The Not-So-Secret Sleeper Among Edge-Rushers

There are many difficulties with performing statistical analysis on college edge-rushers. Sacks are relatively rare, which can distort results. Blockers range from future NFL starters to pudgy future high school phys ed teachers. Many top edge-rushers rack up big sack totals against Middle Nowhere State or benefit from schemes that give them unblocked paths to the quarterback. Others are double-teamed on every snap.
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There are several methods for sidestepping these problems. One is to meld analysis with game study. Anthony Chiado does just that each year for the Optimum Scouting Draft Guide, tracking how often each top pass-rusher is double-teamed, how often he’s unblocked, where he lines up, which of his pass-rush moves are most successful and so forth.

NC State’s Bradley Chubb looks as solid as you might expect in the breakdowns. Marcus Davenport of Texas-San Antonio blows the field away, albeit against lower competition levels. But Chiado’s research uncovers a variety of secrets about other edge-rushers, most notably Oklahoma’s Ogbonnia Okoronkwo.cheap custom nfl jerseys
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Okoronkwo pressed opposing quarterbacks on 25.4 percent of passing plays, second only to Davenport. He was rarely unblocked (just 3.6 percent of his pressures) and beat his opponent with some sort of countermove 25.0 percent of the time.

The countermoves reveal Okoronkwo’s ability to do more than just explode out the gate and beat a left tackle to the edge. The Optimum Scouting analysis quantifies Okoronkwo’s ability to work through blocks and find alternate routes to the quarterback, two important skills for success as an NFL pass-rusher.cheap customized nfl jerseys

Okoronkwo also performed well at the combine and the Senior Bowl and was a major-program superstar, cheap nfl custom jerseys so he’s hardly a “sleeper.” Analytics aren’t just about evaluating players but also describing them in more precise and useful terms than “he’s explosive” or “he’s a winner.”

(And if you are protesting that counting double-teams and countermoves is scouting, not Moneyball, then here’s a news flash: That’s a false distinction. Good analysis and careful observation always go hand-in-hand. It’s when one rejects the other that teams start making foolish decisions.)

Feeling the Need for Speed (and Size) at Running Back

Moneyball principles may not recommend drafting a running back early, but the analytics love big, fast running backs just as much as scouts do.best nfl jerseys

ESPN’s Bill Barnwell developed Speed Score for Football Outsiders in 2008. It’s a deceptively simple way to combine a running back’s weight and 40 time into one easy-to-understand number. That way, no mental arithmetic must be done to compare a 233-pound back with 4.40 speed (Saquon Barkley) to a 198-pounder with 4.38 speed (NC State’s Nyheim Hines) or a 250-pounder with 4.69 speed (Texas’ Chris Warren).45b55945a7c07c3a3870ad73e9f83dbb_crop_exact

Barkley blew this year’s crop of running backs away with a 124.3 Speed Score. Hines and Warren also posted very good results for projected mid-rounders.nfl jersey for cheap  You can find the full list here, which has its share of surprises, like Nick Chubb beating Georgia teammate Sony Michel.

Speed Score is far from foolproof. After all, it’s just a blend of two combine results. But it’s a handy item to keep in the toolkit nfl jerseys cheap authentic  for informing the scouting process. A 1,000-yarder from a powerhouse program with a low Speed Score could be a product of his system. On the other hand, an unheralded rusher with a great Speed Score could be a diamond in the rough.

For example, Arizona State’s Kalen Ballage finished second to Barkley in Speed Score despite low production totals as part custom nfl jerseys cheap of a committee backfield in college. The measurables indicate that he deserves a closer look. You may want to keep an eye on him when it’s time to draft your fantasy team as well.customized nfl jerseys

Tre’ Williams, Auburn

POSITIVES

—Thumper who loves to hit and made many big tackles at the Senior Bowl.nfl jersey for sale

—Very physical taking on blockers and sniffing out the run in the middle of the field.

—Old-school mentality and relishes opportunities to put pads on ball-carriers.

—Instincts, timing and awareness all scored high.clearance nfl jerseys

NEGATIVES

—Only one year (2017) as a full-time starter.

—Shoulder injury limited him to eight starts.

—Doesn’t have ideal speed or range to project as a starting linebacker prospect.nike nfl jerseys on sale

—Low-impact player on game days. Only had 50 total tackles (24 solo) in 2017. Easy to lose him on film.

OVERALL

Tre’ Williams made a name for himself with big hits at the Senior Bowl, but he lacks the hips and speed to play in space in the NFL. He projects well as a backup middle linebacker whose aggressive, physical style would play well on special teams.
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GRADE: 5.00 (Priority Free Agent)

PRO PLAYER COMPARISON: Mike Hull, Miami Dolphins cheap nfl jersey store

Nick DeLuca, North Dakota State

POSITIVES

—Above-average mental processing that puts him in the right place more often than not.

—High-level instincts that keep him in the action often.

—Special teams experience and willingness to compete.

—Vocal player; a quick learner who can direct a defense.best price nfl jerseys

NEGATIVES

—Shoulder injury in 2016 and torn meniscus in 2017.

—Struggled in Senior Bowl practices, often playing too upright and with a forward lean.

—Limited athlete with speed concerns who will be exploited in NFL.

—Average change-of-direction skills that become a problem moving laterally through traffic.

—Will be chewed up in isolation against NFL talent in the backfield.nike nfl jerseys from china

OVERALL

Nick DeLuca is a smart player who has found ways to mask some of his athletic limitations. At the Senior Bowl, however, nfl jerseys women those limitations stood out rather easily both in linebacker drills and on the field for team portions. DeLuca will have to consistently diagnose plays correctly to have any shot at being an effective NFL linebacker. If a team can manage with him as a depth piece, he has the commitment and willingness to learn any backup spot and contribute on all special teams.

GRADE: 5.00 (Priority Free Agent)

PRO PLAYER COMPARISON: Nick Bellore, Detroit Lions

Mark Sanchez Reportedly Suspended 4 Games for NFL PED Violation

The NFL suspended free-agent quarterback Mark Sanchez for the first four games of the 2018 season on Friday for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, according to The MMQB’s Albert Breer. best nfl jerseys

“The NFL has informed me that I have tested positive for a substance on the banned substance list,” Sanchez wrote on Instagram. “I was blind-sided by the news and I want to say unequivocally that I have never cheated or attempted to gain a competitive advantage by using a banned performance enhancing substance.

“…My test history and pharmacological science confirm I was not cheating and the positive test was the result of incidental and isolated exposure to a banned substance. I was tested by the NFL 30 days before and 12 days after my one positive test. Both tests bracketing the one positive test were clean.”hi-res-49cf775d42b5e38775d62bef33ee1746_crop_northnfl jersey for cheap

Sanchez added that while he did not knowingly take any substances, the league’s rules are clear regarding any sort of consumption:

“Nevertheless, the NFL has an extremely comprehensive performance enhancing drug policy. Because of the policy’s comprehensive and self-described ‘strict liability’ nature, players know that inadvertent exposure to a banned substance may lead to a positive test. The policy makes it each player’s responsibility to avoid even the unwitting ingestion of a banned substance. I accept responsibility as a professional and will move forward with greater caution in the future. I look forward to getting back on the field this season.” nfl jerseys cheap authentic

Sanchez, 31, hasn’t taken a regular-season snap since 2016 when he was a member of the Dallas Cowboys. He spent last season buried on the Chicago Bears’ depth chart behind Mitchell Trubisky and Mike Glennon.
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Sanchez’s last start came on Thanksgiving in 2015 with the Philadelphia Eagles—a 45-14 loss to the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.

Over the course of seven seasons, the 2009 first-round pick has completed 56.7 percent of his passes for 15,219 yards, 86 touchdowns and 86 interceptions.

Is Saquon Barkley Really a Generational RB Talent?

The 2018 draft class is fascinating for a number of reasons. As many as five quarterbacks could go in the first round, and there’s a surplus of talent at other positions. With question marks attached to all those quarterbacks, there’s a race for the title of “best player in the draft” outside the game’s most important position.
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Penn State running back Saquon Barkley is one of those players thought by many to be the best pure football talent in this class. In three years as a starter for the Nittany Lions, he gained 3,843 rushing yards and scored 43 touchdowns on 671 carries. He also caught 102 passes for 1,195 yards and eight touchdowns, and added 18 kickoff returns for 500 yards and two touchdowns.
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Barkley’s positional versatility is singularly impressive among the running backs in this class, and it would be the same in most draft classes. He can run inside and outside with tremendous speed, lateral agility and acceleration. As a receiver, he can line up anywhere from offset in a Pistol formation to the slot to outside—he has the potential to be the NFL’s best receiving back since Le’Veon Bell rounded out his skill set. As a direct-snap running quarterback who finds himself behind the center from pre-snap movement, Barkley can also create explosive plays. It’s easy to see why some would tout him as a truly great back, and in many aspects of his play, he is just that.
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Bert Whigham, who has been training Barkley this year at Tom Shaw Performance in Florida, set the bar fairly high regarding his client’s professional prospects, comparing him to another player Whigham has trained.nfl jerseys cheap authentic

“The only person I can think of that’s comparable physically is [Oakland Raiders linebacker] Khalil Mack,” Whigham told Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News. “Khalil and Saquon are my 1a. and 1b. These two guys are outliers. They’re freaks. It’s those two and then probably [Tennessee Titans running back] Derrick Henry, another freak. But with Khalil, we knew he was the No. 1 overall pick. We knew he was going to be special. And it’s the same with Saquon. You’ve got a generational talent.”

Joey Bosa, DE, Los Angeles Chargers

Per Adam Rank of NFL.com, there are less than 10 players in the NFL who are essentially untradeable. Joey Bosa of the Los Angeles Chargers is one of them.
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“He gives the Chargers something they don’t have a lot of: charm and charisma,” Rank said. “He’s got a quirky sense of humor that should land him some sort of walk-on roll in New Girl or whatnot. I know this seems weird, but I live out here in Los Angeles and the Chargers desperately need that kind presence to win the Battle for L.A. Bosa is it.”

Bosa’s personality is great. What he does on Sundays for the Bolts is even better.youth nfl jerseys

In just two seasons, Bosa has already become one of the best edge-rushers in the NFL. He’s equally adept at stuffing the run as he is giving quarterbacks nightmares, racking up 12.5 sacks and a jaw-dropping 70 total tackles for the Chargers in 2017.

Bosa’s a nigh-unblockable force off the edge. Combined with Melvin Ingram, he provides the Chargers with the NFL’s top one-two punch at one of the league’s premium positions.
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Bosa has amassed 23 sacks in only 28 career games.

And he won’t even turn 23 until July.

Los Angeles Rams tailback Todd Gurley entered the 2017 season trying to rebound from a disappointing second year in the NFL in which he managed just 3.2 yards per carry.

The 23-year-old left Year 3 as an MVP candidate and the best player in the league under the age of 25.nfl youth jerseys cheap

Gurley was fantastic for the Rams last year, gaining 1,305 yards on 279 carries—a robust average of 4.7 yards a carry and the second time in three years Gurley’s hit that benchmark. He also caught 64 passes—the same number of receptions Gurley had in his first two seasons combined. The 6’1″, 227-pounder piled up almost 2,100 total yards and found the end zone an eye-popping 19 times.

Had Gurley not spent the final Sunday of the regular season as a spectator because the Rams’ playoff spot was set, he may well have led the NFL in rushing yards, receiving yards by a tailback and total touchdowns.
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Even with the Week 17 siesta, he finished second, second and first among non-quarterbacks. For much of the month of December, Gurley was being talked up as an MVP candidate.

AJ McCarron to Buffalo Bills

The Bills missed out on the bigger names in the free-agent quarterback merry-go-round. Cousins landed a massive contract with Minnesota. Case Keenum got a nice payday with the Denver Broncos. Sam Bradford landed with the Cardinals.cheap customized nfl jerseys

And that might be for the best.

From a financial standpoint, it’s hard to argue Buffalo didn’t get a good deal when it signed former Cincinnati Bengals backup AJ McCarron to a two-year, $10 million contract.

Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis told Tim Graham of the Buffalo News that the team got a winner.cheap nfl custom jerseys

“AJ’s always been a really confident player in himself and his abilities,” Lewis said. “He’s had a great deal of success, and he believes that he will always continue to have success. That’s part of him.”0b9036d1087a4c93e2a2f65456d42fa9_crop_exact

Just about everyone believes the Bills will still make a push to trade up in this year’s draft to select a quarterback—$5 million a nike nfl jerseys cheap year isn’t a contract that shows a ton of confidence in McCarron long-term.

But the Bills don’t have to sell their souls to do so. If the price is too high for them to move up, they have a Plan B. The 27-year-old McCarron has shown (albeit in a small sample size) the ability to have some success as a starter at the NFL level.

From the moment that Ndamukong Suh landed in Los Angeles, pundits have been breathlessly forecasting how formidable the Rams will be with Suh joining Aaron Donald up front.

Minnesota’s signing of Sheldon Richardson to a one-year, $8 million contract may not have generated the headlines that Suh’s move did, but it could wind up being every bit as impactful—or perhaps even more so.

Richardson, who had 44 tackles and one sack for the Seattle Seahawks in 2017, isn’t a huge numbers guy. nfl jerseys cheap nike He piled up eight sacks and made the Pro Bowl with the Jets in 2014, but he has just 7.5 sacks in the three seasons since.

However, the numbers don’t tell the whole story. In his first year in a four-man front last season, Richardson showed the potential to be a disruptive 3-technique in the mold of, well, Suh.

T.J. Carrie and E.J. Gaines to Cleveland Browns

Cornerback is a premium position in today’s NFL, and that can get pretty dang expensive. Malcolm Butler got over $12 million per season from the Tennessee Titans. Trumaine Johnson received over $14 million a year from the Jets.

Cleveland was able to add a pair of starting-caliber corners for less than what either of those players cost by himself.cheap customized nfl jerseys

Granted, injuries have been an issue for E.J. Gaines, who got a one-year, $4 million deal after playing in 11 games for the Buffalo Bills last year. He has missed an eye-popping 27 games the last three campaigns, including all of the 2015 season.

But when on the field, Gaines was one of the best in the business in 2017. As ESPN pointed out, Pro Football Focus graded Gaines 13th among corners last season.hi-res-97feb9d7095a466811bd63be50447610_crop_exact

Carrie got more coin (four years, $31 million) after a career campaign in which he started 16 games and tallied 84 tackles while serving customized nfl jerseys as arguably the best corner for the Raiders.

These guys aren’t big names. They don’t have a history of big-money deals like Johnson or postseason heroics like Butler. But both are solid NFL starters.

And Browns general manager John Dorsey didn’t have to break the bank for either of them.

The Pittsburgh Steelers came into free agency with precious little cap space. But Pittsburgh general manager Kevin Colbert made fantastic use of his limited resources by signing veteran safety Morgan Burnett to a three-year, $14.4 million pact, getting an impact player for a reasonable sum.

The 29-year-old Burnett, who spent his first eight seasons in Green Bay, was a jack-of-all-trades for the Packers in 2017. He played some strong safety,customized nfl jerseys cheap  free safety, slot cornerback and even some dime linebacker.

That sort of versatility is appealing in this day and age.

Burnett isn’t just versatile and experienced. He’s also been productive. His 68 tackles in 12 games last year isn’t an eye-popping number, but as recently as cheap custom nfl jerseys 2016, he had over 90 stops with three sacks and two interceptions. Burnett has topped 100 total tackles for the season three times, including a career-high 130 stops (94 solos) in 2014.

Denver Broncos

The quarterback position wasn’t the only problem spot for the Denver Broncos in 2017, but it’s one of the only spots they clearly upgraded. So even if you have high hopes for free-agent addition Case Keenum under center, there are reasons to be concerned about the Broncos. cheap official nike nfl jerseys

Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and C.J. Anderson are good players, but Keenum doesn’t have as much support as he did in Minnesota on either side of the ball. Left tackle Garett Bolles needs to improve after a shaky rookie season, cheap nike nfl jerseys from china and a defense that has been losing bite the last few years could miss Aqib Talib.

That D still has the ability to keep them in a lot of games, especially if stud pass-rusher Von Miller can bounce back from a bit of a down year. If Keenum’s breakout 2017 campaign wasn’t an anomaly, the offense will be better than average.71424b594726c7f54ce42f42b037b30b_crop_exactnfl cheap nike jerseys

It’ll also help if the Broncos can add an immediate-impact player with the No. 5 overall pick, but those are a lot of ifs.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston’s career has yet to take off, but the 2015 No. 1 overall pick saw most of his rate-based statistics improve in 2017, and he has a lot of support entering his fourth season.

Second-year pass-catchers O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin both have the ability to break out alongside veterans Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson, and new center Ryan Jensen makes that offense better in two spots by enabling them to move Ali Marpet back to guard.

So the Bucs should score plenty of points in 2018, and an all-over-the-map defense should also be better with Jason Pierre-Paul, cheap nfl youth jerseys Vinny Curry and Beau Allen joining star defensive tackle Gerald McCoy up front. That unit underachieved while dealing with a lot of injuries last year, but there’s almost no way they give up 378 yards per game again.

The Bucs will have to fight to get out of the basement in the tough NFC South,nfl youth jersey  but they’re much better than their 5-11 2017 record. And let’s not forget they hold the No. 7 overall pick in this month’s draft.