It’s that time of the year again! The draft is fast approaching so it is time to write down my thoughts on my squad and their performance in the 2020 season. This will help me assess how my draft went last season and what i need to this year. It will also help me asses what position I will have in the draft this year.
Squad 2020 Review
Blue – First Team
Grey – Practice Squad
Drew Lock, PJ Walker, Josh Rosen, Anthony Gordon
Drew Lock as my starter is turning into a situation which is seemingly becoming a little harder to defend, at least according to a lot of the media. He has missed significant time in his first two years and hasn’t got the ball rolling as much as one would like, adding to which he managed to have the tied most inceptions this year. I feel like he can still turn it around with a full year healthy, and without so many drops from his receivers. He is in an ideal position with the Broncos who have a team around him primed for success. I hope he unlocks his potential this year. What i find interesting is that when you compare Lock’s stats to fellow 2019 Draft QB Daniel Jones of the Giants, their absolute numbers aren’t so different this year: Lock (throwing: 2933yds, 16TD, 15INT; rushing: 160yds, 3TD) Jones (throwing: 2943yds, 11TD, 10INT; rushing: 423yds, 1TD), yet Jones had 1 more game than Lock so you could comfortably argue that Lock had a better season. The narrative around Jones, however, is a lot more positive and no one is talking about moving on from him.
PJ Walker played solid as a backup, his games as a starter was very unlucky in terms of interceptions though and I wouldn’t put that on him. Rosen and Gordon are backup QBs only at this point and might not be on my team next season.
Altogether I am very happy with my QB position and do not see any need for someone new, especially because I have a very strong ground game to support. I will place my full faith in Lock and reassess next year.
RB / FB
Antonio Gibson, Zack Moss, Alec Ingold(FB), JaMycal Hasty, Jason Huntley, Adrian Killins, Sewo Olonilua
Antonio Gibson jumped onto the scene in his first year, as both a runner and a receiver he was in the top 5 to be offensive rookie of the year until he got injured. The highlight of his year was a combined 136yd, 3TD game vs the Cowboys in November and I have a feeling that this wasn’t a fluke. I definitely see him progressing in year 2 as he firmly establishes himself as RB1. His year 1 stats: rushing 795yds, 11TDs; receiving 247yds, 0TDs.
If Gibson is the lightening, Moss is definitely the thunder and the hard hitter between the tackles. More of a RB2 and stuck in a committee with Singletary his stats naturally reflect that. Still I believe that he had a solid season with room for development and improvement in year 2. His stats: rushing: 481yds, 4TDs; receiving 95yds 1 TD.
I have to say that I like having a FB in my team, not for the stats, but because I think realistically they can be a good piece to have in an offense, especially for blocking and in goalline situations. On top of that they are usually a good piece for special teams. Statistically Ingold added 114 yds and 1 TD.
JaMycal Hasty and Jason Huntley didn’t really play a role in their teams year 1 combining for around 150 rushing yards a 1TD. The same can be said for my practice squad players Killins and Olonilua.
Overall my RB corps contributed: rushing 1426yds, 16 TDs; receiving 452yds, 2TDs. As a group that is roughly equivalent to what Dalvin Cook did by himself, but I have no issue with a committee situation. However, as a team the Vikings also had Mattison who contributed another 500yds.
Adam Trautman, Jace Sternberger, Dalton Keene, Stephen Sullivan, Thaddeus Moss
Adam Trautman didn’t have a big role in his first year, what we saw of him was good though and I see a steady improvement moving forward especially with cook having moved on to the Chargers. While he wasn’t a receiver he was used a lot as a blocker where he earned 86.9 runblocking grade and was voted into the PFF rookie team of the season. His stats: 171yds receiving on 16 targets with 1TD.
Sternberger’s stats are very similar and after 2 years in the league I am wondering whether he will break out. His stats: 114yds receiving on 15 targets with 1TD.
Keene’s first year wasn’t ideal due to injuries, and his second might be problematic because the Patriots brought in Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith. Overall I still see him as a great player though, we will see how he develops. I could even see him doing some RB/FB things.
Sullivan never made it as a receiver with the Hawks, got converted to DE and then moved to the Panthers. We will see what 2021 brings for him. Thaddeus Moss spent the 2020 season injured and has now signed with the Bengals where he is reunited with Burrow who he won a National Championship with in college.
Overall I have to say that my TE group is poor and a serious work in progress contributing only 285yds and 2 TDs.
DeAndre Hopkins Hunter Renfrow, Lynn Bowden Jr, James Proche, Antonio Gandy Golden, Cody Thompson, Kalija Lipscomb, Aaron Fuller
I do not regret getting Hopkins one bit. He may carry a big cap hit starting next year, but I believe that he is still one of the best in the league. His second most receiving yards in the league confirm that. Arizona has been aggressive in the offseason and will only get better. Hopkins also got another not for the Pro Bowl. Hopkins stats: 1407yds, 6TDs.
To compliment Hopkins on the outside I have Renfrow in the slot. I still think he is underutilized with the Raiders, but he gets his share of targets and is a reliable option on 3rd downs. His stats: 656yds, 2TDs.
Lynn Bowden came to the Dolphins in a post draft trade with experience at RB, WR and QB. His stats don’t speak to how he has had some great games towards the end of the season with increasing snapcounts, been involved in trick plays and seems to be gelling with Tua as a receiver. Miami has a bunch of weapons, but I believe that there is a niche for Lynn Bowden and that he is the type of player who will get stats as the season progresses. His 2020 stats: 221 receiving yds, 0TDs; 32 rushing yds, 0TDs.
James Proche didn’t bring much as a Received year 1, but he was the premier punt returner for the Ravens and the 11th best overall in the league.
Gandy-Golden was similar, but he didn’t see the field due to injury, starting only 2 games and seeing 1 reception. I hope he makes a leap in year 2.
Thompson, Lipscomb and Fuller did not see the field in 2020, perhaps they will not be on my team 2021.
Total stats contributed by the receivers: 2284yds / 8TDs.
What I have noticed is that I really need more yards, the decision I have to make is whether that will come from the WRs, TEs or RBs. I do, however, also think that there is so much room for growth in this team and that needs to be factored in.
Matt Peart, Geogre Fant, Alex Taylor, Isaiah Wilson
Matt Peart quietly put together an interesting rookie season when the no.4 overall pick Andrew Thomas was struggling to get his footing in the league. He only made one start but held his own against the likes of Chase Young. After that he was used as a plug and play swing tackle with huge upside.
Fant played ok as a RT, allowing just 3 sacks over his right side. Still, I am unsure about him and feel like an upgrade at the tackle position would be quite helpful.
Alex Taylor did not see the field in 2020, which was to be expected from a rookie project. Isaiah Wilson, and I am not going to sugarcoat it, was the bust of the 2020 season all teams considered. In fact I have not made such a bad pick yet. It seems like he was just looking to get drafted and never really wanted to play. Potential cut candidate.
Dalton Risner, Cesar Ruiz, Will Hernandez, Nick Harris, Phil Haynes, Kyle Hinton
Risner is just a very solid guard, not allowing any sacks and not causing any penalties.
Ruiz saw a lot of playing time in his rookie year and did not disappoint as a stout runblocker, needs to improve his passpro though.
Will Hernandez has just not managed to get to get the ball rolling and even saw himself replaced by a rookie for a large part of last season it will be interesting to see what the new OL coach this year will do, but I might have to consider other options.
Nick Harris was a standard backup in 2020, but played very well when he had to take over for a starter against the Giants. He might even have the potential to develop into a starter in the next years.
Kyle Hinton and Phil Hanyes did not play any snaps.
Brian Burns, Justin Hollins, Bradlee Anae, Derrek Tuszka, Shaq Griffin
Brian Burns is almost elite. He is best utilised when pinning his ears back and getting after the QB developing into one of the best speedrushers in the league. According to PFF he raised his passrushing grade from 68.7 to 86.9 in 2020. He was tied 8th in the League in both sacks (10) and forced fumbles (3). He also recorded the tied 9th most hits. On top of that he had 31 solo tackles (tied for 6th in the league among edge defenders).
Justin Hollins was claimed off waivers by the LA Rams and had a decent impact in limited snaps notching up 4 sacks and a forced fumble.
Rookies Anae and Tuszka barely saw the field in their first season, similarly to Shaquem Griffin who, however, managed to notch a sack.
With Brian Burns leading the way I feel good about the groups, which could, however do with some depth. Considering the fact that this is just my speed rush and does not include my power rushers we have some leeway.
Quinton Jefferson, AJ Epanesa, Jedeveon Clowney, Khazin Daniels, Chauncey Rivers, Azur Kamara
All of these players can play the outside, but kick inside if needed. Jefferson had himself a quiet season recording only 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble and 15 solo tackles. His rookie teammate Epenesa almost matched that production with 2 sacks and 10 solo tackles. Clowney, in another injury riddled year did not manage to get any sacks but added another 15 solo tackles and a forced fumble.
Daniels, Rivers and Kamara did not see the field.
Poona Ford, Maurice Hurst, Trysten Hill, Khalen Saunders
Poona Ford is a beast. I liked him since he was putting OLinemen on their ass in his Senior Bowl and now he has earned his second contract. So much so that the Seahawks were willing to let Jarran Reed go and not sign a high calibre replacement. Good at stuffing the run and he has a couple of sacks in him too: 30 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble.
Similarly to Ford, Hurst graded out very well this season and will be looking to improve even further having moved to San Francisco. My DT combo is a position group I’m very satisfied with. His stats: 18 tackles, 1 sack.
Hill saw a limited amount of snaps and hasn’t been able to hit the ground running in Dallas. He graded out better as a passrusher, but wasn’t really able to make a big impact.
Khalen Saunders had even fewer snaps and didn’t really have much an impact at the Chiefs due to an injury and other players stepping up.
Bobby Wagner, Jeremy Chinn, Troy Dye, Ben Burr-Kirven, Tyshun Render
B-Wagz: One hell of a LB…but has he reached his peak and is he on the way out? I have felt for a couple of years like he doesn’t have the impact he once had, and it would potentially make sense to move on from him with the likes of Jamal Adams and Budda Baker firmly established as leaders of the backend and Jeremy Chinn as one of the most promising rookie talents. Regardless, Wagner is still a top 5 LB in the League (even in his 30s) recording 106 solo tackles and 3 sacks.
Chinn, in his first year, was the ultimate flex piece, playing both LB and S roles, recording 89 tackles, forcing 2 fumbles, returning 2 fumbles for TDs in back to back plays and a sack as well. He was second in the running for Defensive Rookie of the Year, with the main problem being people seeing him as a Safety, the position he helped out at when he clearly played better at LB.
Troy Dye didn’t manage to do very much to excite in his rookie season, while BBK and Render barely saw the field.
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Amik Robertson
CJDJ the thrash talker. My guy who can get under people’s skin and is talented enough on the field to back it up. This season he had 55 solo tackles, 1 sack and 1 INT. Amik Robertson barely saw the field in 2020.
Shaquill Griffin, Levi Wallace, Jimmy Moreland, Quinton Dunbar, Harrison Hand, Madre Harper, Derrek Thomas
Griffin looked better again this season, having dropped weight and had a decent season. He never looked like being a true CB1 though and I believe that I will either not renew his contract or tag and trade. He recorded 50 tackles and 3 INTs.
Levi Wallace is the type of player I love. He is massively underrated and he is just the kind of player who you can’t get rid of but teams don’t want to make their no.1 guy. I think he is class as my CB2 and he recorded 43 tackles and 2 INTs.
Jimmy Moreland is another decent CB with CB2 level play. He is a smaller dude who plays with an underdog midset and gets after the ball, recording 36 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 1 sack and 1 INT.
Dunbar didn’t have the impact I hoped he would. When he was healthy he was mainly a backup or rotational piece. He still managed to get 28 tackles and 1 INT though.
In limited snaps Hand showed that he can be a playmaker and a solid CB if he continues to develop. He recorded 10 tackles and 1 INT.
Harper and Thomas barely saw the field in 2020.
Jamal Adams, Budda Baker, JR Reed
I want to start by saying that having Adams and Baker in my secondary makes for one of the most solid units as they are arguably two of the top 10 players at the safety position in the current NFL. While Adams dealt with injuries throughout the year he still showed what an impact he can have on a team and on a game recording a record breaking 11 sacks. On top of that he had 58 tackles and a forced fumble.
Budda Baker may not have had the mad sack numbers (only 2), but he led the position in solo tackles (92) as well as recording a forced fumble and 2 INTs.
JR Reed did not see the pitch in 2020.
Jason Myers, Dominik Eberle
Jason Myers completed 100% of his fieldgoals and was top 10 for the kickoff statistics too.
3rd highest average punt yards with 9th most yards overall but only the 12th most attempted punts.
What is there to say about longsnappers? basically he didnt cock up so Im happy with him.
Kickoff and Punt return
Hunter Renfrow, James Proche
Renfrow got the 6th most punt return yards in the league and Proche the 11th most, which gives me a very solid unit. None of my players took Kickoff returns, but I feel like I could utilise these two there as well. Proche was voted as the rookie punt returner of the season by the PFWA.
Analysis 2020 and Team
I feel like my offense is very raw. Looking at the detail and the numbers, what is really needed is some experience and depth to make up the numbers. My overall Offense was 1500 yards and 200 points behind the highest scoring. Even if I focus more on defense I want to have a solid team on both sides of the ball. I see the potential in my receiving and rushing corps to not feel like I have to add there in Free Agency. An experienced TE, G and T, however, would elevate my team to the next level. In the Draft I will be looking to where some of the RBs and WRs fall in the 2nd and 3rd Round.
I feel like my defense is a strong unit with playmakers at all level. I have a really strong mix of experience and youth / talent. I mainly see myself needing to improve with a real no.1 corner and a LB. DLine will be something for the later rounds if at all.
Analysis 2021 Draft
A big part of this article is not only to assess where my team is in terms of needs and performance from last season, but also to look at where I will be drafting, to assess this I have compared the performance of the position groups with those around the league, keeping in mind that there are so many factors which impact how a team works together and that this is in no way completely accurate. Due to the limited time I have for analysis this year, I have reduced it to some of the impactful numbers and have found some trends and comps.
Passing: 2933yds / 16TD / 15INT = comp Giants (3026yds / 12TDs / 11INTs) = 29th in the league
Rushing: QB 160 / 3TD, RB/FB 1426yds / 16 TDs, WR 32 / 0TDS = 1624yds 19TDs = comparison Washington who had 1611yds 18TDs = 26th in the league
Receiving: RB/FB 452yds / 2TDs, TE 285yds / 2TDs, WR 2284yds / 8TDs = 3021yds / 12TDs = 31st in the League, comp Patriots (3124yds / 12TDs)
Offense: 4645yds / 31TDs + 96 FG points (I have to look at the offense closest to mine in yards for field position and then apply the kicking percentage of my kicker = Giants 32 FG x Myers 100%) = 313 points overall = 28th overall
Defense: My offense created 24 Turnovers (9th worst in the league) and my defense created 24 Turnovers (7th best in the League) giving me a turnover differential of 0. That is comparable to the Giants, Jets and Cardinals who all had a differential of 0 (none of whom, however, managed 24 turnovers). What I will add to that is that 5 of those Offensive INTs were caused by my unlucky backup QB PJ Walker. Without those I would have had a positive turnover differential. To add to that my team created 43 sacks (9th in the league) and also right between the giants (40) and the cardinals (48).
Special Teams: All of the units are top 10, from kicking to punting and returning overall I give myself a draft position grade of 5th in the league.
To sumarise it has been very interesting how comparatively close my team has been to that of the Giants in performance. I will therefore take them as a starting point, from there I have to say that I created 30 more points over the season as well as more turnovers and sacks.
This would put me one spot above the Giants drafting at 12 overall
I would have probably been a team who was always close in the games, but unfortunately had a lot of close misses.