Patrick Mahomes was one of the most polarizing and fascinating draft prospects I can remember in years at the quarterback position. He put up mind-boggling numbers at Texas Tech, including a senior year with over 5000 yards and 41 touchdowns through the air. At his pro day, Mahomes threw the ball 80 yards and he showed off his tremendous arm talent throughout his collegiate career, when he was tossing deep bombs on a weekly basis. However, he came from an Air Raid offensive system, which have produced dozens of signal-callers who have put up crazy stats in college but never were able to come close to that kind of success in the pros. Therefore the Chiefs received some criticism for trading up all the way to the tenth overall pick for their quarterback in 2016, with Alex Smith still on the roster. Less than two years removed from that, Mahomes now has set a new NFL record for most passing touchdowns in his team’s first two games with ten of those and has his offense scoring 40 points per game. I want to recap why I had him graded as a second-round pick and how he has proven me and so many other analysts wrong in such phenomenal fashion.
With the first week of the season in the books, I thought it would make sense to give a short update on all 32 teams around the league. Now having watched every single matchup, I came away with one observation for each NFL squad. For plenty of them I came up with several statements, but I went with the most apparent one to me. Usually I go by divisions, but for the purpose of this I listed them in alphabetical order.
Like I do every year, I’m about to put myself out there by predicting the top three candidates for all the major NFL awards and how I think the playoff picture will look like. Once again, I have gone week by week for every single matchup, considering days of rest, previous matchups, etc. and put together the seedings for each conference as a result. Then I predicted the following postseason matchups going all the way to Super Bowl LIII. You will find my filled-out schedule in Excel format at the bottom of this article and feel free to burn me once February rolls around. For now, this is how I think the 2018/19 season will pan out and I couldn’t be more excited to actually watch things come together.
Time to switch back to NFL football! I have now watched pretty much every snap of the first three weeks of preseason and it’s time to point out the guys, who have impressed me the most. I’m not here to tell you that legends like Tom Brady have looked sharp, but rather this list is about rookies and a few second- and third-year players, who aren’t on a lot of people’s radars at this point and have looked like impact performers to this point. Not all of these youngsters might see a significant amount of snaps this season because of the veterans ahead of them taking away opportunities, but they have looked like guys who could step in and make a difference for their teams. With that being said, these young men have caught my eye:
Finishing up on my top five positional rankings for this upcoming NCAA football season, we switch over to the defensive side of the ball. Once again, these lists are about where those guys stack up as college players – not as eventual draft prospects. So the criteria I base them on is the tape I watched on them the last couple of seasons and the jump I project them to make this year. With that being said, I can’t help but look ahead to some degree, since I could easily see eight defensive players drafted in the top ten next April and most of them should be on the D-line.
After revealing my most intriguing storylines heading into the 2018 college football season, I wanted to release my top five positional rankings, like I did a year ago as well. To make the criteria clear – this list is about the actual college players, as a combination of what they showed me last season and what I expect them to be in 2018. So this is not a look forward to these young men as draft prospects in 2019. Therefore, you might find some names that won’t be discussed a lot from next February to April. With that being said, I want to start with the offensive side of the ball and I will get back to defense next week.
It’s been a while since I last talked about the college game, since I consider the draft as more of an NFL topic. But don’t misjudge me – I’m extremely thrilled for this upcoming year. With that in mind, I thought about the topics I believe could rule the college football season. To some degree even more so than in the pros, conferences and the success of individual teams can vary on a yearly basis. Of course there are those juggernauts we expect to be back at the top in December, but some players and different programs come out of nowhere every single year and with homefield advantages, upsets are a fixture on the schedule.