These five rookies are taking over at training camp. They’re setting the bar high:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Hakeem Butler- The Arizona Cardinals had the easiest 4th round selection in the world. Hakeem Butler was a star at Iowa State and he’s making it look easy in the desert. His size, body control, and one handed catches have amazed the coaching staff. Terry McLaurin- McLaurin is hitting the ground running in Washington and it’s his precise route running that stands out. The rookie torched Josh Norman for a touchdown and is already looking like a veteran player.


Parris Campbell- Speed kills and Parris Campbell is blazing fast. Campbell has also shown that he can get separation in the red zone and that’s huge. Which means the Colts are going to be tough this year.

Rock Ya-Sin- Indianapolis has two of the most impressive rookies with Campbell and Ya-Sin. However they’re on the opposite sides of the ball. Rock Ya-Sin is a cornerback who’s already recorded a couple of interceptions at training camp. It appears he’s a natural in coverage.

Greedy Williams- One of the top rookies out of all of the teams has been Cleveland’s Greedy Williams. The 2nd round pick has a long frame and that helps him play the ball when it’s in the air. He’s also held his own against Odell Beckham Jr. and that’s not easy to do.

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These five rookies are taking over at training camp.

Adam Thielen’s route running is better than ever. The Minnesota Vikings have a mismatch out wide:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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All warfare is based on deception. That legendary quote by Sun Tzu is absolutely right and it’s no different when it comes to route running. Which is exactly why Adam Thielen is one of the best in the business. Thielen is so good at selling his routes and he makes defensive backs think the exact opposite of what he’s really going to do.


So if Thielen is running a crossing pattern he will take off vertically beforehand and fake out the guy lined up across from him. It’s those little details that can mean all of the difference in the world on game day. And after recording back-to-back seasons of over 1,200 receiving yards it’s frightening to think Thielen could be even better in 2019. We’ve watched the Vikings pass catcher go from an undrafted free agent to one of the top performers in the sport. Which proves that anything is possible if you set goals and commit to achieving them. Now Minnesota plans on turning things around and getting back to the playoffs. There’s no denying that Thielen will have to be at his best in order to do so. Kirk Cousins has struggled at times especially when the pressure is on and that means Thielen will have to bail him out. At the moment the number 1 target (Thielen) seems capable of that and it’s now or never this current Vikings regime.

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Greedy Williams is stealing the show at training camp. The Cleveland Browns may have hit the jackpot:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Believe it or not good cornerbacks are becoming scarce. It’s always been a unique position because it’s so hard to back peddle and keep up with players who are in a full sprint.


However Greedy Williams has been making it look easy at training camp. Cleveland selected Williams in the 2nd round and there were some question marks about why this guy slid on draft night? Right now it appears that the former LSU Tiger fell because the 2019 class as a whole was deeper than ever. There’s more schools pumping out talent than in the past but Greedy Williams seems ready to contribute right away. He showed that staying on a pro receiver’s hip isn’t a problem at all. Where Williams was the most impressive was his ability to be a ball hawk when the ball is in the air. His vertical jumping skills are outstanding and that’s so crucial when you’re out on an island and batting down a fade can be the difference between surrendering a touchdown or making a game winning play (Ex. Richard Sherman’s pass break up in the 2013 NFC Championship). They don’t call LSU defensive back university A.K.A DBU for nothing. Greedy Williams is just the latest product from that prestigious college and now it looks like he’s good enough to start as a rookie. John Dorsey could’ve done it again and the Browns are building so much positive momentum that they’ll probably wind up in the playoffs.

Charity of the day: International Peace Institute

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Greedy Williams is stealing the show at Cleveland Browns training camp.

Bob Quinn continues to rebuild the Detroit Lions’ defense with players who were released from other teams and it’s working:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Last year Bob Quinn went after Romeo Okwara when the New York Giants released him and Okwara went on to lead the Detroit Lions in sacks (7.5). This off-season Quinn swooped in on Mike Daniels after he was a cap casualty in Green Bay. It’s a $9M signing for Detroit but it’s a good investment for the former Pro Bowler.


Not only did Matt Patricia and Quinn flip this situation around on an NFC North rival by picking up Daniels. They get a guy who can be a perfect fit for their scheme. Kenny Clark and Daniels used to give their opponents fits while anchoring the Packers’ defense. Now Damon Harrison and Daniels will be extremely tough up front and that’s going to make Aaron Rodger’s life much more difficult. You know Mike Daniels is licking his chops at the thought of facing his former team. What he does on the field will translate well to Patricia’s system and two things jump out on Daniels’ film. First off he draws a lot of double teams and that will free up the linebackers and allow them to flow and make plays. The 30 year old defensive tackle also has a great punch after the snap and he’s usually the first defensive linemen to make contact. A go getter who isn’t afraid the set the tone Daniels is a huge acquisition for the Motor City. Which means Lions fans should be even more optimistic with a new season right around the corner.

Charity of the day: International Peace Institute

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The Detroit Lions continue to rebuild their defense with a bunch of castoff players.

Back in form. Cam Newton seizes the moment at Carolina Panthers training camp:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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There were so many questions hanging over Cam Newton’s head this off-season. Is his shoulder good enough to hold up for all 16 games? Have we seen the best of Cam Newton already?


Let’s be honest there was a lot of doubt swirling around the former 1st overall pick’s future and some of that speculation was justified because he didn’t participate in OTAs. However all of those questions have been answered because Cam Newton lit it up at training camp. He showed so much confidence in his arm by taking shots down the field and showing us firsthand that his shoulder is fine. Newton aired out a 40 yard strike to Curtis Samuel on a deep post route. Samuel ended up finishing that play in the end zone for six and the crowd erupted when they realized Newton is good to go. That wasn’t it though the former MVP also made a couple more big time throws and the message was loud and clear. Carolina will be much improved this year due to the fact that they revamped their offense. It’s a collection of great athletes who can run circles around their opponents. Cam Newton is at the top of the list but Christian McCaffrey, D.J Moore, and Samuel are also playmakers. The speed of each of these players is what makes everything click and it’s a great philosophy by the front office.

Charity of the day: Bowery Residents’ Committee

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Cam Newton was showing off at Carolina Panthers training camp.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are deep at the wide receiver position and Chris Godwin appears to be heading for a breakout season:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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One of the most improved players of the 2018 season was Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Chris Godwin. Everyone knows about Mike Evans and what he brings to this offense but Godwin is no slouch either. After recording 842 yards and 7 touchdowns in his second year of action it’s clear that Godwin can be an effective pass catcher at the pro level.


The thing that stands out about his game is how strong Godwin is. First of all he’s not afraid to go over the middle and those hits don’t seem to hurt him too much. Then when the ball is in his hands the 23 year old tends to break tackles. You’ll even see him move the pile like some running backs do and it should be mentioned that Godwin had more bench press reps than Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, and Mike Evans at the NFL Combine. Typically speed is more important for receivers but Godwin uses his strength well and you’ll notice that after the catch. Then there’s his red zone skills and Jameis Winston is lucky to have such a good jump ball receiver. All Winston has to do is throw it up and Godwin will fight with everything he has to bring it down. Whether it’s a regular fade or a back shoulder throw those plays are no problem for Chris Godwin and we’ve seen enough from this guy to know he’s going to be a quality player. His future is definitely bright.

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Chris Godwin is heading for a breakout season.

Dreams do come true. Kevin Byard becomes the NFL’s highest paid safety after getting overlooked early on in his career:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Back in 2016 Kevin Byard didn’t even receive an invite to the NFL Combine. After wrapping up an impressive collegiate career at Middle Tennessee State and recording 19 interceptions for the Blue Raiders. Byard was on the outside looking in when the top players in the nation participated in the annual event which is centered around drill work, interviews, and athletic assessments.


For someone who had their eye on playing at the highest level that must’ve been a tough moment. Although Byard wouldn’t be denied and he finally got his justice three years later. The 25 year old defensive back is now the highest paid safety in the league thanks to a new 5-year $70.5M contract. Tennessee saw enough out of Kevin Byard that they had no problem making such a huge investment in the ball hawking athlete. With this guy on the back end the Titans are always going to have a rangy and dynamic playmaker deep who can create takeaways. When we talk about reading the quarterback’s eyes very few people can do that like Byard can. He can tell where the play is going off those clues and then it’s amazing to watch him break on the football. It doesn’t matter if Byard has to undercut a route or high point the pass above a receiver. Somehow these interceptions always wind up in number 31’s hands and those were skills that Mike Vrabel didn’t want to lose. It should also be noted that Byard is exceptional at blitzing and he can fly up in run support too. So the versatility of his game definitely stands out and that’s why this payday was well deserved.

Charity of the day: National Park Foundation

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Odell Beckham Jr. is focused and that’s dangerous for the other 31 teams in the league:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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We’ve seen Odell Beckham Jr. at his best and at his worst. He’s struggled at times to control his emotions by punching kicking nets and by going on TV and criticizing Eli Manning (with Lil’ Wayne).


However Beckham Jr. is committed to winning in Cleveland and there’s a few things that prove it. First Beckham Jr. used a little bit of symbolism by cutting his hair and sending a message that he can be “all business” as well. Some people might think it’s ridiculous that such a small gesture could mean so much but you better believe Beckham Jr. did this to put the league on notice. And while it’s easy to criticize Beckham Jr. for missing parts of voluntary minicamp. You have to realize that the superstar wide receiver has been in the NFL for five years already. So when these veterans choose to opt out of a practice that is voluntary we shouldn’t panic too much. Another reason Beckham Jr. is focused on the upcoming season is because he wants to make the New York Giants regret trading him. While Beckham Jr. wasn’t happy in the Big Apple, it’s clear the trade to Cleveland was taken as an insult by Odell. It’s like going through a bad break up and both sides are jockeying for position to get the upper hand. Sometimes those challenges in your life can elevate you to new heights if you channel those frustrations and use them in the right way. A motivated OBJ means we could see an even better version of him than we’ve seen in the past. It’s a crossroads moment for the 26 year old (after being traded) but one thing which must be noted is he said that he’d like to play for 10 more years. Therefore it feels like Beckham Jr. is still hungry and it’s easy to believe he’ll hit the ground running with the Browns.

Charity of the day: Oxfam-America

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Odell Beckham Jr. is putting the league on notice.

Monster payday. Michael Thomas is going to reset the wide receiver market with a $20M contract:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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It’s a great honor to be the highest paid person in any profession and New Orleans Saints playmaker Michael Thomas is on the verge of breaking the bank with a $20M contract. That would make Thomas the highest earning wide receiver in the National Football League and it’s well deserved for a player who hasn’t skipped a beat since turning pro back in 2016.


The sure handed and reliable Thomas has been Drew Brees number one target for the past three years. After recording 3,787 yards during that span it was the right time for the former Ohio State Buckeye to cash in. Which is why his agent Andrew Kessler is adamant that his client doesn’t settle for anything less than $20M. The Saints were hoping to save a million or two and get this deal done in the $18M-$19M range. Clearly Thomas is opposed to giving out a discount and we saw Russell Wilson make a similar move this off-season in Seattle. Both Wilson and Thomas know their worth and how risky it is to step out onto the field without a new contract in their hands. These players are becoming more business savvy everyday and it’s finally taking a little bit of power away from the teams who’ve always had everything tilted in their favor. Society is also embracing this change and they have no problem if that quarterback, wide receiver, etc. has earned it. You know the Saints want to get this deal done ASAP and avoid any distractions heading into the regular season.

Charity of the day: Conservation Fund

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Who’s the next Aaron Donald? The Kansas City Chiefs have him and soon Chris Jones will become a household name:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Most diehard football fans know who Chris Jones is because he recorded 15.5 sacks a year ago. However it takes a while before an elite player becomes a household name but after the 2019 season Chris Jones will be the next great defender.


Obviously Aaron Donald is the measuring stick but Jones is next in line. There’s even some similarities between both of these guys and that’s their speed. Usually when we think about defensive linemen the first thing that comes to mind is strength or power. Yet Donald and Jones collapse the pocket so quickly and they run down quarterbacks like a lion chasing down a gazelle. Add in Jones ability to quickly disengage blockers and split double teams and it becomes clear just how impactful the 25 year old is. Plus he’s also done a great job of creating big plays by recovering fumbles and intercepting passes. Proving his game beyond just being an athlete Jones is also very good at recognizing plays. Even though Kansas City is switching to a new scheme (4-3 defense) don’t expect Jones’ production to fall off because the things he does well will translate over to any system. The thought of this guy lining up alongside of Frank Clark is enough to strike fear in some of the best QB’s the league has to offer. You can’t have a functioning passing attack if there’s no time to drop back. Jones is going to flush everything to the outside and that’s when Clark can clean up. Andy Reid has to feel good entering training camp with all of this firepower on his roster. These pass rushers can flat out get after it.

Charity of the day: Conservation Fund

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