Hello, November! Before you know it we’ll be watching bowl games and the NFL playoffs before the all-star circuit and NFL Scouting Combine is staring us in the face. The best time of year is upon us.
I hope that this column has become a staple for you each week, but just in case you are new, 6-Pack Thursday is my weekly brain dump on six football-related things that involve the NFL, College Football or NFL Draft.
Let’s crack this thing open!
Debut of CFB Playoff Rankings
Let the debate commence! With the initial set of CFB Playoff Rankings released, getting triggered is inevitable. Even though deep in your heart you know they don’t matter this early in the game, you can’t help but look at them and pound the table for the way you think things ought to be.
The reality is that at this point, reasonable cases can be made for 10 teams to be in the top-4. Well, we’ve got a simple math problem on our hands. If you think ________ should be in, they have their chance to beat win out and secure their spot.
I personally think the right 4 teams (Alabama, Clemson, LSU, Notre Dame) are in there right now. A loss to either LSU or Bama (LOL) is going to happen on Saturday. Michigan will play Ohio State. Georgia can beat Kentucky and have its chance as a 1-loss team to play in the SEC Championship Game. Oklahoma can still get in. A surprise loss is inevitable. Washington State …
Enjoy the discussion but don’t get yourself bent out of shape. Let it play out and it will sort itself out like it always does.
5 ACC Teams in CFB Playoff Rankings
Speaking of the initial CFB Playoff Rankings being released, 5 ACC teams were slotted in the top-25. As the “ACC guy” here at TDN, this is cool to see.
The most shocking component of 20 percent of the top-25 belonging to the ACC is that none of the teams are Miami, Florida State or Virginia Tech. If I told you that before the season I would have been sent to the moon!
Miami has a championship-caliber defense but no answer at quarterback. The offense is fluttering under Malik Rosier and the N’Kosi Perry didn’t exactly play at a level that demanded he stay in the lineup. The Hokies just haven’t recruited like it has in the past and isn’t built to withstand the amount of players it lost from last year’s squad. Florida State has all kinds of issues stemming from a lackluster offensive line, injuries and questionable effort on defense. Willie Taggart has his work cut out for him.
I’m not sure how long Boston College, Virginia, Syracuse and NC State will maintain their place in the rankings, but it’s nice to see some other teams finding success while the perceived powerhouses search for answers.
Holyfield, Moss, Sanders Spark RB Class
Our staff has put in a lot of time since June learning about the rising 2019 Draft class and it seems like the position group that has most fluctuated and forced us to dig deeper is the running back group.
With Oklahoma RB Rodney Anderson suffering the third significant season-ending injury of his career, the rising running back class took a significant hit. We’ve known about Damien Harris, David Montgomery and Karan Higdon who are likable prospects, but the search for more quality in the top 100ish has come up empty until recently where 3 names have emerged to add some sizzle back into the crop.
Utah’s Zack Moss is breaking tackles left and right, showcasing superb power elements, vision and decision making skills. He’s racked up 964 yards and 10 TD’s while averaging 6 yards per carry so far this season.
Penn State’s Miles Sanders has illustrated a blend of size, power and elusive traits. His feet and balance pop when watching him play and he has the makings of a multifaceted back with a versatile skill set.
Lastly, Georgia’s Elijah Holyfield is showcasing a highly appealing skill set. He is a physical runner that has more spring in his step than you expect. I love his balance, vision and competitive toughness as a runner. There are so many talented weapons on Georgia’s roster that limit his market share of touches but his traits are undeniable and I’m not ruling him out as RB1 in the 2019 class.
In today’s episode of Draft Dudes, Kyle and I discussed the most attractive potential head coaching vacancies we anticipate to exist in the offseason. While we believe there could be less openings than usual, we don’t have to speculate on the Browns gig – it’s available.
As exciting as it is to see Cleveland rid itself of Hue Jackson, I already can’t wait for interim head coach Greg Williams to be gone. I mean…
#Browns interim HC Gregg Williams: "Since I left Buffalo, I had 11 letters to interview for HC jobs, 4 of them didn't even have to interview, just show up and sign the contract"
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) October 31, 2018
So who would I like to see as the next leader of the Browns? Before I answer that, Benjamin Solak’s piece on the Browns’ vacancy is the best piece you will read on the matter.
The obvious guy I’d love to see get the job is Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo. If you are not familiar with him, check out this incredible piece by none other than Benjamin Solak on how he’s next in line of young innovative offensive coaches in the mold of Sean McVay and Kyle Shannahan.
It’s almost like this Benjamin Solak dude is an amazing football analyst that you should be following on Twitter. (His name is clickable to his Twitter profile to make it easy for you to follow him and come right back to this article)
The other guy I’d like to see considered, and I know this may not be popular to all, is Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. Schwartz inherited a Lions team that went 0-16 in 2008 and turned them into a 10-6 squad that reached the playoffs in 2011 first time in a decade. The Lions had some hot streaks in 2012 and 2013 before Schwartz was fired, but I’d like to see what he can get done in a second chance as an NFL head coach.
And then there’s this –
Anyone else watch Hard Knocks last night and think when Jim Schwartz went up to Baker Mayfield and said “I never played, but if I did, I hope I played like you. I like your style” that he would be an awesome HC for the #Browns next year?
— Joe Marino (@TheJoeMarino) September 5, 2018
In terms of a Mayfield-Schwartz pairing, there would be a lot of attitude behind how the Browns play football and I wouldn’t hate it one bit.
Midseason NFL Predictions
Most teams are halfway through the regular season and with that comes an updated set of predictions from me. If I had to guess today…
AFC Division Winners: Patriots, Steelers, Texans, Chiefs
AFC Wild Cards: Ravens, Chargers
AFC Championship Game: Patriots over Chiefs
NFC Division Winners: Eagles, Packers, Saints, Rams
NFC Wild Cards: Panthers, Redskins
NFC Championship Game: Rams over Saints
Super Bowl: Rams over Patriots
NFL MVP: Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
NFL OPOY: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
NFL DPOY: Aaron Donald, Los Angles Rams
OROY: Saquon Barkley, New York Giants
DROY: Derwin James, Los Angeles Chargers
Best Football Player I Saw Last Week – Kelvin Harmon
It came in a losing effort but there was no football player more dominant last week than what I witnessed from NC State WR Kelvin Harmon.
Hauling in 11 passes for 247 yards and 2 TDs, Syracuse had no answer for stopping him. I’ve said repeatedly that Harmon’s play strength, ability to beat press coverage and physicality are blue chip-caliber traits that are capable of leading to dominant performances like what we saw last Saturday.
Harmon’s ability to win at the catch point is easy to spot when studying his game but I loved how he showcased his ability to separate against The Orange.
Kelvin Harmon is really good at football pic.twitter.com/dfugwDU7Q4
— Pack Pride (@PackPride) October 28, 2018
Also, Harmon found success in more ways than just being a power forward, alpha receiver. He was smooth and crafty, showcasing a well-rounded skill set.
— Greg Brandt (@devywarehouse) October 28, 2018
Harmon has the potential to be WR1 in the rising draft class and resume games like the one he had against Syracuse go a long way in solidifying that.