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Week 7 NFL Practice Squad Power Rankings 2021: On the Dolphins ground game woes and Running Backs Don’t Matter

The most important story within the NFL this morning is the large manufacturing the Browns obtained from undrafted free-agent working D’Ernest Johnson on a “Thursday Night time Soccer” victory over the Denver Broncos

Johnson juked, bounced, and accelerated his approach to 146 yards on 22 carries with a rating in Cleveland’s 17-14 win in prime time on nationwide tv, marking the newest “Working Backs Do not Matter” instance in a league as soon as run by ball carriers.

After all, hammering the “Working Backs Do not Matter” narrative is usually proper, however it’s nothing groundbreaking. And it is change into one of many soccer group’s favourite fake arguments. The quantity of people that understand high quality working backs are available a lot later within the draft and paying large bucks for a veteran is not a wise team-building technique considerably outweigh those that imagine groups want to choose runners within the first spherical or advocate the allocation of main {dollars} to working backs in at present’s NFL.

So planting your flag to announce “Working Backs Do not Matter!” will be likened to screaming into the void, or on this case, the again of the echo chamber.

Earlier than I digress, I might wish to suggest a brand new, clearer, extra respectful title for this faculty of thought, “Good Working Backs Are All over the place,” that means your third-string again may most likely piece collectively a powerful efficiency with good blocking, and so may that avenue free agent or practice-squad rookie when given a top quality alternative.

The purpose of this week’s Follow Squad Energy Rankings is to spotlight these backs who’ve been all however fully neglected but possess the required pure expertise and refined abilities to supply in an NFL recreation if known as upon.

And I need to concentrate on the Miami Dolphins, soccer’s most ground-game challenged crew, for years now. In 4 of their six video games to begin the 2021 season, they’ve didn’t have a working again attain 26 yards on the bottom. 26 yards! Derrick Henry drags defenders 26 yards on a regular basis. 

In 2020, the Dolphins completed with the Twenty second-most dashing yards within the NFL. The 12 months earlier than that, Ryan Fitzpatrick led the crew in dashing. And that is nothing towards Myles Gaskin or Salvon Ahmed. They’ve confirmed — as late-round/undrafted backs — they’ll play on this league. However the blocking in Miami remains to be atrocious. 

And due to that, the Dolphins want a bruiser. Gaskins is forty fourth amongst qualifying backs in yards after contact. On Miami’s follow squad sits seventh-round rookie Gerrid Doaks from Cincinnati, who stands in at just below 6-foot and 228 kilos. He is a boulder. He ran 4.58 at his professional day with a 39.5-inch vertical. Explosive too. 

If the Dolphins aren’t going to dam nicely, they may as nicely get a again with the physique to run by means of sort out makes an attempt, proper?

Heading into the weekend, THE CALL is now at 5. Derrek Tuszka in Pittsburgh. Hjalte Froholdt from Houston to Cleveland. Cam Lewis with the Bills. Kenny Robinson and James Wiggins final week. The prepare is flying down the tracks, full steam forward. 

For those who hear of a PSPR member getting The Name, alert me @ChrisTrapasso on Twitter, and be happy to make use of the hashtag #PSPR. Thanks prematurely. Your subsequent drink’s on me. As a refresher, groups can have as much as 16 gamers on the follow squad with as much as six “veterans” on it, gamers with no limitations as to their variety of accrued seasons within the NFL. 

In a way, I am working the Follow Squad Energy Rankings parallel to the NFL. Which means, as was the case final 12 months, I am not going to characteristic “veterans.” To proceed to keep up the PSPR’s sterling integrity, I am going to solely be together with practice-squadders who’re rookies, second-year gamers, or third-year gamers. That is it. 

And as you will see beneath, I could not resist rating extra gamers, given the rise in follow squad sizes this season. To remain according to the league’s determine, I hope to put in writing about 16 people each Friday: 10 formally within the rankings and 6 honorable mentions. 

Haynes was Seattle’s fourth-round decide in 2019, and after starting his rookie season on PUP resulting from a sports activities hernia surgical procedure, he was thrust onto the sphere within the Seahawks’ wild-card spherical win over the Eagles in Philadelphia. And he regarded stable! He spent most of final season on IR with one other harm, however he is wholesome now and was dominant — largely towards backups — within the preseason. Plus, he examined like a highly explosive guard prospect on the mix. 

I had a fourth-round grade on Inexperienced only a few months in the past. He checked a lot of the bins I’ve for a mid-round blocker who can are available in and begin straight away. And he tested like a high-caliber athlete. For causes unbeknownst to me, Inexperienced went undrafted. However he protected like a — you guessed it — early Day 3 decide within the preseason with one allowed strain on 43 pass-blocking snaps. Naturally, the Texans launched him on cutdown day, as a result of Houston is totally set on its offensive line and does not want any younger and proficient blockers. Yeah proper. 

Within the preseason, he collected 97 yards on 20 carries with a rating, and three of these 20 carries went over 10 yards. And it isn’t as if he is solely a low-volume scat again with unbelievable pace. Hawkins toted the rock 264 occasions at a 5.8 yards-per-carry clip in 2019 at Louisville. He performs greater than his dimension too. 

Snowden is impossibly lengthy at over 6-foot-6 with 34-inch arms. He is primarily the dimensions of a few of the longer offensive tackles within the NFL, besides he is most likely taking part in someplace within the 240s. So he clearly wants so as to add weight. However Snowden understands how one can use his size to maintain blockers from obliterating him. At Virginia, he had 28.5 tackles for loss in his remaining three seasons. The Bears have two high-end edge gamers in Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn. However Snowden is usually a hybrid overhang participant to create much more mismatches for Chicago’s protection. 

The Payments grabbed Lewis from close by College at Buffalo throughout the undrafted free company frenzy instantly following the 2019 draft. And he is quietly gone about his enterprise in two preseasons by permitting simply 91 yards on 10 receptions, and he is clung to a practice-squad spot in Buffalo as a result of he is a super-steady tackler in house. Head coach Sean McDermott loves that from his corners. 

6. Gerrid Doaks, RB, Dolphins

Doaks’ yards-per-carry averaged dipped in every of his three seasons with the Bearcats, however the 5.9 yards-per-carry clip as a freshman signifies he is had “it” from a younger age. And his movie was loaded with significantly highly effective finishes by means of contact. Plus, he is a dependable receiver, and the Dolphins make the most of their backs as pass-catchers usually. 

Carter has the girth, leverage, burst, and simply sufficient pass-rush strikes to be a productive contributor if he will get The Name in Arizona. I am very excessive on him. 

He is at No. 8 this week merely because of the veteran edge-rushing expertise in entrance of him on the Cardinals’ 53-man roster proper now. 

It’ll take greater than a first-year lower for me to drop my #TrustTheTape draft crush from the 2021 class. Newsome regarded electrical on movie however flopped on the North Carolina Professional Day. Then, within the offseason, he broke his collarbone. So issues have gone sideways for Newsome after he stepped off the sphere in Chapel Hill. Nonetheless, on the sphere, he is a slippery slot wideout with severe YAC juice who will be helpful in at present’s separation/YAC primarily based NFL. 

Brown had an extended and illustrious profession at UAB. He introduced a stable 4.7 yards-per-carry common in 858 carries throughout 4 seasons into the NFL. He is a hybrid-type again who’s not extremely shifty nor overwhelmingly highly effective, however there’s some juice in his decrease half and he can sometimes make sort out makes an attempt look extraordinarily weak. 

10. Pooka Williams, RB, Bengals

Williams is little. Beneath 5-10 and 170 kilos on the Kansas Professional Day. However the former Jayhawks star was not a nice dude to attempt to sort out throughout his time in Lawrence. Whereas his yards-per-carry common dropped in every of his three collegiate seasons, that 7.0 YPC masterpiece as a freshman in 2018 won’t quickly be forgotten. He is the definition of an “air again” with superior imaginative and prescient and misleading 4.46 pace.

Honorable Point out

David Moore, G, Browns

Moore is a mauler with a pure heart of gravity offensive line coaches dream about throughout REM sleep. He was just below 6-2 and 330 kilos at his professional day earlier than the draft. After a stunning profession at Grambling State, Moore obtained a Senior Bowl invite and thrived in Cellular. He isn’t going to be probably the most athletic blocker when you’re working a zone scheme, however he is fast sufficient off the ball to be efficient on hole runs, and he is very near being NFL robust already. Plus, no defensive sort out goes to rise up and beneath him to drive him into the quarterback. 

Elijah Holyfield, RB, Bengals

Holyfield averaged 4.6 yards per keep it up 20 totes this preseason in Philadelphia and 4.0 yards per with the Panthers in 2020. He is a compactly constructed, decently shifty again with mild ft and good imaginative and prescient. The Bengals backfield’s a bit banged up proper now. Holyfield will help. 

Olaijah Griffin, CB, Payments

I had a late fifth-round grade on Griffin after a gentle profession with the Trojans in Southern California. He had 9 go breakups in 2019 and three extra in a shortened 2020 marketing campaign. He is a fluid mover with severe hanging skill when planting and driving on the soccer. 

Cade Johnson, WR, Seahawks
The Seahawks are the Patriots of the NFC in that they adore late-round and undrafted free agent receivers. Johnson would be the subsequent against-all-odds story in Seattle, a small, crisp route-runner who’s feisty after the catch and hauls in every thing thrown in his course. Sound like every not too long ago productive Seahawks receiver?

Stephen Sullivan, TE, Panthers

Sullivan was buried on the receiving pecking order at LSU, and the Seahawks tried to morph him right into a defensive finish after selecting him within the seventh spherical two years in the past. Again to his pure place in Carolina, Sullivan has an opportunity to make a splash and not using a bunch of stars in entrance of him. He is 6-5 and 248 kilos with 4.66 pace and a catch radius the dimensions of a Chevy Tahoe.

Tyrone Wheatley, OT, Giants

I am fascinated by Wheatley’s journey, from marquee tight finish recruit — who was huge coming into the Michigan campus — to beefed up offensive sort out. The tight finish to sort out converts are at all times compelling to me as a result of the I do know athletic traits wanted to excel blocking on the sting are there. 

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