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Why Pat Elflein?


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I was curious on why Fit snatched Erving and Elflein in FA.  

I already did a post on how Erving had fewer penalties and sacks per snap than Okung last year with only 8 pressures in five games.   

So now it's Elflein's turn. 

With the Vikes, Elflein started at center in 2017-18. He switched to left guard in 2019 and moved again to right guard in 2020. Elflein played in the opener and was hurt in practice the following week.  He was  then waived and picked up by the Jets where he started 6 games at LG.

What if Pat Elflein Turns it Around This Season? | Zone Coverage

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Even in a down year (2019), Elflein ranked in the middle of the pack, 42nd out of 83 qualifying guards in overall PFF grade, and an impressive 18th in run blocking where his mobility is a natural fit for Gary Kubiak‘s beloved zone blocking system. Elflein’s pass-blocking grade, higher than just 10 other qualifying guards, was the anchor to his overall score.

But consider that 2019 was Elflein’s first as an NFL guard after two seasons at center. As the season progressed, improvement was apparent in his PFF grades, as four of his top five pass-protecting grades came in the Vikings’ final eight games (including playoffs). It wouldn’t be out of line to expect a continued uptick in his performance.

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He had a real bad 2018 at center as well with 7 penalties and 4 sacs on 863 snaps for 41.9 PFF.

 

For the Panthers in 2020, Denis Daley was going to start at LG until injury before the first game.  Schofield  then started at LG for the first 2 games.   Game 3, Chris Reed took over and did well for a backup. 

Elflein       had 1 penalty   and  2 sacks on 419 snaps with a pff of 48.0.  

Schofield had 3 penalties   and 4 sacks on 270 snaps with a pff of 50.3.
Reed        had 3 penalties    and 1 sack  on 892 snaps with a pff of 63.0.  
Daley       had  1 penalty      and 0 sacks on 135 snaps with a pff of 64.7.

His up and down pffs makes him look like a below average, inconsistent olineman who can also play center. If he can win the starting spot and repeat his 2019 season production, LG would be on par with last years performance. His drop-off last year could be related to his injury, switching teams mid season, and well, the jets.  

With plenty of competition at guard (Dennis Daley, David Moore, Deonte Brown) , Elflein will need to work hard at camp. 

 

Edited by SBBlue
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I didn't have a problem with signing Elfein. My issue was it was so fast and IMO, a little high based on his body of work. If we're looking for someone who can slide between C/G then it makes some sense instead of going with a guy that's strictly a guard. I figured he could have been had later in FA for less. 

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27 minutes ago, SBBlue said:

But consider that 2019 was Elflein’s first as an NFL guard after two seasons at center. As the season progressed, improvement was apparent in his PFF grades, as four of his top five pass-protecting grades came in the Vikings’ final eight games (including playoffs). It wouldn’t be out of line to expect a continued uptick in his performance

This is how you find bargains and fill out the roster alongside the big money guys to give yourself the best chance at building a complete/competitive team.

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24 minutes ago, SmokinwithWilly said:

I didn't have a problem with signing Elfein. My issue was it was so fast and IMO, a little high based on his body of work. If we're looking for someone who can slide between C/G then it makes some sense instead of going with a guy that's strictly a guard. I figured he could have been had later in FA for less. 

I hear you.  I'm a little surprised that we let Reed go, as he signed a less expensive 1 yr contract with the colts and was not bad  last year.  I actually understand the Erving move better than this one.

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5 minutes ago, LinvilleGorge said:

He was signed because our OGs suck. He's probably not great, but he's better than what we had. 

The sacks, penalties, and pff don't support the idea that Elflein is an upgrade though.  Reed looked better on paper.

Edited by SBBlue
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6 minutes ago, run-run-pass-punt said:

This is how you find bargains and fill out the roster alongside the big money guys to give yourself the best chance at building a complete/competitive team.

I guess we're hoping his experience with zone blocking, his  high run blocking grades, and improvement in  performance over the course of 2019 at LG could lead to better production than what we have had or he has ever done.

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3 minutes ago, SBBlue said:

The sacks, penalties, and pff don't support the idea that Elflein is an upgrade though.  Reed looked better on paper.

I don't put a whole lot of stock into PFF. With our OL signings, it looks like we targeted guys who were good at certain things and just weren't great all around. This could (hopefully) imply that we finally have a staff that will actually scheme around their talent instead of trying to force square pegs into their round hole system.

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6 minutes ago, LinvilleGorge said:

I don't put a whole lot of stock into PFF. With our OL signings, it looks like we targeted guys who were good at certain things and just weren't great all around. This could (hopefully) imply that we finally have a staff that will actually scheme around their talent instead of trying to force square pegs into their round hole system.

I agree that our focus was on fit and flexibility.  I agree with that pff is hit and miss, but the other stats weren't great either.  

I do agree that they appear to be trying to scheme around the talent.

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3 hours ago, SBBlue said:

I hear you.  I'm a little surprised that we let Reed go, as he signed a less expensive 1 yr contract with the colts and was not bad  last year.  I actually understand the Erving move better than this one.

I liked Reed in the 2 million range, he could play Center as well. Team wanted Elf and to my shock....a couple other NFL teams did too. Bidding war happened and Panthers wanted him more. I believe hes a better C and will replace paradis come 2022. 

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37 minutes ago, Basbear said:

I liked Reed in the 2 million range, he could play Center as well. Team wanted Elf and to my shock....a couple other NFL teams did too. Bidding war happened and Panthers wanted him more. I believe hes a better C and will replace paradis come 2022. 

Reed is playing on a 1 yr, 1.1M contract with 137K guaranteed at the Colts.

Looks like Elflein played well at center his rookie year.  Not so much year 2.

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I haven't been impressed with Elflein, but like Erving he provides position flexibility on the line. He's also dirt cheap this season at just over $1M. When it jumps to $7M next season, he can potentially line up center for the team. If he sucks, it'll be just around $4.5M in dead cap.

Really hoping to see Dennis Daley and Deonte Brown step up to at least provide stability at one of the interior positions on the OL.

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