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NFL Playoffs: 2017 NFL Divisional Round Predictions!

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Atlanta hasn’t forgot about what happened when they faced Seattle earlier this season. They will be hoping for some revenge at home this weekend in the NFL Playoffs.

By: Elias McMillan

 

Wild-Card Round: 2-2

Playoffs: 2-2

Divisional Round

Seattle @ Atlanta – This first divisional playoff matchup this weekend is a rematch from a closely contested game earlier this season, which saw the Seahawks get the victory in a close one. Atlanta actually impressed many in that game as they were able to hang with Seattle on the road and how they might have won that game if not for a botch PI penalty that wasn’t called late in the 4th quarter. Both teams have changed since then but I think Atlanta will definitely have revenge on their minds this Saturday. Seattle was able to take care of Detroit last weekend but on Saturday they will face a much more talented and balanced offense in Atlanta. The Falcons are powered on offense by their dynamic passing game led by QB Matt Ryan and his lead target WR Julio Jones. But don’t sleep on the way Atlanta can run the ball. RB’s Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman are as a dynamic running duo as any other one in the league. We all know about how good this Atlanta offense can be but history dictates that really good offenses usually fall to good defenses in the playoffs. I think Seattle’s defense will put up a great challenge for Atlanta but they are not at full strength with Earl Thomas out of the line up. Even with Thomas in the secondary, the Falcons were still able to put up production in that first meeting earlier this season. Seattle will have to fight hard on both sides of the ball to compete with Atlanta on Saturday. Last weekend, Seattle ran the ball very well behind RB Thomas Rawls and with that running game; they were able to control the tempo for most of the contest. Seattle might have to implement that game plan again on Saturday, as Atlanta is just an average defense at defending the run. They might help QB Russell Wilson in terms of protecting himself from Atlanta’s pass rush. Edge rusher Vic Beasley was the league leader in sack this season and with the state of Seattle’s offensive line, I think he will be in pursuit of Wilson for the majority of this Saturday afternoon. But if Wilson can find time, he will be throwing against a Falcons secondary that ranked near the bottom this season. I think Seattle will have a good shot at winning on the road this weekend but the Seahawks have historically had let down on the road in the regular season and in the playoffs. I think Atlanta will jump out on top early and they’ll be able to hold off a Seahawks comeback late. Much like the last time these teams played in the post season in Atlanta. Prediction: Falcons 28 – Seahawks 24

Houston @ New England – I guess we have to give Houston credit for beating up on an injured Oakland team last week. But on to this week where no one on earth is giving the Texans a chance at going up to Foxboro on Saturday night and leaving with a victory. I don’t know if Houston has a real chance or not but I’ll try my best to sell that to you. First, the Texans have the number one ranked defense in the NFL. DE Jadeveon Clowney was a real difference maker last week and he will be used in a similar way this week against a Patriots offensive line that can struggle against the premier pass rushers in this league. Houston also has a stingy secondary. They will get physical with New England’s smaller receivers and create tough passing windows for QB Tom Brady. And my third point: the Texans coaching staff is made up from Bill Belichick disciples. Bill O’Brien is the head coach and Romeo Crennel is the defensive coordinator. They know Belichick. They know their offense. Could this prove to be an advantage for Houston? I don’t know. Also, I’m not going to bet on it. I think New England will use this game to prove why they are favored by so much in this game. I think New England will be aggressive offensively and they will tire out the Texans up front with their running game. New England’s defense is also unheralded and they will have the opportunity to appear to be really good against Houston’s offense. I think Houston’s defense might be able to keep the Texans in this game but I have no faith in QB Brock Osweiler going toe to toe with Tom Brady in terms of offensive production. The Patriots will dominate in this one. Prediction: Patriots 35 – Texans 17

Green Bay @ Dallas – On Sunday, the marathon of rematches from the regular season will continue. Green Bay won last week at home convincingly against the Giants and they are feeling pretty good going into this matchup in Jerry’s World. They maybe feeling good about there chances but they may not be feeling so good health wise. Green Bay is banged up on both sides of the ball while the Cowboys are rested and are as healthy as they’ve been all season. A lot of people like the Packers right now because of the play of QB Aaron Rodgers and I can’t blame them. Rodgers is having one of those seasons that is proving that he is the best QB in football. Even with the Jordy Nelson injury, the Packers are well equipped at the WR position with players like DeVante Adams, Randall Cobb, and TE Jarred Cook. Adams had a big game against the Cowboys 2 years ago in the playoffs in memory serves me correctly. Green Bay isn’t going to beat anyone in the ground game but Ty Montgomery’s ability as a versatile runner and receiver from out of the backfield will make him into a player that the Cowboys defense will have to account for. Montgomery is a Dallas native and he will have the extra motivation to show out in front of his family. I don’t know how the Packers held the Giants to only 13 points last week. Green Bay has some talented players on defense like Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, and safety HaHa Clinton-Dix. But as a unit, Green Bay isn’t very good defensively. That banged up secondary will mean that the Packers will have to lean on their front 7 to created stops and turnovers. The Cowboys offensive line handled the Packers front 7 quite easily in their matchup earlier this season. I don’t think the Packers will have an answer for rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas run game. In passing situations, I am scared to death of the matchup between Peppers and right tackle Doug Free. But rookie QB Dak Prescott had a decent day passing against the Packers earlier this season and he was able to play well even without WR Dez Bryant. With the current state of the Packers secondary, I fully expect Bryant to be a difference maker down the field in a way that Odell Beckham Jr wasn’t last week. The Cowboys have a highly ranked defense but really, those numbers aren’t as impressive if you’ve watched the Cowboys this season. Rodgers will have a chance at creating some big plays down the field against a defense that struggles to provide pressure or create turnovers. But the Dallas defense this season has been known for bending but not breaking. I think the Cowboys defense could be a weakness but it is a unit that is better than it was in 2014. The Cowboys had an impressive regular season but they are now approaching rare air for them. This is a franchise that hasn’t advanced to Conference Championship Sunday in 21 years. This is a huge game for the entire franchise and I believe that they will not let their inexperience of Aaron Rodgers squander their opportunity. Many of the talking heads like Green Bay on Sunday but I’m thinking that is just more wishful thinking than really believing that Dallas will lose this game. The opportunity will be too big for this team to miss. I like the Cowboys at home. Prediction: Cowboys 33 – Packers 24

Pittsburgh @ Kansas City – I’m glad that this game was pushed back into primetime for the safety of the fans traveling to Kansas City and also I can now sleep in on Sunday without fear of missing any of the NFL Playoff action. This matchup should be a good one in Kansas City in a great atmosphere like Arrowhead Stadium. That place will be packed and rocking. I also want to say this first: I think the winner of this game will end up advancing to the Super Bowl. That being said, it is going to be really hard for me to not pick the Steelers to win this game. Pittsburgh was a pre season favorite going into this season but they kind of lost their way and found themselves with a 4-5 record after 9 games. They may not have had a tough schedule to close out the season but that doesn’t matter really. We have to give them credit for the run they are currently on and they did have to overcome some adversity against division rivals Cincinnati and Baltimore. The reason why the Steelers were pre season Super Bowl favorites was because of the talent they have on the offensive side of the ball. And that talent was on full display last week against Miami. I know that Miami isnt a good team and they kind of backed into the playoffs but WR Antonio Brown and RB Le’Veon Bell looked unstoppable last week. QB Ben Roethlisberger also had an impressive outing. I guess we can talk about the defense starting to play better even though last week they were hardly tested against an one-dimensional offense led by a backup QB. But still, that defense improving will be key if the Steelers want to make it to the Super Bowl. And that unit is improving. But here comes the bad news Pittsburgh fans: Kansas City isn’t Miami. I liked Kansas City all season. I like their defense. I like their ball control offense. I like Andy Reid and his experience. Limiting the combo of Bell, Brown, and Big Ben maybe a huge chore for the Chiefs defense but I think they will at least be up to it. I like Kansas City up front on defense. They have three really good pass rushers in Tamba Hali, Dee Ford, and Justin Houston. I think they will be able to pressure Big Ben in a way that he hasn’t felt in a while. Though on the other hand, the Pittsburgh offensive line has been performing well this season and they do not get enough credit. Protecting Ben will be a huge part of this game especially when you figure in Ben’s ankle injury. The Chiefs suffered a tough injury near the end of the season to LB Derrick Johnson. Since then, the Chiefs have struggled at stopping the run. I think they better figure out a way to slow Bell and the Pittsburgh running attack. If Bell can get loose, he will control the tempo of this game. Antonio Brown is the best WR in the league but KC’s secondary is really good. CB Marcus Peters is a tough player who has the knack at creating big plays. Safety Eric Berry is probably the best at his position in the league and he will be an issue in the box defending the run and covering the deep ball. Many people are saying that they cannot count on QB Alex Smith and the Chiefs offense out scoring the Steelers with their many offensive weapons. Alex Smith has been forever slept on especially in the playoffs and I think he will prove on Sunday night to be better than what most people believe. Even without Jamaal Charles, the Chiefs have a decent run game. Plus, Smith has some pretty good receivers to go to as well. TE Travis Kelce is a difference maker down the field. WR Jeremy Maclin is good on his own right. And rookie WR Tyreek Hill is a speedster who can affect the game as a kick returner. I think the Chiefs offense is more capable than what people believe. It has been a long time since the Chiefs have won a home playoff game and Andy Reid as a coach has a great record when coming off of the bye week. Earlier this season, the Steelers squashed the Chiefs at home. KC then went on the bye week and returned to go on a great run which led them to the AFC West crown. I don’t think the Chiefs have forgot about that Sunday night beat down in Heinz Field. I think that the KC front seven on defense will find a way to bother Roethlisberger and they will come up with more stops than the Steelers defense will produce. It will be close but I’m taking the Chiefs at Arrowhead. Prediction: Chiefs 24 – Steelers 20

NFL Playoffs: 2017 NFL Wild-Card Weekend Predictions!

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Miami’s run to the playoffs started in Week 6 against the Steelers. On Sunday, the Dolphins will meet them again in Pittsburgh.

By: Elias McMillan

 

Last Week: 14-2

Final 2016 Regular Season Record: 163-91-2

NFL Playoffs: Wildcard Weekend

Oakland @ Houston – For the second straight year, ESPN gets stuck with coverage of a playoff game in Houston that no one really wanted to see. Oakland was such a great story this season until about 2 weeks ago. Within that time, they have lost their starter and backup QB in rout to already being clinched for a post-season berth in the playoffs. Where Oakland goes from here is anyone’s guess. Houston has had its QB troubles recently too. Houston’s 72 million dollar man, QB Brock Osweiler, was bench about 3 weeks ago but because of a concussion suffered by his replacement, backup Tom Savage, Osweiler will be back in the starting position this Saturday. We have to imagine that Osweiler isn’t feeling too confident about his standing as the leader of the offense or as a competent QB in this league. The fact is that Osweiler hasn’t lived up to expectations this season. I’m not sure if Houston is going to need Osweiler to be great to win this playoff game. Houston has other weapons on the team that will make them a tough out for the Raiders. RB Lamar Miller had a good first season with the Texans. He was held out from the last two games of the regular season and he should be fresh and ready to go this weekend. Oakland will have to find a way to account for Miller as they ranked 23rd in the league in run defense. Houston is going to have to run the ball effectively in this game in order to control the clock and to keep Osweiler from making a mistake. Oakland doesn’t have a strong run defense but their defense can affect the game in other ways. Edge rushers, Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin, have made a living this season at creating chaos in the opponents back field. Oakland allows quite a few yards through the air but I like the way safety Reggie Nelson has been playing lately. Oakland doesn’t have the best defense in the playoffs but they have the ability to create turnovers that can change the game. After being down two QB’s, the Raiders will have to start QB Connor Cook on Saturday who is making his career debut as a pro. Cook is a real wildcard in this matchup because no one knows what to expect from him. Oakland’s offensive line has a huge task ahead of them as they will have to protect their young QB against a pretty good Houston defense. DE Jadeveon Clowney has finally emerged as a difference maker on the field with the absence of J.J. Watt. Oakland has had a serviceable running game this season so with Cook starting, we may see a steady dose of RB Latavius Murray. Houston has one of the top pass defenses in the league so it will be interesting seeing how Cook want to attack them with Amari Cooper or Michael Crabtree. In their matchup earlier this season, Houston outplayed Oakland really but they were on the wrong end of a couple of bad calls. I bet Oakland thinks that can play better than what they did in the last matchup but Houston probably has the bigger revenge chip on their shoulder. Oakland won 12 games this season and I think their playmakers on defense will be the difference. I’m taking the Raiders in a low scoring affair. Prediction: Raiders 18 – Texans 14

Detroit @ Seattle – In the second game on Saturday, we’ll see two teams that don’t look like they are ready to make a run towards the Super Bowl. Detroit squandered their lead in the NFC North to the Packers in a matter of 3 weeks. Seattle wrapped up the NFC West earlier but since the injury to Earl Thomas, they haven’t looked the same. Detroit still has its work cut out for them if they hope to upset Seattle who is usually a monster at home. But with the way Seattle has been playing lately, they are definitely vulnerable right now, even with the home field advantage. If Detroit can keep Seattle from controlling the clock on offense, they’ll have a shot at winning this game. Detroit has been inconsistent at stopping the run on defense but Seattle’s run game has been inconsistent as well. I don’t know how well Russell Wilson will play but Detroit will have to find a way to pressure him in order to keep him from making big plays. Last year in the playoffs, Wilson struggled in that first game at Minnesota but was still able to make the big play late to help Seattle get the victory. With the state of the Seahawks offensive line, I believe the Lions will be able to get after Wilson. Seattle is still pretty good defensively even without Earl Thomas. The Seahawks have a good pass rush and one of the top run defenses in the league. Detroit should have a hard time getting the run game going which will open the door for QB Matt Stafford to try to win the game with his arm. The Legion of Boom isn’t quite that without Thomas in the lineup so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Stafford find the matchups that will help him get his team down the field. TE Eric Ebron has emerged recently and WR’s Golden Tate and Anquan Boldin are more than familiar with the Seattle secondary. I think this game will be closer than what many people think. Detroit hasn’t won in a month and I don’t think I have faith in their defense to totally shut down Seattle offensively. A wildcard in this game will be TE Jimmy Graham who can destroy a defense’s game plan at any moment. I’m going with the home team. Prediction: Seahawks 26 – Lions 21

Miami @ Pittsburgh – Miami starting the season with a 1-4 record going into their Week 6 matchup at home against the Steelers. Who would have known that game was the start of a 9-2 run in the post season? Miami has had a remarkable and unlikely run to the playoffs this season and it is fitting that they’ll be in Pittsburgh on Sunday for this Wildcard matchup. People see the city name “Miami” and think, “Oh. There’s no way a team from Miami can win in Pittsburgh in January!” That thinking is common but couldn’t be more false. Miami is a ten-point underdog this weekend but I think they could stand a chance in Pittsburgh. Miami was able to beat Pittsburgh in their first matchup this season because of RB Jay Ajayi and the Miami run game. A great coach once said that a good run game is one thing that is guaranteed to travel with teams no matter which stadium they’re playing at. If Miami brings their running attack and is able to control the clock, they’ll be able to limit Pittsburgh’s scoring chances on offense. QB Matt Moore will be starting for the Dolphins and I don’t see him coming out with the goal to just air it out against the Steelers secondary. Pittsburgh’s defense as a whole has gotten a lot better since Week 6 so Moore will have to be careful and be selective about the shots to take down field. Miami does have more than capable WR’s in Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills. This game will feature two defenses that can allow both offenses to put up a lot of numbers but again; I see where Pittsburgh’s defense has improved. Not so much with Miami. I don’t have much confidence in Miami limiting Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, or Antonio Brown on Sunday. For Miami to stand a chance on defense, they will need to bring the pressure towards Roethlisberger for all 4 quarters. The Steelers have a decent offensive line but they’ll have a huge chore ahead of them on Sunday in the shape of DE Cameron Wake and DT Ndamukong Suh. I think too many things would have to go right for Miami for them to upset Pittsburgh on Sunday. Miami could slow the game down with Ajayi or harass Roethlisberger behind the line of scrimmage. But the Steelers just have too many weapons for Miami to account for. They wont be able to stop Bell on the ground and with time, Roethlisberger should be able to find big plays down the field against the Dolphins secondary. Miami could make it interesting but I like the Steelers at home. Prediction: Steelers 36 – Dolphins 28

New York Giants @ Green Bay – The second matchup on Sunday features two of the hottest teams in the NFC. Green Bay rode their hot streak into winning the NFC North last week. The Giants have looked impressive down the stretch and many believe that they could be gearing up for another championship run. I have to give Green Bay credit for catching up with Detroit and winning the division but on Sunday, they might match up poorly against the Giants. The Giants have done a tremendous job defensively recently and they might present some issues to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense. New York may not have the same pass rushing abilities they had when Jason Pierre-Paul was healthy but they playing well against the run and the secondary is also playing out of its mind right now. If the Giants can’t get after Rodgers, he will have time in the pocket but many QB’s have found it tough recently against the Giants secondary. Green Bay is going to have to figure out a creative way to get receivers open down the field. Another thing I don’t like about this matchup for the Packers is that their defense really isn’t good. They have had their issues this season at stopping the run and they are recently faced with multiple injuries in the secondary. The Giants don’t have a strong rushing offense but they do have some talented backs that might be able to find some space against the Packers front seven. And with a hurting secondary, the Giants and their talented trio of receivers should be able to make big plays down the field. Rodgers is the hot QB right now and he has powered the entire Green Bay squad during their run into the playoffs. Green Bay has been an overachiever in recent weeks so; I think they’ll be able to put up a good fight especially at home. But with the way that the Giants defense has been playing recently and with the state of the Packers secondary, I can see the Giants winning this one by the skin of their teeth. Prediction: Giants 24 – Packers 21

NFL 2016: Week 14 Predictions!

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Eric Berry will lead the Chiefs defense in a huge game this week in the AFC West.

By: Elias McMillan

 

Last Week: 11-4

Season: 120-70-2

Big Five Games of the Week

Oakland @ Kansas City – Thursday Night Football this week features two of the hottest teams in the AFC. The Raiders are one of the top teams in the conference this season and they seem to always be apart of exciting finishes. This is because they are a tough team to put away and are able to mount comebacks late. A big reason for that is that their defense steps up and creates turnovers late in games. Thinking of turnovers, the Chiefs defense used a couple of turnovers caused by Eric Berry to score another huge road victory last week in Atlanta. Kansas City’s defense is as exciting as Oakland and they will make it hard for both offenses in this game on Thursday night. Even though Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin are playing at a high level right now, I’m going to give the edge to the Chiefs defense because they have better players in the secondary. After last week, we all saw what Eric Berry is capable of and Kansas City also receives solid play from their corners. On offense, QB Alex Smith will receive a boost in the return of WR Jeremy Maclin who has been out recently due to injury. Oakland’s weakness on defense is in the secondary and I think Smith will work to exploit that on Thursday night. Oakland QB David Carr has been playing great recently but he will find it hard on road this week against a tough defense. I’m going with the home team. Prediction: Chiefs 24 – Raiders 20

Pittsburgh @ Buffalo – The Steelers defense really stepped up at home last week and held the potentially explosive Giants offense to just 14 points. That included two huge turnovers in the red zone. The young Pittsburgh defense might be feeling confident about themselves but they will face a tougher challenge this week on the road against the Buffalo Bills. Now, I know that the Bills offense isn’t nearly as explosive as the Giants offense (at least on paper) but Buffalo’s strength will serve them well against the Steelers defense. Pittsburgh’s defense has allowed plenty of big time performances by opposing running backs this year. Buffalo plays a ball control style offense with their running game but the backs they have are supremely talented. I think LeSean McCoy can have a big day on the ground against the Steelers. Also, I’m not ready to count on the Steelers pass defense. The heat is on QB Tyrod Taylor this week to produce results. Taylor appeared to be frustrated with the way last week went in Oakland and how the media pressed him on it afterwards. I think Taylor will be looking to prove himself this week and he will receive great support by his receivers and the home crowd. I like WR Sammy Watkins’ chances against the Steeler corners as well. Buffalo’s defense has gotten tougher as the season has gone on. I think the Steeler offense will provide a great test for Buffalo and they might be able to win the game single handedly if given the opportunity. But I think Buffalo’s offense will do its part with helping the defense by controlling the clock and keeping Ben Roethlisberger and company on the bench. The Steelers maybe feeling “high” right now but they are a team that is usually ripe for a letdown on the road. I’m taking the Bills to keep their playoff hopes alive this week with a big home victory. Prediction: Bills 32 – Steelers 28

Houston @ Indianapolis – The last time I really watched Houston was against Oakland in that Monday night game in Mexico. From there, I believed that Houston was getting a bad wrap from the media and that they are actually better than what most people think. But they had a letdown on the road last week in Green Bay and they are looking more and more like a team that will meltdown in December instead of making a run to the postseason. I thought the Texans would be able to lean on their defense, which was playing well this season. But the injuries to LB Jadeveon Clowney and CB Jonathan Joseph have proved to be costly. I don’t think the Colts are a great or good team. But their offense has improved recently. RB Frank Gore is having a great bounce back season. QB Andrew Luck is finding his groove. The defense is even playing better with the return last week of pass rusher Trent Cole. The Colts are starting the trend in the positive direction and they might be able to score a huge divisional victory this week at home. Prediction: Colts 26 – Texans 23

Dallas @ New York Giants – The Cowboys are 11-1 with a current 11 game win streak. That one loss this season came in Week 1 at home to the New York Football Giants. A lot has changed since then for both teams. This is a huge NFC East contest that might determine the division champion. The Giants were on their own win streak until they ran into Pittsburgh last week. QB Eli Manning made some horrible decisions in the red zone last week and that is not going to cut it for a team that is fighting to stay alive for the postseason. Good news for Manning is that he will be facing a Dallas defense this week at home that doesn’t pressure the QB and seems to be allergic to creating turnovers. The Giants offense will have to have a bounce back performance at home this week in order to stop the Cowboys win streak. The Manning to Beckham Jr connection will have to be on point on Sunday night. I’m not giving that Giants defense much of a chance at stopping the Cowboys offense on Sunday. Like I said earlier, this Dallas team is much different than the one from Week 1. Dak Prescott’s confidence as a passer is improving from week to week. More importantly, this offense can still lean on Ezekiel Elliott and the run game. DE Jason Pierre-Paul is out of the rest of the season as he was injured last week in Pittsburgh. That will deal a huge blow to New York’s chances on Sunday and going forward for this defense this season. I think Dallas will be able to take care of business on the road this week and more on to becoming the NFC East champs. I also think that this will be the beginning of an ugly December for the Giants. Prediction: Cowboys 35 – Giants 30

Baltimore @ New England – The Ravens offense finally exploded last week and that unit has been feeling great going into this huge road game against the Patriots. Historically, Joe Flacco has performed well against the Patriots defense. I mean, that’s not saying much as New England doesn’t really have much of a defense. But still, Baltimore has to keep whatever it is going on offense this week. New England’s defense is an overachieving bunch, again, but if the Ravens can press them and keep the pressure on, they may be able to score in bunches. Baltimore’s defense is talented but they are also beatable. This still isn’t the Baltimore defense of old. I expect Tom Brady to still be Tom Brady on Monday night. I think both offenses could do well in this game. The question will be which defense will show up for both teams. Baltimore has the top ranked run defense in the NFL but New England does a great job on the ground with LeGarrette Blount and Dion Lewis. Something will have to give on Sunday. I don’t know if this Baltimore team is capable of winning a big game like this one on the road. Brady and Belichick at home seem like a safe bet. Prediction: Patriots 31 – Ravens 21

The Rest of Week 14

Browns over Bengals – Cleveland has got to win at least once this season. Terrelle Pryor will have a 12+ catch performance. Robert Griffin III returns in a big way as well. That or the Browns will continue to be the Browns.

Lions over Bears – Chicago will offer no competition for Detroit on Sunday. They are too injured.

Broncos over Titans – Tennessee is still in the playoff race but so is Denver. The Broncos will need this one more.

Cardinals over Dolphins – Miami imploded last week and Arizona showed that they could still play good ball. I think the Cardinals will finish the season strong.

Washington over Eagles – Washington took their lumps last week on the road but they are still in a position to make a run towards the playoffs.

Chargers over Panthers – San Diego is more of a complete team than Carolina is right now.

Vikings over Jaguars – This might not be a slam-dunk for Minnesota. Minnesota was dealt another key injury last week. It has been that kind of year for them this season.

Jets over 49ers – I feel sorry for anyone who has to watch this on Sunday.

Seahawks over Packers – I know Seattle has had its troubles on the road and they are dealing with the lost of Earl Thomas but they can’t drop this one to a bad Packers team. Everyone is selling that Green Bay is still fighting for life in the playoff race but I just don’t see it.

Falcons over Rams – LA will not be able to out score the Atlanta offense. This will be too big of a chore for the Rams defense.

Buccaneers over Saints – Tampa Bay is right in the thick of things in the NFC South. Crazy.

Week 14 Fantasy Football Picks

QB: Phillip Rivers (Chargers) – At the bottom of the ranked pass defenses in the league this season, you will find three NFC South teams. One of them is the Carolina Panthers, the team that Rivers will face on Sunday.

RB: David Johnson (Cardinals) – Johnson has been playing as well as any RB in the league lately. On Sunday, he’ll face a poor Miami run defense.

WR: Mike Evans (Buccaneers) – The Saints secondary will not have an answer for Tampa Bay’s main passing target this weekend.

TE: Dwayne Allen (Colts) – I don’t think Allen will score three times like he did last week but Andrew Luck will give him more targets after his big performance last week.

DEF: Minnesota/Jacksonville – For the first time ever, I’m taking two opposing defenses. The Vikings/Jaguars game has the potential to be such an ugly game. Big day for the field goal kickers.

NFL 2016: Week 13 Predictions!

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The Oakland Raiders are the hottest team in the AFC going into December.

By: Elias McMillan

 

Last Week: 12-4

Season: 109-66-2

Big Five Games of the Week

Dallas @ Minnesota – The Cowboys are winners of 10 straight going into December. They are still the hottest team in football but they now enter a crucial part in their schedule. Minnesota went through a rough patch and many written them off, me included. But Mike Zimmer’s team is tough and they seem to always compete down til the last second. This will especially be the case when the Vikings are at home tonight in their new stadium in front of a raucous crowd. The big match up in this game will be the Vikings defense vs. the Cowboys offense. Minnesota’s defense is a talented group with young talent and key veterans in all position groups. Minnesota’s defensive line is tough and they have the ability to pressure the QB. I really like the LB’s Minnesota has and their secondary is ranked in the top 5 in the league. I feel like I’ve said this every week but the Cowboys offense has been able to take on all challengers week after week. But I think I can say with confidence that this Minnesota defense at home will be the toughest test yet for rookie QB Dak Prescott. Minnesota doesn’t have a highly ranked run defense but they will key against the run and they might be able to win some battles with the personnel they have. Cowboys fans should be worried about Prescott and if he will be able to move the ball through the air if Minnesota can slow down Ezekiel Elliott. For the Cowboys on defense, they have been such a curious case. In November, the team went undefeated while the defense did not cause a single turnover. This was the first time in league history that a team was able to do so. That’s kind of impressive but really, it isnt a good thing. Minnesota’s offense has been short handed for most of the season but if the Cowboys defense doesn’t find a way to challenge them, Sam Bradford might have one of his best games in weeks. I don’t think that will happen but mainly, the Cowboys defense has to figure something out soon. Why not on Thursday night against an offense that can’t run the ball and has protection issues up front? I think the Vikings will play Dallas tough at home but I’m sticking with the hot team on the road. Jason Garrett’s team is starting to build a rep as a tough visiting team. Prediction: Cowboys 27 – Vikings 24

Kansas City @ Atlanta – The Chiefs scored an impressive road victory last week at Denver but I feel that they aren’t getting enough credit. Everyone is focusing on the bad decision that the Denver coach made in overtime. But I like this Chiefs team a lot. I like their pass rush and I like their ball control offense. Atlanta scored a lot of points last week but they’ll face a greater challenge this week in Kansas City. The Chiefs will present many problems that may slow down Atlanta’s high-powered offense. I think the Chiefs pass rush will be able to get after Matt Ryan. I think Kansas City will be tough to run against. I think Atlanta will be leaning on Julio Jones to provide most of the big plays down the field but a pretty good CB, Marcus Peters, will challenge him. I don’t think Alex Smith will out gun sling Matt Ryan but I do not trust Atlanta defense right now. Yes, that unit has gotten better this season but they are dealing with some injuries right now. I like the Chiefs to score their second straight road victory. Prediction: Chiefs 35 – Falcons 28

Houston @ Green Bay – The Packers won a prime time game as an underdog last week so now everyone is riding high on them. I am not. This is the same Packers team that can’t stop anyone. This is the same inconsistent Packers offense from this season. This is the same Packers team that has already lost some big ones at home this year. Everyone is ready to write off Brock Osweiler and the Houston Texans but I am not. First, they have a decent defense. Houston has one of the top pass defenses in the league and they are getting decent play out of their defensive line. Second, though Osweiler has been inconsistent, Houston can lean on Lamar Miller and the run game. Especially against the Green Bay defense. Lets face it, we all thought that the Packers were going to lose last week in Philly but that win for them wasn’t that impressive. We should have known that the Eagles were capable of laying an egg at home like they did. Houston will not lay an egg on the road this week as they have realistic playoff hopes still. I like the Texans this week. Prediction: Texans 32 – Packers 23

Buffalo @ Oakland – The Raiders are the hottest team in the AFC right now. Last week’s close victory at home against Carolina was a classic and one that the Raiders of old would have lost. These new Raiders will be looking to keep it rolling at home this Sunday against a Buffalo team that is fighting to stay in the playoff race. Buffalo has an overachieving defense under Rob Ryan and I think they’ll figure out a way to slow down David Carr and the Oakland offense. The Bills defense will keep it close and the ball game will come down to who can make the more big plays. Recently, Buffalo’s offense has been proving that they are much more than just LeSean McCoy. Shady is a big part of their success but Tyrod Taylor and the passing game is starting to become a factor as well. The Raiders have a really good defensive front seven and they played last week against the best mobile QB in the league. I think Khalil Mack and company will be prepare for what Taylor tries to throw at them. But Oakland’s weakness on defense is that secondary and Buffalo will have Sammy Watkins back from injury this week. Oakland’s defense did a great job at creating turnovers against Cam Newton and they will have to do the same this week against a different mobile QB. I think Buffalo will keep this one close but it is hard for me to pick against this Raiders team at home. Prediction: Raiders 22 – Bills 16

New York Giants @ Pittsburgh – The Giants quietly have the second best record in the NFC and they have won six straight. But lets be real, who have they beaten in that streak. A bunch of nobody’s. The 2016 Steelers may not be world-beaters but they will bring this Giants team right back down to earth on Sunday at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh seems to always have a big victory at home against a NFC team. It wasn’t going to happen against Dallas this year but I think it has a better chance of happening this week. The New York Giants shouldn’t be able to slow down the Pittsburgh offense. Big Ben, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and company should be able to have impressive stat sheets once this one is done and over. But Pittsburgh’s defense really isn’t that good, either. So, we will be likely looking at a shootout between Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning. Odell Beckham Jr and Antonio Brown will be trying to one up each other on each possession. Both QB’s will throw the long ball with ease. The Steelers do have the edge at running the football but Bell will be facing a tough defensive line that the Giants offer. Jason Pierre Paul was a beast last week but again, that was against Cleveland. I don’t trust either defense in this matchup and the winner will likely be the team with the ball last. Mike Tomlin will make damn sure on Sunday that the Steelers will be that team. Pittsburgh needs this one at home to start out December on the right foot. Prediction: Steelers 39 – Giants 33

The Rest of Week 13

Bears over 49ers – Colin Kaepernick is playing well recently but the San Fran defense is still so bad. They will make the Chicago second string look like Pro Bowlers.

Eagles over Bengals – Philadelphia stinks and it is time to pack it up for their 2016 season. Lucky for them, Cincy appears to be done as well without a couple of key players missing from the offense.

Patriots over Rams – New England won ugly last week and they’ll probably have to do the same this week against a bad but tough LA team.

Lions over Saints – Detroit needs to begin their push towards the postseason on Sunday on the road.

Broncos over Jaguars – Jacksonville should bring out the 1998 team that upset Denver in the playoffs to play in this game. They might stand a better chance than the current team.

Dolphins over Ravens – Pittsburgh fans will rejoice to see this final. Miami has confidence and they are looking to stay in the playoff picture.

Cardinals over Washington – Arizona is bad this year but they have a pretty good secondary and they will challenge the suddenly hot Kirk Cousins. I like the Cards in an upset.

Chargers over Buccaneers – Tampa scored a huge upset at home this week. A long flight to southern California will serve as a wet towel. San Diego will play great at home for once.

Seahawks over Panthers – A Bad road loss followed by an ultra impressive home victory. Same old Seahawks.

Colts over Jets – Indy would have actually stood a chance last Thursday if they had Andrew Luck. That should serve as motivation this week but the Jets will be a tough out at home in primetime.

Week 13 Fantasy Football Picks

QB: Matthew Stafford (Lions) – Stafford should be on his “A” game against the New Orleans secondary.

RB: Jordan Howard (Bears) – The young Chicago runner will find plenty of room against the 49ers defense.

WR: Antonio Brown (Steelers) – Brown will have a good time on Sunday against the trash talking, loud mouthed Janoris Jenkins of the Giants.

TE: Travis Kelce (Chiefs) – Kelce was Alex Smith’s go to receiver down the stretch last week at Denver.

DEF: New England – I kind of feel sorry for rookie Jared Goff this weekend going up against a Bill Belichick coached defense. He will definitely see some things that he didn’t see in college.

NFL 2016: Week 11 Predictions!

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If the Titans want to make a serious run at the AFC South title, they have to win in Indianapolis this Sunday.

By: Elias McMillan

 

Last Week: 7-7

Season: 87-58-2

Big Five Games of the Week

Baltimore @ Dallas – The Cowboys are still riding high on their incredible winning streak and after a crazy win late in Pittsburgh last week. I don’t know if Dallas is going to be able to ride this hot streak into December. Weird things can happen in divisional games and they still have three more of those left. But outside of those rivalry games, Baltimore is definitely the toughest game left on the schedule; at least on paper. Baltimore enters this week after a few days of extra rest, as they were able to beat Cleveland last Thursday night. I think the Ravens defense will be a tougher test for the Dallas offense this week compared to what they faced in Pittsburgh last week. The Ravens enter Sunday with the top rank run defense in the league but it seems like the Cowboys run game is a monster with no signs of slowing down. Rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott solidified himself as a legit MVP candidate last week and he is receiving great support still by his offensive line. Baltimore is tough up front on defense so running the ball will he a chore for Dallas. It just seems that that Dallas running attack has taken on all challengers all season. It will be an interesting matchup. Baltimore’s offense is so erratic and inconsistent. Dallas, surprisingly, defends the run quite well. So, it might be up to Joe Flacco and the vertical passing game to pick up chunks against the defense to get into scoring range. The Cowboys secondary is banged up so maybe Flacco could have success. But while Flacco has struggled to find consistency this season, rookie QB Dak Prescott has been steady while displaying big play capabilities with the many weapons he has to go to. This maybe a tough one but I’m gonna stick with Dallas to stay hot going into Thanksgiving. Prediction: Cowboys 26 – Ravens 20

Tennessee @ Indianapolis – I called out the Titans last week for failing in big moments. They responded by crushing the Packers as a home underdog. This week, they’ll be in another big spot but this time it will be on the road against a division rival. Tennessee was able to stay close with the Colts in their first meeting this season before the Titans completely fell apart in the 4th. While riding the momentum of a big win a week ago and not forgetting what happen in the last meeting against the Colts, I think Tennessee will be looking to prove a point this Sunday in Indy. Tennessee isn’t going to beat anyone with defense. They need to do what they did last week and jump on team’s quickly with their offense. Tennessee can run the ball with the best of them with DeMarco Murray and QB Marcus Mariota is starting to come along on his own. Indianapolis has been underwhelming this season but they have enough talent to put up a good fight at home. Andrew Luck is still one of the better QB in the league and T.Y. Hilton was a problem for the Titans a few weeks ago. Tennessee needs to do a better job this week at protecting their QB and limiting Indy’s big plays on offense. I think the Titans will be ball control football and put the AFC South on notice with a big road victory this Sunday. Prediction: Titans 27 – Colts 24

Philadelphia @ Seattle – The Eagles looked impressive last week when they defeated a superior Atlanta team at home. This season the Eagles have been a different team at home than they are on the road. That sounds like what Seattle usually is. But the Seahawks flipped the script last week and scored a huge road victory against the best team in the AFC. Coming off that high along with their reputation at home, Seattle will be a tough team to beat on Sunday. I think Seattle’s defense will look as good as ever against rookie QB Carson Wentz. The Eagles have issues with protecting their QB and that serves to what Seattle does very well defensively. Thinking of defense, Philadelphia’s defense is what has been impressive for this team at home at least. But Seattle is starting to come around on offense. Russell Wilson is starting to play like his old self after recovering from injury. Rookie RB C.J. Prosise provided a boost from the backfield last week and Thomas Rawls is slated to return this week as well. What really has Wilson playing well lately is the emergence of TE Jimmy Graham who will be a handful for the Eagles defense. I’m taking the home favorites. Prediction: Seahawks 30 – Eagles 20

Green Bay @ Washington – Washington is trending upwards while Green Bay is doing the opposite. In this playoff rematch from a season ago, we will see strength vs. strength in the matchup between Aaron Rodgers and the Packers passing attack and Josh Norman and the Washington secondary. Washington’s defense isnt perfect but they have a lot of talent on that side of the football and this Packers team can not take them for granted this week. Rodgers and the Packers offense must be in attack mode for all four quarters. Another reason why that mindset is needed, Green Bay’s defense cannot stop anyone right now. QB Kirk Cousins can have his inconsistent moments but he might be able to shine against this Packers defense this Sunday night. Washington has the players to give Rodgers trouble in this game. Washington can rush the passer and they have tough corners. Its too bad that Green Bay’s run game has been so inconsistent since the injury to Eddie Lacy. James Starks is going to have to step up in this game. I think there are more reasons on the Washington side for why they will win this game but I think Aaron Rodgers will find a way to play big in primetime like he does often. Cousins has been known to falter under the big lights at times. I’m taking the Packers but not by much. Prediction: Packers 34 – Washington 33

Houston @ Oakland – I’ve said before that the international series is stupid and needs to be out of the NFL. Taking away a regular season home game from a team in order to “grow the sport” is just a bunch of bull. That being said, I think its really cool that this Texans/Raiders matchup on Monday Night Football will be played in Mexico. It definitely beats traveling across the pond to play a game that no one cares about. I sure, American Football isn’t the biggest thing in Mexico but it is obviously bigger there than it is or ever we be in London. Playing in Mexico is a great idea but why not just keep that international stuff in the preseason. Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox. I like the Raiders in this game. Brock Osweiler has Andy Dalton syndrome where he usually looks awful in primetime games. The Raiders have the front seven to get after him for most of the game. Houston’s defense will keep this close though. The Texans offensive line will have the biggest chore of the night. Oakland doesn’t have a great secondary so, if Brock is protected, I think DeAndre Hopkins will be able to do some damage. But if Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin can play like I know they can, they’ll bother Brock and cause turnovers. David Carr is playing well right now but Houston’s defense is better than what most think. If Oakland can keep a balanced attack and protect the football, they’ll be able to do enough to not lose this game. Prediction: Raiders 35 – Texans 28

The Rest of Week 11

Panthers over Saints – This will probably be the best “Color Rush” uniform combo of the season. Carolina didn’t finish last week. They’ll do so this week.

Bills over Bengals – Buffalo played Seattle real tough on road before the bye week. They come out strong again against a Cincinnati team that is slumping.

Steelers over Browns – If Pittsburgh loses this one, then the Donald Trump curse is real. For those who are unaware of the Trump curse: http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2016/11/14/social-media-reacts-were-the-pittsburgh-steelers-cursed-by-donald-trump/

Lions over Jaguars – Jacksonville continues to be horrid. Detroit is fighting for a chance to win the division.

Chiefs over Buccaneers – I loved the way Kansas City finished that game last week after being down and winning it with their defense. That will go along way for building that team’s confidence.

Cardinals over Vikings – Minnesota is a sinking ship, no pun intended.

Giants over Bears – The New York Football Giants are starting to stack up wins and no one is paying attention.

Dolphins over Rams – Jared Goff will finally start for LA but Miami’s defense played well in California last week against a polished NFL passer. Bad news for Goff and the Rams.

Patriots over 49ers – Blowout city. Brady has never played against his favorite childhood team. He’ll be looking to impress Joe Montana.

Week 11 Fantasy Football Picks

QB: Marcus Mariota (Titans) – Mariota was great last week and he will have to be again this week. Indy gives up the second most passing yards in the league.

RB: LaGarrett Blount (Patriots) – The 49ers have the worst run defense in football. Blount is having one of his best seasons this year.

WR: T.Y. Hilton (Colts) – Hilton had a big game against Tennessee earlier this season. The Colts will need him to come up big again on Sunday.

TE: Dennis Pitta (Ravens) – Pitta has the second most catches this season at the position but he has yet to score a TD. That might change this weekend against Dallas’ banged up secondary.

DEF: Miami – The Dolphins played well on defense last week and they’ll face the worst offense in football this week in Los Angeles.

NFL 2016: Week 7 Predictions!

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Tom Brady and friends should crush a shorthanded Steelers team this Sunday.

By: Elias McMillan

 

Last Week: 12-3

Season: 55-37

Big Five Games of the Week

Indianapolis @ Tennessee – The Colts are trending downward right now. I think offensively, they can still score enough to be in games but their defense will continue to let them down like they did last week when they melted down in Houston. Tennessee is a talented football team who is looking for the chance to climb out of the AFC South basement and I think they’ll have a chance to do just that this season. Step one would be beating a Colts team that has owned them for a while now. I think I read that Andre Luck is 7-0 all time against the Titans. I think Tennessee will flip the script at home this Sunday. We’ll see a strong game from QB Marcus Mariota and he’ll receive great support from DeMarco Murray and the run game. Look for the Titans to finish the game strong in the four quarter while the Colts will fail once again at holding the lead. Prediction: Titans 27 – Colts 20

Minnesota @ Philadelphia – Sam Bradford returns to Philadelphia after being traded to Minnesota right before the season. That trade may have worked out for both teams as Philly was able to hand the keys to the offense to their top draft pick and Minnesota was able to keep their expectations afloat by having a capable QB under center after losing Teddy Bridgewater for the season. The Vikings enter this game undefeated and coming off the bye week. Philadelphia started the season hot and they had the entire league talking. But since then, they have cooled off significantly and if you look at their upcoming schedule, more pain in on the horizon. Carson Wentz was the media darling a couple weeks ago but he is starting to hit that rookie wall as we saw against Detroit and last week vs. Washington. Wentz is going to continue to have a bad time out there as he will be facing a really good Vikings defense on Sunday. Philadelphia’s defense isn’t playing at the level that it was a few weeks ago either. Minnesota isn’t going to overwhelm anyone offensively but with the way their defense is playing, the offense will not have to do very much on the stat sheet but still put away teams late. Bradford will really enjoy this one, as his Vikings will stay undefeated in Philly. Prediction: Vikings 33 – Eagles 21

New England @ Pittsburgh – The Steelers were my pick last week in my Survival Football league. That didn’t go well as they had their annual “play down to a crappy opponent” game last week in Miami. To make matters even worst in Steel town, Pittsburgh lost their starting QB, Ben Roethlisberger to injury. I remember last season when Ben went down due to injury and the Steelers were still able to win ball games with Landry Jones. Fast-forward to today and it sounds like many are not giving Jones a chance this weekend. Maybe it is because they know what they are losing in Roethlisberger. Maybe its because Landry Jones isn’t that good. Or maybe, it is because of who is coming to Heinz Field this weekend. Landry Jones is going to have to be better than good to beat Tom Brady and the Patriots this weekend. Pittsburgh really suffered last weekend defensively as the Dolphins ran all over them. They will receive some help this week as LB Ryan Shaizer will return from injury. But they will still be without DE Cameron Heyward who is a major difference maker on the Steelers’ defensive line. Also missing last week in Miami was the Steelers pass rush, which is currently non-existent. All of those things will equal into some bad news for the Steeler faithful at home this Sunday. With no pass rush, Tom Brady will tear this secondary apart. Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett should be able to have field days on Sunday. New England’s running game is underrated and the current state of the Pittsburgh run defense will give LaGarrette Blount chances to shine this week. All hope isn’t lost for Pittsburgh on offense though. No Roethlisberger will likely mean heavy doses of Le’Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams who are both really good. We will see how well New England defends the run on Sunday. If Pittsburgh is successful in the run game, that will open up some things for Jones and the passing offense. Antonio Brown was almost a no show last week in Miami and the Steelers will have to find a way to get him involved even without the starting QB passing him the ball. I honestly think that the Steelers aren’t in that bad of shape without Roethlisberger but they will not even be close to being able to compete with New England on Sunday. Strange things can happen in Heinz Field, I guess. But I expect the Patriots to roll easily. Prediction: Patriots 42 – Steelers 28

Seattle @ Arizona – Don’t let last week’s home victory over the Jets fool you. Arizona has been disappointing to say the least so far this season. There is a narrative that says that Arizona is really good at home and Seattle is really bad on the road. I think you can throw that narrative out the window this Sunday night. Seattle is currently playing at a high level and Arizona is not. The Cardinals have been really disappointing on the defensive side of the ball. They have talented players in the secondary but as a unit, they are not creating enough stops. Arizona’s fall back has been their high scoring offense but even they have been inconsistent at times this season. RB David Johnson is having a strong season but on Sunday, he’ll face a tough Seattle front four. Arizona’s shortcomings on defense will serve Seattle’s offense well. Russell Wilson will be able to control the game with his legs and his arm. I’m taking the road team. Prediction: Seahawks 27 – Arizona 19

Houston @ Denver – I guess you have to give Houston credit for coming back like they did last week. They were pretty much dead in the water but they ended up finishing strong. They could be a confidence builder going into a big Monday night match up against the defending champion Broncos. Denver lost at home to Atlanta and had a short turn around where they lost at San Diego on a short week. After losing that tough one to Atlanta and then having to turnaround and play on the road on a short week, that is a tough sequence. Did I mention that I think season long Thursday night games are a stupid idea? But anyways, Denver should be pretty ticked off and ready get back to winning at home on national television. Brock Osweiler will be making his return to Denver and the Broncos defense is already chomping at the bit to get after him. Osweiler might have already proved to be a QB who really wasn’t deserving of all that money Houston gave him. I like the Denver defense in this matchup very much. They will get after the QB and Houston will have issues scoring points. Denver’s offense has been struggling a bit recently and Houston’s defense is actually much tougher than anyone gives credit to. I just think Houston will be struggling so much on offense that the defense will get tired late in this game and will be unable to come up with key stops in the 4th quarter. I see Denver getting back on track this week at home. Prediction: Broncos 21 – Texans 12

The Rest of Week 7

Packers over Bears – I know that Green Bay is struggling and that they just lost Eddie Lacy for the season. But Chicago is really bad and they let Jacksonville beat them on a complete accident.

Rams over Giants – The International Series is another thing in the NFL that I would like to see go away. How about the Rams in an upset? Their defense will keep LA in this game.

Bengals over Browns – Cincinnati showed signs of life last week. Cleveland is dead but the Indians are going to the World Series! They really need to get rid of that Chief Wahoo mascot though.

Washington over Lions – Washington is on a winning streak and no one is noticing. Detroit is a team that I can’t trust right now because of all of their injuries.

Chiefs over Saints – Drew Brees is playing at a high level. Kansas City’s defense will face a tall task on Sunday but I like the Chiefs at home.

Bills over Dolphins – Buffalo may be without LeSean McCoy but their defense is playing at a high level right now. A win in Miami would mean five straight for Rex Ryan’s bunch.

Ravens over Jets – This game might set QB play back a few years. It will be a field goal kicking contests. I like Justin Tucker. Hook ‘em.

Raiders over Jaguars – I can’t believe that the Raiders are really leaving California.

Falcons over Chargers – Atlanta fought tough on the road last week in Seattle. They won’t have a let down at home this week.

Buccaneers over 49ers – I don’t know. A complete toss up here.

Week 7 Fantasy Football Picks

QB: Tom Brady (Patriots) – Hard for me not to pick Tom. He is facing the third worst pass defense in the league on Sunday.

RB: Jamaal Charles (Chiefs) – This is a complete shot in the dark. Kansas City just traded one of their running backs. Maybe this will mean a bigger role for the now healthy Charles.

WR: A.J. Green (Bengals) – Green usually goes big against the Browns.

TE: Delanie Walker (Titans) – Tennessee passing offense has a favorable matchup this week against the Colts secondary. Walker has been quiet lately. Maybe he will break out this week.

DEF: Oakland – Jacksonville has been so bad on offense this season. Blake Bortles might make the Raiders secondary look better than it really is.

Elias McMillan’s 2014 NFL MOCK Draft! (TWO ROUNDS!)

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South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney is the best player in this years draft and it probably isn’t even close.

By: Elias McMillan

I thought that the build up and the wait for last years draft was long. Man, was I wrong. Well, it is finally the week of the draft which probably means that you’re tired of looking at Mock Draft after Mock Draft after Mock Draft. But finally, here’s a Mock Draft that isn’t like the others. Because I did this one myself. And for the first time, I decided to do NOT one but TWO rounds! So, here it is. The best Mock Draft and the last Mock Draft you should read before Thursday night!

ROUND ONE

1. Houston Texans – Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina: The first pick overall in this draft should be a “no-brainer” for the Texans. Houston does have other needs but when you have the top pick in the draft, you’re probably better off taking the best player in the draft. Not only is Clowney the best player in this draft, but he can also fill some of the needs on this Texans defense. Clowney is a pure edge rusher with wide receiver speed but he is also big enough and athletic enough to play multiple positions on the defensive line. All the questions about Clowney’s work effort and drive just seem pointless to me. This guy was the 1st overall pick in this draft since he declared for South Carolina in high school. You don’t pass on a prospect like that. Teaming this kid with J.J. Watt will strike fear in AFC South QB’s for years to come.

2. St. Louis Rams – Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M: St. Louis has been long rumored to take an offensive lineman with this 2nd overall pick. But in a turn of events, I have them taking the OT out of Texas A&M and not the OT out of Auburn. Matthews has NFL bloodlines and is probably the most “game ready” OT in this draft. Matthews was apart of a great offensive line in college protecting one of the best QBs in the game. Plus, Rams HC Jeff Fisher coached Matthews’ dad in the league for years. This pick will help QB Sam Bradford to stay off his back next season.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M: Here’s a bit of a shocker. The Jaguars are looking to upgrade the QB position and create competition with veteran Chad Henne. They can do that with this pick and fill the stadium back up. Manziel is a special player with a body of work that has been able to stand up against top competition in college. Manziel has great instincts and can make all of the throws that a NFL QB can. The way he improvises outside of the pocket cant be coached and will provide some of the most exciting plays you would see. Manziel might have to adjust his play some in the pros but once he becomes comfortable, he could develop into one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in football. With Manziel, Jacksonville would be getting an extra-motivated player who will get to face Houston (the team that passed on him) twice a year. The bad part is that if Jacksonville does take him, he will be on a team with very little offensive weapons around him.

4. Cleveland Browns – Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson: I’m betting that Cleveland is wishing for Manziel to drop to them at pick #4. If not, I don’t see them just taking the next best QB available. If they take the best player available, it will probably be the speedy, playmaking receiver out of Clemson. Pairing a guy like Watkins with another playmaker like Josh Gordon would really free up the offense and create a lot of opportunities. Watkins would provide a great complement to Gordon and would be a boost for the special teams as a return man. Cleveland does have a great need at QB but they might be able to address that with their other 1st round pick.

5. Oakland Raiders – Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn: The hardest thing about these mock drafts is predicting what the Oakland Raiders are gonna do. I didn’t have Greg Robinson going as the top OT because he is young and could take some time to develop. But he is the most physically gifted offensive lineman in the draft and the Raiders would take him immediately at #5. Robinson is a raw prospect but once he is coached up, he would become a staple on the Raiders offensive line for years to come. He is this draft’s Tyron Smith.

6. Atlanta Falcons – Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo: The Falcons ranked among the bottom in the entire league in sacks. They need to upgrade that pass rush to improve the defense so picking this small school prospect might be a perfect fit. Mack is sort of a risky pick in this draft. He was a great player in college as a edge rusher and he certainly looks the part. But he is a mid major product who didn’t play against top competition in college. Mack is a guy who could become the next Von Miller or the next Aaron Curry. It is a gamble that the Falcons would be able to take given their need for a young pass rusher on defense.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M: Mike Evans is the third A&M Aggie I have coming off the board in the top ten. Tampa traded away one of their top receivers recently so they definitely have a need at the position. Evans was largely impressive last year in college as a huge target with great speed. Evans is a rare receiving prospect that is long enough to win in jump ball situations and still has the ability to run away from defenders. Evans could develop into a Plaxico Burress type of player in the league.

8. Minnesota Vikings – Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville: I’ve gone back and forth with this selection. I think Minnesota is definitely gonna go with a QB here because it has been a position that has held this team back for the last couple seasons. I have no idea why the stock in Teddy Bridgewater has gone down since his college career ended. You would think that one of his arms fell off since January by the way these analysts talk about him now. But I think, Bridgewater is the most “battle-tested” QB in the draft. The kid just seems to rise his game in the face of adversity. He is a proven passer and great athlete outside of the pocket. Bridgewater is probably the most “pro-ready” of the QBs in this draft but his draft stock took a major hit because of a bad pro day? Please. I hope that Minnesota doesn’t fall into the hype of the pro days actually meaning more than his actual college career.

9. Buffalo Bills – Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan: The Bills ranked in the bottom five in the league in sacks given up so their offensive line is in need of a upgrade. Michigan’s Taylor Lewan is the next best OT available and would be a great fit for the Bills. Lewan is a huge athlete with a mean steak and would provide some great blocking at right tackle. If Buffalo is looking to protect their investment in last years 1st round pick, EJ Manuel, then Lewan would be the pick at #9.

10. Detroit Lions – Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA: The Lions have one of the best defensive lines in football. Last season, the league learned that having great play at defensive line doesn’t always mean that you have a great pass rush. The Lions have the ability to stuff the run but they struggle at getting pressure to the QB. Anthony Barr has become one of my favorite prospects in this draft. He has pure pass rushing ability on the same level as a Clowney or Mack. Barr is quite like Detroit’s 1st rounder from last year, Ziggy Ansah. Like Ansah, Barr is rather new to playing as a pass rusher and he does need to be coached up before becoming a true impact player. Ansah showed flashes of development last year and I think the Detroit coaching staff wouldn’t have a problem getting Barr to where he needs to be. Barr might be a bit of a project but he offers a huge upside for a defense that needs to create more pressure.

11. Tennessee Titans – Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State: The Titans lost their best CB in free agency over the summer. Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard is coming off an impressive college career and would be an immediate impact player in the secondary. Dennard offers decent cover skills in man and zone situations. He doesn’t have top end speed but Dennard is a physical player that isnt afraid of offering support in defending the run. He’s a sure tackle and shows great fundamentals when making plays.

12. New York Giants – Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina: Eli Manning is looking forward to having a bounce back year in 2014. In order to do that, he might need a big playmaker opposite of Victor Cruz. Having one that can go across of the middle of defenses wouldn’t hurt either. Ebron would be just what the doctor ordered for this Giants offense. I don’t see Ebron as an Antonio Gates type TE but he is the best TE in the draft. He isnt quite the athlete that Gates is but he is a big body that has WR type speed. I don’t think Ebron has as sure hands as a Tony Gonzalez but his long arms and big frame give him the ability to make catches even when the ball is off target. Ebron to the Giants would make a lot of sense.

13. St. Louis Rams – Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville: The Rams have one of the best up and coming defenses in the league. What they are missing is a true difference maker in the secondary. Calvin Pryor is the best safety in the draft and he would be an instant starter for Jeff Fisher. Pryor has a great nose for the football and he just flies around the field from sideline to sideline making plays. I don’t think his cover skills are on the level as an Earl Thomas but he is an active centerfielder that rarely gets beat. What he doesn’t have in size he makes up for in speed and instincts. He could end up as the next Brian Dawkins or the next Reggie Nelson.

14. Chicago Bears – Haha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama: The Bears are looking to get younger on defense. They’ve addressed their defensive line in the free agency more than their secondary so I think they’ll address that with pick #14. Haha Clinton-Dix is not only the best name in the draft but he is also a pretty good player in the secondary. Clinton-Dix is a lot more athletic than Calvin Pryor and shows similar speed when coming down in run support. Unlike Pryor, Clinton-Dix struggles in coverage sometimes especially in one-on-one situations. But he is a great open field tackler and he usually makes big plays around the football. There’s no way that the Bears are planning on starting Ryan Mundy at safety so I expect them to explore that position with this pick.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State: I believe that the greatest need on the Steelers defense is at defensive line. But I don’t think there is anyone good enough at that position to take at #15. Pittsburgh could improve their secondary by finally taking a CB in the 1st round. Justin Gilbert is the best athlete at CB in this draft. He offers top end speed and superb cover skills. The knock on Gilbert is that he is a bit of a softy and he isnt great at giving run support. Gilbert is gonna have to be coached up to become more of a physical player but he already has the natural gifts of having speed and being able to stay with receivers. Gilbert would fit right in with the Pittsburgh defense as a possible replacement for Ike Taylor.

NCAA Football: North Carolina at Pittsburgh

The Giants, Bears, & Cowboys will be targeting Pitt’s Aaron Donald for their 4-3 defenses.

16. Dallas Cowboys – Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh: Aaron Donald had a more than impressive final season at Pitt. Then, he topped that off by blowing people away at the combine. A lot of the experts don’t have Donald making it all the way down to pick #16 but if he does, Dallas will rush to the podium to make that pick. Donald is a great player but he might not be the best fit for some teams that pick before Dallas. Donald has great disruptive ability but he is a bit undersized and probably would be suited in a 3-4 defense. Playing in a 4-3 defense would mean more one-on-one assignments that Donald strives against. Donald would be a perfect fit for Rod Marinelli’s defense as a pass rusher that can provide a great push in the middle of the line of scrimmage.

17. Baltimore Ravens – Zach Martin, OT/OG, Notre Dame: Baltimore’s two biggest offensive stars, Joe Flacco and Ray Rice, had down years in 2013. And after losing Michael Oher in free agency, the Ravens might be in the market for some offensive line help. Zach Martin is a quality player who can play multiple positions on the offensive line.

18. New York Jets – Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State: I have the Jets getting a true playmaker at pick #18. Cooks won the award for best college receiver last season all while breaking numerous Oregon State and Pac-12 records. Cooks is a former track star with blazing speed. Throughout his college career, he has proven to being pretty sure handed receiver. The Jets will jump at the opportunity to take this kid as they are desperate for a star at the receiver position. Cooks will be able to help special teams as a returner but he should be able to develop into a true #1 receiver in this league, much like DeSean Jackson.

19. Miami Dolphins – Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama: This might be a bit of a reach but the Dolphins had serious offensive line issues last season. They need immediate starters at Tackle and Guard. Kouandjio does come with some injury concerns but he was a heck of a player for a major program in college. Kouandjio offers great athleticism for his size and he should be able to play left or right tackle for Miami. Either way, Ryan Tannehill will be happy to have him on his offensive line. The Dolphins offensive line allowed the most sacks in 2013, by the way.

20. Arizona Cardinals – C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama: C.J. Mosley is one of favorite prospects in this draft. Mosley is a top ten talent in this draft but he does have some injury concerns. Mosley is a play making LB with great speed and even greater instincts. Mosley’s natural ability will command him plenty of playing time as a rookie. Arizona might have a need at ILB because Carlos Dansby left for Cleveland and Daryl Washington might be facing suspension due to legal troubles. Mosley would be a great pick here for Arizona because he’ll probably be the best player available in this part of the 1st round.

21. Green Bay Packers – Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois: The Packers would be in a scramble at #21 with the Cardinals take CJ Mosley. So with the best LB off the board, I see the Packers reaching a bit for the best safety available. Jimmie Ward might be a reach at #21 but he compares very well to the other two top safeties in this draft. The Packers secondary was very poor last season especially in the middle of the field. Ward is a smaller player but he can fly around to the football with great speed. Ward might actually be a better player in coverage than Pryor and Clinton-Dix. Ward has a nose for the football and turnovers usually happen when he is around. Ward doesn’t have the typical NFL size you would want for his position but he’ll play “big” in the Packers secondary.

22. Philadelphia Eagles – Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU: If the Eagles are looking to replace DeSean Jackson, they should trade up or hope Brandin Cooks drops to them at #22. If not, they can take the next best receiver in LSU’s Beckham Jr. Beckham doesn’t have the top end speed that Chip Kelly would be looking for in a WR but he probably has the best hands in the draft. Beckham is a consistent pass catcher who could develop into a “go-to” guy for QB Nick Foles. Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin are NOT #1 receivers. Beckham could come into Philly and play right away.

23. Kansas City Chiefs – Ra’shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota: Kansas City has taken a defensive lineman in the 1st round 3 times in the last 7 years. Last season, the Chiefs were rolling through the AFC until late in the season where age and injuries caught up with them. By taking the defensive lineman out of Minnesota, the Chiefs will be getting younger and would be adding some much needed depth that unit. Hageman might not be the best fit for a 3-4 defense but he is a huge body with long arms and he might be able to use that to take up many blockers. Hageman big frame and quickness at the line of scrimmage makes him a decent pass rusher as well.

24. Cincinnati Bengals – Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri: The Bengals have a need at defensive end with Michael Johnson leaving for Tampa in free agency. Kony Ealy is not only a great player but he’s a confident one as he has already proclaimed himself to be the best DE in this draft. Ealy may not be as athletic as Clowney but he does have a great talent for getting to the QB. There’s a reason why his college teammate, Michael Sam, won SEC defensive POY honors last year. Ealy’s pass rushing ability causes many QB’s to roll out opposite to where he is lined up. Ealy has that rare ability to impact plays without even sacking the QB. He would be a perfect fit for the Bengals defense that needs to get younger on the defensive line.

25. San Diego Chargers – Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame: San Diego already has two decent ends on that 3-4 defensive line. Louis Nix would provide depth and he might even start immediately for them at the nose tackle position. Nix is huge but he is really active and will definitely demand a double team from offensive lines. Inside LBs, Donald Butler & Manti Te’o, would reap the benefits of a solid defensive line in that 3-4 defense.

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Central Florida’s Blake Bortles is a huge question mark in my eyes.

26. Cleveland Browns – Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida: This is another pick that I when back and forth with. Simply put, I don’t like Blake Bortles as much as a lot of other “experts”. Bortles comes off to me as a “favor of the month” type prospect that has really benefited from the draft “process”. Most of these analysts didn’t even know this guy until near the end of last college football season. Bortles is a tall, strong-armed QB that can really throw the deep ball. Bortles also shows a bit of athleticism, which has all of these scouts drooling for some reason. I guess the thinking is that since Bortles is a big kid that can move a little, he is gonna develop into a Roethlisberger or Cam Newton type of QB. What these experts are NOT saying is that for every Roethlisberger and Newton, there are 3 or 4 JaMarcus Russell’s, Christian Ponder’s, & Josh Freeman’s. But I digress. Bortles could develop into a fine NFL QB but I think he will take more time to develop compared to Manziel and Bridgewater. I think Bortles could go as high as #8 to Minnesota because his big body might be ideal for some of those cold weather NFC North match ups. If Bortles goes where I think he should go, he might be in the green room for a while on Thursday night. If he drops into the teens and the Browns are worried about getting a QB in the 1st round, they might wanna to trade up for him because there might be multiple teams bidding for him (Houston).

27. New Orleans Saints – Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech: The Saints have done a great job at remaking their secondary this offseason. Getting Kyle Fuller at #27 would move than complete that process. Fuller is a fiery competitor that made a lot of plays in the secondary throughout his college career. Fuller would greatly benefit from playing with a guy like Champ Bailey. Fuller is quick enough and physical enough to fit in as the team’s nickel corner. Fuller is probably the best tackling CB in the draft outside of Darqueze Dennard.

28. Carolina Panthers – Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia: I know. I know. Everyone in Charlotte would be crying for a WR with the Panthers first round pick but the team has other pressing needs. Carolina had a starting offensive tackle retire this offseason so there is currently a gaping a hole in Cam Newton’s protection. Did I mention that Newton is coming off of ankle surgery? The Panthers need to protect their investment with this draft pick of Morgan Moses. Moses offers great long arms and quickness that will help him as a run blocker. But mainly, they are gonna need Moses to be coached up and to protect Newton at all costs.

29. New England Patriots – Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State: Jernigan would be a true steal for the Patriots if he lasts this long on day one. Jernigan is one of the top defensive line prospects in this draft. The knock of him is that he is kinda young and he might take awhile to develop. But Jernigan is a huge kid with a high motor. He specializes in stopping the run and because of that, he could be a great fit in New England’s 4-3 defense. Jernigan would really benefit from playing behind veteran Vince Wilfork as well.

30. San Francisco 49ers – Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State: The 49ers need better play from their corners in 2014. Bradley Roby is a top prospect in this draft and he probably deserves to go higher than #30. Roby is an athletic freak with top end speed. Playing in the Big Ten, Roby has a physical temperament and can really lower the boom in run support. Roby is the type of guy that plays with reckless abandonment and because of that, he’ll fit in nicely on this 49ers defense.

31. Denver Broncos – Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State: Shazier is the 2nd Buckeye I have coming off the board late in the 1st round. Shazier would be a perfect fit for the LB needy Broncos. Denver lost a couple from that position in the offseason and Shazier could provide an immediate starter in this defense. Shazier has excellent speed from sideline to sideline and has a knack of getting away from blockers. Shazier could stand to get bigger but he isn’t a “tweener” type of LB. Shazier’s skill set is perfect for a 4-3 defense looking for a weak side LB.

32. Seattle Seahawks – Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame: Notre Dame’s Stephon Tuitt is an interesting prospect because he is athletic enough to play DE in a 4-3 defense and he is big enough to play DE in a 3-4 defense. Tuitt is an amazing player to watch because he is 300+ pounds but still has outstanding pass rushing abilities. If drafted by Seattle, Tuitt would add more depth to an already awesome defensive line. If Tuitt is unable to make the transition to a 4-3 DE, he would make a fine pass rusher inside as a DT. Seattle could use Tuitt at multiple positions in a 4-3 and that would make him attractive for Seattle at the end of the 1st round.

ROUND TWO

Georgia vs Auburn

Auburn’s Tre Mason will be a 2nd Round target for many teams.

33. Houston Texans – Tre Mason, RB, Auburn: To start off round 2, the Texans will take the first RB off the board. You might have expected a QB to be taken here but I believe that the Texans have a greater need behind starting RB Adrian Foster who has been injury riddled recently. Also consider that Foster’s back up, Ben Tate, will be starting in Cleveland this fall. Mason is a little speedy guy who can carry the load as a second option in the backfield. Mason is tough for his size and could be a valuable third down option for whoever starts QB for Houston.

34. Washington Redskins – Jason Verrett, CB, TCU: And to think that Washington could of had the second overall pick. Anyways, Verrett would be a great addition to the Redskins secondary. Verrett has tons of experience at defending the pass in the pass-happy Big-12. He has excellent speed and decent enough cover skills to go in the 1st round. Verrett might serve as a possible replacement for DeAngelo Hall who really should be out of the league anyway.

35. Cleveland Browns – Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State: Carlos Hyde would be the sentimental pick for the Browns. Hyde was a very productive back at Ohio State who gotten better from year to year. Hyde is a big physical runner who averaged over 7 yards a carry last year. Hyde could provide some very valuable goal line carries for this new look Browns offense.

36. Oakland Raiders – Marqise Lee, WR, USC: Getting the hometown kid would go over well in Raider Nation. Lee has been highly recognized as one of college’s top receivers for the last couple years. He has gone through some injury problems but when healthy Lee would provide a quality target for Matt Schaub. Lee has great speed and he often does well in one-on-one situations.

37. Atlanta Falcons – Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington: This might be a reach even for the 2nd round but the Falcons need a replacement for Tony Gonzalez. I like Seferian-Jenkins for Atlanta because he may not be the best athlete but his size will make him an attractive target for Matt Ryan. Seferian-Jenkins has the ability to win in jump ball situations and could develop into a great receiving threat in the red zone.

38. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee: Tampa needs a tackle to replace Donald Penn who left for Oakland. Penn’s play really started to decline last year so they probably needed to replace him anyway. Richardson would play right away for Tampa protecting Mike Glennon.

39. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU: I’m not sure if I’m buying into Toby Gerhart as a starting RB in this league. Jeremy Hill is a reliable back who provided some big moments at LSU. If the Jags do draft Manziel like I have them doing, they are gonna need a running game by committee to help Manziel shoulder the load on offense. Hill would be perfect for that.

40. Minnesota Vikings – Dee Ford, DE, Auburn: Dee Ford blew away a lot of the scouts during the Senior Bowl. Some might have him as a first round prospect but Minnesota would be happy to grab him here. The Vikings might be looking for a Jared Allen replacement in the draft and Dee Ford could provide that. Ford specializes at getting to the QB and will help bring along the youth movement to the Vikings defensive line.

41. Buffalo Bills – Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State: The Bills lost a starting safety in free agency. Bucannon isnt exactly a ball hawk but he is a great physical open field tackler in the mold of a Dashon Goldson.

42. Tennessee Titans – Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State: The writing is on the wall for Titans QB Jake Locker. New head coach Ken Whisenhunt might want to develop his own QB and that guy might be Derek Carr. Carr wasn’t really impressive against top notch competition but he does have a big arm and he threw for a bunch of yards in college. Tennessee could bring him in to either push or replace Locker.

43. New York Giants – Dominique Easley, DT, Florida: Easley was an active, big body at the line of scrimmage for Florida. He does have some injury concerns but he would be able to fit in as a pass rusher in the middle of the Giants defensive line.

44. St. Louis Rams – Keith McGill, CB, Utah: The NFL is a copycat league so big physical corners might be in high demand in this draft. The Rams might be looking to build their own “Legion of Boom” with this draft pick. McGill is a big physical corner that offers great speed outside.

45. Detroit Lions – JaWuan James, OT, Tennessee: How about some more protection for Matt Stafford? The Lions didn’t give up many sacks last year but they are still in need for a tackle as they lost a starter in free agency.

46. Pittsburgh Steelers – DaQuan Jones, DT, Penn State: I feel like no one is talking about the holes currently on the Steelers defensive line. They have a great need there and this instate product might be able to help them. Jones is a big body with great hands and long arms. Jones would fit well in a 3-4 defense.

47. Dallas Cowboys – Xavier Su’a Filo, OG, UCLA: I very much doubt that Su’a Filo will last this long in the draft. He’s probably is the best guard in the draft and there would be no way that Dallas would pass on him in the 2nd round. Dallas does have a need at guard and Su’a Filo would help solidify the offensive line for years.

48. Baltimore Ravens – Cameron Fleming, OT, Stanford: Baltimore gets even more offensive line help. They could play Zach Martin at guard and then plug in this guy from Stanford as Flacco’s new right tackle.

49. New York Jets – Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech: QBs Geno Smith and Michael Vick both love using tight ends. Amaro doesn’t play as big as he really is but he is a great route runner and even a better receiver as a TE. The Jets have a big need at the position and he would immediately pay off in this offense.

50. Miami Dolphins – Stanley Jean Baptiste, CB, Nebraska: Cortland Finnegan and Brent Grimes aren’t young anymore. Jean Baptiste would provide depth and quality play as a nickel CB.

51. Chicago Bears – Lamarcus Joyner, CB, Florida State: The Bears are another team with old CBs.

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QB Jimmy Garoppolo comes from a small school but could have a high NFL ceiling.

52. Arizona Cardinals – Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois: Carson Palmer might still have football left in him but the Cardinals need to start grooming his successor. Garoppolo is a great small school product who makes tons of great plays from outside the pocket. He needs to become more polished inside the pocket but that might come with time behind Palmer.

53. Green Bay Packers – Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State: Aaron Rodgers gets another playmaker to replace James Jones. Robinson has decent speed and long arms that helps him in jump ball situations. Robinson is also really good after the catch and that makes him a fit for Green Bay’s offense.

54. Philadelphia Eagles – Marcus Robinson, CB, Florida: Starting CB Cary Williams was a free agent dud for the Eagles last season. They might be looking to replace him.

55. Cincinnati Bengals – Christian Jones, OLB, Florida State: The James Harrison experiment didn’t really work out. Christian Jones is a dynamic LB prospect that would be suited in a 4-3 defense.

56. San Francisco 49ers – Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt: Once I found out that Matthews is related to Jerry Rice, this pick began to make a lot of sense. The 49ers are looking to get younger at WR and Matthews is player with raising stock in this draft.

57. San Diego Chargers – Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State: San Diego ran the ball well last season. And with signing Donald Brown, the Chargers are looking forward to having an even better ground game. Getting more offensive line help will definitely help San Diego to continue to build upon the running game.

58. New Orleans Saints – Kyle Van Noy, OLB, Brigham Young: The Saints defense did pretty well last season despite all of their injuries. With this pick, the Saints could provide depth and improve their outside pass rush. Van Noy is a tall, pass rushing athlete in the mold of a Jason Taylor.

59. Indianapolis Colts – Terrence Brooks, S, Florida State: The Colts lost a starting safety in free agency. Brooks is a “in the box” physical safety to could start on day one.

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Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin could provide Cam Newton with a huge target.

60. Carolina Panthers – Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State: Here is the moment that Panther fans have been waiting for. Carolina gets a big play receiver for Cam Newton in the second round. Benjamin doesn’t have a lot of speed but he is a huge target that could become an immediate red zone threat.

61. San Francisco 49ers – Ego Ferguson, DT, LSU: San Francisco’s great defensive line might be getting a little old. Taking this young LSU defensive tackle might help down the line.

62. New England Patriots – Joel Bitonio, OG, Nevada: The Patriots might be looking for offensive line help after a disappointing season from Dan Connolly.

63. Denver Broncos – Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State: The Broncos need a starting Center and this in state product is the best Center in the draft.

64. Seattle Seahawks – Phillip Gaines, CB, Rice: The Seahawks lost Brandon Browner in free agency and Byron Maxwell is easily the weak link in the “Legion of Boom”. Seattle might be looking for depth and an upgrade in the secondary.