Tag Archives: Carolina Panthers

Seattle Seahawks vs. Carolina Panthers, 11-25-18: In-game report

The Carolina Panthers inability to convert on third down and score touchdowns in the red zone, doomed them in a key NFC matchup. The Seattle Seahawks defeated the Panthers, 30-27.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

Christian McCaffrey

The term “all-purpose” may be thrown around a little too much. However, it certainly applies to McCaffrey, who finished with 125 rushing yards and 112 yards receiving  against the Seahawks. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner used McCaffrey every which way against the Seahawks:  swing passes, runs between the tackles, single back in the option game, split out wide and on screens.  The main cause for concern in Carolina is that the offense could be seen as too vanilla.  Besides McCaffrey and D.J. Moore, who caught eight passes for 91 yards, no other player tallied more than 50 yards. The Panthers looked predictable at times, especially on 3rd down (3-of-8 against the Seahawks) and in the red zone (3 touchdowns on 7 attempts).  In his first season as coordinator, Turner has showed the ability to put his playmakers in position to make plays, however, he needs more players to step up in both third down and Red Zone situations. 

"McCaffrey was awesome. Cam (Newton) was awesome. But when they got into the red zone, we stopped them. We had four big stops, and they were all crucial,” said Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll during the postgame press conference. 

Middle linebackers duel

A game might not feature a better matchup of opposing middle linebackers than Sunday's contest,  Bobby Wagner and Luke Kuechly combined for 25 tackles and one tackle for loss.  Both players led their teams in tackles and are the best players on their respective defenses.  Wagner was able to stand Cam Newton up at the line of scrimmage on a critical 4th and 2, preventing the Panthers from scoring on their first drive. On the other side of the ball, Kuechly helped hold the Seahawks number one ranked rushing offense to just 75 yards. 

"Luke Kuechly (pictured left)  is one of the best linebackers in the game, so you know he's going to make a couple plays," Seahawks running back Chris Carson said during the postgame press conference.  "For the most part we did what we could do in the run game."

Tyler Lockett

You can tell a lot about the quarterback's trust factor by looking at who he throws to on third down.  By that measure, Tyler Lockett was Russell Wilson’s best friend against the Panthers. The Seahawks receiver caught five passes for 107 yards and a touchdown on Sunday, three of which came on third down including his touchdown in the third quarter. On the final drive of the game, Lockett caught a deep pass for 43 yards on 3rd down after Russell Wilson was able to buy some extra time in the pocket, ultimately setting up the Seawhawks game winning field goal. 

"When Russell (Wilson) keeps it alive, we understand how hard it is for defenders to try to guard somebody more than five seconds," Lockett said.  "If it is longer than four or five seconds, it puts us in a better position to get open."

New Cleveland Browns placekicker Joseph looks to solve team’s woes

After a Sunday afternoon 21-18 defeat at the hands of the New Orleans Saints (1-1), the Cleveland Browns (0-1-1) released former seventh-round draft pick Zane Gonzalez.  Pittsburgh Steelers OLB T.J. Watt blocked a potential game-winning 43-yard field goal by Gonzalez in an overtime season-opening tie versus the Browns.  He then missed a go-ahead extra point and potential game-tying field goal in the fourth quarter of Sunday's three-point loss to the Saints.  Gonzalez missed two extra points and two field goals in the Superdome.

The kicker that the Browns signed to replace the NCAA's all-time leader in field goals didn't leave college with the same resume', but his work in college was still impressive.  Former FAU kicker Greg Joseph had a knack for forcing teams to drive the length of the field versus the Owls 34th-ranked scoring defense in 2017.   Here's a quick snapshot of Joseph, our sixth-ranked kicker in the 2018 NFL Draft class.

Greg Joseph PK 6’1 214

School: FAU

DraftNasty's 2018 Grade: 4.05 (7th Round)

What makes this player Nasty....(Strengths): He’s a two-by-three-yard kicker who aligns right outside of the LT (left tackle).  2 ¼-step placekicker with ample leg strength.  Kicked a 54-yard FG with at least six yards to spare vs. Navy in 2017 (3-step). Rarely punches at the ball. Keeps his shoulders parallel during his motion.  Kicked the ball well in windy conditions vs. Western Kentucky in 2017.  Hit two 40-yard field goals from both hash marks (2nd FG-RT hash, 48-yd FG inside left uprights; 3rd FG-left hash, 42-yd FG).  Posted a 76-percent touchback rate on KOs in 2017.  Capable of kicking balls in the 75-to-77-yard range with 4-second plus hang times (77 yards, 4.06, Tulsa ’15;  77 yards, 4.03, Tulsa ’15).  Posted five touchbacks vs. North Texas in 2017 and three in the 74-to-77-yard range.   He’s capable of kicking directionally to his right on kickoffs.

Weaknesses: Inconsistent in 2015. When he drags his first step (plant foot), he’ll push kicks to his right from the collegiate left hash (missed 40-yd FG, Tulsa ’15).  Some of his kickoffs were held up in the wind vs. Western Kentucky in 2017 (4th KO-directional right, 60 yards, 4.03 hang).  He also had his fifth kickoff get held up in the wind (vs. WKU ’17).

Other Notes:

  • Born in Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Attended American Heritage-Delray HS (Fla.) and was a standout soccer and football star
  • Earned All-State honors as a senior
  • 2014: 14-of-20 FGs (Long-43), 5-of-7 (30-39 yards), 4-of-7 (40-49 yards), 34-of-35 XPs; 60 KOs, 23 TBs, 1 onside
  • 2015: 18-of-27 FGs (Long-48), 2-of-4 (30-39 yds),  5-of-10 (40-49 yds), 0-of-1 (50-99 yds); 28-of-28 XPs; 62 KOs, 33 TBs, OOB (out of bounds)
  • 2016 (Honorable mention All-C-USA): 10-of-14 FGs, 3-of-5 (30-39 yds), 3-of-3 (40-49 yds), 1-of-2 (50-99 yds); 39-of-39 XPs; 54 KOs, 41 TBs
  • 2017 (Honorable mention All-C-USA): 15-of-21 FGs (Long-54), 3-of-4 (30-39 yds), 4-of-7 (40-49 yds), 1-of-3 (50-99 yds), 64-of-68 XPs; 101 KOs, 77 TBs, OOB, 2 onside kicks
  • Career Stats: 57-of-82 FGs (Long-54), 165-of-170 XPs

Time to get Nasty...(Our Summary): Joseph’s ability to drive kickoffs through the end zone could help him vie for a roster spot alone.  He has been better in each of the last two seasons with accuracy but there are a number of pressure performances missing on his resume’.   A four-year starter with upside, the Johannesburg native will need to monitor the location of his plant foot moving forward.

DraftNasty's projection:  If there's a significant concern for the Browns, it is that Joseph -who hit on all three of his field goals for the Miami Dolphins in the 2018 preseason- simply didn't have an extreme amount of pressure-packed field goals at any time during his collegiate career.  In addition, he missed seven kicks in the all-important 30-to-39-yard range during his time in school.  This has relevance due to the NFL's 33-yard extra point attempts.  After playing in the relatively weather-friendly environments of Boca Raton, Florida in college and then Miami, Florida this preseason, will he adapt to the ever-changing conditions off the lake in Cleveland, Ohio?  This was somewhat of a concern for Gonzalez up until he handled it admirably as a rookie in 2017.  We were able to see Joseph kick twice in person during his time in school and he impressed on both occasions.  He handled a torrential downpour seamlessly versus Marshall in 2017 and even kicked a 31-yard field goal after three consecutive timeouts by Thundering Herd head coach Doc Holliday right before the end of the first half.  Joseph posted six touchbacks on 14 kickoffs in the preseason and matched his collegiate career-long with a 54-yard field goal versus the Carolina Panthers in Week 2. 

 

 

2018 NFL Draft Recap, pick-by-pick: NFC South

NFC South

Carolina Panthers
Former Maryland WR D.J. Moore caught 80 passes for the Terrapins in 2017 and was named the Big Ten's Receiver of the Year.

Notable picks: The addition of Thomas adds versatility to the middle of the field when the Panthers use multiple tight ends. In addition, Moore’s arrival means that the team actually has another big play option to mix with last year’s second-round pick Curtis Samuel. Jackson brings speed to what was a slow secondary a year ago. This draft seemed to be about adding speed to the roster.

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (24) DJ

Moore

6’0 210

Maryland 38 (2nd Round) Moore has the task of providing new OC Norv Turner with a legitimate deep threat. Turner has coached elite route runners in his past (Henry Ellard, Los Angeles Rams, 1985-1990).
2 (55) Donte

Jackson

5’10 178

LSU 93 (3rd Round) Despite a lean build, Jackson will tackle. His confidence in his 4.32 speed benefited him in school, but he won’t be able to sit on as many routes at the next level.
3 (85) Rashaan

Gaulden

S-6’1 197

Tennessee 199 (4th Round) Gaulden didn’t make a lot of plays on the ball, but the energetic former Vol can contribute in a number of ways.   Needs to get stronger.
4 (101) Ian

Thomas

6’4 259

Indiana 143 (3rd Round) Thomas’ breakout performance against Ohio State in the 2017 season opener was perhaps a harbinger of things to come. His run after the catch skill will complement Greg Olsen.
5 (161) Jermaine

Carter

LB-6’1 243

Maryland 327 (5th Round) He had over 100 tackles in back-to-back years and was a sack artist as well (9.5 career sacks). Carter forced eight fumbles in school.
7 (234) Andre Smith LB-6’0 237 North Carolina 237 (4th Round) Smith’s ability to close distances from the inside-out covers up some slight stiffness. If not for injury in 2017, he would have gone much higher in the draft.
7 (242) Kendrick

Norton

DT-6’3 314

Miami (Fla.) Norton is an athletic one-technique DT who can stand to use his 10 ¾-inch hands with more force down-to-down. At 314 pounds, he’s slippery and has a five-yard burst to close air.

 

Atlanta

Falcons

Ridley will have the opportunity to win a number of one-on-one match-ups in the Falcons diverse receiving corps.

Notable picks: Oliver has the length to make up for the release of Jalen Collins from a season ago. Ridley’s speed will win a number of one-on-one matchups in the slot or on the outside. It eases the departure of Taylor Gabriel. Four wide receiver sets could include he and fourth-year man Justin Hardy in the slots. If Ridley and Julio Jones are outside, then Mohamed Sanu and Hardy can man the slot positions.

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (26) Calvin

Ridley

6’1 188

Alabama 47 (2nd Round) Ridley is more than capable of winning one-on-one matchups.   Don’t be surprised if he is used in the slot in three wide receiver sets.
2 (58) Isaiah

Oliver

6’0 201

Colorado 20 (2nd Round) Oliver’s length mirrors former Falcons’ cornerback Jalen Collins. He will intensify the team’s nickel packages.
3 (90) Deadrin

Senat

DT-6’0 314

USF 100 (3rd Round) Squats nearly 700 pounds. Barreling block destructor. He dominated his final career game (2017 Birmingham Bowl) and then it carried over to a dominant week of work during 2018 East-West Shrine practices.
4 (126) Ito

Smith

RB-5’9 200

Southern Miss 218 (4th Round) Smith’s production in school should not be underestimated. Aside from posting back-to-back 1,400-yard rushing seasons, he also caught 83 passes the last two seasons.
6 (194) Russell

Gage

WR-6’0 182

LSU 522 (6th Round) Gage’s versatility extends beyond the passing game. He ran for over 230 yards for the Tigers in 2017 and contributed 11 tackles on special teams.
6 (200) Foye

Oluokun

LB-6’0 215

Yale N/A Oluokun overcame a 2015 injury to earn 2nd Team All-Ivy League honors in 2017. He finished his career with an eye-opening 18 pass break-ups and three blocked kicks.

 

 

Tampa

Bay

Buccaneers

Vea (No. 50 pictured) may very well require two blockers and open up the pass rush lanes for newly acquired Jason Pierre-Paul and Pro Bowl DT Gerald McCoy.

Notable pick: Vea adds substance to a defensive interior that allowed nearly 118 yards per game on the ground in 2017. The team also put an emphasis on getting more physical in the secondary with the additions of Davis and Stewart.

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (12) Vita Vea

DT-6’4 347

Washington 17 (2nd Round) Vea’s presence in the middle of the defense should create more one-on-one matchups for Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy.
2 (38) Ronald

Jones II

6’0 205

USC 88 (3rd Round) The departure of Doug Martin opens up the possibility that Jones II could get major touches in Year 1.
2 (53) M.J.

Stewart

AP-5’11 200

UNC 57 (2nd Round) Stewart’s positional flexibility extended itself to special teams during his senior campaign (11 yds/PR). He will be a candidate for sub-package duty immediately.
2 (63) Carlton

Davis

CB-6’1 206

Auburn 32 (2nd Round) Davis’ length adds a measure of size to the cornerback spot that was lacking when the team had to defend the Michael Thomas and Julio Jones-types in the division.
3 (94) Alex

Cappa

OL-6’6 305

Humboldt State 224 (4th Round) Cappa is yet another pick who can play multiple spots on game day. The college left tackle’s roughhouse approach may give him a chance to earn repetitions as a guard spot in the NFL.
4 (117) Jordan

Whitehead

S-5’10 195

Pittsburgh 149 (3rd Round) Whitehead plays with the passion necessary to earn playing time on special teams. He was always one of the Panthers top tacklers and he plays extremely fast.
5 (144) Justin

Watson

WR-6’2 215

Penn 319 (5th Round) The Ivy League’s all-time leading receiver was used on the outside, in the slot and even in the backfield during school.
6 (202) Jack

Cichy

LB-6’1 230

Wisconsin Cichy looked like an early round pick when healthy in school. He is a downhill player with a measure of explosiveness as a tackler.

 

 

New

Orleans

Saints

Davenport's positional flexibility (pictured during 2018 Senior Bowl) could very well operate in a number of positions in DC Dennis Allen's schemes.

Notable Pick: No pick will be more scrutinized than Davenport. But should it be? The team finished 27th in the NFL in sacks in 2017 (30).

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (14) Trade from Green Bay Marcus

Davenport

DE-6’6 258

UTSA 25 (2nd Round) Davenport has all of the tools to excel in the team’s creative schemes. With Cameron Jordan on the field, he will help to create havoc off the edge with Alex Okafor.
3 (91) Tre’Quan

Smith

WR-6’2 202

UCF 44 (2nd Round) 34 ½-inch arms with an ability to snap out of his hips at the break points. He will be a back-shoulder option to complement Thomas.
4 (127) Rick

Leonard

OL-6’5 307

Florida State 487 (6th Round) Leonard is a good enough run blocker that he may get looks at an interior line position.
5 (164) Natrell

Jamerson

S-5’10 200

Wisconsin 146 (3rd Round) Jamerson continued his upward trek through the postseason with a fine week of work during 2018 East-West Shrine practices.   The former WR has positive ball skills and was one of the better gunners (punt team) in the draft.
6 (189) Kamrin

Moore

CB-5’10 203

Boston College 272 (4th Round) Moore’s versatility (corner or nickel) was a big reason the Eagles finished in the Top 35 in passing defense in each of the last two seasons (2016-17). He is a physical player who likes to challenge opponents.
6 (201) Boston

Scott

RB-5’6 203 (E)

Louisiana Tech N/A Scott supplanted 2016 1,000-yard rusher Jarred Craft from the lineup and paved his own path to getting drafted. He may be short, but he is by no means an easy tackle at 203 pounds.
7 (245) Will

Clapp

OC-6'4 311

LSU 321 (5th Round) Clapp is assignment-sound with positive size.   He frequently won with positioning and guile as a blocker at LSU. Shoulder issues may have caused a slide in the draft.