NFL

2017 NFL Mock Draft – who’s going number one?

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USA Today

2017 NFL Mock Draft – who’s going number one?

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I love the NFL Draft. How many other sports can dominate the news cycle for weeks leading up to an off-season event? The intrigue in the draft has only increased in the social media age, with the increase in draft related content. And that is so great.

This is the time of year that every team is undefeated. Every team is selling hope for a brighter future. So many of these college kids are fulfilling a lifelong dream.

The thing that differentiates the NFL Draft and other major league sports drafts is just how many difference makers can be found in the draft. The NBA Draft feature 60 picks. Each year, only about 6-8 of those will turn into game changers for their teams, 2-4 will likely become All-Stars.

There are 253 picks in this year’s NFL Draft, nearly half of them will be called upon to start at some point during their rookie year. These are true franchise changing draft picks.

While it is impossible to correctly project all 253 draft picks in this weekends draft, I give my take on the top 32 selections in the first round.

1 – Cleveland Browns – DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M

Cleveland has the first pick of the draft for a reason, they are a dreadful football team. One of their lone bright spots last year was the development of wide receiver Terrelle Pryor; well he left in free agency. This team needs an infusion of talent. Garrett is the best player in the draft. The Browns could go QB here, but would likely regret that by mid season.

2 – San Francisco 49ers – QB Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. New General Manager John Lynch needs to put his stamp on this team in the draft, no better way than by swinging for the fences and finding your franchise quarterback. Trubisky is raw but has all the tools. The 49ers need talent in a lot of places, but you can’t win in this league without an elite quarterback. I am not sold Brian Hoyer is the answer in the bay.

3 – Chicago Bears – CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State

This is another spot that Trubisky had been rumored but the Bears just gave Mike Glennon a 3-year, $45 million contract. That would be a terrible use of resources for a team that is so deplete in talent in such a tough division. The Bears have to play Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, and Sam Bradford two times each season. Getting a cornerback that can help hold those guys under control is huge.

4 – Jacksonville Jaguars – RB Leonard Fournette, LSU

The Jaguars love power backs. They already have Chris Ivory on the roster, but that won’t stop them from drafting a guy that a lot of scouts think is a generational talent. Ezekiel Elliott really changed the way running backs are looked at in the first round. Fournette could, and should be great, unfortunately no one has much faith in the Jaguars organization when it comes to developing offensive talent.

5 – Tennessee Titans – S Malik Hooker, Ohio State

Hooker is a guy that not only will play right away, he will change the entire defense. Hooker has incredible ball skills and instincts, he can cover a ton of ground, and he will anchor this defense for years to come. To draft a safety in the top 5, a team has to know that the player will be a game changer, Hooker is that guy. Honestly in the discussion for best prospect in the whole draft.

6 – New York Jets – QB DeShaun Watson, Clemson

Trubisky is all about the upside and the tools that he has. Watson is all about the intangibles, experience, and leadership that he brings to a team. The way that Watson has played on the biggest stage the past couple years against Alabama has thrust him into the spotlight. I love a guy that has an edge, and leading up to the draft Watson has been quoted by saying that teams that draft Trubisky ahead of him will regret it. That’s confidence.

7 – Los Angeles Chargers – DE Solomon Thomas, Stanford

Joey Bosa was a great pick at #3 last year. This year the Chargers will look to continue to add defensive talent. The defensive bookends of Bosa and Thomas could be nasty for years to come. What Thomas brings to the table is a great football mind, a non-stop motor, and position flexibility. The Chargers would be lucky to have him fall to 7.

8 – Carolina Panthers – RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford

If Fournette was here, I think that the Panthers would jump all over it. But the consolation prize is not a bad one at all. McCaffery is such a weapon. He can be a Pro Bowl running back, a very dynamic slot receiver, and an explosive return man. McCaffery matched up with Cam Newton in the Panthers scheme is nasty.

9 – Cincinnati Bengals – DL Jonathan Allen, Alabama

A lot of draft experts have connected the Bengals with some of the more high risk prospects of the draft. I just don’t know that a top 10 pick is going for some of the bigger question marks. Jonathan Allen is a mean defensive lineman. While his shoulders have taken him off of some teams’ draft boards, rumor has it that the Bengals don’t have the same concerns. This would be a great match.

10 – Buffalo Bills – WR Mike Williams, Clemson

Sammy Watkins has been great, and then hurt, and then pretty good, and then hurt, and then average. Now the team has questions whether they are going to take the 5th year option on his rookie contract. That puts his future with the team in future. Williams can be a #2 to Watkins if Watkins can stay healthy, or take over as the primary target.

11 – New Orleans Saints – DE Derek Barnett, Tennessee

The Saints have the luxury of having two 1st round draft picks. That gives them the ability to go best player available. They need to draft a cornerback early, but can do that with the 32nd pick. Here they go with a disruptive pass rusher that can dominate from both end positions. The Saints need to generate some quarterback pressure to cover other defensive inefficiencies.

12 – Cleveland Browns – TE O.J. Howard, Alabama

Garrett at #1, and the best tight end to come into the draft in years. Not a bad first round for the Browns. Howard has the rare ability to play inline as a blocker, and get down field as a receiver. The comparison has been to Greg Olsen, who is only one of the most reliable and consistent tight end targets in the league.

13 – Arizona Cardinals – QB Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech

Carson Palmer has maybe a couple good years left. Mahomes is a project that would be well suited to sit behind a veteran quarterback like Palmer. Mahomes has all the tools that you hope for in a quarterback; huge arm, leadership, ability to make any throw on the field. The Cardinals make a pick that will pay off in the next few years.

14 – Philadelphia Eagles – S Jamal Adams, LSU

The Eagles would love a running back or wide receiver here that could change their offense, and help the development of their second year quarterback. If Adams were to slip to 14, the Eagles would sprint to turn their card in. Adams is a big time playmaker and will help anchor the secondary for years to come.

15 – Indianapolis Colts – OT Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin

Andrew Luck is an elite quarterback. The biggest problem is that he can’t stay on the field for 16 games because he is constantly beat on. The offensive line has been terrible the past few years and the Colts will look to stop the bleeding a bit by going with a high upside tackle in the first round.

16 – Baltimore Ravens – WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan

Mike Wallace, Michael Campanaro, and Breshad Perriman are the Ravens top receivers. That just won’t get it done. Davis can be a number one receiver that can dominate possessions and demand attention from the defense which will open it up for the run game.

17 – Washington Redskins – LB Haason Reddick, Temple

Haason Reddick is one of the most versatile prospects in this draft, and the Redskins would be shocked and excited if he were available at #17. Reddick could be a rush end, a stand up linebacker, or a hybrid pass rusher that can disrupt every play. The Redskins need playmakers in the front seven and Reddick would make an impact Week One.

18 – Tennessee Titans – WR John Ross, Washington

Marcus Mariota is emerging as a quality NFL quarterback. The next step for this franchise is to surround him with weapons. Ross broke the 40-yard dash record at the combine and can stretch the field. If Ross can stay healthy after multiple knee injuries, he will be a steal mid way through the first round.

19 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State

Unfortunately for the Bucs, Doug Martin has flashed brilliance, but then a few weeks later looked like a backup. He is currently serving a suspension and will miss the first three games of the season. Cook would step in Week one and be a feature back. This is a great situation for Cook and the Bucs.

20 – Denver Broncos – OT Garett Bolles, Utah

You can’t analyze the needs in this draft without realizing just how badly the Broncos need offensive line help. Bolles has some questions off the field, and is 25 years old, but he would be a day one starter for a line that desperately needs his athleticism and technique.

21 – Detroit Lions – CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama

The Lions could go in a lot of different direction with this pick but I think they would be intrigued with adding a cornerback with the size and skill that Humphrey has. The Lions have Slay and Hayden, but they play in a division that is very pass heavy. Humphrey would carve out a very nice role for himself in Detroit.

22 – Miami Dolphins – OL Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky

Lamp was a relative unknown before the Senior Bowl, where he was the standout offensive lineman of the group. Lamp played left tackle at Western Kentucky, but projects to be an interior offensive lineman in the NFL. Jay Ajayi broke out as a quality running back in 2016 and would be well serve to have a more solid offensive line.

23 – New York Giants – TE David Njoku, Miami

I really don’t think that Njoku falls this far, just so happens to be the way that my draft falls. Njoku would be a great fit in a pass-heavy offense in the Big Apple. Eli Manning would be incredibly happy with a receiving corps of Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, Brandon Marshall, and Njoku.

24 – Oakland Raiders – LB Jarrad Davis, Florida

Davis is a guy that has started to shoot up draft boards. This is a linebacker that will make his impact felt early in his career. The Raiders look to be heading to an agreement to bring in Marshawn Lynch as their running back, so they will go defense in the first round on Thursday.

25 – Houston Texans – QB DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame

So many people are talking about how there may only be 1 or 2 quarterbacks taken in the first round. That is ludicrous. The quarterback position has never been more valuable and there are so many teams in the league that need a boost at that position. The Texans take a boom-or-bust prospect in Kizer for one simple reason, they need a quarterback.

26 – Seattle Seahawks – CB Kevin King, Washington

King played his college ball in Seattle, now he will play his professional ball in Seattle as well. King was the second best corner for the Huskies, but he is healthy and will be drafted a round or two sooner than Sydney Jones. King would be a huge addition to the Legion of Boom.

27 – Kansas City Chiefs – DL Malik McDowell, Michigan State

Kansas City has been rumored to have interest in a quarterback but with the top 4 off the board, they won’t go that direction. The Chiefs could trade out of the first round, but if they stay put they should take a swing for the fences. McDowell is big time talent, but has had some effort issues in his time at Michigan State. This would be one of the ideal landing spots for McDowell.

28 – Dallas Cowboys – DE Takkarist McKinley, UCLA

The Cowboys need secondary and pass rush help more than anything else in this draft. With cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Kevin King still on the board, I was tempted to go that way. In the end, I think cornerback is a deeper position and the Cowboys could get a quality starter in Round 2. Takk had an impressive combine, running a 4.59 40-yard dash. In comparison, that was faster than top wide receiver prospect Mike Williams, and faster than any top QB prospect in the draft. McKinley may not be ready Week One after a shoulder surgery post-combine, but will be a disruptive pass rusher as a rookie.

29 – Green Bay Packers – DE T.J. Watt, Wisconsin

The brother of J.J. Watt, T.J., is about to be drafted and the Packers would be an outstanding spot for Watt to land. The question a lot of people have is, would T.J. Watt be a first round draft pick if his last name were Johnson, or Smith? I’m not sure. His combine workout was good, and he is a talented rush end, but we’ll see if he can live up to his last name.

 

30 – Pittsburgh Steelers – LB Rueben Foster, Alabama

There are two major questions surrounding Foster. The first is his injury history. His shoulders have chronic issues, and he plays at 100% all of the time which leaves him open to injuries. The second question is the dilute drug test that is being reported. It isn’t technically a “failed” drug test, but it puts him into the NFL Drug program, and it raises major questions. Pittsburgh has a veteran defense that can take Foster under their wing and help him succeed.

31 – Atlanta Falcons – DE Charles Harris, Missouri

In my opinion, Harris is one of the safest picks in this draft. While he does not have the elite speed or the physical traits that some of the top prospects have, but he is consistent and can be dominant. Harris will make a team in the first round very happy with his addition.

32 – New Orleans Saints – QB Davis Webb, California

A 5th quarterback in the first round?? Crazy, right? Not really. Webb doesn’t deserve to be a first round draft pick but he may be a first round selection. The 5th year on the rookie contract is worth something to teams and someone may try to trade up into this spot to ensure that they could draft a project quarterback that is under contract for 5 years.

Predictions for the NFC West with only five weeks left

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© Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Predictions for the NFC West with only five weeks left

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LA Rams 8-3

Remaining schedule: At Arizona, vs Philadelphia, at Seattle, at Tennessee, vs San Francisco

Projection: 12-4 record, NFC west champion, NFC #2

The Rams are guaranteed at least a .500 record, and could challenge for home field advantage if the Eagles give up a game or two down the stretch. What a turnaround this year has been for Sean McVay and Jared Goff, and we could be experiencing déjà vu from the 1999 season. The Jaguars were the Rams’ offensive equals that year (if there was such a thing), but this year it would have to be the Eagles, and we all get treated to a late season showdown before the playoffs with the hope that these two juggernauts face each other again in the conference championship. How great would it be to see the Rams or Eagles take on the Patriots or Steelers in the Super Bowl? You really couldn’t miss with any of those potential matchups. Games against the Eagles and Seahawks could be losses, but the Rams should coast to an 11 win season, and have the chance to do better than that if they can go 4-1 or better the rest of the way. Goff and RB Todd Gurley are looking like superstars, and while Robert Woods’ injury hurts, they can fill the gaps with Sammy Watkins the way they originally intended to use him.  What they really need is for their defense to play at a 2015 Denver Broncos level, and they would be virtually unstoppable. If their defense continues to give up big plays, they could be forced to win shootouts, which they are definitely capable of in the SoCal sunshine. If they have to travel to the east coast with a Super Bowl on the line, the potentially bad weather, running game, and strong defense could play to their favor as well. Against so many odds, they are in the drivers’ seat and just need to stay healthy and continue to play smart and they should have a great shot at their first deep playoff run since 2001.

Seattle Seahawks 7-4

Remaining schedule: vs Philadelphia, at Jacksonville, vs LA Rams, at Dallas, vs Arizona

Projection: 11-5, NFC #6

Looking at their remaining five games, Seattle has a real shot to make the playoffs, but they will need some help even if they go 4-1 over a potentially brutal finish. It’s equally possible they could go 3-2 or 2-3 and not have a shot at all. Other than shooting themselves in the foot, the one team that could ruin the Seahawks’ chances at a playoff berth just by matching their record is the same team that knocked them out last year – Atlanta. With identical records and a head to head win, Atlanta could do something no one has done while Russell Wilson has been under center in Seattle – keep them out of the postseason. Wilson has led the Seahawks to a division crown or wild card berth in each of his five seasons, but this year could be the outlier if things don’t go their way down the stretch.  Minus Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, a serviceable running game, and a banged up team pretty much across the board, it will be impressive to see them make the playoffs, but given the amount of times they have been bitten by the injury bug, I’m not sure how much damage they can do if they make it. They are good enough to knock around with the league’s elite, but they just haven’t been the same since 2014 and their track record going on the road in the postseason is ok but not strong (2-3). They almost need a losing season to reload in the draft with some high picks, but as it stands they may be doomed to NFL purgatory while their once proud running game and defense continues to age and fizzle to the point of being unrecognizable.

Arizona Cardinals 5-6

Remaining schedule: vs LA Rams, vs Tennessee, at Washington, vs NY Giants, at Seattle

Projection: 6-10

To be blunt, Arizona has been a in a slow-motion season-long nose-dive since they lost David Johnson in week one. They tried to survive without DJ, and thought their season was looking up after trading for Adrian Peterson. One week later, Carson Palmer broke his arm and they are now starting Blaine Gabbert after Drew Stanton hurt his knee. Ouch town – population YOU, bro. Their remaining slate appears to have one winnable game on it (Giants), but the rest are most likely going to help them get a better draft pick next year. It might be in the best interest of the team to let Palmer and Peterson retire after yet another lost season. It’s never a good time to jump start a rebuild, but aging veterans who can’t stay healthy are not a long-term solution and AP was going to be expendable next year with DJ coming back. They might as well see Palmer, AP, and Larry Fitzgerald ride off in to the sunset, while the front office pulls the trigger on the era of players TBD.

San Francisco 49ers 1-10

Remaining schedule: at Chicago, at Houston, vs Tennessee, vs Jacksonville, at LA Rams

Projection: 1-15, potential top draft pick

Even if the 49ers wanted to win one of their remaining games, I’m not sure it’s in their best interest or that they are capable of beating any of their opponents. Their lone win is against a 2-9 team (Giants) who this week unceremoniously benched their long time QB in favor of Geno Smith (not a mis-print), and their end of the season slate has just one winnable game (Bears). With one win they could still be vying for the top pick with the Browns with a potential franchise QB (Jimmy Garoppolo) already in their pocket, which means they can be just as creative with their draft as they were in 2017, whereas the Browns are desperate for a QB. The 49ers don’t need wholesale changes, but they do need to improve at receiver, offensive line, tight end, linebacker, cornerback, and safety before they can even think about a winning season. It would benefit the team and the franchise if they just played their inexperienced players the rest of the way, but no one likes to see obvious tanking, so we will most likely see their first string players out on the field until games get out of hand, and then a lot of guys you’ve never heard of handling mop-up duty. This being year three of the post-Harbaugh rebuild, and just year one of the new Lynch-Shanahan regime, we’re likely to see at least one more year of bad football before they turn the corner.

Enough of NFL kneeling -- around fallen players knocked cold by big hits

Enough of NFL kneeling -- around fallen players knocked cold by big hits

I tuned away from a National Football League game last night because I was tired of seeing football players kneeling.

No, NOT during the National Anthem.

I'm talking about the all-too-frequent kind of kneeling that should be causing alarm bells throughout football at all levels. It isn't that pregame stuff. It's the kneeling during games -- meaning players gathered in a circle around a fallen teammate who has just taken a vicious hit on the field and is motionless on the ground.

I'm disgusted by it. I've had enough of it. Somebody is going to get killed someday -- and I mean killed. Dead.

So while people will spend the day arguing over whether the hit by Chicago's Danny Trevathan on Green Bay's Davante Adams was intentional, let me suggest that the intent part of this issue shouldn't matter any longer.

If you stick a guy like that -- helmet to helmet at high speed -- you should be in your locker room two minutes later, booted out of the game. Suspended and fined, too. Take the intent out of it -- you just can't tolerate dangerous situations like that. The players are too big and too fast, leading to a new level of violence that's better left to video games.

Football has lost its way, distracted by a love for "hitting" rather than "tackling." Nobody really tackles these days. Not if they can crush someone with a collision along the lines of a train wreck. The old days of wrapping people up with arm tackles is long gone. It's all about the sound and fury of a big knock now and what's needed isn't just a rule change, but a culture change.

And for me, this is getting hard to watch. There is no reason for the pros, the colleges or the high schools to put up with ANY hits directly to the head -- premeditated or not. Hit people on the shoulder pads or lower -- or find yourself looking for another sport. And that goes for offensive players, too. Ball carriers leading with the crown of their helmet should be penalized, too, if they cause similar collisions.

End the hits to the head and neck before it's too late. Don't make a tragic death the reason for a culture change.

Overcoming stress from your NFL Fantasy picks

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© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Overcoming stress from your NFL Fantasy picks

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This is going to be a fantastic year. Right? You read countless articles. You bought different strategy guides to help you get the right pick, and you watched the NFL network for two hours each night before bed. What did all that get you in the end? A humiliating 1-4 record.

That being said, welcome to the world of NFL Fantasy football.

Maybe it’s not your fault (since all the experts said draft Jimmy Graham). Or maybe it is. After all, no one forced you to pick that player.

Regardless of how you got here, let’s face it – if you’ve only got one or two wins this season, it’s pretty much over for you.

Accepting defeat in any form is never an easy pill to swallow, but losing at fantasy football can put you on a whole different level. In some cases, you lose lots of money, get endlessly tormented by friends and/or co-workers for months, and, perhaps worst of all, dread turning on the TV every Sunday.

Understanding Stress

Sports participation – like the NFL Fantasy – can place a lot of psychological demands on anyone. From youth league to the professional level, athletes like Eddie Lacy are forced to cope with the stress that arises from competing head-on with others in activities that are not only important to the athletes, but to the fans as well.

Before discussing ways of reducing stress when it comes to football fantasy, we need to explore what it means to be stressed. Normally, the term is used in two different, but related ways. First, we use the term to refer to a situation in our lives that places some sort of physical or mental demand on us. Family conflict, work pressure, and sporting events (fantasy football included) are all examples of events to make us say “there’s a lot of stress in my life right now.”

The second way in which we use this term is to refer to our mental, emotional, and behavioral responses to these demanding situations. Tension, or depression are examples of such reactions, as well as upset stomachs and sleepless nights, two of eight signs that stress is affecting your health. This is the type of stress that can cause you to say, “I’m feeling a lot of stress right now.” Who would have thought fantasy football could be so time consuming and stressful?

Coping Mechanisms

Although drafting a solid team is a vital part of championship success, you simply cannot stop there. Remember: this isn’t a Daily Fantasy Sport; this league is a season-long commitment. Moving forward, there are three important moves to make once the season begins in order to improve your rankings and lower your stress level.

Monitoring athletes on the waiver wire and completing beneficial trades are, of course, the most notable ways to capitalize at the expense of your opponents. Lastly, arranging your starting lineup is very important but not as easy as it seems.

  • Waiver Wire

If one of your players sustains season-ending injury, drop him immediately in favor of a healthy player with some potential. Don’t be that person who refuses to drop their star player just because you like seeing their name on your roster.

  • Streaming Defense and Kickers

This is a common one in fantasy football. Depending on which defense and kicker you draft, it might be worth replacing them on a week-to-week basis. If you have a decent defense but there is another one on the waiver wire with a matchup against the worst offense in the league, it can be beneficial to make the switch. If you, however, draft the NFL’s projected number one defense, this strategy does not apply.

  • Trading

Assess your roster. At what positions are you lacking depth? Look at your strongest positions. Then look at your weakest positions. These are important things to keep in mind when moving forward with trade proposals. Be patient with your star players. Don’t try to trade one of your first two draft picks early in the season, especially when you are offering them a discount price. Normally, top players will return to form if they struggle through the first few games. Lastly, don’t be that person who proposes a bunch of unfair trades. You simply cannot get a superstar for nothing.

In the end, although fantasy football can be extremely tiresome and stressful, it’s meant to be a fun activity for family, friends, and co-workers. If you’re feeling overwhelmed from the heat others are giving you, step away from the competition. No activity that’s meant to be fun should be that traumatic.

BREAKING -- my secret to making Super Bowl picks that make you happy, win or lose

BREAKING -- my secret to making Super Bowl picks that make you happy, win or lose

The National Football League opens Thursday night and you know what that means, right?

It means that pundits all over the country need to get their Super Bowl picks in sometime before the first game. And of course, I'm all in on that -- even though I don't consider myself much of an NFL expert. You see, I don't play fantasy football. I don't bet on NFL games and I find the Red Zone channel unfulfilling. I'd even rather play golf than watch the NFL on TV on a sunny Sunday, too. So there is that.

But I'm still as capable as any other writer in the country at picking teams out of the air. Especially because I have a system -- a tried-and-true system that I've been using for years now when it comes to picking winners in any sport.

Now keep in mind I didn't invent this system. It's been in operation for decades, I'm sure -- and was probably invented by one of the legendary greats in my business.

So let's get to it and this season, for the first time, I'm going to pull back the curtain and reveal how I arrive at my genius picks -- which very often prove to be correct. I am going to give it all up this year, my gift to the sporting public.

First off, you need to decide which team irritates you the most. Which team are you most tired of hearing about? Reading about? And which one are you most tired of watching win? It shouldn't take you long to make this decision. Just as most everybody has a favorite team, most people have a least-favorite team.

Now here comes the tricky part.

Once you discern that most disliked team or franchise (or most despised coach or player, if you prefer), go ahead and pick that team to make it to the Super Bowl. Why? Because you will be hedging your bet, in a way. Let's say, for instance, you are sick and tired of reading about, hearing about or just talking about ... the New England Patriots.

Pick the Patriots.

And that way, no matter what happens, you can't lose. If the Patriots win, you're a genius. After all, you picked them. But if they lose, you were wrong about them. WHICH SHOULD MAKE YOU HAPPY! You don't like them and they lost! Certainly it's worth being wrong on a silly Super Bowl pick that nobody will remember unless you pop up months from now reminding them who you picked, right?

I love this method and offer it up to the world. I've even known people who use it in real-life. A friend of mine made it a practice to make bets -- real money -- against his own family member with his friends, thinking then he'd be less disappointed either way with the outcome.

Yes, the world can be a harsh place.

So now you know the method behind my madness all these years. And oh yes, I almost forgot.

My Super Bowl picks this season? The New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks. Bet on it... if you want.

Seahawks lock Chancellor down with contract extension

Seahawks lock Chancellor down with contract extension

When the Seattle Seahawks drafted Kam Chancellor in 2010, not even the most optimistic of fans could have envisioned the impact the safety out of Virginia Tech would have.

The organization made sure they'll have plenty of opportunities going forward.

On Tuesday, the Seahawks and Chancellor agreed to a multi-year contract extension, reportedly a 3-year, $36 million deal, which head coach Pete Carroll said is "a wonderful day for the Seahawks organization." Chancellor, 29, who along with Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman formed the famed "Legion of Boom" defense, is entering his eighth season in Seattle.

“I love this team,” he said Tuesday. “They gave me the first opportunity—the only opportunity—and I would love to retire here.”

Chancellor took over as a starter in 2011 and has averaged 57 tackles per year, despite only playing a full season three times. Chancellor also has 12 career interceptions. However, it's his presence as a ball-hawking, missile-seeking safety valve that has defined his career. When he missed four games last season, the intimidation factor in the Seahawks secondary was gone.

“He kind of brings a swagger to the defense, and to the whole team really," Doug Baldwin said last season. "There aren’t many people who can go up against Kam and win that battle, so he kind of brings the hammer for the whole team. Then obviously his leadership in the locker room, he’s just one of those guys who is down to earth. He can talk to anybody, have a conversation with anybody, cares genuinely about everybody, and he brings everybody together.”

That leadership will be around for a lot longer now.

 

Yes, you worry about your kids playing football... but are you worried YOU may have CTE?

Yes, you worry about your kids playing football... but are you worried YOU may have CTE?

You've heard about this study by now. If you ever played NFL football, there's a real good chance you're suffering or WILL suffer, the effects of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). They studied the brains of 111 former NFL players and 110 of them showed signs of it. And that study included a punter and a placekicker.

Everyone is talking about whether they'd allow their children to play football, in light of this very chilling data. I must say, I wouldn't. For me, it isn't even worth a second thought. No way. Stick to baseball or basketball. Broken bones heal but broken brains don't.

In fact, I must say that even watching the sport bothers me a lot. Are we watching brains being sliced and diced for our personal entertainment?

And what I'm wondering today is how many former football players -- the ones who didn't make it to the NFL and played only in high school or college -- are worried about brain damage? And oh, by the way, it's a condition that can't be diagnosed until death. You probably wouldn't know you had it until the scary symptoms start to appear.

It's very clear that anybody who ever played the game at any level has a real chance of having the condition.

This study showed that 21 percent of those who played high school football had evidence of CTE and a whopping 91 percent of college players did. Now the flaw in those statistics is the brains that were studied could be much more likely to show evidence of CTE because they likely belonged to people who showed symptoms -- and that's why they were contributed to the study.

But still... This is some very depressing data and I can't even imagine what former college football players might be thinking right now:

Do I have CTE? Will I have CTE? Will I be rational enough even to recognize I have it?

NFL passes new rules that could impact the upcoming season

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USA TODAY SPORTS IMAGES

NFL passes new rules that could impact the upcoming season

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Every year, NFL owners like Paul Allen meet to discuss different ways to improve to the league and different marketing techniques that will continue to grow the brand.

This year, owners gathered and made some major decisions, most notably being the approval of the Raiders relocation from Oakland to Las Vegas. Those weren’t all the changes made this year, however. Team owners recently decided to vote on some rule changes that they believe would not only speed the game up, but improve player safety by trying to solve the NFL’s concussion problem as well.

Let’s take a look at the approved changes that will be in effect for the upcoming 2017 football season.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

The NFL is trying hard to bring back a little fun to sport. As a matter of fact, the league announced on Tuesday, May 23, that it was loosening its strict rules about on-field celebrations. This means that celebrations that include “using the football as a prop” after a touchdown are now permitted. Other celebrations that include ground demonstrations, or dancing with cheerleaders and teammates are also permitted to a certain extent, of course.

Offensive celebrations that are prolonged and delay the game for any reason will result in a player being penalized and face a possible fine along with a 1-2 week suspension. For the most part, however, it’s open season for celebration.

Stronger Enforcement on Illegal Hits

At the annual league meeting back in March, NFL clubs voted on making additional rule changes to the way football games are officiated in order to help improve the health and safety of players.

These changes were proposed by the NFL club members and the NFL competition committee, a group that has met over several times since the conclusion of the 2016 season to discuss player safety with physicians, safety experts, and other experts. By enforcing these rules, committees are hoping they can minimize injuries like concussions, knee injuries, and temporomandibular joint pain; a joint that’s located on the side of the skill and if not treated, could cause locking of the jaw.

Here are some of the approved health and safety related 2017 playing rules proposals:

  • Giving a receiver that’s running a pass route defenseless player protection.
  • Prohibiting crack back blocks by a backfield player who’s in motion.
  • Prohibits the “leaper” block attempt during field goals and extra point plays.

These rules aren’t designed to penalize players. Instead, they were created with the intent of making the game of football safer by encouraging healthy behavior traits both on and off the field.

Technology: Centralized Replay Review

Each week, millions of people watch NFL games on their television screens or in person. Increasingly, they also follow the action on a second and, in some cases, third screen. Smartphones, computers, and tablets make it all possible for fans to witness the action live. That being said, instant replay is being used now more than ever in the NFL. As a matter of fact, only 17 percent of games were played without a replay in 2013.

How does it work?

Well, state-of-the-art technology powers the command center that the league uses to help monitor games and evaluate the officials who operate the instant replay system. As of this year, referees will no longer be expected to go hide under the “hood” to review plays. Instead, the final say on replay reviews and challenges will come from Senior Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino and his crew, who will work from the league’s command office stationed in New York.

Don’t worry; referees will still be able to communicate their opinions on the decisions through a wireless headset and video tablet. The committee believes that with quicker review time, the game will go by faster by at least 1.5 minutes per game.

Technology instant replay also helps team physicians increase their knowledge of a patient’s condition after an injury. In other words, during a play, it’s hard to determine how a player got injured with 21 other men running around the field colliding into one another. With instant replay, however, officials can zone in on the injured player before the ball was snapped to see what happened. This helps doctors determine how players got injured and what part of the body suffered the biggest impact.

So, who’s ready for football season to start?

Seahawks sign Austin Davis, all but ending Kaepernick speculation

Seahawks sign Austin Davis, all but ending Kaepernick speculation

It was viewed by some as a perfect match: the downtrodden and humbled former star, in search of a new home and identity, collaborating with a team in desperate need of help at his position. On Monday morning, that scenario appeared to close completely. Colin Kaepernick to Seattle looks to be done, as the Seahawks signed Austin Davis to be their backup quarterback going forward.

Davis, 28, is entering his sixth season and spent last season with the Denver Broncos, after stops in St. Louis and Cleveland. Jake Heaps was released to make room for Davis.

Trevon Boykin will compete with Davis for the #2 role behind Russell Wilson. Davis has played in 13 career games, with 10 starts. The most efficient game of his career came against Seattle in 2014, when he completed 17 of 20 passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns, leading the (then) St. Louis Rams to a 28-26 win. 

With the signing of Davis, which Seattle made official today, the Seahawks appear to be, at least at the time, out of the Colin Kaepernick game. After visiting with the team last week, it was widely speculated that Kaepernick and the Seahawks would come to an agreement, especially given the similarities in style between he and Wilson.

Head coach Pete Carroll said a couple days ago that the Seahawks would not be signing Colin "at this time," but did not shut the door completely. 

"Colin's been a fantastic football player, and he's going to continue to be," Carroll said. "At this time, we didn't do anything with it, but we know where he is and who he is and we had a chance to understand him much more so. He's a starter in this league. And we have a starter. But he's a starter in this league, and I can't imagine that someone won't give him a chance to play."

With Davis, Boykin, and Wilson under contract, that intriguing saga looks to be gone.

Chip Kelly is returning to football... as an analyst

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Chip Kelly is returning to football... as an analyst

Chip Kelly has finally landed a gig. This time though looks a little different... Want to see more of Chip Kelly's iconic TV interviews? Well now you can. Former Oregon Ducks head football coach and NFL Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly will be joing the ESPN staff as a college football analyst on Saturday's and appearing on SportsCenter to provide NFL analysis on Sunday's.

"I spoke with a lot of people this offseason about different situations for me — in coaching and TV," Kelly said in a statement. "I had various opportunities in both. In the end, I have had a relationship with ESPN for many years from when I was coaching and after speaking with them, I decided it was the best step for me to take."

Kelly, who was with the Oregon Ducks from 2009-2012, accumluated a 46-7 record and lead them to a Rose Bowl victory in 2011 and a Fiesta Bowl victory in 2012 before heading the NFL. His three-year NFL coaching career with the Philadelphia Eagles (2013-2015) came to a hault after recording 10-6, 10-6, and 6-9 seasons. Kelly then made his way to the Bay to coach the 49ers for just one season after going 2-14. 

Be sure to check out this article for more information on the move.