Tom Brady, DeAndre Hopkins: NFL familiar faces in new places – hits or misses?

On the latest Inside the Huddle podcast – which you can listen to in the player below – Neil Reynolds, Rob Ryan and Jeff Reinebold pick out 10 players in new surroundings for the 2020 season and debate whether they will be hits or misses?

While there are major moves every NFL offseason, this one has been particularly notable with the breaking up of the New England Patriots dynasty after 20 years of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.

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On top of that, fan-favourite Rob Gronkowski came out of retirement, arguably the best receiver in football – DeAndre Hopkins – was traded, and we saw the Seattle Seahawks give up two first-round picks to acquire stud safety Jamal Adams from the New York Jets.

But which moves will be hits and which will be misses. Here’s what the Inside the Huddle panel had to say…

Tom Brady, Quarterback, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Reinebold: “I think he’s already a hit. You see the Tom Brady effect when you watch the number of players who have gravitated to Tampa Bay (Ndamukong Suh chooses to stay, Leonard Fournette comes in).”

Ryan: “He’s such a leader, and he makes you win. He prepares, he expects his team-mates to work just as hard as he does – and his coaches. That team will benefit greatly from having Brady there.”

Cam Newton, Quarterback, New England Patriots

Ryan: “Newton was one of the best players I ever coached against… But [the fact] he is 0-8 in his last eight games, I just can’t get that out of my head. He’s had no rushing touchdowns, more interceptions than TDs… I’m going to take a swing and miss on this.”

Reinebold: “New England takes advantage of what a player can do and they don’t try and get him to do what he can’t do. I think Josh McDaniels will have a package for him that will be things that he’s comfortable with and can do physically.”

Philip Rivers, Quarterback, Indianapolis Colts

Reinebold: “A great big healthy swing and miss by a mile! The Philip Rivers I saw last year was not a very good quarterback.”

Ryan: “He’s definitely a hit over Jacoby Brissett, but a miss compared to the Rivers we’ve grown accustomed to.”

DeAndre Hopkins, Wide Receiver, Arizona Cardinals

Reinebold: “I think he’s a big-time hit. He’s a home run.”

Ryan: “There’s no question it’s a hit!”

Stefon Diggs, Wide Receiver, Buffalo Bills

Reinebold: “I think he’ll be a success… Diggs is going to give Josh Allen an opportunity to stretch the field but the quarterback is going to have to help him. He’s going to at least have to get the ball in the same area code.”

Ryan: “I think this guy will be fantastic… He’s going to be a huge upgrade there.”

Rob Gronkowski, Tight End, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Ryan: “If he comes back and he’s three-quarters of the player he was, he’ll still be an All-Pro.”

Reinebold: “Bruce Arians will create packages to take advantage of [Gronkowski]… Hit.”

Todd Gurley, Running Back, Atlanta Falcons

Reinebold: “My heart wants it to be a hit… But my logical brain says we are talking about a degenerative knee condition, a guy that had to be managed extremely closely in Los Angeles… Frankly, when running backs go, they usually go really fast. I think this is a miss.”

Ryan: “He looked so bad last year, it’s hard to imagine that he could go that quickly but the injuries take their toll and I see him slowing down.”

Calais Campbell, Defensive End, Baltimore Ravens

Ryan: “He’s a huge hit – in the locker room, for Baltimore against the run, but also I like him as a pass-rusher.”

DeForest Buckner, Defensive Tackle, Indianapolis Colts

Reinebold: “I don’t think there’s any question he’s going to be a hit… He’s a great person to start with. Number two, he’s a great guy in your locker room, he’s a great worker. He brings all of that to Indianapolis – the toughness they want. And it is very difficult to rush the passer from inside… It’s a great signing by the Colts.”

Jamal Adams, Safety, Seattle Seahawks

Reinebold: “If [Seahawks defensive coordinator] Ken Norton will evolve with him, then I say it’s a hit. If not, if they’ve just got him playing in the middle of the field, then I don’t think they are taking advantage of the athlete and it’s a miss.”

Ryan: “This guy is a difference-maker… They got a great player and they are going to make him even better.”

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