By: Barry Barnes, Founder
Among the four remaining squads for the NFL Championship Week, ten pioneers from the NFL Regional Combine platform will have their chance to earn a Super Bowl ring. Four of these standouts can orchestrate a performance of a lifetime and take another step towards the Lombardi Trophy.
The Jacksonville Jaguars will be up against the dynasty of the NFL…the reigning Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. Despite commanding the second best overall defense, the Jags still have to put points on the board.
That’s where rookie wide receiver Keelan Cole and full back Tommy Bohanon come in. But, they will need to give maximum effort.
Cole is a natural deep threat who can fly. He caught five passes over 40 yards this season, including two for 70 plus. The rookie receiver from Kentucky Wesleyan and the Minnesota-held RC trials has been quiet this postseason with just one catch, however. Cole’s sole reception came at a critical point in their Divisional matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers when he caught a deep ball for 45 yards.
During Week One of the 2017 preseason, Cole burned the Patriots’ secondary for a 97-yard touchdown – and it was well over 40 degrees. He will be up against a top five defense and harsher elements in the upcoming game.
Fullback Tommy Bohanon was one of the heroes for the Jaguars in the Divisional Round as he scored on a 14-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. Bohanon, who attended the Pro Player Combine last year, will be needed to pave running lanes for the Jaguars backfield and provide pass protection for quarterback Blake Bortles.
In Philadelphia, it is a different story. Both the Eagles and Minnesota Vikings have standouts on both sides of the ball.
One is instrumental on special teams and in certain defensive packages, while the other is a Pro Bowl receiver.
Eagles linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill is a hybrid defender who can kick, run and be aggressive. He can run with receivers and is solid in zone coverage.
The Eagles may need Hill because Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen is a beast.
Thielen was dominant during the regular season and, in his first taste of the postseason, he did not disappoint. Thielen racked up six catches for 74 yards and converted three first downs.
“I think they have done a good job on first and second down, that’s taken them to third (down). Thielen took a big jump to being a Pro Bowl player,” said Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.
Let the ride continue!