Tag Archives: Jameis Winston

My Way Too Early Speculation of Where Le’Veon Bell Will Land in 2019

Le’Veon Bell’s time in Pittsburgh is clearly coming to an end. But, where will the All-Pro, all-purpose back land in 2019?

It’s clear the Pittsburgh Steelers and All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell are headed for a divorce. At this point the relationship appears unsalvageable after his teammates, specifically the offensive line, recklessly spoke about his contract situation and reluctance to show up for their week one matchup against the Cleveland Browns. He’s even been removed from the depth chart for week two’s matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Bell hasn’t signed his $14.5 million franchise tender, and will be docked $850 thousand for each game his misses. He wants a contract that will reset the market for top-flight running backs. Similar to what the LA Rams signed Todd Gurley to; 4 years, $60 million with $45 guaranteed. The 3-time All-Pro is two years older and unlikely to get that money from the Steelers, especially with the way his replacement, 2nd-year pro James Conner has performed so far in his absence in week one against the Cleveland Browns and training camp.

Bell’s not likely to get a long-term deal because of his age, but he’s a perfect match for teams that are in win now mode. Honestly, that’s the type of team he should be looking for, especially if he’s going to leave a franchise in Pittsburgh that’s always in the championship race.

So assuming it’s really over for Bell in the 412. Where could he land? Who needs him? Who could/is willing to pay him what he desires? Here is my way too early speculation of where he might land in 2019.

New York Jets. The Jets were in the hunt for quarterback Kirk Cousins and willing to pay him top dollar (I know QB money and RB money is different) before he chose the Minnesota Vikings and they drafted Sam Darnold with the third overall pick in the 2018 draft. They also were interested in acquiring Khalil Mack from the Oakland Raiders before he was eventually shipped off to the Chicago Bears. My point for bringing up those two players is to show that the Jets organization has the money and appears willing and desires to make a splash. Now that they appear to have a franchise QB in Darnold on a rookie contract, and their defense looks to be more than formidable, they’re only missing a top flight back. The three best friends for a young quarterback are an elite tackle to protect his blindside, a stout defense and a strong running game. Bell would help the team check the final box. Also, it’s New York. Bell likes the spotlight, and an offer anywhere near Gurley’s, even if it doesn’t top it, would likely pique his interest and make the Jets a strong contender in the AFC.

Indianapolis Colts. They’ve been trying to pair Andrew Luck with a running back since the day he was drafted to replace Peyton Manning. They’ve tried just about everything. Last season it was then 35-year old Frank Gore. In previous seasons they went as far as trading for Trent Richardson when he flamed out with the Cleveland Browns after being drafted two slots behind Luck in the 2012 draft. Nothing has worked. The Colts finally have invested in their offensive line to protect their wounded franchise QB. The other way to further that protection, get him an elite running back. Bell is worth the money if the Colts really think Luck is the championship caliber QB to lead them.

Green Bay Packers. The Pack desperately needs to get a running game to compliment Aaron Rodgers. Even though he is superhuman, at some point you put him at too much risk, being predictable by allowing him to drop back and sling it all over the field. They need balance. Green Bay was also interested in acquiring Khalil Mack before he was traded to the Bears. So they too are in win at all cost mode, NOW. Bell would give them a dimension they’ve NEVER had in A-A-Ron’s time under center in cheese country. A balanced attack would make the best QB in the game even scarier.

DARK HORSES

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Who knows what Jameis Winston’s future is in west Florida, but if they keep him beyond his rookie contract that ends in 2019, and he improves on and off the field, their offense has everything but an elite running back. The combination of DeSean Jackson, Mike Evans at wide receiver positions and OJ Howard at tight end is lethal. With Bell they’d have better weapons than what he’s currently apart of in the Burgh. Tampa Bay’s defense led by Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David and Brent Grimes is stout. Bell would make the Bucs the favorites in the best division in the NFL, the NFC South. A division that has been represented in the Super Bowl 2 of the last three seasons.

Seattle Seahawks. When Russell Wilson was at his best, he had “Beast Mode” Marshawn Lynch behind him. Even though he’s improved each season, their offense has been very predictable and Wilson playing sandlot ball. Now, they just spent their 2018 first round pick (27th overall) on Rashad Penny out of San Diego State who led FCS in rushing with 2,027 yards in 2017. So this is less likely than the other teams I have mentioned. However, Bell is a different animal, and if you can get him, YOU. GET. HIM.

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2015 NFL Rookies Most Likely To’s…

The careers of the class of 2015 is now on the clock. Photo Courtesy: Getty Images

The 2015 NFL draft class has taken their photos with the commissioner and received their hats and jerseys. Now it is time for them to begin working towards making a significant contribution to their new team. And, it’s the fans and media types turn to critique or criticize each selection as well as prognosticate their careers. The key for these guys to have a successful career depends on the team they’re drafted to, as much as their own talent and work ethic. Every year some prospects fall well below their projected draft spot into a better situation. See Dan Marino, Randy Moss, Warren Sapp, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady to name a few. Predicting the future of a professional athlete is harder than trying to read HTML text. So of course, I took my shot. Here are my 2015 NFL Draft Class’ most likely to’s. (Note: this is not what I think they’ll do in their rookie season, but at some point in their careers.)

Most likely to pass for 4,000 yards ~ Jameis Winston (QB) Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Winston has all the tools of a prototypical NFL quarterback; 6’4″, big arm, above average mobility and played in a pro style system. In Tampa Bay he will have two beast at wide receiver to throw to in Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans, who are both 6’5″ like Kelvin Benjamin, his go to target at Florida State the season they won the National Championship.

Most likely to lead the NFL in rushing ~ Todd Gurley (RB) St. Louis Rams. He is an Adrian Peterson clone. At 6’0″ 222 pounds he has Olympic speed having been a track star at the University of Georgia in addition to running for the second most yards in Bulldogs history. He will run over you, then away from you. Head Coach Jeff Fisher is all about tough physical defense complimenting a power running game. He did it for nearly a decade in Houston and Tennessee with former Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George. That’s the recipe to win In the NFC West.

Most likely to lead the league in receptions/receiving yards ~ Nelson Agholor (WR) Philadelphia Eagles. Chip Kelly’s crew has lost their leading receiver each of the last two seasons (Desean Jackson 2013, Jeremy Macklin 2014). Drafting Agholor with their first round pick was a dire need and a perfect fit. At 6’0″ 198 pounds, the former USC Trojan is built similarly to Macklin and will need to be featured and targeted often in this offense if it has any hopes of making it back to the playoffs. Kelly is familiar with Agholor from recruiting him out of high school, to coaching against him in the PAC-12. Jackson and Macklin weren’t Kelly’s guys, Agholor is and he will get the opportunities to flourish.

Most likely to lead the league in touchdowns ~ Marcus Mariota (QB) Tennessee Titans. Mariota is a dual threat QB and in order for him to be successful in the NFL, he’s going to have to do it with his legs as much as with his arm. I can see Mariota being what RG III showed flashes of in his first season in D.C. For the Titans to be successful, Mariota will have to consistently post 10+ touchdowns on the ground, along with 20-25 in the air.

Most likely to lead the league in interceptions ~ Marcus Peters (CB) Kansas City Chiefs. Draft gurus said he’s the best corner in the draft, but issues with the coaching staff at the University of Washington that caused him to be kicked off the team in his final season are why he was selected number 18 instead of the first defensive back to come off the board. Peters allowed just 38.1 percent of the passes against him to be completed and had 24 passes defended and 8 interceptions in two seasons with the Huskies.

Most likely to lead the league in sacks ~ Bud Dupree (OLB) Pittsburgh Steelers. Dupree has in many draft experts eyes top 10 potential. He is a versatile linebacker who can play many roles in the 3-4 scheme the Black and Gold will run even without longtime Defensive Coordinator Dick Lebeau. Dupree won’t have the pressure of being “the guy” playing alongside the ageless James Harrison, Pro Bowler Lawrence Timmons and the potential of Ryan Shazier (last year’s top pick) and Jarvis Jones. Chris Burke of SI.com says “As a stand-up rusher, has tremendous first-step quickness and closes to the pocket in a hurry. Bends the edge in space quickly enough for blockers to struggle in adjustment.” That’s a Blitzburgh linebacker.

Most likely to lead the league in tackles ~ Eric Kendricks (LB) Minnesota Vikings. Kendricks was a tackling machine in his collegiate career at UCLA (481). The 2014 Butkus and Lott IMPACT award winner can play on all three downs and will have the advantage of playing next to his former college teammate, Anthony Barr. In Minnesota he should be kept clean to get to the ball carrier by DT Shariff Floyd and NT Linval Joseph.

Most likely to lead the league in tackles for loss ~ Leonard Williams (DT) New York Jets. Williams was not only called the safest pick in the draft, but possibly the best player in this class. He is a late bloomer to the game and is still learning just what he can do. He’s a three down player and is well conditioned from playing against uptempo offenses in the Pac-12. With the Jets he’ll benefit from playing for a great defensive minded coach in Todd Bowles and next to Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson. Gang Green has potentially the best D-Line in football and this kid will be getting single coverage to wreck backfields. Matter of fact, the Jets are the leading candidates to have the league’s best overall defense with the additions of Revis and Cromartie in the secondary. They’ll need it, because there offense may be near the worse unless Geno Smith drastically improves.

Most likely to lead the league in turnovers ~ Jameis Winston (QB) Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Baring injury he will start day one. Rookie QBs thrown in the fire historically struggle with the turnover bug. The knock on him during the draft process has been his decision-making on and off the field. On the field, he forced a lot of passes into tight windows, relying on his arm strength—similar to Bears QB Jay Cutler who some have compared him to—and we all know the windows are tighter in the NFL. In his second season at FSU, Winston threw 18 interceptions. He also is loose with the ball in the pocket as he tries to maneuver around similar to Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger–who I think is his best case scenario. I’m not saying Winston will be a bust or anything, but when you’re the number one pick it is trial by fire. Ask Andrew Luck, Michael Vick, Peyton and Eli Manning and other quarterbacks who were drafted number one overall. Turnovers are part of the growing pains.

Most likely to be Rookie of The Year ~ Melvin Gordon (RB) San Diego Chargers. Gordon will have the benefit of playing with Pro Bowlers in quarterback Philip Rivers, tight end Antonio Gates and wide receiver Kennan Allen as well as Malcolm Floyd. That means he won’t see many eight man fronts loading up to stop him like his draft counter part Todd Gurley will face with St. Louis. Gordon will be the game one starter replacing Ryan Matthews who’s now with the Philadelphia Eagles. He will also play a huge role in the Chargers passing game, as he showed at Wisconsin he can be an every down back like his draft comparison Jamaal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs. I still think Gurley is the better back and will have the better career, but the fit for Gordon in San Diego sets him up to have a better start.

Most likely to be a perennial Pro Bowler/All-Pro ~ Andrus Peat (OL) New Orleans Saints. This is a cop-out pick for me. Top rated offensive lineman typically transition very well to the next level. See Jake Long, Joe Thomas, Maurkice Pouncey and the list goes on. The 6’7″ 313 pounder has a much easier road because of his pedigree being the son of a former pro and playing with one of the greatest quarterbacks in the league in Drew Brees.

Most likely to fade into obscurity ~ Randy Gregory (OLB) Dallas Cowboys. The NFL is in an era of steering clear of guys with off the field issues. Gregory not only failed a drug test at the combine he knew was coming, but missed interviews or showed up to a few ninety minutes late during the draft process. If he can stay on the field the Cowboys may have something, but Dallas hasn’t been known as an organization that does a good job of keeping troubled guys out of trouble.

Most likely to be the steal of the draft ~ Brett Hundley (QB) Green Bay Packers. The 6’3″ former UCLA Bruin was drafted 147th when the Packers traded up from 166th to select him. He won’t be expected to play for a while, because he will sit behind arguably the best in the game in Aaron Rodgers. But he’s in the best position because obviously GM Ted Thompson coveted him to make such a jump to select him. He’s been compared to journeyman quarterback Jason Campbell, but unlike Campbell, Hundley will most likely have the benefit of learning one system from one coordinator. The best thing for Hundley is he will not only learn from Coach McCarthy, who has experience working with elite quarterbacks, but Rodgers experience on the field and patiently waiting his turn behind another future Hall of Famer.

Late rounder most likely to be a Pro Bowler ~ Michael Bennett (DT) Jacksonville Jaguars. Bennett was selected a lot later than expected (NFL.com projected him in the second round). But, it may have been best for him. He’ll play for Gus Bradley, who has been very successful in the NFL, most notably as an assistant in Seattle and Tampa Bay where he was apart of Monty Kiffin’s staff. From his draft profile via NFL.com; Great burst off snap, coming in low and looking to disrupt. Is always first with his hands. Good arm length for a player his height. Violent, active hands are his calling card. Uses powerful hands to snatch and pull guards off their spot. That’s what you want in a defensive tackle.

There will Never be Another Two Time Heisman Winner

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Photo Courtesy: Heisman.com

Ohio State Legendary Running Back Archie Griffin is the first and last college football player to win the Heisman Trophy twice and it looks more and more like he will be the only one.

Saturday night, 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel came in 5th place–to Florida State’s Jameis Winston–in his bid to win sports most prestigious trophy. Which is an atrocity If you look at his 2013 season. Manziel isn’t the first defending Heisman Trophy winner to well fall short of repeating, which only proves, those that have a say in whether or not another player accomplishes the feat again, won’t.

Griffin is still the only two-time winner in the history of the award.

Since 1975, when Archie Griffin won his second Heisman after his senior season, seven defending Heisman winners returned to school the following season. Only Florida Gator Quarterback Tim Tebow, in 2008 came close to repeating. He was 151 points behind eventually winner, Oklahoma Sooner Quarterback Sam Bradford, but had the most first place votes–309 to Bradford’s 300. Even still, Tebow finish third overall in the total vote.

Since then, the returning winners have only fallen farther and farther away from hoisting the twenty five pound bronzed statue a second time. Even harder to fathom, is why defending winners are doing worse in the final vote. Since Tim Tebow’s third trip to New York in 2009–when he came in fifth place–the two following returning winners, Oklahoma’s Bradford and Alabama’s Mark Ingram (2009 winner) didn’t even place.

In 2008, Tim Tebow led his Florida Gators to a 13-1 record, a second BCS National Title in three years while throwing for 2,747 yards and 30 touchdowns, ran for 673 yards and 12 touchdowns. That was the season he finished third. He followed that Season with better stats, a career high 70.1 completion rate with 2,895 passing yards and 21 touchdowns, while running for another 14 touchdowns and a career high 910 yards. Yet he came in fifth place.

In 2013, Manziel threw for career highs in touchdowns with 33 and yards 3,732 yards–he threw for 3,706 in 2012–with a bowl game to add to his total. His rushing yards of 686 are well below his 1,410 from 2012, but he has had several signature moments in 2013 and was considered a front runner before the loss to LSU. And don’t give me the argument he lost the Trophy because his team lost four games, so did the Tebow led Gators the season he won the “bronze stiff arm.” So you tell me what’s going on. It’s becoming more clear that the trusted (sarcasm) Heisman voters don’t even want there to be a close call a player wins the award twice.

I’m not saying Florida State Quarterback Jameis Winston didn’t deserved to win. When you take in to account individual and team success, he was the clear cut best player in College Football. I’m just saying Manziel and other defending winners deserved a better showing and respect from voters. You won’t find a Heisman voter to come out and say they don’t want to see another two time winner, but the evidence clearly shows they don’t.

I understand the Heisman is a prestigious honor. As a native of Columbus, I’ve seen first hand how Archie Griffin is highly regarded as the “Only Two Time Heisman Winner.” He and The Ohio State University has great pride in it, so does majority of central Ohio. Maybe the voters prefer to keep it like that on a historic level as well, and only want to bestow that honor to one man. As new, younger voters are included in the vote, maybe there will eventually be another to join Griffin’s exclusive room in the Heisman house. Winston will have his chance in the next two seasons, but based on what I’ve seen, I  highly doubt he will. Just like I don’t think we will ever see another defensive player like Charles Woodson win the award, but that’s another story.