2017 NFL Win-Loss Predictions for EVERY Team

With the NFL season quickly approaching, fan excitement is at its peak. Every year, there are several teams that surpass expectations, but there are also several teams that fall flat. Making win-loss predictions is tough. Some of these predictions will be right. Most of them will be wrong. Let’s do it anyway.

 

Tom Brady passionately yells during Super Bowl 51

Image Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images

AFC East:

New England Patriots – 13-3

I wanted to go 14-2 or 15-1 here, but 13-3 is the safe play. The Patriots are loaded on both offense and defense and should be the best team in the NFL.

Miami Dolphins – 6-10

With a 24th ranked offense and 29th ranked defense, the Dolphins’ 2016 season feels fraudulent. They also allowed more points than they scored last season, making them a clear regression candidate. The addition of Jay Cutler doesn’t help either.

Buffalo Bills – 5-11

After trading #1 wide receiver Sammy Watkins, 2016 second rounder Reggie Ragland, and top cornerback Ronald Darby, it’s apparent the Bills are planning on winning more in the future than the present. Sean McDermott may surpass expectations, but I will have to see it to believe it.

New York Jets – 1-15

The Jets stink. Their starting quarterback is Josh McCown who started for the 2-14 Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2014, the 3-13 Cleveland Browns in 2015, and the 1-15 Browns in 2016. With wide receivers unknown to the world ONE year ago, the Jets offense will be historically bad, and so will the team.

 

AFC North:

Baltimore Ravens – 8-8

The Ravens’ defense is stacked on paper and has looked really good in preseason. But with a bad running back corps, underwhelming wide receivers and a subpar quarterback, the offense will hold this team back.

Cincinnati Bengals – 8-8

After an injury-riddled 2016 campaign, the Bengals are primed to bounce back. However, uncertainty with the offensive line and head case Vontaze Burfict will prevent the team from bouncing all the way back into the playoffs.

Cleveland Browns – 4-12

Things are certainly looking up in Cleveland. Their second round draft pick DeShone Kizer will start at quarterback, and fellow rookies Myles Garrett and Jabrill Peppers have been impressive. The Browns will be much more competitive than they were last year, but it will take them another year to learn how to win in this league.

Pittsburgh Steelers – 11-5

With a high-powered offense and an improving defense, I really wanted to slate the Steelers for 12 or 13 wins. However, the Steelers seem like a yearly lock to have some injuries and underwhelm in a game or two, so I’ll play it safe.

 

AFC South:

Indianapolis Colts – 7-9

Andrew Luck’s health is uncertain and so are my feelings on this team. This roster is definitely better than it was last year, but if Luck misses significant time, it won’t show up on their win-loss record.

Houston Texans – 9-7

With JJ Watt’s return to the team, the Texans defense looks fantastic on paper. The linebackers are stacked, cornerbacks are loaded, and defensive line is improving. The offense, on the other hand, may not be. Deshaun Watson wasn’t very impressive in the preseason, and Tom Savage can only do so much. A playoff berth will still be viable for this team, though.

Tennessee Titans – 11-5

The Titans are primed for a breakout year in 2017. They have their franchise quarterback in Marcus Mariota, a pair of talented running backs, and a decent defense. Perhaps the team won’t live up to the preseason hype, but it feels time for the Titans to make the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

Jacksonville Jaguars – 5-11

Blake Bortles stinks. That’s the truth, and the Jags are finally figuring it out. Although he was able to secure his starting job for Week 1, it will be surprising if he holds onto it for the whole season. While the defense is loaded with Jalen Ramsey, AJ Bouye, Calais Campbell, and more, the porous QB situation will kill this team.

 

AFC West:

Denver Broncos – 9-7

The Broncos’ defense looked as dominant as ever in the preseason, and new head coach Vance Joseph must have something to do with that. Trevor Siemian was able to keep his starting job and should improve this upcoming season. A tough schedule will prevent the Broncos’ record from improving despite the team making strides.

Kansas City Chiefs – 10-6

Don’t get me wrong, I like the Chiefs this year. They may have a franchise quarterback waiting in the wings in Patrick Mahomes II, and the defense is healthy heading into 2017. However, like the Broncos, a brutal schedule will make the Chiefs look worse than they actually are.

Los Angeles Chargers – 8-8

After two really disappointing seasons in a row, it has to be time for the Chargers to bounce back right? Well, to a certain extent. The Chargers have a talented roster featuring Philip Rivers, Joey Bosa, Melvin Gordon and more. Injuries to their 2017 draft class make it tough to go all-in on this team, though.

Oakland Raiders – 10-6

The Raiders were an outstanding 8-1 in games decided by 7 or less points last year. Were they really good or really lucky? This year will reveal the truth as the schedule gets even tougher for the men in silver and black. Regardless, they should be a winning football team.

 

Dak Prescott scans the field for an open receiver while under duress.

Image Credit: Associated Press

NFC East:

Dallas Cowboys – 10-6

Despite the suspension to star running back Ezekiel Elliott, I’m still putting faith in the Cowboys. Dak Prescott looked great in the preseason and looks like much more than a flash in the pan. The schedule is tougher and their record will reflect that, but Dak should lead the team back to the playoffs.

New York Giants – 10-6

This might be my most unsure prediction. While the Giants are stacked on paper, they underwhelmed in the preseason and could fall flat in the regular season as well. The depth on this team isn’t great, and the locker room personalities aren’t inspiring either. I think the Giants will live up to expectations, but it certainly would not shock me if they didn’t.

Washington Redskins – 7-9

I know the record may not indicate this, but I actually like the Redskins this year. Their roster has a fair share amount of talent, and Jay Gruden has proven he’s a good coach in this league. However, the Kirk Cousins contract drama and a harsh schedule make it hard to pick the Redskins for more than 7 wins.

Philadelphia Eagles – 9-7

I really, really wanted to pick the Eagles to win 10 games here. Their defense is absolutely stacked, and they have an ascending quarterback at the helm. What they don’t have is a good running back corps and wide receiver/cornerback depth. If the Eagles stay healthy, they’ll win 10+ games. I just can’t predict that today.

 

NFC North:

Green Bay Packers – 12-4

Despite underwhelming in the 2016 season, the Packers should dominate in 2017. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is a top-2 QB in the league and has a bevy of talent to throw to. The defense is improving and will make an impact as well.

Chicago Bears – 4-12

My win-loss projection for the Bears’ doesn’t do them justice. There is talent on this team. The defense features second-year player Leonard Floyd, rising star Eddie Goldman, and more. However, below average quarterbacks and wide receivers will hold this team back.

Detroit Lions – 7-9

The Lions are a clear regression candidate for 2017. They had a negative point differential in 2016 and failed to beat one team over .500. Moreover, their offseason improvements were minimal, and they have a history of falling flat after a winning season.

Minnesota Vikings – 8-8

I actually liked what the Vikings did in the offseason. They improved their offensive line and added a young, dynamic running back. However, the schedule is tougher this year, and it’s hard to expect the defense to maintain its Top 3 status.

Matt Ryan pumps his fist after a big play in Super Bowl 51

Image Credit: Denver Post

NFC South:

Atlanta Falcons – 10-6

I’m going to play it safe with the Falcons. They are more talented than they were in 2016 and lost almost nothing in free agency, but you can’t help but wonder if they suffer from a Super Bowl hangover.

New Orleans Saints – 7-9

New year, same Saints. Sure, the running game will be a little better, and the defense should slightly improve. But with a tougher schedule and a worse receiving corps, I can’t predict a record other than 7-9 for New Orleans.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 10-6

Like the Tennessee Titans, the Tampa Bay Bucs are a preseason hype team. Their showcase on Hard Knocks has been entertaining, but their preseason performances have not been. They still have some kinks to work out, but the Bucs are a definite playoff contender.

Carolina Panthers – 10-6

Look out; the Carolina Panthers will bounce back in 2017. Finishing last in the NFC South last year gives the Panthers a more favorable schedule than its division counterparts. Furthermore, first round pick Christian McCaffrey looks primed for a nice rookie year. This team is a textbook worst-to-first candidate.

 

NFC West:

Seattle Seahawks – 10-6

The Seahawks are a 10 win team at this point. They still have talented players like Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, and more, but haven’t supplied those guys with great teammates in a while. Until they do, the Seahawks won’t return to being an NFC powerhouse.

San Francisco 49ers – 4-12

With two first round picks this year and a new head coach, optimism is high in San Francisco. Perhaps a bit too high. The 49ers starting quarterback is Brian Hoyer, and their roster is still below average. This team is still a year or two away.

Arizona Cardinals – 8-8

The Cardinals are the only team that can challenge the Seahawks for this division, but I can’t go all in. The team lost Calais Campbell, Tony Jefferson, Kevin Minter, and more in free agency. While they added some intriguing rookies, the free agent losses will be felt.

Los Angeles Rams – 5-11

I have no idea how the Rams will do this year. Jared Goff showed promise in his Week 2 preseason game against the Raiders, but then looked terrible the week after. Todd Gurley looked fantastic in 2015 but then looked awful in 2016. Hopefully new head coach Sean McVay will fix the consistency issues, but I will have to wait and see.

 

Conclusion:

Again, most of these predictions will be wrong. Two or three teams I have being really good will disappoint. A couple teams I have being awful will surprise. This is the fun thing about the NFL. We never know what’s truly going to happen from year to year. What we do know, however, is that we’ll enjoy whatever does.

 

Advertisements

Stafford Agrees to Monster Extension, Stays with Lions

Photo: Raj Mehta, USA TODAY Sports

 

Following the 0-16 season, the Detroit Lions selected Matthew Stafford 1st overall, in the 2009 NFL Draft. He tended to be a little bit more injury prone in the early stages of his career. However, he has gotten past that for the most part and has really shown the organization that he can be the franchise quarterback that this team has always looked for.

He is now the highest paid player in the NFL, at 5 years / $135 million, passing Andrew Luck and Derek Carr. Will he live up to the deal? The Lions have committed to Stafford and are eager for a playoff win. Stafford has taken the Lions to the playoffs in 3 of his seasons with the team. Against the Saints in the 2011 season, it was losing in QB duel against Drew Brees. Then with the controversial Dallas-Detroit playoff game of the 2014 season, it was blowing a lead and losing a game that simply should have been won. However, the most recent playoff game against the Seahawks was a bit different, since Stafford was playing through an injury to his middle finger on the hand of his throwing arm.

Continue reading

2017 NFL Rookie of the Year Predictions

2017 NFL Rookie of the Year Predictions

It’s that time of year. The NFL season is about to begin, and with it comes several interesting storylines that pique the interests of all fans. One of the more intriguing storylines this year is the rookie class set to begin their professional careers. The 2017 NFL Draft was filled with talent, primarily at defensive positions, running back, and tight end. The performances of the class in the preseason have only added to the intrigue as many in the class have played well in limited duty. Even the quarterbacks who were considered a weaker position in the draft have showcased flashes of brilliance.

With multiple rookies poised to make an impact in their first years, the natural question surfaces: who will win Rookie of the Year? Luckily, the Associated Press picks two, an offensive winner and one defensive winner.

 

Offensive Rookie of the Year Candidates:

Leonard Fournette

As the first non-quarterback taken in the 2017 NFL Draft, Leonard Fournette is an obvious candidate for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Fournette is a running back taken 4th overall that is expected to carry the lion’s share for his team. Sound familiar? It should. This was the same story for Ezekiel Elliott who took home OROY last year. There is one key difference between the two, though: Fournette will be running behind the Jaguars’ subpar offensive line while Elliott had the courtesy to run behind the Cowboys’ stout offensive line.

Dalvin Cook

A very talented running back out of Florida State, it was a surprise when Dalvin Cook fell to the Minnesota Vikings in the 2nd round of the 2017 draft. Cook has exceptional running and receiving ability, making him a threat on every down. Thanks to a training camp injury to teammate Latavius Murray, Cook is expected to have a very productive year, but the Vikings’ porous offensive line is sure to slow him down a bit.

Christian McCaffrey surveys the field as he strides for more yardage.

Image Credit: USA Today

Christian McCaffrey

The Carolina Panthers shocked the world when they took Chrisitan McCaffrey with the 8th overall pick in the draft. While gifted, McCaffrey was regarded as a mid-to-late first round pick by most. Still, the Panthers took him and plan to use him early and often in 2017. With a decent offensive line and fantastic receiving ability, McCaffrey should have a great rookie year.

Kareem Hunt

This name may surprise you, but Kareem Hunt will definitely be in the running for Offensive Rookie of the Year. After a preseason injury to Spencer Ware, Hunt is set to be the featured back for the Kansas City Chiefs this season. Like his predecessors on this list, Hunt is a versatile back that will be impactful on every down.

DeShone Kizer

As the lone starting rookie quarterback in the league, DeShone Kizer is definitely a candidate for OROY. Kizer has a strong arm, decent pocket movement, and leadership to his arsenal. He has decent weapons around him too. His offensive line is headed by Joe Thomas, his wide receiver corps is led by Kenny Britt, and his tight end group features first round pick David Njoku. However, Kizer is sure to go through some growing pains. This is evident by his 3rd preseason game in which he went 6/18 for 93 yards and 1 INT. Kizer is definitely someone to watch, but other rookies will likely outperform him.

Zay Jones

After the Buffalo Bills traded away #1 wide receiver Sammy Watkins, their faith in 2nd round pick Zay Jones became clear. While the Bills did acquire Jordan Matthews in a separate trade, the recent retirement of Anquan Boldin still sets up Jones to be either the first or second option in the Bills’ offense. The problem, however, is being the first or second option in the Bills’ offense isn’t that great. The team only had 3200 passing yards last year and 3600 yards the year before. Expecting Zay Jones to break anything more than 900 receiving yards is tough, and asking for him to statistically compete with the bell-cow running backs on this list is even tougher.

Corey Davis

Corey Davis is the wild card on this list. Due to a hamstring injury suffered early in training camp, Davis has yet to play in a game for the Tennessee Titans. But as the 5th overall pick in the 2017 draft, he is a huge threat to produce as soon as he does. For all we know, Davis and quarterback Marcus Mariota will have a great chemistry that will carry him to Rookie of the Year. They could also have a terrible chemistry that leaves fans disappointed. We don’t know which will be true now, but we will soon enough.

Winner: Leonard Fournette

I’ll play it safe here and go with Fournette. He was the top ranked offensive player on my Big Board heading into the draft and should have a very impactful year despite the poor circumstances around him.

 

Defensive Rookie of the Year Candidates:

Myles Garrett raises his eyebrow as he walks shirtless after a Browns practice.

Image Credit: The Onion

Myles Garrett

We have to start by looking at the first pick in the 2017 draft, Mr. Myles Garrett. Garrett is expected to be the NFL’s next big-time pass rusher and deservedly so. He has tremendous athleticism, decent bend, and adequate ferocity. He flashed in the preseason and is certain to flash in the regular season.

Solomon Thomas

As athletically gifted as Myles Garrett is, Solomon Thomas is not far behind. He blew up the combine and was selected third overall as a result. If he can produce huge numbers, Thomas will put himself in serious contention.

Jamal Adams

One of the best safeties to come out in a while, Jamal Adams is sure to make an early impact. He’s instinctive, fast, and really, really smart. One thing that might hurt Adams, though, is his inability to fill the stat sheet. Adams only had 1 INT and 1 forced fumble at LSU last year despite playing really well. While those that watch tape will be enamored with Adams play, the voters for DROY may only look at a lacking stat sheet.

Derek Barnett

With 3 sacks in 3 games, no defensive rookie has been more productive in the preseason than Derek Barnett. Speaking of production, Barnett had a lot of it in college too as he broke NFL legend Reggie White’s sack record at the University of Tennessee. Barnett’s biggest obstacle to DROY will be his teammates as the Eagles currently have a stacked defensive front featuring Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Vinny Curry and more.

Others to watch: Reuben Foster, Marshon Lattimore, Haason Reddick, Malik Hooker, Jonathan Allen, Budda Baker, TJ Watt, Jabrill Peppers, Jordan Willis, Taco Charlton, Gareon Conley

With the 2017 draft being so talented, there are so many other guys that will vie for DROY. All of the rookies above will contribute in their first years, but the question for all will be to what extent.

Winner: TJ Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers

This one may surprise you, but I decided to go with a shocker here. With 11 total tackles and 2 sacks in the preseason, TJ Watt has displayed a knack for producing at the NFL level. The Steelers have already stated they plan to play Watt a lot this season, and he has responded to the opportunity. Under the tutelage of Steelers legend James Harrison, I expect Watt to ascend to the DROY award this year. Being related to JJ Watt doesn’t hurt either.

 

Free Agent Joe Haden Worth the Risk

Joe Haden Not Included in Cleveland’s Future Plans

The Cleveland Browns made it very clear they are committed to the future.

Former first round pick Joe Haden wasn’t worth his price tag in the eyes of the Browns’ brass. It was reported that Cleveland asked Haden to take a pay cut to remain a member of the team. Haden refused the offer and the Browns made the decision to cut ties with one of the best players the Dawg Pound has had in recent memory.

More recent memory of Haden is filled with injury riddled seasons that hampered his play. His statistical output was low the past two seasons and he struggled to return to Pro Bowl form. Haden did undergo to groin surgeries and had concussion issues that caused him to miss games. He did play through the groin injuries but was slowed.

A Healthy Haden

Haden is reportedly at full health for the first time in a while and his goal is to return to the player he once was. He hasn’t exactly wowed in the preseason and still isn’t as fast as his early seasons, but increased speed will come with time. His football acumen is still sharp, which counts for something. Haden’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, has expressed many teams are interested in adding the ex-Brown.

The price was too steep for the Browns, but did they suspect another injury or poor production from Haden in 2017? Possibly. Was his salary the reason? More than likely it was a combination of both.

Cleveland tried to move his contract via trade but were unable to find any suitors willing to pay their asking price. Instead, the Browns will still pay Haden four million dollars to play for another team. If he returns to form mid-season in another uniform, Cleveland may regret this move. The Browns are banking that Haden’s best years are behind him and the longevity of him having a productive football career post surgery is bleak.

Where will Haden land?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are looking like the favorites to land Haden. He’s familiar with the AFC North, would have two revenge games against his former team and would have his highest chances of reaching a Super Bowl on a Steelers team that, at full strength, pose the biggest threat to the New England Patriots in the AFC. Other teams interested include Kansas City, New Orleans and the Dallas Cowboys.

If Haden stays on the market longer than expected, more and more teams may show interest in his services. A veteran minimum contract will likely be proposed by multiple teams. Haden will have the opportunity to choose from different vet minimum contracts. A contract laced with incentives on a contender would influence where Haden signs.

If healthy, Haden is definitely worth the risk.

2018 NFL Draft: Pre-CFB Season Position Breakdown

2018 NFL Draft: Pre-CFB Season Big Board

With College Football opening weekend right around the corner, let’s take a look at the top prospects at each position according to a panel of Sports Fan Entertainment’s NFL Draft scouts.

QUARTERBACK

Jon Harun Daniel
1. Sam Darnold – USC Josh Rosen – UCLA Lamar Jackson – Louisville
2. Josh Rosen – UCLA Sam Darnold – USC Sam Darnold – USC
3. Josh Allen – Wyoming Lamar Jackson – Louisville Jarrett Stidham – Auburn
4. Lamar Jackson – Louisville Deondre Francois – FSU Josh Rosen – UCLA
5. Luke Falk – Wash State Brett Rypien – Boise State Luke Falk – Wash State
6. Jarrett Stidham – Auburn Kyle Allen – Houston Deondre Francois – FSU
7. Deondre Francois – FSU Jarrett Stidham – Auburn Josh Allen – Wyoming
8. Mason Rudolph – OK State Tanner Mangum – BYU Mason Rudolph – OK State
9. Kyle Allen – Houston Luke Falk – Wash State
10. Nick Fitzgerald – Miss State Drew Lock – Missouri

 

Player to Watch: Brett Rypien – Boise State

Rypien is the nephew of Super Bowl XXVI MVP Mark Rypien. Brett became the team’s starting QB as a true freshman in the 2015 season, throwing for 3,350 yards and 20 touchdowns. Scouts won’t fall in love with his size (about 6-2, 200 lbs.); however, Rypien displays a powerful and arm and an ability to throw accurately and with touch. He likely won’t generate enough hype to go as early as the 1st round, playing in a non-Power 5 conference, but if Rypien can improve on his decision-making, it’s definitely possible.

RUNNING BACK

Jon Harun Daniel
1. Saquon Barkley – Penn State Saquon Barkley – Penn State/Derrius Guice – LSU Saquon Barkley – Penn State
2. Derrius Guice – LSU Saquon Barkley – Penn State/Derrius Guice – LSU Derrius Guice – LSU
3. Ronald Jones – USC Damien Harris – Alabama Bo Scarbrough – Alabama
4. Bo Scarbrough – Alabama Myles Gaskin – Washington Royce Freeman – Oregon
5. Royce Freeman – Oregon Nick Chubb – Georgia Ronald Jones – USC
6. Kalen Ballage – Arizona State Sony Michel – Georgia Nick Chubb – Georgia
7. Nick Chubb – Georgia Jordan Scarlett – Florida
8. Sony Michel – Georgia Kalen Ballage – Arizona State
9. Damien Harris – Alabama L.J. Scott – Michigan St.
10. Myles Gaskin – Washington Royce Freeman – Oregon

 

Player to Watch: Kalen Ballage – Arizona State

Kalen Ballage is not a household name at running back for the Sun Devils, but I absolutely love him. I want to put my mark on him before he blows up either this season or in the NFL. His stats do not indicate his true talent or potential impact at the next level. Ballage fits the mold of a new age running back with not only great skills as a runner, but also as a receiver. Add in his 6’3” 230 lbs frame and this guy can be a stud at the next level. Remember the name.

WIDE RECEIVER

Jon Harun Daniel
1. Calvin Ridley – Alabama Calvin Ridley – Alabama Christian Kirk – Texas A&M
2. Christian Kirk – Texas A&M Equanimeous St. Brown – Notre Dame Equanimeous St. Brown – Notre Dame
3. Deon Cain – Clemson Dante Pettis – Washington Calvin Ridley – Alabama
4. Equanimeous St. Brown – Notre Dame Antonio Callaway – Florida Auden Tate – FSU
5. Courtland Sutton – SMU Deon Cain – Clemson Deon Cain – Clemson
6. Antonio Callaway – Florida Jauan Jennings – Tennessee Deebo Samuel – South Carolina
7. Dante Pettis – Washington Auden Tate – FSU Dante Pettis – Washington
8. Auden Tate – FSU Courtland Sutton – SMU Courtland Sutton –  SMU
9. Jake Wieneke – South Dakota State Deontay Burnett – USC Antonio Callaway – Florida
10. Richie James – Mid Tenn State Richie James – Mid Tenn St

 

Player to Watch: Jake Wieneke – South Dakota State

Small-school stud Jake Wieneke has been an absolute monster for the Jackrabbits for three straight years. In addition to dominating the Missouri Valley Conference, Wieneke torched TCU last season for 196 yards and 2 touchdowns on 8 catches. He possesses good size at 6’4” and uses it well to beat coverage. He lacks great top speed, but his hands and route running are pretty good. He won’t be regarded as a top receiver prospect, but Wienke can certainly produce at the next level.

TIGHT END

Jon Harun Daniel
1. Troy Fumagalli – Wisconsin Mark Andrews – Oklahoma Cam Serigne – Wake Forest
2. Adam Breneman – UMASS Mike Gesicki – Penn State Troy Fumagalli – Wisconsin
3. Mike Gesicki – Penn State C.J. Conrad – Kentucky Mike Gesicki – Penn State
4. Mark Andrews – Oklahoma Troy Fumagalli – Wisconsin Mark Andrews – Oklahoma
5. Cam Seringe – Wake Forest Cam Serigne – Wake Forest

 

Player to Watch: Cam Seringe – Wake Forest

Serigne has shown great polish in the receiving game at Wake Forest. The rising senior has great routes and good hands. My biggest concern for Serigne is his blocking. The Wake Forest stud does not show great technique in the blocking game, whether inline, passing, or down the field.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Jon Harun Daniel
1. Connor Williams, OT – Texas Mitch Hyatt, OG/OT – Clemson Connor Williams OT – Texas
2. Mike McGlinchey, OT – Notre Dame Connor Williams, OT – Texas Mike McGlinchey OT – Notre Dame
3. Trey Adams, OT – Washington Martez Ivey, OG/OT – Florida Mason Cole C – Michigan
4. Quenton Nelson, OG – Notre Dame Mason Cole, C – Michigan Ross Pierschbacher OG – Alabama
5. Mitch Hyatt, OT – Clemson Mike McGlinchey, OT – Notre Dame Mitch Hyatt OT – Clemson
6. Martez Ivey, OG/OT – Florida Quenton Nelson, OG – Notre Dame Martez Ivey OT – Florida
7. Martinas Rankin, OT – Miss State Ross Pierschbacher, OG – Alabama
8. Frank Ragnow, OG/C – Arkansas Martinez Rankin, OT – Mississippi State
9. Orlando Brown, OT – Oklahoma Frank Ragnow, C/OG – Arkansas
10. Mason Cole, C – Michigan Cody O’Connell, OG – Wash State

 

Player to Watch: Connor Williams – Texas

Williams has a ton of hype to his name coming into this draft season. This hype seems justified based on the Longhorn’s stunning production at the college level. His production comes with traits that should translate well to the NFL. Williams shows good polish and leaves few questions about his technique. My only concern about the stud is his arm length. His somewhat short arms may make it difficult for him to get hands on NFL edge rushers before they get hands on him. Overall, he looks like a great prospect.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Jon Harun Daniel
1. Christian Wilkins, DT – Clemson Christian Wilkins – Clemson Christian Wilkins – Clemson
2. Da’Shawn Hand – Alabama Da’Ron Payne – Alabama Duke Ejiofor – Wake Forest
3. Da’Ron Payne – Alabama Vita Vea – Washington Dashawn Hand – Alabama
4. Sam Hubbard – Ohio State Derrick Nnadi – Florida State Vita Vea – Washington
5. Duke Ejiofor, DE – Wake Forest Maurice Hurst Jr. – Michigan Maurice Hurst Jr. – Michigan
6. Vita Vea – Washington Daylon Mack – Texas A&M
7. Dre’Mont Jones – Ohio State Dre’Mont Jones – Ohio State
8. Trenton Thompson – Georgia Andrew Brown – Virginia
9. Daylon Mack – Texas A&M Trenton Thompson – Georgia
10. Maurice Hurst Jr. – Michigan Duke Ejiofor – Wake Forest

 

Player to Watch: Duke Ejiofor – Wake Forest

After a promising sophomore season where he totaled 4.5 sacks, Ejiofor exploded as a junior with 10.5 sacks, 50 tackles, four passes broken up, four forced fumbles, and one interception. He goes under the radar because Wake Forest is not a powerhouse program, but he has the talent and production to be a first round pick next May if he can build upon last year’s campaign.

EDGE- RUSHER

Jon Harun Daniel
1. Arden Key – LSU Arden Key – LSU Harold Landry – Boston College
2. Harold Landry – Boston College Josh Sweat – Florida State Arden Key – LSU
3. Bradley Chubb – NC State Clelin Ferrell – Clemson Bradley Chubb – NC State
4. Dorance Armstrong Jr. – Kansas Rashaan Evans – Alabama Josh Sweat – Florida State
5. Josh Sweat – Florida State Harold Landry – Boston College Clelin Ferrell – Clemson
6. Marquis Haynes – Ole Miss Dorance Armstrong Jr. – Kansas Rashaan Evans – Alabama
7. Sam Hubbard – Ohio State Bradley Chubb – NC State
8. Marcell Frazier – Missouri Walter Brady – Mid Tenn State
9. Davin Bellamy – Georgia Tyquan Lewis – Ohio State
10. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo – Oklahoma Marcell Frazier – Missouri

 

Player to Watch: Walter Brady – Mid Tenn State

After an outstanding 2015 season as a freshman season at the University of Missouri (in which he posted 11.5 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, and a forced fumble), it looked like Brady had a serious chance to be taken in the 1st round of the 2017 NFL Draft. An incident that resulted in him getting dismissed and eventually transferring to MTSU changed that all very quickly, and it will be interesting to see how the very skilled edge rusher’s talents translate over to a smaller conference, moving from a larger conference that he dominated in. Look for Brady’s superb ability in run defense to contribute to him having a huge year and attract early-round draft talk.

 

LINEBACKER

Jon Harun Daniel
1. Malik Jefferson – Texas Shaun Dion Hamilton – Alabama Malik Jefferson – Texas
2. Cameron Smith – USC Jordan Jones – Kentucky Jerome Baker – Ohio State
3. Keishawn Bierria – Washington Kendall Joseph – Clemson Shaun Dion Hamilton – Alabama
4. Jerome Baker – Ohio State Tremaine Edmunds – Virginia Tech Kendall Joseph – Clemson
5. Matthew Thoams – Florida State Malik Jefferson – Texas Jordan Jones – Kentucky
6. Kendall Joseph – Clemson Skai Moore – South Carolina
7. Azeem Victor – Washington Jerome Baker – Ohio State
8. Shaun Dion Hamilton – Alabama Jason Cabinda – Penn State
9. Josey Jewell – Iowa Davin Bellamy – Georgia
10. Micah Kizer – Virginia Cameron Smith – USC

 

Player to Watch: Tremaine Edmunds – Virginia Tech

Versatility is an increasingly important trait in the NFL. Never have we seen running backs expected to pass protect or linebackers expected to drop into coverage at the level we see today. Tremaine Edmunds fits the mold of the modern hybrid linebacker. Measured at about 6’4” and 250 lbs., Edmunds is a force in the backfield with his combination of size and freakish athleticism that paved the way for him to rack up monstrous numbers (94 tackles, 16.5 for loss, 4.5 sacks). He also showcased great instincts and a nose for the ball carrier. Although Edmunds has flashed in pass coverage, I would like to see him used more often in that role in 2017. He could become a hot commodity come draft season with his skill-set and as a possible combine warrior. Edmunds has the potential to be a superstar.

 

CORNERBACK

Jon Harun Daniel
1. Tarvarus McFadden – FSU Tarvarus McFadden – FSU Tarvarus McFadden – FSU
2. Jaire Alexander – Louisville Tony Brown – Alabama Jaire Alexander – Louisville
3. Anthony Averett – Alabama Jaire Alexander – Louisville Kevin Toliver II – LSU
4. Denzel Ward – Ohio State Adonis Alexander – Virginia Tech Adonis Alexander – Virginia Tech
5. Carlton Davis – Auburn Iman Marshall – USC Tony Brown – Alabama
6. Iman Marshall – USC Kevin Toliver II – LSU
7. Kevin Toliver II – LSU Mark Fields – Clemson
8. Damon Arnette – Ohio State Carlton Davis – Auburn
9. Tony Brown – Alabama Donovan Wilson – Texas A&M
10. Adonis Alexander – Virginia Tech Ryan Carter – Clemson

 

Player to Watch: Iman Marshall – USC

Iman Marshall’s teammate Adoree Jackson was the number 17 overall pick this year by the Tennessee Titans, but I think the Trojans’ best corner was Marshall. He has been a star ever since his freshman year when he recorded 67 tackles with eight passes broken up and three interceptions. Marshall was again impressive as a sophomore with eight breakups, three interceptions, and 51 tackles. His 6’1’’, 200 lbs frame will allow him to give receivers trouble in jump ball scenarios. He has had experience playing a variety of coverages at USC and has excelled. Marshall will fly up draft boards this year and looks like a future shutdown corner at the next level.

Derwin James is an athletic playmaker

SAFETY

Jon Harun Daniel
1. Derwin James – FSU Minkah Fitzpatrick – Alabama Derwin James – FSU
2. Minkah Fitzpatrick – Alabama Derwin James – FSU Minkah Fitzpatrick – Alabama
3. Ronnie Harrison – Alabama Ronnie Harrison – Alabama Ronnie Harrison – Alabama
4. Marcus Allen – Penn State Terrell Edmunds – Virginia Tech Armani Watts – Texas A&M
5. Armani Watts – Texas A&M Adarius Pickett – UCLA Jordan Whitehead – Pitt
6. Jordan Whitehead – Pitt Van Smith – Clemson
7. Quin Blanding – Virginia Marcus Allen – Penn State
8. Godwin Igwebuike – Northwestern Quin Blanding – Virginia
9. Damon Webb – Ohio State Armani Watts – Texas A&M
10. Van Smith – Clemson Jordan Whitehead – Pitt

 

Player to Watch: Derwin James – FSU

Derwin James enters the draft season with a crazy amount of hype as part of an uber-talented FSU secondary. This hype seems completely justified to me. We don’t have much film so far on James after an early injury ended his sophomore season, but from his play as a freshman and a sophomore, the 6’3” safety looks like an all around playmaker. James shows insane athleticism with excellent size for the position. The Florida State star looks to be a promising safety prospect with nearly limitless potential. 

Please leave any comments and follow SFE on Twitter!

Steelers order off value menu with trade for TE McDonald

With the 2017 NFL Season kicking off a week from this upcoming Thursday, teams are beginning to sort out their rosters in preparation for final cuts. Continue reading

Bills trade 2016 2nd rounder Ragland to Chiefs

Bills trade 2016 2nd rounder Ragland to Chiefs

Landon Collins (26) watches as Reggie Ragland (19) nearly decapitates Jalin Marshall (17) in the 2015 Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Landon Collins (26) watches as Reggie Ragland (19) nearly decapitates Jalin Marshall (17) in the 2015 Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. (source: http://www.thescore.com)

 

The Bills are continuing to make moves via trades. On Monday, Buffalo sent 2016 2nd round draft choice Reggie Ragland to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for a 2019 4th round pick. This is happening about two weeks after the team made the decision to deal star receiver Sammy Watkins and cornerback Ronald Darby.

With all of the deals the Bills have made recently, including a draft day trade down that gave them the Chiefs 1st round pick in 2018, many are speculating that the Bills are in tank mode.

Despite their potential tank job, this is a confusing decision from Buffalo’s perspective. Reggie Ragland, a former star linebacker at the University of Alabama, was their 2nd round draft selection in 2016 after an impressive college career. Ragland suffered a torn ACL that forced him to miss the entirety of his rookie season. Even with an unimpressive start to the preseason, Ragland is still just 23 years old and has a lot of promise and appears to be a force against the run. His youth and talent could have made him a key factor in the Bills’s rebuild.

This is an excellent move on the Chiefs part. Derrick Johnson has been fantastic in his 12 seasons with Kansas City, but because he is getting up there in age and coming off a pretty serious Achilles injury, it’s clear his career will be coming to an end soon. Aside from Ramik Wilson, there wasn’t an immediate replacement in sight before this trade. Ragland fits seamlessly into the Chiefs 3-4 scheme, and will be able to start day 1 for Kansas City if Derrick Johnson isn’t ready. He may not ever be the player many expect him to be after a torn ACL, but it is a low risk move for the Chiefs for a linebacker that can plug gaps and make an impact as a blitzer for a decade.