NFL Census: Finding the league’s biggest outliers

Nearly 1,700 players come together to form the big picture of the NFL — a collection of 32 53-man rosters that fluidly change throughout the season. Each roster can be sliced in myriad ways to show the makeup of the league through a variety of lenses, providing a look at the smaller strokes that are unique to each club.

Teams begin each offseason with a 90-man roster that gets trimmed to the final 53 active players before Week 1. Those opening week rosters were the ones we analyzed to determine a variety of findings, ranging from the vital metrics of each player, such as height and weight, to how much cash was paid to that player during the 2017 season.

Using our data set of nearly 1,700 players that made opening week rosters in 2017, here’s a look at how each position stacks up in terms of the averages:

Mejia, a catcher/outfielder, was ranked as the No. 7 overall prospect in baseball by ESPN’s Keith Law in January. He has been hot of late, batting .350 with three doubles, a triple, a home run and 10 RBIs in his past 11 games.

The Indians optioned right-hander Evan Marshall to Triple-A Columbus in a corresponding move. Marshall has a 6.75 ERA in 6 2/3 innings over nine appearances this season.

Mejia, 22, struggled in the majors when he was called up last year, hitting .154 in 14 plate appearances.

Despite his recent success in the minors, he has struggled overall in Triple-A, batting .214 with four home runs and 25 RBIs in 214 plate appearances this season. He hit .304 with 16 home runs and 61 RBIs in Double-A last season.

When the Chiefs are doing a specialty jersey, eagles_036, the team’s director of business operations and merchandise, contacts her sales rep at OT Sports. I tell her, ‘This is what we’re thinking, this is what we have in mind,’ and one of their designers will send us a few concepts, says Berger. Sometimes they nail it on the first shot, and sometimes we have to go back and forth a few times to get it right.

Falcons excited about Vic Beasley’s move back to DE

The Atlanta Falcons again tinkered with Vic Beasley ‘s position this offseason, moveagles_038ing the pass rusher back to defensive end full time after using him as a linebacker. Both the coaches and Beasley are excited about the position reversal.

Young dismissed the notion Beasley’s move back to defensive end could weaken the Falcons ‘ run defense.

He’s about 240 and 245, Young said. He plays with good strength. He plays with good power. People don’t realize how strong that Vic is. So, I think he’ll be OK holding his own.

The Packers struggled to get after the quarterback consistently in 2017, ranking 17th in the NFL with 37 sacks. Green Bay is counting on Matthews, who has compiled fewer than eight sacks each of the past three seasons, having a career renaissance under new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.

At the same time, it does show their confidence in Nick and myself, as well as the guys we have, Matthews added. At some time, I’m sure it will be addressed, but for the time being, the guys we have here are the guys who have to hold up their end of the bargain.

Everybody on the outside trying to look in and trying to destroy what we built there. I’m not going nowhere. I’ll be there. I love the team. I love the organization. I love everybody there. I’m good.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank didn’t sound concerned last week about Jones’ absence from OTAs, saying he hopes the wideout is a Falcon for life. It’s a sentiment the playmaker reciprocated.

I am [going to be a Falcon for life], Jones replied bluntly when asked about Blank’s comments.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn said he’s spoken to Jones this offseason and expects the wideout to participate in mandatory minicamp next month.

At 38 years old, eight years removed from his last NFL game, Lewis is already living with the post-traumatic effects of concussions. He knows he did irreparable damage to his brain and that there’s a chance he’s currently living with CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy).

Every NFL Team’s Biggest Reason to Look Forward to 2018 Season

Now that everybody has been drafted and almost everybody has been signed (sorry, Dez), we can start to look forward to the 2018 NFL season with a good feel for how each team will look. 

And it’s May, so none of those draft picks or free-agent signings have had the chance to become busts. That makes this a great time to take a look at 32 half-full glasses. 

Here are the biggest reasons for every team to look forward to early September.

But that running game finally received a boost courtesy of surprise breakout back Alex Collins. The 2016 fifth-round pick was waived by the Seattle Seahawks just prior to the start of the 2017 season, the Ravens signed him to their practice squad a few days later, they promoted him to the active roster a couple weeks after that, and he was starting and shining by the middle of October. 

Despite the slow start, Collins rushed for nearly 1,000 yards and finished the season ranked ninth among qualified backs with a 4.6 yards-per-attempt average. 

With Morris in the fold, the Texans now have four quarterbacks on their roster. Brandon Weeden and Joe Webb both signed with the team as free agents this offseason and will be in the mix for the No. 2 job behind Deshaun Watson.

Can Good Magic upset Justify?

Baffert is 4-0 in the Preakness with the Derby winner and doesn’t see any reason Justify doesn’t have another big run in him.

I like being the favorite, Baffert said Wednesday. “I don’t want to be 50-1. I like knowing that I have a chance to win. When you come in and you’re like, ‘Well, I don’t know, we’re going to need the Stanford marching band to interfere a little bit,’ then you don’t feel that well. I just feel that when you know that there’s a chance you can pull this off and when you can win on the big arena, that’s what it’s all about.”

ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported the decision.

Browns general manager John Dorsey released a statement after the announcement, expressing his thoughts on the added exposure the show will bring, via Mike Garafolo of NFL Network:

It’s a reversal for Dorsey, who said on May 2 that he didn’t think “anything good” comes from being involved with Hard Knocks, per Mary Kay Cabot of

The Browns were active in free agency and on the trade market as well, adding the likes of wide receiver Jarvis Landry, quarterback Tyrod Taylor and running back Carlos Hyde, among others.

After missing nearly all of the 2014, 2015 and 2016 campaigns due to drug-related suspensions, wide receiver Josh Gordon returned to play in five games last season. His preparation for his first full season since 2013 likely will be a major angle on the show, too.

Having not reached the playoffs since 2002, the Browns are looking to end the NFL’s longest active postseason drought. 

He’s ahead of the game, Matt Nagy told reporters, via the Bears ‘ official website. “He’s looking good. We’re feeling really good about his prognosis as far as getting started, and we don’t need to rush it.”

The Bears signed Robinson to a three-year contract during free agency despite last year’s knee injury but are clearly confident in the recovery process.

A healthy Robinson, who joined the Bears after four seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, would energize Chicago’s passing game, which didn’t produce a 700-yard receiver in 2017.

On his career, the 24-year-old Robinson has 2,848 yards receiving and 22 touchdowns on 202 catches. His best season came in 2015, when he totaled 80 catches for 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Given that production, it is easy to see why the Bears are excited about getting him involved in the offense once he receives medical clearance.

In the meantime, Robinson will continue to recover and do his part away from the field. cowboys_055

Cowboys’ Michael Gallup: Replacing Dez Bryant ‘not my role yet’

Michael Gallup is eager to make a good impression with his new team, but knows he has big shoes to fill.

As the wide receiver continues to settle in at rookie minicamp, Gallup said he’s aware the departure of Dez Bryant has left a large void to fill and understands it will take some time to fill.

“Dez is a great player,” Gallup said, via the Dallas Morning News. “It’s hard for a rookie to come in and just replace all of the stuff that he’s done here. We’re out here trying to practice to be like him, obviously. But I’m not coming in here just to replace him. That’s not my role yet.”

“We had one real epic 3-on-3 game where one brother lost a tooth, and it got real intense,” Klayton Korver, Kyle’s brother, said. “But we had a good time.”

Their father would step out onto the porch and watch. His instruction often was “higher, shoot it higher.” And shoot they did. The four brothers — Kyle, Klayton, Kaleb and Kirk — all rank in the top 10 in Pella High’s all-time scoring and rebounding lists. Kyle and Kaleb went on to play at Creighton, Klayton at Drake and Kirk at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

“We all shot so many baskets on that hoop. My parents didn’t pay for college because we all got scholarships,” Kyle said. “It was a good investment, and it’s a good lesson.”

“You say stay in school, but a kid wants to better himself and his future,” Jefferson said. “So you can be making money for the university, struggling, trying to eat dining hall food, waking up early, having to go through extreme pressures and not getting paid for none of that. Or you can not go to school, just play football all day, study film and get better and work out all day and max yourself out.”

LeBron drove hard to his right, drew Monroe further off of Nance than Monroe wanted, and lofted that bad boy. (By the way: Look at Brown in Korver’s jersey in the left corner. Brown is technically the emergency weakside helper. He is not leaving Korver.)

Even when those off-ball picks don’t connect, they throw defenses off-kilter. Big men fall so far behind, it is hard for them to call out the ball screen in time; LeBron’s defenders looked unaware and jittery when they felt a pick.ravens_014

Ravens waive running back John Crockett

When the new guys come in, somebody has to go out.

That’s what’s happening in Baltimore, as the Ravens waived running back John Crockett to make room for some rookies, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun.

“Yeah, Frank was a guy we started evaluating, I’d say two years ago. He was a guy that was thinking about coming out in the draft last year. We had him high on our board last year. He decided to stay in school and came back this year, had a great senior season before he got injured, and really checked every box throughout the process. Real easy pick for us at No. 20.”

What did you think about Burleson’s enthusiastic announcement of Detroit’s second-round pick as it was happening?

“We had actually talked to (Kerryon Johnson) already. We had already passed the phone around to the different people who talked to our second-round pick. We put the TV on, turned the volume up and Nate walked out onto the stage and it was awesome. The whole room was clapping, yelling, the Ford family was there, it was an awesome experience.”

The Falcons moved him from receiver to cornerback in 2016.

Team owner Martha Ford also did not know about the allegations at the time Patricia was hired, per the report. The report also says that Lions General Manager Bob Quinn, who worked with Patricia in New England for over 10 years, didn’t know about the indictment, according to Wood.

The Detroit News notes that Massachusetts state law bars employers from asking about arrests that did not end in a conviction. Before he was hired by the Lions, Patricia worked and lived in the state as part of the New England Patriots organization. The report also stated this, on the subject of background checks:

The month before the Lions hired Patricia, the New Jersey-based private investigations firm APG Security requested copies of the indictment and dismissal from the county prosecutor’s office, The News has learned. When contacted by The News, an APG official said he was unaware of anyone requesting the court records. broncos_048_07321b3b44ca10e8-180x180

Raiders pluck Maurice Hurst in fifth round

There were points this offseason when it was easy to find predictions that defensive tackle Maurice Hurst would be a first-round pick.

Those predictions dwindled after Hurst was diagnosed with a heart condition while at the Scouting Combine. Hurst was medically cleared, but it was clear that teams saw a fair amount of risk as the first four rounds passed without Hurst being picked.

The 26-year-old defensive back got into legal trouble in 2017 on two separate occasions.

He was arrested in February 2017 and charged with one count of cannabis possession, one count of possession of cannabis with intent to sell or deliver and one count of possession of a controlled substance, but the charges were dropped in June.

Anderson joined the NFL officiating roster in 1996 and was promoted to referee in 2003. He’s officiated 17 playoff games, including Super Bowl XXXV (Ravens-Giants) as a line judge and Super Bowl XLV (Packers-Steelers) as a referee.

He was also the referee for the New England Patriots-Indianapolis Colts AFC Championship game in January 2015 that ignited the Deflategate fiasco.

Phillips was a key piece in the Rams winning their first NFC West title in over a decade in 2017, and now is ready to elevate the unit for his second season in Los Angeles. With Phase II of the offseason program underway, the defensive coordinator has been able to work with the players on the field for the first time since January.

Derrick Coleman agreed to a one-year deal with the Cardinals, Adam Schefter of (on Twitter). The deal puts the veteran in line to be Arizona’s new starting fullback.

Coleman, 28 in October, appeared in all 16 of the Falcons’ regular season games in 2017. He is regarded as one of the best at his position, but his market was slow to develop this offseason as most teams do not utilize a fullback in their offense. Known mostly for his blocking ability, Coleman has just three catches in his last two NFL seasons and 13 grabs across four active years in the league.broncos_094_c015329307718dff-180x180

NFL, NFLPA Settle Rookie Salary Gray Area

The NFL has made it clear both publicly and to the NFLPA that they would respect the rights of players to demonstrate.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement definitively states that League (NFL) rules supersede any conflicting club rules.

According to our information, a club appears to have based its decision not to sign a player based on the player’s statement that he would challenge the implementation of a club’s policy prohibiting demonstration, which is contrary to the League policy.

At least one club owner has asked preemployment interview questions about a player’s intent to demonstrate. We believe these questions are improper, given League policy.

Our Union continues to monitor these developments.

The Pittsburgh Steelers made a necessary move in the NFL Draft this offseason by selecting quarterback Mason Rudolph of Oklahoma State in the third round. To most observers, this was an excellent pick for the future.

For longtime signal-caller and two-time Super Bowl champ Ben Roethlisberger, however, not so much.

After experimenting with a vegan diet last offseason, Riddick opted to stick with the lifestyle change after experiencing positive benefits. He said his recovery time was much smoother last season, and he regularly felt better by Tuesday after a Sunday game, as opposed to Friday in past years.

Riddick believes the dietary shift played a role in being able to play all 16 games for just the second time in his career.

Given the drastic switch to a lifestyle free of animal products, is there anything he misses? He showed no hesitation giving a response.

A ribeye, he said, eyes widening.

Source: Seahawks reach one-year deal with Byron Maxwell

The Seattle Seahawks have agreed to a one-year deal with cornerback Byron Maxwell, a source tells ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The deal is worth up to $3 million.

The move fills what was arguably the Seahawks’ top roster need. It remained such when they opted to not address that position in the first round in favor of selecting San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny with the 27th pick.

“I thought that Byron Maxwell did a great job to finish,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said after the season. “It was exactly what we would’ve hoped would happen, that when we get him back in our system and we turn him back into the style that we play in, that he might recover the same kind of play. I think he did.”

He had a hand in one of the bigger defensive plays of the season, when he forced a Dez Bryant fumble in a Christmas Eve game against the Dallas Cowboys, which Seattle won to keep its playoff hopes alive. He finished the season with 46 tackles, two forced fumbles and an interception.

A sixth-round pick by Seattle in 2011, Maxwell started 17 games between the 2013 and 2014 seasons before signing a lucrative free-agent deal in 2015 with the Philadelphia Eagles, who then traded him to Miami after one season.

“After the first inning, I was in better command, making better pitches,” Hernandez said. “I had a good curveball, had a good sinker.”

James Pazos worked a perfect seventh. Juan Nicasio struck out all three batters in the eighth, and Edwin Diaz tossed a one-two-three ninth for his 10th save in as many chances .

The bullpen also dominated in Tuesday in a 1-0 win, with Marco Gonzales and four relievers combining on a five-hitter.

“The ball became a little bit stagnant tonight down the stretch,” Brooks said. “We need to get some more ball movement.”

Wizards: Gortat had six rebounds in the first quarter. … The Wizards had nine offensive rebounds in the first half, compared to two for Toronto. Washington finished with 14 offensive rebounds, while Toronto had six.

The Arizona Diamondbacks keep on rolling.

Jags owner: Potential Wembley purchase doesn’t mean move to London

Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan was visibly annoyed Thursday night about speculation that his potential purchase of Wembley Stadium means he is planning to relocate his NFL franchise to London.

Khan said this was purely a business move designed to provide additional revenue that will in fact help strengthen the team’s future in Jacksonville and that nobody should read anything more than that into it.

“No more than what they are today or they were yesterday,” Khan said. “Just remember and please recall, just when we had the state of the union here [last week] and what was talked about. Go back and look at the tape. Go back six years ago and look at what we talked about. Look at some of the stuff behind us [at EverBank Field]. The boards, the pools, next door [at Dailey’s Place amphitheater] the sounds you hear [are part of] what did we do to make football, NFL viable in Jacksonville.

“We’re the smallest franchise in the NFL. We have very unique demographics. There are more non-Jaguars fans in Jacksonville than Jaguars fans. It’s a fact of life. So instead of complaining about it, we want to be proactive [and] do something about it and be at the cutting edge of a franchise that can win games and have a great experience.”

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told ESPN on Thursday night during an interview before the draft at AT&T Stadium that the league is “still a ways off” from potential NFL expansion in London.

“When Brian came to us in September 2013, we discussed a structure and timeline of four to five years for his new role,” team president and CEO Ken King said Friday in a news release. “Each year we review our mandate going forward and determined together that we would move on.

“Brian’s leadership and guidance of our hockey operations and work with General Manager Brad Treliving have been exemplary and we are grateful for his contributions. His charity work and organizational representation in our community are legendary as he has touched so many with his generosity.”

Burke, 62, was hired to lead a rebuilding effort for the Flames. There was speculation he would take over for Jay Feaster as the team’s general manager, but instead the Flames hired Treliving for the job in 2014.

The team will operate under Treliving, vice president Don Maloney and assistant GMs Craig Conroy and Brad Pascall.

Burke will work for Rogers Sportsnet for the remainder of the Stanley Cup playoffs, it was announced Friday afternoon.

His resignation is the latest move for an organization that went 37-35-10 and was 11th in the Western Conference standings, missing the playoffs for the seventh time in nine seasons.

The Flames introduced Bill Peters as the team’s new head coach Monday after firing Glen Gulutzan and assistants Dave Cameron and Paul Gerrard last week.