Tag: New England Patriots

2020 NFL Draft Recap: AFC East

I will be running through each team’s draft highighting my favorite and least favorite picks (typically from days one or two) and a day three sleeper to keep an eye on. I will also feature my favorite undrafted free agent signing for each team. 

 

Buffalo Bills

Favorite Pick: Round 3, Pick 86 Overall – Zack Moss, RB, Utah – I really liked the selection of A.J. Epenesa in round two, but I think Moss will be the one we look back on as the best pick. As much as I like Devin Singletary, a fellow third round selection just a season ago, I believe Moss will become a true committee back along with him. The combo will give the Bills a very good two-headed monster in the backfield, while I believe Epenesa will open the season as a true backup.

Least Favorite Pick: Round 4, Pick 128 Overall – Gabriel Davis, WR, UCF – Typically my least favorite will be somebody from the first three rounds, but the Bills only had two picks in those rounds and I liked them both. I don’t have a real issue with Davis, I just didn’t feel he was the top WR on the board at the time, and he certainly was not a position of need given the fact they traded for Stefon Diggs. I feel they would have been better suited going after a position of need with Troy Dye or Bryce Hall.

Day Three Sleeper: Round 5, Pick 167 Overall – Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia – Fromm is certainly not an immediate need of the Bills, but Matt Barkley got starts when Josh Allen was out a season ago and another QB to battle for the backup gig is never a bad idea. Fromm’s biggest knock is a lack of arm strength and heading to the AFC East where three of the four teams are in environments that have adverse weather is not ideal, Fromm is exactly what you want from a backup. A smart QB with a winning pedigree, a solid selection.

Undrafted Free Agent to Watch: Trey Adams, OT, Washington – One of the best offensive lineman to go undrafted, Adams has a real shot to make the Bills team. He stands 6’8” and weighs in at 318 lbs., he has to prototypical size for a tackle, although he does not use his body ideally, often playing smaller than his size.  He has plenty of athleticism, so he may be best suited to play guard despite his length.

Miami Dolphins

Favorite Pick: Round 1, Pick 5 Overall – Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama – The Dolphins came into the season “Tanking for Tua”, end up with a winning record over the final 9 games of the season, and still land Tua. The injuries are an obvious concern but, by all accounts, nobody throws a better ball that Tua and he does not have to start this season since they have Fitz-Magic on the roster. I loved the fact they added a trio of blockers to go ahead of him, and Raekwon Davis is a quality run stuffer, but the player this draft will be known for is Tua.

Least Favorite Pick: Round 1, Pick 30 Overall – Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn – Putting aside the fact few had Igbinoghene as the top corner on the board at the time, it was one of the few positions the Dolphins actually didn’t need help at. Xavien Howard and Byron Jones are well paid and top tier corners, while the safety position needs help as does the linebacking and receiving groups.

Day Three Sleeper: Round 5, Pick 164 Overall – Curtis Weaver, Edge, Boise State – I actually really liked the Dolphins draft as a whole, and I easily could have chosen Solomon Kindley as a bruising guard, or Malcolm Perry for the intrigue of the QB turned WR from Navy, but I wound up going Weaver here. I had Weaver as a day two selection and actually like him better than the end the Dolphins also selected ten spots ahead of him, Jason Stowbridge. Weaver got after the QB and was very productive for Boise who should be a situational pass rusher with success for the Dolphins.

Undrafted Free Agent to Watch: Kirk Merritt, WR, Arkansas State – An absolute physical freak, guy can jump out of the building and has great strength. He ran track at Oregon before transferring out to the JuCo levels and heading to Arkansas State. He is still raw but has a real shot to make the club as a special teamer who can return kicks and the speed/strength combo to be a quality gunner on kickoff and punt teams.

New England Patriots

Favorite Pick: Round 2, Pick 37 Overall – Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne – I would have loved to see the Patriots take Yetur Gross-Matos here, a player who went one spot later, but they wound up getting two quality edge rushers so that wound up working out for them. Dugger is a guy I struggled with ahead of the draft because, as a D-II player, I saw practically no tape on him. After the draft, having spoken with many about the pick, I am officially sold. He plays tough downhill like a strong safety but can go get the ball like a traditional free safety. Overall, the perfect fit for the Patriots defense.

Least Favorite Pick: Round 5, Pick 159 Overall – Justin Rohrwasser, K, Marshall – I never come away from the draft really liking what the Patriots did, and for the most part that is the case yet again. I did not get the two TEs they took at the end of Round 3 as I felt there were better available, I had a list 750 names deep with me at the draft and they Patriots managed to select someone not on that list in Cassh Malula in the sixth, but Rohrwasser was a special kind of miss. Not only was it the first kicker off the board, granted it was a need, it comes out after he has an anti-government tattoo with some, well, questionable ties.

Day Three Sleeper: Round 6, Pick 182 Overall – Mike Onwenu, G, Michigan – Standing 6’3” and weighing in at 344 lbs., there is no denying Onwenu is a massive human being. Add to that 26 reps on the bench and a knack for pancaking defenders in run blocking, the Patriots may have stolen a future league average starter in round 6.

Undrafted Free Agent to Watch: Brian Lewerke, QB, Michigan State – The Patriots surprised many by going through the entire draft without selecting a singe QB, so it is no surprise they landed on of the top undrafted guys at the position.  The fact he never completed 60% of his passes and often missed hitting receivers in stride is a real concern, but there is plenty of arm strength and ability to slide around the pocket to buy time.

New York Jets

Favorite Pick: Round 2, Pick 59 Overall – Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor – Baylor got a lot of air time this season given their undefeated run before seeing Oklahoma twice, and every time you put on a Baylor ballgame, Mims was making plays. He has good size, a sub-4..40 40, and can block. In another draft he is a first-round receiver but depth at the position caused him to fall to the back end of round two in this draft.

Least Favorite Pick: Round 1, Pick 11 Overall – Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville – This is the start of what will be a trend for me, essentially marking any tackle not named Tristan Wirfs as a least favorite pick. I actually like Becton a lot and think he will be a quality player; I just don’t think he was anywhere close to the best available.

Day Three Sleeper: Round 5, Pick 158 Overall – Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia – Hall went back to Virginia for another year to try and become a first-round selection, but instead he slides to the fifth. This was undoubtedly one of the top needs for the Jets, and they get a guy who was once a no-brainer day two selection mid-way through day three, this decision was easy for me.

Undrafted Free Agent to Watch: Lamar Jackson, CB, Nebraska – Yes, there are now two Lamar Jackson’s in the NFL, although this one will never be the star the QB in Baltimore is. I was actually quite surprised Jackson did not get drafted, as there were some that saw him as a potential day two selection. He is a big corner, standing 6’2”, and may eventually have to move to safety as he is very good with the ball in the air but can be beat by quick receivers. If he moved to free safety, his size and ability to get after contestable balls could make him a multiple year contributor to the Jets secondary.

 

The Good, Bad, and Confusing of NFL Moves

We aren’t even a week into the new league year, but already there have been a ton of moves that will help shape the 2018 NFL season. Here is a quick take on the teams I feel have gotten better, worse, and completely confused.

Better

Chicago Bears – They have parted ways with Mike Glennon after giving the reigns over to Mitch Trubisky and brought in two solid backups. I feel like the idea of Chase Daniel is better than the quarterback Chase Daniel, but he is now in Chicago to be the primary backup and will land high on many people’s lists of top backups in the league. Time will tell if Tyler Bray will make the team, but he is another backup with experience.  The Bears are where highly thought of college receivers go to die, so it is about time they sign a big time receiver, and Allen Robinson gives Trubisky a real number one target. Add Prince Amukamara, Aaron Lyncch, Sam Acho,  and resign Kyle Fuller, and the defense gets a boost as well.

Green Bay Packers – Getting DeShone Kizer as the new backup to Aaron Rodgers is an upgrade, Muhammad Wilkerson for just $5M is all upside, and Jimmy Graham gives Rodgers a scary weapon at tight end. Will be interesting to see how the loss of Jody Nelson will impact the team.

Kansas City Chiefs – They dealt away Alex Smith to make room for Patrick Mahomes and brought in a stud receiver for him in Sammy Watkins. Kendall Fuller will take the place of the departed headache in Marcus Peters, while they also add linebacker Anthony Hitchens to an already solid defense.

Los Angeles Rams – Speaking of Marcus Peters, he is now in LA with the Rams, along with new acquisition Aqib Talib improve the Rams secondary, although they did lose talent up front.

Oakland Raiders – Goodbye Michael Crabtree, make room for Jordy Nelson. In addition to adding a reliable receiver, they are taking their chances on former Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin.

San Francisco 49ers – There won’t be a move that goes further under the radar than the 49ers signing Weston Richburg. He takes over as center along side two underperforming first round guards in Laken Tomlinson and Josh Garnett, making the raw talent in front of Jimmy Garappolo something that could become elite. They replace the departed Carlos Hyde with Jerick McKinnon and were the winners in the rush to get Richard Sherman after he was released.

Tennessee Titans – The Titans had DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry, two backs that run very similarly, but now part ways with Murray and bring in Dion Lewis who will serve as an excellent change of pace back and easy underneath target for Marcus Mariota. They also spend the money get Malcolm Butler as corner, and word is they will allow him to play.

Worse

Dallas Cowboys – Ready for the list of new players the Cowboys have brought in this season? Ok, here it goes:

 

Did you miss it? Yeah, they haven’t brought in anyone of note, their big signing has been the re-signing of their long snapper. Meanwhile they have said goodbye to Anthony Hitchens, Keith Smith will no longer be in at fullback, and Orland Scandrick has been released. Not a good sign for the Cowboys.

New England Patriots – Ok, maybe my fandom is getting in the way here, but I am not one to say “they always lose talent and somehow win the division”. I am one to say “you just traded Jimmy G for practically nothing after sending off Jacoby Brissett in the preseason, who is gonna be the QB of the future?” Add to that the departure of Julian Edelman (I don’t care if he didn’t play last year, he is still the best receiver the team had) and replace him with the always underwhelming Cordarrelle Patterson? Oh, and we already touched on the fact that Dion Lewis and Malcom Butler are gone.

Confused

Arizona Cardinals – Let’s face it, this tweet perfectly sums up the signing of Sam Braford.

 

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But they also sign Mike Glennon, one who we at The Stain have long been fans of. You also bring back Larry Fitzgerald but lose the Brown brothers, John and Jaron (not really brothers).

Cleveland Browns – Ok, you have picks one and four in the draft and seem to be debating between quarterback and running back…so you trade for Tyrod Taylor and sign Carlos Hyde? I am confused. You trade for Jarvis Landry, a very good WR, but you are going to have to give him a very large contract as he is currently under the franchise tag.

New York Jets – The Jets resigned Josh McCown and went out and brought in Teddy Bridgewater, which would be a solid QB room for a team who just might be a few good pieces away from being respectable…so they go out and trade away their 6th overall pick along with picks 37 and 49 and a second next year to jump up to three where they will no doubt add a QB? What a mess.

AFC Conference Championsip Preview

New England +4.5 @ Denver (55): The New England Patriots beat the Denver Broncos in overtime, in New England earlier this season, after the Patriots handed over a 24-10 halftime lead thanks to multiple fumbles early in that game.  This game is in Denver, and I don’t expect it to be a sloppy game like the first one.  I do believe the Patriots will pull this game out, but if the line was Denver +4.5, I would tell you to take Denver on the betting line. 

The game will come down to a field goal or less, because, well, why not when you have a matchup of the two best quarterbacks in this generation.  In all the great Peyton vs. Brady mathups, neither has ever won a playoff game against the other on the road, but that changes this weekend.  Denver fans can get loud, but nothing like the Colts fans used to get in the dome, so Brady’s audibles at the line shouldn’t be an issue on Sunday.

The Broncos have lost another defensive back, and that could prove to be the difference.  The Patriots have the biggest selection of unassuming wide outs, Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, and Austin Collie, as any team has ever had, but they are productive.  In addition, the running back depth is impressive, and Shane Vereen can create mismatches all over the field.

For the Broncos to win, they will need to lean heavy on Knowshon Moreno.  The Patriots are thin at defensive tackle and middle linebacker, so a between the tackle running attack is their biggest weakness on defense.  Despite this being a game between two Hall of Fame quarterbacks, the winner will be the team that is able to run the ball more efficiently.

You can follow Shaun Kernahan on twitter @shaunkernahan, add him to your network on Google, and like Shaun on Facebook.

NFL Divisional Weekend – AFC Preview

I will twist Torten’s rodeo analogy, a solid pull by the way, and twist it into the upcoming Olympics.  The Stain is standing atop the podium receiving our gold medals for terrible predictions last week.  Among the eight potential betting lines, spread and over under for each game, I am pretty sure we almost got one right, so if you are in Las Vegas this weekend, be sure to go completely opposite of our choices here.

Indianapolis +7 at New England (53):  As a Patriots fan, and knowing my history in predictions posted online, I am tempted to take the Colts in a blowout, you know, to reverse jinx it, but I have to remain objective here.  The Patriots should win this game, but the seven point spread is huge for this matchup.  With Brandon Spikes hitting IR this week, join Jarrod Mayo and Vince Wilfork, the three best middle defenders, and run stoppers, are now on IR.  Lucky for the Patriots, the Colts are terrible when it comes to running the ball.  The Colts will have to rely on Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton, which is actually a good matchup for them this week.  Aqib Talib is a master at shutting down big #1 receivers, but can struggle against the smaller quicker types, aka T.Y. Hilton.  The Patriots offense is a whose who of who’s that.  Gronk is on IR, and the only household name left is Tom Brady.  Shane Vereen is as versatile a back as there is in football, and the best rusher is a guy best known for decking a guy on Boise State, LeGarrette Blount.  Amendola and Edelman are excellent slot guys, but the big play will need to come from one of the rookie receivers.  Robert Mathis will be in the backfield all game, and Brady will come out of the matchup beat up, but will do enough to win.  I see a high scoring game, 34-30 Patriots. 

San Diego +9.5 at Denver (55.5): San Diego is the hottest team in the NFL, having won five straight, including two against Kansas City, and one against Denver, and will give the Broncos all they can handle again.  Picking against Denver is a terrible idea regardless of the matchup, they are the most talented team in the NFL, and have the greatest offense in NFL history, so, I pick the Chargers to win.  Yup, I am running with the terrible idea, and I feel good about it.  Weather shouldn’t play much of a factor in the game, outside of the wind gusts that should reach about 25 mph, which can cause some trouble for Peyton, but that is not going to be the difference in the game.  Keenan Allen is as good a rookie receiver as there has been in several years.  He seems unassuming when watching the game, and never makes the big highlight plays, but watch a Chargers game, and #13 will be a staple.  He will end each game with near 10 grabs, around 100 yards, and a touchdown or two every game.  Ryan Matthews is running like the first rounder they expected when they drafted him several years ago, and Phillip Rivers might be the second best quarterback in the league right now.  Yes, I just punched myself in the gut after writing that, but he is truly playing the quarterback position as good as anyone not named Peyton Manning.  In order to win the game, the Chargers need to keep the score reasonable, and they will, easily covering the spread, and just coming in on the under.  I pick the Chargers, 28-24.

You can follow Shaun Kernahan on twitter @shaunkernahan, add him to your network on Google, and like Shaun on Facebook.