RB Latavius Murray is a Buy in Fantasy

RB Latavius Murray has huge potential with the Ravens

By: Adam Hulse (@AdamHulseSports)

After some unfortunate injuries leading up to Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season, including JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards, the stable of running backs for the Baltimore Ravens is going to look much different than expected. Their rushing attack, in addition to quarterback Lamar Jackson of course, will now likely come from a combination of multiple running backs. This is not uncommon for the Ravens, who use a creative run-heavy scheme and can support multiple running backs from a fantasy football perspective.

The distribution of carries in Baltimore is going to be something to keep a very close eye on over the early weeks of the season. They have a few different options for who could receive the biggest workload, including Ty’Son Williams, Devonta Freeman, and Le’Veon Bell, but the leading candidate to have the most production is their newest addition to the roster, Latavius Murray. It may take a week or two to get him up to speed, but as soon as he is fully acclimated with his new team, he will likely take over as their RB1. Here is why Murray is a buy in fantasy leagues and the top choice of who to own in the ravens backfield.

Consistent and Reliable

Across his seven seasons in the NFL, Murray has only missed four games total. He has consistently solid production including 713 rushing yards and 6 rushing touchdowns per season, 4.2 yards per carry, and just two lost fumbles in his entire career. He played in three very different schemes with the Raiders, Vikings, and Saints but that never impacted his steady output so changing teams again would not appear to have any negative effect on his game. He is used to playing in situations where he has to compete for carries so being in the Ravens currently crowded backfield is no different. He has always delivered positive results when given the chance and this may be his biggest opportunity for more touches in over five years. A bigger workload in an extremely RB-friendly scheme could mean big things for Murray this year.

Weak Competition

None of the other RB options on the Ravens are nearly as dependable as Murray. Freeman has been unable to stay healthy over the last three seasons, playing in just 21 games combined, and his yards per carry have steadily decreased. His 3.5 yards per carry over the last three years are significantly lower than his career 4.1 average, which indicates regression. Williams has not played an NFL game yet but was not at all a high prospect coming out of college. In fact, he was undrafted, which speaks to his perceived low potential as a player. Bell is an interesting situation but it appears that his best days are behind him at this point.

In his five seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bell was one of the very best backs in the NFL with a very dynamic skill set. He eclipsed 2200 total yards back in the 2014 season and came close to the 2000 yard mark twice more in both 2016 and 2017. After sitting out the entire 2018 season because of a contract dispute, he has never been quite the same. Playing in 26 games over the last two seasons, he has recorded just 1716 total yards combined. In his prime that would be a down year for just a single season total. Now 29 years old and 4 years removed from elite status, it is more than likely that his best days are long gone.

Considering all of the question marks and inconsistencies with all of the other options, Murray is by far the most reliable back in Baltimore. All of them will get carries at some point and their play on the field will likely determine the share of touches moving forward. Murray is the newest to the team so he may not get too much of a workload in week 1 but as the season continues on it should increase drastically. All things considered, he is the leading candidate to be the RB1 for the Ravens and has an opportunity to have a huge season in this run heavy scheme. If there is one back to buy in fantasy right now, Murray is the best investment.

Buying or selling Super Bowl LVI contenders

Are the LA Rams really Super Bowl contenders?

By: Chris Thomas

From the minute the Super Bowl ends speculation begins about who could make the Super Bowl the following year. The odds change throughout the offseason as hirings, signings, and the draft happens. At this point of the offseason, the Super Bowl odds seem pretty firm, barring anything crazy. 

Recently Sportsline came up with their Super Bowl odds for the 2022 NFL Season. According to CBS Sports, they simulate every NFL game 10,000 times to figure out their odds for who will win the Super Bowl. CBS Sports also reported that those who have bet $100 on their model since its inception six years ago are now up almost $7,900.

Even though there are so many talented teams around the league only two teams can make the Super Bowl and only one team can win it. There are a lot of loaded rosters across the league, but only a hand few could be considered Super Bowl contenders. Sportsline has set the odds for every team’s chance of winning the Super Bowl next season. Here is whether to buy or sell Sportsline top-10 Super Bowl contenders as teams who could win the Super Bowl. 

1. Kansas City Chiefs (+525)

Despite losing the Super Bowl last year, many believe the Kansas City Chiefs do have the best odds of winning the Super Bowl next year. It’s pretty hard to argue against it. Kansas City did not have many major losses across their roster this offseason. The Chiefs invested a lot of capital into their biggest weakness displayed during the Super Bowl which was their offensive line. They added veterans like Orlando Brown Jr. (via trade), Joe Thuney, Kyle Long, and Austin Blythe. Then drafted high upside interior offensive linemen Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith. Also, veteran guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff and 2020 third-round pick tackle Lucas Niang are returning to the team after opting out last season due to Covid-19. That unit is deep enough to ensure that former MVP Patrick Mahomes plays behind a top-10 offensive line all year. 

Kansas City does not have any major holes across its roster. They have done a great job retaining veterans and filling voids on their roster with high draft picks over the last couple of seasons. The combination of having an MVP caliber quarterback, consistency in the roster, and fantastic coaching is what makes the Chiefs a potential Super Bowl contender this season.

Verdict: Buying

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+650)

It would be shocking to not have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers high on this list. The reigning Super Bowl champs did the impossible this past offseason and managed to retain every single player that started during the Super Bowl for them. Tampa Bay somehow managed to retain Shaquil Barrett, Chris Godwin, Ndamukong Suh, Leonard Fournette, and Rob Gronkowski in free agency. They also retained veterans Steve McLendon, Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Succop, and signed veteran running back Giovanni Bernard to join their running back committee. During the draft, Tampa Bay took the best player available and Jason Pierre-Pauls potential replacement next offseason Joe Tryon. Adding a prospect like Tryon to a defense that was capable of holding Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs to nine points during the Super Bowl was a great move. 

After last season it seems that anytime Tom Brady is a team’s starting quarterback they have a chance of winning the Super Bowl. Another season of Brady in that system with the outstanding weapons he has including Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, Rob Gronkowski, (A healthy) O.J. Howard, a plethora of great running backs, and outstanding defensive play could result in the Buccaneers winning back-to-back Super Bowls. 

Verdict: Buying

3. Buffalo Bills (+1300)

After the two teams who played in the Super Bowl last year, there is a cluster of teams that could prevent one of them from getting to the big game. Sportsline has the Buffalo Bills as the team most likely to take down the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC and win the Super Bowl. At times last season the Bills looked like the best team in football. Quarterback Josh Allen took a massive leap and asserted himself as a top-10 quarterback and finished the season as the runner-up to the MVP. Last year they also added Stefon Diggs who was arguably the best receiver in all of football. Diggs led the league in receptions and receiving yards last year. On top of that, the Bills have an extremely solid roster with a couple of former Pro Bowl defensive players including Tre’Davious White and Tremaine Edmonds. They let go of John Brown who missed most of last season and replaced him with Emmanuel Sanders. 

The Bills are a really good team, but it is important to ask, how much better did the Bills get this offseason. Buffalo retained a lot of their starters from the year prior and brought in Sanders, but they did not bring any fresh blood who can make a major impact on this roster. During the draft, the Bills spent their first two selections on defensive linemen Gregory Rousseau and Carlos “Boogie” Basham. Both help fill the need Buffalo has for a premier pass rusher. But with all the veteran depth on this roster both in the interior and on the edge, how often are they going to be seeing the field next season? The answer is not extremely likely unless they show immediately that they are better than veterans Jerry Hughes, Mario Addison, Efe Obada, and 2020 second-round pick A.J. Epenesa. The sad truth is that Buffalo didn’t add enough to their roster to potentially become the sole favorite in the AFC and defeated the Kansas City Chiefs. 

Verdict: Selling

T4. Baltimore Ravens (+1400)

Since Lamar Jackson became the starting quarterback of the Ravens during the 2018-19 NFL season the Ravens have been one of the most dominant teams in the league. The Ravens are expected to continue that this season and may go farther this year than they have in Jackson’s previous three seasons. A couple of veteran players left Baltimore in free agency this offseason including Mark Ingram, Willie Snead IV, Matt Skura, D.J. Fluker, Matthew Judon, and Yannick Ngakoue. But the Ravens did a great job reloading their roster with more veteran and young talent this offseason to replace those players. In free agency, Baltimore added Kevin Zeitler, Alejandro Villanueva, Sammy Watkins, Ja’Wuan James (expected to miss the entire 2021-22 season), and Justin Houston. In the draft, Baltimore added both wide receiver Rashod Bateman and Odafe “Jayson” Oweh in the first round after they acquired a second first-round pick in the Orlando Brown Jr. trade.

It is hard to argue against Baltimore having one of the deepest rosters in the league, even after the roster turnover. The biggest factors for how Baltimore will perform this year will be the Ravens passing game and pass rush. The Ravens have gotten below-average play from their wide receivers in recent years, Baltimore hopes the additions of Rashod Bateman and Sammy Watkins could boost the team’s production from that position. The pass rush may have been a concern, but after adding Odafe Owey and Justin Houston to this loaded defense the Ravens should be able to generate enough pressure from the outside to play at a high level. Since Lamar Jackson’s contract is looming over the Ravens’ future this may be Baltimore’s best opportunity to win a Super Bowl with Jackson under center on a rookie contract. 

Verdict: Buying

T4. Los Angeles Rams (+1400)

The Los Angeles Rams started the offseason making a huge trade to upgrade their quarterback position. Before the Super Bowl, the Rams agreed to trade Jared Goff, their 2022 first-round pick, and 2023 first-round pick to the Detroit Lions for Matthew Stafford. This trade signals that the Rams believe they are a quarterback upgrade away from being a Super Bowl contender. A lot of notable players left the team in free agency including Josh Reynolds, Samson Ebukam, Gerald Everett, Malcolm Brown, Austin Blythe, John Johnson III, and Troy Hill. Not to mention they traded away Michael Brockers to free up salary space. The biggest addition the Rams made to this roster is DeSean Jackson who joins a deep receiving core including Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and Van Jefferson. The Rams didn’t have a first-round pick due to the Jalen Ramsey trade. They did not add any players who are expected to have an immediate impact, instead, they could likely develop into contributors in year two or three with the team. 

The Rams have a few players on the roster that are considered elite at their position including Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey. Then they have a couple of players who are great including Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Leonard Floyd, Matthew Stafford, and Andrew Whitworth. But after those guys, the Rams are relying on a bunch of unproven players who at best couple be solid. This roster is extremely delicate. One injury to a Rams star and they could miss the playoffs. Already the Rams have lost 2020 second-round pick running back Cam Akers to a torn Achilles before training camp. Everything for the Rams would have to go perfectly for them to have a shot at the Super Bowl with their current roster construction.

Verdict: Selling

T4. San Fransisco 49ers (+1400)

It is easily forgotten that the San Fransisco 49ers were in the Super Bowl two years ago. After a season derailed by multiple injuries, the 49ers made the most discussed transaction of the offseason. The 49ers traded two future first-round picks to acquire the third overall pick in this past draft. They used that selection of quarterback Trey Lance. The 49ers lost Richard Sherman and few depth pieces but overall had a positive offseason adding solid pieces in Alex Mack, Samson Ebukam, Maurice Hurst, Arden Key, and Wayne Gallman. Their best signing may be the extending left tackle Trent Williams to a six-year $138 million deal. 

Looking at their roster it is clear that the 49ers can be one of the league’s best if they stay healthy. On offense, they have an elite running game and three outstanding pass catchers in George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, and second-year receiver Brandon Aiyuk. Behind their offensive line, it may not matter if Jimmy Garoppolo or Trey Lance is under center. Then the 49ers’ defense still can be as elite as it was two years ago with all their premier talent. If the 49ers could stay healthy and make it out of the NFC West they are as dangerous as any team in the NFL. 

Verdict: Buying

7. Green Bay Packers(+1600)

Since the NFL Draft, the most talked about team in the league has been the Green Bay Packers. The reasoning is that it became public knowledge that league MVP Aaron Rodgers wants to be traded from the team. He felt he has been mistreated by management and would rather go to a situation where he feels he will be treated as he should. Besides that, the Packers have had an okay offseason. Green Bay lost All-Pro center Corey Linsley and running back Jamaal Williams in free agency. They brought in free agents De’Vondre Campbell and Dennis Kelly to fill voids on their roster. Green Bay also retained cornerback Kevin King on a one-year deal and Pro Bowl running back Aaron Jones to a four-year $48 million deal. During the first round of the draft, they added Eric Stokes to upgrade their CB2 spot that was exposed during the NFC Championship.

In all honesty, the Packers have an extremely loaded roster. But their biggest problem this season may be what happens in the locker room. After negotiating with Packers brass Aaron Rodgers agreed to come to training camp under the condition that the Packers trade him following this season. Since he has returned he has been extremely passive-aggressive about all that has happened and seems to have the Packers organization doing his bidding. That bidding included traded for veteran receiver and former Packer Randall Cobb who will now likely start over third-round pick rookie Amari Rodgers in the slot. On top of that All-Pro receiver Davante Adams has now expressed that he may leave the Packers this offseason, especially if Aaron Rodgers isn’t there. Both Rodgers and Adams are under the impression that this is the “last dance” and this is their last shot to win it all before they both split from Green Bay this offseason. It is hard to recall a time where a team with this much dysfunction in the locker room won a Super Bowl. 

Verdict: Selling

8. Cleveland Browns (+1800)

After their outstanding performance, last season the Cleveland Browns are being recognized as a potential Super Bowl contender last season. Cleveland had a fantastic offseason as well. The Browns signed John Johnson III, Troy Hill, Jadeveon Clowney, Takk McKinley, Malik Jackson, Anthony Walker Jr., and resigned Rashad Higgins. They also had a great draft taking two first-round talents in cornerback Greg Newsome II and linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah in the first two rounds. 

It is hard to find a major hole across this roster. The biggest factor for the Browns this season is the play of Baker Mayfield. So far throughout his career, he has played well but is considered an average NFL quarterback. In year two playing for Kevin Stefanski, Mayfield hopes to make that leap. A healthy Odell Beckham Jr. should help Mayfield realize his potential as long as he doesn’t feel pressure to force plays to Beckham as he has in the past. What may hold this team back at the end of the day is the team’s inexperience in huge games. Last year the Browns managed to pick up a playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers and came close to beating the Kansas City Chiefs. But it is hard to call the Browns a contender without evidence that they can defeat the teams at the top of the AFC let alone the entire league. 

Verdict: Selling

9. Denver Broncos (+2000)

The most shocking team to appear on this list is the Denver Broncos. According to Sportsline, the team that went 5-11 a season ago has the ninth-best odds of winning the Super Bowl. That sounds crazy but after acknowledging all of the Broncos offseason moves it doesn’t seem entirely impossible. They let go of a few veterans including Phillip Lindsay, Jurrell Casey, A.J. Bouye, and Ja’Wuan James. But Denver added to Pro Bowl-caliber cornerbacks in Kyle Fuller and Ronald Darby to go with their star-studded secondary that features Bryce Callahan, Justin Simmons, and Kareem Jackson. Simmons and Jackson received extensions from the Broncos this offseason as well as Garrett Bolles and Shelby Harris. During the draft, Denver elected not to draft a quarterback and took cornerback Patrick Surtain II in the first round. 

The most impactful move the Broncos made this offseason can be the acquisition of former Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. He is engaged in a quarterback competition with Drew Lock. That uncertainty at quarterback is what holds Denver out of conversations as legitimate Super Bowl contenders. Denver has a very exciting young offense and premier defensive talent. But their below-average quarterback play likely caps their ceiling at around .500. If Drew Lock wins the quarterback job and breaks out then the Broncos may have a chance of making the playoffs. The only way Denver becomes Super Bowl contenders is if Lock plays at least at a Pro Bowl level or possibly an MVP level.

Verdict: Selling

T10. Indianapolis Colts (+3000)

So far the Indianapolis Colts have not had an outstanding training camp. Freak foot injuries to their new franchise quarterback Carson Wentz and All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson have tempered the expectations for the team. However, both may be able to return from their injuries around Week 1. Earlier the Colts made the trade to acquire Wentz from the Eagles to replace the recently retired Philip Rivers. They gave up a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional 2022 second-round pick for Wentz. That conditional second-round pick would become a first-round pick if Wentz plays 75% of the snaps or if he plays 70% of the snaps and the Colts made the playoffs. This offseason Colts lost both of their starting edge rushers Denico Autry and Justin Houston, veteran quarterback Jacoby Brissett, linebacker Anthony Walker Jr., and former first-round pick Malik Hooker. But they managed to retain Xavier Rhodes, T.Y. Hilton, and Marlon Mack. The Colts also signed former Chiefs left tackle Eric Fisher. During the draft, the Colts took pass rusher Kwity Paye towards the end of the first round. 

The Indianapolis Colts have a nice blend of younger players and veterans throughout their roster. But they feel like they’re missing another x-factor player to make them legitimate contenders. That player could be Carson Wentz if he returns to his form during the 2017-18 season. Besides Jonathan Taylor behind the Colts’ elite offensive line, there are a lot of questions about their offense. What Carson Wentz will the Colts get, Is T.Y. Hilton still a threat on offense, and can Michael Pittman Jr. emerge as the Colts’ number one receiver. Defensively the Colts have enough to be legitimate Super Bowl contenders. It all comes down to the offense that would need to take a big leap forward for this team to become a Super Bowl contender. 

Verdict: Selling

T10. New Orleans Saints (+3000)

As it stands right now it appears the New Orleans Saints missed their Super Bowl window over the last four seasons. But they still have an extremely talented roster. The Saints lost some of their major contributors from a season ago including Emmanuel Sanders, Trey Hendrickson, Sheldon Rankins, Janoris Jenkins, and Jared Cook. They also brought in a couple of solid veterans in Nick Vannett, Tanoh Kpassagnon, J.R. Sweezy, Jeff Heath, and Brian Poole. Their first-round pick this past year was a puzzling one. They reached on edge rusher Payton Turner who many had a Day 2 grade on. 

The biggest storyline in New Orleans has been what the Saints do at quarterback in the post-Drew Brees era. New Orleans retained both Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill who are both expected to compete for the starting quarterback job. It doesn’t help that their number one receiver Michael Thomas is expected to miss a huge amount of time due to a lingering ankle injury. The Saints are not very deep at receiver after Thomas. New Orleans still has a lot of talent across this roster but will need trustworthy play at quarterback to make the playoffs next season let alone win the Super Bowl. 

Verdict: Selling

Expect the Lions, Eagles, and Texans to have the worst records in 2021

The worst NFL teams in 2021 will be…

By: Andy Davies

Plenty of uncertainty surrounds the Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, and Houston Texans going into the 2021 season. Their quarterback situations are far from clear and their overall rosters are mediocre at best.

The same goes for their head coaches, with all three going into their first seasons at the franchise. Neither of Dan Campbell, Nick Sirianni, or David Culley has been a full-time head coach in the NFL. Campbell is the only one to have some experience, with his spell as interim head coach of the Miami Dolphins in 2015.

Here is why you should be expecting the Lions, Eagles, and Texans to have the three worst records in the league in 2021.

Saying Goodbye To A Franchise Legend In Detroit. Struggles For The Replacement

Matthew Stafford was the number one overall pick in 2009, with the entire city of Detroit hoping he would be the man to turn around the fortunes of the franchise. Despite three seasons of making the playoffs, the Lions and Stafford never won a single postseason game as the wait continues. The Lions remain the team with the second-longest period without a playoff win, their last taking place on January 5th, 1992.

Stafford had some great individual moments as a Lion, most notably his Mic’d up moment during his 2009 rookie season. In a week eleven game against the Cleveland Browns, he overcame injury to produce a moment of pure heroism. He played with a separated shoulder despite the efforts of the medical staff to keep him off the field, leading the Lions to a touchdown-winning drive.

Jim Caldwell guided the Lions to these playoff appearances but was not seen as good enough to take them to the next step. New England Patriots assistant head coach Matt Patricia was brought in but never took to life as head coach. The Lions had three consecutive losing seasons under the coaching of Patricia. They will hope that they have found their guy in Dan Campbell. His press conference was certainly not dull, with Campbell referring to “biting kneecaps”. As a former Lions player, he knows what it takes to play in the league. He also knows about the city of Detroit and his intentions are both positive and clear. If he is given time, he has the desire to bring the good times back to Detroit. However, he is inexperienced as a head coach and the roster is below average.

New quarterback Jared Goff has the potential to struggle. This is despite the drafting of offensive lineman Penei Sewell at seventh overall, a selection that had Campbell and new General Manager Brad Holmes very excited.

Despite his brilliant 2018 season that saw the Rams reach Super Bowl 53, Goff had a poor game and struggled in 2020 as he and head coach Sean McVay’s relationship deteriorated.

Goff struggled despite a plethora of offensive talent around him. Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp form one of the best wide receiver duos in the NFL. He is going to a franchise that let go of their two best wide receivers and failed to replace them.

The Lions have a schedule that features the San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, and Cleveland Browns. There are also two games against their division rivals, the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, and Chicago Bears. The Lions do not have it easy.

Prediction: 3-14

Trouble In Philadelphia; Reason For Hope?

The Eagles have seen three years of gradual decline after winning Super Bowl 52. The 2017 season saw the Eagles lift the Lombardi Trophy for the first time after two previous attempts.

Doug Pederson was the head coach to guide the Eagles to a Super Bowl but was fired after the conclusion of the 2020 season. His decision to bench rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts in order to lose and gain a higher draft pick appeared to be the final nail in the coffin.

Carson Wentz had an MVP caliber season before an injury derailed hopes of winning the award. Backup Nick Foles stepped in and guided the Eagles to the Super Bowl 52 win. He also stepped in a year later and guided the Eagles to a shock Wildcard Round win against the Chicago Bears, with thanks also going to a Cody Parkey missed field goal.

Both Foles and Wentz are no longer Eagles players. Out of the starters in that Super Bowl 52 win, only seven remain with the franchise. Their decision to draft Jalen Reagor over Justin Jefferson continues to be mocked by rival fans and nobody knows how new head coach Nick Sirianni will do in the role.

The schedule is mixed for Philadelphia. Whilst they face the New York Jets, Lions, and twice play the New York Giants, they also have to face the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs.. This is as well as facing a rising Washington Football Team twice as well as playing the Dallas Cowboys both home and away.

Reports have surfaced in recent days of the Philadelphia Eagles being the favourites for Deshaun, with talks said to be “heating up”.

This could be a move that transforms the franchise. However, Deshaun Watson had his best statistical season yet the Texans only managed four wins all year. This proves that whilst it is very important to have a good quarterback, you need more around to be successful.

Unless the Eagles do something in what remains of the offseason, they will continue to be mediocre if their roster continues to be this poor. If they get offensive or defensive talent in the next one or two offseasons, then they are a team that will compete for years to come. Otherwise, the Eagles will fail to be a threat to both the NFC and NFC East.

This is why Deshaun should avoid the Eagles at this present time. He will be going into a situation no different to what he experienced in Houston.

Prediction: 4-13

What A Difference A Year Makes

Where do we start with the Houston Texans? The 2019 season saw them take a 24-0 lead against the Chiefs in the Divisional Round. However, they allowed 41 unanswered points as they lost 51-31. What has unfolded since in the following nineteen months has been reminiscent of a Greek tragedy.

Head coach Bill O’Brien, who also was general manager, made the unusual decision to trade star wide receiver, Deandre Hopkins. In exchange, the Texans received a running back past his sell-by date in David Johnson, one second-rounder and one fourth-round pick. O’Brien only lasted four games in the 2020 season as they finished the campaign with just four wins.

Since the conclusion of the 2020 season, franchise legend J.J Watt has left and there continues to be an uncertain future surrounding quarterback Deshaun Watson. Houston’s quarterback requested a trade in January before allegations of sexual assault arose. These have lingered throughout the remainder of the offseason. It is unclear if Watson will play in the NFL at all in 2021 but even if he does, it is unlikely that he will be wearing a Texans jersey.

Houston has said they would listen to trade offers for Watson, with the franchise said to be wanting three first-round picks. They have also acquired Tyrod Taylor via Free Agency and used their first pick in the draft on Davis Mills in the third round. Even if the Eagles stick with Hurts, there will be plenty of other suitors.

Even with Watson, the Texans are light on the ground when it comes to elite talent. Linebacker Zach Cunningham and Laremy Tunsil are talents and despite adding Phillip Lindsay and Mark Ingram to the running back room, the roster is one of the league’s worst.

David Culley has developed somewhat of a worrying reputation after his time with the Eagles, Chiefs, and Baltimore Ravens. During his fourteen-season spell with the Eagles, his four seasons with the Chiefs, and two years with the Ravens, he had 0 wide receivers earn a PFF grade of 80 or above.

The Chiefs wideouts went an entire season without a touchdown under Culley. With a wide receiver room featuring Brandin Cooks, Nico Collins and Anthony Miller, this is not exactly a position of strength for the Texans. Culley is unlikely to see any of these receivers score high PFF grades.

Whilst the Texans might be playing the Jacksonville Jaguars twice and the Jets, they have a tough schedule. They will face the Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins and Seattle Seahawks. Houston will also play the Los Angeles Chargers and the San Francisco 49ers as well as the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans twice.

They are unlikely to win many of these games. Fans should be expecting a difficult season.

Prediction: 2-15

Why the QB situation may prevent the 49ers from winning the NFC West

The 49ers QB spot is a question mark

By: Andy Davies

The San Francisco 49ers are one of the most successful franchises in NFL history. Only the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers (both 6) have more Super Bowl wins than the 49ers (5). The 49ers’ five Super Bowls all came between the years of 1981 and 1994. They have lost two since, in the 2012 and 2019 seasons. The quarterbacks that led the 49ers to the Lombardi Trophy were Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Steve Young. Three of those five wins saw Montana as the starter and Young as the backup.

Young is seen by many as the best backup quarterback in history, considering the gold jacket that he earned despite many years as the backup to Montana. He would win a Super Bowl as the starter after the franchise moved on from Montana. Ever since Young decided to hang up his cleats, the 49ers have struggled to find his replacement. Have they found the guy in Trey Lance?

Perhaps, but here is why the quarterback situation involving Lance and current starter Jimmy Garoppolo could prevent the 49ers from winning the NFC West during the 2021 season.

Struggles Since Young

Jeff Garcia was the man to come in for Young. During his five seasons in the Bay, he threw for 113 touchdowns and 56 interceptions as well as 16,408 passing yards. He had a 35-36 record as a starter for the 49ers in the regular season and a 1-2 record in the postseason, meaning he never hit the heights of his predecessor.

Alex Smith was the number one overall pick in 2005, shattering Aaron Rodgers’ dreams. However, he was a good quarterback, not a great quarterback. Colin Kaepernick replaced Smith and took the 49ers to the Super Bowl. They ended up losing to the Baltimore Ravens in a game often called the ‘Blackout Bowl’. Kaepernick failed to live up to the standards he set that season.

He would be kicked out of the league for taking the knee in a protest against police brutality in 2016. He has not played a snap in the NFL since. Jimmy Garoppolo was traded from the Patriots to the 49ers midway through the 2017 season. He gave hope to the organization after winning all five of the games he started in 2017. The fanbase had hope going into the 2018 season.

Many non-49ers fans had San Francisco down as their dark horse for the season. A season-ending injury to Garoppolo in Week 3 saw the starting role shared between Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard. However, the 49ers finished 4-12 as they went into 2019 with the second overall pick. Nick Bosa was selected and transformed the defense of San Francisco and Jimmy G had the best season of his career. He threw for 3,978 passing yards, 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Despite these stats, Garoppolo saw his production limited in the NFC Championship game as the coaching staff decided to use more of their running game. This led to many questions leading to the Super Bowl. The 49ers threw away a ten-point lead in the fourth quarter as they would end up losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 54.

Garoppolo was criticized heavily for an overthrown pass to Emmanuel Sanders that would have given San Francisco back the lead. His 2020 season saw a mixture of poor form and injury. During the 2021 offseason, the 49ers traded up with the Miami Dolphins to gain the number three overall pick. They took Lance with the pick, showcasing their intentions to eventually move off from Garoppolo. There is now talk of whether San Francisco and head coach Kyle Shanahan will start Lance in week one. The other scenarios discussed are either Lance coming in mid-season or sitting out the whole campaign as the backup to Garoppolo. The uncertainty will have a significant impact on the 49ers’ season.

The Strength of the NFC West

This is a problem that will affect all four teams in the best division in the NFL. There is a chance that all four teams can make the playoffs. Los Angeles has an exciting new quarterback in 2009 first overall pick Matthew Stafford. Both the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals have quarterbacks in Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray that they would never dream of trading away. Meanwhile, the 49ers’ starting quarterback is largely unpopular by fans, due to a mixture of the overthrown pass in the Super Bowl, his poor 2020 campaign and his injury record.

San Francisco has the least trusted quarterback in the division. With the position being one of the most crucial in all sports, it does not bode well for a team when there is uncertainty in the position. Garoppolo may be benched at some point during the season for Lance. However, the 49ers would be putting a rookie that will still be learning the system into the toughest division in the NFL.

Learning From Mahomes, Jackson, Tua and Burrow

If San Francisco are to help Lance succeed, they will need to take some lessons from recent draft classes. Patrick Mahomes, widely seen as the best quarterback in the league, spent all but one game of his 2017 rookie season as a backup to Alex Smith. The Chiefs then traded Smith the following offseason and Mahomes has never looked back. In his first three full seasons as a starter in the NFL, he has reached two Super Bowls, winning one. He has also been crowned MVP and Super Bowl MVP and reached three successive AFC Championship games. All three have been at home. On the flip side, 2020 first overall pick Joe Burrow started in week one of his rookie year. He wouldn’t last the season, only playing ten games before injury curtailed his first NFL campaign. He was impressive before his injury but there are no guarantees he will be the same player when he returns.

Lamar Jackson was a backup to Joe Flacco during his 2018 rookie year but won the starting role midseason. He has since gone on to win an MVP award and is the future of the franchise. Meanwhile, the Miami Dolphins brought Tua Tagovailoa in mid-season but he struggled in his rookie season. He is seen to already be on the hot seat, with many feeling the Dolphins rushed him in. These examples all show there are reasons for the 49ers to be hasty when it comes to choosing when to bring Lance into the starting role.

Lance Or Garoppolo In 2021?

The 49ers will have to decide soon who their starter will be in 2021. Considering Lance has only played one full season (2019), he is likely to start the season as the backup. He only threw for a combined total of 31 passing attempts, two touchdowns and 1 interception across the 2018 and 2020 seasons, albeit the latter campaign being disrupted by the pandemic. He is likely to be a work in progress but his 28 touchdowns and 0 interceptions in 2019 mean that he is one for the future.

Garoppolo will likely start in week one but it was clear from the NFC Championship game that Shanahan doesn’t completely trust him.

Jimmy G is a capable quarterback but his health is a concern. Expect Garoppolo to remain as the starter provided the 49ers are winning games but for Lance to come in should Garoppolo either be injured or start the season poorly.

Should this happen, this will be the end of Garoppolo’s time in San Francisco. Depending on timing, he will then be traded either before the deadline or in the 2022 offseason.

Can The 49ers Returning Players Avoid A Repeat Of 2020?

This is key if the 49ers are to challenge for both the NFC West and the NFC. After earning the number one seed and reaching Super Bowl 54 during the 2019 campaign, San Francisco finished 6-10 in 2020 and bottom of the division. A ‘Super Bowl Hangover’ played its part but the main cause of such a decline was down to a colossal amount of injuries the team suffered. Along with the aforementioned Garoppolo, the 49ers also saw Bosa, Dee Ford, George Kittle, Raheem Mostert, Deebo Samuel and Solomon Thomas miss large chunks of the 2020 season due to injury.

San Francisco had 33 players reported questionable and there were 186 occasions when the 49ers reported a player on injured reserve. They had the second-most injuries of any team in the NFL over the past twenty years. Should all these players come back, then this 49ers roster will be one of the best in the league. This will make life much easier for whoever the San Francisco starting quarterback is.

However, from the strength of the division to the uncertainty at quarterback, San Francisco will find it tough to win the NFC West.

Where the best available edge rushers could sign before Week 1

Where should Justin Houston sign?

By: Chris Thomas

In recent memory, it is hard to recall so many extremely talented free agent players still available at this point of the offseason. The reasoning may be that teams wanted to wait till after the draft to see if they could fill the remaining needs on their roster in the early rounds. Teams may also want to wait till training camp to see if the players on their roster have developed to a point where they could fill that need. On top of that in recent years veteran free agents have decided to wait till after the draft and training camp to sign with teams so they can look at a team’s overall roster before signing and skip training camp and get ready for the season with their own personal trainers.

One of the deepest positions in this free-agent class is edge rusher. Multiple former Pro Bowl edge rushers are still on the market. There are a couple of teams around the league who could still use another pass rusher off the edge. Here is where the top free agent edge rushers could land.

Justin Houston to Baltimore Ravens

Before free agency started in March, Justin Houston was viewed as one of the best free-agent edge rushers. However, due to his age and slight decline, teams may have been hesitant to give Houston a long-term big money contract. But that being said Houston showed last year that he is still capable of being a player opposing offenses need to plan for. After racking up eleven sacks in his first season in Indianapolis, Houston had eight sacks this past year after the Colts traded for DeForest Buckner in the offseason. The pairing of Houston and Buckner was disruptive enough to give Indianapolis one of the better defenses in the league last season.

A team that has not done enough to replace the pass rushers they lost in free agency is the Baltimore Ravens. During free agency, the Ravens lost both Yannick Ngakoue and Matthew Judon who both signed large deals with the Las Vegas Raiders and New England Patriots. Ngakoue and Judon had 9 of the teams 39 sacks last season. Along with Jihad Ward, they were three of the six payers that had three sacks or more for Baltimore last season.

They did manage to resign situational pass rusher Pernell McPhee and former second-round pick Tyus Bowser. But neither McPhee nor Bowser has shown the capability to play like a true number one pass rusher on a playoff team. The Ravens did use their second first-round selection (31st overall) on Penn State edge rusher Odafe “Jayson” Oweh. The hype around Oweh as a prospect was his athletic testing and high ceiling, but in year one he will likely be better in a rotational role.

Baltimore hasn’t been a stranger to signing veteran defenders over the years. Houston would arguably be the Ravens’ best pass rusher next season depending on how Calais Campbell plays. His eight sacks from a season ago would have led the Ravens last year and he could very well lead the team in that category if he were to sign there. The transition to Baltimore’s defense wouldn’t be that large considering Houston was largely looked at as just a 3-4 outside linebacker before landing in Indianapolis. Actually, the reason why Kansas City let him go was because of the fear that he would not be able to fit in with Steve Spagnuolo’s 4-3 defensive scheme. Bringing in Houston could be more than a bridge until Oweh can take on a full-time role. Houston could be what boosts this defense to play at a top-10 level this season. He has Pro Bowl upside and could very well make people question why he didn’t land with a team earlier in the offseason.

Prediction: Justin Houston signs with the Baltimore Ravens for one year $7.5 Million

Melvin Ingram to Pittsburgh Steelers

Throughout his career, Melvin Ingram has been a player who is good for about just under ten sacks a season who is capable of playing at a Pro Bowl-caliber level and put up double-digit sacks. Going into this season it seemed unlikely that Ingram would play his way into another huge contract. He was likely going to land somewhere as a veteran secondary pass rusher. However, a season riddled with injuries limited Ingram to seven games. He also did not have a single sack on the season. The knee Ingram injured that put him on IR twice is likely the reason why he remains unsigned. If Ingram’s knee heals, he could be a valuable addition to a defense.

The Pittsburgh Steelers arguably had one of the worst offseasons last year. Not only did they lose four of their five starters along their offensive line, but they also lost two starting cornerbacks, and edge rusher Bud Dupree. To replace those players Pittsburgh is betting on the players they have drafted in the middle rounds over the years that have shown the ability to potentially become starters for them. 2020 third-round pick Alex Highsmith is expected to take over for Bud Dupree this coming season. After Dupree tore his ACL last year, Highsmith was thrusted into the starting lineup. He had 48 tackles and two sacks in five starts. But since Pittsburgh believes they are in a win-now mode they should try to bring in a veteran to compete with Highsmith for the job starting opposite T.J. Watt.

Ingram appears to be the perfect veteran for Pittsburgh to bring in to compete with Highsmith for one of their starting edge rusher roles. Over the course of his career, Ingram has been very consistent over the last couple of seasons averaging 8.6 sacks a year between 2015-2019. That type of production is good enough to take away attention from premier edge rusher T.J. Watt and keep this defense playing near an elite level. At the worst, Ingram and Highsmith rotate rough out the season, and as the year progresses Highsmith develops into a full-time starter while Ingram reverts into a situational role. If Ingram signed to a low-risk contract he could be the real difference-maker this upcoming season.

Prediction: Melvin Ingram signs with the Pittsburgh Steelers for one year $5.5 million

Olivier Vernon to Dallas Cowboys

One of the forgotten free agents that hit the market this offseason is former Cleveland Browns edge rusher Olivier Vernon. He had nine sacks in 14 games this past season which is his highest total since he had 11.5 during his second season in the league in 2013-14. It was so unfortunate that during Week 17 Vernon tore his Achilles. Vernon was a vital part of the Browns’ defense this past season and could have gotten a large payday. His Achilles injury may be a large part of why he remains unsigned, but the fact that he has not been able to stay healthy and finish a 16 game regular season since 2017-18 may have derailed his market.

The Dallas Cowboys are one of those teams that could finish near the top or bottom of the league this year. It is hard to predict how they will finish the season. They are expected to have an elite offense but may be held back by their defense. Besides replacing Mike Nolan with Dan Quinn and drafting a couple of defensive rookies early, what else has Dallas done to improve their defense this offseason? How much better is Dallas’ defense this season compared to last year? After evaluating their roster, the answer is not much better.

The one position Dallas did not address this offseason is pass rusher. Since getting his huge contract from the Cowboys, DeMarcus Lawerence has been extremely inconsistent putting up five sacks in 2019 and six and a half sacks this past year. A trend Dallas has had the past couple of seasons has been adding a veteran pass rusher later in the offseason to pair up with Lawrence. In 2019, Dallas traded for Robert Quinn who had a borderline Pro Bowl season and got a huge payday after that. Last year Dallas signed Pro Bowler Everson Griffen to a deal but dealt him once it became clear that Dallas would not be contending after Dak Prescott’s injury. Dallas could do the same by adding Oliver Vernon this offseason. If Vernon is healthy and added to Dallas’ defense it gives them an extremely athletic pass-rushing duo who are dynamic enough to put up between 15-20 sacks combined next season.

Dallas desperately needs a veteran player opposite Lawerence because there is uncertainty whether Randy Gregory, Dorance Armstrong, Bradlee Anae, or third-round pick Chauncey Golston could fill that void.

Prediction: Olivier Vernon signs with the Dallas Cowboys for one year $5 million

Everson Griffen to Kansas City Chiefs

At this point last season one of the best available free agents was former Minnesota Vikings pass rusher Everson Griffen. Late in the offseason, Griffen signed a one-year $6 million deal with the Dallas Cowboys. He had 2.5 sacks in his seven games with the Cowboys but then was traded to the Detroit Lions for a conditional sixth-round pick. Griffen started two out of seven games with the Lions and had 3.5 sacks for them. So overall in 14 games, Griffen had six sacks which is solid for a secondary or rotational pass rusher.

The biggest theme for the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason was upgrading the trenches after their loss in the Super Bowl. Kansas City primarily focused on adding to their offensive line but has made some upgrades to their defensive line as well. They retained former first-round pick Taco Charlton and made the extremely underrated signing of former Seahawks defensive tackle Jarran Reed. The Chiefs have an elite group of defensive linemen including Frank Clark, Chris Jones, Jarran Reed, and great run defender Derrick Nnadi. According to NFL.com’s Kevin Patra, the Chiefs are planning to use Jones as an edge rusher this season opposite Frank Clark while playing Reed and Nnadi primarily in the middle. Jacob Lang of the St. Joseph News-Press reported that Jones has wanted to play defensive end for the Chiefs, but played in the interior because they had Justin Houston and Dee Ford at the time off the edge. Over the last four seasons, Jones has developed into one of the elite pass-rushing interior defensive linemen in the league. Jones has averaged 9.6 sacks a season since 2017.

So if Jones has been so dominant rushing the passer from the interior, why would the Chiefs try to move him around the line instead of keeping him at his natural position on the interior and finding another player to put opposite Frank Clark. Jones deserves the right to lineup at defensive end in a couple of packages a game, but it may not be the best thing for him to move all over the line.

Very few defensive linemen are able to play on multiple spots across a defensive line. It seems like almost every season a star defensive lineman signs with a large money deal with a new team and that team tries to play him in a different role than he is accustomed to and that player struggles. Jones may be one of the few players who can transition to a different role on the defensive line. But signing a veteran like Everson Griffen could give Kansas City a security blanket at edge rusher in case Jones is unable to transition well to his new role and lines up in the interior for a majority of the season. Griffen showed last year he is still capable of producing at a starting level and could rotate with Taco Charlton off the edge opposite Frank Clark. If he can mimic the production he had last season on this dominant defensive line it could be well enough to not consider this a major need or hole on the roster until they address it the following offseason.

Prediction: Everson Griffen signs with the Kansas City Chiefs for one year $4.5 million

Why Antonio Gibson and J.K. Dobbins will dominate in 2021

J.K. Dobbins will take the next step in Ravens offense

Daniel Racz @Danny___Dimes

Introduction

In fantasy football land, top-performing running backs are coveted. In the National Football League, efficient backs on rookie contracts are valuable. A sophomore running back still has three years remaining on their rookie deal, but often has the chance to produce at league-leading levels. Last year, Miles Sanders and Josh Jacobs were given pre-season hype from their coaches. These comments led the fantasy community to expect them to take the sought-after sophomore breakout. However, David Montgomery was the back that took the jump. Sanders and Jacobs were expected to receive more targets and secure a three-down role, but both did not meet expectations. Montgomery’s jump occurred after Tarik Cohen tore his ACL, causing Monty to receive most of the team’s running back targets.

The 2020 running back class is one of the best in recent memory. Though Clyde Edwards-Helaire was the only first-round running back, five other running backs came off the board between picks 35 and 66. D’Andre Swift, Jonathan Taylor, Cam Akers, J.K. Dobbins, and Antonio Gibson are all primed to be the lead backs on their team. In 2020, Taylor was the Colts’ premier runner once Marlon Mack went down with an Achilles injury during week one. D’Andre Swift is on a Detroit Lions team that can be described as a work-in-progress as best, so it is unlikely he becomes a star this year. Though Akers has the opportunity to dominate for the Rams, his injury-riddled 2020 season did not impress. However, the rest of those sophomores stand a great chance to lead their teams to the playoffs and bring fantasy managers to their championships.

Antonio Gibson

The Washington Football Team won the NFC (L)East with a losing record in 2020. Their defense played as expected, with star defensive lineman Chase Young, Montez Sweat, Jonathan Allen, and Daron Payne leading the unit. Despite lackluster Quarterback play, the weapons on the team excelled. Wide Receiver Terry Mclaurin proved that he was a premier outside playmaker, even if his Quarterbacks could not throw the ball more than 20 yards downfield. 

The Football Team made numerous additions to their offensive during the offseason. During Free Agency, the team signed Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, Wide Receiver Curtis Samuel and Offensive Tackle Charles Leno.The Football Team selected tackle Samuel Cosmi and Wide Receiver Dyami Brown during the 2021 NFL draft. All of this is to say that the new-look Football Team could be far better than we anticipate. 

If Washington’s offense improves, Antonio Gibson will be a key benefactor. Offensive coordinator Scott Turner has already said that he wants to prioritize getting the ball to Antonio in the passing game. Gibson, a former college receiver, was an afterthought in the passing game because JD McKissic, another college wideout, received a majority of the backfield targets. McKissic received a position-leading 110 targets last season with Captain Checkdown, Alex Smith, at Quarterback. McKissic’s slot usage will take a hit because of Curtis Samuel and Dyami Brown’s presence. There is a chance that McKissic is irrelevant altogether if Gibson takes on more receiving work. 

Antonio Gibson played his first year at running back in the highest level of professional football, and he fared pretty well. His natural athleticism, specifically his 4.39 speed at 228 pounds, came through on countless breakaway runs. Gibson will only get more comfortable at the position with more playing time and his first full offseason. If Washington’s offense takes a step forward and decides to unleash Antonio Gibson in the receiving game, the sky’s the limit for him.

Projected Statline: 272 carries, 1,306 yards, 70 targets, 61 receptions, 447 receiving yards, 12 total touchdowns

277.8 .5 PPR Fantasy Points (16.3 Fantasy Points Per Game)

J.K. Dobbins

The best pure football player coming out of the 2020 draft at the running back position was J.K. Dobbins. His blend of track star speed (4.30 Forty time) and impeccable vision make him a premier back in the National Football League. Dobbins rushed for a position-leading 6.0 yards-per-carry last year. The fact that he is not regarded as a top back in the league is baffling, yet understandable at the same time. On the one hand, Dobbins was a hyper-efficient running back on an electric offense with versatility as a receiver. On the other hand, Dobbins only carried the ball 134 times last season and barely eclipsed 800 yards while competing with Gus Edwards for touches. 

The Chiefs should have picked Dobbins over Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the first round of the 2020 draft, but Dobbins fell to the 55th pick in the second round. The Ravens saw how much success Dobbins had running beside Justin Fields, so they paired with their dual-threat quarterback, Lamar Jackson. Any running back benefits from a mobile quarterback, as it makes defenders key in on multiple potential runners every play. However, J.K.’s skillset relies on making defenders miss in short areas. If Dobbins only has one defender to beat to the edge, he can use his video game-like change-of-direction to juke them out and take any run to the end zone. 

Throughout the first few weeks of minicamp and OTAs, the Ravens vocalized their desire to use Dobbins as a wide receiver. Dobbins would undoubtedly improve the Ravens’ passing attack. However, there is a chance that the Ravens are giving the public “Coach Speak” and misleading the public. If the Ravens do only give Dobbins 1-2 targets a game, he will still be a solid contributor. 

However, the upside that Dobbins possesses can transform the Baltimore offense and boost your fantasy team. The chance to get targets in the most run-heavy offense in the league is rare, but the Ravens keep touting Dobbins. His 2020 season was littered with drops, but the Ravens’ confidence in the young man indicates that he will move past the rookie errors. Though Dobbins will not see a Christian McCaffrey, or even Antonio Gibson, type workload, he does not need to. The lead back in the Baltimore committee is undervalued, and you should take advantage before the public catches on.

Projected Statline: 231 carries, 1,331 yards, 48 targets, 38 receptions, 285 receiving yards, 11 touchdowns

246.6 .5 PPR Fantasy Points (14.5 Fantasy Points Per Game)

Post NFL draft Winner and loser from each division

By: Gladys Louise Tyler

In every endeavor, there is a winner and a loser.  The repercussions from the 2021 NFL Draft are no different.  Of course, who won and who lost is all subjective until the playing actually starts.  But some teams did do better than others, and here they are.

AFC EAST

WINNERS: MIAMI DOLPHINS

It remains to be seen whether letting Ryan Fitzpatrick go handing the team completely over to Tua Tagovailoa was the right move.  However, the Dolphins did little wrong elsewhere. 

Drafting Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle should help settle Tagovailoa and the offense.  But having the sixth-ranked scoring defense return in a division that has to deal with quarterback Josh Allen and newly arrived gunslinger Zach Wilson just seems good business.

LOSERS: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

Yes, the Patriots are loaded up from their spending spree in free agency, including returning quarterback Cam Newton. 

Drafting their presumptive franchise quarterback, Mac Jones feels right.  But now the Patriots have two quarterbacks with diametrically opposite skill sets. 

So what do you do? It could work, and of course, you never count the Patriots out, but….

AFC WEST

WINNERS: LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

The Chargers solidified and added depth to their offensive line.  They added Larry Roundtree in the sixth round, who may prove what the Chargers offense needs behind Austin Ekeler to round out what was already a very good offense.

LOSERS: DENVER BRONCOS

If the Broncos passed up their chance to draft a franchise quarterback because they know something we don’t, my apologies.  But under current conditions, it appears to be an omission that will come to bite them in the ass.

AFC NORTH

WINNERS: BALTIMORE RAVENS

In two of the past three drafts, the Ravens have taken a wide receiver.  It has not helped.  The third time is the charm?  Rashod Bateman has the skill set to be WR1 in the Ravens offense (albeit a low bar), but if he can help the Ravens pass/run ratio become more equitable, it is a win.

In a division historically known for its defense, adding edge Odafe Oweh to their top-ranked defense is a bonus.

LOSERS: PITTSBURGH STEELERS

It could all work out; after all, tight end Pat Freiermuth is known for his blocking skill set.  But the offense, which finished last season 32nd in rushing yards per game (84.4) and yards per attempt (3.6) per teamrankings.com, needed to improve the 31st ranked run-blocking offensive line.

Fun fact Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry ran for 676 more rushing yards than the entire Steelers team in 2020.

AFC SOUTH

WINNERS: JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

With the number one pick and nine total picks, the Jaguars got their franchise quarterback and seemingly faster on offense. 

There was really nowhere to go but up.

LOSERS: HOUSTON TEXANS

They could not have won this.  The Texans needed a lot.  Their first pick was not until round three, and they managed only five total picks.  Thanks to Bill O’Brien, the Texans did good with what they were given, but winning wasn’t an option.

NFC WEST

LOSERS: SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

The Seahawks had the 30th ranked defense in passing yards last season.  They lost Shaquill Griffin and Quinton Dunbar in free agency.  And they only had three picks in this year’s draft. 

Their first pick was a wide receiver, D’Wayne Eskridge.

WINNERS: SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

It may be more accurate to say winner Trey Lance.  Going to a team that, but for injuries, is a playoff contender is a win. 

Now Kyle Shanahan has the quarterback of his dreams, and the 49ers are back in playoff contention.

Can we just acknowledge that this might be the most competitive division in the NFL?

NFC EAST

This was the hardest division to project a loser because basically, they all got what they needed.  However, it must be done.

LOSERS: WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM

Depending on Ryan Fitzpatrick this season, okay, I get it.  But not getting a quarterback for the future may prove costly.

WINNERS: NEW YORK GIANTS

It remains to be seen if stockpiling 2022 NFL Draft picks will win the day.  Not getting offensive line help for quarterback Daniel Jones may hurt this season.

NFC SOUTH

LOSERS: NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

The Saints needed a cornerback.  Their first two picks were defensive end and linebacker.  There is also the questionable acquisition of quarterback Ian Book in the fourth round. 

It all seems so muddled. 

WINNERS: ATLANTA FALCONS

Taking arguably the best player on the board seems like a smart choice.  Adding him to an already prolific offense is a no-brainer.  Picking up much-needed help in a secondary that allowed 293.6 passing yards per game, check.

NFC NORTH

LOSERS: GREEN BAY PACKERS

I don’t know if further pissing off your reigning MVP quarterback counts as a loss, but it should.

WINNERS: CHICAGO BEARS Jumping up to #11 to pick up the second-best quarterback in the draft is a w

3 Top Landing Spots for Edge Rusher Yannick Ngakoue

Will the Colts Target Ngakoue?

By: Michael Obermuller

The 2020 season was a wild and turbulent ride for edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue, and not just because of the pandemic. The former 2016 third round pick out of Maryland played out his rookie contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but the relationship deteriorated after the Jags organization tagged Ngakoue at the start of another offseason that was widely viewed as an attempt to tank.

Hoping to test free agency in the first place, the situation became hostile when Ngakoue demanded a trade before the new season began. After a lot of feet dragging by the Jaguars, that trade request was finally granted to the Minnesota Vikings, who later flipped the pass rusher to the Baltimore Ravens before the deadline.

Ngakoue’s strength as an edge rusher is his consistency. Through five NFL seasons, he has never totaled less than 8.0 sacks, with a personal record of 12.0 in 2017. In 2020 he logged five with the Vikes and three with the Ravens, plus four forced fumbles split between the two. That performance yielded a solid 70.0 grade from Pro Football Focus.

The defensive end is more familiar with the 4-3 scheme that Jacksonville and Minnesota both utilize, but he proved that he can still flourish as a 3-4 outside linebacker with Baltimore. This versatility should help Ngakoue on the open market, as he competes with free agents like Jadeveon Clowney, Trey Hendrickson, Shaq Barrett, Melvin Ingram, Bud Dupree and more. In terms of Yannick, the question is really what franchise wouldn’t want a player of his ability, not what franchise would. With that in mind, these three landing spots are my top fits for Ngakoue.

3. New York Jets (Cap: $+72,498,042_ Rank #3)

This one makes so much sense that it probably won’t happen. The New York Jets have needed an edge rusher for what feels like decades, and yet they still have safeties and interior defensive linemen leading their team in sacks season after season. In 2020, defensive tackle Quinnen Williams led the Jets with 7.0 sacks, and next after that was journeyman edge rusher Tarell Basham with just 3.5 on the year. For a 3-4 defense dependent on blitzing, that’s downright terrible.

Now defensive guru Robert Saleh is at the helm, and it’s expected that this unit to switches over to a 4-3 in 2021. New York has very few capable defensive ends on their current roster (and they just cut one of them in Henry Anderson), so they pretty much HAVE TO target a couple edge defenders through either free agency or the draft. The Jets have the money to nab just about any free agent they want, so it will probably come down to which player Saleh and GM Joe Douglas deem worthy of the hefty price tag.

2. Indianapolis Colts (Cap: $+50,572,338_ Rank #4)

The Indianapolis Colts have done a really nice job building their roster over the years, and they always seem to have cap space to spare despite having less needs than the average NFL team. Credit GM Chris Ballard for that success, and now that the Colts have their starting quarterback Carson Wentz, they can focus on fine-tuning other weak areas.

One position that stands out is defensive end. Veteran Justin Houston is a free agent, and that gives Indy $12 million to spend on a younger replacement. Although there are plenty of free agent options at this position, Ngakoue’s speed and ferocity could really gel with Darius Leonard and this aggressive linebacking crew.

Honorable Mention: Seattle Seahawks (Cap: $+24,795,512_ Rank #15)

Even though the Seattle Seahawks should be spending their money elsewhere, like on an offensive line to block for their disgruntled franchise quarterback Russell Wilson, they probably won’t… And let’s be honest, Ngakoue is a perfect fit for this 4-3 defense that has earned its scary reputation. Carlos Dunlap has already been released and Benson Mayowa is an unrestricted free agent, opening the door for an Ngakoue signing.

1. Tennessee Titans (Cap: $7,559,660_ Rank #20)

Mike Vrabel is ALWAYS in the market for pass rush, and they just freed up $10.2 million in cap space by releasing cornerback Malcolm Butler. Last offseason the Titans brought in Vic Beasley and the aforementioned Clowney on the edge, but largely swung and missed on both free agents (their average of 1.4 sacks per game was tied for 28th in the NFL in 2020). Fast forward one year later and the void for a consistent pass rusher is larger than ever.

Tennessee must correct this weakness if they hope to compete for a Super Bowl, and not many free agent edge rushers have been as dependable as Ngakoue. So far the five-year pro has been an ironman throughout his career, playing 78 out of 80 possible games, and starting 70 of them. We already discussed his consistency getting to the quarterback as well, as he averages an impressive 9.1 sacks per campaign.

The Titans matched up against Ngakoue twice a year for four straight seasons. They know what he can do, and it’s time they added his skillset to their arsenal.

3 Potential Landing Spots for Tyrell Williams

Where Could Tyrell Williams Land?

By: Sukhwant Singh

Intro

Tyrell Williams signed a four-year $44 million contract back in 2019 with then Oakland Raiders. He was supposed to be the next man up after the trade of Amari Cooper in 2018 and Jordy Nelson’s retirement in summer of 2019.

However, Williams never lived up to the contract with the Raiders. In 2019 he put up a 42/651/6 line. Not great numbers by any stretch. In September of 2020 he suffered a shoulder injury which effectively ended his season before it even began.

Moving on, Williams was released by the Las Vegas Raiders last month and now is a free agent. Williams can be an intriguing option for teams looking to add additional wide receiver depth. He can certainly fill that WR2-WR3 role well, however his days of be a WR1 might be over.

Let’s look at Williams’ numbers thus far throughout his career:

Total Games Started: 49

Total Receptions: 197

Total Yards: 3181

Total TDs: 23

Total Targets: 322

Not eye-popping numbers by any stretch but Williams is only 29 year old. He will be motivated after having missed the entire 2020 season. Teams might look to sign Williams to a one-year prove it type of a deal.

Below are some teams that can use his services and bolster their WR corps by adding Williams:

Baltimore Ravens – Cap Space: $18m

The Ravens could desperately use the likes of Williams in it’s offense. Willie Snead is a pending free agent, leaving behind the likes of Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin and Devin Duvernay as the current wide-outs rostered on the team.

Williams is bigger body than Snead and can be that go-getter of the ball that Lamar Jackson hasn’t really had in his career thus far. Williams would bolster that WR room and really give the offense a lift.

Indianapolis Colts – Cap Space: $43m

T.Y. Hilton and Zach Pascal are free agents, with the latter being a restricted free agent. I do think the Colts will like to have Hilton back but only at certain price. He is 32 years old and there isn’t much left in the tank. Pascal since he is a restricted FA has a better chance of coming back.

Williams, a younger/cheaper option than Hilton can certain gather attention from the Colts management. He can easily play second fiddle to Michael Pittman Jr and compete with Pascal with the no.2 wide-out slot. With Carson Wentz now re-joining Frank Reich this can be a good spot for Williams to showcase his talents.

In the 2017 season with both Nelson Agholor and Alshon Jeffery put an almost similar stat line with 57 plus catches and over 765 receiving yards each.

I certainly believe that if healthy Williams can match this production, if not exceed it.

Tennessee Titans – Cap Space: $1.6m

The Titans release Adam Humphries in late February and have Corey Davis set to this the FA market. Davis hasn’t really lived up to being the fifth overall pick taken in the 2017 draft. I do not see the Titans bringing him back. Davis finished the 2020 campaign with a 65/984/5 line.

Williams can be the Robin to A.J. Brown’s Batman. With Tannehill behind center and throwing for a career high 33 TDs in 2020, this is a spot that Williams can benefit greatly.

Most teams will have double coverage on Brown leaving Williams with single coverage most games. Williams can really shine in this role and put up good numbers. However, unlike the first two teams listed above the Titans will really need to work the cap to fit Williams in along with filling out the rest of their roster.

Wildcard Team:

Washington Football Team – Cap Space $38m

I list Washington as a wildcard team because right now there is some uncertainty at the QB situation. Alex Smith and WFT are expected to part ways.

The team re-signed Taylor Heinicke to a two-year deal but I’m not sure they are truly sold on him just yet. They have the 19th pick in this year’s draft along with eight total picks thus far. A move to secure another QB might be in the works.

Either way Williams can be a good fit along side Terry McLaurin. With ample cap space, WFT can easily afford Williams especially on a one-year prove it type deal.

Conclusion

Williams will find a home this off-season somewhere. He is a talented WR that for some reason has struggled the last couple of seasons. Be it injuries, offensive system, etc. he just hasn’t been able to repeat his 2016 season. Williams if in the right system and if able to stay healthy can have a good 2021 season.

You can reach me on Twitter: SinghisKing908

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