Are the Miami Heat’s Title Hopes Over This Year?

After a really tough OT loss in Game 1 and a Game 2 barrage of 3’s from the Bucks that lead to a 34 point loss for Miami, many around the NBA feel like the Heat can already be counted out.

As a Heat fan myself, I usually back up the team no matter what. We all know how special this team was during their NBA Finals run last season, but this year they look totally lost. Jimmy Butler has struggled with 25% shooting from the field and 13.5 PPG in the first two games and Bam Adebayo has been only slightly better with 34% shooting and 12.5 PPG. With abysmal performances from the centerpieces of your offense, it’s really hard to believe in this 2021 playoff squad. Especially when role players like Tyler Herro, Goran Dragic, Trevor Ariza, and so on aren’t really picking up any slack.

I’m not shaking in my boots about the extraordinary shooting by Milwaukee in Game 2. Great teams are bound to have outings like that, and even with a defensively strong team like Miami– there’s nothing you can do to stop it. What worries me is the offensive woes of the Heat. This team is very one dimensional and the Bucks exploited that in Game 2. As mentioned, the stars and role players have struggled to get into rhythm. In fact, the only one to show any signs of life has been Dewayne Dedmon, whose only been part of the team for a short while. Expect him to have a more significant role tonight in the Game 3 matchup after Dedmon showed great effort crashing the boards and getting second chance buckets. However, outside Dedmon, the team showed no interest in rebounding or playing tight defense after the second half. They seemed unconfident and as if they gave up super early. A team splashing 3’s like that is obviously demoralizing, but championship caliber teams never cave in.

Game 3’s performance will be indicative of whether or not Miami is actually done already in this series, even after making the Finals last season. Obviously, going down 3-0 is not ideal, however if they are able to find themselves offensively and be super competitive like in Game 1 or even find a way to snag a win tonight, then I’ll have faith in them to potentially take this series the distance. It’s going to take a lot, but HC Eric Spoelstra is one of the best in the business and is one of the few guys in the NBA I’d trust to coach their way back into an uneven feeling series. If we get anything less than a win or an ultra competitive 48 minutes….

Then this series is a wrap.

Shannon Sharpe Abuses Stardom on Live TV for Content

In the sports world, most people know Undisputed– that show where Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe yell at each other all day long about their insane sports theories and opinions. It’s stemmed much further from sports news and focused much more heavily on pure entertainment based on the way they behave, the things they say, and the content they bring to the table. However, yesterday the Undisputed cast crossed the line when Shannon Sharpe called Falcons WR Julio Jones on air and essentially interviewed him without permission.

Shannon Sharpe calls Julio Jones live on Fox’s Undisputed (Screenshot from the show).

Sports journalism, like in other areas of journalism, has boundaries you don’t cross. One of the most important ones involving this wonderful thing that we heavily value called privacy. When Shannon Sharpe decided to call Julio Jones and talk about his current feelings about the Atlanta Falcons on air, he needed to first inform him that he was on live TV, but doing so could possibly alter Julio’s answer, so the hosts decided to wait until after they got their “insider information” until after the fact, which is unbelievably wrong and is indicative of Julio’s not knowing he was on national television.

Interviews, especially ones that involve speaking about your employer and possibly other interested employers (the Falcons and other trade suitors) can be extremely personal. Being in a one on one situation with a trusted friend/colleague versus being on live TV is very different for obvious reasons.

If Julio Jones had decided to come to the studio or do a live video meeting to discuss his trade situation, then that would have been much different. This would have required an agreement on both sides to talk about a personal business matter in front of a national audience. Julio would have been both aware of the circumstances and willing to discuss them. However, Sharpe decided that it would be “okay” if they called the Falcons’ star and wring the information out of him before letting him know he was on their show and completely break the code of ethics that journalists are supposed to follow.

As of right now, there are no reports confirming or denying whether Julio knew what was going on, but by making a phone call, the star WR likely saw this as a friend calling a friend to see how they were feeling about their employment situation. Since it’s been nearly 24 hours since the incident and there’s been no reports of Julio knowing he was on air, it feels safe to say that he had no clue. Otherwise, Fox (the network that runs Undisputed) would have jumped on that knowledge and it released it for their own PR department’s sake.

Given the gravity of a mistake this big, most journalists or reporters wouldn’t have jobs if they pulled a stunt like this. Whether Skip and Shannon see themselves as sports journalists or not, they serve the public knowledge and information on the sports world, and this behavior should not be passed as okay.

When entertainment begins to be favored over actual, professional journalistic work, that’s when the line is crossed. You get malpractice, screaming matches, and big personalities making crazy statements rather than civil, professional, and analytical discussions. Have we really just accepted this obnoxious behavior in other media outlets to the point where star personalities can break rules and privacy laws in order to drive traffic to their show?

Way Too Early NFC Division Winner Predictions (5/21/21)

Here I am again to predict early NFL division winners. This time around, I want to cover the NFC and it’s wiiide spectrum of talent across the conference.

NFC East: Washington Football Team

Let’s start with an easier pick, well at least for me. The NFC East is by far the worst division in the conference. Dallas and Philly both have major defensive issues, while the Giants have an uncertainty at QB in Daniel Jones, a star RB coming off major knee surgery and an unproven offensive line. Washington, however, is much more solid all across their roster.

In my opinion, Washington has a top 5 caliber defense with possibly the best defensive front seven in the league, explosive weapons offensively with Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, and Antonio Gibson, plus they signed veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick who could provide some much needed consistency to this team. Given the foundation of this team and the weapons they’ve added in recent years, I think they’re a star QB away from title contention. For now though, I’ll give them the NFC East crown.

NFC West: Los Angeles Rams

This pick was a bit tough. The NFC West is filled with talented rosters all throughout. You can never count out Seattle with Russell Wilson, Tyler Lockette, DK Metcalf, and a talented defense– but their offensive line play is what holds them back in my eye. Arizona has made some splashy moves this offseason and looks to be a very solid team, but can Kyler Murray lead a team to over 11 wins? That’s likely what it will take to win this extremely competitive division, and I’m not entirely sure he’s at the stage in his career where he’s ready to unleash that type of productivity. The 49ers will be interesting, as they get Jimmy G. and a lot of other stars back from COVID or injury, but I think they’ll take this season as a stepping stone transition for 3rd overall pick Trey Lance… leaving the Rams in line for a NFC West title.

LA made the first huge move of the off-season in late January when they sent multiple draft picks and Jared Goff over to Detroit in exchange for QB Matthew Stafford, who I consider to be one of most talented, underrated QBs in the NFL. He adds a whole new level of arm talent to Sean McVay’s system that allows the offense to open up completely. With Jared Goff, they were limited in terms of arm strength, but Stafford has a cannon and can make elite throws that sets this Rams offense up to be even more dynamic than it already was. They have weapons in Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, DeSean Jackson, and Cam Akers, so look for this offense to be extremely lethal and high scoring.

On the flip side, they have elite talent on the defensive side of the ball. Aaron Donald is a perennial All-Pro defensive line force and Jalen Ramsey is a top-3 lockdown corner in the league. Both players can anchor a defense on their own, but together they automatically make this Rams defense extremely dangerous. Plus, they added lots of front seven depth though free agency and the draft, which just makes their case to win this division even stronger in my opinion.

NFC North: Minnesota Vikings

This was a tricky choice. Aside from Detroit, who is obviously in rebuild mode, this division has a tight race for the winner of the division. Green Bay is by far the best team in this division…when they aren’t struggling with internal problems that could impact the future success of the team. I expect Aaron Rogers to be traded at some point before the trade deadline, so that takes them out of contention for me. The Bears have a very talented roster as well, especially on the defensive side of the ball. My concern comes with 1. the offensive line and 2. Justin Fields as a potential franchise QB. If you’ve read my draft notes and articles (which you should have by the way), you’d know that I am not sold on Fields as an NFL success, so they are also out for me.

With those three teams out, I have to go with the Minnesota Vikings. Of all the teams in this division, Minnesota has the least amount of uncertainty and most amount of potential, at least in my opinion. They have an elite WR tandem between Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson, an explosive dual threat RB in Dalvin Cook, a young and fast defense with veterans at key starting positions, and a solid QB in Kirk Cousins. I really feel that the Vikings can pull through here. This is their opportunity to sneak a division title amidst the issues and questions surrounding their division mates.

NFC South: Carolina Panthers

I might get some heat for this one, but hear me out. New Orleans is going to take a massive step back without Drew Brees and Atlanta can score at will, but has a tendency to blow leads defensively. They’re out for me.

Yes, I’m aware of the defending Super Bowl Champion Buccaneers and Tom Brady, but they really had issues in the regular season last season and if they slip up early on again that may leave room for a young exciting team like Carolina to take advantage.

Carolina got young QB Sam Darnold from the Jets at a bargain price this off season. I really have high hopes and see star power in this kid. He came into the NFL surrounded by dysfunction all over the Jets franchise, but now with Carolina he gets offensive line protection, star offensive talent, and a young solid defense. Despite only having 5 wins last season, this team was very competitive and played in a lot of close games with great teams. Adding Darnold, getting back Christian McCaffery, and having Robby Anderson/D.J Moore will take this offense to the next level in terms of efficiency and production. Panthers just might surprise the league and win this division. BOOK IT.

NBA Play In Tournament: Everything you NEED to know

Tomorrow, the NBA play in games begin with with a double header set of games with the Hornets/Pacers and Celtics/Wizards, but a lot of NBA fans are not really up to date with how this tournament actually works. So, here’s everything you need to know.

Put simply, the tournament involves the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th seeded teams in each conference. In each conference, there will be 3 games that work as follows:

Game 1: The first game involves the 7/8 seeds. Of these two, the team with the highest winning percentage gets home court advantage. Whoever wins this games earns the official 7th seed in their respective conference playoffs. The loser gets another chance in the 3rd game.

Game 2: Here, the 9th seed will host the 10th seed. The loser of this game is automatically eliminated, while the winner moves on to game 3 to play the loser of game 1.

Game 3: In this game, the loser of game 1 plays the winner of game 2. The winner of this matchup brings home the 8th seed of their conference playoffs.

Now, to put things into context for this year’s play in games, here’s what it will look like:

(Game 3 is determined by the losers of game 1 and winner of game 2)

Game 1’s:

Washington Wizards @ Boston Celtics: 5/18 9pm EST

Golden State Warriors @ LA Lakers: 5/19 10pm EST

Game 2’s:

Charlotte Hornets @ Indiana Pacers: 5/18 6:30pm EST

San Antonio Spurs @ Memphis Grizzlies: 5/19 7:30pm EST

(Game 3 is determined by the losers of game 1 and winner of game 2)

Way Too Early AFC Division Winner Predictions (5/15/21)

Yes, I’m aware that it’s only May, but with the release of the full NFL schedule…why not get some early predictions in?

AFC East: Buffalo Bills

After a spectacular season in 2020 with the take off of Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs, I think the Bills repeat as AFC East champs. They have such a solid defense and one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL, if they get hot again like they did at the end of the 2020 season then there’s no doubt they’ll steal this division with ease, even with the rising Dolphins and a rebooted Patriots team in the mix.

AFC North: Cleveland Browns

The Browns have really put together an elite defense over the past few seasons, and with the additions of Jadeveon Clowney, Jeremiah Owusu-Koromoah, Greg Newsome, and John Johnson, they got even better. On top of that, the Browns have the best 1-2 punch set of RBs in the NFL between Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb and a top 5 offensive line… not to mention Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry catching passes on the outside. This team is absolutely loaded and should crush this division.

AFC South: Indianapolis Colts

After the retirement of Philip Rivers, the Colts didn’t hesitate in going to replace their QB1 spot with Carson Wentz– reuniting him with Frank Reich who helped him play his way into the MVP race in 2017. Now, with a top 5 offensive line (Eric Fisher recently was signed to fill the Anthony Castonzo void at LT) and a very young, talented defense led by Darius Leonard and DeForrest Buckner– this team should run away with this division. Especially with a disastrous Houston Team, a rebuilding Jacksonville, and an incomplete Titans squad.

AFC West: Kansas City Chiefs

This one was a bit tougher than the rest. I think the Chargers are a really solid team with an elite young QB in Justin Herbert, but Pat Mahomes with a totally revamped offensive line is a scary thought. The Chiefs were also able to add some fun new offensive weapons through the draft, which makes their already dynamic offense even better.

3 Teams That Can Upset the Brooklyn Nets in the NBA Playoffs

Ever since acquiring long time Rockets star, James Harden, the Brooklyn Nets have been outright favorites to win the Eastern Conference. As good as their big three in Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving is, are they really unstoppable? I don’t think so. I think teams with veteran head coaches, excellent shooting, and elite defensive play will give the Nets problems. Here are the three eastern conference squads that I really think can hang around with Brooklyn.

Philadelphia 76ers

Apr 14, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris (12) celebrates with guard Ben Simmons (25) and center Joel Embiid (21) against the Brooklyn Nets during the second quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Sixers have exploded this season under Doc Rivers. Joel Embiid has blossomed into a 50 point game threat and MVP Candidate, Ben Simmons has been elite defensively, and Tobias Harris scores at will when Philly needs him most. They might not have the bigger names, but don’t sell the Sixers short in terms of star talent.

Outside the core, this team is really sound all around. They have talented shooters in Danny green and Seth Curry, bench scorers in Shake Milton and Tyrese Maxey, and they have elite defenders in Embiid, Simmons, and Matisse Thybulle (with a 2nd ranked defensive ranking in the league). With some better depth, defensive play, and Embiid as the clear cut most dominant big between Philly and Brooklyn– the 76ers really have a shot to oust Brooklyn in what would likely be an Eastern Conference matchup.

Miami Heat

Many NBA fans probably think the Heat’s Finals run in the bubble last season was a fluke, and it certainly seemed that way with a really shaky start to the 2020/21 season for Miami. However, the Heat have locked themselves in for a playoff spot and have had the best record in the NBA since April. Once, again, Miami is heating up at the perfect time.

What stands out in terms of a potential matchup with Brooklyn, I think the Heat’s hardnose defense and lethal shooting ability is what sets them apart. We all know Harden, Durant, and Kyrie can get hot from outside, but the Heat have elite shooters that could keep them within reach in an offensive duel with players like Duncan Robinson (41% from 3), Kendrick Nunn (37%), Goran Dragic (37%), Tyler Herro (36%), and Trevor Arizan (35%). Plus, we’ve all witnessed the rise of Bam Adebayo as an offensive star and Jimmy Butler explode in huge post season games.

What really sets Miami apart from Brooklyn is their defensive play. They rank 10th in defensive rating, and have guys in Jimmy Butler, Andre Iguodala and Bam Adebayo who can lockdown their man on any given game. Stopping the big Brooklyn three is extremely difficult, but Eric Spoelstra has experience taking away/limiting star players in the postseason, and I could definitely see him outcoaching a rookie head coach in Steve Nash.

Milwaukee Bucks

Since they haven’t completely dominated the East as they have the past couple years, they media hasn’t talked about the Bucks as often it seems. However, Giannis and company have still be very efficient defensively (8th in the NBA in defensive rating) and are still sat at 3rd in the East right now. Quietly, they’re one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.

With an elite scoring core in Giannis and Kris Middleton, the Bucks have a chance to win against just about anybody. Plus, they had added star guard Jrue Holiday who has been their best crunch time player on both sides of the floor this season. Plus when you consider their depth with guys like Donte DiVincenzo, Bobby Portis, Pat Connaughton, Jeff Teague, P.J Tucker, and Brook Lopez– it’ll be tough for a thinner roster like Brooklyn to keep up with bench points.

5 Most Interesting NFL Free Agents Available (5/12)

With the initial wave of free agency over and the draft now complete, teams will now look to the remaining free agents to fill any last minute holes for their roster. Of all the guys left out there, here are my five most intriguing players.

RB Le’Veon Bell

Just a few years ago, Bell was seen as a top 3 running back in the NFL but has really taken a step back since he left Pittsburgh. His seasons with the Jets and his short stint with the Chiefs were massive busts, but maybe with the right offensive situation Bell could be productive?

His sudden fall back hasn’t been due to injury, but he either had no line to block for him or he wasn’t utilized at all.

Fits: Miami, New Orleans, LA Rams

WR Larry Fitzgerald

Although Fitz is 38 years old, he has proven that he can still produce at a high level as a pure possession receiver. With the Cardinals last season, the longtime pass catcher took on a significantly smaller role as DeAndre Hopkins was their primary guy. However, the vet still hauled in 54 catches for 409 yards and 1 TD over 13 games.

With a contender that already has a few guys to do some more explosive playmaking, I think Fitzgerald could be a very reliable, serviceable target who has valuable post-season experience. At the very least, he could be an excellent locker room leader.

Fits: Arizona, Philadelphia, Retirement

EDGE Ryan Kerrigan

Kerrigan had been a longtime pass rusher for the Washington Football Team, starting every single game he played for them up until the 2020 season where he started only once.

However, he was still able to rack up 5.5 sacks, 17 tackles and 6 QB hits as a rotational edge rusher. As a very durable, experienced and consistent player, I think Kerrigan could be very productive on any defense that lacks pass rush or wants to bring in a veteran to help out a younger group.

Fits: Indianapolis, Minnesota, Dallas

LB K.J Wright

For nearly a decade, Wright has been one of the unsung heroes of the Seattle Seahawks defense, and in 2020 he started all 16 games, had 86 total tackles, 11 tackles for loss, an interception, and two sacks. He’s proven he can still produce and be an efficient all around player for whoever gives him the opportunity.

Despite the premium put on edge rushers and corners, linebacker play is pivotal for a defense. A good LB can make a defense great, and a bad one can damage a defense. K.J has been productive and playing at a high level for a long time and can certainly make any team better.

Fits: Seattle, Kansas City, Denver

S Malik Hooker

Hooker has shown flashes of being a truly great playmaking, ball hawking safety. With the Colts, he’s made some elite and exciting plays, but has also been sidelined with major injuries a ton, which has forced Indianapolis to move on from the former first round selection.

Remember, Hooker gobs with potential and is still only 25. If he can stay healthy, I really think this guy could be a star in the league for the foreseeable future.

Reaction: Eric Fisher to Indy

Eric Fisher just signed a 1 year 9.4 million dollar deal with the Indianapolis Colts to be their replacement LT for the recently retired Anthony Castonzo.

This news came as a huge relief to many after Indy didn’t spend any early round picks on a tackle in a very deep 2021 offensive line class. However, I really like how the Colts spent their draft picks.

Adding two potentially elite pass rushers is a fun idea, and was honestly our biggest need overall as a team. Plus, they added some young offensive weapons with a ton of athletic ability and even grabbed an intriguing OT prospect late in the draft in Will Fries. Then, to come out of the draft with so many of the big analysts scratching their heads and get a high quality starter and former first overall selection in Eric Fisher was huge.

The number one concern and the biggest critique of this signing by others has been the injury. In January, Fisher tore his achillies tendon and missed the Chiefs’ trip to the Super Bowl. So, people are questioning whether he will:

1. Be back in time for the season and

2. Be productive enough to be worth the money

The first point is fair to call out, but I don’t think that the Colts would have signed him over other solid options like Charles Leno Jr. if they weren’t confident that Fisher could be a week one starter.

As far as production value, I understand that an achillies injury at this point in a left tackle’s career may be damaging, but Fisher has been one of the better tackles in the NFL as of recent. With a 2018 pro bowl appearance and only 3 sacks allowed in 2020 in over 1,000 snaps played, I think it’s safe to say he’ll be a very good starter on an already great Colts offensive front. With Quenton Nelson alongside Fisher on the left side of the line, it’s safe to say he will have formidable help even with some injury related regression.

Overall, I really like the move for Indy. General Manager Chris Ballard always harps on the idea of drafting the right guys and not forcing a pick just because it’s a need, and his resume thus far while in charge of the Colts speaks for itself. He has completely transformed this roster with young talent all across the board and used free agency appropriately to fill needs at times. This was one of those times and it just makes sense for them to fill such an important job with a veteran starter in a season where the Colts look like legitimate Super Bowl contenders.

2021 NFL Draft: The 3 Worst Drafting Teams

Everyone loves to think that their team drafted well, and the prospect of new players fresh out of college feels exciting as a fan. Unfortunately, not every team does well on draft night, including these 3 franchises.

Philadelphia Eagles:

I think the trade up for Philly to get WR Devonta Smith was a great move, but outside of that the Eagles had a very sub-par draft in which they seemed reluctant to draft players they needed. Not reaching for guys just to fill a need in a certain spot, but there was legitimate talent they passed on to instead draft players they didn’t necessarily need.

Landon Dickerson 37th overall was a pick that didn’t feel right to me. Are they looking to replace Jason Kelce with a guy who has barely been healthy the past 3 or 4 years in the 2nd round? They could have looked towards any other offensive line prospect to add depth, but they have picked one of the most questionable guys available in terms of his long-term sustainability.

Then, in the 3rd round, they take a defensive tackle in Milton Williams. A good athlete with some ability…but then again they still haven’t addressed their secondary or their LB situation (probably the worst LB group in the NFL).

Eventually they spent some later picks on DBs, but you would have liked to seem them address this issue earlier on instead of grabbing depth picks with 2 of their first 3 selections. On top of that, they waited until the 7th round to take a LB… if I were an Eagles fan, I would not be amused.

Cincinnati Bengals:

I’m sure there are plenty of Bengals fans who love the Ja’Marr Chase pick, but man did they mess that up. When you have a young, franchise worthy QB in Joe Burrow, you NEED to protect him, especially after he was one of the most hit QBs in the NFL and tore up his knee during the season. The Bengals had an opportunity to take OT Penei Sewell, who I see as an immediate, elite player on the offensive front who would have greatly helped Burrow stay upright. They made a mistake passing on him.

Later on, they did address the offensive line in the 2nd, 4th, and 6th rounds, but they got significantly worse talent than if they addressed the need earlier on.

The Bengals also attempted to add some edge depth (Joseph Ossai and Cam Sample), but they flopped with the Ossai pick. Usually, when you take guys who are more of a project, they at least fit your scheme. I see Ossai as a pure 3-4 pass rusher, but the Bengals seem like they want him to be a 4-3 hand in the dirt type of guy. On tape, he struggles against the run in terms of edge defense, and is a good rusher when he’s stood up. This pick may be a huge reach, but Ossai does have upside if they can find a way to make him comfortable.

Lastly, they took a kicker in the 5th round. Drafting a kicker before the 7th round, especially as a rebuilding team, is a big no-no to me.

Las Vegas Raiders:

Well to start, the Raiders way over drafted Alabama center Alex Leatherwood. He was typically ranked in the 60’s on many popular analyst’s big boards and the Raiders took him 17th overall, with more refined prospects like Tevin Jenkins or Christian Darrisaw on the board still.

Then, to make matters worse, they used 3 of their next 6 selections on the safety position. Taking Trevon Moehrig in the 2nd round was a great pick, but spending a mid 3rd rounder on Divine Deablo (a guy who has switched positions several times and very inexperienced) and then a 4th on Tyree Gillespie (a special teams player and average run defender who shows no skills as a zone/man to man coverage player) seem super ill advised.

During the Gruden and Mayock era, the Raiders have had some very shaky draft picks and reached a ton. Some guys have panned out, but most seem like busts. This draft class seems very set on the bust path.

5 Best Picks of the 2nd Round: 2021 Draft In Review

After a crazy first night in the draft, a ton of potential first round talent was left on the board coming into the 2nd round of the 2021 NFL draft. Here were some of the best picks from Thursday night.

Cleveland STEALS Jeremiah Owusu-Koromoah 52nd overall:

JOK was one of my highest ranked draft prospects coming into draft weekend, and I was honestly shocked he was still on the board going into day two. The Notre Dame hybrid LB has sideline to sideline speed, explosive and aggressive in terms of contact, and can even cover WR or TEs man to man. To me, Owusu-Koromoah was a prototypical, modern era type of LB athlete teams would want on their defense.

Instead, 6 other LB prospects were taken before him as he fell into the late 2nd round to Cleveland. I think he’ll get an opportunity to help an already solid defensive unit– playing a big part in pass coverage from the LB spot. I’m not sure why he fell this late, but this may just be the biggest steal of the entire draft so far.

Tampa Finds a Project QB in Kyle Trask:

The defending champion Buccaneers, who already added depth to their pass rush unit in the 1st round and were able to retain all of their starters from this past season, may have found a diamond in the rough at the end of the 2nd round.

Kyle Trask, to me, was a QB not enough people talked about. He was insanely productive at Florida and came very close to snatching the SEC title away from Alabama after a miraculous comeback effort. Trask is a tall, strong athlete that has great arm talent. His accuracy is a bit inconsistent and he still is learning when make pre-snap and in the moment reads, but his floor is much higher than a guy like Mac Jones (who is limited athletically).

For Tampa, this pick is extremely smart. At this point, they are filling out depth and looking to add pieces for the post-Brady era (whenever that is). Adding a project QB with high upside to learn alongside the greatest of all time at the position is nothing short of an excellent investment.

New England Adds Unique Interior Pass Rush Prospect:

The rebuilding New England Patriots saw an opportunity, and traded up to the 38th overall pick to take Alabama DT Christian Barmore. To many, Barmore was the best DT in this entire draft. He posses unique power and pass rush ability from the interior, and has high upside to improve as a run defender as well.

For New England, they get a chance to bring in a very special athlete with a gift for interior pass rush, which very few guys can do at the NFL level. Although raw, especially against the run, Barmore will have a chance to compete in New England with their brand new set of defensive linemen.

Indianapolis Takes Another Gamble on an Injured Prospect

Dayo Odeyingbo tore his achillies just before the Senior Bowl back in January, but as we saw with Indy in previous drafts, they aren’t afraid to take guys based on recent injuries (they took Julian Blackmon in the 2020 draft after a knee injury, and he panned out very nicely).

Odeyingbo is a freaky big, fast, long armed pass rusher who looks like a first round type of talent on tape. The achillies tear may prevent him from playing this season, but the Colts also selected Michigan DE Kwity Paye in the first round. In theory, if Dayo comes back for the 2022 season and performs the way he did for Vanderbilt, the Colts essentially got away with two top end, first round talents off the edge without any crazy trade ups. A very underrated selection that could prove to be crucial to the Colts’ title hopes in the near future.

Kansas City Finds Immediate Damien Wilson Replacement

After losing starting LB Damien Wilson in free agency, Kansas City took Missouri LB Nick Bolton with the 58th overall selection.

I thought there was glimpses of Bolton showing first round talent, as he proved to be an extremely instinctive, natural, explosive LB at the college level. Bolton is excellent blitzing from the LB spot, and can even be useful in zone coverage.

This pick fills a hole on the Chiefs defense, but it does so with a first round type of talent deep into the 2nd round. This was a great need pick with high value for the defending AFC Champs.