You probably remember my Way Too Early Fantasy Rankings from a couple of weeks ago. Well, I’ve changed my mind on what I said in that post; My 2018 fantasy football analysis is no longer going in alphabetical order–it’s all over the place. It’s in complete chaos. The good news is that NFL.com has opened their mock drafts, so I have a more updated list of players to work with, including the rookies. That also means I can base my rankings more on where players should be drafted, rather than how many points they will score this season (ex: QBs will score the most points, but the gap between the best and the worst QBs is significantly less than the gap between the best and the worst RBs and WRs). Anyway, I’m trying to get my poop in a group (s*** together, if you prefer). Here is my first official Top 25 2018 Fantasy Fooball Ranking, in the order in which you should draft them:
You may have noticed that my Fantasy Football page reappeared a couple of days ago. I’m working on my complete fantasy football analysis over there. I’m working in alphabetical order by last name, so it my take a while. The good news is, fantasy football drafts on nfl.com don’t start for more than a month, by which time you should have sufficient information to crush it in your fantasy football leagues this season. In the meantime, I took the liberty of creating this short Top 25 ranking for the upcoming fantasy football season. Please note: Don’t take these rankings super seriously. I simply took the Top 25 fantasy point scorers from last season and re-ranked them based upon how I think they’ll perform this season. I have yet to do thorough analysis on most of these guys, so these rankings should change a lot over the next month+. Undoubtedly, this season’s actual Top 25 will not contain the exact same 25 players from last year (for example, I would be SHOCKED if Tyrod Taylor ended up in the Top 25 again this season. I would be SHOCKED if he ended up in the Top 25 QBs.); This is just a starting point to give you guys a taste of where I’m going. Here we go…
I previously promised a more in-depth look at my plus-minus system; Here it is in my ranking of the draft classes from the 2018 NFL Draft. The plus-minus system reflects the overall value of each teams’ collective drafts. The greater the plus is, the greater a value a team got. The minuses are reaches-players who were drafted earlier than they should have been. The the greater a minus is, the more consistently and/or greatly a team reached throughout the draft.
1. Minnesota Vikings: +207
Best Value Pick: Colby Gossett, OG, Appalachian State (+89)
Worst Value Pick: Mike Hughes, CB, UCF (+4)
Brian O’Neill, OT, Pittsburgh (+10)
Jalyn Holmes, DE, Ohio State (+19)
Tyler Conklin, TE, Central Michigan (+15)
Daniel Carlson, K, Auburn (+70)
Ade Aruna, EDGE, Tulane (N/A)
Devante Downs, LB, California (N/A)
2. Dallas Cowboys: +165
Best Value Pick: Bo Scarbrough, RB, Alabama (+90)
Worst Value Pick: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State (-5)
Connor Williams, OT, Texas (+19)
Michael Gallup, WR, Colorado State (-3)
Dorance Armstrong, EDGE, Kansas (+28)
Dalton Schultz, TE, Stanford (+27)
Mike White, QB, Western Kentucky (+9)
Chris Covington, OLB, Indiana (N/A)
Cedrick Wilson, WR, Boise State (N/A)
3. Green Bay Packers: +126
Best Value Pick: Equanimeous St Brown, WR, Notre Dame (+128)
Worst Value Pick: Cole Madison, OG, Washington State (-35)
Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville (-20)
Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa (+26)
Oren Burks, LB, Vanderbilt (-23)
J’Mon Moore, WR, Missouri (+51)
JK Scott, P, Alabama (-1)
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, USF (N/A)
James Looney, DE, California (N/A)
Hunter Bradley, LS, Mississippi State (N/A)
Kendall Donnerson, EDGE, Southeast Missouri (N/A)
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: +100
Best Value Pick: Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama (+49)
Worst Value Pick: DJ Chark, WR, LSU (+10)
Taven Bryan, DT, Florida (+11)
Will Richardson, OT, North Carolina State (+30)
Tanner Lee, QB, Nebraska (N/A)
Leon Jacobs, EDGE, Wisconsin (N/A)
Logan Cooke, P, Mississippi State (N/A)
5. Seattle Seahawks: +75
Best Value Pick: Jamarco Jones, OT, Ohio State (+77)
Worst Value Pick: Will Dissly, TE, Washington (-53)
Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State (-27)
Rasheem Greene, DE, USC (+33)
Shaquem Griffin, LB, UCF (+37)
Tre Flowers, S, Oklahoma State (-27)
Michael Dickson, P, Texas (+35)
Jake Martin, EDGE, Temple (N/A)
Alex Mcgough, QB, Florida International (N/A)
6. New York Jets: +71
Best Value Pick: Parry Nickerson, CB, Tulane (+64)
Worst Value Pick: Chris Herndon, TE, Miami (-60)
Sam Darnold, QB, USC (+1)
Nathan Shepherd, DT, Fort Hays State (+9)
Foley Fatukasi, DT, Connecticut (+57)
Trenton Cannon, RB, Virginia State (N/A)
7. New York Giants: +38
Best Value Pick: RJ McIntosh, DT, Miami (+17)
Worst Value Pick: BJ Hill, DT, North Carolina State (-17)
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State (+1)
Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP (+13)
Lorenzo Carter, LB, Georgia (+16)
Kyle Lauletta, QB, Richmond (+8)
8. Tennessee Titans: +37
Best Value Pick: Luke Falk, QB, Washington State (+34)
Worst Value Pick: Dane Cruikshank, S, Arizona (-21)
Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama (0)
Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College (+24)
9. Baltimore Ravens: +31
Best Value Pick: Deshon Elliott, S, Texas (+53)
Worst Value Pick: Kenny Young, LB, UCLA (-51)
Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina (-9)
Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville (+5)
Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma (+46)
Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma (+10)
Anthony Averett, CB, Alabama (+29)
Jaleel Scott, WR, New Mexico State (-41)
Jordan Lasley, WR, UCLA (-11)
Greg Senat, OT, Wagner (N/A)
Bradley Bozeman, C, Alabama (N/A)
Zach Sieler, DE, Ferris State (N/A)
10. Philadelphia Eagles: +25
Best Value Pick: Josh Sweat, EDGE, Florida State (+66)
Worst Value Pick: Avonte Maddox, CB, Pittsburgh (-48)
Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State (+7)
Matt Pryor, OT, TCU (N/A)
Jordan Mailata, OT, Australia (N/A)
11. Carolina Panthers: +16
Best Value Pick: Kendrick Norton, DT, Miami (+71)
Worst Value Pick: Rashaan Gaulden, CB, Tennessee (-53)
DJ Moore, WR, Maryland (-5)
Donte Jackson, CB, LSU (+8)
Ian Thomas, TE, Indiana (+30)
Marquis Haynes, DE, Ole Miss (-23)
Jermaine Carter Jr, LB, Maryland (-12)
Andre Smith, ILB, North Carolina (N/A)
12. Buffalo Bills: +1
Best Value Pick: Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford (+47)
Worst Value Pick: Taron Johnson, CB, Weber State (-52)
Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming (-4)
Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech (+10)
Siran Neal, S, Jacksonville State (-19)
Wyatt Teller, OG, Virginia Tech (+19)
Ray-Ray McCloud, WR, Clemson (N/A)
Austin Proehl, WR, North Carolina (N/A)
13. Indianapolis Colts: -5
Best Value Pick: Deon Cain, WR, Clemson (+118)
Worst Value Pick: Braden Smith, OG, Auburn (-44)
Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame (+2)
Darius Leonard, OLB, South Carolina State (-25)
Kemoko Turay, EDGE, Rutgers (-42)
Tyquan Lewis, DE, Ohio State (-26)
Nyheim Hines, RB, North Carolina State (-30)
Daurice Fountain, WR, Northern Iowa (+46)
Jordan Wilkins, RB, Ole Miss (-4)
Matthew Adams, LB, Houston (N/A)
Zaire Franklin, LB, Syracuse (N/A)
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: -9
Best Value Pick: Jack Cichy, ILB, Wisconsin (+77)
Worst Value Pick: Jordan Whitehead, S, Pittsburgh (-56)
Vita Vea, DT, Washington (+2)
Ronald Jones II, RB, USC (+6)
MJ Stewart, CB, North Carolina (-54)
Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn (+22)
Alex Cappa, OT, Humboldt State (-15)
Justin Watson, WR, Pennsylvania (+9)
15. Cincinnati Bengals: -14
Best Value Pick: Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State (+24)
Worst Value Pick: Mark Walton, RB, Miami (-27)
Billy Price, C, Ohio State (-15)
Jessie Bates III, S Wake Forest (+6)
Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas (-9)
Davontae Harris, CB, Illinois State (+3)
Andrew Brown, DE, Virginia (+7)
Darius Phillips, CB, Western Michigan (-3)
Logan Woodside, QB, Toledo (N/A)
Rod Taylor, OG, Mississippi (N/A)
Auden Tate, WR, Florida State (N/A)
16. Houston Texans: -19
Best Value Pick: Justin Reid, S, Stanford (+40)
Worst Value Pick: Keke Coutee, WR, Texas Tech (-57)
Martinas Rankin, OT, Mississippi State (+18)
Jordan Akins, TE, UCF (-42)
Duke Ejiofor, DE, Wake Forest (+22)
Jordan Thomas, TE, Mississippi State (N/A)
Peter Kalambayi, EDGE, Stanford (N/A)
Jermaine Kelly, DB, San Jose State (N/A)
17. Los Angeles Chargers: -23
Best Value Pick: Kyzir White, S, West Virginia (+49)
Worst Value Pick: Uchenna Nwosu, LB, USC (-44)
Derwin James, S, Florida State (+9)
Justin Jones, DT, North Carolina State (-19)
Scott Quessenberry, C, UCLA (-18)
Dylan Cantrell, WR, Texas Tech (N/A)
Justin Jackson, RB, Northwestern (N/A)
18. Detroit Lions: -25
Best Value Pick: Tyrell Crosby, OT, Oregon (+96)
Worst Value Pick: Tracy Walker, S, Louisiana (-91)
Frank Ragnow, C, Arkansas (-45)
Kerryon Johnson, RB, Auburn (-25)
Da’Shawn Hand, DE, Alabama (+40)
Nick Bawden, RB, San Diego State (N/A)
19. Washington Redskins: -32
Best Value Pick: Tim Settle, DT, Virginia Tech (+78)
Worst Value Pick: Geron Christian, OT, Louisville (-87)
Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama (-2)
Derrius Guice, RB, LSU (+43)
Troy Apke, S, Penn State (-64)
Shaun dion Hamilton, ILB, Alabama (N/A)
Greg Stroman, CB, Virginia Tech (N/A)
20. Denver Broncos: -43
Best Value Pick: Troy Fumagalli, TE, Wisconsin (+40)
Worst Value Pick: Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon (-62)
Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State (+2)
Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU (-3)
Isaac Yiadom, CB, Boston College (-53)
Josey Jewell, LB, Iowa (-2)
DaeSean Hamilton, WR, Penn State (+1)
Sam Jones, C, Arizona State (+34)
Keishawn Bierria, ILB, Washington (N/A)
David Williams, RB, Arkansas (N/A)
21. Los Angeles Rams: -45
Best Value Pick: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, LB, Oklahoma (+34)
Worst Value Pick: Brian Allen, C, Michigan State (-62)
Joseph Noteboom, OT, TCU (+14)
John Franklin, DE, Stephen F Austin (-38)
Micah Kiser, LB, Virginia (+3)
John Kelly, RB, Tennessee (+4)
Jamil Demby, OG, Maine (N/A)
Sebastian Joseph, DT, Rutgers (N/A)
Trevon Young, EDGE, Louisville (N/A)
Travin Howard, LB, TCU (N/A)
Justin Lawler, DE, SMU (N/A)
22. Oakland Raiders: -49
Best Value Pick: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan (+117)
Worst Value Pick: Brandon Parker, OT, North Carolina A&T (-108)
Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA (-25)
PJ Hall, DT, Sam Houston State (-44)
Arden Key, LB, LSU (+32)
Nick Nelson, CB, Wisconsin (-21)
Johnny Townsend, P, Florida (N/A)
Azeem Victor, LB, Washington (N/A)
Marcell Ateman, WR, Oklahoma State (N/A)
23. Miami Dolphins: -54
Best Value Pick: Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona State (+35)
Worst Value Pick: Durham Smythe, TE, Notre Dame (-40)
Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama (-1)
Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State (-16)
Jerome Baker, LB, Ohio State (-32)
Cornell Armstrong, DB, Southern Mississippi (N/A)
Quentin Poling, LB, Ohio (N/A)
Jason Sanders, K, New Mexico (N/A)
24. Cleveland Browns: -54
Best Value Pick: Antonio Callaway, WR, Florida (+39)
Worst Value Pick: Chad Thomas, DE, Miami (-60)
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma (-12)
Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State (-5)
Austin Corbett, OG, Nevada (-23)
Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia (-24)
Genard Avery, LB, Memphis (+31)
Damion Ratley, WR, Texas A&M (N/A)
Simeon Thomas, DB, Louisiana-Lafayette (N/A)
25. New England Patriots: -62
Best Value Pick: Sony Michel, RB, Georgia (-4)
Worst Value Pick: Ja’Whaun Bentley, LB, Purdue (-30)
Isaiah Wynn, OT, Georgia (-7)
Duke Dawson, CB, Florida (-21)
Christian Sam, ILB, Arizona State (N/A)
Braxton Berrios, WR, Miami (N/A)
Danny Etling, QB, LSU (N/A)
Keion Crossen, DB, Western Carolina (N/A)
Ryan Izzo, TE, Florida State (N/A)
26. Chicago Bears: -62
Best Value Pick: Bilal Nichols, DT, Delaware (+17)
Worst Value Pick: Joel Iyiebuniwe, LB, Western Kentucky (-58)
Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia (+1)
James Daniels, C, Iowa (0)
Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis (-22)
Kylie Fitts, EDGE, Utah (N/A)
Javon Wims, WR, Georgia (N/A)
27. Pittsburgh Steelers: -71
Best Value Pick: Marcus Allen, S, Penn State (+27)
Worst Value Pick: Terrell Edmunds, S, Virginia Tech (-65)
James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State (-9)
Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State (-4)
Chukwuma Okorafor, OT, Western Michigan (-44)
Jaylen Samuels, RB, North Carolina State (+24)
Joshua Frazier, DT, Alabama (N/A)
28. Atlanta Falcons: -77
Best Value Pick: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado (+13)
Worst Value Pick: Deadrin Senat, DT, USF (-55)
Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama (+12)
Ito Smith, RB, Southern Mississippi (-47)
Russell Gage, WR, LSU (N/A)
Foye Oluokun, LB, Yale (N/A)
Trey Quinn, WR, SMU
29. Arizona Cardinals: -91
Best Value Pick: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M (+14)
Worst Value Pick: Mason Cole, C, Michigan (-71)
Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA (+5)
Chase Edmonds, RB, Fordham (-39)
Chris Campbell, CB, Penn State (N/A)
Korey Cunningham, OT, Cincinnati (N/A)
30. New Orleans Saints: -92
Best Value Pick: Natrell Jamerson, S, Wisconsin (-9)
Worst Value Pick: Rick Leonard, OT, Florida State (-46)
Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA (-11)
Tre’Quan Smith, WR, UCF (-26)
Kamrin Moore, CB, Boston College (N/A)
Boston Scott, RB, Louisiana Tech (N/A)
Will Clapp, C, LSU (N/A)
31. Kansas City Chiefs: -137
Best Value Pick: Armani Watts, S, Texas A&M (+26)
Worst Value Pick: Breeland Speaks, DE, Ole Miss (-123)
Derrick Nnadi, DT, Florida State (+3)
Dorian O’Daniel, LB, Clemson (-43)
Tremon Smith, CB, Central Arkansas (N/A)
Reginald McKenzie, OG, Tennessee (N/A)
32. San Francisco 49ers: -261
Best Value Pick: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame (-11)
Last time, I covered the best values in undrafted free agent signings. Today, I will be grading the draft classes from the 2018 NFL Draft. I have used a plus-minus system for each team to determine the overall value of each teams’ collective drafts (you will see this in greater depth in my next post, which should be published in the next day or two). For now, here are my letter grades in alphabetical order by team location:
For the next week-ish, I will be wrapping up my 2018 NFL Draft analysis. This post will feature a few undrafted free agent signings that occurred after the draft, drawing from the players on my prospect rankings list whose names did not get called because their names SHOULD HAVE been called and they are, in my opinion, the ones most likely to end up on a 53-man NFL roster next season. To see who was selected by whom over all 256 picks of the 2018 NFL Draft, you can head over to my NFL Draft Tracker page. You can also find the full list of undrafted free agent signings on SB Nation. Here are my top undrafted free agents:
78. JC JACKSON, CB, Maryland- This 3rd round talent signed with the NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS after the draft. Leave it to Bill Belichick to pick up the best player who went undrafted this year.
95. QUENTON MEEKS, CB, Stanford- The top 2 guys on my board that didn’t hear their names called are both CBs, and are both 3rd round talents! I’m very surprised by that; It’s hard to have too many good CBs. The JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS know that, as they signed Meeks to learn under the best CB duo in the NFL: Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye.
102. DESMOND HARRISON, OT, West Georgia- Harrison was a highly-rated recruit coming out of high school who went to the University of Texas before off the field issues forced him to transfer to West Georgia. The off the field issues are likely what led to him going undrafted, but the CLEVELAND BROWNS decided to take a flier on his talent.
106. TARVARUS MCFADDEN, CB, Florida State- Another talented CB, this 4th round talent will be taking his talents to the Bay to play for the SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS, who reportedly gave him a significant signing bonus for an undrafted free agent. It’s probably partially because the 49ers don’t have any talented CBs (outside of Richard Sherman), but that does still make a statement about McFadden’s talent.
118. TONY ADAMS, OG, North Carolina State- The JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS are the only team with two undrafted free agent signings in my top 5. Adams will have a tough time cracking the starting lineup, especially considering the Jags signed the top free agent offensive lineman this season in the form of OG Andrew Norwell, but Adams has the talent to pull it off.
130. HERCULES MATA’AFA, DE, Washington State- MINNESOTA VIKINGS; Hercules is probably my favorite player who went undrafted. My understanding is that teams aren’t really sure where to put him. He played DT in college, but is more OLB sized. He’s got skills to display at whatever position he ends up playing for Skol!
158. HOLTON HILL, CB, Texas- MINNESOTA VIKINGS; Hill was one of Mike Mayock’s favorites, too, but he fell out of the draft because of off the field issues. The Vikings took a chance on unbelievable talent. (Sidenote: What’s going on with off the field issues at Texas?) (Sidenote sidenote: Texas has too many ON field issues to be dealing with off field issues, too.)
Wildcard: JAKE ROH, TE, Boise State- ATLANTA FALCONS; I had to include a Boise State player, especially since he did NOT go to the Cowboys! Sadly, Roh is the only ex-Bronco to have signed an undrafted free agent deal so far.
College football fans can’t wait to see how many players will get drafted from their favorite university, who those players will be, when those players will get drafted, and where those players will go.
NFL fans can’t wait to see who’s got next for their favorite franchise. Fans of teams with the highest draft picks are hoping for a franchise QB that will lead their team to the playoffs and the Super Bowl for a decade and a half (or longer), and fans of teams with lower draft picks are hoping for that one perfect pick that fills the hole that would prevent them from continuing and building upon their success from the previous season.
New League Year’s Day is in March but in the football world, Christmas comes after that, in late April and early May, in the form of the NFL Draft.
It’s important to remember family during the holiday season, and in the case of Football Christmas, that family is your team: the players, the coaches, the owner(s), the trainers, the food vendors, and of course, your fellow fans.
Just like traditional Christmas, Football Christmas wouldn’t be complete without commercialization…I mean, uh…wonderful presents that embody the true meaning of Christmas 😉 Obviously, draft picks are the presents to which all of us football fans look forward to the most:
Most of them will turn out to be those crappy toys that break within five minutes of you taking them out of the box (draft busts). Bummer. But…
A small number of them will be worthwhile. Maybe you’ll get an average starter-level player that hangs around for 10 years; Those are the toys that aren’t our favorites. They weren’t THE item on our list, but they are last for long enough and are just enjoyable enough that we grow to appreciate them. Maybe they’ll even get a Pro Bowl nod or two?
Then an even smaller number of them are the quality players; These still weren’t THE gift on our list, but we definitely wanted them and are pleased the moment we open them. They are the toys we play with on a regular basis, but not every day. They’ll likely get several Pro Bowl nods and maybe even a spot on an All-Pro team.
Then, the most rare of all: THE gift. This isn’t just the top toy we wanted this year, it’s the top toy we’ve wanted the last FIVE years. Not only do we play with these toys everyday, but we can hardly go anywhere without them: The Hall of Famers. These are your franchise QBs like Peyton Manning, Dan Marino, and Tom Brady. These are your electrifying offensive players like Jerry Rice, Barry Sanders, and Shannon Sharpe. These are your game-altering defenders like Lawrence Taylor, Ray Lewis, and Rod Woodson. They’ll make the Pro Bowl almost every year (if not literally every year) and they’ll also make multiple All-Pro teams. Maybe they’ll even win a MVP award?
Yes, toys are awesome. But, sometimes you get stuck with clothes. Well, I’m here to tell you that in the case of Football Christmas, clothes can actually be a little exciting. I’m talking about the annual NFL Draft Caps brought to fans (and to draftees) by New Era. (For the record, I’m not sponsored by them or anything, I just happen to be a big fan of their quality. I don’t recall ever having gotten a New Era cap that I didn’t enjoy.) The 2018 NFL Draft Caps were just recently revealed and well, they deserve to be talked about.
This year’s theme: Team Mottos. Below are some of my favorites and least favorites. If you want to get one for yourself or check out ones that I do not mention, you can find all of them here.
New York Giants: “Big Blue”- Obviously, I had to mention my team’s hat. “Big Blue” is a nickname the Giants have had for ages and I think it looks great on a hat.
New York Jets: “J-E-T-S”- Not even leaving the same stadium from the last one on my list, I love the Jets hat. The motto is their team’s chant. It’s not exactly the most original chant, but it’s a classic.
Seattle Seahawks: “We are 12”- I like this one a lot because the hat features the 12 flag as part of the slogan. The Seahawks are the only team to use something besides words and their team logo in their Draft Cap’s design.
Cleveland Browns: “Dawg Pound”- Another classic slogan makes my list. Also, aside from their logo, this hat is devoid of that ugly orange team color.
Chicago Bears: “Monsters of the Midway”- Though the team has recently lacked the ability to incite fear that is usually associated with monsters, it’s another classic slogan.
Buffalo Bills: “Billieve”- The greatness of the play on the word believe is just the tip of the iceberg when you consider the fact that the “bill” is actually a physical part of the hat. This one actually made me laugh.
Pittsburgh Steelers: “Steel City”- Yes, Pittsburgh is the Steel City, but the Steelers are the Steel Curtain. C’mon New Era!
Miami Dolphins: “Go Phins”- The Jets hat lacks originality in a fun way. The Dolphins hat lacks originality in a boring way.
New England Patriots: “Do Your Job”- I can hear these words coming out of Coach Bill Belichick‘s mouth, but that doesn’t make them fun or interesting to put on a hat unless there is a likeness to Belichick right next to them, which (SPOILER ALERT!), there is not.
I love March in the NFL. I get chills and goosebumps reading about some of the trades and free agent signings that go down this time of year. In fact, you could make the argument that it’s the best time of the year for the NFL. How is it better than Thursday, Sunday, and Monday gamedays? It’s the one time of year that fans for all teams have hope. Browns fans get to rejoice over their team’s acquisition of a new QB and Patriots fans get to smile mischievously about Bill Belichick’s latest under-the-radar move that will inevitably lead them to another Super Bowl. Of course, with trades and free agency comes the sad truth of quality players leaving fan bases that had become accustomed to seeing them playing for their team, all in the name of salary cap space. While many cuts will come in the next few days before the free agency period begins on March 14, here’s a look at some veteran cuts that have happened so far in the last month…
The start of the new NFL league year is around the corner (March 14 at 4pm ET) and teams are really starting to feel the pressure of making the right moves in free agency to make a run at SUPER BOWL LIII. Oh, and the 2018 SCOUTING COMBINE is happening right now as well, so teams are starting to feel the pressure of drafting the right players to make a run at Super Bowl LIII and other future Super Bowls. Before that, teams need to decide what to do with their own players. Contract extensions could still potentially happen but more importantly, some teams will franchise tag their best players. Some teams have already done that (See: DETROIT LIONS DE EZEKIEL ANSAH and MIAMI DOLPHINS WR JARVIS LANDRY), and other teams have until March 6 at 4pm ET. So what’s going to happen?
Jarvis Landry, WR, Miami Dolphins– Landry would likely have been the most talented WR in free agency this year. The Dolphins have had disagreements with Landry over the last year or two, but they clearly put those on hold to ensure that they didn’t let such a talented player leave without any compensation. Maybe those disagreements will turn into a Super Bowl-winning trade for another team? If that does come to fruition, Landry probably won’t come on the cheap in terms of trade assets. He’s definitely not coming on the cheap salary-wise. Update: The Dolphins have given Landry and his agents the green light to seek a trade.
Ezekiel Ansah, DE, Detroit Lions– Yes, he’s dealt with some minor injury issues but let’s be honest: the Lions defense is…how to put this…ugh. While they have a couple of good pieces in the secondary in the form of CB DARIUS SLAY and S GLOVER QUIN, the unit is not close to championship caliber yet. They finished 6th-worst in total yards allowed and pass yards allowed, and they were also in the bottom half of the league in points allowed and rush yards allowed. The man preventing them from being last: Ziggy Ansah, who finished with 12 sacks last year. Considering the Lions have seven defensive players set to hit free agency, it was a good idea to keep the talented edge rusher around.
Will Get Done
From here on, we hit my personal predictions combined with research I’ve cross-checked between NFL, ESPN, and USA TODAY.
LE’VEON BELL, RB, PITTSBURGH STEELERS– If the franchise tag doesn’t come into play here, it may be the most shocking lack of franchise tag the NFL has ever seen. NFL and USA Today have him ranked #1 on the will-get-tagged list (ESPN has him on their list, too), and I’m not going to disagree with that. There’s just nobody that runs the way Bell does. Now or…ever.
DEMARCUS LAWRENCE, DE, DALLAS COWBOYS– The BOISE STATE alum is the most recent example of the classic ‘having a career year in a contract year.’ Lawrence tied for 2nd-most sacks this season and, like Ansah in Detroit, is one of the lone and uber-talented bright spots on an otherwise lacking defense.
LAMARCUS JOYNER, S, LOS ANGELES RAMS– Joyner is a great safety on a team that is losing their top 2 CBs to free agency (though they are getting a new top CB in the form of MARCUS PETERS from the KANSAS CITY CHIEFS). I don’t think the Rams can afford to lose another member of their secondary, despite what NFL, ESPN, and USA Today all think. This move will come at the expense of SAMMY WATKINS.
KYLE FULLER, CB, CHICAGO BEARS– I don’t think the Bears necessarily SHOULD tag Fuller, but they should. Look, if Fuller was on any team in the top 75% of the league, he would absolutely walk into free agency. The Bears are not one of those teams and Fuller is just above average enough that they can’t afford to lose him and make their team any worse than it already is.
Won’t Get Done
ANDREW NORWELL, G, CAROLINA PANTHERS– The Panthers are constantly complaining about how the referees don’t protect QB CAM NEWTON. It’s about time the Panthers step up and PROTECT HIM THEMSELVES. The All-Pro former undrafted free agent signee has been helping with that and should continue to help with that, but he won’t. Reports indicate that the Panthers intend to let him walk.
ALLEN ROBINSON, WR, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS– NFL and ESPN both believe A-Rob will get tagged, but I’m going to have to side with USA Today on this one. Allen Robinson is an immensely talented receiver, but the Jaguars made their run to the AFC Championship game without his services last season due to him tearing his ACL in week 1. Also, the Jaguars have been pouring money into their defense and just gave QB BLAKE BORTLES a contract extension. I suspect that they will think they can make another AFC Championship game run without Robinson, and they might need to for cap space.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Los Angeles Rams– See: Lamarcus Joyner
SHELDON RICHARDSON, DT, SEATTLE SEAHAWKS– Richardson is a good player, but the Seahawks spend enough on their defense as it is, and Richardson is by no means the best player on Seattle’s defense.
CASE KEENUM, QB, MINNESOTA VIKINGS– If the Vikings are going to tag one of their three free agent QBs, it’ll be Keenum. However, coach MIKE ZIMMER sounded concerned when he discussed his team’s QB situation at the combine. I think Zimmer is one of the smartest coaches in the league right now. As such, I think SAM BRADFORD is definitely done in Minnesota because he has health issues and he’s the oldest. Case Keenum could come back, but I don’t think he will for two reasons: 1) His value is at a peak right now after leading his team to the NFC Championship Game so he and his agent know that he can get PAID and 2) This season was really the ONLY good season of his career and I doubt Zimmer will sell the farm for that, especially with all of the youth on the Vikes defense that will need to get paid in the coming years. TEDDY BRIDGEWATER makes the most sense because he was the one drafted by Minnesota and, because of his injury, his value will be at an all time low. The Vikings could sign him to a longer deal for cheaper and draft somebody (or pursue KIRK COUSINS, which seems to be a popular opinion coming out of the combine) to compete with him.
JIMMY GRAHAM, TE, Seattle Seahawks– Jimmy is just not as good as he used to be in New Orleans. That and injuries will probably result in the Seahawks letting him leave.
JUSTIN PUGH, G, NEW YORK GIANTS– …(…sigh…)…I almost put Pugh right next to Kyle Fuller for the same reason: he is a slightly above average player playing for a BAD team. I have watched more than enough Giants football to know that the o-line is…more like a d-line. That is, they seem more interested in the QB going to the ground than blocking for him (Poor Eli). So, why do I think the best player on that o-line should leave (that’s right, I actually want him to LEAVE, not sign a long-term deal)? Simple: It’s time to hit the reset button on the o-line. Trade down from the #2 pick and acquire multiple talented o-lineman in the draft. Besides, with all of his injuries he wasn’t doing much good for the line anyway.
That’s all for TheHaysWay today, comments/likes/follows are all appreciated, have a pleasant tomorrow and make every day a new best day ever!
Ever since it was announced that QB Colin Kaepernick would be leaving the San Francisco 49ers, people have been speculating about his fate. Obviously he would get signed in free agency, right? He’s the best QB option available, isn’t he? Then, March 9, the official start of NFL free agency, passed. Then the rest of March…April…May…June…and now July has almost concluded and Kaep has still yet to find a new football home. I read an article today about the Baltimore Ravens needing another QB option with Joe Flacco sustaining a back injury that is projected to keep him out for at least three weeks. Of course, Kaep’s name came up because Ravens HC John Harbaugh knows about Kaep from his brother, Jim Harbaugh, having coached Kaep in San Fran. Oh, and they played against each other in a Super Bowl, so there’s that.
I decided, what the heck, I’ll project what will happen with Kaep, too. So here are a few spots I think he might end up:
7. Denver Broncos– I HIGHLY doubt GM John Elway would sign a guy with Kaep’s antics. And the salary cap probably isn’t conducive to a Kaep signing in Denver. And Elway seems to see something in Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch that the rest of the world doesn’t see. But I don’t see what Elway sees so screw it, I’m putting Denver in here anyway.
6. Las Vegas Raiders– I know that they are still the Oakland Raiders for the next couple of seasons but I put Las Vegas there for a very specific reason: Kaep played his college ball in Nevada, and he was good (good enough to beat what was probably the best Boise State football team to ever take the field in 2010). Even though he would only be a backup to Derek Carr, I’m sure the Raiders could bring in some extra revenue by having the local boy ride the bench and play in preseason.
5. Arizona Cardinals– If there is one thing that we all learned from the Cards’ 2016-17 season, it’s that Carson Palmer is not getting any younger. Granted, part of the reason he looked so bad last year was because he looked so good in the 2015-16 season. Regardless, he is 37 years old and I don’t think he is on the Tom Brady diet and workout routine that will allow him to play well into his 40s. Also, Bruce Arians is known as a QB whisperer (see Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck, and…well…Carson Palmer). What’s wrong with this possibility? Blaine Gabbert is listed as the 3rd QB on the Cards depth chart and there were several times where he looked better than Kaep in San Francisco. So this one probably isn’t very likely. But it would be fun to see Kaep playing for (theoretically) a contender again.
4. New York Jets– Nothing can save the 2017-18 New York Jets. NOTHING. If this team wins more than 2 games, with or without Kaep, I would be SHOCKED. That said, Kaep could be the interesting, controversial player that the Jets need to get any sort of fans to show up to view their train wreck in person.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars– I honestly feel as though this scenario hasn’t been talked about at all even though it’s a pretty interesting scenario. Maybe it’s because the Jags have been dumping so much money into their defense that they likely don’t have enough for Kaep. But follow me for a second: Let’s say the Jags decide to finally give up on “franchise QB” Blake Bortles. Kaep would join an offense with 2017 first-round pick RB Leonard Fournette, promising young WRs Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, and a solid o-line with 2017 second-round pick Cam Robinon, up-and-comer AJ Cann, veteran Branden Albert, and the highest-paid C in NFL history, Brandon Linder. That, plus the part about the money that the Jags have been pouring into their defense would make for an easy job for Kaep. But, then, that job is supposed to be easy for Bortles, too. He makes it look IMMENSELY difficult.
2. Baltimore Ravens– (see the first paragraph of this article) He’d mostly be a temp in this scenario.
1. Retirement– Let’s be honest, this is far and away the most realistic scenario on this list. The league has turned his back on him because of his controversial pregame national anthem antics. The National Football League prides itself on being patriotic (hence the annual “Salute to Service” week), and Kaep certainly isn’t. The anti-Kaep sentiment doesn’t just run amongst NFL front offices, either. Fans of teams who have been working out Kaepernick have been protesting against his signing, including his most recently visited team (just a couple days ago), Baltimore.
That’s all for TheHaysWay today, make sure to leave a comment on your thoughts on Colin Kaepernick’s fate and/or on whatever else is on your mind, along with a much appreciated like. As always, respectful, constructive criticism is welcome. If you are not yet a follower, join Team TheHaysWay so you can say that, unlike Kaepernick, you are on a team. 🙂 Have a pleasant tomorrow!
Ladies and Gentlemen. Boys and Girls. Seniors, Middle-Agers and Youth. Dreamers and Realists. Athletes and Nerds. Americans, Europeans, Asians, Africans, Australians and Antarcticans. Iron Men and Marsh mellows. Players and Gamers. Lovers and Haters. White-Collared Workers, Blue-Collared Workers, and Other-Collared Workers. People who know that Star Wars is the best movie franchise ever and people who deceivingly believe there is such a thing as a movie franchise which is better than Star Wars (just to be clear, there is NOT a movie franchise better than Star Wars). Fans and Participants. Today, I’d like to introduce you to a concept that is widely known, yet VASTLY unpracticed. It is a concept that I affectionately coin, “Effectivenessticityism”.
What is Effectivenessticityism? It’s actually easier to explain what it is not. Picture this: You have just been given a task. ANY task…Ok, I’m coming to the realization that it’s not easier to explain what it is not. Therefore, I will explain what it is. Same scenario: You have been given a task. ANY task. Now, picture completing the task. If you are like AT LEAST 99.9% of the people on this planet, you completed the task using one of the following two methods:
You completed the task as quickly as possible to move on to the next, insignificant task you will be given by some lowlife who forces you to call them “manager” or “boss”.
You completed the task as diligently as possible, making sure that it is as close as you could possibly get it to perfect (just for the record, perfect is a fictional concept, but I’ll get to that some other time). Now you’re sure to get a raise, right? Lowlifes give raises to brown-nosers.
What if I told you that there is a third method? It’s not number three, above. It’s more like, 1.5. Method #1.5 is Effectivenessticityism. It is the balance between methods 1 and 2. It’s so unpracticed, that it falls in between our counting numbers. It is completing a task as perfectly (cough…fictional concept…cough) as possible in the shortest possible time. Mastering Effectivenessticityism is impossible. The closest anyone has gotten to it is either 1.25 or 1.75, depending on which method (between 1 and 2) you like more. Having been through the IB program, I can confidently say that I have gotten to about 1.05 or 1.95. It’s amazing how different that .05 difference is. Really, I have read papers that people have taken 5 hours to write, and it’s only slightly better in quality than the one I wrote in 1.5 hours. I have also read papers that people have taken .5 hours to write. The quality of those is quite laughable compared to the quality of the paper that I wrote in 1.5 hours. I guess what I’m saying is, work hard on your tasks, but don’t allow that hard work to interfere with your personal time and change your schedule.
Now, how about some real life examples of Effectivenessticityism?
Method-1: The San Diego Chargers will be the Los Angeles Chargers next season. Yep, they’re joining the Rams in LA. This is a complete lack of Effectivenessticityism. This move has exactly 0% of method 2 in it. This is not a perfect task for the following reasons: It gives Los Angeles ANOTHER crappy football team just ONE SEASON after they got their first one in a long time (and they weren’t even that excited about that first one), it ruins the city of San Diego sports-wise (seriously, who do they have to cheer for? The Padres kind of suck), and it ultimately diminishes the team’s fan base (the San Diego-based Chargers fans now hate the team for leaving them, while the Los Angeles-based fans have already become Rams fans and don’t want another crappy team coming to their city).
Method-1.83: The Jacksonville Jaguars promoted Doug Marrone to be their new head coach on Tuesday. They also hired Tom Coughlin to be in their front office. Marrone almost turned the Buffalo Bills around before he opted to leave the team. Tom Coughlin won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants and also used to coach the Jags. Two brilliant football minds, who both know the Jacksonville way. That’s a great example of getting close to the perfect completion of a task. It was also done in a relatively timely manner, as they made the hires three days after Bill O’Brien made sure that he wouldn’t be fired, and they made the decision the day before any other teams hired new head coaches.
Method-1.12: The Denver Broncos hired Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph to be their new head coach. It is a timely hire, coming four days after Bill O’Brien kept his job and one day after the first new head coaching hire. It isn’t the perfect hire. The Dolphins defense was good enough to get them to the playoffs this season, but they struggled MIGHTILY against stronger offenses (see: Week 17 vs New England Patriots and Wildcard Weekend vs Pittsburgh Steelers). That said, the Broncos have much stronger defensive personnel to work with than the Dolphins have.
Method-1.10: The Buffalo Bills hired Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Doug McDermott to be their new head coach. It’s a timely hire, coming four days after Bill O’Brien remained in command of the Houston Texans, one day after the first new head coaching hire, and just hours after the second new head coaching hire. That said, the level of perfection is low. McDermott obviously lead a very strong Panthers defense to Super Bowl 50, where they crumbled against a pathetic Denver Broncos offense, led by the 298-year-old QB Peyton Manning. This season, McDermott’s defense got off to a slow start with CB Josh Norman lost to a high price tag that the Panthers weren’t willing to pay. Of course, he turned it around to make it a dead-stop when MLB Luke Kuechly sustained an injury. I have no idea why the Bills think he is qualified to be a head coach. I’m not even sure he was qualified to be a defensive coordinator.
That’s all for TheHaysWay today, make sure to leave a comment on Effectivenessticityism and/or on the Los Angeles Chargers and/or on the Jacksonville Jaguars’ hires and/or on the Denver Broncos’ hire and/or on the Buffalo Bills’ hire and/or on whatever is on your mind, along with a much-appreciated like. If you are not yet a follower, increase your Effectivenessticityism by becoming a follower. 🙂 Have a pleasant tomorrow.