The Process Era Heads into Uncharted Waters

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The Philadelphia 76ers stole the headlines across the nation this weekend with the acquisition of the top selection in the upcoming NBA draft from the Boston Celtics.

The Sixers made a deal that would allow them to draft the consensus number one player in the draft by the name of Markelle Fultz out of the University of Washington. This was a no-brainer for Philadelphia, considering that they needed a guard who could play alongside primary ball handler Ben Simmons. 

Fultz is only a 19-year-old kid, who put up monster numbers for the Huskies in his freshman campaign. He posted an average of 23.2 points, 5.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds last season. The top selection is a threat from anywhere on the floor, but primarily from behind the arc. He shot 47.6 percent and 41.3 percent from three-point range. 

The Deal

Philadelphia receives Boston’s No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA draft. 

Boston is provided Philadelphia No. 3 selection in the 2017 NBA draft as a swap. Additionally, they have the rights to the 2018 Lakers first rounder or the 2019 Kings pick (protections). 

Incase you needed clarification on the exact details of the deal:

Philadelphia’s Perspective

Adding Fultz makes Philadelphia basketball relevant again in this town. It has been way to long! He adds much needed firepower to a position that desperately needed to be addressed. This move puts this team on the map with Simmons running the show. Fultz does not have to be the face of the franchise either, unlike Lonzo Ball. 

Staying at three in this draft meant taking another wing in Josh Jackson who struggles shooting the basketball. Jackson might be the best player down the line, but he does not help the Sixers’ backcourt problem.

Ball could be a pain with his father and will most likely be joining the Lakers. If he falls, it won’t last long with Phoenix chomping at the bit on draft night. The Sixers did do their homework with both De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk with evaluations in private workouts. Fox has speed to excel, while Monk can flat-out shoot the lights out.

Fultz at the end of the day was a perfect match for both sides. He was worth going up two spots in the long-run. The idea of a playoff run is a strong possibility. 

Boston’s Perspective

GM Danny Ainge better be right after dealing the top selection in the draft. He believes his backcourt is set with Isiah Thomas and company. That leaves Boston with Jackson in the draft, who most believe will go third after Ball. 

This squad appeared to be the only team to compete with the Cleveland Cavaliers last season, so adding another wing to guard Lebron James does not hurt. With that being said, they think they can win now. 

That means adding a superstar to go alongside Thomas. Ainge has done his best Sam Hinkie impression by hoarding first round picks. His treasure chest of picks makes people believe they are in a prime position to add one of these three superstars: 

  1. Jimmy Butler – There have been reports of a three-team deal with Butler heading to Boston. This is a strong possibility as the Bulls can rebuild with the amount of assets that would be sent its way. Think about Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder, and the Philadelphia No. 3 (’17), as a start. 
  2. Paul George – On the market, already said he prefers to go to Los Angeles when he hits free agency next summer. Asking price already set for a “rental” would be one starter and a pair of first rounders (little steep.. but they do have the pieces to pull it off). 
  3. Anthony Davis – Highly unlikely, but Boston has enough ammo to make an offer that they can’t refuse. They could offer five first round picks: Philadelphia No. 3 (’17), Lakers/Kings from the trade, Nets (’18), Clippers (’19), and Memphis (’19). 

Overall 

This was a good deal on both ends. Boston can potentially scoop up a veteran superstar, while Philadelphia builds its core through the draft.

Therefore creating excitement in the air about Sixers’ basketball. Seems to only be happening in the off-season … hope that changes. A new “big three” can emerge this season with the likes of Embiid, Simmons, and potentially Fultz after the draft on Thursday night. 

Stay tuned, the fun is just getting started in Philadelphia! (Fingers crossed) 

 

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Way Too Early Eagles Prediction

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The NFL released the 2017-18 schedule this evening and the Philadelphia Eagles are slated to be on national television four times. 

They will play Washington and Oakland inside Lincoln Financial Field for Monday Night Football. The match-up with Oakland will occur on Christmas with kickoff set for 8:30 p.m. 

Additionally, they will be playing on the road for a pair of Sunday Night Football games. Philadelphia will head to Dallas as well as Seattle. They will also travel to Carolina for a Thursday Night Football contest. 

Here is my WAY TOO EARLY PREDICTION – The Eagles end up 10-6 

This belief is that Carson Wentz takes that next step, while management adds weapons for him through the draft. December will be tough… but good teams find a way to get into the playoffs. It does help that the bye week falls on week 10. They will pickup momentum in midway through the season. 

Full Schedule – Provided by Dave Zangaro 

 

NFL 2017 Mock Draft: Picks 16-20

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 16-20: 

Baltimore Ravens: John Ross, WR, Washington  

Washington Redskins: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan

Tennessee Titans: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State 

Denver Broncos:  David Njoku, TE, Miami

 

Charlie’s 16-20: 

Baltimore Ravens: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama

Washington Redskins: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt 

Tennessee Titans: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: David Njoku, TE, Miami

Denver Broncos: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan

NFL 2017 Mock Draft: Picks 11-15

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

Dave’s 11-15: 

New Orleans Saints: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee 

  • The Saints can either go offense to replace the production of Cooks or turn towards defense. Personally, Brees will find a way to make it work with Thomas on the outside. Therefore, the team will look to enhance the secondary or front seven. Taking a player like Barnett with a high motor helps cause havoc in the backfield.

Cleveland Browns:  Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson   

  • Cleveland took Garrett with the top selection and now can focus on QB. All three options are available. Personally, Trubisky is not ready. Kizer can turn out to be the best of the bunch, but can’t step in right away. That leaves Watson, who I believe would fit in nicely with the young nucleus being built. 

Arizona Cardinals: Haason Reddick, DE, Temple 

  • Arizona could go with a QB in order to replace Palmer. However, Reddick has done nothing but raise his stock after the season ended. This could be a huge move as Reddick can play all over the field.

Philadelphia Eagles: Christian McCaffrey, RB/WR, Stanford 

  • I have gone back and forth with this selection. Considering the vast amount of depth in the draft, Philadelphia will elect to go with a player who can help Wentz in multiple ways. 
  • He can be lined up in the slot, while also taking handoffs. He causes mismatches all over the field, whether being in the backfield or motioned to the outside. Can he withstand punishment in-between the tackles? My gut says yes. He has vision and is shifty enough make men miss. As a returner, he can learn from Sproles and gradually take that over.
  • Some people say go Dalvin Cook. Others hope a corner falls to No. 14. You don’t want to reach, espeically after Sydney Jones went down. There will be other opportunities to grab defensive backs. Take McCaffrey.

Indianapolis Colts: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama

  • This is a no-brainer. Protect your franchise player in Andrew Luck.

 

Charlie’s 11-15: 

New Orleans Saints: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee

Cleveland Browns: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina

Arizona Cardinals:  DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame

Philadelphia Eagles:  Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State 

Indianapolis Colts: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama

 

 

 

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. 

 

 

Eagles Eye Up Franchise Quarterback

By: David DiPasqua, Jr.

Philadelphia, PA. – The Philadelphia Eagles made a surprise move today by acquiring the second overall pick from the Cleveland Browns in exchange for a plethora of selections. 

This is absolutely a high risk, high reward type of move that will make Howie Roseman look like a genius or a fool. Personally, this was a mistake that could have been avoided. There still would have been a game-changing player at number eight, which would have been Ezekiel Elliott or Ronnie Stanley. 

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Eagles jump to No. 2… Good or Bad?

Similar to 1999, Andy Reid found his franchise quarterback in Donovan McNabb with the second overall pick. Pederson was the bridge quarterback for McNabb in that situation. Fast-forward to 2016 and now the Eagles have Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel to bridge for either Jared Goff or Carson Wentz. The Eagles would not have made his deal without knowledge of who the Los Angeles Rams are taking with the top selection. 

Reports have the Eagles taking Wentz at number two, the North Dakota State product. Scouts are raving about his intelligence and physical abilities.  He has all the tools, considering that he is 6’5″ and can make all the throws needed.

There are still question marks about the level of competition he played against. Adjusting to the pace of the game will be a challenge. I know there have been great players from smaller colleges, but the quarterback is the most important position on the field. Wentz will be slowly groomed into the starting role. Success does not happen overnight, so expect to see him starting either next year or in 2018. Roseman must believe Wentz can be a franchise quarterback. 

Whether it is Wentz or Goff, they will be holding a clipboard and be inactive. On game day, the third quarterback is normally inactive on the roster. This gives them a year to adjust to the speed of the NFL. Additionally, this provides a project for coach Pederson and Frank Reich to work on. 

For all those people who believe Bradford will be dealt, think again. The Eagles are responsible for his $11 million dollar signing bonus, which is why he is not going anywhere. Therefore, Bradford is the starting quarterback for this season. Daniel will be the backup who knows the system and most likely play a few games, considering Bradford is injury prone. 

In conclusion, the Eagles need this move to pan out. There are several other holes to fill, which will now be put on hold. The reward is that Wentz or Goff is their quarterback for the next decade. The risk is that they are a bust, while surrendering a fortune in terms of picks. Only time will tell. 

 

Rams Grab No. 1 from Titans

By: David DiPasqua, Jr.

The Los Angeles Rams have made all the headlines today by trading for the first overall pick from the Tennessee Titans. 

Without a quarterback on the roster to build around, the Rams needed to make a splash considering they are headed to Hollywood. This type of move helps create hype and exposure. Now, the decision is whether to take Carson Wentz or Jared Goff with the top selection. My bet is that head coach Jeff Fisher has his eyes set on Wentz. Fisher coached a quarterback out of Alcorn State, who went by the name of Steve McNair. At this rate, nothing would surprise me. The North Dakota State product has impressed coaches and scouts in every possible way, which could be a reason to trade from fifteen to get him. The Rams now have to figure out who they want to give the keys of the kingdom to. 

Tennessee is now sitting pretty with six picks in the top 76 selections in this draft. This was a tremendous trade for a team that is looking to rebuild. The Titans already have their franchise quarterback in place with Marcus Mariota and running back in DeMarco Murray. However, do they miss out on a player like Larmey Tunsil, who is the best offensive lineman in the draft. You take the good with the bad. It is still possible that the Titans could trade back into the top ten for Ronnie Stanley out of Notre Dame or Jack Conklin from Michigan State. 

This might of been the best case scenario for the Cleveland Browns who sit at number two, considering that they hold all the leverage for any team that will want the other quarterback. If the Browns want Tunsil or Jalen Ramsey, then they should go for it. On the flip side, the Rams might take the quarterback the Browns had their eyes on. This opportunity the Titans have given them has presented options. It is all about perspective. 

The Philadelphia Eagles are staring at this trade and looking at how their second round pick was apart of it. Their second rounder helped propel the Rams up to number one, but Sam Bradford could be the quarterback of the future here in Philadelphia if he stays healthy. To make a long story short, both Wentz and Goff will be off the board by number eight. The Eagles must trade up in order to grab either quarterback, which I highly doubt. In retrospect, this allows them to take the best player available. Most likely, players like Ronnie Stanley and Ezekiel Elliott are going to be on the board. 

Hate to say this, but the Cowboys will be sitting pretty at number four. “America’s team” has plenty of options, whether it is Joey Bosa or Jalen Ramsey. Anything can happen with Jerry Jones.

There have been two trades into the top ten already and I fully expect more to come on draft night. The NFL Draft is set for April 28th, in Chicago.