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Volume 22, #25 -- Tuesday Night, May 12th, 2020
Tight End Tiers, Targets, and Players to Avoid, Plus More

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Howdy [FIRST NAME GOES HERE],

Good Wednesday to you. We've got the News and Notes you need plus Team Reports plus Rookie Info plus Tight End Tiers, Targets, and Players to Avoid.

Dive in.

J

SITE NEWS

A. Tight End Tiers, Targets, and Players to Avoid
Our Sigmund Bloom with a look at tight end tiers for early drafts with strategy on who to target and avoid.

B. The Top Rookie RB for 2020
The Footballguys staff offer their picks for the top rookie running back.

C. Arizona Cardinals Team Report
The Footballguys Staffers break down the Cardinals.

Offensive Players by James Brimacombe
Defensive Players by Sigmund Bloom
Team Philosophy and Returners by Adam Harstad
Kickers and Team Defense by Sigmund Bloom
Offensive Line by Matt Bitonti

D. Cleveland Browns Team Report
The Footballguys Staffers break down the Browns.

Offensive Players by Ryan Hester
Defensive Players by John Norton
Team Philosophy and Returners by Adam Harstad
Kickers and Team Defense by Sigmund Bloom
Offensive Line by Matt Bitonti

E. Denver Broncos Team Report
The Footballguys Staffers break down the Broncos.

Offensive Players by Cecil Lammey
Defensive Players by Justin Howe
Team Philosophy and Returners by Adam Harstad
Kickers and Team Defense by Sigmund Bloom
Offensive Line by Matt Bitonti

F. Philadelphia Eagles Team Report
The Footballguys Staffers break down the Eagles.

Offensive Players by Jason Wood
Defensive Players by Jason Wood
Team Philosophy and Returners by Adam Harstad
Kickers and Team Defense by Sigmund Bloom
Offensive Line by Matt Bitonti


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1. LAC - QB Tyrod Taylor to start all season?

Source: NFL Network - Michael Silver

Los Angeles Chargers QB Tyrod Taylor will hold onto the starting job for the entirety of the 2020 season, according to Michael Silver of NFL Network Tuesday, May 12.

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Taylor could certainly do just that to let 2020 first-round pick Justin Herbert develop. We've seen Taylor start plenty of games in his NFL career. He's athletic, has a strong arm and will generally be careful with the ball. With the Chargers elite defense, that type of QB style could be enough to win a lot of games. In fact, don't be surprised if the Chargers make a run at a Wild Card spot in 2020. Herbert is clearly the future, but the team would have to struggle (Taylor specifically) for them to make a change right away.

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2. LAC - RB Austin Ekeler hard to handle last season

Source: Sports Info Solutions

Los Angeles Chargers RB Austin Ekeler averaged a broken tackle on 25.8 percent of his 132 rush attempts in 2019, according to Sports Info Solutions. The mark was the highest among all backs with at 100 carries.

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Ekeler doesn't break tackles with incredible power but instead gets through tackles with a low center of gravity and leg drive. He's tough to get a handle on and you can see that on film. The advanced data backs that up obviously.

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3. BAL - QB Lamar Jackson incredibly efficient in 2019

Source: Sports Info Solutions

Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson threw for a touchdown on league-best nine percent of his 401 pass attempts in 2019. Only one other quarterback (Drew Brees, 7.1) with at least 300 pass attempts finished with a mark better than six percent.

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Jackson was deadly last year as a runner and as an efficient passer. Expect more of the same this year as the Ravens try a rinse and repeat to get back to the playoffs and hopefully (for them) to the Super Bowl.

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4. DEN - QB Drew Lock motivated by John Elway

Source: NFL Network - James Palmer

Denver Broncos QB Drew Lock said recently he's motivated by the faith his high-profile general manager, John Elway, has bestowed in him. 'I know there's been a lot of talk about the quarterbacks in Denver,' Lock said. 'You know, Peyton (Manning) was the man there, obviously. We've had some good ones, and up-and-down (QBs) in there, and I didn't want to be that for John. I wanted to be a steady guy for him. I wanted to show everybody that they drafted the right quarterback.'

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The Broncos believe they finally could have the franchise quarterback they've long been searching for. Lock only played in five games last year as a rookie, but he went 4-1 in those contests. This offseason, the team has built around Lock adding big-time weapons like WR Jerry Jeudy and WR K.J. Hamler in the draft. They have also added pieces to the interior of the offensive line to protect him better. We'll see how Lock responds under new OC Pat Shurmur in 2020.

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5. JAX - QB Mike Glennon officially signs

Source: NFLCommunications.com

Updating a previous story, free-agent QB Mike Glennon (Raiders) officially signed an undisclosed deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars Tuesday, May 12.

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Glennon is a seasoned backup with plenty of starting experience if the Jaguars need him. This is a clear sign they are 'all in' on Gardner Minshew as their starting quarterback...for this year at least. Some felt the Jaguars would be a landing spot for Cam Newton where he could have the starting job. That's not the case now as it seems unlikely Jacksonville would add Newton after signing Glennon. Instead, Minshew will get this year to prove he can be the starter for the future. He showed flashes last year as a rookie but 'Minshew Mania' was not without plenty of rough patches.

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6. PHI - QB Carson Wentz among greats in production

Source: ESPN - Evan Kaplan

Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz's 97 touchdown passes through his first four NFL seasons have been topped by just eight players in league history.

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Wentz is great...when healthy. He's got to stay healthy in order to get the Eagles in the postseason again. The team went out and added more weapons around him, like 2020 first-round pick WR Jalen Reagor, to help the passing game. Wentz has a current ADP of QB9 (7.08) in 12-team PPR leagues.

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7. DAL - QB Dak Prescott on historic pace

Source: ESPN - Evan Kaplan

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott has thrown 97 touchdown passes in his regular-season career. Only eight players in league history had more TD passes across their first four seasons.

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Prescott is getting better with time. The Cowboys put the franchise tag on him earlier this year and the two sides have until July 15th to work out a long-term deal. We'll see if they can get something done. The Cowboys signed Andy Dalton to a contract to serve as Prescott's backup and give them veteran insurance as they hope to be in a Super Bowl window.

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8. SEA - WR Phillip Dorsett happy to sign with Seattle

Source: NBC Sports Northwest - Joe Fann

Seattle Seahawks WR Phillip Dorsett said Tuesday, May 12, he feels he's now in the proper system after turning down an offer from the Seahawks to re-sign with the New England Patriots a year ago. 'I feel like this is the right offense for me,' he said. 'Obviously I know (QB Russell Wilson), and he's a great quarterback. The way he plays quarterback and the way this offense is fits my skill set.'

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Wilson keeps plays alive and can launch passes down the field with ease. Dorsett has largely disappointed in his stops around the NFL but he still has elite speed. Expect Seattle to use Dorsett to take the top off the defense in 2020.

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9. GB - TE Jace Sternberger ready for larger role

Source: ProFootballTalk.com - Charean Williams

Green Bay Packers TE Jace Sternberger is looking forward to the opportunity to play a larger role within the offense in 2020 after Jimmy Graham signed with the Chicago Bears in free agency. 'That's one thing that we've all discussed, that I will have the opportunity for my role to be bigger,' Sternberger said. 'It's all how I handle it and what I can prove. It goes back to me and this opportunity. I'm just really excited about it, and I'm just definitely ready for it.'

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Sternberger, a third-round pick out of Texas A&M in 2019, has the talent to be a quality starter in this league. He appeared in a small handful of games as a rookie due to injury and was only targeted with one pass in the regular season (that was not completed). Sternberger is not much of a blocker but he's a fine route-runner and can create after the catch. He's not a burner by any means but he does get open with savvy and guile. The second-year pro could be a fine underneath target for Aaron Rodgers in 2020. He's off the radar in fantasy drafts right now, but keep this guy on your waiver wire speed dial. The talent and opportunity are there for him to sneak into that TE2 range.

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10. LVR - RB Devontae Booker terms

Source: ESPN.com - Field Yates

Updating a previous story, Las Vegas Raiders RB Devontae Booker signed a one-year contract including a $50,000 signing bonus. Booker qualifies for the veteran salary benefit, which will carry a cap hit of $887,500.

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Booker is no lock for the 53-man roster but that veteran salary benefit could help keep him around. He's disappointed in the pros as a runner but Booker does flash good skill as a receiver out of the backfield. He'll compete with Jalen Richard to be a backup to Josh Jacobs in 2020.

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11. NE - TB12 disputes reports of issue with Josh McDaniels

Source: MassLive.com - Matt Vautour

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady took to Instagram to shoot-down speculation that he had a deteriorating relationship with New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, which was speculated as a reason he didn't want to remain in New England. 'Please stop this nonsense! Please be more responsible with reporting,' Brady noted on the Instagram story. He added after 19 years together, he and McDaniels are brothers for life.

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There are a lot of people who want some of 'The Last Dance' in the Patriots and Brady...but that doesn't seem to be the case. It doesn't mean their relationship wasn't without friction, it just might be a little overblown compared to what really happened. Time will tell if we ever get a behind the scenes dish on how Brady and the Patriots got along towards the end of his time in New England.

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12. NO - Adam Trautman converted from QB

Source: NOLA.com - Amie Just

New Orleans Saints third-round pick TE Adam Trautman entered college as a quarterback and gained 40 lbs in his transition to tight end. He caught a school-record 70 passes with 916 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2019.

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Trautman was a pretty good high school quarterback too, but he quickly transitioned to tight end at Dayton. He knows how to run routes from in-line, the slot or even out wide. Trautman knows how to be a quarterback's best friend, finding soft spots in a zone, coming back to the ball, squaring his shoulders to the line of scrimmage. Trautman only dropped two passes out of all the catchable balls he had thrown his way in 2019. He's a dynasty prospect we're excited about as he could be the eventual replacement for Jared Cook in the Saints offense.

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13. MIN - RB Dalvin Cook got outside with regularity in 2019

Source: Sports Info Solutions

Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook was credited with a run between the guard and the tackle 129 times (eighth-highest total in the NFL) and a league-high 68 times outside of the offensive tackle in 2019.

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Cook is a capable back running between the tackles but he is also fantastic at running outside the tackles. He's an inside/out runner who does a good job in the zone-blocking system the Vikings have. Cook is one of the best running backs in the game today at a RB1 for Fantasy GMs again in 2020.

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14. CIN - RB Joe Mixon proved elusive in Year 3

Source: Sports Info Solutions

Cincinnati Bengals RB Joe Mixon broke 61 tackles in 2019, making him one of four backs last season and one of seven backs since 2015 to top 60 in a single season.

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Mixon is a powerful runner and should continue to be that for the Bengals in 2020. The team is trying to work on a new long-term deal for the veteran back. Getting him locked in is great for a team with a young franchise quarterback in Joe Burrow.

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15. - RB Carlos Hyde asked to plow straight ahead in 2019

Source: Sports Info Solutions

Free-agent RB Carlos Hyde ran in between left and right guard an NFL-high 137 times last season.

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Hyde was a 1,000-yard rusher last year for the Texans but has yet to latch on with a team for the 2020 season. The Eagles are interested where they could use him as a two-down banger in a RBBC with Miles Sanders. We'll see if they end up offering him a contract. No matter who signs him, Hyde has a formula for success and the advanced data shows you that's right between the tackles.

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16. NE - TE Matt LaCosse not guaranteed roster spot

Source: ESPN.com - Bill Barnwell

New England Patriots TE Matt LaCosse may have to compete with TE Ryan Izzo for one roster spot during training camp.

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The Patriots selected two tight ends in the 2020 NFL draft and they should be taking over the room. Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene are those rookie who should provide the Patriots with a 1-2 punch at the position with Asiasi as the receiver and Keene mostly a blocker.

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17. DEN - KJ Hamler likely to be slot WR

Source: ESPN.com - Bill Barnwell

Denver Broncos WR KJ Hamler appears to be the leading candidate for the slot receiver job this upcoming season.

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Hamler played 694 snaps last year for the Nittany Lions, with 616 of those coming from the slot. That's his best spot to attack a defense and attack he will at the pro level with the Broncos rejuvenated offense. Hamler is a threat to score anytime he touches the rock. He's got elite speed and the quickness to make defenders look silly before and after the catch. Hamler is being Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy in the pecking order at the WR position in Denver but he could have a couple of big games as a rookie in 2020.

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18. DEN - WR DaeSean Hamilton may be on bubble

Source: ESPN.com - Bill Barnwell

Denver Broncos WR DaeSean Hamilton may be a candidate to be released or traded before the start of the season since he likely will be the fourth or fifth receiver and does not play on special teams, in the opinion of ESPN.com's Bill Barnwell.

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Hamilton has disappointed during his pro career. A third-round pick in the 2018 NFL draft, Hamilton was supposed to take over for Emmanuel Sanders but that never came to fruition. Even after Sanders was traded, Hamilton didn't do what the team expected him to. They drafted three receivers in the draft, two in the first two rounds (Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler) so Hamilton is either going to be buried on the depth chart or off the 53-man roster.

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That'll do it for today, Folks. Thanks for reading and thanks for being part of Footballguys. We'll see you tomorrow with the Update.

Peace,

J