Discussions of the Braves’ excellence in the’90s and early 2000s inevitably end with a lament about the team only winning one World Series title in 14 tries, its unprecedented run of division titles usually taking a back seat to the perplexing thought that a team stacked with Hall of Famers could so consistently fall short in the postseason.
WR Marqise Lee, Jaguars Grade: C+ The former USC product was drafted ahead of Jaguars teammate Allen Robinson, but Robinson and undrafted free agent Allen Hurns moved ahead of Lee on the depth chart.
He looked like a wasted pick by 2016, but the second-rounder took advantage of an injury to Hurns to re-emerge as a useful possession receiver for Blake Bortles.
Lee moved back into the starting lineup in 2017 and kept up his level of play, only to be slowed by a pair of high ankle sprains at the beginning and end of the season.
Twelve starting receivers averaged more than 5 yards after the catch over the past two years, and of those 12, only Julio Jones and Tyrell Williams caught their average pass farther downfield than Lee.
Having torn his ACL in 2013 and in 2014, Bradford began experiencing problems once again after he led Minnesota to victory in the 2017 season-opener against New Orleans. He missed the next three games before retuning in what proved the saddest Monday night quarterbacking performance for the Vikings since Josh Freeman was thrown to the wolves without knowing the playbook in 2013.
No NFL player I’ve covered in 23 seasons has ever looked like he wanted to stay on the field less than the pain-riddled Bradford did against Chicago at Soldier Field.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, who never should have put or kept Bradford out there in the first place, mercifully switched to Case Keenum just before halftime. Bradford was finally cleared to resume playing in January following a clean-up surgery, but Minnesota understandably kept him benched after Keenum thrived while leading the team into the playoffs as the NFC’s No. 2 seed.