NFL

Patriots could receive comp pick for Blount after issuing May 9 tender

Patriots could receive comp pick for Blount after issuing May 9 tender

UPDATE: The Patriots extended LeGarrette Blount the rarely-used May 9 tender, which is worth 110 percent of what he made in 2016 ($1.1 million). The tender allows the Blount to count toward New England's 2018 compensatory-pick formula should he sign with another club. If he does not sign with another club before July 22, the Patriots will have exclusive negotiating rights with Blount from July 22 through the Tuesday after Week 10 of the regular season. Per Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, Blount has no plans to sign the tender at the moment.

It's time to talk compensatory picks. Again, I know. 

These things are the source of a whole lot of confusion for many because the way in which the league determines who gets compensatory picks, how many, and in what rounds is based upon a secret formula. 

That's right. Like the special sauce on your Big Mac.

What we do know about the formula, though, is that it's based on free agents lost and free agents signed by a given team in a given year. The level of those free agents -- which factors in salary, playing time and postseason honors -- is also taken into account.

Picks are then awarded to teams who have lost more (or better) free agents than they acquired. 

CONTINUE READING

49ers' Arik Armstead sidelined with hamstring injury

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USA Today

49ers' Arik Armstead sidelined with hamstring injury

Former Oregon defensive end Arik Armstead is out several weeks with a hamstring injury, according to multiple reports.

Armstead, who has missed 14 games over the past two seasons after playing in every game his rookie year in 2015, is considered week-to-week, according to the team.  

San Francisco selected Armstead with the 17th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. He is expected to start at defensive end opposite former Oregon star DeForest Buckner, selected in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. 

Despite past injury problems, expectations for Armstead remain high.  Defensive line coach Jeff Zgonina told NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco last June that Armstead appeared to be more comfortable in the defense.

"We tried him at a few spots last year, and I think he's really starting to feel comfortable at that big end spot and inside pass-rusher on pass downs," Zgonina said. "I think he has more of a defined role."

Armstead has made 11 starts for the 49ers and has six career sacks. 

Armstead was placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury in November of 2016.  Last season a broken hand in week six ended Armstead's season.

Just wondering why it's so hard for the NFL to get out of its own way

Just wondering why it's so hard for the NFL to get out of its own way

Just so you know, the National Anthem thing isn't the only rule the National Football League can't seem to figure out.

NFL officials were in Philadelphia recently and met with Eagles players to try to answer their questions about the league's new rule regarding the use of the helmet in contact situations. But it seems the officials couldn't even come to agreement themselves on the parameters of the new rule, which seems to mirror the college "targeting" rule:

During the meeting, Eagles players were shown video of plays that would now be considered illegal and then showed officials a video of safety Malcom Jenkins’ hit that knocked Patriots wide receiver Brandin Cooks out of the Super Bowl with a concussion. The play did not result in a flag in February and the officials were split on whether it would now draw a flag, which is why Nigel Bradham still felt unclear when the meeting ended.

Just days before the exhibition season opens, it's not a good thing that the people calling the penalties still cannot fully convey to the players the exact nature of a rule that is designed to increase safety for the players.

Why is it that the most prosperous and popular league in the country can't seem to get out of its own way? I don't know, maybe it's leadership?

 

Tracking Ducks, Beavers and other locals in the NFL

Tracking Ducks, Beavers and other locals in the NFL

NFL training camps swing into action in the coming days so it's time to take a look at the familiar faces from the state of Oregon currently on NFL rosters. 

Below is a list of players in the NFL that hail from Oregon, Oregon State, Portland State, Western Oregon, Southern Oregon, Eastern Oregon and high schools from across the state. 

The Ducks lead the way with 35 players. Oregon State has 22 players in the league. 

Teams most represented by players from the state are the Los Angeles Rams, a potential Super Bowl contender, with six, followed by the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles with five.  

Former OSU wide receiver Brandin Cooks was acquired by the Rams this offseason to give the team potentially one of the more explosive offenses in the league. The Rams also acquired defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh out of Portland's Grant High School. 

The Eagles lost former Ducks running back Kenjon Barner to Carolina during the offseason but gained former UO defensive tackle Haloti Ngata

Seattle is next in line with four players, three from Oregon, including tight end Ed Dickson

Below is a list of the known players from the state that are in the NFL. If we've missed anyone, please let us know with an email to AaronFentress@CSNNW.com:

 

 ARIZONA CARDINALS

None. 

 ATLANTA FALCONS

  • Sean Harlow, Oregon State, guard: The 2017 fourth-round pick enters his second season. Spent all of last season inactive. 
  • Andy Levitre, Oregon State, guard: Entering his 10th season. 
  • Rocky Ortiz, Oregon State, running back: Spent last season on Baltimore's practice squad. Signed with Atlanta on May 18. 

 

 BALTIMORE RAVENS

  • Randin Crecelius, Portland State, guard: Signed as an undrafted rookie free agent. 
  • Patrick Onwuasor, Portland State, linebacker: Entering his third season. Appeared in 16 games last season and finished with 90 total tackles. 

 

 BUFFALO BILLS

 

  • Jordan Poyer, Oregon State, safety: Entering his sixth season. Intercepted five passes in 2017. 

 

 CAROLINA PANTHERS

 

  • Kenjon Barner, Oregon, running back:  Returns to Carolina, where he spent his rookie season, after winning Super Bowl with Philadelphia in his fifth season. 
  • Evan Bayless, Oregon, tight end: Spent last season with Baltimore where he appeared in one game. 
  • David Mayo, Texas State (Scappoose H.S.), linebacker: Entering his fourth season. Had 19 tackles last season. 

 

 CHICAGO BEARS

  • Hroniss Grasu, Oregon, center: Entering his fourth season. 
  • Kyle Long, Oregon, guard: Entering his sixth season. A three-time Pro Bowl player. 
  • Ryan Nall, Oregon State (Central Catholic H.S., Portland), running back: Signed as an undrafted rookie free agent. 

 

 CINCINNATI BENGALS

 

  • Jake Fisher, Oregon, offensive tackle: Entering his fourth season. Has started 11 career games. 

 

 CLEVELAND BROWNS

 

  • Terrance Mitchell, Oregon, defensive back: Intercepted four passes last season for Kansas City. 
  • Fred Lauina, Oregon State, offensive line: Signed as an undrafted rookie free agent in May. 

 

 DALLAS COWBOYS

 

  • Tyree Robinson, Oregon, safety: Signed as an undrafted rookie free agent. 

 

 DENVER BRONCOS

  • Royce Freeman, Oregon, running back: Denver selected Oregon's all-time leading rusher in the third round last spring. 
  • Kyle Peko, Oregon State, nose tackle: Entering second season. Appeared in six games last season. 

 

 DETROIT LIONS

 

  • Jace Billingsley, Eastern Oregon, wide receiver: Appeared in two games last season. 
  • LeGarrette Blount, Oregon, running back: Rushed for 766 yards last season for the Super Bowl champion Eagles. 
  • Tyrell Crosby, Oregon, offensive tackle: Selected in the fifth round last spring. 
  • DeShawn Shead, Portland State, defensive back: Shead missed most of last season with Seattle with a knee injury suffered the year before. 

 

 GREEN BAY PACKERS 

None. 

 

 HOUSTON TEXANS

 

  • Treston Decoud, Oregon State, cornerback: Entering his second year. Appeared in 10 games last season. 
  • Brennan Scarlett, California and Stanford (Central Catholic H.S., Portland): Entering his third season. Appeared in 18 games over the past two seasons. 

 

 INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

 

None. 

 

 JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

 

  • Tim Cook, Oregon State, running back: The undrafted rookie free agent in 2017 is entering his second season. 
  • Manase Hungalu, Oregon State, linebacker: Undrafted rookie free agent. 

 

KANSAS CITY

 

  • Steven Nelson, Oregon State, defensive back: Entering his fourth season. Nelson has appeared in 36 career games. 
  • Arrion Springs, Oregon, defensive back: Undrafted rookie free agent. 
  • De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon, wide receiver: Entering his fifth season. Has 61 career receptions. 

 

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

 

  • Tyrell Williams, Western Oregon (Cascade H.S., Turner), wide receiver: Entering his fourth season. Has 1,877 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns for his career. 

 

LOS ANGELES RAMS

 

  • Brandin Cooks, Oregon State, wide receiver: On his third team in five years. Has three seasons of 1,000 receiving yards or more for his career. 
  • Johnny Hekker, Oregon State, punter: The four-time Pro Bowler enters his seventh season. Averaged 47.9 yards per punt last season. 
  • Troy Hill, Oregon, defensive back: Entering his fourth season. Hill has appeared in 24 NFL games. 
  • Sean Mannion, Oregon State, quarterback: Entering his third season. 
  • Johnny Mundt, Oregon, tight end: Undrafted rookie free agent. 
  • Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska (Grant H.S.), defensive tackle: The five-time Pro Bowler joined the Rams over the offseason. 

 

MIAMI DOLPHINS

 

  • Kiko Alonso, Oregon, linebacker: The sixth-year pro had 115 tackles last season. 

 

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

 

  • Josh Andrews, Oregon State, guard: Spent last season on the Eagles' practice squad. 
  • Mike Remmers, Oregon State, offensive tackle: Entering his sixth season in the NFL. 

 

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

  • Ryan Allen, Louisiana Tech (West Salem H.S.), punter: Entering his sixth season, all with the Patriots. Has a career punting average of 45.3 yards. 
  • Patrick Chung, Oregon, safety: Entering his 10th season, eighth with the Patriots. 
  • Eddie Pleasant, Oregon, safety: Recently signed with New England. Spent six seasons with Houston. 

 

 NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

 

  • Josh Huff, Oregon, wide receiver: Entering his fourth season, first with the Saints. 
  • Henry Mondeaux, Oregon, defensive line: Undrafted rookie free agent. 
  • Max Unger, Oregon, center: The two-time Pro Bowl player is entering his ninth season. 

 

 NEW YORK GIANTS

 

  • Jonathan Stewart, Oregon, running back: Rushed for 7,318 yards in 10 seasons with Carolina. 
  • Aldrick Rosas, Southern Oregon, kicker: Made 18 of 25 field goal attempts last season. 

 

NEW YORK JETS

 

  • Obum Gwacham, Oregon State, linebacker:  Entering his fourth season. Has appeared in 14 NFL games. 

 

 OAKLAND RAIDERS

 

  • Cameron Hunt, Oregon, offensive line: Spent last season on the 49ers' practice squad. Signed with Oakland in May. 
  • Pharaoh Brown, Oregon, tight end: Signed as an undrafted rookie free agent last year. Spent most of the season on the team's practice squad. 

 

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

  • Taylor Hart, Oregon, offensive tackle:  Entering his fifths season. Began his career as a defensive lineman. 
  • Haloti Ngata, Oregon, defensive tackle: The five-time Pro Bowler is entering his 13th season. 
  • Isaac Seumalo, Oregon State, guard: Entering his third season. Has appeared in 23 games. 
  • Joe Walker, Oregon, linebacker: Appeared in 12 games as a rookie last season. 
  • Marcus Wheaton, Oregon State, wide receiver: Entering his sixth season. Spent last year with the Bears. 

 

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

 

  • Kameron Canaday, Portland State, long snapper: Appeared in 16 games last season.  Entering his third year. 

 

 

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

 

  • Arik Armstead, Oregon, defensive end: Entering his fourth season. The former first-round pick appeared in just six games last year. 
  • Victor Bolden Jr., Oregon State, wide receiver:  Had 396 yards on kick off returns last season.
  • DeForest Buckner, Oregon, defensive end: Entering his second year after making 45 tackles last season. 

 

 SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

 

  • D.J. Alexander, Oregon State, linebacker: Entering his fourth season. Has 34 career tackles in 44 games. 
  • Tanner Carew, Oregon, long snapper: Undrafted rookie free agent. 
  • Ed Dickson, Oregon, tight end: Entering his ninth season. Caught 30 passes for 437 yards last season. 
  • Dion Jordan, Oregon, defensive end: Entering his second season with Seattle. Had for sacks in five games last season. 

 

 TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

 

  • Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State, running back: Entering his eighth season. Rushed for 244 yards last season with the Buccaneers.  

 

 TENNESSEE TITANS

 

  • Marcus Mariota, Oregon, quarterback: Entering his fourth season. Had a career low 13 touchdown passes last season. 

 

 WASHINGTON REDSKINS

  • Alex Balducci, Oregon (Central Catholic H.S., Portland), offensive line: Originally with San Francisco as an undrafted rookie free agent. 
  • Byron Marshall, Oregon, running back: Entering third season, second with Washington.  

 

199th Pick – Who is this quarterback, Luke Falk?

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199th Pick – Who is this quarterback, Luke Falk?

Luke Falk was the 199th pick in the NFL draft, and in my eyes he’s an absolute steal for the Tennessee Titans. Should the Marcus Mariota project fail, he’d be a great replacement. I don’t expect Falk to take Mariota’s job over the offseason, but it’s not like anyone saw Russell Wilson coming.

Without further ado, here are the stats of three PAC-12 quarterbacks last season:

  A B C
Height – ft, in. 6’ 4” 6’ 4” 6’4”
Weight – lbs. 223 218 220
Passing Touchdowns 30 26 26
Interceptions 13 10 13
Completion Percentage 67% 62.6% 63.1%
Yards per attempt 6.7 8.3 8.6
QBR 137 147 148
Games Lost Due to Injury 7 7 0
Injury Concern Type Concussion

 

Wrist

Concussions

 

Shoulder

None

Per sports-reference.com

 

All three of these players were taken in the draft, and if you’re reading this as a college football fan you probably already know who’s who. As you can see, they’re comparable.

Quarterbacks B and C have been vaunted as the next Donovan McNabb or Trent Green. The other? I’ve read a comparison to Kirk Cousins, but besides that Player A has been compared to Mike Glennon and another website suggested for said player to gain some weight. Note how all of the players above weigh about the same. Another twenty pounds and all of a sudden we’re evaluating potential linebackers instead of quarterbacks. How ridiculous!

Player A is an all-time PAC-12 player. He’s the career leader in completions, passing yards, and ranked with the 16th highest passing efficiency rating in the conference. His name is Luke Falk, and he had an amazing career with the Washington State Cougars.

Player B is Josh Rosen, and Player C is Sam Darnold. The table gives an interesting take on the narratives behind these quarterbacks. Falk was derided for having played in an air raid system so terrible that it apparently produces more touchdowns than standard sets. While Rosen and Darnold threw for 18 and 15 passing touchdowns this past season in the red zone respectively, Luke Falk tossed 26. The WSU quarterback is proficient at finishing drives and is situationally adept in short field situations.

Falk’s yards per attempt is lower than Rosen’s or Darnold’s, but he’s been more accurate and is near invincible in the red zone. The problem with Falk’s low yards per attempt rate isn’t even that much of a big deal here. The running game was so bad at WSU, that they had to turn Luke Falk’s arm into the team’s running game. Plus, the NFL demands that quarterbacks are proficient at the dink and dunk game, which Falk had absolutely perfected. When Rosen and Darnold get into the league, their offensive coordinators will coach them to dump the ball against prolific defenses. So long yards per attempt!

Not to mention that Falk’s wins at the collegiate level are really impressive as well, perhaps more so than Darnold’s. Falk has won against USC, Stanford, and Oregon. Darnold has a couple of great wins over Washington and Penn State, but Josh Rosen hasn’t beat anybody. Heck even Jared Goff never beat anybody decent, as he went 0-9 against Stanford, UCLA, and USC.

I know that evaluating quarterbacks is a fifty-fifty flip of the quarter, but this shouldn’t be that hard right? How could a PAC-12 monster fall to pick 199?

Falk landed in a good spot. The Tennessee Titans bring a new coaching staff that is guided by Matt LaFleur on the offensive side of the ball. LaFleur had been quarterbacks coach for Matt Ryan in Atlanta before leading the Los Angeles Rams offense this past season. This could be a boon for Falk’s development for years to come.

2018 Oregon Sports News NFL Draft – First Round Reactions … And Overreactions

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USA Today

2018 Oregon Sports News NFL Draft – First Round Reactions … And Overreactions

BY 

First Round Reactions… and Overreactions

Winner of the Night… Los Angeles Chargers

A lot of people had the Chargers targeting a quarterback to be the heir to the throne when Phillip Rivers hangs it up. They likely would have had to trade up to grab a quarterback that they wanted. They didn’t have to do that to get a complete game changer for their team.

Dane Brugler is the NFL Draft scout that I respect the most. He puts everything into his scouting and evaluations of NFL players. He had Derwin James as his #8 player on his board. The Chargers sat and took him with #17. The Chargers add a freak athlete at the safety position.

Loser of the Night… New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints were set to pick towards the end of the first round at pick #27. All of a sudden the Saints were on the clock after trading for the #14 pick in the draft. They gave the Packers the #27 pick, the #147 pick, and their 1st round pick in 2019. Two first round picks and a 5th round pick to move up 13 spots. This has to be for the quarterback of the future, right?

They used the pick to draft Marcus Davenport, the Edge rusher from University of Texas – San Antonio.

Davenport is a raw pass rusher who has never played a high level of competition. Davenport played basketball and ran track in high school. He still has a lot of development in front of him to become worthy of all of the assets the Saints gave up.

Davenport could be a stud… but when the Saints were set to pick at #27 the more established rusher, Harold Landry, was on the board!

Quarterbacks

Baker Mayfield going first was no surprise if you were paying any attention to ESPN’s Adam Schefter at all on Draft Day. Sam Darnold goes to New York… the Jets. Josh Allen lands in Buffalo, where a lot of people thought he would. Josh Rosen winds up in the desert with the Cardinals.

For the first time in Draft history, four quarterbacks go in the Top-10.

Lamar Jackson later went to the Baltimore Ravens as the 32nd pick in the first round to make up the five quarterbacks that everybody thought would go in the first.

My favorite quote of the night was by the #10 pick Rosen, who said “there were 9 mistakes ahead of me.”

Running Backs

Saquon Barkley went to the New York Giants with the #2 pick. After that there was a lot of silence on the running back front until the Seahawks took Rashaad Penny with the 27th pick.

Both picks are crazy to me.

Barkley is a great back but I have said all along that the Giants needed to draft their quarterback of the future. Instead they took a running back at #2.

Then the Seahawks drafted Penny later on. Penny is a good back, but should have had no place in the first round. Penny is a small back that is brutally bad in pass protection. The Seahawks offensive line is bad enough already. You have to have a running back that can pick up a block occasionally.

After those two, Sony Michel went to the New England Patriots, which is an absolutely great fit.

There is SO MUCH running back talent left for Day Two of the NFL Draft. Derrius Guice, Ronald Jones, Kerryon Johnson, and Nick Chubb. All of whom I have rated as better running backs than who the Seahawks drafted in the first round.

Best Available Headed into Friday’s 2nd & 3rd Rounds

  1. Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College
  2. Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
  3. Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP
  4. Justin Reid, S, Stanford
  5. James Daniels, OC, Iowa
  6. Ronald Jones, RB, USC
  7. Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
  8. Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn
  9. Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
  10. Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State
  11. Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
  12. Rasheem Green, DE, USC
  13. Connor Williams, OG, Texas
  14. Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
  15. Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State

2018 NFL Draft – Three Bold Predictions for the First Round

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USA Today Images

2018 NFL Draft – Three Bold Predictions for the First Round

BY GARRETT THORNTON 

Three Bold Predictions for the First Round

Bold: There will be an offensive lineman (other than Quenton Nelson) drafted in the Top-10

This draft class is missing a headliner at the offensive tackle position, arguably the 2nd most important position on the field. I have a feeling that won’t stop someone from reaching on one. My mock draft, posted yesterday on OSN, had Mike McGlinchey going to the Cardinals at 15. While that may be realistic, this column is about bold predictions.

If Nelson and McGlinchey both go in the Top-10, that is 40% of Notre Dame’s offensive line from last year. What makes these guys different? They are big-bodied offensive lineman that have experience playing in an NFL-style offense. The spread offense in college has made the transition incredibly difficult for the offensive lineman, that is why these two are going to be coveted on Thursday night.

Bolder: Only one wide receiver will be drafted in Round One

In my mock I have three receivers going in the first round, but I would not be shocked if there was only one picked.

There is no clear-cut favorite receiver in this draft. There’s no Julio Jones. There’s no Odell Beckham.

The top-10 of the receiver group doesn’t have a ton of separation between them. Calvin Ridley is a great route runner but has a slight frame. Courtland Sutton is a big body but has a limited route tree. D.J. Moore is gaining hype throughout the process but is still sub-6’.

Last year three receivers went in the top-10. Those receivers combined for 45 receptions over 24 games.

Teams will look to be patient and not overpay for a receiver in the first round and wait for a guy like Anthony Miller or Michael Gallup in the 2nd or 3rd round.

Boldest: The Top-5 picks will all be quarterbacks!

It has never happened. But there is a first for everything!

Browns and Jets are going to draft quarterbacks. Write that in Sharpie.

The Giants and Broncos should draft quarterbacks.

The #4 pick that the Browns own could be a spot that the Bills or Cardinals move up to jump the Broncos and draft a quarterback.

Here’s how it could look…

#1 – Cleveland Browns – Sam Darnold

#2 – New York Giants – Josh Rosen

#3 – New York Jets – Baker Mayfield

#4 – Buffalo Bills (trade) – Josh Allen

#5 – Denver Broncos – Lamar Jackson

That would be absolutely crazy and set the stage for an insane first round. But it isn’t too far removed from reality…

Buckle up folks! It’s happening! NFL Draft 2018!!!

OSN NFL First Round Mock Draft

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NBCS Northwest

OSN NFL First Round Mock Draft

Contributors: Jarreau Brown, Miriam Ludlow, Bryant Knox, Tim Kearny, Sebastian Pycior, Garrett Thornton,  Lindsay Brandon, Brendan McMannis.

1 – Cleveland

Sam Darnold – QB – USC

The quarterback position has to be addressed with one of their two picks. Darnold is viewed by many as the best available at the position, but he’s not the most polished QB out of the bunch. Luckily, Tyrod Taylor allows him to sit and learn for a year and smooth over some of the turnover problems.  Hue Jackson has bought out the best in QB’s during previous stops in Oakland with Carson Palmer and Cincinnati with Andy Dalton. It’d be nice to see the trend continue with Darnold.

2 – New York Giants

Josh Rosen – QB – UCLA

The Giants smokescreen that they won’t take a quarterback is doing two things. It makes them look incredibly silly and it does nothing to increase the value of the pick that they own. The Giants have to take a quarterback. Eli Manning is 37 years old and father time is undefeated. If you’re going to pay Odell Beckham a Brinks truck load of money, might as well have your quarterback on a rookie deal.

3 – New York Jets from Indianapolis

Josh Allen – QB – Wyoming

The New York Jets traded up to this spot to ensure they land a franchise quarterback. Sam Darnold won’t be available, so the pick comes down to Josh Rosen, Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield. Although all three show tremendous upside, it’s Allen who wins out in this situation. As Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller wrote in March: “Allen is an impressive prospect with a 6’5″, 237-pound frame and the best arm many scouts (myself included) have ever seen, but he also completed just 56.2 percent of his passes over the last two seasons at Wyoming.” Allen isn’t a sure thing, but he may be the surest of any QB behind Darnold. This is an easy choice for the J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS—especially if the Giants take Rosen at No. 2.

4 – Cleveland from Houston

Saqon Barkley – RB – Penn State

Barkley is the best prospect in the draft. He’s a three down do it all back that can help in the return game. The Brown lock in there two building blocks for the future on offense. Don’t overthink this Cleveland.

5 – Denver

Denzel Ward – CB – Ohio State

With Case Keenum now helming the offense of the Broncos (still waiting for Minnesota to explain this), the team will count on their new golden boy to deliver the goods to veteran receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius.   CJ Anderson can likely put up another 1000+ rushing yards this year.   The Broncos should be looking to solidify its defensive backs with the departure of Aqib Talib to the Rams.  Even though Chris Harris Jr. was arguably more productive than Talib last season on the other side, the Broncos could use another star CB, and Denzel Ward may very well be that man.  For now, fellow Buckeye Bradley Roby (who only started four games last season) has moved up the depth chart, but Ward’s incredible footwork and speed (not to mention the fact he’s been compared to Chris Harris, Jr.) could soon make him a starter giving quarterback opponents a hell of a time with his demonstrated ability to read slants and drives in front of the route and the fact that he only allowed 32 percent of completions over the last two years (source: NFL.com).

6 – Indianapolis from New York Jets

Quenton Nelson – OG – Notre Dame

This was a pretty easy pick right here. Bradley Chubb was a great option but the amount of times I have seen the words Hall of Famer and future All Pro when scouts talk about Nelson make him a plug and play guy with a low floor and a high ceiling. Pass rushers are a little risky and when you are a team with Andrew Luck and not much else else. You need people to keep him upright so he can make plays.

Nelson is a good run and pass blocker. He has a strong base and has shown the ability to overwhelm opponents physically. Combine that with surprisingly quick feet for a man his size, and you have yourself a lineman to anchor your line.

7 – Tampa Bay

Bradley Chubb – DE – NC State

Bradley Chubb does to opposing linemen what Thor’s Hammer does to lukewarm butter. He’s the ultimate no brainer in this draft but he’ll drop if the teams ahead of the Buccaneers go nuts for quarterbacks. Forget size, brutal physicality, or speed. Chubb is arguably the most intelligent, confident, and dangerous players in this draft, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are desperate for some serious juice up front. Could you imagine Chubb trying to steal one of Matt Ryan’s, Cam Newton’s, or Drew Brees’ towels just to taunt? Lordy.

8 – Chicago

Tremaine Edmunds – LB – Virginia Tech

The Bears probably have greater needs on the offensive and defensive lines, not to mention at wide receiver, but the talent upside is too high to ignore. Edmunds projects as a pro bowl linebacker and there was no comparable talent in terms of team needs.

9 – San Francisco

Derwin James – S – Florida State

The SF 49ers focus should continue to be on building a defense. By bringing Derwin James – Florida State Seminoles – as their pick, not only will they meet the needs and perhaps close the gap, but they will bring a physical presence on the field. At 6’3″, 215 pounds, James is the perfect defensive wall the SF 49ers need. But it doesn’t stop there. James is also a fast runner and while some may find him to be a duplicate to current talent within the team, is hard to make a true argument against him as you can’t never have enough defense and speed in football!

10 – Oakland

Josh Jackson – CB – Iowa

The Raiders seem to always display such promise at the beginning of each season, and then somehow, it ends just as bad as Mark Davis’ haircut.  Frankly, the team needs a lot of help on its defense. No offense to Darrius Hillary, but Jackson is built to start.  In reading his prospect grade, the scouts just think he’s the dreamiest.  My favorite is “lauded for positive attitude and strong work ethic,” but there is plenty to choose from.  In all seriousness, now that Carr has (hopefully) a productive Jordy Nelson and Amari Cooper, and if Marshawn, well, shows up, then this team could be a playoff contender if it can just bridge the gap with last year’s defense.  Even though the word is Oakland’s been eyeing ILB Roquan Smith, he might go earlier in the draft.  Jackson is no consolation though; he could start producing turnovers immediately.

11 – Miami

Baker Mayfield – QB – Oklahoma

If I’m the Miami Dolphins, I’m putting pressure on Ryan Tannehill, like, yesterday. And here’s the thing about Baker Mayfield: He’s a gamble, and he’s sooo worth that gamble—especially if you already have someone in Tannehill who can step in and play a competent brand of football. Obviously, “a competent brand of football” isn’t what you strive for at the game’s most important position, but as far as Plan Bs go, that’s not bad. Mayfield may come in and be brilliant; he may “antics” himself out of the league, as we’ve seen from similarly polarizing players in recent years. Either way, the Dolphins should be willing to take this risk considering Tannehill has led them to the Mediocre Land many times…and not much further up to this point.

12 – Buffalo from Cincinnati

Lamar Jackson – QB – Louisville

The Buffalo Bulls are in great position in this draft to risk it all on a future quarterback/face of the franchise early and take a safer pick later on. That’s the luxury that comes with trading up, and then trading back into the bottom-third. With this pick, Buffalo takes a guy who is 100 percent, absolutely NOT a wide receiver. Let’s get rid of the thought immediately that Lamar Jackson is a wideout/slot threat. Please leave any racist preconceived notions aside about athletic, dual-threat college quarterbacks converting to wideout aside here. Jackson is a quarterback, and he’s going to be a quarterback for the Bills.

13 – Washington

Roquan Smith – LB – Georgia

When the draft rolls around in two weeks, Smith will likely be a top 10 pick. He has the rare combination of instinct and aggressiveness. Smith will anchor a defense in the NFL for a decade and will be a Pro Bowler. If the Redskins can snag a guy with that potential at #13, they could win the first round.

14 – Green Bay
Minkah Fitzpatrick – S – Alabama

This was a no brainer. The fact that Fitzpatrick fell to 14 was a huge surprise to me. Green Bay gets a much needed safety with great college coaching and outstanding upside.

 

15 – Arizona
Calvin Ridley – WR – Alabama

While the 49ers continue to build their defensive wall, the Arizona Cardinals are in desperate need of a wide receiver. Let’s just say it out-loud, Larry Fitzgerald is getting old! The Cardinals need to revive an aging depleted receiving core and the guy to fill the position is Calvin Ridley – Alabama – a great route runner with good hands and speed!

 

16 – Baltimore
Rashaan Evans – LB – Alabama

There aren’t many safer picks in the NFL draft since the Nick Saban era other than a linebacker from Alabama. Ozzie Newsome’s affinity for Alabama players as an alumnus is blatant, and Evans fills a need where the Ravens are considered having average talent. He offers the ability to plan multiple backer positions, but the biggest question mark his his ability to stay healthy.

 

17 – Los Angeles Chargers

Mike McGlinchey – OT – Notre Dame

Against all odds, the team that nobody from San Diego likes anymore that moved to a city that didn’t need (or want) just narrowly missed the playoffs at 9-7.  Even though a development quarterback is likely needed with Rivers’ eventual retirement, he threw for over 4,500 yards last season and still has to feed his 63 children, so he’s going nowhere for now.  The Chargers do need to beef up their interior defensive line, but they also need to be prepared to back up their veteran OTs, former Seahawk Russell Okung and Joe Barksdale.  That is where 6’7” [!!!] 312 lb. Mike McGlinchey comes in.  McGlinchey’s college football photo looks like he is the nicest possible man that could also eat you for breakfast.  He’s terrifyingly versatile (as a former tight end), and will only get stronger as he trains at the NFL level (one of his “weaknesses” is listed as “needs more mass on his frame” – I mean, c’mon).  [Source: NFL.com].  McGlinchey will likely be a great asset to any team that drafts him; the Chargers should take advantage of this opportunity.

18 – Seattle

Darrius Guice – RB – LSU

As far as the Seahawks, its no secret Seattle has been missing a powerful runner since the departure of Marshawn Lynch. With that said, there is no more explosive power runner than Darrius Guice. This will give the Seahawks a very needed top tier running back.

19 – Dallas

Will Hernandez – OG – UTEP

The Cowboys kind of sit in no-mans-land of the first round. They are going to miss out on the game-changing talent at the top of the first round and have to settle for a second tiered prospect. I would give the Cowboys more than an 80% chance of moving their first round pick, either up or down. They want to make a splash with the draft in their stadium. If they keep #19, Hernandez would slide in as their starting left guard Week One and help solidify that intimidating offensive line.

20 – Detroit

Taven Bryan – DL – Florida

Championships are won at the line. Just look at what happened to the Patriots in 2007. Just before the Super Bowl, they lose their starting center, pro bowler Dan Koppen and suddenly Michael Strahan is feasting. The lions could have a great line by adding Bryan.

21 – Cincinnati from Buffalo

Da’Ron Payne – DT – Alabama

The Bengals continue to add youth on their defensive line with Payne after taking two defensive ends in last year’s draft. Payne plays the run well and is a hell raiser in pass rush situation with his ability to push the middle of the pocket. He’ll be a great successor to Geno Atkins if they choose to let him walk as a free agent next year.

22 – Buffalo from Kansas City

Courtland Sutton – WR – SMU

Remember that thing we said earlier about the Bills being able to play it safe here? Well, we’re half taking that back. A stud wide receiver at No. 22 isn’t a sure thing, but getting Jackson as many weapons as possible is crucial. Kelvin Benjamin has the potential to re-break out this upcoming season, but getting him (and Jackson) some help in Courtland Sutton will be key for a team that was just 31st in total receptions last year, not to mention 31st in total receiving yards and 27th in receiving touchdowns.

23 – New England from Los Angeles Rams

Mike Hughes – CB – UCF

Out of all the storylines that popped up in this past Super Bowl, the Malcolm Butler saga was the one that came the most out of left field. (Well, that and Kevin Hart’s belligerent attempt at making it onstage with the Eagles as they accepted their hardware.) With Butler gone to the Tennessee Titans, there’s a gap to fill. They didn’t need him in the Super Bowl? Fine. The scoreboard might say otherwise, but okay. But now they have a gap that will go on for an entire season if they do nothing. Enter: Mike Hughes, a late-first-rounder who will probably win a Super Bowl MVP in the next three years because #Pats.

24 – Carolina

James Washington – WR – Oklahoma State

James Washington doesn’t have commanding height, but his skill-set will allow him to thrive in a receiving corps alongside Devin Funchess and Greg Olsen. Think of Washington as a Pierre Garçon cutout, or an eco friendly version of Anquan Boldin. The Biletnikoff Award winner is also a monster in the middle of the field, a benefit to the Air Coryell offense espoused by Norv Turner, the new Panthers’ offensive coordinator. The Panthers could go offensive line here, but Turner’s offense is quicker, predetermined, and usually desperate for skill players.

25 – Tennessee

Harold Landry – LB – Boston College

The top pass rushers were off the board at this point, but Harold Landry has the potential to be just as good as the guys taken before him. Landry has a terrific first step and beat a lot of opponents in college by just running around them. He won’t be able to do that in the NFL but he has such good physical skills that you can see his potential.

He only had five sacks last year while dealing with injuries; this was down from the 16.5 sacks he posted his junior year when he was considered a possible top five pick. I went with Landry over the more obvious need for a linebacker because I think there is good linebacker depth in this draft and pass rushers are a franchise cornerstone, so the Titans go Landry at 18.

26 – Atlanta

Vita Vea – DT – Washington

Vita Vea is done terrorizing the PAC-12 and is ready to give running backs fits in the NFL. He has a great first move, and it allows him to handle large offensive lineman and double teams. Vea’s also known for his endurance, as he keeps the pressure on opposing offenses consistently throughout the game. Dan Quinn’s 4-3 under defense depends on stout and hungry nose tackles, and Vea’s bullish nature will help set the Falcon’s edge rushers free.

27 – New Orleans

Mark Andrews – TE – Oklahoma

The Saints are a team on the verge of making a splash next year with sights on the Super Bowl, so look for them to pick up a ready-to-play skill player. Mark Andrews got a ton of reps in a high profile Oklahoma Sooner offense, and was particularly impressive on out routes, showing off his ability to juke, stiff-arm, and sometimes hurdle defenders in the open field. His run blocking skills are lacking, but that’s not important in the Saints’ highflying offense. Drew Brees will finally get his threat over the middle he’s been desperate for since Jimmy Graham left.

 

28 – Pittsburgh

Malik Jefferson – LB – Texas

Jefferson has the speed and versatility that’s perfect for the Steelers scheme. He comes in as a MLB so he could fill a need with Shazier presumably out for the year. Many evaluators question if he has the instinct to play MLB in the NFL, but that’s where his versatility gives him additional value here. He’s a great blitzer, which gives him a chance to earn time as an OLB pass rusher in their 3-4 scheme.

 

29 – Jacksonville

Isaiah Wynn – OL – Georgia

The Jacksonville Jaguars need help at tackle and even though Isaiah Wynn is being projected as a guard in the NFL, I think he has a chance to play tackle. He went up against SEC defenses at Georgia and won more battles than he lost. I think he can compete at tackle at the professional level, even with his shorter stature.

The Jags pick Wynn over the tackle prospects available because he has been one of the most consistent linemen eligible for the draft this year. Wynn describes himself as a “relentless finisher,” and he was a second team All-American at left tackle in 2017. He can make a big impact for a team that needs help on the o-line.

 

30 – Minnesota

Kolton Miller – OT – UCLA

Just as before, winning at the line of scrimmage. This time though, it’s to take care of the Vikings woeful running game. Kolton has the size to project as a top lineman, and has pretty good value at pick 30.

 

31 – New England
Sam Hubbard – DE – Ohio State

This is a more traditional Patriots pick. Sam Hubbard out of Ohio State is built to be in New England under Bill Belichick and Co. Odds are, NFL GMs will get ahead of this and snag him up before he ends up in the lap of the Pats IRL, but the 6’5-plus”, 270-pound edge rusher posted the best three-cone time of any player at his position at the combine, per Miller. This isn’t a sexy choice, but it’s an easy one.

 

32 – Philadelphia

Leighton Vander Esch – LB – Boise State

The Super Bowl champions sit at the #32 pick and hope that a first round talent falls to them. This is a valuable draft position, and likely one to be traded. The reason that teams covet this pick is because it is the last pick of the draft with the 5th year option attached to the contract. If the Eagles stay put, they would love a talent like Vander Esch to be available. Vander Esch is a great story, from 8-man football in high school to a first round draft pick.

The meaning of the Vince Lombardi Trophy

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USA Today Images

The meaning of the Vince Lombardi Trophy

BY HERMAN DAVIS

Although most fans know that the trophy awarded to the winning team of the Super Bowl – or the National Championship Game – is called the Vince Lombardi Trophy, they often don’t know the full history behind it. Throughout the history of the NFL, there have been a number of teams that have tried to capture this title, but few like the 2014 Seattle Seahawks have found success.

That’s because the Vince Lombardi trophy is considered to be one of the most prestigious awards in the NFL, which means this award isn’t just a participation trophy players get for making it to the big game; it’s something they have to earn through dedication, hard work, and lots of training.

But before the award became known as the Vince Lombardi trophy, it was simply called the “World Championship Game Trophy,” and the game between the rival conferences was known as the AFL-NFL Championship game before adapting to the Super Bowl title. Not as exciting as its current name, right?

So when did the switch happen?

It occurred in 1970, when the league decided to change the name of the award from “World Championship Game Trophy” to the “Vince Lombardi Trophy” after his passing.

What many fans don’t know, however, is who Vince Lombardi is, and why he’s so important to the NFL. For starters, Vince Lombardi was a legendary head coach for the Green Bay Packers and the Washington Redskins. He was born in 1913 and became the most successful head coach to ever coach the game of football. Lombardi was the leader of his team, and during his time coaching in Green Bay, he managed to capture five national championship titles within a nine-year span. In the preseason, Lombardi had a .840 winning percentage by winning 42 of his 50 games. But it was the postseason where he became known as a legend, with a winning percentage of .900 with a record of 9-1. The one loss being to the Philadelphia Eagles in 1960.

Why is Vince Lombardi still a relevant legend throughout the NFL?

Other than having his name on the Super Bowl trophy awarded each year to the winning team, Lombardi set the standard of what it meant to be a great head coach in the NFL. In other words, coaching wasn’t about just about winning, it was about building a team and teaching them how to play the sport of football. In fact, one of his many great lessons was teaching his players about the sweep – a play designed to have runners go towards the strong side of the field and keep the defensive players off balance.

Ultimately, winning is what brought fame to Lombardi, but perhaps the greatest thing Vince taught the NFL involved the three themes he used to set his standards as a coach. Themes that included:

  • Speaking during a time of war, conventionalism, and materialism – the sixties – could have easily brought unwanted attention to Lombardi and his team. That’s why he believed that in order to be a good role model and lead his players both on and off the field, they needed discipline, especially during a crucial time period like the sixties.
  • After going to West Point and being mentored by General Douglas MacArthur, Lombardi understood that leaders were born, not made. He believed leaders were justified through their hard work, and the same can be said about football players.
  • Characterization and Determination. A leader is made by their character and willpower, meaning that the two go together hand-in-hand in a virtuous cycle.

So whether you’re a Seattle Seahawks fan or a fan of another organization, you’re all connected in one way or another through Vince Lombardi – the greatest coach in NFL history. If questions arise whether or not he’s still relevant in our world today, the answer is: without a doubt. His character, along with his determined spirit, was key in his ability to teach and coach in the NFL.

Steelers: That wasn't a catch -- in football or baseball

Steelers: That wasn't a catch -- in football or baseball

There is a lot of angst over that ruling in the Pittsburgh-New England game Sunday -- the one that disallowed a touchdown catch by Jesse James of the Steelers.

And I may be the only person around who has no problem with the NFL rule that if you're going to the ground as you make a catch, you must hold onto the ball during your fall. Whether you're in the end zone or not. Most people think that when you're crossing the goal line with the ball in control, it should be a TD -- whether you're a receiver or a runner.

[NBC Sports Gold “Blazers Pass” premium-game Blazers streaming package for fans without NBC Sports Northwest – $34.99 – click to learn more and buy]

I disagree. I think there must be a standard for deciding whether a pass is caught or not. Touchdown or not. Just catch the ball and don't worry about trying to reach the ball over the goal line. Just catch it.

I had no dog in the hunt Sunday, didn't care which team won. But I will say I'm predisposed to accepting the NFL rule because it's so similar to the rules of baseball about catching a fly ball. If you catch a fly and fall down, run into a wall or bang into another player, you must hold onto the ball:

A catch is the act of a fielder in getting secure possession in his hand or glove of a ball in flight and firmly holding it; providing he does not use his cap, protector, pocket or any other part of his uniform in getting possession. It is not a catch, however, if simultaneously or immediately following his contact with the ball, he collides with a player, or with a wall, or if he falls down, and as a result of such collision or falling, drops the ball.

'It's pretty much the same rule. You can catch a ball and have it securely in your glove, but if you run into a wall or are diving, you better hold onto the ball all the way through the process.This whole process is a product of instant replay, of course. Without it, you'd never be able to see the ball hit the ground.And when it comes to replay, you have to take the good with the bad. And live with it.I'