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    I would like to hype up Emmanuel Bowden. Our rookie Will LB who from rookie camp, to training camp, to his first game has done nothing but impress. 
     

    We have struggled to fill that position since we began using the 3-4 and finally feel like we have a solid piece there for the first time in years.  His emergence has shored up the last weak spot in our LB group and I’m very excited about what that means for the rest of the defense in terms of flexibility this year.

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    I don't know if either will be first year stars but I think the biggest impact from this rookie class will be from OLBs Zachary McHale and Patrick Malone. While finally having a true CB1 in Valentine will hopefully drastically improve the pass D he can still only cover one WR, but adding two true 34 OLBs finally fully transforms our defense.

     

    We hovered between a 43 NT and a 34 when we first acquired DT Bob Ballard but we have been exclusively 34 for a few seasons now despite having absolutely 0 luck in getting any blitz OLBs that we like. We really liked both guys before the draft and they have both had fantastic preseasons that has only fanned the flames. McHale was injured in minicamp so he won't see any preseason action but he will be back week 1 or 2 but Malone really played well in the Sam spot in our first preseason game and will get a look at the Jack here in preseason week 2.

     

    They don't even need to have monster seasons in 2025 to make a huge impact considering we have gotten 6.5 sacks total from OLBs in the last 3 seasons. If we are at all able to generate some edge pressure from the OLBs for once we should keep our DBs from having to cover for 3-4 seconds every play, free up space for the DL to either attack in the pass game or eat space in the run game.

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    Spencer Sharpe looks set to take a huge step forward, now in his 2nd year and with Leshoure throwing to him. He was a standout at camp and has gone 12-178-1 in preseason so far.  I think he'll have a monster season from the slot.

     

    On the other side of the ball, Davenport looks ready to feast. 9.72 grade this week, with 3 TFL and a sack, and set to get a 25% fitness bonus (from camp) once the regular season starts. Dude looks unstoppable.

     

     

     

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    Shoutout to Josh Russell, our rookie CB from Boston College. 

     

    We knew we needed a CB badly but couldn't quite get DJ Chavis in the 1st so we settled for Russell, and so far he's done excellently. He's looking like he'll be a long term solution for us at nickel with a potential to move into a starting spot down the line. 

     

    Also shoutout to Jamie "Overall don't mean shit" Price, who has been our top rated player both preseason games, this being the same guy who had top rating like 5 times last year. We're hoping he and England form a deadly duo for opposing QBs this season.

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    If I have to be honest, Byron Suggs.  I expected him to not be as out the box competent as he has in 2 wildly different schemes. 

     

    For context: 49/81 (60.49%) 649 yards, 7 TDs/1 INT (YPA: 8.56) 14 for 67 yards, 2 TDs on the ground.

     

    With a variation between main schemes of Verts to Option 2RB.  

     

    He definitely needs to work on the completion percentage, but overall he looks really good for where I thought he'd start. 

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