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DKROM is a Chicago based Sportswriter & sportscaster with a near encyclopedic knowledge of all things NFL. We here at Sports Krunch with DKrom enforce our “No Spin” policy 24/7/365, and do our absolute best to help all of you football fans cut through the spin and get to the truth. Sports Krunch will cover all the important stories you may have missed in the NFL universe. Sports Krunch will regularly have very influential and knowledgeable guests. So be on the lookout for the next episode and be sure to subscribe!
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1. Four years ago around this time, many (if not most) in the news media touted Hillary Clinton as a solid favorite to win...and we know how that ended. Today, several are describing Joe Biden in the same light. As I mentioned in the intro, we had Austin, Texas-based GOP strategist Matt Mackowiak on the program. He said he expects this to be a VERY, VERY close election and is convinced that whoever wins the presidency is going to win it by a narrower Electoral College margin than 2016. Do you share that view and do you think the media is making the same mistake they did four years ago by GROSSLY underestimating President Trump’s chances of winning? 2. Speaking of the Electoral College, you live out west in Colorado near another pivotal state that needs just as much attention as Florida and the four major Midwestern states (Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Minnesota). That state is Arizona. For well over a year, Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report has remained unwavering in his belief that Arizona is more likely to flip from Trump to Biden than Florida AND Wisconsin are. And there are more than enough reasons to take his thoughts seriously. Arizona is an increasingly diverse and metropolitan state with the kinds of voters moving TOWARD the Democrats whereas Wisconsin on the other hand is the whitest, most rural of the four Midwest battlegrounds and has the kinds of voters that are moving AWAY from the Democrats. Would you be surprised if a Biden victory consisted of all the Clinton states + MI/PA/AZ as opposed to all the Clinton states + MI/PA/WI? 3. Right now, with voting underway, the biggest priority for the Democratic party MUST be GOTV efforts. And given the pandemic, most Democrats plan on casting their ballots BEFORE November 3. According to a recent NBC News/Survey Monkey poll, 71% of Democrats intend to vote absentee whether by mail or using in-person early voting. Everybody MUST make a plan to vote, but given a weakened, hobbled postal service, many voters (especially those living in states without a universal vote-by-mail system like Colorado) may have to adjust their plans. If someone wants to receive a ballot in the mail, what is the LATEST possible date to submit a request? Several are recommending that those who receive their ballots on or after October 14 return them in person to their county election office or a ballot drop box if available. Would you recommend that as well? 4. Several top-tier Biden supporters have voiced concern in recent days, most notably, his chief rival for the 2020 Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders. He suggested that Biden would almost certainly lose unless he stopped his centrist approach and catered more to progressive voters on economic issues. Also, some more establishment Democrats in swing states believe there is still a sizeable enthusiasm gap between the Trump base and the Democratic base and that Biden needs to do a lot more in-person campaigning to energize voters, as NYT reported. Do you think there is such a gap and if so, should Biden pivot and endorse progressive policies like the Green New Deal or Medicare For All?
1. Season Headlines Me:  -In the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Breanna Taylor and others at the hands of police violence, NFL players have made it clear they will NOT be silent and will kneel during the playing of the National Anthem in protest. Even owners who are passionate supporters of the President (such as Jerry Jones), have given their players the green light to do so. Upon hearing the news, Eric Trump, the second of the President’s three sons, tweeted that the NFL was over. And there is no doubt that the President will try to make kneeling for the national anthem a centerpiece of his re-election campaign. If ratings show a sizeable drop, the NFL will be caught between a rock and a hard place and have to walk the tightest of lines in an attempt to avoid alienating significant chunks of the fan-base  Matt: COVID…can they finish the season? 2. Truth/Exaggeration -The NFL will decide to conduct the 2020 playoffs and Super Bowl in a bubble environment, especially if the pandemic worsens the further we get into fall and winter. -Von Miller has played his last down as a Denver Bronco -Jalen Ramsey’s blockbuster contract extension further ensures that the Rams will remain in a state of mediocrity (or worse) for the foreseeable future -Kyler Murray will have a similar breakout campaign in 2020 to Lamar Jackson’s in 2019, even if he doesn’t win MVP -The Chiefs are heavy favorites to repeat as AFC Champions -The Packers will NOT make the playoffs in 2020 -Because of there being no preseason games due to COVID, the opening month of the 2020 season will be DOMINATED by offenses and defenses will struggle 3. GAME OF THE WEEK: Texans at Chiefs -Will the speed of the Texans WR corps help mitigate for the loss of DeAndre Hopkins against an opponent like the Chiefs? -Just how low is the floor for the Texans defense given the TREMENDOUS holes and inconsistencies in their secondary? -On paper, how much have the Chiefs improved compared to last season’s Super Bowl triumph? How much have they regressed on paper? -Game deciding matchups: Chris Jones vs. Texans interior OL, Chiefs WR’s/Kelce vs. Texans secondary -Game Predictions 4. GAME OF THE WEEK: Bucs at Saints -You have been EMPHATIC that Tom Brady has little to nothing left. Do you anticipate seeing a similar decline from Drew Brees this year like we supposedly saw from Brady last year? -Does this Bucs D have the potential to be a top-10 unit? -Can Emmanuel Sanders be the most consequential free agency acquisition of 2020? -Game-deciding matchups: Saints iOL (Ruiz, McCoy, Peat) vs. Bucs behemoth DT’s (Vita Vea, Ndamukong Suh), Tristan Wirfs vs. Cameron Jordan?? -Game Predictions 5. Game Predictions -Seahawks at Falcons -Raiders at Panthers -Colts at Jaguars -Eagles at Washington -Browns at Ravens -Jets at Bills -Dolphins at Patriots -Packers at Vikings -Bears at Lions -Chargers at Bengals -Cardinals at 49ers -Cowboys at Rams -Steelers at Giants -Titans at Broncos 6. BOLD PREDICTIONS ME: Saints and Bucs will combine for 80 points and the game will end with 0 seconds on the clock as Drew Brees finds Emmanuel Sanders for a 10-yard TD on fourth and goal MATT: Garoppolo throws for 4 TD’s (2 to Kittle, 1 to Aiyuk, 1 to McKinnon) 350 yards 7. Challenge Flags ME: NFL teams…do what the Bucs, Lions and Eagles did and turn your stadiums into voting locations for the 2020 election, giving your fans a VERY safe option to vote in-person during this pandemic. MATT: Fans and analysts…DO NOT OVERREACT TO WEEK 1
1. Last week, the sports world briefly hit the pause button in wake of the Jacob Blake shooting, starting with the NBA. As a result, it was announced that all NBA clubs intend to use their arenas as voting locations for the general election, whether it be for voter registration drives, in-person early voting, and/or having county officials there to collect completed absentee ballots. Given all the issues and red tape with voting by mail (not just USPS), isn’t voting in person at a sports arena one of the best ways of voting imaginable, especially during a pandemic?   2. One of the President’s last remaining hurdles to overcome on the path to reelection is his handling of Covid-19. From a policy perspective, what MUST he do between now and November to prepare the country for the expected uptick of cases in the fall/winter? 3. In the aftermath of George Floyd’s unconscionable murder, we have seen America at its best and at its worst. I personally have witnessed both Biden and Trump voters alike saying we need to significantly address racial biases in our criminal justice system. But we have also seen lawlessness and violence on both the extreme left and right alike. Whether it’s Antifa setting fire to police facilities or armed white supremacists firing guns at innocent bystanders, EVERY American should be equally outraged at the instigators on both sides. And just this week, three innocent demonstrators (two anti-Trump in Kenosha, one pro-Trump in Portland) were killed. This has only heightened my concern that a wave of violence a million times worse than we’re seeing right now could erupt after the election, especially if it’s super close and the outcome is in doubt. What do both Democrats AND Republicans need to do ASAP to ensure that doesn’t happen?  4. Another nightmare scenario that could lead to such violence is the so-called “blue shift” that happened in the Arizona US Senate race in 2018. When we woke up the morning after the election, Martha McSally was leading, but the absentee ballots counted subsequently put Kyrsten Sinema over the top. If a similar scenario happened to Trump, which is possible given the fact that a record number of Americans are expected to vote absentee given the pandemic, it is a virtual guarantee that he will consider the election stolen. Currently, 14 states, including some key battlegrounds, prohibit the processing of these ballots until the morning of the election. However, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has proposed that the state begin processing absentee ballots three weeks before the election (as opposed to the morning of) so they have a better chance of completing the count by election night or the following day at worst. Do you agree with that proposal and if so, should all other battleground states follow? 5. Whoever wins in November will not only have to deal with this once-in-a-century pandemic, but an increasingly dangerous Russia and China, who are hell bent on creating a new world order in their respective totalitarian images. In recent weeks, Vladimir Putin has threatened to deploy armies to Belarus to help Lukashenko retain power and poisoned his chief rival, Alexei Navalny. Xi Jingping has accelerated his crackdown on pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong, and more alarming info about his genocidal campaign against the Uighurs in Xinjiang has come to light. And of course, China gravely misled us on the dangers of COVID-19. Putin and Xi are arguably the two most dangerous men in the world right now, and we need to act FAST in order to stop them. What do you think should and can be done in order to do so? Should we grant asylum to some Uighurs and dissidents of both regimes?     6. Thoughts on Steelers 
1. What we have seen with Major League Baseball (with the COVID-19 outbreaks within the Marlins and Cardinals causing games to be postponed) thus far is likely a preview of what to expect in the NFL this season. Peter King a few weeks ago wrote he is convinced that at some point the league will likely have to suspend play like the NBA did in March when the pandemic first hit. However, Richard Sherman countered that he only sees that happening if things get REALLY REALLY bad. Under what circumstances should the NFL suspend play? 2. Biggest Training Camp Storylines for Each Team -NFC West: 49ers, Seahawks, Rams, Cardinals -AFC West: Chiefs, Broncos, Raiders, Chargers -NFC North: Packers, Vikings, Bears, Lions -AFC North: Ravens, Steelers, Browns, Bengals -NFC East: Eagles, Cowboys, Giants, Washington -AFC East: Patriots, Bills, Jets, Dolphins -NFC South: Saints, Bucs, Falcons, Panthers -AFC South: Texans, Titans, Colts, Jaguars
A. Latest Buzz (Buy Or Sell) -Chris Mortensen said today of all the teams that are being discussed as strong candidates to trade up, the Falcons are expected to be the most aggressive and could move up all the way to the top five. So buy or sell: the Falcons will trade up to the top five and take Jeffrey Okudah if the Lions pass on him at 3, or move down to 6.  -The run on WR’s will begin earlier than most expect with two WR-needy teams trading up to the 8-10 range to get their guy -If the Dolphins want Tua Tagovailoa, they’ll take one of the four OT’s at five, and will be able to stand pat at 18 where he’ll fall into their lap -If the Dolphins do NOT want Tua, they will wait until 26 overall to take a QB…and that QB will be Jordan Love as opposed to Justin Herbert -There will be no more than five trades in the first round due to the complex logistics of conducting the draft virtually -The first round will last an hour longer than expected due to technical glitches -The 49ers will move back from both 31 AND 13, especially if the WR run occurs earlier than expected B. MOCK 1. CIN: Joe Burrow 2. WAS: Chase Young 3. DET: Jeffrey Okudah 4. NYG: Tristan Wirfs 5. MIA: Andrew Thomas 6. LAC: Isaiah Simmons 7. CAR: Derrick Brown 8. AZ: Jedrick Wills 9. JAX: Justin Herbert 10. ATL (from CLE): C.J. Henderson 11. NYJ: Mekhi Becton 12. LVR: CeeDee Lamb  13. DEN (from SF): Henry Ruggs III 14. TB: Javon Kinlaw 15. SF (from DEN): Jerry Jeudy 16. CLE (from ATL): K’Lavon Chaisson 17. NE (from DAL): Tua Tagovailoa 18. MIA: Xavier McKinney 19. LVR: Jordan Love 20. JAX: Jeff Gladney 21. PHI: Denzel Mims 22. MIN: Justin Jefferson 23. DAL (from NE): Cesar Ruiz 24. NO: Kristian Fulton 25. MIN: A.J. Terrell 26. MIA: Yetur Gross-Matos 27. CLE (from SEA): Ezra Cleveland 28. BAL: Patrick Queen 29. TEN: Ross Blacklock 30. GB: Jalen Reagor 31. DEN (from SF): Josh Jones 32. KC: Jonathan Taylor
1. Chase Young is clearly the best prospect in this draft class. This past decade, we have seen pass rushers of Young’s ilk get drafted high and go on to have productive careers: Von Miller, Khalil Mack, Joey and Nick Bosa, Myles Garrett, etc. How does he compare to those aforementioned players as a prospect and would it surprise you if he ended up having the best career out of all of them? 2. There is quite a sizeable drop-off after Young as far as this EDGE class goes. The player widely expected to be the second EDGE off the board is LSU’s K’Lavon Chaisson. Chaisson is an extremely versatile player, who is able to rush the QB from the edge and inside on sub-packages, plus drop into coverage and cover RB’s and TE’s as well. He is also a freakish athlete. However, there was a similar prospect taken in the top-15 three years ago in Haason Reddick, and he’s pretty much been a bust thus far. Do you get Haason Reddick vibes from Chaisson? 3. In August, many (if not most) people were talking about Iowa DE A.J. Epenesa as a top-10 pick. However, an uneven season plus below average testing at the Combine could have him potentially falling out of the first round altogether. Several believe his best chance at long-term success in the NFL is him putting on an additional 15-20 pounds and moving inside to three or five-tech DT. Do you share that view?  4. Headed into the Combine, most had Derrick Brown as a top-five pick. But there has been some buzz from many in the NFL and Draft Twitter alike that Brown isn’t that much of a pass-rush threat and could fall out of the top 10 because of that. Would you be comfortable using a top-10 pick on Brown? 5. South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw is one of the most inspiring stories in this draft. He grew up homeless and began his college career at JUCO before transferring to SC and becoming the anchor of Will Muschamp’s defense there. Many believe he can be an interior disruptor in the Chris Jones mold. However, Kinlaw’s stats were rather underwhelming and Marcus Mosher, who was on the program in recent weeks to break down the receiver class, did a study on DT prospects and noted that those at the position whose stats didn’t match their traits in college have rarely succeeded at the pro level. Do you think Kinlaw has a better chance than most to buck that trend? 6. Ross Blacklock of TCU is somebody who could have sniffed the top-15 if it wasn’t for an Achilles injury he suffered in 2018. Like Kinlaw, he is a freakish athletic interior pass rusher. If he can get stronger and clean up his technique, do you think he can end up being the best DT from this draft class? 7. Buy Or Sell: Yetur Gross-Matos, Terrell Lewis, Josh Uche, Jabari Zuniga, Alex Highsmith, Derrek Tuszka, Justin Madubuike, Jordan Elliott, James Lynch, Leki Fotu, Neville Gallimore, Marlon Davidson, Davon Hamilton, Jason Strowbridge 8. Best Team Fits -Young: Redskins -Chaisson: Falcons, Jets -Epenesa: Patriots -Brown: Cardinals -Kinlaw: Jaguars -Blacklock: Vikings
1. CIN: Joe Burrow 2. WAS: Chase Young 3. LAC (via DET): Tua Tagovailoa 4. NYG: Isaiah Simmons 5. MIA: Justin Herbert 6. DET (via LAC): Jeffrey Okudah 7. CAR: Andrew Thomas 8. AZ: Tristan Wirfs 9. DEN (via JAX): Henry Ruggs 10. CLE: Mekhi Becton 11. NYJ: Jedrick Wills 12. LVR: CeeDee Lamb 13. SF: Jerry Jeudy 14. TB: Javon Kinlaw 15. JAX (via DEN): Derrick Brown 16. ATL: K’Lavon Chaisson 17. DAL: Xavier McKinney 18. MIA: Justin Jefferson 19. LVR: C.J. Henderson 20. JAX: Kristian Fulton 21. PHI: Denzel Mims 22. MIN: Jeff Gladney 23. NE: Cesar Ruiz 24. NO: Patrick Queen 25. MIN: Jalen Reagor 26. MIA: Josh Jones 27. SEA: Yetur Gross-Matos 28. BAL: Zack Baun 29. TEN: Isaiah Wilson 30. GB: Brandon Aiyuk 31. IND (via SF): Jordan Love 32. KC: A.J. Terrell
1. As of right now, you have CeeDee Lamb as your top receiver. Why is that? 2. There has been buzz building for quite a while now that Henry Ruggs will be the first receiver off the board on April 23. And it makes a ton of sense since Ruggs appears to be the new WR archetype NFL teams prefer after witnessing the success of similarly skilled players like Tyreek Hill and their ability to dictate coverages, which gives defensive coordinators headaches. However, you have another speedster, TCU’s Jalen Reagor ranked one spot ahead of Ruggs at the present time. Why you are slightly higher on Reagor than Ruggs?    3. I’ve been hearing buzz that some teams view Jerry Jeudy as a slot-only wide receiver. Do you share that view and if so, is that a big reason you could see him sliding out of the top 15? 4. One of the biggest winners at the Combine was LSU’s Justin Jefferson, who ran a 4.43 40. Jefferson was obviously one of CFB’s most accomplished receivers last year as he was one of Joe Burrow’s most trusted targets in his historic season. However, several have voiced similar concern about Jefferson as some have about Jeudy. Do you think Jefferson can be a good boundary receiver as well as a reliable slot option? 5. Arguably the biggest winner of the entire draft process up to this point has been Baylor’s Denzel Mims. I saw him with my own two eyes dazzle everyone down in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, and he continued it at the Combine, where at 6-3, 207, he ran a 4.39 in the 40 and posted a freakish 6.66 time in the three-cone drill. Now, some buzz suggests that not only could he go in the top 20, but he also could be the third WR taken, if not the second. Would it surprise you if he gets selected before Jeudy or Lamb? 6. Given the circumstances we are in with Covid-19, a receiver likely to experience a drop down boards is Colorado’s Laviska Shenault. Shenault re-aggravated a nagging groin injury at the Combine and his extensive injury history coupled with the fact there will be no med re-checks likely suggest he could be one of the best possible draft bargains this year. How far do you see him falling and what is the earliest spot you’d be willing to pull the trigger on a rare athlete like him? 7. Buy Or Sell: Tee Higgins, Brandon Aiyuk, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Michael Pittman, Devin Duvernay, Collin Johnson, Antonio Gandy-Golden, Van Jefferson, K.J. Hamler, John Hightower, James Proche 8. Best Team Fits -Lamb: Raiders -Jeudy: Broncos -Jefferson: Saints -Ruggs: Buccaneers -Reagor: Vikings -Mims: Titans
1. While there has been smoke to suggest otherwise, most all signs still point to the Bengals making Joe Burrow being the first overall pick in the draft. Some believe him to be the best QB prospect since Andrew Luck. Regardless of whether or not you share that view, what makes Burrow such a special prospect? 2. Health aside, the main concern some people have about Tua Tagovailoa is that he was more of the product of the weapons around him and not the other way around. Why or why not is that a reasonable concern? 3. There is still some people who believe that Justin Herbert will be the second QB off the board as opposed to Tua. However, he didn’t show the growth most wanted to see during his senior year at Oregon. That said, Jordan Reid of The Draft Network, a friend of the pod and one of THE brightest football minds out there believes that the offensive system the Ducks ran last year wasn’t designed to feature some of the main components of Herbert’s athletic toolkit. If Herbert can land in the right place, do you think there’s a good chance we could see the progress most wanted last season during his rookie season? 4. Jordan Love is arguably the biggest wild card in this QB class. He may have the highest ceiling of any QB’s, yet he may have the lowest floor as well. In 2018, he had a 32-6 TD/INT ratio. Yet in 2019, that ratio drastically fell to 20/17. What factors do you think were mostly to blame for his regression last year? Did you initially think he should have stayed in college and transferred to a larger program? 5. Since Jalen Hurts is not the athletic freak Lamar Jackson is and is WAY behind as a passer than Jackson was coming out of school, some scouts anonymously told reporters that they want him to switch to running back in order to succeed at the pro level. Do you think Hurts has a future under center in the NFL? 6. Another QB that slid down draft boards during the 2019 season was Georgia’s Jake Fromm. With a downgraded supporting cast in the passing game, Fromm’s limitations (lack of size and desired arm talent) were brought to light more than ever last year. However, many believe teams will still want him because of his football intelligence and his ability to do most of the basic things right. Do you think Fromm can turn into another Kirk Cousins if he lands in the right situation? 7. Best Team Fits -Burrow: Bengals -Tua: Dolphins -Herbert: Chargers -Love: Colts, Bucs -Hurts: Chargers, Raiders, Bucs -Fromm: Patriots, Colts -Eason: Bucs, Titans
1. Last night, Adam Schefter and Dianna Russini reported that despite a unamious recommendation from GM’s to delay the draft due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the NFL held firm in its plans to hold the draft April 23-25 as originally scheduled. One of the main concerns GM’s had was the disadvantage of some teams in areas that are currently hotbeds for Covid-19 (i.e.: NY/NJ area) having to draft from home with others still being able to use their team facilities. That said, the league is also ordering all team facilities to be closed from tonight through April 8 at the very least, which could signal that all 32 clubs might have to conduct the draft from home. Do you think that’s the case? If yes, would you say the draft occurs as scheduled and if not, how much does that increase the odds of the draft being pushed back? 2. As you and others have reported recently, arguably the biggest prospect whose stock is in limbo due to Covid-19 is Tua Tagovailoa. Since there will be no med re-checks, many QB-needy teams might have additional pause about drafting him. Should the Dolphins opt to select Justin Herbert instead and the Chargers decide to take an OT at 6 overall, how far can you see Tua falling? 3. There is expected to be a lot of wheeling and dealing early and often in this draft. As of January, the consensus belief was that Joe Burrow and Chase Young would go first and second overall, respectively, and the draft would essentially begin at #3 overall with the Lions likely trading down. However, there was buzz coming out of the Combine that the Redskins may move down from two and there’s even some chatter that the Bengals may even trade down from one overall in a blockbuster deal with the Dolphins. Do you still believe the Lions are the most likely of those three teams to trade down or is that buzz surrounding Cincinnati and Washington real? 4. Another spot in the draft where things can get really wild, as Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff hinted weeks ago in a radio interview, is around the range from picks 9-11 to picks 20-22. A big reason why? Wide receivers. Although this is arguably the deepest, most talented WR class in years, there is a pretty sizeable drop-off in terms of tiers from the top three WR prospects: Henry Ruggs, Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb. The Jaguars at nine and the Jets at 11 have been mentioned as trade back candidates given the alarming holes all over their respective rosters, and the Browns at 10, since they are back to a more analytics-driven approach, have been mentioned as a possible candidate to trade back as well. And look at the amount of WR-needy teams picking behind the Jets: the Raiders (12, 19), 49ers (13), Broncos (15), Eagles (21), and the Vikings (22, 25). Out of the three trade back candidates (JAX, CLE, NYJ), which one do you see as most likely to move back and which of those teams urgently in need of immediate WR help do you see as their most likely trading partner? 5. LISTENER QUESTION: What should the Packers game plan be for the draft? 6. LISTENER QUESTION:  What do you think the Bears to do with their two second-round picks?
1. Amidst an atmosphere of economic uncertainty for the NFL and the country in general due to Covid-19, NFL owners and 51% of dues-paying players breathed a sigh of relief a little over a week ago as the NFLPA ratified the new CBA, albeit by a very narrow 60-vote margin. Matt and I are ardent critics of this deal, but now that it’s done, what does the NFLPA have to do next? 2. The New League Year began with a flurry of trades beginning with the Houston Texans trading DeAndre Hopkins and a 2020 fourth-rounder to the Cardinals for a 2020 second-rounder and a 2021 fourth-rounder. Do you ever remember such a big trade being more one-sided than this one? If you’re Deshaun Watson, do you tell the McNair family that either Bill O’Brien leaves or I leave? 3. Another big blockbuster trade that occurred involved your San Francisco 49ers as they traded Pro Bowl DT DeForest Buckner to the Colts for Indy’s 2020 first-round pick at 13 overall. Buckner also got a mega-contract extension from the Colts that will average $21 million per year, making him the second-highest paid DT in the game. Is Buckner worth that amount of money for the Colts, and do you think he and Philip Rivers give them a good shot at potentially winning the AFC South? As far as the 49ers are concerned, I think they have their eyes on five prospects at 13 overall, DT’s Derrick Brown and Javon Kinlaw, and the top three WR’s in the draft (Ruggs, Jeudy, Lamb). Would you be surprised if the Niners go with any of these five, should they be available? Should the Niners consider trading down from 13, if they think it will net them better picks than trading down from 31 will? 4. What are your thoughts on Tom Brady’s fit with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Do you trust Bruce Arians to adapt his offense for Brady? Should the Bucs be considered either favorites or co-favorites in the NFC South as of now? 5. Best fits for QB’s still without work or on the trade block -Jameis Winston: Chargers -Andy Dalton: Patriots -Cam Newton: Steelers? 6. FA Absolutes -Team with the best free agency period? Cardinals -Team with the worst free agency period? Texans -Best signing? Melvin Gordon to Broncos -Worst signing? Tom Brady -Biggest steal? (whether via trade or signing): 
1. Tristan Wirfs is an EXTREMELY athletic, versatile lineman from Iowa, which is arguably college football’s main offensive line factory for the NFL. He has experience at both left and right tackle, and many also believe he has the skill-set to be a good guard as well. Also, he delivered an historic performance in the vertical jump and broad jump. In your view (and your Hawkeye bias aside), what makes Tristan Wirfs the best OL prospect in this draft class? 2. The other prospect neck-and-neck with Wirfs to be the first OT off the board is Mekhi Becton of Louisville. A mountain of a man at 364 pounds, he moves incredibly light on his feet and ran a jaw-dropping 5.10 40 at the Combine. Why do you think many analysts and teams view Becton as the best OL in this class? 3. Alabama’s Jedrick Wills rounds out the first tier of offensive tackles. However, there were rumors coming out of the Combine that his stock may be falling a bit. Tony Pauline, respected draft analyst and NFL insider, reported that teams think Wills isn’t quick enough to process more complex blocking schemes and projects far better at guard than at tackle. Do you think he’d be a better guard? 4. Georgia OT Andrew Thomas is a very interesting prospect. Entering the fall, most draftniks had him as a sure-fire, can’t miss, top-10 prospect. Now, it has been reported that his stock can vary from a top-15 pick, to a late first-round pick. Why do you and many others think that Thomas isn’t in the same tier as Wirfs, Becton and Wills? Can he play guard? 5. One of THE biggest winners at the Combine was Boise State OT Ezra Cleveland. He finished best among OL in the three-cone and 20-yard shuttle, and he also finished in the top-five amongst OL in the bench press and 40. But in as early as late December or early January, Tony Pauline was reporting several around the league believed that Cleveland could go in the first round. Based on what you’ve seen on his game tape so far, do you think that such beliefs are justified? 6. While this interior OL class is relatively unspectacular, there are two REALLY good center prospects in this year’s class: Michigan’s Cesar Ruiz and LSU’s Lloyd Cushenberry III. Many project the two to be selected in the top-50. Give us your impression of both and where/why you currently rank them on your board. 7. Buy Or Sell: Josh Jones, Lucas Niang, Austin Jackson, Isaiah Wilson, Matt Peart, Colton McKivitz, Damien Lewis, Ben Bartch, Robert Hunt, Matt Hennessy, Keith Ismael, Michael Onwenu 8. Best Team Fits -Wirfs: -Becton: -Wills: -Thomas: -Jones: -Niang: -Ruiz: -Wilson:
1. Yesterday morning, lawyers from the NFL and NFLPA completed the 456-page document of the proposed CBA, and shortly thereafter, the full populace of players began a week-long vote on the proposal. The deal, if ratified, will bring uninterrupted labor peace all the way through the 2030 season, expand the regular season from 16 to 17 games by as early as 2021, expand the playoff picture from 12-14 teams, raise minimum salaries, and strip Roger Goodell of most of the disciplinary powers that he has under the current CBA. While that may sound good on the surface to some, it is obviously way more complicated than that. And those of you who have been listening to the pod and reading my tweets and Facebook posts in recent weeks know very well that I firmly believe the players did NOT receive enough in return for a 17th game. What are your thoughts on this proposed CBA, Hal? Do you buy the argument that if the players reject this deal that the overall pie will shrink in a year or two leading to a substantially worse offer? 2. Even with most league business currently on hold until the CBA vote ends at 11:59 PM ET on March 12, two trades went down this week. First, the Jaguars traded CB A.J. Bouye to the Denver Broncos for a fourth-round pick, which means nearly all of that star-laden 2017 Jaguars defense is no longer in Jacksonville. Next, the Carolina Panthers traded Pro Bowl guard Trai Turner to the Chargers for LT Russell Okung. It is clear both the Jaguars and Panthers are having a fire sale and will treat 2020 as a rebuilding year. Which of those teams do you think is trying harder to tank for Trevor Lawrence like the Dolphins supposedly did for Tua last year? 3. Tag and Trade…or Tag and Keep? -Yannick Ngakoue -Chris Jones -Shaquil Barrett -Matt Judon -Arik Armstead  4. Biggest Combine Takeaways -Me: Henry Ruggs will be WR1, Justin Jefferson and Denzel Mims now at the top of the second tier of WR’s. Combine format will have to be changed back to the previous one where workouts and drills occurred early in the morning as opposed to mid-to-late afternoon/evening. -Hal: More and more amazing athletes are coming into the NFL 5. Word out of New England is that Patriots owner Robert Kraft is fiercely trying to convince Bill Belichick to keep Tom Brady regardless of the cost whereas Belichick is indifferent. Bob Kraft has rarely, if ever, undercut a decision made by Bill Belichick. How good of a chance is there that Kraft will actually do so here? 6. If Tom Brady does leave New England as ESPN’s Jeff Darlington anticipates, would the Titans or the 49ers make more sense for him? 7. Ideal landing spots for the following (non-QB) free agents: -Byron Jones: Eagles -Chris Harris, Jr.: Lions, Titans -D.J. Reader: Dolphins -Jadeveon Clowney: Colts -Cory Littleton: Broncos, Jets, Raiders -Anthony Harris: Dolphins, Raiders -Joe Thuney: Jets, Lions -Jack Conklin: Browns -Robby Anderson: Jets, Raiders, Patriots -Austin Hooper: Packers, Patriots, Texans, Steelers
1. Yesterday, the Broncos traded the 4th-round pick they acquired from the 49ers in the Emmanuel Sanders trade to the Jaguars for CB A.J. Bouye. It was a move that makes sense on the surface given that Bouye likely would’ve commanded a higher salary if he was released plus the fact Chris Harris, Jr. is likely headed elsewhere in free agency. What are your thoughts on this trade and based on what you’ve seen on film so far, how much does Bouye bring to the Broncos secondary?  2. Of all the Broncos in-house free agents, retaining All Pro S Justin Simmons is the team’s top priority. All signs point to him getting the franchise tag by the March 12 deadline next week. That said, every player who’s received the tag under John Elway’s stewardship of the front office eventually ended up getting a long-term deal. Do you anticipate a similar outcome with Simmons or do you have a feeling this case could be different? 3. Some other notable Broncos coming out of contract include Derek Wolfe, Shelby Harris, and Will Parks. Which one of those three SHOULD the Broncos re-sign, in your view?   4. What outside free agents do you anticipate the Broncos signing? 5. Aside from the A.J. Bouye trade, the biggest move the Broncos have made so far this offseason was parting ways with OC Rich Scangarello and hiring former Giants HC Pat Shurmur in his place. You seemed initially skeptical about this hire, and while caution is recommended since nothing is a guarantee to work out, are there any legitimate reasons to believe Shurmur could very well be the guy to develop Drew Lock into a legit starter and make this Broncos offense into a much more fearsome unit? 6. Which player do you think will have the biggest leap under Pat Shurmur? 7. Broncos 7-Round Mock Draft -(15): Henry Ruggs -(46): Denzel Mims -(77): Ezra Cleveland -(83): Darnay Holmes -(95): Akeem Davis-Gaither -(108): Damien Lewis -(161): Terrell Burgess -(214): Darius Anderson
1. Earlier this week, Benjamin Allbright (Pro Football Network) reported that the Bears are looking at veteran QB options. While Trubisky is still going to get a shot to prove he’s the guy, his leash will be VERY short like Marcus Mariota’s was last season. He also noted that if the Raiders were to trade or release Derek Carr ($21.5M cap hit, $7.9M in dead money), they’d be interested. And another name he mentioned that the Bears are discussing is Andy Dalton. The Bears salary cap issues aside, which one of those two QB’s would be the best get for the Bears and why? 2. In order to get those QB’s, the Bears will likely need to free up more salary cap space. While they did just that yesterday by releasing Taylor Gabriel and Prince Amukamara, that only puts the Bears at an estimated $18M and change under the cap according to OverTheCap.com. Two other such moves that will net them more cap space are Leonard Floyd ($13.222M savings, $0 dead), Akiem Hicks ($8.8M savings, $3M dead). Do you see the Bears releasing one of those two players?  3. Another way they could potentially free up more cap space is with a contract extension for WR Allen Robinson, who is slated to count $15M against the cap this year. How realistic is it that a new contract (with a lower 2020 cap number) will be in place for ARob before the season? 4. The Bears made some coaching changes, particularly on the offensive staff. They fired OC Mark Helfrich and replaced him with former Dolphins and Bengals OC Bill Lazor. What potential upgrades over Helfrich does Lazor bring? 5. Another one of those coaching moves was puzzling to me was the firing of OL coach Harry Hiestand. Hiestand, to me, is a top-five OL coach in football at all levels. What did you feel about Hiestand’s dismissal? 6. What free agents do you see the Bears signing? 7. Bears 7-Round Mock Draft -(43): Julian Okwara -(50): Brycen Hopkins -(145): Devin Duvernay -(176): Antoine Brooks, Jr. -(180): Darryl Williams -(203): Salvon Ahmed -(210): Kindle Vildor
1. Today, the NFL owners approved the terms of a potential new Collective Bargaining Agreement and the NFLPA will discuss those terms and perhaps vote on a conference call tomorrow. The terms of the deal include the expansion of the regular season from 16 games to 17 games (along with reducing the preseason by one game) and the expansion of the playoffs from 12 teams to 14 teams (seven per conference). As bargaining chips, the owners have increased the player’s share of revenue from 47% to 48.5% (which could go up to 49% with new TV $$), raised minimum salaries across the board, COMPLETELY took away the “judge/jury/executioner” role from Roger Goodell with the exception of matters concerning the “integrity of the game”, and put in more safety measures, particularly in training camp practices. Still, if I was a player, I’m not sure this would be enough for me to approve the proposal currently on the table. I said previously that unless I got SIGNIFICANT concessions such as receiving 50%+ of total revenue, an extra bye week during the regular season, and SIGNIFICANTLY improved health care and pensions for retirees, I wouldn’t sign off on a 17th game. What do you think? 2. Another one of many items that can derail this deal from getting done by the start of the new league year on March 18 is that players who have negotiated contracts based on a 16-game season would have their 17th game check capped at $250K as NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported. Granted, that reportedly only affects players making an average annual salary higher $4.25 million, which is like eight out of 1900 players if the 17-game season went into effect in 2021. Why would the majority of players benefit even more if those at the top were able to make far more money in a 17th game? 3. If there is no new CBA by March 2021, and the NFL decides not to lock out, do you strike if you’re the players? 4. LET’S PLAY TAG!!! -Cowboys (Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Byron Jones) -Franchise Tag: Dak Prescott, Transition Tag: Byron Jones -Buccaneers (Jameis Winston, Shaq Barrett) -Franchise Tag: Shaq Barrett, Transition Tag: Jameis Winston -Titans (Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry) -Franchise Tag: Derrick Henry, -Transition Tag:  5. Which of these three teams would be the BEST possible fit for Tom Brady should he leave the Patriots: Titans, Raiders, Chargers 6. Ideal landing spots for QB’s on the move…or possibly on the move -Teddy Bridgewater: Patriots -Taysom Hill (RFA): DON’T TOUCH…or Ravens???? -Philip Rivers: Colts -Jameis Winston: Bears -Derek Carr: Patriots?? Titans?? -Ryan Tannehill: Bears, Raiders -Andy Dalton: Dolphins as backup -Marcus Mariota: Ravens, Bills, or Seahawks -Jacoby Brissett: Stay with Colts
1. CeeDee Lamb is usually mentioned in the same breath as Jerry Jeudy as a serious candidate to be the first WR taken off the board. However, the expectation is that Lamb will run in the 4.5s in the 40 yard dash. While I constantly, passionately stress that 40 time isn’t the end all, be all for WR’s, the NFL has a history of letting uber-talented receivers who post such a result slide much farther than they should. A notable recent example of that is Michael Thomas, who is now arguably the best WR in the NFL. Based on the tape alone, do you think Lamb is worthy of a top-10 selection? 2. The WR that’s likely to generate the most buzz in Indy is Henry Ruggs. Many believe he will break the record for fastest 40 time ever recorded at the Combine, which was recently set by John Ross three years ago. Ross ended up being the ninth overall pick in the 2017 draft. Do you think Ruggs is a better prospect? If so, what makes him so and do you think his film alone should put him in the conversation along with Lamb and Jeudy to be the first WR off the board? 3. Another speedy receiver with a chance to skyrocket up boards with a good showing in Indy is TCU’s Jaelen Reagor. Many on Draft Twitter are enamored with his skillset, but several other respected analysts are not as high on him. What were your major takeaways from Reagor’s tape and do you think he can be a top-25 or top-15 pick if he does well for the remainder of the draft process? 4. This is one of the better OT classes we have seen in quite some time. There could very well be five OT’s selected in the first round, if not more. But there are some interesting questions surrounding two of the top five prospects; Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs and Georgia’s Andrew Thomas. Reportedly, many around the league believe both of them are better fits inside at guard (Wirfs due to length and Thomas due to play-style). Do you share those views? 5. Another position group with some incredible depth in this 2020 draft class is corner. The headliner of the class is obviously Jeffrey Okudah, who is a borderline lock to go top-five. But after him, it’s a bit of a mystery. Which corners do you think have the most convincing case to be the second CB taken off the board? 6. We were down in Mobile for the Senior Bowl last month, and arguably the biggest star down there was South Carolina DT Javon Kinlaw. I heard from a credible source down there that scouts around the league have near-identical grades on him and Auburn DT Derrick Brown, another blue chip prospect. If he tests as well as expected in Indy, do you think he deserves to be drafted before Brown? 7. Another star player we saw down in Mobile was safety Kyle Dugger from Lenoir Rhyne. Last week, Matt Miller, the lead NFL Draft analyst from Bleacher Report reported that some scouts think Dugger is a better prospect than LSU’s Grant Delpit. What are your thoughts on Dugger and how high do you think he can be drafted? 8. Name some under-the-radar prospects who you believe have the potential to dramatically increase their stock at the combine 
We kick off our 2020 NFL Draft Coverage with a special interview with Nick Gauna, who was a placekicker on the 2015-16 University of Alabama National Championship football team!! He discussed how his inspiring journey led him to Tuscaloosa, his experience playing for Nick Saban, and shared his thoughts on the top prospects the Crimson Tide have in the 2020 NFL Draft
1. Initial thoughts on Super Bowl LIV Me:  -Opposite styles attract!    Hal: Both teams have good offensive lines, especially at OT…and good DL too 2. Truth/Exaggeration -The 49ers ground game will be even more difficult for the Chiefs to stop than that of the Titans -The Chiefs wide receivers against the Niners DB’s is the biggest mismatch in favor of the Chiefs -Jimmy Garoppolo will have to throw for at least 250+ yards and 2 TD’s for the Niners to win -The Chiefs will have to allow less than 150 rushing yards for them to win -The 49ers will start the game throwing it over the yard with the Chiefs anticipating the run -Andy Reid should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day REGARDLESS of Sunday’s outcome -A Niners win means that Kyle Shanahan’s father Mike will be enshrined in Canton within the next five years 3. David and Hal’s picks of the Modern Era Finalists for the Pro Football HOF Class of 2020 -Troy Polamalu, Steve Atwater, John Lynch, LeRoy Butler, Edgerrin James, Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, Reggie Wayne, Tony Boselli, Alan Faneca, Steve Hutchinson, Richard Seymour, Bryant Young, Sam Mills, Zach Thomas  4. 2019 NFL Awards AWARD DAVID’S CHOICE HAL’S CHOICE MVP Lamar Jackson Lamar Jackson Offensive POY Michael Thomas Christian McCaffrey Defensive POY Shaq Barrett Stephon Gilmore Offensive ROY Josh Jacobs Josh Jacobs Defensive ROY Nick Bosa Nick Bosa Comeback POY Ryan Tannehill Dalvin Cook Fantasy POY Christian McCaffrey Christian McCaffrey Breakout POY Courtland Sutton Shaq Barrett Most Improved POY Davante Parker Josh Allen Coach of the Year Kyle Shanahan Mike Vrabel Assistant Coach of the Year Greg Roman Dante Scarnecchia 5. Super Bowl LIV Analysis and Game Predictions -Key matchups: Nick Bosa vs. Eric Fisher, DeForest Buckner vs. Stefan Wisniewski -Rank these four potential deciding factors in order of importance for this game: Average starting field position, RZ efficiency, time of possession, turnovers -Predictions of final score, MVP, and unsung hero 6. BOLD PREDICTIONS ME: Dee Ford strip-sacks Patrick Mahomes on the final drive of the game to seal the win for the Niners HAL: Chiefs defense is going to hold the 49ers offense to 60 rushing yards or less 7. Challenge Flags ME: Jimmy G…shut the haters up and show us who you really are HAL: Patrick Mahomes…this is the year of destiny for you. SEIZE IT!!!!!
Ohio State WR KJ Hill was another player who made himself some money at the 2020 Reese's Senior Bowl. I caught up with him after the final day of practice and he talked about why Brian Hartline, his position coach in college, is such a masterful teacher, discussed the strengths of his game aside from his superb route running skills, the advice his former Buckeye teammate and current star Redskins WR Terry McLaurin is giving him as he goes through the draft process...and more!!!
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