4 NFL undrafted free agents to get excited about in 2017

Joe Maddon Authentic Jersey The end of the NFL draft means the start of undrafted free agency, and dozens of players have found professional homes in the hours after not getting picked.

Your team probably will not sign the next Kurt Warner or Wes Welker or Chris Harris Jr. during this period. All-Pro-caliber UDFAs come along only rarely. But solid-contributor UDFAs come around all the time; it’s just a matter of finding them.

Womens Luke Bowanko Jersey You could say you called this is in advance, but not many people would think this four-five series matchup would be far and away the best of the first round. It’s been a series filled with early drama. Rudy Gobert is back but not after going down within the first 20 seconds of Game 1. The Clippers have lost Blake Griffin for the rest of the playoffs. And in Game 4, Gordon Hayward was suffering from food poisoning and had to leave at half time. It’s been an odd yet exciting series and Game 5 was no different.

Game 5 concluded with the Jazz taking a 3-2 lead in the series in a 96-92 win, and even the low scoring game wouldn’t conclude before Joe Johnson had a dagger shot and Chris Paul hit a ridiculous three to keep things interesting anyway. Johnson has been a revelation in this series, the exact type of timely veteran scorer (and seven-time all-star, have you heard!?) the Jazz needed on a roster steeped with defense but sometimes lacking battle-hardened contributors on the other end.
It seems like the Jazz will have a great chance to close out this series when they return home for Game 6 on Friday. But it also feels too soon to count out the magician that is Paul. Don’t be shocked if this series goes seven games.

Kawhi Leonard played one of the best games of the season to carry Spurs in Game 2

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The San Antonio Spurs knew they had to play much, much better in Game 2. The Houston Rockets had blown them out in Game 1, embarrassing them on their home court, and the Spurs needed to be significantly better.

Authentic Sen’Derrick Marks Jersey Leonard is that good. In these playoffs, he has validated anyone who decided to vote for him over frontrunner and Mr. Triple-Double Russell Westbrook, as well as the potential runner-up, Harden himself. You can ask him to do just about anything on the court, even if it’s beyond his power, and he’ll put his head down and comply immediately. Fortunately for San Antonio, those situations rarely ever occur, because is there anything Leonard really can’t do on a basketball floor?

San Antonio isn’t made up of bad players, by any means, but a dirty secret around the league is that the Spurs aren’t as good as we’ve perhaps made them out to be. Despite 61 wins, San Antonio has had to lean heavily on Leonard throughout the year to be the best player, lacking enough consistency around him to direct those responsibilities to anybody else.

At every stop along the way, Leonard responded positively. Now, with the season on the line and Leonard already in the midst of a career year, the Spurs are asking him to do even more. Keep scoring on offense, they tell him, while making him defend a star opponent for even longer stretches of time.

So far, it’s working perfectly.

Did Oilers’ Milan Lucic try to choke a Ducks player in Game 3?

The second-round series between the Edmonton Oilers and Anaheim Ducks finally got chippy on Sunday, but one player might’ve crossed a big line.

Oilers winger Milan Lucic had been steamed at Ducks defenders all game after some rough play. In the second period, Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm got tangled with another player and Lucic stepped in.

And it looked like he tried to choke him. Or at least thought about it for a long second.

Lucic was penalized for roughing, as was Lindholm. But you have to wonder if the NHL takes a closer look at this, or if they should. Face-washing an opponent is one thing, but clinging to a player’s throat and pinning him to the glass like that certainly signifies some sort of intent.

And Lucic’s past can’t be ignored, either. He was suspended in the 2009 playoffs for a cross-check to the head, suspended in 2012 for an illegal hit (weeks after avoiding suspension for a hit to the head on a Sabres goalie), and drew universal criticism in 2014 when a hot mic picked up a threat made to an opponent in a handshake line.

Lucic signed a massive contract with the Oilers two years ago in part due to his toughness and ability to protect star players. It’s not unreasonable to watch that clip from Game 3 and wonder if he crossed some sort of line.

As the Pacers fell out of the playoff race in late in the 2016-2017 season, Larry Bird went a did something dramatic. He brought back Lance Stephenson. And to some degree it actually worked. Stephenson brought an energy to the team that the Pacers lacked all season.nike_redskins_721

The young receiver came back for the ball with cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon draped all over him.

As a big-bodied receiver, Smith-Schuster has the strength to fend off defenders when battling for throws. Because of the 20-year-old’s size, defensive backs struggled with out-powering the USC product.

For instance, in a 21-17 win against Colorado last season. Smith-Schuster corralled a difficult 34-yard pass late in the third quarter. Quarterback Sam Darnold lined up in the shotgun, took the snap, and immediately surveyed the field. Then, he climbed up the pocket, and released the deep pass to Smith-Schuster near the sidelines.
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The young receiver came back for the ball with cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon draped all over him. Smith-Schuster caught the low pass while Witherspoon fell on him. That was not an easy reception because Smith-Schuster had to come back to the ball and fight off Witherspoon to get in position to make the catch.

The USC product can play when the ball is in the air and has the size to lineup on the perimeter.

Now, the Minnesota Vikings are hoping he can live up to the lofty standard he set with the Seminoles and emerge as the top tailback in a stacked class.
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The 5’10, 209-pound runner doesn’t have the bulk of Leonard Fournette or the versatility of Christian McCaffrey. Instead, he’s got a foundation of success and a track record of blowing away even the highest expectations, and the Vikings will hope he fills the hole left by the departure of Adrian Peterson.

Cook was a 1,000-yard rusher as a freshman at FSU and then increased his production even more, with back-to-back seasons with 19 touchdowns and at least 1,600 rushing yards, eventually breaking Warrick Dunn’s school career rushing record.

Conley released a statement about the allegations

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The woman went to a local hospital for evaluation, and declined to speak to police afterward. An attorney representing the alleged victim, Patrick Thomas, spoke to Cleveland.com on her behalf.

As you can imagine, any victim, any woman that has to endure a sexual assault, so it’s been a very difficult few weeks at this point, Thomas said. It has been even more difficult with the media coverage.

Conley released a statement about the allegations. This game, which the wide receiver finished with seven catches for 143 yards, shows Dupre has a huge catching radius. Standing at 6’3, the LSU product’s size will give his new QB a big target. Dupre’s height and outstanding leaping ability — he reached 39.5 inches at the Combine — provides an advantage in battling for 50-50 balls as well.

Carlos Ruiz Authentic Jersey Indeed, the quarterback play at LSU is one of the reasons why Dupre doesn’t have eye-popping stats. Then again, some of the fault lies at his feet.

While Dupre is plenty athletic — he ran a 4.52 40 at the Combine — he struggles with making contested catches in tight spaces. In the NFL, he won’t be able to race past defenders with ease; there’s nothing but tight spaces, so he’ll have to use his size to shield defenders and corral passes.

Speaking of Dupre’s size, he consistently struggled with getting off press coverage, a type of coverage he’ll see a lot at the next level. While he has the height and athleticism to thrive at receiver, he needs to bulk up and gain strength. Dupre only weighs 196 pounds.

He also struggled as a run blocker, although he was given plenty of chances to ply his craft, given the LSU coaching staff’s inclination to feed Leonard Fournette.

Browns trade up to get back into first round of NFL draft to select David Njoku

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The Cleveland Browns keep it moving on this first night of the NFL draft, trading with the Packers to move back into the first round. With the selection they took David Njoku, a tight end out of Miami.

In the trade, the Browns give the Packers their No. 33 and No. 108 picks for the 29th pick in the draft.
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Njoku played wide receiver in high school, and was also a national high jump champion. When he arrived at Miami, he switched over to tight end. He had a limited role, but was a big piece of the Hurricanes red zone offense.

Foster was at his draft party, which was sponsored by Vapor Fi, a vape company. The Saints were actually talking to Fosters girlfriend, a Baton Rouge native, when the call from the 49ers came through.

So I had clicked over,Foster said. I picked it up. I said, Hello? while the Saints were still on the line.

Foster said he wanted to be a 49er, but San Francisco had the 34th pick.

I told John Lynch that it was too late,Foster said. I said, Man, youre the 34th pick. Youre just too late. The Saints are about to get me.

Lynch wasnt willing to let that happen, and the 49ers traded up. As far as the Saints, well, they didnt hear about it from Foster.

Oh, no. I hung up,Foster said. Again, these are just a few clips. There are times when Flowers was dominant in college. Hes big, strong, and physical. Its easy to see why he was drafted so high.

Watch the front foot. At the snap, Flowers has to readjust his weight just before he starts. This tiny fraction of time isnt a big deal in college, but in the NFL, it could lead to a blown play. He punches from his shoulders and rounds his punch. He wins this rep simply because hes bigger and stronger.

He might as well prepare now for the pressure of trying to become Cleveland’s QB savior as a hometown product.

Moss quickly rewarded our faith in the form of a 17-touchdown season that earned him Offensive Rookie of the Year. He played a major role on our 15-1 team that made it to the NFC title game.

While our draft diligence led us to select Moss, there were plenty of cases in which we rejected players due to off-field concerns. NFL execs always want to improve their teams, but players with cleaner backgrounds and similar skill sets always take precedence.

One such instance, which ended up hurting our team, was the 1995 NFL Draft, when we and 10 other teams passed on Warren Sapp. A future Hall of Fame talent, Sapp had been labeled with unconfirmed-but-harmful drug rumors before the draft. Sapp fell to Tampa Bay at No. 12, right after we selected a safe player in defensive end Derrick Alexander at No. 11.

He might as well prepare now for the pressure of trying to become Cleveland’s QB savior as a hometown product. He doesn’t offer the same winning resume, flair or ceiling of other QBs in this draft, but he does a bit of everything well enough to round out nicely under Jackson.

Yes. Their two first-rounders provide a team even as needy as Cleveland with some luxury.

Really, the Browns are so needy that a unique, athletic pass-catcher would be a big difference-making security blanket for whoever ends up as their QB. So Alabama’s O.J. Howard isn’t a stretch there. If they go QB at No. 12, the Browns should then be heavily in play for someone such as Ole Miss’ Evan Engram at No. 33.

I got the name Raekwon The Chef because at one point I was in the Nation of Islam

Theres actually an easy answer to that. With 6:52 left in the fourth quarter, Green stole the ball, sprinted with it down court in traffic, and rose up for a vicious one-handed tomahawk slam … that bounced off the back iron and into the Trail Blazers hand. Theres a flaw from Greens performance in the 121-109 Game 1 win against Portland. It might have been the only one.
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Even if thats slight hyperbole, what more could you really have asked from Green on Sunday? Take his line: 19 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists, five blocks, three steals, and 6-of-9 shooting. Two more steals, and he would have recorded the 18th five-by-five — at least five of each of the five major counting stats — in NBA history. (Of the previous 17, the most recent one does belong to Green.) One more assist, and he would have added another triple-double to his ledger.
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I got the name Raekwon The Chef because at one point I was in the Nation of Islam, and I was given a name, but only the Raekwon part was suitable for the music, so that’s where I got that.

Per the Social Security Administration, about 2,000 people in the United States have been named Raekwon at birth, almost all of them in the mid-90s.

As wed noted when he was a five-star recruit in 2012, seeing sons of Jon Bon Jovi, Deion Sanders, Diddy, David Robinson, Ken Griffey, Jr., and a grandson of Jack Nicklaus head to college provided for YOU ARE OLD moments, as did seeing recruits named Shaquille and Peyton. But a player named after a rapper whod just released his fifth solo album? WE FELT SO OLD.

NFL referees wish league would stop penalizing player celebrations

Touchdown celebrations make the NFL more fun, but the league has cracked down on them. Last year, players were routinely flagged and fined for celebration dances. Referees would like the league to ease up on these penalties.

Part of the problem with the rules about celebrations is that theyre not clearly defined. Scott Green, the head of the NFL Referees Association, said on Sirius XM Radio that it would be easier for officials if they didnt have to make snap judgments about which celebrations are worthy of a penalty.
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While the Jazz stole Game 1, they will still need Gobert moving forward. Hayward may be Utahs lone All-Star, but Gobert makes the Jazz tick. He has more of an impact on both ends of the floor than any other teammate, and his rim protection (2.6 blocks per game) is the staple of one of the leagues best defenses.

Justin Tucker Youth Jersey Gobert is arguably the front-runner for the leagues Defensive Player of the Year award, and potentially losing him for the series (or longer) could crush Utahs chances at competing for a second-round playoff appearance after its most successful regular season since the Jerry Sloan era.

It is unclear on what the recovery time for Gobert will be at this time. What I can say, and what I ultimately came back to, was that Westbrooks season was definitive. Like Iverson before him, he dared to reach for the highest individual apex that we can imagine and surpassed it. Thats no disrespect to Harden, Leonard, or James. Rather, this vote honors a season that we will look back on in the years to come to marvel at its sheer audacity.

2017 college football spring game attendance rankings: The updated top 10

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The NBA’s Most Valuable Player award may be for the regular season, but if there were a trophy handed out for the first game of the Houston Rockets-Oklahoma City Thunder playoff series, James Harden would’ve decisively claimed it.

Harden had his way with a porous Thunder defense, as Houston lit up Oklahoma City, 118-87 on Sunday. The Beard was unstoppable against his former team, slicing and dicing the Thunder up for 37 points on 13-of-28 shooting. Harden rounded his night out with nine assists, seven rebounds, and three steals.

Chicago’s All-Star forward repeatedly came up huge for his team when they needed him, and he did it with one of two stalwart defenders, Avery Bradley or Jae Crowder, checking him much of the night.

When the Celtics tried to put young Jaylen Brown on Butler, he scoffed before blowing by the rookie with a dirty crossover.

Attendance figures across spring games are pretty unreliable and oftentimes intentionally shrouded in mystery as to what the attendance number actually signifies. Is it tickets sold at the box office or the turnstile count? Is it just eyeballing? Either way, spring attendance figures vary across the country.
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At this point, is still a heavy hitter or two left to go. Alabama usually packs its stadium to the gills for spring games, and you’d expect that to happen again.