barkley
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The most controversial decision of night one of the NFL Draft was Cleveland’s selection of quarterback Baker Mayfield at number one overall. But the second pick in the draft could have been just as controversial, as the New York Giants drafted running back Saquon Barkley at number two. Given the team’s current situation, should the Giants have drafted a quarterback instead of opting for the ultra-talented Barkley?
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Giants Quarterback Woes
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New York Giants fans have not had to worry about who their quarterback would be in the future for a very long time. That is because the team grabbed Eli Manning in a trade with the San Diego Chargers for Philip Rivers early in their draft class. Since then, Manning has been the starter for all but a handful of games for the team. But his struggles in recent seasons had our mock draft leaning toward the Giants taking a quarterback second overall.
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Manning threw for less than 3,500 yards last season despite throwing the ball 571 times, the fifth highest number of attempts in a season during his career. He has thrown 13 or more interceptions in every season of his career since 2009, and the Giants looked impotent offensively with him out there last year. Of course, not all of this was his fault, but it is clear that Eli may be past his prime as a quarterback in the NFL.
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That is what made the second overall pick the perfect opportunity to take a quarterback. The Giants could have given themselves a future at the position to improve for years to come. And while Saquon Barkley has the support of some former Giants, he will need to be great to justify being picked second.
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More Important Issues
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There is no doubt that the Giants were one of the worst rushing teams in the NFL last season. They finished 26th in the NFL in rushing yardage, with less than 1,600 yards as a team for the campaign. Bringing in Saquon Barkley is an attempt to fix that, but it does nothing to solve the root of the Giants’ issues: their offensive line.
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In the 2017 season, the Giants scored six rushing touchdowns total. That anemic mark was the result of the offensive line of the Giants failing to get a push at the line of scrimmage. And while Saquon Barkley is a good player, he will not be able to block for himself. While some are choosing to be critical of Barkley for the wrong reasons, it is a fact that he will need help to get enough space to be effective.
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Moreover, the Giants drafted Barkley thanks in large part to his receiving abilities. There is nothing wrong with wanting a running back who can catch the ball, but the Giants already have a loaded receiving corps. Drafting a running back who averaged less than 20 carries per game in two of his three seasons at Penn State when you need a Zeke Elliott type of bell cow in the back field is a decision worth questioning.
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Chance To Repeat History
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In the NFL, there is the saying that it is a quarterback league. And with the Giants at preseason odds of 50/1 to win Super Bowl LIII according to the bookmarker Betway as of May 2, the second overall pick would have been a great chance to let history repeat itself for the Giants by drafting a quarterback. Doing so would have let the young player learn from Manning, the same way Manning had the chance to learn from veteran quarterback Kurt Warner.
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This would have been especially prudent in an NFL landscape where even the slightest injury to a quarterback can damage their hopes of winning a title. Right in the Giants’ division, the Philadelphia Eagles will be set for years to come thanks to their decision to draft Carson Wentz. If Barkley is anything short of a great player, the Giants will regret not making a similar decision.
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There is, of course, a great chance that Saquon Barkley becomes a talented and useful player for the Giants for years to come. But in a quarterback league, failure to solidify yourself at the quarterback position for as long as possible can be disastrous. For the Giants, only time will tell if they made the right decision.
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IMAGE CREDITS – Flickr

2018 NFL Mock Draft

22 February 2018


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Here’s the Lester’s Legends 2018 NFL Mock Draft.
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1. Cleveland Browns – Sam Darnold, QB, USC
2. New York Giants – Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
3. Indianapolis Colts – Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
4. Cleveland Browns – Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
5. Denver Broncos -Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
6. New York Jets – Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
8. Chicago Bears – Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
9. San Francisco 49ers – Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
10. Oakland Raiders – Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
11. Miami Dolphins – Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
12. Cincinnati Bengals – Mike McGlinchey, T, Notre Dame
13. Washington Redskins – Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
14. Green Bay Packers – Joshua Jackson, DB, Iowa
15. Arizona Cardinals – Connor Williams, T, Texas
16. Baltimore Ravens – Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
17. Los Angeles Chargers – Vita Vea, DL, Washington
18. Seattle Seahawks – Derwin James, S, Florida State
19. Dallas Cowboys – Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
20. Detroit Lions – Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
21. Buffalo Bills – Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
22. Buffalo Bills – Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A & M
23. Los Angeles Rams – Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
24. Carolina Panthers – Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
25. Tennessee Titans – Will Hernandez, G, UTEP
26. Atlanta Falcons – Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia
27. New Orleans Saints – Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
28. Pittsburgh Steelers – Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
29. Jacksonville Jaguars – Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
30. Minnesota Vikings – Billy Price, G/C, Ohio State
31. New England Patriots – Donte Jackson, CB, LSU
32. Philadelphia Eagles – Kolton Miller, T, UCLA

Carson Wentz
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The Eagles’ triumph at Super Bowl LII, one of the most thrilling showpiece games in living memory, represented the success of a team that is the most complete in the NFL. From the work of Eagles Executive Vice President of Football Operations Howie Roseman, who put the finishing touches to the roster he built last year, bringing in players such as Torrey Smith and Jay Ajayi, to the expert play-calling of Doug Pederson and the astonishingly calm professionalism of Nick Foles, every part of the puzzle came together to produce a victory cheered in (almost) every part of the US.

 

As they calmly amassed a 13-3 record during the regular season, despite a string of potentially tough match-ups, this group of players forced pundits and experts to constantly reassess their merits. At every stage, there were predictions that the good run was about to come to an end, and then, when star quarterback Carson Wentz was ruled out, they just kept on confounding the experts as Foles steered the team all the way to the final, where he outplayed the great Tom Brady in a classic encounter.

 

Now that they’ve won their first Super Bowl in the history of the franchise, where do they go next? Can they turn a stunning victory into the beginning of a dynasty?

 

Well, in case they needed any motivation, Foles, Wentz, and the Eagles players need only look at the sports betting markets. In early betting for the 2019 Super Bowl, the Eagles are ranked some way behind the New England Patriots and on the same level as the Pittsburgh Steelers. That seems to significantly underestimate the potential of this group.

 

Any postseason strengthening must first take account of the quarterback position. Wentz, Foles, and Nate Sudfeld represent perhaps the strongest resource in this position in the whole of the NFL. Wentz is likely to return as starter next season, injuries permitting, and the Eagles will do all they can to persuade Foles – who has a year left on his contract – to stay with the franchise in the event of any doubt on the matter.

 

Assuming that Foles does stay, the champions do have a number of areas for consideration, though at $9 million or so over the pay cap, they have limited room for manoeuvre.

 

Away from the quarterback role, the most pressing need for strengthening is at linebacker. Jordan Hicks is recovering from a serious leg injury, Nigel Bradham could be on his way out as a free agent, and Mychal Kendricks’ position is uncertain. With Najee Goode and Dannell Ellerbe also possible departures, the entire linebacker department is up in the air. If they only strengthen one area during the off-season, this should be it.

 

If the Eagles lose both Trey Burton and Brent Celek – who contributed 765 backup snaps during the season – the squad would be left with no cover for Zach Ertz. Ertz is one of the best in the NFL, but tight end is such an important part of this team’s offense that they need at least one quality backup. Focusing on picking up cover at the draft and then adding a reliable third-choice veteran through the open market could be a good strategy.

 

Perhaps the hardest decision that the Eagles have to make is whether to keep hold of Jason Peters or give the nod to Halapoulivaati Vaitai? This decision at tackle will in turn shape their strategy for the whole of the offensive line, which is one of the older units in the NFL. Adding strength in depth in this crucial department is also likely to be high on their agenda.

 

The need for new blood in the receiver positions isn’t as clear-cut, but would become more pressing if Smith is allowed to leave. That would likely lead to Mack Hollins stepping up to play starting receiver with Alshon Jeffery, making a cheap but reliable free agent receiver a good option to have on board in case Hollins doesn’t work out.

 

Finally, with question marks over Donnel Pumphrey and Wendell Smallwood and the possibility that Darren Sproles may retire, the cover for Corey Clement and Ajayi looks threadbare, so the champions may also think about drafting another running back.

 

This might seem like a lot of potential areas in which to make changes, but good teams, if they want to become dominant teams, don’t rest on their laurels. Strengthening in these areas would give the Eagles momentum going into the new season and put them in the ideal position to prove the experts wrong all over again!

 | Posted by | Categories: NFL | Tagged: NFL, Philadelphia Eagles |


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The Super Bowl ended painfully. Not a good postseason run for my prediction segment. When you repeatedly pick against the Champions, it does damage to your winning percentage.
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Playoff Record:  4-7 (.363)
Pro Bowl Record:  0-1 (.000)
Overall Record: 164-104 (.612)
Lock Picks: 14-3 (.824)

 | Posted by | Categories: NFL, NFL Picks | Tagged: NFL, NFL Picks |

Trey Flowers
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Here are the Lester’s Legends fantasy football team defense for Super Bowl LII.
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1. New England Patriots
2. Philadelphia Eagles
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Stephen Gostkowski
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Here are the Lester’s Legends fantasy football kicker rankings for Super Bowl LII.
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1. Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots
2. Jake Elliott, Philadelphia Eagles
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Gronk Grab
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Super Bowl LII features two elite tight ends. Gronk always gives the Patriots and advantage over the opposing tight end when healthy, but it’s really close in this case. The Eagles have three tight ends that contribute.
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1. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
2. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles
3. Trey Burton, Philadelphia Eagles
4. Dwayne Allen, New England Patriots
5. Brent Celek, Philadelphia Eagles
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Danny Amendola
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It’s really a toss up as to which receiver will step up on Super Bowl Sunday. Amendola was the hero in the AFC Championship Game. I imagine he’ll be peppered with targets. His quickness around the goal line should come into play. Jeffery’s size could come into play, as could Cooks’ speed.
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1. Danny Amendola, New England Patriots
2. Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles
3. Brandin Cooks, New England Patriots
4. Nelson Agholor, Philadelphia Eagles
5. Chris Hogan, New England Patriots
6. Torrey Smith, Philadelphia Eagles
7. Phillip Dorsett, New England Patriots
8. Mack Hollins, Philadelphia Eagles
9. Kenny Britt, New England Patriots
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Tom Brady's Thumb
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As Super Bowl 52 approaches, fans around the globe are looking forward to a potential classic. Although, New England Patriots are favorites, following last year’s victory, Philadelphia Eagles certainly have enough strengths in their locker to cause an upset.
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So, as you prepare for the game, and find legal sites to place a bet or watch the spectacle, it’s worth taking a look at what might give either team the edge. One of the deciding factors could be the performance of Super Bowl veteran Tom Brady who has certainly been a vital weapon in the Patriot’s previous Super Bowl successes. But, will the recent injury to the quarterback’s hand mean that he is not at full strength?
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The facts about Brady’s hand injury

Fans were alarmed by the injury to Brady’s throwing hand, which took place during a training session, on January 17 2018. The injury was the result of a collision with team mate Rex Burkhead and little more was known at the time. The fact that Brady missed media availability for a couple of days on the run, and was pictured with what looked like a very bulky thumb, served to cause some alarm. This was especially the case with a vital game against Jacksonville Jaguars looming on the horizon.
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The game against Jacksonville Jaguars

When the Jaguars visited the Gillette stadium, on January 21 2018, it was uncertain just how much of a problem their star quarterback’s hand injury would be for the home team. Tom Brady was certainly giving nothing away when he turned up for the game with his hands in his pockets. The good news for Patriots fans was that the injury did not appear to hamper Brady’s performance in any way, as his 38 throws and 2 touchdowns helped the Patriots to achieve a comeback in the game, and gain a 24-20 win in the fourth quarter.
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It has since emerged that Brady was apparently playing with 12 stitches in his hand during the game. The injury was protected by padding and gloves, and it did not appear to have a detrimental effect on Brady’s performance. This is good news for the Patriot’s team and supporters, now that this win has secured them an eighth Super Bowl appearance.
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Brady’s fitness is very important to the Patriots as they face an Eagles team that should give them a hard fight. This is a team that has the potential to bring the game to New England, and to keep the pressure on, should they be ahead coming into the fourth quarter. There is certainly a chance that the favorites could be in for a shock defeat.

 

Of course, everyone associated with the Patriots will be hoping that their strength is enough to secure their sixth Super Bowl victory in eight appearances. If the team is successful, this will also be the sixth win for Brady; the most for any NFL player. The world will be watching on 4 February, to see what happens..

Dion Lewis
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Super Bowl LII features two bruising backs for the Eagles and two quick backs for the Patriots. Brady will look to use their speed against linebackers to create mismatches. Philly will look to dominate the line of scrimmage and set up play action passes. I give Lewis a slight edge here, but we know White can shine on the biggest stage.
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1. Dion Lewis, New England Patriots
2. Jay Ajayi, Philadelphia Eagles
3. James White, New England Patriots
4. LeGarrette Blount, Philadelphia Eagles
5. Rex Burkhead, New England Patriots
6. Corey Clement, Philadelphia Eagles
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