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:
In the NFL there is constant competition at pretty much every position. Front offices try to find replacements for aging players or those, who will soon demand contracts they can’t afford. That creates an environment, where every man is working as hard as they can to earn a starting spot. Only competition gets the best out of football players and it is vital for a team’s success. I picked out the eight positional battles that will be most interesting to watch through training camps and beyond. So here they are:
Now that we’ve talked about the top overall players in the NFL, I want to shift my focus more towards the young up-an-coming stars of the game. Specifically, I will look at players coming into their second and third seasons, who are not looked at like that quite yet. So you won’t see any names like Alvin Kamara or Carson Wentz. This list includes those who have already seen the field a lot, had their last year cut short by injuries or just didn’t get the opportunities to shine quite yet. But what combines them all for me – I think they could break through this upcoming season.
Like I do every year once the official player’s countdown is fully released, I wanted to make my own top 100 list. There is a serious misconception about the voting process. While opinions are heavily based on last year, this list is about the 2018 NFL season. It’s not about grading what they did last year alone, but rather what to expect from them this upcoming campaign. That’s why it is the top 100 players of 2018. I mean only 12 teams even played this year so far. Of course you should have recency bias to some degree, but you also have to look at the body of work and what you believe they are capable of. Without any further ado, here’s what I came up with: