Far too early NFL award predictions.

At the end of each season the NFL gives out awards for, Defensive MVP, Offensive MVP, Offensive Rookie of the season and defensive Rookie of the season, comeback player of the season and the much chased after all round MVP. I will look at Offensive and Defensive MVP, Rookie of the year as a general term, Comeback player of the year and MVP

Offensive MVP- Antonio Brown (Steelers)

This is one of the hardest collums to predict but over the last 3 seasons AB has shown that he has what it takes for at least Offensive MVP. Brown had a magnificent season last year and was a strong MVP candidate but an injury in the last few games and an on fire Tom Brady stopped that. That still didn’t stop Brown from having 1533 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns. The only thing stopping Brown from having an MVP season is Big Ben, who has caused a stir in the steelers camp which might hurt Browns production.

Defensive MVP- Chandler Jones

Chandler Jones productivity has went unnoticed the past 2 seasons leading the league in sacks last year. The former Patriot is a consistent injury free player who last years put up 17 sacks and 59 tackles. Jones will be the leader on the Cardinals front four and if their offensive improves with the drafting of Josh Rosen the Cardinals could have a very strong playoff run.

Rookie of the year- Sony Michel

No I’m not biased, well maybe a little. But the Georgia running back will not be a flop. After the departure of Dion Lewis, the 31st overall pick should be in challenge of the 1st spot on the depth chart against James White. With the Patriots strengthening their offensive line Michel should get enough space to run. The only thing that might stop him will be how well Saqoun Barkley can play behind a useless Giants offensive line.

Comeback player of the year- Deshaun Watson

Watson had a fantastic rookie despite starting on the bench and finishing on IR on the depth chart. Watson threw for 1,700 yards and 19 touchdowns in only 7 games. I fully believe that hype around Deshaun is deserved as does Brady who last season said

Heck of a game – keep grinding,’ keep doing what I’m doing. We’ll probably see them again.”

If Watson can recover in time for the start of the season I truly believe he will beat Carson Wentz to this award.

MVP- Todd Gurley

Todd Gurley was electric last season and was a huge reason for the Rams regular season success (if only that correlated with the playoffs) after a sophomore slump in his second year Todd put up 2098 all purpose yards and 19 touchdowns. If Todd Gurley can maintain that consistency I would be shocked if last years offensive MVP doesn’t win all round MVP this year. He certainly wants to help out those that own him on fantasy football

Fantasy owners you’re welcome now leave us alone. Merry Christmas!

These are very early predictions and will probably change but I’d love to hear your thoughts

Interview with the Patriots 7th Round Pick – Keion Crossen

Over the next few weeks, The Hudson Halftime Report is running a series on NFL rookies that we believe will thrive in the NFL environment. The first of these rookies is Keion Crossen, OTAs standout and the Patriots 243rd overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft who agreed to do an exclusive interview with us.

1: First off, Thank you so much for agreeing to interview with us, I can imagine life is a little crazy right now. Congratulations on being drafted by our Patriots, can you tell us a little about what it felt like when you heard your name called?

‘The moment I heard my name called I instantly thought of it as a blessing. It was such a humbling experience and I am forever grateful to be on such an amazing team such as the Patriots

2: You are from Western Carolina, which is a relatively small school, what lessons did you learn there that would translate to the NFL?

‘Western is a smaller school compared to other D1 schools, but I appreciate the opportunity to have attended Western and even more grateful to be around such a hardworking group of players. Attributes I would bring [from Western] is a willingness to learn, to work hard and to do whatever the coaches ask.’

3: You were drafted in the 7th round but reports have detailed that you are already turning heads at OTAs, what drives you on a daily basis to be the best you can be?

‘I’m not sure about any reports, however, I am working hard at being a great understudy, learning from all the vets and doing whatever I am asked to do for the bettering of the team.’

4: We here at the Hudson Halftime Report are massive fans of you, and any player attempting to better our home team is a star in our books. Can you reflect on any moment in your life that shaped who you are today? Who were some of the key people in making you, you?

‘Thanks. Any moment that God has put in my life has shaped me to be the man I am today. There is no specific person, but God deserves the credit for allowing me to be the person he wants me to be.’

5: Okay, let’s talk Patriots. How is it training with the New England Patriots? Is there a massive amount of pressure from day one? Or do you already feel part of the culture? How is the Atmosphere? What makes Keion Crossen different to other Cornerbacks on the roster?

‘I’m out here presently learning, working hard and doing my best to do what is best for the team. Also, [As for how I am different] I’m not into comparison – I’m here to do my job, learn from the vets and get better as a football player.’ 

6: What NFL player do you look up to at your position?

‘All corners in the NFL are good players, so there’s not a specific one I truly look up too, but I do look to learn and grow to be a well-rounded player.’

7: On a scale from one to ten, how excited are you about having the opportunity to pick off Tom Brady in practice? I mean, surely it’s got to be pretty high on your list of things-to-do haha!

‘I am honoured to be on a team with such great players as Tom Brady and others, but as I have stated before I am here to do my job, learn from the vets and make the best out of the opportunity.’

8: Once again Keion thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview, it’s been an absolute pleasure to work with you. We here at Hudson Halftime Report wish you every success for the future and we are looking forward to seeing you at Gillette sometime soon, (save us a seat). Is there anything you want to say before signing off today, any last comments for your fans in the UK?

‘Thanks for having me on it’s my pleasure. Also, follow me on Twitter @keioncrossen and Instagram @Keion_Crossen

Throughout the interview, Keion seemed more focussed on ‘doing his job’ and ‘bettering the team’ than bigging himself up – an attitude that is much needed at the Cornerback position in New England currently. We look forward to hearing more about his progress and will be rooting for him come September.

The Squirrel is back!

Define Julian Edelman in one word – Fighter.

Although most of the headlines surrounding the Patriots OTAs were covering the lack of attendance by Brady & Gronk, the only worthwhile headline for Patriots fans was that Julian Edelman is once again playing football (Fangirl Moment… Breath… okay).

Week three of the 2017 preseason was a dark dark day for Patriots fans when their beloved squirrel went down with a season-ending ACL injury. The Patriots seemed to recover but no doubt missed him in the Superbowl. How much was Edelman missed though? Let’s take a look at the statistics.

  1. Since 2009 Bradys win percentage with Edelman is 81.8% and (not counting last season) his win percentage without Edelman drops significantly to only 68.4%.
  2. In Bradys nine games when Edelman was healthy Brady threw for 338.1 yards per game, 24 touchdowns and 3 interceptions by completing 67.8% of his passes. However, when Edelman went down with an injury, Brady threw for 246.7 yards per game, 12 touchdowns and 4 interceptions by completing 59.4 percent of his passes in the seven games that followed.
  3. In Edelman’s last six playoff games he has topped over 100 yards in four of them!
  4. Edelman is third in NFL history for receptions in playoff games (89) sitting behind only Reggie Wayne and Jerry Rice

Needless to say, our undersized wide receiver is not finished yet, and although Berrios seems to fit the position well we can expect another year at least out of our little guy!

Welcome Back, Jules!

2018 All-Pro Stephon Gilmore (Prove Me Wrong)

Stephon Gilmore – Belichick’s big spend at cornerback, who spent the first part of his season being scrutinised by fans.

However, Gilmore eventually found his rhythm and the scrutinising fans focussed on a new target; Malcolm Butler’s Super Bowl benching. With Butler moving on to Tennessee, Gilmore is now the top cornerback in New England and will need to rise to the challenge whilst training rookie Duke Dawson.

Starting Corner is a new role for Gilmore, however, he seems to be feeling good about the new position, and is excited about his next year in New England.

“Yeah, any time you go through something a second time, it’s always better,” Gilmore said, via the Boston Herald. “But, at the end of the day, you still have to go out there and do your job and compete at a high level every year. That’s what it’s about. Obviously, I feel more comfortable being around the guys, being around my teammates. I’m looking forward to it.”

Gilmore finished his 2017 season with 50 tackles, and 2 interceptions, however, was far more active on defence that statistics show (fans will remember his clutch end-game against the Jaguars in the AFC title game).

The Patriots traded for Jason McCourty and drafted two corners to go with Gilmore, Jonathan Jones and Eric Rowe. With five active corners (so far) it is fair to say that a fair amount of shuffling is in order before the new season starts. Although it is never easy to predict how the Patriots may choose to align their secondary, it seems likely that Gilmore will be in the centre of whatever they do and this could potentially be the year that the talented corner reaches his full potential.

Michigan Draftees

Although my brother and I usually agree on sports teams we are bitter rivals when it comes to college football. Fraser is a Buckeye loyal, whereas I favour the Big Blue – (which makes for an interesting Saturday once a year).

Michigan set a program record in 2017 when 11 Wolverines were drafted across the seven rounds of the draft, however, this years draft was not as kind to the men in with on only two Wolverines taken.

The Cardinals drafted Center Mason Cole with the 97th overall pick of the draft hoping to take some of the work of 31 years old, ‘A.Q. Shipley.’ The second and final Wolverine off the board was Defensive Tackle Maurice Hurst, who was taken by the Raiders with the 140th pick in the draft.

I believe that Hurst will be a force in the league if his heart problem does not hinder him – which was evidently the reason he fell to the 140th after entering the draft as a potential first-round pick. Hurt obviously was frustrated having to wait so long to hear his name this week,

“It’s tough just going into it thinking that you’re one of the top players in the draft and having good tape and everything like that,” Hurst said Saturday in a conference call. “Just having to wait and see guys that you believe that you’re better than go ahead of you, I mean it’s tough. But I’m just happy to be in the right place and part of a great organization.”

A consensus All-American, Hurst finished the year with 61 tackles (14 1/2 for a loss) and five sacks. One of the most explosive players off the line in college football, Hurst at one point was rated as the top player in America by Pro Football Focus, regardless of position. He will be joining the star-studded Raiders defence, and I truly hope to see him do well in the league.

A further three Wolverines have been signed as UFA’s; O’Korn, McCray, Hill. O’Korn became the latest QB on the Detroit Lions Roster, and it will be interesting to see if he makes the 53 man cut before September.