Building the All Under-23 Offense in the NFL

 

 

 

QB: Dak Prescott, Cowboys, 23 years old

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There is no doubt that Prescott is a candidate for ROTY, and he might even be the leading candidate. His poise in the pocket along with his ability to pose a threat with his legs is more than enough for him to make my team. Carson Wentz was also in consideration, but I was pretty much splitting hairs with this decision.

RB: Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys, 21 years old

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Elliott has been running like mad man so far this season, with over 700 yards in only six games so far. He hasn’t rushed for under 130 yards in his last four games. ‘Nuff said. Todd Gurley was also in consideration, but in my opinion, he is a little too overrated, and he hasn’t been finding the holes this season like he did in his rookie season.

WR1: Odell Beckham Jr., Giants, 23 years old

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I promise that I’m not just choosing players from the NFC East! That division just has a lot of young talent at these skill positions. Odell Beckham Jr. is on track to become the best receiver ever, just look at the stats. He is so quick in and out of his breaks and he can stop on a dime. The only way to cover him is to get in his head and get him frustrated.

WR2: Jarvis Landry, Dolphins, 23 years old

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The other LSU receiver that was drafted in 2014, Jarvis Landry should really be one of the top 10 wideouts in the league, but playing for a lackluster Dolphins team has brought his hype down the last two years. Landry caught 110 balls last year for over 1,100 yards, and that shouldn’t go unnoticed.

WR3: Amari Cooper, Raiders, 22 years old

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I so badly wanted to put Mike Evans or Allen Robinson here, and I was considering Will Fuller, but he hasn’t proved enough yet. I just couldn’t leave Cooper off of this list. He broke the 1,000 yard mark for the Raiders last year, and he is already more than halfway there through six games so far in 2016. Cooper hasn’t put up Odell Beckham Jr.-like production, but being The Guy in your rookie season has to say something. Cooper is a fantastic route-runner, and while he won’t blow you away with speed, he is a very balanced receiver.

TE1: Hunter Henry, Chargers, 21 years old

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There are about no tight ends worth mentioning who are 23 years old or younger. Hunter Henry and Eric Ebron are about the only ones. I went with Henry mainly because he has posted over 300 yards in only six games, and he is still playing behind Antonio Gates for the most part. Also because, you know, it’s Eric Ebron.

 

 

The Packers Should Consider Moving up in this Year’s Draft Because…

The team is already loaded with young talent that is constantly developing and their first selection isn’t until #27 in a year that is top heavy at their positions of greatest need.

The last thing they need is to bring in another bunch of project rookies to a team that is craving leadership and maturity.

 Instead it would be nice if they could find a couple of studs that could be utilized immediately.

One of Ted Thompson best acts as GM came in 2009 when he jumped back into the first round to grab Clay Matthews after he had already snatched up B.J. Raji with the 9th selection overall.

His highest pick since then was #21 two years ago when he chose fan favorite Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

That’s why it seems like the Packers are always slowly developing young talent from the draft instead of having that player they can just plug in right away.

As I see it right now the Packers have three areas of need where a top prospect could realistically step in and make an immediate impact.

  • Defensive Tackle – The Packers are always looking for big bodies up front and Raji and Letroy Guion are free agents this year.
  • Linebacker – This is a unit that has just been patched together for the last few seasons and it’s no secret to anyone that Matthews wants to move back outside.
  • Tight End – This position becomes a more apparent area of need everytime the Packers leave the red zone with just a field goal. Richard Rodgers is playable but taking longer than hoped to develop.

1. Let’s focus first on defensive tackle: 

 A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama, 6’4, 312  

From the tape I’ve watched, there isn’t a player in this draft that I am more impressed with than this product of Nick Saban’s defensive machine.

He doesn’t turn 21 until a month before the draft but he already has the size and look of a weathered warrior and he definitely has the heart to match his appearance.

This kid has a non-stop motor and is relentless in pursuit of opposing ball carriers. He’s strong enough to push the pile back, quick enough to wrap up  opposing quarterbacks before they have a chance to react and fast enough to chase running backs down from behind.

His long arms  are a distraction for any quarterback and a weapon in batting down balls or causing turnovers.

Experts have him going anywhere from 5th-19th in the latest drafts. If that’s the case he may cost a pick or two more than the Packers may want to spend. However, he  could help them immediately as a pass rusher, run stopper and may help set the defensive backs for a few more interceptions.

2. Next let’s look at linebacker:

  
Reggie Ragland, Alabama, 6’2, 258

This guy is another product of Nick Saban’s defense and is considered the best linebacker in the draft.

A fearless throwback hitter who will stop any ball carrier dead in their tracks. He stars as a run stopper but will occasionally cameo as a hand in the dirt pass rusher. 

He doesn’t just tackle opponents, he punishes them on a regular basis and will give quarterbacks fits in pursuit and in coverage over the middle.

Drafting him would give the Packers the opportunity to move Matthews back outside and his versatility allows him to move around and bring pressure from various spots on the field.

I have seen him projected anywhere from top 15 to second or third round. My guess would be that he would go somewhere around 20th overall which would make him a decent trade target for the Packers.

3. Finally we will focus on tight end:

 Hunter Henry, Arkansas, 6’5, 253

Conversation has been rather quite so far regarding Henry’s draft status. However, with the depravity of well rounded pass catching tight ends in the league I have a feeling that’s about to change.

From those who are talking, I have heard him compared physically to Rob Gronkowski, fundamentally to Jason Whitten and overall to Greg Olsen. Any of those names should be considered a compliment but all three definitely signal something special.

He is a dominant blocker in the run game and has the ability to catch passes anywhere on the field. Last year he had 51 receptions without a drop. 

To top it off this guy has virtually nothing negative working against him.

Aaron Rodgers has been working without an elite tight end for some time now. Adding a weapon of this caliber just might put him back on top and open up the passing game to help free up the young receivers.

So far it’s unclear where he falls in the draft, but now that he has made it official that he is declaring, I’m sure his stock will begin to rise.

Either way, he is someone Green Bay should definitely have an eye on.