By Dan Rosier (@TheBleagueSays)
Back Row Show Bandits!
Here we are, in the midst of the aftermath that the 2019 NFL Rookie draft has left us. Over the past few weeks, I have palmed off a few good fits in ideal scenarios and a few UDFA signings that could be worth your time reading up about too. I have somewhat left alone the concept of how teams fared - until now. I’m not so much for one to be a ‘winners and losers’ type of cat because it’s early May - so much can happen and play out between now and September - but some scenarios have shown themselves and I think they are worthwhile talking about for the moment.
So, what happens next for…
The Tampa Bay backfield:
Ahhh the Ronald Jones truthers have reunited after a wash of a 2018 season. Jones was the athletic shot in the arm that some looked at as a sure-fire hit last season. The term “bust” gets thrown around a fair bit, but to say that last year was a bust for the second round prospect would probably be the understatement of the year. As a result, you would think that the Buccaneers would make the Running Back position a priority either in Free Agency or the Draft but oh, contraire. The best offer on the table was UDFA Bruce Anderson out of North Dakota State (in 2018 posted 124-924-9 TDs on the ground with 12-199-3 TDs in the air) and although a few names have been linked to Tampa, there’s really been nothing said about their playersf you have been reading between the lines, comments from people backing Jones within the organization has been lighter than you would like if you have held on to him, in fact, it has been Peyton Barber, again, who has been getting the shine and support.
Bruce Arians is a smart kind of unit, and I could see him making a move for a veteran. Lamar Miller could be a player in the last year of his deal that could make sense to make a move for who is normally good for 1000 yards and 6-8 TDs a season. Also, want-away Browns Running Back Duke Johnson Jr. and his hands of magic could be a great fit in a team that isn’t shying away from wanting to throw the ball heavily. However, Houston seems set to keep Miller for his final year and John Dorsey is hell-bent to keep Johnson Jr. until Kareem Hunt returns from suspension...then along the lines of ‘buy cheap’, why not go and get LeSean McCoy out of Buffalo? He is, from buzz alone, a cut candidate due to price and how the Bills have regenerated their Running Back group, McCoy could be the odd man out as he carries only a $2.65 million cap hit. This year he could be a steal for a backfield where he would be an instant upgrade. I’d love the fit for Winston, Arians and McCoy - who could all be winners with this move.
Well, that is a Running Back scenario covered, how about Wide Receivers? What about this:
The Green Bay Wide Receivers:
But, but, but Aaron Rodgers hates Rookies!
Yeah, ok we know.
New Head Coach Matt Lafleur takes control of this Offense and with Aaron Rodgers looking to rebound (how many times have we ever said that, stop doubting him, enough) after an ‘off’ 2018 season and with those expectations I can imagine this group of young and talent Receivers headed by Davante Adams is looking to show up big time in the uber-competitive NFC North.
Look, the Green Bay Packers lost Randall Cobb to Dallas and made zero additions in Free Agency along with no Rookies picked up between Rounds 1-7 in the Draft, it seems for the first time in a long time that ‘the Pack’ have a settled their roster down and (more importantly) have a healthy group of Wide Receivers ready to make the impact they struggled to do consistently last in 2018.
We are always a year early on players we research and fall in love with, and last year that deep sleeper for most was Geronimo Allison, who when healthy showed the quality he possesses with around 300 Yards and a couple of Touchdowns until his season fell short to injury in Week 5. Provided Allison can compete as he did, the pressure for 2018’s Rookie Receivers in Marques Valdez-Scantling, Equinameous St. Brown or J’Mon Moore subtly subsides. At times they looked raw and green, but they flashed and showed what they could do - as inconsistent as a rookie does. They did grab Matthew Eaton from Iowa State as a UDFA, and coming from a team that had David Montgomery, Noah Fant and T.J.Hockenson you can see why it may be easy to get overlooked but he is a bigger bodied slot guy that, in a years time may have seen more work - he may also get cut.
And as if T.E.L.I.A couldn’t get any worse. This happens…
New England Tight Ends:
Oh boy. This one hurts. I can't explain to you how much. So I will do so, in song form...
And it seems to me you lived your life
Like a candle in the wind.
Never knowing who to cling to
When the rain set in.
And I would have liked to have known you
But I was just a kid.
Your candle burned out long before
Your legend ever did.
Oh Rob Gronkowski, we didn't deserve you. You changed the game and until the body could do so no more the mind ultimately went with it. And tell me that it didn't feel like it was a year too late too. Had they beat Philadelphia in the 2017 Superbowl, could he have been done then?
But his commitment to excellence in one play in the most recent Superbowl showed, for one last ride with Tommy Boy Brady, Gronkowski when needed was clutch. A game breaker. A show stopper. They claimed the scalp of the L.A. Rams because of one play between the NFL's version of Thanos, and his pal who revolutionized the Tight End position in Rob Gronkowski.
The show must go on and when the dust settled on all the big-name players who tested Free Agency, it was Austin Seferian-Jenkins who got the call. ‘ASJ’ has had one of the most up and down careers to date lands in New England. Which would lead to thinking that Irv Smith Jr, with Pick 32 in the Draft was the play right? Who didn't mock him there? Everyone but Bill Belichick it seems. Not one Tight End through 7 Rounds though?! Hell, they selected a Punter before a Tight End! And on top of that, they traded Jacob Hollister to the Seahawks for pennies in the 2020 draft.
The Patriots acquired Stephen Anderson, formally of Houston during the last season who had flashed in 2017 once or twice. He has decent size and speed and could be a deep flyer. Or it could be the kid who the Patriots paid the most to of this years UDFA class, to Tight End out of Texas in Andrew Beck.
Hansel and Gretel followed the breadcrumbs, the Patriots are showing their hand, by telling us that one of these three is the play. Which one of them it may be though? We’ll likely have to wait until the preseason comes by to get more clarity out of it.
And on that note, that will just about do me for this week!
Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster and Matthew Bruening’s (@SportsfanaticMB) this offseason. There are some fantastic articles up and running which you can find here: https://www.backrowfantasyshow.com/writers.
If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Armsbackrow, @Nealdrox, and @Onlyhere4brfs (congrats to the new guys Neil and Lambo - they’re doing a heck of a job also) a follow and get around @hucksbackrow for his fantastic DFS plays of the week during that season too!
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