The Houston Texans select DeShaun Watson 12th overall and now they have their franchise quarterback:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Houston Texans have had a hole to fill at the quarterback position all off-season and now it looks like Deshaun Watson will be the guy who leads Houston into the future. After overpaying for an underproducing Brock Osweiler last off-season, Watson should be able to raise the bar for the Texans and this was a great selection. Deshaun Watson has played in the last two college football National Championships and it’s clear the former Clemson Tiger knows how to lead a football team. Some scouts were very critical of Watson but keep in mind on game day there was no player in the country better than number 4 for Clemson. Watson made big play after big play in the 2017 National Champion to knock off Alabama. That moxy that Watson showed was enough to solidify him as a first round draft pick and the Texans significantly improved their football team when they drafted the 21 year old quarterback. Now this this team can feel comfortable with the QB’s that they have on their roster and it will be interesting to see if Deshaun Watson can be a day one starter? Tom Savage played in three games last year for the Texans but he doesn’t have as much upside as Watson and Savage is definitely not the long term answer for Houston. Savage might get the nod for week one but there is no way he makes through the entire season as the team’s starting quarterback. Eventually Bill O’Brien will want to start Watson because he gives Houston the best chance at winning a Super Bowl. DeAndre Hopkins should be much happier this season as well because he clearly wasn’t clicking with Osweiler. Watson gives Hopkins a chance to get back on track and the Texans took a step in the right direction when they decided to trade up and take a chance on Deshaun Watson. This guy could be the savior of the Houston Texans franchise when it’s all said and done because the Texans have never had a quarterback of Watson’s caliber at the helm.

Charity of the day: Waterkeeper Alliance

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The Falcons defensive line will be the cream of the crop after adding Dontari Poe and Takk Mckinley this off-season:

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The Atlanta Falcons went all the way to the Super Bowl in 2016 and since then Atlanta has made several significant roster upgrades. The Falcons added Dontari Poe in free agency to bolster their defensive front but Atlanta wasn’t satisfied with just Poe. The Falcons traded a 3rd and 7th round pick to move up five spots in the 1st round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Atlanta then selected the highly coveted Takk McKinley out of UCLA. Mckliney and Poe are two huge pieces to the Falcons defensive puzzle and it’s surprising to see Atlanta get so much better after already making it to the Super Bowl last year. The Falcons already had a championship caliber football team and then they added 2 premier defensive players to that mix. That should yield great results for this football team and when you think about those two guys being paired with Vic Beasley, it’s frightening how good the Falcons pass rush could be in 2017. Beasley was the NFL’s sack leader in 2016 with 15.5 sacks, he should be able to mentor Takk Mckinley and tune in the rookie defensive end’s technique. As soon as Mckinley develops a pro level awareness he should be a big contributor to Atlanta and keep in mind Mckinley recorded 10 sacks last year. He is natural when it comes to chasing down the quarterback and Mckinley also recorded 18 tackles for loss in 2016. So the main reason the Falcons shipped out a 3rd and a 7th to get Takk Mckinley is because the kid has a knack for making plays in the offensive backfield. That was too good to pass up and in fact Atlanta was so compelled by Mckinley they gave up a few picks to go get him. Now as far as Dontari Poe goes, the guy can flat out dominate when he is healthy. If he can get his body in the best shape of his life and then take care of himself injury wise. The Falcons will get a star interior defensive lineman who will drive offensive lineman into the offensive backfield on almost every snap. Keep in mind the Falcons also have emerging stars in Deion Jones and Keanu Neal as well. So Atlanta is coming along great on the defensive side of the ball and we all know the Falcons had the highest scoring offense in all of football last year. They just might have the Super Bowl winning formula down in Georgia and this team is definitely a front runner to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy in 2017.

Charity of the day: Waterkeeper Alliance

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The Cleveland Browns are the big winner on day one of the draft, they land three 1st round players:

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Photo credit: @Browns

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Cleveland Browns stole the show in Philadelphia for day 1 of the 2017 NFL Draft. First the Browns started the night off by drafting Myles Garrett who was the best overall player in the entire draft. Then Cleveland traded down in the draft to the number 25th spot and selected Jabrill Peppers (Cleveland also acquired a 2018 first round pick from the Texans). That draft pick sets Cleveland up for the future and Peppers is a rare breed of athlete. Jabrill Peppers has the ability to come in and completely dominate in the Browns secondary, and it’s clear the Browns front office wanted to load up on the defensive side of the ball. Garrett and Peppers alone are two A+ potential players, and it’s been a long time since the Browns have made a splash like this. That’s why it was such a surprise when news broke late in the first round that Cleveland had traded back into the 1st round again and selected David Njoku. Njoku was the Brown’s third 1st round draft pick of the night and that’s a lot of talent that got added to Cleveland’s roster in just one night. The Browns were a dud last year with only 1 win but that won’t be the case in 2017. Njoku is an elite tight end and that will add another dynamic to Hue Jackson’s offense. Njoku had 8 touchdowns last year for the Miami Hurricanes, so the rookie receiving tight end knows hot to find the end zone and that’s exactly why the Browns traded the Packers a 4th round pick to get Njoku. All the maneuvering that the Browns did were a sign that the organization believes in the regime they have right now. Cleveland is trying to give Hue Jackson a fair chance at success, especially since Jackson was very limited talent wise last year. That won’t be the case in 2017 and you have to applaud everything the Browns did their first night in Philly. They really made a positive impact for their football team and that has truly brightened their future.

Charity of the day: Team Rubicon

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Jonathan Allen was the player that slipped the furthest on the first day of the draft:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

Every year we have a player that slips a few spots in the draft and this year’s victim was Alabama Defensive Tackle Jonathan Allen. Allen won almost every major award a defensive lineman can earn in 2016 and was hands down one of the best defenders in the entire nation last season. Some NFL insiders had Allen going 2nd or 3rd overall but Allen slipped all the way to the 17th spot where the Redskins decided to scoop him up. Allen’s slide ends up being the Redskins lucky fortune because they get a player who can be a defensive staple for their franchise for years to come, at position he shouldn’t have been available at. Washington already has a potent offense, Allen gives the Redskins a chance to compete on the defensive side of the ball and he can be a leader in their locker room from day 1. Jonathan Allen might have suffered from a poor combine performance but when the pads are on we all know he can play. The question is will it translate over to the professional level? You have to believe that Allen’s instincts and understanding of the game will make that jump, Allen played at Alabama and we all know that Crimson Tide bloodline is as good as gold. The game of football is won in the trenches and the defensive line position is particularly important to counter the outstanding quarterbacks in the league. Jonathan Allen will cause a lot of problems for those QB’s and this is was a great first round selection for a team that ranked 28th in the league defensively. Now the Redskins have a chance to change their culture defensively.

Charity of the day: Team Rubicon

Go donate! www.teamrubiconusa.org

Leonard Fournette goes to the Jacksonville Jaguars with the number 4 pick:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

Leonard Fournette is heading to Jacksonville Florida after the Jaguars drafted him with the 4th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Fournette is a power running back that has the ability to come in and uplift a stagnant Jaguars rushing attack. Jacksonville ranked 22nd in the league last year in rushing yards per game, the Jaguars do have Chris Ivory and TJ Yeldon on their roster. However Jacksonville’s front office felt like Fournette was too good to pass up and don’t be confused this is a good pick. Now the Jaguars can trust their stable of running backs to take the pressure off of Blake Bortles. That should help this offense as a whole be more balanced and in time you have to believe Leonard Fournette will be an exceptional player for this organization. In 2015 Leonard Fournette was playing football at a level that was flat out dominant, if he can get back to top form that will be exactly what the Jaguars need. We seen how much the running back position can have an impact with Ezekiel Elliott and Jordan Howard. Other organizations took note of that and now Leonard Fournette is the top running back taken in the draft. There was a lot of speculation whether or not Christian McCaffrey could surpass Fournette on draft night? We know now that Fournette is indeed the top ranked running back in the draft and now the rookie ball carrier will look to leave his mark on the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Charity of the day: Team Rubicon

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The Browns stick to the script and draft Myles Garrett number 1 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Cleveland Browns made a smart move to start off the 2017 NFL Draft by taking Myles Garrett out of Texas A and M. Garrett is widely considered the best player in the entire draft and most experts had Garrett as a lock to be the number 1 pick. The Browns didn’t have any major reason to go against Garrett (such as a trade), so Cleveland improves their poorly ranked pass rush by getting the best defender in the entire draft. Garrett will help Hue Jackson be more competitive on the defensive side of the ball and that is a step in the right direction for the Browns. Garrett joins a list of defensive lineman to be drafted number 1 overall and we will see how the former Aggie compares to Mario Williams, Jadeveon Clowney and the other top ranked defensive front players? You have to believe that there is a reason the Browns took him this high and it’s because they see something special in Myles Garrett. Now it’s about going to Cleveland and showing up to work day in and day out if you’re Myles Garrett. You win over the locker room by leading by example and if he keeps working as hard as he has, Myles Garrett should be a terrific football player in the National Football League. What an honor it is to be drafted number 1 overall and Myles Garrett got the job done when it was all said and done.

Charity of the day: Team Rubicon

Go donate! www.teamrubiconusa.org

Marshawn Lynch’s marketability is big business for the National Football League:

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Photo credit: @Raiders

Author: Jon Kuzma

The National Football League should get on their hands and knees and kiss Marshawn Lynch’s cleats for coming out of retirement. Lynch who sat out the entire 2016 season signed a two year deal with the Raiders for up to $16.5 million dollars. While it seems like Lynch is the one getting a big payday, the NFL is the real winner in Lynch’s return to pro football. The NFL is going to sell so many Marshawn Lynch jerseys and they are going to use Lynch’s personality to market their products and business. The league had the most to gain out of Lynch coming back and that was clear when Lynch was spotted signing his contract at the Raiders team facility in Alameda California. Lynch’s face had an ear to ear smile on it and he looked like a kid who had just scored a date with the best looking girl in school. Marshawn Lynch’s passion was on full display at that event and you could see how much Lynch sincerely loves football. That authenticity is what football fans love to see and Lynch is as authentic as they come. At times Lynch’s unique characteristics have clashed with the league’s policies but the NFL shouldn’t fine Lynch one time in 2017. Marshawn Lynch single handedly breathed life into the NFL brand when he decided to suit up for two more years and we all know the NBA wouldn’t throw Lebron James under the bus. It’s about time the NFL steps up and protects their superstars like the other major sports leagues do and that starts with embracing Beast Mode and everything he stands for. It also should be noted that Lynch wore his helmet home from that contract signing event and that made a storm of NFL headlines. You could put a camera on Lynch and have a commercial made at any moment and it’s because of Lynch’s top card draw marketability. That is great public relations for the league and you better believe that behind close doors Roger Goodell is happy. NFL ratings will always be better with Marshawn Lynch on the field.

Charity of the day: WonderWork

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Horses in the stable: The Saints one two punch is going to be stellar this season

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Author: Jon Kuzma

We’ve seen some pretty good one two punches in the league when it comes to running backs and the Saints new running back tandem is certainly one to be feared. Recently the New Orleans Saints signed Adrian Peterson to a two year $7 million dollar contract and the Saints plan on pairing Peterson with Mark Ingram. Ingram rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2016 but there’s no doubt that Peterson will cut into a portion of Ingram’s offensive touches. That competition between both players should bring out the best in both Ingram and Peterson, which will ultimately yield great results for the Saints running game in 2017. Each guys is a load when running the football and this is a good acquisition for the Saints when you consider the pressure it’s going take off Drew Brees. Now the Saints can trust their running backs and cut down on the hits that Brees takes throughout the season. Not to mention handing the ball off to Adrian Peterson is always a high percentage football play, especially if Peterson can recapture his top form. Adrian Peterson has ran for 11,747 rushing yards over the course of his professional career. That’s good enough for 16th of all time and if Peterson has a 1,000 yard season in 2017 he could jump all the way to 9th of all time. The Saints are $7 million dollars invested in Peterson so you know they want the veteran running back to get back to that elite level and the change of scenery should surely help A.P. This tandem definitely can compete with the Titans running back duo of DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry. Those Tennessee guys are really good but if the Saints play their best brand of football they are really going to impose their will on defenses in 2017. This was a great football move by New Orleans front office and now the Saints have a chance to play smash mouth football. That change in philosophy should give the Saints a huge boost on gameday.

Charity of the day: Direct Relief & Direct Relief Foundation

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NFL scouts need to plug in the tape, Dalvin Cook is hands down the best running back in the 2017 NFL Draft:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The 2017 NFL Draft is only one day away and it’s surprising to see how much blatant disrespect Dalvin Cook is getting evaluation wise. Cook was a much more productive back at the collegiate level than Leonard Fournette or Christian McCaffrey and it’s sad to see him get treated so unfairly. While Fournette was failing to rush for a 100 yards against Alabama in all three contests, Cook was rushing for 4,464 career rushing yards and absolutely destroying opponents. Not only that but plug in all three players game films and watch them play. You will be impressed with Fournette’s power but if you really watch all three player’s films you will notice Cook is the biggest home run hitter. McCaffrey can get it done on punt returns and swing passes but if you think he will be better between the tackles than Cook you’re sadly mistaken. Dalvin Cook had the most success out of all three players from the “tailback position” for a reason and it’s because he is flat out better than those other players at the running back position. Cook can shift on a dime and he finishes off most runs by crossing the goal line for six points. Cook’s speed at the second level allows him to easily slip past defenders and he accelerates so quickly in the open field. McCaffrey ran the fastest 40 yard dash out of all three players but Cook runs the football more fearlessly. Dalvin Cook won’t hesitate at the next level like McCaffrey will and you better believe that will result in a big difference in rushing production. It already made a big difference at the collegiate level and remember Cook scored 46 career touchdowns in college. That’s 25 more than Christian McCaffrey and 6 more than Leonard Fournette. So Cook is better in total yardage than McCaffrey and Fournette. Cook is better in the rushing touchdowns category than McCaffrey and Fournette. So why isn’t Dalvin Cook the best running back in the 2017 NFL Draft? The answer is really quite simple and it’s politics. There’s a lot trends that the general managers in the league like to follow and usually none of these G.M’s have the courage to reject the status quo. In this case if you’re looking for a running back the consensus says go for Christan McCaffrey or Lenoard Fourtnette but the consensus is wrong. Dalvin Cook is the best running back in the draft.

Charity of the day: Direct Relief & Direct Relief Foundation

Go donate! www.directrelief.org

Martavis Bryant is conditionally reinstated by the NFL and that is great news for the Pittsburgh Steelers:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Pittsburgh Steelers got some good news when Wide Receiver Martavis Bryant was conditionally reinstated by the National Football League. After spending the entire 2016 season on the sidelines due to a suspension stemming from marijuana use and missed drug tests. That was a huge restriction on the Steelers offense because when Bryant is on the field he adds another dynamic opposite of Antonio Brown. If the Steelers want to win the Super Bowl they need Martavis Bryant in the mix and this is exactly what Steelers Nation needs to close the gap on the New England Patriots. Bryant is a great vertical receiver and he can help put points on the board quickly. With Roethlisberger in what could be his last year of pro football, Pittsburgh needs everyone healthy and eligible to play in order to compete at their highest level. That means Martavis Bryant has to stay focused throughout the season and find away to avoid any mishaps. We are talking about a player who was able to score 14 touchdowns in just 2 seasons of action. That’s a lot of production that Pittsburgh missed out on when Bryant wasn’t on the field and don’t make any mistake about it, this is a huge addition to get Bryant back. The final steps to being completely reinstated involve Bryant seeing a clinician and planning out his time away from football. Still this is a step in the right direction for the young wide receiver and now it will be up to Bryant to have the self discipline to avoid all the personal demons he is facing. There might not be anymore opportunities after this for Bryant so he knows he has to make the most of the situation. Bryant will also face a number of drug tests throughout the year so he has to be on his best behavior to prevent another suspension from happening. Overall though this is great news for Bryant and the Steelers.

Charity of the day: National Federation of the Blind

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