2016 NFL Draft Special: 5 mid to late round prospects who have star potential

It’s common knowledge in the NFL that you don’t win with just your first round picks, you win with your 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th round picks. Guys like Richard Sherman, Antonio Brown, Brandon Marshall, Josh Norman, and most notably Tom Brady were all picked after the first day of the draft. There will be a handful of future stars picked in the later rounds of this years draft, notable stars who will make huge contributions for the franchise that decides to employ them. I’m going to pinpoint 5 prospects that I think can have an immediate impact and have the upside to be pro bowl caliber players for whatever team decides to select them in the 2016 NFL Draft.

5. Keyarris Garrett, WR, Tulsa

With a combination of height, strong hands and the speed to streak away from opponents, Keyarris is an intriguing prospect. Standing at 6’4, 230lb, Garrett boasts an impressive frame, he possesses good speed (4.53) and explosiveness (37 inch vertical, 10’8 broad jump) to be a serious threat on the outside. He had a career year in the AAC as he tallied over 1,400 receiving yards and seven touchdowns and ripped up the conference to the tune of 122 yards a game over 13 games in 2015, which was better than fellow Texas wide receivers Josh Docston (120.6) and Corey Coleman (113.6) who both warrant top 25 consideration and will probably be chosen in the 1st round. Keyarris is still a raw player, he played in a spread system at Tulsa, often lining up behind another receiver so he usually saw a free release off the line and ran a limited route tree against non elite college competition which lead to questions of inflated numbers. He has the size, leaping ability, and talent to be a threat in the red zone right away and with some time to develop in a system and some refined route running, he could be a key component in an NFL offense, which could be a steal for a team in the mid fourth to fifth round.

4. Javon Hargrave, DL, South Carolina State

When playing at the FCS level, you have to dominate your competition to get the scouts attention, and that’s exactly what Hargrave did. Standing at 6’1 , 310 lbs, Hargrave is a little undersized to play defensive tackle all 3 downs in the NFL, but he is an explosive man (4.80 forty yard dash) for his size with quick feet, he has a great motor and plays with a lot of power that commands multiple blockers, proven by his 30 reps of 225 at the combine, he’s strong at the point of attack and gets low underneath to use his leverage. Primarily an interior pass rusher, his frame is versatile enough to play at the 3 technique spot in a 4-3 scheme or the 5 technique in a 3-4 scheme. Even though he has first round talent, his size and the level of competition he played at SCSU will likely cause him to fall on draft day, but I think he’s a day 2 prospect with immense upside.

3. Eric Striker, LB, Oklahoma

A three-time All-Big 12 pick (including First Team honoree the past two seasons), Striker is certainly well known in the scouting community. He posted eye-popping numbers over his career, registering 191 tackles, 46.5 tackles for loss and 23 sacks in all. A little undersized for an NFL linebacker at 6 feet tall, 225 pounds, there will be some teams that would rather have Striker play as an in the box safety, however his instincts to get to the ball carrier and prowess to avoid would-be blockers will serve him well. He showed his versatility at Oklahoma last year by dropping in coverage and playing well in a pash rushing role, I think he could fit at the weak side linebacker position in a 4-3 defense, kind of like Lavonte David or Alec Ogletree, and even play in nickel packages because of his athleticism. He has enough potential to become an impact player right away and is a smart choice in the 3rd or 4th round.

2. Devon Cajuste, WR/TE, Stanford

Devon Cajuste signed with Stanford as a highly regarded tight end prospect but emerged as one of Stanford’s most reliable wide receivers since, cajuste has some ‘tweener traits that could limit his draft stock, but presents the frame (6’4, 240 pounds), agility, and athleticism to become a huge mismatch in the NFL. He ran a 4.57 forty yard dash and had a three cone drill time of 6.49, which was top 5 in the past decade in that drill for wide receivers. He is more of a natural receiver than a inline blocking tight end and was severely under utilized at Stanford which will probably be why he slips in the draft. With a solid supporting cast and coaching in the right system, Cajuste could become a lethal weapon for an NFL offense and is well worth a gamble late on day 2 or early day 3 on draft weekend.

  1. Keith Marshall, RB, Georgia

One of the most highly touted prospects coming out of high school, Keith Marshall was poised to for a great career for the bulldogs, but a slew of injuries and playing on the same team with a man named Todd Gurley derailed his hopes of being a college football superstar, a player some thought was headed for collegiate glory and NFL stardom had fallen to the point where it was no sure bet he would get drafted at all. He had the opportunity at the NFL combine to show the scouts what they were missing, and ran a 4.3 4o yard dash at 5’11, 219 pounds (fastest among running backs) and benched 24 reps of 225 (also 1st among RB) to showcase the power and speed to potentially be a 3 down back in NFL. Going from rather unknown just a few short months ago to being one of the biggest risers in the draft, he will most likely hear his name called on day 3 of the draft but there is enough upside to warrant a pick on day 2 and could be an absolute steal in the fourth or fifth round. Whoever selects Marshall come draft weekend is getting an exciting young prospect who has the talent to take on the lead back role in an offense and become a dynamic playmaker down the road.

 

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Looks like Jaws was wrong about Kap….

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It was a cold January Monday here in Massachusetts, the 2012 NFL season was in the midst of its fierce playoff shuffle. I was watching NFL Live on ESPN in the afternoon, relaxing from a hard day of work when my mood swung from laid-back and tranquil to disgusted and very confused. Ron Jaworski, former eagles QB and ESPN analyst (one of the reasons I rarely  watch ESPN)  said something that would resonate in my brain forever, “Colin Kapernick has the ability to be the best QB in the NFL”. I was staring at his unaesthetic facial complexion with the stalest look on my face and my eyes were squinted at the television in a confounding moment….. I really couldn’t believe he had just said that. I was legitimately offended by that statement, because not only was there like 15 quarterbacks better than Kap at the time, but he was judging his play by a pretty small sample size of like 6 games. Not to mention that 49ers roster that year was easily one of the most talented, deep, and well put together teams in the entire league (9 pro bowlers that year). So a week or 2 later the 49ers are playing in the super bowl against the Baltimore Ravens and they are getting smoked at half time before the defense and a few good plays by Kap and the offense (and a power outage controversy) almost willed them to come back and win the game until Kaepernicks last throw near the goal line intended for Michael Crabtree sailed over his head only to land incomplete and the niners lost the game. A few months later, prior to the 2013 NFL season, Jaws doubled down on his imbecilic statement to say that Kap “could be the best QB arguably in the history of the NFL”. Woah. I’m sure you could imagine my reaction when he said that. So besides the point of Jaws being a moron who gets to air his ridiculous opinions to the nation, Colin Kaepernick is clearly never going to be anywhere near the best quarterback in the NFL, let alone one of the best ever. Since his little super bowl run, Kaepernicks play has dipped year after year, his numbers have steadily declined since his noteworthy 10 starts in 2012.

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It seemed that the superstardom went to Colin’s head, he went from being in Madden commercials with Russell Wilson and being on the cover of GQ magazine to being the butt of jokes to the sports media outlets, and even some former teammates coming out to say he is just a diva and somewhat of a cancer in the locker room. 2015 was a tumultuous year for Kaepernick, the 49ers actually started out with a convincing win over a Minnesota Vikings team who ended up making the playoffs and Kaepernick had played well in the first couple starts of the year before shit hit the fan, and the 49ers reeled and lost 6 out of the next 8 games after the Monday night opener. Kap would eventually be shut down and placed on season ending injured reserve do to some “shoulder injury”. He would finish the year with 6 touchdowns 5 interceptions and an extremely pedestrian 59% completion rating through nine regular season games. Kaepernick was highly criticized  by NFL analysts for lacking solid fundamentals and not using the most basic of QB mechanics, breakdown his film and you see a quarterback who doesn’t go through his progressions, gets flustered in the pocket easily, and feels pressure rapidly because of poor pocket awareness.

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Entering the 2016 season, we don’t even know what team Kap is going to be playing for, I’m not even entirely sure he will be a starter next season. I thought the 49ers hiring Chip Kelly as head coach would potentially be a good thing for the development of Kaepernick, but with trade rumors swirling around that he could potentially be shipped to Denver, I’m not really sure what to think of his career at this point. He could stay in San Francisco and possibly thrive under Chip, but what if they decide to draft a franchise QB with the 7th overall pick in the draft, how would Colin perceive that? He already has some distrust towards GM Trent Baalke, so say they traded him to Denver and he was the presumed starter in the offseason, I’m willing to bet John Elway still drafts one of the top QB prospects in the upcoming draft, and based of what we’ve seen on how head coach Gary Kubiak deals with quarterbacks, it wouldn’t take much for Colin to get the hook and we’d probably see him go into a shell at that point. Still only 28 I believe there is time for him to reach pro bowl form again, but its literally all in his hands, if he gets traded to Denver that would be a blessing for his career because of the upgrade in talent around him that he will see compared to San Fran. I’m anxious to see what the future beholds for Kap but one thing is definitively clear….Jaws couldn’t have been more wrong about Colin Kaepernick.

 

It definitely sucks to be the Lakers right now.

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Lakers rookie D’Angelo Russell continued to be contrite Friday for secretly taping video of teammate Nick Young discussing interest in women that weren’t Young’s fiancée, rapper Iggy Azalea. But Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson acknowledged it was a bit strained when Russell and Young were in the locker room at the same time. Forward Julius Randle said that things had been a “little awkward.” To steal Randle’s phrase, this will be a little awkward if Young and Russell are teammates next season too. “Will they ever be buddy-buddies again? I don’t know but they do have to coexist as long as they’re both here and I think they can,” Head coach Byron Scott said. Besides the two main characters, Clarkson probably has the toughest role. He’s good friends with Young and Russell. He’s talked to each of them separately. “We’re just going to have to see how it works out, how they handle it,” Clarkson said. “There’s an elephant in the room, especially when those two guys [are] in the locker room. We felt it but D’Angelo handled it the right way. He looked us all in the eyes as men and apologized. – LAtimes.com

If you’re the Los Angeles Lakers, you’ve got yourself quite the conundrum on your hands, this is pretty pathetic, not only does your team suck, but they clearly hate each other. I’m sure all the top free agents this summer like Durant, Lebron, Drummond, and Horford are enjoying this spectacle thinking “Fuck that bullshit, i’d rather go play for the Celtics anyways” but that’s besides the point. D’Angelo Russell is obviously the future for the lakers, and Nick Young has already played his best days of basketball, and everyone appears to be rooting against Russell here. The kid is getting booed at home games and there’s probably a million twitter and instagram pages dedicated to D’Angelo “Snitch” Russell, even fellow NBA players have taken to social media to condemn his actions.

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So this is obviously not a very good look in the lakers front office, and you don’t want to put your star rookie in a situation where he feels like he’s rejected or unwanted and becomes detached from the team, that could end up in wanting a trade or some other silly publicity stunt . But i can only imagine what the hell was said when they asked him about it, i mean they’d be crazy not to want to know what was going through his brain when he pulled out his phone and started recording. Personally i just think he wanted Iggy all to himself, this was all apart of his diabolical plan to steal Iggy from Swaggy. He leaked the video and now the cat is out the bag that Swaggy cheated and Russell is most likely there to swoop in soon like “See Iggy,  I would never do you dirty like that babygirl”. Too bad for Nick Young really, he doesn’t come of as the jealous type, he seems like a pretty level headed dude off the basketball court, i mean he cheated and that’s not good but he doesn’t seem like all that bad of guy and for the most part has handled the situation well. I don’t think well see any retaliation out of Nick young, its a good thing Matt Barnes isn’t on the Lakers anymore, imagine if D’Angelo did pulled that while Barnes was still apart of the team? He’d turn that locker room into D-Russ Stew…..

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(And for what its worth, i think Swaggy would give Russell the hands)

Daniel Cormier Backs out of UFC 197 Title Fight vs. Jon Jones in a Last-Chance Effort to Avoid Getting Embarrased 

  
Source –  The highly-anticipated rematch between Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones won’t be happening later this month after all.

An injury has forced Cormier, the UFC light heavyweight champion, to withdraw from the fight, MMAFighting.com has confirmed via multiple sources. Cormier wasn’t available for comment when contacted by MMAFighting.com Friday night.

I don’t think there has been anyone as confused with this whole situation over the past week than myself. Last week I wrote this blog about how Jones was going to destroy Cormier at UFC 197, and finally take back the title that is rightfully his. 

Then, just a few days later , the news that Jones got arrested again had me thinking the worst. I could’ve sworn Dana White was going to call off the fight and suspend Jones again – or even worse- cut ties with him from the company altogether. 

You know who else thought the fight would get called off? This sneaky bastard right here: 

 
Cormier thought he was gonna get away with another one. He was so pumped that Jones got arrested. He must’ve felt like the luckiest guy on the planet. 

He dodged ol’ Jonny bones yet again, solidifying himself as the champion through bullshit politics one more time….

But wait… There was no announcement made about the fight being cancelled due to Jones’ arrest? FUCK YEAH now we get to finally see him throw Cormier around the octagon like a rag doll. As long as Cormier doesn’t fake an injury or some bullshit like that…. 

….And then, Friday night when most people aren’t paying attention to a lot of stories- it happened. 

 I honestly laughed when I saw this on ESPN today. The most well-timed injury in the history of combat sports. Such a little snake. Now he’s gonna be annoying the shit out of us from the analysts desk on FS1 until he recovers.

Typical Cormier. Always trying to take attention off the true champion, and this time he went to great lengths to insure himself the title without actually having to throw a fist or attempt a takedown with his 12-inch reach disadvantage to Jon Jones.

Something tells me that Cormier will retire before Jones has a chance to beat his ass. And that’s always how he wanted it. But you know what? The damage is done. We all know for an absolute fact that this asshole would never come close to a victory against Bones. Go back to the announcing team you rat, we’ll be fine without you.  

 

P90x cleary works: Ask Eddie Lacy

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Last year I took Eddie Lacy 2nd overall in one of my big fantasy leagues and 5th overall in another one. When I drafted him I thought I was getting the guy on the left side of the picture shown above, instead I got the fat piece of shit you see on the right. The guy had some good games here and despite an ankle injury early in week 2, he slothed his way through the season, eventually playing mostly behind ol’ man James Starks later down the stretch. He literally blew it for me in 2 fantasy leagues this year, I was so disappointed I reached out to Eddie and asked him to lower me into my grave at my funeral so that way he can just let me down for the last time, but that’s beside the point. His weight was clearly an issue and even head coach Mike McCarthy addressed the situation and told reporters that Eddie cannot play at the same weight he did last season, and that he needed to make some changes….. So he did.

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Guy looks like he dropped 100 pounds!! Apparently Big Eddie reached out to Tony Horton, the owner and founder of P90x, and are working hard to get Mr. Lacy lean and in tip top shape. He’s already begun a training regime that will go until training camp starts, and based on the photos we’ve been seeing, they’re are definitely making serious progress. I just have two things to say about Lacy now, screw that massive heffa trying to play running back last season, and his stock in fantasy is wayyyyyy up now, he’s going to rip it up this year as long as he stays clear of the buffet.

BREAKING: Jon Jones Arrested for Probation Violation – I Don’t Know What to Think Anymore 

  
Source- 
The hits keep coming for former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who was arrested today by police in Albuquerque, N.M., five days after being cited on multiple traffic charges.

Online arrest records show Jones was arrested earlier today and booked at the Metropolitan Detention Center on a charge of violating his probation. TMZ was first to report the news of Jones’ arrest.
 

 When I saw this report a few minutes ago I was legitimately shocked. Such a stupid move by Jon Jones to get himself in trouble AGAIN less than a month before his return to the UFC. 

Just last week , I wrote a blog about how Jones was going to storm back into the UFC and rightfully take his title back from Daniel Cormier. Now, after yet another arrest, it doesn’t look like that will happen; and an even worse thought that comes to mind – this might be the end of Jon Jones- one of the greatest careers in MMA history 

Why would you even THINK about driving after the whole hit and run fiasco last year? Drug use is one thing, I don’t really care if he wants to do Coke in between fights. That’s his business. Not mine. But when you put yourself in a position to hurt or kill people in a vehicle – that’s where the sympathy train ends for me.

 I have the same question whenever pro athletes get arrested for DUI or hit&run or some other driving offense. Why the fuck were YOU the one driving?

If you get arrested one time for a driving offense as a professional athlete (let alone the best mma fighter on the planet) you can get a second chance. After that, hire yourself a damn driver. Buy one of those self-driving cars – do anything that won’t put your future and the wellbeing of others in jeopardy. If you’re not able to do that, then I don’t know what to tell you.

Looks like this asshole gets to be the false champion for a little while longer.  

 
Hopefully Dana White has some mercy on Jones, because honestly it would be such a shame if we don’t get to see Jonny Bones in the octagon again.

The “Bell cow” back a dying breed?! I think not.

roundtable-nfl-statistics-tom-brady-adrian-peterson-julio-jonesIn this article I am going to attempt to break down why I think the value of the running back position in real football as well as fantasy football is going to evolve. There is a common misconception among the fantasy football community and even NFL front offices that the running back position is becoming a devalued. Some even say the that the “bell cow” running back is like an endangered species. More and more teams have embraced the running back by committee approach. A lot of franchises look at running backs more like a luxury for what they can do rather than a commodity for the offense. I think that this general belief is because we have seen somewhat of a talent deficiency at running back. No, I’m not saying there aren’t any talented running backs. There are a lot of good backs in the league, but there isn’t as many guys who can carry the ball 20+ times a game and pass protect and catch the ball out of the backfield, teams will rotate guys to a specific role who do one thing particularly well. Part of the problem is the spread style systems and unique run-option offenses that are used widely across the nation in college football have bred these quick style scat backs who get their 20 touches a game through the passing game and running game, or the use a few different backs for different situations, and a good portion of NFL teams have adopted what they have seen in the college game.

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For the better part of the 2000s, the 1st round of fantasy football drafts saw running backs being selected for basically the entire first round. Guys like LaDanian Tomlinson, Shawn Alexander, Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch, Jamal Lewis and most recently Jamaal Charles and Eddie Lacy have rounded out the top 10 picks. All of them have one thing in common, they’re all considered 3 down backs or the typical moniker of “bell cow”, but less of those guys are around in today’s NFL and that’s partially due to teams adapting to the offensive style that is seen a lot in college, especially those teams with an option style quarterback, and in fantasy football the PPR format is becoming a universal thing for leagues everywhere so wide receivers have seen a huge uptick in value, and that has dramatically changed the dynamic of fantasy football drafts. An example would the Antonio brown, Julio jones, and Odell Beckham Jr, are basically locks for top 5 picks in drafts next year and “change of pace” backs (e.g Gio Bernard, Dion Lewis) get a boost in value over the classic 2 down plodder (e.g Legarratte Blount, Jeremy Hill) because of their value of catching passes.  Although you could make the argument that those elite wide receivers don’t hold the same value as running backs do in real life. The top 5 statistical wideouts from last season were Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, DeAndre Hopkins, Odell Beckham Jr, and Brandon Marshall, and only 1 of those players teams made the post season.

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However the NFL is a copy cat league, so with teams running those college style offenses over the past few years, teams are vamping up their defenses and adding phenomenal athletes which are key pieces to enable them to defend these offenses. Players like Von Miller, Lavonte David, Ziggy Ansah, and Justin Houston to name a few. So ive noticed a trend of teams wanting to get more athletic guards/tackles to match what were seeing on the defensive side of the ball and be able to still dominate at the line of scrimmage. Were even starting to see it down in the college ranks more and more teams have been catering their offense to a pro style offense, usually predicated on a solid running game. The NFL employs some of the best athletes in the world at all positions, so if a running back is the best athlete on your team why not cater to his skillset? Within the next few years, I believe there will be somewhat of a renaissance of the “bell cow” back. I think we have already started to see the beginning of that with guys like Todd Gurley, LeVeon Bell, Thomas Rawls, and David Johnson to name a few (the jury is still out on Melvin Gordon and Ameer Abdullah). This draft class alone has 2 potential franchise backs in Ezekiel Elliot and Derek Henry, not to mention a few other guys who garner the potential 3 down back tag like Kenneth Dixon, Jordan Howard, Devontae Booker, Jonathan Williams, CJ Prosise, and Keith Marshall. I think all of these backs have the ability to carry the load for an offense. Running back could one of the most important factors to combat a defense filled with world class athletes, you’re going to have match the athleticism and ware them down and beat them with constant physicality. Best way to do that is pound the rock.

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Now I’m not saying every NFL team is going to be able have that coveted type of  running back, some teams really do operate best with a rotational running back system, such as the New England Patriots, but we see all to often in the post season that some teams Achilles heal is not being able to produce an effective running game because they lack someone who can run betwixt the tackles, catch the ball effectively ,pass protect, and they require someone who doesn’t have to come of the field often. I want the guy who can be the lightning and bring the thunder. The upcoming NFL draft could be a good indication of how teams view the value of the position for the foreseeable future, and they’re are players on NFL rosters now who could probably carry the mail for an offense if given the opportunity. But as it pertains to fantasy football, especially for those who play in dynasty leagues like myself, you’re going to want to load up on your shares of young backs because I sense there is a “changing of the guard” and I don’t want to be the one left in the dark.