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Week 12 NFL Practice Squad Power Rankings: Honoring alumni on Thanksgiving weekend



On Thursday we all reflected on everything we’re thankful for as we cleaned our plates while watching a vintage Bears-Lions game, a thrilling overtime Raiders-Cowboys contest that featured 28 penalties, and a Bills beatdown of the Saints. It’s the appropriate time for me to give thanks to all the Practice Squad Power Rankings alumni who’ve graduated to 53-man rosters around the league. 

Like Cardinals wideout Antoine Wesley, a mainstay on the PSPR in 2019, who’s quietly caught eight passes for 114 yards on 11 targets this season. Love it. I’m thankful for his ascension. Or the fact that Giants safety J.R. Reed, who lived on the PSPR last season, finally got his first opportunity in a regular-season game in Week 11 against the Buccaneers, and he looked good with three tackles and only surrendered one grab for three yards in his coverage area. 

49ers wideout Jauan Jennings, the PSPR Cover Guy at the outset of the 2020 campaign, has a touchdown this season. Bengals wideout Stanley Morgan, who fluctuated up and down the PSPR for two full years (!) caught a pass last week and is a full-time special teamer in Cincinnati — hey, you gotta start somewhere. 


Juwan Johnson — now a tight end, formerly a wideout — has nine catches for 108 yards with three touchdowns on 16.1% of the offensive snaps for the Saints this year (that percentage needs to increase, don’t you think?). 

I’m thankful all those, and many other Practice Squad Practice Squad graduates, have gone on to the big leagues and the PSPR is forever behind them. That’s the goal, right?

Craving even more NFL coverage focusing on previews, recaps, news and analysis? Listen below and follow the Pick Six podcast for a daily dose of NFL goodness.

Heading into the weekend, THE CUT — aka The Call-Up Tracker — has gotten stagnant. Still at seven. Use The Practice Squad Power Rankings as a resource, NFL front offices. If I’ve missed anyone, or you hear of a PSPR member getting The Call, alert me @ChrisTrapasso on Twitter, and feel free to use the hashtag #PSPR. Thank you in advance. Your next drink’s on me. 


In a sense, I’m running the Practice Squad Power Rankings parallel to the NFL. That means, as was the case last year, I’m not going to feature “veterans.” To continue to maintain the PSPR’s sterling integrity, I’ll only be including practice-squadders who are rookies, second-year players, or third-year players. That’s it. 

And as you’ll see below, I couldn’t resist ranking more players, given the increase in practice squad sizes this season. To stay in line with the league’s figure, I hope to write about 16 individuals every Friday: 10 officially in the rankings and six honorable mentions. 

It’s going to take more than a first-year cut for me to drop my #TrustTheTape draft crush from the 2021 class. He recovered from a broken collarbone early in the offseason to get limited reps in the preseason. Get Newsome in the slot and let him work, Nagy. 

Willekes was the PSPR Cover Guy just a few weeks ago. Dude can get after the quarterback. I’m telling you! Against the Ravens in Week 9, the former Michigan State standout had four pressures of Lamar Jackson. Minnesota is in the thick of the NFC wild card hunt and needs as much pass-rush productivity it can get.

Haynes is a thick, springy athlete with about as much collegiate experience as humanly possible. I’m actually surprised he’s on the Seahawks’ practice squad, but Seattle did sign Gabe Jackson this offseason to elevate the floor of their guard position.


I had a fourth-round grade on Green just a few months ago. He checked most of the boxes I have for a mid-round blocker who can come in and start right away. And he tested like a high-caliber athlete. For reasons unbeknownst to me, Green went undrafted. But he protected like a — you guessed it — early Day 3 pick in the preseason with one allowed pressure on 43 pass-blocking snaps. Naturally, the Texans released him on cutdown day, because Houston is completely set on its offensive line and doesn’t need any young and talented blockers. Yeah, right. 

Snowden is impossibly long at over 6-foot-6 with 34-inch arms. He’s essentially the size of some of the longer offensive tackles in the NFL, except he’s probably playing somewhere in the 240s. So he clearly needs to add weight. But Snowden understands how to use his length to keep blockers from obliterating him. At Virginia, he had 28.5 tackles for loss in his final three seasons. With Khalil Mack injured, this should be a no-brainer for the Bears. Yet, Matt Nagy and Co. have hardly listened to me this season. 

The Seahawks are the Patriots of the NFC in that they adore late-round and undrafted free agent receivers. Johnson will be the next against-all-odds story in Seattle, a small, crisp route-runner who’s feisty after the catch and hauls in everything thrown in his direction. Sound like any recently productive Seahawks receiver? 

With J.J. Watt out for the remainder of the season, the Cardinals could use more pass-rush help on the outside, right? Carter has the girth, leverage, burst, and just enough pass-rush moves to be a productive contributor Arizona. I’m very high on him. 

The Buccaneers might be without star guard Ali Marpet for some time after he suffered an injury against the Giants in Week 11. Aaron Stinnie stilled in admirably, actually, but Molchon should be elevated for Tampa’s showdown with Indianapolis’ strong defensive front in Week 12. Molchon’s a powerful blocker who proved he’s also an explosive athlete at the combine two years ago. 


Moore is a mauler with a natural center of gravity that offensive line coaches dream about during REM sleep. He was just under 6-2 and 330 pounds at his pro day before the draft. After a dazzling career at Grambling State, Moore got a Senior Bowl invite and thrived in Mobile. He’s not going to be the most athletic blocker if you’re running a zone scheme, but he’s quick enough off the ball to be effective on gap runs, and he’s very close to being NFL strong already. Plus, no defensive tackle is going to get up and underneath him to drive him into the quarterback

Awosika was a 32-game starter at the University at Buffalo, as a right and left tackle. At a shade over 6-foot-3 and 300 pounds, he clearly has NFL guard size, and he entered the league further ahead as a run-blocker — a damn good one — than a pass-blocker, mostly due to his lack of explosive traits. 

But there’s something to be said about the strength of a young blocker, and Awosika is an effortless people-mover on the interior. 

Honorable Mention

Thomas Graham, CB, Bears

Yes, the third Bears player in this week’s PSPR. Graham was exposed a bit at the Senior Bowl. A lot of (mostly zone) cornerbacks are. But this is a savage defensive back who tallied eight interceptions and 32 pass breakups in his three seasons with the Ducks. What Graham lacks in size and pure explosion he more than makes up for with speedy processing and tenacity. 


Elijah Holyfield, RB, Bengals

Holyfield averaged 4.6 yards per carry on 20 totes this preseason in Philadelphia and 4.0 yards per with the Panthers in 2020. He’s a compactly built, decently shifty back with light feet and good vision. The Bengals backfield’s a little banged up right now. Holyfield can help. 

Olaijah Griffin, CB, Bills

I had a late fifth-round grade on Griffin after a steady career with the Trojans in Southern California. He had nine pass breakups in 2019 and three more in a shortened 2020 campaign. He’s a fluid mover with serious striking ability when planting and driving on the football. 

Kawaan Baker, WR, Saints


Baker had three years of solid-albeit-unspectacular production at South Alabama but failed to get named to the hometown Senior Bowl. But at his pro day, he got everyone’s attention, running 4.45 with a 39.5-inch vertical and 129-inch broad jump. His slow three-cone placed him in the second percentile among receivers over the past 21 years, but the explosion that was evident on vertical routes and in contested-catch situations in college was clear at his pre-draft workout. 

Stephen Sullivan, TE, Panthers

Sullivan was buried on the receiving pecking order at LSU, and the Seahawks tried to morph him into a defensive end after picking him in the seventh round two years ago. Back to his natural position in Carolina, Sullivan has a chance to make a splash without a bunch of stars in front of him. He’s 6-5 and 248 pounds with 4.66 speed and a catch radius the size of a Chevy Tahoe.

Tyrone Wheatley, OT, Giants

I’m fascinated by Wheatley’s journey, from marquee tight end recruit — who was massive entering the Michigan campus — to beefed up offensive tackle. The tight end to tackle converts are always compelling to me because the I know athletic traits needed to excel blocking on the edge are there. 


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Vikings Fan Sums Up A Great Year For The New Front Office



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The Minnesota Vikings are coming off a disappointing finish to their 22-23 season.

Despite going 13-4, the Vikings lost a home playoff game in the first round to the New York Giants.


But, how they got to 13-4, is a credit to the job done by the first-year General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah.

He stepped in as GM with a lot on his plate but made all the right moves.

The biggest move might have been hiring Kevin O’Connell to be their head coach.

In one season, O’Connell turned the franchise around and got them back to the playoffs.

Adofo-Mensah deserves plenty of credit for the moves he made to turn the Vikings back into contenders.


Even though the moves made during the season did not result in any postseason success, the Vikings are headed in the right direction.

The most recent move by Adolfo-Mensah was hiring Brian Flores as the team’s new defensive coordinator.

Flores’ name was floating around as a potential head coach candidate before the Vikings scooped him up.

Minnesota had a terrible defense last season, giving up the second-most yards per game (388.7).


Their season was capped off by getting exposed by Giants quarterback Daniel Jones in the playoffs.

Flores has experience leading good defenses and should be an immediate upgrade in Minnesota.

The next step for Adolfo-Mensah will be to nail this upcoming NFL draft.

As most GMs are usually praised or criticized for how well they draft.

If he can continue to bring in good young talent for the Vikings, they should once again compete in the NFC next year.


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Andy Reid Joins A Group Of Coaches Focused On Revenge



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One of the most talked about storylines around Super Bowl is Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid facing his former team.

Reid was the Philadelphia Eagles’ head coach from 1999-2012.


Over those 14 seasons, Reid had a record of 130-93-1, making him the winningest coach in Eagles history.

Reid led the Eagles to one Super Bowl in those years, which was a loss to the New England Patriots in 04-05.

Despite never winning the big game in Philadelphia, he is still beloved by many Eagles fans.

Now Reid is looking for his second Super Bowl title with the Chiefs with his former team standing in the way.

He joins a list of five coaches facing their former teams in the Super Bowl.


The last time we saw it was in 2015.

When Pete Carroll’s Seahawks faced the New England Patriots.

That game was played in Arizona, just like the one we will see this weekend.

Carroll’s team heartbreakingly lost that game, and Reid is hoping to avoid a similar outcome.


Plenty of pressure will be on Reid in this game, being the offensive guru of the Chiefs.

He will need to come up with a great game plan to slow down an elite Eagles pass rush.

Kansas City had the top offense in the NFL this season.

Leading the league in both yards (413.6) and points per game (29.2).

The Chiefs will have to put forth another scoring outburst if they hope to come out on top.


Reid has plenty to gain from this game when it comes to his coaching legacy.

With a win, he moves to 2-2 in Super Bowls, but a loss drops him to 1-3 and questions will arise about his ability to win the big game.

Reid is one of the top coaches of all time, be he needs to win this game to further cement his legacy.

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NFL Analyst Shuts Down Viral Trent Dilfer Complaint



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Yesterday, Trent Dilfer went viral across NFL media for his comments about Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady.

Brady and Rodgers are often touted as two of the top-ten quarterbacks in NFL history, yet, Dilfer had a contrarian opinion about those two.


However, one analyst quickly called out Dilfer, citing his career statistics as a major talking point.

Dilfer played in the league for 14 seasons, with his most notable achievement coming in 2000, when he led the Baltimore Ravens to a Super Bowl victory.

However, his career stats are significantly less impressive than that of Rodgers and Brady, which has made many members of the NFL media question his journalistic integrity.


In 14 years, Dilfer threw for 20,518 yards, 113 touchdowns, and 129 interceptions.

To put this into perspective, Rodgers has played in the league for 17 seasons, and he has thrown just 104 career interceptions, a full 25 less than Dilfer, who started in 110 fewer games than Rodgers has.

Brady, on the other hand, played in the NFL for 23 seasons and threw 212 career interceptions in 333 games.

That means, that, on average, Brady threw an interception every 1.5 games.

For context, Dilfer averaged one interception in each of his games and had a negative touchdown to interception ratio.


As one might imagine, many are throwing these statistics back in Dilfer’s face, citing that he played in the league when Brady and Rodgers did but was unable to achieve similar success.

Dilfer’s credibility is being called into question, but this certainly isn’t the first time.

Will he continue to be an NFL media personality moving forward?

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