AFC East West quarterbacks

Quarterback questions loom largest in AFC East and West

We now have a pretty good idea of what NFL rosters will look like come September. Predicting team records is still very difficult to do in May. However, it is now easier to understand the factors that will lead to success or failure for certain teams. Thus, here are the biggest questions in a couple of AFC divisions. One that is wide open now, and another that could be before long.

AFC West: Is Patrick Mahomes any good?

AFC East West quarterbacks

(Photo from 610sports.com)

This might be the biggest question in the entire NFL. Kansas City has taken control of this division over the last two years as Denver has struggled to transition away from Peyton Manning.

Despite a few playoff failures, Alex Smith never posted a losing record as the starting quarterback for the Chiefs. So replacing him with Patrick Mahomes is pretty bold.

Mahomes is headed into his second year with just one career start. Young quarterbacks have to get handed the keys at some point, but was Smith really what was holding the Chiefs back? His career-high passer rating of 104.7 last year would suggest otherwise.

No quarterback does it alone. Kansas City has an average defense and an offense littered with playmakers, but bad quarterback play can drag a very good roster downward. Last year’s Broncos are a prime example. That was not going to be a concern with Smith. There has to be at least a little bit of doubt when it comes to Mahomes.

One start is nowhere near enough to determine whether any player can be successful in this league, and Mahomes may come out and play very well. If he does, Kansas City will win this division again.

Still, the Broncos upgraded at quarterback, the Chargers improved the middle of their defense, and Oakland is once again being coached by Jon Gruden, the last guy that made and kept that franchise relevant. If Mahomes struggles, at least one of those teams will be right there to pounce, and one of the most consistent teams in the NFL over the last half decade will quickly turn into a non-factor.

AFC East: When do we see the rookie quarterbacks?

As long as Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are around, the Patriots will win this division. They have done so for nine consecutive years. The drama in the division this year is going to be when we see Sam Darnold in New York and Josh Allen in Buffalo. In a perfect world, both guys would probably benefit from a year on the bench.

Particularly in Darnold’s case, that does not seem to be feasible. This is a franchise that has won five or fewer games in three of the last four seasons. It needs a sign of hope and fast. When the inevitable losses start to mount under veteran quarterbacks Teddy Bridgewater and Josh McCown, the Jets will need to get a glimpse at what they hope is a bright future.

The Jets do have a workable schedule for the first month of the season and could get off to a decent start. So it would not be shocking to see one of the veterans last as the starter until the Week 11 bye. Of course, there is always a chance that the rookie could impress enough in training camp and the preseason to start the season opener.

Either way, the Jets know Brady and Belichick won’t be around forever, and New England does not seem to be ready for life after either one. With Darnold, the Jets have a chance to be the kings of this division in a few years. The first step to helping make that happen is making him the starter at the right time.

Josh Allen is a little more tricky. The Bills made the playoffs last year, but were anemic on offense at times and scored just a field goal in their playoff loss. AJ McCarron replaces Tyrod Taylor as the veteran presence at the quarterback position. Allen was drafted more on measurables than college production and clearly needs time to develop.

However, it is hard to imagine him being afforded that luxury if Buffalo gets off to a bad start under McCarron, who is basically a career backup except for a handful of mediocre performances filling in for an injured Andy Dalton late in the 2015 season.

The Dolphins are just sort of existing in this division at the moment. They regressed last year with Jay Cutler taking the place of Ryan Tannehill at quarterback. Even though Tannehill is coming off an injury, Miami was linked to several of the top quarterback prospects in the draft. This could be a make or break year for him as well as head coach Adam Gase.

AFC East West quarterbacks

(Photo from presnapreads.com)

These two divisions are interesting in their own way for 2018. The AFC West is intriguing right now because it is impossible to know what to expect from the team that has dominated it for the last two years. Meanwhile, the AFC East could look very different in a couple years.

This year might provide us with at least some answers in that regard. It all comes down to changes that already have and will eventually need to be made at the most important position in all of American sports, quarterback.

 

Featured image from nydailynews.com

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

2018 Fantasy Football Composite Rankings: QB

The NFL Draft is now over and the next big event for football fans is likely their very own fantasy football drafts. The Game Haus will have rankings by both Joe DiTullio and Braxton Angle, as well as composite rankings, coming out over the coming weeks. These will be adjusted when the season gets closer, but it’s never too early to look ahead.

Tiebreakers were decided by both Joe and Braxton.

For longer explanations you can find their individual rankings here: Joe and Braxton.

Here are the composite quarterback rankings:

Quarterback rankings: 1-10

1. Aaron Rodgers- Green Bay Packers

Braxton’s rank: 1

Joe’s rank: 1

2. Russell Wilson- Seattle Seahawks

Braxton’s rank: 2

Joe’s rank: 2

3. Tom Brady- New England Patriot

Braxton’s rank: 3

Joe’s rank:4

4. Cam Newton- Carolina Panthers

Braxton’s rank: 5

Joe’s rank: 3

5. Deshaun Watson- Houston Texans 

Braxton’s rank: 7

Joe’s rank: 6

6. Drew Brees- New Orleans Saints

Braxton’s rank: 4

Joe’s rank: 9

7. Carson Wentz- Philadelphia Eagles

Braxton’s rank: 9

Joe’s rank: 5

8. Andrew Luck- Indianapolis Colts

Braxton’s rank: 8

Joe’s rank: 7

9. Matt Ryan- Atlanta Falcons

Braxton’s rank: 6

Joe’s rank: 12

10. Matt Stafford- Detroit Lions

Braxton’s rank: 13

Joe’s rank: 8

Quarterback rankings: 11-20

11. Kirk Cousins- Minnesota Vikings

Braxton’s rank: 11

Joe’s rank: 13

12. Ben Roethlisberger- Pittsburgh Steelers

Braxton’s rank: 14

Joe’s rank: 11

13. Jimmy Garoppolo- San Francisco 49ers

Braxton’s rank: 10

Joe’s rank:17

14. Phillip Rivers- Los Angeles Chargers

Braxton’s rank: 17

Joe’s rank: 10

15. Jared Goff- Los Angeles Rams

Braxton’s rank: 12

Joe’s rank:15

16. Derek Carr- Oakland Raiders

Braxton’s rank: 16

Joe’s rank:14

17. Marcus Mariota- Tennessee Titans

Braxton’s rank: 15

Joe’s rank: 18

18. Jameis Winston- Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Braxton’s rank: 18

Joe’s rank: 16

19. Dak Prescott- Dallas Cowboys

Braxton’s rank: 20

Joe’s rank: 19

20. Case Keenum- Denver Broncos

Braxton’s rank: 22

Joe’s rank: 20

Quarterback rankings: 21-30

21. Eli Manning- New York Giants

Braxton’s rank: 19

Joe’s rank: 24

22. Andy Dalton- Cincinnati Bengals

Braxton’s rank: 21

Joe’s rank: 22

23. Alex Smith- Washington Redskins

Braxton’s rank: 23

Joe’s rank: 21

24. Blake Bortles- Jacksonville Jaguars

Braxton’s rank: 24

Joe’s rank: 23

25. Tyrod Taylor- Cleveland Browns

Braxton’s rank: 25

Joe’s rank: 26

26. Joe Flacco- Baltimore Ravens

Braxton’s rank: 28

Joe’s rank: 25

27. Pat Mahomes- Kansas City Chiefs

Braxton’s rank: 26

Joe’s rank: 29

28. Mitch Trubisky- Chicago Bears

Braxton’s rank: 27

Joe’s rank: 28

29. Ryan Tannehill- Miami Dolphins

Braxton’s rank: 29

Joe’s rank: 27

30. A.J. McCarron- Buffalo Bills

Braxton’s rank: 30

Joe’s rank 30

 

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quarterback rankings

2018 fantasy football quarterback rankings

The NFL Draft has come and gone, and rookie mini-camps are starting up all over the league. Meaning, it’s time to start churning out superfluous rankings that will likely be useless a month from now. My esteemed colleague, Joe DiTullio, released his rankings yesterday. He has convinced me to come to the dark side (away from talking DFS) and create my 2018 fantasy football quarterback rankings.

Quarterback Rankings: 1-10

1. Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers

Despite missing most of the 2017 season, Rodgers is still the undisputed number one fantasy option at the quarterback position heading into 2018. Green Bay has added talent this offseason to support Rodgers via the draft and free agency. It’s also likely that Aaron Jones or Jamaal Williams will start at running back, giving them a more traditional rusher in the backfield than Ty Montgomery. But the real reason Rodgers tops this year’s quarterback rankings is that the Packers will get to play a third-place schedule against the AFC East. That means three elite performances at a minimum against the Jets, Bills, and Dolphins.

2. Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson is quickly convincing me that he is the NFL’s version of LeBron James. He never gets hurt despite his usage, he makes everyone better, and he must play well for his team to have a chance to win. Wilson, amazingly, accounted for over 90% of his team’s touchdowns in 2018. While the selection of Rashaad Penny in the first round has been debated, he will be the most dynamic presence since Marshawn Lynch. Now, whether or not the offensive line will Penny or Wilson remains to be seen. However, I’m done doubting Russell Wilson as a top quarterback, especially in fantasy football.

3. Tom Brady – New England Patriots

Tom Brady has been a staple at the top of fantasy quarterback rankings for years now, and 2018 will be no different. Given the departure of left tackle Nate Solder, running back Dion Lewis, and wide receivers Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola, the Patriots will rely on Brady and this quick passing game to start the season. As new players like Isaiah Wynn and Sony Michel get comfortable, they will likely start to transition to a more balanced attack. Until then, they will ask Brady to get the ball out quickly, so expect a higher volume of attempts in the early portion of the season.

4. Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints

In case you weren’t sure, Drew Brees reminded everyone in the NFC divisional game against the Vikings that he can still take over a game from the pocket. While the Saints have transitioned to a run-first offense, it will allow Brees to be even more efficient. The Saints also acquired Ben Watson in free agency. Meaning, that they have a legitimate threat at the tight end position since Jimmy Graham. Expect them to incorporate and target Watson in the red zone, as defenses will key heavily on Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara.

5. Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers

While he’s not the model of consistency, fantasy players everywhere know how dangerous Newton can be on any given Sunday. He’ll be playing in a different offensive system this season, which would usually be a downgrade. However, Norv Turner has an excellent offensive pedigree and will figure out the best ways to support Newton. Given this change, Newton may be susceptible to a slow start, but will likely progress positively in the new system as the season goes on.

6. Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons

Last year was not kind to Matt Ryan. He saw decreases across the board compared to his MVP season. It’s likely he’ll produce a happy medium between his 2016 and 2017 campaigns. Another year in Sarkisian’s system, along with new weapon Calvin Ridley, Ryan could be a great value on draft day. Not to mention, that $30 million contract will loom over this organization if he does not get off to a fast start. Look for this offense as a whole to get back on track in 2018.

7. Deshaun Watson – Houston Texans

This is where the rankings got tricky. There are three incredibly talented quarterbacks returning from injury in 2018. Of the group of Deshaun Watson, Andrew Luck, and Carson Wentz, Watson got the nod at seven. If you could guarantee me that he would start for 16 games, I would have zero problems ranking him in the top three. Watson proved to everyone that he has elite upside on a weekly basis, and, his legs provide him with a stable floor. With weapons like DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller, Watson won’t hesitate to throw the ball deep, something all fantasy owners love.

8. Andrew Luck – Indianapolis Colts

So the tiebreaker between Andrew Luck and Carson Wentz came down to recency. Wentz tore both his ACL and MCL in December of last year, and with Nick Foles on the roster, the Eagles won’t rush him back. Also, we have to remember how great Andrew Luck was during his last full season. In 2014, Luck threw for over 4,700 yards and 40 touchdowns, including three rushing touchdowns. In just 12 games in 2016, he threw for over 4,200 yards and 31 touchdowns. If you extrapolate those numbers, that translates to 41 touchdowns and over 5,300 yards. Given his new offensive coach and upgraded offensive line, I won’t hesitate to pull the trigger on Luck if the price is right.

9. Carson Wentz – Philadelphia Eagles

All signs are pointing to Carson Wentz being available for week one. However, we can’t be so sure. This team proved to be capable with Nick Foles at the helm. So, the Eagles won’t look to mortgage their future franchise quarterback if he suffers any setbacks in the preseason. Injury aside, Wentz is in a great position. The Eagles are bringing all of their skill players back, and even upgraded Torrey Smith for Mike Wallace. They also added Dallas Goddard to replace Trey Burton in their two tight end sets. As we get more updates on his progress, Wentz could easily move up the quarterback rankings.

10. Jimmy Garropolo – San Francisco 49ers

“Jimmy Jesus” sneaks into the top ten for a few reasons. One, they will have to keep pace with Jared Goff and Russell Wilson twice a year. Two, Kyle Shanahan’s system is what propelled Matt Ryan to have an MVP season in 2016. And three, Garropolo produced at a high-level last year despite limited time to acclimate to the system and the mediocre offensive personnel. If you want Garropolo on your roster, you’ll likely have to reach for him, as last seasons hype train will no doubt skew his average draft position.

Quarterback Rankings: 11-20

11. Kirk Cousins – Minnesota Vikings

Kirk Cousins finally gets the long-term deal he was looking for, but it came with a new team. It’s not often that a quarterback with Cousins’ numbers becomes a true free agent. As a result, it’s hard to say how much this new system will impact his fantasy production. However, what’s clear is that he will be playing with a unit that is superior at every offensive position except for left tackle and right guard. Cousins played with a group that was depleted across the board last year in Washington and still managed to produce. Expect his overall volume to decrease, but, don’t expect his overall production to drop by much.

12. Jared Goff – Los Angeles Rams

Sean McVay took the NFL by storm. His scheme has rescued the career of Jared Goff and reestablished Todd Gurley as an elite running back. Smartly, the Rams were aggressive this offseason and acquired talent on both sides of the ball, including the dynamic Brandin Cooks. They also looked to reinforce some potential problem areas on their offensive line in the draft. However, this league will have had an entire year to catch up to McVay, and, the Rams will play a first place schedule. Taking Goff wouldn’t be a bad decision, just be sure to temper your expectations.

13. Matthew Stafford – Detroit Lions

What makes Matthew Stafford an attractive option is that he’s a high volume passer. Since 2011, Stafford has finished in the top 10 in pass attempts, including five top-five finishes. But, that volume could decrease with a new head coach, Matt Patricia. Defensive head coaches tend to be less-risky on offense. However, he may have a different philosophy on that matter coming from New England. Stafford always seems to be a value on draft day, so selecting him at the right time should position your team nicely.

14. Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers

On a personal level, I’m done with Ben Roethlisberger. His insecurity about the drafting of third-round pick Mason Rudolph is laughable. From a fantasy perspective, he still has value. The Steelers will be one of, if not, the most prolific offense in the NFL in 2018. Players like Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Le’Veon Bell will provide Roethlisberger with a multitude of explosive options. Sadly, the home/road splits for Roethlisberger are more than just a narrative, and there’s always the possibility he misses a handful of games due to injury.

15. Marcus Mariota – Tennessee Titans

Last year was such a disappointment for the former Oregon quarterback. In fairness, he dealt with a hamstring injury that immobilized him for most of the season. Unfortunately, that did not mean he improved as a pocket passer. I’m willing to give Mariota the benefit of the doubt, given his injury and another year to develop chemistry with Corey Davis.

16. Derek Carr – Oakland Raiders

The Raiders are committed to the development of Derek Carr. Jon Gruden’s offensive prowess should help this offense; however, his offenses had the quarterback under center for the majority of their snaps. Hopefully, he’ll adjust his scheme to fit Carr’s strengths, but forcing him to take more snaps under center could affect his timing with Amari Cooper, Jordy Nelson, and the newly acquired Martavis Bryant.

17. Philip Rivers – Los Angeles Chargers

Philip Rivers is continually one of the most undervalued players in all of fantasy football. He’s a high volume passer with good weapons like Keenan Allen, Hunter Henry, and Melvin Gordon. Rivers finished last season second in pass attempts with 575 and tied for fifth in touchdowns with 28. With the upgrades on the offensive line and a fierce pass rush on defense, Rivers and company are prime for a run at the division title and another productive fantasy season.

18. Jameis Winston – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Like Mariota, Winston had a disappointing season due to injuries. Also, his team had to deal with the effects of hurricane Harvey to start the year, as well as the entire team being collectively ill against the Vikings. Not all hope is lost though. Upon his return, Winston was one of the better quarterbacks in December and appeared to have put the injury behind him. Hopefully, Winston can rebound in 2018 and reestablish himself as a viable fantasy player.

19. Eli Manning – New York Giants

The ranking of Eli Manning this high is the result of his supporting cast. Nate Solder and Will Hernandez provide some much needed help on the offensive line. Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram round out a dynamic receiving core. And, the addition of Saquon Barkley elevates this entire offense’s production. Except for one other player, Manning’s supporting cast is superior to every quarterback the rest of the way.

20. Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys

Dak Prescott will be better this year than he was in 2017. Ezekiel Elliott is slated to start for all 16 games, but, this offense will be without its two most targeted pass catchers, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten. Prescott’s legs provide him with a solid floor, but his perimeter talent will severely limit his upside.

Quarterback Rankings: 21-30

21. Andy Dalton – Cincinnati Bengals

Andy Dalton could rise through the quarterback rankings as we get closer to week one. He has an elite player in AJ Green, another year with Joe Mixon, and an upgraded offensive line. Dalton is always a reliable streaming option but could become a starter if his offensive line and running game improve.

22. Case Keenum – Denver Broncos

Case Keenum’s arrival to Denver has more impact on his supporting cast than his production. He’s going to take a step back regarding production, but he is undoubtedly an upgrade over Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, and Brock Osweiler. Keenum should not be drafted as a starter in one quarterback leagues.

23. Alex Smith – Washington Redskins

Just like how Cam Newton’s MVP season was an outlier, so was Alex Smith’s production last year. For the first time in his career, he threw the ball down the field. It’s possible that mindset will transfer to Washington; however, he’s playing with a significantly worse group of skill players. It’s likely that this is Smith’s last stint as an NFL starter.

24. Blake Bortles – Jacksonville Jaguars

Blake Bortles, despite his sporadic moments of offensive production, is in a run-first system. The only way Bortles can become a back-end starting fantasy quarterback is if Jacksonville allows him to run the ball like he did during the playoffs. Even then, there may be better streaming options available.

25. Tyrod Taylor – Cleveland Browns

Like I said with Deshaun Watson, if I knew Tyrod Taylor was going to start the whole season, I’d have him much higher on the list. His rushing ability gives him a high floor and could have some high scoring games should he be able to connect with Josh Gordon deep.

26. Patrick Mahomes – Kansas City Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes is super talented and is in a quarterback-friendly system. He’s surrounded by great players like Kareem Hunt, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill. However, I’m taking the wait and see approach with Mahomes.

27. Mitchell Trubisky – Chicago Bears

While he wasn’t a failure in Chicago, there isn’t enough offensive talent to warrant drafting Mitchell Trubisky. Maybe that’s different in 2019, but until then, he’s nothing more than a backup for fantasy purposes.

28. Joe Flacco – Baltimore Ravens

Joe Flacco is coming off one of the worst seasons in NFL history in terms of yards per attempt for a starting quarterback. It will be interesting to see how the Ravens handle him and Lamar Jackson but don’t expect Flacco to return to this Superbowl form.

29. Ryan Tannehill – Miami Dolphins

Ryan Tannehill should start week one after recovering from a season-ending injury last preseason. Tannehill wasn’t great to begin with, and Miami has shipped out almost all of its talent to rebuild team culture. The Dolphins could very well be one of the worst teams in the NFL.

30. AJ McCarron – Buffalo Bills

And finally, AJ McCarron will get his opportunity. Whether or not he keeps the starting job, the whole season is up for debate. But one thing we can all agree on is that you are in trouble if you are turning to McCarron as your starter.

 

Photo Courtesy of SI.com

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2018 fantasy football QB rankings

The NFL Draft is now over and the next big event for football fans is likely their very own fantasy football drafts. The Game Haus will have rankings by both Joe DiTullio and Braxton Angle, as well as composite rankings, coming out over the coming weeks. These will be adjusted when the season gets closer, but it’s never too early to look ahead. Here are Joe’s qb rankings:

Quarterback rankings: 1-10

1. Aaron Rodgers- Green Bay Packers

Rodgers was on pace for another great season last year before breaking his collarbone. He was able to come back for a good showing against Carolina, but was then shut down for the season with the Packers not being a contender. Jordy Nelson is now a Raider, but Jimmy Graham is now the tight end. He isn’t the same player that he was in New Orleans and Rodgers will have to use him more than he has past tight ends. Rodgers and his weapons make it easy to make him the first quarterback to go in most drafts.

2018 fantasy football qb rankings

Russell Wilson (Photo by forbes.com)

2. Russell Wilson- Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks did fail to get the necessary offensive line help for Wilson, but he was the number one fantasy quarterback last season by a wide margin. He lost Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson this offseason and will need to adjust a little bit, but he still has old reliable in Doug Baldwin. Wilson now has Rashaad Penny at running back, who should help catch passes out of the backfield. He also adds the running ability to a stat sheet and had 586 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground last season.

3. Cam Newton- Carolina Panthers

While his play hasn’t always been the best from a pure football standpoint, Newton finished second among quarterbacks last season. Newton now has more weapons in the past with Greg Olsen, Devin Funchess, D.J. Moore, Torrey Smith and Christian McCaffrey. He too uses his legs well, rushing for 756 yards and six touchdowns last season. He did suffer a knee injury that leaves to question whether he will be ready for the start of the season.

4. Tom Brady- New England Patriots

Brady’s play may decline some day, but there aren’t a lot of tangible signs it is happening yet. It appears that Rob Gronkowski will be back, although the Patriots are without Danny Amendola and Brandin Cooks. Jordan Matthews and Sony Michel add to Julian Edelman and Kevin Hogan. The good news for Brady fans is that it has always been more about Brady and less about the weapons around him.

5. Carson Wentz- Philadelphia Eagles

This ranking is assuming Wentz can come back healthy. If he can’t he will be dropped in the rankings. He finished fifth in fantasy scoring among quarterbacks last season, even though he missed the last three games of the season. Wentz will have Dallas Goedert and Mike Wallace to replace the production of Torrey Smith and Brent Celek, meaning he could even do better this season.

6. Deshaun Watson- Houston Texans

There are a lot of currently injured players on this list and Watson fits that bill. The hope is that he can be ready for week one, but nothing is definite. He lit up the NFL last year as a rookie and only played in seven games. An offseason to study the playbook will help, but there are some risks in taking Watson. Can he cut down the number of interceptions? Will his play be hampered due to his injury? Will teams figure him out in year two? Watson is a good quarterback to have, but if his injury is still a question mark, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get another quarterback on your roster.

7. Andrew Luck- Indianapolis Colts

Another risky pick could be Andrew Luck. He sat out all of last season with an arm injury and will have his fair share of rust to shake off. If he plays at his best he can be atop this list, but he could also have more complications with the injury. The offensive line is better than the last time he took the field, but his weapons are likely worse. He’ll have to rely on T.Y. Hilton to be the player he was two seasons ago.

8. Matthew Stafford- Detroit Lions

Stafford ranked seventh in fantasy points for quarterbacks last season and should have a better offensive line and a running game to support him for the 2018 season. Neither Golden Tate nor Marvin Jones Jr. are number one targets, but they, along with Kenny Golladay, give Stafford a good group of receivers to throw to. Rookie Kerryon Johnson will help the run game and be another good running back to throw to.

9. Drew Brees- New Orleans Saints

While Brees was very efficient last year, he didn’t throw as many passes as he has in the past. The focus on the run game resulted in him finishing ninth among quarterbacks. The good news for people want to select Brees is that Michael Thomas is getting better every year and Cam Meredith was added. Alvin Kamara will continue to provide that good receiving back for Brees as well.

10. Phillip Rivers- Los Angeles Chargers

The eighth-ranked fantasy quarterback from last year, Rivers didn’t have as much help as he expected. Forrest Lamp and Mike Williams were limited in their rookie seasons due to injury. With these players healthy, Rivers might not have too much worse of a fantasy season than last year and could actually see improved stats.

Quarterback Rankings: 11-20

11. Ben Roethlisberger- Pittsburgh Steelers

Roethlisberger should be expected to miss a week or two, whether with injury or the Steelers already locking up a playoff spot. He has two of the most exciting receivers in the game in Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster and running back Le’Veon Bell. It should be another good season for Roethlisberger and the Steelers with a dynamic offense.

2018 Fantasy football qb rankings

Matt Ryan (photo by myajc.com)

12. Matt Ryan- Atlanta Falcons

If Steve Sarkisian wasn’t the offensive coordinator, Ryan would be much higher on this list. He has the weapons in Julio Jones, Mohammed Sanu, Calvin Ridley, Devonta Freeman and Austin Hooper. Last year, with all of those players listed except Ridley, he finished as the 15th quarterback. His season included duds against Buffalo and Minnesota, where he scored less than ten points.

13. Kirk Cousins- Minnesota Vikings

Cousins is the boom-or-bust play at quarterback. He had six games of under 12 points and six games of over 20 points last season. He will have better receivers to work with, but the Vikings got a great season out of Case Keenum last year and he was only able to finish in the middle of the pack in fantasy. Cousins also preferred dump off passes to running backs and may not use the wide receivers as much. Luckily though, Dalvin Cook is back from injury and should be able to help out big time out of the backfield.

14. Derek Carr- Oakland Raiders

The Raiders now have Jon Gruden at the helm and Carr should feel good about that. Carr will also have Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant joining the team to help fill the void left by Michael Crabtree. If Carr stays healthy and Amari Cooper can keep his hands on the ball, he should have a solid season.

15. Jared Goff- Los Angeles Rams

Goff had a great season last year and now gets a more productive receiver in Brandin Cooks to replace Sammy Watkins. He finished 12th in the league last year. This season the Rams will still have a good running game and a good defense, so Goff likely won’t get the volume of some of the other quarterbacks on this list.

16. Jameis Winston- Tampa Bay Buccaneers

He finished 22nd among quarterbacks last season, but had he stayed healthy and not missed three games, he likely would’ve finished around this range. He still has Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson, but now also has Ronald Jones out of the backfield to throw to.

17. Jimmy Garoppolo- San Francisco 49ers

Garoppolo is still undefeated as a starter and will now be the full-time guy in San Francisco. He doesn’t have the best receivers to throw to but does have Jerick McKinnon who will help him out from the running back position.

18. Marcus Mariota- Tennessee Titans

It’s odd for a starter of Mariota’s caliber to not have a game over 20 points, but he didn’t last season. He also had a few really bad games, which likely leaves him as a QB2.

2018 Fantasy football qb rankings

Dak Prescott (photo by upi.com)

19. Dak Prescott- Dallas Cowboys

Prescott will be without Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, but Witten is the greater loss, as Prescott capitalizes on short, safe throws. He will still get a lot of points throwing to Cole Beasley and running in touchdowns.

20. Case Keenum- Denver Broncos

Last year Keenum had a career year and it still was only good enough to rank 14th. Denver has great receivers, but he may not be able to replicate last year’s success.

Quarterback rankings: 21-30

21. Alex Smith- Washington Redskins

Another veteran who had a career year last season, Smith is now with the Redskins. He won’t have the resources he had last year in Kansas City and will regress as a result.

22. Andy Dalton- Cincinnati Bengals

The offensive line for the Bengals will be vastly improved, which in turn should help Dalton, but there are other issues that could make it tough on Dalton. The first question that comes to mind is: Are they going to let their young receivers play? Both Tyler Boyd and John Ross saw limited action last season. If they play more, Dalton could shoot up a few spots on the list.

23. Blake Bortles- Jacksonville Jaguars

Gone are Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns. The Jags still have other solid receivers, but the team’s main focus will be on the run game.

24. Eli Manning- New York Giants

OBJ coming back helps, but it is still really hard to trust Eli Manning as a viable fantasy quarterback. Barkley helps out and we’ll have to see how Manning looks under new head coach Pat Shurmur.

2018 fantasy football qb rankings

Joe Flacco (Photo by baltimoreravens.com)

25. Joe Flacco- Baltimore Ravens

Flacco isn’t a very good quarterback anymore and also doesn’t have the talent around him to start week in and week out in fantasy.

26. Tyrod Taylor- Cleveland Browns

This ranking is very much dependent on how the Browns plan to use Baker Mayfield. If Taylor gets to start, he should do a viable job, as the Bills traded away almost all of their good players and he still led them to the playoffs. With some good skill position players around him, Taylor could be a spot starter in fantasy.

27. Ryan Tannehill- Miami Dolphins

Tannehill will have a lot less to work with now that Jarvis Landry and Jay Ajayi are gone. If the Dolphins don’t win this season, he will not stat next season.

28. Mitchell Trubisky- Chicago Bears

Trubisky had a decent rookie season and now has Allen Robinson to throw to.

29. Patrick Mahomes- Kansas City Chiefs

The new starter in Kansas City is a gun-slinger. He has great weapons to use, but will also turn the ball over a lot.

30. A.J. McCarron- Buffalo Bills

The Bills should start McCarron day one. They don’t have great receivers or an offensive line and wouldn’t want to throw Josh Allen into that fire.

 

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The 2018 Drafted New England Patriots

The 2018 NFL draft kicked its first round off on Thursday night. The New England Patriots sat in a position to draft two players on both the first round (Thursday) and the second round (Friday).

The Patriots ended up gaining draft picks through the last year or so. The two picks they inherited were the #23 overall pick that was the Los Angeles Rams, and the 43rd overall pick from the 49ers. Those two draft picks were landed in the business transactions that saw Jimmy Garoppolo as well as Brandin Cooks depart from Foxboro.

The Patriots sought out what seemed to be an annual list of “needs”. The usual Offensive Lineman, Cover Linebacker and Cornerback all made appearances in another draft portfolio. That same portfolio that has “quarterback” probably in bold by now. For all of these four picks, it seemed as though the Patriots would attempt to fill the needs with suitable players. Let’s be honest here, if you thought that’s what they were going to do then you’ve never watched Bill Belichick.

The First Round:

#23

Many rumors circulated about the Patriots potentially taking Lamar Jackson at their 23rd selection. After all the smoke cleared the Patriots passed on Lamar not once but twice. The 23rd pick resulted in the University of Georgia Offensive lineman, Isaiah Wynn.

This pick proved to be a very smart move being that they lost Nate Solder this offseason. Wynn proved to be a very solid run blocker as Georgia’s two-back rushing attack was one of the best in the country and showed that he could hold up in pass protection as well. Wynn will be the immediate plug and play to replace Nate Solder and I don’t think too many New England fans are disappointed with that.

#31

This pick was the Patriots original draft selection, and one that surprised most people. After an offseason where they lost one of their lead backs in Dion Lewis, then turned around and signed former Cincinnati Bengal standout in Jeremy Hill, they turned to the draft to pick another back to be in an already crowded backfield. The Patriots shocked some people by taking Sony Michel with the 31st pick. Sony Michel is another Georgia Bulldog and a very good one at that.

Despite being in a dual backfield at Georgia, Michel was one of the stars of college football. He especially seemed to shine in the College Football Playoffs. Against Oklahoma and their subpar defense, Michel managed to get 222 yards on 16 carries. In the National Championship, basically on the opposite side of the spectrum, he got 98 yards on 14 carries against the nations toughest defense in the Alabama Crimson Tide. Michel took over the backfield and outshined Nick Chubb. He could be a possible Jeremy Hill but younger. He joins a backfield that doesn’t have a true running back but has a bunch of pass catching backs.

James White and Rex Burkhead have shown that they are the two heavy load backs, but the Patriots have lacked a true runner. Mike Gillislee is the closest thing the Patriots have to a true running back and he’s the same weight and height as the unproven Michel. Gillislee has proven to not be the guy for the Patriots, so Michel could get the opportunity to shine behind a very solid offensive line and in a great offense.

Second Round:

#56

New England Patriots

Duke Dawson Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

What was originally two picks heading into the second round then turned to one. The Patriots, rather classically, traded out of their selection and managed to drop further back into another draft. They did, however, manage to take care of one of the glaring holes on their defense. Duke Dawson is a corner that played for the Florida Gators (Ah yes, SEC defenders). He is coming in trying to be the complement to Stephon Gilmore. He will come in looking to be a solid cover corner to fill in for Malcolm Butler who the Patriots let go this offseason.

Summary:

The Patriots have done a very nice job in the earlier rounds of filling some of the voids they have. Year in and year out it seems like people are worried about who is going to take over for Tom Brady. This season was no different, many people were expecting Lamar Jackson to come off the boards and go with the Patriots. Instead, they are stocking up their assets for Brady to exploit and stashing some picks later in the draft to take a chance on a quarterback for the future. The Patriots have yet again done another solid job on building a roster back up after it seemed to be depleted this offseason.

 

Featured image from The Boston Herald.

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2018 NFL Draft recap

4 things we know after the 2018 NFL Draft

The 2018 NFL Draft is in the books. It takes a couple years to really know which teams nailed it and which teams whiffed. Thus, the concept of giving out nothing more than simple draft grades in the days immediately following it is fun, but somewhat foolish.

However, we now have a better idea of how teams view themselves and how they will fare in the fall. Here are a few things we learned over the three day extravaganza.

Denver does not view Case Keenum as a stopgap 

After scouting every elite quarterback in the draft, Denver passed on drafting a quarterback altogether. Instead, the Broncos bolstered an already loaded pass rush after Bradley Chubb fell into their lap. Then, John Elway spent five of his remaining picks on running backs, wide receivers and tight ends.

Incoming rookie receivers Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton in particular could be asked to make an impact right away. A consistent third pass catcher to take the heat off of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders has been lacking for a few years now.

2018 NFL Draft recap

(Photo from wralsportsfan.com)

The Broncos clearly think Case Keenum can lead them right back into contention in 2018 and beyond. He has almost everything a quarterback needs to succeed, much like he did in Minnesota. Defense was the centerpiece of the Vikings last year and it will be for the Broncos this year.

It is a little bit surprising that Denver spent only one draft pick on offensive line. The decision-makers there are putting their faith in Garett Bolles to make a huge leap forward in his second year and veterans Ronald Leary and Jared Veldheer to stay healthy and stabilize a unit that has needed help for a long time.

Still, it is now apparent that the Broncos think they can win now and are reloading, not rebuilding.

Cleveland did not learn from history, but also hopes not to repeat it 

Baker Mayfield and Johnny Manziel are different people, but the comparison really does write itself. They are both undersized quarterbacks who won the Heisman Trophy after dominating college football for a very short period of time. Moreover, the Browns ignored significant off-the-field concerns in hopes that they could resurrect a dead franchise.

Manziel failed spectacularly, and that is largely on him. But Cleveland has been the worst culture for young quarterbacks to develop in the last 20 years. Manziel had no chance to succeed there. Tyrod Taylor is a solid quarterback that is more than capable of getting the Browns at least four wins this year. That should lessen the immediate pressure on Mayfield. This, combined with the fact that Mayfield’s rough edges are a little smoother than Manziel’s give him a better chance to do well in Cleveland.

Still, the Browns going with Mayfield after the Manziel experience straddles the line between gutsy and stupid. No one would argue that Sam Darnold is not a safer prospect, even the temperamental Josh Rosen would have raised a few less eyebrows.

The Patriots are not concerned about Tom Brady’s age 

Whether it is Robert Kraft or Bill Belichick calling the shots in Patriot land nowadays, this is the only conclusion that can be drawn. Jimmy Garoppolo is in San Francisco, Tom Brady is 40 and New England passed on taking Lamar Jackson and Mason Rudolph.

New England did take a quarterback in the seventh round, but LSU’s Danny Etling was not on most radars as a draftable prospect. The Patriots have outsmarted everyone with quarterbacks in the late rounds of the draft before, but it is hard to imagine Etling was drafted with the idea of being Brady’s successor. We know that 32-year-old Brian Hoyer certainly is not Brady’s successor either.

Regardless of how dedicated Brady is, quarterbacks fall off a cliff quickly in the NFL. The most recent example of this is Peyton Manning, who was younger than Brady is now when he played his final season, which was also his worst statistically. The lack of a long-term plan at quarterback is slowly putting New England’s position as the NFL’s gold standard in more and more jeopardy.

Russell Wilson is going to run for his life again in 2018 

When the awesome story of the Griffin brothers is put aside, Seattle’s draft as a whole is worrisome. They reached by as much as two rounds for running back Rashaad Penny and tight end Will Dissly, but that is not all.

2018 NFL Draft recap

(Photo from nocoastbias.com)

Seattle’s offensive line was atrocious last year. At its worst, there were games where Russell Wilson was pressured on a third of his drop backs. The only reason Wilson lived to tell about it is because he is one of the most mobile quarterbacks on the planet. His arm and legs created all but one of Seattle’s offensive touchdowns last year. Wilson was able to keep Seattle relevant until the very end of the regular season.

Wilson will need a repeat performance to do the same this year. The Seahawks continued their long standing reputation of refusing to invest in the offensive line. They only took one and waited until the fifth round to do so. They even traded up to take a punter before paying any attention to their biggest need.

This was a very deep draft for offensive lineman. Thus, it feels like the Seahawks missed a big chance to improve. With the “Legion of Boom” pretty much a memory, Wilson really is the only thing this franchise has going for it. After this draft, the weight of the world remains on his shoulders.

 

Featured image from tylermorningtelegraph.com

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New England Patriots

What the Patriots need

New England Patriots’ quarterback, Tom Brady is still questionable for the 2018 season. People believe that there’s no doubt that he will play this year, but they don’t know for sure if he will return. Brady is in his early 40s and is still playing like he’s in his 20s. He didn’t show up for the first week of the offseason program.

The five-time Super Bowl champion isn’t the only player that hasn’t shown up; Tight end Rob Gronkowski also missed the first week of the offseason program as well. There are questions that if he will return to the Patriots. But that’s not the only issue. Star receivers Brandin Cooks, Danny Amendola and running back Dion Lewis were traded and went to different teams. Now the real question is, who will the Patriots pick up in the draft to rebuild their offense?

Brady’s Situation

There’s no answer on who will take Brady’s place and at quarterback. He’s been in the NFL for 18 years and led the Patriots to five Super Bowl victories. Last season, he threw for 4,577 yards and 32 touchdowns; and he also won his third AP MVP award. Brady has a total of 66,159 passing yards and 99 touchdowns for his whole career.

New England Patriots

Tom Brady
(Sports Illustrated)

It’s still questionable if he will return, therefore, The Patriots are making preparations on who they will pick up in the NFL draft. Of course, they have back up quarterback, Bryan Hoyer right behind Brady, who played with the San Fransisco 49ers last season. He threw for 1,245 yards and four touchdowns. Hoyer is a good quarterback, but he wouldn’t be able to replace Brady and continue his legacy. Hoyer is also the only back up since the Patriots traded away Jimmy Garappolo to the San Fransisco 49ers.

Will Gronk return?

New England Patriots

Rob Gronkowski
(CBS Boston)

The Patriots also need a back up tight end for Gronkowski just in case if he doesn’t come back. He is one of Brady’s favorite targets to throw to and is one of the best tight ends in the league. He has a combined total of 7,179 receiving yards and 76 touchdowns for his whole career.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if Gronk plays next year, but his ability to stay healthy is the main concern. He’s been to the hospital numerous times for surgery on his knee, ankle, forearm four times, and on his back three times. There’s no telling how much his body is willing to take for one more year, and he’s only 27.

What will the Patriots Need?

Gronk and Brady aren’t the only players that are missing. Star wide receivers, Amendola and Cooks both switched to different teams. Amendola denied the Patriot’s offer and signed with to the Miami Dolphins for the 2018-2019 season. Brandin Cooks has been traded to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for two draft picks. These wide receivers were huge playmakers that were fast and able to leave defenders behind.

Dion Lewis, who was a huge weapon to New England’s run game, was not re-signed and left for the Tennessee Titans. On the day of the draft, the Patriots will need to pick up more receivers to strengthen their depth and an explosive running back. Since the Patriots have two first and second round picks, and a third-round pick, they have an opportunity to acquire as much young talented rookies to back up and replace them.

 

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New England Patriots 2018 NFL Draft profile

The 2018 NFL Draft is now under a week away, which means that Draftmas is back. Draftmas will take a look at each NFL team heading into the NFL Draft, what their needs are and who they could be targeting. You will find it here. Draftmas will continue with the New England Patriots 2018 NFL Draft profile. 

Summary

New England Patriots 2018 NFL Draft profile

Tom Brady (Photo by bleacherreport.com)

New England made it to the Super Bowl again last season but were unable to keep up with the Philadelphia Eagles. They had a good season, but losing in the biggest game of the year created an offseason that has been far from normal.

The Patriots averaged the second most points in the league at 28.6 points per game. They ranked in the top 10 in both passing (second) and rushing (10th). Tom Brady is expected to be back for next season, even though reports have come out this week that he hasn’t committed to it yet. Brian Hoyer is his backup and is in his second stint in New England, meaning he should be able to run the offense decently well if Brady gets hurt, or opts for retirement.

Brandin Cooks was traded to the Rams and Danny Amendola signed with the Dolphins, meaning new wideouts will be needed. Chris Hogan and Julian Edelman return, although Edelman will have to prove he is back from his torn ACL. Jordan Matthews was signed to help bolster the receiving core, but they will likely need to add more in the draft.

Rob Gronkowski has been in headlines all offseason for contemplating retirement and for possibly being on the trading block. Odds are he returns. The offensive line will look a lot different next season as Nate Solder and Cameron Flemming are no longer Patriots.

The running backs are mostly the same, but Dion Lewis left for the Titans. Jeremy Hill was added to the crew in which no one knows who will produce on any given game.

While the defense struggled early in the season, they recovered to finish fifth in the league in points allowed. Adrian Clayborne and Danny Shelton were acquired to bolster the defensive line that was notably pretty weak in 2017. They now have turned it into a solid unit that even has a little bit of depth.

The linebackers did not perform well last season, but there is some talent at the position in Donta’ Hightower and Kyle Van Noy. Malcolm Butler was signed by the Titans, so Jason McCourty was acquired, but they still need a few good young corners. Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty are solid safeties, but they aren’t among the best in the NFL.

There has been a lot of change to the roster this offseason, but with the right moves in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Patriots could make it to another Super Bowl.

Picks and Needs

The Patriots have eight picks in the 2018 NFL Draft, five of which are in the first three rounds. This is a luxury they haven’t had in a while.

First round (2 picks): 23, 31

Second round (2): 43, 63

Third round (1): 95

Fourth round (0):

Fifth round (0):

Sixth round (2): 198, 210

Seventh round (1): 219

Offensive needs:

Quarterback- Who knows how long Brady can play for? Hoyer is a good backup, but after trading Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett a new young quarterback to develop is needed.

Offensive Tackle- With both Solder and Flemming gone, the Patriots need to get a tackle who they can trust to protect Brady for the rest of his career. There aren’t a lot of great tackle prospects in this draft class, so they will need to strike gold.

Wide Receiver- The Patriots have a few solid wide receivers in Edelman, Hogan and Matthews, but should add more to the roster. A young target who could develop into a number one would be a nice addition to the roster.

Defensive needs:

Defensive Tackle- Shelton and Malcolm Brown make a decent tandem, but depth is needed. They will also need a player to rush on passing downs.

Linebacker- Hightower and Van Noy had down years and they’ll, at the very least, want to get a third linebacker.

Cornerback- McCourty is a solid replacement for Butler, but he isn’t the youngest. With so many picks early in the draft, they should use one on a corner.

Targets

New England Patriots 2018 NFL Draft profile

Lamar Jackson (Photo by cincyjungle.com)

First round:

Pick No. 23: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

The going rumor for the first round is that the Patriots love Lamar Jackson. With Brady’s career winding down, they do need to add a plan for the future. With Bill Belichick’s genius, they could use Jackson before ever making him the starting quarterback. Sitting and learning behind one of the best quarterbacks of all time is a great way to start a career.

Pick No. 31: Connor Williams, OT, Texas

To address the losses on the offensive line, the Patriots can select a tackle at the end of the first round. Williams is athletic, but has short arms and isn’t the strongest. New England will have to develop him, like any other tackle in the class, but could turn him into a great lineman.

Second round:

Pick No. 43: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado

With the departure of Malcolm Butler, Oliver can be the new young corner on the Patriots. He is lengthy, but slight and will need to add length to his frame. With time he can grow into a shutdown corner.

Pick No. 63: Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas

Jefferson has good athletic ability and speed, but could never seemingly put it all together at Texas. New England’s coaching staff should be able to get the most out of him.

Third round: 

Pick No. 95: Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame

St. Brown is tall and fast, but needs improved route-running. Playing with Brady will immediately help him out and make him a good pro.

 

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2018 NFL Draft quarterbacks

Best fits for top 2018 NFL quarterback prospects: Part II

Welcome to the second of a two part series examining the best fits for the top six quarterback prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft. You can check out the first part here. Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson and Mason Rudolph go under the microscope this time around.

Playing matchmaker is a little tougher with these three. They are likely to go later in the first round, or perhaps even early in the second, but trades are always possible, especially in that part of the draft.

Baker Mayfield: Arizona Cardinals 

Carson Palmer is retired. No one is mistaking Mike Glennon for a franchise quarterback. Sadly, it is not a matter of if Sam Bradford will get hurt again, but when. Arizona is the most quarterback needy team in the entire draft.

Mayfield’s roughness around the edges is well documented on and off the field. Being drafted to a locker room with veterans like Larry Fitzgerald would go a long way towards smoothing out Mayfield’s character flaws.

On the field, the Cardinals have no long-term quarterback plan, even if Bradford makes it through 2018 healthy. They need one. Mayfield is a legitimate duel threat, but the numbers say he would much rather throw. He never averaged more than 3.2 yards per carry in college. Defense in the Big 12 is bad, but it is not hard to see why there is great intrigue around the reigning Heisman Trophy winner at the next level. He threw 81 touchdowns to just 13 interceptions in his last two years of college.

Other than being a tick too short, He has all the stats and physical attributes NFL people look for. There is more than enough there to ignore the concerns over his arrest and less than sportsmanlike behavior on the field. His ability to ad lib when plays break down should also serve him well if he is thrown on the field as a rookie.

Picking at No. 15, Arizona’s quarterback options are somewhat limited without a trade, but there is some talent on the roster. Mayfield’s upside in a situation like the Cardinals is endless.

Lamar Jackson: Buffalo Bills 

This was the toughest prospect to pair with a team. Any quarterback who weighs just over 200 pounds and has 655 rushing attempts in three years of college football is going to have a short and painful NFL career, unless their game is retooled through coaching. Concerns about size and running too much aside, Jackson’s college numbers and pure athleticism are going to earn him a long look in the NFL.

In Buffalo, AJ McCarron is there on a two-year deal to keep the team competitive while it searches for long-term quarterback. Early returns on the Nathan Peterman experiment have been disastrous. Even though Buffalo could not wait to get rid of him, Tyrod Taylor did lead Buffalo to the playoffs last year. Taylor is a decent pro comparison for Jackson, so the coaching staff would be well-suited to coach him.

The former Heisman Trophy winner going to Buffalo makes sense in terms of both need and draft position. Jackson’s college production shows that he is capable of learning how to become an NFL pocket passer.

Mason Rudolph: New England Patriots

Whether he realizes it or not, Tom Brady is 40 years old. With Jimmy Garoppolo in San Francisco, the Patriots have no plan for Brady’s successor. Recent reports have New England taking a shine to Jackson. However, it is hard to imagine Bill Belichick taking a chance on an undersized quarterback who some would argue is a better runner than thrower.

2018 NFL Draft quarterbacks

(Photo from zambio.com)

Rudolph is the all-time leading passer at Oklahoma State. He specializes in the vertical passing game that dominates the NFL landscape today. 10 percent of his dropbacks in college resulted in at least a 25-yard completion. Rudolph needs a little polishing to go from Oklahoma State’s gun-slinging offense to the NFL.

New England is the perfect place for him to get that. He can learn from Brady for a while. Then he can either succeed him or get a big payday somewhere else like other Patriot backup quarterbacks have done. Regardless of which quarterback ends up there, New England is an ideal spot. Rudolph is the best fit.

More than just the six teams mentioned in these two articles could be in the quarterback market early in the draft. New Orleans, Denver and Miami could all be additional players in the market for rookie signal callers. With so many teams potentially needing quarterbacks, some of the prospects ranked seventh and lower in the quarterback class will eventually be asked to make an impact as well.

 

Featured image from clutchpoints.com

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NFL draft

Four teams with aging star quarterbacks who should draft a rookie to develop

With the upcoming draft not too far away I am going to outline some teams that could surprise everyone and draft a quarterback early even though they already have a star in place.

Everyone knows that the quarterback is the centerpiece of the football team. Once you have a quarterback, you can begin to assemble your team and position them for a chance to win. Teams like the Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams have shown that after drafting the right quarterback your team can become a contender almost immediately. Last season, the San Francisco 49ers were a glowing example of the difference between a team with a quarterback and a team without one. Before Jimmy Garoppolo began starting the 49ers were 1-10. Once Jimmy G came on, they convincingly won all five of their last games on the way to a 6-10 finish.

Clearly a quarterback is of utmost importance in this league, therefore, in a year where five quarterbacks may go in the first round of the draft, it seems like a great opportunity for a team that is used to winning with an aging star to be able to draft a guy that they can develop as a succession plan. Without further ado, let’s get on to the list!

What teams should draft a quarterback?

1. The New York Giants
draft

Baker Mayfield throwing at the combine. Photo by NY Post

Sure, this one seems obvious. An aged Eli Manning is coming off a rough season and the Giants are going into rebuild mode. This means they are in perfect position to draft the second-best quarterback in the draft, or, maybe the best with the browns track record of drafting QBs.

At 37, and with a weakening arm, Eli Manning is in the twilight of his career. Manning could have a couple starter quality years left, which means he would make a perfect mentor for a young quarterback like Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen or Baker Mayfield. With the second pick in the draft the Giants can take their pick of the quarterbacks left, or if they feel they can still get their guy later in the draft, they could trade down, collect some draft picks, and still get a rookie to develop.

2. New England Patriots

The brilliance of Terrific Tom won’t last forever. He will be 41 when the season starts which is uncharted territory for starting quarterbacks in the NFL. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to draft a rookie to develop behind him, much like they did with Jimmy Garoppolo.

Since they were the Super Bowl losers, they don’t pick until late in the first, 31st Overall. However, the Patriots aquired the Saints first rounder at 23 as well, with two second round picks and their firsts at 23 and 31, the Patriots have the ammo to trade up and snag a guy they want if he falls into the teens. The Patriots are masters at game-planning and preparation so I could see them drafting someone like Lamar Jackson that they can eventually tailor their offense to after Tom Brady retires.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers
draft

Lamar Jackson throws a pass. Photo by Melina Vastola of USA Today

Ben Roethlisberger has contemplated retirement each of the last two offseasons. How much longer until the Steelers are left exposed at the quarterback position?

The Steelers could take a guy like Lamar Jackson or Mason Rudolph to develop until Big Ben actually retires. Mason Rudolph seems particularly intriguing for the Steelers as a guy they could take outside the first round while still using their first-round pick to shape their team to win now.

4. New Orleans Saints

An aging 39-year-old star on a two-year deal, Drew Brees’ small stature could prevent him from playing too much longer in the NFL. The Saints are another team in position to draft a late first round guy, like again, Lamar Jackson, who would work wonders with Sean Payton. Jackson has the potential to be a Micheal Vick like talent with the right development and scheme.

What this really means?

All of these teams could draft a quarterback in this draft, but replacing a star is more than just drafting the right guy, it’s also about developing that guy into a viable starter. Historically not all of the quarterbacks projected to go in the first round will even be successful in the NFL. In the first round, excluding the first pick overall, which none of these teams have, the hit rate for quarterbacks is very low, less than a third. However, with proper development, coaching and a scheme that fits their strengths that number should be higher.

These teams, maybe excluding the Giants, seem to have the elements in place to transition from one quarterback to a new one with less of a rebuild than is usually required. They would be wise to take that opportunity while they still can.

 

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Featured image from Brad Penner of USA Today