2019 NFL Power Rankings: Week 9

Don’t look now, but the NFL season is already halfway over. Well just the regular season. Don’t worry, you still have three more months of football ahead of you. It was a fairly predictable week, with the biggest upset coming in the form of Buffalo falling at home. It was far from a shock though to see the Bills struggle. The Eagles cannot defend the pass and the Bills cannot effectively move the ball downfield, so something had to give. Otherwise, we saw first year head coaches not named Matt LeFleur struggle, veteran quarterbacks get upset about playcalling and the Dolphins look like an NFL team for one quarter.

As a result of a slate of mostly expected results, there really wasn’t much movement in this week’s rankings. It was easily the least we’ve had all year. With some exciting matchups on the horizon, things will get a whole less predictable in the weeks to come.

Patriots Logo

1. New England Patriots: 8-0 (Last Week: 1)
Won 27-13 vs. Cleveland
Win number 300 came for Bill Belichick came against his old ball club as the defense once again led the way for a Patriot victory. New England forced three turnovers early in the game and built a lead that it rode the rest of the way. Baker Mayfield never got comfortable either as the Pats sacked him five times in the contest. With Josh Gordon going on the injured reserve, there might be some room for concern about this New England offense, but Tom Brady has done more with less in the past and there is no reason to think this year will be any different.

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2. New Orleans Saints: 7-1 (Last Week: 2)
Won 31-9 vs. Arizona
Welcome back Drew Brees. The future Hall of Famer really didn’t miss a beat as he aired the ball out for 373 yards and three touchdowns. We still have not seen this Saints team at full strength, which is unbelievable given their success on the season. Sheldon Rankins missed the beginning of the year. Brees had missed the past five games and Alvin Kamara has been out the past two weeks. With the division seemingly already locked up, New Orleans might just be the favorite to take home the Lombardi trophy in February.

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3. San Francisco 49ers: 7-0 (Last Week: 3)
Won 51-13 vs. Carolina
If there was anyone still sleeping on San Francisco, which there really shouldn’t have been, there is no hiding from how good this team can be any more. Led by its stifling defense, the 49ers pummeled the Panthers en route to scoring 51 points. Tevin Coleman had four total touchdowns to lead the offense. Nick Bosa seems like a lock for Rookie of the Year with three sacks and an interception. No one expected the Niners to be this good, but this team has legitimate title aspirations.

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4. Green Bay Packers: 7-1 (Last Week: 4)
Won 31-24 at Kansas City
It seems like Aaron Rodgers has found his groove in Matt LeFleur’s offense and that is a scary thing for the rest of the NFL. Rodgers put together another masterful performance on Sunday night, throwing for 305 yards and three touchdowns. He made one of the throws of the year on that touchdown pass to Jamaal Williams. What has been more surprising though is the emergence of Aaron Jones in the passing game. Green Bay will keep getting healthier and likely won’t face anyone with the speed Kansas City brings to the table again this year.

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5. Baltimore Ravens: 6-2 (Last Week: 6)
Bye Week
Baltimore got a chance to rest up and get a few key players healthy. Marquise Brown and Jimmy Smith are expected to be back for a big clash with the undefeated Patriots in Week 9. Given how well we’ve seen this offense operate at times, the Ravens should give the Pats their best test of the year. We’ve already seen the defense starting to play better in recent weeks as well and it’s hard to think of a better secondary than one that boasts Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters and Smith.

Chiefs Logo

6. Kansas City Chiefs: 5-3 (Last Week: 5)
Lost 31-24 vs. Green Bay
Despite missing Patrick Mahomes, this was an incredible showing from the Kansas City offense. Andy Reid did an excellent job to keep Matt Moore doing this he felt comfortable with. Granted, this team might just have the most talent at the skill positions of anyone in the league, but the veteran played well in his first start of the year. However, the defense was exposed once again, this time it was by a running back in the passing game. The Chiefs should definitely make a move at the deadline to bolster its secondary.

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7. Seattle Seahawks: 6-2 (Last Week: 7)
Won 27-20 at Atlanta
It was a tale of two halves for Seattle, who led Atlanta 24-0 at halftime. After that, the Seahawks offense seemingly lost its way while the Falcons steadily climbed back into the game. The important thing is moving to 6-2 and staying perfect this season on the road, but that was not the type of second-half performance Seattle can put up regularly. It might be time to find some secondary help as well after allowing Matt Schaub to throw for 460 yards.

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8. Minnesota Vikings: 6-2 (Last Week: 8)
Won 19-9 vs. Washington
Clearly, this offense needs Adam Thielen in order to be successful. With the veteran receiver out due to a hamstring injury, Minnesota managed just 19 points against what has been a weak Washington defense. Stefon Diggs and Dalvin Cook put up big numbers again, but this paltry scoring output comes on the heels of three straight weeks with at least 28 points. There is a lot to be positive about though as the Vikings move to 6-2, continuing to keep pace with the Packers in the NFC North. They face significant tests though with road games against the Chiefs and Cowboys up next.

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9. Los Angeles Rams: 5-3 (Last Week: 10)
Won 24-10 vs. Cincinnati (London)
Cooper Kupp might still be running past fallen Bengals defenders as you read this. The third-year receiver had an outrageous 220 yards receiving, including a 65-yard touchdown. Jared Goff looked very comfortable for the second straight week. While it is easy to dominate the weaker teams in the league, the Rams still have some holes to address. The ground game mustered 3.8 yards per carry against the worst rush defense in the NFL and the Los Angles defense gave up over 400 yards of offense to Cincinnati. With a bye coming up, Sean McVay needs to get this team firing on all cylinders heading into the second half.

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10. Dallas Cowboys: 4-3 (Last Week: 11)
Bye Week
While Dallas can still feel good about its dominant win over Philadelphia the Eagles won in Week 8 and the Cowboys only have a half-game lead in the division. It is important to remember that it has been a rocky first half of the year in Texas. After all, Dallas is still only one game removed from a three-game losing streak. Given how well the offense has played and what the ceiling is for the defense, Dak Prescott and company should be fine. With a tough second-half schedule, the Cowboys will need to get into a good rhythm out of the bye.

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11. Indianapolis Colts: 5-2 (Last Week: 12)
Won 15-13 vs. Denver
Indianapolis is proving that it can win close games, but it also seems incapable of winning comfortably. Adam Vinatieri made up for missing a potential game-tying extra point by kicking the game-winning field goal. Still, the Colts need to turn more drives into touchdowns the rest of the way. The defense played very well, but Denver’s offense has been among the worst in the NFL, so it is hard to get too excited about the overall performance. Indy’s slate is one of the easiest ones over the next few weeks though with Pittsburgh, Miami and Jacksonville on the docket.

Texans logo

12. Houston Texans: 5-3 (Last Week: 13)
Won 27-24 vs. Oakland
Where would Houston be without Deshaun Watson? If I had to guess, it would be the dark, scary place called the AFC South basement. The former Clemson standout threw another three touchdown passes and accounted for 325 yards of total offense. He came up clutch in the fourth quarter to pull out a crucial win over another AFC playoff hopeful. It was nice to get back on track, but the Texans are still waiting on an improvement from that pass defense. They have already added one player via trade, now its time for that unit to gel and stop giving up big plays.

Bills logo

13. Buffalo Bills: 5-2 (Last Week: 9)
Lost 31-13 vs. Philadelphia
This was always the concern for Buffalo. In a week where the defense did not play its best game, the Bills offense did not have enough firepower to come out on top. Josh Allen has improved drastically from last season, but without a true big play threat, this is exactly what will happen when Buffalo falls behind. There simply is not enough offensive playmaking for this team to effectively play when down big. I have already advocated for this front office to add a proven contributor at receiver, because this offense needs some help if the Bills want to continue this impressive start.

Eagles Logo

14. Philadelphia Eagles: 4-4 (Last Week: 16)
Won 31-13 at Buffalo
Welcome back to the win circle Philadelphia. It was a really solid week for the Eagles, who bounced back in a big way after the drubbing they took from the Cowboys. The offense played extremely well against what has been a great defense this year. Philly rumbled for 218 yards rushing and Carson Wentz took care of the football. It wasn’t a huge day through the air, but with DeSean Jackson finally coming back, things are looking up.

Lions Logo

15. Detroit Lions: 3-3-1 (Last Week: 15)
Won 31-26 vs. New York
It wasn’t always pretty, but Detroit got back to .500. Matt Stafford played extremely well to lead a banged offense to a big day. Defensively, this team has completely fallen apart. After getting torched by Kirk Cousins a week ago, Daniel Jones had a field day against this Lions secondary. Give them some credit for mostly bottling up Saquon Barkley, who only managed 3.4 yards per carry, but it is time for Matt Patricia get this defense back to where it was at the start of the season. With hopes of a playoff run still on the table, Detroit will need to play more complete games going forward.

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16. Carolina Panthers: 4-3 (Last Week: 14)
Lost 51-13 at San Francisco
Wow. That was bad. I understand that may be an oversimplification, but any time you give up 50-plus points in a game, that’s pretty awful. Carolina had no answer for the San Fran ground attack, or Nick Bosa for that matter. The Panthers offensive line hung Kyle Allen out to dry, allowing him to be sacked seven times. He didn’t do much to help himself either though, tossing three interceptions. Allen has already been announced as the starter for next week’s game against the Titans so he will need to find a way to settle down and avoid mistakes against another good defense.

Jaguars logo

17. Jacksonville Jaguars: 4-4 (Last Week: 18)
Won 29-15 vs. New York
Jacksonville’s defense came to play and so did Gardner Minshew. The rookie out of Washington State tossed three touchdowns and racked up 279 yards through the air. The defense registered eight sacks and intercepted a trio of passes. One major issue that unexpectedly showed up was an inability to run the ball. Leonard Fournette ripped off a 66-yard run, but only managed 10 more yards on his other 18 carries. That is horribly inefficient and will need to pick up for the Jaguars to beat better teams.

Titans logo

18. Tennessee Titans: 4-4 (Last Week: 20)
Won 27-23 vs. Tampa Bay
Suddenly the Titans are .500 and look like they belong in the playoff conversation. There is still a long way to go for this defensive-minded outfit to really deserve serious consideration, but Ryan Tannehill has righted the ship. On the season, Tannehill has completed 73.1 percent of his passes at an average of 8.3 yards per attempt for five touchdowns and just two interceptions. He has actually elevated his play each week. If the defense can keep generating turnovers, it had four in this game, Tennessee is more than capable of picking up some gritty victories.

Bears logo

19. Chicago Bears: 3-4 (Last Week 17)
Lost 17-16 vs. Los Angeles
Kicker woes cropped up again, but honestly that should be the least of Chicago’s worries. The Bears managed just one touchdown despite several drives in their opponent’s territory. Mitch Trubisky had another game to forget despite a huge game from David Montgomery. The rookie back amassed 135 yards on the ground, but that resulted in just 16 points. Matt Nagy had some questionable playcalling leading into the missed field goal as well. This team is a mess right now.

Pittsburgh_Steelers logo

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: 3-4 (Last Week: 19)
Won 27-14 vs. Miami
There were boos raining down at Heinz Field, and it had nothing to do with Halloween. Pittsburgh eventually got back on track and handled Miami, but that first quarter is cause for concern. Credit is due for in-game adjustments by the coaching staff and a stellar night from James Conner. He finished with 145 yards on the ground, but left the game late with a shoulder injury. The Steelers cannot afford to start this slow again with games against the Colts and Rams coming up.

Raiders logo

21. Oakland Raiders: 3-4 (Last Week: 21)
Lost 27-24 at Houston
Oakland played three great quarters of football, but could not see the job through to the finish. The Raiders defense gave up 14 fourth-quarter points to drop a heartbreaker to the Texans. It was a massive opportunity for Oakland to secure a solid position in the AFC playoff picture. Instead, the defense wasted a great performance from Derek Carr to fall below .500 again. Don’t be surprised if the Raiders are working to acquire a defensive back at the trade deadline.

Browns logo

22. Cleveland Browns: 2-5 (Last Week: 22)
Lost 27-13 at New England
If you missed the first 10 minutes of this game, you probably thought the Browns played a decent game. In those first 10 minutes though, Cleveland managed to turn the ball over on three straight offensive plays. Spotting any team a free 17 points is a recipe for disaster. Doing so against a team that is already one of the most dominant in the league removes any chance of winning the game. Baker Mayfield had another rough outing and the five sacks he took really underlines how badly this team needs offensive line help if it has any hope of making a playoff push.

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23. Arizona Cardinals: 3-4-1 (Last Week: 23)
Lost 31-9 at New Orleans
So that wasn’t a great outing for this young Cardinals team. Granted, it was against one of the best teams in the NFL, but failing to score a touchdown gave Arizona fans little to be excited about. You have to give Kliff Kingsbury some credit for staying aggressive, but as soon as Chase Edmonds went down, this offense could not find a way to string together a drive. Kyler Murray played fine, but ran just twice for 13 yards. Without the top two options at running back and a speedy quarterback, it was a bit surprising not to see Murray involved with his legs.

Chargers logo

24. Los Angeles Chargers: 3-5 (Last Week: 25)
Won 17-16 at Chicago
Los Angeles pulled off a big win Sunday, but the offense needs a real rework. The Chargers fired offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt on Monday. That should reshuffle things a bit and it was clear Philip Rivers was unhappy with the playcalling. LA is still in the mix for a playoff push, but they have a long ways to go. Running the ball 12 times for 36 yards, what the Chargers managed against the Bears, is not good enough. This team needs a jolt offensively.

Denver_Broncos

25. Denver Broncos: 2-6 (Last Week: 24)
Lost 15-13 at Indianapolis
Joe Flacco was spot on. This team is playing not to lose and that isn’t exactly going well. Denver decided to punt late in the game, allowing Indianapolis to set up a game-winning field goal. Flacco had a lot of issues with the timid playcalling down the stretch. Well now Flacco is out with a neck injury, meaning Brandon Allen is going to be the starting quarterback going forward. This feels more and more like a lost season for the Broncos and is certainly a troubling start to the Vic Fangio-era.

Giants Logo

26. New York Giants: 2-6 (Last Week: 26)
Lost 31-26 at Detroit
Daniel Jones had his best game of the year, but it was his one mistake that ended up being the difference. A lost fumble returned for a touchdown was extremely costly in a close contest. Defensively, this was not a great showing. Matt Stafford tore the secondary apart despite the total lack of a ground game. I also have no idea what the Giants are doing trading for Leonard Williams. Sure, he is talented, but he doesn’t really feel a need for right now for a team sitting at 2-6. Adding a corner or linebacker seems like it would’ve been a better investment of draft picks.

Buccaneers logo

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2-5 (Last Week: 27)
Lost 27-23 at Tennessee
I know Bruce Arians defended Jameis Winston, but with four more turnovers, it is hard to not blame him somewhat. There is still more to be pinned on a secondary who gave up three touchdowns to Ryan Tannehill though. While Mike Evans showed up for an amazing outing, Tampa Bay has to be frustrated after another tough loss. A struggling secondary and missing running game leaves a lot to desired.

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28. New York Jets: 1-6 (Last Week: 28)
Lost 29-15 at Jacksonville
Jacksonville had a lot of fun heckling Sam Darnold and Darnold gave them plenty of ammunition. He threw three interceptions and the offensive line failed to block once again. The hopes that Darnold would solve all of the offensive issues are long gone. Defensively, the secondary had a really rough day again, giving up tons of big plays to the Jaguars offense. There is no question the Jets are focusing on the upcoming draft at this point.

Falcons logo

29. Atlanta Falcons: 1-7 (Last Week: 29)
Lost 27-20 vs. Seattle
After a brutal first half, Atlanta did turn things around in the second half. Matt Schaub actually put up monster numbers, with 460 yards and a touchdown. Three turnovers made the 24-0 margin at halftime too large to overcome though as the Falcons dropped their fifth-straight game. Coach Dan Quinn’s seat is getting a little bit warmer and there is talk of making deals at the deadline. This shocking season continues for a team that entered the year with much higher hopes.

Washington made up logo

30. Washington: 1-7 (Last Week: 30)
Lost 19-9 at Minnesota
Honestly, this was one of the better showings from Washington’s defense all year. It helped that Minnesota’s Adam Thielen could not suit up, but there is a lot to like about some of the young performers from Thursday night. Jonathan Allen played extremely well as part of a great night in the red zone defensively. Unfortunately, Dwayne Haskins struggled again in limited action, but Terry McLaurin looks like a great find. Washington is a long way from competing, but there are a couple of pieces in place to build around.

Bengals Logo

31. Cincinnati Bengals: 0-8 (Last Week: 31)
Lost 24-10 at Los Angeles (London)
Somewhere, Marvin Lewis is probably laughing. Zac Taylor’s tenure has been a really rough go so far. The offense managed just 10 points and the defense had an embarrassing showing. For the Rams, Cooper Kupp could not be stopped and Jared Goff had one of his best games of the season. It’s par for the course for a struggling team with very little direction. Cincinnati needs a full-scale rebuild. That has to start by making moves at the trade deadline to add draft capital.

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32. Miami Dolphins: 0-7 (Last Week: 32)
Lost 27-13 at Pittsburgh
For a short while there, the Dolphins were making a lot of noise. Unfortunately, that early lead disappeared and Miami gave up 27 unanswered points to lose their seventh straight game. What compounds this loss for the Dolphins is that they own the Steelers’ first round pick, which would’ve only increased the value of that draft slot if they could have mustered their first win. Brian Flores still has a long ways to go with this group, but the start was promising and something to build on.

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2020 NFL Draft Big Board: Top 50

With October winding down, we now have eight full weeks of college football action under our belts. While the best is still yet to come, we have already seen a lot from the best college football has to offer. At the end of each month, I set about ranking my top prospects heading into the upcoming draft. There is still a long ways to go, but this acts as a barometer for how players have separated themselves through the first two months of the year. To see how much things have already changed, feel free to check out my top 25 from the end of September.

This class is stacked at receiver and has really good depth at corner and running back. The quarterback group is starting to come together, but maybe doesn’t look quite as strong as we initially thought. Without further ado, let’s dive in.

Ohio State Logo1. Chase Young, DE, Ohio State
There is a drop after the top two prospects. That is mostly because of how dominant these two players are in Jerry Jeudy and Chase Young. Young put up four sacks on Saturday vs. Wisconsin. He is simply unfair to deal with.

Alabama Logo2. Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Don’t overthink this one. Jerry Jeudy is a stud. He will be a top-tier receiver from his first snap in the NFL. He is even showing he can do it without Tua Tagovailoa.

Alabama Logo3. Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Another ankle injury to Tagovailoa is troubling, but Tua has separated himself from the rest of the QB class. There is some potential for Joe Burrow to close the gap some and we will get to see them play head-to-head in a few weeks. Cannot wait for that game.

Ohio State Logo4. Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
There are a lot of schools who claim to be DB University. Jeff Okudah is helping Ohio State’s case. He is a great man coverage defender and does an excellent job tackling in space.

iowa_wordmark5. AJ Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
The production has not been there this season for AJ Epenesa, but the talent still is. He is commanding a lot of attention in every game for Iowa. He has a little bit of J.J. Watt in him, which is a great thing for any prospect.

Georgia Logo6. Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Any team looking for a future starting left tackle will have its eye on Andrew Thomas. He is an elite pass blocker who has performed against top competition. He feels like a lock for the top 10, maybe even the top five.

Oklahoma Logo7. CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
There might not be a better receiver after the catch in this draft than CeeDee Lamb. He is super elusive and shows great vision. He is clearly very athletic, even if he won’t blow you away with speed.

Georgia Logo8. D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
In the modern day NFL, running backs need to be able to catch the ball out of the backfield frequently. D’Andre Swift has proven he is more than capable. He already has 900 yards from scrimmage in seven games this season.

Clemson Logo9. Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
This is an elite wide receiver class. Tee Higgins could very well be the top option in other draft years. He is dominant in the red zone and routinely makes big plays downfield.

Wisconsin logo10. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
Up until a meeting with Ohio State, Jonathan Taylor had looked unstoppable. Clearly he is mortal, but that one game should not undermine all the work he has done in his career. The workload is a concern, but he has workhorse back potential at the next level.

LSU Logo11. Grant Delpit, S, LSU
Some questionable tackling has knocked Grant Delpit down the board a little bit, but he is still a decisive playmaker. Safeties have slid in the past few years and that could happen again, but Delpit should be a Day 1 starter.

Auburn_Tigers_logo12. Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn
When you look at Derrick Brown, you might peg him as a run stopper. At 6’5″, roughly 320 pounds, that’s not a bad guess, but he also moves well as a pass rusher. Brown has three sacks this year and is handful for interior offensive linemen to deal with.

Wisconsin logo13. Tyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin
One of the most dependable prospects in this class, Tyler Biadasz looks like a future All-Pro center. His base is so strong and he clearly has the mental traits needed to excel at the position in the NFL.

Alabama Logo14. Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama
Nobody can run with Henry Ruggs in football. He is electric in the open field. At six feet tall, he has good size for someone with his speed. Ruggs should be a run player for any offensive coordinator to use at the next level.

Penn State logo15. Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State
Yetur Gross-Matos made some noise last year and he has followed it up with another solid campaign. His hand usage is excellent and he might just have the best motor of anyone in the nation. Super high-character guy as well.

Clemson Logo16. Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
The biggest question surrounding Isaiah Simmons is what position teams see him at in the NFL. The line between safeties and linebackers is blurring more and more at the pro level. Someone will find a spot for the versatile Simmons in there defense.

LSU Logo17. Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
It wasn’t his best performance of the year, but Joe Burrow put together a gritty performance to beat Auburn. Not every game is going to be super clear cut. Burrow continues to show his ability to adapt and make plays as needed.

Clemson Logo18. Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
Clemson is chock full of talented offensive players and rarely does Travis Etienne get his due respect. He is one of the most productive players in college football. He should be a good change of pace back right away.

colorado_buffaloes_alternate_logo19. Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado
This has been a tough season for Laviska Shenault Jr. He was dominant in 2018, but he struggled out of the gates this year. Against USC, he finally showed up with a big game. At his best, he can be a game-changing receiver with great run after the catch ability.

Alabama Logo20. Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Based on size alone, Trevon Diggs was going to draw the attention of NFL scouts. It also helps he plays for ‘Bama. His 84-yard pick-six Saturday will help as well. He plays with the aggression needed to be a no. 1 corner.

1280px-boise_state_22b22_logo.svg_21. Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State
For the second straight year, Curtis Weaver is one of the most disruptive players in college football. He is an excellent pass rusher with good size and the potential to play in either a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme. If he keeps racking up sacks, 9.5 already in 2019, he might not last this long.

Oregon logo22. Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Justin Herbert has not had the type of season most expected of him. He has flashed special arm talent, but his accuracy is a concern. Herbert has not handled pressure well either and seems like he will need a bit of seasoning before becoming a quality starter.

Florida logo23. CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
Scouts will love his frame, but CJ Henderson’s closing speed is generating first-round buzz. The biggest knock is his press coverage, but he excels in zone looks and has long arms to make critical plays downfield.

512px-oklahoma_state_university_athletics_logo_28four_colors29.svg_24. Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State
With such a great receiver class, Tylan Wallace can get overlooked, but he is a proven playmaker. He high points the ball and will burn corners off the line. He reminds me a bit of Green Bay’s Davante Adams.

South Carolina logo25. Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina
Given the level of competition Javon Kinlaw is facing, he has earned first-round consideration. He has been a great interior pass rusher for South Carolina. Kinlaw regularly faces double teams and loves to compete.

Alabama Logo26. Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
At 6’6″, 310 pounds, Alex Leatherwood is built like a prototypical NFL left tackle. Leatherwood spent all of 2018 at right guard, but has looked very comfortable at left tackle this season. He isn’t the blindside blocker because Tua Tagovailoa is a lefty, but he should be a first rounder.

Stanford Cardinal27. Walker Little, OT, Stanford
This offensive line class took a hit when Walker Little went down in Stanford’s season opener. He moves well in space and has shown a tendency to finish blocks in the run game. Little projects as a future left tackle in the pros.

iowa_wordmark28. Triston Wirfs, OG, Iowa
After watching Triston Wirfs this year, I don’t see how he can play outside in the NFL. He looks incredible in the run game, but he does not move well enough to be a tackle at the next level. If he kicks inside, I think he could have a good career.

Georgia Logo29. Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
Georgia’s offense has ground to a halt in recent weeks and Jake Fromm deserves some blame for that. He doesn’t have the same type of arm talent to make up for some mental mistakes or missed throws as the other top QBs in this draft.

LSU Logo30. Kristian Fulton, DB, LSU
If you ask me, the real DB University is in Baton Rouge and Kristian Fulton seems set to join the ranks of quality defensive backs joining the NFL. He is athletic and unafraid. The one thing is he likely the third-best player in LSU’s secondary this year, so it is hard to tell how he will fair as the top option at the next level.

Stanford Cardinal31. Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
Teams around the Pac-12 have already realized it’s best not to throw at Paulson Adebo. He has eight interceptions over the past two years and the size to deal with taller receivers. If he runs well at the combine, he could go top 20.

Alabama Logo32. Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama
Another player coming off a major injury, Terrell Lewis has put up good numbers this year in his return. He is tops in the SEC in sacks and tackles for loss.

Notre Dame Logo33. Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame
He can disappear at times, but Julian Okwara can explode for big games on any given day. He has good power and will bully smaller offensive linemen. If he can find some consistency, he should rise up draft boards.

LSU Logo34. K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
I was disappointed with K’Lavon Chaisson early on this season, but I think I might have been too harsh on him coming off a torn ACL. He has shown the ability to be more than just a pass rusher. He is a bit small, but he has great speed.

Alabama Logo35. Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
With teams looking for versatility in defensive backs, Xaiver McKinney should make a good impression at the NFL level. He is a good tackler who has shown flashes of an ability to hold up in coverage.

Alabama Logo36. Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
This was a lost season for Dylan Moses after tearing his ACL in camp. Given the injury, he could return to school for another season, but if he comes out and passes medicals, he has shown enough to go fairly early.

250px-tcu_horned_frogs_logo.svg_37. Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
If you don’t find a way to bottle him up, Jalen Reagor will burn you. He has had a much quieter 2019, but his speed is for real. With a great receiver class to compete with, he is sliding a bit.

Washington Huskies logo38. Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
Without question, Jacob Eason has an NFL caliber arm. He has not shown the decision making or poise to match that. He has been a bit up and down this season, far too inconsistent for me to think he should be a first rounder. Someone will still probably reach for him.

Oklahoma Logo39. Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
Outside of a rough game from the entire Oklahoma defense Saturday against Kansas State, Kenneth Murray has had a great year. He already has 55 tackles this year, including 7.5 for loss. Murray has a nose for the ball and the athleticism to get there.

250px-tcu_horned_frogs_logo.svg_40. Lucas Niang, OT, TCU
Projecting as a right tackle, Lucas Niang saw his season end early. He will undergo season-ending surgery to repair a torn hip labrum. Niang made the decision to get the surgery now with hopes of being able to participate in the combine.

Michigan State logo41. Kenny Willekes, DE, Michigan State
As a redshirt senior, Kenney Willekes is one of the elder statesmen of this draft class. He is a great run stopper who simply doesn’t have as much talent around him this year. He has not shown the ability to wreck a game by himself, but he will be a useful piece in any defense.

Ohio State Logo42. J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State
Already up to fourth in Buckeyes history in rushing, J.K. Dobbins is on track to pass Eddie George and Ezekiel Elliott before the season is over. That is some great company and after ripping apart the Wisconsin defense, he has earned it.

Utah_Utes_logo43. Jaylon Johnson, DB, Utah
Utah often gets overlooked and so do there best players. Jaylon Johnson does not get much national press, but he is one of the top corners in this draft. He plays with the mentality of a lockdown corner and could very well develop into a good one.

Oregon logo44. Troy Dye, LB, Oregon
He might be on the shelf right now with a thumb injury, but Troy Dye has made a case for being one of the better linebackers in the nation. He has led Oregon in tackles for three straight years. The injury will probably keep him from doing it again, but he is a fundamentally sound prospect.

Oklahoma Logo45. Creed Humphrey, G, Oklahoma
As the lone returning starter along the Oklahoma offensive line, Creed Humphrey has been crucial to the Sooners’ success this season. He is a rock solid interior line prospect who could challenge for a starting spot as soon as he arrives in camp.

Alabama Logo46. Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama
I don’t know that there is a larger presence, literally, in college football this year than Raekwon Davis. Alabama lists him at 6’7″, 312 pounds. He draws a lot of attention from opposing defenses as soon as he steps on the field. Davis hasn’t been as dominant this year, but his physical tools keep him as a top 50 prospect.

LSU Logo47. Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
In the midst of a breakout season, Justin Jefferson is flying up draft boards. He might not be the best receiver on his own team, but Jefferson has blossomed in this new-look LSU offense. He can separate from defenders and makes some touch catches.

Ohio State Logo48. Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio State
Ohio State’s defense is stacked with playmakers, but Malik Harrison has still found a way to stand out. He has 9.5 tackles for loss this year and seems to just fly around the field. It’s tough to tell if he is a product of the system or truly an elite prospect though.

200px-illinois_fighting_illini_logo.svg_49. Oluwole Betiku Jr., EDGE, Illinois
One of my favorite players in this draft, Oluwole Betiku Jr. has shown up in a big way in 2019. He is still incredibly raw, but with 11.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks, he is showing a knack for causing trouble. In a year or two, he has the potential to rack up double-digit sacks in the NFL.

512px-oklahoma_state_university_athletics_logo_28four_colors29.svg_50. Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State
If you didn’t already know, Chuba Hubbard leads college football in rushing yards this season. He has been a bellcow for Oklahoma State. If he can show some signs of being a reliable receiver down the stretch, he could start drawing some first round attention.

2019 NFL Power Rankings: Week 8

My goodness that was rough. This past week of NFL action might have been one of the worst ones I can remember. All three primetime games were blowouts. We had a mud bowl shutout in the Washington typically known for politics, not rain. The average margin in these 14 NFL games was 15 points. The closest thing we got to a thrilling finish was a replay-filled, goal line stand between two 2-4 teams in Nashville. In short, the past week of NFL action was brutal.

I know it’s not right to complain because I would beg to watch this slate of games in July, but wow it was so boring. Still, we did learn a lot about the NFL. Week 7 determined the direction of a lot of team’s seasons. The Titans still have hopes of a playoff run while the Chargers seem headed for a top-10 pick. It is clear the Broncos, Jets and Giants are still rebuilding, while the Cheifs, Rams and Cowboys got back on track. Patrick Mahomes’ injury looms over all other NFL headlines, but he should be back on the field relatively soon. Despite a boring week, we have lots of movement in the middle part of the rankings, including a shakeup to the top 10.

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1. New England Patriots: 6-0 (Last Week: 1)
Won 33-0 at New York
Dominant. That is the only word to describe New England’s play so far this season. The Patriots blanked the Jets on Monday Night Football. The honeymoon is over for the champs though as the schedule finally starts to get a bit tougher from here. The Browns and Ravens stand between the Pats and a bye week. After that, the Eagles, Cowboys and Chiefs all get a shot at knocking off Tom Brady and company. We are going to learn pretty soon if this team is one of the all-time greats, or just another solid Bill Belichick team with championship potential.

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2. New Orleans Saints: 6-1 (Last Week: 2)
Won 36-25 at Chicago
New Orleans is making a very compelling case for being the best team in the league. The Saints have routinely faced down good competition and won. On Sunday, it was the defense that stole the show against a Bears team with a renown defense of it’s own. Don’t let the final score fool you, this was a blowout. Chicago could not get anything going offensively while Teddy Bridgewater dealt with the absences of Alvin Kamara and Jared Cook just fine. He might not be as prolific as Drew Brees, but Bridgewater deserves a lot of credit for the job he has done in keeping this team on track to make a deep postseason run again.

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3. San Francisco 49ers: 6-0 (Last Week: 3)
Won 9-0 at Washington
The weather certainly helped, but San Francisco earned a shutout. Playing in the pouring rain on a terrible surface, I am throwing out basically all statistical significance in this one and focusing on a few other things. The 49ers are the NFC’s last remaining undefeated team and boast one of the best defenses in the league. On the flip side, Jimmy Garoppolo still does not seem like he has settled in this year. Things are going to get a lot tougher with the Panthers on tap.

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4. Green Bay Packers: 6-1 (Last Week: 5)
Won 42-24 vs. Oakland
Aaron Rodgers put together a vintage performance Sunday, the likes of which we have not seen from him in some time. Well, we have not seen Rodgers put up numbers like this ever before, but he hasn’t played at that level in quite a while. On a day where many games turned into defensive slogs, it was refreshing to see. In addition to accounting for six touchdowns, five through the air and one on the ground, Rodgers earned a perfect passer rating. And that was all without top reciever Davante Adams. With Kansas City’s unreliable defense coming up, who knows what Rodgers might do next.

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5. Kansas City Chiefs: 4-2 (Last Week: 6)
Won 30-6 at Denver
It is easy to forget Kansas City dominated Denver on Thursday because the attention immediately turned to the health of Patrick Mahomes. He dislocated his knee and his status is unclear for the weeks that lie ahead. The defense picked up the slack with nine sacks, but this is a huge loss for the Chiefs. With games against the Packers and Vikings up next, Andy Reid must find the balance between wanting to win crucial games and prioritizing getting his star quarterback healthy. The last thing anyone wants is for Mahomes to come back too soon and cost himself the season.

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6. Baltimore Ravens: 5-2 (Last Week: 10)
Won 30-16 at Seattle
This was arguably Baltimore’s most complete game of the year. The defense came up with big plays, scoring a pair of touchdowns. Lamar Jackson turned in another incredible performance running the ball as well. There is still some room for improvement when it comes to his throwing ability, as Jackson was just 9 of 20 passing. In time, the Ravens will also need to rediscover a pass rush that has failed to show up consistently. It seems like the addition of Marcus Peters is already going to be a good one though as this team continues to pull away in the AFC North.

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7. Seattle Seahawks: 5-2 (Last Week: 4)
Lost 30-16 vs. Baltimore
Sunday in Seattle saw the compounding of a lot issues and mistakes resulting in a surprisingly sound defeat. Russell Wilson threw his first interception of the year, which turned out to be a pick six. DK Metcalf inexplicably dropped the ball while running late in the game to seal the Seahawks’ fate, as that was also returned for a touchdown. In between, the defense struggled to contain Lamar Jackson. A lot of these same issues appeared in Seattle’s other loss this year to New Orleans. Taking care of the ball is important, but so is getting home with the pass rush and controlling the clock with the run game.

Vikings logo

8. Minnesota Vikings: 5-2 (Last Week: 9)
Won 42-30 at Detroit
Kirk Cousins has gone from hack to hero in a very short time in Minnesota. He probably hasn’t put to bed all of his critics, but it was another stellar showing. He tossed four touchdowns and 337 yards as the Vikings rolled on offense. It wasn’t a perfect showing all around, as Minnesota seemed incapable of stopping Marvin Jones in the red zone. He scored four touchdowns in the contest, becoming just the third receiver in NFL history to accomplish that feat. With Washington up next, I think we might see another strong showing from this new version of Cousins.

Bills logo

9. Buffalo Bills: 5-1 (Last Week: 8)
Won 31-21 vs. Miami
For a while there, it looked like Miami would finally earn its first win of the year with a stunning upset of Buffalo. The Dolphins got out to an early lead and nearly managed an improbable comeback. Josh Allen and the offense got off to a pretty poor start, but tossed two second-half touchdowns to pull out the win. The Bills desperately need an infusion of talent at receiver and it is time to explore the trade market to find one. This team is trending toward the postseason and it’s time to start preparing for that.

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10. Los Angeles Rams: 4-3 (Last Week: 12)
Won 37-10 at Atlanta
I had a feeling all the Rams needed was a get-right game and they had exactly that against a paltry Falcons defense. Jared Goff looked a lot more like he did last year en route to a Super Bowl appearance. Aaron Donald and the defense dominated, keeping Atlanta out of the end zone for the first three quarters. However, this running game is still nowhere to be found. Todd Gurley, Darrell Henderson and John Kelly managed 2.5 yards per carry against an unimpressive Falcons defense. Los Angeles does play the worst run defense in the NFL next week in Cincinnati, but that won’t solve everything.

Cowboys logo

11. Dallas Cowboys: 4-3 (Last Week: 15)
Won 37-10 vs. Philadelphia
Talk about a bounce back. Dallas beat the doors of Philadelphia to take the top spot in the NFC East. Ezekiel Elliott featured heavily, registering 147 yards of total offense on his own. The defense made a number of big plays, forcing three Eagles turnovers and giving Dak Prescott a level of comfort throughout the game. It certainly looks like that loss to the Jets was just a fluke and this team should be ready to defend its division title. There is still certainly room for improvement, but the Cowboys got back on track.

Colts logo

12. Indianapolis Colts: 4-2 (Last Week: 17)
Won 30-23 vs. Houston
Two months ago, I would have laughed at the idea the Colts could be leading the division after seven weeks of action. Here we are though with Indianapolis knocking off Houston to take sole ownership of first place in the AFC South. Jacoby Brissett continues to be clinical, executing without a whole lot of proven talent around him other than T.Y. Hilton. Indy’s success in the red zone has been particularly impressive so far. The Colts went four for four scoring touchdowns on Sunday. Punching the ball in when it gets close to the goal line has Indy eyeing the postseason once again.

Texans logo

13. Houston Texans: 4-3 (Last Week: 7)
Lost 30-23 at Indianapolis
Some of this can be blamed on suspect officiating, but this loss was a missed opportunity for the Texans. Turnovers plagued Houston again and this time the offense could not score enough to overcome them. Jacoby Brissett also picked apart the secondary to the tune of 326 yards and four touchdowns. A late-game safety didn’t help matters either. Houston already acted to improve the back end of the defense, trading for former first round pick Gareon Conley from Oakland. With corner Phillip Gaines out for the season, Conley should help lessen the blow. However, Houston is running dangerously low on draft capital and excuses for why it hasn’t taken control of this division.

Panthers logo

14. Carolina Panthers: 4-2 (Last Week: 16)
Bye Week
Carolina is one of the most interesting teams in the NFL nearing the midway point. The Panthers have won four straight with a backup quarterback and now have a legitimate quarterback controversy. Cam Newton is nearing a return, but Kyle Allen is playing just fine. He will start next week against the 49ers, but after that, things might get tricky. I suggested on Monday Carolina should trade Newton to Tennessee, but maybe it is worth giving the former MVP a chance to compete at full health. It wasn’t that long ago he led the Panthers to a Super Bowl after all. Like I said, this is one of the most fascinating conundrums in the league.

Lions Logo

15. Detroit Lions: 2-3-1 (Last Week: 11)
Lost 42-30 vs. Minnesota
Detroit might have felt slighted by their controversial loss in Green Bay last week, but it was soundly beaten by Minnesota. Kirk Cousins carved up the secondary for 337 yards and four touchdowns, wasting another strong performance from his Lions counterpart. Matthew Stafford had four touchdown passes of his own, all to Marvin Jones. Jones joined Jerry Rice and Sterling Sharpe as the only players in NFL history with four receiving scores in one game. All of that was for naught though as the Lions fall below .500. With Kerryon Johnson out for some time with a knee injury, Detroit might have to lean even more on Stafford.

Eagles Logo

16. Philadelphia Eagles: 3-4 (Last Week: 13)
Lost 37-10 at Dallas
Howie Roseman is going to be making a lot of phone calls this week looking to trade for a corner. Philly looked helpless trying to slow down Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. Carson Wentz looked pedestrian once again despite some better play from the running game. Costly fumbles by Wentz and Dallas Goedert crushed the Eagles momentum and put the defense in way too many tough situations. At its best, Philadelphia is taking down the Packers. At its worst, the Eagles are losing to the Falcons and getting blown out by the Cowboys. Finding some consistency is going to be key the rest of the way.

Bears logo

17. Chicago Bears: 3-3 (Last Week 14)
Lost 36-25 vs. New Orleans
The Bears are in trouble. Mitchell Trubisky is missing open receivers and throwing into coverage. They cannot establish the run at all. Even this incredible defense cannot find ways to compensate for that. Matt Nagy has to find a way to get Trubisky back in rhythm and take some pressure off him. Starting the game by surrendering a safety doesn’t help that cause. This is a really good Saints team, but given the number of injuries New Orleans is dealing with at key positions, it was a disappointing loss.

Jaguars logo

18. Jacksonville Jaguars: 3-4 (Last Week: 20)
Won 27-17 at Cincinnati
Cincinnati provided a bit of scare, but Jacksonville survived its first game in the post-Jalen-Ramsey era. Gardner Minshew was not super sharp as he struggled to complete passes against that Bengals secondary, but he made some plays with his legs and handed the ball off to Leonard Fournette well. I joke a little bit about handing the ball off to Fournette, but it happened 29 times. He has already eclipsed his carry total from last year and seems to be fulfilling the potential the Jaguars saw when they drafted him. A strong running game and a talented defense is a combination that can win a lot of games in this league.

Pittsburgh_Steelers logo

19. Pittsburgh Steelers: 2-4 (Last Week: 19)
Bye Week
No team in the NFL needed a bye week more than the Steelers. With Mason Rudolph making his way back from a brutal concussion, James Conner working through some nagging injuries and a banged up defense, Pittsburgh just needed some time to get healthy. The defense has been rounding into form in recent weeks since adding Minkah Fitzpatrick. It is still a long shot the Steelers will make a playoff run with a backup quarterback and an otherwise inexperienced roster, but they will get a chance to ease back into things with a visit from the Dolphins.

Titans logo

20. Tennessee Titans: 3-4 (Last Week: 24)
Won 23-20 vs. Los Angeles
It really wasn’t a sure thing until the very end, but Tennessee picked up a huge win to keep their hopes of challenging in the AFC South alive. The defense came up with a massive turnover on the final drive to preserve a slim victory. Ryan Tannehill was good not great with 312 yards through the air, two touchdowns and an interception. He played at a much higher level than what we had seen from Marcus Mariota in recent weeks, but that’s not saying a whole lot. Potentially lost in the shuffle, 2019 first round pick Jeffrey Simmons made his season debut and did not disappoint. He finished with a pair of tackles for loss and a sack. This team is going to be tricky to beat if it can take care of the football.

Raiders logo

21. Oakland Raiders: 3-3 (Last Week: 18)
Lost 42-24 at Green Bay
That was incredibly rough. Oakland was on the wrong end of Aaron Rodgers’ resurgence as one of the great NFL quarterbacks. It was a day to forget for the secondary, which resulted in Gareon Conley being traded to Houston. Some of this loss can be pinned on unfortunate errors, namely Derek Carr fumbling the ball into the end zone for a touch back. That score would have put the Raiders up 17-14. Instead, the Packers drove downfield and made it 21-10 at half. That 14-point swing came at a crucial point in the game and Oakland never recovered. Being .500 is not a terrible thing for the Raiders, but the defense definitely needs to find some quick solutions.

Browns logo

22. Cleveland Browns: 2-4 (Last Week: 22)
Bye Week
This week off came at a very good time for the Browns, who needed some time off to solve their offensive issues. Part of it stems from a porous offensive line, which I think they should fix in the trade market. However, Cleveland only has three really tough games left on the schedule. The Patriots are up next, but then the Browns face the Broncos, Bills, Steelers, Dolphins, Steelers again, Bengals, Cardinals, Ravens and Bengals again. It is definitely not out of the question for Cleveland to win seven of those ten games and sneak into the playoffs at 9-7. Stranger things have happened in the NFL.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)

23. Arizona Cardinals: 3-3-1 (Last Week: 27)
Won 27-21 at New York
It might be against a weak schedule, the Cardinals have beaten the Giants, Bengals and Falcons, but this is one of the surprise stories of the year. Chase Edmonds powered this Arizona offense in David Johnson’s absence. He posted 126 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Arizona’s defense put together another solid showing in Patrick Peterson’s return. It’s a little early to start buying stock in this young Cardinals team, but it is clear they have greatly improved from a year ago.

Denver_Broncos

24. Denver Broncos: 2-5 (Last Week: 21)
Lost 30-6 vs. Kansas City
If I told you the Broncos knocked Patrick Mahomes out of the game, you might’ve thought they kept it close, or maybe even won. Instead, Denver’s offense flopped against one of the worst defenses in the league. The offensive line looked awful, surrendering nine sacks. It was a long shot for the Broncos to turn the season around, but this loss set them back a ways. Real concerns exists at pretty much every level of this franchise. The year is not over, but there is a steep uphill climb.

Chargers logo

25. Los Angeles Chargers: 2-5 (Last Week: 23)
Lost 23-20 at Tennessee
In case you hadn’t heard, Melvin Gordon is back at running back for the Chargers. That hasn’t been a good thing so far. Gordon rushed 16 times for 32 yards in Tennessee. Two yards per carry is not what you are looking for with your season quickly slipping away. Gordon also put the ball on the ground twice Sunday and the latter fumble cost his team the game. This loss does not all fall on Gordon, the defense could not shut down Ryan Tannehill making his first start as a Titan after all, but given the offseason Gordon had, he deserves a lot of criticism.

Giants Logo

26. New York Giants: 2-5 (Last Week: 25)
Lost 27-21 vs. Arizona
Remember when Daniel Jones was the greatest thing since sliced bread? That comeback win against the Buccaneers was pretty spectacular, but since then, Jones has been terrible. In his past four games, Jones has thrown for less than 200 yards per contest while tossing four touchdowns compared to seven interceptions. He is a rookie quarterback after all. His offensive line did not help him a ton against Arizona, allowing eight sacks. That being said, Jones needs to work on getting rid of the football faster. He looked like he was playing in slow motion at times Sunday. New York feels very far from competing with the NFL’s elite.

Buccaneers logo

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2-4 (Last Week: 26)
Bye Week
Tampa got a week off to try to solve it’s offensive woes. The last time we saw this team take the field, Jameis Winston was tossing five picks in London. There is one thing the Bucs do really well that is being overlooked. Tampa has allowed the fewest rushing yards per game so far this year. What might be more impressive is the fact the defense is allowing just 2.9 yards per carry on the season. The closest team to them is the Rams at 3.4. That means that teams trying to run the ball average a half-yard worse per carry than the next best run defense in the league. Tampa is elite at something, but now it is time to make that count.

Jets logo

28. New York Jets: 1-5 (Last Week: 28)
Lost 33-0 vs. New England
Oh, so that’s where the Jets went. Sam Darnold had one of the worst games by a quarterback in NFL history and the offense looked anemic once again. Obviously, it was against an otherworldly defense, but that was pathetic. The Jets offensive line cannot pass block and Darnold struggled to identify where the blitz was coming from. There was very little help from the running game as well. Overpaid corner Tremaine Johnson looks like he didn’t care at all either, getting beat all over the field. This team needs to find an identity on both sides of the ball.

Falcons logo

29. Atlanta Falcons: 1-6 (Last Week: 29)
Lost 37-10 vs. Los Angeles
The Falcons’ season is officially out of control. In addition to getting blown out on Sunday, Devonta Freeman was ejected for punching Aaron Donald in the facemask and Matt Ryan left with an ankle injury. Needless to say, Sunday was rough. If there is one bright side, the run defense looked pretty good, holding the Rams to just 2.5 yards per carry. Unfortunately, that is exactly the same average the Falcons mustered with their ground attack. Dan Quinn has a lot of soul searching to do with this group. If Matt Ryan misses time, this already struggling team will only get worse.

Washington made up logo

30. Washington: 1-6 (Last Week: 30)
Lost 9-0 vs. San Francisco
Some fans will look at the scoreline and think Washington played a competitive game. While it was only a nine-point loss, Washington managed 154 yards of total offense. Some of that was due to the horrible weather in D.C., but a lot of it was due to poor play calling and blocking. Adrian Peterson did his best to carry this team through the mud, but there were just too many mistakes. There is very little to make substantive assessments of given the playing conditions. Bottom line is FedEx field is awful.

Bengals Logo

31. Cincinnati Bengals: 0-7 (Last Week: 31)
Lost 27-17 vs. Jacksonville
Cincinnati had some moments to be happy with in this game, taking a lead into the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, unlike many of their previous games, where they turned it on in the fourth quarter, the Bengals fell apart in the fourth. The defense played decently well, holding Gardner Minshew under a 50 percent completion percentage. Jacksonville did run all over Cincy though. Leonard Fournette led the way as the Jags racked up 216 yards on the ground. The season is over for the Bengals and it is time to move on from a couple of veterans to focus on the future.

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32. Miami Dolphins: 0-6 (Last Week: 32)
Lost 31-21 at Buffalo
It finally seems like the Dolphins are turning the corner. Miami led for a good portion of this game and actually made a late comeback bid. That comeback ended after Buffalo returned an onside kick for a touchdown. This was a more complete showing from the Dolphins. The results haven’t changed yet, but the process is improving. This season is long over for Miami, but it is still valuable for Brian Flores to sort out who has a role to play going forward and who the team can move on from this offseason.

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10 Trades that should happen at the NFL Trade Deadline

Well NFL trade season is off and running with Marcus Peters headed to Baltimore from Los Angeles and Jalen Ramsey taking his place in Los Angeles coming from Jacksonville. Those weren’t even the only trades the Rams were involved in on Tuesday, as they acquired Austin Corbett from the Browns. With all the wheeling and dealing already underway, I’ve got to jump in on the action. As I noted in Week 7’s NFL Power Rankings, there is no question this week of NFL action will be the deciding factor for a lot of teams on the fringe. Let’s start talking about some moves that should happen in the next week before the October 29th trade deadline.

Cam_Newton
Newton has missed four games this season with a foot injury. (Wikimedia Commons)

Carolina Panthers trade QB Cam Newton
Tennessee Titans trade 2020 2nd round pick, 2021 2nd round pick, CB Adoree’ Jackson

Let’s start with a bang. Cam Newton is a former MVP in this league and has played in a Super Bowl. Still, it might be time for the Panthers to think about moving on from the 30-year-old signal caller. For one, Newton has not been able to stay on the field the past two seasons. Even when he has been available, he has struggled mightily. Carolina has some capable options in Kyle Allen and 2019 third-round selection Will Grier. So far this year, the Panthers are undefeated with Allen under center (4-0) and winless (0-2) with Newton. I will admit that Allen has a very small sample size, but he has shown flashes of real potential. Some fans might be miffed at not getting a first rounder for Newton, but his injury history could make that tricky. Getting more draft capital is nice, but so is adding Adoree’ Jackson. The third-year corner has been losing favor in Tennessee, playing just 52 percent of his team’s defensive snaps on Sunday. At 24, Jackson still has plenty of time to develop. Carolina could use some depth at corner back to help them right away, so this is not just simply a long-term move.

On the Tennessee side of this, I know this team seems content to just win with a grinding defense and a couple of playmakers, but this team needs a better short-term solution at quarterback than Ryan Tannehill. Marcus Mariota is done and while Tannehill is fine as a replacement starter, he is not good enough to lead this team to the playoffs. He takes care of the football for the most part, but the Titans need more playmaking ability from the quarterback position. Getting Newton would be a huge development for the offense. He is a more dynamic player, with the ability to change the game as a passer or a runner. Honestly, he is exactly what the Titans thought they were getting when they drafted Mariota. Assuming Newton can get healthy, he should be well-positioned to lead an offense that boasts a good group of running backs and a bunch of young pass catchers. If Newton does go down for a game, Tannehill can step in as well. Tennessee has the cap space to absorb Newton’s contract and could move on from him as early as this offseason if it doesn’t work out. It would not prohibit the Titans from drafting a quarterback in the first round this year either, but given that they do not seem positioned to grab one of the top passers, getting Newton gives them some other options.

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Green has yet to play this season due to injury. (Wikimedia Commons)

Cincinnati Bengals trade WR A.J. Green
Buffalo Bills trade 2020 2nd round pick, 2020 5th round pick

Don’t look now but the Buffalo Bills are 5-1 and seem headed for the postseason. It hasn’t been pretty most of the way and part of that is the offense’s inability to get into a rhythm. Buffalo’s defense is championship caliber, arguably the best in the NFL, but the offense has been pedestrian at best. To help remedy that, the Bills acquire the 31-year-old A.J. Green. With John Brown and Cole Beasley, Buffalo has a couple of good complements to a top-tier receiver. Green would immediately take over as the top option for Josh Allen to target. It would give this offense a legitimate big-play threat and also a reliable outlet when Allen is under pressure. Given how close the Bills were to knocking off the Patriots earlier this year, this move could be what pushes them into the realm of winning a division title. Green projects as a one-year rental for now with his contract expiring after the season, but that is a risk worth taking.

For Cincinnati, it is time to move on from your franchise receiver. This team is about to begin a major overhaul with Andy Dalton clearly on the way out and possibly the worst offensive line in the league. Flipping Green, who is likely going to leave in the offseason anyway, for a pair of picks seems like the best move to set up the Bengals for long-term success. His return to action this year is not going to make up for the awful start to the year this group has had. Green carries a lot of value right now for a contender, and at 0-7, Cincy is very far from being in that conversation.

Trent Williams
Williams has yet to play this season for Washington. (Wikimedia Commons)

Washington trades OT Trent Williams, 2021 conditional 7th round pick
Cleveland Browns trade 2020 2nd round pick, 2021 5th round pick

Washington is being about as stubborn and ridiculous as I’ve seen an NFL franchise act. Rather than trading Trent Williams at the deadline, they are saying they want to trade him after the season is over. Just a reminder, Williams is holding out and Washington has way more leverage trading to a team in need of immediate help midseason than during the offseason. I’m focusing on what should happen, not what will happen. Bruce Allen should absolutely cash in on his disgruntled left tackle before the deadline. At 31, there is not going to be a much larger trade market for him in the offseason. Getting a second round pick and a late pick next year is a decent haul for a player who has no interest in being on your roster and carries a large cap hit. Saying you plan to trade him in the offseason feels like showing your hand as well. There is no chance Washington lands a Jalen Ramsey-type haul either. Regardless, Washington would be smart to capitalize on the pressing need a team will have at tackle.

One such team in this case would definitely be Cleveland. After re-signing Cam Robinson this offseason, it is clear the Browns need a bit more help protecting Baker Mayfield. After trading away former Pro Bowl guard Kevin Zietler for Olivier Vernon, nothing was ever done to replace him. The former former overall pick from Oklahoma has suffered 16 sacks in just six games this season. He has been hit way more than last year and has spent chunks of games running for his life. Robinson could bump inside as well in an effort to revitalize the offensive line. Williams would be a significant upgrade. Even though he projects as a shorter term solution rather than a long one, he probably still has a few good years left in him. After all, Jason Peters is still going at 37. Eventually, Cleveland will have to pay Baker Mayfield. In the meantime, load up on talent around him to give yourself a championship window with a quarterback on a rookie contract.

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Sanders is second on Broncos in receptions and receiving yards this season. (Wikimedia Commons)

Denver Broncos trade WR Emmanuel Sanders
San Francisco 49ers trade DL Solomon Thomas, 2020 4th round pick, 2021 6th round pick

Emmanuel Sanders might be one of, if not Denver’s best offensive player, but at 32 years old with a team beginning to turn things over to a younger group, it is time to move on. Sanders is in a contract year, so this would be a one-year rental for the 49ers, but given that there are a few other teams that could use some help at receiver, specifically the Bears and Patriots, they will have to give up at least a fourth-round selection to ensure he arrives in the Bay Area. With Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton already on the roster as second-year pros, the Broncos won’t be stranding their offense completely for the future. Given that this is a loaded wide receiver class coming up as well, the front office could easily find some additional help in the 2020 draft. They also add Solomon Thomas. The 2017 third overall pick has not panned out in San Francisco and has yet to play 50 percent of the team’s defensive snaps in a given game. He would provide the Broncos with a situational rusher that also provides some defensive line depth. In his limited time on the field, Thomas does have a pair of sacks this year. He won’t make a huge difference, but he could prove to be a useful piece.

For the 49ers, this fills a clear need. Through their first six games, Jimmy Garoppolo has been throwing to the collection of Marquise Goodwin, Dante Pettis and 2019 second round pick Deebo Samuel on the outside. George Kittle is one of the top tight ends in the league, but adding a proven receiver like Sanders could help open up the offense a bit more. After all, Kittle is the only receiver to eclipse 200 yards so far this season. Given the investment in both Samuel and Jalen Hurd, who is on injured reserve, San Francisco should have no problem making a short-term addition before turning it over to the young draft picks. This defense looks ready for a championship run, now it is time for the 49ers to bring their offense closer to that level.

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Harris has a $12.5 million cap hit for 2019. (Wikimedia Commons)

Denver Broncos trade CB Chris Harris Jr.
Philadelphia Eagles trade 2020 3rd round pick

Wow this secondary needs loads of help. The backend of the defense was not supposed to be a strength, but it also wasn’t supposed to be this big of a weakness. Sidney Jones and Jalen Mills have both really struggled. Avonte Maddox is still out and while Ronald Darby is finally back from injury, this group needs a boost. Enter Chris Harris Jr., who would not only raise the level of play, but also bring some swagger to this secondary. Rumors have been swirling for a while now about the 30-year-old corner leaving Denver. Philly has more than enough space to absorb his cap hit and parting with a third-round pick seems like a no-brainer for a team that has its eyes set on returning to the postseason.

For Denver, the fire sale continues. Harris has been a good player for the Broncos, but he is nearing the end of his career and on an expiring contract. Netting a third round pick in the 2020 draft is nice compensation for a player they likely would’ve let walk in free agency. It essentially just means Denver receives it’s compensatory pick a year earlier. After an embarrassing showing on Thursday night, it’s time for John Elway to start looking to build for next year and amass draft capital to find some future contributors on this roster.

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Williams was the 6th overall pick in 2015. (Wikimedia Commons)

New York Jets trade DL Leonard Williams
Baltimore Ravens trade 2020 3rd round pick, 2021 5th round pick

The Baltimore Ravens find themselves in an interesting place six weeks into the 2019 NFL season. After watching the Browns faceplant out of the gates, coupled with quarterback injuries in Pittsburgh, the Ravens comfortably hold the division lead. Now let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There is a lot of season left, but this feels like a team that could try to take advantage of a struggling division and start planning for the postseason. One major area of need is at pass rusher. I don’t think the front office is in swing for the fences mode, but they could try to add a quality contributor in the final year of his contract. Leonard Williams fits that bill nicely. Williams is not a pure edge rusher, but he might fit well into Baltimore’s defense scheme. He has enough speed to play outside and enough power to kick inside as well. He is far from a prolific pass rusher, just 17 sacks in his previous four years, without one yet in 2019. I have a feeling though that a change of scenery could see Williams turn into a player who generate six to eight sacks per year and contributes to building a strong culture. That’s something this Ravens team could use, with just 12 sacks so far this season.

Over in New York, this is a team under new management with Joe Douglas taking over for Mike McCagnan late in the offseason. Williams was not a player he drafted and general managers have a tendency to want “their guys” on the roster. Additionally, this is the final year of Williams’ deal. The Jets would likely land a compensatory pick if he walked in free agency, which they can recoup here and add an additional late-round pick to make trading him worth it. New York is desperately in need of pass rushers, but given the signings and draft picks it has made along the defensive line in recent years and Williams’ general lack of production in this scheme, it seems safe to say its time to move on. This will give Douglas some immediately draft capital to start reshaping the roster.

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Suggs moved into tie for 9th on all-time sack list on Sunday. (Wikimedia Commons)

Arizona Cardinals trade EDGE Terrell Suggs
Kansas City Chiefs trade conditional 2020 6th round draft pick

Terrell Suggs is one of the most dominant pass rushers of the past 15 seasons. He had 132.5 sacks in 16 seasons for Baltimore. He is up to five already this season with the Cardinals. While Arizona seems like it is heading in the right direction, there is no question that Suggs is a luxury they don’t really need right now. He is 37 and on a one-year deal in the desert. With a number of contenders in need of some pass rushing help, Arizona should look to turn the still productive veteran into a late pick.

Kansas City needs all kinds of help right now defensively. It finally put together a great showing on Thursday night against Denver, but that feels more like an aberration than a sign of things to come. Adding a rotational pass rusher who has lots of big game experience could be transformative for the Chiefs. Suggs has played in and won the games that Kansas City wants to win this year as a part of the Ravens 2012 Super Bowl team. Even though he slowing down, Suggs posted seven sacks last year and seems on pace to at least match that this season. This seems like a logical one-year rental for the Chiefs.

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Beasley was the 8th overall pick in 2015. (Wikimedia Commons)

Atlanta Falcons trade EDGE Vic Beasley
Seattle Seahawks trade conditional 2020 5th round pick

There have been few careers as wonky as Vic Beasley’s in Atlanta. After an uninspiring rookie season, the former Clemson edge rusher led the league with 15.5 sacks in 2016, earning himself a 1st-team All-Pro nod. Beasley hasn’t been able to get over the five sack mark in the two seasons since. With the Falcons spiraling, they have already voiced hopes of trading away their former first round pick. Moving on from Beasley, who is a free agent after the season, makes a ton of sense for the front office.

If there is a team that has shown they are willing to take fliers on players who have flashed talent, but struggled with consistency, it would be Seattle. The Seahawks also desperately need pass rushing help entering the weekend averaging just two sacks per game. Beasley has not been very productive this year, with just 1.5 sacks so far. At just 27 years old though, he is worth it, especially for a conditional late-round pick. There are a lot of similarities between the Atlanta defense and the Seattle one because that is where coach Dan Quinn came from when taking the top job for the Falcons. Few other teams are going to be willing to part with potential pass rushers, especially with Terrell Suggs playing for a division rival, so the Seahawks will make do with what they’ve got here.

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Trubisky has the second-lowest yards per attempt this season, ahead of Josh Rosen. (Wikimedia Commons)

Miami Dolphins trade WR Albert Wilson
Chicago Bears trade 2020 6th round pick

Chicago needs a major boost on offense. This offense already has plenty of speed with Taylor Gabriel and Tarik Cohen, but the Bears could desperately use another explosive playmaker. Mitch Trubisky threw the ball 54 times for just 251 yards on Sunday, which is a microcosm of this unit in 2019. Trubisky on the season is averaging a woeful 5.5 yards per attempt. With Chicago likely to get outbid for the top receivers on the market, Albert Wilson seems like a solid option to help this offense’s efficiency. He seems like the type of player Matt Nagy would be able to integrate into his system quickly to maximize his skill set. His is withering away on a Dolphins team determined to land a top-three pick. He will not solve all of Chicago’s issues on that side of the ball, but he would provide another veteran pass catcher at an affordable price. If he doesn’t work out, the Bears can cut the 27-year-old with just $1.3 million in dead money.

On the Miami end of things, moving on from a player who has been hurt a lot for another late pick always seems logical when you are 0-6. Wilson is not going to make a difference for this team in the long-term and is barely doing enough right now as it is. Part of that is because he is trapped in a floundering offense. The Dolphins might not acknowledge they are tanking, but it really doesn’t look much like they are trying to win. At this point, the more draft capital, the better for this front office.

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Davis has over 7,000 career receiving yards and 63 career touchdowns. (Wikimedia Commons)

Washington trades TE Vernon Davis
Seattle Seahawks trade 2020 7th round pick

Russell Wilson could use a short term upgrade at tight end. With Will Dissley done for the season after the best start to a year in his short career, Seattle has a big need at the position. Luke Wilson is valuable, but he is not a reliable pass catcher. Nabbing Vernon Davis for a 7th round pick would be a great move to aid the offense. Davis might turn 36 in January, but he has shown flashes that he still has something left in the tank on a terrible Washington team. He would immediately offer the Seahawks another pass catcher capable of picking up some third downs and making plays in the red zone. It is the type of move you make to bolster a team capable of making a deep playoff run.

For Washington, this is just another player that has more value elsewhere. Davis still clearly has a role to play in the nation’s capital, but he is far from the only option the offense has at tight end with Jeremey Sprinkle and Jordan Reed, if the latter ever gets healthy. Picking up another draft pick for this year doesn’t hurt the rebuilding process that is undoubtedly needed. Put it this way, Vernon Davis probably won’t be in the NFL anymore by the time Washington is ready to compete for a division title again, so send him elsewhere and get something in return.

NFL Draft Podcast Episode 6

There is no shortage of drama in football this week as Jalen Ramsey heads west and the College Football Playoff suffered a major shakeup as Georgia went down. Catch up on all of that and check out this week’s studs and sleepers. Plus find out which games to watch and the prospects to watch in each contest. You can find every episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to your podcasts.