News & Analysis

5 things you need to know for Friday

By Alejandro Chavez
Aug 18, 2017

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OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 24: Center Ryan Kelly #78 of the Indianapolis Colts prepares to snap the ball against the Oakland Raiders in the fourth quarter on December 24, 2016 at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California. The Raiders won 33-25. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Hey there football fans! Here are five pieces of news you need to know to start off your Fridays:

The Seahawks and Justin Britt have agreed to an extension. The extension is for three years and will keep Britt in Seattle through 2020.

He earned the highest grade of his career in 2016 at 79.9 overall, one season after he posted a career low 37.6 while playing guard. He was also the only Seahawks offensive lineman to grade higher than 70 in both run blocking and pass blocking.

Britt was one of only four centers to not allow a sack or hit in 2016. But his season was very up and down overall, he had six games graded as a top ten center for the week and had five games ranked 25th or worse at the position.

The Steelers expect Le’Veon Bell to report by Week 1. While Bell is not currently in camp due to a holdout, it is not expected to last into the season.

A true three-down back, Bell was on the field for a higher percentage of snaps (90.4 percent) than any other running back in the league in 2016. His snap count percentage has risen in each of his four seasons (64.6, 77.7, 81.2, and 90.4 percent).

Bell has been the highest-graded running back in the league the last two seasons with grades of 90.0 (2015) and 88.4 (2016). Despite only playing in 12 games last year (suspended for three, rest for one), Bell ranked third with 786 yards after contact and tied for second in forced missed tackles with 47.

CB Sean Smith has reportedly lost his starting job. CB T.J. Carrie has taken over for Smith as a starter for Oakland.

In his first year with the Raiders, Smith graded as the 16th-best cornerback in the NFL, with a grade of 83.5. Smith has a knack for getting his hands on the ball, ranking 20th in playmaker index by securing either a pass-deflection or interception on 14.9 percent of targets into his coverage.

From a production standpoint however, there is room for improvement as he ranked 98th out of 117 qualifying cornerbacks in yards per coverage snap allowed at 1.52. He also gave up seven touchdowns, which was the second-highest total among cornerbacks.

New starter Carrie earned an overall grade of 74.1, which ranked 49th and gave up a catch rate of just 51.5 percent, which was the ninth-lowest among cornerbacks.

Devonta Freeman is reportedly nearing his return to practice. He has been missing time while in the concussion protocol.

Last season, Freeman’s overall grade of 83.3 (a career high) ranked eighth out of 61 qualified running backs, just besting his 2015 grade of 80.1.

In 2016, Freeman’s breakaway percent of 37.5 ranked eighth out of 53 qualified running backs, and he forced 34 missed tackles on 227 rushes, which was tied for 13th.

From Week 9 on (including the playoffs), Freeman was ninth out of 41 qualified running backs in elusive rating (uses missed tackle rate and yards gained after contact to measure a runner’s success beyond the point of being helped by his blockers) at 50.4.

C Ryan Kelly needs surgery and will miss some time. One of the key cogs in protecting Andrew Luck, Kelly will need foot surgery.

The Colts were hoping for a big second year from their 2016 first-round pick, who was solid during his rookie year, earning an overall grade of 73.8 and ranking 22nd out of 39 qualifying centers.

In 2016, Kelly also ranked 22nd in pass-blocking efficiency at 97.6. He allowed 20 total pressures on 623 pass-block snaps but did not allow a sack.

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