Posts by Eric Edholm

  • Check out Bill Belichick, Russell Wilson creeping on Chrissy Teigen

    Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner 2 hrs ago

    So the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner was Saturday. And yes, no one is quite sure exactly what it is. It's a dinner with the president and a bunch of rich, maybe powerful people.

    Among those popular, powerful people in attendance were Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and New England Patriots, and the hilarious part — not pictured here — is that they were sitting at the same table apparently. No truth to the rumor they were led to their seats by the White House Butler. #seewhatididthere

    But what is pictured here, in the Instagram account of Belichick's girlfriend Linda Holliday, is something far more amazing, more wondrous than we ever could have hoped for. Yes, the Obama translator skit was funny. But this photo is truly the best thing to come out of the evening.

    Where to start?

    So is Wisconsin's Frank "The Tank" Kaminsky, fresh off losing to Duke in the NCAA finals. He's a college kid; he gets a pass.

    And so is Belichick, who most certainly does not. Holliday might not mind, but this might open up a new investigation into Spygate with the way Belichick is checking out her, ahem, formation.

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  • NFL position rankings: Leonard Williams by far the best interior defender

    Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner 1 day ago

    The interior group includes nose tackles and “under” tackles (or 3-techniques) in four-man fronts and defensive ends (or 5-techniques) in three-man fronts. That hopefully takes the confusion out of the difference between ends in 3-4 and 4-3 schemes, which most often are vastly different body makeups.

    And while this year’s edge-rushing class has been touted as a borderline great one, the interior talent can’t quite make that claim. There could be seven or eight players in this designation who are picked in the top 50 selections, and perhaps four or five rookie starters, but there is lacking a truly obvious game-changing talent from Day 1.

    Leonard Williams comes the closest, and he has been touted by some as the best defensive player in the draft. The USC big man has the talent to be an impact player immediately and for the long haul, but he almost certainly won’t be an interior penetrator and disruptor in the Ndamukong Suh mold, nor a edge wrecker like J.J. Watt. Williams, stout as he is, appears to fall just short of that lofty level.

    Here are our top 10 interior defensive line prospects for the 2015 NFL draft:

    OVERRATED Shelton

    SMALL-SCHOOL WONDER Derrick Lott, Tennessee-Chattanooga

  • Melvin Gordon says he's better than Todd Gurley, but nervous about going Round 1

    Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner 2 days ago

    The past two drafts have not featured a first-round back, and yet several young runners have had success right away in the NFL. The prevailing thought is that you can wait at that position and still get talent, and why invest in a position where players tend to burn out more quickly?

    But when you have special talents at the position, such as Georgia's Todd Gurley and Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon, the discussion changes. For players such as these, NFL teams might be more willing to make exceptions and break the recent trend.

    Will it happen this year? Gurley is roundly expected to go somewhere in Round 1. But what about Gordon?

    Gordon, who will be attending the draft in Chicago, spoke with 120 Sports on Friday and admitted that he's nervous about the possibility of sliding out of the first 32 picks, possibly making for a long green room stay.

    (And for the record, what was trimmed out of the video: Gordon said he wasn't sure if he planned to pack two suits for his Chicago trip.)

    For Gordon, going in the first round might mean that he helped end a draft trend.

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  • Victor Cruz aiming for '200 percent,' Week 1 return; sick of OBJ questions

    Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner 2 days ago

    The Salsa Dance is expected to return Sept. 13 in Dallas.

    That's Week 1, and that's when Victor Cruz says he'll be ready to return to action when his New York Giants go on the road to face the  Dallas Cowboys in Jerry World. Cruz is coming off a torn Achilles tendon in 2014 that put his healthy return to the field for the start of the 2015 season in doubt.

    Cruz, however, has assured his fans that he'll be back in fine fashion. And on time for the opener.

    “Absolutely, there’s not a doubt in my mind I’ll be out there playing,’’ Cruz said, via the New York Post. “Obviously it’s just a matter of getting myself back to 200 percent. As of right now there’s zero doubts in my mind I will be playing in that first game and be playing at a level I’d like to be playing at.’’

    And interesting thing happened after Cruz went down in Week 6 against the Philadelphia Eagles. That's right when Odell Beckham Jr. took the mantle — not only as the Giants' best receiver but also one of the best wideouts in the game as a rookie.

    But yes, he's excited.

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  • NFL draft: Q&A with Oregon QB Marcus Mariota

    Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner 2 days ago

    Marcus Mariota is a week away from finding out his NFL fate. He almost certainly knows he won’t go first overall to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — that’s believed to be Jameis Winston’s spot — and could find himself be taken anywhere in the next several picks, perhaps even No. 2 overall, and to a team trading up to snag him.

    But even with all the unknowns in his life, Mariota is living well. He’s back in Hawaii waiting for April 30 to hear his name called by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and get started on his NFL career.

    [All Draft News, All The Time: Follow Shutdown Draft 365 on Tumblr]

    Mariota took a few minutes to chat by phone with Shutdown Corner a week out from the biggest day of his professional life to talk about cold cuts, his draft party, the biggest misconceptions about him and plenty more.

    SDC: Are you worn out from all the interviews?

    Mariota: [laughs] No, not at all!

    SDC: You actually sound quite energetic.

    Mariota: I appreciate that.

    SDC: You decided to spend draft weekend in Hawaii with your family. Why was that so important to you?

    SDC: My wife and I want to move to Hawaii one day.

    Mariota: There you go.

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  • John Elway: Demaryius Thomas holdout has 'zero value' to getting extension

    Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner 3 days ago

    As the latter now, Elway believes that franchise-tagged wide receiver Demaryius Thomas staying away from offseason activities for now in lieu of a contract extension is a bad idea. Of course Elway does.

    "To be dead honest with you, I see absolutely zero value with him being away from here — zero value for him," Elway said at the Broncos' pre-draft press conference. "There's no value for him not to be here with his teammates, so as far as negotiations and him and a new deal and what's going on, we'd like to get something done. But by him being away from here, there is zero value not only to us, but to him. To me it makes no sense."

    How much value is that? Zero value. ("It's like how much more black can it get? And the answer is none — none more black.")

    The Broncos placed the tag on Thomas, which would guarantee him a one-year tender salary of $12.8 million for 2015, and that would be roughly what Thomas has made combined in his first five NFL seasons. No doubt it's a big raise. But NFL players seek the security — and bigger guaranteed money — of long-term contracts. 

  • Dolphins defensive lineman seeking to make extra cash as Uber driver

    Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner 3 days ago

    Your browser does not support iframes.

    If you're in South Florida, you request an Uber driver and you're getting picked up by A.J. in a Dodge Charger, you might be in for one heck of an interesting ride.

    That's because it could be the automobile of Miami Dolphins defensive lineman A.J. Francis, who is looking to supplement his income ... as an Uber driver. Pending him passing the application process, of course.

    Just applied to be an @Uber driver... I hope my background check goes well.

    An undrafted free agent from Maryland in 2013, Francis spent all last season on injured reserve and has yet to take the field in a regular-season game. His football future unknown, Francis decided to be a smart businessman.

    "It would be a cool way to get some extra cash," Francis said, via the New York Daily News.

    As the story gained legs, Francis felt compelled to explain himself.

    Eventually, he added this:

    The fact that this became a massive news story forever proves that football players aren't seen as human lol

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  • NFL position rankings: Landon Collins tops thin safety group, but how good is he?

    Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner 3 days ago

    There are few starting-caliber safeties in this draft class who fit the ideal NFL mold teams are seeking, with the ability to play in space in man and zone coverages and match up with seam-splitting tight ends, as well as coming down to help stop the run.

    They’re hard to find.

    Alabama’s Landon Collins is a former five-star prospect who appeared on the verge of stardom as a sophomore, but his game didn’t develop as expected in a good but not great junior season. Still, he declared early and likely will be rewarded for it as the first safety drafted. His combination of size, athleticism and toughness are all highly sought traits that can be used effectively on the next level.

    But he’s not a true center fielder type. The two players who fit that mold better are Arizona State’s Damarious Randall and Virginia’s Anthony Harris, who might end up being the more useful players for those skills even if Collins is the more gifted specimen.

    Rowe was a three-year safety before switching as a senior, and Rollins came off the hardwood as the RedHawks’ starting point guard for four years before a shocking seven-interception season on the football field.

    SLEEPER Tartt

    OVERRATED Holliman

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  • Report: Missouri DE Shane Ray might need surgery, could be out 5 months

    Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner 3 days ago

    Missouri pass rusher Shane Ray might need toe surgery and could be out as much as five months, writer Lance Zierlein reported Thursday morning.  That would put the start of Ray's rookie season in doubt and could make him a PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list candidate.

    Might that drop Ray, who had been talked about as a top-10 pick, from first-round consideration?

    Shutdown Corner received texts back from two teams on Ray — one was concerned, one was not. The concerned team called Ray's toe "a major concern," and the one that didn't said their team doctors thought Ray could wear an orthotic shoe to help correct the problem, which could speed up his timetable.

    Ray had a monster junior season for the Tigers, collecting 14.5 sacks and 22.5 tackles for loss in being named SEC Defensive Player of the Year. He declared early for the draft after setting the Mizzou single-season sack record but has been able to showcase his skills this offseason — including at the NFL scouting combine — because of the injury.

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  • NFL position rankings: First round looks loaded at CB, but after that …

    Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner 3 days ago

    We head into the 2015 NFL draft with teams wanting to mimic that approach, and recent history (the 2014 draft saw six corners go in the first 41 picks) suggests that they won’t last long.

    So even if you don’t believe there’s a front-line, shutdown corner in this year’s batch among Michigan State’s Trae Waynes, ex-Washington’s Marcus Peters, Wake Forest’s Kevin Johnson and others, the fact is that teams will pounce early on the top talent available. It’s a solid group at the top, but there’s a dropoff that could leave teams scrounging at the bottom of the barrel as early as the third round.

    [All Draft News, All The Time: Follow Shutdown Draft 365 on Tumblr]

    Waynes, Peters, Johnson and UConn’s Byron Jones all appear adept at press-man coverage, which make this draft unique in that regard, and LSU’s Jalen Collins — with time and patience — could be another top corner who can handle that difficult assignment with his length and athleticism.

    Here are our top 10 cornerback prospects for the 2015 NFL draft:

    SLEEPER Craig Mager, Texas State

    OVERRATED Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon

    SMALL-SCHOOL WONDER Imoan Claiborne, Northwestern State (La.)