Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston Could be Intriguing Trade Options for Green Bay

Should the Packers trade for a starting caliber QB?

By: Josh Shippen

The Packers are going through a very tenuous situation with Aaron Rodgers at the moment. Rodgers has threatened to go so far as to retire if he is forced to play for Green Bay in the 2021 season. With this in mind, the downgrade from Aaron Rodgers to Jordan Love will be extremely severe, and possibly deadly for the Packers 2021 season. Jordan Love will definitely need an experienced veteran next to him, and the number 1 and 2 overall pick from 2015 are 2 very viable options. So without further ado, let’s go over each.

Marcus Mariota was the 2nd overall pick of 2015 and was selected by the Tennessee Titans. Mariota was the starter from 2015 to 2019 and posted some very promising 9-7 seasons, some of which resulted in semi-convincing playoff berths. Overall he is an effective quarterback, but in 2019 Ryan Tannehill took over for an ineffective Mariota and immediately started to set the world on fire with his amazing play. After this Mariota got seemingly downgraded to eternal backup, his first stop being behind Derek Carr in Las Vegas.

Mariota’s short career has, as aforementioned, been promising. Mariota has posted a 3,000-yard season with a 26-9 TD-INT ratio. While this is by no means anything that makes fans’ eyes pop out of their sockets, it’s a perfectly respectable stat line for a player who has been quarterbacking a mostly boring team for 4 seasons. Mariota also has talent with his legs; he is by no means a Lamar Jackson or a Deshaun Watson, but again his rough average of about 300 rushing yards per season and 2 touchdowns is perfectly respectable. Nothing about this necessitation of Mariota’s career highlights makes me particularly excited to see him in a Green Bay uniform, but he could be a perfectly effective staple until the Packers develop Jordan Love or get a new quarterback via the draft, a trade, or free agency.

The first overall pick is much more of an interesting story, Winston has been compared to Big Ben in some respects and seeing that he has a 5,000 yard passing season under his belt I think the comparison can be considered as somewhat valid. However Winston has definite flaws, his 5,000 yard campaign made him the first member of the 30’s club, that is to say Winston passed for 33 touchdowns and 30 interceptions. The touchdowns are perfectly fine but the interception issues are completely inexcusable. The question at hand is whether Winston can be improved over time. I believe of course that anything is possible, after all the NFL is extremely unpredictable, but if Bruce Arians can’t find a way to fix him I’m not sold that Matt LaFluer can.

Winston has spent his past six seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he was drafted first overall, and the New Orleans Saints serving as a backup to Drew Brees, and now Taysom Hill. The fact that Winston cannot be named as the definitive starter over an undrafted, unproven quarterback is definitely a red flag for me, but I believe that Winston’s upside far eclipses Mariota’s upside. The stock would be low if this move were made, but I believe that this trade could theoretically happen if everything fell wrong with Rodgers.

Biggest Breakout Candidates for the Kansas City Chiefs

By: Josh Shippen

    The Chiefs’ flaws were dangerously exposed in the 2020 Super Bowl, but that should not hinder them from being a great team this year. Here is a list of potential breakout candidates from the Kansas CIty Chiefs.

Daniel Sorensen

Sorensen has been a good player for the Chiefs for a few years now, and he has been extremely underrated. Sorensen is fast, hard hitting, and is overall an excellent player that will finally have a massive Pro Bowl season in 2021. Sorensen has been on the team for 8 seasons and came from BYU, the same school as Zach Wilson and Kyle Van Noy. Sorensen ended the year with five passes defensed and three interceptions, including an interception for a touchdown return

L’Jarius Sneed

Sneed actually had a really good rookie season amidst what was a fairly bad defense in 2020. One of Sneed’s best games actually came in the first game of the season against the Houston Texans, Sneed was making it impossible for Deshaun Watson get anything done in that game and was instantly one of my favorite rookies. Sneed improved even more from there, ending his rookie campaign with 7 passes defensed and 3 interceptions. Sneed was drafted in the fourth round and came from Louisiana Tech.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire

I know he was already good as a rookie and got a lot of attention, but my claim is that this year he will begin to be considered as one of the very best running backs in the NFL – an instant All Pro winner who will be dynamic and fun to watch in a high powered offense. CEH had an incredible rookie season with 803 yards for an average of 4.4 yards per carry. Edwards-Helaire was drafted at the last pick of the first round and came from Louisiana State University.

Juan Thornhill

Thornhill had a good rookie season in 2019 playing alongside legend Tyrann Mathieu, but went quiet in 2020 after the entire Chiefs defense sort of fell off a cliff. Thornhill still has a very present chance to break out, and I really believe that he is a strong player that the Chiefs could try to anchor their defense around in three or four years.

Demarcus Robinson

Demarcus Robinson sort of has to be a breakout candidate because the Chiefs are down a wide receiver after Watkins left and desperately need help around Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce as we saw in the Super Bowl. Robinson has been a steady enough wide receiver as he has adjusted to this offense in his Chiefs tenure, and if things break right he could very possibly be an answer for Kansas City. Robinson was drafted in 2016 in the fourth round from Florida, and ended the 2020 season with 446 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns. Not bad at all.

Austin Blythe

The Chiefs transitioned which Austin they wanted to start at center going from Reiter to Blythe in the offseason. I believe Blythe will be somebody that can save this collapsing offensive line along with Orlando Brown and Joe Thuney, Blythe has been a swiss army knife offensive lineman for the Rams. Blythe was drafted in 2016 by the Los Angeles Rams in the seventh round, and was just barely signed by the Kansas City Chiefs in the offseason.

Why the Saints need to sign Richard Sherman

By: Josh Shippen

During free agency there were many rumors and scenarios floated around involving the fates of every available free agent, and Sherman was no exception. Richard Sherman was floated to the Saints on many different venues, and I believe the scenario is plausible.

To start out with the basic history, Sherman was drafted 154th overall in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. Sherman very quickly became a household name, posting 17 passes defensed, 4 interceptions, and an 85.2 grade from Pro Football Focus which ranked 16th amongst qualifying cornerbacks of that season. Sherman’s career quickly escalated from there, he became notorious for his role in the Legion of Boom secondary along with Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas III. This Legion of Boom became a part of one of the best defenses in the NFL for a stretch, a defense that was able to make two Super Bowls and win one. Sherman’s career has seen three First Team All-Pro appearances, two Second Team appearances, and Five Pro Bowls. He was also the leader in interceptions for 2013.

‘Sherman has attained a reputation of being rather outspoken for his trash talking and brash statements. This includes Sherman saying he was “livid” at some of the player selections in front of him, and calling Michael Crabtree a “sorry receiver”. This could hurt Sherman’s stock, especially since his reputation has not recessed in recent years.

In 2018, Sherman signed a 3 year $39 Million dollar deal with the San Francisco 49ers, a deal whose expiration has caused the loss of a job for Sherman. Sherman’s contract was not extended and he hit the free agent market this season. Sherman had two lackluster seasons marred by injury and poor play in 2018 and 2020, but had a season in 2019 that I regarded as one of the best cornerback performances of the season with 11 passes defensed, 3 interceptions, and an 88.9 grade from Pro Football Focus, one of the best by a cornerback.

While Sherman’s drop-off has not been unexpected or completely sudden, it does pose a problem for Sherman getting a new job. Most bad teams looking for a cornerback are looking for a strong young presence rather than an older, less effective presence, and most good teams are not in the market for cornerbacks because there is already depth at position. Yet, here are the Saints. The perfect middle ground.

The New Orleans Saints have had a very strong defensive past few years, but 2020 featured a slight but noticeable recession. Players like Marshon Lattimore that had been rocks in that defense had a pretty bad 2020 season, and Janoris Jenkins, D.J. Swearinger, Sheldon Rankins, and Kwon Alexander all left in the 2020 offseason. So while the defense does look like it is about to recede, there are players such as Cameron Jordan, Demario Davis, and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson that people should definitely be excited about. So the defense could be turning into a need, but we are not at a desperate position yet.

In short, Sherman could be a great addition to this team. At the height of his powers he could be an upgrade on the reliable veteran presence that Janoris Jenkins brought in recent years past. Sherman has a chance to be a part of a new great defense,

Why have the Packers neglected to upgrade weapons for Aaron Rodgers?

By: Josh Shippen

For about four seasons now the Packers have struggled with having weapons for Aaron Rodgers, and fans have loved to use this as the main argument to illustrate why the Packers never make it to the Super Bowl. While the Packers have had abundant success with Davante Adams who has had a pair of 1000 yard seasons along with 4 Pro Bowls and an All-Pro, their remaining receiver depth is limited. Their other 2 starters are Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard.

Valdes-Scantling is a fifth-round pick of 2018 who averages about 500 yards per season, and Allen Lazard was undrafted off of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2018 and recently had a breakout season in 2018 with around 450 yards and 3 touchdowns 2 years in a row. The Packers have also draft Amari Rodgers in the third round, 85th overall which might be something that will help Rodgers out in the future. While a case could be made that this is an alright group, upgrades are definitely needed.

The tight end position has also been a position of need for a few years, the Packers have toyed around with Jimmy Graham, Marcedes Lewis, Jared Cook, Jermichael Finley, and most recently Robert Tonyan. While some like Tonyan and Finley have had their food moments, Graham and Lewis have been fairly useless and in short none of the tight ends they’ve tried have stuck.

To summarize, Aaron Rodgers has not had premium talent excluding some glory years with Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Davante Adams. So why is this?

The answer is that the Packers seem to want to focus on their defense rather than their offense. The Packers spent $118 Million dollars on Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith alone. They have additionally poured $70 Million dollars into extending defensive tackle Kenny Clark. The Packers clearly think that their flaws lie solely on their defense so spending on a high-powered offense is not worth it in the grand scheme.

The next part that goes hand in hand with the last point is that Rodgers already makes all of the players around him better. There are some quarterbacks like Teddy Bridgewater, Alex Smith, and Derek Carr that are elevated by the players around them, and then there are players like Rodgers who are the ones who elevate the players around them. So at that point, if resources need to be contributed to the defense and Rodgers can elevate everyone around him, what need is there to pour money into offensive help?

This next argument is only a theory – It’s possible that the recent neglect of the receiver and tight end position is due to the tension between management and coaching with Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers and LaFleur/Gutekunst have been at odds ever since they got there and the failure to get Rodgers weapons might be something so simple as a petty desire to let Rodgers to maintain the elite level and not be garnered slight improvements.

There are moments where elite QBs can get their choice of weapons if it’s not a big investment. Tom Brady has gotten Antonio Brown, Drew Brees got a WR that he trained with the last offseason, but Rodgers hasn’t been as fortunate. I believe it’s mind-boggling that the Packers can retain Kevin King, their defensive front at the current price still, but they can’t find “good value” wideout for A-Rod.

4 reasons Why the packers will get 13+ wins again

By: Josh Shippen

The Packers have been an NFL powerhouse for the last few decades and the past two years have been no exception. Both times in the past two years, Aaron Rodgers has led his team to 13-3 seasons including one that led to Rodgers getting an MVP award. Even with these seasons, fans and anti-fans have been writing off Green Bay as a legitimate threat in the NFC, which is not very reasonable. Rodgers will not be traded, per Packers management. Assuming Green Bay and Rodgers get over yet another bump in the road, The Packers will be in contention, and here are all the reasons why.

Aaron Rodgers is returning and is the reigning MVP

Never count out Aaron Rodgers. Many people began to start honking about a career end for the All-Pro quarterback after Brian Gutekunst’s confusing decision to take the lackluster Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 Draft, but Rodgers proved everybody wrong right off the bat, ending the season with 4,299 yards, and an insane TD-INT ratio of 48-5 which is comparable to his past MVP ratios of 45-6 and 38-5. Until we see a truly terrible season from Rodgers down the road, there is no reason to suggest that the Packers offense is going to be anything less than one of the best in the NFL.

The Packers are slowly but surely building an elite front seven

The Packers defense has been criticized as one of the reasons for every year’s eventual failure but I believe it is possible that that narrative will soon be put to rest. The Packers have an amazing linebacker core with Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith who have been amazing for the past two years teaming up this year for a combined 16.5 tackles, and are definitely building a strong front seven with All-Pro talent Kenny Clark, and young former first round pick Rashan Gary who is well set up to have a breakout season after doubling his stats and flashing in spots. And don’t forget to never count out Damon Harrison who has had great seasons with the Giants and Jets, and might still have some great play left in the tank.

The NFC is extremely top heavy

Excluding the aging Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers is undoubtedly the best quarterback in the NFC, I do not think there is any question about that. Now that the New Orleans Saints are starting to rebuild with Taysom Hill and/or Jameis Winston, and the Buccaneers are still holding their breath for Brady to fall off a cliff (in terms of play), the NFC is about to be pretty low on really good teams. The Packers are definetly the most well built playoff team from last year, and they could easily make a Super Bowl push in 2021.

The NFC North is a dung heap

There is nothing to be excited about outside of the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North in 2021. The Lions have the worst receiver core in the league and are trying to groom a new quarterback, the Bears have two backup quarterbacks on their roster along with a declining defense, and the Vikings have one of the sneaky worst quarterbacks of 2020 still on their roster in Kirk Cousins. The Packers should easily finish 5-1 or better in this terrible division, I would be extremely surprised if their division costs them any meaningful games.

Three Potential Trade Destinations for Stephon Gilmore

By: Josh Shippen

Stephon Gilmore is a well reputable cornerback of the New England Patriots whose name has been floating around in trade discussions for the last year. Gilmore was the recipient of the defensive player of the year award in 2019, which will make his stock in the trade market very high. This article will break down the most likely destinations for this great corner.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars are attempting to build themselves a strong young team, but even youth needs its wisdom and Gilmore would be great as that wisdom. The Jaguars are practically bathing in cap room and are in desperate need at just about every position, including cornerback. Additionally, the Jaguars have many high picks in 2021 and 2022 that they could theoretically use as bait to lure the Patriots.

The Jaguars’ four best corners are a pretty sorry group. Shaquill Griffin, the best of the group by far, is a former Seahawks corner that signed a pretty big multi-year deal with the Jaguars, but free agent signings are very hit or miss so we will see. Next up on the depth chart is D.J. Hayden, one of the many draft busts of 2017; Sidney Jones who the Eagles desperately held on to much longer than they needed to, and Tre Herndon who has been a middling backup for three seasons. The Jags also have C.J. Henderson, a rookie who had an down first year with Jacksonville.

Gilmore makes sense on this team, and the Jaguars would be wise to spend a pick on him instead of trying to develop these other unproven players thus far.

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals in my opinion had one of the worst offseason signings when they overpaid for Chidobe Awuzie, and the lack of depth behind Awuzie plus the departure of William Jackson III in free agency means that the Bengals are now in depserate need of a corner in a division that has Big Ben, Baker Mayfield, and former MVP Lamar Jackson. The Bengals have plenty of cap room and picks to spare, so why not give Gilmore a roster spot?

The Bengals backup cornerbacks are Trae Waynes who was also overpaid in free agency and missed the entirity of the 2020, Eli Apple who has effectively been declared a bust, and Mike Hilton who while he had a good season in Pittsburgh, is still very much a young, unproven player.

The Bengals’ free agency is likely not going to help them out too much, and if I were them I would want to secure as many “sure thing” assets as I could before delving into the unpredictability of the Draft.

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals are about two or three players away from being a serious competitor in the NFC, but the departure of Patrick Peterson needs to be filled by somebody more competent than Malcolm Butler and Robert Alford. Bringing Gilmore in is going to bring a lot of strength and depth to the Cardinals’ defense, and might ensure that they are a playoff candidate in 2021 assuming Gilmore’s play is up to snuff.

The Cardinals’ secondary has been struggling for a few years, especially amidst declining play and whispers of a trade with their longtime starter Patrick Peterson.

The Cardinals are extremely close as a strong reliable team that can make the playoffs and even make the Super Bowl if all breaks well. If they were to trade Gilmore then their chances will be considerably higher.

The Four most Promising Players on the Atlanta Falcons

Calvin Ridley is the future of Atlanta

By: Josh Shippen

The Atlanta Falcons were a train wreck from outer space last year, this once promising team turned into a team that went on a five game losing skid thus firing their head coach and general manager (Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff). The few rays of hope on this team need to be recognized, this is a list of the four players that the Atlanta Falcons can begin to become excited about in the future.

Calvin Ridley

Ridley improved even more upon his stellar first two seasons by posting an All-Pro level year with 1,374 yards and 9 touchdowns, and by thoroughly outplaying longtime Falcon great Julio Jones. Ridley is the favorite target of the future for Atlanta, and whatever new quarterback is brought in is going to love having Ridley as a threat.

Julio Jones has arguably been the best wide receiver of the 2010’s decade, and has been the biggest non Matt Ryan reasons for the Atlanta Falcons being succesful. The Falcons have made a perfect move by drafting Jones’ replacement, and I do not think Jones should be on his way out at all.

Grady Jarrett

One of the few bright spots of this awful defense is Jarrett whose play is the only reason that this defense can be considered anything more than worst in the league. If the Falcons ever do decide to build around their defense more, then Jarrett is going to be the anchor of the defense that holds the operation together.

The Falcons have locked up Jarrett until the 2023 offseason, and given that he is the best player on the entire defense by a huge long shot I would be astounded if the Falcons did not re-sign him. If only Vic Beasley or Takkarist McKinley had worked out then the Falcons would actually be on their way to having a pretty decent front seven.

Foye Oluokon

Oluokon was a part of a decent linebacker core that got overlooked amidst a lost, distasterous season for the Atlanta Falcons. Oluokon had 97 tackles on the season and has definetly broken out from his first two years in the NFL, and is definetly effective for a sixth round pick in 2018.

The Falcons tried their luck with a one two linebcker punch with their DeVondre Campbell experiment of the 2010’s. Unfortunately Campbell did not end up being quite like what the Falcons needed him to be, and he was released into the hands of the Arizona Cardinals in the offseason.

Mykal Walker

Another one of the true underrated rookies is Mykal Walker who had a pretty decent season with Atlanta. If the Falcons really wanted to build a solid linebacker core then Walker is going to be one of the pieces to make that happen. Walker even played better than first round rookie A.J. Terrell who was drafted three rounds in front of him.

Often late round rookies that have a good rookie year do not end up keeping this consistency throughout their careers which does not bode well for Walker, but if everything mircculously breaks right then he could be a potential game changer for this defense in years to come.

30 making the leap candidates for 2020

By: Josh Shippen

Each year there are surprise players that suddenly break out in the NFL. In this article, I will be attempting to predict thirty of these breakout players.

  1. Daniel Jones, QB

I liked the Daniel Jones pick for the New York Giants coming out of the draft, and while I will admit he has had many issues in his first two seasons the surrounding talent has been remarkably bad and his schemes have continued to switch. Jones will have a bounce back year with a new offense, especially with Golladay in town.

  1. Tua Tagovailoa, QB

The NFL community and especially Dolphins fans went berserk after Tua’s first few games in 2020, saying that he was a bust and that the Dolphins needed to address their quarterbacks in the draft. This is not true at all. Tua had some good stretches of play and was not exactly playing with the most talented WR corps ever seen. Tua will have a good second year in Miami.

  1. Jacob Eason, QB

Jacob Eason put up some pretty impressive college tape, and some great stats to go along with it before he was drafted in 2019. The Colts have been experiencing dysfunction at quarterback, and if the whole thing falls apart then this strong armed quarterback might have a chance to prove just what he can do.

  1. Josh Rosen, QB

Many people actually thought that Rosen was one of the better quarterbacks to come out of the 2018 draft, hence why his fall from grace came as such a surprise. What people do not seem to be acknowledging is that the first two teams he was with featured two of the worst offenses of the 2010’s era, leaving Rosen at a massive disadvantage. Rosen has a good chance to make the leap at some point, especially if he is on the fading 49ers.

  1. D’Andre Swift, RB

Swift had a better season than people realize in Detroit, his early failures cast him in a dark light in the beginning of the season and I hope they do not continue to stick. Detroit has always relied on their backfield to do well so it is likely that Swift gets many carries. Swift should have an improved second season.

  1. Chase Edmonds, RB

The absence of Kenyan Drake leaves a hole in the Cardinals backfield, and let’s just say that Edmonds is not about to be the player to fill that hole. Edmonds has had some really good games in the last two seasons, and if he begins to show consistency he could easily become the starter over James Conner in this offense.

  1. Jeremy McNichols, RB

The Titans are very set at running back with Derrick Henry, but I am continually surprised at how good his backup, Jeremy McNichols, looks when he hits the field. McNichols has been bouncing around the league for years, and I believe there is some untapped potential that should be explored by another team. McNichols has potential to succeed.

  1. D.J. Chark, WR

D.J. Chark had an amazing 2019 season that left me and many others thinking that we were looking at one of the next great receivers. Unfortunately, the Jaguars had a terrible 2020, and this really hurt Chark’s development. If Trevor Lawrence turns out to be the real deal in Jacksonville, Chark could be set for a pretty awesome year.

  1. Darius Slayton, WR

Slayton’s breakout season will go hand in hand with Jones’s; with Sterling Shepard being a pretty big question mark and with Kenny Golladay and Evan Engram’s injury concerns it seems likely that Slayton will get a lot of targets in 2021 which will be great for the Giants. Look for a big season here.

  1. Adam Humphries, WR

Adam Humphries had some really great seasons on the Bucs before transitioning to the Titans offense where he was mostly a third receiver that had injury problems and was covered up by the insane play of A.J. Brown. Humphries could have a breakout year once Washington’s offense gets going and once Curtis Samuel gets exposed as not being very good.

  1. John Brown, WR

John Brown has been a trusty wide receiver in recent years, and I would argue that his greatest success came recently in Buffalo. However the emergence of Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley posed problems for Brown, and he was picked up by the Raiders. His role as a reliable receiver behind young talents Henry Ruggs, Hunter Renfrow, and Bryan Edwards is not going to go unnoticed. He will have a great year.

  1. Denzel Mims, WR

Denzel Mims may be stuck on the Jets but that does not mean that his career is doomed to mediocrity. Mims will become more relevant as he is more healthy and as he has a competent quarterback throwing his way. Mims was a stud in Baylor and will have some great seasons in the NFL.

  1. Andy Isabella, WR

I have tried to predict the Andy Isabella breakout season for three unsuccessful years, but I now believe that this really will be the year as the Cardinals emerge as an NFL superpower. The former UMass receiver has insane potential in an offense that loves its four receiver sets.

  1. Jakobi Meyers, WR

Just as one surprising receiver talent out of nowhere (Edelman) heads out, another one of the same breed (Meyers) comes in. Meyers’s play was marred by the fact that New England was an eyesore in 2020, but assuming the Patriots go quarterback in the draft Meyers could emerge as a talent that boosts New England’s offense for years to come.

  1. Van Jefferson, WR

Van Jefferson had some quietly good games in Los Angeles that were covered up by how absolutely prolific Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods are as a receiver tandem. Jefferson could emerge should Stafford find the need to spread targets around to get comfortable in his new offense.

  1. Tyler Conklin, TE

While the absence of Kyle Rudolph certainly does mean the emergence of Irv Smith, it also welcomes in a new player alongside him. Tyler Conklin is a talented tight end that can play the role previously filled by Irv Smith last year as the talented backup tight end. He will not go unnoticed in 2021.

  1. Gerald Everrett, TE

Gerald Everrett was covered up by Tyler Higbee in Los Angeles, but all of that is about to change now that Everrett has locked in a number one spot in the Seattle Seahawks offense. Wilson loves himself a good tight end, and Everrett will benefit from his great play.

  1. Jacob Hollister, TE

While Dawson Knox himself almost made himself I do think it is more likely that Buffalo explores more options in their tight end room. This could come in the form of Hollister who was remarkably successful in his tenure in Seattle.

  1. Rashan Gary, DE

Rashan Gary looked like a bust in his first year in Green Bay, but showed definite improvement in his second season with this 13-3 juggernaut. Rashan Gary may have been hidden behind Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith in 2020, but I suspect we will be seeing much more of Gary in 2021.

  1. Tyus Bowser, DE

Guys let me tell you about Tyus Bowser, the ceiling for this guy is so through the roof that I find it insane that nobody is talking this guy up more. Bowser thoroughly outplayed Matt Judon in 2020 and has potential to be the anchor of this defense now that Baltimore has decided to lock him up on a multi year deal. I am so confident that Bowser will be a dominating presence that I am ready to say he might be in contention for defensive player of the year by the time he’s done with the 2021 season. Ravens fans should be ecstatic that Bowser is on their team for this year.

  1. Joe Schoebert, LB

Joe Schoebert is a part of the D.J. Chark anomaly, I felt similarly to Schoebert last year as I feel to Bowser this year. Schoebert has a ridiculously good playmaking ability and if the Jags decide to pick up their play in 2021 then Schoebert could be exposed as a huge piece to this defense.

  1. Foye Oluokun, LB

It feels like Deion Jones is becoming a little less of a factor in Atlanta, which brings about the emergence of late round pick Foye Oluokon who already had a good 2020 season. Oluokon will become extremely valuable for a crappy defense in 2021.

  1. Mykal Walker, LB

The second Falcons linebacker to make this list is Mykal Walker, Walker had a great season right along with Oluokon in 2021 and might be the start of the next big defense in Atlanta. Or if expectations are reasonable he could be an OK player for a pretty bad defense.

  1. Cole Holcomb, LB

Washington looked like a much better team down the stretch, especially on defense, and now that Ryan Kerrigan has recessed the credit has to be partly given to Cole Holcomb. Holcomb is going to have a great year on this surging Washington team.

  1. Dre Greenlaw, LB

Dre Greenlaw is in the shadow of Fred Warner, but at the same time has definitely been a disruptive force on this 49ers defense, especially in their Super Bowl defense. It is entirely possible that Greenlaw breaks out and makes him and Warner look like the best linebacker tandem in the NFL.

  1. Kevin Pierre-Louis, LB

Pierre-Louis will stand out because he is on a terrible Texans defense whose only other hope is the overrated Zach Cunningham. Pierre-Louis is going to be a breakout star whose play might even award him a Pro Bowl berth.

  1. T.J. Carrie, CB

I am so glad for the Colts’ sake that Carrie was re-signed. Carrie is an extremely talented player who has been underrated with every team he has been with, and who was especially underrated on a Colts defense that featured a lot of very good players.

  1. L’Jarius Sneed, CB

L’Jarius Sneed was one of the few bright spots of a defense that was honestly mightily disappointing. Sneed had some injury concerns during his rookie year but his potential is great on a team that needs a defense if it wants to be a Super Bowl team.

  1. Jordan Whitehead, S

Jordan Whitehead is ridiculously underrated for the level of player he is. Admittedly a lot of credit had to be given to all of the players around him, however Whitehead to me looked like one of the most aggressive and talented players in the Buccaneers’ backfield. Look for a Pro Bowl level season to come from Jordan Whitehead.

  1. Rock Ya-Sin, S

Rock Ya-Sin had a pretty good rookie year, and a really bad second year. Fortunately it is not out of the ordinary for players to slump in their second year, Ya-Sin has the potential to bounce back big and make this already good Colts defense even better.

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