Sports Reporter breaks down the most sought after recruits for this year's NFL Draft.
By Mark Molz
Everyone knows Trevor Lawrence is going to be the first overall pick in this year's NFL draft. He is a generational type talent that will hopefully have a transcending career at the next level.
The real excitement in this year’s draft will come in the picks that follow. With the possibility of five quarterbacks going in the top ten, this year is one of the more quarterback heavy classes in recent memory. The Jets, Forty-Niners, and Falcons hold picks two, three, and four and they all very well could take a quarterback with their respected picks.
With the trading of Sam Darnold to the Panthers, the Jets have now made it known they will be taking a quarterback with their 2nd overall pick, but the question still remains as to which quarterback they will be taking. There are four quarterbacks they will be able to choose from; Zach Wilson (BYU), Trey Lance (North Dakota State), Justin Fields (Ohio State), and Mac Jones (Alabama).
Justin Fields was the previous frontrunner to go second overall to the Jets, but as each quarterback has completed their pro day and pre draft workouts, Zach Wilson has now become the more viable option at this point in time. Wilson finished his 2020 campaign with 3,692 yards, 33 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. He took the college football world by storm and propelled himself up draft boards during the college football season and has the opportunity to be the highest drafted BYU player in the history of the program. But, although everything is leaning towards Zach Wilson, it is ultimately the Jets decision and anything can happen when it is their turn on the clock.
Meanwhile, it is up in the air with who the Forty-Niners are going to select with the third overall pick. What if the Jets decide not to take Zach Wilson? Will the Niners jump on him? Is Mac Jones better short-term or long-term? Will Justin Fields be the face of the franchise?
There are many questions to be asked and few answers for the average viewer, like many of us are. While the Niners still hold on to Jimmy Garoppolo, who led them to a super bowl just two seasons ago, it seems they are ready to draft a quarterback for their future. With Jimmy G constantly injured and missing games, I am sure Niners coach Kyle Shanahan is tired of choosing between Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard every week.
The Niners have the opportunity to shake up the whole draft depending on who they select. Many analysts believe it will be Mac Jones, who led the Alabama Crimson Tide to a National Championship in his lone year as a starter. But, there are concerns with Mac Jones and his ability to perform at the next level considering he had played a year of college football as a starting quarterback.
Others think it should be Justin Fields, whose dual-threat running and throwing game could be dominant in the NFL if put in the right system. But, conversation about Trey Lance being the Niners selection has also surfaced in analysts conversations which would make the following picks extremely interesting.
After the Niners you have the Falcons, who are struggling to stay afloat with Matt Ryan under center. With one of the best receiving duos in the league, in Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, the Falcons are also searching for a quarterback who can win and get Jones and Ridley the ball. With the fourth pick, it will be interesting to see who will still be available. All four quarterbacks have a chance to fall fourth to Falcons and if they don’t trade out their spot in the draft they will be looking to jump on the best available at that time. If I were to make an assumption, I would say the Falcons end up going with Trey Lance out of North Dakota State. He has the ability to throw the deep ball and hit his targets down the field, which is what the Falcons need.
On top of all the quarterbacks in this year's draft, the first half of the draft will be filled with offensive skill players that surely can dominate at the next level. Ja’Marr Chase (LSU), Jaylen Waddle (Alabama), Kyle Pitts (Florida), and Heisman winner DeVonta Smith (Alabama) will all be on the board and there is a strong chance they will all be gone by the tenth pick.
This class is packed with so much talent some analysts have DeVonta Smith - who is the first wide receiver to win the Heisman since Desmond Howard did it 1991- going last out of all those players. Ja’Marr Chase even sat last year's season out due to COVID-19 and has the opportunity to go in the top five.
This draft class has the opportunity to be one of the best of all time. This year's NFL draft will be one of the more exciting ones we have seen in a while. There will be trades, shocking picks, talent at every position, future NFL MVPs, and a lot of money to be made by these players. This is not one you will want to miss.
Click on the links below to check out some of the latest Mock Drafts.
With the beginning of the MLB season dive into a review of players and teams as they step up to the bat for a new season.
By Mark Molz
Major League Baseball is back and if you are a baseball junkie like myself you couldn’t be happier.
Francisco Lindor’s swag, Mike Trout’s dominance, Jacob DeGrom’s unhittable slider, and Christian Yelich’s smooth swing is everything a baseball fan can ask for. And with the return to a 162-game schedule compared to last year's 60 due to COVID-19 we are lucky to get a full year of America's Pastime.
Now a little over a week into the season, let’s take a look at some updates on both the teams and the players.
If you are a Padres fan your season is off to a rather unfortunate start. Even though the Padres are sitting second in the National League West with a 7-3 record, and with one of those games being a no-hitter thrown by Joe Musgrove, nothing can overshadow the fact star player Fernando Tatis might miss the entire season with a recent injury to his shoulder. A normal swing of the bat knocked Tatis out of the game and possibly the season and now all Padres fans can do is sit and wait until they receive more news.
Meanwhile, Francisco Lindor has truly found his new home in the Big Apple, singing a 10-year, $341 million dollar deal with his new team The Mets. Lindor is a perfect fit for New York and hopefully they will appreciate him more than the Cleveland Indians did and he will continue to play at an elite level. Met’s fans should be ecstatic about this signing as Lindor is one of the top shortstops in the game and hopes to bring his all-star caliber skills to his new city.
Red Sox Slugger Martinez is on mission to be much better than last season, and now a week into this year's schedule you could argue he has already surpassed his level of play. Coming off a shortened 60-game season where he hit a mere .213 to go along with seven homers, Martinex definitely wants to leave that season behind him. Now only 9 games into this season and he is boasting a .472 average and has already hit five home runs, which includes a three home run game against the Baltimore Orioles. There are still a lot of games left to play and it will be interesting to see if Martinez can keep his hot start going.
Another player off to a hot start is Tiger’s Rookie, Akil Baddoo. Before this season Badoo had never played a game above Single-A level and took the league by storm in the opening week of the season. In his first three games Baddoo hit a home-run in first major league at-bat, hit a grand slam, and walk-off in his third game. Baddoo is currently hitting .313 with seven RBIs, and two home runs.
Los Angeles Dodgers
It is no surprise that the Dodger’s currently boast the best record in baseball at 8-3 and are the current favorites to win this year’s World Series. If the Dodgers are able to win it all this year they will be the first team to win consecutive World Series since the 1998-99’, and 2000 New York Yankees. Their pitching rotation is filled with aces and with a line-up containing Corey Seager, Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, and more it is hard to imagine them not winning it again.
On the other hand, my Oakland Athletics are currently bottom of the barrel. Starting the season 0-6 is not where most teams would imagine themselves. Although they have currently won three of their last four games, they still sit at the bottom of the American League West with a 3-7 record. Even though they lost star closer Liam Hendricks in free agency many people still believe they have the chance to put together a solid season especially after coming off last year where they lost the Astros in the ALDS. It has been a slow start for the A’s, but I wouldn’t panic just yet A’s fans, manager Bob Melvin has been in similar situations before and there is no doubt that he can lead this team to another playoff season.
New York Yankees
Another team off to a start they didn’t expect is the New York Yankees. Currently a game below .500 with a 4-5 record they are off to a much slower start than expected. But, I am not going to look into this one too much as the season is still just underway. With Gerrit Cole leading their rotation and guys like Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gary Sanchez in their line-up I would be surprised if they didn’t finish their season atop of the American League East.
It has been an exciting start to this year’s MLB season and hopefully the rest of this year will be full of top plays, star moments, and games that leave you on the edge of your seat.
Melanie Moyer '22,