Author Archives: WRGW Sports

NBA Finals Preview

By: Daniel Stettin

The 2017 NBA Finals begin tonight at 9 PM on ABC between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors. This will be the third straight season in which these two squads will face off for a championship with Golden State winning in 2015 and Cleveland taking it last year. Essentially everyone has pegged these two teams to play in the Finals since Kevin Durant joined Golden State in Free Agency last summer. Both teams have been dominant in the playoffs, with Golden State yet to lose a playoff game while Cleveland has only lost one playoff game.

The Case for Cleveland:

The case for Cleveland starts and ends with Lebron James. The best basketball player in the world continues to get better each season despite him now being 32. The man can certainly do anything on a basketball court but everyone knows that. Obviously Lebron will have to be dominant for Cleveland to win this series. This team is so deep that they bring numerous former stars off their bench, including Kyle Korver and Deron Williams. The ability to bring in numerous quality players in the few minutes Lebron, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, and the rest of the starting 5. This is a team where every player knows their role on the court (or off of it) and that allows them to play great basketball. For Cleveland to win this series, they must control the tempo of the game. Golden State is deadly in transition so slowing the game down is key. Don’t overlook Tristan Thompson’s impact rebounding in this series, he would average 12 + RPG if he didn’t have Kevin Love and Lebron in the starting lineup. If Thompson could take advantage of his matchup with Varajao and McGee, that would really open up the outside for all the shooters Cleveland has.

The Case for Golden State:

Unlike Cleveland, winning will not rely on any single player for Golden State. That’s not to say the Warriors don’t need their stars to perform, it just shows how strong of a starting 5 they have. It’s all defense for the Warriors as their offense is so deep and balanced that they can win even without shooting well. That’s kinda what happens when you have Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, David West, Shaun Livingston, etc. As long as they are average offensively, they can keep up with Cleveland. But they are going to have to be at their best defensively, where Cleveland will dominate inside (especially if the big men don’t hold up) but they can not let them hit from downtown. If Cleveland is hitting their three’s they probably are gonna win. Kevin Durant is going to have to play lockdown defense on Lebron from the perimeter or he might average 40+ PPG in this series. However, Golden State is pretty good defensively so I see them having some success on defense.

Who Wins:

I’ve got Cleveland repeating as NBA champions in a 7 game series where both teams hold home court until Game 7 when we see signature Lebron James dominate to grab his 4th NBA Finals MVP and 4th title. I see Curry struggling with Irving throughout the series but Klay Thompson outplay JR Smith. Durant and Lebron play at about the same level (except for Game 7 Lebron dominates), and both Cleveland big men thoroughly outplay their match ups.

WRGW Final Mock Draft 4/27

By: Daniel Stettin

With the NFL draft tonight, I’ve updated my prior mock draft from last month! I’m not going to project any trades, but I do expect one team trade up for a QB in the top ten and a few of the picks at the end of the first round may switch hands.

  1. Cleveland Browns – Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
    1. Is there any doubt that the Browns are going to draft Garrett? He is the best defensive end to come out of college since at least Jadaveon Clowney in 2014. Garrett has a tremendous combine, showing off an unbelievable mix of size, strength, and speed that will make him difficult to stop at the next level. While defensive end isn’t the Brown’s most important need, you do not pass on the best player in the draft. The only other player I can see going here is UNC QB Mitchell Trubisky, but I believe that the Browns could still get him with the 12th pick (which they acquired from Philadelphia in a trade in last years draft).
  2. San Francisco 49ers – Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
    1. Coming off his redshirt Freshman year at Stanford, Thomas looked like a promising prospect that could one day be a NFL player. Then he slowly began creeping up draft boards throughout the 2016 season, eventually ending the season with a dominant performance in the 2016 Sun Bowl vs UNC and Mitchell Trubisky. The 49ers once had a dominant pass rush under Jim Harbaugh, but that is no more. Similar to the Browns, this isn’t the most important need for the 49ers and Kyle Shanahan but the 49ers just need special talent and Thomas is that.
  3. Chicago Bears – Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
    1. Many are pegging the Bears to take an defensive linemen but I don’t think the Bears are fine with their pass rush currently. Instead, the Bears can go after the next Ed Reed to play next to Quintin Demps. Despite having surgery on for a torn labrum, Hooker is still expected to go in the first round. Hooker looked like a potential All-Pro safety in his Redshirt Sophomore year at Ohio State but it was still a surprise he came out considering the lack of experience. The Bears could also go D-Line, but I think the Bears don’t pass up on fixing the safety spot for the next ten years.
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars – Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU (Formerly: Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama)
    1. I initially had the Jaguars going defense here with Jonathan Allen but the more I look at it, the Jaguars would be much better off with a dominant RB such as Fournette. He would ease pressure off of Blake Bortles who has had close to no running game since entering the league a few years ago. They tried TJ Yeldon and Chris Ivory but neither was able to really play up to their potentials. Everyone knows Bortles likes to throw the ball downfield and a back like Fournette would open up the field. Fournette is a special back and should immediately be a Pro Bowl talent from day one.
  5. Tennessee Titans – Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
    1. The Titans had arguably some of the worst cornerback play in the NFL last season and they still finished with a 9-7 record. They signed Logan Ryan to be their number 1 CB but I think he will be better off being the second CB behind Lattimore, who has the potential to be the a shut down CB in the NFL. The expectation for Tennessee is to go DB or WR so I wouldn’t be surprised if they were to take Mike Williams or Jamal Adams but with the signing of Jonathan Cyprien, they can get away with what they have at safety this year. Don’t be surprised if this pick is traded to a team trying to take Mitchell Trubisky.
  6. New York Jets – Jamal Adams, S, LSU
    1. Similar to the 49ers, the Jets are trying to cling on to the dominant defenses they have had in the past. Adams is another special safety that many deem to be a “safe” pick. New York is so close to being a perennial playoff team. It isn’t that former first rounder Calvin Pryor is bad, it is more that how good insiders expect Adams to be. Nobody really has a clue where the Jets are going to go with the sixth pick, some pegging them to go after Fournette, OJ Howard, Trubisky, Deshaun Watson, or any of the already mentioned DB’s, but I can’t see the Jets passing on a safety as talented as Adams (especially with Tom Brady and Ryan Tannehill in the division).
  7. Los Angeles Chargers – Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
    1. First off, it just sounds weird to say Los Angeles instead of San Diego. Second, if the draft plays out the way it has so far, don’t be surprised if LA trades out of this slot. The Chargers are praying that one of the two top safeties falls to them but that doesn’t happen here. I’m not predicting trades so I’m gonna give Phillip Rivers a stud receiver to pair with Keenan Allen to give the Chargers one of the more dynamic offenses in the NFL. Rivers only has a few years left so why not give him a plethora of receivers to connect with. Like I said, the Chargers really want to get Adams or Hooker here, but if not (and if they don’t trade out) I can also see them going offensive line here.
  8. Carolina Panthers – Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford (Formerly: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU)
    1. Same position, different player. The talk now is that McCaffrey is going to go top 10 and he would fit perfectly into the Panthers offense where they can line him up anywhere on offense. Whether it be in the backfield, in the slot, or as a return man, McCaffrey is dynamic and would instantly upgrade the Panthers offense. Jonathan Stewart hit 30 this offseason and he wasn’t that good last season anyways (3.8 YPC last season). Similar to 2008 when Stewart was drafted despite DeAngelo Williams being productive, the Panthers will begin their transition to their new franchise back.
  9. Cincinnati Bengals – Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama (Formerly: Rueben Foster, LB, Alabama)
    1. The failed drug test of Reuben Foster has him slip out of the top ten while Allen makes its just inside the top 10. Allen hasn’t done anything to drop but with the growing possibility of two RB’s going top ten as well as Mitchell Trubisky, Allen may drop to the Bengals, who are ecstatic to take Allen, who might be the best run defender in this draft. This pick for the Bengals is in the best player available approach, which should benefit this Bengals defense which has gotten quite old.
  10. Buffalo Bills – OJ Howard, TE, Alabama(Formerly: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan)
    1. Saying the Bills need weapons for Tyrod Taylor (or whoever Buffalo decides to be their QB) is like saying Myles Garrett is the best player in this draft, everybody knows this. Howard has been shooting up draft boards in the past few weeks and it is not hard to see why. He has size and speed and would really help out Tyrod Taylor (or Cardale Jones). They have Charles Clay already, but he is more of a H Back while Howard is a true Tight End. Projections for the Bills are all over the place at every position, but I think they have to go offense here.
  11. New Orleans Saints – Haason Reddick, LB, Temple (Formerly: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee)
    1. Reddick has never played LB before but that is the position NFL coaches believe he will thrive in. He came to Temple as a walk on DB and then became a pass rusher putting up 9.5 sacks as a Senior. Reddick might be undersized but he is relentless in his pursuit of the QB. Reddick is shooting up draft boards and some think he is a lock to go top 12. The Saints had one of the worst group of, if not the worst, pass rushers in the NFL. Barnett instantly upgrades that, giving them a strong line with Cameron Jordan, Nick Fairley, and Sheldon Rankins as well. The Saints could really go any defensive position as a result of their horrific defense last season.
  12. Cleveland Browns (From Philadelphia) – Mitchell Trubisky, QB, UNC
    1. The Browns take the hometown kid in Mitchell Trubisky, born and raised in the suburbs of Cleveland. Despite being just a one year starter, Trubisky shined in his first (and only) season as a starter at UNC, throwing 30 TD’s and completing 68% of his passes. The Browns seemingly have to take Trubisky here, they can’t go out on opening day with Cody Kessler (who wasn’t terrible as a rookie, but projects as a quality backup), Brock Osweiler, or Kevin Hogan and expect to see improvements over last year. Drafting Trubisky with his inexperience could allow Kessler to open the season as the starter with Trubisky taking over later in the year. If not a QB here, I could see the Browns going TE or another WR to help out their offense.
  13. Arizona Cardinals – Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama (Formerly: Deshone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame)
    1. The projections for Foster are all over the place with all the off the field concerns with Foster happening. Nobody is quite sure how far down Foster will fall with the diluted urine sample from the combine. The Cardinals have not shied away from taking players with troubled pasts before and after losing Kevin Minter in free agency, Foster could become the longterm starter at LB in Arizona. Don’t be surprised if they go with a developmental QB or a DB here, as both are pressing needs as well.
  14. Philadelphia Eagles – Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee (Formerly: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State)
    1. If Conley was not accused of sexual assault earlier this week, he would be a slam dunk pick here for the Eagles. Conley isn’t expected to fall out of the draft like La’el Collins did, but he won’t be going Thursday night. Philadelphia instead gets one of the most productive pass rushers in the country in Derek Barnett. Barnett might not blow you away physically, but he makes up for it with his production. It isn’t easy to break Reggie White’s career sack record and he did it in just three seasons. Getting another pass rusher to help disrupt the other QB’s of the NFC East would really benefit Carson Wentz and the Eagles as a whole.
  15. Indianapolis Colts – Charles Harris, DE, Missouri (Formerly: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan)
    1. Colts GM Chris Ballard has publicly stated that he is looking to move down to acquire more picks as well that the Colts top three draft needs are a pass rusher, CB, and RB. Harris fills the need for a pass rusher, putting up 9 sacks as a junior. He is big, strong, and fast linemen that will instantly upgrade the Colts pass rush. The only players last year to put up more than 3 sacks were both linebackers (Erik Walden with 11 and Robert Mathis with 5) so upgrading the D-Line is priority #1 in my mind. If not a pass rusher, I can see the Colts going after a RB or CB which are both pretty big needs as well.
  16. Baltimore Ravens – Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
    1. There are reports out there that GM Ozzie Newsome absolutely loves Cam Robinson, the top rated tackle in this draft. After losing Ricky Wagner in free agency to Detroit, the Ravens are in need of a RT to pair with Ronnie Stanley. To win the AFC North, you must play well in the trenches and the Robinson would help fix that. There are some doubts if Robinson could play LT but by having him on the right side there won’t be an issue. If the Ravens don’t go offensive line, they are definitely going WR where they lost both Steve Smith and Kamar Aiken this offseason.
  17. Washington Redskins – Jabrill Peppers, S/LB, Michigan
    1. The key to this pick is how the Redskins announce it. Peppers played multiple positions at Michigan so people don’t know what he will play (he worked out as both a Safety and Linebacker at the Combine). I believe Peppers will play a similar role to what Deone Buchanan and Mark Barron play for Arizona and LA. Peppers is a little overhyped right now because he did so much for Michigan but he was never elite at any of the positions that he played in. The Redskins can also go RB or WR here, where Dalvin Cook, Christian McCaffery, John Ross, etc could instantly help out Kirk Cousins.
  18. Tennessee Titans – John Ross, WR, Washington
    1. Tennessee already took care of fixing their secondary by taking Marshon Lattimore at 5 and here they can fix their lack of a speedster/deep threat by taking Ross, who broke the combine’s 40 yard dash record by running a 4.22. Ross didn’t do much his first two seasons at Washington then he tore his ACL as a junior. He came back in his redshirt Junior season and dominated with over 1000 yards and leading Washington to the playoff. Ross doesn’t look like a traditional number 1 receiver, but he is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. If not a WR here, I can see Tennessee go for a Tight End such as David Njoku.
  19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
    1. From his first game as a Freshman, Cook showed why he is a special RB. He isn’t as big as Fournette, but he is much more explosive and just seems to make plays. He ran for at least 1000 yards each year in Tallahassee and fits perfectly into Tampa Bay’s offense. The Buccaneers couldn’t run the ball at all last year and they might have made the playoffs if they had a reliable back. Tampa is definitely going offense year, whether it be a RB or TE they desperately need to help Jameis Winston.
  20. Denver Broncos – Garrett Bolles, T, Utah
    1. The Broncos lost Russell Okung in free agency and just in general had some poor Offensive Line play throughout 2016. This can partly be attributed to Trevor Semien’s play but still is telling how the line gave up 40 sacks. Bolles only played one year at Utah, previously playing a Junior College,  but he was dominant. Bolles is older than most prospects in the draft, he spent two years on a LDS Mission, but that shouldn’t stop him from going in the first round and starting Week 1. The Broncos could also go with Christian McCaffrey here, where his father Ed starred in the 1990’s, and help out in both the running game and catching passes out of the backfield.
  21. Detroit Lions – Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida (Formerly: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt)
    1. Rumors out there are that Davis is flying up draft boards. He missed a few games his senior year but the talk is that he has all the measurable’s and the tape backs it up. If he remains healthy, Davis can anchor the Lions defense up the middle. Davis is strong in coverage and can attack the backfield which are both extremely valuable traits in todays pass heavy game. The Lions are most likely going to go defense here, but if they do not, a wild card like David Njoku could come off the board.
  22. Miami Dolphins – Forrest Lamp, G, Western Kentucky
    1. While Miami made the playoffs last year, they still have many holes to fill. After trading Brandon Albert to Jacksonville, they are shifting last years first rounder Laremy Tunsil to LT. While I think Lamp can play LT (and play it well), I think he will be best able to physically dominate as a Guard. If Lamp was 2 inches taller and had a longer wingspan, he would be a top ten pick as a Tackle. Nonetheless, I see Lamp being a stud at Guard that is capable of filling in at Tackle if need be. If not Lamp, Miami could go TE, LB, or S here. If Jabrill Peppers were available, I know owner Stephen Ross would be drooling at the opportunity to take the former Michigan star.
  23. New York Giants – David Njoku, TE, Miami (Formerly: OJ Howard, TE, Alabama)
    1. I originally projected OJ Howard here but he has flown up draft boards. The same logic applies to the Giants taking Njoku here, where he could team up with Odell Beckham Jr, Brandon Marshall, and Sterling Shepard to form what might be the best set of pass catchers in the NFL. Njoku might not get the amount of targets he should be getting in New York but he would still be a very valuable contributor the Giants offense. The Giants have always had good, but not great TE’s. Njoku will change that with his game changing athleticism. If the Giants don’t go TE, I can see them going Offensive Line or Running Back.
  24. Oakland Raiders – Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt (Formerly: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple)
    1. Cunningham is of those rare Vanderbilt players that gets drafted in the first round. He is phenomenal in coverage and playing the run, both areas where the Raiders need help. Cunningham isn’t gonna explode for double digit sacks but he will do just about everything else in Oakland. The Raiders lost LB Malcolm Smith in free agency to San Francisco so Cunningham could potentially start day 1 for the Silver and Black. If the Raiders don’t go LB, then a Running Back or Defensive Linemen could be in play.
  25. Houston Texans – Patrick Mahomes II, QB, Texas Tech
    1. Unless the Texans sign another QB, they are planning on giving the starting job to Fourth Year QB Tom Savage. Bill O’Brien has been talking up Savage a ton but I have a hard time believing he would pass on Mahomes II, who set the combine record for fastest throw ever at 60 MPH. I know Mahomes II played in the air raid offense at Texas Tech, that shouldn’t stop a team like Houston from drafting a QB who has one of the strongest arms in Football. If the Texans don’t go QB here, they will go Offensive Line.
  26. Seattle Seahawks – Kevin King, CB, Washington
    1. The Seahawks go with the local kid over Marlon Humphrey as the Seahawks love their big corners (See Richard Sherman, Brandon Browner, Byron Maxwell, etc). Before the combine, King was probably going second or third round but then he had a tremendous combine shooting up to the first round. The Seahawks currently have DeShawn Shead set up to start opposite Sherman so they should be looking for a quality DB in the draft. If the Seahawks don’t go with a cornerback, an offensive linemen could definitely be in play.
  27. Kansas City Chiefs – Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
    1. How far will the Chiefs go in 2017? As far as Alex Smith can go, which is most likely losing in the Divisional round. The Chiefs are a strong QB away from being a Super Bowl Contender. Watson won’t be ready to play for at least one season, so he can sit behind Smith until his contract expires after the 2018 season. The Chiefs have a stacked roster so they can afford to go with a luxury pick here at 27. The Chiefs can also go with a pass rusher if they don’t want to go with Watson.
  28. Dallas Cowboys – Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
    1. The Cowboys get a steal here in Humphrey, who some think could go as high as the Top 10. The Alabama CB has the size (6 feet) and the speed (4.41 40) to keep up with any receiver in the NFL. He only played two seasons of College Football after redshirting as a True Freshman. Nolan Carroll is currently slated to start for the Cowboys, Humphrey will change that. The Cowboys could also go with an offensive or defensive linemen here but the value with Humphrey is too much to pass up on here.
  29. Green Bay Packers – TJ Watt, LB, Wisconsin (Formerly: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford)
    1. Right now people might know TJ Watt as the little brother of JJ Watt, but Green Bay fans will soon learn that TJ can rush the passer pretty well as well. Watt put up 11.5 sacks as a Junior and he could be dominant playing opposite Nick Perry. The Packers defense was extremely inconsistent last season and could use some more pass rushers. The Packers can really go anywhere (besides QB of course) here.
  30. Pittsburgh Steelers – Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado (Formerly: David Njoku, TE, Miami)
    1. Chidobe Awuzie is a player that has slowly risen up draft boards throughout the draft process. The measurable are solid, but the more you watch Awuzie, the more you want him on your team. Pittsburgh can use some secondary help despite taking Artie Burns last season. I personally see him as a second rounder but he was invited to the draft which indicates that enough teams have him high up on their draft boards.  The Steelers are expected to go defense for a lot of the draft so a DE or LB is not out of the question as well.
  31. Atlanta Falcons – Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State (Formerly: TJ Watt, LB, Wisconsin)
    1. McDowell has one of the highest ceilings in this draft but he was so inconsistent throughout college. He struggled just as the entire Michigan State team did in 2016. Despite this, McDowell will punish interior linemen in the NFL as he is just that good rushing the interior. As we saw in the Super Bowl, Atlanta needs a relentless pass rush for 60 minutes if they want to bring home the Lombardi Trophy. Atlanta could also go offensive line here, where you can never have enough depth.
  32. New Orleans Saints (From New England) – Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
    1. The Saints got this pick from New England in the Brandin Cooks trade.  After getting Derek Barnett at 11, the Saints are able to upgrade their secondary with Wilson. He’s a big corner at 6-1 and some think he could potentially move to Safety. There was talk the Saints could trade for Patriots CB Malcolm Butler considering how poor their secondary was this past season. There are no doubts that the Saints are gonna try to upgrade their secondary with this pick.

MLB Predictions 2017 Season

By: Daniel Stettin

Here are some predictions for the 2017 MLB Season:

National League:

MVP: Corey Seager, SS, LA Dodgers

  • Seager is coming off an unreal rookie season where he unanimously won Rookie of the Year. He accumulated 6.1 WAR as a rookie and will only continue to get better. Expect .300+, 30+ HR, and well over 100 RBI’s while leading the Dodgers to the playoffs.

Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw, LHP, LA Dodgers

  • This award will go to Kershaw if he continues to dominate the way he has each year since being called up. Kershaw had a 1.69 ERA last season and there is no reason to expect regression. Kershaw should run away with this award if healthy.

Rookie of the Year: Dansby Swanson, SS, Atlanta Braves

  • Swanson retains his rookie eligibility as he fell one (!!!) at bat short of exhausting it. He was phenomenal in his 38 game stint in the majors last season and is by far the favorite to win ROY. The former first overall pick out of Vanderbilt should become a household name by the end of the season.

NL East: Nationals

NL Central: Cubs

NL West: Dodgers

First Wild Card: St. Louis Cardinals

Second Wild Card: Pittsburgh Pirates

Wild Card Game: Cardinals over Pirates

NLDS: Cubs over Cardinals (3-1), Nationals over Dodgers (3-2)

NLCS: Cubs over Nationals (4-2)

American League:

MVP: Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros

  • The former first overall pick out of Puerto Rico has lived up to the Alex Rodriguez comparison in his first two seasons in Houston. Correa is still really young at 22 and as he fills out his body, expect him to have a huge jump in power. If that is this season, Houston runs away with the AL West.

Cy Young: Chris Sale, LHP, Boston Red Sox

  • In his first season in Boston, Sale delivers a Cy Young season for the Red Sox, who finally get to showcase Sale’s talent to the nation. It isn’t that Sale did not get exposure in Chicago, it is that Sale finally gets to do it on a Postseason team. Don’t be surprised if Chris Sale joins Kershaw in the 300 strikeout club.

Rookie of the Year: Andrew Benintendi, OF, Boston Red Sox

  • Benintendi fell to 7th in the 2015 draft because he is 5-10. The Red Sox are obviously thrilled that that happened as Benintendi could go 20-20 as a rookie. The rookie looked more than comfortable in his 34 game stint in the bigs last season and should only get better.

AL East: Red Sox

AL Central: Indians

AL West: Astros

First Wild Card: Seattle Mariners

Second Wild Card: Toronto Blue Jays

Wild Card Game: Blue Jays over Mariners

ALDS: Astros over Blue Jays (3-0), Indians over Red Sox (3-2)

ALCS: Indians over Astros (4-1)

World Series: Indians over Cubs (4-3)

 

WRGW NFL Mock Draft 3/31

By: Daniel Stettin

With the NFL draft just under a month away, it is time to look at who we at WRGW think is gonna go where!

  1. Cleveland Browns – Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
    1. Is there any doubt that the Browns are going to draft Garrett? He is the best defensive end to come out of college since at least Jadaveon Clowney in 2014. Garrett has a tremendous combine, showing off an unbelievable mix of size, strength, and speed that will make him difficult to stop at the next level. While defensive end isn’t the Brown’s most important need, you do not pass on the best player in the draft. The only other player I can see going here is UNC QB Mitchell Trubisky, but I believe that the Browns could still get him with the 12th pick (which they acquired from Philadelphia in a trade in last years draft).
  2. San Francisco 49ers – Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
    1. Coming off his redshirt Freshman year at Stanford, Thomas looked like a promising prospect that could one day be a NFL player. Then he slowly began creeping up draft boards throughout the 2016 season, eventually ending the season with a dominant performance in the 2016 Sun Bowl vs UNC and Mitchell Trubisky. The 49ers once had a dominant pass rush under Jim Harbaugh, but that is no more. Similar to the Browns, this isn’t the most important need for the 49ers and Kyle Shanahan but the 49ers just need special talent and Thomas is that.
  3. Chicago Bears – Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
    1. Many are pegging the Bears to take an defensive linemen but I don’t think the Bears are fine with their pass rush currently. Instead, the Bears can go after the next Ed Reed to play next to Quintin Demps. Despite having surgery on for a torn labrum, Hooker is still expected to go in the first round. Hooker looked like a potential All-Pro safety in his Redshirt Sophomore year at Ohio State but it was still a surprise he came out considering the lack of experience. The Bears could also go D-Line, but I think the Bears don’t pass up on fixing the safety spot for the next ten years.
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
    1. Despite having a rough combine, I still expect Allen to go in the top 5. Like Garrett and Thomas, Allen is a special pass rusher that the Jags can combine with Dante Fowler and Yannick Ngakoue to have one of the best young D-Line’s in the league. Considering Marcus Mariota and Andrew Luck consist of a quarter of their regular season, it is crucial for the Jaguars to have a defense to keep up with those star QB’s. Jacksonville is also expected to consider Leonard Fournette as well, but I don’t think a RB will solve their problems.
  5. Tennessee Titans – Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
    1. The Titans had arguably some of the worst cornerback play in the NFL last season and they still finished with a 9-7 record. They signed Logan Ryan to be their number 1 CB but I think he will be better off being the second CB behind Lattimore, who has the potential to be the a shut down CB in the NFL. The expectation for Tennessee is to go DB or WR so I wouldn’t be surprised if they were to take Mike Williams or Jamal Adams but with the signing of Jonathan Cyprien, they can get away with what they have at safety this year.
  6. New York Jets – Jamal Adams, S, LSU
    1. Similar to the 49ers, the Jets are trying to cling on to the dominant defenses they have had in the past. Adams is another special safety that many deem to be a “safe” pick. New York is so close to being a perennial playoff team. It isn’t that former first rounder Calvin Pryor is bad, it is more that how good insiders expect Adams to be. Nobody really has a clue where the Jets are going to go with the sixth pick, some pegging them to go after Fournette, OJ Howard, Trubisky, Deshaun Watson, or any of the already mentioned DB’s, but I can’t see the Jets passing on a safety as talented as Adams (especially with Tom Brady and Ryan Tannehill in the division).
  7. Los Angeles Chargers – Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
    1. First off, it just sounds weird to say Los Angeles instead of San Diego. Second, if the draft plays out the way it has so far, don’t be surprised if LA trades out of this slot. The Chargers are praying that one of the two top safeties falls to them but that doesn’t happen here. I’m not predicting trades so I’m gonna give Phillip Rivers a stud receiver to pair with Keenan Allen to give the Chargers one of the more dynamic offenses in the NFL. Rivers only has a few years left so why not give him a plethora of receivers to connect with. Like I said, the Chargers really want to get Adams or Hooker here, but if not (and if they don’t trade out) I can also see them going offensive line here.
  8. Carolina Panthers – Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
    1. If you have watched the Panthers play at all in the last ten years, you know they love to run the football. They also like to split up their carry’s three ways (last year that was Cam Newton, Mike Tolbert, and Jonathan Stewart). With Tolbert gone combined with the struggles of Stewart last year, it’s a no brainer for the Panthers to after Fournette (who might be the best RB to come out of college since Adrian Peterson). Look past Fournette vertical jump and realize how scary of a back he was in college. The Panthers are definitely going offense in this draft whether that be a receiver, tight end, or a running back.
  9. Cincinnati Bengals – Rueben Foster, LB, Alabama
    1. The Bengals are transitioning to a 4-3 defense which means the Linebackers are being asked to a lot more than they have in the past. Signing Kevin Minter to help replace Rey Maualuga and Karlos Dansby is a smart move but adding the top LB in the draft to play alongside Minter and Vontaze Burfict will shore up the middle of the Bengals defense. If not a LB, then the Bengals will probably go after a pass rusher or a WR.
  10. Buffalo Bills – Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
    1. Saying the Bills need weapons for Tyrod Taylor (or whoever Buffalo decides to be their QB) is like saying Myles Garrett is the best player in this draft, everybody knows this. Sammy Watkins, when healthy, is a deadly receiver who can do it in the slot and outside. However, across from Watkins currently is a combination of Corey Brown, Brandon Tate, and Andre Holmes. So…yes the Bills desperately need receivers. They want Mike Williams badly, but he isn’t available so they instead go for Davis, who has the most receiving yards ever for a FBS player. Look out for speedster John Ross or TE OJ Howard here as well.
  11. New Orleans Saints – Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
    1. Derek Barnett might not be as talented as some of the other first round DE’s, but Barnett makes up for it grit, hard work, and lots of effort. Barnett broke the Tennessee career sack record, formerly held by Reggie White. 33 sacks in three seasons is awfully impressive, especially in the SEC. The Saints had one of the worst group of, if not the worst, pass rushers in the NFL. Barnett instantly upgrades that, giving them a strong line with Cameron Jordan, Nick Fairley, and Sheldon Rankins as well. The Saints could really go any defensive position as a result of their horrific defense last season.
  12. Cleveland Browns (From Philadelphia) – Mitchell Trubisky, QB, UNC
    1. The Browns take the hometown kid in Mitchell Trubisky, born and raised in the suburbs of Cleveland. Despite being just a one year starter, Trubisky shined in his first (and only) season as a starter at UNC, throwing 30 TD’s and completing 68% of his passes. The Browns seemingly have to take Trubisky here, they can’t go out on opening day with Cody Kessler (who wasn’t terrible as a rookie, but projects as a quality backup), Brock Osweiler, or Kevin Hogan and expect to see improvements over last year. Drafting Trubisky with his inexperience could allow Kessler to open the season as the starter with Trubisky taking over later in the year. If not a QB here, I could see the Browns going OJ Howard or another WR to help out their offense.
  13. Arizona Cardinals – Deshone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
    1. The projections for Kizer are all over the place as Kizer was at one point considered a potential first overall pick to maybe being a second rounder to now going to Arizona at 13. Kizer was solid in his redshirt freshman season leading the Fighting Irish to a 10-3 record where they lost the last two games of the year but his redshirt sophomore year was inconsistent with a 4-8 record. Kizer is still considered a first rounder and with Carson Palmer playing a few more seasons, he will get plenty of time to sit behind Palmer and develop. If not a QB, the Cardinals are definitely going DB, where they struggled to find someone who can play consistently across from Patrick Peterson.
  14. Philadelphia Eagles – Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
    1. Conley was never one to wow you on the field but he still was a highly productive player in Columbus for the Buckeye’s. Conley stock is soaring with a tremendous combine and accounting for the injury to Washington CB Sydney Jones. The Eagles are desperate for some help in the secondary and the experienced Conley could start from day 1 for the Eagles. This pick is gonna come down a DB or RB but I think with how deep this draft is at RB, they could afford to wait a round or two to get a back.
  15. Indianapolis Colts – Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
    1. Colts GM Chris Ballard has publicly stated that he is looking to move down to acquire more picks as well that the Colts top three draft needs are a pass rusher, CB, and RB. Charlton fills the need for a pass rusher, putting up 10 sacks as a senior. He is big, strong, and fast linemen that will instantly upgrade the Colts pass rush. The only players last year to put up more than 3 sacks were both linebackers (Erik Walden with 11 and Robert Mathis with 5) so upgrading the D-Line is priority #1 in my mind. If not a pass rusher, I can see the Colts going after a RB or CB which are both pretty big needs as well.
  16. Baltimore Ravens – Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
    1. There are reports out there that GM Ozzie Newsome absolutely loves Cam Robinson, the top rated tackle in this draft. After losing Ricky Wagner in free agency to Detroit, the Ravens are in need of a RT to pair with Ronnie Stanley. To win the AFC North, you must play well in the trenches and the Robinson would help fix that. There are some doubts if Robinson could play LT but by having him on the right side there won’t be an issue. If the Ravens don’t go offensive line, they are definitely going WR where they lost both Steve Smith and Kamar Aiken this offseason.
  17. Washington Redskins – Jabrill Peppers, S/LB, Michigan
    1. The key to this pick is how the Redskins announce it. Peppers played multiple positions at Michigan so people don’t know what he will play (he worked out as both a Safety and Linebacker at the Combine). I believe Peppers will play a similar role to what Deone Buchanan and Mark Barron play for Arizona and LA. Peppers is a little overhyped right now because he did so much for Michigan but he was never elite at any of the positions that he played in. The Redskins can also go RB or WR here, where Dalvin Cook, Christian McCaffery, John Ross, etc could instantly help out Kirk Cousins.
  18. Tennessee Titans – John Ross, WR, Washington
    1. Tennessee already took care of fixing their secondary by taking Marshon Lattimore at 5 and here they can fix their lack of a speedster/deep threat by taking Ross, who broke the combine’s 40 yard dash record by running a 4.22. Ross didn’t do much his first two seasons at Washington then he tore his ACL as a junior. He came back in his redshirt Junior season and dominated with over 1000 yards and leading Washington to the playoff. Ross doesn’t look like a traditional number 1 receiver, but he is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. If not a WR here, I can see Tennessee go for a Tight End such as OJ Howard or David Njoku.
  19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
    1. From his first game as a Freshman, Cook showed why he is a special RB. He isn’t as big as Fournette, but he is much more explosive and just seems to make plays. He ran for at least 1000 yards each year in Tallahassee and fits perfectly into Tampa Bay’s offense. The Buccaneers couldn’t run the ball at all last year and they might have made the playoffs if they had a reliable back. Tampa is definitely going offense year, whether it be a RB or TE they desperately need to help Jameis Winston.
  20. Denver Broncos – Garrett Bolles, T, Utah
    1. The Broncos lost Russell Okung in free agency and just in general had some poor Offensive Line play throughout 2016. This can partly be attributed to Trevor Semien’s play but still is telling how the line gave up 40 sacks. Bolles only played one year at Utah, previously playing a Junior College,  but he was dominant. Bolles is older than most prospects in the draft, he spent two years on a LDS Mission, but that shouldn’t stop him from going in the first round and starting Week 1. The Broncos could also go with Christian McCaffrey here, where his father Ed starred in the 1990’s, and help out in both the running game and catching passes out of the backfield.
  21. Detroit Lions – Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
    1. Not very often do you see a Vanderbilt player going in the first round but Cunningham is that good. He is phenomenal in coverage and playing the run, both areas where the Lions need help. Cunningham isn’t gonna explode for double digit sacks but he will do just about everything else in Detroit. Cunningham is my favorite player in this draft and wouldn’t be surprised if he was a future All-Pro. If the Lions don’t go with Cunningham, they are gonna go after the best pass rusher available.
  22. Miami Dolphins – Forrest Lamp, G, Western Kentucky
    1. While Miami made the playoffs last year, they still have many holes to fill. After trading Brandon Albert to Jacksonville, they are shifting last years first rounder Laremy Tunsil to LT. While I think Lamp can play LT (and play it well), I think he will be best able to physically dominate as a Guard. If Lamp was 2 inches taller and had a longer wingspan, he would be a top ten pick as a Tackle. Nonetheless, I see Lamp being a stud at Guard that is capable of filling in at Tackle if need be. If not Lamp, Miami could go TE, LB, or S here. If Jabrill Peppers were available, I know owner Stephen Ross would be drooling at the opportunity to take the former Michigan star.
  23. New York Giants – OJ Howard, TE, Alabama
    1. Despite many pegging Howard as a player shooting up draft boards, I see him falling to New York where he could team up with Odell Beckham Jr, Brandon Marshall, and Sterling Shepard to form what might be the best set of pass catchers in the NFL. Howard might not get the amount of targets he should be getting in New York but he would still be a very valuable contributor the Giants offense. The Giants have always had good, but not great TE’s. Howard will change that. If the Giants don’t go TE, I can see them going Offensive Line or Running Back.
  24. Oakland Raiders – Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
    1. Reddick has never played MLB before but that is the position NFL coaches believe he will thrive in. He came to Temple as a walk on DB and then became a pass rusher putting up 9.5 sacks as a Senior. Reddick might be undersized but he is relentless in his pursuit of the QB. The Raiders lost LB Malcolm Smith in free agency to San Francisco so Reddick could potentially start day 1 for the Silver and Black. If the Raiders don’t go LB, then a Running Back or Defensive Linemen could be in play.
  25. Houston Texans – Patrick Mahomes II, QB, Texas Tech
    1. Until the Texans sign another QB (hey, I heard a veteran QB in Dallas is available!), they are planning on giving the starting job to Fourth Year QB Tom Savage. Bill O’Brien has been talking up Savage a ton but I have a hard time believing he would pass on Mahomes II, who set the combine record for fastest throw ever at 60 MPH. I know Mahomes II played in the air raid offense at Texas Tech, that shouldn’t stop a team like Houston from drafting a QB who has one of the strongest arms in Football. If the Texans don’t go QB here, they will go Offensive Line.
  26. Seattle Seahawks – Kevin King, CB, Washington
    1. The Seahawks go with the local kid over Marlon Humphrey as the Seahawks love their big corners (See Richard Sherman, Brandon Browner, Byron Maxwell, etc). Before the combine, King was probably going second or third round but then he had a tremendous combine shooting up to the first round. The Seahawks currently have DeShawn Shead set up to start opposite Sherman so they should be looking for a quality DB in the draft. If the Seahawks don’t go with a cornerback, an offensive linemen could definitely be in play.
  27. Kansas City Chiefs – Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
    1. How far will the Chiefs go in 2017? As far as Alex Smith can go, which is most likely losing in the Divisional round. The Chiefs are a strong QB away from being a Super Bowl Contender. Watson won’t be ready to play for at least one season, so he can sit behind Smith until his contract expires after the 2018 season. The Chiefs have a stacked roster so they can afford to go with a luxury pick here at 27. The Chiefs can also with Christian McCaffrey if they don’t want to go with Watson.
  28. Dallas Cowboys – Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
    1. The Cowboys get a steal here in Humphrey, who some think could go as high as the Top 10. The Alabama CB has the size (6 feet) and the speed (4.41 40) to keep up with any receiver in the NFL. He only played two seasons of College Football after redshirting as a True Freshman. Nolan Carroll is currently slated to start for the Cowboys, Humphrey will change that. The Cowboys could also go with an offensive or defensive linemen here but the value with Humphrey is too much to pass up on here.
  29. Green Bay Packers – Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
    1. If you didn’t know, the Packers had to convert WR Ty Montgomery to RB in the 2016 season because of injuries and poor play. While Montgomery was solid, the coaching staff just didn’t trust him to handle a starters workload. Picking McCaffrey gives the Packers a 3 down back that can really do it all. Don’t be surprised if McCaffrey wins Rookie of the Year, considering he will have Aaron Rodgers as his QB. The Packers can really go anywhere (besides QB of course) here.
  30. Pittsburgh Steelers – David Njoku, TE, Miami
    1. The Steelers signed Ladarius Green to a big contract last season but he was injured or most of the season, only playing in 6 games. Njoku came out of Miami after his Redshirt Sophomore year with scouts drooling over his potential. He can come to Pittsburgh and instantly help out the passing game for Big Ben. Njoku might not be the best blocker out there, but they can mix in Jesse James to help out with the blocking while Njoku is out catching passes. The Steelers are expected to go defense for a lot of the draft so a DE or LB is not out of the question.
  31. Atlanta Falcons – TJ Watt, LB, Wisconsin
    1. Right now people might know TJ Watt as the little brother of JJ Watt, but Atlanta fans will soon learn that TJ can rush the passer pretty well as well. Watt put up 11.5 sacks as a Junior and he could be dominant playing opposite Vic Beasley. As we saw in the Super Bowl, Atlanta needs a relentless pass rush for 60 minutes if they want to bring home the Lombardi Trophy. Atlanta could also go offensive line here, where you can never have enough depth.
  32. New Orleans Saints (From New England) – Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
    1. The Saints got this pick from New England in the Brandin Cooks trade.  After getting Derek Barnett at 11, the Saints are able to upgrade their secondary with Wilson. He’s a big corner at 6-1 and some think he could potentially move to Safety. There was talk the Saints could trade for Patriots CB Malcolm Butler considering how poor their secondary was this past season. There are no doubts that the Saints are gonna try to upgrade their secondary with this pick.