2022 Finding ‘The Next Deebo’ (Green Bay vs. Detroit) -- March Madness Tourney
Same Intro each day: We all know what the phrase ‘next Deebo’ means – a player who works at one position primarily but takes on a second position (in-game) beyond just a random 1-2-3 carries or targets…that they become a real dual-threat option for their team, and thus a great producer for Fantasy Football.
Before there was ‘Deebo’ (midway through the 2021 season), there was ‘Cordarrelle’ as the breakout WR who started also taking a good workload at RB…so much so he became the team’s lead RB, but then got all but dropped on his WR aspect.
Before ‘Cordarrelle’ there was Curtis Samuel trying to breakthrough as a ‘nails’ WR in 2020, but also a guy taking 3-5 carries a game in CMC’s absence and looking like he might make the turn – but then he went to Washington in free agency, got hurt, and barely played/impacted in 2021.
Before Samuel there was everyone looking for the ‘next Tyreek’. We might forget that Tyreek started out as a low target WR taking 1-2 carries a game, and then taking every carry for a 50+ yard TD…then he was converted over from random WR/RB to main WR, and they stopped pushing him in the running game the past two years (definitely don’t get that guy the ball more, whatever you do).
We’ve had some promising guys try to breakdown this ‘Deebo’ wall, but Cordarrelle really was the one who kicked in that door to start 2021 season (then ATL went away from it)…after the door was kicked in, then Deebo ran right through it 2nd-half of 2021 and became the ultimate/best dual threat of our lifetimes – so much so every analyst is running around saying certain players ‘can be their Deebo’, and you’re going to get sick of hearing about it they say it so much now. But credit to Deebo (really, credit to Kyle Shanahan) the ‘Deebo’ role is a thing now…I think some teams are going to copy because of its success, as they should…as they should’ve created it years ago. It’s the evolution of the game – players/weapons who you don’t know where they’re gonna lineup or what they’re going to do, and they’ll draw plenty of mismatches to expose.
With that in mind, we’re going to have a ‘next Deebo’ tournament/FFM daily series for the next few weeks during March Madness time.
I am going to nominate one player from each NFL team to be the possible ‘next Deebo’…the ‘their Deebo’ hopeful. I’ll explain why I choose that player, and why not others if there was a close option – and then like March Madness, we’ll pit two of them against each other/state the case and I’ll choose a winner…the one most likely to be used as ‘the next Deebo’ for the 2022 season.
We’ll go by division, matchups by 2021 record (so #1 v. #4, #2 v. #3 in the division), one matchup/winner declared each day into April until we have one AFC rep and one NFC rep and then we’ll declare a final ‘Super Bowl of Deebo’ winner.
Now, San Francisco has their own Deebo already…so he is not in this tournament. For the SF slot, there will be a play-in game between two current draft prospect options. Unsigned free agents will be an option for the team they were last on in 2021, so like a heavy Final Four favorite, but current free agent (as of this writing), Cordarrelle Patterson, will be an option for Atlanta. Got it? Good. Let’s go…
Today’s Matchup = NFC North: GB vs. DET
WR Amari Rodgers, GB
WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, DET
Not much to choose from off the Packers. As of this writing…no Davante Adams or MVS (not that either is a great ‘Deebo’ candidate). I’m reaching with 2nd-year WR Amari Rodgers. Pretty much all he did was return kicks in 2021, which is not bad for a foundation of hope to be a ‘next Deebo’. It’s something, anyway. Rodgers is 5’9”/212…a solid package with the ball. He did run the ball 6 times for 46 yards and a TD for Clemson in 52 games…not much ‘Deebo’ action there, but it’s something.
The problem trying to project Amari as a ‘Deebo’ is that he’s not super athletic, on paper…a 4.52 40-time with a 1.65 10-yard and a 7.07 three-cone. It’s/he’s just not that special.
Speaking of not special, Amon-Ra St. Brown is no great athlete, relative to the top NFL WRs (on paper) either. A 4.61 40-time, but he has a little more power and agility – 20 bench reps, 38.5” vertical, a 6.90 three-cone a 5’11”/197. He ran the ball just 9 times for 69 yards and a TD in 30 college games and was an underwhelming punt returner for USC.
However, the reason ARSB wins this contest easily is…the Lions believe in him. 119 targets, 90 catches in 2021 as a rookie…WITH 7 carries for 61 yards and a TD. ARSB may not be the best profile for ‘Deebo’, but you can see the Dan Campbell commitment – all 7 of his carries happened in his final 6 games of 2021 season. It may have been from a lack of other options, but regardless…the Lions show that they believe in ARSB as a weapon, to whatever degree, so we have to ride that…to whatever degree.
WINNER = Amon-Ra St. Brown, who goes on to the Sweet 16 to face the winner of the MIN-CHI matchup being played tomorrow.