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NFL Playoffs: Super Bowl LI Prediction!

Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show Press Conference

“I’ve got a hundred million reasons to walk awaaaaaaaaaaaaay….”

 

By: Elias McMillan

Conference Championships: 0-2

Playoffs: 4-6

Super Bowl 51 from NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas

New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons

Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, or Lady Gaga as you may know her, has had a long road to music super stardom. Early in her life, music was a huge part of who she was and who she eventually wanted to be. She began to play the piano at the young age of four and was playing open mics around NYC by the time she was 14. At 17, she was allowed early admission into the top school for the arts at NYU. Two years later, she dropped out of NYU to focus on finding her sound as a professional musician. After creating a cult like following in the NYC Underground music scene, she was signed and then quickly dropped from Def Jam. The experience was heartbreaking but it encouraged her to begin experimenting further with her sound as a performer and with her overall image. Soon after, she found herself on an imprint of Interscope Records where R&B superstar, Akon, recognized her abilities and featured her vocals on one of his albums. Akon then told Interscope executives that Gaga had the potential to be a “franchise player” and a year later, her debut album began production.

“The Fame” debuted in August of 2008 and included mega dance-pop hits like Just “Dance”, “Poker Face”, “LoveGame”, & “Paparazzi”. The debut was a monster success for Gaga who went on to win multiple awards at the Grammys. “The Fame” was named one of the 100 Greatest Debut Albums by Rolling Stone magazine. A year later, “The Fame” was reissued as “The Fame Monster” and included new hits like “Bad Romance” & “Telephone” featuring Beyoncé.

Gaga’s official second LP was “Born This Way” and it proved to be an excellent follow up to her debut. The electric rock & techno influenced record continued Gaga’s streak of massive hits with songs like the title single “Born This Way”, and “The Edge of Glory”.

Gaga’s third studio album “ArtPop” featured hits “Applause” and “Do What U Want” featuring R. Kelly but was considered lackluster by many music critics. Soon after that release, she left her long time manager and began a new chapter to her career. She collaborated with long time friend and music legend Tony Bennett and released “Cheek to Cheek”. The joint album reintroduced Bennett to a younger audience and was received well by critics, winning at the Grammys that year.

After exploring some ventures in front of the camera as an actress, Gaga returned with a brand new album last October. “Joanne” was released as a much softer version of Gaga’s previous’ works but still featured her incredible vocal ability and her unique sound that creates hit records. Singles “Perfect Illusion” and “Million Reasons” have already shot to the top of the charts and now, Gaga is preparing for her biggest and greatest stage yet, the Super Bowl 51 halftime show.

Prediction: Patriots 34 – Falcons 24

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NFL Playoffs: 2017 Conference Championship Sunday Predictions!

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Super Steelers? It does appear that way.

 

By: Elias McMillan

 

Divisional Round: 2-2

Playoffs: 4-4

Conference Championship Sunday

NFC Championship Game

Green Bay @ Atlanta – The Packers and the Falcons will be riding their high-powered offenses into Championship Sunday. I’m not giving either defenses much of a chance at being the difference makers in this contest. Atlanta’s offense is a lot more balanced that Green Bay’s. The Falcons have a great vertical passing attack led by QB Matt Ryan. WR’s Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, and Taylor Gabriel have done a great job at stretching the field on the outside and in the middle of defenses. But unlike the Packers, Atlanta has two legit RB’s while Green Bay has none. Devonta Freeman is a tough runner between the tackles and Tevin Coleman can do similar things but is also a threat as a receiver. Atlanta’s offense is set up to make a Super Bowl run. But the Falcons will have to come out sharp against this Green Bay defense. Dallas didn’t do that last week and that was one of the reasons they lost. Atlanta has had a stigma for a while now for falling short in big games. The Falcons offense is going to have to be the driving force to make sure that doesn’t happen. Green Bay receives decent play from their outside LB’s Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, and Nick Perry. Those guys can affect the Atlanta pass game by pressuring Ryan but they are also good against the run. But as a unit, Green Bay doesn’t defend the run or the pass very well. Atlanta will have the opportunity to set the tone on offense in this game. For the Packers, their offense will also have a great chance at success on Sunday. QB Aaron Rodgers was very much the best QB of the league last week as he is playing at a very high level. The Packers have multiple threats down the field at WR and TE even without Jordy Nelson. Atlanta’s defense is average at best and I feel confident that Rodgers can have a big day through the air against them. Green Bay may not have much of a run game but Atlanta isn’t exactly a run-stuffing defense. I think Atlanta’s defense, especially the front seven, could be a bit underrated. I think their LB’s do a good job and outside rusher Vic Beasley is a difference maker on passing downs. Green Bay’s offensive line did a good job last week but Beasley will present a greater challenge for them on Sunday. This game will come down to which defense I trust more at making more stops or which offense do I trust more at performing at a high level for 60 minutes. I don’t think Atlanta is ready defensively to stop Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay does not have a great defense but they are experienced and Atlanta has been prone to let downs in the past. It just feels like this is Aaron Rodgers’ time. This Packers team has come a long way from being embarrassed on Monday Night Football by Washington months ago. I have the Packers advancing to the Super Bowl in the first game. Prediction: Packers 36 – Falcons 31

AFC Championship Game

Pittsburgh @ New England – At the beginning of this season, many pegged the Steelers as a Super Bowl favorite. In fact, in my pre season predictions, I had the Steelers making it out of the AFC over the same Patriots team they will be facing on Sunday. The Steelers have had their issues this season. After falling to 4-5 when they lost to Dallas at home, those Super Bowl predictions took a serious hit. Since then, the Steelers have been able to get back on track, their defense has improved, and the offense look impossible to stop with the way Le’Veon Bell is running the ball. I’ve heard many people say this week that for the Steelers to beat New England in Foxboro on Sunday, they will need a vintage big time performance from Ben Roethlisberger. I don’t feel that way at all. Roethlisberger hasn’t exactly been lighting in up in the playoffs but he doesn’t have to. The most important weapon in this ball game on Sunday will be RB Le’Veon Bell. I think New England’s defense can be underrated at times but I don’t see them being able to shutdown Bell for 4 quarters. I think New England’s front seven could present some issues for the Steelers in terms of stuffing the run and pressuring the QB. I’m a big fan of DT Malcolm Brown who is playing great right now. Edge rushers Trey Flowers and veteran Rob Ninkovich are capable of getting after the QB. But the Steelers offensive line has done a great job for most of the season in the run and in pass protection. New England’s secondary isn’t exactly great either. With time, I think Roethlisberger would find success down the field. CB Malcolm Butler will try his best at shadowing WR Antonio Brown but that is a matchup that I would expect seeing Brown to win. Though Le’Veon Bell might be the best player on the field on Sunday, the New England running game might poise a bigger threat than Pittsburgh’s. New England has a great RB duo in LeGarrette Blount and Dion Lewis. Blount is a tough guy to bring down once he gets going and Lewis is a great receiving threat coming out from the backfield. Lewis is also a difference maker in special teams as a returner. We saw that last week. I think the Steelers defense could potential have their hands full with both of those backs. The Steelers will have to key on pressuring Tom Brady as well. Hopefully, the Patriots have learned their lesson from last year’s AFC Championship Game where they allowed Denver’s ace pass rusher harass Brady for most of the game. New England’s offensive line cannot let James Harrison do what Von Miller did last year. I guess we have to give the Steelers secondary credit for playing great against Matt Moore and Alex Smith but we have to believe that Brady will present a greater challenge for them. But again, that unit for Pittsburgh has done a decent job recently. Can we really expect Julian Edelman to be the big play receiver that the Steelers wont have an answer for? I think Brady could play well in this game but I think this offense will really miss Rob Gronkowski on Sunday. The Patriots are gonna need Martellus Bennett to make some big plays but Steeler LB’s Ryan Shazier and Lawrence Timmons have done a great job recently in pass coverage. I’m said before that I think the Patriots defense is under rated but right now, I think I trust the Pittsburgh defense more. Which is saying a lot because, I still don’t believe that the Steelers defense is that good. But they are kind of on a roll right now and I think I have that continuing this Sunday. This will be good game with a classic ending. I said last week that the winner of Pittsburgh-Kansas City is going to the Super Bowl. Plus, I had Pittsburgh making it this far in the pre season. Can’t turn back now. Prediction: Steelers 28 – Patriots 24

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 2015: Awards & Playoff Predictions

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I have two of the league’s top young QB’s facing off in Super Bowl 50.

By: Elias McMillan

First, here are my picks for the post-season awards:

MVP: Andrew Luck – QB (Indianapolis Colts) – The Colts are loaded for a Super Bowl this season and the spotlight will be even brighter than before on their star QB Andrew Luck. And I think Luck will rise up under the pressure and lead this team to a great regular season. With the talent surrounding him, Luck should be able to put up the numbers that would rival Peyton Manning’s or Tom Brady’s MVP seasons.

Offensive MVP: Adrian Peterson – RB (Minnesota Vikings) – Adrian Peterson should be well rested going into this season and he’ll be hungry to remind everyone of the player that he was before he was put on the exempt list last season. Peterson will put up big numbers and could be the reason why the Vikings may contend for a playoff spot.

Defensive MVP: Justin Houston – LB (Kansas City Chiefs) – Houston ended his 2014 season on a crazy streak. I think he’ll be able to ride that momentum into another crazy productive season in 2015.

Offensive Rookie of the Year – Jameis Winston – QB (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) – Is has been awhile since a top pick has won this award especially at QB. So why not Winston? Winston will definitely have the opportunity in Tampa when it comes to playing time and the weapons that he will be able to go to in his first season. Winston may not put up monster numbers in his first season but I think that he’ll be impressive enough to win this award.

Defensive Rookie of the Year – Vic Beasley – DE (Atlanta Falcons) – Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn is going to need Beasley to play at a high level early in his career. Beasley will be a walk-in starter on this defense and his job will be simple enough: chase the QB. Beasley has the chance to make the biggest impact out of any other defensive rookie this season. Beasley has raw pass rushing ability and he’ll be a nice start for Quinn when it comes to rebuilding that Falcons defense. Other candidates could by Dallas’ Randy Gregory or New York’s Leonard Williams.

Comeback Player of the Year – NaVarro Bowman – LB (San Francisco 49ers) – The 49ers maybe awful this season but they’ll receive a huge boost from the return of Bowman. Bowman has been out for longer than a year from a gruesome leg injury suffered in the 2013 NFC Conference Championship game. Bowman is now healthy and judging from what we have seen in training camp, he will back to his old self in 2015.

Coach of the Year – Mike Zimmer (Minnesota Vikings) – Success as a head coach has come a long way for Zimmer but he’ll finally get some this year in Minnesota. Zimmer and his staff has done a great job bringing in young talent and now that Adrian Peterson is back, the postseason is a real possibility. Zimmer’s true mark on this team will be how well the defense performs. If the defense is improved, the league will take notice and Zimmer will win this award.

And now here is my forecast for the playoffs this season. As a reminder, here are the teams I see qualifying:

AFC

  1. Indianapolis Colts – 13-3 (AFC South)
  2. New England Patriots – 11-5 (AFC East)
  3. Denver Broncos – 11-5 (AFC West)
  4. Pittsburgh Steelers – 10-6 (AFC North)
  5. Baltimore Ravens – 9-7 (Wildcard)
  6. Kansas City Chiefs – 9-7 (Wildcard)

NFC

  1. Green Bay Packers – 13-3 (NFC North)
  2. Seattle Seahawks – 12-4 (NFC West)
  3. Dallas Cowboys – 11-5 (NFC East)
  4. Carolina Panthers – 8-8 (NFC South)
  5. New York Giants – 9-7 (Wildcard)
  6. Minnesota Vikings – 9-7 (Wildcard)

Wildcard Weekend

AFC: (3) Broncos over (6) Chiefs, (4) Steelers over (5) Ravens

NFC: (3) Cowboys over (6) Vikings, (5) Giants over (4) Panthers

Divisional Round

AFC: (1) Colts over (4) Steelers, (3) Broncos over (2) Patriots

NFC: (1) Packers over (5) Giants, (2) Seahawks over (3) Cowboys

Championship Sunday

AFC: (1) Colts over (3) Broncos

NFC: (2) Seahawks over (1) Packers

Super Bowl L (AKA Super Bowl 50)

Indianapolis Colts over Seattle Seahawks

Recap: The AFC is going to be interesting this season because when I look at the top teams, I don’t see strong defensive teams. Which could mean good news for the Steelers. The Patriots wont be able to ride Tom Brady’s and Bill Belichick’s rage so far. Besides, New England’s losses on defense will be too great. But if you think about it, New England didn’t have a great defense last season. Denver’s defense has notable names but they massively under performed last season. Wade Phillips will have that defense right and they might have a bigger chance to make the Super Bowl than what people think. Indy’s defense was really bad last season too. But they’ve also made improvements. Its time for the young superstar QB to finally go on his playoff run, so I have the Colts making it out of the AFC. The NFC is wide open again this season. Once again, I think there isnt many strong defensive teams in this conference other than Seattle. Dallas will be the wildcard. The defense is improved I think and if they are, they’ll be serious contenders this season along with Seattle and Green Bay. It’s a big question mark so I’ll need to see prove before believing in that. Another big question mark that needs to be answered: the Cowboys’ running game. Green Bay will be good again but they’ve already been affected by injuries. Seattle has the same team from a season ago pretty much plus all world TE Jimmy Graham. Seattle on paper this season looks better than the teams they were able to take the Super Bowl in the last two seasons. I have Seattle making its third straight Super Bowl but they’ll far short to Andrew Luck’s Colts.

Elias McMillan’s 2015 NFL MOCK Draft!

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USC’s Leonard Williams might prove to be the safest pick in this years NFL Draft.

By: Elias McMillan

The NFL Draft process is long and tedious. Its fun to guess and speculate but the truth is that no one knows the process of thinking for the teams drafting until the actual draft happens. This is also why the draft process is kinda fun for me. The mystery of the whole thing makes it fun to research and watch highlight tapes on Youtube. Once again, I’ve mocked the first two rounds of the NFL Draft and my research this year has been just as intensive as last year. Or maybe not. Well anyways, Tampa Bay, you are on the Clock…..

ROUND ONE

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State: Tampa Bay is guaranteed to take a QB with its first overall pick in this draft. And it is easy to see that Jameis Winston is the top QB in this draft class. Tampa Bay has numerous reasons to take him first on Thursday night. Winston is a big athlete with a big arm. He was a great on the field general during his college career and he offers a playmaking ability that other QBs in this draft just don’t have. Unfortunately, Winston has a lot of growing up to do on and off the field. I think Tampa Bay would be an ideal situation for him in both situations. Off the field, Winston would be close to his college home and his actual home town. The Bucs already have veteran leadership in place ready to bring him up to speed on life in the NFL. On the field as a passer, Tampa has two big studs at WR (Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans) that can help stretch the field. Having those two options will definitely help Winston succeed and help Tampa get the most out of this first overall pick.

2. Tennessee Titans – Leonard Williams, DT, USC: Leonard Williams is a physical disruptor at the defensive tackle position. Williams offers the best combo of size, strength, and speed out of any other defensive tackle in this draft. Tennessee was one of the worst at defending the run last season and adding Williams would help improve those numbers in 2015. Tennessee could go with a QB at this pick but head coach Ken Whisenhunt has a recent track record of not doing so well with young QB prospects (Matt Leinart, Jake Locker). I think Tennessee will either trade this pick to a QB-needy team or they will just take one of the safer picks in this draft in Leonard Williams.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Dante Fowler Jr., DE, Florida: This pick is about getting younger on the defensive line. Jacksonville actually had a decent pass rush last season but they do have aging vets at the defensive end. Fowler is a home state product and is athletic freak of nature. He has great size and versatility along with the ideal speed for a edge rusher.

4. Oakland Raiders – Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama: Amari Cooper from Alabama has been one of the top receiving prospects in college for a while it feels like. His production at Alabama is unmatched when put next to any other receiver in this draft. Cooper is a technician as a route runner and has great blazing speed in the open field. Cooper isn’t a big bodied, athletic freak at WR like a Calvin Johnson or Dez Bryant. Cooper compares more like to a Marvin Harrison or a Antonio Brown type of player. Outside of Leonard Williams, Cooper might be a safe bet for having a long productive pro career.

5. Washington Redskins – Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson: Vic Beasley’s reputation as a top pass rusher in college has been known for a while now at Clemson. He would be an ideal replacement for Brian Orakpo in Washington at pick number five. Beasley is probably the best at getting around offensive tackles with great speed out of anyone in this draft. His supreme pass rushing skills will make him a hot commodity on Thursday night.

6. New York Jets – Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon: I think the Jets organization has seen enough of Geno Smith. The guy had his chances but he simply can’t be a starter in this league. I’m not real high on Marcus Mariota as a pro prospect and he actually compares greatly to a Geno Smith type of player in college. West Virginia and Oregon both run that gimmicky, spread, fast break type passing offense that doesn’t translate well in the pros. Those offenses simplify passing lanes that are not usually available in a pro-type situation. But I think Mariota has a much higher ceiling that Smith. Mariota is a really good athlete that can excel outside of the pocket. He doesn’t have the arm strength that Jameis Winston has be he can still be a successful passer in this league. Mariota was one of the most efficient QB’s in the history of Oregon. Mariota might be a bit of a project but the Jets need an upgrade at QB badly. If Mariota doesn’t go in the top 6, he might be in for a long Thursday night.

7. Chicago Bears – Kevin White, WR, West Virginia: Kevin White doesn’t fit the mold of a typical receiver out of WVU. White is huge athlete with top end speed. White is an ideal prospect to end up as a number one receiver in a pro style offense. He has great size, speed, and he can rise up and make catches as a red zone threat. The Bears are WR-needy because they traded Brandon Marshall away. White would be a great fit and paired with Alshon Jeffery, they’ll form one of the top receiving duos in football.

8. Atlanta Falcons – Alvin Dupree, DE, Kentucky: Alvin Dupree is one of the most interesting prospects in this draft. Dupree is one of those prospects who has started to raise up in the rankings because of the combine and his pro day. Dupree was actually a really good player in college and compares well to Florida’s Dante Fowler. Like Fowler, Dupree is a versatile athlete that has the size to play defensive end in a 4-3 defense and the outside speed to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. The Falcons have had one of the worst pass rushes in football for two seasons now. Dupree is a guy that could come in and be a day one starter for Atlanta.

9. New York Giants – Brandon Scherff, OG/OT, Iowa: Brandon Scherff will probably be the first offensive lineman taken on Thursday night. Scherff is a mountain of a man with great strength. The Giants need help in the interior of their offensive line and they had one of the lower ranked rushing offenses last season. Scherff would be a great help in pass protection but more importantly, he would help the Giants rushing attack.

10. St. Louis Rams – La’el Collins, OT, LSU: I know that the Rams took a offensive tackle last season but they did have one of their starters retire recently. La’el Collins’ claim to fame is that he had great showings when he has gone up against the top pass rushers in the SEC. The Rams have a questionable situation at the QB position and adding more protection would definitely help who ever ends up with the starting job.

11. Minnesota Vikings – DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville: For whatever reason, Cordarrelle Patterson had a down season in his sophomore year at receiver for the Vikings. Minnesota also added speedster Mike Wallace at the receiver position in the offseason. Despite that move, Minnesota is without a true outside threat at the WR position. Deviant Parker is one of the top receiving prospects in this draft and he is also familiar with starting QB, Teddy Bridgewater. Parker has great length and could really stretch the field in this offense. He compares to a poor man’s A.J. Green.

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Washington’s Danny Shelton could be a run stuffer for years to come in the NFL.

12. Cleveland Browns – Danny Shelton, DT, Washington: This would be a dream come true for Cleveland. Shelton is one of the top defensive tackles in this draft and he is worthy of a top ten selection on Thursday night. Shelton has tremendous size and is set to become a mainstay for whatever team takes him in the draft. Shelton would be ideal for Cleveland as they had of the worst run defenses in football last season. Shelton could develop into a Vince Wilfork type of player as a pro. Along with great size, Shelton is athletic for a guy his size, he can push the pocket and pressure QB’s and will be a major disruptor on the defensive line.

13. New Orleans Saints – Randy Gregory, OLB, Nebraska: Randy Gregory is another defensive prospect that probably should be taken in the top ten but he will fall short of that for different reasons than Shelton. Gregory is a play making, pass rushing specialist who will be a great help for any 3-4 defense. Unfortunately, Gregory has some off the field issues that may cause him to drop in this draft. Once Gregory has his off the field issues behind him, he could develop into a great pro player. People are concerned about his size as he does need to bulk up. However, if you watch his film, Gregory plays bigger than he actually is and reminds me of Dolphins legend Jason Taylor. New Orleans needs a lot of help of the defensive side of the ball and drafting Gregory here would help with that process.

14. Miami Dolphins – Breshad Perriman, WR, Central Florida: Even without Mike Wallace, Miami already has a decent receiving core. But they still need to get younger at that position. Breshad Perriman has great size and speed and could even help Miami as a returner. Miami need to add more receiving talent around QB Ryan Tannehill who is coming off a career year. Perriman could develop into one of Tannehill’s favorite deep threats.

15. San Francisco 49ers – Trea Waynes, CB, Michigan State: The 49ers need to get younger in the secondary. They lost a couple of vets at the cornerback position and Trea Waynes is the top corner in this draft. Wayne has great instincts and play making ability.

16. Houston Texans – Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma: The Texans are in need of an outside receiving threat now that Andre Johnson was sent packing. Doral Green-Beckham has plenty of off the field “red flags” but he might be worth the risk for Houston at pick 16. Green-Beckham is one of the biggest receivers in this draft class but he is also one of the most athletic. Green-Beckham is a guy who could become an intimidating force in the Texans passing game.

17. San Diego Chargers – Shane Ray, OLB, Missouri: The Chargers have been missing a legit pass rushing presence for a while now. Shane Ray is one of the top pass rushers in the draft and would be a great fit in San Diego’s 3-4 defense. Ray is a relentless pass rusher who is as tough as they come. Ray has had a tough up bringing and his blue collar mentality will make him a fan favorite in San Diego.

18. Kansas City Chiefs – Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State: The receiving stats for the Chiefs as a team last season are just embarrassing. A receiver is needed here to help their offense improve going into next season. Strong will be the best option on the board for the Chiefs at pick 18.

19. Cleveland Browns – Cameron Erving, OL, Florida State: This might be a bit of a reach for Cleveland but they need help on the interior of their offensive line. Cameron Erving is one of the most intriguing prospects in this draft. At 6’5, Erving is huge but he is versatile enough to play all five positions on the offensive line. The Browns offensive line suffered mightily when they lost their starting Center to injury in the middle of the season. Taking Erving here would greatly help with depth on the offensive line and might provide a new starter.

20. Philadelphia Eagles – Landon Collins, S, Alabama: The Eagles are in need for a safety in the box to help in run support. Alabama’s Landon Collins would be perfect for this job. Collins doesn’t have the elite coverage skills for a safety but he loves to run down hill and make big hits at the strong safety position. Collins is clearly the best safety prospect in this draft and opponents won’t completely write off his skills as a pass defender.

21. Cincinnati Bengals – Eric Kendricks, LB, UCLA: The Bengals need some defensive help at pick 21. Eric Kendricks is one of the top LB prospects in this draft. He has a great NFL pedigree and was an award winning player at UCLA. Kendricks is great at attacking ball carriers and offers decent coverage skills as well. He would be a great fit for Cincy’s 4-3 defense. He will compete with A.J. Hawk for a starting job.

22. Pittsburgh Steelers – Byron Jones, CB, Connecticut: The Steelers need to draft a replacement here for Ike Taylor or Troy Polamula. Since the best safety in the draft went earlier, I have the Steelers taking a flyer on Byron Jones. Jones is a high character prospect with great athletic ability. Jones lacks the top speed when compared to the other top corners in this draft but he makes up for that with his physical play in the passing game and in run support. Jones really made a name for himself at the combine but he is a lot more than just a workout wonder. Because of the current state of the Steelers secondary, Jones would be a starter on the first day of camp.

23. Detroit Lions – Malcolm Brown, DT, Texas: Considering that they lost Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, a defensive tackle would be ideal for the Lions at pick 23. Malcolm Brown is a great prospect who would fit in a 3-4 or 4-3 defense. Brown has the beef that can help stuff the running game and he has a quick first step as an interior pass rusher. Teamed with Haloti Ngata, the Lions would have a pretty good duo in the middle of their defensive line.

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Georgia’s Todd Gurley is the best running back in the 2015 Draft.

24. Arizona Cardinals – Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia: Todd Gurley has his injury concerns but he is easily the top running back in this draft. Arizona has one of the worst running attacks in football. The Cardinals were waiting for Andre Ellington to have a break out season but that has yet to happen. Drafting Gurley here would add a great punch to Arizona’s rushing attack. Gurley is a tough running between the tackles but he also has the elite speed to get away from defenders. Health is a concern but I think Arizona would be willing to take a chance with Gurley at pick 24.

25. Carolina Panthers – Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford: Cam Newton had a rough time with injuries in 2014. Should the Panthers really trust an aging Michael Oher as a starting tackle next season? Or what about Jonathan Martin? Carolina needs to get younger at the offensive tackle position and help protect their franchise QB. Andrew Peat is a tremendous athlete with a huge upside as a prospect. He could end up as a future left tackle for Carolina.

26. Baltimore Ravens – Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest: The Ravens need depth at the corner back position. They currently have a couple of talented players starting but they seem to be always injured. A lot of the draft experts are high on Wake Forest’s Kevin Johnson. He is one of the quickest players in this draft and he is a great defender of passes down the field. He is almost like a center fielder in the way to covers passes. My issue with Johnson is that he may need to become a bigger, more physical player to be a true difference maker in this league. Johnson may need some work but it could pay off in the end for this secondary.

27. Dallas Cowboys – Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DE, UCLA: The Cowboys need major reinforcements on their defensive line especially at defensive end. This may be a bit of a reach at pick 27 but in this mock, Owamagbe Odighizuwa is the best pass rushing prospect available. Odighizuwa offers great pass rushing speed as an outside rusher but he is also big and physical enough to make plays along the line of scrimmage against the run. Dallas’ pass rush was such a bad joke in 2014. Odighizuwa will have a great chance of being a contributor early in his career.

28. Denver Broncos – D.J. Humphries, OT, Florida: Peyton Manning wasn’t sacked a lot last season but when he received a slight bump late in the season, it kind of wreck Denver’s title chances. The Broncos will go as far as Peyton will take them so Denver will need to draft for some depth on the offensive line. Humphries has been described as an “angry” blocker who is relentless at delivering blows to defenders.

29. Indianapolis Colts – Arik Armstead,DT, Oregon: Arik Armstead is one of the most unique prospects in this draft. Armstead is a tall but athletic defensive tackle who would fit perfectly in a 3-4 defensive scheme as a defensive end. Armstead’s size will make him hard to defend in passing situations but he is also big enough to help stuff the run. Because of his unique body type, he might need some time to develop but he could end up being a great selection late in the first round.

30. Green Bay Packers – Benardrick McKinney, LB, Mississippi State: The Packers need a run stuffing linebacker at pick 30. Benardrick McKinney is a huge athlete at LB who can fly around the field and make plays. He would be an upgrade from A.J. Hawk who now in Cincinnati.

31. New Orleans Saints – Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota: I’m not sure why New Orleans traded away Jimmy Graham but they need to find his replacement. Max Williams out of Minnesota is a tall prospect with crazy good athleticism. He would develop into a great red zone target for Drew Brees. He doesn’t have the same elite speed as a Jimmy Graham but he can still get down the field and find a way open.

32. New England Patriots – Marcus Peters, CB, Washington: New England needs help in the secondary after losing Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner. Marcus Peters is probably one of the best corners in this draft but his “character issues” will cause him to drop down to New England at pick 32. Bill Bellichick seems to do well with getting players to buy into his system. Once Peters gets his act together, he will be called upon a lot in his rookie season. Peters is a fiery competitor with a chip on his shoulder. He was a great player in college because of his physicality and his play making ability. He has been compared to Aqib Talib.

ROUND TWO

33. Tennessee Titans – Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami (FL): Tennessee gave up a lot of sacks last season and they are trying to get younger at the offensive tackle position.

34. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jake Fisher, OT/OG, Oregon: After drafting their future franchise QB in the first round, Tampa would be wise to draft a young offensive lineman to help project that investment. Jake Fisher was great in college blocking for one of the top QB prospects in this draft.

35. Oakland Raiders – Preston Smith, DE, Mississippi State: I think that last year’s 1st round pick for Oakland, LB Khalil Mack, is going to end up as a really good player in this league. The only strange think about Oakland taking him last season is that he doesn’t fill the team’s need for a young pass rusher at the 4-3 defensive end. The Raiders are still in need for a younger pass rusher who fits their defensive scheme. Preston Smith from Mississippi State could be that player. He was a great contributor last season on one of the better defenses in college football.

36. Jacksonville Jaguars – Ronald Darby, CB, Florida State: Don’t let Ronald Darby’s size fool you. Darby is one of the shorter defensive backs in this draft but he plays big. A former track star, Darby offers elite speed in the secondary as a pass defender but he is also not afraid to stick his nose in there when it comes to attacking ball carriers. Darby plays with reckless abandon and he will be a hit for whoever ends up coaching him. Jacksonville could definitely use a guy with his talents.

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Miami’s Phillip Dorsett runs like people are chasing him. Spoiler: they rarely catch him.

37. New York Jets – Phillip Dorsett, WR, Miami (FL): At the receiver position, the Jets currently have decent options outside with Eric Decker and newly acquired Brandon Marshall. Phillip Dorsett could be a guy that could fit perfectly in the slot in that offense and provide the QB with a quick, speedy target. Dorsett had a great career at Miami and his speed will make him well sought after in this draft.

38. Washington Redskins – Jalen Collins, CB, LSU: Why are the Redskins still employing DeAngelo Hall? Maybe he has some dirt on Dan Synder? Either way, Washington needs to draft his replacement. Collins has plenty of off the field “red flags” but he’s the best option left at corner in the mock draft.

39. Chicago Bears – Shaq Thompson, OLB, Washington: The Bears could land a nice steal here with the pick of Shaq Thompson. Thompson is a do-it-all type of prospect who is coming off a well decorated career at Washington. Thompson may need to gain some size to be a starting LB in this league but his speed and athleticism will make him a fit for Chicago’s 4-3 defense. Besides his skills a coverage LB, Thompson can also hit with the best of them.

40. New York Giants – Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State: The Giants were really bad at defending the run last season. Eddie Goldman doesn’t really fit in the Giants’ defensive scheme but they need guys to help clog up the middle. Goldman is huge and can dominate the “A” gap consistently.

41. St. Louis Rams – A.J. Cann, OG, South Carolina: The Rams have some talented running backs already. They just need some help breaking out. A.J. Cann is probably the best “pure” offensive guard in this draft. I mean “pure” as in he strictly played that position at South Carolina.

42. Atlanta Falcons – Eric Rowe, CB, Utah: The Falcons had the worst pass defense in the league last season. Eric Rowe could play both cornerback and safety. This usually means that he lacks the speed to stay at CB. But he is a physical, smart play maker who would bring depth to Atlanta’s secondary.

43. Cleveland Browns – Nelson Agholor, WR, USC: Nelson Agholor is a true sleeper in this draft. The scouts really love his speed after the catch but he also has decent size for a receiver. He might start out as an option in the slot but he could develop into a starter.

44. New Orleans Saints – Jordan Phillips, DT, Oklahoma: The Saints need plenty of help on defense. After taking one of the best pass rushers with their first pick, they can draft a true run stuffer in Jordan Phillips with this pick.

45. Minnesota Vikings – Paul Dawson, LB, TCU: The Vikings need some help with defending the run. Paul Dawson is an active inside linebacker who can make plays from sideline to sideline.

46. San Francisco 49ers – Carl Davis, DT, Iowa: The 49ers lost basically all of their best run defenders in the offseason. Carl Davis is a huge disruptor on the defensive line that could play DE in a 3-4 scheme or as a nose tackle. Davis has plenty of size but is surprising athletic. The 49ers might target him to replace the aging Justin Smith.

47. Miami Dolphins – Laken Tomlinson, OG, Duke: I have the Dolphins passing on a running back here? I’m not sure if I can even believe that will happen. But they have so much faith in Lamar Miller who has only started the scratch the surface of his potential. Drafting an interior run blocker here could really help their current RB’s.

48. San Diego Chargers – Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin: Melvin Gordon’s free fall stops here with the San Diego Chargers. I’m not real high on Gordon and I’ll tell you why. He has an impressive college resume but he logged a lot of carries already in his career. I don’t think his speed will translate well in the pros. He runs around defenders a lot. Plus, Wisconsin has a rep of having impressive RB prospects who don’t live up to the hype in the NFL. However, the Chargers will have a need for a ball carrier in the 2nd round. Gordon will have a lot to prove as a rookie.

49. Kansas City Chiefs – Trey Flowers, DE, Arkansas: The Chiefs were another team that suffered at stopping the run. They need more depth on their defensive line.

50. Buffalo Bills – Stephone Anthony, LB, Clemson: This is the first draft pick in Buffalo’s Rex Ryan era. The Bills need a replacement for LB Brandon Spikes and it is not a secret that Coach Ryan is a huge fan of Clemson. Stephen Anthony is one of the better LB prospects in the draft. His size make him ideal for a 4-3 defense. But he also has great instincts. He could become a future play maker in Rex Ryan’s defense.

51. Houston Texans – Quinten Rollins, CB, Miami (OH): Houston’s secondary is aging and they need to get younger.

52. Philadelphia Eagles – Tre Jackson, OG, Florida State: If you look at Philadelphia’s QB situation, you would think that they are planning to be a heavy running team on offense this season. The pick of Tre Jackson would help them sure up the interior of their offensive line.

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Virginia’s Eli Harold could help Cincinnati upgrade their pass rush from the edge.

53. Cincinnati Bengals – Eli Harold, OLB/DE, Virginia: The Bengals need serious help with their pass rush. Eli Harold might need some time to adjust to playing in a 4-3 defense but he is the best pass rusher available in this mock draft. Harold has a ton of talent and he really excels at getting around tackles and pressuring the QB.

54. Detroit Lions – T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pitt: The Lions need to get Matt Stafford some more protection. T.J. Clemens has some injury concerns but the pro scouts have been raving about him since the draft process has started. Once he gets healthy, he will most definitely develop into a starter in this league.

55. Arizona Cardinals – P.J. Williams, CB, Florida State: Arizona’s secondary was a weak point on their defense last season. They can replace Antonio Cromartie with this draft pick. P.J. Williams has tons of talent and ability but he is one of those prospects with “character issues”. There are a lot of veteran leaders on this team that could help Williams develop into a decent pro player.

56. Pittsburgh Steelers – Danielle Hunter, OLB, LSU: The Steelers caught lightning in a bottle last season with the way James Harrison performed. Can they count on him to do so again? Either way, Pittsburgh needs to find a younger pass rusher especially since Jason Worilds retired. Danielle Hunter is an ideal pass rusher for a 3-4 defense. If he can gain a nasty edge and attitude, he could be great addition to this defense.

57. Carolina Panthers – Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska: I like Ameer Abdullah as a pro prospect better than Melvin Gordon. Amber is a lot smaller but he is that much tougher. Abdullah has great speed but it is his toughness that puts him ahead of Gordon in my book. Abdullah would be a great addition paired with Jonathan Stewart in Carolina.

58. Baltimore Ravens – Devin Smith, WR, Ohio State: Joe Flacco would be the perfect QB for Devin Smith. Smith is outside speedster who loves to go deep. Flacco loves to throw deep. Plus, Steve Smith would be a great mentor for Devin.

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Playing with Peyton Manning could really bring the best out of Michigan’s Devin Funchess.

59. Denver Broncos – Devin Funchess, TE, Michigan: Two receiving Devin’s in a row in my mock draft. Devin Funchess isn’t quite fast enough to be a receiver in the NFL but his great size would make him an ideal TE. Making the transition from WR to TE might be tough but because of his versatility, he could develop into a matchup nightmare for defenses. Peyton Manning would definitely welcome Funchess as a replacement for Julius Thomas.

60. Dallas Cowboys – Michael Bennett, DT, Ohio State: I’ll say it again: Dallas need major reinforcements on their defensive line. Michael Bennett would be a perfect fit for Rod Marinelli’s 4-3 defense. Bennett is a disruptor who is powerful enough to push the pocket and attack the gaps as a defensive tackle.

61. Indianapolis Colts – Damarious Randall, S, Arizona State: The Colts need help at the safety position. Damarious Randall is a name that is starting to gain some attention recently. He is a recently converted WR to Safety but he made that transition well at Arizona State. Randall has great speed and can really make a difference once he has the ball in his hands.

62. Green Bay Packers – Grady Jarrett, DT, Clemson: Clemson has quite a few defensive prospects in this draft that could go in the first 2 rounds. Grady Jarrett was a difference maker on the defensive line in his college career. Green Bay could take him for some much needed depth in the bottom of the 2nd round.

63. Seattle Seahawks – Hroniss Grasu, C, Oregon: This is Seattle’s first pick in the draft because they traded their first rounder and their starting Center for Jimmy Graham. With this pick, they can find a new starting Center. Horns Grasu is from near by Oregon and would be a day one starter for Russell Wilson’s offensive line.

64. New England Patriots – Tevin Coleman, RB, Indiana: The Patriots haven’t really coveted running backs in the Bill Bellichick era. But concerning that they lost two RB’s in free agency and LaGarrette Blount is scheduled to miss the start of the season, the Pats might find the need to take a RB with the last pick in the 2nd round. Tevin Coleman was highly productive last year at Indiana. I’m not a real fan of his “up-right” running style but his stock is starting the raise up a bit after an impressive pro day showing. Coleman may be a lot quicker than expected. He would find a role within this offense.