Tag Archives: NFL

NFL Buckeyes (2017, week 6)

Ryan Shazier (50) has the leader of the Steelers D. Photo Courtesy: Steelers.com

 
Week Six in the NFL was busy for several Buckeyes with news of one being suspended, another’s season over and a couple of OSU Alumns reaching the end zone for the first time in their careers.

A three-judge panel for the U.S. Circuit Court of appeals in New Orleans upheld the NFL’s six-game suspension of Dallas Cowboys’ running back Ezekiel Elliott for domestic violence. As it stands, the 2nd-year running back would not be able to return to the team until November 23rd. But Zeke and his team are looking at other options to appeal the suspension. The Dallas Cowboys are on a Bye this week and the suspension could begin starting week seven.

Indianapolis Colts starting offensive lineman Jake Mewhort was placed on injured reserve after aggravating his knee in practice. The 2014 draft pick missed six games last season with an injury to the same knee.

Philadelphia Eagles Safety Malcolm Jenkins made 2 total tackles to help Philly get their fifth win of the season on Thursday night against the Carolina Panthers, 28-23. Rookie Curtis Samuel carried the ball once for eight yards in the loss. 8-year safety Kurt Coleman missed the loss with a knee injury.

The New Orleans Saints quad of Buckeyes in Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn, Vonn bell and Marshon Lattimore played in the wildest game of the weekend against the Detroit Lions. Ginn caught 4 passes for 66 yards, a touchdown and rushed once for 3 yards to help defeat the Lions 52-38. He also had 2 kick returns for 26 yards and 2 punt returns for 6 yards. The Saints leading receiver Michael Thomas only caught 3 passes for 11 yards. The 90 combined points are the most scored in an NFL game since 2015.

Saints rookie Marshon Lattimore intercepted his first career pass and returned it 37 yards for his first career touchdown. His returned TD was one of five defensive or special teams returns for touchdowns in the game. That’s the most in the NFL since 2012. Lattimore also collected 5 total tackles and defended 2 passes. Vonn Bell made 5 total tackles, 1 sack, 2 tackles for loss and hit the Lions quarterback Matt Stafford twice.

Ryan Shazier and Cam Heyward of the Pittsburgh Steelers led the defense in their victory over the previously unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs. Shazier made 4 tackles and broke up a couple of passes. Heyward made 2 tackles and registered a hit on Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith in the 19-13 win.

Houston Texans’ wide receiver Braxton Miller caught his first career touchdown in acrobatic fashion to help the Texans knock off the Cleveland Browns 33-17.

Another former Buckeye caught his first career touchdown in primetime on Sunday Night Football. Denver Broncos tight end Jeff Heureman caught a 13-yard touchdown against the New York Giants. On the night he had 2 catches for a total of 24 yards in the Broncos 23-10 loss. Bradley Roby made 2 tackles in defeat. On the Giants side, Eli Apple collected 5 total tackles, defended 3 passes and recovered a fumble in the victory.

Joey Bosa had 3 tackles (2 solo), one forced fumble and a sack for the Los Angeles Chargers in their 17-16 come from behind victory over the Oakland Raiders. Oakland’s rookie cornerback Gareon Conley missed his third consecutive game with a shin injury.

Darron Lee of the New York Jets collected 6 tackles (4 solo); one pass defended and forced a fumble in their 24-17 loss in the battle for first place in the AFC East to the New England Patriots.

Terrelle Pryor Senior caught 3 passes for 27 yards for Washington in their 26-24 win over the San Francisco 49ers. Carlos Hyde scored 2 rushing touchdowns, but only had 28 yards rushing and caught 5 passes for 47 yards in defeat.

Indianapolis Colts linebacker John Simon had a huge night on Monday Night Football against the Tennessee Titans. He got his first career interception and returned it 26-yards for his first career touchdown. Simon also made 11 total tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack and 3 hits on Titans QB Marcus Mariota. But his career night wasn’t enough as Tennessee got the win 36-22.

Rookie safety Malik Hooker made 3 solo tackles and defended one pass, while Johnathan Hankins made 4 total tackles and got one hit in the QB in defeat.

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NFL Buckeyes (2017, Week 5)

Week five in the NFL started off with great news for a former Buckeye speedster.

The Buffalo Bills signed Corey “Philly” Brown. The 4-year wide receiver last played for the Carolina Panthers last season. He didn’t record any stats in the team’s 20-16 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Defensive tackle Adolphus Washington had 2 tackles for the Bills defeat.

New England Patriots’ special teams ace Nate Ebner made 2 tackles on Thursday Night Football against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He also recovered an onside kick with 2:08 in the fourth quarter to preserve the 19-14 victory.

New York Jets 2nd-year linebacker Darron Lee returned to the Buckeye State to face the Cleveland Browns. He recorded 6 tackles (5 solo) for New York in their 17-14 win.

Ezekiel Elliott had 116 yards on 29 carries and caught one pass for 16 yards for the Dallas Cowboys in their 35-31 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Elliott’s former roommate at Ohio State, Joey Bosa, made 6 total tackles, forced a fumble and sacked Eli Manning twice for the LA Chargers in their 27-22 win over the New York Giants. It was their first win of the season while the Giants dropped to 0-5. Eli Apple had 5 solo tackles in a losing effort for the G-Men.

Malik Hooker’s streak of three games with an interception came to an end, but the rookie safety collected 5 tackles to help the Indianapolis Colts move to 2-3 with a 26-23 win over the San Francisco 49ers. John Simon made 4 tackles (3 solo) and Johnathan Hankins had 2 tackles in victory. Carlos Hyde rushed for 11 yards on only 8 carries and caught one pass for 7 yards in a losing effort for the San Francisco 49ers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers duo of Ryan Shazier and Cam Heyward had a rough day at the office. Shazier collected 8 tackles (5 solo) a pass defended and an interception, while Heyward made 2 tackles and had a QB hit in the Steelers 30-9 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Carolina Panthers safety Kurt Coleman had 2 tackles in the Panthers 27-24 win over the Detroit Lions. Rookie Curtis Samuel was targeted twice, but no catches in the victory.

Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins had 4 total tackles and a pass defended to help Philly defeat the Arizona Cardinals 34-7.

Oakland Raiders rookie defensive back Gareon Conley missed his second consecutive game with a shin injury. The injury ridden Raiders lost to the Baltimore Ravens 30-17.

Braxton Miller was inactive for the Houston Texans 42-34 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. This is the second consecutive week he was a healthy scratch.

The New Orleans Saints Buckeye contingent of Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn Junior, Marshon Lattimore and Vonn Bell were on a Bye. Their next game is next Sunday against the Detroit Lions. Bradley Roby, Jeff Heuerman of the Denver Broncos were also on a Bye and will play the New York Giants next Sunday night.

NFL Buckeyes (2017, Week 4)

It was the former Silver Bullet defenders that represented well for THE Ohio State Buckeye Alumni in the NFL in week four.

Cam Heyward and Ryan Shazier led the way for the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Baltimore Ravens. Heyward recorded two sacks, forced a fumble and recovered it to go along with 4 tackles (3 solo) and 2 hits on the QB. Shazier had an interception and made 11 tackles (10 solo), 1 tackle for loss and broke up 3 passes in the 26-9 victory for the Steelers who moved to 3-1 and first place in the AFC North.

On Sunday Night Football, Malik Hooker was doing “Malik Hooker things” against the Seattle Seahawks. The Indianapolis Colts’ rookie safety captured his 3rd career interception in as many games. He also made 3 tackles (1 solo). Linebacker John Simon had 4 tackles (1 solo) and defensive tackle Jonathan Hankins had 4 tackles (1 solo), a tackle for loss, 1.5 sacks and 2 hits on the quarterback in the Colts 46-18 loss.

Joey Bosa and the Los Angeles Chargers faced Malcolm Jenkins and the Philadelphia Eagles in southern California. Bosa collected 6 tackles (5 solo) and 1 QB hit. Jenkins made 6 tackles (5 solo) to help the Eagles get the 26-24 win to move to 3-1. The Chargers drop to 0-4 and last place in the AFC West, while the Eagles moved to 3-1 and 1st place in the NFC East.

Michael Thomas made it back into the end zone for the New Orleans Saints across the bond. Thomas scored on a 3-yard touchdown pass against the Miami Dolphins in London to help the Saints win 20-0. He also had 8 catches and 89 yards on the day. Ted Ginn Junior caught 2 passes for 25 yards and had 1 rush for 9 yards. He also had 3 punt returns for 26 yards. On the defensive side, Vonn Bell made 4 solo tackles and 1 pass defended, while Marshon Lattimore had 5 solo tackles to hold the shutout and get New Orleans to 2-2.

Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 85 yards on 21 carries, and caught 4 passes for 54 yards against the Los Angeles Rams, but it wasn’t enough to get the win. The Dallas Cowboys lost 35-30 to fall to 2-2.

Carlos Hyde rushed for 68 yards on 16 carries and made 5 catches for 27 yards for the San Francisco 49ers in their 18-15 overtime loss to the Arizona Cardinals. The 49ers are now 0-4.

Eli Apple made 4 tackles and defended 2 passes for the New York Giants in their 25-23 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The “G-Men” are winless at 0-4.

New York Jets linebacker Darron Lee made 7 tackles (4 solo) and 1 tackle for loss to help them beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 23-20 in overtime. The Jets are 2-2 and are tied with the New England Patriots for 2nd place in the AFC East.

Kurt Coleman made 2 tackles (1 solo) for the Carolina Panthers in their 33-30 victory over the New England Patriots. Nate Ebner also had 2 tackles (1 solo) for the Patriots.

Gareon Conley was inactive for the Oakland Raiders game against the Denver Broncos. Bronco’s cornerback Bradley Roby made 2 tackles and defended one pass to help the Denver get the 16-10 victory.

Monday Night Football, Terrelle Pryor Senior of Washington caught a 44-yard touchdown pass on the first possession of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s his first TD with his new team and the longest of his career. He finished the night with 3 catches for 70 yards in the 29-20 loss. Washington is tied with the Dallas Cowboys for 2nd place in the NFC East at 2-2.

NFL Buckeyes (2017, Week 2)

Week two in the National Football League several Ohio State Alumni didn’t fare as well as their alma mater did on Saturday evening.

Houston Texans 2nd-year WR Braxton Miller made his first trip back to the Buckeye state as a pro player Thursday night against the Cincinnati Bengals. He had 2 catches for 10 yards in Houston’s 13-9 victory, and also made a key block to spring quarterback Deshaun Watson for the only touchdown scored of the game.

Sunday a couple fellow Buckeyes faced off in the trenches in Western Pennsylvania. Pat Elflein of the Minnesota Vikings against Cam Heyward, Ryan Shazier and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Shazier had 8 tackles (5 solo) and 1 pass breakup, while Heyward had 6 tackles (4 solo), 1.5 tackles for loss and 2 hits on the QB in Pittsburgh’s 26-9 victory.

Indianapolis Colts Rookie Malik Hooker got his first career start and recorded his first interception and returned it 32 yards in the Colts 16-13 overtime loss to the Arizona Cardinals. He also made 2 tackles and broke up another pass. Linebacker John Simon had 5 tackles (4 solo), 1 sack and 3 hits on the Quarterback. Defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins had 2 tackles (1 solo).

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott had a game he’d like to quickly forget against Bradley Roby, Jeff Heuerman and the Denver Broncos. Elliott rushed for 8 yards on 9 carries, the worse performance of his young career. He also added 4 catches for 14 yards in the ‘Boys 42-17 loss. With 80+ yards rushing, Zeke would’ve broken Hall of Famer Marcus Allen’s 31-year old record for most consecutive games with 80 or more rushing yards. The record is 14. Meanwhile, Roby had 2 tackles and broke up a pass, and Heuerman made 1 catch for 15 yards in the victory.

San Francisco 49ers’ running back Carlos Hyde rushed for 124 yards on 15 carries against the Seattle Seahawks. 102 of those came in the first half alone. He also finished the game with 3 catches for 19 yards in the 12-9 defeat.

Mike Thomas, Ted Ginn Junior, Marshon Lattimore and Vonn Bell of the New Orleans Saints faced the defending Super Bowl Champion New England in the “Big Easy.” Thomas made 5 catches for 89 yards, Ginn had 3 catches for 24 yards, while on defense Lattimore had 7 tackles (6 solo) and 2 pass breakups, while his secondary mate Bell had 5 tackles (3 solo) in the 36-20 loss.

Closing out the weekend, Malcolm Jenkins of the Philadelphia Eagles had 5 solo tackles in their 27-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Kurt Coleman of the Carolina Panthers made 3 tackles (1 solo) in their 9-3 victory of the Buffalo Bills. San Diego Chargers reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year Joey Bosa had 5 solo tackles in his team’s 19-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

Detroit Lions starting offensive tackle Taylor Decker missed Monday Night Football against Eli Apple and the New York Giants with a shoulder injury. He was mistakenly acknowledged by ESPN Play-by-play announcer Sean McDonough as an alumnus of “That Team Up North”, which probably added more insult to injury.  

Apple, however, moved into the top cornerback spot with Janoris Jenkins out with an injury. The 2nd-year defensive back got beat on a 27-yard TD by Marvin Jones. He also had 5 solo tackles in the 24-10 loss.

NFL Buckeyes (2017, Week 1)

Rookies Marshon Lattimore and Pat Elflein share a moment after playing their first game as NFL players. Photo Courtesy: NFL snapchat

While Buckeye Nation attempts to process what happened Saturday night in the 31-16 loss to Oklahoma, several former Buckeyes made their 2017 debuts in the League.

Seven Buckeyes were selected at April’s draft, three in the first round. In all, 42 Ohio State Alumni opened the season on NFL rosters.

The Indianapolis Colts have five former Buckeyes on their team. The New Orleans Saints and Dallas Cowboys are tied for second with four each.

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is the most notable of the former Buckeyes. Elliott’s team faced off against his former 2014 National championship teammate cornerback Eli Apple and the New York Giants. Elliott rushed for 104 yards on 24 carries and caught 5 passes for 36 yards in “America’s Team’s” 19-3 victory. Apple made 7 tackles (5 solo) in defeat for the “G-Men.”

New York Jets 2nd-year linebacker Darron Lee collected 10 tackles (7 solo) and a sack in his team’s 21-12 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

Pittsburgh Steelers Ryan Shazier and Cam Heyward made their return to the Buckeye State in their season opener against the Cleveland Browns. Shazier had 7 tackles (4 solo), while Heyward had a sack, a tackle for loss and 3 tackles (1 solo) in the Steelers 21-18 win over the Browns.

The Carolina Panthers and their three Buckeyes of Kurt Coleman, rookie Curtis Samuel and offensive lineman Andrew Norwell lined up against running back Carlos Hyde and the San Francisco 49ers. Coleman made 6 solo tackles in Carolina’s 23-3 win. Samuel was limited with an ankle injury. Hyde rushed for 45 yards on 9 carries and had 6 catches for 32 yards in the loss.

Terrelle Pryor Senior caught 6 passes for 66 yards in his debut with Washington against NFC East rival the Philadelphia Eagles. 9-year vet, Safety Malcolm Jenkins had 4 tackles for the Eagles in their 30-17 win in the Nation’s capital.

The Indianapolis Colts quintuplets of Bucks had a difficult opening day against the Los Angeles Rams. LA won by a score of 46-9. Jonathan Hankins had 2 solo tackles, John Simon collected 6 tackles (5 solo) and rookie safety Malik Hooker had 4 tackles (3 solo) in defeat. Tyvis Powell and Jake Mewhort didn’t register any statistics.

Several Bucks had to wait until Monday night to start their 2017 season. Ted Ginn Junior, Mike Thomas, Vonn Bell and Marshon Lattimore of the New Orleans Saints took on center Pat Elflein the Minnesota Vikings. Thomas caught 5 passes for 45 yards, while Ginn Junior made 4 catches for 53 yards and had one rush for 5 yards in the Saints 29-19 loss. Defensively Lattimore made 4 solo tackles in his NFL debut. Elflein the 70th overall pick (3rd round) in the 2017 draft made the first start of his career.

Joey Bosa and the Los Angeles Chargers went to Denver to face Bradley Roby, Jeff Heurerman and the Broncos in the second of the Monday Night Football double header. Roby had 5 tackles (3 solo), 2 passes defensed and a key interception in the Broncos 24-21 win. Tight end Jeff Heuerman had one catch for twenty yards to help progress a scoring drive. Bosa made 6 tackles (3 solo), and 1.5 sacks in defeat.

2017 NFL Rookie Most Likely to…

The 2017 NFL Draft Class was full of star power and several of those members will light up the League real soon. Photo Credit: ESPN.com

The dawn of the 2017 NFL Season has arrived and a new crop of college stars are preparing to make their mark in pro football.

Teams put a premium on defense this past draft. 131 defensive players were selected to 118 offensive. 34 of those players were cornerbacks, the most of any single position, 5 in the first round. If you combine the 3 Safeties, defensive back was the most selected unit in the draft. In all 67 defensive backs were picked in 2017.

I’ve done this exercise the two previous seasons and I’ve hit on some already, some are close to happening, and I’ve missed VERY BADLY on one. My apologies to my fellow Ohio State Alum Joey Bosa.

As with any draft in every sport, the situation you’re drafted to is more important than when you’re selected. It’s fun and difficult to predict how these guys will affect their team’s success or failures. So, here’s how I see several of this year’s crop of rookies careers panning out.

Most likely to lead the NFL in passing yards…. Patrick Mahomes (10th overall pick/Kansas City Chiefs). Andy Reid and his staff moved up to select the Texas Tech QB. Everyone knows the Red Raiders offense is a hyper passing scheme that tends to lead to video game numbers that doesn’t necessarily transition to the NFL. But, Mahomes should be different because he’s no “check down Charlie” like current Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith. Mahomes has the arm strength to push the ball down the field and Reid, a west coast offense guy, who’s called plays for Donovan McNabb when the Philadelphia Eagles went to four NFC title games and a Super Bowl, Brett Favre when he won three consecutive NFL MVPs and Michael Vick when he revived his career after a stint in prison. Mahomes has a real QB whisperer in his ear.

Most likely to lead the league in rushing yards…. Leonard Fournette (4th overall pick/Jacksonville Jaguars). He will play with a quarterback, in Blake Bortles, that has led the league in turnovers with 63 since entering the League in 2014. Bortles struggled to hold on to the starting job in the preseason, with Coach Marrone going as far to say he preferred to not have Blake pass the ball.

The Jags coaching staff already believes in smash mouth defense and a ball control offense.  In 2016 the Jags running game averaged 4.2 yards per carry, which was 17th in the NFL, and 101.9 yards per game that was 22nd. Fournette alone will improve those numbers. He’ll have to if Bortles can’t shake the yips.

Most likely to lead the NFL in receptions, receiving yards and receiving TDs… Taywon Taylor (3rd round, 72nd pick/Titans). The ball is like a magnet to his hands. During his senior season with the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers he broke and set the school’s single season record for receptions and yards with 98 catches for 1,730 yards to go along with 17 TDs. He finished his career with a school record 253 catches for 4,234 yards and 41 TDs.

The Titans have a strong running game with DeMarco Murray, Derrick Henry and Marcus Marriota running the read-option. What they need is a threat in the passing game and Taylor will provide just that.

Most likely to lead the league in sacks… T.J. Watt (30th overall pick/Pittsburgh Steelers). First reason, it is in his blood lines. He’s a Watt. Second, he plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers in a 3-4 scheme that is only successful when it’s LBs blitz the QB. He got his first sack on Pittsburgh’s first defensive trip on the field in their first preseason game, he followed that up with another sack on the first play of their second defensive drive. At Wisconsin he collected 11.5 sacks in the 27 games he played. It’s what he does. Third, he’ll have the likes of Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt occupying offensive linemen to allow him to get free, plus with Ryan Shazier, Vince Williams and Bud Dupree playing alongside him, offenses won’t be scheming to stop Watt. Initially.

Most likely to lead the NFL in turnovers… Deshone Kizer (2nd round, Pick 52nd/Cleveland Browns). This organization has been snake bitten at the quarterback position since they returned to the League in 1999. Nearly 30 have started a game for the Browns in the last 18 seasons.

Cleveland is in the midst of a fire sale and don’t have much around Kizer at the skills positions. Their leading receiver from 2016, Terrelle Pryor, is in Washington and their second leading receiver, tight end Gary Barnidge, is still on the free agent market. The current leading receiver from 2016 is running back Duke Johnson Junior who had 52 catches for 514 yards.

Coach Hue Jackson has made the decision to start Kizer week one against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Therefore his growing pains are going to start early and he may very well have to shoulder the entire offense load. That’s not a good thing. Cleveland’s coaching staff and management is willing to suffer through his development, while investing in his future. He may fulfill this prediction of mine in season number one.

He will have to rely on guys who may not be on the roster next season as the team goes through a rebuilding period. It’s safe to say the turnovers will pile up, even it they aren’t entirely his fault.

Most likely to lead the League in interceptions (takeaways)…. Tre’Davious White (27th overall pick/Buffalo Bills). He hails from DBU better known as LSU, the same school that brought the NFL Patrick Petersen, Tyrann Mathieu and Morris Claiborne to name a few. The Bills still have a strong front seven that will put pressure on opposing QBs causing them to force some passes where they shouldn’t. Plus he plays in the AFC East where outside of Tom Brady, the quarterback play is VERY shoddy.

Most likely to be Offensive Rookie of the Year…. Christian McCaffrey (8th overall pick/Carolina Panthers). The Carolina Panthers will be attempting to lessen the workload on Cam Newton after his off-season shoulder surgery. Thus, they drafted McCaffrey in the first round to make use of his versatility. The Stanford alum is an all-purpose back that can contribute in the running, passing and return game. He’s going to get the most opportunities of any offensive player in this draft class.

Most likely to be Defensive Player of the Year…

Linebackers and defensive ends have dominated this award. Basically, pass rushers. The guy I really like is San Francisco 49ers LB Reuben Foster out of Alabama (31st overall pick/San Francisco 49ers). He never should have fallen this far, but, character issues hurt him.

The Niners used their two first round picks on defense (DT Solomon Thomas 3rd overall pick). While everyone is expecting new Head Coach Kyle Shanahan to rev up the offense, the San Fran D has drastically declined since the days competing with Seattle for the NFC West crown under Jim Harbaugh. Foster will rack up the tackles on a team that was the 32nd ranked defense last season. If he has the numbers and as a unit they continue to climb to a top ten team, many voters will point to him as the catalyst.

Most likely to be steal of the draft… Jake Butt (5th round, 145th pick/Denver Broncos) a nasty knee injury in Michigan’s bowl game is the reason he fell this far. Coming into the 2016 College football season, he was a projected first round pick. It was between him and Alabama’s O.J. Howard, who was selected in the first round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as to which was the better all-around tight end.

Denver has young QBs who will need a safety blanket in the middle of the field. He will be that. Plus, he will draw lots of one-on-one coverage with Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders stretching defenses out deep down field.

Most likely to be a perennial All-Pro…. Ryan Ramczyk (32nd overall pick/New Orleans Saints)He comes from Wisconsin where they churn out as many All-Pro offensive linemen as the state does butter. Not really, but you get it. Joe Thomas of the Cleveland Browns, Travis Frederick of the Dallas Cowboys and Kraig Urbik of the Miami Dolphins to name a few.

Ramczyk will be charged with keeping Drew Brees up right so he can continue to pass for 5,000+ yards a season. One of the easiest ways to make an All-Pro team is to block for a QB that puts up historic numbers or a RB that is a top five rusher

Most likely to be NFL MVP…. Only six non-QBs have won the award in the last twenty seasons. The six players were running backs and one of them (Barry Sanders, 1997) shared it with Brett Favre. Therefore it’s not going out on a limb for me to predict a QB from the 2017 class will one day etch their name on the trophy.

With that being said, I’m going with DeShaun Watson (12th overall pick/Houston Texans). He’s a better version of Dak Prescott. No disrespect to the Dallas Cowboys quarterback and reigning Offensive Player of the Year. But, Watson has the same intangibles to lead a team and a better skill set. He’s shown it on the biggest stage in back-to-back National Championship games against a vaunted Alabama Crimson Tide team. His college coach Dabo Sweeney said he has some “Michael Jordan in him.” It’s hard to disagree after what we’ve already seen. The Texans are tailor-made for him to step in and lead them to glory.

Most likely to be Super Bowl MVP… Once again I’m going with DeShaun Watson. He has the number one ranked defense. The only thing that has been missing from the Houston Texans over the last three seasons has been a competent QB. Watson is more than competent and very capable of leading a team as he showed in college at Clemson. He’s a big gamer and his abilities will be even more amplified by a coach that’s already work with arguably the greatest QB of All-Time, Tom Brady.

 

Best Fits For Colin Kaepernick

That is if he isn’t REALLY being blackballed by NFL owners and executives.

Colin Kaepernick still has something left in the tank, but where will he get to display it next is the question. Photo Credit: NFL

Colin Kaepernick deserves a chance to play in the NFL. I won’t go over the list of quarterbacks who can’t compare to him that have already been signed this offseason. That angle has been beaten to death. Rather I’d like to look at the team’s that should be in demand of his skill set.

Let me also set this up by acknowledging that Kaepernick is in starting QB purgatory. He’s like an award winning lead actor who’s had several Box Office flops and now studios only inquire about his interest in a supporting role until he can get that “it” back that sold out theaters. It’s like that episode of “Entourage” when Vincent Chase had to settle for the supporting role in the “Smokejumpers” film after his fallout with Alan the head of Warner Brothers over the “Aquaman” sequel and “Medellin.” Like Vince’s agent Ari Gold told him “you’re in movie star jail.” That’s Kaepernick’s situation now.

Even though the last few seasons with the San Francisco 49ers wasn’t Colin’s fault, you can blame Owner Jed York and General manager Trent Baalke for that, Colin has to accept the fact that he’s not a starting QB right now. I put emphasis on right now. That’s not to say he still can’t be, it’s just that no team is going to invest in him being their starter at this point.

As far as his play, Colin is the definition of a dual threat quarterback. He’s not the historic prototype like Tom Brady, Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers or Andrew Luck. So he can’t fit into any system and thrive. Think of the trouble Michael Vick had finding a team in his latter years. Kaepernick needs to be in a system where the incumbent starter does many of the same things he does best and the offense resembles the read option that helped him when he led the Niners to the Super Bowl and the NFC title game the season after.

The goal for him should be to get on a team that will help him best show that his skills haven’t eroded, just the situation around him in “The Bay” did, and possibly gain a starting offer for 2018.

With that being said, these are the teams I think he’ll be a great fit for as a backup. All of these teams have entrenched starters who play similar to the way Colin played in his best days. None of these teams would have to change their offensive schemes to fit Colin if he were called upon. That’s the “football reason” many are using to avoid signing him.

Seattle Seahawks. Can you name the Seahawks backup QB? Didn’t think so. It’s Trevone Boykin who has some off-the-field issues he has to deal with this offseason. You wouldn’t know that because Russell Wilson hasn’t missed much time since he took over in the great northwest. However, their offense suits the superior athleticism and improvisation both Wilson and Kaepernick thrive on. Wilson also struggled with some lower leg injuries last season that he played through when he probably shouldn’t have if they had a capable backup on the roster.

Plus, that locker room and head coach Pete Carroll is tailor made to handle the “distractions” that will come with signing Kaep. Plus many of the guys in that locker room agree with his anthem protest, which he says he won’t continue this season.

Carolina Panthers. Cam Newton takes a beating, which is why he just had shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum. Derek Anderson is currently his backup. He’s a totally different QB than Cam, thus the Panthers would have to drastically alter their gameplan  if he’s needed to take snaps. Anderson is more suited to be Andrew Luck or Ben Roethlisberger’s backup. Kaep would allow Carolina to keep their same physical run first style in any absence of Newton.

Tennessee Titans. Marcus Mariotta is coming off a late season broken leg that could slow him down to start the 2017 season. His understudy is Matt Cassell. Those two couldn’t be any different. The Titans are also a run first offense with read option concepts. They rely heavily on their running backs DeMarco Murray and 2-year back Derrick Henry.

Buffalo Bills. If Tyrod Taylor really is their franchise QB, it makes more sense to have Kaepernick behind him than Cardale Jones, who I love, but is more like Roethlisberger or Carson Palmer. The Bills also have a strong running game led by LeSean Mccoy. Notice a theme here?

Miami Dolphins. Despite his size (6’4″ 216) Ryan Tannehill, a former wide receiver at Texas A&M, plays a more mobile game than pocket passer. Miami’s a more heavy rushing offense with Jay Ajayi in their backfield, with many read option concepts. Their backup is Matt Moore, who is more of a pocket passer. Moore is a career backup, which is why he’s in Miami, but as he showed when Tannehill was injured late last season, he can’t duplicate the success of the starter that helped get the Dolphins into the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons.

Dallas Cowboys. With Tony Romo retired that leaves a significant void behind Dak Prescott. Right now the backup is Kellen Moore. You sure you want him to be the 2nd option? Remember how he fared in 2015 when Romo was injured for most of the season? You may say “the Cowboys wanted to move on from Romo because they don’t need Dak looking over his shoulder.” Like I said previously, at this point Kaepernick is a backup. Romo had shown when he is healthy that he’s a starter. That’s why there was a distraction, because everyone assumed Dallas would be better than they were with Dak if Romo was in the lineup. No one would be making those assumptions with Kaepernick. But Cowboy fans would feel much safer with him on the roster in case Dak were injured or suffered from a “Sophomore Slump.” Plus they have 2016 NFL rushing leader Ezekiel Elliott, keeping with my run first theme.

All these teams I’ve looked at are heavy rushing offenses. That’s what the 49ers were in their best days with Kaepernick under center with the franchise’s all-time leading rushing Frank Gore in the backfield. Also with their style of play, they put the starter in harms way often. Signing Kaepernick would be the best insurance policy out there. After a season excelling as a backup it’s likely he’d get one of those deals Mike Glennon jut got.

Now that there is one less quarterback option on the market for teams in need, Kaepernick’s name should be coming up more. Hopefully his unemployment will end very soon, if not then we know what it is.