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PROSPECTS NEW HEAD COACHES MIGHT TARGET IN 2021 NFL DRAFT


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ATLANTA FALCONS: JAVONTE WILLIAMS, RB, NORTH CAROLINA

This new coach-prospect fit was probably the easiest one I had to make. New head coach Arthur Smith comes over from the Tennessee Titans where, under his watchful eye, the offense transformed into one of the most explosive units across the league. The main reason for the Titans offensive success was the work he was able to do in finding ways to unlock and unleash running back Derrick Henry. Henry’s ability to take over games and dominate opposing defenses allowed quarterback Ryan Tannehill to have a lot of success off of play action, making this offense very hard to defend. I imagine finding his new version of Henry will be one of his top priorities in this upcoming draft. 

Many would have expected me to list fellow Alabama running back Najee Harris in this spot, I actually think Javonte Williams shares more similarities with Henry. Williams is a powerful, downhill runner who offers size, vigor, and explosiveness that are eerily similar to Henry. Williams could be Smith’s next star power runner and make life that much easier for quarterback Matt Ryan and company. 

 

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I'm on board with Williams in the 2nd and I do think he'll be there. But if he's not and Ettiene somehow falls, I'm good with that too. Yeah he's got a lotta mileage and is a senior with four years of being the lead back. But there's a reason for that. I could see him falling, all of em really. But any of the top three RBs in the 2nd sounds good to me. Though I wouldn't hate waiting until the 3rd or 4th depending on how the draft falls

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I like Williams but he's honestly nothing like Henry. No breakaway speed. And why is everyone so latched onto the "AS needs a Henry" narrative anyways? He built the offense that way because he had Henry, he didn't go get Henry to run his offense. Just lazy from media guys

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3 hours ago, Mescalito said:

I would love to draft this guy!  If he falls to us in the 2nd we need to go for it.  I have a feeling neither he or Najee will make it out of the 1st though.

Yet another reason to find a trade partner if someone wants a QB at 4.

We can get a RB like Williams, and get help for the defense. 

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13 hours ago, Francis York Morgan said:

I like Williams but he's honestly nothing like Henry. No breakaway speed. And why is everyone so latched onto the "AS needs a Henry" narrative anyways? He built the offense that way because he had Henry, he didn't go get Henry to run his offense. Just lazy from media guys

Completely agree. I the Titans featured Ryan, Julio, Ridley & D.Henry I guarantee the offense looks quite a bit different

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18 hours ago, OrthoPTSD said:

What is this guy gonna run in the 40? 

RB must be fixed second round

Projected to be somewhere close to 4.5... which is a touch faster than what a great majority of the successful RBs in the NFL with similar size have done.

40 time is really not something you should get too hung up on though... especially for RBs.

A lot of folks seem to have this misguided mentality that if a guy doesn't run in the 4.3s or upper 4.4s, he's too slow. That's just not true.

For the sake of sanity while looking at prospects, here's a list of RBs in the past decade who found success in the NFL despite not being timed particularly fast:

Mark Ingram 4.62
Alfred Morris 4.63
Le'veon Bell 4.60
CJ Anderson 4.60
Devonta Freeman 4.58
Carlos Hyde 4.62
Todd Gurley 4.52
Melvin Gordon 4.52
David Johnson 4.50
Derrick Henry 4.54
Jordan Howard 4.57
Chris Carson 4.58
James Conner 4.65
Dalvin Cook barely under 4.5 w/ a 4.49
Leonard Fournette 4.51
Kareem Hunt 4.62
Aaron Jones 4.56
Alvin Kamara 4.56
Marlon Mack 4.50
Christian McCaffrey barely under 4.5 w/ a 4.48
Nick Chubb 4.52
Sony Michel 4.54
Devin Singletary 4.66

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15 hours ago, Francis York Morgan said:

I like Williams but he's honestly nothing like Henry. No breakaway speed. And why is everyone so latched onto the "AS needs a Henry" narrative anyways? He built the offense that way because he had Henry, he didn't go get Henry to run his offense. Just lazy from media guys

My first thought was “who says he wants a guy like Henry at all?”

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24 minutes ago, k-train said:

Projected to be somewhere close to 4.5... which is a touch faster than what a great majority of the successful RBs in the NFL with similar size have done.

40 time is really not something you should get too hung up on though... especially for RBs.

A lot of folks seem to have this misguided mentality that if a guy doesn't run in the 4.3s or upper 4.4s, he's too slow. That's just not true.

For the sake of sanity while looking at prospects, here's a list of RBs who found success in the NFL despite not being timed particularly fast:

Mark Ingram 4.62
Alfred Morris 4.63
Le'veon Bell 4.60
CJ Anderson 4.60
Devonta Freeman 4.58
Carlos Hyde 4.62
Todd Gurley 4.52
Melvin Gordon 4.52
David Johnson 4.50
Derrick Henry 4.54
Jordan Howard 4.57
Chris Carson 4.58
James Conner 4.65
Dalvin Cook barely under 4.5 w/ a 4.49
Leonard Fournette 4.51
Kareem Hunt 4.62
Aaron Jones 4.56
Alvin Kamara 4.56
Marlon Mack 4.50
Christian McCaffrey barely under 4.5 w/ a 4.48
Nick Chubb 4.52
Sony Michel 4.54
Devin Singletary 4.66

Emmitt Smith was considered slow.  He did alright.  🤣

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38 minutes ago, JDaveG said:

My first thought was “who says he wants a guy like Henry at all?”

I think some folks seriously need to go back and listen to what Smith said in his introductory press conference

27:50 to 28:36
Kelsey Conway: Hey, coach. When you're looking at the two years you were the offensive coordinator of the Titans, you had the league's leading rusher in Derrick Henry, but you were also really good in the red zone. Over those two years, what are some of the keys you've learned to being successful in those areas?

Arthur Smith: Well sure, it's certainly doing the more practical thing, playing to the strength of your players. Obviously we had Derrick Henry in Tennessee. There's only one Derrick Henry, and I certainly don't think we're just gonna go find the next Derrick Henry. We'll adapt to the players we have here in Atlanta and the ones we add to the roster. And then Ryan (Tannehill) was very decisive down in the red zone. We had a lot of guy who could make plays at you from... see, we just tried to use the full force of our offense. We didn't want to be an isolation football team. That credit goes to those guys. We had a lot of guys make a lot of plays for us.

46:53 to 47:52
Will McFadden: Hey, coach. You've talked about adaptability, you know, making your scheme fit the players that you have. If after, um... you know, looking at the roster, evaluating what you have, if you dec... if you deem you need one, how important will it be to go get a workhorse-type running back; somebody that, you know, could carry the load if they need to get 25-30 touches a game?

Arthur Smith: Well, there's a lot of ways to do that. So to answer your first question, to be adaptable, if you've got two guys, great. Cleveland's found success doing that this year. We adapted to Derrick. Like I said, there's only one Derrick Henry. It's like having Shaquille O'neal in his prime, and so you gotta feed the big fella, and certainly we did that in Tennessee. And certainly that can be different for them, I mean, like I said, every year is different. But that was an example of us playing to our strength. There's multiple ways to do it, you can have two guys, you can have three guys... or if you do find one. I think you have to be flexible. That's something Terry & I will map out, and then we'll see what happens this spring, and what pieces we add, or what we use that's currently on the roster.
 

 

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2 minutes ago, Jesus said:

Do these pundits think that Arthur Smith can only do one thing and not look to a team's strengths? He isn't going to recreate the Titans offense with the talent the Falcons have. It's going to look different, but similar. Of course the team needs a running back but it wont be Henry.

They are either incredibly lazy, incredibly dense, or both.

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21 hours ago, OrthoPTSD said:

What is this guy gonna run in the 40? 

RB must be fixed second round

I honestly don't know that it does.  For one, keep in mind Shanahan did not add a single proven veteran or high draft pick RB in 2015, yet the offense produced 1606 yards and 13 rushing TDs and a 1000 yard receiver from 5 players, adding only Tevin Coleman (who was a rookie and a 3rd round pick) and Terron Ward (who was an UDFA and also a rookie, and who only got 95 yards and 1 TD all season), and subtracting Steven Jackson, Jaquizz Rodgers and Antone Smith, versus 1498 yards and 11 rushing TDs from 2014.  

Same 3 guys (Freeman, Coleman and Ward) got 1928 yards and 20 TDs in 2016, with zero additions to the RB corps.

Coaching matters.

I would love to draft a RB, don't get me wrong, and I think we will.  We don't need Derrick Henry to succeed though.

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