Tag Archives: Sam Darnold

Houston Texans vs. New York Jets, 12-15-18: In-game report

The Houston Texans have a chance to clinch a first round bye in the AFC playoffs if they can finish the regular season with two wins after defeating the Jets on Saturday. The Texans, as they have done all season, relied on solid quarterback play, an elite receiver and a ferocious pass rush to defeat the Jets, 29-22.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

DeAndre Hopkins

Football is a simple game when wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is on your team.  Deshaun Watson and the Texans don’t have to overthink or scheme Hopkins open, as the former Clemson Tiger can go over, around and run past defensive backs.  Hopkins (6’1, 215) has elite timing and jumping ability, which allows him to make catches while draped by cornerbacks, resembling a gymnast more than a football player.  Hopkins has 94 receptions for 1,321 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season.  Even more impressive, 67 of those catches have gone for first downs.  When the league’s best receivers are being discussed, Hopkins name should be at the forefront.  Defensively, anything short of double coverage won't suffice and at times -as he showed on Saturday- that may not be enough.

Sam Darnold

DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson highlighted Sam Darnold in the preseason against the Redskins and was impressed with his command of the offense.  15 weeks into his rookie season and the same holds true.  Darnold has a good feel for the game for a rookie quarterback, he isn’t afraid to run when nothing is there and did his best work during the two-minute drill before halftime.  The former USC Trojan will have to work on his feet when surrounded by the rush.   If enough pressure gets around him, he exhibited the tendency to float the ball and not get his lower body involved.  This lack of torque in his throws led to balls with less velocity and forced receivers to work back to the ball from their routes (see his two third down throws on the second possession of the game). These tweaks should be correctable.   Along with Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield and Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson, Darnold has showed promise in his first season under center.  Like his fellow draft mates, Darnold must cut down on the turnovers (14 passing touchdowns-to- 15 interceptions on the season.)

Robby Anderson

Robby Anderson (6’3 190) has a similar lanky build as Hopkins but is more of a vertical threat than he is an acrobatic catcher. 

"They've got a receiver that probably runs as fast as anybody we've played in Anderson," Texans coach Bill O'Brien said before the matchup. 

As he has gotten comfortable with a rookie quarterback, Anderson has caught 38 passes for 588 yards and five touchdowns. The 25- year old receiver is playing his best football as the season comes to a close, notching 11 catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns over the last two weeks.  He hasn’t had the luxury of steady quarterback play early on in his career but the skills are in place.  As the former Temple Owl grows with Darnold, look for the duo to establish more of a connection in the seasons to come. 

2018 Preview: USC Trojans

Season outlook

The USC Trojans will try and defend their Pac-12 Championship after losing quarterback Sam Darnold in the first round of the NFL Draft.  USC has three options currently battling it out in camp for the position: freshmen JT Daniels (6'2, 205) and Jack Sears (6'3, 205), as well as sophomore Matt Fink (6'3, 190).   No matter who wins the competition, the quarterback will have a strong running back and defense to depend on.  Sophomore running back Stephen Carr (6'0, 210), who suffered a back injury in 2017, ran for 363 yards in eight games last season and 119 of those came in Week 2 against Stanford.  On defense, the Trojans have a lot of talent at defensive back and linebacker.  Senior safety Marvell Tell and senior linebacker Cameron Smith (6'2, 250) are both All-American talents that should make their way to the NFL after the season.  If the Trojans can get production in the trenches and from their quarterback, look for them to win the Pac-12.

Troy's player to watch

7 Marvell Tell III 6'2 195 FS-senior
Tell III (No. 7 pictured), a former high school wide receiver, has been solid in run support during his time as a Trojan.

Marvell Tell has the sideline-to-sideline range and ability to help in run support that NFL scouts covet.  Tell finished last season with 85 tackles and three interceptions. The senior safety earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors in 2017 and projects as one of the best free safeties in college football.  If Tell can maintain his productivity, he could have a chance to be an early-round selection in next April's NFL Draft

Game of the season

September 8th against Stanford
USC defeated Stanford twice last season and will be tested again during the second week of the season against the Cardinal.  In the Pac-12 championship last season, Stanford lost to the Trojans 31-28. This matchup will pit potentially the two best teams in the Pac-12.  Stanford is one of the favorites to win the North division alongside Washington and USC is the odds-on favorite to win the South division.  Look for David Shaw and the Cardinal to bring their best game to the Coliseum.

DraftNasty's Prospect Watch

35 Cameron Smith 6’2 245 LB-Senior

Smith was a three-sport athlete at Granite Bay High School (California) in football, baseball and wrestling.

While Smith does some crossing over at times in the box, his instincts make up for it.  He routinely wins with his key-and-diagnose.  There is, however, some stiffness present in his game and he'll have to prove to NFL scouts that he can cover over the course of the next year.  His ability to finish on the ball in zone coverage is an added bonus.  The four-year starter is not a smacker, but he is a sound tackler capable of lining up the defense from snap-to-snap.

Prediction:  10-2 overall

The Trojans will win one more regular season game than they did a year ago.  DraftNasty's Troy Jefferson is predicting two losses for the Trojans: one on the road against Stanford and another at home against Notre Dame.

New York Jets vs. Washington Redskins, 8-16-18: In-game report

A few position battles took shape as the Jets and Redskins traded field goals in Thursday night's preseason game at FedEx Field. Draftnasty's Troy Jefferson gives you his takeaways from the Redskins 15-13 victory.

Redskins running back search 

Second-round pick Derrius Guice was lost for the season last weekend against the Patriots.  Washington came into the game with Samaje Perine, Robert Kelley and Byron Marshall fighting for the starting role.  However, Perine and Marshall both went down to injuries in the first half after combining for just three carries.  Kelley, while he didn't get injured, didn't fare much better.  He finished with 17 yards on seven touches, which isn't all his fault. The Redskins offensive line didn't include Pro Bowl OT Trent Williams and struggled all game to create any meaningful gaps for the Washington tailbacks.   Martez Carter enjoyed the best game out of the bunch, totaling 45 yards on seven carries.  Carter showed tremendous vision and quick feet as he used cutbacks to find holes behind the Redskins offensive line.

Bibbs (No. 35 pictured) caught 14 passes for 128 yards (9.1 YPR) and one TD for the Redskins in 2017.

Kapri Bibbs also flashed potential as a receiving option out of the backfield, catching seven passes for 47 yards.  One thing is for certain: Washington still has a lot of evaluating left to do before they find a new starting running back.

Update: The Redskins recently signed seven-time Pro Bowl running back Adrian Peterson to a one-year deal. 

Jets quarterback race 

Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold (No. 14 pictured under center) has impressed the team's brass through the first two preseason games.

Rookie first round pick Sam Darnold started the game and like last week showed a command of the offense early on. The Jets gave Darnold a steady diet of short passes and handoffs. However, on his final drive of the night, Darnold threw an interception on 4th and 1 after a ball was batted by a Redskins cornerback and picked off by rookie safety Troy Apke. The rookie from USC finished 8-of-11 for 62 yards and the interception. Teddy Bridgewater played the second half and showed his elusiveness in the pocket.  On his first attempt, Bridgewater fled the pocket and found his receiver for a first down after the play broke down.  On the following plays, Bridgewater completed a pass off a bootleg, sidestepped a free rusher for a first down over the middle and then threw a touchdown in the corner of the end zone.

Teddy Bridgewater, pictured, has completed 73.9-percent of his passes through two preseason games.

However on the next drive, Bridgewater underthrew a pass to the inside shoulder of one his receivers and it was intercepted.  Bridgewater finished 10-of-15 for 127 yards and threw one touchdown and one interception. Both quarterbacks had their bright moments on Thursday night.  As of right now Darnold may have a slight edge but the competition is far from over.

Redskins secondary 

The Redskins released veteran cornerback Orlando Scandrick earlier in the week, which was a signal Jay Gruden believed in his young defensive backs.  Against the Jets, the defensive backs looked solid.

Dunbar (No. 23 pictured) has started eight games for the Redskins over the last three seasons.

Cornerback Quinton Dunbar, a converted wide receiver, was rarely tested and showed fluid hips and tight coverage throughout his outing.  Both the first team and second team defenses also held up in coverage for several seconds; allowing Washington to force two coverage sacks.  Cornerback Deshazor Everett tipped Sam Darnold's pass, which was later intercepted by safety Troy Apke. Cornerback Prince Charles Iworah also came down with an interception on a ball that was underthrown by Bridgewater.  The Redskins should be encouraged by several defensive backs who contributed against the Jets.

2018 NFL Draft Recap, pick-by-pick: AFC East

AFC EAST

Buffalo Bills
Edmunds will be a major factor in both coverage and as a potential rush threat. He posted 10 career quarterback sacks.

Notable picks: The Bills didn’t waste their first round picks.  Allen will be tough to keep off the field despite the presence of A.J. McCarron.  Will his right shoulder hold up?  The pick who may end up being the game changer though is Edmunds. The two slot wide receiver selections –McCloud and Proehl- will battle for playing time.

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (7) Josh

Allen

QB-6’5 237

Wyoming 34 (2nd Round) Steam thrower can work through the snow and winds of Buffalo.  All the talk of his inaccuracy overshadowed durability concerns in college.
1 (16) Tremaine

Edmunds

OLB-6’4 253

Virginia

Tech

8 (1st Round) Edmunds contributed 35 tackles for losses in school. He will provide versatility on either inside or outside.
3 (96) Harrison

Phillips

DT-6’3 303

Stanford 217 (4th Round) Phillips’ activity offset an occasional lack of elite balance. He’s quick off the ball and has an element of
4 (121) Taron

Johnson

CB-5’11 192

Weber State 85 (3rd Round) Johnson has the look of Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Brent Grimes.
5 (154) Siran

Neal

S-6’0 206

Jacksonville St. 139 (3rd Round) Neal will bring a physical presence to sub-packages and he is one of the more explosive gunners in the 2018 NFL Draft.
5 (166) Wyatt

Teller

OG-6’4 314

Virginia

Tech

236 (4th Round) He’s an experienced player with above average movement skills. The former DE has balanced a difficult medical condition (off the field) to become a pro prospect.
5 (187) Ray-Ray

McCloud

WR-5’9 191

Clemson 249 (4th Round) McCloud’s ability to catch the ball away from his body was clouded by some concentration lapses in both the return game and at receiver. He may become a better professional.
7 (255) Austin

Proehl

WR-5’10 175

North

Carolina

429 (5th Round) Proehl has a chance to become a fixture in the slot if he can prove capable of adding special teams to his resume. His 4.07 time in the 20-yard short shuttle lays credence to his quick nature.

 

Miami

Dolphins

Fitzpatrick scored on four of his nine career interceptions for the Crimson Tide.

Comment: Fitzpatrick brings a level of flexibility to a Dolphins secondary that finished with just nine interceptions in 2017. Baker’s presence aids an improving young defense. Gesicki will have a chance to earn a starting role early in his career if he can commit to any level of consistency as a blocker.

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (11) Minkah

Fitzpatrick

DB-6’0 204

Alabama 5 (1st Round) Fitzpatrick began his career as a cornerback and was a consistent presence at the nickel position in each of his seasons in Tuscaloosa.
2 (42) Mike

Gesicki

TE-6’5 247

Penn State 83 (3rd Round) Sky riser with major confidence. Can he contribute as an in-line tight end? Impressed during the Senior Bowl in one-on-one passing drills.
3 (73) Jerome

Baker

LB-6’1 229

Ohio State 69 (3rd Round) His ability to match TEs will diversify a team’s nickel package on passing downs. Of his 158 career tackles, 17.5 were tackles for losses.
4 (123) Durham

Smythe

TE-6’5 253

Notre Dame 220 (4th Round) Smythe has more to give than given credit for as a receiver. He is already adept as a blocker.
4 (131) Kalen

Ballage

RB-6’1 227

Arizona State 175 (4th Round) Ballage may have gone higher if he had been more instinctive as a runner. His pass-catching skills are advanced for a 227-pounder.
7 (227) Quentin

Poling

LB-6’2 239

Ohio 114 (3rd Round) Poling surprised scouts with his sub-4.6 speed in individual workouts prior to the draft. It shouldn’t been have a surprise. He returned three interceptions for TDs in school.
7 (229) Jason

Sanders

PK-5'11 190 (E)

New

Mexico

N/A Missed just one field goal in 2016. Posted enormous touchback percentages as a kickoff specialist.

 

New

England

Patriots

Dawson -ranked 73rd on DraftNasty's 2018 Big Board- returned three of his six career interceptions for touchdowns during his time in Gainesville.

Notable picks: Wynn’s tool kit can translate to multiple positions. Dawson adds another cover guy to help combat the departure of Malcolm Butler (Titans). The team made a concerted effort to add depth at the linebacker spot.

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (23) Isaiah

Wynn

OL-6’2 308

Georgia 6 (1st Round) Wynn’s footwork should not be discounted if given a chance to earn playing time at a left tackle spot. Either way, he can play four different positions.
1 (31) Sony

Michel

RB-5’11 214

Georgia 33 (2nd Round) Michel found time to rush for over 1,000 yards twice in school despite being the team’s feature runner just once in a four-year period.
2 (56) Duke

Dawson

DB-5’10 197

Florida 73 (3rd Round) Dawson's ability to cover the slot showed up when covering shifty receivers (see Kirk, Texas A&M '17).  In addition, he was a threat to score anytime he got his hands on the football.
5 (143) Ja’Whaun

Bentley

LB-6’1 253

Purdue 288 (4th Round) Bentley recovered from a 2015 ACL injury to the same knee he injured in high school. He has enough girth to handle an inside linebacker spot, but he also has a chance as an outside linebacker.
6 (178) Christian

Sam

LB-6’2 250

Arizona

State

266 (4th Round) Sam can make plays in space but he’s also able to fall back in the box. Sudden gear shifts from runners have affected him on occasion.
6 (210) Braxton

Berrios

WR/PR-5’9 186

Miami (Fla.) 230 (4th Round) Berrios is a tough player who played much bigger than his size in 2017 in the Red Zone. His comfort tracking punts gives him a chance to earn playing time in the slot with the departure of Danny Amendola (Dolphins).
7 (219) Danny

Etling

QB-6’2 222

LSU, Purdue 337 (6th Round) Etling got a lot of negative heat based on everything but his improvement in 2017. He posted the second-best TD:INT ratio in SEC history.
7 (243) Keion

Crossen

CB-5’10 180

Western

Carolina

N/A Improved in each season on campus. Notched 21 starts the last two seasons.
7 (250) Ryan Izzo

TE-6’5 256

Florida

State

383 (5th Round) Izzo was a big factor for the Seminoles on third downs when given opportunities. He is not sudden as a route runner but he has a feel for finding opening

 

New

York

Jets

Darnold's ability to move around in the pocket could make him a fan favorite in New York.

Notable picks: Darnold may get time to develop behind Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater. How long will the team allow him to sit? Shepherd and Fatukasi beef up an interior front that finished 24th in the NFL versus the run in 2017.

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (3) Sam

Darnold

QB-6’3 221

USC 19 (2nd Round) Darnold’s energy rarely wavers during games. He wins with ball placement, foot quickness and command. Will his arm strength translate to December on the East Coast?
3 (72) Nathan

Shepherd

DT-6’3 315

Fort Hays St. 35 (2nd Round) Packs some of the heaviest hands in this year’s draft. He has the juice to run over NFL guards or centers.
4 (107) Chris

Herndon IV

TE-6’4 250

Miami (Fla.) 238 (4th round) Herndon IV is sort of the poor man’s version of David Njoku (Browns). He’s proven as a flex option, but his sense of urgency has to increase as an in-line blocker.
5 (179) Parry

Nickerson

CB 5’10 182

Tulane 150 (3rd Round) Nickerson’s 16 interceptions are just a small measure of his tremendous eye speed. He shocked the masses by running in the low 4.3-range at the NFL Combine (4.32).
5 (180) Foley

Fatukasi

DL-6’4 318

UConn 97 (3rd Round) Fatukasi provides tremendous value because he’s gotten reps at a four-technique DE and zero-technique NG. This experience will benefit him in the Jets defensive schemes.
6 (204) Trenton

Cannon

AP-5’10 182

Virginia

State

523 (6th Round) Cannon has the burst and explosion to contribute immediately in the return game. He’s underrated as a receiver. Runs with a ferocious attitude at just 182 pounds.  He averaged 7.7 yards per carry in 2017.