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  1. #1
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    Default Cnotes 2017 NFL Draft Preview

    NFL Draft Preview, Part I
    April 24, 2017


    Following are team updates, revolved around offseason developments and first-round draft projections, and our predicted selections, noted in bold italics. As always, trades can alter draft order. But for the moment this is how we believe things might proceed beginning April 27 in Philadelphia. We'll go in draft order (as of April 10), covering the first half of Round One in Part I, and following with the rest of the first round in Part II.

    1) CLEVELAND BROWNS...Back in a recently-familiar spot "on the clock" since the end of the regular season in early January, the Browns are also in a not-so-familiar role after keeping HC Hue Jackson and football operations director Sashi Brown for a second year after the 1-15 train wreck of 2016, forgoing the almost-annual coaching and front office changes the previous five seasons. Injuries exacerbated the problems a year ago, but Cleveland had already entered the last campaign with a lineup that needed upgrades almost everywhere. Especially at QB, where 26 different signal-callers have started since Cleveland returned to the NFL in 1999. That merry-go-round figures to keep spinning this fall after the acquisition of Brock Osweiler from Houston and RG III's release. Cleveland, however, apparently more covets the 2nd-rounder in 2018 that it got from the Texans, and Osweiler appears a short-term fix at best and candidate to be released at the worst if holdover Cody Kessler (0-8 when forced into the starer role as a rookie last season) or ex-Stanford QB Kevin Hogan emerge as comparable options. With extra picks from the Eagles thanks to last year's swap of first-round selections, Cleveland, also with two first-round picks, and needs everywhere, is a candidate to trade down for more volume, or could wait for the Eagles' pick later in the round to go for a QB. Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M

    2) SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS...The new model for instability, with a fourth HC (recent Falcons o.c. Kyle Shanahan) in as many seasons, and a new GM (John Lynch), who has been hired out of the TV booth, the 49ers hope to have bottomed out in last fall's 2-14 mess under the since-dismissed pair of HC Chip Kelly and GM Trent Baalke, just four years after appearing in Super Bowl XLVII and three years after their last NFC title game. Lynch immediately addressed QB concerns by adding journeymen Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley from the Bears in free agency after Colin Kaepernick opted out of the final year of his contract and Blaine Gabbert was released. While the Niners still likely look for a developmental QB in the draft, it is probably not a top priority, thanks to the serviceable Hoyer, reunited with Shanahan, who was o.c. at Cleveland in 2014 when Hoyer posted a 7-6 record with the Browns. Free agency also delivered WR Pierre Garcon from the Redskins. A leaky defense that set dubious franchise marks for most points, rushing yards, and total yards allowed in a season was an expected focus in free agency (LBs Malcolm Smith from the Raiders and Dekoda Watson from Denver being the featured additions) and figures to get more attention in the draft. Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford

    3) CHICAGO BEARS...Tough position for vet HC John Fox, under pressure to forge some sort of a turnaround after last season's 3-13 crash and burn. (Fox doesn't have as much rope as GM Ryan Pace, also entering his third year on the job.) The Bears have moved on from QB Jay Cutler, who was released, with ex-Buc Mike Glennon signed to a 3-year, $45 million deal to pilot the offense. (Mark Sanchez was also signed as the new reliever after last year's bullpen arms Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley left for the 49ers.) The passing game will thus have an almost-entirely new look after longtime mainstay WR Alshon Jeffery moved to the Eagles, with ex-Steeler Markus Wheaton and ex-Saint Kendall Wright new WR additions, and TE Dion Sims signed away from the Dolphins. Having addressed more of the offensive questions in free agency, expect the "D" to be an early focus in the draft, with a leaky secondary likely to draw most of the attention. Jamal Adams, S, LSU

    4) JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS...In his return to J'ville, Tom Coughlin has hit the ground running, just as he did 22 years ago when hired as the Jags' first head coach. Only this time he has no coaching responsibilities, instead tasked with upgrading the 53-man roster from his new position as Executive VP of Football Operations. Which has created some angst for holdover GM Dave Caldwell, no longer calling the personnel shots...stay tuned for further developments. Coughlin was immediately active in free agency, especially upgrading a defense which added ex-Texans CB A.J. Bouye, ex-Cards DT Calais Campbell, ex-Cowboys S Barry Church, and a few others in a quick re-boot of a leaky platoon. Still in the saddle is QB Blake Bortles, entering his 4th year and apparently a bit more favored by new HC Doug Marrone (who got a head-start on the job when replacing Gus Bradley on an interim basis last December) than Coughlin, who has been lukewarm at best in his support of J'ville's holdover QB. Whatever, it's a make-or-break season for the former UCF star. Coughlin might not yet be done with defensive additions, as he could use another pass rusher and more help in the 2ndary after S Jonathan Cyprien (to the Titans) and CB Prince Amukamara (to the Bears) both departed. But will the temptation be too great if LSU RB Leonard Fournette is still on the board when it comes time for the Jags to pick? Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU

    5) TENNESSEE TITANS (from LA Rams)...Sitting pretty for the first time in a while are the Titans, who have this pick at five from the Rams (thanks to last year's draft-choice swap that allowed LA to take Cal QB Jared Goff with the overall top pick) as well as their own at the 18 slot in the first round, plus an extra third-rounder (at the end of that round in the compensatory section). Which could make the Titans a viable trade-down candidate, especially on draft day if a player like LSU's Fournette or one of the fancied QBs is deemed too good to bypass by some team. Second-year GM Jon Robinson will be ready to listen, as he did when the Rams called a year ago. All after a rapid upgrade (from 3-13 to 9-7) a year ago under well-traveled HC Mike Mularkey, whose power-based run game had Tennessee in the AFC playoff picture into late December. After shoring up the defense in free agency (ex-Jag S Jonathan Cyprien, ex-Patriot CB Logan Ryan, ex-Broncos NT Sylvester Williams the highest-profile additions), don't be surprised if the Titans seek a target for fast-maturing QB Marcus Mariota in the early rounds. Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

    6) NEW YORK JETS
    ...A side-benefit for owner Woody Johnson to being nominated by President Trump to become the US Ambassador to the United Kingdom is that he might not have to spend as much time watching his wretched team. Johnson's doings, however, do not remove any of the pressure on under-fire HC Todd Bowles, who, after a 5-11 debacle last fall, enters 2017 as much on the hot seat as the Dolphins' Joe Philbin two years ago. Bowles, along with Indy's Chuck Pagano, are the coaches considered most at risk of walking the plank in 2017. It might also be put up or shut up time for GM Mike Maccagnan, also entering his third year, though expectations have already been lowered in the offseason after pruning more than $45 million worth of talent from the roster, with more subtractions perhaps on the way if WR Eric Decker and DL Sheldon Richardson don't return. The extent of the FA upgrades have been CB Morris Claiborne from Dallas, OT Kelvin Beachum from Jacksonville, and QB Josh McCown from Cleveland, the latter on a 1-year deal, and currently the presumptive starter with Ryan Fitzpatrick out of contract and Geno Smith having signed with the Giants. With McCown a short-term solution at best, Maccagnan might be tempted to go QB with an early pick, though that approach has not worked lately for the Jets, with recent high selections Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg yet to impress. Among the many areas of need is the OL, which saw three of its starters (LT Ryan Clady, RT Breno Giacomini, & C Nick Mangold) released. Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin

    7) LOS ANGELES CHARGERS...It has been an awkward offseason for the Chargers, whose move to Los Angeles (and, for two years, to the quaint, 30,000-seat StubHub Center in Carson while waiting for the Rams' palatial digs at the old Hollywood Park site to be finished) has been only slightly better received by the locals than Sonny Liston's return to then-hometown Philadelphia, when no one greeted him at the airport after he won the heavyweight crown in '62 by KO'ing Floyd Patterson in Chicago. New HC Anthony Lynn (most recently on the Buffalo staff, where last season he was RB coach, o.c., and ended as interim HC) has a roster that did not go through much of an offseason makeover despite last year's disappointing 5-11 mark. Franchise-tagging potential unrestricted FA OLB Melvin Ingram was perhaps the most significant development (especially with new d.c. Gus Bradley transitioning the "D" from 4-3 to 3-4 looks, and Ingram also a possibility at DE), while fans in Denver shed no tears that underachieving OT Russell Okung inked a FA deal with the Bolts. The clock is also ticking on the career of QB Philip Rivers, entering his 14th season, so identifying a possible eventual successor in this draft with several intriguing QBs is a distinct possibility. Might the Spanos clan think this is the time to enlist some star power with the move to L.A? Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson

    8) CAROLINA PANTHERS...It's a long way from a year ago for the Pan-thas, who last April were off of a Super Bowl visit and preparing to bide their time at the 2016 draft until near the end of the first round. This year, they get on the clock much earlier, which is what happens when a team drops from 15-1 all of the way to 6-10. Now GM Dave Gettleman and HC Ron Rivera try to piece together their Humpty-Dumpty of a team and are more than a bit concerned about the status of QB Cam Newton, who underwent rotator cuff surgery at the end of March and whose status for the preseason is very much up in the air. The regular season comes real quickly once the preseason starts. Newton's durability is becoming more of a concern, as he has been advised by Rivera and o.c. Mike Shula to be a bit more judicious on his scrambles from the pocket. To that end, and needing OL upgrades, ex-Viking OT Matt Kalil was the highest-profile FA addition, though Gettleman might want to look at another OT in the draft. The Panthers also brought back a couple of former defensive stars, DE Julius Peppers and CB Captain Munnerlyn, as FAs. One interesting rumor has Gettleman looking to move up to perhaps go after LSU RB Leonard Fournette, believed by some to potentially have the sort of impact that Ezekiel Elliott had in Dallas last fall. The CB spot could also be targeted after Carolina's pass defense never really recovered from CB Josh Norman's departure to the Redskins last offseason. Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State

    9) CINCINNATI BENGALS...We can never be sure how much pressure HC Marvin Lewis is working under as he enters his 15th season at Cincy still looking for his first playoff win, and having survived several past campaigns no better than last year's 6-9-1. But after whiffing badly in the last two drafts after making the playoffs four straight years before last season's miss, there might finally be some urgency to the proceedings at Paul Brown Stadium. There have been offseason rumors about backup QB AJ McCarron being targeted by some teams after the Patriots apparently pulled Jimmy Garappolo off of the table, but still no movement on that front into the first week of April. A target area in the draft will likely be along the OL after starters T Andrew Whitworth (to the Rams) and G Kevin Zeitler (to the Browns) both left in free agency. And the defensive front seven, already a bit thin before LB Karlos Dansby (to the Cardinals) and DE Margus Hunt (to the Colts) moved in the offseason, could be another priority. Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama

    10) BUFFALO BILLS...The dismissal of HC Rex Ryan last fall was telegraphed more than one of George Foreman's roundhouse rights in the Rumble in the Jungle vs. Muhammad Ali, and owners Terry and Kim Pegula didn't even wait for last season to end before hitting the eject button. Former Carolina d.c. Sean McDermott now tries where all Buffalo coaches since Wade Phillips in 1999 have failed...leading the Bills to the playoffs. For a while it looked like QB Tyrod Taylor had taken his last snaps in Buffalo, but a restructured deal has saved the Bills about $10 million and has guaranteed Taylor a job and $15.5 mill over the next two years, not a bad consolation. Taylor always appeared the best QB option for Buffalo anyway in the near-term. With Taylor's situation resolved, GM Doug Whaley went about fortifying his safety slots in free agency, inking Micah Hyde from Green Bay and Jordan Pryor from Cleveland, but he still might be looking for help in the front seven after the Bills were again too leaky vs. the run a year ago. Meanwhile, with only Sammy Watkins as an established WR target for Taylor, Whaley is likely to be looking for some dynamic pass catchers for his QB at the draft in Philly. Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan

    11) NEW ORLEANS SAINTS...Time appears to have been suspended the past few years at the Superdome, with HC Sean Payton & GM Mickey Loomis still in the saddle despite annual rumors (especially in the case of Payton) of moves elsewhere, QB Drew Brees continuing to post big passing numbers, and the ongoing failures of the defense, all contributing to a succession of 7-9 finishes (four in the past five seasons). As for Loomis, he has overseen the franchise going from mediocrity to Super Bowl and back to mediocrity in his tenure since 2002, with Payton's arrival signaling a reverse in fortunes after the ill-fated 2005 Hurricane Katrina season. But the Saints still seem in limbo after a third straight playoff miss, and not sure that Loomis' latest FA moves, almost all designed to help the defense (ex-Panther A.J. Klein, ex-Charger Manti Te'o, and ex-Card Alex Okafor, LBs all, among the top offseason additions), change the metrics too much for a "D" that has seemingly reserved a spot low in the rankings (last year it was 31st in points allowed and 27th in yards allowed). Meanwhile, we'll see how much Loomis and Payton are committed to Garrett Grayson as Brees' eventual successor, or if they identify a developmental QB on the second or third days. There still could be movement on acquiring Patriot CB Malcolm Butler, a strong offseason rumor, but into April there had yet to be a deal consummated. After giving up the most passing yards in the league, Loomis (even if he should land Butler) will be looking for more secondary help, or perhaps a pass-rush upgrade, with his early picks. Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU

    12) CLEVELAND BROWNS (from Philadelphia)...Here could be the real payoff for the Browns from last year's draft swap with the Eagles that allowed Philly to select Carson Wentz. Now it's Cleveland's turn to take a QB, which, thanks to this first-round pick from the Birds, the Brownies didn't have to rush with their own at the top of the round. Barring another QB going sooner (as we project Clemson's Deshaun Watson might), GM Sashi Brown should have his pick of remaining QBs. Remember, North Carolina's strong-armed Mitchell Trubisky has Northeast Ohio roots, though Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer and Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes have many supporters, too. And Watson might still be on the board. Or the Browns could trade down. Or Cleveland could make it to Super Bowl LII. (Just joking on the latter.) Stay tuned. Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina

    13) ARIZONA CARDINALS...Rather suddenly, the title window appears to have closed in the Valley of the Sun, and there was even talk in Phoenix that salty HC Bruce Arians might walk away after last season's disappointing drop from the NFC title game in 2015 to 7-8-1 and a playoff miss last season. At the center of concern is the QB spot, where aging and injury-prone Carson Palmer took a significant step backwards last season and contemplated retirement. Palmer returns, but at this stage he's a year-to-year proposition, so now might be the time for GM Steve Keim to invest in a successor QB in the draft. There was more outflow (DT Calais Campbell, S Tony Jefferson, S D.J, Swearinger, CB Marcus Cooper, LB Kevin Minter, LB Alex Okafor) than inflow (S Antoine Bethea and PK Phil Dawson from the 49ers, plus LB Karlos Dansby, returning for a third tour of duty with the Big Red, from the Bengals) in free agency, though Keim did succeed in locking up DE Chandler Jones to a long-term deal after temporarily using the franchise tag to keep him in-house. But expect Keim to look offense early, passing game in particular, with not only Palmer a question mark, but also a WR corps dealing with Michael Floyd's release late last season, Jaron Brown's return from ACL surgery, John Brown's diagnosis with the sickle cell trait, and Larry Fitzgerald's advancing age (now 34). DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame

    14) PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (from Minnesota)...In the end the Birds didn't even lose a first-round pick after the draft swap last year with the Browns that allowed Philly to take QB Carson Wentz with the second overall pick. For that the Eagles can thank the Vikings, who were in an emergency to find a QB after Teddy Bridgewater's injury late last preseason and gladly parted with this first-round pick to land QB Sam Bradford, who had already become surplus in Philly. In the offseason at the Linc, GM Howie Roseman was looking to upgrade the secondary, but whiffed on most of his targets at CB, which becomes a likely focus in the early rounds. Roseman did succeed in upgrading the WR corps by adding Alshon Jeffery from the Bears and Torrey Smith from the 49ers. But with Ryan Mathews too injury-prone and smallish Darren Sproles not considered durable enough, a bell-cow RB might be targeted in the early rounds as a further complement to Wentz. Though DE Chris Long was added from the Pats, expect Roseman to also look for another pass-rusher after Connor Barwin's release. Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama

    15) INDIANAPOLIS COLTS...With the unpredictable ownership of Jim Irsay, it's hard to tell in which direction the Colts are headed. It took a while after the regular season concluded, but under-fire GM Ryan Grigson walked the plank in late January, with HC Chuck Pagano temporarily spared. But with new GM Chris Ballard now in the fold, Pagano remains under pressure, and the thought of bringing in a new coach to take advantage of the prime years of QB Andrew Luck will be a topic of conversation in the Indy Star if the Colts can't do better than another 8-8 mark. Ballard was relatively active in free agency, with several defensive pieces added to the mix (DE Jabaal Sheard and LB Barkevious Mingo from the Patriots, DT Al Woods and LB Sean Spence from the Titans, plus DE Margus Hunt from the Bengals and LB John Simon from the Texans), but another pass-rusher could be targeted early to help what was a subpar stop unit a year ago. It's also not certain how much more Indy can squeeze out of 33-year-old RB Frank Gore, so Ballard might look for another infantry option to take some of the offensive load off of Luck. Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State

    16) BALTIMORE RAVENS...It's a fork-in-the-road season for the long-serving pair of HC John Harbaugh and GM Ozzie Newsome, who look to upgrade an aging roster that has failed to reach the playoffs in three of the past four years. Newsome achieved some of his aims in free agency by adding a potential shutdown CB (Brandon Carr from the Cowboys) and safety (Tony Jefferson from the Cards), to help a suspect secondary, though Ozzie is probably not done adding reinforcements in the defensive backfield, especially with key CB Jimmy Smith remaining injury-prone. Finding a pass rusher to help improve the Ravens' anemic sack total (just 31) from a year ago also remains a focus. As does the WR position after the retirement of Steve Smith and slow development (due in large part to injuries) of former No. 1 pick Breshad Perriman, which forced Newsome to bring back Mike Wallace and his high cap number. Ozzie, however, did avoid a potential shortcoming in the defensive interior when re-signing NT Brandon Williams. Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
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    NFL Draft Preview, Part II
    April 24, 2017

    Here’s how we see the remainder of the first round progressing, beginning with Washington’s pick in the 17th slot.

    17) WASHINGTON REDSKINS...The offseason has been full of chaos in Washington far beyond the machinations involved with the contract situation of QB Kirk Cousins (franchise-tagged for the second straight year). And most of it has not had to do with notoriously impulsive owner Dan Snyder. More specifically, the Redskins ended their working relationship with GM Scot McCloughan on March 9 after anonymous leaks (standard operating procedure everywhere in D.C. these days, it would seem) within the organization claimed abuse of alcohol. All after McCloughan had set both the draft and free-agent boards for the Redskins. Team prexy Bruce Allen has since said no new GM would be hired before the draft...stay tuned. Earlier, HC Jay Gruden was signed, a bit unexpectedly, to a two-year extension, as o.c. Sean McVay was hired as the new HC of the Rams and d.c. Joe Barry was fired. Gruden subsequently promoted from within (Matt Cavanaugh for offense, Greg Manusky for defense) to fill the coordinator roles. Most of the FA headlines involved losing a pair of 1000-yard receivers (DeSean Jackson to the Bucs and Pierre Garcon to the 49ers), the first time that has ever happened in an offseason to a team in NFL history, though Terrelle Pryor, a 1000-yard wideout LY for Cleveland, was signed. Manusky’s defense also added a couple of DTs (Terrell McClain from the Cowboys and Stacy McGee from the Raiders) but still could be in the market for a pass-rusher after DE Chris Baker left for the Bucs. Let’s also not forget about the plight of Cousins, still looking for a long-term deal and the subject of recurring trade rumors. Just another peaceful offseason at Redskin Park. Any move involving Cousins before the draft could completely change the dynamics, though many suspect the Skins need their most immediate help in the 2ndary, safety spots in particular, even after adding D.J. Swearinger from the Cards, as DeAngelo Hall is off a torn ACL, and he and converted CB Will Blackmon are both over 30. Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State

    18) TENNESSEE TITANS...Having already been gifted the fifth overall pick from the Rams thanks to last year’s trade that allowed LA to tab QB Jared Goff with the top selection, the Titans are in an enviable position and have plenty of flexibility to trade down for more picks if they wish. (We projected Clemson WR Mike Williams to Nashville with the earlier pick from the Rams). If Tennessee does stay put with this pick at 18, GM Jon Robinson will be tempted to give o.c. Terry Robiskie another toy for his offense, perhaps a do-it-all tight end to pair with Delanie Walker in double TE sets. If Robinson goes that direction, it might be above objections from vet d.c. Dick LeBeau, who would probably prefer a coverage LB, though the “D” has already gotten plenty of attention in free agency. If Alabama TE O.J. Howard is still on the board, he might prove too tempting for the Titans to bypass. O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama

    19) TAMPA BAY BUCS...The Bucs came surprisingly close to ending their nine-year postseason drought by staying in the playoff picture until the final week of last season. The next step, however, might be more difficult, especially in a division that has produced the past two NFC Super Bowl reps (Panthers and Falcons). Coach Dirk Koetter believes QB Jameis Winston is ready to make the jump to the elite level, and signing WR DeSean Jackson away from the Redskins seems to provide the deep threat the aerial game has lacked (glue-fingered Mike Evans remains a top-end intermediate target). With Jackson in the fold, the main offensive issue is now at RB, where the Bucs have yet to commit in 2017 to Doug Martin, who will be suspended for the first three games. There is the possibility an all-terrain runner might be targeted early with re-signed Jacquizz Rdogers and injury-prone holdover Charles Sims not considered especially durable. But help on the OL and in the 2ndary are likely to be the primary concerns in the draft unless Koetter convinces GM Jason Licht that a replacement for Martin at RB is the top priority. Jabril Peppers, S, Michigan

    20) DENVER BRONCOS...Though some of the fun speculation the past few months in Broncos Country was the possibility that John Elway might try to lure QB Tony Romo as he did Peyton Manning five years ago, Denver’s underlying issue for the offseason has always been upgrading the OL, which was a mess in 2016 and might have scared away Romo anyway had he not instead decided to hang up his pads and join Jim Nantz as the top CBS analyst for this coming season. Hoping to help preserve holdover QBs Trevor Siemian & Paxton Lynch, Elway plucked ex-Cowboy G Ronald Leary in free agency but still figures to address OT spots that were a particular problem a year ago (Elway did not block the door on the disappointing Russell Okung departing for the Chargers). Donald Stephenson remains after enduring a brutal campaign, but Denver also enlisted ex-Raiders FA Menelik Watson, currently penciled in at RT, and Elway might still look at a tackle off of the bat in the first round, which would please new/old o.c. Mike McCoy, the former Chargers HC but having worked some magic in his previous stint as Broncos o.c. under John Fox in the Tim Tebow year (2011) and Manning’s first season (2012) in Denver. After Gary Kubiak’s surprise retirement, there’s a new HC as well, Vance Joseph, a regional favorite from college days as a Colorado Buff and most recently d.c. for the Dolphins. Joseph is also a disciple of Wade Phillips, as is new d.c. Joe Woods, Denver’s recent DB coach under Phillips, who has moved to the Rams. After springing too many leaks vs. the run last year, Elway added some bulky reinforcements in free agency with DTs Domate Peko (Bengals) and Zach Kerr (Colts), so expect the offense to get early draft attention. Would Elway consider another former Stanford man and a Denver product, RB Christian McCaffrey, with an early pick? Garrett Bolles, OT, Utah

    21) DETROIT LIONS...The Lions still haven’t won a road playoff game since 1957, but did make it to the postseason a year ago, validating the decision to retain HC Jim Caldwell after a rough 2015. As well as validating GM Bob Quinn’s focus on OL upgrades since his tenure began a year ago, a trend that continued in the offseason when inking FAs G T.J. Lang (from the Packers) and T Rick Warner (from the Ravens) as reinforcements in front of QB Matthew Stafford, a top priority after G Larry Warford (to the Saints) and OT Riley Rieff (to the Vikings) departed in free agency. Quinn also addressed some defensive needs (DT Akeem Springs from the Bucs, DE Cornelius Washington from the Bears, LB Paul Worrilow from the Falcons, and CB DJ Hayden from the Raiders) in free agency and could go in a variety of directions in the draft. Though the consensus among most insiders is that Quinn would like to add another playmaker or two to the middle of the defense with the pending release (post-June 1 designation) of LB DeAndre Levy, and will likely be looking to add depth at the WR spots behind Golden Tate and Marvin Jones. Hasson Reddick, OLB, Temple

    22) MIAMI DOLPHINS...The Dolphins are a lot further along than most people expected at this time a year ago, when young Adam Gase was preparing for his first HC job. Gase, however, made a smooth transition and got Miami to punch above its weight and squeeze into the playoffs with a week to spare, though the Dolphins were never expected to get far in the postseason with backup QB Matt Moore at the controls. Entering his second season, as is HC Gase, GM Chris Grier has succeeded in keeping most of the key Dolphin potential FAs in-house, with LB Kiko Alonso, DE Andre Branch, WR Kenny Stills, and versatile OL Jermon Bushrod re-signed, while adding some potential useful pieces such as ex-Steeler LB Lawrence Timmons and ex-Bears G/C Ted Larsen as FAs and ex-Jags and Broncos TE Julius Thomas in a trade (with OT Branden Albert sent to J’ville). Ex-Rams S TJ McDonald, who will be on suspension for the first eight games, was another addition. Now Grier focuses on locking up WR Jarvis Landry, into his contract year, for the longer term. As for the QB position, Ryan Tannehill is reportedly beyond the knee injury that KO’d him last December and should be available for upcoming OTAs. Priorities at the draft are likely a pass-rusher from the edge (especially after the release of DE Mario Williams) and more reinforcements along the OL. Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan

    23) NEW YORK GIANTS...After returning to the playoffs for the first time since the 2011 Super Bowl season for new HC Ben McAdoo, the Giants were looking in free agency to keep the core of their 10th-ranked defense intact while finding some upgrades for a 25th-ranked offense. Regarding the latter, longtime GM Jerry Reese was not able to quite match the splashes he made on the defensive side in the last offseason, but did add vet WR Brandon Marshall, still with plenty of gas left in his tank and most importantly a possible mentor for WR Odell Beckham, Jr., whose maturity issues are still a concern. Reese did keep most of his defenders in the fold, though still unresolved is the status of DT Johnathan Hankins. If Hankins isn’t re-signed before the draft, it could influence the thinking of Reese, who might be forced to go with a DT sooner than he would have preferred. Otherwise expect the offense to get the bulk of the attention in Philly at the end of the month, and already there are rumors that Reese might want to trade up for a shot at Alabama TE O.J. Howard. It also might be the time to identify a successor at QB to Eli Manning, entering his 14th season. Ex-Jet Geno Smith was added in free agency, but is viewed strictly as an upgrade behind Eli and not considered a long-term answer at the position. Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama

    24) OAKLAND RAIDERS...Never a dull moment with the Raiders, whose much-discussed move to Las Vegas was approved by owners on April 3, though the new stadium won’t be ready until 2020. With lease options for 2017 & 2018 at the Coliseum, the franchise likely remains based in Oakland for at least the next two years, while any number of possibilities (Berkeley, Santa Clara, San Diego, San Antonio...London?) are being floated as a home base for 2019, or earlier if things become untenable in Oakland. A temporary move into UNLV’s current, spartan 36,000-seat Sam Boyd Stadium appears unlikely. Stay tuned for further developments. Still, Raider Nation hasn’t had this much excitement in years, with a 14-year playoff drought ended last season, when Oakland appeared a legit Super Bowl threat before QB Derek Carr’s broken leg suffered in the penultimate regular-season game vs. the Colts. The good news is that Carr is now healthy and will be ready for offseason OTAs. But GM Reggie McKenzie did not do much upgrading of a 26th-ranked “D” in free agency, instead adding new pieces for an already-explosive “O” with WR-KR Cordarrelle Patterson (via Vikings), TE Jared Cook (via Packers), QB EJ Manuel (via Bills and likely to be an upgrade behind Carr), and OT Marshall Newhouse (via Giants). Moreover, there have been talks with RBs Adrian Peterson and with ex-Seahawk Marshawn Lynch, recently retired but reportedly serious about a return to his hometown team, as possible replacements for Latavius Murray (who moved to the Vikings in free agency). Since there was so much outflow from the defense in the offseason (LB Malcolm Smith to the 49ers, DT Stacy McGee to the Redskins, S Nate Allen to the Dolphins, CB DJ Hayden to the Lions, LB Darren Bates and S Brynden Trawick both to the Titans, and LB Perry Riley out of contract), the stop unit would seem an early priority in the draft, especially with Cory Jones the only LB currently on the roster who played significant snaps last season. Zach Cunningham, ILB, Vanderbilt

    25) HOUSTON TEXANS...The offseason dispatch of underachieving QB Brock Osweiler was no surprise; the Texans were even glad to throw in a second-round pick next year to the Browns for the favor of taking the “Brock-lobster” off of Houston’s hands. But the plan in the offseason seemed to be to go after Tony Romo after his anticipated release from Dallas. Only Romo has instead decided to retire and take a TV job with CBS, which for moment leaves Tom Savage and Brandon Weeden as HC Bill O’Brien’s only QB options. So, expect some movement at the position with the Texans, who as of early April had yet to spend any money on new FAs and still had $30 million or so of cap space that could be used on available vets such as Jay Cutler or Colin Kaepernick. Or GM Rick Smith could go for a QB early in the draft. Either way, Houston has to do something with its QB question and the offense in general while the defense remains title-caliber, even when do-everything DE J.J. Watt missed action last season. Smith might be looking at the secondary at some point in the draft after losing CB AJ Bouye (to the Jags) and safeties Quintin Demps (to the Bears) and Don Jones (to the 49ers) in free agency, and likely addresses issues on OL, the tackle spots in particular, as Smith looks to add bigger, more physical lineman for O’Brien’s gap schemes as opposed to zone-blocking schemes of the previous Gary Kubiak regime. But it’s the QB position that everyone is talking about in Houston. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech

    26) SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
    ...Has the title window closed in Seattle? Maybe not, but the thought of a dynasty in the Northwest has mostly dissipated after the Seahawks have failed to progress past the Divisional Round the past two years following their back-to-back Super Bowl visits. While the defense (ranked 5th overall a year ago) remains formidable, the “O” is in need of repair, especially along an OL that underachieved a year ago and was the emphasis in free agency for GM John Schneider and HC Pete Carroll, not to mention QB Russell Wilson, who was on the run more than he would have liked a season ago, especially as he dealt with leg and ankle injuries. Seattle signed former Jags No. 2 overall pick Luke Joeckel (projected to start at the LT spot) and former Texans G Oday Aboushi to infuse their young forward wall with a bit more experience and add to competition, but Seattle also looked to upgrade an infantry that has not been the same since Marshawn Lynch left the scene, signing ex-Packer Eddie Lacy after 11 different backs carried the ball a year ago. A slightly-lesser priority in the draft is likely to be the WR spots with both Paul Richardson and Jermaine Kearse potential FAs after 2017. Meanwhile, rumors continue to surface about CB Richard Sherman on the trading block, with depth an issue even if Sherman stays in the fold after Carroll’s “D” was left thin at CB following DeShawn Shead’s torn ACL in the playoffs. Kevin King, CB, Washington

    27) KANSAS CITY CHIEFS...The Andy Reid era in KC is taking on a similar look to the Reid years in Philadelphia, where the Eagles were a perennial playoff team but only once made it to the Super Bowl (and lost there to the Patriots). Chiefs fans are wondering if Reid’s KC has reached its ceiling with Alex Smith at QB, especially after Smith’s struggles in the Divisional Round loss to the Steelers. Now there are some other concerns at the position after salary-cap considerations forced Reid and GM John Dorsey to let loose of capable backup QB Nick Foles (who re-signed with his former Eagles team), leaving the Chiefs dangerously thin behind Smith. Into the draft, Tyler Bray (yet to take a regular-season snap) remains the only other QB on the roster. And while RB Tyreek Hill and TE Travis Kelce have emerged as dangerous weapons, the Chiefs could use an upgrade at WR, especially after Jeremy Maclin’s production took a nose-dive last season. How quickly Derrick Johnson is healing from last December’s Achilles tear might also prompt Dorsey to look at the LB spot earlier than he might normally, and added depth at the CB positions is likely to be addressed as well. The Chiefs have a bit of flexibility with four picks in tow for Day Two thanks to a compensatory selection at the end of Round 3. John Ross, WR, Washington

    28) DALLAS COWBOYS...The Tony Romo storyline drew much more attention in the offseason than it deserved in Dallas, with the only real intrigue whether Jerry Jones could pry loose a draft pick from some team in trade, or when Romo would be released to reduce some of the Cowboys cap hit. The latter will now indeed be reduced after Romo’s decision to retire and pursue a TV career with CBS. The QB duties had already been turned over to Dak Prescott, part of Jones’ draft bonanza last spring when first-round pick RB Ezekiel Elliott would eventually end up leading all NFL rushers and DT Maliek Collins and CB Anthony Brown would combine for 23 starts, all on top of Prescott’s emergence. Not to sound snarky, but let’s see Jones pull those sorts of rabbits out of his hat again, especially from the 28th slot in Round One after last season’s improbable surge to a 13-3 mark and the NFC East crown. Jones already has had a difficult offseason, with a boatload of starters and contributors walking out of door, including CBs Brandon Carr (Ravens) and Morris Claiborne (Jets), safeties Barry Church (Jags) and J.J. Wilcox (Bucs), DE Jack Crawford (Falcons), DT Terrell McClain (Redskins) and G Ron Leary (Broncos) all bolting in free agency, with OT Doug Free expected to join Romo in retirement, with only modest reinforcements added. Jones is on record saying that Dallas needs a “war daddy” pass rusher (can he find one this late in Round One?), and will be looking to improve depth in his depleted secondary. Though we can never be sure about Jones, it would be a surprise if he doesn’t go heavy “D” in the draft, considering all of the stop unit outflow in free agency. Adoree Jackson, CB, Southern Cal

    29) GREEN BAY PACKERS...Though the Packers rallied down the stretch behind QB Aaron Rodgers and advanced all the way to the NFC title game, a blowout loss once there vs. the Falcons laid bare some of the problem areas (mostly on defense, and especially on the corners) that longtime GM Ted Thompson had to address in the offseason. As usual, Thompson, a reluctant participant in free agency, will wait until the draft to begin filling the gaps, which are several after a mass exodus. Thompson has some work to do as RB, G, CB, and OLB positions have all been depleted the past two months after the Pack released the vet duo of Pro Bowl CB Sam Shields and seasoned RB James Starks in February. Following Shields and Starks out of Lambeau were RB Eddie Lacy (Seahawks), G T.J. Lang (Lions), C/G JC Tretter (Browns), TE Jared Cook (Raiders), S Micah Hyde (Bills), DE/LB Julius Peppers (Panthers) and OLB Datone Jones (Vikings). While TEs Martellus Bennett (Patriots) and Lance Kendricks (Rams) were added as replacements for Cook, the only other additions of note were DE Ricky-Jean Francois (via Redskins) and CB Davin House (via Jags) as lower-priced recruits. Thompson is probably not done with his rebuild of the corner spots, and will surely be looking for some help at RB after the departures of Lacy and Starks. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford

    30) PITTSBURGH STEELERS...Time went still in the Steel City for a while when QB Ben Roethlisberger was slow to commit to a return for the 2017 season. Though that potential crisis seems to have passed, GM Kevin Colbert now has to start seriously thinking of a future without Big Ben, who has taken a lot of punishment as he enters his 14th season, and is now apparently a year-to-year proposition. At some point in the draft, maybe sooner than later, Colbert might try to identify a potential successor, as current backup Landry Jones is not considered a long-term alternative. Colbert was a bit out of character in free agency when involved in a high-priced pursuit of LB Dont’a Hightower, who instead ended up re-signing with the Patriots. Otherwise, it was mostly business as usual in free agency for Pittsburgh, adding some depth behind the starters, with an edge rusher (either at DE or OLB) and a shutdown CB (shortcomings that HC Mike Tomlin believes were partly responsible for the AFC title game loss at New England) likely to be targeted in the draft, even after DE Tyson Alualu (from the Jags) and CB Coty Sensabaugh (from the Giants) were added. As well, perhaps, as a future QB. Takkarist McKinley, OLB, UCLA

    31) ATLANTA FALCONS...To combat the dreaded “Super Bowl hangover” after letting loose of a 25-point lead against the Patriots in LI, the Falcons will be moving into their sparkling new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, with its unfurling, bird wing-like roof, across the street from the Georgia Dome, deemed past its sell-by date after a mere 25-year existence. Leaving nothing to chance, HC Dan Quinn also spent time conferring with other recent title-losing coaches Steve Kerr and Terry Francona after the epic Supe collapse vs. New England. (No truth to the rumor that Dr. Phil has also been consulting with the Falcs.) The Falcs also enter 2017 with their third o.c. in four years, as former Washington Huskies and USC HC (and recent Bama o.c.) Steve Sarkisian replaces Kyle Shanahan, hired as the new 49ers HC after finding the sweep spot with QB Matt Ryan and a bevy of offensive weapons last season. GM Thomas Dimitroff mostly limited the outflow in free agency and was able to add a couple of potentially useful pieces (DT Dontari Poe from the Chiefs and DE/DT Jack Crawford from the Cowboys) to the defensive front. Even with last year’s record-setting offense, Dimitroff might look for OL help early in the draft after the retirement of G Chris Chester and advancing age of 30-plus sorts such as C Alex Mack and LG Andy Levitre. The pass rush also improved last season with 2nd-year LB Vic Beasley coming alive and vet DE Dwight Freeney providing an upgrade, though Quinn and Dimitroff might be looking for another pressure addition on the edge. Carl Lawson, DE Auburn

    32) NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (from New England)
    ...The Saints get another crack in the first round (plus an extra third-rounder) thanks to the trade that sent WR Brandin Cooks and a fourth-round pick to the Patriots. We already talked at length about the annual upgrades needed by the New Orleans defense when projecting LSU CB Tre’Davious White as the pick at the No. 12 slot. Saints GM Mickey Loomis could certainly go defense again, but as mentioned in our earlier discussion in Part One, Loomis could also be looking at an eventual successor to Drew Brees at QB if not convinced holdover Garrett Grayson is that guy. With the extra pick in the first round, the Saints are thus a candidate to trade up if they see a QB they really like. Could they find one at the end of the first round as well, or does Loomis simply keep adding defenders in hopes of an eventual upgrade to his stop unit? DeMarcus Walker, DE, Florida State

    The following teams do not have first-round picks (as of April 10) and will be getting “on the clock” a bit later in Philly...

    LOS ANGELES RAMS...Thanks to last year’s deal with the Titans that allowed the Rams to move up to the top overall spot and pick Cal QB Jared Goff, the horned-helmets will have to wait until the second round, and 37th pick overall, to make their first choice. Which is a shame because the Rams need a lot of help after their 4-12 mess of a year ago when Goff posted the worst-ever stats for a rookie QB with at least seven starts and LA had the league’s worst offense. There is still commitment to Goff, but a new HC, young Sean McVay, recently o.c. for the Skins, looks to revitalize the attack, while vet d.c. Wade Phillips has been added from Denver. In free agency, GM Les Snead did not sit still, adding OT Andrew Whitworth (from the Bengals), WR Robert Woods (from the Bills), and RB Lance Dunbar (from the Cowboys), while enlisting pass-rush specialist Connor Barwin (from the Eagles) and CB Kayvon Wester (from the Broncos). The thought persists that the Rams already had a near-playoff quality “D” that could be even better with Phillips calling the shots, but Rams fans need to be patient as Snead and McVay sift through the rubble of their broken offense, and try to get Goff and third-year RB Todd Gurley (who endured a brutal sophomore campaign in 2016) moving in the right direction.

    MINNESOTA VIKINGS...Forced to relinquish their first-round pick in an emergency move at the end of preseason to acquire QB Sam Bradford from the Eagles after Teddy Bridgewater suffered a devastating knee injury, the Vikes will have to wait until midway in the second round (48th pick overall) to make their first selection. As for Bridgewater, there is no timetable for his return, which many expect will not happen until 2018. In the meantime, GM Rick Spielman and HC Mike Zimmer transition the offense into more of a West Coast-style with shorter passes and a lot of shotgun looks that are a better fit for Bradford and for new featured RB Latavius Murray, signed from the Raiders after Adrian Peterson’s release. Spielman also moved quickly in free agency to bolster the OL by adding LT Riley Rieff from the Lions and RT Mike Zemmers from the Panthers. There was still some outflow (LT Matt Kalil and CB Captain Munnerlyn to the Panthers, P Jeff Locke to the Colts, WR/KR Cordarrelle Patterson to the Raiders) in free agency, while the status of DT Sharrif Floyd remains up in the air as he attempts recovery from a serious knee injury and nerve damage. The pressure might also be ramping up slightly on Zimmer, whose early successes disappeared in a brutal 3-8 close to last season after the Vikes looked set for a return to the playoffs following a 5-0 break from the gate. Spielman likely looks offense in the early rounds, perhaps focusing upon the G and RB spots.

    NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS...Unless they trade up, the Patriots don’t even have to show up for opening night at the draft, at the moment not due to pick until the third round and 72nd pick overall with a selection originally belonging to the Panthers. Bill Belichick had earlier traded a second-round pick to Carolina to get the Panthers’ third pick and DE Kony Ealy. The Pats hardly rested on their SB LI laurels, signing CB Stephon Gilmore from the Bills in the largest free-agent deal in franchise history, while also trading for speedy Saints WR Brandin Cooks (which cost Belichick his first-round pick) and re-signing Pro Bowl LB Dont’a Hightower. Plus dealing for TE Dwayne Allen (Colts; possible cover for injury-prone Rob Gronkowski), while landing DE Lawrence Guy (Ravens), and RB Rex Burkhead (Bengals) in other FA moves. As usual, Belichick also lost some prime cuts in free agency, this year hitting the defense harder (DEs Chris Long to the Eagles, CB Logan Ryan to the Titans, and DE Jabaal Sheard & Barkevious Mingo to the Colts), but when has the outflow slowed the Belichick machine in the past decade? Looking to successfully defend their title for the first time since 2003-04, the Patriots and Belichick could still be looking to target a DE after the Long and Sheard departures, and might want to identify a new OT as vet Nate Solder enters the final year of his contract. As usual, however, these appear just “minor” issues in Foxborough.
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    2017 NFL Draft Props
    April 23, 2017


    The 2017 NFL Draft kicks off Thursday Apr. 27 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The opening night festivities will feature the first round while the second and third rounds take place on Friday before the final four rounds finishing on Saturday.

    Oddsmakers at Sportsbook.ag are once again offering up betting propositions for this event that focus on players, schools, conference and much more.

    Listed below are all of the odds per Sportsbook.ag

    2017 NFL Draft Props - Player Wagers

    Draft Position for 2017 NFL Draft

    Leonard Fournette (LSU RB)
    Over 4 (-160)
    Under 4 (+120)

    O.J. Howard (Alabama TE)
    Over 8.5 (-225)
    Under 8.5 (+165)

    Christian McCaffrey (Stanford RB)
    Over 8.5 (-150)
    Under 8.5 (+110)

    Mike Williams (Clemson WR)
    Over 9.5 (-185)
    Under 9.5 (+140)

    Mitchell Trubisky (North Carolina QB)
    Over 11.5 (+210)
    Under 11.5 (-300)

    Deshaun Watson (Clemson QB)
    Over 12.5 (-150)
    Under 12.5 (+110)

    Corey Davis (Western Michigan WR)
    Over 17.5 (-105)
    Under 17.5 (-135)

    John Ross (Washington WR)
    Over 18.5 (-120)
    Under 18.5 (-120)

    Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech QB)
    Over 22.5 (-135)
    Under 22.5 (-105)

    Dalvin Cook (Florida State RB)
    Over 26.5 (-105)
    Under 26.5 (-135)

    Jabrill Peppers (Michigan LB)
    Over 27.5 (-150)
    Under 27.5 (+110)

    DeShone Kizer (Notre Dame QB)
    Over 31.5 (-155)
    Under 31.5 (+115)

    2017 NFL Draft Props - General Wagers

    Number of Alabama Players Selected in Round 1
    Over 4.5 (-120)
    Under 4.5 (-120)

    Number of LSU Players Selected in Round 1
    Over 2.5 (-115)
    Under 2.5 (-25)

    Number of Players from SEC Conference Selected in Round 1
    Over 11.5 (+130)
    Under 11.5 (-175)

    Number of Quarterbacks Selected in Round 1
    Over 3.5 (+160)
    Under 3.5 (-220)

    Number of Running Backs Selected in Round 1
    Over 2.5 (-400)
    Under 2.5 (+270)

    What Conference Will Have More Players Selected in 1st Round
    SEC Players -5.5 (-110)
    Pac-12 Players +5.5 (-130)

    What Conference Will Have More Players Selected in 1st Round
    SEC Players -4.5 (-110)
    Big 10 Players +4.5 (-130)

    Will There be More Offensive or Defensive Players Selected in 1st Round
    Offensive Players +4.5 (-110)
    Defensive Players -4.5 (-130)

    When Will the First Placekicker be Selected in 2017 NFL Draft
    Rounds 1 Thru 3 +270
    Rounds 4 Thru 7 -400

    Mr Irrelevant - Last Player Selected (Kicker = Offense / Punter = Defense for this prop)
    Offensive Player -105
    Defensive Player -105

    Odds Subject to Change - Updated 4.23.17
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    Houston Has a Problem
    April 17, 2017


    Romo Retirement Hurts Texans Most

    Early this year when it became clear the Dallas Cowboys weren’t going to keep Tony Romo around as the highest-paid backup quarterback in NFL history, BetOnline released an NFL prop for where Romo would be playing in 2017. The Denver Broncos were +250 opening favorites and the Houston Texans second at +400. What wasn’t an option: no team.

    Barring a shocking change of heart, Romo’s NFL playing career is over and his broadcasting career just beginning. The all-time leading passer in Cowboys history has decided to walk away from the game because of his health and to spend more time with his young family. It also didn’t hurt that CBS offered him millions of dollars a year and the No. 1 NFL analyst gig alongside Jim Nantz.

    So Romo jumped at the chance to stay involved in the game without risking permanent physical damage. He left the door slightly ajar for a return, but it’s hard to imagine CBS would take such a huge leap of faith, not to mention booting Phil Simms from the No. 1 job, if Romo didn’t assure the network he was done playing.

    The biggest losers here are clearly the Texans, who are currently +1600 on BetOnline NFL futures to win Super Bowl LII. Houston had cleared the deck for Romo by trading last year’s primary starter, free-agent bust Brock Osweiler, to Cleveland in an unprecedented salary dump. Houston gave Cleveland a 2018 second-round pick just to take on that big salary. It’s the type of trade seem often in the NBA but never before in the NFL.

    Ridding themselves of Osweiler’s salary-cap hold figured to give Houston the advantage over Denver of signing Romo once the Cowboys released him. While the Broncos are still fine at quarterback with Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch, now the Texans have inexperienced Tom Savage and journeyman backup Brandon Weeden.

    Sure, Coach Bill O’Brien sings Savage’s praises. In three games last season, including two starts, Savage showed coach O'Brien enough for him to believe Savage can be a legitimate NFL starter. I’m not sure what the Texans saw as Savage completed 46 of 73 for 461 yards, no TDs and no picks for a rating of 80.9. Osweiler, as terrible as he was, had a rating of 86.4.

    Savage also hasn’t proven he can stay healthy. As a rookie in 2014, he got a chance to play late in the season but injured his knee and missed two games. He injured a shoulder in the final preseason game of 2015 and landed on injured reserve. After taking over for Osweiler late last season, Savage suffered a concussion in the regular-season finale vs. Tennessee and didn’t play in the postseason.

    Houston has the talent everywhere but QB to reach the Super Bowl, although getting past the absolutely loaded Patriots will be quite a challenge unless Tom Brady gets injured. The Texans had the NFL’s No. 1 total defense last year despite having the league’s best defender, J.J. Watt, for only three early games. Watt should be 100 percent in 2017. Houston also has some good offensive talent in running back Lamar Miller and receiver DeAndre Hopkins. A good quarterback is all that’s needed.

    What are Houston’s options to at least compete with Savage? The top names left on the free-agent market are Jay Cutler and Colin Kaepernick. Both have their warts. Cutler still has one of the NFL’s strongest arms but is a poor decision-maker and not considered a leader. Kaepernick remains one of the league’s best running QBs but frankly can’t throw well. Then there’s the whole political angle with him.

    The Texans could draft a quarterback with their No. 25 overall pick, but no signal-caller in this class is considered a franchise-type player and none are thought to be ready to play as a rookie. The top guys like Deshaun Watson, Mitchell Trubisky and DeShone Kizer likely will be gone by 25.

    Houston, you have a problem.
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    SuperBook posts Week 1 Odds
    April 20, 2017


    The 2017 NFL regular season scheduled was released on Thursday Apr. 20 and the opening weekend will kick off from Foxboro between the defending champions New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs on Sept. 7, 2017.

    Less than two hours after the schedule was released, oddsmakers at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook sent out opening odds for Week 1.

    To no surprise, the defending Super Bowl champions, New England, are listed as seven-point home favorite against Kansas City while the total is sitting at 50.

    All of the odds for Week 1 of the NFL regular season from the SuperBook are listed below.

    Home team listed on bottom - (O/U) in parentheses

    Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017


    Kansas City
    New England -7 (50)

    Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017

    N.Y. Jets
    Buffalo -6.5 (42)

    Atlanta -5.5 (50.5)
    Chicago

    Jacksonville
    Houston -4.5 (42)

    Philadelphia
    Washington -2.5 (48)

    Arizona
    Detroit -2.5 (49.5)

    Oakland PK (53.5)
    Tennessee

    Tampa Bay
    Miami -2 (48)

    Baltimore
    Cincinnati -1 (44)

    Pittsburgh -9.5 (47.5)
    Cleveland

    Indianapolis -3.5 (48)
    L.A. Rams

    Seattle
    Green Bay -2.5, -120 (50.5)

    Carolina -4 (49)
    San Francisco

    N.Y. Giants
    Dallas -6 (50.5)

    Monday, Sept. 11, 2017

    New Orleans
    Minnesota -4 (48)

    L.A. Chargers
    Denver -3.5 (44.5)

    Odds Subject to Change - Updated 4.20.17
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    NFL notebook: Saints, Peterson reportedly nearing deal
    April 24, 2017


    Free agent running back Adrian Peterson is close to agreeing to a deal with the New Orleans Saints, according to published reports on Monday.

    Citing two league sources, the Times-Picayune of New Orleans reported that a deal is near for Peterson, who visited the Saints two weeks ago.

    The NFL Network reported that the sides are close to an agreement and that Peterson would receive more than $3 million to play next season.

    Peterson, who turned 32 last month, left the Minnesota Vikings as one of the best players in franchise history. He was released on March 9 after the team declined the 2017 option on his contract.

    The four-time All-Pro had seven 1,000-yard rushing seasons in nine years, including the second-best total in NFL history with 2,097 yards in 2012, but battled injuries the last few seasons.

    Peterson also led the NFL in rushing in 2015 with 1,485 yards, along with 11 touchdowns. He has 11,747 career rushing yards with 97 touchdowns in 10 seasons -- 16th on the NFL's all-time list. He is 565 yards behind Jim Brown for 10th place.

    The former Oklahoma standout and No. 7 overall pick of the Vikings in the 2007 draft missed all but three games in 2016 after undergoing right knee surgery in September. Peterson totaled 72 yards on 37 carries.

    --Former No. 1 pick Jake Long announced his NFL retirement after nine injury-plagued seasons.

    The left tackle, the first overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins, played only four games with the Minnesota Vikings in 2016 before he suffered a torn Achilles on Nov. 13 to end his season.

    "As I continue with my recent rehab," Long wrote in his statement posted on Twitter, "I realize that although my heart and mind still want to play, my body is telling me something completely different."

    The Vikings signed Long last October after they had lost tackles Matt Kalil and Andre Smith to season-ending injuries. Long, who turns 32 next month, was named to the Pro Bowl in each of his first four seasons (2008-11) in the league before multiple injuries piled up. He last played more than 10 games in a season in 2013, when he started 15 games for the then-St. Louis Rams.

    --General manager John Schneider says the Seattle Seahawks will continue to listen to offers for cornerback Richard Sherman, but the team has "moved past" the idea of trading the four-time Pro Bowl selection.

    Sherman was back at the Seahawks' facility to take part in the offseason program after sitting out last week.

    "Right now we have kind of moved past it," Schneider said of Sherman during a press conference to preview the NFL Draft, which will be held Thursday through Saturday in Philadelphia. "And if somebody calls and goes crazy with something, then we'll discuss it again."

    Sherman met with Seahawks coach Pete Carroll last week amid the developing trade-talk stories. The 29-year-old Sherman, who has two years remaining on his contract, is due to earn $11.43 million in 2017 and $11 million in 2018.

    --The New England Patriots appear unlikely to trade cornerback Malcolm Butler this offseason.

    Butler, who was a restricted free agent, could not be traded until he signed the $3.91 million tender last week for the 2017 season. He visited with just one team, the New Orleans Saints, during free agency.

    Peter King of TheMMQB.com reported that the Saints still have interest in the cornerback but "the thought of dealing one or more picks for Butler, then paying him a huge contract, is less attractive than it once seemed."

    The Saints have picks 11, 32, 42, 76 and 103 in the first three rounds of the 2017 draft, which will be held Thursday through Saturday in Philadelphia. Butler previously did not sign his tender in hopes that another NFL team might sign him to an offer sheet before last Friday's deadline.

    --Running back Mike Gillislee signed with the Patriots after the Buffalo Bills decided not to match the two-year contract offer.

    Gillislee received a fifth-round tender as a restricted free agent, and the Bills will receive the Patriots' pick in that round of the NFL draft, No. 163 overall.

    A fifth-round pick in 2013, Gillislee rushed for 577 yards and eight touchdowns on 101 carries last season as LeSean McCoy's backup in Buffalo.

    Gillislee is the latest change in the backfield for the Patriots as LeGarrette Blount, who led the NFL with 18 touchdowns, remains an unrestricted free agent. The Patriots also signed running back Rex Burkhead, formerly of the Cincinnati Bengals, in March. They also return Dion Lewis and James White at the position.

    --In what hardly rates as a surprise, the New York Giants are planning to pick up the fifth-year option on star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., multiple media outlets reported.

    New York has until May 3 to pick up the option on Beckham's rookie contract, a move considered procedural given that failing to do so would allow Beckham to become an unrestricted free agent in 2018.

    "Of course we will," SportsNet New York quoted a team source as to the plans to keep Beckham in the fold.

    Beckham has hauled in double-digit touchdowns and eclipsed 1,300 yards in each of his first three seasons, but the former first-round pick (No. 12 overall) has drawn the ire of management for a lack of discipline on the field.

    --The San Francisco 49ers are "still strongly considering" taking a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick in this week's NFL Draft.

    Ian Rapoport of NFL Network also reported the 49ers have done "extensive homework" on the draft's top quarterbacks, highlighted by North Carolina's Mitch Trubisky and Clemson's Deshaun Watson.

    According to the report, the 49ers taking a quarterback would be somewhat of a surprise, considering they signed presumptive starter Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley in the offseason -- and they have Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins potentially as an option for 2018.

    The 2017 draft will be the first under the 49ers' new regime of general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan.

    --General manager Thomas Dimitroff said the Atlanta Falcons "aren't looking for angels" in this week's NFL Draft but at the same time indicated Joe Mixon is off their draft board.

    "Of course, I've said this time and again: We aren't looking for angels," Dimitroff told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution of players in the draft, which will be held Thursday through Saturday in Philadelphia. "We are looking for guys who are real. We are looking for guys who ultimately will fit into the brotherhood. ... We are particular about looking at the character situation and how they fit. It's a big thing, of course."

    The Falcons have the 31st pick in the first round.

    Mixon, the former Oklahoma running back who was involved in a highly publicized domestic violence case, is not on the team's draft board, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported.

    --The family of former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez will gain access to three handwritten notes that the player allegedly wrote before he killed himself, a lawyer for the family said.

    Attorney George Leontire told reporters early Monday afternoon that a Bristol Superior Court judge in New Bedford, Mass., ordered the release of the notes to the family, the Boston Globe reported.

    The legal action came minutes before funeral services were scheduled to begin for Hernandez in Bristol, Conn.

    As part of his motion, Leontire said Hernandez's family deserved "know their loved one's final thoughts" and termed it a necessary part of the "grieving process."

    --The Washington Redskins re-signed restricted free agent linebacker Will Compton to his tender contract.

    Compton's deal for the 2017 season is worth $1.8 million, according to ESPN. Compton, 27, was voted the team's defensive captain prior to last season.

    The 6-foot-1, 238-pound Compton registered a career-high 104 tackles (60 solo) in 2016 -- his third full season with the Redskins. He had five passes defensed, two fumble recoveries and one interception while starting 15 games.

    An undrafted free agent out of Nebraska, Compton appeared in one game with Washington in 2013 but has missed just one game over the past three seasons.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Draft Quarterback Props
    April 25, 2017


    The last big event on the NFL’s offseason schedule before training camps kick off in July is the draft, which begins on April 27 from Philadelphia. There’s only one thing you can count on each year in the draft: don’t believe anything you read or hear leading into it.

    All these NFL general managers are putting out smokescreens. The players’ agents are doing the same thing. Even the most tied-in NFL beat writer on the planet has no clue what his team is planning to do on draft day.

    But don’t let a lack of legitimate information stop you from betting on the draft at BetOnline, which now has several props available. For example, Cleveland Browns GM Sashi Brown seemed sincere recently when he said: “we feel really good about picking at No. 1.” Brown admitted his team has received some calls but nothing the franchise was interested in.

    By all accounts, the Browns will choose Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett, a potential Von Miller clone, with the top pick on April 27. Garrett is -1000 on the NFL odds to go first.

    He will be the fourth defensive player to go No. 1 overall this century, joining Jadeveon Clowney (2014 to Houston), Mario Williams (2006 to Houston) and Courtney Brown (2000 to Cleveland). Clowney has become a difference-maker after battling injuries his first two seasons. Williams justified his selection, while Brown was a bust.

    Things get interesting at No. 2, where the San Francisco 49ers currently sit. Like the Browns, the 49ers need a franchise quarterback in the worst way. However, there is no clear-cut franchise QB in this year’s class like a Jameis Winston or Andrew Luck. The 49ers need help everywhere so they could easily trade out of that spot to pick up multiple draft picks. The betting favorite to go No. 2 is Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas at -130. The key wording there is going No. 2, not necessarily to San Francisco.

    One rumor making the rounds is that the Browns also covet North Carolina QB Mitch Trubisky, who is an Ohio native, and could offer a package built around their No. 12 overall pick to San Francisco to get the No. 2 and select Trubisky. He’s not likely to be there at No. 12. BetOnline lists Trubisky at +750 as the player to go No. 2 overall, and he has an over/under draft spot of 11.5, with the under a -240 favorite. That 11.5 number is because Cleveland would almost surely take him at 12 if available. The under does seem a safe bet as it’s not expected Trubisky would get past both the Jets at No. 6 and/or Bills at No. 10.

    The over/under for total quarterbacks drafted in Round 1 is 3.5, with the under a -170 favorite. Trubisky is a first-round lock. So is Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, who has an O/U spot of 12.5. A guy reportedly rocketing up draft charts is Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes, who has been compared to a young Brett Favre in that Mahomes has a rocket arm and is a bit of a gunslinger – but also prone to interceptions by forcing the ball at times.

    Mahomes is given an O/U draft spot of 24.5, with the under a -180 favorite. The Houston Texans love that guy and need a quarterback after losing out on Tony Romo and trading away Brock Osweiler. Houston picks 25th – hence Mahomes’ draft spot number a half-spot before that.

    Whether that 3.5 number on first-round QBs goes over thus likely will depend on Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer, who has an O/U draft spot of 30.5. It would appear no team picking after Houston at No. 25 would take a quarterback in the first round, maybe Kansas City at 27th, but one could trade back into the late first to take Kizer as Denver did a year ago with Paxton Lynch. The 49ers and Bears are two such teams picking early in the second round that might execute such a trade. Or even the Browns if they look elsewhere at No. 12 and lose out on Trubisky.

    Other QB props available are where two SEC guys are taken: Ole Miss’ Chad Kelly and Tennessee’s Joshua Dobbs. The favorite on Kelly at +130 is seventh round or undrafted. Kelly had wrist surgery earlier in April and won’t even be able to throw for three months, so that hurt his status. For Dobbs, the favorite is Rounds 1-3 at -115.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Defense defines the 2017 NFL Draft
    April 26, 2017


    A few years from now, the 2017 NFL Draft might be summed up in a single word: defense.

    Defensive linemen and defensive backs dominate the NFLDraftScout.com top 50, starting at the top with defensive linemen Myles Garrett (Texas A&M), Jonathan Allen (Alabama) and Solomon Thomas (Stanford). Twenty-five of the top 40 players in the draft are defenders, per NFLDraftScout, including possible two-way star Adoree' Jackson, a USC cornerback with experience as a wide receiver.

    The Cleveland Browns own the top pick Thursday when the seven-round draft opens in Philadelphia, the first of 11 selections for a franchise closing out a second decade of searching for a stable starting quarterback.

    For only the sixth time since the Browns returned to the NFL in 1999, the No. 1 pick is not expected to be a quarterback.

    Garrett bears some physical similarities to 2014 No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney. At 6-4, 272, Garrett had a 4.64 40-yard dash (1.57 in the first 10 yards), a 41-inch vertical and 10-7 broad jump. The defensive end has been the presumptive No. 1 pick for months, even with the Browns leading a gaggle of teams in the top 10 with uncertainty at quarterback.

    "We spent a lot of time with him," Browns vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said. "We learned a lot about what makes him tick, what motivates him, how he spends his downtime, how he spends his time with his teammates. He's an enjoyable young man ... bright, competitive. Whatever team gets him, particularly if it's us, would be proud to have him."

    Clamoring for a quarterback in Cleveland is nothing new, although an argument could be made the need for a game-changing defensive end should also be a priority. The Browns registered 26 sacks last season (31st) and were also next-to-last in total defense.

    Cleveland, which parted with Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown in the offseason, traded the No. 2 pick in the 2016 draft to the Philadelphia Eagles (Carson Wentz). Now the Browns are a candidate to make a move Thursday -- up from the No. 12 pick acquired via the Philly trade -- in an attempt to finally settle the QB spot without passing on Garrett.

    North Carolina junior Mitchell Trubisky started only 13 games for the Tar Heels and is viewed as a future starter, but a limited sample size relative to Clemson's Deshaun Watson creates pause.

    "Development potential is there," said Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians. "The question is 'Why wasn't all that talent starting for the last three years?' That's always bugging me. So you have to go and answer those questions with him, with his coach, but the physical talent is there."

    Watson, a two-time high school player of the year in talent-rich Georgia, carried Clemson to the national championship in January and a runner-up finish to Alabama in January 2016. How his skills translate to a pro-style offense creates some consternation within scouting departments concerned -- particularly 30 interceptions in his past 30 games.

    Wildcards at quarterback include Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes, a gunslinger whose video-game stats came in a run-and-shoot offense, Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer and Cal's Davis Webb, who transferred from Texas Tech rather than sit behind Mahomes.

    The general uncertainty and polarizing prospects at the NFL's most important position could lead to unexpected picks and added trade movement Thursday.

    The 49ers (No. 2), Bears (No. 3), Jaguars (4), Jets (6), Bills (10), Browns (12), and Cardinals (13) all have been tied to quarterbacks.

    Moving up in the first round is costly. The Eagles sent the No. 8 pick along with four other picks -- a third and a fourth in 2016, a first-round selection in '17 (No. 12) and a second-round pick in 2018 -- to rise six spots and take Wentz at No. 2.

    But defensive players, including LSU safety Jamal Adams and Ohio State defensive backs Marshon Lattimore and Malik Hooker, are rated ahead of most quarterbacks by NFLDraftScout.com. If general managers get their way and follow the best player available strategy, quarterbacks could be in for a considerable wait.

    Then again, coaches could lobby for the quarterback, as was the case with the Eagles and Wentz last April

    "You can be in a situation where every quarterback in the draft is still there at 13 or there could be three or four gone. You really can't tell," Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said. "You just have to be prepared and trust your board, which is one thing that we have done and I think we have done a good job of it."

    The resurgence of running backs is likely to continue.

    LSU's Leonard Fournette is compared to vintage Adrian Peterson with size, power and explosiveness and Stanford dynamo Christian McCaffrey, the son of former Broncos wide receiver Ed McCaffrey, has a gear for every job and even excelled when motioned out to slot receiver. Fournette, even at 230 pounds, is not one-dimensional and should benefit by proxy after Ezekiel Elliott led the NFL in rushing with the Dallas Cowboys. Elliott was selected fourth overall in 2016.

    Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon has first-round talent, but evaluators could move him off the draft board entirely based on off-field concerns. Mixon, who measured a shade under 6-1 (6-feet 3/4-inches) and 228 pounds, turned in a pro day workout similar to Elliott. But Mixon wasn't invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

    In July 2014, Mixon was arrested for misdemeanor assault after he punched a woman in the face, breaking her jaw and cheekbone. He received 100 hours of community service, underwent counseling and was suspended from the football program for the 2014 season. The gruesome incident was also captured on camera.

    Another standout, Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster, was at the combine only long enough to be sent home from medical examinations after a spat with a physician. Foster, ranked 10th overall by NFLDraftScout.com, could be drafted much lower. In addition to the combine flap, Foster admitted to a dilute sample of his drug test in Indianapolis.

    Foster will not attend the draft due to the transgressions, but Alabama will be represented with full force. Head coach Nick Saban plans to join Allen and offensive tackle Cam Robinson. Three other Crimson Tide players are considered first-round possibilities as well: cornerback Marlon Humphrey, linebacker Tim Williams and Alabama's highest-rated prospect, tight end O.J. Howard (NFLDraftScout.com's No. 6 overall player in 2017 draft).

    "I think it's wonderful and speaks volumes of our ability to help players develop and play at a high level and to be able to recruit some talented players that have an opportunity to develop and be someone that has a career as a football player in the NFL," Saban said.

    Only days before the NFL Draft, Ohio State's Gareon Conley will not attend the draft on Thursday in Philadelphia following sexual assault allegations his attorney called "ludicrous and ridiculous."

    NFLDraftScout.com ranks Conley second among cornerbacks and 22nd overall among prospects in the 2017 draft. The redshirt junior has a 4.44 time in the 40-yard dash and 37-inch vertical.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Armadillo: Friday's six-pack

    — Spurs ousted Memphis, Raptors eliminate the Bucks, both in six games.

    — Detroit scored 19 runs Tuesday; they scored 0-1 runs the next two days.

    — Mets are 8-13; Cespedes/Syndergaard are both hurt now. No bueno.

    — If I ever write a book, one of the chapters will be “Baseball players get hurt a lot.”

    — Baltimore is 14-6, with a run differential of +9. Texas is +11; their record is 10-12.

    — I’m still amazed that no one drafted Florida State RB Dalvin Cook; young man is a FOOTBALL PLAYER.

    **********

    Armadillo: Running Diary of the 2017 NFL Draft……..


    7:41: Trying to decide which channel to watch the draft on; NFL Network or ESPN, assuming ESPN has enough employees left to do live programming.

    Seeing how I boycotted Chris Berman for the last 20 years or so, since he and Steve Young took delight in mocking the Rams when they sucked in the 90’s, I’ll give post-Berman ESPN the first shot. Plus, Deion Sanders is on NFL Network; can’t stand him.

    7:46: NFL is lucky as hell; when they foolishly put a Super Bowl in New Jersey a few years ag0, they missed a big snowstorm by a day. Tonight, on April 27, it is 74 degrees in Philly. Unusual; they just as easily could’ve gotten cruddy weather- Phillies got rained out at home two nites ago.

    7:53: NFL started moving the draft a few years ago, when Radio City Music Hall was unavailable for draft weekend- they’ve struck gold. Now 14 cities want to host the draft- you know it’ll be in LA when the Rams’ new stadium is finished. I’m guessing Dallas will get it soon, too.

    8:07: Roger Goodell makes $32M a year or so to be NFL’s Commish; he can take getting booed. Philly fans oblige by booing the hell out of him. Weird thing is, he isn’t a lawyer. Thought you had to be a lawyer to be a commish.

    Goodell family trivia: When Robert Kennedy was assassinated in 1968, the man who replaced him as a US Senator from New York was Charles Goodell, Roger’s father.

    8:10: Mel Kiper Jr, draft expert, touts Myles Garrett as a smart #1 pick for Cleveland, who is on the clock. Jon Gruden touts LSU safety Jamal Adams as the #1 pick. Gruden insists that Garrett isn’t the best player in this draft and he shows video evidence why, citing inconsistent effort.

    Earlier this week, former Cowboys’ exec Gil Brandt tweeted that only 14.5 of Garrett’s 31 sacks in college came against SEC competition.

    8:14: Browns take Garrett, the 5th SEC player taken #1 in the last 11 drafts. Cleveland also has the #12 pick in this round, so we’ll hear from them again in a few hours.

    8:17: 49ers/Bears flip-flop the #2/#3 picks; looks like John Lynch will be trying to stockpile some draft picks in his first draft running the 49ers.

    8:22: Bears take QB Mitchell Trubisky, meaning he gets to freeze his butt off for the next 10 Decembers in Chicago. Mike Glennon (3 years, $45M in Chicago) must be happier than hell; he signed with the Bears as a free agent, now it looks like he’ll be moving along again in a year or two.

    The film of Trubisky that Gruden shows isn’t flattering; Trey Wingo points out that the only North Carolina QB to ever start an NFL game is TJ Yates. Trubisky started only 13 games at UNC, but then again, he isn’t going to start for a while.

    8:29: 49ers take DE Solomon Thomas from Stanford; Lynch was a great DB, so it makes sense that his first draft pick is a defensive end. The young man once lived in Australia for five years; his first favorite sport was swimming.

    49ers gave up 2,600 yards rushing last year; unlike Trubisky, Moore will play right away.

    8:35: Jacksonville picks in the top 5 for the 6th year n a row; they take Leonard Fournette from LSU, who missed five games last year, including one by choice. He didn’t seem to be great with catching balls out of the backfield.

    College coaches use the draft to be seen on TV: Stanford’s David Shaw is working on NFL Network, Ed Orgeron, Nick Saban, Dabo Swinney, Brian Kelly are all in Philly with their players. Recruiting season in college football is 365/12/7/24- tonite is no exception.

    Fournette’s agent, by the way, is Jay Z.

    8:43: Tennessee, with one of the picks acquired in the Jared Goff trade, selects WR Corey Davis of Western Michigan, the only D-I team to offer him a scholarship out of high school.

    49ers, by the way, got two extra draft picks from the Bears for dropping from #2 to #3.

    8:51: Jets draft LSU safety Jamal Adams; Todd Bowles was a DB when he played, so this makes perfect sense. Gruden loves Adams- this is a good pick. Jets allowed 30 TDs LY, had only eight INT’s. Louis Riddick praises Adams’ constant effort.

    I would love to know how many kids get drafted by the Jets/Giants but aren’t aware that the teams play in New Jersey, not New York. There have to be at least one or two.

    Adams’ father is George Adams, who played RB for the Giants 30 years ago, so we know he knows the Jets play in the Garden State.

    Since 1987, Adams family is 8th father/son combo who were both drafted in the first round. Two of those eight are Mannings.

    9:00: Chargers are on the clock; it still saddens me that they left San Diego, screwing their loyal fans for no decent reason, other than abject greed. They’re not the only ones who have done it, but they seem to be the team who left a pretty good situation to be a tenant in Los Angeles.

    Chargers took WR Mike Williams instead of his college teammate, Deshaun Watson. Philip Rivers had to like this pick. Williams comes from a hometown of 170 people.

    9:04: Carolina takes Christian McCaffrey from Stanford; his dad played for the Broncos, his granddad was once the fastest man in the world.

    Fallout of this: Fournette/McCaffrey both skipped their bowl game to avoid injury, and they both benefitted with a solid draft position— will that makes this an increasing trend this fall?

    Four of the first eight players taken went to LSU or Stanford.

    9:12: Bengals take WR John Ross from Washington, whose pee-wee coach as a kid was Snoop Dawg (seriously). Ross is really, really fast, but he is going to play a decent amount of games in cold weather and he has had injury issues (shoulder. knee). Has he ever played in cold weather?

    9:15: Chiefs trade up to the #10 spot in the draft; Buffalo trades down, but they get an extra #1 pick next year, to drop down 17 spots— KC has to be taking a QB, right?

    9:18: ESPN fires Andy Katz, Ed Werder, Jayson Stark, but we’re supposed to watch the 6:00 SportsCenter because Ice Cube plays dominos with Jemele Hill? Oy.

    9:20: Chiefs take Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes, whose dad pitched in the big leagues; he is the first QB taken in the first round by the Chiefs since Todd Blackledge, in 1983.

    Gruden is tight with Andy Reid (Packer assistants together in early 90’s); he compares Mahomes to Brett Favre— seriously, he did.

    As ESPN goes to commercial, Deshaun Watson doesn’t look very happy. Hey, Thurman Thomas once sat in a diner for half a day waiting to be drafted- his career turned out pretty well.

    9:28: Saints take a DB from Ohio State that Jon Gruden doesn’t like that much. I like it when there is criticism; not every player is the greatest player ever.

    Random rant: I bought a MacBook Pro last August; the keyboard sucks, with G and T keys often sticking. For $1,300, thought I’d get a decent keyboard. Otherwise, the laptop is fine.

    9:35: Houston Texans traded up to draft Deshaun Watson, who won a lot of football games in college, but did throw 30 INT’s over the last two years, most in the whole country in I-A.

    Texans have started 8 QB’s in three years under Bill O’Brien (QB guru). What makes this guy such a guru if he couldn’t make any of those eight QB’s serviceable players?

    9:43: Arizona is on the clock; Carson Palmer turns 38 in December, so of course, they take a linebacker from Temple, where Bruce Arians was once the head coach. Local Philly fans eat up the local kid makes good angle.

    Good news for Drew Stanton, Arizona’s current backup QB.

    9:52: Hometown Eagles are on the clock: Gruden says they have to draft a CB. The crowd of roughly 70,000 is VERY EXCITED.

    Eagles select Derek Barnett, a DE from Tennessee. He had more sacks in college than Reggie White— this is the pick Philly got from the Vikings for Sam Bradford. Eagle fans do not seem real happy, but unlike Myles Garrett, 29 of his 33 career sacks were in SEC games.

    10:00: Colts take S Malik Hooker, who wanted to play basketball at Pitt, but Jamie Dixon never offered him, so he went to play football at Ohio State.

    Louis Riddick says he needs to tackle better, Gruden says he has been hurt too much and hasn’t played enough football to be taken this high- he only played two years of HS football.

    10:07: I don’t care if people boo Goodell, he seems like a good man. When the Ravens take a CB from Alabama, a 14-year old Make-a-Wish kid announces the pick, and Goodell introduces the young man. Then again, having the kid there means Goodell doesn’t get booed.

    Mel Kiper’s five best available players are all SEC players, three from Alabama.

    Random fact: Joe Flacco’s cap hit this year is $24.55M, highest in the NFL.

    10:16: Redskins take Jonathan Allen, DE from Alabama, a pick applauded by the ESPN panel. Gruden is shocked he was available at #17, but apparently he has injury issues (shoulder).

    10:20: “Who knows what they’re going to do?” Gruden on the Titans, who are up next.

    Tennessee takes Adoree Jackson, a CB from USC who also played some WR for the Trojans and is a return threat. Jackson apparently also runs track; curious to see if that continues.

    This will all be a lot more fun tomorrow, when the Rams have picks. Should’ve hung a #16 Rams jersey in the room tonight as a reminder of why we don’t have a pick in the first round.

    10:27: Last year was Tampa Bay’s first winning season since 2010, but they didn’t make the playoffs. They took OJ Howard, a TE from Alabama, who should help open up their offense. He is Alabama’s 20th #1 draft pick since 2010, nine more than any other school.

    Bucs are on Hard Knocks this summer; their CB Brett Grimes is married to a woman who is a real character— she is very outspoken on social media and doesn’t hold back. If HBO gets a mike on her, Hard Knocks will be highly entertaining TV.

    10:31: First offensive lineman comes off the board at #20, Garrett Bolles to Denver; this kid was kicked out of five schools. Five. He brought his little baby up on stage with him.

    Apparently the kid’s lacrosse coach wound up getting thru to him and straightening him out. Hopefully Mr Bolles will send that man a nice gift- he is also a 25-year old rookie, by the way. Denver really needed a good offensive lineman.

    This is the latest the draft has ever gone before an offensive lineman was selected.

    10:40: Detroit Lions take Jarrad Davis, a LB from Florida, who gets high marks for having good character. Was fun to hear that. Gruden thinks he will start as a rookie.

    10:42: Dolphins take a kid from Missouri who has someone dressed as a Star Wars character sitting behind him in his house.

    Wonder if Missouri alums are happy with their move to the SEC? I’m guessing the school’s accountants are happy; the SEC is a freakin’ gold mine, but on the field/court, Mizzou has mostly sucked in the SEC.

    10:46: How in God’s name is Dalvin Cook still available? The Florida State RB is a FOOTBALL PLAYER.

    Giants take a tight end from Ole Miss, further proof that Eli Manning runs the franchise.

    10:54: Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders take a CB from Ohio State who, according to Raiders’ tradition, was accused of sexual assault recently. Wouldn’t be the Raiders if they took a solid citizen, though the young man hasn’t been charged with any crime and he strongly denies the accusation. Hopefully the kid was a victim of a potential scammer.

    11:03: Cleveland is back on the clock: they take Jabril Peppers, a safety from Michigan who had a diluted drug sample at the Combine. This is the 5th time in 11 years, the Browns have had two first round picks.

    One of the guys who runs the Cleveland Browns’ front office now was the Jonah Hill character in Moneyball, an Ivy League nitwit who played WR at Harvard in college, but made his reputation in baseball front offices.

    Appears as if the Browns upgraded their defense tonight; Gregg Williams is the Browns’ new defensive coordinator- as a Rams’ fan, I think highly of Williams after he was our DC the last few years.

    11:10: Atlanta Falcons trade with Seattle to move up to the #26 slot; Falcons have two new coordinators this year, unusual for a team that did so well last year- they take Takkarist McKinley, a LB from UCLA who was a sprinter in high school and who was raised by his grandmother after his mother deserted him at age 6.

    11:18: Buffalo takes another LSU CB: Ed Orgeron might be there to support his guys, but in reality these are guys recruited and coached mostly by Les Miles, who put so many guys into the NFL it wound up costing him his job.

    11:20: Dallas Cowboys get a worse greeting than Goodell when their turn is announced; no one is less popular in Philly than the Cowboys, who take Taco Charlton, a pass rusher that played at Michigan.

    Long time ago, I knew a guy from Philly who wore a green windbreaker; on the back was a drawing of an animated Eagle urinating on the Cowboy logo. Oy.

    11:32: Browns have traded up for a third pick in the first round; during the commercial break I put the A’s game on and saw something I never saw before— Kendall Graveman recorded an unassisted double play and he’s a pitcher— great play by him on a comebacker.

    Cleveland drafts a TE from Miami; he will be a 20-year old rookie who looks more like a WR than a tight end. He has a lot of people celebrating with him when he gets drafted.

    11:35: After a tribute to the late Dan Rooney, the Steelers pick JJ Watt’s brother, a LB from Wisconsin. Steelers play in Houston Christmas night.

    11:40: 49ers/Saints have the last two picks tonite— San Francisco takes Reuben Foster, their third defensive player taken tonite.

    New Orleans ends the first round by taking a tackle from Wisconsin, someone to protect Drew Brees as his career winds down. Ryan Ramczyk once quit football to become a welder; lucky for him he got talked out of that blunder.

    There is a kid named Forrest Lamp in the draft, an offensive lineman from Western Kentucky. When he gets drafted, I will call him a bright kid, because his freakin’ name is Lamp!!!!

    If Gruden or Mel Kiper criticize the team that selects Lamp, will they be throwing shade?

    Thanks for reading; hope you enjoyed it.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Chicago Bears trade up, take QB Trubisky with No. 2 pick
    April 27, 2017


    LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace made a stunning and bold move to trade up for the quarterback he wanted.

    He caught just about everyone off guard, including Mitchell Trubisky.

    The Chicago Bears drafted their latest quarterback of the future in a shocker Thursday night, grabbing North Carolina's Trubisky with the No. 2 overall pick after trading up a spot with the San Francisco 49ers and surrendering three draft choices to do it.

    ''I think it shows that they believe in me,'' he said. ''And I believe in what Ryan Pace and Coach Fox are doing in Chicago, and I can't wait to be a part of it.''

    There was some thought the Bears might wait a round or two before taking a quarterback after signing Mike Glennon last month to replace the departed Jay Cutler. That couldn't have been more wrong.

    The Cleveland Browns decided to grab Texas A&M defensive standout Myles Garrett rather than address their biggest need for a long-term quarterback. Pace decided he couldn't pass up the chance.

    The price for Trubisky was high, with San Francisco getting the Bears' No. 3 pick, a third- and fourth-round choice this year plus a third-rounder next year. It was a surprising move, particularly since San Francisco general manager John Lynch was ready to take Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas at No. 2 anyway.

    ''Kudos to the Bears,'' Lynch said. ''I give Ryan Pace and John Fox credit for making a courageous move and we're thrilled with what we got out of it.

    Pace said he couldn't afford to wait even one pick. Teams looking for a quarterback were calling him about the third overall choice so he knew they were also looking to move into the No. 2 spot. Lynch confirmed the 49ers had other offers.

    ''I didn't want to sit on our hands and have some team jump us or have it not work out,'' Pace said. ''When we were this close, within reach of a player that was all really valued, I didn't want to sit on our hands and risk not getting that player.''

    The 6-foot-2, 222-pound Trubisky said had little contact with the Bears leading up to the draft. The Bears did see him at the combine and at his pro day.

    Pace, coach John Fox and several assistants also had a private workout with him in North Carolina last month. They put Trubisky through individual drills and had him drop back from under center to pass to receivers, a different skill for a shotgun quarterback.

    Trubisky made just 13 college starts, all in a breakout junior season last year. He set the single-season the school's single-season record for yards passing (3,748), touchdowns (30) and total offense (4,056) in 2016. He ranked fifth in the country with a 68.0 completion percentage while throwing just six interceptions. He also ran for five touchdowns last season, after backing up quarterback Marquise Williams as a freshman and sophomore.

    Even so, it was a surprising move for the Bears. And it showed just how serious they are about solidifying a traditionally weak position for the team over the years.

    ''When Ryan Pace in Chicago went up into 2 and took the quarterback, that surprised a lot of people, I think. ... There were other positions that we thought they might be drafting,'' said Saints coach Sean Payton, who knows Pace from his time in New Orleans' front office.

    The Bears finished last in the NFC North at 3-13 in their second season under Pace and coach John Fox. Years of shoddy drafting combined with a long list of injuries exposed a glaring lack of depth. It all added up to Chicago's lowest win total since the 1973 team went 3-11, the most losses since a 1-13 finish in 1969 and a busy offseason for a rebuilding team.

    The Bears dumped Cutler after eight seasons and signed Glennon, giving them some leeway to wait on a QB. But Pace jumped at the opportunity to take Trubisky, though he did say Glennon is the starter.

    For how long?

    ''No timelines on that,'' Pace said.

    Whether Trubisky is starting in Week 1 or in 2018, his development will go a long way toward defining Pace's tenure. The Bears are counting on him, with his arm strength and quickness, to lock down a position that has historically troubled the franchise.

    ''Going to come in and learn as much as I can from Mike and the other veterans on the team. I mean I'm always going to compete and do my thing and push the guy in front of me and my teammates as well. When given my opportunity, I'm looking forward to take full advantage of it. It's all about helping the Chicago Bears win and that's what I'm looking forward to most.''

    Trubisky ranks fifth at North Carolina in career passing touchdowns (41), sixth in yards passing (4,762) and seventh in total offense (5,201). He is the first quarterback drafted in the first round by Chicago since Rex Grossman was selected 22nd overall in in 2003.

    There's no doubt the Bears need to hit in a big way with Trubisky, given the mixed results with Pace's first two first-rounders - oft-injured receiver Kevin White and promising linebacker Leonard Floyd.

    ''I hope everybody's excited about it,'' Pace said. ''The most important position in all of sports is quarterback, and I don't think you're ever a great team until you address the position and you address it right. I think everybody should respect that. We're addressing the quarterback position, we're being aggressive with that position because it's the most important position in sports.''

    The Bears might look to fill a need on defense - perhaps at safety or on the line - in the second round on Friday. They own the 36th overall pick.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    2017 NFL Draft: 10 takeaways from first round
    April 28, 2017


    If the first round is any indication, there will be plenty of surprises in the 2017 NFL Draft. Here are NFLDraftScout's top 10 takeaways from the first 32 selections.

    10. Who needs defense or linemen?

    The skill position players dominated the first half of the draft. Perhaps sparked by the Chicago Bears' aggressive trade up one pick to land top-rated quarterback Mitchell Trubisky from North Carolina, eight of the top 12 picks were spent on quarterbacks (three), wide receivers (three) or running backs (two). Before Thursday, the most skill-position players chosen among top 12 since 2000 was seven back in 2005. No QBs, wide receivers or running backs were selected over the final 20 picks of this year's first round.

    9. Speaking of those Bears and Trubisky ...

    The Bears paid a ransom to San Francisco to secure the rights to Trubisky, giving up selections third- and fourth-round picks this year as well as a third-rounder in the 2018 draft to select the gifted but inexperienced quarterback, especially given that the Bears signed veteran Mike Glennon to a three-year, $45 million deal just a couple of months ago. While Glennon's deal does have an opt-out after just one year, his contract includes $18.5 guaranteed. Between the guaranteed dollars and the draft capital given up, general manager Ryan Pace is essentially all in (or may be all out) based on how well Trubisky performs over the next year or two on a club with few weapons.

    8. Chiefs, Texans give up two first-round picks apiece for young QBs

    It did not take long for Kansas City and Houston to follow Chicago's lead and boldly trade up for Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, respectively. The Chiefs had to give up two first-round picks (No. 27 overall this year and their top pick in 2018), as well as this year's third-round selection to move up 17 picks and land the strong-armed Mahomes. The Texas Tech product is a true gunslinger with a dramatically different style than incumbent starter Alex Smith. Meanwhile, the Texans surrendered their top pick this year (No. 25) and next year's first-round selection to move up 13 spots for Watson. The Clemson quarterback's dual-threat talents and knack for performing at his best under the brightest lights obviously appealed to Houston, a franchise with track record at quarterback that is spotty, at best.

    7. Three receivers in top nine?

    With all due respect to the quarterbacks, it was the three receivers getting selected among the first nine picks that was perhaps the biggest surprise of the night. Many anticipated that the Tennessee Titans would add a pass-catcher with one of their two first-round selections, but selecting Corey Davis at No. 5 overall was a shocker, especially given that he had not been able to complete a full workout prior to the draft after undergoing postseason ankle surgery. Mike Williams has the body control and huge catch radius to quickly become a favorite for Philip Rivers, but No. 7 overall to the Los Angeles Chargers also seems rich. Finally, there were a number of teams contacted prior to the draft who felt that John Ross would slip out of the first round entirely, so his pick at No. 9 overall by Cincinnati caught many off guard, even if he is an ideal big-play complement to A.J. Green on offense and immediately improves the Bengals' return game.

    6. Special teams no longer an afterthought

    Everyone knows that many rookies will have to make their marks on special teams just to make an NFL roster, but that could be where several first-round picks succeed in 2017. Ross adds instant juice to Cincinnati's return game. Christian McCaffrey (No. 8 overall to the Carolina Panthers) and Adoree Jackson (the Titans' second selection of the first round at No. 18 overall) also figure to see action as return men.

    5. Raiders take another risk at cornerback with Gareon Conley

    Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie certainly does not lack for guts, especially when it comes to drafting cornerbacks. Four years after using the first pick of his tenure on DJ Hayden -- a talented cornerback with spooky medical concerns -- McKenzie used the No. 24 overall pick on Conley, who just a few days ago appeared destined for a dramatic draft day (and possible legal ramifications) due to disturbing sexual-assault allegations. It should be noted that Conley has not been charged with anything at this point, and he was voted a team captain as a junior at Ohio State. However, for a club already in danger of losing fans due to its plans to relocate to Las Vegas, adding Conley was a risky public relations move, even if he is quite talented.

    4. Alabama absent over top 15

    The Crimson Tide was on ebb throughout nearly the entire first half of the first round with cornerback Marlon Humphrey (Baltimore Ravens, No. 16 overall) surprisingly being selected over more highly touted former teammates Jonathan Allen (Washington Redskins, No. 17), O.J. Howard (Tampa Bay, No. 19) and Reuben Foster (San Francisco, No. 31). Durability concerns likely played a significant role in Allen and Foster slipping. Some clubs believe that Foster may need a second surgery on his right shoulder.

    3. Browns look like big winners ... at least on paper

    No one was more active (or potentially successful) on Day 1 than the Cleveland Browns, selecting consensus top-rated prospect Myles Garrett of Texas A&M as expected at No. 1 overall, former Michigan standout Jabrill Peppers at No. 25 and even jumping back into the first round to nab speedy tight end David Njoku of Miami (Fla.) at No. 29. The trio certainly looks impressive on paper, with Garrett expected to be an instant superstar off the edge in Gregg Williams highly aggressive defense, Peppers well-suited as the rover linebacker/safety so en vogue against today's diverse offensive alignments (think Deone Bucannon and Mark Barron), and Njoku offering a legitimate seam threat. Of course, if the Browns still need to address the quarterback position ...

    2. Quarter of the first round spent on pass rushers

    Quarterbacks, of course, play the most important position in football, but the rushers capable of striking fear into opposing passers rank a close second, a fact that was clearly demonstrated with a full 25 percent of the 32 picks invested Thursday going to rushers. Garrett is undeniably the most gifted of the bunch, but Charles Harris (Miami Dolphins, No. 22 overall), Takkarist McKinley (Atlanta Falcons, No. 26), Taco Charlton (Dallas Cowboys, No. 28) and T.J. Watt (Pittsburgh Steelers, No. 30) are each good fits, as well. They are very athletic, and they join clubs with enough talent already in place to allow the rookies to be complementary players initially as they grow into starring roles.

    1. Plenty of talent still on the board

    Scouts equate first-round picks with baseball sluggers swinging away for home runs; there are going to be some mammoth moonshots, and there are going to be ugly strikeouts as clubs gamble on elite athletes. Day 2 is where the draft really gets interesting as clubs like to fill needs with the many good players who perhaps lack elite traits but are perhaps more consistent. Expect the deepest positions in the draft -- edge rusher, defensive back (both cornerback and safety), tight end and running back -- to be well represented on Friday.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    2017 NFL Draft: Bold predictions for Day 2
    April 28, 2017


    The first round of the 2017 NFL Draft produced plenty of surprises, including eight of the first 12 picks being spent on skill-position players -- more than in any year since the turn of the century.

    Predicting that would occur entering the first round would have been bold, indeed, given that the class of 2017 has been universally lauded as loaded with top prospects on defense, not offense.

    What big storylines should you anticipate on Friday? Here are five bold predictions:

    5. Buckeyes' Curtis Samuel next receiver off the board


    Perhaps the biggest surprise of the first day was the fact that three receivers -- each coming off significant injuries -- were among the first nine players drafted. The Buckeyes' 5-foot-11, 196-pound Samuel is as dynamic an athlete as any of them and is not likely to be unclaimed for long. The knock on Samuel -- much like arch-nemesis Jabrill Peppers from Michigan (and now a member of the Cleveland Browns) -- was that he might be a player without a true position in the NFL, as he bounced back and forth between wide receiver and running back with the Buckeyes. While not as polished as East Carolina's Zay Jones, as big as Southern California's JuJu Smith-Schuster or as polished as Eastern Washington's Cooper Kupp, Samuel possesses agility and mercurial speed (4.31 at the Indianapolis Combine) that make him a mismatch nightmare.

    4. First-round talents left on the board won't last long

    Off-field or medical questions pushed running backs Dalvin Cook (Florida State) and Joe Mixon (Oklahoma), defensive tackle Malik McDowell (Michigan State), offensive tackle Cam Robinson (Alabama) and quarterback DeShone Kizer (Notre Dame) down the board, but each is among the prospects still available who clearly have first-round talent. Do not expect these players to last long on Friday. Either back would appear to be an intriguing fit in Green Bay's green and gold, especially given that the Packers allowed former second-round runner Eddie Lacy to leave in free agency. The Packers currently have the rights to the first pick, 33rd overall, on Friday.

    3. Seahawks will be busy


    Seattle entered the draft with four Day 2 picks, and they acquired two more Thursday after a pair of trade-downs took them out of the first round. Their six selections are double that of any other team, providing general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll an awful lot of flexibility to address a notoriously problematic offensive line and aging secondary while also having the luxury of gambling on potential difference-makers at other positions, should they choose to do so. Seattle's first pick is currently second overall on Friday, and they have their original second-round selection, No. 58 overall. The Seahawks have four picks in the third round (Nos. 90, 95, 102 and 106).

    2. Kizer to the Cardinals?


    Both Arizona general manager Steve Keim and coach Bruce Arians spoke during the offseason about their interest in adding a young quarterback to groom behind veteran Carson Palmer. The strong-armed Kizer would seem like the perfect protege. With an immediate impact defender in former Temple star Haason Reddick already in fold after the first round, the Cardinals may feel that they can afford to gamble on a "luxury" pick at No. 45 overall.

    1. PSA: A run on defensive backs is in the forecast

    With all due respect to edge rushers and tight ends, many believe the most talented position in the 2017 draft is defensive back. That certainly is reflected on NFLDraftScout.com's best available, which currently lists six defensive backs among the 15 best available prospects, leading off with Washington's duo of cornerback Kevin King and safety Budda Baker (with injured Huskies cornerback Sidney Jones not far behind). Florida's talented trio -- Quincy Wilson, Marcus Maye and Teez Tabor -- also is expected to come off the board in Rounds 2 and 3.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Running Diary of the 2017 NFL Draft……..

    7:41: Trying to decide which channel to watch the draft on; NFL Network or ESPN, assuming ESPN has enough employees left to do live programming.

    Seeing how I boycotted Chris Berman for the last 20 years or so, since he and Steve Young took delight in mocking the Rams when they sucked in the 90’s, I’ll give post-Berman ESPN the first shot. Plus, Deion Sanders is on NFL Network; can’t stand him.

    7:46: NFL is lucky as hell; when they foolishly put a Super Bowl in New Jersey a few years ag0, they missed a big snowstorm by a day. Tonight, on April 27, it is 74 degrees in Philly. Unusual; they just as easily could’ve gotten cruddy weather- Phillies got rained out at home two nites ago.

    7:53: NFL started moving the draft a few years ago, when Radio City Music Hall was unavailable for draft weekend- they’ve struck gold. Now 14 cities want to host the draft- you know it’ll be in LA when the Rams’ new stadium is finished. I’m guessing Dallas will get it soon, too.

    8:07: Roger Goodell makes $32M a year or so to be NFL’s Commish; he can take getting booed. Philly fans oblige by booing the hell out of him. Weird thing is, he isn’t a lawyer. Thought you had to be a lawyer to be a commish.

    Goodell family trivia: When Robert Kennedy was assassinated in 1968, the man who replaced him as a US Senator from New York was Charles Goodell, Roger’s father.

    8:10: Mel Kiper Jr, draft expert, touts Myles Garrett as a smart #1 pick for Cleveland, who is on the clock. Jon Gruden touts LSU safety Jamal Adams as the #1 pick. Gruden insists that Garrett isn’t the best player in this draft and he shows video evidence why, citing inconsistent effort.

    Earlier this week, former Cowboys’ exec Gil Brandt tweeted that only 14.5 of Garrett’s 31 sacks in college came against SEC competition.

    8:14: Browns take Garrett, the 5th SEC player taken #1 in the last 11 drafts. Cleveland also has the #12 pick in this round, so we’ll hear from them again in a few hours.

    8:17: 49ers/Bears flip-flop the #2/#3 picks; looks like John Lynch will be trying to stockpile some draft picks in his first draft running the 49ers.

    8:22: Bears take QB Mitchell Trubisky, meaning he gets to freeze his butt off for the next 10 Decembers in Chicago. Mike Glennon (3 years, $45M in Chicago) must be happier than hell; he signed with the Bears as a free agent, now it looks like he’ll be moving along again in a year or two.

    The film of Trubisky that Gruden shows isn’t flattering; Trey Wingo points out that the only North Carolina QB to ever start an NFL game is TJ Yates. Trubisky started only 13 games at UNC, but then again, he isn’t going to start for a while.

    8:29: 49ers take DE Solomon Thomas from Stanford; Lynch was a great DB, so it makes sense that his first draft pick is a defensive end. The young man once lived in Australia for five years; his first favorite sport was swimming.

    49ers gave up 2,600 yards rushing last year; unlike Trubisky, Moore will play right away.

    8:35: Jacksonville picks in the top 5 for the 6th year n a row; they take Leonard Fournette from LSU, who missed five games last year, including one by choice. He didn’t seem to be great with catching balls out of the backfield.

    College coaches use the draft to be seen on TV: Stanford’s David Shaw is working on NFL Network, Ed Orgeron, Nick Saban, Dabo Swinney, Brian Kelly are all in Philly with their players. Recruiting season in college football is 365/12/7/24- tonite is no exception.

    Fournette’s agent, by the way, is Jay Z.

    8:43: Tennessee, with one of the picks acquired in the Jared Goff trade, selects WR Corey Davis of Western Michigan, the only D-I team to offer him a scholarship out of high school.

    49ers, by the way, got two extra draft picks from the Bears for dropping from #2 to #3.

    8:51: Jets draft LSU safety Jamal Adams; Todd Bowles was a DB when he played, so this makes perfect sense. Gruden loves Adams- this is a good pick. Jets allowed 30 TDs LY, had only eight INT’s. Louis Riddick praises Adams’ constant effort.

    I would love to know how many kids get drafted by the Jets/Giants but aren’t aware that the teams play in New Jersey, not New York. There have to be at least one or two.

    Adams’ father is George Adams, who played RB for the Giants 30 years ago, so we know he knows the Jets play in the Garden State.

    Since 1987, Adams family is 8th father/son combo who were both drafted in the first round. Two of those eight are Mannings.

    9:00: Chargers are on the clock; it still saddens me that they left San Diego, screwing their loyal fans for no decent reason, other than abject greed. They’re not the only ones who have done it, but they seem to be the team who left a pretty good situation to be a tenant in Los Angeles.

    Chargers took WR Mike Williams instead of his college teammate, Deshaun Watson. Philip Rivers had to like this pick. Williams comes from a hometown of 170 people.

    9:04: Carolina takes Christian McCaffrey from Stanford; his dad played for the Broncos, his granddad was once the fastest man in the world.

    Fallout of this: Fournette/McCaffrey both skipped their bowl game to avoid injury, and they both benefitted with a solid draft position— will that makes this an increasing trend this fall?

    Four of the first eight players taken went to LSU or Stanford.

    9:12: Bengals take WR John Ross from Washington, whose pee-wee coach as a kid was Snoop Dawg (seriously). Ross is really, really fast, but he is going to play a decent amount of games in cold weather and he has had injury issues (shoulder. knee). Has he ever played in cold weather?

    9:15: Chiefs trade up to the #10 spot in the draft; Buffalo trades down, but they get an extra #1 pick next year, to drop down 17 spots— KC has to be taking a QB, right?

    9:18: ESPN fires Andy Katz, Ed Werder, Jayson Stark, but we’re supposed to watch the 6:00 SportsCenter because Ice Cube plays dominos with Jemele Hill? Oy.

    9:20: Chiefs take Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes, whose dad pitched in the big leagues; he is the first QB taken in the first round by the Chiefs since Todd Blackledge, in 1983.

    Gruden is tight with Andy Reid (Packer assistants together in early 90’s); he compares Mahomes to Brett Favre— seriously, he did.

    As ESPN goes to commercial, Deshaun Watson doesn’t look very happy. Hey, Thurman Thomas once sat in a diner for half a day waiting to be drafted- his career turned out pretty well.

    9:28: Saints take a DB from Ohio State that Jon Gruden doesn’t like that much. I like it when there is criticism; not every player is the greatest player ever.

    Random rant: I bought a MacBook Pro last August; the keyboard sucks, with G and T keys often sticking. For $1,300, thought I’d get a decent keyboard. Otherwise, the laptop is fine.

    9:35: Houston Texans traded up to draft Deshaun Watson, who won a lot of football games in college, but did throw 30 INT’s over the last two years, most in the whole country in I-A.

    Texans have started 8 QB’s in three years under Bill O’Brien (QB guru). What makes this guy such a guru if he couldn’t make any of those eight QB’s serviceable players?

    9:43: Arizona is on the clock; Carson Palmer turns 38 in December, so of course, they take a linebacker from Temple, where Bruce Arians was once the head coach. Local Philly fans eat up the local kid makes good angle.

    Good news for Drew Stanton, Arizona’s current backup QB.

    9:52: Hometown Eagles are on the clock: Gruden says they have to draft a CB. The crowd of roughly 70,000 is VERY EXCITED.

    Eagles select Derek Barnett, a DE from Tennessee. He had more sacks in college than Reggie White— this is the pick Philly got from the Vikings for Sam Bradford. Eagle fans do not seem real happy, but unlike Myles Garrett, 29 of his 33 career sacks were in SEC games.

    10:00: Colts take S Malik Hooker, who wanted to play basketball at Pitt, but Jamie Dixon never offered him, so he went to play football at Ohio State.

    Louis Riddick says he needs to tackle better, Gruden says he has been hurt too much and hasn’t played enough football to be taken this high- he only played two years of HS football.

    10:07: I don’t care if people boo Goodell, he seems like a good man. When the Ravens take a CB from Alabama, a 14-year old Make-a-Wish kid announces the pick, and Goodell introduces the young man. Then again, having the kid there means Goodell doesn’t get booed.

    Mel Kiper’s five best available players are all SEC players, three from Alabama.

    Random fact: Joe Flacco’s cap hit this year is $24.55M, highest in the NFL.

    10:16: Redskins take Jonathan Allen, DE from Alabama, a pick applauded by the ESPN panel. Gruden is shocked he was available at #17, but apparently he has injury issues (shoulder).

    10:20: “Who knows what they’re going to do?” Gruden on the Titans, who are up next.

    Tennessee takes Adoree Jackson, a CB from USC who also played some WR for the Trojans and is a return threat. Jackson apparently also runs track; curious to see if that continues.

    This will all be a lot more fun tomorrow, when the Rams have picks. Should’ve hung a #16 Rams jersey in the room tonight as a reminder of why we don’t have a pick in the first round.

    10:27: Last year was Tampa Bay’s first winning season since 2010, but they didn’t make the playoffs. They took OJ Howard, a TE from Alabama, who should help open up their offense. He is Alabama’s 20th #1 draft pick since 2010, nine more than any other school.

    Bucs are on Hard Knocks this summer; their CB Brett Grimes is married to a woman who is a real character— she is very outspoken on social media and doesn’t hold back. If HBO gets a mike on her, Hard Knocks will be highly entertaining TV.

    10:31: First offensive lineman comes off the board at #20, Garrett Bolles to Denver; this kid was kicked out of five schools. Five. He brought his little baby up on stage with him.

    Apparently the kid’s lacrosse coach wound up getting thru to him and straightening him out. Hopefully Mr Bolles will send that man a nice gift- he is also a 25-year old rookie, by the way. Denver really needed a good offensive lineman.

    This is the latest the draft has ever gone before an offensive lineman was selected.

    10:40: Detroit Lions take Jarrad Davis, a LB from Florida, who gets high marks for having good character. Was fun to hear that. Gruden thinks he will start as a rookie.

    10:42: Dolphins take a kid from Missouri who has someone dressed as a Star Wars character sitting behind him in his house.

    Wonder if Missouri alums are happy with their move to the SEC? I’m guessing the school’s accountants are happy; the SEC is a freakin’ gold mine, but on the field/court, Mizzou has mostly sucked in the SEC.

    10:46: How in God’s name is Dalvin Cook still available? The Florida State RB is a FOOTBALL PLAYER.

    Giants take a tight end from Ole Miss, further proof that Eli Manning runs the franchise.

    10:54: Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders take a CB from Ohio State who, according to Raiders’ tradition, was accused of sexual assault recently. Wouldn’t be the Raiders if they took a solid citizen, though the young man hasn’t been charged with any crime and he strongly denies the accusation. Hopefully the kid was a victim of a potential scammer.

    11:03: Cleveland is back on the clock: they take Jabril Peppers, a safety from Michigan who had a diluted drug sample at the Combine. This is the 5th time in 11 years, the Browns have had two first round picks.

    One of the guys who runs the Cleveland Browns’ front office now was the Jonah Hill character in Moneyball, an Ivy League nitwit who played WR at Harvard in college, but made his reputation in baseball front offices.

    Appears as if the Browns upgraded their defense tonight; Gregg Williams is the Browns’ new defensive coordinator- as a Rams’ fan, I think highly of Williams after he was our DC the last few years.

    11:10: Atlanta Falcons trade with Seattle to move up to the #26 slot; Falcons have two new coordinators this year, unusual for a team that did so well last year- they take Takkarist McKinley, a LB from UCLA who was a sprinter in high school and who was raised by his grandmother after his mother deserted him at age 6.

    11:18: Buffalo takes another LSU CB: Ed Orgeron might be there to support his guys, but in reality these are guys recruited and coached mostly by Les Miles, who put so many guys into the NFL it wound up costing him his job.

    11:20: Dallas Cowboys get a worse greeting than Goodell when their turn is announced; no one is less popular in Philly than the Cowboys, who take Taco Charlton, a pass rusher that played at Michigan.

    Long time ago, I knew a guy from Philly who wore a green windbreaker; on the back was a drawing of an animated Eagle urinating on the Cowboy logo. Oy.

    11:32: Browns have traded up for a third pick in the first round; during the commercial break I put the A’s game on and saw something I never saw before— Kendall Graveman recorded an unassisted double play and he’s a pitcher— great play by him on a comebacker.

    Cleveland drafts a TE from Miami; he will be a 20-year old rookie who looks more like a WR than a tight end. He has a lot of people celebrating with him when he gets drafted.

    11:35: After a tribute to the late Dan Rooney, the Steelers pick JJ Watt’s brother, a LB from Wisconsin. Steelers play in Houston Christmas night.

    11:40: 49ers/Saints have the last two picks tonite— San Francisco takes Reuben Foster, their third defensive player taken tonite.

    New Orleans ends the first round by taking a tackle from Wisconsin, someone to protect Drew Brees as his career winds down. Ryan Ramczyk once quit football to become a welder; lucky for him he got talked out of that blunder.

    There is a kid named Forrest Lamp in the draft, an offensive lineman from Western Kentucky. When he gets drafted, I will call him a bright kid, because his freakin’ name is Lamp!!!!

    If Gruden or Mel Kiper criticize the team that selects Lamp, will they be throwing shade?

    Thanks for reading; hope you enjoyed it.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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