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Ahead of the Curve

Ahead of the Curve is a syndicated football column by Frank Coyle that covers NFL and College football year round. It appears in different national publications and on web sites throughout the season and postseason each year.

NFL Power Poll - Week 3 - Chiefs, Falcons & Raiders Top Rankings

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NFL Power Poll - Week 3

NFL Power Poll – Divisional Matchups Heat Up Early Leadership

Team of the Week - Chiefs

Offensive Player of Week - QB Derek Carr - Raiders
Defensive Player of Week - DE Ziggy Ansah - Lions

Rookie of Week - RB Kareen Hunt - Chiefs

Photo - QB Derek Carr - Raiders

Game of Week #3 – Atlanta Falcons (2-0) at Detroit Lions (2-0)

NFL Ranking /Record /Team
#1 - 2-0 Chiefs
QB Alex Smith and rookie back Kareem Hunt form a potent offense.
#2 - 2-0 Falcons
Falcons looking to amend their Super Bowl collapse.
#3 - 2-0 Raiders
Raiders rolling in the early schedule.
#4 - 2-0 Steelers
Steelers taking care of business.
#5 - 2-0 Ravens
Ravens on a collision course with the Steelers for AFC North leadership
#6 - 1-1 Patriots
Defending champion probably walks into AFC East title again.
#7 - 2-0 Lions
QB Matt Stafford can burn any defense in the league.
#8 - 2-0 Broncos
Broncos took it to the Boys with a strong defense.
#9 - 1-1 Seahawks
Seahawks get their first win over pathetic West rival, the 49ers.
#10 - 1-1 Packers
Packers defense may come up short vs the top tier offenses.
#11 - 1-1 Cowboys
Boys defense was terrible and probably limits an NFC East repeat.
#12 - 1-1 Eagles
Eagles are improved with young QB Carson Wentz and dangerous going forward.
#13 - 1-0 Dolphins
QB Jay Cutler may be the signing of the year.
#14 - 1-0 Bucs
QB Jameis Winston is a budding star that makes Bucs dangerous here.
#15 - 1-1 Vikings
Vikes need vet QB Sam Bradford back with Bucs coming in for a key NFC matchup.
#16 - 1-1 Titans
QB Mariota is lighting it up here with big home test vs the Seahawks this week.
#17 - 2-0 Panthers
Panthers’ defense has given up only 6 points in two games with Saints coming to town.
#18 - 1-1 Redskins
Redskins host the Raiders in Sunday night matchup that may determine two divisional races.
#19 - 1-1 Texans
Texans travel to New England in key AFC matchup.
#20 - 0-2 Giants
GMen offense has been brutally weak in opening weeks.
#21 - 1-1 Bills
Bills offense has totaled only 21 points in first two games.
#22 - 1-1 Jaguars
Jaguars defense is a top ten unit.
#23 - 1-1 Cardinals
Cardinals host the Cowboys in pivotal Monday night encounter.
#24 - 1-1 Rams
Rams looking to jump the 49ers bones on Thursday night.
#25 - 0-2 Bengals
Bengals go into Green Bay looking for first victory.
#26 - 0-2 Saints
Saints defense is still one of the 5-8 worst in the game.
#27 - 0-2 Bears
Bears offense must improve quickly to hold off more changes.
#28 - 0-2 Chargers
Chargers still find ways to lose the game.
#29 - 0-2 Jets
Jets might be worst than this ranking.
#30 - 0-2 Colts
Paying the price for five weak draft classes.
#31 - 0-2 49ers
49ers offense is the worst in the league.
#32 - 0-2 Browns
Brownies still going through growing pain.

Frank Coyle is a long time scout with nationwide ties with coaches, scouts and player agents. He is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe, Biletnikoff etc for the past 20 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for CBS, ESPN, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year-round basis related to NFL and College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites

DraftInsiders.com - NFL 2017 Predictions

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DraftInsiders.com - NFL 2017 Predictions
Giants Picked as NFL Champion in Super Bowl Matchup with Steelers

Offensive Player of Year – QB Aaron Rodgers - Packers
Defensive Player of Year – DE J.J. Watt - Texans

Rookies of the Year
Offense – RB Christian McCaffrey - Panthers
Defense – S Jamal Adams - Jets

DraftInsiders.com will donate 10% of every Full Subscription – Renewal or New in September to the Harvey Hurricane Disaster Fund – Order Today - Pro Prospect Preseason Rankings available Now

Photo – WR Odell Beckham - Giants

NFC
EAST

New York Giants - 11-5 –
Dallas Cowboys - 10-6 –
Philadelphia Eagles - 8-8 –
Washington Redskins - 6-10 –

NORTH
Green Bay Packers -11-5 -
Minnesota Vikings - 9-7 -
Detroit Lions - 9- 7 –
Chicago Bears - 5-11 -

SOUTH
Atlanta Falcons - 12-4 –
Tampa Bay Bucs - 10-6 –
New Orleans Saints - 9-7 –
Carolina Panthers - 5-11 –

WEST
Seattle Seahawks - 11-5 –
Arizona Cardinals – 9-7 –
Los Angeles Rams - 6-10 –
San Francisco 49ers - 4-12 –

Divisional Champs
Giants, Packers, Falcons and Seahawks

Wild Card Clubs
Cowboys & Bucs

NFC Championship
Giants beat Seahawks in NFC title game.

AFC EAST
New England Patriots - 12-4 –
Miami Dolphins - 10-6 –
Buffalo Bills - 6-10 –
New York Jets – 2-14 –

NORTH
Pittsburgh Steelers - 11-5 –
Cincinnati Bengals - 10-6 –
Baltimore Ravens - 8-8 –
Cleveland Browns - 6-10 –

SOUTH
Houston Texans - 10-6 –
Tennessee Titans - 9-7 –
Indianapolis Colts - 7-9 –
Jacksonville Jaguars - 6-10 –

WEST
Kansas City Chiefs - 11-5 –
Oakland Raiders - 10-6 –
Denver Broncos - 9-7 –
San Diego Chargers – 5-11 –

Divisional Champs
Patriots, Steelers, Texans & Chiefs

Wild Card Clubs
Dolphins & Bengals

AFC Championship
Steelers beat Patriots

Super Bowl L Matchup
Giants over Steelers

GMen win an old school Super Bowl matchup.

Frank Coyle is a long-time scout with nationwide ties with coaches, scouts and player agents. He is a long-time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe, Biletnikoff etc for the past 20 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year-round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites

NFL Free Agency 2017 - Top 50 Players

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NFL Free Agency 2017 - Top 50 Players
Free Agents - Unrestricted & ‘Street’ -
Franchise & Transitional Players not included

Rank/ Player/ Positon / Age / Team
1 A.J. Bouye CB 26 Texans
2 Calais Campbell DE 31 Cardinals - (deal pending with Jaguars)
3 Stephon Gilmore CB 26 Bills - (deal pending with Patriots)
4 Alshon Jeffery WR 27 Bears
5 Dont'a Hightower LB 27 Patriots
6 Tony Romo QB 37 Cowboys
7 Brandon J. Williams DT 28 Ravens
8 Pierre Garcon WR 31 Redskins - (deal pending with 49ers)
9 Adrian Peterson RB 32 Vikings
10 Terrelle Pryor WR 28 Browns

Photo - RB Adrian Peterson - Vikings

11 Kevin Zeitler G 27 Bengals
12 Mike Glennon QB 27 Buccaneers - (deal pending with Bears)
13 Morris Claiborne CB 27 Cowboys
14 DeSean Jackson WR 30 Redskins - (deal pending with Bucs)
15 J.C. Tretter C 26 Packers
16 Dontari Poe DT 26 Chiefs
17 Tony Jefferson S 25 Cardinals
18 T.J. Lang G 29 Packers
19 Nick Perry LB 27 Packers
20 Jonathan Hankins DT 25 Giants

DraftInsiders.com for NFL Free Agency Players
New March Newsletter – Free Agency edition - available now – Top 150 Players

21 Andrew Whitworth T 35 Bengals - (deal pending with Rams)
22 Ronald Leary G 28 Cowboys - (deal pending with Broncos)
23 Riley Reiff T 28 Lions
24 Zach Brown LB 27 Bills
25 Larry Warford G 26 Lions
26 Ricky Wagner T 27 Ravens - (deal pending with Lions)
27 Martellus Bennett TE 30 Patriots
28 Matt Kalil OT 27 Vikings - (deal pending with Panthers)
29 Logan Ryan CB 26 Patriots
30 Kenny Britt WR 28 Rams - (deal pending with Browns)
31 Chris Baker DT 29 Redskins
32 Johnathan Cyprien S 27 Jaguars
33 Dre Kirkpatrick CB 27 Bengals
34 Jabaal Sheard LB 28 Patriots
35 Micah Hyde DB 26 Packers
36 Nick Fairley DT 29 Saints
37 Lorenzo Alexander LB 34 Bills
38 Brandon Marshall WR 33 Jets - (deal signed with Giants)
39 Bennie Logan DT 27 Eagles
40 J.J. Wilcox S 26 Cowboys
41 Kyle Juszczyk FB 26 Ravens - (deal pending with 49ers)
42 Eddie Lacy RB 27 Packers
43 Torrey Smith WR 28 49ers - (deal pending with Eagles)
44 LeGarrette Blount RB 30 Patriots
45 Kevin Minter LB 26 Cardinals
46 Austin Pasztor OL 26 Browns
47 Jared Cook TE 30 Packers
48 Michael Floyd WR 27 Patriots
49 Jamaal Charles RB 30 Chiefs
50 Malcolm Smith LB 27 Raiders

NFL 2017 Scouting Combine - Player Schedule

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NFL Scouting Combine

The best college football players are invited to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, In. This year 330 players will show up for extensive testing over a week as a critical part of the scouting progress for the NFL Draft. Top executives, coaching staffs, Player Personnel departments and Medical personnel from all 32 NFL teams will be on hand to evaluate the nation’s top college players eligible for the upcoming NFL Draft. This intense, four-day job interview is an exciting time for the athletes and a vital step in achieving their dreams of playing in the NFL.

Draft Insiders’ will have special Emails and Tweets From the NFL Combine!
Free for Full Subscribers - February Newsletter and NFL Combine Player List available now - Order today

With increasing interest in the NFL draft, the scouting combine has grown in scope and significance, allowing personnel directors to evaluate upcoming prospects in a standardized setting. Its origins have evolved from the National, BLESTO and Quadra Scouting organizations in 1977 to the media event it has become today.

Photo - WR 'Zay' Jones - East Carolina

Athletes attend by invitation only. Implications of an athlete's performance during the combine can affect their draft status and salary, and ultimately their career. The draft has popularized the term "workout warrior", whereby an athlete's "draft stock" is increased based on superior measurable qualities such as size, speed, and strength, despite having an average or sub-par college career.

The NFL Scouting Combine will be held February 28 - March 6, 2017

Schedule for on-field workouts by position at the NFL Combine:
March 3 – Running Backs, Offensive Line, Special Teams
March 4 – Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers, Tight Ends
March 5 – Defensive Line, Linebackers
March 6 – Defensive Backs

Player Group Schedule
DAY 1 ARRIVALS*: Group 1 (PK, ST, OL), Group 2 (OL), Group 3 (RB)
Tuesday - February 28 - Travel to Indianapolis* ~ Registration ~ Hospital Pre-Exam & X-rays ~ Overflow Testing ~ Orientation ~ Interviews
Wednesday - March 1 - Measurements ~ Medical Examinations ~ Overflow Testing ~ Interviews
Thursday - March 2 - Psychological Testing ~ NFLPA Meeting ~ PK/ST Workout ~ Media ~ Bench Press ~ Interviews
Friday - March 3 - On-Field Workout (timing, stations, skill drills) ~ Departure from Indianapolis

DAY 2 ARRIVALS*: Group 4 (QB, WO), Group 5 (QB, WO), Group 6 (TE)
Wednesday March 1 - Travel to Indianapolis* ~ Registration ~ Hospital Pre-Exam & X-rays ~
Overflow Testing ~ Orientation ~ Interviews
Thursday - March 2 - Measurements ~ Medical Examinations ~ Overflow Testing ~ Interviews
Friday - March 3 - Psychological Testing ~ NFLPA Meeting ~ Media ~ Bench Press ~ Interviews
Saturday - March 4 - On-Field Workout (timing, stations, skill drills) ~ Departure

DAY 3 ARRIVALS*: Group 7 (DL), Group 8 (DL), Group 9 (LB)
Thursday - March 2 - Travel to Indianapolis* ~ Registration ~ Hospital Pre-Exam & X-rays ~
Overflow Testing ~ Orientation ~ Interviews
Friday - March 3 - Measurements ~ Medical Examinations ~ Overflow Testing ~ Interviews
Saturday - March 4 - Psychological Testing ~ NFLPA Meeting ~ Media ~ Bench Press ~ Interviews
Sunday - March 5 - On-Field Workout (timing, stations, skill drills) ~ Departure

DAY 4 ARRIVALS: Group 10 (DB), Group 11 (DB)
Friday - March 3 - Travel to Indianapolis* ~ Registration ~ Hospital Pre-Exam & X-rays ~ Overflow Testing ~ Orientation ~ Interviews
Saturday - March 4 - Measurements ~ Medical Examinations ~ Overflow Testing ~ Interviews
Sunday - March 5 - Psychological Testing ~ NFLPA Meeting ~ Media ~ Bench Press ~ Interviews
Monday - March 6 - On-Field Workout (timing, stations, skill drills) ~ Departure from Indianapolis

* Select players from any Group may arrive one day prior to their scheduled date listed above in order to assist with medical scheduling. This will be based on flight schedules and medical tests only and no players arriving early will have advanced contact with teams.

How are players selected for the NFL Combine?
Participants are determined annually by a Selection Committee. The Directors of both National and BLESTO scouting services, which combined represent twenty-five NFL teams, are joined by members of various NFL player personnel departments to form the committee. The participating NFL executives can rotate on a yearly basis, and remain anonymous. ALL eligible players are reviewed and voted on by the committee members. Each athlete receiving the necessary number of votes, by position, is then extended an invitation. While it is not a perfect science, the goal of the committee is to invite every player that will be drafted in the ensuing NFL Draft.

Tests/ Evaluations include:
40-yard dash
Bench press (225 lbs. repetitions)
Vertical jump
Broad jump
20 yard shuttle
3 cone drill
60-yard shuttle
Position-specific drills

Interviews – each team is allowed 60 interviews in 15-minute intervals
Physical measurements
Injury evaluation
Drug screen
The Cybex test
The Wonderlic test

NFL Postseason Dates 2017 - NFL Draft - April 27-29

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NFL Postseason Dates
** Feb 5: Super Bowl LI, Houston, Tx. **
Patriot 34 - Falcons 28

February 15: First day for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.

Photo - QB Matt Ryan - Falcons (NFL MVP 2016)

Seven regional Player Combines in different nationwide locations from late Jan thru April

*** February 28-March 6: NFL Combine 2017 ***
Timing & Testing, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, In.

Draft Insiders’ will have special Emails and Tweets From the NFL Combine!
Free for Full Subscribers – February Newsletter available soon - Order today

March 1: Prior to 4:00 p.m., deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.
March 7-9: During the period beginning at 12 noon, New York time, on March 7th and ending at 3:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 9th, clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2016 player contracts at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 9. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 9.
During the above two-day negotiating period, no direct contact is permitted between a prospective unrestricted free agent and any employee of a club, other than the player's current club.
March 9: The 2017 League Year and Free Agency period begin at 4:00 p.m., New York time.
The first day of the 2017 League Year will end at 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 9. Clubs will receive a personnel notice that will include all transactions submitted to the League office during the period between 4:00 p.m., New York time, and 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 9.
March 9: Trading period for 2017 begins at 4:00 p.m., after expiration of 2016 contracts.
March 26-29: Annual League Meeting, Phoenix, Arizona.
April 3: Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2016 season may begin offseason workout programs.
April 17: Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.
April 21: Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign Offer Sheets.
April 26: Deadline for prior club to exercise Right of First Refusal to Restricted Free Agents.

***** April 27-29: NFL Draft 2017 - Philadelphia, Pa. *****

Draft Insiders’ 2016 All Rookie Teams - Player of Year Awards

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Draft Insiders’ 2016 Rookie Team

Cowboys, Falcons and Chargers Post Best Rookie Classes

Photo - RB Ezekiel Elliott - Dallas

Offensive Player of Year - RB Ezekiel Elliott - Dallas
Defensive Player of Year - DE Joey Bosa - San Diego

First team Offense
QB Dak Prescott - Dallas
RB Ezekiel Elliott - Dallas
FB Derek Watt - San Diego
WR Mike Thomas - New Orleans
WR Sterling Shepard - NY Giants
TE Hunter Henry - San Diego
OT Jack Conklin - Tennessee
OT Ronnie Stanley - Baltimore
OG Laremy Tunsil - Miami
OG Joe Thuney - New England
OC Graham Glasgow - Detroit

First Team Defense
DE Joey Bosa - San Diego
DE DeForest Buckner - San Francisco
DT Javon Hargrave - Pittsburgh
DT Chris Jones - Kansas City
LB Leonard Floyd - Chicago
LB DeVondre Campbell - Atlanta
LB Deion Jones - Atlanta
LB Darron Lee - NY Jets
CB Vernon Hargreaves - Tampa Bay
CB Jalen Ramsey - Jacksonville
S Keanu Neal - Atlanta
S Vonn Bell - New Orleans

P Riley Dixon - Denver
K Will Lutz - New Orleans
RS Tyreek Hill - Kansas City

Head Coach - Ben McAdoo - NY Giants

Offense - Second Team
QB Carson Wentz - Philadelphia
RB Jordan Howard - Chicago
FB Andy Janovich - Denver
WR Tajae Sharp - Tennessee
WR Will Fuller - Houston
TE Tyler Higbee - Los Angeles
OT Taylor Decker - Detroit
OT Joe Haeg - Indianapolis
OG Josh Garnett - San Francisco
OG Germain Ifedi - Seattle
OC Ryan Kelly - Indianapolis

Defense - Second Team
DE Noah Spence - Tampa Bay
DE Yannick Ngakoue - Jacksonville
DT Jihad Ward - Oakland
DT Maliek Collins - Dallas
LB Blake Martinez - Green Bay
LB Jordan Jenkins - NY Jets
LB Elandon Roberts - New England
LB Jatavis Brown - San Diego
CB Eli Apple - NY Giants
CB Tavon Young - Baltimore
S Sean Davis - Pittsburgh
S Karl Joseph - Oakland

P Drew Kaser - San Diego
K Robert Aguayo - Tampa Bay
RS Kenyan Drake - Miami

Head Coach - Adam Gase - Miami

NFL Power Poll - Divisional Races Decide Final Playoff Clubs

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NFL Power Poll - Week 16

Week 16 - Five Divisional Races Decide Final Playoff Clubs

Team of the Week - Tennessee Titans

Offensive Player of Week - QB Drew Brees - Saints
Defensive Player of Week - Safety Keanu Neal - Falcons

Rookie of Week - QB Dak Prescott - Cowboys

Photo - QB Drew Brees - Saints

Game of Week #16 - Baltimore Ravens (8-6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5)

X - Divisional winner / Y- clinched playoff spot

NFL Ranking /Record /Team
#1 - 12-2 y - COWBOYS
#2 - 12-2 x - PATRIOTS
#3 - 11-3 y - RAIDERS
#4 - 9-4-1 x - SEAHAWKS
#5 - 9-5 STEELERS
#6 - 10-4 GIANTS
#7 - 10-4 CHIEFS
#8 - 8-6 PACKERS
#9 - 9-5 LIONS
#10 - 9-5 FALCONS
#11 - 9-5 DOLPHINS
#12 - 8-6 RAVENS
#13 - 8-6 BUCCANEERS
#14 - 8-6 TITANS
#15 - 8-6 BRONCOS
#16 - 7-6-1 REDSKINS
#17 - 8-6 TEXANS
#18 - 7-7 COLTS
#19 - 7-7 VIKINGS
#20 - 7-7 BILLS
#21 - 6-8 SAINTS
#22 - 6-8 PANTHERS
#23 - 5-8-1 CARDINALS
#24 - 5-8-1 BENGALS
#25 - 5-9 EAGLES
#26 - 5-9 CHARGERS
#27 - 4-10 RAMS
#28 - 4-10 JETS
#29 - 3-11 BEARS
#30 - 2-12 JAGUARS
#31 - 1-13 49ers
#32 - 0-14 BROWNS

Frank Coyle is a long time scout with nationwide ties with coaches, scouts and player agents. He is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe, Biletnikoff etc for the past 20 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for CBS, ESPN, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year-round basis related to NFL and College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites

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