Tag Archives: NFL

Key position battles at 2020 NFL training camp:

We have finally reached NFL training camp and with the agreement between the league and the players association, there is a little more clarity about how the preparation for the 2020 season will look. With such a long time off, the early stages of this will involve a lot of lifting and running, before the players actually go out on the field and compete, but like I have done for several years, I want to look at some of the more interesting battles for starting positions.

Now that preseason has been cancelled, it will only enhance the importance of these competitions and even though I usually have a little bias towards rookies, since I studied them a lot since the Super Bowl ended, this whole situation should actually favor the more seasoned veterans. For this exercise, I tried to avoid a few of the really obvious ones, such as the Bears QB competition that has and will be talked to death by all the major networks, or the Dolphins entire offensive line pretty much, where you can’t point to one specific spot.

With that being said, here at the ten that I will follow the closest:

Continue reading Key position battles at 2020 NFL training camp:

Best triplets in the NFL going into 2020:

After a week off, I am back with a vengeance! Since this was kind of a trending topic a few weeks ago and I saw a lot of media outlets/networks put out their rankings of the top triplets in the NFL, I thought I needed to put myself into the conversation and right some of wrongs that were done.

This list only includes combinations of one quarterback, running back and wide receiver each. That means no players beyond that and no consideration of the offensive scheme or play-caller, as much as that’s possible. And to lay the ground rules – all three positions are weighed equally. So just because you have one of the elite quarterbacks doesn’t necessarily put you up there and if one of those spots doesn’t have a really good player, I don’t care how great the other two are.

So with that being said, here is my list of the best trios in the league:

Continue reading Best triplets in the NFL going into 2020:

NFL players in a 2020 make-or-break season:

We have talked a lot about breakout NFL players, most improved position groups and all that kind of stuff. Now I want to shift the focus more towards players, who aren’t in a position where they are locked in as long-time contributors for their respective teams and will be entering a crucial season in their careers.

Those can be young players not living up to their draft status, guys in a contract year wanting to earn another lucrative deal or long-time veterans trying to stick around. I called this a make-or-break season for these players because they aren’t at a point, where people recognize them as some of the best players at their position. So you won’t see necessarily see players on the franchise tag, trying to earn that long-term contract for big money, but rather guys who could also be labelled as draft busts or washed up veterans.

Here is the list:

Continue reading NFL players in a 2020 make-or-break season:

Top 10 offensive lines in the NFL heading into 2020:

Talking about the most improved position groups in the NFL last week inspired me to look at one of those in particular and list my top ten units. For this exercise I tried to look at all these offensive lines in a vacuum – how well they execute certain run schemes, how diverse they can be or how great they are with their bread-and-butter and of course how well they protect the quarterback. While I support my case with certain statistics and advanced numbers in particular, solely going by the stats would be a huge mistake, since that would mean the Rams allowing the fewest amount of sacks qualifies them as the top pass-blocking line or the Giants almost had a top five run-blocking unit, even though Saquon Barkley routinely had to make people miss in the backfield and Daniel Jones averaging over six yards a carry certainly helped.

Instead, I’m trying to go through the starting five individually, then talk about their strengths and weaknesses and just some of the plays they run routinely. I have to project the starting lineups a little here and there will be some battles for specific spots during whatever we will have from training camp. That’s why I mention the key backups as well, which could feature guys who will be in the starting lineup week one. Under the new CBA, teams are now allowed to dress at least two more players on gamedays and another one if the active roster includes at least offensive linemen. So the strategy teams are going to choose will be interesting to me and I would expect a lot more groups carrying eight linemen on Sundays.

And just to make this clear – this is a projection of what I think will be the top ten O-lines in 2020, even though I will often reference to what they did last season and beyond.

Continue reading Top 10 offensive lines in the NFL heading into 2020:

Most improved position groups in the NFL for 2020:

As I’ve been working through every NFL roster to point out their biggest remaining need(s) and which players could break out for them in 2020, I wanted to look at this from a different angle. Therefore, I compared the rosters from a year to the ones heading into this upcoming season and tried to figure out who has improved the most at every single position.

For this piece, I am considering top-end play a depth. Players that are simply coming back from injury will be weighed to a smaller degree, but that can obviously vary depending on how much or if that guy actually played for them last season.

With that being said, here is my list:

Continue reading Most improved position groups in the NFL for 2020:

NFL teams most likely to go from worst to first in 2020:

We have talked a lot about the draft, biggest remaining needs for every NFL team, some breakout candidates and other stuff, so let’s now get back to more of a big picture and look at some teams from an angle of where could they go next season. In this article, I am analyzing those teams that finished fourth in their division this past year and why they could win it in 2020 or land at the bottom once again, plus an outlook where I actually see them.

Of course much of this is about these eight teams and how much better or worse I feel about them than the general public, but it was heavily dependent on their three division rivals as well. The top half I could certainly see earn a playoff spot and surprise some people if everything goes right. After that a lot of my faith is more built around the lack of great competition and giving some hope to these respective fan bases. As the cliché goes – everybody is 0-0 right now.

Continue reading NFL teams most likely to go from worst to first in 2020:

Breakout candidates for 2020 – Defense edition:

I started this exercise of choosing second- and third-year players in the NFL I expect to take the next step in their development, based on being in a better situation due schematic changes, the respective team not re-signing certain veterans and allowing their young guys to play a bigger role or just my evaluation of them coming out of college.

Once again, my criteria was – they were not allowed to have a Pro Bowl so far, reached a major statistical milestone (1000 yard season, double-digit sacks, etc.) or are just looked at generally as one of the better players at their position already. I didn’t include guys that made my list already last year (Kemoko Turay, Justin Reid, etc.) or haven’t seen the field at all yet (Jonah Williams, Hakeem Butler, etc.). Across my two articles on these breakout players, you will only find one top ten pick, since I believe those are obvious choices anyway, if those guys just haven’t been healthy or whatever it may be.

In this version, we are looking at eight more defensive players ready to break out in 2020 after talking about offense last week already:

Continue reading Breakout candidates for 2020 – Defense edition:

Breakout candidates for 2020 – Offense edition:

After going through the rosters of all 32 teams and talking about their biggest remaining need, I now want to talk about some young players around the league, who I think will take the next step in their development this upcoming season. Specifically I’m looking at second- and third-year players who haven’t been a Pro Bowl selection, reached a major milestone (1000 yard season, double-digit sacks, etc.) or are just looked at generally as one of the better players at the position already. I also didn’t want to talk about guys I already had on my list last year, like Kemoko Turay for Indianapolis or Justin Reid for Houston – who I believe already is one of the best young safeties in the game – and I ended up with only one former top ten pick, since the few I considered mostly haven’t broken out because they simply haven’t been on the field enough. At the same time I made it a requirement to have played at a least a little. So that excludes guy like Bengals offensive tackle Jonah Williams and a receiver I really liked, who is now on the Cardinals named Hakeem Butler.

For this exercise I considered what my evaluation of them was coming out of college, in terms of the development they still needed to make to be effective at the next level, situations they are now, whether it’s a change of scheme on their team or veterans that were let go in order to allow them to take on a bigger role, or just how high I was on them as draft prospects. I’m going to analyze their skill-set, how they fit with their respective teams and why I believe they are bound to break out in 2020.

In this version, we are looking at eight offensive players:

Continue reading Breakout candidates for 2020 – Offense edition:

Biggest remaining needs for each team in the AFC for 2020:

We are at the second part of my “biggest remaining needs for each NFL team” breakdown and today we look at the AFC side of things. Once again, at this rather eventless point of the offseason, I get to break down the rosters of all 32 teams and watch some tape to pin-point the one area each squad should still improve at to be their best.

That can be an impact player at a certain position, a contributor in a specific role or just a backup at a spot, where the team doesn’t have great depth. Of course scheme fit and available ressources have to be considered individually, but looking at this from a more general perspective, these are the one spots each team should still be looking to upgrade at.

Also check out my NFC version of this write-up and you can listen to my breakdowns on Youtube as well.

Continue reading Biggest remaining needs for each team in the AFC for 2020: