UCLA at USC Trojans odds, picks and best bets

Rookie (SF) Rankings With Explanations

Tier 1
1 Joe Burrow, QB, 6'2/221, CIN (1.01)
Depending on roster need and team makeup, I would be fine taking one of the other tier 1 players above Burrow but Burrow is absolutely worth the #1 overall pick in any year. While he lacks elite arm talent, Burrow has incredible accuracy, poise, and mobility to manipulate the pocket. As a prospect, I prefer him to Kyler Murray from last year by a decent amount. CIN isn't the greatest situation from an organizational standpoint but they've assembled a decent amount of talent around him in AJG, Boyd, Higgins, Ross, and Mixon.
2 Clyde Edwards Helaire, RB, 5'7/207, KC (1.32)
Small, bowling-ball shaped runner with incredible contact balance, lateral agility, and pass catching ability. Has decent burst but lacks prototypical long speed and size. Pre-draft, CEH was my RB5 but he moves up here with the landing spot and draft capital. Even as my RB5, I was still a big fan of CEH and in KC he doesn't need to have bellcow type size in order to produce at a high level. His game vs Alabama my be the best game from any RB prospect this year.
3 Jonathan Taylor, RB, 5'10/226, IND (2.09)
My RB2 pre-draft, Taylor is right there with CEH in the top tier. Taylor is a huge RB that excels in a power rushing attack where he can use his combo of size and burst to explode into the second level. That's exactly what he gets in IND, the perfect landing spot for his skillset. Potential issues with pass catching usage may limit his ceiling a little but the floor is incredibly high.
Tier 2
4 D'Andre Swift, RB, 5'8/212, DET (2.03)
My pre-draft RB1 and the #2 RB drafted, Swift is a huge value right now in all the rookie drafts I've done. Even when on the field with Chubb and Michel as a freshman, Swift stood out as the best RB of the three. Ridiculous lateral agility to make defenders miss, great burst, fantastic receiver, and solid contact balance. The DET landing spot doesn't worry me as much as it seems to worry others. It's clearly below KC and IND (otherwise he'd be in tier 1) but he's tied to a very good, reasonably young QB and I like the offense as a whole with Golladay, Hockenson, MJ, and a solid OL. Kerryon does worry me, however, and there is some risk that Swift never take over as a bellcow.
5 Cam Akers, RB, 5'10/217, LAR (2.20)
My Predraft RB3 in the same tier as Swift and Taylor, Akers has all the tools you look for in a stud RB - size, violence, burst, contact balance, lateral agility, and pass catching. Moreover, he landed in a great landing spot in LA and received very good draft capital. This time last year people were describing the Rams as the best system for RBs in the NFL. Huge upside here for Akers' usage as a bellcow and he has the best opportunity of any of the RBs this year except for CEH.
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6 JK Dobbins, RB, 5'9/209, BAL (2.23)
I really liked Dobbins coming out but had him a tier below Swift, Taylor, and Akers. Very solid runner in all areas but lacks an elite, defining trait. I really like the landing spot in BAL long term but there is concern about this year with Ingram plus I don't see the potential for much receiving usage with LJax. Really like the player and I'd be ecstatic to have him but I don't see him as the consensus RB3 as recent trends suggest.
7 Tua Tagliovola, QB, 6/217, MIA (1.05)
If you really need a QB I'm fine moving Tua to the top of this tier. Like Burrow, Tua lacks ideal arm talent but wins with his mobility and accuracy. While Tua has a longer track record than Burrow, he never put up a season like Burrow did last year. The injuries scare me and there are some question marks about how well Tua can go through his progressions - at Alabama there were a lot of first read throws. The situation in Miami is ok, I like the OL picks that MIA made but this is still a rebuilding team with a ton of holes.
Tier 3
8 Jerry Jeudy, WR, 6'1/193, DEN (1.15)
The best separator in the class, Jeudy reminds me of Stefon Diggs. Very pro ready WR with advanced releases off the line and route running. Phenomenal YAC ability with the ball in his hands. Knows how to manipulate his speed to set up defenders. Not a very physical WR and you won't see him making many contested catches. Situation isn't great with Sutton next to him but Lamb is in a similar touch squeeze so I'll take my preferred talent.
9 CeeDee Lamb, WR, 6'1/198, DAL (1.17)
The best playmaker in the class. Much better ball skills than Jeudy but lacks the quick twitch and ability to separate. Plus he faced easier competition and didn't have to deal with a lot of press coverage. While he's competing with a locked in WR1 in DAL, Lamb landed in an explosive offense with a young QB. Think he can be very productive as Dak's #2 target.
10 Jalen Reagor, WR, 5'11/206, PHI (1.21)
Loved Reagor pre-draft and he received premium draft capital in my favorite landing spot. Reagor immediately stands out when watching him. Extremely twitched up and explosive, Reagor separates as well as defenders struggle keeping up. Provides a deep threat but has also flashed the ability to make tough contested catches and good sideline footwork. PHI was my favorite WR landing spot in the class as I'm a big fan of that offense and Wentz and they have a huge hole at WR.
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11 Justin Herbert, QB, 6'6/235, LAC (1.06)
I don't like Herbert as a player but this is the value play in superflex. Herbert has great arm talent and mobility but he had lots of easy reads at Oregon and consistently disappointed. Struggles out of rhythm and a little robotic as a player. Still, the Chargers situation is great and the top 10 draft capital should guarantee him a starting role for a while. Great value in drafts if you can get him at the end of the 1st.
Tier 4
12 Brandon Aiyuk, 5'11/205, WR, SF (1.25)
One of my favorite players pre-draft. Can win all over the field in a variety of ways - explosion out of breaks, YAC ability, deep speed, or physicality. Has the rare ability to come out of his breaks without losing any explosion. Love the draft capital and the landing spot is ok. I trust Shanahan and that should be a productive offense for a long time. Issues arise given the run first nature of the offense and competition with another great young WR in Deebo. Watch the Oregon game if you want to get excited.
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13 Justin Jefferson, WR, 6'1/202 MIN (1.22)
The safest WR after Jeudy and Lamb, Jefferson should be able to step into the slot immediately and produce. If you want to lower your risk then pick Jefferson. He's very quick out of his breaks, creates consistent separation from the slot, very good YAC ability, and flashes contested catch ability. I don't see him playing outside and he's not as dynamic as other WRs in this class. Very good landing spot in MIN with Diggs' departure. Watch the Oklahoma game if you want to get excited.
14 Henry Ruggs, WR, 5'11/188, LVR (1.12)
The first WR drafted, Ruggs could be a great value where I have him ranked. Still, I love the WRs above him and I wasn't a big Ruggs fan coming out. Incredible speed and flashes some toughness and decent route running as well. Think he struggles with physicality and didn't separate as much as he should because he's a long strider rather than a compact, twitched up player. I think Gruden is going to feed him a ton of targets and thus could be very productive early on.
15 Laviska Shenault, WR, 6'1/227, JAX (2.10)
Absolutely love Shenault. Comp is Sammy Watkins. Great combo of size, physicality, explosivenes and YAC. Needs refinement but it'll be hard to keep his playmaking off the field. Biggest concern is injuries. His 2018 games vs Nebraska and game vs USC this year are great.
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16 Tee Higgins, WR, 6'4/216, CIN (2.01)
Big WR with huge frame to extend himself for difficult balls. Timed speed was disappointing but had the ability to threaten deep at Clemson. Fantastic hands and advanced footwork. Risky as he struggles with physicality (he'll see a LOT more of that in the NFL) and not a great separator. Love the situation with Burrow and the draft capital.
17 Michael Pittman, WR, 6'4/223, IND (2.02)
Decent speed and explosion for his size, some YAC ability, fantastic jump ball catcher, huge frame which he uses to shield defenders. Landing spot in IND is good for the next few years with Rivers but some worries once Rivers leaves. Has a clearly defined role as the X WR and complements Hilton and Campbell very well.
18 Jordan Love, QB, 6'3/224, GB (1.26)
Probably the best value in SF leagues of all the rookies. I'm a big Jordan Love fan (especially at his price). Has jaw dropping arm talent and extremely mobile. Unlike Herbert, Love was asked to make extremely difficult plays and delivered. His issues aren't with accuracy but moreso decision making. He'll lock onto his first read at times and make incredibly stupid throws. I'm ok with the landing spot as I trust GB as an organization, however, he'll probably sit for a few years. Huge upside here.
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19 AJ Dillon, RB, 6/247, GB (2.30)
Like Love, he's another amazing value in drafts this year given the depth and quality of the class. In any other year, a 2nd round RB with his size, athleticism, and production would be a top 5 pick but you can get him in the mid/late 2nd consistently. I didn't love the player coming out, but I recognized that he has the ability to be a big time producer if put in the right type of offense and that's exactly what happened in GB. I think his production this year has been undersold and with Aaron Jones' contract expiring next year, he'll likely take over as the RB1 in 2021.
Tier 5
20 Antonio Gibson, RB, 6/228, WSH (3.02)
Big upside low floor pick. Gibson is one of the most exciting players to watch in this class with his big play ability, size, and explosion. At Memphis he played mostly slot WR but he was a pretty shitty WR and his upside lies at RB. He has a lot of work to do as he doesn't know what he's doing yet as a RB but the traits are really exciting - contact balance + burst. Could be David Johnson if things hit right. Don't love the landing spot as I'm still very high on Guice plus there is still a question mark regarding how Washington plans to use him. If he's used as a Wgadget guy then I don't have much interest in him.
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21 Denzel Mims, WR, 6'3/206, NYJ (2.27)
I was never as high as others on Mims and didn't get the round 1 hype. However, his combination of athleticism and ball skills are very exciting and worth betting on here. He's a very boom/bust type of prospect. Landed in a very good spot with a young, good QB in Darnold lacking a #1 WR.
22 Bryan Edwards, WR, 6'3/212, LVR (3.17)
Absolutely loved Edwards pre-draft and had him in my top 50 overall players. He's big, physical, explosive, versatile, and has fantastic ball skills. Landing spot is ok - the Raiders have a long term need at X WR but the team drafted Ruggs first so I think Gruden is going to prioritize Ruggs. Could be a few years before Edwards pays off.
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23 Zack Moss, RB, 5'9/223, BUF (3.22)
Very similar player as David Montgomery. Excellent contact balance, toughness, pass catching ability, plus some wiggle but lacks juice. If there is a crease it takes him too long to hit it. Still, pretty good value to get a David Montgomery level player at 2.12. Landing spot is ok and your feeling about it is dependent on how you feel about Singletary. I love Singletary so I'm not high on the landing spot but its very possible that BUF doesnt see Singletary as a lead back.
24 Ke'Shawn Vaughn, RB, 5'10/214, TB (3.12)
Didn't like Vaughn pre-draft and I was very surprised when he went this early. Vaughn is a solid all around RB that should be able to produce if given volume but I don't see any dynamic traits. Very much a replacement level RB. Still, TB has a potential opening at RB and the team spent good draft capital on him.
Tier 6
25 KJ Hamler, WR, 5'9/178, DEN (2.12)
Could easily have Hamler at the end of tier 5. Immediately stands out on film with his twitchiness and speed, defenders simply cannot hang with him. Don't see a huge difference between him and Hollywood Brown purely as prospects coming out. Effortless separation with his quickness and speed. Could be more valuable in real football than the NFL. Don't like the landing spot for fantasy as he's stuck behind two great, young WRs.
26 Chase Claypool, WR, 6'4/238, PIT (2.17)
Freaky player with his combo of size and athleticism. Great draft capital to a team that has consistently developed WRs. Massive player with explosiveness to put CBs on their heels quick. Biggest asset right now is his YAC - should immediately be a weapon on screens and crossers. Flashes ability to box out defenders but is not natural attacking the ball and lacks overall smoothness to his game. Landing spot is odd with JuJu and Diontae already in place, however, if JuJu leaves a lot of opportunity opens up. Watch the Iowa St game to get excited.
27 Van Jefferson, WR, 6'1/200, LAR (2.25)
I had a 3rd round grade on Jefferson pre-draft so I like the player. Projects as an NFL-ready slot WR with quickness and route running nuance. Got the best of LSU star freshman CB Stingley this past year. Odd landing spot as the Rams already have Kupp in the slot and I can't see either moving outside.
Tier 7
28 Darrynton Evans, RB, 5'10/203, TEN (3.29)
One of the most explosive players in this class, Evans is a threat to break off a big run at any time. With his lack of physicality and size, I don't see him projecting as a starting RB even if Henry leaves next year. Likely a career committee back.
29 Anthony McFarland, RB, 5'8/208, PIT (4.18)
Really fun, explosive player that should get on the field immediately. Like Darrynton Evans, I struggle seeing him taking over a feature back but should have a long term role given his explosivness.
30 Cole Kmet, TE, 6'6/262, CHI (2.11)
Not a very flashy or exciting player but projects as a solid starting NFL TE. The draft capital really helps and has a decent floor given his ability as a blocker. Think Kyle Rudolph type of career if he hits.
31 Adam Trautman, TE, 6'5/255, NO (3.41)
Big, physical TE that dominated small school competition and can win in traffic and over the middle of the field. Isn't especially fluid out of his breaks and doesn't project as a potential top tier TE. Really like that NO traded so much for him and I trust Sean Payton.
32 Devin Asiasi, TE, 6'3/257, NE (3.27)
If any TE in this class develops into a top tier fantasy TE, I wouldn't be surprised if it was Asiasi. Former high recruit that transferred to UCLA and didn't produce until his last season. He's smaller than Kmet and Trautman but he's just as good of a blocker and he's way more fluid than both. Really like the landing spot and draft capital as well.
33 Joshua Kelley, RB, 5'11/212, LAC (4.06)
This could be too low as the situation is phenomenal and draft capital is decent but I'm not high on the player. He's solid and can produce if given volume in a good situation (both very possible in LAC) but doesn't have any standout trait and looks like a replacement level player to me.
34 Lamical Perine, RB, 5'11/216, NYJ (4.14)
A better version of Joshua Kelley to me but in a worse situation. Very solid all round back that is a very good receiver. Lacks juice or standout qualities but solid overall. If Bell declines, leaves, or gets injured I think Perine could step in and surprise. Some worry about the Frank Gore signing.
35 Devin Duvernay, WR, 5/10/200, BAL (3.28)
Slot WR with strong hands and great ability with the ball in his hands but struggles to create separation out of his breaks. Should be great on screens and special teams.
36 Gabe Davis, WR, 6'2/216, BUF (4.22)
Big body WR with great physicality and decent speed/explosion for his size. Project player with some upside.
37 Joe Reed, WR, 6/224, LAC (5.05)
Really love the player, Reed is a twitched up YAC guy with RB type of size and ability with the ball in his hands.
38 JaMycal Hasty, RB, 5'8/208, SF (UDFA)
My favorite 3rd down/satellite back in this entire class, Hasty is lighting quick and explosive with great pass catching ability. If any team can turn a UDFA into a star it's Kyle Shannahan and there is a ton of opportunity in SF.
39 Darnell Mooney, WR, 5'10/176, CHI (5.28)
Deep ball threat with good production and CHI has a clear need for that type of deep threat.
40 Mike Warren, RB, PHI, 5'9/226, PHI (UDFA)
Not sure that I would actually draft him here but I wanted to get his name on the list. Really fun player to watch, he's like a 95% version of Zack Moss. Great size, awesome power, surprising wiggle and pass catching ability but lacks the requisite explosive qualities. I actually really like the landing spot in PHI as they do not have a bigger back to complement Sanders.
NOTICE THAT JALEN HURTS IS NOT ON THIS LIST. He'd probably be around #35 but I have him low enough to where I probably won't every draft him so I didn't include him on the list.
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Rookie (SF) Rankings With Explanations

Tier 1
1 Joe Burrow, QB, 6'2/221, CIN (1.01)
Depending on team need and makeup, I would be fine taking CEH or Jon Taylor here as well. In a vacuum however, Burrow is the #1 pick. As a player, Burrow is an elite QB prospect worthy of the #1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. Pro Comp is Tony Romo. Lacks ideal arm talent but Burrow is exceptionally accurate all over the field. His best ability is the way he manipulates the pocket, keeps his composure, and makes accurate throws while under fire. Better prospect than Kyler Murray last year (for the NFL, not fantasy). While I don't trust the CIN organization generally, the situation looks pretty good for the next few years with AJ Green, Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, and Joe Mixon.
2 Clyde Edwards Helaire, RB, 5'7/207, KC (1.32)
Bowling ball shaped RB with great RB traits - physicality, contact balance, lateral agility, and vision. Excellent receiving back and perfectly fits the KC scheme. Lacks the burst and juice of the other top RBs in this draft. The top 5 RBs were very close for me pre-draft and I'm willing to move CEH to the top given the draft capital and situation. His game vs Alabama was incredible and if you want to get hyped about him you should watch it.
3 Jonathan Taylor, RB, 5'10/226, IND (2.09)
Taylor is the best inside runner in this class with his combo of size, explosion, and inside vision. He's not the most shifty or creative runner but he doesn't need to be. He'll consistently turn 2 yard gains into 5 yard gains and if he gets a crease he's a threat to break a big run at any time. Like CEH, Taylor landed in a perfect situation for his skillset.
Tier 2
4 D'Andre Swift, RB, 5'8/212, DET (2.03)
My RB1 predraft (albeit in a big tier), Swift is a huge value at the 4th pick or lower. Swift's playing style is similar to Alvin Kamara with the way he slithers off of blocks. He's incredibly shifty with the best lateral agility in this class. He's quicker than fast but has sufficient long speed. Not necessarily a powerful runner but he has sufficient toughness and size to play an every down role if asked. The issue here is the situation - I still think Kerryon Johnson is a good football player and thus Swift could be stuck in a time share for a few years. Watch Swift vs Kentucky in 2018 if you want to get excited.
5 Cam Akers, RB, 5'10/217, LAR (2.20)
Akers has the highest upside of any RB in this draft. His tools are elite - size, burst, toughness & violence, receiving ability, contact balance, and lateral agility. Unfortunately he was stuck in an awful situation and thus didn't have the same stage as the other top RBs. Main issue is iffy vision but hard to know if that's his fault or a product of Florida St's OL. I actually really like the Rams situation as McVay as shown that he'll feed an uber talented RB. Watch the Louisville game if you want to get excited.
6 JK Dobbins, RB, 5'9/209, BAL (2.23)
Dobbins was my lowest ranked of the RBs in this tier pre-draft and that's why he's at the bottom of this tier. Still, it's close enough that I won't argue with anyone who puts Dobbins at 4. Dobbins is a B+/A- at everything but lacks an elite trait like the guys in front of him. Situation is great as Dobbins is expereinced in a zone read scheme and Ingram is now 30 years old. Potential pass catching limitation as Lamar Jackson hasn't shown a willingness to throw to his RBs.
7 Tua Tagliovola, QB, 6/217, MIA (1.05)
If you need a QB I'm fine moving Tua to the top of this tier. Like Burrow, Tua lacks ideal arm talent but wins with his mobility and accuracy. While Tua has a longer track record than Burrow, he never put up a season like Burrow did last year. The injuries scare me and there are some question marks about how well Tua can go through his progressions - at Alabama there were a lot of first read throws. The situation in Miami is ok, I like the OL picks that MIA made but this is still a rebuilding team with a ton of holes.
Tier 3
8 Jerry Jeudy, WR, 6'1/193, DEN (1.15)
The best separator in the class, Jeudy reminds me of Stefon Diggs. Very pro ready WR with advanced releases off the line and route running. Phenomenal YAC ability with the ball in his hands. Knows how to manipulate his speed to set up defenders. Not a very physical WR and you won't see him making many contested catches. Situation isn't great with Sutton next to him.
9 CeeDee Lamb, WR, 6'1/198, DAL (1.17)
Just a playmaker at WR. Best YAC in the class and has fantastic ball skills and ball tracking ability as well. Very quick but lack of speed shows. Some issues separating from coverage and lacks experience against press. While he's competing with a locked in WR1 in DAL, Lamb landed in an explosive offense with a young QB. Think he can be very productive as Dak's #2 target.
10 Jalen Reagor, WR, 5'11/206, PHI (1.21)
Love Reagor pre-draft and he received premium draft capital in my favorite landing spot. Reagor immediately stands out when watching him. Extremely twitched up and explosive, Reagor separates as well as defenders struggle keeping up. Provides a deep threat but has also flashed the ability to make tough contested catches and good sideline footwork. PHI was my favorite WR landing spot in the class as I'm a big fan of that offense and Wentz and they have a huge hole at WR.
Tier 4
11 Justin Herbert, QB, 6'6/235, LAC (1.06)
I don't like Herbert as a player but this is the value play in superflex. Herbert has great arm talent and mobility but he had lots of easy reads at Oregon and consistently disappointed. Struggles out of rhythm and a little robotic as a player. Still, the Chargers situation is great and the top 10 draft capital should guarantee him a starting role for a while.
12 Brandon Aiyuk, 5'11/205, WR, SF (1.25)
One of my favorite players pre-draft. Can win all over the field in a variety of ways - explosion out of breaks, YAC ability, deep speed, or physicality. Has the rare ability to come out of his breaks without losing any explosion. Love the draft capital and the landing spot is ok. I trust Shanahan and that should be a productive offense for a long time. Issues arise given the run first nature of the offense and competition with another great young WR in Deebo. Watch the Oregon game if you want to get excited.
13 Justin Jefferon, WR, 6'1/202 MIN (1.22)
The safest WR after Jeudy and Lamb, Jefferson should be able to step into the slot immediately and produce. If you want to lower your risk then pick Jefferson. He's very quick out of his breaks, creates consistent separation from the slot, very good YAC ability, and flashes contested catch ability. I don't see him playing outside and he's not as dynamic as other WRs in this class. Very good landing spot in MIN with Diggs' departure. Watch the Oklahoma game if you want to get excited.
14 Henry Ruggs, WR, 5'11/188, LVR (1.12)
The first WR drafted, Ruggs could be a great value where I have him ranked. Still, I love the WRs above him and I wasn't a big Ruggs fan coming out. Incredible speed and flashes some toughness and decent route running as well. Think he struggles with physicality and didn't separate as much as he should because he's a long strider rather than a compact, twitched up player. I think Gruden is going to feed him a ton of targets and thus could be very productive early on.
15 Tee Higgins, WR, 6'4/216, CIN (2.01)
Big WR with huge frame to extend himself for difficult balls. Timed speed was disappointing but had the ability to threaten deep at Clemson. Fantastic hands and advanced footwork. Risky as he struggles with physicality (he'll see a LOT more of that in the NFL) and not a great separator. Love the situation with Burrow and the draft capital.
16 Michael Pittman, WR, 6'4/223, IND (2.02)
Decent speed and explosion for his size, some YAC ability, fantastic jump ball catcher, huge frame which he uses to shield defenders. Landing spot in IND is good for the next few years with Rivers but some worries once Rivers leaves. Has a clearly defined role as the X WR and complements Hilton and Campbell very well.
17 Laviska Shenault, WR, 6'1/227, JAX (2.10)
Absolutely love Shenault. Comp is Sammy Watkins. Great combo of size, physicality, explosivenes and YAC. Needs refinement but it'll be hard to keep his playmaking off the field. Only thing that puts him at the bottom of this tier are the injuries and landing spot. His 2018 games vs Nebraska and game vs USC this year are great.
18 Jordan Love, QB, 6'3/224, GB (1.26)
I'm a big Jordan Love fan (especially at his price). Has jaw dropping arm talent and extremely mobile. Unlike Herbert, Love was asked to make extremely difficult plays and delivered. His issues aren't with accuracy but moreso decision making. He'll lock onto his first read at times and make incredibly stupid throws. I'm ok with the landing spot as I trust GB as an organization, however, he'll probably sit for a few years. Huge upside here.
Tier 5
19 Antonio Gibson, RB, 6/228, WSH (3.02)
Big upside low floor pick. Gibson is one of the most exciting players to watch in this class with his big play ability, size, and explosion. At Memphis he played mostly slot WR but he was a pretty shitty WR and his upside lies at RB. He has a lot of work to do as he doesn't know what he's doing yet as a RB but the traits are really exciting - contact balance + burst. Could be David Johnson if things hit right. Don't love the landing spot as I'm still very high on Guice plus there is still a question mark regarding how Washington plans to use him. If he's used as a Wgadget guy then I don't have much interest in him.
20 AJ Dillon, RB, 6/247, GB (2.30)
Another great value at this spot - in most years, Gibson and Dillon would be late 1st round type of picks. It may be a lazy comp but it's accurate - Dillon's ceiling is Derrick Henry. The blend of size and speed is exciting and defenders are going to hate playing against him. He's not a shifty or creative runner and needs an offense built around him to really hit his ceiling. However, LeFleur previously coached Derrick Henry and according to reports wants to build a run heavy offense. Really love the landing spot as well as GB is a good organization and seemingly always has a solid OL. With Aaron Jones' contract up next year, Dillon could be a huge steal.
21 Denzel Mims, WR, 6'3/206, NYJ (2.27)
I was never as high as others on Mims and didn't get the round 1 hype. However, his combination of athleticism and ball skills are very exciting and worth betting on here. He's a very boom/bust type of prospect. Landed in a very good spot with a young, good QB in Darnold lacking a #1 WR.
22 Bryan Edwards, WR, 6'3/212, LVR (3.17)
Absolutely loved Edwards pre-draft and had him in my top 50 overall players. He's big, physical, explosive, versatile, and has fantastic ball skills. Landing spot is ok - the Raiders have a long term need at X WR but the team drafted Ruggs first so I think Gruden is going to prioritize Ruggs. Could be a few years before Edwards pays off.
23 Ke'Shawn Vaughn, RB, 5'10/214, TB (3.12)
Didn't like Vaughn pre-draft and I was very surprised when he went this early. Vaughn is a solid all around RB that should be able to produce if given volume but I don't see any dynamic traits. Very much a replacement level RB. Still, TB has a potential opening at RB and the team spent good draft capital on him.
24 Zack Moss, RB, 5'9/223, BUF (3.22)
Very similar player as David Montgomery. Excellent contact balance, toughness, pass catching ability, plus some wiggle but lacks juice. If there is a crease it takes him too long to hit it. Still, pretty good value to get a David Montgomery level player at 2.12. Landing spot is ok and your feeling about it is dependent on how you feel about Singletary. I love Singletary so I'm not high on the landing spot but its very possible that BUF doesnt see Singletary as a lead back.
Tier 6
25 KJ Hamler, WR, 5'9/178, DEN (2.12)
Could easily have Hamler at the end of tier 5. Immediately stands out on film with his twitchiness and speed, defenders simply cannot hang with him. Think a much better version of Mecole Hardman. Effortless separation with his quickness and speed. Could be more valuable in real football than the NFL. Don't like the landing spot for fantasy as he's stuck behind two great, young WRs.
26 Chase Claypool, WR, 6'4/238, PIT (2.17)
Freaky player with his combo of size and athleticism. Great draft capital to a team that has consistently developed WRs. Massive player with explosiveness to put CBs on their heels quick. Biggest asset right now is his YAC - should immediately be a weapon on screens and crossers. Flashes ability to box out defenders but is not natural attacking the ball and lacks overall smoothness to his game. Landing spot is odd with JuJu and Diontae already in place, however, if JuJu leaves a lot of opportunity opens up. Watch the Iowa St game to get excited.
27 Van Jefferson, WR, 6'1/200, LAR (2.25)
I had a 3rd round grade on Jefferson pre-draft so I like the player. Projects as an NFL-ready slot WR with quickness and route running nuance. Got the best of LSU star freshman CB Stingley this past year. Odd landing spot as the Rams already have Kupp in the slot and I can't see either moving outside.
Tier 7
28 Cole Kmet, TE, 6'6/262, CHI (2.11)
Not a very flashy or exciting player but projects as a solid starting NFL TE. The draft capital really helps and has a decent floor given his ability as a blocker. Think Kyle Rudolph type of career if he hits.
29 Darrynton Evans, RB, 5'10/203, TEN (3.29)
One of the most explosive players in this class, Evans is a threat to break off a big run at any time. With his lack of physicality and size, I don't see him projecting as a starting RB even if Henry leaves next year. Likely a career committee back.
30 Adam Trautman, TE, 6'5/255, NO (3.41)
Big, physical TE that dominated small school competition and can win in traffic and over the middle of the field. Isn't especially fluid out of his breaks and doesn't project as a potential top tier TE. Really like that NO traded so much for him and I trust Sean Payton.
31 Anthony McFarland, RB, 5'8/208, PIT (4.18)
Really fun, explosive player that should get on the field immediately. Like Darrynton Evans, I struggle seeing him taking over a feature back but should have a long term role given his explosivness.
32 Devin Asiasi, TE, 6'3/257, NE (3.27)
If any TE in this class develops into a top tier fantasy TE, I wouldn't be surprised if it was Asiasi. Former high recruit that transferred to UCLA and didn't produce until his last season. He's smaller than Kmet and Trautman but he's just as good of a blocker and he's way more fluid than both. Really like the landing spot and draft capital as well.
33 Joshua Kelley, RB, 5'11/212, LAC (4.06)
This could be too low as the situation is phenomenal and draft capital is decent but I'm not high on the player. He's solid and can produce if given volume in a good situation (both very possible in LAC) but doesn't have any standout trait and looks like a replacement level player to me.
34 Lamical Perine, RB, 5'11/216, NYJ (4.14)
A better version of Joshua Kelley to me but in a worse situation. Very solid all round back that is a very good receiver. Lacks juice or standout qualities but solid overall. If Bell declines, leaves, or gets injured I think Perine could step in and surprise. Some worry that NYJ just signed Frank Gore.
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What if Universities Gambled their Endowment on Football? The 2018 Endowment Stakes Retrospective

The 2018 /CFB Endowment Stakes - A Retrospective

Note: This post is best enjoyed on a desktop with old Reddit: click here

Hello all - over the course of last season I ran an ongoing series with the goal of determining what would happen if each FBS university staked their endowment on their football program. Each week, schools would gamble 50% of their endowment on the money line odds for each game they participated in.

I ran fourteen editions of this throughout the season. Unfortunately, due to work and health issues, by the end of the last season, I didn't have the time to create and submit the final post. Throughout the entire offseason, I planned on publishing the last version and it turns out I waited until the last possible week to publish content from the 2018 season. So without further ado, enjoy the last edition of the 2018 Endowment Stakes.

I tracked each and every game in 2018 with their betting implications in a Google Sheet

2018 Endowment Stake Results

All amounts are in $ Billions
Rank School Endowment Starting Growth
1 Northwestern Northwestern $28.72B $10.46B 174.58%
2 Notre Dame Notre Dame $27.84B $11.80B 135.97%
3 Texas Texas $21.23B $10.43B 103.53%
4 Kentucky Kentucky $10.90B $1.28B 751.32%
5 Ohio State Ohio State $10.50B $4.25B 146.88%
6 Stanford Stanford $7.78B $24.80B -68.64%
7 Duke Duke $5.49B $6.84B -19.67%
8 Virginia Virginia $4.11B $8.62B -52.36%
9 Cincinnati Cincinnati $3.72B $1.17B 219.43%
10 Washington State Washington State $2.96B $974.00M 203.94%
11 Florida Florida $2.72B $1.61B 68.77%
12 Michigan Michigan $2.37B $10.90B -78.26%
13 LSU LSU $2.04B $845.00M 141.18%
14 Minnesota Minnesota $1.98B $3.49B -43.41%
15 Clemson Clemson $1.95B $621.00M 213.61%
16 Syracuse Syracuse $1.87B $1.26B 48.24%
17 Oklahoma Oklahoma $940.48M $1.65B -43.00%
18 Texas A&M Texas A&M $902.53M $4.53B -80.08%
19 UAB UAB $900.22M $425.00M 111.82%
20 SMU SMU $859.85M $1.51B -43.21%
21 Wake Forest Wake Forest $767.75M $1.14B -32.71%
22 California California $716.16M $4.30B -83.35%
23 Washington Washington $689.87M $3.36B -79.47%
24 BYU BYU $643.20M $1.47B -56.24%
25 Iowa Iowa $586.82M $1.39B -57.69%
26 Pittsburgh Pittsburgh $557.48M $3.95B -85.89%
27 Army Army $546.00M $200.00M 173.00%
28 Alabama Alabama $512.20M $683.00M -25.01%
29 Penn State Penn State $507.52M $3.99B -87.28%
30 Hawaii Hawaii $382.26M $296.00M 29.14%
31 Wisconsin Wisconsin $381.38M $2.75B -86.11%
32 Buffalo Buffalo $333.39M $659.00M -49.41%
33 Purdue Purdue $323.41M $2.43B -86.66%
34 Tulane Tulane $322.81M $1.17B -72.43%
35 Boston College Boston College $285.79M $2.40B -88.09%
36 Georgia Georgia $278.01M $1.15B -75.87%
37 Liberty Liberty $276.68M $1.29B -78.55%
38 Michigan State Michigan State $271.72M $2.28B -88.06%
39 Oregon Oregon $258.00M $828.00M -68.84%
40 NC State NC State $252.37M $1.35B -81.31%
41 Oklahoma State Oklahoma State $251.68M $1.33B -81.01%
42 Temple Temple $248.89M $513.00M -51.48%
43 Utah State Utah State $236.22M $359.00M -34.20%
44 UCF Central Florida $220.98M $156.00M 41.66%
45 Baylor Baylor $206.13M $1.23B -83.24%
46 Iowa State Iowa State $186.53M $839.00M -77.77%
47 Utah Utah $158.94M $1.08B -85.28%
48 Virginia Tech Virginia Tech $153.01M $1.70B -91.00%
49 Fresno State Fresno State $152.67M $154.00M -0.86%
50 Georgia Tech Georgia Tech $138.16M $1.88B -92.67%
51 Troy Troy $133.65M $104.00M 28.51%
52 Ohio Ohio $132.83M $550.00M -75.85%
53 Arizona State Arizona State $132.40M $665.00M -80.09%
54 FIU Florida Intl $126.45M $196.00M -35.49%
55 TCU TCU $125.19M $1.52B -91.76%
56 Missouri Missouri $122.91M $1.00B -87.71%
57 Vanderbilt Vanderbilt $121.09M $4.10B -97.05%
58 Texas Tech Texas Tech $113.72M $1.20B -90.48%
59 Nevada Nevada $108.94M $334.00M -67.38%
60 West Virginia West Virginia $105.29M $566.00M -81.40%
61 USC USC $83.00M $5.10B -98.37%
62 Georgia Southern Georgia Southern $81.92M $50.00M 63.83%
63 North Texas North Texas $76.95M $309.00M -75.10%
64 Old Dominion Old Dominion $72.69M $214.00M -66.03%
65 Auburn Auburn $66.62M $738.00M -90.97%
66 Miami (OH) Miami (OH) $66.06M $447.00M -85.22%
67 Tennessee Tennessee $58.06M $1.10B -94.72%
68 Mississippi State Mississippi State $50.40M $470.00M -89.28%
69 Marshall Marshall $49.38M $110.00M -55.10%
70 Houston Houston $48.16M $697.00M -93.09%
71 Illinois Illinois $47.97M $3.46B -98.61%
72 Appalachian State Appalachian State $47.54M $95.00M -49.96%
73 Charlotte Charlotte $46.10M $182.00M -74.67%
74 Boise State Boise State $45.02M $98.00M -54.06%
75 South Carolina South Carolina $42.91M $771.00M -94.43%
76 Arizona Arizona $35.71M $742.00M -95.19%
77 San Diego State San Diego State $35.54M $262.00M -86.44%
78 Indiana Indiana $34.62M $1.99B -98.26%
79 UCLA UCLA $32.03M $4.35B -99.26%
80 Western Michigan Western Michigan $31.24M $387.00M -91.93%
81 Miami Miami $28.46M $949.00M -97.00%
82 Colorado Colorado $26.10M $1.06B -97.54%
83 Wyoming Wyoming $24.92M $500.00M -95.02%
84 Kansas Kansas $23.29M $1.61B -98.55%
85 Northern Illinois Northern Illinois $21.54M $75.00M -71.27%
86 Louisiana Tech Louisiana Tech $21.49M $100.00M -78.51%
87 Kansas State Kansas State $20.43M $506.00M -95.96%
88 Maryland Maryland $20.40M $542.00M -96.24%
89 UNLV UNLV $19.60M $231.00M -91.52%
90 USF South Florida $16.96M $442.00M -96.16%
91 Toledo Toledo $16.89M $416.00M -95.94%
92 North Carolina North Carolina $13.38M $3.90B -99.66%
93 Florida State Florida State $12.50M $707.00M -98.23%
94 Eastern Michigan Eastern Michigan $11.45M $67.00M -82.92%
95 Nebraska Nebraska $10.67M $1.48B -99.28%
96 Southern Miss Southern Mississippi $10.23M $117.00M -91.26%
97 Ole Miss Ole Miss $9.20M $606.00M -98.48%
98 Akron Akron $7.38M $238.00M -96.90%
99 Middle Tennessee Middle Tennessee $7.35M $59.00M -87.54%
100 UMass UMass $6.70M $768.00M -99.13%
101 Louisiana Louisiana $6.61M $178.00M -96.29%
102 Rice Rice $6.03M $5.32B -99.89%
103 Arkansas State Arkansas State $5.51M $55.00M -89.99%
104 FAU Florida Atlantic $4.39M $275.00M -98.40%
105 ULM UL Monroe $4.22M $23.00M -81.65%
106 Oregon State Oregon State $4.11M $549.00M -99.25%
107 Colorado State Colorado State $3.98M $330.00M -98.80%
108 Ball State Ball State $3.63M $193.00M -98.12%
109 Tulsa Tulsa $3.62M $958.00M -99.62%
110 New Mexico New Mexico $2.68M $423.00M -99.37%
111 Memphis Memphis $2.22M $199.00M -98.88%
112 ECU East Carolina $1.93M $208.00M -99.07%
113 Coastal Carolina Coastal Carolina $1.71M $26.00M -93.43%
114 South Alabama South Alabama $1.57M $497.00M -99.69%
115 Bowling Green Bowling Green $1.37M $148.00M -99.08%
116 WKU Western Kentucky $1.31M $126.00M -98.96%
117 Arkansas Arkansas $1.15M $1.00B -99.88%
118 Texas State Texas State $1.15M $187.00M -99.38%
119 Air Force Air Force $954.54K $49.00M -98.05%
120 New Mexico State New Mexico State $768.80K $168.00M -99.54%
121 Louisville Louisville $725.83K $719.00M -99.90%
122 Rutgers Rutgers $622.56K $1.20B -99.95%
123 UTSA UTSA $605.68K $162.00M -99.63%
124 Navy Navy $558.40K $223.00M -99.75%
125 Georgia State Georgia State $530.00K $186.00M -99.72%
126 Connecticut UConn $234.28K $422.00M -99.94%
127 Kent State Kent State $177.88K $111.00M -99.84%
128 UTEP UTEP $152.03K $217.00M -99.93%
129 San Jose State San Jose State $92.35K $143.00M -99.94%
130 Central Michigan Central Michigan $81.11K $130.00M -99.94%

For all 130 teams with each week's results, please see Google Sheet

Throughout 2018, the /cfb Sports Book took home a $61.10B profit

There were winners and (mostly) losers when it came to gambling this season. 17 programs added to their endowment, with Kentucky Kentucky leading the way with a staggering 751.32% growth. 113 programs lost a varying amount, with Rutgers Rutgers shedding the largest percentage of their endowment at -99.95%.

Notes:

I had a great time publishing this series throughout the course of last season. While not an avid gambler myself, I am intrigued by sports betting and this was a great exercise to see the effect of money line gambling. A big thank you to all who followed along last season and left notes/feedback.

I've received a handful of PM's asking if this series will be coming back for another season. The short answer is probably no, with shifting work responsibility I don't have the capability to do this on my own. A great deal of work went into each week of posting, and I fear I don't have the capability to do this on my own this season. If you are interested in helping out and keeping the season alive, PM me and we can see if there is a way to make it work

There was some discussion throughout the season of making an interactive version of this, where users could gamble on a set of games each week; if you have the capability to manage that, please PM me and let me know

Past Editions:

Week 13 Week 12 Week 11 Week 10 Week 9 Week 8 Week 7 Week 6 Week 5 Week 4 Week 3 Week 2 Week 1 Week 0 Pre-Season

Thank you again for the support on this series and have a great 2019 season!

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2020 NFL draft rankings: Kiper's Big Board, with top 25 prospects and best 10 at every position

2020 NFL draft rankings: Kiper's Big Board, with top 25 prospects and best 10 at every position

We're now less than a month away from the 2020 NFL draft kicking off, and things have changed since the combine, which feels like it happened months ago. The coronavirus pandemic has ended all pre-draft visits for prospects, and the draft, which was supposed to be showcased in Las Vegas on April 23-25, is closed to the public.

With free agency largely in the rearview mirror, though, below is my post-combine Big Board for the 2020 NFL draft -- my top 25 prospects overall as it stands right now -- plus my list of the top 10 prospects at every position. You'll see quite a few changes here. You can also check out my Mock Draft 3.0. Here we go:

Jump to: Position rankings

1. Chase Young, DE, Ohio State
HT: 6-foot-4 | WT: 264 | Previously: 1

Young, who finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting, is a dominant pass-rusher whose 16.5 sacks broke the Buckeyes' single-season record. He had a phenomenal season and is the clear top prospect in the class. The NFL loves twitchy edge rushers who can get after quarterbacks, and that's Young. He caught my eye as a true freshman in 2017, and he really came on in 2018, picking up the production with Nick Bosa sidelined; Young finished with 9.5 sacks and 14.5 total tackles for loss that season.


2. Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
HT: 6-foot-3 | WT: 221 | Previously: 2

Burrow's final line in his Heisman-winning season: 60 touchdown passes with just six interceptions while completing 76.3% of his passes. Those are unreal numbers. Oh, and he led 15-0 LSU to a national title. I don't think there's any doubt now that he has cemented his spot as the top quarterback in this draft. Burrow's improvement was one of the greatest stories of the season after he started 2019 as a fringe NFL prospect. With a great release, much better accuracy at all levels of the field and enough athleticism to maneuver the pocket to evade rushers, Burrow reminds me of Tony Romo. Coaches rave about his leadership and toughness, too.


3. Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
HT: 6-foot-1 | WT: 205 | Previously: 4

Credit Todd McShay here: He had Okudah at No. 4 overall in his preseason rankings. When I went back through the 2018 tape, I saw why Todd was so fired up. This is a potential top-five pick with a high ceiling based on talent alone. The problem? Okudah hadn't picked off a single pass in his first two seasons for the Buckeyes. He had three interceptions in 2019, though, including two picks in a blowout of Nebraska. While Young got all of the publicity for the Ohio State defense, Okudah is a true shutdown corner. His 41-inch vertical and 4.48 40-yard dash time at the combine showed his explosive traits.


4. Isaiah Simmons, OLB, Clemson
HT: 6-foot-3 | WT: 238 | Previously: 5

Simmons is a rare athlete with the frame of a linebacker and the athleticism and top-end speed of a safety. He showed his elite traits at the combine, running a 4.39 40-yard dash, the second-fastest 40 time for a linebacker at the combine since 2006. Simmons is exactly what NFL teams look for in three-down linebackers in today's game. He has the size and speed to run sideline to sideline to chase down tailbacks, and he has the athletic ability to cover tight ends in the slot. He could even flip his hips and play some safety. He had 104 tackles, seven sacks, three interceptions and 16 total tackles for loss this past season, and he was one of the best players on the field in the loss to LSU in the national championship game.


5. Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
HT: 6-foot-0 | WT: 217 | Previously: 3

Tagovailoa, who dislocated his right hip and suffered a posterior wall fracture in November, didn't work out at the combine, but he was supposed to throw for NFL coaches and scouts in April. That's up in the air now, in which case teams might not be able to see his progress from his injury before they use a valuable pick on him. Tagovailoa's injury history -- he dealt with ankle and knee injuries over the past two seasons -- will complicate how teams evaluate him, and while reports about his medicals have been good, each team will have its own report. As a player, Tagovailoa is a top-five talent with elite accuracy and all the physical and mental tools teams look for in a starter. But his injuries make him a wild card in this class.



6. Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
HT: 6-foot-4 | WT: 326 | Previously: 6

I wrote about Brown early last season, when he had two sacks and a forced fumble in the Tigers' win at Texas A&M. He had another sack and a forced fumble -- plus two fumble recoveries -- in Auburn's loss at Florida. Brown took a leap in 2019, turning his traits into production, and that's what he needed to show. NFL teams want interior disruptors who can knock down quarterbacks, and Brown hasn't shown he can do that consistently just yet. He is still raw, but he has top-five talent in a massive frame.


7. Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
HT: 6-foot-7 | WT: 364 | Previously: 11

With long arms and a 6-foot-7 frame, Becton sticks out on tape, and he dominates at the point of attack, pushing aside pass-rushers but also showing tremendous feet for his size. He is rising after his junior season, once teams got a closer look at his tape. He showed off his athleticism at the combine, running a 5.10 40-yard dash at 364 pounds, which is a fantastic time. He could be a top-five pick.


8. Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
HT: 6-foot-3 | WT: 312 | Previously: 12

I had Crimson Tide left tackle Alex Leatherwood ranked higher than Wills throughout the season, but Leatherwood is headed back to school, and Wills declared for the draft. The right tackle is another rising lineman, as Wills is blessed with a great set of physical tools. He is a physical run-blocker who can shut down edge rushers or interior pressure in pass protection. Wills is another possibility as the top tackle off the board.


9. Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
HT: 6-foot-1 | WT: 192 | Previously: 7

Jeudy is a special talent, a true No. 1 receiver the minute he gets drafted. Just watch him run past the Arkansas secondary for one of his two touchdowns in that game. He is unguardable at the college level. He finished the season with 77 catches for 1,163 yards and 10 touchdowns. I said in May that he is the most talented receiver to enter the NFL since the duo of Julio Jones and A.J. Green went in Round 1 in 2011. The Biletnikoff Award winner can run every route and has elite ball skills, and he blazed by SEC defensive backs every week.


10. Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
HT: 6-foot-6 | WT: 236 | Previously: 9

Herbert is a maddening evaluation, though overall he showed improved accuracy and better decision-making this season. He can have games in which he looks rattled (he threw two fourth-quarter interceptions in the Ducks' loss to Arizona State), but he also can take over games through his talent. As I wrote last May, he just looks like a potential No. 1 pick -- great size, a powerful arm to make every throw, limited interceptions, good athleticism. Yet, he took a step back in consistency in 2018, and that's why I thought he made a good decision to return to Oregon for his senior season. Herbert had 32 touchdown passes and five interceptions in 2019, and he showed off his athleticism with three touchdown runs in a Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin. Because of his physical tools, there will be teams that love him. But there also will be teams that stay away from him because of his inconsistent play.


11. Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
HT: 6-foot-4 | WT: 320 | Previously: 15

Left tackle, right tackle -- it really doesn't matter anymore. NFL teams aren't differentiating between the value of the two positions. Teams just want good tackles, period. Wirfs, a former high school wrestling champion, plays right tackle for the Hawkeyes -- though he has had a few series on the left side -- and he just mauls defenders. Dominates them. He has incredible strength and power -- check out this video -- and he also can move his feet. At the combine, Wirfs put up a 36.5-inch vertical and ran a 4.85 40-yard dash, the fastest time by a 320-plus-pound player since at least 2006.


12. CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
HT: 6-foot-1 | WT: 193 | Previously: 8

Lamb showed how special he can be in the Sooners' win over Texas in October, catching 10 passes for 171 yards and three touchdowns. But you should really watch the highlights, because the overall numbers don't quite capture his dominance. He had 65 catches for 1,158 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2018, and that was as the Sooners' No. 2 target. With Marquise Brown off to the NFL, Lamb was the top target for Jalen Hurts last season, averaging 21.4 yards per catch with 14 touchdowns. Lamb is an advanced route runner, has outstanding hands and can get open against any defender. He doesn't have elite speed -- he ran a 4.50 at the combine -- but he can beat cornerbacks in several different ways.


13. Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
HT: 5-foot-11 | WT: 188 | Previously: 20

As the Crimson Tide's No. 2 receiver, Ruggs' game is all about speed, though he improved as a route runner in 2018, when he had 46 catches for 741 yards and 11 touchdowns. He averaged 18.6 yards per catch last season, and he had seven touchdowns, though he didn't get much target volume in a stacked Bama offense. Check out this route on a 74-yard TD catch on which he almost outruns the throw. I predicted he'd be the fastest prospect at the combine, and he proved that with a 4.27 40-yard dash.


14. Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
HT: 6-foot-5 | WT: 324 | Previously: 10

With a massive frame and great athleticism for his size, Kinlaw is physically gifted. And we know NFL teams are looking for interior pass-rushers, which is what Kinlaw can provide. After putting up 4.5 sacks in 2018, he had six last season. And he is getting to quarterbacks with quickness and power. Kinlaw moves really well for his size, and he can eat up blockers in the running game. He was really good at the Senior Bowl in January.


15. Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
HT: 6-foot-4 | WT: 224 | Previously: NR

So McShay and I have a pre-draft bet on the books -- $5,000 to the Jimmy V Foundation -- on whether Herbert or Love will be picked first. I have Herbert, McShay has Love. That we're even having this conversation shows how far Love has come and what NFL scouts think of him. Let's start with the bad: 20 touchdown passes, 17 interceptions last season. But realize Love lost his top five pass-catchers from his breakout 2018 season (32 TDs, six INTs). He also had a new coaching staff. It was a struggle. The good? Just turn on the tape from the 2018 season, with Love displaying stellar traits in a 6-foot-4 frame. He also had a good week at the Senior Bowl, showing teams that he belonged. Still, Love is raw, and that's why whichever team picks him -- and it's likely to be in the top 25 picks -- needs to take its time with him and let him keep developing. He has a high ceiling.

Is Jordan Love worth a top-ten pick?Dan Orlovsky is high on QB Jordan Love, who is now projected No. 6 in Todd McShay's latest mock draft.

16. K'Lavon Chaisson, OLB, LSU
HT: 6-foot-3 | WT: 254 | Previously: 21

Every year, teams covet edge rushers with projectable traits, even if they don't always produce huge numbers. That's Chaisson, who had just 6.5 sacks this past season, only 3.5 of which came in the regular season. Those high-ceiling edge rushers don't always go in the first round, of course, but you can see on tape why a team might love Chaisson's potential. He starred in the Tigers' win over Oklahoma in the College Football Playoff, picking up two sacks. It's fair to say there is risk involved; Chaisson missed most of the 2018 season with a knee injury, and he finished his LSU career with just 9.5 sacks. Again, though, this is all about upside, and this isn't a great class for elite edge rushers after Chase Young.


17. D'Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
HT: 5-foot-8 | WT: 212 | Previously: 16

Just watch Swift on this 48-yard screen. He runs through and by defenders, showing off what has scouts so excited about his potential. It starts with speed, and Swift's 4.48 at the combine was a great time for him. He also has a physical side, and he makes tacklers miss. After running for 1,049 yards as part of a rotation in 2018, Swift was the Bulldogs' clear No. 1 back this past season. He averaged 6.2 yards per carry, with eight total touchdowns. He caught 32 passes in 2018, so he is already a third-down threat. That versatility will be important for his future.


18. Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
HT: 6-foot-5 | WT: 315 | Previously: NR

There have been some mixed opinions about Thomas over the past year, but I'm going to trust the tape. The left tackle, who started on the right side as a true freshman in 2017, is great in pass protection, showing off tremendous footwork, strong hands and excellent technique. He stones pass-rushers. And while the three-year starter tested so-so athletically at the combine, I've heard good things about Thomas' interviews with teams. This a really strong tackle class at the top.


19. CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
HT: 6-foot | WT: 204 | Previously: 18

Henderson dealt with an ankle injury this past season, sitting out a few games. He returned for the two tough matchups with Auburn and LSU, and he had three pass breakups in each of those games. Henderson is a lockdown cover corner who needs to improve on the little things to make his all-around game better. With six interceptions combined in 2017 and 2018, Henderson has tremendous ball skills, and he has the athletic traits to be a No. 1 corner in the NFL. His 4.39 40-yard dash at the combine was an outstanding time, locking in his status as the No. 2 corner in this class.


20. Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
HT: 6-foot-3 | WT: 216 | Previously: 23

It's the size that sticks out with Higgins: He has a huge frame to create mismatches. But he also is a better-than-expected route runner, and he helped stretch the field for quarterback Trevor Lawrence. He can box out smaller cornerbacks in the red zone, and he can high-point the ball on sideline throws. Check out this catch-and-run from two seasons ago. Higgins was a touchdown machine in 2018, scoring 12 times on 59 catches. And he averaged 19.8 yards per catch on his 59 receptions last season, with 13 TDs, including three apiece against Wake Forest and in the ACC title game against Virginia.


21. Patrick Queen, ILB, LSU
HT: 6-foot | WT: 229 | Previously: 17

The more I watched LSU's defense last season, the more I liked Queen. He just constantly showed up on the film, making sure tackles and penetrating into the backfield. And he was great in the Tigers' two College Football Playoff games, with four tackles for loss and 16 total tackles. Queen is a run-and-hit middle linebacker who has some coverage skills, though he can still improve there. He'll be an instant starter as a rookie.


22. Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
HT: 6-foot-1 | WT: 202 | Previously: NR

I picked Jefferson as my top riser from the first day of the combine, as the wideout ran a 4.43 40-yard dash and blew away my expectations. He has a chance to be a top-15 pick now. Jefferson broke out last season, catching 111 passes for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns in a devastating LSU passing attack. He also led the FBS in total catches and first-down receptions (66) last season. That was after just 54 catches -- and seven drops -- in 2018. He's a really good player who could play out wide or in the slot.

23. Kenneth Murray, ILB, Oklahoma
HT: 6-foot-2 | WT: 241 | Previously: 19

Murray is a chiseled specimen with great athleticism for his size. Murray can be a little stiff in coverage, but he has excellent diagnostic ability, and he flies to the football. I think he will improve in space with more reps; he was asked to be a tackling machine for the Sooners, who didn't have a ton of other defensive studs. Murray also showed that he can blitz, as he had 8.5 sacks over the past two seasons. He could be a linebacker in a 3-4 or 4-3 defense.

24. Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota
HT: 5-foot-9 | WT: 203 | Previously: NR

Winfield is small, but he is a true ball hawk who had seven interceptions last season. As I mentioned in my Mock Draft 2.0, interceptions can be misleading as a projection tool for prospects, but he also had 88 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles for the Golden Gophers. Apart from his small stature, Winfield also has a checkered injury history, as hamstring and foot injuries prematurely ended his 2017 and 2018 seasons. Still, the talent is too hard to ignore, and he's my new No. 1 safety in this class.

25. Cesar Ruiz, C, Michigan
HT: 6-foot-2 | WT: 307 | Previously: 24

I really like Ruiz's 2019 film, and I have a higher grade on him now than I did last year on Garrett Bradbury, the 2019 draft class' top center. Ruiz can play guard -- he started five games there for the Wolverines -- and that's why his value is so high. NFL teams love versatile interior linemen, and I could see a team drafting him to play guard.


Top 10 prospects at each position
An asterisk denotes the prospect is an underclassman:

Quarterbacks
  1. Joe Burrow, LSU
  2. *Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
  3. Justin Herbert, Oregon
  4. *Jordan Love, Utah State
  5. *Jacob Eason, Washington
  6. Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma
  7. *Jake Fromm, Georgia
  8. Steven Montez, Colorado
  9. James Morgan, Florida International
  10. Nate Stanley, Iowa

Running backs
  1. *D'Andre Swift, Georgia
  2. *J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State
  3. *Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
  4. *Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU
  5. Zack Moss, Utah
  6. *Cam Akers, Florida State
  7. *AJ Dillon, Boston College
  8. Joshua Kelley, UCLA
  9. Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Vanderbilt
  10. *Darrynton Evans, Appalachian State

play
1:33
RB D'Andre Swift's most memorable moments at GeorgiaD'Andre Swift was a feature back in a crowded backfield at Georgia and takes his game to the NFL.
Wide receivers
  1. *Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
  2. *CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
  3. *Henry Ruggs III, Alabama
  4. *Tee Higgins, Clemson
  5. *Justin Jefferson, LSU
  6. Denzel Mims, Baylor
  7. Michael Pittman Jr., USC
  8. *Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado
  9. Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State
  10. Chase Claypool, Notre Dame

Tight ends
  1. *Cole Kmet, Notre Dame
  2. Harrison Bryant, Florida Atlantic
  3. *Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri
  4. *Hunter Bryant, Washington
  5. Adam Trautman, Dayton
  6. *Dalton Keene, Virginia Tech
  7. *Devin Asiasi, UCLA
  8. Jared Pinkney, Vanderbilt
  9. *Colby Parkinson, Stanford
  10. Brycen Hopkins, Purdue

Offensive tackles
  1. *Mekhi Becton, Louisville
  2. *Jedrick Wills Jr., Alabama
  3. *Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
  4. *Andrew Thomas, Georgia
  5. Josh Jones, Houston
  6. *Ezra Cleveland, Boise State
  7. *Austin Jackson, USC
  8. *Isaiah Wilson, Georgia
  9. Matt Peart, Connecticut
  10. Tyre Phillips, Mississippi State

Guards
  1. Ben Bredeson, Michigan
  2. Robert Hunt, Louisiana-Lafayette
  3. Logan Stenberg, Kentucky
  4. Damien Lewis, LSU
  5. John Simpson, Clemson
  6. Jonah Jackson, Ohio State
  7. *Netane Muti, Fresno State
  8. *Solomon Kindley, Georgia
  9. Tremayne Anchrum, Clemson
  10. Shane Lemieux, Oregon

First Draft Podcast

Mel Kiper, Todd McShay and Chris Sprow preview the 2020 NFL draft.
• First Draft podcast »

Centers
  1. *Cesar Ruiz, Michigan
  2. *Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin
  3. *Lloyd Cushenberry III, LSU
  4. *Matt Hennessy, Temple
  5. Nick Harris, Washington
  6. *Keith Ismael, San Diego State
  7. Darryl Williams, Mississippi State
  8. Trystan Colon-Castillo, Missouri
  9. Jake Hanson, Oregon
  10. Cohl Cabral, Arizona State

Defensive ends
  1. *Chase Young, Ohio State
  2. *A.J. Epenesa, Iowa
  3. *Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State
  4. Marlon Davidson, Auburn
  5. Bradlee Anae, Utah
  6. Alex Highsmith, Charlotte
  7. Jason Strowbridge, North Carolina
  8. Jonathan Greenard, Florida
  9. Alton Robinson, Syracuse
  10. Jabari Zuniga, Florida

Defensive tackles
  1. Derrick Brown, Auburn
  2. Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
  3. *Justin Madubuike, Texas A&M
  4. Neville Gallimore, Oklahoma
  5. *Ross Blacklock, TCU
  6. *Jordan Elliott, Missouri
  7. Davon Hamilton, Ohio State
  8. *James Lynch, Baylor
  9. McTelvin Agim, Arkansas
  10. Raekwon Davis, Alabama

Inside linebackers
  1. *Patrick Queen, LSU
  2. *Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma
  3. Jordyn Brooks, Texas Tech
  4. *Jacob Phillips, LSU
  5. Troy Dye, Oregon
  6. Malik Harrison, Ohio State
  7. Logan Wilson, Wyoming
  8. Evan Weaver, California
  9. Kamal Martin, Minnesota
  10. Markus Bailey, Purdue

Outside linebackers
  1. *Isaiah Simmons, Clemson
  2. *K'Lavon Chaisson, LSU
  3. Zack Baun, Wisconsin
  4. *Terrell Lewis, Alabama
  5. Julian Okwara, Notre Dame
  6. Josh Uche, Michigan
  7. Akeem Davis-Gaither, Appalachian State
  8. *Curtis Weaver, Boise State
  9. Anfernee Jennings, Alabama
  10. *Willie Gay Jr., Mississippi State

play
1:45
What should the Giants do with the 4th pick?Todd McShay explains why the Giants can either potentially take LB Isaiah Simmons or move back in the draft to try and snag an offensive tackle.
Cornerbacks
  1. *Jeff Okudah, Ohio State
  2. *C.J. Henderson, Florida
  3. *Noah Igbinoghene, Auburn
  4. *Jaylon Johnson, Utah
  5. Jeff Gladney, TCU
  6. Trevon Diggs, Alabama
  7. Kristian Fulton, LSU
  8. *A.J. Terrell, Clemson
  9. Damon Arnette, Ohio State
  10. Troy Pride Jr., Notre Dame

Safeties
  1. *Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota
  2. *Xavier McKinney, Alabama
  3. *Grant Delpit, LSU
  4. Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne
  5. Ashtyn Davis, California
  6. Jeremy Chinn, So. Illinois
  7. Brandon Jones, Texas
  8. Julian Blackmon, Utah
  9. Terrell Burgess, Utah
  10. Tanner Muse, Clemson

Punters and Kickers
  1. Braden Mann, Texas A&M (P)
  2. Joseph Charlton, South Carolina (P)
  3. Alex Pechin, Bucknell (P)
  4. *Michael Turk, Arizona State (P)
  5. Tyler Bass, Georgia Southern (K)
  6. Sterling Hofrichter, Syracuse (P)
  7. Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia (K)
  8. Tommy Townsend, Florida (P)
  9. *Arryn Siposs, Auburn (P)
  10. Austin Parker, Duke (P)

Long-snappers
  1. Blake Ferguson, LSU
  2. Steve Wirtel, Iowa State
  3. Rex Sunahara, West Virginia
  4. A.J. Carty, Washington
  5. Matt Beardall, Marshall
submitted by BirdmanPB to ESPN [link] [comments]

Week 11 College Football Imperialism Map

What if College Football games were actually battles for land? This map answers this question. The original map is my closest FBS team to every county, but if a team is beaten their land is taken by the team that beat them.
Map
GIF of season to this point
Top 5 Teams By Land Area
(If Alaska is excluded USC falls to number 4)
Team Area (Sq. Miles)
USC 894,240
Wisconsin 721,773
Miami 278,054
Alabama 235,035
West Virginia 196,041
Top 5 Teams by Number of Counties/Parishes
Team Counties
Wisconsin 631
Miami 433
Alabama 371
USC 280
West Virginia 240
Top 5 Teams by Population
Team Population
USC 58,681,947
Miami 44,003,805
Wisconsin 37,657,236
UCF 25,740,228
Alabama 24,549,586
Number of Territories for Each Team
Territories Teams
22 Miami
17 USC
14 Wisconsin
13 Alabama
10 UCF West Virginia
8 Auburn
5 Northwestern Houston
4 Washington State
3 Memphis Oklahoma Boise State Georgia State
2 OhioJacksonville StateFAU
1 Old DominionUABNC StateJames Madison
Teams that Can Win Each Territory by the End of Regular Season
Current Owner Teams with a Chance
USC UCLACalifornia
Miami VirginiaPittsburghVirginia Tech
UCF TempleUSFTulsa
Auburn ULMAlabamaArkansas StateFlorida State
Alabama MercerAuburn
Wisconsin MichiganMinnesotaOhio State
West Virginia TexasOklahomaTexas Tech
Northwestern MinnesotaIllinoisWisconsin
Houston TulaneNavySMUArmy
Washington State Washington
Memphis SMUECUTulane
Oklahoma KansasWest VirginiaOklahoma State
Boise State Air ForceFresno StateUtah State
Georgia State Appalachian StateIdahoLouisiana
Ohio AkronBuffaloKent State
Old Dominion RiceMiddle TennesseeNorth Texas
FAU FIUCharlotteWKUUMass
UAB FloridaUTEPFlorida StateULM
NC State Wake ForestNorth CarolinaDuke
Jacksonville State Tennessee State
James Madison Elon
Games this week
Team Betting Line Team
UAB +11 Florida
NC State +3.5 Wake Forest
West Virginia -3 Texas
Northwestern -6.5 Minnesota
Old Dominion -7 Rice
Wisconsin -8.5 Michigan
Houston -9 Tulane
Memphis -11 SMU
UCF -13.5 Temple
FAU -14 FIU
USC -15 UCLA
Miami -17 Virginia
Boise State -17 Air Force
Oklahoma -34.5 Kansas
Auburn -37 ULM
Alabama No Line Mercer
Ohio No Line Akron
Jacksonville State No Line Tennessee State
James Madison No Line Elon
Here is an FAQ if you have any questions
TheChandog and The_BobbumMan made this website. It makes imperialism maps for conferences as well as some other cool things!
submitted by nbingham196 to CFB [link] [comments]

What if University Endowment was on the Line? [PRE-SEASON]

Imagine a world where all your loving and trusting donors had to place their money on the line each week.
All universities and colleges carry an endowment, a large investment composed of decades of gifts to be used to help grow and help the university. These endowments can reach the billions, so all the reason to stake it all each week on college football. Each week for each game, competing teams will deposit their entire endowment into a purse for that game, and the winner takes it all. I'll calculate how much is on the line and have a running total for each school. Think of it as imperialism, except cold hard donor cash is on the line
Edit: Instead of outright winning the other team's endowment, each team will gamble 50% of its current endowment and winnings on the betting line for each game. This will reward upsets and your team will remain in even with losses. Please let me know if you have additional suggestions/feedback!

Pre-Season Endowment Rankings:

  1. Stanford Stanford - $24.8 Billion
  2. Notre Dame Notre Dame - $11.8 Billion
  3. Michigan Michigan - $10.9 Billion
  4. Northwestern Northwestern - $10.46 Billion
  5. Texas A&M Texas A&M - $9.8 Billion
  6. Virginia Virginia - $8.621 Billion
  7. Duke Duke - $6.84 Billion
  8. Rice Rice - $5.324 Billion
  9. USC USC - $5.1 Billion
  10. UCLA UCLA - $4.35 Billion
  11. California California - $4.3 Billion
  12. Ohio State Ohio State - $4.253 Billion
  13. Vanderbilt Vanderbilt - $4.1 Billion
  14. Penn State Penn State - $3.991 Billion
  15. Pittsburgh Pittsburgh - $3.95 Billion
  16. North Carolina North Carolina - $3.9 Billion
  17. Texas Texas - $3.642 Billion
  18. Illinois Illinois - $3.46 Billion
  19. Washington Washington - $3.361 Billion
  20. Wisconsin Wisconsin - $2.746 Billion
  21. Purdue Purdue - $2.425 Billion
  22. Boston College Boston College - $2.4 Billion
  23. Minnesota Minnesota - $2.3 Billion
  24. Michigan State Michigan State - $2.275 Billion
  25. Indiana Indiana - $1.986 Billion
Next Five In: Georgia Tech Georgia Tech ($1.884 Billion), Virginia Tech Virginia Tech ($1.7 Billion), Oklahoma Oklahoma ($1.65 Billion), Florida Florida ($1.61 Billion), Kansas Kansas ($1.61 Billion)
The normal powerhouses of FBS will have to do some work to crack the top 25, notable absences currently include:
For a full list of all 130 FBS teams, I am tracking in a Google Sheet Edit: I have updated the sheet with Week 1's Odds (when available) and potential wins. Fun fact: Despite a bet over $2 Billion, Ohio State can only win $6.3M in week 1.

Notable Week 1 Games:

Michigan #3 Michigan at Notre Dame #2 Notre Dame - Betting Odds: Michigan -145
Michigan #3 Michigan bets $5.45B to win $3.76B Notre Dame #2 Notre Dame bets $5.9B to win $7.38B
San Diego State San Diego State at Stanford #1 Stanford - Betting Odds: Stanford -650
Stanford #1 Stanford bets $12.4B to win $1.97B San Diego State San Diego State bets $131M to win $622.25M
Northwestern #4 Northwestern at Purdue #21 Purdue - Betting Odds: Purdue -165
Northwestern #4 Northwestern bets $5.23B to win $7.58B Purdue #21 Purdue bets $1.2125B to win $730M
Washington #19 Washington at Auburn Auburn - Betting Odds: Auburn -145
Washington #19 Washington bets $1.6805 to win $2.1B Auburn Auburn bets $369M to win $254.48M
I will be tracking all games throughout the season and be providing weekly updates, if you have any feedback please let me know. Additionally, many of the endowments are from a year or two ago, if you see anything that is glaringly wrong, please let me know and I will update.
Edit: Received a ton of good feedback regarding the balancing of this. We will test this week to week but the current plan is to have each school wager 50% of its purse (current endowment +/- any winnings/losses) on the game. This means that there can be huge wins and losses and rewards teams for having upsets. Aditionally, it seperates this experiment from imperialism.
Please continue sending any feedback my way, glad people are excited for this
submitted by dasani3x to CFB [link] [comments]

What are your rookie year predictions for the R1 picks? Here are mine

Now that the dust has settled on the NFL Draft, I wanted to look ahead and try to predict the production of the R1 picks. Obviously, this is way too early and shouldn't treated as gospel or even serious business. I don't claim to have a crystal ball. The one I bought from that old gypsey lady turned out to be plastic. In hindsight, really wish I didn't give her my first-born son... Anyway, here we go.
(1) Cleveland: QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Hue Jackson and the Browns may talk a good game about waiting on Baker Mayfield, but that's not going to be easy. There's going to be a lot of hype and excitement to see him in action, and he theoretically should be able to deliver on that promise as a 23-year-old rookie with 3.5+ seasons of starting experience already. The Browns aren't also tied to Tyrod Taylor in any real way; they can afford to open this competition up and let the best man win. Given that, there's a chance that Mayfield grabs the reins of the job and starts from Week 1, but to be conservative I'll guess it happens a little later on.
I'd expect Mayfield to have some success (in terms of stats) when he does get action, although not a clean 1:1 translation of his great college career. The fear, from a Browns' fans perspective, is not when Mayfield lands the job but whether or not Hue Jackson will waver and toggle him in and out of the lineup. His confidence is a calling card, and you don't want to mess with that.
Year 1: 11 starts, 2148 passing yards, 13 TDs, 12 int
Year 2: 14 starts, 3382 passing yards, 23 TDs, 15 ints
Year 3: 15 starts, 3888 passing yards, 25 TDs, 14 ints
A note: a lot of these projected starts don't add up to 16, but that's only because it's hard to count on an injury-free season in the NFL. Also, don't let the very specific figures fool you into thinking there's any real "science" here. These are just estimates based on similar players, situations, etc.
(2) N.Y. Giants: RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State
I'd stand by the assertion that Saquon Barkley is the best RB prospect of the entire 2000s (yes, even better than Adrian Peterson, given his receiving/durability edge at the time of the draft.) That said, that doesn't automatically mean he'll be as good as Peterson or any other top rookie in the class out of the gate.
One challenge that Barkley will have to face is that teams expect him to be awesome. Alvin Kamara was able to sneak up on people last year; Barkley won't have that luxury. He'll be a major part of the opponents' game plan. Having Odell Beckham Jr. drawing attention away should help to some degree, but it will still be difficult for Barkley live up to the hype right away. But by Year 2-3, he should be one of the best in the NFL.
Year 1: 1102 rushing yards (4.0 YPC), 389 receiving, 9 total TDs
Year 2: 1284 rushing yards (4.4 YPC), 412 receiving, 11 total TDs (Pro Bowl)
Year 3: 1306 rushing yards (4.3 YPC), 485 receiving, 13 total TDs (Pro Bowl)
(3) N.Y. Jets: QB Sam Darnold, USC
As promising as Sam Darnold may be, I'm getting some flashbacks here to Jeff Fisher - Jared Goff in 2016, and John Fox - Mitchell Trubisky last year. In all three circumstances, you have a defensive-minded coach whose job security is shaky, trying to figure out when to play a rookie QB who may not be ready for primetime yet. Unfortunately, the politics behind that move becomes more of a focus than it would be otherwise.
I expect the team to try and hold Darnold off as long as possible with Josh McCown. On paper, that's a perfect plan. In reality? That's harder to rely on. McCown rarely stays healthy; he's never played 16 games in his career. The Jets' early season schedule's actually pretty soft (3/10 vs. playoff teams) so McCown may be able to squeak by until the bye in Week 11. After that, it's Darnold time, for better or worse.
Unfortunately for Bowles and the Jets' fans, I don't think Darnold's ready yet. He's an extremely young rookie who needs to develop his mechanics and his ability to read the field. I expect him to be highly inconsistent -- 300 yards next week, 3 ints the next. And as a result of that, the Jets will fire Todd Bowles and replace him with a young offensive-minded coach just like the Rams and Bears did. Paging John DeFilippo (MIN OC) and Matt LeFleur (TEN OC) -- your table is almost ready.
Year 1: 6 starts, 1398 yards, 8 TDs, 10 ints
Year 2: 15 starts, 3888 yards, 24 TDs, 18 ints
Year 3: 16 starts, 4184 yards, 28 TDs, 20 ints
(4) Cleveland: CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State
Denzel Ward may not have been the splashiest pick at # 4, but he's one of the safer bets for extended playing time this season. He'll immediately become the Browns' most talented corner, and presumably earn a starting job sooner than later.
Of course, predicting cornerback stats feels a little silly because they don't completely translate to your success rate, but I'd expect Ward to be an average starting corner in year one -- which in terms of a rookie curve, is a really strong debut.
Year 1: 14 starts, 31 tackles, 3 interceptions
Year 2: 15 starts, 37 tackles, 2 interceptions
Year 3: 15 starts, 42 tackles, 5 interceptions (Pro Bowl)
(5) Denver: DE Bradley Chubb, N.C. State
On a different team that runs a standard 4-3 front, we could pencil Bradley Chubb in for a starring role early on. After all, he's a senior coming off two straight seasons with 20 tackles for loss and 10 sacks, which bodes well for his readiness to contribute.
That said, the "fit" isn't as clean here in Denver's front. Will they try him as an edge rushing linebacker, a 3-4 DE? Either way, he'll do his most damage in nickel packages, which is what teams run the majority of the time anyway. I expect Chubb to be a strong two way player (run+pass), although perhaps not one who racks up gaudy stats.
Year 1: 10 starts, 38 tackles, 5.5 sacks
Year 2: 15 starts, 48 tackles, 7.5 sacks
Year 3: 15 starts, 52 tackles, 8.0 sacks
(6) Indianapolis: OG Quenton Nelson, Indianapolis
I don't think there's any question that Quenton Nelson is a "plug and play" starter. The only question is whether he'll be good enough to be a Pro Bowler as a rookie.
For that, and for a lot of Nelson's potential accolades, the team success may be important. If a guard plays well on a 4-12 team, no one notices. If a guard plays well on a playoff team, he's a Pro Bowler. Of course, so much of that team success will depend on Andrew Luck's health. While that aspect may be in doubt, I'm confident in Nelson's abilities to be a good starter sooner than later. Along with R2 pick Braden Smith, this line took a major step up.
Year 1: 16 starts
Year 2: 16 starts (Pro Bowl)
Year 3: 16 starters (Pro Bowl)
(7) Buffalo: QB Josh Allen, Wyoming
Every coach talks about "patience" with rookies, but there are legitimate reasons to believe the Bills in this case. Among them: an acknowledgement that Josh Allen may need some time to develop after coming in from a smaller conference.
I'm going to guess Sean McDermott and company will also hold strong as long as possible because they remember being embarrassed by last year's Nathan Peterman debacle. They benched their veteran for a rookie who clearly wasn't ready (despite the team still being in the playoff chase.)
This season, that "playoff chase" will be more important. I believe that A.J. McCarron can be a solid and legitimate starting quarterback. That said, he's not the type of QB that can carry a bad team on his back. And unfortunately, this Bills team appears to be a "bad team" that will regress after a fortunate playoff run last season. If the bottom falls out (and the team is something like 5-8), I'd expect to see Allen get a few starts late in the year.
Year 1: 2 starts, 483 yards, 2 TDs, 3 ints
Year 2: 14 starts, 3085 yards, 18 TDs, 16 ints
Year 3: 15 starts, 3483 yards, 22 TDs, 19 ints
(8) Chicago: LB Roquan Smith, Georgia
I don't see Bears' DC Vic Fangio handing Roquan Smith the job outright, but he should be able to secure it sooner than later -- most likely prior to Week 1. Not only does Smith have good speed and instincts, he also has a strong work ethic and leadership traits that can show up in a practice setting as well.
I expect Smith to grab the reins of a starting LB spot and become a vocal leader for this Bears' D. Whether that translates to stats may be a different matter; linebackers who aren't pass rushing specialists can at times get overlooked. But as long as he stays healthy, I would guess Smith plays like a Pro Bowl caliber player for the majority of his career.
Year 1: 14 starts, 88 tackles, 1 sack, 1 int
Year 2:: 15 starts, 111 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 ints
Year 3: 15 starts, 108 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 2 ints
(9) San Francisco: OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame
Like Roquan Smith for the Bears, Mike McGlinchey should be able to earn himself a starting job by the end of training camp. He's tall and talented, sure, but he's also a great worker and leader in his own right.
I don't know if McGlinchey has the athleticism and lateral quickness to be a Pro Bowl caliber player, but I'd expect him to be a long-time starter in the NFL.
Year 1: 15 starts at RT
Year 2: 13 starts at RT, 3 starts at LT
Year 3: 16 starts at LT, replacing FA Joe Staley
(10) Arizona: QB Josh Rosen, UCLA
The confident/cocky Josh Rosen was my personal # 1 QB, but he's going to have to work his way into a starting role in Arizona. Sam Bradford's the pricey veteran acquisition, and Mike Glennon's a serviceable backup as well. Perhaps it's best for all parties involved if Rosen (a true junior, only 3 years removed form high school), takes a redshirt year.
Of course, that becomes a lot easier if Bradford can actually suit up and stand upright for 16 games. If Bradford looks balky, even in training camp, I can see the Cardinals washing their hands of that experiment and giving Rosen a shot much earlier. But presuming Bradford can hold up for most of the year, I'd expect Rosen's starting chance to come in Year 2. Given that I'm a big fan of his, I expect him to do well with it.
Year 1: 2 starts, 339 yards, 1 TD, 1 int
Year 2: 15 starts, 3492 yards, 21 TDs, 14 ints
Year 3: 15 starts, 3887 yards, 26 TDs, 13 ints
(11) Miami: DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
When you look for immediate impact in the NFL, you can often look to a prospect's immediate impact in college. That bodes extremely well for Minkah Fitzpatrick, who excelled from day one as a true freshman at Alabama.
I'd fully presume that Fitzpatrick will be able to fit right in with the Dolphins, be it at safety, corner, or nickel. Again, stats don't fully reflect a defensive back's skill level, but I'd presume Fitzpatrick becomes a "plus" starter sooner than almost any other rookie.
Year 1: 15 starts, 62 tackles, 3 ints
Year 2: 15 starts, 58 tackles, 4 ints
Year 3: 16 starts, 77 tackles, 5 ints
(12) Tampa Bay: DT Vita Vea, Washington
Although Vita Vea declared after his junior season, he's already 23 and more seasoned than some of his peers in his class. As a result, he should be closer to his "prime" and ready to contribute early on, likely as a starter.
In terms of his stats, I fear Bucs' fans may be disappointed. Perhaps it's stereotyping to compare him to fellow Washington big boy DT Danny Shelton, but it's a concern that Shelton's production in college (94 tackles, 9 sacks as a senior) dipped to 36 tackles and 0.0 sacks as a rookie. Vea's more athletic of the two, but I still don't know if his pass rushing skills will translate to the NFL.
Year 1: 13 starts, 33 tackles, 1.5 sacks
Year 2: 15 starts, 40 tackles, 2.5 sacks
Year 3: 15 starts, 39 tackles, 2.0 sacks
(13) Washington: DT Da'Ron Payne, Alabama
In my mind, Da'Ron Payne fits the opposite projection profile from Vea. He was far less productive in college (1.0 sack, 1.0 TFL) as a junior, but the 20 year old still has a lot of gas left in the tank. Based on the eye test, he also has more pass rushing juice than he's displayed so far.
That said, he's a bulky d-linemen and those rarely rack up gaudy stat totals. I'd expect both him and former teammate Jonathan Allen to help boost the 'Skins run defense in a major way, but the stats may not reflect that offhand.
Year 1: 13 starts, 40 tackles, 1.5 sacks
Year 2: 15 starts, 49 tackles, 3.0 sacks
Year 3: 15 starts, 43 tackles, 4.0 sacks
(14) New Orleans: DE Marcus Davenport, UT-SA
Was it smart for the Saints to trade a second R1 pick to move up for a raw rusher in Marcus Davenport? Maybe, maybe not. But hey, that's in the past now. And now that we're in the present, Davenport finds himself in a great situation on an improving New Orleans line. With Cameron Jordan as Priority 1, and Sheldon Rankins as # 2, Davenport should face his share of one-on-one blocking and be able to contribute with some solid sack totals. I'm not sure he'll be thrown in as a starter in Year 1, but I'm projecting him to be a productive reserve who secures a starting role after; Danielle Hunter (MIN) may be a good comp in that regard.
Year 1: 6 starts, 17 tackles, 5.0 sacks
Year 2: 14 starts, 38 tackles, 7.5 sacks
Year 3: 15 starts, 40 tackles, 6.5 sacks
(15) Oakland: OT Kolton Miller, UCLA
Jon Gruden did Kenny Rogers proud with his first draft back, gambling over and over again. The risk in R1 was that UCLA tackle Kolton Miller could translate his 6'8" frame and athletic talent into more consistency at the next level.
For our purposes, it may not matter much. Miller will be the best RT on the roster immediately and draw starts there. In terms of the learning curve, I'd expect him to be a below-average starter in Year 1, a solid starter in Year 2, and perhaps a plus starter by Year 3 by which point I'm projecting he'll be on the blind side.
Year 1: 14 starts at RT
Year 2: 10 starts at RT, 6 starts at LT
Year 3: 15 starts at LT
(16) Buffalo: LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
Famously only 19 years old, Tremaine Edmunds has a world of upside given his physical profile and his athleticism.
Personally, I've always been a little skeptical about his natural instincts for the position (relative to someone like Roquan Smith). That said, he's landing in an ideal situation for him here in Buffalo, both in regards to his opportunity and his coaching staff. The Bills have a wide open hole at LB for Edmunds to jump right into and rack up tackles. That said, "tackles" isn't a be-all end-all stat; I'm projecting that Edmunds collects a lot of tackles early on, but grades poorly by PFF metrics. The hope is that coach Sean McDermott and company can help get him up to speed and make him a real positive by Year 2 or 3.
Year 1: 14 starts, 109 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 0 int
Year 2: 15 starts, 118 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 1 int
Year 3: 15 starts, 103 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 int
(17) L.A. Chargers: DB Derwin James, Florida State
Like his DB peer Minkah Fitzpatrick, Derwin James had an "immediate impact" as a true freshman in college (91 tackles, 4.5 sacks) which bodes well for his ability to adapt quickly to the NFL.
In fact, I'm predicting that James will make as big of a splash as any player in this rookie class. His athleticism and power at 6'3" 210 is downright freaky. For offenses worried about Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram up front, he'll be even more of a headache than they anticipated.
I'm projecting that James becomes a star right away and a frontrunner for Defensive Rookie of the Year. That said, we have to be realistic about the injury risk here as well; he missed his entire sophomore year with injury, and his playing style lends itself to impact collisions.
Year 1: 14 starts, 93 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 3 ints
Year 2: 15 starts, 103 tackles, 4.0 sacks, 4 ints (Pro Bowl)
Year 3: 10 starts, 75 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 ints
(18) Green Bay: CB Jaire Alexander, Louisville
There's no one happier coming out of the draft than new Green Bay DC Mike Pettine after the team loaded up on cornerbacks for him with Jaire Alexander in R1 and Josh Jackson in R2.
Of those two, I'd predict that Alexander has a larger impact out of the gate. He doesn't have the same size and ball skills, but he's more experienced and more polished as a cover man. It's tough to slot in "starts" here unless you view the nickel corner as a starter; I did not, but maybe I should have. Either way, I'm guessing Alexander will have a solid rookie year and become a standout, near Pro Bowler by Year 3.
Year 1: 5 starts, 38 tackles, 3 ints
Year 2: 10 starts, 32 tackles, 2 ints
Year 3: 15 starts, 37 tackles, 5 ints
(19) Dallas: LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State
Although Leighton Vander Esch is an athletic player coming off a great junior year (141 tackles, 4.0 sacks), I'm not sure he'll be able to translate that immediately to the NFL. He's a small town kid who took some time to get his feet wet at Boise State (47 total tackles prior to his junior year), and may need the same development here in Dallas.
The problem is: Dallas may not have the luxury of patience here. Their LB needs help right away, and may have even more trouble if Sean Lee or Jaylon Smith can't stay on the field. I'd expect LVE to get a lot of time early on, perhaps before he's ready, which can make his "stats" look better than his play may be (similar to our projection for Tremaine Edmunds.) In that same vein, I'd expect him to "put it all together" around Year 3.
Year 1: 14 starts, 77 tackles, 1.0 sack, 1 int
Year 2: 14 starts, 88 tackles, 1.0 sack, 2 ints
Year 3: 16 starts, 108 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 3 ints
(20) Detroit: C Frank Ragnow, Arkansas
Right now, ourlads.com lists Frank Ragnow as a 2nd team center, but teams rarely draft centers in R1 with that plan in mind. A tall and experienced lineman, I expect him to push his way into the starting lineup by the start of Week 1.
As with Quenton Nelson, Ragnow's future accolades and honors may come down to team success. If he can help spark the running game (which in turn may spark the Lions into the playoffs), then Ragnow may be a quick Pro Bowl player. If the team continues to struggle as a collective, then he may become an afterthought in terms of awards (but still a solid starter.)
Year 1: 13 starts at C, 3 starts at G
Year 2: 16 starts at C (Pro Bowl)
Year 3: 15 starts at C
(21) Cincinnati: C Billy Price, Ohio State
Ohio State stud Billy Price also lands in a great situation for him here in Cincinnati, a team that's been soft at the pivot for a few year's now. The only real question is a pec injury that may slow down his development early on (and may certainly re-occur later in the year if he's rushed back.)
Given that, I'm projecting Price to have a little bumpy of a rookie year because of that injury issue, but settle into a strong starting role thereafter.
Year 1: 10 starts at C
Year 2: 16 starts at C
Year 3: 16 starts at C
(22) Tennessee: LB Rashaan Evans, Alabama
A late breakout at Alabama, Rashaan Evans lands in a situation poised for an early breakout here in Tennessee. He'll presumably step right in for departed Avery Williamson, and be coached up by former LB Mike Vrabel.
How often Vrabel utilizes Evans as a pass rusher may go a long way to determining how much he stands out from a statistical perspective, but I'm expecting him to be a solid starter almost immediately. He comes across as a smart guy in interviews, so I'm guessing that he'll be able to pick up the playbook quickly as well.
Year 1: 14 starts, 83 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 1 int
Year 2: 15 starts, 105 tackles, 3.0 sacks, 0 int
Year 3: 15 starts, 108 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 1 int
(23) New England: OL Isaiah Wynn, Georgia
Although Isaiah Wynn doesn't have prototypical size at 6'3" 315, he has plenty of experience in college playing both guard and tackle. Personally, I'd see him as a better natural fit inside, but the more immediate "need" for the Patriots is at tackle right now.
I expect Wynn to be a jack-of-all-trades as a rookie, filling in around the line and doing an adequate job. I'd predict his breakout, so to speak, will come in 2018 when he shifts to guard full time and thrives in that role. The Pats have two solid guards right now, but Shaq Mason will be a free agent and perhaps play his way into a big offer somewhere.
Year 1: 5 starts at G, 8 starts at T
Year 2: 16 starts at RG
Year 3: 15 starts at RG
(24) Carolina: WR D.J. Moore, Maryland
Given the depth of this WR class (and the relative star power at the top), I thought all the R1 receivers were a little bit of a reach. R2-R3 felt like where the real value was.
But that said, D.J. Moore is still a talented player landing in a favorable situation for him here. He projects as a nice complement to the possession receiver Devin Funchess, and may be able to secure a starting job by the end of his rookie year.
In terms of statistics, that may not mean much. Rookie receivers tend to struggle to make an impact on the stat line, and the Panthers aren't going to be slinging it like the Saints anyway.
Year 1: 8 starts, 38 receptions, 495 yards, 3 TDs
Year 2: 14 starts, 56 receptions, 765 yards, 4 TDs
Year 3: 15 starts, 60 receptions, 849 yards, 5 TDs
(25) Baltimore: TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina
I presumed Hayden Hurst's advanced age (he'll turn 25 during his rookie year) would hurt his stock more than it did. But for the purposes of rookie year impact, it may help. Hurst is already a solid two-way player who's a good receiver and a willing blocker. The fact that he's landing on a team in desperate need of juice at the TE position helps him.
I imagine the Ravens will initially "start" the bigger Nick Boyle, but utilize Hurst more as a receiving threat. He should take a firmer grip on the starting job by Year 2.
Year 1: 4 starts, 23 receptions, 298 yards, 2 TDs
Year 2: 14 starts, 48 receptions, 523 yards, 3 TDs
Year 3: 15 starts, 54 receptions, 653 yards, 4 TDs
(26) Atlanta: WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama
I never quite bought into the notion of Calvin Ridley as a top 10 pick; he's a skilled and polished receiver, but he simply didn't have the insane physical talent of a Julio Jones type. To me, he projected as a good # 2 rather than a true # 1.
And hey, it worked out perfectly for him here, where he can play Robin to Julio's Batman. Already 23 years old with 3 years of production under his belt, Ridley should be able to contribute right away. I don't think Mohamed Sanu will walk quietly into the night, but I expect Ridley to serve as the # 3 as a rookie (outpacing Sanu statistically) and then take over full time in Year 2.
Year 1: 3 starts, 45 receptions, 598 yards, 2 TDs
Year 2: 13 starts, 62 receptions, 837 yards, 4 TDs
Year 3: 15 starts, 73 receptions, 948 yards, 5 TDs
(27) Seattle: RB Rashaad Penny, San Diego State
Rashaad Penny may have been a "reach" on the board, but he's walking into a clear path to a starting role here in Seattle.
The question will be how effective he can be in that role. And frankly, a lot of that will be answered by how well the new coaching staff can improve the offensive line and maintain the team's commitment to the running game.
Year 1: 13 starts, 688 rushing yards (3.8 YPC), 102 receiving, 5 total TDs
Year 2: 13 starts, 848 rushing yards (4.1 YPC), 218 receiving, 7 total TDs
Year 3: 14 starts, 837 rushing yards (4.0 YPC), 283 receiving, 6 total TDs
(28) Pittsburgh: DB Terrell Edmunds, Virginia Tech
Like his younger brother Tremaine, Terrell Edmunds is a highly athletic prospect who still needs some time to develop.
Unlike his brother, I don't see a clear starting role for Terrell to grab onto this season, so he may take a full year to take the reins. I'd expect him to develop into a solid starter, albeit not a star. Of course, projecting defensive backs is really hard for an amateur like me, so I may be way off base here. I've read some recent reports that are more optimistic about him.
Year 1: 6 starts, 27 tackles, 0 int
Year 2: 13 starts, 50 tackles, 1 int
Year 3: 15 starts, 57 tackles, 3 int
(29) Jacksonville: DT Taven Bryan, Florida
The Jags' defensive line was a strength already, but they must have felt the value of the talented Taven Bryan was too high to pass up. To start, his immediate value may come in giving bigger starters like Marcel Dareus breathers.
I'd expect Bryan to take a larger role in the rotation when/if the team moves on from Dareus. I wouldn't be shocked if it happens in 2018 (as had been rumored) but I'm slating that in for 2019.
Year 1: 0 starts, 13 tackles, 1.5 sacks
Year 2: 13 starts, 37 tackles, 3.5 sacks
Year 3: 15 starts, 43 tackles, 4.0 sacks
(30) Minnesota: CB Mike Hughes, Central Florida
As a former DB coach, Mike Zimmer has never given up his passion. He snatches up cornerbacks almost every year, which makes sense in a league where depth at the position becomes harder and harder to find.
Mike Hughes was my # 3 rated CB, but he may struggle to crack meaningful snaps in Year 1 on a crowded roster (depending on Mackensie Alexander's development.) In the long run, I really like his fit on this roster, either as a starter opposite Xavier Rhodes or in a nickel role. He should ultimately be a better player than the stats would suggest.
Year 1: 0 starts, 9 tackles, 1 int
Year 2: 10 starts, 23 tackles, 3 ints
Year 3: 15 starts, 31 tackles, 4 ints
(31) New England: RB Sony Michel, Georgia
Sony Michel is an extremely talented runner who flashed in the Georgia Bulldogs' rotation. You have to presume that he's slated for a similar role in New England, a team that currently has 5+ runners on the roster. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the Pats slow played Michel's development all season long, effectively "saving him" for the big games/playoff games. As a result of that, it's hard to project his role or his stat line on a yearly basis (or from a fantasy football basis.)
Year 1: 481 rushing yards (4.7 YPC), 183 receiving, 3 total TDs
Year 2: 722 rushing yards (4.3 YPC), 302 receiving, 5 total TDs
Year 3: 777 rushing yards (4.4 YPC), 330 receiving, 4 total TDs
(32) Baltimore: QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville
Having the electric Lamar Jackson on the roster will certainly push Joe Flacco, and perhaps even provide a distraction every time he struggles. That said, Flacco is still a Super Bowl winning QB leading a team with a strong chance at the playoffs; it's tough to see him benched this year barring a real stumble.
In fact, I'd take that a step further: I'm projecting Flacco will start 2019 as well, although may eventually get shuffled out by 2020 when cutting him becomes more manageable from a cap perspective.
Meanwhile, the Ravens' creative offensive staff (Marty Mornhinweg and Greg Roman) can develop Jackson for the long haul. I can see them sprinkling in special packages for Jackson in the meantime to help get his feet wet, but I'd still pencil in 2020 as the most likely time for him to grab hold of the real starting job.
Year 1: 0 starts, 84 passing yards, 0 TD, 0 int
Year 2: 0 starts, 111 passing yards, 0 TD, 1 int
Year 3: 13 starts, 2738 passing yards, 16 TDs, 13 ints, 471 rushing yards (3 touchdowns)
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[2016 Full Season and Week 1] Prediction Thread!

Welcome to the first weekly prediction thread of the season!

Make predictions for games this week. Pick against the spread or just straight up. Give us reasons. Convince us.
For discussion on betting, head over to /CFBVegas!
If you're in the pick'em: Don't forget to make your picks!
Our featured games for week 1 are:
Away Line Home
Oklahoma Sooners -10 Houston Cougars
Georgia Bulldogs -3.5 North Carolina Tar Heels
USC Trojans +10.5 Alabama Crimson Tide
Clemson Tigers -7 Auburn Tigers
UCLA Bruins +2.5 Texas A&M Aggies
Notre Dame Fighting Irish -13.5 Texas Longhorns
Ole Miss Rebels +4.5 Florida State Seminoles
LSU Tigers -9 Wisconsin Badgers
Since the season begins in earnest this weekend (apologies to Cal and Hawaii), we're adding in some additional prediction prompts:
submitted by CFB_Referee to CFB [link] [comments]

gpngc's 2018 Draft Review: Analysis and career predictions for each team's first round pick

Every year I write a long draft review after spending hundreds of hours studying film of prospects. Instead of draft grades, I use my evaluations to make predictions about the careers of the draftees. Of course, this is next to impossible, but I think it’s more fun than draft grades and I love to differentiate from the majority opinion and give fresh insights. Two major changes to my review this year to make it hopefully better received:
I’m only doing the first round, so now it’s way shorter. I’m scratching the corny headlines.
So that’s what this is. A coach/amateur scout who’s been a draftnik since 2004 predicting the careers of 21 year-old prospects. It’s a ridiculous exercise, but I enjoy it, and hopefully you do too.
Each draftee will receive a career projection grade from a 1-5 scale: 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.
In my draft reviews the past two years I’ve started to predict this exact grade for drafted players, and as these grades become clear in reality, I’ll begin to evaluate my predictions. I only go back to 2016 with this scale though, so we can’t laugh at the results just yet (although you can go back and read my thoughts from drafts dating back to 2013 at Draft32.com, just without the number scale). I absolutely believe this is a more interesting way to discuss post-draft and hopefully you agree.
My studies have also shown how the grades have broken down in each section of the draft. For example, from 2005-2012 the top 5 broke down like this: Picks 1-5 All-Pro: 25% Above Average: 17.5% Solid: 17.5% Replacement level: 22.5% Bust: 17.5%
I have these numbers all the way throughout the draft and you can read about it here: https://www.draft32.com/true-pick-values
I’ve also started to grade the early returns of 2013-2016 just to get more data. It’s stupid I know, but here’s the conclusion I drew: it would be extremely silly for me to hand out a bunch of 5s and 4s. Just going over the top ten of those four years, there were 3 busts in 2013, 2 busts in 2014, 3 busts in 2015, and 1 (early returns) in 2016 (shaping up to be one of the best top tens of all time). Basically, it would be unwise for me to NOT pick at least one bust in the top ten of this class. So just understand that I’m not randomly tossing numbers around. I’m projecting careers rooted in film study, fit, AND past history of how picks in those ranges have turned out. I’m way more negative (read: realistic) than other post-draft articles.
Rnd. Pick # NFL team Player Pos. College Proj. Grade 1 1 Cleveland Browns: Baker Mayfield QB Oklahoma 1 Mayfield’s positives are obvious and legitimate. Analytics and PFF love him because of his numbers and he really does have all the tools. He threw the best at the combine of all the QBs. There are real flashes of brilliance on tape. But there are reasons he wasn’t thought of as the number one QB by a ton of draft media types, including well-researched Mike Mayock (who will probably get a GM job one day). His tape simply doesn’t show a top QB prospect. His struggles versus Texas have been well documented but I won’t even go there. His tape against tOSU (and his signature advantage over Darnold) did not show a top QB prospect. From my notes: “two missed throws, skittish, threw a slant behind someone, an absolutely atrocious deep ball, everything is RAC.” To his credit, he is really good at getting the ball out quickly and accurately on perimeter screens. That will translate. However, I can’t ignore the rest. From my notes from other games “I do not see his improv translating, not very accurate.” Then of course the obvious negative notes from the Texas game. One interesting thing about both Mayfield and Allen is that they seemed to get “hot” more than past QBs I’ve evaluated. For both of them, when things were working well (and against TCU’s defense he was great), the accuracy and decision-making snowballed in a positive way. So it comes down to getting this flawed player comfortable, which is why fit is so important. The Browns have a future star at TE, a talented duo at WR, and a deep backfield. They’ll definitely be better on offense. However, Mayfield will likely have a second offensive coordinator at this time next year starting over from scratch. I also do not trust Josh Gordon. Njouku is only 21 and Landry might just be a stat-stuffer. I can’t pick a Hue Jackson QB to become a star right now, especially one with Mayfield’s game. For all the talk about temperament and leadership I think the improvisational skills are way overrated and won’t play in the league, and those were really the things that made him a Heisman winner. He’s not a Russell Wilson or even Johnny Manziel-level athlete. Beneath the hype you have a short, spread-system, decent QB prospect going into a lameduck coaching situation. I’ll say he busts. 1 2 New York Giants: Saquon Barkley RB Penn State 5 Barkley’s 2017 film was not always pretty. He dances too much, tries to bounce everything outside, and projects to take a lot of TFLs in the pros. He’s not a grinder or someone you want to give 25 touches to a la Elliot or Fournette. He’s simply not that great between the tackles. I could give you a scorching hot take and say that he’ll fail to live up to his hype and settle in as a 1B speed back and kick returner. I’m not that dumb. I really did have some doubts about his can’t-miss status but those were washed away each time I watched a defensive prospect versus Penn State. I saw more power runs, went back to watch more Barkley and just conceded to the fact that he simply has too many incredible traits to NOT be a special back. Maybe he doesn’t pound between the tackles 20 times a game, and maybe he does need a complement (J-Stew seems kinda perfect), but if he’s not scoring 12+ TDs a year, you aren’t coaching him right. It’s important to understand the difference between evaluating a college player’s performance versus evaluating a college prospects traits. I would bet that the Penn State RBs coach didn’t grade out Barkley amazingly every single week based on the tape. But for the purpose of the draft, that doesn’t really matter. Anyway, he’s a star and learning from great pro’s like J-Stew and Eli put him in a wonderful situation. Somewhat surprisingly, I expect him to return kicks early in his career as well.
OK. I must address the sentiment that the Giants should have taken a QB instead of the best RB. I am not an Eli apologist, and I think Eli is closer to done right now than having two full good years left. I’d be happy for him to prove me wrong. I also didn’t like Davis Webb coming out.
I feel very strongly about this issue and at times it’s hard to articulate it.
First, football is unlike any other sport in that it takes more to win a game. And by that I don’t mean it’s more difficult. It’s just different. It just takes MORE. When you are involved with a team you spend an entire week or longer preparing for one opponent, and all of your preparation, not to mention all the work you put in during the offseason, is put to the test in 60 minutes. It is a BIG freaking accomplishment to win a single football game. What fans often get caught up in, partially due to the NBA situation, is that winning a Super Bowl is the ONLY goal. It is assuredly not. NFL teams have 16 goals throughout the season and each win does have meaning. Winning a title is the ULTIMATE goal but it is not the ONLY goal. That’s why tanking will never work - the team-wide investment it takes to win. Coaches and players cannot afford to put out poor film - their livelihood depends on performance in games, practices, and meetings. Because of this, BPA also means the objective is to make your team better right now. Coaches and players will be very excited to get to work with Barkley. It’s good for the culture, and increases their chances of winning right away.
“That’s so short-sighted.”
It is, but this league promises nothing. I laugh when people throw around the “starting X for the next 10 years” stuff, usually talking about an OL or QB. You don’t even know who’s going to be starting in Week 2 of THIS SEASON let alone 10 years down the line. You don’t know who’s going to suffer a catastrophic injury, what late-rounder blooms into a star, or what UDFAs might give your team. You might find a third-round HOF QB or an all-time great might choose to extend his career for you. Then there’s free agency that changes everything each year. You just don’t know. So while it’s important to have an overarching plan - you must understand that plans change quickly in the NFL and that everything is fluid. Which is why adding the BPA when you can is more important than trying to fit something into a plan that may be ripped up and re-done in a year or less.
One line of thinking is that Barkley makes the Giants just good enough to be in that 7-9/8-8 range for the next handful of years, which doesn’t allow them to draft a top QB. The idea being that it’s worse to be mediocre than it is to be flat-out bad and get a top pick. This line of thinking is supremely flawed. First, it is much better for your young players to experience winning. It builds culture and expectation, which is what you want your young QB to walk into. Second, just because you’re picking 16th-ish overall doesn’t mean you can’t land a top QB (see Rams and Eagles).
This leads me to my next point. The most aggravating part of this whole discussion is that the “MUST TAKE A QB” crowd didn’t pinpoint a QB they want. They’ll be able to cherry-pick whichever of the three works out as the reason the Giants shouldn’t have gone RB. That’s not fair. You can’t have that opinion and not say which one you wanted. So the issue is much less GENERAL position than it is SPECIFIC player. Deep-diving into this class shows four highly flawed but talented QB prospects with a ton of question marks. It also reveals an absolute diamond at the top in Barkley. The Giants clearly didn’t believe any of these QBs projected to be franchise guys for them - I agree with that opinion as I will not pick any of these three to reach All-Pro status. So they pick a no-brainer who makes their team better RIGHT NOW.
Others argue against drafting any RB high. I could point to how Zeke and Fournette were huge parts of putting their teams in the playoffs, but how about Todd Gurley? The Rams took the RB before the franchise QB and that has worked out well so far. There’s no reason the Giants can’t do the same, which leads me to my next point.
“They are never going to be picking high enough to take a franchise QB - they have to do it now.” So, how do you get a franchise QB? The easiest way is to get a top pick and draft one. I’ve already covered the Rams and Eagles who simply traded up, something the Giants can definitely do. It will be costly, but if you believe in the guy (and they clearly didn’t truly believe in any of the QBs this year), it is worth it. But is using a high draft pick the only way?
Here’s how the (subjective) top 12 QBs in the NFL were acquired and how many SB appearances they’ve had (remember many of who I’m speaking to are in the SBs MATTER MOST AND QBS MATTER FOR SBs MOST crowd):
1- Tom Brady, 6th Round, 6 SBs 2 - Aaron Rodgers, 24th overall, 1 SB 3 - Drew Brees, 2nd Round, 1 SB 4 - Ben Roethlisberger, 11th overall, 3 SBs 5 - Carson Wentz, 2nd Overall, 1 SB* 6 - Russell Wilson, 3rd Round, 2 SBs 7 - Matt Ryan, 3rd Overall, 1 SB 8 - Cam Newton, 1st Overall, 1 SB 9 - Philip Rivers, 4th Overall, 0 SB 10 - Matt Stafford, 1st Overall, 0 SB 11 - Kirk Cousins, 4th Round, 0 SB 12 - Jared Goff, 1st Overall, 0 SB
Two other ways to win it all:
Joe Flacco, 16th overall, 1 SB Peyton Manning, Free Agent signing to Broncos, 2 SBs
Set up for the future: Derek Carr, 2nd Round DeShaun Watson, 12th overall Jimmy Garropolo, Trade (and was drafted in the 2nd)
Finally, a few top draft picks:
Eli Manning, 1st overall, 2 SBs - WORTH IT Andrew Luck, 1st overall, 0 SBs - WORTH IT (injured) Jameis Winston, 1st overall - jury still out Marcus Mariota, 2nd overall - jury still out Blake Bortles, 3rd overall - jury still out
And this list doesn’t include all of the busts taken over the years at the top of the draft. Or the curious case of Alex Smith, someone who has been acquired twice via trade.
The point of laying out this landscape is simple: there’s more than one way to find a franchise QB. And an even more important point: there’s more than one way to build a Championship team. I think Saquon Barkley is an important piece of that foundation for the Giants. It’s up to them to figure out the QB position, but this wasn’t the year to do it.
1 3 New York Jets: Sam Darnold QB USC 3 Sam Darnold is 20 years old right now and will be 21 when the season starts. He’s played QB for four seasons of his life (two in HS, two at USC). I say we don’t judge a single second of his career until the start of the 2020 season. While that won’t happen, it probably should. His tape simply wasn’t great, but knowing his history, it’s not that surprising. There is just so much projection with a prospect like this that it’s almost foolish to even evaluate the results and decision-making that much. But that’s all I have. The bottom line with all of these QBs is that they are going to have to do something unlike anything they have ever done. Despite the similarities to the untrained eye, playing QB at the college level is so far and beyond different than being an NFL QB. I actually didn’t know Darnold was so young while scouting him so I went back for a second look from a different perspective and liked him more. Like Mayfield, he wasn’t good against Texas or tOSU. He also struggled against Cal, especially down the field. I don’t like his circular release but it’s not a game-changer. LIke another recent highly touted QB, Jameis Winston, I expect his turnover issues to continue, at least through the early part of his career. However, I don’t think it’s in his mentality and DNA like it is with Winston as much as due to inexperience. Becoming more careful with the football without losing his playmaking ability will define his career. Darnold’s creativity is his best attribute right now, which is a good sign. Those instincts can absolutely translate. He’s a sneaky mover and the Stanford tape shows some anticipation. He’s also adept at working the middle of the field. He’ll have to get better throwing outside the numbers. Overall, there’s a ton to work with but legitimate concerns as well. He has super bust risk and doesn’t go to a great situation but all outcomes are on the table for his talent and quick-study demeanor. His situation isn’t great as far as weapons go, but Josh McCown will be a terrific mentor. Macagnan made one of the worst second-round picks in the history of the NFL Draft with Hackenburg (only 2nd-rounder to not appear in a game through three seasons), and has lucked into some no-brainers at the top of each draft, but give him credit for those picks. I see it like this: they got the QB of their defense last year, the QB of their offense this year, retain Leonard Williams to be their best DL and will suck for one more year to add that game-changing weapon at WR or RB. I’m big on BPA because the draft is about finding young, cheap building blocks to set the foundation of your franchise. Especially at the top. Then you fill out your roster with steals and free agents. My Darnold pick is that he’s a good starter in the Stafford mold and develops a nice rapport with a WR they take at 7 overall next year.
1 4 Cleveland Browns: Denzel Ward CB Ohio State 4
Ward at four was a surprise to many, but it was clear what the Browns were thinking. They saw what Lattimore did last year and filled their biggest need. My philosophy, especially at the top of the draft, is to go BPA. I understand the Browns thought process in regards to passing on Chubb. They have their two edge rushers and needed a CB badly. The problem with this line of thinking is that you can never have too many defensive linemen, and having three terrorizing pass rushers, Chubb on the inside, makes your third-down front very scary. There is a very good chance Ward and Chubb become stars and no one really remembers this as the wrong pick, but if Chubb becomes a star and Ward is average, this will not age well for the Browns. From my evaluations, Ward is not far behind Chubb, so I’m not even going to get caught up in it. Yes, I would stay true to my board and draft Chubb, but Ward has HOF potential, as evidenced by his draft spot. I was a bit surprised when I heard how many top-five picks were spent on corners in the past. It rarely happens. On the field, his game projects as some sort of Asante Samuel/Darrelle Revis/Darrell Green hybrid. Anyone who has coached DBs knows the most difficult thing to do is get your head around to find the ball when playing man. He does it as well as anyone I’ve ever seen. He’s feisty, he’s quick, and he will hit you, like he showed versus Maryland. His size might be an issue at times but he can tackle and jump so I don’t view it as that much of a liability. A few years ago I banged the table for Jason Verrett and he’s been stellar when on the field (unfortunately he hasn’t been able to stay healthy). Ward is better. Great pick, outstanding career, with Darrell Green upside.
1 5 Denver Broncos: Bradley Chubb DE NC State 4
The Broncos went BPA and there’s really not much insight can offer. I like the Bosa comparison and he’s kind of a smaller Mario Williams as well. The one thing that pops out at you is the power in his hands. Handwork is crucial for a DL and he has extremely strong hands. BC and Marshall simply couldn’t block him. His tape wasn’t always pretty and he did get shut out by some tackles, including at South Carolina. He doesn’t have the bend or quickness of an elite pass-rusher so I’d be surprised to see him lead the league in sacks. His poor 3cone kinda shows up but so does his ridiculous speed - as it often leads to power. My final thought on Chubb is this: in today’s college game teams often choose to read (RPO or option) the best player on the defense so you don’t have to block him. When teams did that he was excellent, confusing QBs and making plays that were designed to read him. It shows he’s coachable and one of those “just a football player” types. Solid Mario Williams-ish career. 1 6 Indianapolis Colts: Quenton Nelson G Notre Dame 5
I’m just gonna go ahead and echo what everyone else is saying about Nelson. Also, he injured a tough Stanford kid, made one of the most WTF plays I’ve ever seen coming from his LG spot to the opposite edge and crushing a blitzer. He’s stout and doesn’t get moved. And he delivers contact, doesn’t take it. He’s going to be good for a long time. How insane would I have to be to claim that Nelson would go to the Hall of Fame and yet they didn’t make the right pick? WHAT?!? I think Roquan Smith would have changed the entire culture of their defense. While I seriously do prefer Smith, I have no major issues with Nelson obviously. 1 7 Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen QB Wyoming 2 I didn’t hate Josh Allen’s tape. I think he has a ton of upside. He made some extraordinary plays outside the structure of the offense, breaking tackles, and making crazy throws down the field. The most incredible play was actually a sack he somehow avoided to throw the ball away against Boise. He absolutely has some Big Ben in him. He got hot early in the Bowl game and those are the same highlights shown on the networks. In the Iowa game, his WRs did him no favors dropping three passes including a TD against a decent defense. He’s really tough to bring down and we all know the arm. It really comes down to the intangibles for me. I don’t think he’ll ever be very accurate but I don’t think he’s as inaccurate as his 56% suggests. There really is a ton of great stuff on tape. He was pretty good against New Mexico. I just can’t get over his inconsistent footwork, the fact that he’s late a ton (although that was my critique of Wentz too…), and that he doesn’t even throw that nice of a ball. He’s going to a place without much talent around him. I can’t predict great things for him but I think he can be Bortles-y.
1 8 Chicago Bears: Roquan Smith LB Georgia 5 Roquan Smith can be Derrick Brooks. He was the No. 1 player on my board easily. As an offensive coach one of my core philosophies is to NOT allow defensive gamebreakers to break games. There’s a pass concept that Bama and Oklahoma both tried where you run the boundary receiver on a snag route to pick the boundary LB, freeing up the RB on a swing or wheel. I have no idea why these offensive coordinators tried to do that to Roquan Smith and it ended poorly for both teams. He doesn’t miss tackles, he makes plays in coverage, he’s an adept blitzer, and he’s damn explosive. He dominates games. His presence is infectious. The Bears just added the DROY to a team that has some talent. Their OL should be a bit better and with a healthy Allen Robinson, they have a legit No. 1 WR. I was higher on Trubisky (didn’t love his rookie year but that’s OK) than most last year and I’m going to stick to it - the Bears will be my sleeper team to win 10 games (will be tough in that division). It comes down to the QB of course.
1 9 San Francisco 49ers: Mike McGlinchey OT Notre Dame 1
There were some glaring lowlights in Mike McGlinchey’s tape. He was absolutely torched by Bradley Chubb and really struggled with speed. He was more of angle-blocker in the run-game and didn’t flash much power. Patriots fans lowkey hated Nate Solder for years and I think that’s McGlinchey’s upside. I think he has potential to be solid, but I definitely don’t think he was worthy of the ninth overall pick in a good draft. My final guess is that he underwhelms and settles in a RT.
1 10 Arizona Cardinals: Josh Rosen QB UCLA 2
There seems to be a lot of romanticizing about Josh Rosen among the internet draft community. People seem to think he “fell” due to personality question marks and whatnot. If you really study the tape, he simply isn’t that great of a prospect. And for a guy that was supposed to be the best pure passer, he was outshined by Baker Mayfield at the combine in throwing drills. The built-in excuse Rosen has is his coaching situation, where he played for a new OC every season. That can’t be easy and he deserves credit for producing as he did. But there are a lot of issues on tape. He was straight-up bad versus Colorado, at one point missing four throws in a row and throwing a terrible INT. He’s a rhythm passer with some flashes but I swear threw some of the luckiest TDs I’ve ever seen, including two in the classic comeback versus TAMU. He throws high sometimes but he’s generally accurate, moreso than the other QBs on tape. And he’s a crafty tennis player moving around, a strength he shares with all the QBs. Like all these QBs, there’s definitely a lot to like, but the tape has glaring flaws. So while he does have the best footwork and accuracy of all the QBs, he’s also thin with injury concerns. To have two documented (key word) concussions and shoulder surgery on your resume is beyond alarming, and if he “fell” at all those were the reasons. It’s ironic he’s now on a roster with Palmer and Bradford. Unfortunately, I see his career going down a similar path. I just don’t trust him to stay healthy and I don’t think he’s really THAT good.
1 11 Miami Dolphins: Minkah Fitzpatrick S Alabama 3 This is an interesting fit. Minkah Fitzpatrick is without a doubt a special football player but I do wonder where he’ll play in the NFL. The Dolphins have two safeties already so the only question mark I have about the pick is exactly where he’ll line up. You need to be put somewhere on the depth chart even if you can line up in various alignments. My guess is that he can play anywhere, but him finding a home that suits him is key. Is he an outside corner at all? That’s an interesting debate. We know from the film that he can play nickel and LB, so using him outside would be a transition. It’s up to the coaching staff. While his tape was excellent I struggle finding a place where he can be as ball-hawky as he was at Bama. From my notes: communicates, plasters, blitzes, closing burst, lots of pick sixes, breaks on an angled post vs Watson NCG WOW. High football character. Don’t see a bust but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him as a solid rather than spectacular pro. Blocked punts and numerous pick sixes happen to very few guys at the pro level. He’ll be good, but not Ed Reed or anything.
1 12 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Vita Vea DT Washington 4
This is where most thought Derwin James would go but the Bucs went DL with probably their BPA in Vita Vea. Vea didn’t make a play against Penn State but his highlight plays in other games were WOW. He’s not really twitchy but he’s more just fast which obviously plays in the NFL. One of his underrated traits is his knack for getting his hands up and deflecting passes. He can anchor against the run and push the pocket. Is he a true impact pro? Depends on your definition. I think he ends up being a dominant interior player. It will translate to sacks and splash plays but also stretches of games where he’s invisible. He’ll be an inconsistently impactful pro bowler.
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NCAAF Picks  USC vs UCLA  Betting Preview UCLA vs Cincinnati Predictions and Odds (College Football Picks and Spread - August 29, 2019) The College Football Betting Show (Week #5 - College Football Picks and Predictions) College Football: UCLA Bruins at USC Trojans Betting Preview and Pick UCLA Bruins vs USC Trojans Predictions and Odds (November 18)

Live betting odds for USC Trojans vs UCLA Bruins - Saturday, November 17, 2018 at Rose Bowl on Saturday, November 17, 2018. Up to date offshore betting odds of over 30+ sportsbooks available. The UCLA Bruins are officially out of options as they tangle with the host USC Trojans in Saturday afternoon Pac-12 action. Last week’s ugly 49-3 loss at Utah halted a three-game winning streak and has forced the Bruins to win their final two games in order to be bowl-eligible – and given the Bruins’ and Trojans’ prevailing home/road trends, that could prove tricky. UCLA remains in contention for a bowl bid, but its chances of finishing first in the Pac-12 South are slim unless it beats Utah on Saturday. Sports gambling: UCLA football a huge underdog vs. Utah The USC Trojans will host the UCLA Bruins Saturday. Game preview, betting lines, odds and prediction backed by expert analysis and data here. UCLA vs. USC Betting Odds 11/23/2019. The line for this Pac-12 game is sitting at 14 points in favor of USC. The Bruins are currently getting +500 moneyline odds while the Trojans are -735.

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USC vs UCLA 11/23/19 Free College Football Pick and Prediction Week 13 CFB Tips The UCLA Bruins face the USC Trojans in Saturday Pac-12 college football action. Get Mitch's Betting Tips and ... USC Trojans vs UCLA Bruins Predictions, Picks, and Odds for their showdown on Saturday, November 23, from United Airlines Field at LA Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA. Direct from Las Vegas, the ... College Football: UCLA Bruins at USC Trojans Betting Preview and Pick ... They put that streak on the line against their crosstown rivals UCLA this weekend. ... No. 11 USC football defeats ... This rivalry game has different story-lines going for them. For the Bruins it could be a redemption win and for the Trojans it means to continue a surprising winning streak. Teddy & Pauly take a ... UCLA Bruins vs Cincinnati Bearcats Predictions, Picks, and Odds for their showdown on August 29, 2019, from Nippert Stadium. Direct from Las Vegas, Minty Bets, Teddy Covers and Bryan Leonard look ...