When Adam Gase worked behind the scenes to get then, New York Jets General Manager Mike Maccagnan fired during the offseason heading into the 2019 season, he might have finally altered a very dysfunctional system of drafting. A few weeks later, the Jets signed Joe Douglas to a six-year contract. Douglas finds himself with the colossal task of supplying the organization with players to fill the multiple holes on their roster.
Douglas brings an impressive resume of finding productive players wherever he was part of assisting in the draft. However, in the what have you done for me lately NFL, Jets fans will not be impressed unless he achieves similar success.
The Jets currently own four picks in the first three rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft. Regardless of the players available, the Jets have too many holes to be content with only four picks.
Every loss from over the final four weeks of the season secures the Jets additional leverage in building the best scenario for the franchise.
The higher up on the draft board the organization finishes, the higher return should Douglas should trade it, which he definitely should.
Since I am hiring myself as the Jets general manager for a day, I would set a goal to secure seven picks in the first three rounds.
HOW CAN THAT REALISTICALLY HAPPEN?
The first thing that I would be doing is shutting down key players that are my building blocks for the future. Both Sam Darnold and Jamal Adams should be placed on IR for the remainder of the regular season. The last thing the Jets can afford is a severe injury to either player. Adam’s injury against the Bengals should scare the Jets into what they would look like without his ability to blitz, cover receivers, and running backs, along with making tackles coming up the line of scrimmage.
Darnold is seemingly running for his life every week. God forbid Darnold hurts himself and risks his future being the franchise QB behind the worst offensive line in the NFL. Sam I am has shown enough during their three-game streak of 34 points to see what the Jets needed.
TEAMS WITH MULTIPLE PICKS IN FIRST THREE ROUNDS
First Round: Raiders (2), Jaguars (2), and Dolphins (3) all have multiple picks in the first round.
Second Round: Colts (2), Seahawks (2), Bears (2), Dolphins (2) and Falcons (2)
Third Round: Broncos (3), Raiders (3) and Jets (2)
If the Jets draft in the top three:
Trade first and the lower of their third-round picks to Dolphins for lowest two of their first-round picks and both second-round picks. That gives the Jets six picks in the top three rounds. In this scenario, I would exceed that original number of seven, by trading the higher of my two second-round picks to the Broncos for their two highest third-round picks.
Total picks in first three rounds: Eight
If the Jets draft Fourth or Fifth:
Trade first-round pick to the Raiders for both their first-round picks. Trade the lowest of the first-round picks obtained from Las Vegas to the Dolphins for both second-round picks and their lowest third-round pick.
Total picks in first three rounds: Seven
In Part II of my article on being Joe Douglas, I will discuss the draft picks that will make the Jets a playoff team in 2020.
While the rest of the College Football world gets ready to watch conference championship games and prepare for the playoffs, fans of Alabama are in an unfamiliar position.
Saturday’s brutal loss against Auburn eliminated the Tide from their fifth straight College Football Playoff appearance. Entering this season, they were the only program that advanced to the playoff in each of the four seasons since its inception. Despite showcasing an explosive offense that figured to feature at least four first-round picks in the 2020 NFL draft, Alabama fans find themselves with a strange feeling entering the offseason.
First off, let us give significant props to Mac Jones. Widely considered an afterthought by the “elite” media, Jones showed heart, poise, and talent that made fans of the Yellowhammer state damn proud. Despite giving Auburn 14 points, Jones recovered while showing fearlessness and grit in a hostile, intimidating environment. Each time after committing game-changing mistakes, Jones spit in the eye of unbelievers by following up his errors in judgment with touchdown drives.
The Auburn defense was among the best in the nation this season. No team had scored more than 23 points entering the Iron Bowl. Alabama, with their backup quarterback, almost doubled that number (45). Throw in a missed chip-shot field goal, a touchdown called back for holding and a pick-six at the one-yard line, and the case certainly could be made that a Mac Jones led offense could have hung 60 (actually 59) on the Tigers vaunted defense.
Jones was not the reason Alabama lost on Saturday. Neither was one of the most egregious violations of the spirit of the replay rule, which awarded Auburn with an additional three points at the half.
Alabama’s glaring weakness was a very mediocre defense, which failed to cover up their flaws with creative game plans. If Tosh Lupoi didn’t survive the Tide’s defensive implosion against Clemson in the 2018 National Championship (allowed 44 points and 482 total yards), then Pete Golding shouldn’t be granted back access to Alabama’s campus (allowed 34 points, 382 total yards and 5-13 on third-down).
A few significant questions face Nick Saban and the Tide heading into Bowl season. The first obvious one is whether Tua is coming back. If I put on my prognosticating cap, I would bet on him returning.
The first reason for Tua’s return would be to prove he can still play. I do not see an NFL team risking a first or second-round pick on a player coming off a dislocated hip. Even if Tua’s recovery and rehab go the best they could go, NFL teams will remember the way a hip injury ruined the career of the greatest athlete to come from the state of Alabama (Bo Jackson).
The second reason is that Tua needs to prove he can stay healthy for a full season. Despite video-game numbers in his time at Alabama, Tua has failed to complete a season while being the full-time starting QB.
Switching the narrative to Tua’s camp, losing the certainty of being a top-five pick (which he was projected to be entering this season), will cost him a huge payday. By showing the NFL that he still possesses 90 percent of his athleticism and all of his talent, Tua will quickly regain that top-five status, if not the first selection.
HOW WILL SABAN HANDLE RECRUITING?
Let’s not pretend that my creative mind is anywhere near the brilliance of Saban’s. However, if I once again put on my prognostication cap, expect Saban to take a long look at defensive Jucos.
Alabama already has the second-best recruiting class for 2020, trailing only Clemson by a small margin. The number 3 (CB Nadab Joseph) Juco already has narrowed his choice to Alabama and an unknown. The number 4 (CB Brian George), 7 (S, Tray Bishop), and 8 (DT, Josh Ellison) are still undecided. Bringing in experienced defensive players will add to the Tide’s already impressive class of incoming freshman, returning players from injury and the youngsters that suffered through this season.
The bottom line for Alabama fans is that all is still well. Professor Nick is still running the show, and you also might get Tua back for another shot at the Heisman and a National Championship.
As Week 13 turns to Week 14 in the NFL, here are some notes around the league.
The Ravens became the first team in NFL history to record at least 2,490 passing and rushing yards through 12 games. Their victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, combined with the New England Patriots loss to the Houston Texans, pushes them to the top of the AFC.
The Ravens three-point win over the 49ers ended their streak of dominance over recent opponents. In their previous three games, the Ravens became the first team in NFL history to win three consecutive games by 34 or more points.
Lamar Jackson is on pace to throw for 3,400 yards. The last QB to win the NFL MVP Award to throw for under 3,500 yards was Steve McNair of the Tennessee Titans in 2003.
Since taking over for Marcus Mariota at QB, Ryan Tannehill has led the Titans to wins in five of six games. When Tannehill took over on October 20, the Titans ranked 19th in Red Zone TD Percentage (53.3). Over their last six games, Tennessee has scored TDs on just under 88 percent of their Red Zone visits to vault to first entering Week 14 (71.8).
Derrick Henry continues to show why he is one of the NFL’s most dominant running backs. Henry has averaged 165.0 rushing yards per game over his last three games.
New York Jets
Entering their game against 0-11 Cincinnati, the Jets had posted three consecutive games with 34 points (first time accomplishing that since 2008). However, San Darnold and company managed just six points in a 22-6 loss to the Bengals.
The Jets became the first team in NFL history to suffer losses against teams 0-7 and 0-11 in the same season. While that looks like a damning stat (and it is), since the NFL extended the season to 16 games in 1978, they were just the fourth team to play such teams.
Faced 0-7 & 0-11 Opponents, Same Season, Since 1978
New York Jets
Lost at 0-7 Dolphins
Lost at 0-11 Bengals
Won vs 0-7 Colts
Lost at 0-13 Colts
Tampa Bay Bucs
Won at 0-7 Lions
Won vs 0-11 Lions
Los Angeles Rams
Won vs 0-8 Saints
Won at 0-11 Saints
Los Angeles Chargers
This Sunday, the Chargers found another fascinating way to lose a close game. A pass interference call with three seconds remaining, allowed Denver to kick a game-winning 53-yard field goal.
Despite being four games under .500, the Chargers have a +3 point differential. The last team to finish as many as four-game under .500 with a positive point differential was the 2011 Miami Dolphins (6-10, +16).
If the Chargers continue on their trend, they might have a chance to equal their own record. Since 1978 the record for most games under .500 to finish with a positive point differential was the 2001 San Diego Chargers, who finished six games under (5-11, +11).
The Dallas Cowboys have lost six of their last nine games after starting the season 3-0 and lead the NFC East with a 6-6 record. The Eagles loss at Miami on Sunday dropped their record to 5-7.
In NFL history, only five teams have won their division with a record of .500 or worse.
As the calendar turns to Thanksgiving, the College Football Playoff became a little brighter after this weekend’s games.
Georgia will earn a place in the playoff only if they beat LSU in the SEC Championship Game. However, the Bulldogs might find themselves staring from the outside depending on the Iron Bowl outcome.
If Alabama beats Auburn big on Saturday (by 20 or more), they should move ahead of Georgia. Winning a weak SEC East should not be enough to keep the Bulldogs holding the final playoff spot.
SEC COMMON OPPONENTS MATTER THIS YEAR
Georiga owns victories over top-10 teams Florida and Notre Dame along with a win over #13 Auburn. On the surface, that looks very good. However, they won each by seven points or fewer. That is not impressive enough to counter an ugly loss at home to a 4-8 (after they lose to Clemson) South Carolina team.
The three-time defending SEC East champion could have padded their resume with an impressive win over Texas A&M (ranked #24 in ESPN/Coaches Poll & AP Poll, but unranked in College Football Playoff rankings) at home. Kirby Smart watched his team hold on for dear life in a six-point triumph, despite being outgained by the Aggies by 64 yards in the second half.
Jimbo Fisher should fire whoever analyzes game tapes. After watching Auburn light up Georgia for 238 yards and 14 points in the 4th quarter the previous week, it was apparent the Bulldogs struggle when facing a hurry-up offense. Georgia’s stout defensive line gets gassed when not being able to sub out. Seeing how effective being aggressive was for Wildcats, I was dumbfounded watching Kellen Mond take his sweet time during the Aggies potential go-ahead drive in the final quarter. Mond paid the price for the lack of aggression, as Tyler Clark sacked him to destroy their drive.
Alabama’s only win over a ranked team was on October 12 at College Station over a #24 Aggies opponent, which kills them. They don’t have that one big win like they had in 2017 when they defeated #3 Florida St. in their season-opener (Seminoles finished 7-6 that year in Jimbo Fisher’s final season). However, an impressive showing against rival Auburn Saturday should tilt the pendulum in their direction.
Alabama-Georgia Common Opponents
Play at Auburn 11/30
W, 21-14 (+7) at Auburn
W, 47-28 (+21) at Texas A&M
W, 19-13 (+6) at home
W, 35-13 (+22) at home
W, 42-13 (+29) at Tennessee
W, 47-21 (+26) at South Carolina
L, 20-17 OT (-3) at home
PAC-12 BLEW THEIR BEST CHANCE, BUT MIGHT STILL HAVE A SAY
Heading into Saturday night, things looked very hopeful for #6 #Oregon and #7 #Utah. If both teams won out, it would have been hard to keep the Conference Champion (they will play each other) out of the playoff.
If Georgia wins out, they will clinch the final spot (assuming Clemson, Ohio State & LSU hold serve). However, if Georgia loses to LSU, that will open the door to either Alabama, Oklahoma (assuming both wins out), and the PAC-12 champ.
Oregon had the better case if they won out; however they were eliminated Saturday with their loss at Arizona State. Oregon’s loss also impacts Utah, who now take over the reins as the most attractive candidate in the Pac-12. Assuming Oregon drops out of the top 10 (a probable assumption) that affects Utah since a one-loss Pac-12 champ will no longer be victorious over a top-10 opponent (which they would have if Oregon and Utah won out their regular seasons).
Alabama holds destiny in their own hands (assuming Georgia losses to LSU). If they pummel War Eagle Saturday, they will have the best resume of the other one-loss teams, whoever they are. Beating Auburn by ten or fewer might not be enough to convince the committee they deserve a spot over a Power-5 Conference Champ.
Wallethub recently submitted the results of its search for the best sports cities in 2019.
The criteria for which they base their rankings can be as confusing as advanced math, but such a calculation is required when undertaking an important task.
Wallethub broke up the cities into three separate population sizes. The website used 50 crucial metrics across 418 U.S. Sports Cities related to the five most significant sports in the United States (football, baseball, basketball, hockey, and soccer).
Large cities: (More than 300,000 people)
Tom Brady and his wicked aaahm defended Boston’s number one slot from 2018 as their score of 54.25 ranked the highest. The city celebrated it’s second Super Bowl in three years while the Bruins lost in the Stanley Cup Finals. Boston owned the top spot in basketball and hockey while ranking second in football.
New York ranked second with a score of 48.15. They finished with the top spot in baseball while also finishing in the top five in hockey and football.
Los Angeles (47.2), Pittsburgh (43.6), and Philadelphia (40.34) rounded up the top five large cities. LA took the top spot for soccer, while Pittsburgh ranked first in football.