Building Around PG-13

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Paul George

After failing to make the NBA Playoffs last year, the Indiana Pacers rebounded this season for their fifth postseason appearance in the last six years. The Pacers had a healthy Paul George in their front court this year which greatly changed the dynamic of this team. For the third time in the last four years, George led the Pacers in scoring, but he did it in a new role. We all know that George is the leader of the Pacers, but he was able to make a flawless adjustment as team president Larry Bird has decided to play more “small ball”. At 6’9″, George has the height to play power forward in the NBA, but his weight of just 220 lbs., makes him rather slender for the position. However in Bird’s system, George primarily played power forward this season instead of his typical small forward position for Indiana, and he held his own by averaging 23.1 points and 7 rebounds as he made his third NBA All-Star Game appearance. Led by George, the Pacers would finish seventh in the Eastern Conference, and they gave the Toronto Raptors all that they could handle in their first-round playoff series before bowing out in seven games. George is a bona fide star that has already helped the Pacers make the Eastern Conference Finals twice. George is only 26-years of age, and as Bird doesn’t want to waste the prime years of his NBA career by just making the playoffs, this summer will be critical as far as putting a championship caliber team around him.

Frank Vogel

Since the Pacers season ended this past Sunday night, Bird has not been fully committed to retaining head coach Frank Vogel. Vogel replaced Jim O’Brien as Pacers head coach midway through the 2010-2011 NBA season, and he has guided Indiana to the postseason in all but one year. However, Bird views the Pacers offense as stagnant being that they have never finished higher than 13th in the NBA in points per game under Vogel. Under Vogel, the Pacers have been one of the better defensive teams in the NBA which includes them being eighth in the fewest points allowed per game this season. But if Bird does ultimately decide on not retaining Vogel, you will definitely hear the name of Mark Jackson mentioned as far as succeeding him.

Mark Jackson

Jackson played 17 seasons in the NBA, with six of those years coming in a Pacers uniform which was highlighted by him helping the team reach the NBA Finals in 2000. Most recently Jackson compiled a record of 121-109 in three seasons as the head coach of the Golden State Warriors, and he has been credited with laying the ground work as to what the team has become. And if Bird wants to continue revamping the Pacers philosophy which could result in bringing in a new head coach, he is going to have to look long and hard at his roster as well.

Monta Ellis

After George averaged 23.1 points per game this past season, the next closest Pacers player in points per game average was shooting guard Monta Ellis at 13.8 points per contest. Ellis and the Pacers came to an agreement on a four-year, $44 million deal last summer, but after 11 years in the NBA, he is no longer a player that can consistently put up big numbers. Point guard George Hill has been with the Pacers for the past five seasons. With Indiana, Hill has averaged 12.3 points and 3.9 assists, and although that he is serviceable, he is not a quality floor general which is something that the Pacers need. Last summer, the Pacers did draft power forward Myles Turner who as a rookie averaged 10.3 points and 5.5 rebounds as he showed signs of being the athletic big man that Bird wants to play in his system. But for the Pacers to get back to that level of being among the elite teams in the NBA, they are going to need another quality perimeter player to compliment George.

Next month’s NBA Draft will be loaded with wing players that will fit into this system which means that Bird should be able to come away with at least one player that could make an immediate impact. A potential free agent, who isn’t a superstar, but does fit what the Pacers are attempting to do is current Boston Celtics swignman Evan Turner as he is a perimeter player that can defend as well as handle the basketball. However the Pacers had Turner in 2014 and they underutilized him which led him to signing with Celtics. But would Bird now have a change of heart and attempt to lure Turner away from the Celtics and his former teammate in general manager Danny Ainge?

Larry Bird

It will be very interesting to see the moves that Bird will make over the summer as we are basically assured that this will be a different Pacers team that takes the court in October for to start the 2016-2017 NBA season as he knows how to put a quality team together.

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2016 NFC South Draft Grades

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Carolina Panthers

Grade: C-

First Round Pick: Vernon Butler-Defensive Tackle-Louisiana Tech

Best Pick: Round Five-Zack Sanchez-Cornerback-Oklahoma

Even though that the Carolina Panthers went 15-1 in 2015 en route to winning the NFC Championship, they were a flawed team. The Panthers relied on their running game and a strong defense, but it wasn’t enough for them to win the Super Bowl. And after losing Super Bowl 50 to the Denver Broncos, it was clear that the Panthers had issues on the offensive line and in the passing game. But at the 2016 National Football League Draft, Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman missed an opportunity to remedy that.

Vernon Butler

Instead Gettleman opted to use the Panthers first-round choice on Louisiana Tech Bulldogs defensive tackle Vernon Butler. The Panthers had a stout defensive line last season and Butler will be a welcome sight to their rotation as head coach Ron Rivera would like to have a wave of fresh bodies that can collapse the pocket, but they missed the boat on addressing their issues at both wide receiver and offensive tackle.

After releasing Pro Bowl cornerback Josh Norman, the Panthers went heavy in the defensive back category at the draft where they selected three cornerbacks with the most intriguing one being Oklahoma Sooners cornerback Zack Sanchez in the fifth round. And like Norman, Sanchez has an eye for the football as it should not take him that long to become a household name in Charlotte.

Atlanta Falcons

Grade: C-

First Round Pick: Keanu Neal-Safety-Florida

Best Pick: Keanu Neal

After Dan Quinn went 8-8 in his first season as the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons in 2015, he is looking to build off of that and get this team back to the postseason for the first time since 2012. And that process began at the National Football League Draft.

Keanu Neal

The Falcons needed to concentrate on their defense which needs more play makers. The Falcons had the 17th overall pick which they used on Florida Gators safety Keanu Neal who has solid range in the secondary. Atlanta needs a player like Neal due to the fact that the NFC South is home to some quality quarterbacks that can put pressure on opposing defenses as the Falcons need a strong general in their secondary.

But unfortunately for the Falcons and their fan base, the highlight of the 2016 National Football League Draft was selecting Neal as they were unable to bring in other quality players that can have an immediate impact which puts a dark cloud over the upcoming NFL season in Atlanta.

New Orleans Saints

Grade: C+

First Round Pick: Sheldon Rankins-Defensive Tackle-Louisville

Best Pick: Round Two- Michael Thomas-Wide Receiver-Ohio State

The New Orleans entered the National Football League Draft not owning that many picks, but they attempted to make the most with their selections. Last year the Saints defense was torched as they were 31st in the National Football League in total defense. And for Saints general manager Mickey Loomis, he couldn’t go wrong by adding bodies at any level of the defense.

Sheldon Rankins

In the first round the Saints decided on Louisville Cardinals defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins who has solid speed for a player his size which will be important as he looks to penetrate gaps on the offensive line. The Saints also used a second round pick on Ohio State Buckeyes safety Vonn Bell as they are hoping that he can bringing some swagger to the Bayou after winning a national championship in college. The Saints would also select Bell’s college teammate in the second round in wide receiver Michael Thomas. At 6’3″, 212 lbs., Thomas has some size at the wide receiver position that the Saints need while it shouldn’t take him that long to get on the same page with quarterback Drew Brees who knows how to keep all of his receivers involved in the offense.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Grade: B-

First Round Pick: Vernon Hargreaves-Cornerback III-Cornerback-Florida

Best Pick: Vernon Hargreaves

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers already have their franchise quarterback in Jameis Winston, and now they are looking to sure things up on the defensive side of the ball. The 2016 National Football League Draft saw the Buccaneers concentrate heavy on defense as they are looking to become a playoff contender.

Vernon Hargeaves

The Bucs used their first-round choice on Florida Gators cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III. At 5’10″, Hargreaves will be looking up to the majority of the wide receivers that he’ll be covering, but he will make up for it with the solid coverage skills that he possesses. The second round saw the Buccaneers select Eastern Kentucky Colonels defensive end Noah Spence. At 6’2″, 251 lbs., Spence could be a hybrid player at both defensive end and outside linebacker which gives defensive coordinator Mike Smith options as far as using his skill set.

But I was surprised with Tampa Bay selecting Florida State Seminoles kicker Roberto Aguayo in the second round. Aguayo does possess a big leg, however that early in the draft isn’t typically reserved to see a specialty player chosen. And that is something that could come back to haunt the Buccaneers in the long run.

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2016 NFC East Draft Grades

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Washington Redskins

Grade: B

First Round Pick: Josh Doctson-Wide Receiver-TCU

Best Pick: Round Seven-Keith Marshall-Running Back-Georgia

The Washington Redskins found themselves in an unfamiliar spot during the National Football League Draft as they were picking in the later portion of each round. After winning the NFC East last year, Washington came into the NFL Draft with the 21st overall pick. The Redskins would end up trading back one spot in the first round with the Houston Texans and they still got their guy in Texas Christian University Horned Frogs wide receiver Josh Doctson.

Doctson comes to the Redskins after he was one of the best wide receivers in the Big 12 Conference last year. As a senior at TCU, Doctson tallied 79 receptions for 1,327 yards and 14 touchdowns. And at 6’2″, Doctson gives the Redskins some size at the wide receiver position which is an element that their offense has lacked for quite some time.

Su’a Cravens

The second round saw Washington select Southern California Trojans linebacker Su’a Cravens. Cravens went to USC as a safety, but over time he began to play more in the box. At 6’1″, 226 lbs., Cravens is undersized for a linebacker as he could be a classic tweener in the National Football League, and it’ll be interesting to see how he will be used in the D.C.

Virginia Tech Hokies cornerback Kendall Fuller suffered an injury which prevented him from being drafted in the first round of the draft. Fuller fell to the third round where the Redskins selected him, and if healthy, he will give them depth in their secondary due to his tremendous coverage skills.

In the seventh round the Redskins selected Georgia Bulldogs running back Keith Marshall. After a solid freshman campaign, Marshall appeared ready for stardom until a knee injury derailed him which resulted in him being available so late. But if Marshall is healthy, the Redskins may have gotten themselves one of the biggest steals of the draft.

Philadelphia Eagles

Grade: B

First Round Pick: Carson Wentz-Quarterback-North Dakota State

Best Pick: Carson Wentz

The Philadelphia Eagles and new head coach Doug Pederson followed the trend in the National Football League which is for head coaches to draft a quarterback upon taking over a club. The Eagles are hopeful that they have their guy in North Dakota State Bison quarterback Carson Wentz who they selected in the first round of the NFL Draft.

The Eagles entered the National Football League Draft with the with 13th overall pick. The Eagles first moved up to the eighth overall slot when they traded with the Miami Dolphins, before they inched up the ladder some more when they came to an agreement with the Tennessee Titans to obtain the second overall selection.

Carson Wentz

At 6’5″, 237 lbs., Wentz has solid size and he came from an offense in college that won’t have a steep learning curve as far as him getting accustomed to a pro-style offense. And after the Eagles moved up so much to acquire Wentz, this marriage between he and Pederson must work, or they’ll both be out of Philadelphia in a few years.

By giving picks to the Titans, the Eagles didn’t have the opportunity to build on depth in the middle rounds, but they did have three, seventh round picks with one being used on LSU Tigers safety Jalen Mills. Mills will be a special teams contributor at the outset, but it won’t take him that long to get into the Eagles rotation in their secondary.

New York Giants

Grade: B-

First Round Pick: Eli Apple-Cornerback-Ohio State

Best Pick: Round Two-Sterling Shepard-Wide Receiver-Oklahoma

The New York Giants entered the 2016 National Football League Draft expected to beef up a defense that was one of the worst in the league last season. But after the Chicago Bears jumped ahead of them to select Georgia Bulldogs outside linebacker Leonard Floyd in the first round, they set their sights on Ohio State Buckeyes cornerback Eli Apple.

In Apple, the Giants added depth in their secondary while his presence should be able to sure up their nickel packages as they already have cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

Sterling Shepard

The Giants found themselves an impact player in the second round where they selected Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Sterling Shepard. Shepard is a terrific route runner that Giants quarterback Eli Manning will learn to lean on when it comes time to moving the chains on third down.

In the fifth round the Giants selected UCLA Bruins running back Paul Perkins who will definitely compete for carries, while their sixth round in South Carolina Gamecocks tight end Jerell Adams will be a project as they are hopeful that he can develop into a solid contributor.

Dallas Cowboys

Grade: B-

First Round Pick: Ezekiel Elliot-Running Back-Ohio State

Best Pick: Ezekiel Elliot

Coming into the 2016 National Football League Draft, I expected the Dallas Cowboys to select Ohio State Buckeyes defensive end Joey Bosa. But after the San Diego Chargers surprised the football world by selecting Bosa with the third overall pick, the Cowboys decided on his collegiate teammate in running buck Ezekiel Elliot.

Ezekiel Elliot

What Elliot provides Dallas with is a home-run hitter at the tailback position that can be equally explosive in the running in passing games. The Cowboys took a chance in the second round on Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Jaylon Smith who would have been a first-round pick had he not suffered a horrific knee injury during the Fiesta Bowl this past January.

The Cowboys did use a fourth-round selection on Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott. But I don’t see his skill set of being a dual-threat quarterback in college translating to being a solid professional quarterback as Dallas needs to groom a player to be the heir apparent to their current starting quarterback in Tony Romo. And at Mississippi State, Prescott never showed the ability to consistently make passing plays from the pocket.

Dallas did use a sixth-round pick on tight end Rico Gathers who is very interesting being that he spent his entire collegiate career with the Baylor Bears as a basketball player as they are hopeful that his athleticism on the hardwood will transfer to the gridiron.

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Second Class Citizens

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The Chicago White Sox have been a Major League Baseball franchise for 116 years which has been highlighted by them with them winning the World Series three times with the most recent occasion coming in 2005. The White Sox have a rich baseball history which includes Baseball Hall of Famers such as Carlton Fisk, Frank Thomas, and Luke Appling suiting up for the Pale Hose. The Sox play in the second largest media market in the United States, but at times it feels like they are playing in Des Moines, Iowa due to the lack of respect that they sometimes receive within their own city which is the result of the love affair that people have with the Chicago Cubs.

The Cubs are in their 141th season as a baseball franchise and over time they have developed the reputation of being the loveable losers of Major League Baseball. The Cubs have not won the World Series since 1908 while they’ve failed to appear in the Fall Classic since 1945. Over the years the Cubs have dealt with tough collapses which included blowing the divisional lead in the National League East in 1969 late in the season to the New York Mets, losing to the San Diego Padres in the 1984 National League Championship Series to the San Diego Padres after winning the first two games, and of course failing to advance to the World Series after winning three of the first four games in the NLCS versus the Florida Marlins in 2003. But after making the NLCS last year with one of the youngest teams in baseball, the Cubs have been the talk of the town and they have picked up right where they left off from last year as their record of 17-6 in 2016 is the best in the Major League Baseball. But the White Sox have managed to keep up with the Cubs and there aren’t that many people that are talking about it.

After three consecutive losing seasons which included a last place finish in 2013, the White Sox have rebounded this year. Through 26 games, the White Sox have a record of 18-8, and for the first time since 2012, they are 10 games over .500 as they are seeking their first trip to the postseason since 2008 while there is a murmur of title talk coming from the South Side of Chicago.

Robin Ventura is in his fifth season as the White Sox manager where he has seen his fair share of ups and downs. In 2012, Ventura led an overachieving White Sox team to 85 wins and they missed out on winning the American League Central by three games. But since then the White Sox have been in rebuilding mode as they lost 99 games in 2013 for their worst finish since 1976. The Sox posted losing seasons in each of the last two seasons, but the team’s president of baseball operations Kenny Williams, and general manager Rick Hahn have been patient with Ventura while also giving him more talent to work with.

In 2013, first baseman Jose Abreu defected from his native Cuba. The White Sox would then sign him to a six-year contract that is worth $68 million. As a rookie for the White Sox in 2014, Abreu batted .317 with 36 home runs and 107 runs batted in to become the first player for the Pale Hose to be named the American League’s Rookie of the Year since Ozzie Guillen in 1985.

After the 2013 Major League Baseball season, the White Sox signed relief pitcher David Robertson. In Robertson’s first season with the Sox, he saved 34 games which is tied with four other pitchers for the eighth most saves in a single-season for the franchise. And this season Robertson has picked up right where he left off as in 2016, he has already saved 8 games.

Aside from Abreu and Robertson, the White Sox also have starting pitcher Chris Sale who is a four-time American League All-Star. But this trio alone wasn’t enough to turn the White Sox into a contender.

Over the winter Hahn and Williams made a splash when they acquired third baseman Todd Frazier in a three-time deal with the Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Dodgers. Frazier came to Chicago after belting 35 homers last year for the Reds and he is expected to provide some protection in the White Sox lineup for Abreu. And after a slow start here in 2016, Frazier is currently leading the White Sox in home runs (7), and runs batted in (17). Aside from getting Frazier this past winter, the Sox also acquired a pair of veteran infielders in second baseman Brett Lawrie and shortstop Jimmy Rolins who’s presence alone in the locker room has changed things on the South Side.

The White Sox have won 10 out of their last 13 games and they’ve only lost one series all season long which is a far cry from last year at this point when they were just 10-16. But the start by the Sox in 2016 shouldn’t be overlooked as this if for real.

Chris Sale

Sale is 6-0 this season with an earned run average of 1.66 as the Sox are finally giving him run support. Sale is also getting protection behind in Chicago’s starting rotation as starting pitchers Mat Latos and Jose Quintana have already combined to win 7 games while Ventura can hand the ball to a light’s out closer for the ninth inning in the form of Robertson. Abreu and Frazier are each going to heat up as the weather improves while Ventura is getting contributions up and down his lineup from the likes of outfielders Melky Cabrera and Adam Eaton. But you might not know about this due to the love affair with the Cubs.

Even when the White Sox won the World Series in 2005, they were not celebrated as much as they should have been being that they hadn’t won it all since 1917, as the majority of the attention immediately shifted to the Cubs as people were looking to see them end their drought. But the 2005 White Sox were a team that didn’t have a problem flying under the radar, and so far the same can be said about the current South Siders.

Last month the White Sox embarked on a six-game winning streak which saw them sweep a pair of postseason teams from last October in the Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays as they are showing that they are here to stay, while they also managed to split a grueling four-game series this past weekend against the Baltimore Orioles who are currently in first place in the American League East. The White Sox are showing that they are going to hang around all season long in the AL Central, and they have a very solid chance to be playing come October.

The Cubs are good, but they alone shouldn’t be the main baseball focus in the Windy City as the boys from the South Side of Chicago are legit.

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2016 NFC West Draft Grades

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Arizona Cardinals

Grade: B-

First Round Pick: Robert Nkemdiche-Defensive Tackle-Ole Miss

Best Pick: Robert Nkemdiche

There has been a definite culture change for the Arizona Cardinals in their three years under head coach Bruce Arians as they now find themselves among the elite teams in the National Football League. After making the NFC Championship Game last season, the Cardinals found themselves picking near the end of the first round of the NFL Draft. And there Arians would take a chance on Mississippi Rebels defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche.

Robert Nkemdiche

Nkemdiche had the talent to be selected in the top five of the National Football League Draft, but off-the-field issues saw him slide. It appeared that Nkemdiche would fall out of the first round completely until Arians took a chance on him. Arizona should be a solid fit for Nkemdiche as there is leadership in the locker room and he will be held accountable for his actions.

Aside from Nkemdiche, the Cards were able to add depth in the secondary with their second round selection of Texas A&M Aggies cornerback Brandon Williams and in the sixth round with cornerback Harlan Miller from the Southeastern Louisiana Lions. But Arians and the Cardinals did miss an opportunity to draft a quarterback to groom behind Carson Palmer who is 36-years of age along with having a history of injuries. Instead the Cardinals decided to bring in Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback as an undrafted free agent, but it will be interesting to see if he’ll impress enough to make the roster.

Seattle Seahawks

Grade: A

First Round Pick: Germain Ifedi-Offensive Tackle-Texas A&M

Best Pick: Round Two-Jarran Reed-Defensive Tackle-Alabama

Since Pete Carroll became the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks in 2010, this has been an organization that has made a habit of nailing it at the National Football League Draft which is why they have five playoff appearances and a Super Bowl appearance over that stretch.

The Seahawks really got busy at the 2016 National Football League Draft. In the first round, Seattle traded down five slots and still managed to draft Texas A&M Aggies offensive tackle Germain Ifedi. In Ifedi, the Seahawks get a versatile player that can play multiple positions on the offensive line, but he’ll most likely fill the void at left tackle after Russell Okung left to join the Broncos.

Jarran Reed

Seattle really lucked out near the end of the second round where they selected Alabama Crimson Tide defensive tackle Jarran Reed. In some of my mock drafts, I had the Seahawks selecting Reed in the first round, and he still managed to be available that late in the draft process for them which was a huge coup for them.

The running back position in the National Football League is a spot where teams always need depth. And whereas the Seahawks must fill the void of running back Marshawn Lynch who retired, they stocked up on ball carriers with Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back C.J. Prosise in the third round and Arkansas Razorbacks Alex Collins in the sixth round. Prosise and Collins will provide the Seahawks with depth and speed. But for Collins he comes to the NFL with a ton of carries under his belt at Arkansas and you just wonder if that will wear on him in Seattle.

Los Angeles Rams

Grade: C

First Round Pick: Jared Goff-Quarterback-California

Best Pick: Jared Goff

Jared Goff

It wasn’t a big secret that the Los Angeles Rams were going to use the first overall pick of the National Football League Draft on a quarterback; it was just a matter of which one. Heading up to the start of the draft, the Rams were able to keep one of the biggest secrets in sports to themselves, but they ultimately decided on California Golden Bears quarterback Jared Goff. At 6’4″, 215lbs., Goff has the prototypical height for the position, but he will need to bulk up to deal with the potential hits. Goff didn’t come from a pro-style offense at California which means that there will be a learning curve. However with all that the Rams gave up to get Goff, he will probably be thrown to the wolves too early.

Due to the fact that the Rams moved up 14 spots to take Goff, they had to part with several draft picks which robbed them of the chance to add depth. And hopefully for the Rams and Goff, we’ll see them have a successful marriage in Hollywood.

San Francisco 49ers

Grade: C-

First Round Pick: DeForest Buckner-Defensive End-Oregon, Joshua Garnett-Guard-Stanford

Best Pick: DeForest Buckner 

This off-season has not been a good one for the San Francisco 49ers. First, the 49ers hired a head coach in Chip Kelly who had just been fired by the Philadelphia Eagles after he lost the locker room there. And secondly, the Niners have been unable to trade a disgruntled quarterback in Colin Kaepernick.

After the Niners failed to complete a deal to send Kaepernick packing, they passed up on quarterbacks in the National Football League Draft until the sixth round when they selected Louisiana Tech Bulldogs quarterback Jeff Driskel. Driskel is a mobile signal caller that will fit into Kelly’s system. However there are a ton of questions around his ability to lead and execute an offense.

After San Francisco used their first-round pick on Oregon Ducks defensive end DeForest Buckner, they surprisingly traded back into the first to select Stanford Cardinal guard Joshua Garnett who they could have gotten much later in the draft process.

Unfortunately for the 49ers, these past few months are a clear example that the 2016 National Football League season is going to be a very long one for them.

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2016 AFC West Draft Grades

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Denver Broncos

Grade: B

First Round Pick: Paxton Lynch-Quarterback-Memphis

Best Pick: Paxton Lynch

The defending Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos entered the 2016 National Football League Draft knowing that they had several holes to fill and that is exactly what the team’s executive president of football operations John Elway set out to do. The Broncos were hit hard by free agency and Elway went to work as far keeping the Broncos machine going.

Paxton Lynch

The Broncos picked last in the first round, but Elway moved up five spots to select Memphis Tigers quarterback Paxton Lynch. At 6’7″, 244 lbs., Lynch is the big quarterback that Elway covets and he along with Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak will look to groom into being a solid starter.

Aside from Lynch, the Broncos added depth in the trenches with the likes of defensive tackle Adam Gotsis and guard Connor McGovern. But if Denver’s fourth-round pick in running back Devontae Booker is able to stay healthy, he could become one of the steals of the draft.

Kansas City Chiefs

Grade: B

First Round Pick: None

Best Pick: Round Five-Kevin Hogan-Quarterback-Stanford

In 2015, the Kansas City Chiefs came out of nowhere to earn a wild card berth in the AFC. And after advancing to the AFC Divisional Playoffs, the Chiefs lack of talent at the wide receiver position finally caught up to them. But for some reason Chiefs head coach Andy Reid passed on several opportunities to address that issue early in the National Football League Draft.

Kevin Hogan

This draft process was simply about adding depth for the Chiefs, but they may have struck gold in the fifth round when they selected Stanford Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan. Hogan was a four-year starter at Stanford which included leading his team two three Rose Bowl appearances. To me Hogan was the most pro-ready quarterback in this year’s draft and if Reid coaches him up properly, he should become a solid player. Another sleeper pick came for the Chiefs in the sixth round when they selected Virginia Tech Hokies defensive end Dadi Nicolas. Nicolas has solid edge rushing skills and he can now learn from two of the best in the business in Kansas City from outside linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston.

Oakland Raiders

Grade: B

First Round Pick: Karl Joseph-Safety-West Virginia

Best Pick: Round Three-Shilique Calhoun-Defensive End-Michigan State

The Oakland Raiders are showing that they are ready to get back to the National Football League Playoffs for the first time since 2002. The Raiders may have reached with their first round selection of West Virginia Mountaineers safety Karl Joseph, but they made up for it after that.

Reggie McKenzie

The middle rounds of the National Football League Draft saw Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie go to work in finding play makers. McKenzie has a thing for the Big Ten Conference as in the second round he selected Illinois Fighting Illini defensive end Jihad Ward which was followed by the selection of Michigan State Spartans defensive end Shilique Calhoun in the third round. Calhoun had the talent to go in the early portion of the second round, but he fell to Oakland at the middle of the third round. Both Ward and Calhoun will compete from their first day in training camp and they could set the Raiders up with solid edge rushers for the coming years.

In the fourth round, McKenzie found Calhoun’s collegiate teammate in quarterback Connor Cook. Some people felt that Cook could have gone in the first round, but this could be a situation where McKenzie will groom him to trade him in a few years as the Raiders have their franchise quarterback in Derek Carr.

The fifth round saw the Raiders select Texas Tech Red Raiders running back DeAndre Washington who’ll be used on third down situations while also becoming an impact player on special teams.

San Diego Chargers

Grade: C+

First Round Pick: Joey Bosa-Defensive End-Ohio State

Best Pick: Joey Bosa

Joey Bosa

The 2016 National Football League Draft went downhill for the San Diego Chargers as soon as it started. The Chargers appeared poised to select Ole Miss Rebels offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil until a questionable photo appeared of him on Twitter. The Chargers then decided on Ohio State Buckeyes defensive end Joey Bosa in spite of the fact that selecting an edge rusher wasn’t their biggest need.

The Chargers did select Arkansas Razorbacks tight end Hunter Henry in the second to be the heir apparent to tight end Antonio. But throughout the entire National Football League Draft, San Diego failed to properly address their issues on the offensive line as this unit has had problems in protecting quarterback Philip Rivers.

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A Southwestern Tussle

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Both the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder are worthy of winning the NBA Championship, but only one team will make it to the Western Conference Finals.

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