NFL Draft Order: 2017 NFL Mock Draft- 1st round

Photo credit: Wesley Hitt / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

1- Cleveland Browns (Myles Garrett) Easy choice for Hue Jackson. Take the best player in the draft and take a step closer to playing lock down defense.

2- San Francisco 49ers (Jonathan Allen) John Lynch understands the importance of defense and Allen was the best defender in all of college football last year.

3- Chicago Bears (Mike Williams) The Bears need a wide receiver so bad they will pass on good defensive front players to select the top wide receiver off the board.

4- Jacksonville Jaguars (Leonard Fournette) Jacksonville signed Chris Ivory to pair with T.J Yeldon. That didn’t pan out and now the Jaguars will look to hit a home run with Fournette.

5- Tennessee Titans (Corey Davis) Wide receiver is a big time need for the Titans and taking Davis will instantly give Mariota the best wide receiver group he has ever had.

6- New York Jets (Jamal Adams) The Jets were terrible in the secondary last year. Adams will help change the status quo in New York. The Jets should top the 8 team INT’s they had in 2016.

7- Los Angeles Chargers (Solomon Thomas) Joey Bosa had 10.5 sacks last year but no one else had over 5 sacks for the Chargers. Solomon Thomas and Bosa could change the landscape for San Diego.

8- Carolina Panthers (Dalvin Cook) The Panthers are at their best when they have a solid running game. Dalvin Cook will give the Panthers that immediately. A solid draft choice.

9- Cincinnati Bengals (Reuben Foster) The Bengals will get a huge boost to their linebacker group by drafting Alabama’s Reuben Foster. Foster will help Cincy get better against the run.

10- Buffalo Bills (Mitchell Trubisky) The Bills should draft Deshaun Watson but they will fall victim to the media’s consensus and draft Trubisky. Trubisky won’t sit behind Tyrod Taylor for very long either.

11- New Orleans Saints (O.J Howard) Two tight end sets with Howard and Fleener could give Brees an all out aerial assault in NOLA. The Saints could draft a receiver to replace Brandin Cooks later on.

12- Cleveland Browns (Derek Barnett) The 30th ranked pass rush got better by drafting Myles Garrett. Now they will draft Derek Barnett and make the position a strength in 2017.

13- Arizona Cardinals (Marshon Lattimore) Lattimore will give the Cardinals a key piece to their defensive puzzle. Lattimore can cover and the Cardinals struggled to do that in 2016.

14- Philadelphia Eagles (Christian McCaffrey) The Eagles are looking to get better at the running back position and McCaffrey could be just what the Eagle are looking for. Explosiveness to pair along with Carson Wentz.

15- Indianapolis Colts (Marion Humphrey) Humphrey will help the Colts get better against the pass. The Colts should improve on their 29th ranking when it comes to interceptions.

16- Baltimore Ravens (Taco Charlton) The Ravens were ranked 24th in the league with 31 sacks in 2016. Charlton will help chase down quarterbacks and the Ravens will get a little better.

17- Washington Redskins (Malik Hooker) Hooker will stop his slide which will happen due to his medical concerns. The Redskins will get better against the pass defensively with this draft pick.

18- Tennessee Titans (Adoree Jackson) The Titans will greatly improve by adding Jackson to their secondary, a unit that ranked 30th in 2016. Jackson would be the best move for this football team at the 18 spot.

19- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Cam Robinson) Pairing Alabama’s star lineman (Robinson) with Jameis Winston will help keep the the young signal caller healthy. An ideal move for the Bucs.

20-Denver Broncos (Zach Cunningham) The Broncos could use a linebacker to help get back to the postseason. While this team is far away Cunningham is a step in the right direction.

21- Detroit Lions (Haason Reddick) The Lions want a cornerback but might not be able to find their guy at 21. With Deandre Levy leaving Detroit Reddick might be a great replacement.

22- Miami Dolphins (Jabrill Peppers) Drafting Jabrill Peppers would give the Dolphins two outstanding safeties with Reshad Jones and Peppers. That tandem should do well in the AFC East.

23- New York Giants (David Njoku) The Giants will improve their tight end situation by drafting Njoku. That should give Eli Manning a plethora of talent pass catching wise.

24- Oakland Raiders (Caleb Brantley) Brantley will give the Raiders a little nastiness upfront defensively. That should help this team build upon the success they had in 2016.

25- Houston Texans (Deshaun Watson) The best quarterback in the draft will get slighted by the media and drop all the way to the 25th pick. The Texans will be the big winners because of it.

26- Seattle Seahawks (John Ross) The Seahawks will keep John Ross in the state of Washington and they will get another speedster who can sync in with Russell Wilson.

27- Kansas City Chiefs (Pat Mahomes) The Alex Smith days need to come to an end in order for Andy Reid to continue to grow. Mahomes could be just the QB to help turn the page on the Smith era.

28- Dallas Cowboys (Gareon Conley) The Cowboys lost 2 cornerbacks to free agency and Conley will help Dallas get back on track in the secondary.

29- Green Bay Packers (T.J Watt) Julius Peppers skipped town but T.J Watt could help eliminate the impact of that loss. Watt will elevate the Packers defensive unit as a whole.

30- Pittsburgh Steeers (Garrett Bolles) The Steelers went defensive last year, this season in the first round they will go back to offense. Garrett Bolles should keep Roethlisberger safe for one more season.

31- Atlanta Falcons (Forrest Lamp) Alex Mack really helped the Falcons on the offensive front. Forrest Lamp could be the icing on the cake when it comes to protecting Matt Ryan.

32- New Orleans Saints (Obi Melifonwu) Melifonwu was a superstar at the NFL combine and he will help the Saints complete a good off-season. This is good value for the 32nd pick.

Charity of the day: Trust for Public Land

Go donate! www.tpl.org

The heart of a competitior: why you should let your kids play tackle football:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

Every fall parents have to make a tough decision on whether or not to let their kids play tackle football? It seems like anti-football propaganda is everywhere these days and even Will Smith took action against the sport when he stared in Concussion a movie about the long term effects of pro football. With head trauma and concussions all the fuss lately it’s easy to understand why your concerned about letting your kid play. However keep in mind the benefits of allowing your child to play football far outweigh the setbacks and risk of injury.

First and foremost it’s about freedom, what America is built upon

It’s up to you as a parent to let your kids walk their own paths in life. As a parent you should guide your child in the right direction but at some point you have allow your child the freedom to make their own choices. If your son (or daughter in some cases) is interested in playing tackle football, you should do research about the risks of the sport but keep in mind the most important thing you can do to prevent injuries in football is prepare your child for participation. Understanding how to properly prepare your child for football is the biggest thing you can do to keep your child safe on the field. There are plenty of websites around the internet that offer football drills which you can teach to your child and help them form fluent technique. Glazier clinic has great website that can help point you in the right direction when it comes to football drills. http://www.glazierclinics.com/coach_resources/football_drills

The preparation doesn’t stop there, you have to develop your child’s body into football form

After you teach your child proper football technique you have then take the next step to develop your child’s body athletically. This means you have to teach your son (or daughter) to exercise regularly. The bench press, squat exercise, and power cleans are good place to start. If your child isn’t old enough to lift free weights you should look at some kind of fitness regimen to tune them into game shape. Finally your child should understand plyometrics, calisthenics, and agility exercises. If you can combine football technique, a fitness program, and plyometrics into your childs football preparation routine your athlete will be not only much more prepared for tackle football they will also be at much less risk of injury.

Football develops character, and character prepares you for life

No sport on earth will test your resilience like tackle football does. The sports tests your grit and causes you to blow past your mental barriers. Ultimately this prepares you for life because sooner or later life is going to test you. Your past football experience will serve you in so many different facets of life far beyond your playing days. It’s no secret football teaches discipline, responsibility, hard work, and it can help kids be more social immediately and later on in life. Often times friendships are forged on the football field that last forever.

It’s a no brainer, you should let your child play!

There was a time when football was almost outlawed and Teddy Roosevelt saved the sport. That’s because Roosevelt understood that football develops the human body and spirit in so many different ways. Not only will your child love you if you allow them to play, it’s ultimately the right thing to do and your kids will be better off in life because of it.

Charity of the day: American Civil Liberties Union

Go donate! www.aclu.org

Feeling the pressure: 2016 was a complete bust for Blake Bortles

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Jacksonville Jaguars had a lot of hype swirling around their team exactly 1 year ago but all of those expectations came crashing down when the Jaguars actually took the field. The Jaguars struggled in 2016 posting a 3-13 record and a lot of that was because Quarterback Blake Bortles is struggling in his own personal development. Bortles has been an absolute turnover machines throwing 51 interceptions over the course of his 3 season career. When you average 17 interceptions a year as a quarterback you’re going to get a bad rap extremely fast and it was painful to watch Bortles throw pick 6 after pick 6. If the Jaguars are going to be the team they believe they can be someday, Bortles is going to have to be leaps and bounds better and first and foremost he has to learn to take care of the football. For awhile we thought Bortles could be the 2nd coming of Ben Roethlisberger, after this past season that comparison feels like a huge stretch. At 3 years into his career Roethlisberger already had 1 Super Bowl win and 8 less interceptions than Blake Bortles. So clearly Bortles has a long way to go to get his legacy back on track and that starts with at least getting back to winning football. People were starting to believe in the Jaguars after a ton of positive roster moves and then they went out and laid an egg with 3 total wins. In order to get that total up Jacksonville has to do a much better job of keep Bortles on his feet. He was sacked 34 times in 2016 and the best teams in the league surrender under 20 sacks a season. That offensive line has to giver Bortles time to scan the field and operate from the pocket. From there it’s up to Bortles to be more efficient, improve his completion percentage, and improve his quarterback rating. If Blake Bortles can’t handle these responsibilities in 2017 expect the Jaguars to explore all options at the quarterback position.

Charity of the day: American Civil Liberties Union

Go donate! www.aclu.org

Business Finance: Finance companies play a huge role in shaping the world of sports

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Author: Jon Kuzma

With news recently breaking out in the sports world that Bank of America will step up and contribute at least $650 million dollars to the new Raiders stadium, it’s easy to see just how much of a role finance companies play in shaping the landscape of sports. Finance companies typically are used when building a stadium and that is such a pivotal investment for any franchise. An arena can have a huge economic impact on not only the area of the stadium but also on the team’s personal finances as well. A high end stadium appeals greatly to fans and it can serve as an entertainment hub as well. With all that potential revenue at stakes often times Finance Companies (business finance companies) will provide loans hoping to cash in on the hype surrounding the stadium which will surely lead to profits. The Las Vegas Stadium for example which is expected to cost $1.9 billion dollars will host rodeos, UFC bouts, and Major League Soccer games as well as football. All of those events (and there are plenty more not mentioned) will help Nevada drive billion dollars of income and that’s ultimately why Bank of America stepped up to the plate. The state of Nevada doesn’t have a single major pro sports franchise in their state. That means the new Las Vegas stadium will be the original facility for pro sports teams in Nevada. Which makes it an even more compelling offer as far as finance companies go. So you can see why business finance is so important in pro sports and the Raiders aren’t the only team making strides towards a new stadium. The Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers are both in the process of landing a new home as well. The Chargers and Rams are sharing a stadium that is being built in Southern California known as the Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park. Rams owner Stan Kroenke partnered with Stockbridge Capital to bring the new stadium to the Los Angeles area. With 2 NFL teams playing at the facility the arena should be a gold mine when it comes to the bottom line. The cost of the stadium is an estimated $2.66 billion dollars. That’s a lot of money but the Dallas Cowboys were able to double their annual income from $280 million annually to $560 million annually with their new stadium. That has Kroenke looking to make his own splash and truthfully LA could due better than Dallas because the market is better. Stockbridge Capital knew this, Bank of America knew this and that’s why these finance companies are going to walk away winners 10 years from now. These projects will both go on to be major successes and business finance once again proves to be a vital piece to the stadium contraction process.

Charity of the day: Action Against Hunger-USA

Go donate! www.actionagainsthunger.org

King of the end zone: Who made it to pay dirt most in their career?


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Author: Jon Kuzma

The end zone is where it all goes down in the sport of football. A touchdown is 6 points for your team and you achieve that by crossing the goal line and getting into the end zone. With so many great player coming through the National Football league we decided to take a look back at some of best scoring players the league has ever seen.

Quarterback position (king of end zone):

When it comes to the quarterback position nobody has thrown more touchdowns strikes than Peyton Manning. Manning threw an impressive 539 passing touchdowns and that is 31 more than the 2nd guy on the list which is Brett Favre with 508 passing touchdowns. Manning was simply superior than every other quarterback that played the game touchdown wise and it was because of his deep understanding of the game. There was no better quarterback in NFL history at reading defensive coverages and knowing how to attack that particular coverage. While most quarterbacks cave to the defensive pressure, Manning seemed to thrive in it. He would look off safeties and then throw it right where that safety had just moved from. It was the mental side of the game that Manning dominated in and that helped him become the most prolific passer when it came to scoring touchdowns. Manning did it all on the football field and he deserves to be recognized for turning the National Football League in to a passing league.

Running back position (king of end zone):

There have been many great running backs that have came through the National Football League but none have scored more touchdowns than Emmitt Smith. Smith helped the Cowboys win 3 Super Bowls and he also compiled 164 rushing touchdowns. There nothing Emmitt Smith couldn’t do on the football field and that’s really why he finished with more touchdowns than anybody else. Ladainian Tomlinson is 2nd on the list with 145 rushing touchdowns and the fact that Smith is 19 touchdowns betters shows just how gifted Smith truly was. During the Dallas glory years they had a great offensive line but don’t let that fact downplay Emmitt Smith’s production, he was a tremendous player and earned the right to be the all time scoring leader as far as running backs go.

Wide receiver position (king of end zone):

If you’re looking for a receiver that can find the end zone look no further than Jerry Rice. Jerry Rice recorded an amazing 197 touchdown receptions. That is 41 more touchdowns than Randy Moss who is 2nd on the list and Rice achieved this with hard work and determination. Jerry Rice was reluctant to work with other players because he felt like they would understand his methods and he would loose his edge. Rice often chose to isolate himself and put his entire focus on his work ethic. After playing division 2 college football Jerry Rice would go on to become the most polished wide receiver to ever play pro football. A hell of a feat for the Mississippi kid.

Charity of the day: Make A Wish Foundation

Go donate! www.wish.org

Michigan semi pro football: Where the athletes come to play

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There are plenty of semi-professional football teams in the state of Michigan and each summer athletes strap on the pads looking to make an impact for their team. Michigan semi-pro football is made up of 18 and up male adult athletes who are still amateur status. These players often play as a hobby and do it for the love of the game.

Michigan semi pro football is broken down into 2 tiers:

The top tier of Michigan semi pro football is made of the Detroit Ravens, Detroit Seminoles, Southern Michigan Timberwolves, Muskegon Mustangs and West Michigan Force. If you were a college football and want to keep playing these would be the best teams look in to. While it’s unknown whether or not the contact information for these teams is up to date. Here is the latest information on these teams.

Detroit Ravens: https://www.facebook.com/DetroitRavensFootball/ and http://www.detroitravensfootball.com/

Detroit Seminoles: www.detroitseminoles.org/ or contact head coach Norris (Moose) Jackson at (313) 231-1782.

Southern Michigan Timberwolves: www.twolves.org/ or (734) 735-3236

West Michigan Force: https://www.facebook.com/WMForce/

Muskegon Mustangs: https://www.facebook.com/Muskegonmustangs2013/

The second tier of Michigan semi pro football consists of all the other teams which will be much easier for a first time player to make. Those teams consist of the Flint Fury, Michigan Hurricanes, Detroit Vipers, Traverse City T-Wolves, and Capital City Stealth. The contact information for these teams is below.

Michigan Hurricanes: https://www.facebook.com/MichiganHurricanes/
Flint Fury: www.flintfuryfootball.com/
Michigan Vipers: https://www.facebook.com/viperspage/
Traverse City T-Wolves: www.traversecitywolves.com/
Capital City Steal: www.capitalcitystealth.com/

Keep in mind Michigan semi pro football typically starts around February or March. So that’s when you can anticipate training camp to start and that’s when you should contact teams about potentially playing. The Michigan Semi Pro Football season usually kicks off once summer rolls around and each team will compete in a league and for a league championship. Playoffs start after the season and teams have a chance to be crowned national champions.

If you’re a player looking to refine his skills take a look at the Glazer clinic website attached.
www.glazierclinics.com/

Keep in mind Michigan Semi Pro Football can be dangerous but if you prepare the right way football can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life. Best of luck this season to all of the players!

Eagles emerge as the front runner to sign Jamaal Charles:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

With Jamaal Charles being released yesterday by the Kansas City Chiefs there is already 1 team that is interested in his services. That’s right the Philadelphia Eagles have expressed interest in Charles and if you don’t remember current Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson served as the Chiefs offensive coordinator before being hired by Philly. That past connection is really the underlining factor of why Philadelphia wants Charles and truthfully he would be a great fit in the Eagles offensive system. After 3 years of Chip Kelly’s overzealous offensive approach Pederson came in and went back to a more traditional offensive philosophy. That seemed to fit Philadelphia much better and this team is a great location if you’re a running back. Pederson loves tight offensive formations with a fullback and a tight tend. That extra blocking should mesh well with Jamaal Charles and keep an eye on whether or not the Eagles pull the trigger on this deal or not? The bad news for Charles is negotiations could fall through due to the fact that he is 30 years old and hasn’t rushed for over 400 yards in his last 2 seasons. In fact Charles hasn’t combined for more than 500 yards rushing over the last 2 years and that has to be a serious red flag for some teams. If the Eagles do want to bring Charles on board it will be an audition year meaning Jamaal Charles will have to play for way less money than he is used to. If he can outperform expectations that would be the first steps to getting back to a healthier pay day. Truthfully it will come down to how much Charles wants to continue to play? After back to back poor seasons and 9 different years of training camp, you have to wonder if Jamaal Charles is burned out from the grind? If that’s the case maybe Charles will walk away from football but expect him to weigh his offers before making a final decision.

Charity of the day: American Civil Liberties Union

Go donate! www.aclu.org

Marine City: The greatest city on the face of the earth


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There is a land out yonder, somewhere in the lower region of Michigan’s thumb (if you’re familiar with Michigan’s geography) called Marine City. It’s a place where ships pass by frequently in the summer, a place with virtually zero crime, and a place we can all call home. The city has seen a decline in population recently but that’s okay, less is more in today’s age. While many people leave this town hoping to find a life that’s better, often times that wandering spirit realizes they had it all in Marine City, Michigan. People will give you a thousand reasons why Marine City isn’t the place to be and those would be 1,000 ill-advised arguments. It’s easy to get caught up in thought of what you might have if you left Marine City for greener pastures but remember there is no place like home. It might feel like a Cheers episode but everybody knows your name in this small town and if you’re coming to our community remember that. Surely there are plenty of places where you can burn your bridges but Marine City is not the place you want to do it. A good reputation in this town can give you access to many different connections. All good people who will look out for you and do everything they can to give you a helping hand. Yes there are people in this city who are a minor annoyance but lets try to put our differences aside and come together for something greater. Marine City is the reasons words come so easily, that town will develop people into winners like it has for generations. It’s a blessing to call Marine City home and it’s honestly the greatest city on the face of the earth. There’s no better place to live.

Charity of the day: Trust for Public Land

Go donate! www.tpl.org

Andy Reid proves once again he is the most loyal coach in the entire NFL after signing Eric Berry to a long term deal:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Kansas City Chiefs knew they had to pay star defensive back Eric Berry in order to retain him and that’s exactly what the Kansas City Chiefs did. Berry was given a fresh new 6 year $78 million dollar contract today. That deal will make Berry the highest paid safety in the league and it further solidifies Berry’s comeback from Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After missing the entire 2014 season with the illness, Berry battled back in 2015 and got back on the field. That led to Berry having another break out year in 2016 which led to the deal he signed today. It’s a great story of perseverance and grit for Eric Berry, most people struggle to make it through such difficult times but Berry’s optimism never wavered. Berry made a commitment to keep training while going through chemotherapy and that risky move paid off for him. Berry had 2 interceptions during the 2015 season but really started get back on track in 2016 when he recorded 4 interceptions. That was enough for the Chiefs to put their money up and now they believe Berry can be a 6 interceptions a year type of player. Those turnovers give the Chiefs such a great opportunity to compete and what a significant loss it would have been had Berry left via free agency. Andy Reid clearly didn’t want that to happen and this situation is just another example of why Reid is the most loyal coach in the entire National Football League. Reid is adamant about keeping his guys around for the long haul and players entering this league should take note of that. You want to play for organization that truly looks out for the players best interest as well and you know you’re getting a first class human being when you play for Coach Reid. It’s no secret why the Chiefs are trending upward, it’s because Andy Reid puts these guys in a position to succeed and it’s because Coach Reid takes care of his players.

Charity of he day: National Audubon Society

Go donate! www.audubon.org

Steelers ink Antonio Brown to a new 5 year contract worth $17 million a year:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Pittsburgh Steelers made Antonio Brown the highest paid wide receiver in the National Football League today when they signed Brown to a new 5 year contract. The deal will pay Brown $17 million dollars a year and also included a $19 million dollar signing bonus. Antonio Brown has easily been 1 of the best receivers in all of football since coming into the league back in 2010. Brown certainly deserves to be paid but there are some questions marks about the length of the contract. Brown shouldn’t slow down the next few seasons but keep in mind he is 28 years old. That means Brown will likely finish his playing days as a Pittsburgh Steeler but you have to wonder if number 84 will regress before his contract runs out? The running back and wide receivers positions require fast twitch muscle stimuli to be firing at an optimal level in order to be successful. Those stimuli start to significantly slow down at the age of 30 and Brown will be 29 in July. The Steelers had to sign Brown to a massive contract in order to keep him around but a shorter contract would have been in the best interest of the team (3 years would have been ideal). However Drew Rosenhaus knew his clients worth, and Rosenhaus also knew that this was Brown’s chance to cash in on a mega-deal. If the Steelers didn’t pay Brown for his services some other team clearly would have. That compelled Pittsburgh to make the offer and now the Steelers will keep their most talented receiver in the fold for years to come. The questions remain though, is Brown is starting to slow down a little bit? His receptions and yards were down this past season and Brown only recorded 77 yards against the Patriots in the AFC Championship game. With several seasons already under Brown’s belt you have to wonder if the veteran receiver’s stock is trending downward? Remember father time is undefeated and Brown has to start slowing down sooner or later.

Charity of the day: Meals on Wheels America

Go donate! www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org

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