Good results overall yesterday in sports. NBA: I get 4 win win pars to come through..thank you: Phills, Balt, Chisox and Cubs. I lose two other second tier choice pars with the Nats BLOWING a 6 to 4 lead in the ninth inning with their very mediocre reliever Pabeblon, or what ever his frickin name is, just stinking the the field up last night. Not to be outdone the Mets at home lose to the dreaded Braves. Sad. I also did not do particularly well in my start up TOTALS yesterday, as I go 0 and 3, albeit hedged for a less debacle. Guess it's back to the drawing board for Totals. NBA: Got a start up teaser off to a good start with the Warriors coming through late for the win/cover, two more spots to go. NHL: Got a win win par to come in last night with the Blues victory. Congrats to winners and back later with some plays. FYI: A lot of early games today in MLB.
San Francisco 49ers (5-11) - Previously: 31.
Back in January, when I predicted Blaine Gabbert would be the starting quarterback for the 49ers next year, I was half-kidding. See, on one hand, deciding to make Blaine Gabbert the starter is completely asinine. Like, why would any team ever do that? Going with some handicapped kid in the stands would probably be a better option. And my apologies to the handicapped, if I've offended you. No one should ever be compared to Gabbert.
That said, I knew it was a possibility because Chip Kelly has absolutely no clue what he's doing. His insistance on rehabilitating Gabbert's career is like a trainer trying to teach a dead dog how to do tricks. "Sit" and "down" won't work because, you know, the dog is actually dead, much like "be accurate on passes longer than 10 yards downfield" and "throw with your eyes open, Blaine" is a completely futile command for Gabbert.
Tennessee Titans (3-13) - Previously: 29.
I loved Tennessee's decision to trade back from No. 1, as it picked up a number of resources. However, the Titans gave some of those back, thanks in part for trading up for Jack Conklin. They also seemingly wasted a second-round pick on Derrick Henry. We'll see what happens, but I'm suddenly a bit more pessimistic about Tennessee than I was several weeks ago.
Los Angeles Rams (7-9) - Previously: 28.
I don't understand a couple of arguments that people make to support the Jared Goff pick.
Argument No. 1: "He's a California kid, so he's better suited to play in L.A." OK, first of all, there are barely any Rams fans in Los Angeles. If there were, the team wouldn't have moved in the first place. Steve Young said it himself: When he was in the huddle playing at the Rams in the early 90s, he would have to lower his voice because the stadium was so quiet that the opposing defense would be able to hear him. So, with that in mind, Carson Wentz wouldn't have had any pressure. In fact, I'd argue that there's more stress playing for North Dakota State, since they have an expectation of winning the 1-AA level.
Argument No. 2: "The Rams had to do the trade because they have to win now." Uhh... how is a quarterback transitioning to a pro-style system supposed to win with only two viable players around him? Seriously, this does not seem like a recipe for success.
The Rams surrendered way too many resources, especially considering that the quarterbacks in the next two classes are considered far superior prospects. Oh, and by the way, Josh Rosen is a California kid, too.
New Orleans Saints (7-9) - Previously: 27.
I found it crazy that Sean Payton admitted on national TV that he wouldn't have drafted Sheldon Rankins if he didn't have his 3-cone time. What? That's like telling a car dealer that you're not going to purchase one of his automobiles unless you learn the name of the person who installed the air bag. It just seems so insignificant.
Rankins should make this defense better, though New Orleans should've placed a higher priority on finding an edge rusher. Oh, and speaking of Rankins, if he turns out to be a crappy player, I'm calling him Stankin Rankins. You heard it here first. Actually, someone else has probably thought of it already, but whatever. They don't count.
Atlanta Falcons (8-8) - Previously: 26.
The Falcons are not having a good offseason. They gave Mohamed Sanu a $32.5 million contract. Brandon LaFell earned about $2 million from the Bengals. Yet, they're pretty much the same player. Then, in the draft, they selected a high second-round safety at No. 17 overall with Shaq Lawson, Myles Jack and Darron Lee still on the board. I feel like Atlanta should just open all of its decisions up to a vote for the fans, since what they're doing right now doesn't work.
Miami Dolphins (6-10) - Previously: 30.
In my previous update, I wrote that Stephen Ross and 49ers owner Jed York should co-write a book called, How to Destroy an NFL Franchise in Five Easy Steps. However, drafting one of the top prospects in the draft at No. 13 is not part of that literature. I guess Ross is going to use that in his next book, How to Be Completely Incompetent and Still Get Lucky Sometimes.
In all seriousness, bravo to the Dolphins for drafting Laremy Tunsil. There was no reason for any team to be scared of this. It's not like he has failed a drug test recently. As long as the Dolphins don't allow Tunsil to create the password for the team Web site, they should be fine.
Detroit Lions (7-9) - Previously: 24.
The Lions' offseason can be described in one word: Blegh. Like, signing Marvin Jones to replace Calvin Johnson? Blegh. Keeping around Jim Caldwell? Blegh. Drafting a middling right tackle in the first round? Blegh. Like, none of this is terrible, but it's not good, either. It's just... blegh.
San Diego Chargers (4-12) - Previously: 22.
Laremy Tunsil. Jalen Ramsey. DeForest Buckner. Any of these three options would've been better than Joey Bosa, who A) may not fit the system, and B) won't have as much of an impact this year because he'll be behind Melvin Ingram and Jeremiah Attaochu. In fact, it could be argued that none of San Diego's picks this year will be impactful in 2016. That's not exactly a good thing, considering that Philip Rivers has only a few more years of high productivity.
Philadelphia Eagles (7-9) - Previously: 21.
The Eagles surrendered way too many resources for Carson Wentz. Unless he's the next Andrew Luck, Philadelphia will struggle to have success for the next five or so years because of depleted depth. Much like the Falcons, who have suffered even though Julio Jones hit, if they sustain a handful of injuries, they won't have any sort of shot.
Oh, and speaking of having no shot, it appears as though Chase Daniel is going to be the starting quarterback this year in the wake of Sam Bradford's idiotic holdout.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-10) - Previously: 20.
Call me crazy, but I think the Buccaneers would be better if they actually drafted a position of more significance than a kicker in the second round. But hey, don't take my word for it. An NFL general manager was quoted saying this:
"It was the dumbest pick in the history of the draft."
Wow. I wouldn't go that far, as kickers were taken in the first round in past years, but it was pretty horrible.
By the way, check out my NFL Draft Wrap-Up, where I list the worst picks of each round. And yes, Roberto Aguayo made the cut.
New York Giants (6-10) - Previously: 19.
I wrote earlier that Eli Manning isn't having the best offseason. First, they canned his Hall of Fame head coach for no particular reason. Then, he observed as his brother ruined all of his glory...
And now, the player the Giants coveted, Jack Conklin, was snatched off the board when the Titans traded up for him. Manning could've used someone like Conklin to protect him. Instead, opposing pass rushes will beat him down once again.
New York Jets (10-6) - Previously: 17.
Ryan Fitzpatrick better re-sign with the Jets as quickly as possible. Not that Christian Hackenberg will convince the coaches to play him right away, but I could see New York pulling the trigger on a Sam Bradford trade, as he would be the perfect bridge to Hackenberg.
Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11) - Previously: 25.
The Jaguars looked like they were going to continue in their old ways when they signed Chris Ivory to a $32.5 million deal in the offseason. No word yet if one of the lawyers was fired for misplacing the decimal point, since $3.25 million would actually make so much more sense.
Having said that, I feel as though I can't make fun of Jacksonville much longer. The Jaguars absolutely killed the draft, obtaining great values and filling needs with nearly every selection. They were the only team to earn an A+ in my NFL Draft Team Grades.
Baltimore Ravens (5-11) - Previously: 15.
Signing Eric Weddle was great, but the Ravens lost more than they gained this offseason, as they said goodbye to one of the league's best guards (Kelechi Osemele) and a very talented safety (Will Hill). The draft - at least the first round - wasn't promising either, given that the Ravens passed on Laremy Tunsil in favor of an inferior tackle. Baltimore should still be a solid team, provided it doesn't sustain too many injuries. Thanks to Joe Flacco's albatross of a contract, the Ravens just aren't as deep as they used to be.
Dallas Cowboys (4-12) - Previously: 11.
The Cowboys needed to bolster their pass rush and secondary, so what did they do? They drafted a running back, a position that grows on trees, even though they had two decent ones. Dallas had drafted so well in past seasons that I believe something changed. I feel like Jerry Jones wrestled away control and took the guy he wanted. Great job, Jerry. If only you had your way two years ago, Johnny Manziel would be your quarterback right now.
It's mind-boggling how utterly stupid the Ezekiel Elliott pick was. And the thing is, the explanation for it was even worse. Dallas' assertion that Elliott is more valuable because the opponent doesn't have to throw toward Jalen Ramsey is quite literally the dumbest thing I've ever heard. So, a cornerback who can erase half the field - per their words; not mine - is less valuable than running backs, who should typically be drafted on Day 2? What's next? Is Jerry going to argue that punters are more valuable than a receiver since they might see more action than a double-teamed wideout does?
Chicago Bears (6-10) - Previously: 23.
The Bears made some great upgrades in free agency, and they continued to strengthen their team by drafting extremely well. I wasn't crazy about the trade for Leonard Floyd, but the two picks Chicago made in the second round - Cody Whitehair, Jonthan Bullard - were outstanding. Any quarterback not named Jay Cutler would be pretty stoked right now. Cutler, I imagine, is just sitting on his couch right now, watching paint dry.
Washington Redskins (9-7) - Previously: 18.
It seems like the players the Redskins drafted were all about the long term and much less about 2016. Josh Doctson won't start until DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garcon leaves. Meanwhile, Kendall Fuller will probably need some time to heal.
Speaking of Fuller, I'm guessing we won't be hearing from the dumb commenter named "Walter Is Still a Moron," since he constantly harassed me about mocking Fuller to the Redskins because he's too short. Whoops! Fuller is six feet tall, so I don't even know what he was talking about. Then again, he said the Redskins were a lock to beat the Packers in the playoffs, so the nicknme he goes by is completely ironic.
Buffalo Bills (8-8) - Previously: 16.
I'm going to do a futures podcast with my picks podcast co-host Matvei soon, but I can tell you right now that he believes the Bills will be in the playoffs in 2016. I could see it, but I still have my doubts. Can Tyrod Taylor stay healthy? Will Rex Ryan get his team to cut down on penalties for a change? Buffalo has the talent, but I thought that was the case last year.
Denver Broncos (12-4) - Previously: 14.
This may seem very low for a Super Bowl winner, and it's not an overreaction to the quarterbacking situation. Yes, Mark Sanchez is an abomination, but so was Peyton Manning last year. The difference will be in terms of what Denver lost. Evan Mathis, Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan all departing is absolutely huge. The Broncos won't be able to win playing unbelievable defense once again, meaning it'll need someone better than Sanchez under center. Paxton Lynch was drafted, but it wouldn't suprise me if Denver holds him out for an entire season.
Indianapolis Colts (8-8) - Previously: 13.
I am utterly shocked that Ryan Grigson did the right thing and finally addressed the ofensive line. It's like he watched the games last year, and it all suddenly clicked for him. "Oh, wait a second, if I get better blockers, maybe Andrew Luck won't get hurt!"
With Luck bound to be healthy, perhaps the Colts can make another deep run into the playoffs. Unfortunately for them, they won't have the luxury of beating up on a choking Peyton Manning again.
Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) - Previously: 10.
Sometimes winning in free agency doesn't require spending tons of money on big names like the Giants did this offseason. Often, successful teams add a bargain piece or two, all while re-signing key members of the roster. That's exactly what the Chiefs did this offseason, losing only Jeff Allen and Sean Smith. They managed to compensate for the Allen loss by bringing in Mitchell Schwartz, and they were already deep at defensive back, so I like their chances of being competitive again in 2016, especially after drafting a couple of solid players in Chris Jones and KeiVarae Russell.
Houston Texans (9-7) - Previously: 12.
The Texans had an awesome draft. They signed Brock Osweiler in free agency, but needed to surround him with better weapons. It was a job well done, as they now have plenty of speed at receiver and a new stud center to keep Osweiler safe. Houston is certainly in contention for a Super Bowl.
Oakland Raiders (7-9) - Previously: 9.
Anyone want to hop onto the bandwagon with me for a Raiders' appearance in Super Bowl LI? I thought they would be legitimate playoff contenders prior to free agency. They thrived in the open market, signing an elite guard (Kelechi Osemele), a talented, versatile linebacker (Bruce Irvin), a solid cornerback (Sean Smith) and a replacement for Charles Woodson (Reggie Nelson). I wasn't in love with their draft, but it wasn't horrible. So, unless Derek Carr regresses, Oakland is definitely a sleeper to make a deep playoff push.
New England Patriots (12-4) - Previously: 6.
The Patriots move down because of the Tom Brady suspension. They'll survive, but it still hurts. And you know what else hurts? All of the bad picks Bill Belichick made in the 2016 NFL Draft. Vincent Valentine? What, Tifa Lockhart wasn't available?
OK, I realize that this is the 80th Final Fantasy VII joke I've made since Friday night, but can you blame me? I think I'll stop when that game finally gets a re-make, which will be, umm, never.
Minnesota Vikings (11-5) - Previously: 8.
The Vikings did a tremendous job this offseason, signing Alex Boone and drafting a couple of great value picks in Laquon Treadwell and Mackensie Alexander. I could see Minnesota winning the Super Bowl. Some may question Teddy Bridgewater because of his stats, but he didn't have to do all that much last year. The Vikings have an amazing defense and a great running game, and they kind of remind me of last year's Broncos when Brock Osweiler was under center.
Cincinnati Bengals (12-4) - Previously: 7.
Roger Goodell should give out awards to each team after the draft. Cincinnati would win the NFL Draft Troll Award, for their unbelievable troll job of the Steelers. Hey, you know the saying: If you can't beat 'em, take their draft picks.
In all seriousness, I do like what the Bengals did this year. If someone injects shoulder with some steroids, I can see them winning the Super Bowl.
Green Bay Packers (10-6) - Previously: 5.
The Packers have three goals this offseason to reach the Super Bowl, which is a possibility:
1. Find better depth on the offensive line just in case Aaron Rodgers' blockers get hurt again.
2. Address the linebacking corps, which has been weak for a few years now.
3. Get Eddie Lacy to lose 80 pounds.
The Packers have already begun No. 3, via this tactic:
April 8 Update: Turns out that the Eddie Lacy cheeseburger string worked! Just take a look at a recent picture:
Wow! It's like an entire human being popped out of his stomach! The Packers should totally trademark this cheeseburger string.
Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6) - Previously: 4.
The Steelers might have been the best team in the NFL this past season. They should've beaten the Broncos without Antonio Brown, and they would've gotten Brown back for the AFC Championship at New England, which they definitely could've won.
Pittsburgh's challenge will be staying healthy. Ben Roethlisberger and Le'Veon Bell have shown some durability issues, but if they can stay on the field, the Steelers will have a decent shot at winning the Super Bowl.
April 8 Update: The Steelers have pretty much remained the same this offseason, losing two key players (Kelvin Beachum, Brandon Boykin) and gaining one in return (Ladarius Green). The first-round pick will probably balance this, meaning Pittsburgh will remain one of the top teams in the NFL. Thus, it's all about whether or not Ben Roethlisberger and his top weapons can stay healthy for a change.
Seattle Seahawks (10-6) - Previously: 3.
The Panthers swept the Seahawks in 2015, but Seattle has the personnel to beat them, especially if it doesn't have to play at 1 p.m. on the East Coast again. The Seahawks finished the year on a very strong note, and they only have a couple of significant free agents to re-sign. Plus, Thomas Rawls will be back to negate the retirement of Marshawn Lynch, which earned a very low Disaster Grade.
April 8 Update: I don't like some of the re-signings the Seahawks made this offseason, and losing Russell Okung and Bruce Irvin will hurt. However, all of that probably won't matter because they'll likely kill it in the draft, like they always do. Seattle will once again be in the Super Bowl mix.
Carolina Panthers (15-1) - Previously: 2.
Would you say that Cam Newton was butt hurt after the Super Bowl loss? If so, this picture seems so much more appropriate:
Things won't be as easy for the Panthers in 2016, as they'll probably have to battle some tough opponents who can rush the passer. Fortunately, they'll be getting Kelvin Benjamin back, and with so few major free agents, they can focus on fixing the offensive line.
At any rate, there's something I need to get to before I conclude these power rankings:
The Adventures of Derek Anderson's Magic Flask!
Cam Newton: Derek, it's the final game. It's all come down to this. All you have to do is spike Denver's Gatorade bucket so that the defensive players get drunk and don't sack me seven times.
Derek Anderson: No worries, Cam. I put my best man on the job.
Cam Newton: Your best man? Don't tell me you let Johnny Manziel handle your duties.
Derek Anderson: Not Johnny Manziel. Billy Manziel. He's not Johnny Manziel because he has blond hair. Here he is! Billy, did you spike the Gatorade?
Billy Manziel: Yeahahah mmananann I spspsikkee thhree Gatotorasddee andndn I drrirink soemmee mmyysselelff hahaha hic!
Derek Anderson: I knew you'd get the job done! Great work, Billy!
Cam Newton: Whoa... whoa... I don't feel right. I... whoa... I whwhooa... I... wait did you sspoike our Gattorade?
Derek Anderson: I told Billy to spike he Denver Gatorades. You did thats, right Billy?
April 8 Update: David Gettleman really doesn't get much credit. In fact, some people might be reading this and thinking, "Who the f*** is this Gentleman guy you're talking about?" He's the general manager of the Panthers, and he once again did a masterful job. I don't understand how he managed re-sign Charles Johnson and add Brandon Boykin so cheaply. I've moved the Cardinals into the No. 1 spot, but the Panthers remain one of the favorites to win Super Bowl LI.
Arizona Cardinals (13-3) - Previously: 1.
Arizona fans better hope that Carson Palmer was legitimately affected by his finger injury in the playoffs. If not, he'll need to be known as the biggest choker since Aurora Snow. Wait, she still does porn, right?
The Cardinals once again figure to be one of the top teams in the NFL, but I'm not sure they can be picked to go the distance based on how horrible Palmer was this past postseason.
April 8 Update: The Cardinals could be the best team in the NFL. They were already in the running, yet they added one of the top guards in the NFL (Evan Mathis), a stellar pass-rusher (Chandler Jones) and a decent safety (Tyvon Branch). If Carson Palmer can stay healthy for a change, Arizona will be the favorite to win it all.