For more than a decade as Packers general manager, Ted Thompson built his 53-man roster with homegrown players. Charles Woodson signed a seven-year, $52-million deal in 2006 and was a key piece of their Super Bowl XLV champion team but rarely did Thompson dip into the free-agent pool. Now one game away from their first Super Bowl appearance in nine years, the Packers are relying on free agents more than ever (e.g. Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, Adrian Amos) but still have the most homegrown players of the remaining teams.
As noted by Albert Breer in his “How the NFL’s Final Four Teams Were Built” article, 32 of the Packers’ 53 players were drafted by the team or signed as undrafted free agents, three more than their NFC Championship foe, the 49ers, who have 29 homegrown players. The Titans and Chiefs, meanwhile, have 28 and 21, respectively. Thirty-two of the Chiefs’ 53 players were either outside free agents or acquired via trades or off waivers.
Other notes for championship weekend: Frank Clark explains why he won’t jump offsides again … And Clark says Derrick Henry isn’t that hard to hit ... The Packers have a late addition to the injury report … The NFC Championship will be a showcase of the Mike Shanahan coaching tree … A look at one of the greatest forgotten rivalries.
One year ago this week, Kyler Murray declared for the 2019 NFL Draft. It came seven months after he was selected with the ninth pick in the 2018 MLB Draft and signed a $4.6-million deal, and days after finishing a Heisman-winning season that featured constant speculation about his athletic future. Now, after a rookie season with the Cardinals, there’s more speculation on his athletic future thanks to an answer his gave Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic:
“I think I could,” Murray said when asked if he could play both baseball and football “Athletically, I think, yeah, I could do it. I’ve been playing both my whole life. I would love to add that to the resume.
“I don’t understand why in sports they try to marginalize it,” Murray said. “They try to make you pick one and I get it, but we’ll see. I think it would be fun. Right now, though, I’m just focused on football.”
The abundance of transfer quarterbacks isn’t a new topic of discussion in college football, but I can’t remember seeing a breakdown like this and such a staggering stat:
“The Athletic studied the careers of the top 50 high school quarterbacks who signed with FBS programs in the recruiting classes of 2014 through 2017 because those signees have all been in college for at least three years. So far, 57 percent of those QBs have transferred from the school they initially signed with. And that percentage will likely increase during this offseason.
“Based on these recent classes, if a top-50 QB signee doesn’t start one game in his first two years on campus, there’s an almost 75 percent chance he’ll end up leaving the program. And even if he does make a start in the first two years, there’s a nearly 45 percent chance he’ll still end up transferring. This is where college football is now.”
On this week’s podcast: New Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach dropped by to chat about accepting the Bulldogs’ offer, his late-night call buddy Nick Rolovich taking the Washington State job, grenade launchers, and more.
Clevinger Skewers Astros
(With some colorful language)
Happy 40th, Jason
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