Pro Player Insiders http://proplayerinsiders.com NFL Players Exclusive Lifestyle, News and Under the Helmet Access Thu, 28 May 2015 12:41:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Auburn Headlines Underrated Players to Watch http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/auburn-headlines-underrated-players-watch/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/auburn-headlines-underrated-players-watch/#comments Thu, 28 May 2015 12:41:51 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=155182 Auburn Headlines Top 10 Underrated Players without Postseason Honors to Watch

Every year players come out of nowhere to earn awards or they are much more valued by NFL teams than the media or even college coaches who pick the all-conference teams.

Here is our list of 10 players to watch who should be in line for postseason honors and we expect to get drafted despite no postseason major postseason accolades nationally or by their own conference.

Isaiah Battle
  1. OT Isaiah Battle, Clemson, 6’7, 290, 5.05E

NFL scouts love Battle and with good reason. He is long, athletic, and has very good feet. He needs to work on technique but is also strong and flashes dominance. Surprisingly he has not earned any postseason awards but we see him as a 1st-team All-ACC pick in 2015.

 

  1. WR D’haquille Williams, Auburn, 6’2, 216, 4.50E

Williams has buzz in the media right now but has never been named All-SEC by the AP or coaches. We expect him to in 2015 after a strong junior campaign where he had 730 yards and 5 touchdowns. With his speed we expect him to be a potential top 50 pick in 2016.

 

  1. DT Nile Lawrence-Stample, Florida State, 6’1, 323, 5.25E

Like Battle, NFL scouts have a much bigger love for NLS than the media does. It is understood since he only played in 4 games with 10 tackles, 0.5 tackle for loss, and one blocked kick in 2014. He is a big body who should play a lot in 2015 and has the potential to be a draft pick and All-ACC performer.

Cassanova McKinzy
  1. ILB Cassanova McKinzy, Auburn, 6’3, 249, 4.75E

It’s hard to believe McKinzy was not All-SEC last year. He was one of my top snubs after posting 91 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks. McKinzy has speed and is strong, showing good range to not only finish plays in the box but run sideline to sideline. We see him as a top 100 caliber pick.

 

  1. FS Jalen Mills, LSU, 6’0, 194, 4.50E

LSU always has talented defensive backs and Mills is no exception. As a free safety he had 62 tackles, one pick, and five pass breakups in 2014. Expect to see an All-SEC caliber season from Mills as a senior.

Nick Vannett OSU
  1. TE Nick Vannett, Ohio State, 6’6, 260, 4.75E

Ohio State was loaded with talent last year and Vannett was one of the many talented backups who got playing time and showed the ability to be a top 150 pick. With his size and speed we believe he could be a possible starting NFL tight end one day. Last year he had 19 catches for 220 yards and 5 touchdowns.

 

  1. OLB Kris Frost, Auburn, 6’2, 234, 4.65E

Like McKinzy, we aren’t sure why Frost didn’t earn All-SEC honors in 2014. He had 87 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, and 3.5 sacks. Frost is athletic, can run, and was active. He also made plays behind the line of scrimmage with 11 quarterback hurries. We rank Frost as a 3rd-4th round type prospect.

Brandon Shell
  1. OT Brandon Shell, South Carolina, 6’6, 327, 5.25E

South Carolina’s offensive line coach Shawn Elliott has another potential top 100 pick in Shell after AJ Cann was selected in the 2015 NFL Draft. Shell is a bit of a lazy player at times so Elliott will need to use his fiery coaching style on him but if the light bulb comes on this year this is a player with the talent to start in the NFL one day.

 

  1. WR Devon Cajuste, Stanford, 6’4, 229, 4.55E

As a sophomore, Cajuste was a big play thread with a 22.9ypc and 5 touchdowns in 7 starts and 13 games. Last year he increased his production with 34 catches for 557 yards and 6 touchdowns. With his physical tools and ability there is no reason not to expect a big year from Cajuste.

 

  1. OLB Montese Overton, East Carolina, 6’3, 220, 4.70E

Overton was fun to watch last year with 68 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, and 3 sacks. It’s surprising he was not all-conference but he certainly will be in 2015. His size, speed, and ability to flatten the edge and make plays in the backfield will surely draw enough interest to earn him a major all-star game invite and NFL Combine invite, like the 9 players above him on this list. We see Overton as a mid to late round draft pick, at the very least.

 

OTHERS TO WATCH

OLB Tyriq McCord, Miami (FL), 6’3, 236, 4.75E

TE Jerell Adams, South Carolina, 6’6, 231, 4.70E

OG Josh Garnett, Stanford, 6’5, 325, 5.35E

FS Tevin Carter, Utah, 6’2, 210, 4.50E

CB Kevin Peterson, Oklahoma State, 5’11, 190, 4.55E

CB Kevon Seymour, Southern Cal, 6’0, 185, 4.50E

DE Jonathan Bullard, Florida, 6’3, 277, 4.75E

OT Keith Lumpkin, Rutgers, 6’8, 310, 5.25E

DT Lawrence Thomas, Michigan State, 6’4, 309, 4.80E

OLB DeVondre Campbell, Minnesota, 6’5, 241, 4.70E

RB Brandon Wilds, South Carolina, 6’2, 224, 4.55E

OLB Antonio Longino, Arizona State, 6’2, 229, 4.75E

CB Will Redmond, Mississippi State, 6’0, 185, 4.45E

TE Tyler Higbee, Western Kentucky, 6’5, 233, 4.80E

ILB James Burgess, Louisville, 6’0, 229, 4.75E

C Evan Boehm, Missouri, 6’3, 320, 5.20E

WR Mekale McKay, Cincinnati, 6’6, 195, 4.55E

OG Aaron Morris, Ole Miss, 6’5, 345, 5.30E

OG Joseph Cheek, Texas A&M, 6’7, 310, 5.10E

QB Brandon Allen, Arkansas, 6’2, 210, 4.80E

QB Travis Wilson, Utah, 6’7, 233, 4.95E

ILB Joe Bolden, Michigan, 6’3, 232, 4.80E

ILB C.J. Johnson, Ole Miss, 6’2, 225, 4.65E

FS Demond Smith, Georgia Tech, 6’0, 191, 4.55E

NT Joel Heath, Michigan State, 6’6, 285, 5.15E

CB Kenya Dennis, Missouri, 5’11, 200, 4.50E

RB Kenyan Drake, Alabama, 6’1, 201, 4.55E

NT D.J. Reader, Clemson, 6’2, 325, 5.20E

CB Anthony Brown, Purdue, 5’11, 190, 4.50E

OT Joe Gore, Clemson, 6’5, 290, 4.90E

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Ndamukong Suh Shows Up for Miami Dolphins OTAs In a Big Way http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/ndamukong-suh-shows-miami-dolphins-otas-big-way/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/ndamukong-suh-shows-miami-dolphins-otas-big-way/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 14:16:03 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=155254 Each year, some players routinely choose to skip voluntary OTAs. Ndamukong Suh chose to miss the first phase of the Miami Dolphins offseason workouts. But on Tuesday, the defensive lineman was present for the first day of Dolphins OTAs.

Suh had a very good first day of camp as he was often seen in the backfield. He regularly beat guard Billy Turner off the line a scrimmage and put a lot of pressure on quarterback Ryan Tannehill throughout the day.

NFL: Miami Dolphins-OTA

“I am going out and playing as fast as I can,” Suh said after practice to reporters. “If I am going to make mistakes, I want to do it full speed, especially being in the backfield. That’s what I was brought here for. That’s the way I know how to play and that’s the way I have been playing for the past five years. I am happy to be in a position to build off of the success that I have already had and try and get better each and every day.”

“That’s what he does,” said center Mike Pouncey. “That’s why they gave him all that money. … He’s coming off that ball full speed every play. He’s a guy who really uses the snap count to his advantage. He gets off the ball really fast, and that’s part of his game.”

This offseason, the Dolphins signed Suh to a six years, $114 million contract. He will be expected to turn around a Miami defense that finished 24th against the run last season.

Miami gave the media in attendance a preview of how they plan to use Suh this season. He often lined up on the left side of the line right next to four-time Pro Bowl Cameron Wake. The combination of Suh and Wake will be tough for offensive coordinators to slow down.

“The sky is always going to be the limit for us, said Suh. “Anybody who lines up next to me and whoever I line up next to…at the end of the day, we always want to be somebody’s nightmare. We always want to cause havoc no matter who is on the field. That’s our job. That is what we are here to do.”

Suh is still behind as far as learning the Dolphins playbook. The other free agent acquisitions have had a five-week head start on him. Learning new terminology isn’t anything new for Suh.

“I have been in the league five years and I have probably gone through three or four different sets of terminology even with the same defensive coordinator Suh said. “Last year, obviously, we had the new defensive coordinator in Detroit, but at the end of the day, it is something that you can pair it up with something else that you have seen in the past. Things that I remember back in the day with a three-man front they called in the spinner. Back there in Detroit we called it something different. Here we are going to call it something different. At the end of the day, you are going to have to find similarities to understand where you need to fit in.”

While Suh wouldn’t discuss why he wasn’t in the early phases of voluntary workouts, the Dolphins are happy he is there now. If Tuesday is any indication of how well Suh will perform this season, the coaches and fans of the Dolphins are going to love him.

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NFLPA Rookie Premiere Hosts 2015 Draft Stars http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/nflpa-rookie-premiere-hosts-2015-draft-stars/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/nflpa-rookie-premiere-hosts-2015-draft-stars/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=155232 For 21 years the NFLPA Rookie Premiere has been hosting the top players in the game before they even played a snap as pros. Stars like Payton Manning, Dez Bryant, Marshawn Lynch, LT, Rob Gronkowski,DeMarco Murray, Calvin Johnson, all were here once.

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PHOTO CREDIT, NFLPA – View more Rookie Premiere Alumni here: https://www.nflpa.com/rp/gallery

 

PHOTO CREDIT:  NFLPA https://www.nflpa.com/rp/gallery

PHOTO CREDIT, NFLPA – View more Rookie Premiere Alumni here: https://www.nflpa.com/rp/gallery

Having guys like Odell Beckham, Jadaveon Clowney, Johnny Manziel  and Jeremey Hill last year was exciting and yet again the talent level is right on par this year. The 2015 class of rookies to be showcased have equally as much potential as those that came before them. Top 10 picks including  Titans Marcus Marriota, Bucs Jamieson Winston, Bears Kevin White, Raiders Amari Cooper, Rams Todd Gurley, Chargers Melvin Gordon, and Jets Leonard Williams will all take over Los Angeles, CA from May 28th-31st. Jadeveon Clowney_Johnny Manziel For the next four days, 41 of these newly drafted offensive running backs, quarterbacks and wide receivers will get the chance to soak up business of football. They will learn from current and former NFL players as well as NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and NFL Players Inc. president Ahmad Nassar ways to assist in the development of their professional careers and personal brands. Seminars will touch on financial planning, brand building, group player rights, and NFLPA partner relationships. “Beyond providing a platform to learn about the business of football and benefits of their union as they game plan for their new careers, Rookie Premiere gives players a chance to showcase their personalities so that the NFLPA team can use that insight to connect the right players with the right brands to tell their story,” Nassar said. The Rookie Premiere featured partners, Panini America and Topps, will both be present to photograph players and get autographs for memorabilia.  Other brands represented include: Nike, New Era, TheraPearl, Samsung,Proctor & Gamble, Intel, élevée, Gatorade, Fanatics, EA SPORTS, Fanatics Authentic, FedEx, Tostitos and Uber.

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PHOTO CREDIT: NFLPA-https://www.nflpa.com/rp/gallery

Although some will miss OTA practices Thursday and Friday, the experience will be well worth the time. As we have seen in the 21 draft classes before them, there are many stars in the making we will get a glimpse of this week.   Below is the full list of players attending: 2015 NFLPA Rookie Premiere Player List Ameer Abdullah, Detroit Lions – RB Nelson Agholor, Philadelphia Eagles – WR Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins – RB Javorius Allen, Baltimore Ravens – RB Sammie Coates, Pittsburgh Steelers – WR David Cobb, Tennessee Titans – RB Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons – RB Chris Conley, Kansas City Chiefs – WR Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders – WR Jamison Crowder, Washington Redskins – WR Mike Davis, San Francisco 49ers – RB Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings – WR Phillip Dorsett, Indianapolis Colts – WR Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers – WR Melvin Gordon III, San Diego Chargers – RB Garrett Grayson, New Orleans Saints – QB Doral Green-Beckham, Tennessee Titans – WR Rashad Greene, Jacksonville Jaguars – WR Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams – RB Justin Hardy, Atlanta Falcons – WR Brett Hundley, Green Bay Packers – QB David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals – RB Duke Johnson, Cleveland Browns – RB Matt Jones, Washington Redskins – RB Jeremy Langford, Chicago Bears – RB Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks – WR Sean Mannion, St. Louis Rams – QB Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans – QB Vince Mayle, Cleveland Browns – WR Ty Montgomery, Green Bay Packers – WR DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins – WR Breshad Perriman, Baltimore Orioles – WR Bryce Petty, New York Jets – QB Kevin Smith, New York Jets – WR Jaelen Strong, Houston Texans – WR Kevin White, Chicago Bears – WR Karlos Williams, Buffalo Bills – RB Maxx Williams, Baltimore Ravens – TE Leonard Williams, New York Jets – DE Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – QB T.J. Yeldon, Jacksonville Jaguars – RB 2015 NFLPA Rookie Premiere Team List

AFC-North Baltimore Ravens – 3 Cincinnati Bengals – 0 Cleveland Browns -  2 Pittsburgh Steelers -  1
AFC-South Houston Texans -  1 Indianapolis Colts -  1 Jacksonville Jaguars – 2 Tennessee Titans -  3
AFC-East Buffalo Bills – 1 Miami Dolphins -  2 New England Patriots – 0 New York Jets – 3
AFC-West Denver Broncos – 0 Kansas City Chiefs -  1 Oakland Raiders -  1 San Diego Chargers -  1
NFC-North Chicago Bears -  2 Detroit Lions -  1 Green Bay Packers -  2 Minnesota Vikings -  1
NFC-South Atlanta Falcons -  2 Carolina Panthers -  1 New Orleans Saints -  1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 1
NFC-East Dallas Cowboys – 0 New York Giants – 0 Philadelphia Eagles -  1 Washington Redskins -  2
NFC-West Arizona Cardinals -  1 San Francisco 49ers -  1 Seattle Seahawks -  1 St. Louis Rams -  2
For more of the #NFLPArookiepremiere coverage follow us @PlayerInsiders.
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Foodie Fun: World-Class Burgers http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/food-world-class-burgers-memorial/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/food-world-class-burgers-memorial/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=155149 Memorial Day is just around the corner. All hail the unofficial beginning of summer and the official beginning of grilling season. My holiday cookout isn’t complete without burgers. Mine are world-class-tasty (says me) and while there are a few special things I do that go the extra mile, you’ll be shocked at the one thing I don’t do for this, or any other, backyard burger build.

The foundation of any burger is meat. The bun is also important. After that, everything else is a topping, and wildly subjective, save a few objective characteristics. Burgers may be considered humble, simple food, but don’t be fooled: perfect execution of simple food is blissful. Last year, I served burgers for Christmas Dinner. True story. They’re that good. Get the grill ready; you’re gonna need it for your very own world-class burgers.

My burgers have two things going for them that are absolute requirements of world-class burgers: flavor and crust. Rarely do you just “find” burgers made from more than one cut of meat, but that’s exactly what you should be doing. You just have to ask the meat counter in your grocery store or a butcher to grind what you want. While I frequently experiment, there is one tried and true blend I find easy to get and super tasty.

The flavor comes from a blend of three cuts of meat to form the actual patty. The magic “house blend” is: 2 parts chuck, 1 part sirloin, and 1 part brisket, ground together twice on a medium die. The brisket adds a surprising meatiness, and more of that awesome fat we need to make a supremely juicy burger.

Cook burgers on a griddle

World-class burgers are cooked on a griddle, not a grill.

The crust comes from the way I cook them. Notice I say “crust” and not “grill marks?” Sure, grill marks are sexy on chicken; just keep them off my burgers. I use cast iron and you should too. The grill is just there to super-heat the iron, and keeps the mess outside. Several companies make cast iron griddles. I found one for about $30 that will last long enough for my not-yet-to-be-born grandkids to use. They’re also great for pancakes but that’s another post.

Here’s how to build, and cook, world-class burgers:

Ingredients:

  • 4 pounds of “house blend” ground meat, formed into 10 patties (about 6oz each). I kept the math easy, but adjust per the formula, as you need. 2:1:1 is the ratio from above. Store in the refrigerator but bring to room temperature before cooking, about 1 hour.
  • Salt and pepper

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Preheat the grill to 550-650 degrees. Once the grill hits 450, put the cast iron griddle on one side. If you grill often, you know your grill well enough to find the hot spots. Use them. My griddle takes up 3 of 4 gas burners on my grill, and leaves some room in the front. That’s helpful later. If you use a charcoal grill, get the charcoal ready, and then push it all to one side, placing the griddle over that side. Preheat the griddle for about 15-20 minutes at 550 or above. Your patience will be rewarded.
  2. If you have a gas grill, you can turn down the heat once the griddle is hot. I have 4 burners. I preheat with all 4 on high, then turn 2 off and the other 2 to low. Your griddle should be seasoned (most new ones are these days). If not, follow the instructions included with your griddle to do so before you try this recipe.
  3. Liberally salt and pepper both sides of the patties. Place them on the griddle. No oil necessary. Once placed on the griddle, cover the lid and wait 4-6 minutes, depending upon the thickness of your patties. Don’t poke, press, or touch while cooking. Do nothing. Just wait.
  4. Raise the lid and flip with a spatula. Admire your crust. It’s likely sensational.
  5. 4-6 minutes on side-two and the burgers should be done medium-to-medium-well. If they were cold when you put them on the grill, I cannot promise the final quality. Room temperature patties are important.
  6. Toast burger buns on open space while side two is cooking. Yes, you should toast burger buns. These burgers are juicy; you’ll want something sturdy. I recommend Kaiser rolls. They toast well but remain light and airy inside.
  7. If you want cheese, melt it after the buns are finished toasting. Lay two slices on each patty and close the lid. Just wait. I like to spray water on the grates and the griddle and then close the lid to add some steam but it’s more for show than need.

The griddle will catch the fatty juice from the burgers while they cook so pesky flare-ups will likely be avoided while cooking. But if some of the juice goes over the edge, look out! When you’re done cooking, the heat will be off, but be careful removing the griddle. It will still be screaming-hot and the juice will burn you if you’re not careful.

Burger assembly is important. The order of the ingredients matters. I can see you shaking your head “No.” Yes. It. Does.

My “house” burger/cheeseburger is built as follows, from the bottom up:

  • Bun
  • Guacamole – try this recipe for Great Game Day Guacamole
  • Burger, with cheese
  • Bacon
  • Pickles or cucumbers
  • Purple onion
  • Heirloom tomato – yes, specifically and only heirloom tomato. You can’t get them all year. They are worth the wait and they take place of ketchup I refuse to use. I’m picky, I know.
  • Lettuce next, except, most times, I like arugula.
  • Barbecue sauce, or, more guacamole – no ketchup but BBQ instead? I make my own. Picky, remember?
  • Bun
Burger layers

The layers of a burger are important!

The keys of this build are the consolidated areas of richness (meat and cheese) and salt (meat and bacon), and then cutting them from both sides with something fresh and acidic (guacamole from the bottom and pickles and onion from the top). The freshness section (tomato and lettuce) just adds “summer” to the party but if you use arugula or even parsley or cilantro, it will amp-up the freshness level dramatically. Go for it.

There you have it. Use the grill, just not to cook. Try these burgers at your next cookout and your friends will light up their feeds with pictures, hashtag worldclass. Until next time – A. 

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NFL Draft Grades: NFC South http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/nfl-draft-grades-nfc-south/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/nfl-draft-grades-nfc-south/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 12:51:31 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=154759 Vic Beasley with Roger Goodell
Atlanta Falcons: A
1.) Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson
2.) Jalen Collins, CB, LSU
3.) Tevin Coleman, RB, Indiana
4.) Justin Hardy, WR, East Carolina
5.) Grady Jarrett, DT, Clemson
7.) Jake Rodgers, OT, Eastern Washington
7.) Akeem King, DB, San Jose St.

Bottom Line: The Falcons are kind of in rebuild mode. After making the playoffs for three straight seasons (2010-2012), they have missed out the past two seasons and posted only 10 wins combined. With new head coach Dan Quinn and assistant general manager Scott Pioli taking control of the draft, the Falcons may have found the few missing pieces to get back to the postseason. Their top five draft picks could make significant impacts as rookies, with Jarrett getting sleeper status. Many project him to go in the second- or third-round but fell to the fifth. He fits perfectly as a one gap pass rusher in Quinn’s 4-3 defensive scheme. Coleman, could be the lead back.

Carolina Panthers: C+
1.) Shaq Thompson, OLB, Washington
2.) Devin Funchess, WR, Michigan
4.) Daryl Williams, OT, Oklahoma
5.) David Mayo, LB, Texas St.
5.) Cameron Artis-Payne, RB, Auburn

Bottom Line: The Panthers’ grade isn’t as bad as it seems. They acquired quality players, however where they addressed needs is a major head-scratcher. Funchess, is their best pick when matching need and value. He gives quarterback Cam Newton another 6’5″ target. He’s still developing. The 2014 Walter Payton Award winner, Thomas Davis, announced the Panthers first pick — Thompson. It was an awkward moment as Thompson is clearly Davis’ eventual replacement. Williams in the fourth-round is good value but the offensive line was their biggest need. Addressing it for the first time in the fourth-round is very questionable, especially when you take a linebacker when your corps is already loaded. All this aside, Williams could start Day One on the right side.
Andrus Peat

New Orleans Saints: B+
1.) Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
1.) Stephone Anthony, ILB, Clemson
2.) Hau’oli Kikaha, OLB, Washington
3.) Garrett Grayson, QB, Colorado St.
3.) P.J. Williams, CB, Florida St.
5.) Davis Tull, DE, OLB, Tennessee-Chattanooga
5.) Tyeler Davison, DT, Fresno St.
5.) Damian Swann, CB, Georgia
7.) Marcus Murphy, RB, Missouri

Bottom Line: This is a terrific haul by the Saints and coach Sean Payton. The only thing holding them back from an “A” grade is not addressing the positions of receiver or tight end. Quarterback Drew Brees is getting old and protecting him is of the utmost importance, thus the selection of Peat. But the team in cap-cutting moves traded Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills. That leaves veteran Ben Watson as the starting tight end and third-year man Nick Toon as the slot receiver. They must have a lot of faith in them to avoid addressing the position. They bolstered their linebacking corps with great talent in Anthony and Kikaha. Tull is a solid developmental pick. Their third-round draft picks were the best taking (arguably) the best quarterback in the draft in Grayson and Williams, a proven, starter-caliber corner.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: B
1.) Jameis Winston, QB, Florida St.
2.) Donovan Smith, OT, Penn St.
2.) Ali Marpet, OG, Hobart & William Smith
4.) Kwon Alexander, OLB, LSU
5.) Kenny Bell, WR, Nebraska
6.) Kaelin Clay, WR, Utah
7.) Joey Iosefa, FB, Hawaii

Bottom Line: Winston was the obvious number-one overall pick for this year’s draft. He has the talent to succeed but the questions around his off-field incidents will always be there. There biggest need heading into offseason was the offensive-line. If there were a word worse than atrocious, they were it. So adding two linemen in the second-round was a good choice. Smith, will start Day One at either tackle or guard. Marpet, a D-III prospect, will make the big jump to the NFL. He has the skills to do it, but it will surely take some sort of an adjustment period. Alexander, gives the linebacking corps a serious bump. Teaming him with veteran Lavonte David, gives them a pair of sideline-to-sideline players. They will be fun to watch.

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San Diego Padres and Chargers Work for Tips as Superheros for StarPal Kids http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/san-diego-padres-chargers-work-tips-superheros-starpal-kids/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/san-diego-padres-chargers-work-tips-superheros-starpal-kids/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 12:30:37 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=154800 Have you ever got a piggyback ride from an NFL linebacker for charity? Chargers outside linebacker Colton Underwood to gave a generous donor a piggyback ride around the room, at The 15th annual STAR/PAL Celebrity, for a donation. Underwood, as well as, other Charger, Padres players, and San Diego Police officers served as fundraising superheroes to the hundreds in attendance.

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The STAR/PAL Celebrity Waiter Luncheon annually and support the efforts to raise over $150,000 to provide services to underserved and at-risk children in San Diego.

The Superheros working  for tips included San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman and her crew, Keenan Allen, Craig Watts, Colton Underwood, Anthony Richardson, Padres: Justin Upton, Yonder Alonso, Wil Nieves, Corey Spratanburg, and Clint Barmes.DSC00066

Attendees made donations for autographs, photos taken with a Padres or Chargers player, being served lunch by a police officer, firefighter, city official, athlete, SWAT team member or coach at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation.

“We have ten thousand youth services all over the county and they are all free. The way we keep them free is we have these types of fundraisers,” said the San Diego Police Officer Carlos Santiago.

The generosity of the attendees was evident when a lady in the audience bid $3,700 to get five to get VIP ticket package to a Charger game. Having Chargers Underwood there to persuade her may have also helped.DSC00492

Having wide receiver, Keenan Allen and Sheriff Zimmerman talking about the city of San Diego may have been an epic highlight but the real mission of the STAR/PAL event was to raise awareness for the underserved youth. STAR/PAL has done a outstanding job engaging with law enforcement and collaborative partners to build a safer and more prosperous neighborhood.

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The Charger and Padres  are just two examples of  valuable collaborative partners and volunteer their time year round with athletic skills training camps, leadership development, healthy lifestyles, and violence prevention programs.

Here’s what some of the top players and police officers told Pro Player Insiders, Theresa Villano, about supporting STAR/PALs community impacts

Yonder Alonso, San Diego Padres · First Base

“It has been an honor to be a part of this event for many years.” He goes on to say more of his gratefulness for STAR/PAL ‘s Meaning to Yonder Alonso in Spanish in the link provided.

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Clint Barmes, San Diego Padres · Shortstop

” It’s great to be here and it’s great to be able to give back. San Diego and the Padres organization is so good at giving back to the community. It’s great for us to get these opportunities to help in any way that we can.”

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San Diego Police officer, Carlos Santiago

“Having officers here in addition to the San Diego Chargers and Padres players is very important because these are the kids that we see in the neighborhoods. There’s not a lot of time to stop and talk to the kids in the neighborhood so this is one of the ways we give back. The officers volunteer and are more hands-on with the kids and participate in our leadership programs.

DSC00297

Justin Upton, San Diego Padres · Left Fielder

“This is my first year in San Diego but being a part of kicking off the Padres Volunteer team, I’m starting to get my feet wet and this is my first event. There’s a certain responsibility given with the talent given on the field and the opportunities we’ve been given to go out and help people in need and help the community that supports us and what we do. I am glad to help.”DSC00153

PPI STAR/PAL Superhero Gallery at Joe and Vi Community Center:             PHOTO CREDITS: Joemar McLeod

padre1 IMG_20150501_155016 IMG_20150501_154752 IMG_20150501_153536 IMG_20150501_153128 DSC00492 DSC00489 DSC00486 DSC00408 DSC00435 DSC00470 DSC00394 DSC00381 DSC00353_1 DSC00352 DSC00346 DSC00342 DSC00339 DSC00338 DSC00336 DSC00333 DSC00332 DSC00329 DSC00328_1 DSC00325 DSC00316 DSC00306 DSC00297 DSC00278 DSC00275 DSC00271 DSC00264 DSC00263 DSC00262 DSC00257 DSC00233 DSC00230 DSC00226 DSC00222 DSC00199 DSC00210 DSC00183 DSC00181_1 DSC00168 DSC00156 DSC00153 DSC00145 DSC00129 DSC00122 DSC00111 DSC00106 DSC00105 DSC00093 DSC00091 DSC00081 DSC00066 DSC00065 DSC00061 DSC00048 DSC00043 DSC00038 DSC00030

– @Theresa_PPI

For information on this San Diego organization visit http://www.starpal.org/.

 

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Insider Style: Gold Carpet Fashion Looks http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/insider-style-gold-carpet-fashion/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/insider-style-gold-carpet-fashion/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 12:35:26 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=154646 The Gold Carpet has been rolled up and tucked away until next year. The 2015 class of draftees have learned their fates, and have moved on to their new lives as part of the NFL. We wish them great success! While their athletic prowess and world-class ability is without question, let us pause and reflect on their off the field style by highlighting gold carpet looks we loved.

As a firm believer style analysis is best left to fashion industry experts, I’ve enlisted professional Stylist and instructor at The Art Institute Austin, Michelle Washington to give us her thoughts on the 2015 Draft Gold Carpet looks. Take it from here, Michelle!

Thanks, Stephanie

As you know, men’s fashion has become very important in America. Athletes especially, are forced to step up their personal “style game” to match their on-field skills. As such, professional athletes have become “bona fide” style icons in men’s fashion. Aside from showing up to all of the must-be-seen fashion events like Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and the Met Gala, designer fashion brands are involved in the closets of an athlete’s off-the-field look more than ever.

Athletes that may have been lackadaisical about their style must now brush up on the art of dressing. Enter this year’s NFL draft picks, men who now have multiple spotlights on them; including men’s fashion editors of the world.

Here’s a look at who wore it best starting with Landon Collins.

Landon Collins, Safety, NY Giants and his mother

Rookie safety, Landon Collins, NY Giants and his mother

Landon clearly has respect for the classics. His decision to wear an elegant, dark, 3-piece suit with wide check frame and a double-breasted vest is an outstanding choice for his build. The cutaway dress shirt collar and burgundy pocket square with matching tie is impeccable. Grade: A+

Cedric Ogbuehi

Rookie offensive tackle, Cedric Ogbuehi, Cincinnati Bengals and his mother

Cedric Ogbuehi: He’s a good looking man in a good looking suit. Not only is the slate-blue a great color, it looks professional. Cedric took it ‘all the way’ from a style perspective. His plaid tie adds personality…well done, young man! Grade: A

NFL: APR 30 National Football League Draft - Gold Carpet

Rookie wide receiver, Devin Smith, NY Jets and his mother

Devin Smith is clean! His decision to carry the solid, periwinkle-blue straight down to the shoes is a nice touch. The basic white dress shirt brings emphasis to the suit color. The small lapel and narrow tie is an equally smart choice. His blue shoes speak to a signature style that says a lot about him. The only detractor I can find is in terms of fit. The shoulder caps show a bit of “muffin cap”, instead of a smooth lay of fabric – but over all, a solid style effort and nice look. Grade: B+

NFL: APR 30 National Football League Draft - Gold Carpet

Rookie running back, Melvin Gordon, San Diego Chargers and his mother

Melvin Gordon: Melvin’s look illustrates a good use of color tones. I enjoy that he paired the cool, blue jacket with purple accents. Unfortunately, his suit suffers from poor fit, specifically the jacket which is too small. Note the “fabric stress star” action on the front button. It’s great to have muscles and want to show them off, but not through the sleeves of a tailored suit. The solution is proper fit. Grade: B-

For their next public appearances, the 2015 class of rookies might consider a few of these Classic-to-New Trends.

Patterned Suits: Bold checks, over-sized plaids and patterns aren’t for everyone. For those who can handle it, pair with simple, solid underpinnings, so the suit can take center stage. (Image courtesy/Photo 1 & 1B: M. Andrews Sartorial Luxury)

Image courtesy/Photo 1 & 1B: M. Andrews Sartorial Luxury http://www.sartorialluxury.com/

NFL~Draft1B - Patterned Suit

Blue Suits: Medium, bright, baby, indigo, and yes, even denim are part of the equation. The trick here is that there really isn’t any trick at all. These hues work like their neutral navy predecessor and pair with practically anything. (Image courtesy/Photo 2: M. Andrews Sartorial Luxury)

NFL~Draft2 - Blue SuitsBespoken: Elegance, quality and crafted style are always in no matter if you are old-school or new-school. (Image courtesy/Photo 3: M. Andrews Sartorial Luxury)

NFL~Draft3 - Bespoke Suit

Sneakers: Oh, and remember that ‘sneakers with suits thing’ from a few years ago? Well, that’s back too. More than ever, guys are wearing suits because they want to, not because they have to, which makes the options for blending limitless. (Image courtesy/Photo 4: www.paulsmith.co.uk and www.nordstrom.com)

NFL~Draft4 - Gold Carpet StyleYou don’t have to be an NFL Draft pick to be a “Fashionisto”. If you’re looking to add a little flare to your own personal style, one sure way is to choose great accessories such as colorful pocket squares, cufflinks and ties…”the devil is in the details”. For some inspiration visit: Soto & Co. Ties & Accessories: http://www.sotoandco.com/ and Lionsthread Bow Ties & Pocket Squares: http://www.lionsthread.com/

About Michelle

Fashion Stylist Michelle Washington, MW2015

Michelle Washington is “the” Fashion Stylist with distinct skills and knowledge (6+ years of styling experience including TV/Film celebrities); a creative fashion force who has fun styling in studio and on location while doing serious work; being clever, resourceful, creative and seeking out the hottest styles. Her work has been internationally published. Michelle caters to fashion industry and media clients needing an amazing vision and a unique look.

www.FashionStylistMichelle.dphoto.com

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Pro Player Insiders Early 2016 Draft Positional Preview http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/pro-player-insiders-early-2016-draft-positional-preview/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/pro-player-insiders-early-2016-draft-positional-preview/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 12:24:03 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=155124 PRO PLAYER INSIDERS EARLY 2016 NFL DRAFT POSITION RANKINGS

 

We want to note that this is where each player would be valued if they came out early this past year and this is seniors only. We will rank underclassmen once they declare in January.

We are not projecting rounds on players and going strictly by the film evaluations we have done based on last year. For example, we know that Cook and likely one more senior will definitely go in the top two rounds but that is not where we would value them.

Players like Braxton Miller and others coming off injury have been downgraded and will surely rise if their play is back to where it was prior to their injuries.

 

Connor Cook Michigan State

 

QUARTERBACKS

1 Connor Cook Michigan State 3rd
2 Cody Kessler Southern California 3rd
3 Dak Prescott Mississippi State 4th-5th
4 Braxton Miller Ohio State 4th-5th
5 Carson Wentz North Dakota State 5th-6th
6 Kevin Hogan Stanford 6th-7th
7 Trevone Boykin TCU 6th-7th
8 Brandon Allen Arkansas 7th-PFA
9 Travis Wilson Utah 7th-PFA
10 Marquise Williams North Carolina 7th-PFA

 

OTHERS TO WATCH

Jacoby Brissett, NC State

Mike Bercovici, Arizona State

Brandon Doughty, Western Kentucky

Josh Woodrum, Liberty

Taysom Hill, BYU

James Harris, California PA

Tre Roberson, Illinois State

John Robertson, Villanova

Nate Sudfeld, Indiana

Vad Lee, James Madison

 

The quarterback position is much stronger, just by the senior class along, in 2016. Look for more quarterbacks to be taken in the top 3 rounds. Our sleeper is Carson Wentz who we believe could end up in the 3rd round.

 

 

RUNNING BACKS

1 Jonathan Williams Arkansas 2nd-3rd
2 Devontae Booker Utah 3rd
3 D.J. Foster Arizona State 4th
4 Daniel Lasco California 5th-6th
5 Marshaun Coprich Illinois State 6th
6 Kenneth Dixon Louisiana Tech 6th-7th
7 Brandon Wilds South Carolina 7th
8 Leon Allen Western Kentucky 7th-PFA
9 Kenyan Drake Alabama PFA
10 Kenneth Farrow Houston PFA

 

OTHERS TO WATCH

Aaron Green, TCU

Paul James, Rutgers

Johnathan Gray, Texas

Tre Madden, USC

Storm Woods, Oregon State

Keith Marshall, Georgia

 

Kenyan Drake is our sleeper. While Drake has never started he is a talent player who would start at just about any other program. Coprich’s status is clouded with his recent arrest and Tre Madden is an interesting player coming off an injury.

 

 

FULLBACKS

1 Devon Johnson Marshall PFA
2 Trayion Durham Kent State PFA
3 Chris Swain Navy PFA
4 Quayvon Hicks Georgia PFA
5 Dan Vitale Northwestern PFA
6 Andrew Bonnet North Dakota State PFA/FA
7 Matt Tuleja Massachusetts FA
8 Jake Cross Memphis FA
9 Seth Fisher Richmond FA
10 Nick Butier Northern Arizona FA

 

There will surely be a fullback drafted in 2016 and the top two candidates are Devon Johnson and Trayion Durham. Durham is coming off an injury and would have been number one on this list if he wasn’t.   Swain is a sleeper from Navy who has gotten a lot of interest from NFL teams already.

 

 

WIDE RECEIVERS

1 Leonte Carroo Rutgers 2nd
2 D’haquille Williams Auburn 2nd-3rd
3 Sterling Shepard Oklahoma 3rd
4 Nelson Spruce Colorado 4th
5 Devon Cajuste Stanford 4th-5th
6 Kolby Listenbee TCU 5th
7 Byron Marshall Oregon 5th
8 Jordan Payton UCLA 5th
9 Tajae Sharpe Massachusetts 6th
10 Darrin Peterson Liberty 6th
11 Josh Doctson TCU 6th
12 Seth DeValve Princeton 6th-7th
13 Mekale McKay Cincinnati 7th-PFA
14 Quinshad Davis North Carolina PFA
15 Chris Moore Cincinnati PFA
16 Quenton Bundrage Iowa State PFA
17 Devin Fuller UCLA PFA
18 Bryce Treggs California PFA
19 Jamal Robinson Louisiana Lafayette PFA
20 Keon Hatcher Arkansas PFA
21 Cody Core Mississippi PFA
22 Marcus Leak Maryland PFA
23 Mitch Mathews BYU PFA
24 Alonzo Russell Toledo PFA
25 Johnny Holton Cincinnati PFA
26 Tyler Ervin San Jose State PFA
27 Jared Dangerfield Western Kentucky PFA
28 Dom Williams Washington State PFA
29 Malcolm Mitchell Georgia PFA
30 J.D. McKissic Arkansas State PFA

 

OTHERS TO WATCH

Chris Brown, Notre Dame

Jaydon Mickens, Washington

Chris King, Duquesne

Karnorris Benson, Western Carolina

Durron Neal, Oklahoma

Blair Roberts, Old Dominion

Dez Steward, Ohio Dominican

Marquise Cushon, Pittsburg State

 

Our top two are the definite leaders at this point, in our opinion, and we believe Western Kentucky’ Jared Dangerfield is a sleeper to keep an eye on. This is a very solid group.

 

 

TIGHT ENDS

1 Pharaoh Brown Oregon 3rd
2 Nick Vannett Ohio State 4th
3 Jerell Adams South Carolina 5th
4 Bryce Williams East Carolina 6th
5 Tim Brown West Chester 6th
6 Steven Scheu Vanderbilt 6th-7th
7 Tyler Higbee Western Kentucky 7th
8 Jake McGee Florida PFA
9 Braxton Deaver Duke PFA
10 Kivon Cartwright Colorado State PFA
11 Ryan Malleck Virginia Tech PFA
12 Kyle Carter Penn State PFA
13 Dillon Gordon LSU PFA
14 Cody Clay West Virginia PFA
15 Jay Rome Georgia PFA

 

This group is very solid and has a lot more talent than it did last season. Williams and Brown are two players we could see climbing up a good bit higher. Cartwright and Deaver are solid players coming off injury while Ryan Malleck is a real sleeper to watch because he splits time with an All-ACC tight end.

 

 

OFFENSIVE TACKLES

1 Taylor Decker Ohio State 1st-2nd
2 Isaiah Battle Clemson 2nd
3 Le’Raven Clark Texas Tech 3rd
4 John Theus Georgia 3rd
5 Tyler Johnstone Oregon 4th
6 Brandon Shell South Carolina 4th
7 Kyle Murphy Stanford 4th-5th
8 Spencer Drango Baylor 5th
9 Joe Haeg North Dakota State 5th
10 Tyler Marz Wisconsin 5th-6th
11 Jason Spriggs Indiana 5th-6th
12 Keith Lumpkin Rutgers 6th-7th
13 Joe Gore Clemson PFA
14 Clay DeBord Eastern Washington PFA
15 Gavin Andrews Oregon State PFA

 

OTHERS TO WATCH

Arturo Uzdavinis, Tulane

Alex Lewis, Nebraska

Jordan Swindle, Kentucky

Pearce Slater, San Diego State

Ramadan Ahmeti, Central Michigan

Ike Harris, East Carolina

Josh Campion, Minnesota

Halapoulivaati Vaitai, TCU

Ben Curtis, Delaware

 

Decker and Battle are very close at the top. Battle is rated much higher by NFL personnel and PPI than most media have him. He would have likely been a first round pick had he come out last year. DeBord and Andrews are two players we expect to rise into the draft.

 

 

OFFENSIVE GUARDS

1 Vadal Alexander LSU 3rd
2 Joshua “Josh” Garnett Stanford 5th
3 Landon Turner North Carolina 6th
4 Cody Whitehair Kansas State 6th-7th
5 Aaron Morris Mississippi 7th-PFA
6 Joseph Cheek Texas A&M 7th-PFA
7 Vi Teofilo Arizona State PFA
8 Rees Odhiambo Boise State PFA
9 Graham Glasgow Michigan PFA
10 Joe Dahl Washington State PFA
11 Jamison Lalk Iowa State PFA
12 Sedrick Flowers Texas PFA
13 Nila Kasitati Oklahoma PFA
14 Clint Van Horn Marshall PFA
15 Darrell Greene San Diego State PFA

 

OTHERS TO WATCH

Parker Ehinger, Cincinnati

Christian Westerman Arizona State

Dexter Charles, Washington

Herschel Prater, Minnesota Mankato

Torian White, Hampton

Jonathan Burgess, Liberty

 

We believe Alexander is the top prospect by far but there are several solid players to keep an eye on. Joseph Cheek from Texas A&M is a player to keep an eye on as he could be a mid-late round riser and has bloodlines.

 

 

CENTERS

1 Max Tuerk Southern California 2nd
2 Nick Martin Notre Dame 5th
3 Ryan Kelly Alabama 5th-6th
4 Jake Brendel UCLA 6th
5 Nick Kelly Arizona State 6th
6 Marcus Henry Boise State 6th-7th
7 Austin Blythe Iowa 7th
8 Evan Boehm Missouri 7th-PFA
9 Jack Allen Michigan State PFA
10 Robert Kugler Purdue PFA

 

OTHERS TO WATCH

Mike Matthews, Texas A&M

Dominic Espinosa, Texas

Anthony Fabiano, Harvard

Matt Skura, Duke

Garrick Mayweather Jr., Fordham

Jacoby Boren, Ohio State

Andrew Ness, Northern Illinois

Kyle Friend, Temple

 

We have several tackles and guards projected in this group but we do think this is a deeper class than it was last year. Tuerk, Martin, and Kelly are the definite top 3 and could all end up going in the top four rounds.

 

 

DEFENSIVE ENDS

1 DeForest Buckner Oregon 1st
2 Shilique Calhoun Michigan State 1st
3 Shawn Oakman Baylor 3rd
4 Sheldon Rankins Louisville 3rd-4th
5 Drew Ott Iowa 4th
6 Corey Marshall Virginia Tech 4th
7 Noah Spence Eastern Kentucky 5th
8 Eddie Yarbrough Wyoming 5th-6th
9 Charles Tapper Oklahoma 5th-6th
10 Jonathan Bullard Florida 6th
11 Darius Hamilton Rutgers 7th
12 Jihad Ward Illinois 7th-PFA
13 Theiren Cockran Minnesota 7th-PFA
14 Jonathan Woodard Central Arkansas 7th-PFA
15 LaMichael Fanning Jacksonville State 7th-PFA
16 Caleb Azubike Vanderbilt PFA
17 Sterling Bailey Georgia PFA
18 Ron Thompson Syracuse PFA
19 Jessie Rogers North Carolina PFA
20 Mario Ojemudia Michigan PFA

 

OTHERS TO WATCH

DaVonte Lambert, Auburn

Blake Serpa, Central Michigan

Matt Judon, Grand Valley State

Terrell Lathan, TCU

Silverberry Mouhon, Cincinnati

Victor Ochi, Stony Brook

Jason Fanaika, Utah

 

This is a stacked group. Oakman may end up in the first round but his value in our eyes and that of NFL teams is more of a mid round prospect. His size will ultimately make it hard for him to fall past the third round.

 

 

DEFENSIVE TACKLES

4-3

1 Sheldon Day Notre Dame 1st
2 Anthony Zettel Penn State 2nd
3 Nile Lawrence-Stample Florida State 3rd
4 Adolphus Washington Ohio State 3rd
5 Jarran Reed Alabama 4th-5th
6 Adam Gotsis Georgia Tech 5th
7 Luther Maddy Virginia Tech 5th-6th
8 Vernon Butler Louisiana Tech 6th
9 Connor Wujciak Boston College 6th
10 Matt Ioannidis Temple 6th
11 Devaunte Sigler Jacksonville State 6th
12 Lawrence Thomas Michigan State 7th
13 Beau Blackshear Baylor PFA
14 Antwaun Woods Southern California PFA
15 Tylor Harris Wake Forest PFA

 

3-4

1 O.J. Mau Gardner-Webb 7th-PFA
2 Joel Heath Michigan State PFA
3 Derrick Mitchell Jr. Florida State PFA
4 Kyle Rose West Virginia PFA
5 D.J. Reader Clemson PFA

 

 

OTHERS TO WATCH

Javon Hargrave, South Carolina State

Alex Balducci, Oregon

Davion Pierson, TCU

Rodney Coe, Akron

Al Page, Wagner

Josh Tupou, Colorado

Gerrand Johnson, Louisiana Monroe

David Dean, Virginia

Anthony McDaniel, Bowie State

Jon Desir, Towson

 

Day is by far our top prospect. We really like the upside and potential to see D.J. Reader and Jon Desir move up the board. Gerrand Johnson is another fun prospect who is limited in his draft potential because of his size but has a motor that doesn’t stop and he can run pretty well.

 

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS

1 Jordan Jenkins Georgia 1st-2nd
2 Dadi Nicolas Virginia Tech 2nd-3rd
3 Curt Maggitt Tennessee 3rd
4 Pete Robertson Texas Tech 4th
5 Kris Frost Auburn 4th
6 Terrance Smith Florida State 4th
7 Eric Striker Oklahoma 4th-5th
8 Joshua Perry Ohio State 4th-5th
9 Montese Overton East Carolina 4th-5th
10 Antonio Morrison Florida 4th-5th
11 Kyler Fackrell Utah State 4th-5th
12 Tyriq McCord Miami 5th
13 Bronson Kaufusi BYU 6th
14 Tyler Matakevich Temple 6th-7th
15 Jared Norris Utah 6th-7th
16 Ed Davis Michigan State 7th
17 DeVondre Campbell Minnesota 7th
18 Antonio Longino Arizona State 7th
19 Kamu Grugier-Hill Eastern Illinois PFA
20 Deon King Norfolk State PFA

 

OTHERS TO WATCH

Graham Stewart, UCONN

Connor Underwood, Indiana State

T.T. Barber, Middle Tennessee State

Kache Palacio, Washington State

Josh Forrest, Kentucky

 

This is a very loaded group and we believe that the value of Josh Perry, Montese Overton, Brnson Kaufusi, and DeVondre Campbell are both going to rise.

 

 

INSIDE LINEBACKERS

1 Reggie Ragland Alabama 2nd
2 Reggie Northrup Florida State 3rd
3 Cassanova McKinzy Auburn 3rd-4th
4 Blake Martinez Stanford 6th
5 Zeek Bigger East Carolina 7th
6 James Burgess Louisville 7th-PFA
7 Nick Kwiatkoski West Virginia 7th-PFA
8 Kentrell Brothers Missouri 7th-PFA
9 C.J. Johnson Mississippi PFA
10 Joe Bolden Michigan PFA
11 Kyrie Wilson Fresno State PFA
12 Raphael Kirby Miami PFA
13 Frank Shannon Oklahoma PFA
14 Jason Whittingham Utah PFA
15 Desmond Morgan Michigan PFA

 

OTHERS TO WATCH

Jovan Santos-Knox, UMASS

Mason Monheim, Illinois

Joe Walker, Oregon

Brandon Chubb, Wake Forest

Luke Rhodes, William & Mary

Don Cherry, Villanova

 

We believe that Cassanova McKinzy and Zeek Bigger are going to rise up the board. If you are looking for a late round or free agent projection to rise up the board there is belief around scouting circles that Jovan Santos-Knox and Joe Walker will move up as we get closer to draft day.

 

 

CORNERBACKS

1 Lloyd Carrington Arizona State 3rd
2 Jordan Lucas Penn State 4th
3 Orlando “Duke” Thomas Texas 4th
4 Jonathan Jones Auburn 4th-5th
5 William Jackson Houston 4th-5th
6 Trevor Williams Penn State 4th-5th
7 Maurice Canady Virginia 5th
8 Kevin Peterson Oklahoma State 6th
9 Kevon Seymour Southern California 6th
10 D.J. White Georgia Tech 6th
11 Eric Murray Minnesota 6th-7th
12 Cyrus Jones Alabama 6th-7th
13 Blake Countess Michigan 6th-7th
14 Fabian Moreau UCLA 7th
15 Will Redmond Mississippi State 7th
16 DeAndre Houston-Carson William & Mary 7th
17 Briean Boddy-Calhoun Minnesota 7th-PFA
18 Kenya Dennis Missouri PFA
19 Nick VanHoose Northwestern PFA
20 Damarius Travis Minnesota PFA
21 Anthony Brown Purdue PFA
22 Wayne Lyons Michigan PFA
23 Frankie Williams Purdue PFA
24 Taveze Calhoun Mississippi State PFA
25 Kenneth “Ken” Crawley Colorado PFA
26 V’Angelo Bentley Illinois PFA
27 Tavon Young Temple PFA
28 Jimmy Pruitt San Jose State PFA
29 Darius Hillary Wisconsin PFA
30 Tracy Howard Miami PFA

 

OTHERS TO WATCH

Richard Leonard, Florida International

James Bradberry, Samford

Harlan Miller, Southeastern Louisiana

 

We have Lloyd Carrington, Jordan Lucas, and Duke Thomas are the top three for sure and should all be a top 100 pick when all is said and done.

NFL teams are always looking for tall, long corners so keep an eye on a few players we have rated lower such as Taveze Calhoun, DeAndre Houston-Carson, Damarius Travis, and Harlan Miller.

 

 

FREE SAFETIES

1 Jalen Mills LSU 4th
2 Darian Thompson Boise State 5th
3 Tevin Carter Utah 6th
4 Deon Bush Miami 6th
5 Jamal Golden Georgia Tech 7th
6 Doug Middleton Appalachian State 7th-PFA
7 Demond Smith Georgia Tech PFA
8 LaDarrell McNeil Tennessee PFA
9 Sean Davis Maryland PFA
10 A.J. Stamps Kentucky PFA

 

OTHERS TO WATCH

Jamie Byrd, South Florida

Justin Simmons, Boston College

Jordan Lomax, Iowa

Matt Dobson, Georgia Southern

Eric Williams, Indiana PA

 

We have Mills as the clear number one but keep an eye on Tevin Carter who has a lot of potential and good physical tools. Simmons, Byrd, and Stamps are all sleepers to rise.

 

 

STRONG SAFETIES

1 Jeremy Cash Duke 2nd-3rd
2 Karl Joseph West Virginia 3rd-4th
3 Kevin Byard Middle Tennessee State 7th
4 Miles Killebrew Southern Utah 7th
5 Michael Caputo Wisconsin 7th
6 Julien David Howard 7th-PFA
7 RJ Williamson Michigan State PFA
8 Charles Washington Fresno State PFA
9 Elijah Shumate Notre Dame PFA
10 Brian Randolph Tennessee PFA

 

OTHERS TO WATCH

Tyler Hunter, Florida State

Derrick Moncrief, Auburn

Isaiah Johnson, South Carolina

Dante Barnett, Kansas State

Jordan Simone, Arizona State

 

We believe that Jeremy Cash is the clear cut number one strong safety but Karl Joseph and Kevin Byard are two quality players to watch. Byard should rise up the board and we think Elijah Shumate and RJ Williamson are potential mid to late round picks so we expect to move them up the board. One big sleeper is Miles Killebrew whose size and speed will vault him up the board and make him a potential top 150 pick.

 

 

KICKERS

1 Brad Craddock Maryland 6th-7th
2 Ross Martin Duke PFA
3 Marshall Morgan Georgia PFA
4 John Lunsford Liberty PFA
5 Tyler Tate Bowling Green PFA

 

OTHERS TO WATCH

Ian Frye, Virginia

Paul Griggs, Purdue

Ammon Lakip, Clemson

Jaden Oberkrom, TCU

 

Craddock is the only one we have in the draft right now but we do think Ross Martin, Marshall Morgan, and Johns Lunsford all have a chance to move into the draft.

 

 

PUNTERS

1 Tom Hackett Utah 7th
2 Drew Kaser Texas A&M PFA
3 Jamie Keehn LSU PFA
4 Peter Mortell Minnesota PFA
5 Will Monday Duke PFA

 

OTHERS TO WATCH

Cason Beatty, Florida State

Nick O’Toole, West Virginia

Alex Kinal, Wake Forest

Drew Riggleman, Arizona

Kris Albarado, USC

 

As of right now we only have Hackett in the draft but Drew Kaser, Jamie Keehn, and Peter Mortell have all been productive and could find their way into the late rounds.

 

 

LONG SNAPPER

1 Nathan Theus Georgia FA

 

As of right now Theus is the only one we have a grade on and that is because he is big and has good snap times. His speed is something he will need to show improvement on for us to put him near the draft.

 

 

ALL-PURPOSE

1 Tyreek Hill Akron PFA
2 Ed Eagan Northwestern State PFA
3 Autrey Golden UTEP PFA
4 Pokey Harris Murray State FA
5 Demitri Knowles Virginia Tech FA

 

Hill is the best of the bunch, by far, but his current transfer status makes him an unknown. He may sit out and play in 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NFL Draft Grades: NFC North http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/nfl-draft-grades-nfc-north/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/nfl-draft-grades-nfc-north/#comments Sun, 17 May 2015 12:49:40 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=154632 Kevin White NFL Draft 940
Chicago Bears: A+
1.) Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
2.) Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida St.
3.) Hroniss Grasu, C, Oregon
4.) Jeremy Langford, RB, Michigan St.
5.) Adrian Amos, S, Penn St.
6.) Tayo Fabuluje, OT, TCU

Bottom Line: The hometown team of the NFL draft had a perfect haul under new head coach Jim Fox. The Bears hit every need they had and did so with value at each spot. White, will start Day One and give an inconsistent quarterbacking position a legitimate target opposite Alshon Jeffery. White, was only a one year starter at West Virginia and seems to be just scratching the surface of his talent. Goldman, fell out of the first-round and the Bears couldn’t have been happier. Switching to a 3-4 defense, Goldman is their mountain in the middle. The team released center Roberto Garza and signed Will Montgomery, who shared his days in Denver with Fox. Montgomery, is no spring chicken and is the perfect stopgap to let Grasu (a four-year starter for the Ducks) get comfortable at the next level.

Detroit Lions: B-
1.) Laken Tomlinson, OG, Duke
2.) Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska
3.) Alex Carter, CB, Stanford
4.) Gabe Wright, DT, Auburn
5.) Michael Burton, FB, Rutgers
6.) Quandre Diggs, CB, Texas
7.) Corey Robinson, OT, South Carolina

Bottom Line: The Lions stayed put during the draft and brought in a quality class. Tomlinson, in the first-round fills the opening at the guard spot opposite Larry Warford. Tomlinson, does have some limitations to his game but has the intangibles that makes Detroit believe they can get the most out of the former-Blue Devil. The diminutive Abdullah replaces the diminutive Reggie Bush. Abdullah, is a nice compliment to Joique Bell and is a homerun threat whenever he has the ball in his hands. Carter, provides much needed youth, depth, and size to the secondary. It is surprising that Lions waited until the fourth-round to address the defensive line, clearly their weakest position after losing both Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. Diggs, was a four-year starter for the Longhorns.

Green Bay Packers: C
1.) Damarious Randall, S, Arizona St.
2.) Quinten Rollins, CB, Miami (OH)
3.) Ty Montgomery, WR, Stanford
4.) Jake Ryan, OLB, Michigan
5.) Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA
6.) Aaron Ripkowski, FB, Oklahoma
6.) Christian Ringo, DE, Louisiana-Lafayette
6.) Kennard Backman, TE, UAB

Bottom Line: A puzzling draft to say the least. Green Bay usually brings a quality draft class into each summer and while there is plenty of quality, the strangeness comes from how they addressed areas of need. The team already has three starter quality safties in Morgan Burnett, Haha Clinton-Dix (last year’s first-round pick), and Micah Hyde but still selected Randall in the first. Rollins, was a quality pick in the second-round. Filled a major need and has huge upside. Only played football for one season at Miami, Ohio and turned in 72 tackles and seven interceptions. Montgomery, may be a reach in the third-round but is a valuable return man in addition to receiving duties. The teams biggest need was inside linebacker and they didn’t select one until the fourth-round in Ryan, who comes out of a 4-3 Michigan defense where he played on the outside. Expect him to shift inside.
Trae Waynes, Chris Godwin

Minnesota Vikings: A+
1.) Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan St.
2.) Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA
3.) Danielle Hunter, DE, LSU
4.) T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh
5.) MyCole Pruitt, TE, Southern Illinois
5.) Stefon Diggs, WR, Maryland
6.) Tyrus Thompson, OT, Oklahoma
6.) B.J. Dubose, DE, Louisville
7.) Austin Shepherd, OT, Alabama
7.) Edmond Robinson, OLB, Newberry

Bottom Line: A terrific blend of need and value. That is the best way to describe the Vikings draft class. Pairing Waynes with former-first-round pick Xavier Rhodes, gives the Vikings as good a corner tandem as any in the league and they have youth on their side. Head coach Mike Zimmer had a bounty of cornerbacks in Cincinnati and is building a similar secondary in Minnesota. Kendricks, gives the Viks the starting inside ‘backer they have needed for the past few years. As if winning the Butkus Award his senior year wasn’t enough of a selling point, Kendricks will be reunited with former-Bruin and last year’s first-round choice Anthony Barr. Clemmings, was a steal in the fourth-round. He slipped that late due to injury concerns but if all checks out, the Vikings landed themselves a starting right tackle. In the fifth-round, Minnesota took a couple of dynamic receiving talents. Pruitt, is a matchup nightmare and Diggs, if healthy, can be an offensive weapon as he has homerun speed whenever he has the ball.

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Ben Utecht: Grit and Grace Creates Harmony http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/ben-utecht-grit-grace-creates-harmony/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/ben-utecht-grit-grace-creates-harmony/#comments Sun, 17 May 2015 12:31:40 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=125631

NFL Former Player Ben Utecht’s

Grit and Grace Creates Harmony On and Off the Field

Graced with many gifts and talents, Ben Utecht grew up in a loving family, surrounded by music. He readily admits that he was far from perfect.  In is early years, he bought into the idea that he was better than others because of superficial things.

Ben Utecht 350Ben was fortunate to have people in his life who told him the truth. He remembers a high school friend saying he had some issues with pride, and that ‘arrogance is not a quality that represents what you stand for’.   “It wasn’t easy to hear,” Ben says, “but it was a revelation.”

”When I left high school, the only thing that I was going to strive to do was to love people and love God.  My perspective about popularity and all those things had changed.”

Ben’s initial plans for a pro football career did not work out as expected. He spent half of his college career with two different injuries that took him completely out of the NFL draft.

When Ben became a free agent, he was contacted by Tony Dungee, coach of the Indianapolis Colts.  He and Ben are both alumni of the University of Minnesota, and had met at a conference.  The Colts paid Ben for a year while he underwent surgery and rehab. Three years after missing out on the draft, Ben was a starting tight end on the Colt’s Super Bowl championship team. Without those college injuries, and the related incidents that occurred during that time, that would not have happened.  That experience reinforced his faith and hope.

Ben’s not your stereotypical macho football player.   He always tells people that one of his main goals is to be vulnerable. “I’m not going to hide my mistakes,” he says firmly.  “Maybe those who have dealt with the same things that I have can learn something.”

After playing for the Colts, Ben played for the Bengals. In his final season with the NFL  Ben was released from the Bengals due to injury. His faith and character helped him navigate this most challenging time. His approach to life is to grow in multiple areas while staying true to his values. He’s been preparing himself for life after football, whenever that day comes.

Being a part of the NFL has opened some new doors for Ben. Shortly after Ben’s NFL career he pursued his childhood dream of becoming a successful musician. He released his debut Inspirational music CD in April 2009.  Ben’s music reflects his personal mission.  “One of my songs talks about how, if our focus was on love, and how we can better serve people, it would change everything — from politics to religion.” He also released a  beautiful Christmas CD in October  2011 and has another CD in the works. To learn more about Benjamin visit  http://www.benjaminutecht.com/

Ben has an inspiring attitude about his missteps and challenges.  He likens them to a trial by fire. “Some of our most precious metals are forged in the greatest heat,” he explains. Even in the midst of tough times, Ben looks forward to what’s ahead because he knows that growth can come from the greatest adversity.

Ben believes that people really do understand right versus wrong and good versus evil. “If you trust your instincts, you’ll usually make the right choice. It’s like a snowball effect.  The more good choices you make, the easier it gets to keep on doing that.”

Ben is facing his future with confidence.  “I’ve got such a strong support system — my family, my wife, other interests outside of football — that life doesn’t seem so scary and uncertain.  I’ve been able to step back and say, ‘I know things are going to be okay’, and that’s been a huge help.”  He’s determined to take his talents in athletics and music and refine and accomplish his best with them.

From the outside, it looks as if Ben Utecht has everything, and could easily rest on his laurels. He takes none of this for granted, and believes his work has just begun. “I’ll never be afraid to stand up for what I believe in. And, I’ll always strive to be the best husband and father that I can possibly be.

“God has given me talents and abilities to do something with them.  I believe my job as an athlete and, hopefully, my job in the future as a musician, is so much more than just giving a performance.  It’s a platform to create change that affects everybody positively. I promise that, no matter if it’s football or music, I’m going to do whatever I can to inspire a new generation to change the world in a positive way.”

With his many gifts, his grit and grace in the midst of the fire, his passion for gaining wisdom no matter what life brings him, his solid faith and the balance he strives to achieve in all of his endeavors, Ben Utecht indeed deserves the title of an Insightful Player® team member.

Instant Reply of Ben’s Guiding Principles:

  1. Surround yourself with people who care about your well being and your character, and who will be honest with you.  Even if you don’t like it what they have to say, pay attention anyway.  You will grow into a better person.
  2. Be willing to accept that having a change of heart is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight.  If you truly want to grow and be a better person, be prepared to be confronted on the same issues a number of times. Notice when you’re stubborn or defensive – that’s where you need to do the work.
  3. Develop faith in God. Faith is the key to getting through tough times.  It carries you through and gives you hope that things will always work out for the best.
  4. Trust your instincts and your heart, and stick to what you believe in.
  5. Know what you stand for, and act on it.  When you continue making good choices and good decisions, and start seeing the positive effect it has on your life and the people around you, it becomes easier to keep on doing that.
  6. Adjust your attitude about tough times — they teach us important lessons. Look beyond them. Some of our most precious metals are forged by the greatest heat. Great growth can come from the greatest adversity.
  7. Ask yourself how you can fulfill others’ lives as well as your own.

The Insightful Player® series is brought to you by Coach Chrissy Carew, Hall of Fame Master Certified Personal and Business Coach and Author of  INSIGHTFUL PLAYER: Football Pros Lead A Bold Movement of Hope.  Chrissy has been deeply inspired by her father, the late Coach Walter Carew, Sr.  Her father is in several Halls of Fame as a high school football coach and baseball coach (as well as high school and college athlete). He used sports to help kids build strong character and teach them valuable life skills.  The Insightful Player® initiative was created to help make our world a much better place by inspiring youth. To contact Chrissy Carew visit http://www.insightfulplayer.com or call 603-897-0610.

 

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2016 NFL Draft: Early Look Ahead Top 100 http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/2016-nfl-draft-early-look-ahead-top-100/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/2016-nfl-draft-early-look-ahead-top-100/#comments Sat, 16 May 2015 22:48:12 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=154782 2016 NFL Draft: Early Look Ahead Top 100

With the 2015 NFL Draft and undrafted free agent signing period slowing down, we take an early look at the top 100 prospects for the 2016 NFL Draft.

washington@oregon2014_kc-2111

 

Oregon defensive lineman DeForest Buckner and Michigan State defensive lineman Shilique Calhoun headline our list as the top two players on the board.

We have only rated seniors and will include underclassmen only when they officially declare in January.

PRO PLAYER INSIDERS 2016 NFL Draft Top 100

Rank Pos First Name Last Name School
1 DE DeForest Buckner Oregon
2 DE Shilique Calhoun Michigan State
3 DT Sheldon Day Notre Dame
4 OT Taylor Decker Ohio State
5 OLB Jordan Jenkins Georgia
6 OT Isaiah Battle Clemson
7 ILB Reggie Ragland Alabama
8 C Max Tuerk Southern California
9 DT Anthony Zettel Penn State
10 WR Leonte Carroo Rutgers
11 RB Jonathan Williams Arkansas
12 WR D’haquille Williams Auburn
13 SS Jeremy Cash Duke
14 OLB Dadi Nicolas Virginia Tech
15 RB Devontae Booker Utah
16 OLB Curt Maggitt Tennessee
17 QB Connor Cook Michigan State
18 OT Le’Raven Clark Texas Tech
19 CB Lloyd Carrington Arizona State
20 DE Shawn Oakman Baylor
21 DT Nile Lawrence-Stample Florida State
22 WR Sterling Shepard Oklahoma
23 DT Adolphus Washington Ohio State
24 TE Pharaoh Brown Oregon
25 ILB Reggie Northrup Florida State
26 OG Vadal Alexander LSU
27 OT John Theus Georgia
28 QB Cody Kessler Southern California
29 DE Sheldon Rankins Louisville
30 ILB Cassanova McKinzy Auburn
31 SS Karl Joseph West Virginia
32 CB Jordan Lucas Penn State
33 OLB Pete Robertson Texas Tech
34 FS Jalen Mills LSU
35 TE Nick Vannett Ohio State
36 CB Duke Thomas Texas
37 OT Tyler Johnstone Oregon
38 RB D.J. Foster Arizona State
39 OLB Kris Frost Auburn
40 WR Nelson Spruce Colorado
41 DE Drew Ott Iowa
42 OT Brandon Shell South Carolina
43 DE Corey Marshall Virginia Tech
44 OLB Terrance Smith Florida State
45 QB Dak Prescott Mississippi State
46 CB Jonathan Jones Auburn
47 WR Devon Cajuste Stanford
48 OLB Eric Striker Oklahoma
49 DT Jarran Reed Alabama
50 OT Kyle Murphy Stanford
51 QB Braxton Miller Ohio State
52 CB William Jackson Houston
53 OLB Joshua Perry Ohio State
54 CB Trevor Williams Penn State
55 OLB Montese Overton East Carolina
56 OLB Antonio Morrison Florida
57 OLB Kyler Fackrell Utah State
58 DE Noah Spence Eastern Kentucky
59 FS Darian Thompson Boise State
60 DT Adam Gotsis Georgia Tech
61 WR Kolby Listenbee TCU
62 OLB Tyriq McCord Miami
63 WR Byron Marshall Oregon
64 CB Maurice Canady Virginia
65 OT Spencer Drango Baylor
66 TE Jerell Adams South Carolina
67 C Nick Martin Notre Dame
68 OG Josh Garnett Stanford
69 WR Jordan Payton UCLA
70 DE Eddie Yarbrough Wyoming
71 DT Luther Maddy Virginia Tech
72 DE Charles Tapper Oklahoma
73 OT Tyler Marz Wisconsin
74 RB Daniel Lasco California
75 C Ryan Kelly Alabama
76 OT Jason Spriggs Indiana
77 FS Tevin Carter Utah
78 CB Kevin Peterson Oklahoma State
79 WR Tajae Sharpe Massachusetts
80 TE Bryce Williams East Carolina
81 OLB Bronson Kaufusi BYU
82 CB Kevon Seymour Southern California
83 FS Deon Bush Miami
84 WR Josh Doctson TCU
85 DT Vernon Butler Louisiana Tech
86 DE Jonathan Bullard Florida
87 C Jake Brendel UCLA
88 OG Landon Turner North Carolina
89 DT Connor Wujciak Boston College
90 DT Matt Ioannidis Temple
91 CB D.J. White Georgia Tech
92 C Nick Kelly Arizona State
93 ILB Blake Martinez Stanford
94 OT Keith Lumpkin Rutgers
95 OLB Tyler Matakevich Temple
96 RB Kenneth Dixon Louisiana Tech
97 OLB Jared Norris Utah
98 CB Eric Murray Minnesota
99 CB Cyrus Jones Alabama
100 PK Brad Craddock Maryland
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Updated: Roger Goodell to Hear Tom Brady Appeal http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/roger-goodell-hear-tom-brady-appeal/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/roger-goodell-hear-tom-brady-appeal/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 19:31:25 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=155079 Roger Goodell to hear Tom Brady appealIt was announced late last night that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will hear the appeal of the four game suspension handed down to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady following the publishing of the Ted Wells Report. The appeal is expected to be heard sometime in mid or late June.

THE NFLPA had requested an independent arbiter but Goodell chose to hear the appeal himself. The new CBA negotiated between the NFL and the NFLPA on behalf of the players gives Goodell that option. Goodell has appointed arbitrators in the past and appointed Harold Henderson, who upheld Adrian Peterson’s appeal, to hear the Greg Hardy matter.

The NFL crafted the perfect setup that allows Goodell to retain this right and state that he is independent since he was never directly involved in the investigation or in issuing the punishment. The NFL retained Ted Wells and his law firm to investigate the matter and render its findings into a document commonly called the Wells Report.

Troy Vincent 350x350Troy Vincent, as Executive President of the NFL, rendered the league’s findings. In a press release from May 11, Vincent laid out the punishment and released excerpts from his letters to both Brady and the Patriots.

Whether Goodell reduces the suspension remains to be seen. It is possible if not likely the sides come to an agreement whereby Brady misses 2 to 3 games. Regardless, a lawsuit serves Brady the least though the league sure wouldn’t love going through another messy affair.

For that reason, we lean toward a reduced suspension of 3 games. Its a win win for both sides since the Patriots would miss Brady for that time but not be crippled by it.

Update:

Here is the appeal filed by the NFLPA and it comes out swinging. The NFLPA states that Vincent, a former player who also served as President of the NFLPA, does not have the authority to hand down punishment and suspensions. It goes on to state there is no precedent for a four game suspension and calls it grossly inconsistent from what other players have received. Finally, it attacks the Wells Report stating:

well report attack

The letter concludes by stating the NFLPA intended to call Goodell and Vincent as witnesses which would prevent Goodell from serving as the hearing officer. If he declines they are going to seek recusal arguing he is biased in the matter. Its a worthy attack and Goodell is likely to appoint Henderson to hear it.

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Carlif Taylor is Realizing His Dream, Playing for the New York Giants http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/carlif-taylor-realizing-dream-playing-new-york-giants/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/carlif-taylor-realizing-dream-playing-new-york-giants/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 12:46:46 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=154666 Carlif Taylor played four season in the Northeast-10 Conference and he performed at a high level. As a junior in 2013, the defensive lineman recorded 54 tackles (31 solo), 10.5 tackles for loss, three sacks and one pass breakup. That earned him a spot on the Northeast-10 Conference, which he would duplicate during his senior season.

In 2014, the 6’2, 315-pound lineman ranked third on the Eagles in tackles with 73. Taylor also posted 11 tackles for loss and made the Northeast-10 All-Conference team for the second straight season.

Because of his stellar player the last two season, Taylor was signed by the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent. I interviewed Taylor before his mini-camp tryout with the Giants.

 

Taylor Carlif New York Giants

PPI: Could you tell me what made you want to play football at Southern Connecticut?

CT:  It all started off with my high school career. I only played my senior year and had very little knowledge about the sport and my potential.  After the season, I received various letters from schools such as Rutgers, Holy Cross, Temple, Wagner, Fordham, Stony Brook, Lafayette and even a hand write letter from Princeton.  I originally planned on going to Lafayette, so i took my SAT’s and they lost my score twice. I took it again for the 3rd time and really didn’t give it my best effort.  My test scores weren’t high enough for most of my offers, many of them offered prep schools and JUCO options. But being that my knowledge was inferior at the time about the recruiting process, I really wasn’t interested in doing that. At the time my only Division II offers were Southern (Connecticut) and LIU (Long Island University) Post.  My scores were good enough for Division II and I choose Southern to be my new home.

PPI: How would you describe your football experience at Southern Connecticut?

CT: Southern Connecticut taught me a lot. I’ve witnessed tremendous talent across the board that motivated me to become better.   I was able to play under Ike Igbinosun,  who is currently on the (Buffalo) Bills roster. I also played alongside with Jerome Cunningham who is now on the New York Giants roster. The older guys above me taught me drive, determination, and hard work. The journey was tough but i wouldn’t take it back for anything.

PPI: How did you feel when you found out you were named to the All-Conference team for the second straight season?

CT: It’s a tremendous honor to be selected two years in a row. I understand that this is something that is not easy to do and it is also a select few who have received these titles. Awards like these motivate me to work harder than before. I was taught not to put a limit on yourself and that you can accomplish things others never dream about when nobody else wants too.

PPI: First off, how did the signing with the Giants all happen? 

CT: I received an email from Chris Pettit, who is a scout for the Giants. He emailed me asking if I signed with anyone yet. I responded letting him know that i was still a free agent and interested in signing with the Giants organization. He Then gave me a number to call and the rest is history.

PPI: What qualities will you bring to the New York Giants? What are the parts of your game you feel like you need to work on?

 CT: With me, the Giants are getting someone that is going to give the 1000% on and off the field and a true team player. I played two different defensive fronts in my four years at Southern which makes me very versatile. I played across the whole line from a zero (technique) to a nine. My natural size gives me good ballast and makes me excel at stopping the run. Some reports (from scouts) relate my game similar to Leonard Williams from USC due to my athletic ability. I’m also a raw talent due to the fact that I only played one year of high school and still elevating my game giving me enormous potential down the line. A weakness of mine would be my pass rushing skills, which is not mediocre, but needs to be refined.  Ever since my pro day there it (Giants) felt like home. The facility is beautiful and so are the people there. It is truly an honor to call myself a Giant

PPI: What is the first thing you would do if an NFL Team were to sign you?

CT: My first thing I would do is pray. To play for the NFL is a blessing and a rare dream that only a few can say that reached. It would be an honor to be a part of that list so I would definitely give all glory to God and thank everybody who helped me get there.

PPI: Are you nervous about rookie camp starting, excited? 

CT: I’m Ready, i finally got an opportunity where I can prove my worth and its all on me, and that’s how i like it.

PPI: What would it mean to you to make the Giants roster? 

CT: It would be impossible to describe. I real blessing, but this is what I work hard for to achieve and i plan on doing so.

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Odell Beckham Jr gets Madden NFL 16 Cover http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/odell-beckham-jr-gets-madden-nfl-16-cover/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/odell-beckham-jr-gets-madden-nfl-16-cover/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 01:17:15 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=155066 Every year, one of the biggest acknowledgements for the upcoming NFL season is being put on the front of the upcoming year’s NFL Madden cover. This year the New York Giants star Wide Receiver, rookie Odell Beckham Jr, will be the one that graces the cover for Madden NFL 16. He will become the youngest person, at age 22, to ever be on the cover of the very popular video game. Beckham finished 1st in the voting for the cover over Rob Gronkowski. He will also be the 1st New York Giant to finish on the cover.

2

Beckham, the offensive player of the year, finished the 2014-2015 season with 91 catches for 1305 yards and 12 TDs despite playing only 12 games this season. His numerous circus catches and one handed stabs pushed him into the spotlight. His pregame highlight catch reel became a regular on ESPN, Fox, NBC, and CBS. And his leaned back, fully extended, one handed catch against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football was not only as the catch of the year, but possibly the greatest regular season catch of all time.

There has been a very well known myth regarding the cover of the video game, that whoever is on the cover either has a bad year or gets hurt. While this has been the case with numerous guys, Richard Sherman, who was on last years cover, went on to have a great year and was a top three cornerback in the sport. Beckham will hope to repeat what Sherman did with his team did, which was would be to help the New York Giants go to the Superbowl. The New York Giants and their fans will be hoping for the same.

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Patriots Respond To Wells Report http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/patriots-respond-wells-report-analysis/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/patriots-respond-wells-report-analysis/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 22:09:12 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=155021 Wells ReportThe New England Patriots have responded to the Wells Report and to the punishment issued by the NFL in a lengthy document published on a website entitled The Wells Report In Context. The response is almost 20,000 words long and includes links to the Wells Report itself along with a report by its own scientific expert, Professor Roderick MacKinnon, as well as a letter from T. David Gardi, Sr. Vice President of Football Operations for the NFL, dated January 19, 2015 where he outlined the investigation and its scope.

In our initial review of the information, we cannot help but note that that the response begins by relying heavily on its own analysis of the text messages between Patriots employees Jim McNally and John Jastremski. In particular, the report attempts to downplay the significance of McNally’s nickname “the Deflator” and indeed cites rather curiously to a long string of text messages, personal in nature, that also took place between McNally and Jastremski.

We say curious because the heavy use of these text messages, including the personal texts between the two, are strong and compelling evidence for why the Wells investigators asked for and indeed needed the communications of Tom Brady during this relevant time period. It is exactly this type of analysis the investigators would have utilized with the requested evidence which of course was denied to them because Brady refused to turn over his personal phone.

The response attempts to sidetrack this issue by pointing out that the text messages of these two lower level employees would include any and all communication between them and Brady which was recorded via text communication. This is absolutely true. It does not address that Brady’s own communications still might corroborate the nature of the communications.

Further, what the response ignores, and what has been largely ignored, is that this wasn’t simply an investigation into these two employees and their actions vis a vis Tom Brady. The investigation also involved the Patriots themselves and what knowledge anyone in the organization, including head coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft, had of the possible deflation and of Brady’s involvement in the same.

Thus, we find the following statement rather curious.

particularly agregious

Its not a difficult stretch to believe Brady wasn’t text buddies with two lower level employees of the Patriots organization, particularly when you consider the nature of the personal texts between the two. Again, however, that is not the only question here. It is very reasonable to believe Brady had multiple text communications with high level members of the Patriots organization regarding the issue and those text messages could provide valuable information.

First, those text messages could possibly reveal what communications Brady did in fact have with these two level employees that did not take place via record-able method such as text. Thus the need to review Brady’s communications to determine if corroborating, or exculpatory, evidence was contained therein. On the contrary to the assertion above, all evidence and logic does not suggest this conclusion but again rather just the opposite.

Second, and as stated earlier, this investigation wasn’t simply about what took place between McNally, Jastremski and Brady. Also at issue was the complicity and knowledge of the Patriots organization as well. It is here that Brady’s communications not only are important but vital in determining any possible knowledge by those on higher levels.

It is very reasonable to assume Brady communicated via text message with higher level Patriots employees or those otherwise associated with the organization. Given that Brady’s reputation was at stake, as well as the reputation of the organization, we simply fail to see why better effort wasn’t made to provide some of this information. Indeed, the response itself goes above and beyond by providing personal communications between McNally and Jastremski. 

Updated:

We have finally waded through the voluminous response to the Wells Report. We must note that much of the report spends time dealing with the measurements and the underlining science of the PSI of the various game balls used during the AFC Championship game. We took issue with this as well in our initial analysis of the Wells Report.

The data and the two expert reports provided by both sides in this matter do little to sway us either way. As the Wells Report noted, and has been reported voluminously, Brady was involved in the 2006 rule that allowed visiting teams to prepare game balls in accordance with the preferences of their quarterbacks. Brady himself has admitted such and attempts to shift the discussion to the “tactile feel” of the ball aren’t terribly persuasive either.

Despite numerous hand wringing over the data, we tend to agree with the Wells Report that the full weight of the evidence supports a conclusion that a violation of the rules occurred. Here, it is important to note two separate but very important things.

First, we are talking about two separate and distinct rules under which the discipline arose. The first is the “Official Playing Rules and the established guidelines for the preparation of game footballs set forth in the NFL’s Game Operations Policy Manual for Member Clubs.” (hereinafter Rule 1) This rule of course sets the PSI levels for which game balls should be prepared and submitted. It is this rule that brings into play the data at the heart of the response. It is this rule that brings into play the 2006 amendments discussed above.

Second, the league has a long established rule protecting the game itself called the NFL’s Policy on Integrity of the Game and Enforcement of Competitive Rules. (hereinafter Rule 2) It is this rule under which the investigation was conducted. It is this rule that led to the “Spygate” penalty against the Patriots back in 2007. It is also this rule that provides the legal standard under which the league conducted it’s investigation and through which it applied it’s penalties. That standard is the now infamous “more probable than not” that gave so many such a difficult time initially.

The distinction is important. While it is never directly stated anywhere our reading and analysis of the various documents in the matter lead us to that inevitable conclusion. A simple reading of Troy Vincent’s letter to the Patriots should provide some insight.

From Troy Vincent’s letter to the Patriots:

“On May 6th, independent investigator Ted Wells issued his report regarding the footballs used by the Patriots in this year’s AFC Championship Game. That report established that the footballs used by the Patriots were inflated at a level that did not satisfy the standard set forth in the NFL’s Official Playing Rules and that the condition of the footballs was the result of deliberate actions by employees of the Patriots. The activities of the Patriots’ employees were thoroughly documented in the report, including through a series of text messages and telephone communications, as well as evidence of a breach in pre-game protocol. In addition, the conclusions were supported by extensive scientific analysis, as detailed in the report.

“Based on the extensive record developed in the investigation and detailed in the Wells report, and after full consideration of this matter by the Commissioner and the Football Operations department, we have determined that the Patriots have violated the NFL’s Policy on Integrity of the Game and Enforcement of Competitive Rules, as well as the Official Playing Rules and the established guidelines for the preparation of game footballs set forth in the NFL’s Game Operations Policy Manual for Member Clubs. In making this determination, we have accepted the findings contained in the comprehensive report independently prepared by Mr. Wells and his colleagues.

“In determining that a violation occurred, we applied the standard of proof stated in the Integrity of the Game Policy: namely, preponderance of the evidence, meaning that ‘as a whole, the fact sought to be proved is more probable than not.’ This is a well-recognized legal standard, which is applied in courts and workplaces every day throughout the country. The evidence gathered during the investigation and reviewed in the report more than satisfy this standard and demonstrate an ongoing plan by at least certain Patriots’ employees to deflate footballs, to do so in a secretive manner after the game officials have certified the footballs as suitable for play, and to hide these activities even from their own supervisors.

“As you know, we regard violations of competitive rules as significant and deserving of a strong sanction, both to punish the actual violation and to deter misconduct in the future. In this case, the footballs were intentionally deflated in an effort to provide a competitive advantage to Tom Brady after having been certified by the game officials as being in compliance with the playing rules. While we cannot be certain when the activity began, the evidence suggests that January 18th was not the first and only occasion when this occurred, particularly in light of the evidence referring to deflation of footballs going back to before the beginning of the 2014 season.

“It is impossible to determine whether this activity had an effect on the outcome of games or what that effect was. There seems little question that the outcome of the AFC Championship Game was not affected. But this has never been a significant factor in assessing discipline. There are many factors which affect the outcome of a game. It is an inherently speculative exercise to try to assign specific weight to any one factor.

The key consideration in any case like this is that the playing rules exist for a reason, and all clubs are entitled to expect that the playing rules will be followed by participating teams. Violations that diminish the league’s reputation for integrity and fair play cannot be excused simply because the precise impact on the final score cannot be determined.

“Here, there are several factors that merit strong consideration in assessing discipline. The first is the club’s prior record. In 2007 the club and several individuals were sanctioned for videotaping signals of opposing defensive coaches in violation of the Constitution and Bylaws. Under the Integrity of the Game Policy, this prior violation of competitive rules was properly considered in determining the discipline in this case.

“Another important consideration identified in the Policy is ‘the extent to which the club and relevant individuals cooperated with the investigation.’ The Wells report identifies two significant failures in this respect. The first involves the refusal by the club’s attorneys to make Mr. McNally available for an additional interview, despite numerous requests by Mr. Wells and a cautionary note in writing of the club’s obligation to cooperate in the investigation. The second was the failure of Tom Brady to produce any electronic evidence (emails, texts, etc.), despite being offered extraordinary safeguards by the investigators to protect unrelated personal information. Although we do not hold the club directly responsible for Mr. Brady’s refusal to cooperate, it remains significant that the quarterback of the team failed to cooperate fully with the investigation.

“Finally, it is significant that key witnesses – Mr. Brady, Mr. Jastremski, and Mr. McNally – were not fully candid during the investigation.
“In accepting the findings of the report, we note that the report identified no evidence of wrongdoing or knowledge of wrongdoing on the part of any member of the coaching staff, including Head Coach Bill Belichick, or by any Patriots’ staff member other than Mr. Jastremski and Mr. McNally, including head equipment manager Dave Schoenfeld. Similarly, the Wells report is clear that Patriots ownership and executives did not participate in any way in the misconduct, or have knowledge of the misconduct.

“Nonetheless, it remains a fundamental principle that the club is responsible for the actions of club employees. This principle has been applied to many prior cases. Thus, while no discipline should or will be imposed personally on any owner or executive at the Patriots, discipline is appropriately imposed on the club.”

We will take up the first rule first and attempt to dispel the notion that a conclusive finding that the footballs were inflated to the proper PSI was required to prove a violation of the rule. Of course, that is certainly the easiest mechanism by which you could find a violation here but it is certainly not the only requirement. One need not be a successful or even talented bank robber to be found guilty of attempting to rob a bank.

The league found through statements by the parties, actions or lack thereof by the parties, and suspicious circumstances surrounding the gameballs that a violation occurred.  The gameballs did not meet the specified requirements when presented to the attending referee on gameday. Walt Anderson, the presiding referee, corrected this issue but then a deviation in standard procedure taken by McNally occurred. If we just stopped here there is certainly more than a mere suggestion that shenanigans were involved and that an attempt to circumvent the rule had occurred.

The data at the subject of the dispute primarily involves the halftime measurements. Due to discrepancies in the recording of the evidence, no clear conclusion can be drawn from this data. It is subject to interpretation but that merely goes to the weight of the evidence and not to the ultimate conclusion.

Therefore, all the mental maneuvering over the “scientific data” is just a basic failure to understand that conclusive scientific proof was neither necessary nor required in this matter. Preferable maybe but we live in an imperfect world. The legal standard “more probable than not” does not require definitive proof based on scientific evidence. Such evidence can be taken from the totality of the evidence.

Wells Report

This is what you call “good lawyering”

The league didn’t need to prove the Patriots were successful at circumventing the rules. Under the Official Playing Rules and the established guidelines for the preparation of game footballs set forth in the NFL’s Game Operations Policy Manual for Member Clubs, there was a procedure to follow in providing gameballs. There is certainly enough evidence through which you could conclude the Patriots didn’t fully comply with Rule 1.

The saga could have ended there had Tom Brady complied with a request to turn over electronic communications. Under the NFL’s Policy on Integrity of the Game and Enforcement of Competitive Rules, it only needed to prove that the Patriots tried to break Rule 1 or that it interfered with the league’s enforcement of competitive rules. This key difference is crucial in understanding the Wells Report as well as the accompanying punishment.

1.12 DEFINITION OF “DIRECT” AND “CIRCUMSTANTIAL” EVIDENCE You may have heard the phrases “direct evidence” and “circumstantial evidence.” Direct evidence is proof that does not require an inference, such as the testimony of someone who claims to have personal knowledge of a fact. Circumstantial evidence is proof of a fact, or a series of facts, that tends to show that some other fact is true. As an example, direct evidence that it is raining is testimony from a the witness who says, “I was outside a minute ago and I saw it raining.” Circumstantial evidence that it is raining is the observation of someone entering a room carrying a wet umbrella. The law makes no distinction between the weight to be given to either direct or circumstantial evidence. You should decide how much weight to give to any evidence. In reaching your verdict, you should consider all the evidence in the case, including the circumstantial evidence. (Pattern Jury Instructions 7th Circuit)

In our initial analysis we discussed the intersection between direct and circumstantial evidence which is important to an understanding of how evidence rules work. We must now discuss another key rule which we mentioned but didn’t delve into deeply. It’s called the missing evidence rule (or sometimes the missing evidence instruction).

5.01 Failure To Produce Evidence or A Witness If a party to this case has failed [to offer evidence] [to produce a witness] within his power to produce, you may infer that the [evidence] [testimony of the witness] would be adverse to that party if you believe each of the following elements: 1. The [evidence] [witness] was under the control of the party and could have been produced by the exercise of reasonable diligence. 2. The [evidence] [witness] was not equally available to an adverse party. 3. A reasonably prudent person under the same or similar circumstances would have [offered the evidence] [produced the witness] if he believed [it to be] [the testimony would be] favorable to him. 4. No reasonable excuse for the failure has been shown. (Pattern Jury Instruction Illinois)

When a party to a civil proceeding refuses to provide evidence, the trier of fact is entitled to infer the evidence would have been unfavorable. Indeed, it is reasonable to assume someone would not withhold evidence beneficial to his case or by which his case might be deemed stronger.

Why it matters here is that under Rule 2, the rule through which the league polices the integrity of the game and enforcement of the rules, the failure to provide the requested evidence hampers the league’s investigation and enforcement ability. As the “trier of fact” in this situation, the league is more than justified in believing the missing evidence was not provided because it was detrimental to Brady and/or the Patriots.

In conclusion, while Rule 1 is what sparked the investigation into the Patriots handling of their game balls, it is not the Rule that ultimately got Tom Brady and the Patriots in hot water. It is Rule 2, the rule under which the Patriots had previously run afoul, and under which the investigation was conducted, that led to their downfall.

As we wrote earlier, the NFLPA has now appealed on Brady’s behalf and requested an independent arbiter be assigned to the matter.

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NFLPA Files Tom Brady Appeal http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/nflpa-files-tom-brady-appeal/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/nflpa-files-tom-brady-appeal/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 20:27:11 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=155031 The NFLPA has appealed the four game suspension handed down by the NFL to Tom Brady in light of the findings contained in the Wells Report. The appeal requests that an independent arbiter be assigned.

NFLPA FILES APPEAL ON BEHALF OF TOM BRADY

The NFLPA has filed an appeal of the four-game suspension of Tom Brady handed down by Troy Vincent.

Given the NFL’s history of inconsistency and arbitrary decisions in disciplinary matters, it is only fair that a neutral arbitrator hear this appeal.

If Ted Wells and the NFL believe, as their public comments stated, that the evidence in their report is “direct” and “inculpatory,” then they should be confident enough to present their case before someone who is truly independent.

– NFL Players Association

 

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Patriots Respond And Slam Wells Report http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/patriots-respond-slam-wells-report/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/patriots-respond-slam-wells-report/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 17:45:44 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=154995 B9315457559Z.1_20141211003654_000_GTM9CKIB9.1-0The New England Patriots have responded to the Wells Report and to the punishment issued by the NFL in a lengthy document published on a website entitled The Wells Report In Context. The response is almost 20,000 words long and includes links to the Wells Report itself along with a report by its own scientific expert, Professor Roderick MacKinnon, as well as a letter from T. David Gardi, Sr. Vice President of Football Operations for the NFL, dated January 19, 2015 where he outlined the investigation and its scope.

In our initial review of the information, we cannot help but note that that the response begins by relying heavily on its own analysis of the text messages between Patriots employees Jim McNally and John Jastremski. In particular, the report attempts to downplay the significance of McNally’s nickname “the Deflator” and indeed cites rather curiously to a long string of text messages, personal in nature, that also took place between McNally and Jastremski.

We say curious because the heavy use of these text messages, including the personal texts between the two, are strong and compelling evidence for why the Wells investigators asked for and indeed needed the communications of Tom Brady during this relevant time period. It is exactly this type of analysis the investigators would have utilized with the requested evidence which of course was denied to them because Brady refused to turn over his personal phone.

The response attempts to sidetrack this issue by pointing out that the text messages of these two lower level employees would include any and all communication between them and Brady which was recorded via text communication. This is absolutely true. It does not address that Brady’s own communications still might corroborate the nature of the communications.

Further, what the response ignores, and what has been largely ignored, is that this wasn’t simply an investigation into these two employees and their actions vis a vis Tom Brady. The investigation also involved the Patriots themselves and what knowledge anyone in the organization, including head coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft, had of the possible deflation and of Brady’s involvement in the same.

Thus, we find the following statement rather curious.

particularly agregious

Its not a difficult stretch to believe Brady wasn’t text buddies with two lower level employees of the Patriots organization, particularly when you consider the nature of the personal texts between the two. Again, however, that is not the only question here. It is very reasonable to believe Brady had multiple text communications with high level members of the Patriots organization regarding the issue and those text messages could provide valuable information.

First, those text messages could possibly reveal what communications Brady did in fact have with these two level employees that did not take place via record-able method such as text. Thus the need to review Brady’s communications to determine if corroborating, or exculpatory, evidence was contained therein. On the contrary to the assertion above, all evidence and logic does not suggest this conclusion but again rather just the opposite.

Second, and as stated earlier, this investigation wasn’t simply about what took place between McNally, Jastremski and Brady. Also at issue was the complicity and knowledge of the Patriots organization as well. It is here that Brady’s communications not only are important but vital in determining any possible knowledge by those on higher levels.

It is very reasonable to assume Brady communicated via text message with higher level Patriots employees or those otherwise associated with the organization. Given that Brady’s reputation was at stake, as well as the reputation of the organization, we simply fail to see why better effort wasn’t made to provide some of this information. Indeed, the response itself goes above and beyond by providing personal communications between McNally and Jastremski. 

We are still analyzing this response and will update our analysis as we have sufficient time to review and process the information. Check back to Pro Player Insiders for further analysis as we dig through this latest chapter in making lawyers wealthy. You can access all the documents here and find our previous take on the Wells Report here.

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Longtime OLB Jarret Johnson Retires as a Raven http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/longtime-olb-jarret-johnson-retires-raven/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/longtime-olb-jarret-johnson-retires-raven/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 02:59:46 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=154967 Shortly after saying goodbye to Ravens legend Ed Reed, Baltimore is paying homage to another impactful player. Longtime outside linebacker Jarret Johnson (also known as JJ) retired as a Raven on Wednesday at a press conference with General Manager Ozzie Newsome, Coach John Harbaugh, and Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees.

The 12-year veteran played nine years with Baltimore before signing with the San Diego Chargers as a free agent in March 2012. Johnson admits that even as a Charger, his heart always remained with the Ravens. Now he will be a permanent fixture in team history.

“He played like a Raven,” said Newsome. “We established that very early on, and to have a guy like JJ to come in and be the poster child for play like a Raven, it’s just as gratifying as it is for having guys who get a chance to go to the Pro Bowl. With JJ, you knew every Sunday what you were going to get. But not only Sunday, you knew what you were going to get between Monday and Saturday also.”

When Harbaugh joined the team during Johnson’s sixth season, he quickly learned what it meant to play like a Raven.

“I’d heard this term play like a Raven,” stated Harbaugh. “I always tried to figure out what that exactly means. I think the best description was epitomized by JJ really every single day.”

A defensive tackle at Alabama and two-time team captain for the first time in school history, Johnson was drafted by the Ravens in the fourth round. He later transitioned into the outside linebacker position where he became a dominant pass rusher.

“We had no idea what position he would play for us but we knew JJ was a football player. That was the reason we ended up drafting him in the fourth round,” according to Newsome. “What we came to find out about JJ is that not only did he fit the term football player, he was also a tempo setter. He was a guy from the very first day that came in and became one of the guys that the other guys would follow.”

Johnson started all 80 regular-season games from 2007-2011, a record tied with former offensive tackle Michael Oher for second place on the team’s all-time list behind only quarterback Joe Flacco (112). He also played in 129 straight games for the Ravens, the most among defensive players and second in team history only to punter Sam Koch (144). His career total of 143 games is sixth on the Ravens’ all-time list.

“This is an honor for me to be sitting here with so many faces that have meant so much to me throughout my career,” Johnson stated at his press conference. “To not be a Pro Bowler, to not be maybe a household name around the country, in this building, in that stadium to be appreciated…it’s validation that you did it right, that you conducted yourself the way you’re supposed to conduct yourself as a player.”

Although Johnson was never selected for the Pro Bowl, his contributions on the Ravens defense didn’t go unnoticed by fans, teammates, and coaches. “I’m glad the team offered me the opportunity to retire as a Raven,” said Johnson.

When asked if there are any hits that stick out to him, Johnson responded with little hesitation and a huge smile on his face: “Hines (Ward)…got him, got him.” Without a doubt, that moment is still considered a defining highlight of his career.

Johnson finished his NFL career with 350 tackles, 25.5 sacks, three interceptions, one touchdown and 11 forced fumbles. He is currently settled with his family in the Florida Panhandle. He continues to keep his options open for future possibilities but made it clear that he is no hurry to make any abrupt decisions.

“I’m enjoying where I’m at right now,” said Johnson. “I get up early every morning. I have a different goal every day, whether it’s just taking care of my two girls or if it’s a project around the house. I fish a lot. I’m on the water a lot. I have some business stuff that I do, not daily, but quite often. I’d love to have some role in this game. I’d love to have a connection with this organization. I love it. There’s nothing better. We’ll see.”

Follow Carita on Twitter @CaritaCParks and Pro Player Insiders @PlayerInsiders.

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NFL Players Are Set To Face The Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/nfl-players-set-face-wounded-warrior-amputee-softball-team-2/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/nfl-players-set-face-wounded-warrior-amputee-softball-team-2/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 16:16:17 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=154962 Kirk Cousins 350 x 350On Saturday, June 6, NFL Players are again challenging the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team (WWAST) to a celebrity softball game at Bowie Baysox Stadium in effort to raise funds for Veterans Amputee Charities including the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball team, Yellow Ribbon Fund, Connected Warrior Foundation, Disabled Sports USA and Operation Second Chance.

Headlining the event is Washington Redskins QB Kirk Cousins and Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta who will both serve as mangers for the All-Star lineup that includes NFL Players: Brian Mitchell, Darnell Dockett, Navorro Bowman, Michael Campanaro, Colt McCoy, Tress Way, Silas Redd, Ricky Jean-Francois, Tom Compton, Niles Paul, Josh Morgan, Kedric Golston, Josh Cribbs, Trent Robinson, Marvin Austin, Rodney Mcleod, Cato June, Nick Sunberg and Mack Wild from HBO’s “The Wire.”

Since the event’s inception in 2013, the Wounded Warrior Amputee softball team is undefeated against the NFL Stars team. But more importantly, each side has successfully helped promote amputee awareness through the event’s sponsor Medical Center Orthotics and Prosthetics.

Medical Center Orthotics and Prosthetics is the exclusive provider of lower limb prosthetics at Walter Reed Medical Center to wounded soldiers coming back from Afghanistan and the Middle East. Known for the fit and function they provide to their patients – they make it possible for athletes like those on the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team to compete.

“What we find is that these soldiers not only sacrifice their time, many of them sacrifice their lives, but in these particular circumstances they are sacrificing their limbs,” Torrey Pocock,  event organizer and CEO/President of Torrey Charles and Willner Marketing told Pro Player Insiders. “Many of them losing their limbs to roadside bombs and IED’s, they are very, very dramatic injuries. Any injury is bad, but when you get back and actually start the recovery process, it takes a lot of effort.”

This event not only brings awareness to the community, but even more so to amputees and those who have suffered limb loss. “What we find is that it’s really important to make sure the amputees and those who have suffered limb loss know they can find the right leg – they can get a good fit – they can be comfortable,” said Pocock. “Because if they can’t have a good fit, they can’t have good function. What we want to do with this event is show people how much technology has advanced by looking at this amputee softball team.”

Expect a fun filled, competitive game. Although, last year the WWAST dominated. “We’re normal guys – we have fun – but we also play the sport well,” a player from the Wounded Warrior Team said during a powerful documentary on USA Today. “None of us want anyone to feel sorry for us,” the player said. “We want people to bring their ‘A’ game, because we’re going to bring ours every time we get out there. We just want to be viewed as ball players.”

Every single player on the amputee softball team is a Wounded Warrior and works without one or two limbs. They’ve all been fitted with great prosthetics. But don’t be fooled, they can ball. “These guys are really, really good at playing softball,” Pocock said of the WWAST. “You’ll actually forget that they’re playing without an arm or a leg. That’s how good they are and that’s how good their quality of life is. They enjoy playing softball. It’s something that’s very fulfilling to them.”

By coming out and watching these Wounded Warriors play against the celebrity football players, you’ll see these guys can have a quality life after losing a limb(s) serving the country. “We want to support them, because there’s still a lot of mental things they have to go through,” Pocock said. “We want to support these men and women going through limb loss injuries and help them move forward. That’s why these NFL Players have come together to help raise money for these charities.”

“Yes it’s a charity match, we all understand that,” Pocock said. “But the thing is, the wounded warriors — this is what they do. They’re playing softball every other weekend promoting amputee awareness all over the country.  And the NFL Players — they’re professional athletes. There’s probably $200 million worth of athletes on that side. The way that they operate is, they don’t want to lose. It’s going to be a really, really good game.”

TICKETS: Tickets available at www.MCOPRO.com  $15 for Veterans and active Military; $20 for General Admission. Ticket Office: (301) 464-4865

VIP TICKETS: $99 for meet and greet seats with NFL and WWAST Players autograph session.

Gates open at 6 p.m. for General Admission — 7 p.m. for the first pitch. 
Follow us: @Manny_PPI |@PlayerInsiders
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Insider Style: Spring 2015 Fashion Trends http://proplayerinsiders.com/news-features-carousel/insider-style-for-the-wives-spring-2015-fashion-trends/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/news-features-carousel/insider-style-for-the-wives-spring-2015-fashion-trends/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=154411 Spring took its sweet time coming this year, but “oh, how glad we are to see her!” Warm sun and longer days means its time for the seasonal-clothing rotation in our closets! Women everywhere are exhaling a collective breath of happiness. Winter trousers, tweeds, and heavy sweaters be gone! Let’s turn up the fun colors, light fabrics, painted toes, and strappy sandals. Fashion lovers know trendy pieces have a place in their wardrobe, and being ‘on point’ with ones look is key! Whether you’re at a board meeting, lunching with the girls, or chatting up guests at the latest social gathering – the 2015 spring trends has something for every woman. Without further ado, let’s dive into what’s hot with fashion stylist Jenai Dominique as she examines the seasons must-haves. Hopefully you’ll find a little inspiration for your next fabulous, new outfit. Enjoy!

Trends reported by: Jenai Dominique

So Safari: For the adventurous fashionista, this trend is for you this season. The safari look has always been a popular one, and this spring it’s definitely a way to add a touch of exotic twist to your more simpler looks. Because most prints of this particular trend are so bold and eye catching, a little can go a long way! Items such as chiffon blouses, khaki, wooden accessories, animal prints and gladiator sandals are great staples to build a foundation for this trend. African inspired prints are also a great way to add a pop of color the your look. This look is very easy to transition from day to night by mixing different colors, fabrics and textures. It’s all about following your own instinct and adding your personality to it!

"So Safari", Spring 2015 women's trends in fashion

Sporty Chic: Clean, modern and minimal this trend is the perfect way to mix comfort with style. The sporty chic trend is all about combining sporty pieces such as bomber jackets and baseball caps with chic pieces like crop tops, fitted trousers and asymmetrical skirts. The key to making this look a success is to make sure your sporty pieces are not over powering your chic pieces, or else you’ll look like your’e headed to the gym instead. If you’re going to wear sneakers with this look, opt for a colorful shoe, or one with embellishments such as studs.

"Sporty Chic", Spring 2015 women's trends in fashion

 Life in Color: Spring is finally here, the sun is shining and that means bring out the color! Color blocking is a fun trend that has been making it’s way to the forefront, and this season it’s gotten even more exciting. If you’re feeling a little weary about experimenting with color blocking you can start off by letting your accessories do all the talking with a bold handbag, or even your shoes. If you want to go the safe route, you can never go wrong with pastels. If you want to take it a step further choose spring colors that look best with your skin complexion such as tangerines, yellows, light blues and greens. Pair those together, and voila!

"Life in Color", Spring 2015 women's trends in fashion

Clean: If your denim stash is in need of an update, don’t fret. This season is all about clean, timeless denim looks that will never go out of style. One staple item that has taken off pretty quickly is the overalls look. This look can be paired with just about anything; sneakers, heels, tees, blouses, blazers and is even easily transitional from day to night. Another stylish denim piece taking center stage is the denim midi skirt. The great thing about this stylish item is that it works for all body types and looks amazing paired with a denim top. Even when worn causally, the midi skirt will add a touch of elegance to your look. If you want to take a break from maxi skirts this spring, this trend will surely win you over.

"Clean", Spring 2015 women's trends in fashion

About Jenai

Portrait of stylist, Jenai Dominique - Sporty Chic

 

 

 

Jenai Dominique, fashion wardrobe stylist and personal style blogger, has become a dynamic face in the fashion industry. Known for her versatile and fresh approach to styling, she has been recognized for her keen eye to detail and ability to create innovative styles that generate stunning, self possessed looks. She loves inspiring others to find their own personal style and embrace their individuality.  If you posses self-confidence, the possibilities are endless. She encourages all fashion lovers to speak with confidence, dress with personality, scream with poise and shine with talent!

http://JenaiDominique.com
http://StyledbyJenaiDominique.com
http://Instagram.com/JenaiDominique
http://Linkedin.com/in/JenaiDominique

 

 

 

 

 

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