Ross’ 40 at the Combine will be etched in history regardless of how his NFL career plays out, but he should have a long one. His complete-receiver value goes beyond his straight-line speed. His ease of movement is apparent on film, as he’s able to play controlled and adjust at the catch point.
Ross is not just a perimeter or downfield, route-running speed threat; he’s a legitimate short-area and mid-field receiver who can work after the catch with patience and lateral quickness. Ross has showcased a multitude of downfield routes, and some of his best plays in college came off double moves, downfield posts, digs and deep comebacks. His big-play ability, including his return upside immediately as a rookie, makes him a top-20 prospect in the mold of Odell Beckham Jr.
Samuel is an elite athlete with explosive traits. When/if he takes hand-offs, he lacks the bulk or power to mash it up between the tackles, but he can run the outside zone and shows enough toughness to absorb big hits from linebackers. As a receiver in college, he was not asked to run a great variety of routes. But with his burst, quickness and body control, Samuel carries the traits to execute NFL patterns with development.
Samuel can really stick his foot into the ground and explode out of breaks. Slants, angle routes and option routes are his specialty at this stage. Overall, Samuel has game-breaking speed, but he’s raw. He can have an instant impact as an explosive return man, but his success might be dependent on the creativity of his coordinator. He’s the epitome of an offensive weapon with no true every-down position.
All three of those teams went 2-8 during their first 10 games and made it to the playoffs anyway, despite two of them even finishing April under .500. Toronto, at 1-8, has three more games against the division-rival Orioles this weekend, and if they lose this series (and the next one, a three-game set against the Red Sox), 2017 could very well be a long season no matter how well they play afterward.
Each of those three teams who erased their horrific start had to go to extreme lengths to do so. The Pirates went 20-8 in August, and managed to win their division and earn an NLCS berth despite winning just 88 games on the season: the Blue Jays won a Wild Card spot last year with 89 wins. The Rays almost immediately rebounded with a 14-5 stretch to finish off their April, but it still took the Red Sox having one of the worst months in the history of baseball in September to help the Rays sneak into October — and the only reason even that worked out is because the Red Sox had gone 11-15 in April themselves before crushing the league for four months.
We’ve all screamed several times while watching both of these guys play and each yelp deserves a tally, too. Every time you audibly scream, whether it’s because of a violent dunk or nasty crossover, give that candidate three points.
Few things are more important to Westbrook or Harden than their undeniably, um, unique, fashion. There’s going to be some debate here, but we’ll try to keep things simple. If they wear something normal like a plain suit (which they won’t) award them no points, but if they are on-brand (which they will be) and wear something outrageous, give them four points. Our MVP needs to be stylish. (If the clothes also become a meme they are awarded a total of nine points.)
Jones entered an alcohol-related treatment program and anger management in the offseason after his arrest on charges of harassment with a bodily substance, assault, obstructing official business and disorderly conduct. Jones’ felony charge stemmed from an incident in which police say he spit on the hand of a nurse at the Cincinnati jail. He was also caught on camera cursing at a police officer and telling him, “I hope you die tomorrow.”
Cincinnati prosecutor Joe Deters dropped the felony charge in March and said Jones’ insistence on staying in the anger management program beyond the normal limits factored into his reasoning.
“I know you said you were thankful for the organization. Is there anything you have to show to fans, have to prove to the fans for them to welcome you back since there were a lot of people upset with the way things went down in the offseason for you?” Jones was asked on Monday morning.
“Didn’t I just tell you don’t ask me that?” Jones said. “Turn around. Go back that way. Bye. See you. Next question.”
New England traded back when it came to its original first-, second-, third-, and fourth- round picks in 2011. Jettisoning those four selections netted six in return, and the Patriots ended up with starters Stevan Ridley, Shave Vereen, Marcus Cannon, and one year later, Chandler Jones for their efforts. That’s pretty good!
After the consensus top three running backs, Kamara is often considered the next man up. While he’s a powerful interior runner with apparent readiness in his second-level reads and third-down value, a jack of all trades in the NFL sometimes means a master of none.
Kamara is a strong runner with perimeter upside, but he relies on a talented offensive line for support. There are more talented and versatile running backs in this class.
Same color scheme to stay consistent. You can see very well that if the guard (red) makes his block, Richardson will have a decent shot at a good gain here by cutting right inside of him. If ifs were fifths…
In his latest mock draft, SB Nation’s Ricky O’Donnell has 10 freshmen being selected before a college veteran (North Carolina’s Justin Jackson) finally hears his name called. That’s not a knock on college basketball’s current upperclassmen. It’s simply a testament to just how impressive the crop of freshmen were in their only season at the college level.
Lonzo Ball completely transformed UCLA from a team with a losing record to a national title contender, and as a result he’s a finalist for every national Player of the Year award. Josh Jackson’s ridiculous skill set was on full display all year, as he helped Kansas to a No. 1 seed and a Midwest Regional final appearance.
Kentucky’s big three freshmen — De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, and Bam Adebayo — were the powerhouse’s top three players. And even though they began the year injured, Duke’s No. 1 recruiting class eventually got healthy and helped the Blue Devils to an ACC tournament title and a No. 2 seed in the Big Dance.
Here’s the other thing about college basketball’s most prominent one-and-dones this season: You’re not going to see any of them at the Final Four.
Remember, Tavon Austin? It’s ok if you don’t. The former West Virginia wide receiver, who became the darling of the pre-draft process leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft, disappeared to start his rookie season with the St. Louis Rams, not able to pile up more than 47 receiving yards in a single game in St. Louis’ first nine games.
In Week 10, Austin reminded the NFL why scouts were drooling over his quickness and speed, catching only two passes but turning them into 138 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He also returned a punt 98 yards for a score.
Kerr will get some votes because the Warriors will have the best record in the league and the coach with the best record always seems to get votes. But Kerr won last year with a record-breaking 73-9 season, and his team added Kevin Durant. There’s some resentment toward the Warriors in general and there will be some penalty for finishing with a worse record, no matter how ridiculous that sounds. (There also has never been a back-to-back Coach of the Year.)
Lue’s Cavaliers, meanwhile, are currently in a dogfight for the No. 1 seed in the East despite having the most talented roster and the best player in the world. Coaches often take the most credit and blame for their teams’ defensive performances. Cleveland’s weakness on that end kills Lue’s case.
When Harden does indeed beat the defense, get to the rim, and meet a shot blocker, it’s his job to make the right decision. The Warriors’ swarming defense forces him into a tough spot.
Some of Harden’s turnovers have come from errant passes that he miscalculated. Others have just been poor decisions. We all celebrated the Cavaliers landing Kyle Korver, Deron Williams, and Andrew Bogut for scraps at midseason. Meanwhile …
Korver has shot the lights out, which is what he does, but is unviable as a starter next to Irving due to his defense. Korver can’t be asked to guard anyone with a modicum of scoring prowess. Williams is also a good shooter who doesn’t defend well anymore. Bogut lasted the amount of time it takes to heat up a frozen burrito before going down with an injury.
One of the gambles of the NFL draft is going for a sure thing or trying to strike it big by taking a risk. In the recent past, the New York Jets have taken a risk with high-round picks like Quinton Coples, Jace Amaro, Geno Smith that just haven’t paid off. They’ve scored on sure thing prospects like Leonard Williams and Sheldon Williams.
Over at Cat Scratch Reader, Edgar Salmingo Jr. wrote about the all-around game authored by Carolina:
The Panthers showed up to play under the Monday night lights, against a high-profile opponent in the New England Patriots. Cam Newton was a world of fire, with 3 TD passes, many long scrambles on 3rd down, and last, but not least, a clutch final drive with a TD to Ted Ginn, Jr., with the game on the line. The defense bent, but did not break, doing enough to keep the team in the game. Keeping the dangerous Tom Brady and Bill Belichick to only 20 points with 2 weeks to plan is an admirable performance by the defense.
The 2017 NFL draft’s All-Name Team, led by Jake Butt, Raekwon McMillan, and Dee Liner
Skipping the first pitch isn’t anything new. A lot of presidents did, especially when they started slacking in the 1970s. Presidents have declined 26 times in the 107 years since Taft threw out the first pitch, meaning that actually seeing the first pitch thrown by the president happens just 75.8 percent of seasons. George W. Bush was the only president since FDR to throw out the pitch in the majority of his years in office.
It’s understandable why a president might want to skip the first pitch. It’s a stressful moment where nonathletic people need to pretend they’re athletic in front of thousands of people. Obama explained the pressure last year.
“We do a lot of tough stuff as president. And by definition you don’t end up being president if you don’t handle stress well. [But] nothing is more stressful than throwing a first pitch,”
Sunday’s game between the San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints was billed to be one of the top games in Week 11, and it didn’t disappoint. Colin Kaepernick shook off the criticism to show he could hang with one of the league’s best offenses, but it wasn’t enough as Drew Brees led his team to a late victory, 23-20.
Offensively, Kansas City was stagnant for most of the game. Nothing was happening for the Chiefs offense, especially in the second half. The Chiefs’ defense has been an asset for the team all season long, but it was tough for the pass rush to make an impact with Manning getting rid of the ball so quickly.
The Houston Texans have lost eight straight games after starting the season 2-0, while the Jacksonville Jaguars are a lowly 1-9 on the year. Houston is coming off a loss to an Oakland Raiders team with an undrafted free agent at quarterback. Jacksonville also continued to play poorly, losing to the Arizona Cardinals at home in Week 11. Despite their similarly shoddy records, the folks in Vegas are favoring the Texans heavily at home.
Houston is a 10-point favorite against the Jaguars, according to OddsShark. The over/under is 43 for the Week 12 matchup. The Texans and the Jaguars are among the league’s bottom-dwellers, so an average of 21.5 points for each team might be a bit generous. Jacksonville has struggled to score points, while Houston’s had trouble staying consistent on both sides of the ball.
But with experience playing DB in college and so much time as a WR coach, Babers brings a WR’s sensibility to teaching the system he took from Baylor. Despite his background, he’ll tell you the QB is still the most important part.
When a quarterback throws a receiver a ball, a receiver should be able to throw that same ball back to that quarterback, Babers said. And that is what’s been missing. What that means is that you and I have played catch so much that you’re the pitcher and I’m the catcher. You throw me a ball, I throw you a ball, you throw me a ball, I throw you a ball. We take our mitts off, and you’d have to say, ‘Which one’s the catcher, and which one’s the pitcher?’ because we’ve exercised that skill so many times.
He calls plays without a sheet, takes calculated risks on fourth downs, and recalls the little things, like the fact that his quarterback got hurt on play No. 14 of the Clemson game. I checked, and he’s right, if you don’t count punts as offensive plays, which many coaches don’t.
The Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers meet in a Week 10 matchup complicated by the absence of Aaron Rodgers. Sunday’s game is of vital importance to both teams’ playoff chances, but it’s unclear if the Packers have the offensive firepower to keep up with the dangerous Eagles.
Unpredictability makes this one of the hardest games to pick this week. Odds are even between the sides, and neither team has been particularly convincing recently. The Eagles are 4-5 against the spread in their last nine games, while Green Bay is slightly more reliable at 5-3, but it’s important to note the Packers are 4-1 against the spread in the last five weeks.
Offensive success for the Packers will hinge on the ability of rookie running back Eddie Lacy. Against the Bears when Rodgers went down, Lacy responded with 150 rushing yards and a touchdown. He will work against the league’s 18th-ranked run defense in Philadelphia, which is giving up an average of 111.8 yards per game.
The line is holding even after opening at a -10 for the Packers — this is the Rodgers factor. Some books are favoring Green Bay by one, but that’s the largest margin being offered at this time. Unreliable defensive units have Sunday’s game pegged to be high scoring; the over/under sits at 46.5.
The most-likely winner this weekend is Philadelphia, purely by virtue of quarterback play. The Packers were a shadow of themselves without Rodgers under center, and it’s hard to see a run-first offense succeeded against a quick-fire Eagles passing attack.
It wasn’t pretty, but the Jacksonville Jaguars ensured they wouldn’t join the rare company of winless teams. Chad Henne was efficient with the football outside of his two interceptions and the defense was vital in forcing fumbles and turning knife. At this point the season is over for the Jaguars — that has been clear for weeks — but the defense is something to build with a new quarterback.
Chris Johnson was terrible against Jacksonville, but that’s not especially rare this season. He finished with 30 yards rushing and it was the fifth time he’s finished with fewer than 50 yards on the ground. Johnson has a tendency to punctuate big games with poor ones, and the issue extends beyond the Titans’ troublesome offensive line.
A back injury that forced Houston Texans running back Arian Foster to exit last week’s loss will keep him sidelined during Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals, interim head coach Wade Phillips announced.
Foster has missed practice this week after he suffered the injury during the first quarter of the Texans’ 27-24 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Phillips did not expand on a timetable for the Pro Bowler’s return.
Ben Tate, who rushed for 81 yards on 22 carries against the Colts, will fill in for Foster.
Foster has battled through injuries all season, also leaving a loss to Kansas City in Week 7 with a hamstring injury. After averaging 113.7 yards per game between Weeks 4 and 6, he has just 11 yards in limited playing time over the last two games. He has rushed for a total of 542 yards and scored two touchdowns this season.
Phillips is serving as the Texans’ interim coach while Gary Kubiak recovers from health problems.