2022 Finding ‘The Next Deebo’ (Pittsburgh vs. Cincinnati) -- March Madness Tourney Sweet 16


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. Got it? Good. Let’s go…



Today’s Matchup = AFC North: PIT vs. CIN


WR Chase Claypool, PIT


WR Ja’Marr Chase, CIN



Well, this ought to be interesting. Two of the best athletes in this tournament. One of them the beloved by one and all (Chase) the other completely forgotten (Claypool), as what tends to happen every year a player moves away from their rookie hype season.

I could write about why one or the other is better built or situated for the ‘next Deebo’ role best, but I want to start by comparing their bodies just to re-remind us of just how much of a freak Chase Claypool is…


6’0”/201, 4.34 40-time, 1.59 10-yard, 41.0” vertical, 3.99 shuttle, 6.96 = Ja’Marr (Pro Day)

6’4”/238. 4.42 40-time, 1.56 10-yard, 40.5” vertical, no agility times = Claypool (Combine)


When you consider how close/similar they are in speed/burst/leg power, etc., and then adding a bump (bad) on Ja’Marr for his Pro Day (vs. Combine) measurements (often skewed positive for the player) – Claypool is arguably the better/quick athlete…or at least let’s say they’re ‘similar’. But then when you factor in Claypool is toe-to-toe with Chase in movement skills/times but is 37 pounds bigger…Claypool is a freak show.

So, should we advance Claypool in this contest then based on size-speed advantage? Would make sense to do so, and that’s where my first notion is to head towards. Claypool has 24 career rushes for 112 yards, 2 TDs…and 11 of the runs for 1st-downs. The ability is there, and some desire by the coaches to use him that way is there. However…

Whenever I see anything from the Steelers coaches about Claypool, it’s mildly positive laced with concerns. Are they really going to push him to such a role? I don’t trust Tomlin or Flores as far as I could throw them when it comes to offensive things.

But when I see/hear Zac Taylor talk about Ja’Marr Chase…he’s glowing. No doubts about his WR. He only speaks of getting him the ball more. Taylor comes from the McVay-Shanahan tree, so he will take note of what Kyle did with Deebo. Ja’Marr ran the ball 7 times in 17 regular season games…but the Deebo story was developing as the season went on. Taylor took notice, apparently, as Ja’Marr had 6 carries in 4 playoff games.

If I were an NFL head coach, I’d want to exploit the freak of nature that is Chase Claypool over Ja’Marr…in this ‘Deebo’ role. But as an experienced observer of the NFL, I have to go with ‘their words’ and history (of coaches) over what I would do (which is often 180 degrees opposite of what happens in these situations…which is why all NFL teams Drafts are mostly random disasters year-after-year), so I’ll bet on the coaches ‘will’/words over RC’s ‘vision’ here.


WINNER = Ja’Marr Chase, the final member of the Elite 8…going on to face A.J. Brown.



Sweet 16 Results:

Rondale Moore defeats D.K. Metcalf

Kadarius Toney defeats Curtis Samuel

Cordarrelle Patterson defeats D.J. Moore

Amon-Ra St. Brown defeats Tarik Cohen

Joe Reed defeats Kendall Hinton

Tyreek Hill defeats Elijah Moore

A.J. Brown defeats David Johnson

Ja’Marr Chase defeats Chase Claypool


Coming Up: The Elite 8

Rondale Moore vs. Kadarius Toney

Cordarrelle Patterson vs. Amon-Ra St. Brown

Joe Reed vs. Tyreek Hill

A.J. Brown vs. Ja’Marr Chase