2019 Draft Prospects Part I – Shrine Game Players

The 2019 College All Star games of the East West Shrine Game, the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and the Reese Senior Bowl, have all concluded. Articles have been published on players that helped their draft stock. However the games themselves are not the best platform for evaluating talent. It is said that many NFL scouts do not even stay for the game and rather get their evaluations from the practices.  Playing in part of one game with teammates you just met that week is not ideal conditions for evaluation. But just getting selected for these games is a big positive.  The selected players have been evaluated to be the best of the draft eligible class based on at least a season of college play. As the games themselves unfold talented players can be overlooked and worse discounted due to average or below average game performance in one game.

This is the first of a series of blogs to look at draft prospects based on selection for a All Star Game and college productivity. Starting with the Shrine Game, I will go thru the roster and select players that had at least one productive college season as determined by team market share productivity for their position. Only those game participants that meet a minimum productivity standard in one college season are listed and described.  For offensive linemen selection for an All Conference Team for at least one season was the criteria. For quarterbacks I used situational metrics for their 2018 season. All metric minimum standard is shown in the table. (MS stands for team Market Share).

Position Metrics
Quarterback 3rd Down Conversion %,
Red Zone TD %,
Big Play %
(Sum Std Dev above avg)
Running Back Yards from Scrimmage MS (25%)
Receivers Receiving Yards MS (WR 30%, TE 15%)
Offensive Line All Conference Selection
Defensive Line Solo Tackle MS (6%),
TFL MS (15%),
Sack MS (25%)
Linebackers Solo Tackle MS (11%)
Defensive Backs Solo Tackle MS (6%),
Int MS (25%),
PD MS (15%)
Kickers All Conference Selection

East West Shrine Game

Here are the players that were invited to the East West Shrine Game that met the minimum standard shown in the table.


Taylor Cornelius – Oklahoma State – QB

One of two quarterbacks chosen for the 2018 All Big-12 team Honorable Mention. Cornelius was third in the nation in passing plays of 10+ yards and fourth in 20+ passing plays. Twenty percent of his plays went for big plays. Among 22 quarterbacks looked at Cornelius was fourth in his percentage of big plays. Cornelius is a big quarterback at 6’6″ and 232 lbs he would be among the biggest quarterbacks in the NFL. He had a monster game against Kansas this season in which he had a 75% completion percent, 312 passing yards, four touchdowns, one interception and a passer rating of 262. Here is Cornelius dropping a dime to receiver Tyron.

Brett Rypien – Boise State – QB

Brett Rypien is the 2018 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year. He has been clutch on third down. Among 22 top draft prospects at quarterback examined Rypien was third in third down conversions converting 48.4% of third down attempts. Rypien was second in passing 3rd down conversions (49%) . He was topped only by Kyler Murray but Rypien had 40 more 3rd down pass attempts than Murray. Rypien was fifth in rushing third down conversions (46% on 37 attempts). However only Jake Browning  was better with a comparable amount of attempts. Brett Rypien meets all of Bill Parcells’ seven rules for drafting a quarterback.  He has a 77% win percentage with 48 career starts and is a 4 year starter. Brett has passed for a career 13, 578 yards which is 13th most in FBS history since 2000. Rypien had four games in 2018 in which he had a passer rating of over 200. Against Colorado State  he had a completion percentage of 84.6%, passed for 308 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. Here is a clip from that game of dropping a dime into double coverage.

Marcus McMaryion – CSU Fresno – QB

McMaryion was a Mountain West Honorable Mention for 2017 and 2018. He also passes all seven of Bill Parcells’ rules for drafting a quarterback. Marcus is seventh in the nation in Pass Completion Percentage (68.6%) and Total Yards (3,923). His Pass Completion percentage is tops in the Mountain West Conference. At ten games thru the 2018 season Pro Football Focus had Marcus leading the nation’s quarterbacks in red zone passer rating (124.4).  Of the top 22 draft eligible quarterbacks looked at, McMaryion had the second best red zone rushing touchdown conversion percentage (42% on 19 attempts). None of the 22 quarterbacks had more attempts with a better percentage. In his last two seasons at Fresno state McMaryion was 21-4 as a starter. In 2018 he passed for over 200 yards in 12 of his fourteen games. He was one of 11 quarterback semifinalists for the 2018 Maxwell Award given to the best all-around player in college football. Here is a nice pass from Fresno State’s win over Wyoming. In that game McMaryion completed 68.8% of his passes for 287 yards, two passing touchdowns, zero interceptions and he ran for another two touchdowns.


Running Back

Ty Johnson – Maryland – RB

In 2016 Johnson had 1,210 yards from scrimmage which was 25% of his team’s total yards. His 1,004 rushing yards that season averaged 9.13 yards per attempt which was second in the nation. Johnson’s career 7.6 yards per attempt was third in the FBS active career leaders in 2018.  A 2017 media All Big Ten Honorable Mention. An electric player with good character and a strong work ethic. He’s big and and tough at 212 pounds and nearly six-foot.

Wide Receiver

KeeSean Johnson – CSU Fresno – WR

KeeSean Johnson was a 2016 Mountain West Conference Honorable Mention, a 2017 Second Team and a 2018 Second Team. He made the Pro Football Focus 2018 All Mountain West First Team and they had this to say about him: Johnson caught 63.6% of his deep passes (20-plus yards) to go with 14 missed tackles forced and a passer rating when targeted of 132.9. Johnson had a 36% receiving team market share in 2018. According to draftcobern.com, 95% of NFL 5-Time Pro Bowl players reached this level of market share production since 1969. he has been

Cody Thompson – Toledo – WR

Thompson made 2016 All-MAC First Team and again 2018 All-MAC First Team. Known for a strong work ethic Thompson made the 2017 Sports Illustrated Freaks List of the top 40 workout warriors in college football. In 2018 73% of his receptions were for a first down and eight out of his ten red zone receptions were a touchdown. He has strong reliable hands and shows toughness.

Tight End

CJ Conrad – Kentucky – TE

Conrad’s 318 receiving yards in 2108 was 15% of the team’s passing yards which is a threshold for productive tight ends. He is highly rated blocker and helped block for running back Benny Snell who has had three 1,000+ yard seasons. As reported by Pro Football Focus, Conrad had 12.0 yards after the catch per reception in 2017. That was the highest among draft eligible tight ends with a minimum 12 receptions.

Offensive Center

Alec Eberle – Florida State – OC

A 2018 Senior Class Award candidate. Eberle has persevered through major injuries while starting 44 consecutive games at center. He has started every game since his first start in the last six games as a redshirt freshman in 2015. He was a 2016 All ACC Team Honorable Mention and a 2018 All ACC Second Team.

Lamont Gaillard – Georgia – OC

2018 All-SEC Coaches First Team. Started 29 consecutive games at center since moved to center to start the 21017 season. Georgia was graded as the best offensive line in the nation six weeks into the 2018 season by Pro Football Focus. They graded the unit as the number one run blocking grade. ESPN analyst Cole Cubelic had Gaillard as the top returning center in the SEC entering the 2018 season.  “He plays his ass off, consistently finishes, never leaves his teammates out to dry and for me he is a joy to watch.” – Cole Cubelic.

John Keenoy – Western Michigan – OC

John Keenoy was 2016 All-MAC Second Team, 2017 All-MAC First Team and 2018 All-MAC Second Team. Keenoy has started every game played (50 of 51 possible games) at center. In 2017 was lone junior voted by teammates for “Captain’s Award”.  Keenoy did not give up a sack in his sophomore and junior seasons. According to Pro Football Focus he allowed just two pressures on 329 snaps in pass protection in 2017.  He is also A strong run blocker, a “People mover”. Western Michigan has been in the top 27% of teams in the nation for rushing yards per game each of the last three seasons.

Offensive Guard

Tyler Jones – NC State – OG

2018 All-ACC First Team. Played 98% of the team’s offensive snaps in 2016 and 2017 and 93% in 2018. In 2017 he allowed just 14 pressures which wsa tied for fewest among returning ACC tackles.  In 2017, NC State finished tied for No. 1 in the country at 0.2 QB pressure percentage, per PFF_College. Ryan Finley was hit just 24 times on 529 dropbacks.

Bunchy Stallings – Kentucky – OG

2018 All-Sec Coaches First Team. Stallings was selected to the ESPN 2018 mid-season All-America team. “He has been a road-grader for the Wildcats. ” Stallings was named 1st Team All American by The Athletic and only allowed 1.5 sacks. Stallings is said to be a mauler in the run game and helped contribute to running back Benny Snell breaking 1,000 yards rushing each of the last three seasons.

Lanard Bonner – Arkansas State – OG

Bonner was All Sun-Belt Conference 2017 and 2018 First Team. Praised by offensive line coach Allen Rudolph not only for his talent but also for how he has “worked his butt off” in the weight room, film study and drill work.  Bonner plays with a little bit of nastiness and competes through the whistle. Lanard Bonner, 6’5” and 310 pounds, is said to  have extreme athletic ability with a mauler mentality.

Oshea Dugas – Louisiana Tech – OG

Oshea Dugas was 2016 C-USA All Conference Second Team,  2017 Second Team and 2018 First Team. he was also 2015 Conference USA All-Freshman Team. In high school Dugas won a state championship in wrestling.

Offensive Tackle

Martez Ivey – Florida – OT

Ivey made the All-Sec Second Team for each of the last three seasons. The Gators as a whole allowed just 18 sacks which ranked third in the conference.  At 1.5 sacks allowed per game Florida ranked in the top 20% in the nation. In the run game Ivey is said to be a mauler. Florida ranked in the top 15% in the nation in yards per rush attempt (5.3 yards) and the top 17% in rushing yards per game (215 yards). Martez Ivey was named the permanent Team Captain of the 2018 Gators. He is praised for his work ethic and leadership.

Tyree St. Louis – Miami – OT

Started 34 consecutive games since his sophomore start in 2016. Tyree earned 2018 All-ACC Honorable Mention. He has played both right and left tackle. “Whether in run or pass sets, the senior plays with impeccable power. He showcases this trait with finishing ability and devastating blocks in both facets of the game. ” – reported by cover1.net.

Jackson Barton – Utah – OT

Jackson Barton was 2018 All Pac-12 Conference First Team. Barton has impressive size at 6’7″ and 303 lbs. He is a two year starter at left tackle. Barton is said to have above-average feet and athletic ability, is smart, understands the game and plays with passion.

Ryan Pope – SDSU – OT

Ryan Pope was 2018 All Mountain West Conference Second Team. Ryan is known as a mauler who plays with a bit of a mean streak. In 2017 San Diego State was the ninth best team in the nation in yards per rush attempt and eleventh in rushing yards per game. Ryan played all 13 games that year and started eleven. He has good size at 6’7″ and 315 lbs, and has played both tackle positions.

Defensive Tackle

Daniel Wise – Kansas – DT/DE

Wise made All Big-12 conference 2016 Honorable Mention, 2017 First Team and 2018 First Team. He is a four year starter. Referred to as “unblockable” throughout the week of Shrine practices, Wise was unstoppable most of the game . “Cannot put into words how valuable Daniel is to our program — an outstanding leader with a tremendous work ethic and an infectious personality!!”  –  Kansas coach David Beaty.

Michael Dogbe – Temple – DT

Michael Dogbe was 2018 All AAC First Team. Eight weeks thru the 2018 season Pro Football Focus had Quinnen Williams and Michael Dogbe as the only two interior defensive linemen to rank in the top five in terms of most pressures and most defensive stops. Dogbe is a weight room warrior. Since his high school freshman year when he weighed only 160 lbs and was pushed around. After freshman year he hit the weight room and never stopped. He earned a single-digit at Temple, a testament to his work ethic, especially in the weight room. Dogbe bench pressed over 500 pounds and squats over 600 pounds. Michael Dogbe impressed scouts at the Shrine Game. During practices, one area scout praised Dogbe’s motor and ability to beat big blockers with a bull rush. Dogbe had a monster game against Maryland this year where he had 5 solo tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles.

Cortez Broughton – Cincinnati – DT

Broughton was 2016 All AAC Second Team and 2018 All AAC First Team. As reported by Pro Football Focus Broughton led AAC interior defensive linemen with 34 total QB pressures. Broughton achieved praise for his week at the East West Shrine Game. Real GM’s Jeff Risdon: “Watching East DL doing footwork and bag drills. Cincinnati DT Cortez Broughton is thriving, great feet for a big guy.” NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah also listed Broughton as a standout player to watch. In 2018 Broughton had a tackle for a loss in 9 of his 13 games averaging 1.8 TFLs in those games.


Jordan Brailford – Oklahoma State – DE

Jordan Brailford was 2017 All-Big 12 Second Team and 2018 All-Big 12 First Team. Oklahoma State was 22nd (top 17%) in sacks per game and Brailford was a large part of that with 26% team market share of sacks. Brailford was impressive at the Shrine game. In the game’s first quarter he used his spin move to breeze past the left tackle and sack Brett Rypien shown here.

Brailford finished the game with three tackles, a sack, a tackle for loss, three QB hits and a fumble recovery.


Cody Barton – Utah – LB

Winner of the 2019 East West Shrine Game Pat Tillman Award presented to a player who best exemplifies character, intelligence, sportsmanship and service celebrating a “student-athlete’s achievements and conduct on and off the football field.” “Cody’s leadership, work ethic, intelligence, and sacrifice are what we hope every player aspires to demonstrate while at the University of Utah.” – Morgan Scalley (the inaugural winner in 2005).  Barton is a 2018 All Pac-12 Honorable Mention. He recorded 5 or more solo tackles in nine of his fourteen 2018 games. Solak (draft analyst from The Draft Network) had this to say about Barton – “tough as nails”, “Great man coverage player regularly tasked with third down/red zone coverage of backs and tight ends.” and “Aggressive, attacking style will attract blue-collar coaches.“. Per Pro Football Focus, In his over 1,600 career snaps, Barton has 78 stops and only 10 missed tackles.

Joe Dineen – Kansas – LB

Dineen is one of just three players in Kansas’ 128 years of football to be voted a team captain for three seasons. He was a 2017 All Big-12 Second Team selection and a 2018 All Big-12 First Team selection. He was one of eight semi-finalists for the 2018 Lott Impact Trophy. Dineen was number one in the nation in solo tackles with 109. The second place player had 17 less solo tackles. Dineen’s solo tackle market share was 19.3 percent. To put that percentage in perspective the top solo tacklers in 2017 and their market share percentages were Frank Ginda (14.8%), Leighton Vander Esch (16.2%), Joe Dineen (15.3%), Christian Sam (15,2%) and Roquan Smith (16.3%). When selected to the 2018 Pro Football Focus Mid-Season BIG-12 Team this is what they had to say – “Long since a run-stopping machine, Dineen is poised to record at least 40 defensive stops for the third time in four seasons. Rounding out his game this season, He’s allowed just 44 yards after the catch on 181 snaps in coverage and a career-best 80.4 passer rating on throws into his coverage.

Chris Peace – Virginia – LB/DE

Chris Peace was 2017 All ACC Honorable Mention and 2018 All ACC Third Team. A 2018 team captain, Chris has started every game for the last three seasons. Chris is known as a leader with a strong work ethic. A visiting NFL player personnel said he had never seen in his entire career someone that practiced as hard as Chris Peace. In 2017 Chris’s statistics with % market share were 32 solo tackles (7%),  10.5 tackles for loss (15%) and 7.5 sacks (27%).  The combination of these market share percents indicate borderline Pro-Bowl potential.

Khalil Hodge – Buffalo – LB

Khalil Hodge was 2016 All-MAC Second Team and 2018 All-MAC First Team. Hodge was second in the nation in 2017 for total tackles. Buffalo quarterback Tyree Jackson was amazed at Khalil’s work ethic. Khalil would go catch balls with Jackson preparing for Jackson’s redshirt season. Hodge would run routes and work on his hands at linebacker. It must have paid off. For the 2017 season Pro Football Focus had Khalil Hodge as the second best cover linebacker with a quarterback rating of 39.4 when quarterbacks targeted Hodge. Hodge was named a team captain in 2017 his second season on the team.

Sione Takitaki – BYU – LB

Sione was on Phil Steele’s 2017 All-Independent Second Team and  Steele’s 2018 All-Independent First Team. Sione had 19 total tackles in the 2018 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.  That was one shy of a bowl record set in 1998. It was good to get Sione selected to the SI All-Bowl Team.  Sione also had a sack and a TFL in that bowl game. He plays high energy and never gives up.

Tre Watson – Maryland – LB

Tre Watson was 2018 Second Team All-Big Ten (coaches) and First Team (media). He had 13.6%  team market share of solo tackles with 69 solo tackles. He also performed well in coverage with five interceptions (27.8% team market  share).  This is what Maryland coach had to say about the graduate transfer – “I know this, he’s worked extremely hard since he’s been here,” Durkin said. “He’s been a pleasure to coach. He’s been tremendous. He’s been all positives. He’s helped our team. He’s been a good leader for others, so we’re happy to have him.” Watson is known for hard hitting and has had three ejections for targeting.

Ulysees Gilbert III – Akron – LB

Gilbert was 2016 All-MAC First Team,  2017 All-MAC First Team and 2018 All-MAC Second Team. Ulysees is a three year starter at linebacker and has tied the school record for most games played in his collegiate career (51). Ulysees plays fast to the ball and is a sound tackler. He was named Akron Defensive MVP for both the 2016 and 2017 seasons. A 2018 team captain, Gilbert was one of three that earned the coaches Captains Award. In 2016 Gilbert had 12.4% of the team solo tackles, 17.4% of the tackles for loss and 26.7% of the team sacks. Those figures are shared by high quality and successful NFL players over the last 20+ seasons. Here is a clip of Gilbert playing coverage in the Shrine Game.

Cole Holcomb – North Carolina – LB

Cole Holcomb was 2018 All-ACC Second Team. Holcomb was a three year starter at linebacker.  He made the Sports Illustrated 2017 Freaks List: The top 40 workout warriors in college football.  The UNC invited walk-on has always had a great work ethic and desire to play Division I football. Holcomb had 59 solo tackles in 2018 for 12.7% team market share. In the East West Shrine Game Holcomb had two straight pass breakups to force a West punt in third quarter.


Donnie Lewis – Tulane – CB

Donnie Lewis leads FBS active career leaders in passes defended with 49. He was a 2018 AAC All Conference Second Team and a 2017 AAC Honorable Mention.  In 2018 his 15 passes defended was eighth in the nation. He is said to be a tough corner that stays in his man’s pocket. He is a hard-working, athletic, smart player that enjoys practice.

Jordan Wyatt – SMU – CB

Wyatt is a 2018 Senior Class Award candidate. He was a four year starter at SMU and made the 2017 All AAC Honorable Mention. Wyatt has a great work ethic according to head coach Sonny Dykes. He was team captain in 2017. “For him one of the things that stands out is the turning plays he makes. A lot of forced fumbles, where he has a knack for the ball. He’s a ball magnet,” –  CBS Sports NFL draft analyst Corey Chavous. Wyatt had five defensive touchdowns in his career which is an SMU career record. He is the sixth player in FBS history to have return a fumble and interception for touchdowns in the same game.

Montre Hartage – Northwestern – CB

Hartage made the  2018 All Big-Ten First Team (media) and Third Team (coaches). He is a three year starter at cornerback. Hartage is number nine in  passes defended among FBS active career leaders with 39 and tenth for interceptions with ten. For the combined 2016 and 2017 seasons quarterbacks had the third lowest passer rating (61.0) when targeting Hartage among secondary players as per Pro Football Focus.


Saquan Hampton – Rutgers – SAF

Hampton was 2018 All Big-Ten Honorable Mention. His 2018 season stats and associated team market share were 44 solo tackles (10.4%), three interceptions (33.3%) and 13 passes defended (24.5%).  Those are outstanding market share numbers for the Rutgers team captain. Hampton is a hitter  that also has strong coverage skills. He has a strong work ethic and brings that every day to each snap at practice.

Lukas Denis – Boston College – SAF

Lukas Denis was 2017 All ACC Second Team. In 2017 Lukas had 46 solo tackles (9.6%), seven interceptions (38.9%) and ten passes defended (18.9%). All very good market share numbers. Described as an electric ball-hawk that does what is asked to help his team win. Lukas was selected to the 2017 Walter Camp All-American Second Team.


Jack Fox – Rice – P

Jack Fox was 2016 All C-USA Honorable Mention, 2017 C-USA Second Team and 2018 All C-USA First Team. He was the 2018 Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Year. He led C-USA in punting for the second consecutive year, finishing with a career-best 45.5 average. Fox’s average was second best in the nation among punters with at least 60 punts in the regular season and ranked 8th nationally among all punters. He topped the FBS with 3,636 punting yards in the regular season, which also set a school record. Fox had 26 punts of 50 yards or longer and he placed 31 punts inside the 20-yard line, both top figures in the conference. He had at least one 50+ punt in 12 of 13 games this season and is third in the nation with 13 punts inside the 10-yard line. Fox was one of 10 semifinalists for the 2018 Ray Guy Award, which is presented annually to the nation’s top collegiate punter.

John Baron – SDSU – K

Baron was 2016 All Mountain West Conference First Team and 2018 Second Team. He was 100% on extra point attempts for the last two seasons. Has a cannon of a leg, An accurate and clutch kicker. Among all-time SDSU kickers, ranked first in 50-yard field goals (6), second in field goal percentage (.833) and field goals (50). Was named the MW Special Teams Player of the Week five times last season.

The next part of the series will examine the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl invites.

2019 NFL Draft Middle Linebacker Prospects with Strong Production

Solo tackle market share is the players number of solo tackles divided by the total team number of solo tackles. NFL Pro-Bowl and All-Pro linebackers have historically shown high solo tackle market share production in college.   Here are ten highly regarded NFL linebackers and their college last year solo tackle market share. Only one shows his second to last year production (Sean Lee)

Player Team College Solo Tackle Market Share
Luke Kuechly Panthers 22%
Bobby Wagner Seahawks 12.6%
Deion Jones Falcons 12.6%
Sean Lee Cowboys 11.5% (Junior)
CJ Mosley Ravens 12.9%
Reuben Foster 49ers  11%
Lavonte David Buccaneers 13.9%
Eric Kendricks Vikings 16%
Telvin Smith Jaguars 11%
Jordan Hicks Eagles 10%

Here are ten middle linebackers 2019 draft prospects that have great solo tackle production in 2018. Each of these backers have attained 11% or better solo tackle team market share.

Joe Dineen, Kansas

Sr, 6’2″” and 235 lbs

Joe Dineen was one of eight semi-finalists for the Lott Impact Trophy which recognizes the personal character of the winning player as well as his athletic excellence among defensive players. Made the Sports Illustrated 2017 and 2018 College Football All-America  Second Team.  Played as starter in games for last for years. Dineen was one of 20 semifinalists for the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award which recognizes player’s leadership on and off the field. Dineen is one of just three players in Kansas’ 128 years of football to be voted a team captain three times. He has been named a team captain in each of the last three seasons. Joe Dineen is one of ten finalists for the Senior Class Award given to the student-athletes who excel both on and off the field.

Dineen was number one in the nation in solo tackles with 109. The  second place player had 17 less solo tackles. Dineen’s solo tackle market share was 19.3 percent. To put that percentage in perspective the top solo tacklers in 2017 and their market share percentages were Frank Ginda (14.8%), Leighton Vander Esch (16.2%), Joe Dineen (15.3%), Christian Sam (15,2%) and Roquan Smith (16.3%).

Dineen is deadly against the run but “Can Dineen play pass coverage?”  is the  big question. Joe Dineen had a goal for this season to improve on pass coverage. He had his first career interception in 2018 to go with 2 passes defended. At week 7 this season this is what Pro Football Focus had to say about Dineen when it selected Dineen to their Midseason All-Big 12 Team.

“He’s allowed just 44 yards after the catch on 181 snaps in coverage and a career-best 80.4 passer rating on throws into his coverage.”

At the end of week 5 PFF selected Dineen as the top graded defensive player in the Big-12 and had this to say

“He has five QB pressures from just 13 pass-rushes, has allowed just 35 yards on 10 targets in coverage and has a whopping 35 defensive stops, 12 more than the next closest Big 12 defender.”

Ben Burr-Kirven, Washington

Sr, 6’0″ and 221 lbs

Ben Burr-Kirven was selected the 2018 Pac-12 Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year.  He made the 2018 All-Pac-12 First Team and the 2017 All-Pac-12 Second Team. Burr-Kirven was one of four finalists for the Lott Impact Trophy. He is the Pac-12’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Burr-Kirven was 2018 All American Team (AP, FWAA, ESPN,Athlon).

Ben Burr-Kirven is number one in the nation in total tackles (165) and eighth in forced fumbles (4).  His 85 solo tackles was fifth in the nation. The solo tackles was good for a 17.5% team market share which is second best of linebackers examined.

Burr-Kirven is fast, tough and has great vision. Here is what head coach Chris Peterson said about Bent Burr-Kirven after the Arizona State game this season. In that game Ben had 20 tackles of which 14 were solo and had 2 forced fumbles.

…you could see Ben flash out there and go make a play. Not only did he have 20 tackles but I think he caused a couple of fumbles. The guy is a heck of a player, obviously. But he plays like that all the time. He’s fast, he’s really, really smart and he’s as tough as they come. You want them all built like that. He’s got great instincts and he’s also smart, and that’s what makes him special.”

This quote from Washington defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski shows the qualities you want in a middle linebacker.

“Ben’s in the middle of the defense, and he’s a smart guy, He’s getting guys lined up (properly). And the way he flies sideline to sideline … the energy he plays with, the passion he plays with, and then how productive he is, that’s what you want in a football player.”

In 2018 Ben has had double digit tackles in 11 of the 13 games.  He has played in a total 52 games at Washington.

Jordan Kunaszyk, California

Sr, 6’3″ and 235 lbs

Jordan Kunaszyk is a 2018 All Pac-12 Conference First Team. Kunaszyk was one of eight national semifinalists for the Lott Impact Trophy. He is second in the nation in solo tackles with 92 and second in forced fumbles with 5.  His 143 total tackles is fifth in the nation. Kunaszyk’s team solo tackle market share is 16.6% which is third best among the linebackers examined.

Kunaszyk is a film room junkie that loves football and his team. He lives and breathes football doing all that he can to be the best and help his team win.

“I know I’m not the fastest. I know I’m not the biggest. I know I’m not the strongest. So, how can I have an edge on my opponent? I know I’m willing to do things that my opponents aren’t.” – Kunaszyk.

This from his head coach

“He’s built to play the position, in a lot of ways — physically, mentally, He’s a physical guy, he loves contact, he’s into the game. I think everything, the preparation part, meetings, he’s always up watching extra tape. The way he prepares his body, he’s a football player, through and through.” – head coach Justin Wilcox

T.J. Edwards, Wisconsin

Sr, 6’1″ and 242 lbs

T.J.  Edwards made the 2017 All-Big Ten First Team and the 2018 All-Big Ten Second Team.  He was 2017 All American Team (AP, USAT, ESPN, Athlon).  A four year starter he played in 53 games with 52 starts at inside linebacker. Edwards had 73 solo tackles which was second in the Big Ten and accounted for a 15% solo tackle team market share. He also is strong in pass coverage getting 3 interceptions and 2 passes defended in 2018. In 2017 he had 4 interceptions and 7 passes defended. Pro Football Focus gave Edwards a passer rating allowed of 63.3 for 2018 which was wanked 6th among Big 10 linebackers.

“Two super productive players … two guys who play with high motors … two selfless program guys who put the team ahead of themselves. The thing I’ve been really proud about this year is that whatever was going on in the game, good or bad, they were consistently positive for the young guys. – Bob Bostad (Wisconsin ILB coach) on TJ Edwards and LB Ryan Connelly

“I came here and worked as hard as I could to get to where I’m at. I tried to help guys younger than me to follow that path as well. Hopefully, I’ll leave here and be remembered as a good person and a good football player.” – TJ Edwards

Blake Cashman, Minnesota

Sr, 6’2″ and 235 lbs

Blake  Cashman was selected to the 2018 All-Big Ten Third Team (coaches) and the 2018 All-Big Ten Second Team (Media). His 62 solo tackles in 2018 was fifth in the Big Ten and earned a 13% team market share.  Cashman had 15 tackles for Loss in 2108 which was also fifth in the Big Ten. Pro Football Focus had Cashman as the highest graded linebacker in the Big Ten for 2018. He made their national team of the week two consecutive weeks for week 11 and 12 in 2018. Cashman made the Pro Football Focus 2018 All American Second Team.

“He is difficult to block because he’s powerful, but he also has that speed, A lot of guys are kind of one dimensional as a linebacker; they either have the power or the speed. He’s got both. He’s a tremendous, tremendous athlete.” – Fellow Minnesota Gopher OC Jared Weyler, who had to block Cashman

Blake Cashman did not receive any Division I scholarship offers following an all-state high school career. He  was a walk-on at Minnesota that played for his first two seasons without a scholarship. Blake was one of ten semi-finalists for the Burlsworth Trophy awarded to the most outstanding football player in America who began his career as a walk-on. Cashman was twice honored with team’s Gary Tinsley Award, as the player who best embodied the underdog spirit of the late former Gopher Gary Tinsley.

“He refuses to lose, There is a refuse to lose that comes as part of being a champion. They know how to win so much that losing is not an option, and that’s how Blake Cashman plays.” – PJ Fleck (head coach)

Ryan Connelly, Wisconsin

Sr, 6’3″ and 237 lbs

Ryan  Connelly made the 2018 All-Big Ten Third Team (coaches) and the 2018 All-Big Ten Honorable Mention (media). He also made the 2017 All-Big Ten Honorable Mention. In 2017 Pro Football Focus reported that no returning linebacker was better at stopping the run in 2016. Pro Football Focus selected Connelly for their 2018 Big Ten Team of The Year Second Team. Ryan Connelly was a walk-on and was one of ten semi-finalists for the Burlsworth Trophy awarded to the most outstanding football player in America who began his career as a walk-on. Connelly was one of ten semi-finalists for the Butkus Award given to the nations top linebacker. Ryan is recognized for seldom missing tackles and for coming through in big moments.

“Ryan is a tackling machine. That dude is a beast,” – redshirt senior safety D’Cota Dixon

Germaine Pratt, North Carolina State

Sr, 6’3″ and 240 lbs

Germaine  Pratt was selected for the 2018 All-ACC First Team. Pratt played safety his first two seasons and has a career 4 interceptions and 9 passes defensed. His first season at linebacker as a junior Pratt had two interceptions with one returned for a touchdown. He is reported to be an outstanding athlete with range to go sideline to sideline. Pratt is another tackling machine and had the second highest tackles per game (9.45) in the ACC. Defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable  describes Pratt as a “gym rat”. He was 195 lbs coming out of high school. He is now 240 and big, strong and athletic. Head Coach Dave Doeren had all praise for Pratt following their win October 6th over Boston College.  In that game Pratt had 13 tackles, 1.5 tackle for loss, 1 sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovered.

So I was really proud of him, not just for how he played but how he ran the show out there and got people lined up…..

…That says a lot about them, one, that they didn’t transfer when they weren’t the No. 1 guy, they kept working and grinding and being a great teammate, and now that it’s theirs, they’re seizing the moment….they’re kids of high character that when they have adversity they continued to battle. …. they don’t flinch. I mean, they make mistakes, they learn from them, the next play is the most important play, and those are things that when your best players do that, it helps the rest of the team immensely…”

 Cameron Smith, Southern California

Sr, 6’2″ and 250 lbs

Cameron  Smith was a 2015 All Pac-12 Team Honorable Mention, 2016 All Pac-12 Second Team, 2017 All Pac-12 First Team and 2018 All Pac-12 Second Team.  He made Pro Football Focus 2018 All Pac-12 Team as Flex Defense.

“Smith made a splash as a freshman and improved his grade every year since, and his 91.2 run-defense grade leads all Pac-12 linebackers.” – Pro Football Focus

Cameron is a two-time Trojan captain who started all four years at inside linebacker. He was the quarterback of the defense. He has been described as a “film rat”, instinctive, explosive and athletic. Cameron stops plays. Out of the top 99 players in 2018 for tackles per game Cameron had the second highest solo tackles to assisted tackles ratio (2.52). Only Joe Dineen had a higher ratio.  Smith’s 46 defensive stops this season compares favorably to Pro Football Focus’s All American David Woodward who had 49. Smith can also drop back in coverage. Over Smith’s four year college career he is one of only four players that had 200+ solo tackles, 2+ interceptions and 10+ passes defended. Smith could have declared for the draft last season when four other USC underclassmen declared. However Smith decided he wanted to remain and finish his fourth year at USC.

“It’s my last go-around, I’ve got one more shot to leave my legacy here. I strive for greatness. I’ve dreamed of being great since I first started playing. I like the sound of someone saying, ‘Hey, this is Cameron Smith, All-American.’ – Cameron Smith

Deshaun Davis, Auburn

Sr, 5’11” and 233 lbs

Deshaun  Davis made the 2018 All-Sec First Team. Pro Football Focus reported that Deshaun Davis made the most tackles for a loss or no gain in run defense among all Power-5 linebackers.  Davis is a three year starter at middle linebacker.  In their 63-14 victory over Purdue in the 2018 Music City Bowl Davis logged a team best nine stops and a sack. He is a leader of the defense and watches a lot of film to help himself and the team.

“I wouldn’t trade him, Right now, today, I would recruit Deshaun Davis every day of the week. He’s a football player. He loves football. He’s a leader on and off the field. I’m very happy to be his coach. I’m glad he’s at Auburn. He’s graduated. He’s an Auburn man. If I’m looking for a linebacker, I’m looking for a football player like Deshaun Davis.”- Auburn linebacker coach Travis Williams

“He’ll play in the NFL, because he’s so smart. His freaking football IQ is just off the charts.” – Williams

Bryton Barr, Massachusetts

Sr, 6’0″ and 225 lbs

Bryton  Barr is finishing his final and seventh year of collegiate eligibility. Barr missed the majority of 2013 and all of 2014 and 2015 due to injury. He is a graduate transfer to Massachusetts. In 2018 Barr was ninth in the nation in total tackles with 140. He has made Phil Steele’s All-Independent First Team each pf the last two seasons. In 2018 he had double digit tackles in eight of his twelve games. Barr had 17 stops including 10 solo tackles against Boston College. In tow other games in 2018 Barr recorded 11 and 14 stops.

“Bryton Barr is probably going to go down in the history of my life as one of my favorite college football players ever. How he sees the game, how he plays the game, how he practices the game, how he represents it, … I find it very hard to find anyone who sees the game — and it means so much to him — and represents the game as well as he does.” – Towson head coach Rob Ambrose

“He’s got unbridled passion for the game of football. It doesn’t take over who he is in his personality, but it’s clear it’s ingrained in every aspect of his cells that he lives his life like a strong football player. He wants to excel at everything he does all the time and he does it in a way that makes people around him better.” – Rob Ambrose

In addition to their solo tackle market share production all of these ten linebackers show a strong intangible such as a strong work ethic, love of the game, unselfish teamwork, toughness or an intensity on every play.  This from reports and articles on the player.

See The Players

The following backers of the ten listed have accepted invites to play in the Reese Senior Bowl on January 26th and shown on the NFL Network.

Deshaun Davis

Germaine Pratt

Cameron Smith

The following have accepted to play in the East west Shrine Game on January 19th shown on the NFL Network

Joe Dineen

Ryan Connelly

Ben Burr-Kirven

The following players have accepted invites to the NFLPA Game on January 19th.

Jordan Kunaszyk

The Data

I have attached the spreadsheet that contains the draft eligible off-ball or middle linebackers that meet 11% or better solo tackle market share. There are more than picked for the ten here. However I picked the ten that had either higher market share numbers or better intangibles.

MLBs and Market Share


Top 2019 Pass Rusher Prospects Based On Market Share Production

Today I look at pass rushers for the 2019 NFL draft. These can be defensive ends or linebackers with pass rush productivity. In his 2015 article Ranking each position’s importance, from quarterback to returner NFL analyst, Bucky  Brooks, has pass rushers as the second most important position topped only by quarterbacks.

These are the top pass rushers based on 2018 team market share production for sacks, tackles for loss (TFL) and solo tackles. The overall production across these three statistics was taken into account. For that reason defensive ends Charles  Omenihu (Texas) , Montez  Sweat (Mississippi State), Anthony  Nelson (Iowa) and OLB D’Andre  Walker (Georgia) were excluded. They make the sack market share minimum but fail to do so for either solo tackles or Tackles for Loss. Market share is the player’s individual stat, such as sacks, divided by the whole team’s corresponding stat such as total team sacks.

Oshane Ximines, Old Dominion

Defensive End, Sr, 6-4″ and 255lbs

Oshane  Ximines is recognized for great use of his hands. He has violent hands that free him from blockers. Also a positive is his motor. He constantly keeps on fighting no matter if double teamed, down by large score or on the field a long time. He often makes plays on second effort. Ximines has the production you like to see.

He was top five in Conference USA in sacks each of the last three seasons. His career sack total (33) is eighth in NCAA since 2005. In 2018 his team market share of sacks was 52%, the highest of all 24 edge rushers looked at. The next closet was Josh  Allen of Kentucky at 44%. His run defense is solid. Ximines has been eighth , fifth and fourth in Conference USA tackles for loss over the last there seasons with each season increasing.  His team market share of tackles for loss is 28% in 2018 which was the highest of the 24 edge rushers examined. The next highest was Jaylon  Ferguson at 26% market share. Ximines also forces fumbles leading conference USA with four in 2018. He has 11 career forced fumbles which is seventh in NCAA history since 2005.

Josh Allen, Kentucky

Outside Linebacker, Sr, 6’5″ and 260 lbs

When averaging the defensive linemen examined, Josh  Allen was one of only two linemen that scored above average market share in each category of solo tackles, tackles for loss and sacks. The other being Nate  Harvey of East Carolina. Allen’s 44% sack team market share was second only to Oshane  Ximines. Allen brought home the hardware in 2018 winning the

  1. Bronko  Nagurski Award,
  2. Chuck Bednarik Award,
  3. Ronnie  Lott Trophy,
  4. SEC Defensive Player of the Year, and making
  5. unanimous Consensus All-America Team.

In 2018 Allen was number one in the SEC for sacks (14), tackles for loss (19) and forced fumbles (5).  His 5 forced fumbles was number one in the nation. Allen shows explosive burst and speed  in his first step rushing the passer and also does good dropping back into coverage. Allen was one of only five draft eligible players that had 10+ sacks, 10+ tackles for loss, 30+ solo tackles and 2+ passes defended.

E.J. Ejiya, North Texas

Outside Linebacker, Sr, 6’3″ and 231 lbs

EJ Ejiya made the 2018 C-USA All Conference First Team and the 2017 C-USA All Conference Honorable Mention. In 2018 he was third in the nation in Tackles for Loss (26). He is tops in the pass rushers examined in solo tackle team market share with 13%.  Ejiya made the Pro Football Focus (PFF) C-USA All Conference second Team. In week three he made the PFF Team if the Week for his game against Arkansas where he “produced as a pass-rusher (5 total QB pressures), as a run-defender (3 run stops) and in coverage (1 reception, 3 yards allowed).”

Jaylon Ferguson, Louisiana Tech

Defensive End, Sr, 6’5″ and 262 lbs

A four-year starter at defensive end, Jaylon made the C-USA Football All Conference First Team the last three seasons. In his freshman season he made C-USA All Conference Honorable Mention. Ferguson was the 2018 CUSA Defensive Player of the Year. In 2018 Ferguson had the second most tackle for a loss (TFL) in the nation (26) and the most sacks(18).  From a team market share his TFL market share (26%) was second among edge rushers examined. Ferguson’s 41% sack market share was third bested only by Oshane Ximines and Josh Allen. Ferguson was one of the other five draft eligible players described under Josh Allen for passes defensed, solo tackles, sacks, tackles for loss. Ferguson uses his hands well to shred blockers.

Nate Harvey, East Carolina

Outside Linebacker, Sr, 6’1″ and 225 lbs

Nate  Harvey made the 2018 AAC All-Conference First Team and was named the AAC Defensive Player of the Year. He was fourth in the nation in tackles for loss (25) and in sacks (12). Harvey was a former walk-on transfer. Last season he was a fifth-string running back. He switched to defensive end in the preseason and has an exceptional senior year. The coaching staff is hoping to get him an extra year granted by the NCAA. College Football News selected Nate as first honorable mention (5th overall)  in their All-America Defensive Players – Defensive Ends. Though a little undersized, Harvey makes up for it in strength, power and speed. Harvey and Josh Allen were the only two pass rushers that scored above the group average in each of the three categories of sacks, TFLs, and solo tackles.

Maxx Crosby, Eastern Michigan

Defensive End, Jr, 6’5″ and 247 lbs

For each of the last two seasons Maxx  Crosby has made the All-MAC First Team. In 2018 Crosby was tenth in the nation in tackles for loss (19) and eighth in forced fumbles (4). His 19 tackles for loss equated to a 25% team market share. That was fourth best among the pass rushers examined. In 2017 his 11 sacks was sixth in the nation. For the 2017 season Pro Football Focus had Crosby graded as the third best edge defender. Among returning edge defenders from the left side of the D-Line he had the most total pressures in 2017 with 56 according to PFF.  Maxx Crosby is one of only five draft eligible players in 2018 to have 3+ passes defended, 30+solo tackles, 7.5+ sacks and 15+ tackles for loss.

Sutton Smith, Northern Illinois

Defensive End, Jr, 6’1″  and 237 lbs

Sutton  Smith was the MAC Defensive Player of the Year in 2018 and 2017. He made the All-MAC First Team both seasons. He also won the 2018 Vern Smith Leadership Award presented to the best player in the conference. In 2017 Smith was a Consensus All-American.  Smith is number one in the nation in tackles for loss in both 2018 (27) and 2017 (30). His 59 career tackles for loss is ninth in the nation since 2005. Smith had 15 sacks in 2018 which was second in the nation. In 2017 he had 14 sacks which was first in the nation. Smith is eighth in the nation in forced fumbles (4). In 2018 Smith returned a punt for a touchdown. For his 2017 season Pro Football Focus had Smith as the highest graded edge defender and the best in four years.  Smith arrived at NIU as a running back. His freshman year he switched to linebacker. Then his breakout sophomore year he had switched to defensive end. Smith has an incredible work ethic in both the film room and the weight room. He entered NIU bench pressing 7 or 8 reps at 225. By this past preseason he was doing 29 reps. In film study NIU defensive line coach, Brett Diersen, compared Smith’s film study regime to that of his former player Ndamukong  Suh. Suh was a film room junkie.

Brian Burns, Florida State

Defensive End, Sr, 6’5″ and 235 lbs

Brian  Burns made the 2018 All-ACC First Team and was selected for the Athlon Sports 2016 All Freshman Team. His 10 sacks in 2018 was tie for ninth in the nation. His ten sacks was a 36% team market share which was fourth among edge rushers examined. According to Pro Football Focus Brian Burns led all edge defenders in total pressures with 69. Burns is highly regarded for his flexibility and ability to bend the edge. That coupled with his 6’5″” frame and athleticism are great tools for a great pass rusher.

Corbin Kaufusi, Brigham Young

Defensive End, Sr, 6’9″ and 275 lbs

Corbin  Kaufusi is a “football player”.  He played his last game of the season against Utah November 24th. Kaufusi played even though he required season ending surgery for a severe ankle injury. He also had a torn triceps around his elbow. Kaufusi was told by the doctors that he could not do any more damage by playing one more collegiate game, and if he felt like he could play through pain and be effective, they advised him that one more game was still possible. For the love of his team and the game Corbin played in that last game. “We go until the wheels fall off. That’s all I cared about.” – Kaufusi. In the game he had seven tackles of which six were solo. It was the second highest tackle amount on the team.

Kaufusi had eight sacks and nine tackles for loss (TFL) in 2018. His team market share numbers were 7.7% solo tackles, 16.7% TFL, and 34.1% sacks. Those are all above a minimum target percentage for indication of a Pro-Bowl caliber future. Kaufusi made those minimums for sacks, TFL and solo tackles in each of his last two years.  Corbin was on the Phil Steele All-Independent First Team each of the last two seasons. Corbin hustles in pursuit and has good motor. Some may be put off by his age. He is 25 years old and will be 26 at the draft. Corbin served a two year LDS mission to South Korea . In addition Corbin is an eagle Scout.  His maturity, love of team and game,  and a strong work ethic overshadows his older age.

Ronheen Bingham, Arkansas State

Defensive End, Sr, 6’2″ and 242 lbs

Ronheen  Bingham is the 2018 Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year. He made the 2018 All-Sun Belt First Team and the 2017 All-Sun Belt second Team.  In 2018 Bingham was number one in the Sun Belt in sacks (9) and tackles for Loss (19).  Bingham is one of only six players in 2018 to have 3+ passes defended, 25+ solo tackles, 9+ sacks and 15+ tackles for loss. Pro Football Focus lists Ronheen  Bingham as the nation’s leader in pass-rush win percentage at 29.4%.

The Data

For those interested here is the data.  It includes the minimums, average and target goals across the top rows. The players are listed with their position ranking at nfldraftscout.com. The player data lists their 2018 totals for solo tackles, tackles for loss and sacks. Next lists their team market share percentages for each of those. Any market shares below the target goal are highlighted in yellow. The next three columns are the player’s standard deviations form the group average for each of those. Highlighted  in blue are the players that had positive standard deviations in all three statistics. Finally is a sum of the standard deviations.

pass rushers 2019


2019 NFL Draft Quarterbacks Rated Based on Situational Data

Following up on the post on 2019 NFL Draft Quarterback Prospects Meeting Seven Rules of Bill Parcells, I now take  a look at those seniors plus the top potential first round quarterbacks. Specifically I am looking at their 2018 statistics in regard to three key situations.

  1. Third down conversion percentage,
  2. Red Zone Touchdown percentage, and
  3. Big Play percentage.

A big play is considered 15+ yards passing or 10+ yards rushing. The percentages take into account both passing and rushing plays by the quarterback. Rankings listed below are among the sixteen quarterbacks examined.

The idea being that these are three key areas that would have a large impact on game outcome. In total I looked at sixteen quarterbacks. I determined their percentages in each key situation based on data available at cfbstats.com. I then took their average percentage across all situations and also the sum of their standard deviation across all sixteen quarterbacks. From those two views here are the top seven quarterbacks based on these situational statistics.

Justice Hansen

Arkansas State

6’4″ and 224 lbs


Of the sixteen quarterbacks looked at, Hansen had the highest red zone touchdown percentage with 35.8% of his red zone attempts translating into touchdowns.  His passing touchdown percentage is up at 40%. That is almost 6% higher than the next quarterback in the group of sixteen. Hansen is a dual threat quarterback. He had the third most rushing attempts on this list and 16.5% went for big plays. That percentage was fifth in the group but tops among these top seven quarterbacks. Hansen was number one in the Sun Belt in passing touchdowns (27) and touchdowns responsible for (33). His 33 total touchdowns was 14th in the nation. Big, tough mobile quarterback with a strong arm. Hansen was Sun Belt Conference 2018 First-Team and was named the Sun Belt Player of the Year. Hansen can be seen December 29th in the Arizona Bowl on CBS Sports Network at 1:15pm (ET).

Will Grier

West Virginia

6’2″” and 223 lbs


Will  Grier came in next for red zone touchdown percentage. He is usually throwing to receiver David Sills. Sills is said to be lethal in the red zone but Grier is making the throws. Grier has converted 35% of his red zone attempts into touchdowns. He shows high in the group of sixteen for passing coming in second, third and fourth for passing for red zone, 3rd down and big plays respectively. Grier was one of three finalists for the 2018 Maxwell Award given to the best all-around player. He was also one of five finalists for the Walter Camp Award Player of the Year. Will Grier can be seen at the Reese Senior Bowl.

Dwayne Haskins

Ohio State

6’3″ and 218 lbs


Haskins had the second most passing attempts in the nation. He also had the second most passing plays of 20+ yards. His big play percentage comes in at 19% which is third on this group of 16 quarterbacks. Like Grier, Haskins shows tops in the group of 16 for passing. He comes in second, third and third for passing in 3rd down, red zone and big plays respectively. Haskins was one of three finalists for the Heisman Trophy. Haskins can be seen January 1 in the Rose Bowl at 5pm (ET) on ESPN.

Ryan Finley

North Carolina State

6’4″ and 212 lbs


Finley comes in as number one in the group for 3rd down conversion percentage. A whopping 48.6% of his third down attempts convert to first down. He had the third lowest 3rd down rush attempts at 14 but he converted 71.4% of those. He had the highest number of third down pass attempts (124) and he converted 46% which was fourth best. NC State ranked eighth in the FBS on third down conversions (49%) even though their rushing game ranked 87th in rushing yards per attempt. Finley had the third most total passing attempts (452) and he had a big play on 21% which is second best. Finley was 2018 All-ACC Football First-Team and one of thirteen finalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy. The Campbell Trophy incorporates academics, community service, and on-field performance. It is considered by many to be the “Academic Heisman.” Finley can be seen December 31st in the TaxSlayer Bowl at 7:30 pm (ET) on ESPN. Also Finley will play in the Reese Senior Bowl.

Jake Browning


6’2″ and 210 lbs


Washington ranks 108th of the 130 FBS teams in Passing Play Percentage (39.8%). So it is understandable that Jake Browning ranks last in this group of 16 quarterbacks in Passing Attempts with 334. However Browning ranks number one in the group in Big Play Percentage with 20.7% of his attempts going for a big play. On passing attempts alone that percentage goes up to 23.65%.  Though Browning had the least number of passing attempts in the group of 16, he has the fifth most passing big plays. Browning also excelled in making 3rd downs where he comes in 3rd in the group making 43.5% of his third down attempts. He is second in rushing 3rd down attempts making 50% on the fifth most rush attempts (34).  In passing in the red zone he was tie at fifth getting a touchdown on 29.3% of attempts. Jake Browning has been the quarterback for more victories than any other player in Pac-12 Conference history. You can see Browning in the Rose Bowl on January 1st at 5pm (ET) on ESPN.

Brett Rypien

Boise State

6’2″ and 202 lbs


Rypien is second in the group in third down conversion percentage (48.4%). He is first in passing 3rd down conversion at 49.17%. That is on the second most 3rd down passing attempts (120). Pro Football Focus had Rypien as one of their top five quarterbacks heading into Bowl season recognizing his clutch performance on 3rd down. Brett Rypien is the 2018 Mountain west Conference Player of the Year. You can see Rypien in the First Responder Bowl on December 26th at 1:30pm (ET) on ESPN. Rypien will also play in the East West Shrine Game on January 19th on the NFL Network.

Marcus McMaryion

Fresno State

6’2″ and 203 lbs


McMaryion is a dual threat quarterback. He had the fourth most red zone rushing attempts of the group (19) and converted to a touchdown on a group high 42.1%. Though sixth of the group of sixteen in big play rushing percentage, his 15.5% was second best among these top seven quarterbacks.  McMaryion’s overall red zone touchdown percentage of 31.6% was fourth best in the group of 16. At ten games thru the 2018 season Pro Football Focus has Marcus leading the nation’s quarterbacks in red zone passer rating (124.4). McMaryion will play in the East West Shrine Game on January 19th on the NFL Network.

The Data

The sixteen quarterbacks looked at for this analysis were

Brent Stockstill – Middle Tennessee State
Brett Rypien  – Boise State
Daniel Jones – Duke
Drew Lock – Missouri
Dwayne Haskins – Ohio State
Eric Dungey – Syracuse
Gus Ragland – Miami (OH)
Jake Browning – Washington
Jarrett Stidham – Auburn
Justice Hansen – Arkansas State
Justin Herbert – Oregon
Manny Wilkins – Arizona State
Marcus McMaryion – Fresno State
Ryan Finley – North Carolina State
Shea Paterson  – Michigan (returning to school)
Will Grier – West Virginia

I have attached the data. The cells are boxed for 3rd down, red zone and Big Play data. The seven best names based on the data are highlighted in yellow. The data has the data counts for passing and rushing attempts/made. Followed by a column each for their passing % and their rushing %. That is followed by the total %.  For the totals blue highlight denotes above group average and yellow highlight denotes significantly below the average.

QB Situational Data


2019 NFL Draft: Wide Receiver Prospects that Produced in 2018

Don Hutson is considered to have been the first modern receiver. (1940)

The following receivers are the draft eligible receivers (including declared underclassmen) that have 1000+ receiving yards in 2018 and whose reception yards are 30% or more of their team’s passing yards. The latter based on historical data appears to correlate to NFL Pro-Bowl and All-Pro careers.

Andy Isabella


5’10” and 190 lbs


Isabella is one of only three receivers in the FBS since 2000 that had 300+ receiving yards on 10 or less receptions in a game. His 2018 regular season production totals of 1,697 receiving yards and 13 receiving touchdowns puts him in an elite group of 27 receivers since 2000 that had 1500+ yards and 12+ touchdowns in the regular season.  Isabella is the only player in that group from the 2018 season  and is ranked seventh in the group for receiving yards. Among current players Isabella’s  1,697 receiving yards in 2018 was number one in the nation and 287 yards more than the second place receiver.  He made Phil Steele’s Independent First Team each of his last three seasons. Isabella was one of three finalists for the 2018 Biletnikoff Award given to the nation’s top receiver and was a 2018 FBS Consensus First Team All-American. Isabella had an astonishing 47.5% market share of his team’s passing yards. According to Pro Football Focus his quarterback had a 130.1 passer rating when targeting Isabella. He has accepted an invite to play in the Reese Senior Bowl on January 26th.

Scott Miller

Bowling Green

5’11” and  166 lbs


In 2018 Miller was one of 31 receivers that had 1000+ receiving yards and Miller was ninth on that list for yards per reception (16.2). Miller’s receptions accounted for 40% of his team’s passing yards. Scott Miller made the 2018 Second-Team All-Mac. His 1,148 receiving yards was tops in the MAC. His six receptions of 40+ yards in 2018 was tie for tenth in the nation and in the top twenty receivers. In 2018 sixty-eight percent of his receptions went for a 1st down and thirty-eight percent were for 15+ yards. Among active players Miller ranks sixth in career receptions (214) and seventh in career receiving yards (2,872). He has speed and out of high school had offers to run track at several Big Ten schools. According to Pro Football Focus Miller averaged 5.7 yards after the catch per reception which was 16th among the 33 receivers with at least 69 catches. In 2017 Scott Miller had a 72.4% catch rate on 87 targets and a 58.6 success rate. Success rate is a factor of down and distance and computed by Football Study Hall. In 2017 receivers with 80+ targets averaged a Catch Rate of 62.9% and a Success Rate of 49.5%.

Preston Williams

Colorado State

6’4″ and 210 lbs


Williams is third in the nation in receptions (96) and receiving touchdowns (14).  He is fourth in the nation in receiving yards (1,345). Williams is 2018 All-Mountain West First-Team. As reported by Pro Football Focus, Preston Williams was the nation’s most targeted receiver in 2018 and he accumulated the second most first downs plus touchdowns (65). Half of his twelve games were 100+ receiving yard games. Williams has a great combination of size and athleticism. He was on the Colorado State track and field team. He made the 2017 All Mountain West team for the triple jump and was the Mountain West Indoor Track & Field Men’s Field Athlete of the Week (2/21/17).

KeeSean Johnson

Fresno State

6’2″ and 199 lbs


Johnson is a two year All-Mountain West Second Team selection in 2017 and 2018, as well as an Honorable mention in 2016. In 2018 he was fourth in the nation in receptions (95) and sixth in receiving yards (1,340).  KeeSean Johnson is one of only five active players whose last two seasons each had 1000+ yards receiving and 7+ receiving touchdowns. The others are Andy  Isabella, N’Keal  Harry,  Trevon  Brown and Marquise  Brown. According to Pro Football Focus Johnson caught 63.6% of his deep passes (20-plus yards) to go with 14 missed tackles forced and a passer rating when targeted of 132.9. KeeSean has developed into a big physical player.

N’Keal Harry

Arizona State

6’4″ and 213 lbs


Harry made the All Pac-12 Conference First Team for each of the last two seasons.  Harry has elite size, strong hands and is good at making contested catches. He needs to improve his route running and release in press coverage. Going to school in Arizona has allowed Harry to be seen often by future Hall-Of-Fame receiver Larry Fitzgerald. This is what Fitzgerald has to say on N’Keal Harry. “I’ve pretty much watched every game he’s played,” Fitzgerald said. “He’s a phenomenal talent.” “He’s a much better college player than I was,” Fitzgerald said. “He’s so physical. His hands are so strong. He can really track the ball over either shoulder. It’s been a real delight to be able to watch him play.” In 2017 Harry had a 68% catch rate on 120 targets. Harry is a excellent hands catcher and rarely body catches. He was one of eleven semifinalists for the Biletnikoff award.

Stanley Morgan Jr.

6’1″ and 200 lbs


Stanley Morgan was a Big-Ten Conference Second Team for each of the last two seasons.  Morgan excels in route running and creating separation off the line of scrimmage.  He is a physical receiver with a good stiff arm. He is a hands catcher and has made some amazing catches including a couple of one-hand catches in 2017. Recognized on his team with the 2018 Offensive MVP and the Guy Chamberlin Trophy  given to the outstanding senior football player. Morgan is one of only eleven draft eligible players (including declared underclassmen) that have 1000+ yards receiving, 7+ receiving touchdowns and 14+ yards per reception in 2018.

Antoine Wesley

Texas Tech

6’5″ and 185 lbs


Wesley was named to the All Big-12 Second Team. He was second in the nation in receiving yards (1,410) and ninth in receptions (88). Wesley’s 16 yards per reception was fourth among draft eligible receivers (including declared underclassmen) with 1000+ receiving yards. Wesley had 17 receptions of 30+ yards which was most in the nation. His average 117 receiving yards per game was second in the nation. He excels in tracking and adjusting to throws and in contested catches. His height and leaping ability make him difficult to cover. Wesley had a 67.2% catch rate on 131 targets and he did this with three different quarterbacks. He also is elusive and has had at least three plays this year where he got 20+ yards after the catch. One of eleven semifinalists for the Biletnikoff award.

Trevon Brown

East Carolina

6’2″ and 215 lbs


Trevon Brown made the AAC 2018 All-Conference First Team after making the Second Team in 2017.  He was tied at seventh in the nation in receiving plays of 10+ yards with 48. Pro Football Focus ranked Brown third among 2018 draft eligible receivers for 2017 yards on deep passes (548).  Over the last two seasons Brown had 37 receptions on third down and 81% made the first down. Brown has a strong work ethic and never missed a practice his senior year. Head coach Scottie Montgomery described Brown as a team player who works hard. His hard work has played off in making the ECU records book. In ECU records he stands fourth in career receptions and career receiving yards, third and eighth  in single season receiving yards, first and sixth in single game receiving yards, and second in career touchdowns. In 2017 Brown led the nation in number of 90+ yard receiving plays with two 95 yard plays. Trevon Brown accepted an invitation to the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.

A.J. Brown

Ole Miss

6’1″ and 225 lbs


Named to the All-SEC First Team each of the last two seasons. One of eleven semifinalists for the Biletnikoff award. Fourth in the nation in receiving plays of 20+ yards with 24. A big, tough, physical receiver that can get yards after the catch by making defenders miss and breaking tackles. In 2017 A.J. Brown had a 79.8% catch rate on 94 targets and a 63.8 success rate.  Those figures are amazing as the average was a Catch Rate of 62.9% and a Success Rate of 49.5%. Sure hands and good route running distinguish A.J. Brown.

Travis Fulgham

Old Dominion

6’3″ and 215 lbs


Fulgham was a 2018 C-USA All Conference Second Team. He was number one in Conference USA in receiving yards (1,083).  Fulgham had nine receiving touchdowns, one in each of his last nine games. He made the Pro Football Focus (PFF) Conference USA Team of the Year. According to PFF, Fulgham had a combined 51 first-down and touchdown receptions to tie for the conference lead. Seventy-six percent of his receptions were for a first down. He had 22 receptions of 20+ yards which was tie for seventh in the nation. Fulgham was a walk-on at Old Dominion when it was transitioning from FCS to the FBS. His high school receiver coach, Myron Curtis, had this to say about Travis – “special type of player that, if you’re lucky, you get to coach once in your career.”  He raved about his all around game from speed  to his ability to win jump balls. Fulgham is also a good blocker. Travis Fulgham will play in the Reese Senior Bowl.

Kelvin Harmon

North Carolina State

6’3″ and 214 lbs


After making the 2017 All-ACC Second Team, Harmon improved to make the 2018 All-ACC First Team. He was tenth in the nation in receiving yards (1,186) and first in the ACC. Harmon has a reputation for making difficult catches. He is a physical player demonstrating power and strength. Harmon had 81 receptions in 2018 and 73% were either a touchdown or first down. NC State ranked eighth in third down conversions (49%). Harmon helped on third downs where on 15 third down receptions he made 14 first downs and one touchdown.

The 2019 NFL draft is looking to be strong at defensive interior linemen, edge rushers and wide receivers. As the NFL moves more towards a passing league this looks like a good draft to pick up a receiver. These were some that stood out based on 2018 production.



2019 NFL Draft Quarterback Prospects Meeting “Seven Rules” of Bill Parcells

With now 13 teams eliminated from the NFL playoffs and college bowl games commencing, I take a look at the 2019 college quarterback class. Specifically quarterbacks that meet Bill Parcells’ seven rules for drafting a quarterback.

The Bill Parcells’ seven rules for drafting a quarterback are

1. Be a three-year starter

2. Be a senior in college

3. Graduate from college

4. Start 30 games

5. Win 23 games

6. Post a 2-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio

7. Tally a completion rate of 60 percent or higher.


Drew Brees announces the Saints’ draft pick at the NFL 2010 Draft
Author – Marianne O’Leary
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

Quarterbacks to check all seven boxes since 1999 are Drew Brees, Robert Griffin III, Byron Leftwich, Matt Leinart, Andrew Luck, Eli Manning, Marcus Mariota, Chad Pennington, Philip Rivers, Tim Tebow, Baker Mayfield and Mason Rudolph. The 2019 NFL draft class quarterback prospects that meet all seven of these are the following nine prospects.

The Prospects

Ryan Finley

North Carolina State

Ryan Finley has improved his passing yards, completion percentage and passer rating each of the last three years. In  2018 he was ninth in the nation in completion percentage (67.9%) and eighth in passing yards (3,789).  In the ACC conference he was first in passing yards per attempt (8.4) and passing touchdowns (24). He made the 2018 All-ACC Football First-Team. December 31st you can see Finley in the Taxslayer Bowl at 7:30 pm (ET) on ESPN.

Brett Rypien

Boise State

Brett Rypien is the 2018 Mountain west Conference Player of the Year. He is ninth in the nation in passing yards (3,705) and passing touchdowns (30). Brett made the Pro Football Focus All-Mountain West First Team. PFF analysts also had Rypien as the fifth top quarterback heading into bowl season, second most big-time throws and best quarterback on third down. Rypien has a 77% win percentage with 48 career starts and is a 4 year starter. Brett has passed for a career 13, 578 yards which is 12th most in FBS history since 2000 and highest among active college quarterbacks. Brett Rypien is one of ten finalists for the 2018 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. You can see Rypien in the First Responder Bowl on December 26th at 1:30pm (ET) on ESPN.

Eric Dungey


Eric Dungey is tie for ninth in the nation in rushing touchdowns (15) and one of only two quarterbacks that high on the list.  He is first in the ACC Conference in touchdowns responsible for (32).  A dual-threat quarterback, Dungey is one of only seven quarterbacks in 2018 that had a minimum 15 passing touchdowns and 700 rushing yards. A Pro Football Focus preseason look at the top 2019 draft prospects had Dungey listed as number nine among quarterbacks. Eric Dungey is one of ten finalists for the 2018 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. You can see Dungey in the Camping World Bowl on December 28th at 5:15pm (ET) on ESPN.

Jake Browning


Jake Browning was in the top five in the Pac-12 in passer rating each of the last three seasons. He was first in 2016 and 2017. He was in the top three in the Pac-12 in passing yards per attempt each of the last three seasons. Jake has a 75% career win percentage at Washington and has started 52 games over four years. He has more victories than any other player in Pac-12 Conference history. In 2016 Browning was Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year and First-Team All-Pac-12. Browning holds the Washington passing touchdowns records for career, single season and single game. Since his elite year in 2016 Browning has trended downwards. In 2018 Browning threw only 16 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. Jake Browning has a career passer rating of 151.9. That is seventh best among college quarterbacks over the last five years that passed for over 10,000 yards. You can see Browning in the Rose Bowl on January 1st at 5pm (ET) on ESPN.

Justice Hansen

Arkansas State

Justice Hansen made the Sun Belt Conference 2018 First-Team and was named the Sun Belt Player of the Year.  He was also the 2017 Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year.  Hansen was number one in the Sun Belt Conference in Pass Completion Percentage (67%), Passing Yards per Attempt (8.2), Passing Yards (3,172), Passing Touchdowns (27), Passer Rating (155.6) and Touchdowns Responsible For (33). Hansen is a dual-threat quarterback. In 2018 Hansen was one of only eleven quarterbacks to have a minimum completion percentage of 60%, throw 19+ touchdowns, pass for 500+ yards and rush for 300+ yards. Justice Hansen, Manny  Wilkins and Jordan Ta’amu were the only seniors of the eight and with Kyle Murray choosing to play baseball Hansen, Wilkins and Ta’amu are the only draft eligible prospects on the list. You can see Justice Hansen in the Arizona Bowl on December 29th at 1:15pm on CBS Sports Network.

Brent Stockstill

Middle Tennessee State

Brent Stockstill was awarded Conference USA Most Valuable Player and made the C-USA First team.  He was number sixth in the nation in Pass Completion Percentage (70.1%) and tenth in passing touchdowns (29).  He is one of 20 quarterbacks to have five or more 300+ yard passing games in 2018 (5). His career passing completion percentage of 65.4% is fourteenth among college quarterbacks over the last 5 years that had a minimum 5,000 career passing yards.  Among current quarterbacks he was topped only by Dwayne Haskins, Kyler Murray and Will Grier, all three potential first round picks. Brent’s career 106 passing touchdowns is 17th among college quarterbacks since 2000 and tops among current quarterbacks. Brent played in the New Orleans Bowl on December 15th in the 45-13 loss to Appalachian State. Brent was sacked six times and threw two interceptions. However Brent still showed his passing talent completing 25 of 37 for 330 yards. He made some bad decisions throwing up one for grabs on one interception to avoid a sack.

Marcus McMaryion

Fresno State

Marcus McMaryion is seventh in the nation in Pass Completion Percentage (68.6%) and Total Yards (3,923).  His Pass Completion percentage is tops in the Mountain West Conference. At ten games thru the 2018 season Pro Football Focus has Marcus leading the nation’s quarterbacks in red zone passer rating (124.4). McMaryion squared up against Manny  Wilkins in the Las Vegas Bowl on December 15th.  Fresno State came away with the win  31-20. Marcus did not look that impressive and had one of the lower rated games of his season completing just 52% and with only 1 rushing touchdown and two interceptions.

Manny Wilkins

Arizona State

According to Pro Football Focus, in 2017 Manny Wilkins held the nation’s fourth highest passer rating on deep passes of 20+ yards among draft eligible quarterbacks. He had the highest passer rating on deep passes among all Pac-12 quarterbacks. In 2017 Wilkins threw 14 passes of 40+ yards which was tie for tenth most in the nation. From the 2016 season thru 2018 Manny Wilkins was tie for the second most games with a completion percentage of 60% or better with 27 games. Wilkins is a dual-threat quarterback. Manny, Justice Hansen and Jordan Ta’amu  were the only seniors on a list of eleven quarterbacks that in 2018 had a minimum completion percentage of 60%, threw 19+ touchdowns, passed for 500+ yards and rushed for 300+ yards. Manny played on December 15th in a 31-20 loss in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Gus Ragland

Miami (OH)

Among the top 100 quarterbacks for touchdown passes over the last five years, Gus Ragland has the eighth best touchdown to interception ratio at 4.7.  Among active quarterbacks he is beat out only by Tua Tagovailoa and Dwayne Haskins both projected first round picks. Ragland is the 2018 All-Mac Third Team.

The Data

Here is a spreadsheet with the data on these nine quarterbacks. They are sorted by 2019 quarterback class rank as determined by nfldraftscout.com. Also included is a column listing their Bowl games.

2019 QBs meeting Parcells 7 rules

In Conclusion

This view ruled out all the underclassmen quarterbacks that may dominate the first round for quarterback selections. It is not an end-all approach to drafting quarterbacks. However it does present a view that has some merit. Parcells’ rules look for experienced, accurate quarterbacks that show good ball security, find ways to win and finish things they start. In the competitive world of college football just to be a three year starter says a lot about the prospect. These are good traits to look for in a quarterback.

Enjoy the College Bowl Games!


With Playoff Hopes Decreasing, Here Are Draft Defensive Backs to Keep An Eye On

Week 14 of the NFL season is here and with it comes the disappointment of teams falling out of playoff contention. While only a fortunate two teams make the Super Bowl many others strive and focus on making the playoffs.

Compared to other major league sports NFL teams have a relatively tough chance of making the playoffs. In Major League Baseball (MLB) 10 of 30 teams make the playoffs or 33%. In the National Football League (NFL) 12 or 32 teams or 38% make the playoffs.  The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) has 8 of 12 teams make the playoffs or 67%.  Major League Soccer (MLS)  is composed of 23 teams and 12 teams make the playoffs or  52%.  The National Basketball Association (NBA) is composed of 30 teams with 16 teams making the playoffs for 53%. Finally the National Hockey League (NHL) is composed of 31 teams and 16 teams make the playoffs for 52%.

Following Sunday’s games of week fourteen six teams have been eliminated from playoff contention. They are the Jets, Jaguars, Raiders, Bills, Cardinals and 49ers.

In anticipation of the growing disappointment among NFL fans hoping for a playoff spot and the conclusion of the college football regular season, I decided to take a look at the NFL draft. The consolation prize that helps soothes a lost season. I started out by looking at the defensive players available. For the most part I did not include underclassmen that have not declared. I started looking at the defensive backs and will move on to linebackers and defensive linemen in future posts.

I looked at performance data for the 2018 college season. The criteria used was “market share data”. This is the evaluation of a player’s performance compared to the rest of their team. If a defensive end had 10 sacks for the season on a team that achieved 40 sacks then that player had a 25% sacks market share.  Research has shown a correlation between college market share production and NFL Pro-Bowl production.

Shown for each player are their 2018 totals for solo tackles, interceptions and passes defensed as well as their corresponding team market share (ms). For all players that met the market share thresholds I took the mean and standard deviation for the group in each category and then summed their standard deviations across all three categories. The sum of this standard deviation is shown. A higher sum is better. Keep in mind that these sums are relative to a group that meets the threshold criteria. So even with a low negative sum the player is still statistically speaking a good player.

Defensive Backs

The Top 100

Cornerback Deandre Baker of Georgia

Height: 5’11” | Weight: 185 lbs
Solo Tackles: 31 (7.9% ms)
Interceptions: 2 (5% ms)
Passes Defended: 9 (47.4% ms)
Sum Std Deviation: +0.40

Winner of the 2018 Jim Thorpe Award; AP First Team All-SEC; A two and a half year starter, Baker has accumulated 82 solo tackles, 7 interceptions and 23 passes defended over three seasons. ESPN’s Todd McShay had this to say “This dude is one of the more instinctive corners I’ve evaluated in years, and he is so tough for his size”. Other evaluators have questioned his top-end speed. However he has played in most schemes, is a physical player that tackles hard, and shows good ball skills. He is considered a ballhawk in off-man and zone coverage. In 2017 Baker allowed a completion rate of just 30.5 percent.

Cornerback Andraez Williams of LSU

Height: 6’3” | Weight: 184 lbs
Solo Tackles: 23 (6% ms)
Interceptions: 2 (5.3% ms)
Passes Defended: 9 (22.5% ms)
Sum Std Deviation: -2.78

Two year starter, red-shirt sophomore at LSU; One of fourteen semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award; 2017 Third Team All-America (AP), 2017 First Team All-SEC (Media). Per Pro Football Focus in 2017 Williams fielded the SEC’s lowest passer rating when targeted (22.9).  Noted for ball skills when turned around to the ball, and athleticism. Questions arise on tackling, ball tracking on deep passes, and handling physical receivers.

Cornerback Amani Oruwariye of Penn State

Height: 6’1” | Weight: 203 lbs
Solo Tackles: 37 (7% ms)
Interceptions: 3 (6.4% ms)
Passes Defended: 11 (39.3% ms)
Sum Std Deviation: -0.38

Amani made the 2018 AP Big-Ten First Team. He was one of 14 semi-finalists for the 2018 Jim Thorpe Award which is presented to the best defensive back in NCAA division I football. Amani is a redshirt senior that got his first start in 2018 and started nine games. Amani is noted for his strong awareness, ability to anticipate, and consistently break up pass plays. His area for improvement is tackling – being capable but inconsistent and allowing yards after contact.

Safety Juan Thornhill of Virginia

Height: 6’0” | Weight: 210 lbs
Solo Tackles: 58 (14.9% ms)
Interceptions: 5 (15.2% ms)
Passes Defended: 6 (13.0% ms)
Sum Std Deviation: +3.64

2018 All-ACC First Team; Three year starter that led team in interceptions all three seasons. He has been in the top ten in the ACC in interceptions for all three seasons. Out of 130 NCAA Division I colleges Virginia’s defense ranked 16th in opponent passer rating and 20th in opponent passing completion percentage. Thornhill was named twice in 2018 to ACC defensive back of the week. At Virginia’s strength program Thornhill posted a 40.5″ vertical jump and a 6.59 second three cone drill. Those numbers would have been in the top ten among all participants at the 2018 scouting combine. Thornhill has played both corner and safety. UVa coach Bronco Mendenhall says “He covers like a corner, he tackles really well at safety,…He has great range and ball skills.”

Day 3 Gems

Safety Saquan Hampton of Rutgers

Height: 6’1” | Weight: 208 lbs
Solo Tackles: 44 (10.4% ms)
Interceptions: 3 (9.7% ms)
Passes Defended: 13 (39.4% ms)
Sum Std Deviation: +2.27

In the Big Ten Hampton’s career 20 passes defended is 25th since 2005 and fourth best in the Big Ten in 2018. In November 2018 Hampton was named unanimous All-Big Ten Honorable Mention by coaches and media. Hampton was a three year starter at Rutgers and a team captain as senior. Hampton has experience playing corner in high school.  He earned Reese Senior Bowl Defensive Player of the week honors in the Rutgers – Wisconsin game for his 10 tackle, two interception performance. The Reese scout in attendance liked Hampton’s ball skills and his deep field instincts. “He looked natural playing the ball” and he “…consistently put himself in the position to make plays”.

Undrafted Free Agent Steals

Cornerback Nate Brooks of North Texas

Height: 6’0” | Weight: 180 lbs
Solo Tackles: 43 (10% ms)
Interceptions: 5 (14.7% ms)
Passes Defended: 9 (31% ms)
Sum Std Deviation: +2.77

One of fourteen semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award. A four year starter at North Texas.  Nate was a Pro Football Focus 2018 Second Team All Conference USA. Also Nate was 2018 All Conference USA Second Team. Nate joined Juan Thornhill and Kemon  Hall in a six player tie for seventh place in the nation for interceptions in 2018.  Twice during North Texas career was named Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week including a two interception, six tackle and one pass breakup game in 2018.  Defensively North Texas is in the top 17% of teams nationwide for opponent pass completion and opponent passer rating.

Cornerback Kemon Hall of North Texas

Height: 5’11” | Weight: 190 lbs
Solo Tackles: 35 (8.2% ms)
Interceptions: 5 (14.7% ms)
Passes Defended: 12 (41.4% ms)
Sum Std Deviation: +2.86

Hall made Conference USA 2018 first Team, as well as Pro Football Focus All-Conference USA Team of the Year First Team.  Hall is tie for first nationally for interceptions returned for a touchdown with two in 2018. He is in a six way tie for seventh in the nation with five interceptions in 2018.

Cornerback Dakari Monroe of San Jose State

Height: 5’11” | Weight: 191 lbs
Solo Tackles: 32 (6.4% ms)
Interceptions: 4 (14.8% ms)
Passes Defended: 14 (41.2% ms)
Sum Std Deviation: +1.99

Monroe was selected Mountain West Player of the Week in their win over UNLV. In that game Monroe had two interceptions (one for a touchdown), two pass break ups and six tackles. He was selected by Pro Football Focus for the Mountain West Conference (MWC) team of the week in the loss to Colorado State. In that game Monroe had four pass break ups and three solo tackles. He was first in the MWC in interceptions with four in 2018. San Jose beat writer, Victor Aquino, had this to say about Monroe – “Then defensive back Dakari Monroe has always been a smooth operator to me with pro potential as well. He hits, covers big men and fast guys all with relative ease it seems.”

Cornerback Lee Moses of University of Massachusetts

Height: 5’11” | Weight: 193 lbs
Solo Tackles: 32 (7.4% ms)
Interceptions: 3 (12.5% ms)
Passes Defended: 7 (41.2% ms)
Sum Std Deviation: +1.80

A three year starter at UMass. Phil Steele’s 2016 Postseason All-Independent Second Team and his 2018 Pre-Season All-Independent Second Team. In the top ten of Independent Conference Passes Defended for all three years starting. Moses is number 5 on career passes defended Independent Conference since 2005 with 19 passes defended. Lee Moses has played both safety and corner at UMass.

Cornerback Anthoula Kelly of Fresno State

Height: 5’10” | Weight: 183 lbs
Solo Tackles: 45 (9.2% ms)
Interceptions: 3 (11.5% ms)
Passes Defended: 16 (29.6% ms)
Sum Std Deviation: +1.30

Two year starter at Fresno State. Number three in the nation in passes defended with 16 in 2018. In 2018 had an interception returned for a touchdown. At mid-point in 2018 Kelly was one of a trio of Fresno State defensive backs that form the  core of what is Pro Football Focus’s sixth-highest graded coverage team. Kelly was their ninth graded cornerback.

The Data

These are the standouts in a group that meet the market share thresholds. I have attached a spreadsheet of data that is composed of all defensive back players that meet the thresholds. The defensive backs sheet looked at solo tackles, interceptions and passes defended. The thresholds used are listed at the top on the line Min Target. Also shown in the first column is nfldraftscout.com’s position rank for the player in the 2019 NFL draft.

defense market share DBs

2016 NFC East Undrafted Free Agents

Continuing my prior post on the 2016 Undrafted Free Agents  where I covered the AFC East, today I’ll start with the 2016 NFC East Undrafted Free Agents.

The Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys have no remaining UDFAs from 2016.

The New York Giants

Donte Deayon is a cornerback on the Giants. In college Deayon was selected to Mountain West All-Conference Second Team each of his last three years.  He was seventh and ninth in interceptions in the FBS for his sophomore and junior seasons.  Deayon was tied for third in FBS active career leaders in 2015 with a career 17 interceptions and he led in interceptions per game. He was also 5th in active career leaders with a career 43 passes defended. Deayon only allowed three touchdowns across 133 targets. He was invited to the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl where he had an outstanding week.

One of four 2015 season Boise State banners. “The banners are not reserved for star players at star positions, but rather for players who best represent the team’s work ethic and values.” This was Donte’s 2nd straight year with a banner on Albertsons Stadium.

Deayon went undrafted most likely due to his size – 5’9 and 155 lbs. The Giants signed him following the draft. Donte did not play in 2016 his rookie year bust spent time on the practice squad. Donte has since upped his weight to 163 lbs. In 2017 he was promoted to the active roster October 12th. He played for 94 snaps as corner over 4 games and had 7 tackles with 6 solo tackles and one pass defensed.  Pro Football Focus gave him a 59.1 rating (poor). Donte suffered a fractured forearm and was placed on IR on November 27. “Pound for pound he’s the toughest guy on our team.” – Dominique Rodgers Cromartie about Deayon (2017)

The Giants drafted Sam Beal in the supplemental draft and signed UDFA Grant Haley.  In free agency they signed four cornerbacks. The Giants currently have 11  cornerbacks on the roster. Last season they had five corners on the 53 man roster and two on the practice squad. The only locks on the 53 man roster currently would be Sam Beal, Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple. If he does not make the 53 man roster, Donte would qualify for one more year on the practice squad.

The Philadelphia Eagles

Destiny Vaeao is a defensive tackle for the Eagles. He was born and raised in Pago Pago, American Samoa which is about 5,000 miles from California. According to a 60 Minutes report a boy born to Samoan parents is 56 times more likely to get into the NFL than any other kid in America. Football is their ticket out of a tough economy. Vaeao went to Washington State where he was a three year starter. in his senior year he was named to All-Pac-12 Second Team. His nfl.com draft profile has “Tough guy with desired motor.” He earned his degree in criminology in four years.  Vaeao was Pro Football Focus top graded player on Team National in the 2016 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. Vaeao went  undrafted and was signed by the Eagles.

In his rookie year he played in 16 games , 26% of the defensive snaps and had  2 sacks and 9 tackles (3 solo).  In 2017 Vaeao played in 11 games, 22 % of defensive snaps, and had one pass defensed and seven tackles (3 solo). This even though he battled through a hand injury and surgery during the 2017 season. The Eagles did not draft a defensive tackle, but did sign undrafted free agent defensive tackle Bruce Hector and free agent Haloti Ngata. The front line starters will most likely be Haloti Ngata and Fletcher Cox.  Tim Jernigan is probably next on the depth chart. However Jernigan underwent surgery on a herniated disc in his back at the end of April and is expected to be out four months. There are seven defensive tackles on the Eagles roster. Vaeao will  compete against 2017 6th round draft pick Elijah Qualls for snaps.

The Washington Redskins

Anthony Lanier is a defensive end for the Redskins. Lanier was a three sport athlete in high school – football, basketball and tennis. In college at Alabama A&M he played football and two years of basketball. He played in 47 games  and accumulated 38.5 tackles for loss. That was ranked 24th in active career leaders in the FCS for the 2015-2016 season. On nfldraftscout.com Lanier was ranked 71st out of 169 defensive ends for the 2016 draft and 934th among total prospects. He went undrafted and was signed by the Redskins.  Lanier made the 53 man roster his rookie season and played in four games. He registered only a fumble recovery on 48 defensive snaps. In 2017 Lanier again made the 53 man roster. In his second year Lanier played in 11 games, started 2 games, and played in 31% of the season’s defensive snaps. He registered 6 passes defensed, one forced fumble, one fumble recovered, five sacks and 11 tackles with eight of those solo. Lanier’s basketball skills probably help in him getting  five passes batted down. His five sacks was good for third on the team. This November 2017 Bleacher Report article identified Lanier as one of nine players with the most untapped potential. Lanier gives back to his hometown community of Savannah Georgia by conducting his second  Lanier’s summer youth football training camp in 2018.

The Redskins drafted defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne in the first round. Payne  probably would start as nose tackle. They also have  defensive ends Jonathan Allen and Matthew Ioannidis. Both of which project ahead of Lanier on the depth chart. Lanier will be competing against Stacy McGee and Ziggy Hood for for backup spots. However McGee is recovering from groin surgery and may not be ready for training camp. Hood has the advantage of having also played nose tackle.

If I were to name common trait(s) among these three players I would list humility and a great work ethic. They are continuously learning, absorbing as much as they can from the veterans and put in that extra effort to get better. Their work is cut out for them. There are only 30 undrafted free agents remaining from the 2015 draft class.

2016 AFC East Undrafted Free Agents – the remaining “Long Shots”

I got the idea of this post thinking about Giants cornerback Donte Deayon. Deayon was an undrafted free agent the Giants signed following the 2016 draft. When the Giants recently picked CB Sam Beal in the supplemental draft, I thought of Deayon and what that might mean to him. I like Deayon. He has a great attitude, was a ball hawk in college,  and has a great work ethic. His rookie contract is up after 2018 and he would be an exclusive rights free agent (ERFA). It gave me the idea to take a look at the 2016 undrafted free agent class. Many of their contracts should be expiring after 2018. Who of these “longshots” are left? Who are they and what is their story? How are they doing? What are their chances to continue pursuing their dream? Today we look at the 2016 AFC East Undrafted Free Agents.

According to the NFL Players Association the average length of an NFL career is 3.3 years.  The average goes up to six years for players that make the team’s opening day roster in their rookie season. It goes up to 7.1 years for players with at least three pension-credited seasons. A credited season is one in which the player spends at least three games on an active/inactive roster and/or injured reserve.

The 2016 draft class is entering their third year in the 2018 season. Following the 2016 NFL draft, approximately 476 undrafted free agents signed with an NFL team. Of those there are 105 UDFAs remaining on NFL rosters for 78% attrition. Based on player average career data, the 2018 season is a critical one for the 2016 draft class. Also it typically is the last year of their 3 year rookie contract. These are the guys the newest wave of rookies could be pushing out. Starting with the AFC East here are one 2016 UDFA from each team.

The Buffalo Bills

Reid Ferguson is a long snapper for the Buffalo Bills.  He is the sole UDFA signing from the 2016 class remaining on the Bills. Ferguson started snapping in eighth grade when his father encouraged him to fill in for his team’s injured snapper. In high school Ferguson started all four years as long snapper and guard. Reid studied under long snapping guru Chris Rubio. Rubio’s evaluation of Ferguson in high school included – “…Terrific work ethic”.  Coming out of high school he was rated as the number two  long snapper in the country. Reid went to LSU on a scholarship. That was considered a rarity at the time for a player that was strictly a long snapper. At LSU Ferguson was a four year starter at long snapper. In his four year LSU career he made 497 snaps and had only one errant snap and that was as a freshman. Ferguson made Phil Steele’s 2015 Postseason All-American First Team. Still Ferguson went undrafted in the 2016 NFL draft though one long snapper was drafted. Ferguson was signed by the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent in May 2016. Ferguson is the only long snapper listed on the Bill’s roster going into the 2018 season. He was not on the 2016 opening day roster but did make the 53 man roster in 2017. Ferguson will be an ERFA in 2019. Here you can see Ferguson showing his long snapper skills in some trick snaps.

The New England Patriots

Jonathan Jones is a cornerback on the Patriots. He is the sole UDFA remaining on the team from the 2016 draft class. In college Jones earned AP All SEC second team during his junior year coming in fourth in the nation in passes defended and ninth in interceptions. At the combine Jones came in first among cornerbacks in the forty and second in the bench press. His 10 yard split time of 1.47 seconds was in the 96 percentile. Jones battled through some injuries and a foot surgery in college.  But he worked hard and given a chance he produced. Yet Jones went undrafted with possible concerns about his history of injuries and his size (5’9″ and 186 lbs). Jones was signed as an UDFA and in 2016 carved out a role on the team using his amazing speed on special teams. He impressed Belichick with his coachability, toughness, competitiveness and speed. Jones also covers well. He gradually worked his way into the defense as a nickel corner and performed well. Jones has played 32 games the past two seasons and started in five. In 2017 he had 9 passes defended and one interception. In a 2017 game against the Dolphins Jones shadowed Dolphin’s receiver Jarvis Landry for the majority of the game. Landry is a receiver that Belichick has high regard for. Jones was in on 41% of the defensive snaps in 2017. Here is a graph of Jones combine results.

The Patriots drafted two cornerbacks – Duke Dawson in the 2nd round and Keion Crossen in the 7th round. They also signed UDFA JC Jackson. All are shorter corners and may compete with Jones for a slot cornerback position.

The Miami Dolphins

Jake Brendel is a center for the Dolphins. As a senior on the offensive line in high school Brendel recorded 71 knockdowns, 31 finishes and allowed no sacks. He was ranked the as the 15th best center coming out of high school by rivals.com. In college, after redshirting his freshman year, he started every game all 4 years for a total 52 games. He became UCS’s all-time leader in games started. Brendel played in 92% of UCLA’s offensive snaps over the four year span. He was a three year co-captain, First-team Academic All-Conference, and last two years a second-team All-PAC-12 selection.  Brendel, a four year starter, stepped up to being a de facto player/coach his senior year when the offensive line coach was temporarily suspended. It is reported that Brendel had an excellent game at the Shrine Bowl. Yet he went undrafted. The Cowboys signed him as an UDFA but after getting hurt three weeks into the regular season the Cowboys released him. Brendel was signed by Miami in October of 2016. In 2017 Brendel played in all 16 games and participated in 7% of Miami’s offensive snaps and 20% of the special teams snaps. He filled in for Mike Pouncey when Mike suffered a concussion in the Atlanta game. Jake played well and had a key role in Jay Ajayi’s two 18-yard runs on Miami’s final drive. The Dolphins did not take a center in the draft.

The New York Jets

Lawrence Thomas is a fullback on the Jets. Thomas was ranked as the #5 inside linebacker in the nation coming out of high school y rivals.com. Thomas went to Michigan State. He finished his Michigan career with 27 consecutive starts on the defensive line playing defensive end, nose tackle and defensive tackle. He also had three starts his redshirt freshman season as fullback. His senior year he made honorable mention All-Big Ten(coaches) and was invited to the Senior Bowl. Thomas went undrafted and was signed by the Jets following the draft. During the 2017 season Thomas made an in-season switch from defensive lineman to fullback.  He played in 14 games and recorded 6 receptions for 43 yards. He has impressed the staff as a consistent blocker. Thomas was in on 15% of the offensive snaps, 31% special teams and 2% on defense.  The Jets signed fullback Dimitri Flowers as an undrafted free agent following the 2018 draft giving Thomas competition. Thomas was awarded the Ed Block Courage award in 2017. This years recipients were 32 NFL players elected by their teammates and peers who overcame adversity in order return to the field. Thomas it seems was for the in-season switch from defense to fullback.

Well I hope you enjoyed the post. Drop me a comment to let me know either way. If there is a 2016 UDFA that you would like covered let me know.


2018 NFL Draft Wide Receiver Prospects

The following list of wide receivers have been filtered to show those that have achieved a 30% or higher team market share of receiving yards. There is a strong correlation between market share production and pro-bowl potential. This has been researched extensively by James Cobern at draftcobern.wordpress.com.

In the list I have highlighted the data that is the roughly in the highest third of the list and summed the number of highlights at the end of each row. The aqua highlighted names are my favorites for draft picks. The yellow highlighted names are also prospects that I like.

Bold names are receivers that meet certain physical characteristics related to arm length and hand size. I used the following criteria

  • 6-2 or taller with  32 5/8-inch arm length
  • 6-1 or shorter with 29 ¾-inch arm length
  • 8 7/8-inch hand size

The column success rate measures what percent of the receivers plays were deemed successful in relation to down and yardage gained.

Wide Receivers – Click to go to image

Tre’Quan Smith is a big receiver with good speed and solid hands. He is a red zone threat and tied for 2nd most receiving TDs among draft eligible receivers. Smith is also one of college football’s best deep threats. He was tied for 6th among draft prospects with 20 receptions of 20+ yards and had the most touchdown receptions on deep passes among all FBS wide receivers. He will go up and fight for jump balls and makes some spectacular catches. Smith is also an exceptional run blocker. He has some issues with drops though that has improved in 2017.

DaeSean Hamilton has an intense work ethic. He’d run routes at 6 a.m. on the practice field. He’d catch balls on the Jugs machine, sometimes 100, or 200 with a teammate. Hamilton is 9th in active career leaders for receptions and receiving yards. In 2017 he was 7th in receptions of 20+ yards. According to Pro Football Focus he was first among FBS receivers with a catch rate of 73.3% on deep passes (20+ yards) for receivers with a minimum of 10 deep targets. Dane Brugler, senior analyst at NFLdraftscout.com has Hamilton rated as one of the top three receivers for route running.

James Washington was ranked 24th in receptions in 2017 but 1st in receiving yards. He was 4th in receiving TDs and 1st in yards per game. Washington was tied for 2nd in plays of 20+ yards. According to Pro Football Focus his 815 deep receiving yards was 1st among FBS receivers. Not just a deep threat, Washington’s QB had a perfect passer rating when targeting him on slant routes. Washington also averaged 9.3 yards after the catch on slants in 2017. James has a strong work ethic and has not missed a game in four seasons.

Micah Holder is my dark horse prospect being rated as 108 out of 321 wide receivers. His pro day results were very good.  He had a 40″ vertical which would be tied for tops at the combine among receivers. He also did good in the short shuttle and 3 cone drills for what would have been 3rd and 10th respectively. Besides having 31.7% of the team’s receiving yards, Micah has a good catch rate and success rate. His review at draftanalyst.com depicts a sure handed receiver that runs good routes and makes difficult catches.

Here is the file of receivers as an excel spreadsheet – wide receivers.xls