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 Basics of Drafting in Fantasy Football

Don’t reach for the receivers

The first round can either make or break your season, so making the right choice is crucial. Therefore, my biggest piece of advice is to draft positionally with a focus on Running Backs. Although many analysts place wide receivers (such as Julio Jones and Antonio Brown) as locks in the first round, we at the Hudson Halftime Report do not agree.

Last season, Julio Jones averaged 7 points per game which for some people seems like a respectable number. However, that average was distorted due to JJ having a huge 38 point game mid-season. Without that monster game, he only averaged 5 points a game which in my opinion is not first round worthy. Additionally, Jones is nowhere near being a young receiver anymore, and with the addition of some off-season pickups, his production levels are yet to be seen. Lastly, blaming 2017’s average solely on JJ would be wrong, as Matt Ryan had a dreadful year. Just remember when you draft a Wr, you are also ghost drafting their Qb – make sure it’s a good one.

Don’t just look at the player

… look at the whole team.

So we have decided that Running Backs are the place to go in the first round, however, when looking to draft a running back look at how the offensive line ranked last year because it doesn’t matter how good the runner is, if they have no time to build up speed (unless your Dion Lewis).  Additionally, if you do decide to go Wr, remember to Look at the Quarterback, remember for a receiver to catch a ball – some dude gotta throw it well – an example this year? The Browns traded for Jarvis Landry, and although Landry is an unbelievable player, Cleveland’s quarterbacks don’t exactly have a good track record, leaving Landry’s production an enigma…

Look at the Players’ Off-Field Performance

A fantasy football player is also a real-life human being who can make real-life mistakes and decisions which can affect their fantasy scores. Whilst Leveon Bell is clearly the best Running Back in the NFL and a very productive fantasy football player, Leveon has missed the start of most seasons due to smoking ‘illegal substances’ and has also said that he won’t play under this year’s franchise tag.  So while Bell is fantastic he might not be as productive as he can be because of his off-field shenanigans. However, if you have the 4th or lower pick in your draft and he is still there Snap. Him. Up. because we all know this guy can eat.

Also, if you are finding year-long fantasy too stressful (I mean injuries crippled my season last year) give Weekly Fantasy a try! FanDuel provides the best, most interactive Weekly Fantasy Football service and also give you the ability to earn some cash while playing. win-freaking-win.

Who are your Top 5 picks for this year’s upcoming Fantasy Football Draft?

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!

Terry Rozier: The Greatest Man Alive…Probably

With the loss of Kyrie Irving for their playoff run, the Celtics needed someone to step up in a huge way.  Was it going to be the rookie Tatum? or the Old Man Horford? Although both have been amazing so far, Terry Rozier or ‘Scary Terry is easily the most important player that has stepped up. Rozier has averaged 11.3 points per game and 2.9 assists.

However, on and off the court Rozier has confirmed that he is a Boston player through and through, let’s take a look at some of our favourites.

Ice, Ice, Terry…

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Boston Sports; consistently competitive, winning with a team of nobodies and giving fans heart attacks at the end of games (PTSD trigger from Super Bowl 51).

The Celtics are living up to this trend in a remarkable fashion, leaving it late in big games just like our other favourite Boston sports team, (Side thought, Terry and Brady share a jersey number, both are Boston players, and are great at winning… Move over Lebron!).

Throughout the playoffs, Scary Terry has shown us that he is not just a fantastic leader but also is the icy-est mofo in town. In Game one against the Milwaukee Bucks, he made a crazy three-point shot with only 0.05 seconds on the clock (clutch.) Then again in Game Five, he proved he was iced up swatting the ball away from ‘The Process’ in the final seconds… you could say he started ‘The Process of Elimination’.

Filled the Role When Needed

The Celtics have been unlucky with injuries, losing newly acquired Gordon Hayward in the first 5 minutes of the season (I mean C’mon, first Edelman, then Hayward – seriously?) and then Kyrie nearer the playoffsSince then, many people have written the Celtics off, waiting for them to burn out somewhere early in the playoffs (sound familiar? *cough* Eagles) however the rest of the team have stepped up to keep the Celtics very much in contention for the Finals.

One of the biggest difference makers this year? You guessed it – Rozier. He changed himself from a benchwarmer to a starter, boosting his average game time from 17 minutes a game last year, to 26 minutes this year. Last year Terry only scored a total of fourteen three-pointers in the playoffs, whereas this year he’s already had thirty-eight.

It’s a fair assumption that without Terry, the team might not be this far in the playoffs.

Terry has the Boston mentality

During games six and seven against the Bucks, Terry had a conflict with Milwaukee player Eric Bledsoe, to which Terrys asked ‘who are you?’ Showing how irrelevant Bledsoe was.

To add some Hot Sauce to the beef, after the Celtics finally beat the Bucks in game seven, Terry Rozier wore a Drew Bledsoe jersey, showing everyone that there is only one Bledsoe Rozier cares about. (I think Drew was just happy that someone remembered who he was and that he was getting some TV time, to be honest.

Either way, That’s just nasty Terry.

How far can this mixed bag, Boston team go? Will the King be enough to defeat the Green? It’s going to be a great series, however, it’s safe to say that the routing of the Cavs in game one will not be the norm throughout. Put your mask back on Terry, we need something Scary to dethrone the king.

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.

 

Similarities Spark Rumours

A recent report from ‘Jack Mills’ (Mayfield’s Agent) stated that The New England Patriots were considering taking Mayfield if he dropped to number 2 overall.

“We had another team, which is going to surprise you, another team had said, ‘You may get a big surprise on draft day at No. 2 if he’s available,'” Mills said. “And it was the Patriots.” – Boston Herald

Obviously, these comments are only rumours however, Josh McDaniels did fly to Texas to work out Mayfield prior to the draft which could have been for more than just ‘covering bases.’

Mills continued, “They had 23 and 31 (in the first round) and two seconds. And we thought — I don’t know — that’s going to be a heck of a move to get up that high from where they are. And of course he wasn’t available so we never knew if that was a reality or not.” – Boston Herald

The Patriots are obviously looking for their future GOAT but did not pull the trigger in the 2018 draft, was this because they were hoping for Mayfield? or did they really not value the talent in this draft class?

Currently, the Patriots have Brady, Hoyer and Etling on their roster and could quite easily start in September without altering the depth here. However, there is another quarterback floating around the league who Mayfield has been compared to – Mr Johnny Manziel.

Here at the ‘Hudson Halftime Report’, we have a theory that Belichick and the Patriots organisation were holding off till after the draft to pull the trigger on signing Manziel, in case they got the fresher option of Mayfield. However, now that Mayfield has moved on, the potential signing of Manziel is a no-risk, (potentially high reward) no brainer for New England.

As long as the Patriots can trust Manziel to tone down his ‘off-field’ actions and to not cause locker room problems the $150k base salary for Manziel seems like a dream come true. This signing would also create a battle for QB3/2 that would hopefully push new signing Etling to become his best.

So what do you think? Should the Patriots pull the trigger on Manziel? Would you like to see Johnny Football as a Patriot?

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