Best Betting Lines 2020 - Odds, Picks and Spreads

Alabama Vs. Clemson: 2019 National Championship And College Football Playoff Odds, Betting Breakdown

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@AP: RT @AP_Oddities: FanDuel sportsbook is paying out bets from people who picked Alabama to win the college football national championship _ over a month before the game is played. https://t.co/DDeaIu530e #odd

@AP: RT @AP_Oddities: FanDuel sportsbook is paying out bets from people who picked Alabama to win the college football national championship _ over a month before the game is played. https://t.co/DDeaIu530e #odd submitted by -en- to newsbotbot [link] [comments]

College Football Championship Betting Odds: Ohio State, USC, Alabama, TCU Among 2015-2016 Favorites

College Football Championship Betting Odds: Ohio State, USC, Alabama, TCU Among 2015-2016 Favorites submitted by rotoreuters to betternews [link] [comments]

Oregon Ducks vs. Ohio State: Early Betting Odds, Preview For 2015 College Football Championship Game

Oregon Ducks vs. Ohio State: Early Betting Odds, Preview For 2015 College Football Championship Game submitted by rotoreuters to betternews [link] [comments]

r/NFL Offseason Review — 2020 NY Jets

New York Jets

Division: AFC East
 
1 New England Patriots (12-4)
2 Buffalo Bills (10-6)
3 New York Jets (7-9)
4 Miami Dolphins (5-11)
 

Coaching Changes

The Jets did not make any major coaching changes this offseason, retaining HC Adam Gase, OC Dowell Loggains, and DC Gregg Williams.
 

Free Agency

Players Lost/Cut
Player Position New Team
Trevor Siemian QB Free Agent
Bilal Powell RB Free Agent
Ty Montgomery RB New Orleans
Robby Anderson WR Carolina
Demaryius Thomas WR Free Agent
Kelvin Beachum LT Free Agent
Brent Qvale LG Houston
Ryan Kalil C Free Agent
Tom Compton RG San Francisco
Brandon Shell RT Seattle
Brandon Copeland EDGE New England
Paul Worrilow ILB Free Agent
Albert McClellan ILB Free Agent
Trumaine Johnson CB Free Agent
Darryl Roberts FS Detroit
Rontez Miles FS Free Agent
Blake Countess DB Free Agent
Lachlan Edwards P Free Agent
 
The Jets reshaped their weapons for Sam Darnold this offseason, losing three veterans and bringing in a number of free agents and draft picks. GM Joe Douglas opted not to re-sign RB Bilal Powell who the Jets drafted in 2011, and he remains a free agent. Most significantly, Douglas allowed his top offensive weapon in WR Robby Anderson to walk to Carolina on a 2 year, $20.0 MM deal, creating a void at outside receiver. The team has also not re-signed WR Demaryius Thomas, who filled in for Quincy Enunwa last season, and he remains a free agent.
 
The biggest change that the Jets made to their personnel this offseason was along the offensive line, and as such there were a number of veteran casualties. LT Kelvin Beachum started for the Jets from 2017 to 2019, but he seems to have regressed, and he remains a free agent. The Jets also let C Ryan Kalil go, who unretired to snap for Sam Darnold last offseason but disappointed and got injured, and he remains a free agent. RG Tom Compton was forced into action last season with the injury to Brian Winters, and he, as is characteristic of his NFL career thus far, struggled massively in run blocking and pass pro, but he projects to compete anyway next year for San Francisco on a 1 year deal. Joe Douglas and Adam Gase never expressed interest in RT Brandon Shell for the long term, benching him for the raw Chuma Edoga early in 2019, so it was not a surprise to see the Jets let Shell go to start for Seattle on a 2 year contract.
 
The Jets mostly kept their defense in tact this offseason, only losing two key pieces. EDGE Brandon Copeland left for New England on a 1 year contract, which is not a surprising location, as Copeland is a great utility player, functioning as a rush linebacker, an off-ball linebacker, and a core special teamer for the Jets in 2019. Similarly, Joe Douglas has not re-signed the versatile FS Rontez Miles, who has played single-high safety, box safety, and a key special teams role during his seven-year Jets tenure, and he remains a free agent.
 
The Jets cut CB Trumaine Johnson, which was virtually a no-brainer after two injury-plagued seasons in which his lack of speed was frequently exposed. The only real decision was whether to cut Johnson immediately, which would have resulted in a $12.0 MM dead cap hit in 2020, or to designate Johnson as a post-June 1 cut, which would have resulted in a $4.0 MM dead cap hit in 2020 and a $8.0 MM dead cap hit in 2021. Joe Douglas opted for the latter, meaning that the Jets saved a total of $11.0 MM by cutting Johnson in 2020. Grade: A
 
The Jets cut FS Darryl Roberts in mid-March. The Jets had high hopes for Roberts following the 2018 season, prompting them to sign him to a three-year contract with an out after one year. Roberts had a rocky first eight games of the season at cornerback before injuring his calf and being benched in favor of Maulet, Austin, and Canady. Roberts remained a special-teams asset and good safety depth in December, but ultimately GM Joe Douglas decided he could cut Roberts, save $6.0 MM, and look elsewhere for a replacement. Grade: B
 
Players Signed
Player Position Old Team Length Salary
Joe Flacco QB Denver 1 year $1.5 MM
David Fales QB NY Jets 1 year $0.9 MM
Frank Gore RB Buffalo 1 year $1.1 MM
Breshad Perriman WR Tampa Bay 1 year $6.5 MM
Josh Doctson WR Minnesota 1 year $0.9 MM
Daniel Brown TE NY Jets 1 year $0.8 MM
Alex Lewis LG NY Jets 3 years $18.6 MM
Greg Van Roten LG Carolina 3 years $10.5 MM
Josh Andrews LG Indianapolis 1 year $1.0 MM
Connor McGovern C Denver 3 years $27.0 MM
George Fant RT Seattle 3 years $27.3 MM
Jordan Jenkins EDGE NY Jets 1 year $3.9 MM
Neville Hewitt ILB NY Jets 1 year $2.0 MM
Patrick Onwuasor ILB Baltimore 1 year $2.0 MM
James Burgess ILB NY Jets 1 year $0.9 MM
Pierre Desir CB Indianapolis 1 year $4.0 MM
Arthur Maulet CB NY Jets 1 year $0.9 MM
Quincy Wilson CB Indianapolis 1 year $1.3 MM
Bennett Jackson FS NY Jets 1 year $0.7 MM
Brian Poole DB NY Jets 1 year $5.0 MM
 
Jets GM Joe Douglas used to work in Baltimore, where he was supposedly very influential in the decision to draft QB Joe Flacco, so this signing is far from surprising. While Joe Flacco may be trending down in his play, $1.5 MM feels like a bargain for the chance at solid veteran insurance for Sam Darnold. However, his neck surgery will supposedly keep him out for the opening of the season. Grade: B
 
After the draft, the Jets signed RB Frank Gore to a 1 year, $1.1 MM deal to ensure that he will play his 16th season in green and white. Gore is a physical back who played under Jets HC Adam Gase in San Francisco in 2008 and in Miami in 2018. Gore can take some of the pressure off of starting RB Le'Veon Bell in 2020 as the Jets move towards a "runningback by committee" system. Grade: B
 
The Jets-Ravens connection proved strong again with the signing of WR Breshad Perriman. Perriman was a first-round pick for the Ravens in 2015 while current Jets' Director of Player Personnel Chad Alexander was with Baltimore, and though he never really produced at a high level there, he had a resurgence in 2019 for the Buccaneers. Especially in November and December, where he performed at a 1000-yard rate projected over a whole season, Perriman proved to be a legitimate outside option across from Mike Evans with Chris Godwin in the slot. Perriman is a big, athletic receiver who projects to be well-worth the $6.5 MM deal to start on the outside. Grade: B
 
Yet again, the Jets signed a former Ravens player, re-signing LG Alex Lewis, who played 2016 through 2018 with Baltimore before GM Joe Douglas traded for him in the 2019 offseason. Lewis stepped in for Kelechi Osemele last season and was a serviceable starter. Lewis is good in pass pro, versatile, and a good zone fit as a guard. However, Lewis could touch up on his penalties and overall run blocking for 2020. GM Joe Douglas only gave Lewis a 3 year, $18.6 MM deal which actually has an out after 1 year, which seems like a solid price to get another look at a 28-year-old guard who might be part of the team's future. Grade: B
 
The Jets' biggest free-agent singing in 2020 in terms of guaranteed money was former Broncos' C Connor McGovern at $18.0 MM. McGovern is an athletic lineman with experience at guard and center. He is a powerful center, and that serves him well in the run game. However, McGovern has a weak anchor and inconsistent pad level and leverage in the pass game. For this reason, despite the need at center, Joe Douglas' decision to commit two years to a center who is, perhaps, below average in pass pro is worthy of scrutiny. Grade: C
 
The biggest heavily-scrutinized acquisition that the Jets made in 2020 was probably signing former Seahawks RT George Fant to a 3 year, $27.3 MM contract. Fant functioned primarily as a swing tackle and as a sixth offensive lineman in Seattle, as he could not see the field as a starter over Germain Ifedi. Fant remains a very raw pass protector in terms of his anchor and the fluidity of his kickslide, and his ability in the run is only theoretically a strength in zone blocking. While Fant's contract has an out in 2021, it is a bit strange to see him making a similar salary to Bryan Bulaga and Halapoulvaati Vaitai. Grade: D
 
The Jets were patient in re-signing their own free agents, which probably helped get good value retaining EDGE Jordan Jenkins. Despite notching 15 combined sacks over the past two seasons, Jenkins only got $3.9 MM from the Jets. The sack number is a bit misleading, though, due to a high quantity of "coverage sacks" and a relatively modest pressure rate. However, Jenkins is a fine run defender, and he'll slot in as EDGE #1 again for the bets in 2020. Grade: B
 
The Jets also acquired a former Raven on defense with LB Patrick Onwuasor, and they only paid $2.0 MM to bring him in. Onwuasor is an undersized linebacker but a good linear athlete, and while he struggles reading offensive cues and getting off of blocks to stop the run, he is a really good coverage player with the ability to get home as a pass rusher. Onwuasor has played next to CJ Mosley before, and he could potentially contribute in subpackage and base 4-3 looks, in addition to in a depth capacity and on special teams. Grade: B
 
With the cuts of Trumaine Johnson and Darryl Roberts, GM Joe Douglas decided to fill a starting cornerback spot with former Colts CB Pierre Desir on a 1 year, prove-it deal. Desir lacks longspeed, but he is a long, physical corner with decent short-area quickness. However, Desir lacks refinement in press and zone. With that said, $4.0 MM is a reasonable price to get a fill-in outside cornerback in 2020. Grade: B
 
This signing probably didnt get much national coverage, but re-signing CB Arthur Maulet could pay huge dividends for the Jets in 2020. In 2019, Trumaine Johnson and Darryl Roberts failed to hit expectations, forcing Maulet, Nate Hairston, and rookie Blessuan Austin into the outside cornerback rotation. Maulet is the only one of that group who was not benched for performance reasons. For a mere $0.9 MM, retaining a guy in Maulet who is familiar with the defense who will compete to start in 2020 is seemingly a no-brainer. Grade: A
 
Instead of making another draft choice, the Jets decided to trade pick 211 for former Colts CB Quincy Wilson. Wilson, a former second-round pick, was a raw prospect coming out of Florida, and his penalties and lack of zone instincts followed him to the pros and led to his benching. However, Wilson is a big, long, and athletic corner, and at only 23 years of age, it makes sense that GM Joe Douglas wants to bring him on board to compete in an iffy cornerback room. Grade: C
 
This signing went somewhat under-the-radar, but Jets fans were thrilled when the team retained DB Brian Poole to man the slot on a 1 year, $5.0 MM contract. Poole is a good run defender with an ability to rush the passer, and he had a career year in coverage in 2019. Brian Poole is a good fit for Gregg Williams' defense, so retaining him to start in 2020 for a mere $5.0 MM seems to be a good value. Grade: B
 

Draft

Round Number Pos Player School
1 11 LT Mekhi Becton Louisville
2 59 WR Denzel Mims Baylor
3 68 FS Ashtyn Davis California
3 79 EDGE Jabari Zuniga Florida
4 120 RB La'Mical Perine Florida
4 125 QB James Morgan FIU
4 129 LT Cameron Clark Charlotte
5 158 CB Bryce Hall Virginia
6 191 P Braden Mann Texas A&M
 
The eleventh pick, Louisville T Mekhi Becton, was my favorite acquisition that the Jets made during the 2020 offseason. While there were other options on the board, namely Tristan Wirfs, Henry Ruggs, and Ceedee Lamb, that the Jets presumably could have considered, Becton was the exact player I thought the Jets should take when he fell to 11. The first thing that stands out about Becton is his massive size, as he's 6'7", 364 lbs, with a monstrous 83-inch wingspan. Becton, however, is much more than a heavy lineman, as he defies the norm with his exceptional 5.1-flat movement skills. Becton is a hulking run blocker who is inexperienced but a fluid mover in pass pro. Becton projects to replace Kelvin Beachum and slide in at left tackle immediately in his rookie season. Grade: A
 
Wanting to add more picks to build the Jets in his image in his first year as GM, Joe Douglas opted to move down from 48 to 59 in the second round. This was a costly move, as it caused the Jets to miss out on AJ Epenesa and Darrell Taylor, but the Jets managed to grab a falling Senior Bowl standout in Baylor WR Denzel Mims. Mims is a height-weight-speed freak with good length, hands, and run-blocking toughness. Mims should slot in as a starting outside receiver across from Breshad Perriman in year one. Grade: B
 
The Jets' first third-round pick of 2020 was a real surprise to many fans, as although the team already had arguably the best safety tandem in football with Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye, the Jets drafted California FS Ashytn Davis with the 68th-overall draft selection. Davis is a freak athlete who played single-high safety, box safety, and even slot cornerback at Cal and would almost definitely have been drafted significantly higher but for teams' inability to medically check his groin post-surgery. It's possible that Gregg Williams will utilize Davis as a big nickel defender this year, but this selection could also give the Jets flexibility if Marcus Maye, who is a free agent in 2021, or Jamal Adams, with whom the Jets are supposedly far apart on a long-term contract, depart. Grade: B
 
Despite having a starting EDGE tandem consisting of Jordan Jenkins and Tarell Basham and losing Brandon Copeland to New England, the Jets did not add outside talent to the position group before the draft, forcing GM Joe Douglas to pick Florida EDGE Jabari Zuniga at 79 overall. Zuniga is a good linear athlete with a decent ability to set the edge and with some interior versatility, and he could maybe project to replace Jordan Jenkins as a starter in 2021. However, Zuniga struggles with stiff hips and slow reaction time at the snap, and plus he missed most of the 2019 season with ankle injuries. The Jets probably hit the right position with Zuniga, who should factor into the pass-rush rotation with Jenkins, Basham, and 2019 UDFA Kyle Phillips, but it's really hard to justify drafting Zuniga with guys like Jonathan Greenard, Terrell Lewis, and DJ Wonnum still on the board. Grade: C
 
With his first day-3 selection as GM, Joe Douglas chose Florida RB La'Mical Perine. Perine is a physical runner with some receiving versatility out of the backfield. However, Perine doesn't really offer very much in terms of speed or vision, and drafting a RB instead of going offensive line, pass rush, receiver, or cornerback when Le'Veon Bell was already in the fold was a curious move. Grade: D
 
The second of the Jets' fourth-round picks probably stirred up the most intrigue, as most casual fans probably didn't expect the Jets to draft a quarterback. With that said, the Jets have gone a combined 0-6 over the past two seasons in games that Darnold did not start, and at this time David Fales was slated to be the backup quarterback, so drafting FIU QB James Morgan in the fourth round, which I thought was a value anyway, was a good choice. Morgan is a thick quarterback with a live arm with developmental quarterback potential. Grade: B
 
With their third pick in the fourth round, the Jets chose a player with the potential to start soon on the offensive line in Charlotte T Cameron Clark. Clark is a powerful lineman who started at left tackle in his rSo, rJr, and rSr seasons and has good short-area quickness despite his 5.29 forty. Some have floated Cameron Clark as a potential convert to guard for the Jets due to his sloppy pass-pro footwork. Grade: B
 
The Jets went corner in round 5, taking Virginia CB Bryce Hall at 158 overall. Hall is a long, tall corner who moves well, has zone instincts, and contributes in the run game. However, Hall's struggles in press and off-man coverage schemes probably project him better as a safety in the NFL rather than as a corner, which doesn't seem to be a need with Adams, Maye, and Davis already on the roster, and Hall's ankle injury prevented him from working out at the Combine, leaving teams in a state of uncertainty about his health and his testing numbers. Grade: C
 
With their sixth-round pick, the Jets went special teams with Texas A&M P Braden Mann. Mann has a big leg and can handle kickoff duties. Mann projects to replace Lachlan Edwards, but this may have been a tad high for a punter. Grade: C
 
The Jets had an intriguing undrafted free agent class with a number of guys who warranted day-3 draft consideration, but two guys that I liked pre-draft stood out as being worth mentioning. Georgia WR Lawrence Cager is a physical receiver at the line of scrimmage who will attempt to make the team as a redzone threat. Alabama DB Shyheim Carter played the STAR role in Nick Saban's defense, and he proved his versatility as a college approximation of a subpackage linebacker, a nickel corner, a box safety, and even a high safety, so he'll vie to make the team as a versatile depth defensive back and as a special-teams ace.
 

Other Offseason News

After tensions flared at the trade deadline last season, SS Jamal Adams expressed his frustrations with a lack of a contract extension on social media before supposedly requesting a trade in June. However, according to Connor Hughes at The Athletic, the Jets still hope to sign Adams to a long-term contract. Reportedly, over half of the teams in the NFL have expressed interest in adding the defensive star, but the Dallas Cowboys have gotten the most traction as a potential trade partner, with RT La'El Collins and WR Michael Gallup coming up as potential trade pieces. Jamal Adams is still on his rookie contract for 2020, and the Jets accepted his fifth-year option for 2021.
 
Also, this isn't really news, but former Jets' All-Pro CB Darrelle Revis continued his spat with 49ers' All-Pro CB Richard Sherman, culminating in this unusual Tweet:
3 facts here.
@RSherman_25
•I’m more handsome than him according to women.
•I’m better at corner than him according to everyone.
•Shutdown corners are paid more than Zone 3 corners which I’m currently still am today.
 

Projected Starting Lineup

QB: Sam Darnold
RB: Le’Veon Bell (and Frank Gore)
WR: Breshad Perriman, Denzel Mims
SWR: Jamison Crowder
TE: Chris Herndon (and Ryan Griffin)
LT: Mekhi Becton
LG: Alex Lewis
C: Connor McGovern
RG: Brian Winters
RT: George Fant
EDGE: Jordan Jenkins, Tarell Basham
DT: Henry Anderson, Quinnen Williams (and Steve McLendon)
ILB: CJ Mosley, Avery Williamson (and Patrick Onwuasor)
CB: Pierre Desir, Arthur Maulet
NCB: Brian Poole
SS: Jamal Adams
FS: Marcus Maye
K: Sam Ficken
P: Braden Mann
LS: Thomas Hennessy
 

Position Group Strengths and Weaknesses

QB - Neutral/Weakness
Jets fans aren't going to love this one, but Sam Darnold is arguably still a bottom-third passer going into 2020. Darnold has been surrounded by a poor supporting cast over the past two years, including a turnstile of receivers across Robby Anderson with drop issues and linemen with pass-pro issues, but he certainly has not dominated like other young quarterbacks such as Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, and Carson Wentz. The Jets have a good group behind Darnold, though, including Joe Flacco, who said he won't be ready for week 1, and James Morgan, a fourth-round rookie out of FIU.
 
Backfield - Strength
Le'Veon Bell, who is making $15.5 MM this season, is an all-around back in terms of running between the tackles, receiving, and pass protecting. The Jets also signed the ageless wonder Frank Gore to take some of the pressure off of Bell. Joe Douglas also drafted La'Mical Perine to contribute in the backfield.
 
Pass Catchers - Neutral/Weakness
In 2020, the Jets are banking on production from unproved pass catchers who have performed well in limited sample sizes. Joe Douglas signed Breshad Perriman, who had a very productive end to his 2019 season, to man one of the outside receiver spots. He also drafted Denzel Mims out of Baylor to presumably also start as a rookie. Jamison Crowder broke out last year as an above-average slot receiver, and Chris Herndon missed virtually all of last season but played well in his rookie season as a tight end. The receiver depth lacks standout names, but the tight end depth is strong, with Ryan Griffin returning on a multi-year extension.
 
Offensive Line - Weakness
The Jets entirely remade their offensive line, and while each position is arguably improved on paper, it is still young and unproven. Most significantly, at LT, Joe Douglas drafted Mekhi Becton at 11, who is already a really good run blocker with the tools to grow in pass pro. Douglas also re-signed Alex Lewis, who is probably serviceable but below average, to start at left guard, but he could force competition from fourth-round rookie Cameron Clark. The Jets signed Connor McGovern to start at C, and while he should solidify the position for at least the last two years, he is not extraordinary. Right guard shapes up to be an open competition between incumbent Brian Winters, who is serviceable when healthy, and new acquisition Greg Van Roten. At RT, the Jets signed George Fant, who played mostly as a swing tackle or sixth offensive lineman for Seattle but certainly has the athletic ability to outperform Chuma Edoga from last year.
 
Defensive Line - Weakness
This might be surprising to the non-Jets fans, but the days of Muhammad Wilkerson, and Leonard Williams are over, and pressure from the defensive line probably won't come easily for Gang Green. At EDGE, the Jets have arguably the worst duo in the NFL with Jordan Jenkins and Tarell Basham presumably playing as starters, with rookie 3rd-round pick Jabari Zuniga and 2019 UDFA Kyle Phillips playing rotationally. Starting on the interior, the Jets have Quinnen Williams, the former third-overall selection who notched 2.5 sacks and 4 TFLs in his rookie season and was arrested in March on a weapons charge, and Henry Anderson, a nimble interior penetrator who had a breakout year in 2018 before coming back down to Earth in 2019. Nathan Shepherd, Steve McLendon, and Foley Fatukasi should all see plenty of tread on the DL, as well.
 
Linebackers - Strength
The Jets had a nearly-comical number of injuries at off-ball linebacker last season, but on paper, the unit appears very strong. CJ Mosley, 2019 FA acquisition, missed almost the entire 2019 season with a groin injury, but when healthy, he is one of the best linebackers in football. Avery Williamson, who projects to start across Mosley in 2020, is a good run defender but missed the entire 2019 year with a torn ACL. Returning starter Neville Hewitt, cheap FA acquisition Patrick Onwuasor, and promising second-year player Blake Cashman could each play in various base or subpackage roles, in addition to on special teams.
 
Secondary - Neutral
Similar to the defensive line, the Jets secondary is a tale of two halves, in this case safeties and cornerbacks. At safety, the Jets have reigning All Pro Jamal Adams and solid free safety Marcus Maye returning, in addition to the versatile 3rd-round pick Ashtyn Davis out of Cal. Outside cornerback is in flux, as new acquisition Pierre Desir should lock up one spot, while Arthur Maulet, Quincy Wilson, and Blessuan Austin could compete for the other starting spot, with last year's breakout player Brian Poole locking up the slot. Nate Hairston, Javelin Guidry, Shyheim Carter, and 5th-round rookie Bryce Hall could compete for other key depth roles in the secondary.
 
Special Teams - Strength/Neutral
At kicker, the Jets had a rocky performance last year, so they brought in Brett Maher, who hit 67% of his field goals last season, to compete with Sam Ficken, who hit 70% of his field goals last season. At punter, the Jets have rookie P Braden Mann, who handles kickoffs and whose 47.1 yards per punt would have ranked 4th in the NFL last year. At longsnapper, Thomas Hennessy is an asset in coverage and will return in 2020. Additionally, WR Vyncint Smith and FS Matthias Farley project to play major roles in kick coverage next season, with other jobs presumably up for grabs.
 

Schedule Predictions

Week 1 at Buffalo: L - Other than the loss of Shaq Lawson and the additions of Stephon Diggs and AJ Epenesa, the Bills mostly had a quiet offseason, though with encouraging performances from young players in Josh Allen, Ed Oliver, Tremaine Edmunds, and Tre'Davious White and coming off of a 10-6 campaign, there’s a lot about which to be enthusiastic in Buffalo. The Bills, who went 10-6 last year and made the playoffs, beat the Jets here in their home opener. Record: 0-1
 
Week 2 vs San Francisco: L - The 49ers took a huge leap in 2019, marching through the NFC and into the Super Bowl, and the additions of Brandon Aiyuk, Javon Kinlaw, and Trent Williams should keep them competitive in 2020. If Jamal Adams is on the team, he might be able to get in George Kittle's way, but nevertheless the 49ers should be one of the NFL's most well-rounded football teams, and it would be difficult to envision the Jets defeating them. Record: 0-2
 
Week 3 at Indianapolis: L - The Colts had a big free agency period, signing Philip Rivers and adding DeForest Buckner in a trade while retaining their entire offensive line. While the Jets went 7-9 last season, just like the Colts did, the Colts probably are the favorites to win at home, especially with the advantage the Indianapolis offensive line should have over the New York pass rush. Record: 0-3
 
Week 4 vs Denver: L - While the Broncos went 7-9 last season, they have championship aspirations in 2020, as they went 4-1 in Drew Lock's starts last year and added Melvin Gordon, Jerry Jeudy, KJ Hamler, and Albert Okwuegbunam to a group of weapons already containing Philip Lindsay, Courtland Sutton, Noah Fant, and Jeff Heuerman while retaining defensive stars in Von Miller, AJ Johnson, and Justin Simmons. Though it is a home game, it's hard to imagine the Jets defeating the Broncos in 2020. Record: 0-4
 
Week 5 vs Arizona: W - The Cardinals look poised to improve in 2020, with the additions of DeAndre Hopkins, Jordan Phillips, and Isaiah Simmons, but questions remain with the offensive line and defensive line, in addition to with the poor playcalling from Kingsbury and Joseph at times during last season. This could be a key game for Quinnen Williams, Henry Anderson, Steve McLendon, and the interior defensive line to feast on a poor Cardinals' interior offensive line, and for Gregg Williams to outmatch Kingsbury and Murray at home. Record: 1-4
 
Week 6 at LA Chargers: L - The Chargers revamped their team this offseason, adding Justin Herbert in the draft and surrounding him with Bryan Bulaga, Trai Turner, and Joe Reed on offense, and Kenneth Murray and Chris Harris on defense. Though the quarterback situation is in flux in LA, it’s a bit hard to envision the Jets going on the road to the West Coast and beating an otherwise well-rounded team. Record: 1-5
 
Week 7 vs Buffalo: W - The Jets have beat the Bills at least once in 8 of the last 10 seasons, and so the Jets should have a good chance to win one at home. Record: 2-5
 
Week 8 at Kansas City: L - The Chiefs has a pretty quiet offseason aside from locking up Patrick Mahomes and Chris Jones on long-term deals, as they added Mike Remmers, Taco Charlton, Willie Gay, and Lucas Niang while losing Stefen Wisniewski, Emmanuel Ogbah, Reggie Ragland, and Kendall Fuller. Despite the offseason losses, Reid and Mahomes should easily be able to storm past the Jets at home. Record: 2-6
 
Week 9 vs New England: W - The Patriots took a hit this offseason, obviously headlined by the loss of Tom Brady but also supplemented by key defensive losses in Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, and Duron Harmon in addition to a general lack of attention towards improving a lackluster wide receiver corps. The Jets haven't beat the Patriots since their week 16 overtime thriller in 2015, but a November home game could be a good chance to do it, as the Patriots don't really possess the weapons to exploit issues with the Jets' cornerbacks nor the pass rushers to exploit issues with the Jets' offensive line. Record: 3-6
 
Week 10 at Miami: W - The Dolphins had a very poor 2019, finishing 5-11 with the 27th-ranked total offense and the 30th-ranked total defense, and as such they had an incredibly busy offseason, adding Matt Breida, Ereck Flowers, Ted Karras, Kyle Van Noy, Shaq Lawson, Emmanuel Ogbah, Elandon Roberts, and Byron Jones in free agency and Tua Tagovailoa, Austin Jackson, Noah Igbinoghene, Robert Hunt, Raekwon Davis, and Solomon Kindley in the draft. However, in Miami before the bye would be a good chance for Adam Gase to get a revenge game win, seeing as the Dolphins still have weaknesses all over their roster including quarterback, offensive tackle, and edge rusher. Record: 4-6
 
WEEK 11 BYE
 
Week 12 vs Miami: L - With all their offseason additions, the Dolphins figure to match up fairly evenly with the Jets in 2020, and so it's likely that the two teams will split the season series. Record: 4-7
 
Week 13 vs Las Vegas: W - The Raiders had a very busy offseason, adding Jason Witten, Maliek Collins, Nick Kwiatkoski, Prince Amukamara, and Damarious Randall in free agency and Henry Ruggs, Damon Arnette, Lynn Bowden, Bryan Edwards, and Amik Robertson in the draft with their only major losses being Darryl Worley and Karl Joseph. At home against a West Coast opponent, the Jets would be wise to take advantage of some of the Raiders’ weaknesses in this game, including inexperience at wide receiver, edge rusher, linebacker, and cornerback. Record: 5-7
 
Week 14 at Seattle: L - The Seahawks went 11-5 last season and were one play away from securing the top seed in the NFC, so their offseason was pretty quiet, mostly focusing on the offensive line with the losses of Germain Ifedi, DJ Fluker, and George Fant and the additions of free agents Brandon Shell, BJ Finney, and Cedric Ogbuehi, and draft pick Damien Lewis. Pete Carroll is one of the best coaches in football today, and in this late-season matchup at Seattle he’ll have the personnel advantage against the Jets offense, which lacks talented weapons and blockers. Record: 5-8
 
Week 15 at LA Rams: L - The Rams regressed to 9-7 last year and then had a difficult offseason, losing Todd Gurley, Brandin Cooks, Dante Fowler, and Nickell Robey-Coleman, with their only major addition being A’Shawn Robinson. The 2020 Rams are not the Super Bowl Rams of the past, but with both McVay and Goff still on board, the Rams have to be favorites to take this late-season home game against the Jets. Record: 5-9
 
Week 16 vs Cleveland: W - The Browns had a busy offseason, hiring head coach Kevin Stefanski, losing Greg Robinson, Joe Schobert, and Damarious Randall, signing Austin Hooper, Jack Conklin, Andrew Billings, Karl Joseph, and Damarious Randall, and drafting Jedrick Wills, Grant Delpit, and Jacob Phillips. Despite these additions, however, Cleveland still has a new, inexperienced offensive playcaller at head coach and a question mark at quarterback, and Gregg Williams generally handles quarterbacks who struggle with post-snap reads well with disguised coverages and aggressive blitz packages. Record: 6-9
 
Week 17 at New England: L - With the expanded playoffs, the Patriots have an even greater chance to make the postseason this year than they otherwise would, so this late-season match in Foxborough could be a consequential, divisional-revenge game. Record: 6-10
 
Final Record: 6-10
While I firmly believe that the Jets improved significantly this offseason, especially in terms of the offensive line and getting players back from injury, this year’s schedule is substantially more difficult that last year’s, which could result in less games in the wins column for 2020. Last year, the Jets closed out the back-half of their season going 6-2 playing against rookie Daniel Jones, rookie Dwayne Haskins, Derek Carr, Andy Dalton, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Lamar Jackson, rookie Devlin Hodges, and Matt Barkley, and this year the Jets have to play both the AFC West and the NFC West, which is a huge jump in their level of competition.
 

Training Camp Battles to Watch

WR #2: Denzel Mims vs Vyncint Smith
Jets fans would hope that starting receiver isn’t much of a battle, but since rookie wideouts traditionally have been known to take longer learning the playbook, the other receiver spot next to Perriman and Crowder is in flux. Denzel Mims, the rookie receiver from Baylor, is the odds-on favorite to get a starting role and to play as a deep threat and red-zone threat in year one. However, if Mims proves too raw off the bat, the Jets could fall back on Vyncint Smith, who had 17 receptions last year and showed his value as a deep threat.
 
Left Guard: Alex Lewis vs Cameron Clark
Following a 2019 season where Alex Lewis spot-started in place of Kelechi Osemele, the Jets rewarded him with a 3 year, $18.6 MM contract, and he goes into 2020 as the favorite to start at left guard once again. With that being said, the possibility exists that rookie tackle Cameron Clark out of Charlotte will kick inside and compete at left guard.
 
Right Guard: Brian Winters vs Greg Van Roten
After a 2019 season in which Brian Winters went down with a shoulder injury in week 10, many expected the Jets to cut him, but he instead will return as the incumbent starter at right guard. However, new free agent acquisition Greg Van Roten could switch to the right side and compete against Winters to start.
 
Right Tackle: George Fant vs Chuma Edoga
After the Jets had a poor performance form their offensive line in 2019, GM Joe Douglas brought in competition at all position, including at right tackle. George Fant, former Seattle swing tackle, is the presumptive favorite to land the starting job, despite his lack of starting experience and struggles with pass-pro footwork. Chuma Edoga could compete as well, but his performance in both run blocking and pass pro was so shaky last year as a rookie that he needed extensive help from tight ends to prevent the right side from entirely becoming a liability.
 
EDGE #2: Tarell Basham vs Kyle Phillips vs Jabari Zuniga vs John Franklin-Myers
The Jets started Jordan Jenkins and Tarell Basham at edge rusher last season, so it was somewhat of a shock to see them add absolutely no outside talent until the middle of the third round, and so now Gregg Williams and his defensive staff are forced to make the pitiful decision between starting Basham, Kyle Phillips, Jabari Zuniga, or John Franklin-Myers across from Jenkins. Basham, who the Jets claimed off of waivers in 2018, is probably the odds-on favorite to start once again after notching 2 sacks and 4 quarterback hits in 54% of the Jets' defensive snaps. Kyle Phillips, the second-year player from Tennessee who was a five-star high-school recruit, is a thicker lineman best suited to play on run downs who could push for starting snaps as well. Jabari Zuniga, 3rd-round rookie out of Florida, is a third contender for the starting job, but his interior versatility and similarity to Jenkins in terms of his stiffness and poor pad level could suggest the Jets envision him in more of a rotational role. The wildcard in this battle is John Franklin-Myers, who was claimed by the Jets off of waivers from the Rams at the start of 2019 but who also notched a pair of sacks in his rookie year and is really explosive for his size.
 
DT #2: Henry Anderson vs Nathan Shepherd
This battle won't get much media coverage, as both Anderson and Shepherd project to get plenty of tread on the New York defensive line, but nevertheless the two will compete in training camp for the upper hand in the snap count. Henry Anderson, the penetrating defensive lineman, saw his production fall off a bit in 2019, in part due to a nagging shoulder injury and utilization in different fronts and roles. Nathan Shepherd saw his role increase in the back half of the season after a suspension saw his role increase in the back half of the season after a suspension sidelined him from weeks two through eight, and with a good camp, he could establish himself as the primary nimble-footed complement to the heftier, run-stopping trio of Quinnen Williams, Steve McLendon, and Foley Fatukasi.
 
CB #2: Arthur Maulet vs Quincy Wilson vs Bryce Hall vs Blessuan Austin
The outside cornerback spot across from Pierre Desir is probably the most open starting battle on the team. Arthur Maulet, the undersized but physical cornerback out of Memphis, is probably the favorite to start after outplaying Johnson and Roberts last season to win the left cornerback job. Quincy Wilson, the former second-round pick, should be Maulet's primary competition after the Jets traded a draft pick to acquire him from the Colts. Bryce Hall, the rookie fifth-round corner from Virginia, is a darkhorse to start as well if he is healthy to start the season. Blessuan Austin, the former sixth-round pick, might factor into the competition, but he'll have Williams' doghouse after reacting poorly to his week-16 benching.
 
Kicker: Sam Ficken vs Brett Maher
Sam Ficken, who hit 70% of his kicks last season, will compete with Brett Maher, who hit 67% of his kicks last season, for the starting kicker job, but neither candidate should have to handle kickoffs with rookie punter Braden Mann in the fold.
 

Offensive and Defensive Schemes

Adam Gase, head coach and offensive playcaller for the Jets, runs a zone blocking, short passing offense mostly out of 11 personnel while also mixing in some 2-TE sets. In the run game, Gase is willing to run gap concepts based on his offensive line personnel, but he certainly favors his inside zone running playcalls. In the pass game, Gase likes to stack his receivers, throw checkdowns, split his backs out wide, and utilize the sidelines.
 
Gregg Williams, defensive coordinator for the Jets, runs a 3-4 hybrid, blitz-heavy defense with an emphasis on zone coverage. In the front seven, Williams has used both 3-4 and 4-3 base packages, though he mostly uses nickel fronts and one-gapping penetration schemes. In the secondary, Williams stresses MOFC shells, press-zone concepts, and disguised coverages and blitzes.
 
Huge thanks to u/PlatypusOfDeath for running this series.
Link to hub
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Indianapolis Colts Top 5: Quarterbacks

Indianapolis Colts Top 5: Quarterbacks
With the season (hopefully) on the way I thought I'd put together some lists for top 5 players at each position in Indianapolis (not Baltimore) Colts history. I'll start with QB, and work my way through. This list is purely my opinion as a die hard fan since the early Manning days, and if you think I have no clue what I'm talking about, please feel free to let me know.
Fun fact, out of the 26 QBs to start a game for the Indy Colts there are only 7 players that have a winning record. Three of them are Colts legends Josh Freeman, Gary Hogeboom, and Craig Erickson.

5. Jack Trudeau

https://preview.redd.it/a54mr7g9g3b51.jpg?width=361&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=2d086a51719ff08e2c1a8cb651100c0a37f8458f
Years Record Playoffs Comp % Yards TDs INTs Y/A Rating
198-93 18-29 0-1 52.9 9,647 41 62 6.3 64.4

How He Got Here

After the complete disaster that was attempting to draft John Elway #1 in 1983, the then Baltimore Colts stuck with Mike Pagel at QB, who had just led them to a winless season in 1982. Team owner Robert Irsay decided to move the team to Indianapolis before the 1984 season the team stuck with Pagel as their main QB despite him clearly not being their future at the position. This led to 2 season with losing records and last place finishes in the AFC East. Entering the 1986 draft, the Colts were clearly looking for a franchise player at QB. The obvious choice was Jim Everett out of Purdue, but unfortunately he was selected #3 to the Houston Oilers when the Colts had the #4 pick. Instead of drafting the only other franchise QB in the draft, Mark Rypien, the Colts decided to select promising Illinois QB Jack Trudeau in the 2nd round. Trudeau had shown a lot of promise in his career, leading Illinois to a Rose Bowl in 1984 and finishing 2nd in the Davey O'Brien Award (Best College QB) to Doug Flutie. Unfortunately for him and the Colts, this talent would not translate well to the NFL

Colts Career

After trading Mike Pagel to the Browns the starting job was set for Trudeau entering the 1986 season. Unfortunately the Colts were still a very bad team overall and Trudeau was not set to overcome that. In 11 starts he had 8 TDs, 18 INTs, and a 48.9% completion rate for an 0-11 record. It was immediately clear he was not the savior the Colts needed to bring legitimate football to Indy.
Fortunately, a contract dispute between Hall of Fame RB Eric Dickerson allowed the Colts to trade for Dickerson midway through the 1987 season. Dickerson was an immediate breath of life to the fledgling Indianapolis Colts franchise and helped lead them to their first playoff berth. Trudeau shared starting duties with Gary Hogeboom, and both were successful in not screwing things up too bad, giving the ball to Dickerson, and staying out of the damn way. Trudeau started in his only playoff game and actually played decently well: 251 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT, but it wasn't enough as the Colts lost 38-21 to the Bernie Kosar led Cleveland Browns who would eventually lose in via "The Drive" in the AFC Championship.
It was clear the Colts would need a better QB to compliment their new superstar in Dickerson, and thus they drafted future Pro Bowler Chris Chandler in the 3rd round in 1988. However, Chris Chandler was most definitely not a Pro Bowler for the Colts. Chandler didn't impress despite an 9-7 overall record, and was replaced by Trudeau following a bad start to the 1989 season. Trudeau had his best year as a pro in 1989: 2,317 yards, 15 TDs, 13 INTs, but the Colts still finished 8-8 and outside of the playoffs.
Trudeau was improving, but was still clearly not the QB of the future, which they hoped to get by trading All-Pro Tackle Chris Hinton, Future All-Pro WR Andre Rison, and the #3 Pick in 1991 for the #1 Pick in 1990 which they used to draft QB Jeff George (Wow). Trudeau was kept as the backup and was a spot starter for the Colts from 1990-93. Despite the horrific play of George, Trudeau couldn't muster much better in his limited playing time and was released in 1994.

My favorite highlight

https://youtu.be/kM0APJieAME?t=678

Legacy

Jack Trudeau was at best a mediocre QB you could somewhat rely on to manage the game and allow more talented players to make plays. Unfortunately the late 80s, early 90s Colts didn't have too many of those so his play suffered as well. His numbers aren't great and he wasn't much beloved by Colts fans, but he did help lead the Colts to their first playoff appearance which helped me put him on the list over Matt Hasselbeck and others. Trudeau has actually hung around Indy doing various radio and TV appearances talking about the Colts and even has a couple of DUIs as well.

4. Jacoby Brissett

https://preview.redd.it/96cmm0sag3b51.jpg?width=1200&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=4a578fcdd25c1a0830d6d6b7fc8b5dde43309455
Years Record Playoffs Comp % Yards TDs INTs Y/A Rating
2017- 11-19 0-0 59.8 6,042 31 13 6.6 84.6

How He Got Here

The Colts had their franchise QB in Andrew Luck, but leading up to the 2017 season it was revealed during the preseason Luck had a shoulder injury which would eventually lead to him missing the entire 2017 season. This left the Colts scrambling as they knew QB Scott Tolzien was not the answer at QB, so 8 days before the start of the season the new GM Chris Ballard traded 1st round bust Phillip Dorsett for 3rd string QB for the Patriots Jacoby Brissett. Brissett had looked at least competent spot starting for the suspended Tom Brady and hurt Jimmy Garoppolo in 2016, so he was the best option the Colts had available so close to the beginning of the season.

Colts Career

Bringing in a new QB for a team 8 days before the start of the season and asking him to play is like asking a train engineer to launch a rocket to the moon, so Tolzien started week 1 for Colts. He continued to not impress going into week 2, and was replaced for Brissett. Brissett was an improvement, but it was clear he was overwhelmed by the change of scenery and the rest of the Colts roster and staff was not talented enough to make up for it. He finished with competent numbers: 3,098 yards, 13 TDs, 7 INTs, 58.8% completion rate, 6.6 Y/A, but was merely a game manager for a bad team as the Colts finished 4-12.
Andrew Luck was ready to return in 2018 and the Colts were willing to give Brissett the benefit of the doubt and kept him on as the backup. The Colts saw a major resurgence with Luck and an incredible draft and free agent class by Chris Ballard, leading to their first playoff appearance since 2015, eventually losing to the Patrick Mahomes led Chiefs. The Colts were looking to improve going into 2019, but a now too familiar announcement led up to the season when it was revealed a calf injury was going to cause Andrew Luck to retire 2 weeks before the start of the regular season. The spotlight was once again shown on Jacoby Brissett, who was asked to take over Luck's team. Fortunately this time Brissett was able to get all the first team reps in the preseason leading up to week 1 and was much more familiar with the system.
That familiarity paid off as Brissett led the Colts to a 5-2 start, including wins over playoff teams like the Texans and Titans along with the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. Brissett was not putting up All-Pro numbers, but had clearly improved from 2017 and was still not making game losing mistakes. Through week 9 he had 190 YPG, 11 TDs, and 6 INTs, and and the eye test had shown he was a good leader and could occasionally make big plays when needed. However, after a knee sprain in week 10 he was clearly not the same player. His injury either hampered his physical abilities or his confidence but his poor play for the rest of the season allowed the Colts to fall to 7-9, including an embarrassing 34-7 loss to the Saints that I made the trip over to New Orleans for and watched as Brissett sailed the ball over every receiver's head. Brissett will likely be the backup for the 2020 season behind free agent Phillip Rivers, but he's shown enough flashes of ability that his career is long from over, whether that ends up being on the Colts or somewhere else in the league.

My favorite highlight

https://youtu.be/Q1bFNE0CGXY?t=287

Legacy

I believe I'm with the majority of Colts fans in that when I see Jacoby Brissett I see somewhat of a tragic figure. He got thrown to the wolves in 2017 and did the best he could, but was basically set up to fail. It's honestly not too much of a stretch to say his play through week 9 of 2019 was the best QB play by an Indy Colts QB not named Manning, Luck, or Harbaugh. You could tell he was well-liked by both fans and teammates, especially through the first half of 2019, but his limitations as a player were clear. Colts fans have been spoiled in the 21st century by 2 all-time great QBs, so any deviation from that, especially when it's not by a QB we drafted #1 overall, will be seen as a major failure. I think people came down a little too hard on Jacoby by the end of 2019, and that he's still a solid pro capable of being the QB on a winning team in the right situation. However, he showed in the 2nd half of 2019 that situation is probably not in Indy going forward.

3. Jim Harbaugh

https://preview.redd.it/ka0f9imcg3b51.jpg?width=300&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=f34fa86258b0e403bfe000b84ba246bcf11dfc42
Years Record Playoffs Comp % Yards TDs INTs Y/A Rating
1994-97 20-26 2-2 60.7 8,705 49 26 7.1 86.6

How He Got Here

The Colts had come out of the Eric Dickerson/Jeff George era looking like an absolute dumpster fire. The Colts had been in Indy for 10 years and Indy was still very much a basketball town. The only signature player the Indy Colts had was Eric Dickerson, and he had a very sour exit in 1992 after 2 bad years. The Indianapolis Colts were still in the woods, searching for the player that could give their franchise hope that they would be treated as a legitimate threat in the NFL and generate significant interest from the fanbase. That hope came from an unlikely source in Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh had led the Chicago Bears to 2 playoff appearances in the late Mike Ditka-era, but his play had fallen off and by 1994 he looked somewhat washed. The desperate Colts made a surprisingly wise decision in not drafting QBs Heath Schuler or Trent Dilfer. Instead they drafted future Hall of Fame RB Marshall Faulk to replace Eric Dickerson (this is the "Who the hell is Mel Kiper?" draft) and signing Jim Harbaugh.

Colts Career

Harbaugh didn't come out guns blazing in 1994 as he traded starting duties with Green Bay castoff Don Majkowski. Harbaugh put up decent numbers but the Colts finished 4-5 in games Harbaugh started, 8-8 overall. Harbaugh entered the 1995 season as no sure thing, the Colts actually traded their 1996 first round pick for young Tampa QB Craig Erickson in another baffling trade for an unproven QB. Erickson and Harbaugh competed for the starting position in training camp and Erickson was selected as the starter by head coach Ted Marchibroda.
Erickson played poorly the first 2 weeks, being replaced and outplayed by Harbaugh in both games. By week 3 Harbaugh was the full time starter and didn't look back. Harbaugh was showing that he meshed well with new Offensive Coordinator Lindy Infante as Harbaugh put up some of the most efficient passing numbers of any QB in the NFL in 1995: 2,575 yards, 17 TDs, 5 INTs, 63.7% completion rate, and a league leading passer rating of 100.7 (ahead of guys like Brett Favre, Troy Aikman, Steve Young, and Dan Marino). Even more importantly he was a becoming the tough effective leader to energize the entire team, leading the Colts to 4 game winning drives that season, including one over the 1994 Super Bowl champion 49ers. The Colts were just outside of the playoffs going into week 17, but Harbaugh led the Colts to a win over the Drew Bledsoe led Patriots in the RCA Dome to sneak the Colts into the playoffs at 9-7. Harbaugh earned his first Pro Bowl appearance along with NFL Comeback Player of the Year.
The Colts were going into the playoffs as 5.5 point underdogs against the San Diego Chargers, a team they had just lost to in week 16. However, thanks to 3 TDs from Harbaugh and an out-of-nowhere 147 yard, 2 TD performance from rookie FB Zach Crockett, the Colts overcame the odds. They were heading into a gauntlet of Arrowhead stadium against the best defense in the league and a Marcus Allen led 13-3 Kansas City Chiefs. In an ugly game where the wind chill was -15oF, luck worked in the Colts favor. Harbaugh didn't throw well, but picked up several key 1st down with his legs. He had 1 INT and 3 fumbles, but fortunately lost 0. Chiefs QB Steve Bono had 3 INTs and K Lin Elliot went 0/3 on field goals in a season where he made 80%. Colts K Cary Blanchard made 1/3, and that was enough to upset the heavily-favored Chiefs 10-7. Harbaugh's most defining moment as the Colts QB would come in the AFC Championship against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Harbaugh's cinderella story continued on against Bill Cowher and Neil O'Donnell's Steelers. The Colts and Steelers traded scores throughout the game. With 8 minutes left in the 4th quarter, Harbaugh threw a dime to WR Floyd Turner for a 47 yard touchdown to put the Colts up 16-13. Unfortunately the Colts couldn't run out enough clock on their next drive and the Steelers rushed down the field for the go-ahead score to put them up 20-16. Harbaugh wasn't done yet. With 88 seconds needing 84 yards, Harbaugh willed the Colts down the field to the Steelers' 29-yard line for a hail mary shot with 5 seconds left. Harbaugh tossed up a prayer that was very nearly caught by Colts WR Aaron Bailey, but he couldn't come up with it. The Cinderella story was over, but it was a defining moment for the Colts franchise. The 1995 Colts were within a hair of making the Super Bowl, and that 1995 playoff run led by Harbaugh created a real fanbase for them.
Harbaugh's stats regressed some in 1996, but he still led the Colts to a 9-7 record and the playoffs, this time getting whooped by the Steelers in the wild card. In 1997 his stats improved some but the wheels fell off of the team as they started off 0-10, eventually falling to 3-13. Fortunately their record would net them the #1 pick in the 1998 draft. After it was clear the Colts were using the pick on QB they traded Harbaugh to the Ravens.

My favorite highlight

https://youtu.be/FT4vF24WanE?t=155

Legacy

“A lot of people use (the word) ‘culture,’ but the attitude, everybody was team-first, from the front office, together with the coaches, together with the ownership, together with the players, the equipment staff, the training staff, I mean it felt like we were family.” - Jim Harbaugh on 1995
I don't think enough can be said about the effect of Harbaugh and that 1995 team had on the Colts. He gave us our first source of pride in the Colts and set the tone for the franchise to not be the laughingstock of the league. He paved the way for the decades of excellence that came after. Harbaugh will never be a HoF QB, but his effect on the Colts is severely underrated.
For more details on the 1995 Cinderella season, read this IndyStar article: https://www.indystar.com/story/sports/nfl/colts/2016/01/21/1995-indianapolis-colts-jim-harbaugh-aaron-bailey-afc-championship-game-ted-marchibroda/78291676/

2. Andrew Luck

https://preview.redd.it/8nh7p6pdg3b51.jpg?width=1800&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=bc67a67720b82f9294b9283924f61d9f261e4d85
Years Record Playoffs Comp % Yards TDs INTs Y/A Rating
2012-18 53.33 4-4 60.8 23,671 171 83 7.2 89.5

How He Got Here

After a serious neck injury to franchise stalwart Peyton Manning, the Colts went from perennial playoff contender to nearly winless in 2011. It was unknown if Manning would ever be the same QB again, so the Colts opted to release their most valuable player and use their #1 pick in 2012 on a QB. There was some debate on possibly drafting the Heisman winner out of Baylor, Robert Griffin III, but new GM Ryan Grigson made no doubt in the fact that he was drafting Andrew Luck. Son of former Oilers QB Oliver Luck, Andrew Luck blossomed under head coach Jim Harbaugh to revitalize the Stanford football program while also graduating with a bachelor's degree in architectural design. Luck was hailed by nearly every scout as a can't miss prospect, having nearly every physical tool you want from a QB along with a clear handle on the mental and intangible aspects of the game.

Colts Career

Expectations for Luck were high going into 2012, but not so for the team overall. Many experts put the Colts at or near the bottom of all power rankings. Not only had the team lost Peyton Manning that year, but also many key pieces from the Manning era such as Pierre Garçon, Joseph Addai, Dallas Clark, Jeff Saturday, and Gary Brackett. To make matters worse, new head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia and missed weeks 5-16. However, despite all odds, Luck led the Colts to an 11-5 record. Interim Head Coach Bruce Arians proved to be a diamond in the rough by helping Luck turn a 2-14 team that lost multiple starters into a playoff team. Luck's stats weren't always pretty: 23 TDs, 18 INTs, 54.1% completion rate, and a 76.5 rating, but he could clearly make plays happen with an absurd 7 game winning drives. The miracles came to an end with a shellacking by the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs, but this season proved Luck would be no bust, he was a force to be reckoned with.
Luck continued to grow in 2013 and 2014, improving in every category to crescendo in 2014 with a league-leading 40 TDs, 16 INTs, 61.7% completion rate, and a 96.5 rating. In 2013 he led the Colts to his first playoff victory in spectacular fashion. After being down 38-10 early in the 3rd quarter to the Alex Smith led Chiefs, Luck led a furious and unbelievable comeback 45-44 victory. Any Colts fan could tell you after seeing all the comeback victories Luck had led to never count him out, and he cemented that in this game. In 2014 Luck led the Colts past their old god of Peyton Manning in Denver in the divisional round, but were given a thorough ass-whooping in the AFC Championship by the soon-to-be Super Bowl champions New England Patriots in what is now infamously known as the "Deflategate Game."
Andrew Luck was a very physical player and was known to take many hits, sometimes making spectacular plays through those hits. However, that punishment started to pile up and wasn't helped by GM Ryan Grigson's poor draft classes and inability to build a competent offensive line to block for Luck. This culminated in the injury plagued 2015 and 2016 seasons. Luck only played 7 games in 2015 and severely regressed in every statistical category, clearly hampered by various injuries such as a lacerated kidney. Luck's stats improved in 2016, but the team did not as they finished 8-8, partially due to an astounding 7% sack of Luck. Either some of Luck's good fortune had finally run out or the team and culture built by GM Grigson had completely failed to support their superstar QB. Owner Jim Irsay bet on Luck and fired Grigson after 2016.
Hopes were high heading into 2017, but unfortunately an unknown snowboarding accident aggravated a previous shoulder injury for Luck. News was very slow to come out, but fans were shocked to find out he would likely miss the entire season 8 days before week 1. New GM Chris Ballard made a quick trade for Jacoby Brissett, but fans were worried after 3 years of being hampered by injuries Luck may never be the same player.
In 2018 we believed those doubts were proven wrong. Luck had an incredibly resurgent season, leading the new look Colts back into the playoffs for the first time since 2014 with a 10-6 record. Luck's numbers were back to form: 39 TDs, 15 INTs, and career bests of 67.3% completion rate and 98.7 rating. Fans were pleased to finally see Luck playing behind a solid offensive line that prevented which prevented him from being sacked for 5 weeks and giving him a career low 2.7% sack rate. Luck led the Colts to a Wild Card win over the Deshaun Watson's Texans, but were stopped in the cold in Arrowhead against Patrick Mahomes' Chiefs. However, hopes were high leading into 2019 that the structure given by GM Chris Ballard would protect Luck and allow him to lead us to our Super Bowl.
Sadly that did not work out as Luck appeared to have a calf injury leading up to the 2019 season. Fans held out hope he would be ready to go for the start of the season, but after the years of rehabbing Luck had finally had enough. 2 weeks before the season opener during a preseason game against the Chicago Bears it was leaked that Luck planned to retire. Fortunately his backup Jacoby Brissett was put in a better position to take his place as opposed to 2017, but the sudden and unexplained retirement of their franchise QB right before the season led to some fans to boo Luck as he left the field at Lucas Oil Stadium for the last time.

My favorite highlight

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teNLH0p6WHs
or
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBHhO2yWRMo
or

Legacy

Andrew Luck will forever be one of the greatest "what if?" stories in American sports history. Unlike many "what if?" stories, we got to see what we could have had with Luck. What the Colts had in Luck from 2012-14 along with 2018 was nothing short of incredible and it was clear he was improving to potentially become one of the greatest QBs in NFL history. Instead he's a tragic story where fans will forever be left to wonder what could have been with Andrew Luck. Would Luck have brought the Colts back to the Super Bowl if he he didn't play the majority of his career under the poor management of GM Ryan Grigson and HC Chuck Pagano? All we do know is that his sack rate under Grigson was 5.5%, and in one year on GM Chris Ballard's team it was 2.7%, coincidentally also one of his best statistical seasons. Peyton Manning's sack rate for his career? Tied for the NFL record with Dan Marino at 3.13%. Maybe if Luck had been better protected and coached better to avoid hits he could have made it up there with Manning, but as fans he'll forever be a "what if?" Luck seems like a smart and content man who's just starting a family, so I doubt he will ever return for any team. Even if he did we'll forever be robbed of what the best version of Andrew Luck could have been. However, in his short time here, he delivered enough incredible moments to give us hope and make us love the team. I, along with hopefully many other fans, will forever love Andrew Luck for his time with the Colts and am grateful for a helluva run.

1.Peyton Manning

https://preview.redd.it/5lr1v2heg3b51.jpg?width=1200&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=0b42edf31a7f2e4910e9adc0dcceb11b045a8630
Years Record Playoffs Comp % Yards TDs INTs Y/A Rating
1998-11 141-67 9-10 64.9 54,828 399 198 7.6 94.9

How He Got Here

The Indianapolis Colts under Jim Harbaugh had finally established themselves as a legitimate team, but the Colts knew Harbaugh wasn't the long-term answer at QB. He was 35 going into the 1998 season and had just led the Colts to a 3-13 season, bad enough for the #1 overall pick. There was some debate about drafting Heisman finalist out of Washington, Ryan Leaf, but new GM Bill Polian made no doubt in the fact that he was drafting Peyton Manning. Leaf had some incredible athletic abilities, but there were some doubts raised about his ability to handle the mental aspects of the game. He also basically made the decision for the Colts when he skipped their draft interview, a passive-aggressive declaration he wouldn't play for the Colts. Peyton Manning, son of former Saints QB Archie Manning, was also a Heisman finalist out of Tennessee. No scout doubted Manning's ability to become a franchise QB in the NFL, but some wondered about his potential ceiling due to a complete lack of running ability and some arm strength concerns. However, he was clearly one of the most mature and mentally ready players to ever come out of college for any position.
"I'll leave you with this thought. If you take me, I promise you we will win a championship. If you don't, I promise I'll come back and kick your ass" -Peyton Manning to Colts GM Bill Polian on the day before the 1998 draft

Colts Career

The 1998 Colts were still a pretty bad team overall, and the rookie Manning was not enough to overcome that. He had one of the best statistical rookie seasons ever: 3,739 yards, 26 TDs, 28 INTs, 6.5 Y/A, and a 56.7% completion rate, setting records for yards, TDs, and INTs (yards and TDs are currently held by Andrew Luck and Baker Mayfield respectively). However, the deficiencies of the team and Manning's record number of interceptions helped give the Colts a 3-13 record, including a week 5 win over Ryan Leaf's San Diego Chargers.
Fortunately Manning helped lead one of the biggest turnarounds in NFL history in 1999, turning the 3-13 Colts in 1998 into the 13-3 Colts in 1999. People weren't exactly ready to give up on Manning after 1998, but 1999 was critical for showing Manning could improve and be at the helm of a winning team. Partially this was helped by sending Hall of Fame RB Marshall Faulk to St. Louis in exchange for the draft pick to select Hall of Fame RB Edgerrin James, who had a phenomenal rookie year. The Colts ended up losing to the Tennessee Titans in the playoffs, who had just completed the Music City Miracle the week before and would come within an ass hair of winning the Super Bowl against the Greatest Show on Turf St. Louis Rams.
Manning was up and down from 2000 to 2002, still posting good stats but missing the playoffs in 2001 ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oSFYxDGKy8 ) and having first round exits in 2000 and 2002. Whispers started turning into legitimate arguments about how Peyton Manning was a good stats, dome team, regular season QB that just didn't have it in the playoffs. In 2003 Manning started his absurd streak of 12+ win seasons (7 years) and picked up his first MVP award, the first (and still only) Indy Colt to win it. He also got his first playoff wins in 2003, but was quickly put to shame in a 4 INT performance in the AFC Championship against the Patriots, now known by Colts fans as "The Ty Law Game."
The 2004 season is well known by Colts fans for cementing Manning among the all time greats. Manning was white hot all year, throwing for 4,557 yards 49 TDs, 10 INTs, and a 121.1 rating while only getting sacked 13 times. The 49 TDs was a record, which has since been broken by Tom Brady and Manning again while a member of the Broncos. Manning won MVP for the 2nd year in a row, but once again disappointed in the playoffs with a 0 TD, 1 INT performance against the Patriots in the divisional round, losing 20-3. Those arguments of Manning's postseason jitters were starting to feel more and more like reality for Colts fans. They knew they had their franchise QB, but his inability to perform in the playoffs continued to be baffling.
2005 was supposed to be the season that changed all that. Manning's numbers came back to earth somewhat, but he still posted a very efficient performance (104.1 rating) for a much improved overall team. GM Bill Polian had proved his days building the "Four Falls over Buffalo" Bills dynasty was no fluke, he now had a team with the #2 scoring offense and the #2 scoring defense. This was the year to break the Manning postseason curse. Unfortunately in one of the most upsetting games of my life, the Colts could not break that curse against the Steelers in the divisional round. Manning played relatively well: 58% completion rate, 290 yards, and 1 TD with no INTs, but watching the game the Colts struggled to maintain momentum and get stops against the rookie Ben Roethlisberger. Despite the inconsistent play, the Colts still had a shot. Steelers HoF RB Jerome Bettis attempted to ice the game with a goal line carry, but fumbled for the first time all year. With the entire Steelers offense stuffing the line, Colts CB Nick Harper was free to pick up the ball with a nearly open field ahead of him. Normally Nick Harper is one of the faster players on the field, however, as every Colts fan knows, Harper had been stabbed in the leg by his wife in a "supposedly accidental" altercation the night before. This possibly allowed the falling down Ben Roethlisberger to catch Harper by his shoe strings, preventing the nearly sure thing TD by Harper to put the Colts ahead. Instead Manning led the Colts into basically chip shot field goal position for one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history (Mike "Idiot Kicker" Vanderjagt) to tie the game. We all know what happened next. It was a shocking loss to say the least, and it was hard to blame it all on Manning, but it still felt like there was some sort of mystical VooDoo curse hanging over Manning and our franchise.
If the Colts couldn't win it all in 2005 it felt like they never would. 2006 wasn't looking like anything special compared to the past few seasons, especially considering the defense regressed from #2 in scoring in 2005 to #23 in 2006. Manning was still putting up great numbers, but those were starting to feel like an exercise in futility. Fortunately the Colts caught fire at the right time, with oft-injured All-Pro Safety Bob Sanders getting healthy towards the end of the season and the trade deadline addition of Buccaneers DT "Booger" McFarland. That momentum pushed them to an AFC Championship, where Manning would match up against the source of his ultimate playoff failures, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Fortunately, this time it was in the RCA Dome, not Foxborogh, MA. Manning and the Colts started off cold, being down 21-3 at one point after a Manning pick-6, but the Colts rallied behind some incredibly orchestrated drives by Manning to finally get the monkey off his back. On a last second drive, Manning drove the Colts down the field to put them ahead 38-34 with 1 minute to go. A Marlin Jackson interception of Tom Brady sealed it, Manning and the Colts were going to the Super Bowl for the first time in Indy history. Manning played well in the Super Bowl, winning the MVP against the league-best Chicago Bears defense.
Manning continued his solid play in 2007 and 2008, including his 3rd MVP in 2008. Both seasons ended with heartbreaking first round playoff exits to the San Diego Chargers, 2008's being the "Sproles and Scifres Game." 2008 also showed the first signs of physical weakness from Manning, having a knee surgery before the season that led to a slow start for the Colts. That was not the case in 2009, as Manning led the Colts to start the season 14-0. In a decision that's still derided today, new head coach Jim Caldwell decided to effectively bench Manning along with many other starters rather than go for the perfect season to prevent any injuries. Many had seen the Patriots in 2007 nearly complete the perfect season, but fall in heartbreaking fashion in the Super Bowl against a less talented Giants team. Caldwell, like many others, decided that any rust from not playing for nearly a month was worth the decreased risk of injury to his stars. That decision nearly backfired in spectacular fashion as the Colts were behind the New York Jets (a team they effectively let into the playoffs by letting them win in week 16) in the AFC Championship game until Manning led a furious comeback. It all ended poorly in the Super Bowl however as Manning threw a pick-6 to Tracy Porter that still haunts my dreams to Tracy Porter, allowing the Colts to lose to Drew Brees and his stupid baby and the New Orleans Saints.
2010 was one of the first signs of weakness from Manning. He had apparently injured his neck on this play in 2006 ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gjdmww3vgM ) on a hit that would now be extremely illegal. Manning apparently aggravated that injury in the lead up to the 2010 season, and it showed in the stats as he had how lowest rating since 2002 (91.9). For most other QBs a rating of 91.9 is a pretty solid season but for Manning it was a massive fall. This led to a quick playoff exit to the Jets in the first round. In the lead up to the 2011 season, Manning had several surgeries to relieve the pain in his neck which led to him missing the entire season. It was unknown if he would ever be the same QB again, or even play again. Manning's absence showed how incredibly important he was to the franchise, the only major difference between the rosters in 2010 and 2011 is Manning, yet the Colts went 10-6 in 2010 and 2-14 in 2011. This poor record led to the Colts earning the #1 pick in the 2012 draft, which fueled their decision to release Manning and draft a QB in 2012 (Chandler Harnish...and Andrew Luck).

My favorite highlight

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DttfyOeU3vw
or
https://youtu.be/al13DoOFp78
or
https://youtu.be/UE4UgMc2QqA?t=581

Legacy

"Fellas, if 18 goes down, we're fucked, and we don't practice fucked." -Offensive Coordinator Tom Moore on why the backup QBs don't get more reps
Nothing to me cements Peyton Manning's role in Indy as much as this quote. Even his first 5 years before he became an all-time great, that was still the best sustained stretch of QB play in Indy Colts history. Once he ascended to another level in 2003, it was clear we needed to put every egg we could find into his basket. Manning was the perfect franchise QB: a steady presence on and off the field, consistent delivery of either incredible numbers or game winning performances (usually both), and he made nearly everyone else on the team a better player. His drive and commitment to team victory made him the guy every franchise needs if they want to field a consistently great team. Peyton had somewhat of an authoritarian leadership style, my way or the highway, but you can do that when you show that you're willing and able to give every ounce of yourself to the team and deliver the kind of results that he can.
I think some people are disappointed in the Manning Era considering how historically great his stats are but he was 1-1 in Super Bowls in 12 years here. Honestly I think that's not too far off for any all-time QB. Drew Brees is 1-0, Brett Favre is 1-1, Aaron Rodgers is 1-0, Fran Tarkenton is 0-3, Jim Kelly is 0-4, Dan Marino is 0-1, all of these guys are all-time great franchise QBs but it's not abnormal for them to only win 1 or lose several. There are some exceptions: Tom Brady (6-3), Joe Montana (4-0), Terry Bradshaw (4-0), and Troy Aikman (3-0), but honestly you could trade any of the former QBs for Terry Bradshaw and they would also probably be 4-0. There's lots of luck in every playing career, and some get luckier than others. The only season I'd say the Colts were "robbed" of a Super Bowl is 2005, otherwise I think Manning's Colts career went about as good as it could have.

Honorable Mentions: Matt Hasselbeck (5-3 record, probably our best backup ever) and Dan Orlovsky (just for saving us from a completely defeated season).
Dishonorable Mentions: Jeff George and Kerry Collins (being very bad at QB isn't very uncommon for Indy Colts QBs, but these guys were so bad and toxic they dragged down the abilities of everyone on the team and are actively hated by most fans)
submitted by chadowan to Colts [link] [comments]

2020 NFL Draft Review - Analysis and Career Predictions for Each Team's Draft Class - AFC North

If you missed the first installment of this series, you can read the NFC North review here. Every year after the draft, I write a way-too-long review of each team’s draft. The purpose of this draft review is to give predictions for the careers of each team’s drafted players. I’ve watched film of each player I’m commenting on. Draft grades are overly optimistic and unrealistic. Unlike the majority of post-draft coverage out there, I will pick busts. Keep in mind that 23.4% of all first-round picks bust.
Let me preface this by saying: predicting the career of an NFL draft pick is a ridiculous exercise. There is so much unknown that goes into whether a player succeeds or fails at the next level. I can make educated guesses based on team situation, supporting cast, and research about the prospect’s character and work ethic, but there’s a reason teams make so many mistakes every year. You simply don’t know for sure how a player will react to being a pro. Injuries are also a huge factor in the fate of a player and impossible to predict accurately. I still write this long prediction article for three reasons:
1 - No one else does it. 2 - It’s more interesting than draft grades. 3 - It’s fun to try to get things right.

Overview

Like NFL teams, I’m going to get things wrong. The greatest football mind in history drafted Ryan Mallett and Chad Jackson. I also like to argue against the consensus when my evaluations allow me to. That has gotten me in trouble with some unpopular predictions that turned out to be hilariously wrong. On the flip side, I don’t think anyone else predicted Lamar Jackson would be the best quarterback of his draft class. All of my picks are rooted in comprehensive film study and a mathematical understanding of what drafts typically produce (spoiler: draft grades are unrealistically generous).
Before we start, here are some of my general thoughts on the 2020 NFL Draft.
Quickly on the broadcast - they did a great job given the circumstances. The production quality was great and they did more actual analysis than usual. My main gripe with draft coverage every year is that they don’t show incredible highlights (they somehow didn’t show the Aaron Dobson catch in 2013). This year, they showed more footage of actual football and I appreciated that. The only two negatives for me were the constant tragic stories and Booger McFarland.
Oh, and if any poor soul bet on Justin Jefferson Under 21.5 draft position, ESPN should apologize to you. They showed him on the phone celebrating right before cutting to Goodell announcing the 21st pick - Jalen Reagor to the Eagles. Jefferson was of course on the phone with the Vikings, who took him at 22. Brutal beat.
As for the draft, remember this tweet about mock drafts being “wronger” than ever? Funny, this was probably the chalkiest first-round ever in the internet age. Nothing was truly shocking to me, including the Packers trading up for Jordan Love (more on that here). I had Damon Arnette in the first round in my first mock draft this draft season. I wrote an article lauding Jordyn Brooks as an undervalued commodity. Noah Ibinoghene going in the first was surprising, I suppose. But there was no Clelin Ferrell at No. 4 or Tyson Alualu at No. 10. It speaks to how the media and internet scouts might be catching up to, or God forbid actually influencing the teams.
So here is the first installment of my annual draft review. Each player will receive their career prediction in parentheses following their name. For example: Joe Burrow (5). Here's how the picks break down:
5 – All-Pro: Starter who has performed at an elite level at his position. 4 – Above-Average: Starter who has been among the best at his position. 3 – Solid: Starter or valuable back-up with significant positive production. 2 – Replacement Level: Below-average starter or back-up who made minor contributions. 1 – Bust: Player who didn’t amount to anything positive.
Next up, the AFC North.

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals have historically been pretty good at drafting despite having the smallest scouting staff in the league. With the first pick in each round, they would have had to try to mess this up. Instead, they had the single best draft in the entire league, drafting the No. 1, No. 14, No. 52, and No. 69 (nice) players on my board.
Joe Burrow lacks the ideal competitiveness after transfer- just kidding. The Tiger King just had the greatest season in the history of college football, capped off by a dismantling of a Clemson defense with multiple day-one picks. Joe Burrow (5) is going to be a franchise quarterback and Zac Taylor is a lucky man. Joe Exotic is being praised everywhere for his poise, accuracy, touch, and athleticism. What stood out to me on film was his ability to create outside the structure of the offense. He is dynamic in that he can scramble to run or throw - a defensive coordinator’s nightmare. LSU even ran him on designed quarterback draws, an indication they were comfortable with his durability.
Burrow’s 2018 obviously wasn’t great (57.8% comp., 16/5 TD/INT), but it’s not smart to question his ball placement after his 2019 film. His offensive supporting cast was amazing, but it was overwhelmingly obvious that the game moved extremely slowly for him at the highest level of college football. When the NFL bullets start flying even faster, Burrow will have an easier time adjusting than most quarterbacks.
Tee Higgins (4) may have been the best value in the entire draft. Higgins’ perceived draft status on the internet was just odd. From WRU with 28 career touchdowns and undeniably impressive film, Higgins was widely accepted as the 5th-8th best receiver in this class. Why? I don’t care much about his lack of timed speed (4.54) as he played fast enough and has other dominant traits. The only legitimate reason for the lack of respect is his thin body as it relates to durability. He came up lame a lot on film, and NFL teams are spooked by medical issues. I am not going to be shy about endorsing this pick.
Tee Higgins has unbelievable hands, body control, and ball-tracking ability in a 6-4, 216-pound frame. He didn’t look great against Jeff Okudah and Ohio State but was clearly banged up. There’s also no shame in struggling against Okudah, who’s probably a top-five NFL corner right now. Joe Burrow to Tee Higgins will be the premiere QB-WR connection in the league by 2023.
Logan Wilson (3) was one of “my guys” and Akeem Davis-Gaither was close (No. 69 on my board). Wilson was arguably the best coverage linebacker in the draft and is probably not terrible at tackling, considering he tallied 409 (!) of them at Wyoming. His film was fun to watch, as an off-ball linebacker with ten career picks. As for Akeem Davis-Gaither (3), he’s light but lightning fast. His floor is a contributor on specials, but in a pass-happy league with Lamar Jackson running around, his speed plays on defense as well. He’s not going to take on blocks in a phone booth but he made some wow plays at Appalachian State, constantly finding the ball and getting tackles-for-loss on the edge from his Sam position. Doubling up on linebacker with two talented prospects was a great strategy.
The Bengals aced this draft. Loading up on defense will be the priority for the next few years, as they have one of the best young offensive cores in all of football.

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens always draft well and this year was no different. They selected my No. 11 overall player at 28, my top-ranked running back at 55, and four other players in my top-100. The legacy of Ozzie Newsome lives on.
Patrick Queen (4) showed some inconsistencies on tape in terms of missing tackles and angles and possibly even taking plays off. However, his highs on film are as impressive as any player in this class, and in the Ravens organization, they feel confident in coaching him up to play at that level consistently. Put on the National Championship game and Queen looks like the best defensive player on the field. Put on Texas and watch the goal-line sequence where he almost scores a 99-yard touchdown on third down and then fits up for a 4th-down stuff. His Auburn tape isn’t as impressive, getting beat by their running back (No. 3) and blocked in space on screen passes. In Baltimore, he’ll be kept clean and asked to fly around and hit people. He could not have gone to a better situation.
J.K. Dobbins (3) was my No. 1 running back in this class. He is a tougher (love a back not wearing gloves) runner than Jonathan Taylor and plays with great contact balance and low pad level. He has a stiff-arm, ideal burst, and necessary physicality and creativity. He’ll be a hammer learning from Mark Ingram in Baltimore. Again, a perfect fit for the Ravens in real football, but probably not the best landing spot for fantasy, at least in the short term.
As for their other picks, the only one I’m not excited about it is Justin Madubuike (2). He screams Reverse Planet Theory to me, taking advantage of bad guards with splash plays that don’t translate. Devin Duvernay (3) can be an actually-explosive version of Willie Snead. Malik Harrison (3) is a thumper who can call the defense and make plays. Ben Bredeson (3) was one of my favorite mid-round guard prospects. I’m very happy Lamar Jackson won MVP last year, and this class will help keep the Ravens among the elite teams in the NFL.

Cleveland Browns

The Browns were easy to mock for going into the draft, with two huge needs at left tackle and safety and a fairly stacked roster everywhere else. They unsurprisingly filled those needs with their first two picks, grabbing arguably the best prospect at both positions.
Jedrick Wills Jr. (3) was not exactly my favorite tackle. I noted balance issues, which scare me more than anything else for an offensive lineman. I saw his head snap back too many times, noted some off-target punches, and really scary attempted shoulder blocks. His traits are all top-notch, including his uncommon lateral agility for his size. There are winning reps that highlight his strength (grabbing and throwing guys down on speed rushes), but don’t inspire in the way of translatable technique. He’s a better prospect than Ereck Flowers, but some of his mis-timed and off-balance punches remind me of the Giant bust. There’s more risk here than people realize, but coaching can take care of the sloppy technique.
Grant Delpit (4) was my favorite safety. His 2018 film was tremendous, and his 2019 film showed a clearly banged-up player toughing it out to help lead his team to a championship. Delpit has tremendous change-of-direction skills and great instincts as a center field player. He is a little sloppy and all-over-the-place, but again not at 100%. Bottom line is that he gets it done, and the game is slower for him than most. He’ll start for years to come and make multiple pro bowls.
As for the rest, I didn’t think Jordan Elliot (2) was big enough to be as not-really-that-quick as he was. Jacob Phillips (2) called the LSU defense and fills a need, but strikes me as more of a special teamer at the pro level. Harrison Bryant (1) profiles as a possible TE2 but according to my notes “might just be a college dude.” He had two touchdowns versus Utah’s exclusively NFL-player secondary though. Finally, Donovan Peoples-Jones (3) falling to 187 made no sense talent-wise so there must be off-field or medical concerns. He’s raw and the game didn’t come easy to him, but I liked his activity as a blocker and he ran solid routes (comebacks especially). He showed good hands and has a ton of potential, perhaps even slotting in as the WR3 this season. I don’t think Shea Patterson is good.
I was never high on Baker Mayfield, but it's easy to be excited about this Browns roster going forward. There is no real personnel weakness anywhere. If Mayfield can be coachable and tone down the turnovers, the Browns have enough talent to compete for one of the for-some-reason seven AFC playoff spots.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers essentially used their first-round pick on Minkah Fitzpatrick, who would have easily been the best safety in the draft. They came into the draft needing a quarterback, tackle, and cornerback, but somehow didn’t select any of those positions. I wasn’t a huge fan of their haul, which was headlined by one of the most overrated receivers in the draft.
After being burned by Limas Sweed and Sammie Coates, the Steelers went back to the big-and-fast archetype at wide receiver with Chase Claypool (1). I ultimately labeled him as an “average pro if that” after noting his below-average ankle flexion, tight hips, and general clumsiness. Claypool’s large hands are fantastic, and he’s obviously very fast, but I wasn’t feeling his film as translatable to the next level. I love that he was still on the punt unit but I don’t see a high ceiling as an outside receiver against quicker corners. There were better receivers on the board.
Alex Highsmith (1) was the first of two Charlotte… uh… Bobcats?... selected this year. Highsmith attempted to tackle Travis Etienne versus Clemson and was run through like a middle-schooler. Throughout that film, he was quite easily neutralized by the Tigers' left tackle. He tries really hard, has a decent first step, and can bend just a little. I’m a big 3-cone guy for edge rushers, and his 7.32 in addition to poor film against Clemson doesn’t help his case.
📷
Every single Anthony McFarland (2) mention starts with his legendary performance against Ohio State in 2018. Unfortunately looking closer at the film, they simply missed some fits and he exploded on the edge. He did show some one-cut ability in the open field, but his tape shows someone who is clearly comfortable on the edge, which doesn’t really fit the NFL at all. McFarland has traits, but the game is difficult for him, getting stuffed on the goal line by Temple, showing bad ball security, and rarely pushing the pile. He’s a satellite speed guy, which if schemed right can be valuable.
I'm sorry Steelers fans, but this year could be the last dance for Ben Roethlisberger. Minkah Fitzpatrick is really, really good at least.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more divisions in the coming days.
Link to this article: https://www.rotoballer.com/2020-nfl-draft-review-afc-north/735564?src=cat_feat_9954
Link to NFC North article: https://www.rotoballer.com/2020-nfl-draft-review-and-team-grades-nfc-north/734932
submitted by gpngc to NFL_Draft [link] [comments]

I'mma head out

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Offseason with Cidolfus: Quarterbacks

Quarterbacks

There’s no way to discuss the Miami Dolphins looking ahead to the 2020 season without addressing the elephant in the room. Ever since Ryan Tannehill was shipped off to the Titans, a single question has loomed large over the future of this franchise: who is the long term answer under center? As we head into the 2020 draft with a top-five pick, it’s a question we’re going to be hearing an awful lot over the next few months.
I’ll be blunt from the outset: a great deal of this series this year is going to deal with that question. I understand that this is going to cause contentious debate, just as it has throughout the season and will continue to throughout the offseason. I understand also that some of my takes about our strategy this season are going to be controversial.
I’ve tried to stay out of the pro-/anti-tank arguments throughout the season as much as possible. I have not always been successful. Spoiler alert for those who hadn’t already caught on: Cidolfus was pro tank. I understand that this position makes many of you viscerally angry just as I understand that many who supported tanking were annoyed at those celebrating “meaningless” wins. So before we get going, I want to ask everyone to keep one thing in mind not only in regards to my own commentary to follow, but for any discussion in this series or in the many other posts that are sure to occur over the next several months:
Let people be fans in whatever manner makes them happy.
I understand that we have emotional reactions to this sport. Nevertheless, it bears reminding: football is a sport and watching is supposed to be fun. If someone wants to win every Sunday because it’s just more fun to win? Good for them. If someone is willing to trade losses now for a perceived advantage in the long term and is happy to see us lose now because they think it’ll be better later? Good for them. If someone wants to bandwagon a team because they just like to watch winning football on Sundays? Good for them. If someone wants to pick the Dolphins as their team for the future because they like the animal? Pity the poor fool, but good for them.
It’s not my job, your job, or anyone else’s job to tell someone else how to enjoy watching sports, so we should all just try and live and let live. That’s not to say that we can’t discuss these differing viewpoints. The whole point of this series is to generate discussion. Just keep it respectful.
Like last year, I plan on posting one of these each week throughout the postseason, and then when I can find time as appropriate through the offseason I’ll try to follow up with an additional free agency and draft discussion. I’m expecting a lot of real work to hit me beginning on March, though, so we’ll see what happens. As always, this series will be primarily geared towards team-building with a focus on contract management under the salary cap. I don’t pretend to be any great evaluator of NFL talent and instead rely pretty heavily on other sources for that type of analysis. This analysis is pretty statistics heavy, by which I mean the math part. Disclaimer: I’m not a statistician and I’m pretty far removed from what little stats I took in college at this point, so as far as the real math goes, it’s still going to be pretty rudimentary.
With all that said, let’s start The Offseason with Cidolfus III.

The Quarterback Conundrum

Whether you’re a believer or a skeptic of Flores as the coach to drag this franchise kicking and screaming out of mediocrity, I hope it is not too controversial to suggest that getting a quarterback should be our first priority from a roster-building standpoint.
But of course it is.
Especially due to the recent uncertainty regarding Tua Tagovailoa’s intentions to declare for the 2020 NFL draft, this subreddit has seen enthusiastic suggestions from using any of our three first round selections all the way to not even drafting a quarterback in the first three rounds at all and instead rolling into the 2020 season with Fitzpatrick and Rosen. Some suggest faith that Rosen can still develop into the heir apparent. Others recommend punting to the 2021 draft where we can try our chances at Lawrence or Fields. Still others suggest that first round quarterbacks are overrated and point to successes found in the middle and later rounds.
Those who have read these posts in previous years know that I’m a numbers guy. So I spent a good chunk of my holiday vacation this year compiling statistics on every quarterback drafted since 2000 to see what we can learn to inform a strategy as how to best find your future quarterback in the NFL. The data has mostly been culled from Pro Football Reference cross-referenced with Wikipedia for information on when players were rostered but did not play. Being a numbers guy, I would have liked to get into some more advanced metrics like ANY/A+ (which is useful for comparisons over a long period of time since it’s normalized to the league average over a three year period). Unfortunately, this information, and many other stats (like QBR) were not available going back the full twenty years, and I wanted to be as consistent as possible. Instead, I decided on 12 different values across three broader categories:
Activity: Availability is the best ability in the NFL. How many games did the player start? How many seasons was that player on an active roster? What percent of their possible games played did they start? What was the QB win percentage in starts?
Accolades: How many accolades did the quarterback acquire over their career? A lot of people will make appeals to these accolades when determining a player’s value, and while I find them the least helpful for this discussion, it’s good to know for argument’s sake. How many Pro Bowls, First Ballot All Pros, and MVPs did the player receive? How many Super Bowls did they win?
Stats: Nothing too fancy here. How did the player perform over their career? We’re looking mostly at career completion percentage, touchdown to interception ratio, adjusted net yards per attempt, and passer rating. These are some easily-digestible, high-level metrics on a quarterback’s general passing performance. I intentionally omitted rushing performance from this analysis because it’s so extremely skewed in favor of a small handful of quarterbacks that the data wouldn’t be particularly useful.

Some Caveats and Acknowledgments

I tracked total attempts initially as a metric to exclude or weight individual quarterback stats. For example, when calculating the average ANY/A, I wasn’t satisfied with simply taking the simple mean of the stat across all quarterbacks in a given round. After all, why should Tyrod Taylor’s 5.96 ANY/A on 1362 attempts be weighed just as heavily as Jordan Palmer’s -2.50 ANY/A on a mere 18 pass attempts?
On the other hand, weighing these stats would vastly overinflate the value of any single long-time player to skew the averages of any single round. Tom Brady’s 9959 career attempts, for example, account for more than 50% of passes thrown by sixth rounders drafted in the past 20 years. Tom Brady is obviously an outlier in the dataset: to weigh his 7.08 ANY/A as over 50% of the entire sixth round would dramatically skew the results even further.
As a result, I have not weighted any of the stat averages based on attempts or games player or any other metric of longevity. I admit that this skews the results the other way. Sticking with the sixth round, 26 of the 43 players drafted threw 50 or fewer attempts their entire career. Many of them never threw a pass in an NFL game, which I evaluated as straight 0s across the board. I decided that this is very much the point for this analysis: if a quarterback never throws an NFL pass, that is a completely unsuccessful draft pick.
I do not expect NFL drafting behaviors in general to change. Most sixth-round quarterback selections will never get a legitimate chance to start, so tracking averages in such a way that devalues a sixth-round quarterback by scoring them as straight 0s while allowing even bad first round selections to put up marginally better numbers is at least an acceptable reflection of a team’s actual attempts to draft quarterbacks.
There are going to be variables I can’t account for, at least not with the data available to me. Rules changes and general trends in the NFL have resulted in the bar moving pretty dramatically upwards especially in the past couple years.
With that all out in the open, let’s take a look at the past 20 years of drafting quarterbacks. As a quick note, I’ve made the assumption that Lamar Jackson wins the MVP this season (because obviously), but I’ve not projected a winner of the 2020 Super Bowl.

Round by Round

The quick and dirty: 242 quarterbacks were drafted between 2000 and 2019. Let’s start with a simple breakdown of the averages.

Means by Round

Round Players Drafted Games Started Seasons Rostered Start % Win % Pro Bowls All Pros MVPs Super Bowls Completion % TD:INT ANY/A Passer Rating
7 36 8.44 3.86 5.31% 6.39% 0 0 0 0 22.86% 0.28 1.06 24.87
6 43 15.53 4.58 8.86% 13.87% 0.39 0.14 0.08 0.17 36.67% 0.67 2.34 43.02
5 34 3.50 3.74 4.77% 15.27% 0 0 0 0 27.38% 0.35 1.81 31.80
4 26 16.08 5.35 14.57% 21.05% 0.12 0 0 0 50.07% 0.72 3.17 60.43
3 26 22.42 6.08 19.42% 22.41% 0.35 0 0 0.08 50.17% 0.98 3.64 62.03
2 21 41.38 7.29 30.83% 35.97% 0.48 0.19 0 0.05 53.18% 1.07 4.28 67.06
1 56 70.52 7.38 58.57% 46.68% 0.93 0.11 0.11 0.13 60.12% 1.59 5.50 82.68
ALL 242 28.16 5.41 23.02% 23.96% 0.36 0.06 0.04 0.07 43.10% 0.95 3.18 53.88

Medians by Round

Round Players Drafted Games Started Seasons Rostered Start % Win % Pro Bowls All Pros MVPs Super Bowls Completion % TD:INT ANY/A Passer Rating
7 36 0 3.00 0% 0% 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
6 43 0 3.00 0% 0% 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
5 34 0 3.00 0% 0% 0 0 0 0 35.80% 0 0.11 17.05
4 26 3.00 4.50 4.48% 5.00% 0 0 0 0 56.80% 0.59 4.37 63.95
3 26 10.00 5.00 13.28% 22.22% 0 0 0 0 59.00% 0.89 4.45 74.10
2 21 21.00 6.00 26.79% 38.71% 0 0 0 0 58.60% 0.86 4.68 72.70
1 56 50.00 7.00 63.54% 47.54% 0 0 0 0 60.30% 1.43 5.47 81.70
ALL 242 7.50 4.00 93.11% 20.00% 0 0 0 0 56.20% 0.71 4.11 69.00
A couple things to note looking at both of these tables in tandem: accolades are a poor metric by which to judge the worth of a quarterback pick in each round. This is easy enough to explain: the same few players have won the same awards multiple times in the past 20 years and there are also a limited number of each award per season. Only one quarterback can win MVP or win the Super Bowl, but multiple players can post a solid ANY/A over 6.00 each season. This scarcity is reflected by the median where the vast majority of players never win any of these awards. Case in point: Tom Brady accounts for 13.63% of all Pro Bowl nods, 33.33% of all First Team All Pros and MVPs, and 37.5% of all Super Bowl victories in the entire population examined. That doesn’t change that drafting a quarterback in the sixth round is functionally worthless.
Similarly, the number of seasons rostered and games rostered correlates very strongly to draft position. This shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone, as even poorly performing players often get more opportunities to start draft position. The steadily increasing seasons rostered also indicates that the higher drafted a player is, the more likely they are to play a second contract. A median seasons rostered of 3.00 for rounds 5-7 indicates that quarterbacks drafted in those rounds are more often than not cut before completing a standard rookie contract.
At a glance, the data confirms what most probably suspected already: the higher a quarterback is drafted, the more likely it is that the team got it right and the quarterback in question was a successful pick. What can be observed from above is the general trend that all statistical measures trend positively with the round the player is selected. In general, from the data here it should be pretty obvious that a team is not likely to find their franchise quarterback after the third round as the means for nearly every category for all of those are lower than the means of all quarterbacks drafted. Shocker: quarterbacks in the back half of the draft are, on average, worse than the average of all quarterbacks drafted. So the question then becomes: how do the top three rounds stack up?

Completion Percentage

Round Mean St. Dev. St. Dev. of Mean From Mean of All
1 60.12% 3.82% 0.64
2 53.18% 17.81% 0.38
3 50.17% 21.73% 0.27

TD:INT

Round Mean St. Dev. St. Dev. of Mean From Mean of All
1 1.59 0.81 0.42
2 1.07 0.80 0.08
3 0.98 1.02 0.02

ANY/A

Round Mean St. Dev. St. Dev. of Mean From Mean of All
1 5.50 0.98 0.79
2 4.28 2.09 0.38
3 3.64 2.15 0.16

Passer Rating

Round Mean St. Dev. St. Dev. of Mean From Mean of All
1 82.68 9.89 0.79
2 67.06 27.33 0.36
3 62.03 29.78 0.22
Again as expected, the first round selection is, in aggregate, better. Importantly, though, first round selections are better not just because they have higher mean values for the stats we’re tracking here; they are better because they typically have less variance and also because they’re notably better relative to an average quarterback from the entire draft. Not only is the average ANY/A of a first round selection much higher than that of a second or third round, the standard deviation within its own population is dramatically lower. It’s a safer pick. The standard deviations of the mean from the mean of all draft selections also suggest that the average first round pick is, in general, better relative to the average of all picks than the second or third is. Again, that shouldn’t be a surprise given what we’ve already seen and the positive correlation between draft status and performance.
The takeaway from this should not be that you can only find success in the first round of the NFL draft for QBs or that top-selected quarterbacks are locks (more on that later). This is obviously and demonstrably not true. The takeaway should be that in the aggregate, quarterbacks in the first round are more successful than those drafted in any other round, and it’s not particularly close.
This brings me to the first of the draft suggestions proposed that I want to directly address.

But the best quarterback from the 2011 draft was a third rounder!

Look at Russell Wilson! Look at Dak Prescott! Drew Brees! Tom Brady! They are some of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, and they were all drafted outside of the first round. Tony Romo was a really good quarterback, and he even went undrafted! You don’t need to draft a quarterback in the first round to find your quarterback of the future.
Let’s look at all the teams in the NFL and who was projected as the team’s starting quarterback headed into the preseason and what round they were drafted in.
Team Quarterback Round
Arizona Cardinals Kyler Murray 1
Atlanta Falcons Matt Ryan 1
Baltimore Ravens Lamar Jackson 1
Buffalo Bills Josh Allen 1
Carolina Panthers Cam Newton 1
Chicago Bears Mitch Trubisky 1
Cincinnati Bengals Andy Dalton 2
Cleveland Browns Baker Mayfield 1
Dallas Cowboys Dak Prescott 4
Denver Broncos Joe Flacco 1
Detroit Lions Matt Stafford 1
Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers 1
Houston Texans Deshaun Watson 1
Indianapolis Colts Andrew Luck 1
Jacksonville Jaguars Nick Foles 3
Kansas City Chiefs Patrick Mahomes 1
Los Angeles Chargers Philip Rivers 1
Los Angeles Rams Jared Goff 1
Miami Dolphins Ryan Fitzpatrick 7
Minnesota Vikings Kirk Cousins 4
New England Patriots Tom Brady 6
New Orleans Saints Drew Brees 2
New York Giants Eli Manning 1
New York Jets Sam Darnold 1
Oakland Raiders Derek Carr 2
Philadelphia Eagles Carson Wentz 1
Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger 1
San Francisco 49ers Jimmy Garoppolo 2
Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson 3
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jameis Winston 1
Tennessee Titans Marcus Mariota 1
Washington Redskins Case Keenum Undrafted
Only 10 of 32 teams planned to start a quarterback drafted outside of the first round at the beginning of this season. Of those teams planning to start a quarterback drafted outside the first, three of them were rostering quarterbacks drafted in the first who were expected to start at some point of this season (Josh Rosen, Dwayne Haskins). A full 75% of NFL teams went into 2019 planning to start a first rounder at quarterback at some point.
Tom Brady is one of 43 sixth rounds who has amounted to anything. Minshew has a chance at being the second, but his head coach won’t even commit to him as the starter for next season despite his solid performance. What Brady and Minshew have in common is that both got their first opportunity to start because the guy ahead of them on the depth chart who had just inked a massive new deal got injured.
Drew Brees had an up-and-down start to his career in San Diego before he started lighting the world on fire in New Orleans. Dak Prescott, like Brady, got the nod to start because Tony Romo got injured. He looked good in pre-season and flashed there, but if Romo doesn’t go down, is Prescott still the heir apparent? Does he survive two seasons on the bench, or do the Cowboys bring in competition when Romo retires?
Even Russell Wilson wasn’t projected to be the starter when he was drafted. The Seahawks had just inked a deal with Matt Flynn and he was expected to be their starting quarterback. Nobody was betting on the undersized guy to beat him out for the starting gig. Wilson came in and started playing extremely efficient football, sure. But without Beastmode pounding away on the ground and the Legion of Boom keeping scores low, how does that story go?
To be clear, I’m playing devil’s advocate here. I’m not saying this to discredit these players, but rather to demonstrate the reality of the circumstances in which they were drafted. The Patriots and the Seahawks didn’t outsmart everyone by drafting Brady and Wilson late. They got lucky. If Bill Belichick really, truly believed that Tom Brady would lead the Patriots to six Super Bowls, he wouldn’t have waited to the sixth round to draft him.
Banking on getting lucky is not a valid team-building strategy.
Tom Brady, Gardner Minshew, Dak Prescott, Kirk Cousins, Russell Wilson, Nick Foles, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Drew Brees are the only quarterbacks drafted outside of the first round in twenty years to have a completion percentage of 60%, a TD:INT ratio over 2.00, and an ANY/A rating over 6.00. That’s a pretty low bar for franchise quarterbacks these days, and only eight out of 186 quarterbacks drafted outside of the first round qualify.
I’ll say it again for those in the back: banking on getting lucky is not a valid team-building strategy.

First Round Breakdown

So Cidolfus, you might say, what about within the first round? Top quarterback picks are overrated. Look at the past few seasons: the top QB drafted often isn’t the best QB in the draft. This is often true, so let’s take a look at the numbers here, too. I’ve broken down the quarterbacks selected in the first round by those taken in the top 5, those with picks 6-15, and those with picks 16-32.

Means by Pick

Picks Players Drafted Games Started Seasons Rostered Start % Win % Pro Bowls All Pros MVPs Super Bowls Completion % TD:INT ANY/A Passer Rating
16-32 17 50.76 7.41 38.59% 44.77% 0.59 0.18 0.18 0.12 58.99% 1.60 5.12 76.70
6-15 14 55.14 6.07 56.32% 45.94% 0.79 0.07 0.07 0.14 60.19% 1.59 5.45 82.87
1-5 25 92.56 8.08 73.42% 48.39% 1.24 0.08 0.08 0.12 60.85% 1.58 5.74 84.22

Medians by Pick

Picks Players Drafted Games Started Seasons Rostered Start % Win % Pro Bowls All Pros MVPs Super Bowls Completion % TD:INT ANY/A Passer Rating
16-32 17 33.00 7.00 32.64% 41.67% 0 0 0 0 58.10% 1.19 5.12 76.70
6-15 14 33.50 5.00 57.29% 46.22% 0 0 0 0 59.20% 1.40 5.38 78.95
1-5 25 73.00 7.00 76.79% 50.00% 0 0 0 0 61.50% 1.57 5.80 86.10
The first round plays out similarly to the entire draft. In general, quarterbacks taken in the top five (which, in this data set functionally means quarterbacks drafted in the top three, as only Philip Rivers and Mark Sanchez have been drafted at fourth and fifth overall respectively) are better in the aggregate than those selected elsewhere in the round.

Completion Percentage

Round Mean St. Dev. St. Dev. of Mean From Mean of First
1-5 61.50% 3.16 0.36
6-15 59.20% 4.00% -0.24
16-32 58.10% 5.00 -0.53

TD:INT

Round Mean St. Dev. St. Dev. of Mean From Mean of First
1-5 1.58 0.47 -0.01
6-15 1.59 0.91 0
16-32 1.60 1.14 0.01

ANY/A

Round Mean St. Dev. St. Dev. of Mean From Mean of First
1-5 5.80 0.78 0.31
6-15 5.38 1.32 -0.12
16-32 5.12 0.93 -0.39

Passer Rating

Round Mean St. Dev. St. Dev. of Mean From Mean of First
1-5 86.10 7.71 0.34
6-15 78.95 12.45 -0.37
16-32 76.70 10.85 -0.60
Like before, nothing too surprising here. We already knew that first round picks had relatively low variance, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to see statistics clustered really heavily here. Only the touchdown to interception ratio doesn’t outright favor the top five picks, and even then the first five picks have the lowest standard deviation and a difference of 0.02 on a touchdown to interception ratio is only one extra touchdown for every fifty interceptions. That the standard deviation of the means for the 6-15 and 16-32 picks are below the mean of the entire first round in general also isn’t too surprising when considering that nearly half of the quarterbacks taken in the first round in the past twenty years have been taken in the first five picks.

What This Means About the Draft

So, to summarize so far: quarterbacks taken in the first round tend to be better than quarterbacks taken in any other round. They generally post better aggregate stats and there’s also a trend of decreasing variance among draft picks the higher you pick. The same applies to the first round itself but on a smaller scale. In the aggregate, a top five pick on an NFL quarterback not only typically yields the highest average performance, it is also the safest place to draft a quarterback as those who are drafted in that position exhibit the lowest variance of their performances. All of these numbers support what conventional wisdom already tells us.
What should definitely not be ignored in this conclusion, however, is that the data also tells us one other very important thing, and it’s yet another thing that conventional wisdom tells us: drafting a franchise quarterback is really, really hard. If we conclude that the average top five pick is the best chance we have in the aggregate, we also have to come to terms with the fact that the average top five pick also isn’t a great quarterback.
A career completion percentage of 60.19%, a touchdown to interception ratio of 1.59, an ANY/A of 5.45, and a passer rating of 82.87 for a player who wins 46.22% of their games and starts for not even three and a half seasons of games is not great. For some perspective: those numbers are worse than Tyrod Taylor’s career numbers.
A top five quarterback pick is obviously not a lock for a franchise quarterback, but it offers the best chance to find your guy.

What About Free Agents or Trades?

All right, so that’s the draft, but that’s only part of how you put together a roster in the modern NFL. What about our options in free agency or on the trade market? Historically speaking, starting quarterbacks who hit free agency or are traded do so for a reason. You don’t have to go back nearly as far as 2000 to demonstrate my point here. Just look at the last several seasons of transactions:
  • Josh Rosen traded to the Dolphins for a 2nd and a 5th
  • Ryan Tannehill and a 6th traded to the Titans for a 4th and a 7th
  • Nick Foles signed by the Jaguars, 4 years, $88 million
  • Joe Flacco traded to the Broncos for a 4th
  • Case Keenum and a 7th traded to the Redskins for a 6th
  • Case Keenum signed by the Broncos, 2 years, $36 million
  • Kirk Cousins signed by the Vikings, 3 years, $84 million
  • Alex Smith traded to the Redskins for Kendall Fuller and a 3rd
Hindsight on most of these has looked pretty bad for the team acquiring the quarterback. Cousins and Tannehill have been the most successful of the bunch, but that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement. Tennessee is obviously glad to have Tannehill this year (as are we all), but in 2019 Tannehill and Derrick Henry had a combined salary cap cost under $4 million. The Titans have $48 million in cap space in 2020 and Ryan Tannehill, Logan Ryan, Jack Conklin, and Derrick Henry are all unrestricted free agents. Cousins hasn’t lit the world on fire in Minnesota, and I don’t think anyone is rushing to call his fully-guaranteed contract the deal of the century, but it hasn't been the worst deal in the world.
Teams do not generally let good quarterbacks go unless they have a clear successor ready to roll in their absence. When you see names like Cam Newton, Marcus Mariota, or Jameis Winston thrown around this offseason, take a look at who’s replacing him on that roster and ask why we would want to pay veteran quarterback money for someone another team is ready to walk away from.

Okay, So What?

That’s all great, but what does this tell us? There are three prime takeaways from this:
In the aggregate, quarterback performance appears to correspond with draft position. The higher the quarterback is drafted, the better the in general he is likely to be. Most quarterbacks drafted aren’t very good. Busts are common even at the top of the draft where a team has the best chance to find their guy. Free agents are free agents for a reason. If a team is willing to let a quarterback go, odds aren’t good that he’ll be someone substantially different with another team.
With all of this in mind, how should it inform our strategy moving forward? The first takeaway suggests that we shouldn’t bet on beating the system by passing on quarterbacks until later in the draft. It takes a special kind of hubris as a general manager to believe that you’re smarter than everyone else and will be able to find your guy that all the other teams slept on. In the hunt to find a quarterback, most teams will have to invest meaningful draft capital into the position. We have the fifth overall pick, and if a guy we think can be our franchise quarterback is available at that position, we’d be foolish to wait until one of our later firsts or even our seconds to draft him. The only reason that we should be passing on a quarterback in the first round this year is if we do not think that guy is there.
The second takeaway suggests that the single most important thing that we can do to maximize our chances to find our quarterback of the future: keep drafting them. Since Dan Marino left, the Dolphins have drafted six quarterbacks:
  • Josh Heupel (2000; Round 6, Pick 177)
  • Josh Beck (2007; Round 2, Pick 40)
  • Chad Henne (2008; Round 2, Pick 57)
  • Pat White (2009; Round 2, Pick 44)
  • Ryan Tannehill (2012; Round 1, Pick 8)
  • Brandon Doughty (2016; Round 7, Pick 223)
That’s fucking scandalous. In the twenty years since Dan Marino retired, the Dolphins have drafted only six quarterbacks, and only one of them in the first round. We’ve relied heavily on free agents and castoffs from other organizations trying to replace one of the greatest pure passers of all time.
Last year we spent a second round and fifth round selection to trade for Josh Rosen, a first round pick only a year removed from being selected 10th overall. He hasn’t been able to supplant the textbook definition of a journeyman quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick this season. There’s no indication beyond wishful thinking that we should be willing to allow Rosen to be the only young quarterback developing on our roster right now. I believe strongly that unless our front office truly, truly believes that our quarterback of the future isn’t in the 2020 draft, we should be spending our fifth overall pick drafting a quarterback. And even if we don’t love anyone enough to take them at five, we should still be open to drafting someone in the second or third if anyone falls.
As mentioned earlier, the hiring of Chan Gailey as our offensive coordinator probably suggests some level of commitment to Ryan Fitzpatrick as a starting quarterback for at least the beginning of the 2020 season, but no sane fan believes that the 37-year-old journeyman is our future. That said, keeping him on does allow us to avoid throwing a quarterback right into the fire. The reality is that quarterbacks drafted in the first round rarely sit for their rookie seasons anymore. Mahomes only played the last game of his rookie season after the Chiefs had already clinched and Rodgers obviously sat behind Favre, but they’re the two notable exceptions in more than a decade. Even though I expect Fitzpatrick to kick the season off, it’s a good bet that he won’t start the full season.
And then, until we are absolutely certain that our young starting quarterback is the future of our franchise, we should continue to draft quarterbacks. Obviously you don’t need to continue to invest high picks every single year, but until a team has committed to a quarterback on a long-term, veteran contract, it’s in the team’s best interest to continue to invest picks in rounds 2-4 on quarterbacks at least every other year.
One of the biggest mistakes the Dolphins made during Ryan Tannehill’s tenure was ignore the quarterback position after drafting him. The front office should have been drafting quarterbacks if not to push him then to have a young, cheap back-up quarterback with upside. When Tannehill went down with an ACL injury, it’s an absolute travesty that our front office made no effort to augment our QB room until Tannehill reinjured the ACL and missed the season and instead overpaid to bring Jay Cutler out of retirement.
Tannehill’s injury not progressing as expected or being reinjured should have been a scenario we planned for, and that we signed Cutler so late suggests that we never had a serious conversation about what a season of Matt Moore would look like. With Tannehill recovering from injury, we should have used that as an opportunity to add a young guy with upside to our quarterback room. Would it have worked out any better? Given the quarterbacks who came out of the later rounds of the 2017 draft, probably not, but that’s something we know in hindsight, and given the results of the 2017 season and the cap cost of Cutler, it’s a move we should have made.
This team shouldn’t make the same mistake again. The Miami Dolphins have pussyfooted around investing in finding a quarterback for the future through the draft for years, and it’s time that changes. I’ll address my specific thoughts on our options in the draft later in this series. Frankly, until Tua Tagovailoa makes an announcement tomorrow, it’s really too early to say anything for sure. Even if you’re skeptical of Tua for whatever reason, his availability likely shifts how other quarterback-needy teams act (including the possibility of jumping us as the Cardinals did to secure Rosen). In the meantime, to sum up my thoughts on general strategy:
We should almost certainly draft a quarterback in the first round of this year’s draft. Probably at fifth overall unless we really, truly, do not believe in any of the guys available. We should continue to spend middle-round selections on quarterbacks in subsequent seasons until we’re absolutely certain we have our quarterback of the future. Even after we have our quarterback of the future, we should continue to invest in selecting quarterbacks in the later rounds regularly (although not every year) to try to develop talent from within.
What are we looking to find? Based on the numbers, in order to meet what most people would expect of a starting quarterback in today’s NFL, expect the quarterback to hit the following benchmarks at minimum:
  • Completion percentage of at least 60%
  • TD:INT ratio of at least 2.0
  • An ANY/A of at least 6.0
Typically, if a player manages to hit all three of those benchmarks, he’s well on his way to being a winning quarterback, although not necessarily an elite one. And as we’ve just seen in the wildcard round, having a quarterback who’s good enough can sometimes be enough.
Next week, I'll be continuing with where I usually start with this series, the season review including thoughts on the coaching staff, player performance, and a review of in-season transactions. Enjoy the rest of wildcard weekend, all.
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