A little more than a week away from the NFL Scouting Combine, I wanted to take a look at some of the prospects I think would match very well with certain teams. This may be because of certain needs, scheme fits or just the type of players they are looking for. Since picks one and two seem to be set in stone pretty much, unless somebody shakes things up completely by trading up until then, we are starting with the team selecting at number three and work our way down the board, taking stops where I see a certain fit. Obviously this still heavily depends on what’s going to happen in free agency and the positions that will be filled up to that point, but for now these prospect-team pairings would make a lot of sense.
With the NFL season now in the books, we have officially entered the pre-draft process. While the combine and pro days are still ahead, the evaluation period has already started with the three major all-star games for upcoming NFL prospects – the East-West Shrine game, NFPA Bowl and the Senior Bowl of course. I re-watched all the practices and now I can tell you who stood out to me the most.
With that being said, this list is about who has boosted their draft stock the most so far, instead of simply telling you who the best players were. South Carolina defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw for example looked like the baddest dude on the field down in Mobile, but he only practiced two days and didn’t show anything we hadn’t seen, which validated more what most people already thought of him, instead of really taking him to a different level. Other guys might not have been on some teams’ draft board at all because of where they come from, but now scouts will look more into them because of what they showcased against a different level of competition.
We have finally arrived. After a postseason that was filled with upsets and comeback victories, I think the two best teams in the league will meet in the Super Bowl. This game features the NFL’s best defense going up against the premier quarterback we have today. We also have Andy Reid returning to the biggest stage 15 years after being there with the Eagles and Kyle Shanahan with his shot at redemption after being part of that 28-3 collapse with the Falcons a few years back. There are so many storylines surrounding this matchup and a lot of things are just unfolding, but most importantly – we have two extremely well-matched teams and the game could go several different ways.
Therefore, I wanted to look at how the 49ers and Chiefs will counter each other and how they can create problems for the opposition. What they have been successful at, can it continue to work in this matchup and which wrinkles can be used to stay ahead of the other team. Finally, I will present my X-factors for both teams on either side of the ball and then I will give my best sense for what is going to happen and who will take home the Lombardi trophy.
Since we are still waiting for injury reports and different storylines to emerge for the Super Bowl, I thought I would use this week to focus on something different – How did the first-year guys do? To do so I put together my perfect team of rookies based on their play in 2019. Therefore I did not consider players who missed the majority of the season due to injury or simply didn’t have enough time to showcase their talent.
Since 11 personnel is the new base offense nowadays, that is the personnel grouping I used, while adding in a flex spot for another deserving rookie. Defensively I used a 4-3 front and added another flex – for an extra defensive back in this case. Then finally I named four special team performers like you would on a Pro Bowl ballot and for each side of the ball I added a few key backups.
This is my squad:
After two stunning playoff weekends, we have reached the semi-finals. We have already seen the Patriots, Saints and Ravens exit, which were three of the top five teams in terms of Super Bowl odds, thrilling comebacks and epic finishes. Now we are the Championship Round with two very different matchups. On the AFC side there is the number two-seeded Chiefs hosting the Cinderella-type story six-seeded Titans, while the NFC will be decided by the two squads who had been coming off a bye week. These are also two rematches from the regular season. While the Titans pulled off the upset and enter as a touchdown underdog once again, the Packers were blown out in San Francisco mid-season and are now looking for revenge in the Bay.
We have reached the second stage of the playoffs, leaving us with the NFL’s version of the Elite Eight. We have already seen both the reigning Super Bowl champs and a 13-3 Saints squad leave the tournament due to upsets at home and if it wasn’t for an epic collapse by the Bills in Houston, we would have seen all four division champs kicked out already. However, now the four teams coming off a bye will be well rested to take on those aspiring contenders. The bookmakers have three of those home teams favored by at least a touchdown, with the Seahawks being the only ones to keep it really close, but as we have seen plenty of times, the playoffs have different rules and there always seems to be one surprise outcome in this round. I looked at each matchup and who has the advantage at every offensive and defensive position. In the column underneath I also mentioned if anything stood out to me with special teams and/or coaching.
The holidays can be quite stressful and you don’t always get to put in as much work as you would like, so I couldn’t put out a fully detailed article this week the way I usually do. However, I wanted to take the time to at least give a little preview for the first round of the NFL playoffs.
Therefore I took a look at what I think are the biggest matchup advantages for each Wildcard game. This doesn’t automatically that the team who has the upper hand in that particular matchup will win the whole game, but it could easily end up being the decisive factor, depending on how things turn on. Here they are: