The Day Odell Beckham Lost His Grip

NFL

Catches of the improbable variety have become a trademark calling card for New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr.

Though he’s only in just the second season of his burgeoning NFL career, Beckham has already cemented his status as a must-see spectacle thanks in large part to the numerous incredible, acrobatic highlight-reel catches he’s added to his ever-expanding impressive pro résumé.

With each exciting embrace of the pigskin, however, comes raised expectations.

When you have a knack for making the unbelievable look routine, when you finally fail to convert a routine play it will therefore lead to disbelief.

Thus was the case on Sunday afternoon when the normally sticky-handed pass-catching phenom let a sure touchdown pass slip through his fingertips early on in the first quarter of a crucial clash with the undefeated Carolina Panthers.

It was a rough, yet forgivable miscue, especially given the situation (it occurred on the first drive of the game), and especially coming from a player who has built up so much goodwill among Giant fans based on his consistently spectacular play.

Unfortunately, Beckham’s actions and behavior that followed that incompletion proved to be much more egregious than a simple dropped pass could ever be.

In what was truly one of the strangest storylines to unfold in an NFL game in recent history, onlookers watched as the young celebrated star athlete transformed from a fun eccentric, exciting playmaker into a violent, brash bully.

Beckham’s behavior—which included physical altercations with Panthers defenders, most notably his violent interactions with cornerbacks Josh Norman and Cortland Finnegan—was downright bizarre, and completely out of character.

It was a rage and a state of mania brought on by frustration that left officials, teammates, opposing defenders, fans in attendance and even announcers Joe Buck and Troy Aikman puzzled and concerned about the complete mental unraveling they were witnessing unfold in front of their collective eyes.

Instead of creating big plays in the passing game, it seemed Beckham had instead become enamored with engaging in physical confrontations, specifically with Norman, which included punches, cheap shots and helmet-to-helmet hits.

His conduct resulted in three separate personal foul penalties. Miraculously, though, it didn’t result in an ejection or even a benching from his supposed no-nonsense head coach Tom Coughlin.

That’s why Beckham was on the field during the Giants final drive, which allowed him the opportunity to make up for an uncharacteristically quiet catchless first half by reeling in a game-tying touchdown in what turned out to be a wild come-from-behind, yet ultimately all for naught comeback by the G-Men in a 38-35 loss.

Though the refs and the Big Blue coaching staff may have looked the other way and tolerated Beckham’s boorish behavior, his indefensibly dirty play was widely panned by pretty much everyone who watched it unfold.

Beckham’s behavior against the Panthers was absolutely inexcusable, and he certainly deserves the full onslaught of criticism that he’s about to face in the days to come for his repugnant antics.

In an era when the spotlight of social media is shining upon professional athletes, it can only take one bad day full of bad decisions to go from great to goat.

His reputation can be repaired and he can get his career trajectory back on track. Still, this was the type of showing that unfortunately left an imprint on the minds of many disappointed fans who wanted to believe Beckham was on his way to becoming that something special that broke the mold.

Once again, it goes to show how quickly the star of the highlights can become the lowlight.

Attendance for the First Annual Cure Bowl Wasn’t Great

College Football, College Football 2015, College Football News

To say that the showdown between the  5-7 San Jose Spartans and the 6-6 Georgia State Panthers in the first annual Cure Bowl didn’t turn out to be a marquee matchup that drew considerable interest and quality ticket sales would unsurprisingly be a bit of an understatement.

Sadly, the old “if a tree falls in the forest and no one’s there to see it” philosophical thought can be used to describe the actual turnout for the game at the 70,000-seat Citrus Bowl, which the Spartans won 27-19.

The official announced attendance for the inaugural game may have been 18,536. However, even that rather lackluster total seems to be just a bit exaggerated.

The “there are way too many bowls” folks just got another feather to add to their caps.

 

2016 NFL Draft: Mock Draft, Volume 1

2016 NFL Draft, College Football, NFL Draft

With the college football regular season complete and the 14th Sunday of the NFL regular season now in the books, it’s a good time to put together the first mock draft for the 2016 NFL Draft and an updated edition of the prospect power rankings.

There’s still a month left for underclassmen to declare their eligibility for the 2016 draft, and a lot will change between now and draft weekend.

For now, here are the current projections for the first round of the draft.

2016 NFL Draft: Updated Mock Draft

1 – Tennessee Titans: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
2 – Cleveland Browns: Joey Bosa, DE Ohio State
3 – San Diego Chargers: Jalen Ramsey, S, Florida State
4 – Baltimore Ravens: Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame
5 – San Francisco 49ers: Jared Goff, QB, Cal
6 – Dallas Cowboys: Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor
7 – Detroit Lions: Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida
8 – Miami Dolphins: Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
9 – Jacksonville Jaguars: A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama
10 – Chicago Bears: Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
11 – St. Louis Rams: Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State
12 – New Orleans Saints: Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
13 – New York Giants: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
14 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
15 – Atlanta Falcons: Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama
16 – Oakland Raiders: Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
17 – Philadelphia Eagles: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
18 – Buffalo Bills: Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss
19 – Houston Texans: Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State
20 – Pittsburgh Steelers: Desmond King, CB, Iowa
21 – New York Jets: Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State
22 – Minnesota Vikings: Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
23 – Kansas City Chiefs: Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor
24 – Seattle Seahawks: Germain Ifedi, OL, Texas A&M
25 – Washington Redskins: Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
26 – Indianapolis Colts: Cameron Sutton, CB, Tennessee
27 – Green Bay Packers: Maliek Collins, DT, Nebraska
28 – Denver Broncos: Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
29 – Cincinnati Bengals: Su’a Cravens, LB, USC
30 – Arizona Cardinals: Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
31 – Carolina Panthers: Spencer Drango, OL, Baylor

Updated Prospect Power Rankings

*Asterisks denote underclassmen

The Top 5 Quarterbacks

1 – Jared Goff, Cal*

  1. Paxton Lynch, Memphis*
  2. Connor Cook, Michigan State
  3. Cardale Jones, Ohio State*
  4. Christian Hackenberg, Penn State*

 

The Top 5 Running Backs

1 – Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State*

  1. Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama*
  2. Devontae Booker, Utah
  3. Alex Collins, Arkansas*
  4. Kareem Hunt, Toledo*

 

The Top 5 Wide Receivers

1 – Michael Thomas, Ohio State*

  1. Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss*
  2. Corey Coleman, Baylor*
  3. Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh*
  4. Josh Doctson, TCU

 

 

The Top 5 Tight Ends

1 – Hunter Henry, Arkansas*

  1. Evan Engram, Ole Miss*
  2. OJ Howard, Alabama*
  3. Jordan Leggett, Clemson*
  4. Austin Hooper, Stanford*

 

The Top 5 Offensive Tackles

1 – Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss*

  1. Taylor Decker, Ohio State
  2. Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame*
  3. Jack Conklin, Michigan State*
  4. Spencer Drango, Baylor

 

The Top 5 Interior Offensive Linemen

1 – Germain Ifedi, Texas A&M*

  1. Vadal Alexander, LSU
  2. Joshua Garnett, Stanford
  3. Sebastian Tretola, Arkansas
  4. Jack Allen, Michigan State

 

 

The Top 5 Defensive Tackles

1 – Andrew Billings, Baylor*

  1. A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama*
  2. Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss*
  3. Maliek Collins, Nebraska*
  4. Kenny Clark, UCLA*

 

The Top 5 Defensive Ends

1 – Joey Bosa, Ohio State*

  1. DeForest Buckner, Oregon
  2. Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State*
  3. Shawn Oakman, Baylor
  4. Shaq Lawson, Clemson*

 

The Top 5 Linebackers

1 – Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame*

  1. Reggie Ragland, Alabama
  2. Myles Jack, UCLA*
  3. Su’a Cravens, USC*
  4. Yannick Ngakoue, Maryland*

 

 

The Top 10 Cornerbacks

1 – Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida*

  1. Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech*
  2. Mackensie Alexander, Clemson*
  3. Desmond King, Iowa*
  4. Cameron Sutton, Tennessee*

 

The Top 5 Safeties

1 – Jalen Ramsey, Florida State*

  1. Jayron Kearse, Clemson*
  2. Vonn Bell, Ohio State*
  3. Darian Thompson, Boise State
  4. Jeremy Cash, Duke

Henry, McCaffery and Watson Announced as 2015 Heisman Finalists

2015 Heisman, College Football, College Football 2015, Uncategorized

The stretch run of the 2015 Heisman race will include just three contenders: Alabama RB Derrick Henry, Stanford RB Christian McCaffery and Clemson QB Deshaun Watson.

Though he’s not a true slam-dunk no-brainer pick to win the award, Henry will arrive in New York City as the presumptive favorite, following a regular season campaign in which he totaled over 2,000 yards of offense and scored 23 touchdowns for the No. 2-ranked Tide.

Watson and McCaffery are both viable candidates as well. The Clemson QB is the face of the No. 1-ranked undefeated Tigers, while Stanford’s do-it-all playmaker—who ranks first nationally with 286 all-purpose yards per game—propelled the Cardinal to 11 wins and a Pac-12 title.