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  1. 25 points
  2. 24 points
    Part 1: A Team is Born - The Blitz Era (2015-2018) UConn's genesis was a quiet and unassuming one, in stark contradiction to what would become a sordid, repeating history of abuse and abandonment for the beleaguered college franchise. Team founder Blitz tersely announced his presence with an air of mystique that would come to define his site presence, listing his contact information as: “Soluna knows me.” With a hint of foreshadowing, Blitz claimed in his application that his time commitment “varies a lot on work load, but I can at least drop by and do minimum stuff each week.” Digging through Blitz’s site activity reveals little content of interest. In just over two years he only made 184 posts, or approximately one post every four days. The majority of these posts were tending to the duties of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which Blitz founded and proceeded to be the sole owner, coach, and GM of from 2015-2018. Very little is known about Blitz, which is complicated by the fact that your humble narrator was not around during his first and most active year on the site. It is speculated that he may well have been an actual Husky himself. When I solicited comments in the shoutbox about the man of mystery, Klemm responded, “Tried to negotiate a draft trade with him. He didn't reject my talks until two weeks after the draft.” This comment alone is probably the most effective summation of the phenomenon known as Blitz. Blitz presided over Tampa Bay’s most successful seasons, back to back 12-4 years in 2017 and 2018, which included a loss in the wild card round and a division win/loss in the NFC Championship respectively. UConn enjoyed similar success under Blitz, and not just relative to what the team would eventually become. After a tumultuous 2-10 season to begin 2015, the Huskies would rattle off 7-5, 8-4, and 9-3 seasons from 2016-2018. Huskies fans long for the days of yore, as the team not only made it’s only three bowl appearances during this period but also won two of them! Blitz achieved some successes on the recruiting trail, including classes ranked 31 (out of 84) in 2015, 69 (out of 103) in 2016, 43 (out of 105) in 2017, and a swan song of 77 (out of 117) in 2018. Most notably, Blitz brought in WR Gavin Faulk in 2018, UConn’s most highly touted recruit, and possibly their best player ever. So, despite maintaining significant distance from fans, media, and other coaches, Blitz carried the mantle through demonstrable on-field performance. Fans probably thought at the time that UConn’s only trajectory was upward, or at least consistency. Few remembered, however, that Blitz’s workload, and probably more likely his interest, was variable. Almost overnight, the hopes and dreams of the Huskies’ faithful came to a screeching halt. On June 30, 2016, a day that will live in infamy, Blitz abruptly resigned from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the site. Although it was assumed, Blitz never gave the Huskies the courtesy of formally resigning from the University. When reached for comment, current Denver Bronco Gavin Faulk said, “he just up and left without even having the dignity to say goodbye. He promised me we were going to build something special here when I committed. Instead, he placed a hex on that God-forsaken team. It is as if something otherworldly has happened, like Blitz built the new practice facility on a sacred burial ground. Every new coach that is hired here just out of the blue… their brains either turn to mush or they disappear off the face of the earth like they were never really real in the first place. Seriously why isn’t this being investigated?” Blitz left just as mysteriously as he arrived. This kind of burnout is not uncommon in the high stakes CFBHC world. In fact, four seasons at one school is a decent tenure for an average CFBHC head coach. Additionally, schools lose tenured head coaches regularly, and quite often go on to remain stable or only minorly regress. Fans and coaches of the AAC alike were hopeful that a new, committed coach could easily pick up where Blitz left off -- a largely successful and stable team. Those who have been here know that would never be in the realm of possibility. The real story of UConn’s horrific history is what lies beyond the Blitz Era. This concludes Part 1 of the Oral History of UConn series. The remaining parts will cover the eight coaches of UConn from the four seasons spanning 2019-2022.
  3. 23 points
    Jumbo

    Re-Visiting the 2018 NFLHC Draft

    View Re-Visiting the 2017 NFLHC Draft if you haven't yet. You can also check out a site discussion about this draft class here. Format shamelessly stolen from this article because it's a good format - https://www.footballoutsiders.com/nfl-draft/2018/2012-nfl-draft-six-years-later) Outside of Aaron Shea, who most teams thought was really good but surprisingly most teams did not want, and a couple of other elite players - namely Ryan Frey and Darius Jones - there was not an extremely high level of hype for most of this draft class. Once the Colts traded #6 and #27 to the Chargers, who were satisfied with QB Will Thompson as the entrenched starter, the Shea question was solved and so was most of the huge questioning about this draft. The one notable thing about this draft is it's the one where the most notable symptomatic overdrafting of CBs - 3 went in the top 6 - heavily occurred. Mostly because at that point, there was still a huge dearth of serviceable CBs relative to the league's talent at WR, or at least that was the perception. Quarterbacks Conventional Wisdom: Shea gud. He was an 83 OVR, the most recent Heisman winner, and pretty much unquestioned #1 pick caliber, though as I mentioned before most teams had surprisingly low levels of interest in him. 2015 Heisman Trophy winner Todd Jennings was in the mix, but he was only a 78 due to being a 4.5, and it had also been two years since his Heisman win. Besides those two, there were actually 5 other 80+ players, including an 82, but no one was particularly high on any of them. That 82 is one Tommy Jones, who is in the Jamal Brunell tier (more on that later) of "how did this guy get an 82 rating." He would up going past pick 100 to give you an idea of people's thoughts on him. DeSean "Sock" Jenkins earned the nickname sock, because, well, ask @Dean or @Isaac. Arkansas' R.J. Stanford earned himself some hype following a great pro day and combine, and even garnered some first round hype towards the end of the process. Miami's Paul Davenport was considered the best of the scrambling options. Arizona's Taylor Rodriguez had some concerns about his arm strength and low general ceiling, but was a relatively safe bet. A lot of QBs were drafted late, but at this point in the structure of NFLHC most were unlikely to ever receive a shot. Some notables include Purdue's Corey Mendoza, who became a meme during the draft as his college coach inspiral continued to push for him to get drafted. It did eventually work as he was taken as the 5th Mr. Irrelevant. Many of these late rounders are still around - Utah's Byron Harper has stuck around in Jacksonville, San Diego State's Orly Vaccaro is still in San Francisco, Bobby "Kaleidoscope" Kolodziej is still in Tennessee, and all of those players have gotten some playing time in the regular season at points. Overall, with only one clear first round pick at QB, it was a weak QB class, but with some players who had the potential to potentially blossom into starters later on. Highest Pick: Aaron Shea, 1st overall to the Colts. Best Player: You might be shocked by this, but I'm going with Aaron Shea. The man who received the highest contract in NFLHC history, the man who has been one of the best QBs in NFLHC since he got in, the man who has yet to win a playoff game, is easily the best QB from this class. Not surprising, though, considering besides RJ Stanford he was the one who got the most opportunity to play, and also was likely the most talented. Shea is obviously a great player though and has pretty much panned out as promised. Biggest Bust: Sometimes you gotta look at the stats and avoid the offseason hype. R.J. Stanford, while he does have more playoff wins than Shea, is the only QB of the four taken in the first three rounds who is not still a starter. His pro day and combine were good but he couldn't get it together overall. His first two years as the Giants starter were unspectacular at best, although the team did win games due to their other talent. He was traded to Pittsburgh before 2021, lasted a year, was signed to be the Seahawks backup once Jarius Jones went down last season, and seems unlikely to make it onto the team this year. Best Value: It's either Taylor Rodriguez at #57 to the Cowboys (now the Jaguars starter) or Todd Jennings at #74 to the Broncos (still the Broncos starter). I'm not sure how long either of these players will continue to last as starters, but I think it's more likely that TayRod sticks around - he's an 89 vs. Jennings at an 85, and it's unclear how Jennings will recover from his injuries at this point in time. Rodriguez was only forced out of Dallas once they took Graham Burnett in the first round, but he has been relatively effective as a starter overall during his career. Much like his pre-draft profile would indicate, he's nothing special but a solid game manager type. Not too bad for a QB on a team with talent like Jacksonville. Running Backs Conventional Wisdom: Very similarly to the QBs, there was one really good player at the top in Iowa's Ron Thomas. He was a workhorse in college who had an extremely high floor, and let's face it, was an 83. The rest of the class was incredibly weak. Only Wake Forest's Troy McCray was 80+ overall in the crop outside of Thomas, and he was an 80. RBs have been very hard to come by in NFLHC so this of course led to overdrafting... or so you would think. NFLHC was actually relatively rational about this class and only two RBs went in the second, as did two RBs in the third. Kent State's Emmett Spears had his fans due to some solid college stats (although in the fledgling MAC) and blazing speed, and Louisville's Troy White put up some decent stats and combine performance as well. SMU's Lavontae Jackson performed similarly well in college and some thought he could go in Round 3. The late rounds were where most of the RBs were pegged, and this was where most of them went. More RBs went in rounds 6 and 7 (9) than in the rest of the draft combined (8). Some notable late round RBs around draft time included Houston's Adrian Robinson, who everyone was a secret fan of due to his pro day and incredible college stats - although that was partially due to running behind Joel King presumably. Frederick Chacon put up some incredible numbers at Air Force and was also in consideration by many teams. Penn State's Pete Choboian performed at a lower level than Robinson behind Todd Jennings, but still looked like a solid player. This was more of a role player RB draft than a star RB draft. Highest Pick: Ron Thomas, 8th overall to the Bengals. Best Player: It's Ron Thomas, although it's closer than you might think at first. Thomas came out swinging with a 1,995 rushing yard season as a rookie, still second all-time behind only Vaughan Abraham's 2,055 in 2017. He also set an NFLHC record that still stands with 236 rushing yards in a game in Week 7 of his rookie year. Still, he's only an 87 after all this time, which is not ideal for a guy drafted at 83, and the Bengals recently traded him to the Bills for a paltry two 5th round picks after transition tagging him. Still though, that overall beginning to his career and the inherent talent he still has gives him the edge over anyone else. 500 rushing yards last year, an injury, and concerns that he's over the hill might be valid though - we'll see how he does in a new situation. Biggest Bust: In such a bad class, there's not really a huge bust since no one was taken particularly high outside of Thomas. Between the three players taken from #50-#67, Troy McCray, Emmett Spears, and Ben Offerdahl, none have particularly worked out and none are in starting positions at this point. McCray had a good rookie season followed by marked decline and has now been supplanted by Solomon McLaughlin. Spears looked good until he tore his ACL and has begun bouncing around the league following the Raiders moving him after replacing him with Major Morris. Offerdahl has carved out a nice career with the Chiefs as a punt returner but has never made an impact at his original RB position. He might be the best player technically at this point, but I have to imagine the Chiefs didn't want Offerdahl to be only a punt returner when drafting him #67 overall, and the other two players have made good impacts at RB early in their careers at least. Best Value: Adrian Robinson (#153 to Dallas), Bradley Cooley (#166 to the Falcons), and Marvin Washington (#183 to the Jets) are the three main contenders here. Cooley has come on in the last couple of seasons as a great change of pace option/backup to Akili Wallace and Washington has been one of the league's best third down backs and kick returners. Ultimately, though, Robinson is now the unquestioned starter in Dallas and provided some really nice years behind Vaughan Abraham before he was let go. I have some concerns about his play last year - 8 TD to 7 fumbles and a mediocre YPC on a team that's started passing more - but he's provided the most value to his team thus far for sure. Wide Receivers Conventional Wisdom: This was not a good draft if you wanted to draft a skill position player. Virginia Tech's Jarius Shaw-Dodd was very highly regarded especially after his 4.19 40-yard dash and his 2017 season where he led the country in receiving yards, but the depth at receiver was overall... not great. Georgia Tech's Tommy Pottios generated some hype but had production concerns. Jamal Brunell, MVP of the 2016 National Championship Game, was very lackluster overall - he never posted a 1000 yard season despite his QB passing a decent amount, playing at WR1, and being a 5/5. His 82 rating was extremely confusing to just about everyone, but that probably increased his stock a round or two over what it would have been. There was a decent glut of perceived mid-round talent. Notables included Houston's Samuel Jolley, one of @SageBow's "unicorns" - a 6'4+ speed receiver; Louisville's Quintavious Pearson, who was steady and consistent throughout college; Arkansas' Cameron Whelahan and Florida's Butch Harper, who both finished top 5 in the country in receiving yards in 2017; and Florida State's Rex Walsh, who won the Belitnekoff and was an All-American catching passes from Thomas Wheeler... in 2014 as a sophomore. He was redshirted in 2016, though, which may or may not have messed with his development - it was unclear, although he did have a good senior season with 1,112 yards. Some late round notables included Boston College's Tom Branch, their #1 receiver during the years where they had a glut of 4.0+ receivers available, USF's Christopher Harris, who put up nearly 100 receptions as a senior, and Texas A&M's Alex Gash, who had been a consistent #2 next to up-and-comer Adrian Jankowski catching passes from Matty Swift, and finished with nearly 100 receptions and over 1000 yards as a senior. Highest Pick: Jarius Shaw-Dodd, 10th overall to the 49ers. Best Player: This is actually a really tough one to choose. By overall, it's clearly Shaw-Dodd, but he has been a disappointment production-wise - arguably due to a lack of great scheme fit in San Francisco. We'll see how he does in Buffalo this year (a running theme!) Within this class, Samuel Jolley led all receivers in yards in 2022, Quintavious Pearson did in 2021, Shaw-Dodd did in 2020, Derrick Schwartz did in 2019, and Tommy Pottios did in 2018. So clearly, there's not a major winner. It ultimately comes down to Shaw-Dodd and Schwartz most likely based on who has sustained the most success over time. I think I'd go with Shaw-Dodd with the tiebreaker being his better overall, but consistency and injury problems are definitely a concern - he hasn't quite been worth that top 10 pick so far. Biggest Bust: Outside of Bo Woodall to an extent and Samuel Jolley, most of the second receivers have not particularly worked out. That said, the biggest bust has to be Tommy Pottios, taken #31 by Seattle as a boost to a passing game that had struggled somewhat in their first couple of years. He exploded as a rookie with 1,221 yards on 84 receptions with 7 TD (notably, 1,221 yards is still the highest total any player from this class has had in any single season). Since then, he has majorly struggled. He had just 43 receptions for 527 yards and 0(!) TD as a sophomore. After that, he's been on a new team every year. He was traded to Miami where he struggled catching passes from Brian Brown, although he had an alright season in 2020, his second best by far with 436 yards and 5 TD to just 2 drops; he was then traded to the Chargers where he struggled heavily. He led NFLHC with 10 drops in 2021 even though he had just 54 receptions. In 2022, he signed with the Patriots where he was low on the totem pole, and had just 21 receptions for 243 yards with 2 drops. His combined last 3 seasons, he's had just 100 more yards and two fewer TDs than he had in his rookie season alone. He was signed by Cincinnati last season and doesn't even appear on their current depth chart. Quite the drop-off. Best Value: 4th round pick Derrick Schwartz from Kentucky is the clear winner here. He's gone +11 since coming into the league and is now an 87, and had some great seasons catching passes from Darrell Murphy in St. Louis and LA as Walt Peck started to decline - including that great 2019 season. Now in Denver, we'll see how he can do catching passes from an inferior QB taking the reigns as the unquestioned #1 receiver - maybe he'll help mentor top 10 pick Gavin Faulk. Tight Ends Conventional Wisdom: Although there was no real top-end clear cut first rounder, this was a nice tight end class relative to any we'd seen thus far. North Carolina's D.J. Gibson had played well as a Danny Patrick successor, Baylor's Darren Jones had an impressive 18.04 YPC as a senior, and Notre Dame's Donnie Allen had 8 TD and 543 yards as a primary target in half of the Fighting Irish's games. There was some nice mid-round talent as well. Ohio State's Eugene Jackson was an impressive early declaration who had 700+ yards and 8 TD as a redshirt junior. Virginia Tech's Stanley Sherk was not a good receiver by any standard but was highly regarded as a blocker. Ball State's Damani Spillman didn't look great in the MAC, with just 10 YPC as a senior, but his QB wasn't great and a 78 4.5 will always receive at least some level of attention. Hawaii's Matt Thomas led all tight ends in receiving in 2017 with 14.58 YPC for 860 yards, and led everyone with 15 TD on his way to winning the John Mackey Award. Highest Pick: Eugene Jackson, 51st overall to the Vikings. Best Player: This is a very tough one. All of the second round TEs - D.J. Gibson, Darren Jones, Donnie Allen, and Eugene Jackson - have all developed quite nicely; they're 91, 92, 91. and 89 overall respectively, all of which lands them in the top ten of the league's overall landscape at the position. Gibson has by far the best QB situation in Miami and thus has been the most consistent statistically. Darren Jones played really well in Denver until the QB position died in 2022; we'll see how he does in his new home in Tampa. Allen has been a consistent safety blanket for his QBs in Chicago, and Jackson plays much the same role in Minnesota. I think I would lean Gibson as I'm surest that he'll continue to be a good player, but Jones is potentially the most talented; we'll see if he can recover as potentially the #1 target for Taylor Heiden in 2023. Biggest Bust: Those top four TEs are all good, and no TEs were taken until the fourth round after them, so I don't think there's any huge busts. That said, among those who went in the 4th round, the clear loser is Oscar Fisk, taken #101 by Atlanta. He started two years in Atlanta with two more as a backup behind a 75 rookie who immediately upstaged him, and his career statline there was: 27 receptions for 310 yards, 4 TD, and 1 drop. He only had one season over 100 yards even though he started for two. A clear disappointment, and he actually put up 30 receptions for 394 yards and 3 TD (albeit with 4 drops) as Miami's backup/temporary starter in 2022. Best Value: The Mackey Award winner actually panned out. Taken by the Raiders in the 4th, he quietly learned from an elite TE in Brian Gary for a couple of seasons, growing heavily in overall during that time - to an 83 from a 76 after 3 seasons. He was traded for what eventually became a 3rd rounder to... Buffalo, of course, where he put up 738 yards and 4 TD in his first season as full-time starter in 2021 catching it from Kamau Davis. He had a very disappointing 2022 with a 23/261/0 statline, although we'll chalk that up to rookie Matt Jones. He still improved and perhaps a year of improved chemistry and much better weapons will help him be a much better player. Offensive Line Conventional Wisdom: This was a very good offensive line class. At OT, Texas' Brandon Reamon was one of the best OT prospects we'd ever seen, and Miami's Darnerien Sohn also looked very good post-combine. There was some nice depth later in the first round as well with Tennessee's Fred Huber, Auburn's Ricky Edwards, and USC's Jack Allen, all of whom were 81 overall. There were an additional 12 players from 75-79 overall, along with Florida's Emerson Ware at an 80, so it was a very nice class to grab an offensive tackle if you needed one. It was also a nice guard class, especially compared to previous ones. Virginia Tech's Jason Osorio clocked in at an 82, and there were four more 81s around along with North Carolina's Clayton Williams at an 80. 6 80+ OGs was by far the most seen in any class thus far. There was of course a drop-off with the next 6 guards being 75, 73, 72, 71, 70, 70, overall - so as you might imagine a rush for the top of the class OGs emerged with 4 going in the first round and one going #33. At center, Matt Cole was the best prospect since perhaps Enoch Dickinson. Past that, a whole bunch of meh, with a 79 and 77 being the next two highest rated players. The hubbub around Cole was around whether he would go top ten, pretty much unheard of for a center to this point. Highest Pick: Brandon Reamon, 7th to the Titans. Best Player: In my mind there are only two real competitors. Washington's Matt Cole (#11 pick overall), a 2021 first team All-Pro and 2022 second team All-Pro, a Pro Bowler each of the last two years, and now a 97 overall, or the Jets' Darnerien Sohn (#22 pick overall), a 2021 second team All-Pro, a Pro Bowler each of the last two years, and now a 96 overall. I'm tempted to be a homer and pick Sohn and OT does have arguably more positional importance, but Cole is probably overall better at his position. Honorable mention to Arizona G Doug Aska, now a 94, although he has yet to even make a Pro Bowl. Biggest Bust: 9 offensive linemen went in the first round, and the majority are probably busts. Of those busts, based on our limited information on poor individual offensive line play, I would go with the Bears' Fred Huber. Taken to protect Norris Brooksheer, it was pretty clear immediately that he wasn't working out. After 3 years he got traded to Buffalo, where he started after Mike Woods got put on injured reserve. He's likely to be a backup, and as far as I can tell he'll be the only OL taken in 2018's first round to be a backup at this point. Oh yeah, he's only gone from an 81 to an 83 in 5 years. "Honorable" mentions to the Giants' Brian Olszewski (81 -> 85), the Raiders' Jack Allen (81 -> 84, has been moved twice), and the Dolphins' Todd Hevesy (81 -> 83, including -2 this offseason). Best Value: Bare in mind this is the hardest one for me to check as I have to rely wholly on overalls and I might miss someone so please let me know if I've missed your elite 6th round OL progression. Among those who I managed to find, I think the best value would be Georgia C Jack Podolak, 6th center off the board to New England. He's gone from 76 to 83 and is now the starter in Seattle, where he went +2 last season. For the 112th pick in the draft, that's not bad at all. Defensive Line Conventional Wisdom: The clear top player on the DL was Miami's Ryan Frey, who as a redshirt junior early dec posted an astonishing.... 4.5 sacks? Well, despite that, he was still voted an All-American for a second consecutive season and came in as an 83 rookie, so any doubts about that number were probably extinguished quickly by NFLHC front offices. Hawaii's Charles Johnson had 11 sacks as a junior and came in as an 81, but was also generally considered a first rounder. There were two more first round prospects - Florida's Doug Carolan (7 sacks as a senior) and Georgia's Benjamin Blankenship (4 sacks as a senior). But after that, a huge drop-off. And it was shown as the next DE to go after the four first rounders in the top 21 picks went 72nd overall - Boston College's Joey Green. DE was another shallow position at this point so all of the 76+ players went in the 3rd round, and a 75 who had 1.5 sacks as a senior still went in the 4th round. Enough said. None of those prospects looked particularly promising either. Among DTs, Penn State's Anthony Beltran was the most highly touted. He only eclipsed 3+ sacks once in his college career, but that was in an 8 sack junior campaign - he was mostly known for being stout against the run. Dawson had just 1 sack as a senior but had a great combine that kept him in first round contention. Both were 81 overall, but Beltran was the clear favorite to go higher. There was some mid-round depth but nothing special outside of those two. Maryland's David Lane led all senior DTs in sacks with just 4.5 - the top 6 were all juniors. There were no major notable players who separated themselves in the pre-draft process either; at DT, it was essentially a crapshoot. Highest Pick: Ryan Frey, 2nd overall to the Eagles. Best Player: It is very clearly Frey, and quite frankly it's not even close. He's posted 16, 14, and 13.5 sack seasons, all enough to be in the top 10 of all-time single season sack totals in NFLHC - with 16 this past season, he was just 0.5 sack behind the all-time record. He's been an All-Pro in 3 of his 5 NFLHC seasons (2019, 2021, 2022). I don't think there's much of an argument for any other player here. Frey is potentially a Hall of Famer if he retired right now. Biggest Bust: I don't think any of the 3rd rounders can be classified as huge busts, so we'll look among the first rounders. Frey is obviously not it. Carolan has himself blossomed into one of NFLHC's best and Blankenship has become much more consistent of late. Charles Johnson has declined lately with Denver and got traded to Tampa but had 41.5 sacks in his first 5 seasons. We'll go with the man with the giant black hole contract himself, Malik Dawson. While he has made a Pro Bowl, unlike Johnson, he has been a black hole for essentially every other season of his career and is making an incomprehensibly large amount of money based purely on overall. You've heard it all before so I won't talk your ear off about it, but he bad. Best Value: I don't think any of the mid-rounders qualify for best value, honestly. None of them are all that good. Bud Howard was a 3rd rounder who hit 84 last year, but went -2 and is now upset, and 3rd rounder Adam Williams went from Oakland to Seattle where he had 5 sacks in the rotation as an 80 and went +1. No one too impressive on the whole though. With that in mind, I'll give it to Doug Carolan, now a 94 overall and taken just #20 overall. An 82 DE going that low seems hard to take in a draft class that wasn't super strong at the top. He struggled a bit to start but is now a solidly Pro Bowl caliber player, which is pretty much all you can ask for from a first rounder at that stage. Linebackers Conventional Wisdom: This was a very weak inside linebacker class. Early declaration Kelly Mitchell was an 82 overall, but he fell to 41. This was mostly due to a perceived bad pre-draft, although his combine was alright. I don't have full memory of the situation but I have it on good word that @SlinkyJr hated him and caused him to fall significantly. The next two were 80+, both were 80s, and no one really liked California's Michael Patten. LSU's Peyton Roaches had some mixed opinions but was generally considered second best in this class due to a high number of tackles as a senior - he was arguably overdrafted due to need more than anything. There was some decent mid-round depth mixed in such as Washington's Rufus Horn and Notre Dame's Marcus Grant who put up a lot of tackles as senior. The outside linebacker class was much better and probably is still the best outside linebacker class NFLHC has seen. 5 were taken in the first round and of those, 3 have been Pro Bowlers. The top 3 by overall were three 82s - Minnesota's Patrick Murphy, Penn State's Paul Goodman, and early declaration from Notre Dame Austin Olson. Maryland's Brian "ManBearPig" Hernandez was considered the top OLB in the class by probably a plurality despite being an 80 due to an insane college career, and Oklahoma State's Louis Peterson had a crazy senior season where he led CFBHC in tackles, so he was in first round consideration despite being just a 79. The depth was just alright at best with players such as Kentucky's Asante Willis entering as 4.5/4.5s coming off of good college careers. Highest Pick: Paul Goodman, 9th overall to the Vikings. Best Player: By overall, Austin Olson is the highest rated player at 91. None have ever been an All-Pro. Paul Goodman is a 3 time Pro Bowler, Olson is a 1 time Pro Bowler, and Patrick Murphy made it each of his first two years. Based on that alone I'll award it to Goodman, although I suspect he may be on the decline, going -1 to 87 this past season. If I had to project going forward I'd pick Kelly Mitchell or maybe Olson to finish with the best career. Biggest Bust: There is an incredibly clear winner and it's not even close. Peyton Roaches, #28 to the Packers, was the first ILB off the board, 13 picks ahead of a really good player in Kelly Mitchell, and also right ahead of Louis Peterson who is a really solid player at minimum. He started as an 80. In 2023, he is now an 81. He's a starter at will for the Ravens, but this is probably his very last chance. The Ravens defense is stacked so he probably won't be making too many statsheets, but he could easily be blamed for any problems that arise. We'll see, but considering he was acquired for a 7th one offseason ago and went -1 this past offseason I doubt the Ravens are expecting too much of him. Best Value: 6th rounder Timothy Smith for the Raiders and 7th rounder Matt Okoye for the Jets have both made Pro Bowl and All-Pro respectively as special teamers, so shoutouts to them. I think the ultimate best value, though, is 3rd rounder Jeff Cox from the Rams. He's now an 87 overall and has put up some solid seasons starting off the edge for LA, including 38 tackles, 4 sacks, and 3 FF this past season. He's happy and is looking to continue a good career. He's gone from 78 -> 87. Honorable mention to 7th round pick Reece Westbrook from the Broncos, recently traded to the Lions, who went from a 74 to an 83, as he made an impact when called upon at will. Defensive Backs Conventional Wisdom: The top 3 corners - USC's Will Hall (83), Kentucky's Teddy Walker (82), and Texas' Ivory Hull (81) were all expected to go top 10 due to the ongoing corner craziness. Boise State's Jayshawn Watts (80) and Penn State's T.J. Hunter (80) had the potential to go in the first round due to the fact that they were 80 overall corners, no other strings attached. Things were that bad. Michigan State's Aaron Samuelsson was a favorite of many, especially since Michigan State had (and continues to have) such a good reputation for secondary play, and he went in the 3rd despite being just a 74 overall. Other notables include Air Force's Stephen Mitchell-Morrison, Louisville's Jaylen Harris, and Boise State's DJ Reed. Reed is most notable since despite being a 75 he was the second highest rated man corner besides Walker. Walker actually wound up going ahead of Hall primarily due to his man designation. At safety, Darius Jones was widely considered the best safety prospect to enter the draft, and still probably is today. The rest of the class wasn't considered super strong, but Air Force's Oronde Jackson was a consistent presence and Houston's Reshad Jenkins had a very nice combine including a 4.27 40. Strong safety was also stronger than normal with early declaration Kevin Nguyen from Marshall, along with 82 overall Frederick Fain from Auburn and 79 overall 4.5 Julio Barnes from Utah. This is still probably one of the strongest overall safety classes in NFLHC history, and potentially the strongest. Highest Pick: Teddy Walker, 3rd overall to the Chiefs. Best Player: Interestingly, two of the best three secondary players are up there despite both being second rounders. This is with 8 other defensive backs going in the first round. Reshad Jenkins, taken by the Jets at #40 overall, has developed incredibly, going +4 in every single season, and is now a 98 (I guess that streak can't continue at this point). He was a Pro Bowler in 2020 and 2022, and is also the highest rated player in this entire class not named Aaron Shea. Tennessee's Jack Ramsey went #47 overall and is now a 93 after starting as a 78. He's also been a second team All-Pro 2 years running. And of course, Darius Jones has gone from an 83 to a 94 with two First Team All-Pros in 2020 and 2022. As much as I would love to give it to Jenkins, I think Darius Jones is the winner based on accolades and stats thus far into these players' careers. Honorable mention to Julio Barnes who has gone from 79 to 93 as well. Biggest Bust: Based on their draft positions, all three corners could potentially be called busts. Teddy Walker is the only one who's made a Pro Bowl, and none have ever done much of note. Hall is now an 89, Hull is a 90, and Walker is an 87. None are huge busts but I'd say the teams that took them aren't perfectly happy with their performances. With that said, I think the honor would go to either T.J. Hunter or Kevin Nguyen, coincidentally both now on the Bucs. Hunter is an 80, from a starting point of 80. He's been passed around the league like an [insert impolite analogy here] going from Houston to Denver to the Giants over the course of just one season in a series of trades. His coverage abilities have been poor at best and he's obviously failed to progress as a player. Nguyen still starts for the Bucs as an 82... but he already seems on the verge of retirement. Nguyen has 8 career interceptions and Hunter has 9, but considering positional value I think this leans to Hunter. Honorable mention to Jayshawn Watts, taken #19 overall and now just an 84. Best Value: Besides Jenkins, Ramsey, and Barnes, I don't think there's much debate for any of the mid-rounders to have made anywhere to as close of an impact even relatively based on their pick range. So pick your favorite between those three, whoever that might be. Special Teams Conventional Wisdom: Sam Sarahi from Hawaii was an 83 and one of the best kicker prospects ever. Surprisingly, he didn't land up in the 3rd round like most best kicker prospects ever or 83 special teamers - he went in the 4th instead. Rafael Davidson from Nebraska was a safe option, and the rest were mostly question marks. There were only 3 more kickers above 70 overall - Marshall's Dana Currier (78), Air Force's Carlos Cruz (77), and Purdue's Mark Kirschbaum (75). With the state of NFLHC at the time, all were potential draftees. Auburn's Yuri Garisov (81) was the highest rated punter and the best of the batch. There were 4 other 80 overalls and a couple 78s, but they were mostly interchangeable based on combine results and college stats. Highest Pick: Sam Sarahi, 108th overall to the Broncos. Best Player: Surprisingly, the highest rated player from this special teams class is now Kirschbaum, who went undrafted. He struggled somewhat last year to a 70 FG percentage, but the rest of this class including Sarahi also struggled. Sarahi is now a Giant after being traded for a 4th and 6th. None of the punters, as far as I can tell, are in the league's elite. So Kirschbaum it is. Biggest Bust: Sarahi is probably the biggest disappointment. Coming in as an 83, he still has a booming leg but has struggled with accuracy issues and is now only a 90 overall, and he's now also been traded. Not a huge bust but disappointment relative to his draft position, which is definitely not something you want to hear about a special teamer. Best Value: Considering Kirschbaum went undrafted and is also the best player, it's him. Best and Worst Performing Teams This draft wound up much better than the 2017 draft. Feel free to leave a comment below accusing me of being a giant homer but I think the Jets had the best draft class in 2018. The team nabbed the second highest overall player in the second round with Reshad Jenkins, grabbed a 96 Pro Bowl level tackle with Darnerien Sohn in the first at #22, another starting caliber safety with Sebastian Vaughn in the third round, an elite 3rd down back/solid kick returner in the 6th with Marvin Washington, and a once All-Pro special teamer/decent OLB player with Matt Okoye in the 7th. Honorable mentions for this spot go to the Titans with Brandon Reamon and Jack Ramsey, the Colts with Aaron Shea, Kelly Mitchell, and Aaron Samuelsson, and most notably the Eagles with Ryan Frey, Jack Green, and Troy White (all of whom have been Pro Bowlers) along with a decent contributor in Cameron Whelahan. Relative to their draft position, I think the Giants have to be most disappointed in their 2018 draft. CB Will Hall went #5 overall, and while he isn't bad and you can't be wholly disappointed with a 90, I think his impact is relatively low compared to what you'd want from a top 5 pick. G Brian Olszewki was the second pick at #18 overall. I'm not 100% sure I've ever heard that name before today. He's gone from an 81 to just an 85 and considering the Giants let him go with their highest rated other players at the position being 80, that says a lot. RJ Stanford was mostly a disappointment in the 2nd, and outside of Stephen Mitchell-Morrison and Freddy Suarez none of their 12 picks are making much impact in NFLHC.
  4. 23 points
    In a surprise event, Coach Ahven has rushed a presser following the Rams Spring Game! Rams AD: "We are excited to welcome you all for this "pressing" press conference...*ahem* Coach Ahven has already informed me what this is about, and I have to say that we here at Colorado State are excited for the big news. So, without further adieu, I welcome out to the podium, Coach D'Gale!" Ahven: "Yes, thank you, generic man who signs my checks. I want to also thank all of you for coming here to take in this big story. I know it's not what you are expecting. Surely you think this will be about the game we just witnessed. Well, to be honest, it isn't. Even slightly. If you came here for a spring game recap, then come back in a couple days. No, this is so much more exciting! The Rams are expanding! It is my greatest pleasure to invite my new fiancee out to the stage! Becka, would you please come join us?" Becka: "Thanks, DerekAhven! I have to say that I am so excited to be welcomed into the Rams family! It already feels like home!" Ahven: "I'm just glad you said yes!"
  5. 17 points
    I want points for packs and this is something I've been thinking about doing for a while. I wanted to go back further but the addition of the pro days changes so much that it made it to difficult to properly rank all the prospects. To clarify, this is just the prospect version of each of the players, so how they were viewed going into the draft. Anything they've done in the pros is not taken into consideration. I took a look at the players ratings, stats, pro days, combines, and their draft pick and attempted to rank them. If you guys are interested in other positions feel free to give me suggestions. Also I wasn't around for the first few pro day seasons so feel free to disagree with me on anything, I'd be glad to give my reasoning more in depth then I go in the article. Honorable Mentions DE Parker Holmes 6-3 247 R Tennessee [Contain] [0] 81, DE Carlos Washington 6-0 261 R Michigan [Blitz] 80, DE Shah Vereen 6-1 259 R South Carolina [Blitz] 81 First we'll quickly hit on the three honorable mentions before we get into the top 10. The first one is Parker Holmes, who was drafted tenth, in what some thought at the time was a slight overdraft talent wise, but he had positional value and there were no other intriguing options after him. Holmes was taken 10th in 2022 by the 49ers, already the fourth DE taken in that draft. Since he was JUCO, he only got to play one season for Tennessee, but he absolutely lit up the stat sheet in that season. 45 tackles, 11 TFL, and 15.5 sacks is one of the best seasons anyone on this list had in general. Of course he came with some worries as well. Despite putting up an impressive pro day, he bombed the combine badly, and of course the one season wonder label was still there. His great senior season and pro day manage to make him an honorable mention, but his average rating (compared to the others on this list), as well as his poor combine and lack of longevity keep him from the top ten. Next we have a player who has arguably become the best in the league in his short time there in Carlos Washington. He's the only player rated 80 or lower to be mentioned here, and he also owns the latest selection, 18th, out of everyone here. He, like Holmes, was JUCO and only got one season in college before deciding to declare early. That one season was also electric, as he had 40 tackles and 11 sacks despite not playing up to his full 5.0 potential yet. What keeps him as an honorable mention is his pro day, which was one of the best of even the top players, and showed his immense potential. His combine wasn't anything spectacular either, but the pro day was enough to prove his worth. Last is another player who's made the most of his chance in Shah Vereen. Drafted 14th by the Raiders, he was the third DE selected in 2020. As he was also a JUCO prospect, he only got one season to prove himself in the FBS. He had a solid season with 27 tackles and 9 sacks. His combine and pro days were both good, as he showed really good athleticism along with his plus potential. Overall he was a very solid prospect, but he never showed anything incredible that would get him into the top 10. He was taken one pick ahead of Eric Jennings, who just missed this list along with the likes of Javier Grady and Robert Fulton. #10 - DE Jeffrey Chung 6-4 272 R Alabama [blitz] 82 - To start off the top ten we have the 11th pick of the 2019 draft, and the first of three Alabama prospects to make this list, Jeffrey Chung. Chung was the second defensive end to be taken in this draft and was selected by the San Diego Chargers, although he would later be traded to the Kansas City Chiefs a few seasons later. Although he has almost certainly not lived up to his hype as a prospect, there was good reason for teams to think that Chung was worth a top end of the first round draft pick. In the pre-draft process Chung didn't set the world on fire by any means, but he was also far from ruining his chances in the draft. He graded out well at the pro days, giving himself a firm grasp as the DE2 of the class, despite not showing the best technique. At the combine he ran a solid 4.69 40 and also put up 31 reps on the bench press, proving he had a good combination of size and speed, even if neither were in the top echelon. Looking back, his 82 rating helped him out a decent amount. While it doesn't offer the near guarantee of a quality player that you get when you have an 83+ rated player coming into the draft, it does offer a sense of security for many teams. You know that chances are this player has a pretty high floor before you even get into looking at the player in depth. Chung's career with Alabama was similar to his pre-draft process. While he did play a big role on a national championship winning team his senior year, he never set the world on fire but was consistently showing up on the stat sheet and you knew he was very reliable each game. Statistically his senior season was his best, when he put up 29 tackles and 10.5 sacks. Compared to many other players on this list, those numbers are somewhat average. He did put up similar numbers his junior season, with 21 tackles and 9.5 sacks, and then in his first year as a starter he put up a slightly more pedestrian 11 tackles and 5 sacks. Chung's performance on the field is going to prove to be slightly worse than many of his adversaries here, but he does have consistency on his side as he proved he could compete at a high level for multiple seasons. Overall, Chung is a good not great prospect, who never did anything that would make a team in lets say the top five consider him, but he was good enough to warrant a selection a few picks later for a team in need. He was consistent across the board in pretty much everything, he put up good numbers every year he played, had a good pro day, and a good enough combine. Tenth seems like a good spot for him here, as he doesn't quite break into the top level of players but he does distance himself from the players who had clear weaknesses coming into the draft. #9 - DE Josiah Harden 6-3 249 R North Carolina [Blitz] 82 - Next we have the first player in this list to be the top defensive end off the board in his draft, Josiah Harden out of North Carolina. Harden was selected seventh in the 2021 draft and was taken by the Arizona Cardinals, the first of two Cardinals to make this list. Harden had the distinct advantage of being in what is pretty clearly the weakest DE class, as each of his peers had clear issues, while Harden was a more well rounded prospect. The previously mentioned Carlos Washington was extremely raw and only had one year of production under his belt, and both Deyonte Davis and Javier Grady had their level of competition questioned in addition to their talent level. To put it simply, Josiah Harden was by far the safest bet and had proven more than anyone else in the draft class. So why is he so low on this list? Well, not unlike Jeffrey Chung, Harden never jumped off the screen or showed the kind of potential you want to see out of a top ten pick. The pre-draft process had its ups and downs for Josiah. His pro day, while not terrible, left much to be desired. His technical ability, despite being considered great by many, and just ability to improve in general was questioned at his pro day. He did show the floor that was mentioned earlier, his 82 rating spoke for that. On the flip side, his combine did have its moments. He ran a good 7 second 3 cone time, put up 30 reps on the bench press, and managed a 30.5 inch vertical. His 40 time was slower than you'd hope for, but overall it was a good performance that once again cemented himself as the top DE in the class. The main advantage that Josiah Harden has to hang his hat on is his statistics he put up in college. The ACC hasn't always been the absolute highest of competition, but it is power five college football for a reason, and Harden put up good numbers for four straight years. From his freshman year to his senior year he was good for at least 20 tackles and 6.5 sacks a year, which peaked as 30 tackles in his freshman year and 11 sacks in his sophomore year. There is some concern about how he was not able to take his game to the next level when he became an upperclassmen, and this just reinforces the idea that you kind of know what you're getting with Josiah Harden. He'll show up every week, probably be an above average defensive end for a long time, but the chances of him putting in an all pro caliber season in any given year seem slim. There are a lot of similarities between Josiah Harden and Jeffrey Chung, and the stats are one of them for sure. With Harden, we have another player who cannot break into the cream of the crop, but is certainly a step above the majority of good DE prospects. What puts him above Chung? Well, not much. Their combines and pro days were very similar, and you could make a great argument for Chung just looking at those events. That said, Harden's stats, while not leaps and bounds above Chung, were better year in year out. He had higher peaks and lower floors every season, and he was a top quality player for four seasons, while Chung was for two, with a decent third season. Harden was also the first DE taken in his draft while Chung was the second and taken four picks later, which doesn't tell the full story but does tell some. #8 - DE Samir Sample 6-2 267 R Texas Tech [Blitz] [+1] 82 - At number eight on the list we have the only Big 12 candidate to make the ranking in Samir Sample out of Texas Tech. He was taken in the most recent draft, 2023, selected eighth by the Cardinals to be paired opposite the aforementioned Josiah Harden. As another JUCO prospect, he only had one year to prove himself in division 1 football, so he had to rely more on the pre-draft process than most of the other players that made the top ten. Since he finds himself at number eight, it means that he did very well for himself in this process. His pro day was very good. He put up numbers 8.6 or higher in each of his pro day grades, and rated out as a very high draft pick who could play in a 4-3 or a 3-4. The pro day pretty much cemented himself as DE2 and a top ten pick, and it made some question whether or not he could be the best DE in the draft. As we now know, he wasn't taken before Deontre Graham as expected, but it became a closer debate than most originally anticipated. His combine, while not as impressive as his pro day, was also very good. A 4.66 40 and a 34.5 inch vertical proved his elite athleticism beyond any doubt and showed what many saw on film. He did not have the strength that many might desire in their defensive end, only putting up 25 reps on the bench press, bringing his pre-draft hype down a bit, but despite this it was safe to say that he more than made up for only having one year at Texas Tech. While Sample did only have one year in college, it was quite the year to have. He put up 43 tackles, 9 sacks, and an insane 18 TFL. the nine sacks may be slightly concerning, especially for a blitz DE in his only season, by 18 TFL is a different level and quiets all those doubts. If you had any questions about his ability to get into the backfield, that ended them, and also proved that he's great and stopping the run. Of course, just like Parker Holmes, Carlos Washington, and a number of other players, just one season will always bring concerns for a one year wonder. We've seen players have big years and then slow down in the future, and these JUCO players really can't prove that they're different until they get to the pros. Sample put up eye popping numbers in his one year and college, which reduces the concern behind taking him so high, but it will still be there until he starts playing in the league. Samir Sample finds himself in kind of an interesting spot amongst the top defensive end prospects. His pro day was great and he had a solid combine to go along with it, but it wasn't quite enough to make up for the worries of only having one college season in the books. His pro day and amazing numbers in that one season show his great potential, but you have to have some questions about how low is floor actually is, there is certainly some risk of a bust with him, even if he also has pro bowl potential. For me, this puts him above Josiah Harden and Jeffrey Chung pretty clearly, those players never put up the numbers he did in his one year and didn't give many signs of putting up crazy high numbers in the future. However, even for all the good stats he put up, it's not enough to ignore some of his other concerns. If he had gotten that elusive 83 rating maybe it would be different, but I view Samir Sample as being in his own tier compared to the other prospects. #7 - DE Deontre Graham 6-7 244 R Alabama [Contain] [-1/C] 83 - Ranking these next three prospects was probably the most difficult of the entire project, and I could understand ranking them in any order you wanted, as each player has their advantages over the other. To start off, we have what I'm sure will be somewhat controversial with Deontre Graham at seven. Graham, out of Alabama and the SEC (a common theme here), was selected fourth in the 2023 draft by the New England Patriots, which made him the first DE off the board in this draft. Graham had a lot of things going for him, to start he had the 83 rating, the first one to show up here. As mentioned earlier, the 83 rating alone will take you a long way come draft day. Most players who get it have the other attributes to back it up, but even if they aren't the 83 rating will make every team rethink how they viewed that player. Graham also had an excellent pro day on his side with an average rating of 8.93 for his three pro day ratings. He also proved to be versatile and was given very high grades for the analysts. I said earlier that Samir Sample's pro day may have made some consider taking him even higher, but Graham's pro day was just as good, if not better. It was not all sunshine and roses for Deontre Graham in the pre draft process however, as his combine could be described as average at best, probably slightly worse. He put up a good vertical, 33 inches, and a solid score on the bench with 30 reps, but a 4.74 40, 7.35 3 cone, and deciding to forgo the shuttle would have to make teams seriously question his speed, or lack thereof. It clearly wasn't enough to knock him out of the top five, or to even make teams consider dropping him too far down boards, but it does hurt him in our purposes here. When it comes to stats, Graham was good. I would call him elite if we were comparing him to the rest of the country, but when he's compared to the players that we have coming up you'll see that his best season would be the third, maybe second best season for each of those players. Graham played two seasons at Bama, the first of each he played alongside Sebastian Smallwood, where he put up similar numbers in those years. He would have 22 tackles, 6 TFL, and 12.5 sacks in his junior season, and then 25 tackles, 7 TFL, and 11.5 sacks in his senior season. As you can see, really good numbers, particularly his sack totals. You'd like to see more tackles and a few more TFL, but that's somewhat nitpicky. He does have two very good seasons under his belt, and while some of the remaining players have more, he does show consistency. Graham's stats are very good, make no mistake, but we've gotten to the point where everyone's are. Deontre Graham is the first of what I consider to be the upper echelon of defensive end prospects. To put it simply, he's really really good. As I said earlier, I wouldn't put up much argument if you were to put Graham as your fifth best prospect, these next few guys are just that close. His 83 rating, having a team trade up to draft him fourth, and his elite pro day all make him the high end prospect that he is, but why do I put him all the way down at seven? Well I'll get into it more in depth when I talk about the next few players, but the combine is his main fault, and then his stats don't quite match up to the next two prospects, although that's more because of how great they were instead of an issue with Graham. #6 - DE Sebastian Smallwood 6-1 254 R Alabama [Blitz] [-1/C] 82 - With our very next player, we have Deontre Graham's Alabama teammate for a year, Sebastian Smallwood. Smallwood was selected ninth overall in the 2022 draft by the Minnesota Vikings, making him the third DE taken in this draft. I know many of you will say that Graham should be above Smallwood, and I know that your first thought may be that I'm biased, since I drafted Smallwood myself. If you do believe that, I'll remind you that I view the two players as very, very close, and to please let me explain my reasoning here before you make up your mind. The biggest knock to Smallwood's status as a prospect is that he went ninth, much lower then the rest of the players I have in the top seven. That can largely be explained by being in the strongest DE class we've had since pro days began. If you dropped him into the 2021 class he'd absolutely be the first one off the board, if you dropped him into the 2023 class he may be the first off the board. There's a really good argument to be made that if one of Key or Bryant did not exist in the 2022 class, Smallwood could have gone top 5. He is also the only player to be rated 82 in the top seven, and as I talked about earlier, it does make a difference to how each team views that player. When it comes to the pro day and combine, Smallwood is good. In fact, very good at the combine. He put up 34 reps on the bench press, the most of anyone in this list, ran a 4.69 40, and ran a 4.28 shuttle. His vert was a bit low at 28.5, but the rest of the combine proved he was an elite combo of size and speed. His pro day was also good, although not as good as his elite DE prospect counterparts. He did not show many issues at all, but his average pro day grade was 8.53, slightly lower then others you'll see here. With all that said, Smallwood made his money and proved his worth on the field in college. He started four seasons at Alabama, and put up some top of the class numbers in his junior and senior seasons. His freshman year he put up a modest 11 tackles and 3.5 sacks, which he followed up with 36 tackles and 9 sacks as a sophomore. For his two upperclassmen years he put up 45 tackles and 14 sacks, and then followed that up with 42 tackles, 10 TFL, and 15 sacks. Smallwood grades out as the top DE statistically for me. As a four year starter with two top level seasons, you can't question his consistency or his overall talent level. Hey may have some issues, but what Sebastian Smallwood is good at, he's as good as any other prospect there is at it. To me, Smallwood is clearly an elite level DE prospect even if he does not have the 83 rating. The debate between him and Graham however is a close one however. Graham obviously has the 83 rating and had the better pro day, while Smallwood was better statistically and at the combine. For me, Smallwood's pro day was close enough to Graham, and being picked ninth was not that big of a deal for the reasons I mentioned earlier, while Smallwood had a clear advantage statistically and at the combine, so that's how I chose to separate the two. I could easily see the pro day and rating argument and see someone putting Graham sixth, but as you see I didn't end up going that way. #5 - DE Anthony Miller 6-3 253 R Tennessee [Blitz] 83 - Still in the SEC, and with the second Chargers selection (neither of which are still on the team) we have Anthony Miller out of Tennessee. Miller was taken third in the 2020 draft, and was the second DE taken that year. Miller would later be traded to the Colts when the Chargers decided to change schemes. Miller, like the rest of the players you'll see remaining, had the elusive 83 rating to go next to his name in the lead up to the draft. The rest of his pre draft process was a tiny bit disappointing, but that clearly did not hurt his draft stock that much. He was the clear DE2 at the beginning of the process, and it finished that way as well. Miller had a really good combine with a 4.68 40 and a 31.5 inch vert and a solid 29 reps on the bench press. Overall it was good and proved he had the athleticism to get it done in the pros. None of the numbers he put up were the best, but they were all high end for the most part. His pro day was where he struggled slightly. He received some nitpicks about his technique and put up a 9.3 scouting grade, but both his readiness and game tape grades were around 7.5, not what you want to see for a top three pick. As I've said with many things lately, he put up good numbers in his pro day and combine, but compared to some of the other players here it leaves some to be desired. So why did Anthony Miller get rated so highly? Well, just like Smallwood, he put up great numbers in college. Miller started three years in Tennessee and was outstanding in each of those three seasons. In his sophomore season and first year as a starter he put up 32 tackles and 14.5 sacks. Of the rest of the players to make this ranking, only four seasons in total among them put up more than 14.5 sacks, and Anthony Miller did that as a sophomore. He was not able to quite replicate this for his two remaining years, as he followed them up with 31 tackles and 12.5 sacks, and then 48 tackles and 10.5 sacks. The falling sack numbers are a bit of a concern, but he put up three straight seasons of double digit sacks, which is something no one else in the last five draft classes can say. Miller's stats are right behind Smallwood's in my opinion, and the gap between the two isn't very large there. Anthony Miller finds himself just a few pieces away from jumping up into number one pick in the draft category, but he falls short in a few places. His weak pro day was the main issue with him as a prospect, and it's why he is fifth here, instead of third or fourth. Compared to Smallwood and Graham, it is very close, as I've said over and over. Graham has the best pro day, while Smallwood and Miller both beat him in the combine and with on field statistics, with each of them neck and neck in those categories. Miller and Graham both had Smallwood beat rating wise and were both picked a few picks higher. I gave it to Miller as the best of the three as he had the 83 rating, showed a high floor with his performance on field, and appeared to have a high ceiling with his 9.3 scouting grade. #4 - DE Timothy Key 6-2 240 R Florida [Contain] [-1] 83 - In the number four spot we have Timothy Key, selected third overall in the 2022 draft by the Cincinnati Bengals, coming out of Florida. Key was the second DE taken in this draft class. There weren't many question marks surrounding him coming into the draft, everyone seemed to know that he was a top prospect, and that he was destined to be taken after Bryant and before Smallwood. His pre draft process did have some bumps in it, but as you can see, none that made him fall at all. His pro day was very good. His technique was praised as among the best the league had seen for a rookie, and although his athleticism concerns were brought up, no one was too worried of it as his technique made up for it and he wouldn't have to rely on it as much in a 3-4. His 9.5 readiness grade proved he was ready to go immediately, as everyone assumed, and his 8.6 scouting grade showed he still had room to grow. His game tape was a little lower than you'd hope for but he put up enough stats over his career to ignore that, as we'll get into later. His combine was a little shaky, as you'd expect for someone with weaker athleticism. A 4.77 40, 4.441 shuttle, and 7.33 3 cone showed he wouldn't break any speed records anytime soon, but he did put up a 33 on the bench press, which meant he had the strength to work as a 3-4 DE. If Key did have above average combine numbers he may be higher in this list, as that was his main weakness in the draft lead up. Key put up stats in all four years he was at Florida, although he was only a starter for three of them. His final two seasons he proved himself to be an elite pass rusher after two pedestrian like numbers early on. His junior seasons he would put up 45 tackles and 14 sacks, and he continued his success into his senior year with 38 tackles, 10 TFL, and 13.5 sacks. He doesn't have the longevity of Sebastian Smallwood and Anthony Miller as he 'only' put up 24 tackles and 8 sacks his sophomore season, but two consecutive seasons of continued, high level is more than enough to not have to worry about that. The two back to back seasons Key has are up there among the best any of this group has had. For me the four spot felt like it was the clear spot for Key to fall in to. I thought he was a step above the group of three players we have previous, but he was also a step or two behind the next three players, all of which were drafted in the top two and in discussion for the top pick at some point. The only concern you could really have about him is that his combine, and by association, his athleticism was not up to the standard you'd want for a top three pick, which meant that he could be limited to a specific scheme. For a team like the Bengals who played this scheme, it was not an issue. Other than that, he's rated 83, and he showed up at his pro day and on the field. #3 - DE Early Davis 6-3 259 R Georgia [blitz] 83 - We have our first number one overall pick here, and it is Early Davis, the first pick of the 2019 draft out of Georgia. He was taken by the Atlanta Falcons after a few trades atop the draft board. Davis, like the rest of the top three, is a bit of an anomaly, for him because he only played one season at the FBS level. For other players this meant a decent drop on our rankings, and for Davis you could argue the same but not to the level as guys like Samir Sample, or any of the honorable mentions. So what puts him this high? Well, for one, he went one. If you're drafted first overall that means you were a very high end prospect, there's no mistaking that. Of course he also has the 83 rating as well, but Early Davis shot up the big boards do to his pre draft process, and for good reason. To start, Davis had a very good pro day. The pro day grades were all great for him, and when one of the weaknesses noted is that "he often finds himself in double teams" you know you're doing something right. Davis then further delivered on the hype, putting up the best combine out of all the defensive end prospects. His 4.61 40 time was the second best of everyone, his 34 inch vert was the second best, his 6.95 3 cone was the second best, his 4.29 shuttle was the third best, and his 31 bench reps was the fourth best. He was elite in every combine drill defensive ends went out for. There was not a better pure athlete available at DE in the last five draft classes than Early Davis. As you've probably figured out by now, the reason Early Davis really isn't in contention for the second or the best defensive end prospect is because he only played that one year in college. It was a really good year, he put up 31 tackles and 13.5 sacks. While those are high end numbers, we've seen a stat line like that multiple times now, and some even better so we can't say Early Davis was some unique prospect just looking at the numbers he put up at Georgia. Davis made his name known among the CFBHC world the moment he stepped onto the field in Athens, but he wasn't a number one pick candidate until teams saw his rating, and then his pro day and combine a few months later. For Early Davis, three felt like the obvious spot to put him at. He was the number one pick, something only one other defensive end can say. He had an outstanding pro day and followed it up with an even better combine to cement himself as the top prospect that draft class. Yet, when comparing him to players across different draft classes, you just can't ignore that he only played one season at the FBS level, and while he put up great numbers, it isn't anything that makes you say that this player needs to be drafted first overall. Davis was probably the easiest player for me to rank. He beats out Key, Miller, etc. because of his absurd pre draft process but he can't crack the top two because he hadn't proved himself on the field as much as you'd want him to. #2 - DE Tyler Jones 6-1 257 R Mississippi State [Contain] 83 - The battle for the top spot is very, very close. It may as well be 1 and 1a, but since it isn't we are giving the number two spot to Tyler Jones of Mississippi State, the seventh and final SEC player in the top ten. Jones was selected first overall in the 2020 draft by the Tennessee Titans. Jones and the remaining player were pretty much top of the list in everything they did, I didn't originally expect it to be as close as it was but they were 1 and 2 in most categories. Jones' pro day was the best any defensive end has ever had. His average rating for the three scores was 9.6, which is absurd, to put it lightly. His biggest weakness was about how he struggled in coverage, and I doubt the Titans ever considered putting him there. His combine did not disappoint either. A 4.66 40, 33.5 inch vert, 4.23 shuttle, and 6.93 3 cone put him near the top of all defensive ends in ever category. The disappointment was that he 'only' put up 30 reps on the bench press. The fact that he showed this kind of speed and athleticism for a player listed as a contain DE is incredible. If you go look at the rest of the contain DEs you'll find that they were some of the worst combine performers, but that is not true for Tyler Jones. I have his combine as the second best, only behind Early Davis. Jones had two seasons at Mississippi State, and he performed very well in both of those years. 25 tackles and 15.5 sacks in the first year, and then 45 tackles and 11 sacks in his final season. 15.5 sacks is tied with Parker Holmes for the second most in any year, so everyone knew as a junior that he'd be one of the top prospects the next year. Putting up an encore of 11 sacks is somewhat of a let down considering his previous year, but I find it kind of hard to complain about a 45 tackle, 11 sack year. They're really good stats, but we've seen similar numbers from a few players now. Jones' stats on their own put him into top ten draft pick category, but when you combine them with his pre draft process he becomes lock for the number one pick material. Tyler Jones could easily be number one here, as I said at the start of his blurb. His pro day is the best of anyone here, his combine was nearly as good, and his stats we're very good, although a small step down compared to everything else he did. He was a no doubter for the first overall pick, so why is he number two? I'm guessing most of you know who's number one, and I'll explain some more when we get there, but it is absolutely not his fault he isn't there. Tyler Jones did everything he needed to leading up to the draft, and that's why he was the first pick of his draft, which included Anthony Miller. Jones' floor on this list in number two, and that's where I have him. #1 - DE Khairi Bryant 5-10 263 R Ohio State [Blitz] [0] 84 - I know Tyler Jones is amazing, but I don't think I'm gonna get too many arguments on this one. Khairi Bryant was the second pick in the 2022 draft, taken by the New York Giants out of Ohio State. He would have been the number one pick if not for the Bills having an excess of picks and the ability to trade up and grab Matt Jones. I can't hold that against him at all when making this list, Bryant is every bit as worthy of a number one pick as Early Davis and Tyler Jones are. There's the obvious to point out, Khairi Bryant has an 84 rating as a rookie. No other DE, and almost no one at all can say. He also declared as a true junior, giving him two less years to prepare than many of the players on this list. Like Carlos Washington, he was also a 4.5/5 when he declared. Everything you look for in a superstar prospect, Khairi Bryant has. His pro day was very good, just a tiny, tiny bit worse than Tyler Jones. His average rating of the three scores was 9.53, and the one minor knock on him was his awareness. It was made clear that it was a minor complaint, and that everything else was incredible. His combine was very good too. A 4.6 40 (the fastest of everyone in this ranking), 31 inch vert, 31 bench reps, and a 4.29 shuttle. It is a step behind Jones and Davis, but he has all the speed a team could ask for, there's no mistaking that. His strength is no joke either, his pro day made that clear and 31 bench reps is tied for the highest of any blitz DE. Bryant killed it in the pre draft process, and while it may be a step behind Davis and Jones, it's a small step, if that. Bryant put up really good numbers at Ohio State. He started as a true freshman and any doubts the fans had were quickly put to rest. He put up 39 tackles and 10 sacks in his true freshman year. Of all the defensive ends I looked at, Eric Jennings had the next highest freshman year sack total, with 4. His sophomore year he put up 32 tackles and 9.5 sacks, so a slight step back, more or less the same. His true junior, and let me reiterate, true junior season, he put up 46 tackles, 12 TFL, and 19.5 sacks. That's 19.5 sacks, in a college season. He made 31.5 tackles in the backfield. There is no one else who has ever come close to a season like that, and he was a 4.5/5 true junior. That's four more sacks than the best season of anyone in this ranking. As you can tell, Bryant's junior season was easily the best anyone here can offer. His previous two years are comparable to everyone else here, but he was an underclassmen so he gets some slack. The Jones/Bryant debate is a close one, but the 84 rating and the 19.5 sacks as a junior is too much for me to overlook. It seems like kind of a dumb argument to have, as everyone knew both players would be outstanding. But for the sake of this article I'm going through it. Jones does have his advantages for sure, his pro day was a tiny bit better, and his combine was too. He doesn't have the stats to match Khairi Bryant, no one does, and the 84 rating is so rare that you can't ignore it. For me Khairi Bryant is the best defensive end prospect we've had in the pro day era, possibly the greatest since the league has began.
  6. 16 points
    Jamzz

    [2023] Big Ten East Season Preview

    It's almost time for the 2023 season so today we will be taking a look at the Big Ten East division. We'll take a look at some of the best players on each team, the biggest games to look out for, and make some predictions at the end of it. Indiana Hoosiers Players to Watch RB Kamar Blackmon 6-1 229 (Jr) Arsenal Tech (Indianapolis IN) 4.0 of 4.0 [Power] DE Vondrae Ledbetter 6-6 266 (So) New Deal (New Deal TX) 4.0 of 4.5 [Blitz] Indiana looks to bounce back after a 4-8 season that was highlighted by a big win over Nebraska and featured multiple close losses to quality teams. The large majority of the team was young after many of the team's best players graduated in 2021, which means this upcoming team is hoping to make a run at another bowl game. On offense the focal point will once again be Kamar Blackmon. Indiana has been a run first team for a few seasons now and Blackmon has been a big part of that for the last two seasons. He ran for over 1000 yards last season and if Indiana expects to have success it will be thanks to him. QB Rangi Grey was shaky last year, to say the least but he seems to have progressed well following an impressive performance in the spring game. He loses Freddie Jackson to the pros but Jackson was never his preferred target last year as he seemed to like to look for his tight ends. On defense Vondrae Ledbetter is back and expected to have a big year. He showed up as Indiana's best player on defense as a redshirt freshman last year, with 8 sacks and 6 TFL, and he should only improve. With the addition of JUCO transfer Anquan Everett at DT Ledbetter should have less of the load to carry and can focus more on what he does best, and that's rush the passer. Outside of the DL the Indiana defense looks average at best. ILB Jaden Durant will have to step up his play this year. The secondary doesn't have a star player anywhere but they do have many similar players who can play off each other well and have shown glimpses of great play. I would be remiss to ignore All-American P P.K. Crowe who won the Ray Guy award last season. Biggest Game of the Season Week 8 vs Maryland There are a number of games to choose from here. Week 16 vs Purdue would be a good chance but Indiana is going to be the underdog in that one per usual. This game against Maryland could be the difference between making a bowl and missing one, so that's why I've chosen it. Indiana gets a chance to avenge a bad loss from last season that sent their season on a downward spiral and if they do so it could mean a 6-6 year. Prediction: 5-7 Indiana has a winnable non-conference slate and then starts off the conference schedule with some easier games before they get into the rough part of the season. If they get off to a hot start they could absolutely go bowling, but that will mean a few wins against Rutgers, Wisconsin, Maryland, possibly Michigan State or someone else to make it happen. It's doable but it's an uphill battle with the division they find themselves in. Maryland Terrapins Players to Watch OT Joel Bragg 6-2 330 (Fr) John Carroll (Bel Air MD) 3.5 of 5.0 [Run Blocking] OLB Freddie Hendricks 6-1 247 (Sr) Lejeune (LeJeune, NC) 5.0 of 5.0 [Blitz] Maryland had an incredibly disappointing season last year, going 2-10 with wins over Indiana and New Mexico State. They were expected to take a step back with the loss of Marquise Simpkins and co., but no one anticipated it to be as big as it was. This year they bring an interesting mix of experienced talent with some players at skill positions that need to step up. QB Brian Andersen and RB Marc Beasley took the reins of the offense last year and were not very good. If these two players don't put up much better numbers this year then it will be more of the same for Maryland despite their talent elsewhere. Maryland does have some greta players on the offensive line to make it work, including OT Joel Bragg, and guards Jeremiah Carlson and Jude Scherer. The offense should be much better this year behind these three players. Their OL rating last year was pedestrian but I expect significant improvements this year. On defense they look better too. Their front seven looks scary with OLBs Freddie Hendricks and Tyler Matthews, in addition to DT DeMarco Pitts and DE Matthias Delaney. Their secondary is no joke either. CB Isaiah Simpkins appears to be ready to make a big jump forward, and he has star FS Adam Carroll behind him to help out. This team doesn't seem to have many glaring weaknesses. On offense you could say they don't have many weapons to give the ball to, and that's completely fair, but outside of that they seem like a very well-rounded team. Biggest Game of the Season Week 13 vs Ohio State Maryland has a few difficult games before this one but this one kicks off a tough three week stretch between top Big Ten teams. This stretch will show whether or not Maryland is ready to prove they're amongst the best teams in the conference, or if they're still the middle of the pack team we've come to expect from them recently. Prediction: 7-5 Maryland will be the clear favorite in many of their games this season and the clear underdog in a few as well. As their team continues to grow I expect them to start to challenge the Michigans and Penn States of the conference but I don't think that time has come yet. Their talent alone should carry them to a bowl game if they get a little extra help then I could see them pushing forward into a higher end bowl game but I don't see them getting further then that in 2023. Michigan Wolverines Players to Watch RB Nick Rowland 6-0 213 (Jr) Berrien Springs (Berrien Springs MI) 5.0 of 5.0 [Speed] DT Mason Ragland 6-6 312 So Hudson Area (Hudson MI) 3.5 of 5.0 [1-Gap] Michigan has seemed to find themselves in position to take the conference every year for the last few years but just can't do it. Whether it be Penn State, Purdue, Ohio State, or Nebraska to knock them out of contention for the conference title, it always happens. This year looks like it could be the exact same. Consistent as ever, they bring in a strong team that will compete but they have multiple challenges that look like they'll be hard to beat. That said, Michigan will be hard to beat just like they always are for any team as well. On offense RB Nick Rowland will be the star. They should have more balance this year as Evan Perkins continues to improve and he'll have the likes of Tyler Sterling and Antonio Jackson to throw to. OT Gabe Morrison and C Miguel Prieto will be the centerpieces of the OL, and will have to pick up for some of the inexperienced teammates they have next to them. On defense they are young, but as talented as ever. DT Mason Ragland is expected to improve a lot and CB Victor Austin will need to play up to his potential and not his skill level to keep teams from throwing heavily on Michigan. They're linebacking corp is definitely the team's weak spot. It's a mix of less talented and young players that teams like Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan State will absolutely look to exploit. For as good as the offense is, the defense is just as young and it might turn Michigan games into high scoring affairs this year. I have no doubt that their defense will be fine against lesser quality teams but if they want to keep up with top ten teams then they'll have to score some points. Biggest Game of the Season Week 16 @ Ohio State Is it really up for debate? The Game has a good chance of deciding the division once again this year, and although Penn State might have something to say about that but for the last two years these have been the best teams in the division and as of right now they seem to still be. Even if this is not for the division, chances are one of these teams will need this game to win the division or make the playoff and the other's season would be made just by getting this one. Prediction: 10-2 Michigan is still a very good team, but I don't think they're as good as Ohio State. I think there's a decent chance they run the table before that game but a schedule of Purdue, Penn State, Michigan State, and Notre Dame are going to be tough to win every game against. Michigan is knocking on the door to the playoff once again but it's going to take some big wins to get there and I don't think they'll get them. Michigan State Spartans Players to Watch QB Isaac Tyson 6-4 215 (Jr) Kenmare (Kenmare ND) 4.5 of 5.0 [Hybrid] DE Rangi Petana 5-11 264 (Sr) Garaway (Sugarcreek, OH) 4.5 of 4.5 [Blitz] Michigan State is a weird team. Last year they went 10-2 after the emergence of Isaac Tyson, who likes like he could be a star at the college level, maybe the pros in the future. They did this though, with very little talent compared to their counterparts atop the Big Ten. They return this year with Isaac Tyson and a few other solid players, but still not much talent elsewhere. On offense the team is kind of empty outside of Tyson. They do have TE Samuel Hare who is expected to be the number one target this year, but they don't have another player whose current skill is above 3.0 except another TE and a FB. They'll need some unexpected performances out of RB Gabe Geiger and the OL if they expect to go 10-2 again. On defense it's a little bit better. Their DL is pretty solid. Rangi Petana, Kuruk Snell, and Griffin Martino should be enough to keep other team's running games in check, which they will certainly need in the Big Ten. OLB Connor Bradshaw should put up a good amount of tackles and sacks that can keep the team in games as well. Their secondary, however, is weak to say the least. The highest rated current skill is 3.0. Like Indiana, they're basically asking for teams to throw a lot against them. True freshman FS Lavonte Nunn might already be the most talented player in that secondary. Overall, what Michigan State is good at, they do as good as anyone in the conference. What they are bad at is as bad as the worst in the conference. Biggest Game of the Season Week 6 vs Michigan It's tough for me to pick a game for MSU but I've gone with their rivals in week 6. They have a much tougher non-conference slate of games this year and Michigan will be the first conference team they meet. An upset in this game will go a long, long way for Michigan State. If they lose then they'll prove to be what we expect out of them, but if they win then that will add to the legend of Isaac Tyson and prove HC SlinkyJr to be among the best in the country. Prediction: 6-6 I might be lower than most on Michigan State this year. I can't see them matching what they did last year, even with Tyson. They play LSU and TCU OOC and then a tough conference schedule so I just don't see them coming close to 10 wins. The weaknesses on their team are just too significant for me to give them wins in their games against high quality opponents, and I think they just sneak out six wins. Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State I have well above Michigan State, and I think they'll have trouble with Minnesota and Maryland as well. Ohio State Buckeyes Players to Watch QB Matt Ballard 6-4 221 (Jr) Jackson (Masillon OH) 5.0 of 5.0 [Pocket] DE Cece Condon 6-1 263 (Sr) Sandwich Community (Sandwich, IL) 5.0 of 5.0 [Contain] Ohio State has been steadily improving the last few years and it seems to all be culminating into a run at the playoffs this season, and possibly the next depending on early decs and how well they can replace their seniors. Matt Ballard may be the best QB in the Big Ten, and Julius Wesley may be the best RB in the Big Ten and they both find themselves in Buckeye uniforms. I won't dwell too long on them as everyone knows about them, but they've both been great players since they were freshman and don't seem like they'll slow up. TE Jonas Schumacher has proved himself a force to be reckoned with as well and might be the number one target this year. Their inexperienced on the OL, which is probably their biggest issue. Fortunately for them that hasn't been an issue for Wesley in the past and Ballard can sling it with or without them. On defense their clock appears to be ticking a bit faster however, as Cece Condon is a senior, and their JUCO replacement for Khairi Bryant is also a senior, Damien Atkins. ILB Nazir Flowers, CB A.P. Crosby, and SS Aziz Harvey are all additional highlights to the defense. As you can see, they have talent all over the field. They don't have a specific position group that's weak on defense, more so specific positions that teams will have to try to target. Outside of Crosby and Harvey they don't have much else in the secondary, for example. OLB Alex Schuster is also a step down in talent compared to the majority of his teammates. Biggest Game of the Season Week 16 vs Michigan It can't be anything else really. As I talked about when discussing Michigan, even when these teams aren't good this is their most important game every year, so when they both are good it becomes that much bigger. Going to Happy Valley will be a big game, at Illinois should be a tough game as well, but at the end of the day, none of the compare to The Game. I expect this game to be for the division as it has been the last two years. Prediction: 12-0 This might be putting expectations to high but I think they're better than anyone they face in the regular season this year. If I had to pick one game that I think would be the most difficult, I would actually go with @ Illinois week 7, who I think is going to be significantly improved this year. Not to discredit Michigan or Penn State or anyone else, but that will be a young, hungry Illinois team. As you can see, Ohio State is my prediction for Big Ten champs this year. Penn State Nittany Lions Players to Watch WR Dominic Dixon 6-2 212 Sr Palomar College (San Marcos CA) 5.0 of 5.0 [Target] DE Oghale Adelangwe 6-4 241 Sr St. Joseph's Prep (Philadelphia PA) 5.0 of 5.0 [Blitz] Penn State hasn't quite recovered since Tanner Bowman graduated but they are well on their way to doing so. The Jack Ramey project was a failure and it is full steam ahead on the Dillon Sneed train. Many fans are expecting a big year out of him as he takes over for his second year, he has plenty of weapons to take Penn State back to glory. RB Sione Salanoa, star WR Dominic Dixon, and TE James Mulholland will all be focal points for Penn State this year. Dixon is a JUCO product and a huge get for the team, they were missing a number one WR and if they are going to compete for the Big Ten title it will be in large part because of him. The OL is very well rounded with LT Eric Lanier leading they way and a well rounded crop behind him. On defense they have some studs as well. Oghale Adelangwe broke out last season and is expected to put up some huge numbers this year. DT Erik McElmore is following in Shamar Ware's footsteps and appears to be ready to take over a large load for the rest of the defense. DE Jerraud Braxton and ILB Xavien Bowers are some of the up and coming young stars of the defense. The secondary is a bit thin however. SS Jonas Newberry is the only member that has a current skill higher than 3.5, which means the likes of Isaac Tyson and Matt Ballard will be looking to hit this part of the team heavily. While running might be close to impossible on Penn State, passing will come a little bit easier. Biggest Game of the Season Week 1 vs TCU It doesn't get much bigger than this to start the year for Penn State. TCU will be one of the favorites to win the title this year and will definitely be favored week one, but if PSU can pull off an upset they'll catapult themselves right into the playoff conversation a week into the year. Of course the conference schedule is littered with big games but none of them will send the rest of the country a bigger statement than beating TCU week one. Prediction: 9-3 Penn State's gonna have a really good team this year and I bet they're very close to upsetting the top teams on their schedule if they don't win them straight up. As Sneed and the rest of their team continues to improve with age they'll be back to competing for national titles, as of right now I think they're a small step behind the top tier of Big Ten teams. They have plenty of great players redshirting and coming through the ranks so it won't be long until they're back, it may be this year if things fall the right way for them. Rutgers Scarlet Knights Players to Watch QB Omari Ricks-Hargrove 6-0 222 (Fr) Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey NJ) 2.0 of 5.0 [Scrambling] DT Shawn Marshall 6-1 327 (Fr) Hanover Park (East Hanover NJ) 2.5 of 5.0 [2-Gap] The players to watch for Rutgers go to show the youth of their team. A few high profile graduations following a successful season last year most likely means a step back for them this go around. They have a grand total of four starters on offense and defense that have a current skill higher than 3.5, which will mean some growing pains. Most of the success this season will live and die on the arm and legs of freshman QB Omari Ricks-Hargrove who, while oozing with potential, probably isn't ready to carry a team just yet. Unfortunately for him he doesn't have much help. C Beckett Day will have to carry the load on the OL, and while the OL may be the most talented position group on the team, they are young like the rest of the squad. Not much is expected out of RB Kahoni Polu, maybe he can be an unexpected bright spot for the team. On defense DT Shawn Marshall will have the same role Omari Ricks-Hargrove does with the offense, attempting to use his potential to carry the rest of the team. CB Thierno Foreman and SS Rodrigo Martinez are the experience for the defense and will make it difficult for teams to throw on them as they are without a doubt the best position group on defense for Rutgers. DE Dahntay Parks is also one to look out for in the future, but as of right now he seems unprepared for Big Ten football, and that's what he's being thrust into right away as a true freshman. Overall, it's not hard to find some holes on the Rutgers depth chart. Biggest Game of the Season Week 9 vs Indiana Indiana will probably be the most winnable conference game for Rutgers, not that they can't win any others, but they will significant underdogs for most of them. The schedule doesn't help them out much with cross divisional games against Nebraska, Illinois, and Purdue. The Indiana game is a home game for Rutgers so maybe the fans can get behind them there and bring home a good win but other then that I don't see many wins on their schedule. Prediction: 2-10 As you could probably tell, I'm not very high on this Rutgers team. Their non conference slate of games are all winnable but I see them dropping at least one of them do to the lack of talent right now on their team, and I think they'll be underdogs in every conference game they play this year. They have a good team to look out for in the future with some solid help coming for Ricks-Hargrove but right now it doesn't appear to be there. Some predictions for the division as a whole. Offensive Player of the Division: QB Matt Ballard 6-4 221 (Jr) Jackson (Masillon OH) 5.0 of 5.0 [Pocket] Defensive Player of the Division: DE Oghale Adelangwe 6-4 241 Sr St. Joseph's Prep (Philadelphia PA) 5.0 of 5.0 [Blitz] Special Teams Player of the Division: P P.K. Crowe 5-8 169 (Sr) Richmond (Richmond, IN) 5.0 of 5.0 [Accuracy] (yes I added this just to throw him in) Non Conference Game of the Division: @ Game of the Division: Week 16 @ Division Champs:
  7. 16 points
    FlutieFlakes

    [2023] Phase 2 Instructions

    WR Tyrone McGee 6-3 205 Sr North Central Missouri College (Trenton, MO) 5.0 of 5.0 [Target] Spend 20 points
  8. 16 points
    A Letter to My Former Self By Keyshawn Thompson Dear Keyshawn, Someday you’re going to be the most electric corner back the game of football has ever seen, but you already know that. Someday you’re going to win 2 Jim Thorpe Awards and make the College Football Hall of Fame, but you already know that. Someday you’re going to get drafted #2 overall, stay home in Michigan and become the face of the Detroit Lions, but you already know that. You already knew all of this because you spoke it into existence and god damn I am so proud of you. It’s because of you that your boy Keyshawn Jr. is going to grow up with a life you dreamed about having while you were growing up. Your son is never going to go hungry, your son is never going to wonder where his dad went, your son is going to grow up even better than you. Now if you’re sitting here reading this freaking out about the idea of having a son, relax kid, you’re Keyshawn Thompson and you’re the best dad on the planet. You’re gonna get a girl pregnant earlier than you thought (don’t worry I won’t spoil the surprise) and have to make a choice, and you’re going to step up and make the right one. Life wasn’t easy for you to this point, but we both know that it’s what made us who we are. We still can’t pick our dad out of a crowd, and someday he’s going to send you a DM on twitter, a fuckin DM, trying to reconnect after you make it big and I bet you can guess what you’re going to say because you’ve been thinking about that moment your whole life. Someday you’re going to meet a guy named SlinkyJr, who’ll become more than just your coach, he’ll become your family. You’ll meet Brandon Sauter who is the closest thing to a brother you’ll ever find. You’ll meet Aaron Samuelsson who you’ll take under your wing but he’ll also teach you how to act like a role model. You’ll meet Rob LeCount, who you’ll hate, and then love, and then sometimes still hate sometimes and you’ll meet Andre Brooks who will remind you even though you’re the shit, you really ain’t shit. You will learn a lot about yourself, and as crazy as it sounds, you’ll become a leader and the type of guy people look up to. You’ll realize the friends you have now are not your friends, they’re leaches. You’ve had to do everything on your own, you’ve had to protect yourself and your mom, and you’ve made some dumb decisions and you have tons of dumb decisions still coming up. Right now, you think you’re invincible, and if I’m being honest, it will take awhile for you to realize you’re about as far from invincible as it gets. People are going to talk about you, they're going to say some shit about you that just isn't true because they don't know you but they think they do. They'll call you problematic, they'll say you're a locker room cancer. They'll tell you to clean up your act, and some are even going to hate you on a personal level. But that's all fine, trust me, it'll drive you forward and it'll become the fuel that runs your well oiled machine. They can talk all they want but they know deep down that they would take you in a heartbeat. You're a target but remember this, if they said nothing at all, it'd be because you are nothing. It sounds all bad I know, but you're going to love all of it. I can't wait for you to experience Michigan State, and I can't wait for you to experience the NFL. Man when you're in the pro bowl in Hawaii, drinking a pina colada at practice you are going to freak the fuck out. It seems so far away from where we were at age 10, but you always knew someday you'd be doing just that. (Maybe not the pina colada part.) Don't get me wrong, you're still going to have some extremely dark moments, moments where you will wonder if it's worth it. But you’re going to survive all of them and it’s all because of your belief in yourself. So when they tell you to stop talking, talk louder. Talk so loud that they don’t have any choice but to answer you, and when they do, make them eat it. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, because it's what you will do, everything you will do that has given me this amazing life. I'm so fucking proud of you kid. But for the love of god, don’t get that haircut…you know the one I’m talking about.
  9. 16 points
    Ah shit, here we go again. Good evening. For those of you who may not know me, my name is Rome. I am the original and now current owner of the Cincinnati Bengals. I have spent time in Baltimore as the owner, general manager, and head coach. I would then return with the Houston Texans, leading the team through bad years of my own doing. While I am confident that the Texans are now moving in a positive, destination focused direction and would have liked to see Alex Leshoure develop more as a quarterback, it quickly became clear that I would always have a desire to work for the Bengals. I think many out there can sympathize with that desire to work for a team you watched as a child. I would like to take a moment to thank the Texans franchise and particularly @cmcgill for the opportunities they provided me. There are not many franchises that would have hired me out of the gate like that upon my return to NFLHC, but McGill was always excited to have me on board. He had the difficult job of keeping me grounded, particularly during the early years. It's also important to point out that no decision made during my tenure there was solely the decision of one or the other. We succeeded and failed together, and after this past off-season, I feel confident that I can finely say I left the Texans in a better position than I joined them in. Turning my attention towards my new job, I am beside myself in joy that I got to return to the Queen City. This is a town I know well in a division I know well. This franchise has seen a lot of changes at coach and GM, but few at owner. As it stands, I don't have a strong opinion on either of the past owners. I think they did the best jobs they could achieving their visions. What's important is the vision moving forward and I can assure you I already have a vision of what I want this team to look like and achieve. The Bengals have seen success before, but I am confident that under my regime, we can get the city to where it has never been. I have succeeded in this division before and I can promise you that we will reign again. Now, while I have a team build in mind, we will not be making any sudden or rash personnel decisions. While my opinions on some Bengals players may be public knowledge, every player will be given a chance to succeed. We plan to hit the ground running and do everything we can to make it back to the playoffs this season. These players have already spent all off-season working together, so it would be too chaotic to ship off players even if we wanted to. As it comes to staff, I am currently negotiating with potential head coaches and hope to announce the new Bengals head coach shortly. I will now field questions.
  10. 16 points
    The 2023 season is abuzz with new life after the 2022 edition of the Atlanta Falcons finally got over that hump that has been plaguing local fans for the better part of 5 years now: Playoffs. The Falcons secured the #2 seed in the NFC and had home field advantage for one of the most memorable games in recent playoff memory falling just short in a barnburner. But fans were excited, the team looked more alive than they had in a long time. Now it is time to build on that level of excitement and welcome in the 2023 season with the start of Training Camp. Prepping for the new season, crafting gameplans and welcoming in the rookies from the 2023 draft class. One of the new faces is not-quite-so new for Falcons fans this year. He is most known for his electrifying run to the 2021 CFBHC playoffs virtually single handedly carrying an entire team on his back he won a conference championship and revived his career. He is a guy that most Falcons fans have incredibly high hopes for as a leader and figurehead of the offense. We are pleased to be able to sit down and chat with Donald Culver himself! Donald Culver pumped after a game winning drive towards the end of the season. Culver: Thank you so much for having me! Glad to be here! AJC: How has training camp been going so far? Culver: Well, spirits are high here in Atlanta. As players we love to see the fans come out and support us virtually anywhere and training camp is no different for that. I have been trying to put in as much work as I can with Andy and the boys to get as ready as possible for the start of the season as we can be in the new offense. Been trying to spend as much time with my teammates as I can to get that chemistry that is oh so vital to a successful team. I’m incredibly blessed to have Darren Werner in the QB room as well. He was a guy that I loved in Denver when I was growing up in Utah and to be able to pick his brain and have that level of experience right there I think can help me be the best Donald Culver I can be. AJC: You mentioned Utah, how much different is Atlanta compared to home? Culver: Oh it was a bit of an adjustment at first! Each step in my career has been just that, a giant step. Growing up in Manti, which is probably around 3500 people or so, then going to the University of Utah in SLC was already an adjustment. Then adding in going out of my home state to Atlanta! It was a bit overwhelming. I’m so fortunate to have had some of my teammates here ready to assist in my adjustment to the Metro Atlanta area. After my first year living here though I absolutely love it. Ponce is wonderful on a lazy Sunday with my wife, Piedmont Park is another one of my favorites and so is trying out a bunch of the local food in the area on some of the off days with the guys. Even though it’s only been a year, Atlanta already feels like home. AJC: It’s only been a year since you were taken 13th overall in the NFLHC draft. Can you descri… Culver: I know right?! I still can’t really wrap my head around it. It was such a blessing to get that call from Falcons GM Rocketcan that I was the pick. I couldn’t believe it. I honestly was feeling just about every emotion possible at that moment. It truly was a blessing and I couldn’t have been happier to be in that position. Things were just in a whirlwind for me that year. Utes went to the playoffs, then scouts start to see some of my potential and next thing you know its draft day in the green room and I get the call that someone traded up for me. It is the best feeling in the world to have someone that excited at the prospect of adding your skills to the table. I am truly blessed to be in this position and I can’t wait to get started with my 2nd year in the league. AJC: Are you nervous about virtually having the starting job? Culver: If I’m being honest here, I have butterflies about it. But it’s a good kind of nervous you know? It’s that of nervous right before you know you’re going to go on a trip you’ve been looking forward to for months and you can’t sleep the night before you leave. I’ve made it a priority to really get to know everyone on the team on a more personal level and in the offseason made sure to host as many teammates as I could for get togethers at my place. Hopefully this extra chemistry can help us wow to begin the season. I know that the fans are incredibly excited about how everything is going to look this year. Coach Reid and the rest of the staff have been making sure that we’re prepared and I am incredibly excited to show Atlanta and the league what I can do! AJC: You mention the fans. *Culver chuckles* Oh no. AJC: You know they have really taken a liking to you particularly with the nicknames. In particular we have some things that some of the fans have made in anticipation of you starting: Culver's fans are no stranger to hyping him up *Culver chuckles a bit louder* Culver: Yeah, *sigh* I had it at Utah as well. Being the big man on campus, I kinda got a nickname thrown on me pretty early on. So, I’m kinda used to the whole nickname thing. I wasn’t quite sure if it would follow to my new team in the league, but I guess I kinda underestimated the fans a bit haha. I didn’t have any social media accounts when I was in college, but during the draft process I found out pretty quickly that I probably should start one. So as a nod to the fans, I felt that it was only fitting to give them a bit of a shoutout. You know, embrace it. And @Lasercannon was born. I got teased about it one of the first days of rookie camp last year, but overall they all warmed up to it! AJC: Well, it certainly has been a pleasure chatting with you today Don Culver: And you as well! Hopefully we can build on this momentum and keep things going strong! Go Falcons! ━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━ We were also able to secure an interview with one of the standouts of this most recent rookie class, Devin Frazier Devin Frazier addressing the media after his first week of rookie minicamp AJC: Welcome to Atlanta, Devin! Frazier: Glad to be here! Thank you for having me! AJC: So how have you been taking this whole process so far? The workouts, the pro days, the draft, and now the camps with the team? Frazier: Oh, it has been a roller coaster. It just felt like last week that I was suiting up for Akron to start my second season. But it has been a blast. I have really been loving to get to know all these vets that I watched not but 2-3 years ago and really being able to take everything in to help improve my game. I have already been taking a lot in from Tommy and his leadership has been phenomenal at helping me come into my own this early. AJC: You did not originally commit to Akron out of high school and the recruiting process, how did that affect your path to the NFL? Frazier: I originally had a few minor offers coming out of high school, but they were all to walk on here or there. It wasn’t anything that was for a guaranteed spot on the team. So I went to a local Junior College in my hometown in Kirtland, Ohio. I wanted to prove myself and try and improve to the next level. I always knew that I had it in me to play at a higher level. So when I started turning heads at the FBS level, I wanted to transfer to a school closeby. I fell in love with Akron and the coaching staff there. I felt at home and my family was just a short drive away. I could be myself without a huge amount of pressure on me from a huge stage. I wanted to take it kinda slow at first. But I came right into my own at Akron and I couldn’t have asked for a better place to kickstart an audition for the NFL. AJC: I believe in the video that we posted last week regarding Jason Erwin’s barbecue charity event, *Frazier tries to contain his laughter* AJC: you can spot a few players in team issue Falcons gear. *Frazier tries to act serious and analyze the video* AJC: Can you tell us more about this? Frazier: Well as you can see here, I heard that Erwin was going to be doing a charity barbecue eating contest hosted at Twin Smokers. It was a good cause and I thought it’d be a good outing with the guys after a hard day of practice. So I rounded up a few guys, I think it was Tommy, Rob, Darius, Kaz and Oli, and we headed over there to surprise our guy. He was stoked to see us and we all made sure to donate to the cause. You can see here, the squad is playing hype man for Erwin, but I think he got a bit too into the hype and competition (he’s a fiery guy) and got out of his form. He ended up almost passing out and needing the medical staff to pump his stomach. But we made sure he was alright and then helped him cheer on the crowd after getting back up. He was lowkey pissed about his record being disqualified. That Monday, I made sure to text the guys and get to the facility extra early. I went in and talked to Quasar and Coach Reid and we staged a whole event. All the guys from the event along with Early, Don, Riddick, and Coach Reid all sat in the locker room in a circle waiting for him to walk in. We had the lights turned down and a bottle of barbecue sauce on a table in the center. When Erwin walked in, he turned on the lights and was a bit confused as to why we were all sitting there. Coach got up and put his hand on his shoulder and said “Jason, I just want you to know that we’re all here because we care about you. These guys are concerned about your pork addiction and are here to help.” He immediately had a huge grin on his face and got real red as we all laughed and joked around with him before practice. All in good fun though for our boy! AJC: It has been a pleasure getting a chance to sit down with you Devin! Thank you for the interview! Frazier: Oh no thank you! I had a blast! Go Falcons! ━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━ These two young players look to be some of the franchise faces for the near future. The excitement of last season is still high in the air and you can feel that from just talking to these guys. Future looks bright with these Fledgling Falcons!
  11. 15 points
    After being briefed on the case by Miami Beach police, and reviewing the security camera footage, the NFL has decided to suspend Mr. Moore for the first two games of the season. After reading the statement from the New York Giants owner, the league would like to reassure the public that the NFL believes that violence is never an acceptable solution to solving disputes. Moore clearly escalated the conflict when he became physical, thus deserving of a suspension. We denounce the Giants owner's attempt to rationalize this behavior. He will be fined $2 million, which will be donated to the Non-Violence project.
  12. 15 points
    vtgorilla

    CFBHC Word Search

    Wow, what are the odds!
  13. 15 points
    Rome

    TDs for Rome's Money

    I'm almost certainly one of the top users in site time, but I've never donated that much to the site. I will rectify that this year as it's open season on my wallet. With that good Amazon money, I will donate after every Auburn game this season. How much I donate will be up to each individual team. My rivalry games will be double money games, so @cmcgill @Franz Kafka @CadeRich5 will all be playing for $10 a TD against me this season. Also, I am challenge all of you to donate to the site in some fashion this season. I don't care if you do an incentive like me or not, we all have different financial flexibility. But every donation, no matter how big or small, goes to help keeping the site up and running. I know there are people who like sports betting on the site. Maybe betting a donation on a game would be just as fun?
  14. 15 points
    With rookie minicamps and training camps in the books the NFC (B)east is now turning their attention to the pre-season. But before we fully look ahead to next weekend's games let's take a minute and look back at the winners and losers of the camps. Winners Giants' Front Office - Much was made of the Giants' decision to trade up to #1 overall to select QB Eric McLean. But McLean dazzled in the offseason program and has already been named the week 1 starter. Fans are very excited to see McLean on the field and if he succeeds early no one will give a 2nd thought to the trade they made to get him. Maurice White - After being held out of rookie minicamp White saw his first reps with his new team in training camp and lived up to the hype that saw him selected early in the 1st round. White flashed his strength and athleticism on his way to earning recognition from the Washington coaching staff for a standout performance, something that even Solomon McLaughlin didn't accomplish with the 49ers. Eagles Rushing Attack - The Eagles have long had one of the most dangerous rushing attacks in the NFL. In 2022 they had the most rushing yards in the league and both Troy White and Marshawn Miller are very happy in their rotational roles. In training camp Sean Egloff, the 3rd string running back, earned recognition as an offensive standout and kick returner. The depth that the Eagles have at running back is the envy of the league. Graham Burnett - Burnett was on fire in training camp and earned honors as a standout. His offensive line also looked really sharp in camp and expectations are sky high for the Cowboys passing attack in 2023. Losers Allan Taylor - A nightmare scenario for every NFL coaching staff came true in training camp when incumbent starting QB Allan Taylor pulled up short on a PA rollout during team install. An MRI later confirmed that Taylor suffered a sever foot fracture and he is expected to miss at least the first 8 weeks of the regular season. The Eagles had a great offseason and were poised to make another run this season but now their fate will rest in the hands of backup QB Alex Bridgewater and the aforementioned rushing attack. Taylor is no spring chicken and there are no guarantees that he will ever play at his pre-injury level again. Jonah Parker - Jonah Parker had a rough training camp. "Parker has stated that he feels he was publicly shamed for one mistake but deep inside he knows he made many mistakes and thus feels more worthless than he should." That is probably the saddest line that I have ever read on this site. Welcome to my experiance in high school sports Jonah. If I made it you can too. Angelo Denny - After a tumultuous rookie campaign that saw 2nd round pick Denny struggle and ultimately regress, the Redskins went out and signed veteran OG Virgil Madison to start in 2023 and drafted OG Bryce Wallace to compete with Denny for the backup role. In minicamps Wallace showed out notching a B+ player grade and he continued to impress in training camp with Virgil Madison telling the coaching staff that he believes Wallace should get a look at a starting job. Meanwhile Denny picked up where he left off in 2022, rating as a problem during training camp. The future doesn't look good for Angelo Denny. Raekwon Thomas - The Giants need an heir apparent at RB as O.J. Carano is on his last legs. Thomas was selected to be that player. And maybe he will be, but he has struggled in the offseason program. His minicamp report showed that he needs extensive development time and then he was arrested for speeding during training camp and has been on a tirade against the New York Police Department ever since. He has become a distraction in the locker room and is negatively impacting the other rookies. Hopefully he can turn it around as the Giants gear up for preseason. Rodney Montgomery - Rodney, Rodney, Rodney. What are you doing man? Tea-bagging a 5th round rookie to celebrate a TD? Shouldn't one of the best WRs in the league pretty consistently beat a 5th string CB seeing his first NFL action? Not a good look for a vet in training camp. I Dunnos Marlin Downs - Downs injured his wrist in rookie minicamp and will miss most of the preseason which is valuable development time for rookies. He won't miss extended time, however, and is slated to be available week 1 of the regular season. With the retirement of Tommy Brooks, Downs is now the DT3 for the Eagles and only 1 snap away from being needed. But in training camp Downs was moody and negative and his mood began to spill over to the rest of his position group. An injury is always frustrating, especially as a rookie when you are already behind, but Downs mental game needs some work if he is going to last in this league. Emmanuel Slade - Slade bulked up this offseason and it goes farther than just his looks. He has been laying some heavy hits in training camp and has asked the coaching staff to allow him to be more aggressive in 2023. But when you take out a rookie TE in training camp you might need to reign it in a little bit. Frank Moffett - Yes NFL overtime rules are different than NCAA rules. But that seems like a difference someone who plays football for a living now should know. At least Moffett learned during his rookie training camp instead of pulling a Donovan McNabb on live T.V. Khairi Bryant - Riding a horse into your media session is a boss move. Declaring you are here to win a Super Bowl 1 season after having a top 5 pick is an even bigger move. But that is what 2nd year player Khairi Bryant did, thus painting a target on his back for the 2023 season. Fans loved the gesture now, but if Bryant or the Giants get off to a rough start he may draw the ire of some fans.
  15. 14 points
    The Transfer Portal has opened (#PraisePortal) and there have been 24 Redshirt Seniors that have announced their intention to transfer. The only place that these players can transfer to are FCS programs. That means there are 24 guaranteed transfers to the 16 FCS programs this year. Let’s take a look at the transfers and potential landing spots for each one Let’s Start with the Quarterbacks. There are 3 really highly rated QBs coming into the FCS and another guy who can still make an impact for a program looming for a playoff push. QB Isaiah Best 6-4 199 (Sr) Port St. Lucie (Lucie, FL) 4.0 of 4.0 [Scrambling] QB Jonathan Millard 6-4 200 (Sr) Valley City (City, ND) 3.0 of 3.0 [Scrambling] QB Felix Luck 6-1 234 (Sr) Denison (Denison, TX) 4.5 of 4.5 [Pocket] QB Lucas Beckwith 6-0 216 (Sr) Bridge City (City, TX) 4.5 of 4.5 [Scrambling] Felix Luck is the most notable Redshirt Senior Transfer this year for sure. He has a winning pedigree and will want to play for one of those top FCS programs. Lucas Beckwith may not have gotten a completely fair deal at Texas (some may say he did but that might be the minority opinion) but he is a 4.5 Skilled Scrambler that could be an instant game changer for a FCS program trying to push into the top tier of the division or maintain their spot there. Isaiah Best could be the sneaky best QB in this group. He was a very talented Scrambler at Navy and will bring production with him if a team can make their offense work for him. Millard is an unknown out of Nebraska but he would be an upgrade for many programs at this level. QB Felix Luck 6-1 234 (Sr) Denison (Denison, TX) 4.5 of 4.5 [Pocket] Prediction: NDSU 50%, JMU 50% I honestly think Luck will go to one of what I’m going to call the Big 4 (NDSU, ISU, EWU and JMU) the issue is EWU has Samuel Connor and ISU has a 4/4.5 Devon Wardwell who could redshirt but I don’t see them using their points to get another QB. That leaves NDSU and JMU. If JMU’s coach is around I think they might be willing to go all in on Luck. NDSU has two QBs that they like in 3.5/3.5 Zack McAllister and 3.5/4 Chris Meyers who is redshirting. I wouldn’t put it past SolutionA though to get the best possible player to extend his domination. At this point I’m putting it at a coin flip but I think if NDSU wants him he has the advantage of being able to make better promises. QB Lucas Beckwith 6-0 216 (Sr) Bridge City (City, TX) 4.5 of 4.5 [Scrambling] QB Isaiah Best 6-4 199 (Sr) Port St. Lucie (Lucie, FL) 4.0 of 4.0 [Scrambling] Prediction: 25% SDSU, 25% UC Davis, 25% New Hampshire, 25% Harvard I could be completely off base here but I think Beckwith and Best will draw a lot of interest in this second tier of FCS teams (lumping UCD here because I think Dacder is really committed to making them good). None of them has an amazing QB, UCD has someone with 4.0 potential but he’s very raw. There have been rumblings from both the South Dakota State and New Hampshire coaches about wanting to bring in Beckwith. I’m lumping these two together because I think they will end up at one of these programs. I will say that JMU also can sneak in here for one of them as well if they don’t get Luck QB Jonathan Millard 6-4 200 (Sr) Valley City (City, ND) 3.0 of 3.0 [Scrambling] Prediction: FAMU 75%, 25% Yale/Portland State FAMU looks to be the most QB hungry team in the FCS (1.0/3.5, 2.0/2.5, 1.0/1.0, and 1.0/1.5) they need someone that has a little bit of skill. Millard would be the true definition of stop-gap but could help make the difference between the playoffs and missing them. I’d put it higher but not sure if it’s in the plan for them. I put 25% on Yale or Portland State even though they are coachless on the off chance he doesn’t get bid on, but I really think he’s going to FAMU Runningbacks RB Jordan Lott 5-8 210 (Sr) Ripon (Ripon, CA) 3.5 of 3.5 [Speed] RB Kenneth Love 5-10 204 (Sr) Notre Dame (Quincy, IL) 4.0 of 4.0 [Speed] RB Bryan Townsend 6-1 204 (Sr) Hall (Valley, IL) 4.0 of 4.0 [Speed] RB Wesley Bearden 5-7 233 (Sr) Goddard (Roswell, NM) 3.5 of 3.5 [Power] RB Barack Holmes 5-10 206 (Sr) Saint Charles Community College (Saint Charles, MO) 4.0 of 4.0 [Speed] Holy Moley there are a lot of similar running backs coming to the FCS. Barack Holmes from Oklahoma State might be the most notable. Kenneth Love From Michigan and Bryan Townsend from Minnesota also have pro potential and can add immediately to a team in need. Lott and Bearden could be lower End FBS starters as well. RB Kenneth Love 5-10 204 (Sr) Notre Dame (Quincy, IL) 4.0 of 4.0 [Speed] RB Bryan Townsend 6-1 204 (Sr) Hall (Valley, IL) 4.0 of 4.0 [Speed] RB Barack Holmes 5-10 206 (Sr) Saint Charles Community College (Saint Charles, MO) 4.0 of 4.0 [Speed] Prediction: EWU 50%, FAMU 10%, YSU 10%, Montana 10%, New Hampshire 10%, SDSU 10% I really think that EWU will grab one of these 3 Running backs as their top transfer target. They have a couple 3.5s on their roster but not needing a QB they can put a bulk of their points on a 4.0 RB that could help Connor out. The other two I think will go to on the other 5 programs here, FAMU, Youngstown State, Montana, New Hampshire, South Dakota State. FAMU I think could also go big on a RB and still get Millard at QB. This would elevate them pretty big. Youngstown State doesn’t have anyone over 2.0 current skill at RB if their coach is still around grabbing any of the transfer RBs is a great idea. New Hampshire and South Dakota State have opportunistic coaches and they could grab a pro talent here. Montana I put in here as well because they like YSU don’t have anyone over 2.0 current skill at the position, if they put in bids grabbing any of the transfer RBs is a good idea. RB Wesley Bearden 5-7 233 (Sr) Goddard (Roswell, NM) 3.5 of 3.5 [Power] RB Jordan Lott 5-8 210 (Sr) Ripon (Ripon, CA) 3.5 of 3.5 [Speed] Prediction: FAMU, YSU, SDSU, Montana, New Hampshire all 20% See above. Not sure who get the other two 4.0 RBs (pretty sure EWU should get one) but the 3.5s will be in play for whoever misses on the other ones. Fullbacks FB Cody Vogel 6-1 217 (Sr) Wenonah (Birmingham, AL) 3.5 of 3.5 [Run Blocking] FB Isaac Youngblood 5-10 245 (Sr) Clay (Bend, IN) 3.5 of 3.5 [Run Blocking] There isn’t much to say about Fullbacks. They are more important for run oriented teams and these two could be upgrades for the FCS Level (hell I’d love one at Texas if this was next season). FB Cody Vogel 6-1 217 (Sr) Wenonah (Birmingham, AL) 3.5 of 3.5 [Run Blocking] FB Isaac Youngblood 5-10 245 (Sr) Clay (Bend, IN) 3.5 of 3.5 [Run Blocking] Prediction: Delaware, North Dakota, UC Davis, Harvard all 25% I’m not going to elaborate much here. Any of these programs would get a real boost from getting one of these FBs to block for them. I think Harvard will be the most likely to get one to help block for Cameron Whaley. UCD could also really use one and I don’t see these guys taking that much to get. Offensive Tackle OT Setu Avea 6-5 263 (Sr) Iola (Iola, KS) 4.0 of 4.0 [Run Blocking] Avea brings pro potential to a spot that almost any team could use some, offensive tackle. Coming from Auburn he has a great amount of P5 knowledge and experiences. OT Setu Avea 6-5 263 (Sr) Iola (Iola, KS) 4.0 of 4.0 [Run Blocking] Prediction: ISU 70%, Harvard30% I really think Avea is Illinois States to lose. They don’t need a QB or RB so they can go all in on Avea. The same can be said for Harvard also to some extent, they need a QB more than ISU and maybe will go for one so I’ll give the edge to ISU here because I think they are more likely to go in on Avea. Guard OG Ilan Lowery 6-7 297 (Sr) Elmira (Elmira, OR) 3.5 of 3.5 [Run Blocking] Lowery isn’t truly special but he could also be a huge boost to almost any line in the FCS. OG Ilan Lowery 6-7 297 (Sr) Elmira (Elmira, OR) 3.5 of 3.5 [Run Blocking] Prediction: ISU 50%, NDSU 50% Either one of these programs could use a 3.5 OG to stabilize the line. It’s a coin toss to me really. If NDSU doesn’t go for luck I think I’d give them the edge for sure. If ISU gets both Avea and Lowery they might be my championship favorite (more than a homer pick) by stabilizing their line big time. Center C Eli Navarro 6-3 295 (Sr) Deary (Deary, ID) 3.0 of 3.0 [Pass Blocking] C Eli Neff 6-4 246 (Sr) Oakdale (Oakdale, CA) 3.5 of 3.5 [Pass Blocking] There are a couple Centers out there for these FCS teams to snap up. Neff from Stanford is better than Navarro but either one can start for an FCS squad no problem. C Eli Neff 6-4 246 (Sr) Oakdale (Oakdale, CA) 3.5 of 3.5 [Pass Blocking] Prediction: NDSU 50%, JMU 50% I think the champs might be more likely to go for Neff over Lowery at OG. They have some high potential OGs but not great Centers. I think getting Neff could be big for the Bizon. James Madison also needs a Center. I’m not sure what they’ll do if they go for Luck it’s unlikely they don’t go for Neff. If they skip out at QB (don’t think they should but that’s on them) Neff would be a nice get C Eli Navarro 6-3 295 (Sr) Deary (Deary, ID) 3.0 of 3.0 [Pass Blocking] Prediction: FAMU, SDSU, EWU, Montana, North Dakota all 20% Navarro could start for any of these teams (and some others) I’d give a slight lean to EWU but Montana is desolate at C so if they get actual bids in I think Navarro could be part of their plan to get to respectability. OLB OLB Jason Galloway 6-1 240 (Sr) Copiah Academy (Gallman, MS) 3.0 of 3.0 [Blitz] Galloway is transferring from Florida State so he brings some of that P5 experience for a year at FCS. He isn’t anything special but he could help a front 7 that has a hole to fill. OLB Jason Galloway 6-1 240 (Sr) Copiah Academy (Gallman, MS) 3.0 of 3.0 [Blitz] Prediction: North Dakota, Yale, Portland State, EWU, Montana, UCD all 16.67% Any of these teams could use a linebacker and as a 3/3 he might be a lower priority transfer target. I’ll leave it up in the air, EWU or UCD would be my actual top favorites if forced to pick. FS FS Jaden Foster 5-11 210 (Sr) Bonham (Bonham, TX) 3.5 of 3.5 [Man Coverage] Foster is coming from Oklahoma so I’ll be repetitive here and say P5 knowledge ya da ya da. FS Jaden Foster 5-11 210 (Sr) Bonham (Bonham, TX) 3.5 of 3.5 [Man Coverage] Prediction: NDSU 30%, Delaware 40%, New Hampshire 30% Don’t know what the Bizon plan on doing but Foster would be a slight boost on the back end for them. They have a 3/3 but Foster would represent something better if they aren’t spending on the QBs they might want to go and get upgrades at multiple spots and adding someone who could play in speciality packages or FS isn’t a bad idea. Delaware has a 2.5/2.5 so Foster would definitely be better than their current starter. Is this who they decide to spend on? Maybe. New Hampshire also has a 2.5/2.5 like Delaware. Does The Sam go and grab Foster? Does he spend big on a QB (more likely) does he clean up in transfers because the other half of FCS isn’t active enough. Probably. SS SS Hunter Holmes 5-11 204 (Sr) Powell (Powell, TN) 3.5 of 3.5 [Zone Coverage] Holmes is coming out of Tennessee. He like Foster isn’t amazing but could definitely be a starter. Grabbing both safety’s together could be an interesting play by an FCS team. SS Hunter Holmes 5-11 204 (Sr) Powell (Powell, TN) 3.5 of 3.5 [Zone Coverage] Prediction: ISU 40%, SDSU 40%, Harvard 20% Illinois State doesn’t have a ton of skill at SS. Their top current skilled SS is only 2.0. They have an active coach and a need, if they get Avea and Holmes it’d be a good haul. SDSU and Harvard aren’t to be counted out as they both need some skill at the back end and Holmes offers it. Kicker K Victor Shanks 5-9 221 (Sr) North Tahoe (City, NV) 3.5 of 3.5 [Power] K Roman Lackey 5-7 178 (Sr) Fultondale (Birmingham, AL) 3.0 of 3.0 [Accuracy] K Alan Lockwood 6-1 162 (Sr) Glasgow (Glasgow, KY) 3.0 of 3.0 [Accuracy] K Aiden Hayden 6-3 151 (Sr) Padua Franciscan (Parma, OH) 3.5 of 3.5 [Accuracy] K Constantine Meier 6-3 222 (Sr) Saltsburg (Saltsburg, PA) 3.0 of 3.0 [Power] FCS team need a Kicker? There are plenty of options here and I’m not really going to break them down one by one but upgrades are here for FCS teams. K Victor Shanks 5-9 221 (Sr) North Tahoe (City, NV) 3.5 of 3.5 [Power] K Roman Lackey 5-7 178 (Sr) Fultondale (Birmingham, AL) 3.0 of 3.0 [Accuracy] K Alan Lockwood 6-1 162 (Sr) Glasgow (Glasgow, KY) 3.0 of 3.0 [Accuracy] K Aiden Hayden 6-3 151 (Sr) Padua Franciscan (Parma, OH) 3.5 of 3.5 [Accuracy] K Constantine Meier 6-3 222 (Sr) Saltsburg (Saltsburg, PA) 3.0 of 3.0 [Power] Prediction: New Hampshire, South Dakota State, FAMU, YSU, Montana whocares% FAMU needs one of these badly so I think they are 100% likely to get one. Otherwise I really don’t know and if you’re still with me bless you but do you really care either? NH and SDSU have active coaches and could sneak in and get upgrades cheap. There’s a chance one or two might slip to the coachless FCS guys Punter P Jonathan Andrew 6-3 177 (Sr) Northeast (Macon, GA) 3.5 of 3.5 [Accuracy] Andrew is the last redshirt Senior in the portal. We all know these teams in the FCS need to punt a lot so someone will want him P Jonathan Andrew 6-3 177 (Sr) Northeast (Macon, GA) 3.5 of 3.5 [Accuracy] Prediction: FAMU 100% I’m just going to say FAMU gets him because why not. Someone will want him but I’ll just go 100% on one person because I know this is all a crapshoot anyways.
  16. 14 points
    How Large Dozen fans feel about the 2023 season... as told by Michael Scott Baylor Iowa State Kansas Kansas State Oklahoma Oklahoma State Texas Texas Tech TCU West Virginia
  17. 14 points
    Rome, Before joining the then Buffalo Bills with you and Dean I was the relatively quiet coach of Kentucky that didn’t really participate on the site outside of gameplans, scheduling, occasional media pieces, etc. While you both quickly abandoned and left me before we even had a single player under contract with everyone’s favorite former member, aarontdodson, those days discussing building our team in the Texans subforum were my introduction to NFLHC. Had it not been for you guys I may have never joined NFLHC. Eventually, after many years of HC departures for other positions in the league I saw the opportunity to bring you back and did everything I could to make that happen. While the years since have been filled with ups and downs for the franchise, I have always considered you a friend. I know the decision to leave weighed heavy on you, and while I wish I could have convinced you to stay, I understand the call to join the team you grew up a fan of. Now that you have returned home, know that I will be the Bengals second biggest fan. Good luck and God speed.
  18. 13 points
    Though it sounds cliche, life is oftentimes a roller coaster. The highest of highs can be followed by the lowest of lows. Doors close just as quickly as they open. The pages of a book turn to the next chapter, though it feels as if the beginning were just a few back. And so, my career as a TCU Horned Frog comes to a close. Today, I officially announce my intent to transfer. This is not a decision that comes lightly by any means. This is something that I fought tooth and nail both to achieve and to retain. To accept defeat in this situation is incredibly hard but something that I must do. As much as I would love to stay and continue to battle for my job, I know that I need to go. Just as my story enters a new chapter, so does the story of this team. So does the story of Taylor Cook. I want it to be known that I bear no resentment towards the school, the coaching staff, or least of all Taylor. How could I? When I made my decision to come to TCU four years ago, I made it knowing that I would have to fight for the job and continue to fight every second I was there. I made it knowing that the top ranked quarterback in the state would also be attending the school. I made it knowing that if I wanted to play, I needed to be fierce, relentless. I made it knowing that if I won, there would be no limit to what I could do. And what happened? I lost. For the first time in my life, I faced defeat. I didn’t start as a freshman; Sam did. And he was very good. At that time, I was faced with a choice. I could stay the backup for the next three years and hope that Sam left early for the draft. I could try to transfer and become a starter at another school. Or I could fight. I could continue to work and try to wrestle the job out of Sam’s hands. I will choose fight every time, given the chance. I spent every day that offseason in the gym. I studied film relentlessly and improved more than I thought possible. I challenged not only Sam but myself. And when it came down to it, the second time around, I did what I couldn’t do before. I won. I was the starter. I can still remember the day that coach DangerZoneh came to tell me. He met us in the quarterbacks room before practice and told me and Sam that he was naming me starter and that he was announcing it to the team at practice. He said that he wanted us to be the first to know. I wish I could describe my emotions as I heard the words come from his mouth. My heart felt like it had risen into the air and was about to break through my chest. My stomach felt like it was about to drop out of me. My hands started to tingle and I choked up a bit. At practice, I finally got to address the team as the starting QB, something I had waited over a year to do. Afterwards, I rushed back to my dorm to call my dad and tell him. What followed was one of the most meaningful conversations of my life. We talked for hours. We talked about what had brought me to that point; we talked about the ten years of playing football that led to this moment; we talked about how proud mom would have been if she could see me now. Above all of this, I’ll never forget my dad’s parting words. “What you’ve accomplished is absolutely incredible, but never forget - this is not the end. This is the beginning. The reason you got here was because of your hard work and unwavering mentality. Do not let that change or it could all go away in the blink of an eye.” And I didn’t. I listened to his words loud and clear and that has never changed. I have continued to fight every step of the way. I’ve fought all across the country. My first ever game was a victory against USC in their stadium. I’ve beaten top ten teams in their house. I’ve defended my home against everyone. To this day, I have not lost a game in Amon G. Carter stadium. I’ve set every record in the school books, even though I have a feeling they may not stand for long. I’ve accomplished what I’ve wanted to do and now I’m left with no choice but to pass the torch. It’s hard to let go, but I don’t feel bad about it. If you’ve seen Taylor play, you’ll understand. Losing to someone that incredibly talented is not a fault of mine but an achievement of his. Now, looking forward, I find my father’s words ringing in my ear. This is not the end. This is only the beginning. I will continue to fight. I will take another school to a championship and I’ll win that one. I’ll set records at another school and when that chapter ends, I’m taking my talents to the NFL. As I look towards my future, I find myself filled with the same passion and excitement that I felt when I first found out I was the starter. Anyone who thinks this is the end of the road for me could not be mistaken. There are still doors to enter, still pages to read. The cart moves forward, and if I know anything about roller coasters, it’s that when the cart reaches its lowest point is when it has the most speed. This is far from the last you’ve heard from me. This is only the beginning.
  19. 13 points
    Bleach Report Presents... The Bleach Report's ACC Hot Dog Eating Contest CONEY ISLAND - With the 2023 season heating up, Bleach Report invited all 14 ACC starting quarterbacks to partake in a little known third hot dog eating contest of the day in New York. Although ESPN declined to air the contest live, much like the women's, it ended as the most competitive event of the day. Contestants were chosen based on each school's publicly posted depth charts - but not all schools have made their final lineup decisions, so the Bleach Report elected a likely starter from the official ACC rosters in these cases. The final roster for the contest was as follows: *indicates Bleach Report selection The rules of the competition were simple; eat as many tiny hot dogs as possible in a timed ten minute time period. Yes, that's right...the QBs scarfed miniaturized versions of the regular dogs. This decision was made to artificially inflate the numbers so that the conference appears to be competitive on a national level. The competition was fierce, since the quarterbacks were not provided meals for 24 hours leading up to the event. If you're wondering why The Bleach Report would shell out perfectly good cash to stage such a meaningless competition, then you're probably overqualified to be a BR reporter, and you also underestimate the number of ways I can pivot a results table. The primary objective was to eat the most mini-dogs overall, but there were also subcategories the contestants were competing in, to make things interesting. ACC football refs were used to judge the competition and provided the same terrible level of scrutiny as they do during football games. Your 2023 eating champion is... Connor McLean from Syracuse with 56 mini hot dogs eaten! The contest came down to the final few seconds, as McLean jammed 2 whole dogs in his mouth to secure the victory over Nick Carr. Carr and McLean went back and forth the whole contest. McGill, from BC, stayed with Carr and McLean until the last minute, but then had to slow down to fight off nausea. He finished 5 hot dogs behind the winner. The full results are as follows: Mike Lucas, Bryce Thompson, Logan Wilson, and Mitchell Denton fully embarrassed themselves by eating less than half of what the winner ate. When interviewed after the competition, Mike Lucas commented, "Yeah I mean whatever. I treated it like I do football...our fans don't care, so why should I?". We tried to track down a UVA football fan for comment, but they're surprisingly hard to come by. The sub-competition results were just as exhilarating: Placement by Class Class Averages 1. Sophomores 51 2 (tie). Freshmen 32 2 (tie). Juniors 32 4. Seniors 27 Placement by Division Division Averages 1. Atlantic 47 2. Coastal 25 The division distinction added an embarrassing result for the Coastal. Not just because of the dominating average of the Atlantic quarterbacks, but because it caused the competition announcer to realize... *I used a random function to determine how many dogs each player ate before I had even identified which division each QB was in. What a truly fascinating set of results. Happy 4th, friends!
  20. 13 points
    The first and only thing to come to my mind is the infamous homoerotic interview, from the sites most infamous homophobe. Touchdown.
  21. 12 points
    The New York Giants are requesting the additional information from police to be sent to their front office as well. The New York Giants DO NOT condone acts of violence and are disgusted by the league’s accusation that I would rationalize any sort of behavior. The NFL is simply pushing a false narrative that violence is never an acceptable response to solving disputes. This simply doesn’t work in real life. From the original post, the Giants were under the impression D’Qwell Moore was “verbally assaulted” by the unnamed woman after she cut him off. “Verbal assault” is a particular use of words, and I would like to note different from verbal harassment. As stated in our original post, verbal assault would be considered a misdemeanor in the State of Florida. The definition of simple assault is to “unlawfully touch someone or perform a show of violence. A show of violence means that someone threatens violence without necessarily acting on it.” I will not apologize for someone acting in self-defense. D’Qwell was assaulted.. Maybe it seems far-fetched to the league that a woman would be able to do any real harm to an NFL football player. This is not a valid excuse, it is a sexist excuse, and sex should not be used as an excuse not to take assault seriously. I will not give a pass on assault simply because of the sex of the offender. It’s unfortunate this woman was hurt by Mr. Moore, but we will not stand for this slander of our player as some sort of violent attacked and this fake reporting by the League. The Giants will still stand by their player until the League provides the evidence given to them by police. We denounce the League’s lack of transparency in including the Giant’s staff with talks of police, as we expect them to keep the franchise up-to-date so we can make the correct decisions in response. Victims of assault shouldn’t be ignored and punishing him before he goes through his due process is absolutely insane. Sadly this sort of action is not uncommon in today’s society. Because of his job and fame, he has been unfairly treated for standing up to someone who threatened his life, “verbal assault.” Even if they don’t act on these threats of violence, this is a crime. We will not apologize for standing up for a victim of assault, and I’m proud to make the donation to the Non-Violence Project in the name of the woman who assaulted Mr. Moore, and request they use the money to do a study on “Female Violence Against Men” since only 10% of male victims of female violence report their incidents to the police. We look forward to receiving the additional information from the League and regret they decided to make such a hasty decision to ban him before he has even had a court date. #Justice4D’Qwell
  22. 12 points
    npklemm

    [2023] NFCS Preview

    Atlanta Falcons 2022 Record: 11-4-1 I was super low on the Falcons entering the 2022 Season. They surprised just about everyone in winning the division. They have since made some changes under center and their outlook for 2023 looks quite different. Top Players QB Donald Culver 6-1 192 1 Utah [Pocket] [+2/C] 82 RB Akili Wallace 5-10 180 7 Florida State [Speed] [-1] 94 RB Bradley Cooley 5-11 198 5 TCU [Speed] [0] 80 TE Jason Erwin 6-6 242 3 Arizona State [Receiving] [+3] 86 OT Julian Sykes 6-6 307 7 Boston College [Pass Blocking] [-1/C] 91 OT Kelly Meier 6-8 307 6 Alabama [Run Blocking] [0] 87 OG LaMichael Harley 6-2 297 2 Michigan [Pass Blocking] [+2] 87 OT/OG Jackson Gibson 6-4 240 2 Auburn [Run Blocking] [+1] 85 DE Early Davis 6-3 259 4 Georgia [Blitz] [0] 91 OLB Robert Lacy 6-3 240 4 Stanford [Blitz] [0] 86  OLB Tommy Leonard 6-1 229 9 Nebraska [Blitz] [+1/C] 81 ILB Devin Frazier 6-1 257 R Akron [Mike] [+3/C] 80 CB David Wilburn 5-10 195 9 Stanford [Man Coverage] [0/C] 88 FS Darius Jones 6-1 205 5 Washington [Zone Coverage] [0] 94 We don't know what Donald Culver is, what his ceiling is, or what his long term prospects are. But we knew those about AJJ, and the Falcons made the switch. It was the right decision, even if 2023 is a season of growing pains. At least Culver has Akili and Bradley Cooley to rely on. Cooley early on in his career looked like nothing, but has blossomed into a very good partner next to Akili. The pair make for a great safety blanket for a young QB. Jason Erwin is the best receiving threat the Falcons have, and he's leveraging that for a new contract. Culver has a great OL in front of him to protect him. Sykes, Meier, Harley, and Gibson are a great line. They'll keep Culver upright and open up holes for Akili and Cooley. Early Davis is a stud on the edge of the DL, getting constant pressure on opposing QBs. Robert Lacy and Tommy Leonard make a great 2nd Line defensive pairing. The Ageless Leonard constantly comes up huge for the defense, making clutch plays when they need it. The youngster Devin Frazier looks primed to flourish in the middle of the Defense. I'm very excited for him in Atlanta. David Wilburn is still a stud and is supported by an elite player in Darius Jones. Biggest Losses QB AJJ OG Tom McKelvey Good news for Atlanta, they didn't lose much. AJJ had worn out his time in Atlanta. He couldn't stay on the field, and when he was on the field, he was insanely inconsistent. Moving on from him was the absolute correct decision. Losing McKelvey will hurt a little. He wasn't a starter, but he was a long time player for the Falcons and brought veteran leadership to the team, while being the best backup interior lineman. Biggest Additions WR Stevie Henderson 5-10 180 R NDSU [Speed] [+1] 78 DT Oluwatoke Abiodun 6-5 289 R USC [1-Gap] [+1] 79 ILB Devin Frazier 6-1 257 R Akron [Mike] [+3/C] 80 The Falcons are a pretty conservative franchise. They don't make very many trades and don't go after splashy free agents. They build almost exclusively through the draft. They've picked a few guys this year that could make a big impact. Stevie Henderson will slot into the #3 Role this year most likely (especially with Tyrus Wilson out for the season). The Falcons have had poor Receiver play for a long time. Hopefully Henderson brings some fresh legs to the offense. Oluwatoke Abiodun is a big lad in the middle of the defense and could be the answer to the Falcons' DT woes. Atlanta has been dogged for years for not getting a DT, but I think in their spots they've drafted, not taking a DT was the correct choice most of the time. Hopefully Abiodun makes the transition quickly and Atlanta gets a real DT to pair with their DEs. Like I mentioned above, I love Frazier and think he'll be a great fit in Atlanta. Opportunities TB Rebuild? Tampa is kinda rebuilding? But trading away picks for vet players? The uncertainty around Tampa should help Atlanta. Akili's Health. Wallace is fully healthy, and should be the focal point of the offense. Threats Donald Culver. I like Culver, but he's inexperienced and that will likely lead to some dud performances. Long term, the Falcons will be fine, but 2023 may be a tad rough at times. WR Play. Riddick Smith and Bo Woodall are just OK, and then what's next? Stevie Henderson played in the FCS, and he may not be really ready for major NFLHC minutes right away. But, there's no one else to step up. SS. Mario Ruff is dealing with a minor injury and will be ready to play in the regular season. But, he really struggled at times last season. If he continues to struggle, the back of the defense is suddenly susceptible to attack. Schedule Carolina Panthers 2022 Record: 11-4-1 Carolina made some big moves during the season in an effort to make a Superbowl run. They won a Wild Card spot, but lost in the first round to the Eagles in Philly. The walls are starting to close on Carolina, 2023 seems to be one of their last times to make a run before it all falls apart. Top Players QB Christian Skaggs 6-1 214 9 Florida State [Pocket] [-1] 99 RB Mike Latta 6-0 209 6 Florida State [Speed] [-2] 88 WR Monte Jackson 6-6 227 4 Miami [Target] [-2] 92 TE Curtis Henry 6-6 202 3 Utah State [Receiving] [-1] 92 OT Tron Moses 6-6 285 8 Michigan State [Pass Blocking] [0] 96 OG Delvin Hodgins 6-5 287 8 Michigan [Pass Blocking] [0] 88 OG Joshua Whitlock 6-6 284 3 Washington State [Run Blocking] [0] 86 DE Kendrick Droughns 6-6 294 7 Ohio State [Contain] [+1] 92 DT Mike Wohlabaugh 6-3 287 6 USC [1-Gap] [0] 92 OLB Morris Millen 6-0 246 8 UCLA [Blitz] [+3/C] 88 OLB Trent Haynes 6-1 228 7 Tennessee [Coverage] [-2] 87 ILB Chris Tucker 6-3 230 4 Tennessee [Mike] [0] 87 CB Nate Tensi 6-0 196 8 Clemson [Man Coverage] [0/C] 91 SS Darren Manning 6-4 189 7 Tennessee [Zone Coverage] [-1] 92 SKAGGS. What more can you say about Skaggs after all this time? He's still in his prime and on top of the league with Brian Brown. He will drag the Panthers kicking and screaming to the playoffs as long as he can. Latta is seemingly always on the market for trade, but Carolina isn't too motivated to move him. He fits well in this offense and works well with Skaggs. Monte Jackson is currently holding out and has been offered a massive contract. He's a stud and is Skaggs' top target. His number 2 target is Curtis Henry, who's become one of the best Tight Ends in the league. Tron Moses, Delvin Hodgins, and Joshua Whitlock make a good core for an OL. They'll protect Skaggs well. Kendrick Droughns is the guy on defense since Ron Rice left in Free Agency, he got off to a pretty good start in 2022 before slowing down a little. Mike Wohlabaugh is a bulldozer in the middle of the Line, disrupting the offense right through the middle. Morris Millen decided to come back for one more go around at a chance at a Superbowl. Trent Haynes spent 2022 injured, and boy did the Panthers miss him. Having him back for 2023 will be huge for them. Last season, the Panthers traded for Chris Tucker to be the "QB" of the defense. He was rewarded with a nice contract and should do the same this year for Carolina. Nate Tensi is a very good Corner, which is super important in this division. Darren Manning plays Centerfield in the back, and helps clean up mistakes. Biggest Losses RB Shawn Anderson CB Jacoby Seaverns Anderson served as Latta's backup for a long time, but decided to hang it up. Losing him won't hurt much since the Panthers don't run the ball at all. Seaverns also retired. Jacoby became a bit of a journeyman for a while, before finding a home in Carolina. Losing him will hurt a little, but the cap relief probably outweighs the performance on the field lost. Biggest Additions OG Delvin Hodgins 6-5 287 8 Michigan [Pass Blocking] [0] 88 The Panthers traded picks to New England to bring in Hodgins to shore up the Offensive Line. They had a hole at Guard, and fixed it with this trade. They didn't bring in anyone else of relevance, with their trades last season, their first pick was: Ronnie Peterson. Oof. I wouldn't be surprised if this entire Draft Class was a complete bust for the Panthers. Opportunities Atlanta QB Situation. The Falcons moving to Culver should short term lead to the benefit of Carolina, Atlanta will likely be inconsistent and unable to hold onto their top spot in the Division. TB Rebuild? Tampa is kinda rebuilding? But trading away picks for vet players? The uncertainty around Tampa should help Carolina. AT Injury. The team who bounced Carolina last season may not make the Playoffs this year. Without Philly, Carolina's path to the Superbowl is a little easier. Threats OL Depth. The Panthers' depth on the OL is virtually non-existent. The Panthers have 6 total backups (2 are currently injured). Outside of Vincent Peck, none of the backups on this team is good enough to play in the NFLHC. They're borderline Practice Squad Players who will be forced to make the Active Roster. One injury here could doom Carolina's season. CB Depth. Tensi is very good. But after him? Ehh. Russ Barker is probably fine as a #3 type of guy, but he has to be the #2 guy. Carolina drafted 2 Corners, but neither will make an impact for this team. Carolina could get torched by their division rivals because of this depth. Schedule New Orleans Saints 2022 Record: 10-6 After a White Hot Start, the Saints suffered some injuries and limped to a 6-6 finish. At 10-6, they were 3rd in their own Division and missed the playoffs. The Saints are hoping to stay healthy in 2023 and make a push for the Playoffs. Top Players QB Aaron Devereaux 6-6 204 7 LSU [Pocket] [+1] 95 WR Sean Jenkins 6-6 182 6 North Texas [Speed] [+1] 98 WR Mike Miller 6-4 209 1 South Dakota State [Target] [0] 81 C Ryan Poole 6-1 303 8 Texas [Run Blocking] [0/C] 93 OT Wesley Dawkins 6-2 282 6 Michigan [Pass Blocking] [0] 86 DE Charles Woods 6-5 273 4 Notre Dame [Contain] [0] 88 DT Jeremy Miller 6-1 304 7 Texas Tech [2-Gap] [+2/C] 93 ILB Garrett Holliday 6-3 234 2 Arizona State [Mike] [-1] 86 OLB Austin Olson 5-11 234 5 Notre Dame [Blitz] [+1/C] 91 CB George Brady 5-11 181 8 Nebraska [Man Coverage] [+1/C] 84 Devy is one of the top QBs in the league, and looks to stay on top this season. Without a real running game, he'll be forced to air it out a lot in 2023. Sean Jenkins is quite possibly the best Receiver in the league, he's almost impossible to stop. Mike Miller got off to an insanely good start in 2022 before suffering a season ending injury. The Saints are hoping he recovers his form in 2023. Ryan Poole has been a big member of this team for a long time, and is the team's best OL. Wesley Dawkins is still pretty good, but he's not long for the league. Charles Woods is the best DE on the team, but he's unhappy. Hopefully for NO, he still plays well on the field even with his grievances against the team. Jeremy Miller (you bastard) is still a great player in this defense. Garrett Holliday is a stud and is the future of the defense. Austin Olson has blossomed into a very good player for the Saints. George Brady is a NFLHC Team's #1 Corner, in 2023. Biggest Losses RB Sterling Brown WR Jamaal Brown-Sanderson OG Virgil Madison Newer users may not remember when Sterling Brown dominated the Big XII. He was an absolute legend at Texas, but just never put it all together in the Pros. He was fine, but couldn't live up to his CFBHC play. But, he was still the Saints starting RB for the last couple of seasons and helped the Offense however he could. But now he's gone, having retired in the off-season. This now pushes RB DeSean Dockery into the top job, and losing Brown's veteran experience is going to hurt. WR JBS was forced into major minutes last season when Mike Miller went down. Losing him is probably addition by subtraction. OG Virgil Madison was let go in Free Agency, he had just aged his way out of New Orleans. The Saints didn't really replace him (well they kind of tried, but he got injured). Biggest Additions RB Quincy Turner 6-1 200 8 UCLA [Speed] [-1] 79 WR Marcus Ratterman 6-4 190 4 Hawaii [Speed] [-2] 82 OT Jason Dotson 6-1 275 R Oklahoma [Pass Blocking] [0] 76 OG William Kinard 6-5 294 5 Texas [Run Blocking] [0] 81 DE Shamar Manning 6-1 276 5 Florida State [Contain] [+1] 81 CB Maury Gregg 6-0 168 6 Penn State [Man Coverage] [0] 79 CB Eric Hall 5-11 177 R Arizona [Man Coverage] [0/C] 80 QT was brought in to be Dockery's backup, the Saints hope he gets limited touches this season. Ratterman was brought in to bolster the WR Depth after last season, Miami's WRs were not good (J.C. Weldon excluded) and they actively let go of Ratterman. That's not a ringing endorsement for Marcus. Doston was drafted to bring some depth to the OL, while Kinard was signed in FA to do the same. Kinard may actually start for this team. Shamar Manning was signed in FA to start opposite of Charles Woods, as DE was a major issue last season. Maury Gregg was signed to help the CB Depth (which was also ravaged by injuries last season). His time a a major contributor is long over, but he should be a good depth player. Eric Hall was drafted with hopes of being a starter in the future, but may see only limited action in year 1. Opportunities Atlanta QB Situation. The Falcons moving to Culver should short term lead to the benefit of New Orleans, Atlanta will likely be inconsistent and unable to hold onto their top spot in the Division. TB Rebuild? Tampa is kinda rebuilding? But trading away picks for vet players? The uncertainty around Tampa should help New Orleans. Threats Running Game. The Saints couldn't get much out of Brown recently, and I doubt they get much more out of Dockery this season. This will force the Saints to be super one-dimensional. WR Depth. I love Sean Jenkins, and Mike Miller was good last year. But Ratterman is a big off and there isn't any player behind him that looks encouraging. Another injury here could really hurt New Orleans's chances at the Playoffs. OL. The Saint's OL is looking a little rough around the edges. Poole is still excellent, and the tackles are fine (nothing more, but should be ok). But the Guards are looking rough. The backups on the team don't look great either. This unit looks like it could be really rough at times. CB. George Brady regressed 2 points, but is still the team's best Corner. Devin Little is fine, and should be ok next to Brady. Justin Williams is a good Nickel guy imo, but won't be much more than that. Maury Gregg is experienced, but that's probably all I can say. No one had a worse Pre-Draft Process than Eric Hall. He's definitely not ready to major minutes and won't be a factor this year. With Skaggs and Heiden in this division, this unit could spell doom for the Saints defense. Schedule Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2022 Record: 7-9 In most divisions, 7-9 puts you firmly in 3rd place and maybe 2nd place. In the NFCS, that puts you in 4th place by 3 Games. Tampa made some odd moves in the off-season, and I truly don't know what 2023 looks like for them. Top Players QB Taylor Heiden 6-3 197 7 Arkansas [Hybrid] [+1/C] 91 RB DeNorris Jackson 6-0 235 2 UCF [Power] [-1] 86 WR A.J. Edwards 6-4 217 R Alabama [Speed] [-2] 81 TE Darren Jones 6-7 241 5 Baylor [Receiving] [-1] 92 OT Gene Miller 6-6 297 8 Ohio State [Pass Blocking] [-3/C] 88 OG Zak Cole 6-0 301 7 Alabama [Run Blocking] [0] 86 DE Charles Johnson 6-8 261 5 Hawaii [Blitz] [+1] 88 DE Darris Hayes 6-6 289 6 Ole Miss [Blitz] [0] 85 OLB Thomas Barry 6-1 225 6 Arizona State [Coverage] [0] 90 ILB Andre Brooks 6-1 256 9 Wisconsin [Mike] [+1/C] 88 CB Sammy Muhammad 5-10 178 7 Missouri [Man Coverage] [0] 88 FS Aaron Blakely 6-1 182 3 Wisconsin [Man Coverage] [+1] 85 SS Chris Brown 5-11 176 6 Alabama [Zone Coverage] [0] 85 Heiden has been the signal caller in Tampa forever, but one has to wonder how much he has left. 2021 was incredible for him, but 2022 was a tad of a regression. Tampa has to hope that 2023 is much more like 2021 for him. DNJ had a stellar rookie season and then a rough sophomore year. Just like Heiden, Tampa is hoping he has a year more like 2021. Tampa took A.J. Edwards in the 1st Round, and he is probably the best WR on the team already. Darren Jones was brought in from Denver, and is likely the top receiving target on the team. Miller and Cole will lead the OL (the other guys are good, but these guys are the best). Charles Johnson was also brought in from Denver to play opposite of Darris Hayes, the duo should be a force to wreckon with in the South. Thomas Barry and Andre Brooks are the top dogs in the 2nd Line now, and I think both guys are freed up a little to make more plays. Sammy Muhammad was signed after Baltimore's fuckup. With the CB Corps that Tampa had, he's a massive improvement over what they have now. Aaron Blakely was the 4th Overall Pick once. He's been meh since. Chris Brown was traded for to shroe up the SS position that absolutely plagued them last season. Biggest Losses WR Richard Wilson WR Quintavius Pearson WR James Richardson DT Frank Williams ILB Christopher Clayton OLB Derrick Martin CB Cameron Newhouse The Bucs lost 3 of their Top 4 Receivers from last season (2 happen to be with the Colts). Wilson decided to leave Tampa in Free Agency, QB was traded to Indy for Chris Brown, and James Richardson was let go and then signed by Indy. This leaves the top rated WR in Tampa to be...Cotton Lewis. Oof. The Loss of Wilson cannot be understated in it's impact. He was their best receiver in franchise history. QB was a solid player, so losing him hurts too. Richardson finished the year as the #3 guy because of an injury to Anthony McCardell. His loss isn't too big. Frank Williams was the face of the defense for a long time, but he's now in Denver. They didn't have true replacement (Jeremi Alexander or Omar Adcock will be his replacement - yikes). Derrick Martin was sent to Washington, and the return was not that good. Martin was a stud in this defense, and the Defense won't recover from his loss. Newhouse was also sent to Denver, and although Muhammad is a good player, he's not Cameron Newhouse. Biggest Additions WR A.J. Edwards 6-4 217 R Alabama [Speed] [-2] 81 WR Ken Peelle 6-6 214 9 Florida State [Target] [-1] 82 WR Jamaal Brown-Sanderson 6-1 211 4 Penn State [Target] [0] 76 TE Darren Jones 6-7 241 5 Baylor [Receiving] [-1] 92 C T.J. Brumm 6-1 267 6 Arizona State [Pass Blocking] [0] 82 DE Charles Johnson 6-8 261 5 Hawaii [Blitz] [+1] 88 OLB Nathaniel Jeffries 5-11 253 2 Tennessee [Blitz] [-3] 80 CB Sammy Muhammad 5-10 178 7 Missouri [Man Coverage] [0] 88 CB Blake Turner 6-3 176 3 Ohio State [Man Coverage] [-2] 84 CB T.J. Hunter 6-0 203 5 Penn State [Zone Coverage] [0] 80 SS Chris Brown 5-11 176 6 Alabama [Zone Coverage] [0] 85 I've already mentioned Edwards, Jones, Johnson, Muhammad, and Brown. I'll talk about the others. Ken Peelle is a football player. After a long stint in Denver, he's now in Tampa. He's not relevant. JBS was signed in FA, and he should hopefully not be higher than like 4th on the Depth Chart. If he's higher, then things have gone wrong in Tampa. T.J. Brumm was brought in from Arizona to bring a boost to the OL, he should be fine. Nathaniel Jeffries is not good. He was very bad in Washington last season, I do not understand this move at all. Blake Turner is a 1st Round Bust, but he should be better than last season's #2 guy in Demetrius Still/Franklin Crawford Jr. T.J. Hunter keeps getting playing time (he's slotted to be the #3 guy right now). And that needs to stop, he's bad. Opportunities Atlanta QB Situation. The Falcons moving to Culver should short term lead to the benefit of New Orleans, Atlanta will likely be inconsistent and unable to hold onto their top spot in the Division. Threats WR. With Cotton Lewis as the highest rated WR left, and a rebuilt WR Corps (for the worse), Tampa's passing game is in a State of Emergency. I don't know who Heiden looks to on 3rd and Long to move the chains, or who will consistently get open. These guys will hold the offense back. DT. Frank the Tank was a stud in the middle, and his replacement will not be. Adcock was a panic pick, Jeremi Alexander suffered an injury last season, so who knows what he's got left. Forest Williams is trying to retire. This position is now a black hole in the defense. OLB. The loss of Derrick Martin cannot be understated. Tampa will struggle in that unit without him, and especially with how they'll throw out instead of him. CB. Tampa has completely rebuilt this unit from the ground up (although Demetrius is still there). Who knows how this unit gels or doesn't gel. How much does Sammy have? Is T.J. Hunter still really, really bad (he is)? There are so many questions with this unit, and they have to face Skaggs and Devy twice a year. Yikes. Schedule Final Thoughts on Division I think this division will still be competitive, although this year Carolina will be the clear top team. Tampa will be maddeningly inconsistent and finish last again. NO and ATL will have opportunities to make runs at the Playoffs, but I think they have enough issues to be held back.
  23. 12 points
    Skyline Chili changes a man.
  24. 11 points
    UDFA QB Rickie Shaffer throws a pass during Sunday's game Landover - As the final seconds ticked off the clock Rickie Shaffer looked up at the scoreboard and could hardly believe what he was seeing Miami 31 Washington 24. In most fans' eyes the 4th week of the preseason has very little meaning, but to the players just trying to hang on to practice squads it provides valuable game tape to show exactly what they can provide. Shaffer had a good career for the University of Houston especially with the circumstance of immediately following Cougar legend and current Bengals' starter Joel King. However, when the NFLHC draft came, Shaffer gathered with his family hoping to hear his name called in the mid-to-late rounds, as the rounds ticked by it began to look like Rickie would not be selected. Shaffer would eventually sign a UDFA deal with the Miami Dolphins and be afforded the opportunity to attend their rookie mini-camp, but his performance there left a lot to be desired. One member of the media was quoted as saying "I would give his performance a D, but he basically has no pro-potential." The Dolphins decided to keep Shaffer on the roster throughout the preseason as an insurance policy. He did not really fit the scheme primarily run by the likes of Brian Brown and Steven Gore, but he offered an interesting change of pace that could provide benefit down the road. Going into the 4th week of the preseason, Head Scout @vtgorilla pulled Shaffer aside and told him "We're going to give you the start this week, and we are going to install a game-plan that allows you to show off your strengths." Shaffer immediately went to work knowing this could be his big chance to show an NFL team he could win ball games in the right system. 13/21 for 125 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 5 rushes for 32 yards including a 24 yard touchdown run. That's the type of performance that could earn a quarterback a shot as a backup somewhere in the league. Efficient game management with big-play potential sprinkled is exactly what teams are looking for from a young guy. Shaffer showed that big play pop in the 4th quarter, specifically on an RPO that Ken Whisenhunt dug out of the playbook. @vtgorilla was excited about the call "I knew that play was in the playbook, and was giddy to see them line up for it. It won't work again this season, because there's an obvious tell, but it's not like we're gonna put Brown out there in space. But with a guy like Shaffer... man you give him a lane and he can turn on the jets. The defense bit hard on the running back fake, and the edge blocking was superb. I'm not a preseason guy, but I'd watch every game if teams start calling more plays like that." These are the type of plays that will keep a kid in the league. After the game Rickie was obviously full of emotion. "They gave me a chance to run some stuff that I am comfortable with from my time at Houston. Coach smackems and @vtgorilla have done some good stuff with athletic quarterbacks in the past so it was fun to get out there and catch the Skins with their pants down." Washington came into the game playing a lot of guys you will see as primary backups on their 53 man roster including quarterback Kyle Davidson, receiver AJ Byrne, and 2022 2nd round pick Angelo Denny. Whisenhunt was excited by the performance of the team "A lot of these guys are fighting to make the roster, or the practice squad, or will use this as an audition for other teams. Our goal is to win the Super Bowl, but it's nice to use this time to give these kids a chance to show off their skills." Running back duo Mohamed Mustafa and Timothy Cano combined for nearly 100 yards and 2 TDs on 25 carries. That's exactly the type of performance you hope to get from your rotational running back options. Timothy Heller lead the defense with 3 tackles and a sack, while Julian Woods paced the secondary with an interception. Defensive Coordinator Joe Vitt had good things to say about the young guys "I was real happy with the way they played the game. Washington played a lot of guys you will see during the regular season, it was obvious that their coach wanted to win the game for some reason." As Rickie sat at his locker after the game he still couldn't believe how well the offense played. "I hope I can catch on here on the practice squad, if that doesn't work I hope I showed a team like Seattle, Chicago, or Philadelphia that I could be an asset to them in the future." The Dolphins have until July 25th to trim their roster to 53 players and identify the players they would like to have on their practice squad. Miami opens the season on Sunday Night football against defending the NFC South champion Atlanta Falcons in a highly anticipated game on both sides. Time will tell if Rickie Shaffer earned a coveted roster spot or not.
  25. 11 points
    lrickar1

    [2023] Phase 2 Instructions

    QB (So) QB Alex Burnham 6-3 223 (So) Ringgold (Ringgold LA) 4.0 of 4.0 [Pocket] Spend 35 points
  26. 11 points
    Mustafa Searches for Redemption This Weekend MIAMI - Mohamed Mustafa suited up for Week 1 of the preseason ready to show off how much he had improved after a year on the Dolphins’ practice squad. He logged 2 carries for -5 yards and a fumble before getting yanked from the lineup. But after several weeks in the smackems doghouse, Mustafa has reemerged on the Dolphins depth chart. He’ll be suiting up as the starting RB against the Redskins in the 4th preseason game in what might be his last shot to stay on a roster this season. “I feel like I’ve got a lot to prove - to myself, to Coach @smackemz, and to the fans,” Mustafa commented during this morning’s team presser. And he does if he expects a cutthroat GM like smackems to keep him around after a second dismal outing. The expectations exist for a reason. He had a stunning career at WVU, carrying the team to the playoffs his senior season. He once held the Big12 record for career carries and amassed over 4000 yards rushing in his time at WVU. But despite the stunning career statistics, he has always had strong critics. He finished a few collegiate seasons with fewer than 4 yards per carry and never really carried himself as a team leader. When the Dolphins took a flyer on him with their 6th round pick of the 2022 draft, there was some public grumbling on the local Miami AM sports radio station. The 2022 pre-season seemed to back up the Phins’ decision however. Mustafa posted an early stat line of 15 for 50 which drew heavy praise from the Jaguars’ administration. Jags owner @Soluna commented during an ESPN interview, “I think that line shows some promise considering his skill level and who he was playing against.” But there was no praise to be had 3 weeks ago; the silence has been deafening. With only two carries, few fans even spotted that he got playing time, not that he was really looking for people to notice his dismal showing. Mohamed commented, “I know I can do better. I’ve trained full-time, non-stop since I didn’t make the final roster cut last season. I met with the coaches to draw up a progress plan and try to lay out a path for my future. To then turn in a performance like that was really painful.” But then he perked up, “This week will be different! I met with Coach @smackemz and Scout @vtgorilla to create a plan. We drew up a special package for myself and a couple other guys who need a shot. We’re playing to our strengths instead of jumping into the rigid everyday gameplan. It’s going to be a lot of fun to stomp those Skins.” We don’t really know what to expect - it’s the preseason after all - but you have to appreciate that renewed energy.
  27. 11 points
    npklemm

    [2023] NFCE Preview

    Dallas Cowboys 2022 Record: 9-7 The Boys were in good shape through the first half of the season. But then injuries to both Graham Burnett and Luke Williams left the Boys down to their 3rd String QB to try and keep them afloat in the playoff race. And he just couldn't quite do it. Dallas finished two games back, and you have to wonder if Graham Burnett stays healthy what the 2022 Playoffs look like. They come into 2023 with big hopes and opportunities in their division to make the playoffs again. Top Players QB Graham Burnett 6-3 211 3 Oklahoma [Pocket] [0] 89 RB Adrian Robinson 5-11 203 5 Houston [Power] [0] 86 WR Rodney Montgomery 6-0 185 8 LSU [Target] [-1] 91 OT Justin Campbell 6-6 291 8 Penn State [Run Blocking] [0] 97 OG Jace Brown 6-6 270 7 Florida [Pass Blocking] [0/C] 95 C Sid Henson 6-5 298 7 USC [Run Blocking] [0/C] 88 DT Kendall Hill 6-6 312 8 California [2-Gap] [0/C] 89 OLB Jeff Mangum 6-2 256 9 Missouri [Blitz] [0] 86 CB Travis Chatman 5-10 172 9 Washington [Zone Coverage] [0] 96 SS Romulus Jackson 6-0 193 6 Fresno State [Zone Coverage] [+1] 88 Graham Burnett's health is paramount, the Cowboys' playoff hopes rest in his arm. That arm not being on the field makes it so much harder for Dallas to get to that magic number. Adrian Robinson needs to be much more consistent in 2023 to take some pressure off of Burnett. He doesn't need to be elite, but give reliable output. Rodney Montgomery is still a good receiver and a good pairing with Burnett. The Cowboys Offensive Line is pretty legendary. Campbell, Brown, and Henson are the remnants of that legendary line and they're still damn good. On Defense, Kendall Hill does quite a bit up the middle. He gets after the QB and plugs the holes in the running game. He's dealing with a slight injury, but should be good for the regular season. Jeff Mangum has been on this defense for a while and does a good job of bringing the pressure off the edge. Travis Chatman is possibly the most underrated and underhyped players in the league. Romulus Jackson is a solid back of the defense player, but his time seems to be coming to an end sooner rather than later. Biggest Losses WR Austin Medina OG Barry Waterfield Medina isn't going to thrill you in anyway, but he's a solid 3rd Option. Those 3rd Options are becoming harder and harder to find. I think they'll miss his experience on the field. Barry Waterfield was sent away via Trade, and was a member of the legendary line. He had certainly lost a step or two, but was still their 2nd Best Guard option. Donald Goode doesn't seem like he'll be a good replacement for Waterfield. Biggest Additions WR DeAndre Felder 6-5 216 R Vanderbilt [Target] [0] 80 OG Brett Spangler 6-5 291 R Toledo [Run Blocking] [+1] 77 OLB Ryan Bailey 6-3 216 R Florida [Blitz] [+1/C] 81 The best things the Cowboys added were all rookies. DeAndre Felder looks like he'll fill Medina's role this year with the hopes of being the #2 alongside Montgomery or maybe taking over for him completely. I'm not totally sold on Felder, but he had a very good Pro Day, and his collegiate stats are hard to take seriously given the QB issues he had at Vanderbilt. Brett Spangler looks like he could maybe be a starter for Dallas in two seasons, Donald Goode isn't a stellar player and will need to get replaced at some point. Spangler had a good Minicamp, so there's hope he'll be starting for this team eventually. Ryan Bailey was the team's 1st Round Pick, and with the aging OLBs on the team, it makes perfect sense to pick a future starter. Bailey is not ready for major game action first year, but he should be ready by the time Jeff Mangum is ready to be replaced. Opportunities Allan Taylor's Injury - AT is out for a significant portion of the season, leaving the door open for Dallas to make a move for the Division title. AT will be back before the end of the season, so Dallas needs to get off to a good start to build their lead before he comes back. I'm not high on the NFC South this season, I don't think they'll get two teams in. Last year, they had 3 teams competing for 2 spots, this year I think they'll only get the Division Winner in. This leaves one Wild Card spot up for grabs. Threats I've mentioned it a couple of times already, but Graham Burnett's health is absolutely key. They must protect him at all costs. Does Adrian Robinson get more consistent? If he doesn't, the offensive output of this team will vary wildly and bring a few losses. How does the OL react to the loss of Barry Waterfield? Do they continue to play at an elite level? Or do they take a noticeable step back? Do Javier Grady and Joseph Randolph bring a better pass rush? The duo don't always bring consistent pressure, and that will be key for this defense. Schedule New York Giants 2022 Record: 3-12-1 Welp, the Giants were bad last season. The offense was brutal to watch, and that gave no favors to the defense at all. They're hoping this year will be different, but that's hard to see. Top Players QB Eric McLean 6-2 206 R Rice [Pocket] [+2/C] 83 RB O.J. Carano 5-11 217 8 Minnesota [Power] [0] 85 WR Tevin Lattimore 6-2 225 1 Missouri [Target] [-1] 85 OT Ryan Robinson 6-6 299 6 Oklahoma State [Run Blocking] [-1] 92 DE Khairi Bryant 5-10 263 1 Ohio State [Blitz] [0] 87 DE Curtis Lewis 6-8 283 7 Texas [Blitz] [0] 93 OLB Louis Peterson 6-4 200 5 Oklahoma State [Blitz] [0] 90 CB Will Hall 5-10 224 5 USC [Zone Coverage] [+1] 90 FS D'Qwell Moore 6-3 203 2 Florida State [Zone Coverage] [0] 86 Eric McLean was the #1 Pick of the Draft, and although he's looked shaky in the Pre-Season, the Giants have to be thrilled to have some positivity surrounding the QB position. O.J. is ancient, but still serviceable behind McLean. Tevin Lattimore and Eric McLean could prove to be a great duo for a long time in New York. Ryan Robinson is an elite Right Tackle, which is always nice to have. Khairi Bryant and Curtis Lewis are a great pass rushing duo already. Louis Peterson may not exactly fit this defense, but is the best LB they have. Will Hall had a great first half of a rookie season and has seemingly done not much. The Giants have to hope his impact is more in coverage instead of creating turnovers. D'Qwell looks like the next best safety. Biggest Losses OT Roderick White OG Brian Olszewski DT Brad Mungro OLB Aaron Hammond FS Onome Smith SS George Russell White decided to hang it up after last season, and losing a experienced OL is always tough. The Giants let Olszewksi go in Free Agency. They had Marcus Slade in waiting and liked him more this year than Olszewski. Mungro was an ok player, but he was aging and it was time to move on. Aaron Hammond was dealt to Buffalo, and I think they'll feel his loss greatly. He may not stuff statsheets, but he was the primary coverage LB they had. Now they don't have that. Onome Smith was a backup, but now they don't have a backup Free Safety. George Russell just got bodied out of the position, and he's not a particularly good player, but losing Safety depth when you have none isn't a good move. Biggest Additions QB Eric McLean 6-2 206 R Rice [Pocket] [+2/C] 83  QB Paul Davenport 6-0 198 5 Miami [Hybrid] [-2] 85 WR Tyron Chambers 6-4 220 2 Arkansas [Target] [-1] 83 DT Jeffrey King 6-3 312 4 Boston College [2-Gap] [0] 82 OLB Cyrus Paulsen 6-3 227 1 Ohio State [Coverage] [-2] 79 ILB Alexander Hutton 6-2 240 R Michigan [Mike] [+1] 81 The Giants traded for Davenport before they drafted McLean, so now they have 2 QBs better than what they put on the field last season. The Giants WRs last season were possibly the worst unit in the league, but they're turning it around a little. I don't love Tyron, but he gives them a good 3rd Option when they didn't have one last season. They bring in King to replace Mungro and that feels like a wash. Part of the Hammond trade was getting Paulsen in return, and he might become a fine player, but I think he'll struggle this season. Alexander Hutton gives the Giants a dimension they haven't had for a long time, a true Mike. Opportunities The Giants are full of youth, and they're going to get some playing time this season. That youth may not bring much right away, but should improve throughout the season and maybe the Giants could play spoiler by the end of the year. Can't get worse? Maybe? At 3 wins, it's hard to get worse. Threats Inexperience at Quarterback. McLean comes in with a great collegiate record and statistical profile, but the NFLHC is a way different game than the C-USA. He will likely struggle early on. Lack of True Running Game. O.J. isn't consistent enough to provide the support that McLean needs year one. OL may have issues. The Guards are very uninspiring and will have off games. CB Depth. After Will Hall, there isn't a CB to really be scared of. WR2 and WR3 will have success against the Giants Secondary this year. Safety Depth. There is no FS2 on this roster and SS Depth isn't great either. One injury back there and it all goes downhill. Schedule Philadelphia Eagles 2022 Record: 11-5, L in NFCCG 2022 was a good year for the Eagles, they won their division by 2 Games and made it back to the NFC Championship Game. They ended up losing that game, but they still made (14 teams in the NFC can't claim that). They came into the 2023 Season with high hopes, but an injury to Allan Taylor has this team's season in doubt. Top Players QB Allan Taylor 6-0 202 9 Virginia Tech [Scrambling] [+1/C] 94 QB Alex Bridgewater 6-0 182 8 Louisville [Scrambling] [+3/C] 86 RB Marshawn Miller 6-1 225 2 Connecticut [Speed] [-1] 86 RB Troy White 5-11 200 5 Louisville [Speed] [0] 87 WR Michael Hawkins 5-9 196 6 Florida [Speed] [+2] 88 WR Richard Wilson 6-5 173 8 Purdue [Speed] [0] 87 OT Toby Madden 6-4 267 4 Vanderbilt [Pass Blocking] [0] 91 OG Jack Green 6-6 277 5 Cincinnati [Run Blocking] [+3/C] 90 DE Ryan Frey 6-6 277 5 Miami [Blitz] [+1/C] 97 OLB Martin Whiting 6-3 235 3 North Carolina [Coverage] [-3] 85 ILB Rodrick Milligan 6-2 254 9 Michigan [Mike] [0/C] 88 CB DeAndre Hawkins 6-2 180 7 Ohio State [Man Coverage] [-1] 88 CB Travaris Jackson 5-10 185 2 Eastern Washington [Man Coverage] [0] 85 SS Joe Johnson 6-0 206 6 Houston [Zone Coverage] [0] 86 FS Cameron Bowden 5-10 216 1 Arizona [Man Coverage] [+2/C] 84 AT is an elite QB, and the best Scrambler in the league. If healthy, the Eagles would be the surefire favorite to win the East. Bridgewater will be his replacement for the time being. We really haven't seen him play in a while, and he's blown up the Pre-Season, giving Eagles fans hope. Marshawn Miller and Troy White are the best RB Tandem in the league. WR Michael Hawkins has been a Philly staple, and Richard Wilson is a new addition. They should make a great pair. Toby Madden and Jack Green will anchor the line again. Ryan Frey is possibly the best DE in the league. Marin Whiting and Rodrick Milligan are good stalwarts in the 2nd Line of the defense. DeAndre Hawkins has found a nice role here in Philly and has mentored Travaris Jackson very well. Johnson and Bowden are a very good Safety Duo, with Bowden having a DROY type performance in 2022. Biggest Losses WR Cameron Whelehan WR Christopher Johnson OT Ki'Jana Parrish C Joseph Colbert OLB Terry Hill Whelehan and Johnson aren't great receivers, but they were good supporting players to Michael Hawkins. It will be hard to replace both of them. Ki'Jana wasn't a starter for this team, but he was a very good backup on the OL and I never like losing OL Depth. Colbert split time with Tim Kerns as the starting Center in 2022, but the team decided to go in a new direction and let Colbert go. Terry Hill has been around the league for a long time, never elite, but always a solid player. They replaced him with another team's castoff. Biggest Additions WR Richard Wilson 6-5 173 8 Purdue [Speed] [0] 87 C D.J. Wilkinson 6-1 304 R Buffalo [Run Blocking] [0] 80 DE Jerraud Blount 6-7 254 R Mississippi State [Blitz] [-2/C] 79 OLB Dennis Himes 6-0 228 4 Oklahoma [Coverage] [-1] 83 Wilson was the best WR in Free Agency this season and the Eagles were quick to snap him up. He'll do a great job filling the hole left by Whelehan and Johnson. Center was a massive issue for the Eagles last season no matter who the starter was. The Iggles made the move to shore that position up by picking up D.J. Wilkinson out of Buffalo. He should immediately be an improvement. The Eagles took Ulysses Smith's replacement in Jerraud Blount. An athletic freak with limited playing time in college, Blount was high on my board personally. He won't play much this year, but I like his future outlook on this defense a lot. The Eagles let go of Terry Hill and brought in Dennis Himes, and I don't like Himes at all. He was constantly the Jets worst player in 2022. Hopefully he plays better for the Eagles, but I do not like that signing. Opportunities Still have a strong core team. Even without AT, I think the Eagles will be competitive. They still have a strong Running Game and a good defense, so they won't fall apart like the 49ers did last season. Offensive Scheme. To go in tandem with the above point, the scheme should assist Bridgewater. A run focused offense with a dynamic rushing duo and good OL will help Bridgewater keep this team afloat while AT is away. Like with Dallas, I don't think NFCS will have 2 spots in the playoffs this year, opening an opportunity for Philly to make a run for the playoffs late. Threats AT Injured until Week 8. A big theme of this preview is Allan Taylor's Injury. He's out until at least Week 8 and would likely miss the next couple of weeks as well while recovering. He's the engine that really makes the offense work, and even with the players in place, without him it won't be as efficient. WR Depth a little shallow. After Wilson, there isn't a ton there to like. With a backup QB, you'd like some better depth to support him. OL Depth. They lost Parrish, and didn't really replace him. One injury to the OL could really derail the offense. OLD Dennis Himes. He's not good, at all. There's a reason the Jets let him go to start a 76 OVR instead. He'll be a big hole in this defense. FS Depth Non-Existent. The only backup is a 68 OVR, I'd like to see another body there to give support to Bowden. Schedule Washington Football Team 2022 Record - 8-8 Washington came into 2022 hoping to finally break into the playoffs, but feel just short as they just couldn't buy a win late in the season. But, this team looks primed for a divisional run in 2023. Top Players QB Tanner Bowman 6-2 203 2 Penn State [Pocket] [+1] 90 RB Maurice White 5-11 231 R Oklahoma [Power] [+1] 82 WR Sam Hiller-Weeden 6-3 205 3 Fresno State [Target] [-1] 90 OT Walter Adair 6-1 310 7 Army [Run Blocking] [+2/C] 93 OG Nick Ramos 6-4 297 3 Colorado State [Pass Blocking] [0] 86 C Matt Cole 6-6 290 5 USC [Pass Blocking] [+2/C] 97 DE Jonathan Bridges 6-6 267 4 Penn State [Blitz] [-1] 90 DT Fred Romanowski 6-2 279 8 Michigan [1-Gap] [0/C] 88 OLB Anthony Brown 6-1 223 5 Arizona State [Coverage] [0] 85 OLB Derrick Martin 6-0 241 8 UCLA [Blitz] [+1] 92 CB Michael Barber 6-0 183 6 Florida State [Man Coverage] [+1/C] 86 SS Cameron Whitney 6-2 183 2 Connecticut [Man Coverage] [+1] 86 Tanner Bowman has an opportunity to take this team to the playoffs on his back and show the league he's for real. I really, really like Maurice White and think he'll be a perfect fit for this offense. Not many other 1st Round Picks were home runs like this, I loved this pick for Washington. SHW is a legit stud at WR and one of the best in the league. The OL (Adair, Ramos, and Cole) will keep Bowman upright and open up holes for White. Jonathan Bridges comes over from the Jets to try and make a splash for Washington. Romanowski is still a good player, even if his days are numbered. Anthony Brown and Derrick Martin should make for a great OLB pair and offer Washington lots of options gameplan wise. Michael Barber and Cameron Whitney work together very well in the secondary to limit big passing plays. Biggest Losses DE Mike HIll DE Steven Jordan OLB Nathaniel Jeffries CB Joe Gammon FS Patrick Parks FS Jim Sisemore Lots of defensive players here, which could give one the impression that the defense this year may struggle. However, most of these guys were either over the hill or just not that good in the first place. Losing these guys really isn't that bad, and could end up being a net positive given the players they added as replacements. Biggest Additions QB Matteo Rook 6-1 231 2 Virginia [Pocket] [0] 78 RB Maurice White 5-11 231 R Oklahoma [Power] [+1] 82 TE Frank Moffett 6-5 211 R Fresno State [Receiving] [+1/C] 79 OG Virgil Madison 6-6 293 7 NC State [Pass Blocking] [0] 82 DE Jonathan Bridges 6-6 267 4 Penn State [Blitz] [-1] 90  DE Isaiah Riggins 6-3 253 4 South Carolina [Blitz] [+1] 81 OLB Derrick Martin 6-0 241 8 UCLA [Blitz] [+1] 92  FS Samir Driver 5-11 198 R Alabama [Man Coverage] [0] 81 FS Robert Pendleton 6-1 203 4 Michigan [Man Coverage] [0] 80 START ROOK YOU COWARDS. I've already mentioned my love for White. Frank Moffett won't play right away, but could take over for DeMarco next year in this offense. I think he'll make a good companion to Bowman. Washington brought in Madison to play opposite Nick Ramos, they had drafted a guy last year in Angelo Denny. But Denny really played poorly last season and regressed, Washington is hoping a year to collect himself and regain his confidence will help him longterm. Washington traded both starting DEs from last year for their new starting DEs and I think it's a net improvement for them. Bridges was very good for the Jets last season, while Isaiah Riggins was a rotational player for Miami. Now he gets the chance to prove himself as a starter for a playoff contender. Tampa moved Jeffries (plus some other stuff) to Tampa for Derrick Martin and that's a move I love as well. Jeffries was very bad last year and was clearly not a NFLHC Caliber starting player. Martin on the other hand is still a very good player and should make his presence felt early and often. Samir Driver was drafted to be the FS of the future, and while I don't love him, I think he can be a solid player for this team. Opportunities Allan Taylor's Injury - AT is out for a significant portion of the season, leaving the door open for Dallas to make a move for the Division title. AT will be back before the end of the season, so Dallas needs to get off to a good start to build their lead before he comes back. I'm not high on the NFC South this season, I don't think they'll get two teams in. Last year, they had 3 teams competing for 2 spots, this year I think they'll only get the Division Winner in. This leaves one Wild Card spot up for grabs. (Was this copied exactly from Dallas's section? Maybe) Threats Rookie RBs aren't always great right away. Will Maurice White be an immediate impact? Or will he take time to be the player I think he can be? WR Depth. SHW is an elite player at his position. I like Ty Royal as a #3 guy this year, but they don't have a real #2 WR. A.J. Byrne really shouldn't even be on a roster. Eddie McFadden is whatever to me. DT Play. Romanowski is still good. But Dawson and Mungro won't replace him properly if he gets hurt. Schedule Final Thoughts on Division I think this is Washington's year, and that's due to AT's injury. Philadelphia should still be a player late in the season, but I think they'll have growing issues early on and get in a hole they can't dig themselves out of. Dallas feels a small step behind Washington right now, but at 10-6 they should compete for a Wild Card spot. New York is still rebuilding, so I think they'll be one of the worst teams in the league.
  28. 11 points
    TheTacoOfDoom

    Off Topic Thread: 2019

    I came out as bi to a few of my friends today
  29. 11 points
    Thank you all for joining me this morning. I am pleased to announce that the coaching search is over and I would like to wholeheartedly welcome @TazerMan to the Cincinnati Bengals! Joining us from the Giants, Tazer is someone I've tried to work with before, so I am excited to see him here. He will have full control over the depth chart and gameplan, with me being an advisor. After many seasons as HC, it's time for me to give someone else a shot. I invite Tazer to speak before we field questions.
  30. 11 points
    Do you think Tazerman being Australian will be problematic considering Rome's history of denying that continent's existence?
  31. 11 points
    xkl219

    Update

    Hey everyone. Or at least everyone who cares. So...it's obviously been a while. To whoever has been wondering where I've been or if everything's going okay, here's the rundown: Around this time last year I began feeling pressure from all angles mentally and emotionally. I quit this site, despite knowing that I would probably never be able to participate again, so that I could focus on my last year of high school and make sure I was in a good place mentally. I graduated last month and I'm getting ready to start college in August. A lot, and I mean A LOT has changed. I broke up with my girlfriend, I quit playing football, and I'm about to become an uncle in a matter of months. Most importantly, I've had time to mature and look back on some things I'm not at all proud of, including my behavior on the site prior to me leaving. If you know, you know, and I'd like to apologize to everyone again for that, especially Soluna. Almost a year later I'm feeling better. Not great, but miles from where I was before senior year. Things have taken their toll on me emotionally, but I came out on the other end better than I've ever been before. I recently felt confident enough that I was ready to come back to CFBHC and talk to some of the friends I made again, and maybe make things right with some of the people that didn't like me very much. I really enjoyed my time here, and although I may not be able to participate anymore due to my inconsistency in the past, I still want to continue talking with some of the people I've made connections with here as I transition into college and become an adult. Thanks for listening.
  32. 11 points
    Kremit

    [CFBHC] The CFBHC Recruiting System

    Guide has been updated for the new recruiting changes. If you see anything wrong while reading it, let your mom know and she'll pass the word on to me when I see her tonight.
  33. 10 points
    New Orleans Saints quarterback Aaron Devereaux joined fellow NFL players outside linebacker Tommy Leonard, running back Terrence Rodgers, wide receiver J.C. Weldon, and quarterback Erik Wegert on the 2023 USO-NFL tour of military bases in Italy and Germany last April. This September, they are giving back to those who helped organize the tour. "I love this country. I love the troops. We're bringing the USO organizers and 20 lucky troops to opening games of their choice this year," said Aaron Devereaux. Devereaux added, "I was so excited to get to see a real life shooting range. They don't allow me at my local one anymore sadly - I wanted to invite Eddie Mitchell to thank him for showing me around Kaiserslautern." J.C. Weldon is also thankful for the ability to give back. Weldon was famously tackled by a military working dog at a base in Italy. "I haven't fallen into peer pressure my whole life, and they peer pressured me to go out there and get attacked by a dog. So the first time, he just ran up and bit my arm. I handled him. The second time, he bit my arm. I handled him again. The third time, they said 'run away from him' so I ran. I'm never doing that again, he's a better tackler than any corner on the Jets for sure." All five players will gain 15% fitness after their first games of the year.
  34. 10 points
    Jumbo

    What do you collect?

    Wins over cultur3
  35. 10 points
    llamas

    [2023] Personnel Fowl: Jesus Walk

    Personnel Fowl is a series of player-written articles released from Arizona Cardinals headquarters, distributed by ChirpyBirds Media. The series was written over the course of the offseason, and will be released in a build-up to the 2023 NFLHC Season.The views held by the players don't necessarily reflect the views of the Arizona Cardinals team, members of the Cardinals front office, or the National Football League. We at war. We at war with terrorism racism but most of all we at war with ourselves. 4 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be temptedby the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” 7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’" 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. Top floor, the view alone will leave you breathless. Radio City Music Hall was abuzz. Minutes ticked down, ESPN continuously played looping coverages and breakdowns of the top prospects, and scattered in various clips of the Green Room, comparing facial expressions of dressed to the nines, angsty young men. No - we weren’t quite men yet, though we thought we had it all figured out. I texted my younger brother Kyle some elderly brother advice, Mom and Dad weren’t home so I told him to “be sure to pick up all the Natty cans from the Draft Party they don’t know you’re holding ;)” It was the biggest night of our lives, and I was ready to be anointed Savior, as the Prophecy had foretold for the past four years. And then I wasn’t anointed Savior. I remember leaving the Indianapolis combine with the best feeling about going to Chicago, the Chi, the Midwest! My agent told me it was all locked up, all I had to do was seal the deal at my pro day, and it would work out. He told me that sure, some news had leaked about me from their front office insiders about me supposedly being the “False Prophet”, but I figured that came with the territory. And yet, there was a lot more truth to that than I’d figured, and the Bears went a different direction. I remember Kyle texting me immediately, wondering “wtf” was going on, I’d been a lock for the pole position of the draft. My mom slowly rubbed the center of my back, and my dad held his face in his hands. My agent whispered to me, the defending Super Bowl Champion Falcons had traded a blockbuster deal for the 2nd overall pick. Kyle spammed me with emojis and question marks, but I just texted him back “Falc Yeah, I’m coming home”, to which Kyle immediately parroted the Falc Yeah part across his social media accounts to his high school friends who weren’t already at our parents’ house, slamming and pretending to like their underage cheap light beers. I spent my high school days half an hours’ drive from the Georgia Dome. I remember being able to go watch Kyle’s Friday night games under the lights after our Friday Falcons practices, and having to have my own security detail to prevent me and childhood and then college best friend Bo Woodall, visiting home during a UNC bye week, from getting trampled when an impromptu autograph session turned into a frenzy at Kyle’s homecoming game. That was all excitingly awesome. I also remember all of the negative comments both Kyle and I got online about my play and how I was the wrong pick, and I remember Kyle having to make his same Twitter account he used to break the news to the world that I’d been drafted by my home town team, private during the lead up to the cap of his senior season, the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. I remember Bo saving my life, giving me a new perspective. And I thought recognizing this in my Players Tribune would silence my critics. Hhhhhhhhnnnnnnnnnnnngh try to catch it hhhhhhhhhhnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnngh its kinda hard getting choked by detectives, yeah yeah, now check the method. C/A YDS TD INT F/L 22/27 370 4 0 0/0 11 Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” “You have said so,” Jesus replied. 12 When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. 13 Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” 14 But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor. 15 Now it was the governor’s custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. 16 At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas. 17 So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18 For he knew it was out of self-interest that they had handed Jesus over to him.19 While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed. 21 “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor. “Barabbas,” they answered. 22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!” 23 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” 24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” I went into 2022 knowing that things were going to be a lot different. The Falcons had brought in multiple different QBs during my time in Atlanta, and while I hold no personal beef with them, or any other player I played with in Atlanta – who knows, maybe one will be there for me like Bo in my times of need down the road, or maybe I for them – Greg Shipp and Matteo Rook and Michael Thompson and old ass Blake Shell weren’t exactly coming for my job. But this year, this is when one of my biggest public defenders, Ponder-ous Pilate if you will, finally gave up on me. I know in my years old Tribune article I talked about being heralded from high school through my days at UNC, and then finally finding out about reality once I returned to Atlanta as a pro, but I thought I’d figured out that part of being an adult was working through any rough hands dealt to you. Know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, Kenny Rogers shit. I didn’t realize that I was the card, and not the Gambler. I didn’t want to mentor Donald Culver. He’s a good kid, a devout husband, talented, hardworking and well spoken. Hard not to like, or root for. But I didn’t want Donald Culver to be in Atlanta. It was inappropriate for me to tweet out “Aces High” with a link to said Kenny Rogers song on 2022 Draft Night. It was definitely a double entendre. However, if I hadn’t deleted my Twitter account shortly after that, I think I might have sent it again when Free Agency opened this season. I was planning to just work out with Kyle at our old high school gym, get him in draft shape, etc, and just happened to listen to the Dan Patrick Show, when I heard them contact the Falcons FO for a segment. Secretly, I guess I was still hoping I’d get a long-term deal done to stay home in Georgia, so I was hoping there’d be discussion about how I played my ass off, played my heart out, in the Divisional Round game. We won the NFC South this year, and while I personally know how hard it is to be a “meme QB”, we won despite all of the Skaggsing that could be Skaggsed. (Sorry Christian, oh buddy of mine.) Instead, I just heard some cherrypicked stats about how I only played well in a few games, coming from a former pal and confidant. I threw him the biggest party, and the biggest gift was from me, an unexpected Division win and the game of my life. After that Dan Patrick Show interview, I sent him a sarcastic card, signing “thank you for being a friend.” I don’t care if it was petty, or cheesy, or whatever, I was pissed. And I don't think there's nothin' I can do now to right my wrongs I wanna talk to God but I'm afraid 'cause we ain't spoke in so long So long So lonnnnnng I didn’t know what my situation would be like in Free Agency. I didn’t know Ryan Clark was going to be traded to the Ravens, then not traded to the Ravens, then released. I know the guy drafted over me, Norris, got a new contract in a new city last year. But like… the QB market was just strange to me. I know I can play in this league. I know I’ve shown my abilities, and while I haven’t lived up to the “TD Jesus” moniker bestowed upon me, I personally think in the right situation, I can be a damn good QB. I don’t know if a new destination will change the way my critics view me. I’m not going to Taylor Swift and write 17 consecutive albums with a song about not caring about the haters, because personally, I have felt every comment along the way. I know I came into the League young, and immature, and while I still think I can grow, I don’t know if I’ll ever change public perception. For one gleaming instant, when I was drafted, I saw my whole future in Atlanta – my wife Julie, a couple kids, raising them to become good ol’ Tar Heels fans and eventual UNC attendants from the greatest city in the South. And after that instant, everything changed. I haven’t even talked to Bo since leaving Atlanta when I took my free agency visit. I think I got a little full of myself, being anointed as the “Touchdown Jesus”, being the man from day one in Chapel Hill, and then even being drafted so high by the Lombardi-hoisting Falcons. Everything went a million miles a minute. I ain't here to argue about His facial features Or here to convert atheists into believers I'm just tryna say the way school need teachers The way Kathie Lee needed Regis, that's the way I need Jesus When I was at UNC, I remember our off day being Sunday, and just kicking back in an ice tub watching the NFL with my teammates. One of my favorite teams to watch was the Indianapolis Colts, and their gritty, gutsy QB, Greg Bierria. Never did I imagine that it wouldn’t be just the guy sitting next to me in the ice tub, Bo Woodall, who would change my life. It’d also be Greg the Gunslinger. I wasn’t initially sold on Arizona as a free agency landing spot. They’d signed Paul Davenport a year prior and traded him after hardly a year in Arizona. I knew they’d made waves when trading for Akeel Morris in an attempt to improve their defense. But after the initial corporate spiel “here’s the best things about Arizona and Phoenix” as they drove me to team HQ from the airport, they didn’t take me to meet with then-coach Cultur3 or GM llamas right away. No, I got out of the team-provided and intern-driven Cadillac Escalade, and the first person I saw was old man Greg Bierria, standing on the curbside in the hot Arizona afternoon sun. He had a 12-pack of PBR sitting on the curb beside where he stood, four cans crushed already, and he reached down and tossed me a cold one, revealing the logo on his charcoal colored t-shirt in the process: Jesus Walks. Greg didn’t talk to me about any on-field football that day. He talked to me about what it was like to be replaced, and what it was like to feel like I was constantly searching for something. He told me that an important thing to remember is that “the team isn’t being built around me. I’m being built into the team.” I was only supposed to spend a day trip in Arizona, then head back to Atlanta to meet with my agent. I ended up spending the next 40 hours in the desert, not with the Cardinals FO, but with Cardinals legend Greg Bierria, crushing PBRs and talking about life. I think Greg and I really bonded that weekend, and since then, my wife Julie and I have spent nearly every day hanging out with him at either his house or ours. Greg sealed me on coming to the Cardinals with his mentioning that “A.J. Jefferson doesn’t need the Cardinals. Touchdown Jesus doesn’t need the Cardinals. And A.J. Jefferson doesn’t need Touchdown Jesus. Those testaments are already written in UNC and Atlanta lore. But the Cardinals, we go beyond football. We need A.J. Jefferson, and we need him to walk in life before he can run out of the tunnel.” I’ve been taking a different approach to life ever since meeting Greg on that fateful weekend in March. I don’t know if the Arizona Cardinals found their franchise QB in me. I don’t know if I’ll ever apologize to the Falcons front office for the way I left, or maybe I won’t need to. I don’t know if I’ll ever return to Atlanta, as a player or even as a resident. I don’t know when I’ll next call up my good friend Bo. But what I do know is, that weekend, I found myself. Well if this take away from my spins Which'll probably take away from my ends Then I hope this take away from my sins And bring the day that I'm dreamin' about Next time I'm in the club, everybody screamin' out J E S U S W A L K God show me the way because the Devil's tryna break me down JESUS WALK WITH ME The only thing that I pray is that my feet don't fail me now
  36. 10 points
    Last Flight of Oklahoma State's Killer Bs Samuel Barfield and Jeremy Bridges celebrating a touchdown. The era of offensive dominance from Oklahoma State's Killer Bs is coming to it's conclusion this season. Senior Quarterback Ian Baldwin. The deadliest receiving duo of junior Samuel Barfield and senior Jeremy Bridges. Senior Running Back Amral Brown. Baldwin, Barfield, Bridges, and Brown. Dubbed last season as the "Killer Bs" by Pulitzer Prize losing journalist Storm Stopper, the name caught fire with the Cowboys fanbase and helped cement the players as Oklahoma State legends. However, with Baldwin, Brown, and Bridges set to graduate this season and Barfield likely to depart early for the NFL draft, 2023 will be the last season to watch the Killer Bs light it up. The Killer Bs beating a high school team. To say the Killer Bs have been productive would be the understatement of the year. During Amral Brown's first year in Stillwater he notched 1,754 yards and 25 touchdowns on the ground with an insane 6.33 yards per carry. His 2022 season yardage is in the top 10 most rushing yards in a season in the history of the Big XII, and his yards per carry that season was better than everyone else in that Top 10 list. The Barfield and Bridges duo combine for 268 catches for 3,851 yards and 35 TDs in the roughly two seasons they've started. Finally, the veteran leader of the Cowboys offense Ian Baldwin reaches his final year with 6,818 passing yards for 56 TDs at a highly efficient 66.38% completion rating. The addition of Amral has made the passing contingent that much more deadly since the threat on the ground is just as damaging as the air attack, making the opposing defenses hopeless in stopping both. The four have become incredibly close friends off the field as well, even becoming roommates and spending their free time drawing up plays to utilize all of their skills in their final season together in between rounds of intramural basketball where they've created Killer B jerseys to match their on-field personas. With the future leaders of the offense looking on, the Killer Bs hope to make it their most explosive season ever before leaving for what they hope will be careers in the NFL that are just as legendary.
  37. 10 points
    With the 2023 season just a few weeks away, I wanted to take a look at the five biggest positives and the five most challenging negatives I'll be dealing with this year and why they might matter: It's a great year to be a Florida Gator! Positive Running Chemistry - The continued evolution of the chemistry between QB Darion Harrison, RB Elijah Harden, and RB Dontarrious Westbrook has always been my focus since I finalized signing these three players. I've struggled with run-based offenses in the past and I figured one of the best ways to face my demons was to let the players co-develop and be a bit more forgiving towards my own play-calling errors while their chemistry gives them a boost. The Offensive Line - For the third year in a row the Gators will have a top 10 offensive line and it's looking to be more important than ever with the three players listed previously reaching a critical point in their development. It should be another step in easing tensions on my coaching while letting my players do their thing. Experience on Defense - My defensive leadership had been a bit of a problem in the previously few years and I'm sad to see my former leader Abdoul Ridley go. Trevor Burkhart (senior), Nathaniel Hollis (junior), and Ryan Reid (junior) should be exceptional anchors to bring up the inexperience from the younger freshmen that will be starting this year. Special Teams - The special teams unit is always a favorite of mine and the last few years were a horrible struggle. Dan Stroley will be entering his second year as the starting kicker and should begin producing at levels I haven't seen in a few years. Sean Chapman is heading down a similar path. I'm glad I made it through the horrible dark years of missing 35 yard field goals (I hope). Confidence in my players - I'm not particularly confident in my ability to coach the scrambling-type offense that Harrison will demand but my tests in games last year showed me that the players I rely on appear to be stable in terms of productivity. This will give me some lenience in finding ways to let them shine. Negative Linebacker Depth - This is mostly my fault but I have an extreme depth issue at linebacker and will rely on several young players, some playing out of position, to keep the unit from falling apart entirely. It won't be a complete shit show because they all have high potential but it's going to be my most volatile unit by far. Questions in the Passing Game - I have problems in how the passing game is set up and I'm not quite sure how to address them. Landon Scott and Danny Brantley are exceptional albeit somewhat one dimensional. The void at the Y receiver and in depth are going to become an issue against top teams. DeVante Spears has looked good in limited action but he's only a three star player so his skillset is limited. Stability of the Secondary Unit - I relied on Lavonte Chapman and Darrelle Dickerson last year so I know there's something there to build on but this year the veteran presence at FS and SS is gone and I'm adding redshirt freshman Seantrel Hopson and true freshman Darrelle Gray into the mix. I'm scared Chapman and Dickerson are not veteran enough to lead this unit. The Strength of the SEC - I actually drew a fairly favorable schedule this year and the SEC East looks the weakest it's been in some years but the West is an absolute mine field and I'm going to have to face my LSU fear (0-6 all time) once again. 3-4 vs 4-3 Debate - Due to losing some commits at the very end of recruiting (some to direct rivals) by defensive players are mostly unrelated in their reliance on each other regarding schemes. I have extensive depth at DT with DEs set to run a 3-4 but the amount of linebackers limits my ability to run anything other than a 4-3 - confusingly the few linebackers I have are also set to best run in a 4-3. I'm still unsure how to deal with this. Thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope this let's you think about your team in a way you maybe haven't before or realize that every single one of your opponents is dealing with interesting issues no matter what their team looks like from a cursory glance.
  38. 10 points
    llamas

    CFBHC Talks: How Are You Doing?

    I just put a lot out in the open in my cfbhc South Dakota State application, but I always have more to say. Going to try to not double up on anything I posted in there. Today I went to the funeral of one of my best friend's father figures. He was the original owner of the semipro team I've played for across 4 seasons now, it was a long time coming from his battle with cancer, the last few weeks he really deteriorated, and he finally passed on Saturday, hours before the most vital game in our season (win and in, for the playoffs, lose and the final week of the season becomes a mathematical issue where we need to win by 19+ to make it in). We had a huge emotional fog over us for the whole game, our coach called some of the stupidest playcalling he could have (ran left/the same play 6-7 run plays in a row, so much so that they went from stacking the box by walking a safety down and having a relatively balanced 4-4 front, to only having the LE and one LB on the [offensive] right side of the box. We should have hit that with a counter right or something taking advantage of having C-G-RT-FB against 2 people on that side of the box, annnnnd we don't even have a counter in our playbook.) We also were up 12-8 (after being up 12-0 at one point) and from our own 20, after running screens all day, called a double pass (slot WR catches the pass even with the QB, then throws it deep to the outside WR running a Go route) and they read the play easily, picked the pass off and housed it. We had 6 drives stall in the red zone, and then had a FG blocked with 20 seconds left, sealing the L. I think its the last year this team is going to exist, as our original owner is now gone, our current owner doesn't have his heart in owning the team anymore, tempers have escalated following this past game/now the lack of players/lack of "friends" of the owner who showed up (meaning they didnt show up) to the funeral today, things seem to be fracturing hard, and I'm honestly kinda fine with it, as terrible as that may be 3 days before we need to show out to make playoffs. I'm sick of the drama semipro seems to bring in this state, or at least in the lower leagues, and I'm either going to hang her up after this next game, or find an entirely different team to play for. I'm also deeply saddened at his passing, because for awhile I was contemplating some severely drastic things, and finding this team really gave me a crutch for the last 4 years of my life, and I'm forever grateful. Marv's contributions to the team went beyond just giving my (and countless others') football life a second wind, but also quite possibly, I wouldn't be here today without that crutch keeping me going. (Don't know if I've been that open about this before). Not everything is negative. I have two job offers but I don't know that I want to take either. One is in Nebraska basically managing a farm (which I don't know a ton about, I've been "farming" for the last 18 months but I don't really know wtf I'm doing), and while on one hand, I really look forward to the day I can leave Wisconsin, on the other hand, I'm extremely nervous about leaving the current support structure I have. I've still had to tread delicately when keeping my anxiety in check, and I don't know if just fucking off to the middle of rural Nebraska would be great for that. The other job would be working in one of Milwaukee's suburbs at a plant, basically tailored for rising through the ranks/as a career, and would be through my future brother in law, but one of my HS friends works for the company in a different city (and has since HS) and it's basically a dead end job for him with no real exit plan for the foreseeable future. He doesn't make terrible money, but he doesn't make good money, either, and he's basically going to be a "Lifer". However, this job would be within an hour of where basically all of my friends live, so that would be a plus. I'm not sure I'd enjoy either of these jobs at all, but I'm also not enjoying what I do right now, so maybe one of them is worth the chance. I'm going to close with perhaps the stupidest/least serious thing. One of my best (if not THE best) friends I have right now is a girl I went to high school with, which is kind of weird since about 4 of my current friends are people I went to HS with. We weren't close friends in HS, but were definitely friends. When we were seniors, we won homecoming king and queen, and after HS, we started hanging out/communicating more. As I said, its built to where I'd call her my best friend, and I love her. But... I think I'm falling in love with her (lol), and like, I don't know if I want to be. Its taken awhile for me to actually emotionally connect/like someone since my last serious relationship, and I can't help but think, why does it have to be her? I don't want to do anything stupid to mess up our friendship, but then also, she's pretty cute, and she means a lot more to me than 99% of other people in my life. Like I said, this is stupid lol. I'm just going to take things as they come, try not to come on too hard, etc, other cliche things, but it's hard. I need to quit overthinking things and quit tripping. But, she did agree to be my +1 to my sister's wedding in November, so that's pretty cool Also I just want to thank all of you for making this community as strong as it is. Life has been pretty rough for the last ~8 years of my life, and the last 3.5 I've spent hanging out here. I know I like to goof off in some of my media or talk shit in the shoutbox, but as I said with semipro being a crutch for me, this site has been too. There's a lot of people willing to talk things out in either serious or comical manner, and while I like to self deprecate in a joking fashion a lot (and probably sometimes serious ), I wouldn't be who I am today, without interacting with y'all.
  39. 9 points
    Jamzz

    [2023] Big Ten West Season Preview

    Back with the West division preview. Illinois Fighting Illini Players to Watch QB Jordan Harrison 5-11 188 (So) Central Community (Breese IL) 5.0 of 5.0 [Pocket] ILB Rakeem Phillips 6-2 231 So Cannon Valley Lutheran (MN) 3.5 of 5.0 [Mike] The Illinois depth chart has a whole lot of talent on it right now and there is more coming up through the system. The crowned jewel of the team is the young QB Jordan Harrison who looks like he's ready to break out for a huge season this year. The inexperience of the Illinois roster was their weakness last year, and now they all have a full year under their belt. RB Terrell Swain had a good first season as a starter last year and will most likely bring a similar output this year. Harrison does lack an abundance of targets to throw to, true freshman TE Byron Hubbard looks like he might already be the best of the bunch. The OL has plenty of talent to go around and it all centers around OG Raphael Reed, who looks like a top prospect for next year's draft. The offense as a whole looks a bit young, but very, very talented. On defense it's more of the same for the most part. DT JaQuan Bland, DE Xavier Rawls, and ILB Rakeem Phillips are both young and full of potential. They are paired with some experienced vets in DE Anthony Howell, OLB Donald Longo, and CB Tavarreus Watson, among others. The only big weakness on the Illini defense is youth. Many players are young and not up to their high potential, abut there's no specific part of the defense that seems like it's going to be the one place that teams will want to exploit. The DL has lower current skill than the rest of the squad but if they play up to their potential right now it will be a big issue for any team that tries to run against them. Overall it's a very good squad for Illinois. Biggest Game of the Season Week 7 vs Ohio State If you saw the preview I posted on the East you would know that I am very high on Ohio State. This game could prove to be a preview of the Big Ten Championship game if each team has a few things fall their way, much like Nebraska vs Ohio State was last year. It's needless to say that this is a huge game for Illinois. They have a few tough non conference games and then a tough game against Minnesota before this one, but many believe Ohio State is the best team on their schedule, if they win this one then the playoff seems possible. Prediction: 10-2 I like Illinois a lot this season and I think they might just win the Big Ten, but my best guess would be that they are at least a season away from really challenging at the top level of CFBHC. Their chances of winning the division seem high, winning the conference is another beast though with the East looking to be much better than the West. I see them losing to Ohio State and one to Virginia, Washington, Minnesota, or Purdue. I think they're good enough to win three of those games but I bet at least one of those teams has what it takes to beat them. Iowa Hawkeyes Players to Watch WR DeMaurice Slone 5-10 177 Jr Minnesota State CTC (Fergus Falls MN) 4.0 of 5.0 [Speed] DT Jacob Colbert 6-3 281 (Jr) Cheyenne-Eagle Butte (SD) 4.0 of 5.0 [1-Gap] After some decent years Iowa was arguably the worst team in the Big Ten last year after losing Mikeal Black to the pros, and they really haven't recovered at all since the days of Jarius Jones and Ron Thomas. They appear to be improved this year but still a little ways away from being back near the top of the conference. QB Ryan Corbin and RB Kedaveon Vaughan will be good in a few years but as of right now it is hard to imagine them being able to put together a string of good games in a row. Luckily for Corbin he has DeMaurice Slone to throw to, the JUCO prospect might be the best player on the team right away. The OL is also pretty competitive compared to the rest of the roster. OG Coop Logan brings some leadership to the team and young OT Mike Brown will be a big part of the offense for years to come. On defense DT Jacob Colbert is going to have carry a lot of the team and then some. The front seven has him, ILBs Elias French and Joel Baumann, and not too much else unfortunately. The secondary might just be the strongest part of the team, with FS Khalil Spears and SS Ricky Chambers both seniors with pro potential. True freshman CB Marcedes Payton also will be on for the future, although as of this moment he still has a bit to go until he's one of the best corners in the conference. As I mentioned earlier though, the front seven is pretty weak. It probably won't be too difficult to run on Iowa this year unless Jacob Colbert can really take over. They have four players on the front seven that have a current skill of 3.0 or less. Biggest Game of the Season Week 2 vs Iowa State Iowa has a tough schedule this year in which they are outmatched by many of the conference teams they will go up against. Iowa State is improved this year and while Iowa has controlled the state for a few years it looks like the Cyclones might be making a run at them this year. This is a very winnable game for Iowa however, and when they look back at the end of the season a win here could be more important to them than any conference win, outside of them picking up an unexpected upset against one of the top teams. Prediction: 3-9 Iowa is a few steps behind the top of the Big Ten this year and their cross divisional opponents don't do them any favors this year. They get Penn State, Ohio State, and Michigan State which you have to imagine will mean being significant underdogs in all of those games for Iowa. Northwestern is probably the most winnable conference game, and while the non conference aren't world beaters, Iowa State should be better this year and can beat Iowa. In a year or two I expect to see Iowa back in a bowl but for now I would be surprised by it. Minnesota Golden Gophers Players to Watch QB Robert Lynch 5-11 230 Sr Arkansas Baptist (Little Rock AR) 5.0 of 5.0 [Pocket] OLB Jermon Pendleton 6-1 229 (So) Pine Island (Pine Island MN) 5.0 of 5.0 [Blitz] After a few years of average football, Minnesota looks like they're ready to become one of the premier teams in the Big Ten. They're lead by a senior QB who may just be the most under the radar 5/5 QB ever in Robert Lynch. Part of that is because he hasn't gotten the attention he deserved, and part of that is because he's never really proven himself to be among the top quarterbacks in the country in his last few seasons. With that said, he looks like he's ready to have his best season yet. RB Tredaveon Jennings is a big piece to add to this offense and while Lynch will most likely got most off the accolades this year, Jennings will provide the much needed balance for this team to challenge for the Big Ten title. Minnesota also has an abundance of solid targets for Lynch, although no high end ones just yet. The OL is solid as well. It isn't amazing but it can definitely get the job done, with OT Ned Ellis leading the group. The offense is going to be very good this year, even if they have no one who's proved themselves at the highest level just yet. On defense they have some talent as well, lead by star sophomore OLB Jermon Pendleton and SS Kameron Myrick. ILB Shane Slade definitely deserves a shoutout as well as he looks like a big piece for that front seven who are a bit weaker on the DL. While young DE Malachi Pickett is one to look out for, he is a bit inexperienced and missing some help on the DL. CB Spencer Dick (great name) will lead a solid group there as well. Overall a very solid defense, with some minor holes. Biggest Game of the Season Week 8 vs Purdue This is the season for Minnesota to make a run at the division title, and while they didn't win it last year, Purdue is still the team to beat in the West. They go to Illinois two weeks prior but if Minnesota wants any chance at the West this year they are going to have to beat Purdue. It's certainly a game they can win, as they are at home and Purdue is a bit down on talent compared to the past few years. A win here would put them in the national conversation and set them up for a Rose Bowl, or possibly something bigger at the end of the year. Prediction: 9-3 Minnesota has an easy non conference schedule to get through, but games against Illinois, Purdue, and Michigan will be tough to beat this year. Additional games at Nebraska and at Michigan State will be hard ones as well, even if Minnesota has more talent than both on paper. I like them to beat Purdue but I also think they'll fall to one of MSU or Nebraska as many of their best players are young and Robert Lynch still has yet to prove himself to be able to carry a team when they need it. If things go the right way 10 or 11 wins is possible but I don't see it. Nebraska Cornhuskers Players to Watch RB Hakeem Nixon 5-8 204 (Jr) Frankfort (Frankfort KS) 4.5 of 4.5 [Speed] SS Jarvis Hargrove 6-1 189 (Fr) Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey NJ) 3.0 of 4.5 [Man Coverage] After a huge year that finished just short of their ultimate goal the Big Ten champs are back and appear to have taken a few losses to the pros. The big one is RB Franklin Riggins, who is actually replaced be someone with a higher rating, Hakeem Nixon, but it is hard to imagine him producing like Riggins did. Nonetheless it is a great piece for Nebraska to have as they look to recreate last season's magic. Sean Connell is also gone and he gives way to QB Lucas Elizondo, who could best be described as a raw talent. It's hard to imagine Nebraska relying on him too much this year and if they have to then it could spell problems for them. He does have a stud at WR in Calvin McKay, however, who is arguably the best player on the team already, along with another standon wide out, Alshon Collier. There is some talent on the line as well, but it definitely has some holes there that will cause issues. The defense is not up to last year's standards though, and while it was far from a star studded lineup last year, it's hard to imagine them doing it again this year. The highest rated current skill on the Nebraska defense is 3.5, and while they do have some players yet to reach their potential, there are just four of them and they are all young. The most talented of those players is SS Jarvis Hargrove who will have a lot of work this season with a pretty weak secondary around him. I feel like I'm being a bit harsh on the Nebraska D but it really is hard for me to find a bright spot on this side of the ball for them. There many holes are having to be filled by very inexperienced, yet talented, freshman and it's hard to see them making it work. Biggest Game of the Season Week 14 at Wisconsin Nebraska drew a pretty favorable conference schedule this year, but they did not do themselves many favors in the non conference schedule. Auburn seems like a longshot to say the least, and Texas Tech and UCF aren't exactly easy wins either. They do get Rutgers in a cross divisional matchup however, and the West does have some teams that are beatable for them. One of those is Wisconsin, which comes near the end of the season and might mean a bowl game for both of them. If that is the case, Nebraska has Ohio State and Minnesota after so this might be their last shot. Prediction: 5-7 I feel like this record may not be fair to Nebraska this year but I'm not a huge fan of their roster despite their great performances last year. If Hakeem Nixon can produce like Riggins then a bowl will be almost certain but I'm not sure he's on that level. Outside of him and McKay they don't really have much talent at other skill positions and as I mentioned their defense looks like it will have problems. If they had an easier non conference schedule I probably would've said 6-6 or 7-5 but they don't have that so I think they just miss out on a bowl. Northwestern Wildcats Players to Watch WR Cory Carradine 6-5 225 Sr East Peoria Community (IL) 4.5 of 4.5 [Target] DE Victor Crosby 6-2 246 Sr East Peoria Community (IL) 4.5 of 4.5 [Contain] Northwestern also lost a few of their best players to the pros, specifically their QB EJ McGuire after he managed to bring them a bowl game last year. The man expected to take over is freshman Nicola Rossi, and like the situation at Nebraska, there will be growing pains for sure. He does get WR Cory Carradine to throw to, who's been there forever it feels like, and hopefully RB Makai Denson can continue what he showed last year with what will surely be more carries. The OL will have some issues as well. The only player with a current skill above 3.0 is OG Leolani Lealofi, and there's only so much one lineman can do. Denson will certainly have a lot to do on his own this season, and if Rossi can learn to get rid of the ball quickly that would probably be for the best. On defense they are better, but it is far from a perfect situation there either. DE Victory Crosby should be very good for them this year, along with the emergence of ILB Griffin Paul who has the makings of a future star. The secondary is not very good, however, with 3.5 rated SS Tristan Hunt as their best player at the moment. Passing seems much easier on this Wildcat team, and if you have a good running game then it could mean a lot of points for you if you go up against them. They do have one of the best kickers in the country though. Garrett Strange was wonderful for them as he proved reliable from beyond 50 yards, so if they can get into range they should have an automatic three points. Biggest Game of the Season Week 13 at Iowa This seems like the best chance for Northwestern to pick up a conference win this season, and outside of some surprises I really can't see them picking up many others. They play two FCS teams this year so that should get them some wins, but it will not help them if they finish the season at six wins as only one win against FCS opponents counts towards bowl eligibility. In my eyes the game against Iowa will be for the right to finish second to last in the division, and while I do like Iowa a bit better I would not be surprised with a Northwestern win. Prediction: 2-10 I hate to only give them wins against FCS teams but I don't think they're better than anyone else they face. As I mentioned they could beat Iowa, and Ole Miss in week 7 is an opportunity, but both those games are away and I think Northwestern is too young at too many positions and not talented enough at the others to get it done those weeks. Northwestern is my pick for last in the division, and possibly the worst team in the entire conference. Purdue Boilermakers Players to Watch QB Graham Faulkner 6-3 218 Jr Blinn College (Brenham TX) 4.0 of 4.5 [Pocket] DE Landon Crowder 6-0 242 Jr Rising Star (Rising Star TX) 5.0 of 5.0 [Contain] After a few years and a national championship with Matt Jones and then an attempt to extend their window by a year with Kyle Jefferson, the Purdue offense now finds itself in the hand of Graham Faulkner for the next two years. He will have some help, but Purdue definitely finds themselves in a bit more limbo than usual. RB Nathan Ziegler was disappointing in his first season last year, and with presumably more carries coming his way he will need to improve if Purdue is going to win the division. There are some good, young WRs on the team in Andrew Bond and Logan Lawson but we haven't seen much out of either player yet. The line is solid. It isn't wonderful but it can absolutely get the job done. It is anchored by OT Milo Arndt who enters his junior season. The offense as a whole is unproven, but it does seem like it's ready to compete. The defense now finds itself as the more important side of the ball for the Boilermakers after a few seasons of relying on the offense. DE Landon Crowder is expected to be a top pick in the draft whenever he comes out, and ATH Jeremiah Butler, who plays corner, should be a huge piece for the secondary as he enters his final season with Purdue. The linebacking corp does appear to be a minor weakness in the team, but OLB Robert Devlin is one of the better linebackers in the conference, which goes to show the depth of the Purdue depth chart. Outside of Crowder they could use some help on the DL as well but it isn't something they should be very worried with. Biggest Game of the Season Week 11 at Michigan Just like last season, Purdue does have competition atop the West. Some may even go as far to say that they are not the favorites this year, even with Nebraska expected to decline a bit. That said, going to the Big House in week 11 is going to be a huge game even if they fall to Illinois or Minnesota earlier in the season. Even if they beat one of those teams a loss to Michigan would mean that they could be in trouble for the division. Purdue's ceiling for this year could be decided by this game. Prediction: 9-3 Purdue should win all their non conference games, with Notre Dame looking like the only real challenge for them this year. I don't know if they can match Illinois, Minnesota, or Michigan this year however. Other than that I think they're pretty clear favorites in the rest of their schedule but I don't see Faulkner or Ziegler bringing what Matt Jones, or even Kyle Jefferson brought to this offense. I think they'll need a big step up from the defense in order to compete for the conference title, which may come but I won't count on it for this article. Wisconsin Badgers Players to Watch C Jeremiah Glass 6-3 257 (So) Rice Lake (Rice Lake WI) 4.0 of 5.0 [Run Blocking] DT Pete Douglass 6-1 297 (Jr) Shell Lake (Shell Lake WI) 5.0 of 5.0 [2-Gap] After years of relying solely on Jamal Trufant, the Wisconsin offense finds themselves without many answers this year, at least according to their roster. QB Nathan Abrams was not the man for the job last year, but he is back and still the starter as of right now. They're starting true freshman Ian Hill at RB, and while he should be solid down the road, no one expects him to be Trufant, especially not right now. They have some decent options to throw the ball to but the question lies more on whether Abrams can get it to them. The OL has some holes in it as well, although they do have a very good center in Jeremiah Glass. The tackles and guards are not up to the standard they need to be however. This offense might be one of the worst the Big Ten has to offer this year. On defense it is better for sure, but they will have to hold some teams to very few points if they hope to win. The DL has some studs on it, DT Pete Douglass looks like a future first rounder, and DE Blake Ryan is no slouch either. They have some solid up and comers like true freshman ILB Grant Morrison, DE Andrew Rowe, and FS Jermaine Ringo. There are some holes though as they don't have a cornerback with a potential higher than 3.5 on the roster. Their youth could also be an issue in some areas, but they do have the advantage of one of the top run defenses in the conference, which they desperately need. If they have any hopes of making a bowl it will need to be behind the defense. Biggest Game of the Season Week 14 vs Nebraska Wisconsin didn't do themselves many favors in the non conference schedule, and they will probably be underdogs in many of the conference games. It may be for a bowl game against Nebraska, which is something I mentioned in the Nebraska write up as well. I can't see the Badgers competing for the division at all, so six wins should be their priority this season. They may need some help to get to four or five wins by week 14, and they do play Iowa the final week of the season, but this game could make or break their season. Prediction: 4-8 It's a shame to see a once great team fall to a 4-8 record but they lose Trufant and I don't see them making any huge strides this year anywhere. Georgia and San Diego State in non conference games seem like pretty likely losses, and then games against Michigan, Illinois, Purdue, etc. don't seem like they favor Wisconsin either. They do have some winnable games on the schedule. Akron, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, and Northwestern but I don't see them winning all of them and I predict a disappointing year in Madison. Some predictions for the division as a whole. Offensive Player of the Division: QB Jordan Harrison 5-11 188 (So) Central Community (Breese IL) 5.0 of 5.0 [Pocket] Defensive Player of the Division: DE Landon Crowder 6-0 242 Jr Rising Star (Rising Star TX) 5.0 of 5.0 [Contain] Special Teams Player of the Division: K Garrett Strange 5-10 194 Sr Simeon Career Academy (Chicago IL) 5.0 of 5.0 [Power] Non Conference Game of the Division: @ Game of the Division: Week 10 @ Division Champs:
  40. 9 points
    Since not everyone follows C-USA football, I thought it would be a good idea to introduce the starting QBs around the conference so that there is some familiarity when looking at C-USA box scores. In alphabetical order by team: QB Chris Billings 6-2 213 Sr Edisto (Cordova SC) 5.0 of 5.0 [Scrambling] Career Stats: 36 starts, 6-30 record, 7982 yards, 59 TD-34 INT, 120.2 QBR, 553 rush yds, 3 rush TD Summary: Billings was a top croot coming out in 2019. He was ranked the #10 croot in the country. After a battle against Clemson that lasted the season, Billings chose to go to Charlotte. With Charlotte spending all their resources on Billings, he has never had talent around him to work with. His offensive line has never been able to protect him, resulting in a ridiculous 11 fumble season as a sophomore. Many thought he would transfer after this disastrous season but Billings stick it out and is heading into his fourth season as the 49ers starting quarterback. Billings began to show some improvements last season throwing 24 TD to 6 INT but still struggled as he has never completed more than 60% of his passes. This is Billings' last chance to prove himself to NFLHC scouts. QB Desmond Fraley 6-2 217 (So) Godby (Tallahassee FL) 3.0 of 4.5 [Scrambling] Career Stats: None Summary: Part of the great recruiting class that coach randye brought in during his one season as coach of the Owls, Fraley was one of the headliners of the class. Fraley is taking over after 4-year starting QB Gregory Crowder graduated. He will be one of the younger starting QBs in the conference. With new coach bugspit1 very recently leaving the team, it will be a tough start to Fraley's career. However, the Owls look to be the most talented team in the C-USA East and will only get better as randye's class grows older in the next couple seasons. QB Gavin Copeland 6-4 193 Sr Mt. Pleasant (Providence RI) 3.5 of 3.5 [Scrambling] Career Stats: 39 starts, 17-22 record, 6986 yards, 39 TD-30 INT, 125.4 QBR, 1028 rush yds, 12 rush TD Summary: It was a surprise when Copeland committed to the Panthers back in 2019. The battle came down to the wire between UCONN and FIU and the Rhode Island native decided to take his talents to South Beach. After leading the Panthers to winning the C-USA East last season, Copeland was named the 2nd Team All C-USA Quarterback behind Eric McLean. Crowder has drastically improved since starting as a freshman, having gone from throwing 10 TD-15 INT to 16 TD-3 INT while adding 9 TDs on the ground last season. This will be Copeland's last hurrah as he looks to take the Panthers back to the title game behind his dual threat attack. QB Khalil Simpkins 6-0 223 (So) Central Catholic (Morgan City LA) 3.5 of 4.0 [Scrambling] Career Stats: 12 starts, 1-11 record, 2519 yards, 14 TD-16 INT, 96.9 QBR, 169 rush yds, 1 rush TD Summary: Simpkins committed early in the process to in-state Louisiana Tech and quickly became the starter as a redshirt freshman. The Bulldogs actually won their first game of the season against SEC opponent Ole Miss...due to a forfeit after it was revealed that Ole Miss played an ineligible player. The Bulldogs lost the rest of the games last season and Simpkins struggled to put any points on the board. He is improved this season but as the Bulldogs are still without a head coach and without weapons around him, the chances for Simpkins to succeed are slim. QB Francesco Griffiths 6-3 237 (Jr) Princeton (Princeton WV) 3.0 of 3.5 [Scrambling] Career Stats: None Summary: Griffiths has been patiently waiting for his chance to start for his favorite childhood team. A lot has changed since Griffiths committed to the Thundering Herd in 2019. The teams has hired and let go of four different coaches. Marshall was coming off back-to-back division titles. Now, they are coming off a 1-11 season. Griffiths has a lot of work to do and not much to work with. It's a good thing he's 237 pounds because he's likely going to take a beating this season. QB Tim Pritchard 6-0 199 (Sr) Dale County (City, AL) 4.0 of 4.0 [Pocket] Career Stats: 36 starts, 6-30 record, 7858 yards, 54 TD-43 INT, 114.3 QBR Summary: There are not a lot of reasons to watch a MTSU football game. The team has won 8 games in their 5 year history. But Pritchard gives at least one reason to pay attention. The Blue Raiders put a lot of trust into Pritchard as a freshman and let him throw it 48 times per game which resulted in a 1-11 season and 22 INTS fo Pritchard. Now with a more balanced offense, Pritchard improved to a 23 TD-9 INT statline last season. Pritchard has become a game manager (who loses) with the emergence of RB Gregory Crosby. Pritchard has the chance to break the career interception record of 56 set by Josh Beckett. The Blue Raiders better appreciate Pritchard though as the future looks a lot dimmer. QB Elias Noble 6-5 214 (Jr) La Marque (La Marque TX) 4.0 of 4.0 [Scrambling] Career Stats: 24 starts, 7-17 record, 4857 yards, 35 TD-29 INT, 123.5 QBR, 595 rush yards, 4 rush TD Summary: Noble has started the last two seasons for the Mean Green after redshirting behind the disappointing Kamari Terry. Noble did not have much help on the offense last season but received a big care package in the offseason when North Texas landed the #1 JUCO RB Gray Stewart. With Stewart becoming the focus of the offense, it opens up the field for Noble. Noble does have some running ability, the Noble and Stewart tandem may be a lot of fun to watch. QB Jaden Harrell 6-4 232 (Jr) Orangeburg-Wilkinson (Orangeburg SC) 3.5 of 3.5 [Scrambling] Career Stats: None Summary: The Monarchs got lucky after losing 4-year starter Dylan Hamlin this past season. Clemson QB Jaden Harrell decided to transfer to Old Dominion. Harrell was recruited by Clemson and South Carolina and decided on Clemson late in the process. After seeing his opportunity to start dwindle, Harrell made the move to ODU and this will be his first season as the starter. Hamlin struggled early in his career but put together a pretty successful senior season that led to the Monarchs first bowl win. Hopefully Harrell can pick up where Hamlin left off. QB Martin Hudson 6-3 201 Jr South Grand Prarie (TX) 4.0 of 4.0 [Pocket] Career Stats: None Summary: Martin Hudson will not be Eric McLean. He won't have to be Eric McLean. The Owls are changing the offensive gameplan and hoping to allow Hudson to be a game manager and allow the playmakers around him to make the plays. The whole team won't rely on his play like the McLean era. Hudson will have some of the top WRs in the country to throw to in Biletnikoff Award winner Deontray Clay, WR Darius Watkins, and TE Jordan Cunningham. Those outside the C-USA may want to pay attention to Hudson as backup QBs Benjamin Yates and Damian Dixon may replace him and cause Hudson to transfer next season. QB Alexander Cassidy 5-11 197 (Sr) Huntsville (Huntsville, AL) 4.5 of 4.5 [Pocket] Career Stats: 39 starts, 24-15 record, 8443 yards, 76 TD-26 INT, 146.8 QBR Summary: Cassidy is expected to be the top quarterback in the conference this season. The records back up this prediction. He has a 76 TD-26 INT statline during his 3 seasons as a starter. He's very efficient and protects the ball. Cassidy has options to throw to in WR Samuel Gray, WR Afasa Ponifasio, and Mackey Award winner TE Jeremiah Kendrick. Southern Miss has one of the strongest teams in the conference this season and with Cassidy leading them, they could stop Rice's streak as C-USA champions. Cassidy has hopes of making it in the NFLHC and will likely be a mid-late round pick. QB Corey Mays 6-4 195 (Jr) Blinn College (Brenham TX) 4.0 of 4.0 [Scrambling] Career Stats: None Summary: Mays has had an interesting path to UAB. He was recruited in college by Houston, UTSA, and UTEP and chose to sign with Houston. After redshirting his freshman season, Mays was 4th on the depth chart behind current Houston starting QB Omar Workman. Mays decided to transfer to a junior college team, Blinn College in Texas. After one season at JUCO, Mays made the jump back to FBS, landing at UAB. UAB had a hard decision to make on who the starter would be this season. Elijah Currie-Madison has started the past three seasons for the Blazers and had a 21 TD-4 INT performance last season. Right now, Mays is listed as the starter but Currie-Madison may make an appearance if Mays doesn't get the job done. QB Darnell Prince 6-5 214 Sr Prestonwood Christian Academy ( TX) 3.5 of 3.5 [Hybrid] Career Stats: 37 starts, 15-22 record, 6667 yards, 49 TD-27 INT, 130.9 QBR, 366 rush yards, 9 rush TD Summary: Prince has been a staple of consistency for UTEP in his three seasons as a starter. He has had between 15-18 TDs and 7-10 INTs in each season. He can add a small benefit in the rushing game but is more comfortable passing. UTEP has not posted a depth chart and may opt for the younger QB Matteo Hayden 6-6 213 (Jr) River Road (Amarillo TX) 3.5 of 3.5 [Pocket] as the starter but Prince has earned his spot. He has been one of the safer QBs in the conference the past few seasons. QB Justin Radford 6-0 200 (Jr) Coronado (Lubbock TX) 4.0 of 4.0 [Hybrid] Career Stats: 25 starts, 13-12 record, 5703 yards, 44 TD-19 INT, 136.4 QBR, 130 rush yards, 7 rush TD Summary: Radford has started the past two seasons for the Roadrunnners and is a big reason they were able to turn it around and get to their first bowl game last season. Radford was one of the better QBs in the conference having over 3000 total yards, 29 total TDs, and only 6 INTs. UTSA has one of the better receiving corps in the C-USA to give to Radford. Radford may never be a star QB but he's more than enough to win a good amount of games. QB Riley West 6-1 190 (Sr) Munroe Day (Quincy, FL) 4.0 of 4.0 [Pocket] Career Stats: 40 starts, 19-21 record, 9953 yards, 89 TD-37 INT, 135.2 QBR Summary: The Hilltoppers offense has heavily relied on West, letting him attempt 45 passes per game in the past two seasons. Over the past three seasons, he has fought with Alexander Cassidy for the right to be the second best QB in the conference. But it looks like the Hilltoppers are going to have a very different look on offense this year behind the two-headed attack of RB Trevor Workman 5-6 194 (Jr) Western (Louisville KY) 4.5 of 4.5 [Speed] and RB Qua'sean Bell 5-8 215 Sr Kishwaukee College (Malta IL) 4.5 of 4.5 [Power]. The WRs for WKU are very questionable, West may not have the kind of senior season he was hoping for.
  41. 9 points
    The Jacksonville Jaguars are pleased to announce the hiring of @Ahven D'Gale as director of scouting. Ahven has been the Colorado State Rams coach since the beginning of the 2022 season and will be moving into an active scouting role with the Jaguars effective immediately. "Ahven is the perfect candidate. We conducted several interviews and found that he best exemplified what I'm looking," head coach Soluna said. "It's time to do our duty and train up the next generation of NFLHC coaches. Ahven is exactly the kind of enthusiastic coach we needed."
  42. 9 points
    npklemm

    [2023] AFCS Preview

    Houston Texans 2022 Record: 5-11 The Texans came into 2022 with hopes of making a playoff push, but defensive woes quickly put an end to those hopes. With Leshoure one season older, the Texans franchise hopes this year is the year they can make that push. Top Players QB Alex Leshoure 6-1 205 4 Boston College [Pocket] [0] 90 RB Simeon Wells 5-11 210 R Texas [Power] [0] 82 WR Marvin White 6-4 184 7 Ohio State [Speed] [+1/C] 90 WR Jeremy Scarborough 5-11 216 4 Colorado State [Target] [0] 86 OG John Chance 6-7 315 8 Oregon State [Run Blocking] [-1] 91 OT Matt Bogle 6-1 341 7 Ohio State [Pass Blocking] [+2/C] 90 OG Jason Osorio 6-2 275 5 Virginia Tech [Pass Blocking] [0] 88 DE Robert Fulton 6-0 266 4 LSU [Contain] [-1] 91 DT Bob Ballard 6-1 292 8 Penn State [2-Gap] [+2/C] 89  ILB Blair Williams 6-2 247 8 Colorado [Mike] [+2/C] 89 SS Frederick Fain 6-1 197 5 Auburn [Zone Coverage] [+1] 90 FS Reynaldo Harris 5-9 174 7 Miami [Man Coverage] [-2] 90 All the true star power on this team is on offense. Alex Leshoure is a good Quarterback, and definitely a player you can build around. I liked Simeon Wells (although less than Maurice White). But getting a legit running threat next to Leshoure should just open up this entire offense, I'm excited to see how Leshoure does with Wells alongside. Marvin White and Jeremy Scarborough are a good 1-2 Punch on the outside. The Texans have had a good OL for a long, long time. Chance, Bogle, and Osorio are key members of that line, and will keep Leshoure safe. Robert Fulton is a very good 3-4 End and fits the Texans' scheme perfectly. Bob Ballard is a bulldozer in the middle, getting after the QB and stuffing the run. Blair Williams is older, but still effective in getting into the backfield. Fain and Harris are a good pairing in the back, picking up after everyone else. Biggest Losses RB Arturo Pacheco TE Kelly Littleton CB Brent Johnson Losing Pacheco is actually a positive. He was a bad player, and completely busted in Houston. Losing Littleton hurts a little, because now your TE is Cap Mitchell and Israel Ellis basically. An injury to Kendall Brandon takes one more weapon off the field without the capacity of replacing it. Brent Johnson is not a very good player, but he was your best Corner last year. Yikes. Biggest Additions RB Simeon Wells 5-11 210 R Texas [Power] [0] 82 RB Logan Pruitt 5-7 232 3 North Carolina [Power] [+1] 81 OT Kendall Gresham 6-5 275 R Auburn [Run Blocking] [0] 80 We've already touched on Wells. But I do love the addition of Logan Pruitt, Pruitt made a name for himself in Detroit as an elite 3rd Down Back. If put in that role in Houston, it's just another offensive weapon to throw on the field. Thanks to @jmjacobs for pointing out my error, I confused Pruitt with Calvin Jones. But I do like having some depth in the backfield. The Texans' OL is aging, and picking up Gresham to take over for Gugliemi when he retires was a good and prudent move on your part. Opportunities AFCN. The AFCN was hyper competitive last year and had two teams in the playoffs, I think they get just the division winner this season. Opening up a Wild Card Spot. Indianapolis. The Colts aren't that improved from last year, and could be ripe for the pickings for the 3rd Spot in the Division. Threats New Runningbacks. Does Wells make the transition to the NFLHC smoothly? Or does he take time to get acclimated? Does Logan Pruitt like his role in Houston? He was traded to Houston before the draft, opening up the opportunity to start, will he be satisfied in the 3rd Down Back Role? Cornerbacks. Holy hell, this unit is a mess. This is the worst division to have holes at Cornerback. Tom Wyman and Shane Brinkley aren't going to cut it. OLB. Outside of Richard Jones, there isn't a competent OLB on this roster, leaving a massive hole in the defense to exploit. Aging OL. Gugliemi has regressed hard, while Bogle and Chance seem to both be on the downswing. Does this regression hurt the Texans' Offense? Schedule Indianapolis Colts 2022 Record: 9-7 A late season collapse prevented the Colts from making the playoffs, they were in the running until Week 16. But we just couldn't buy a win late in the year. 2023 looks to be a promising year to return to the playoffs. Top Players QB Aaron Shea 6-2 204 5 Missouri [Pocket] [+2/C] 99 RB James Otero 5-8 191 8 Kansas [Power] [0] 84 WR Mosi Bartos 5-8 161 7 Boston College [Speed] [-1] 93 TE Tyler Dotson 6-5 210 3 Notre Dame [Receiving] [0] 82 OT Kenyon Hendricks 6-7 285 7 USC [Pass Blocking] [+1/C] 86 OG Jimmie Shelton 6-6 304 7 Cincinnati [Run Blocking] [+1/C] 93 OG Ian Hendrickson 6-5 319 3 Arizona [Run Blocking] [0] 85 OT Phillip Edwards 6-7 294 4 Georgia [Run Blocking] [0/C] 87 DE Jonathan Goodwin 6-2 246 4 Utah [Contain] [+1] 92 DE Anthony Miller 6-3 253 3 Tennessee [Blitz] [0] 90 DT Hudson Adam 6-0 310 2 West Virginia [2-Gap] [-1] 86 ILB Kelly Mitchell 6-3 217 5 Michigan State [Will] [+2/C] 90 FS Sean Burton 6-0 202 8 Oklahoma [Zone Coverage] [0/C] 90 Much like the Texans, the Colts' real super stars are on Offense. Aaron Shea is a Top 5 QB in the league. James Otero is going for one more round, hoping to help lead the Colts into the playoffs. Mosi Bartos is a difficult guy to track and stay in front of, while Tyler Dotson is a huge threat over the middle. The Colts have had a Top 8 OL for the past few years, and that looks to be the case this year. Kenyon Hendricks, Jimmie Shelton, Ian Hendrickson, and Phillip Edwards should again lead one the leagues top units. Goodwin, Miller, and Adam are a formidable unit on the DL, a threat to every team they face. Kelly Mitchell is a stud in the middle of the defense, tracking TEs and racking up tackles. Sean Burton is our do everything safety in the back, one of the best to ever play. Biggest Losses OT Richard Carter OG William Kinard OLB Kwazi Robb SS Chris Brown Carter and Kinard hurt to lose. Carter was the long time protector of Shea's backside, and that's always tough to replace. Kinard was our best OL backup, but was unsatisfied in that role and decided to test Free Agency. Kwazi Robb was brought in to anchor the OLB position for year, but just wasn't the player he used to be and was eventually benched. He retired after a great career in New York. Chris Brown had regressed for a couple seasons and lost his SS Job, he was shipped to Tampa to bring in a Receiver. Biggest Additions WR Quintavius Pearson 6-0 196 5 Louisville [Target] [-3] 82 WR Quinn Walters 6-4 216 R Kentucky [Speed] [-3] 79 OT Kenyon Hendricks 6-7 285 7 USC [Pass Blocking] [+1/C] 86  OT Craig Foster 6-2 318 8 Arizona [Pass Blocking] [+1] 83 ILB Lance Nattiel 6-0 239 5 Texas [Mike] [0] 84 CB/FS Dominique Dawkins 6-2 199 R Georgia [Man Coverage] [0] 83 SS Brody Gibbons 5-11 188 R Utah [Zone Coverage] [+2] 80 QP was brought in from Tampa to bolster the WR corps. With the loss of Ryan Mitchell and Rashad Simon the year before, that unit was looking a little light. We also drafted Quinn Walters to give us a tall burner, something we've never had. Hendricks was signed to take over the LT duties from the retired Richard Carter. Craig Foster was signed to add some depth to our OL after we lost Kinard. Lance Nattiel was traded for to add more depth to our LB corps, and give us a bonafide Mike if we really needed one. Dawk has been an enigma so far, but there's no denying he's full of potential. Brody Gibbons was drafted to give us another long term SS option if Jonathan Norman continues to stagnate. Opportunities AFCN. Like mentioned above, the North should only field one playoff team. AFCE/AFCW. Neither of these divisions are super deep either, with one clear favorite and then one or two teams who could make a Wild Card Run. But the South could get both Wild Card spots this year. Threats Running Game. The streak continues, we haven't had a 100-Yard rusher since Week 17 of 2018. Not even in the Pre-Season. This makes late season pushes harder, since our scheme is obvious to gameplan against. Cornerbacks. Dawk will play Corner, but he may not make a huge impact year one. Meaning Malachi Douglas and Samir Ware will be the top dogs again. In this division, not ok. SS. Sean Burton and Dwayne Carter have FS locked down, but SS is shakey at best. Norman looked solid early on, but has since done nothing and even regressed a point. Our other option there is a rookie who was graded low on readiness in his pro day. A weak spot in the back of the defense could open up half the field. Schedule Jacksonville Jaguars 2022 Record: 10-6 The Jags came into the 2022 as one of the favorites to win the division. They had their opportunities, but some inconsistent play at QB lead to a loss or two that probably shouldn't have happened. But the Jags look real good for 2023 again. Top Players QB Taylor Rodriguez 6-1 209 5 Arizona [Pocket] [0] 89 RB Asante Sowell 6-3 194 4 Wisconsin [Power] [0] 95 WR Raheem Robinson 6-3 192 3 Oklahoma State [Speed] [0] 93 WR Marcus Holmes 6-1 172 1 Tennessee [Speed] [0] 83 OT Glenn Boyd 6-6 311 6 Florida State [Pass Blocking] [+2] 87 OG Robert Roaf 6-7 267 7 Michigan State [Run Blocking] [0] 94 OG Dave Young 6-4 296 7 Oregon [Pass Blocking] [0] 86 DE Ron Rice 6-6 275 7 Michigan [Blitz] [0] 95 DT Shamar Ware 6-5 278 1 Penn State [2-Gap] [0/C] 85 DE Preston Bryant 6-8 280 6 Michigan State [Blitz] [+1/C] 90 ILB Christian Haywood 6-3 243 4 Arizona [Mike] [0/C] 91 CB Jay Wade 5-10 211 4 Alabama [Zone Coverage] [0/C] 87 SS Larry Reeves 5-11 204 9 Tennessee [Man Coverage] [+2] 87 Taylor Rodriguez was certainly an improvement over Christian Barkley. But he needs to cut turnovers this year, if he does, this offense could be even better. Asante Sowell is one of the best RBs in the league, I'd look for him to get some more carries this year now that he's one more season removed from his ACL Injury. Raheem is a top end WR in the league, and I love Marcus Holmes next to him. Speed on Speed, not many secondaries can keep up with them. Boyd, Roaf, and Young are a good OL core to have, and the other starters aren't shabby either. The Jags, like the Colts, have studs on the DL. Ron Rice and Preston Bryant can really get after the Quarterback, while Shamar Ware is a space filler and block eater in the middle. Christian Haywood is a very quiet 91 OVR. He's not a flashy player, but he's stout in the middle and will work off of Ware and get in the middle of everything. Jay Wade is the best Corner, and he's a pretty good one. Larry Reeves is a Jags legend, and still has miles left in the tank. Biggest Losses QB Christian Barkley DT Ronald Barker OLB Donnie Bavaro Christian Barkley started for a couple years for the Jags, and while he was ok, that's all he was. He was never going to elevate this team, he was a pure game manager and the Jags wanted something different. He's not a backup to AJJ in Arizona. With the drafting of Ware, Barker was demoted to permanent backup. The Jags decided to let him go and go in a different direction. Donnie Bavaro was a long time starter, but he had just aged out of his position. The Jags released him in the off-season and now he's in Detroit. Biggest Additions OLB Logan Bowser 6-2 226 R Michigan [Coverage] [-1/C] 81 ILB Darius Butler 6-0 232 R Boston College [Mike] [+2/C] 79 CB DeSean Barkley 5-10 162 R Colorado [Man Coverage] [-2] 82 The Jags aren't the most active on the Free Agency/Trade Markets, but they did bring in some promising defensive rookies. Logan Bowser isn't ready to start, but the Jags have someone in place for him to learn under for a year or two. But, Bowser will be the starter by 2025, no doubt about it. OLB has been a meh point for Jacksonville, not bad, but just mediocre. They have to hope that Logan can improve that situation. Darius Butler was drafted to bring in a true backup to Christian Haywood. You also have to imagine he was drafted in case Haywood asks for too much money in the near future, they'll have a fall back option if they can't come to an agreement with Haywood. CB has been bleh outside Jay Wade, and by drafting Barkely, the Jags are hoping to make a splash there. I don't love Barkley, but he won't be the #1, so his deficiencies can be masked. What I do love about him is that he's a ball hawk. This defense needs to create more turnovers, and Barkley is definitely a guy who can do that. Opportunities Houston/Indianapolis. Houston still has massive holes on defense, and the Colts didn't improve enough to think they're any better than last season. Meaning the Jags should really just need to worry about Tennessee. AFCN/W/E. Like above, the other divisions seems weaker than last year, which should essentially guarantee the Jags a Wild Card spot. Threats QB Play. Rodriguez wasn't bad last year, but he had stretches where he just couldn't avoid throwing the ball away. If he does that again, the Jags could stumble late in the year and fall out of the playoffs. Defensive Depth. The Jags drafted heavily on defense, but they're still shallow. They have just one DT on the roster, and just one backup DE. Logan Bowser is their only OLB Backup. One injury there, and the depth disappears immediately. FS. Who plays? Kevin Johnson, Dwayne Harden, or Seth Scott? Should any of them? The Jags have a mix mash of mediocre players to choose from, and all of them should be a weak point in the defense if they start. Schedule Tennessee Titans 2022 Record: 12-4 The Titans won the division by 2 Games last season, and ended up making it to the AFCCG. They lost that game, but it was the most successful season in team history, and they look to improve on that in 2023. Top Players QB Thomas Wheeler 6-1 208 8 Florida State [Pocket] [+1/C] 95 RB Chad Dess 6-1 241 8 Virginia [Power] [-1] 88 WR Kevin Williams 6-0 165 7 Boston College [Speed] [+3/C] 90 OT Brandon Reamon 6-8 298 5 Texas [Pass Blocking] [0/C] 93 OG Ian Braden 6-2 335 3 Western Michigan [Run Blocking] [0] 85 DE Tyler Jones 6-1 257 3 Mississippi State [Contain] [0] 91 DE Steven Jordan 6-7 279 8 Iowa State [Contain] [+1] 86 OLB Jeff Cox 5-11 220 5 California [Blitz] [+2] 87 OLB David Doherty 6-1 228 6 Kansas State [Coverage] [+2] 90 ILB Tyrese Thompson 6-3 228 1 Auburn [Mike] [-1/C] 84 CB Jack Ramsey 6-2 172 5 Virginia Tech [Zone Coverage] [-2] 93 Wheeler was one of the best QBs in 2022, and the Titans benefited by winning the AFCS and getting to the AFCCG. Wheeler progressed +1, so there's no reason to think he can't recreate his performance in 20223. Chad Dess had the weirdest season in 2022. He had 200 Carries and 16 Touchdowns, that's a Touchdown every 12.5 Carries. He only had 950 Yards on the season, but did so with a 4.75 YPC. He was a perfect fit in the offense. Kevin Williams is one of the unlikeliest stars in the league. Coming in as a 7th Round Pick in 2016, but when finally given the chance he's blossomed into the one of the best in the league. Brandon Reamon is a stud of a Left Tackle and Ian Braden is a very good Right Guard. The other OL are pretty solid themselves. Tyler Jones is a top end Contain DE in the league, and with the addition of Steven Jordan, Tennessee has 2 competent DEs again. Jeff Cox and David Doherty will be paired in the second level while Tyrese Thompson cleans up the running game. Jack Ramsey is an unheralded player in this defense, but is maybe the most important. With Shea, Tay-Rod, and Leshoure in his division (as well as Marvin White, Mosi Bartos, and Raheem Robinson) Ramsey is the most important player on that defense. Biggest Losses RB Chris Bell WR Greg Newman OT Willard Love OLB Jeffrey Arande Chris Bell is a bust, pure and simple. Losing him makes this team better. Greg Newman was a good player his whole career, but had severely regressed recently, so losing him isn't a big deal. Willard Love was forced to start last year when Reamon went down, but didn't play well. He could have been an OK backup, but the Titans were so unimpressed with his performance that they just got rid of him. The Titans moved Arande to LAR in exchange for Jeff Cox, which to me is an improvement. Biggest Additions RB Jamal Trufant 6-1 223 R Wisconsin [Power] [-2] 80 WR Percy Brown 6-4 200 R Eastern Washington [Speed] [0] 79 OT Aaron Walls 6-7 273 R Utah State [Pass Blocking] [+1/C] 82 DE Steven Jordan 6-7 279 8 Iowa State [Contain] [+1] 86  OLB Jeff Cox 5-11 220 5 California [Blitz] [+2] 87  Jamal Trufant is a player who I think can fill the role that Dess currently fills. If Tennessee commits to this type of offense long term, I think Trufant is a good successor to Dess. We love him in Indy. We also loved the next guy on the list, Percy Brown. He was going to be our 3rd Rounder if he was still there. We loved his combination of size and speed, and I think he'll make a great companion to Williams. Aaron Walls looks like a great young Tackle, and the Titans could use a Right Tackle when he returns from injury in 2024. Steven Jordan comes in and should take over for John Peterson at DE. He marks both a better scheme fit and better overall talent, so the Defense should be even better. Jeff Cox was brought in from LAR in a situation similar to Jordan. He was a better scheme fit, and better overall player. Opportunities Vegas Injuries. LV has had some injuries to it's OL this pre-season, opening up the possibility they drop a couple games and can't compete for the 1 Seed in the AFC. Houston/Indianapolis. Just like with Jacksonville, I view this division as really between Jax and Tennessee. Threats WR Depth. With the loss of Greg Newman, the #3 spot is open. Percy Brown should fill in that role, but he's inexperienced and has only played at the FCS level. Transitioning to the NFLHC likely won't be easy for him. CB Depth. After Ramsey and Harris, the 3rd guy is M.K. Sharpe. A guy who had a rough pre-draft process and has questions about his level of competition in College. But, there really isn't a guy after him who could supplant him. So if he struggles, the Titans just have to live with it. Schedule Final Thoughts on Division This feels like Tennessee's Division to lose. I think Jacksonville gets some favorable Out of Division opponents, but Tennessee should still be top dog in division. But, Jacksonville is still a damn good team. I think Indy is the clear 3rd Team, but even at 10-6, that could be enough to make the playoffs. I think Houston's defensive issues will be too much to overcome, and even with a stellar offense, they'll finish under .500 again.
  43. 9 points
    TuscanSota

    CFBHC Word Search

    @stormstopper, you missed one.
  44. 9 points
    Soluna

    Site Meme Directory

    Based on how many newer members haven't understood some of the classic references in the last few days I wanted to start compiling this. Feel free to help as you can think of some: (2014) "I'm glad I now signed up." (2014) KRUSH drunk user winmachine would spend hours at night typing nothing but KRUSH in the shoutbox to hide his drunken rampages (2014) Kafka Kurse Kafka lost every opening game in either CFBHC or NFLHC for like the first 3 seasons. (2014) Fib Ur Battle cry of the Loins (2014-2016) <p>bola dreaded forum error where random posts would get the <p></p> html formatting tag inserted (2015) Phillyfan3 cannot figure out how to post a depth chart. (2015 "My wife thinks this site is dumb, but she watches the Disney Channel. So fuck her." (2015) Touchdown Site homophobe posts erotic cfbhc fan fiction (2016) "Well I just got here, that King line says I'm going to like our game" "or not" "holy shit." (2016) npklemm accidentally hides every Jumbo post on the forum (2016) "bump for nephewjack" (2017) "cut the shit I'm keeping it" (2018) "... Murdered?" (2019) "Here are his stats: Let me know."
  45. 9 points
    Intro: 0:00 Buffalo: 3:00 Miami: 14:32 New England: 23:57 New York Jets: 31:57 Final Standings: 41:25
  46. 8 points
    Zion Hooker Cornerback 5'11" 195 lbs Redshirt Senior 2022 SEASON 12 TACKLES, 5 INT, 3 PD A decent 2022 campaign for the Utes talisman cornerback. Hooker, who is a big presence in the locker room, both for his confident nature and his winners attitude, snagged 5 interceptions, which was team leading, as well as 3 pass deflections, in a season that was definitely to be forgotten for Utah. STRENGTHS Flexibility - He has the athletic ability to get to any pass and this is proven by his interceptions made. Constantly a threat that all opposing quarterbacks, and receivers, have to worry and battle against. Football IQ - No-one on this Utes defence knows the game better than Hooker. He is a true lover of the game and works tirelessly on constantly improving. Showmanship - Part of the reason the fans love him so much is that he talks the talk, as well as walks the walk. He is a big game player who lives for the moment. WEAKNESSES Size - He isn't the biggest guy on the roster, however, not all cornerbacks need to be to be effective. He more than makes up for this with his long spider-like arms. Back-ache - It's a common side effect for carrying a team. And it won't be getting any easier this season, being as he is the undisputed standout player on defense. He better have that Deep Heat ready for all the carrying he's going to be required to do this year. EXPECTATIONS FOR 2023 SEASON Being the main man on the Utah defense, there is going to be a lot expected of Hooker this year. He will be looking to rack up more interceptions, and potentially challenge to lead the PAC-12 in this statistic. He will need to carry this defense onwards and upwards and be a leader on and off the field in order for Utah to get some upset results go their way. The defense as a whole will need to step up and win games for a team that is so engulfed (and blessed) with youth across the board.
  47. 8 points
    npklemm

    [2023] AFCW Preview

    Denver Broncos 2022 Record :4-12 Todd Jennings tore his ACL in 2022 and the Broncos never recovered. They've made quite a few moves in the off-season and come into 2023 with much higher hopes. Top Players QB Todd Jennings 6-6 201 5 Penn State [Pocket] [+3] 85 RB J.B. Blacknall 5-8 207 3 UAB [Power] [0] 88 WR Derrick Schwartz 6-0 155 5 Kentucky [Speed] [0] 87 WR Gavin Faulk 6-2 200 R Connecticut [Target] [0] 82 OT Gary Tomlinson 6-6 304 6 Wisconsin [Run Blocking] [+1] 92 OG Russell Benson-Gifford 6-7 260 3 South Carolina [Pass Blocking] [+1] 92 C John Zatkoff 6-7 296 7 Alabama [Pass Blocking] [+1/C] 95 DE Deyonte Davis 6-4 265 2 Tennessee State [Blitz] [-2] 86 DT Frank Williams 6-8 293 8 Alabama [1-Gap] [+1/C] 93 OLB Evan Walsh 5-11 218 1 Nevada [Coverage] [0] 84 ILB Cameron Jonah 6-1 243 7 Hartnell College [Mike] [+2/C] 94 CB Cameron Newhouse 5-11 177 8 Oklahoma State [Man Coverage] [0/C] 92 Todd Jennings is solid Quarterback. He's not a superstar by any means, but he's good enough for this Broncos Offense. Coming back from an ACL is never easy, but if he can, I like Denver's chances at making the playoffs. J.B. Blacknall is a damn good RB, who was the sole good part of the offense in 2022. Hopefully with a competent passing game, the running lanes will start to open for him. Denver acquired Derrick Schwartz from the Rams as they needed some talent in their receiving corps. Schwartz will be fine in Denver, although they shouldn't expect the same level of output that he had in LA. They also drafted Faulk, who I really loved in the Draft. I think he'll make a great #2 this season and could make the transition to #1 in short time. The Broncos OL is among the league's best and that's due in large part to Tomlinson, RBG, and Zatkoff. Deyonte Davis is a good edge rusher, and the Broncos will really need him a lot. Denver also brought in Frank Williams from Tampa, and he should fix that massive hole at DT. Evan Walsh had a pretty good rookie year, but the Broncos are looking for him to take the next step. Cameron Jonah is an absolute stud and the best player on the Defense. Part of the trade to acquire Frank Williams also included getting Cameron Newhouse. The Broncos CB Corps was brutally awful last year, and this year they'll be much improved. Biggest Losses TE Darren Jones OT Mario Hill CB Reggie Griffin CB Lynn Perry CB Patrick Mitchell Jones is a very good receiving Tight End, and the Broncos offense will seriously miss him. Mario Hill was the Right Tackle for the Broncos, but they won't miss him as much since he's been replaced by the young stud Marc Allen. The Trio of CBs gone is addition by subtraction. Patrick Mitchell is a complete bust of a player. Lynn Perry was ok, but the more responsibility he got, the worse he seemed to play. Reggie Griffin may not have been bad, but his replacement is a huge improvement. Biggest Additions WR Derrick Schwartz 6-0 155 5 Kentucky [Speed] [0] 87 WR Gavin Faulk 6-2 200 R Connecticut [Target] [0] 82 WR Sean Waller 6-2 167 2 USC [Speed] [0] 80 TE Aaron Thibodeaux 6-4 213 R Ohio [Receiving] [0/C] 80 OG Will Doughty 6-3 271 3 Alabama [Pass Blocking] [+1] 84 DT Frank Williams 6-8 293 8 Alabama [1-Gap] [+1/C] 93 CB Cameron Newhouse 5-11 177 8 Oklahoma State [Man Coverage] [0/C] 92 CB Jordan Westbrook 5-11 191 R Purdue [Man Coverage] [+2] 81 I'll cover those players I haven't already addressed in this section. I do like the addition of Waller. He was underused in Baltimore, and he gives the Broncos another weapon in the passing game (something Todd Jennings must be very happy with). Thibodeaux will immediately be a regression from Darren Jones, but once he gets acclimated to the Pros, I think he'll be a good player. (Both Waller and Thibs are suffering from minor-ish injuries - both should be ready by the start of the Regular Season). The only spot on the OL in 2022 that was a weakpoint was Right Guard, that's not the case anymore as Denver brought in Will Doughty from Baltimore. This OL somehow got better, that's a scary thought. Jordan Westbrook was a great selection for them in the draft. He should immediately be an improvement over Mitchell and Perry. The Broncos secondary is actually competent? Opportunities Health! Todd Jennings is healthy, that's your biggest opportunity right there. AFCN/E. Like mentioned several times over different Previews. I think the North only sends one team to the playoffs and the East will struggle to get a 2nd. Leaving a Wild Card spot open for Denver. LV OL Issues. The chance to get Frank Williams in the backfield after Hall has to have the Broncos Front Office salivating. Threats QB. How does Todd Jennings return from injury? Is he still the efficient QB he once was? Or does he feel the pressure too quickly and throw the ball too soon? WR Chemistry. This WR corps is basically fully rebuilt. How does Schwartz take on the #1 role? How does Waller fit into the team? How does Faulk transition to the NFLHC? FS. I think the Corners will be fine, but FS is a black hole in this defense. The current starter is FS Ayden Whitaker, he's just in his 2nd year and is only a 79. Is he the point in the defense that gets exploited? Schedule Kansas City Chiefs 2022 Record: 8-8 The Chiefs had a youth explosion on offense with Ryan Harris and Terrence Rodgers in the backfield. While Harris was mostly good, he had his duds (which is totally expected out of Rookie QBs). They had a chance near the end of the season, but just couldn't get the wins they needed. They come into 2023 with hopes of making a playoff run. Top Players QB Ryan Harris 6-4 213 1 Fresno State [Pocket] [0] 85 RB Terrence Rodgers 6-0 173 3 Mississippi State [Speed] [+1] 88 TE Spec Davidson 6-2 243 9 Georgia [Receiving] [-2] 87 OT Quinn Burr 6-6 258 4 Iowa State [Pass Blocking] [0] 92 OT Chris Gray 6-3 283 6 Texas A&M [Pass Blocking] [+1] 88 DT Quentin Smith 6-8 294 9 Ohio State [1-Gap] [-2/C] 88 CB Teddy Walker 5-11 177 5 Kentucky [Man Coverage] [0] 87 CB Marques Warner 6-1 193 7 Texas A&M [Man Coverage] [+1] 86 CB Andrew Boyd 5-10 175 2 Boston College [Man Coverage] [0] 84 SS Cameron Riley 6-1 197 2 Texas Tech [Zone Coverage] [0] 88 I expect a big step forward from Ryan Harris this year, the only thing that may stop him is the poor WR group he has to throw to. Terrence Rodgers is a stud, and I expect him to make a great sidekick to Harris again. Spec Davidson is the best receiver on the team, and he's starting to slow down. The Tackles on the OL provide great protection for Harris (the interior isn't bad, just not as good as the tackles). The Chiefs added QS from Pittsburgh, and look for him to give them a year of tough, physical play in the middle of their D Line. Teddy Walker is a bit of a bust, but he's still at least average. Marques Warner brings some good veteran experience while Andrew Boyd looks to be the Corner of the future in KC. Cam Riley is quietly a top end Safety in the league, he plays great Central Field in the back of that defense. Biggest Losses WR Hines Mertens WR Harry Whiteside OG Hanry Badanjek DT Bud Howard OLB Arlie Leclair Mertens and Whiteside aren't big losses. The Chiefs are betting that Hobbs and Childs are ready to take over their roles in the offense. Badanjek retired unsurprisingly. He was merely average in 2023, so whether its Miguel Vela or Donald Kendrick, the Chiefs shouldn't see too much regression along the line. Bud Howard was sent to Pittsburgh for QS, and a big part of that trade was scheme fit. QS really plays well in a 4-3, while Howard doesn't. Arlie Leclair retired as well, and he did bring a lot of veteran leadership to the locker room that'll be missing this year. Biggest Additions WR Ryan Childs 5-11 150 R Mississippi State [Speed] [-2] 81 OT Ki'Jana Parrish 6-4 312 8 Auburn [Pass Blocking] [0] 83 OG Donald Kendrick 6-7 272 R Tennessee [Run Blocking] [0] 79 DT Quentin Smith 6-8 294 9 Ohio State [1-Gap] [-2/C] 88 ILB Sammy Dawkins 6-4 243 R Purdue [Mike] [0] 80 Childs was an enigma in the draft. You either loved him or hated him. KC loved him and are giving him a chance to play year 1. I imagine he'll play the #3 role, and I think he can succeed there. Ki'Jana Parrish was brought over from Philly as a backup, and the Chiefs have two good backup Tackles now, loved that move. Donald Kendrick was drafted and is playing Week 3 as the Starting Right Guard. Sammy Dawkins was drafted to replace Dewey Tomlinson after he retires (which is likely this year). Opportunities Questions in Denver. Questions surrounding Denver (especially at QB) could lead to KC cementing themselves as the #2 team in the division. AFCN/E. Like mentioned several times over different Previews. I think the North only sends one team to the playoffs and the East will struggle to get a 2nd. Leaving a Wild Card spot open for Kansas City. LV OL Issues.. The chance to get Quentin Smith in the backfield after Hall has to have the KC Front Office salivating. Threats WR Play. The Chiefs have been plagued for while with poor play from their Receivers. Are Hobbs and Childs ready to take on big roles in this offense? Does Kevin Branch rewind the clock and give the Chiefs good play? Pass Rush. Jeffrey Chung and Luke Lyles have not progressed like they were expected to. Both are 83 overall with both having at least 3 years experience in the league. Will this duo be able to get constant pressure on opposing QBs? LB Play. The Chiefs have a bunch of mediocre Linebackers, and no real studs. The Front-7 as a whole is like this, mediocre. Schedule Las Vegas Raiders 2022 Record: 12-4 The Raiders were top Dogs in the West yet again in 2022. They won the division by 4 games. They beat Cincy in the Wild Card round, but lost to Tennessee in the Divisional. With Nick Hall, all things are possible. Top Players QB Nick Hall 6-2 221 8 Syracuse [Pocket] [+3/C] 99 RB Major Morris 5-10 207 3 The Citadel [Speed] [0] 82 WR Mike Tripplett 6-3 173 8 Ohio State [Target] [-1/C] 96 TE Brian Gary 6-6 267 9 Wisconsin [Receiving] [0/C] 92 OG David Wilson 6-1 299 9 Oklahoma [Run Blocking] [+2] 92 DE Shah Vereen 6-1 259 3 South Carolina [Blitz] [-2] 88 DE Andrew Fazande 6-4 265 8 Alabama [Contain] [-1] 87 ILB Alex Martin 6-0 240 6 Texas A&M [Mike] [+3/C] 96 CB Mike Gradishar 5-10 166 6 Alabama [Zone Coverage] [0] 93 SS David Pennington 6-1 192 4 Vanderbilt [Zone Coverage] [+1] 91 Nick Hall's career speaks for itself. Major Morris is an odd player. He just can't seem to really put it together for long periods of time, but when he's on, he's great in this offense. When not, Hall is forced to throw it 50 times a game. Mike Triplett is among the league's best, he and Hall have created a wonderful connection together. Same with Brian Gary, who keeps coming back after considering retirement. David Wilson is an absolute stud on the OL (but he's the only one). Shah Vereen had a stellar 2022, and they added Andrew Fazande from Chicago. LV's DL is significantly improved. Alex Martin is a very quiet elite player in the middle of this defense. Gradishar is a lock down guy who isn't beat easily. David Pennington plays very well in the back of the defense. Biggest Losses QB Javier Fields RB Quincy Turner DE Jamal Norwood FS Randall Jones Fields and Turner were backups, but they did bring veteran experience to their position. Much more important for Turner to help mentor the younger Major Morris. Jamal Norwood was a starter last season accross from Vereen, but he's been replaced by a better player. Randall Jones was sent to Chicago, and is being replaced by Darius Patton. Biggest Additions OG Cole Fay 6-7 271 R Virginia Tech [Run Blocking] [0/C] 80 DE Andrew Fazande 6-4 265 8 Alabama [Contain] [-1] 87  DT Silas Booker 6-2 321 R Western Michigan [1-Gap] [-2] 80 OLB Chance Herring 5-11 231 R TCU [Blitz] 79 CB Antonio Burch 6-2 188 7 Michigan [Man Coverage] [0] 82 SS Gregory Noel 5-11 199 3 Georgia State [Man Coverage] [0] 80 The Raiders have had OL issues for a while. They drafted Fay to try and shore up that line. He may not start year one, but he does have a bright outlook. With Gregg Martin on the verge of retirement, the Raiders needed to bring in a DT to start in that 4-3. In steps Booker from WMU, and soon the Raiders DT will be an All-MAC affair with Booker and Bailey. The Raiders have a hole at OLB, which will likely mean Herring is competing for a starting job. Antonio Burch is not going to see the field a ton, but he will bring his experience to the Special Teams and Corner depth. Gregory Noel will likewise not see the field much, but he brings depth behind David Pennington that didn't exist before. Opportunities Denver and KC. Both teams have big questions to answer. This uncertainty should benefit the Raiders. Nick Hall. One the ultimate weapons in the league. AFCS Cannibalism. The Raiders' biggest competitors for a first round bye is the AFCS. But, that division will eat itself and could let LV sneak in with a bye. Threats OL. With the injury to Doherty, the Raiders OL has one player above 83 OVR in Wilson. Will this unit keep Hall on his feet? Or will he get beat up? OLB. Outside of Sergio Miller, there is no real OLB that should be expected to be starter quality. FS. With the loss of Randall Jones, the Raiders don't have that stellar safety valve back there. Darius Patton is young and unknown. Does he step up? Or is he overwhelmed? Schedule Los Angeles Chargers 2022 Record: 3-13 The Chargers have been one of the worst teams in the league for a while. They've made a ton of picks over the past couple of years. I think their future outlook is bright, but they have a ton of youth everywhere, that will lead to some issues this season. Top Players QB Matty Swift 5-11 198 4 Texas A&M [Pocket] [0] 87 WR Greg Cobb 6-3 188 6 Cincinnati [Target] [0] 89 WR M.L. Kriewaldt 5-8 170 8 Louisville [Speed] [+2/C] 87 WR Jarvis Ward 5-9 189 1 Texas A&M [Speed] [0] 83 OT Mario Hill 6-7 290 5 Mississippi State [Pass Blocking] [0] 89 OG Noah Barney 6-1 336 1 Ohio State [Pass Blocking] [0] 87 OLB Shane Easley 6-4 236 2 Penn State [Blitz] [+1] 89 ILB Tunch Richardson 5-11 217 6 Alabama [Mike] [+3/C] 93 ILB Bradley Rainey 5-11 223 R Penn State [Will] [0/C] 83 CB Kenyon Justice 6-1 177 1 Auburn [Zone Coverage] [-1] 83 Matty Swift is still starting in Los Angeles. Which means the Chargers have a very low ceiling this season. Greg Cobb and M.L. Kriewaldt are definitely not being used to their full potential. Mario Hill and Noah Barney will attempt to make the Chargers' OL a cohesive unit instead of turnstyles. Shane Easley is a stud and the centerpiece of the team.Tunch leads this defense and cleans up everything in the Fron-7. The Chargers added Bradley Rainey to the Front-7 to help support Easley better. Kenyon Justice was brought in last season and looks like he could be the #1 guy. He'll have to improve mightily. Biggest Losses TE Scott Howard OT Kenyon Hendricks FS Stephen Elliott Scott Howard is one of the best players in Franchise history. Losing him is going to sting, both on the field and sting the hearts of the fans. Kenyon Hendricks had worn out his welcome in LA and gotten benched last season. Stephen Elliott has been replaced by a younger player and is now starting in the other LA team. Biggest Additions QB Elijah McManus 5-10 196 R Kentucky [Pocket] [+2/C] 80 RB Arturo Pacheco 5-10 194 3 Iowa State [Speed] [-1] 81 TE Nate Linsley 6-1 218 R Toledo [Blocking] [0] 82 OT Mario Hill 6-7 290 5 Mississippi State [Pass Blocking] [0] 89 DE Tyrone Rivers 6-4 258 R LSU [Contain] [-3] 81 ILB Bradley Rainey 5-11 223 R Penn State [Will] [0/C] 83 The Chargers may have selected their QB of the future in McManus. He struggled hard early in his career, but came on very strong his last two seasons. He can sit behind Swift for a couple seasons before being thrown in the fire. Arturo Pacheco was signed off waivers from Houston to bring some competition to the RB job. He lost convincingly. Nate Linsley was selected in the mid rounds to bring a big body on running downs. His play time (at least initially) will be limited to blocking in the running game and the odd play action pass. Another investment in the Front-7 came by way of Tyrone Rivers. He played just on year at LSU, so we don't really know what he's capable of. Opportunities Denver. I think KC is clearly superior to LA. But I think LA has an opportunity to take the 3rd Spot in the Division if Denver struggles with the return of Jennings. Hard to get worse? With 3 wins in 2022, it's hard to get worse. Threats Matty Swift. We know who Swift is at this point, and it's not good. Running Game. The Chargers still don't have a reliable starter. With a bad QB, no running game will make it hard to score points. Front-7. The Chargers have put a lot of time and effort into the Fron-7. But the DL is still a work in progress and 1 OLB spot is a huge question mark. Do the 3 LBS mentioned above make up for the lack of play around them? CB. Justice being your top guy is very concerning. This unit will get challenged by your divisional opponents hard. Safety. If you have questionable Corner Play, you at least want good safeties to cover up for them, but the Chargers may not. They're starting 2 young, low 80s guys there. The secondary as a hole will be exploited. Schedule Final Thoughts on Division This is still LV's division to lose clearly. The team who could take their spot this year is KC, but their youth on offense will hold them back I think. Even with the Raider's holes, their division opponents aren't well suited to take advantage. The Chargers will be hapless at times this season.
  48. 8 points
    After an intense spring battle, culminating in a spring game that saw terrific performances from both quarterbacks, TCU coach DangerZoneh has named Taylor Cook the starting quarterback for the 2023 season. “As a coach, I have always prided myself on playing the players who give the team the best chance to win. Right now, that’s Taylor. He’s dynamic. He brings a dimension to the game that not a lot of quarterbacks do.” The decision is not one that comes lightly, especially given the amount of success that Felix Luck has seen on the field, as coach DangerZoneh notes. “Felix has been incredible for us. He’s a proven winner. 26-5 in his career, three playoff wins, the school’s first ever conference championship, and a national championship appearance. He holds pretty much every record in the book. He’s a leader in the locker room and an incredible person. Throughout this entire battle, he hasn’t complained once. He’s mentored and helped Taylor a lot to bring him to where he is today. This is by no means the end of the road for him. He has a future in the NFL, mark my words.” When asked about what ultimately pushed Taylor ahead, DangerZoneh noted his running ability. “We haven’t had a quarterback like this in a long time. He can make quick plays and decisions with his feet and find time until someone opens up. He runs to pass, rather than running to gain yardage. The offense that we’ll be deploying in 2023 is going to be very different from the TCU offenses of the past. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s going to be fun.” In related news, TCU has also named Griffin McHanna the starting running back, a move from his previous position of wide receiver. “This is a move that should have happened last year, but we were worried about our depth at the receiver position. Now that that’s less of a concern, it’s very exciting to see him out there. He’s always been a star returner and a lot of those skills translate to the running back position. He had his work cut out for him this spring but did an incredible job and I think you’re going to see an entirely different player out there. As for Matteo, he’s still going to see the field a good amount. He’s got a lot to learn but he’s on his way. Playing with someone like Griff is going to be a big help for him, I believe.” With 8 seniors drafted into the NFL last year, a quarterback change, a running back change, as well as some shuffling along the offensive line and receiving corps, TCU in 2023 will look like a brand new team. They’ll premiere week 1 (likely week 0) facing Penn State in the White House.
  49. 8 points
    vtgorilla

    CFBHC Talks: How Are You Doing?

    This is a difficult comment to follow LOL. I am doing okay, but it's a rough okay. I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2 last week and it's difficult to come to terms with. My behavior falls perfectly in line with the symptoms, but its still somehow hard to grasp that something is fundamentally wrong with my brain and I didn't find out until age 34. For clarity and awareness, bipolar 2 is generally less extreme than the bipolar stories you hear about - people buying boats on credit cards, trying to carve a bow and arrow out of a tree in the park (my cousin did this ), and generally destroying their lives - those are likely folks with Bipolar 1. BP2 is more a roller coaster of depression, with periods of feeling way too good. My "up" periods in particular are extremely creative and productive...I tend to make websites and mobile games in my spare time, produce a shit ton of site media, etc...and then I disappear for long periods of time due to disinterest/mild depression. Apparently this is "textbook" bp2 behavior...and I've always been like this. So anyway, just sharing in case anyone can relate. I haven't even told my parents, since my mom has a tendency to overshare with EVERYONE.
  50. 8 points
    The boys are back in town and with it is the beginning of spring practices here in Morgantown. The Mountaineers are coming off of a campaign that saw them return to postseason play with a birth in the Texas Bowl against LSU. In 2023 they will look to continue building on the success of their 2022 season which saw a mostly young Mountaineer team exceed expectations presented by the national media. West Virginia looks to see some of the redshirt freshman contribute from their stellar top 20 recruiting class from the 2021 season and will look to replace MLB Nathan Wilks, DE Aaron Pagan, and CB Lamont Carson from a defense that ranked near the top of the Big XII. Remarkably the Mountaineers have 18/22 returning starters available to them, but will utilize the spring session to finalize some opening day depth chart battles. Running Back RB Bryce Madison 5-6 195 (So) Bryan (Bryan TX) 3.5 of 4.0 [Power] vs. RB Mike Freeman 5-10 229 Fr Manchester (Midlothian VA) 3.0 of 4.5 [Power] Bryce had a very up and down true freshman year where he rushed for 900 yards and 7 touchdowns with a 4.37 yard per carry average. Madison had great games against Iowa State, Kansas State and Oklahoma State where he put up 333 yards on 5.84 yards per carry, but far too often he would put 13 carry 40 yard games like he did against LSU. Mike Freeman comes in as one of the most plug and play players in the nation with a college ready body and a pound it out style that should translate immediately to division 1 football. Coming in a 229 pounds Freeman is a mountain of a man and his no nonsense style should provide the Mountaineers with a major weapon. Madison has the potential to be a good running back and can use the spring performance to stake a claim at keeping his starting spot. Projection: The Mountaineers will utilize both backs allowing Madison to play a 3rd down role where his shiftier game, pass protection skills, and experience will keep him getting reps. Defensive Tackle DT Jack Yazzie 6-5 294 So Azle (Azle TX) 2.0 of 4.5 [2-Gap] vs. DT Mordechai Chappell 6-7 310 (Fr) Wink (Wink TX) 2.0 of 4.0 [1-Gap] We move on to the #2 Defensive Tackle spot beside 4 year starer Riley Reardon. Sophomore Jack Yazzie was pressed into emergency duty last season as the Mountaineers were left with little choice but to start the true freshman tackle. 6-7 monster Mordechai Chappell is coming off his redshirt year and looks poised to be able to step into a contributing role if called upon. Both guys appear to be similar in skill and the battle could go either way. Projection: The Mountaineers elect to use the redshirt on Jack Yazzie which gives him a season to work on his body and craft. This allows Chappell and Yazzie to both be redshirt Sophomores for the 2024 season and start together for 3 seasons. Outside Linebacker OLB Prince Monroe 5-11 217 (Sr) St. John's (Washington, DC) 3.5 of 3.5 [Coverage] OLB Luke Lacey 6-1 228 (Jr) Saint Albans (St. Albans WV) 3.5 of 3.5 [Coverage] OLB Bryce Bennett 6-0 242 (Fr) Amarilla (Amarillo TX) 2.0 of 4.0 [Coverage]OLB Hudson Collins 5-11 221 Fr Scotland (Scotland PA) 2.5 of 4.0 [Coverage] The most interesting battle of the spring belongs to the outside linebacker position. Luke Lacey and Prince Monroe are both 2 year starters at the position, but could be challenged by a couple of heavily recruited freshman in Bennett and Collins. The often injured Monroe is in his senior season and has been average at best during his years starting with 24 tackles and 1 sack from the strong side linebacking position. St. Albans product Luke Lacey put up a fantastic redshirt freshman season from his weak side position, and sees to be making a lot quicker strides in practice than the older Monroe. Bryce Bennett is coming off his redshirt season, where at times he flashed more potential than both Monroe and Lacey, but still needs to work on his every down consistency. Bennett is the biggest and most athletic of the bunch, and is a wild card in the battle. Last, but certainly not least is the true freshman Hudson Collins out of Pennsylvania, Collins has smooth coverage ability and flashes a combination of potential and consistency that has the coaching staff really excited. Prediction: Hudson Collins wins the strong side job and Luke Lacey retains his weak side position. Cornerback CB Aidan Nobles 6-0 167 (So) Pendleton County (Franklin WV) 3.0 of 3.5 [Zone Coverage] vs. CB Moussa Lacy 6-0 203 (Fr) Irving (Irving TX) 2.0 of 4.0 [Man Coverage] Who is going to win the CB2 position beside returning starter Harry Conner? Heading into the off-season the coaching staff had to feel pretty good about the corner position, they had Conner returning to play his #2 spot, but they also had 3 year starter Lamont Carson returning for his senior season or so they thought. Carson declared for the pros and now the Mountaineers are looking to fill the gap opposite of Conner. Nobles has flashed some potential as a cornerback, but the reports out of practice are that he sees the game better in zone coverage and does not perform as well in man to man situations. Lacy the redshirt freshman from Texas brings great size to the position and primarily excels in playing man to man coverage. Prediction: Lacy will win out because of his size and man to man abilities. Kicker K Mario Bales 6-4 165 So Hoggard (Wilmington NC) 2.5 of 3.5 [Accuracy] vs. K Zane McRae 6-2 184 Fr Moorefield (Moorefield WV) 1.0 of 5.0 [Power] Kicking was one of the weakest areas for the Mountaineers in 2022. Mario Bales was named the starter halfway through the season and although he performed better than previous starter Trevor Brink he still missed kicks in critical moments. The legend around the state of West Virginia is that freshman Zane McRae has a leg made out of titanium and can boot a football a country mile. Prediction: Zane wins the battle and boots many footballs in his career
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