The Chiefs did not make the AFC field for the playoffs last season, but that did not have general manager Scott Pioli trolling the draft waters for immediate help and contributors to his starting lineups. Instead, Pioli drafted like he’s had a solid contender for several seasons, selecting eight draft picks that almost to a man, are down the line players for the Chiefs. “One of the things we talk about is trying to get this team bigger, stronger, faster, tougher and we feel in the last two days we have certainly gotten bigger, stronger, faster, tougher,” Pioli said. “We’ve created quality depth and definitely created competition throughout the football team.” BEST PICK: Tackle Jeff Allen: A four-year starter at Illinois at left and right tackle, Allen may be switched to guard with the Chiefs and compete with veteran Ryan Lilja for the starting job at left guard. – The Sports Xchange
Dontari Poe DT Memphis Round 1 11th pick
Jeff Allen OT Illinois Second round pick 12
Moved to Guard. Expected to start
- Third-year offensive lineman has played in 31 games (27 starts) at left guard.
- Has also started one postseason contest at left guard.
Donald Stephenson OT from Oklahoma Round 3 pick 11
Projected starting right tackle
- Third-year offensive lineman appeared in all 16 games with seven starts in both of his first two seasons with the Chiefs.
Devon Wylie WR Fresno State Round 4 Pick 12
He played in only six regular-season games, catching 6 passes for 53 yards. Wylie also was used occasionally as a kickoff and punt returner. However, Wylie was released on September 1, 2013, prior to the 2013 regular season. Bounces around the NFL until being waived by the 49ers
De’Quan Menzie Alabama Round 5 Pick 11
Never played for the Chiefs and was cut in May 2013. He has retired from the NFL.
Cyrus Gray Texas A&M Round 6 Pick 12
Third string behind Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis. Recorded one touchdown in 24 career carries.
Jerome Long DT San Diego State Round 7 Pick 11
Claimed off the practice squad by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Is not in the NFL.
Junior Hemingway WR Michigan Round 7 Pick 31
Hemingway is currently on the roster but is only a backup but nothing else way expected from the 31st pick in the seventh round. Hemingway has two touchdown receptions to go along with 233 yards on 25 receptions.
4 Winners: New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, Chicago Bears, St. Louis Rams
New York Jets
What to do you do when you have a dominating defensive line? The Jets draft what some consider the best defensive player in the draft in DT Leonard Williams. The Jets are building one of the best defensive units because of their strong D-line. Williams brings exceptional power and athleticism. He should end his career with several Pro Bowl selections and should follow in the same footsteps as Kevin Williams or teammate Sheldon Richardson. The Jets were also able to add weapons for quarterback Geno Smith when Ohio State wide out Devin Smith came off the board. Smith’s ability to track the deep ball while it is in the air is outstanding. He has a 4.4 forty time so he will be able to take the top off the defense. The addition of Smith can help relieve the pressure on Eric Decker. The Jets have to hope Decker’s production can increase and meet the monetary value on his contract. As long as the Jets are able to keep quarterback Bryce Petty on the bench for the near future, he will be able to develop and be a success for being drafted in the fourth round.
The Bengals saw a crucial need for lineman and were able to address this with two athletic tackles. First is tackle Cedric Oghuehi from Texas A&M who was selected 21st overall. Fellow tackle Jake Fisher will be able to use his exceptional quickness to keep faster edge rushers from hurrying Andy Dalton. Speaking of Andy Dalton, he now has the protect and he has the offensive pieces to finally break out. If he can’t this season, Dalton will prove he is unable to lead a team deep in the playoffs. My favorite pick for the Bengals was Paul Dawson. This headache of a player causes the brain to hurt of his opponents with crushing hits and his coaches for constantly showing up late for meeting or busses. The last name to remember is Jermaine Gresham’s replacement at tight end. TE Tyler Kroft has drawn comparisons to Travis Kelce because of the way he attacks the ball in the air.
General manager Ryan Pace fell in love with Kevin White because of his size and speed. White is great at high pointing the ball which makes him a valuable option in the red zone across from Alshon Jeffery. While he lacks the polish that Amari Cooper has, White has exceptional speed that he showed while running a 4.35 forty at the combine. The Bears were also able to solidify a strong defensive tackle in the second round by selecting NT Eddie Goldman. This was a massive need for the Bears because they have not been able to stop the run up the middle. A common concern surrounding the Bears is the need for a replacement for Matt Forte. When the Bears selected Jeremy Langford from Indiana they knew they solidified a backup running back for 2015. Langford is similar to Forte with his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.
St. Louis Rams
While I may be one of the few with the Rams as major winners in the draft I stand strongly by this opinion. The Rams were able to walk away from the draft with a smile because they selected their number one prospect in running back Todd Gurley. The Georgia back gives the Rams something Jeff Fisher has been searching for since he arrived in 2012. He is elusive and powerful with every step he takes. The only problem is he can only step with one foot right now because he tore his ACL on November 15th. The stat that stands out most when looking over Gurley’s numbers from Georgia is that he averaged 7.4 yards per carry. Having Gurley as the featured back helps newly acquired Nick Foles by allowing the offense to be run heavy while Foles becomes comfortable with the offense. Furthermore, to ensure the running game will be dominant, Fisher found himself a major mauler in offensive tackle Rob Havenstein from Wisconsin. Havenstein stands in at 6’7″ 320 pounds. Although the main reason I love the pick is because he can dominate in the running game, he also posses the leadership the offensive line will need because they have such little game experience. The Rams addressed the offensive line with 4 selections out of 9. Jeff Fisher took a gamble by selecting quarterback Sean Mannion with the 89th pick overall. The signal caller from Oregon State wowed scouts during the workouts before the draft. Several scouts said he threw better than Marcus Mariota when they made their way through Oregon. While I am not in any way saying Mannion is better than Mariota but he has gained confidence late in his career. He will have time to develop behind Foles. The Rams must rely on their coaching to help ensure the offensive line can create a pocket for Foles on a consistent basis.
Want an employee that has failed a drug test, had academic problems, shows up late to meetings, and being dismissed from his previous team? This is the off the field resume of Washington cornerback Marcus Peters. The Kansas City Chiefs drafted Peters with the 18th pick. The Chiefs hope this baggage does not come back to haunt them. Peters, who many would have considered a top 10 pick if not for these issues must have wowed head coach Andy Reid and GM John Dorsey during his interviews. Too be honest, I trust Andy Reid. The Chiefs definitely did their background checks and see Peters as someone that can be productive without causing problems. The alarming aspect to his rap sheet in my eyes is the problems he had with the coaching staff and other Washington teammates. These off the field antics had Peters completely removed from several teams draft board but all it takes is one team to see past his issues to make his dream of playing in the NFL come true.
In 34 games for UW, Peters had 11 interceptions and 129 tackles. The cornerback allowed just 38.1 percent of the passes against him to be completed. Peters was elected to the second-team All-Pac-12 in 2013.Peters has truly prototype size for the position. He competes hard during his battles in press-man coverage and tries to intimidate receivers with his physicality. He will be active and disruptive when ball is in the air and although this may draw penalties, the Chiefs want Peters to keep his competitive edge. He is at his best when contesting catches and often times comes away the winner on 50/50 throws. Unlike other corners in this years draft, Marcus is able to step up and make open field tackles against stronger running backs. The biggest weakness in his game is the fact that he gets grabs receivers off the line when he is beaten which will draw flags from officials in the NFL.
There have been several fitting comparisons for Marcus Peters such as Jason McCourty, but I feel he has the potential to have a similar, if not better career than Aqib Talib. Overall I would rate the Chiefs pick as a B. The reasoning behind this pick is because it filled a need with exceptional talent. I am scared away from calling it an A because of his past but the pick has the boom or bust feeling. During the next two rounds the Chiefs have to address their glaring issue at wide receiver. I hope John Dorsey has some type of plan to draft WR Jaelen Strong out of Arizona State because he fits perfectly with what the Chiefs try to do in the passing game. Strong would come in and be a younger and better Dwayne Bowe. NFL.com has Bowe as their NFL player comparison for Jaelen Strong because both guys use their body to shield the ball from the defender. Neither player creates great separation but both win 50-50 balls. If the Chiefs can not land Strong, I hope they aim to cover their holes of linebacker and center. For linebacker I desire Phil Dawson because of the tenacity he would bring to the Chiefs. Like Derrick Johnson, Dawson has a nose for the ball but can find himself being caught cheating in play action.
Wait, did I just see the Royals on ESPN? I have caught myself thinking this more already than any other season in recent years. Dayton Moore and the Royals have finally gone all in for this 2013 season. With a huge trade for James Shields, the Royals were finally able to go from being one of the worst starting rotations in the history of the MLB to one of the better rotations in the AL. To go with a better rotation, they Royals have offensive threats that could contribute to a rare winning season.
The biggest X-factor this season is health. The Royals have invested so much this season, so if James Shields or Salvador Perez gets injured, fans can kiss this season goodbye. Concerning health, the major statistic I see is which starter pitches the most innings. Last year, the starters went just six innings too often. Though the bullpen was dominant, the relievers were typically worn out. The Royals trade for Shields has given Kansas City a workhorse. It has also given the Royals and Ned Yost options for their rotation and bullpen.
The starting rotation is bound to be better this year than last, but by how much? As I said earlier, the inning the starters consume will show the specific talents the Royals have in the bullpen. Right now, here is how I see the starting rotation shaping out:
1. James Shields: 15-10, 3.52 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 223 Ks, 58 Walks in 227.2 Innings
2. Ervin Santana: 9-13, 5.16 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 133 Ks, 61 Walks in 178 Innings
3. Jeremy Guthrie: 8-12, 4.76 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 101 Ks, 50 Walks in 181.2 Innings
4. Wade Davis: 3-0, 2.43 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 87 Ks, 29 Walks in 70.1 Innings
5. Luis Mendoza: 8-10, 4.23 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 106 Ks, 59 Walks in 166 Innings
Remember when I said they Royals will have options this season? Well, what should the Royals do with Luke Hochevar and Bruce Chen? I have always been a huge believer that the best way to motivate and get the best out of players is through pure competition. I hope Ned Yost has made it clear that no one’s starting spot is a lock. Mendoza has been pitching extremely well so far this offseason and spring training. While this does not matter too much, it does show that he is coming in ready to compete for a job. This season, the Royals will have something they have not had since they traded away Zack Greinke. The Royals will once again have a pitcher with whom they will expect a win no matter what in James Shields. “Big Game James” actually thrives off of pitching in games against the best teams and will get his opportunity in the Royals opener against Chicago White Sox. Plus, Shields will bring playoff experience to the staff.
The Royals’ bullpen has been the strongest part of the team because of young prospects coming in and producing immediately. Greg Holland and Aaron Crow are the “Leaders of the Relievers”. Both can come in with confidence that they will get the team out of any jam. The 5 players below are current locks on having a spot in the rotation due to how they have fared in the majors so far. Holland will close and Crow will be the set-up man just like last year. With Luke Hochevar being put in the bullpen, the relievers are starting to form a complete group.
Greg Holland: 7-4, 16 Saves, 2.96 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 91 Ks, 34 Walks in 67 Innings
Kelvin Herrera: 4-3, 2.35 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 77 Ks, 21 Walks in 84.1 Innings
Tim Collins: 5-4, 3.36 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 93 Ks, 34 Walks in 69.2 Innings
Aaron Crow: 3-1, 3.48 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 65 Ks, 22 Walks in 64.2 Innings
Louis Coleman: 0-0, 3.71 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 65 Ks, 26 Walks in 51 Innings
Nate Adcock, Will Smith and Everett Teaford are all fighting for one spot in the bullpen and it will most likely be this way the entire season. Will Smith did a better job than most expected last year as a starter but did not perform at a high enough rate to retain his role in the rotation.
The Royals will not intimidate opposing pitching staffs with their power, but will with their ability to run the bases, hit for contact and situational hitting. The biggest difference from last year to this year’s offensive attack is having Salvador Perez healthy. Along with Perez, look for Alex Gordon and Billy Butler to carry the load for this lineup For the most part, Gordon and Butler have been consistent. I expect Butler to finally jump into the thirty home run club and be the sole member from the Royals. Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas could both take major strides this year as well. Hosmer should benefit immensely from playing with the USA team because he gets to see how the best players prepare themselves on a daily basis. I do not expect Perez to hit in the .300’s but around .280 mark. Though the Royals may lack strength in power, they more than make up for it in their athletic youth.
Alex Gordon (LF): .294/.368/.455, 14 HR’s, 72 RBI, 93 Runs in 161 Games
Alcides Escobar (SS): .293/.331/.390, 5 HR’s, 52 RBI, 68 Runs, 35 SB’s in 155 Games
Eric Hosmer (1B): .232/.304/.359, 14 HR’s, 60 RBI, 65 Runs, 16 SB’s in 152 Games
Billy Butler (DH): .313/.373/.510, 29 HR’s, 107 RBI, 72 Runs in 161 Games
Mike Moustakas (3B): .242/.296/.412, 20 HR’s, 73 RBI, 69 Runs in 149 Games
Salvador Perez (C): .301/.328/.471, 11 HR’s, 39 RBI, 38 Runs in 76 Games
Jeff Francoeur (RF): .235/.287/.387, 16 HR’s, 49 RBI, 58 Runs in 148 Games
Lorenzo Cain (CF): .266/.316/.419, 7 HR’s, 31 RBI, 27 Runs, 10 SB’s in 61 Games
Chris Getz (2B): .275/.312/.360, 17 RBI, 22 Runs, 9 SB’s in 64 Games
Come September, I expect the Royals to finish at 79-83. Lorenzo Cain’s health will be crucial as this team aims to achieve a winning record. With major injuries to any of the starting lineup, the Royals winning chances diminish because they do not have the depth to plug another player in without a great drop off. Furthermore, the Royals do not have the pieces or money to make trades to improve the roster in the middle of the season. The Royals are all in this year and pitching will tell the story for the Blue Crew.
Future betting means gambling on sporting events several months in advance of them taking place, and is a very popular way of betting on major sporting events like the new season – as the early odds for the teams are released well in advance by the sports betting sites. Already the odds, and thus the favourites for both the American and National Leagues and the World Series have been made available – establishing teams like the Los Angeles Angels and the Washington Nationals amongst the favourites at this stage.
However a lot can change once the action gets underway, which is why the single most important tip for those considering MLB futures betting to consider, is that it is better to wait until further into the season before placing a bet. This is because, if one of the top teams performs as expected, their odds will not really change much, but if they don’t, you will avoid losing money betting on a pre-season favourite that doesn’t live up to expectations. After all, there are many factors – including injuries to key players –that can cause this to happen. This is why another major tip to remember is that you need to research form and injury records for key players before making a futures bet on the MLB.
It is not as if there aren’t other ways of mixing betting and a love of the MLB, while you are waiting – as a game like the baseball slot Hot Shot offers great entertainment and betting. Hot Shot, which is available at online casino sites like LuckyNugget is a nine pay line, five reel, non-progressive slot, which has reels designed to look like baseball caps, pitchers, catchers mitts, and baseball snacks like fries and popcorn. It also has a backdrop of a baseball field and the sound effects – including crowd noise (murmurs which rise to a roar when you get a winning reel with the gold cup scatter symbol) – and a baseball bat hitting a ball, when you get a winning reel without the scatter, really add to the appeal of the game.
When Steve Nash signed with the Los Angeles Lakers on July 11th of last year, Kobe Bryant finally received the true point guard he needed. After Dwight Howard signed in early August, the Lakers had a roster that seemed to guarantee a Finals appearance. They would once again run the NBA. Today, the Clippers have taken over Los Angeles, the Oklahoma City Thunder have the title as the best team in the NBA, and the Los Angeles Lakers have fallen to a 17-24 record.
Metta World Peace believed this Laker team had a serious opportunity to finish with a 73-9 record, never done before in the NBA. However, that dream was shattered on December 4 against the Houston Rockets, their tenth loss of the season. Kobe Bryant even said, “Obviously this isn’t working.” The situation has left many fans of the game scratching their heads, with such a high caliber team, why are the Lakers losing?
The team is fifth overall in the NBA in points per game, scoring an average of 102.6. They are third in rebounds per game with 45.6. However, the Lakers turn the ball over an average of 15.4 times per game. A more notable aspect of the game that the Lakers seem to be struggling with is free throws. The team shoots an average of 69.4 percent from the line, which is second worst in the NBA. There have been many instances this season in which missed free throws have cost the Lakers a shot at victory late in games.
Given the offensive struggles, you couldn’t think it could get much worse. Then you look at the team’s defense. They are giving up 101.4 points per game, and sport a 1.4 assist to turnover ratio. With so much size down low, and debatably the fastest backcourt in the division, one still wonders, why aren’t they getting it done?
After 41 games, the answer is simple: the Lakers are not motivated to win. Their lack of effort on both sides of the ball have cost them numerous games this season. Those games could come back to haunt the Lakers as they continue to fight for a playoff spot.