2015 NFL Mock Draft 2.0
By Ryan Crawford
So everyone figures Tampa Bay will grab a QB with the first pick so the hot spot for this draft is the Titans at #2. While most expect the second QB to fall here, the question is who will make the selection. Mock #2 is here now…
1. TAMPA BAY BUCS – Jameis Winston – QB –Florida State
The thought process behind the pick is simple. Which Quarterback has the most upside. A few well respected draft analysts have moved Marcus Mariota ahead of Jameis but most still have Winston as the top ranked QB on the board. I think Lovie Smith goes with the chalk and makes Winston the pick.
2. TENNESSEE TITANS – Leonard Williams – DT – USC
The prevailing thought is that Mariota gets picked in this spot. Rumors have San Diego trading Rivers here or the Browns, Rams or Jets trading packages of picks. While I think there will be a significant amount of movement in this draft the guess is that Tennesse stays put. If Tennessee is not sold on Mariota they will try to move down but since the Jaguars, Raiders and Redskins don’t need Quarterbacks at three, four and five the Titans need to go lower. They could look to the Jets at six or the Rams at 10. Not sure the Jets want to spend to move up and I don’t think the Titans want to go too low so look for the Titans to sit tight and take the stud they want at #2. Williams is the top talent in the draft and fills a huge need in the middle of the Titans defensive line.
3. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS- Amari Cooper-WR-Alabama
Jaguars are looking to upgrade on defense and everyone is putting an edge rusher in this spot but the Jaguars drafted a franchise quarterback last year and why wouldn’t you get him a stud receiver when you are in a position to do so. It just makes too much sense. The choice comes down to Cooper and White but the Jags go with the more polished Cooper.
4. OAKLAND RAIDERS – Kevin White-WR-West Virginia
The Raiders figured with the two quarterbacks going one-two and an edge rusher to the Jags they would have their choice of the two players they covet, Leonard Williams or Amari Cooper. That’s why you can’t read mock drafts. Once they get over their disappointment they will come to the conclusion that there are still a few potential #1 receivers available and Kevin White is the best of them.
5. WASHINGTON REDSKINS– Dante Fowler – DE/OLB – Florida
The Redskins desperately want to trade out of the 5th spot and add a couple of picks but with Fowler still available I’m not so sure that happens. Word is he’s the top defensive player on their board and they do need an immediate replacement for Brian Orakpo.
6. NEW YORK JETS – Marcus Mariota- QB- Oregon
The Jets also want to trade for more picks but will have a difficult decision if Mariota is still available. Trade possibilities would probably exist with the Rams at 10 and the Browns at 12 which would allow them to add picks and defense. The defensive minded new head coach Todd Bowles would probably like that scenario but another go round with Geno Smith might preclude it from happening. The Jets take the quarterback..
7. CHICAGO BEARS – Vic Beasley-DE-Clemson
Beasley and Bud Dupree are the two fastest risers on draftboards across the country. This is what I wrote in my first mock draft back in March, “Watching the Bears play defense last season was somewhat frightening for Bears fans”. That has not changed in the off-season so put two and two together and send Beasley to Chicago. If Cooper or White drop they could be in play as well.
8. ATLANTA FALCONS – Bud Dupree- DE/OLB- Kentucky
The other riser on draft boards, Dupree is the freakathlete. He ran a 4.56 40, has a 42 inch vertical leap and did a 138 inch broad jump. At 6’4 and 269 lbs. he can become a game wrecker at the next level.
9. NEW YORK GIANTS – Brandon Scherff– Tackle- Iowa
The Giants most important job is to keep Eli Manning upright so he is able to get the ball to Odell Beckham Jr, Victor Cruz and Ruben Randle. The Cowboys have shown the importance of continuing to beef up the offensive line and the Giants can take a lesson from their arch rival. Another possibility here is Trae Waynes as the Giants will need to address the secondary at some point.
10. ST LOUIS RAMS – Devante Parker- WR- Louisville
The Rams really need a receiver and there is an elite one still on the board. Parker is rated only a smidge below Cooper and White as he does not drop the ball and gets up high to reel in the tough ones. At 6’3 and running a 4.45 he uses his size and speed to his advantage. An easy choice.
11. MINNESOTA VIKINGS – Andrus Peat – T- Stanford
The Vikings are a team that could look to move up a few spots to secure one of the big 3 receivers. In this mock they need to get past the disappointment of losing out on the receivers and work on their offensive line. Andrus Peat is a smart choice for them. The 6’7 313lb Peat might be the top tackle prospect in the draft.
12. CLEVELAND BROWNS – Danny Shelton – DT- Washington
Another team that has major concerns at the wide receiver spot with Josh Gordon being a major question mark, the Browns too could move up some. What makes more sense would be for the Browns to choose the massive Shelton and help their porous defense.
13. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS – Trae Waynes- CB- Michigan State
Most mock drafts have the Saints taking edge rushers and defensive linemen but the Saint secondary is lacking and Waynes is the top cover corner in the draft.
14. MIAMI DOLPHINS – La’El Collins – T – LSU
Collins is a mauler at 6’5 and 322 lbs and the Dolphins are in dire need of another top lineman. A potentially nasty left tackle in front of Ryan Tannehill fills a big need in Miami. If recent legal problems push Collins down then Ereck Flowers becomes a real possibility
15. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS – Arik Armstead–DE/DT–Oregon
There are rumors everywhere that the 49ers will trade down to add picks as the team has been decimated by injuries, retirements and defections from all areas, especially on defense. If they stay here look for them to address the defensive line and Armstead projects to be a good one.
16. HOUSTON TEXANS – Breshad Perriman- WR-Central Florida
The Texans biggest need is a wide receiver to replace Andre Johnson. Perriman is the son of former Miami Hurricane, New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions receiver Brett Perriman. The younger Perriman has been charging up draft boards for the past month and has a solid 1st round grade from most scouts. At 6’2 and 212 lbs with blinding 4.24 speed, Breshad is a great fit for the Texans.
17 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS – Todd Gurley- RB- Georgia
Somewhat of a wildcard in the draft, Gurley has shown up in mock drafts everywhere from 6 to 36. Considered one of the top Running Back prospects of the last 10 years the comparisons have ranged from Marshawn Lynch to Adrian Peterson. The torn ACL he suffered last season has been given a clean bill of health so that will just keep moving him up. Don’t be surprised if he goes higher but the Chargers will be thrilled if he is available.
18 KANSAS CITY CHIEFS – Kevin Johnson- CB- Wake Forest
The can really use a young corner and Johnson looks to be a good one. Tall and athletic, he still has room to add weight to his thin frame. Will start immediately.
19. CLEVELAND BROWNS – Nelson Agholor- WR-USC
The Browns grab the wide receiver they so desperately need to help their quarterbacks. Agholor is a quick dynamo with great hands who can double as a punt returner as well.
20. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES – Marcus Peters – CB- Washington
The Eagles need a corner and Marcus Peters is a good one. Chip Kelly is familiar with Peters from his Oregon days and will work with him as Peters has a reputation for being uncoachable. If Peters takes to the coaching he could be a steal at this point because the talent is there.
21. CINCINNATI BENGALS – Landon Collins-S- Alabama
The Bengals can use some secondary help and Landon Collins is generally regarded as the top safety in the draft. Collins is an extremely aggressive safety who is top notch against the run and a physical hitter. He would be a nice addition to the Bengals secondary
22. PITTSBURGH STEELERS – Shaq Thompson– LB/SS – Washington
Would have loved Collins to replace Troy Polamalu. Call this a hunch but Thompson is an athlete who played linebacker in college but projects as a potential strong safety in the NFL. Most forecasters have Thompson in the 2nd round but the Steelers need a safety and can also use another outside linebacker to replace Jason Worilds. Thompson could be something of a hybrid in the Steelers schemes. Might be an unorthodox choice but seems to make some sense. Nothing like going out on a limb.
23. DETROIT LIONS– Malcom Brown- DT- Texas
The Lions need to replace Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley to maintain their defense. They have already added Haloti Ngata but he is aging and a young stud at the position would be a smart move. That said, Malcolm Brown is an athletic mountain of a man who would be a great addition.
24. ARIZONA CARDINALS – Eric Kendricks– ILB– UCLA
The Cardinals could use another playmaker at the inside linebacker spot. Kendricks has an athletic pedigree as his brother Mychal plays for the Eagles and his dad was a UCLA running back who led the school in rushing in 1970 and 1971 and played in the CFL. Kendricks won the Butkus award as the nations top linebacker.
25. CAROLINA PANTHERS – Ereck Flowers- T –Miami
The Panthers have needs at offensive tackle and wide receiver. This pick will be based on who they like better. Choices could include Flowers and Jake Fisher at tackle or a receiver like Philip Dorsett or Jaelen Strong.
26. BALTIMORE RAVENS – Melvin Gordon–RB–Wisconsin
The Ravens need a top running back in the worst way and have been linked to Melvin Gordon and Todd Gurley since the draft process began. Looks like Gurley will not fall this far but Gordon could. If he does look for the Ravens to jump on him. A dark horse could be the two headed monster of Randy Gregory and Shane Ray.
27. DALLAS COWBOYS – Randy Gregory- OLB/DE- Nebraska
Can’t you just see GM Jerry Jones picking the top ten talent with red flags for positive marijuana tests. There is nothing not to love about Gregory from an athletic standpoint. If you feel he‘s grown up and can be trusted then he is a steal at this point of the draft.
28. DENVER BRONCOS – Cameron Erving- C-Florida State
The Broncos offensive line is in a state of flux and needs a boost. Erving is the top center in the draft and has the versatility to play center or guard. A solid pick who could help anchor this line for many years.
29. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS– Jake Fisher– T– Oregon
When I look at my mock at this point there doesn’t seem to be a more perfect choice for any team. Fisher is looked at as a day one starter for most teams. While he might not have the perceived upside of some of those drafted ahead of him, he has all the tools and could turn out to be the best lineman in the draft.
30. GREEN BAY PACKERS – Denzel Perryman – ILB – Miami
This is what I wrote in mock #1 and I will stay with it: “The Packers just released veteran A.J.Hawk and Perryman is a highly regarded prospect who could step into that inside linebacker role”. Other possibilities could be a cornerback like Jalen Collins of LSU or Byron Jones of Connecticut or LB Bernardrick McKinney.
31. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS – Phillip Dorsett- WR-Miami
Got the corner they needed with #13 so now the Saints go back to what they are known for: Offense! Dorsett is another weapon for Drew Brees to play with. He is small but lightning fast and will stretch the field for Brees and the Saints
32. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS – Jalen Collins – CB– LSU
I really wanted to put Ali Marpet, the fast rising guard from Hobart here because wouldn’t that be just like Belichick to go against the establishment and pick a guy from Hobart in the first round. Then I thought Shane Ray but he’s proven that he is not bright enough to play for Belichick. In the end I figured that there is no Revis in New England so you better give me the next corner up. Collins is the best of the bunch so he goes to the champs. Byron Jones also a possibility.
Other first Round Possibilities
Eli Harold- LB- Virginia
Jaelen Strong- WR- Arizona State
Eddie Goldman- DT- Florida St
Byron Jones- CB Connecticut
D.J. Humphries- T- Florida
Jordan Phillips- NT- Oklahoma
Cedric Ogbuehi- T- Texas A & M
T.J.Clemmings – T- Pittsburgh
Devin Smith – WR- Ohio State
Laken Tomlinson- G- Duke
Bernardrick McKinney- ILB- Miss. St
Damarious Randall- S- Arizona St
Eric Rowe-CB- Utah
Islanders Postseason Poll: Keep ‘Em Or Can ‘Em
By Brett Malamud
Yes, we are just 24 hours since the Islanders ended their season. But, by popular demand, let’s take a look at our (very early) edition of Keep ‘Em Or Can ‘Em. Feel free to vote on each poll, as it’ll allow other fans to see what you think.
**It’d be unfair to judge the likes of Mayfield and Reinhart since we saw such little time
Finally, I’d like to know everyone’s opinion on Barclays Center. How have your plans changed?
Brett Malamud is an English Rhetoric Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy
Isles Making Lasting Memories for Fans in the Playoffs
By Brett Malamud
Silence. That can be heard early Monday afternoon in the little barn in Uniondale. But turn back the clock a mere 24 hours, and you have arguably the loudest atmosphere that any team will experience in the playoffs this season. The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum will be closing its doors at the end of the year, and New York Islanders fans are giving the building the ultimate send off.
Fans were challenged on Saturday afternoon, as the Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin gave his expectations for Sunday’s game three matchup.
Ovechkin was greeted with chants of “CAN YOU HEAR US?” The chant echoed throughout game three. From the opening faceoff, fans gave the Capitals the ultimate distraction, and fueled the adrenaline of the hometown Islanders. A second period deflection by Kyle Okposo gave the Islanders the lead, igniting the crowd even more. Defenseman Johnny Boychuk finished the second period with a game-changing diving stop on Ovechkin and headed to the locker room to the sound of a loud “John-ny Boy-chuk!” chant.
Nicklas Backstrom ripped the hearts out of many of the 16,170 fans when he went top shelf and found the back of the net with just 6:06 to play. Was this the beginning of another late-game Isles collapse? I’m sure that two weeks ago, many Islanders fans would have anticipated that. But this day was different. After the goal, another thunderous “Let’s go Islanders” chant broke out and the crowd stayed in it. The fans wouldn’t go unheard, and refused to go home unhappy. Regulation ended and fans buckled up for the long overtime period…or at least that’s what they thought.
Fifteen seconds. That’s all it took. Nick Leddy fired the puck, Nikolay Kulemin deflected it on net, and Islanders captain John Tavares picked up the rebound and sliced the puck just over the pad of goaltender Braden Holtby, sending Islanders country into a mass frenzy. The Capitals left the ice to a resounding “YES! YES! YES!” chant, and were now down two games to one, to a team that hasn’t won a playoff series in 20 years.
The game also signaled that more hockey is to be played at the Coliseum, as the Islanders are guaranteed to play at least two more games in the Barn, with more on the way if they can close out Washington twice more and advance to the next round.
This season, the Islanders have honored their past, bringing back legends from the cup years, and honoring them individually. Last weekend, the Islanders shocked many when they did not bring back all of them for the last regular season game, but opted for “decades night” a week earlier, bringing back two players from each decade. No offense to the players honored, but people who paid big money for tickets didn’t come to see Eric Cairns, Steve Webb and Shawn Bates. They came to see Nystrom, Bossy, Gillies, Potvin, Smith, Trottier, Bourne, Resch, Lafontaine, Westfall, Harris, Morrow, Tonelli, Goring, Sutter, Turgeon, Volek, Palffy, Berard, and Jonsson all in one room on the final night of the season. They came to see the guys who turned the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum into Fort Neverlose and into the Barn, and many were left in disappointment. But we move on. The only truly fitting ending to the coliseum now would be John Tavares skating to center ice, shaking commissioner Gary Bettman’s hand, and lifting that 35-pound trophy sky high. That would honor the past, and what the building has meant to all Islanders fans. It’s place where many memories were made, and a place where many have spent most of their childhoods. It’s Home.
Game four is set for 7 pm on Tuesday night.
Brett Malamud is an English Rhetoric Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy
Baseball: Dying to Thriving—Thanks to…the Obama Administration?
By Seth Schuster
It is irrefutable that, in recent years, baseball, our national pastime, has waned significantly. Blame increased player salaries, dropped attendance and T.V. ratings, ticket prices through the roof, and—most importantly—declined youth participation in Baseball, from 2008-2012, by a staggering 7.2 percent according to a study done by the Wall Street Journal. Despite the drop, President Barack Obama’s Administration could be unlocking the door to MLB success through diplomatic relations.
Even current players admit to the downturn of their beloved sport. Andrew McCutchen, center fielder of the Pittsburgh Pirates—oh, and a perennial All-Star and former Most Valuable Player in the National League—suggested the decline was due to economic reasons in a recent article in the Players’ Tribune. He described why he believes baseball is dying throughout the country, particularly in areas that are economically challenged. “Things are more expensive. Gloves are more expensive. Bats are more expensive. You know, the price of things is more. It’s just more difficult. Poverty is growing, you know? And so it’s getting tougher.”
Those who put baseball on the back burner complain about the slow pace of the game and loathe its monotony. Many feel it lacks the adrenaline rush of higher intensity sports such as football and basketball, both of which offer bigger hits and a quicker pace. Gone is baseball’s firepower in recent years with the decline of the home run, the game’s biggest and most exciting play. Since the 1990s and the early 2000s, stat sheets show the number of MLB players’ 40 home run seasons plummeting. In the last 20 years there have been as many as seventeen 40-home run hitters in one season (1996), and as few as two in others (2008, 2010, 2011, 2013).
Despite its lackluster numbers, this doesn’t mean baseball has lost its flare for dramatic and media-grabbing attention.
Yasiel Puig is the most polarizing player in Major League Baseball. The Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder, who hails from Cuba, is one of the best young talents in the game today. Puig made his MLB debut on June 3, 2013. In his first 15 games he tallied 27 hits—second all-time, tied with legendary New York Yankee, Joe DiMaggio. He recorded 34 hits and seven home runs in his first 20 games—the most in MLB history.
Puig finished 2013 with a .311 batting-average, 19 home runs and 42 runs-batted-in. He made the 2013 All Rookie Team and finished second in the race for NL Rookie of the Year. The award was given to 2013 All-Star and Miami Marlins pitcher José Fernández—a fellow Cuban. In 2014 Puig made his own first All-Star game.
These competitors aren’t the only Cubans making waves in the MLB. In 2014, rookie slugger José Abreu of the Chicago White Sox took the AL Rookie of the Year and was named to the American League All Star Team. The likes of Yoenis Cespedes, Alexei Ramirez and Aroldis Chapman have dominated the MLB as well. Each player boasts at least one all star appearance, with Chapman scoring three.
It’s not only the All Stars making headlines, it’s the unproven, untested Cuban players, whom MLB teams believe hold the potential to propel the sport’s popularity.
The Boston Red Sox made a splash in Cuban waters this past summer signing highly rated prospect Rusney Castillo to a $72.5 million contract that runs through 2020. The Red Sox continued their Cuban signing spree in February of 2015, when they signed 19 year-old infielder, Yoan Moncada.
On December 17, 2014, President Barack Obama announced a plan to normalize relations with Cuba, a plan lacking Republican support. His proposal includes the re-establishment of the diplomatic relations between the two nations that were cut off in 1961, and the authorization of expanded imports and exports with Cuba, thus lifting the long-standing trade barrier. Most significantly, the proposal attempts to facilitate more travel to and from Cuba.
This proposal, a major a diplomatic achievement as it would be, would certainly shake up the world of baseball.
Yes. In the grand scheme of things, a baseball game is quite trivial. However, with the passage of this proposal, it is almost certain that the United States would see an influx of young Cuban talent—talent capable of putting up Yasiel Puig-like numbers.
This is music to a baseball fan’s ears; a symphony of power, athleticism, speed, strength, durability and work ethic.
The MLB has longed for a diplomatic advancement like this. It brings attention—and money to the league.
Since Puig’s debut, Google searches for “Los Angeles Dodgers” has risen almost 60%; likewise ticket and food prices rose 6.2% at Dodger Stadium between 2013 and 2014.
The Cuban players add spark to a dying fire of the National Pastime.
Message to Republicans:
Support the rekindling of relations with Cuba. If not for Obama and the democrats, do it for the game of baseball. Do it for the National Pastime. Do it for ‘Murica.
Seth Schuster is a student at Blind Brook High School in Westchester, New York. He is an avid sports fan, who knows it all when it comes to the Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, New England Patriots, and Boston Bruins. Yup, that’s right – a Boston sports fan living in New York! Seth’s favorite all-time athletes include David Ortiz, Tom Brady, and Paul Pierce. Follow Seth on Twitter for all your Boston Sports updates at @Seth_Schuster