*Pre-editor post (forgive any typos)
This was an odd, dull, sloppy, ‘gray’ (weather) game. Two teams sliding, needing a win…needing a quality win to reestablish themselves – they didn’t. These were two of the top 4 teams from the 2018 season playoffs! They didn’t look like here…they haven’t looked like most of this season.
The Jags would make a move, push ahead in this game and then Philly would take control back and eventually the Eagles put the Jags in a headlock and choked them out to a narrow 24-18 win. It was a win, but by no means a quality win.
Philly scraps to a 4-4 record with everything continuing to point to two 8 wins teams entering Week 17 to a showdown to win the NFC East -- Eagles at Redskins. The Computer is starting to tell me to watch out for the Eagles to make a run…that their internals are starting to spark.
Jacksonville is fading fast, now 3-5…losers of 4 straight. Nine wins will probably be good enough for the AFC South title, and the Jags can get there but we see them, more 7-9/8-8 top the finish. Might be worse if they lose AT Indy Week 10. Jacksonville’s 2017 fraud team has been exposed in 2018…thanks to Blake Bortles.
Fantasy Player Notes…
Going into this re-watch, I felt like maybe I was being too giddy watching it live…perhaps, a touch too excited about Josh Adams (9-61-0, 1-6-0/1) emergence from nothing to ‘a pulse’ the last few games to ‘most carries’ here (albeit 9 of them) – but watching the game back, I’m starting to get excited about Josh Adams…but I really don’t know what to do with the enthusiasm.
Why I’m re-excited after the re-watch…man, Adams looks good. He’s gaining confidence, running with more surety and running for chunk yards…5+ yards a clip. Four of his 9 carries were for 5+ yards…with two 10+ pops. What could have been if he was pushed day one.
He’s definitely become the BEST RB the Eagles have today…but we’re still stuck with Doug Pederson’s RBBC penchant. However, my asterisk on saying that every time is…BUT he’s never had an RB talent like Adams in his time as head coach.
We’re right at the ‘should I/shouldn’t I’ point of rolling the dice on Adams in a 12-team redraft, as far as picking him up and stuffing him on the last roster spot to ‘see’. Fantasy analysts whispered his name after this game week, but he was going on a BYE, so he’s mostly sitting available in a desperation week for people needing RBs NOW…and the whisperers have no idea who he really is so they are just noting ‘here’s a guy who seems to be playing/getting carries…so keep an eye on’. They don’t believe like we believe.
I want to believe he’s going to take over, but it seems too good to be true. I’m getting so giddy that I don’t believe a Darren Sproles return (supposedly Week 10) will change his course. Adams can be a 12-15 carries, 1-2 catches guy for Philly, and the TD/goal line back. We’ll see.
Two additional notes…
1) Adams had a little swing pass thrown his way, down by his ankles, and he just reached down in stride and snatched it and kept rolling. A subtly sweet play to help get him more noticed by coaches for his other skills.
On the downside, he was in late to try to run the clock out (a good thing), but fumbled…which could have cost them, the game, but he was ruled down in a very 50-50 replay reversal. Saved a ‘bad’ moment from happening. He was removed from the game at that point. He may have missed an opportunity to seize the #1 spot for sure at that moment.
2) You should already be a College Football Metrics subscriber and going back to re-read our Josh Adams scouting report to get more hyped. But since some have just found FFM recently, I will include my pre-Draft scouting report below (at the very end of this piece).
-- Carlos Hyde’s (6-11-0) debut as a Jacksonville Jaguar...’woof’. First carry for 7 yards, and then 4 yards on his final 5 carries. Sweet.
Don’t give up too fast – he may be the Jags starting RB the rest of the season. No one knows if Leonard Fournette will play again this year…another Jags loss (or two) might have him on the shelf for the year. Why bring him back in a lost season?
Hyde would at least be something if he returns. If RB desperate.
The problem is this offense is as bad as the Arizona Cardinals, so if you think David Johnson has been squashed by a battered O-Line and terrible coaching…the Jags are walking/running down that same path.
I can’t blame anyone for dumping Hyde or keeping him in deeper roster leagues. It’s probably not going to be great regardless.
-- Carson Wentz (21-30 for 286 yards, 3 TDs/0 INTs) may go down as the greatest scouting failure in my decade history of QB scouting greatness. I’ve been so on-point at QB scouting of players out of college and seeing them in preseasons…I scare myself sometimes. Wentz…we had a decent grade on at CFM, but I saw a screen-pass specialist, a poor downfield thrower. I was against Wentz becoming a star early on.
I watch him now, and he’s still not my favorite QB…but I’m going to force myself to not just ‘embrace’ him but love him. He’s just so good at evading trouble and making plays. I think if I kept him in the pocket (as a defense), I could marginalize him…but he always finds escape routes and makes great throws in the scramble away. Now, I see him making better throws from the pocket too.
He’s not Mt. Rushmore good…like Mahomes-Goff-Mayfield-Trubisky, but he’s way better than I ever gave credit. He’s also maybe the nicest person on the NFL.
My scouting ‘bad’.
16 TDs/2 INTs this season since taking back over for that terrible Nick Foles (hey, if I can’t beat ‘em on Wentz, I gotta join ‘em!).
-- Just let me say…Jordan Matthews (4-93-0/5) looked frickin’ fantastic in this game. Pro Bowl-level WR talent – get him out of the slot and playing on the wings as a 6’3” guy with jets.
The Eagles seemed to have figured that out – Matthews is playing more on the wings/outside and ‘boom’ they traded for Golden Tate to play in the slot.
If JMatt goes to the bench and Nelson Agholor starts/plays the most snaps between them, I will burn the Eagles headquarters to the ground with my venom.
You have dynasty hope for WR talent Cameron Meredith to arise from the Saints…I kinda like Matthews to make a move with Philly/rise from the ashes. When I put the Dynasty Stash together first run, Matthews was dealing with an injury/on no team. He’ll be added back in this next run.
-- Just quick note on Zach Ertz (4-26-1/5)…I am seeing a lot of FFM-people chasing Ertz in deal this week and that’s a good thing. You either have Ertz-Kelce…or you don’t at TE.
You trade a Marlon Mack in a deal for Ertz, you’re worried about ‘what if’ at RB (because you care too much about RBs and not enough about TEs) – I say this: for the next/final weeks, I bet I’ll find an RB out of nowhere, or one will fall from the sky because Gurley or McCaffrey or Barkley or whomever gets hurt and we’re off to the races with someone way off the radar this moment.
I will not find you a Zach Ertz or Travis Kelce the rest of this season. They don’t exist. They don’t ‘plug and play’ like RBs. Ertz and Kelce are ‘go for it’ title maneuvers…banking on (and maybe wrongfully) that you got enough RB depth and we’ll find a way to add to it.
I can’t help you get to Ertz-Kelce levels with any other backup TE rising up today.
With that being said, if you have or acquire Ertz…you GOTTA get Dallas Goedert (redraft). You’ll never worry about TE the rest of 2018 after this BYE week. No more Engram or Njoku or Rudolph or whomever gambles…Ertz-Goedert ensures you’re golden the rest of the season after this week. You should be doing this in dynasty too.
-- Well, Keelan Cole (2-18-0/3) has fallen from ‘new #1’ WR when Marqise Lee went down to effectively benched…all in about 4-5 weeks’ time. He committed the crime of fumbling here…and that can’t happen when the entire offense sucks and the coach has an awful 1970s game plan in 2018 – so, the WR who fumbles is out/to blame.
For fantasy, I want out of everything Jacksonville. It’s a cesspool with a terrible QB, awful offensive head coaching mind, and executives who are not likely to fix the QB situation on their own. Bail on this group before you get stuck with no-state-tax-state version of Steve Wilks’s offensive nightmare.
It took one half of a season, AFTER A FINAL FOUR APPEARANCE months ago, for Doug Marrone to officially wear out his welcome with the players. *Also see: the last head coaching job Marrone had. He did well, and the team refused to extend his contract his final year and didn’t give a contract after a solid final season. That says a lot about the non-progressive, antiquated, miserable, central casting ‘old ball coach’ Doug Marrone…and his partner in crime GM who was the same thing in a bygone era – Tom Coughlin.
-- Is the Jacksonville-DST shot?
Yes, mostly yes…the one you think in your mind (before the season) is dead. But…there’s a silver lining ahead.
Weeks 10-13…IND-PIT-BUF-IND. The Indy matchups are not good. You might try the Jags-DST there, but Indy has one of the best O-Lines in football. Obviously, Week 12 at BUF would be SWEET.
If you can get Jacksonville to somehow go 2-2 in their next 4 games and be 5-7 heading into the final 4 games -- @TEN-WAS-@MIA-@HOU…fighting for their lives against Mariota-Smith-Osweiler Weeks 14-16…it’s a good thing.
The defense to pair with the Jags for Weeks 10, 11, 13…?
The Bears schedule sync’s nicely with them, but the other one (likely more available) is the Colts schedule. Why? They play the Jags twice (why you can’t trust the Jags).
The JAX-IND pairing from Week 10 on gets you facing…
Bortles, Mariota, BUF, Bortles, Mariota, Smith (or Dak with IND), Osweiler. A pair of Bortles and Mariota’s plus a Bills and Osweiler/Tannehill event to the finish…yes, please.
Snap Count of Interest…
58 = Westbrook
56 = Moncrief
48 = Chark
15 = Cole
11 = Greene
37 = Yeldon
28 = Hyde
57 = Agholor
54 = Jeffrey
34 = J Matt
06 = Carter
42 = Rasul Douglas
25 = Ronnie Harrison
23 = Jalen Mills
19 = Leon Jacobs
13 = Taven Bryan
12 = Bruce Hector
NFL Draft 2018 Scouting Report: RB Josh Adams, Notre Dame
*Our RB grades can and will change as more information comes in from Pro Day workouts, leaked Wonderlic test results, etc. We will update ratings as new info becomes available.
*We use the term “Power RB” to separate physically bigger, more between-the-tackles–capable RBs from our “speed RBs” group. “Speed RBs” are physically smaller but much faster/quicker, and less likely to flourish between the tackles.
I thought it the first time I watched his tape pre-Combine…and I thought it again after a deeper study – Josh Adams is my favorite RB prospect in the 2018 NFL Draft. I know, by federal mandate, it’s supposed to be Saquon Barkley or Nick Chubb. I’m not saying ‘best’, per se, just ‘favorite’.
When I settled in for the full study of Adams, I wanted to find the flaws…maybe I was just too excited by my Adams pre-Combine preview session because he was the first RB I watched/studied (going alphabetically). No one else in football analysis is this high on Adams…why am I?
I planned on finding his issues/problems with a deeper study…but I only fell more in love.
I get that he’s not as athletic as Saquon Barkley. I get that he’s not as big/strong as Royce Freeman. I realize there are better RB talents ‘on paper’, and maybe in reality, but here’s what Josh Adams brings to the party – Saquon may have elite athleticism, but Adams has elite running back skills…and what’s ‘elite skills’ worth in the argument? What does that even mean?
You might roll your eyes at the ‘elite skills’ statement.
Because you can ‘see’ Barkley’s ‘wow’ measurables, on paper, and you see his long runs/big plays on highlights reels (because that’s all they ever play on him)…he feels like a god. However, Adams has more long runs on highlight tape than Barkley, but you don’t ‘see’ them played on a constant loop on ESPN…and the analytics/measurables are not as exciting, so you don’t believe. I get it. Plus, every scout in America proclaims Barkley the greatest and they never mention Josh Adams…and if they do it’s more with a pat on the head. You question my scouting vision, perhaps. Those that know my work for a long time…you’re now curious. Those that don’t have as long a relationship, you might think I’m a loon.
What I bring to this ‘running back skills’ party… In his NFL Draft, I noted that Jordan Howard was one of the best ‘running back technicians’ I’d ever scouted on tape…and that his ‘elite skill’ (vision, timing, etc.) as a running back was what everyone was overlooking. The analysts loved Jeremy Langford more, because he was ‘fast’. Other ‘RB technicians’ (who didn’t have amazing pre-Draft measurables and/or who were starting to get written off in the pros as duds after a few seasons) who I’ve noted ahead of time from the tape and computer models in recent years, whether pre-draft or saw it/reported it with them in the pros – Le’Veon Bell, Doug Martin (saw it the year he almost won the league rushing title/the year he lost the weight), Jerick McKinnon (he’s showed it time and time again in the pros but never gets a sustained chance), and Kareem Hunt…to name a few, and Jordan Howard is one of my crowning jewels of RB scouting under the banner of ‘elite skills’ guys.
What I see…it’s an odd…”Hard to explain, but I know ‘it’ when I see it” type of situation. It comes from 10+ years locked in a room constantly watching football games and tape.
There are some running backs who just defy measurables because they are so good at their craft. Conversely, there are RBs with all the physical skills in the world who are terrible running the ball; only good for darting through a big hole every so often. I think Josh Adams is one of those ‘sixth sense’/master craftsman RBs. Kallen Ballage is an example of the opposite -- great measurables, terrible RB skills.
Let me (try to) share/explain what I see, and then address what the Adams detractors say…
First off, Adams’s Pro Day confirms he has enough NFL athleticism – a 4.48 40-time and a 6.75 three-cone. Add a bit to the times for ‘Pro Day homerism’ and you still have a 6’2”/215 guy who runs in the 4.5s with a sub-7.0 three-cone. All basic boxes checked…and with his frame he has room to grow/add five pounds of muscle, which will be lethal if he can add bulk and keep his 4.5 speed and terrific agility.
Adams has what Kareem Hunt had…only in a bigger body – a surreal ability to shift his feet and escape hits in a muddy line of scrimmage or out in space. Some RBs don’t have this skill…rare few have it on a level of a Kareem Hunt or Josh Adams. Some RBs are super-fast straight but labor to dodge/elude with elite feet. Adams moves like he has a radar system built in and with his hips on a swivel, he just effortlessly dodges tackles likes it’s nothing. He’s also tough like Hunt – when Adams senses the run is over, he goes with it and just finds a way to squeeze 1-2-3 extra yards after contact, where others RBs are stopped in their tracks or are trying to dance away and go backwards.
What Adams is better than Kareem Hunt at, and is more like a poor man’s Le’Veon Bell or like Jordan Howard – he has extreme patience and vision, waiting for things to open up and moving almost in slow motion…but then when he finds the sliver of an opening…’BAM’ he explodes through for a gain you didn’t think was there or busts a play wide-open by bursting through a narrow space shocking the defenders who slowed down into the fray. Adams’s highlight reel at Notre Dame is filled with him exploding through small (and large) spaces and leaving defenders in the dust – his open field speed looks better than the 4.48/4.5+ 40-time speed ‘on paper’.
The best thing I can do to show you what I see in my mind, two plays:
This one run against USC in 2017…it’s a thing of beauty. Play it over and over again watching all the things that went into it and you’ll be dazzled. Just the tape starting at the 1:05 mark. Note… This was against a top college team/athletes: (link) https://youtu.be/eex0xUl_Wfg?t=1m6s
Wanna fall in love with an RB prospect for 2018 not-named Saquon Barkley? Watch this, and can I say…I’ve been studying football and RBs for a decade now – this highlight reel is simply stunning, breathtaking…and I’m hard to impress as time goes on: (link) https://youtu.be/4CExutUCjio
Adams is stunning to watch at work. He really is.
Let me add – he has decent enough hands in the passing game. He wasn’t used in the passing game consistently by offensive design, but I don’t believe that was a commentary on Adams. When I watch him catch the ball he’s more than competent…and he’s catching a little more than just screens. I’m OK with his hands in the passing game (and wait until you see another stat on his ‘hands’ in the next section).
The big negative that analysts will use to throw cold water on him – “Well, the Notre Dame O-Line was SOOO good.” They were. No denying that but anyone making that leap, to me, means a person hasn’t really watched Josh Adams and/or they don’t know what they’re looking at because they are not a student of such things. No crime in that but I watched enough of Adams’ work to know…he’s different. He did get some nice holes from his O-Line but there were many times Adams made hay where there weren’t any big openings. Adams is still a great RB no matter how good his blocking was…he’s just lucky enough to get a bump from his O-Line into nose-bleed levels (good) of yards per carry in his career (more on that next section).
If you ‘blame’ the blocking for Adams – you’re making a HUUUGGE mistake.
Off the field…more to love. A bright, friendly guy. A team captain. There are no issues off the field. Medically, he went through three years at Notre Dame just fine. He did tear his ACL as a junior in high school, so a small red flag there but he’s been clean on everything injury-wise ever since.
I get that Saquon Barkley and Nick Chubb are the guys with all the draft momentum, so it seems odd to claim Josh Adams is as good/better than them because no one else is saying such things…but the NFL makes mistakes like this all the time. For whatever reason, Adams just doesn’t have the draft love or buzz from the media, which is odd because they usually fawn over any Notre Dame hopefuls. The only thing I could think of is – if you push the Adams story too much, then it takes away from their fawning over the Notre Dame O-Line. It reminds me -- you know how no one cared about the Chicago Bears O-Line in 2016 when John Fox pushed Jeremy Langford, and the run game sucked. Once Fox was forced to give Jordan Howard touches…whaddya know…what a great O-Line (and they say that to take away the credit from Howard, who they were wrong about). Draft night will be filled with Quenton Nelson and Mike McGlinchy sloppy kisses -- and Josh Adams will be used as proof of how great they are…as if Adams is a stiff who benefitted from these two great O-Lineman.
I think some of the Notre Dame O-Line fawning can be reversed into Josh Adams making them appear better than they are.
Wrapping this section up: For those into such things – the day you read this, go note where the top viewed sites for the draft have Adams ranked. And then watch about 2-3 weeks from this release date how Adams ‘magically’ moves up the rankings. We’re going to move the market a little here, but they won’t go far enough, per usual.
Josh Adams, Through the Lens of Our RB Scouting Algorithm:
Adams posted 6.9 yards per carry in 2017 season…6.7 ypc for his career.
Josh Adams did not fumble a ball in 206 carries in 2017. He only lost one fumble in his entire career (322 touches), and it was as a freshman.
Josh Adams has had 13 career games where he’s taken 16 or more carries in a game, and he’s posted 100+ rushing yards 11 times in those games.
Against NC State’s D-Line littered with 2018 draft prospects…Adams ran for 202 yards against them in 2017. The last two seasons against USC, Adams averaged 185.5 yards rushing per game.
On the downside… Against Georgia, LSU, Miami, and Stanford (most late in the 2017 season) – just 46.5 yards rushing per game. Against tougher defensive fronts, mostly late in 2017, Adams didn’t have great yardage tallies. Watching those games tightly, because I thought this was where the hidden problem is with loving Adams…I actually fell more in love. Against defenses starting to stack against him and the O-Line not looking so good, Adams made some hay out of defenders constantly penetrating the backfield. The people that will say Adams was made by the O-Line, they will also point to these lesser-output games and go ‘See! Adams isn’t that good!’ but why isn’t it the same for the O-Line?
Notre Dame had atrocious QB play, so defenses finally just sold everything out against the run late in the 2017 season. The O-Line can’t block 8-11 defenders playing the run…and Adams can’t rack up big plays when defenders are almost taking the ball out of his hands during his handoffs. The Notre Dame starting QB completed 49.5% of his passes in 2017…if you’re wondering ‘how bad?’ he was. That’s pretty awful for a top D1 school to have at QB. Adams carried this offense, this team to a top 5 or so ranking at one point.
2018 NFL Combine/Pro Day measurables…
6’1.5”/215, 33.75” arms, 9.25” hands
4.48 40-time, 6.75 three-cone, 4.8 shuttle (Pro Day)
18 bench reps (Combine), 34.0” vertical, 10’2” broad jump (Pro Day)
The Historical RB Prospects to Whom Josh Adams Most Compares Within Our System:
I fully expected to see Latavius Murray on this list, so I’m not shocked he’s here. It’s some of the other names on here that made me sit up at attention. Did not expect to see David Johnson or Todd Gurley.
Back to Latavius – Murray was a bigger, faster prospect but nowhere near as talented at his craft as Adams. The Johnson-Gurley-Murray comps…the reason why Adams grades lower/less than…Adams is smaller (215 pounds) but our system sees the potential for added bulk pushing Adams near that group of talent.
*COMPARISON TABLE ON CFM*
2018 NFL Draft Outlook:
Adams is not going to get any draft momentum, so I expect he’ll be taken 125+ overall…as major steal. He will be drafted but not until later. The team that will reach for him is the Chicago Bears because their O-Line coach was a guy behind Notre Dame’s line the last few years. He knows.
If I were an NFL GM, I’m all over Adams later in this draft. He’s the Jordan Howard of this draft (late draft pick, overlooked, but then stars instantly when given the chance)…with Latavius Murray’s body.
It won’t be easy because he’s currently ignored by the ruling class (the football media and analysts). He’ll likely be taken in the 4th round+ and taken as a backup, not as an expected impact guy. If he lands in the right spot and is given a chance…he’s gold. He could wind up behind a David Johnson or Le’Veon Bell and we don’t hear from him for a while. It’s unfair, but it’s how the draft game is played, typically.