NFL Weekly News & Notes

2017
League
News

Buffalo Bills

Quarter Season Report
Record 3-1

It is amazing to think the Bills are in first place in the AFC East. The defense has allowed the fewest amount of points scored (54) over the course of the first quarter part of the season. The running game is has been nonexistent, and for Buffalo to remain on top it is critical to get LeSean McCoy going. He currently ranks 17th overall in rushing with 216 yards. He is averaging 3.2 yard per carry and zero touchdowns. Last season he has a 5.4ypc average along with 13 touchdowns.

New York Jets

Quarter Season Report
Record 2-2

Todd Bowles has the New York Jets tied with the New England Patriots at 2-2 after four weeks of action in the league. Journeyman quarterback Josh McCown continues to provide quality play under center and the offense is getting a decent output from their running game that includes Matt Forte, Bilal Powell and rookie Elijah McGuire. The trio has combined for 485 yards rushing (Ranks 7th overall in NFL) with three touchdowns and an impressive 5.2 yards per carry.

Miami Dolphins

Quarter Season Report
Record 1-2

Miami is the team that teases me the most with excitement and potential. Adam Gaze offense has taken a huge step backwards at the on start of the season. The offense has tanked and now ranks last in points scored in the league. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for Gaze and the rest of the Dolphins offensive unit. It would be a bit shocking to imagine after the halfway report of the season, Miami has not found a groove offensively and have turned things around. If not then the season will be a massive failure.

New England Patriots

Quarter Season Report
Record 2-2

The Kansas City Chiefs game exposed the true weakness of the Patriots. Their defense, it is bad, real bad. Tom Brady heroics saved them from being 1-3 after the come from behind win over the Houston Texans. Brady at the age of 40 will be counted on more than ever to deliver week in and out for New England. The offense will score that will not be the issue, but the defense is going to surrender too many points and the end result could be New England losing home field advantage in the playoffs.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Quarter Season Report
Record 2-2

Jacksonville has already won two games and for an organization that has been so lousy it really gives the team hope for a bright season. Blake Bortles has played very well and is tied for 6th overall in the league with seven touchdown passes and keeping his throws smart with only three interceptions. The team ranks 5th in the league in scoring and is allowing the 6th fewest points allowed. Usually the units rank near the bottom of the league in each category. Imagine if the Jags can reach 5-3 at the halfway point the kind of momentum that would bring to the team.

Tennessee Titans

Quarter Season Report
Record 2-2

Marcus Mariota has a minor hamstring strain and his availability for Week 5 is in question with him being questionable against the Miami Dolphins. This is going to be a real test for the Titans defense, which has allowed 126 points scored, that places the team 31st worst in the NFL. The Dolphins offense has been dreadful so far this season and if Tennessee fails to squash the Phins it could determine a trend in the wrong direction for the Titans this season. Houston looks hot right now and it is going to be critical the Titans keep pace early with the Texans to win the AFC South.

Indianapolis Colts

Quarter Season Report
Record 1-2

Chris Ballard the team’s new GM, inherited a real mess of a roster. The Colts quietly have been devastated with bad drafts from the previous regime and Ballard’s strategic eye for talent and no nonsense mentality will bring Indianapolis back to the top eventually in the AFC South, but not in the short term. Andrew Luck will return but he’ll return to a team that boasts the leagues worst defense in points allowed (136). The Colts ability to stop opponents from finding the end zone is a bad habit after four games. Former GM Ryan Grigson left the cupboard so depleted of talent it would be a shock if the Colts win three games by the midway point in the 2017 season.

Houston Texans

Quarter Season Report
Record 2-2

Houston was close to being 3-1 after almost winning the shoot out with the Patriots in New England. Deshaun Watson has been everything thus far the Texans could hope for with his calm pocket demeanor for a rookie and knowing when to use his athleticism to exploit defenses when they allow open space to run for big chunks of positive yards. Defensively, J.J. Watt has failed to record a single sack and that is not a knock on the Pro Bowler but just a sign of things to come down the road for the defensive end. Houston has shown to real early strides to gel and come together offensively. Their halfway point outlook really causes headaches for me due to how inconsistent this team can be from one week to the next. If Houston is 5-3 by the mid-point of the year, would be a sign of good things to come for the Texans.

Cleveland Browns

Quarter Season Report
Record 0-4

It does sound a bit lunatic to mention things are improving in Cleveland after their 0-4 start to the season, especially after being embarrassed by the previous 0-3 Cincinnati Bengals in a 31-7 defeat at home. The reason for positive optimism is the pieces currently in place for the Browns. Currently the roster has as much talent as any since their return to the league in 1999. That current level is still below average but for the organization itself it marks a positive step in the right direction. This week against the New York Jets marks one of the games to circle that could end in victory for Cleveland. The Jets have been playing way above expectations and Cleveland is a young team hungry to get it’s first taste of victory. Best case outcome for Cleveland is winning two games out of their next four, to be 2-6 after eight weeks of football.

Cincinnati Bengals

Quarter Season Report
Record 1-3

The Bengals where on the verge of some good things over the last couple seasons and it is appearing that window for postseason success has escaped the franchise again. Marvin Lewis was forced to oust his offensive coordinator Ken Zampese and replace him with Bill Lazor after the team was unable to put points on the board. After the first two games the offense had zero touchdowns, that could yield only three field goals. Cincinnati has shown real improvement since the change scoring 55 points compared to nine in two games under each coordinator. The real tragedy is how well the defense has played allowing the third fewest points allowed in the entire league, but unfortunately the offense has struggled. The team possibly could be 4-4 by the midway point of the season.

Baltimore Ravens

Quarter Season Report
Record 2-2

The Ravens are 2-2, but I feel that record hides a lot of inefficiencies on their roster. The offense ranks 30th in points allowed and Joe Flacco likely is not 100% after sitting out the preseason with aback injury. The pieces around him offensively do little to place any kind of fear in defensive coordinators minds. The best outlook for the Ravens is 3-5 by the midway points. With the Raiders, Bears, Vikings and Dolphins scheduled as their next four opponents, it speaks volumes to their lack of talent to hopefully be 3-5 and at best 4-4 when those games conclude and Week 9 begins.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Quarter Season Report
Record 3-1

The offense simply has too many pieces in place for the team to fail to score more than 27 points in a single game this season. Pittsburgh lost to the Chicago Bears in a game they were favored heavily to win. The defense allowed 222 rushing yards, with 74 of it coming in overtime. Everyone knows the defense is a work in progress and that leaves two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to assure the Steelers’ faithful that the offense will show up every week. When it fails to do that, these are the silly losses that keep the team from hosting more playoff games. The team must play better offensively and that in turn takes pressures of the defense searching for an identity. Pittsburgh can be 6-2 by the midway point they are good enough to beat the opponents coming up, but they must avoid the pitfalls of Week 3 against the Bears.

Denver Broncos

Quarter Season Report
Record 3-1

Truth be told, I’m very surprised the Broncos are out to such a quick and successful start to the season. Actually had them predicted to finish last in the AFC West because of everything they have avoided doing, in terms of the offense playing well and their defense remaining up to snuff. Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders is currently going to miss a few games and that really creates a cushion to be build for long term success this year. In a division with the only undefeated team in the league (Kansas City Chiefs) the Broncos have their hands full in a super competitive division. C.J. Anderson remains the most unsung hero of the league and the emergence of Jamaal Charles over the last few weeks really shows some optimism moving forward for a very potent ground game. The Broncos next two opponents the Los Angeles Chargers and New York Giants are winless so it is important to keep the focus and not slip up. After four games, the team is in great shape, and feel that trend should continue.

Oakland Raiders

Quarter Seaosn Report
Record 2-2

Oakland finds itself currently where it left off the 2016 season with their young and mega talented quarterback Derek Carr healthy and able to go. We have come to learn that without Carr the Raiders are an entirely different offensive unit. Marshawn Lynch has been unable to get going and Texans’ rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson has only three fewer rushing yards (148) than the man who made Beastmode famous. The duration of time without Carr really dictates how the season will unfold. The strong starts by both Denver and Kansas City with a combined 7-1 overall record leave Oakland little room for failure to stay in the hunt for the playoffs, depending on the length of Carr’s injury. Stating the obvious, this is critical stretch for Oakland as we now head to the midway point of the season.

Los Angeles Chargers

Quarter Season Report
Record 0-4

Personal expectations for the Chargers appear to be very foolish after their 0-4 start. The offense and defense haven’t been great leaving plenty to correct with a quarter of the season in the books. Philip Rivers has thrown six touchdown passes along with four interceptions. That will have to change for Los Angeles to excel offensively. The misfortune of their schedule now is two straight road games that also include a 0-4 New York Giants teams and visit to division rival Oakland Raiders. The Chargers return home to take on the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots. Not exactly the remedy to cure losing. Whenever a team possesses a franchise quarterback the ability to win exists, just sad that another season may end badly for Rivers and company.

Kansas City Chiefs

Quarter Season Report
Record 4-0

The Chiefs are the toast of the league after four weeks and a perfect record. The accolades are well deserved; few can coach better than Andy Reid (during the regular season). Reid has not won a playoff game since 2009, going 1-4 over that span in his coaching career. The Jerry Sloan of NFL coaches, the idea of Reid winning in the regular season is a given, but the postseason pauses that momentum of victory. Even with his less the grand playoff record (11-12), he is one of the most successful coaches in his generation. The Chiefs are hitting on all cylinders and see no reason why 8-0 or 7-1 record can not be achieved.

Washington Redskins

Quarter Season Report
Record 2-2

A bit of a surprise in Washington after an early 2-2 start that could have been possibly 3-1 had second-year receiver Josh Doctson held on to Kirk Cousins pass in the Arrowhead end zone. The Redskins were that close to defeating the Kansas City Chiefs on the road but fail short. The NFC East is far from being decided after four weeks and a division known for its competitiveness is holding true this year as well. Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky has his unit playing with such passion, they are simply fun and inspiring to watch. Coach Manusky terrific job sir! They approach to bye with a heavy schedule ahead to the midpoint of the year. Philadelphia, Dallas and Seattle follow their bye week home return against San Francisco. The Eagles and Seahawks games are on the road. Washington staying at 4-4 would be a fair observation for the team and if they reach 5-3 or better would result in extraordinary circumstances unfolding for the squad.

Philadelphia Eagles

Quarter Season Report
Record 3-1

Very hesitant to place the Eagles amongst the true contenders in the league and with a 3-1 record, you’re calling me goofy. Philadelphia began last season with an identical record, then went 4-8 for the remainder of the season to finish 7-9. Despite to comparisons, this team does appear to be playing very well. The addition of Alshon Jeffrey looks to be a winning move for GM Howie Roseman, as second year quarterbacks Carson Wentz continues his progress towards being one of the top echelon signal callers in the league. Philadelphia can topple their next four opponents (Arizona, Carolina, Washington and San Francisco). The collapse the team experienced last year I feel can be avoided and as Week 8 concludes, we could still see the Eagles on top of the NFC East with a 6-2 record.

New York Giants

Quarter Season Report
Record 0-4

Where do we begin? Zero wins! This is not the season the Giants imagine after four weeks of NFL action. Let’s face it the team stinks at running the football and their offensive line is not good. Until those two illnesses are remedied the issues will continue to plague a team many (including myself) thought were real contenders in the NFC East. The best result for New York is to reach 4-4 by the halfway point and even taking three of those four would build some steam as the second half of the season would unfold. Orleans Darkwa missed last weeks game and remains relatively unknown outside Giants fans. He has shown some qualities carries and Coach McAdoo might get his ground game going be feeding him the football more. He leads all Giants’ running backs with a 4.1 yards per carry.

Dallas Cowboys

Quarter Season Report
Record 2-2

Last year, the Cowboys finished 13-3, which for any team in any era is simply outstanding. Even during the 90’s the superior team Dallas had that won three Super Bowls finished 13-3 once and that was the best overall season record the group achieve during the regular season. After four weeks, the Cowboys are 2-2 and some may say they aren’t the team they were last year, possibly they’re right, or possibly the reality of such a successful season must be realized. The next four weeks will really test the Cowboys’ strength in the league. Green Bay at home then two straight road games against San Francisco then Washington before returning home to take on Kansas City, currently being 2-2 doesn’t allow the Cowboys much room for error to keep pace with Philadelphia.

New Orleans Saints

Quarter Season Report
Record 2-2

The Saints defense pitched a shutout against the Miami Dolphins. One more time, the Saints defense held the Dolphins to zero points. Yeah that same defense that has been the Achilles heel of the team actually is playing some decent football. In fact, during their two game winning streak that spans the last two games the defense has only surrendered 13 total points. If that trend continues and as long as the offense has Drew Brees, it seems possible the Saints end Week 8, at least 4-4.

Atlanta Falcons

Quarter Season Report
Record 3-1

The Falcons should feel pretty happy about being 3-1 and avoiding the Super Bowl hangover that many thought may unfold. Week 5 provides the team a bye week and allows Julio Jones to get healthy as he searches for his first touchdown of the season. Atlanta got scolded for not running the football more in the Super Bowl loss and it appears they’re taking that advice for this year. After four games, quarterback Matt Ryan and running back Devonte Freeman are tied with five touchdowns a piece via the pass and running game. Tevin Coleman the back-up to Freeman has been superb averaging 6.2 yards per carry and making the most of his opportunities and keeping the Falcons’ offense productive.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Quarter Season Report
Record 2-2

Tampa Bay did not play Week 1 due to Hurricane Irma, so their fourth game of the year came in Week 5 against the New England Patriots. The Bucs failed to win the game losing 19-14 but more importantly they couldn’t penetrate a Patriots defense that has been awful all year. New England ranks 30th overall in points allowed and the offense that featured the return of Doug Martin along with Jameis Winston, Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson put up only 14 points. These are the games, Tampa Bay must win to take the next step, and erase the pretender label. Tampa Bay is one the road for six of their next eight games, which will battle test the mindset of this young up and coming team. Ideal record for the way this team has played thus far would be 5-3 after eight games.

Carolina Panthers

Quarter Season Report
Record 3-1

Each year one team identifies themselves under this label – Jekyll and Hyde. Carolina has simply looked to good and way to bad for me to feel comfortable with their 3-1 start. Only time will team, which direction the team ends up in the standings. When Week 8 concludes, it would not be a shock to see the Panthers at 6-2 or 3-5. Their defense has allowed six points in the first two games and 64 in their last two games. Which defense is it? What level of defensive play will we see at the midway point will be coincidental to the teams overall record. Three of their next four games are on the road for Carolina. If Cam Newton stays in one piece and the defense avoids the 30-plus point games it is possible the teams is standing firm in the standings when Week 8 ends.

Chicago Bears

Quarter Season Report
Record 1-3

The Mike Glennon experiment has ended with the announcement of rookie Mitchell Trubisky will get his first NFL start in Week 5. The rookie looked strong during the preseason and many wanted to see him get the starting nod on opening day but the Chicago allowed Glennon a shot to get the team going early. Trubisky enters a offense predicated on running the football with the tandem of Jordan Howard and another rookie in running back Tarik Cohen. The duo can alleviate pressure on Trubisky by sustaining a strong run game. With that all said the reality of the Bears overall is not great. The team ranks 29th in points scored and 27th in points allowed. Meaning they can not score and get scored on too much. Winning another game by the halfway point appears realistic and being 3-5 would be a bit of a stretch, due to the team’s weaknesses.

Detroit Lions

Quarter Season Report
Record 3-1

The NFC North looks like the strongest division in the NFC Conference, with the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings looking like real contenders for the playoffs. Detroit is showing glimpses of a ground game, with Ameer Abdullah starting emerge as a real threat out of the backfield. Matthew Stafford has been terrific protecting the football while finding the end zone. He has thrown seven touchdown passes with only one interception. Realistically, the Lions could have been 4-0 with a goal line play against the Atlanta Falcons falling short as time was run off the clock. The Lions next four opponents have a combined record of 11-5, a difficult task for any team of any caliber in the NFL. If Detroit could match their current four game progress and enter Week 9 at 6-2 would be a great accomplishment.

Green Bay Packers

Quarter Season Report
Record 3-1

Aaron Rodgers in my opinion should have been MVP last season and I’m continuing his endorsement this year after four weeks of football in the books. He has been able to keep the team above water despite another rash of injuries on both sides of the football. Ty Montgomery will miss this week’s game allowing rookie running backs Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones to get some more reps in the backfield. Jones showed some real flashes in his limited amount of exposure in Week 4 against the Chicago Bears. He will be one guy to watch with Montgomery out of action with a rib injury. The Packers defense is standing firm and if they can continue to bend but not break the team should arrive at the halfway point of the year still vying for bragging rights as the leader in the NFC North. With all that said, protecting Rodgers is the No. 1 area of concern, without him, this team falls into a deep spiral.

Minnesota Vikings

Qaurter Season Report
Record 2-2

Neither of the Vikings quarterbacks Sam Bradford or Case Keenum has thrown an interception this season. The duo has thrown for three touchdowns a piece with zero errors. Minnesota will play Week 5 without their star rookie running back Dalvin Cook who was lost last week to an ACL injury. He was dynamic and his departure from the starting line-up is a real blow to the offense. The job will now be given to their free agent addition this past March, Latavius Murray, who should provide quality production in Cook’s absence. The defense is as fierce as they come, with head coach Mike Zimmer maximizing toughness out of his unit. Bradford is due back soon and the defense is firing on all cylinders, there is no reason to not believe the Vikings can not win the NFC North. The pretender or contender flag will be waving over this team the next four weeks with their up-coming opponents possessing a 6-10 combined record. The Vikings must take advantage of this part of their schedule.

Arizona Cardinals

Quarter Season Report
Record 2-2

Last year I predicted the Houston Texans would battle the Arizona Cardinals in the Super Bowl. Moron… The Cardinals were bad and Carson Palmer never got on track despite the MVP caliber season by running back David Johnson. Arizona is currently 2-2 with wins over two teams (Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers) that have an combined record of 1-7 overall. Their current running game is horrifyingly atrocious and Palmer has thrown as many touchdown passes (5) as interceptions (5). Two years ago this team looked poised to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, now they appear to be one of the front runners for a top rookie quarterback in the 2018 NFL Draft. Three of their next four games are on the road against decent opponents and face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home. Arizona should be 3-5 after the completion of eight games. Anything above that, give Coach Arians a big pat on his back.

San Francisco 49ers

Quarter Season Report
Record 1-3

Did anyone expect the 49ers to be anything other than 0-4 at this point of the season? Rookie head coach Kyle Shanahan is building for the future and San Francisco has not won a game but they are playing competitive football. In three of the teams losses this year, are from a combined nine points, and one game went into overtime. The record does not indicate the progress being made towards turning this franchise in the right direction. The Colts are their next opponent who they face in Indianapolis and it provides the 49ers a realistic chance for their first victory. Leaving Indy, the Niners take on Washington on the road, come home for Dallas and then travel to Philly. If San Francisco can reach 1-7 after eight games, they can relish in knowing they got to pop the champagne at least once this year.

Los Angeles Rams

Quarter Season Report
Record 3-1

Will Jeff Fisher ever get another head coaching job? Seeing the way this team is performing without him has to diminish his reputation as the right guy to have leading any team in the NFL. Jared Goff looked like a colossal bust last season, and poor Todd Gurley looked tired and defeated. The offense was built on gimmick end around plays for receiver Tavon Austin. It was so ugly to watch the Rams. Enter rookie head coach Sean McVay who has turned around this offensive disaster into the leagues No. 1 scoring offense. Wow! Damn good job Mr. McVay. The biggest question is – Can the Rams sustain the momentum? Hell even if they can’t and reach Week 9 with five wins under their belt, it would still be a crowning achievement, for a team that finished 4-12 last year. Exciting, young and fun to watch, the Rams are the surprise team of the year so far in my opinion.

Seattle Seahawks

Quarter Season Report
Record 2-2

How good are the Seattle Seahawks? Usually they are the team I have playing in the NFC Championship game over the last five years or so, but can that belief remain with this current team. Their two wins are over the Colts and 49ers (Combined 1-7) and Indianapolis beat 0-4 Cleveland to get their lone victory, thus far this year. Chris Carson looked like the new bright spot on offense, but he was lost last week to a nasty ankle injury, leaving their backfield once again in the hands of hard-nosed Thomas Rawls. While not counting them out against any opponent they face, the reality of the situation is, Seattle is an enigma. The basic core of their back-to-back Super Bowl team remains intact, but the defense has lost its dominant form and without Marshawn Lynch the offense has lost its identity. When Week 8 ends, seeing Seattle in the NFC West standings at 5-3 or 4-4 is about the best I can foresee for this team.

Buffalo Bills

2017 Impact Player
Zay Jones, Receiver

Zay Jones was one of the most impressive prospects at the 2017 Reese’s Senior Bowl after a great career at East Carolina. Jones left college owning the schools and conferences (American Athletic Conference) records in career receptions (399) and single-season (158).

Buffalo traded away Sammy Watkins this off-season which should indicate the Bills felt confident in their 2017 second round pick in the NFL Draft (Jones) will be able to contribute of the offense.

New York Jets

2017 Impact Player
Jamal Adams, Safety

The New York Jets invested early in former LSU safety Jamal Adams by selecting him in the sixth overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft. His selection forced former 2014 first round pick Calvin Pryor.

College2Pro.com was told by Jets scouts that Adams is “as advertised” which bolds well for a team that will be on the field plenty this season. Absent of weapons on offense, New York’s rookie safety will see plenty of playing time.

Miami Dolphins

2017 Impact Player
Jay Cutler, Quarterback

Jay Cutler’s brief hiatus from football did not last very long after incumbent Dolphins’ quarterback Ryan Tannehill tore his ACL. Cutler’s relationship with Miami head coach Adam Gaze made the decision easy when the Phins went looking for a quality starting quarterback.

This is perhaps the best offense Cutler will find himself playing in and with expectations already intense for Miami to make a real playoff run the team will rely on the gunslingers arm more than ever.

New England Patriots

2017 Impact Player
Mike Gillislee, Running Back

New England uses their running backs in a very heavy rotation fashion. Disguising their offensive skills in different schemes changes weekly for the Patriots, but Gillislee should be the carrier that ends up being most effective.

The free agent this past March signed with New England after rushing for 5.7 yards per carry last season with the Bills. He brings a goal-line toughness and ability to carve out positive yards on a consistent basis.

Jacksonville Jaguars

2017 Impact Players
Myles Jack, Linebacker

Maybe it is wishful thinking more than anything, but glances up and down the recent list of NFL Draft picks by the Jaguars, makes one get very excited. Jack, Dante Flowers, Jalen Ramsey and 2017 free agent addition defensive end Calais Campbell should solidify their defense.

Jacksonville once again due to their high-profile selections leave the fan base imagining the team can make their way up the standings. Thus far, that has not transpired, but that does not mean it can not happen.

Tennessee Titans

2017 Impact Player
Kevin Byard, Safety

Byard enters his second season in Dick LeBeau’s defensive system after being selected in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He is a rangy athletic safety who is being paired with newly signed free agent Johnathan Cyprien.

Cyprien is one of the premier safeties in the NFL, and the back end of the Titans defense should help fortify the front seven. Tennessee is a franchise on the rise and eyeing up and down their roster, plenty of wins should be in their future.

Indianapolis Colts

2017 Impact Player
Marlon Mack, Running Back

Indianapolis will lean on Frank Gore once again as the former 2005 third round pick out of Miami builds on his amazing career. Gore is 34 years old, leaving the possibility for instance reduction in production to his him quickly.

That is were rookie Marlon Mack becomes the future of the Colts running back position. A one cut dynamo, he has the skill set produce big play after big play. It will be vital for Mack to do exactly that as franchise quarterback Andrew Luck remains on the sidelines.

Houston Texans

2017 Impact Player
Zach Cunningham, Linebacker

The guy is not even a starter; I can hear Texans fans gripping already. Cunningham will sit behind the starters and make his quiet imprint on the Texans defense here and there before eventually being a household name.

He possesses an incredible knack to make plays and be around the ball time after time. His Vanderbilt teammates we spoke to prior to the 2017 NFL Draft, raved about him for not only his on the field ability but his leadership qualities and locker-room presence.

Cleveland Browns

2017 Impact Players
Joe Schobert, Linebacker

Watching a player develop never ceases to amaze, Joe Schobert is that guy for the Cleveland Browns. A fourth round pick out of Wisconsin last season, where he played outside linebacker.

After one year with the Browns, the team asked him to move inside. He was battling Tank Carder for the starting gig, until Carder tore his ACL against the New York Giants in the pre-season. Schobert is always around the football and will become a fan favorite.

Cincinnati Bengals

2017 Impact Player
Cedric Ogbuehi, Left Tackle

Unfortunately, Ogbuehi could impact the Bengals season more so than some other players on the current roster. The 2015 first round pick out of Texas A&M, slides to left tackle this season and will protect Andy Dalton.

He has not exactly lived up to his draft billing thus far, so it is now or never for Ogbuehi to put his best foot forward. His play at a high-level will be key for Cincinnati to earn their way back into the playoffs.

Baltimore Ravens

2017 Impact Player
Brent Urban, Defensive End

This appears to be the season Urban, earns his money, for the Ravens. He was selected in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft and has not really become the player the team envisioned.

Urban’s play over training camp and pre-season games places him atop the depth chart and a subtle impact should be made by his presence on the defensive line.

Pittsburgh Steelers

2017 Impact Players
Bud Dupree, Linebacker

Dupree has battled minor injuries since arriving in Pittsburgh in 2015. The former first-round selection has shown immense talent when healthy. He enters Week 1, healthy and ready roll.

Pittsburgh has their best defensive unit in years, and that should only enhance the pass rushers ability to sniff out opposing teams’ quarterbacks. The Steelers defensive front that includes Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt and Javon Hargrave should be one of the top units in the league. Unleashing both Dupree and rookie T.J. Watt to run wild.

Denver Broncos

2017 Impact Player
Garett Bolles, Left Tackle

One year ago, Garet Bolles was one of the top left tackles in the country on the college landscape. Now he is a rookie left tackle, who will have a tremendous amount of pressure to deliver for the Broncos.

College2Pro’s top tackle in the 2017 NFL Draft, he possesses a nasty demeanor and relishes contact after the whistle. Bolles can impact the team with his play and attitude. Excited to see him do his thing in the pros.

Oakland Raiders

2017 Impact Player
Mario Edwards Jr, Defensive End

Just seeing Edwards Jr. on the field is a great thing to see after scary neck issues have plagued the 2015 second round pick who has flashed true pass rushing skills. Leading up to this point his career was in question.

Healthy and playing along side Pro Bowler Khalil Mack means the Raiders defensive force up front should be amongst the very best in the NFL. Edwards could benefit more than anyone with Mack receiving the bulk of attention from worried offensive coordinators.

Los Angeles Chargers

2017 Impact Player
Keenan Allen, Receiver

Allen has missed 23 games over the last two seasons and has felled to appear in all 16 games since being drafted in 2013. Allen once again returns and his impact (If healthy) should be the largest of any Charger.

He possesses true game changing skills that allow him to take over a secondary and giving Pro Bowl quarterback Philip Rivers a comfort zone pushing the football up the field.

Kansas City Chiefs

2017 Impact Player
Kareem Hunt, Running Back

Hunt was the best running back College2Pro saw at the Senior Bowl this past year. His physical running style was evident during drills and scouting him at Toledo helped place him in our good graces with lofty expectations.

The injury to Spencer Ware has allowed him to get on the fast track to being the Chiefs’ top option in the backfield, but before we anoint him all the accolades available, he must first prove he can do it.

Washington Redskins

2017 Impact Player
Jonathan Allen, Defensive End

Everyone watching the NFL Draft his past year, witnesses the significant fall of Allen on draft boards. Expected by many including College2Pro.com, envisioned Allen being selected possibly in the top ten overall.

Allen arrives in our nation’s capital with high expectations to get the Redskins defense up to snuff. While the attention of Kirk Cousins play and contract will supercede all other stories, Allen becoming a legit force is just important for a franchise craving an impact defensive warrior.

Philadelphia Eagles

2017 Impact Player
Wendell Smallwood, Running Back

Smallwood is the name always left out of the conversation when discussing what possible running back in Philadelphia could emerge as a real threat. He flashed his skills plenty last season, giving the Eagles’ scouting department feeling comfortable will him in 2017.

Legarrette Blount was signed via free agency. Ryan Mathews was released. Donnel Pumphrey is a third-down option. Darren Sproles remains. Smallwood is the best long-term option to impact the backfield in a positive way in Philly.

New York Giants

2017 Impact Player
Evan Engram, Tight End

Mark Bavaro and Jeremy Shockey are the last two legit names at tight end I can remember for the New York Giants. Feeling confident they there will be a third in the near future after the Giants drafted Engram in round one of the 2017 NFL Draft.

This young man can be special! He can do so many things that pertain to playing a H-Back/Tight End role in the Giants’ offensive scheme. Freakishly athletic, he’ll quickly grab the attention of veteran Eli Manning, with veteran receiving crew drawing all the attention.

Dallas Cowboys

2017 Impact Player
Jaylon Smith, Linebacker

Jaylon Smith while at Notre Dame displayed top three overall type potential. Then a devastating knee injury dropped him into the second round, where the Cowboys wisely grabbed him off the board, in last years NFL Draft.

One year removed, Smith is now poised to be ‘The Man’ on the defensive side of the football. Basically a rookie after not suiting up until this year, the Cowboys’ will monitor early on his physical gifts remaining intact rather than instance veteran play making ability.

New Orleans Saints

2017 Impact Player
Trey Hendrickson, Defensive End

No other player made a bigger impact at the East West Shrine game more than Hendrickson. The former Florida Atlantic Owls, defensive star showed a knack for constant hustle and intensity.

He carried that momentum into the 2017 NFL Draft, being selected in the third round. The Saints are needy of a defensive centerpiece on defense. Will Smith may be the last real force off the edge the team has had. Hendrickson’s rise will be fun to watch.

Atlanta Falcons

2017 Impact Player
Takkarist McKinley, Defensive End

Dan Quinn had to jump with joy after landing McKinley with the 26th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Vic Beasley emerged last season for Atlanta and now the addition of the former JUCO standout leaves expectations extremely high in my mind.

Relentless pressure, McKinley has a high revving motor that keeps on going and going. Quinn’s expertise is on the defensive side of the football which should advance the rookie’s impact on the Atlanta defense.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2017 Impact Player] Noah Spence, Defensive End

In 2016, no other player made a larger impact during Senior Bowl week than former Eastern Kentucky defensive end Noah Spence who was dismissed from Ohio State. He dominated practices, displaying his superb athleticism.

Spence flashed glimpses of his potential last season and this year expectations are for him to leap towards becoming one of the premier sack artists in the entire league. Tampa Bay wants to make the playoffs and Spence is a key component to that goal.

Carolina Panthers

2017 Impact Player
Matt Kalil, Left Tackle

Christian McCaffrey is the hottest name in Carolina. The rookie’s impact on the Panthers’ offense will largely be contributed to Kalil’s play on the offensive line. Caroline signed the former Minnesota Vikings first-round pick via free agency in March.

The Panthers gave 25 million reasons in guaranteed money to Kalil to be the impact player on the Carolina offense that no one is mentioning. Protecting Cam Newton while opening holes for their rookie back make him the impact player in 2017 for the Panthers.

Chicago Bears

2017 Impact Player
Leonard Floyd, Linebacker

The Chicago Bears are not a franchise absent of elite linebacker over the years. Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary and Brian Urlacher all come to mind. Grant it, placing Floyd in the same group is a little absurd at this point but he has the potential to reach their level.

Remaining healthy may be the biggest obstacle for Floyd rather than offensive opponents. He registered seven sacks in only 12 games last season as a rookie. Floyd should be a Pro Bowl caliber player for the Bears for years to come.

Detroit Lions

2017 Impact Player
Rick Wagner, Right Tackle

The Detroit Lions stink at running the football. Let’s just admit that before moving forward in agreement. If Ameer Abdullah or Theo Riddick are going to help the offense Wagner’s skills will be needed.

In addition to upgrading the offensive line, he’ll provide franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford is safer pocket to deliver the football to his receiving corps. The Lions are on the verge of the playoffs, Wagner is a large piece to reaching the post season.

Green Bay Packers

2017 Impact Player
Blake Martinez, Linebacker

Usually when the Green Bay Packers are mentioned we think Aaron Rodgers and their high powered offense or the long blonde haired Clay Matthews at the identity of the defense. Martinez is another name to get acquainted with before the season begins.

The second year linebacker is well equipped for the pro game after a great college career at Stanford. Expect him to build off a strong rookie season ended short by injury.

Minnesota Vikings

2017 Impact Player
Dalvin Cook, Running Back

Cook was the top running back available to College2Pro.com, and the Vikings will use this versatile running back to get Minnesota on track offensively. He possesses the ability to stay on the field all three downs.

Another benefit for Cook is that the team brought in Latavius Murray via free agency and have Jerick McKinnon on the roster to spell the rookie running back, keeping him fresh all season.

Arizona Cardinals

2017 Impact Player
Budda Baker, Safety

Arizona had their eye on the future when moving up in the 2017 NFL Draft to select the former Washington standout. Incumbent safety Antoine Bethea remains an important piece to the Cardinals defense but at age 32, the possibility of fading can happen quickly.

Baker excels are finding the football and loves to be physical despite not exactly being the biggest safety pound per pound. His reps and growth should factor into the Cardinals defensive schemes as the season progresses.

San Francisco 49ers

2017 Impact Player
Rueben Foster, Linebacker

Patrick Willis and his early retirement still are embedded in the hearts and souls of the 49ers’ faithful. Early indications show Foster is doing his best to erase that painful memory.

Kyle Shanahan was hired from Atlanta where he helped Falcons Matt Ryan win MVP. The 49ers lack the elite quality of offensive players that filled the Falcons roster. That means the rookie from Alabama is going to see plenty of action.

Los Angeles Rams

2017 Impact Player
Jared Goff, Quarterback

Wishful thinking for the Rams, that Goff becomes the player they envisioned when he was taken No. 1 overall last year. He struggled to make any in road progress last season leaving year two with a bit of concern.

Los Angeles hired Sean McVay whose expertise is considered to be getting quarterbacks up to speed. The Rams traded for a talented but often hurt Sammy Watkins to help give the offense a boost.

Seattle Seahawks

2017 Player Impact
Michael Wilhoite, Linebacker

Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright are one of the best pairs of linebackers in the league. The Seattle defense itself is known as one of the elite groups defensively that line up in the entire league.

Wilhoite comes from NFC West rival San Francisco, and adds another element of talent to an already talented group. Consistently making plays the veteran will help improve one of the best defenses in the league.

Early Years

“I was good a good athlete but there were other guys in the neighborhood that were better,” Easley said about growing up and how he compared to the other kids growing.

The 306th inductee into the Pro Hall of Fame admitted that it was in middle school he began to notice he had something a little more than the others.

“I had work ethic,” Easley said.” Other guys just wanted to play. I used to actually run and train.”

The high school quarterback at Oscar F. Smith (Chesapeake, VA) was highly recruited but it was in his heart to play safety.

Photo Credit Pro Football Hall of Fame

Recruiting

“I was being recruited by everyone as a quarterback,” Easley said. “My first visit was to Kansas. Then to the University of Michigan and then Ohio State.”

Easley went down the list of schools and even mentioned Richmond since they were ‘local’ in his description.

The five-time Pro Bowler revealed that UCLA and Michigan were the finalist on his list of colleges. His recruiting trip to Ann Arbor made an impression on the young man from Chesapeake, Virginia.

College2Pro.com Photographer Frank Hyatt

Michigan vs. UCLA

“When I came home from Michigan, I said I’m going to Michigan!”

Easley went to bed thinking Maze and Blue after his recruiting trip to Michigan but it made him nervous that Bo Schembechler wanted him to play quarterback and could not promise a role strictly at safety.

“So Bo Schembechler came to my house the night before the letter of national intent,” Easley said and added it was down to UCLA and Michigan.

“Bo Schembechler comes in and makes his pitch,” revealed the three-time consensus All-American (Easley). “He is talking about me being Michigan’s quarterback and leading them to the Rose Bowl and winning Big 10 championships.”

College2Pro.com Photographer Frank Hyatt

Bo Schembechler & Terry Donahue Visit

“Finally I got up the nerve to say coach and you don’t tell Bo Schembechler anything (Laughing). So I got up the nerve and said coach I do not want to be a quarterback I want to be a free safety and Bo said, ‘A safety! Hell anyone can play safety’ laughed Easley.

Schembechler could not promise a full Wolverines career at safety and left the Easley home unhappy.

UCLA came to visit the Easley home as well the Bruins had both head coach Terry Donahue and defensive coordinator Jed Hues.

Hues tried selling Easley on the idea he would follow in the footsteps of current Bruins safety at the time Oscar Edwards who they nicknamed ‘Doctor Death’ and the accolades would follow.

College2Pro.com Photographer Frank Hyatt

Shockwaves

The meeting went very well and the Bruins reassured Easley he could come to UCLA and fulfill his dream of playing safety and nothing but safety.

Easley went to bed that night still dreaming of playing in front of the Michigan faithful even though the meeting went very well with the Bruins coaches.

Hues called the highly sought after safety the next morning hoping to hear the feedback he was hoping for in hearing Easley say in fact he was going to be a Bruin and head to UCLA.

Easley tells the Bruins coach over the phone, “I’m going to Michigan.”

When the day arrived with television cameras and fellow students ready to hear his announcement Easley said into the microphone, “UCLA.” “Until this very day I can not tell you why I said UCLA,” Easley laughed after telling everyone he knew he was going to Michigan. “I get there and blurt out UCLA.”

College2Pro.com Photographer Frank Hyatt

1981 NFL Draft

In the spring of 1981, Easley was getting attention from every NFL team, especially from the San Francisco 49ers.

“I can tell you, Seattle was not interested in me,” Easley said. “Because they did not come work me out and I never talked to anyone in the organization.”

Bill Walsh was extremely interested in the UCLA Bruins safety and went so far to tell him that if you are available with the 8th overall selection the 49ers would select him.

Imagine Ronnie Lott not being in San Francisco…

College2Pro.com Photographer Jason Pohuski

Easley & Steve Largent

The best of Seattle’s offense and the best on Seattle’s defense. One would figure the bond must have been very tightly united.

That is not the story Easley shares with former teammate and Hall of Fame receiver Steve Largent.

“It is fair to say this that when Steve and I played together we weren’t the best of friends,” Easley explained at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Serving as the Seahawks player rep in the 80s, Easley said there where times that brought stress and made it difficult.

Since they have been out of the game, Easley expresses that both have buried the hatched and now have a fantastic relationship over the last 10 to 15 years.

College2Pro.com Photographer Jason Pohuski

Enshrinement Night

“I’d like to start by sharing a passage fro the bible I’ve learned on, counted on and trusted with all certainty through the years,” Easley said in his opening statement in Canton, Ohio. Surrounding by the greatest players to ever play, he continued, “Philippians 4 and 6, ‘Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God.”

Easley expressed his faith, his love for family, the hope for less violence against African-Amercians and that peace would find everyone in all walks of life.

He pleged a promise to the Gold Jackets sitting next to him that he would, “uphold the diginity and pride of the men that wear and have worn this gold jackets before me.”

‘Easley’ a choice for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

College2Pro.com Photographer Jason Pohuski

Dan Skipper

Dan Skipper

“Just getting used to the speed of the game,” Skipper said after is first game in the pros.

Skipper walked away after his first preseason game with a solid grade. He was able to pass protect and showed a good hand placement on defenders pads, enabling him to direct them off the football.

“I mean its coming right now I’m just trying to turn an eye and get a spot on this team,” Skipper said in regards to playing left guard for the Cowboys. During his collegiate career at Arkansas the SEC standout played left tackle.

He showed some tenacity when he drove Cardinals linebacker Tre’Von Johnson to the ground. Overall he looked the part and from one game observation he built a good foundation.

College2Pro.com Photographer Frank Hyatt

Rico Gathers

Rico Gathers

Gathers showed real promise against the Arizona Cardinals. The former basketball player out of Baylor has the athleticism to grow into a prominent role in the Cowboys offense.

Everyone saw him make the 46-yard touchdown catch but it was the little things that go unnoticed. He opened up a nice running lane for running back Rod Smith for a good chunk of yardage.

Gathers locked onto his man and drove him straight away from the play. Felt his presence in the redzone helped receiver Uzaoma Nwachukwu went underneath coverage to score as Gathers pulled the secondary into the endzone. A good combination of size and ability.

College2Pro.com Photographer Frank Hyatt

Ironhead Gallon

Ironhead Gallon

Gallon made some plays in his first NFL action in Canton, Ohio at the Pro Football Hall of Fame preseason game. He was able to react quickly and really suits the style of play the Cardinals like in their safeties. He resembles in athleticism Deone Bucannon, who has the range and striking ability to make plays near the ball.

“I was just rolling down in the box,” Gallon said when it appeard he was sneaking in at linebacker. “They want me to just go out and make plays and cause turnovers.”

Another player with strong upside and was very pleased with the way he was able to read and react. He stayed clean off blocks and found the football.

NFL Draft Bio

College2Pro.com Photographer Frank Hyatt

Cooper Rush

Cooper Rush

He possesses experience after playing all four years at Central Michigan in a Pro Style offense and that showed in his first preseason action.

Rush displayed a relaxed pocket presense and thought his footwork appeard clean on his throws. A few times a little more sizzle on the ball may have helped and a quicker release, but overall Rush did some very positive things in his NFL debut.

Watching him execute the Cowboys’ offense did not seem overwhelming for him and again his demeanor really stoodout.

NFL Draft Bio

College2Pro.com Photographer Frank Hyatt

Golden Knights Desend Upon Pro Football Hall of Fame

by @BoMarchionte

The Pro Football Hall of Fame began in earnest Thursday before the Arizona Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys faced off. The Cowboys’ Cheerleaders where getting the crowd revved up for the next show. As the lovely ladies were leaving, the newly renovated Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium the sky was being filled with members of the United States Army.

To be exact it was the United States Army Parachute Team, nicknamed and commonly known as the Golden Knights.

“The best part is hearing all the fans cheer,” said Sergeant First Class Brian Karst. “I heard them from a thousand feet up and all the way down it was awesome,” Karst said as beads of sweat raced down his face like his team did down to earth.

The Golden Knights tandem section provides the team with the unique ability to provide tandem parachute jumps to approve local and national celebrities, media personnel, and VIPs. This allows the team to jump with these celebrities into venues which have local and national flavor, interest, and appeal.

This program was designed to allow celebrities and VIPs the opportunity to experience the freefall with the Knights while in a safe, carefully controlled setting and to showcase the skills and qualities of Army soldiers to these special individuals.

Karst has done over 3200 hundred jumps and expresses the personal sacrifice that many of the Golden Knights make financially to reach the heights (no pun intended) to be in this elite class of the United States Army. “The selection process is pretty intense,” Karst revealed as the Cardinals and Cowboys were preparing to start the first preseason game of the 2017 NFL season.

“It is also about having a clean record and a clean military service. It is a total soldier process to get on the team.” This element consists of six soldiers who were selected from the ranks of the demonstration teams and all are specially trained in tandem parachuting and accelerated freefall parachuting techniques, as well as freefall photography.

The Golden Knights have had the honor of jumping with numerous celebrities and heads of state, most notably President George H.W. Bush, in 2007, 2012, and 2014.

How do you end up being able to jump from a Fokker C-31A Troopships or Viking Air UV-18 Twin Otter?

“You can go from a military freefall or if you are lucky enough to get into the special operations community,” Karst explains as his companions were rapidly placing their gear neatly in place.

This is where the personal sacrifice for these flying gladiators takes center stage. “What most of us did was take this up on the civilian side,” Karst explains.

“All of us made the financial commitment to learn to jump on our own. It becomes a costly quest but if it is something you love, then money is not an option after a while. You just go for it.”

Karst has done over 3,200 jumps and over 300 jumps in stadium venues. One of his most memorial jumps ended in Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska. “It just had more people,” Karst said on why falling into Cornhuskers territory stood out above the others. “This is a great venue and it is packed here,” and Karst shared why from a special point of view. While sharing the wind on his way he can see the parking lots and stadium and see first where the people are.

He said it was one of the top places he has landed in Canton, Ohio. The Golden Knights resurrect their own dropzoen to gain the ability to perfect their jumps. Karst says they build some obstacles to “challenge” their skills and if you can’t make the mark then you will not wear the patch of the Golden Knights on your parachute uniform.

The training is intense because as Karst revealed, many challenges face the jumpers as they make it to ground safely. “There are electrical wires, people and everything that you do not want to land on,” said Karst. “Don’t ever give up if it is something you want to do,” Karst said in regards to any young men or women aiming to be one of the few be a Golden Knight.

Photo Credit FrankHyatt.com

Kaepernick Head & Shoulders Above Current List Of Back-Up QBs

by @BoMarchionte

For months now the idea that Colin Kaepernick is being ‘blackballed’ by NFL owners has circulated.

Dianna Russini of ESPN, reported possible interest by the Ravens to sign the current free agent quarterback to add security behind Joe Flacco.

It is also rumored that  “resistance” from majority owner Steve Bisciotti on inking the controversial quarterback to a contract.

A report the general manager Ozzie Newsome denies.

“We are going through a process, and we have not made a decision. Steve Bisciotti has not told us we cannot sign Colin Kaepernick, nor has he blocked the move. Whoever is making those claims is wrong.”

The Ravens signed journeyman quarterback Josh Woodrum on Monday and waived David Olson. This is the fifth team Woodrum has signed with since going undrafted out of Liberty in the 2016 NFL Draft.

John Harbaugh saw up close and personal the ability shown by Kaepernick when he nearly beat the Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII against the San Francisco 49ers. Harbaugh has the inside track on Kaepernick with him brother Jim Harbaugh coaching him in the game. If there is one NFL head coach who is going to have an exact scouting report on Kaepernick is would be brother John from brother Jim.

The NFL is currently filled with some lucky back-up quarterback prospects that benefited from Kaepernick bowing down last season during our nation’s national anthem.

In a league has allows repeat offenders (with talent) to get another chance the logic or believe that Kaepernick is simply not good enough is a farce. Provided is a link to Ourlads.com depth chart of back-up quarterbacks and be your own judge.

This past May Giants owner John Mara told The MMQB confirmed that Kaepernick’s protest was a reason the Giants didn’t consider bringing the former 49ers quarterback in.

“All my years being in the league, I never received more emotional mail from people than I did about that issue,” says Giants co-owner John Mara, who for 24 years has worked for the team his family founded. “If any of your players ever do that, we are never coming to another Giants game. It wasn’t one or two letters. It was a lot. It’s an emotional, emotional issue for a lot of people, moreso than any other issue I’ve run into.”

Mare is the same man that last year was reluctant to dismiss former kicker Josh Brown who admitted to the Giants he abused his wife, in a radio interview with WFAN’s Mike Francesa.

“He’s admitted to us he’s abused his wife in the past,” Mara told Francesa, minutes after the team announced Brown will not travel to London for Sunday’s game against the Rams after police documents emerged revealing Brown made written admissions of domestic violence against his wife.

It eventually cost Brown his job when more reports were found to show a long history of abuse but it is interesting to think the Giants were secure as an organization to Brown at the point and time but yet choose to stay arm’s length from Kaepernick.

It does appear that ability is not the only issue keeping Kaepernick from suiting up for training camp in 2017. The first NFL team to suffer a significant injury to their starter will be forced to buckle and sign him. Until then they hold all the cards.

Special Teams' & Special Dream - Brian Mitchell In Pro Football Hall of Fame

Have you ever walked the halls in Canton, Ohio of the Pro Football Hall of Fame? It is a wonderful journey through the history of professional football that has become America’s favorite sport.

The building encompasses nearly every aspect of the game. Historic football memorabilia fill the building that range from old leather shoes, Super Bowl rings and cherished busts of the enshrined.

It however is void of recognizing the importance of players on special teams. Inflated offensive numbers have practically made every retired player worthy of some consideration for the Hall of Fame.

But what about the players who shined during their special teams play?

Five special team players are inducted thus far into the Hall of Fame with four place kickers (Morten Anderson, George Blanda, Lou Groza and Jan Stenerud) and one punter (Ray Guy).

How about the players who retrieved the football blasted off the feet of these possible Hall of Fame inductees – Where are they!

No where to be found.

Only one player in the NFL history has more all-purpose yardage (23,330) than special team ace Brian Mitchell and that is none other than Jerry Rice. He is one of the true dynamic players thrust aside by the powers that be in the voting for the Hall of Fame.

A boring, ceaseless, constant and continual regurgitation of positions being nominated year after year are leaving some of the best players at their unappreciated positions left out of the Hall of Fame.

Mitchell a former fifth round pick by the Washington Redskins in 1990, played quarterback at Southwestern Louisiana. His versatility shined at the collegiate where he become the first player to NCAA history to pass for more than 5,000 yards (5,447) and rushing for more than 3,000 yards (3,335).

That story itself rings of the ability he had on the gridiron. College quarterback turns into the most productive return man in NFL history.

It was his professional career where he carved out a niche to become the Swiss Army Knife to any team wishing to enhance the football up field. He served as the ultimate return weapon and could fill in on third down as a reliable and dependable asset.

Mitchell is a Super Bowl champion after his second season with Washington. He led the league in punt return yardage (600) that season along with two returns that ranked him first.

His career would amass 14 years (1990-03) and three teams that all played in the NFC East (Washington, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants). He was named first team All-Pro three times (1990, 1994, and 1995).

Mitchell’s dominance is staggering statistically in special team categories. He currently holds is the all-time leader in nearly every significant category in the return game. His 13 special teams’ touchdowns rank second behind Devin Hester.

Distinctly different, Mitchell is not another 10,000 yard running back or receiver. They are now a dime a dozen in our fantasy football crazed world, but his resume is unmatched and sadly unrewarded.

Rookies To Watch

Buffalo Bills

Jordan Johnson, RB, Buffalo

His size and ability might remind you of another Buffalo running back who has done pretty good in the NFL (James Starks). Johnson ran for over 800 yards in 2015, then followed it up with 1,040 yards in 2016. Johnson runs with power and makes good decisions. Has a shot due to thin depth at the position.

New York Jets

Connor Harris, LB, Lindenwood

Harris rewrote the college record books amazing over 600 career tackles. Truly one of the most productive prospects in the draft and will carve out a role to his 53-man destination.

Miami Dolphins

Javancy Jones, LB, Jackson State

Line him up almost anywhere and watch the production erupt. Jones is a special athlete and his going undrafted was one of the bigger shocks of Day 3 in Philadelphia. Plays with a chip on his shoulder and lacks zero confidence in his ability. Jones keys and diagnoses action quickly and gets to the football. Late-round prospect will a lot of upside to earn a living in the NFL.

New England Patriots

Josh Augusta, DT, Missouri

Vince Wilfork comparisons will begin once the Patriots media get their first glimpse of this Tigers’ product. He was once 390 and was down to 347 for his Pro Day.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Justin Horton, OLB, Jacksonville

Great signing by the Jags this prospect has the talent to play in the NFL. Character and work ethic are superb.

Tennessee Titans

DeAngelo Brown, DT, Louisville

A lot to like about Brown, who flashes power at the point of attack. He led the team in tackles for loss (14) in his final college season and should provide a nice addition of depth heading into the season.

Indianapolis Colts

Jerome Lane, WR, Akron

Lane is a former basketball standout, who originally began his collegiate football career on the defensive side of the football. He made the switch to receiver and has had solid success. He is able to get underneath the ball and shows good concentration. He possesses a large catch radius with the speed to go all the way. Strong and wins one-on-one battles and shield the ball from defensive backs.

Houston Texans

Dylan Cole, LB, Missouri State

The Texans excel at getting to the passer and Cole can help add depth and potential to the defensive unit. Cole has great sideline to sideline speed to cover a lot of ground and can be the team’s poor man’s verison of Brian Cushing.

Cleveland Browns

B.J. Bello, LB, Illinois State

The hallmark of Bello’s game is his versatility. He is a three-down linebacker able to play in 3-4 or 4-3 schemes in almost any role of the position. He moves with fluidly and shows natural athleticism. Bello displays good range and does a good job changing direction and turning his hips. He is quick off the snap with good burst to put offensive lineman off balance.

Cincinnati Bengals

Demetrious Cox, FS, Michigan State

Cox help anchor the back end of the Spartans defense showing instictive traits redirect and make a play. The Bengals may have a possible practice squad player in Cox.

Baltimore Ravens

Tim Patrick, WR, Utah

The Ravens elected to bypass receiver at the top of their draft a position many thought would be addressed early. That leaves a great opportunity for Patrick. He is prospect with size and speed who can stretch the field vertically. Injuries have limited his upside in the past but a injury free camp can boost his stock.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Rushel Shell, RB, West Virginia

The Steelers know the value of depth after seeing Le’Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams get banged up over the last few seasons. He has good vision and sees the cutback lanes. He lacks the perimeter speed to compete on the edges and will struggle to take the ball to the corner in the pros but is tough and hardnosed.

Denver Broncos

Shakir Soto, DE, Pittsburgh

Big feet big hands long arms, moves pretty well for his size, shows real solid pursuit, gets overshadowed by Ejuan Price but holds him own, can slice o-line can penetrate, has good knack to forward lean into the play, always around the ball,

Oakland Raiders

Kareem Are, OL, Florida State

The Raiders have a great starting five on the offensive line but little quality of depth after that and that is where Are can fill a void.

San Diego Chargers

Brandon Stewart, CB, Kansas

Trinity Valley CC transfer showed some good ball skills with the Jayhawks. He has decent size and knack for being around the football.

Kansas City Chiefs

Ashton Lampkin, CB, Oklahoma State

Lampkin is not a physical corner, rather than a techinquelly sound defensive back with a good range of coverage skills. He can suit plenty of different roles in the secondary and plays smart. The skill set is there to develop into a nickel corner.

Washington Redskins

Kyle Kalis, OL, Michigan

King has found a nice fit to earn a roster spot by signing with the Redskins. He is a no nonsense player who relishes the physicality of the position. He can add value in the teams run blocking.

Philadelphia Eagles

Corey Clement, RB, Wisconsin

The Eagles have two players that have a real chance to make the 53-man roster. The first is former Badgers running back Clement. He has well versed in most areas of the position and Ryan Mathews time in Philly seems to be nearing the end. The other potential steal is Shepherd tight end Billy Brown. He was great at the East West Shrine game and could be a sneaky piece to the offense.

New York Giants

Jessamen Dunker, OL, Tennessee State

Dunker originally was recruited to play at Florida but after being charged with grand theft after a scooter he purchased was reported stolen. He’ll likely transition to guard after playing tackle but he is talented and versatile. The Giants could need all hands on deck to get their offensive line up to par.

Dallas Cowboys

Dan Skipper, OT, Arkansas

Skipper will face a tough task of getting time early on with the stout offensive line unit the Cowboys boast. He does however brings a strong desire and physical ability to add qaulity depth for the Dallas offense along the front lines.

New Orleans Saints

Collin Buchanan, OL, Miami (Ohio)

The Saints were lucky to get a guy of Buchanan’s caliber as an undrafted free agent. The second team All-MAC offensive tackle will also serve as a guard at the next level. He brings great size (6-foot-4 and 316 pounds) and gives the Saints a valuable prospect moving forward.

Atlanta Falcons

Daniel Brunskill, OL, San Diego State

Hard to believe he did not go drafted one of the real prospects with upside. Brunskill has a tremendous skill set and hopefully the Falcons allow him to develop which shouldn’t take long because he is a quick learner and versatile.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Cole Gardner, OL, Eastern Michigan

This is were a lot of MAC players earn their keep, by signing as undrafted free agents and eventually making the 53-man roster by summers end. Gardner helped anchor one of the best offensive lines in the country at Eastern Michigan and was All-MAC Second Team at tackle. He has the mental make-up and mechanics to last beyond the final roster cuts.

Carolina Panthers

Fred Ross, WR, Mississippi State

The Panthers got a bit of a steal by signing this 6-foot-1 and 213 pound receiver who can line-up all over the field for Carolina. He can become a solid possession time weapon in the Panthers offense. Keep a close on him during camp a name to remember.

Chicago Bears

Dieugot Joseph, OT, FIU

The Bears signed a very athletic tackle that originally arrived at FIU to play on the defensive side of the football. The coaching staff saw his potential and now he has a chance to make a solid contribution in Chicago. He possesses long arms and knows how to redirect opponents away from the ball. Excited to seem him develop in the Windy City.

Detroit Lions

Storm Norton, OL, Toledo

Massive offensive lineman with potential. The Lions were able to keep close tabs on the Rockets tackle being so close in Detroit. Agile enough deal with smaller quicker pass rushers. Good football IQ and coachable. Norton was voted team captain for the Rockets. He played right tackle at the East West Shrine game after spending two years at left tackle showing some versatility under fire down in St. Petes.

Green Bay Packers

Jonathan Calvin, DE, Mississippi State

His combination of speed and quickness along with the development of his pass rushing skills are going to be the bedrock of his NFL Draft value. Invited to the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, scouting departments are well aware of his abilities and sharing their thoughts on what he needs to work on will help in the coming months. Another undrafted prospects to keep close eye on in Green Bay is Youngstown State defensive David Rivers.

Minnesota Vikings

R.J. Shelton, WR, Michigan State

Shelton was a team leader and MVP Voted the most valuable player (Governor’s Award) by his teammates his senior season, which speaks volumes to his locker room presence and importance to his teammates. Not a blazer and will need to show he has the legs to be an explosive player at the next level.

Arizona Cardinals

Ironhead Gallon, LB, Georgia Southern

Gallon will be looked to play safety again due to size restraints 5-foot-11 and 211 pounds. Possible NFL comparisons if a team wished to keep him at linebacker would be Los Angeles Rams Mark Barron and Arizona Cardinals Deone Bucannon in terms of size and ability. Dallas Cowboys safety J.J. Wilcox another Georgia Southern alum who is not in Tampa Bay with the Buccaneers.

San Francisco 49ers

KD Cannon, WR, Baylor

Cannon has a good shot at making a little noise in San Francisco. The WR core is far from being handcuffed at the starting spots. Now we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves and saying Cannon is going to start, but he can however, make a run at getting on the 53-man roster after camp.

Los Angeles Rams

Casey Sayles, DT, Ohio University

Sayles arrives with some strong competition but hopefully he can show his athleticism and ability by the time September rolls around. He had a ton of interest prior to the NFL Draft in part because of his hustle and upside.

Seattle Seahawks

Skyler Howard, QB, West Virginia

Seattle landed a real sleeper at quarterback and also a guy who fits perfectly in the Seahawks system. Howard is a ‘Gamer’ and odds have never been on his side but wins and production is what he leaves behind. Incumbent back-up Trevone Boykin off-field concerns leave an opening for Howard to seize.

Buffalo Bills

Rookie Watch

Adolphus Washington, DT, 3rd Round
Washington steps into the starting role in Rex Ryan defense in his rookie season. At Ohio State Washington, provided the Buckeyes with a high intensity player on the defensive interior. He has great hustle that is predicated on his versatility. He should be a bright spot for the Bills.

New York Jets

Rookie Watch

Jordan Jenkins, OLB, 3rd Round

Jenkins was the anchor to the Georgia Bulldogs defense being named a team captain and starting three years. Along with fellow rookie teammate Darron Lee (2016 1st Rd) the Jets have a young nucleus at the linebacker position. Jenkins currently is the teams starting outside linebacker and provides terrific sideline to sideline speed. The sure handed tackler should be heard often for making plays and being around the football.

Miami Dolphins

Rookie Watch

Laremy Tunsil, OT, 1st Round

It has been a rebuilding project of image and talent for Tunsil, since the facemask fill with pot videro aired the night of the 2016 NFL Draft. Athletically there are few who can match Tunsil and when he is focused he can be very special. Head coach Adam Gase will need to play extra attention to Tunsil both on and off the playing field. Miami has four former first round picks starting in their line-up that includes Brandon Albert (08′), Mike Pouncey (11′), Ja’Waun James (14′), and Tunsil.

New England Patriots

Rookie Watch

Joe Thuney, LG, 3rd Round

The former North Carolina State guard will work along side left tackle Nate Solder. Their early work will be to aid quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo into a safe working area as he replaces the suspended Tom Brady the first four games of the season. Thuney is versatile and was one of the players I thought did a very good job show casing that versatility at the East West Shrine this past January.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Rookie Watch

Jalen Ramsey, DB, 1st Round

Plenty of excitement surrounds the Jaguars heading into this season and deservingly so, with the possible potential on the current roster. Ramsey along with their first round pick Dante Fowler Jr. and second round pick this year Myles Jack the optimism is obvious. Personally thought Ramsey was the best prospect in this draft class and he proved at Florida State he can take over a game from the secondary. That is an impressive feat to accomplish.

Tennessee Titans

Rookie Watch

Tajae Sharpe, WR, 5th Round

Sharpe has done a superb job of adapting to the pro game in such a limited amount of time and by doing so he has placed former first round pick Kendall Wright, behind him on the teams depth chart. Derrick Henry is the big name rookie currently on the roster, but Sharpe should equal Henry’s impact on the field this season. Second year quarterback Marcus Mariota already appears to have a comfort with the former UMass receiver.

Indianapolis Colts

Rookie Watch

Antonio Morrison, LB,, 4th Round

D’Qwell Jackson has done a splendid job of eluding ‘Father Time’ over the course of his 10-year career. Morrison is a rangy linebacker who excels at zeroing in on his target. He has battled some injuries at Florida but the former Gator can flat out play when he is 100%. The Colts always could use another household name on the defensive unit. Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis were once the star of this defense. Freeney has been long gone as Mathis continues his high level of play.

Houston Texans

Rookie Watch

Will Fuller, WR, 1st Round

Sure he drops the ball from time to time, but he can get deep and feel he is a better route runner than he is given credit for. Fuller enters a offense as the first round pick with little pressure on him, due to the fact that DeAndre Hoplins and Jaelen Strong sit atop the depth chart. Fuller can ease into the position and then apply his speed to the slot and take the top off the defensive coverage.

Cleveland Browns

http://www.college2pro.com/bj-bello-nfl-draft/

Cincinnati Bengals

Rookie Watch

Clayton Fejedelem, S, 7th Round

This is a personal favorite and ever since seeing him at the East West Shrine Game, I felt pretty confident he would make the 53-man, regardless of what team he was selected to play for. He is the Kurt Coleman or Chris Maragos of the league. Walk-on player at college with a nose for the football, who is tucked on the bottle of the depth chart but give him time he’ll emerge.

Baltimore Ravens

Rookie Watch

Ronnie Stanley, LT, 1st Round

Not too much pressure for the former Notre Dame star offensive tackle. Just step in your rookie season to handle the blind side of the franchise quarterback, who is coming off an ACL injury. Stanley will face his ups-and-downs this season like any other rookie, but he has shown good consistent reps in camp. Ozzie Newsome hopes this is a 10-year plug and play guy from the get go.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Rookie Watch

Javon Hargrave, DT, 3nd Round

Hargrave has been impressive during training camp and the preseason. If you pay close attention the final product of Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt and Hargrave give the Steelers and very fierce front on the defensive line. He will gain more and more time with the starters as the season progresses, but he serves as an ideal piece to defensive unit.

Denver Broncos

Rookie Watch

Devontar Booker, RB, 4th Round

The Broncos got a steal in the fourth round and this also coincides why I so strongly disagree with Dallas Cowboys selecting Ezekiel Elliott being the fourth overall in the entire draft. With so many other needs the Cowboys should have grabbed a guy with Booker’s potential and addressed their punch less defensive unit. Booker should eat into the carries C.J Anderson until he finally secures the starting job in Denver, I’d say by Week 6.

Oakland Raiders

Rookie Watch

Jihad Ward, DT, 2nd Round

Sadly, one of the most exciting things I looked forward to watching in the NFL this season was the progress made by the trio of youngsters on the Raiders defensive line. Khalil Mack, Mario Edwards and Ward were the object of affection in my eyes. Edwards was placed on the IR with a chance to return later in the season but our initial glance to the future will be placed on hold until them. Ward has done a great job in camp and brings versatility to the position. He can plug the whole as well as disrupt the passing game with great efficiency.

San Diego Chargers

Rookie Watch

Hunter Henry, TE, 2nd Round

Antonio Gates outlasted Ladarius Green who was in a prime position to wrangle the starting job away from the future Hall of Fame tight end. Gates still sits atop the depth chart and continues to excel at being the trusted target to Pro Bowl quarterback Philip Rivers. Enter Henry, the second round pick out of Arkansas who possesses the run catching ability the Chargers offense had made famous for tight ends over the Gates tenure. Keep your eye on the future as Henry embarks into his rookie season.

Kansas City Chiefs

 Rookie Watch

Tyreek Hill, WR, 5th Round

Hill possesses a very rare speed even the faster players in the league would envy. He has some issues off the field in college that almost derailed his chances of making it in the NFL. His impact will not be enormous, but Hill should receive enough touches to ignite the crowd and earn some highlight time in the Chiefs offensive scheme.

Washington Redskins

Rookie Watch

Su’a Cravens, LB, 2nd Round

The Washington Redskins will work Cravens into the line-up along the same ideology that Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams employ Deone Bucaanon and Mark Barron. Both drafting as safeties but have become the new hybrid linebacker. Cravens fits the criteria and will look to earn snaps behind Mason Foster.

Philadelphia Eagles

Rookie Watch

Carson Wentz, QB, 1st Round

Wentz from possibly being inactive for the start of the season, to now jumped over Chase Daniel as the starting Eagles quarterback, after Sam Bradford was traded to the Minnesota Vikings. Wentz was the second overall pick in the entire draft and plenty of observers felt he could easily been the No. 1 pick overall. He’ll rely heavy on Ryan Mathews early on before he gains confidence to go down field.

New York Giants

Rookie Watch

Darian Thompson, FS, 3rd Round

The New York Giants ranked last in total defense last season and Thompson will be needed desperately. The Giants added plenty of defensive help via fee agency and Thompson will be a critical piece to resurrect the defense. He closes to the ball quickly and has spent time at both free and strong safety. Thompson leaves Boise State as an two-time first team All-MWC (2014-15) safety.

Dallas Cowboys

Rookie Watch

Dak Prescott, QB, 4th Round

One tackle made by Cliff Avril on quarterback Tony Romo, changed the future of Prescott. He has a fantastic preseason and now he’ll have zero time to sit behind Romo since he is going to miss a large portion if not the entire 2016 NFL season. Prescott has athletic ability to suit his mental toughness thus far to give the Cowboys some early hope.

New Orleans Saint

Rookie Watch

Michael Thomas, WR, 2nd Round

Thomas is in position to be an off the radar Rookie of the Year candidate. Thomas possesses great size and I love his fight for the football. When you place him in the New Orleans Saints offense it seems logical that he’ll be able to make an early impact.

 

Atlanta Falcons

 Rookie Watch

Deion Jones, LB, 2nd Round

The LSU Tigers will miss the intense hustle Jones now brings the Falcons. He is a fast and explosive player who excels at finding the football play after play. Rarely out of position he knows his gaps and stands atop the depth chart in Atlanta. Head coach Dan Quinn knows defense and Jones will be relied on to be the next Jesse Tuggle.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Rookie Watch

Noah Spence, DE, 2nd Round

Spence originally committed to Ohio State, but he eventually had to transfer to Eastern Kentucky after being suspended and eventually declared ineligible after failing two drug tests. He has changed his ways and I feel he is as good as talent as those taken in the top ten of the 2016 NFL Draft. Nothing was more pleasing than seeing this young man dominate the Senior Bowl practices and has since continued his level of play in training camp and the preseason.

Carolina Panthers

Rookie Watch

James Bradberry, DB, 2nd Round

The Carolina Panthers currently have zero offensive rookies on their roster offensively. That is not the same case when it comes to the defense where two rookies are placed atop the depth chart. Bradberry and third round pick Daryl Worley will play a vital role in the out come of how the Panthers season eventually turns out. With Josh Norman off to the Washington Redskins the void is large.

Chicago Bears

Rookie Watch

Leonard Floyd, OLB, 1st Round

Long, lean and athletic is the description of Floyd. Seeing him in the final preseason game in Cleveland against the Browns you take notice of his quickness and ability to get behind the offensive line. The Bears are desperate for a new defensive identity and Floyd is going to be the guy given the first shot at the title.

Detroit Lions

 Rookie Watch

Taylor Decker, LT, 1st Round

Decker finds himself playing left tackle and will face the best defensive lineman snap after snap to protect Matthew Stafford and provide potency to the ground game. Decker has a bit nasty and I like that of every offensive lineman. The Lions are sneaky good and could make some noise in the NFC North and a lot of that success will be due to the play on the left side of the offensive line.

Green Bay Packers

Rookie Watch

Blake Martinez, LB, 4th Round

The rookie has already been given the starting job and he’ll be calling the plays in the Green Bay huddle on the defensive side of the football. Martinez reacts quickly and changes direction very smoothly. He is able to get to the sideline and takes pride in attacking the ball carrier. He is going to be fun to watch in the Packers defense.

Minnesota Vikings

Rookie Watch

Laquon Treadwell, WR, 1st Round

The acquisition of Sam Bradford, only increases the value of Treadwell in my humble observation. Bradford will be able to get the football vertical and Treadwell should really thrive having a seasoned veteran under center and add the fact that Adrian Peterson draws the defense to the line of scrimmage, there is a strong possibility Treadwell emerges as a star in 2016. Remember he was not at all to pleased being selected behind the other receivers taken in the first round. He’ll play with a chip on his shoulder.

Arizona Cardinals

Rookie Watch

Marqui Christian, SS, 5th Round

The former Midwestern State safety is the ‘poor man’ version of Jalen Ramsey. That is why I wanted to make sure we addressed his upside and potential as he is tucked beneath the giant names of Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu. Christian can play defensive back or safety and has terrific size and athleticism. Exciting to see this young man emerge on the NFL landscape and move up the ladder.

San Francisco 49ers

Rookie Watch

DeForest Buckner, DE, 1st Round

Chip Kelly continued his Oregon Duck craving by selecting Buckner in the first round. Buckner is a force and the days of Justin Smith seem like decades ago and also coincided with the 49ers success that has quickly evaporated. The defense is absent of Patrick Willis and Aldon Smith is gone as well, so the void is left to be filled and San Francisco hopes he’ll seize the job as the leader of the defense.

Los Angeles Rams

Rookie Watch

Tyler Higbee, TE, 4th Round

Several years have past and I have always fallen for the hype of the now Los Angeles Rams. Jared Goff is poised to become the starting quarterback and Todd Gurley displayed his incredible running ability last season so the next name on the list to eye up is none other than Higbee. He is a pass catching tight end with great size and speed. He’ll be the target Goff looks to the most as the duo grows together in the league.

Seattle Seahawks

Skyler Howard, QB West Virginia

Howard fits the mold and attitude of the Seattle Seahawks. With back-up Trevone Boykin off the field issues and the immense upside with Howard do not be surprised to see this undrafted pitbull seize the moment.

Buffalo Bills

Rookie Watch

Adolphus Washington, DT, 3rd Round
Washington steps into the starting role in Rex Ryan defense in his rookie season. At Ohio State Washington, provided the Buckeyes with a high intensity player on the defensive interior. He has great hustle that is predicated on his versatility. He should be a bright spot for the Bills.

New York Jets

Rookie Watch

Jordan Jenkins, OLB, 3rd Round

Jenkins was the anchor to the Georgia Bulldogs defense being named a team captain and starting three years. Along with fellow rookie teammate Darron Lee (2016 1st Rd) the Jets have a young nucleus at the linebacker position. Jenkins currently is the teams starting outside linebacker and provides terrific sideline to sideline speed. The sure handed tackler should be heard often for making plays and being around the football.

Miami Dolphins

Rookie Watch

Laremy Tunsil, OT, 1st Round

It has been a rebuilding project of image and talent for Tunsil, since the facemask fill with pot videro aired the night of the 2016 NFL Draft. Athletically there are few who can match Tunsil and when he is focused he can be very special. Head coach Adam Gase will need to play extra attention to Tunsil both on and off the playing field. Miami has four former first round picks starting in their line-up that includes Brandon Albert (08′), Mike Pouncey (11′), Ja’Waun James (14′), and Tunsil.

New England Patriots

Rookie Watch

Joe Thuney, LG, 3rd Round

The former North Carolina State guard will work along side left tackle Nate Solder. Their early work will be to aid quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo into a safe working area as he replaces the suspended Tom Brady the first four games of the season. Thuney is versatile and was one of the players I thought did a very good job show casing that versatility at the East West Shrine this past January.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Rookie Watch

Jalen Ramsey, DB, 1st Round

Plenty of excitement surrounds the Jaguars heading into this season and deservingly so, with the possible potential on the current roster. Ramsey along with their first round pick Dante Fowler Jr. and second round pick this year Myles Jack the optimism is obvious. Personally thought Ramsey was the best prospect in this draft class and he proved at Florida State he can take over a game from the secondary. That is an impressive feat to accomplish.

Tennessee Titans

Rookie Watch

Tajae Sharpe, WR, 5th Round

Sharpe has done a superb job of adapting to the pro game in such a limited amount of time and by doing so he has placed former first round pick Kendall Wright, behind him on the teams depth chart. Derrick Henry is the big name rookie currently on the roster, but Sharpe should equal Henry’s impact on the field this season. Second year quarterback Marcus Mariota already appears to have a comfort with the former UMass receiver.

Indianapolis Colts

Rookie Watch

Antonio Morrison, LB,, 4th Round

D’Qwell Jackson has done a splendid job of eluding ‘Father Time’ over the course of his 10-year career. Morrison is a rangy linebacker who excels at zeroing in on his target. He has battled some injuries at Florida but the former Gator can flat out play when he is 100%. The Colts always could use another household name on the defensive unit. Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis were once the star of this defense. Freeney has been long gone as Mathis continues his high level of play.

Houston Texans

Rookie Watch

Will Fuller, WR, 1st Round

Sure he drops the ball from time to time, but he can get deep and feel he is a better route runner than he is given credit for. Fuller enters a offense as the first round pick with little pressure on him, due to the fact that DeAndre Hoplins and Jaelen Strong sit atop the depth chart. Fuller can ease into the position and then apply his speed to the slot and take the top off the defensive coverage.

Cleveland Browns

Rookie Watch

Emmanuel Ogbah, OLB, 2nd Round

Paul Kruger and Barkevious Mingo were supposed to be the Browns long-term solution at outside linebacker. Kruger was released and plays for the New Orleans Saints and Mingo was traded to the New England Patriots. Ogbah now enters the position with the second round tag next to his name so expectations will be high for him to produce. His college tape reveals a young man who possesses an extremely intense motor. He is just fun to watch.

Cincinnati Bengals

Rookie Watch

Clayton Fejedelem, S, 7th Round

This is a personal favorite and ever since seeing him at the East West Shrine Game, I felt pretty confident he would make the 53-man, regardless of what team he was selected to play for. He is the Kurt Coleman or Chris Maragos of the league. Walk-on player at college with a nose for the football, who is tucked on the bottle of the depth chart but give him time he’ll emerge.

Baltimore Ravens

Rookie Watch

Ronnie Stanley, LT, 1st Round

Not too much pressure for the former Notre Dame star offensive tackle. Just step in your rookie season to handle the blind side of the franchise quarterback, who is coming off an ACL injury. Stanley will face his ups-and-downs this season like any other rookie, but he has shown good consistent reps in camp. Ozzie Newsome hopes this is a 10-year plug and play guy from the get go.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Rookie Watch

Javon Hargrave, DT, 3nd Round

Hargrave has been impressive during training camp and the preseason. If you pay close attention the final product of Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt and Hargrave give the Steelers and very fierce front on the defensive line. He will gain more and more time with the starters as the season progresses, but he serves as an ideal piece to defensive unit.

Denver Broncos

Rookie Watch

Devontar Booker, RB, 4th Round

The Broncos got a steal in the fourth round and this also coincides why I so strongly disagree with Dallas Cowboys selecting Ezekiel Elliott being the fourth overall in the entire draft. With so many other needs the Cowboys should have grabbed a guy with Booker’s potential and addressed their punch less defensive unit. Booker should eat into the carries C.J Anderson until he finally secures the starting job in Denver, I’d say by Week 6.

Oakland Raiders

Rookie Watch

Jihad Ward, DT, 2nd Round

Sadly, one of the most exciting things I looked forward to watching in the NFL this season was the progress made by the trio of youngsters on the Raiders defensive line. Khalil Mack, Mario Edwards and Ward were the object of affection in my eyes. Edwards was placed on the IR with a chance to return later in the season but our initial glance to the future will be placed on hold until them. Ward has done a great job in camp and brings versatility to the position. He can plug the whole as well as disrupt the passing game with great efficiency.

San Diego Chargers

Rookie Watch

Hunter Henry, TE, 2nd Round

Antonio Gates outlasted Ladarius Green who was in a prime position to wrangle the starting job away from the future Hall of Fame tight end. Gates still sits atop the depth chart and continues to excel at being the trusted target to Pro Bowl quarterback Philip Rivers. Enter Henry, the second round pick out of Arkansas who possesses the run catching ability the Chargers offense had made famous for tight ends over the Gates tenure. Keep your eye on the future as Henry embarks into his rookie season.

Kansas City Chiefs

 Rookie Watch

Tyreek Hill, WR, 5th Round

Hill possesses a very rare speed even the faster players in the league would envy. He has some issues off the field in college that almost derailed his chances of making it in the NFL. His impact will not be enormous, but Hill should receive enough touches to ignite the crowd and earn some highlight time in the Chiefs offensive scheme.

Washington Redskins

Rookie Watch

Su’a Cravens, LB, 2nd Round

The Washington Redskins will work Cravens into the line-up along the same ideology that Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams employ Deone Bucaanon and Mark Barron. Both drafting as safeties but have become the new hybrid linebacker. Cravens fits the criteria and will look to earn snaps behind Mason Foster.

Philadelphia Eagles

Rookie Watch

Carson Wentz, QB, 1st Round

Wentz from possibly being inactive for the start of the season, to now jumped over Chase Daniel as the starting Eagles quarterback, after Sam Bradford was traded to the Minnesota Vikings. Wentz was the second overall pick in the entire draft and plenty of observers felt he could easily been the No. 1 pick overall. He’ll rely heavy on Ryan Mathews early on before he gains confidence to go down field.

New York Giants

Rookie Watch

Darian Thompson, FS, 3rd Round

The New York Giants ranked last in total defense last season and Thompson will be needed desperately. The Giants added plenty of defensive help via fee agency and Thompson will be a critical piece to resurrect the defense. He closes to the ball quickly and has spent time at both free and strong safety. Thompson leaves Boise State as an two-time first team All-MWC (2014-15) safety.

Dallas Cowboys

Rookie Watch

Dak Prescott, QB, 4th Round

One tackle made by Cliff Avril on quarterback Tony Romo, changed the future of Prescott. He has a fantastic preseason and now he’ll have zero time to sit behind Romo since he is going to miss a large portion if not the entire 2016 NFL season. Prescott has athletic ability to suit his mental toughness thus far to give the Cowboys some early hope.

New Orleans Saint

Rookie Watch

Michael Thomas, WR, 2nd Round

Thomas is in position to be an off the radar Rookie of the Year candidate. Thomas possesses great size and I love his fight for the football. When you place him in the New Orleans Saints offense it seems logical that he’ll be able to make an early impact.

 

Atlanta Falcons

 Rookie Watch

Deion Jones, LB, 2nd Round

The LSU Tigers will miss the intense hustle Jones now brings the Falcons. He is a fast and explosive player who excels at finding the football play after play. Rarely out of position he knows his gaps and stands atop the depth chart in Atlanta. Head coach Dan Quinn knows defense and Jones will be relied on to be the next Jesse Tuggle.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Rookie Watch

Noah Spence, DE, 2nd Round

Spence originally committed to Ohio State, but he eventually had to transfer to Eastern Kentucky after being suspended and eventually declared ineligible after failing two drug tests. He has changed his ways and I feel he is as good as talent as those taken in the top ten of the 2016 NFL Draft. Nothing was more pleasing than seeing this young man dominate the Senior Bowl practices and has since continued his level of play in training camp and the preseason.

Carolina Panthers

Rookie Watch

James Bradberry, DB, 2nd Round

The Carolina Panthers currently have zero offensive rookies on their roster offensively. That is not the same case when it comes to the defense where two rookies are placed atop the depth chart. Bradberry and third round pick Daryl Worley will play a vital role in the out come of how the Panthers season eventually turns out. With Josh Norman off to the Washington Redskins the void is large.

Chicago Bears

Rookie Watch

Leonard Floyd, OLB, 1st Round

Long, lean and athletic is the description of Floyd. Seeing him in the final preseason game in Cleveland against the Browns you take notice of his quickness and ability to get behind the offensive line. The Bears are desperate for a new defensive identity and Floyd is going to be the guy given the first shot at the title.

Detroit Lions

 Rookie Watch

Taylor Decker, LT, 1st Round

Decker finds himself playing left tackle and will face the best defensive lineman snap after snap to protect Matthew Stafford and provide potency to the ground game. Decker has a bit nasty and I like that of every offensive lineman. The Lions are sneaky good and could make some noise in the NFC North and a lot of that success will be due to the play on the left side of the offensive line.

Green Bay Packers

Rookie Watch

Blake Martinez, LB, 4th Round

The rookie has already been given the starting job and he’ll be calling the plays in the Green Bay huddle on the defensive side of the football. Martinez reacts quickly and changes direction very smoothly. He is able to get to the sideline and takes pride in attacking the ball carrier. He is going to be fun to watch in the Packers defense.

Minnesota Vikings

Rookie Watch

Laquon Treadwell, WR, 1st Round

The acquisition of Sam Bradford, only increases the value of Treadwell in my humble observation. Bradford will be able to get the football vertical and Treadwell should really thrive having a seasoned veteran under center and add the fact that Adrian Peterson draws the defense to the line of scrimmage, there is a strong possibility Treadwell emerges as a star in 2016. Remember he was not at all to pleased being selected behind the other receivers taken in the first round. He’ll play with a chip on his shoulder.

Arizona Cardinals

Rookie Watch

Marqui Christian, SS, 5th Round

The former Midwestern State safety is the ‘poor man’ version of Jalen Ramsey. That is why I wanted to make sure we addressed his upside and potential as he is tucked beneath the giant names of Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu. Christian can play defensive back or safety and has terrific size and athleticism. Exciting to see this young man emerge on the NFL landscape and move up the ladder.

San Francisco 49ers

Rookie Watch

DeForest Buckner, DE, 1st Round

Chip Kelly continued his Oregon Duck craving by selecting Buckner in the first round. Buckner is a force and the days of Justin Smith seem like decades ago and also coincided with the 49ers success that has quickly evaporated. The defense is absent of Patrick Willis and Aldon Smith is gone as well, so the void is left to be filled and San Francisco hopes he’ll seize the job as the leader of the defense.

Los Angeles Rams

Rookie Watch

Tyler Higbee, TE, 4th Round

Several years have past and I have always fallen for the hype of the now Los Angeles Rams. Jared Goff is poised to become the starting quarterback and Todd Gurley displayed his incredible running ability last season so the next name on the list to eye up is none other than Higbee. He is a pass catching tight end with great size and speed. He’ll be the target Goff looks to the most as the duo grows together in the league.

Seattle Seahawks

Rookie Watch

Alex Collins, RB, 5th Round

The Seattle Seahawks are superb in talent evaluation and hitting on guys who fit their system to perfection. Collins, C.J. Prosise, Thomas Rawls and Christine Michael are stand on the verge of being ‘The Guy’ in the Seattle backfield. Collins may have the long-term edge on the competitors.

This is an unofficial and independent source of news and information not affiliated with any team(s) or the National Football League (NFL).

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