Injury concerns aside, Price is the draft’s best center and will be a steal for the Vikings at 30th overall.

He can play alongside his former teammate Pat Elfien on the interior of the offensive line.

The Patriots need an offensive tackle to replace Nate Solder, and they might land the highest upside blocker in the draft in Williams.

Connor Williams, G/OT, Texas: A savvy protector, he could be a quick fill-in at guard with potential to be a left tackle down the road.

Derrius Guice, RB, LSU: Never afraid to take a flier when talent outweighs cost, Bill Belichick could deploy the rugged runner between the tackles while he creates mismatches for James White and Rex Burkhead elsewhere.

Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State: With no pressing needs, Philadelphia can look to create further matchup problems by grabbing Goedert, who could be difficult to defend alongside Zach Ertz and a talented group of receivers.

Once again, the road wasn’t cleared for the Capitals during the Alex Ovechkin Era. For the fourth time, and the third consecutive year, Washington will face the Penguins in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The hockey world echoed the sentiment of Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom after his team advanced past the Columbus Blue Jackets. “Here we go,” he said, “they won the Stanley Cup two years in a row. Good for them. We’re going to play in the second round against them. It’ll be fun.”

“Fun” is a relative term. Are these matchups fun for the general sports fan? Of course. It’s Sidney Crosby vs. Ovechkin, and it’s a rivalry in every sense of the term between these franchises. Is it fun for the Penguins? Sure, in the same way a swatter must feel about its relationship to a fly. Is it fun for the Capitals? No, in the same way a fly must feel about its relationship to a swatter.

The Penguins are 9-1 against the Capitals in their 10 postseason meetings. Ending Washington’s season has become just another rung on the championship ladder: Every time Pittsburgh has won the Stanley Cup, it has beaten the Capitals along the way.canucks_677

NFL Draft 2018: Coaches, executives believe Browns will pick Baker Mayfield at No. 1, report says

Baker Mayfield may not have to wait long to hear his name called at the 2018 NFL Draft.

Coaches and general managers around the league expect the Cleveland Browns to select Mayfield with the first overall pick Thursday night, according to a report from ESPN.

Browns continue to keep the decision on their No. 1 pick a secret, but there is a mounting belief from HCs and GMs around the league that Cleveland will take Baker Mayfield.

The Browns, who also hold the fourth pick, are also believed to be considering quarterbacks Josh Allen, Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen.

I didn’t get to call a South Carolina game, but Hurst jumps off the tape for me during draft preparation. He is a rare tight end who can do some damage after the catch. The dude runs angry. He also has the long frame you’re looking for, and he has shown he can make difficult catches. Andrews put up big numbers for a tight end at the college level, with 62 catches in 2017.

It’s not a great year for wide receivers from the standpoint that there’s no Julio Jones or Randy Moss — a total freak at the top of the board. But this trio shows there’s a lot of quality and production. Kirk is a smooth route runner who can separate, and that’s what you need in the slot. He caught 234 passes in three seasons. Keep an eye on Moore, who could challenge to be the top receiver taken.

Williams, 23, was the sixth overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft and has become a dependable starter. He hasn’t missed a game, starting in 47 of a possible 48 games in his three-year career. He has 178 tackles with 12 sacks.

They await the winner of Milwaukee-Boston. The Celtics lead the series 3-2.

The 76ers were buzzing once Mill’s release made headline news in the city. Rubin had organized prison trips with Embiid, Simmons and Markelle Fultz, and the rapper’s songs played in the locker room and during warmups.

Simmons called Mill’s presence “amazing.”

“Just having someone that looks out for us, all of us here, it would just mean a lot for him to be back in Philly, in the city of Philadelphia with the fans, especially with a game like that tonight,” Simmons said.

Mill breezed into the locker room about 45 minutes before tip and hugged some of the Sixers. Mill was met with a crush of media and celebrity fans as he tried to take his courtside seat. Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and retired boxing great Bernard Hopkins sat near Hart and Mill, and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf joined them in the second half. The national champion Villanova Wildcats posed for pictures with Mill in the locker room.steelers_131

Jets Engaged In Mayfield-Rosen Debate?

Less than a week remains until the rampant Jets quarterback rumor cycle will slow down, after the Kirk Cousins pursuit and the months-long prospect evaluations have kept the Big Apple’s AFC team at the center of many offseason news cycles.

New Philadelphia Phillies manager Gabe Kapler might be drawing attention for other things, but it should be noted that, entering play on April 13, his team had attempted steals on the greatest percentage of their opportunities (11.0 percent, with Baseball-Reference.com being the source for “opportunities”).

The team draws an excellent schedule for base stealing in Week 3, as Atlanta Braves starters Julio Teheran and Brandon McCarthy are well below-average at holding opposing baserunners and catcher Kurt Suzuki is below-average throwing them out, and Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli is one of the game’s worst at reining in the running game. The Phillies’ hitting matchups aren’t too shabby, either, with the Jameson Taillon game on Thursday their only truly challenging matchup.

Nick Williams, a lifetime .287/.336/.490 hitter against right-handers, who has started three straight against them, is a particularly strong play in a week facing six righty starters.

Momentum is building for former Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson to be a first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft this coming Thursday. One team that could potentially be in the market for a signal caller late in the first round are the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Especially in leagues scoring holds, keep an eye on Chris Martin. The lanky righty spent the past two seasons in Japan. So far, he has whiffed eight with just one free pass in 7 2/3 stanzas.

GS is the projected game score for the pitcher. The “*” symbol means the pitcher lacks requisite career major league data to produce an accurate rating; these are the author’s ratings.

Russell Martin (R), 23 percent, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Kansas City Royals (LHP Danny Duffy): For the second straight season, Martin is slow out of the box. However, he continues to hit out of the five-hole, much higher than most catchers. This helps keep him useful, increasing runs and RBI chances.
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Jon Gruden might be the only one more optimistic about Colin Kaepernick’s future in the NFL than his talent

Manziel, 25, who completed a workout last week during the University of San Diego Pro Day in front of several NFL teams, including the Patriots, is trying to get back into the league’s good graces after myriad off-field incidents derailed his career with the Browns in 2016 after two seasons. The Patriots have expressed interest before, having met with Manziel ahead of the 2014 draft, when he was selected 22nd overall and a fascinating Heisman Trophy winner. Now the former Aggies quarterback, who is a very different prospect than he once was, is keeping all options on the table.

“If something [with the NFL] pops up, it pops up. And if not, if I don’t get the opportunity to go back, I’m going to go play in the CFL, and things are going to be fine,” Manziel said Tuesday, via ESPN. “One way or another, one day down the line, I’ll get back to exactly where I want to be, because I’m not going to stop until I do.”

While a stint with the Patriots seems like a long shot at best, it’s not entirely implausible. With Tom Brady’s former backups Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett in San Francisco and Indianapolis, respectively, and veteran journeyman Brian Hoyer listed as second on the depth chart, bringing in a third option to ignite a backup quarterback competition may not be out of the question.

“It’s his decision, and he knows it. It wouldn’t be fair any other way,” Bündchen said.

With a “laser focus” on his NFL future, Bündchen simply wants her spouse of nine years to be happy.

“I want him to be happy. Believe me, I’ve been with him when he’s losing. Try to be with him after you have lost [Super Bowls]. I mean, I had my fair share, OK? As long as he’s happy, he’s going to be a better father, he’s going to be a better husband, and I just want him to be happy. I do have my concerns, like anyone would,” she added.

Set to share intimate details of their life together in her forthcoming book, “Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life,” the mother of two also weighed in on what a would-be conversation between Karl Lagerfeld and Brady’s tight-lipped coach, Bill Belichick, would be like.

“I think they could have an interesting conversation, because they are very intelligent people,” Bündchen said. “I would love to be at that table.”jets_117

NFL owners get ‘positive’ report on sale of Panthers headed for May conclusion

The Jets were in need of a tight end after Austin Seferian-Jenkins signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars in free agency. Seferian-Jenkins had 50 receptions for 357 yards and three touchdowns in 2017.

Before adding Walford, the only other tight ends on the Jets’ roster were Eric Tomlinson, who had eight receptions for 121 yards and a touchdown in 2017, and Jordan Leggett, who missed all of last season after suffering a knee injury in the preseason.

Walford, 26, played in 13 games last season for the Raiders, finishing with nine receptions for 80 yards. He was a bigger part of Oakland’s passing game in 2015 and ’16, finishing with 61 receptions for 788 yards and six touchdowns combined.

The Raiders selected him in the third round (68th overall) in the 2015 draft.

Due to a Lisfranc injury, Allen played in only five games and had 10 total tackles and a sack. But the former Alabama star showed us glimpses of his athleticism and plus-technique.

By Tuesday morning, Giants general manager Dave Gettleman was about as fed up with it all as he could be.

NFL Manziel throws at Texas A&M pro day The former NFL quarterback threw at Texas A&M pro day on Tuesday. CBS Sports Nowitzki plans on returning to Mavericks for 21st season Dirk Nowitzki told Marc Stein of The New York Times that he plans on returning to the Mavericks next season to play a 21st season in the NBA. Sports Illustrated 1 Cancel SETTINGS OFF HD HQ SD LO We’re sorry, but your browser does not support this video.

Sitting at No. 11, the Dolphins aren’t in great position to move up. They have Ryan Tannehill for at least one more year, and if that doesn’t go well. they could end up with a long-term need at the position. But for now, let’s look at the Dolphins as a team that becomes interested if someone like a Baker Mayfield or a Josh Rosen starts to tumble out of that top five or six range, and the move-up price isn’t as steep as it would be to get Miami from No. 11 to No. 2.

Work with me here a second. There’s only one spot the Giants could move up into, and it’s the No. 1 spot. This would be somewhat similar to the move the Bears made last year to get from No. 3 to No. 2, and the Giants would need a specific motivation to do it. In this imaginary scenario, let’s say the Giants like Sam Darnold the best of all the available quarterbacks, and that the Browns are planning to take someone else, like Josh Allen. patriots_085

The Jaguars will need their entire offense to step up if they hope to pull off an upset on the road.

There’s still a chance Roethlisberger calls it a career following the team’s postseason run, but he gave Steelers fans some hope that he’ll be around a little while longer.

Jacksonville can’t rely solely on its defense against the Steelers, but the Jags have a lot of issues to address on offense:

In fact, the last two weeks have been the Jaguars lowest offensive outputs the entire season. That’s not really how you want to be rolling into the second round of the playoffs, but here we are. It’s a hard issue to pin down, because it’s not entirely on one specific thing causing the issues.

Jay Cutler, quarterback, Miami. Not that this game in Buffalo was a gimme for the Dolphins, but the way Cutler cavalierly threw it away (no pun intended) was notable. After Miami recovered an onside kick with 39 seconds left, down 24-16, Cutler, at his 37-yard line, saw some pressure on first down in the shotgun and it looked like he just threw it up for grabs down the right sideline. It went right into the hands of rookie corner Tre’Davious White. This is what you got for your $10 million relief quarterback on Sunday, Dolfans: no touchdowns, three picks, a 24-16 loss.

He was in attendance on Monday night for the game, and he was on the field for the national anthem before kickoff. He left at halftime though, when Georgia was up, 13-0.

Monday’s championship gave Alabama its fifth national championship since Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa in 2007, and he tied Bear Bryant’s AP titles record with the victory.

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” was the plaintive wail out of Steelers coach Mike Tomlin’s mouth, captured by a CBS camera when the Patriots drove their annual stake through this franchise’s heart on Sunday night.

I can just imagine the same kind of emotion, at just about the same time, 450 miles south, in Charlotte. Twenty-eight minutes after the end of Patriots 27, Steelers 24, in a statement that reverberated from the Carolinas to the NFL’s Park Avenue offices, the founder and owner of the Carolina Panthers announced in a blithe statement that he would be selling the team. Probably the best move. blues_1067

The first half was pretty much a worst-case scenario for Washington.

The Dallas Cowboys ended their three-game losing streak in decisive fashion with a 38-14 win over Washington, moving back to .500 and keeping their faint playoff hopes alive. The Philadelphia Eagles will also have to wait to pop the champagne — a Washington victory would’ve clinched the NFC East title for Philly. Washington has now lost five of its last seven games.

Veteran Tramaine is the only cornerback who has started every game for the 49ers this .I’m a big fan of rest as a weapon, explained Boucher.It wouldn’t be hard to find a space for the smaller, slighter to play off Landon Collins’s bruising style the back- has settled quickly on Oakland defense that has demanded plenty of its safeties far.He also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree History and Relations from Brown University.Bon Homme Scotland had a pair of champions route to their eighth place finish with 89 points.his rookie , he played ten games, recording 15 tackles as a backup to then-starting safety .Powell should have a third-down role but is unlikely to enough snaps to be useful.

Oooowwweee… Garrett about Dak “He made some decisions tonight that hurt us.” Wow. I didn’t see it as that as much as the LT sucked again, passes were dropped, and no one else on offense helped very much.

But coach Jason Garrett has to better address the offensive line’s struggles by adjusting his scheme, more chip blocks, etc. The receivers have to play better too.

Dak Prescott: “I think big picture. Coach Garrett couldn’t have put it in better words, giving us our options from 11-5 all the way down to 5-11. It’s up to us to figure out what we want to do. It’s about coming in and getting back to work. We’re going to do that tomorrow.”
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Bengals got away with tripping J.J. Watt at the end of the first half

The Cincinnati Bengals are facing one of the better defenses in the NFL in the Houston Texans — that includes studs like J.J. Watt.

Late in the first half, Bengals offensive lineman Jake Fisher tripped Watt after getting beat by him to block him from Andy Dalton.

That’s not legal, but no penalty was called on the play. Fisher and the Bengals should have been penalized 10 yards for the infraction. Instead, the Bengals got a field goal to cut their deficit to 10-6 going into halftime.

If you’re going to get away with that type of stuff, you might as well try it against this particular defensive line. It wreaks havoc on NFL quarterbacks.

“However, in the Commissioner’s judgment, there has been no persuasive evidence presented on your behalf with respect to how (the accuser’s) obvious injuries were incurred other than conjecture based on the presence of some of her bruising, which pre-dates your arrival in Columbus on July 16, 2016,” the letter read.

In another incident reviewed by the NFL, Elliott was caught on video lifting up a woman’s top in public at a St. Patrick’s Day parade. Elliott was not charged or arrested, and the league said it wasn’t a factor in Elliott’s suspension. The NFL did, however, say in its letter to Elliott that the behavior was “inappropriate and disturbing, and reflected a lack of respect for women.”

Elliott’s accuser also filed an incident report against Elliott for simple battery with the Aventura (Fla.) Police Department in Feb. 2016. That case was suspended, and Elliott was not charged. The league did not consider that case in its investigation because it happened before he was in the NFL.

Why did Elliott get a six-game suspension when other players didn’t?
Six games is the baseline punishment for first-time offenders who commit domestic violence. This standard was established after the league botched its handling of the Rice situation.
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I think he’s the best man, the best qualified person.

During a Thursday radio appearance on WABC’s (New York) “The Bernie and Sid Show,” Ditka was asked by hosts Bernard McGirk and Sid Rosenberg about the “crusade” by some sports journalists at Super Bowl 51 to make the Patriots quarterback “denounce” his longtime-friend Trump.

“These people are — can I say this — a—holes,” Ditka said.

People having different opinions is what makes America great, according to Da Coach. The Super Bowl-winning leader of the 1985 Bears again professed his support for The Donald.

“I like Donald Trump. I think he’s the best man, the best qualified person. I think he’ll do a great job for Americans. There’s a lot of people out there who don’t think that. But we’ll have to wait and see. Let him do his job first,” Ditka said. “If he can possibly screw it up nearly half as much as Obama, I’ll be surprised.”

Sure, it’s tough to call plays when the whole world is watching, and the team is trying desperately to run out the clock and win its first Super Bowl, but that is no excuse for some of the decisions made by the Falcons’ coaching staff while the Patriots were bearing down on them late in the game.

Atlanta’s first bad play was on a third and one on their own 36-yard line with 8:31 left on the clock. Instead of running, Ryan dropped back and was sacked, which led to a Patriots touchdown and two-point conversion.

The very next drive, the Falcons were faced with a third and 23 after another Ryan sack, this time in New England territory and field goal range. Instead of running, again, Atlanta dropped back for a pass and committed a penalty — though they did miss a New England facemask — thus knocking itself out of field goal range. Atlanta punted that possession, which allowed the Patriots an opportunity to drive down the field and force overtime.texans_084

That did not stop the Bengals from choosing him in the second round.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported only four teams in the entire league even entertained the possibility of selecting Mixon given his plea deal following an incident in which video shows him striking a female Oklahoma student in the face. The video of that circumstance became public in February. The NFL subsequently chose not to invite Mixon to the Combine.

That did not stop the Bengals from choosing him in the second round.

“In making our decision, we took a risk,” Brown wrote in an op-ed piece published Friday in the Cincinnati Enquirer. “In this case, the risk has an upside as well as a downside.”

What Brown fails to acknowledge is his gambles on the upside so commonly lead to the downside.

There were moments before that Bengals-Steelers playoff game when Brown’s misunderstanding of team dynamics took their toll on his organization.

The Ole Miss tackle didn’t have the steepest fall, just the most dramatic, downright cinematic — and that’s not a metaphor. It was a Twitter video of him inhaling marijuana, surfacing minutes before the draft, that scared teams off of him until the Dolphins grabbed him. Before the flurry of quarterback-focused trades, he was the consensus No. 1 pick.

Jack, the UCLA linebacker with the otherworldly skills and the incredibly suspect knee, was bypassed in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, even though he was one of the highest-rated players available. His freefall ended in Jacksonville at No. 36.nike_cardinals_314