Category Archives: National Football League

A Golden Opportunity

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After the New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl at the conclusion of the 2009 National Football League season, they suffered a pair of heartbreaking postseason losses in 2010 and 2011 respectfully. Since then the Saints have only had one playoff appearance which can be traced back to the organization’s punishment for “Bountygate” which saw the NFL strip them of several draft picks, and the five-year, $100 million extension that quarterback Drew Brees signed in 2012. These two moves saw the Saints have a huge dip in their depth and overall talent pool as they were now fighting an uphill battle. Each of the last three years have seen the Saints finish with a record of 7-9 as they were a couple of breaks away from getting back to the postseason. But for the first time in a long time the Saints have a chance to put their inconsistencies behind them and get back to the playoffs if they continue to take care of business this off-season.

Brandin Cooks

In a surprising move this off-season the Saints traded wide receiver Brandin Cooks to the New England Patriots. Cooks was a first-round selection of the Saints in 2014 and he led the club in receiving yards in each of the last two seasons. Cooks was rapidly emerging as one of the best receivers in the National Football League; however he was falling out of favor in New Orleans after he began to publicly criticize the routes that he was sometimes asked to run. In exchange for sending Cooks to the Patriots, the Saints received a first and third-round pick, while they are also sending a fourth-round selection to New England. And with this additional arsenal of picks, Saints general manager Mickey Loomis could be ready to knock one out of the park.

Sean Payton

Saints head coach Sean Payton is one of the sharpest offensive minds in the National Football League, while Brees is a future Hall of Famer. And thus New Orleans has been one of the top offenses in the NFL in recent years. But Brees’ golden right arm alone can’t carry the Saints. The Saints issues have been on the defensive side of the football where they have not finished higher than 27th in total defense in each of the last three years which could be finally remedied later this month in the National Football League Draft.

The Saints are scheduled to pick three times within the first 42 selections and they could rack up on some defensive talent. After New Orleans was only able to tally 30 sacks last season with defensive end Cameron Jordan leading the team with 7.5, they have a chance to beef up their pass rush. Quality defensive ends such as Taco Charlton, Derek Barnett, and Charles Harris are all expected to be available when the Saints pick 11th. And as the Saints secondary has been barbecued in recent years, players such as cornerback Marlon Humphrey and strong safety Obi Melifonwu could be in play for them early as well. At some point the Saints are going to have to attempt to replace Cooks and his production. But being that most wide receivers in New Orleans are a product of having Brees throw them the football, I don’t see replacing Cooks as a top priority when the draft begins as their defense must find a way to neutralize Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback if they want to win the NFC South.

Mickey Loomis

In 2015, Loomis took some heat when he traded All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham to the Seattle Seahawks. In exchange for Graham, New Orelans received center Max Unger and Seattle’s first-round pick. The Saints would use that selection on outside linebacker Stephone Anthony who in a short period of time has become a leader on the defensive side of the football. And if Loomis can find some game changing play makers on the defensive side of the football later this month in the draft, he could make the folks on the bayou forget about Cooks; especially if the Saints can get back to the playoffs.

This is the first time in a long time that the Saints will have a chance to get back on track. And if Loomis and Payton are able to it right, New Orleans could still be playing football when January rolls around.

Source: Pro-football-reference.com

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2017 NFL Mock Draft 3.0

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1. Cleveland Browns-Myles Garrett-Defensive End-Texas A&M

The Cleveland Browns could mess this up, but at some point common sense has to kick in.

2. San Francisco 49ers-Solomon Thomas-Defensive End-Stanford

There are several directions in which the 49ers could go here, but they need more play makers on their defensive line

3. Chicago Bears-Jamal Adams-Strong Safety-LSU

If the Chicago Bears are hopeful for a quick turnaround in 2017, they are going to have to go through the Green Bay Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers which means that they are going to have to beef up the secondary.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars-Leonard Fournette-Running Back-LSU

The Jaguars are in the business of improving the team around quarterback Blake Bortles which means that the running game is a top priority.

5. Tennessee Titans-Malik Hooker-Free Safety-Ohio State

The Titans are just one or two play makers away from being the team to beat in the AFC South. And the addition of Malik Hooker will get Tennessee closer to that goal.

Mitch Trubisky

6. New York Jets-Mitch Trubisky-Quarterback-North Carolina

The Jets could go quarterback here which would mean that they are giving up on quarterbacks Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenburg.

7. Los Angeles Chargers-Jabril Peppers-Strong Safety-Michigan

Jabril Peppers could be the ultimate wild card in the National Football League Draft as he could be selected anywhere from 5-25 in the first round.

8. Carolina Panthers-Dalvin Cook-Running Back-Florida State

When the Panthers were one of the top teams in the NFL in 2015, their bread and butter was the running game which they need to get back to.

9. Cincinnati Bengals-Derek Barnett-Defensive End-Tennessee

Under head coach Marvin Lewis, the Bengals have always had a litany of athletes on their defensive line which continues here with the addition of Derek Barnett.

10. Buffalo Bills-Marshon Lattimore-Cornerback-Ohio State

For the Buffalo Bills to assert themselves as a playoff team in 2017, they are going to have to go through the New England Patriots in the AFC East which means having as many athletes as possible in their secondary.

11. New Orleans Saints-Haason Reddick-Outside Linebacker-Temple

The Saints already have one of the top offenses in the National Football League, and now it is time to develop a complimentary defense.

Deshaun Watson

12. Cleveland Browns-Deshaun Watson-Quarterback-Clemson

Just like if the Browns avoid taking Myles Garrett, they will regret not taking Deshaun Watson here because he is a winner.

13. Arizona Cardinals-Corey Davis-Wide Receiver-Western Michigan

After wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald had 1,023 receiving yards, J.J. Nelson was the next closest wide receiver on the Cardinals with just 568 yards which means that they need to get more players that can stretch the field.

14. Philadelphia Eagles-Christian McCaffrey-Running Back-Stanford

With running back Darren Sproles being 33-years of age, the Philadelphia Eagles need another versatile running back who can fill that void.

15. Indianapolis Colts-O.J. Howard-Tight End-Alabama

The Colts need to get more play makers around quarterback Andrew Luck and a tight end such as O.J. Howard who is theoretically a big wide receiver could help that process.

16. Baltimore Ravens-Jonathan Allen-Defensive Tackle-Alabama

If Jonathan Allen falls this far, he would come into the NFL with a chip on his shoulder, and he would join an organization that knows how to win.

17. Washington Redskins-Mike Williams-Wide Receiver-Clemson

After allowing wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon to leave in the free agency, the Washington Redskins must do everything possible to keep quarterback Kirk Cousins happy.

18. Tennessee Titans-John Ross-Wide Receiver-Washington

As the Titans have one of the top rushing attacks in the NFL, they need a burner at the wide receiver position that can stretch the field on play action.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Reuben Foster-Inside Linebacker-Alabama

If the Buccaneers are going to be a legitimate playoff contender in 2017, they are going to need more leaders on the defensive side of the football.

20. Denver Broncos-David Njoku-Tight End-Miami

As the Denver Broncos hardly got any production out of the tight end position in 2016, they need to improve there regardless of whether it will be Trevor Semian or Paxton Lynch under center this year.

Taco Charlton

21. Detroit Lions-Taco Charlton-Defensive End-Michigan

After the Detroit Lions only registered 26 sacks last season, they need all of the help that they can get on their defensive line.

22. Miami Dolphins-Charles Harris-Defensive End-Missouri

If the Miami Dolphins are serious about pushing the Patriots for supremacy in the AFC East, they need as many pass rushers as possible in order to slow down quarterback Tom Brady.

23. New York Giants-Malik McDowell-Defensive Tackle

After the Giants recently lost defensive tackle Jonathan Hankins in free agency to the Colts, this is a no-brainer selection here for general manager Jerry Reese.

24. Oakland Raiders-Marlon Humphrey-Cornerback-Alabama

After watching the Raiders secondary once quarterback Derek Carr got injured last year, they need all the help that they can get.

Patrick Mahomes II

25. Houston Texans-Patrick Mahomes II-Quarterback-Texas Tech

The Texans thought that they were going to get quarterback Tony Romo which led them to trading quarterback Brock Osweiler to the Browns. But when Romo decided on retirement, it changed the thought process in Houston.

26. Seattle Seahawks-Ryan Ramczyk-Offensive Tackle-Wisconsin

As quarterback Russell Wilson was sacked 41 times last year, it is not a recipe for good things if the Seahawks want to be a legit title contender once again.

27. Kansas City Chiefs-Forrest Lamp-Guard-Western Kentucky

The Chiefs have several needs as they enter the NFL Draft, but Forrest Lamp is simply too good for them to pass up on.

Carl Lawson

28. Dallas Cowboys-Carl Lawson-Defensive End-Auburn

Ever since the Cowboys released defensive end DeMarcus Ware in 2014, they have lacked a quality edge rusher which has prevented them from being a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

29. Green Bay Packers-Tre’Davious White-Cornerback-LSU

After the Packers were lit up in the NFC Championship Game against the Atlanta Falcons, the secondary will be a top priority for them in the draft.

30. Pittsburgh Steelers-Zach Cunningham-Outside Linebacker-Vanderbilt

If you watched Zach Cunningham play in college, he is prototypical Steeler linebacker.

31. Atlanta Falcons-Garrett Bolles-Offensive Tackle-Utah

Whereas quarterback Matt Ryan was sacked 37 times last year, the Falcons are going to have to give him more protection if they want to get back to the Super Bowl.

32. New Orleans Saints-Kevin King-Cornerback-Washington

If the Saints fix their defense in this draft, they could be a playoff team this season.

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2017 NFL Mock Draft 2.0

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1. Cleveland Browns-Myles Garrett-Defensive End Texas A&M

Entering the 2017 National Football League Draft, Myles Garrett is the best player available which makes this an easy selection for the Browns.

2. San Francisco 49ers-Jonathan Allen-Defensive Tackle-Alabama

The Niners need a quarterback, but they get a value pick in Jonathan Allen while still having the ability to address that issue later in the draft.

3. Chicago Bears-Jamal Adams-Strong Safety-LSU

In a division that features quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford, the Bears must get better in their secondary.

Dalvin Cook

4. Jacksonville Jaguars-Dalvin Cook-Running Back-Florida State

As the Jaguars leading rusher last season was T.J. Yeldon with just 465 yards. And with Tom Coughlin entrenched as the Jags executive vice president of football operations, Jacksonville will be a better running team by hook or by crook.

5. Tennessee Titans (from Los Angeles Rams)-Solomon Thomas-Defensive End-Stanford

The Titans are on the verge of being a playoff team and it’s time to get defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau some more play makers.

6. New York Jets-Marshon Lattimore-Cornerback-Ohio State

The Jets can go in several directions with this selection, but their safest choice could be cornerback.

Jabril Peppers

7. Los Angeles Chargers-Jabril Peppers-Strong Safety-Michigan

Not since the days of Rodney Harrison have the Chargers had an enforcer in their secondary which could change if they draft Jabril Peppers.

8. Carolina Panthers-Leonard Fournette-Running Back-LSU

The Panthers took a huge step backwards in 2016, and in order for them to resemble the team that went 15-1 in 2015, they have to get back to the basics which means a power rushing attack.

9. Cincinnati Bengals-Ryan Ramczyk-Offensive Tackle-Wisconsin

After allowing veteran offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth to leave in free agency, the Bengals need to get more athletic on their offensive line.

10. Buffalo Bills-Marlon Humphrey-Cornerback-Alabama

New Bills head coach Sean McDermott is a defensive minded coach. And after Buffalo allowed cornerback Stephon Gilmore to leave in free agency, this is a chance for them to address that void.

11. New Orleans Saints-Malik Hooker-Free Safety-Ohio State

If the Saints are going to squeeze another title run out of quarterback Drew Brees, they must assemble a defense that can stop opponents.

Deshaun Watson

12. Cleveland Browns (From Philadelphia Eagles)-Deshaun Watson-Quarterback-Clemson

With the luxury of two, first-round picks the Browns can get the best player available along with their franchise quarterback.

13. Arizona Cardinals-Reuben Foster-Inside Linebacker-Alabama

As the Cardinals are looking to bounce back in 2017, the first thing that they need is a leader on the defensive side of the football.

14. Philadelphia Eagles (From Minnesota Vikings)-Derek Barnett-Defensive End-Tennessee

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is working on getting this team back to what it was during the 2000’s which was being a consistent playoff team, and a defensive end like Derek Barnett who can wreak havoc is a step in that direction.

15. Indianapolis Colts-Corey Davis-Wide Receiver-Western Michigan

The Colts have a new general manager in Chris Ballard and it is time for this organization to put more talent around quarterback Andrew Luck.

16. Baltimore Ravens-Zach Cunningham-Outside Linebacker-Vanderbilt

The Ravens have always been an organization that is known for defense and player like Cunningham plays with a nasty disposition.

17. Washington Redskins-Mike Williams-Wide Receiver-Clemson

After the Redskins allowed wide receivers Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson to walk in free agency, this is an opportunity to keep quarterback Kirk Cousins happy.

18. Tennessee Titans-John Ross-Wide Receiver-Washington

The Titans love to run the football and a burner like John Ross could be dangerous off of play action.

Christian McCaffrey

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Christian McCaffrey-Running Back-Stanford

The Buccaneers front office is showing that they are serious as far as putting a team around quarterback Jameis Winston and here they would get one of the best play makers in the draft.

20. Denver Broncos-O.J. Howard-Tight End-Alabama

The Broncos still have questions at the quarterback position, but bringing in a solid pass-catching tight end will benefit whoever is taking the snaps.

21. Detroit Lions-Taco Charlton-Defensive End-Michigan

As a team the Lions only had 26 sacks last year with no player accumulating more than 8 which makes selecting Taco Charlton here a no-brainer.

22. Miami Dolphins-Obi Melifonwu-Strong Safety-Connecticut

As the Dolphins continue to bring in play makers on the defensive side of the football, they’ll be out to show that their playoff run last year wasn’t a fluke.

23. New York Giants-Cam Robinson-Offensive Tackle-Alabama

There are several directions in which the Giants can go here, but it might be time for them to move Ereck Flowers to right tackle.

24. Oakland Raiders-TreDavious White-Cornerback-LSU

When quarterback Derek Carr suffered a fractured fibula last year, the Raiders secondary got exposed when the offense wasn’t putting up 30 points per game anymore.

25. Houston Texans-Forrest Lamp-Guard-Western Kentucky

The Texans already have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, and it could get better here by adding Forrest Lamp.

26. Seattle Seahawks-Garrett Bolles-Offensive Tackle-Utah

Last year Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was sacked 41 times and that isn’t going to cut it if Seattle wants to get back to the Super Bowl.

27. Kansas City Chiefs-Curtis Samuel-Wide Receiver-Ohio State

In 2016, the Chiefs didn’t have a wide receiver gain 600 yards as they need explosiveness at the position in order to take some attention off of tight end Travis Kelce.

28. Dallas Cowboys-Charles Harris-Defensive End-Missouri

The Dallas Cowboys have everything on offense to be a Super Bowl contender, but until they can improve their pass rush, it won’t mean a thing.

29. Green Bay Packers-Malik McDowell-Defensive Tackle-Michigan State

In three playoff games last season the Packers surrendered 88 points as quarterback Aaron Rodgers cannot bail them out all of the time.

Tim Williams

30. Pittsburgh Steelers-Tim Williams-Outside Linebacker-Alabama

Tim Williams could be the steal of the first round as he goes to a team in the Steelers that loves to have versatile linebackers.

31. Atlanta Falcons-Takkarist McKinley-Outside Linebacker-UCLA

The Falcons had a solid defense in 2016, but after watching the fourth quarter of Super Bowl 51, it is clear that they need more pass rushers.

32. New Orleans Saints (From New England Patriots)-Carl Lawson-Defensive End-Auburn

If the Saints are able to fix their defense, a trip to the postseason is very likely here in 2017.

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Failing To Get Out Of Their Own Way

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The glory days of the Washington Redskins were from 1981-1992 when they won three Super Bowl Championships. But since Joe Gibbs ended his first run as the head coach of the Redskins in 1992, things have been sketchy at best for this franchise. Since 1992, Washington only has three division titles and two playoff victories. And each time that the Redskins appear to be putting something together, it quickly dissipates.

In 2002, the Redskins hired Steve Spurrier to be their new head coach after he had a successful run as the head football coach for the Florida Gators. Spurrier was supposed to revolutionize the Redskins offense. But in two years in D.C., Spurrier’s record was 12-20. Redskins owner Dan Snyder then reached out to Gibbs to return to the team in 2004, but in four years he was unable to return Washington to glory. In 2012, Washington traded up to the second overall pick in the National Football League Draft to select quarterback Robert Griffin III. As a rookie, RG3 would set the NFL on fire due to his athleticism, however after he suffered a knee injury towards the end of that season, he would never be the same player with the team.

Kirk Cousins

The same year that the Redskins drafted Griffin, they also used a fourth-round selection on quarterback Kirk Cousins. Coming out of college Griffin had the sizzle, but Cousins was the more polished pro passer. In Cousins’ first three years he would see sporadic action behind Griffin. However following Washington’s 4-12 campaign in 2014, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden made the decision to make Cousins his full-time starting quarterback.

In 2015, Cousins would become a popular man amongst the folks in D.C. as he set a single-season passing mark for the Redskins as he threw for 4,166 yards en route to helping Washington win the NFC East for the first time since 2012. This past season Cousins would take it a step further as he threw for 4,917 yards, but he was unable to get the ‘Skins back to the postseason.

Cousins was set to become a free agent until the Redskins slapped the dreaded franchise tag on him for the second consecutive year. Cousins appears to be the long-term answer at quarterback in Washington, however the organization has not done right by him.

After the franchise tag was attached to Cousins, he has asked the team to be traded due to the fact that the top two wide receivers for the Redskins from 2016 won’t be returning next season. Wide receiver Pierre Garcon who led Washington in receiving yards last season with 1,041 is joining the San Francisco 49ers, while wide receiver DeSean Jackson who was second on the team with 1,005 receiving yards will now be a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It was doubtful that Washington was going to be able to sign both players, but there was optimism that they’d be able to retain at least one. However both will be suiting up for new teams which has not made Cousins happy as 2,046 receiving yards from last season is out the door. And now it will take a lot of smoothing over by the Redskins to make things right with Cousins.

Dan Snyder

But this shouldn’t be a shock to anyone that has followed the Redskins since Snyder became the owner in 1999. Under Snyder, Washington has employed eight different head coaches, while they’ve had 16 different starting quarterbacks. Snyder has tried to bring Washington a winner and each time he has failed.

Just because Cousins wants a trade doesn’t mean that the Redskins are going to oblige him, but they are rolling the dice more than ever. The Redskins are now going to have to overpay Cousins if they want to keep him happy as his frustrations could make for a media firestorm. Cousins has been able to navigate Gruden’s offense with success and the last thing that the head coach can afford to do is to start over at the quarterback position.

Now the Redskins are going to have figure out how to address their wide receiver situation between the draft and free agency as their top returning wide receiver from last season is Jamison Crowder with 847 yards. But much of what Crowder was able to do was based off of the ability of Jackson and Garcon, along the attention that they attracted.

After making the postseason in 2015, the Redskins missed out on consecutive playoff appearances by just one win last season. And instead of improving off of that, Washington is headed backwards. When Gibbs was in his heyday, he won three Super Bowl Titles with three different quarterbacks as he is the only head coach in National Football League history to do so. Gibbs was able to do this because he had a solid system in place, but since that time the Redskins have been an organization that is typically in disarray which is once again front and center.

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