2) Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
Mahomes is the most exciting player in sports right now. He just hit 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in his first year as an NFL starter, taking home league MVP honors at age 23. I still don’t think we truly appreciate just how absurd that is. It’s scary to think how good this guy can become, because he’s just getting started. His skill set and commitment to greatness are spectacular. Would anyone be surprised if he repeated as MVP in 2019? Didn’t think so.
It’s not like Mahomes benefited from hot streaks, either. His entire season was a hot streak. SEE: Thirteen games with a passer rating of 100-plus. In today’s pass-happy, breakneck-paced NFL, Mahomes is a golden-armed king.
Gonzalez was a unique athlete. He played power forward for Cal, and averaged more than 6 points and 4 rebounds a game. Other football stars had played basketball in college, but after Gonzalez did it teams were on the lookout for the next big basketball player who could use post-up skills and soft hands at the tight end position. Without Gonzalez, we might not have had Gates or Jimmy Graham.
Gonzalez was the 13th pick of the 1997 draft and while he would end up being a historical outlier, he looked like a typical young tight end through his first two seasons. He wasn’t in danger of being a bust, but through two seasons he had 989 yards and four touchdowns in 32 games. There were some promising moments in those first two years, but nothing that led anyone to believe they were watching someone who would become arguably the greatest tight end in NFL history.
No. of ballots: 42 of 55 | No. 1 votes: 37
Mahomes was picked No. 1 overall 37 times on our 55 ballots, as voters put a high emphasis on his positional value and health certainty -- he won’t turn 24 until September. He has a 5,000-yard season, a 50-touchdown season, an All-Pro season and an MVP. Again: He’s 23. A question mark: Aside from one special fourth quarter, he was pretty average over two playoff games. The voters believe he’ll check that box for this team.
Extortion charges against a distant relative of Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu were dropped Thursday, according to a report from NOLA.com, after federal investigators had alleged in May he attempted to blackmail Mathieu for more than $1 million.
Geourvon Sears, 21, pleaded guilty instead to a misdemeanor charge and was credited with time served, prompting prosecutors to drop the extortion charges, the report said.
In a criminal complaint filed to the Eastern District of Louisiana in May, Sears had been accused to threatening to publicize allegations of sexual misconduct against Mathieu
The Chiefs could keep anywhere from two to four tight ends on their 53-man roster, and Bell, Yelder and Lovett are considered the favorites to back up Kelce.
“They have to compete and sort it out,” Reid said. “They have somebody with Kelce that has been there that they can talk to and see how it’s done. Kelce is good with sharing that stuff.”
After serving as a de facto coach, Kelce is an active participant in training camp, following offseason ankle surgery that required him to take three months off from running.
“It’s good to get a sweat in, take the visor off and put a helmet on and get out there and start running around,” Kelce said. “It’s a lot easier being on the field leading by example than it is to just talk about it.”
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ very own breakfast cereal will be on the shelves of all Kansas City-area Hy-Vee stores on Thursday.
Mahomes Magic Crunch also will be available in select Hy-Vee stores in southern Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska until the cereal is sold out. Hy-Vee said it created the cereal with Mahomes’ charitable foundation (the 15 and Mahomies Foundation) and PLB Sports, Inc.
Hy-Vee said in a news release: “This limited-edition collector’s product is expected to raise $25,000 for the 15 and the Mahomies Foundation. Those proceeds will be donated to help underserved children in the Kansas City and surrounding area.”
2. KANSAS CITY: Tyrann Mathieu, S
He was only here for one season, but the recency of the Honey Badger Experience is going to make the Kansas City game in Week 6 a very intense one for Texans fans and, I would imagine, Texans offensive players. Mathieu left for one of the most lucrative safety contracts in the league. He was pretty good as a Texan, probably more hype than substance, and I honestly think Tashaun Gipson is going to be an upgrade at safety.
Reid said Mahomes proved himself last season and should do well again this year.
”You really don’t know until you’re there and the bullets are flying,” Reid said. “Most games are determined by seven points or less, so you’re sitting there going, ‘How is this guy going to handle it?’ He just grits down, and it’s a beautiful thing to watch. Until that last play is over, he’s going to try to rip your heart out and score — and bring everybody with him. He’s not a self-promoter. He wants everybody to pick their game up with him.”
Still, it’s hard to see Pryor cracking into the top three spots held by Westbrook, Chark and Conley. Plus, there’s no way to know just yet how Lee will fit into the rotation when he gets healthy and whether that means the Jaguars will keep six receivers heading into the season opener.
“Those guys [Westbrook, Chark and Conley] are obviously getting the majority of the first-team reps right now, but to me it’s always an open competition,” DeFilippo said. “And everyone has got to prepare like they’re going to be the opening-day starter because it’s a long way to go until we play Kansas City.”
While the defending champion New England Patriots headline 2019 title odds along with hotshot playoff contenders like the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams, La Canfora thinks there are only a few lineups -- such as the Los Angeles Chargers or New Orleans Saints -- that rival what the Eagles have entering the new season. It’s why he’s got no problem crowning the Birds the clear-cut favorite to reclaim the NFC East.
”I like their quarterback way better than Dallas,” he said. “I like their culture and their ability to handle expectations. I believe in their coaching. I think they’re, on paper, the best team in that division.”
While Kelce, Ertz and Kittle have the proven track record to support their status as an elite tier of their own, Engram absolutely has the upside to join that tier this season. And while I would take those big three tight ends over Engram straight up, in terms of draft value I’d rather have Engram in the sixth round than one of those others in the second. In fact, Engram might just be the best combination of value and upside at the tight end position in fantasy drafts this season.
Around the league
After the penalty was announced, Broncos coach Vic Fangio threw the red challenge flag to challenge the call of defensive pass interference on the field.
Referee Walt Anderson went to the video, returned to the field a minute later and ruled that the call would be upheld. First-and-10 for the Falcons at Denver’s 36-yard line. One challenge lost for the Broncos.
”I didn’t have a great look at it. Obviously it was on the other sideline,” Fangio said after the game. “But they did say it stands, so it was pretty close. They didn’t say confirmed.
”I’d made the statement that I was going to throw the first challenge flag for a PI, and a couple guys were challenging me to do it there, so I did it.”
Ryan’s stats are hard to top, especially over the last four seasons. Among all 30 quarterbacks with at least 1,000 attempts since the 2015 season, Ryan ranks first in yards per attempt (8.12), second in adjusted yards per attempt (8.29), fourth in passer rating (101.2), and has thrown the fifth-most touchdowns (114).
Ryan shines in the advanced statistics as well.
Since he was drafted in 2008, Ryan consistently has been near the top of ESPN’s Quarterback Rating (QBR) statistic. QBR packages every aspect of a quarterback’s game — passing, rushing, turnovers, and penalties. Other than in 2009 when Ryan was banged up for the last quarter of the season with turf toe, he has finished in the top 10 every year.
In the hours after Le’Veon Bell signed with the Jets on March 13, enthusiastic text messages flooded into Sam Darnold’s phone. They weren’t coming from other players around the league, or even his teammates, but rather Darnold’s friends. The 22-year-old quarterback was a junior in high school when Bell played his first season with the Steelers in 2013, and Bell was winning fantasy leagues for Darnold’s buddies before some of them could even drive. Darnold knows that he can’t afford to be starstruck sharing a huddle with the two-time All-Pro back, but he was no less ecstatic when the news finally became official. “I was amped about it,” Darnold says. “Because I know how great he can be for this offense.”
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Where should Patrick Mahomes have been ranked in the NFL Top 100?
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