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Stories Worth a Look or Listen: NFL Breakout Candidates for 2021

Each week, the 33rd Team shares some links and information regarding NFL stories, articles and podcasts we find valuable…

8 third-year breakout players ahead of the 2021 NFL season

Author: Sam Monson

Three things you need to know:

  1. Two teams had multiple players on this list: the Packers and the Steelers. The prediction for the two Packers players were former first-rounders Darnell Savage and Rashan Gary. The two third-year Steelers players were Devin Bush and Dionte Johnson.
  2. With the departure of Kyle Rudolph, Irv Smith Jr. has a clear path for opportunity in Minnesota. The last two seasons, he’s had 90 targets, dropping only three passes while recording a 125.0 passer rating when targeted.
  3. Quinnen Williams could become one of the best DTs in football next season. From 2019 to 2020, Williams’ PFF grade went from a 67.4 to 81.4. He doubled his total number of pressures. If he continues to develop, he should be a top defensive tackle.

Link to Article


Oklahoma State Football Is Trying To Reach New Heights With A Familiar Game Plan

Author: Richard Johnson

Three things you need to know:

  1. Mike Gundy is now the fifth-longest-tenured head coach in the FBS, being elevated to the top role at Oklahoma State in 2005 after four years as the offensive coordinator.
  2. Although the famously pass-heavy OSU offense took a jump after Gundy gave up play calling in 2010, Justin Blackmon’s 2011 Biletnikoff Award-winning season included a yards per reception of only 12.5, the second-lowest of any winner in the history of the award.
  3. From 2015-17, OSU gained 0.147 expected points added per play, third-best of all FBS teams. Since then, their 0.097 EPA/play is only 29th-best.

Link to article


Flying Coach

with Sean McVay and Peter Schrager

Part 2: Troy Aikman on 21 Years in Broadcasting, Scouting the 2018 QB Class, Finding the X Factor, and the Highs and Lows of His Career

Three things you need to know:

  1. The only time Troy Aikman has covered the NFL draft was in a Fox-NFL Network 2018 cross-production, when he went on the road and scouted the first-round QBs. He thought Josh Allen had the best arm he’d ever seen.
  2. All teams are looking for the “It” factor at QB. Sean McVay looks for how quarterbacks respond to adversity, specifically in their interactions with teammates. Is he a guy that will make his team believe?
  3. Aikman’s advice to a former QB entering broadcasting is to break things down into soundbites. An analyst has to finish their analysis before the next snap starts, and should know where their point is going.

Listen to podcast


Move the Sticks with Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks

Bruce Feldman on Shifts in College Football & QBs to Watch Out For

Three things you need to know:

  1. Schools already have done specific types of deep dives on their student-athletes to see where they can help their athletes through NIL. Programs are helping their players benefit from just being on the team even if they are unable to make the NFL.
  2. Possible locker room issues could arise from what players are making through NIL. Some players may feel jealous if some players are making more than them and the same feelings could be held by coaches as well.
  3. New transfer portal rules are going to allow teams to attempt to build “win now” teams. Coaches can scoop up transfer portal players who are ready to play now and use their scholarships on them rather than high school players who may need time to develop.

Link to podcast