(Editors note: A few times a year we have guest contributors add to our website. Please enjoy.)
There have been many debates over the years. Waffles or pancakes? Chocolate or peanut butter? Tastes great or less filling? Allow me to add one more related to the NFL draft: Best available or fill needs?
I decided to dig into which strategy works better by researching ten years of drafts from 2009 through 2019. I chose the best team in each NFL division based on the overall record from that same period. I first looked at statistics for each season for these eight teams.
Items such as points scored and allowed, offensive and defensive rankings in each season, sacks allowed and recorded, and depth issues formed the baseline for what I saw as team needs for each draft. Any player chosen that would help improve the team in any of these areas was seen as a need pick, not a best available. Here are the teams and my analysis:
The NFL schedules were released Thursday night, although we have known the opponents throughout the week. I was surprised to see Green Bay opening the season in Minnesota. I can’t remember a time the opener wasn’t a Chicago Bears/Green Bay Packers game. And I know I cannot be alone – this is actually the first time in Packers franchise history.
Due to the pandemic, what will games even look like this season? Will the number of fans be limited severely, with at least 6ft of space between seats? Or will we only be able to watch in our houses, and sports bars? How will the lack of crowd hype make a difference in a player’s game?
Hello, my fellow quarantined friends! I hope this finds you well, or well-ish!
Because it’s Draft week, I was going to go around to the various teams that I cover for OTFB to find out who wants who, what needs were, etc. However, because I’m in grad school, and finishing up the semester, and working at home, and helping my kids with virtual school, oh yeah, and potty training a new puppy, that didn’t quite happen!
But – I was able to talk to Minnesota Vikings fan, John (@MikeZimmersEars), and Detroit Lions fan, Kevin (@4Lawson4) a couple of weeks ago to get their thoughts on what they think their respective team will do, and what they think their team’s biggest need is.
If you are a Chicago Bears fan, the past decade has been nothing but a roller coaster ride. When the Bears lost the conference game in 2010 against the Green Bay Packers, it was heartbreaking. Two years later, head coach Lovie Smith was gone and the nightmare of head coaches losing regard plagued this team.
But when head coach Matt Nagy came in, flashy exciting plays and giving the team a 12-4 record in 2018 it was the breath of fresh air fans needed. The problem is that when you give Bears Fans that kind of high then crash and burn the following season, it makes this fandom exhibit dual personalities like no other.
Alright… it’s the business and talent evaluation / acquisition part of the season for the NFL. (I love making things sound fancier than they actually are!) One of my favorite times of the year. Mostly because I enjoy watching the college kids get to move on to the next phase of their lives.
The free agency part of it is good too, but I really like the young ones coming in. Maybe it’s because of the fact that I’m a pediatric nurse practitioner and I love all things growth and development-wise. And watching the growth and development of players is always fun for me. But I digress.
It’s time for one my most favorite events in the NFL year: The Combine. This year, I want to know… who are you looking for at the combine? Some people like to watch a specific position group, and others like to watch a certain player.
There was a feeling right at the start of the NFC Championship game between the Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers. A feeling that the 49ers were completely dialed in. And they were. It was pretty much over right after it got going.
The 49ers scored on their second series of the game, and that was pretty much it, they never looked back. Running back Raheem Mostert was definitely the star of the game. He had over 200 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns, becoming the 1st player to score 4 touchdowns in a conference championship game.
The Green Bay Packers? Well, to put it nicely, they never really got going.
The NFL and USAA, an Official NFL Salute to Service Partner, announced Atlanta Falcons CEO STEVE CANNON, Detroit Lions Head Coach MATT PATRICIA, andLos Angeles Chargers Legend DONNIE EDWARDS as finalists for the ninth annual Salute to Service Awardpresented by USAA.
Cannon, Patricia, and Edwards were selected for their exceptional efforts to honor and support members of the military community. The Salute to Service Award recipient will be recognized at NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on Feb. 1, the eve of Super Bowl LIV, on FOX.
USAA will contribute $25,000 in the award recipient’s honor to the official aid societies representing all five military branches. The NFL will match USAA’s donation of $25,000, which will be donated to the award recipient’s military charity of choice. The award recipient will receive a specially designed military challenge coin, recognizing their commitment to the military. In what has become a long-standing tradition, challenge coins are presented to members of the military community to encourage excellence, boost morale or to recognize a fellow brother- or sister-in-arms.
“Each having different life experiences and connections to our military, all three finalists for the ‘Salute to Service Award presented by USAA’ are connected by a shared belief in honoring and showing appreciation to our nation’s service members and veterans,” said Vice Admiral (Ret.) JOHN BIRD, USAA Senior Vice President of Military Affairs. “Steve, Coach Patricia, and Donnie are all worthy finalists and we salute them for their continued commitment to America’s military community.”
And yet, here we are. The 49ers are in the NFC Championship Game, with home field no less, and they get to face the Green Bay Packers. Again. Had you told me at the beginning of the year that the Packers were going to the NFC Championship game, I don’t think I would’ve gone 100% “Sure, Jan” but I still wasn’t 100% sold on them either.
However, both teams have proven me wrong and will face each other to earn a spot in the Super Bowl. So, what’s it going to take for each team to get there?