Sam Darnold is being projected as the number one overall pick in the NFL draft. "Experts" everywhere are using a pro-day in the rain to justify this selection. What I saw at this pro-day was a lot of receivers diving for poorly thrown balls, however this is besides the point as a pro-day with no defense is not going to make or break a player. Darnold is an extremely talented player, but he is a talented player that could've used another year or two in college.
Darnold was a walking turnover in 2017. USC's golden boy through 13 interceptions and fumbled countless times. Number 14 would force the ball into tight coverage or simply throw it into the air when the pocket was breaking down. The major problem with Sam Darnold is he rarely moves on from his first option, when he does progress to his second and third option the ball often comes out either late or inaccurate. His completion percentage is skewed, due to him having a ton of screen pass or read option throws in the USC offense. Also Darnold often runs around the pocket with the ball in one hand which leads to fumbles. On a brighter note he is very athletic and can throw on the run. Sam Darnold can make rare deep throws, but will ignore open options over the middle to attempt these passes. The USC product has a very solid frame that should be able to hold up to NFL pounding.
Overall, it is easy to see why NFL teams fall in love with Darnold. He can resemble Aaron Rodgers at times when running around in the pocket and attempting passes that few can make. Unfortunately, this isn't the next Aaron Rodgers, he frankly resembles DeShone Kizer and will make the same poor head scratching decisions Kizer does. Sam Darnold will likely be the first pick in the draft, but he is a raw talent that still needs to be seasoned and cooked. Spending his first season learning behind Tyrod Taylor will be necessary, so that the USC product doesn't bite off more then he can chew in the NFL.
This NFL draft has a lot of talent at the running back position. Many would say it is highlighted by Penn State's Saquon Barkley, however being overshadowed through out the process is college footballs leading rusher. Rashaad Penny from San Diego State ran for the most yards in all of Division 1, but is rarely mentioned among the likes of media darlings like Saquon. With that said, Penny still could end up being the best back to come out of this class thanks to his great field vision and speed in the open field.
Rashaad Penny checks in at 5'11 with a weight of 220 pounds. This is a good frame for a running back, and when you combine this with his 4.46 speed you create a very talented player. Watching Penny on tape you do not see a ton of flash in terms of spin moves or running over defenders, but what you do see is a player with good lateral movement who can navigate in traffic. Penny has the long speed to take it to the house from any where on the field and runs effortlessly with a gliding style. The San Diego State product can provide value on special teams as he has returned multiple kick offs for touchdowns and can not be taken down with an arm tackle. On top of that, Penny adds value as a pass catcher. I have seen the versatile back line up as a Receiver as well as catch passes out of the back field for touchdowns. The major question mark about Penny is the level of competition he faced, but he did run for 175 yards and a touchdown against Stanford.
Rashaad Penny is a late first round talent that might slip to the second or even the third similar to how Dalvin Cook did. My pro comparison for him would have to be Ladainian Tomlinson, but I have yet to see Penny utilize the stiff arm and spin movie that was a integral part of the Hall of Famer's game. College footballs leading rusher averaged 3.32 yards per carry when contacted at or behind the line of scrimmage, which is top in his class, and will surely be a tough tackle in the NFL.
Coming out of high school no one wanted Anthony Miller. They said he was too slow to play division one football, despite being the state champion in the 110 hurdles as well as runner up in long jump. So he walked on to Memphis, as he received no offers, and rewrote their record book for Wide Receivers. Now coming out of college Miller is being projected by many as a mid-round draft pick, however I see Anthony Miller as a potential steal at the Receiver position.
Miller was unable to participate fully in the NFL combine due to a lingering foot issue. He did bench press though, and put up 22 reps which was second of all receivers. At 5'11 and 190 pounds Anthony Miller has a strong build to hold up the pounding a slot receiver takes. The Memphis product has run after the catch potential as seen versus ECU when he caught a screen pass and ran away from the defense for a long touchdown. He has strong hands and can often be seen going over the top of defenders and bringing in a pass with strong hands. However, I do not see Miller playing on the outside often in the league, due to a lack of speed. Miller comes off the line high and does not have much of a drive phase coming off the line of scrimmage to close the gap on a corner quickly. With that said, Miller does know how to create separation when faced with man to man coverage, as well as find a hole in the defense when going against zone. The former Memphis star is an excellent fit in the slot where he can take advantage of slower Line Backers as well as less cover savvy Safeties and will benefit from a high volume of targets.
Overall, Anthony Miller was a very productive receiver in college as he went for 1,462 yards and 18 touchdowns his senior year. Miller is worth a second round pick, but will most likely go in the third or fourth which will be a value pick. I project him to be very similar to Jarvis Landry and would be perfect for the New England Patriots as he could play the role that Danny Amendola has left behind.
Tim Martin of Chinstrapsports sits down with Montana Linebacker Jeremiah Kose to discuss his NFL outlook, who he has modeled his game after, and matching up against Carson Wentz.
Q: You play with a lot of energy, you’re a sideline to sideline type of player, is that something you feel you can bring to the next level?
A: Yes definitely, even with all the injuries I feel they’ve definitely made me stronger, and made me have a better work ethic from having to return from the injuries. Also, realizing the little weaknesses in my body helped me expose them and make them better. I can definitely bring sideline to sideline play to the next level just do to my effort.
Q: You are a Middle Linebacker which is the QuarterBack of the defense, what was it like playing cat and mouse against Carson Wentz and North Dakota State the first game of the year?
A: Carson Wentz is a great player, it was a lot of fun preparing for that game, as we had all camp to get ready for them and we played them the year prior so that helped a lot and just being able to see the way they operate definitely helped us prepare for the first game of the season.
Q: Was there any clues you picked up against North Dakota State, as you guys knocked them off the first game of the season, what would you say are some keys to being able to be successful against them?
A: Everyone knows that they are going to run and everyone knows that they are going to play smash mouth football. The question is who is the guy that’s gonna win in the trenches? So pretty much we knew that they were going to run the ball, it was just a question of us executing our gaps and making a play when a play was needed to be made.
Q: Is Carson Wentz the type of QuarterBack that actually keeps his eyes down the middle of the field and looks people off? I noticed he was a little bit late on some of his passes at times.
A: I think it goes a long way that he is in an offense that runs the ball primarily, but you can see that he has a gun. He can make all the throws and his mobility gives him the ability to run the football, so he can make a play with his feet or throw the football.
Q: You were a late invite to the NFLPA All Star Game how do you feel your talent stacked up there?
A: I felt confident in my ability to go out there and make plays. It felt good being able to match up against those guys and test my skills. As well as when out of Football being able to hang out and get to know some of the guys there was very enjoyable.
Q: Who have you modeled your game after whether a current or modern player?
A: Junior Seau, he’s from Oceanside and I’m from Oceanside, also I just feel like the way he played the game and just brought the nastiness and the passion to the football game is just what I feel like I can bring to the table as well.
Chinstrapsports' Tim Martin sat down with former Cal safety Stefan McClure to discuss his growth and the development of the Bears program.
Tim: You play with a lot of intensity and passion for the game and really bring the hat out there. Do you feel you can bring that to the next level?
McClure: Yes I feel that that is something that I can for sure bring to the next level. That is a part of my game, being able to know when you can really lay into someone and hit someone and when you really just have to break down and make a secure tackle.
Tim: Do you see yourself playing as a Free Safety or do you see yourself at Strong Safety, or can you do both?
McClure: I see myself being able to play both at the next level, Free Safety and Strong Safety, playing in the box and in the middle of the field.
Tim: Who have you patterned your game after that you’ve seen in the NFL?
McClure: I pay attention to Charles Woodson, Earl Thomas, and Ed Reed. I try to be smart like how Troy Polamalu prepared for the game and really know what’s coming before it even happens.
Tim: I know you’ve played against a lot of great receivers out West. Who are some of the toughest you have gone up against?
McClure: Bralon Addison is a pretty good receiver. USC and Washington State also had some pretty good receivers.
Tim: How was it from your perspective going up against a great player like Jared Goff everyday in practice... did he make the defense better?
McClure: Oh yeah, he makes the defense a lot better. He puts the ball in the perfect spots all the time, when we were doing one-on-ones he was always throwing the ball high and outside and it would be a perfect pass every single time.
Tim: The Cal program has been changed around throughout your five years. How was that, rebuilding the program?
McClure: It was tough at first, we took our lumps, when we were at our lowest point we got to see who was there to really be a part of this program and who was there for the work and putting in that extra work to try to be successful. We had some guys transfer, some guys leave, and some that were just dismissed from the program. So it was hard and we really had to start from the bottom and really change the culture of the program. But once it happened, we started seeing results.
Marquise Williams is a somewhat below the radar Quarterback coming out of the University of North Carolina. This is a man with 4.68 speed a good arm and solid decision making as he is a three year starter. Unfortunately, he couldn't quite lift U.N.C. to the tourney and had to settle for the Russel Athletic Bowl. This means that outside of his rather underwhelming game against Clemson he has missed out on the national spotlight, so Chinstrapsports will put him under the micro-scope instead.
Williams is built well at 6-2 225 lbs and appears to possess a decent amount of arm strength. Though his release is slower when throwing a deeper pass it doesn't appear that it will be problematic. Also, he reads the defense and has nice ball placement. The Tar Heel doesn't throw the tightest spiral but he gets the ball wear it needs to be. I do have concerns about his mediocre 21:9 touchdown to interception ratio, and whether he has enough zip on the ball I believe he will be able to overcome these issues.
In terms of Williams running ability it is definitely a positive. When Marquise takes off with the football he has a running style similar to that of Vince Young. Unfortunately, the speed isn't quite there as Williams is a tenth of a second slower. With or without truly elite speed, Marquise will be able to change the outlook of games with his running ability we see time and time again what the great Aaron Rodgers can do with his feet and he only runs a 4.71.
The biggest concern over Marquise Williams would have to be can he handle the big moment. In the first game of the season when going against South Carolina Williams threw 3 interceptions to one touchdown. While they did escape Virginia Tech Williams fumbled multiple times to let Tech back in the game and only completed 50% of his passes. While Williams did throw three touchdowns to one interception versus Clemson he only had a 33% completion ratio. They say your true colors come out when you hit adversity, I'm afraid that Williams could simply be an underachiever in big games.
Marquise Williams has a solid body of work through out his career at North Carolina, but solid doesn't get you drafted in the first round. I would project Williams as a 5th round pick who can stick around the league as a back up. Personally, I do not see enough arm talent to project Williams as a future NFL starter and frankly his performance in big games hasn't solidified him in my eyes. On the other hand thanks to his ability to create plays with his legs he does have a spot in the NFL. Don't be surprised to see Williams starting for your favorite team if they are in a bind, but in no way is he a permanent solution as a starter for any team. In terms of a comparison he would have to be a smaller, poor mans Vince Young.
Tim Martin II
Jela Duncan is a powerful Running Back out of Duke who has recently come back from an academic suspension. In addition to this academic suspension Jela had to recover from surgery on both shoulders, and missed the first three games of the season due to a torn pectoral. Luckily, the Redshirt Junior is finally starting to get healthy and he is showing his talent as he is averaging 7.4 yards per carry.
At 5'10 210 pounds, you wouldn't expect to be able to run Duncan in between the tackle with extreme effectiveness many times a game. However, Jela is well built and you can't bring down the Duke running back with an arm tackle. This was evident on his way to 115 yards versus North Carolina. Also, the Duke product has shown that he can run outside the tackles as well, unfortunately he doesn't appear to have breakaway speed. I would say that Jela appears to run a low 4.5, which is fast enough to gather yards when running to the perimeter, but not fast enough to outrun an entire defense to the endzone.
With Jela having needed surgery on both shoulders and tearing a pectoral muscle I have concerns about his ability to stay healthy. To run with the type of power that Duncan displayed against North Carolina a strong upper body is needed. The year off of football that he was forced to undergo due to his academic suspension might just have helped him in the long run as it allowed for his body to heal.
Jela Duncan is a Redshirt Junior who has the talent to make it to the NFL. If the Duke product rips off a few more 100 yard games down the stretch for the Blue Devil's he might just be able to get his NFL stock rising. In terms of comparisons I see a poor man's Ezekiel Elliot in Jela. He doesn't quite have the height or speed of Elliot, but the two do have similar running styles. I would say that Jela Duncan has the potential to be a steal in this upcoming draft as a late 5th round pick.
Tim Martin II
Vernon Adam's Jr. is a lot of things. He is rather small for a QB at 6 foot even. He is extremely agile, and has good arm strength. He is a graduate transfer, who came from the red carpet of Eastern Washington University, to the college football heaven of Oregon University. The question I and many NFL scouts have is, is he a future NFL starting quarterback?
A lack of height has haunted many gunslingers of the past. Look at Doug Flutie, who was passed over again and again for QB's that looked the type. However, recently many have overcome this issue with creativity and mobility. Look at Russell Wilson, who ran for 849 yards at the size of 5'11, while also throwing impressively. Then, there is Drew Brees who is a legendary passer and great in the pocket despite being only 6 foot. With that said, Adam's has the creativity to compete at the next level thanks to great agility and awareness of his surroundings. To add to that, Vernon has 4.50 speed at least, which will allow him to get out of the pocket and up the field to gain yards on the run.
Vernon Adams isn't just a one trick pony, even though he has good speed and agility. The Oregon Duck QB has the ability to throw the football. He has a quick enough, almost Teddy Bridgewater like release, and has shown impressive ability to throw on the run. He has decent accuracy and good arm strength, unfortunately he doesn't have a great amount of zip on his passes, and throws closer to a knuckle ball than a spiral.
Another question of the former Eastern Washington QB is, was his success on the red carpet due to his competition level or is he truly that good. Luckily, we are going to find out this year as he will play against top level competition at Oregon. So far, he was unimpressive against a very good Michigan State team, however I expect him to improve as he continues to become one with his team through out the year.
Vernon Adams Jr. will certainly enjoy success at Oregon University and personally, I believe he will have success in the NFL, eventually. I predict, that the athletic Duck QB will be a third to fourth round pick and develop into a future starter if selected by the right organization a la Tyrod Taylor. I could see him becoming a New York Giant and replacing Eli Manning, whenever he decides to hang up his cleats. His upside is that of a Russell Wilson, however I would have to say that he has the low point of a Seneca Wallace.
Tim Martin II
The Los Angeles Lakers selected their cornerstone for years to come last night, in D'angelo Russell. Russell, brings the Lakers an athletic combo guard with superstar potential, however the question many Lakers fans are asking themselves is: Does Russell bring them the hope to contend for a title heading into what will presumably be Kobe Bryant's final season?
Lamarcus Aldridge recently informed the Trail Blazers that he will not be returning to Portland, to add to that the big man is reported to have interest in joining the Lakers. Though, Lamarcus never reached a Final while in Portland he would give the the purple and gold something they are ever so yearning for: a superstar. Lamarcus would be a god send for the Lakers chances, as he is a walking 20 and 10, and when teamed with a healthy Kobe and D'angelo Russell the Lakers are suddenly a formidable squad again. With that said, it is no guarantee that Aldridge will sign on the dotted line, however there is a plethora of talent at the Power Forward position including the ever coveted Kevin Love.
Once Los Angles obtains a game changer at PF, they should set their sights toward the center position. If L.A. is looking to contend this upcoming season, they must sign a quality Center to patrol their purple paint. The best the Lakers could do is sign Marc Gasol. Unfortunately, that seems unrealistic therefore the Lakers should turn toward the athletic beast that is Deandre Jordan, and the under-appreciated, but highly skilled big man Greg Monroe. Personally, I think that the Clippers max offer will be to much for Deandre to turn down, luckily I do believe that the Lakers will net Monroe. Though, Greg doesn't bring the same defensive presence as a Deandre Jordan he is a quality Center who fits in Los Angeles nicely.
So far, the purple and gold have obtained two very good players. However, in all reality these players will not come cheap, and will cost L.A. two max contracts. With that said, the Lakers still have a gaping whole to fill at the Small Forward position, and will at this point be looking to sign more of a stop gap than a stellar student of the game. Therefore, Los Angeles should target Luol Deng and Al-Farouq Aminu. I say this, because these two players are good defenders, and there previous teams could potentially overlook them, while they are caught chasing after bigger fish. This would allow for L.A. to have a good defender on the perimeter, and more importantly give Kobe Bryant every break he can receive on defense as D'angelo Russell can guard either guard positions.
The Los Angeles Lakers drafted a potential superstar in D'angelo Russell, however this off-season is far from over as they quickly turn their fortunes around in Free Agency. With youth coming off their bench in Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle, and a few stars to lead the way Kobe Bryant might just have the opportunity to go out with a bang, instead of struggling through another dismal, disappointing season in L.A.
Eight years 120 million. That's the contract Larry Fitzgerald signed in 2011. This contract was essentially based off of one postseason run that involved seven touchdown receptions. I say this because the most touchdown receptions Fitzgerald has ever caught in a season is thirteen. To add to that, number eleven has had six season where he has only caught single season touchdowns. However, many still say that Larry has some of the best hands ever and that he's still an elite receiver. Here's the truth, the only time Larry has ever been elite is the 2008 NFL postseason.
Larry's biggest excuse is that he has never had an elite QB. While this is true, not everybody has Tom Brady under center, but that isn't an excuse to not make plays. Randy Moss played with twenty different Quarterbacks. These included Brad Johnson, Kerry Collins, and Gus Frerotte just to name a few. Moss still caught seventeen or more touchdowns three times in his career. Larry Fitzgerald was held to two touchdowns this year.
At six foot three you would think that Larry is a great big play threat. However, the highest yards per catch average Fitzgerald has ever had is 14.9. On the other hand, Randy's highest is 19.0. Number eleven hasn't had a thousand yard season in three years. No elite receiver that I no of was consistently held under a thousand yards at the mere age of thirty one. In 2010, a thirty six year old, Terrell Owens had 983 yards and nine touchdowns with Carson Palmer at QB. This is the same QB Fitzgerald has had for the past two years.
So, you can continue to believe that Larry Fitzgerald is an elite receiver just waiting for a decent Quarterback, but then again that's insanity. I say this, because every year Larry goes out and plays and every year it's a disappointment. You can blame the Quarterback position if you want, but the truth is truly great receiver can lift their QB's to new heights. However, everyone keeps looking around wishing that the Cardinals would get a great QB to lift Fitzgerald to new heights. The Cardinals might one day get a great QB, but Larry will never be an elite receiver. They say that ghosts and spirits don't like the fumes from ether, well after this legends won't either, because Larry legend is finally getting called out as the most overrated receiver of all time.
Tim Martin II