Who is the Most Underrated Player of the Islanders’ Dynasty?

When you think of the dynasty that was the New York Islanders in the 1980s, the most prominent names roll right off the tongue.

Potvin. Bossy. Gillies. Nystrom. Smith. Trottier. And most recently, (Butch) Goring and (John) Tonelli — the two players who had their numbers sent to the rafters just last month in the prelude to the suspension of the NHL season due to COVID-19.

Those eight names are just a small portion of the 17 who were there for all four Stanley Cups, or better known as the “Core of the Four.”

So that begs the question: Who was the most undervalued member of those Cup-winning teams?

For me, who wasn’t around to see it but have done tons of research on the matter, it came down to one name — Bob Bourne.

With all due respect to Anders Kallur, Ken Morrow, Stefan Persson, and a few others, Bourne was the model of consistency all four years the Isles were winning titles. Heck, even the fifth and final run to the Finals, he was still playing at an extremely high level.

Bourne, who played ten seasons on Long Island, had more than established himself prior to the Cup years when he first joined the Isles during the 74-’75 season. The Kindersley, SK native had tallied 30 goals in back-to-back seasons before the Islanders won their first title.

In 1979-80, the first of the four consecutive Cup seasons, Bourne only totaled 40 points in 73 games during the regular season after the start of the year saw him suffer a twisted ankle not once, but twice in two games. The setback cost him several weeks and took a toll on him being able to use his biggest asset — his speed; heading into that season, Bourne was recognized as the fastest player in the game.

Bourne, who was only 25 at the time, was also dealing with some personal issues to go along with his injury as chronicled in author Alan Hahn’s Birth of a Dynasty: The 1980 New York Islanders. His son had been diagnosed with Spinal Bifida early that season.

Bourne found his game late that year, and when the season ended, he still had the seventh most points and sixth in goals for any forward on the team. He gained the moniker as the catalyst. Former Isles assistant coach, Bill MacMillan, described him that way because of how his speed and effort would get his teammates going even if he wasn’t scoring.

In the playoffs, Bourne was re-energized. He notched 20 points in 21 games — third best for the Islanders and sixth-most in the postseason — and had some clutch performances.

His game-tying goal in game three of the first round against the Kings set the stage for the Isles to take a 2-1 series lead. His second-period goal in game four essentially sealed the series win. And facing Boston in the next round in game one, and the clinching game in Buffalo which sent the Islanders to their first Stanley Cup Final, Bourne tallied three points both times.

The 1980-81 campaign was Bourne’s best of his career and best as an Islander.

Bourne netted 35 goals and finished with 76 points. Only Kallur and Hall of Famer Mike Bossy scored more. He also accomplished another feat that still stands today as a franchise-record — seven shorthanded goals during the season.

Bourne was good once again in the playoffs. In 14 games, he recorded ten points,  including a three-point performance to open the second round against the Toronto Maple Leafs and a goal and the game-winning helper on Butch Goring’s opening goal in the Cup-clinching game five at home versus Minnesota.

1981-82 is considered the greatest team of the dynasty, if not one of the greatest in NHL history. The Isles dominated the competition that year from the start, and Bourne again had a solid showing with another 25-plus goal campaign and 53 points overall. The postseason, he tallied nine goals, second to Bryan Trottier’s 16.

It was the third round against Quebec, though where Bourne dominated.

Sweeping the Nordiques, Bourne found the scoresheet in every game and ended the series with seven points in four contests. He would add two points in a wild game two 6-4 victory in the Final against Vancouver, which helped open the scoring and help the Isles tie the game just 32 seconds into the third period.

The final of the four consecutive Cup-winning seasons came for the Isles in 1982-83. The regular season was another excellent one for Bourne as well, 62 points in 77 games. Individually, Bourne assisted on the most goals of any year in his career with 42 helpers.

He also ended the year fifth in scoring on the club.

That postseason was when Bourne would introduce himself into franchise lore.

Bourne accounted for 28 points, one shy of the franchise’s playoff record 29, which was established by Trottier in 1980. His ten assists in the series against the Rangers was unbelievable and still hasn’t been broken. Although he set a club record that series, it was his coast-to-coast goal — part of his electric four-point night in game five — that’s still considered one of the most memorable in team history.


The Isles would sweep the Wayne Gretzky-led Oilers in the Finals with Bourne adding four points. Somehow he wasn’t named the Conn Smythe winner. Instead, it was awarded to Billy Smith.

The chance for a five-peat in 1983-84 would be the end for the Islanders. It was also Bourne’s last great season not only for the organization but for his career.

Bourne would post another 56 points in the regular season, and then in the playoffs, he got hurt, tearing ligaments in his knee against Montreal. The injury forced Bourne to miss the rest of the postseason, and the Islanders lost in five in a rematch with Edmonton.

Bourne would last two more years on Long Island before being placed on waivers at the beginning of the 1986-87 season. But the franchise never forgot what he did all those wonderful years.

They inducted him into the team’s Hall of Fame in November 2006, and now there’s an argument to be had about whether he should have his number retired. Bourne did play 814 games for the Islanders/ He does also claim the fifth-most playoff points (92) and seventh-most postseason games (129) in club history.

To say Bourne was underrated, some might say you’re wrong. Then again, the crucial role he played in the Isles’ dynasty can’t be overlooked.

He was the most underrated piece of that time and should always be considered a critical focal point.


New York Giants: Does Isaiah Simmons offer more than a tackle in the 2020 NFL Draft?

New York Giants, Isaiah Simmons, Andrew Thomas

General manager Dave Gettleman is an interesting evaluator, and for the New York Giants, he has taken a step away from his traditional methods at times to adapt to a more modernized approach. Similar to Carolina, he drafted a running back extremely high in Saquon Barkley and formerly Christian McCaffrey. Both are elite players in the NFL and represent the next generation of backs; however, his offensive line approach has taken a little change.

The latest pick Gettleman spent on a lineman was the 64th overall selection for Taylor Moton, but he chose Will Hernandez out of UTEP with the 34th overall pick two years back. He has never spent a first-round pick on the OL, but that could change in 2020, depending on how he views the Giants’ needs.

The big conundrum Gettleman faces is whether he should invest the 4th overall pick in a tackle or Clemson standout defender Isaiah Simmons.

What the New York Giants should be considering:

First and foremost, Nate Solder is still slotted into the left tackle position, which indicates that he will be the starter in 2020. So, if Gettleman invests in a tackle, they’re already in a position to compete, unless, they can play both sides of the line like Tristan Wirfs. In that scenario, the Giants can have Wirfs (or another prospect) compete for the starting right tackle spot with the projection that they will transfer over to the left side in 2021. Again, this doesn’t provide an immediate influence like Isaiah Simmons would on defense.

I’m happy with Simmons or an offensive tackle, but the Giants’ defense is in dire need of a playmaking linebacker who can play multiple positions. Simmons is a self-proclaimed “defender,” meaning he can play mid-high safety, slot corner, weakside, and MIKE linebacker. He’s a jack of all trades player and is only 20-years-old, indicating the room he has to develop.

Protecting Daniel Jones is a priority, but it’s difficult to pass on Simmons, who can bolster a defense that failed to hold teams from scoring in the first and fourth quarters last year. He also has a positive injury history.

To conclude, Simmons does offer more than a tackle simply because he impacts the team immediately while the Giants’ offensive line has a few road-blocks in place — Solder, Nick Gates, Cam Fleming. There are players set to compete for spots or already plugged in=. The more efficient move might be to draft Simmons and snag a prospect with a high ceiling to take over in 2021 when Solder is inevitably cut.

Report: New York Giants’ DeAndre Baker slept during meetings as a rookie

New York Giants, DeAndre Baker

ESPN’s Jordan Raanan stated in a recent article that it was not uncommon for New York Giants‘ DeAndre Baker to sleep during meetings in his rookie season.

Analysis: Baker’s rookie season was rocky, to say the least. At one point, he got called out in a team meeting, and his seven touchdowns allowed as the nearest defender was tied for fourth in the NFL, per Next Gen Stats. There are questions about Baker’s desire to be great. Sleeping in meetings was not uncommon. But considering he improved on the field as the season progressed, he should be better with experience. How much? It helps that new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham had his cornerbacks in press coverage for more than 50% of the snaps last season. That plays to Baker’s strengths. He was in press coverage 26.7% of the time his rookie year.

Baker struggled immensely in 2019 but picked up his play as the season progressed. There were red-flags coming out of college that included arrogance, and sleeping during meetings might be a consequence of that. This is not the type of player you invest a first-round pick in if you’re trying to rebuild your team and locker-room.

Another review pre-draft:

“In speaking to team sources, they feel that Baker’s tape and talent level should have him going in the No. 10-15 range of the 1st round, but they believe he will slide some because he has off-the-field issues and has not interviewed well with teams during the lead up to the 2019 NFL Draft.” A quote coming from Walterfootball.com.

The New York Giants need to put Baker in a position to succeed:

The former Georgia standout is a good football player with a lot to prove, but these early signs of immaturity hurt his development tremendously. It’s possible Raanan was trying to state that he was not retaining the information in meetings, therefor the sleeping comment, but it seems clear-cut from our perspective.

If this is true, Baker must be penalized in the future for that type of behavior. New head coach Joe Judge will not tolerate those types of actions, and Baker better be prepared to feel the fury if he continues to act up.

However, losing might have played a significant part in his degradation. Hopefully, winning and success will fuel a more mature and appreciate DeAndre Baker.

Are the New York Yankees making a big mistake with Gleyber Torres?

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

The New York Yankees made the educated decision to move on from Didi Gregorius and plug Gleyber Torres into the shortstop role this offseason, but that choice could become a problematic one.

Torres, struggled immensely this spring in Grapefruit League play, committing five errors and blundering choppers and gather-throw sequences. He missed the target multiple times and look uncomfortable in his new role, which is a bit concerning based on the fact the Yankees are putting all their faith in the young slugger.

NJ.com spoke to a scout that also felt worried about his errors this spring:

“It’s a concern,” said the scout, who requested anonymity so that he could give an honest opinion. “I don’t think it’s a concern that Torres can get routine ground balls or get to the ball and throw the ball. But when you look at a quality shortstop – balls in the hole, choppers that come in, arm with range – when I see Torres play shortstop, I see an adequate defender at best.”

As the scout mentioned, Torres is capable of getting to the ball — he’s an athletic player who can be an adequate defender. However, it will take time for him to adapt to the shortstop position.

Where the issues really lie for the New York Yankees:

If Torres proves to be a bust at shortstop, the Bombers will need to move him back into the second-base role, where he’s far more efficient. The problem is that the Yanks don’t have a serviceable backup in case the experiment fails. They would be forced to move DJ LeMahieu, who’s an All-Star second-baseman, over to short in an attempt to supplement the lack of quality there.

LeMahieu has only played in four games at shortstop in his entire career, and while he escaped all 4.0 innings of play without a problem, he’s not the most experienced option. The Yankees also have Thairo Estrada, who can fill the void, but depending on him to be their everyday starter is not ideal.

In a perfect world, Torres would solve his defensive issues and develop into the Yankees shortstop for the foreseeable future, but those deficiencies don’t go away overnight. More reps would undoubtedly help, but we should be prepared to experience consistent errors for the season ahead.

How are MLB players spending their free time during season halt?

Amid the pandemic due to the COVID-19 virus, all major sports have been shut down indefinitely. Major League Baseball was set to open March 26 but the starting date now is unknown. As easy as it is to be lazy and sit on the couch all day, these Major Leaguers still have a season to be prepared for.

Despite everything going on, MLBers are remaining positive during this time. Take a look at how the players are still getting ready for a season that has an unknown beginning:

Marcus Stroman, New York Mets

Marcus Stroman is known for his tremendous athleticism and is seen on social media always working to perfect his craft. He also knows how important it is that pitchers continue to throw on a regular basis.

Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers

Everyone knows that sweet left-handed swing Gallo obtains and seen here he works on it in his home while showing off the beautiful view.

Javier Baez and Jose Berrios

A classic family vs. family competition! Javier Baez from the Chicago Cubs steps in the box versus his brother-in-law Jose Berrios from the Minnesota twins.

Nelson Cruz, Minnesota Twins

The big man himself seen here working out to keep the strength and mobility up for the pending season. Perhaps these behind the scenes workouts is why Nelson Cruz is able to blast 35+ home runs each season.

Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels

The best player in baseball still has to get his work in! Here’s Mike Trout keeping his arm ready with some long toss throwing.

View this post on Instagram

#QuarantineFam @kohnman58!! 🎥: @jesstaratrout

A post shared by Mike Trout (@miketrout) on

Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies

Five straight Gold Glove seasons don’t come from slacking off! Seen here is Nolan Arendo working on fielding.

Alex Bregman, Houston Astros

Third basemen Alex Bregman takes swings off a machine to keep his hands and eyes at game speed.

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Machine for Breakfast #WashYourHands

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Aroldis Chapman, New York Yankees

Known for his high heater, Aroldis Chapman works to get his gas! Seen here is Chapman working out in his home gym.


Wilson Contreras, Chicago Cubs

Probably the best one we’ve seen yet, Wilson Contreras and his brother got fancy with a gun that shot out ping pong balls. The baseball is going to look pretty big when he steps back onto the diamond.


New York Yankees Player Profiles: Gio Urshela, was his season a fluke?

New York Yankees, Giovanny Urshela

It’s enjoyable doing player profiles for players New York Yankees fans may not be that familiar with. With all the Yankee Injuries, many triple-A stars made it to the bigs last season, having a chance to show off their talents and give the team a reason to keep them in the majors. Geo Urshela is such a player filling in for Miguel Andujar at third base.

Gio’s player history:

Twenty-eight-year-old Giovanny Urshela is a Columbian baseball player for our Yankees. He has previously played for the Toronto Blue Jays and the Cleveland Indians. Urshela signed with the Cleveland Indians as an international free agent in July 2008. He made his professional debut in 2009, playing for the Dominican Summer League Indians and the Arizona League Indians. He spent 2010-2013 in single-A.

He started the 2014 season with Akron and was promoted to the Columbus Clippers of the Class AAA International League during the season. After the 2014 season, the Indians added Urshela to their 40-man roster. He was named the Indians’ fourth-best prospect by MLB.com in 2015. He batted .227 for the Indians before being traded to the Toronto Blue Jays.  Urshela batted .233 with one home run and three RBIs in 19 games for Toronto, before he was designated for assignment by the Blue Jays on
June 26. During his time with the Jays, he was noted for his timely hitting and very capable play at 3rd. Base.

Urshela comes to the New York Yankees

On August 4, 2018, the Blue Jays traded Urshela to the New York Yankees in exchange for cash considerations. The Yankees assigned him to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. Urshela was called up by the Yankees to the bigs on April 6, 2019, as a fill-in for Miguel Andujar at third base. Urshela has been an out-making specialist in the big leagues and has certainly shown his worth at the hot corner.  Throughout the season, he made spectacular plays that many wondered if Andujar would have made, considering that Miguel’s play at third has been questioned.

Gio is well-liked in the clubhouse and fits in quite well. Some of this may be his not so young age and experience. So far although not a home run hitter, he is a timely hitter with a batting average of .314.  He had played so well he has received praise from manager Aaron Boone and a tweet of support from the Columbian President.

As the season progressed, it appeared that his place at the hot corner was his to lose.  Many Yankee fans compared him to Yankee great Graig Nettles.  His play was very Gold Glove-like.   The New York Yankees knew when they brought him up for Scanton that he would be at least sufficient at third, their only question was his hitting that was not stellar.   In his April, he proved his worth at 3rd, but didn’t shine at the plate.

Urshela solidifies his place with the Yankees

After a few weeks, something changed in Urshela.  He started to hit, and it didn’t stop for the rest of the season.  Some great players come to play at Yankee Stadium and just can’t cut it, while others like Urshela given the change embrace the spotlight and excel.  Over a six-game period he drove in the winning run twice.  He came in second to DJ LeMahieu for being the best player on the team.  He even hit 21 home runs.

Many fans thought his play last year may have been a fluke.  It is hard to believe that being the 2nd best player on a team of stars, is just a fluke.  Even with star Miguel Andujar back on the team this year, manager Aaron Boone has made it clear that Gio will be the starting 3rd baseman, and he will find another place to have Andujar play.

Reviewing Urshela’s stats, he plays particularly well against the Red Sox, Kansas City Royals, and, most importantly, against the Tampa Bay Rays.  Not only did he play well during the regular season, but he also showed his stuff in the postseason by hitting two home runs in the six games against the Houston Astros, and had a very respectable .828 OPS.

Urshela will repeat his excellent play

In the coronavirus shortened spring training camp, he only hit one home run in twelve games played with a .233 batting average, yet maintained his ability to get on base with his very satisfactory .728 OPS.  When this baseball season finally starts for the New York Yankees, they can be sure of his excellent defense; the only question is if he can repeat his on-base year again.  Even if he doesn’t meet last year’s stats but comes close, he will still be one of the Yankee top players.  This writer believes that he has found his place with the Yankees and will again embrace his job and continue to shine.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Reseach


Listen to Episode 12 of Fireside Giants: New York Giants mailbag questions, Blake Martinez, Chase Young jersey giveaway

New York Giants, Fireside Giants

The New York Giants are preparing to enter the 2020 NFL with plenty of needs on both sides of the ball, notably at the pass rusher and offensive tackle position. General manager Dave Gettleman has the ability to fill one hole, but others will remain.

In the podcast, we break down Blake Martinez’s conference call and his detailing of the negative attributes we have identified since his signing with the Giants. The primary cons revolved around his coverage abilities and lack of playmaking stats, which he addresses, and we talk about in the podcast.

After we talk about Martinez, Alex, Mike, and Anthony talk about their favorite Giants players from the past and re-live memories from the Super Bowls in 2007/2011. We specifically talk about Gronk almost catching that hail-mary pass at the end of the SB in 2011, and how it made Mike’s heart drop to the floor.

This is an exciting podcast episode with banter, knowledge, and giveaways! What giveaway do I speak of? If the Giants land Chase Young and recent reports indicate it’s possible, Alex will be giving one random person a Young jersey. However, the rules are in the podcast so go find out what you need to do to qualify.

In addition, we break down a few different scenarios from our mailbag questions, including trading for a veteran pass rusher or offensive tackle. The gang gives their opinions and what we should do moving forward!

Tristan Wirfs To New York Giants Gains Steam In Draft Wire Mock

New York Giants, Tristan Wirfs

Unlike the year when the New York Giants drafted second overall and took Saquon Barkley, there’s no clear choice for them in the 2020 NFL Draft’s first round. This year’s draft more resembles the more recent one where the Giants took Daniel Jones, but had multiple other options that the team would have been justified in drafting.

In this case, the debate isn’t around whether the Giants should take a quarterback or not but about whether they should take an offensive lineman or a defensive player, most likely the linebacker position. There’s also a debate about which offensive lineman is the best out of the available options.

One name to gain ground more recently over other players who have been linked with the Giants is Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs, who was formerly discussed less than others such as Mekhi Becton and Jedrick Wills but has risen in Draft conversations following good performances at the Combine.

According to Draft Wire’s latest mock draft, Wirfs makes sense as the Giants’ pick at number four overall, an assumption that also has them not trading that pick down for a defensive player lower in the first round.

Any of this year’s top four offensive tackle prospects could make a strong case to go here, which is good news for the Giants, who need a franchise player at the position. Wirfs is a rare athlete for his size, and has as much upside as any other tackle in the class. He’s ready to protect Daniel Jones from Day 1.

And as for the chances of Wirfs going number four overall, it’s also something that his college head coach at Iowa, Kirk Ferentz, believes is a possible outcome.

“Funny things happen. Tristan could go No. 4. He could go 24,” Ferentz said. “He’s a tremendous young person who has very rare ability. He improved each year, and he was a Combine phenom, which was no surprise to us. Some of the things he does at his size, you just shake your head. Freakish is the word.”

Wirfs may just be more athletic than Nate Solder, the player that the Giants signed to a very notable deal to protect Daniel Jones as the main pass blocker – however, the experiment with Solder at left tackle has largely failed, and there’s a good chance that Solder switches positions this season, leaving a gap at left tackle.

Could Wirfs take over the spot as a rookie? Based on the current movements in prospect rankings and Wirfs gaining ground on other players such as Wills, Andrew Thomas, and Becton, it could very well be a possibility for the Giants if they take a gamble on Wirfs and his athletic nature.

New York Yankees: Who’s the most ripped Bomber on the squad?

New York Yankees, Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton

The New York Yankees have transformed their mentality over the past few seasons, taking a more home-run centric approach to their offense.

They ranked second in 2019 behind only the Minnesota Twins in the home-run category, and that was with a majority of their sluggers out for the season. However, there’s a distinct correlation to home runs and being absolutely jacked.

Who’s the most ripped New York Yankees player?

Let’s ranks the biggest players one-through-five:

5th place: Gary Sanchez

Weight/Height: 6-foot-2, 230-pounds

Sanchez has slimmed down this year to increase his core muscle strength, but injuries have continued to plague his development. This season, he’s featuring a new stance behind the plate, helping mitigate passed balls and increase his framing efficiency.

4th place: Luke Voit

Weight/Height: 6-foot-3, 235-pounds

Voit is hoping to return to form after suffering a sports hernia last season. He’s a quality player with tons of untapped potential, and that’s exactly what Aaron Boone sees in the infielder. Featuring as another slugger for the Bombers, Voit will likely slot in as a 6th batter in the lineup.

3rd place: Aroldis Chapman

Weight/Height: 6-foot-4, 212-pounds

Chapman is a surprising name on this list, but if you’ve seen his latest post, you’d know how ripped he really is. As one of the best closers in the MLB, the “Cuban Missle” lives up to his name.

2nd place: Giancarlo Stanton

Weight/Height: 6-foot-6, 245-pounds

Stanton is one of the bigger hitters in the league, and he’s known for being ripped. Unfortunately, his body-builder physique is also his biggest downfall, as it has made him more injury-prone. Soft tissue injuries have plagued Stanton the past few seasons, and he started this spring with a calf strain that just recently completed healing.

1st place: Aaron Judge

Weight/Height:6-foot-7, 282-pounds

Judge is a mammoth compared to most Major League Baseball players. His size and stature in the box often have umpires guessing his strike zone, which has ultimately hurt him in the past. Judge is also returning from an injury (stress fractured rib) and will be looking to play his first healthy season since 2017.

Could New York Giants land top center at 36th overall in 2020 NFL Draft?

New York Giants, Cesar Ruiz

The New York Giants need to plug several positions with fresh talent from the 2020 NFL Draft, and having the 4th and 36th overall picks allow them to grab two talented players.

At 4th overall, GM Dave Gettleman may grab an offensive tackle, but his history drafting suggests that he might wait until the second or third round to grab a developmental prospect. Alternatively, he could snag a top prospect like Andrew Thomas, Jedrick Wills, Tristan Wirfs, or Mekhi Becton.

While the offensive tackle spot does need support, the center position is also a significant void that wasn’t filled in free agency. With Jon Halapio an unrestricted free agent this offseason, the draft could be an excellent place for the Giants to grab a starter for the foreseeable future. That’s where Cesar Ruiz enters the frame.

What the New York Giants would get in Cesar Ruiz:

Michigan center Cesar Ruiz is a phenomenal prospect with a chip on his shoulder. When Ruiz was eight-years-old, his father was killed, helping change someone’s tire on the shoulder of the highway. The center’s grit and toughness come from his father, and he plays with an aggressive mentality but a fundamentalistic approach.

Ruiz is a tenacious offensive lineman with impressive technique and athleticism at the center position. His quality in blocking schemes and getting to the next level in the run game makes him the top option at the position, and he could easily slip to No. 36 with a bit of luck. The Giants could use a big upgrade at the position, and he undoubtedly fits the bill.

Here’s a look at his positives and negatives, per his NFL Draft profile (Lance Zierlein):


  • Excellent snap-to-step quickness
  • Waits for defender to declare before capturing and securing the block
  • Consistent to run feet through double-teams and down-blocks
  • Plays with bend and leverage
  • Fluid on the go and can lead the charge on wide pulls and screens
  • Tenacious demeanor from whistle to whistle
  • Early into pass sets with good hand placement
  • Compact, stiff pass punch with good arm extension
  • Clear eyes to identify pre- and post-snap danger
  • Consistent base width throughout pass sets
  • Has feet and lateral slide to mirror anyone in front of him


  • Frame appears to lack desired width
  • Could benefit from better acceleration and thump into first blow
  • Needs to work at steering blocks into position
  • Positional blocker with average face-up power
  • Could struggle to set a shallow anchor against NFL bull-rushers