As the free agent period approaches, one of the hottest names and biggest difference makers for a franchise is Kirk Cousins. I think it’s safe to say that, with the signing of Alex Smith, Washington will not be putting a Franchise Tag on Cousins which means he can start looking for his next team on March 14th.
There are quite a few teams desperately searching for a franchise quarterback, but are they all viable options at this point? Do they have the money to pay Cousins the huge contract he wants? Do they have the cap space? Are they the type of organization that he would want to play for? Let’s look at the front runners…
The Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 2018, was announced this past weekend. As always, my favorite selection is the one from the Senior Committee. These gentlemen have been over-looked and under-appreciated when compared to the modern-era players. And, most importantly, they are the heart, soul, beginnings of this game I love.
They wore leather helmets and pads that were a puny excuse for protection. They got paid so little that most had second jobs during the offseason. They played because they loved the game.
While it was before my time, my dad would tell me stories about these great men and they’ve always stayed with me. This year I was very excited to see that Jerry Kramer from the Green Bay Packers would finally be admitted into this great hall.
New England fans know what it’s like to lose again. The Tom Bradyled Patriots came up short in their 41-33 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII on Sunday. Favored by almost everyone in the media and everyone polled, the underdog Philadelphia Eagles, with backup quarterback Nick Foles, outcoached and outplayed the defending Super Bowl champions.
Was I surprised? No. The Eagles had a Cinderella feel to this season. When Carson Wentz got hurt and Foles came in, a lot of people counted them out. They never counted themselves out. It reminded me of another backup who ended up coming in after a season ending injury to the starting quarterback and took his team all the way to the Super Bowl – and won.
As I mentioned in the North piece, the two teams practice differently, with the Texans leaning heavier on Special Teams play. This is a good thing because of the 100 guys here, maybe 40 go top three rounds, the rest will need an extra reason to be drafted over the younger guys who left school early because their talents was seen as better.
This mean for guys on the fringe, special teams is their bread and butter, a way in. Even if it’s only the practice squad, it’s a way to get into the NFL and be noticed by coaches.
What stood out today is how much better the wide receivers for the South were over the North. You would think the better group of QBs from the North would help them, but that wasn’t the case today.
The players spent less time on the field giving interviews that on Tuesday, so it was tougher to grab them.
DE Andrew Brown showed off his quickness; he’s a shade under 6’4” so his height could be a concern, however, he has an 82” wingspan. Brown would like to play 3 technique in a 4-3 Defense. He started off playing LT before moving over to defense because he thought that position was boring, he wanted more action. Julius Peppers was his athletic hero.
North went first and as we continued to see, the Broncos and Texans run things differently. The North spent a good amount of time having the linebackers knock the ball out, while the defensive backs focused on stripping the ball and recovering them.
In addition, when the players did stretching, several coaches walked though watching, including Head Coach Vance Joseph. This shows the athletes that coaches care about this, but also lets them know who’s dogging and who’s not.
Some notes on players from the North: Miami’s Braxton Berrios didn’t have a good day while New Mexico State’s Jaleel Scott and especially Boise State’s Cedric Wilson had very good days. I don’t think Wilson dropped the entire practice.
No music or routines are required for this type of audition. There were 109 college seniors who accepted their invitation to the biggest on-field display of talent outside the NFL Combine. Coached by Denver Broncos head coach Vance Joseph and Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien, each athlete participated in drills, developed new skills and tips from NFL coaches and mixed it with their own natural talent to leave it all on the field.
There was no Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen to join the Baker Mayfield hoopla. But there were some quarterbacks who flashed some impressive plays under center, improving their draft stock.
Today was weigh-ins and, as usual, most players were off from their college stats. The Process: players step up on the stage in their shorts are measured, and their stats posted on two very large lit up signs for the couple hundred in attendance to see.
Baker Mayfield missed this part, but late this evening his height came back at 6’03, weight was 216 pounds and hands measured 9-1/2 inches. He was swarmed after practice, so I didn’t attempt to interview him.
Last season, John Elway, Matt Russell and a Denver scout were at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. They signed none of the 100 or so players. This reporter will be heading back to cover the week-long event and am appreciative and excited to represent this great group.
Will that change this time? Denver drafted wide receiver Carlos Henderson four spots before running back Kareem Hunt, a player I tagged in my RB Scout Report. Maybe this time they’ll snatch up one of the several players from last season that did well as rookies, like Hunt, RB Jamaal Williams, center Ethan Pocic and more.
There will be several quarterbacks for Denver to coach; however, quarterbacks Mason Rudolf and Baker Mayfield will not likely be on the South team. QB Luke Falk will be North.
Tight end Troy Fumagalli from Wisconsin should be hitting Vance in the head and say, DRAFT ME. We need a TE who actually arrives without a torn ACL.
If Elway decides to stick with his first pick from 2016, Memphis Wide Receiver, Anthony Miller, would be a no-brainer choice. Those two would have instant chemistry, as they were a dangerous duo in 2015.
Colorado State WR Michael Gallup will no doubt get extra consideration as the home guy.
Right now, the running back slate is thin but could change.