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

Go donate! www.biologicaldiversity.org

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

Go donate! www.biologicaldiversity.org

Why Deflategate is bad business for the league:

Photo credit: Ezra Shaw

Author: Jon Kuzma

With news breaking today that the The Second Circuit United States Court of Appeals will overturn the Deflategate decision and make Tom Brady serve a four game decision. You have to wonder why the league would even want to keep this unbearable situation alive. The whole case has been a black eye for the league since it was first announced and instead of burying the petty allegations after the first court decision. The league decided to appeal that decision and ultimately they were rewarded for their legal action. During the case the league’s lawyers continuously attacked Tom Brady’s decision to destroy his cell phone and labeled those actions as poor behavior and a way to hinder the investigation. While in the early court appearances in which Brady won the judge was all in favor of the Patriots quarterback. It seemed in today’s appeal the court clearly favored the league. That is why Brady’s suspension was reinstated and why the league walks away the winner in today’s meeting. It will be up to Brady to fight this thing once again, and not roll over for the league. Goodell and company are adamant to make Brady pay for those deflated footballs and it won’t be an easy battle for Brady’s lawyers. Truthfully this whole situation has been a huge set back for the National Football League and the punishment of 4 games clearly is a punishment that outweighs the crime. We don’t know if Brady had any certain knowledge of the footballs being deflated and the Patriots trounced the Colts 45-7 in the game that the deflated footballs were supposedly used. To let this investigation linger over the league for this long and to put this much pressure on Brady, who is a guy who helped build this league is completely unfair. Goodell’s power is almost guaranteed to be restricted because of actions like this when the next collective bargaining agreement comes around and the commissioner should be embarrassed how he handled this issue. It’s absurd we are still writing about this situation nearly two years later and it took away from so many positives things that are going on around the league. Enough is enough.

Charity of the day: American Civil Liberties Union

Go donate! www.aclu.org

Sam Bradford is trying to push his way out of Philadelphia:

Photo credit: Rich Schultz

Author: Jon Kuzma

With news breaking out of Philadelphia that the Eagles have traded up in the 2016 Draft and plan to draft a quarterback. Current starting quarterback Sam Bradford has voiced his frustration with the Eagles plan and has stated that he would like to be traded from the team. Bradford who just received a 2 year $36 million dollar contract with the team on March 1st. Now seems to be completely unhappy with the organization and would like to continue his career elsewhere. While many people will be frustrated with Bradford’s decision, in some ways you have to feel bad for the guy. He thought he found a home in Philadelphia, and a team that believed in his talents. Only to have that support pulled out from underneath him and now it appears the Eagles will draft either Carson Wentz or Jared Goff with the number 2 overall pick in the Draft. Bradford understands that with the team choosing one of those quarterbacks, his time at the helm in Philadelphia will be limited. The surprising move in all this is the fact that the Eagles also signed Chase Daniel this offseason, so most people thought the Eagles were set at the quarterback position for the upcoming season. Eagles brass clearly thought differently, and the Eagles believe having an elite level quarterback will bode well for their future. All of these moves by Philadelphia explain why Bradford only received a two year deal and while they paid him $22 million in guaranteed money. It’s clear that the team doesn’t have a long term vision where Sam Bradford is the focal point. If Bradford does indeed get traded he will be on his 3rd professional team and find himself battling to prove his worth again. It’s a tough situation for Bradford at the end of the day because now he must pick up all his belongings and move again. Then walk into a new locker room and try to win the starting quarterback job. The off the field factors make it difficult for Bradford and he will have to find another situation that fits well with his abilities. Maybe if the Broncos could pull a deal that would be a good location for Bradford, or even the Jets if they don’t want to wait around for a Fitzpatrick deal to materialize. Regardless of where he goes, it does seem like the end of Sam Bradford’s time in Philadelphia.

Charity of the day: American Civil Liberties Union

Go donate! www.aclu.org

Melvin Gordon must get better in 2016 or his career will be over before it started:

Photo credit: Jonathan Daniel

Author: Jon Kuzma

Melvin Gordon was one of the most prolific running backs in all of college football just a couple seasons ago and that is why the Chargers selected Gordon 15th overall in the 1st round of the 2015 draft. That move was supposed to bolster the Chargers’ rushing efforts and make life easier on quarterback Philip Rivers. Instead the Chargers finished 31st in yards gained through rushing the football and were forced to throw more often due to the ineffectiveness of their ground game. Now with Gordon entering his second season of NFL action it’s officially do or die for his professional career. Gordon finished his rookie season with only 641 rushing yards and didn’t have a touchdown or a 100 yard rushing performance in a single game. That is completely lackluster for a 1st round pick and the complete opposite of how Gordon played at Wisconsin where he was able to rush for 4,915 yards and 45 touchdowns over the duration of his college career. That won’t sit well very long with the Chargers and Gordon now finds himself in a position where he has to prove his worth or he might be out of a job rather quickly. Gordon was also out performed by teammate Danny Woodhead and if that happens again in 2016, you’d have to think that the team moves forward with Woodhead as the full time starter. The one good thing going for Gordon is the fact he acknowledged he didn’t produce enough last season. Gordon stated that he “sucked” as a rookie and that ability to own up to his let downs might mean he can address those shortcomings on the gridiron. If he does everything right in the off-season and takes his training regimen seriously there is no reason Gordon can’t get back to playing at a high level of football. Regardless the success must come on the field and it has to come in 2016 for Gordon or the “bust” word will be coming into play. Something no draft pick wants to be labeled as.

Charity of the day: AdoptAPlatoon Soldier Support Effort

Go donate! www.adoptaplatoon.org

The Buffalo Bills would be best off trusting Tyrod Taylor:

Photo credit Brett Carlsen

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Buffalo Bills announced recently that they may be in the market for a quarterback. While you can’t blame the Bills for wanting to land a big name quarterback. The team would be better off sticking with Tyrod Taylor and upgrading the other positions on their roster. Taylor was surprising effective in 2015 finishing the year with 20 touchdown passes and only 6 interceptions. So it would make more sense for the Bills to draft a defensive tackle to put next to Marcell Dareus, rather than drafting a quarterback early on. That move would allow Rex Ryan’s defense to take the next step on the defensive front and it would greatly improve the Bills overall as a team. In the second round the Bills should draft another offensive lineman. With the Bills having two talented running backs (McCoy and Williams) and also Taylor who can carry the ball effectively. The Bills would benefit greatly from adding a 2nd round offensive lineman to the mix. Not to mention Rex Ryan prefers a ground and pound philosophy and the Bills had the second most rushing attempts in the National Football League in 2015. You’d have to think that Ryan will stick to that same approach and that is why going with a lineman with the 2nd pick would have such a great impact for this team. Finally by trusting Tyrod Taylor it allows the Bills to draft a wide receiver in the 3rd round and ultimately that gives this team the best chance to succeed. All the moves above aren’t possible if the Bills draft a quarterback early on. On top of that if you do draft a quarterback it would also lead to one quarterback sitting on the bench and not being utilized. It would be a much wiser decision for the Bills to add players who can potentially get on the field in 2016 and add to what the guys brought in 2015. We’ll see if the Bills get this decision right and we will also see how just how much they respect Taylor as a quarterback?

Charity of the day: Women for Women Internation

Go donate! www.womenforwomen.org

Joe Flacco can be elite at times:

Photo credit: Patrick Smith

Author: Jon Kuzma

The debate recently out of Maryland is whether or not Joe Flacco is an elite football player? While it seems like the state is divided on that discussion, without doubt Joe Flacco is a good football player and at times has been elite. However the question seems to be is he elite all the time? If you were looking at Flacco’s films from the 2013 playoffs the year which Baltimore would go on to win Super Bowl XLVII. You would say that without a doubt Flacco is an elite quarterback. The Ravens quarterback did a great job of understanding where the defensive pressure was coming from, and continuously stepped up in the pocket and made big time throws. During that period Joe Flacco was easily an elite quarterback and if you took him out of that equation. It would of been much tougher for the Ravens to win the Super Bowl that year because Flacco was truly “that good.” Is Flacco an elite player all the time though? He is on the bubble and sometimes he is and sometimes he isn’t. That would lead a lot of people to believe that he isn’t elite because he isn’t consistently playing at that high level. All of the tools are there but it’s the consistency that the fans in Maryland would like to Joe Flacco address and if he can get better in that area. Hands down Joe Flacco can be one of the best in the business. It will also take the Ravens adding some talented players around their signal caller to help improve his chances for success. Losing talented offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele certainly doesn’t help Flacco’s case and the Ravens must address that particular loss in the draft at some point. However with 162 career touchdowns passes and only 102 career interceptions. One thing has been for certain, and that is the fact that Joe Flacco has been very good. Now with a new 3 year $66 million dollar contract in hand we will see if Flacco can elevate his game and play elite level football every down in 2016. It’s hard to bet against him.

Charity of the day: Women for Women Internation

Go donate! www.womenforwomen.org

The Washington Redskins sign Josh Norman for $75 million dollars:

Photo credit: Aaron Ontiveroz

Author: Jon Kuzma

Josh Norman’ short free agency period officially came to end today when the Washington Redskins inked the Pro Bowl cornerback to a 5 year $75 million dollar contract. Norman who played for the Panthers in 2015, will head to Washington to help the Redskins repeat as NFC East champions and will also try to elevate the team when the postseason comes around. The Redskins were willing to throw the big dollars at Norman and that is why when it’s all said and done Norman will be heading to D.C. You have to respect Josh Norman and his agent’s negotiation skills. Norman was slated to make 13 million in Carolina under the franchise tag stipulations, and now because he held out. Norman will get his long term deal that he desired and $50 million dollars in guaranteed money. While Norman departs the best team in the NFC for the up and coming Redskins. It was a good move for both parties because Washington gets an elite level defensive back and Norman gets the big payday. If Norman would of signed his franchise tag, and had a bad year in 2016 or got hurt. There is no way he would of been able to earn as much money as he did with this contract. Josh Norman made the Pro Bowl in 2015 and was one of the best defensive backs in league, and he knew he had to cash in on those efforts. Anything can happen in professional football so you have to take that big payday when it’s there. You’d have to think there are plenty of players around the league who wish they played their cards as well as Josh Norman did in contract negotiations. While everyone was upset that Norman wasn’t on board with Panthers when they offered him the initial deal. Norman was able to see the big picture and that is ultimately why he walks away from that situation as the big winner. It just goes to show that sometimes you have to be patient and also be willing to reject offers that don’t meet your expectations. A business class could use Norman’s situation as an example of how to know your worth and stand firm on your demands. Give credit to Norman and his agent they both cashed in today.

Charity of the day: Alaska Conservation Foundation

Go donate! www.alaskaconservation.org

The Dallas Cowboys would be a great landing spot for Josh Norman:

Photo credit: Tom Pennington / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Dallas Cowboys have been looking at a variety of defensive players in the upcoming draft hoping to find a way to be competitive again. With Dez Bryant speaking out about how he would like the Cowboys to draft Jalen Ramsey, it makes sense that Josh Norman would fill in as a good substitute for Ramsey. Norman was one of the best corners in the league and the Cowboys haven’t had a big time cover guy in a long time. By signing Josh Norman the Cowboys can add a marquee defensive back, and then go ahead and draft a defensive front player in the first round of the 2016 draft. Those two moves would easily put the Cowboys back in contention and the rest of the draft could be used on upgrading the offense. Could you imagine Dez Bryant and Josh Norman lining up everyday at practice against each other? The competition that those two would bring everyday would allow both players to elevate their games on Sunday. The two have battled as rivals on the field in the past, but eventually the two players started to respect one another. That dynamic just makes the deal that much sweeter because now those two players can combine their efforts and instead unleash them on other NFL teams. Dallas will recover greatly by having a healthy Romo and Bryant out of the gate. Which they didn’t have a season ago, but the team must also find an insurance policy for Romo in the draft. By opening up the checkbook and signing Norman, it gives the Cowboys the opportunity to get a back up quarterback in the 3rd, or 4th round. A guy that they can groom within their system and develop into the successor of Tony Romo. It all starts by signing Norman and drafting either Joey Bosa, or DeForest Buckner in the first round. When the front office sets the tone by making competent and effective moves, good things happen on the field for football teams. It’s up to Jerry Jones to make this deal happen.

Charity of the day: Alaska Conservation Foundation

Go donate! www.alaskaconservation.org

Browns are the big winner after trading down the 2nd overall pick:

Photo credit: Peter G. Aiken

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Cleveland Browns entered the 2016 NFL draft with the 2nd overall pick and now they will be picking 8th overall. The Browns moved down six spots in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles and in return the Browns land 5 draft picks that will help Cleveland build in the future. Cleveland is the big winner in this trade because six spots isn’t that much to give up for what they got in return.The Browns obtained the 8th overall pick, a 3rd round pick, and a 4th round pick in this draft. Along with a 1st round pick next year, and a 2nd round pick in 2018 from the Eagles. Clearly Philly thinks they are making a good move because they will get one of the drafts top quarterbacks. However the Eagles gave up way too much in this trade and will pay the price for years to come. That letdown for the Eagles, is a celebration for the Cleveland Browns. The Browns load up on picks all of which can used to build the roster to new head coach Hue Jackson’s vision. Which means the Cleveland Browns will have the brightest future that the team has had in a long time. When the front office sets the tone by making positive moves for the better, it has a trickle down effect throughout the organization. When you combine that with a more talented roster, which the Browns will have after this trade. It’s easy to see good things are coming for the Cleveland Browns and I’d bet the house that they will be much better than 3-13. Their leadership has greatly improved from 2015 to 2016 and that is why we see trades like this happening for the Browns. It was a great move for the team and you have to beat upbeat about this organization’s future.

Charity of the day: Diabetes Action Research and Education Foundation

Go donate! www.daref.org

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