Each year a few late round picks defy expectations and become a star. Here are the five most likely players to do so from the 2019 NFL draft class:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

Gardner Minshew (Quarterback)- The 2018 PAC-12 Offensive Player of the Year might’ve only started for one year at Washington State University but he made it count by throwing for 38 touchdowns and only 9 interceptions. Even though the Cougars had a pass heavy offense those reps have helped fine tune Minshew and really brought out the best of his abilities. Not to mention he was coached by Mike Leach who is one of the smartest football coaches on the planet.

Tyree Jackson (Quarterback)- At 6’7” 249LBS Jackson has Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch-esque height but the former University of Buffalo quarterback (Jackson) seems to have even better poise than Osweiler or Lynch. A strong Senior Bowl showing also boosted Jackson’s stock but it could take two or three years before he fulfills his potential. Still he’s physically superior than most of the other QBs in this class and that could be the reason Jackson overcomes the odds.


Bryce Love (Running Back)- Love could’ve left Stanford and declared for the NFL draft after a special junior season but he went back to school and that decision bit him in the ass. He ended up tearing his ACL and lost a lot of his value before leaving for the pros. Love went from a potential 1st round talent to a guy who will go late. However it’s possible that we’ve forgotten how good Bryce Love can be and he ends ups having the last laugh.

Lil’Jordan Humphrey (Wide Receiver)- If you watched any of the Longhorns’ games last season you know how special Lil’Jordan Humphrey has looked at times. Humphrey’s play was on par with A.J Brown, N’Keal Harry, and Deebo Samuel who were some of the best receivers in college football for the 2018 season. Maybe it wasn’t a fluke and Humphrey is being completely undervalued.

Khalen Saunders (Defensive Tackle)- Western Illinois standout Khalen Saunders didn’t play in front of the big crowds like the other players on this list but he did record 16 sacks as an interior defensive linemen during his four year collegiate career. Yea it was against FCS (1-AA) opponents but that didn’t stop Jerry Rice from becoming the best player of all-time. Maybe Saunders can be a similar story.

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Here are the late round prospects who could defy expectations and become stars.

Detroit is hoping Kerryon Johnson and Kenny Golladay can usher in a new era of Lions football. Those two players are key to their team’s future:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

Let’s face it the rules in today’s NFL are tilted in the offense’s favor. Defensive players can’t hit receivers like they could in the past and there’s a lot of questionable pass interference calls. So if you can’t put points on the scoreboard then things won’t go very well for you.


For Detroit most of their offense will flow through two young players at the running back and wide receiver positions. Kerryon Johnson is the first guy we’ll talk about and what a rookie season he had racking up 641 yards and 3 touchdowns. Johnson actually missed the last six contests with a knee injury but he was the first Lion to rush for 100 yards in a game since Reggie Bush did that back in 2013. Therefore expectations are high for Kerryon Johnson in year two because he gave the fans in Michigan something to be optimistic about. People assume Johnson is going to overcome his medical problems and pick up right where he left off. From what we’ve seen so far Johnson appears to be the real deal and he should be back on track before we know it. Then there’s Kenny Golladay and he was the better of the two in 2018. With Golden Tate out of the picture and Marvin Jones hurt. Golladay stepped up and hauled in 1,063 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns. Once you crack that 1,000 yards mark as a pass catcher you’re entering the elite category. The rapport that Golladay and Stafford have is incredible and they always find a way to move the chains or come up with a big play down the field. Matt Patricia is depending on another monster season from Kenny Golladay and that seems to be the way things are heading. If both of these guys step up the Lions could put together an exciting brand of football. For an organization that hasn’t had a ton of success it’s so crucial that their star players live up to their potential.

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Detroit is hoping Kerryon Johnson and Kenny Golladay can usher in a new era of Lions football. These two players are key to their team’s future:

Phillip Lindsay could end up being the best undrafted running back of all-time. Making the Pro Bowl as a rookie set the tone for what’s to come:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Denver Broncos found a diamond in the rough when they signed undrafted free agent Phillip Lindsay. The local Colorado star was overlooked by NFL evaluators proving that some talent does slip through the cracks. Make no mistake about it though this acquisition was impressive work by John Elway.


He brought Lindsay into camp and gave the Aurora native an opportunity to showcase his talents. What the Broncos didn’t realize is Lindsay would slingshot past Royce Freeman and Devontae Booker for the starting running back job. Once securing the lead role Lindsay didn’t look back and rushed for 1,037 yards plus 9 touchdowns. Ultimately that led to a Pro Bowl nomination as a rookie and he was the first undrafted offensive players to achieve this feat. So right away these early accomplishments set a precedent of what we can expect from Phillip Lindsay. And because it’s been such a fast start Joe Perry, Priest Holmes, and Marion Motley have to look over their shoulder. Those three are referred to as the best undrafted running backs ever but Lindsay already tied Motley in the Pro Bowl count (1). Perry and Holmes each went made three trips to the NFL’s annual all-star event and it’s very possible to beat those numbers. On the field it’s surprising because Lindsay is such a small guy at 5’8” 190 pounds. What the 24 year old lacks in size he makes up for with tenacity and heart. This a player who is extremely fast with the ball in his hands and he gives everything he has on every single snap. Lindsay is also good at catching the ball out of the backfield and then turning upfield for big gains. All of this is part of the reason the Broncos started to get it together in 2018. They only won 6 games but you could tell they were playing more confidently. The idea is Vic Fangio can build on that and take this organization to the next level.

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Phillip Lindsay set the tone for his career by making the Pro Bowl as a rookie.

Don’t overlook how good Chandler Jones and Terrell Suggs can be for the Arizona Cardinals. Most coaches dream of having two elite edge players:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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We know the Arizona Cardinals were the worst team in football a season ago and they’ve been working overtime to turn things around. We’ve seen this team add Brooks Reed and Robert Alford before free agency even began. Then they lured Terrell Suggs away from the Baltimore Ravens and it’s an acquisition that could end up being a splash. Suggs is 36 years old but he still recorded 7 sacks in 2018. Clearly the veteran outside linebacker hasn’t lost it and now the Cardinals will pair him up with Chandler Jones.


Those two defenders will be firing off the edge for all four quarters and doing everything they can to rattle opposing quarterbacks. Some teams could be overwhelmed by such a relentless force and the person who will benefit the most is Jones. Offenses can’t double team Jones as much because Suggs will dominate against one on one blocking. Therefore offensive linemen will have to mix up their protections up front to keep Arizona off guard and it’s a much better situation than Jones was in last year. You have to remember Chandler Jones has recorded 41 sacks since joining the Cardinals but he could be even better now that he’s got the perfect wingman in Suggs. The only unfortunate thing is this will probably be a one year stint with Suggs being so old. Which is why this organization has to make the most of it and try to improve as much as they can. Kliff Kingbury needs to start off on the right foot and the Jones/ Suggs duo will be one of the most important factors in whether or not that happens. It’s still a long shot they’ll be able to win the NFC West but Jared Goff, Russell Wilson, and Jimmy Garoppolo better watch out because if they’re not careful they’ll get destroyed by these two pass rushers.

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Don’t overlook the Arizona Cardinals pass rushers. Chandler Jones and Terrell Suggs should be tough this season.

Kansas City had a dysfunctional off-season but Patrick Mahomes is good enough to save the Chiefs:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Most people are probably wondering how Kansas City had a dysfunctional off-season and it’s because of a number of different events that have occurred. Obviously the first thing that comes to mind is Tyreek Hill and the allegations he’s facing (child abuse). Which will likely result in Hill being suspended for a violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy.


All of that came in the wake of Kareem Hunt’s release because of a video that surfaced of Hunt in an altercation with a woman. So he’s no longer part of the team either and it definitely hurt the Chiefs chances in the postseason. Then you also have to remember that Travis Kelce had ankle surgery and was in a walking boot for the past month and Kansas City is transitioning to a new defensive scheme (4-3). Despite these concerns Patrick Mahomes can be the one constant for Andy Reid’s football team. The reigning MVP racked up 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns in 2018 and proved he’s the centerpiece of this offense. His numbers won’t be as good this year especially if Hill is suspended. However none that matters if Kansas City gets into the playoffs and makes some magic happen. We’ve seen Tom Brady overcome undesirable circumstances in the past and now it’s Mahomes opportunity to do the same. This could be an even more defining moment for his career than winning MVP because there’s so many odds stacked against him. Making it clear we’re going to see exactly what Mahomes is made of but don’t be surprised if he does rise up to expectations. You’re only as good as your quarterback in the NFL and Kansas City has one of the best in the business. Life will be so much easier because of that and he definitely inspires hope in his teammates.

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Kansas City had a dysfunctional off-season but Patrick Mahomes is good enough to save the Chiefs:

Send Dak packing? Why the Dallas Cowboys should trade for Josh Rosen and make things really interesting:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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There’s so many people who’ve already written off Josh Rosen and it’s completely absurd. They’ll talk about how Rosen threw more interceptions than touchdowns as a rookie completely disregarding the fact that Jared Goff, Peyton Manning, and John Elway all did the same exact thing.Those naysayers will also turn a blind eye to the fact that Arizona’s offense was absolutely dreadful last season and they were on par with what Goff had to deal with his rookie year in Los Angeles.


Which is why Dallas should ignore all of the fans’ feedback and trade for Josh Rosen and it would be one of the smartest moves they could make. First and foremost Rosen won’t earn more than $6M dollars annually for the remainder of his contract (3 years). Sticking with Dak Prescott will cost the Cowboys over $20M dollars per year and you have to keep in mind Rosen is a 1st round talent while Prescott was a 4th rounder. The difference between the two is obvious when you compare their arm talent. Rosen is much better at throwing the football but Dak Prescott is a tougher competitor. That’s where Josh Rosen has to improve but playing with all that help around him (Ezekiel Ellliott, Amari Cooper, etc.) will drastically improve the former UCLA quarterback’s production. The final reason Jerry Jones should pull the trigger on this deal is because it’s a flat out bargain. The Cardinals just traded up to get Rosen in last year’s draft and now Jones can get a franchise QB for a second round pick and a late round selection to sweeten the pot. It would be very similar to when the San Francisco 49ers robbed the New England Patriots for Jimmy Garoppolo and it’s the perfect risk for Dallas. Then on draft night they can ship out Dak Prescott and get another pick to improve their roster. Save money, add draft capital, and improve the quarterback position? Yup it’s a no brainer.

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If the Dallas Cowboys traded for Josh Rosen then things would get really interesting.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are a mess but Nick Foles will bring some much-needed maturity to their locker room:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Not even two years ago the Jacksonville Jaguars knocked off the Pittsburgh Steelers in an AFC divisional playoff game but things went off the rails for Jacksonville since then. Players like Leonard Fournette and Jalen Ramsey have nearly went AWOL and looked completely unfocused at times.


The guy who is running the show (Tom Coughlin) has made stupid decisions (re-signing Blake Bortles) and has been overcritical of players. Then Coughlin overpaid for Nick Foles but the one good thing is Foles can bring maturity and leadership to the Jaguars locker room. Everyone has seen the runs Foles has to put together and one of them resulted in the Philadelphia Eagles winning a Super Bowl. So this is clearly someone the whole team can rally around because Nick Foles is almost a superhero at this point of his career. Beyond that though he’s a high integrity human being and a role model for the younger players on this roster. After witnessing training camp fights break out between Yannick Ngakoue and Dante Fowler last year this will be a sigh of relief for Jacksonville. Blake Bortles knew his time was over and it showed in his confidence from the very beginning of 2018. Foles isn’t afraid to do the right thing whether it’s holding his teammates accountable or calling for a team meeting after practice. There will be a trickle down effect because of this and you’ll notice some of the other Jaguars taking their jobs more seriously. Will it be enough to save this franchise from the dumpster fire they were for the last 12 months? Probably not but at least it’s something positive to get the wheels in motion. Coughlin should also think about trading down in the draft because they have a lot of holes to fill and they need to acquire more picks. Go get Foles the help he needs and leave all of the nonsense in the past.

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Nick Foles will bring some much-needed maturity to the Jaguars locker room and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have to prove they’re still good enough to be a contender without Antonio Brown or Le’Veon Bell:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Pittsburgh Steelers had a lot of distractions during 2018 and most of them were because of Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. Bell failed to show up at the start of the season and Brown bailed on the team by week 17. Which had to be frustrating for the other players in that locker room but now Pittsburgh finds themselves in a situation that is drama free even if the team is less talented.


Overcoming the loss of those two players isn’t going to be easy especially Antonio Brown because he scored 15 touchdowns for this offense a year ago. However quarterback Ben Roethlisberger clearly believes morale can be a difference maker for the Steelers and he said this current squad is “all about each other.” Believe it or not in football having an us against the world mentality is even more important because there’s so many people that determine the outcome of the games. The more each individual trusts each other the better the team will perform and it’s as simple as that. So you start to look at the roster and some of the players who will lead the way from here and it obviously starts with Roethlisberger. James Conner will also be counted on and we know he can provide a spark on the ground. Then you have JuJu Smith-Schuster at the wide receiver position and Pittsburgh also signed Donte Moncrief to help minimize the loss of Brown. From the looks of it there’s a lot of high character guys there and you have to remember this is still a first class organization. The Rooney family can mask a lot of their problems because they’re some of the best owners in the business. There’s no doubt the Cleveland Browns are big time threat in the AFC North and it just goes to show how much Roethlisberger and company will have to gel if they want to get back on top of this division.

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Are the Pittsburgh Steelers still good enough to be a contender with Antonio Brown or Le’Veon Bell?

Joe Flacco wants to prove that the Denver Broncos aren’t wasting their time on him. Flacco is confident he can turn his career around and win some games:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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New Denver Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco recently told the media that he doesn’t care if the team drafts another quarterback because he’s the top guy moving forward. It felt like Flacco was sending a message to the front office that he’s confident he can lead this team for years to come.


To be perfectly honest though the last thing Flacco wants is another situation like he had in Baltimore with Lamar Jackson. Having a rookie QB on the roster would mean the team would be handed over to the younger player within three years. Instead John Elway should prove he’s got a pulse on his locker room and go with someone like Ed Oliver or Devin White to build an elite defense. Then Elway can use the 2nd or 3rd round to tune up the offensive line, wide receiver, or tight end positions. Flacco will still be in a tough spot because the Broncos offense has been a disaster ever since Peyton Manning retired. Keeping that in mind Denver should probably hand the ball off to Phillip Lindsay 20 times a game and then let Joe Flacco be the 2nd option. If Vic Fangio cuts down on the offense’s passing attempts per game then their new quarterback will only have to step up when they call his number. You allow Flacco to get his confidence back and then slowly give him more freedom. The Broncos will be much closer to success if they stick with this strategy and they might surprise some people. At the very least we know Flacco will be motivated especially after the Ravens kicked him to the curb. Being in a new environment could be exactly what the 34 year old signal caller needs to turn his career around. Not only did the Broncos give Flacco their full support they even traded for him so it’s clear they believe in his abilities.

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Joe Flacco wants to prove that he’s the answer to the Broncos problems.

Demaryius Thomas signs with the New England Patriots and he’s hoping to reinvent himself by catching passes from Tom Brady:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Every year the New England Patriots sign an aging veteran receiver in hopes that they can resurrect their career. Last season it was Eric Decker and before him Bill Belichick took a chance on Reggie Wayne and Chad Johnson. So hearing that New England acquired Demaryious Thomas today makes a lot of sense.


However before we rush and project what Thomas will do in this offense keep in mind that Johnson, Wayne, and Decker all flopped during their stints in Foxborough. Making it clear Thomas will face an uphill battle if he wants to get back to the player he once was. If there’s anything working in Thomas’ favor though it’s definitely playing with Tom Brady. He’s the greatest quarterback off all-time and his arm is still going strong. Thomas already had a great run with another future Hall of Fame quarterback in Peyton Manning. Maybe Thomas and Brady can follow suit and end up having a record breaking year of their own. Things would be even better if Josh Gordon could also return from his struggles and get back to contributing on the field. With Julian Edelman, Gordon, and Thomas the Patriots could have a good enough receiving core to repeat as Super Bowl champions. Rob Gronkowski isn’t going to be there anymore and that trio of guys can keep this passing attack in the elite category. Sony Michel will handle the running game and then Thomas and the boys have to make a bunch of plays through the air. This could also be the last stop for Demaryious Thomas so he’ll have to make the most of this opportunity. For the time being this is a win for him personally because at least he’s on a roster and heading into camp. From here it’s about showing the coaching staff what he can do and catching a few touchdowns in practice. Thomas has to prove himself the next couple of months and make the team before he can suit up for the games.

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Demaryious Thomas will be catching passes from Tom Brady in 2019.

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