Booger McFarland of the SEC Network joined Matt and BK to explain why he still has some questions about Mizzou’s defensive line and wide receivers. Plus, Booger’s thoughts on the Mizzou secondary, the offensive line, and the player Booger calls the best in the SEC at his position.
All of that and more in our conversation with former SEC defensive lineman & current ESPN college football analyst, Booger McFarland.
“When you get to CoMo, you start hearing about ‘Mizzou Made’… I was blown away by that.”
“Harold Brantley could have been the defensive player of the year in this conference. That’s how good he is.”
“I know Coach Kul is an outstanding coach… But football is not about x’s and o’s. It’s about Jimmy’s & Joes.”
“I would love to see (Josh Augusta) shed a few pounds… The stamina factor could be something that hurt him a bit.”
“I think (Aarion) Penton & (Kenya) Dennis are the two best corners that Pinkel has had since he’s been there.”
“You’re going to see a different style of defense at Missouri this year because of the lack of defensive ends.”
“My pick in the SEC East this year is Tennessee… I think Tennessee has fewer question marks.””Ever since I’ve watched Mizzou, they’ve won because of their WRs & DE’s… I just want to see those positions step up.”
“I think Evan Boehm is the best center in the SEC.”
Comments Off on Which NFL Team has the best skill players?
A study conducted by a group of Harvard students has been getting a lot of attention for predicting the Dolphins to make the Super Bowl. That study used a statistic called “approximate value” to determine each team’s overall strength. The stat can be flawed, particularly when measuring the effectiveness of offensive linemen, but overall, it’s rather useful. To put it in simple terms, it AV is the NFL’s version of “wins above replacement.” It’s not a perfect comparison, but that’s what AV is trying to judge – how much more valuable is player X than player Y? For more information on AV, click here.
By using AV, we can compare players within position groups to see who has the most “value” to a team. For some perspective – the top AV scores in 2014 belonged to JJ Watt (22), Aaron Rodgers (21), DeMarco Murray and Russell Wilson (19).
I’ve often wondered who has the best skill position players in the NFL, and after reading more about this stat, I think it gives us a solid baseline. With that in mind, I went through and picked out the top quarterback, running back, wide receiver and “flex” player (RB/WR/TE) for each team based on each players’ 2014 AV. By combining the four players’ approximated values, I came up with the “total added value”. This total value should reflect the overall strength/weakness of the teams’ skill players.
*Note: These rankings do not include rookies for obvious reasons. Free agent players have been placed on their 2015 team – ex: Jeremy Maclin is included on the Chiefs’ total AV, Jimmy Graham is included in the Seahawks’ total AV.
Below is each team’s total approximate value:
Total Added Value
Some interesting tidbits:
1) The Packers have, by a wide margin, the best skill players in the NFL. Aaron Rodgers had the top AV among all NFL QB’s, Jordy Nelson had the highest AV of all NFL WR’s and Eddie Lacy was third in AV among NFL RB’s in 2014.
2) The Packers and Broncos are the only teams that had a player with a 10+ AV rating at QB, RB, WR and Flex. The Chiefs, Ravens, Patriots and Steelers are the only teams that had three players out of their QB, RB, WR & flex position with an av rating of 10+.
3) The Raiders and Jaguars are the only teams in the NFL that did not have a QB, RB, WR or TE with an AV >5.
4) The Chiefs and Falcons are the only teams ranked in the top 10 that did not make the playoffs in 2014. The Panthers and Cardinals are the only teams that made the playoffs in 2014 that are ranked outside of the top 15.
5) Division winners in 2014: Broncos, Patriots, Steelers, Colts, Packers, Seahawks, Cowboys & Panthers. Best QB/RB/WR/Flex teams within each division: Broncos, Patriots, Steelers, Colts, Packers, Seahawks & Falcons. The Panthers are the only team that won their division that did not have their division’s best group of offensive skill players.
Here are the QB’s, RB’s, WR’s and Flex players that I used for each team.
Comments Off on MIZZOU FOOTBALL POSITIONAL PREVIEWS: DEFENSIVE LINE
Over the coming weeks, BK will preview each and every position on the Mizzou football roster in anticipation for the 2015 season. Our positional previews began in the first week of July, and we will continue until August 1st – which just so happens to be the first week of Mizzou football camp. See what we did there?
Mizzou returns one start (total) along the defensive line; Charles Harris started against Indiana in place of an injured Markus Golden. With that said, it would be unfair to classify Charles Harris, Rickey Hatley and Josh Augusta as newcomers. All three had important roles in 2014, with Hatley and Augusta involved in the rotation at defensive tackle, and Harris serving as the primary backup to Golden.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
There is a ton of potential along Missouri’s defensive line. Charles Harris is a hugely athletic defensive end that showed flashes of greatness in 2014. Josh Augusta is a crazy talented defensive tackle (did I mention that he was a 330 pound wide receiver in high school?). Rickey Hatley was quietly productive in his limited playing time last year. After that, there are a plethora of newcomers that could step up including JuCo transfer Marcell Frazier, and a trio of redshirt freshmen defensive ends.
The other thing that Mizzou has going for it is that the Tigers have one of the best defensive line coaches in the country in Craig Kuligowski. Coach Kool groomed Ziggy Hood, Sheldon Richardson, Aldon Smith, Kony Ealy, Michael Sam, Markus Golden and Shane Ray into elite level college players. If there is elite potential in any of Mizzou’s current players, Kool will get it out of them.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
It’s pretty simple. Mizzou lost a lot. Shane Ray, Markus Golden, Lucas Vincent, Matt Hoch, Marcus Loud and Harold Brantley combined for 291 tackles, 67.5 tackles-for-loss and 34.5 sacks. Those five, alone, had more tackles for loss than Kentucky or South Carolina, and they would have ranked 5th in the SEC in total sacks in 2014.
The Tigers return none of their regular starters from 2014. Charles Harris, Ricky Hatley and Josh Augusta are the only returning players that were part of Missouri’s defensive line rotation in 2014.
Fans will point to the resolve of Missouri’s defensive line under Coach Kool, rightly so, but he’s never had to thrust first-year players into the starting lineup the way he will in 2015.
Here’s some perspective from the past:
2014, Markus Golden & Shane Ray: Golden backed up Michael Sam the year prior, racking up 6.5 sacks. Ray backed up Kony Ealy in the previous year, adding 4.5 sacks to his resume.
2013, Michael Sam & Kony Ealy: Sam & Ealy split time with one another the year prior, seeing time in 12 games. Sam was the team’s sack leader (4.5), Ealy added 3.5 of his own.
2012, Brad Madison & Michael Sam: Madison was a junior and started for the Tigers in the year prior. Sam was a rotational player in 2011, and was splitting time with Ealy in 2012.
2011, Jacquies Smith & Brad Madison: Madison entered his junior season after spending a year splitting time with Aldon Smith. Jacquies Smith was entering his 2nd year as a starter.
2010, Jacquies Smith & Aldon Smith: The Smiths entered the season as the starters, but Madison also played a lot due to Aldon’s injuries. Jacquies’ experience heading into the season was as Aldon’s primary backup in 2009.
2009, Brian Coulter & Aldon Smith: Coulter was a senior, and backed up Tommy Chavis the year prior. Smith was a sophomore, after having played extensively in his redshirt freshman season.
2008, Tommy Chavis & Stryker Sulak: Chavis and Sulak were both starters the year before.
2007, Tommy Chavis & Stryker Sulak: 2007 was Sulak’s 2nd year as a starter, and Chavis came into the year as the starter after splitting time inside & outside in 2006.
2006, Brian Smith & Stryker Sulak: Smith started the year prior, Sulak split time with Xzavie Jackson in 2005.
Add it all up, and the Tigers have not had a defensive end start in the past decade without at least being involved in the D-Line rotation the year prior. That’s exactly what will take place this season, regardless of the name on the back of the jersey. I’m not saying they can’t be good, it’s just difficult to project exactly what “good” will look like. Would that be six sacks for Missouri’s starting left end? Or 12? Because that’s obviously a massive difference.
It’s hugely difficult to project this Missouri defensive line. It was going to be difficult even before Marcus Loud was dismissed, or before Harold Brantley’s car accident that resulted in injuries that will keep him out for the entirety of the 2015 season. Without Loud or Brantley, it becomes damn near impossible.
Charles Harris should be good. I wouldn’t even be all that shocked if he finished the year with double-digit sacks. A Mizzou defensive tackle has not finished the year with more than five sacks in the past decade – not even Sheldon Richardson or Ziggy Hood. So I think it’s fair to assume that will remain true for Josh Augusta, Rickey Hatley or Terry Beckner, Jr.
With all of that said, I think it’s fair to say the Tigers will not match their sack total (44) from 2014. To be fair, no SEC team has out-performed Missouri’s 44 sacks since Tennessee back in 2000. Instead, I could see the Tigers finishing with somewhere around 30 sacks in 2015.
I could see Charles Harris finishing the season with 10-11 sacks, the starter at left end could finish with 5-7 sacks and another 10-15 sacks could come from some combination of the Tigers’ defensive tackles (Augusta, Beckner, Hatley) and linebackers (Brothers, Scherer & Newsom).
Steve Stewart of the Royals Radio Network joined Matt and BK on The Big Show to discuss what the additions of Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist mean for the Royals in their pursuit for a return-trip to the World Series.
Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com joined Matt and BK to discuss the latest on the trade market, including the Royals’ trades for Ben Zobrist and Johnny Cueto, plus – are the Cardinals in on Adam Lind? Find out in our conversation with Jerry Crasnick.
Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports wrote a Mizzou football preview in which he argues that it’s hard to pick against Mizzou to win the SEC East once again in 2015. He joined Matt and BK to discuss the Tigers on Monday on The Big Show.
Craig Brown joined BK on The Sports Wire to discuss the Royals’ need for a starting pitcher, the concern level for Mike Moustakas & Salvador Perez, and Craig ranks the Royals’ potential playoff matchups from most favorable to least favorable. All of that and more in today’s conversation.