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Week 17 NFL Picks

Season Record:  141-97-2

Jacksonville @ Indianapolis

Chicago @ Minnesota

New England @ Miami

Cleveland @ Pittsburgh

Baltimore @ Cincinnati

Houston @ Tennessee

Dallas @ Philadelphia

Carolina @ Tampa Bay

Buffalo @ New York Jets

Kansas City @ San Diego

New Orleans @ Atlanta

Arizona @ Los Angeles

New York Giants @ Washington

Oakland @ Denver

Seattle @ San Francisco

Green Bay @ Detroit

 

 

Week 16 NFL Picks

Season Record:  131-88-2

New York Giants @ Philadelphia

Atlanta @ Carolina

Washington @ Chicago

San Diego @ Cleveland

Miami @ Buffalo

Minnesota @ Green Bay

Tennessee @ Jacksonville

New York Jets @ New England

Indianapolis @ Oakland

Tampa Bay @ New Orleans

San Franciso @ Los Angeles

Arizona @ Seattle

Cincinnati @ Houston

Baltimore @ Pittsburgh

Denver @ Kansas City

Detroit @ Dallas

 

Week 15 NFL Picks

Season Record:  120-83-2

Los Angeles @ Seattle

Miami @ New York Jets

Cleveland @ Buffalo

Philadelphia @ Baltimore

Green Bay @ Chicago

Jacksonville @ Houston

Tennessee @ Kansas City

Indianapolis @ Minnesota

Detroit @ New York Giants

Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati

New Orleans @ Arizona

San Francisco @ Atlanta

New England @ Denver

Oakland @ San Diego

Tampa Bay @ Dallas

Carolina @ Washington

 

Week 14 NFL Picks

Season Record:  111-76-2

Oakland @ Kansas City

San Diego @ Carolina

Pittsburgh @ Buffalo

Cincinnati @Cleveland

Chicago @ Detroit

Houston @ Indianapolis

Minnesota @ Jacksonville

Arizona @ Miami

Washington @ Philadelphia

Denver @ Tennessee

New York Jets @ San Francisco

New Orleans @ Tampa Bay

Seattle @ Green Bay

Atlanta @ Los Angeles

Dallas @ New York Giants

Baltimore @ New England

 

Week 13 NFL Picks

Season Record:  102-71-2

Dallas @ Minnesota

Kansas City @ Atlanta

Miami @ Baltimore

San Francisco @ Chicago

Philadelphia @ Cincinnati

Houston @ Green Bay

Denver @ Jacksonville

Los Angeles @ New England

Detroit @ New Orleans

Buffalo @ Oakland

Washington @  Arizona

New York Giants @ Pittsburgh

Tampa Bay @ San Diego

Carolina @ Seattle

Indianapolis @ New York Jets

Saturday Film Session Championship Saturday

The Winner of The Main Event:  Jordan Leggett

In a game where the difference in score was only 7 points last night, one could argue a large reason for Clemson winning the ACC Championship last night, was the ability for Tigers to make their big, athletic, mismatch-TE effective in the game while VT simply could not. Jordan Leggett was involved early tallying 4 catches, 49 yards, and 2 TDs in a winning effort Saturday night. Bucky Hodges? Bucky recorded just 1 catch for 41 yards.

Bucky Hodges has shown the ability to line up all over the field this season. He plays on the line at TE, he will play in the backfield as an H-Back, he will play in the slot, and he will play at WR. His versatility and ability to win from so many different positions on the field is one of the reasons that makes Hodges such an attractive draft prospect. Not only do you have to be athletic enough to do this, but you must also have enough football intelligence to master the playbook from multiple spots as well. Head Coach Justin Fuente seemed to have a game-plan that was evident from the first snap. He was going to use Hodges almost exclusively out wide. If the idea was to draw the attention and coverage from Clemson’s top CB, Cordrea Tankersley, it worked brilliantly.

Unfortunately for the Hokies, being able to keep Tankersley on Hodges and away from other options such as WR Isaiah Ford, was not good enough. Virginia Tech was not able to run the ball consistently at any point of the game against Clemson’s deep and athletic front 7. Without a running game to keep them honest, Clemson was able to frustrate QB Jerod Evans all game long. They mixed coverages and blitzes up, clearly getting into Jerod’s head. When his first read was not open he would tuck the ball and run to try to salvage some yards instead of keeping his eyes downfield looking for a second or third option.

Bucky’s one reception came on a very bizarre play and one in which he did not draw the coverage from Tankersley. Clemson dropped all 11 into coverage initially on the play, eventually rushing a few on a delayed blitz. This allowed Hodges to literally get 40 yards downfield, post up, and wait for the ball against a smaller defender. The ball was intended to be a jump ball, which the 6’7 Hodges would be favored over maybe anyone in college football, but fell a little short. Hodges used his body to shield the defender to make an easy catch for a big gain. Hodges had one other play on the game that lead to a VT first down. It came on a trick play where a pitch turned into a RB-pass. Hodges had Tankersley beat deep and instead of giving up a touchdown, Cordrea decided to pull Hodges back drawing a pass interference penalty. Both of the interceptions thrown by Jerod Evans to Tankersley last night came on big plays in which the inexperienced, yet talented QB, tried forcing the ball to Hodges. There is a reason very few teams target Tankersley in the pass game and VT found out why first hand.

Before we talk about Leggett’s big night in the passing game, and he had a huge night, I want to sing his praises for his ability and willingness to contribute in the running game as well. I made it a point to pay attention to this closely last night, and by my count, the first and only time where Leggett didn’t win on his block came in the 4th quarter on a 1st and 5 play-very impressive. He isn’t a violent blocker but he showed last night that he can be a very effective wall blocker. This means that he has quick feet, puts himself in the right position, and takes accurate angles to shield ball carriers from the defender that he is blocking. Leggett made several blocks that sealed a crease last night that sprung teammates for long plays.

This is significant as Jordan is widely seen, like Hodges, as a mismatch in the passing game. He also has the ability to line up all over the field. Unlike Bucky, he showcased this ability in the ACC Championship game. QB Deshaun Watson put Jordan in motion often, every single play to my tally on the first drive, and in multiple spots to draw mismatches. His size alone won the Tigers 2 pass inference calls in the game. Clemson picked up another first down early in the game by targeting Leggett at WR in a screen play. He is big and fast making him not easy to bring down by smaller defensive backs in the open field.

Leggett is not Clemson’s only NFL talent on the offensive side of the ball and Watson is experienced enough to know where to go with the football. Leggett often draws coverage away from stars such as Mike Williams and Artavis Scott making his athletic abilities valuable even when the ball isn’t coming his way. On Leggett’s first touchdown catch he found himself wide open down the seem on a RPO play for an easy toss and catch. Leggett’s second touchdown came on a slant from the WR position in the redzone. He beat the CB in quickness and size on the play very easily.

Leggett won this match up, very handily last night. While I am not convinced that had Leggett and Hodges switched teams last night that the results of this matchup in the passing game might be very different, Leggett played a complete game and did everything he needed to do to help ensure his team win. Both players have the ability to torment defensive coordinators at the NFL level and should expect to be either day 1 or day 2 picks.

Updated 12/4/2016

 

While you are enjoying college football this weekend join NFL scouts by putting your grade on these marquee individual match-ups with draft implications. We will revisit the “Main Event” early next week to see who came out on top of their battle.

Main Event


#16 Jordan Legett, Clemson, TE

VS

#7 Bucky Hodges, Virginia Tech, TE


Undercard Matchups


#11 Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma, WR

VS

#28 James Washington, Oklahoma ST, WR


#31 Jalen Tabor, Florida, CB

VS

#26 Marlon Humphrey, Alabama, CB

Week 12 NFL Pick

Season Record:  93-66-2

Minnesota @ Detroit

Washington @ Dallas

Pittsburgh @ Indianapolis

Jacksonville @ Buffalo

Arizona @ Atlanta

Cincinnati @ Baltimore

Tennessee @ Chicago

New York Giants @ Cleveland

San Diego @ Houston

San Francisco @ Miami

Los Angels @ New Orleans

Seattle @ Tampa Bay

Carolina @ Oakland

New England @ New York Jets

Kansas City @ Denver

Green Bay @ Philadelphia

 

Saturday Film Session Week 12

Winner of The Main Event:  No Decision

There could be a case made, albeit we are only in the month of November, that this year’s Michigan vs. Ohio State game featured as many as 5 first round DB prospects. There is a logjam at the top of the class at CB, specifically this year, as there are currently 12 ranking in the November Top 100 Big Board. To put things into perspective the CBs that end up ranking in the top 2 or 3 will be certainly drafted in the first round while the ones that end up between 10-12 could be drafted in the third or even fourth round. Needless to say there is a lot of money on the line and today was a great chance for Gareon Conley and Jourdan Lewis to showcase their talents and make a case for being among the top of their class.

Neither player jumped off the chart today and screamed first round talent, like Adoree Jackson did in his effort today for USC against ND. Both CBs have strong reputations for being excellent cover guys. Perhaps the best compliment a QB can give to a CB is to avoid his side of the field. We saw a lot of that today as neither CB was targeted more than 5 times in a double over-time game.

Jourdan Lewis is a little smaller than the blueprint for today’s NFL at 5’10 175 pounds. Lewis is featured mostly outside for Michigan but with his quickness a lot feel like like his best position will be covering the smaller and quicker slot WRs on Sundays. It seemed as though JT Barrett’s first read was often the man Lewis was covering today. As mentioned earlier, Barrett only challenged Lewis a couple of times, which means that some of the pressure that Michigan’s front four was able to force was due to Lewis doing his job well and forcing Barrett into his second, or third reads. There were a couple completed passes thrown at Lewis but they were to be fair excellent throws. Jourdan’s best play on the day came on a option play. He read that his teammate was going to take away Barrett’s option to keep so he jumped the back and blew the play up in the backfield for a big loss. Unfortunately, Lewis missed a tackle in the backfield later in the game and appeared to struggle getting off of a block on other running plays.

One things scout love about Conley, unlike Lewis, is his size. Conley is 6’0 195 and looks the part. Like Lewis, Conley didn’t make a ton of plays but played well enough to keep the football away from his man most of the game. Also like Lewis, his man beat him a couple times for smaller gains. Conley didn’t have an impact on the running game either but this isn’t an area Conley struggles in, his number just never came up to make a play today. Conley wasn’t on the field for every snap like you would expect a first round CB prospect would be. Keeping Conley fresh is just a luxury that Ohio State can afford with Marshon Lattimore starting opposite Conley and the young Denzel Ward continuing to be hard to keep off the field. Conley’s best play came in a huge moment of the game. Conley broke up a pass on 3rd down in OT forcing Michigan to kick the field goal that preludes the Curtis Samuel game winning touchdown. Michigan fans will be quick to question if that play should have been flagged for pass interference and perhaps rightly so. As the play stood, however, a huge play was made by Conley in a winning effort.

Not enough evidence this week to go either way. Call it inconclusive, call it too close to call, call it a tie.

 

While you are enjoying college football this weekend join NFL scouts by putting your grade on these marquee individual match-ups with draft implications. We will revisit the “Main Event” early next week to see who came out on top of their battle.

Main Event


#26 Jourdan Lewis, Michigan, CB

VS

#8 Gareon Conley, Ohio State, CB


Undercard Matchups


#33 Jamal Adams, LSU, S

VS

#14 Justin Evans, Texas A&M, S


#55 Carl Lawson, Auburn, Edge Rusher

VS

#56 Tim Williams, Alabama, Edge Rusher 

Week 11 NFL Picks

Season Record:  83-62-2

New Orleans @ Carolina

Pittsburgh @ Cleveland

Baltimore @ Dallas

Jacksonville @ Detroit

Tennessee @ Indianapolis

Buffalo @ Cincinnati

Tampa Bay @ Kansas City

Chicago @ New York Giants

Arizona @ Minnesota

Miami @ St. Louis

New England @ San Francisco

Philadelphia @ Seattle

Green Bay @ Washington

Houston @ Oakland

 

Saturday Film Session Week 11

Winner of The Main Event:  Charles Harris

Between the two teams that faced off in Knoxville on Saturday, 100 points were scored. With that in mind it doesn’t seem just to declare anyone on either defense the winner of the day. Both players, however, despite the final score had moments where they show cased their first round level talents.

Derek Barnett and Charles Harris are both competing within a very tight and top heavy class of pass rushers this season. Both edge defenders have shown an interest and ability to be effective in defending the run in addition to their superior ability to rush the passer. Finding defenders that can play all three downs has become increasingly important in the modern NFL. NFL offenses play so fast these days that they often do not give defenses a chance to sub in special packages of players for certain situational football like they used to be able to. Combine speed of play with the ability for RBs to play WR, TEs to play WR, and QBs with an ability to run like RBs it is easy to assume players like Barnett and Harris will be viewed as a premium.

While they are both three down players, they are very different players. Barnett, who was number 9 on my most recent big board plays with power at 6’3 and 265 pounds. He leverages tackles well with his hands and his lower body. He isn’t twitchy quick off the snap but consistently finds a way to beat his blocker and has a nose for the QB. He does enough to hold up at the point of attack to make teams run away from him instead of test him at his RE spot.  A lot of experts project Barnett as a 3-4 OLB. I respectively disagree. Barnett seems slow in space and in pursuit. I think his future would be best with his hand in the dirt as a 4-3 end on either the right or left side. Derek had a nice game, albeit nothing flashy today, as he tallied 6 tackles, 1 QB hurry, and 1 sack (he was unblocked on the sack). He continues to make plays in big spots for the Vols. One thing he will have to work on is to decrease the number of offsides penalties he commits. He added another one to the season total today-extending a drive.

Harris, who currently sits at 21 on the big board (I think I have him higher than almost everyone else), plays with more finesse and quickness than Barnett. He is a complete pass rusher as he combines elite speed off the snap with a series of developed pass rush moves. He has such a good first step that his opponent is so quickly in a back pedal and off balance that Harris can even beat him on a simple bull rush (as he did today for a QB hurry). Harris is not as his best when teams run directly at him as he doesn’t have the ideal bulk to take on a blocker and stack the line. He is at his best when he is asked to shoot the gap and disrupt the play in the backfield and when chasing down the play in pursuit. He seems to have a good understanding of the game and does a good job staying in the cut back lanes preventing big plays. Harris had 6 tackles and 2 QB hurries today. The box score reads that he did not record a sack but he did bring down Josh Dobbs on a third down play in the backfield as Dobbs was trying to escape the pressure. I wonder if the game was played in Missouri if that would have been a sack. Harris looks like his best position in the NFL might be as a 3-4 OLB as he would need to put on a another 5-10 pounds of muscle to be an every down 4-3 end.

I went into the game thinking that there was a more significant difference in NFL potential between the two prospects than I found after the game. I will still have Barnett rated higher overall than Harris but the gap between the two isn’t as large as most think. With that said, the winner is Harris, by a small margin.

Updated 11/19/2016

 

While you are enjoying college football this weekend join NFL scouts by putting your grade on these marquee individual match-ups with draft implications. We will revisit the “Main Event” early next week to see who came out on top of their battle.

Main Event


#9 Derek Barnett, Tennessee, Edge Rusher

VS

#91 Charles Harris, Missouri, Edge Rusher


Undercard Matchups


 


#9 Gabe Marks, Washington ST, WR

VS

#4 Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado, CB