I'm a fan of Baker Mayfield. For a while, I was mostly a fan of his swagger. The DX chops. The headband. Getting in the faces of the Kansas players. I mean, why were the Jayhawks taunting him pre-game? You're Kansas. The sport is football. You can pull that (expletive) at Allen Field House. Not the ball field. Back off.
So, I was a fan of Baker, as an entertainer.
And there was a point where I thought the Jets had "inceptioned" (sic) the Browns into taking him with the first-overall selection in the draft. But I went back to look at some game film (and watched the Rose Bowl like six times), and I'm now a fan of him as a quarterback, too. Or a bigger fan. I kind of took what he did against the Big 12 with a grain of salt. Because defense really isn't a thing in the Big 12. Kind of like how people in Big 12 are not into shorts made of anything other than denim.
And look, I don't want to get too giddy over his game against Georgia in the Rose Bowl. Because I don't want to JaMarcus Russell this thing. But I'm a huge fan of his game. He extends plays well. He's extremely accurate. He's going to make some plays this year. And that's the rub. I love Tyrod, but Mayfield is going to play this year. And play well.
The Chiefs were one of the most prolific offenses last year, but coordinator Matt Nagy is now the head coach of the Bears. That might be cause for concern if Andy Reid didn't boast a resume full of quarterback building. At the very least, the Chiefs surrounded Mahomes with plenty of talent and will be given every chance to succeed. Love him late.
Seahawks have kicked the tires on
DeMarco Murray. Which seems weird. I guess it's like being at the swap meet and seeing a Jean Claude Van Dam thriller "Street Fighter" VHS and you think about buying it. But then you realize, oh yeah, I don't have a VCR. And you now realize the
Seahawks don't have the best offensive line in the league. So even if you truly value Carson, who is pretty talented, don't overspend unless the
Seahawks greatly improve that line. Or get rid of Brian Schottenheimer. Ah damn, he's the OC. Forget everything I've said.
A lot of what I said about Carson goes here. There is an opportunity. I like Carson, but really believe Penny is a better back. He was part of a two-man crew at San Diego State during the 2016 season, running with Donnel Pumphrey. But Penny did great as a solo act in his senior season. Like when Dave Grohl fronted his own band. You'll hear knocks against his competition, playing in the Mountain West conference. But his most impressive game to me came against Arizona State. And he showed some sick receiving skills in the Senior Bowl with a catch-and-run that he took 71 yards to the house. So, don't give me the "he can't outrun the competition" nonsense.
I know, I know. What do you have against Melvin Gordon, Rank? Look. It's our thing. I disrespect Gordon, he has an amazing season. So why fool with what works, right? But I love the Chargers offensive line headed into the season with Mike Pouncey at center. A huge need ever since Nick Hardwick retired. The Chargers offensive line should be great. So, I'm going to want shares of this backfield, and Ekeler was good in limited spots last year before he broke his hand.
He was a huge winner of the draft on night one. The Colts made a smart move with Quenton Nelson. He has the look of a player who can be an All-Pro for 10 years. The Colts have continued to improve the line with Jack Mewhort and Ryan Kelly in recent years and now you add Nelson and Braden Smith. I kind of like this. Mack was a guy some (at least I) thought was going to lose his gig in the draft. Now he's a legit sleeper.
Golladay was a polarizing figure headed into last season. Anybody who watched him was smitten. But history has shown not many receivers make a huge impact during their rookie season. And history was again right, even though Golladay looked brilliant at times. I would anticipate a second-year leap for Kenny G (as I've now dubbed him). He's obviously going to fight for targets with Golden Tate and Marvin Jones ahead of him. But he has the makeup of an elite No. 1 receiver and could be worth a gamble late in your drafts.
Goodwin's overall numbers aren't inherently impressive but don't discount the chemistry built with the greatest quarterback in 49ers history, Jimmy Garoppolo. Goodwin topped 100 receiving yards in three games last year, two of those came with Jimmy G at the helm. Which makes sense when your quarterbacks are C.J. Beathard and Brian Hoyer. He's going to be a hipster pick, so his value might get out of control by the time you draft, so we'll try to keep this between us. But it's going to end up like that taproom around the corner from your house. The place that was desolate the first couple of weeks you went, but now you can't find a spot.
Williams had his moments last year. But they were brief. It was like when a TV show has a four-episode run on Netflix that ends up leaving you with more questions. Like, what was Rory going to do now? Is she just going to stay in Stars Hollow and follow in the footsteps of her mother? Sorry, I'm still not over that Gilmore Girls story arc. I liked it. Much like I enjoyed Williams breakout against the Bills and the promise that he showed. A full offseason to work with Philip Rivers should help out and he's going to thrive opposite Keenan Allen.
Another rookie receiver who had his season cut short by injuries. And I feel like we are all spoiled because ONE TIME Odell Beckham Jr. dominated as a rookie and anything less than 12 touchdowns is a bust. But I absolutely love the addition of Matt LaFleur. Clearly, head coach Mike Vrabel wants to run a modern NFL offense and plucked one of the bright young stars off of a bright young offense. We've never seen him call a game, but I'm not going to knock the pedigree.
We have seen head coach Pat Shurmur call a game, and I like it. It would be lazy to make the "hey, Bill Belichick also failed as coach of the Browns (actually, not really, the team failed him) joke" and move on. But I'm at least encouraged from an offensive standpoint. Shurmur had a direct involvement with Adam Thielen's breakout in Minnesota, as his offense clearly favors the slot receiver. Shepard is going to break out in a big way.
We talked about the Jaguars last year and it worked out pretty well. You won't get them or the Rams this year. Spend some draft capital on the Chargers. They were gifted Derwin James, a top-10 talent, who fell all the way to them. The Chargers might have the best secondary in the NFL and they are going to be one of the top fantasy D/STs this season. Don't sleep on them.