Preseason Overreactions and Underreactions

The worst week of preseason games is in the books.  We will be looking at some reactions from the blog and see what weight they carry.   Homer and hater alike let’s dig into some theories.

Denver Broncos:

Overreaction: Chad Kelly Flashes Greatness

Did Kelly look good?  I’ll say maybe.  He looked better by contrast.  At a position where confidence is as important as it is to a professional golder, Kelly flashed plenty of it. His arm has some pop in it and he showed decent mobility.

But his first TD pass was on a blown coverage. His second TD pass was better but he was helped by an athletic Lindsay finding the end zone.  His stat line was 14/21 with 2 TDs and an INT (and almost threw a second INT), against 3rd stringers.  By comparison Trevor Siemian was 11/17 with 2 TDs and an INT. Both are 7th rd draft picks and both threw their first TD on a badly blown coverage.

Underreaction:  Paxton Lynch should be 3rd string

This guy needs to be off the team and out of the league.  Rumors are swirling that Paxton thinks he’s already made this team and isn’t working to get better. He’s a detriment to WRs and RBs trying to make this team. As of right now he’s 3rd string, but he needs to be gone.

Oakland Raiders

Overreaction: PJ Hall will have great career with Oakland

Yes PJ Hall had a sack on his first play in the game.  Hooray for PJ.  But he also played in a third of all the defensive plays in this game.  PJ Hall’s stat line at the end of the game?  1 sack.

I understand the position he plays and I understand the lack of stats.  But let’s pump the breaks a little and see how things play out.  We can also add Mo Hurst to this.  He had a 0 stat line.

These guys could both turn out to be dynamic, but seeing all the articles about how great the start was to their careers has been, I’d expect more than one sack between two stat lines.

Underreaction:  Chris Warren looked good

Yes the former Texas RB did look good.  But there’s more to it.   For a big man the guy can move, he flashes a punishing running style that not many backs can actually maintain at this level.  He could make the muscle hamster irrelevant, and a one-two punch of Lynch and Warren could really wear down defenses, giving Carr a little more breathing room.

LA Chargers

Overreaction:  Trade Cardale Jones and Geno Smith

While neither guy really played well and neither guy actually fits the scheme that the Chargers run, its a little early for this. Geno is set to be a career backup at this point in his career and will probably end up with the #2 job, Cardale Jones has only played in one game as a pro with a terrible Buffalo team.  Give him some time to develop. Let him get some chemistry.

I’m not guaranteeing either guy is going to become “the guy” or become “the future” but with iron man Rivers still starting your backup QB won’t matter much.  Let the chips fall and worst case scenario pick up a guy who becomes a camp casualty.

Underreaction: Four turnovers

The Chargers turned the ball over 4 times this week.  Now I’m not saying the # of turnovers is a big deal. I’m saying the turnovers looked like they came because this team wasn’t ready to play. It looked sloppy. Hopefully with all the ones in the sloppiness ends.

Kansas City Chiefs

Overreaction: Mahomes is a checkdown Charlie

The Mahomes stat line wasn’t impressive.  And yes it was full of check downs and dumps to the flat.  But Mahomes flashed some pocket presence by feeling pressure and getting the ball somewhere safe for a positive play.  At this point in time, showing he can be safe with the ball after his training camp INTs is not a bad thing.

I think we all know he will be able to air the ball out. It will be his decision making that is the real issue this year. As long as he continues to push down the field and scores some points this preseason they should be fine.

Underreaction: Depleted secondary played well

Outside of penalties from David Amerson, the Chiefs secondary without both starting safeties played well against Houston’s depth.  While I understand it was Weeden and Webb, it should be encoraging to know that this unit can play.

AFC West Training Camp Questions

Without asking the obvious, let’s look at 3 questions heading into each team’s training camp.

Los Angeles Chargers

Obvious Question – Should this team really be considered the class of the AFCW?

  1. Can the defense repeat and even build upon their successes of 2017? It sure looks like they have all the pieces in place to be one of the best defenses in the AFC. If there is a weakness, it may be in the middle of the front 7. With the ability to line up one on in on the outside, they can get creative in providing support for the middle.
  2. Will they be able to stay as healthy as they were able to in 2017? This team is usually bitten by the injury bug more often than they were in 2017. This may be worth keeping an eye on heading into training camp.
  3. How will the offensive line come together? Forrest Lamp should be ready to go in year 2, Dan Feeney has a solid rookie season, Mike Pouncey was signed in Free Agency. The pieces seem to be there, but the question will be is how they all come together.

Kansas City Chiefs

Obvious Question – Patrick Mahomes.

  1. Will the revamped defense turn things around? The Chiefs defense was bipolar last year. Rather than replacing their defensive coordinator, the Chiefs decided to part ways with players like Marcus Peters and Derrick Johnson. Not the route I would have gone, but we’ll see if it pays off.
  2. Can the offense live up to the lofty expectations? There is a ton of hype surrounding the Chiefs offense heading into the season, as many expect them to be one of the best in the league despite the unproven QB.
  3. Can Kareem Hunt repeat his extraordinary rookie season? He has all the tools to be able to be once of the best backs in the league, but it will be tough to replicate what he did in 2017. With Spencer Ware back, maybe he won’t have to.

Denver Broncos

Obvious Question – Case Keenum.

  1. Is the secondary ready to handle the loss of Aqib Talib? The Broncos have an immediate replacement at the #1 CB position in Bradley Roby, the question will be if the rest of the group is ready to step in and provide he and Chris Harris Jr the necessary support to do what Denver has done so well the last few seasons with Talib in the mix.
  2. Who starts on the offensive line, and where? The coaching staff has their work cut out for them putting the best unit together. I think you will see a myriad of combinations running in 1st/2nd team throughout training camp.
  3. Are there enough weapons to help ease the pressure for Case Keenum? Despite putting up gawdy career numbers, Demaryius Thomas just doesn’t seem like a trustworthy receiver to help alleviate that pressure. Denver drafted Courtland Sutton and Desean Hamilton, but questions still linger at the TE and RB positions.

Las Vegas Raiders by way of Oakland

Obvious Question – Jon Gruden

  1. Will Derek Carr bounce back into form? Carr was miserable in 2017. Sure, a lot of that can be attributed to those around him, but Carr still shoulders plenty of responsibility as well. Regaining his health, and hopefully a significant improvement schematically are great starts.
  2. Is Paul Guenther capable of putting a respectable defense together? Oakland added a lot of guys this offseason on that side of the ball. It sure seems like Guenther has a few more pieces in the secondary that the previous defensive coordinator didn’t have, but with the sheer amount of new faces, Guenther has his work cut out for him.
  3. How will Tom Cable and this offensive line co-exist? I still don’t know what the idea is up front, but on paper we have a predominantly zone scheme OL coach coaching up one of the heaviest offensive lines in the league. Not typically how you’d draw this up, and when Todd Downing tried running zone last year, it failed miserably.

Football Is Back!!

Offseason Review: 3-Time SB Champion Denver Broncos

What a great offseason it has been for the Denver Fucking Broncos (I hereby demand that we refer to them as DFB from this point on). If you don’t agree with this bullet-proof statement, then you are a hater and overall bad person.

The 2018 NFL draft was an unquestioned success for DFB. Elway really is the best at what he does. It’s amazing.

1st: Bradley Chubb (3-4 OLB or 4-3 DE, whatever). Best pick in the draft.

2nd: Courtland Sutton (WR). This lanky MFer is the 2nd best pick in the draft

3rd: Royce Freeman (RB from a dubious school). The best RB prospect in decades was the 3rd best pick in the draft.

3rd: Isaac Yiadom (CB). The BC product is the first Hasidic Jew to play in the NFL, and was the 4th best pick in this draft.

4th: Josey Jewell (LB). Shitty school, but this grinder, gym rat was the 5th best pick in the draft.

If you don’t get the reference, FO

4th: DaeSean Hamilton (WR). #1 feel good story in the NFL draft that has both hands, and he’s also the 6th best pick in the draft.

I don’t feel like listing out the rest of the picks. I can sense the jealousy already building in the rest of the AFCW fans.

Free Agency:

CK4. ‘Nuff said.

This pass went for a TD.

Offseason Review: Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs offseason has been one of change. Hopefully this change is for the better and I think it will be. Gone are some of the old Vet’s, gone is Dorsey, gone is the ever-debated Alex Smith and this new era will start with Patrick Mahomes, Andy Reid and Brett Veach.

This coming year is a transition year and a risk for a regression.  I would not outright predict a regression or call this a rebuild but there are enough unknowns that the Chiefs could be in for a dip in the win column.

I’m not going to go into a deep analysis of each pick for two reasons. First is I don’t follow college football. The second is even the experts are guessing.  What I will do is provide a high-level review of the offseason, what I think the Chiefs are doing, why they are doing it and how it will affect the 2018 season.

Veach saw the playoff games the last two years.  There were two main problems.  First was the inability to stop the run.  The second was the offense sputtering out once a key player like Kelce was out of the game. Pass rush or lack thereof was also an issue.  So, what does Veach do?

Draft – All defensive players: (except for Reggie’s little boy – converting to an OG)

Round 2: Breeland Speaks: Pass rusher, will play inside and out upfront, rotational starter

Round 3: Derrick Nnadi:  Run stuffing NT, rotational starter

Round 3: Dorian O’Daniel: 3rd Safety/Coverage LB on passing downs, cover TE’s ect.

Round 4: Armani Watts: Rotational player with a shot to start

Round 6: Tremon Smith: Athletic small school CB, who could start day one or get cut or anything in between (unknown)

Round 6: Kahlil McKenzie: DL that will make a move to OL, developmental project

Offseason Moves:

Free Agents: Sammy Watkins, Anthony Hitchens, Xavier Williams, Chad Henne, Matt McGloin, David Amerson, Damien Williams and Kerwynn Williams:

Watkins provides another offensive weapon with a knack for getting open. Hitchens and Williams should both be an upgrade over old man DJ and Bennie Logan who had a terrible year.  Amerson will likely be fighting for playing time and looking to recapture his early success.  The RBs are probably competing for the 3rd down receiving back role.

Cut/signed elsewhere:  Revis, DJ, Hali, Parker, A Wilson, R Wilson, Gaines, Acker, Fulton, Mitchell, Logan

Re-signed: Colquitt, Sherman, DAT, Jenkins, Smith, Devey

Traded: Peters & Alex Smith + 6th rounder for Kendall Fuller, 3rd round pick, 4th round pick and a 2019 second round pick.

Back from IR: Berry, Ford, Morse, Ware

Clearly Veach wanted to address the run defense and pass rush and he did that early in the draft. He also addressed this in Free Agency and with the mid-season trade for Reggie Ragland.  Watkins addressed the need for another offensive weapon.

Another theme coming from the team is to have a more attack style defense.  The Chiefs front seven plan to be in attack mode much more than they have been the past two years. I expect a lot of different personnel at various positions attacking the line of scrimmage, lots of versatility.  The addition of Speaks, Williams and Nnadi along with the returning cast makes this possible.  Additionally, the DB’s will play a ton of press coverage (something Peters didn’t do).

While everything above matters, none of it matters more than Patrick Mahomes.  Kelce, Hunt, Hill, Watkins, Conley, DAT– that’s a ton of speed at the skill positions.  Mahomes has shown ridiculous arm strength and the ability to throw anywhere on the field from crazy body positions with accuracy.  Mahomes is in a great position to succeed, now he needs to prove it.

Veach/Reid/Sutton wanted to get younger, wanted another offensive target, wanted a more attack style D, wanted to improve the run defense, wanted to improve the pass rush and wanted high-character players that are all about football.  I think they have done that, but time will tell.

Why all this change when you’re the winner of the past two AFCW championships, with 5 winning seasons in a row and a 16-2 in division record over the past 3 years?  Super Bowl.  That is the goal. Right now, with what the Chiefs believe is a franchise QB on a cheap contract is the best time to achieve that goal.

Mentally prepare yourself now. Because next year you’re all going to get Mahome’d.

Offseason Review: Oakland Raiders

With the draft finally here and gone, it is time to take a step back and assess how each of the AFCW teams have done. We will start with the Las Vegas Raiders by way of Oakland.

Coaching Staff – The Raiders completely revamped their coaching staff, bringing in Jon Gruden along with his chosen staff. OC – Greg Olsen, DC – Paul Geunther, and ST – Rich Bisacchia.

Free Agents Lost – David Amerson (Chiefs), Sean Smith (State Penitentiary), TJ Carrie (Browns), Navarro Bowman (FA), Denico Autry (Colts)

Players Traded Away – Cordarelle Patterson (Patriots), Jamize Olawale (Cowboys)

Free Agents Re-Signed – Justin Ellis, Lee Smith, Reggie Nelson

Free Agents Signed – Too many to list, 20 to be exact. I will just list the notables. Rashaan Melvin, Tahir Whitehead, Jordy Nelson, Marcus Gilchrist, Daryl Worley, Leon Hall, Shareece Wright, Kyle Wilber, Tank Carradine, Doug Martin.

Raiders were busy in free agency, adding a handful of key starter/contributors, and overhauling the bottom third of the roster adding a lot of veteran depth. They did a good job of creating some quality depth across the roster that really allowed them to shift their focus to their needs entering draft day. Let’s see how they managed.

Needs Entering Draft: DT (pass rush specifically), OT, CB, DE, ILB, WR, TE, P.

Draft Selections:

Round 1, pick 15 (from ARI) — Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
Round 2, pick 57 (from TEN) — PJ Hall, DT, Sam Houston State
Round 3, pick 65 (from BAL) — Brandon Parker, OT, North Carolina A&T
Round 3, Pick 87 (from LAR) — Arden Key, DE, LSU
Round 4, pick 110 — Nick Nelson, CB, Wisconsin
Round 5, pick 140 (from IND) — Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
Round 5, pick 173 (from DAL) — Johnny Townsend, P, Florida
Round 6, pick 216 (Comp) — Azeem Victor, ILB, Washington
Round 7, pick 228 — Marcel Ateman, WR, Oklahoma State

First thing that stands out is the amount of trades that the Raiders made during the draft. They targeted players they wanted, and navigated up and down in order to draft them where they figured the value was appropriate. Let’s see how well they did in filling their needs.

DT – The Raiders have a couple quality run stopping options at defensive tackle, but they badly need some pass rush from the interior defensive line positions. They were able to draft the most productive interior pass rushers at both the FBS and the FCS levels in Maurice Hurst and PJ Hall respectively. Plenty of questions marks surround these two, but there is a very high reward associated with the risk.

OT – They drafted, arguably, the best LT prospect in the draft. I believe they would have drafted Mike McGlinchey at #10 to fill the hole at RT had they stayed put, but with the 49ers selecting him right ahead of them, the Raiders opted to trade back, pick up a little draft capital (that they’d in turn flip in a trade to the Steelers for WR Martavis Bryant) and select Kolton Miller, whom projects as Donald Penn’s replacement at LT. They also selected Brandon Parker in the 3rd round to compete for the open RT position. I’d guess he’s an early practice squad candidate, which is a huge disappointment for a 3rd round pick.

CB – A quality find in Nick Nelson from Wisconsin adds to a suddenly competitive cornerback position for the Raiders. This should be a fun group to watch compete in training camp to see if Conley/Melvin can establish themselves as the starters, and to see who rounds out the last few spots on the roster.

DE – Raiders are still looking for the “Robin” across the LOS from Khalil Mack. Bruce Irvin has been a quality player, but the Raiders could afford to find a better player at DE, freeing up Irvin to play for of a SLB role. Insert Arden Key, DE from LSU. First round talent, but a plethora of character concerns forced Key to fall to the 3rd round where the Raiders scooped him with the 87th overall pick.

ILB – I, like the Reggie McKenzie apparently, feel pretty comfortable with who they already have at the LB position, but most of the pundits had this as a much higher need. The Raiders used a late round pick to add Azeem Victor from Washington. Another player with a lot of desirable traits, but comes with questions marks as he suffered a knee injury in 2016, and a DUI arrest in 2017.

WR – Raiders added Martavis Bryant by trading the 3rd round pick they received from the Cardinals in the trade in the 1st round. Great addition if Bryant can keep his nose out of trouble. Sensing a trend?

TE – The Raiders did not address this position, and will enter OTA’s with a paper thin depth chart with a quality player in Jared Cook, but limited players behind him in Lee Smith and Derek Carrier

P – Oakland drafted Marquette King’s replacement, Johnny Townsend in the 5th round.

Raiders will have a new look this fall, with an all new coaching staff, surrounded by a ton of new faces to the Raiders. On paper, they seem to have improved greatly on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, but their success will likely be determined by the job Jon Gruden and his staff does schematically. Mark Davis and Reggie McKenzie have made a lot of risky moves. There is potential that this all blows up in their faces, but there is also a good chance that they have the makings to be a really special team.

Round One

Round 1 is in the books and there were quite a few surprises.  Baker Mayfield going #1, the Colts passing on Chubb, the Bills trading up twice, both Edmunds brothers going in the first rd and 4 QBs taken in the first 10. But let’s get into the ACFW picks.

#5 Denver Broncos

Well Chubb was supposed to go at #2 or at #4.  While the Browns were on the clock Denver actually had a deal in place to trade back with Buffalo (more on that later). When the Colts passed the deal fell apart because Denver couldn’t pass on Chubb.  While in my opinion Chubb would thrive in a 4-3 as a DE with his hand on the ground, I have looked into his tests to see how far he is from Von Miller, an ideal 3-4 OLB.

Chubb doesn’t have Von’s flat out speed, nor should he being that he weighed 20+ lbs more than him at their respective combines, but he is quicker.  Chubbs 3- cone drill and 20 yard shuttle times are both much better than Miller’s. So I also decided to look for another 3-4 OLB that matches his size and speed and I can only find Jadeveon Clowney.  While Jadeveon is slightly more of a physical freak than Chubb is, he lacks the mental makeup you’d like in a star player. Injuries and other things have slowed Clowney’s progress, but he had 9.5 sacks in his first full season last year.

I don’t think Chubb needs the time to be coached up like Clowney did and expect him to produce this year, but I can’t help think he’d be better off like Joey Bosa and playing a 4-3 DE.

When it all comes down to it Denver took the best defensive talent in the draft, a player that everyone is assuming will be a multiple time pro bowler.  At some point you just can’t fight it.  The pass rush in Denver will be nasty.

Grade:  A-

#15 Oakland Raiders

Well it seems like the Raiders came into this round OT or bust.  With all the pass rush in the AFCW this isn’t a terrible idea. When the target they obviously had their eyes on went to the 9ers at #9, OAK was forced to trade back with ARI at #15.  While according to the draft chart, they didn’t get fleeced like some previously thought, they did get a little less value than the #10 is worth.  They then took their newly acquired 3rd rd pick and traded for Martavis Bryant.

What they get in Martavis is an extremely fast big play WR, who also happens to be on the NFL shit list. Now I don’t know if and what other teams were offering for Bryant, but a 3rd seems a little high for a guy on the substance abuse list who has attitude problems.  It just seems like too much of a risk to me.  Can Gruden be BB and straighten him out?  Maybe.

But the pick was Kolton Miller a LT out of UCLA. Now there are a lot of ways to look at this pick. Was he overdrafted? Yes. Is he a true LT and not RT? Yes. Are the reviews pretty mixed on this guy? Yes. But I see a guy who can get better. With added strength he can add to his athleticism for the mammoth of a tackle that he is.  Donald Penn is 35 and his contract is up soon, so Miller has a year to prepare himself to be the Raiders OT of the future.

There are many ways to look at this and think OAK should have gotten more. Or OAK should have taken so and so.  But when the 9ers took McGlinchey they basically fucked OAK. They couldn’t take Miller at 10 and they took what they could get for it.  They couldn’t risk trading back again in case another team decided they needed an OT in this thin class. At the end of the day, if you’re a results oriented person, you got an OT to possibly replace Newhouse and in the future Penn, and a deep threat for your QB.

Grade: B-

#17 LA Chargers

Well fuck. Not much to say about this one because it’s a hell of a steal.  With Tre Boston not being resigned, Derwin James will come in and be an instant upgrade. This kid is nasty. He’s a big hitter who is fast and can make some huge plays.  His coverage skills are not elite but they can be taught. His instinct is there just needs some polishing.

Yes the Chargers did take another player with a knee injury on their record but really when have injuries hurt them?

My only knock on this pick is the problem with their defense isn’t the secondary. They gave up a ton of yards on the ground last year.  While Vea was gone I still would have addressed that need first.  Derwin has the ability to help in the run game but it’s not in your best interest to have your safetys driving your run defense.  But in the end they got a hell of a player that fills a need.

Grade: A

Final thoughts

Denver had a deal in place with Buffalo who really wanted Allen. They ended up moving up 5 spots instead of 7 and got absolutely fleeced by the Bucs. I can’t help but wonder how much more Denver could have gotten out of them if CLE did what they were supposed to do and drafted Chubb. Even if it was just the 2 #2s and an added 3 or 4 it would be intriguing to see what could have been.

There is still a ton of talent on the board. If you’re a Chiefs fan you better hope Mahomes was worth it for missing out on a deep draft. With the picks today there will be plenty of talent for OAK and DEN to choose from. And should be some goodies for the Chiefs and SD.

Good luck on Day 2.

Broncos vs Vikings

Because certain biased individuals fail to see the positive impact of having a quality QB on your team, and also cannot see the negative impact of having a terrible one, we will be looking at pff grades from both the Vikings (13 wins omg) and the Broncos (recently went from #3 pick to a playoff win).

QBs can tire defenses out if they have too many 3 and outs, pick 6s, 2 and INTs, or even my favorite, the 1 and fumble.  They impact the OL because if you have no pocket awareness, and cannot move with the pocket, then pass blocking for them becomes impossible. They impact WRs, in the obvious way, by throwing catchable passes. Preferably further than 3 yards down field, and preferably at someone in the same colored jersey.  They impact running backs because when they suck the defense can stack the box.

While keeping that in mind, let’s look at the grades.  I will try to keep it to the players who Keenum played with and who he will play with this year.  Also let it be known that I have resorted to using PFF grades because with the exception of maybe Balls and myself (I watched every Vikings game BTW) I honestly doubt anyone here has watched more than 2 Vikings games in the last year.

Quarterbacks

Case Keenum- 85.3 #9 QB

Trevor Siemian- 53.2  #36 QB

Clearly we have a major advantage in Keenum.   While he was a top 10 QB in the league Trevor seemed to play worse than 2 backups that registered grades.  85.3 is a high quality grade while 53.2 is a poor grade.  Lets see if the surrounding casts are much different from each other.

Running Backs

Latavius Murray- 77.1

CJ Anderson- 86.0

DeVontae Booker- 72.9

I added Anderson in here because he was the starting back and you would expect Bookers #s to improve as a starter.  But even removing that fact this seems like a draw.  Both sides earning average grades.  Draw.

Offensive Line

LT Riley Rieff- 48.6

LT Garrett Bolles- 68.8

LG Jeremiah Sirles- 45.2

LG Ron Leary- 81.2

C Pat Eflein- 43.2

C Matt Paradis- 75.2

RG Joe Berger- 75.7

RG Connor McGovern- 40.2

RT Mike Remmers- 69.6

RT Jared Veldheer- 54.3

(Watson- 38.9)

Left side of the line obvious advantage to the Broncos.   Right side Vikings.   Difference maker comes down to Center where despite having an off year Paradis has the much better grade and was still the #9 center in the league.   Velheer may hopefully bring some better play at RT improving his grade off his injury shortened season but I’m not holding my breath.   Advantage Broncos.

Tight Ends

Kyle Rudolph- 73.1

Jeff Heuerman- 73.6

(Virgil Green- 43.1)

I know Rudolph had a down year.  But that is the TE that Keenum played with.   I added in Green here because he was the starter and to also show the Chargers how shitty of a TE he is.   Heuerman played well in limited play actually earning a higher grade than Rudolph.   With question marks around Butts and Heuerman’s lack of play I give a very slight edge to Minnesota.

Wide Receivers

Stefon Diggs- 85.4

Demaryius Thomas- 75.3

Adam Thielen- 84.6

Emmanuel Sanders- 70.7

Here it is the real “difference” between the 2 offenses.  But lets look at it this way.   Both Thielen and Diggs both just had the best years of their young careers. Both in their 3rd year playing had their best years ever by far (Diggs is when you look at the fact he missed games) when Keenum became their QB and conversely Thomas and Sanders have been suffering since Manning left.   I’ll give the maybe edge to the Vikings but this is too close to call now.   Its pretty hard to grade well as a WR if the QB can’t get you the ball further than 5 yards down the field.

Defensive Fronts

Edge Danielle Hunter- 82.6

Edge Shaqil Barrett- 82.1

DT Tom Johnson- 77.7

DE/DT Derek Wolfe- 78.0

NT Linval Joseph- 88.7

NT Domata Peko- 80.0

Everson Griffen- 89.2

Adam Gotsis- 77.1

Edge Anthony Barr- 71.4

Edge Von Miller- 95.0

Going position by position there is no major difference here except for Griffen is better than Gotsis and Miller is way better than Barr.   There is a small difference between Peko and Joseph but the overwhelming difference between Miller and Barr evens this out.   Draw.

Linebackers

Erik Kendricks- 75.1

Todd Davis- 77.1

Ben Gedeon- 76.2

Brandon Marshall- 54.6

Brandon Marshall’s score here surprises me. I knew he had an off year but I didn’t think it was this bad.   But lets be honest.  Both of these groups are average at best.   I should say draw here but slight advantage Vikings.

Cornerbacks

Trae Waynes- 74.1

Bradley Roby- 84.0

Xavier Rhodes- 80.2

Chris Harris Jr.- 83.5

The obvious advantage is Denver here.  Even though Waynes was often replaced with Terrance Newman, Newman only scored a 75.   Denver hands down.

Safeties

SS Andrew Sendejo- 86.8

SS Justin Simmons- 80.2

FS Harrison Smith- 97.0

FS Darian Stewart- 70.3

Harrison Smith is the best S in the game.  And yes the obvious swing is to the Vikings here.   Stewart is coming off an off year without TJ Ward and maybe he will continue to struggle without him.  Advantage Vikings.

So being that I believe the topic was that the Vikings are “top to bottom better than Denver, except Miller and Harris” and the fact that there is no real other way to judge this outside of “well imo” or “Obviously they’re better I don’t need to give proof”, PFF would strongly disagree.  In fact in more ways than one these teams are remarkably similar in many ways.  So I will give you this.  The Vikings are better coached.   On a talent base I don’t see how they’re that much better.

2018 NFL 3 Round Mock Draft (AFC West)

With the 2018 NFL Draft only a few weeks away, I decided to give a 3 round mock draft a try. Looking at all the mocks out there, factoring in free agency and listening to you gentlemen, here is what I came up with, enjoy!

Denver Broncos

Draft Picks – 5th, 40th, 71st and 99th

Team Needs – TE, LG, QB, WR

1st Round – Baker Mayfield (6’1”, 215) QB Oklahoma
Elway’s draft history suggest that he loves big, strong armed quarterbacks. This time he takes a guy a little different. Coming out this year, the Heisman Trophy winner has more accuracy and swagger than any other quarterback.

2nd Round – Austin Corbett (6’4”, 306) OG Nevada
Denver has suffered through ineffective offensive line play for a few years. They have been plugging these holes as fast as possible. Enter Corbett. This guy has started 48 of 49 games at Left Tackle. He will kick inside and be a plug and play guard for the next ten years.

3rd Round – Hayden Hurst (6’4”, 250) TE South Carolina
Denver hasn’t gotten much production out of its tight ends lately and desperately need that to change. If Jake Butt, who missed his rookie year because of a college knee injury, can come back to be a productive player, that would help. But the Broncos can’t bank on it. Enter Hurst. He is a match-up nightmare and very productive. Simply put, he is a steal and would be a day 1 starter.

3rd Round – DaeSean Hamilton (6’1”, 203) WR Penn State
The Broncos have been trying to find a 3rd Receiver that can get it done on 3rd down. Say hello to Mr. Hamilton. He is not the fastest or biggest guy, but he is almost always open and has good hands. He is a 1st down machine. This is a good addition to the Denver offense.

Oakland Raiders

Draft Picks – 10th, 41st and 75th

Team Needs – CB, LB, DT, OT

1st Round – Denzel Ward (5’10, 185) CB Ohio State
Let’s keep it real, the Raiders secondary was flat out HORRIBLE last year. They have purged it quite a bit and added some free agents but still need another long-term solution. Enter Ward. When the top Corner in the draft falls, he is too good to pass on. He is a bit under-sized, but he plays like a Pitbull and is insanely fast. This is just what the doctor ordered.

2nd Round – Lorenzo Carter (6’5”, 250) OLB/DE Georgia
The Raiders have moved Bruce Irvin from Strong-side Linebacker to Defensive End leaving a big hole at the second level. Tight ends have had career days against the Raiders defense. Enter Carter. He has the ability to rush the passer but the speed and skill-set to drop into coverage (4.46 40 time). He is a very instinctive and has at time covered receivers in the slot. This guy is versatile and a perfect fit for the Raiders new attacking defense.

3rd Round – PJ Hall (6’1”, 310) DT Sam Houston State
For the better part of a half decade, the Raiders continue to search for an interior playmaker. The disruptive force in the middle continues to elude them. Welcome Mr. Hall. When drafting a small school prospect you look for him to flat out crush his competition. Well PJ did just that. In four years he posted 289 tackles, 36.5 sacks, 86.5 TFL, 29 PBU, 14 blocked kicks and 9 forced fumbles. He is strong as an ox and a motor that never stops. He is Geno Atkins 2.0 and just what Guenther needs for his defense.

Los Angeles Chargers

Draft Picks – 17th, 48th and 84th

Team Needs – DT, ILB, OT, QB

1st Round – DaRon Payne (6’2”, 311) DT Alabama
The Chargers were second to last against the run last year. DT Brandon Mebane is 33 years old. Time for some youth to help fix this problem. Say hello to Major Payne. That is what teams call this monster when they attempt to run against him. This guy will not only be a starter from day one but will rack up big tackles and keep the linebackers behind him clean.

2nd Round – Micah Kiser (6’0”, 240) ILB Virginia
Mostly due to injuries, Los Angeles used a four-man rotation at inside linebacker a season ago. Perryman is the only one that will return as a starter. Kiser is a flat out tackling machine and will be a beast against the run. This guy has fantastic instincts and will be a huge upgrade for the Chargers.

3rd Round – Chukwuma Okorafor (6’6”, 320) OT Western Michigan
While the Chargers offensive line certainly will get a boost from the free agent addition of center Mike Pouncey and the healthy return of 2017 second-round pick Forrest Lamp, the right tackle spot is in line for an upgrade. Enter Okorafor. This guy is very athletic and a great pass blocker. He will help keep River clear and more importantly, healthy.

Kansas City Chiefs

Draft Picks – 54th, 78th and 86th

Team Needs – CB, OG, ILB, OLB

2nd Round – Donte Jackson (5’10”, 180) CB LSU
A complete overhaul of the cornerback position is underway as the Chiefs traded away Marcus Peters but signed David Amerson and acquired Kendall Fuller. They need some speed at the position and draft Jackson. He is not big, but he is crazy fast and plays with a chip on his shoulder.

3rd Round – Arden Key (6’5”, 240) OLB LSU
What was once a strength the outside linebacker position is a big question mark heading into 2018 as Tamba Hali was released and Dee Ford coming off of back surgery. Enter Key. He has 1st round talent as a pass rusher but also has off-field issues that will drop him in the draft, to the Chiefs delight. This is a steal in the 3rd round.

3rd Round – Braden Smith (6’6”, 315) OG Auburn
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has been a revelation for the Chiefs as he has developed into one of the 15 best guards according to Pro Football Focus. With Zach Fulton leaving in free agency and Parker Ehinger being inactive all season the Chiefs could really look to shore up their weak spot along the line. Hello Mr. Smith. This guy is just nasty at both pass and run blocking. Another steal for the Chiefs.

Raiders Free Agent Grades

It’s been a while since I’ve contributed around here, so bare with me a little. I was thinking about grading the Raiders free agent signings individually in the comments section, but quickly realized we had a ton of signings and that it’d probably be best if I write an article instead. Pull a little of my own weight around here.

Much has been made of the signings in Oakland as Jon Gruden begins his tenure, that he’s following the same old recipe as his last stop. Opting for aging veterans, than the youth that typically wins out in today’s NFL.  I think it’s all overblown, and just writers looking to generate clicks, and right now there are few things in the NFL that will generate more clicks than a Raiders hot take.

Lets take a look at all of the Raiders free agency moves heading into the last few weeks before the draft.

CB Rashaan Melvin – A+ – The biggest need the Raiders had going into the offseason was at cornerback, and the Raiders added a guy that was a lockdown corner in 2017 on a cheap 1 year, $6.5M prove it deal. One of the best signings in all of free agency this offseason.

S Marcus Gilchrist – A- – The Raiders added a solid veteran DB on another small 1 year, $4.5M contract in Gilchrist. Gilchrist logged over 100 snaps at S, LB, and slot CB in 2017. Paul Guenther needed that versatility in his secondary given all the question marks it had when he agreed to be the team’s new DC.

S/CB Leon Hall – A- – A sneaky good signing by the Raiders, given Hall’s plethora of experience in Guenther’s defense. Hall can contribute in many ways off the field, and can still contribute in a limited capacity on the field as well.

LB Tahir Whitehead – B+ – One of the Raiders other big needs was at LB. Whitehead is another player that adds a lot of versatility with his ability to play all 3 LB positions in Guenther’s defense. The only reason this grade isn’t higher is due to the size of contract Oakland doled out, 3 years $18M.

WR Jordy Nelson – B – One of the bigger surprises so far this offseason, was replacing the often controversial Michael Crabtree with a more calming presence in Jordy Nelson. Given the size of the contracts that were being handed out to WR’s this free agency, Oakland has to feel good about getting Nelson for 2 years and $15M despite his age. I didn’t see a player that lost much of a step in his advanced age, I’m only a little hesitant about the signing because of Jordy’s injury history.

LB Kyle Wilber – B – Wilber adds some versatility to the Raiders depth chart, but more importantly he’s been a rock in the Cowboys special teams units since he was drafted in the 4th round of the 2014 draft.

DE Tank Carradine – B – No risk signing with some upside. Solid depth along the defensive line with some ability to contribute in ST’s.

WR/KR Dewayne Harris – B- – A solid Patterson replacement, I haven’t seen the details of this contract, but I’m assuming its in the $2-3M range annually.

FB Keith Smith – C+ – I was originally pretty high on this pickup, trading an overpaid fullback in Olawale for some draft positioning and a cheaper, better run blocking FB in Smith…. but then I saw the Raiders gave Smith a 2 year $4.2M contract.

RB Doug Martin – C – Again, little risk with some upside. If Martin makes the team, it will be because he looks like 4.9 YPC Doug Martin, and not 2.9 YPC Doug Martin in training camp.

CB Shareece Wright – C – I think you could do worse at #4/5 CB than Shareece Wright. Nothing flashy, but a decent add.

OT Breno Giocamini – D+ – The guy is not good. I have a sneaky suspicion that he will actually make the team, and be relied upon at times, which I don’t like. Hopefully the younger guys step up in training camp. I think the ability is there for Sharpe, Kirkland, Alexander and Ware, they just have to do it.

Other FA signings that I’m not going to bother elaborating on S Reggie Nelson, QB EJ Manuel, QB Josh Johnson, LB Emmanuel Lamur, P Colby Wadman, LS Andrew Depaola, TE Derek Carrier, TE Lee Smith, WR/KR Griff Whalen.

Oakland has been busy this offseason. I thought the Raiders did a solid job adding a few starters and key contributors at positions of need but maybe more importantly rounding out the bottom of the roster with high character veterans. I think McKenzie and Gruden raised the floor of the Raiders depth chart significantly on financially savvy deals. The moves should buy management a couple/few years to hopefully add more difference makers via the draft, something they haven’t been able to accomplish the last couple years.

After signing the best QB in free agency, what’s next for Denver?

As free agency starts it appears Denver will sign Case Keenum to a 2 year 36 million dollar deal. This move leaves huge questions marks for Denver moving forward. Is this going to be Case’s team for the next two years and beyond? Or will Denver still use their 5th overall pick to grab another quarterback? Denver’s draft strategy heavily depends on how those questions will be answered. Will we take that fiery competitor? Or will they take This Guy Fucks out of Notre Dame?

Option 1.

Draft a quarterback at 5. We saw the Chicago Bears sign Mike Glennon to a short deal last year. Similar to what Denver will sign Keenum for. The Bears still used a high pick to take Mitch Trubisky. Ultimately Trubisky ended up starting most the year, and now the Bears have released Glennon. The move ended up being low risk for the Bears as they have their franchise guy in Trubisky, and they easily moved on from Glennon. This could be Elway’s goal with signing Keenum. If that’s his plan Denver should be able to get a guy they like at 5 whether it be Darnold, Mayfield, Rosen, or God forbid Allen. Out of those 4 guys the only 1 who needs a year to sit is probably Allen. Which may mean Denver needed a short term veteran to play for a year while Allen learns from the bench. That could mean Elway wanted Allen all along, hence Keenum signing a short term deal.

Option 2.

Stay at 5 and draft a guy who can make an impact instantly. This guy fucks, aka Quentin Nelson, would be the best case scenario for Denver at 5. He’d be able to step in at the left guard spot instantly and hopefully be a Pro Bowl caliber player for a decade. Denver’s offensive line was improved last year, and when fully healthy they looked better than expected. So TGF would only go to solidify an improving group. Personally if Denver couldn’t get TGF I’d want them to take Barkley. He can run, catch, and block making him an every down back. The last 2 seasons we’ve seen teams, Dallas in 2016 and Jacksonville in 2017, use high picks on running backs and those teams both won their divisions that season. The idea you can’t use a high pick on a running back is starting to become an outdated idea.

Option 3.

Trade back. If those two prospects are gone at 5 Denver should be able to trade back. Buffalo has a huge question mark at quarterback after trading Tyrod Taylor. Denver might be able to get a deal done trading their 5th pick for Buffalo’s 12th and 22nd picks. Other mid round picks would be involved I’m sure, but who has the time to speculate on that. One of those top quarterbacks should be available at 5, so this move would make sense for both teams. With the Gotsis arrest this week Denver could use those picks to take BPA on both the offensive and defensive lines.

Option 4.

We resign this guy to take us back to glory.

Overall it’s unclear whether Elway actually has faith in Keenum to be a long term solution. Or if Keenum is even capable of that. But the draft will let us know what Elway is thinking and how much he actually believes in Keenum. Until then we can all argue back and forth about how much Denver fucked up by not getting Kirk Cousins.