On August 30, 2014, the Florida State Seminoles squared off against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the Advocare Classic. The result? A hard-fought 37-31 victory for the top-ranked Seminoles. The game within the game featured two future NFL All-Pros matching up at different positions then they would eventually star at in the NFL. At the time, current Kansas City WR Tyreek Hill was a running back/return specialist and Los Angeles Rams CB Jalen Ramsey was starring in a safety/nickel back role. In what proved to be a precursor for the future, Hill tallied an incredible total of 278 all-purpose yards. Ramsey contributed 12 tackles and 1/2 tackle for loss, while displaying outstanding agility and body control. We go inside one of college football’s best matchups of the past decade.
DraftNasty sat down with former Miami (Fla.) placekicker/punter/kickoff specialist Matt Bosher over nine years ago to talk about his plan for attacking the NFL. At the time, the three-time All-ACC kicker was still figuring out what NFL position he would play full-time.
It turns out he has become a pretty good punter/kickoff specialist for the Atlanta Falcons. He has a career 55-percent touchback percentage on kickoffs and has averaged nearly 46 yards (45.7) per punt. Bosher has ranked in the Top Five for punting average five times in his nine-year career. In the process, he has posted an impressive 28 tackles, which was something he discussed in our sit down with the former Hurricane.
In a matchup between mentor and mentee, the mentor bested his understudy. Andy Reid’s Kansas City Chiefs defeated John Harbaugh’s Baltimore Ravens, 27-24, to remain in first place in the AFC. DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in- game report:
When Kelce is rolling, the Kansas City Chiefs offense is rolling. Teams that have defeated the Chiefs have not been able to completely stop Kelce but have been able to limit his productivity or force him and his team to use more targets to get his catches. The Los Angeles Rams defeated the Chiefs and even though Kelce had 10 catches for 127 yards, it took him 15 targets to post those numbers. The Patriots were the Chiefs only other loss this season, they double teamed and chipped Kelce all night and held him to five catches on nine targets for 61 yards. Against the Ravens, Kelce caught two passes on the first possession of the game and forced a holding call on cornerback Marlon Humphrey that resulted in a touchdown. For the game, he caught seven passes on nine targets for 77 yards and one touchdown. The Chiefs second-ranked scoring offense and No. 3 ranked passing game are a direct reflection of Kelce’s productivity. If a team hopes to stop the Chiefs offense, then they must prioritize defending Kelce.
Despite giving up catches to Kelce early, Baltimore held the Chiefs to 27 points, tied for their lowest output of the season. The Ravens forced Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes to drive the length of the field and kept everything in front of them by always keeping a safety deep. Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale also switched up blitz schemes which kept Mahomes off balance and resulted in three sacks. The Chiefs still managed 92 rushing yards and 347 passing yards but the chunk plays were minimal. The fourth down 48-yard heave across the field from Mahomes to Tyreek Hill was a back breaker for the Ravens. However, besides that play and a screen pass to Spencer Ware, the Ravens didn’t give up a play of more than 25 yards defensively. Look for the Chiefs division rival, the Los Angeles Chargers, to try and replicate the Ravens defensive game plan when the two teams meet on Thursday.
The former Louisville quarterback has struggled with turnovers and accuracy issues (58 percent completion percentage, three interceptions and eight fumbles) since he has been under center. However, Jackson has given the Ravens offense a spark because of his running ability and quick passing ability. Baltimore has went to a more run-pass option attack and one-read passing concepts with Jackson. Against the Chiefs, the Ravens used their tight end as a motion man to get involved as the lead blocker in power running plays and as a safety option for Jackson in the short passing game. Jackson completed 13-of-24 passes for two touchdowns and ran for 71 yards. As he gets more comfortable, look for the playbook to expand, but for now Jackson has been productive and has put the Ravens in positions to win.
Former Louisville QB Lamar Jackson accounted for 119 touchdowns in back-to-back ACC Offensive Player of the Year seasons (2016-17). Along the way, the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner produced over 5,000 yards in each of his final two seasons. We go deep inside his game in our video spotlight.
15 Ezekiel Elliott RB 6’0 225 Ohio State
What makes this player NASTY (Strengths): Athletic bloodlines. Prototype size. Muscular build. Big game player. Brings his best vs. the best competition. Finishing speed. Ball security. Keeps the football high and tight to his frame. Holds his top-end speed and has rarely been caught from behind in the open field. Sticks his foot in the dirt and gets vertical on inside zones. Runs with forward lean. Delivers punishment to safeties, LBs and DBs (6-yard run, 1st quarter, Notre Dame ’16). Gets on top of safeties and LBs quickly at the second level due to acceleration. Excellent hand-eye coordination shows up as an outlet on swings and flat routes. Patience. On counter-trey and counter-trap runs, he allows the puller to make contact in the hole before making a decision. Possesses the deft, subtle skips to bounce runs to his left (Penn State í14). Outstanding blocker. He will get all the way up the third level to block safeties. Heís also been a factor lead blocking on strong sweeps; where he’s made highlight film blocks vs. CBs (Notre Dame í16-Fiesta Bowl). Ability to cut block has led to scoring opportunities in the red area (Barnett, TD, Illinois í15). Measures the thigh boards and ankles of moving targets. Identifies and ID’s the most dangerous pass rusher in blitz pick-up.
Weaknesses: Does not always get his hips aligned to strike vs. longer OLB-types even after correctly identifying the man in pass pro (Penn State ’14, Oregon ’15). Suffered a broken thumb in the 2014 fall camp. He hasnít always made the last man miss in open field situations (Daniels, Oregon ’15-national title game). Muffed and lost a punt vs. Virginia Tech in 2015. Underwent surgery on a wrist injury in the fall of 2014 and then again in the winter of 2015 (February). Had an infection in his leg in preparation for the Michigan State game in 2015 and was forced to spend time in the hospital due to pain. Posted just a 32 1/2-inch VJ at the 2016 NFL Combine.
- Earned a four-star ranking from Scout.com after starring in three sports (football, basketball and track & field)
- Won state championships in the 100-meter, 200-meter (22.05), 110-meter high hurdles (13.77) and 300-meter hurdles as a senior
- Named the Missouri Gatorade State Track Athlete of the Year in 2013
- Tallied 50 total touchdowns as a high school senior
- Coached by former NFL QB Gus Frerotte at the prep level
- Father, Stacy, and mother, Dawn, both graduated from the University of Missouri and were standouts on the football and track teams respectively
- 2013: 30 carries for 287 yards (8.7 YPC) and 2 TDs; 3 catches and one TD
- 20 carries for 220 yards and 2 TDs vs. Wisconsin in the 2014 Big Ten Championship game
- (OFFENSIVE MVP, 2015 Sugar Bowl): 20 carries for 230 yards and 2 TDs vs. Alabama on 1/1/15
- OFFENSIVE MVP, 2015 National Title Game: 36 rushes for 246 yards and 4 TDs vs. Oregon
- 2014: 273 rushes for 1,878 yards (6.9 YPC) and 18 TDs; 28 catches for 220 yards (7.9 YPR)
- 27 rushes for 149 yards and 4 TDs vs. Notre Dame in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl
- 2015 (Ameche-Dayne Big Ten Running Back of Year, 1st team All-Big Ten, coaches): 289 rushes for 1,821 yards (6.3 YPC) and 23 TDs; 27 catches for 206 yards (7.6 YPR)
- 15 straight 100-yard games from 2014-15
- 22 career 100-yard games
- Career Stats: 592 carries for 3,961 yards (6.7 YPC) and 43 TDs; 58 catches for 449 yards (7.7 YPR) and one TD
- 2016 NFL Combine: 10 1/4″ hands, 31 1/4″ arms, 4.47 (40-yd), 32 1/2″ VJ, 9’10” BJ
Time to get Nasty…(Our Summary): Elliott’s deceptive stride length and natural power provide a poor man’s version of former All-Pro running back LaDainian Tomlinson (Chargers, Jets). His light-footed skip steps set up blockers to seal the edge when bouncing runs or provide assistance for his blockers when running inside. He has pop striking defenders in pass pro, but he could stand to match-up more square versus longer pass rush threats. There are few questions regarding toughness, football intelligence or size. Like Tomlinson, he’s very natural catching the football out of the backfield. Elliott projects as a starting running back in Year 1 and his style of play fits gap-schemed styles like the Carolina Panthers employ.
DraftNasty’s Grade: 6.605 (1st Round)
UPDATE: Elliott was picked fourth overall in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. In two seasons in the NFL, he has rushed for 2,614 yards (4.6 YPC) and 22 touchdowns. The 2016 first-team All-Pro selection has also caught 58 passes for 632 yards and three touchdowns.
In 2013, DraftNasty traveled north to get an in-depth glimpse of former Buffalo Bulls standout Khalil Mack. The current five-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro has since become one of the NFL’s best defenders over the past decade. The 2013 MAC Defensive Player of the Year totaled 12 tackles and 2.5 tackles for losses versus Bowling Green. During his four-year run for the Bulls, he accumulated 327 tackles, 28.5 quarterback sacks, 75 tackles for losses, three interceptions (128 yards, 2 TDs), three fumble recoveries and 16 forced fumbles (NCAA all-time record). Mack was DraftNasty’s No. 1 overall player on its 2014 NFL Draft Big Board and went fifth overall to the Oakland Raiders.
Since entering the league as an undrafted free agent in 2012, Jaguars defensive back Peyton Thompson has been one of the team’s better backup defensive backs. It hasn’t been easy. During his time in the NFL, he’s been cut six different times. Despite the movement, he has excelled through work ethic and perseverance. DraftNasty listed Thompson as one of the hidden gems of the 2012 NFL Draft after his outstanding career at San Jose State.