Tag Archives: Ravens

NFL First 32 Mock Draft 2.0 – Chargers trade up, Kinlaw falls, Vikings replace Diggs, trades, and more

We’re almost there, folks. The 2020 NFL Draft is this week and we have surely seen our fair share of mock drafts. We released a previous mock draft by analyst Gianfranco Illiano and you can check that out here:

While preparing this NFL Mock Draft, I tried to avoid a lot of trades because it usually takes away from one of my favorite purposes of a first round mock draft, identifying team needs and best players. I enjoy trades with multiple trades, however, because it’s pure chaos.

There’s just so many questions with the NFL Draft this year. Not even counting the fact this is the first virtual draft in NFL history, this draft is uncrackable. I believe I saw a report that a GM said most mock drafts were completely wrong. I’m fairly confident in mine.

1. Cincinnati Bengals – LSU QB Joe Burrow

The 2019 Heisman winner and National Champion brings his superstardom to Cincy to help save the Bengals.

2. Washington Redskins – Ohio State DE Chase Young

Young is a generational talent going to a Washington squad that needs an influx of talent.

3. Chargers (via Lions) – Alabama QB Tua Tagliova

Tua has had just about the most up and down college career ever for a highly touted QB prospect. He’ll be expected to replace long time starter Phillip Rivers.

4. Miami Dolphins (via Giants) – Oregon QB Justin Herbert

The gunslinger from Oregon gets to go save Miami’s offense.

5. Giants (via Dolphins) – Iowa OT Tristan Wirfs

Offensive line has been a problem for the Giants for years now. And with a second year Daniel Jones at QB, it’s a good time to start protecting the pocket.

6. Lions (via Chargers) – Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah

Okudah is the best CB in the draft going to the worst secondary in the NFL.

7. Panthers – Clemons LB Isaiah Simmons

Simmons is just a human highlight tape. He doesn’t even have a position because he plays everything. Panthers have to somehow try and replace the playmaking abilities of recently retired LB Luke Keuchly.

8. Cardinals – Oklahoma WR CeeDee Lamb

Kyler Murray gets his wish to pair up with former college teammate CeeDee Lamb. Coach Kliff will certainly be pleased.

9. Jaguars – Florida CB CJ Henderson

The Jaguars need help at a lot of positions in the Front office. But they also need help at cornerback. Henderson adds to the first round talent at CB in this draft.

10. Browns – Louisville OT Mekhi Becton

Becton has the best name in the draft. And he was also the best tackle in the ACC last season. Baker needs protection. This should work.

11. Jets – Georgia OT Andrew Thomas

Tackles continue to fall. And notice the young QB trend. Jets QB Sam Darnold got beat up last season by DL’s and desperately needs help up front.

12. Raiders – Alabama WR Henry Ruggs

Who even knows who’s the best WR on that Alabama roster last season? They’re all good. Ruggs has tremendous feet and great hands. Good pick for the Raiders to help Carr/Mariota. Also, Las Vegas desperately needs stars and Ruggs has tons of star potential.

13. 49ers – LSU EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson

Chaisson is one of my favorite players in the draft. He is quick but tough as nails. I’m excited to see how he can help the 49ers replace DeForest Buckner.

14. Buccaneers – Alabama OT Jedrick Wills

Brady gets some added protection.

15. Broncos – Oklahoma LB Kenneth Murray

Murray is the best LB in the draft. The Broncos shouldn’t even blink with this pick.

16. Falcons – Auburn DT Derrick Brown

Brown is a unit. He also has NFL quickness. Should be fun to watch him develop in Atlanta.

17. Cowboys – Clemson CB A.J Terrell

Jerry Jones replaces Byron Jones with a far cheaper option.

18. Dolphins – Alabama EDGE Terrell Lewis

Lewis is a prototypical Alabama EDGE defender. I love this pick for the Dolphins who need upgrades on defense.

19. Eagles (via Raiders) – Alabama WR Jerry Jeudy

Jeudy provides speed and fine route running to an Eagles offense that desperately needs more of it.

20. Jaguars – Penn State EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos

Matos was really solid for Penn State all season. And with the Jag’s possibly trading Yannick Ngakoue, this is a no brainer.

21. Raiders (via Eagles) – Utah CB Jaylon Johnson

Johnson is such a solid CB. I know the Raiders will excited at his potential.

22. Vikings (via Bills) – LSU WR Justin Jefferson

Jefferson is a great receiver to put next to Adam Thielen. Give Kirk Cousins more weapons and see what happens.

23. Patriots – Wisconsin LB Zack Baun

Baun is a bull and the Patriots defense could be looking to add some youth.

24. Saints – Utah QB Jordan Love

Love might be an option to replace QB Drew Brees in a few years.

25. Vikings – TCU CB Jeff Gladney

Gladney will hopefully fill the shoes of CB Xavier Rhodes, who was released this offseason.

26. Dolphins (via Texans) – Baylor WR Denzel Mims

Mims has continued to shoot up draft boards since his impressive performance at the NFL Draft Combine. The Dolphins will look to add around Herbert.

27. Seahawks – South Carolina DT Javon Kinlaw

I value Kinlaw much higher than this. But the Seahawks get a huge talent at DT if this happens.

28. Ravens – LSU LB Patrick Queen

Ravens added Derrick Wolfe and franchise tagged Matthew Judon, so I expect the Ravens to add to the defense even more and bring on Queen.

29. Titans – LSU CB Kristian Fulton

One of the many bright spots of LSU’s 2019 Championship team, Fulton gets added to an already elite Titans defense.

30. Packers – Arizona State WR Brandon Aiyuk

The loaded WR class continues to show in the first round.

31. 49ers – TCU DT Ross Blacklock

The 49ers will look to add to their already elite front seven.

32. Chiefs – Michigan C Cesar Ruiz

Ruiz is the best interior OL in the draft and Chiefs C Austin Reiter is 28 years old.

All-22: Titans Defense shut down Lamar Jackson – Analysis, Next-Gen, and More

The Tennessee Titans shocked the world last weekend when they went to Baltimore and dominated the Ravens, 28-12.

The talk all season was about Lamar Jackson. He’s the MVP of the league, he’s the first QB ever with 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 yards rushing, and he’s changing the game alongside Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman.

On Saturday night, this was not the case. The Titans forced Jackson to run laterally, forcing him to not be able to use his deadly north and south speed. And that’s why the Titans won. They stopped Jackson, and the Ravens did not know how to respond.

Jackson finished with a 62.7 PFF grade on Saturday night. He threw for 2 INT’s on 59 attempts(!). All regular season, Jackson averaged a 91.1 grading from Pro Football Focus.

Lets take a look at the first drive that ended in a Lamar Jackson interception.

Mark Ingram struggles to find room
Gus Edwards gets shut down
The Ravens were forced to throw the ball down the field due to the Titans steady 4-3 rush defense. A safety in the box allows the Titans to slow Lamar down.

The Ravens WR’s and TE’s struggled with drops all night. On this play, the intended target Mark Andrews, who happens to be Lamar’s favorite target, dropped a catchable ball and it turned into a first quarter interception.

More action:

Lamar Jackson rolls out and fires a ball into a tight window. Incomplete. The Titans were still able to get pressure even when rushing 4.
Lamar Jackson gets flushed out quickly and has to try and get back to the line of scrimmage. Number 54 Rashaan Evans was in charge of containing Jackson all night.
The Titans bring a delayed blitz that forces Jackson to rush a crucial 3rd down throw. The Titans did not blitz all game but did it on big downs. It was an important reason on why they stopped the run.
Jackson keeps it on the read option and gets nowhere. The Titans clearly wanted to keep Jackson behind the line of scrimmage all game long.

These are just a few examples of the domination the Titans displayed on Saturday night. They will face the Chiefs in Kansas City for the AFC Championship.

If you haven’t yet, take a look at my analysis of the coaching changes around the NFL –

Read: https://thefinalcount.blog/2020/01/09/nfl-coaching-carousel-update-analysis/

5 Things We Learned on NFL Sunday – Week 13

1. The Eagles are a bad football team

Carson Wentz missed throws, the Eagles defense gave up big plays, and the Eagles lost to the Dolphins. Just when I thought the Seattle loss was rock bottom they managed to look worse. The offense was able to move the ball, but they still had numerous moments that left you scratching your head. Nelson Agholor looked better than he has but that isn’t saying much. Zach Ertz dropped a key TD pass late in the game. Also, can the Jim Schwartz era in Philly be over yet? Every other game for the last 2 seasons, the Defense gives up 30 or more points. It’s absurd he still has a job.

Somehow, the Eagles are still in a playoff spot. If they win out, they would make the playoffs. Do I think that happens? Absolutely not. This is one of the worst Eagles teams in recent memory. And I’m in full on panic mode about 90% of the team. At least they won a Super Bowl two years ago… right?

2. Derek Carr is not the answer at QB for the Raiders

We’ve seen enough. Derek Carr should be benched in week 14. After getting blown out by the Jets a week ago, you thought, well everyone has bad games. But getting blown out by an average Kansas City defense is rock bottom. There is obvious holes in their offense, and no way is it all Derek Carr’s fault, but we need to see more out of him to prove that he’s the guy in Oakland.

I also don’t think Gruden likes Carr. Just judging from a play calling standpoint, he doesn’t trust him and it often makes their offense vanilla. At this point in the season, the Raiders are not in a playoff spot at 6-6. If they want to get into a playoff spot, Derek Carr needs to prove he’s the man in Oakland and have a stellar end of the year.

3. The Titans are for real

Ryan Tannehill. If you told me he’d be a good starting QB in 2019, I would laugh in your face. The Titans were so impressive yesterday. All three phases, offense, defense, and special teams showed up. And don’t look now, but the Titans are still alive in the divisional playoff race. The Colts are slowly fading away and the Texans are within reach. The Titans next 4 games? The Raiders in Oakland, Texans in Tennessee, Saints in Tennessee, and then the Texans again in Texas. That’s as tough as it gets, but if they can win 3 of those games, they will be in a great position to make the playoffs.

And I have to mention how good Derrick Henry is. He wasn’t anywhere near my top 5 RB’s list before the season started, and now I’m struggling to find 1 RB that’s better than him. In his last three games, he’s ran for 496 yards and 5 TD’s. It’s time we mention him for MVP.

4. The Browns won’t make the playoffs

It’s a weird feeling being disappointed in the Browns. I’m usually just laughing at how bad they are, and now all of a sudden it’s surprising. They have a ton of talent, top to bottom, and they just haven’t played well. Baker Mayfield has been BAD, to say the least. OBJ has not performed remotely close to his standards. Freddie Kitchens might be the worst of everyone. He isn’t a good coach. I fully expect him to be fired at the end of the season. He’s clearly not able to get the best out of his guys, and it only took half a season to prove it.

What’s next for the Browns? Well like I said above, gotta get rid of Kitchens ASAP and start a new head coach search. Find a coach that can get the best out of your All-Pro receiver. They also need to find out if Baker is the guy going forward past next year, because he hasn’t proved it this year.

5. The Ravens and 49ers are the best teams in football

I get it. The Patriots will still somehow win the Super Bowl. But lets talk about how good these two teams are. Lamar Jackson hasn’t had a bad game all season, and neither has Jimmy G. Both defenses are full of a ton of talent, from the secondary to the D-line. Matthew Judon, the Ravens LB, has been everywhere on the field this season. Nick Bosa, the 49ers stud rookie DE, might win Defensive MVP.

It’s so impressive how the Ravens continue to look like the better team in every game they play. We have seen good teams win games where they weren’t necessarily dominate, but I feel like the Ravens have dominated every single game they’ve won. They have depth on both sides of the ball, and John Harbaugh has been the Coach of the year this season. I am excited to see how they are playing come playoff time.

Two Path’s, One Journey: The Lamar Jackson-Teddy Bridgewater story

Asked by Courier Journal for his thoughts on Lamar Jackson, the Heisman Trophy-winning Louisville quarterback who was picked 32nd in the NFL draft on Thursday night, Bridgewater just said, “Oh, man.” (Courier Journal)

If you’ve watched football in 2019, you’ve seen the rise of former Heisman winner Lamar Jackson, and the daunting comeback of a former Heisman finalist, Teddy Bridgewater. Separated by 5 years, the paths these two have taken are certainly unparalleled but the journey is the same.

Let’s start at the beginning to get a sense of how we ended up here. Lamar Jackson and Teddy Bridgewater are both from South Florida. Jackson attended Boynton Beach High School in Boynton Beach, Florida, while Bridgewater attended Miami Northwestern High School. Both schools are separated by just a one hour drive.

Both players attended Louisville, Bridgewater coached by Charlie Strong and Jackson coached by Petrino. Teddy always had success in college, never having a losing season when he started, including a 12-1 season in 2013 where Louisville defeated Miami (FL) in the Russell Athletic Bowl. Teddy was an absolute stud in college. He was a field general and never looked fazed by the moment. Seeing Louisville perform the way they were was often strange, after seeing Rutgers dominate the Big East for years. Teddy finished his college career with 9,817 yards and 72 TD’s in just 3 years. After he left Louisville, he was drafted in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft by the Minnesota Vikings.

Lamar Jackson had the opposite of winning ways in his time at Louisville, but that didn’t stop him from being a force to be reckon with. He won the Heisman, Maxwell, and Walter Camp Award (2016), as well as the AP and Sporting News player of the year in the same year. To say he was a stud in college was an understatement. He finished his college career with 9,043 yard’s and 69 TD’s. So with all the playmaking and insane TD throws, why was he so undervalued in the draft? He was passed by 31 different teams in the 2018 NFL draft before being drafted 32nd overall by the Baltimore Ravens. This is where the story gets interesting.

Image result for lamar jackson louisville 2013

Let’s rewind 2 years – Teddy Bridgwater suffered a possible career ending injury in a practice session with the Vikings in August of 2016. His time with the Vikings would be over, and his career as an NFL quarterback would be in jeopardy. The scenes that day were like no other. No videos, no pictures, just disgusted players that have never seen anything like it in their life. He just went down, without being touched, and now his career was hanging in the balance. Later that week, Teddy Bridgewater released a statement that resonated with NFL fans.

I want to thank the Wilf Family and the entire Vikings organization, all of my teammates, friends, Eric Sugarman and the amazing Vikings athletic training staff and the fans who have sent me messages and wished me well. Your thoughts and prayers mean a lot to me and have helped me in this difficult time. There are great players and great leaders in our locker room who are going to fight to the end to reach the goals we set for 2016. I will be there mentally, physically and in spirit to support them accomplish those goals.

In order to have a testimony, you have to have a test. I come from amazing DNA, I watched my mom fight and win against breast cancer. We will, as a team, attack my rehab with the same vigor and energy. My faith is strong, my faith is unwavering and my vision is clear. My purpose will not be denied.” (USA Today)

Image result for teddy bridgewater sad

What incredible strength displayed by a guy who possibly just lost it all. When I saw this, I knew that he would be back, and he wouldn’t let an injury determine his career.

Now back to present time, just two years later, a kid from the same college he went to would explode onto the scene.

Lamar Jackson had a surprising rookie year. After being undervalued in the NFL draft, with “expert analysts,” including Bill Polian, telling Jackson he should play WR, which turns out to be horribly wrong. Jackson finished his 2018 Rookie year with a bang, after replacing Joe Flacco, throwing for 1201 yards and 6 TD’s in just 7 games. It wasn’t Lamar’s throwing ability that sold him to executives around the league, it was his leadership on the field as a rookie, similar to what we saw with Bridgwater during his time with the Vikings. It was so impressive to watch him control the huddle as a rookie QB, and I only wanted to see him start a full season.

Image result for lamar jackson 2018

Bridgewater, now a backup QB with the Saints, replacing an injured Drew Brees, was absolutely stellar. He wasn’t flashy and sometimes even looked rusty, but he was displaying the qualities that made him so highly valued as a member of the Vikings before he was injured. He led the team to a 6-1 record in his time as the Saints starter from week 2-8 and is now valued as someone who will get paid next offseason.

I am convinced the Football God’s were looking down on Teddy Bridgewater this season. While injuries are never wanted, I think the time that Teddy was given as a QB during Brees’ rehab showed the world why he was once a first round pick. The fortitude and drive needed to come back from ACL tears is like no other, and Teddy is an example to never give up on players until they simply can not play anymore.

Image result for teddy bridgewater lamar jackson

2019 Lamar Jackson might just be my favorite player ever. Jackson and the Ravens offense have simply beat teams up, including the Patriots, Texans, and Seahawks. To put his amazing start to the 2019 season in simple terms, he is the favorite for MVP of the league through week 11, he isn’t even top 20 in the NFL in passing yards, and he is only 8th in passing TD’s with 19. What makes Lamar Jackson special can’t be measured by statistics. His athleticism and pure will to be great sets him apart most QB’s in the NFL this season. I would even go as far as saying he has been the best quarterback in the NFL this season.

Another impressive thing about his season is how the Ravens front office has supported him and built the offense around him. Where Lamar goes, this offense goes. The whole scheme, in my opinion, is formulated to help with what Lamar does best, throwing on the run, escaping the pocket, and finding ways to pick up yards with his feet. It’s not often the best pure runner in the league is also the best QB in the league. Thats the Lamar Jackson difference.

It’s safe to say, 2019 won’t be the last time we hear about both of these guys, Teddy will be determined to find his way onto a team as a starting QB next season, and Lamar will only continue to grow. The paths these players have taken is incredible. From being a first round pick with all the glory, to suffering a season ending injury, Teddy has shown his grace under fire, and his will to succeed. After being skipped by 31 NFL teams, Lamar Jackson is now proving the GM’s of those teams wrong and performing like the man that won the Heisman in 2016. The journey’s NFL QB’s take is always unprecedented, with a defining moment in almost every Hall of Fame or un-drafted free agent QB’s career. It is safe to say we might have seen both Teddy’s and Lamar’s defining moments, albeit with two different paths to greatness. I can not wait to see how both of these players continue to succeed in the National Football League.

Image result for teddy bridgewater lamar jackson

Beat the Spread: NFL Week 12

27-23 Record this season (started NFL week 6)

Last week I decided against posting my picks for college football and it backfired. I went 6-0. If you follow me on twitter you saw them and I hope you put them in with your bookie. NFL picks were great too. 6-3. So, as we approach this coming week of football, I will post my NFL picks on here and you can check my college football picks on twitter Saturday morning. Let’s go.

Pick: Falcons -4.5 (vs. Buccaneers)

Falcons have won their last 5 against the Buccaneers. Falcons players have clearly rallied for Dan Quinn and have been very impressive the last 2 weeks. I’m taking them off of my forbidden bets list and picking them Sunday. I LOVE THIS GAME.

Pick: Browns -10.5 (vs. Dolphins)

Browns need two wins in a row to stay in the playoff picture in the AFC. If they had 5 losses instead of 6 I’d feel much more confident in their season, but I’m fully confident they’ll get it done this weekend.

Pick: Seahawks +1.5 (@ Eagles)

Even as an Eagles fan, I have no confidence in the Eagles. No offense, no leadership, the team is now a joke. Love the Seahawks to win this game.

Pick: Saints -9.5 (vs. Panthers)

Kyle Allen stinks. I’m off of the bandwagon that I was never really on. Saints by a million.

Pick: Raiders -3 (@ Jets)

Don’t be fooled by the Jets win last week. They will get crushed by the Raiders. This is so easy.

Pick: Broncos +4 (vs. Bills)

I am in love with betting on the 2019 Denver Broncos. They aren’t even good but they are always competing with better teams, and covering. LOAD ALERT LOAD ALERT LOAD ALERT.

Pick: Lions -3.5 (@ Redskins)

Two awful teams, which one is more awful? The Redskins. Dumpster fire franchise. In fact, the Redskins have been so bad I generally don’t remember the last time I saw someone talk about how bad the Dolphins are.

Pick: Patriots -6.5 (vs. Cowboys)

The Patriots offense hasn’t been good but the Cowboys suck outside of the NFC East in recent years, and it will show this weekend. Love the Pats. Also: Is the Patriots’ best deep threat Julian Edelman? Yikes.

Pick: Packers +3 (@ 49ers)

Aaron Rodgers. I am totally on the bandwagon and I hate myself for joining it. He’s my dark horse MVP.

Pick: Ravens -3 (@ Rams)

What a game this is. Betting aside, this is a win or go home game for the Rams. They desperately need to win out to have a shot in the competitive NFC. Don’t think they have the offense to keep up with the Ravens. Weird what a difference a year makes.

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