All posts by startingatthe17

2017 NFL Mock Draft

The anticipation is rising, there is a great deal of excitement in the air and hope for the future fills every fan’s minds. The NFL Draft is tonight! Here is my one and only mock draft for the 2017 NFL Draft. I think that there will be a few trades that will happen tonight but I will not include any of them below and will just have the teams pick in order.

1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE

The “smart” move. Garrett is the top pass rusher in this draft and will greatly improve the Browns pass rush. With new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, a great pass rush is a major piece to the overall success of the defense. I still wouldn’t be surprised if they took Trubisky here but they will likely try to draft him or another quarterback later in this round.

2. San Francisco 49ers: Jamal Adams, S

New 49ers General Manager John Lynch knows the importance of the safety position and Adams is the best safety in the draft. The 49ers’ defense needs to improve significantly from last year and adding Adams will be a big step in the right direction. He is athletic and has great coverage skills.

3. Chicago Bears: Solomon Thomas, DE

The Bears face Aaron Rodgers and Matt Stafford twice a year and they need to be able to generate some pressure to have a chance of stopping these two quarterbacks and their respective offenses. Thomas is great player and should be a major asset to their defense.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, RB

If this draft had better offensive line talent, the Jaguars might’ve picked a lineman here. A running back of Fournette’s caliber will greatly aid quarterback Blake Bortles and the Jacksonville offense as they have struggled to consistently run the football well the last three years. The Jaguars could go QB here but I think they are not ready to give up on Bortles yet.

5. Tennessee Titans: Marshon Lattimore, CB

I’m expecting the Browns to trade up to this spot and draft Trubisky but if they don’t, Lattimore is a good fit for Tennessee. They need some help on the defensive backend as they cannot go into next season with Bryce McCain as the starter, alongside free agent acquisition Logan Ryan. Lattimore is thought to be the best cornerback in the draft and if the Titans draft him, he will immediately step into one of the starting roles in their defense.

6. New York Jets: O.J. Howard, TE

Ah the Jets… It can be a bit difficult to predict who the Jets may draft but one thing is certain; Jets fans are likely to boo the pick, no matter who it is. Howard would be a good fit with the Jets as he can stretch the field, a great pass catcher and block well. The Jets could go defensive line here, or quarterback if the right one is available. Trading down is also a possibility as the Jets have numerous holes to fill.

7. Los Angeles Chargers: Malik Hooker, S

Under new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, the Chargers will need a great play-making safety in their new defense and someone to play the Earl Thomas role. Hooker projects to have similar play-making skills to Ed Reed. A secondary of Casey Hayward, Jason Verrett and Malik Hooker will present challenges to opposing offenses.

8. Carolina Panthers: Jonathan Allen, DE

The Panthers may draft Christian McCaffrey here but with a declining Charles Johnson and a 37 year old Julius Peppers as two of their top three defensive ends, Allen would be a great fit. He would be able to learn from a future Hall of Famer in Peppers and provide much needed depth for the Panthers pass rush. Allen has some lingering concerns regarding a shoulder issue though which is why he might fall out of the top five. If the shoulder isn’t a major issue, this pick will be a steal for the Panthers.

9. Cincinnati Bengals: Reuben Foster, LB

Foster is the best linebacker on the board. His stock has been falling lately due to an incident he had at the NFL combine, where he got into an argument with a medical worker over the medical checks. The NFL sent him home from the combine soon after due to “personal reasons.” He also tested positive for a diluted urine sample at the combine, reportedly due to excessive water drinking. Right now, the Bengals are thin at linebacker and with Kevin Minter and Vontaze Burfict being free agents next year, the Bengals need to groom a replacement.

10. Buffalo Bills: Mike Williams, WR

Outside of Sammy Watkins, the Bills do not have any other great options at wide receiver. Mike Williams is a perfect fit for this team as he is a big target and will be able to compete for jump balls on the outside and complement Watkins. The Bills may target a linebacker here if they decide to draft a receiver in a later round.

11. New Orleans Saints: Marlon Humphrey, CB

The Saints’ defensive backfield is in need of a great deal of help. Humphrey is perfect for them as the Saints do not have a true number one corner on their roster right now and he can come in and fill that role. Fellow cornerback Gareon Conley may have been an option here but he is falling down draft boards drastically due to sexual assault allegations.

12. Cleveland Browns: Mitchell Trubisky, QB

Cleveland gets their quarterback. I think Cleveland may have to trade up to get him though, in order to bypass the Jets, who could take him. Trubisky may have only started 13 games in college but he shows a great deal of upside and if Cleveland sits him for one or two years to groom him, he could turn out to be the best quarterback in this draft.

13. Arizona Cardinals: Patrick Mahomes, QB

Carson Palmer is not getting any younger and the Cardinals need to find and groom their quarterback of the future. Mahomes is perfect for the Cardinals as he has a cannon for an arm, which is something that head coach Bruce Arians loves to have in his quarterbacks, due to his propensity to call deep passing plays. Much like Trubisky, Mahomes is raw but if he can sit and learn behind Palmer for a year or two, he could turn out to be a great player.

14. Philadelphia Eagles: Christian McCaffrey, RB

This is a perfect place for McCaffrey as Eagles head coach Doug Pederson has shown from his time in Kansas City as an offensive coordinator, that he knows how to utilize quick, great pass catching running backs to great success. McCaffrey will be able to run between the tackles, lineup in the shotgun and run outside or even lineup as a slot receiver. He is a great route runner for a running back and has good hands. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was converted to a slot receiver at some point later in his career.

15. Indianapolis Colts: Derek Barnett, DE

The Colts have several needs such as defensive back and offensive line but pass rusher is also a massive need. Barnett is a fantastic pass rusher and in three years at the University of Tennessee, he was able to become the all-time school leader in sacks, breaking the record set by NFL Hall of Famer Reggie White. The Colts are very thin in the pass rush department and Barnett will bring some much needed depth and production to that position.

16. Baltimore Ravens: Cam Robinson, OL

After losing offensive tackle Ricky Wagner in free agency, the Ravens will need to replace him and as many NFL scouts and analysts believe that this a very weak offensive line class, the Ravens will need to grab a quality tackle as quickly as possible. Robinson is a fantastic power run blocker and road grader and with him on the team, the Ravens may be able to improve their struggling running game from last year. Wide receiver and pass rusher are also possibilities here.

17. Washington Redskins: Jarrad Davis, LB

The Redskins defense struggled last year and their linebackers were a rough spot in the defense. They added Zach Brown in free agency but it was only for a one year deal. Davis is a great fit as he is athletic, very physical and is a great tackler, something which is huge need. The Redskins could take Gareon Conley but I think he will fall out of the first round due to the allegations that he is facing.

18. Tennessee Titans: Corey Davis, WR

With their first pick, Tennessee improved their secondary and with this pick, they give quarterback Marcus Mariota a great weapon in Davis and maybe the best wide receiver in the draft. Davis is a fantastic competitor, excels in catching the deep and intermediate balls and has greatly improved his route running. All of these attributes will aid the Tennessee offense tremendously as they struggled with deep passing plays last year.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dalvin Cook, RB

Doug Martin is still in Tampa but they struggled to run the ball when he was out with injuries and dealing with a suspension. Cook is arguably the best running back in this draft and if the Buccaneers select him, reuniting him with his former Florida State teammate quarterback Jameis Winston, and having Mike Evans at wide receiver, the Buccaneers could have a top flight offense this season and be very difficult for opposing defenses to handle.

20. Denver Broncos: Ryan Ramczyk, OL

The Broncos offensive line was terrible last year. They struggled to run block and pass block, making lives very difficult for their running backs and young quarterbacks in Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch. If the Broncos want to have any chance of improving on offense, they will need to improve their offensive line. Ramczyk was a great run and pass blocker at Wisconsin and is athletic. Adding him to the offensive line will start to make lives comfortable for those at quarterback and running back for the Broncos.

21. Detroit Lions: Haason Reddick, LB

The Lions are in desperate need of help at the linebacker position as they only return one starter from last year. The Lions run a base 4-3 defense, which fits Reddick perfectly as he is the perfect size to play the WILL linebacker position. He is a dynamic and explosive playmaker that excels in space and coverage. With Aaron Rodgers in the division, the Lions must have a linebacker who can both get after the quarterback, or cover a tight end or running back.

22. Miami Dolphins: Forest Lamp, OL

With Laremy Tunsil moving from guard to left tackle, the Dolphins will need to draft someone to take over his spot. Lamp is arguably the best guard prospect in this draft and is projected to be a plug and play starter from day one. With Lamp, the Dolphins will be able to protect quarterback Ryan Tannehill and pave holes for running back Jay Ajayi.

23. New York Giants: David Njoku, TE

Njoku has tremendous upside and has the ability to become a star tight end in the league. The Giants struggled with production from their tight end group last season and with head coach Ben McAdoo coming from the Mike McCarthy coaching tree, he loves to have a tight end that stretches the field and creates mismatches. Njoku will create these mismatches and give quarterback Eli Manning a big, athletic target across the middle of the field.

24. Oakland Raiders: Kevin King, CB

The Raiders secondary had issues covering receivers last season and adding King will help improve this group. King is 6’ 3” and is very good at covering receivers on the outside and forcing them out of bounds. This fits this defensive scheme perfectly, as it is led defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. who comes from the Seattle Seahawks defensive school of thought, which favors press cornerbacks in their defense.

25. Houston Texans: Deshaun Watson, QB

Finally, the Texans have found a quarterback. Watson may not have as big of an upside as Trubisky, or Mahomes but he may be more ready to play right away. The Texans have struggled for years at quarterback and it seems to be the only thing that has prevented them from going deep into the playoffs and having success. Watson doesn’t have a huge arm but he is mobile and has great leadership.

26. Seattle Seahawks: Garrett Bolles, OL

Seattle have massive holes on the offensive line. They have struggled the last few years in pass protection which has caused quarterback Russell Wilson to become beat up the last couple of seasons. The Seahawks need to protect their franchise quarterback and Bolles is a step in the right direction.

27. Kansas City Chiefs: John Ross, WR

Ross broke the NFL combine record this year in the 40 yard dash and is a home-run threat. Kansas City could use some more weapons and with Jeremy Maclin becoming a free agent soon, some depth at the wide receiver position is needed. If Watson was still on the board, Kanas City may have selected him to groom him behind their current starting quarterback, Alex Smith.

28. Dallas Cowboys: Charles Harris, LB

Dallas needs a pass rusher desperately. They struggled to rush the passer last year and it was evident in their loss to the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs last season. Harris plays with great energy and has great speed. He has issues dropping into coverage but rushes the passer well so Dallas may just utilize him as a pass rush specialist.

29. Green Bay Packers: T.J. Watt, LB

Watt is the popular, trendy pick for the Packers. Watt may have only played one full year as a linebacker but he was very productive at Wisconsin, notching 11.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for a loss. He plays with a very high motor, is great with his hands and is a good tackler. Outside of Clay Matthews and Nick Perry, the Packers do not have much depth at the outside linebacker position so Watt will provide some much needed help on that front. While some pass rushers may be more NFL ready than Watt, he probably has the highest potential out of all of them.

30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Takkarist McKinley, LB

Outside of a 38 year old James Harrison and Bud Dupree, the Steelers do not have much of a pass rush and they struggled last year when these two players were not on the field. McKinley has a great work ethic and closing speed but is a bit raw as a pass rusher. With time though, he should be able to become more polished.

31. Atlanta Falcons, Taco Charlton, DE

These last three picks have been pass rushers and that trend continues here. Vic Beasley is their top pass rusher but as this is a quarterback-driven league, the more pass rushers a team has the better. Charlton is an impressive 6’6″ and is very athletic and is a good pass rusher. He struggles against the run but that can be improved.

32. New Orleans Saints: DeShone Kizer, QB

The Saints could go defense with this pick but as quarterback Drew Brees is 38 years old, it’s time for the Saints to draft and groom his successor. Kizer has a massive arm and can make every NFL throw and is athletic. His mechanics need some work as he can be too reliant on his arm strength at times but if he can sit and learn from Brees and head coach Sean Payton for a year or two, Kizer could be very successful in the future.

Super Bowl 50 Prediction!

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The anticipation is building. People are running to the store in preparation. The analysts are analyzing every angle once more, eager for the action to begin. The players are preparing and ready for the game to begin. Today is Super Bowl 50 in the National Football League and is the culmination of this football season and what every team has worked towards. It’s the young, loose and hungry Carolina Panthers against the more veteran, but equally as hungry, Denver Broncos.

Today is Super Bowl 50 and I’m very excited! Even though my favorite team, the Green Bay Packers were unable to reach the Super Bowl this year, I’m still a massive fan of the NFL and I’m eager to watch this game between the Panthers and Broncos. We could be seeing the rise of a young team, as well as saying goodbye to a legend in this game.

The Panthers went 15-1 during the regular season and with a group of players, offensively, not too many analysts of the NFL were impressed with but yet, with that rag-tag group they were the best offense in football led by their quarterback, the dynamic Cam Newton. While they were great offensively, they were also fantastic defensively as led by linebackers Thomas Davis, Luke Kuechly and cornerback Josh Norman they were a physical, loose group playing with the utmost confidence.

The Broncos went 12-4 during the regular season but it came with ups and downs. Going into the season, many analysts considered them Super Bowl contenders but many wondered if quarterback Peyton Manning, at age 39, still had enough in the tank. Early on, it was apparent to most that the Broncos were led by their defense, rather than their offense, as they were fast, physical, dominant and thrived off of turnovers. While their defense was fantastic throughout the whole season – they finished as the number one defense – the offense was not good. Manning was dealing with injuries and looked like his skills had deteriorated significantly with age as he threw 17 interceptions, compared to nine touchdowns in all 10 games he played. The Broncos were forced to bench Manning and turn to his backup, Brock Osweiler.

Osweiler led the Broncos to four wins as their starting quarterback and played decently but also had two losses. In the regular season finale, he was benched due to ineffectiveness and Manning was placed in the game and led the Broncos to a win and locked up home-field advantage in the playoffs. In the playoffs, The Broncos, led by their punishing defense, along with a noticeably healthier Manning led the team to wins against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots to reach the Super Bowl.

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Now the time has arrived. It’s the Panthers versus the Broncos, the best offense in football against the best defense. The young, dynamic quarterback in Newton versus the cerebral, veteran quarterback in Manning. Which team will win? Many analysts are favoring the Panthers due to their prolific offense and their great defense but I’m leaning more towards the Broncos.

This Broncos defense has been overshadowed a bit in the lead up to the Super Bowl and I think they will come out firing on all cylinders against the Panthers. I also think the Panthers offense is slightly overrated as they have not played against too many good teams this year and when they have, they’ve blown big leads and let the games be decided in the final minutes. They did that against the Indianapolis Colts, the New York Giants, the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers. While the Panthers have won those games, I think they have been a bit misleading. The Panthers haven’t faced a defense of the Broncos caliber and I think that will show as the Broncos will slow the Panthers down and it will be a low scoring game.

Finally though, one of the main reasons I’m rooting for the Broncos in the Super Bowl is because I believe that this will be Peyton Manning’s last game in the NFL and I would love to see him go out on top. Manning is arguably the best quarterback in NFL history and in his 18 seasons, there has never been a more consistent great player that epitomizes everything that the NFL wants in a player on and off the field. He is also the smartest quarterback I’ve ever watched as he seems to know many times what the defense is about to do before the play begins and he adjusts by calling audibles, or making dummy calls to confuse the defense. For most of his career, he’s essentially called his own plays and been his own offensive coordinator. Once he retires, I could definitely see him becoming a coach, or executive in the NFL some day.

I believe that this will be a great, close, physical game between two great defenses with the offenses playing a supporting role. The phrase, “defense wins championships” is never more true than in the Super Bowl. I’m predicting that the Broncos will beat the Panthers 26-23 and the old sheriff, Peyton Manning, will ride off into the sunset with the Lombardi Trophy in hand.

So there is my predication on Super Bowl 50, What’s yours? Share in the comments below!

Playoff Time!

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The anticipation is building. There is excitement in the air but it’s filled with nervous energy. It’s playoff time in the National Football League and it’s time to see what teams will reach the ultimate goal of winning Super Bowl 50 and hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. As a Green Bay Packers fan, I hope the Packers will win the Super Bowl but it may be difficult for them to get there.

This season has been filled with many exciting and stressful moments for the Packers with many close games coming down to the wire, resulting mostly in loses. Against the Carolina Panthers, Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears and the Minnesota Vikings, the Packers were just one score away from either tying, or winning the game. In these games they were plagued by drops from wide receivers, up and down offensive line play, miscommunication between Aaron Rodgers and his receivers and some poor throws as well. There are roughly one or two plays from each of those games that if they had gone the other way, the Packers win those games.

The fact that they have switched player callers from Associate Head Coach Tom Clements back to Head Coach Mike McCarthy, may have had some affect on the team. The offense looked out of sorts for the majority of these games but managed to get hot and make things interesting at the end of games. Unfortunately, they couldn’t close the deal.

The plus side though is that the defense behind Dom Capers has been pretty good this year and has kept the Packers in games late. They have bended a few times allowing opposing teams to drive up and down on the field but have held firm in the red zone. Special Teams has also been vastly improved from last year’s horrendous play and that’s a credit to new Special Teams Coach Ron Zook.

This afternoon the Packers will play the Washington Redskins and this game could be very interesting because for all of the Packers offensive issues this year, their defense has been very good, special teams are pretty good and the offense has shown the ability to get hot and be dangerous in games. The key is consistency. If the Packers can find some consistence offensively by either running the ball, or passing against a suspect Washington defense, the Packers will have a great shot at winning the game. The Packers defense will also have to limit the red-hot Washington offense led by Kirk Cousins in order to give Aaron Rodgers and the offense a shot in this game.

I’m very excited to watch the Packers this afternoon but I’m definitely a little nervous about their chance. Hopefully all goes well and the Packers win this game and continue on their quest to bring the Lombardi Trophy back home to Titletown!

What are your thoughts on the game? Share them in the comments below.

Superstitions and the NFL….

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Superstitions are a funny thing, some people have them and some people don’t whether it’s regarding sports, a job interview or day to day life. Probably the area where superstitions are most prevalent has to be sports.

Fans with superstitions have the belief that they can somehow effect the game with something they do, even if they aren’t involved with the game at all. From the point of view of fans who don’t have superstitions, it must be kind of funny to think that someone who has no impact on the game whatsoever could think that something as small as wearing a certain shirt or do a certain routine, could have any effect at all on the game. But for some reason, with no logic at all (probably) fans think and continue to believe in their superstitions.

While fans have their superstations, players and coaches also have superstitions. For instance, Green Bay Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy has to have a black, or blue sharpie for the first half of a game and have a red one for the second half and New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton always has to chew Juicy Fruit bubble gum during the game. A superstition a little on the strange, or crazy side was that former NFL defensive lineman John Henderson needed to be slapped in the face, hard, a couple times before each game. To each his own I suppose!

I’m one of those fans who believes in superstitions. During the AFL season when I was working for the Orlando Predators, every home game when I would be there prepare for the game, I had to wear the same pair of khaki shorts and either a plain red shirt, green shirt or gray shirt. Every game-day before I would leave home, I would remind myself that I needed to wear those khaki shorts and one of those shirts, or it could be bad. Then during the game, I always needed to have a pen in my possession so sometimes, I would bring three or four pens with me to make sure I had a pen!

I’m not sure how these superstitions started but for some reason every game before I thought they had an effect on the outcome of the game. I don’t know if these superstitions had any effect or not but I’d like to believe that if I hadn’t been wearing those clothes, or had a pen, things could’ve been a lot worse!

During the NFL season I also have a couple superstitions that I must do before and during any Green Bay Packers game, as they are my favorite team. The first thing that I have to do is visualize every night leading up to the game that the Packers are going to win and I have to imagine the feeling I will have one they win. Then I have to repeat five times that “the Green Bay Packers are going to beat _______.” During the game, I have to repeat that mantra at least once a quarter. More if they are losing.

Probably the biggest superstition I have is that no one can take any pictures during the game. This superstition specifically applies to my mom because she is always taking pictures! This started out in 2009 because I was annoyed that my mom was taking a picture of me when I was watching a game and when the Packers lost I thought one of the reasons for the loss was because my mom took that picture of me! Since then though, I have told my mom she cannot take a picture of me during a Packer game. She has been pretty good with putting up with this superstition until she fell off the wagon in January of this year.

My dad and I were in the middle of watching the Green Bay Packers vs Seattle Seahawks NFC Championship game and I was very nervous since the Seahawks had beaten the Packers the last few times they played each other, starting in 2012 with the “Fail Mary” game. In any case, I was on edge and repeating that mantra I have over and over as many times as I could and it seemed to be working as the Packers were leading 16-7! Morgan Burnett had just intercepted a pass when my mom came over and tried to take a picture of us watching the game and based on my superstition, I tried to tell her no. For the rest of my life, I will never forget what she said and what happened next, she looked over at the screen and said “there are five minutes left! The Packers are going to win the game. You’ll be fine!” So, I let her take the picture and after that, it was all downhill for the Packers.

Suddenly their defense crumbled, Seattle’s offense got hot and somehow a player (who shall remain nameless!) forgot to follow through his simple job of blocking a guy on special teams, to allow Jordy Nelson, the Packers top wide receiver, to corral an onside kick. Needless to say, I told my mom after that game that under no circumstance would she ever take a picture of me during a Packer game again!

Now I’m not sure if any superstitions that fans, players or coaches have affect the game and even though there may not be any logic behind them, I’d like to think that they do have some effect however small. People may not be able to disprove them or prove them but I will stand by my superstition about pictures being taken of me during games!

2015 NFL Draft Wrap Up

(Graphic credit: National Football League via NFL Communications

Excitement mixed with some confusion, remains as the dust settles around the 2015 NFL Draft with rookie mini-camps finished and the start of off-season workouts. Players have been drafted, players who were undrafted have been signed to teams and NFL teams continue to rebuild, or strengthen their rosters for the upcoming NFL season.

In this draft, there was not too many trades, or crazy moves that many had predicted, or had hoped for. Myself included. That is fine though because it shows that many teams were calm, cool and collected and did not want to mortgage their future in favor of getting better right away. As history has shown, sometimes making those moves are not very beneficial. (i.e the Ricky Williams trade) For the most part, I enjoyed watching the draft, even if I was confused at first by some moves that some teams, mainly the Green Bay Packers, made.

Going into the NFL Draft, it was thought by many that the Packers biggest weakness was the inside linebacker position and to a lesser extent, the defensive tackle position as well as the cornerback position. So it was assumed by a lot of people, myself included, that the Packers would draft an inside linebacker with their first round pick but we all forgot one critical piece of information. Packers General Manager Ted Thompson generally does not have the same thoughts that most fans do.

Thompson prescribes to the “take the best player available” theory, which means he will draft the best player that is currently on their draft board. He’s used this method to great success with the most notable time being in the 2005 NFL Draft, when he drafted Aaron Rodgers, with the 24th pick. For his first round pick this year, the highest player he had on his board was safety/cornerback Damarious Randall so he took him. I was pretty surprised Thompson had taken a defensive back that high and even more surprised when he drafted another defensive back, Quinten Rollins in the second round.

Thompson then followed up those two picks by taking wide receiver, Ty Montgomery, in the third round, inside linebacker Jake Ryan in the fourth and quarterback Brett Hundley in the fifth. In the sixth round, Thompson selected his last three players which were fullback Aaron Ripkowski, defensive lineman Christian Ringo and tight end Kennard Backman.

In my opinion, this ended up being a solid draft for the Packers as they have filled the holes at the cornerback position and drafted a potential starter at inside linebacker. I also believe that many of these players could help improve the special teams unit, which was terrible last year so that is a major plus. We won’t really know how this draft will turn out until the players have been in the NFL for at least three years but for at least right now, it looks like Ted Thompson, once again, stayed cool, calm and collected and led another solid draft for the Packers.

The 2015 NFL Draft and Ted Thompson

Photo credit: AP Photo/Morrey Gash per Grantland.com
Green Bay Packers General Manager Ted Thompson  (Photo credit: AP Photo/Morry Gash via Grantland.com)

The anticipation is building. There’s excitement in the air. Playoffs are going on and the NFL Draft is tomorrow! Right now, even though many other sports leagues are conducting their playoff series, the 2015 NFL Draft is dominating the conversations throughout the sports world. Questions like, “Who will go number one? Who will my favorite team pick and what will happen in the draft?” are asked every single day. Tomorrow though, all of these questions will be answered!

A few predictions that I have for the draft are that Jameis Winston will be picked number one overall, as he’s arguably the best quarterback in the draft and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers need a quarterback and that Marcus Mariota will be drafted somewhere in the top 10. My dark horse prediction is that somehow, someway, Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles will trade up and draft Mariota.

While it will be very interesting to see what every team will do in the draft, especially teams like the Philadelphia Eagles and Tennessee Titans that are shrouded in trade speculation and intrigue, I’m more excited to see what the Green Bay Packers will do in the draft, as they are my favorite team. Green Bay Packers General Manager Ted Thompson has been one of finest overall general managers in the league during his tenure and where he really excels is the draft, building the team from the draft and undrafted free agency.

Thompson has a way of finding great talent during the draft and he never seems to make a decision based on emotions. He always seems to be cool, calm and collected during the draft, which has served him and the Packers well. He never seems to make desperate, risky moves in the draft and is more in favor of good, solid moves.

Sometimes, Packer fans may like it more if Thompson would trade up more to get better players, or make more exciting big moves in the draft by trading players but instead, Thompson stands pat and follows his board, to great success. Thompson rarely has traded up but when he has, he has drafted players such as Clay Matthews and Casey Hayward. When he’s stayed pat, or even traded down, he drafted players like Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson and Josh Sitton.

While Thompson is usually pretty successful drafting players, he and the Packers Personnel Department are also very adept at finding quality undrafted players and bringing them in. Some of the more notable undrafted free agent signings Thompson has made are cornerbacks Tramon Williams, Sam Shields and offensive lineman Don Barclay. Williams and Shields developed into Pro Bowl players and Barclay has developed into an solid starter and versatile backup on the offensive line.

For the draft this year, I hope Thompson does what he usually does in the draft and stands pat, or trades down. He tends to be more successful in the draft when he makes those kinds of moves. There are two players I hope Thompson and the Packers do draft, as I think they could become great players for the team.

I hope they draft Linebacker Stephone Anthony with their first, or second round pick. Inside linebacker is a major need for the Packers and the team needs an athletic linebacker that can cover running backs, tight ends and possibly wide receivers. Anthony excels in these areas. I also hope they draft Cornerback Jacoby Glenn in the second or third round.

Glenn is a solid tackler and is a ballhawk with fantastic hands and would be an asset to the Packers secondary. The Packers have lost a couple cornerbacks in free agency this year so by drafting Glenn, they gain a solid player with great potential. Plus, it never hurts to have more solid cornerbacks in league that is passing the ball more and more.

So, while the 2015 NFL Draft is filled with intrigue and speculation regarding where players like Winston and Mariota might be drafted and what moves teams like the Philadelphia Eagles and Tennessee Titans might make, I am more interested to see what Thompson will do in this draft and what moves he will make. I am confident that once again, Thompson and the Green Bay Packers will have a solid draft and find some great players for the team.

Quick Update!

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The days are shorter and the temperature is continuing to drop. It’s Fall here in Florida and Winter is coming in a hurry! Hello all, it’s been a while since I’ve updated the blog and kept you guys up to date on what I’m doing. I was pretty busy this past summer with work, travel and volunteering with the Orlando Predators. Things have calmed down a little bit and I’m hoping I can use this time to get in a better routine!

As of right now, I’m still working at LeadsOnDemand and it has been pretty busy the last couple of months which has been intense. Lately, I have taken on more responsibilities, which is great; I love the challenge. I’m also looking for opportunities in the law field now because I plan to go back to law school in a couple of years. In addition, I’m always interested in opportunities in pro football since my long-range goal is to work in the NFL. Experience in both fields would be invaluable to me.

Because it’s football season and I’m a major football fan, I’ve been spending a lot of my free time following the NFL and NCAA. I’m more of a fan of the NFL than the NCAA though, because the Green Bay Packers are my favorite team. I even own a share in the team! 

There has been a lot of drama this season in the NFL and NCAA with regards to player behavior and it disappoints me that these guys have the opportunity to do what they love doing and they are wasting it by making poor decisions. I’m not sure why so many players continue to make poor decisions and it frustrates me because they have all of this fantastic talent and a gigantic opportunity to do what they love, and they are wasting it away. Hopefully though, all of these issues will be resolved and maybe more players will become wiser because of it. In any case though, I am happy that many of the Packer players seem to have been able to stay away from these sorts of issues as it allows them to live their lives and do their jobs in relative peace.

Exciting times!

The sun is shining, flowers are blooming and the temperature is rising. Summer is right around the corner! These last couple of months have been a great learning experience for me and have presented me with many opportunities. I have been very busy working at Leads On Demand and the Orlando Predators these last couple of months and it’s been a great learning experience as I have been able to learn more about the ins and outs of the internet marketing business, as well as the running of a sports team.

It’s been an interesting and nervous but exciting time at the Predators this last month because we are currently going through an ownership change and I have never been a part of something like this. Our previous owner didn’t leave on the best of terms as he wasn’t paying his bills, so the AFL took the team away from him and he wasn’t too happy about it. So, even though it’s a little dicey right now for the Predators, there are a couple ownership groups out there who are very interested in buying the team. It’s kind of exciting and very interesting to be of part of this kind of experience because it’s nothing like anything I’ve been a part of before. Hopefully it all works out in the end!

Erik Slaby Lake Legal NewsAlso, in these last couple months, I got the opportunity to be the feature article and cover for a local magazine called Lake Legal News (LLN)! LLN is local legal magazine here in Lake County and I was contacted by the publisher and editor of the magazine, James Hope about working together on a feature article for their upcoming edition. Mr. Hope said that he “discovered” me by reading an edition of The Bunk Room and coming across my blog and becoming very interested in my story. I’m very excited to be a part of LLN and honored that someone in the legal community has taken an interest in my story and has read my blog. It is hard for me to know if people are actually reading my blog, so when something like this happens, I get very excited and happy that people actually are reading my blog. It also makes me feel satisfied and proud that my blog is being read and it’s an awesome feeling!

What’s Up!

Phones are ringing. Fingers are clicking away on keyboards. Welcome to The Jungle blasts through speakers over the roar of the crowd. These last couple months have been super crazy for me! I just got a new job working at an internet marketing company, Leads On Demand and just started interning for the Orlando Predators again! My weeks are pretty hectic with having to go to work and intern, but it’s a lot of fun.

The company I work for, Leads On Demand is a pretty interesting business idea and everyone who works there is awesome. There is always positive energy surrounding everyone and that makes working there so much better than if there was no positive energy, or not a lot. What’s also cool about working there is that my dad works there as well! He’s higher on the totem pole than me but that’s to be expected given my very limited experience in the work industry. It’s fun though because I can see him all the time and talk to him whenever I want (as long he and I aren’t busy working!).

Interning at the Predators has been a lot of fun so far this year. The office moved to a new location, the team facility is at a different location and we play our home games at CFE Arena instead of the Amway Center! There are also a ton of new players, interns, coaches and staff members. I am the only intern returning from last year this season, other than Minh who is now an employee, so it is definitely very interesting doing things I’ve done before with a bunch of different people.

So far we’ve played three games and we won all of them! We are 3-0 for the first time since 2005! It’s a big accomplishment as the whole coaching staff, players and people in the office have all helped changed the culture of the Predators around.

On gameday, I try to get to CFE Arena as early as possible to help Amie (my boss) and Mallory (another intern) set up and make sure everything is all ready for the game. Running the promotions during the game is probably the easiest thing, out of all the things we have to do. Once the game starts, everything usually goes pretty smoothly. Hopefully, the Predators keep on winning and get to the Arena Bowl!

Starting Fresh

Moving Forward

 

There’s a nervous tension in the air. The air is also filled with excitement about what the future might bring and what it might hold. I am excited and nervous for what the future might hold for me as for the first time in my life, I have no set destination with any direction. I am like Jack’s compass in Pirates of the Caribbean that doesn’t point north, but to the thing the holder wants most. I am spinning like that compass, as I’m not sure what I want to do, or where to go, but I have a lot of ideas and plans that I have to figure out.

All throughout my time at Rasmussen College I had a set direction: Finish school, get your bachelor’s degree and then go to law school. Now, I am no longer in law school so my compass has changed. It is no longer pointing in one direction, but spinning in a multitude of directions. I am very disappointed that I’m going to be back for another semester of law school but I already have a few ideas in the works. I have to plan them out a little more extensively, but I have the foundation set.

Right now, I’m going to be focusing on getting a job so that I can pay off my student loans as quickly as possible and start saving some money for the future. Ideally, I’d like to get a job in law firm so that can earn money, while still learning about the law. I’m also going to be working a lot more on my bike rental business, EL Bike Rental, to try to expand it and generate more revenue from it.

A project that I have in the works, is probably one of the most exciting things I’m going to be doing! I’m going to be working on a book about NFL General Managers! I’m planning on interviewing all the NFL General Managers and asking them a series of questions about their job and their life. Hopefully, I will be able to talk to all of the GMs and the book will be a success.

So, while I’m not quite sure what my final destination is and I don’t have everything planned out yet, I have a lot of ideas for projects for me to do. Once I get everything organized and a plan down, I’m hoping that everything goes smoothly from there on out!