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Some Thoughts on the First Round of the NFL Draft

| April 26th, 2019


It was just about the most boring evening of television I’ve ever endured. And yes, I endured it on the off-chance Ryan Pace made some ridiculous move back into the first round. Here are some thoughts on what transpired, starting in-division.

  • Packers added Rashan Gary (DL, Michigan) and Darnell Savage (S, Maryland). Like the latter player a lot. Don’t like the former, who comes into his rookie season with major injury concerns. Green Bay has been trying to rebuild their defense for a few years. Have they finally done it? (No.)
  • Vikings drafted a center. Yes, he’s supposedly the best center in the draft but he’s still a center. To quote Andrew Dannehy’s Twitter feed: “Sensible pick, but, again, doesn’t concern me. He’s not gonna block Mack, and they still don’t have anyone who can.”
  • Lions got their tight end. I look forward to T.J. Hockenson being an All-Pro tight end for the Colts in five years.

Tweet of the Night

The Bosa family – father and two sons – are the only such trio to all be drafted in the first round since the Mannings. The Mannings win the tiebreakers for not being open racists on social media.


More Thoughts

  • The biggest story of the night was the breaking news surrounding Tyreek Hill. And I don’t know how any team, after hearing Hill openly discuss abusing his son while threatening his girlfriend, could respond differently than the Chiefs. “Kansas City Chiefs GM Brett Veach announced the team has suspended wide receiver Tyreek Hill from all team activities pending an investigation.” is the first headline. His release is coming next. From a humanity standpoint, this is a good development. From a football standpoint, this is a huge development for the AFC.
  • Lou Riddick, unsurprisingly, had the best take when it came to the Raiders taking Clelin Ferrell to the Raiders at four: “If he’s productive, nobody will care where he was taken.” The rookie wage scale has changed everything…except the commentary surrounding the NFL Draft.

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63 Comments

Draft Prospect: Justice Hill, RB, Oklahoma State

| April 25th, 2019

Watch college football. See guys I like. Put them in my notes app on the phone. Tell you about them 6-8 months later. There’s a reason we don’t charge you to read this site, folks!


Video


Analysis

From Lance Zierlein at NFL.com:

Overview

Hill is an undersized but excitable runner with a go-go tempo that can work for and against him on any given series. He runs tough along the interior and has the vision and agility to slip tackles, but his lack of size and explosive top-end play speed could work against him. Hill might not have the skills needed to handle third-down duties, so he could be pigeon-holed as a try-hard backup with average upside.

Strengths
  • Consistent play and production in all three seasons
  • Feet have good life and runs with a wide base
  • Willing to keep runs play-side in search of daylight
  • Limber hips to balance and recover against contact
  • Fast decision-maker on the move
  • Able to slam on brakes for sudden cuts from a full sprint
  • Shifty in the open field
  • Tight, rapid spin move to rid himself of a tackle
  • Runs like his hair is on fire and fights hard against the tackle
  • Has access to sharp, lateral cuts to bounce the run wide
  • Outstanding ball security with just five career fumbles

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Draft Prospect: Gary Johnson, LB/SS, Texas

| April 24th, 2019

I watch college football. Sometimes I see a guy who makes me go, “Oh he’s interesting.” I make a note in my phone. I share those fellas with you. Make sense?


Video


Analysis

From Lance Zierlein at NFL.com:

Overview

Active inside linebacker with plenty of passion and aggression but a fundamental lack of NFL-caliber movement skills in space. Johnson is capable of handling downhill duties between the tackles but could struggle to match up with today’s space-oriented offensive attacks.

Strengths
  • Active, high-energy player and vocal leader
  • Aggressive demeanor is always on display
  • Key reader with quick response to guard movement
  • Patient to sift through moving bodies and find running back on the other side of it
  • Squares pads downhill to squeeze his run fits
  • Downhill mindset and takes shots in gaps to try and make a play
  • Solid tackle-for-loss total in high-flying conference
  • Core special teams member despite being full-time starter
Weaknesses
  • Marginal athlete with segmented, heavy movements in space
  • Short-strider lacking desired sideline-to-sideline range
  • Struggles to access desired lateral burst in his flow to the ball
  • Allows climbing guards to get into him first
  • Inconsistent playing off of blocks
  • Comes in hot and lacking body control as an open-field tackler
  • Could struggle to cover if matched up in space

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113 Comments

Zimmerman Podcast: Draft Analyst E.J. Snyder [AUDIO]

| April 19th, 2019


Highlights:
  • The schedule is out. Bill and E.J. discuss key games, oddities about the schedule and the misnomer of having a hard schedule based on last year’s strength of schedule and how little that really means.
  • Snyder, draft analyst from Windy City Gridiron, breaks down the running back prospects in detail, plus some key prospects to look out for at safety, corner, edge and tight end.
  • Bill and E.J. breakdown draft strategy – should Ryan Pace look to trade up or trade down? Should he take a running back at 87 regardless?
  • A full discussion on how to approach the kicker position.

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Thoughts on the 2019 Chicago Bears Schedule

| April 18th, 2019

Commenting on difficulty level of a particular season’s schedule is silly. If the Bears are the team many expect – a team contending for the title – nobody on their schedule should frighten them, in any building. The Bears are good. Good teams beat other good teams.

But here are my thoughts on how the schedule shook out.

(The schedule is in the post directly above this one. See it? It’s right there!)


  • In the Evening Hours. Those of us who love the early Sunday game knew this schedule was going to break the wrong way. The NFL has been hungry for a good Bears team for years and they’re going to put them in front of a national audience every single chance they get.
  • The First Five. The Bears will be home to the Packers and Vikings, at the Broncos and Redskins and playing the Raiders in London. The natural reaction to this stretch is “the Bears should be no worse than 4-1 to start the year”. But more to the point, the Bears won’t be underdogs in any of these games (barring something bad happening this summer). It’s not a difficult start.
  • Bye Before Saints. If the Bears want to be in the Super Bowl next season, the Saints will certainly be in their way. Well, the Saints are on their schedule and the Bears will have two weeks to prepare for them. If the Bears don’t knock New Orleans off under these circumstances, and at home, they can’t expect to have the NFC playoffs come through Soldier Field.
  • The Middle Bit. Chargers, Eagles, Lions, Rams Giants. Five decent teams. Three at home. These are the kinds of games that determine a season. Bears played coin flips games with New York, Philly and Detroit last year. Easy to see a few of these games coming down to a play or two.
  • The Final Five. Tough, on paper. Lions are always good on Thanksgiving and realistically should have beaten the Bears in that spot in 2018. At Packers and Vikings are rarely a cake walk. And we’ll see what the Chiefs and Cowboys are in 2019, let alone what they are in the cold, primetime, Chicago air.

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125 Comments

Draft Prospect: Zach Allen, DE, Boston College

| April 12th, 2019

For those of you who are new here, here’s how I handle the NFL Draft. I watch a bunch of college football and when players stand out to me, I put their name in the Notes app on my phone. I don’t do any research on them. Just put their names in there. Then, around now, I see if they’re actually in the draft and find out what professional scout-types think.


Video


Analysis

From Lance Zierlein at NFL.com:

Hard-charging defensive end who calls on initial quickness, play strength and outstanding instincts to counter his lack of length and athleticism. Allen’s toughness and ability to diagnose quickly could allow him to play early as a run defender, but limitations as a rusher could push him inside on passing downs. He has average starter’s potential and could be in consideration by odd or even fronts at defensive end.
Strengths
  • Relentless effort from snap to whistle
  • High football IQ with instant play diagnosis
  • Usually first off snap with good initial burst
  • Disruptive penetrator in the B-gap
  • Double digit tackles for loss in three straight seasons
  • NFL-ready play strength to handle himself at point of attack
  • Eyes work around blockers and stay peeled on backfield
  • Hands and upper-body power to stack-shed
  • Forward lean for momentum into bull rush
  • Hard press to outside edge before making inside charge
  • Base strength to power through redirect blocks
  • Attentive in looking to challenge throwing lane with 19 batted passes over three years
  • Experienced as a reduced rusher

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64 Comments

Draft Prospect: Saquon Hampton, CB, Rutgers

| April 11th, 2019

For those of you who are new here, here’s how I handle the NFL Draft. I watch a bunch of college football and when players stand out to me, I put their name in the Notes app on my phone. I don’t do any research on them. Just put their names in there. Then, around now, I see if they’re actually in the draft and find out what professional scout-types think.


Video


Analysis

Safety prospect with good size whose college versatility could get whittled down to a more specific role. Hampton might not have the agility and coverage twitch to handle man coverage in the slot, and his run support is too passive when he’s backed way off the line. His run support is more instinctive and effective as a down safety and he should be able to handle man coverage on big tight ends. He will need to crank up the aggression level and consistently play to his size to make it as a backup in the league.
Strengths
  • Team captain, team leader
  • Possesses NFL size with a frame to add more
  • Offers big nickel and dime linebacker options
  • Above-average ball-tracker
  • Decent trigger to plant and drive from off-man or a pedal
  • Looks to attack ball side of the target and impact catch or take it away
  • Physical enough to jar the catch loose at impact
  • Operates with good feel for pursuit angles from box safety
  • Searches for ball-stripping opportunities
  • Consistent career roles in kick- and punt-cover teams

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