Monthly Archives: February 2016

Where Each Buckeye Prospect SHOULD Go in the ’16 NFL Draft

 

To many, the Ohio State Buckeyes had the best collection of talent on any roster in college football this past season. That’s why 14 of them were in Indianapolis in late February to participate in the NFL Combine, by far the most of any college program. It’s very likely that they all will hear their names called by Commissioner Goodell on April 28, 29 or 30th in Chicago at the draft.

This post is simply where I think each Ohio State Alumn eligible for the 2016 NFL Draft will make the most sense and reach their potential to have as productive of a professional career as they had in Scarlet and Gray. This is not a mock draft. I repeat, this is not a mock draft! Those are created based on insider information that hints as to where teams are leaning towards using their pick.  I only included the picks so you would have an idea of where the teams selected.

Joey Bosa (DL) – 2nd pick, Cleveland Browns. The consensus of mock drafts have the Browns selecting California quarterback Jared Goff with this pick. I haven’t seen him play enough to say he is or isn’t worthy of such a high pick, but I do know that he wasn’t as heralded as a top prospect for long as Bosa has been during his time in Columbus. Bosa has been projected as the top player in this class for at least two seasons.

The Tennessee Titans have the number one pick and are likely to draft a left tackle to protect their franchise QB Marcus Mariotta. That makes sense, but if you’re Cleveland, it doesn’t make sense to draft a QB who just started climbing the draft boards after one season.

I only have to mention one name that Browns executives should think of when making this pick; J.J. Watt. Bosa has that type of potential. Cleveland could do better in the QB market in free agency, or maybe new head coach Hugh Jackson should make a deal with his old team the Cincinnati Bengals for backup A.J. McCarron. The Browns could also wait until the second round an make a run at Michigan State and Cleveland area native Connor Cook, or the Buckeye’s Cardale Jones-more on him later.

Ezekiel Elliott (RB) – 4th pick, Dallas Cowboys. Zeke is hands down top running back prospect in this class. If this were the 90’s he would be a top three pick easily. However, this is the NFL where the running back position has been devalued, and Elliott is projected to go anywhere from 15th to 25th.

The Cowboys were at their best in 2014 when they had All-Pro running back DeMarco Murray leading the NFL in rushing. Dallas finished with a 12-4 record. Without him, as well as Tony Romo and Dez Bryant due to injury, the ‘Boys had the fourth worse record in the League. Dallas is desperate for a game changing RB. Zeke is dynamic in the run game and versatile enough to be used in the passing game to the point he’d be on the field all three downs. He’s also a devastating blocker in pass protection, so he could help keep guys off Tony Romo’s ailing back and shoulder.

What Dallas should do is trade down around the 10th selection, pick up more pieces to help a team that finished with a 4-12 record. If Dallas is serious about winning now, this is the move. As a bonus, if Zeke were to be drafted by Dallas, his new home would be the site of his greatest moment as a Buckeye.

Eli Apple (CB) – 25th pick, Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers desperately need help in the back end of their defense. Pittsburgh was 30th in pass defense. They haven’t selected a defensive back in the first round since Troy Polamalu with the 16th pick in 2003.

Apple is a big corner at 6’1″ 200 pounds who plays physical press coverage and is very good in man-to-man. He’s one of three corners expected to go in the first round along with Jalen Ramsey out of Florida State and Vernon Hargreaves from Florida.

Taylor Decker (OL) – 16th pick, Detroit Lions/18th, Indianapolis Colts. The uncertainty surrounding WR Calvin Johnson’s possible retirement may change the plans Detroit had coming into the offseason for the draft. It won’t matter if Megatron stays or goes if his QB Matt Stafford can’t get enough time to throw him the ball. They desperately need offensive line help. This may be high for Decker, but with other teams picking ahead of them needing offense line help as well, there may be a run of them selected early in the draft starting with the Titans with the first pick that may force the Lions hand.

The Indianapolis Colts also are in badly need of some protection for Andrew Luck. Luck has been sacked more than any QB in his 4-years in the League; 115 times in 55 games. Considering how bad the O-line was in 2015, the Colts may be sprinting to the podium to select Decker if he’s still there.

Darron Lee (LB) – 12th pick, New Orleans Saints/18th pick, Indianapolis Colts. Linebacker along with offensive line help is a big need for several teams in this year’s draft. The 6’1″ 232 pound Lee has the look and measurables of former Buckeye and current Pittsburgh Steeler linebacker Ryan Shazier. If you saw the playoff games against the Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos, you see how well that’s working out for Steeler Nation. Lee could boost a Saints defense that was the second worse total defense in the NFL this past season.

The Colts would also be a good fit for Lee if they don’t go offensive line, they have some holes due to free agency and poor play from last seasons’ unit.

Michael Thomas (WR) – 22nd pick Houston Texans/26th pick, Seattle Seahawks/30th pick, Carolina Panthers. Thomas, the nephew of Keyshawn Johnson, is a big receiver at 6’3″ 215 pounds. Coming into the NFL combine he was the third rated WR in this class, so going late in the first round is a realistic option for a few teams.

The Texans DeAndre Hopkins needs some help! He was dominant in his first season as the number one in replacement of Houston’s all-time leading receiver Andre Johnson, who moved on to the Indianapolis Colts. Thomas can be the number two WR to alleviate the pressure on Hopkins in H-Town. Granted part of the passing problem with the Texans is they had four QBs start for them in 2015. But, if you believe the RG III or Colin Kaepernick trade rumors, they may have better luck at that position in 2016.

Thomas could also boost the Seahawks who lost Golden Tate in free agency in 2015 and a Panthers group that was pretty lackluster–even though they made the Super Bowl–to say the least with 2014 top pick Kelvin Benjamin missing the entire 2015 with a knee injury.

Braxton Miller (WR, KR, PR) — 2nd round 34th pick, Dallas Cowboys. Braxton is turning heads with his athleticism and quick ability to pick up the nuances of the position after switching from QB to WR for his senior season at OSU. From an athletic stand point, he is a 1st round talent, but because of the late position change and his 40-yard dash time of 4.55, it may have caused him to slip in the eyes of decision makers. The consensus of the mock drafts have him going anywhere early second round to late third round coming into the combine.

Cowboys coaches were at the helm of the North squad at the Senior Bowl in Mobile Alabama and got an up close look at what the 6’2″ 215 pound Braxton could do. They have a huge hole at the WR position opposite Dez Bryant in the slot as well as the return game. Miller could kill two birds with one stone in” Jerry World.”

Vonn Bell (SS) – 2nd Round pick 38th, Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags need help all over the defensive side of the ball. If they choose to fill their needs on the defensive line in the first round, Bell would be there to help sure up the back end of the unit in the second round. He’s ranked by many as the second best strong safety in the 2016 class.

Cardale Jones (QB) – 2nd round 58th pick/3rd round 89th Pittsburgh Steelers. Cardale is a Cleveland born and raised kid so he’d probably wouldn’t be so thrilled with this, but it sets him up to have a great career. Steelers fans know that two things are stopping this team from greatness; a suspect secondary and the lack of a viable back up to Ben Roethlisberger. Cardale has the similar measurables at 6’5″ 249 pounds to #7.

Landry Jones in his 3 years in the Steel City hasn’t proven he can carry the load when Roethlisberger is out, and bringing in Michael Vick in 2015 wasn’t the answer either.

When the Steelers have had good backup QBs, it’s been when they acquired former All-Pro Charlie Batch and Pro-Bowler Byron Leftwitch at the latter stages of their careers and no longer capable of being full time starters. Roethlisberger has only played 16 games 3 times in his 12-year career. It’s time Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert wise up and stop trying to fill this void with 4th round picks or lower.

For Cardale it’s also a chance to learn behind a two-time Super Bowl Champion, who will be 34 years old when the 2016 season starts, and probably only has 3 to 4 good years left. For both Cardale and Pittsburgh, this could be the move that keeps them as contenders well into the next decade.

Joshua Perry (OLB) – 2nd round 60th pick, New England Patriots. This will be the Pats first pick of the draft due to punishment from deflate-gate unless they trade into the first round. Jerrod Mayo just retired and they’ll likely need to find his replacement immediately in this draft. The 6’3″ 253 pound Perry is the kind of versatile playmaker and character guy Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft covet.

Jalin Marshall (WR, KR, PR) – 3rd round 72 pick, Chicago Bears. Marshall has a similar skill set to former Buckeye and current Carolina Panther Tedd Ginn Junior. They have that world class track speed, great elusiveness in the return game, but questionable skills at the wide receiver position. Outside of Alshon Jeffery, the wide receiver group is limited in the “Windy City” and Marshall can take the top off the defense to help Jeffery get the space he needs to do what he does.

Tyvis Powell (S) – 3rd round 74th pick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After defensive end, the Bucs need help at corner and Safety. At 6’3″ 209 pounds, Powell would check off several boxes for a Tampa defense that finished 23rd overall and 16th against the pass. Powell led the Buckeyes in interceptions in 2015 and finished his career at OSU with 15.

Adolphus Washington (DT) – 3rd round 73rd pick, Miami Dolphins. Washington missed the Fiesta Bowl win over Notre Dame after being arrested for solicitation. He’ll undoubtedly will be hammered with questions about this at the combine. However, he was a very productive lineman in his time in Columbus and several teams with defensive line needs will want him. He’s very athletic and agile at 6’3″ 297 and can help free up All-Pro Gerald Mccoy and keep blockers off Pro-bowler LaVonte David.

Nick Vanett (TE) – 4th round 120th pick, Pittsburgh Steelers/4th round 124th pick, New England Patrits. The Steelers have a hole at tight end with the retirement of Heath Miller. Jesse James the second-year guy out of Penn State will likely get the nod to start coming into 2016, but as he’s virtually unproven, they’ll need to get some depth behind him. Vanett did more blocking than catching in Columbus–55 catches for 585 yards and 6 TDs for his career (19 receptions for 162 yards in 2015)–but showed at the Senior Bowl he has the athleticism and hands to be very productive in the passing game.

He’d also be a plus for the Patriots. Remember how lethal their offense was when Tom Brady had Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez? Vanett could be the type of TE who could allow them to go back to more two TE sets where they’d have the versatility to run through you and pass all over you.

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Beware, The Devil Blesses Too

But they might as well be curses.

“Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.'”
~ Matthew 4:8-9 | NIV

Remember when Jesus spent forty days and nights fasting and praying in the desert while the devil tried to tempt him? As the intro scripture reads, the devil told the Messiah that he’d give him the kingdoms and riches of the world if he bowed down to him.

I don’t believe we have to literally get down on your knees to bow to our enemy. Being knowingly disobedient to what the Lord is a way of bowing to Satan.

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ ” Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.”  Matthew 4:10-11 – NIV

Thank you Jesus for denying the evil one and preserving our salvation.

Many people have claimed blessings from God, when really they were from the evil one.

The Lord wouldn’t bless you with things that will cause you to go further into debt like houses, cars, clothes and others material possessions that wisdom told you not to buy. Eventually those things become a burden.

I have also heard people justify leaving relationships to be with another person who came along after they were married or deeply involved with their current love, as God bringing them their true love or soulmate. Why would He want you to be with someone else at the expense of hurting someone who loved you unconditionally and treated you good in the process? Especially if you’ve already shown you can’t do right in the first relationship. God wouldn’t do that. But who would?

You guessed it, the devil.

That’s his way of tempting you to self-destruct. He has you believing God was sending you better, only now you have to deal with all the consequences of divorce or a break-up. What you thought was a blessing has become a curse because you spend more time dealing with the ending of the past relationship then enjoying the new one. There’s also the suspicion your new mate will always have that you’ll do to them, what you did to the person you were previously with.

It happens in all facets of life. Here’s a personal example from my professional life. In 2012 I was going through a lengthy unemployment period while attending grad school. During that time I went to live with my grandmother while my grandfather was gravely ill and being taken care of in a nursing home awaiting a life saving surgery.

For a year of my unemployment period I had no job prospects. A couple of weeks before I moved to Georgia with my grandmother and while I lived with her, I had several interviews. They were for jobs I didn’t really want and in a business I walked away from that began my unemployment. But a few of the salaries offered were more then double the last position I had held. It was very tempting and I was becoming desperate. Obviously I needed and wanted a new job, but had I taken one of those positions I wouldn’t have been around for my grandmother when my grandfather eventually passed away.

My God designed purpose was to be there for her and my family who were concerned about her being alone. The enemy tried to fool me several times into thinking that these jobs were blessings to end my unemployment. Godly wisdom – which I’m still working on gaining – allowed me to see they were traps that would not only take me away from the Lord’s purpose, but also suck me back into a profession I desperately prayed to the Lord to get me away from.

Don’t get me wrong, God wants us to have nice and beautiful things, but I believe He does it through meeting a need, not a want. But also, while fulfilling His purpose for our lives.

I’ll share this final thought with you. God doesn’t show you He loves you by what He gives you, but by what He gets you through. Because we are flawed as humans, we believe in showing our love for each other by our gift giving, but we don’t always back it up with our actions of meeting needs. God backs it up with action. Satan tries to give us short-term satisfaction.

NBA Should Consider These Cities For Future All-Star Games

The 2016 NBA All-Star weekend is under way in Toronto. The 6, as it’s known, is the first city outside the continental United States to host the Association’s annual mid-season event. Canada’s most vibrant city is sure to show hoop fans a great time on and off the court.

The 2017 event is already booked for Charlotte. It will be the first time since 1991 Buzz City has hosted the game. With MJ as the host, who wouldn’t want to go to a party hosted by his Airness?
It’s great to finally see the NBA taking the greatest All-Star experience among the major professional sports leagues to new and different places. Locations like Los Angeles (2004 & 2011), Houston (2006 & 2013), New York (1998 & 2015), New Orleans (2008 & 2014) and Phoenix (1995 & 2009) have more than their share in the past 20 seasons, while other great basketball cities have yet host the event or have it return in over a generation. It’s time to go new places.
Not to get to far ahead of myself before the headline events of the 2016 weekend have even tipped off, but I have a list of paces the NBA should visit in the near future and why they’d best for the league.

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Cleveland hosted the ’97 All-Star weekend during the NBA at 50 celebration. Photo Credit: Peggy Turbett/The Plain Dealer

Cleveland – While Cleveland isn’t necessarily the place you want to be in the middle of winter (average temperatures in February are a high of 40 and a low of 20 degrees), it is a great sports city and with the return of the NBA’s best player in LeBron James, that will be on full display as he continues in the prime of his career there.

According to the Akron Beacon Journal, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert was actively attempting to lure the NBA to Cleveland for the 2017 All-Star weekend which would’ve been the 20 year anniversary of the NBA at 50 celebration. NBA commissioner Adam Silver visited Cleveland to explore the feasibility of bringing the All-Star Game back to Northeast Ohio. “We had a great experience when we were there in ’97,” Silver told the Beacon Journal. “We would love to return to Cleveland” he went on to say.

The city has grown significantly since the NBA’s last visit and has the venues to host such a highly attended event. With LeBron James entering the backend of his career, it be great to see him get the opportunity to be the unofficial host to the game’s greatest players before he rides off into the sunset.

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Chicago hasn’t hosted the All-Star weekend since 1988. Photo Credit: AP Photos

Chicago, 2018 – This will mark 30 years since the weekend of MJ. In February 1988, Michael Jordan was in the midst of one of the greatest seasons of all time when he averaged 35 ppg, 5.9 apg , 5.5 rpg, 3.2 spg on his way to winning the league MVP and Defensive Player of the Year.

While his Airness was already being regarded as a Top 5 player at the time, this one weekend can be viewed as when he ascended to a global icon. He won the dunk contest–albeit controversial–while breaking out his iconic Air Jordan III sneaker, and he took home the game’s MVP award after posting 40 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals, 4 blocks and 3 assists in only 29 minutes.

What better way to once again honor the greatest player ever, by recognizing this moment. Plus, the Windy City hasn’t hosted the event since 1988, which is odd considering it’s one of the top 3 markets in America and rich in basketball history on all levels.

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South Florida has successfully hosted several major sporting events, but only one NBA All-Star Weekend. 

Miami 2019 – South Beach in February. Let me say that again, South Beach in February.  The ultimate party town, hosting the NBA’s ultimate party event. Nothing else really has to be said.

I am surprised it hasn’t been back since 1990 when the Heat weren’t even relevant. At that time you had to think former Commissioner David Stern selected South Florida to showcase one of his newest franchises as the Heat were only in its first season. But now after being in five NBA Finals in a span of eight years, Miami is a perfect match for the league. Even though they have fans more fickle than the weather down there during tropical storm season.

The city boast an extremely upscale arena, venues and plenty of hotels accommodations and more than adequate means to travel across town. Seems like a slam dunk or a Ray Allen corner three in game six of the 2013 NBA Finals.

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OKC has been a premier franchise and the fans have created a vibrant college atmosphere.

Oklahoma City 2020 – Assuming the Thunder keep both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in the fold, OKC will still be an attractive draw. The Heartland doesn’t get much respect from basketball purist. But this is a chance for the NBA to reward this city for how it not only has received the Thunder and made it a great atmosphere for basketball fans, but also for how the community received the New Orleans Hornets—now Pelicans—when they took refuge after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the “Crescent City.”

Also with the NBA cares events done during the weekend, this will be a great opportunity for the league and its partners to help continue to rebuild this area that’s still reeling after the tragic tornado that struck in the spring of 2013.

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Memphis is rich in Civil Rights and hoops history, and what better way to celebrate both than during Black History Month.

Memphis 2020 – If you’ve never been, you don’t know what your are missing. From the barbecue to the nightlife, music and tourist attractions such as the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel where Dr. King was assassinated, to Graceland the home of Elvis Presley; Memphis would be a great host for All-Star weekend. By the way, “The River City” is also a hot bed rich in hoops history at the high school, collegiate and professional levels.

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Seattle is eager for the NBA to return.

Seattle – Depending on who you are, this may seem like trolling, but let me explain why this would be a win-win for the league and Seattle hoop fans.

The League needs to make a true showing that they really want to bring a team back to Seattle. Since the Sonics were hijacked and taken to Oklahoma City, Seattle has been mentioned as a possible destination for owners looking to scare their current cities into upgrading or building new arenas. Commissioner Silver has said he’d like to bring a team back to the city by expansion or an existing franchise. This will go a long way in proving he’s serious.

For the fans and city leaders, this will be their opportunity to show that their love for NBA basketball has not dissipated in the absence of their beloved Sonics. Players will get a chance to see what NBA life in the “Emerald City” has to offer.

It shouldn’t matter that Seattle doesn’t currently have a team, that precedent was already set when the NBA took the All-Star festivities to Las Vegas in 2007.

There’s Devils All Around You

“And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” ~ 2 Corinthians 11:14-15

Have you ever wondered why someone who seems so nice, charming, giving and peaceful can turn into the opposite so quickly?

You know the girlfriend that appeared to be everything you asked God for; from her relationship with Him, her attractiveness, nurturing nature, to her go-getter independent attitude, only for her to eventually turn into the most abusive, neglectful, distrustful and unfaithful person you’ve ever met. Or that boss that when he hired you was so complimentary of your skills and helpful in advancing you in your career that suddenly turns into a cantankerous and combative person that picks apart your every project. Why does this happen? Sheep become wolves very quickly.

The devil preys on their vulnerability and weaknesses to use them to try and destroy you. The enemy knows you’re prayed up, strong and less likely to fall for his foolishness, so instead he infiltrates those he views as weak and have your trust so he can work through them. It’s no different than the Lord working through you and your great qualities to bring and do good in the world. Except obviously the devil comes to destroy (John 10:10).

Peep this most important example. Judas was one of the twelve and walked beside Jesus daily witnessing His miracles and listening to His teachings, yet Judas still allowed evil to manipulate him and therefore he turned Christ over to those who eventually crucified Him. So what makes you think that friend you’ve loaned money to in their lean days and listened to their sorrows while wiping their tears through dark times is incapable of backstabbing you? Not to be negative, because I don’t want to go around thinking the worst in people, but truth is they most likely will because humans are so flawed.

The best thing for us is that Romans 8:28 tells us God will work all things out for the good of those who love Him. So if that girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse, boss or friends betray, abuse or abandon you, trust and believe that HE will first bless you by turning it into addition by subtraction. Then at some point, in His time, He will restore and replace what was broken and stolen with a better version of what was unjustly stolen from you by the enemy. Just in the meantime don’t be surprised and caught off guard when the devil starts turning folks against you.

We live in a physical world that is the setting for a spiritual war between good and evil. We can’t be naive to think there are good forces at work in this world without evil ones trying to oppose them. The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy.