Quinton Flowers NFL Draft profile

2018 NFL Draft profile: Quinton Flowers

It is hard to demonstrate in words just how great of a career Quinton Flowers had at South Florida. During his time with the Bulls, the quarterback set 37 school records, led the team to its only two double-digit win seasons in school history, became the fourth player in NCAA history to pass for 8,000 yards and rush for 3,500 yards in his career and cemented himself as the greatest athlete in school history. All Flowers did at South Florida was win.

Putting the program on the map was something Flowers had in mind when he joined South Florida his freshman season, which was no easy task. In 2013, the year before Flowers arrived on campus, the Bulls won just two games.

In his sophomore year, his first full season as the starting quarterback, the team went 8-5. The following season, they won 11 games, the most in school history, including the Birmingham Bowl over South Carolina. In his senior year, Flowers led the Bulls to 10 wins and another win in the Birmingham Bowl.

Quinton Flowers NFL Draft profile

Flowers has had some workouts with Michael Vick. (Photo from Quinton Flowers’ Instagram @iamflowers9)

Flowers’ stats from his junior season were incredible. He passed for 2,812 yards and 24 touchdowns while rushing for another 1,530 yards and 18 touchdowns. In his senior year, he passed for 2,911 yards and 25 touchdowns and rushed for 1,078 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was one of the most entertaining, if not the most entertaining, player to watch in college football these past two seasons.

Flowers said it means a lot knowing South Florida is in a better place now.

“It just shows that you don’t have to be like everybody else and go to all the big schools,” Flowers said. “It’s a great feeling knowing that the University of South Florida will get the opportunity to play big schools. People will not overlook USF now.”

Now that his time with the Bulls is all said and done, Flowers is now getting ready for the NFL. He has been working on everything he will be doing at the NFL Combine, including throwing and his 40-yard dash. He has also worked out with former NFL star Michael Vick.

There are analysts and scouts that believe Flowers won’t succeed in the NFL due to his smaller size. Some people believe he can succeed at the next level, but at a different position due to his athletic ability. Flowers is out to prove the doubters wrong.

“My main focus is just showing people that no matter how tall you are or how short you are, you can play quarterback,” he said. “And just get opportunity. That’s my biggest thing is just getting opportunities to just go out there and showcase my talent.”

Why should an NFL team take a chance on Flowers? He believes his resume speaks for itself.

“I bring a lot to the table,” Flowers said. “You look at my wins and losses, it shows that I’m a winner. I’m a guy that likes to win and I will do whatever it takes to win.”

Flowers understands that he has a lot to work on, including his accuracy, as he completed 57.7 percent of his passes with the Bulls.

“That’s what a lot of people say,” he said. “I just try to work on everything in the offseason. So I’m working on accuracy and ball location. I’m still working on everything that people always say you can’t do. I work on that every day, day in and day out.”

That kind of attitude is what helped Flowers change the culture of the Bulls. He is a hard worker and brings a winning attitude with him.

Flowers was able to show what he can do during practices for the East-West Shrine Game. Although he ended up not playing in the game due to a death in his family, he was able to talk to some teams that are interested in him playing quarterback.

Quinton Flowers Scouting Report

Quinton Flowers NFL Draft profile

Some of Flowers’ best traits are his leadership and athletic ability. (Photo by Aaron Doster, USA TODAY Sports)

Flowers stands 6-foot, 210 pounds, which is a bit undersized for the quarterback position, but durability won’t be an issue. At USF, he started every game over his last three years. He has toughness and knows how to avoid contact, whether it’s sliding or evading pressure in the pocket.

After the snap of the ball, Flowers does a good job of recognizing the coverage and planning accordingly. His awareness and feel for pass rushers and coverage give him an edge. He has solid accuracy on short throws. Flowers has decent arm strength as well. He will have to work on his accuracy down the field for the NFL level.

While he sometimes holds the ball too long, it is likely a result of the belief that he can make plays in almost any situation. When the pocket breaks down, he can throw or run, making him hard to defend against. If he does decide to scramble, he is fast and elusive. Flowers has a great one-step juke move that puts defenders on skates. His athleticism has proven to be so good that some believe he can change positions and be successful in the NFL.

Flowers has a high football IQ, is a good leader and is very fast and athletic. With all of these good traits, an NFL team will want to take a look at the tough quarterback from USF.

You can read more about Flowers and his career at USF here.

Full interview for Quinton Flowers:

*Josh Burris interviewed Flowers, while Joe DiTullio provided the scouting report.

Featured image by Photo by Jasen Vinlove / USA TODAY Sports

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Ranking all NBA GMs

With the most focus on transactions, GMs are in charge of bringing in talent for the coaches and owners, and are likely the biggest decision-makers within the entire organization. The GM’s build the team and having a keen eye for talent in the draft, making smart trades and signing free agents is all the focus for building a talented roster all while maneuvering with the salary and luxury cap.

Here is how the 30 GMs rank in the NBA:

  1. Sacramento Kings-Vlade Divac

    Divac, who formerly played for the Kings, has been one of the reasons they’ve had no success in recent memory. (Photo by NY Daily News)

The Kings have had turmoil in all aspects of their front office, and are one of the worst sports franchises in any of the big 3 leagues(MLB, NBA, NFL) and haven’t made the playoffs in 11 seasons. They’ve had one all-star player(Demarcus Cousins) in the past 15 seasons and they traded Cousins last season despite a “better offer on the table two days ago” according to Vlade Divac.

29. New York Knicks- Scott Perry

The Knicks are also one of the worst front offices in sports, however a majority of the blame falls on the owner James Dolan. The Knicks who should be a top-tier organization with it’s huge market and easy attraction for players, are a disaster of a franchise. The only smart move they’ve made was drafting Kristaps Porzingis and not trading him.

28. Orlando Magic- John Hammond

The Magic have struggled to remain relevant in the NBA world and haven’t made the playoffs since 2012. They’ve missed on a majority of draft picks with the only exceptions being Aaron Gordon and Victor Oladipo, who wasn’t that good until this year.

27. Chicago Bulls-Gar Forman

The Bulls gave up Jimmy Butler this past summer and gave up Nikola Mirotic before the deadline. They’re going to rebuild and have young players and draft picks to do that, but with the current state of their roster, they can’t be any higher than this.

26. Phoenix Suns-Ryan McDonough

The Suns, are in the middle of a rebuild that seems to continue to stall. With their only good player being Devin Booker, it’s unlikely to see them succeed anytime soon. The handling of the Eric Bledsoe “I don’t want to be here” tweet/fiasco made the front office and team look like a bad organization.

Doc Rivers draft picks in recent memory illustrate how the Clippers have no young talent. (Chart by Wikipedia)

25. Los Angeles Clippers-Michael Winger

Doc Rivers may be the most overrated coach in the NBA and he’s also a terrible GM. Rivers has since been relieved of duties and now Winger has taken over operations. After they traded away Chris Paul, Steve Ballmer decided to make Michael Winger the GM and have Rivers focus on coaching. They pleaded with Blake Griffin to stay over summer and signed him to a long-term deal, only to send him to Detroit a few months later. They’re heading for a rebuild and will hopefully deal Deandre Jordan and Lou Williams(The one bright spot on this roster) to a playoff team.

24. Atlanta Hawks-Travis Schlenk

Former Warriors assistant GM, Schlenk is stuck with a roster in turnover and in the beginning of a rebuild. The team is in good position to get a solid player in the stocked draft over the summer.

 23.Charlotte Hornets-Rich Cho

Without Kemba Walker, this team would be one of the worst teams in the league, and while rumors of Walker being dealt have calmed down, Cho has failed to bring in more talent, Walker can’t do it all by himself.

  1. Memphis Grizzlies-Chris Wallace

While this seasons struggles haven’t been Wallace’s fault, the blame is going to fall on someone and this season, it was Dave Fizdale. However, The Grizz are fading away from relevance in the competitive Western Conference and are likely going into a rebuild.

  1. Brooklyn Nets-Sean Marks

The Nets have been a lot better than what was expected, and Marks was handed a talentless roster and a team without the rights to their own draft picks. However, acquiring D’angelo Russell was a great move for the franchise that has only won 1 playoff series since 2007.

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers-Koby Altman

While people like to say that LeBron is the GM of the Cav’s, Altman has been the one running the operations. However, Altman has been very disappointing for his lack of ability to bring in talent. He was unable to acquire Jimmy Butler, Paul George or Chris Paul in a trade this summer. If Altman can’t bring in talent to help the roster, it’s likely LeBron leaves this summer. 

  1. Philadelphia76ers-Bryan Colangelo

    Colangelo has helped built a great young roster that will compete in the East for the extended future. (Photo by Philly.com)

The process is proven to be successful, with the young talent the Sixers have collected after years of tanking, they have demonstrated the amount of talent they have. If Colangelo can get solid available veteran like Tyreke Evans or Lou Williams before the deadline, the team may cause problems for some in the postseason.

  1. Washington Wizards-Ernie Grunfeld

The Wizards have been near the top of the East for quite a while, yet they’ve never been good enough to beat Lebron. With John Wall and Bradley Beal they’ve proven to be a top tier team in the East, but they still are one more player away from being a Finals contender. They could be one big trade away from the Finals.

  1. Dallas Mavericks-Donnie Nelson

Donnie Nelson has been a top tier GM for over ten years, however with the state of the Mavericks roster, it’s hard to include him within the top ten. Nelson has been able to keep Dirk around and made a great decision to draft Dennis Smith Jr. however, the team needs more talent if it wants to compete and it doesn’t look like this team will compete anytime soon.

  1. Los Angeles Lakers-Rob Pelinka

Former super-agent, Pelinka is rebuilding the Lakers and made great draft picks. Their young core of Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball are going to be great as they mature. If Pelinka and Magic Johnson can convince Lebron or another star free-agent to join the purple and gold, the Lakers could become very interesting.

  1. Indiana Pacers-Chad Buchanan

The Pacers have quietly put together a very nice year and are currently slotted in the 6th seed in the East. After Paul George demanded a trade, Buchanan didn’t rush into a deal and made a smart trade, where they may have gotten the better end of the deal with Victor Oladipo’s breakout season. The Pacers are a young and talented team that people forget about because they play in a smaller market.

  1. Portland Trail Blazers-Neil Olshey

Olshey has tried to boost the Blazers to the next level and into the top tier of the west, however the Blazers are still one more star away from being a true contender. The core of the team is exciting, and adding Deandre Jordan to the team could be exactly what the team needs. Olshey is also a local favorite, appearing in the hit TV show Portlandia, which coincides with his ambitions to be an actor.

  1. Utah Jazz-Dennis Lindsey

Lindsey couldn’t convince Gordon Hayward to stay with the Jazz, but drafting Donovan Mitchell has given new life to the organization. If Linsey can get another great player in the draft, they could add to a promising core with Mitchell and Golbert. Lindsey has shown he has a great eye for young overlooked talent.

  1. New Orleans Pelicans-Dell Demps

The pelicans have fleeced other teams in deals in the past year. They acquired Demarcus Cousins last year for role players and a first round pick and received Nikola Mirotic for a 1st round pick and bench reserves. Demps has shown the Pelicans are serious about competing in the West, but they need their stars to stay healthy.

  1. Detroit Pistons-Jeff Bower

The Pistons have made noise by trading away Tobias Harris and Avery Bradley for Blake Griffin. Getting an all-star level talent is impressive and the Pistons are going to fight for one of the last spots in the Eastern conference playoffs. The Pistons roster on paper, looks like a team that should contend in the playoffs for the years to come.

  1. Heat-Andy Elisburg

Elisburg with the help of the legendary Pat Riley, have made the Heat formidable with Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside and Dion Waiters. They’re currently looking strong to make the playoffs with key signee Kelly Olynyk and rookie Bam Adebayo.

  1. Nuggets- Arturas Karnisovas

The Nuggets are holding onto the 8th seed in the West with their young talented roster. Karnisovas has one of the deepest teams at his disposal even with Paul Millsap injured. While the Nuggets lack one true star, no player averages over 20 points per game, they’ve developed into a great young team build around Nikola Jokic.

  1. Timberwolves-Scott Layden

Layden has built a great roster with Wiggins, Butler and Anthony-Towns. However, this roster lacks depth which is very important. Their big 3 are all within the top 15 in the NBA for Minutes per game and they will be exhausted in the postseason. If they can make a trade for another role player or two, they could win a series or two in the West.

  1. Toronto Raptors-Bobby Webster

Webster has built a very solid competitor, and drafting O.G. Anunoby was one of the steals in the draft. If Webster can pull off a move, there’s a chance the Raptors are the team to beat the Cavaliers. However, LeBron has had their number in the playoffs every year and until the Raptors beat the Cavs in a playoff series, they won’t be considered a Finals contender.

  1. Milwaukee Bucks-Jon Horst

Building around Giannis and the young core of the roster has been Horst’s goal this season and acquiring underrated guard Eric Bledsoe and is potentially going to bring in Deandre Jordan. The Bucks have made solid draft picks in the past few years and are set up well to

Presti was able to convince Russell Westbrook to sign an extension and bring in talent around him. (Tusla World)

compete in the East for the upcoming years.

  1. Oklahoma City Thunder-Sam Presti

Presti deserves to be within the top 5 of GMs because of his ability to bring in talent. After Durant’s departure, he was able to get Westbrook to commit and become the face of the franchise. He traded for Paul George, and then Carmelo Anthony to make a very good big three for OKC. Presti also improved the bench that will help them go deep in the playoffs.

  1. Houston Rockets-Daryl Morey

Morey has taken the analytical approach of only shooting 3-pointers and layups. This explains why the roster is filled with lots of talented shooters built around the likely MVP James Harden and Chris Paul. Morey’s efficient approach has boosted the Rockets to be able to compete with the Warriors.

  1. Golden State Warriors-Bob Myers

Another former agent, Myers has transformed a young talented team into the best team in the generation. While convincing Kevin Durant to sign with the Warriors is incredible, finding valuable role players in the second round and manueving the salary cap has been Myers expertise. Myers is responsible for the stacked bench and the championship talent that is on the roster.

  1. San Antonio Spurs-R.C. Bufford

The extended success of the Spurs is only matched by the Patriots in all of sports. The Spurs have won 5 championships since 1999 and have made the playoffs every year since then. They hold the highest regular season win percentage and have young talent in Kawhi Leonard and Co to continue the Spurs winning tradition.

  1. Boston Celtics-Danny Ainge

Ainge is a master of trading, he stockpiled draft picks years ago for aged Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. With these picks, he has grabbed Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum who all have played well in the Celtics system. Ainge also shipped off Thomas for Kyrie Irving and are the strongest competitor in the East. He also recently convinced Greg Monroe to come off the bench for the Celts instead of going to start in New Orleans. Ainge deserves GM of the year.

Featured image by Celtics Hub.

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Sergio Phillips NFL Draft profile

2018 NFL Draft profile: Sergio Phillips

Sergio Phillips’ football career hasn’t always consisted of clogging holes on the defensive line. In fact, Phillips came into college on the offensive side of the ball.

Phillips was a three-star recruit by Scout.com, ESPN and 247Sports.com that played on the offensive line at DeSoto High School. As a senior, he had 94 pancake blocks and allowed zero sacks. That led him to an all-state first team selection. The guy could play.

Phillips decided to play college ball at San Diego State over other schools like Nevada, Memphis, New Mexico and New Mexico State. It was at SDSU that Phillips made the transition to defense. Phillips said he definitely enjoys playing on the defensive side more than offense.

“I’d rather go hit somebody than just sit there and let a linebacker come smack me,” Phillips said.

Phillips played in just seven games his freshman season, but made a lot of progress as he moved up from No. 4 on the depth chart to No. 2 at defensive tackle.

Sergio Phillips NFL Draft profile

Phillips is looking to improve his pass rushing skills for the NFL. (Photo from Sergio Phillips’ Instagram @sergiophillips)

Things changed up a bit in his sophomore season. He was moved back to offensive line for his first six games, but finished his final two games on the defensive line due to an injury on the defense. Phillips remained on the defensive line for the rest of his career.

In his junior season, he logged 42 tackles and three sacks. He finished out his senior season with 40 more.

Now Phillips is looking to take his talents to the NFL. In preparation, Phillips participated in the College Gridiron Showcase in Addison, Texas. The showcase gives NFL Draft prospects like Phillips the opportunity to be scouted and evaluated by NFL personnel. Phillips said it was a great opportunity to show NFL coaches he can play at the next level.

“It was a great atmosphere. I learned a lot from the defensive line coaches there,” Phillips said. “It was just a great experience for me.”

One of the biggest things Phillips learned at the showcase was rushing the passer. Phillips said San Diego State was more focussed on stopping the run, but the NFL is all about speed.

“The No. 1 thing I took home with me was the pass rush,” Phillips said. “At my school, we were more run stoppers. We didn’t really get into our pass rush. So I learned the speed rush is the most important thing NFL teams want to see.”

Phillips was able to talk to the Rams, Raiders, Jets and Packers at the showcase. They gave him some positive feedback and told him he might be moving to the outside in the NFL.

“They told me I might play defensive end because I lost 20 pounds,” Phillips said. “They told me just work on my pass rush and keep eating right so I’ll be healthy and have a good pro day.”

Phillips said he believes he is one of the most aggressive players on the field. If he can combine that with a perfected speed rush, look out.

Sergio Phillips Scouting Report

Phillips is a little bit undersized for an interior defensive lineman at 6-foot-2, 285 pounds, but being undersized doesn’t always mean as much as people think. One of the best players in the league is Aaron Donald, who stands 6-foot, 284 pounds. At the next level, Phillips will need to add more strength to be able to match up with NFL offensive linemen.

He is quick off the snap of the ball, which is a huge plus. After that, he uses his speed and quickness to squeeze in between blockers in an attempt to get to the ball carrier or quarterback. Phillips doesn’t get to the quarterback often, but some of that is by design, as he played in the middle of a three man front. His effort and ability to keep blockers on him enables the rest of the team to go get the ball carrier.

When he wasn’t in the game, the Aztecs’ defense saw a noticeable decline against the run. He is versatile, as he played nose tackle, can play defensive tackle in a 4-3 and even saw some time as an offensive lineman at San Diego State. His toughness also won’t come into question, as he played with his right hand in a cast against Wyoming in 2016.

At the end of the day, Phillips has a couple of competitive advantages that should help him draw the eye of NFL teams. He is quick off the snap, athletic with quickness, tough and versatile.

Full interview for Sergio Phillips:

*Josh Burris interviewed Phillips, while Joe DiTullio provided the scouting report.

Featured image from Sergio Phillips’ Instagram @sergiophillips

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Jarrod Cann 2018 NFL Draft profile

2018 NFL Draft Profile: Jarrod Cann

Jarrod Cann was an all-around great high school athlete, but he didn’t start playing football until his senior year. With such a small sample size of games and film to look at, how did he make it to an NCAA Division I FCS school like Central Connecticut State University? It has been quite the ride to say the least.

Coming out of high school, Cann did not have the grades to play at the Division I level just yet. Originally from Delaware, Cann went to Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia to get his grades up.

By the time he became eligible, he had missed the recruiting cycle. Cann had a few options. He could play at the Division II or III, but he couldn’t afford it and he did not want to pay with a big student loan.

Instead, he went the JUCO route and attended Nassau Community College in New York. It was at NCC that Cann switched to the safety position. Up to that point, he had played receiver. After playing really well at safety, Central Connecticut State University was willing to take a shot on Cann and offered him a scholarship.

Cann had a successful career at CCSU. In three seasons, Cann has totaled 169 tackles and five interceptions, four coming this past season.

Cann really became a leader at CCSU. It was an something his coach pushed him to do, especially his senior year.

Jarrod Cann 2018 NFL Draft profile

Cann brings a lot more than football to the table. (Photo by Steve McLaughlin Photography)

“It was a turning point for me,” Cann said. “I really got to talk with the guys, back and fourth. Try to lead more people from the position of where I was. I think that was the greatest thing I’m going to get out of that.”

Cann hopes the journey will continue to the NFL. In preparation for the draft, Cann is still getting up at 6 a.m. to practice with his team. He is also doing individual sessions with a trainer that helped prepare his cousin and Cleveland Browns safety, Briean Boddy-Calhoun, for the NFL.

Cann believes his leadership is one of his biggest attributes and is something an NFL team would appreciate about him.

“I’m definitely a leader,” Cann said. “If I come in, I would definitely lead in all aspects. Personality wise, physically on the field. I do it for my team. I do everything with a family perspective on things. I’m a big family guy.”

To Cann, football is more than just a game. He wants to help his teammates grow and be a positive influence in the locker room.

“I feel like overall, it is more than just a game,” Cann said. “I feel like I really connect with people. I feel like I can help change lives with that.”

As far as play on the field goes, one of the comments Cann has gotten from most of his coaches is that he plays hard and physical.

“I play with my heart out there,” he said. “I’ve worked hard to get that strength and the speed. I have all the physical tools to go out and make big plays out on the field.”

Cann brings a lot to the table. Whichever team picks him will be getting more than just a football player.

Jarrod Cann Scouting Report

Cann isn’t the tallest at 5-foot-11, but is well-built at 205 pounds. He has enough strength that not a lot of receivers will have an edge on him if they try to play physically. While he has good strength, his biggest asset is his speed.

His speed is at a track-level and really helps him on the football field. He has great range and can be seen zipping across the field to make plays after the ball leaves the quarterback’s hands. Even if he is out of position, which isn’t frequent, Cann will be able to make up for it with his blazing speed.

He can cover man to man well and when in zone coverage, does a good job reading the quarterback. Cann offers decent run support and is a sure tackler, who lays the occasional big hit on opponents.

While getting drafted isn’t 100% guaranteed, Cann’s speed should be able to get him in the door with an NFL team. He played well against Syracuse, which should help prove to teams he can play against higher levels of competition.

Full interview for Jarrod Cann:

*Josh Burris interviewed Johnson, while Joe DiTullio provided the scouting report.

Featured image by Steve McLaughlin Photography

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Marcus Johnson NFL Draft profile

2018 NFL Draft profile: Marcus Johnson

Marcus Johnson left his mark on Slippery Rock University’s football program. He leaves The Rock as one of the greatest receivers in program history.

It wasn’t always easy for Johnson though. After a successful high school career at University Prep in Pittsburgh, he went on to play at Thiel College, an NCAA Division III school in Pennsylvania. After a successful freshman season, Johnson transferred to Division II Slippery Rock University. The transition was a tough one for Johnson at first.

“Going into my sophomore year I was kind of going through a rough patch learning the program and everything,” Johnson said. “Once it got going, it really took off going up there.”

Boy did it take off. In his junior year, Johnson caught 54 passes for 898 yards and 13 touchdowns.

This past season was his best by far. As a senior, Johnson caught 72 passes for 1,214 yards and 14 touchdowns, which was first in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC).

He also set the single-season record for all-purpose yards with 1,993, showing he can also make an impact on special teams. Johnson added three more touchdowns, two kickoff returns and one punt return, to make his season total 17 in just 11 games.

Johnson leaves tied for first in program history in receiving touchdowns with 28. He also ranks fifth in receiving yards with 2,238 and sixth in receptions with 133. Johnson only played three seasons with The Rock and two as the primary target.

He is now hoping to make the same kind of impact on an NFL team.

This past week, Johnson got to show off his skills at the College Gridiron Showcase in Addison, Texas. The showcase features some of the top seniors of college football. The showcase provides exposure and the opportunity to be evaluated by professional scouts and executives.

Johnson believes his ability to go up and get the ball and work ethic are things the NFL scouts are going to like about him.

“I have great ball skills in the air,” he said. “Just the way I compete. Not a lot of guys have my work ethic. I feel like I really can make a difference in the league the way I go get the ball in the air.”

Johnson was one of two Division II All-Americans at a showcase filled with Division I talent. That alone shows shows how hard he works.

Johnson said he believes the biggest transition from switching from college to pros will be the speed of the game.

“Probably speed of the game. It’s a lot more fast. It’s a lot more learning. Learning the technique. Learning the defenses. Really looking forward to learning those things.”

What might we see Johnson doing after football? Johnson majored in Interdisciplinary Studies. He wants to help kids in his community who don’t have a father figure in their lives.

Marcus Johnson Scouting Report

Johnson has decent size for a wide receiver at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds. He can add strength to his frame to beat NFL-level corners off the line of scrimmage. Most corners he plays know the type of threat he is and therefore give him a little bit of a cushion, but that won’t happen in the NFL.

Marcus Johnson NFL Draft profile

Johnson’s speed and route-running make him a real deep threat. (Photo by Rebecca Dietrich)

He is a good route-runner, who does an excellent job at changing speeds to make his cuts and get open. Once the ball is in the air, he high points it and usually comes down with the catch. This is an ode to his great ball skills. When he gets the ball in his hands, Johnson is elusive and hard to get to.

Because of his good route-running and change of speeds, Johnson is a deep threat, but can also do some damage underneath. His ability to win 50-50 balls make him a redzone threat. Slippery Rock continually threw to him on fades, slants and out routes to get him open for a touchdown.

Not only is Johnson a great wide receiver, he also makes a lot of plays returning kicks and punts. His elusiveness with the ball in his hands comes into play here as well. He routinely has big gains in the return game and is a threat to score any time he touches the ball.

Johnson is a great candidate to be selected in the 2018 NFL Draft for a variety of reasons. He is a productive receiver with great ball skills. Running routes won’t be a problem for him either. Teams will want to see what he can do with the ball in his hands. To top everything off, he is an ace on special teams, which is a plus heading into the NFL Draft season.

Full interview for Marcus Johnson:

 

*Josh Burris interviewed Johnson, while Joe DiTullio provided the scouting report.

Featured image by Jon Holtz

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Jabre Lolley 2018 NFL Draft profile

2018 NFL Draft profile: Jabre Lolley

Jabre Lolley knows a thing or two about winning. The Shepherd Rams running back only lost two regular season games during his entire college career and played in the NCAA Division II playoffs in three of his four years.

One of those seasons included a run to the National Championship, but Lolley and the Rams came up short against North West Missouri State in that game. Still, 42 total wins in four years is an impressive accomplishment. Lolly said the road to the championship, something that had never been done before at Shepherd, is his greatest memory from playing with the Rams.

“First of all, it had never happened in school history,” Lolley said. “And just to be a sophomore, being able to help the team was big for me. Even though we didn’t win the National Championship game, it was still a great experience.”

Lolley played a big role in the Rams offense, rushing for 3,512 yards and 56 touchdowns during his time with the team. His senior season was his best yet as he rushed for 1,115 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Lolley said Shepherd was a great fit for him. In high school, Lolley played at St. Mark’s in Delaware and wanted to go to a college that was close to home. He didn’t have the grades to go to a Division I school, and Shepherd, located in West Virginia, reached out to him and his quarterback, Jeff Ziemba.

“I really chose Shepherd University because they showed interest in me and my quarterback,” Lolley said. “DI schools were out of the question as far as grades. And they showed a lot of interest so we just decided to go there together, and it ended up being the perfect fit for me.”

It has been a great ride at Shepherd, but now Lolley has his sights set on the NFL.

As he prepares for the NFL, Lolley is working to be in the best shape of his life. He is paying more attention to what he eats to shed off any extra weight off and working out at Titus Sports Academy in Newark, Delaware.

One reason Lolley believes he stands out from the rest is that he is more than just a runner. He is not just an every-down back, but can do a little bit of everything.

“I think a team should choose me based on my determination when I get the ball. Rarely does a guy ever bring me down by himself,” Lolley said. “Possibility to catch the ball and run aggressively, I think will make me stand apart from everybody else. I can block really good. I can run the ball pretty good. And I think they will be impressed by the way I can catch the ball in the air.”

He was definitely a threat as a pass-catcher at Shepherd. In his career, Lolley caught 57 passes out of the backfield, including six touchdowns. Lolley really did it all with the Rams.

Jabre Lolley Scouting Report

Lolley has great size at 6-foot, 220 pounds. While he isn’t the fastest running back out there, he uses his muscular frame to his advantage with some powerful runs. Adding more strength won’t be an issue for Lolley, who has shown some impressive, tough running.

Jabre Lolley 2018 NFL Draft profile

Lolley can do it all in the backfield. (Photo by David Pennock)

Once he is handed the ball, he is patient enough to let his blockers open up some holes. His vision leads him to wide open areas of field to run. He can’t be arm tackled and looks to punish defenders by running them over or hitting them with a strong stiff arm. Lolley also has some decent cuts and spin moves to make defenders miss. When he gets to the open field he turns on the jets and gets up to a great speed for his size.

To go along with his power running, Lolley also has a knack for catching passes out of the backfield. He can beat man coverage and then catches pretty well. On plays where he is not thrown to, Lolley protects the quarterback well with good pass blocking. His ability to catch and block will enable him to stay on the field for third downs.

If teams need a power back, who can do more than just run with power, Lolley will be a name to look for.

For full interview with Lolley:

*Josh Burris interviewed Johnson, while Joe DiTullio provided the scouting report.

Featured image by Rick Kozlowski

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

Winston’s Lab gets a buff as MLB pitcher re-launches analytical Overwatch site

Minnesota Twins’ pitcher Trevor May is part of a company that has redesigned the website winstonslab.com, to offer the most in depth team rankings in the world. May’s company, Esports Lab, has just recently been formed to provide not just the analytical side to Overwatch’s coverage, but also intends to increase its stake in the content sphere with interviews and articles.

The goal of the team rankings on the Winston’s Lab is to take subjective opinions out of the equation of which team is the best, and break it down into it’s objective parts. They have created an algorithm to rate the teams against each other, hoping to get a clearer picture of who is the best of the best. Their algorithm includes: Matches played in the last 120 days, win percentage, strength of schedule, regional strength of schedule, win adjustment for LAN vs. online matches, margin of victory, margin of loss and a common opponents factor.

After the teams are run through the algorithm, they are given a star rating. The higher number of stars a team has, the better they are, with the rating scale stopping at five stars.

Courtesy of Liquidpedia.

Unsurprisingly to many fans of the scene, South Korea’s Ex-Lunatic Hai (currently Team Seoul) claim the top spot, with RunAway, Miraculous Youngsters, Cloud9 KongDoo, Team EnVyUs and Afreeca Freecs Blue following in their wake.

The site also includes other features such as: an upcoming and completed match section, a calendar, box scores, video highlights integrated with the box scores, interviews, expert analysis, opinions and much more.

If you are interested in Overwatch the site offers a great place to get your news updates and see who is the best of the best.

 

Trend of Sports and Esports working hand in hand

 

May has become one of many from the sports world to get involved in the business of esports. The list includes Rick Fox, Shaquille O’Neal, Schalke 04, Paris Saint-Germain, the MLBAM and many more. While some people involved in sports still think of esports and their athletes as second-class, or worse, there remains the positive trend of an increase for traditional sports to ‘take seriously’ esports.

While many traditional sports figures have entered the scene in varying degrees, May’s entrance into Overwatch specifically, and the analytical side, is interesting. With the Overwatch League fast approaching, and many of those teams owned by traditional sports people, Overwatch’s relationship with the traditional sports world is continually intertwining. While other esports, albeit having started years before Overwatch, are slowly being entered by the sports world, Overwatch’s scene is almost from the get go heavily stepped by such figures.

The sudden increase of interest in esports may not all be because of their respect for esports though. Some of the people from sports who are getting involved in the esports world are seeing the economic value of doing so. The market for esports is growing and could explode even more in coming years, which helps validate its status in our society. With that and notable athletes from traditional sports getting involved like May, esports are starting to get the respect and recognition they deserve.

 

About Trevor May

Minnesota Twins baseball pitcher Trevor May. Courtesy of MLB.com

Although May is still finding his way as a pitcher, he has pitched in 102 games over three seasons with the Twins. The 27 year old is sitting out this season after tearing his UCL and having Tommy John surgery. His best season as a pro came in 2015, when he had a record of 8-9 and an era of 4.00.

He has experience in both the bullpen and as a starter and was in contention to make the starting rotation for Minnesota, before his injury. His injury likely occurred while pitching in an exhibition game against Team USA, who was preparing for the World Baseball Classic. The Twins are hoping to have him back sooner than the 12 to 18 months usually required to recover from a UCL tear.

Once he recovers from his injury, hopefully his athletic career and business interests in esports can thrive simultaneously. With more athletes like May getting involved with esports, it is showing that both sports and esports can be respected and economically viable.

 

 

 

 

 

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

Why Duke is the Best College Basketball Program

To no surprise, the Duke Blue Devils’ head into the 2017-18 season as one of the top ranked teams. You would think losing four players, three in the first round, to this year’s NBA draft would have hurt them. Instead, the Blue Devils brought in three of the top seven players among the Top 100 prospect list, as well as kept Grayson Allen for his senior year.

Barring injury, it looks like another National Championship banner could be headed to Durham. With all of Duke’s recent success, it got us thinking… do the Blue Devils have the best program in the NCAA?

Just going by the numbers, it is clear that no team in the modern era is even close to accomplishing what Duke has done, on and off the court.

To start off, let’s take a look at the five-time champions basketball résumé.

COACH KRZYZEWSKI & DUKE’S WINNING TRADITIONS

Before everyone freaks out about Duke being named a better program than UCLA, who won 10 titles from 1964 to 1975, let’s take a look back at the rules and regulations of that era. In nine of their 10 titles, UCLA only had to win four games during the NCAA Tournament. One thing that should also be noted, freshman weren’t even allowed to play varsity basketball until the 1972-73 season. In this past NBA draft, nine of the first ten selections were freshman. Imagine playing in a time in which some of the best players could not even step on the court? Players could not dunk the ball from 1968-1976. Not to mention the three-point shot wasn’t even introduced until 1986.

Let me say that one more time.

The three-point shot was not apart of the NCAA until 1986, thus proving that the game was much different, and not comparable to the one we see today.

Now that it’s clear the game really became official in 1986, let’s see how Duke compares to other major programs.

 

SCHOOL # OF CHAMPIONSHIPS SINCE 1986
DUKE 5
UNC 4
UCONN 4
KENTUCKY 3
SCHOOL # OF NCAA TOURNAMENT WINS SINCE 1986
DUKE 90
UNC 85
KANSAS 79
KENTUCKY 76
CONNECTICUT 55
ARIZONA 54
MICHIGAN STATE 54

ADDITIONAL FACTS

  • Duke has had 11 National Player of the Years
  • Duke has made the National Championship 11 total times
  • Duke has made 16 Final Fours
  • Duke has made 20 Elite Eights
  • Duke has made 29 Sweet Sixteens
  • Duke has had 71 McDonalds All-Americans (Most in NCAA)
  • Duke has the Most Consecutive APR Awards (Most in NCAA)

Next Level

  • Duke has had 23 Lottery Picks (MOST in NCAA)
  • Duke has had 32 First Round Picks (MOST in NCAA)
  • Duke has had 10 Top Three Picks since 1992 (MOST in NCAA)
  • Duke has had Multiple 1st Round Picks in five out of the last seven years

So how does one school stay on top, year after year? The answer: Krzyzewski.

The winningest coach in NCAA men’s basketball history, Mike Krzyzewski is clearly the most important piece to this storied university. His ability to lead, coach, and teach his players has made Duke a hot destination for upcoming freshman, year after year.

PAST FRESHMAN CLASSES

YEAR PLAYER(S) in Top 30 of ESPN Top 100
2017 Wendell Carter (#4), Trevon Duval (#5), Gary Trent Jr (#7)
2016 Harry Giles (#1), Jayson Tatum (#3), Frank Jackson (#10), Marques Bolden (#16)
2015 Brandon Ingram (#3), Chase Jeter (#11), Derryck Thornton (#17), Luke Kennard (#24)
2014 Jahlil Okafor (#1), Tyus Jones (#4), Justise Winslow (#15), Grayson Allen (#21)

What makes coach K so special? He tries not to focus too much on the x’s and o’s. Krzyzewski builds relationships with all of his players. He constantly asks them about their goals, both on the floor and off. Coach K focuses on the “we” concept, which is vital in creating a championship team. When recruiting, he doesn’t just look at talent. In an interview with Entrepreneur.com, coach explained how “academic ability and character” are two major evaluation areas for all incoming recruits.

Photo Courtesy of (nytimes.com)

When a relationship is established, it is very easy to gain trust. “Without trust, you have nothing” says Krzyzewski in an interview with Championship Coaches Network. His .755 winning percentage in March can be credited to the type of environment he creates for his team. In that same interview, when asked about culture and how he deals with players failing, Coach K exclaims how it is essential to “create an environment where people can make mistakes without worrying about it too much.” He would go on to say that, in order to successfully lead a program, one must “empower your assistants and the leadership on your team (like the captains) to speak and express themselves.” Coach K trusts his players and gives them confidence, which creates his winning culture.

Another significant advantage is the fact that Krzyzewski has been the head coach of the USA men’s basketball team since 2005. In that span, he has gone on to win Olympic Gold medals in each of the past three Olympics (2008, 2012, 2016). As a high school kid, whose dream is reaching the NBA, there is no better coach to play under than the guy who has spent countless summers with the best players in the world. Not only does Coach K offer great leadership and mentoring to the pros, but he is also able to pick up on how they train, and what they do to be successful. This information is then transferred over to his boys, which is a clear advantage for the talented young men.

Off the court, Krzyzewski remains nothing short of spectacular. Each semester, he keeps copies of everyone’s syllabi, and is alerted each week on how the team is doing. He constantly checks in with his players and asks them about upcoming papers and tests, making sure they feel just as confident in the classroom, as they do on the court.

This type of leadership has done wonders for the boys in the classroom. For instance, it is nearly impossible to find a year in which multiple Duke basketball players did not make the All-ACC Academic Team. In order to qualify for this team,  “a student-athlete must have earned a 3.00 grade point average for the previous semester and maintained a 3.00 cumulative average during his academic career” (theacc.com).

In the Classroom

As we know, academics is a huge part of the university itself. Duke University holds a 9% acceptance rate, one of the top 10 schools with the lowest acceptance rates.

What does that mean?

It means that one of Coach K’s roles is to ensure that his players can obtain the education at the university with no problems. By the looks of it, he has established great success regarding his players and their transcripts.

The last two years, the Blue Devils basketball team has posted a total of seven NCAA Academic ACC All Americans: Grayson Allen (2), Chase Jeter, Justise Winslow, Tyus Jones, Amile Jefferson (2) and Marshall Plumlee. The highest amount among any ACC team. Not to mention that Grayson 

Duke Basketball Grads IG: (@dukembb)

Allen was named an NCAA Academic All American. 2016 marked Duke’s 22nd consecutive year with at-least one player on the ACC all-academic team. To add, Duke holds a historical list of 91 total players on the ACC All Academic team. UNC stands in second place with only 57 players. 

With that being said, Duke produces talent on the basketball court, and definitely in the classroom.  Unfortunately, there are a plethora of other NCAA men’s basketball programs in which players are openly admitting to their tutors writing their papers, as well as constantly skipping out on classes. For example, in an interview with ESPN, Rashad McCants from UNC’s 2004-05 National Title team, he publicly announced his academic secrets by saying “he rarely went to class…and took bogus classes designed to keep athletes academically eligible” showing that his time was centrally focused on basketball. Or how about when Derrick Rose never took the SAT, instead having a friend take the test under Rose’s name. Rose went on to play at the University of Memphis, where John Calipari was coaching at the time. Now coaching at Kentucky, who knows what Calipari is allowing in his classrooms.

Let’s close the books and head back to the court. Cameron Indoor Stadium, home of the Duke Blue Devils, and the biggest homecourt advantage in all of college hoops. What gives Duke such an advantage? The Cameron Crazies. 

“The Cameron Crazies”

Cameron Indoor Stadium: the wildest stadium among any NCAA basketball stadiums, and home to “The Cameron Crazies”. It’s safe to say, the Cameron Crazies affect each and every home-game. Their ability to remain standing the entire game with the same antics play-by-play gives Duke the full advantage.

“The rowdiest…best-organized college basketball fans in the land” Says ESPN.

Photo Courtesy of (syracuse.com)

A major leap from other college basketball programs is Krzyzewskiville, also known as “K-Ville”. For those unaware of this, “K-Ville” is one of the homes to the Cameron Crazies besides the stadium itself. It stands as a spot designated for the “Crazies” to camp out before games. Yes, camp out. They set up tents, move their dorm furniture in, and live there until game-time. Something unlike any college basketball fan-base. The “K-Ville” is the rowdiest during the UNC rival game. Students camp out for days, waiting for the tip-off of the biggest college rivalry matchup.

During the last eight seasons, the Duke basketball team has lost only eight total games at home. Can you guess how many they have won?

125 games.

Yes, this team holds a 125-8 record at home, during the last eight seasons. Four of the last eight seasons, the Blue Devils recorded undefeated home records.

Its obvious that this team exceeds at their home stadium. I mean, who wouldn’t with a fan-base like the “Cameron Crazies”? They have been known for their antics to rattle the opposite-team. In the past, they have thrown Twinkies at players who were considered overweight. They have also said “you’ll work for us one-day”, exhibiting the academic levels at Duke compared to other schools.

Senior Grayson Allen calls them “The Best Fans in the World”. 

It’s no surprise that Duke will have yet another successful season. The history shows what this program is capable of doing.

This piece was a collaboration by Shane Leary and Jeremy Bhandari. You can Like The Game Haus on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter for more esports and sports coverage.

NFL top 100 players 2017: 10-1

The NFL season is right around the corner and all the lists of top players of the NFL are out. There is only one problem with these lists: they look back on the 2016 season too much. This list will look forward to the 2017 season and predict who will be the top 100 players for the 2017 season. The Game Haus staff compiled their lists together to rank who they think will be the top 100 players this upcoming season.

This is the final installment, containing players 10-1.

10. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants

NFL Top 100

Odell Beckham Jr. (Photo by nj.com)

Beckham Jr. gets a lot of press for his antics, but he produces at a Hall of Fame level so far in his career. His 2016 season was no different as he recorded 101 receptions for 1,367 yards and 10 touchdowns.

The Giants have other offensive weapons that should take off pressure from Beckham Jr. Evan Engram and Brandon Marshall were brought in this offseason and Sterling Sheppard had a solid season in 2016. With so many targets, Beckham will likely face a little bit less attention than in previous years.

He wants to be the most paid player in the NFL and with a good season in 2017, he can be the top paid wide receiver in the league at the least.

Comments: “Some love him, the rest hate him but what you can’t deny is that he is a stud on the field. He is also one of the most exciting players to watch. Ranked at 10 seems perfect for Odell and I can’t wait to see what he does this season as he has started to put together a career that could one day head to Canton.” -Matthew Hagan

9. David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals

NFL Top 100

David Johnson (Photo by latimes.com)

He was little known of Norhtern Iowa and the Cardinals didn’t even want to draft him as they preferred other running backs. That hasn’t stopped Johnson from becoming one of the premier running backs and players in the NFL. In 2016 he rushed 1,239 yards had 879 receiving yards and finished with 20 total touchdowns.

Johnson can do it all and is entering his second full season as the top back in Arizona. The rest of the offense wasn’t particularly productive, but Johnson made the most of an average offensive line and a struggling quarterback. This season Johnson will continue his progression and have an impact on the game in a variety of ways.

Fantasy football shouldn’t be used to judge real football most of the time, but there is a reason he is going in the top three of most drafts.

Comments: “He is a complete back and has thrived behind a line that isn’t great. If he doesn’t pick up his yards on the ground he will get the ball thrown to him. He has a chance to have another good season as the focal point of the Cardinal offense.”-Joe DiTullio

8. Aaron Donald, DT, Los Angeles Rams

NFL Top 100

Aaron Donald (Photo by masslive.com)

Donald is by far the best interior lineman in the NFL and has been the best player on a lackluster Rams’ team for years now. This is all despite being in the NFL for only three years. Last season he finished with 47 tackles, five passes defended and eight sacks.

His best asset is his quickness off of the snap. He continually is the first one to make his jump at the snap of the ball and that is not something that will diminish in 2017. One thing to be weary of is that Donald will play more defensive end this season in the Rams’ new 3-4 defense. With Donald’s skill he should be able to make the adjustment and continue to be one of the top ten players in the league.

The 2017 season may not be too kind to the Rams, but Donald will continue to perform.

Comments: “Aaron Donald is unblockable just put on the tape. He hasn’t gotten the love because the Rams have been horrible. Donald is a top 3-5 player and once the Rams become relevant, people will soon realize that ranking him eighth is just not good enough.” -Matthew Hagan

7. Ezekiel Elliot, RB, Dallas Cowboys

NFL Top 100

Ezekiel Elliot (Photo by wfaa.com)

Elliot does benefit from a great offensive line, but he had a great season for a rookie in 2016. He rushed for 1,631 yards and had 16 total touchdowns. Those stats are especially impressive when taking into account that he only played 15 games because Dallas rested their starters for their season finale to stay healthy for the playoffs.

The thing that will hold Elliot back is his off the field issues. This list was compiled before rumors had started about a possible suspension. If he is on the field Elliot is going to be one of the most productive backs in the league. He has a great offensive line and enough natural talent that he will be shine. Even if he has a sophomore slump and does a little worse than 2016, he is still going to have an excellent season.

If Elliot is suspended it may hinder his rating on this list, but he will still be a great player for the games that he does play in.

Comments: “Elliot does benefit from a great offensive line, but most great running backs do. His vision and athletic ability make him elusive. Going into year two, he will have another big season if he can stay on the field.”-Joe DiTullio

6. Von Miller, LB, Denver Broncos

NFL Top 100

Von Miller (Photo by usatoday,com)

His ability to sack the quarterback is what makes Miller such a great player. 2016 was no different for Miller, as he finished the season with 13.5 sacks, 78 tackles, three passes defended and three forced fumbles.

If Miller plays at least 15 games in a season, the end product is 11 or more sacks. He constantly harasses quarterbacks and will do so again in 2017. The Bronco defense will be strong again in 2017, with the strengths being the secondary and the pass rush. The secondary will be helped by the pass rush getting after the quarterback, forcing him to make bad decisions. Miller and the pass rush will be aided and gifted with a few coverage sacks this season.

Miller will make his sixth Pro Bowl and be the best player on one of the best defenses in the NFL in 2017.

Comments: “Miller and Mack could easily be flip flopped. Miller is surrounded by better talent on defense, which elevates him. Despite that Miller would rack up double digit sacks for any team in the NFL”- Dylan Streibig

5. Khalil Mack, LB, Oakland Raiders

NFL Top 100

Khalil Mack (Photo by raiders.com)

Mack, like Miller, is this high on the list because of his ability to get after the quarterback. His ability to do so has landed him on two straight All-Pro first teams. Last season he recorded 11 sacks, 73 tackles, five forced fumbles, three fumbles recovered, three passes defended, one interception and one touchdown.

He is entering his fourth season in the NFL and big things are expected of him, especially after he had 15 sacks in 2015. Mack doesn’t have the luxury of a good secondary, so he needs to get to the quarterback quickly for most sacks. The defense will likely not be too improved in 2017, which means Mack will need to continue to produce at an elite level.

He is entering his prime, so there is no reason not to expect Mack to have a great season in 2017.

Comments: “Khalil Mack is the best player in the NFL. That’s right, I said it. Mack is the only player in NFL history to be named an all-pro at two positions and that is enough proof for me. When you can split the time between two positions and be that great at both you are the elite of the elite. Mack is going to have a huge year. I expect close to 20 sacks this season.” -Matthew Hagan

4. Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

NFL Top 100

Antonio Brown (Photo by sbnation.com)

Like a lot of players in this top ten, Brown came from humble beginnings in the NFL and had to work his tail off to get this far in his career. He was a sixth round pick in the NFL Draft and has made the Steelers happy to have drafted him. In 2016 he had 1,284 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns.

The yards were down last season, but the touchdowns were up, which still made him very productive. Ben Roethlisberger’s decision to play this season after contemplating retirement, will help Brown greatly. A good offensive line and Le’Veon Bell will help keep the offense balanced. Martavis Bryant is coming off of suspension and should draw some attention away from Brown. Brown’s touchdowns may go down as a result, but he should have more yards.

Brown’s work ethic is great so unless quarterback play drops off completely, expect him to be a top receiver in the NFL.

Comments: ” Four straight seasons with 100+ catches says it all. Opponents know the ball is going to Brown and still can’t stop him”- Dylan Streibig 

3. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons

NFL Top 100

Julio Jones (Photo by atlantafalcons.com)

Jones is the ultimate matchup problem in the NFL and is the reason why the Falcons’ offense is so dynamic. He makes Matt Ryan a better quarterback. Last season he not only helped the Falcons get to the Super Bowl, but had 1,409 receiving yards and six touchdowns.

The 2017 season should be another great one for Jones. Ryan is back at quarterback coming off of his best season yet. The offensive line is also good and two good running backs are running behind it. Mohammed Sanu and Austin Hooper provide decent targets to take the pressure off of Jones. Even if all these things weren’t in place for Jones, he would still be a great player in the NFL.

With Jones on an offense, a defense has to make him the main focal point of their game plan because he is so talented and productive.

Comments: “Jones is the ultimate mismatch. He could be higher on his list and it wouldn’t be too surprising. He makes the Falcons’ offense so good. He makes Matt Ryan a better quarterback. If you are picking players in a schoolyard draft, Jones is going to be one of the top picks no question.”-Joe DiTullio

2. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

NFL Top 100

Aaron Rodgers (Photo by nytimes.com)

For some reason Rodgers has gotten a lot of criticism over the last few years, but he is still an elite quarterback. In 2016 he threw for 4,428 yards and a league best 40 touchdowns. Rodgers is very reliable, while still putting up big numbers with an interception percentage of just 1.1% last season.

Rodgers has had to undergo a lot of changes with his offensive personnel the last few years. Ty Montgomery has had to switch from wide receiver to running back which has gone decently well. Offensive lineman have come and gone, but the unit is still good. Jordy Nelson has dealt with injuries, but is back to form, while Randall Cobb has regressed. Davante Adams stepped up last season, which is encouraging. The Packers also signed Martellus Bennet to give Rodgers a very good tight end target. He has done a lot more with a lot less in past years and will put up good numbers in 2017.

Rodgers ranks second on this list, but with another good season and a possible retirement/regression from the person at the top spot, he can claim the best player in the league title.

Comments: “Rodgers would make an uninterested person, interested in football. He is that good. He buys time with his legs and has the accuracy down the field to make unbelievable throws. He only has one Super Bowl, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he got a couple more before retiring.”- Joe DiTullio

1. Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots

NFL Top 100

Tom Brady (Photo by wbur.com)

Brady is 40 years old, but still is at the top of his game and the top of this list. He has showed no signs yet of taking a step backwards. His 2016 season was shortened by the “Deflategate” suspension, but he still had a great season. In the truncated season he threw for 3,554 yards and just two interceptions on his way to leading New England to its fifth Super Bowl Championship.

Protecting the football is also one of Brady’s strengths as he only threw two in the 2016 regular season. This season, the offense got better. They added Brandin Cooks to their receiving corps, to go with Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and Chris Hogan. Rob Gronkowski also figures to come back and be dynamic if he can stay healthy. The offensive line has played well only allowed Brady to be sacked 15 times in 2016.

With no signs of regression and more talent on the team, Brady holds on to the number one spot on this list.

Comments: “I have a problem with Brady at one. Yes, he has accomplished amazing things and has been the best quarterback of all-time, but this list is suppose to be predicting the upcoming season. At his age, Brady will not be the best player in the NFL in 2017.” -Matthew Hagan

NFL Top 100 Players 2017: 20-11

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

 

NFL top 100 players 2017: 20-11

The NFL season is right around the corner and all the lists of top players of the NFL are out. There is only one problem with these lists: they look back on the 2016 season too much. This list will look forward to the 2017 season and predict who will be the top 100 players for the 2017 season. The Game Haus staff compiled their lists together to rank who they think will be the top 100 players this upcoming season.

This is the ninth installment, containing players 20-11.

20. Eric Berry, S, Kansas City Chiefs

NFL Top 100

Eric Berry (Photo by youtube.com)

Berry is a winner in every sense of the word and his ability to come back after beating cancer and still being one of the best safeties in the NFL, is incredible. In 2016 Berry totaled 77 tackles, nine passes defended, four interceptions, a forced fumble and two touchdowns.

With other players on the Chiefs’ defense getting hurt the last few years, Berry has been the best player on the defense. This season, Kansas City should have a good defense once again with a lot of their players healthy. They employ the bend don’t break mentality, so they give up a lot of yards (5,896), but not a lot of points (19.4). With Berry coming off one of his best seasons as a pro and a good defense returning, he will prove once again how good of a safety he is .

The Chiefs are fighting to make it to an AFC Championship Game or Super Bowl and if they get there, Berry will be a major reason why.

Comments: “This man can do it all. Beating cancer and beating down his opponents. This Chiefs defense has been great and will continue to be great while he is roaming the field.”- Robert Hanes

19. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints

NFL Top 100

Drew Brees (Photo by denverpost.com)

There are a lot of quarterbacks on this list, but they may not be as important to their teams as Brees is to the Saints. He was 37 in 2016 when he threw for 5,208 yards, 37 touchdowns and 15 interceptions on 70% completion and will be 38 going into this season.

People have predicted that Brees would fall off for years now, but he keeps producing. He had his fifth 5,000 yard passing season last year and also recorded his second highest passing yards per game in his career. The Saints do lose Brandin Cooks, who they traded to the Patriots, but Brees still has Michael Thomas, who shows some real potential. Brees has done a lot more with a lot less.

Brees might start slowing down a little bit, but even if he does, his stats will still blow other quarterbacks out of the water.

Comments: “There is nothing bad I can say about Dree Brees other than he is aging. The fact of the matter is he is still producing. He should be higher on this list just because I think he is a better quarterback than Matt Ryan. He will have another season in which he passes for 5,000 yards and become closer to being the all-time passing leader. -Matthew Hagan

18. A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

NFL Top 100

A.J. Green (Photo by cbssports.com)

Because of injury, Green had his first season of under 1,000 receiving yards in 2016. He only played ten games and still amassed 964 receiving yards and four touchdowns. Had he played a full 16 games and kept up his average receiving yards per game, he would have finished with a whopping 1,542 receiving yards.

The Bengals had a down year and only had Green on their offense as a dynamic playmaker. For the 2017 season, they have added John Ross and Joe Mixon to bring some life to the offense. Tyler Boyd had an impressive rookie year and will try to build on that in his second season. If Andy Dalton has time behind a shaky at best offensive line, he will find Green, much like he has since their rookie seasons in 2011.With a speedster in Ross on the other side of the field, Boyd in the slot and Tyler Eifert in the middle, Green should see more single coverage than last season with Brandon LaFell as the second leading receiver on the team.

Green has some offensive reinforcements this year, which should really open up the offense and allow him to have a great year.

Comments: “When healthy Green is a lock to put up great numbers, even though he sees double coverage most of the time” – Dylan Streibig

17. Joe Thomas, OT, Cleveland Browns

NFL Top 100

Joe Thomas (Photo by sportingsorta.com)

It is unfortunate that Thomas has played on the Browns his whole career and hasn’t had an opportunity to win anything. He is one of the most consistent players in the NFL. In his first ten years in the league, he has never missed the Pro Bowl and has six All-Pro team appearances.

The Browns won’t be expected to win the division this year, but they should be much improved. Thomas will continue blocking for Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson and hope that the passing attack that ranked 28th in the league improves. The starting quarterback may change, but they will have Kenny Britt, Corey Coleman and David Njoku as their main targets.

Thomas will continue to do his job at an elite level, but it once again will not result in a good win total for the Browns.

Comments: “This man is extremely loyal and I hope that Browns fans truly appreciate that. He has been a top 3 LT for years and has done it with bad everything else around him. Cleveland finally has good o-line pieces around him which could put them as a top offensive line for the first time in Thomas’ storied career”- Robert Hanes

16. Patrick Peterson, CB, Arizona Cardinals

NFL Top 100

Patrick Peterson (Photo by patrickpeterson21.com)

Peterson made the Pro Bowl in his rookie season of 2011 and hasn’t looked back. He has six straight Pro Bowls and has made the All-Pro team three times. Last season he recorded 50 total tackles, six passes defended, three interceptions and a fumble recovery.

The Cardinals defense gave up the fourth least passing yards per game in 2016 and Peterson was a big reason why. They will be without Tony Jefferson, who signed with the Ravens, so a lot will fall on the shoulders of Peterson and Tyran Mathieu. Peterson will be required to shut down opponents’ best receivers and will do a great job once again.

At age 28 Peterson will be in his prime and ready to roll for the 2017 season.

Comments: “Peterson is consistently one of the best corners in the NFL. He shuts down opponents’ best receivers and is a ball hawk when the ball is thrown his way. This season Peterson will once again prove to be a premier talent at corner.”-Joe DiTullio 

15. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

NFL Top 100

Le’Veon Bell (Photo by espn.com)

The only problem with Bell is his ability to stay on the field, as he has only played 18 games in the last two seasons. Part of the reason he misses games is injury, the other being a suspension. In his 12 games, last season Bell had 105.7 rushing yards per game and nine total touchdowns.

Pittsburgh’s offense is going to be a juggernaut once again with the talent they have returning. Ben Roethlisberger will be back after contemplating retirement. He will have Antonio Brown, who will be ranked in one of the next 14 spots, and a few other good targets to throw to, helping keep the offense balanced. The offensive line has been solid the past few years and will open up holes for Bell.

Adversaries can’t stack the box against Bell because of how talented the rest of the offense is, meaning that he has a chance to put up a lot of big numbers in 2017.

Comments: “It is comical that Bell is ranked this low. Bell is clearly the best running back in the NFL and a top five player. He was the first player in NFL history to average 100 yards rushing and 50 yards passing. Averaging 150 yards from scrimmage is straight stupid. If this was my list he would be much higher.” -Matthew Hagan

14. Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders

NFL Top 100

Derek Carr (Photo by twitter.com)

Carr will have to recover from his broken leg that knocked him out of last season, but he has had an impressive first three years as a pro. If he can keep on progressing and help the Raiders win some meaningful games, the sky is the limit. In 2016 he threw for 3,937 yards, 28 touchdowns and six interceptions in 15 games.

The biggest thing Carr has done since arriving in Oakland is help increase the win total. In his first year the Raiders won three games, seven the second year and they won 12 of the 15 games he started last year. The offense should continue to be dynamic with one of the best offensive lines in football. They also have Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree as good targets for Carr. The offensive line will block well for Marshawn Lynch and any other back Oakland plans on using, which will help create the balance that offensive coordinators love.

The Raiders will have a great offense once again and Carr will be the trigger man making things happen in 2017.

Comments: “Let me get this out of the way, Derek Carr is a stud. But, is he a top 15 player in the league right now? No, he still has to prove that he can do this consistently. He has plenty of potential and showed last year he can get the job done. If he can do that again this year, then he will be deserving of a top 15 spot.”-Robert Hanes

13. Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots

NFL Top 100

Rob Gronkowski (Photo by washingtontimes.com)

Injuries are the only thing holding one of the greatest tight ends to ever play the game back. He hasn’t played a full 16 games since his second year in the NFL, but did play 15 games in 2015. He had eight games played in 2016. In those eight games he had 540 receiving yards and three touchdowns.

If Gronk is healthy he can have a big year in 2017. The Patriots added Brandin Cooks, another outside threat. Defenses will have to make up their minds about double covering Gronk, or one of the other productive receivers. The defenses will likely choose to double cover Gronk most of the time and he will still make them pay. If they focus their attention on one of the receivers, Gronk might have a career day.

Health is the biggest concern with this ranking, but when he is healthy Gronkowski is one of the best players in the NFL.

Comments: “One can only wonder how much higher Gronk would be on this list if he could stay healthy. If he can for the rest of his career he will easily go down as a top 5 TE of all time.”- Robert Hanes

12. Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons

NFL Top 100

Matt Ryan (Photo by twitter.com)

Ryan had the best season of his career in 2016 and it really isn’t even close. He took the Falcons to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1990s and won the MVP award. On top of that, he threw for 4,944 yards, 38 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

The Falcons’ offense will be dynamic again in 2017. Julio Jones, who will be ranked within the next 11 players, is one of the biggest matchup problems in the league. Mohammed Sanu also provides a good option. The offensive line is good and will protect Ryan well enough for him to survey the field. Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman do a good job running the football and Freeman adds the ability to catch out of the backfield.

He may not win the MVP in 2017, but Ryan will be the man in charge on one of the most high-powered offenses in the NFL.

Comments: “I’m of the minority that Matt Ryan gets too much love. I am not a believer in him as much as others. He has been gifted with talent around him. He is a solid quarterback but  I think he is a fringe top 25 player.” -Matthew Hagan

11. Luke Keuchly, LB, Carolina Panthers

NFL Top 100

Luke Keuchly (Photo by si.com)

It is unfortunate that Keuchly had concussion problems and missed six games, but he still had a good year that resulted in his fourth Pro Bowl. He also has three appearances on the All-Pro first team. In ten games last season Keuchly had 102 tackles, two sacks, six passes defended and an interception.

Keuchly’s versatility makes him great. He has great instincts that allow him to play the run and is one of the best cover linebackers in the NFL. Carolina’s defense wasn’t good last season, ranking 25th in scoring. Having Keuchly for a full year will drastically change that number for the better. They allowed 24.6 points in games he played and gave up 27.8 points per game without him. With all key players back and healthy and Julius Peppers on board, the Carolina defense can vastly improve.

If Keuchly is able to play he will be a top player in the NFL without a doubt.

Comments: “Luke Keuchly is the best pure linebacker in the NFL. He has great athletic ability and instincts, which he uses to his advantage. His instincts help him near the lead in tackles in the NFL every year he is healthy. The athletic ability helps him cover. He is also a very cerebral player that raises the level of play of the entire defense when he is on the field.”-Joe DiTullio

NFL Top 100 Players 2017: 30-21

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