2018 NFL Draft recap

4 things we know after the 2018 NFL Draft

The 2018 NFL Draft is in the books. It takes a couple years to really know which teams nailed it and which teams whiffed. Thus, the concept of giving out nothing more than simple draft grades in the days immediately following it is fun, but somewhat foolish.

However, we now have a better idea of how teams view themselves and how they will fare in the fall. Here are a few things we learned over the three day extravaganza.

Denver does not view Case Keenum as a stopgap 

After scouting every elite quarterback in the draft, Denver passed on drafting a quarterback altogether. Instead, the Broncos bolstered an already loaded pass rush after Bradley Chubb fell into their lap. Then, John Elway spent five of his remaining picks on running backs, wide receivers and tight ends.

Incoming rookie receivers Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton in particular could be asked to make an impact right away. A consistent third pass catcher to take the heat off of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders has been lacking for a few years now.

2018 NFL Draft recap

(Photo from wralsportsfan.com)

The Broncos clearly think Case Keenum can lead them right back into contention in 2018 and beyond. He has almost everything a quarterback needs to succeed, much like he did in Minnesota. Defense was the centerpiece of the Vikings last year and it will be for the Broncos this year.

It is a little bit surprising that Denver spent only one draft pick on offensive line. The decision-makers there are putting their faith in Garett Bolles to make a huge leap forward in his second year and veterans Ronald Leary and Jared Veldheer to stay healthy and stabilize a unit that has needed help for a long time.

Still, it is now apparent that the Broncos think they can win now and are reloading, not rebuilding.

Cleveland did not learn from history, but also hopes not to repeat it 

Baker Mayfield and Johnny Manziel are different people, but the comparison really does write itself. They are both undersized quarterbacks who won the Heisman Trophy after dominating college football for a very short period of time. Moreover, the Browns ignored significant off-the-field concerns in hopes that they could resurrect a dead franchise.

Manziel failed spectacularly, and that is largely on him. But Cleveland has been the worst culture for young quarterbacks to develop in the last 20 years. Manziel had no chance to succeed there. Tyrod Taylor is a solid quarterback that is more than capable of getting the Browns at least four wins this year. That should lessen the immediate pressure on Mayfield. This, combined with the fact that Mayfield’s rough edges are a little smoother than Manziel’s give him a better chance to do well in Cleveland.

Still, the Browns going with Mayfield after the Manziel experience straddles the line between gutsy and stupid. No one would argue that Sam Darnold is not a safer prospect, even the temperamental Josh Rosen would have raised a few less eyebrows.

The Patriots are not concerned about Tom Brady’s age 

Whether it is Robert Kraft or Bill Belichick calling the shots in Patriot land nowadays, this is the only conclusion that can be drawn. Jimmy Garoppolo is in San Francisco, Tom Brady is 40 and New England passed on taking Lamar Jackson and Mason Rudolph.

New England did take a quarterback in the seventh round, but LSU’s Danny Etling was not on most radars as a draftable prospect. The Patriots have outsmarted everyone with quarterbacks in the late rounds of the draft before, but it is hard to imagine Etling was drafted with the idea of being Brady’s successor. We know that 32-year-old Brian Hoyer certainly is not Brady’s successor either.

Regardless of how dedicated Brady is, quarterbacks fall off a cliff quickly in the NFL. The most recent example of this is Peyton Manning, who was younger than Brady is now when he played his final season, which was also his worst statistically. The lack of a long-term plan at quarterback is slowly putting New England’s position as the NFL’s gold standard in more and more jeopardy.

Russell Wilson is going to run for his life again in 2018 

When the awesome story of the Griffin brothers is put aside, Seattle’s draft as a whole is worrisome. They reached by as much as two rounds for running back Rashaad Penny and tight end Will Dissly, but that is not all.

2018 NFL Draft recap

(Photo from nocoastbias.com)

Seattle’s offensive line was atrocious last year. At its worst, there were games where Russell Wilson was pressured on a third of his drop backs. The only reason Wilson lived to tell about it is because he is one of the most mobile quarterbacks on the planet. His arm and legs created all but one of Seattle’s offensive touchdowns last year. Wilson was able to keep Seattle relevant until the very end of the regular season.

Wilson will need a repeat performance to do the same this year. The Seahawks continued their long standing reputation of refusing to invest in the offensive line. They only took one and waited until the fifth round to do so. They even traded up to take a punter before paying any attention to their biggest need.

This was a very deep draft for offensive lineman. Thus, it feels like the Seahawks missed a big chance to improve. With the “Legion of Boom” pretty much a memory, Wilson really is the only thing this franchise has going for it. After this draft, the weight of the world remains on his shoulders.

 

Featured image from tylermorningtelegraph.com

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minnesota vikings draft trades

Three possible Vikings draft-day trades

After months of waiting, draft day is finally upon us. The 2018 NFL Draft is shaping up to be one of the most exciting in recent memory and is likely to feature several draft-day trades. The Minnesota Vikings are not likely to pull off any blockbuster trades, but general manager Rick Spielman is no stranger to working the draft board. Here are three Vikings draft trades that could go down on Thursday night.

Vikings trade back with Browns

minnesota vikings draft trades

Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman (Photo by Pioneer Press: Scott Takushi)

Minnesota Vikings receive: Pick No. 33, Pick No. 114

Cleveland Browns receive: Pick No. 30

The Vikings have one of the deepest rosters in the NFL, giving them flexibility to move up or down the draft board. For moving back only a few picks, the Vikings would receive Cleveland’s fourth-round pick. The Cleveland Browns have the draft capital to add another first-round pick if a talented player falls to the end of the first round.

Minnesota would still be able to pick a talented player with the 33rd overall pick and could add even more depth with their new fourth-round selection. Having the first pick in the second round would also provide the Vikings with some trade leverage. The first pick of the second round is highly coveted, so Minnesota could trade down again to accumulate more picks.

Vikings trade up to No. 19 to draft Isaiah Wynn

minnesota vikings draft trades

Georgia guard Isaiah Wynn (77). Photo from saturdaydownsouth.com

Minnesota Viking receive: Pick No. 19

Dallas Cowboys receive: Pick No. 30, Pick No. 94, Pick No. 204

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Vikings could trade up in the first round to draft one of this year’s best guards. In exchange for their first (No. 30 overall), third (124), and sixth-round (204) picks, the Vikings move up 11 spots for Georgia guard Isaiah Wynn.

The Cowboys are in the wide receiver market, but Calvin Ridley is likely to be gone by pick No. 19. With no other first-round receivers available, trading back would make sense for Dallas. They could still get a talented wide receiver at pick No. 30, and now have additional picks to replenish their defense.

As for the Vikings, they would be able to jump teams in need of offensive linemen to get the player of their choice. Detroit (20), Cincinnati (21) and New England (23) are likely to take an offensive lineman, so there is no guarantee that Wynn will fall to pick No. 30. The Vikings are an offensive line away from being Super Bowl favorites, so an aggressive move like this may be in the cards.

Vikings swing a Day 2 trade with Arizona

Minnesota Vikings receive: Pick No. 47

Arizona Cardinals receive: Pick No. 62, Pick No. 94

minnesota vikings draft trades

Oklahoma tackle Orlando Brown (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Arizona Cardinals seem to be in rebuild mode, meaning they will be open to accumulating as many draft picks as possible. Like the previous scenario, the Vikings may look to move up to take a talented lineman. However, this time they will be targeting Oklahoma tackle Orlando Brown.

At Oklahoma, Brown was an absolute beast at left tackle. His strength and run blocking are second to none, and he could start as a right tackle as a rookie. Heading into the offseason, Brown looked like a surefire first-round talent, but a poor combine performance ruined his draft stock.

He is still likely to be a mid-second round pick, making it unlikely he will fall to the Vikings at pick No. 62. In exchange for their third-round pick, the Vikings could move up 15 spots to take one of the most intriguing players in the draft.

 

Featured image from vikings.com

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Saquon Barkley Browns

Should the Browns pick Saquon Barkley No. 1 overall?

We still have a few days to go until the Cleveland Browns are officially on the clock, but that has not stopped the rampant speculation over who they might take with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Quarterbacks Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen have all been linked to Cleveland as of late. However, there is one common exclusion: Penn State running back Saquon Barkley.

Mock drafts have placed Barkley anywhere from No. 2 (New York Giants) to No. 7 (Tampa Bay), despite him being the consensus top prospect in this year’s draft. Today, we are going to look at the possibility that the Browns take Saquon Barkley No. 1 overall.

The case for

Saquon Barkley Browns

Former Penn State running back Saquon Barkley. (Photo by CBS Sports)

In a draft class full of question marks, Barkley’s talent is one of the few things that can be taken for granted. Barkley is ranked as the No. 1 prospect on nearly every draft board available, calling him a generational talent.

Barkley is one of the most complete running backs to enter the draft in the last five years. Barkley has excellent vision and was one of the most elusive backs in the country last season. He is also a dynamic receiver out of the backfield, allowing him to play all three downs. Barkley’s character has also been highly touted and is expected to be an NFL team’s focal point for the next decade.

As if this were not enough, he also put on a show at the NFL Combine. Barkley ranked in the top five in his position in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and bench press, along with impressing during the on-field drills. Barkley also seems like the best option given the uncertainty at the quarterback position.

Unlike years past, there is no clear-cut No. 1 quarterback in this draft class, with each one having one major flaw. Sam Darnold turns the ball over too much. Josh Rosen and Baker Mayfield have character concerns. Josh Allen has accuracy problems. None of these four quarterbacks should start right away, and would benefit greatly from sitting behind a veteran for their rookie year. This makes them a hard sell for the first overall pick, while Barkley would be an instant impact starter. Since the Browns also have the fourth overall pick, they would still have their choice from at least two of the top four quarterbacks available.

The case against

Saquon Barkley Browns

Former USC Quarterback Sam Darnold. Darnold is a favorite to be the first player selected in the 2018 NFL Draft. (Photo by Kevin Kuo/AP)

Although waiting until the fourth pick to select a quarterback would be ideal, there are reasons why this likely will not happen. If the Browns have their sights set on one quarterback, waiting would be very risky. Selecting Barkley with the first overall pick could risk missing out on a future franchise quarterback.

Quarterback is also by far the more valuable position. Having a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback is essential to making a deep playoff run, and Tyrod Taylor may not be the long-term solution. With the Bills, Taylor never posted a quarterback rating over 100 and struggled to move the ball effectively last season. He may be the starter in 2018, but taking a quarterback with the first overall pick would be beneficial in the long run.

In addition, if Cleveland is interested in Barkley, he may still be available with the fourth overall pick. If the Giants and Jets both pass on Barkley in favor of rookie signal-callers, then he could fall straight into the Browns’ laps at No. 4. In this scenario, the Browns would get the quarterback of their choice and the best player in the draft.

Verdict and Prediction

Saquon Barkley is one of the most talented draft prospects within the last several years. He would provide dynamic playmaking ability to any team that drafts him, and he deserves to be the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Barkley, along with Carlos Hyde, would dominate the Browns’ running game, providing support for any quarterback that falls to them at pick No. 4.

However, it seems unlikely that Cleveland will select him with the first overall pick. The Browns likely have their sights set on a certain quarterback and will select them at No. 1. This allows Barkley to fall to the New York Giants, who have a major need at running back. Cleveland may not get their star running back, but they will have their new quarterback of the future.

 

Featured image by the Associated Press.

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Jarvis Landry signs a 5 year deal with the Browns

The Cleveland Browns have been putting the final touches on signing free agents before the draft. They have finally closed the deal on star receiver, Jarvis Landry. He signed a $75 million contract for the next five years on Friday night. His salary now ranks him fifth among NFL receivers. Above Landry are Antonio Brown, Mike Evans, Deandre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins.

Jarvis Landry
(CBS sports)

Cleveland is looking forward to seeing what this young, talented receiver will bring to the table. Landry is one of the NFL’s fastest and most talented receivers. He led the NFL with 112 catches last season for 987 total yards and nine touchdowns. For his whole career, the young receiver has a total of 4,038 yards and 22 touchdowns, and he’s also a three-time Pro Bowler.

Other Key Players on the Offense

Landry can make a huge impact for Cleveland. He could play in the number one receiver spot for their offense. He could be starting on the opposite side of the field from Josh Gordon, another dangerous receiver. Gordon has been with the Browns ever since 2012. He has a career total of 3,089 yards and 15 Touchdowns. With Landry lined up on the opposite side, the two receivers will become a double threat. Now that the Browns have two good, young receivers, they hope to make a major turnaround from last season.

Cleveland didn’t win a single game last season. They are 1-31 in two years under head coach Hue Jackson. During this offseason, the Browns have been recruiting players that will be able to make an impact on the team and will help win games. The Browns also have the No. 1 and No. 4 picks in the NFL draft. They are expected to pick up a young, talented quarterback that will be able to back up Tyrod Taylor.

Josh Gordon (Bleacher Report)

Taylor was traded to the Browns earlier this year. He played for the Baltimore Ravens from 2011-2014, and he also played for the Buffalo Bills from 2015-2017. Last season, Taylor had thrown for 2,799 yards and 14 Touchdowns. He has 9,056 total yards and 51 touchdowns for his career. Now that Landry is with the Browns, Taylor will have more than one favorite target to throw to.

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NFL Draft

Redrafting the 2017 NFL Draft

With all this commotion about the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft, it seems like the perfect time to look back at last year’s first round and see how much has changed.

1st Overall, Cleveland Browns – Deshaun Watson, QB 

Actual pick – Myles Garrett, DE

After an invigorating seven games where Deshaun Watson set the football world on fire he deserves to be the first quarterback taken. Leading the NFL in touchdowns with 19 through 7 games while playing as a rookie is no small feat, in fact, it’s almost unheard of.

2nd Overall, Chicago Bears – Myles Garrett, DE

Actual pick – Mitch Trubisky, QB

With no quarterbacks worthy of the second overall pick left, the Chicago Bears settle for the best player available and take the most talented player in the draft. Garrett was limited last year by injuries but when he was on the field he showed the special talent that made him first overall last year. He had seven sacks and a forced fumble in just 11 games played last season.

3rd Overall, San Francisco 49ers – Alvin Kamara, RB  

NFL Draft

Alvin Kamara splits two Green Bay defenders for a big gain. Photo by Sports Illustrated

 

Actual pick – Solomon Thomas

Sure, this is early for a running back, but with Alvin Kamara in the fold it opens up a lot of options for Kyle Shanahan to exploit in his offensive attack. Kamara had 1,500 yards from scrimmage while spliting time with Mark Ingram and as the year progressed he appeared to take the mantle of starter from Ingram as well.

4th Overall, Jacksonville Jaguars – Patrick Mahomes, QB

Actual pick – Leonard Fournette, RB

Yes, I know that Leonard Fournette had a great year and rushed for over 1000 yards. However, he was injured for three games and this seems like the perfect time for a team loaded with talent to grab a very talented quarterback to compete with and later replace Blake Bortles.

5th Overall, Tennessee Titans – Juju Smith-Schuster, WR

Actual pick – Corey Davis, WR

Worries about Juju Smith-Schuster’s long speed are no longer a problem after he was shown to be a blazer last season, even scoring a 97 yard touchdown where he outran the whole Lions’ defense. He would step in and make an immediate impact for the Titans.

6th Overall, New York Jets – Marshon Lattimore, CB

Actual pick – Jamal Adams, S

The Jets get the best corner in the draft with the sixth pick, Lattimore, a lockdown corner who will help sure up the Jets defense for a long time. Lattimore was a big part of the reason the Saints defense jumped from 31st to 10th in scoring defense and 32nd to 15th in passing yards allowed. He could have a similar impact with the Jets.

7th Overall, Los Angeles Chargers – Jamal Adams, S

Actual pick –  Mike Williams, WR

The Chargers needed a safety and luckily the best one fell into their lap at 7th overall. Adams is a safety that you can keep single back or move him up into the box and either way he will make an impact.

8th Overall, Carolina Panthers – Dalvin Cook, RB

Actual pick – Christian McCaffrey, RB

Cook had a very promising rookie season for the Vikings until his season-ending injury. Cook looks to be the best running back left in this draft in terms of running and catching out of the backfield. Some would say that Kareem Hunt belongs here but I believe Dalvin Cook has a higher ceiling. He would provide the Panther’s offense with what they thought they were getting when they drafted Christian McCaffrey.

9th Overall, Cincinnati Bengals – Ryan Ramczyk, OT

Actual pick – John Ross, WR

The Bengals deal with their biggest problem on offense by drafting a big guy to help them win in the trenches. Ramczyk would shore up a line that was terribly leaky last season which caused many of their offensive issues. They allowed 40 sacks last season and had the second worst rushing attack in all of football last season. With most of the issues coming from the offensive tackle position it makes this pick easy.

10th Overall, Kansas City Chiefs – Mitch Trubisky, QB

Actual pick – Patrick Mahomes, QB

The Chiefs wouldn’t have traded up for anything else, they still need a rookie to develop behind Alex Smith and they get theirs in Trubisky. He had some promising moments in his first year as a starter, but clearly still needs the right situation to thrive. Andy Reid is a play calling magician and a quarterback whisperer if he cant make Trubisky work, no one can.

11th Overall, New Orleans Saints – Tre’Davious White, CB

Actual pick – Marshon Lattimore, CB

The New Orleans Saints needed defensive help and with Lattimore off the board, they grab the next best corner in White. Rated by Pro Football Focus as the second best corner in the league last year, the Saints are getting some serious value.

12th Overall, Houston Texans – O.J. Howard, TE

Actual pick – DeShaun Watson, QB

With all the potential quarterbacks worthy of a first-round pick gone, the Houston Texans go with someone who will help out the running and the passing game in O.J. Howard.

13th Overall, Arizona Cardinals – Corey Davis, WR

Actual pick – Haason Reddick, LB

The Cardinals finally find someone to pair up with the great Larry Fitzgerald to create a truly dominant receiving duo. Davis struggled with injuries in year one but started to come on towards the end of the season. Year two will be a more accurate measure of where he is developmentally, he lands here with the Cardinals based on potential.

14th Overall, Philadelphia Eagles – Derek Barnett, DE 

NFL Draft

Derek Barnett sacks Dak Prescott. Photo by Hunter Martin

Actual pick – Derek Barnett, DE

Barnett was the right choice for this team. That, coupled with the fact that there are no glaring needs on Philadelphia’s roster make Barnett the perfect choice. Edge rushers are the second most important position on the team and with Barnett in line for an even bigger role in 2018 this pick seems like a huge success.

15th Overall, Indianapolis Colts – Cam Robinson, OT

Actual pick – Malik Hooker, S

The Colts are a team with many holes, none of them as poor as the offensive line, which is truly offensive to football fans. They draft Robinson and he can help keep whoever is quarterbacking the Colts (hopefully Andrew Luck) safe for years to come.

16th Overall, Baltimore Ravens – Cooper Kupp, WR

Actual pick – Marlon Humphrey, DB

It feels like the Ravens haven’t had a competent receiving corps in years, drafting Cooper Kupp to play with Jeremy Maclin and Mike Wallace might give them the firepower they need on offense. Kupp had 865 yards and 5 touchdowns as a rookie and really helped elevate the Rams recieving corps.

17th Overall, Washington Redskins – Kareem Hunt, RB

Actual pick – Jonathan Allen, DE

Hunt would add a new layer to the Redskins already multifaceted approach. He might just be the piece that could have made the Redskins’ offense elite. Hunt finished with almost 1800 yards from scrimmage on the season as the focal point of the Chiefs attack and earned the rushing title with 1327 yards in his rookie season.

18th Overall, Tennessee Titans – Rueben Foster, LB

Actual pick – Adoree’ Jackson, CB

A crazy athlete that also fills an important need in the Titans defense. Foster would step in and be an immediate starter in Tennessee’s defense. His range is his biggest asset and would help a Titans defense that struggled with its linebacking corps in 2017. His only downside has been off the field issues.

19th Overall, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Solomon Thomas, DL

Actual pick – O.J. Howard, TE

A slightly below than expected season performance from Thomas causes him to slip until here. That being said, the Buccaneers would run this pick up to the table. The talent and potential have made him a top-five prospect and he fills a need on Tampa’s desolate defensive line.

20th Overall, Denver Broncos – Malik Hooker, S

Actual pick – Garrett Bolles, OT

The Broncos look to keep their defense at the top of it’s game with this pick, which truly solidifies Denver’s defense. Hooker is a safety with incredible range, he has the ability to truly shut down the middle of a football field.

21st Overall, Detroit Lions – Christian McCaffrey, RB

Actual pick – Jarrad Davis, LB

The Lions need a running back. The last time a running back rushed for 100 yards on the Detroit Lions was Reggie Bush on Thanksgiving, in 2013! Lion’s fans know this after hearing it in pretty much every game last season. McCaffrey is a good pick at 21st overall and although he made less of an impact than expected in year one he still has the talent that made him the eighth overall pick last year.

22nd Overall, Miami Dolphins – Haason Reddick, LB 

Actual pick – Charles Harris, DE

Reddick is a really good player who would get some playing time almost immediately in Miami, they definitely need him. After playing defensive end in college he gained attention by showing that he can also be an inside linebacker in the NFL. He would be a great fit for the Dolphins with their need for both a pass rusher and a linebacker.

23rd Overall, New York Giants – Garrett Bolles, OT

Actual pick – Evan Engram, TE

The Giants take steps to help out Eli Manning by drafting an offensive lineman. Needs meet best player available again.

24th Overall, Oakland Raiders – Gareon Conley, CB

Actual pick – Gareon Conley, CB

The Oakland Raiders had a huge hole at cornerback, Conley is a over 6 feet tall and showed immense potential in his time at Ohio State. The Raiders wouldn’t let this opportunity slip by.

25th Overall, Cleveland Browns – John Ross, WR

Actual pick – Jabrill Peppers, S

Ross did not have a good first year in the NFL but he will surely develop in year two and his speed is a huge asset. After all he does have the fastest 40 yard dash at the combine ever. The Cleveland Browns seem like the team that would draft him here.

26th Overall, Atlanta Falcons – Takkarist McKinley, DE

Actual pick – Takkarist McKinley, DE

The Falcons made the right pick as far as I’m concerned, McKinley looked good last year and seems to fit the scheme well.

27th Overall, Buffalo Bills – Jonathon Allen, DE

Actual pick – Tre’Davious White, CB

Jonathan Allen slipped on draft day because of health concerns, now he’s slipping again because of them. Jonathon Allen looked good last year but how long can he stay healthy? You can’t make an impact if you’re not on the field.

28th Overall, Dallas Cowboys – T.J. Watt, OLB

Actual pick – Taco Charlton

T.J. Watt showed explosion at times last year, I just don’t believe he was as consistent as I would have liked, but, despite that, and his size concerns, he rose two spots. The Cowboys were disappointed by Taco Charlton last year they wouldn’t be disappointed with this pick. I believe Watt could be an effective pass rusher for the Cowboys.

29th Overall, Cleveland Browns – Marlon Humphrey, DB

Actual pick – Deshone Kizer, QB

Marlon Humphrey is a big, fast, and strong corner. His biggest question mark was his ball skills but his two interceptions last season in Baltimore showed that it probably will not be too much of a problem.

30th Overall, Pittsburgh Steelers – Shaquill Griffin, DB

Actual pick – T.J. Watt, OLB

Shaquill Griffin showed off some real potential in his rookie season earning himself the corner spot opposite Richard Sherman. He would be a great asset for Pittsburgh to have as they reshape their defense.

31st Overall, San Francisco 49ers – Evan Engram, TE

Actual pick – Rueben Foster, LB

Engram is not the best at blocking, but he is a good reciever, with good hands and good speed for a tight end. Exactly the kind of player coach Shanahan and General Manager John Lynch would want to add to his team.

32nd Overall, New Orleans Saints – Marcus Williams, S 

NFL Draft

Marcus Williams misses a tackle in the NFC Championship game. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Actual pick – Ryan Ramczyk, OT

Williams has shown to be a great fit in the Saint’s defense, a good tackler who makes good decisions (except that one play in the NFC divisional round). Why not take the same guy since he worked out so well.

 

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New York Giants

Odell rumors: Will he go or will he stay?

Everybody’s wondering whether Odell Beckham Jr. will either stay with the Giants or move to a different team. Well, many teams are interested in making him apart of their roster; I mean, who wouldn’t? Beckham is one of the biggest superstars in the NFL. He’s also the best receiver on the Giants. But the question is, why would he leave the Giants? Where would he go?

Beckham has been recovering from a broken left ankle that forced him to miss the whole 2017-2018 season. During the whole offseason, he’s been going through rehab and working on getting back to the swaggy, talented, receiver he’s always been. Beckham has a career total of 4,424 receiving yards and 38 touchdowns. He was the 2014 Rookie of the Year, 2015 NFL Player of the Year, and a three-time Pro Bowl receiver.

New York Giants

Odell Beckham Jr.
(sporting news)

If Beckham stays with New York, he wouldn’t be paid as much as he expects. Yes, the Giants really want to keep Beckham on their team, but they’re too cheap to pay the young superstar. The other downfall of this situation is that they haven’t committed to a long-term contract in order to keep him. This is causing Beckham to search for another contract from another team(via a trade); and yes, teams are waiting in line to sign him. Now it’s not official yet, but it could still happen if Beckham is willing to go to another team.

The Giants may have other players waiting on standby to replace him, but they’re not going to be as talented as him. As we all know, Beckham is returning from a broken ankle, and they really want Beckham to be healthy as well and want him to stay. If everything doesn’t work out, then he might call it quits with the Giants.

Beckham has been living off of his $8.5 million fifth-year option on the contract that he received when he was a rookie. If Beckham plays on this contract for another year, he will be making less money than other players that were drafted along with him in 2014. Of course, Beckham isn’t satisfied with his contract at all. If he receives the same contract as before, then he won’t practice with the Giants during the offseason.

If Beckham is released, would any team want to deal with his behavior as well? The young superstar has been in many conflicts throughout his career; the most common one was with a defensive back, Josh Norman in 2015. Every time they face each other, it’s always a matchup between the two. Punches and cheap shots are thrown. Beckham has also been fined numerous times by the league due to inappropriate touchdown celebrations, like pretending to be a dog and urinating on the field.

Odell Beckham Jr.

Odell making a catch against Los Angeles Chargers
(sportsillustrated)

Odell to the Rams?

This has been a big rumor that’s been going around. The Los Angeles Rams have been busy during the offseason, and they’ve had their eye on Beckham. After signing Ndamukong Suh, Rams head coach Sean McVay wanted to go for another superstar. He had high interest in picking up Beckham since the Rams are in need of more receivers.

What About the Browns?

The Rams aren’t the only team that’s on a mission to build a team full of talent this offseason. The Cleveland Browns have been trying to collect players that will be able to make a turn around from their past season when they never won a single game. During the offseason, they were able to retrieve free safety Damarious Randall and quarterback Tyrod Taylor. We all know that the former Miami Dolphins wide receiver, Jarvis Landry, has been traded to the Cleveland Browns. Now he wants to see if Beckham wants to tag along for the ride.

He and Landry have played with each other back in their LSU days; and with them together, they would be two dangerous receivers to mess with. Landry isn’t the only new member of the Browns; former Giants’ and LSU receiver coach, Adam Henry, is now apart of Cleveland’s staff. The question is, what can they provide for Beckham? spotrac.com stated that the Browns hold the most salary cap space in the NFL right now, containing $70.6 million. In that case Cleveland’s general manager, John Dorsey might have enough to pay for Beckham and Landry. If the Browns pay Beckham twice as much than his contract with the Giants, then there’s no doubt that he would consider playing for Cleveland.

The Rams and the Browns may be the two teams that are fighting over Beckham, but there are other teams out there that want to be in the mix as well. The San Francisco 49ers and the New England Patriots have a high interest in the young wide receiver also. The time is winding down; most likely it’ll be up to the general manager of the New York Giants and Beckham to make the decision to cut ties.

 

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Richard Sherman: A crusader? Or a clown?

This offseason has already seen the making of a memorable one for history. Big crazy trades and free agent signing has set an overcast in the journey to the upcoming NFL Draft. One signing, in particular, would be the San Francisco 49ers acquisition of Pro Bowl corner Richard Sherman. Sherman, whose season was cut short after an Achilles injury in week 8, agreed to a contract worth up to $39.15 million dollars for three years, three days before free agency opened up. But there has been some controversy surrounding the deal itself and Sherman’s role in it. It is reported that Sherman himself handled the negotiations without the representation of an agent.

Some questions now have surfaced to why Richard Sherman would go this route and the future of players handling their own affairs pertaining to contracts. Some see this as the future of the league while others see this as Richard Sherman’s ego getting in front of his talent once again. Sherman has been critical of how agents operate and encourages a path for players to be more proactive in these areas. However, the same can be said about the team he signed to minutes after he was released, comprised a deal that many have criticized.

The Contract

First, let’s talk about the contract. Richard Sherman has signed a deal that is worth $39.15 million dollars. The key word is “worth”. Most NFL contracts, like other sports and management positions, are worth a dollar amount. Most of the money to be earned is tied up in incentives, bonuses and allowances. Sherman’s deal includes $3 million dollars in full guarantees, $7 million in practical guarantees and up to $9 million in earnings baring injury during the 2018 season.

In an offseason where the value of individual prospects and a team’s desire to certain prospects have set an unprecedented amount of money for their acquisitions, this deal doesn’t seem to make much sense. This could be a fault towards Sherman who essentially worked out the deal himself. This contract is purely based on Sherman’s ability to stay healthy and perform at a high level.  However, this opens a door for other players. Sherman, who is also a Stanford grad, is a key player in the NFLPA and knows how the business works. If players are to take the same route, they too might be able to capture some control in the debating process.

Pros

Players ultimately have all the power. They decide whether to take deals or leave hem on the table. Agents look to give them the best deal possible. In return, this could leave the player losing the ability to play for a favorable destination. Not saying that players aren’t sitting at the negotiation table but what Richard Sherman did, extends the amount power a player has.

Because of this, the player is able to negotiate a deal that they might feel is good for them. Most agents meet with teams with a hardline offer and it doesn’t really dip or bend from there. Plus with the ability of players to sit out, this pretty much twists the hands of management into submission. Most teams now have tried to stay away from hardline offers as they have led to some of the worst deals. Kirk Cousins suffered from franchise tag-itis because of The Washington Redskins horrible deal with Albert Haynesworth. As other teams have been ultimately forced to give in to player demands. If players want to take slashes in their guaranteed money in favor of being placed with the team that they desire to be on, then they should have that power.

Negative

What makes this deal seem sour is the subject at hand, Richard Sherman. Richard Sherman anchored one of the best defenses in five years that led to two Super Bowl appearances and one Super Bowl title. With the right defense, Richard Sherman is arguably the best cornerback in the National Football League. With that being said he should be paid accordingly to his value. Looking at this contract, it seems that he is selling himself a bit short. For example, as an analogy, Richard Sherman believes he should get $10 million dollars a year. Team A is willing to give him $10 million dollars and Team B is willing to give him $15 million dollars.

Your value isn’t the price tag that you put on yourself but rather how much someone is willing to pay. Despite his wishes, Richard Sherman is worth $15 million dollars in actuality. In comparison to the deal made in reality, Sherman would never see those $15 million dollars. If he never talks to Team B, it would be impossible. The idea of him not talking to other teams is quite depressing. He would never fully exercise the potential of the deal. This could be a downside for players who really want to play for a particular team and might be blindsided by their “wants” when they should focus on what should be owed to them.

The Future

At the end of the day, Richard Sherman has to accept or decline a deal. This particular deal is what he wanted and it is what he got. Other players in the future may not be so lucky. Determining a players’ value really depends on a broad spectrum. It’s not a discussion with a team who only really seems to benefit themselves and not the player. Despite this, a lawyer never acts as a legal representation for himself and a doctor doesn’t examine herself.

Agents are there to work out a deal. They know more about the process and are able to twist numbers and squeeze out the best deal possible. If that means shelving off between 1.5% to 4% in earnings so be it, there is no such things as a free lunch. In the future, negotiations should be left to agents as most believe that one would never let Sherman walk away with that deal. Sherman’s deal isn’t bad at all for other cornerbacks.

However, for an all-pro player, that gravitates a brand presence and is arguably the best cornerback in the league, it’s a terrible one. This contract is a deal for players that are on the cusp of proving themselves. For Sherman, he doesn’t have to. Despite suffering an injury and turning 30 years old in a matter of days, Richard Sherman has already proved his worth. A contract suited for someone who hasn’t is deplorable in his situation.

Fortunately, Richard Sherman got the deal he wanted. He went to the team he wanted and is in the best situation for himself. He’s happy and everyone should. More than likely, the deal will mature to be a wise one. It also might open the doors for other players to follow. On the other hand, if it flops, it would be a disaster and cemented as “pulling a Richard Sherman”. Who knows? Only time will tell.

 

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Cleveland Browns 2018 NFL Draft profile

The 2018 NFL Draft is just over a month away, which means that Draftmas is back. Draftmas will take a look at each NFL team heading into the NFL Draft, what their needs are and who they could be targeting. You will find it here. Draftmas will be kicked off with the Cleveland Browns 2018 NFL Draft profile. 

Summary

It was another rough year in Cleveland, but this season was capped off with a parade for the imperfect 0-16 season. The Browns had some young talent in 2017, but lacked the veteran experience at a lot of key positions, especially after left tackle Joe Thomas went down. More veterans have already been added to the roster for 2018 as Cleveland has started the offseason already having vastly improved their team.

Cleveland Browns 2018 NFL Draft Profile

Tyrod Taylor (Photo by yahoo.com)

The offense was the worst in the league, averaging 14.6 points per game. DeShone Kizer was traded to Green Bay after a rough rookie season, and Tyrod Taylor was acquired to, at the very least, be a stop gap quarterback for the Browns. They will also have a new running back as Isaiah Crowell has been replaced by Carlos Hyde via free agency. Duke Johnson will likely continue his role of being a running back and slot receiver.

At wide receiver, fans can get excited about having Josh Gordon, if he can stay on the field. The Browns also acquired Jarvis Landry, who has the most receptions through four seasons to start an NFL career. With Gordon being a threat over the top and Landry being a good possession receiver, Taylor should be salivating over his weapons. Add in David Njoku as a young tight end and the Browns have some solid pieces at the skill positions.

Joe Thomas did decide to retire, and the Hall of Famer will now need to be replaced. He had a great career, but the Browns still have a decent line without him. They could address the tackle spot with one of their many picks in this draft.

Defensively, Cleveland gave up the second most points in the league at 25.6 per game. A lot of the points given up were a result of being on the field so often since the offense struggled to move the ball. They ranked seventh in the league in total rushing yards allowed and 19th in passing yards allowed. If the offense can control the ball more, the defense could see vast improvements in 2018.

On the edge, they have good young pass rushers, including Myles Garrett. The Browns will need to find some defensive tackles after trading Danny Shelton to the Patriots, especially if they plan to continue having a good rush defense.

The linebacker position was disappointing for the Browns in 2017, but it isn’t the biggest need for the Browns to focus on. At corner, T.J. Carrie and Terrance Mitchell were both signed, but more corners might be needed. In Cleveland’s trade with the Packers, the Browns netted Damarious Randall, who will be paired with Jabrill Peppers at safety.

It’s been an active offseason for the Browns, and it will continue to be during the NFL Draft with all of their picks. They have filled some needs through free agency and trades, but can really put the icing on the cake of a nice offseason with a good draft.

Picks and Needs

After all of their offseason trades, the Browns have nine picks in the 2018 NFL Draft. Five of those will be in the top 64 picks of the draft, meaning they should be able to get a lot of quality players.

First round (2 picks): 1, 4

Second round (3): 33, 35, 64

Third round (0)

Fourth round (1): 114

Fifth round (1): 150

Sixth round (2): 175, 205

Seventh round (0)

Offensive needs:

Quarterback – Tyrod Taylor is a good quarterback for the Browns to have right now, but they will want to secure one for the future.

Wide receiver – If the Browns don’t have faith that Josh Gordon can stay on the field, they will need to find a partner for Landry.

Offensive tackle – With the retirement of Joe Thomas, the Browns will have the tough task of replacing a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Defensive needs:

Defensive tackle – The Browns likely needed defensive tackle help before trading Danny Shelton away, but now it is one of their biggest needs.

Linebacker – While this isn’t a huge need, none of their linebackers were great in 2017.

Cornerback – Carrie and Mitchell were decent signings, but Cleveland needs more corners and possibly some better ones.

Targets

The picks in this section are players the Browns could realistically get where they are drafting.

First round:

Pick No. 1: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Cleveland Browns 2018 NFL Draft Profile

Saquon Barkley (Photo by pagesix.com)

This is an odd position for the Browns because they have the fourth pick too. Do they take the quarterback of their choice and see if Barkley falls to four? Do they risk it and take their quarterback and see if the Giants (The Jets couldn’t possibly take a running back with their pick after trading away so much for the third pick, could they?) pass on Barkley to take a quarterback? Barkley is the best player in the class, so he is the target for No. 1, as he reportedly hasn’t been ruled out as being selected by the Browns. Ultimately, it might not matter, as they might get who they want at quarterback at pick four.

Even with Hyde, Barkley could be an option for a team that has made a concerted effort to improve the offense. While Hyde is a solid back, he wanted to stay with the 49ers and they decided to let him walk in order to go with Jerick McKinnon, Joe Williams and Matt Breida at the position for this season.

Other options would be any of the top quarterbacks in the class or Minkah Fitzpatrick.

Pick No. 4: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

What quarterback will the Browns choose? Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen have both allegedly said things about not wanting to play for the Browns. It is possible that neither makes it to pick four anyways. Mayfield is the most accurate quarterback in the class, but, like all quarterbacks in this class, could use a year of maturing before taking over as the starter. He has competitive fire that would love the chance to help turn the Browns around.

Second round:

Cleveland Browns 2018 NFL Draft Profile

Connor Williams (Photo by profootballfocus.com)

Pick No. 33: Connor Williams, OT, Texas

Here is the replacement for Joe Thomas. None of the tackles in this class have stood out, which means that the Browns can get a decent one with one of their third-round picks. Williams isn’t the biggest or strongest and does not have the longest arms, but is very athletic for a tackle. He is similar to Garett Bolles from last year’s draft.

Pick No. 35: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

Although he was injured in 2017 for a few games, Alexander had a great 2016 season for Louisville. While corner was addressed in free agency, improving the secondary can still be done through the draft. Alexander would be a good player to grab early in round two.

Pick No. 64: Rasheem Green, DT/DE, USC

Green had a great combine and showed he can either play on the edge or the interior. If he adds some weight, he can be a nice fit for Cleveland at defensive tackle after the Shelton trade. His athleticism will allow him to be disruptive in the run game and allow him to stay on the field for pass rushing situations.

Conclusion

The Browns can fill more needs through the draft to wrap up a great offseason. With a good draft and the moves already made, Cleveland should see a big increase in wins from 2017 to 2018.

Make sure to tune in tomorrow for the New York Giants 2018 NFL Draft Profile.

 

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Jacoby Brissett trade

Jacoby Brissett’s place in the offsesason quarterback derby

While teams are still holding their cards close to the vest, next month will officially kick off an NFL offseason that could be the busiest ever in terms of player movement at the quarterback position.

The names that could be on the move are well documented, but Jacoby Brissett seems to be getting lost in the shuffle. His situation is worth a closer look.

Why should teams want him?

Jacoby Brissett trade

Photo from 1070thefan.com

Andrew Luck’s injury set up last season for disaster in Indianapolis. However, for a guy who was inserted as the starter less than two weeks after being acquired, Brissett did a heck of a job last year.

13 touchdowns, seven interceptions and an 81.7 passer rating is pretty good when you consider the circumstances in the above paragraph. Also, the roster only had two pro bowlers on it. Add in the fact that Indianapolis has a bad offensive line for a while now and Brissett’s 2017 campaign looks even better.

No quarterback is meant to take 52 sacks the way Brissett did last year. He was also sacked 14 times by Jacksonville alone. Of course, he probably needed to get rid of the ball quicker on some of those, but those numbers are still astronomically high.

Brissett has a unique perspective as to part of the reason why Luck has struggled to stay healthy in recent years. The last offensive lineman Indianapolis sent to the Pro Bowl was Jeff Saturday, who is now a television analyst. When the Colts offense did manage to put points on the board, the league’s 30th ranked defense gave them up just as quickly.

Despite all that, Brissett put his team in position to win a lot more than four games last year. They had the halftime lead in nine of their first 11 games, but did not have a coaching staff that could adjust or enough overall talent on the roster to finish games. When you take everything into account, it is clear that Jimmy Garoppolo is not the only former Patriots understudy that can be a long-term NFL starter.

The sample size is considerably larger for Brissett, but he is a far more attractive option for teams that need a quarterback than soon to be free agent AJ McCarron who is destined for a big payday despite putting up comparable numbers under far more quarterback friendly circumstances.

The teams preparing to woo McCarron in free agency should be calling the Colts about Brissett instead. This leads to an obvious question.

Is he even available?         

Brissett is under the control of his current club for 2018 and beyond. So if he is going to play somewhere else, it will have to come via trade.

Given the questions surrounding Andrew Luck’s health, it is easy to see why the Colts may want to keep Brissett around. The last time the Colts franchise quarterback got hurt, they did not have a capable backup, went 2-14 and drafted Luck. Peyton Manning went to Denver and the rest is history.

Still, Indianapolis has lots of needs on the roster. The Colts are not going to be able to address them all in the draft and free agency. Brissett is one of few pieces they have that would entice another team.

Luck’s health is now apparently headed in the right direction. If the Colts can get additional draft picks, offensive line help or a serviceable defender for Brissett, they need to pull the trigger. Indianapolis can always draft a quarterback in the middle rounds to sure up the depth chart behind Luck.

Jacoby Brissett trade

Photo from indystar.com

The only opinions that truly matter here are those of new head coach Frank Reich, owner Jim Irsay and general manager Chris Ballard. Reich has said he wants to keep Brissett. Even so, we all know every player is available for the right compensation. We also know Irsay will have the final say for better or worse.

Potential suitors

At the very least, Brissett would be a nice fallback option for the losers of the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes. Denver has to clear cap space to compete with teams like the Browns and Jets for Cousins. The Broncos will no doubt try to do that, but shipping a draft pick or a pass rusher not named Von Miller to Indy is not out of the question and may prove to be more realistic.

Brissett is not going to carry a franchise on his back, but teams like Arizona and Denver already have some nice pieces. He can certainly get a team like that right back in the mix.

 

Featured image from ninersnation.com

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Cleveland Browns free agency

Who the Cleveland Browns should target in free agency

The Browns have several needs, which were mentioned in a previous article. Luckily, they have a plethora of cap space and draft picks for this offseason, along with a new experienced general manager.

Free agency begins on March 12, and there are some young free agents that would be ideal for the Browns to go after to allow them to focus on other positional needs. The important thing for the Browns to do is to sign younger veterans that can grow with the team and teach the new rookies, rather than bringing in high salary contracts for big stars, who will not be with the team for long.

Sammy Watkins, wide receiver

Cleveland Browns free agency

Photo from Dailynews.com

Last season with the Rams, Watkins totaled nearly 600 yards and eight touchdowns as a complimentary piece on the highest scoring offense in the NFL. The 24-year-old had his best season since 2015 when he played in 13 games and still had over 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns.

 

 

Watkins was able to prove that he can stay healthy for a season, which was due to the other talented receivers in the Rams’ offense. His combination of size and speed, along with his consistent hands, should be able to mesh well with Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman.

Injuries have been a concern in the past, but after playing 15 games last season, he could bring a young, veteran presence to the wide receiver group.

Whether or not they sign a receiver in free agency, it is inevitable that the Browns will add another weapon from the draft. Other options include Mike Wallace, Taylor Gabriel and Eric Decker.

Tahir Whitehead, outside linebacker

Cleveland Browns free agency

Photo from Detroit Free Press

Why shouldn’t Cleveland look north and go after one of the highest-rated linebackers according to Pro Football Focus? Whitehead played 16 games last season, racked up 110 tackles and recovered four fumbles. This followed a season where he had 132 tackles and five pass breakups.

 

Whitehead has been incredibly healthy as he has only missed one game over the last five seasons. This is something the Browns have had an issue with, so bringing in a linebacker like Whitehead will provide this young defense with a leader and someone who can play both inside and outside linebacker.

He will be able to fit into Cleveland’s system well and help relieve a need, but it is going to cost the Browns. Whitehead is expected to earn a yearly salary as high as $9.25 million, which would put him in the middle tier of starting linebackers. Other options include Connor Barwin, Aldon Smith (who has not been reinstated yet) and Nigel Bradham.

 

Garry Gilliam, right tackle

Cleveland Browns free agency

Photo from ESPN.com

Right now, there is not a high-caliber starting right tackle on the market. However, the Browns should bring in a seasoned veteran to compete for the position. Gilliam has played in 52 games so far in his four-year career and played in eight games last season as a member of the San Francisco 49ers.

In 2017, he earned a grade of 68.5 from Pro Football Focus, which is much better than Shon Coleman, who started the season as Cleveland’s right tackle and he received a 53.0 grade.

Though their best bet would be to go after a tackle in the draft, the Browns can bring some depth because offensive line health issues have been an prevalent thing for this team. Other options include Byron Bell, James Hurst, LaAdrian Waddle.

Wrap up

Cleveland has a lot of resources, and it will be interesting to see how involved they will get come free agency time. It would be great for the Browns to gather these types of players to fill holes and to loosen the chains on the player personnel department. This fan base has been disappointed for too long, so hopefully this new management will be different.

 

Featured image by Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

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