Tag Archives: Jacksonville Jaguars

Uniform Grades for all 32 NFL Teams

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By: Elias McMillan

So, I did this once before about 7 years ago. Since then, there’s obviously been many changes across the NFL uniform scape. Going into this 2020 season, we’ll see seven different teams with new duds. I thought this would be a good time to refresh my original rankings. This time, I separated my grades, not by conference, but by categories (Classics, Modern, and The Worst). I used a A+ to F grade scale for each uniform combination being used by the teams currently. At the end of each assessment, I ask myself if the team should totally REBRAND, GO BACK to a prior uniform, or STAND PAT with what they currently have. Through this experience, I’ve learned that I’m a tough grader. When I did break it down, 4 different divisions ranked higher than the others averaging out to B+ grades. The lowest division was the NFC West. Alright, let’s begin with the teams that scored the highest: The Classics.

The Classics

Las Vegas Raiders – A+

Grades: Black/Silver: A+, White/Silver: A+, Throwback: B+

Summary: The best uniform in the NFL. Timeless. Iconic. Throughout different cities, the Raiders brand remains as strong as ever with the shield logo and the silver and black uniforms. The silver numbers on the throwback don’t look as good as the road ones but its still a decent uniform.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: They can’t make changes now even though they’re in a new city. I shutter to think.

Chicago Bears – A+

Grades: Blue/White: A+, Orange/White: B-, White/Blue: A+, Throwback: A

Summary: The Bears have the iconic uniforms in the NFL if you ask me. Pretty much unchanged for most of this franchise’s history, the Bears blue, orange, and white scheme has stood the test of time. The Orange jerseys are not the best but they serve as a nice switch up.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: The Bears might play around with different throwbacks each year but their basic home and away duds will remain.

San Francisco 49ers – A+

Grades: Red/Gold: A+, White/Gold: A, White Throwback: A-

Summary: Here’s another iconic uniform in NFL history. The 49ers have had plenty of great moments in franchise history in the home reds or the white away jerseys. The gold helmet and pants are synonymous with their history. They’ve had some bad alternates in the past but their current throwbacks have received a warm reception. I never really liked the blocked numbers for them but the all-white is clean.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: They’ve flirted with some disasters so; they’ll be better off sticking with their current uniforms.

Dallas Cowboys – A

Grades: White/Silver: A, Blue/White: B, Blue/Silver: B+, Color Rush: A

Summary: The Cowboys, currently, have inconsistencies with their blues and silvers but they still have one of the most iconic uniforms in sports. You can’t beat the silver helmet and white jersey combo. It just feels like Sunday afternoon. The Blue jersey doesn’t get enough love either. Their color rush, a play on the throwbacks that they wore in ‘94, are solid and clean.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: The brand is too iconic to change. Once the one shell helmet rule changes, we’ll see the throwbacks with the white helmets again.

Pittsburgh Steelers – A

Grades: Black/Yellow: B+, White/Yellow: B+, Color Rush: A, Throwback: A+

Summary: The black and gold of the Steelers has been a staple when you talk about iconic uniforms in sports. They’ve pretty much stuck with the basic black helmets and yellow pants with black striping for decades. The italic numbers were groundbreaking in the ‘90s but they probably should go away. The Steelers have had some terrible alternates in recent history but they should definitely stick with their current ones.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? GO BACK: They brought back the block numbers as a throwback and they are awesome. They should just bring that back to both home and away uniforms. I don’t care how close it is to Iowa’s uniforms.

New Orleans Saints – A

Grades: Black/Gold: A-, Black: A, White/Gold: B+, White: B, Color Rush: A

Summary: The Saints have some of the sharpest uniforms in the league. They are basically the Raiders of the NFC sans the successful history. The gold numbers on the all-white color rush uniforms really pop and are among the most popular sets in the league. The all-blacks at home are good. They’ve recently started wearing white pants on the road, which actually look good as well.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: The Saints have no reason to change anything. Don’t bring back the gold jerseys.

Green Bay Packers – B+

Grades: Green/Yellow: A+, White: B+, White/Yellow: A, Throwback: C

Summary: Green Bay’s uniforms have been virtually untouched for decades and that’s how it needs to stay. Either home or away, they have one of the NFL’s most iconic looks. I like the addition of the white pants just so the announcers can call them the “White Cheese” uniforms. The throwback uniforms they currently have are awful. I’m sure they can find some type of better alternate from their past to use.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: I don’t need to explain why. Simple and iconic, there would be great outrage if Nike ever switched them up.

Indianapolis Colts – B+

            Grades: Blue/White: B+, White: B+

Summary: The Colts uniforms have been virtually untouched for the entire history of the franchise, spanning between decades and different cities. In 2020, they will be introducing some winkles that aren’t really dramatic but are different. There will be a new number font and a few new logo marks but their home and away uniforms will pretty much remain the same.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: The uniform is boring but classic. No need to change these, ever.

Kansas City Chiefs – B

            Grades: Red/White: B+, Red: B-, White/Red: B+

  Summary: Kansas City’s uniforms have stood the test of time and are a modern day classic. The “fire truck” red stands out in all of their combinations.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: No reason to modernize these.

Miami Dolphins – B

Grades: Aqua/White: B+, Aqua: C, White: B, White/Aqua: B-, Throwback: A, White Throwback: A

Summary: After a rebrand and a slight number font change, I think Nike finally got the Miami Dolphins right. Their “regular” home and away sets are okay but only overshadowed because of how good their throwbacks look. Bringing those back were a gift and a curse. At least they’ve moved from their “orange” phase.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? GO BACK: Miami opened Pandora’s box when they brought back their throwback uniforms. Time to scrap the rebrand and embrace this “return to the past” fad.

Buffalo Bills – B

Grades: Blue/White: B, Blue: C, White: B+, White/Blue: B-, Throwback: A-, Color Rush: C

Summary: Buffalo’s uniforms should be acknowledged as a classic. The decision to go back to white helmets turned out to be a good one. I think their best look is their all white throwbacks with the vintage mark on the helmet. The red color rush needs to go but Shady McCoy did a great job making that uniform look cool in the snow a few years back.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: Reebok had Buffalo in some strange looking threads years ago. They won’t go back to that.

New York Giants – B

Grades: Blue/White: B, White/Grey: C, White Throwback: A

Summary: I hate the Giants as a team (I’m a Cowboys fan) but I must admit, I really like their home uniform. Something about that solid blue jersey. The away duds almost look like they’re from a different team. It’s just that the red has become too dominant. The away set should be closer to what their current throwback is.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? GO BACK: In fact, to piggyback off of my last point, the Giants should just go back to the uniforms from that era.

The Modern Designs

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The Chargers absolutely nailed it.

Los Angeles Chargers – A+

Grades: Blue/White: A+, Blue/Yellow: A+, White: A+, White/Yellow: B +, Throwback: B, Navy: A+

Summary: Where do I begin?! I love everything about this rebrand. As they said in the promo video, they took an already classic uniform and improved it. Love the addition of the numbers on the helmet. The lightning bolt down the pants are great. The all-Navy alternates maybe my personal favorite in the set, especially with the navy bolt logo on the helmet. Just about every detail on these new sets are a homerun.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: Don’t change a thing. I’m already thinking of playing with the Chargers in the next addition of Madden just so I can use the uniforms.

Cleveland Browns – A+

Grades: Brown/White: A, Brown: A+, White/Brown: A, White: A

Summary: Maybe its because the Browns were in uniform hell for a while. But besides that, Nike really nailed it with this reboot for Cleveland. Going back to a more traditional uniform has gain a positive reaction and I think it will influence more teams to do the same (looking at you, Seattle, Arizona, LA Rams). I’m biased because my high school colors were orange and brown but the Browns have always had a classic look. It’s just that the product on the field was so bad that fans couldn’t even notice. They kept the color rush from last year also which is a good thing.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: No need to change anything now. No orange jerseys. Orange pants? Maybe. Make the playoffs, first. Then, we’ll talk about orange pants.

Minnesota Vikings – B+

Grades: Purple/White: A, Purple: B, White/Purple: A, Color Rush:  B+

Summary: I like Minnesota’s current set. I like their unique number font and I like how they fixed the color on the matte helmet to match the purple on the jersey. The color rush with the yellow numbers isn’t bad either.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: The Vikings are another team that needs to stick with this traditional look.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – B+

Grades: Red/Pewter: A, White: B, White/Pewter: A, Pewter: C

Summary: Tampa Bay is yet another team that will be entering the 2020 season with new uniforms. The greatest part of this upgrade for Tampa is that Nike got rid of those awful “alarm clock” looking numbers. With the new set, block numbering returns and none of the weird piping. It’s a simple uniform but bold because of the red and pewter. Tampa already had an awesome helmet. Now, it’ll be paired with the pewter or white pants. I think Nike get a lot of warranted criticism but they at least got this one right. I don’t even think the all-Pewter uniforms are bad.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: They just left uniform hell. They’ll be keeping these new ones for a while, I imagine. I know many are wishing for the original Bucco Bruce to return with the orange creamsicle uniforms. Maybe when the NFL changes its “one-shell” rule with the helmets.

Baltimore Ravens – B+

Grades: Purple/White: B-, Black/White: B, Black: A, Purple: B-, White: B, White/Black: A-, White/Purple: C, Color Rush: B

Summary: The Ravens have had their look for a while now and it’s starting to get boring. I think the black jerseys and pants combos are their best look, easily. The purple pants are interesting but looks out of place with the white jersey and black helmet. They have one of the better color rush uniforms but that doesn’t say much.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: The Ravens look might of gotten stale with me but I cringe to think what Nike would do to them. I think Baltimore should keep what they have currently.

Carolina Panthers – B

Grades: Black/Grey: B, Blue/White: B-, White: B, White/Black: C, Black: A, Blue/Black: B-

Summary: Carolina has had one of the best color schemes in the league since they entered it. Their uniforms have been mostly unchanged but the few changes that have been made were good ones. The addition of the black pants was popular as their all-black uniform is one of the best in the league. I like their light blue alternate jersey but it doesn’t look quite right with the white or black pants. I wonder why they don’t just pair them with the home grey pants.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: Like I said, outside from minor changes, Carolina has had the same look for years. Nike has no need to muck it up.

Philadelphia Eagles – B

Grades: Forest/White: B, White: B+, White/Green: B+, Black: B

Summary: The Eagles have had their sharp look for a while now and it’s starting to get dull. It’s either that or too many people are clamoring for the Kelly Green uniforms to come back. But if we all just stop being nostalgic, you’ll notice that the current set is decent. The helmet goes great with the green jersey or with the all-white uniform. The black underlining might be the first thing to go if they ever do make a change.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? GO BACK: Though the current set isn’t that bad, they should totally go back to the Kelly Green, ditch the black, and bring back the grey pants. Basically what Atlanta should have done. Philadelphia can beat them to the punch.

Jacksonville Jaguars – B

Grades: Black/White: B+, Black/Teal: B, Teal/White: C, Teal/Black: B, White/Black: A, White/Teal: C-, Black: A, White: A

Summary: It’s been a wild ride but I think this franchise is content with their latest set from Nike. The actual jerseys and pants set are kind of boring but they pop enough to make a pretty unique and great uniform. But I can only say that for half of the set. Jacksonville’s uniforms have been iconic because of the success they’ve had in them. When I think about the all-Black or the black helmet/pants combo, I think of big post-season wins. The black helmet is great when paired with the all-white uniform or jersey. Not so much with the teal jersey but it looked much better in the past. The teal pants look like they don’t belong in this set.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? GO BACK: The teal jersey with the black helmet really looked nice with the original number font. Jacksonville should at the least bring this jersey back as a throwback.

Houston Texans – B-

Grades: Navy/White: B-, Red/White: C, White: B-, White/Navy: B, Navy: B, Navy Rush: B+

Summary: Houston has had the same uniforms for 20 years. The Navy helmet and jersey combo is starting to get bland but it is still one of the nicest looks in the league. The red jersey looks out of place in the set since they’ve stopped pairing it with the red pants. The red numbers, however, on the navy color rush really pops in a good way. Houston’s white sets of uniforms are also good, I think.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: There’s an outcry from Houston football fans to bring back the “Love Ya Blue”uniforms. But I think the Texans would be better off sticking with their current set.

Washington – B-

Grades: Red/White: B, White/Red: B+, Throwback: C

Summary: Nickname and logo aside, Washington actually has a pretty decent and iconic set. As one of the league’s oldest franchises, they bring a unique combo with the burgundy red and yellow. I think their road uniform is currently their best. They used to have yellow pants, which were good with the home jersey; not so much with the road. The throwback they currently wear isn’t bad but it doesn’t match the helmet color.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: The right answer is a total rebrand but that’s a conversation for another day. As long as they have that team name, I’ll expect them to just stay with their current uniforms.

Detroit Lions – B-

Grades: Blue/Grey: B, White/Grey: B, White/Blue: B-, Throwback: B+, Silver: C

Summary: Detroit rebranded a few years ago and it was a positive move. Sticking with their original blue/silver/white set and moving from the unneeded black outlines. Detroit also kept their throwbacks which one of the nicest looking ones in the league. I’m not too crazy about the all-silver uniform. They added blue pants with this current set and it isn’t too bad.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: Nike rebranded them recently so there isn’t a need to make any dramatic changes.

New York Jets – B

Grades: Green/White: B, Green: B-, White: B-, White/Green: B+, Black: B+

Summary: The Jets recent rebrand was met with a mixed reaction but I don’t really think of it as being a complete failure. I think they did miss a chance to do something real special and different. Instead, we got a boring template for a uniform and a barely changed logo. I do like the new helmet. Usually I’ll hate on the BFBS trend but these black uniforms aren’t bad.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: These current uniforms are an escape from the past so I don’t see them going back anytime soon.

New England Patriots – B-

Grades: Navy: B-, White/Navy: B-

Summary: New England is yet another team that is getting new uniforms for 2020. But these are a surprisingly underwhelming. I guess they are based off the navy color rushes from recent seasons. New England’s previous uniforms weren’t that great to begin with but these new ones are just too plain looking. Not terrible but boring.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? GO BACK: Not sure what route New England should go but many liked the Patriot Pat on the helmet and the red jerseys.

Seattle Seahawks – C

Grades: Navy: B+, Green/Navy: D, White/Navy: A-, Grey: C, Green: D

Summary: The grades for Seattle are kind of skewed because they decide to still wear those lime green abominations. The Navy uniforms aren’t bad and their best on the road have been with the navy pants. That green is terrible though. And I’m on the fence for the grey uniforms as well. The designs of these uniforms aren’t terrible but some of the color combos are.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? GO BACK: I remember when Seattle rebranded in the early 2000s, they had a vote for the color of the helmet. I guess navy won, but now’s the time to go back in history (like every other franchise, apparently) and bring back the silver and royal blue look from the 80s.

The Worst

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Aaron Donald is too good of a player to be seen in these this season.

Los Angeles Rams – D

Grades: Blue/Yellow: A, Blue: C-, Bone: F

Summary: I keep trying to spin this into a positive for the Rams. But then, I look back at the reveal and I’m blown away. How could Nike let this happen? They had a chance to just keep things simple and return to the glorious uniforms of the early 90’s. Instead, we got gradient numbers, nametags, and something called “Bone”. Here’s the one positive: prior to this, the Rams were an absolute mess. Mismatched logos. Mismatched helmets and uniforms. It was bad.  With this new set, at least they have what looks like the classic blue/yellow home uniform. But the all-Blue looks like ridiculous pajamas. I hope they plan to wear the yellow pants on the road. Whoever thought this “Bone” idea for the road uniform was a good one should be punished by wearing it. One last positive thing: the new helmet is great. It’s a modern twist on the classic and the horns are meant to resemble the ones on the new logo.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? GO BACK: I didn’t hate the new Rams logo set as bad as everyone else did. They just need to go back to the drawing board with the uniforms. No need to complicate things.

Denver Broncos – C

Grades: Orange/White: C-, Blue/White: B-, White: B, Orange: C

Summary: The Broncos broke ground with their rebrand in the late 90’s but now; their current set is bland. They had the right idea going with the orange jersey as their home uniform years ago but it just looks mismatch now with the blue helmet and white pants. The all-Orange Crush color rush is probably a glimpse of what they will wear in the future but they are clearly in line for maybe not a total rebrand but at least new uniforms.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? GO BACK: With the Orange color rush, you get the throwback “D” logo on the helmet but it still doesn’t look quite right with the current navy blue. When they do the rebranding of the uniforms, they’ll need to not only bring back the orange home jerseys with the block numbers but they’ll need to also bring back the rocky mountain sky blue.

Atlanta Falcons – B-

Grades: Black/White: B, Black: B+, Red Gradient: D, White: C, White/Black: B, White/Red: B-, Throwback: A-

Summary: The Falcons rebrand for 2020 was disappointing to me. The two obvious things that bothered me were the red gradient jersey and the “ATL” word mark on every jersey. I feel like pro uniforms usually don’t have city names on the front, seems like a college move. Atlanta’s throwback uniform seems to be unchanged from recent years but they missed a great opportunity to bring back the grey pants. The new helmets even include a grey facemask so, it would make even more sense. Atlanta’s new matte helmets are the best part of the uniforms, btw.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? GO BACK: In about five years, Atlanta will do what Cleveland has done and get rid of the city mark and the gradient uniform and go with a more classic look. And they better bring back the grey pants.

Cincinnati Bengals – B-

Grades: Black/White: C, Black: B, White: B, White/Black: B-, Orange/White: C, Color Rush: B

Summary: I feel like I’m being kind here with the B- grade. The all-black and all-white uniforms aren’t too bad for me but it goes downhill from there. Reebok really screwed up this redesign from the early 2000’s. The patchwork jersey and weird piping is where this design is doomed. The color rush “white tiger” isn’t a bad idea but the helmet is still orange so why even try.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? REBRAND: It is an open secret that Cincinnati will be getting the full Nike treatment sooner than later. I bet they incorporate elements from the white tiger uniform. I hope this doesn’t mean a gradient helmet. Nike, please, learn from your mistakes in Jacksonville and now Atlanta. The NFL is changing the one shell helmet rule soon anyways. Stick with the tiger stripes and just simplify the uniforms.

Tennessee Titans – B-

Grades: Navy: B+, Blue: B, Blue/Navy: B, White: B, White/Blue: C, White/Navy: B, Navy/Blue: C

Summary: Tennessee rebranded a few years ago with mixed results. I don’t hate the helmet change but the uniforms have been really underwhelming. The Titans have many different combinations but I had a tough time deciding which one I liked best. Tennessee “best blue” in this set is the navy but I feel that it should be the light blue because division rival, Houston, is navy. The light blue jersey in this set is okay but the light blue pants just don’t look right.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? REBRAND: Tennessee’s uniforms are way too busy. They need to rebrand to something a lot simpler. I’m not sure what that would look like. They should make light blue their primary color and maybe red numbers. That could work on a simpler uniform.

Arizona Cardinals – C

Grades: Red/White: B-, Red: B, White: C, White/Red: C-, Black: B, Black/White: C-

Summary: The Cardinals have pretty much stayed the course since rebranding in 2005. It seemed radical at the time but I think it was only because their uniforms were so boring before. All of the losing didn’t help either. But its kind of ironic now that the more basic designs are starting to comeback. Arizona’s set fails to hit because of its weird piping that was trendy with the NFL at the time.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? REBRAND: I don’t think they need to completely turn back to the 90’s but I hope their next rebrand is simpler and uses yellow as a secondary color over black which makes them look like an Atlanta Falcons knock off. Also from the 90’s, they used to incorporate the Arizona state flag. They should try that again. I’ve seen mock-ups that aren’t too bad.

 

 

 

 

 

2020 NFL Mock Draft (Three Rounds!)

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This year’s draft will hinge on which team will take a chance on QB Tua Tagovailoa.

 

By: Elias McMillan

Because of the Coronavirus Pandemic, this year’s NFL Draft will be different to say the least. And because of social distancing, teams will have a harder time making evaluations on players as many pro days and one-on-one interviews had to be canceled. With those factors considered, one scout was recently quoted saying “Mock Drafts everywhere will probably be all over the place, not even being close to resembling what the teams are really thinking”. That being said, I’m feeling REAL good about my mock this year. And because of all the time I’ve had to work on it, for the first time, I mocked the first 3 rounds! It’s not exciting. It’s not worthy of an exclamation point. I’ll never do that again. Anyways. Cincinnati, you’re up…..

ROUND 1

1. Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Burrow, QB, LSU: This will be one of those drafts where the first overall pick was determined back when the college football season ended. QB Joe Burrow took the NCAA by storm in 2019 winning the Heisman and leading his LSU Tigers to a national championship. Though loaded with talent, Burrow was the triggerman for the Tiger offense, accounting for 60 touchdowns. Now, Burrow will have the chance to turn around a franchise needing a change at QB from Andy Dalton.

2. Washington – Chase Young, DE, Ohio State: Washington has an interesting decision to make at pick number two. They could either trade the pick to a QB needy franchise or they could just take the best player in the draft. I think they will choose the latter. Washington wouldn’t exactly be drafting for need here but the addition of Young would make that defensive front seven one of the best units in the league. Young is your prototype blue-chipper at defensive end. With elite size and speed, he dominated during most of his college career and he should be on pace to be an outstanding pro.

*****TRADE***** Lions trade 3rd overall pick to Dolphins for 5th overall pick, 18th overall pick, 4th round pick (141), and a 2021 1st round pick.

3. Miami Dolphins – Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama: Miami has three picks in the first round and I don’t believe they attend to keep them. I think the Dolphins will pull the trigger, throw caution to the wind, and make the big trade in this draft for the player they’ve wanted since 2018. Miami has the assets to pull off such a deal. The only question will be with finding the right trade partner. Washington is a candidate but they would be missing out on the best player in the draft. Detroit on the other hand really has nothing to lose. Three first round draft picks is a steep price for a player with durability issues. But Miami can afford it. If healthy, Tua is talented enough as a passer where he probably would have gone first overall. If he’s healthy, great. If not, you can sit him a year. This is all weighing him showing that big time talent once he’s healthy.

4. New York Giants – Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia: The Giants have a chance to grab a talented football player at the 4th overall spot. They could do that with Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons. But I think they’ll go to the other side of the ball and think about protecting their future franchise QB, Daniel Jones. Thomas, out of Georgia, has been rising up draft boards and he’ll help improve an offensive line that struggled in 2019.

5. Detroit Lions – Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State: Detroit trades back and still gets the corner they need. The Lions traded away Darius Slay in the offseason but signed veteran Desmond Trufant in a responding move. They still need to get younger at that CB position as their pass defense was the worst in football last year. Okudah is regarded as the best corner in this year’s draft so; this selection for Detroit would make sense to me.

6. Los Angeles Chargers – Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon: When you look at the Chargers roster, you’ll see that quarterback is a glaring need. I don’t know why the Chargers haven’t reached out to one of the free agents (Newton, Winston) but I don’t believe is it because they have big time faith into Tyrod Taylor. This tells me that they are thinking “QB. No matter what” in the first round. If they wont trade up for Tua, my guess is they’ll be okay with picking this kid out of Oregon. Justin Herbert could have left college a year ago and been a top pick but he decided to stay at Oregon where he really didn’t improve his draft status but he also didn’t hurt it. I see Herbert as an average player that shouldn’t go in the top-10 but sometimes these QBs find a way to get drafted earlier than they should. I think Herbert throws a good ball and is more athletic than you might think. That may be good enough for the Chargers to take a chance with him at pick number 6 overall.

7. Carolina Panthers – Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn: Carolina is going to have to be good defensively if they hope to compete in the NFC South in the near future. Right now, their defensive line looks depleted and they need space eaters up front so that LB group can make plays. I think Derrick Brown fits the build for what the Panthers need up front at 315 pounds. I watched his highlight reel and this guy is throwing offensive lineman into QB’s and literally suplexing ball carriers. He’s a disrupter.

8. Arizona Cardinals – Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama: The SEC continues to dominate this mock draft. I criticized Arizona for not taking Nick Bosa last year over their future franchise QB Kyler Murray. Now that they have Murray, I think Arizona better start investing in that offensive line. Depending on aging veterans who get injured isn’t going to cut it. Many consider Alabama’s Jedrick Wills Jr. to be the best offensive tackle in the draft.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars – Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson: Jacksonville is in the middle of a messy rebuild so it may not be the best locker room environment for any rookie. But with DE Yannick Ngakoue looking for the next train leaving Duval, the Jags could select the most versatile defender in the draft. Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons can make an impact for any defense as a pass rusher or in coverage as a linebacker or safety. I think the Jaguars are in the market for a young beast at linebacker since the sudden retirement of Telvin Smith. They’ll be thrilled for the opportunity to take Simmons at 9.

10. Cleveland Browns – Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville: Up front, the Browns were average at best offensively. They should honestly call Washington about trading for Trent Williams. If they want all those skill players to help boost the offense, Baker Mayfield is going to need protection. Mekhi Becton is a monster at 6’7 but is also an accomplished player at tackle earning All-ACC honors in 2019. He’ll help Cleveland get younger at that position while developing into the team’s future starting left tackle.

11. New York Jets – Tristan Wirfs, OT/OG, Iowa: This a deep wide receiver class so the Jets will wait to address that position. Instead, I think the Jets need to make sure they getting the most of Le’Veon Bell. They had the 2nd worst run offense in the league last season and if you watched this offense in 2019, you’ll see that it wasn’t the player’s fault. The Jets need to invest up front and Tristan Wirfs is a mauler. Able to play tackle or guard, they will find a place for him early in his career on this offensive line.

12. Las Vegas Raiders – Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama: The Raiders have an “Antonio Brown” sized hole in their receiver room and they have the choice of any player at that position in this draft. This WR class is deep but everyone knows that there are three standouts at the top. Any of them could end up getting selected first but I think it is going to be Jeudy. The All-American is coming off a productive college career and his top end speed should allow him to be a constant deep threat for Derek Carr.

13. San Francisco 49ers – Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina: After trading away DeForest Buckner, the 49ers would be real lucky if this disrupter falls to them at 12. Kinlaw has been long rumored to be a top-10 selection in the draft even before his final season as a Gamecock started. If you ever watched a South Carolina game, you would notice Kinlaw as the huge person in the middle of the field pushing the opposition backwards. Kinlaw offers great size and athleticism. He’ll be a factor as a pro against the run or as an interior rusher.

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – CJ Henderson, CB, Florida: I’m thinking if Tampa Bay is really investing into Tom Brady for the next few years, they might be looking for pass protection at this pick. But I feel if the top 4 offensive linemen are gone, they won’t reach for one. Instead, how about improving that secondary that was 30th in the league last season. Florida’s CJ Henderson is a long and lanky dude with elite speed. They could use him in Tampa.

Lamb202015. Denver Broncos – CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma: Denver gets a big target here for QB Drew Lock. Lamb may be the best receiver from this talented class. He is your future #1 WR who was the top target of 2 of the last 3 Heisman trophy winners, Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. Lamb is a possession receiver who can catch balls over the middle and can go up and get it in the redzone.

16. Atlanta Falcons – K’Lavon Chaisson, DE/OLB, LSU: Atlanta ranked near the bottom of the league in sacks last season and they parted ways with edge rusher Vic Beasley. Chaisson is a promising prospect at just 20 years old but was a defensive MVP on a talented LSU Tiger defense. Scouts say that Chaisson has a “high ceiling” meaning that he could develop into a premiere pass rusher in the NFL.

17. Dallas Cowboys – Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama: Dallas might be thinking defense with the departures of Robert Quinn and Byron Jones. But I think they’ll be okay with one of the top 3 WR falling to them. The Cowboys had a great passing attack in 2019 but this would put them over the top. Ruggs offers game changing speed, which will make him a threat every time he touches the ball.

18. Detroit Lions – Grant Delpit, S, LSU: After taking the top corner in the draft earlier, Detroit gets the chance here to remake their secondary with the extra pick from Miami. At the top of the safety class this year are two guys from the SEC. I think LSU’s Grant Delpit separates from the group as more of a ballhawk type of player. Though it may not matter in the fall, Delpit’s time in the 40 also may put him over.

19. Las Vegas Raiders – Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma: After helping their offense with the 12th pick, the Raiders go to the defensive side with this selection. Oklahoma’s Kenneth Murray plays with great intensity and just flies to the football. He’s the type of the player that Coach Gruden gravitates to and says “Hey man. You know what? (Nods) You’re a good football player, man.”

20. Jacksonville Jaguars – Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama: Once upon time, Jacksonville had a slew of young defensive studs. And it was good. Good enough to almost make a Super Bowl. Two years later and that foundation has since then fallen apart. Now, Jacksonville must reload on defense, which is why I think they’ll spend their second 1stround pick on Alabama safety Xavier McKinney. Now, Delpit from LSU might be a hair faster but McKinney offers similar speed and is more of a thumper defending the run.

21. Philadelphia Eagles – Austin Jackson, OT, USC: Eagles fans will be screaming for a wide out here at 21 but their roster has major holes at other positions. Take for example: offensive tackle, where mainstay Jason Peters was not retained. If the Eagles are going to stick with injury prone QB Carson Wentz, they are going to need a new left tackle. USC’s Austin Jackson might be a reach but I think Philly needs him especially with Washington landing Chase Young.

22. Minnesota Vikings – Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU: Minnesota got this pick by trading away a wide out so, they’ll aim to replace him here. Justin Jefferson has been described as “QB friendly”. Despite being barely above 6 feet, Jefferson built a solid college career by always getting open and being able to play well on the outside or in the slot. He’ll fit in well opposite Adam Thielen in the Vikings passing attack.

23. New England Patriots – Zach Baun, LB, Wisconsin: The Patriots could go many ways with this selection but I think they’ll give attention to a defense that was their strength last year but will be missing many pieces due to free agency. New England may be looking at the linebacker position as Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins left for new teams. Wisconsin’s Zach Baun doesn’t look like a typical NFL linebacker but his talent makes him stand out. Considered a sleeper but rising across many draft boards, Baun is a sure tackler and is a demon coming off the edge. Again size might be an issue but he is described as a grinder. The type of player that would catch the attention of Coach Bill Belichick. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Pats think about their QB situation here too.

24. New Orleans Saints – Jordan Love, QB, Utah State: I really don’t know what the Saints will do with this first round pick. If you look at their roster, you don’t really see many glaring holes. Except at backup QB; a position on a football team not usually addressed in the first round. But consider this: Teddy Bridgewater is now in Carolina, Taysom Hill is on a restricted one-year deal, and the face of the franchise is about really to hang ‘em up. Jordan Love is a small school product but he sits tall in the pocket and throws a really good ball. What a great situation it would be for him to learn under Brees and Sean Payton and eventually lead this Saints team into the new decade.

25. Minnesota Vikings – Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State: With their second 1st round pick, Minnesota may be looking to replace veteran DE Everson Griffen who left via free agency. Yetur Gross-Matos, probably the best name in the draft, was a productive all-conference player at Happy Valley and would be a fit as an edge rusher in a 4-3 defense.

26. Miami Dolphins – Josh Jones, OT, Houston: After trading three 1st rounders to get Tua Tagovailoa, the Dolphins could look to add some protection for their investment. Miami allowed the second most sacks in the league and had a league worst ranked run game. Tua Tagovailoa or not, they need to address their offensive line. Josh Jones would be the next best tackle off the board. Miami can still add other pieces later.

uamooww5y7bnqoquics227. Seattle Seahawks – AJ Epenesa, DE, Iowa: Seattle’s defense was kinda bad last year if you look at the numbers. The once-renounced secondary was ranked near the bottom in the league and they were second to last in the league in sacks. Jadeveon Clowney will not be back and I don’t think Bruce Irvin is a suitable replacement. I think Pete Carroll will consider the pass rusher out of Iowa, Epenesa. He’s not exactly a speed rusher off the edge but at 6’5 he offers tremendous size and great technique. Able to play on the edge or inside, I get major “J.J. Watt vibes” watching his highlight tape. His size and length make him a chore for any offensive lineman and I think he could develop into a great defender.

28. Baltimore Ravens – Patrick Queen, LB, LSU: With the moves the Ravens have already made in this offseason, you would think that upgrading the defense is a priority. I feel that they still haven’t recovered from the loss of C.J. Mosley. LSU’s Patrick Queen was the “QB” of a very talented defense in college. He offers great range and speed from sideline to sideline and decent coverage skills. He could eventually be a leader for this defense in the future.

29. Tennessee Titans – Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU: Confession: I don’t like many of the corners in this draft. Many great athletes but not enough physicality. There are a few exceptions though. Jeff Gladney is less than 6 feet but has been one of the top corners in the Big 12 and he isn’t shy when it comes to tackling. He could help Tennessee’s aging secondary.

30. Green Bay Packers – Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado: Green Bay’s passing attack kinda had a dull season ranking 17th in the league. Shenault Jr. from Colorado could be able to help them to return to elite status. Shenault Jr. is a load for a wideout at 225 pounds but offers elite speed, running a 4.5 forty yard dash at the combine. He can be a possession receiver in the slot and a receiving threat from the backfield as a RB. Shenault Jr. may remind Packers fans of Randall Cobb.

31. San Francisco 49ers – Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson: Higgins from Clemson is one of the tallest receivers in this draft class. But other than height, he offers big play capability every time he touches the ball. Higgins displays excellent hands, ball skills, and underrated speed. He’ll fit right in with a San Francisco offense looking for more young playmakers.

32. Kansas City Chiefs – Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU: And the first round ends with another member of the National Champions. The Super Bowl Champion, Chiefs, did not retain a couple of their corners and they are looking a little thin at that position. I like Fulton who showed his toughness in press situations last season starting in all 15 games for the Tigers during their championship run. Leading the secondary in pass breakups, he’ll be a welcomed member of the Chiefs secondary along side fellow Tiger, Tyrann Mathieu.

ROUND 2

33. Cincinnati Bengals – Akeen Davis-Gaither, LB, Appalachian State: To start the second round, I have the Bengals turning attention to their defense. They’ve addressed their secondary in free agency so here they’ll go linebacker with this small school product. Davis-Gaither is one of those undersized linebackers that defensive coaches value because of their ability to slip past blocks and make tackles.

34. Indianapolis Colts – Terrell Lewis, DE/LB, Alabama: The Colts traded their first round pick for some interior help on the defensive line. With their first 2nd round pick, they’ll aim to add some speed to their outside rush. Alabama’s Terrell Lewis may have had some injury problems in college but when healthy, he can be a force off the edge. Lewis is an incredible athlete for a guy north of 250 lbs. and that combination of size and speed could serve this Colts defense well.

35. Detroit Lions – Julian Okwara, DE, Notre Dame: Detroit already addressed their defense in the first round but the brother angle here is too good to pass up. The Lions already have Romeo Okwara so how about drafting his little brother Julian from Notre Dame. Julian is a versatile pass rusher that can also make plays as a linebacker.

36. New York Giants – Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama: Trevon Diggs will probably go higher in the draft but I just didn’t like him as much as a prospect. Diggs offers great length and speed but lacks physicality. He does have great skills when the ball is in his hands. The Giants would fill a need here as their pass defense ranked near the bottom last season.

37. Los Angeles Chargers – Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State: Looking at the Chargers roster just frustrates me. Not only is it screaming “JUST SIGN CAM NEWTON”, the Chargers only have two, yes, TWO running backs under contract. But this scenario, I would imagine they will look for help at tackle to protect their future franchise QB they got in the 1st round.

38. Carolina Panthers – A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson: Carolina is looking thin in the secondary. Terrell took a beating in the National Championship game in college and they keep reminding us about it. Despite that, he’s a pretty good prospect and he’ll be looking to bounce back with a chip on his shoulder as a rookie.

Swift202039. Miami Dolphins – D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia: Finally, the first running back comes off the board. Miami continues to add to its young offense with the back from Georgia. Swift isn’t the speedster that his name suggests but he’s kind of a “do-it-all” type of back. I mean, he does have speed but he can also run between the tackles and be a consistent target as a receiver.

40. Houston Texans – Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin: Might start to see a string of RBs being selected? Probably not. But I could see Houston taking a flyer on one of the most productive backs from CFB. Taylor’s workload in college might have been heavy but I don’t understand why that would hurt his stock. Taylor is your prototypical 3 down back that would fit in any scenario in the backfield.

41. Cleveland Browns – Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State: On first thought, I didn’t think the Browns were thin at WR but they are. If that’s the case, they’ll love this speedy dude out of the Pac-12. There are similar guys at WR in this draft but what pops on Aiyuk’s tape is his smoothness. The way he gets in and out of his cuts. He has crazy vision and speed, which makes him dangerous with every possession. He does carry a bit of an injury concern but he could be a real difference maker for this Browns offense. And you can’t forget his return abilities on special teams. This would be a real good get for Cleveland.

42. Jacksonville Jaguars – Cam Akers, RB, Florida State: Leonard Fournette will be the next “veteran” to part from what was once a great roster in Jacksonville. But while he is still under contract, Jacksonville can attempt to get the most out of their running game by drafting his maybe replacement in the 2nd round. Cam Akers is a better player than what he showed in college, as he just happened to play on some bad offenses. At barely 6 feet, he displays toughness and getaway speed with each carry.

43. Chicago Bears – Neville Gallimore, DT, Oklahoma: Chicago has two selections in the 2nd round. With this pick, I see them adding some youth to their defensive front. Gallimore was a big time disrupter as a Sooner, earning the incredibly awesome nickname, “The Canadian Bulldozer”.

44. Indianapolis Colts – Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor: With their second pick in this round, the Colts decide to add a new dimension to their passing attack. Mims is an intriguing prospect with the ability to go up and get the ball in red zone situations. His stock has been rising recently and he might go sooner than 44.

45. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia: The Buccaneers can add some protection for their newly signed QB with this selection. Wilson is not just the “other tackle from Georgia” in this draft. Wilson showed promise against some of the best pass rushers in the SEC and at just 20 years old, he has time to develop.

46. Denver Broncos – Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn: Good luck pronouncing that last name. Noah was one of the corners in this draft who I thought had good tape. A physical competitor, this receiver turned cornerback will be a good addition for Denver.

47. Atlanta Falcons – Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia: Atlanta might be thinking about a corner with this pick, as Desmond Trufant is now a Lion. Hall may be a forgotten prospect because of health reasons but if healthy, many say he would be a first rounder.

48. New York Jets – Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU: The Jets are in desperate need for a playmaker at wide receiver. Reagor is not only tough for his size but his speed is undeniable. The Jets would be lucky if he were to drop to them in the second round.

49. Pittsburgh Steelers – Marlon Davidson, DE, Auburn: I see the Steelers getting younger up front with this selection. I was just blown away after watching this guys highlights and thought he is a fit for Pittsburgh. At 305 lbs., this guy is active up front and is the ideal size for a defensive end in a 3-4 defense. He played on the outside in college and I wondered how was that possible. Then, I watched the highlight reel and the guy is crazy athletic for his size and was a major disrupter coming from every point at the line of scrimmage. I had to go back and change the pick after watching his highlights. It just looked like such a Steeler pick here with Davidson.

usa_today_11157508.153598795250. Chicago Bears – Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota: Eddie Jackson has emerged as a great player and leader for the Chicago secondary at free safety. With Ha-Ha Clinton Dix gone, the Bears can draft their next strong safety of the future by selecting this Golden Gopher. Winfield Jr., son of a former NFL player, has shown great promise while at Minnesota. Despite his 5’9 frame, Winfield is a striker as a tackler and an absolute ball hawk in zone coverage. He’ll be a great fit in this defense. He might develop into a “Bob Sanders” type player.

51. Dallas Cowboys – Curtis Weaver, DE, Boise State: The Cowboys loves their BSU Broncos. I guarantee they’ll add another one in this draft. It will be this guy or the receiver, Hightower. But anyways, Dallas will be on the hunt for another edge rusher with the departure of Robert Quinn. After not addressing this in the first round, they’ll find the MWC defensive player of the year in this round. Weaver had a productive final season at Boise State and he just fits what the Cowboys usually draft. Unheralded and maybe underrated, Weaver could be a nice surprise for any team.

52. Los Angeles Rams – Josh Uche, DE/LB, Michigan: The Rams probably need pass rush help with Dante Fowler signing with Atlanta. Uche would be a fit for them with their second round pick. Though undersized, Uche showed great pass rushing ability and versatility while at Michigan.

53. Philadelphia Eagles – KJ Hamler, WR, Penn State: The Eagles finally get some receiver help in the second round. Hamler is one of the smallest players in the draft but also might be the fastest. Hamler is able to use his speed to get open; jumping in and out of cut like a jackrabbit. His ability to stretch defenses will be valuable, as it will free up space for his teammates. This would be a good get for Philadelphia.

54. Buffalo Bills – Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU: I went back and forth with this one because the Bills just found their future RB last season in Devin Singletary. But Head Coach Sean McDermott likes to use multiple backs in his offense and they all usually have a certain role. Edwards-Helaire seems like that type of guy who you may not see coming but ends up making the big play in the game. One of the shortest backs in the draft, CEH offers tough running and was an underrated target in the passing game. He’s the type of player you might find on a Bill Bellichick roster. But I have Buffalo taking him here.

55. Baltimore Ravens – Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU: I don’t think the Ravens should just settle and count on the veterans they added on their defensive line. They need youth. They need depth. Blacklock could certainly provide that. He’s actually a popular name right now, rising up on team’s draft boards.

56. Miami Dolphins – Cesar Ruiz, OG/C, Michigan: Miami continues to invest into their offense. They drafted the tackle earlier but here they can take one of the top interior blockers in college football. Ruiz can play guard or center and should be a lock in the second or third rounds.

57. Los Angeles Rams – J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State: One of the high profiled prospects in this draft, I think the former Buckeye would fit well in this LA backfield. Dobbins certainly wouldn’t be replacing Todd Gurley but he could be apart of a prospering run game with Malcolm Brown. A shifty workhorse, Dobbins, would bring a change of pace to the Rams offense.

58. Minnesota Vikings – Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah: Minnesota is in the market for a corner after the departure of Xavier Rhodes. Jaylon Johnson is one of the more physical defensive backs in this draft and he plays a style of football that Coach Mike Zimmer will like.

59. Seattle Seahawks – Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State: Damon Arnette’s tape was impressive to me. You figure the guy would have a lot of opportunities playing corner opposite of Jeff Okudah in college. And he took advantage of that opportunity, displaying physicality and ball skills. I wouldn’t be surprised if a team selected him with a need at corner. Seattle pass defense wasn’t great last season.

60. Baltimore Ravens – Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC: How about the Ravens getting a target on the outside for Lamar Jackson. Pittman Jr. has the look of a future #1 receiver and he plays like one. He’s a combination of size and speed but he also displays great hands rather in a crowd or when he has to go up and get it. He would be a great complement to Marquise Brown.

https---images.saymedia-content.com-.image-MTY3NTg2MzY2OTYyNTQxOTU5-usatsi_1350635661. Tennessee Titans – Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame: Cole Kmet is the top tight end in the draft. Not really a strong class for tight ends this year but I see some guys that could make a difference for some offenses. QB Ryan Tannehill would benefit from having a consistent target at that position, something Tennessee hasn’t had since Delainie Walker.

62. Green Bay Packers – Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio State: This may be a reach but the Packers need to toughen up the middle of that defense. Harrison is a true throwback at linebacker. Attacks gaps and ball carriers with reckless abandon. He may lack in athleticism but he is a sure tackler from sideline to sideline.

63. Kansas City Chiefs – Wille Gay Jr., LB, Mississippi State: Another reach at LB but Willie Gay Jr. has impressed scouts during this draft process. His ability to defend and tackle on the edge going sideline to sideline will get him drafted earlier than expected.

64. Seattle Seahawks – Ashtyn Davis, S, California: Really tempted to go QB here. But hey, did I mention that Seattle’s Legion of Boom is no more? Their secondary needs a rebuild. After taking a corner earlier, they can take an impact safety here to end the second round.

ROUND 3

  1. Cincinnati Bengals – Justin Madebuike, DT, Texas A&M
  2. Washington – Byran Edwards, WR, South Carolina
  3. Detroit Lions – Lloyd Cushenberry III, G, LSU
  4. New York Jets – Jordan Elliot, DT, Missouri
  5. Carolina Panthers – Zach Moss, RB, Utah
  6. Miami Dolphins – Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne
  7. Los Angeles Chargers – Netane Muti, G, Fresno State
  8. Arizona Cardinals – Cameron Dantzler, CB, Mississippi State
  9. Jacksonville Jaguars – Troy Pride Jr., CB, Notre Dame
  10. Cleveland Browns – Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois
  11. Indianapolis Colts – Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton
  12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Terrell Burgess, S, Utah
  13. Denver Broncos – Troy Dye, LB, Oregon
  14. Atlanta Falcons – Tyler Biadasz, G, Wisconsin
  15. New York Jets – Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue
  16. Las Vegas Raiders – Jonah Jackson, G, Ohio State
  17. Las Vegas Raiders – Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama
  18. Dallas Cowboys – Amik Robertson, CB, Louisiana Tech
  19. Denver Broncos – Davon Hamilton, DT, Ohio State
  20. Los Angeles Rams – Jonathan Greenard, DE, Florida
  21. Detroit Lions – Hunter Bryant, TE, Washington
  22. Buffalo Bills – Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn
  23. New England Patriots – Jalen Hurts, QB, AlabamaHurts2020
  24. New Orleans Saints – Nick Harris, G, Washington
  25. Minnesota Vikings – Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech
  26. Houston Texans – Darrell Taylor, DE, Tennessee
  27. Las Vegas Raiders – Lucas Niang, OT, TCU
  28. Baltimore Ravens – Robert Hunt, G, Louisiana
  29. Tennessee Titans – Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota
  30. Green Bay Packers – Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame
  31. Denver Broncos – Matt Peart, OT, Connecticut
  32. Kansas City Chiefs – Anthony McFarland Jr., RB, Maryland
  33. Cleveland Browns – Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Michigan
  34. New England Patriots – Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR, Liberty
  35. New York Giants – Brandlee Anae, DE, Utah
  36. New England Patriots – Harrison Bryant, TE, Florida Atlantic
  37. Seattle Seahawks – Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
  38. Pittsburgh Steelers – Van Jefferson, WR, Florida
  39. Philadelphia Eagles – Alex Taylor, OT, South Carolina State
  40. Los Angeles Rams – Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
  41. Minnesota Vikings – James Proche, WR, SMU
  42. Baltimore Ravens – Lamar Jackson, CB, Nebraska

NFL 2019: Week 11 Predictions (Condensed Version)

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Do the Browns have any chance at home tonight against the Steelers? Maybe.

 

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 4-9

Season: 82-65-1

Week 11 Picks

Browns over Steelers – Cleveland isn’t a very good football team. But strange things happen in these Thursday night games. Maybe Cleveland’s defense will put out a strong effort at home and Baker Mayfield will avoid making those game changing mistakes against a pretty good Pittsburgh defense. I’m going out on a very, very weak limb here.

Cowboys over Lions – Dallas can’t overlook Detroit because Matt Stafford is out. This is still the team that made Sam Darnold look serviceable. The Cowboys need to completely block out last week’s late game debacle from memory and play to their potential from start to finish.

Jaguars over Colts – Indy started struggling as soon as the injury bug began to creep up. Jacksonville will be looking for a strong performance from the returning Nick Foles.

Bills over Dolphins – Buffalo must stop the bleeding on the road against one of the worst teams in the league that happen to be on a 2 game win streak.

Vikings over Broncos – Minnesota really didn’t do anything special last week in Dallas. They were fortunate because they deserved to lose. Anyways, that was a confidence builder for them going forward. They should be able to take care on Denver at home.

Saints over Buccaneers – New Orleans must be careful here. They struggled to protect Drew Brees last week. Tampa Bay can rush the passer and they can score points. This one could be real competitive until the end.

Jets over Washington – The Jets have at least proven that they can beat the really bad teams. In the NFC East.

Panthers over Falcons – I don’t trust what Atlanta was able to pull off last week but they will win more if that defense shows up more often. This week, they’ll have to find an answer for MVP candidate Christian McCaffrey.

Ravens over Texans – Easily the game of the week here. Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson will put on a show. Houston’s defense might be shaky with absence of J.J. Watt.

49ers over Cardinals – San Fran is a bit banged up on both sides of the ball. Arizona might be able to take advantage.

Raiders over Bengals – Oakland got the win last week at home against the Chargers. Next week, they got the Jets. The Raiders can’t let this opportunity for a winning streak slip thru their hands.

Patriots over Eagles – Philadelphia has played well against New England in recent history for some reason. I think the Pats will be more than ready for them coming off their bye week.

Rams over Bears – Jared Goff is starting to look really shaky and it is costing LA games. The Rams face another good defense this week. They can’t let Mitch Trubisky outplay their QB.

Chiefs over Chargers – Kansas City got their QB back but the defensive issues continued last week. The Chargers played KC well last season and I’m expecting this divisional matchup to be competitive again.

NFL 2019: Week 9 Predictions

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Sitting with a 4-4 record, the Jaguars are still in the hunt for a AFC South title.

 

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 11-4

Season: 69-51-1

Top Five Games of the Week

Houston @ Jacksonville – Sitting at 4-4, the Jaguars are still firmly in the race for the AFC South crown even after trading away Jalen Ramsey. On Sunday, they’ll host Houston in a pivotal divisional matchup. Currently, Jacksonville has a lot going for them. RB Leonard Fournette is healthy and is among the league leading rushers. QB Gardner Minshew is making spectacular plays week after week. And Jacksonville still has one of the best defensive lines in the game. Houston will be shorthanded for the rest of the season on defense with J.J. Watt being out. Deshaun Watson played great last week but I wonder if he’ll be affected by his eye injury. Houston may have to lean on their rushing attack on offense if Watson isn’t right. But for what whatever reason, WR DeAndre Hopkins always seems to have a big game against Jacksonville. Houston will have to find a way to get him involved early and often to secure a big victory on the road. Prediction: Texans over Jaguars

Minnesota @ Kansas City – Even with the lost at home to Green Bay, I think the Chiefs can leave that game with some confidence. The offense did not really miss too many beats without Patrick Mahomes. Kansas City’s weakness on defense, the secondary, was exposed but that shouldn’t have been a surprise. Especially with facing Aaron Rodgers. The Chiefs will be home again this week against a Minnesota team that is starting to gain some traction. Kirk Cousins is starting to play more “loose” and the offense is benefitting. RB Dalvin Cook is also having a strong season on the ground. The Chiefs’ defense will have to key on him and force Cousins to beat them through the air. I think the wideouts in this game will have plenty of opportunities to show out. Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs are one of the top receiving duos in the league right now. But Kansas City will be able to match them with the weapons Matt Moore has in his huddle; Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, Sammy Watkins, Travis Kelce, etc. Prediction: Chiefs over Vikings

Indianapolis @ Pittsburgh – The Colts showed a lot of meddle last week in their win at home over Denver. The big completion on the final drive from Jacoby Brissett to T.Y. Hilton, really showed this team’s will to win. On Sunday, they’ll travel to Pittsburgh to face a desperate Steelers team. Pittsburgh overcame a slow start against Miami last week at home and they need to keep it going in order to keep their slim post-season hopes alive. Pittsburgh’s defense has shined in the past couple of weeks. Their ability to pressure the QB and create turnovers will help them against any opponent. Unfortunately, the offense can’t get over the rash of injuries that continue to hit them at the QB position and now at the RB position. I think the Pittsburgh defense can keep them in this one but the Colts are the better, more complete team right now. Prediction: Colts over Steelers

Tennessee @ Carolina – Tennessee is technically in the AFC South basement but at 4-4 they still have an outside shot at the division. Carolina is firmly in second in the NFC South but are coming off a humbling loss at San Fran.  The Panthers are going to stick with Kyle Allen at QB but as long as RB Christian McCaffery is playing like a MVP, they’ll be okay offensively. I think Tennessee’s RB Derrick Henry could be in line for a big performance Sunday as he will be facing a struggling Panthers’ run defense. This game could come down to which QB can make the most plays while avoiding turnovers. QB Ryan Tannehill might face an uphill battle as the Panthers do offer one of the league’s best secondaries. Prediction: Panthers over Titans

New England @ Baltimore – In recent history, the Ravens and Patriots have played in some hard-hitting matchups and is an underrated rivalry in the AFC. This year’s game on Sunday will feature one the leagues top rushing offenses versus one of the leagues top rushing defenses. The Patriots don’t really have a “star” player on defense but they don’t need one either. They just seem to get the job done. Rather it is turnovers or big stops on short yardage situations. They just get the job done. It’s a staple in Bill Belichick’s coaching philosophy. “Do your job.” The Ravens are going to have to carefully pick their spots against the Patriots’ defense. Lamar Jackson has plenty of ability but he must avoid the big mistakes on Sunday. Mark Ingram and all of Baltimore’s ball carriers must protect the football against this opportunistic defense. The matchup between the Ravens defense and the Patriots offense features two average units. But it has been the Patriots defense that has made the job for Tom Brady easier this year. Baltimore will hang tough in this one but I see New England figuring it out, as they always seem to do. Prediction: Patriots over Ravens

The Rest of Week 9

49ers over Cardinals – Even on a short week, I see San Fran continuing their dominance.

Bills over Washington – Hopefully for Buffalo, last week was just a hiccup.

Jets over Dolphins – I like this Jets teams’ attitude. Yeah, they stink but they’re as bad as Miami.

Eagles over Bears – I can’t give Chicago a chance given their situation at QB. Khalil Mack will have to take over each game on defense at this point.

Raiders over Lions – Oakland doesn’t have many “home” games so I expect them to put out a great effort this week in front of the black and silver.

Seahawks over Buccaneers – As steady as Russell Wilson has been this season, that’s how unsteady Jameis Winston has been.

Browns over Broncos – Cleveland’s defense must show up against a QB who is seeing his first pro action in his career on Sunday for Denver.

Packers over Chargers – Green Bay seems to win the games that the Chargers always find a way to lose.

Cowboys over Giants – Here’s another situation for Dallas to hit their “high-percentage” shots. The Giants will come out attacking on offense. The Cowboys defense must continue to pressure the QB and cause turnovers. Their offense should be able to control the game, as New York’s defense isn’t very good.

NFL 2019: Week 1 Predictions

Carolina Panthers v New England Patriots

Tom Brady and the Patriots begin, yet another, title defense this Sunday night.

By: Elias McMillan

 

Past Regular Season Records:

2014 Regular Season Record: 158-97-1

2015 Regular Season Record: 163-93

2016 Regular Season Record: 163-91-2

2017 Regular Season Record: 151-103

2018 Regular Season Record: 150-104-2

 

Top Five Games of the Week

Green Bay @ Chicago – The 2019 regular season opens in Chicago with a classic NFC North rivalry. Coming off a disappointing loss in the playoffs last year, the Bears enter 2019 as the favorite in the NFC North. Green Bay is the mist of a rebuild under new head coach Matt LaFleur. Green Bay won a thriller in the season opener last year on the strength of QB Aaron Rodgers’ second half performance. Tonight, Chicago will have to keep the Packers offense from striking distance in the second half by jumping on them early and getting enough from QB Mitch Trubisky and the offense. I think LB Khalil Mack and the Bears defense will do its job at limiting Rodgers’ chances. Green Bay’s defense will be younger group this year and the Bears offense must be able to take full advantage. Prediction: Bears over Packers

Los Angeles Rams @ Carolina –Last season’s NFC champions will travel across the country on Week 1 to face a team trying to get back to the top of the conference. I think Carolina will be much improved this season because of their additions on defense. That defense will receive a tough test in the season opener in the form of this Rams offense. LA’s defense showed some inconsistency last season but the great play at the line of scrimmage from Aaron Donald and Dante Fowler covers much of that up. QB Cam Newton will be looking to show that he is at 100% but he’ll face a great challenge in the Rams’ pass rush. Newton must find a way to preserve himself from big hits while at the same time putting Carolina in a position to win. That could be tough. Prediction: Rams over Panthers

Kansas City @ Jacksonville – The highlight of this matchup will be the Chiefs offense vs. the Jaguars defense. Kansas City returns in 2019 with an electrifying offense led by the league MVP, QB Patrick Mahomes. Kansas City will be loaded at WR this year with Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, and rookie Mecole Hardman. And I’m very interested how Andy Reid will incorporate recently signed veteran RB LeSean McCoy. Jacksonville’s defense disappointed a season ago and they are looking forward to bouncing back this year. A solid group will lead them up front on the defensive line and CB Jalen Ramsey will continue to lead the secondary. Usually a good defense can get the best of a great offense but I think Kansas City just has too many weapons.  Also, there’s a lot of hype surrounding new Jaguars QB Nick Foles but I’m just not buying. Just because he might be better than Blake Bortles, doesn’t mean that he is going to take this offense to the next level. Prediction: Chiefs over Jaguars

Indianapolis @ Los Angeles Chargers – Around this time of year, I find myself believing in the Chargers. They have had a pretty decent roster on paper in the last couple of seasons. That can be said again for 2019 but they received horrible news in the form of Derwin James’ injury. LA should be okay offensively though, even without RB Melvin Gordon. Speaking of absences, many fans are still shocked over the sudden retirement of Colts starting QB Andrew Luck. I think Indy will be a team that will not blink and they will rally around QB Jacoby Brissett. I like the Colts to score the upset on the road. Prediction: Colts over Chargers

Pittsburgh @ New England – QB Tom Brady’s record at home against Pittsburgh has been talked about a lot this week. At home or on the road, New England usually does a good job at owning the Steelers in recent years. The Steelers were constantly in the news this offseason because of the Antonio Brown situation and because they missed the postseason for the first time in 5 years. The Steelers will be so happy to be in the news for an actual game this Sunday though it is against the hated rival, defending Super Bowl champion, Patriots. I’ve said before that New England really didn’t improve during the offseason but since when that has mattered. They still have Brady, Bellichick, and a stingy, bend but don’t break defense. It will also be interesting to see how New England uses WR Josh Gordon. I imagine he’ll replace Rob Gronkowski as Brady’s big target down the field. I believe Pittsburgh will be looking to make a statement in this first regular season game. After an offseason of drama, the time to discuss non-football issues is now over. The Steelers will be looking to highlight WR’s Juju Smith-Schuster and James Washington. And on defense, T.J. Watt and rookie Devin Bush will be in attack mode. It will be a time for celebration for the home team as they raise another Super Bowl banner but I believe the night will be spoiled by a hungry Pittsburgh team. Prediction: Steelers over Patriots

The Rest of Week 1

Titans over Browns – So much for all the hype. I see Tennessee’s defense dominating in a Week 1 shocker.

Ravens over Dolphins – Miami is toothless. I’m looking forward to the Lamar Jackson show in Baltimore.

Vikings over Falcons – Minnesota will be anxious to get 2019 off on a good start.

Jets over Bills – Le’Veon Bell gets 30 touches, as the Jets offense will overwhelm Buffalo at home.

Eagles over Washington – Philadelphia is hyped once again this year. Washington? Quite the opposite.

Seahawks over Bengals – Cincinnati will feel the loss of A.J. Green to start the season. This will be a classic show of home dominance from Seattle.

Cowboys over Giants – These Dallas-NYG games almost always come down to the wire. It would be interesting if that trend continues Sunday as the Cowboys clearly have the better team.

Cardinals over Lions – No one knows what to expect from Kyler Murray, Kliff Kingsbury, and the Arizona offense. I think that might serve as an advantage for them.

49ers over Buccaneers – Jimmy Garropollo will have to come out in 2019 playing at a high level. If not, it could get ugly real quick in the Bay Area.

Saints over Texans – It’s going to be hard for Houston to beat anyone with the state of their offensive line. Too bad that they’ll meet a really good New Orleans team on Monday night.

Broncos over Raiders – The talk on Tuesday after this game will not be about Antonio Brown. It will be about how good Joe Flacco looked.

 

NFL 2019: Random Divisional Thoughts & a Pre-Season Super Bowl Prediction

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Can Drew Brees and the Saints finally make a return to the Super Bowl this season?

By: Elias McMillan

Before we start the season this weekend, here are some of my random thoughts about the goings on in each division. Plus, I’ll include my always-wrong pre-season Super Bowl prediction.

NFC East

The biggest topic in Dallas this offseason has been the contract situations for the team’s youngest stars. As a Cowboys fan, my attitude about this has remained unchanged: I don’t care. Lets just win a championship. Jerry Jones has handed out extensions to a couple of guys already but as I type this, the Ezekiel Elliott deal hasn’t been completed yet. I’ve never been too worried about this situation and I’ve always been sure that Elliott would not sit out the season. Elliott is the most important player on the roster and he deserves the money. But as Mr. Jones said earlier this offseason, you do not need a rushing champion to win a championship. And he’s absolutely right. But if that’s the case, why draft a guy like Elliott 4thoverall? Why then proceed to build the entire offense around that position? The bottom line is that for Dallas to compete for a championship this year, they are going to need the defense to repeat what they did last season and for Dak Prescott to play above average football. Now, Zeke can win you ballgames but for Dallas to go far, I believe both of those things will play a factor. And no matter what fans or analysts say, this division will be a dogfight. It always is. Philly probably has the best roster in the division from top to bottom. No one is expecting much from Wash or NYG but that could potentially make them dangerous. I believe it will come down to Philly and Dallas but this division will definitely will not be a cakewalk.

NFC North

It’s going to be interesting to see how Chicago deals with success. The target in this division is now on their back. I just don’t think Green Bay or Detroit has enough to compete with them this year. That leaves Minnesota who returns with a talented roster and a chip on their shoulder after disappointing last year. Chicago’s defense will be elite again with LB Khalil Mack but the difference maker on this team will have to come from their offense. QB Mitch Trubisky must continue to progress. Minnesota has the talent on both sides of the ball to over take Chicago this year. They just have to stay healthy and QB Kirk Cousins has to perform well in big spots.

NFC South

Despite all of their recent failures in the playoffs, the championship window is still open in New Orleans. The Saints are deep with talent and experience and they are my favorite in the conference. I think Carolina will be improved this season and they will make the playoffs. Though, I’m already concerned with the health of Cam Newton. I don’t think Newton knows how to play differently in terms of body conservation. We all know he can do amazing things on the run but recently, they has placed his health at risk. I hope Newton’s shoulder is healed from a season ago and he can show once again what he can do with his arm. I’m rooting for Bruce Arians in Tampa. He’s a good coach and he’s surrounded himself with a good staff. It’s going to take some time for him to right the ship in Tampa and I hope the organization gives him that time.

NFC West

I don’t think the Jadaveon Clowney trade changes much in this division but it definitely makes Seattle a better football team. The Seahawks might have a defense now as good as they had during their Super Bowl runs. It will be up to Russell Wilson and the passing game to do enough even though they will be leaning on some inexperience at the WR position. QB Jimmy Garoppolo has received mixed reviews in the preseason. It would be a shame if he doesn’t pan out this season for the 49ers. I think San Fran has the pieces to be the next dominant defense in this division. But they won’t do much winning if the offense doesn’t produce. Garoppolo will be under a lot of pressure in 2019. Not to mention that LA, Arizona, and now Seattle all have elite pass rushers.

AFC East

Head coach Brian Flores won’t admit it but it’s true: the Miami Dolphins are tanking. The trading away of expensive veterans would have made sense months ago but to do so just days before the season sends a very clear message. I feel bad for QB Josh Rosen. Though he is not starting, he now walks into another tough situation in Miami. It will be interesting to see if the remade Jets are improved this year. If not, it looks like New England will walk right into another division title.

AFC North

The time to talk in Cleveland is over. All the hype means nothing now. They are 0-0. It’s hard to disappoint when you only won 7 games last season but it sounds like anything but a playoff berth for the Browns will be deemed as so. As I said before, Cleveland must crawl before they can walk. For me, crawling will be showing that they can 8 games. I think Pittsburgh is going to be super motivated at least for the beginning of the season. I think the lost of AB and the lack of talent will catch to them eventually this season. It could be around Week 7 or if they meet New England in the post season. Per usual.

AFC South

Houston is getting dragged by fans and critics for the Clowney trade, but now they are suddenly the favorites in this division. Without Clowney, they still have JJ Watt and Whitney Mercilus to provide a pass rush. And the trade for Laremy Tunsil will upgrade the offensive line that looked awful in the preseason. I wouldn’t count Indianapolis out in this division as well. I think the team will rally around QB Jacoby Brissett and play some good ball. What also caught my attention in the preseason in this division: Jaguars rookie LB Josh Allen. He has looked beastly at times and Jacksonville’s defense could make a return to dominance with him in the fold. The Luck retirement has made the race in the AFC South very interesting and this is before a single game has been played.

AFC West

I really liked the Chargers going into this season but the Derwin James injury is an absolute killer. I think LA will still be able to compete in this division but they lost one of the top talents with that injury. Kansas City has been a question mark with me this offseason because of the Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt situations. But Hill has been made available and the Chiefs’ backfield looks really solid now with the signing of Shady McCoy. The Chiefs offense will be scary once again in 2019.

Super Bowl LIV Prediction

Well, if we learned anything last year, its that New England reign at the top isn’t over yet no matter how badly we all want it to be. The Pats will once again walk thru the AFC East and skate past all comers in January. New Orleans looks like the class of the NFC going into 2019. But as good as they look, we all know the result if they meet Brady and the Pats in Miami early February. Prediction: Patriots over Saints

NFL 2019: AFC Preview

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No Brown? No Bell? No worries. Here comes Super Ben to save the day. Right?

 

By: Elias McMillan

AFC EAST

For the past 15 seasons, this division has only seen two other teams finish in first place other than the New England Patriots. No one is sure when the Patriots’ domination of the AFC East will end but I doubt it will be this year despite the fact New England really didn’t improve in the offseason. QB Tom Brady returns once again in his quest to add to his already Hall-of-Fame resume. New England has a nice mix of youth and veteran leadership at the skill positions. On offense this year, they will have a huge hole at the TE position thanks to the retirement of Rob Gronkowski. New England’s defense really showed out in the Super Bowl last season, holding their opponent to only 3 points. I think that unit will be weaken this season with the departures of DT Malcolm Brown and DE Trey Flowers. New England usually does a good job reloading on defense with players that we’ve may not even heard of yet. They did trade for aging but still effective DT Michael Bennett. The team in this division that made the most movement in the offseason was the New York Jets. The Jets forked over the big bucks in free agency and brought in RB Le’Veon Bell and LB C.J. Mosley. Bell, one of the top RB’s in football, should be fresh after taking 2018 off. He’ll have a great chance at rejuvenating this Jets offense and taking pressure away from the young QB, Sam Darnold. Darnold showed some promise in his rookie season but the lights on him will be brighter this year. I think having an elite option coming out the backfield will help him. The Jets really don’t have a star at WR but Robby Anderson is underrated and Jamison Crowder can be great in the slot. With the addition of Mosley and first round pick DT Quinnen Williams, the Jets front seven could be really good. “Do-Everything” safety, Jamal Adams, also returns as the leader of this defense. Adams is a rare talent in the secondary who can play the run and cover receivers down field. The Buffalo Bills hope this year won’t be a lost season for their rookie QB Josh Allen. Allen showed last year that he has the athletic tools but the Bills will be looking to seeing him improve as a passer. Buffalo’s backfield will be loaded with a gang of veterans. RB’s Frank Gore and T.J. Yeldon join LeSean McCoy and I’m not sure how that competition in training camp will play out. Gore, who refuses to retire, will probably win the starting job, which could make McCoy a surprising cut before the regular season. Buffalo’s defense could be something special this season. Despite losing Stephon Gilmore to New England in 2018, they led the league in pass defense. I don’t believe that it is possible for a NFL to “tank”, especially at the start of the season. But many believe that the Miami Dolphins will be that team this year. Miami actually has a good-to-average offense on paper. I think the young receivers on this team that are waiting to breakout and will love playing with an old gun slinger at QB, Ryan Fitzpatrick. But as we all know by now, that will probably last for maybe a month or so. Fitzpatrick will start out the season playing on fire then experience a huge, turnover laced, drop-off right around Week 5. I’m really rooting for QB Josh Rosen to get a chance in this offense since many have unfairly written him off. He’s basically a rookie again after being traded from Arizona and he deserves to start this portion of his career with a clean slate. Miami’s defense lost some key veterans in the offseason. CB Xavien Howard did receive a big contract in the offseason, which was well deserved as he is proving to be one of the top corners in football. Projected Finish: 1) New England, 2) NY Jets, 3) Buffalo, 4) Miami

AFC NORTH

The AFC North led the league in headlines this past offseason. Pittsburgh, who missed the playoffs for the first time in five years, stayed in the drama thanks to a messy divorce with WR Antonio Brown. With Brown now in Oakland, Pittsburgh is thinking that moving the best receiver in football will prove to be an “addition by subtraction” move. And everything on the offensive side of the ball will be smooth as long as QB Ben Roethlisberger can stand. I’m sure that Ben will continue to be great and the running game will be fine as long as the offensive line continues to play well. But I believe that the offense will feel a drop-off of talent without 84. Go ahead and watch the highlights from 2018. It wasn’t like AB was playing like an aging veteran. AB had a strong productive season and it will be hard for the Steelers to replace that. Juju Smith-Schuster is a talented WR but we don’t know if he is ready for the added attention as a #1 receiver. It’s okay to throw in all of your chips on Roethlisberger to save the offense but he is aging too. Father time is undefeated and it’s going to interesting to see him play without his top guy for the last couple years. With all the talk about offense, Pittsburgh’s defense could be something special this season. I think trading up for LB Devin Bush in the draft will prove to be a great move. Pittsburgh will be great up front with DT Cam Heyward and OLB T.J. Watt but the question will continue to be if their secondary will hold them back. The Browns were the offseason champs of this division despite not even winning 8 games in 2018. But the offense showed excitement and promise under QB Baker Mayfield and trading for WR Odell Beckham Jr. could put their offensive talent over the top. The Browns are crazy deep at WR with OBJ joining Jarvis Landry, Antonio Callaway and Rashard Higgins. The backfield will be loaded with talent as well with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, who will be fresh coming off an suspension. Cleveland is also expected to be strong defensively, led by young guys DE Myles Garrett and CB Denzel Ward. I think the city of Cleveland has reason to be hype about what could potentially happen with all this talent in 2019. But you have to crawl before you can walk. I’m not saying that the Browns hype isn’t real. I’m saying that the franchise hasn’t won more than 8 games in 11 years. Realistically, I don’t think Cleveland is ready to overtake the division but they’ll at least “be there” this year. Baltimore surprised everyone and won the division last season. Unfortunately, I think they’ll take a step backwards this year. The new offense, now catered to QB Lamar Jackson, will be fun to watch. They’ll probably lead the league in rushing this year. I really like the addition of RB Mark Ingram. The elephant in the room with Jackson at QB will be his ability to pass down the field. I’m hoping exciting rookie WR Marquise Brown (AB’s cousin) will help with that. The real reason why Baltimore will struggle this year is that I think the defense won’t be able to make up the lost of LB C.J. Mosley. Mosley was a guy that Baltimore could not afford to get away. The Ravens defense will also look strange in 2019 without LB Terrell Suggs. Baltimore’s saving grace on defense might be there secondary that looks strong with the addition of Earl Thomas at safety. I’m excited to say that the rebuild of the Cincinnati Bengals is finally on. Marvin Lewis, Vontaze Burfict, and Pac-Man Jones are all gone. Unfortunately, the new look Bengals may already be behind the 8-ball with WR A.J. Green injured and first rounder T Jonah Williams out for the season. Without Green, who will be back after the first four games, WR Tyler Boyd will have the opportunity to shine and he’ll have to after the pay raise he just received. Cincinnati will be strong defensively up front with DT Geno Atkins. The Bengals could be a sleeper even with Green missing time. They will be a team that could hold opponents to less than three scores but their offense might struggle to score that same amount. Projected Finish: 1) Steelers, 2) Browns, 3) Ravens, 4) Bengals

AFC SOUTH

I wouldn’t say that the AFC South is boring. But it’s the least interesting division in the AFC. Houston has young and exciting talent but just can’t break through in the playoffs. Jacksonville showed promise a couple years ago before completely falling apart last season. And Tennessee is still waiting for Marcus Mariota to show that he can be a franchise QB. Indianapolis caught momentum late last season only to lose to the top seed in the conference. QB Andrew Luck is still the top dog in the division when it comes to QB play but his health seems to be a question mark every year. Regardless, I think Indy has surrounded him with decent talent at the receiver and running back positions. Indy really started to catch fire last season because of their defense and rookie sensation LB Darius Leonard. In the offseason, they added a pass rushing presence in veteran LB Justin Houston. The Houston Texans should run away with this division if you look at the talent they have on paper. QB Deshaun Watson is a young star in this league and is continuing to improve. WR DeAndre Hopkins catches everything and the backfield should receive a boost with the addition of Duke Johnson; joining veteran Lamar Miller. Houston will continue to have one of the top front sevens on defense led by J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. Houston’s secondary will need to have a bounce back year after finishing 2018 near the bottom of the league in pass defense. Jacksonville will be hoping to have their QB situation fixed this season. I’m not too confident in QB Nick Foles but he enters 2019 with not a lot of pressure. He only has to prove to be better than Blake Bortles. The Jaguars defense looked so strong two years ago. I think what happened to that unit last season will prove to be a fluke. They will be motivated to prove that though the sudden retirement of LB Telvin Smith will not help. That could open the door for rookie LB Josh Allen who looked like the best pass rusher in this past draft. CB Jalen Ramsey returns to a secondary that ranked second in the league in pass defense. Tennessee almost made the playoffs last season but I didn’t see them take a step forward from that in the offseason. Trading for QB Ryan Tannehill will probably not instill confidence for Mariota. The Titans are excited to see more of RB Derrick Henry who broke out last season. They need RB Dion Lewis to rebound from last season, as he was a total bust of a free agent signing. Tennessee will be strong defensively, led by one of the league’s top secondaries. DT Jurrell Casey is one of the best interior linemen and DE Cameron Wake who is coming off a productive career in Miami, will join him this year. Projected Finish: 1) Colts, 2) Texans, 3) Jaguars, 4) Titans

AFC WEST

The AFC West featured the most competitive division in the conference last season and I think we’ll see the same in 2019. Kansas City shot their way to the top of the conference thanks to the performance of QB Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes returns with many of the same weapons from a season ago, WR’s Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, and TE Travis Kelce. On defense, they traded away DE Dee Ford but also acquired DE Frank Clark who should serve as a great replacement. Kansas City’s pass defense was among the league’s worst last season. They are hoping that offseason acquisition, safety Tyrann Mathieu, will help them improve in that area. The Chargers will be strong again in 2019, which could be QB Phillip Rivers final season. I get the feeling that Rivers won’t retire until he makes his Super Bowl debut. Rivers will once again have great targets in the passing game to go to in WR’s Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. But most of the talk in the offseason has been about the RB position. I don’t think RB Melvin Gordon’s hold out will last into the season. He will report and I think he needs a wake up call. Gordon is talented but he doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on with only one 1,000 yard season. I really like what the Chargers have on defense. Pass rushers Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa are difference makers up front and safety Derwin James is one of the best in the NFL already in his young career. What’s been holding Denver back for the last few seasons has been the QB position. You can laugh now but I think trading for QB Joe Flacco might prove to be one of the smartest moves made in the offseason. Denver gets a veteran presence behind center and he’s looking to prove that he still has some good football left in him. RB Phillip Lindsay who had a breakout rookie season will assist Flacco. WR Emmanuel Sanders will be plus for this passing offense if he can stay healthy. The Broncos defense will be led once again by pass rushing extraordinaire Von Miller. Denver will be looking for someone in the secondary to step up this season, as they are a missing a few pieces from last year. The Oakland Raiders made the biggest move in the offseason, trading for the best WR in the NFL, Antonio Brown. Despite that exciting acquisition, the Raiders are still not ready to compete in this division. I think having Brown in the lineup will improve the passing game, which is good news for QB Derek Carr. But the Raiders will still have unanswered question with their offensive line and backfield. A lot will be expected from rookie RB Josh Jacobs. On defense, the Raiders still are looking to fill the massive hole left by trading away DE Khalil Mack. They spent their top pick on DE Clelin Ferrell who was on no ones radar at the top of the draft. They also brought in talented but constant knucklehead LB Vontaze Burfict. This Raiders squad will be an interesting mix but I don’t think they’ll play good enough football to escape the AFC West basement. Projected Finish: 1) Chiefs, 2) Chargers, 3) Broncos, 4) Raiders

NFL 2018: Week 12 Predictions (Condensed Version)

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The stage is set for Colt McCoy to keep Washington’s NFC East title hopes afloat.

By: Elias McMillan

 

Last Week: 4-9

Season: 85-74-2

Week 12 Picks

Bears over Lions – I’m worried about Chase Daniels starting for Chicago but maybe the Bears defense can limit what Detroit can do offensively.

Cowboys over Washington – Whenever it looks like things maybe looking up for Dallas, I usually expect them to completely fall on their face. But this isn’t the same defense Colt McCoy defeated three years ago. This is a huge spot for Dallas. If they are able to run the ball and control the clock, they can win this one and suddenly find themselves in the playoff picture.

Saints over Falcons – Atlanta stinks. They have too much talent to stink but they do. New Orleans probably will not win out going into the playoffs but I doubt that they drop this one.

Bills over Jaguars – Jacksonville is broken and QB Josh Allen will be looking to prove Jalen Ramsey wrong at home.

Browns over Bengals – Cincinnati’s defense is really bad right now. Look for Bayer Mayfield to have a big game on the road.

Patriots over Jets – New England hasn’t looked like themselves recently. Sunday would be a great time for them to get back on track against a weak opponent.

Eagles over Giants – I don’t trust either team. But a loss for Philly here would be the nail in the coffin for their season.

Buccaneers over 49ers – The offensive talent for Tampa needs to will their team to a victory.

Seahawks over Panthers – Carolina hasn’t been the same since getting beat down in Pittsburgh. Seattle is a tough team that could be in the playoff conversation real soon.

Ravens over Raiders – I’m not sure how long Baltimore’s offense can operate without a passing game but despite that, they’ll still be good enough to beat Oakland.

Chargers over Cardinals – The Chargers usually get hot at the end of the season and not collapse like they did last week. They better figure themselves out soon, as their schedule is about to get really tough.

Steelers over Broncos – Pittsburgh won ugly last week. This game could be similar.

Colts over Dolphins – Indy looks like they could go on a run. But Miami is getting Ryan Tannehill back Sunday. This one could be sneaky competitive.

Vikings over Packers – Minnesota has issues but on Sunday they literally only have to worry about one guy. They should have beaten Green Bay earlier this season. That should provide enough motivation, especially at home.

Texans over Titans – I’m not sure when Houston’s winning streak will end but Tennessee will not beat them without Marcus Mariota.

NFL 2018: Week 8 Predictions

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Justin Tucker and the Ravens will need to rebound quickly from a terrible loss last week in Carolina

By: Elias McMillan

 

Last Week: 10-4

Season: 52-53-2

Big Five Games of the Week

Philadelphia @ Jacksonville – Both of these teams are in a rut and are desperately in need for a win. Jacksonville’s issues on the offensive side of the ball have spread to a defense that is suddenly having issues with getting stops. The way the Eagles’ collapsed last week was a bad look but I believe they are still capable at producing more offensively, at least more than the Jaguars can currently. Philadelphia is banged up on defense so, I wonder if that will create a window for the Jacksonville offense to wake up. The Jaguars may stand if a chance if they can re-establish the run with T.J Yeldon and the newly acquired Carlos Hyde. I think Philadelphia can still prove to be tough defensively despite their injuries and Carson Wentz will be able to produce enough offense to win. Winner: Eagles

Tampa Bay @ Cincinnati – Tampa barely beat Cleveland at home last week and they lost both of their starting LB’s to injuries. Cincinnati has looked bad in the last two week but they’ll have a good chance at bouncing back if they can jump on a weakened opponent. I think Cincinnati’s missing pass rush will show up against Tampa’s offensive line, causing Jameis Winston to make some costly mistakes. Winner: Bengals

Baltimore @ Carolina – Baltimore played well enough to win at home last week but lost on a freak accident. The Ravens are an improved team this season overall but they have had some troubles on the road. They’ll face a tough opponent on Sunday in Carolina. The Panthers showed a lot of heart in their comeback victory on the road last week. I think Cam Newton and his offensive line will face a great challenge in the Ravens defense. Baltimore is much better this season offensively in the passing game. They have receivers that can make plays down field and Carolina’s secondary tends to struggle. I think this is a favorable matchup for Baltimore but I’m not sure if I trust them on the road. I’m also not sure if Carolina is able to pull what they did last week either. I guess, I’ll go with the home team. Winner: Panthers

Green Bay @ LA Rams – The Rams are an offensive machine and the Packers don’t have the defense to slow them down. Aaron Rodgers is capable of keeping up with what the Rams can do on the scoreboard but is his offensive line capable of keeping him away from Aaron Donald? Winner: Rams

New Orleans @ Minnesota – This is a big game for both teams but more so for the Saints. Minnesota has gotten the best of New Orleans in their last two meetings and I would imagine that doesn’t sit well with Drew Brees and his teammates. Good news for them is that Minnesota’s defense has taken a big step backwards since their last meeting. I expect the Saints will be able to take full advantage. New Orleans has their own troubles on the defensive side of the football. But even if Kirk Cousins is able to attack that defense, I think I’ll take Brees in that potential shootout. Winner: Saints

The Rest of Week 8

Texans over Dolphins – Houston is on a winning streak in the suddenly wide-open AFC South. Miami is a banged up team right now.

Bears over Jets – Chicago should easily win if Mitch Trubisky stays away from mistakes.

Lions over Seahawks – Coming off the bye week, I still expect Seattle to be weak on the road.

Chiefs over Broncos – Denver ended their losing streak last week and I remember that they play Kansas City tough in their first meeting this season. But It’s tough to pick against KC right now, especially at home.

Washington over Giants – Yeah, I’m not buying into Washington at all but the Giants have clearly given up on the season.

Steelers over Browns – I think Cleveland will play Pittsburgh tough again, much like their meeting in Week 1. The difference will James Conner’s tough running and Ben Roethlisberger making less mistakes.

Colts over Raiders – I think what has happened to the Raiders this season is sad. But then I remember how the organization is killing their brand soon by leaving Oakland in the first place so then I don’t care.

49ers over Cardinals – I don’t think Arizona is that bad on paper but the effort just isn’t there. I think they are better than San Francisco but the 49ers have shown more fight this season.

Patriots over Bills – Buffalo has been apart of some strange games on Monday night in recent history but taking Derek Anderson over Tom Brady would be a hard sell.

Fantasy Football Picks of the Week

QB: Andy Dalton (Bengals) – Tampa has the worst secondary in the league so why can’t Dalton have big game at home to end the Bengals losing streak at two?

RB: Kareem Hunt (Chiefs) – Denver has struggled against the run mightily this season.

WR: Adam Thielen (Vikings) – Thielen has been a delight to watch this season. He is currently your league leader in receiving yards.

TE: George Kittle (49ers) – Kittle has been the lone consistent target in the passing game for the 49ers.

DEF: Houston – I like the Texans against Brock Osweiler tonight. Miami is down a couple of their better pass catchers.

 

NFL 2018: Week 6 Predictions (Condensed)

Dolphins Bengals Football

The Bengals look to solidify their top spot in the AFC North this weekend.

By: Elias McMillan

 

Last Week: 8-7

Season: 37-39-2

Week 6 Picks

Eagles over Giants – Philadelphia is not in a good place right now. But I think they’ll be able to lean on their defense tonight against Eli Manning.

Buccaneers over Falcons – Atlanta is trending downwards. I think Tampa can come out the gates from the bye playing with their hair on fire.

Bengals over Steelers – I was impressed with Cincinnati coming back from down three scores in the second half last week. Pittsburgh usually owns Cincinnati in their own stadium for whatever reason and they are coming off their best win of the season. I just think Cincy is playing well enough right now to beat a Steelers team that can give up points when pressed.

Browns over Chargers – The Browns are competitive every week. The Chargers usually figure out ways to lose in those type of games.

Seahawks over Raiders – I like the way the Seahawks competed last week despite the circumstances. This Raiders team has no fight.

Bears over Dolphins – After blowing that big lead last week in Cincy, things will get worst before they get better for Miami.

Vikings over Cardinals – Minnesota can get out of their rut against a bad Arizona squad.

Colts over Jets – The Jets are unpredictable. I guess they’ll no show this week.

Panthers over Washington – The wheels may have feel off Washington last week. That comes at a terrible time as Carolina is playing well.

Bills over Texans – Houston isn’t very good. I could see Buffalo putting out a great effort on the road and taking advantage of Houston’s defense.

Rams over Broncos – Denver had some serious defensive issues last week. They better figure it out soon because the LA Rams may have the best offensive attack in the league.

Jaguars over Cowboys – Dallas has good chance at getting shut out this week.

Titans over Ravens – Crazy couple of weeks for Baltimore coming off the high of beating Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh then following that up with losing at Cleveland. Tennessee lost last week due to a dropped pass. I think they’ll bounce back this week at home.

Chiefs over Patriots – Kansas City has a good history against New England in the regular season.

Packers over 49ers – Its too bad that the NFL scheduled San Francisco in all these prime games because of Jimmy Garoppolo.