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.)

Brazilian first division is set to kick off, whether anyone has noticed or not

In their book “Soccernomics,” written in 2009, Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski make “rosy predictions for Brazilian football,” including that the investments in the 2014 World Cup would help lift the country’s domestic game to a level similar to that of the major European leagues.cheap custom nfl jerseys

It is a rare false note in a fascinating work. A recent editorial in Brazil’s sports daily Lance! paints a truer picture of contemporary reality.

“Our club game is in the global third division,” it laments. “Brazilian football is today further behind the main centres than it has ever been, by any indicator.
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“We are easily beaten in terms of average crowd, TV audience, income of the clubs and interest of the sponsors.
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“Violence keeps people away from the stadiums. And we are exporters of talent, helping other leagues to be more attractive than our own.”

There are many explanations for such a state of affairs, in which the Brazilian game operates absurdly beneath its potential. Many of these explanations come back to leadership and organisation — in particular, a structure of football in which the tail wags the dog.
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Power inside the Brazilian football association, the CBF, does not rest with the clubs. It lies with the presidents of the 27 state federations. They, in turn, owe much of their allegiance to clubs so tiny they barely, if at all, qualify as professional.

As Lance! concludes, “The clubs and their fans are the biggest losers of our unhappy dynasty. Especially the big clubs — subjected to a disastrous calendar that obliges them to make a loss in the interests of those at the top.”nfl jerseys cheap nike

Quite why the clubs have yet to break away to form their own league is one of the major mysteries of Brazilian football. But the undeniable truth, the point overlooked by Kuper and Szymanski, is that there is little benefit in having 21st-century stadiums if they have to coincide with a 19th-century calendar.

Arsenal Transfer News: Everton Reportedly Confident of Signing Jack Wilshere

Everton are reportedly growing increasingly confident they will sign Jack Wilshere from Arsenal in the summer.
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Wilshere is out of contract at the end of the season and has rejected a new deal with the Gunners as it would involve taking a pay cut. He is also not too happy with the way he has been treated by the club, according to Football.London’s Charles Watts.cheap custom nfl jerseys

The situation has given Everton hope they can land Wilshere, as they would be willing to match his current wages as well as offer him “a sizeable signing on fee.”
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The 26-year-old has endured an injury-plagued career, but he has managed to prove his fitness at Arsenal this season and has made 35 appearances in all competitions.

Arsenal’s reluctance to offer Wilshere a big contract is perhaps understandable given his injury record. However, they do risk losing him on a free transfer in the summer if he does not renew.

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown said it would be a disaster if Wilshere left, per Indy Football:
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Everton manager Sam Allardyce has spoken about Wilshere and said he has “always admired him” in an interview with TalkSport.

A move to Everton would also see Wilshere reunited with former team-mate Theo Walcott, who moved to Goodison Park from Arsenal in January 2017.
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There’s no doubt that a fit Wilshere is a quality midfielder who is yet to fully realise his potential. However, his injury record is a concern and is likely to have an impact on any decisions regarding his future.

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.