Draft summary: Bengals get defensive

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Cincinnati Bengals put together an outstanding draft board and then they made it all happen when the time came. The Bengals started their draft off on a good note by landing William Jackson the third out of the University of Houston. Jackson was as good as any defensive back in the nation and finished his senior season with 5 interceptions (2 for touchdowns), and 23 pass break ups. Those stats are big time numbers for the cornerback position and the Bengals couldn’t pass up on Jackson’s skills and talents. What impresses you most when watching William Jackson on film is his ability to take away separation and his knack for breaking on throws. That makes Jackson one of best the defensive backs in the country and the Bengals are upbeat about adding him to their defensive mix. The Bengals went offense in the second round to help replace the departures of Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones. They drafted Tyler Boyd out of Pittsburgh to help limit that loss of production at the receiver position. Boyd was outstanding for the for the Panthers recording two seasons of 1,100 receiving yards. Boyd and Dalton should mesh well together and it was another good draft pick for the Bengals. The surprise of the draft for Cincinnati was getting Andrew Billings in the fourth round. Billings was the best defender on Baylor’s defense and he will fit nicely next to Geno Atkins. You can’t blame the Bengals for going defense first, especially with what we’ve seen the Seahawks and Bengals do in recent years. Marvin Lewis should be happy with the additions the team made in the off-season and the Bengals will certainly improve from the additions. If Andy Dalton can stay healthy entering the postseason you have to like this team’s chances later on in the year.

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The Buffalo Bills got it right in the Draft:

Photo credit: Jon Durr

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Buffalo Bills had an outstanding Draft and the team put themselves in a great position to succeed in 2016. The Bills got the good momentum going early on by drafting Shaq Lawson out of Clemson. Lawson was one of the best defenders in the country last year and a big reason why Clemson made it all the way to the National Championship game. Lawson will do a great job of replacing Mario Williams and he will definitely help upgrade Rex Ryan’s defense. It’s no secret Ryan puts a priority on defense and that certainly had to play a part in the Bills choosing Lawson. In the second round the Bills continued to build up the defensive side of the ball by drafting stand out Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland. Ragland recorded 220 career tackles while playing for Nick Saban and was key factor in the Crimson Tide’s National Championship run. Those efforts were too much to pass up for the Bills front office and the defense will without a doubt be better this upcoming season. When the Bills implement the youth of Lawson and Ragland with Marcell Dareus, and Jerry Hughes good things are going to happen. Buffalo’s third round pick was also an interesting one as well. The team’s front office stated before the draft that they were contemplating drafting a quarterback and they followed through on that statement by drafting Cardale Jones in the third round. Jones is a great development player who can be molded within in the Bills system. This was a great move for the team because it allows Tyrod Taylor to remain the Bills starting quarterback, and it also gives the Bills an insurance policy should Taylor get hurt. Rex Ryan got a heck of a lot better on paper and he has to be excited about the improvements the team has made this off-season. The only knock you could give Buffalo is the lack of drafting a receiver but overall it was still a good draft.

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The Browns deserve more credit than they’ve gotten for their Draft efforts:

Photo credit: Jon Durr

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Cleveland Browns pulled some great moves during the 2016 draft. First they traded down from the 2nd overall spot to the 8th spot for 5 draft picks. Then the team traded down from the 8th spot to the 15th spot and added 2 more draft picks. The double trade down is a move that is usually only done in Madden franchises but the Cleveland Browns executed the both moves phenomenally in this Draft. Now the team will have 7 additional draft picks that they didn’t have before the beginning of this Draft process. If that isn’t an A+ draft I really don’t know what is? While many other experts disagreed with the Browns choice to select Corey Coleman. You have to understand at the 15th spot that wasn’t a bad choice at all. The guy recorded 20 touchdowns last year and was the Biletnikoff Award winner. Those capabilities will mesh well with what new coach Hue Jackson wants to do and that offensive mindset of Jackson is why we’ve seen the Browns make several offensive acquisitions this off-season. The Browns also had good picks in Emmanuel Ogbah and Carl Nassib which will help balance things out on the defensive side of the ball. Those two talented pass rushers will improve the Browns front 7, and it’s clear that the Browns are under much superior leadership than they were in the past. You have to like what you see coming out of Cleveland. Yes this team has had their struggles in the past, but they thought outside of the box with their draft approach and that will certainly pay dividends down the stretch. The best thing about these trades are they come at the beginning of Hue Jackson’s time with the Browns. So Jackson will have these additional picks to boost his coaching production on the field. The Cleveland Browns are going to be a much better football team in the future and you have to be excited for what’s to come.

Charity of the day: American Sexual Health Association

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NFL Draft Order: The Jacksonville Jaguars have been stellar in the 2016 Draft

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Jacksonville Jaguars had a great first day at the Draft by selecting Jalen Ramsey. Then the team followed that pick up by choosing Myles Jack out of UCLA. Jack at one point was projected to be a Top 10 player before slipping to the second round for medical reasons. The Jaguars got a steal by landing Jack in the second round and when you pair him along with Ramsey, Dante Fowler, and Malik Jackson. You begin to see why the Jacksonville Jaguars are becoming one of the hottest upstart teams in the league. You can guarantee that they will have some force on the defensive of the ball, which will help Blake Bortles get more offensive possessions in 2016. The thing that impresses most is the athletic ability though, Jack was one of the best athletes coming out at the linebacker position and Ramsey was one of the best athletes coming out at the cornerback back position. There is a lot of talent in those two picks which will go a long way for this organization. If you are rating the Jaguars draft there is no doubt Jacksonville gets an A+. They played their cards well and deserve a lot praise for making the right moves when the time came. The Oakland Raiders and the Jacksonville Jaguars have been the most improved teams this off-season by far. It will be  interesting to see if these rosters additions translate to wins on the field. On paper both teams are clearly better but now they must go out and execute during the 2016 season. If Blake Bortles continues to improve there is no reason the Jaguars can’t win the AFC South. They are much more talented team this time around and talent trumps everything in the National Football League. Give credit to David Caldwell and the rest of the front office they did an excellent job of making it happen this off-season.

Index- NFL Draft Order: The Jacksonville Jaguars have been stellar in the 2016 Draft

Charity of the day: American Humane Association

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Broncos are the big winner in round one by selecting Paxton Lynch:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Denver Broncos had a tough off-season. After losing Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler the Broncos turned to Mark Sanchez to be their starting quarterback. While Sanchez is an alright player he clearly was a regression from Manning and Osweiler. Broncos General Manager John Elway had a bigger plan in sight than just Sanchez though. Elway was able to trade up from the 31st spot in the draft to the 26th spot in an exchange with the Seattle Seahawks. That move resulted in the Broncos drafting Paxton Lynch out of the University of Memphis and the Broncos officially have their long term answer at the quarterback position. Lynch was outstanding during his collegiate career compiling 8,865 yards and 59 touchdowns during his time with the Tigers. That ability to see the whole field, read defenses, and deliver big time strikes is what makes Lynch such a compelling quarterback for Denver. The guy is a marquee player and anytime you can add a player that is that dynamic to your roster good things are going to happen. Lynch isn’t just a passer either, he also rushed for 687 yards and 17 touchdowns while at Memphis. So the guy can beat you in a number of ways and don’t be surprised to see the Denver Broncos run the zone read when Paxton Lynch is inserted into the starting line up. That play causes huge frustration for opposing defenses and adds another dimension to the offense. The best part of about this trade and landing Paxton Lynch however is the fact that Broncos only had to give up 5 draft spots and a 3rd round pick. That was a no brainer for John Elway and it’s clear now that Elway is one of the best GM’s in the business. After a rough start to the off-season  Elway has molded the Broncos back into a contender and it certainly wasn’t easy to do. He deserves all the credit when it’s all said and done and you can’t praise John Elway enough.

Charity of the day: American Humane Association

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2016 NFL Draft kicks off with a bang:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

Quarterbacks are still king

The Los Angeles Rams started the draft off by selecting the best player on the board and that was Jared Goff when it came selection time for the Rams. Goff was the most polished quarterback on the board and has the ability to be the best quarterback the Rams have ever had. Goff gets to stay in his home state of California and gets a chance to lead the resurrected Los Angeles Rams back into NFL limelight. The Rams paid a lot to get the number 1 pick but they got the decision right by picking Goff. Gurley and Goff will be a nice tandem offensively for years to come. The second overall pick went to the Philadelphia Eagles and they selected Carson Wentz. This is a strange pick because the Eagles are overloaded at the quarterback position. Now the team losses out on several future draft picks and they already started chemistry issues with starting quarterback Sam Bradford. We’ll see how it plays out in Philly but things aren’t looking that promising right now. Still the Eagles got a good qb in Wentz and maybe that can make up for everything the Eagles gave up to get to that number 2 pick.

Tunsil goes up in smoke

Laremy Tunsil was widely predicted to be the number 1 pick heading into the 2016 Draft and all that fell apart when Tunsil released a video of himself wearing a gas mask on his Twitter account right before the draft started. The gas mask is a marijuana smoking device and the timing of the video was just awful for Tunsil’s draft stock. Tunsil fell all the way to the number 13 spot where the Miami Dolphins were able to snag up the former Ole Miss offensive tackle. It’s a good fit for Tunsil and Miami but the character issues and red flags are certainly there for Laremy Tunsil. It will be up to him to address these concerns and make sure he doesn’t have any let downs for the Dolphins. The are counting on this guy and if he focuses he can be a tremendous football player in the league.

Ezekiel Elliott goes to the Dallas Cowboys at the 4th spot

With Joey Bosa being selected by the Chargers in the 3rd spot, Jerry Jones was put in decision making mode. He ultimately decided that Ezekiel Elliott out of Ohio State would be the best choice for the Cowboys moving forward. The Cowboys load up their backfield by drafting the most talented running back in the draft. Elliott will be a great fit for the Cowboys and when you blend him with Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden. You begin to notice that the Cowboys have effectively built a backs by committee system that will help take the pressure off Tony Romo in his return from shoulder surgery. You can almost guarantee that the Cowboys, that offensive line, and Elliott will have it going offensively and you can’t blame the Cowboys for taking this pick. They are a better team with Ezekiel Elliott.

Charity of the day: Wilderness Society

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Las Vegas is looking more and more like the Raiders next home:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Raiders proved today they are serious about relocating to Las Vegas and owner Mark Davis is willing to put his money behind the offer. Davis stated that he would contribute $500 million dollars towards building a stadium in Las Vegas and those funds show Davis’s commitment to the project. The Raiders had their rent raised from $925,000 to $3.5 million a year at the Oakland Coliseum. That move is cutting in to the Raiders profits and that move is pushing the Raiders and Oakland apart when it comes to securing a long term deal. However you can’t blame Oakland when the Raiders made it clear that they wanted to be in Los Angles. So you have both sides of the equation that damaged that relationship, and on top of that the bottom line is the Raiders want to tap into a new market and maximize profits. That was the motive of wanting to move to Los Angles and that is the motive for them now wanting to move to Las Vegas. Building a new stadium and relocating the football team would bring a lot of hype and publicity which would bolster sales. Now that the Raiders have a competitive team on the field as well, a move would really cash in for the Raiders organization and Mark Davis. That is why we have seen such a strong push from the Raiders to head to Nevada and why the deal continues to materialize a little bit more each day. The Raiders have the option to stay in Oakland until at least 2018 and the organization hopes when that when the time comes they have a home instead of finding themselves in similar situation like they are in now. All signs point to Las Vegas being that landing spot and don’t be surprised if a deal is struck for the Raiders.

Charity of the day: Wilderness Society

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Josh Doctson is the best wide receiver in the 2016 Draft:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

Every year the NFL Draft provides the league with some big time wide receivers and this year TCU’s Josh Doctson headlines the group. Doctson was flat out phenomenal during his time in Fort Worth Texas and the dynamic receiver recorded back to back 1,000 yard receiving seasons. Not only that but during his junior and senior seasons Doctson was also able to record over 10 touchdown receptions both years. So when you have a guy that has put up back to back 1,000 yard seasons, and back to back 10+ touchdown seasons. You know you’re getting an elite level talent who has produced on the field before. That past production at the division 1 level is what makes Doctson stand out so much. When you draft Josh Doctson you’re not getting a player who has to develop into effective receiver. You’re getting a guy who has honed his craft as a receiver, and has put in the work year in and year out. That level of polish is why Josh Doctson looks so appealing to NFL teams, because you know you’re getting a guy who can come in and produce for your team right away. Docston is the exact opposite of someone like Braxton Miller, who has a ton of upside but is still a raw wide receiver. Truthfully it’s always better to draft players who have built up a name for themselves as an effective football player at a particular position. It’s also always better to draft players who have consistently put up big games at the lower levels of competition (college, and high school). Josh Doctson has been an elite level wide receiver going all the way back to Mansfield Legacy High School and those years of repetition allowed him to become one of the best wide receivers in the draft today. Expect this guy to be the first wideout taken off the board tomorrow, he is just that good and not many teams will want to pass Josh Doctson up.

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Sleeper of the draft: Carl Nassib

Photo credit: Justin K. Aller

Author: Jon Kuzma

With the draft 48 hours away teams are looking to finalize their draft boards and put themselves in a position to succeed. One player out there who isn’t getting nearly the recognition that he deserves on any team’s draft board is Carl Nassib out of Penn State University. Nassib was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and the Vince Lombardi Trophy award winner last year in Division 1 college football. Nassib also lead the nation in sacks (15.5) and forced fumbles (6) showing that between the lines he is a pure football player. On top of that Carl Nassib had 19.5 tackles for loss last season, and often times was the best defensive player on the field for either team. That consistent effort from Nassib in 2015 should have earned him more respect than a 3rd round draft prediction and this guy can come in and certainly help a team out. You don’t have that kind of production at the college level and not know how to play the game of football. A lot of times at the combine we get blown away by a guy’s 40 time and bench press statistics. Carl Nassib is a guy where you plug in the tape and get blown away with his performance on the field. At the end of the day you have to find players who can play the game of football, not guys who shine at the combine. Carl Nassib is a guy that can truly play the game and if a team were to take him in the 3rd round they would be getting an absolute steal. Carl Nassib is at least a 2nd round talent, and maybe when this is all said and done we will think he should of went higher than the 2nd round. The guy is just that good on the football field and it’s really a shame that he has been this undervalued.

Charity of the day: Center for Biological Diversity

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Jameis Winston continues to impress with his leadership:

Photo credit: Joe Robbins

Author: Jon Kuzma

Jameis Winston was outstanding as a rookie for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Winston actually had a better rookie campaign than both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. While many people were concerned with Winston’s off the field behavior. The scouts and Winston supporters  on the other end of the argument seem to be rewarded for their faith in the quarterback. Winston has done nothing but exceed expectations since arriving in West Florida, and the naysayers have clearly missed judged the former Florida State quarterback. Jameis Winston was just a kid having fun when he got in trouble off the field and we’ve watched him mature into a true leader right before our eyes. Now with news breaking out of Tampa that Winston has shown up to voluntary minicamp in the best shape of his life. It’s just another testament of Winston’s ability to elevate the bar for this football team. That commitment to his owner personal health and fitness should result in even greater production from the Bucs’ signal caller. It also shows that Winston understand the responsibility that comes with being a high profile quarterback in the Nation Football League. Winston has been working with trainer Tim Grover and Grover has stated that Winston lost “18 pounds” since being on that particular training regimen. A more athletic Jameis Winston will allow the quarterback to be more fleet footed on the field. It will also help Winston transfer the kinetic energy that is distributed through his throws more efficiently. Both of those key improvements to Jameis Winston’s game will allow the quarterback to put up even better numbers in 2016. Don’t be surprised if Winston throws more than 30 touchdowns in his second season of professional action. This guy understands the game, and is excellent at executing on the field as well. There is a reason he was the number 1 pick in the 2015 Draft and that because there is no ceiling in sight for Jameis Winston. He can truly get it done in every phase of the game.

Charity of the day: Center for Biological Diversity

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