Category Archives: Football

2019 East-West Shrine Practices, Day 2, 1-15-19: Gallery/Recap

In what proved to be a competitive day for both the East and West squads, DraftNasty dove even deeper into the action. Find out which players either continued to make an impact or stood out for the first time on Day 2 of 2019 East-West Shrine practices.

2019 East-West Shrine Practices, Day 1, 1-14-19: Gallery/Recap

DraftNasty's Corey Chavous takes us inside some of the Day 1 images from the 2019 East-West Shrine practices at Tropicana Field in Tampa, Florida.

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2018 SDCCU Holiday Bowl, Photo Gallery, 12-31-18: 22) Northwestern vs. 17) utah

The 22nd-ranked Northwestern Wildcats used a furious third quarter rally to overtake the 17th-ranked Utah Utes, 31-20. Led by a defense that forced timely turnovers and 2018 SDCCU Holiday Bowl Offensive MVP Clayton Thorson, the Wildcats scored 28 unanswered points in the third stanza. DraftNasty's Corey Chavous takes us inside the game with this photo collage.

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Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, 12-30-18: In-game report

The Steelers squeaked past the Bengals but it wasn’t enough to qualify for the playoffs.  Despite a 16-13 victory, a number of midseason disappointments allowed the Baltimore Ravens to walk away with the AFC North division title. DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

Steelers spread attack

The Steelers employed the spread attack as its primary offensive set during the regular season and this included the season finale against the Bengals.  It allowed them to get their playmakers out in space but it did leave quarterback Ben Roethlisberger susceptible to increased pressure from four-man fronts.  Cincinnati only sacked Big Ben once, but they were able to get him off his throwing spot without blitzing while still keeping two safeties high.  With Antonio Brown out, Roethlisberger started the game by throwing seven completions to five different receivers.  A majority of these passes were wide receiver screens and slants.  As was my concern early in the season, Roethlisberger did fall back into a pattern of turning the football over, not only against the Bengals but all season long. For the game, Roethlisberger finished with one passing touchdown, one interception and 287 passing yards on 68-percent passing.  James Conner led the team with 64 rushing yards on 14 carries. As the Steelers assess their 2018 season offensively, look for them to carry over their spread principles into next year while also finding ways to cut down on the turnovers. 

Turnover differential 

Pittsburgh ranked sixth in scoring offense and were in the top ten in passing yards and rushing yards allowed.  The offensive and defensive stats tell a story of a successful season but turnovers doomed the Steelers and almost cost them their game against the Bengals.  In 2018, Pittsburgh finished with a -11 turnover differential, which ranked 28th in the NFL.  The other four teams with a worst differential than the Steelers were Arizona, Jacksonville, San Francisco and Tampa Bay, all teams who finished with losing records.  Against Cincinnati, Roethlisberger threw a pick- six to Shawn Williams, which represented the Bengals’ only touchdown for the game.  Defensively, Pittsburgh was not able to force the Bengals, who were missing wide receiver A.J. Green and quarterback Andy Dalton, into any mistakes. 

Cincinnati playmakers 

Cincinnati All-Pro wide receiver A.J. Green caught 46 passes for 694 yards and six touchdowns despite appearing in just nine games in 2018.

With A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd and Tyler Eifert out, it was evident that the Bengals just didn’t have the firepower to get players open against the Steelers.  Alex Erickson caught all six of his targets for 63 yards and was able to work over the middle but his longest catch was for just 13 yards.  The Bengals next most productive reviewer was Auden Tate, who caught one pass for 15 yards. Joe Mixon ran for 105 yards and finished with 1,168 yards on the season. The 22- year-old running back should be able to be relied upon for the long- term, but look for the Bengals to continue to try and develop their young playmakers like John Ross, a former Top 10 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. 

2018 Franklin Mortgage Music City Bowl Photo Gallery, 12-28-18: Auburn vs. Purdue

Led by redshirt junior quarterback Jarrett Stidham's six touchdowns (5 PASS, 1 RUSH), the Auburn Tigers overtook the Purdue Boilermakers 63-14 in Friday's 2018 Franklin Mortgage Music City Bowl. DraftNasty's Corey Chavous gives a peek at some of the images from Nashville.

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2018 Valero Alamo Bowl In-game report: Iowa State vs. Washington State, 12-28-18

Washington State emerged victorious in a back-and-forth thriller against Iowa State.  The Cougars defeated the Cyclones 28-26 to win the 2018 Valero Alamo Bowl.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

16 Gardner Minshew (6’2 220) Washington State QB-Senior

Former East Carolina quarterback Gardner Minshew's transition to Pullman culminated with his selection as college football's 2018 Johnny United Golden Arm Award winner.

The East Carolina transfer put together a season that ended with him winning the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm award, which is given to the nation’s top senior quarterback.  Minshew impressed in the Valero Alamo Bowl with his short compact delivery and his elusiveness in the pocket.  Iowa State opted to rush just three defensive linemen for the better part of the game and he took his time with patient reads.  When he is at his best, Minshew can power off his back foot and drive the ball in the short and intermediate passing game.  At the next level, the Cougars quarterback will have to answer questions about his deep ball accuracy and ability to run a less quarterback-friendly offense than head coach Mike Leach’s air raid offense.  The former ECU Pirate finished his senior season with 4,779 passing yards, 38 touchdowns and nine interceptions. 

4 Marcus Strong (5’9 185) Washington State CB-Junior

Marcus Strong showed his anticipation and ball skills when he jumped a slant in the first quarter and ran the interception in for a touchdown. The junior cornerback, however, was called for a taunting penalty and had his touchdown negated.  For the game, Strong finished with seven tackles, one sack and one interception.  He impressed this season -and against Iowa State- with his ability to compete and play through the whistle.  Despite giving up nine inches against Iowa State receiver Hakeem Butler, Strong got physical and made life hard on the taller opponent.  The lack of size will concern scouts, but the Cougars cornerback has the right mentality to play on the outside in the NFL. 

18 Hakeem Butler (6’6 225) Iowa State WR-Junior

Butler is physical and not afraid to put his hands on the opposing cornerback to create room in his routes.  He also showed the skills to seal the edge during running plays.  Despite his height, Butler can still get low and get in-and-out of his breaks (see his comeback routes during the first half).  The junior had a productive season, posting 60 catches for 1,318 yards and nine touchdowns.  Against Washington State, he caught nine passes for 192 yards.  This included an acrobatic one-handed catch over the middle of the field. 

32 David Montgomery (5’11 216) Iowa State RB-Junior

David Montgomery has the tools to be an every down back at the next level.  He showed soft hands in the receiving game in the Valero Alamo Bowl (4 catches for 55 yards). And like he did all season long, he refused to go down on first contact.  Against Washington State, he ran for 124 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries. On the season, the Cincinnati native rushed for 1,216 yards and 13 touchdowns. 

2018 Walk-on’s Independence bowl, PHOTO gallery, 12-27-18: Temple vs. Duke

Temple got off to a strong start in the 2018 Walk-On's Independence Bowl, but the Duke Blue Devils took off in the second half to pull away from the Owls 56-27. DraftNasty's Corey Chavous goes inside the action with his photo gallery from Thursday's action.

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2018 Walk-On’s Independence Bowl, In-game report: Duke vs. Temple, 12-27-18

A dominant second half by the Blue Devils was enough to help them cruise to an Independence Bowl victory. Duke scored 35 unanswered points to defeat Temple, 56-27.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in game report:

17 Daniel Jones (6’5 220) Duke QB-Junior

With Oregon’s Justin Herbert returning to Oregon for another season, Duke’s Daniel Jones should get some attention earlier in next year's draft.  That is if the redshirt junior decides to declare early.  The Blue Devil signal-caller finished with one rushing touchdown, five passing touchdowns and two interceptions against Temple.  A throw that stood out to me was his pump-and-go pass for a touchdown to T.J. Rahming, the slight pump was enough to get the defensive backs attention and clear the way for Rahming.  Jones not only sold the pump with his legs, head and arm moving in sync but he threw a good pass as well.  The game was a microcosm of his season: a mixed bag of good and bad.  Scouts will question his pocket awareness.  Against Temple, he was sacked three times and for his career, he’s been sacked 82 times. I would like to see the internal clock in his head operate a little quicker and if plays aren’t developing, see him throw the ball away.  The positives for Jones is that he has good size, great athleticism for his stature, can throw on the run and has worked with David Cutcliffe, who has enjoyed a myriad of success with young quarterbacks. 

Jones (No. 17 pictured) connected with Rahming (No. 3 pictured) on a career-long 85-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter of Saturday's Walk-On's Independence Bowl against the Owls.

3 T.J. Rahming (5’10 170) Duke WR-Senior

You can’t help but think of former Duke wide receiver and Redskins current slot receiver, Jamison Crowder, when you see T.J. Rahming. The two have identical builds and are used in similar situations. Rahming is used on jet sweeps as a motion man and works mostly in the slot.  Rahming might be a little faster straight-line than Crowder but he doesn’t have the same agility as his elder.  Like Crowder, Rahming also can help out in the punt return game (5.9 yards per punt career average).  Against Temple, Rahming caught 12 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns. 

9 Michael Dogbe (6’3 280) Temple DL-Senior

Dogbe is a little light for a defensive tackle but his activity and constant movement is never lacking.  In a time where defense is more about reacting than dictating, Dogbe is a throwback see ball/ get ball type of player.  In the Independence Bowl, Dogbe impressed with his ability to attract double teams and follow and stick with the play from behind.  He projects best as a 4-3 defensive tackle or a 3-4 defensive end at the next level.  At Temple, single digit numbers are reserved for tough and hardworking players and Dogbe has earned his stripes.  For the season, Dogbe finished with 12.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks and three forced fumbles. 

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2018 Quick Lane Bowl In-game report: Minnesota vs. Georgia Tech, 12-26-18

Two run heavy offenses squared off in Detroit in the Quick Lane Bowl.  However, Minnesota was able to make more plays in the passing game, en route to a 34-10 victory over Georgia Tech. DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

62 Jared Weyler (6’4 300) Minnesota OC/OG- Senior

Weyler has missed time over his career in Minnesota with a torn tricep and a torn ACL but when he is on the field, he provides toughness and leads the heavy run Gophers offense.  The senior can play both guard and center. He is not the most athletic prospect and looks a little stiff when forced to block on screens.  Against Georgia Tech, he did show the ability to call out blocking formations and provide a clean lane for his runners.  Weyler, a captain for the Golden Gophers, projects best at the next level as a center. 

24 Mohamed Ibrahim (5’10 205) Minnesota RB-Freshman

Ibrahim is only a freshman but he impressed all season long with his ability to serve as a workhorse running back. Despite his 31 touches in the Quick Lane Bowl, Ibrahim never looked tired or worn down. He is also a willing blocker in passing formations.  For the season, Ibrahim finished with 1,160 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 202 carries. The running back from Olney, Maryland, didn’t get a chance to show his ability to catch very much this year (four receptions for 26 yards).  In a few years, look for Ibrahim's name to come up as a potential NFL prospect. 

6 Tyler Johnson (6’2 200) Minnesota WR-Junior

Johnson is the best receiving weapon for the Golden Gophers.  His explosiveness off the line of scrimmage is lethal.  He was able to sell a move to the inside in order to get a clean release on the outside for a touchdown in the first quarter.  Against Georgia Tech, Johnson hauled in two touchdowns on four receptions for 57 yards.  For the season, Johnson had 78 catches for 1,169 yards and 12 touchdowns. Johnson projects best as an X-receiver, who has the skills off the line to scare cornerbacks in man-to-man coverage.

Look here at how Johnson uses explosiveness in his routes, high- points the football and makes a play:

3 Tre Swilling (6’0 195) Georgia Tech CB-Freshman

The son of former Saints Pro Bowler Pat Swilling, the younger version stood out in the Quick Lane Bowl because of his clean hips and ability to mirror receivers.   Swilling didn’t see much action to his side against Minnesota and at times it looked as if the Golden Gophers offense was intentionally avoiding him.  For the season, Swilling had one forced fumble, an interception and six pass deflections.  Swilling has the skills and bloodlines to be a next level talent.  As the years go on, his progress will be worth monitoring. 

Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions, 12-23-18: In-game report

The Vikings used an old formula to stay in the NFC playoff picture and defeat the Lions on the road.  Minnesota relied on a turnover- free game and a solid defensive effort to beat Detroit, 27-9. DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

Lions receiving weapons

In 2014, the Lions featured two 1,000-yard receivers in former wideouts Golden Tate III and Calvin Johnson.

The Lions traded away Golden Tate and now lack proven weapons on the outside.  Detroit tried to mask its deficiencies with conservative third down play calling that often featured runs and screens on 3rd and long, but those weren’t effective against a stout Vikings defense.  Kenny Golladay has become a contributor, catching 70 passes for 1,063 yards and five touchdowns on the season.  However, the Vikings began to key in on him and roll coverage his way as he posted just six catches for 58 yards on 15 targets.  Detroit has had its issues with drafting receivers in the past, but the team is in desperate need for playmakers on the outside. 

Vikings offensive gameplan

The formula against the Bears on Sunday will be simple for the Vikings: run the ball and don’t turn it over.  Despite his 29:10 touchdown-to-interception ratio, Cousins has struggled against teams with winning records in his career and this year has been no different.  Last week, the Vikings fired offensive coordinator John DeFilippo before his first season as coordinator could even come to an end.  Quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski has taken over and he’s been with the team since the mid-2000s, which means he knows traditionally the Vikings bread has been buttered with its run game. Against the Lions, Dalvin Cook carried the ball 16 times for 73 yards and was the go-to man on 3rd and shorts.   Cook and Latavius Murray should both see 10-to-15 carries apiece and Stefanski will probably opt to play a conservative field position game against the stingy Bears defensive front seven.

Minnesota defense 

The Chicago Bears have dominated headlines in the NFC North but the Vikings still have a defense that can be counted upon. Their problem has been at times they have been forced to play perfect football where as in Chicago there’s a little bit more margin for error.  On the season, the Vikings rank in the top ten in passing yards allowed per game, points against and total yards allowed per game.  They also rank 11th in rushing yards allowed per game.  Danielle Hunter, Everson Griffen, Sheldon Richardson and Tom Johnson have combined to form their own Purple People Eaters group, totaling 29 sacks.  The front end and back end complement each other well in Minnesota and this defense is still a unit to be reckoned with week-to-week.