Peter Wiseman’s Player Profiles: Allen Hurns

You may know him as the other “Allen” in the Jaguars receiving corps, but this kid came into the NFL with bad intentions, and doesn’t plan to take a backseat to anyone.

After going undrafted in 2014, Hurns signed with Jacksonville as a rookie free agent and promptly caught 4 passes, for 110 yards, and 2 touchdowns in his first game as a pro.

The experts quickly tagged that game as a fluke, and said it would be better to place your money on the more talented and athletic, Allen Robinson.

They may have been right about Robinson, but they were dead wrong about Hurns, as he finished the season with 51 catches, for 677 yards, and 6 touchdowns.

Hurns was a track star in high school, and won the Jack Harding Award as the Miami Hurricanes Most Valuable Player after setting the school’s single-season receiving yards record with 1,162 during his senior season in college.

“It hurt. I can’t lie.” Hurns said about going undrafted. “To this day, I’m always going to remember that day. It’s just one of those things, growing up as a child, you always want to hear your name called on draft day.”

His combine numbers were nothing special, as he ran a 4.5 40 yard dash, had a 31 inch vertical, 120 inch broad jump, and managed 14 reps on the bench press. 

The experts didn’t seem overly impressed with his skills either as they claimed he was, narrow – framed and non-physical, struggled to separate against tight man coverage, lacked polish and precision in his routes, had average burst out of his breaks, was not a burner, had limited long speed, and was a soft blocker.

Sometimes the analysts fail to see the intangibles however, and as we’ve learned since then, Hurns has plenty of “it”.Whatever that is, allowed him to haul in 10 touchdowns , on 64 receptions, and 1,031 yards last year, in just his second NFL season.

 

 Alongside fellow sophomore sensations, Quarterback Blake Bortles and Receiver Allen Robinson, it seems clear that Hurns has a long way to go before he hits his peak.

We will see if he still has that same drive after signing a 4 year, $40 million extension, and becoming the highest paid receiver in Jaguars history.

A Tweet from Hurns earlier today: “External things can only push you so far, got to want it from within.”

Lets us know that he is anything but satisfied, and if he stays hungry, and believes in his own words, instead of those from the doubters, he could find himself pushing to be not only the best receiver on this team, but in the league as a whole.

It’s Highly Improbable that the Vikings Will be Serious Super Bowl Contenders in 2016… Or Anytime in the Near Future for that Matter.

Imagine this scenario for a moment:

You have Adrian Peterson, one of the most prolific rushers of all time who commonly draws 7 to 8 defenders into the box, as your running back.

At your side you have Kyle Rudolph, a tight end who has shown potential to be a red zone monster and a threat to explode up the seams. 

Spread wide, you have Mike Wallace, who has made a career out of catching 80-90 yard bombs, and has 10 touchdown seasons with two different quarterbacks on two different teams.

Across from him is Steffon Diggs, a rookie who is already considered one of the most potentially dynamic deep threats in the league.

In the slot is Jarius Wright, who has already shown the ability to be an every down deep threat.

On the sidelines, Cordarelle Patterson and Charles Johnson, who are both incredibly athletic speedsters are waiting to get into the game.

You, are Teddy Bridgewater, and you are under center on the opponents twenty yard line wondering, Why?” With all that open real estate between the safeties and the end zone, and all of these receivers who can get there in a flash, the Vikings front office thought it was a good idea to draft you to lead this team.

Bridgewater had a long pass last year of just 52 yards, a per completion average of 7.2, and with all these weapons at his disposal still only threw 14 TDs. Even the average fan knows he is not a long ball threat. Yet he is the starting quarterback of an offense that’s built to hit a home run on every play.

So what do the Vikings do during the 1st round of the 2016 NFL draft when they are being stared directly in the face by a quarterback with the height, mobility, and arm to make all the passes that could turn their offense into the killing machine they’ve been trying to build? 

They draft another receiver!?!

It’s just another one in a line of very poor decisions this team’s front office and coaches make on a regular basis.

Now Mike Wallace has moved on to greener pastures stating, “I just wanted to be with a good quarterback.” It’s difficult to blame him, and don’t be surprised if the rest of the Vikings talented receiving corps follow in quick succession if this team’s leadership doesn’t get their head screwed on straight very soon.

The Vikings have been famous for loading their roster with talent for years now, but it’s the failure to make common sense decisions like this one, that has left the team with an empty trophy case, in spite of having some of the best players to ever play the game, come through their organization.

Its not enough to have great players, you also need to know how to use them and to have the courage  to admit when you’ve made mistakes. It appears that the Vikings have lived with a tradition of mediocrity and futility for so long, that fans and staff now get extremely excited over a team that is barely above average.

Imagine the pressure on the opponents defensive front if the Vikings front office had drafted a guy with an arm, and the freedom that Peterson would have to rumble, if the linebackers and safeties actually had to worry about covering any one, much less all of those dynamic playmakers.

I’m well aware that the Vikings almost beat the Broncos, almost beat the Cardinals, and should have beaten the Seahawks in the playoffs, but unfortunately they don’t hand out trophies for, “What might have been.”

If you look back through the Vikings past you will see a history of almosts, and from what I see this team isn’t any different.

On the other side of the ball the Vikings “boast” a dangerous defensive line, but if you check the stats you will see it’s all smoke and mirrors.

Minnesota’s defense was 13th in total yards, 12th against the pass, and 17th against the run. 

Their fans will try to remind you that the Vikings defense was 5th in points allowed…

However, the team’s that beat Minnesota know that it doesn’t take a ton of points to beat the Vikings, as they only averaged 12 points in the games they lost. The key is to get the lead early and then just play keep away from AP.

The Vikings have refused to evolve with the “pass happy” style of offenses, and “bend but don’t break” style of defense that now litter the NFL landscape. They are still stuck in the Black and Blue era of football, while the rest of the NFC North has broken into a full aerial assault. So this leaves teams with a very simple formula to beat the “Men in Purple.”

Shut down AP, and make Teddy try to beat you with his arm. In the five games the Vikings lost, Peterson was held to 49 yards and Bridgewater only managed 3 passing TDs.

In the games the Vikings won, opponents let Peterson rumble for 113 yards per game, and Bridgewater threw for 11 TDs. In other words, make the Vikings offense one dimensional and they fold.

On offense, run right at the heart of their vaunted defensive line. The teams that beat the Vikings ran the ball 34 times, the team’s that lost, only averaged 22 carries. Then it just becomes a matter of letting the Vikings beat themselves.

That is exactly what they did in their first playoff game since 2012. They had everything going in their favor, home field advantage, freezing temps, a ground and pound matchup, a 9-0 lead going into the 4th quarter, a game winning field goal attempt… and the rest is history.

So yes, this will allow Minnesota to pull off a few upsets while the other teams are still adjusting to the fact that the Vikings haven’t adjusted to the “new look” NFL, but it leaves them with little hope for the future.

What this shows is that if opposing coaches and coordinators spend even a minimal amount of time watching film on these guys, the Vikings could struggle to win even a handful of games in 2016.

All 32 NFL Teams Ranked by Player Impact on 2016 Fantasy Football Leagues

32. Baltimore Ravens

After last season it’s hard to put faith in any of the Ravens skill position players. Although, given Joe Flacco’s ability to throw the deep ball, recently acquired deep threat, Mike Wallace, may hold some appeal in deeper leagues.

31. San Francisco 49ers

Unless you are one of those owners who still has faith in Carlos Hyde, or you want to take a flyer on tight end sleeper, Vance McDonald.  I’d steer fairly clear of this unit.

30. Tennessee Titans

Besides Delanie Walker, this team may be the definition of high risk – minimal reward. It’s okay to stash a couple players, but don’t get too carried away.

29. Minnesota Vikings 

Adrian Peterson may still be the safest player in fantasy, but after that, good luck until the Vikes get a quarterback.

28. Cleveland Browns

The Browns are actually loaded with backups and sleepers, but no one you should try to build a team around, unless you are drafting a dynasty in a deep league.

27. St Louis Rams

Take Todd Gurley if you believe he will play more like he did in the first half of last season, than he did in the second half. After that, it’s slim pickings, unless you have as much faith in Jared Goff as the Rams do.

26. Indianapolis Colts

This is all dependent on how well Andrew Luck bounces back from multiple injuries. Plenty of talent but just as much risk.

25.Houston Texans

Aside from DeAndre Hopkins, this is basically a brand new offense. Approach with caution, but this is one risky team that might be worth a second look.

24. Philadelphia Eagles

Uncertainty abounds at every position, except for possibly Zach Ertz at tight end. Choose carefully, but be prepared to reap the reward if the Eagles players find rythym in the new system.

23. Denver Broncos

Its hard to have faith in anyone on this roster until the quarterback situation is figured out. However, if you can guess who will get the most carries, running back could be a decent option.

22. New York Jets

How much of this team’s success has to be attributed to Ryan Fitzpatrick? Definitely enough to make it unsafe to reach too far for anyone, except for maybe Brandon Marshall or Matt Forte.

21. Chicago Bears

A lot of iffy matchup plays here, but if you enjoy the strategy part of fantasy, there could be plenty of upside with this team.

20. Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins main problem is inconsistency. Is this the year everyone breaks out, or do we sit and wait another year?

19. New York Giants

There is potential for multiple fantasy stars to emerge on this team. There is also a chance of major collapse until this team finds a stable running game.

18. Buffalo Bills

The Bills are a better fantasy team than they are in real life, but even then, consistency and volume are an issue for a team known to underachieve on a yearly basis.

17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

If you are convinced that Jameis Winston will improve rather than face a sophomore slump, then their are a ton of big-play fantasy options for you on this team.

16. New England Patriots

Injuries, a looming suspension, and Bill Belichick’s mischievousness make this year a nightmare for this team’s fantasy prospects. However, the payback could be outstanding if you are willing to stash a player here or there.

15. San Diego Chargers

Too many mouths to feed, not enough balls to go around to make any one player ultra appealing. Stick with the usual suspects and you should come out alright with a team who’s going to have to continue to score a ton to be competitive.

14. Seattle Seahawks

If you believe Doug Baldwin and Thomas Rawls are for real, Jimmy Graham will finally gel with the rest of the team, and Russell Wilson’s early season slump last year was just a fluke, then chose all the Seahawks you want with confidence. This team seems to be about as low risk – high reward as you can hope for in 2016.

13. Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers is already flying off the board as high as number one overall in mocks and drafts. After the season the Packers just had last year, it will be almost impossible to judge value without having to reach too far.

12. Cincinnati Bengals

After so many years of steady fantasy production, injury and free agency appear to be finally taking their toll on this unit. However, there are plenty of options who may still be worth taking a chance on if they fall to the right spot.

11. Kansas City Chiefs

With Jamaal Charles, Jeremy Maclin, and Travis Kelce, this team has some above average fantasy options. Injuries and Alex Smith’s arm are the main question marks to consider when making your selections.

10. Arizona Cardinals

Does Larry Fitzgerald have another magical season left in him? If he does, can Carson Palmer stay healthy enough to get him the ball. Either way, the best fantasy option on this team may be running back, David Johnson.

9. Detroit Lions

Many will avoid this team with Calvin Johnson gone, but starting with Stafford, their are potential fantasy gems all over the offense, especially now that they will be forced to spread the ball around.

8. Atlanta Falcons

Even though the Falcons as a whole, struggled through most of the season, Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman had great fantasy years. If Matt Ryan can somehow get his touchdown totals up, this offense could be dynamite in 2016.

7. Oakland Raiders

This is a team loaded with potential superstars. Are you willing to gamble on the fact that this is the year they evolve, rather than take a step back? You can select Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, and Latavius Murray as #2’s and hope that they reward you with #1 stats.

6. Washington Redskins

It’s odd to see so many decent fantasy options on a Redskins team all at once. This group is still maturing, but they offer quite a bit of upside with minimal risk. If they continue developing at the current pace, Kirk Cousins could end the season leading a cast of fantasy stars. The Skins may just be fantasy’s best kept secret, but it probably won’t stay that way for long.

5. Dallas Cowboys

This team has an explosive look to it in 2016. Key injuries last year make it hard to judge which options are solid, but with Romo healthy this could be a monster year for the Cowboys.

4. Carolina Panthers

Last year the Panthers were missing their number one receiver, Kelvin Benjamin, and still had a magical season. This year he’s back. The hardest part will be deciding which players to choose from this loaded roster.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers

The Killer B’s are widely considered the best offense in the NFL. The bad part is the majority of their fantasy starters spent at least part of the season injured, suspended, or both. There is still way too much talent on this roster not to target most of them, but make sure you have decent backups in place.

2. New Orleans Saints 

Drew Brees has led the league in passing yards four out of the last five seasons, and the other time he finished second. The Saints have quietly stocked up an arsenal around him and this could be the year they go ballistic. Buy in now while the rest of the owners are still sleeping on the best quarterback of this era.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville is the only team with five players slated to start this season, who all finished top twenty in fantasy points, at their respective positions in 2015. : Blake Bortles (4), Allen Robinson (6), Chris Ivory (11), Allen Hurns (18), Julius Thomas (19). To think that Blake and the Allen’s are just going into their 3rd season as pros, should make pulling the trigger on any of them a fairly easy choice.

When the Hybrid Bucks March Out 5 Power Fowards With Point Guard Handles… Who You Gonna Cover?

It’s not a perfect process. 

Of course there are going to be some growing pains and room for mistakes, but Milwaukee Bucks, General Manager, John Hammond, and Head Coach, Jason Kidd are definitely onto something.

They are putting together a newfangled version of “Showtime,” where everyone is “Magic.”

The newest addition is 7-foot-1, 216 pounds, with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, who can shoot, dribble, and pass as well as anyone on the team.

Bucks fans seem a bit frustrated and confused by some of the recent decisions, but who wouldn’t be? Most of the players don’t play the position they were drafted for. As a matter of fact, the team seems to be trying to eliminate positions all together.

The guy who runs the offense is 6-foot-11, not really that great of a shooter or distributor, but somehow the team functions well behind his dynamic slashing and dunking ability.

And that’s just the offensive side of it. 

Imagine trying to to execute a gameplan or a shot for that matter, when there are 5 human fly swatters on the floor, and the shortest one has a 6-foot-11 wingspan. 

And that guy is also the shooter on the team. The one the Bucks turn to when they need a clutch shot. 

Don’t get me wrong. The Bucks have struggled in this current rebuild, their win-loss record has dipped and spiked quicker than a heart monitor. 

They surprised us all two years ago with a winning season, and then this last year with a losing season, but “Money” has been the one player they’ve been able to count on and build around.

The spark plug on this team is a 6-foot-8,  250 pound, bolt of electricity, whose explosiveness catches opponents off guard as he surprises them with slick passes and monster dunks.

He’s the class act, and the quiet leader on this team of matchup misfits.

The rim protector is only 6-foot-11, but has a 7-foot-4 wingspan and averaged almost 2 blocks per contest last season. As a scorer, he is still inconsistent, but when he is on, he can be very difficult to stop.

As you can tell, this team is raw and jagged, lacking experience and structure. They are all young and trying to learn a system that isn’t completely evolved yet, and may never be because it is constantly mutating to fit the pieces of which it is made up. It’s a work in progress. A marvelous creation which should have been invented years ago.

When they said, “Own the Future.”

I guess they meant it literally.

It doesn’t even have a name or a style attributed to it yet. So far it is only the thing we can love and appreciate as the…

New Look Milwaukee Bucks!

Five Players to Watch for in the Green Bay Packers Preseason 2016

1. Kyle Murphy, OL

The Packers have a history of drafting left tackles and moving them around to different spots on the line until they find the right fit. They also seem to be starting a tradition of drafting players from Stanford, as they have selected three in the last two years. What they get with the 6,6″, 308 pound, Murphy, is a high character, high IQ player who likes to get physical and could provide a much needed boost to their run game. The Packers have a few big offensive lineman with contracts expiring, so it would make sense for them to let Murphy, who was one of offensive line coach Joe Campmen’s favorites even before the draft, prove that he’s got what it takes.

Kentrell Brice, S

Last year in college, Brice didn’t make the All-Star game and he wasn’t invited to the Scouting Combine. His only chance to prove himself was his school’s pro day, which scouts attended to watch a couple of his teammates. The 5-foot-11, 210 pound, defensive back,  put on a show by ripping off a 4.4 40 yard dash, a 42 inch vertical, 11-foot-1 inch broad jump, and 21 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. The Packers must have been thoroughly impressed by his sure tackling and nose for the ball, since they are giving him a chance to compete for time against one of the deepest most talented backfields in the league.

Trevor Davis, WR

With an already crowded receiving core, and anything but mind blowing stats (64 receptions, 1071 yards, and 7 TDs over 2 years) it didn’t really make sense to add a pass catcher to a team that had other more pressing needs. The one thing that Davis has that is lacking on the Packers squad is blazing speed (4.3 40 yard dash), on a decent frame (6-foot-1, 188 pounds), and 10 inch hands. The product of Cal gives Aaron Rodgers a deep threat, and brings possible help to the special teams unit. Ted Thompson likes the fact that Davis only dropped 2 passes last year, and has an eye for tracking the deep ball.

Kyler Fackrell, OLB

Where should I begin? Fackrell is long and athletic, has a non-stop motor, is a tackling machine with plenty of burst and bend, and a sure tackler at that, has speed, soft hands and agility to be successful in coverage, and is basically a coach on the field.  The only knock on the 25 year old rookie, is his age and an ACL. Digging deeper, you will see that even his age comes from a source of extreme humility, he wasn’t sure he could make it in the NFL even though everyone was telling him it was a sure thing. Keep an eye out, he might just be about to prove himself wrong in a big way.

Blake Martinez, ILB

Martinez is an odd duck, but in a highly intelligent scholar (Stanford), ferocious linebacker kind of way. He doesn’t eat junk, drink soda or alcohol, and he spends his spare time dissecting playbooks and asking Aaron Rodgers questions. He may not be fast on paper, but tight ends and running backs are about to find out how persistent he is. He piles up a ton of tackles and misses few to none along the way. He can stop the run as well as cover. This kid is a strategist and a student of the game, and is on his way to not only being a star, but an intense leader and role model for his teammates.

Thon Maker: International Man of Mystery, Lands in Milwaukee with 10th Overall Selection 

The Bucks love young, tall, versatile, athletic players, with ridiculous wingspans. They get just that with the Sudanese born world traveler.

The biggest question critics are asking  about Maker, is whether or not the 7-foot-1, 216 pounder, who measures 7,3″ from fingertip to fingertip, is big and strong enough to compete with NBA sized post players?

 After watching him consistently drain shots from behind the arc, spin past hapless opponents, slice to the basket, thread passes between defenders legs, and finish with explosive dunks, it seems, what they should be asking,  is whether or not their is anyone in the league who is athletic enough to keep up with him.  

He’s raw, and somewhat untested, but he has no lack of world experience. He escaped a war torn country as a child and used determination and witt to hop around the globe on his way to Milwaukee.

The Bucks have built a team of players without a true position, who use their remarkable skills to define themselves. They were looking for a post player who could add to that, and now they have him.

“He can stretch the floor right now. Give him a little time to gain some strength and we think he has the chance to be a special player.” Bucks General Manager, John Hammond, said about Maker. “He’s got some steps to go through, but if you watch him he’s really multidimensional. His experience is limited but he has a great feel of the game.”

With all the talent the Bucks currently have on their roster, it’s easy for fans to get caught up in a win now mentality. The  team has promised to “Own the Future” and it looks like that is what they continue to plan to do.

When asked what position Maker will play, Hammond answered, “We’re going to figure it out. We have a vision.”

It hard to know exactly what the Bucks have up their sleeve for this tremendously talented player, but that will just add to the excitement as the mystery continues to unfold.

If Brett Hundley continues to shine, Aaron Rodgers Could be on the Packers Trade Block in the Near Future

The Packers have made no secret of the fact that they are going to continue to build this team through the draft and that they plan to maintain one of the youngest rosters in the league.

They have done a great job of both, and are continuing to develop depth and stars at almost every position. One of the latest developments is at the quarterback position.

Last year the Packers traded up nineteen spots in the 5th round to draft former UCLA quarterback, Brett Hundley. He finished last year’s preseason as the top rated quarterback, with a 4 touchdown performance against the Saints and a 129.7 passer rating.

Ted Thompson has an eye for finding overachievers in the draft, and Mike McCarthy is known for helping develop young quarterbacks quickly.

One of their best known projects was Aaron Rodgers, who unexpectedly fell to Thompson and the Pack late in the first round, after being heralded as a possible number 1 overall pick, and they selected him in spite of having Brett Favre as their starter.

Rodgers developed quickly under McCarthy, and when he appeared ready to  start, Thompson didn’t hesitate to send  Favre out the door in a trade to the Jets, even though he had just led the team to a 13-3 record.

The Packers didn’t get much in return for Favre since it appeared that he was at the end of his career at that point.

The difference is Rodgers still has a ton left in the tank, and after watching how much the Rams and Eagles were willing to give up to get unproven signal callers in this year’s draft, it’s mind blowing to imagine what the cost would be for a two time MVP, with a championship to his credit.

There is no way of knowing if Hundley is even close to ready for that kind of a role, but the Packers did elect to let Rodgers skip minicamp to give Hundley reps with the first team, even though A-Rod probably could have used them after struggling to get on the same page as his receivers last year.

“You can’t buy these reps for a quarterback,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy. “It’s extremely important from a leadership standpoint.”

 “He’s night and day compared to where he was. He’s starting to look like Aaron dropping with his footwork in the pocket.” Quarterback Coach Andy Van Pelt added.

We all know what Thompson is capable of doing with just a handful of picks, imagine if he had a couple of first and second rounders to work with for a few years in a row.

Nothing is certain in this league, and even though a move of this nature would probably enrage fans for a moment , it’s nothing that another Super Bowl ring or two wouldn’t fix.