The Biggest Steal of The 2018 NFL Draft

This year’s running back class was incredibly deep so, it was no surprise to see a handful of talented backs taken in the later rounds. There was one specific back I had my eye on though. That back being, John Kelly out of Tennessee. I wrote a piece on him a couple months ago about how I believe he is the most underrated RB and one of the most underrated players overall in the draft. After 175 picks, the Los Angeles Rams called up Kelly and told him he was heading to L.A.

For those of you who don’t know or understand why I am so high on Kelly, here’s why:

  • Similar strength, power, speed & physique to Dalvin Cook
  • Runs with pure passion & anger you just don’t see in RB’s anymore
  • Ultimate competitor
  • Carried the load all throughout his college career on an awful Vols team
  • Plays with a chip on his shoulder on every snap
  • Incredibly dynamic

Kelly is now on one of the best offenses in the NFL in the L.A. Rams. He’ll most likely back up Todd Gurley but, I do expect to see Kelly get his fair share of playing time. The Rams could very well have the best RB duo in the league next season.

I’m excited about both John Kelly and the Los Angeles Rams. L.A. has already had a spectacular offseason and continued the trend in this draft. At this point, I think the Rams are just trying to get me to fall in love with them. The storm continues to brew in L.A…

Collin Borron

Photo Credit HERE

 

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My 5 Favorite Picks in The 2018 NFL Draft

On Saturday, the 2018 NFL Draft ended 7 rounds of what was a fantastic event overall. This draft really had it all. There were picks I liked, disliked, found surprising and just straight up confusing. With that said, I decided to put together a list of my 5 favorite picks from the three-day spectacle.

1. Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons – Yes, yes, yes, yes. Thank you, Atlanta for giving the offense another elite Alabama WR. Matt Ryan’s job is about to get a lot easier having what could turn into one of the best WR duos in the league in Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones. In what was an already explosive offense, the Falcons made a golden pick in Ridley.

2. Bradley Chubb, Denver Broncos – Imagine your team with Von Miller. Now imagine your team with two of them. The Denver Broncos made that a reality after they selected Bradley Chubb at No. 5 overall. I was honestly shocked to see Chubb not get selected earlier, specifically by the Browns. Instead they picked up who I thought the Broncos would get, Denzel Ward. Somehow still being available at No. 5, it was no surprise to see Elway jump on this guy. Chubb was arguably the best overall player in this draft and now he’s joining one of the NFL’s top defenses. Good luck, opposing offenses.

3.) Mason Rudolph & James Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers – College football’s most electrifying QB-WR duo will remain together at the next level thanks to, Pittsburgh. With Ben Roethlisberger’s career nearing an end, Mason Rudolph could be Pittsburghs next big thing. Also, with Washington alongside Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster, there is no lack of receiving talent. The future is bright for the Steelers.

4.) Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens – Seeing Baltimore trade for the final pick in the 1st round, I was quite intrigued. Then to see them take, Lamar Jackson, I was beyond excited. Will he start right away? Of course not. Is he the future of Baltimore? I think so. Jackson is the ultimate competitor and accepts nothing but, greatness. He’s a freak talent and the fact he nearly didn’t get picked in the first round is shocking. I hope the Ravens help him develop into his full potential and not rush him into anything. I love this pick.

5. Shaquem Griffin, Seattle Seahawks – It may have taken 5 rounds but, Shaquem Griffin would probably agree that it was worth the wait after being selected by the Seattle Seahawks. Rejoining his twin brother Shaquill, Shaquem continued to prove his doubters wrong after being selected. Being one of the best feel good stories of the draft I look forward to seeing Shaquem and his brother wreck havoc on opposing offenses next season.

This draft was loaded with special talent and players that I loved. Trying to narrow it down to my five favorites wasn’t easy. That said, this years draft was fantastic and I think that almost every team had a solid draft. Let the wait for the 2018 NFL preseason begin.

Collin Borron

Photo Credit HERE

 

NFL: My Favorite 2018 Draft Prospects By Position

We are less than a week away from the NFL Draft and the excitement is reaching its peak. We all know the “experts” big names and apparent top guys but, I thought I’d go over my personal favorite prospect for each position. Let’s get into this.

Offense

QB Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State – By having already written a post about him, I think I’ve made myself clear of what I think of Rudolph. He’s a special talent that is incredibly overlooked. His college numbers were outstanding and he had himself a solid combine. Every time I watched him play in college, I couldn’t help to see raw NFL caliber talent. He’s an underdog who shouldn’t be an underdog. I hope whoever drafts him, gives him the opportunity that he deserves.

RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State – I realize this seems like the most generic answer but, I can’t help it. Barkley is the type of player that absolutely steals the show when on the field. More often than not, he didn’t disappoint. He’s a once in a generation athlete and a player that has the capability to immediately make an impact on any organization. I’m so grateful to have witnessed his career at Penn State. Believe the hype, folks.

WR’s Calvin Ridley, Alabama & James Washington, Oklahoma State – I simply couldn’t decide who I like better between these two. Therefore, I had to choose them both. Being the most dominate receiver on both of their respective teams, this duo howls with NFL talent. I’m antsy to see them take the field in the NFL. Whoever drafts these guys, will have them on their teams for a very long time.

TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina – I saw plenty of Hurst’s NFL potential as he and the Gamecocks went up against my Gators. Florida, one of the toughest defenses in the nation, looked silly trying to contain this guy. From perfect size to his athleticism, Hurst will certainly be used quite a bit by whoever is lucky enough to pick him up.

OT Orlando Brown, Oklahoma – I know, I know, he had a rough combine and struggled at his pro day. I suppose he’ll flop in the NFL now. His college career obviously means nothing if he doesn’t succeed in those, right? Wrong. If anyone thinks otherwise, don’t take them seriously as a football fan. The only reason him struggling made headlines is because the NFL and football in general is desperate for stories right now. Brown had a great career at Oklahoma. Don’t believe it? Watch his film for yourself. There are plenty of solid tackles available but, I want to see Brown succeed the most simply because all the flak he has gotten. He’s an NFL caliber tackle and will certainly help improve any offensive line. It’s hard not to root for his guy.

G Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame – My favorite college memory of Nelson was when he made a fool out of LSU’s front seven. If a team has one of their best offensive players at guard, then that team is either awful or that guard is something special. Nelson is special. Considered the safest pick in the draft with no bust potential, Nelson’s a fearless and ferocious talent that will instantly change an O-Line for the best. Don’t be surprised if he’s picked in the top 10.

Defense

DE Arden Key, LSU – Key is another player on this list that I’ve seen give Florida fits multiple times in the past. Personally, I believe his biggest perks are his strength and speed. Key has great length and can easily snag any ball carrier in his vicinity. As much trouble as he caused for my team, he was a thrill to watch.

DT Taven Bryan, Florida – Finally, a Gator. As bias as this may seem, I do think Bryan could very well be the best DT in this draft. In 2017, Taven Bryan terrorized offenses all season long. My favorite characteristic about him is the effort he plays with. It doesn’t matter the sport, if I see an athlete play as hard as they can possibly play, I want to continue to watch for that person alone. Bryan is speed, strength, toughness and determination in human form. I’m beyond thankful for being lucky enough to see him do that in a Florida uniform.

OLB Shaquem Griffin, UCF – I think we all know of Griffin and his incredible story by now. Is he the best OLB in the draft? Maybe not. Is he a fan favorite? Absolutely! Griffin blew up in 2017. The guy is an animal. Looking completely unstoppable countless times during his time at UCF, Griffin played out of his mind and proved every doubter wrong and will continue to do so in the NFL. Right now, he is expected to be nothing more than a backup but, that’s according to the “experts”. If he brings the same intensity and determination he had in college to the NFL, I strongly believe he could eventually develop into a starter.

ILB Roquan Smith, Georgia – Holy cow. This guy is insane. Smith was a vicious beast in the middle of that Bulldog defense and was a key part of UGA’s national title run. Oh yeah, he played against Florida as well but, that’s all I’m going to say about that for the sake of my emotions. Plain and simple, this guy is destined to be star linebacker in the NFL. He truly has it all. He punishes whoever dares crosses his path and hunts down those who flee. He has an intensity that you just don’t see much in players anymore. I can’t wait to see this guy play on the next level.

CB D.J. Reed, Kansas State – Looking for a slot corner? Reed is the man. Don’t let his 5’9 height fool you into thinking any less of this corner. After all, the little guys always seem to play the hardest and with the most passion. Reed is no exception. He’s quick, tough and full of passion. I wish I was able to watch him play more in college because, after watching his career highlights, I’m all in on this guy. He’s surprisingly not talked about much compared to some of the other prospects and to that I scratch my head. Reed is going to be fun to watch on Sundays.

FS Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama – I’m not sure if there is another player in this draft that pours his heart and soul into the game of football as much as this guy. Then to have Nick Saban as your teacher? Yup, he’s going to be a star. His competitiveness won’t be topped by anyone on the field and I think that’s what makes him so great at his craft. Fitzpatrick can also be used as a linebacker, slot corner, blitzer and shut down any tight end he’s assigned to. All with ease. I’d be shocked if he isn’t taken in the top 10.

Collin Borron

Photo Credit Here

NFL: 3 Week 1 Matchups You CAN’T Miss

On Thursday, the NFL officially released the leagues 2018 regular season schedule. It didn’t take long for me to see that this season is set for a ton of great matchups but, for this post specifically I thought I’d focus on opening weekend. The three matchups that are going to most definitely be must see TV.

1.) Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles – It shouldn’t be surprising to see this game at No. 1. I mean c’mon man. The defending Super Bowl champs hosting one of the toughest teams in the NFC. On week 1? Yes please. We still don’t know if Carson Wentz will be back in time but, if he is, we are looking at a Matt Ryan vs Carson Wentz Sunday night showdown. I get excited about this game just thinking of it.

2.) Houston Texans at New England Patriots – Assuming Tom Brady (almost certainly) does return for another season, 2018 is set to be New Englands revenge tour. For them to kick that tour off against Deshaun Watson’s Houston Texans couldn’t be any better. The Watson-Hopkins duo has a chance to really take off against the Patriots secondary. New England is surprisingly sort of messy right now but, I have no doubt that they’ll be back to their dominant self in time for the Texans. If this game is anything like their regular season matchup a year ago, I’ll be very happy.

3.) San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings – Ah yes. The battle between giant QB contracts. Jimmy Garoppolo vs Kirk Cousins. Both QB’s will be trying to prove the same thing. Their worth. This is going to be quite the battle. Garoppolo will have his hands full with Minnesota’s “Purple Reign” defense. Kirk Cousins will have to go against arguably the most confident team in the NFL. Personally, I’m all in on Jimmy Garoppolo and I think he could be in for an incredible season. The 49ers are my Super Bowl dark horse. Going up against the Vikings week 1 will be quite the challenge. This one’s going to be fun watch.

This schedule release reminded me how much I miss football season. It’s only April! Hurry up, NFL. I’m hanging on by a thread here.

Collin Borron

Photo Credit: Aaron Doster – USA TODAY Sports

Could Denver Draft Saquon Barkley After Releasing C.J. Anderson?

First things first, As a Denver faithful, I’d like to say thank you to C.J. for all he has done for the organization. From undrafted to being a key component of the offense. Any given snap, Anderson played with more effort and passion than anyone else on the field. In 2015, he played a huge role in Denver’s magical season and seemingly iced the game and secured a Super Bowl victory for the Broncos. I wish nothing but the best for C.J. Anderson and his future in the league.

Now that Anderson is gone, what happen’s next? Do the Broncos make Devontae Booker their starter and have De’Angelo Henderson back him up or draft a running back from this year’s incredibly deep RB class. Having the 5th overall pick mean’s that there is a solid chance that Penn State phenom, Saquon Barkley will still be available. If he is, it would be hard to pass him up. 

 It’s a fun idea but, would Elway and the Broncos be willing to pass up their bigger needs to snag Barkley? Let’s look at their top 3 needs (in no specific order)
 
Quarterback: This seems to be the most likely pick for Denver according to the “experts”. The thing about this QB class is the fact that it is astoundingly overhyped. Not one of the quarterback’s in this class is truly promising. Rumor has it, Denver is most interested in Baker Mayfield. Don’t get me wrong, he’s extremely talented and has potential to succeed but, I’m not sure he is worthy of being the 5th pick. No matter the QB, they wouldn’t see playing time for a few years anyways. If Barkley is available, I would take him in a heartbeat over any available QB.
 
Cornerback: In my opinion, this is what the Broncos are going to end up with. Specifically, Ohio State’s, Denzel Ward. Aqib Talib left quite the hole in the Orange Crush defense with his departure and it needs filled immediately. As much as I’d love to see Ward in a Denver uniform, this years CB class, like the RB class, is an incredibly deep group and a solid starting corner can be found later on in the draft. Although you can also find a solid RB later as well, there is only one Saquon Barkley.
 
Guard: Considered the safest pick in the entire draft and no bust potential, Quenton Nelson is the top guard available. He’d no doubt be a good pick up for Denver’s struggling offensive line but, I read an interesting point from, Woody Paige on the Colorado Springs Gazette:
 
“Would Nelson or Bradley Chubb turn the Broncos into a franchise that can beat out the Patriots, the Steelers or even the Chargers? No.”
 
An excellent point. The Broncos need someone who can make an impact and turn the organization around immediately. That’s something that can’t be found from a guard. Barkley is that player.
 
A handful of analysts say not to buy into the Barkley hype too much but, after witnessing him play multiple times throughout his college career, I’ve seen enough of him to be convinced. He’s a once in a generation running back and is a player that should not be passed up. He’d be a perfect fit in Denver and could be the player that brings the Broncos back. It’s hard to tell if Barkley will even be available at 5 but, if he his, don’t be surprised if Denver snags him. 
– Collin Borron

Dalvin Cook Will Takeover The NFL in 2018

213 days ago, Dalvin Cook tore up the New Orleans defense in his NFL debut. Rushing for 127 yards on 22 carries, he broke the Vikings rookie debut rushing record previously held by Adrian Peterson. Through the first 4 games, Cook seemed to be set for a fantastic rookie season. Leading the league in rushing and showing he can seemingly do it all, he was poised to be Rookie of the Year. Unfortunately, the injury bug struck and it struck bad. Tearing his ACL, Cook saw his season come to an early end, leaving Vikings faithful and NFL fans alike dismal.

In his short four game season, Cook showed the NFL he was the real deal. After he got injured, everyone seemed to forget about him. I believe he’ll give the league quite the wake up call. He certainly has the right mind set saying he’s going to come back “better than ever” and tweeted out “CBPOTY??”(Comeback Player of the Year). 

Obviously the Vikings still did solid on offense last season but with Cook’s return in 2018 they could very well do better. Cousins running the offense, a handful of star wideouts and now Dalvin Cook most likely being the No. 1 RB, Minnesota’s 2018 offense isn’t to be taken lightly. With all of the offensive tools and complete confidence, Cook is set for a special season.

The 2018 NFL season is still quite a ways away but, I can’t help myself to be as excited as ever to see Dalvin Cook comeback. 

Collin Borron

 

The NFC is Going To Be A Wildfire in 2018

Last season, the NFC was clearly the best conference in the NFL. Lead by the Eagles, Rams, Vikings, Saints and a handful of others. All of which were Super Bowl contenders and one ended up winning the coveted prize. In 2018, expect to see even more NFC teams compete for the Lombardi trophy. Here’s a list of who I think could be representing the NFC in Super Bowl 53. 
 
Philadelphia Eagles: Obviously I’m putting the defending Super Bowl champs on this list. They are returning almost their entire team and I think Doug Pederson has set up Philly for a potential dynasty. It’s the competition in the NFC that I think will end up preventing it.
 
Los Angeles Rams: Coming off a fantastic 2017 season, the Rams have only gotten better this off-season. A lot better. Headlined by Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib and Ndamukong Suh. L.A. has picked up some much-needed elite defensive talent. With already one of the best offenses in the NFL, the Rams could have themselves one of the top defenses as well. L.A. is going to be scary good.
 
Kevin C. Cox – Getty Images
 
Atlanta Falcons: The dirty birds seemed to be a little quiet last year. They had an alright season at 10-6 and lost on the final drive in the playoffs. The Falcons haven’t really had any big pick ups simply because they don’t need anyone that bad. Their roster is Super Bowl caliber. I believe the only thing slowing them down is adjusting to Steve Sarkisian’s offense. Once they figure that out, watch out.
 
Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers is back but, this time with Jimmy Graham alongside him. They’ve also picked up a couple much need corners. Green Bay just needs their defense to get slightly better and Rodgers to stay healthy. Achieve this and they immediately become a threat.
 
New Orleans Saints: I think this is probably the most forgot about contender, ever since being on the wrong end of arguably the biggest miracle in playoff history. In 2017, Drew Brees and the Saints were a Super Bowl worthy team. In 2018, that won’t change. Even though they are in the toughest division in football, they could very well be the top seed in the NFC.
 
Sports Beast
 
San Francisco 49ers: It’s time to believe the Jimmy Garoppolo hype. Unless you have been living under rock, the world saw Garoppolo single-handedly take one of the worst teams in the NFL and turn them into a winning machine to end the season. Thus recreates team unity, ultimate trust in their QB and new-found motivation. The 49ers are my dark horse to win it all this year.
 
Minnesota Vikings: In a perfect world, Minnesota keeps their entire team other than replacing Case Keenum with a better QB in Kirk Cousins. The thing is, after Minnesota’s magical playoff run, the Vikings set themselves up for a brutal 2018 schedule. Then again, with that Purple Reign defense, anything is possible.
 
These seven are just my personal favorites to represent the NFC but a few other teams that I could see sneak in are the Carolina Panthers, Washington Redskins and Detroit Lions
 
There you have it. All of the NFC teams I personally feel like could end up in Super Bowl 53. It’s going to be an all out brawl and I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds. Personally I’ll be rooting for the Los Angeles Rams as they have been a team I’ve been wanting to witness be great again for almost my entire life. No matter what team makes it, I believe the NFC will win themselves back to back titles. 
– Collin Borron
Photo Credit – Getty Images