The Dolphins eked out a win by the slimmest margin, beating the Pats 17-16, with Xavien Howard forcing a turnover to preserve a precious lead.
“Every game I feel like I have to make something happen for the team and give the ball to the offense. My mindset was get the ball out,” Howard said after the game. “We needed it and it was crucial. So I made it happen.”
Howard led the NFL in forced turnovers last season and wasted no time enhancing his reputation as a threat in the defense.
The Dolphins will play their first game at home against the Buffalo Bills next Sunday and are not favored to win. The NFL lines have them at 7/5 for a victory while the opposition, one of the Super Bowl favorites, have been attached to odds of 5/8.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins will be hoping to get maximum output from Will Fuller when he returns. The wide receiver has seen his career stunted by injuries, with various issues causing him to miss spans and also bringing an end to his campaigns prematurely.
The player is reported to have an undisclosed injury which could fashion another slow start to 2021. Fuller served out the last match of his six-game suspension for the use of performance-enhancing drugs when his team beat New England and he is eligible to play in the remaining 16 games of the season. However, coach Brian Flores is cautious over playing the WR who has caught 209 passes for 3,110 yards along with 24 touchdowns since he came into the league as a first-round pick five years ago.
Flores has noted that the player has been out from most practices since training camp began in July. He also worked out on his own during OTAs in the spring and it could possibly lead to chemistry issues between himself and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who has struggled with his own form at times.
“We’ll work him in and see how best to utilize him in the offense and see how things go during practice this week,” the coach said on Monday. “We have a lot of guys in that room.”
Flores seemed to suggest that Fuller wouldn’t simply usurp Jaylen Waddle, DeVante Parker and Albert Wilson in the offense.
The aforementioned receivers were played quite heavily against the Patriots and they have all spent time working on their chemistry with Tagovaiola over the summer. Miami passed for a total of 202 yards in the first game of the season.
“We have an idea of where we want to play him. But at practice we got to get timing,” Flores added. “It’s not putting people on a page as far as drawing something up. Getting timing with the quarterback, getting timing with the run game. You have to practice.”
Fuller did practice for two weeks before he had to take time away from the team due to the suspension he earned for taking a banned supplement while he was on the Houston Texans roster last year.
The Dolphins signed him to a one-year deal worth $10.5 million, plus incentives that should add on another $3 million. He joined the team as its biggest summer acquisition and Flores will hope he can give them the same playmaking and athleticism he gave the Texans whenever he was healthy.
Parker has gone through similar struggles with fitness and missed most of training camp, as well as pre-season, because of a shoulder injury. He has gotten off to a great start this term, however, making four catches for 81 yards against the Pats. Waddle, the sixth overall pick in this year’s draft, also caught four passes, resulting in 61 yards.
None of the team’s other receivers had a reception during the game, though.
As for Fuller, it remains to be seen whether he will be allowed any action in the Dolphins’ home opener against the Bills and it will also be interesting to see if he has an immediate impact should he play in the team’s second game of the season.
The Dolphins would have to make room on the 53-man squad by either waiving a player and possibly signing him to the practice squad, putting an injured player on the injured reserve, or keep Adam Shaheen remain on the COVID-19 reserve list for an additional week. They announced having cut fullback Carl Tucker from the practice squad on Monday.
Shaheen, though, was dealing with a knee injury that would have kept him out for a few weeks anyway. Using his roster spot does seem like the option that makes the most sense.
https://www.fivereasonssports.com/wp-content/uploads/Fuller.png718915Five Reasonshttps://www.fivereasonssports.com/wp-content/uploads/FiveReasonsWebsiteLogo.svgFive Reasons2021-09-16 09:42:302021-09-16 09:43:40Will Fuller could provide a jolt to the Dolphins offense
The Miami Dolphins recorded a solid season in the 2020 campaign, taking a significant stride forward in Brian Flores’ second year at the franchise.
In his first term, Flores overcame a difficult start to end the 2019 season with a 5-11 record. The Dolphins snapped up Tua Tagovailoa in the 2020 Draft, with an eye to the future at the quarterback position, despite the presence of Ryan Fitzpatrick. After starting the 2020 season 0-2, Miami won 10 out of their remaining 14 games and narrowly missed out on a place in the playoffs. The franchise now has the opportunity to build behind Tua at quarterback.
And although the former Alabama Crimson Tide man endured struggles in his rookie term after overcoming a hip injury, Flores and company have staked their futures in the left hand of the quarterback to allow the franchise to become a competitive force in the AFC.
However, it will be far from straightforward, given the talent of the Buffalo Bills in the AFC East and the potential return to prominence of the New England Patriots after a down year in 2020. The Dolphins are backed at +330 to win the AFC East in the Space Casino betting on football odds, with the Bills considered the leading contenders to retain the crown.
Miami has acquired further capital in the 2021 Draft that will allow them to bolster their roster after trading back from the third spot overall with the Houston Texans. The franchise has notched further first-round picks over the next two years, which will only stand them in good stead to add quality to a team that was stripped back to the screws in Flores’ first season.
The Dolphins are developing strength across their roster. The draft will demand an influx of talent at running back and wide receiver if the right player sits on the board. Will Fuller was signed during free agency to present Tagovailoa with a burner to stretch the field as he enjoyed during his college days. Allen Hurns and Albert Wilson should also return to the fold after missing the 2020 campaign. DeVante Parker is one of the best wideouts in the NFL when healthy, and an off-season of recovery may allow him to return to his peak form in the 2021 campaign.
The tight end room has promising talent led by Mike Gesicki, although a dream scenario could play out for the franchise to snag Florida Gators’ Kyle Pitts with the sixth-overall selection in the 2021 Draft. Pitts is widely regarded as the best player available in the selection process, and Miami could land a steal with a move for the tight end.
Surrounding Tagovailoa with talent has to be the key for the franchise. Miami were solid enough on their offensive line, while their defense under Flores has been stout. The NFL is trending towards powerhouses on the offensive side of the ball, with the Kansas City Chiefs and Bills highlighting the requirement to put 30 points on the board on a regular basis.
There will be a lot of pressure on Tagovailoa to live up to the billing at quarterback. The Dolphins have made sound moves around him and could bolster their roster still with exciting prospects, not only this season but in the years to come, too.
However, it all hinges on the play at the quarterback position. Flores and general manager Chris Grier made the bold move to trade away the third selection, which would have landed them one of the best quarterbacks in the 2021 Draft. They have put their faith in Tagovailoa, and he will need to deliver in the new campaign to drive the franchise into prominence in a tough AFC Conference.
https://www.fivereasonssports.com/wp-content/uploads/C699C64D-89EB-448D-8D1A-9BB0F192ED42.jpeg15042048Five Reasonshttps://www.fivereasonssports.com/wp-content/uploads/FiveReasonsWebsiteLogo.svgFive Reasons2021-04-22 08:57:292021-04-22 08:57:29Miami’s hopes all rest on Tagovailoa in 2021 and beyond
Just when you think the Miami Dolphins are back to the same old team you’ve agonized over for the last 20+ years, they get into a benches-clearing brawl with the Cincinnati Bengals, lose 3 players to ejection, and turn into a completely new team at halftime. Stephen Ross may as well rename the team because these boys ain’t the same.
The first half of the Dolphins’ home game versus the Bengals was a hot mess. Even with Cincinnati starting their backup quarterback, Brandon Allen, who isn’t exactly known for his grace under pressure, the Dolphins looked absolutely lackluster opposite them. Both the offense and defense struggled enormously. The one TD, a sneaky trick play that punter Matt Haack ran in on the field goal attempt, was called back due to penalties. A team usually touted for their lack of penalties ended the day with eight for 54 yards, and penalties weren’t the only mistakes being made.
The one bright spot of the first half was Xavien Howard, who picked off Brandon Allen on his second possession of the game. But then Howard was ejected for a couple of playground-style blows exchanged with Bengals receiver Tyler Boyd (who was also ejected), and the Fins lost their best player down 7-6 at the half. Boyd was arguably the only bright spot of Cincy’s offense up until his ejection. He snagged the only score for the Bengals off a catch and run TD that went for 72 yards—and don’t give Brandon Allen any credit for that, please.
Kyle Van Noy was the only productive defensive player that didn’t get into trouble in the first half, handing out a couple of sacks on Allen. It was a poor outlook for the Dolphins, with many calling for Tua to be benched and replaced with Ryan Fitzpatrick.
We don’t know what Bill Belichick used to say to his team after bad first halves during the Patriots’ dynasty, but whatever it is, Brian Flores apparently knows. The Dolphins opened up the second half on a beautiful no huddle drive that totaled 75 yards in eight plays and three and a half minutes. Tua looked vintage, Alabama-style, slinging balls to Mike Gesicki in between and over the heads of a totally lost Bengals’ secondary. From there, the Dolphins scored two more field goals to secure the game and held the Bengals to 0 points (although kicker Randy Bullock did miss one from 53 to end the first half).
Just as the offense stepped up, Brian Flores’ defense did the same, totaling six sacks, 11 QB hits, and two interceptions. Emmanuel Ogbah and Christian Wilkins teamed up on a strip sack touchdown that was ultimately called back, something Christian Wilkins is apparently still upset about. Shaq Lawson had two sacks himself and Kyle Van Noy added a third in the second half, along with Zach Sieler.
After one of Lawson’s sacks Brandon Allen was ruled out with a chest injury and Ryan Finley stepped in for the rest of the game. He was immediately pummeled by the Dolphins’ defensive line and secondary when Nik Needham came up with the Fins’ second interception of the day.
It was a game to remember, primarily because of a brawl that Brian Flores himself instigated and ended with four players ejected. After an early hit by Mike Thomas on Jakeem Grant, who was violently laid out while returning a punt, Flores had to be physically restrained by his own players, which then resulted in a benches-clearing brawl. Devante Parker and Mack Hollins were both ejected for the Dolphins after exchanging blows with Shawn Williams and William Jackson III. Surprisingly, Grant returned to the game just a few plays later.
The biggest takeaways from this game are the sheer grit of this team, which bounced back after an incredibly disappointing first half performance (something you could never say about the Dolphins before), and the unity in the locker room. Multiple players were quoted calling the team “a family,” and insisting that they stand up for their teammates.
The Heat might not have a monopoly on “culture” in Miami anymore, thanks to Brian Flores.
https://www.fivereasonssports.com/wp-content/uploads/image0-9.jpeg15362048Kylie Wanghttps://www.fivereasonssports.com/wp-content/uploads/FiveReasonsWebsiteLogo.svgKylie Wang2020-12-06 21:33:072020-12-07 10:51:25Tua, Dolphins Bounce Bengals after Brawl, now 8-4
The Miami Dolphins had a great win from their march with Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday with an ending of 8-4. With that, the team was able to maintain its position in the AFC playoff race ladders and the team’s fans are just now more looking forward to seeing their play now that Tua Tagovailoa is back on the game.
Tagovailoa’s availability for the last game of the Dolphins was questionable due to his thumb injury but he was still able to play last Sunday. His left thumb injury happened when he hit his teammate’s helmet on a follow-through as he attempted to make a pass during the team’s match on November 25. Since then, he was only able to participate in practices with a limited capacity.
During the match against the Bengals last week, the athlete appeared to have a slow start in the first half of the game with the Bengals but he seems to have been able to ramp it up in the second half.
Even if he is still limited in practice participation for the next game, he will likely be involved in all of the upcoming Dolphins’ schedule. On Wednesday, he was no longer wearing a black splint on his left hand for his injury but coach Brian Flores said that Tua is already feeling better.
Flores said, “Like everyone else, he’s got bumps and bruises he’s attained over the last few games. He’s feeling better as far as the hand. He’s preparing as best he can for a very, very strong opponent. They do a lot of things from a disguise standpoint, a front standpoint. He shed that on his hand but he’s got other issues dealing with the Chiefs.”
As Tua’s injury completely heals, he may be able to play with more ease in the coming weeks. Tua recently talked about the whole experience with the NFL. He said, “It’s a continuous learning process in the NFL. You learn day to day, week to week. There’s always something to learn because defenses aren’t going to stay the same.”
With his return, he was also able to work closely with the veteran offensive coordinator, Chan Gailey. When asked about Gailey, he said, “I’d say I’m comfortable with what I’m given, whatever plays that I’m given, I’m comfortable with them.
“Mind you, we talk about these things, me and Chan, we talk about what I like, talk about what I don’t like. I have as much input as anyone else does in our quarterback room and that’s what makes me feel comfortable to tell Chan, you know, ‘Hey, can we run this, or ‘Can we not run this?’ So, yeah, I would say I’m pretty comfortable with what I’m given.”
There are a few great reasons why Tua will feel more comfortable with being back on the game. He was not sacked last Sunday as he was able to perform solidly. He has also been using up-tempo plays that he enjoys.
He also explained how seeing the defense helps the team perform. He said, “It helps to see the defense and see what the defense is going to give us. they want to blitz or if they’re checking out of a blitz into coverage, that helps. That’s the biggest thing — indicator formations.”
Coach Flores also spoke about how Tua has been doing in the professional league. Flores said, “He’s kind of learning on the fly how to be a professional in this league, the things you’ve got to do in meetings and walkthrough and practice, to have success in games. I think he’s improving every day, getting better, and hopefully, we just continue to get better. We are about developing players.”
The coach also said how Tua is a tough and resilient athlete. He’s been accurate and continuously improving. He said that the fact that the athlete did not wear a splint or some sort of brace on this left hand to protect his thumb injury during the practice that is open to the media is a positive act.
Tua is also great inside the locker rooms as he appears to have good relations with his teammates. Raekwon Davis shared how fun Tua could be. Davis said, “Oh, he’s got this little weird dance he does. I recorded him doing it one time. It’s so funny. I don’t know where he got it from, a Hawaiian thing, I guess. He’s got some moves. But I’ve got (Jerome Baker). Bake is the best dancer on the team right now.”
https://www.fivereasonssports.com/wp-content/uploads/tua-pregame.jpg277367Ethan Skolnickhttps://www.fivereasonssports.com/wp-content/uploads/FiveReasonsWebsiteLogo.svgEthan Skolnick2020-12-05 08:21:042020-12-19 08:22:19What is Tua’s Status After Injury?
Welcome back to another installment of Stock Up & Stock Down. In Week 9 of the NFL season against the Arizona Cardinals, we were able to pull of a game that went down to the last posession with a final score of 34-31. The defense had another fumble return for a TD, Tua was elite and Jason Sanders showed how clutch he is. With so much to dissect let’s dive right in:
Every week it feels like we are here talking about Emmanuel Ogbah and I hope it never changes. Ogbah has been well worth the money and now I have to begin to wonder how long he can keep these kinds of performances up for. Ogbah has had at least 0.5 sack in every game besides the game against the Patriots. He already has totaled 6 sacks for the year which has him tied for 8th in the league. What’s great about Ogbah is how active he is in all aspects of the game whether it be rushing the passer, stopping the run and even deflecting passes, he has shown he has all the traits to lead a team in sacks and be dominant player in this league.
Preston Williams looked like he was slowly becoming Tua’s most trusted weapon on an afternoon where he finished second on the team with 4 catches for 60 yards with only DVP having more at 6 catches and 64 yards. The incredible part of that stat is that while DVP managed those stats in 60 minutes, Preston only played until he scored with 10 minutes left in the second quarter. With the way Tua began dealing after the second quarter I have 0 doubts that Preston would have been well on his way to a career day. Let’s hope the foot injury sustained by Christian Wilkins jumping on him to celebrate the TD is not as serious as it looked when we saw him get carted off without either cleat on.
As we go deeper in the postseason chase, we are currently in we will begin to appreciate the difference it makes to have a kicker you have 0 concerns with. I will admit that with 3 minutes left I second guessed Coach Flores conservative decision to not go for it and instead settle for the field goal. I only questioned the choice because of Kyler and the offense still having ample enough time to come back the length of the field. Ultimately the results are what they are with Arizona kicker missing the game tying field goal and Jason Sanders showing that we will be able to rely on him when it counts most later on in the year.
Raekwon Davis continues to show why Coach Flores was this excited to draft him.
So let me just start this Raekwon Davis thread by saying that I fully endorse, understand and would have had the same reaction had I known what Coach Flores knew. pic.twitter.com/srbYcTaStR
Due to Raekwon position and what it calls for him to do you will rarely see him get the stats that a 4-3 DT like Aaron Donald can get but every week Raekwon has shown an ability to improve and to take coaching to help the overall unit perform better. While giving up 178 yards rushing is not ideal, you have to take for account that only a handful of teams have a player of Kyler caliber who can get 106 yards on 11 carries. Helping hold Chase Edmonds to 25 carries for 70 yards however is very impressive.
Hard as it may seem to say, Tua surpassed every expectation we had for him this afternoon. Once he got settled in, he was dealing in ways we are not accustomed to seeing in South Florida. Tua finished his afternoon 20/28 for 248 yards 2 passing TDs and 7 carries for 35 yards. He willed us to a victory on a day that had Kyler Murray show the MVP type of player he is turning into. It did not matter as Tua led us down the field to not only tie put us up 3 but also to kill the clock out and get the win once we got the ball back after the missed Arizona field goal. Tua even showed improvement during the game when he started off 1-5 for 5 yards against the blitz (5 or more rushers) and then ripping it apart in the second half for 6/8 65 yards and a TD. Ultimately Tua showed us all of his skills this afternoon, from throwing with touch, to evading the pass rush and even running the ball somewhat like Kyler (lol). In all seriousness, the sky is the limit for Tua, and I cannot wait to do a deep analysis on him this coming week.
As good as that start with the fumble return for a touchdown felt, it was short lived as that was the only success we had as a defense against them and specifically against Kyler. Kyler on the day accumulated a total of 283 yards passing with 3 TDs in the air and also sprinkling on top 11 carries for 106 yards and another TD. 389 yards total with 4 TDs is not a recipe that the Dolphins can repeat with other QBs and expect to come out on top as we did today.
I will own up to my failed prediction of Jordan Howard having 75+ yards rushing and a 1 TD. While I was correct in calling the TD, I was horribly incorrect in everything else. Jordan had his longest gain for 8 yards (on the final drive!) which means he gained 11 yards on 9 carries. Truly an atrocious performance where even the rookie Salvon Ahmed was able to get 5 yards a carry on his 7 touches. There is little to no hope left to expect the light to come on for Jordan at this point. Depending on how much time Breida is forced to miss we should look into seeing what Ahmed is really about.
In another game that I expected Coach Flores to use as a statement game to show the league that this Defense and team are the real deal. While the team aspect of that thought came true the defense fell completely flat outside of the fumble return for a TD. All afternoon long it felt like the chess match of Kingsberry vs Flores was being won by the former. Kyler and company always seemed to be one step ahead of us. Even at the end when we went conservative and went for the field goal to break the 31-31 tie it felt like Flo was indecisive as he even burned a timeout to decide what to do. If not for the combined heroics of Tua Tagovailoa and Jason Sanders, I think we’re taking a closer look at the questionable decisions by Coach Flores and staff who to be fair were down 5 coaches due to Covid. Hell, we even had our Tight End coach serve as the QB coach, so I am not going to be as critical.
Overall this win becomes another steppingstone for not just Coach Flores or even Tua, these type of wins with the way our young QB was playing energize a team and a city that has been starved for this type of excitement. For what I hope will be the next decade, our Miami Dolphins will have a chance to win every game because of the decision we made on April 23rd, 2020 in drafting Tua Tagovailoa. Till next time guys, Fins Up!
https://www.fivereasonssports.com/wp-content/uploads/Tua118.png441690Juan Cardonahttps://www.fivereasonssports.com/wp-content/uploads/FiveReasonsWebsiteLogo.svgJuan Cardona2020-11-08 22:59:372020-11-09 12:06:32Stock Up & Stock Down Week 9
It’s been 5 years since the last lefty quarterback threw a touchdown in the NFL. Tua Tagovailoa was the first lefty quarterback to throw a touchdown since Kellen Moore threw for 435 yards and 3 touchdowns in week 17 of the 2015-2016 season.
Although Tua won his first career game on Sunday in a largely defensive performance by the Dolphins(4-3), he threw a few very well placed balls, including a 3 yard touchdown to Devante Parker, which was the lowest separation on a touchdown pass all season with .28 yards of separation. Talk about accuracy! Based off of this performance, where will Tua rank among all lefty quarterbacks?
Steve Young, Boomer Esiason, Mike Vick, and Ken Stabler are who I have found to be the top 4 lefty quarterbacks of all time, but will Tua earn himself a spot on this list and make it a top 5 list?
1. Steve Young has earned himself the number one spot on this list as a Hall of Famer who has 7 Pro Bowl appearances, is a 3-time super bowl champ, and has won league MVP 2 times.
2. Boomer Esiason receives the title of second best lefty of all time. He is a 4-time Pro Bowler with all-time records for lefty quarterbacks such as 247 Touchdown passes, 37,920 passing yards, and 2,969 completions. Esiason was also a 1-time league MVP.
3. Michael Vick was the best running quarterback of all time and the third best lefty quarterback of all time. He is a 4-time Pro Bowler and has the most career rushing yards by a quarterback ever with 6,109 and was the first ever quarterback to get 1,000 rushing yards in a season.
4. The fourth spot belongs to Ken Stabler (The Snake) for now, but if Tua plays to his expectations, he can easily take this spot and possibly move even higher on this list. Ken Stabler is a Hall Of Famer, 4-time Pro Bowler, 1-Time league MVP, and has 1 Super Bowl win.
5. My prediction for Tua Tagovailoa is that he will be the Phins first star quarterback since Marino, along with the fifth best lefty quarterback of all time. I think his throw accuracy is already among the best in the league. If he can keep his cool in the NFL, he will easily be an all-time great.
Aidan Scully (@AScullySports) is a new contributor to Five Reasons Sports Network.
https://www.fivereasonssports.com/wp-content/uploads/shirt-thefranchise-tua.png10241024Aidan Scullyhttps://www.fivereasonssports.com/wp-content/uploads/FiveReasonsWebsiteLogo.svgAidan Scully2020-11-06 13:01:482020-11-06 13:01:48Southpaw Slinger: Can Tua Become a Top 5 Lefty?
https://www.fivereasonssports.com/wp-content/uploads/Tua-shirts.jpg344598Ethan Skolnickhttps://www.fivereasonssports.com/wp-content/uploads/FiveReasonsWebsiteLogo.svgEthan Skolnick2020-04-24 16:16:282020-04-24 16:16:28Tua’s Here! Get Your New Shirts!
Welcome to the Five Reasons Sports 2020 NFL Draft Guide.
Here are top 5 lists compiled by Alfredo Arteaga (@Alf_Arteaga), and a counter list by Simon Clancy (@SiClancy) for each position, for the 2020 NFL Draft. By offering you rankings of prospects 1 thru 5 for each position, we hope you will better understand this most important draft. Enjoy!
Miami Dolphins Picks:
Round1· Pick 5(5)
Round1· Pick 18(18)PIT > MIA
Round1· Pick 26(26)HOU > MIA
Round2· Pick 7(39)
Round2· Pick 24(56)NO > MIA
Round3· Pick 6(70)
Round4· Pick 35(141)Compensatory
Round5· Pick 7(153)
Round5· Pick 9(154)JAX > PIT > MIS
Round5· Pick 28(173)BAL > LA > MIN
Round6· Pick 6(185)
Round7· Pick 13(227)IND > MIA
Round7· Pick 32(246)KC > MIA
Round7· Pick 37(251)Compensatory
1. TUA TAGOVAILOA – Alabama – 6’-0” 217 lbs.
What can be said about Tua that we haven’t already said? He is the real deal, with uncanny anticipation, confidence to throw the tight windows, and the accuracy to make those throws not much of a risk. Tagovailoa is also not hopeless with his feet. He can run when needed, and runs smartly. The best deep ball thrower in the draft, is also the best intermediate thrower, while also being the best ball manipulator/handler. The only knock is the injury concern, which is very real.
2. JOE BURROW – LSU- 6’-4” 221 lbs.
Simply put, Joe Burrow had the best season for a Quarterback in College Football History. That alone would have moved his draft status from where it was (Day 3 pick) to the top of the draft. But there is more. I was not a big fan of his, due to the “one hit wonder” nature of hsi production, and what I consider sub par arm strength. What Burrow lacks in power,he makes up with impeccable mechanics. Good anticipation, above average athleticism, Football IQ, ideal size, make Burrow as complete a prospect as we have seen in a long while.
3. JORDAN LOVE – Utah State – 6’-4” 224 lbs.
Love has every throw in the book. There is simply not a place on a football field, and an arm angle that Jordan Love can’t get too. Good size, with a knack for escaping with his feet and making yards on the run, check all the “natural ability” boxes for Love. So it begs the question, if he is a good, why was he so bad in 2019? You can call these excuses, but they are very much legitimate. 7 new starters on offense, lost most of his skill guys, and some turnover in coaches. Go back to his 2018 season, and things look a bit different. There is Huge upside for Love, with the downside being that his decision making is somewhat poor. Of my top 5, he is the least likely to start in year 1.
4. JUSTIN HERBERT- Oregon- 6’-6” 236 lbs.
He can throw it through a brick wall. Best arm of all these prospects. Herbert has been supplanted over the term of the last 18 months, first by Tua Tagovailoa and then Joe Burrow for “top prospect” status, mainly due to Herbert not progressing as a prospect. He has had chances to shine in nationally televised “showdown” games and come up short (Auburn, 2019), but he did finish strong in the Rose Bowl with 3 rushing TD’s (he threw for 138 yards however). What Herbert lacks in consistency, he makes up for in potential. There is simply not many 6′-6″ 235lb. rocket armed prospects, with his mix of arm talent, and athleticsm. He is not so much a “project” as he is a “projection”. Herbert can be anything.
5. JACOB EASON – Washington- 6’-6” 231 lbs.
Very strong arm, with good size, and uncanny ability for throwing accurate in cut routes. I believe Eason would have been better served and probably solidified a 1st round status, had he returned to Washington for his senior season. Has a bit of a gun slinger mentality, but he does not play with confidence when facing a rush. Tends to drop his eyes when guys dive at his feet, and is pretty poor in escaping the pocket. Eason is begging for experience, and coaching. Those things you can teach, but you cannot teach his size and his pure natural ability. Eason does do one thing very well however that can help him play early in his career. He recognizes coverages well, and attacks accordingly. Sometimes vertically. He is the type that can play early with limited responsibility. To be much more, you would have to call him a project.
SIMON CLANCY’S (@SiClancy) VIEW:
1. Tua Tagovailoa – Alabama
2. Joe Burrow – LSU
3. Jordan Love – Utah State
4. Justin Herbert – Oregon
5. Jacob Eason – Washington
1. J.K. DOBBINS- Ohio State-5’-10” 209 lbs.
Dobbins didn’t run at the combine, but did meet with Dolphins RB’s coach Eric Studesville for close to two hours. J.K. Dobbins is the best one cut RB in this draft for a team that has Chan Gailey, so it’s hard to find a better fit than Dobbins for the system they are running. Dobbins has a strong, squat build that powers through grab tackles. His one cut ability allows for further acceleration in the hole, and makes every carry that gets past the first level an opportunity for a house call. His transition from catch to carry is not as clean as you would like, and he is more of a positional pass blocker than a punishing one.
2. JONATHAN TAYLOR- Wisconsin-5’-10” 226 lbs.
Jonathan Taylor has the size, speed, production combination that usually lands a RB in the first round. His 4.39 forty yard dash time at the combine was an eye popping one in the sense of how smooth he was moving at 226 lbs. Taylor is a patient runner, but also has considerable one cut ability. In the passing game, he has displayed a care for and attention to route running which is nice to see. A bit more of a punisher than his colleagues as a pass protector. The fear with Taylor is that he was over-used at Wisconsin, and that the tread on the tire is a bit thin. Had 18 fumbles in 3 seasons at Wisconsin with 15 of them lost. That is a problem.
3. D’ANDRE SWIFT- Georgia-5’-8” 212 lbs.
The latest in very successful Georgia backs. Swift is quick to get to top speed and is rather intelligent as a runner, pass protector. Not too many wasted motions, when setting up blocks. One of the better perimeter runners in this draft. Best adept at zone running, but is not hopeless in one cut lead schemes. The smoothest of the top 5 as a pass catcher, as he transitions easily from the catch to ball security. Has been accused of being a bit too cavalier with how he totes the ball, and transitioning from left to right carry. Tends to drop his head in pass pro, but has been effective in the past.
4. CAM AKERS- FSU- 5’-10” 217 lbs.
Cam has consistently shown top end speed when loose, and very good balance when receiving contact. Akers playing on bad FSU teams and remaining productive has to be taken into consideration. Very good body build consistent with those successful in the NFL. Good definition and full lower body build which NFL scouts like in high draft pick RB’s. Hard to project as a pass catcher and protector due to his team’s failings, but the film suggests that he recognizes nano blitzes, and has a good sense for plugging the A gap. Can be a bit of a dancer and not very decisive when presented with options. Very much a zone runner, and has shown little as far as pressing the hole, cinching blocks for his guys and then taking open run lanes. Poor supporting cast makes him hard to project.
5. CLYDE EDWARDS-HELAIRE- LSU-5’-7” 207 lbs.
A bowling ball. Main criticism is that he seeks contact instead of avoiding it. Plays with a mean streak rarely seen in guys his size. Yes, he sometimes seeks contact, but his jump cut is as good as any in this draft. He does make people miss. Smart in option route running and a killer in pass pro. You are not gonna get many home runs with him, but you will get steady work. Film shows a propensity to seek daylight to the perimeter after breaking tackles. It’s an instinct that has been rather consistent. Would rather he be more vision conscience, than instinct based.
SIMON CLANCY’S (@SiClancy) VIEW:
1. D’Andre Swift – Georgia
2. Clyde Edwards-Helaire – LSU
3. Jonathan Taylor – Wisconsin
4. J.K. Dobbins – Ohio State
5. Cam Akers – Florida State
1. CEEDEE LAMB- Oklahoma- 6’-2” 198 lbs.
Plays bigger than his size, which is actually ideal. Speed checked out at the combine with a 4.5 flat. Good at the contested catch, and is probably the best YAC guy in this great WR class. Very quick out of breaks, and is physical with his hands, creating natural space on his routes. CeeDee is the most complete WR in this class.
2. JERRY JEUDY- Alabama- 6’-1” 193 lbs.
Very lite feet, make Jeudy the best route runner in this class. Jeudy is also quick to transition from catch to run, and is an excellent runner in the open field. Been slippery at times breaking tackles, and his quickness in the intermediate passing game, allow space for him to get his stride going toward the goal line. His slow, developed stride gets on you quick, which makes him a sneaky good deep route runner.
3. JUSTIN JEFFERSON- LSU- 6’-1” 202 lbs.
The star of the 2020 NFL Combine, Jefferson plays much bigger than his size, and plays much longer than he is. Great catch radius, and also elevates above man coverage to own his space. Will be a good slot and red zone threat due to his large catch radius. An easy mover, that always absorbed hits better than most. Smart vs. zone, clean with his hands, although he is not the best YAC guy. Fastest mover up the board in this draft class.
4. TEE HIGGINS- Clemson- 6’-4” 216 lbs.
A former “Mr. Football”, top 20 recruit, who came into Clemson with much hype, has faded over the past 2 seasons, as others in the class have surpassed him. Long, angular, with a massive catch radius, make Higgins a TD threat in the red zone, which will be something in his favor when teams weigh him versus better prospects. The fear on Higgins is that he was never asked to do much more than abuse lessor players in the ACC with a very simple route tree. Has shown a lack of physicality when faced with press, which is a concern for the NFL.
5. LAVISKA SHENAULT JR.- Colorado- 6’-1” 227 lbs.
The highest ceiling for any prospect in this WR draft class. Big and strong, and plays like it. Strong with YAC, as he has favorable comparisons to Dez Bryant. Also plays faster than he timed at the combine (4.58), where he complained of a muscle core injury, that later required surgery. He has struggled to stay healthy. Shenault’s wide running base creates space for him on in cuts, and make him an easy and friendly target for QB’s. The risk / reward ratio is obviously there. It’s his availability versus his obvious gifts.
SIMON CLANCY’S (@SiClancy) VIEW:
1. Jerry Jeudy – Alabama
2. Laviska Shenault – Colorado
3. CeeDee Lamb Oklahoma
4. Justin Jefferson – LSU
5. Henry Ruggs – Alabama
Big rangy target, that squares well to his QB. Pretty clean hands as well, and he transitions to securing the ball just as well. Is a load to bring down, as he runs through half hearted tackles. Kmet is not much of a blocker, although he is very quick out of his 3 point stance, and even faster on his stand up release. This is not a very good Tight end class, so it makes sense for a guy that could be at the top of it, to be such an incomplete player. Best suited for Y-Tight end work. Needs drilling on his blocking.
2. BRYCEN HOPKINS- Purdue- 6’-4” 245 lbs.
A quick twitch player at Tight End, will garner some attention, as Hopkins is rather fluid in his movement. He is not stiff as most of this class is. Good high pointing the ball, and could be the best red zone target of the class, due to his versatility, and route running. It was really hard to find positive blocking video on Hopkins. Lacks technique and tends to do a lot of grabbing. Best route runner of the group, and the most polished pass catcher as well.
3. ADAM TRAUTMAN- Dayton- 6’-5” 255 lbs.
Probably the most complete prospect of the class. Trautman did not test well, and ran painfully slow for such a good looking athlete (4.8). Trautman is tough to project due to clear downgrade in competition. Highly productive with 70 catches for 916 yards (13.1 YPC) and 14 TD’s, Trautman has showed he can handle the activity and attention throughout his college career, and his professionalism has impressed scouts. His potential, and projection alone makes him likely to be the first Tight end off the board.
4. HUNTER BRYANT- Washington- 6’-2” 248 lbs.
The latest in the long list of combine disappointments, Bryant was expected to run fast, because he plays fast. Bryant is the most unlikely of these Tight end prospects in that he is actually a good/decent blocker. Good driving from a 3 point stance, and even better blocking in space. It’s that ability that will get him to stick for many years in the NFL as a special teams performer. Not the most elusive in this class, and not very powerful in YAC. Bryant is rather smooth in transitioning in and out of breaks, and has a polished look as a pass receiver. In this weak Tight end class, Bryant is as good as any. His size concerns, and inability to get open versus physical coverage is also a big concern. His underrated blocking saves him overall, but Bryant needs a weight room.
5. COLBY PARKINSON- Stanford- 6’-7” 252 lbs.
A big target with rather clean hands. Looks and plays athletically, although he tested poorly at the combine. For his obvious imposing size, Colby is a mediocre in-line blocker, and has a hard time keeping contact with his blocks on the edge. An accomplished route runner, which si to say that a large man with skill is going to get open versus smaller, equally athletic college players. Will he be overwhelmed by NFL type athleticism from his opponents? That is the concern. His size, and pedigree will get him drafted higher than he probably deserves to be in any other draft year. The upside is still there, though.
When you talk about “clean” prospects, I think a 5 star recruit, 2-time 1st Team SEC, 3-time All American, qualifies. Thomas, as early as 18 months ago was a near consensus top 5 pick, and I don’t think much has changed. Thomas is a monster in the run game, as he moves easily out to landmarks and assignments in the run game. When he gets there, he finds guys to hit. (an important quality in an NFL tackle) Very strong hands, and a consistent base in Pass pro, make Andrew Thomas a complete prospect.
2. TRISTAN WIRFS- Iowa- 6’-5” 320 lbs.
Wirfs has the ideal build, and frame for right tackle in the NFL. He not only tested off the charts at the combine, but is a legendary weight room fixture at Iowa. Nimble feet, with a smooth slide, and noticeable lateral quickness. Has the “power” look but plays like an athlete. Well versed in hand placement, and has no issues whatsoever in re-setting his feet and adjusting to rushers in space. In the run game, he sometimes builds up too much steam and overruns blocks at the 2nd level. It’s an adrenaline issue, not a skill-set one.
3. MEKHI BECTON- Louisville- 6’-7” 364 lbs.
A mammoth human being adept at playing both tackle spots. Played both adequately, but settled as a LT at Louisville. Some of his film in the run game has an abusive look to it. To say that Becton manhandles foes is an understatement. With very quick choppy steps that get him upon his prey, his hands latch on to control defenders, and he really finishes them. In the passing game, he does not lumber. He is as nimble as you can get for big man, and he rarely lets his hands leave his frame. On the downside, there is always fear that a large man will succumb to poor discipline. Becton has also had some bad moments versus elaborate stunts/blitzes.
4. JEDRICK WILLS- Alabama- 6’-4” 312 lbs.
The best pass protector of any tackle prospect in this draft. (He is a Right Tackle). His kick slide is natural and not exaggerated. His hand placement is perfect, and I never saw him (2019 film) over extend his arm outside his frame. His great technique will mean few penalties in the NFL. Wills is so good in pass pro, that it is conceivable that somebody will draft him with the intention of trying him on the left side. If he has some “cons”, it’s that he is all schooling/skill, and that can sometimes overwhelm his poorly coached/weaker opponents. Wills has good foot speed, but he does tend to drop his head a bit when reaching toward the second level. A clean prospect.
5. JOSH JONES- Houston- 6’-5” 319 lbs.
Played in 9 games in 2019 due to a knee injury. Jones has consistently gotten better, each and every year at Houston. Plays with a certain smoothness, and athleticism, which classifies him as a dancer/athlete at tackle, but make no mistake, Josh Jones is not some finesse tackle taken advantage of on the edge. He will finish a block on you, and he does seek contact int eh run game, and usually finds it due to his proportioned, long, rangy build. On the downside, Jones does need a bit coaching, as there are many examples of rushers getting to his chest. Footwork, could be better as he sometimes keeps his feet moving to move guys, instead of anchoring and stoning them. This is a coaching project, but one that can pay HUGE dividends in the future.
SIMON CLANCY’S (@SiClancy) VIEW:
1. Jedrick Wills – Alabama
2. Tristan Wirfs – Iowa
3. Mekhi Becton – Louisville
4. Andrew Thomas – Georgia
5. Josh Jones – Houston
1. DAMIEN LEWIS- LSU- 6’-2” 327 lbs
This is a people mover. The consummate mauler at Right Guard, but without the excessive useless size. He is perfectly squat and proportionate, and is at his perfect weight right now. Keeps his feet moving and improves his blocks by digging lower on his drive. If Lewis has a flaw, it’s that Defensive coordinators sometimes throw elaborate stunts, and load blitzes and you can see him processing and at times can be confused by the fancy twist in pass pro. But Lewis in a combo block, for a lead? Money. His down blocks are clean well. He is so good in the run game, that you can overlook some of his deficiencies in pass pro.
2. NETANE MUTI- Fresno St.- 6’-3” 315 lbs.
Achilles, and Lisfranc injuries marred his college career (played 19 games in 4 years), but the promise is still there. Heavy handed, and strong. (44 reps of 225 at the combine) His build is cookie cutter NFL, and his freakish upper body strength serves him well in pass pro, as his punch is a bit disarming for 3 techs that try to get their hand son him. If it were not for his injury history, Muti is one of those interior linemen that come around every 5 years or so, that are consensus top 10 picks.
3. JOHN SIMPSON- Clemson- 6’-4” 321 lbs.
Broad, big build, with real muscle mass, and little wasted weight. Can run out to the second level, and uses his hands effectively to steer blocks. Not a waist bender, as he plays in control. Good lateral quickness to pick up rushers, and has a solid anchor to engage. Has occasionally been slow out of his stance, and very deliberate in setting up, has made him susceptible to creative interior rushers.
4. JONAH JACKSON- Ohio State- 6’-4” 306 lbs.
After 4 years at Rutgers, Jackson transferred to Ohio State, and quickly earned the left guard spot. Jackson is versatile in that he has played all three interior line spots. Highly intelligent, and quick to recognize blitzes, and moves to engage them. Is a much better pass protector than run blocker. Nimble feet, and a good lateral slide with perfect hand placement. Not a good body type. In the run game, he does not displace as much as he walls, and obstructs. Not noticeable on down blocks, and has had issues getting to the second level and squaring up blocks.
5. SHANE LEMIEUX- Oregon- 6’-4” 310 lbs.
Going into 2019, Lemieux was widely considered by many as the top guard prospect in the nation. With an ideal broad chested build, Lemieux has noticeable upper body strength, when manipulating Defensive Tackles. At the second level, there are many instances on film of Lemieux delivering jarring hits to LB’s and DB’s. There is a mean streak here. In pass pro, he is good with his hands, and resets his feet to deliver power from instinct. On the “con” side, Lemieux does show a propensity for being slow to stunts, and is sometimes not quick to disengage to get to reach blocks. He also has been hit with the “short arm” knock that haunts guard prospects.
SIMON CLANCY’S (@SiClancy) VIEW:
1. Netane Muti – Utah
2. Jonah Jackson – Ohio State
3. Damien Lewis – LSU
4. Robert Hunt – Louisiana
5. John Simpson – Clemson
1. MATT HENNESSEY- Temple- 6’-4” 307 lbs.
Athletic, muscular build, with ideal size/weight to anchor. Hennessey gets out and runs well when pulling, and is quick to get to blocks in the screen game. Mobile, but stout and well schooled in his technique, Hennessey is rarely overwhelmed by an athletic rusher. He can move to contact, and his feet take him were he needs to be. Has a “strength” knock that he erases with technique. That can be a detriment at the next level. Tends to grab a bit on reach blocks.
2. TYLER BIADASZ- Wisconsin- 6’-4” 314 lbs.
The highest decorated center in this class, as he won the Remington award for the nations top center, and was also a multi-time all American, as well as Outland Trophy finalist. The catalyst for Jonathan Taylor’s highly productive career, Biadasz can be seen on film, erasing tackles on double teams, and cinching second level blocks to allow for broad cut back lanes. Where he doesn’t shine is in space, where he tends to lumber a bit, which seems to be a feature for Wisconsin interior linemen. His intelligence, and team captain status, gives you all the intangibles you usually seek with a center, but be forewarned, Biadasz is a guy that does look out of place with athletic types on the offensive line. He won’t beat you up, but he will outthink you.
3. CESAR RUIZ- Michigan- 6’-3” 307 lbs.
For a center prospect, Ruiz sure does have fun tape to watch. There is a rep versus Michigan State, where they send a LB into the A gap, and he punches the backer to his left, engages the 3 tech to his right, gets back to wiping out the A gap blitzer, and then gets one final jolt in on the 3 tech as the pass gets away. Exhausting. Ruiz is a squat, athletic type who is very quick from snap to set. He lacks power, and is not the type to finish blocks. He has had the knock of “finesse lineman” and does not have the ideal build for a NFL center.
4. LLOYD CUSHENBERRY III- LSU- 6’-3” 312 lbs.
Team captain on a line that has my top rated guard. Cushenberry has long arms, and has a rangy build that helps him reach blocks that most centers can’t get too. Now, being able to reach blocks due to his length is not the same as being mobile. He is not. You will not see him out leading a run as a pulling center. Where he has shown problems in the past, is when rushers come across his face. Not particularly quick, and not particularly adept at setting his feet to receive oncoming rushers, Cushenberry is susceptible to guys getting on his shoulder and toward the quarterback.
5. JAKE HANSON- Oregon- 6’-4” 304 lbs.
A top recruit out of Eureka, California, the highly touted Hanson landed in Oregon, and immediately took over at center in 2016. While not making all-american, Hanson was honorable mention Pac 12 for every year of his career. All of the guys that finished ahead of him are in the NFL (Scott Quessenberry-5th rd.(LAC), Coleman Shelton-UDFA (LAR). Very good feet to sustain blocks, but does tend to stick on combo blocks. Coach’ favorite, and made captain on an offensive line that features a future 1st rounder ( Penei Sewell-LT) and possible early Day 2 pick (Shane Lemieux-LG). The upside is there, while the measurables and ideal physicality is not.
SIMON CLANCY’S (@SiClancy) VIEW:
1. Cesar Ruiz – Michigan
2. Matt Hennessey – Temple
3. Lloyd Cushenberry – LSU
4. Tyler Biadasz – Wisconsin
5. Darryl Williams – Mississippi State
1. DERRICK BROWN- Auburn- 6’-5” 326 lbs.
Big and powerful, yet very nimble and quick on his feet. Brown is capable of playing in many systems, all along the defensive line, being asked to do any number of things. The strength, and ability to lock his arms on a blocker in 3 tech, and steer him clear. Brown has plenty of film showing him stepping past attempted combo blocks, and causing havoc by getting on a guards’ outside shoulder. Derrick Brown figures to play a long time in the NFL as a top performer, versatile enough to play in both 4-3 and 3-4 dominant style schemes. A complete prospect.
2. JAVON KINLAW- South Carolina- 6’-5” 324 lbs.
Heavy handed with a slim, athletic build, Kinlaw draws comparisons to other heavy handed athletic types such as Ndamukong Suh, and Gerald Mccoy. While his build, and individual tape checks out for ambitious comparisons, Kinlaw has never been the consistent type, landing him all along the 1st round on many mock drafts. His knocks include playing a bit too high, and lacking a plan on his pass rush. Kinlaw is desperate for some routine, coaching and a plan for his play. Gets the raw label, but this is a prospect worth working with.
3. JUSTIN MADUBUIKE- Texas A&M- 6’-3” 293 lbs.
A five star recruit out of Texas, that built a consistent and successful college career. A Twitchy DT well suited for 3 tech pass rusher with a bevy of interior rush moves. He can be seen on film diving past, stepping through and spinning off blocks on a consistent basis. Madubuike can be a ready made pass rush threat in the NFL, but could land himself a specialist role early on due to his less than ideal size, and length.
4. ROSS BLACKLOCK- TCU- 6’-3” 290 lbs.
Good pass rush chops, and shows up on film using his hands effectively. Extremely good lateral quickness, and can be a menace finding gaps. There is also film of Blacklock being buried under doubles and getting stuck below blocks due to his low pad level. Tries to be more of an obstacle, than a disrupter defending the run. Could find a future as a 3-4 end, as he plays much better in space engaged one on one with blockers. His feet are good enough to use positional strength to set the edge. His 3 tech film is not as strong. Missed 2018 with an Achilles injury.
5. MARLON DAVIDSON- Auburn- 6’-3” 303 lbs.
We know about his teammate, so Davidson tends to be lost in the wash as Derrick Brown flashes all over the place, but if you take a little longer look, he is noticeable. Has played all along the defensive line, and offers a diverse skill set that can land him in any system. Figures to project favorably as a 3 tech in a 4-3 scheme due to his vast repertoire of pass rush moves/counters. More of a positional edge setter when asked to do so, and doesn’t often display his power. His worst film was versus Alabama on at least two occasions. Was blocked mostly one on one.
SIMON CLANCY’S (@SiClancy) VIEW:
1. Derrick Brown – Auburn
2. Javon Kinlaw – South Carolina
3. Ross Blacklock – TCU
4. Justin Madubuike – Texas A+M
5. Davon Hamilton – Ohio State
DEFENSIVE END (3-4)
1. A.J. EPENESA- Iowa- 6’-6” 275 lbs.
The consummate strong side end in a 4-3 or can play in odd fronts on either side. Is a skilled rusher on the edge, with a bevy of moves, and heavy hands. What he lacks in quickness, he makes up with a good first step that gets on top of blockers and into their chest. Good tape shows him setting the edge consistently, but also has him getting delayed and re-routed by combos. Does not play with the speed that is desirable for an NFL end, and does not have that “twitchy” feel.
2. YETUR GROSS-MATOS- Penn St.- 6’-5” 266 lbs.
Long and lean, his athleticism pops consistently on tape. Has good film standing up as a wide rusher, and can be seen chasing the play down the line of scrimmage, without catching the wash. 4 star recruit that was highly productive in his college career, posting good sack totals his last two years. Locks his arms well on tackles, and then disengages to restart his rush. What he has as pass rush chops, he gave back against the run as he does not play with much power and strength on the edge. Can be seen sticking to blockers and riding himself out of plays.
3. KHALID KAREEM-Notre Dame- 6’-4” 270 lbs.
A coach’s son (his father coached High School football), Kareem was a top 100 recruit. An efficient edge defender as he punches, and locks with real power. One of the best edge setters in this draft, that plays with little wasted motion. Heavy handed, with a twitchy body demeanor, gives Kareem a good athletic look as a NFL End. Is not seen on film chasing the play from the backside, and does have some lateral limitations. Not as productive as you would like given the opportunities. Does not have a deep bag of tricks when rushing the passer from out wide. As of now, can be accused of being a bit one dimensional as a run stopper.
4. RAEKWON DAVIS- Alabama- 6’-6” 311 lbs.
Perfect size, weight, length to play in a two gap scheme, Davis is a bull on the edge. There is a real man versus boys feel to some of his tape, as he plays with considerable violence, and remarkably heavy hands. Has the versatility to find himself playing as a 3 tech in some schemes, and his power could land him there consistently on 3rd down as an interior rush specialist. Sudden and powerful movements, with little evidence that he can play with speed/finesse when necessary. Not a stat stuffer, and lacks productivity for his hype. Lacks a plan to get to the passer, and is extremely raw rushing in space, which is to say that he does not possess the skill set.
5. JORDAN ELLIOTT- Missouri- 6’-4” 302 lbs.
Another top 100 recruit, that took till his Junior season to blossom as a consistent performer. Before then, you had transfers, accusations of immaturity, and a general lack of direction for his college career. Plays with great leverage, and is a skilled hand fighter, as he plays with great game speed. Can be seen free lancing a bit and trying to be creative when completing your fit is what is required. His lack of production, and his late bloomer knock are completely legitimate. The flashes you see on film, suggest a very good is in there somewhere. Will take the right coaching to get the most out of Elliott.
SIMON CLANCY’S (@SiClancy) VIEW:
1. Yetur Gross Matos – Penn State
2. AJ Epenesa – Iowa
3. Marlon Davidson – Auburn
4. Raekwon Davis – Alabama
5. Jordan Elliott – Missouri
1. CHASE YOUNG- Ohio State- 6′-5″ 265 lbs.
Was not much of a factor versus Clemson in the playoffs, tends to keep his feet moving while setting the edge, and does not have a big pass rush repertoire. Having said that, this is a former top 10 recruit that has earned his “best prospect in the draft” status from many analysts. A long, powerful build, with a lightning fast jump from his stance on the edge. Highly productive, and projects to play large snap totals as an essential defender for any defense. A complete playmaker, that has a knack for seeking out the football to create turnovers.
2. K’LAVON CHAISSON- LSU- 6′-3″ 254 lbs.
Wore #18 at LSU which makes you a big deal since it’s given to their highest character leader. Quick hands with a lightning quick first step, with a bevy of spin moves and counters make him a pass rush threat from day 1. Has had a busy injury history with the low light being his ACL injury in 2018. Good changing directions, but has issues projecting his power. Can be seen sliding and being walled off against the run as there is scarce film of him setting the edge. Accusation of being one dimensional is legitimate.
3. ZACK BAUN- Wisconsin- 6′-2″ 238 lbs.
Was recruited as a dual threat quarterback. You read that right. An explosive edge rusher, with a twitchy athletic frame. Relentless in his pursuit for the passer, with some ideas other than running past tackles. A good thinker as a pass rusher. Fluid and flexible enough to play 3 down as a OLB, and cover Tight Ends and running backs. A good athlete that posted strong, yet not impressive combine numbers. Some expected Baun to post a faster time than his 4.65. His lack of size will be a turnoff for some that see him more as a pass rush specialist than a 3 down backer. Can get a bit lost in the deep zones and does not look natural in space while in pass coverage, which suggests a future close to the line of scrimmage.
4. JOSH UCHE- Michigan- 6′-1″ 245lbs.
Finally became a starter as a senior, but it was not for lack of production after a good junior season. Plays with good strength and noticeable speed, as his pad level is always ideal. Seems plenty raw as a pass rusher and does not possess a verifiable skill set for getting after the quarterback, despite his production. He is more of a projection, that has him in between positions, but seems likely to take to a wide rusher role as a specialist. Can be anything as he projects with a very high ceiling, but he does have stark limitations as far as where you will line him up. In space and in coverage is not where he wants to be.
5. TERRELL LEWIS- Alabama- 6′-5″ 262 lbs.
Has had a one injury or another since his arrival at Alabama, with his worst being a torn ACL in the summer of 2018. Long, rangy and athletic, it’s not hard to see why scouts will be intrigued and want to learn more. When they pop in the tape, they will see a fast twitchy edge rusher that gets on top of tackles and into their chests with the quickest of first steps. While very aware as a football player, he needs to play with stronger hands and have better space awareness. Is considered a poor tackler. His build also suggests that weight room time is in his near future as he can fill out.
SIMON CLANCY’S (@SiClancy) VIEW:
1. Chase Young – Ohio State
2. K’Lavon Chaisson – LSU
3. Josh Uche – Michigan
4. Zack Baun – Wisconsin
5. Darrell Taylor – Tennessee
Star from the combine, jumping 39 inches and running a solid 4.39. Simmons has played Linebacker, Safety, Slot Corner, been a wide rusher in base, and done just about everything on defense. Simmons has displayed the range to play single high in college, and shown the chops to stay with Tight Ends and Running backs in man coverage. Has the physicality to overwhelm the uninitiated slot wide receiver, and the speed to recover if beaten across his face. A willing tackler if not a thumper, Simmons is a true hybrid that you fit a scheme around.
2. PATRICK QUEEN- LSU- 6′-0″ 229 lbs.
Queen continues a hot streak of LSU LB’s in the pros with Devin White being the latest. Queen is a playmaker in every sense of the word, with impressive tracking skills as he bounces to fill his fits all along the line of scrimmage. Queen also had a knack of showing up real big in the biggest games, including a standout effort vs. Clemson in the title game. A good athlete, with quick feet capable of staying with Running backs in pass coverage. The knock if there is one, is that Patrick Queen plays in a system that caters to his skill set and he would have to fit in, rather than be fitted for a system in the NFL.
3. KENNETH MURRAY- Oklahoma- 6′-3″ 241 lbs.
Long and lean playmaker that draws comparisons to Darius Leonard. Murray was highly decorated throughout his playing career, with good high school pedigree carrying him as a 4 star recruit out of Texas. All American nods and first team Big 12’s followed. An easy mover, that shows up constantly around the ball. A good decision maker, and smart to recognize the action. The most instinctual of all the Line backers in this class. His weaknesses come with tackling in space, and some free lancing that is evident on film, especially in the bigger games.
4. MALIK HARRISON- Ohio State- 6′-3″ 247 lbs.
A top 50 recruit that played Quarterback in High School. The latest in what si a popular body type in this year’s class, Harrison has a sleek, athletic, lean build. Good in pursuit, and has shown an ability to rush the passer as a disguised blitzer. Poor in coverage, and lacks the coordination to play man to man with a running back in space. Will need help at the next level in play recognition, and understanding fits. Can sometimes have a raw look to him, although he has filled out the stat sheet at times. A real thumper, that pops all over the place on film.
5. JORDAN BROOKS- Texas Tech- 6′-0″ 240 lbs.
All conference, all 4 years of his career, with some All Big 12 honors, Brooks has piled on he accolades throughout his stint at Texas Tech. Twitchy, and quick to diagnose plays, Jordan Brooks is the most ready made starter of the class as a pure inside backer. Good instincts to fill gaps, and chases the play effectively. Clear weakness in space, in zone coverage, and picking up pass catchers. It’s just not what he is good at. Brooks is a run defender in every sense of the word, with a knack for playmaking in the backfield. One dimensional, but could be a very good fit in some systems.
SIMON CLANCY’S (@SiClancy) VIEW:
1. Isaiah Simmons – Clemson
2. Patrick Queen – LSU
3. Kenneth Murray – Oklahoma
4. Markus Bailey – Purdue
5. Willie Gay – Mississippi State
1. JEFFREY OKUDAH- Ohio State- 6′-1″ 205 lbs.
Another 5 star recruit that found himself onto the Ohio State Buckeyes, All American, All Big 10 teams and the First round of the NFL Draft. The headliner of the best cornerback class since 2017 (Marlon Humphrey, Marshon Lattimore, Adoree’ Jackson, Tre’Davious White), Okudah is a clean top 5 prospect. Smooth stride gives nothing away deep, and has the size, length to stifle the short passing game. Not the best tackler on the edge against outside runs, and does tend to stick to blocks, but is a willing tackler.
2. KRISTIAN FULTON- LSU- 6′-0″ 197 lbs.
One of the top 30 prospects in the country in 2016. Was suspended for 2 years by the NCAA for using somebody else’s urine sample for a PED test. He admitted to smoking Marijuana and trying to tamper with the test. His suspension was then cut to one season, and Fulton returned for the 2018 season. A very good press-man corner with strong hands in the jam. In zone, Fulton breaks on passes and looks to make plays on the ball. Been accused of not being a willing tackler, but it rarely shows up on tape. Had success versus all world Alabama WR corp.
3. CJ HENDERSON- Florida- 6′-1″ 204 lbs.
Spurned the Hurricanes to join the Gators at the last minute, which made him very unpopular in his home town of Miami, Florida. Since then, he has made every ALL-SEC team, including a first team nod in 2019. No wasted motions, and strong combine numbers make Henderson a special athlete. A physical tackler, that always looks to strip ball carriers. Explosive closing on the ball in zone, CJ Henderson is a playmaker, more than a zone specialist. Good in man, but has had flags with his back to the QB. What he can ad is a bit of scheme awareness, and route recognition to complete his game.
4. TREVON DIGGS- Alabama- 6′-1″ 205 lbs.
Brother of Buffalo Bills WR Stefon Diggs. Yet another Alabama Defensive back with a possible 1st round future. Tall, lanky, but with an athletic stride has had him draw comparisons to Aqib Talib (Lance Zierlein-NFL.com). Physically strong, with apparent, elite foot speed, although there is no recent 40 yard dash time on record (did not run at combine). Makes a lot of plays underneath, and has a noticeable first step toward the ball in zone. Can be a bit “grabby” on intermediate and deep routes, so the “flag machine” label has reared it’s head. Had some good moments versus top SEC competition, but some bad ones versus LSU.
5. TROY PRIDE JR. – Notre Dame- 6′-0″ 193 lbs.
Elite size, speed profile that NFL GM’s love. There is really good tape of Pride Jr. exploding to close on routes in zone, but there is also some bad tape of him in man, especially on deep routes. Lack of technique can be the issue as he seems to lose contact on deep routes as his stride shortens noticeably. We know it’s not his speed, so some schooling is necessary for Troy Pride to reach his potential at the next level. Not a noticeable tackler, but effective in run support with positioning. He has a good instinct for sniffing out the run game. Challenging WR’s vertically is not his game.
SIMON CLANCY’S (@SiClancy) VIEW:
1. Jeffrey Okudah – Ohio State
2. CJ Henderson – Florida
3. Jeff Gladney – TCU
4. Noah Igbinoghene – Auburn
5. Kristian Fulton – LSU
1. ANTOINE WINFIELD JR- Minnesota- 5′-9″ 203 lbs.
We have seen this type before. The smallish deep safety (Bob Sanders?) where his frame and length don’t seem to matter since he gets to every spot on the field in a hurry. He plays noticeably fast, and had very good combine numbers. AP All American and a 1st team ALL Big 10 nod, with eye popping counting stats in 2019, yet he is not talked about at the top of this safety class. He is being punished for his size. Oh, did I mention that Winfield’s father is former pro bowl corner Antoine Winfield of the Vikings? If he has a real knock, it’s that his size prevents him from overwhelming ball carriers with his tackling and he tends to arm tackle a bit.
2. XAVIER MCKINNEY- Alabama- 6′-0″ 201 lbs.
Yet another Alabama defensive back with first round pedigree. McKinney is a high football IQ, thinking man’s football player, with elite size, and game speed. His 4.63 forty time at the combine was a surprise to many, as he was expected to run in the 4.5’s. McKinney is that “swiss army knife” that teas covet with the versatility to play single high, man up in the slot with a Tight End or slot WR, or play in the box and erase underneath routes from RB’s. A good tackler in space, but not a powerful one versus the run on outside zone runs. Tends to QB watch and lose track of his zone responsibility as he can be seen drifting past his assigned landmarks.
3. GRANT DELPIT- LSU- 6′-3″ 213 lbs.
“Safety U” produces another one. Delpit is a real alpha versus the run game, and will thump you when you come across his zone. Delpit also possesses the noticeable range that NFL GM’s want in their deep safety. Can look a bit stiff matched up in man coverage, and doesn’t always look the part as a fluid athlete. He is not so much smooth, as he is twitchy and explosive in his movement. While being a monster in run support, he spent most of 2019 missing too many tackles. There is some evidence of him taking unnecessary “ kill shots” when a secure tackle will suffice. Not many more Safeties in this class are as fun to watch.
4. ASHTYN DAVIS- California- 6′-1″ 202 lbs.
A track star, turned football walk on. Worked his way from special teams, while winning the team’s Special Teams MVP in back to back years, Davis found himself becoming an all conference safety by his senior year. If you want a single high type that can cover a lot of ground, there is nobody better in this draft class. While having a short career in football, Davis seems to have an instinct for the passing game, and is rarely out of position. Has a real alpha attitude in run support, and does not have the look of a guy that is relatively new to football. His rare physical gifts, high character and “rawness” make him a Coach’ dream.
5. J.R. REED- Georgia- 6′-1″ 202 lbs.
Son of former Viking Jake Reed. Good size and speed profile, to go with a highly productive 2019, where he was an All American, All-SEC and a Jim Thorpe finalist. Not the “rangy type”, but Reed is always on the spot. High Football IQ, and a physical demeanor make him a playmaker vs. the run game. You would like to see him be a bit more fluid in his movement, as he sometimes looks slow to change direction. J.R. Reed has some limitations in man coverage when it comes to locking in one on one, but his special awareness is as good as any safety in this class, as Reed is a highly instinctual player. Belongs in the second tier, but he should be as good as gone when round 4 starts up.
SIMON CLANCY’S (@SiClancy) VIEW:
1. Grant Delpit – LSU
2. Antoine Winfield Jr – Minnesota
3. Xavier McKinney – Alabama
4. Jeremy Chinn – Southern Illinois
5. Ashtyn Davis – Cal
Alfredo Arteaga (@Alf_Arteaga) and Simon Clancy (SiClancy) are two-thirds of the trio that does the Three Yards Per Carry (@3YardsPerCarry) podcast.
After Dolphins wins against the Jets and Colts, and a near-disastrous near-victory against the Redskins, there was concern among many fans that Brian Flores’ team was improving too fast — and might further fall in the draft order. This remained a concern even with the traumatic injury suffered by the Dolphins’ perceived top target, Tua Taglavailoa of Alabama. After all, Miami needs everything, and needs as much draft capital as possible to get it.
Well, no more worries.
The Dolphins remain rather limited.
So their draft options should remain rather expansive.
This was proven Sunday during a 37-20 loss to the Buffalo Bills, marking the second time this season the Dolphins have yielded at least 30 points to one of the league’s worst offenses. This wasn’t altogether unexpected, with recent top defensive performers Raekwon McMillan and Taco Charlton out, joining Xavien Howard, Reshad Jones and others on the inactive list. And offensively? Well, with Kenyan Drake traded, Mark Walton suspended and Preston Williams out for the season, the skill spots have been thinned considerably, so much so that Kallen Ballage and his svelte yards-per-carry average (it looks like a failing GPA) was being relied upon as a primary playmaker.
Miami had moments, notably Jakeem Grant’s 101-yard blazing kickoff return (followed by another for 50 yards) Jason Sanders’ adroitly executed onside kick and Ryan Fitzpatrick’s 45-yard completion to DeVante Parker, but overall, the Bills (7-3) are playing for this season, and the Dolphins are playing because the schedule says they have to. Most Dolphins fans couldn’t identify more than three or four players on the current defense. The Bills’ John Brown, from Homestead High School in South Florida, took advantage, with 9 catches for 137 yards.
And any unlikely comeback by the Dolphins ended when Fitzpatrick was stuffed on 4th-and-1 deep in Buffalo territory.
Next week — at Cleveland, where previous tank efforts haven’t turned out so well so far.
Here are the Dolphins’ major highlights from the loss:
https://www.fivereasonssports.com/wp-content/uploads/D721D065-4B9E-4136-BC72-D3412D44BE86-scaled.jpeg17112560Ethan Skolnickhttps://www.fivereasonssports.com/wp-content/uploads/FiveReasonsWebsiteLogo.svgEthan Skolnick2019-11-17 16:20:062019-11-17 16:20:06Dolphins back to losing ways, fall to Bills
The reasoning was simple. On one side you had a team that was clearly improving under its first-year coach, Brian Flores, even though the Dolphins were trading or idling their better players. On the other side, you had Gase, and a Jets team that had already tired of him. So this was somewhat predictable. Ryan Fitzpatrick is a capable NFL quarterback when he has time, and he had time just enough times Sunday, in a 26-18 victory. Gase is a fraud, and his time with the Jets may soon come to an end, after signing a long-term contract this offseason.
When Adam Gase loses today, will he blame it on this being a “tough road game”?