In the days when the NFL appears to be trending more towards a flag football league than the old smash mouth football the desire for tough football players still reigns.
“We want rough guys, we want tough guys.” – John Harbaugh (Ravens head coach)
“You have to have a mental toughness about you to play the position here in New York. Or to play the position anywhere. ” – Dave Gettlleman (Giants GM)
“Generally speaking, we want to add tough football players,” – Freddie Kitchens (Browns head coach)
Allow me to digress for a moment. I support the changes to make the game safer. If the NFL and all football organizations fail to do so the game of football will suffer. If parents will not let their children play football, though it may not make the game extinct, it will decrease the source pool and thus decrease quality of player the game attracts. Digression finished and back to tough players.
So how did the teams do in regard to drafting tough football players. This is of course highly subjective. Who are the “tough” players and how is that determined. I came up with a list of “tough” players limiting it to five players for each position. I looked for players that give 110% on every play. They play with intensity – like their “hair was in fire”. Playing thru injury was also accounted for. While production was not a main criteria it was taken into account when there were a lot of close choices. After all how “tough” is the player if he fails to obtain 1st down on 3rd and short, or if a pass rusher does not get sacks.
Here is a film of one of my choices, tight end Drew Sample, blocking. It is like the scene from The Blind Side.
Here are the results of number of “tough” players drafted by team arranged by divisions.
|AFC East||# Players||NFC East||# Players|
|AFC North||# Players||NFC North||# Players|
|AFC South||# Players||NFC South||# Players|
|AFC West||# Players||NFC West||# Players|
Here are the “tough” players by position. The order for positions do not imply any degree of toughness.
|QB||Brett Rypien||DEN||DT||Quinnen Williams||NYJ|
|QB||Daniel Jones||NYG||DT||Jeffery Simmons||TEN|
|QB||Easton Stick||LAC||DT||Ed Oliver||BUF|
|QB||Gardner Minshew||JAX||DT||Daniel Wise||DAL|
|QB||Trace McSorley||BAL||DT||Cortez Broughton||LAC|
|RB||Josh Jacobs||OAK||Edge||Nick Bosa||SF|
|RB||Benny Snell||PIT||Edge||Clelin Ferrell||OAK|
|RB||Trayveon Williams||CIN||Edge||Chase Winovich||NWE|
|RB||Alexander Mattison||MIN||Edge||Zach Allen||ARI|
|RB||David Montgomery||CHI||Edge||Josh Allen||JAX|
|FB||Chandler Cox||MIA||LB||Cody Barton||SEA|
|FB||George Aston||DEN||LB||Drue Tranquill||LAC|
|FB||Winston Dimel||SEA||LB||Blake Cashman||NYJ|
|FB||Britton Abbott||LB||Devin Bush||PIT|
|FB||Trevon Wesco||NYJ||LB||Devin White||TB|
|TE||TJ Hockenson||DET||CB||Rock Ya Sin||IND|
|TE||Foster Moreau||OAK||CB||Byron Murphy||ARI|
|TE||Isaac Nauta||DET||CB||Kris Boyd||MIN|
|TE||Andrew Beck||NWE||CB||Deandre Baker||NYG|
|TE||Drew Sample||CIN||CB||Michael Jackson||DAL|
|WR||Kelvin Harmon||WAS||SF||Tyalor Rapp||LAR|
|WR||Stanley Morgan||CIN||SF||Nasir Adderley||LAC|
|WR||Deebo Samuel||SF||SF||Darnell Savage||GB|
|WR||Calvin Ridley||CHI||SF||Jonathan Abram||OAK|
|WR||Garry Jennings||SEA||SF||Mike Edwards||TB|
Here are the players arranged by team
|CB||Rock Ya Sin||IND|
A couple of observances regarding drafting tough players
- The West divisions got a lot tougher
- Bills are tougher on both their lines.
- Bears and Bengals added a lot of tough offensive weapons.
- Broncos and Vikings should be tougher running the ball
- Lions are all in on tough tight ends
- Chargers have toughened their defense
- The AFC East should be tougher and more competitive
- Jon Gruden and Pete Carroll want to bring back smash mouth football.