Flying under the radar: Paul Posluszny has recorded over 100 tackles in 8 of the last 9 seasons

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Author: Jon Kuzma

Aliquippa Pennsylvania is known for being a football factory and nobody encapsulates the spirit of Aliquippa more than Paul Posluszny. Posluszny was born in Butler Pennsylvania back in 1984 and in time went to Hopewell High School. At Hopewell Posluszny starred as a running and line backer, ultimately leading the Vikings to a triple A state championship. Soon after Penn State University took notice of Posluszny’s talents and then recruited him to come play for Head Coach Joe Paterno. As a Nittany Lion Posluszny earned 2 Chuck Bednarik awards (2005, 2006) and he also won the Dick Butkist award (2005) which is given to the top linebacker in the nation. While every team in the 2007 NFL Draft passed on Paul Posluszny in the 1st round. At last the Buffalo Bills selected Posluszny with the 34th pick in the 2nd round. During his time with the Bills Posluszny recorded over 100 tackles in 3 out of his first 4 seasons. That streak of 100 tackles went for 6 consecutive seasons and continued over when Posluszny was acquired by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Now after spending 6 seasons in Jacksonville Paul Posluszny has recorded over 100 tackles in 8 of the last 9 NFL seasons and that’s a hell of an accomplishment. It takes such grit, toughness, and sheer will to have 1 season of over 100 tackles and Posluszny has made that look effortless by doing it year in and year out. The surprising thing about that accomplishment is the fact that Paul Posluszny still flies under the radar somewhat. If any other player did this they would be on commercials, the cover of magazines, and making a ton of headlines. Posluszny is the exact opposite, he keeps a low profile and just shows up and works hard. That is the spirit of Aliquippa built into Posluszny and it’s favored him well among the best football players in the world. With 1,153 career tackles we could be looking at a Hall of Fame career when we examine Paul Posluszny and he is certainly a Pennsylvania hero. It’s been a great run this far for the man in the middle of Jaguars defense and we will see how long he continues to play for? At this rate it looks like he could play forever.

Charity of the day: Nature Conservancy

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Bob Quinn has ran laps around the other NFC North general managers in just 2 off-seasons:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Detroit Lions are known for being a historically bad football team but Bob Quinn took Detroit to the playoffs in his first season at the helm. He did that by drafting Taylor Decker in the 1st round and A’Shawn Robinson in the 2nd round of the 2016 Draft. Those players both panned out and it’s rare that rookies can contribute the way those 2 players both did. That show’s Quinn understands how to evaluate pro talent and you have to remember Quinn was mentored by Bill Belichick during his time with the New England Patriots. Clearly that strong understanding of football has rubbed off on Bob Quinn and the Lions are trending in the right direction. Bob Quinn didn’t rest on his laurels either, he was determined to keep improving the Lions and ultimately made a splash in free agency this off-season. The Lions signed Rick Wagner and T.J Lang to solidify their offensive line and these were 2 big time football moves. Quarterback Matt Stafford will be well protected in 2017 and Detroit still has the draft to make a little bit more magic happen. Quinn has stated that the Lions could address the defensive back position early on so a guy like Adoree Jackson could be a possibility at the number 21 spot. Former University of Michigan alum Jabrill Peppers will likely still be on the board as well so he could be a possibility just because of the versatility Peppers brings to the table. Peppers could slide out to corner if needed, or he can work in the slot against receivers. Peppers could also be an immediate impact player in the kick return game adding another dimension to the Lions. The other option could be Christian McCaffrey if he is still on the board. Truthfully Dalvin Cook would be a dream come true for Bob Quinn but it’s very unlikely he will be on the board by the time the Lions pick. McCaffrey would be a decent addition just because the Lions have a fresh new offensive line to run behind. Regardless of the route Bob Quinn goes in the draft he has done a great job up to this point and deserves praise for the success he has had in just 2 seasons in Detroit. The Lions look like the favorite to win the NFC North right now.

Charity of the day: Prostate Cancer Foundation

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Outside of Myles Garrett, Solomon Thomas and Jonathan Allen are the next best thing:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

Myles Garrett is almost a sure lock to go number 1 in the NFL draft but there are plenty of other defensive ends in the draft that can still provide a huge impact. Two players in particular are Solomon Thomas and Jonathan Allen. Solomon Thomas was a Pack 12 stand out who earned All American status and was the Pack 12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2016. Thomas is 6’3 276 pounds and really blew away scouts at the NFL Combine. Thomas recorded 30 bench press reps, ran a 4.69 40 yard dash, and broad jumped 126 inches. Those are freak of nature results and now Thomas has significantly improved his stock. That could ultimately catapult Thomas into a top 5 pick and it just goes to show the things you can accomplish when you work hard. Solomon Thomas was clearly well prepared for the NFL Draft and the numbers really showed how much Thomas wants to be great. Many draft board now have Thomas going number 2 overall to the San Francisco 49ers. So it’s definitely been a huge trend upward for the former Stanford Defensive End Solomon Thomas.

Jonathan Allen on the other hand was a Chuck Bednarik and Bronco Nagurski award winning defender. Those honors are given to the top defender on the best defense in the entire nation and that speaks volumes about the type of player Jonathan Allen is. Allen didn’t grade out quite as impressively as Thomas did at the combine but sometimes being a “football player” is more important than combine results. The Chuck Bednarik and Bronco Nagurski honors tell you that bottom line Jonathan Allen knows how to play football and he does it very effectively. Allen is 6’3 286 pounds so he can play inside at defensive tackle or kick out and play defensive end. Allen recorded 21 bench press reps, a 5.00 second 40 yard dash, and a 108 inch broad jump. Again don’t immediately suggest that Solomon Thomas is going to be the better player here because there is a reason Allen was the top defender in all of college football last year and there is a reason Allen has went to 2 straight National Championship games. It’s because Allen consistently dominates when it comes to being on the field and in football situations. Sometimes those instincts are better than performing well in football drills.

Truthfully Solomon Thomas and Jonathan Allen are two extremely talented defenders and right now it’s too close to tell who will be the better player. It feels like Thomas might have ran Allen’s spot with a strong combine performance and that could lead to Thomas being drafted over Allen. At the end of the day though these are two great football players and they will both really help out an NFL franchise.

Charity of the day: Prostate Cancer Foundation

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Mike Williams and Corey Davis are the best wide receivers in the 2017 draft class:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

There are plenty of talented players that are going to come out of the 2017 NFL Draft but as far as wide receivers go there are none more talented than Mike Williams and Corey Davis. Most people know Mike Williams from his big game in the National Championship. In that game Williams recorded 94 receiving yards and 1 touchdown to lead Clemson past the Alabama Crimson Tide. Williams was hands down the most explosive receiver on the field that night and he has a real opportunity to be an immediate impact player in the National Football League. At 6’3 225 pounds Williams is the ideal size for an NFL receiver as well. Williams will be taller than most NFL cornerbacks and he has the skill set to make NFL defenses consistently pay. Williams proved that last season when he recorded 1,361 yards and 11 touchdowns against some of the best teams in the country. Those opponents were tougher than the opponents Corey Davis faced and that’s one thing Williams has going in his favor. However when you’re talking about Corey Davis, you have to acknowledge the production Davis has put up. Corey Davis has 5,285 receiving yards over the course of collegiate career compared to Williams 2,727. Corey Davis has averaged 1,321 yards a year ever since he stepped foot in Kalamazoo as a freshman. The only knock being, Davis did this against M.A.C opponents who are less talented than the A.C.C opponents that Williams faced. So there are definitely pros and cons for both players and right now it looks like Williams will likely go first. Make no mistake about it though Corey Davis can play too and there is a reason his stats pop out at you when you do a little research on him. Davis is 6’3 213 pounds so he is a tad smaller than Williams, regardless though either player will be a solid pick for an NFL franchise. It feels like the Titans will be the first team to take a wide receiver in the draft, keep an eye out on whether Tennessee goes with Mike Williams or if they row the boat with Corey Davis?

Charity of the day: Marine Mammal Center

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Why the San Francisco 49ers should choose Deshaun Watson over Mitch Trubisky:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

With the NFL Draft approaching quickly teams around the league are lining up their draft boards so they can bring in top tier talent. Every team is forced with tough decisions on draft day and a good move can catapult your franchise to success for years to come. On the opposite side of that coin a bad move can set a franchise back for a number of years too (remember Jamarcus Russell?). With Myles Garrett likely the number 1 pick overall, you have to wonder what the 49ers are going to do with the 2nd overall pick? There has been discussions lately that the 49ers might draft a cornerback with the 2nd pick but anything besides a quarterback would be a letdown for the Niners. Really that limits the pick down to 2 choices, either Deshaun Watson out of Clemson or Mitch Trubisky out of North Carolina. Trubisky has received a lot of praise lately especially since he threw for 30 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions last year. Many believe Trubisky has the ability to be a franchise quarterback who is similar to Andrew Luck. That is a strong comparison for Trubisky but the former North Carolina quarterback only produced one elite season at Chapel Hill (that was last year). Watson on the other hand has thrown for over 10,000 career yards at Clemson and 90 career touchdown passes. That’s in contrast to Trubisky’s 41 career touchdown passes, so Watson has put up double the production Trubisky has. On top of that if you’ve watched college football the last couple of seasons you could see first hand what a gamer Watson is. Not only did Watson knock off the virtually unstoppable Alabama Crimson Tide, he continuously rose to the occasion for the Clemson Tigers. Dabo Swinney might have a system that elevates players but it was Watson who facilitated the offense and put together a championship push. Without Watson there is no way Clemson goes to 2 straight National Championships and that shows the poise Deshaun Watson exudes while playing the quarterback position. No player in college football has been more impressive the last 2 years and that’s why it’s a no brainer that the San Francisco 49ers should pair Watson with Kyle Shanahan. The 49ers signed Matt Barkley so they might opt to choose a player that can help in a different area. That would be a foolish decision because they would be passing on a rare talent that only comes along every so often. Keep an eye on what the 49ers do when draft day rolls around, but remember anything beside Watson is a letdown.

Charity of the day: Marine Mammal Center

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The New York Giants retain Jason Pierre Paul for the next 4 years:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The New York Giants have wanted to get a long term deal done for Jason Pierre Paul for some time now and the Giants have finally inked Pierre Paul to a 4 year contract. Giants General Manager Jerry Reese has a keen eye for talent and he knew New York would a better football team with Pierre Paul in the mix for the long term. That ultimately compelled the Giants to pull the trigger on this contract and it’s a good move for the G-Men because Pierre Paul is finding his game after that horrible firework accident he went through. Pierre Paul only recorded 1 sack in his first season back from that injury, the following year (this season) he recorded 7 sacks. As Pierre Paul adjusts to playing with one hand that is slightly weaker, he should be able to get more comfortable with that change. Meaning Pierre Paul could easily be a 10 sack defensive end in 2017 and the Giants as a team will be a Super Bowl contender. New York was somewhat of a letdown in the playoffs this past season and the team retained J.P.P and brought in Brandon Marshall to change that. That alone is enough to applaud the Giants efforts and now New York has to go nail it in the draft. This team could use a lineman upfront and another running back to really set the tone offensively for this team. If Reese can also find a successor to Eli Manning that would also be a great move. We seen how much of an impact Dak Prescott had for the Dallas Cowboys. Plugging in a younger quarterback might be a good move for the Giants as well. Manning could still have a good season especially with the addition of Marshall. However younger players give your team a different type of energy and the quarterback position has such an impact on a team’s success. Drafting a quarterback in the 3rd or 4th round could push Eli Manning to work harder and also gives the Giants to move forward if Manning isn’t delivering in training camp. It’s always good to have options in the NFL and this would be the best course of action for the New York Football Giants.

Charity of the day: Marine Mammal Center

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Dontari Poe is Atlanta bound after signing a 1 year $8 million dollar contract with the Falcons:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

Former Kansas City Chiefs Defensive Tackle Dontari Poe is signing with the Atlanta Falcons after meeting with Dan Quinn earlier in the week. Poe and Quinn really gelled in that meeting and both sides walked away feeling like there could be something there. Fast forward a few days later and Poe inked a 1 year $8 million dollar contract with the Falcons. This is a great deal for Atlanta because now they have a better defensive line than they did a month ago in the Super Bowl. Grady Jarrett and Vic Beasley were already bringing a good pass rush and now Poe has a chance to take this group to new heights. Dontari Poe was absolutely dominant back in 2013 and 2014, since then he has struggled a little bit. The Falcons are taking a chance on Poe and hoping he can get back into the form he was in 3 years ago. If that happens Atlanta will easily be one of the best teams in the NFC. Last season the Falcons took the next step by adding Alex Mack on the offensive line. This off-season Atlanta believes they can take the next step on the defensive side of the ball by adding Poe. Poe is making $8 million dollars a year as a defensive tackle so you know he is no slouch. He will have an audition year with the Falcons to really prove he can still make an impact. If Poe can put together a productive season that will likely lead to a major contract and if the Falcons don’t re-sign Poe some team certainly will. So Dontari Poe has all the incentive in the world to go out and play the best football he possibly can and Atlanta just feels like a great fit for the 6th year defender. Poe went to college at Memphis so he is familiar with the South, which means Atlanta might be the perfect situation for Poe comfort wise. Sometimes being in an ideal environment can make all the difference in a player’s output. Up to this point Poe has 201 career tackles and 13 career sacks.

Charity of the day: Veterans Assistance Foundation

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Latavius Murray signed a 3 year $15 million dollar contract with the Minnesota Vikings:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

Former Oakland Raiders Running Back Latavius Murray signed with the Minnesota Vikings and will do everything he can to give a boost to the Vikings’ offense. Murray is entering his 4th pro season and has recorded 2,278 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns over the course of his career. Murray scored 12 of those 20 touchdowns last season but he failed to crack the 1,000 yards rushing mark. Regardless though that touchdown production will certainly be an upgrade for Minnesota and this was a good signing. Minnesota fell apart down the stretch last year and it was because they weren’t getting enough output from their offense. Murray can come in and help minimize that poor offensive play and really that’s why Minnesota went all in on Murray. Murray should make life easier for Sam Bradford and expect a much more balanced offense for the purple team in 2017. Mike Zimmer wants to play fundamental football, meaning he wants to play solid defense and run the ball. Murray fits perfectly into that philosophy and at 6’3 230 pounds Latavius Murray will bring a little physicality for the Vikings. Minnesota didn’t make too much of a splash in free agency so they are hoping the few acquisitions they did make will yield big returns. Therefore you can expect Murray to get over 200 carries next season and that could be great for the former Raider’s stats next year. Murray could blossom into a fantasy football superstar so keep an eye on him when it comes time to draft your team. Especially if you can draft him later on and get some real value out of a later pick. When it’s all said and done though the Vikings have regressed from 2 years ago till now. They made the playoffs in 2015, only to come up short to the Seattle Seahawks. This past season the Vikings didn’t make the playoffs and if that happens again in 2017 expect some changes to happen on the coaching staff and in the front office. So Latavius Murray could save a lot of jobs if he can lead the Vikings back to winning football.

Charity of the day: Veterans Assistance Foundation

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Dont’a Hightower signs a 4 year $43.5 million dollar contract with the New England Patriots:

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The Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets made a huge push for Dont’a Hightower’s services but in the end he returned to Foxborough to play for the team that drafted him. The 27 year old linebacker received a 4 year $43.5 million dollar contract to stay with the Pats and it’s a huge signing for New England. After a terrific off-season Bill Belichick struck gold when he beat out Pittsburgh and New York for Hightower and New England looks even more talented than they were when they won the Super Bowl a month ago. Hightower is a 6’4 270 pound inside middle linebacker who can dominate in between the offensive tackles. Belichick didn’t want to lose that unique blend of talent and now Hightower will be in the mix for at least the next 4 years. With 372 career tackles and 17 career sacks that’s great news for Patriots fans and the AFC East will once again have their hands full. Offensive lines will have to do everything they can to keep Hightower out of their “a gaps” and that will still likely be a losing battle for those particular offenses. Hightower just has too much tenacity and that is why so many different teams were courting his services. Hightower will receiver $19 million in guaranteed money so it’s a good deal for him and he gets to stay in a system he is familiar with. That means Hightower should hit the ground running in 2017 and there won’t be that learning curve he would have had if he had to learn a new playbook. In the end this is a great deal for the Patriots and they are the clear favorites to win the Super Bowl in 2017. It’s because they are best in the business at disposing and acquiring talent.

Charity of the day: HealthRight International

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The Packers need to do a better job in NFL free agency: Ted Thompson’s lack of maneuvering has cost the Packers playoff wins

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Green Bay Packers are at it again this off-season. With their franchise quarterback (Aaron Rodgers) under contract until 2019 this team should be giving Rodgers everything he can to be successful. Rodgers is 33 years old and one of the best quarterbacks in the league but he needs 52 other guys to help get the job done. So far Ted Thompson hasn’t done a good enough job of putting together a talented bunch around Rodgers and it’s clear Green Bay’s signal caller is often asked to carry the guys around him. That’s because Thompson has been so reluctant to make moves in NFL free agency and he has put too much of an emphasis on developing players through the draft. Look, developing players through the draft is a great strategy but it’s your job as a general manager to put the most talented product on the field as possible. Thompson has let this franchise down by avoiding NFL free agency and it’s baffling considering the Packers had $27 million dollars in cap space heading into 2017. First Thompson let Julius Peppers walk out of the door and then he failed to bring in a group of talented free agents. The Packers did sign Martellus Bennett but if you think Bennett alone is enough to get this team over the hump you’re sadly mistaken. Truthfully it’s hard to believe that Bennett will repeat the 7 touchdowns he had last year in New England and it’s just not enough from the Packers. They needed to follow the format the New York Giants did a season ago, which was to load up on one side of the ball (the Giants chose defense). With a lot of the marquee players already signed it feels like the Packers are going to fall short again when it comes to that goal. It’s getting to the point where Aaron Rodgers is wasting away in Green Bay and they should have had a game plan this year. Could you imagine if Thompson would have landed Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery? Now it’s stretch that it would have happened but if you reached out to both players and relayed to them your master plan it’s much more likely to happen. Philadelphia landed Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, even those 2 players coming to Green Bay would have finally gave Rodgers the shot he deserved. Thompson hasn’t had any plan of action the last 3 seasons and it’s about time for him to go. Detroit Lions General Manager Bob Quinn has ran laps around Ted Thompson in just 2 off-seasons at the helm and that’s why the Lions will be better than the Packers in 2017. Just another reason Green Bay needs to tell their general manager “we’ve decided to go in a different direction.”

Charity of the day: HealthRight International

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