I'm a title. Click here to edit me.
Athlete Brand Development Series: Interview W/Mary Hardin Baylor Basketball's McKenzie Cano
Football Scout 365 Founder/Analyst Brandon Lundberg Interviews Mary Hardin Baylor Basketball Player McKenzie Cano. They discuss her background as an athlete, her views and experiences with NIL so far, and more. Follow: McKenzie Cano on Instagram This show series will be a part of the Football Scout 365 Athlete Brand Development initiative. You can learn more about our Athlete Brand Development initiative and how you can get involved by visiting the Athlete Brand Development Home Page. Todays Show Focus Today we have a special guest interview with McKenzie Cano; she is a freshman College Basketball Player at Mary Hardin Baylor in Texas. McKenzie played high school basketball at Mason Highschool, a 2A program in West Texas; she is considered a dynamic post player who could be impactful early on as a freshman at Mary Hardin Baylor. She was a four-year varsity player in high school who earned a two-time Texas Association of Basketball Coaches honorable mention while achieving first-team All-District honors twice. Subscribe and Follow Don't forget to subscribe to our podcast (Football Scout 365) and the 5 Tool Sports Podcast. Follow Football Scout 365 on our socials-> Here. Stay tuned for more great content!
Athlete Brand Development Series: NIL Discussion W/5 Tool Sports Podcast Analysts
Today, Host and Football Scout 365 Founder/Analyst Brandon Lundberg is joined by his podcast partners Nate Parker and C.J. McLaughlin from the 5 Tool Sports Podcast to discuss the newest phenomenon sweeping college sports, name, image, and likeness. Below is an outline of events that we discuss in this first episode of Athlete Brand Development. Supreme Court Rules Against The NCAA On June, 21st 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the NCAA (NCAA v. Alston) in favor of student-athletes in a rare yet unanimous 9-0 decision. NCAA Announces Interim Name Image and Likeness Policy The biggest day in the history of collegiate athletics occurred on July 1st, 2021, when the NCAA released a statement announcing an interim policy allowing student-athletes to monetize using their name, image, and likeness. Mark Emmert's Recent Statements Post NIL Decision In a 30-minute interview with a small group of reporters, Emmert stressed he was not putting forth a mandate or even a recommendation. But he laid out a vision for the future of college sports that puts fewer limitations on athletes and de-emphasizes the role of a national governing body like the NCAA, founded 115 years ago and oversees more than 450,000 students who play sports. Todays Show Focus Brandon provides his theory on the future of major college football, leading into the panel discussion with 5 Tool Sports Podcast Analysts C.J. McLaughlin and Nate Parker. Subscribe and Follow Don't forget to subscribe to our podcast (Football Scout 365) and the 5 Tool Sports Podcast. Follow Football Scout 365 on our socials-> Here. Stay tuned for more great content!
About Football Scout 365, It's Founder, The Vision, And The New NIL Driven Athlete Brand Development
About Football Scout 365 Founder Brandon Lundberg Brandon Lundberg is the founder of Football Scout 365, a situational football scouting and analytics site devoted to connecting the numbers to on-field performance. In addition, Brandon produces and hosts his own Football Scout 365 YouTube and podcast series (After Further Review) while also co-producing, editing, and working as an analyst for the 5 Tool Sports Podcast. Brandon is also a husband and a father who is also pursuing his Masters in Marketing & Communication at Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio. The Evolution of Football Scout 365 Brandon's extensive business-related experience combined with his passion for sports, analytics, and scouting has driven him to build an analytically driven football scouting and analytics news and media brand (Football Scout 365). What started six years ago as a hobby, Brandon began to blog and write about football-related strategies that revolved around coaching. The Football Scout 365 brand has evolved into a scouting and analytics news, and media company focused more on football scouting throughout the years. Since 2019, Football Scout 365 has developed and fine-tuned a unique player grading system that uses analytics combined with on-field performance to grade NFL Draft prospects. The Football Scout 365 Mission At its core, the Football Scout 365 mission is to become a scouting and analytics industry leader. Moving forward, Football Scout 365 plans to develop its current scouting and grade techniques for use at all levels of football and for use on a mainstream and commercial level. The Athlete Brand Development Mission Football Scout 365's Athlete Brand Development is a new division of Football Scout 365 devoted to the education of current and future NCAA student-athletes. Athlete Brand Development focuses on teaching student-athletes how to build and develop their brand by leveraging their status as athletes to grow the value of their name, image, and likeness (NIL). Athlete Brand Development wants to educate student-athletes that NIL does not provide a one-size-fits-all opportunity to monetize. The reality is that there is a difference between playing football or basketball at the Ohio State University (D1) and Capital University (D3) and how to leverage their opportunity regardless of division or sport. The Future Vision Of Athlete Brand Development The future of Football Scout 365's Athlete Brand Development is to employ individual marketing strategists who can work one on one with student-athletes to help them strategize and build their brand. Our current focus is on education, podcast interviews, and social media partnerships between the athlete and Football Scout 365. There is a potential opportunity for Football Scout 365 to enter into the athlete endorsement matchmaking industry down the road. At this time, Football Scout 365 does not plan to employ a student-athlete. Still, we offer an Athlete Brand Ambassador program where we partner with the student-athlete via social media to help build awareness about NIL opportunities both here at Football Scout 365 and other available brand partnerships. Sign up today and become a Football Scout 365, Athlete Brand Ambassador. About Becoming an Athlete Brand Ambassador Build your brand, increase your marketing reach, and strengthen your brand for years to come. As an Athlete Brand Ambassador, you have the opportunity to build your brand through several methods, including social media content creation strategies, podcast interviews, portfolio creation, and more. Marketing is not one size fits all, and that's why we believe in building a strategy that fits your specific needs.
2021 College Football Guide: All CFB Preseason Analysis In One Place
Similar to our NFL all-in-one guide, we will include all of our offseason/preseason CFB content in one easy-to-access area for the remainder of the offseason. Be sure to bookmark this page for your convenience. The Football Scout 365 offseason preview content will run through August. Access all Football Scout 365 content for free with just an email and no credit card needed until August 15th, 2021. Restrictions may apply. Follow Football Scout 365 on social media. Click Here to Access All of our social media channels. Coach Rankings, Returning Starters, and Pre-Season Team Projections 2021 Returning Starters/Total Talent Dashboard Returning starters for all power five teams, total talent report, and analysis. Click Here Top 10 CFB Coaches, Plus Coaches On the Rise And The Hot Seat In 2021 Click Here The Top Transfers Who Could Provide The Biggest Impact In 2021 We examine the new NCAA transfer portal rules and highlight the top transfers on both sides of the football. Click Here 10 CFB Storylines To Watch Heading Into 2021 Click Here 2021 CFB Preseason Projections (SUMMER) Power Five conference preseason projections, preseason top 25, preseason all Football Scout 365 NFL Draft Team, and more. Click Here 2021 Football Scout 365 Preseason All American Team Click Here 2021 Football Scout 365 Preseason Top 20 And Playoff Prediction Click Here
2022 NFL Draft Guide: All NFL Draft Analysis in One Place
Similar to our NFL and college football all-in-one guides, we will include all of our NFL Draft content in one easy-to-access area. Be sure to bookmark this page for your convenience. Access all Football Scout 365 content for free with just an email and no credit card needed until August 15th, 2021. Restrictions may apply. Follow Football Scout 365 on social media. Click Here to Access All of our social media channels. 2022 NFL Draft Analysis 2022 NFL Draft Big Board Coming Soon Click Here 2022 NFL Draft QB Player Evaluations and Player Grades Coming Soon Click Here 2022 NFL Draft RB Player Evaluations and Player Grades Coming Soon Click Here 2022 NFL Draft WR Player Evaluations and Player Grades Coming Soon Click Here 2022 NFL Draft WR Player Evaluations and Player Grades Coming Soon Click Here 2022 NFL Draft TE Player Evaluations and Player Grades Coming Soon Click Here 2022 NFL Draft IOL Player Evaluations and Player Grades Coming Soon Click Here 2022 NFL Draft OT Player Evaluations and Player Grades Coming Soon Click Here 2022 NFL Draft IDL Player Evaluations and Player Grades Coming Soon Click Here 2022 NFL Draft Edge Player Evaluations and Player Grades Coming Soon Click Here 2022 NFL Draft LB Player Evaluations and Player Grades Coming Soon Click Here 2022 NFL Draft CB Player Evaluations and Player Grades Coming Soon Click Here 2022 NFL Draft S Player Evaluations and Player Grades Coming Soon Click Here
Top 10 CFB Coaches, Plus Coaches On the Rise And The Hot Seat In 2021
The analysis covers only power five programs. The data we are going to use will come from our Returning Starter and Total Talent Dashboard. The dashboard includes: 247 Sports Total Talent ratings for the last three years. The total number of players sent to the NFL the last three years. The last three years' win percentages. The data will provide a solid baseline for the analysis as all three are vital elements to the success of a major college football coach. The Value Of Recruiting Recruiting, as everyone who is an avid follower of college football knows, is the lifeblood of the sport. If you are not recruiting at a high level in today's college football, you are not competing for national titles. The days of recruiting several developmental three-star players and coaching them up for several years are gone. However, there are a few exceptions at schools with lower expectations, for example, Tom Allen at Indiana. Aside from the two or three exceptions, the coaches who recruit at a high level and win at a high level will be rated higher, while coaches who recruit at a high level yet fail to succeed at a high level will be listed lower. Sending Players to The NFL One trend you will likely see in the rankings will be that teams who recruit at the highest level are sending the most players to the NFL. Some teams send many players to the league yet fail to win at a high level, which presents a red flag. Michigan Football is an excellent example of a team in recent years that has had success sending players to the NFL, yet they are not performing at the highest level. Alabama and Ohio State are on the other end of that spectrum; they both recruit well, send players to the NFL at a high rate and win at a high level. The obvious rule of thumb, teams who can develop their players at a high level, especially teams who recruit at a high level, have the highest success rate. Winning The bottom line in college football is that you have to win. Winning matters, and we decided to add a three-year trend percentage to the dashboard so we can quickly evaluate the teams who are on the rise, stagnant, or consistently winning at a high level. The other day, I had a conversation with one of the 5 Tool Sports Podcast analysts about the difference in expectations between Ohio State and Michigan. My short answer; it is acceptable to consistently go 9-3 or 10-2 at Michigan, while 9-3 or 10-2 can get you fired at Ohio State. That is the difference. The expectations of the top-flight programs are higher, and for a good reason. If teams are consistently winning, the alumni and big-time donors are happy, which keeps the AD, school President, or the Regents comfortable. Once the higher brass starts to feel the heat, it rolls downhill fast in major college football. Coach Salaries Another critical data point to consider is coaching salary. According to USA Today Sports, the average Power Five head coach makes $2.7M per year. The top coaches in the country make $5M or more per year, and the elite coaches (we will use Nick Saban as an example) bring home $8-10M per year. LSU's Ed Orgeron, whose LSU Tigers completed an undefeated 15-0 season in 2019, followed up their incredible 2019 season in 2020 by going 5-5. Ed Orgeron earned $9M in 2020. That is an excellent $1.8M per win, or if you are a glass half empty kind of human, $1.8M per loss. The reality for a coach like Ed Oregon heading into the 2021 season is that the heat will turn up if they have another bad year, even after the historic 2019 season. Winning matters, LSU is in the toughest conference in college football, and for every coach, the leash is short. How many .500 seasons has Nick Saban had? The Football Scout 365 Top Ten Power Five Head Coaches #1 Nick Saban, Alabama Crimson Tide Strength: Recruiting, Development, Defense Three-Year Win %: 92.7% (1st) Three-Year 247 Sports Total Talent Composite Rank: 1st 2021 Class Rankings Updated (7/15) 247 Sports: 1st Three-Year Total Players Drafted: 29 (1st) Nick Saban wins games at the highest level winning six national titles with Alabama, including this past year and one with the LSU Tigers. Alabama's recruiting under Saban has been superb; they rank first in average total team talent, a measure we compiled using the previous three years' data from 247 sports total team talent composite rankings. As far as sending players to the NFL, no coach does it better. Under Saban, the Crimson Tide has been an NFL feeder school. Saban has sent 39 players to the NFL through the first round alone since he arrived in Tuscaloosa, and in the last three years, the Tide continues to roll, sending 29 total players to the NFL according to the data pulled from Pro Football Reference. Nick Saban is also 91-8 since the College Football Playoff era began. #2 Dabo Swinney, Clemson Tigers Strength: Recruiting & Development Three-Year Win %: 92.2% (2nd) Three-Year 247 Sports Total Talent Composite Rank: 6th 2021 Class Rankings Updated (7/15) 247 Sports: 5th Three-Year Total Players Drafted: 18 (8th) The numbers scream more with less when compared to Nick Saban above, and some of that is true, but the reality is that Dabo is still building Clemson into the level that Alabama has been at for years. There were several seasons where Clemson was outside of the top ten in recruiting and still winning at a high level, but they are now bringing in consistent top ten classes. The key component for Dabo has been getting it right when recruiting QB's. Under Swinney, the Tigers had three back-to-back-to-back program-changing signal callers, Tajh Boyd, Deshaun Watson, and Trevor Lawrence. Swinney has two national titles under his belt, and arguably another program-changing QB (DJ Uiagalelei) heads into the 2021 season. #3 Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma Sooners Strength: Scheme, Development, Offense Three-Year Win %: 84.4% Three-Year 247 Sports Total Talent Composite Rank: 11th 2021 Class Rankings Updated (7/15) 247 Sports: 10th Three-Year Total Players Drafted: 17 *(9th) Lincoln Riley is an offensive genius and a consistent go-to for offensive coaches around the country who are looking for new ideas. Since his days as an OC under Bob Stoops, he has been the constant force behind the Sooners Offensive resurgence since 2015. Since taking the reigns as the Sooner head coach, Riley has won 4 Big 12 titles and made appearances in three College Football Playoffs. The Sooners have the 4th highest win percentage in FBS since Riley arrived as the OC in Norman back in 2015. Riley has produced two Heisman Trophy-winning QB's (Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield) and one Heisman runner-up in Jalen Hurts. In 2020, Riley started his first QB (Spencer Rattler) as head coach recruited and developed by his staff rather than a transfer from another program. Rattler is now a projected top-five NFL Draft prospect ahead of the 2021 college football season. There is a reason NFL teams covet Riley as a potential candidate for open NFL jobs. That trend will continue moving forward due to his ability as an offensive guru. Riley needs to procure a national title to further cement his status as one of the top three coaches. #4 Mack Brown, North Carolina Tarheels Strength: CEO, Recruiting Three-Year Win %: 46.23% (44th) (Brown Has Been on Campus Two Years). Three-Year 247 Sports Total Talent Composite Rank: 25th 2021 Class Rankings Updated (7/15) 247 Sports: 14th Three-Year Total Players Drafted: 8 *(27th) (5 drafted in 2021 NFL draft) Number will continue to increase under Brown. Mack Brown has turned the Tarheels football program around in two short seasons, similar to his first stint in Chapel Hill, where he coached from 1988 to 1997. Brown bookended his first stint in Chapel hill by going 1-10 in 1988 to 10-1 and a top-five finish in 1997. Brown boasts a career 65% win percentage; from 1998 to 2013, Brown won 76% of his games at Texas, won a national title, produced a few Heisman winners (Ricky Williams and Vince Young). He has coached for 32 years and won 253 games. So why is Mack Brown rated 4th on our list? Brown is known for his recruiting prowess and has been dynamite the last two years. The total talent rating using the 247 Sports combined three-year total from 2017-2020; the Tarheels have risen to 25th with an 86.62 average rating. Their 2021 recruiting class rating of 90.88 ranks 15th, which shows they will continue their talent ascension. Again, recruiting matters, and Brown has been dynamite as a recruiter and a team CEO in his first few years in Chapel Hill. The Tarheels are a legitimate ACC title contender and a darkhorse CFB playoff contender in 2021. #5 Ryan Day, Ohio State Strength: Recruiting, Offense, QB Guru Three-Year Win %: 91.0% (3rd) Three-Year 247 Sports Total Talent Composite Rank: 2nd 2021 Class Rankings Updated (7/15) 247 Sports: 2nd Three-Year Total Players Drafted: 28 (2nd) The last few years before 2020, we have watched Alabama take on Clemson for the king of college football. Ohio State is now in the driver seat at number two in key categories such as 247 Sports total talent ranking and sending players to the NFL. Ohio State is and always has been a football factory. They have gone from Jim Tressel to Urban Meyer, and now they have Ryan Day. Tressel set the tone in the early 2000s for a program that should have won several titles in the '90s had John Cooper found the secret recipe to beating arch-rival Michigan. Jim Tressel discovered that recipe (closing the Ohio Border to recruiting), Urban Meyer took that approach and expanded it nationally. Now Ryan Day is expanding the horizons of Ohio State with a coach dedicated to offense and high-level QB play. Ryan Day has one feat he must conquer to continue his ascension, win a national title. The two coaches prior did it in a few short years on campus. At Ohio State winning 11, or 12 games a year is the norm; making the college football playoff and winning a national title is expected. Ryan Day is positioning himself to reach that goal of a national title. #6 Tom Allen, Indiana Hoosiers Strength: CEO, Development, Defense Three-Year Win %: 59.4% (24th) Three-Year 247 Sports Total Talent Composite Rank: 53rd 2021 Class Rankings Updated (7/15) 247 Sports: 53rd Three-Year Total Players Drafted: 3 Tom Allen is the outlier on our list for many reasons, but the key reason is that he is at Indiana, where football is secondary to basketball. Allen inherited a cusp under current Ohio State OC Kevin Wilson, an offensive-focused coach fired for player mistreatment claims. Allen, unlike Wilson, is a defensive-minded coach. And the Hoosiers have never been better in the modern era on the defensive side of the ball. The Hoosiers ranked 43rd in yards allowed a season ago, but do not be fooled; they ranked 1st in the country in the red-zone scoring rate (64%). In addition, the Hoosier's offense was equally good in unique ways. They took care of the football ranking 9th in turnover margin nationally, and they ranked 31st in time of possession offense, two stats that benefit a team who wants to protect their defense. Compared to the previous five coaches, Allen does not have the resources, facilities, prestige that the others possess at name-brand universities known for football. Indiana is rated 53rd in total talent, according to 247 Sports Total Talent Rating in 2021. With 77% of their starters returning, the Hoosiers can make a play to compete in the Big Ten East and a potential shot at a trip to Indy for the Big Ten Title. It is a long shot, but certainly not out of the question. #7 Matt Campbell, Iowa State Strength: Motivator, Development, Offense Three-Year Win %: 63.5 (16th) Three-Year 247 Sports Total Talent Composite Rank: 54th 2021 Class Rankings Updated (7/15) 247 Sports: 59th Three-Year Total Players Drafted: 3 *(56th) Matt Campbell is a highly coveted (does more with less) coach whose name popped up in NFL coaching discussion(s) this offseason. He reportedly turned down the Texas Longhorns to stay in Aimes, Iowa. Campbel is a player(s) coach, similar to Tom Allen; according to sources, his players love and respect him so much they would go into a literal war, not just on the football field with him if needed. In football, this is a highly valuable trait that some coaches try to develop but fail. Some of the best coaches in the game do not possess this leadership trait. Campbell, who owns the best winning percentage in Iowa State history, initiated his rebuilding plan and laid the foundation by instilling in his team to “Trust The Process.” His team(s) responded, delivering Iowa State into the most prosperous period in its history. Campbel is a three-time Big 12 Coach of The Year (2017, 2018, 2020) and could be in a position to win it again and even more in 2021. #8 Brian Kelly, Notre Dame Strength: CEO, Recruiting, Offense Three-Year Win %: 86.8% (4th) Three-Year 247 Sports Total Talent Composite Rank: 8th 2021 Class Rankings Updated (7/15) 247 Sports: (9th) Three-Year Total Players Drafted: 21 (6th) Think about Notre Dame before Brian Kelly. Charlie Weis won 56% of his games, and before Weis, Bob Davie and Tyrone Willingham combined to win 58% of their games. Brian Kelly has returned Notre Dame to a notch below Lou Holtz Era success, winning 72% of his games; Holtz won 76% of his games in the 80s and early 90s. In 2016, Brian Kelly's Notre Dame squad went 4-8, an unacceptable mark. With Kelly at a crossroads, he let go of several coaches on his staff and retooled to keep Notre Brass from letting him go. The changes were a huge success. Since that 4-8 season, the Irish have went 43-7, appeared in the College Football Playoff two times, and played for an ACC title in 2020. Kelly has 252 victories in his career with stints at Grand Valley State, where he won two FCS championships, Central Michigan, where he won the MAC Title, and the Cincinnati Bearcats, where he won two Big East Titles before he moved on to Notre Dame in 2010. Brian Kelly has reached great heights, but Irish fans, alumni, and big-money donors are hungry for more. There were rumors a year ago that if Urban Meyer wanted the Notre Dame job, it was his to have. What this says to me is 10-11 wins, and a CFP beatdown is not enough. Kelly must deliver more soon to ascend higher, but as of right now, he is our 8th highest-rated CFB coach. #9 Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern Strength: CEO, Development, Defense Three-Year Win %: 55.7% Three-Year 247 Sports Total Talent Composite Rank: 41st 2021 Class Rankings Updated (7/15) 247 Sports: 50th Three-Year Total Players Drafted: 4 (54th) Like Tom Allen Indiana, Pat Fitzgerald is a coach who achieves more with less. The Wildcats are consistent, and from time to time, they have a down year, but each time they have a bad season, they follow it with a strong year. Northwestern is not a five-star NFL factory; they are known more for academics than sports. Pat Fitzgerald is the perfect coach because he played at Northwestern in the '90s and understands what it takes to be a student-athlete at a prestigious academic institution. His program consistently embodies toughness and resilience. Winning 55% of his games the last three seasons, the Wildcats finished 7-2 in 2020, won the Big Ten West, and represented the West Division in the Big Ten title game. The Wildcats lost talent to the NFL draft from its 2020 team, and they return only 31% of their starters from a season ago. Fitzgerald can solidify his top-ten status as a top ten head coach by putting together another Big Ten West contending season in 2021. #10 Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M Strength: CEO, Recruiting, Offense Three-Year Win %: 73.6% (10th) Three-Year 247 Sports Total Talent Composite Rank: 13th 2021 Class Rankings Updated (7/15) 247 Sports: 8th Three-Year Total Players Drafted: 13 (13th) There is Jim Harbaugh, and there is Jimbo Fisher. The two are not the same, considering Jim has not won a conference title or a national title, but the conversation of coaching salary and failed expectations is very comparable. According to USA Today, Jimbo received the 5th highest pay of $7.5M last season, while Jim Harbaugh made the 4th highest pay at $8M. Why is this relevant? Fisher has yet to defeat Alabama. Now, Fisher is still an excellent football coach; he is one of the nation's best recruiters; though his offense has become stagnant, his teams are efficient. The Aggies know that the road to a title travels through Alabama. If there will be a better year to take down Alabama, it's 2021 while they are "reloading." For Jimbo to live up to this top ten ranking or move up higher, he has to beat Saban, win the SEC and make the College Football Playoff. Coaches on The Hotseat Ed Orgeron, LSU Tigers Strength: Recruiting Improvement Area: Development and Staff Three-Year Win %: 75.6% (8th) Three-Year 247 Sports Total Talent Composite Rank: 4th 2021 Class Rankings Updated (7/15) 247 Sports: 3rd Three-Year Total Players Drafted: 24 (3rd) It feels like an eternity since the Tigers went 15-0 in a historic year where they had arguably the greatest offense of all time. That was in 2019, and in college football years, that's like ten years ago. After a 5-5 season in 2020 and a 4th place SEC west division finish, Orgeron is looking at a year where he has to prove he is not a one-hit-wonder. Being the head coach at LSU like Alabama, Ohio State, and Clemson, the expectation is to make the playoff and compete for national championships. According to our three-year total talent average, the Tigers boasted the 4th most talented roster, yet in 2020 the on-field product appeared to be far from what the expectations require in Baton Rouge. There is one guy they could go after if things go south, and that is Carolina Panthers OC and the OC when they won the National Title in 2019, Joe Brady. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan Strength: Recruiting Three-Year Win %: 59.8% Three-Year 247 Sports Total Talent Composite Rank: 14th 2021 Class Rankings Updated (7/15) 247 Sports: 13th Three-Year Total Players Drafted: 23 *(4th) After a 2-4 season in 2020, Jim Harbaugh is taking the 2017 Brian Kelly route. He has retooled the majority of his staff, including his recruiting coordinator, to turn things around. Recruiting and talent have not been the issue; developing talent when it arrives in Ann Arbor is the issue. Will the changes be enough to get Michigan to 9 or 10 wins in 2021 and at least a competitive game vs. Ohio State? Harbaugh is betting on himself to do so, even taking a pay cut in a new contract to prove he can get Michigan back on track. If not, Harbaugh could be out by the end of the 2021 season. Clay Helton, USC Trojans Strength: Recruiting Improvement Area: Development Three-Year Win %: 62.2% Three-Year 247 Sports Total Talent Composite Rank: 5th 2021 Class Rankings Updated (7/15) 247 Sports: 7th Three-Year Total Players Drafted: 11 *(21st) Like Jim Harbaugh, talent is not the issue. Helton avoided the calls for Urban Meyer to replace him in 2021, but that still does not mean he is out of the woods. Helton won the Pac 12 and the Rose Bowl in 2017. Since then, he has posted a 5-7 record in 2017, 8-5 in 2018 but bounced back with a 5-1 record in 2020. He has an opportunity to bounce back even stronger in 2021. He has a promising QB Kedon Slovis who is getting 1st round NFL draft buzz, and the Trojans return 59% of their 2020 starters. The talent is there; they rank 5th in total talent average the last three seasons. Coaches On The Rise Mario Cristobal, Oregon Ducks Strength: Recruiting, Offensive Line Three-Year Win %: 70.7% Three-Year 247 Sports Total Talent Composite Rank: 17th 2021 Class Rankings Updated (7/15) 247 Sports: 6th Three-Year Total Players Drafted: 13 (13th) Cristobal is building Oregon into a potential OL U. Cristobal, a former Miami Hurricanes OL Under Jimmy Johnson in the '80s is building Oregon from inside out by focusing on the trenches. Ducks fans should be happy to see a coach who believes in the trenches in a conference not known for physicality. For Oregon to ascend into a realistic national title contender, they will have to be more physical when facing the Ohio State's and Alabama's of the world, and Cristobal appears to get that. Cristobal is a CFB playoff appearance away from ascending into the top ten. Lane Kiffen, Ole Miss Rebels Strength: Offense, QB's Three-Year Win %: 41.7% Three-Year 247 Sports Total Talent Composite Rank: 23rd 2021 Updated (7/15) 247 Sports Total Talent Ranking: 17th Three-Year Total Players Drafted: Lane Kiffen is on the rise once again, and this time we think it's for real. He is a brilliant offensive mind who can be a high-level head coach at a prestigious program if given the opportunity. Mark Stoops, Kentucky Wildcats Strength: Defense, Development Three-Year Win %: 61.3% (21st) Three-Year 247 Sports Total Talent Composite Rank: 39th 2021 Class Rankings Updated (7/15) 247 Sports: 34th Three-Year Total Players Drafted: 13 *(13th) How many Stoops are there? Stoops has built the Wildcats into a middle-tier SEC team after winning just 12 games in his first three seasons. Since that stretch, Stoops has won 37 games, and the Wildcats have made five straight bowl appearances. They are also developing and putting guys in the league.
2022 NFL Draft: Evaluating North Carolina Tar Heel QB Sam Howell
Today we examine 2022 NFL Draft Prospect and North Carolina QB Sam Howell. The Grade Scale Click here for more info on how we evaluate NFL Draft prospects The grading scale below is on a level of 1-10, 10 being the elite level and 1 being the lowest developmental level. Click the link above to learn more. (QB) Overall Accuracy (Short/Intermediate/Deep) Grade: 8 On film, Howell shows he can fit the ball into windows. His ability to hit throws down the seam over LB's and in front of the safeties is notable. (QB) Throws Outside The Numbers Grade: 7 On film, Howell shows an adequate ability to hit throws outside of the numbers. Because UNC relies on RPO-based routes inside the numbers, I would like to see more throws by Howell outside the numbers in 2021. (QB) Progressions and Reads Grade: 7 Howell demonstrates the ability to go from one to three, but the Tarheel offense is play-action and RPO heavy. There is a slight concern that Howell needs to develop more in going through progressions, but the concern level is low. (QB) Deep Accuracy (Ball Placement) Grade: 8 Sam Howell possesses a quick release and good deep ball placement (>20+ air yards), which showed in 2020 where he completed 53% of throws 20 yards or more down the field while throwing 11 TD's to 2 INT's on deep throws. (QB) Under Pressure Grade: 7 Howell was outstanding under pressure completing 53% of his throws while compiling an 11/3 TD/INT ratio when facing pressure in 2020. Howell has been a starter since his freshman season in Chapel Hill. (QB) Play Action Passing/RPO Grade: 8 The Tarheels run a very QB-friendly RPO-focused offense (most RPO's in the NCAA in 2020). Howell excelled in play-action and RPO averaging 12.0 yards per attempt in 2020. (QB) Arm Talent (strength, angles, creativity) Grade: 7 Sam Howell has NFL-level arm strength. He is not known as a QB who relies on his throwing power to fit a ball into a tight window, but he is someone who will take a chance from time to time. He can benefit more by relying on his consistent deep ball placement than using his average to good arm strength to fit the football into a tight window. His arm strength is more than adequate for the NFL level. Overall Athleticism At The Position (Pocket Movement Mobility Speed Footwork Power Balance) Grade: 6 Howell is an adequate athlete who can move well enough to extend plays which is a crucial trait of current young top NFL QB's. Having the ability to create when a play breaks down is vital in today's football. He could improve by not taking off too soon and allowing the play to develop. Overall, he shows good pocket awareness. Howell has good footwork tendencies but could improve, as do all QBs at the collegiate level. Awareness and Vision (Position Based) Grade: 7 Howell has good awareness but can sometimes force a throw into a tight area. These issues are few and far between but must be acknowledged. He possesses good field vision; he does a great job identifying the open areas locating his receivers. On film, you can see his ability to drive the pocket when he feels pressure coming, which is a high-level trait. Player Size (Position Based) Grade: 7 Howell is not a huge QB at 6-1, 220lbs. He draws comparisons to Baker Mayfield, and you can see some similarities in play style. His size is not a factor and is more than adequate at the NFL level. Scheme Flexibility (is the player scheme dependent or easily adaptable)? Grade: 7 As we have already discussed, the Tarheels use a lot of RPO. When I scouted Baker Mayfield coming out of Oklahoma, I remember his game vs. Ohio State and the amount of RPO they ran in that game on the road vs. the Buckeyes and during his final season in Norman. That did not stop me from grading Baker Mayfield as the most NFL-ready QB entering the 2018 NFL draft. Howell can position himself similarly entering the 2021 CFB season and ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft. On tape and early in the process, Howell looks the part of an NFL-ready QB. 2021 Games to Watch Away vs. Va Tech Sept 3rd Home vs. Miami Oct 16th Away vs. Notre Dame Oct 30th Conclusion/Overall Grade: 7.18 (Instant Impact Player) Howell is considered a low-level Instant Impact player with year one starter potential. As discussed above, he shows NFL-ready traits similar to the evaluation we performed on Baker Mayfield in 2017. When evaluating any player and especially the QB position, one of the key factors to consider is their experience level and year-over-year progression. Howell has been the starter in Chapel Hill since he arrived two seasons ago. As a freshman in 2019, Howell was very good in his 13 games as the starter completing 61% of his passes for 3600+ yds. He posted an elite-level TD/INT ratio of 38/7 and the nation's 10th highest passer rate (160.25). He followed up in 2020 by posting 3500+ pass yds, a 30/7 TD/INT ratio, and the nation's 8th best passer rate (179.09. He has two years of experience as a starter under his belt heading into the 2021 season.
2021 Preseason NFL Overall Team Top 10 Grades/Rankings
Over the last five weeks, we have covered the top offenses and defenses using different categories. For offense, we graded and ranked passing offense, run offense, receivers, run blocking, and pass blocking. On the defensive side of the football, we graded and ranked the top pass-rush, run stop, and pass coverage defenses. The results of each, when combined, provide us with a preseason situational analysis grade for both the offense and defense of every NFL team that we use to determine NFL power rankings, the strength of schedule for all teams, and projected win totals. About The Analysis Today's analysis wraps up our total team grades combining pass offense, run offense, receiving, run blocking, and pass blocking team grades with the defensive grades, pass coverage, run stop, and pass rush. The average for each team determines how a team will be ranked heading into the 2021 NFL season. The Grade Scale The team grades use the individual player grades to get an average for each category. For offense, it's passing, run offense, run blocking, and pass blocking. As mentioned above, we use pass rush, run stop, and pass coverage for the defense. The scale is a 1 to 10 rating scale, with one being the lowest and ten being the highest. On average, based on preliminary analysis, a grade of 6 to 6.99 is a playoff-caliber position group, or if the entire offensive grade is in the area of 6 to 6.99, that will represent a playoff-caliber offense. A seven or higher average represents a Super Bowl Caliber offense, defense, or position group. You can find all of our preseason NFL team grades by visiting our beta version of the Team and Player Grade Dashboard. Click Here To View Player And Team Grade Dashboard Top Ten (w/14 Teams Because of Ties) Projected NFL Teams Heading Into 2021 Today's analysis covers the top ten NFL teams using the grades from all offensive and defensive categories that we use to grade every NFL team. Tampa Bay Buccaneers TOTAL TEAM RANK: 1st OFFENSE: 1st DEFENSE: 1st Cleveland Browns TOTAL TEAM RANK: 2nd OFFENSE: 2nd DEFENSE: 6th Los Angeles Rams TOTAL TEAM RANK: 3rd OFFENSE: 7th DEFENSE: 2nd Baltimore Ravens TOTAL TEAM RANK: 4th OFFENSE: 4th DEFENSE: *9th (Tied w/Jets) Kansas City Chiefs TOTAL TEAM RANK: *5th (Tied w/49ers) OFFENSE: 5th DEFENSE: 17th San Francisco 49ers TOTAL TEAM RANK: *5th (Tied w/Chiefs) OFFENSE: 11th DEFENSE: 8th New Orleans Saints TOTAL TEAM RANK: *6th (Tied w/Packers, Steelers) OFFENSE: 16th DEFENSE: 5th Green Bay Packers TOTAL TEAM RANK: *6th (Tied w/Saints, Steelers) OFFENSE: 8th DEFENSE: *13th (Tied w/Colts) Pittsburgh Steelers TOTAL TEAM RANK: *6th (Tied w/Packers, Saints) OFFENSE: 26th DEFENSE: 3rd Dallas Cowboys TOTAL TEAM RANK: 7th OFFENSE: 3rd DEFENSE: 23rd Denver Broncos TOTAL TEAM RANK: 8th OFFENSE: 21st DEFENSE: 7th Buffalo Bills TOTAL TEAM RANK: 9th (Tied w/Colts) OFFENSE: 9th DEFENSE: 16th Indianapolis Colts TOTAL TEAM RANK: 9th (Tied w/Bills) OFFENSE: 12th DEFENSE: *13th (Tied w/Packers) Washington Football Team TOTAL TEAM RANK: 10th OFFENSE: 25th DEFENSE: 4th
NFL Personnel Group Usage, Analysis and Trends Since 2018, Check Out The New Dashboard
We have compiled every NFL team's personnel group usage since the 2018 season. What is the significance of analyzing a team's personnel group usage, and how can you use the data to your advantage? Click to Go To Personnel Group Analysis Dashboard The Role of Personnel Groups Varies By The Team At All Levels Personnel is dictated mainly by roster construction, and sometimes circumstances can dictate how a team utilizes particular personnel. For example, some run-heavy teams like to use multiple TE's more than others and might roster more TE's than other teams. Teams that use 12 personnel (1 back, two TE's) might be more run-heavy, but that doesn't always have to be the case. Some run-heavy teams use only one TE more often and are in an 11 Personnel (1 back, 1 TE) consistently. How Personnel Groups Can Be Used Strategically Teams at all levels of football will use personnel groups to dictate the type of personnel groups an oppossing team defense will trot out on the field. For example, a run-heavy offense might use 12 personnel at a 30% rate, and when in 12 personnel, they run the football 70% of the time on first down. Teams can use the personnel to dictate the defense's personnel and then break their tendency in a key moment. For example, let's say team X is up by 3 with 12:00 mins to go in the 4th QTR, and on 1st and ten, team Y, the defense has been loading the box matching your personnel with their bigger personnel throughout the game, and they have been giving you man to man on the outside. Now might be that critical moment to take that shot vs. man to man. Now, this is just one example of the strategic use of different personnel groups. The Most Common Personnel Groups Used Today 11 personnel remains the dominant personnel group in the NFL. From 2018-2019, 11 personnel (one back, one TE) usage in the NFL did drop by 5% YOY, and from 2019 to 2020, 11 personnel held steady at 60%. How and Why 11 Personnel Became Dominant? The evolution of 3 WR sets in football is where the transition from two TE run-heavy looks (12 personnel) and 2 Backs, one TE looks have evolved (21 personnel). In 2008, NFL teams used a higher rate of 12 and 21 personnel combined with 11 personnel still being the dominant grouping at 34%, 12 personnel, and 21 personnel accounted for 43%, and 22 personnel (two backs, two TE's) accounted for 10% of the average league total for personnel group usage in 2008. Let's fast forward to 2020; 22 personnel is nonexistent except for a few teams who employ a fullback and multiple TE's, and even those teams run a low rate of 22 and 21 personnel. Personnel groups have evolved to a higher rate of 11 personnel through the years because of the emergence of highly skilled slot receivers and RB's who excel both as pass catchers and pass blockers out of the backfield. In addition, some highly skilled RB's are even more versatile and can line up in the slot or flex out wide, which allows an OC to keep them on the field consistently in key passing situations as a receiver. The emergence of more athletic TE's has also elevated the use of 11 personnel. Instead of trotting out an additional slot receiver, teams can keep their TE's on the field and move them all around. TE's are no longer inline consistently and counted on as blockers; they are used in the slot, out wide, and the backfield. Top Five Teams By Personnel Usage We examined the top five NFL teams by the top three personnel groups used in the NFL. The top three, as mentioned above, are 11 personnel, 12 personnel, and 21 personnel. Top Five NFL Teams Who Utilized 11 Personnel (One Back, One TE) in 2020 NFL Average- 60% Cincinnati Bengals 11 Personnel Usage- 76% The Bengals 11 personnel usage is warranted, and the expectation is that it will continue in 2021. By drafting Ja'Marr Chase, the Bengals now can slide Tyer Boyd back inside to the slot, with Tee Higgins playing opposite of Chase on the outside. In addition, they possess versatility at RB with Joe Mixon, who can be an every-down back and is an excellent receiver out of the backfield. They can use a higher rate of 12 personnel with the emergence of TE Drew Sample and the player he replaced due to injury TE C.J. Uzomah. Pittsburgh Steelers 11 Personnel Usage- 75% The Steelers are a team we expect might drop in year over year 11 personnel usage. Still, they are so loaded at WR making any assertion other than them maintaining a 75% 11 Personnel usage might be invalid. The one argument is that they drafted TE Pat Friermuth from Penn State, who will team up with Eric Ebron at TE in 2021. Kansas City Chiefs 11 Personnel Usage- 73% The Chiefs are an air raid offense built around having a versatile 11 personnel. The RB's in this offense must be good receivers, and the TE must line up all over the formation and use his athleticism for mismatch advantages. One of those boxes has been checked with Travis Kelce at TE, while the RB is in question. CEH is a good receiver and an adequate runner. As a result, the Chiefs should maintain a top-five status in 11 personnel usage in 2021 using three wide receivers, one TE, and one back. Team to Watch Jacksonville Jaguars 11 Personnel Usage- 73% The Jags will be interesting to watch in 2021. Urban Meyer is testing the idea of using more 21 personnel based on his statement on Ettiene working as a WR. Of course, Etienne is a RB, and to believe anything otherwise is silly, but Urban Meyer envisions his role in the offense for 2021 to be Percy Harvin-esque. This means you have another mismatch style back in Etienne paired with James Robinson on the field all at once. We already know Robinson has strong receiver ability, and Etienne, coming out of Clemson, showed us his ability as a high-level receiver. The Jags are an exciting team to keep an eye on regarding how they might change the game in personnel usage. If the Urban Meyer two RB thought process works, other teams will, of course, try to mimic what the Jags do. New York Jets 11 Personnel Usage- 72% Top Five Teams Who Utilized 12 (One Back, Two TE's) Personnel In 2020 NFL Average- 20% Tennessee Titans 12 Personnel Usage- 35% Philadelphia Eagles 12 Personnel Usage- 35% Team To Watch Arizona Cardinals 12 Personnel Usage- 30% The Cardinals used nearly four times the amount of 10 personnel (one back, zero TE's) in 2019 than the next team. In 2020, they flipped their personnel usage to a more NFL-centric approach using more 11 and 12 personnel. Kingsbury learned that there is a big difference between the college and NFL game in that 10 Personnel cannot be a base level group like it is in the college game. As a result, the Cardinals surrendered 50 sacks in 2019 (bottom third). 21 of the 50 sacks surrendered in 2019 happened when they were in 10 personnel. They improved in 2020, allowing only 29 total sacks, partly related to decreased ten personnel usage. Los Angeles Rams 12 Personnel Usage- 29% Houston Texans 12 Personnel Usage- 28% Top Five NFL Teams Who Used 21 (Two Backs, One TE) Personnel In 2020 NFL Average- 8% New England Patriots 21 Personnel Usage- 37% Team To Watch San Francisco 49ers 21 Personnel Usage- 33% The 49ers are one of a handful of teams who use a traditional FB. The 49ers are run-heavy, and they rely on the use of constraint-style plays that can get LB's in a bind. The TE in this offense has to be a good blocker and a pass-catcher, and they have that part covered. The 49ers might be even more 21 personnel heavy, with an athlete potentially starting at the QB position in Trey Lance. With or without Lance starting in 2021, don't expect much to change in their offense or personnel usage style. Minnesota Vikings 21 Personnel Usage- 26% Baltimore Ravens 21 Personnel Usage- 18% Green Bay Packers 21 Personnel Usage- 14%
2021 Preseason NFL Overall Team Offense Top 10 Grades/Rankings
Over the last five weeks, we have covered the top offenses and defenses using different categories. For offense, we graded and ranked passing offense, run offense, receivers, run blocking, and pass blocking. On the defensive side of the football, we graded and ranked the top pass-rush, run stop, and pass coverage defenses. The results of each, when combined, provide us with a preseason situational analysis grade for both the offense and defense of every NFL team that we use to determine NFL power rankings, the strength of schedule for all teams, and projected win totals. About The Analysis Today's analysis wraps up our total offensive team grades combining passing offense, run offense, run blocking, and pass blocking team grades. The average for each team determines how a team will be ranked heading into the 2021 NFL season. The Grade Scale The team grades use the individual player grades to get an average for each category. For offense, it's passing, the run offense, receivers, run blocking, and pass blocking. As mentioned above, we use pass rush, run stop, and pass coverage for the defense. The scale is a 1 to 10 rating scale, with one being the lowest and ten being the highest. On average, based on preliminary analysis, a grade of 6 to 6.99 is a playoff-caliber position group, or if the entire offensive grade is in the area of 6 to 6.99, that will represent a playoff-caliber offense. A seven or higher average represents a Super Bowl Caliber offense, defense, or position group. You can find all of our preseason NFL team grades by visiting our beta version of the Team and Player Grade Dashboard. Click Here To View Player And Team Grade Dashboard Top Ten Projected NFL Offenses Heading Into 2021 Today's analysis covers the top ten NFL defenses using the grades from the five offensive categories (passing offense, run offense, receivers, run blocking, and pass blocking). Tampa Bay Buccaneers TOTAL OFFENSE RANK: 1st PASS OFF: 1st RUN OFF: 9th REC: 1st RUN BLOCK: *1st (Tied w/49ers) PASS BLOCK: 7th (Tied w/Steelers, Jags, Rams) Cleveland Browns TOTAL OFFENSE RANK: 2nd PASS OFF: 12th RUN OFF: 2nd REC: 10th RUN BLOCK: 2nd PASS BLOCK: 1st Dallas Cowboys TOTAL OFFENSE RANK: 3rd PASS OFF: 7th RUN OFF: 8th REC: 2nd RUN BLOCK: 13th PASS BLOCK: 5th Baltimore Ravens TOTAL OFFENSE RANK: 4th PASS OFF: 17th RUN OFF: 3rd REC: 15th RUN BLOCK: *6th (Tied w/Cards, Bills, Chiefs, Chargers) PASS BLOCK: 6th Kansas City Chiefs TOTAL OFFENSE RANK: 5th PASS OFF: 2nd RUN OFF: 18th REC: 4th RUN BLOCK: *6th (Tied w/Cards, Bills, Ravens, Chargers) PASS BLOCK: 14th Arizona Cardinals TOTAL OFFENSE RANK: 6th PASS OFF: 15th RUN OFF: 15th REC: 18th RUN BLOCK: *6th (Tied w/Ravens, Bills, Chiefs, Chargers) PASS BLOCK: 2nd Los Angeles Rams TOTAL OFFENSE RANK: 7th PASS OFF: 10th RUN OFF: 12th REC: 12th RUN BLOCK: 4th PASS BLOCK: 7th (Tied w/Steelers, Jags, Bucs) Green Bay Packers TOTAL OFFENSE RANK: 8th PASS OFF: 3rd (*W/Rodgers) RUN OFF: 6th REC: 16th RUN BLOCK: 16th PASS BLOCK: 4th Buffalo Bills TOTAL OFFENSE RANK: 9th PASS OFF: 4th RUN OFF: 21st REC: 8th RUN BLOCK: *6th (Tied w/Ravens, Cards, Chiefs, Chargers) PASS BLOCK: 20th Tennessee Titans TOTAL OFFENSE RANK: 10th PASS OFF: 6th RUN OFF: 1st REC: 3rd RUN BLOCK: 11th PASS BLOCK: 30th
2021 Preseason NFL Overall Team Defense Top 10 Grades/Rankings
Over the last five weeks, we have covered the top offenses and defenses using different categories. For offense, we graded and ranked passing offense, run offense, run blocking, and pass blocking. On the defensive side of the football, we graded and ranked the top pass-rush, run stop, and pass coverage defenses. The results of each, when combined, provide us with a preseason situational analysis grade for both the offense and defense of every NFL team that we use to determine NFL power rankings, the strength of schedule for all teams, and projected win totals. Check Out Our Previous Analysis Top Five Pass Rush Defense Top Five Run Stop Defense Top Five Pass Coverage Defense About The Analysis Today's analysis wraps up our total defensive team grades combining pass rush, run stop, and pass coverage team grades. The average for each team determines how a team will be ranked heading into the 2021 NFL season. The Grade Scale The team grades use the individual player grades to get an average for each category. For offense, it's passing, run offense, run blocking, and pass blocking. As mentioned above, we use pass rush, run stop, and pass coverage for the defense. The scale is a 1 to 10 rating scale, with one being the lowest and ten being the highest. On average, based on preliminary analysis, a grade of 6 to 6.99 is a playoff-caliber position group, or if the entire offensive grade is in the area of 6 to 6.99, that will represent a playoff-caliber offense. A seven or higher average represents a Super Bowl Caliber offense, defense, or position group. You can find all of our preseason NFL team grades by visiting our beta version of the Team and Player Grade Dashboard. Click Here To View Player And Team Grade Dashboard Top Ten Projected NFL Defenses Heading Into 2021 Tampa Bay Buccaneers TOTAL DEFENSE RANK: 1ST RUN D 6TH PASS COV 2ND PASS RUSH 1ST Los Angeles Rams TOTAL DEFENSE RANK: 2ND RUN D: 2ND PASS COV: 8TH PASS RUSH: 4TH Pittsburgh Steelers TOTAL DEFENSE RANK: 3RD RUN D: 3RD PASS COV: 11TH PASS RUSH: 3RD Washington Football Team TOTAL DEFENSE RANK: 4TH RUN D: 5TH PASS COV 21 PASS RUSH: 2ND New Orleans Saints TOTAL DEFENSE RANK: 5TH RUN D: 1ST PASS COV: 24TH PASS RUSH: 8TH Cleveland Browns TOTAL DEFENSE RANK: 6TH RUN D: 10TH PASS COV: 4TH PASS RUSH: 7TH Denver Broncos TOTAL DEFENSE RANK: 7TH RUN D: 4TH PASS COV: 1ST PASS RUSH: 13TH San Francisco 49ers TOTAL DEFENSE RANK: 8TH RUN D: 7TH PASS COV: 14TH PASS RUSH: 9TH Baltimore Ravens TOTAL DEFENSE RANK: 9TH RUN D: 3RD PASS COV: 3RD PASS RUSH: 14TH New York Jets TOTAL DEFENSE RANK: 10TH RUN D: 11TH PASS COV: 30TH PASS RUSH: 5TH
Preseason Top Five NFL Pass Coverage Defenses For 2021
The third and final phase of our defensive team grades is passing coverage defense. Team coverage grades/rankings are often measured by third-level defenders' performance (corners, safeties). For us, we like to analyze the second and third levels (LB's, CB's, S's) of the defense when determining a pass coverage grade. Metrics Used to Analyze Pass Coverage. There are multiple ways you can measure the success of pass coverage. You have the traditional way (INT's, PBU's, TD's), and yards per game allowed. These numbers are essential, but the devil is in the details. What we do is we examine the league's top defenses vs. the pass in terms of yards allowed; we then look at other factors such as yards per target allowed and completion rate by a defender in coverage. Another key metric to consider is passer rate when targeted. How Pass Coverage Affects the Sum Of The Whole The best defenses have identifiable traits. Some defenses possess a great pass rush defense; others are very good vs. the run, some are great in coverage. Bringing all three of these phases together is the goal of every defensive coordinator. Each category that we analyze coordinates with the other in some capacity. For Example, a team with a great pass rush and not-so-great defenders in coverage on the back end are only as good as the pass rush. If you pass rush or aggressive blitz philosophy doesn't get to the QB, especially in the NFL, you are toast. Pass coverage is often only as good as the pass rush, and there are times where a secondary can mask a poor pass rush by playing great coverage for long enough that the pressure gets home. So the main point, pass coverage, and pass rush are joined at the hip, while run defense sets up your pass rush and pass coverage to be successful on late downs by keeping offenses behind schedule. The Projected Top Five Pass Coverage Defenses For 2021 (1st) Denver Broncos Team Grade: 7.00 The Broncos were a 5-11 team in the AFC West a season ago. Inconsistency on both sides of the football including their secondary led the Broncos into the offseason looking to fill voids with high-level players. In 2021, Denver's secondary is full of high-level talent with Kyle Fuller, Ronald Darby, and top-10 pick Patrick Surtain II, all of which will compete, get onto, or stay on the field. Add in Bryce Callahan, who will play in the nickel, and you have the deepest group of corners in the NFL. We haven't even mentioned the two safeties who are arguably going to be the best tandem in the NFL in Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson. Ronald Darby is the lowest graded player in pass coverage, and he is still a high-level player. The LB's Josey Jewell and Alexander Johnson are also good pass coverage defenders, which further strengthens the league's best pass coverage defense in the NFL (on paper) heading into 2021. Denver By The Numbers The Broncos pass defense ranked in the middle third of the NFL in total yards allowed in 2020; they ranked in the middle of the league in total first downs allowed in coverage. The Broncos were strong in not allowing teams to score on them through the air in 2020. Where they needed to improve in 2020 is giving up explosive plays. The Broncos ranked 4th from last, giving up 59 pass plays of more than 20 yards in 2020. On third down, the Broncos did not do a great job though it was adequate of preventing opponents from converting through the air (40.5%), ranking in the league's middle third. Denver's ability to apply pressure and hurry a QB moving them off their spot in 2020 was a strength that the new secondary will strengthen in 2021. (2nd) Tampa Bay Buccaneers Team Grade: 6.86 The Super Bowl Champs return everyone from last year's defense. That's all nothing more to see here. But seriously, how? Tom Brady is the architect or the glue that bound this roster in 2020, and more than that, he changed the culture and the mindset of a franchise marred by mediocrity. So why is Brady being discussed in the analysis of defensive coverage? Because Tom Brady completed the sum of the whole in Tampa. His presence and his ability elevated the entire team on both sides of the football. The year prior, Jameis Winston famously (no pun) threw thirty interceptions which is not suitable for a defense to be successful. Defense is predicated on getting stops and creating field position advantages for an offense. When the offense turns over the football at a high rate, you put pressure on your defense, giving the opponent short fields and extra opportunities and further tiring the defense with added possessions. The entire Bucs secondary is graded as average to star on the rise, with Jamel Dean leading the way at CB. At safety, the Bucs have two outstanding players, including second-year all-rookie player Antoine Winfield. LB Lavonte David possesses the highest pass cover grade of all players on the Bucs. The one soft spot is Sean Murphy-Bunting, who plays the nickel and can play outside, and even Bunting has an average to above-average grade potential in 2021. Tampa By the Numbers A significant measure to examine year over year from 2019 to 2020 is the average field position defense. In 2019, the Bucs opponents started possessions at their 31-yard line on average vs. 2020, where the opponents began at their own 28. The Bucs ranked third-worst in the NFL in 2019 in average field position defense; they improved to 13th best. The Bucs defense also improved in score percentage on a per drive basis from 39.4% of their opponents, ending in points (Bottom third) to 33.7% (top third). The Bucs blitzed their opponents at the 4th highest rate (39%) in 2020, yet they maintained a top third-lowest percentage of being out of position to make a tackle. The Buc's aggressiveness didn't lead them to give up an excessive number of explosive plays. Their aggressiveness and high usage of man coverage would lead some to believe they would have, but they were in the top third in explosive plays allowed in 2020. The Bucs were near the top of the NFL in 2020 in total sacks. (3rd) Cleveland Browns Team Grade: 6.75 There is a wild possibility that we see a Super of Cleveland vs. Tampa Bay. The Browns are arguably the most complete team outside of Tampa Bay heading into 2021. The edition of John Johnson and Ronnie Harrison at safety gives the Browns one of the best safety tandems in the league. Add in the potential of Grant Delpit, and the Browns have the potential to be the deepest and most talented safety unit in the NFL. John Johnson brings his near-elite coverage skills with him from the Rams, and Ronnie Harrison is on the cusp of becoming a near-elite coverage defender. The corners are bolstered by Denzel Ward, who graded above average a season ago but can climb higher. The Browns added Troy Hill to play in the nickel, a player with an above-average grade. The question mark is how well Grant Newsome, the rookie from Northwestern, can adapt to the NFL. Newsome was our 32nd ranked player on our big board and the 4th rated CB entering the 2020 NFL draft. Cleveland By The Numbers The Browns were solid on defense a season ago, but they did give a lot of explosive plays ranking in the middle of the NFL with 49 plays allowed of 20+ yards or more through the air. 10 of the 49 explosive plays allowed went for 40+. They answered the bell in the offseason by employing two big-time safeties to protect the back half of their defense. (4th) Baltimore Ravens Team Grade: 6.71 The Ravens could arguably possess the top secondary in the NFL. They ranked 6th in yards allowed and 3rd in yds per pass attempt in 2020. Their strength is at CB, where they have Jimmy Smith, Marcus Peters, and Marlon Humphrey. All three are highly graded players. The back half of the secondary employs two very good safeties in DeShon Elliott and Chuck Clark. Baltimore By The Numbers The Ravens blitz a lot, but they are multiple in their coverage scheme, allowing them to succeed with blitzing while not giving up many explosive plays. The Ravens allowed the third-lowest total of explosive plays through the air in 2020 while still ranking in the bottom third of the out-of-position tackle rate. (5th) Buffalo Bills Team Grade: 6.67 The Bills ranked top third in the NFL in explosive deep plays in 2020. In 2021, they return one of the best safety tandems in the league and corner(s) Tre'Davious White and Levi Wallace, both of which are high-quality players with WHite leading the way. Taron Johnson will head the nickel corner. Bills By The Numbers Protecting against the deep ball a season ago was vital for the Buffalo defense. Sean McDermott, who uses a lot of zone coverage, primarily cover three, is one reason they successfully protect against the deep ball. The Bills allowed 25 plays of 20+ yards through the air, which ranked 3rd in the NFL a season ago. Even with a 36% blitz rate, the Bills remained disciplined enough in their secondary to protect against the explosive plays.