NFL Draft

Top 10 cornerbacks of the 2023 NFL Draft:

Switching back over to the defensive side of the ball here in week two of our positional draft rankings, we go from the wide receivers to the guys that will be lining up across from them on Sundays – the cornerbacks. I project most of these names to play outside primarily, but some of them may end up moving inside for their future team. However, I did not include names like Alabama’s Brian Branch or Illinois’ Jartavius Martin, who did line up in the slot for the most part in college and may also do so in the NFL, but project better as safeties, if they did side into another role.

Similar to the wide receivers, this is an incredibly deep group and I had to study more than 30 guys, in order to feel comfortable about my ultimate rankings. However, the difference is that we have two legit top-ten overall prospects and there are at least four other names worthy of being discussed in the first round. Beyond that, I think the rest of my top-ten and even the two names in the “just missed” category should be off the board after round two. And once again, we are far from done, in terms of guys I believe will find their way onto an NFL field.

I don’t want to waste any more time now and discuss this group:

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NFL Draft

Top 10 wide receivers of the 2023 NFL Draft:

Week two of our positional draft rankings is here. After breaking down the top running backs and linebackers in this year’s class, it’s time to talk about these wide receiver prospects. Once again, these are simply my personal rankings, without taking team fits and needs into account. So these boards will look a lot different depending on who you ask and especially with this position, I believe there will be a lot of variance for how teams have guys stacked up.

I believe there’s a pretty clear top tier, which includes four names we’ve all commonly seen get mocked in the first round. I don’t believe there’s a Ja’Marr Chase in this class or that this is as strong a group as we had last year, with Drake London and the two Ohio State guys. However, all four of these names should go on day one. After that, there’s a significant gap to the next group, which is where I have a few names mixed in, who I rarely hear being brought up. The rest of the top ten will all be top-100 prospects for me and at the end, I talk about one more guy, who I really struggled to find a place for. The real strength of this class however is the abundance of day-three targets, where altogether I watched more than 30 prospects with a chance of contributing at the next level.

Let’s dive into this:

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NFL Draft

The top 10 linebackers of the 2023 NFL Draft:

After kicking things off with the running backs earlier this week, we’re switching over to the defensive side for the first time for these positional draft breakdowns and look at this linebacker class. Especially as we get to these positions on defense, where what you covet depends so much on what your scheme asks of players and how play-callers utilize these guys, boards will look a lot different for each team. So this is just me looking at this from a more general standpoint and ranking these prospects based on how valuable their skill-sets can be for the NFL.

It’s kind of an ambiguous group of linebackers this year I believe, because as we get to the edge defenders a couple of weeks from now, you’ll see that there’s some overlap, where a player may be defined differently depending on who you ask. Wisconsin’s Nick Herbig for example will be part of my edge rundown, rather be listed here.

I don’t think there’s a single clear-cut first-rounder, taking positional value into account, but the first four names should all go in the second round and then there’s about seven names I think have a case to go in the third. After that, there are quite a few names, who can fill a certain role and contribute on special teams, but overall there are just too many guys I think are undersized or lack a certain quality, for me to call this a strong class.

This is how I have these names stacked up:

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NFL Draft

Top 10 running backs of the 2023 NFL Draft:

It’s positional draft rankings time! As I outlined on social media and my most recent video on the biggest risers and fallers from the NFL combine, over the next five-and-a-half weeks, I will be releasing top ten lists for each position in the draft. That means two groups every week, starting with running backs and linebackers, and I will follow that theme of talking about an offensive position first and then their defensive counterpart (wide receiver – cornerback, offensive tackle – edge defender, etc.).

As far as this running back class is concerned, we have a legit superstar prospect at the top, who draft evaluators have long held in high regard and were just waiting for to declare. I also think there’s a pretty clear number two – who might actually be underdiscussed – and number three has remained steady throughout this process for me as well. After that, you can argue there’s about ten names in one big bucket, where it largely depends on what flavor your team is looking for. Not all of them will, but I would have no problem with any one of them coming off the board before day. Even after that, there are a lot useful players, who you can find in the later rounds and be contributors for you to a certain degree.

This is how I have them stacked up:

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NFL Draft

Biggest risers and fallers from the 2023 NFL Combine:

Over 300 prospects from this year’s draft class showcased their athleticism this past week in Indianapolis, and as is the case every year, some of them helped themselves with their performances while others didn’t so much.

I decided to outline one player for each position, who I expect to rise up draft boards and another who’s probably falling right now, based on their respective performances.

NFL Draft

Mapping out the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft:

Originally, I didn’t intend on writing about anything football-related this week, since there’ll be a ton of discourse coming out of Indianapolis over the next few days and I have a big recap of the scouting combined planned in video form next week. However, as team personnel and media members get together and information is exchanged, I thought we should take a sober look at the NFL landscape before smokescreens are about to be put out there and people are trying to create different narratives, specifically as it pertains to the draft. Of course, there’ll be legit storylines coming out of this as well, but you can’t allow this new information to change your view too much here.

So I decided to sort of create a blueprint for what I believe the first round may look like on April 27th, based on having watched all the players on tape – without testing numbers influencing our opinion – and understanding how different teams operate, what their needs currently are and how they may approach the offseason. I’ll be walking you all through picks one to 31 (or 32, if you count Miami’s forfeited selection) and break them up into certain segments, which could alter what happens next.

Let’s start with …

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NFL Draft

Biggest standouts from 2023 East-West Shrine and Senior Bowl weeks:

The 2022/23 NFL season is officially in the books, with the Chiefs beating out the Eagles in the tremendous back-and-forth of Super Bowl LVII. So now it’s time to progress to offseason content, with free agency and a length pre-draft process.

Some people may have already missed some of that, as we had a full week between the East-West Shrine and Senior Bowl events. We have three/four days of practice and a game each to break down, to see which young prospects have already stood out and helped themselves in terms of showcasing their talents to NFL scouts.

I watched every practice period and the games, to recap everything we saw in Las Vegas and Mobile respectively, and settled on ten players on each side of the ball, which I wanted to point out as early “risers” in this process. Plus, I added a few other names, who I thought helped themselves, at the end.

Here they are:

Jake Haener


Quarterback – Jake Haener, Fresno State

While Haener was originally a three-star recruit for Washington, he only threw 13 total passes for the Huskies, due to presence of eventual fourth-round pick Jacob Eason, before transferring to Fresno State. Across three seasons there, he completed 68.2 of his passes for just over 9000 yards and 67 touchdowns, compared to 17 interceptions. And in a quarterback class with a lot of uncertainty after the top-four I would say, I think this young man showed that he should be in the discussion for the next names up.

I thought throughout Senior Bowl – especially from day two on – Haener was easily the most consistent quarterback of the week. His second day may have been the most impressive, as he was right on point with multiple deep passes during one-on-ones, showed the ability to work through progressions in seven-on-sevens and was very accurate throwing on the move. He continued to stand above the rest on day three, with a tremendous red-zone session, putting the ball perfectly away from trailing defenders for his receivers to make a play on vertical routes, and getting the ball out just as the back-foot hit off play-action and pinning it to chest of guys crossing the field. One ball in particular stood out, when he put it high and slightly behind Purdue tight-end Payne Durham on a wheel route out of a tight stack, away from the trailing defender, for a touchdown during red-zone drills of day three – although the TE deserves credit as well for holding onto the ball through a big hit.

Obviously Haener ended up being named the Senior Bowl MVP for his performance in the game Saturday, where he went 12-of-19 for 139 yards and a touchdown, including a 44-yard score to Michael Wilson, making him work back and high-point the ball on a post route off play-action, to cap the day. However, for me it was his command of the offense and how well he acclimated himself with new guys around him, that he didn’t have a whole lot of time to build chemistry with eyes. His eyes didn’t drop with bodies around him in the pocket and once he left that space, you saw Haener pointing at guys and making them adjust their routes on the fly on multiple occasions.



Ty'Jae Spears


Running back – Tyjae Spears, Tulane

Unless you’re a casual college football fan, who doesn’t pay much attention to the Non-Power Five Conference, you probably at least saw Spears flash across your screen a couple of times this past season. He just cracked 1000 scrimmage yards in 2021 already, before being the driving force Tulane’s Cinderella 12-2 season last year, when he exploded for over 1800 total yards and 21 TDs, making him the AAC Offensive Player of the Year.

Spears was the biggest winners of measurements probably, weighing in at 202 pounds, despite having the reputation of a change-of-pace/scat back by some who scout off physical dimensions. However, for people watching the tape, this guy breaks way more tackles than you’d expect, and in a setting that favors guys with great explosive traits, this kid was able to on a show. When given a runway, you saw that explosion through the hole and ability to clear the second level in a hurry. He had one that stood out the first day and would’ve been off to the races on several occasions on one-cut schemes the second practice.

More importantly, he showed the ability to effortlessly make cuts that allow him to get around the edge when defenders didn’t take care of their contain assignments, and how he used those cat-like quicks in tight areas way on full display. On day two, he made a crazy 90-degree cut to the outside once during the inside run portion, where he somehow was able to keep his balance and it almost looked like a player on Madden, where the replay would make you think “this wouldn’t happen in real life”. Later on, he caught a swing route for massive yardage during seven-on-seven’s and had a homerun call, where he wasn’t touched, slicing around blockers and making the safety miss, the first time he touched the ball during full team period.

Still, Spears will have to play a major role on passing downs to maximize his skill-set, and even though it didn’t count because the coaches said triple-breaks weren’t allowed, he kind of went viral with a clip from the competition period that kicked off day three. He ran this pivot route vs. Pitt LB SirBocea Dennis Dennis, where he went on an out initially, before sticking his outside foot in the ground to pirouette back inside, whilst ducking underneath the defender basically – his quicks and ankle flexibility looked unreal there. And important to see for scouts – he got run over by Jackson State LB Aubrey Miller Jr. once during pass-pro drills of day two, but on the second one he stood his ground and was able to get enough of him, to guide him off track. NFL executives voted him the overall Player of the Week.



Jordan Mims


Running back – Jordan Mims, Fresno State

Now combining the running back position and the school I started with in Fresno State, there’s another former Bulldog who turned some heads in Las Vegas. Despite sharing the backfield with Ronnie Rivers in 2021, Mims racked up over 1000 yards and ten touchdowns from scrimmage. Last season he came just two yards shy of 1500 total and was one score away from doubling his TDs from the season prior, earning himself first-team All-Mountain West accolades.

While his receiving production dipped a little bit this past year, it didn’t take long for Mims to showcase that he can still be a valuable asset in that area of the game. His suddenness and ability to manipulate linebackers with his eyes, to create separation as a route-runner, came up regularly. He looked comfortable when flexed out wide, once running a great curl route, where he really dropped those hips, attacked back towards the quarterback and snatched the ball over his head, away from his frame. And after the catch during full plays, he consistently looked to make the first man miss. In blitz pick-up day, Mims stepped up and brought his punch, before guiding linebackers off track. Considering he had already impressed as a pass-catcher, he stood his ground much better than I expected. He almost got a little overaggressive in his approach at times I thought, but I liked his attitude in that regard and he simply didn’t lose many reps.

In team drills, Mims’ burst to the corner stood out on multiple occasions. That included some nice moments pressing a crease and then bouncing around traffic before getting back downhill. You saw him cut down his stride length, kind of hide behind blockers and force linebackers to commit. And the show didn’t stop in the actual game, being involved as a receiver in the flats and creating easy yardage, displaying his burst through the line and delivering the longest run of the day (30 yards) early on, where he cut a zone run all the way back and broke the ankles of a DB on like a cross-over move, to get out to the sideline. That’s after already having been voted the East RB of the Week.



Demario Douglas


Wide receiver – Demario Douglas, Liberty

Just a two-star recruit in 2019, Douglas increased his production every single year with the Flames, going for 1100 yards and seven touchdowns on 84 touches this past season, which earned him first-team All-Independent accolades. Liberty’s season saw a disappointing finish, losing their final four games after an 8-1 start, but their top receiver excelled throughout the year and nearly had as many yards through the air as the next four players combined.

The first line I wrote about Douglas, when I started watching the practice was: “This guy is explosive for sure”. When he sticks his foot in the ground after hesitating off the line, he can leave people behind in the dust, and in particular he showed that on some out routes, where he got two or three yards on them on multiple occasions, at the moment he caught the ball. On the first day, you see him make some dramatic cuts and separate from defensive backs as he re-accelerated out of those. You saw DBs starting to just sit back on him from the second day one, because they’d rather gave up a completion underneath than get burnt over the top. Yet if they did try to put hands on him, Douglas threw a little chicken-wing once on a deep out route and created enough of a window for the ball to arrive.

Douglas made a great over-the-shoulder grab to the outside on a slot fade route in one-on-one’s of day two, quickly bringing it in and not allowing the raking hands of the corner to knock it loose. The moment of the period however was the former Flames standout completely shaking another poor guy and making him trip over his own feet, as he pushed upfield before bending it to the post later. He also had a great grab high-pointing a ball thrown behind him on a deep crosser during team portion, and you saw Douglas’ speed show up big-time on a reverse during the team portion of the first practice, beating everybody to the opposite sideline. With a potential first-rounder in Boston College’s Zay Flowers only taking part in one practice, the receiver group for the West side was lacking some star power, but Douglas more than just filled that void, and was voted the WR of the Week for that side.



Michael Wilson


Wide receiver – Michael Wilson, Stanford

This guy was certainly a forgotten name by the general draft media, as a former four-star recruit, who put up nearly 700 yards and five touchdowns as a true sophomore. He only played in 14 combined games over the past three seasons (64-864-5) due to multiple injuries that knocked him out for the year, but ultimately got to show his skills again big-time during Senior Bowl week.

There were reports early in the week that Wilson trains with former Pro Bowl WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh and it was on displays with his route-running. Right off the bat, he showed that he’s a name to track all week, when he cooked his former Stanford teammate Kyu Blu Kelly off the line on a slant route during the first one-on-one session. Wilson continued to make guys look foolish off the line, with slow-playing the get-off and his body language, to get corners leaning the wrong way. On several occasions, he was made the job for the quarterback, as he got a couple of steps on his man with diamond releases on slant routes. Day three he also ran a beautiful curl route against USC’s Mekhi Blackmon, where he had like a walk-up approach before threating vertically with that burst down the sideline and then sticking his foot in the ground to come back to the QB.

Along with the way he was able to play with guys off the ball, he also showed the ability to reduce his size and not have any delay breaking out to the sideline, after threatening vertically. Further down the field, I really liked how he would tilt and lean into defenders, before breaking guys off and shaking them off. And he showed great focus when guys were able to re-enter the catch window due to imperfect throws, yet Wilson pinned the ball against his chest right away. He did so once on a post route versus Iowa’s Riley Moss, where the had to slow down for the throw. When the ball was lofted over his head a couple of times, Wilson showed that he does have that extra gear when the ball is in the air, to run underneath it. He once got past Maryland’s Jakorian Bennett on an awesome stutter-go, where he really turned his body and snapped his head around for a split-second, before taking off, and then couldn’t quite hold onto the ball in the end-zone, as he was just able to get his fingertips on it. And then of course he ended the week with an exclamation mark, when he caught a 44-yard touchdown late in the game on Saturday, on an intentionally underthrown post route off play-action, where Jake Haener allowed him to work back and high-point the ball.



Daniel Barker


Tight-end – Daniel Barker, Michigan State

These all-star events are always a great opportunity for players, who were underutilized in college, to prove they can take on a more extensive role at the next level, and that’s true for tight-end in particular. Barker’s production over the last four years (three with Illinois and one with the MSU) was very consistent, but never really up to where you want to see it, catching between 18 and 21 passes for 200 to 300 yards in each of them.

Day one, this guy kind of looked different to the rest of the TE group, as he had a few very impressive routes versus the safeties in one-on-one’s. His ability to attack their blind spots of those guys, stay disciplined with not tilting in his stem, and get a step on them with his burst out of the break was on display on corner and out routes in particularly early on. Yet, he continued to excel on day two, where I thought he manipulated guys with his eyes, some hesitation and body language, before sticking his foot in the ground and getting away from them. Just watching the release drills, I thought Barker looked more like a receiver at times against true square press, throwing out a split release and blowing by DBs untouched basically.

During team drills, he showcased the speed to quickly clear the second level on seam/streak routes and then got his head around right away, where those Shrine quarterbacks passed on multiple opportunities to feed him the ball, I thought. When tangled up with DBs further down the field, Barker packed a pretty strong rip, to fight through the reach of defenders trying to grab him. And then off that ability to push vertically, he features a quick turn to the outside on hitches and hooks, to make the safety flying down on him miss. You typically saw him pluck the ball out of the air and rip it into his frame, especially when going over the middle. Finally, while Barker probably isn’t a major asset in pass-pro, he did enough versus the linebackers to guide them off track usually during those drills.



Luke Musgrave


Tight-end – Luke Musgrave, Oregon State

Now, on nearly the complete opposite side of the country, we watched a much more highly-touted college tight-end more than live up to his status in Mobile. Musgrave did crack the 300-yard mark in 2021, although he only he reached the end-zone once on 22 grabs. His redshirt junior campaign was cut short one-and-a-half weeks in, but he was able to haul in 11 passes for 169 and a TD up to that point. And the scouts liked enough what they saw, to make him confident to declare for the draft.

When you say in an interview day one that you felt you were like 60% right now, in your first time on the field since September and you look the way you did, you’re going to make some headlines. We saw Musgrave glide across the field more like a big wide receiver and he was used further down the field quite a bit. When he was allowed to run down the post and take linebackers vertical, he was leaving them behind in the dust typically. On several occasions, he would lean into defenders with outside leverage, then step into their space and head-fake towards their leverage, in order to create separation bending it to the post. Day three on early competition one-on-ones, Musgrave did so going up against LSU’s Jay Ward on a seam/skinny post route, where he hit an effective double-hand swipe to work around the press attempt and then got a couple of steps on the DB.

However, he’d also present himself underneath on some hook and stick routes, where he used his frame to protect the ball and wrapped it up tightly in traffic. Musgrave also ran some beautiful corner routes throughout the week, where he adjusted the angle of the break accordingly, depending on the coverage and once caught one of the safeties badly, trying to undercut the out-break. The former Beaver made some impressive-looking catches through the first two days, really swallowing the ball with those large paws – extending, plucking and also quickly pulling the ball into his frame. And while he may not have stood out in that fashion as a run-blocker, the balance and effort were a plus to note, and I think he made an impression on some people, when he talked about how he started to find joy in that area of the game, as the OSU coaches got him to buy into it. Musgrave also cracked 20 mph on the GPS-tracker, making him the 16th-fastest player at the entire event despite being 255 pounds – the next-closest guy who was faster, weighed 24 pounds less.



Jaelyn Duncan


Offensive tackle – Jaelyn Duncan, Maryland

I had a tough time settling on a tackle here, because the great competition those guys at East-West Shrine week faced, made it tough for guys to really put some quality reps on tape, and looking at the Senior Bowl, Ohio State’s Dawand Jones looked awesome day one, but decided to shut it down after that. I did mention a couple of other names I was thinking about here, but ultimately the Maryland tackle was my choice. A former four-star recruit, Duncan initially took a redshirt before taking over the starting gig on the blindside year two and starting all but three of his final 42 games.

Athleticism was never really a question for me evaluating Duncan, but just watching him go up against the best competition in the country, he reminded me of the type of movement skills he brings to the table. Routinely, he would show off the foot quickness to cut off the angle for edge rushers and force them on a wider loop, as he guided them past the quarterback. His smooth lateral movement and loose hips when he did have to turn with guys were equally impressive on the left and right – where he never lined up at Maryland.

With that being said, Duncan’s ability to deal with power as a pass-protector on top of it, was what really convinced me. He consistently kept his elbows in tight and was able anchor against bull-rush attempts. He had some great moment against Notre Dame’s Isaiah Foskey in particular, once stoning in him during full team plays on day two, which popped off the screen. And then on day three, he was able to handle Foskey’s long-arm on back-to-back reps during one-on-ones, where he probably forced the edge rusher to go for it again a second time by the way he Duncan was able to square that guy up. For a guy whose calling card was that athletic skill-set in protection, I thought the former Terp did a nice job of rolling his hips through contact and driving his feet, in order to create movement in the run game on top of that.



Atonio Mafi


Interior O-line – Atonio Mafi, UCLA

I had a really tough time deciding on which interior O-lineman I wanted to talk about here, because there were three names that stood above the rest during East-West Shrine week – Penn State’s Juice Scruggs, N.C. State’s Chandler Zavala and the guy I settled on in Mafi. He actually started his career on the defensive line with the Bruins, before transitioning back to offense and finally starting all 13 games at left guard last season, earning second-team All-Pac-12 accolades by league coaches.

We had a lot of powerful interior D-linemen in Vegas, who tried to test Mafi during one-on-one’s, and they all failed basically. Throughout the week, the former UCLA guard kept his hands in tight and was able to stymie those guys from a strong group on the other side, trying to go through him. When opposing rushers tried to lift him up on rip move and get underneath him, Mafi rode those guys up the field, away from the quarterback. Day three he completely stone-walled Boise State’s big D-tackle Scott Matlock on a bull-rush attempt, along with not allowing Penn State’s P.J. Mustipher to get to the outside edge on him, trying to swipe away the hands. Even when it looked momentarily like he got his weighted shifted the wrong way against somebody else on a hesitation move to the outside, he was able to ride that guy past the QB.

I don’t think he truly lost a single rep during one-on-ones either of the first two days and maybe one on day three. Yet, on top of his individual efforts, he also proved his value as a run-blocker during team drills. Mafi provided a solid bump on the angular block of combos, to open up lanes right up the gut. The second day on the first snap of inside run installs, he did a great job of caving in P.J. Mustipher slanting across his face as a three-technique, and two plays later he and the left tackle drove that guy right into the lap of the linebacker behind it, allowing Minnesota running back Mohamed Ibrahim to cut behind them for an untouched TD. For a guy who weighed in at just under 340 pounds, I thought Mafi’s ability to beat linebackers to the spot when climbing up and his burst as a puller really popped as well. For that, he was named the West IOL of the Week.



John Michael Schmitz


Interior O-line – John Michael Schmitz, Minnesota

It’s not like Schmitz really needed to prove a whole during Senior Bowl, as he was already regarded as one of the top interior offensive linemen in this class coming in. However, with that showcase, he fortified himself as OC1 and a first-rounder most likely. Schmitz would have most likely been a top-100 pick last year already, with 19 starter at the pivot and being a second-team All-Big Ten performer. Yet, he improved to first-team all-conference and played as well as any center in the country this past season.

Everything this guy does is solid. His ability to frame rushers and control reps with vice grip hands made him nearly impossible to get by during one-on-one pass-protection drills. He completely shut down Alabama’s D.J. Dale and Oklahoma’s Will Redmond on a couple of occasions, trying to power through him in pass-pro, on day two, where they couldn’t find any counter on the second of back-to-back tries against him. The only rep I can remember him losing theoretically was probably once against South Carolina’s Zacch Pickens on day three, who sold out for just getting upfield to one side and made the dummy quarterback move, but he didn’t actually get a hand on that trainer. And when the defense was running some two-on-two games to close that session, Schmitz perfectly timed up his upward strike to shut down the Alabama IDL Byron Young once looping around towards the center.

During team drills, Schmitz’s ability to execute more diverse assignments than that zone-heavy rushing attack he was part of Minnesota, was on display. He did utilize his upper-body strength to torque shade-nose tackles and allow the back to press the front-side on numerous occasions on outside zone, but he also created good vertical movement on combos and climbed off those under good control. The most fun for me were a couple of highly impressive moments full 11-on-11 plays, where he set the key block out in front of Tulane’s explosive RB Ty’Jae Spears and Okahoma’s Eric Gray respectively, who both ripped off chunk plays each, and Schmitz sent one of the biggest standouts across those first two days in Sacramento State LB Marte Mapu flying a couple of yards on one of them.



Will McDonald


Edge defender – Will McDonald IV, Iowa State

I really couldn’t settle on an edge defender from East-West Shrine week. I mentioned a couple of those names at the end and there were a few others I considered. Yet, at the Senior Bowl, I would say that was more of an underwhelming group, looking at names like Auburn’s Derick Hall, Notre Dame’s Isaiah Foskey and Army’s Andre Carter. So I thought it was appropriate to bring up a name, which many considered part of that tier, but probably elevated his stock above those guys. McDonald was a very productive player for the Cyclones these last three years, combining for 33.5 tackles for loss, 27 sacks, eight forced fumbles and seven passes batted down at the line.

The question coming into the week was McDonald’s size, with more of a lanky build at 6’3” ½ and 241 pounds. Yet, I didn’t feel like he was lacking that strength in run defense, being first to attack with his hands and anchoring against angular blocks routinely. I mean he stood his ground against Tennessee’s Darnell Wright a couple of times, who weighed in at 342 pounds – basically exactly 100 more than McDonald. So while some of his tape would suggest he may have issues setting a physical edge, we now have evidence that as a true base D-end/outside linebacker, he can take care at the point of attack. Now, with that being said, what he did as a pass-rusher obviously was what turned the heads of scouts.

Watching him run the hoop drill, you saw that ankle mobility and bend to circle around, which directly translates to rushing the passer. He had a couple of reps during the week, where he cleanly defeated the hands of the tackle with a double-hand swipe or chop-rip and even if that guy was able to still get a hand on him, he would stay on that arc, once even doing so on all fours basically. Off that, he then put a wicked spin move on Tennessee’s right tackle on the second of back-to-back reps one-on-one, after threating the corner and then stepping into the blocker’s space, in order to make him commit on the latter. And that ability to take the inside door opening up as guys had to overset to the outside came into play on day three as well, when he beat Florida’s  on a rapid up-and-under. Later during red-zone team period, you saw McDonald’s closing burst when Shepherd QB Tyson Bagent left the pocket the other way and the D-end would’ve run him down like a lion hunting an antelope, if not for pulling up late, to avoid pushing him in the back.



Dante Stills


Interior D-line – Dante Stills, West Virginia

This has been one of “my guys” for like three years. I first started taking note of Stills, when I was watching his brother Darius play alongside him on the WVU defensive line – who I liked quite a bit as well – and have been waiting on Dante to go pro since then. Across these past four seasons, he has racked up 47.5 tackles for loss, 21.5 sacks and three forced fumbles, going from second-team All-Big 12 in the first two to first-team all-conference the latter two years.

After lining up at 4i- and 5-technique a lot for the Mountaineers due to his combination of size and length, Stills almost exclusively played three-technique throughout East-West Shrine week and let me tell – this guy was unblockable! Early on day one he had a pass-rush rep, where he cleanly beat the Oregon guard across his face with a swim move, where it wasn’t even a contest. His ability to win up the gap with a quick club-rip combo, stay on track through contact as he was cornering his rushes and then win cross-face when guys started oversetting him, was crazy to watch. That’s along with having the power at nearly 290 pounds to ride blockers into the depth of the pocket, if they decide to give him ground.

Yet, Stills might’ve been even more impressive in the run game. Routinely he would win his gap and own his space, while locking out with one arm, to shut down one-on-ones prematurely. There was a sequence day two, where he just threw the Grand Valley guard Quinton Barrow, trying to reach-block him, to the turf, as he caught the blocker pulling the back-leg through, trying to bring his base around. And then on the re-do, he back-doored that guy, which I’m not sure is how they’re supposed to drill it, but the cat-like quicks where impressive nevertheless. Stills showed his disruptive skills in team run drills as well, crashing through the shoulder of zone blockers and flashing from the backside, along with arm-over and back-dooring a couple of times to force quick cutbacks as well. He didn’t really allow combos to form, knocking away the help-hand of the man trying to peel off and not wasting time with the guy trying to bring his hips around. I feel pretty certain that Stills led everybody in tackles for loss each of the first two days. Teammates recognized him as the IDL of the Week on the East side. In the actual game, he swum over and created a TFL on his first series, before getting another one on the last defensive play for the East.



Keenau Benton


Interior D-line – Keeanu Benton, Wisconsin

Unlike the edge group down in Mobile, which lacked names that could really set themselves apart, other than Iowa State’s Will McDonald, I thought there were multiple guys on the interior, who deserve to be mentioned. Nevertheless, none of those did impress quite like Wisconsin’s Keeanu Benton. Last year he inexplicably dropped from second- to third-team All-Big Ten, despite reaching career-highs in tackles (36), TFLs (10) and sacks (4.5), along with two more passes batted down.

Since I hadn’t really studied Benton’s tape since the offseason, where I thought based on 2021, he was a solid, worker-bee type shade nose tackle, I was shocked to see this guy flash as much as he did throughout Senior Bowl week. Day one, he showed off his power and ability to pull linemen off himself right away during pass-rush drills. That’s along with guys oversetting to the outside and Benton blowing through the interior in a hurry with the tight arm-over to clear the blocker’s reach. Day two he might’ve been even more impressive. He killed the Troy center Jake Andrews on consecutive reps, beating him instantly on a club-swim combo and then getting grabbed on the latter, where it looked like he had the O-lineman’s shoulders turned and would’ve been able to get across his face, if not for the tug. When setting up cross-face and club-rip moves generally, you saw Benton torque his upper body more than sufficiently, and when he ripped through, it looked more like he was starting a cold chainsaw, with the way he yanked that arm up.

In run defense, Benton routinely brought the fight, going from stacking at full extension, to swatting away the hands, placing himself in the gap and pulling guys off himself. He did so during one-on-one’s as well as full-team portions of practice. His wrestling background was on display, winning with quickness, leverage and violent hands. Benton’s official stat log in the actual game will only read one tackle, but he did have a couple of QB hits, once beating TCU’s Steve Avila trying to slide in front of him and putting that guy’s teammate Max Duggan on his backside. That’s along with how disruptive he was all week in team drills and his effort chasing away from the play.



Jeremy Banks


Linebacker – Jeremy Banks, Tennessee

A name I was vaguely familiar with, but hadn’t studied yet is this fifth-year senior from Tennessee. Banks would’ve probably been higher on my watch list based on his 2021 stats, when he recorded 128 total tackles, 11.5 of those for loss, 5.5 sacks, an interception and four PBUs. However, this past season the majority of those numbers were more than cut in half and based on consensus boards, he’s on the fringe of even being drafted – if he has a solid combine, he may be moving closer to an early day three prospect.

And what really made me perk up was watching this young man in coverage. During one-on-ones with the running backs, Banks displayed some impressive burst when driving on option routes, where they could break either way. He would regularly just squat on guys and still affect the catch point once he exploded forward as they made their cut. Banks was one of like two guys that could actually pick up and run with Fresno State back Jordan Mims in team drills as well. He did a nice job identifying dig routes and deep crossers coming in behind him during seven-on-sevens and full team drills. Plus, you saw him redirect in a hurry after floating one way initially and then having to race down on the back catching a checkdown. He had a very impressive snap in coverage day two against a tight-end I already highlighted in Michigan State’s Daniel Barker, turning with him down the seam and getting a paw between that guy’s hands, to bat the ball up for the safety behind him to pluck for the interception.

In team run drills, I thought Banks showed great lateral agility to trail runners from the backside and flatten behind blockers when he saw an opening, as well as pair quick hands and jumping sideways to get to the other side of linemen looking to pin him away from the action. And on the play-side, he was very quick to fill before somebody could combo off to him. When did have to deal with guys climbing up, Banks pulling those off himself, to get hands on the ball-carrier was something that happened on multiple occasions. And a couple of times he blew through the outside shoulder of the fullback before that guy could even get to the line of scrimmage, to create disruption in the backfield. Banks also had a few nice moments in the game, side-stepping blockers and once putting a huge hit on UCLA back Kaz Allen in the hole. During protection drills, you saw the former Vol LB charge full-force into running backs in blitz pick-up a few times, plus then he was slippery once he used his hands, to slither around them.



Marte Mapu


Linebacker – Marte Mapu, Sacramento State

While I was familiar with Banks as a prospect, I had no idea who this other linebacker from Sacramento State was. Yet, with the way he was wrecking plays during Senior Bowl practices, he made me take note. Mapu was a versatile piece for the Hornet defense, splitting time between safety, outside linebacker and nickelback. In 2022, he was named the Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year, for putting up 76 tackles, 6.5 of those for loss, two passes intercepted and six more broken up.

After showing out at NFLPA Bowl week, Mapu got the call up from Jim Nagy and my god, he made most of that opportunity. I thought he looked pretty impressive from the first moment he stepped onto the field. You saw him rapidly fill on the front-side of run plays and even from the backside, you saw the short-area burst to shoot through a crease and run things down, where nobody was able to get in front of him in time. Mapu had a couple of big-time run stuffs during the inside run portion of day two, once blowing through the shoulder of the guard on a zone run and meeting the back for a TFL, and then another time on an iso-run, absolutely blasting the fullback before that guy could even reach the line of scrimmage, allowing the rest of the defense converge on the ball.

On top of that, Mapu also made a couple of impressive plays in coverage as part of team-drills, once on play-action, where he didn’t fall for it and drifted underneath a dig route, getting a hand on the ball intended to be lofted over his head, to break it up, and later raking the ball out of the tight-end’s hands on a stick route. That’s along with running down Houston standout WR striding out after a solid play, where he was still fired up and punched the ball out, with nobody else in the screen – not that it actually counted, but it shows his level of effort. And he had a couple of nice wins pass-pro drills, once side-stepping Oklahoma RB Eric Gray, combined with the arm-over, to get around him cleanly. Mapu was clocked over 19 MPH multiple times during the week and his speed will be a major buy-in for NFL teams, considering his tremendous special teams background. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to perform in the game on Saturday, but I promise you, basically all scouts will have added his name to their watch list and there will probably be a few more now heading to the Sac State pro day, since he didn’t receive a combine invite.



Lance Boykin


Cornerback – Lance Boykin, Coastal Carolina

A position group with several noteworthy names between the East-West Shrine and Senior Bowl was cornerback. I couldn’t help myself but talk about three games here, with a couple of them from Vegas, and Boykin is kicking things off. Once just a two-star recruit, this guy began his career at Old Dominion, before making a name for himself with the Chanticleers, where he recorded five interceptions, 12 PBUs and two sacks across his two seasons there.

Looking at this collection of receivers for the East team, there were plenty of challenges against pretty big names from Power-Five conferences, such as Arkansas’ Jadon Haselwood, Wake Forest’s A.T. Perry and a Fresno State guy, who had an excellent week himself, in Jalen Cropper. However, I thought this kid from Coastal Carolina more than held his own against all those guys. Boykin showcased impressive hip mobility all week, flipping around by 180 degrees after opening up with vertical stems a couple of times. And he didn’t allow guys to detach vertically from him either. Yet, on the front-end of those reps, he was able to land some forceful one-handed stabs in press, to throw off receivers that way, while having to mirror more delayed releases. They were doing some release drills on day three, where he simply blanketed multiple guys attempting to get to the edges of his frame, once making one of the tight-ends basically give up and just stop.

Boykin played sticky coverage throughout day three and put together a really strong showing, and he might’ve even been better during the last practice session, not surrendering a single completion and showing several impressive moments of anticipating routes and having guys try to go through him. His very last rep of the entire week, where they were just going one-on-one a final time, Boykin made defending a curl route by Georgia’s Kearis Jackson look easy, wrapping around and knocking the ball down. I would say there was maybe a small acclimation period during the first practice, but I’d say from day two on, he was arguably the top CB of the entire event. And he didn’t give receivers much breathing room during the actual game either.



Tyrique Stevenson


Cornerback – Tyrique Stevenson, Miami

Now switching over to a more heralded corner from the Senior Bowl, I think Tyrique Stevenson reminded some people why he once was a top-50 overall recruit in 2019 for Georgia, and why he should be in the discussion for being an early day-two pick. Across his two seasons with Miami, Stevenson picked off three passes and broke up another 11, but a third-team All-ACC mention last year were the highest honors he received.

I could have easily gone with Stanford’s Kyu Blu Kelly, who other than in his matchups against former teammate Michael Wilson at receiver – who I talked about earlier – had about as good a week as anybody at that position, and even South Carolina’s Darius Rush, who did have a couple of day three gaffs but was outstanding at anticipating and breaking on routes other than that. Yet, I landed with Stevenson, because I could really only come up with two “losses” for him. Princeton WR Andrei Iosivas once got him to bite on a stick-nod day one, but once on that rep, you saw the corner’s make-up speed shine, to still be able to swipe at the ball just as it arrived there (even though the catch was made). And then he did allow a touchdown once during one-on-one’s against South Alabama’s Jalen Wayne, where he kind of gambled on a break and the hometown WR was able to haul in the pass over the top, but he also ran perfectly with him, turned and got both hands on the ball for another near-pick when those went at it another time.

Basically every other rep for Stevenson, it was shut-down time. He was very effective at landing those jams with the inside arm, yet not allowing his receiver to get even with him on a vertical, continuing to work against opponents trying to arm-bar him. He was able to impede the progress of those guys across him regularly, but didn’t allow them to “cheat” against him later on in reps. Stevenson also excelled when falling off in zone and letting his length disrupt the catch point, when quarterbacks tried to fit in balls over his head for those cover-two hole shots. On day two, he stayed right at the hip of a fourth down shot down the field and leaped for a 50-50 ball, which he nearly pulled in himself. He appeared to have hurt his calf, but thankfully was okay. And what I give him tons of credit for was after missing day three – when he could’ve easily shut it down – he decided to still play in the game, and he did so well.



Nic Jones


Cornerback – Nic Jones, Ball State

The third name of this corner trio is a lesser-known again, in part because he’s the only Ball State player among the 619 prospects listed on’s consensus board right now, and the fact he only had one-and-a-half seasons as a starter. Nevertheless, Jones was able to intercept three passes and break up another 15 across those 17 games, and really made a name for himself with his performance throughout East-West Shrine week. I could have easily gone with Kei’Trel Clark from Louisville or Terell Smith from Minnesota here, but in terms of who helped himself the most, I think Jones is the guy many scouts now decided to put their eyes on his tape for the first time.

Jones had some very impressive reps the first two days of staying right in phase with receivers and none that really stood out in a negative way. He did allow more completions on the second day, but the ability to swivel his hips around and not be caught out of position a whole lot was still a plus to note for me. And he never allowed guys to get even with him when assigned with deep zone responsibility. Day three was certainly his worst showing, gambling on a couple of routes it felt like, but he did get a pick during team portion undercutting the throw, where App State QB Chase Brice tried to fit the ball in late to a curl route on the outside by Florida WR Justin Shorter.

You saw an athletic confidence, to not prematurely drive on routes, but let his closing burst do the trick when he saw the receiver commit his hips. Jones wasn’t afraid to sit a little bit versus outside releases, before opening his hips and running with guys down the sideline, because he trusted his top-gear to be up-to-par, which he was proved right about. Even when he flipped the wrong way initially or had to due to the release by the guy across from him, you saw some impressive speed-turns to get back into phase. And when assigned with deep zone responsibilities, he made sure to stay over the top in team drills consistently. Jones continued to show up in the actual game, getting in the hip-pocket of his man and disrupting the catch, including a pick in the fourth quarter, where the quarterback tried to fit in a deep crosser late and Jones was right underneath it.



Sydney Brown


Safety – Sydney Brown, Illinois

In terms who I enjoyed watching the most among all players at either event, Brown’s name is right up there at the top of the list. Somewhat in the shadow of his twin brother Chase, who rushed for over 1600 yards this past season at Illinois, Sydney has been building a pretty resume himself. Across 52 career games – of which he started all but one – he racked up 320 combined tackles, ten of those for loss, ten interceptions (two of those returned for touchdowns), 16 pass break-ups, four forced fumbles and a scoop-and-score.

Day one, Brown seemed very much in control of man-coverage reps versus the tight-ends from off-alignment, being able to read the hips and jump on breaks in time. After that he got levelled up and was covering receivers one-on-one quite a bit, where the success continued. He continuously was able to stay in phase throughout routes and once he saw guys slow their feet, he drove on stuff in a hurry, wrapping around on a curl route by Stanford’s Elijah Higgins, and perfectly running with Cincinnati’s Tre Tucker on a fade into the end-zone, where he got both hands on the ball for a near pick, with each of those coming on day two. And on the third day, he was on Stanford’s Michael Wilson – arguably the biggest standout of the entire week – who ran a hitch-and-go or hitch-to-wheel and didn’t get fooled at all, turning and running with him.

Earlier in that practice period, he already made a tremendous interception during one-on-one’s in the red-zone, where he undercut Clemson tight-end Davis Allen on an out route. And he continued to excel in team period, whether he was playing off-man or quarter, with the ability to click-and-close and disrupt the catch point, once knocking the ball loose on a backside glance off an RPO. Something that I wanted to note is how he consistently raked exactly through the ball I the midst of the paws of the target, without initiating premature contact, that would draw flags. Brown consistently played with good leverage and activity in run defense, while showing great instincts and closing burst once when he saw a bootleg by Louisville’s QB Malik Cunningham and outraced that guy to the flats. That high-level football IQ also showed up in the actual game, when he created a seven-yard loss on a running back screen in the fourth quarter.



A.J. Finley


Safety – A.J. Finley, Ole Miss

Not just the cornerbacks, but really the entire defensive back group in Las Vegas had multiple standouts, which I listed a few at the bottom here. However, I ultimately settled on one guy, who is actually right in that range of Ball State CB Nic Jones – who I mentioned just now – but I believe will continue to rise in this pre-draft process, among a safety group with a lot of varying opinions. Across the past three seasons as a starter, Finley combined for 228 tackles, 6.5 of those for loss, eight interceptions, 13 PBUs, two fumbles forced and recovered each.

Measuring in at 6’2”, 202 pounds, Finley profiles as a matchup piece against tight-ends at the next level and that’s the area he excelled in all week I thought. He chose a very hands-on when given the opportunity and was able to smoothly slide his feet in front of those bigger bodies, When Finley was in soft press, I thought he showed great patience to not fall for head-fakes and try to lean with guys, but just wait for them to commit on the release, in order to attach to their hip-pocket. Going up against Central Michigan TE Joel Wilson on day three. He did ultimately give up a catch to Wilson on his final one-on-one of the whole week, but I actually came away more impressed with his eye-popping recovery burst after being leveraged outside and giving the TE free across on a drag / crossing route. Just once I really saw somebody run away from him – Houston FB/EDGE Derek Parish, of all guys there – because he completely gambled on the break.

Finley also had several nice moments in team drills, doing a nice job of fighting over a mesh concept on day three once. His best one however probably came in the second practice – an outstanding interception, when he was lined up in the slot and was responsible for the flats, where he mid-pointed a flare/flat and deep out route and then flipped open, to jump in front of the deeper route and pick off the pass. Plus, he had another one to end practice, which was more so gifted to him, on a great play by the linebacker knocking it to him, who he broke up a streak route to the tight-end. When used as a deep middle safety – in practice and a for stretches of the game – Finley did a nice job of playing everything top-down but not giving room just to be safe, rather than being ready to limit plays for little yards after catch. And people took note, as he was voted DS of the Week for the East.



Other winners:

RBs – Eric Gray (Oklahoma), Evan Hull (Northwestern) & Xazavian Valladay (Arizona State)

WRs – Jayden Reed (Michigan State), Nathaniel “Tank” Dell (Houston), A.T. Perry (Wake Forest) & Jalen Cropper (Fresno State)

TEs – Davis Allen (Clemson) & Payne Durham (Purdue)

OTs – Darnell Wright (Tennessee) & Matthew Bergeron (Syracuse)

IOL – Chandler Zavala (N.C. State) & Juice Scruggs (Penn State)

EDGEs – K.J. Henry (Clemson), B.J. Thompson (Stephen F. Austin) & Caleb Murphy (Ferris State)

IDL – Adetomiwa Adebawore (Northwestern), Karl Brooks (Bowling Green) & Ikenna Enechukwu (Rice)

LBs – Aubrey Miller Jr. (Jackson State), Daiyan Henley (Washington State) & Ivan Pace Jr. (Cincinnati) &

CBs – Darius Rush (South Carolina), Kyu Blu Kelly (Stanford), Kei’Trel Clark (Louisville) & Terell Smith (Minnesota)

SAFs – Jammie Robinson (Florida State), Art Green (Houston), Christian Young (Arizona) & Trey Dean III (Florida)


Game Previews

An in-depth preview of Super Bowl LVII:

We have arrived at Super Bowl LVII and for as dominant as other teams may have been for stretches, I think we ended up with the two best teams in the league facing off – not only in terms what they did all season long, but also the versions we get from them leading into this matchup. With both sides entering the tournament atop their conference, the Chiefs were able to overcome a high-ankle strain by Patrick Mahomes and got revenge on the team that kept them from going to the big game last year, while the Eagles were dominant in their two wins, with a point-margin of +55 in their two playoff matchups (with some help in the lattern one, where the 49ers ended up with basically no quarterback left).

You could also call this the “Storyline Bowl” because of all the different angles to this matchup off the field. For starters, you have Chiefs head coach Andy Reid facing his former team, which he could never quite get all the way over the hump with, along with DC Steve Spagnuolo spending his first eight years in the NFL with that organization as a defensive assistant. Meanwhile the head-man on the other side in Nick Sirianni actually started his NFL career as a quality control coach in Kansas City, a couple of years before Reid arrived there. We’ll see the first Super Bowl between brothers, with Travis and Jason Kelce on either side, who both already have a ring, but were still each the best players at their positions respectively this season. Depending on the results of NFL Honors, we may have the guys finish first and second in MVP at quarterback with Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts, who might still both be dealing with injury, but have done a great job playing through those. And even for more of the football nerds – we’ve got KC and Philly with the number one offense vs. defense respectively in yards per play.

As I do every week, I wanted to dive into the tape and numbers, to give you comprehensive insight into who both these teams are, how they match up on both sides of the ball, some players who could be X-factors and finally I give you my prediction on what I think will happen.

Let’s get into it:

Chiefs offense vs. Eagles defense:


Chiefs O


Kansas City obviously led the league with 29.2 points per game during the regular season and 2.71 points per drive, but they also averaged 0.3 yards more per play than any other team (6.4). Their offense was easily number one in DVOA (25.2%) and EPA per play (0.179). However, while many people still look at the Chiefs as this uber-explosive aerial attack, that constantly stresses defenses vertically, they’ve really become a much more efficient machine as a unit. Mahomes finished the regular season only 23rd in intended air yards per pass attempt (7.2) and he was actually second in YAC per completion (6.6). In part that has been due to teams feeling more comfortable blitzing and playing man against this group of receivers, but also Pat has shown so much maturity this season, of getting to his checkdown or outlet when the defense was falling off in deep zone coverages. With opponents bracketing Travis Kelce at a high rate, they’ve needed to find other solutions against the looks they’re presented with. KC is one of the best groups at utilizing stacks and bunches, in combination with rub-routes, to give their receivers advantages against man-coverage, while being unique in the way they create voids against zone, by letting guys push straight at safeties and forcing them to match, along with attacking the rules of coverages.



Where the KC offense has added another dimension this year, is their traditional run game, as altogether they finished the regular season sixth in rushing success rate (44.5%). That’s actually slightly lower than 2021, but their top two backs this year average 4.63 yards compared to 4.09 yards per rush. Isaiah Pacheco has given this group a physical presence, who they hand the ball off a lot more from under center this season. That young man runs with an aggression and violence that this team has been missing in past years, along with having legit burst to threaten the corner and clear the second level if the backside doesn’t cover enough ground laterally. While they do run some zone concepts, especially in combination with their RPO game, what Andy Reid and Eric Bienemy excel at is using angles and drawing up gap-schemes including multiple pullers, such a power and counter from different personnel sets. A key ingredient to that is their variety in usage of tight-ends. Their 13 personnel (three TEs) in particular is a weapon for them, as they can analyze how opposing defense match them, and depending on that, get Travis Kelce, Noah Gray and Jody Fortson in favorable matchups in the pass game, or take advantage of pulling smaller bodies into the box.



Examining the Chiefs offensive line, with Orlando Brown at left tackle, they can cover up guys on the front-side, to string out lateral plays. And between the interior three of Joe Thuney, Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith, they’re all more than comfortable being utilized as pullers, while Smith is the biggest mauler on down-blocks and the other two execute reach- and seal-blocks very effectively. Andrew Wylie at right tackle may be the weak-link of that group, but he’s the most experienced in that system, now in his fifth season with the Chiefs and 69 starts to his resume. As a team, they’ve averaged 3.4 yards before contact on the ground. As far as the pass game is concerned, the O-line was charged with the third-fewest sacks allowed (26) and while Mahomes is close to average in pressure rate (19.4%), if you take that number in relation to time spent in the pocket before the ball comes out (2.6 seconds), he’d be tied for the sixth-highest rate. Even though I would challenge the way ESPN calculates this, they have the Chiefs with by far the highest pass-block win rate in 2022 at 75%. And looking at their two playoff games, Mahomes has only been pressured on 18.8 and 10.2% respectively. The way this unit handles games up front, sorts out simulated pressure and passes off twists is very impressive.



Finally, for KC’s offense, since Mahomes was put under center, they’ve been one of the best situational offense, in particular finishing top-three in third down percentage each of the past five years. They finished the 2022 season second in third (48.7%), fourth down (75.0%) and red-zone percentage (69.4%) each. Over their five most recent games in particular, they’ve converted 82.3% of their red-zone trips into six points. That’s a result of Andy Reid’s willingness to delve into all kinds of creative play-designs, Patrick Mahomes’ magic off script and the mind-meld you see between him and Travis Kelce in those condensed spaces. Whether it’s some full-house sets, where anybody in the backfield could receive the snap, running “Ring around the Rosie” or any of their different shovel pass variations they throw out, they’re a unique group to prepare for. Plus, then of course you have the best QB-to-pass-catcher combinations in the game, where Pat and Kelce can make up stuff on the fly and see that condensed space very similarly, which allows them to cash in even when the defense seemingly does everything right.




Eagles D


Now, switching over to the Eagles defense, they’ve been one of the more consistent and at times dominant units in the league. On average, they’ve allowed just over 20 points per game, with seven each in their two playoff games – even though you can argue the Giants were certainly outmatched and the 49ers played large stretches with a quarterback who couldn’t actually throw the ball. Nevertheless, they finished the regular season number six in defensive DVOA (-9.7%) and forced the fifth-most takeaways in the league (27). Under defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, Philly has seen an overhaul of defensive principles to some degree, compared to 2021. While they still run a lot of zone-coverage, they do a much better job of squeezing down passing windows and letting their safeties attack forward in quarters, not nearly giving as much easy access to the middle of the field. And with the addition of Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, they can change up the picture from when the ball is snapped, rotating him towards the deep middle – a role he hasn’t tasked with since his college days. As far as blitz rate is concerned, they’ve increased from 31st (17.4%) to 18th (22.1%), in large part due to Haason Reddick being on the field as a hybrid linebacker, who they rush along with the four down-linemen a lot of times.



Philadelphia has been particularly effective against the pass, being responsible for an NFL-low 4.9 net yards per dropback. Their two starting corners Darius Slay and James Bradberry have surrendered passer ratings of 83.9 and 51.6 respectively, with three picks each to their names. Both understand very well to play to their leverage and funnel vertical routes to the safeties inside of them. While Marcus Epps is better at driving on routes and buzzing down as a flat defender or robber, CGJ has really capitalized of those opportunities to make plays on the ball, being tied for the lead-league with six interceptions, despite missing five games. Meanwhile on the second level, T.J. Edwards has had the best season of his career, in terms of how quickly he IDs and triggers on run schemes, but also his usage on passing downs. That’s where pairing him up with Kyzir White has reaped major benefits, because now he’s the one who gets matched up with backs a lot of times in cover-four/-six on the weakside, as he’s right on par with Bradberry on the perimeter, holding opponents to just 4.4 yards per target.



Of course a major reason this group has been so much better on the back-end is thanks to the pressure they create up front. The Eagles recorded the third-most sacks in NFL history (70) behind only the ’85 and ’86 Bears respectively, and they were only 0.1% behind the Cowboys with a pressure rate of 25.5 percent. Looking at ESPN’s pass-rush win rate metric, Philly has the edge rusher with the second-best mark in Haason Reddick (28%) and an IDL in Javon Hargrave, who’s tied for second at his position (17%). They keep those guys fresh as well, as they have ten guys playing at least 16% of snaps, if you count Reddick, who led them at just under 74%. At times this season they’ve had some issues this season stopping the run, due to some of the front mechanics – which I’ll get to in a minute – but also some injuries along the D-line. Now, with some of the veteran additions, those have been largely ironed out and they can bring those guys in waves.




Chiefs O vs. Eagles D


Since I just talked about the trenches, why not start by breaking down how these two sides match up. Looking at Brandon Thorn’s D-line rankings, the Eagles D-line was at the top of the league, but the Chiefs finished the season as the sixth-best O-line themselves, and their interior-three is as good as any out there right now. Their tackles are closer to average, with Haason Reddick having a significant advantage over right tackle Andrew Wylie, who was responsible for nine sacks and had seven accepted penalties in 2022. However, what Andy Reid can do in terms of mitigating any disadvantages on the edges is remarkable. I think back to the Chiefs’ trip to San Francisco and how much they slowed down Nick Bosa, in terms of not being allowed to attack and having to process too much information. And we’ve seen this group make the heads on linebackers spin on several occasions throughout the years, with misdirection, eye-candy and a diverse screen game. Philly also led the NFL with 97 tackles for loss during the regular season, but I have a tough seeing Kansas City go laterally a whole lot and allow those guys on the other side to defeat single-blocks. Rather I think they’ll use that aggressiveness against them on trap, wham and counter plays. The Eagles finished the regular season 23rd in rushing success rate (43.2%) and EPA per rush (-0.023). Especially when KC goes to 12 personnel, the tendencies for Philly would say that they’ll counter five-man surfaces, and when the 49ers put both tight-ends to one side, we saw Kyzir White actually move over the wing in more of “penny” front, where Edwards is the only linebacker behind it. That’s where Reid & company put a lot of pressure on the opposition, with being corrected in reading their keys.



Going back to that NFC title game, backup Josh Johnson – as long as he was available ran himself into trouble, getting wide against looping D-tackles and drifting too deep at times – that won’t happen with this version of Patrick Mahomes, who is one of the niftiest quarterbacks at pocket navigation in the NFL today. How much he can manipulate rush lanes and potentially deliver off-script with that banged-up ankle will be a major factor. From a coverage perspective, the most interesting will be if DC Jonathan Gannon can change up the picture enough post-snap to make Mahomes hold onto the field or if KC will be able to dictate what they’ll face, in particular considering I thought motions typically forced them to simplify things and use a lot of cover-four or -six. Because of how much the Chiefs want to attack between the numbers, with heavier tight-end usage and the addition of Juju Smith-Schuster as a “power slot”, which they haven’t had prior to his arrival, they can lessen the impact of those two great corners on the other side. And the second thing will be how they approach the usage of tight-ends and Travis Kelce especially. Could we see Chauncey Gardner-Johnson be more heavily deployed in the slot, similar to their most recent matchup, or does Gannon use the two weeks of preparation, to install some designer coverages, for designated passing situations?



Eagles offense vs. Chiefs defense:


Eagles O


Let’s switch over to when the Eagles have the football. In 2021, they became one of the most effective rushing attacks in the league, along with what Jalen Hurts could deliver as a scrambler and a lot of the deep crossing and post routes off play-action. The passing game has evolved in a major way this season, thanks in large part to the draft-day trade for A.J. Brown and how the presence affects defenses. In the 15 games played with Jalen Hurts under center, Philly has turned the ball over multiple times just three times, and they’ve scored at least 24 points in all but four of those. Once again, just looking at the 15 games with Hurts at QB, the Eagles would be one of only three teams to average just below one giveaway per contest. While the volume at which they run the ball – due to regularly bleeding out the clock with the lead – “only” has them tied for 12th in yards per rush, I’ll present a couple of the more advanced numbers in a second, and they’re tied for third in net yards per dropback (7.1). Altogether, they finished the regular season at number three in offensive DVOA (15.1%) and what I love about the way offensive coordinator Stane Steichen calls plays, is how he allows those great players they have all across that unit to be featured in rather simplistic fashion, with clear play-designs, that include multiple options, plus some of the little wrinkles they add regularly off those.



Everything of course starts up front for this group. Philadelphia has the best and most versatile O-line in the NFL – and I’m not sure if it’s particularly close. The physical ability of that group in combination with the tutelage of position Jeff Stoutland, allows Steichen to call up anything from a simple zone to long-developing passing concepts. As a unit, they finished 2022 at number one in pass-blocking and third in run-blocking, according to Pro Football Focus. The advanced rushing numbers for Philly have been completely absurd, in comparison to the rest of the league. They are the only team with a rushing success rate of over 50% and their EPA per rush +0.72 is twice as high as the next-closest team (Ravens at 0.34). You see them attack the edges of a defense with outside zone, they can create vertical movement on duo, take advantage of angles by pulling bodies and then they match those things beautifully with easy alerts. Having Jalen Hurts as an extra body in the run game, to where you have to account for him pulling the ball at all times certainly helps. In particular, they’ve been pretty much unstoppable in short-yardage situations. Including the postseason, Philly has converted 31 of 35 QB sneaks into first downs or touchdowns, when they’ve had a yards or less to gain (88.6%). And the Eagles as a team have gone for fourth down 80% of times when the analytics would suggest that as the smart decision, according to



However, Philly also ran an NFL-high 185 RPOs during this season – only eight teams reached the hundred-mark. They can put defenders in conflict, by having to commit downhill and leave a window to attack with glance routes, and they can afford to leave the backside contain player unblocked, because either he flattens down the line and allows Hurts to pull the ball or he stays home and then often they have the tight-end sifting across the formation and releasing into the flats. The outside receiver to that side if regularly tasked with picking off anybody trying to redirect against that slip route, plus as a change-up off that, the wideout will release as a threat behind that. That way, they simplify the job for the quarterback by being able to key on one read and then become a play-maker off that. Yet, they can also spread the field and create space by forcing the defense to get into lighter boxes. They love to run draw from out of their 11 personnel sets, especially when they go empty and run it towards the shade nose in an Over/Under four-man front, where the guard to that side can block down and Jason Kelce wraps around, to become the lead-blocker for Hurts.



For all of that to be as effective, the development of Jalen Hurts as a passer and the threat that he can attack all of levels of the field was imperative. In particular for defenses to respect the perimeter weapons, how he delivers beautiful, high-arcing balls down the sideline for A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, is a major ingredient. Compared to 2021, Hurts’ average yards per attempt increased from 7.2 to 8.8 yards. As a team, they Eagles finished top-four in third (45.9%), fourth down (68.8%) and red-zone TD percentage (67.8%) for the regular season. Hurts become a much better distributor and while he still doesn’t feel as comfortable working deep into progressions, if there’s a little bit of color in the backfield, the offensive infrastructure combined with his mental progress, allow him to find solutions to most problems defenses throw at him. That was apparent when facing overloaded fronts and some of the cover-zero rain that the Dolphins popularized over the last couple of years. Here’s an example against the Giants early on in their week 18 victory over the Giants, where Hurts decides to lock the left tackle on his man and slide the rest of the line, in order to make Landon Collins rush rather then drop out, and create a clear window to get this ball to Quez Watkins on a little hitch for the first down.




Chiefs D


As far as the Chiefs defense is concerned, they were dead-average in defensive DVOA (17th), but they finished 12th in dropback and 10th in rushing success rate respectively. So the issue were more so the big plays they’ve given up, in large part due to relying on rookies way more than they’ve done in part years. On defense alone, first-year players have combined for over 3000(!) snaps this year. For comparison’s sake, last year Nick Bolton was the only rookie to log even 50 snaps. With that being said, those young players have grown a lot and the defensive numbers have been a lot better from week 16 on. Just looking at those five games, their EPA per play of -0.077, which would rank fourth league-wide behind only the 49ers, Cowboys and Patriots. And dissecting who they’ve faced across that stretch, only one of those offenses have ranked outside the top-15 in EPA per play themselves. One name that stands out here is Trent McDuffie, since in the 13 games without him, they didn’t allow a single 300-yard passer, while four of the six QBs they’ve faced without him have reached the mark. That’s not necessarily just the result of McDuffie playing, but the fact that they can deploy him in the slot and use L’Jarius Sneed in the boundary, now lot leaving two rookies on guys like Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins out wide, thinking back to the AFC Championship.



While Kansas City’s run defense was a weakness in years past, they rarely control opponents to dictate game-scripts, in part because of how effective their own offense is at converting possessions into points, when given fewer opportunities, but also what they’ve built in the front-seven. This season, they have held opponents to under 120 rushing yards in 13 of 19 games. Along with the trade for Frank Clark and Chris Jones ascending to the level of a Defensive Player of the Player candidate, they’ve found guys to play more of the strong-side defensive end role, typically with those longer body types, before spending a first-round pick on George Karlaftis this April. Meanwhile, rotating through a trio of Derrick Nnadi, Tershawn Waron and Khalen Saunders at shade nose, has been working for them, to keep those linebackers clean. And that’s where those guys can shine. Nick Bolton already was a key player for them as a rookie, but how quickly he triggers on stuff and the speed to beat blockers to the spot is very impressive. And Willie Gay’s range alongside him is a major asset in both facets of the game. Plus, they frequently shift their D-line just before the snap and blitz the backside backer, to cover up an extra man from climbing up a lot of times. As a unit, they’ve been able to create negative plays on the ground at a higher rate, being tied for sixth with 89 tackles for loss during the regular season. Chris Jones has the short-area agility to back-door against zone schemes and he’s quick to go underneath down-block on the backside, before chasing down the puller and get to the ball-carrier. And opposing linemen better get on their horse, if they want to cut off the angles of those backers on toss/sweep plays, as well peel off combos earlier in time. Going back to the AFC title game, if you take away Joe Burrow’s four scrambles for 30 yards, the Chiefs were able to hold the Bengals to just 13 carries worth 41 yards.



What they do in the pass game is where they’ve seen a major transition. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has a reputation for throwing out crazy blitzes and playing physical man-coverage behind. However, with three rookies starting the secondary for the most part and an offense on the other side, less built on quick-scoring drives, they’ve changed their approach, in order to play more complementary football. After being ninth and sixth in 2020 and ’21 respectively, the Chiefs actually ranked just 14th in blitz rate (24.2%) this season. That’s combined with playng split-safety coverages on an NFL-high 57% of coverage snaps. However, that doesn’t mean giving receivers easy access at all, as their corners are in press-alignment on 44% and those young guys can challenge opposing receivers off the line, with help over the top, so to speak. And it’s not just that, but thanks to having two veteran safeties in Juan Thornhill and Justin Reid, they’re excellent as disguising coverages without compromising themselves in where they can get to ultimately. That’s how they force quarterbacks to pull down the ball and find solutions post-snap. Kansas City sacked the Bengals’ Joe Burrow five times most recently, where all but one of those I would label as “coverage sacks”.



Despite a much lower blitz rate, they’ve actually finished the regular season fifth in pressure rate per dropback (24.9%) for the second year in a row. According to ESPN, Chris Jones easily led all interior D-linemen with a 21% pass-rush win rate this season (next-closest was at 17%), despite being double-team at a higher rate than anybody else, at a stupid 68% of dropbacks. That sets the table for guys around him to capitalize on winning one-on-one matchups. KC has four other D-linemen with at least four sacks and 16+ pressures. Yet, depending on who they use as the primary slot defender – Sneed, Reid or McDuffie – on some key downs, Spags still excels at creating free rushers by bringing guys from different angles and forcing the O-line to communicate mid-play. So there’s a lot of variety in the way they can force offenses to process information pre- and post-snap, to create errors, while at same time being very sound in their coverage distribution.



Eagles O vs. Chiefs D


We’ll probably get an idea early on about how much the Eagles offense can dictate terms with their ground game. As I outlined and backed up with statistics, they have been dominant in the regard for most of the season and it’ll take a great performance on Kansas City’s side to slow that area down. Back when I previewed the regular season (week 13) matchup between the Chiefs and Bengals, I showed a few examples on how Chris Jones has improved as a run-defender at the point of attack. However, Philly has consistently been able to wash down the front-side on zone concepts and ride three-techniques into the lap of the backside backer on power. If he can split those combos and/or the second-level defenders scrape over the action quickly enough will be an element to track. Of course it’s also going to be a big game for Derrick Nnadi not getting sealed on the backside and holding his ground when the offense tries to go vertically. And he’ll need those other bodies to give him a breather a few times, to avoid getting physically tired out and overwhelmed as the game progresses. Maybe we’ll see recently-signed Brandon Williams be a bigger part of the game and look if he can give them 10-15 snaps of what he used to be in Baltimore. It’s certainly a product of the volume we saw, with 44(!) rush attempts against the 49ers, but those guys were able to hold Philly to 3.4 yards per carry in the NFC title game, largely thanks to how aggressive they were on the second and third level to fill. Particularly those backside LBs didn’t shuffle along much, but rather decided to shoot their gun and basically run-blitz from behind. Meanwhile, KC just executed a very effective plan to slow down Cincinnati’s attack, with those last-second shifts and blitzes from the second level, which can create that confusion against gap- or man-schemes, since altered responsibilities can’t be communicated in time. Even when opponents have gone heavy on 11 personnel, which the Eagles use on well over 70% of plays, and they catch Kansas City in dime personnel, Justin Reid does not shy away from filling the A-gap either.



Now, as much as the Niners were able to contain Philly’s run game in the NFC Championship game – which by the way San Francisco had the second-best EPA against defensively for the season (-0.174), compared to Kansas City being 16th – that vaunted pass-rush for the Niners could barely get a hand on Hurts, sacking him once and just getting two additional hits on. The O-line of the Birds had no issues picking up twists and games run by the defense. With that being said, I thought the 49ers back-seven actually did a very good job in designated dropback situations, passing off and falling underneath those deep crossers and post routes. And while I would say those ideas of how they structure coverages is in line with the new-found shifts for Kansas City, the challenging part in trying to break down this matchup on this side of the ball, is the fact that Steve Spagnuolo isn’t really as hung up with general schematic tendencies, but rather is willing to craft a gameplan specifically designed to attack the weaknesses or challenge teams to win in different ways than they usually do. We do know that he wants to bring pressure in high-leverage moments, but as I outlined earlier, they bring extra bodies at a much lower rate. While they might sprinkle in it every once in a while, they’ve liked to play quite a bit of two-man versus the better passing attacks in the AFC – that’s a death wish going up against Jalen Hurts and what he presents as a runner, if you have everybody in the back-seven with their backs to him. So I’d expect a lot more quarters, similar to what we saw in KC’s latter matchup with the Bengals, along with some late weak-side rotations, in order to cloud that passing lane they may have with A.J. Brown as the single receiver running a slant route away from his corner with outside leverage. And I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Justin Reid at big nickel, to alleviate some issues in their run fits, with one less defender in the box, if Philly spreads them out.



A common misconception about Jalen Hurts is what he provides as an off-schedule creator, because he’s been so deadly at making one guy miss in the backfield and breaks the spirits of defense by picking up third downs with legs. However, in fact he’s completing just 37% of his passes, for 4.2 yards per attempt and a QB rating of around 52, when throwing outside the pocket. And a layer that stands out in terms of pressure, he’s only 28th in success rate and 29th in EPA per dropback when the defense rushes five or more guys, according to Sports Info Solutions. I’m sure the Eagles will want to test those young corners on the other side with vertical shots on the perimeter – and I ultimately went with another name, but Jaylen Watson likely starting as one of the outside corners could have easily been an X-factor. Yet, they have not been able to cash in on those nearly as regularly since Hurts sprained his SC joint of his throwing arm. I think he attempted four of those go balls in the NFC title game and didn’t complete any, with more wobble and those being further off target than we’re used to. It’s obviously a very small sample size, but in those three games Hurts has played with the banged-up shoulder, his EPA + CPOE (completion percentage above expected) composite has taken a nose-dive from 0.155 (second among QBs behind only Mahomes) to just 0.054 (which would rank 23rd for the full season). And the Chiefs will need to create those stops between the twenties, by not giving that guy easy opportunities, because they were the second-worst defense in the red-zone during the regular season, allowing touchdowns on 67.3% of those trips.




Chiefs X-factors


Chiefs – Kadarius Toney & Mike Danna

Since being traded from the Giants, Toney has once again dealt with lower body injuries, which along with some of the interpersonal relationships, were the reason a New York team devoid of WR talent was ready to move on from a first-round pick just a year-and-a-half later. He has only played 133 total snaps for KC, but he’s caught 20 of 26 targets for 216 yards and he’s carried the ball six times for an additional 73 yards, with two combined touchdowns. For the regular season, Toney was the only wide receiver on the team who finished above 56th for his position in PFF’s rankings (WR20). Mecole Hardman is currently listed as doubtful for Sunday and the Chiefs need that one guy they can use as eye-candy on jet sweep fakes and orbit motions, but also to create some cheap offense at times on screen passes and at times as the outlet, if the defense doesn’t account for a guy like him – just as we saw in Toney’s debut with the Chiefs at Jacksonville, which I believe still is deemed the most wide-open touchdown of the season, when he was left all alone in the flats off a sweep fake. So his status for the game due to the ankle sprain and what he can provide, in terms of how jittery and explosive he is when given the ball, along with the effect he can have just as a presence once established to the defense, will be an important factor.

While Toney is a fairly well-known name, due to his draft status, some of the headlines he’s made off the field, but also some very impressive moments when suited up, I don’t think many casual NFL fans are familiar with the name Mike Danna. A fifth-round pick for the Chiefs in 2020, his role Spags’ defense has increased all three years and I’d say he’s one of the more underrated pass-rushers and overall players in football. Danna has missed four games this year, but when available, he’s played a career-high 54% of defensive snaps, And it has led to new personal top-marks in sacks (five) and additional pressures (16). He also had three tackles for loss and a couple of forced fumbles during the regular season. Even though first-rounder George Karlaftis has started every game, these last two weeks he and Danna have played basically the exact same amount of snaps. I could see the latter play a lot of strong-side defensive end on early downs, allowing Frank Clark to chase from the backside and be soloed up when the Eagles go to play-action, while Danna takes care of combo-blocks between the tackle and tight-end at the point of attack, fighting over down-blocks and funneling the ball back inside. The third-year man can be effective rushing off the edge, but mostly it’s what he can bring reducing inside and going against guards, which could make a difference.


Eagles X-factors


Eagles – Landon Dickerson & Reed Blankenship

Unlike the other three names I brought to the table in this discussion, for anybody who has studied the Eagles offense to some degree this season, Landon Dickerson is far from a little-known commodity. However, how close he is to 100 percent on Sunday could be a key factor. We saw him rive in pain late in the NFC Championship against San Francisco, holding his arm and exiting the field. MRIs later revealed that he avoided any major structural damage, but was diagnosed with a hyperextended elbow, which could have lingering effects. Whether it’s punching with that arm or being able to keep in place to stymie charging pass-rushers or the torque he can create to move and shield defenders in the run game, there’s very little room to hide the injury at that position, other than maybe sliding him away from a defender that’s lined up in that gap next to him to some degree. How effective he can be will be a huge deal, because while we talk a lot of about the center and right tackle for this unit, Dickerson has arguably had as good as season either one of those two. Going back to the ESPN metrics I mentioned a couple of times by now, Philly’s left guard finished the regular season with the highest run-blocking (80%) and second-highest pass-blocking win rates (97%) respectively. I’m not sure how comfortable Philly can be with leaving him one-on-one right now with a Chris Jones, when the Chiefs maybe mug up both A-gaps.

And call me a sicko for picking an undrafted backup safety for my X-factor here, but going back to early May, I outlined Blankenship as one of my favorite UDFAs and I said he had a real chance to start for this team. On the eve of the NFL season, the Eagles of course traded for Chauncey Gardner-Johnson from the Saints, who ended up being tied for the lead-league with six interceptions. Still, due to some injuries, we saw Blankenship get extended playing time and I think he’s hung in very well. So if Philly decides to deploy CGJ in the slot more regularly, in order to counter what Travis Kelce presents, I could see my guy be a major part of the gameplan in three-safety sets. His ability to close down windows in two-high coverages and make plays on the ball when challenged vertically (one INT and two PBUs) could be huge, but more importantly maybe, they’ll need him to continue to excel as an open-field tackler, which was a huge buy-in point for me, thinking back to his collegiate evaluation, and he’s only missed two of 47 tackling attempts as a pro. Other than Jordan Nose at nose, Blankenship may be the only other Eagles rookie with significant playing time in this game.





Super Bowl LVII Logo


Chiefs   27-24 Chiefs   Eagles


So many of the numbers I’ve brought up in this breakdown favor the Eagles, and right now I’d say they feature a more complete all-around roster. If you take out the two games with Gardner Minshew starting at quarterback, the Eagles would be tied for number one with the 49ers in turnover differential (+13). And they’ve had the advantage up front in most of their matchups this season. However, all that be viewed in the lense of them having faced the 32nd-ranked schedule this season, according to Football Outsiders. Against teams that were close to their talent level, they’ve gotten challenged, and I don’t think they’ve faced an offense particularly in the stratosphere of Kansas City.

The Chiefs are more battle-tested, looking at this postseason run and in terms of the competition they’ve faced throughout the regular season. Patrick Mahomes has been pretty unflappable during his MVP campaign, and has shredded some of the best defenses in the NFL, such as the Buccaneers, 49ers and the Broncos twice. Obviously how much more comfortable he is now at moving around on the banged-up ankle will be a key element, but he already showed some really encouraging signs two weeks prior to Super Bowl LVII.

Philadelphia still has quite a few players left from that championship run five years ago, but a lot of guys that will be in the spotlight on February 12th for the Eagles haven’t been on that stage. That includes the head coach, offensive and defensive coordinator, the quarterback and no players in defensive back-seven. I just believe Andy Reid’s staff and Patrick Mahomes have more answers for what the Eagles defense presents, being able to attack certain areas and having the combination of O-line plus schematic ways to slow down the defensive front on other side from taking over the game. And Philly’s offense has been nearly unstoppable in large part thanks to how many great players they have, but at its core is fairly simplistic in the way they build plays off another, to where Spags can give them some unscouted looks, which throw off the plan and don’t allow the Eagles to stay ahead of the chains as regularly as they’re used to

This should be a highly entertaining game between the two best teams for most of the season and I believe it will be decided by a razor-thin margin, but I’m going with the championship pedigree of the Chiefs here and think Harrison Butker hits a game-winning field goal with time running out.


NFL Playoffs

How the Bengals outsmarted the Bills:

In the highly anticipated matchup of Bengals-Bills in the Divisional Round, Cincinnati earned the resounding 27-10 victory by being the more physical team up front and crafting gameplans on both sides of the ball that were more effective at attacking the weaknesses of their opponents. Let’s break down what exactly they did from a schematic perspective!