Author Archives: Gianfranco Illiano

2020 NFL Predictions: Division Winners, Breakout Players, Postseason surprises, and much more

FINALLY! The NFL season is here and that means meaningless NFL predictions make their way onto the timeline.

Right here, right now, I’ve got predictions for:

·      Team records

·      Postseason predictions

·      Awards

·      Breakout players

·      Disappointing players

·      BOLD predictions

·      Which head coaches get fired

So let’s get started…

TEAM RECORDS

NFC EAST

Eagles: 10-6 (3)

Cowboys: 8-8

Giants: 5-11

Washington: 3-13

NFC SOUTH

Buccaneers: 12-4 (1)

Saints: 11-5 (5)

Panthers: 6-10

Falcons: 6-10

NFC WEST

Cardinals: 12-4 (2)

Seahawks: 11-5 (6)

49ers: 8-8 (7)

Rams: 7-9

NFC NORTH

Packers: 10-6 (4)

Vikings: 8-8

Lions: 7-9

Bears: 5-11

AFC EAST

Dolphins: 10-6 (3)

Bills: 9-7 (6)

Patriots: 6-10

Jets: 3-13

AFC SOUTH

Colts: 10-6 (4)

Texans: 8-8

Titans: 8-8

Jaguars: 1-15

AFC WEST

Chiefs: 12-4 (1)

Broncos: 9-7

Chargers: 7-9

Raiders: 4-12

AFC NORTH

Ravens: 11-5 (2)

Steelers: 11-5 (5)

Browns: 9-7 (7)

Bengals: 5-11

NFC PLAYOFFS

Wild Card:

Saints (5) @ Packers (4) = Packers win

Seahawks (6) @ Eagles (3) = Eagles win

49ers (7) @ Cardinals (2) = Cardinals win

Divisional Round:

Packers (4) @ Buccaneers (1) = Buccaneers win

Eagles (3) @ Cardinals (2) = Cardinals win 

NFC Championship:

Cardinals (2) @ Buccaneers (1) = Buccaneers win

AFC PLAYOFFS

Wild Card:

Steelers (5) @ Colts (4) = Steelers win

Bills (6) @ Dolphins (3) = Dolphins win

Browns (7) @ Ravens (2) = Browns win

Divisional Round:

Browns (7) @ Chiefs (1) = Chiefs win

Steelers (5) @ Dolphins (3) = Steelers win

AFC Championship:

Steelers (5) @ Chiefs (1) = Chiefs win

Super Bowl 55:

Chiefs (1) @ Buccaneers (1) = Chiefs win

AWARDS

MVP: Kyler Murray

OPOY: Russell Wilson

DPOY: Darius Leonard

OROY: Tua Tagovailoa

DROY: Isaiah Simmons

Comeback: Ben Roethlisberger

Coach: Brian Flores

BREAKOUT PLAYERS

Kyler Murray, Miles Sanders, Marquise “Hollywood” Brown

Kyler Murray: DeAndre Hopkins will be a big reason why, but I believe Murray has the best opportunity to make the biggest second-year-jump we’ve seen with quarterbacks over the years.

Miles Sanders: Eagles are going to ride Miles Sanders all season long, especially with the offensive line in flux.

Marquise “Hollywood” Brown: He has the swagger teams wish they had in all of their players. Brown said he’s gained a lot of muscle this offseason and still didn’t lose any speed. Watchout!

DISAPPOINTING PLAYERS

Cam Newton, Derek Carr, Ryan Tannehill

Cam Newton: I don’t see a player as free-spirited as Newton gelling with a coach like Belichick who seems to be the “my way or the highway” type. Newton’s best days are behind him and his body can no longer last a full season.

Derek Carr: This is the year where Jon Gruden gets fed up with Derek Carr, who seems to always try to impress his coach, but gets no love in return.

Ryan Tannehill: He’s a backup quarterback at best. Teams will be a lot more prepared for him this year and he got paid– he’s got nothing to worry about anymore. Tannehill will go back to his old self sooner rather than later.

BOLD PREDICTIONS

  1. Tua takes over for Ryan Fitzpatrick and leads the Dolphins to the division crown and a playoff win
  2. Cardinals clinch the No. 2 seed in the NFC
  3. Mike Mayock will be flushed out as GM after he and Jon Gruden “mutually part ways over the disagreement of the team’s direction.”
  4. Philip Rivers gets benched in favor of Jacoby Brissett who leads the Colts to the playoffs
  5. Zero games get postponed or cancelled due to the pandemic
  6. Drew Lock solidifies himself as a franchise quarterback
  7. Jets clean house, trade Sam Darnold to Tennessee, and draft quarterback Trey Lance from North Dakota State University.
  8. Dak Prescott requests a trade, lands in Pittsburgh, after Big Ben finally retires.
  9. Cam Newton retires
  10. Nick Chubb will win the rushing title

FIRED HEAD COACHES

  • Doug Marrone
  • Matt Patricia
  • Matt Nagy
  • Adam Gase
  • Dan Quinn’

Tim Duncan is the Most Overrated Player in Sports History

Throughout my entire life, I have never seen a single player, in any sport, get overhyped the way Tim Duncan does. He is the most overrated player in sports history. 

Duncan epitomizes, not only being boring, but being overvalued in the fullest sense.

Before I get into it, let me say first, I respect Tim Duncan. I obviously don’t know him as a person, but I do admire his unselfishness on the court and his high basketball IQ.

Duncan is not a power forward, he is a center that plays at the four. He played PF because his Hall of Fame teammate (one of many), David Robinson, played center. Some say Duncan never wanted to fully embrace the center position because he was too scared to match up against Shaquille O’Neal, but that’s just a rumor.

When Duncan arrived in the NBA, he landed in the PERFECT SITUATION. The Spurs, a great team prior to adding Duncan, dealt with a lot of injuries the previous season and got super lucky in the draft lottery, which ultimately allowed them to draft Duncan at No. 1 overall. 

21 incredible facts about San Antonio Spurs legend Tim Duncan ...

Fans and the media often overlook what Duncan had to work with. In his first season in San Antonio, Duncan played alongside Hall of Famer David Robinson and very solid players in Vinny Del Negro, Sean Elliott, and Avery Johnson. Let’s not forget the coach he had, Gregg Popovich, who is in the Mount Rushmore of NBA coaches. That squad is the best team any No. 1 overall pick has ever stepped foot in. 

In 1998 when the Spurs and Tim Duncan captured their first NBA Championship, the team was stacked with guys such as Antonio Daniels, Mario Elie, Steve Kerr, Sean Elliott, Jerom Kersey, Avery Johnson and David Robinson. All I ever hear from everyone when talking about that team is how great Tim Duncan was, as if he was out there by himself.

By 2003, the year San Antonio won its second NBA Finals, the Spurs had three Hall of Famers on its roster other than Tim Duncan: David Robinson, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginóbili. They also had a great supporting cast in Bruce Bowen, Stephen Jackson, Steve Kerr, Steve Smith, and Malik Rose. Those aren’t scrubs, people!

Without going through every single championship roster Duncan was on, it should not be forgotten that Duncan played with Hall of Famers, in every single season of his career. 

Duncan had a very strong list of teammates: David Robinson, Tony Parker, Manu Ginóbili, and Kawhi Leonard. Again, these are Hall of Famers, that Duncan was very fortunate to play with, and that doesn’t get talked about enough! 

Tony Parker was the 2007 NBA Finals MVP, Kawhi Leonard was the NBA Finals MVP in 2014 and was the NBA’s defensive player of the year in 2015 and 2016. Ginóbili is one of the clutchest players of all time.

Let’s go back to 2013, in the NBA Finals, the San Antonio Spurs versus the Miami Heat.  

With less than 50 seconds left in game seven of the NBA Finals, the Spurs were down 90-88, and Tim Duncan missed a game-tying layup over Shane Battier.

https://twitter.com/Eaglesfans9/status/1261040879231471618

Embarrassing, isn’t it? If Tim Duncan is a top 10, top 20 player of all time, he has to make that layup! 

I hate calling players “system guys” but that’s exactly what Tim Duncan is. There is nothing wrong with being a “system guy” but players like that should not be considered along the lines of Kevin Garnett, Charles Barkley, and Dirk Nowitzki, who are all time greats at the power forward position. 

The credit that Duncan gets without mentioning personnel aficionado R.C. Buford or Coach Popovich is nauseating, as the Spurs front office is undoubtedly the best front office in the past two decades. They were able to bring in the right guys to San Antonio and maintained a stable organization for twenty years. No other player in NBA history has ever had that type of power and stability behind them before, not even Michael Jordan. 

Gregg Popovich & Manu Ginobili on Tim Duncan's Retirement

As I mentioned before, Duncan has a very high basketball IQ and is an unselfish player, a solid passer of the ball, knows where to be on offense and defense, but physically, what does he do that’s great?

Now this bothers me a lot about Duncan: the rest, the breaks, the time off he got in his career. Why does he need all of that rest? If he’s one of the greatest of all time, he shouldn’t need all of that time to snooze. By doing that, Coach Pop is admitting they don’t need Duncan to win games. 

Let’s no longer forget what Duncan was working with his entire career. He was extremely lucky, had a lot of breaks go his way, and had a ton of help surrounding him. Duncan didn’t make the Spurs, the Spurs made him.

The bottom line is, Timothy Theodore Duncan is the most overrated player of all time. 

 

TFC Mock Draft 3.0 – Las Vegas gets a receiver, Miami picks OL late, Trades and Sleepers

HERE IT IS! My final NFL Mock Draft (with trades) of 2020. To be honest, I would be extremely surprised if I didn’t get this 100 percent correct.

  1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow – QB – LSU

Image result for burrow

It’s time to move on from Andy Dalton and restart the franchise with a new signal-caller. Burrow is an Ohio kid, was the best college football player this past season, and checks (almost) all the boxes. If I were Cincinnati, I would take Tua Tagovailoa, who was more consistent in college.

2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young – DE – Ohio State

Chase Young says he's 'definitely' the No. 1 prospect in the 2020 ...

Ron Rivera didn’t interview anywhere else besides Washington, solely because of the No. 2 overall pick. Rivera realizes he has a potential future Hall of Famer in his grasp, this is a no-brainer. 

3. TRADE! Lions to Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa – QB – Alabama

josh houtz on Twitter: "If things do work out and the #dolphins ...

The latest rumor out there is the Dolphins are trying to trade up for an offensive tackle. I’m not buying that, instead they’re going to do the right thing and trade up for the best player in the draft. Tua will be a better player than Joe Burrow. 

4. New York Giants: Jedrick Wills – OT – Alabama

Jedrick Wills Jr.: 3 facts on the NFL Draft prospect, Alabama lineman

The Giants have to do all they can to protect Daniel Jones and help Saquon Barkley. Wills is the best tackle in the draft and comes from a program Joe Judge is very familiar with.

5. Detroit Lions (via Miami): Jeff Okudah – CB – Ohio State

Could the Raiders trade up for Ohio State CB Jeffrey Okudah?

After trading away Darius Slay to the Eagles, the Lions have to find a replacement. Experts say Okudah is the best defensive back in the draft. Detroit lands the player they would’ve gotten had they stayed at No. 3 overall, while gaining more draft capital. 

6. Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert – QB – Oregon 

Strongest Arm in College Football || Oregon QB Justin Herbert ...

A lot of people do not like Justin Herbert, but he’s going to be a good player. His coaching staff at Oregon didn’t use him as well as they should have. Chargers fans will be very proud to have this kid on their team. LA’s brass continues to say they have faith in Tyrod Taylor– that’s just a smoke screen. The Chargers will not go into a five-billion dollar stadium with Taylor as their starter. They need to sell tickets. 

7. Carolina Panthers: Isaiah Simmons – LB/S – Clemson

A very unique talent': How Clemson's Isaiah Simmons went from last ...

Luke Kuechly retired, Cam Newton is gone, and Greg Olsen is in Seattle. Carolina needs a lot, but most importantly, they need new faces of the franchise. Simmons can play all over the field, he’s a queen on a chess board. 

8. TRADE! Cardinals to Falcons: C.J. Henderson – CB – Florida

2020 NFL Mock Draft: 1st-Round Predictions and Top Prospects on ...

The latest rumors say the Falcons are trying to trade up and that may be for Derrick Brown, but I believe CJ Henderson will be the pick. The Jaguars need a CB too, so Thomas Dimitroff leap-frogs Jacksonville to grab their guy.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Derrick Brown – DT – Auburn

Dominating' Derrick Brown again named SEC Defensive Lineman of the ...

Jacksonville has a lot of holes to fill, but they stay put at No. 9 and draft a player who should’ve been selected in the top five. Brown is a mammoth up front and will be a great complement to Josh Allen. 

10. Cleveland Browns: Andrew Thomas – OT – Georgia 

NFL Draft Profile: Georgia T Andrew Thomas

The Browns have to address the offensive line. Baker Mayfield struggled in 2019 and that cannot happen in 2020. Cleveland, please do the right thing and give Baker some security on his blindside. 

11. New York Jets: Tristian Wirfs – OT – Iowa

NFL Draft Profile: Iowa T Tristan Wirfs

Jets fans want a wide receiver, but the experts say tackle over receiver every time. Joe Douglas comes from Philadelphia, who always take lineman in the first round. Protection for Sam Darnold should always come first. 

12. Las Vegas Raiders: Ceedee Lamb – WR – Oklahoma

NFL draft: Can anyone catch Oklahoma receiver CeeDee Lamb?

CeeDee Lamb is the best receiver in the draft. For weeks, I was going back and fourth between Lamb and Jeudy, but Lamb is more talented, while Jeudy is more polished. 

13. San Francisco 49ers: Henry Ruggs III – WR – Alabama

Dynasty Prospect Scouting Report: Henry Ruggs | Draft Sharks

Kyle Shanahan saw what a speedy receiver can do for an offense in the Super Bowl loss to the Chiefs. Deebo Samuel and Ruggs on the field together is a lethal combo. Ruggs’ presence alone, stretches the field and will help out the already strong running game for the Niners. 

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mekhi Becton – OT – Louisville

How Far Could Mekhi Becton, Javon Kinlaw Fall in Draft After ...

Quarterbacks in Bruce Arians’ system get sacked a lot and Tom Brady is at an age where he needs to take the least amount of hits as he can. Becton is 6’7” and 364 lbs, he’s the epitome of a blue whale.

15. Denver Broncos: Justin Jefferson – WR – LSU

NFL Combine Thursday Recap: Justin Jefferson, Denzel Mims win the ...

Broncos decide to pass on Jerry Jeudy and select Justin Jefferson, who is a good slot receiver and be a solid weapon for Drew Lock. 

16. Arizona Cardinals (via Atlanta): Javon Kinlaw – DT – South Carolina

Brian Baldinger: Linebacker Ravens' Most Obvious Need, But What ...

Javon Kinlaw could very well be the best defensive lineman in this draft three years from now. Arizona gets tremendous value with this pick, while gaining more draft capital.

17. Dallas Cowboys: K’Lavon Chaisson – EDGE – LSU

Meet K'Lavon Chaisson, LSU's dynamic pass rusher

Jerry Jones will be drafting alone in house and nobody will be able to stop him. My guess is, he looks at the board, sees a pass rusher from LSU and pulls the trigger. In all seriousness, Chaisson is raw, but has a ton of potential and could be a very good player down the road.

18. Miami Dolphins: Austin Jackson – OT – USC

2020 NFL Draft Profile: USC Left Tackle Austin Jackson - Mile High ...

With Tua Tagovailoa as the face of the franchise, the Dolphins have to protect him. Jackson is the best tackle on the board.

19. TRADE! Raiders to Vikings: Jerry Jeudy – WR – Alabama

Jerry Jeudy Taken by Jaguars in B/R User 2020 NFL Mock Draft ...

To leap-frog the Eagles and the Jaguars, who need a wide receiver, Minnesota trades up for the second best WR in the draft and grab him pick 19– great value!

20. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevon Diggs – CB – Alabama

Prospect for the Pack: Alabama CB Trevon Diggs

Jaguars traded both Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. It’s time to find a replacement and Diggs is the best corner back on the board.

21. Philadelphia Eagles: Jalen Reagor – WR – TCU

NFL Draft Profile: Jalen Reagor - CBSSports.com

Usually by now, I have a good feel for what the Eagles are going to do, but this year is different, given the crisis we’re in and the limitations teams have with scouting prospects. However, Howie Roseman knows the Eagles need speed on the perimeter and Reagor has plenty of that and is outstanding on special teams. Reagor’s father played in the NFL and that’s always a plus. I can also see the Eagles trading back, gathering more picks. 

22. Las Vegas Raiders: A.J. Terrell – CB – Clemson

2020 NFL mock draft: AJ Terrell can help Chiefs get back to Super ...

Mike Mayock loves shopping at Clemson and A.J. Terrell also fills a need for the Raiders. Terrell will be paired up with his former teammate Trayvon Mullen in the secondary. 

23. New England Patriots: Zack Baun – EDGE – Wisconsin

Inside The Star Staff Predictions for the Dallas Cowboys First ...

Bill Belichick passes Jordan Love who is still on the board and goes with an underrated pass rusher. New England needs a ton of help on defensive line and Baun fits the scheme. 

24. New Orleans Saints – Jeff Gladney – CB – TCU 

Draft Hunt: Jeff Gladney Adding Corner Depth - Buffalo Fanatics ...

The Saints should take Jordan Love and have him sit behind Drew Brees, but they elect to address the secondary to get one last shot at the Super Bowl. 

25. Minnesota Vikings: Jaylon Johnson – CB – Utah

Jaylon Johnson - Football - University of Utah Athletics

The Vikings lost a couple of cornerbacks this offseason and Mike Zimmer will address that position very early in the draft. He may draft three cornerbacks given the stack of picks Minnesota has. Johnson is a physical player, Zimmer will love that. 

26. Miami Dolphins: Cesar Ruiz – Center – Michigan

Broncos Draft Board: Michigan's Cesar Ruiz could be immediate ...

Miami’s offensive line was atrocious last season. Pairing Ruiz with Austin Jackson to protect Tua is a great way to restart a franchise. 

27. TRADE! Seahawks to Colts: Jordan Love – QB – Utah State

Indianapolis Colts have 3rd-highest odds to draft QB Jordan Love

Seattle trades down every year, so this is no surprise. The Colts, who have multiple second-round picks, trade up to grab their franchise quarterback. 

28. Baltimore Ravens: Kenneth Murray – LB – Oklahoma

OU football: Kenneth Murray taking care of Sooner defense, just as ...

Kenneth Murray is one of my favorite players in this draft. Not only is he a very good player, but he’s an even better person off the field. His leadership may make a bigger impact than his actual skills. Murray is the perfect player for Baltimore.

29. Tennessee Titans: Josh Jones – OT – Houston

Could Josh Jones Be A Surprise Pick For the Browns?

Jack Conklin is in Cleveland now and that leaves a gaping hole on the right side of the offensive line. Josh Jones may even go earlier than pick 29. 

30. Green Bay Packers: Patrick Queen – LB – LSU

NFL draft profile: Ravens target Patrick Queen of LSU - Baltimore Sun

The Packers always draft defense in the first round. Patrick Queen is the best player on the board and fills a need, given the departure of Blake Martinez, who is now on the Giants.

31. TRADE! 49ers – Giants: Xavier McKinney – Safety – Alabama

Xavier McKinney - Football - University of Alabama Athletics

San Francisco needs more picks on day 2, so they trade down. The Giants need help all over the defense and Xavier McKinney is the best safety in the draft. 

32. Kansas City Chiefs: Ross Blacklock – DT – TCU

2020 Draft Watch: Five defensive linemen for the Texans

Chris Jones’ future in KC is in doubt and Andy Reid loves drafting lineman in the first round. Blacklock is a big, dancing bear and fills a need in Steve Spagnoulo’s defense. 

2020 NFL Mock Draft – First 32

*Editors Note: Part of my social distancing fun the last week has been watching draft film so it was fun to look through and study a new Mock Draft from TFC’s Gianfranco Illiano below. Read it and let us know what you think! The draft is upon us. – VC http://twitter.com/cenzoNF

  1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow – QB – LSU
Image result for burrow

The Bengals have a ton of holes on the roster but it’s time to restart the franchise with the kid who is from Ohio and who had the best single season performance college football has ever seen.

  1. Washington Redskins: Tua Tagovailoa – QB – Alabama

Ron Rivera runs the entire operation now. He will be making the final decision on draft day and I think he decides to roll with his own quarterback. He saw what a franchise QB can do for a team when he drafted Cam Newton in 2011. Haskins will be traded down the road. 

  1. Detroit Lions: Chase Young – DE – Ohio State

The Lions front office lands the best player in the draft at third overall. If Matt Patricia doesn’t screw up this cornerstone prospect, he’ll be even better than what Ndamukong Suh was for Detroit. 

  1. TRADE! Giants to Dolphins. NYG receives: 1st round pick (5th overall), 2nd round pick (39th overall), 5th round pick (148th overall). MIA receives: 1st round pick (4th overall).

Miami Dolphins: Jordan Love – QB – Utah State

Image result for jordan love

The Dolphins were hoping for Joe Burrow, they thought they would be able to snag Tua Tagovailoa, but they missed out on both! To avoid being leap-frogged by the Chargers or some other team, they trade up one spot to draft Jordan Love, a guy the Dolphins are very high on, according to the Miami Herald.

  1. New York Giants: Mekhi Becton – OT – Louisville

The Giants drafting Mekhi Becton will help their previous two first-round picks in Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley. It’s a win-win for everyone.

  1. Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert – QB – Oregon

The west coast kid stays in the west coast and he couldn’t be happier. Justin Herbert just looks like a Chargers quarterback. 

  1. Carolina Panthers: Isaiah Simmons – LB – Clemson
Image result for isaiah simmons

The loss of Luke Kuechly will be paramount to the Panthers because there aren’t too many guys that can replace that production. Simmons can play anywhere on defense and comes from a winning culture– something Matt Rhule is trying to build first and foremost.

*Editors Note: Simmons is easily my favorite player in the draft. His speed at his size is going to translate well to the NFL. This would be a great pick for Carolina, who’s defense was among the worst in the league last season. – VC

  1. Arizona Cardinals: Jeffrey Okudah – CB – Ohio State

The Cardinals land the best defensive back in the draft and they didn’t have to trade up. Who better to learn the techniques on how to be a great cornerback than Patrick Peterson?

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Derrick Brown – DT – Auburn
Image result for derrick brown

The Jaguars need to regain their defensive identity. Derrick Brown will serve as a good replacement for Calais Campbell. Some scouts believe Brown is the best prospect in the draft. 

*Editors Note: Love this pick for the Jags. They are desperate for talent up front on the DL. – VC

  1. Cleveland Browns: Andrew Thomas – OT – Georgia

Andrew Thomas was a three-year starter at left tackle for Georgia, a position the Browns desperately need. Newly signed OT Jack Conklin will take care of the right side. 

  1. New York Jets: CeeDee Lamb – WR – Oklahoma

The Jets need to give Sam Darnold some help, which they have in free agency by adding five offensive lineman. Joe Douglas’ next step is to find Darnold a new weapon. Lamb is fantastic after the catch and is elite at tracking the ball in the air. 

  1.  Las Vegas Raiders: Henry Ruggs III – WR – Alabama

The Raiders need speed on the perimeter and Ruggs is the fastest receiver in the draft. He should be a nice fit in Jon Gruden’s offense.

  1. San Francisco 49ers: Jerry Jeudy – WR – Alabama
Image result for jerry jeudy

With the loss of Emmanuel Sanders, the 49ers need a WR to develop a rapport with Jimmy Garoppolo. Jeudy is an elite route runner and creates excellent separation.

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jedrick Wills – OT – Alabama

Quarterbacks in Bruce Arians’ system get sacked a lot and Tom Brady is at an age where he needs to take the least amount of hits as he can. Maybe Tampa will install a similar system Brady had in New England, but Coach Arians will definitely want to sling the ball down the field, which means Brady will have to be in the pocket a little longer than he’s used to.

  1.  Denver Broncos: Tristian Wirfs – OT – Iowa

Looks like the Broncos have finally found their quarterback in Drew Lock. Now it’s time to protect him.

  1.  Atlanta Falcons: K’Lavon Chaisson – DE – LSU

It seems like every year the Falcons are in the market for a pass rusher. Even with the addition of Dante Fowler, Atlanta should draft a pass rusher in round one.

  1.  Dallas Cowboys: C.J. Henderson – CB – Florida

The Cowboys need to find a replacement for Byron Jones. Henderson should be a day 1 starter for Dallas.

  1.  Miami Dolphins: D’Andre Swift – RB – Georgia
Image result for d'andre swift

Yes the Dolphins signed Jordan Howard, but he is not a bell-cow running back. Swift will be a star in Miami. This move will pay major dividends down the road.

*Editors Note: Thought the Dolphins might go DB here, but I don’t totally hate this pick because I’m high on all Georgia RB’s. Sony Michel, Todd Gurley, Nick Chubb, and the list will continue. – VC

  1. TRADE! Raiders to Vikings: LV receives: 1st round pick (22nd overall), 3rd round pick (89th overall). MIN receives: 1st round pick (19th overall).

Minnesota Vikings: Kristian Fulton – CB – LSU

Mike Zimmer loves drafting CBs. Xavier Rhodes, Mackensie Alexander, and Trae Waynes are gone. Kristian Fulton will be a starter right away.

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Xavier McKinney – Safety – Alabama

Jacksonville needs everything. Plain and simple.

  1. TRADE! Eagles to Seahawks: Eagles receive: 1st round pick (27th overall), 3rd round pick (101st overall). Seahawks receive: 1st round pick (21st overall).

    Seattle Seahawks: Yetur Gross-Matos – DE – Penn State

    Both teams love making trades and aren’t afraid to go up and down draft boards. Jadeveon Clowney hasn’t been signed yet, which means Seattle needs a pass rusher. Gross-Matos is an underrated player in this draft. He’s raw, but filled with a ton of potential.
  2. Las Vegas Raiders: Jalen Hurts – QB – Oklahoma
Image result for jalen hurts

Don’t be surprised to see Jalen Hurts go in the first round. He’s rising up draft boards, Raiders aren’t sold on Derek Carr, and Mike Mayock isn’t afraid to draft a player early.

*Editors Note: Not sure about this one with the Mariota signing. But having 3 starting QB’s on the roster sure sounds good to Gruden.

  1. New England Patriots: A.J. Epenesa – DE – Iowa

With the loss of Kyle Van Noy, the Patriots need a starting pass rusher. Epenesa will likely go earlier than this, but this is how the board fell. Another lucky break Bill Belichick.

  1. New Orleans Saints: Justin Jefferson – WR – LSU

Drew Brees needs all the help he can get. The Emmanuel Sanders signing was a great one, but drafting the kid who is from Louisiana and can play in the slot would be a nice complement to Michael Thomas.

  1.  Minnesota Vikings: Javon Kinlaw – DT – South Carolina
Image result for kinlaw

Minnesota’s defense was a huge disappointment last season. Chris Spielman will be psyched to see this physical freak still on the board.

*Editor’s note: This is a dream 1st round for the Vikings. Man, they loaded up on defensive talent. And still a ton of receivers to take in later rounds. – VC

  1.  Miami Dolphins: Josh Jones – Tackle – Houston

Dolphins have to protect their new franchise quarterback.

  1.  Philadelphia Eagles: K.J. Hamler – WR – Penn State
Image result for hamler

The Eagles need speed, speed, and more speed. K.J. Hamler is an excellent route runner. He is dynamic with the ball in his hands and he can make an entire defense miss. Carson Wentz needs a young weapon to rely on. 

*Editors Note: Would have preferred Mims, but I can’t ignore the wheels on Hamler. He was so impressive vs. Michigan last season. Have to figure he’ll produce. VC

  1.  Baltimore Ravens: Patrick Queen – LB – LSU

The Ravens are stacked on the defensive line. Now it’s time to find the next signal caller on the defense.

  1.  Tennessee Titans: Jeff Gladney – CB – TCU

The Titans secondary is missing two key pieces in Logan Ryan and Tramaine Brock. They don’t have much money to sign a corner, insert Jeff Gladney.

  1.  Green Bay Packers: Denzil Mims – WR – Baylor
Image result for DENZEL MIMS

Davante Adams can’t continue to carry the load for the Packers. Denzil Mims is a big receiver who is excellent on fade routes and we all know how much Aaron Rodgers loves running those types of plays.

*Editor’s Note: Mims and Adams?! HOW MUCH HELP DOES RODGERS NEED?! Great pick for the Pack – VC

  1.  San Francisco 49ers: Neville Gallimore – DL – Oklahoma

Shocking move by the 49ers to ship away DeForest Buckner, but it always comes down to money. Neville Gallimore is certainly a cheaper option than Buckner. 

  1.  Kansas City Chiefs: Cesar Ruiz – Center – Michigan

Andy Reid loves drafting lineman in the first round and the offensive line in Kansas City could use some youth. Ruiz could step in on day 1 and be the starting center.

Grading Every NFL Head Coaching Hire

WASHINGTON Redskins and Ron Rivera

Grade: A

This is a great hire for Washington. I didn’t think the best candidate would go to the worst destination. I was shocked Ron Rivera chose the ‘Skins over other teams such as the Giants or Browns. Maybe the money was too good to pass up and the opportunity to pair Chase Young with Montez Sweat is a dream come true for Rivera. The fans of Washington should be excited. Major props to Daniel Snyder in grabbing the best man for the job. 

Speaking of the owner, he gave plenty of power to Coach Rivera in his “coach-centric” approach and that’s a good decision. Jack Del Rio is a good choice for defensive coordinator, however, Scott Turner as the offensive coordinator may not resolve the ‘Skins’ issues on offense. A new era is coming to Washington and however it goes, Rivera will be very responsible of the outcome, as long as Snyder keeps his nose out of football operations, which I think he finally will.

The biggest question moving forward: is Coach Rivera sold on Dwayne Haskins? I’m not. Rivera will choose his franchise quarterback in year two of his tenure. 

Ultimate outcome: Rivera stays in Washington for at least seven years, changes the culture, wins two division titles, three playoff appearances.

Dallas Cowboys and Mike McCarthy

Grade: D+

On paper, this seems like a great fit for both sides. However, this marriage just feels forced and that is never a good idea.

The press conference was extremely awkward at times, especially hearing Stephen Jones laugh like a hyena. The Cowboys needed someone who wasn’t going to be a “yes man” to Jerry Jones and that’s what Mike McCarthy is, a Jason Garrett clone without the clapping. McCarthy may be better at Xs and Os than Garrett, but only by a little bit. His success in Green Bay was due to having a great quarterback in Aaron Rodgers, who is one of the greatest players of all time.

McCarthy and the Packers missed the playoffs in his last two seasons in Green Bay with a 11-16-1 record. That’s inexcusable with a legend under center. Now all of a sudden McCarthy is going to be a better coach with Dak Prescott as his quarterback? No way. Even with the talent Dallas has on both sides of the ball, the cap will not allow them to keep them together. To be fair, as long as Jerry Jones is leading the football operations, the Cowboys will never win a Super Bowl.

Ultimate outcome: McCarthy resigns after four years on the job. One division title, two playoff appearances, zero playoff wins.

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Carolina Panthers and Matt Rhule

Grade: B

I thought it was a bad decision by Carolina to fire Ron Rivera. His team was playing pretty well with a bad quarterback and it seemed like the team never quit on its coach. However, the Panthers owner wanted to bring in his own guys, which is understandable.

The money Panthers owner David Tepper had to pay to bring Matt Rhule to Carolina is rumored to be close to 80 million dollars when adding together the contract, the incentives, and the buyout. That’s an insane amount of money to invest in a college coach who has one year of experience in the NFL. I applaud Mr. Tepper for taking a chance on a coach who is known for building teams from the ground up. That’s what Matt Rhule did with Temple and Baylor—he knows how to build a football team. 

Nowadays, owners are often impatient of its football brass to build a winning team. It’s going to take a few years to get the Panthers where they want to be, and it starts with finding a new franchise quarterback. Coach Rhule has to move on from Cam Newton and find his own signal caller. Carolina would be foolish to try to revitalize Newton’s career. Bringing in Joe Brady to lead the offense should be interesting, maybe the Panthers will trade up for Joe Burrow? Probably not.

Ultimate outcome: Matt Rhule stays in Carolina for 10+ years, drafts Trevor Lawrence in 2021, wins five division titles, three playoff wins.

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New York Giants and Joe Judge

Grade: C+

The Giants are taking a huge risk in hiring Joe Judge, a guy who has never been a head coach at any level of football. For some reason, this seems like a good hire for the Giants. But then again, Dave Gettleman is still at the helm and controlling the personnel department. As long as Gettleman is in New York, the Giants have no hope. However, Giants fans should be excited about Judge and maybe he can outlast Gettleman. And for goodness sake, they should not hire Jason Garrett as offensive coordinator. Judge should surround himself with coaches who have head coaching experience, but Garrett shouldn’t be the guy.

How about Wade Phillips to lead the defense and allow to continue the role he had when Sean McVay hired him in Los Angeles?  Judge is a no-nonsense type of coach and that’s what the Giants need—”a nice kick in the ass.” The team is 51-77 with one playoff appearance since 2012. Coach Judge comes from the Patriots, a winning organization, and his side of the ball (special teams) has been one of the best in the past eight years. Special teams coaches have to be motivational and after listening to Judge speak at his introductory press conference, he certainly can do that. He’s got the Philadelphia grit, he’s an old school coach, and he’s won multiple championships on the college and pro level as an assistant. This may turn out to be a good hire, it all depends on the development of Daniel Jones. 

Ultimate outcome: Gettleman gets fired after the 2020 season, Judge coaches the Giants for at least four seasons with two playoff appearances. 

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Cleveland Browns and Kevin Stefanski

Grade: B-

Kevin Stefanski doesn’t strike me as a coach, his demeanor and persona is more so of a general manager. However, listening to Coach Stefanski speak, it’s obvious he’s very smart and knowledgeable about the game. The Browns needed a coach who can change the culture, and one who can gain the respect of the players. Stefanski can do both. He was an offensive coordinator for 20 games, which is a concern, but if he’s not calling the plays in Cleveland, it won’t matter how many games he’s been the play caller. In fact, Stefanski said at his press conference he hasn’t decided whether or not he’s going to call the plays, but my guess is he will. It’s going to be his system the Browns will be implementing, Stefanski would be bold to have someone else call the plays. The best part about Stefanski is the amount of head coaches he’s worked for in his 14 years in Minnesota. He’s been in a lot of systems, he’s seen a lot of different offenses, he has experience with different coaching styles, he rose up the ranks on the coaching ladder– he’s a grinder. 

Since officially taking over the Browns seven games into the 2012 season, Haslam has had six head coaches and a 21-75-1 record as team owner. Kevin Stefanski will be the team’s seventh head coach and the last one for a while. The city of Cleveland probably doesn’t have much confidence in its newest coach, but they should be excited. Stefanski will bring stability, discipline, and a scheme that Baker Mayfield will thrive in. 

Nick Chubb should be the happiest player of the bunch, he’s going to be the bellcow and carry the load for this offense. Under Stefanski’s leadership, the Vikings offense in 2019 ranked 4th in the league in rushing attempts, 6th in rushing yards, and 6th in rushing touchdowns. Stefanski loves to run the ball, which will take a lot of pressure off Mayfield. 

The biggest issue moving forward is the offensive line for the Browns. In 2019, the Browns could not protect Baker Mayfield, contributing to his struggles throughout the season. For Coach Stefanski’s scheme to thrive, the Browns front office, who ever gets the GM job, has to sure up the offensive line.

Ultimate outcome: Kevin Stafanski stays in Cleveland for at least five seasons, win two division titles, three total playoff appearances.

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