each side of the ball, but I think especially for a motivator like Rivera, who can give his squad a heartbeat and push them to success, not being there in person with those guys will hurt. Most importantly however, this division to me will be a two-man race between the Eagles and Cowboys – as it has been for a while now. They both will likely have top ten quarterbacks, better receiving corps, better offensive lines and more experienced defenses. The Giants may not blow anybody away coming into 2020, but looking at the two matchups from last year between them and the Redskins, Big Blue beat them 24-3 the first time around, when Daniel Jones threw one touchdown compared to two interceptions and then he diced them up for five TDs and no picks in week 16. The one area Washington would have had the clear upper hand was with their front-four, but New York just invested a lot of draft capital into their O-line to prevent that. Just go through the Redskins’ schedule and show me more than six wins. I dare you.

Bottom line:
These last two sentences really say it all. Even if Philly and Dallas split the season series and Washington can get a game off either one of them, it will be tough to turn around this squad as quickly as this season – with reduced practice time and team activities – to a point where they can finish above both of them. Both of them could easily win double-digit games in 2020 and while I think the Redskins are on the right track if Haskins looks more like the Ohio State version of himself, other than their defensive line, no unit for them is ready to compete for the division quite yet. Just going through their schedule in an objective manner, it is tough to find any lay-ups and say Washington has some baseline of wins they count on. To not have them any lower than this is more due to the respect for Riverboat Ron and how high I was on a lot of the guys they drafted recently.


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6. Jacksonville Jaguars


Why they can win the division:
I was going back and forth between my number six and seven teams, because the Jaguars are projected to pick first overall come next April for a reason – they did lose a lot of pieces. However, to me it came down to the fact that the AFC South might be won at 9-7 or 10-6 and this coaching staff actually has to win to keep their jobs. There is a lot noise about the Colts, but when you go back to last season, Philip Rivers was a turnover machine with serious questions about his arm strength. Bill O’Brien made some very questionable decisions for Houston and Tennessee is counting on a formula that is built on a 250-banger running the ball 25+ times and Ryan Tannehill finally repeating a career year, as they are coming off an AFC title game appearance. As far as Jacksonville goes, Gardner Minshew was the highest-graded rookie quarterback according to PFF and altogether I would have put him second only behind Kyler Murray. D.J. Chark broke out as one of the young star receivers and I had a first-round grade on Colorado’s Laviska Shenault if he can be healthy, because his talent is off the charts. I think the O-line would have benefitted from another tackle to kick Cam Robinson inside to guard, but those guys are some road-graders to make the run game work. Defensively the only real contributor from that Sacksonville group a couple of years ago who actually wants to be there is Myles Jack, but I really like their young duo off the edge in first-rounders Josh Allen last year and now K’Lavon Chaisson (LSU). There are some questions about the back-end, but they were built front-to-back with a lot of zone coverage behind it and depending on the development of ninth overall pick C.J. Henderson, they can roll away from him matching up with the opposing team’s number one receiver. Avoiding some of the better AFC squads altogether is pretty sweet as well, to go with facing no playoff team from last year outside their division until the middle of November.

Why they could finish last again:
I’m just not sure if all of these players are ready to fight for that coaching staff and organization. Two of their remaining veterans (Leonard Fournette and Yannick Ngakoue) have openly talked about how they want to be traded, they only have a few actually proven commodities on that entire roster and with the way they have unloaded big cap numbers, they have set themselves up for a true rebuild potentially, as they are expected to be in the Trevor Lawrence-Justin Fields sweepstakes come next April. Even if they can get a few breaks and the division is up for grabs, does this organization even want to win this season? If not for the injury to Jacoby Brissett in the middle of the season, all three other teams in that division would have almost certainly finished above .500 and the Colts are actually the team that improved by far the most among them. That Texans, who have actually won the South four of the last five years, including last season, may be the smallest challenge and still sweep Jacksonville. Vegas rarely misses completely and the Jaguars right now are the odds-on favorite to pick first overall come next April, with an NFL-low OveUnder of 4.5 wins on the season. And as favorable as the early portion of their schedule looks like right, check out this eight-game stretch after their week seven bye – at Chargers, vs. Texans, at Packers, vs. Steelers, vs. Browns, at Vikings, vs. Titans, at Ravens. Ouch. They might go winless over that period.

Bottom line:
The Jaguars to me are a very interesting team, because I believe they have accumulated a bunch of young talent, which gets lost a little when you see all the names that aren’t there anymore. There is a lot to like about this roster, when you look at what these players could develop into, but that doesn’t mean they will have success this year already. The Colts have the best 53 currently in the division (or 55 now), the Texans have the best quarterback and the Titans are coming off an AFC Championship game appearance. Gardner Minshew could make this kind of a tough decision if they end up picking anywhere after first overall and I think some of those other kids will put up pretty good numbers, but they are still pretty clearly fourth in the South as for now.


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7. Carolina Panthers

Why they can win the division:
Nobody knows for sure what Matt Rhule and his new coaching staff will throw at them. Joe Brady gets to work with Teddy Bridgewater once again, who he already coached in New Orleans – so there will be familiarity for him in this system and they already “speak the same language”. That young receiving corp with D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel, free agency addition Robby Anderson and even an up-and-coming tight-end in Ian Thomas is pretty underrated actually, plus of course they have one of the truly elite weapons out of the backfield in Christian McCaffrey, who is probably set to break his own RB reception record once again. The Panthers defense-only draft has brought them a monster in the middle in Derrick Brown (Auburn), a really talented edge rusher in Yetur Gross-Matos (Penn State) on the opposite of last year’s rookie stud Brian Burns, a super-rangy safety with linebacker size in Jeremy Chinn (Southern Illinois), what I think is a starting corner in Troy Pride Jr. (Notre Dame) and some other pieces in the secondary. The talent is clearly there and now you bring in a scheme that is probably going to be unique for the NFL level as well, when you look at that 3-3-5 Baylor ran under Rhule and defensive coordinator Phil Snow. As much as we want to praise our legends of the game, the quarterbacks of the two front-runners in this division will be 41 and 43 years old respectively and let’s not forget that Atlanta started out last season 1-7.

Why they could finish last again:
Especially this offseason, without certainty if there will be anything like training camp or even a real preseason, that completely new staff with new systems they are trying to teach will certainly have some growing pains. Bridgewater has been a top-20 starting QB maybe one year of his career and even when he was applauded for the way he filled in for Drew Brees last season, he finished dead-last in intended air yards among quarterbacks with at least 100 pass attempts. How will that mesh with a lot of vertical targets around him? When he has those guys running free on slants and dig routes, the ball will get there, but will he be willing to throw that deep post or give his guys a chance on go-balls? Defensively they are counting on a lot of young players and they have nobody to even come close to replacing Luke Kuechly, as well as making the switch to an unproven scheme possibly, if they actually use some of those 3-3-5 looks coming over from Baylor. When you look at Rhule’s track-record, it always took him until year two to show improvement and then in that third season is when those teams can really make some noise. And that was in the AAC and Big 12 respectively. Now he is in the NFC South with a team that just went 13-3 in the Saints and a Bucs squad that already was 7-9 and lost six of those games by one score, only because despite finishing fifth in takeaways, they ranked in the bottom five in turnover differential due to easily leading the league with 41 giveaways. That should get a lot better with Tom Brady coming in, who has never even quite thrown half of Jameis Winston’s 30 interceptions in any of his 20 years in the league. Even the Falcons – for as poorly as they started last season – went 6-2 after really coming together and making some changes in their bye week last season.

Bottom line:
The Panthers are clearly the most unproven team in this division. While new systems that haven’t been scouted yet certainly have an advantage in terms of game-planning early on, especially in this offseason with heavily limited live reps most likely, that might equal a net minus. You have to root for a guy like Teddy Bridgewater and the way he has worked his way up to a starting spot again, but I just don’t look at him as a surefire franchise signal-caller. The other three teams in the South all have top ten quarterbacks in the league in my opinion and much more continuity around them. Until the Panthers finally get to their bye week at the start of December, I don’t see them winning more than four of those twelve games. At that point they may have their eyes on a different goal already, if Teddy B isn’t the clear answer under center.


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8. Cincinnati Bengals


Why they can win the division:
We’re not that far away from 2015, when the Bengals won the AFC North with a 12-4 record as the fifth year in a row making the playoffs. Since then this is the first time I feel like there really is change happening with this team. Marvin Lewis was replaced by a young Zac Taylor, trying to prove himself to the league, they drafted Heisman trophy winner Joe Burrow first overall to replace as average a quarterback as we have had over the last decade in Andy Dalton and the front office finally spent some money in free agency. While you would think a quarterback going first overall usually comes into a situation, where he is devoid of talent around him, Cincinnati suddenly has one of the better group of skill-position players in the entire league, assuming A.J. Green is back healthy. Tyler Boyd is a stud in the slot, who will be Burrow’s version of Justin Jefferson, a 50-50 ball specialist in second-round pick Tee Higgins (Clemson) matches perfectly with Burrow’s expertise of winning with ball-placement and if they get anything from former first-rounder John Ross at least as a decoy with his speed, that’s a plus. I expect Joe Mixon to be among the league leader’s in running back receptions and be more effective in space with those receivers around him as well. The signings the Bengals have made on defense gives them a lot more talent and complements very well what they already had. D.J. Reader is one of the most underrated defensive linemen in the league and frees everybody up along the front, they completely overhauled that linebacker group, which was a major issue these last couple of years, they brought in a starting CB2 and nickel from Minnesota to pair up with William Jackson III, who is ready to announce himself as one of the best corners in football, and Von Bell is a great match with the rangy free safety Jessie Bates.

Why they could finish last again:
As talented as all those guys throwing, catching and running the ball may be, it all starts with what’s happening up front and the Bengals offensive line is still in transition. They could have two of the worst starters in the league at both guard spots and right tackle once again, with the prior ones close to reaching that bust status and Bobby Hart still somehow having a starting job. As great as Joe Burrow was last year at LSU and how clean his evaluation was, how much better than Andy Dalton will he be right away, especially going up against those scary defensive fronts inside his division? Defensively they could easily have six new starters, which obviously can be looked at as a positive sign, considering they allowed 20+ points in all but two games last season, but there is also a lack of continuity and reduced time to fit all those pieces together. Cincinnati’s coaching staff hasn’t really proven anything yet and they will be facing a massacre of a schedule, with three occasions of back-to-back road games and while three of their final four games of the season are at home, they will face the Cowboys, Steelers and Ravens, to go with a trip to Houston in-between. If they don’t beat the Chargers in the season-opener, they probably don’t get that first W until week four against the Jaguars and then they have to hope they can sneak out another one until their bye week. Baltimore is tied with Kansas City for the highest projected win total with reigning MVP coming into just his third season, Pittsburgh is favored to make the playoffs with Big Ben back under center and Cleveland was the offseason favorite in 2019, while fielding an even better roster this year.

Bottom line:
I feel bad for putting this team last, because I thought Joe Burrow was the top quarterback and definitely worthy of that number one pick and the Bengals finally spent big money in free agency to retool the defense. To me this is less about them than the Ravens, who just were the number one overall seed in the playoffs at 14-2 and haven’t done anything other than get better themselves, a Steelers team that made a run at the playoffs with the worst quarterback play in the league now getting Ben back and a Browns roster that is among the top ten league-wide in most people’s opinion. Still, there is a lot to like about this team at the skill-positions, which is probably behind only Cleveland in terms all the weapons they have, some young standouts on defense and hope that all of this brings a fresh breath of air.


If you enjoyed this content, I would really appreciate if you could visit the original piece (with video clips) - https://halilsrealfootballtalk.com/2020/06/16/nfl-teams-most-likely-to-go-from-worst-to-first-in-2020/
You can also listen to my breakdown on Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9kCcuPobNU
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Will the Green Bay Packers win OVER/UNDER 9 games? By University Stats Prof!

1. Introduction

Matt LaFleur’s first season as Green Bay’s head coach has to be considered a success. He led the team to a 13-3 record, which secured the NFC North title.

The Packers held off the Seahawks to a 28-23 home win in the first round of the playoffs, but were ousted by the Niners in a brutal 37-20 thumping (a game in which the Packers dugged themselves into an early 27-0 hole).

2. Offensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

2.1 Quarterbacks (QBs)

Aaron Rodgers will be entering his 16th NFL season. He had another excellent year with a 26-to-4 TD-to-INT ratio and over 4,000 passing yards. He finished as the 7th-best QB in the league according to PFF ratings.

At 36 years old, he is likely to have a few good years left. After all, Drew Brees and Tom Brady posted nice statistics in their late thirties.

Rodgers has been very durable throughout his career, but he’s not invincible either. Tim Boyle was the backup plan last year, and the team needed to upgrade the position while starting to think about the post-Rodgers era.

Still, drafting Jordan Love was the most questionable and talked-about pick in this year’s draft. People expected the Packers to go with a veteran backup QB. Rodgers has mentioned several times he wants to play in his forties; he can still offer a good five years of solid play in the frozen tundra.

Love has possesses great size, throws with velocity and he’s very mobile. The main knock on him is the decision-making and inconsistency.

As a sophomore, he threw 32 TD passes versus 6 interceptions. He regressed a lot last year by posting a mediocre 20:17 TD:INT mark. Granted, his surrounding cast was very weak and he had to go through a coaching change.

Love can throw from many different arm angles; he reminds people of Patrick Mahomes in this regard. He can throw a fastball or a soft touch pass.

Quick note: he almost quit football when he was 14 years old after his dad committed suicide. However, he knew his dad would want him to keep playing, so he did just that.

2.2 Running Backs (RBs)

Aaron Jones is a top running back in this league. Along with Jamaal Williams, they form a lethal duo.

Including the playoffs, Jones ended up scoring 23 touchdowns in 18 games. His 19 regular season scores were the second most in Packers history. His numbers have increased in each of his first three years as a pro. He is also excellent as a pass catcher.

Despite playing in the shadow of Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams still finished as the 17th-best RB based on PFF rankings. He does not seem like a lead back, but he’s a perfect change-of-pace guy. Much like Jones, he can do some damage as a receiver as well.

Williams has been a steady performer thus far in his career. He has rushed for 450-550 yards in each of his three seasons, while catching a minimum of 25 balls. He has 15 total TDs over this three-year span.

If you thought GM Brian Gutekunst made a strange move by drafting QB Jordan Love in the first round, he doubled down with another head scratcher in the 2nd round when he took A.J. Dillon.

Message to Mr. Gutekunst: Aaron Rodgers needed pass catchers, not a third running back! I really don’t get this pick either. I’m not saying Dillon won’t be good in the NFL; only time will tell. However, it clearly wasn’t a position of need for the Packers.

Dillon is a power back who rarely breaks off huge runs. He racked up big numbers in three seasons in Boston College. He’s unlikely to become a three-down starter, especially since he’s not a good pass catcher. He will likely be used sporadically as a rookie.

2.3 Wide Receivers (WRs)

Davante Adams is one of the best at his position. He had a streak of three straight seasons with at least 10 TD receptions snapped last year, but he still caught 83 passes for 997 yards in 12 games (he missed four games because of a toe injury).

Outside of Adams, all pass catchers appeared lost on the field. None of them developed a good chemistry with Rodgers.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling was a huge disappointment last year. He showed promise as a rookie with over 500 receiving yards. Here’s a jaw-dropping statistic: after Week #7, MVS did not get more than 19 receiving yards in any meeting. That’s awful.

One of the guys benefiting from Valdes-Scantling’s poor play was Jake Kumerow. He got more playing time than expected, but still only caught 12 passes. He is closing in on 30 years of age and is limited as an athlete, so he’s not a long-term answer for sure.

Allen Lazard was also thrown into action far more than expected. He finished second in terms of receiving yards for Green Bay, but let’s face the reality: the undrafted guy remains more of a #3 or #4 WR for any team.

Geronimo Allison was another bust last year. His top performance over the last 12 games (including the playoffs) was a meager 33 receiving yards. He left for another NFC North team, the Detroit Lions.

In other words, the #2 role is wide open. The team hopes newly acquired Devin Funchess can step into that role. The former second rounder had his best season in 2017 with the Panthers with a 63-840-8 stat line. He signed with the Colts last year, but played just one game before breaking a collarbone. He will be 26 years old this season and provides an interesting prospect for the Packers.

2.4 Tight Ends (TEs)

We’re not done talking about 2019 busts. Jimmy Graham was one of them. He clearly looks washed. He received the lowest grades of his 10-year career, and deservedly so. The Packers released him and he signed a few days later with the Bears (a horrible mind-boggling two-year, $16 million contract).

Marcedes Lewis received surprisingly good marks from PFF. If you look into the numbers, the good grade occurred mainly because of efficient run and pass blocking. He’s not much of a pass catcher and he will be 36 years old when the season begins.

Robert Tonyan will also be in the mix, but the guy that has the best chance to break out as a receiver in 2020 only caught three passes last year (all in the playoffs): Jace Sternberger. Taken in the third round of the 2019 draft, Sternberger was a threat at Texas A&M in college. He missed most of the regular season because of injuries, but the door is wide open with Graham’s departure.

We might also see third-round rookie Josiah Deguara. He has a great motor and plays extremely hard. He’s undersized as a tight end, though.

2.5 Offensive Line (OL)

The Packers had a pretty solid offensive line in 2019. All five starters managed to play at least 84% of the offensive snaps. And they all finished above-average according to PFF ratings!

The bad news, however, is the Bryan Bulaga left for the Chargers. Despite turning over 30 years old, he still played at a high level.

The Packers decided to replace him by signing Rick Wagner, formerly of the Lions. Wagner’s PFF grades from 2016 to 2018 were as follows: 74.0, 75.2 and 71.4. Last year, his play deteriorated a lot and he was tagged with a 59.0 grade. He finished as the #61 tackle among 81 guys.

I like the fact that the team is returning four out of five guys, but replacing Bulaga with Wagner has to be viewed as a downgrade.

2020 VS 2019 OFFENSE

The Packers offense finished in the middle of the pack in points scored per game. Barring major injuries, I expect about the same production in 2020.

The QB and RB situations remain the same.

Adding Funchess is not a huge move, but it won’t hurt. The team clearly needs someone to step up opposite of Davante Adams. At tight end, losing Jimmy Graham means close to nothing since he was so ineffective. Sternberger might bring a nice contribution, but we can hardly expect him to be a game-breaker.

Finally, the OL will take a dip with the loss of Bulaga. I don’t believe Rick Wagner can do better than him.

All in all, I view the additions/departures as a slight negative for Green Bay, but having so many starters returning to the lineup for a second straight season is always a good thing in the NFL. For these reasons, I expect a similar output as 2019 from this unit.

Final call (2020 vs 2019): Stable

3. Defensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

3.1 Defensive Linemen (DLs)

Kenny Clark had a fantastic season! He is one of the best interior rushers in the NFL. He recorded six sacks for the second straight year, and PFF ranked him as the 13th-best interior linemen out of 114 qualifiers.

The same nice comments cannot be made about Dean Lowry. He had the worst season of his four-year career as a pro. He did not post a single sack and wasn’t great against the run either.

Reserve Tyler Lancaster is only there to provide some depth. He isn’t particularly good in any aspect of the game.

The team did not make any move regarding this position during the offseason.

3.2 Defensive Ends (DEs) / Edge Rushers (ED)

During the last offseason, the Packers acquired two Smiths: Za’Darius and Preston. They burst onto the scene and got 13.5 and 12 sacks, respectively.

Obviously, both received high marks for their pass rushing abilities, but Preston finished as an average linebacker overall because of mediocre run defense and poor coverage.

Kyler Fackrell was a huge disappointment in 2019. After racking up 10.5 sacks in 2018, he only got one in 2019! He signed a one-year deal with the Giants.

First-round pick Rashan Gary wasn’t necessarily impressive during his rookie season. He played 23% of the snaps, while obtaining two sacks but very pedestrian marks from PFF (an overall 55.8 grade, which is near the bottom among edge defenders).

3.3 Linebackers (LBs)

Green Bay lost its leader in tackles from the past three years, Blake Martinez. After starting 61 of the last 64 Packers games, Martinez decided to join the New York Giants. He had the second-most tackles in the league last year, but don’t be misled by that number. Martinez still finished slight below-average (52nd out of 89 LBs) because of poor play against the run.

The Packers also lost some depth at the position when B.J. Goodson left for Cleveland.

Green Bay picked up a linebacker from the Browns roster: Christian Kirksey. He was picked in the 3rd round of the 2014 before being involved in all 16 games from his first four seasons in the NFL. However, he has been plagued with injuries over the most recent two years; he played 7 games in 2018 and only 2 games in 2019.

He is also capable of racking up tackles, as shown by his 2016 and 2017 seasons where he obtained 146 and 138. His PFF grades during his first four seasons varied between 61.9 and 69.3. Just to give you a rough idea, a 65.0 rating would have been good for 29th place out of 89 LBs.

3.4 Cornerbacks (CBs)

Jaire Alexander has done the job as the #1 corner. He has obtained 72.4 and 71.2 marks from PFF during his first two seasons, which is well-above average. He’s so-so defending the run, but his coverage skills are very good.

The number two corner, Kevin King had five interceptions last year after getting just one over his first two years as a pro. He did show some improvement after two rocky years. He finished 2019 as a middle-of-the-pack corner.

Tramon Williams played 74% of the snaps and had a surprisingly good season despite his age. He will be 37 when the 2020 season begins. He is currently a free agent and it remains to be seen if the Packers bring him back or not.

In summary, Alexander and King are both pretty young and could still be improving, but Tramon Williams provided quality play and it’s uncertain if someone else can pick up the slack.

3.5 Safeties (S)

Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage were the top two guys here.

Along with Za’Darius and Preston Smith, the Adrian Amos was another excellent signing by the Packers during the 2019 offseason. Amos had been a reliable guy in Chicago for four seasons, and he continued to excel in the frozen tundra.

After being selected as the #21 overall pick in the 2019 draft, Darnell Savage did show some flashes as a rookie last year. He finished as the #47 safety among 87 qualifiers, which is very satisfying for a rookie. He earned nice marks in coverage (77.4), but horrible ones against the run (37.7).

Will Redmond will be back as the number three safety. He’s not starter material for sure.

2020 VS 2019 DEFENSE

Most of the starters are returning in 2020. That’s the good news.

The team lost their leader in tackles, Blake Martinez, as well as pass rusher Kyler Fackrell and CB Tramon Williams.

The only acquisition worth of note is Christian Kirksey. Him not having played very much during the last two seasons brings some question marks.

The Packers defense struggled against the run last year, and there’s no reason to believe that will change in 2020. Green Bay still finished 9th in points allowed, which was a very acceptable result.

Unfortunately, a decrease in effectiveness is expected and I predict this unit will end 2020 as a middle-of-pack defense (12th – 19th in points allowed).

Final call (2020 vs 2019): Small downgrade

4. Regular Season Wins

According to sportsbooks, the Green Bay Packers are expected to win 9 games this season. Should we bet the “over” or the “under”?

Here is the methodology I used in order to answer this vital question:

Here are the results (excluding the simulated years where the Pack won exactly 9 games, since in those cases your bet would have tied):

Estimated Probability Sportsbook Odds ROI
OVER 9 WINS 51.4% bwin +115 +10.5%
UNDER 9 WINS 48.6% Heritage Sports +100 -2.8%
Tip: Bet OVER 9 wins
Return On Investment (ROI): +10.5%
Rank: 25th-highest ROI out of 32 teams
Minimum odds required to bet (i.e. ROI = 0%): -106

Here are BetOnline’s point spreads for the Packers’ 16 regular season games:
HOME: -6 vs ATL, -10 vs CAR, -4.5 vs CHI, -6.5 vs DET, -11.5 vs JAX, -3 vs MIN, -2.5 vs PHI, -3.5 vs TEN.
ROAD: 0 @ CHI, -2 @ DET, 0 @ HOU, +2.5 @ IND, +3 @ MIN, +5.5 @ NO, +6.5 @ SF, +2.5 @ TB.

Note: The “Best odds” from the table above were obtained after looking at 13 well-known online sportsbooks on May 18th, 2020.

TOMORROW: I'll talk about the team whose ROI is the 24th-highest in the league, the Pittsburgh Steelers!

Did you like this write-up? If so, comment below! I'd like to know YOUR opinion on what to expect from the Packers' 2020 season!

Professor MJ
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Defending the Draft: New England Patriots

Preface
Going into the 2019 season, the Patriots held very high expectations. The defense that had just shut down the high-powered 2018 Rams offense had arguably gotten better. Although the offense had lost Rob Gronkowski, the addition of first-round WR N’Keal Harry and free agent Demaryius Thomas seemed to at least keep their offensive options. Combining this with Sony Michel coming off a successful rookie campaign and 4 of 5 starters of a strong offensive line, with Trent Brown being replaced by 2018 1st round selection Isaiah Wynn, the offensive situation looked optimistic for New England.
As the team progressed through the 2019 preseason and into the season itself, things began to look even better. Although N’Keal Harry injured himself in the first preseason game, the team was eventually informed that Josh Gordon would be reinstated, even being allowed to start Week 1. The defense showed its prowess throughout the preseason, especially against the Lions and Panthers, with the only bad game coming against the Giants, when the Patriots mainly played people at the bottom of the depth chart. To add to New England fans’ excitement, they saw their team sign WR Antonio Brown the night before the team’s debut against the Steelers. As New England embarrassed Brown’s former team 33-3, and then the Dolphins 43-0 it seemed almost inevitable that New England would become the first franchise to win 7 Super Bowls.
However, that was not how the season progressed. Brown couldn’t handle himself even under Belichick’s control, and his decision to threaten the children of one of his accusers of sexual assault found him released from the team. Josh Gordon was injured Week 6 against the Giants, eventually being medically released and later found to have relapsed when he was on the Seahawks. The rest of the offense was riddled with injuries: Julian Edelman had nagging rib injuries, Philip Dorsett hurt his foot early in the year and also sustained a concussion, Mohammed Sanu sustained an ankle injury in his first game, early kick/punt returner Gunner Olsewski was injured in Week 7, Brady himself reportedly struggled with his elbow. The worst effects of injury came against the Offensive Line, as 4 out of the 5 starters sustained some injury, and this is not including the fact that C David Andrews missed the whole season because of pulmonary embolism. The most impactful injury out of this bunch was LT Isaiah Wynn, as the team had to deploy Marshall Newhouse to replace him, a role that Newhouse did not fill adequately, to say the least. Blocking also suffered when FB James Devlin suffered a season ending injury, followed by his backup Jakob Johnson also being put on IR only a few games later. Matt LaCosse and Ben Watson both missed multiple games, forcing the team to only roll with Ryan Izzo at tight end at some times.
These many injuries, as well as a terrible TE corps, not only stunted the passing attack but also crippled the running game. Michel was often met and tackled in the backfield, resulting in a terrible YPC despite being the AFC East’s leading rusher. Despite these offense struggles, the team’s excellent defense performance, in combination with facing many subpar offenses, carried the team to a 12-4 record and the 3rd seed in the AFC. However, the offensive struggles were too great for the team; although the team’s defense held the red-hot Titans offense to 14 points and gave the offense multiple chances to pull ahead, the offense failed to perform when needed, unable to finish drives, even when on Tennessee’s 1-yard line. Sometimes you really do need an offense to win a championship.
Pre-draft
Notable Losses
QB Tom Brady, FA, Buccaneers: The one loss that seemed unthinkable until it really happened. Even though we knew that Brady’s contract voided after this year, many fans thought he was still going to re-sign and finish his career here. However, New England really did not have the cap space to do so and build a satisfactory team around him, causing Brady to decide to sign with the Buccaneers, a team with high offensive potential and has a shot at the super bowl. The Greatest QB of All Time will be missed here in New England, as the team experiences uncertainty at the position for the first time in nearly 20 years.
FB James Devlin, Retirement: When it was announced that it was a neck injury that sidelined Devlin for the rest of the season, his future with the team was in doubt. Once the team signed free agent Dan Vitale, it was almost certain that Devlin would announce his retirement sooner or later. James Devlin was an underrated part of the Pats’ success in the 2010s, where he proved to be a reliable lead blocker, bolstering the effectiveness of New England’s run game. His absence for most of 2019 was palpable as the team consistently struggled establishing a run game, and the Patriots have a tall task of finding an effective replacement for him.
K Stephen Gostkowski, Released: Gostkowski’s departure represented another long-time Patriot staple leaving the team, although the Patriots had started to live without him as his season ended very early due to an injury that required surgery. The Patriots missed Gostkowski’s leg last year, as the team could not reliably score field goals longer than 40 yards, causing the offense to attempt 4th down conversions deep into enemy territory.
LB Kyle Van Noy, FA, Dolphins: One of Belichick’s greatest successes in terms of correctly utilizing players that were previously viewed as ‘busts’ because their coaches could not use them correctly. Van Noy was acquired from the Lions for a measly swap of 6th and 7th picks midway through the 2016 season. Throughout his tenure with the Patriots, especially within the last two seasons, Van Noy became a staple piece in the team’s LB corps with his versatility and great fundamentals. Van Noy now joins his former LB coach Brian Flores in Miami, who will likely maximize Van Noy’s potential.
LB Elendon Roberts, FA, Miami: Elandon Roberts joined his teammate Van Noy in joining Miami to be coached under Brian Flores. Roberts was promoted to captain for his final season in New England, and primarily played most of his defensive snaps as a run-defending thumping linebacker. Roberts also filled in as an emergency FB when both Devlin and Johnson were injured, and played decently well for a third-string FB, I guess. Roberts represents another role that the Patriots had to fill through free agency and the draft.
LB Jamie Collins, FA, Lions: The Patriots added a familiar face in the athletic freak Jamie Collins heading into the 2019 season. Collins’ athleticism allowed him to flash in the early parts of the 2019 season, when he obtained a pick-six at Miami and almost blocked a Bills field goal attempt by broad jumping over the Bills’ line. Like Van Noy, Collins heads to a former Patriots defensive coach in Matt Patricia in Detroit. Unlike the Dolphins, the Lions front office did not watch the second half of the 2019 season, where Collins tended to lose discipline and become a liability in the defense, showing off some of his former issues. I highly doubt Lions fans will think Collins is worth his $10 million APY contract
DT Danny Shelton, FA, Lions: Patriots North scoops up another Patriots player, what a surprise. Going into the 2019 preseason, Shelton seemed like he might be on the outside looking in for the Patriots roster. It looked like other tackles such as Mike Pennel had the ability to replace Shelton. However, Shelton impressed and was able to earn his spot on the team. The nose tackle’s primary role throughout the season was to be a run defender, a role he played quite well. Shelton will help add some strength to a Lions defensive front that played badly last year.
DB Duron Harmon, Traded, Lions: Duron Harmon was a long-time player at the safety position, filling in the role of the third safety while working alongside McCourty and Chung. He earned the nickname of “the closer” due to his performances at the end of matches where he would end the game through obtaining an interception. The Patriots quickly found their replacement for Harmon, most notably adding DB/ST Adrian Phillips, so there really isn’t much worry for him leaving the team.
OL Coach Dante Scarnecchia, Retirement: Arguably the greatest loss that the Patriots suffered outside of Tom Brady, the OL guru has again decided to retire. Scarnecchia is responsible for the Patriots having great offensive lines throughout his tenure and is a sometimes underrated aspect of their wild success. Unlike Scar’s previous retirement in 2014 where he was replaced by Dave DeGuglielmo, both Cole Popovich and Carmen Briscillo have experience being an understudy of Scarnecchia, which will likely help to soften the blow of his retirement. There were also rumors that Scar was still advising New England on scouting the OL position for the draft, so perhaps you can never keep this man away from this team.
Additions, Extensions, Retentions,
C David Andrews, Returning from IR: Although this technically does not fit this category, Andrews deserves to be mentioned. Even though Ted Karras played decently as he was thrust into the starting role, the Patriots felt Andrews absence, especially in the run game. Losing Andrews also likely contributed to the rest of the IOL (especially Mason, who played a lot of the season with a foot injury) not performing as well as they could have. Andrews' return will improve Jarrett Stidham’s performance, both through his protection as well as increasing the effectiveness of the Patriots’ rushing attack.
OG Joe Thuney, Franchise Tag: Bringing back Thuney was a wise move for the Patriots. The star left guard will be instrumental to protecting young quarterback Jarrett Stidham as well as ensuring the run game operates smoothly. Although some consider IOL to be a low-value position, Thuney will help the team acclimate to the other changes that happened around the offense. Having a solid line is an important element of building a good offense, and Thuney will ensure that the left guard position will work reliably.
DBs Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung: With Brady leaving, the Patriots found it valuable to keep long-time veterans around the team to maintain their team morale and culture while acclimating to the personnel change. McCourty has been a captain and locker room leader of the Patriots for quite some time and will be an important leader as the team adjusts to 2020. Both McCourty and Chung will feature in what should be a very strong secondary unit throughout the 2020 season.
DB/ST Adrian Phillips, FA: Boy do the Patriots love versatility special teamers! Phillips has played well as a special teamer and also played in many positions in the Chargers secondary, and will bring his veteran experience to the Patriots secondary. He will likely play in the rotation of safeties with Chung and McCourty, filling in a similar role to Harmon, who was traded the day before Phillips was signed.
DT Beau Allen, FA: The former Buccaneers DT will likely fill in as a replacement for Danny Shelton, who left the team to play for Detroit. Allen projects to play as a run-stuffing nose tackle that will ensure the Patriots can control the run.
FB Danny Vitale, FA: Vitale is an interesting signing. While he is listed as a fullback, he probably will not be a straight replacement for the retired James Devlin. Devlin primarily filled in as a lead blocker and sometimes as a rusher, but very rarely was used as a downfield threat. Vitale has some decent athleticism and pass-catching experience that the Patriots will likely utilize. His versatility may mean the Patriots move him around a lot instead of just using him as a lead blocker, though he has decent experience at that position as well.
LB Brandon Copeland, FA: Copeland was a signing the Patriots made to help account for the losses they had in free agency. The veteran LB recently played for the division rival Jets, where he primarily performed off the ball under Gregg Williams. Copeland brings some versatility and leadership as he has had to adapt from playing from the defensive line to off the ball.
WRs Marqise Lee and Dameire Byrd, FA: Byrd’s main attribute is straight-line speed, though he really has never been able to convert it into a high amount of production, in part due to injuries. Perhaps it’s because Dorsett was on this team for three straight years, but I am not going to bet on Byrd producing just because he has speed. Lee is much more interesting, as he was able to produce solidly during 2016-17. However, Lee has not performed nearly at all in the last two years because of injuries. If Lee can return to his pre-injury form, (though not very likely), he could carve out a pretty decent role on this New England roster.
The Draft:
2.37 Kyle Dugger, DB, Lenoir-Rhyne:
It wasn’t a surprise to many Patriots fans that the team elected to trade out of their first round pick, though some that held up hope the Patriots would make a selection might have been disappointed. Many fans wondered where the team would go with their first pick, and when it was announced that the team chose a DB from a division II school, people were initially exasperated.
Belichick’s record with 2nd round defensive backs is quite well known such that it has become a meme within the fanbase and around the NFL. His main success with the position in the second round was with Patrick Chung, and even he wasn’t very successful until his second stint. Obviously, we can’t declare a player a success or failure just because of prior trends or draft position and instead should look at the player himself if we are to make a judgement upon him.
Coming out of high school, Dugger only received offers from DII schools because he was very undersized. As he eventually grew into his frame in Lenoir-Rhyne, he elected to commit to the school that recruited him. Dugger is a hard-hitting player who most likely will transition to playing in the box as a safety for the Patriots, likely eventually taking over for aging veteran Patrick Chung.
What separates Dugger from many other defensive backs the Patriots have selected over the recent years is his athleticism. Dugger running a 4.49s 40, jumping 42 inches in the vertical jump and 134 in the broad jump while being 6’1” and 217 pounds presents a mixture of speed, size, and athleticism that is rare for a safety. The main aspect of his game that the Patriots need to work on is his transition to playing against NFL-level competition. Generally, the jump from a DI school to the NFL is quite large, the difference from DII to the NFL is even larger. It will likely take a year or two for Dugger to be ready to be a significant contributor on the defense as he adjusts to his new system. Adapting to these circumstances, the Patriots have ensured that Dugger will not have a lot of pressure to perform on defense early on through extending Chung and signing Phillips. Interestingly, Dugger’s coaching throughout his years at Lenoir-Rhyne has been inconsistent, he had to play under three different coordinators during his four years at the school. Hopefully with some great coaching and system stability with Bill and Steve Belichick Dugger can carve out his role as a future player in the secondary.
Perhaps to the disappointment of some Patriots fans, Dugger’s contributions early in his career will most likely be on special teams. Dugger had experience being a returner in college, and I would not be surprised if that becomes his primary role early on in his tenure. Dugger’s athletic ability gives him the potential to become a future star on the team if he can adapt to the NFL. Only time will tell whether he works out or becomes another player too add to the list of failed second round picks.
2.60 Josh Uche, OLB, Michigan:
Patriots Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio remarked that prior to day two, the Patriots had three players they had a priority on acquiring: Dugger was one of them, and Uche was the other that the Patriots were able to draft with their selections.
Like Dugger, Uche is an explosive athlete with great speed as well as motor. Due to enduring an injury in the senior bowl, he was unable to participate in the combine. However, his athleticism shows up on film. Uche is a very versatile player, being able to play both on the line as well as off the ball and his efforts got him named the most versatile player by PFF in their 2020 draft guide. Michigan DC Don Brown said that he put Uche in nearly every position on the defense. I am sure Belichick was quite happy when he saw the 245 pound linebacker in coverage downfield against Penn State WR KJ Hamler. Amongst his versatility, his pass rush ability is what truly stands out. His 23.2% pressure rate and 28.2% pass rush win rate were second in both categories in the FBS. Uche achieved these great statistics through his incredible getoff off the line as well as good hand placement combined with his fantastic athleticism. Don Brown stated that Uche’s primary motivation was to become the best pass rusher in the country, and the dedication and work that Uche put in to be amongst the best in the country showed throughout the 2019 season. The primary aspect of Uche’s game that he needs to solidify in order to increase his role on the Patriots is increasing consistency with run defense.
Uche marked the first of five consecutive selections the Patriots made that addressed pressing needs. Considering the amount of LB talent that left over the offseason, it is possible that Uche will see a decent amount of playing time on the defense, perhaps in a similar role to former Wolverine Chase Winovich, whom Uche now rejoins in New England. I see Uche likely being the second-most impactful rookie to play for the Patriots this season, helping to strengthen the team’s pass rush, resulting in a more effective pass defense overall.
3.87 Anfernee Jennings, OLB, Alabama:
Jennings’ selection serves as a nice complement to Uche’s. While Uche is this very athletic and undersized linebacker, Jennings better fits into the traditional, big, physical type of linebacker. Coming from Alabama, Jennings offers great fundamentals and football IQ that come from developing under Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban. While he may not be the most athletic or flashy player, Jennings will likely cement his role in the Patriots defense as a solid and reliable player, especially against the run. Jennings registered great production during his time at Alabama, leading edge defenders in FBS for run-stop rate at 12.6%. The Alabama product has often been compared to former Patriots LB Kyle Van Noy due to his ability to be a versatile piece across the line.
Jennings is a very persevering player as well. In 2018 he suffered a worrying knee injury. Fortunately, the injury did not prevent him from returning to the field, but Jenninngs had to put in a lot of effort in order to return to his previous form. Saban also complimented Jennings’s dedication to improving himself in practice sessions. Jennings likely projects as an edge defender who will play very well against the run while also sometimes dropping into coverage. Jennings will likely see a fair amount of action as a rookie, especially on rushing downs. While he may not have a high ceiling, Jennings will likely be an anchor of the Pats’ defense as he progresses through his contract.
3.91 Devin Asiasi, TE, UCLA:
On the offense, New England desperately needed to do something with their TE situation. Matt Lacosse may be a replacement level backup, but Ryan Izzo is not an NFL-caliber player. With very little cap space to address the position in free agency, the Patriots looked to the draft to fill their TE position. By selecting Asiasi in the third round, it is the first time the Patriots have spent a day two or higher pick on a tight end since 2010, when they selected Gronkowski.
Asiasi will likely become the Patriots number 1 option at the position. When looking at Bill Belichick’s 1991 scouting notes shared by Daniel Jeremiah, NBC analyst Phil Perry noted that Asiasi seems to fit the bill for the number one role. Devin Asiasi displayed great catching ability throughout his year starting at UCLA, only having one drop throughout the entire year. Asiasi also demonstrated great ability to run after the catch, averaging 5.6 yards in this category. Another ability that Asiasi brings as a TE that the Patriots sorely missed in 2019 is blocking. Even if Asiasi won’t perform as a great blocker (which is best reserved for #2 or #3 TEs anyway), it will most likely be better than the awfulness that was Patriot tight end blocking last year.
Asiasi was suspended for three games in the 2018 season for undisclosed reasons by Chip Kelly. However, Bill Belichick and the Patriots are on good terms with UCLA head coach Chip Kelly, meaning that they were able to confer with Kelly and confirm that Asiasi would be a good fit with the team and his suspensions were nothing to.worry about. Asiasi also possesses high football intelligence, being able to run complex concepts such as option routes in Kelly’s TE heavy offense. Even though Asiasi is undersized for what people normally think of a #1 TE , only being 6’3” and 257 lbs., his athletic ability and smooth movement should translate well into the NFL. Although Asiasi will likely be the starting Y-Tight End for the Patriots offense, I would not bet on him to break the trend of rookie TEs having low production, though Asiasi will definitely contribute in blocking.
3.101 Dalton Keene, TE, Virginia Tech:
The Patriots also repeated something that they did 10 years ago, which was taking two tight ends in the draft. Dalton Keene is an interesting prospect to project for the Patriots. His playstyle resembles that of an F or move tight end. Even Belichick admitted after drafting Keene that they would have work to do in terms of finding him a role on this team, since the role that Keene played in the Virginia Tech offense is nothing like anything the Patriots run in their offense.
If Keene seems to be such a confusing fit for the Patriots, then what made the team trade back up into the third round in order to select him. The most defining feature that Keene exhibits through his play is toughness. He is a very dedicated and ruthless player, oftentimes toughing it out through injury and not playing with high regard to his health while on the field. The aggressiveness that Keene displayed both during practice and games caused his teammates to give him the nickname of “Rambo”. Keene’s offensive coordinator Brad Cornelsen called him the toughest player he has ever seen. Keene has never produced that much in the receiving game, only racking up 341 yards in his most productive receiving season. Perhaps given his athletic talent it suggests that Virginia Tech underutilized his ability in the passing game, instead placing more focus upon his ability in the run game instead. Keene will be a versatile player and likely fill multiple roles as the Patriots’ second tight end, primarily being used as that F tight end, move tight end, or perhaps H-back. He may in fact share similar duties to FB Danny Vitale. I would be more than happy if Keene and Asiasi can combine for about 600-700 receiving yards and a few touchdowns in their rookie year.
5.159 Justin Rohrwasser, K, Marshall:
Another need that the Patriots needed to fill during the draft or free agency was the kicker position. Many people expected the Patriots to take someone like Georgia kicker Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia Southern kicker Tyler Bass, or Chase Vinatieri from South Dakota. When the Patriots selected Rohrwasser, a kicker who was so unknown that he didn’t even have a profile on the NFL’s website many people were confused.
What caused the Patriots to select this unknown kicker from Marshall. Rohrwasser displayed great performance throughout the 2019 season, having a statistically better season compared to the other higher profile kickers in the draft. Rohrwasser made 18 of 21 field goals and 35 of 36 XPs. He was perfect on kicks greater than 50 yards out, even hitting a clutch field goal from 53 yards against Western Kentucky after being iced twice. Belichickj stated that the Patriots have watched over 250 kicks and were impressed by his ability to kick in clutch situations as well as poor conditions, something Rohrwasser will have to do often in the AFC East. It is unclear whether Rohrwasser will relieve punter Jake Bailey of his kickoff duties (thought I think it’s more likely than not). If there is any position I trust Bill to evaluate, it’ s the placekicker. Rohrwasser will likely be the most impactful rookie on the patriots, mainly because he is the only surefire starter out of all of them. If Rohrwasser succeeds, the Patriots will be able to not go for fourth downs deep in enemy territory again and have a good kicker on a cheap rookie deal.
6.182 Michael Onwenu, OG, Michigan:
After addressing many immediate needs, the Patriots decided to take some shots at reserve linemen. Considering what happened in 2019, it is smart for the Patriots to add some young talent to the Offensive Line in order to account for things not going according to plan.
The first thing that strikes people when they look at Onwenu is his size. This man is HUGE, especially for an interior lineman. Coming in at 6’3”, around 350 lbs (he actually weighed closer to 370 during the season at college), Onwenu is a very physically imposing presence. He is very good at doing his job of not letting defenders get by him. During his past two years at Michigan, Onwenu played 1198 snaps, Onwenu only allowed 13 pressures and 2 sacks. He plays with great power and if he is able to get his hands on the defender, then it is over. Onwenu also possesses decent movement ability for his size; he will be able to perhaps do downfield blocking a bit better than people expect him to. Also, according to Michigan’s OL coach Ed Warriner, Onenwu really doesn’t have the ability to go much lower than 345 lbs.
Onenwu will start out on the team as a backup in the iOL, though more likely in his natural position of RG. Onenwu is quite different compared to New England’s other iOLs, he is 50 pounds heavier than the rest of our starting interiors. It will be interesting to see how Onwenu is able to execute the Patriots’ offensive scheme considering how physically different he is compared to Thuney, Andrews, and Mason. Either way, Onenwu will be a reliable depth piece that can protect Stidham if any of the starters go down.
6.195 Justin Herron, OG/OT, Wake Forest:
The second lineman that the Patriots invested draft capital in was Justin Herron. Herron started 51 games for Wake Forest, exclusively at the LT position. Herron’s experience at the position will likely slot him in as the primary backup to Isaiah Wynn, who has spent a lot of time of his career injured. Herron did suffer an ACL tear in the first week of the 2018 season, but rebounded quite well in 2019. Herron, like Onwenu, is a great pass-blocker. In 2017, the season prior to tearing his ACL, Herron allowed zero sacks. In 2019, when he recovered from his ACL injury, he only allowed four sacks and 13 pressures.
Some analysts raise questions about Herron playing tackle at the next level, instead projecting him as a guard. Interestingly, analysts made similar remarks about now-starting LT Isaiah Wynn. Considering that he only played left tackle during his time in college, I think the Patriots evaluated him and will use him as a tackle. If New England wanted an interior lineman, they likely would have selected someone else. Another concern that some have about Herron is his athleticism, which showed up at the combine, especially in his 8.41s three-cone drill. Scarnecchia often said the Patriots don’t care too much about athleticism in the OL, saying that they only needed to be athletic-enough. If the Patriots were that concerned about his athletic ability, he likely wouldn’t have been selected. Even so, it’s a great idea to grab a tackle who played solidly in college and will spend most of his rookie deal as a reserve player. This pick will be a success if Herron makes the team and can competently back up Wynn if he finds himself injured again.
6.204 Cassh Maluia, LB, Wyoming:
In the midst of the Patriots grabbing multiple offensive lineman, the Patriots selected another linebacker to increase their depth. During the 2019 season, Maluia went relatively under the radar due to his fellow linebacker and 65th overall pick Logan Wilson. However, those who studied Wilson likely saw Maluia pop out on a few occasions and make great plays. Maluia is an athletic and undersized linebacker, weighing in at only 231 lbs. His athleticism showed up both on tape and on the field, where Maluia displayed versatility across the field being able to both be a thumper as well as a decent coverage player. Maluia’s biggest concern is probably his tackling form, as his aggressiveness caused him to miss a fair amount of times. If Maluia makes the 53 man, he will likely contribute mostly as a special teams player, though his athletic ability might allow him to play a few snaps at defense.
7.230 David Woodard, C, Memphis:
With their final selection in the 2020 NFL draft, the Patriots threw a dart at another reserve lineman. Woodard played all across his the iOL throughout his college career, displaying the versatility that is desired in a backup lineman. Woodard does not have athletic testing available, though some analysts expressed concern about his athletic ability and his size, as Woodard only weighs 291 lbs. As detailed earlier, the Patriots generally concern themself more with technique than pure size and athleticism, and Woodard displays great technique. He graded out as the best run-blocking and second best pass-blocking center in 2019 through PFFs metrics. The Patriots will likely have to still improve Woodard’s technique to make him a future part of the team. Woodard projects as a reserve interior guy, particularly backing up C David Andrews if he makes the team.
UDFAs
Considering that a UDFA has made the New England roster for 16 straight years, I think it is appropriate to talk about some of the more interesting prospects in short. These are not all of the FAs the Patriots signed but some that I think are the most interesting and have the greatest chance to make the team.
For the QB position, the Patriots signed Michigan State QB Brian Lewerke and Louisiana Tech QB J’Mar Smith. Lewerke initially showed promise but a shoulder injury he suffered in 2018 really derailed his career. Smith is more interesting, as he displayed his athleticism throughout his career, as well as possessing great arm strength and ability to make flash off-platform throws. He was suspended for a game, but in his 11 starts he went 10-1 and won C-USA offensive player of the year. Neither QB really poses much threat to Stidham, but if one of them shows promise (especially Smith, who reportedly had a few offers from other teams), don’t be surprised if Belichick makes space for them on the 53 man roster.
For the WR position, which many people were surprised the Patriots did not take a shot at in the draft, the most interesting players are Auburn WR Will Hastings and Miami WR Jeff Thomas. Hastings was Stidham’s former slot receiver in college, racking up 26 receptions and 525 yards with the QB in 2017. Hastings tore his ACL prior to 2018, and Stidham missed his reliable option during the season. Hastings ran a 4.49s 40 and a blistering 6.64s 3-cone during his pro-day. Hasting’s connection with Stidham may allow for him to sneak onto the team. Thomas, on the other hand, mostly specialized as a deep threat for the Hurricanes. Even though he is undersized at 5’9 and 170 lbs, many scouts said he displayed draftable talent throughout his career. The aspect of Thomas that was more influential in making him a UDFA is his character concerns. Thomas has had an issue with nearly every coaching staff that he has interacted with, and got kicked off the 2018 team for attitude issues. If Thomas can pull himself together and realize that there are no more chances, he could transform into a future weapon for the Patriots.
Arizona RB J.J. Taylor is another interesting pickup for the Patriots. He is very short, coming in at only 5’5” tall (never in my life did I think I would be taller than a Pats player), but still manages to pack 185 lbs. Despite his size, Taylor is quite talented, displaying some decent shiftiness as well as the ability to bounce through contact. Perhaps because of his size and elusive playstyle, he has drawn comparisons to former Patriots RB Dion Lewis. If Taylor can show enough ability throughout the offseason, he might be able to get the Patriots to replace a RB, primarily Rex Burkhead, who many Pats fans theorize the team will cut for a few years now.
Ohio State TE Rashod Berry is another interesting player the Patriots picked up. He reportedly may change his position to OLB. Berry had some experience playing defense for Ohio State early in his career, though he did some snaps along the defense for a few games in his senior year. Many Ohio State fans say that Berry is a very athletic player who was underutilized by the Ohio State system. Wherever he plays, it will be interesting to see how his skill translates to the next level.
On the defensive side of the ball the Patriots were able to sign Auburn EDGE Nick Coe after negotiations between him and the Bills fell through. Coe was one of the top ranked free agents after the draft talent-wise, as he produced well in his first few seasons at Auburn. He is a much more prototypical big edge player the Patriots generally use in their system, but also has the versatility to play off the ball. However, Coe seems happiest playing as an edge rusher off the line. Coe’s main issue is his off-the field issues, where he feuded with his coaching staff over his assignments on the team, and also did not put in as much effort as a result. Coe is a very high-potential signing, but he will have to accept whatever role New England gives him if he wants to succeed.
The signing that gave the most guaranteed money went to Arkansas LB De’Jon Harris. Harris primarily plays as a thumping linebacker, which will likely be his role if he manages the Patriots. He has been theorized to fill a similar role to Elandon Roberts did last year (though likely not as a FB on offense). As a thumper, Harris’ best ability is tracking down and meeting the ball carrier, except he does suffer from some tackling issues.
The Patriots somehow managed to convince Bill Murray to join the team, where he will slot in on the defensive line. The DT from William & Mary displays good ability to be disruptive along the defensive line, though keep in mind that this was against FCS competition. Murray also managed to block 10 kicks during his tenure, something that Belichick is surely proud of. He reportedly is also a guy who is great at making his teammates laugh, perhaps like his celebrity counterpart. Considering that DL is a weaker position on the Patriots, Murray has a real shot to get on the team with his talent.
If I am going to talk about UDFAs that have a great chance of making the team, I am not going to overlook the secondary. The DB that the patriots signed this year was Washington’s Myles Bryant. Bryant is another undersized player, only coming at 5’8” and 183 lbs.. and primarily played free safety in 2019 after playing slot corner for the previous two years. Bryant showed good short-area quickness on the field as well as in athletic testing, running a 6.81s 3-cone. His greatest weakness is tackling, likely worsened by his small size. Bryant will need to improve his tackling if he wants to make the team. I also wanted to shout out 2019 UDFA UNM DB D’Angelo Ross, another undersized corner that showed some promise in the preseason prior to suffering a season-ending injury. I still don’t fully understand why Belichick spends so many premier picks on DBs when he can just pull great ones out of his rear nearly every year in the UDFA market.
Roster Projection:
Projecting the Patriots roster is especially difficult due to the amount of bodies at many positions such as OL, LB, and DB. This problem is exacerbated by the fact I haven’t seen anyone play yet or have the most recent updates on everyone’s health. I am not confident that this roster will be that accurate to the final roster that appears week 1.
QB (2) - Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer
RB (5) - Sony Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead, Brandon Bolden, Damien Harris
FB (1) - Dan Vitale
WR (7) - N’Keal Harry, Mohammed Sanu, Julian Edelman, Marqise Lee, Jakobi Meyers, Matt Slater, Jeff Thomas
TE (2) - Devin Asiasi, Dalton Keene
OL (9) - Isaiah Wynn, Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason, Marcus Cannon, Yodny Cajuste, Justin Herron, Hjalte Froholdt, Michael Onwenu
DL (4) - Adam Butler, Beau Allen, Lawrence Guy, Byron Cowart
EDGE/LB (9) - Deatrich Wise, Chase Winovich, John Simon, Josh Uche, Anfernee Jennings, Dont’a Hightower, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Cassh Maluia, Brandon King
CB (6) - Stephon Gilmore, Joejuan Williams, Jason McCourty, J.C. Jackson, Jonathan Jones, Justin Bethel,
S (5) - Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Adrian Phillips, Kyle Dugger, Terrence Brooks
K - Justin Rohrwasser
P - Jake Bailey
LS - Joe Cardona
KR and PR - Dugger
Conclusion?
The Patriots enter a time of uncertainty that hasn’t existed in my lifetime. This 2020 squad is very hard to predict because of all the unknowns that exist all over the team, most notably at QB. It is possible that the Patriots perform better on the offense this year due to the sheer amount of players that are now healthy, especially alongside the offensive line. Although it is most likely the Patriots will not be a contender this year, depending on how well Stidham and the rest of the offense perform and develop, the team could bring itself into contention as early as 2021. I anxiously, but optimistically, await this team’s future.
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The Kevin Malone 10,000 to 1 Odds Mock Draft

This is a mock where I would be more comfortably betting that every single pick would NOT happen over and single pick happening. But, it would make a fun night.
1). Cincinnati Bengals- Chase Young: The Bengals choose the Ohio guy they have wanted all along. They go after a generational talent in Young who will set the edge for them for years to come. The Bengals can then, Tank for Trevor Lawerence or trade for, say, Josh Rosen. Then a year from now as the Bengals sprint to draft Lawerence with the first overall pick we can say that Rosen struggled because he was on a bad team in the wrong system.
2). Washington Redskins- Joe Burrow: The front office in D.C. panics as they were not prepared for this to happen. The logical thing to do would be to have history repeat itself and get one team’s entire draft worth of picks and trade back. However, they decide to take Burrow and we get a Quarterback battle rematch with Haskins and Burrow going toe-to-toe for that starting QB spot…..again.
3). Detroit Lions- Jeffery Okudah: For a “10,000 to 1 odds mock” this is odd since this is what everyone is mocking. Exactly, everyone watching takes a giant sigh of relief as they believe the chaos from picks 1-2 has settled and we are back to normal. But wait…
4). New York Giants- Jerry Juedy: Dave Gettleman goes out and gets an exceptionally talented receiver. Something the Giants haven’t had in over a year. Daniel Jones gets a weapon at receiver, something he was clearly lacking in his first year.
5). Miami Dolphins- Jedrick Wills: In a year where everyone is wearing masks it’s only fitting Miami drafts a tackle out of the SEC. They could use a later pick on a Quarterback or simply trade Rosen to the Bengals for Dalton.
6). Los Angeles Chargers- C.J. Henderson: The Charger’s secondary has been talked about as the best in the league, HOWEVER, the Chargers know themselves well enough to know that every year one of them is getting hurt. Enter Henderson who can fill the role of anyone injured in that secondary.
7). Carolina Panthers- Tua Tagovailoa: Teddy Bridgewater is going to be having some serious Deja vu as he takes a back seat to the left handed Drew Brees. Joe Brady saw enough of Tua in 2019 to know that he needed to coach him and, now, he gets that chance.
8). Arizona Cardinals- CeeDee Lamb: Kyler Murray has spent his time campaigning for another weapon over protection, taking notes from the great Phil Rivers. The Cardinals trade Christian Kirk somewhere else to make room.
9). Jacksonville Jaguars- Isaiah Simmons: The Jags have a lot of holes to fill from that AFC Championship team. Especially if they choose to part ways with Ngakoue. Simmons has been tagged the jack of all trades defender in this draft so Jacksonville figures he can fill multiple holes on his own
10). Cleveland Browns- Derrick Brown: The Browns have holes to fill but they look to the 49ers for a blueprint on getting to the Super Bowl. Quarterback with sex appeal: check. Now it is time to stack that d-line and torment every QB in the AFC North.
11). New York Jets- Austin Jackson: The draft shapes perfectly for the Jets as there has only been one offensive tackle taken thus far, giving them the pick of the litter. There is no way they could screw this up. Enter Austin Jackson who was a Freshman in Darnold’s final season at USC, his prior work with Darnold makes him perfect for the left tackle spot in New York. Fight on!!
12). Las Vegas Raiders- Tee Higgins: The Raiders need a receiver and Ruggs is still on the board. But General Manager Mike Mayock LOVES the machine that is Clemson football. They go with the coin flip between Higgins and Terrell and Higgins wins this round, fingers crossed Terrell is still available at the next pick.
13). San Francisco 49ers- Patrick Queen: This could be a spot to get another weapon for that offense but San Francisco decides to snag another LSU athlete to plug in at linebacker. With Queen and Alexander roaming the field together scrambling QBs can be somewhat held in check.
14). Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Henry Ruggs III: This is a very potent offense. Getting protection for Brady is the logical move but getting a piece like Ruggs is too tempting to say no.
15). Denver Broncos- Laviska Shenault: The talk of receiver to Denver has been constant. However, people truly underestimate the difficulty of playing at that elevation. You know who is already acclimated to it? Laviska Shenault, a great wide receiver who has already played in Colorado.
16). Atlanta Falcons- Jalen Reagor: The Falcons have 10 players on their offense who were first round draft picks. They need defensive help but Reagor makes it a complete 11. You will be betting the overs on every single NFC south matchup.
17). Dallas Cowboys- Justin Herbert: Shockingly, Herbert falls all the way to 17. Jerry Jones uses it as the perfect excuse to send Dak packing who gets a monster contract elsewhere.
18). Miami Dolphins- Tristan Wirfs: Miami pulls from the great wisdom of D.J. Khaled and says “anotha one”. The tackles are not flying off the boards so they decided to grab 2 in the first round to load up this line. Wirfs can play tackle or even guard on this line.
19). Las Vegas Raiders- A.J. Terrell: The coin flip was unnecessary as Terell is still available for the Raiders. They get to pair up Tiger buddies Terell and Mullen in that secondary. Mayock solidifies himself as the TRUE Tiger King.
20). Jacksonville Jaguars- Jonathan Taylor: With Leonard Fournette likely on the outs the Jaguars need a new back to lean on for 25-30 carries a game. Taylor has shown he can do that so he will continue to do that until he physically breaks apart.
21). Philadelphia Eagles- Andrew Thomas: There will be thousands of broken T.V.’s in Philly after this pick since this isn’t a receiver. but , with Jason Peters gone, the Eagles need a new tackle. Andrew Thomas simply fell in their lap. They will get another fast receiver with spotty hands down the road.
22). Minnesota Vikings-Trevon Diggs: Fear not Vikings fans, you do not need to burn your Stefon Diggs jerseys as his brother will be joining the team forced to wear the same number. The Vikings needed help in the secondary and maybe they just had a Diggs on the wrong side of the field.
23). New England Patriots- Brandon Aiyuk: Stidham/Hoyer will need plenty of receiver help this season and the N’Keal Harry pick hasn’t gone as anticipated. The Patriots hope this time they nail their Arizona State wide receiver pick.
24). New Orleans Saints- Justin Jefferson: It seems as if Michael Thomas does it all on his own, he needs some help. Especially with Tampa and Atlanta going all in on the offensive side of the ball.
25). Minnesota Vikings- Antoine Winfield Jr.: The theme for the Vikings this year is keeping it in the family. Diggs and Winfield look to help shore up this Minnesota defense.
26). Miami Dolphins- Xavier Mckinney: After trading away their Alabama product defensive back Miami goes out and gets another. You have no idea how badly I wanted to draft another tackle.
27). Seattle Seahawks- Mekhi Becton: We all know how much the Seahawks love raw talent. They get just that in Becton.
28). Baltimore Ravens- Cesar Ruiz: Everyone wants a linebacker here but the Ravens choose to protect Lamar Jackson over protecting the box. They will just get a linebacker later in the draft, no worries.
29). Tennessee Titans- Zack Moss: The Titans may not have Derrick Henry for the long run. So they decided to get another downhill, power running back to learn the ways for a year. Then, it becomes the Moss Show.
30). Green Bay Packers- Zach Baun: The Packers could go out and get a receiver for Aaron Rodgers. But, Green Bay can be a cold place to play in the winter and Zach Baun knows all about that. Just as long as the Packers can remind him not to drink too much water.
31). San Francisco 49ers- Javon Kinlaw: The 49ers seemingly get the guy they probably should’ve taken with their first pick in this round. However, you simply can’t get back that excitement of watching him slowly fall down closer and closer to you.
32). Kansas City Chiefs- J.K. Dobbins: The Chiefs need help all over the place on defense. But, offense is the name of the game and Dobbins could do wonders in this already potent Kansas City offense.
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NFL Way-Too-Early 2020QB Power Rankings

  1. Patrick Mahomes, KC Patrick Mahomes is a once-in-a-lifetime Talent. The QB equivalent to Bo Jackson, Nothing can stop Mahomes. He is such a dominant piece in such a dominant offense that you could plan all day just to shut him down and he'll still make plays. there really isn't much to say, but that's because Mahomes leaves you speechless every game
  2. Deshaun Watson, HOU My affinity for Deshaun Watson can be put front an center right now. I think he is one of, if not the most abused man in the NFL, maybe even in the league's history (Although you may want to have a chat with one Andrew Luck about that.) Watson has had his team stripped around him repeatedly under the O'Brien administration, getting rid of key players and replacing them with average Joes. You cannot look me in the face and tell me that the scrub they chose to play over Clowney didn't hurt the team in some way come playoff time. despite having the worst offensive line in the league, losing DHop and getting Dollar Store replacements for every position in the offense, Watson makes do. With DHop last year, he looked like an MVP candidate in most other years. Watson has talent, and a lot of it; meddlesome ownership cannot stop screwing him, though. Thank god he is decent and scrambling.
  3. Russell Wilson, SEA DangeRuss is a beast. this is a QB with the ability to burn you over your DBs and the ability to run like a rookie RGIII. Russ is still alive and very well, and the Seattle Seahawks with Wilson rarely fail to entertain, if not dominate. Take a Note O'Brien! This is how you protect a scrambler!
  4. Drew Brees, NO Brees is a remnant from an age long-gone. entering his 40's, he and Brady are the last 2 QB's playing from before I was born. I never got the chance to see the entirety of either of their careers, but Brees is still alive and well. with Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders outside, and Kamara to do the trench-work, Brees should have little to no issue this upcoming season.
  5. Lamar Jackson, BAL Listen up Ravens Fans. I absolutely adore Lamar Jackson. Always have, always will. I was wanting my team to draft him in that draft when we needed a QB as well. Lamar is the most fun I've had watching football. watching a man that dominant on the ground like '04 Mike Vick highlights every game brings a smile to my face. however, my concerns are injury and replication. Lamar has had a great start in the NFL over the past 2 seasons, but can he replicate it? Also, can he avoid the injury bug? I believe he may be the first of his mold to do so thus far. Lamar is different from previous super scramblers such as the aforementioned Vick, and other scrambling deities such as Kap and RGIII. He can burn you 2 ways. Ask the LA Rams how crowding the box worked against Lamar and Hollywood Brown. They'll tell you they got blown out, but instead of having it ran down their throats, it was passed there instead. TLDR: Big Truss in Lamar.
  6. Aaron Rodgers, GB I never loved Rodgers. 95% of my football buddies root for Green Bay, so all i get is the Rodgers praise. I get it to a very good extent. Rodgers is one of the best Packers to ever play. He is a classic, Stereotypical Bombing QB. He is unafraid, tough as nails, and is definitely one of the most gifted QBs in the NFL
  7. Tom Brady, TB No one outworks TB12. there's a reason the GOAT got to his status; Endless hard work. However, last year it seemed Age caught up to him slightly. Sure, he didn't stink up the joint, and he got them to the playoffs, but Tommy Terrific's done a lot more with a lot less. Now in Tompa Bay with the Bucs, he should have no issue settling in to the NFL's version of North Korea, with explosive threats absolutely everywhere. This could be the second coming of the NFL's GOAT, and I'm excited to see what lies in store for the Bucs.
  8. Matt Ryan, ATL Matty Ice is underrated to hell and back. No rookie fan could look at Ryan's ludicrous passing stats and say he is not a top 10 QB still. He has not missed a step ever in his NFL Journey. I think the Iceman should be a lock for Canton when his time is over in Atlanta, but for now he will remain in the running for best QB.
  9. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT Big Ben has let age catch him, just like Brady. however, Roethlisberger still has some juice in the tank, and the willingness of the Steelers to stick by Big Ben shows just how much faith they must have in his ability to come back and play 100%. If they have faith, so do I. I've learned my lesson for doubting a Steelers team last year, and if there's one thing I learned, it's that Tomlin is a dangerous man when he wants to be.
  10. Ryan Tannehill, TEN I Like Tannehill. I don't like $35 Million Tannehill, But I Like Tannehill. My Issue with Tannehill comes down to one point alone, and that is this; How much of his success is attributed to Henry? Derrick Henry was an absolute monster last season, and I'm concerned with if you could've gotten a little lower of a salary for Tannehill off that argument alone. As I will later discuss, QBs who need weapons can be risky. Hopefully the bet pays off
  11. Dak Prescott, DAL I Like Dak. I don't like $35 Million Dak, but I like Dak nonetheless. However, I want to make one thing clear; Without a RB, he is nothing. Sure, Zeke Is the offense in Dallas, and was specifically the year he got suspended. but, look how many times Dak's numbers drop significantly without Zeke. Dak lacks one major piece of the QB Puzzle, as most NFL QBs do; Fear. People aren't afraid of Dak, and they have no right to be. Once zeke is out of the lineup, Superman becomes Clark Kent.
  12. Kirk Cousins, MIN Let Me make one thing Crystal-clear; Kirk Cousins is unproven. The man has been shown to be afraid of the big lights his entire career. He has had a very bad losing record against winning teams, and he was payed a bunch of money by a team whose best options were him or one of the billion 2017 Viking starting QBs. However, he got results last year, so he avoids the fates of other uncertain QBs and lends relatively high.
  13. Matt Stafford, DET Stafford comes from the Matt Ryan style of Quarterbacking. Don't get too big, and silently play a ridiculous career. Stafford was a reliable piece to the lions for over a decade, starting in every game for over a decade until his iron man streak was put to an end in November 2019. He also was consistently valuable, being the Best QB the Lions had seen in a half-century. Stafford's one question now is his ability to play above his head. He needs to play just slightly better. Being the Lions best QB is like being the best Seattle Mariner ever. Sure, it's an honor, but who else is challenging you? it's a bit late in his career for this, but if Stafford could just improve slightly, i'd vouch for a top-10 QB argument in his honor.
  14. Philip Rivers, IND The Man of 1,000 babies is alive and well in the place that destroyed the career of the once-promising Andrew Luck
  15. Josh Allen, BUF As A Bills Fan, I have a Love-Hate Relationship with Allen. Allen has continously shown he is the guy in WNY, and I've cme to respect that. However, his style of play infuriates me. the is the Catalyst for the Team's style of play; Shit the bed offensively and let the defense bail us out until the horseshoes in our asses activate to save us. I think Allen Shows a lot of potential, but games like Philly and Cleveland and the Home Miami games give me a lot of reason to be worried. I have a feeling by the time Allen retires I'll have to be medicated to make sure my blood pressure doesn't go too high.
  16. Jimmy Garoppolo, SF Garoppolo lands this far down for one reason; I have verification issue with is offense. Is it more him or the RBs he's in a tandem with? Garoppolo had a mortal performance in the Super Bowl, but his RBs weren't perfect either, and I feel like they carried anyway. Garoppolo will never lose you a game, but I have serious issues believing he can win you one either. That isn't a knock against him either. that was one Meh season after a wicked start in the bay. however, Much like Stafford, I'd love to see Jimmy G improve just a bit.
  17. Kyler Murray, ARI The Young Gun in the west looks to be poised to take a big leap in his development curve this season. If he can succeed, he could push his way into that crowded 10 area. Murray is an absolute breakout candidate this year, and if he does, watch out West.
  18. Carson Wentz, PHI Overrated. As a wise man once taught me, "The best ability is availability," and every single year Wentz comes down with the Injury bug right before the end. This has always been my knock with Wentz; He can not stay healthy. It's by no means of his own, but in all honesty; Is it any wonder why the Eagles took Hurts? they needed a new BDN after they saw what happened when he got injured in the playoffs last season. Healthy Wentz only would be like 13 on the list, but the injury bug makes me unable to defend his habit of injuries.
  19. Derek Carr, LV Carr has been strapped with a rebuilding team, yet he has always continued to persevere through it. With Carr, the Raiders are a potential Wild Card Candidate. Without him, they are metaphorical Ghosts In The Shell. Despite not having as many issues as Wentz, the one time the Raiders were without Carr when it matter, the got routed by Brock Goddamn Osweiler. that's a sign the man is a necessity. He has room for improvement, but he is able to win you games when it matters. he also won't lose you a game, which is a nice touch.
  20. Drew Lock, DEN Drew Lock showed a lot of promise in the last little piece of the 2019 season. He and Courtland Sutton combined to make magic, but you could tell there was something missing. whether it was something in Lock or the Receiving Corps was what was to be determined. with the additions of Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler, it is now or never for Lock, as Elway may be on the line in Mile High if Lock doesn't pan out.
  21. Teddy Bridgewater, CAR Teddy is an underrated QB. Showing his worth in the stretch of games missed by Drew Brees, Bridgewater led the team stunningly in the absence of Brees. Bridgewater proved then he has the ability to keep a time alive and thriving. perhaps he can help a Panthers team with an ax to grind.
  22. Baker Mayfield, CLE I debated hard with myself over whether to rank Mayfield or Darnold ahead of the other. in the end, I chose Mayfield because he's shown he can be great. specifically, the back half of his rookie season had lots of promise. He has shown he can make it happen. all he needs is for it to materialize.
  23. Sam Darnold, NYJ Darnold gets ranked below Mayfield because of the lack of success, but what Mayfield has had that Darnold has not is a supporting cast. Darnold has done less with less, as expected. however, i'm not fond of either. both need to develop and fast, or I think their teams should consider moving on
  24. Gardner Minshew, JAX Minshew had a great rookie season for a 6th rounder, but an Improvement is necessary. Minshew has shown to have promise, but he needs to take that next step ASAP. Trevor Lawrence is coming up, and if the Jags think they lack a true QB, they will go get one.
  25. Daniel Jones, NYG Daniel Jones had a great rookie season, but more is needed from him too. he did what he could, but without a true next step, he could end up like the letters of his helmet; removed.
  26. Nick Foles/ Mitch Trubisky, CHI I chose to go both here, cuz neither is better than the other. Trubisky is an innacurate mess who we thought could develop, but clearly won't, and BDN is inconsistent to all hell too, almost worse than Mitch. law of averages puts them right around garbage.
  27. Jared Goff, LAR Let me make one thing clear: I called that Goff would be trash after the SB. After i saw the Bears pick him apart in 2018, I knew he was done. and now, it looks like my fears are true. Goff looked like a shell of himself last season, and god knows if he can put it together this season. He better though, because his leash has gotta be wearing thin.
  28. Joe Burrow, CIN See #30
  29. Tua Tagovailoa, MIA See #30
  30. Justin Herbert, LAC I consider Rookies to automatically be bottom tier for a simple reason: You gotta earn your stripes. so, Nothing of a knock against these young dudes or anything, but they aren't shown to be anything yet, so you start low and work them up. Also, feel free to rearrange them in any order you see fit.
  31. Dwayne Haskins, WAS Year 1 Haskins was a mess, but not really his fault. the team and coaching around him was changing fast, and it was unfair to him to be expected to compete. this year, however, the stakes are different. He needs to show something this year. All the others did after all, so why can't he with an extra year?
  32. Jarrett STUDham, NE I'm sorry Nike, but I don't buy it. Stidham is so unproven it's like Belichick is banking on Stidham or one of the undrafteds the Pats picked up to be the next Brady. News Flash: The won't be, becauuse that doesn't happen nearly ever. Now they are stuck with Stidham as QB. and if he doesn't pan out, it's gonna get ugly. I doubt it will happen, but it better for Bill's sake.
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i_Milk's Official 3 Round Mock Draft

Disclaimer #1: This is based on what I would do not what I think will happen
Disclaimer #2: This mock will include trades

1.01 CIN - Joe Burrow QB LSU
Duh

1.02 WAS - Chase Young EDGE The Ohio State
Again, duh

Trade: MIA receives 1.03. DET receives 1.05, 2.39, 2.56, & 2021 MIA 2nd
1.03 MIA via DET - Tua Tagovailoa QB Alabama
In a bidding war between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Miami Dolphins, Miami just has too much draft capital to spend for their QB of the future. If this was a normal year where teams would be able to get Tua in their building for updated medicals, then I'd be much more willing to spend extra 1st round capital to trade up and get him for either LA or Miami. The injury concerns obviously make this pick very risky, but some of it has simply come down to bad luck for Tua. When healthy, he's obviously an extremely talented passer who can cut apart a defense in so many different ways. Personally, I don't think the Fins are going to trade up for a QB. I think they want to keep as many draft picks as possible and are more than happy with either Tua or Justin Herbert at 5. However I have a solid gap between Tua and Herbert as prospects, so for me I feel like I need to go up and make sure I get my far and away top QB available.0

1.04 NYG - Jedrick Wills OT Alabama
I think this pick will be Isaiah Simmons come Thursday, however I would definitely be looking at taking one of these OTs at 4 for the G-Men. At the end of the day, Daniel Jones needs more help on the offensive line and specifically with his bookends. Nate Solder has been plagued by poor play since signing with the Giants, and Cam Flemming is much more suited to being a backup than relied on as a starter. With Wills, there might be freakier athletes in this OT class but I don't see anyone who has more pluses to their name than Jedrick. He's a very good athlete, has good length, and is probably the most technically sound OT in this draft class. Rarely is a pick ever "safe" but Wills is as good as it gets when it comes to tackle prospects in the NFL Draft.

1.05 DET via MIA - Jeffery Okudah CB The Ohio State
For the third time, duh

1.06 LAC - Andrew Thomas OT Georgia
So this pick has pretty much always been Justin Herbert, however I wanted to do something different and go through a scenario where the Chargers don't go QB. When I look at Herbert, I'd be okay with his currently development if he were a 2 year starter instead of a 4 year starter. I'm worried about some of the mistakes Justin makes with so much experience under his belt, however he dealt with numerous WR injuries in 2019 and Marcus Arroyo was (IMO) way too conservative in his play calling throughout much of the year (the Auburn loss in particular I blame a lot on Arroyo). There were flashes of Herbert being able to handle a heavier offensive load in 2019, however we never really got to see that come to fruition consistently. Herbert, like Jordan Love, really needs the right place to develop and I'm not sure the Chargers are it. I don't think it's a horrible place for him, with guys like Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Hunter Henry, and Austin Ekler as targets. However that OL needs some serious work, and after playing with the best OL in the nation at Oregon I think the adjustment could be tough for Justin. Instead I want to experiment with a different route in Andrew Thomas. Thomas has SEC experience at both RT and LT, along with solid athleticism, technique, and amazing strength and length. Thomas is as solid as they come, and whether it's for Tyrod Taylor, another vet, or a young QB, he should be a rock on the OL for whoever the Bolts starter is in 2020 and in the future.

1.07 CAR - Isaiah Simmons DEF Clemson
My #2 overall player comes off the board to Matt Rhule and the Panthers here at 7. Carolina has a lot of needs, and at the end of the day I think they just need to take the most talented player on the board at their pick. Enter Isaiah Simmons, the do-it-all slot cornesafety/linebacker who has the talent and athleticism to transform a defense. Simmons isn't a 1-to-1 replacement for Luke Kuechly, but you need a similar type of game changer on the defense. I believe Simmons is that player, and he should provide day 1 impact to a team in a rebuilding phase. With Brian Burns at DE and Donte Jackson already at CB, now Carolina has a young building block on all 3 levels of their defense.

1.08 ARI - Tristan Wirfs OT Iowa
This pick has got to be on either the offensive line or the defensive line for the Cardinals unless a player like Isaiah Simmons or Jeffery Okudah falls to them. I think a guy like Javon Kinlaw makes a lot of sense here, however like with the Giants, I am most concerned with protecting my young QB. Tristan Wirfs is an other-worldly athlete who has P5 experience at LT and RT. In terms of athleticism and strength, Wirfs has a rare combination of both of those tools to work with at the NFL level. Tristan needs some more development in the technical department in the NFL, but even though the Cards have vets like DeAndre Hopkins, Chandler Jones, Larry Ftizgerald, and Patrick Peterson, I don't feel that they need him to be awesome from day 1 and they can just let him learn at his own pace. If you can develop Wirfs properly, you'll have a fantastic bookend for Kyler Murray for a very long time.

Trade: TB receives 1.09. JAX receives 1.14, 3.76, 4.117, & 2021 2nd
1.09 TB via JAX - Mekhi Becton OT Louisville
I think this trade makes a ton of sense for both sides. Jacksonville's roster has been gutted over the past couple needs, and they just need to get as many picks as possible to try and build back up their roster. Tampa acquired the services of Tom Brady in free agency, and their win-now window has become obvious. The Buccaneers have a really good offense with guys like Brady, Howard, Evans, Godwin, Brate, Marpet, and Jensen as well as a great offensive mind in Bruce Arians as head coach. At this point with where the Bucs are at, I'm most concerned with fortifying the rest of the OL and spending whatever draft capital I have to in order to do it. Becton is by far the best OT left on my board and he's worthy of this pick. He's an absolute freak with incredibly nimble, explosive feet at 6'7 364 lbs. Leverage will probably always be a bit of an issue for Becton since he's so big and I think he needs work on his hand placement, but at the end of the day someone that huge and that athletic will be able to stop plenty of pass rushers. For Tampa, your time is now so let's go get someone who will have an immediate impact protecting your new investment at QB.

Trade: DEN receives 1.10. CLE receives 1.15, 3.77, 3.95, 4.118 & 2021 3rd
1.10 DEN via CLE - Jerry Jeudy WR Alabama
With all 4 top OTs off the board, Cleveland has the freedom to trade down and get a couple more assets for missing out on their top need. Denver gets to jump up into the top 10 after trading out of the top 10 in the 2019 draft. With the top WR still available, this is a no-brainer choice for the Broncos to help round out their offense. Denver seems to be prioritizing a top WR in this draft to pair with Courtland Sutton and I feel like that's a great approach to take. While Henry Ruggs would also be a great fit in Denver, I just can't pass on the overall talent that someone like Jeudy brings. Route running, speed, YAC, production, Jerry has it all and an offense with Jeudy, Sutton, Fant, Lindsay, and Gordon should give Drew Lock all the weapons he needs to have a good sophomore campaign in the Rocky Mountains.

1.11 NYJ - Henry Ruggs WR Alabama
And well, here's my WR2 coming off the board. The Jets have made an effort to sign a lot of offensive linemen in free agency and while none of them are good enough to stop them from taking an OT in the 1st round, it does give them somewhat of a safety net in case they aren't able to get one of the top 4 OTs. Henry Ruggs is a top 10 rated player in this entire class for me and I feel like he'll be an absolute game changer at the NFL level. Ruggs has good hands, amazing speed, and really promising route running as an underclassman. Ruggs can win at any level and take any route to the house. Sam Darnold needs as much help on offense as possible and a playmaker like Ruggs will sure go a long way in making Darnold's life better in the Big Apple.

1.12 LV - CeeDee Lamb WR Oklahoma
Yeah this pick is another real easy one for me. The Raiders need another WR to complete their offense and give Derek Carr all the weapons he could hope for. With that OL, Lamb as a #1 option, Tyrell Williams, Renfrow in the slot, Waller at TE, and Jacobs at RB, Las Vegas should have one of the better offenses in the league if Carr can perform like a quality starting QB.

1.13 SF - Javon Kinlaw DT South Carolina
I don't necessarily think the Niners need to be desperate for a Deforest Buckner replacement, but in this spot the board just lines up perfectly to take a DT. Kinlaw is the best player left on my board and although San Fran already has a talented DL, they certainly could use a player like Kinlaw. With the top 3 WRs all off the board, that leaves SF the freedom to really take BPA and I love the fit for Kinlaw. He would be able to make an impact early while not having the pressure on him to develop right away with all the talent around him. This is a BPA pick that could really keep the gravy train rolling in the bay area.

1.14 JAX via TB - CJ Henderson CB Florida
Time for CB2 to come off the board. The teens are right around the sweet spot for CJ to go and a place like Jacksonville makes a lot of sense. With both Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye gone from the team, there's a large hole that needs to be filled in the secondary for the Jags and Henderson has the talent to help fill those holes. With long arms, great speed, smooth hips, and the ball skills to make plays on the ball, CJ can make an immediate impact in coverage for a team that needs to reload with impact players.

1.15 CLE via DEN - Kenneth Murray LB Oklahoma
This is a really tough pick for me, because nothing they can take here is particularly great value. I considered taking Denzel Mims just because I think he offers something a bit different to that WR room. I also considered safety here but with Karl Joseph, Andrew Sendejo, and Sheldrick Redwine already in house I just wasn't sure if addressing it with their first pick was the right move. At the end of the day I went with Murray because when I talked to Browns fans it seemed like LB was the other big need. I'm personally not a Takitaki fan but I'm a big Mack Wilson fan. With Mack having the main coverage responsibilities at the 2nd level, Murray can be allowed to do what he does best on passing downs and blitz the QB and make plays happen underneath. Murray can be slot into a starting spot immediately for Cleveland and make a terrifyingly athletic LB duo with Mack for years to come.

1.16 ATL - Kristian Fulton CB LSU
I know many might consider this pick a reach, but I believe that this is around the right value for Kristian Fulton. Fulton is still a talented corner with good, patient footwork and smooth hips. Fulton proved that he has the long speed to compete on the outside at the combine with a 4.46 40 yard dash. Fulton doesn't have great length, but he's got the athletic traits to still be a quality corner, and he gave many of the SEC's best WRs a ton of trouble as a CB. With the loss of Desmond Trufant, corner is solidified as the top need for the Falcons, and a player like Fulton will help in plugging up that hole on their roster.

1.17 DAL - K'Lavon Chaisson EDGE LSU
Another LSU Tiger comes off the board in the teens, the Cowboys have a number of options to consider here at 17. Even though a few corners are off the board, guys like Jeff Gladney, Trevon Diggs, AJ Terrell, and Jaylon Johnson could be considered in the first round. Safety is an option too with none of them being selected so far. However at this spot I went with a pass rusher since it's become a sneaky important need following the departure of Robert Quinn. Chaisson has the burst and hand usage to develop into a dynamite pass rusher on Demarcus Lawrence's opposite side. K'Lavon also has the discipline and strength to hold up as a stout run defender on the edge. Chaisson doesn't wow with amazing size or arm length, but he's got the necessary package of traits to be a quality DE in the NFL. He also had the honor of wearing the #18 for LSU this season, so his character and work ethic will not be questioned in the NFL either. After Chase Young if I had to bet on any other EDGE in this draft class being a successful pro, it would be K'Lavon Chaisson.

Trade: BAL receives 1.18. MIA receives 1.28, 2.55, 4.129, & 2021 3rd
1.18 BAL via MIA from PIT - Patrick Queen LB LSU
Well look at this, 3 LSU Tigers get selected in a row here in the middle of the first round. I think a trade up makes sense from Baltimore's perspective since they actually have a good amount of picks to work with and not a lot of holes on their roster. After trading away a couple 2nds to get Tua, Miami is able to recoup a 2nd round pick and move up 40 spots on day 3. The weakest spot on the Ravens team is at LB. They lost CJ Mosley to free agency in 2019, traded away Kenny Young to LA for Marcus Peters in-season, and lost Patrick Onwuasor in free agency this year. These departures leave a talent gap that needs to be filled, and with Isaiah Simmons and Kenneth Murray already off the board, Queen is clearly the best LB on the board and there's a significant gap between Queen and the rest of the LBs on the board. With a fairly desperate need and a big talent drop off, it makes sense for Baltimore to be aggressive in trading up for Patrick in their contending window.

1.19 LV via CHI - Jeff Gladney CB TCU
This is another easy pick for me to make. Gladney is my CB4 and final CB with a first round grade. Jeff brings the competitiveness that Jon Gruden absolutely loves, with ball skills and athleticism that should help him be a quality corner on the opposite side of Trayvon Mullen. Other than WR, CB is the biggest need for the Raiders but with the pair of Big 12 playmakers that I've taken for them in the 1st round, their roster rounds out really well and should be a tough team to play in a very competitive AFC West.

1.20 JAX via LAR - AJ Epenesa EDGE Iowa
I know AJ isn't the most popular prospect after a pretty disappointing combine, but I still think there's a lot of talent there to work with, and over the past couple seasons of Big 10 play we've seen how good Epenesa can be. With Yannick Ngakoue wanting out of Jacksonville despite receiving the franchise tag (we'll get to this later), The Jags will need a new running mate for Josh Allen with Calais Campbell also out of town. AJ Epenesa still flashes a lot of burst, flexibility, and hand usage off the edge despite the pedestrian combine numbers. On a defense where he can still make an impact but not have the pressure of being the #1 pass rusher, Epenesa and Allen could form to make a formidable pass rush duo on the outside for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

1.21 PHI - Justin Jefferson WR LSU
Justin Jefferson is actually my WR5 on my board, however I feel like the fit in Philadelphia is too perfect to pass up. Jefferson's combination of hands, athleticism, route running, and ball skills should fit very well to Carson Wentz, Doug Pederson, and that Eagles offense. With how much Pederson likes to keep defenses off balance with the quick game and RPOs, Justin should transition seamlessly into that offense and be an immediate contributor whether he's in the slot or out wide. Overall not only does Philly need athleticism at WR, but they also need reliability and with the receivers left on the board, no one is as reliable as Justin Jefferson.

1.22 MIN via BUF - Denzel Mims WR Baylor
And now here we are getting to my WR4. Mims has the traits you want out of an outside receiver wit his size, catch radius, and athleticism. His combine and senior bowl proved that he can run any route you want him to, and that he can also win against press and physical coverage. While this is somewhat a Stefon Diggs replacement, they are different body types and do some different things. What will be present from day 1 is the type of receiving threat that Mims can be, he'll win with his size and speed on intermediate and deep routes from day 1 and I think he'll be the product of some favorable coverages with teams worrying more about Adam Thielen. Minnesota needs to make some key picks for the talent they lost in the offseason, and I believe that Mims is a high upside pick that can help that offense keep on chugging even in Diggs' absence.

Trade: IND receives 1.23. NE receives 2.34, 4.122, & 2021 2nd
1.23 IND via NE - Justin Herbert QB Oregon
Finally we're seeing some QBs come off the board after the Chargers passed on Herbert at 6. I personally see Indianapolis as a much preferable spot for Justin's development compared to the Chargers. The main reason I believe this is for a couple reasons. 1. Having Jacoby Brissett and Philip Rivers would be really good for Herbert, as I feel like they have a less likely chance to force Justin into starting than Tyrod Taylor, who failed to Baker Mayfield off the bench in Cleveland. 2. Most of all though, I have more trust in Indy's OL compared to LA's. With Anthony Costanzo back after contemplating retirement, Quenton Nelson as one of the best young OGs in the NFL, and other solid starters on the OL, Justin will having comfort in his OL much more similar to his Oregon days than anything he could dream of for the Chargers. Having a target like TY Hilton and an all-around RB like Marlon Mack for the future as weapons doesn't hurt either. With Brissett and Rivers both on 1 year deals, Herbert can then take over the starting job after a year learning the offense and learning from 2 veteran QBs.

1.24 New Orleans - Jordan Love QB Utah State
Similar deal here at 24 with New Orleans. The Saints have a very limited number of holes on their roster and with Drew Brees getting older and older, this is the perfect spot for Jordan Love to develop. With coaches like Sean Payton and Pete Charmichael, a veteran HOF QB in Brees, a very good and young OL, and young weapons like Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara, Love is in a prime position to grow his first year or two and then thrive as Brees' successor. I really feel like NOLA is the best possible place for Love to end up and I think the Saints could be able to keep the good times rolling after Drew with Jordan at the helm.

1.25 MIN - AJ Terrell CB Clemson
I actually have Trevon Diggs slightly above AJ Terrell in my CB rankings, however I think AJ is the better fit in Minnesota. Diggs is very raw since he's only been playing CB for a few years, and I feel like the Vikings need a corner who will offer better play in year 1 because of how many CBs they need and because the Vikings probably still fancy themselves as playoff contenders. Terrell offers versatility in coverage, great athleticism/speed, and great length as a boundary corner. I don't think AJ offers a ton in the way of playmaking like someone like Trevon Diggs does, but AJ is still a very solid CB prospect who should be considered here in the late 1st round.

1.26 MIA via HOU - Josh Jones OT Houston
I would love to take Lucas Niang at this spot, but I just can't bring myself to take not 1, but 2 players with serious hip injuries for a single team. Instead I'm going with the senior bowl standout in Josh Jones. I wasn't in love with Jones' feet or hand placement on his college tape, but he could absolutely rock any pass rusher on a punch with his heavy hands and he certainly has the athleticism to play tackle in the NFL. Even as someone who didn't love his Houston tape, even I have to admit he was fantastic down in Mobile and that performance has me more comfortable with the prospect of taking him in the 1st round, I just wouldn't do it in the early or middle parts of round 1. Other than QB though, OT is the biggest need for the Fins. With a QB like Tua who does his best work in the pocket and has had the injury problems he's had, you need to build a strong OL to keep him upright and Jones has the potential to be a rock at either tackle spot for Tua for a long time.

1.27 SEA - Lucas Niang OT TCU
Trust me, this late 1st round Seattle pick from TCU has much better film than the late 1st round Seattle pick from TCU in 2019. Niang had a hip injury that cost him the 2nd half of his senior season, but his 2018 tape is some of the best tackle tape of anyone in this class. Niang has nimble feet, strong hands, great length, and good athleticism when healthy to be a pass protector in the NFL. He's also a very powerful run blocker who has strength and athleticism in his arsenal. Seattle has needed to address their OL for a while now, while they did that a couple of years ago by trading for Duane Brown, Brown is getting older and they haven't done a ton outside of that. Now all of a sudden the Seahawks have a nice mix of vets and young guys on the O-line to help Seattle and Russel Wilson in their playoff contention.

1.28 MIA via BAL - Grant Delpit S LSU
I know that Delpit is an extremely polarizing prospect and has many detractors, but I still think Grant is the beset safety in this class and for me he still has a 1st round grade. I actually think this is a tad bit late for Delpit, however there just isn't a great spot for him above this where he fits better than the other prospects taken. Combine that with the fact that it's a deep safety class and now you can see why Delpit has fallen a bit. While his 2019 left something to be desired, Delpit's 2018 tape is still incredible and needs to be taken into account when evaluating him. His size, range, instincts, and playmaking are exactly what you want for a safety who can play in a number of roles. For Miami, after addressing their 2 biggest needs in QB and OT, I feel like they can just start taking BPA and at this spot in the draft, Grant Delpit is just about BPA for me.

1.29 TEN - Justin Madubuike DT Texas A&M
My surprise DT2 makes an appearance in the first round! I'm not really sure why the Titans traded away Jurrell Casey for a mere 7th round pick, but there's a definite hole in his absence that I feel Madubuike can fill. The reason that I have Justin rated higher over Derrick Brown is simply because I think Madubuike can offer more pass rush than Brown. Justin has fantastic burst to combine with hand usage and a good frame for an interior pass rusher. With 22 TFLs and 10.5 sacks the past 2 years as a DT for the SEC TAMU Aggies, Madubuike is a proven disruptor that will help replace some of the production lost from Casey.

1.30 GB - Brandon Aiyuk WR Arizona State
Once again an Arizona State WR finds himself in the back end of the 1st round. Aiyuk is a dynamite athlete as seen by his combine testing, who flashes a good ability to create separation in his routes and has a great ability to create with the ball in his hands. With so much attention going towards Davante Adams, Aiyuk should get plenty of chances to wreak havoc with the ball in his hands like he did in the desert in 2019. Aaron Rodgers needs more weapons on offense outside of Adams and Aaron Jones and Aiyuk should provide precisely the playmaking the Packers need.

Trade: DET receives 1.31. SF receives 2.39, 3.67, & 3.85
1.31 DET via SF - Yetur Gross-Matos EDGE Penn State
With all the extra draft capital that the Lions picked up from trading back with Miami, it allows them the freedom to jump back in the first round to a team that really need to trade out of 31 and get some more draft picks. With no 2nd, 3rd, or 4th round pick, San Fran trades back to 39 and gets an early 3rd and early 5th for their troubles. Even though Detroit gave up those picks, they still have plenty of good assets. Outside of corner, Detroit's next biggest need is probably at pass rusher. The Lions defense was pretty poor overall, and Trey Flowers needs a solid running mate opposite his side on the DL. YGM lacks a lot of consistency, especially against the best competition he faced, but he has all the traits you look for in a 1st round pass rusher. The Penn State product has length, explosiveness, and strength that you want out of a DE, and he doesn't have bad bend either. He needs to work on his hands and his plan as a pass rusher, but those were areas that he improved on a little bit last season. If he continues to improve in those areas, he could become a young cornerstone for a defensive revival in Detroit.

Trade: CAR receives 1.32. KC receives 2.38, 3.69, & 2021 3rd
1.32 CAR via KC - Derrick Brown DT Auburn
It's okay Derrick Brown fans, I still have the big Auburn man going in the first round. Carolina needs help in the trenches so with someone like Brown still on the board, it makes sense just to go up and get him before anyone else can. I think Derrick has some serious limitations in terms of his upside as a pass rusher, but he should still be a damn good run defender and with his size he'll be able to always make an impact in the NFL. Kansas City shouldn't feel any desperation at 32, and being able to get a couple of 3s to move down a handful of spots is fine business for a team that doesn't really have a prospect staring them in the face that they have to take at 32. I think this is a sensible deal for both sides.

2ND ROUND
2.33 CIN - Lloyd Cushenberry IOL LSU
2.34 NE via IND from WAS - Laviska Shenault WR Colorado
2.35 DET - Cesar Ruiz IOL Michigan
Trade: JAX receives 2.36. NYG receives Yannick Ngakoue
2.36 JAX via NYG - Xavier McKinney S Alabama
2.37 LAC - Jalen Reagor WR TCU
2.38 KC via CAR - Jaylon Johnson CB Utah
2.39 SF via DET from MIA - Bryan Edwards WR South Carolina
2.40 HOU via ARI - Terrell Lewis EDGE Alabama
Trade: WAS receives 2.41. CLE receives Trent Williams
2.41 WAS via CLE - Austin Jackson OT USC
2.42 JAX - Jacob Eason QB Washington
2.43 CHI via LV - Trevon Diggs CB Alabama
2.44 IND - Michael Pittman Jr WR USC
2.45 TB - D'Andre Swift RB Georgia
2.46 DEN - Prince Tega Wanogho OT Auburn
Trade: MIN receives 2.47 & 2021 5th. ATL receives 2.58 & 3.105
2.47 MIN via ATL - Matt Peart OT UCONN
2.48 NYJ - Isaiah Wilson OT Georgia
Trade: KC receives 2.49 & 2021 6th. PIT receives 2.63 & 3.96
2.49 KC via PIT - JK Dobbins RB The Ohio State
2.50 CHI - Jeremy Chinn S Southern Illinois
2.51 DAL - Bryce Hall CB Virginia
2.52 LAR - Tyler Biadasz IOL Wisconsin
2.53 PHI - Ashtyn Davis S Cal
2.54 BUF - Jonathan Taylor RB Wisconsin
2.55 MIA via BAL from NE - Cam Akers RB Florida State
2.56 DET via MIA from NO - KJ Hamler WR Penn State
2.57 LAR via HOU - Julian Okwara EDGE Notre Dame
2.58 ATL via MIN - James Lynch DT Baylor
2.59 SEA - Josh Uche EDGE Michigan
2.60 BAL - Zack Baun EDGE Wisconsin
2.61 TEN - Jack Driscoll OT Auburn
2.62 GB - Noah Igbinoghene CB Auburn
2.63 PIT via KC from SF - Neville Gallimore DT Oklahoma
2.64 SEA via KC - Donovan Peoples-Jones WR Michigan

3RD ROUND
3.65 CIN - Akeem Davis-Gaither LB Appalachian State
3.66 WAS - Adam Trautman TE Dayton
3.67 SF via DET - Ben Bredeson IOL Michigan
3.68 NYJ via NYG - Michael Ojemudia CB Iowa
3.69 KC via CAR - Malik Harrison LB The Ohio State
3.70 MIA - Ezra Cleveland OT Boise State
Trade: DAL receives 3.71. LAC receives 3.82, 5.165, & 5.180
3.71 DAL via LAC - Kyle Dugger S Lenoir-Rhyne
3.72 ARI - Ross Blacklock DT TCU
3.73 JAX - Cameron Clark OT Charlotte
3.74 CLE - Antoine Winfield Jr S Minnesota
3.75 IND - Jonathan Greenard EDGE Florida
3.76 JAX via TB - Clyde Edwards-Helaire RB LSU
3.77 CLE via DEN - Tee Higgins WR Clemson
3.78 ATL - Antonio Gibson RB Memphis
3.79 NYJ - Jabari Zuniga EDGE Florida
3.80 LV - Jalen Hurts QB Oklahoma
3.81 LV via CHI - Troy Dye LB Oregon
3.82 LAC via DAL - Matt Hennessey IOL Temple
3.83 DEN via PIT - Willie Gay Jr LB Mississippi State
3.84 LAR - Zack Moss RB Utah
3.85 SF via DET - Damon Arnette CB The Ohio State
3.86 BUF - Kenny Willekes EDGE Michigan State
3.87 NE - Brycen Hopkins TE Purdue
3.88 NO - Troy Pride CB Notre Dame
3.89 MIN - Cameron Dantzler CB Mississippi State
3.90 HOU - Darnay Holmes CB UCLA
Trade: PHI receives 3.91. LV receives 4.127, 4.145, & 2021 3rd
3.91 PHI via LV from SEA - Reggie Robinson II CB Tulsa
3.92 BAL - Lynn Bowden Jr WR Kentucky
3.93 TEN - Terrell Burgess DB Utah
3.94 GB - Cole Kmet TE Notre Dame
3.95 CLE via DEN from SF - Robert Hunt IOL Louisiana-Lafayette
3.96 PIT via KC - Van Jefferson WR Florida
3.97 CLE via HOU - Darrell taylor EDGE Tennessee
3.98 NE - Jordan Elliot DT Missouri
3.99 NYG - Isaiah Hodgins WR Oregon State
3.100 NE - Curtis Weaver EDGE Boise State
3.101 SEA - Amik Robertson CB Louisiana Tech
3.102 PIT - Hakeem Adeniji OL Kansas
3.103 PHI - Jordyn Brooks LB Texas Tech
3.104 LAR - Logan Wilson LB Wyoming
3.105 ATL via MIN - Markus Bailey LB Purdue
3.106 BAL - Ben Bartch OL St. John's MN
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See live scores, odds, player props and analysis for the Seattle Seahawks vs Carolina Panthers NFL game on December 15, 2019 While digesting the 2020 NFL schedule, SportsLine uncovered many striking trends.We've released detailed betting guides for every team, including game-by-game trends, betting systems you can't find anywhere else, and futures bets from top experts and our advanced computer model. The Seahawks fell one game behind San Francisco in the NFC West and now lead Minnesota by just one game in the Wild Card race. A ticket-cashing machine on the road, Seattle is 6-1 SU and 5-2 ATS Seattle Seahawks vs Carolina Panthers Odds - Sunday November 25 2018. Live betting odds and lines, betting trends, against the spread and over/under trends, injury reports and matchup stats for bettors. Panthers vs Seahawks Game Odds & Betting Preview Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks couldn’t find a way to win their sixth consecutive game last weekend, losing 28-12 on the road against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday Night Football. Seattle gave up 14 unanswered points in the second quarter and never recovered, coming up over two touchdowns

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