NFL 2017 Mock Draft: Picks 6-10

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Listed below is my official 2017 NFL Mock Draft. These are my opinions on who they should take and not who each team will actually select.

Dave’s 6-10: 

New York Jets: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State  

  • Hooker is a top talent, but I believe this No. 6 selection will be traded for a team wanting either Hooker or Fournette. This team is rebuilding after letting go of Marshall, Mangold, etc. If they keep it, they can’t go wrong with him.

Los Angeles Chargers: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama   

  • The Chargers want Malik Hooker and with him being off the board… trade. They don’t need a QB this high up or a RB after Melvin Gordon’s performance last season. In this case, they’ll take the next best option in Humphrey. Foster is another possibility.

Carolina Panthers: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU  

  • No brainer. Adding the likes of Fournette in the backfield allows a solid running game to help Cam Newton setup play-action. The Panthers will return to form with this selection. Complete slam dunk.

Cincinnati Bengals: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama  

  • If they were smart, the Bengals would run to the podium and select Foster. He is the complete package with his combination of speed and power. One of the top players in this draft class.

Buffalo Bills: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama   

  • Todd McShay has Howard in his Top 5 right now going to Jacksonville. However, I don’t believe anyone takes him that high. Howard can help in the running game with McCoy and block for Taylor. A safe pick for Buffalo.

 

Charlie’s 6-10:

New York Jets:  Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson   

  • The Jets are a mess and are in desperate need of a franchise QB. Jay Cutler is not exactly the answer to their QB problem. Watson can turn this team right around with his high character. 

Los Angeles Chargers: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State   

Carolina Panthers:   Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU  

Cincinnati Bengals: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama   

Buffalo Bills:   John Ross, WR, Washington  

2017 Mock Draft: 1-5

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Listed below is my official 2017 NFL Mock Draft. These are my opinions on who they should take and not who each team will actually select.

Dave’s 1-5: 

Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M

  • Cleveland has multiple needs, but Garrett has the highest upside of any player in this draft. Taking a QB this high is too risky. Adding Garrett helps win the battle in the trenches.

San Francisco 49ers:  Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford 

  • San Francisco completely imploded last season. With a new era upon them, drafting Thomas helps ease the pain. It is a stepping stone in the right direction, plus the Stanford connection. Taking Jamal Adams wouldn’t be a bad option either.

Chicago Bears: Jamal Adams, S, LSU

  • The Bears need a fresh start on defense. Adams is a top prospect in this class and provides an instant presence. Chicago faces good quarterbacks in Stafford, Rodgers, and Bradford twice a season.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Jonathan Allen, DE/DT, Alabama  

  • The Jaguars are stacking up on defense. Incorporating Allen into that defensive line can create havoc. A young nucleus with Ramsey, Fowler, and veteran core makes be believe this franchise just needs a QB. If the Jaguars can take care of the football this season, watch out for the Jaguars.

Tennessee Titans:  Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State

  • After the trade with the Rams last season, the Titans have the luxury of adding a top tier cornerback in Lattimore. He can learn from Logan Ryan and play all over the field. You can never have too much depth in the secondary.

Charlie’s 1-5:

Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M

San Francisco 49ers: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford 

  • Depends if they trade for Kirk Cousins

Chicago Bears: Jonathan Allen, DE/DT, Alabama 

Jacksonville Jaguars: Jamal Adams, S, LSU

Tennessee Titans:  Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State   

 

Christian McCaffrey at No. 14?

Philadelphia, Pa. – With the franchise building around Carson Wentz, is it too far-fetched to believe that Christian McCaffrey could be selected No. 14 to the Philadelphia Eagles? 

This team has been busy in free agency, landing Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, and Chance Warmack. Don’t forget he brought Nick Foles back to help Wentz moving forward.It goes without saying that Jeffery is the best wide receiver to be in this town since the departure of Jeremy Maclin.

Smith on the other hand adds a deep-threat, similar to when DeSean Jackson was here. Do not count out Warmack on the offensive line, since he is a former first rounder with 323 pounds in the middle. General manager Howie Roseman has indicated that he wants to restructure this team to days of when Andy Reid was at the helm.

Last year, Roseman went up to the second overall selection and brought this city a franchise quarterback. Despite being strapped with a tight salary cap number, he went out and provided Wentz with options on the outside who can change a game.

It is possible that Roseman takes another offensive playmaker at No. 14, even though he added weapons? With Darren Sproles in his final season, maybe McCaffrey could take his role. Ryan Matthews is not the long-term solution either. 

I am not saying that I want them to definitely take the former Heisman finalist, but it is a good question to ask. He can be moved all around the formation and cause mismatches for Wentz to find. This offense will be putting up points and it helps that the duo of McCaffrey and Wentz can grow together. This would be a nightmare for teams in the NFC East. 

The Stanford standout has the speed and moves to be successful. He can be lined up in the backfield, slot, or as a returner in this league. His combine was impressive enough to have him go somewhere in the first round. McCaffrey registered a 4.48 in the 40-yard dash, while scoring a 37.5 vertical. 

I am not sold on him running in-between the tackles, but anything is possible. He is a smaller back but it a necessity in this offense to be able to be a check-down. Think about him on third-downs and keeping drives alive. 

Howie must nail this NFL Draft and has to consider every option. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can Reuben Foster Fall to No. 14?

Philadelphia, Pa. – The Philadelphia Eagles can go in multiple directions with the No. 14 selection in the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft next month. 

Do the Eagles add a playmaker for quarterback Carson Wentz? Do they go defense for defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz? 

This certainly depends on what the team does in free agency or trades, considering all the rumors around Brandon Cooks. The Saints are seeking a mid-round first rounder for the speedy wide receiver. However, according to reports New Orleans has already declined New England’s offer of their first for Cooks. 

Anything is certainly possible, especially when this could change the landscape of free agency (countless wide receivers testing the waters). 

When it comes to the draft, a player slipping due to a “heated altercation” at the combine was Alabama’s Reuben Foster. The linebacker in my opinion has Top-5 talent with his size and speed. He hits like a truck and plays with an attitude, which this town will love. 

Linebacker is a need for this team as they continue to transition to a 4-3. Additionally, there is a possibility that they deal Connor Barwin and Mychal Kendricks who do not fit the scheme and free up salary cap space. 

Foster can play all three downs. It allows Schwartz the freedom to be creative and allow the front seven to take over games. Jordan Hicks and Foster would be a nice one-two punch for years to come. 

This a deep draft in the first three rounds, which allows the Eagles to grab a corner. Expect to see a move for wide receiver in free agency. 

It does not hurt to take the best player available if Foster somehow falls to No. 14. It is something to at least think about. 

 

 

Sixers are Moving in the Right Direction

By: David DiPasqua, Jr.

The Philadelphia 76ers have hopefully turned a page after drafting Ben Simmons with the top selection in the NBA Draft. 

Despite only having 47 wins in the past three seasons, the city is filled with optimism as things are beginning to unfold. 

One of the Sixers’ prized assets in Joel Embiid has been cleared by doctors to officially play. However, they are being cautious and will not have him participating in summer league.

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Saric likely starts off as Philly’s 6th man 

Another pleasant surprise was Dario Saric’s announcement that he will joining Philadelphia this season. The former first round pick in 2014 provides another reliable scorer who can apparently shoot from the outside. 

Additionally, the team has Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel as twin towers in the paint. There have been several rumors surrounding both players, especially on draft night.

Most likely one of these players will be dealt, but it MUST be for fair value. Otherwise, keep all the bigs and make it work. Think about it, someone will probably be injured or need extra rest (Embiid). Head coach Brent Brown should find a way to make it work. 

The more depth the better. Cut the players who don’t belong in the league. 

Projected Starting Lineup (As of Now)

  1. Jerryd Bayless
  2. Gerald Henderson
  3. Robert Covington 
  4. Ben Simmons 
  5. Jahlil Okafor 

Off the bench bigs: Nerlens Noel,  Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, Jerami Grant, & Richaun Holmes 

Off the bench guards: Sergio Rodriguez, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Hollis Thompson, T.J. McConnell, & Nik Stauskas 

2017

Being patient will payoff, considering this team will not be able to sign a player like a Kevin Durant. However, this upcoming season will be huge for a variety of reasons. 

Philadelphia I say will be around 25-30 wins (Right now I’ll say 26), which is good enough to potentially use the Kings’ swap that they own to move up in the 2017 lottery. The Kings are completely dysfunctional, especially with DeMarcus Cousins on the roster for now. In my eyes, they are a lock for the lottery. 

Plus, you throw in the Lakers’ first rounder that hopefully does not fall into the top three again. Luke Walton is at the helm, but a quick fix in LA doesn’t look like it is going to happen.

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Draft Lonzo Ball in 2017 

They did improve with players like Brandon Ingram and some veteran free agents. However, they will be back in the lottery as well.

This potentially lands the Sixers with a pair of Top 5 or Top 10 picks in a pretty deep draft class.

Adding a pair of talented guards to go along with Simmons and company next year will certainly put this team back in the playoff hunt in the Eastern Conference. 

Here are a 5 names to keep an eye on (Highlight reels are in the link):  

FREE AGENCY

On the free agency front, the Sixers have been relatively quiet. There were rumors with Rajon Rondo and Harrison Barnes, but nothing materialized. Instead the team decided to save their money by signing three veteran guards. The patient approach is the right approach. 

First was Jerryd Bayless, who inked a 3 year, $27 million dollar contract. Bayless is a veteran at the age of 27, who has bounced around during his professional career. With the way contracts were being handed out, this was a good deal for Philadelphia. The team was in desperate need of a point guard who can shoot from the outside (36.5% career 3pt %). He’s not going to win you games, but good in terms of being a catch and shoot player when Simmons brings up the ball. Bayless can run the team for a year or two, until his replacement comes in. Overall, he’s an average player that fits a bunch of needs. 

Sergio Rodriguez is another veteran presence, who has spent time in Europe and the NBA. Signing a one year, $8 million dollar contract tells me that it is an experiment. If it doesn’t workout, then there is no harm in the matter. Rodriguez can stretch the floor, while also providing Brown with another option in the backcourt. 

Lastly is the Episcopal Academy product in Gerald Henderson. The hometown kid was brought in on a two year, $ 18 million dollar deal to play for the Sixers. The glaring weakness was the backcourt, so this makes sense. With the price being right, Henderson will help as another veteran presence who can score. 

Power’s Commitment to Being a Multi-Sport Athlete

By: David DiPasqua, Jr.

NEWTOWN SQUARE, PA. – Participating in athletics as a student-athlete at the collegiate level is equivalent to having  a full-time job. 

Rylee Power knows this better than most, being a dual-sport student-athlete who plays tennis and basketball for West Chester University at the Division II level. 

This is no small task, especially for a freshman who recently graduated high school in 2015. However, college is a learning experience that allows individuals to grow and develop. 

“I’ve learned that college is totally different than high school. There are no parents motivating you to do better. It takes a lot more self-motivation and time management skills that I have adapted to just over the past year.”

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The Golden Rams won their second straight PSAC East Championship

This is what Power’s schedule sounded like, while also carrying a full load of courses. She attended tennis in the fall, which ended on October 12th. The very next day was the official start for basketball practices on October 13th.

Basketball occurred all winter and carried over into spring break, due to competition in the NCAA tournament.

Afterward, the official start of spring tennis began. Do not forget the vast amount of practices in-between as well. 

Commitment and time management were the two key concepts Power focused on when  describing how she manages both sports on top of academics. This means dedicating herself to both sports and her studies, giving it her absolute all.

This concept goes for inside the classroom as well, keeping up her grade point average. Power is on track to graduate with a degree in Health and Physical Education. 

This type of mentality leaves little free time for the Newtown Square native. 

Power credits her three older brothers (Justin, Connor, & Corey) when she was younger for continuously playing sports outside. This is where her love for sports originated. That passion for sports is what continues to drives her, considering her allotment of free time is drastically smaller than the typical college student. 

“It was a lot my first year to handle playing both. Some days going from one practice right to the next, but I was able to get my schedule straight throughout the year and it actually worked out pretty well.”

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Rylee received big support from her older brothers: (L-R) Connor, Justin, Rylee, & Corey

Power transitioned to the collegiate level nicely, finishing with an overall record of 17-6 in her freshman campaign. Her performance landed her on the All-PSAC East squad for both singles and doubles. The honor meant a great deal to the Power and will be extra motivation moving forward. 

“Definitely makes me want to continue what I’m already doing and motivates me to get even better. It will be a goal that I will strive to reach for my next three years at West Chester.” 

Additionally, Power’s contributions helped propel the Golden Rams to their second straight PSAC East title. Not a bad way to start out your career at West Chester. 

Power reinforced the idea that it was a “total team effort from all eight girls on the team.” 

With one season now under her belt, Power recognizes what she must do to improve her overall game.

The main emphasis will be the importance of “being the first side to get to the net and control the point.”

Another will be improving her doubles play, which she will be doing over the summer with her mother who also played collegiately at Penn State. 

One of the few challenges Power had to overcome occurred when transitioning from the fall tennis season into basketball. The amount of time dedicated toward tennis made her miss a good portion of preseason. This is a essential time for basketball players, since this is when they truly get prepared for the regular season. 

The adjustment period was tough for Power, but the coaching staff and her teammates helped eased her way through the process. She was not alone in the situation as other freshmen on the squad had to learn the ropes as well. 

Power was redshirted for her freshman year of basketball, due to seven seniors on the roster. Two of which are now the all-time leading scorers (Brittany Sicinski and Dallas Ely) in women’s program history. 

“It was a learning experience going from the top in Marple Newtown and then having to watch the games. Getting beat up in the practices with a much faster style of play than I was used to.”

Being able to learn from a group of upperclassmen was important, while also gaining encouragement from those seniors. The entire starting lineup graduated this past May, resulting in several spots being available. Therefore, she hopes to step up and take on a bigger responsibility next season. 

A Marple Newtown alumnus, Power excelled during her time in high school. 

Power’s resume included being on varsity for all four years of tennis, basketball, and softball during her time at Marple Newtown. In addition to athletics, Power received high remarks academically by being a member of the National Honor Society. 

She recognized that playing three sports was not possible at the next level, but her favorite two of tennis and basketball could be feasible. 

“West Chester University recruited me for both and the coaches worked it out with each other so I could play both,” she stated. 
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Power breaking Cassidy’s record. Image courtesy of MN Girls Basketball Twitter page

Power’s accomplishments certainly caught the attention of scouts around the area. 

In basketball, she broke Lindsey Cassidy’s record for points in a career. Power surpassed Cassidy’s record of 1,326 points during her time donning the orange and black. 
 
The new record is now set at 1,378 points as Power is now the women’s all-time leading scorer at Marple Newtown.

“Some people dream of becoming record holders and leading scorers, but when I started my career at Marple Newtown the thought never even came into my mind.”

Reaching a 1,000 points in her career was a big milestone in her mind. However, breaking the record was never really realistic until her senior season. 

“As I became closer and closer to breaking it, it kind of became more surreal. Honestly, I kept thinking about it, but I would try not to and stay focused on my game.” 

This was her most memorable moment while attending Marple Newtown, considering the magnitude of her achievement and that all her hard work paid off with the squad making the playoffs all four years. 

Basketball was only one of the three sports that Power excelled in at Marple Newtown. In tennis, she received All-Delco honors twice as the number one singles player on the squad for three seasons. 

Additionally, she was All-Central and All-Delco at shortstop for softball as well. 

Power has a giant supporting cast when racking up all these awards and participating in multiple sports. 

The biggest person in Power’s life is her mother, whether being a role model or coach. 

“My mom is my biggest role model not only with what I do on the court, but also just encouraging me off the court to be the best person I can be.” 

This kind of encouragement helps Power be the best person she can be on and off of the court. 

Be sure to see Rylee Power in action on the tennis or basketball courts at West Chester University this fall. 

Hoff’s Legacy was one to Remember

By: David DiPasqua, Jr.

NEWTOWN SQUARE, PA. – At the end of the day, Abel Hoff will go down as one of the greatest Tigers to wear the orange and black. 

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Hoff’s legacy is one to remember 

On the field, Hoff delivered by being a two-time All Delco selection, breaking several county records, school records, and propelling the Tigers to their first District One Class AAA victory in program history. 

However, it was his pursuit for perfection off the field that truly defined him as a leader. The records come and go, but it was the bond with his teammates that will truly last a lifetime. 

Marple Newtown’s head coach Chris Gicking spoke highly of the two-time captain. 

“Abel Hoff was not only a great player on the field, but off it as well. He was very dynamic and elusive. When people look back on Marple Newtown and Delaware County history, his name will be remembered forever.” 

It’s hard to believe that back in his freshman year that Hoff thought he would be a quarterback. That quickly changed when he was moved to wingback in the wing-t style offense under head coach Ray Gionta. 

Hoff’s future appeared to be bright with 130 carries for 611 yards and 5 touchdowns as a sophomore. Out of the backfield, he also chipped in 11 receptions for 195 yards. 

Philosophies changed in 2014, when Chris Gicking took over at the helm for the Tigers. Gicking brought a different type of offense, moving Hoff to the outside as the feature wide receiver. This is where Hoff truly thrived. 

The 1-2 punch of Adrian Sapnas in the backfield and Hoff at receiver is particularly why Marple Newtown averaged 26.9 points that season. 

As a junior, Hoff recorded 70 receptions to set a single-season Delaware County record. The previous record was held by Ridley product, Devon Preston since 1990. 

In total, Hoff posted 70 receptions for 774 yards and 10 touchdowns. Even though the statistics were recognized around the Central League, the Tigers’ failed to make the postseason. Hoff’s determination for the playoffs only grew heading into his senior campaign. 

“We all  (seniors) promised to hold each other accountable so we could accomplish our goals as a team.”

That meant a Central League Championship, a playoff win, and District Championship in their eyes. Those were some high expectations heading into the season. However, they were on a mission and Hoff was ready to lead the way. 

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Broke the Delaware County record for receptions in a season twice (72 receptions)

Coming off a Delaware County record with 70 receptions his junior year, Hoff knew that teams were specifically going to game plan around him. 

He embraced the challenge of having a target on his back. His mindset entering the off-season was to simply get better everyday. 

That meant waking up early in the morning to run routes on the turf, being in the weight-room to enhance his speed, and watch more film. 

“I knew teams would try to double me by putting a safety over top of me along with the corner, so I would work on beating that all off-season in 7-on-7s and in practice.”  

With a full off-season under his belt, Hoff was ready to make a difference. 

“I loved being a second year receiver in coach’s passing attack because it all began to make sense and with the right execution the defense was always wrong.”

In his senior campaign, Hoff broke the county record once again by registering 72 catches for 1,119 yards and 10 touchdowns. On the ground, he had 96 rushes for 465 yards and 6 touchdowns as well. 

Not only was Abel Hoff’s performance one to remember, but Marple Newtown went 8-2 and secured a playoff matchup with Pottstown. 

The Tigers were all over Rick Pennypacker Field that night, defeating Pottsgrove by a final score of 20-7. 

“The win against Pottsgrove is something that I would never forget. I still get goosebumps when I watch film of that game. It was the best feeling wining that game with our school there knowing how much work we had to put in to be able to do that.”  

The victory proved to be the first District 1, Class AAA playoff win in the program’s 88 year history. Hoff led the way for the Tigers, whether that being a vocal leader or leading by example. 

Overall, Hoff wanted to build “a culture or a blueprint for success” that can be passed down when he leaves the program. The first playoff win in program history is a good start. 

Hoff will play collegiately this fall at Shippensburg University under head coach Mark Maciejewski. The Red Raiders went 8-3 in their 2015 campaign and have high hopes coming into this season. 

“Playing at Shippensburg is something I have been excited about non-stop ever since I committed back in January because I know I’m one step closer to accomplishing my goal of playing professionally.”

Competing collegiately is one step closer to that goal, especially in Shippensburg’s spread offense. In a similar scheme to coach Gicking’s offense, Hoff  believes he will be utilized the same way he was in high school. 

Inserting the Delaware County receptions record holder into the offense provides even more firepower to a team that averaged 44.1 points per game a season ago. 

Additionally, he believes that he will have an immediate impact at the next level in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. 

“I plan to come into camp and compete right away. I have been preparing myself for what I expect to be the most challenging training camp of my life. We have a very talented recruiting class coming in and I’m excited to see the level of success we will reach.”

Before Hoff ships off to play collegiately, he was fortunate enough to participate in the PSFCA East/West game on May 2nd, which featured some of the top players in Pennsylvania. 

The Marple Newtown wide receiver reeled in 4 receptions for 60 yards in the East’s 20-19 victory over the West. 

“It happened to be one of the funnest games I have ever been apart of. The best part was being able to build relationships with other players in the state who are also playing college football, so it had a college feel to it.” 

The Shippensburg commit was also honored as the 2015-16 Pennsylvania Mini Maxwell Award winner. Players are evaluated for this honor based on football performance, academics, and community service. This award speaks to the type of character Hoff possesses. 

“It was great to recognized by the state for my accomplishments among some really impressive company,” Hoff stated. 

In terms of Delaware County history, Hoff secured second place all-time with 153 carer receptions in the county, while also ranking fifth with a career 2,088 receiving yards.

Additionally, Hoff rewrote the record books for Marple Newtown in terms of receiving.

He now owns four records: career receiving yards, receiving yards in a season, career receptions, and receptions in a season.

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Abel Hoff with Ron Jaworski & Dick Vermeil at Maxwell award banquet 

For career receiving yards, Hoff broke Matt Barr’s record of 1,629 that transpired back in 1989. Hoff now has it set at 2,088 yards. 

Hoff is also in sole possession of first place in receiving yards for a season, particularly due to his senior season. He racked up 72 receptions for 1,119 yards, breaking Paul Brown’s 1,000 yards in 1995. 

The previous holder for receptions in a career was Mike Maiocco, who hauled in 101 receptions from 1993-95. Hoff finished with a total of 153 receptions as a Tiger from 2013-15. 

Lastly, Hoff broke his own record from a season ago, tacking on two more receptions. He finished with 72 receptions in 2015. 

During Abel Hoff’s tenure at Marple Newtown, he truly embodied the meaning of “Tiger Pride.” This phrase has multiple meanings, but it showcases the hard-work and a sense of pride everyone has in the Marple Newtown community. 

Hoff’s last remarks were how “playing for this year’s Marple Newtown team was an unforgettable experience. I built a bond with my teammates that can never be broken and we all established a sense of ‘Tiger Pride’ that will stay with us the rest of our lives.”  

Your last chance to see Hoff in action at the high school level is at the Hero Bowl. The annual Delaware County High School All-Star Football Game, will be played on Thursday, June 2nd, 2016 at Cardinal O’Hara High School in Springfield, PA. Pre-game activities will begin at 7 PM. Kick-off is scheduled for 7:30 PM.

Trade Scenarios for Okafor

By: David DiPasqua, Jr.

NEWTON SQUARE, PA. – The city of Philadelphia erupted when the Sixers landed the first overall pick in the upcoming 2016 NBA Draft. 

By the reaction, you would have thought they won the NBA Finals on May 17th. However, this fanbase will take anything positive at this rate. 

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Trade Okafor to Boston? 

Philadelphia (10-72) had the highest percentage to obtain the top pick and were fortunate to have the ping pong balls go their way in the lottery. 

A big thank you to Dikembe Mutumbo for letting everybody know a few hours early! 

Securing the top selection was the first order of business for Bryan Colangelo, who is the president of basketball operations and general manager for the Sixers. 

Now the focus is whether to select Ben Simmons (LSU) or Brandon Ingram (Duke). For me, Simmons is the top player in this draft class for a variety of reasons. 

Simmons was already a face of a team, in addition to being the primary focus of defenses. He also an NBA body at 6’10” and 225 pounds, whereas Ingram has to add weight by being a generous 190. The point forward will be able to run the fast break as well. People say he can’t shoot, but look at LeBron James. He seems to be perfectly fine in the league. 

Take the best player available in the draft and figure it out. Ingram is a talented player with an outside shot, but the primary player on Duke’s squad this season was Grayson Allen. Simmons I believe is more of an immediate impact, compared to Ingram who might take a few more years to develop. There are going to be several pros and cons for both players, but they will both go 1 and 2 in the draft. 

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Could possibly both Simmons & Ingram land in Philly? 

Now, after the first pick is where it gets interesting. Adding Simmons creates even more depth for a team that has stockpiled power forwards and centers. Most have Simmons playing the four or better known as power forward. Trade rumors have already spread like wildfire with Jahlil Okafor in the thick of it. 

Okafor was recently named to the 2015-16 NBA All-Rookie First Team, while also ranking second in points per game for rookies. The Duke product averaged 17.5 points, 7 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game. He has NBA All-Star written all over him, especially when it comes down to the center position. 

His footwork is absolutely tremendous for a 20-year-old that constantly dealt with double teams in the paint. Whenever he kicked the ball out, nobody on this roster could consistently knock down a perimeter shot. He’s still growing  into his body at 6’11” and 275 pounds. His shot will continue to develop farther out as well. 

The struggle is on the defensive end. Yes, he is not the best defender in the world. However, these are areas that can be taught. Not many players possess his ability to put the ball in the basket. I will gladly trade his offense for his lack of defense any day. 

The front-court now has Okafor, Simmons, Dario Šarić, Nerlens Noel, and Joel Embiid. It is not a given that Šarić is coming over this season. Second, Embiid has failed to prove that he can stay healthy or let alone get on the court. That leaves Okafor, Simmons, and Noel. 

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Could it really happen? Paul George to Philadelphia

Brett Brown needs to make it work. Imagine this type of rotation of bigs every single game. There would constantly be a pair of bigs on the court that could give the opposition problems. Simmons can run the floor like a guard with great size. Okafor is instant offense in the paint. Šarić apparently has an outside shot to make him a stretch-four. Noel protects the rim and grabs boards. Embiid, well he can do it all when healthy (hopefully).

Each player offers something unique to the team. Pounding the paint for easy buckets is how the Sixers would beat-up teams. Why not go big with every single team electing to play “small ball” in the NBA?  

The only way you trade Okafor is if the deal is an offer that you can’t refuse in my opinion. 

Scenario 1Rebuild, grab guards 

Boston: Jahlil Okafor & Swaps Picks (Receives No. 24 & 26)

Philadelphia: No. 3 (Kris Dunn) & Swaps Picks for No. 16 & 23

  • No. 16 (Malachi Richardson) & 23 (Tyler Ulis) 

Scenario 2Trade to win now 

Indiana:  Jahlil Okafor, 2017 1st Round pick, 2017 Lakers (Top 3 protected) 1st Round pick 

Philadelphia: Paul George

Scenario 3: Trade for the future, landing Simmons & Ingram 

Los Angeles: Jahlil Okafor

Philadelphia: No. 2 pick (Brandon Ingram) 

Trade for Trout?

By: David DiPasqua, Jr.

Newtown Square, PA. – It’s still early in the season, but the trade rumors are beginning to heating up with Mike Trout’s name at the top of the list. 

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have a 24 year-old in Trout who is without a doubt one of the premier players in baseball. It is hard to believe that the Angels would consider dealing their young superstar, but the right offer cannot be ignored. 

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Los Angeles Dodgers
Trout coming to Philadelphia would compare to the excitement fans had when Terrell Owens became an Eagle

This Angels’ squad is plagued with injuries, while also being faced with a lackluster minor league system. The haul for Trout would absolutely be a blockbuster move that would land them with a plethora of prospects on top of getting rid of a big contract. 

Trout is currently locked into a six-year, $144.5 million dollar deal that lasts until 2020. Additionally, he has a full-no trade clause that allows him to determine his future. However, this is a reasonable deal considering the way baseball hands out contracts. 

Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals recently inked a a seven-year, $175-million extension. Bryce Harper will probably being asking north of $400 million when he becomes available after 2018. If you ask me, Trout is playing at a discounted rate. 

The Phillies currently have a goldmine of young prospects after trading Cole Hamels, Ken Giles, Jimmy Rollins, etc. Factor in the top selection in the 2016 draft, which features Jason Groome and A.J. Puk. Both are pitchers that adds even more depth to a stacked rotation. 

For the Phillies, would you be willing to depart with top prospects to grab Trout? The packages would have to push the Angeles over the top and lean heavily in their favor. 

Here are some of the top prospects for the Phillies. The list includes: J.P. Crawford, Nick Williams, Jorge Alfaro, Andrew Knapp, Jake Thompson, Mark Appel, Cornelius Randolph, and Roman Quinn. 

I’m not completely sure I would be willing to depart with some names on that list. There are players in the majors right now who I would believe would be untouchable. Those names are Vince Velasquez, Maikel Franco, and Aaron Nola.

Matt Klentak spent the last four seasons as an assistant GM with the Angels. There is a connection there, while also noting how talented Trout was in his press conference. 

“I would not have left Mike Trout in his prime to come here if I didn’t believe we could win, I promise you that.” 

What if somehow Klentak brought Trout in his prime to the city of brotherly love? He’d be a GM to remember. 

Other teams interested in acquiring the center-fielder would be the Cubs, Red Sox, and sadly the Mets. Each team has the talent to obtain his services as well. 

The Millville native might consider waiving his trade clause if it meant coming to his hometown team. The Phillies do have the money to sign Trout once he is a free agent. However, this is a business and not all based on who you rooted for during your childhood. 

Trout joined the big leagues at the age of 19 and certainly has not disappointed. He controls the outfield by robbing home-runs with ease. At the plate, he has a career .304 average while also smashing 146 homers. 

Can you imagine the fanbase if Trout found his way to Philadelphia? This town would embrace Trout like one of their own, while also contending in the National League. 

He essentially would be a new and improved Chase Utley. He fills a need on the corners and provides power to a team that desperately needs it. The player that benefits the most would be Franco as the squad would have a solid 3 & 4 in the lineup. 

At the end of the day, the Phillies will most likely keep their young nucleus intact. The Angeles will listen to offers, but I do believe they keep him. 

Step One is the Lottery for the Sixers

By: David DiPasqua, Jr.

Newtown Square, PA. – In preciously two weeks, the Philadelphia 76ers must rely on chance in order to secure the number one selection in the upcoming 2016 NBA Draft. 

On May 17th, the Sixers need to have the ping pong balls fall into place. This franchise has accepted losing by “trusting the process.” It is time for a desperate change. 

Philadelphia holds the highest percentage (25%) to obtain the first overall pick, after going 10-72 in their 2015-16 campaign. Whether that selection is Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram, the top pick presents options.

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Simmons or Ingram? 

Simmons creates an even deeper logjam at the power forward and center positions. However, his athletic ability allows him to play point forward, allowing him to create opportunities for his teammates.

In this scenario, Nerlens Noel would most likely be dealt for a proven guard to enhance the backcourt and solidify Jahlil Okafor at center. Joel Embiid remains a mystery until he is able to step onto the court. Regardless, his health is a concern and cannot be trusted moving forward. 

Ingram on the other hand fits nicely as the small forward, while receiving comparisons to Kevin Durant. The projected top two pick is currently listed at 6-9 with a 7-3 wingspan, as he continues to grow into his body. Simmons has the most upside, but Ingram may fit better as this team needs a small forward. Additionally, the Duke product has an outside shot, whereas teams failed to see that from Simmons. By all means, gaining another prospect from coach Mike Krzyzewski’s program works for me. 

The most important pick on lottery night other than their own will be the Los Angeles Lakers. The Sixers receive their first round pick, only if it falls out of the top three. Right now, they are positioned behind the Sixers at number two. They need them to fall to four to grab the pick. This opportunity allows the Sixers to obtain the services of a true game changer at the guard position.

At number four, the players to keep in mind are Buddy Hield, Kris Dunn, or Jamal Murray. Each player provides a different element to the game. Hield is a prolific scorer, who is an instant threat from beyond the arc. Dunn is an athletic point guard with size at 6-4, while also having experience by playing three seasons at Providence. Murray is a combo guard with tremendous upside after averaging 20 points as a freshman at Kentucky. Most scenarios have at least two of the three available, if somehow the Sixers can snag the fourth overall selection. 

Lastly, the Sixers have number 24 and 26 from the Heat and Thunder. These spots are already set in stone, but are worth value considering that there are always players who fall in the draft. It is also a possibility that they could trade up to grab a proven collegiate player. Needing help at point guard, Tyler Ulis of Kentucky immediately comes to mind. Ulis can run the show, where he did the past two seasons on a team that probably got more coverage than the Sixers. Another player to keep an eye on is Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine. This franchise needs to start having a winning attitude.