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3×3 Thursday: NFL and NFL Draft Notes following Week 2 of the NFL

Photo Credit: Elsa/Getty Images North America

The NFL Season has concluded its second week of play and for some, they’ve embraced the early picks and future failures ahead for their team, while some can’t help but dream for playoff games and the chance to hoist the Lombardi.

If I were an NFL coach and you were my player, I would say, “Take it easy! One game at a time!” But we aren’t players, we’re fans and the beauty of fanhood is overreacting. So let’s explore the notable events that have transpired up to this point and analyze how they impact the NFL.

NFL 1: Minkah Joins the Steel Curtain

Steelers DB Minkah Fitzpatrick taking media questions at 2018 College Football Playoff (2018)

The Pittsburgh Steelers made waves Monday night following a blockbuster trade for Miami Dolphins DB Minkah Fitzpatrick. 

Fitzpatrick, who is in his second year as a pro is a versatile defensive back who can play anywhere for the Steelers. Upon early speculation it seems as though Fitzpatrick will be taking the Free Safety job.

The Steelers were probably a bit of a surprise to some as the team currently sits at 0-2 with quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger out for the season. Some folks around the NFL would think the Steelers won’t be contending and may have wanted to hold onto the pick if Mason Rudolph didn’t meet expectations that the organization has for him. However, it seems the Steelers are all in on Rudolph to be the heir to Big Ben and will at least wait till 2021 to grab their QB if they need one (assuming they don’t grab a QB in the second round).

NFL 2: Ramsey Wants Out

The NFL seems to be having a fire sale on good young defensive backs. Following an argument with head coach Doug Marrone, Jalen Ramsey (who’s frustrations were already building) officially informed the Jaguars he would like to be traded. 

Ramsey is one of the best man coverage corners in the league and his current contract would give teams this year and next to work out a new deal. 

When looking at teams who could potentially be interested there are the big name squads like the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans who had been linked to Ramsey before when trade speculation arose that could be considered. However, after the Texans sent the farm for Laremy Tunsil, it is unlikely they would have the capital to bring him in. Other teams speculated to be interested are the New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles, and Oakland Raiders.

NFL 3: NFC North Runs Through Green Bay

Packers at Redskins 09/23/18

After years of feeling like the Packers could put a better team around Rodgers, the Packers finally listened and now the squad is scary. Following victories against the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings in strong defensive outings, the Packers now look like they could not only win the NFC North, but could potentially contend for the Super Bowl.

While the offense and Rodgers aren’t as electric so far as they have been in the past, the Packers were able to outperform two very dangerous squads in a controlling way. The Packers will likely find more offensive success against the Broncos as they escape the ferocious defenses of Chicago and Minnesota, but getting out 2-0 against those two squads speaks volumes to the fact that this Packers team is not the typical squad we’ve seen of past seasons and this secondary is legit. 

———————— NFL DRAFT ———————

NFL Draft 1: Joe Burrow Adds to the Already Strong 2020 QB Class

LSU Tigers quarterback Joe Burrow #9, LSU Tigers offensive tackle Saahdiq Charles (77), and LSU Tigers tight end Foster Moreau (18), Georgia Bulldogs vs LSU Tigers, Football, Tiger Stadium, October 13, 2018, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Tammy Anthony Baker, Photographer

For LSU, strong QB play has been hard to come by for a while now, but this season that’s all changed. Senior Quarterback, Joe Burrow, has been off to a phenomenal start propelling the team to 3-0 including a huge win over #9 Texas. 

Burrow has started the season 75/90 with 1122 yards and 11 touchdowns on 2 interceptions. He’s impressed scouts with his ability to maneuver around the pocket and make plays downfield despite any pressure he may take on the play. Most notably, his throw against the Longhorns on a crucial 3rd and Long to put away the game and secure the victory.

https://i.makeagif.com/media/9-17-2019/ee6DoK.gif

https://i.makeagif.com/media/9-17-2019/ee6DoK.gif

While Burrow will have a lot of ground to make up to break into what seems to be a Big Three conversation of Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, and Jake Fromm… he is off to a fantastic start and could find his way in there if he continues his phenomenal play.

NFL Draft 2: Andrew Thomas Display Party

The Georgia Bulldogs play host to the visiting Notre Dame Fighting Irish in what will be a top 10 matchup in College Football and will be highly touted for many reasons. For draft fans, this game will be a huge chance for Andrew Thomas to prove himself and potential separate himself from the rest of the OT class.

For me personally, I love Andrew Thomas, I currently rank him as my first overall prospect and think he will be an elite offensive lineman for any NFL Team. However, others disagree and think this offensive tackle class is solid but no one guy stands out. 

In a game against Julian Okwara and Khalid Kareem, two edge rushers who have garnered draft hype already at this point, Andrew Thomas will now get to show scouts just how good he is, and Spoilers: He’s going to show he’s incredible.

NFL Draft 3: Linebacker Class In Shambles?

Entering the year, most people had two linebackers sitting atop their prospect rankings: Dylan Moses and Isaiah Simmons. While Simmons has played the part, Moses went down with a torn ACL that has sidelined him for the year. Moses could still decide to declare at the end of the season, and potentially still play himself into the first round, but the questions for this linebacker class still remain.

In a league where most teams are trying to send out two to four linebackers every play depending on scheme, and many teams want to have depth, the fact that we haven’t heard much hype from this class could be cause for concern for those who have teams in need of a linebacker to come in and start.

While there are questions surrounding this class, and the doubt is warranted, I remind everyone that the year is still young and plenty of players can build themselves up as the season goes along. Some names to keep an eye on as the season continues are:

  • Nate Landman (Colorado)
  • Shaun Bradley (Temple)
  • Kenneth Murray (Oklahoma)
  • Monty Rice. (Georgia)
  • David Woodward (Utah State)
  • Jordan Mack (Virginia)
  • Charles Snowden (Virginia)
  • Mohamed Barry (Nebraska)

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