It’s not going to be easy for Patrick Mahomes to recreate his 50-touchdown season, but the Chiefs can feel safe that their offense is going to score a lot of points. The key now is going to be using their three picks in the first two rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft to get enough defensive talent to pick up the slack on the other side of the ball. Another year of development for 2018 draft picks Breeland Speaks, Derrick Nnadi, Dorian O’Daniel, and Armani Watts should help too.
1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs (75.0 percent): When you have the greatest season in this history of fantasy football quarterbacks, you’re going to be consistent. That was Mahomes, who finished with 50 touchdown passes and a record-breaking 417.08 fantasy points. The talented youngster also ranked among the top five quarterbacks 43.8 percent of the time. That was also a league-high.
Kansas City Chiefs
Trade Justin Houston, re-sign Dee Ford
The key for the Chiefs is they can dump Houston’s massive salary and pay out a reasonable $7.1 million in dead money. That would enable a team that ranks below the league median in cap space to lock up Ford, an impending free agent who has more tread on his tires than Houston.
Fix the secondary
Could the Chiefs try to trade for Jalen Ramsey? That could be a game-changer, especially because Ramsey is affordable right now. Alternatively, they could pursue Ronald Darby or Pierre Desir to work with Nelson (if he re-signs) and Kendall Fuller.
Re-sign Mitch Morse
Continuity is so critical with an offensive line, especially when you’re bringing along a young franchise quarterback. The Chiefs have to pay up to keep Morse, which is why that Houston trade could come in handy.
Patrick Mahomes won’t throw 50 touchdowns again
Okay, so maybe this isn’t all that bold, considering no player in NFL history has two 50-touchdown seasons in their entire career, let alone do it twice in a row. Not Marino. Not Brady. Not Manning. Manning came the closest, with a 49-TD year in 2004 and 55 in 2013.
At Devin McCourty’s kitchen table on Friday, the the brothers brought up Hoyer’s value, Devin remembers a moment a moment during the team’s preparation for Kansas City in October when the first defense showed the scout team a blitz look that had all 11 defenders within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage.
“We were all up there the way everyone’s been seeing us, moving around,” Devin says. “And Hoyer said, ‘If I’m the quarterback, I’m just going to catch the ball and throw it deep—all of you are close, so I’m throwing it deep.’ Sure enough, that week, we started seeing it more. Kansas City did it. Green Bay hit us with it.”
Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey has rolled the dice and signed RB Kareem Hunt. For the past two seasons, Hunt has basically been the best running back in the NFL. This past season, he had 14 all-purpose touchdowns with the Kansas City Chiefs in 11 games, but was released after video evidence emerged of an altercation that occurred in February 2018 (ironically, in Downtown Cleveland).
[Trace] McSorley may not have all the tools Baker Mayfield, Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson possess, but he’s athletic enough to be an acceptable facsimile in a pinch and might be good enough to work his way into a starting job somewhere in a few years.
[Gardner] Minshew, meanwhile, excelled in an Air Raid offense that produced Mahomes and Kliff Kingsbury, who was just hired to coach the Arizona Cardinals. At 6’1” and 224 pounds, he’s sturdily built—especially in his lower body—and in person, he looks faster than he did playing for Washington State. He doesn’t have anywhere near the freakish arm talent of Mahomes, but Minshew does have a near photographic memory that should wow coaches in meetings.
Around the league
Murray announced Monday that he was “firmly and fully committing my life and time to becoming an NFL quarterback.” Given his size (he’s listed at 5-foot-11), pro football success is not guaranteed, but he said he will ready himself for the NFL draft rather than fulfilling the minor-league contract he signed last summer with the Oakland Athletics.
Offensive line: The Broncos have four players in this position group who started games this past season and are poised to be unrestricted free agents: tackle Jared Veldheer, center Matt Paradis, guard Max Garcia and tackle/guard Billy Turner. One of the starters who is set to return -- guard Ron Leary -- is coming back from a torn Achilles.
The Broncos have used only four draft picks before the third round on offensive linemen during Elway’s time on the job and only once in the first round (Garett Bolles). With so many potential openings, they almost certainly will have to get the checkbook ready.
The Raiders have four picks in the top 35. The Patriots have one pick in the top 55. But that’s a misleading part of the story. There’s great depth in this draft from pick 25 to 100 and even deeper, some scouts at the Senior Bowl thought. So there could be fine value in the Patriot picks when they are slated to choose five times in a 45-pick span from 56 to 101.
Arians trusts the coaching staff can help straighten Winston out.
”I like to call it the driving range, taking him to the range,” Arians said. “Clyde is one of the best and we go to the range 30 minutes a day, just footwork and drills and throwing off balance and making these throws. You don’t get to stand there and throw it (overhand) perfectly all the time.
Arians also believes that the Bucs will be better at buffering Winston with a strong rushing attack and improved defense in 2019, which will take pressure off the quarterback in a pivotal campaign.
“I think they [the Patriots] grade people differently, honestly,” Edelman told Peter King of NBC Sports. “They don’t want distractions. They want guys that are versatile. They want mentally tough football players. That’s what I’ve seen through my career being there... If you don’t have that, you’re probably not gonna be there.
“I think Jon Gruden is an excellent choice for that show,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said. “I think the Oakland Raiders and everything they’ve got going on right now would be fantastic viewing for everybody to watch.”
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
I once asked an offensive coach, “Do you like playing against Steve Spagnuolo?” He said, “No, I do not.” I said, “Why is that?” He said, “Because you’re never quite sure what he’s going to do.” He brings a lot at you. This is supported by a film review of a 2016 game between the New York Giantsand the Dallas Cowboys.
Oliver Connolly said that “Spagnuolo’s game plan was to come for Dak Prescott early and often, uncorking everything in the playbook at the rookie,” noting that in an earlier game between the two teams, Spagnuolo had attempted to bait Prescott into poor decisions running bluff coverages — and Prescott hadn’t been fooled.
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