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Before the NFL draft on May 8-10, we’ll be looking at all the key prospects and also breaking them down by position. In our “Draft Needs” series we will also examine which teams will be in the market at each position, looking to fill their remaining roster holes.
Denver Broncos: John Elway’s shopping spree improved the roster, but the GM did strike out and miss on finding a new inside linebacker. The Broncos kicked the tires on a few of the notable linebackers on the market but still haven’t landed one, which puts them at the front of the line for a new inside linebacker in the draft. With a team that is built to win now, drafting for need makes sense, so it would be a surprise if the team didn’t fix its patchwork middle linebacker issue early in the draft. The problem is they have the 31st pick. The Broncos might not have a chance to land C.J. Mosley, the top inside linebacker, but it’s easy to see them ending up with a thumper like Wisconsin’s Chris Borland. NEED LEVEL: Extremely high
Washington Redskins: Perry Riley is an underrated player, and it was wise for the Redskins to re-sign him this offseason. The other inside linebacker spot is a mystery after London Fletcher retired. Akeem Jordan, who signed a one-year deal this offseason, is an option. So is Keenan Robinson. But the Redskins will want to find a long-term solution. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see them use a relatively high pick on the position, though there are a few needs on this team. NEED LEVEL: High
Pittsburgh Steelers: With Larry Foote gone, the Steelers have Lawrence Timmons and little else in the middle. Free-agent addition Arthur Moats is decent, and Sean Spence might be an option if he ever could stay healthy, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Steelers try to find a difference maker to go next to Timmons. It seems like they have other needs to fill at No. 15, but a Mosley-Timmons duo inside would be pretty wicked. NEED LEVEL: Medium
Other teams in need: Green Bay, New Orleans, New England
Atlanta Falcons: Whether you want to classify their scheme as a 4-3 or a 3-4, the Falcons need a pass rusher for it. If they stay at No. 6, outside linebacker Khalil Mack makes a ton of sense for them, if he’s there. If Mack is gone, maybe Anthony Barr of UCLA makes sense. Atlanta had 32 sacks last year, only one more than the Bears and Jaguars, who were tied for fewest in the NFL. Atlanta needs to come up with a top pass rusher in this draft. It would be a big surprise if they don’t come up with one, using the sixth pick to fill that hole. NEED LEVEL: Very high
Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles came into free agency needing a pass rusher, and weren’t able to address that need. So it should be a top priority in the draft. The Eagles have Trent Cole, who led the team with eight sacks last year, but he’s 31 and his cap number almost doubles to $ 11.625 million next year. Philadelphia is building a contender, but the lack of a young edge rusher is a major hole that needs to be filled. NEED LEVEL: Very high
San Francisco 49ers: The Aldon Smith situation has reached a level in which the 49ers have to be prepared in case he is suspended or the small chance he is not with San Francisco in 2014. And even if Smith is there in 2014, his status in 2015 and beyond is shaky at best. The problem is, it’s incredibly hard to replace a player like Smith, and good luck doing it with the 30th pick of the draft. It’s hard to see the 49ers being able to trade up far enough to get one of the elite rush linebackers like Barr, but maybe someone like BYU’s Kyle Van Noy will be a possibility. NEED LEVEL: High
Other teams in need: Houston, New Orleans, Cincinnati, San Diego
NFL Draft Needs seriesApril 18: Linebacker
April 19: Defensive line
April 20: Offensive line
April 21: Running back
April 22: Receiver/tight end
April 23: Quarterback
April 24: Defensive back
April 25: Running back
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Johnny Depp, the newly named Hollywood film ambassador to China, arrived in Beijing this week to promote his new film “Transcendence,” which will open in both America and China on April 18.
Jared Allen spent the past six seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. He was a part of three winning teams. Allen experienced only one playoff win in Minnesota. It is just a matter of time before the 31-year-old’s NFL career is over.
Might as well join the defending Super Bowl champions.
Allen is considering joining Seattle after a second visit on Thursday. ESPN’s Adam Schefter previously reported a deal between Allen and Seattle had been reached, but Ed Werder’s original report was altered on Thursday afternoon.
Dallas was interested in Allen, but the Cowboys signed defensive tackle Henry Melton, which affected the team’s available salary cap space. Allen previously visited Seattle, but left without a contract. He flew back for a second visit with the Seahawks on Thursday.
Seattle’s possition addition of Allen could strengthen a defensive line that already has Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, who signed a four-year deal worth $ 28.5 million ($ 16 million guaranteed) this offseason. Avril is entering the final year of a two-year contract worth $ 15 million.
Last season, Allen had 11.5 sacks, Bennett finished with 8.5 sacks, while Avril added eight. Seattle could have one of the strongest defensive end rotations in the NFL this season.
Allen has 128.5 sacks in 10 NFL seasons. He wanted to sign a lucrative contract during free agency, but could settle for being on a Super Bowl contender instead.
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Turkey has joined the ranks of Iran and Egypt, among many other countries, whose government had blocked access to Twitter. Now, anyone in Turkey who tries to go to the website is redirected to a statement from the country’s telecommunications…
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Well this should be fun. Reuters reports that ATM maker NCR claims that two-thirds of all the ATMs running Windows XP in the world — or just under 1.5 million ATMs total — will not be upgraded to a newer system by the time Microsoft ends support for XP in April.
Come rain or come more rain, the Oscars‘ red carpet show will go on, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences insisted on Friday night.
We all love music streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora but how good are they for the artists who make our favorite music? The Guardian reports that cellist Zoë Keating, who releases all her recordings independently, has released numbers showing how much money she made from various sources over the past year and music streaming revenues are a paltry portion of her total income.
Charlie Sheen and fiancée Brett Rossi won’t be walking down the aisle so quickly because the adult film star is still married to another man, his rep confirmed.
Ford’s legendary Mustang is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary today. The Mustang was launched in 1964 and is one of those car’s that completely encompasses American culture and of course, the rise of Ford.
Of course, in celebrating 50 years of Mustang, some interesting anecdotes and stories are bound to come out of the woodworks. One such story, is this one; the first Mustang ever sold – to a 22-year old (female) teacher from Illinois.
Gail Wise had just finished college in 1964, and had landed herself a job as a Grade 3 teacher. To get to and from work, Gail had to buy a car and with the help of her parents, set out to their local Ford dealership.
Here Gail’s life was about to change forever. The car salesman showing Gail and her parents around, couldn’t control his excitement about a new Ford model they have in a back room. The Mustang was only supposed to go sale in two days time, on April 17th. However, the enthusiastic salesman showed Gail the Mustang and she fell in love.
Needless to say, she bought the car on the spot, for $ 3,400 on April 15th 1964.
As the years went on, Gail kept her Mustang. It wasn’t until she met her husband that she wanted to sell it. However, her husband decided to keep the car and it subsequently stood in their garage for 27 years!
When the couple retired, they decided to have the beloved Mustang re-done. Everything from the inside to the outside was restored to mint condition.
The story is very touching and inspiring and a perfect way to describe the profoundness that is the Ford Mustang.
Check out the video on Gail’s story below:
There have been numerous Twitter messages supporting Michael Sam since his announcement that he is gay, but honestly, does that surprise you?
No NFL player (you’d hope) would be dumb enough to criticize Sam in that type of public forum for his sexual preference. They’d become a huge story – ask 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver, whose anti-gay statements before last year’s Super Bowl made him a household name for a few days. But how do NFL players feel about it privately? That might be more complicated.
ESPN did a poll of 51 anonymous NFL players about the issue. ESPN chose to use a very positive headline (“86 percent OK with gay teammate”) when the answers to all four questions showed a bit more uncertainty, albeit in a fairly small sample size.
Of the 51 players, 44 responded “false” to the statement “A player’s sexual orientation matters to you.” There’s your 86 percent. But to the statement “An openly gay player would be comfortable in an NFL locker room,” only 25 responded “true.” There were 21 who responded false and five that had no answer. So only 49 percent believe Sam or any other gay player would be comfortable in an NFL locker room. The headline easily could have been “Less than half of players believe gay teammate would be accepted in NFL locker room.”
The other questions asked by ESPN involved if they would shower with a gay teammate (39 true and 12 false … which seems odd considering that 44 said sexual preference doesn’t matter at all) and that 32 of 51 heard a teammate or coach use a homophobic slur in the past season. The latter should clear up as teams meet with players, and through commissioner Roger Goodell’s attempt at a behavior policy for the locker room. And just like nobody is going on Twitter to criticize Michael Sam, you’d think that no teammate of Sam’s or another gay player would risk alienating a teammate or gaining the bad publicity that would come with being hostile toward another player based on sexual orientation.
The best guess is whatever team drafts Sam will be one with the leadership to let all the players know that intolerance will not be accepted. And even for those players who disagree with Sam’s sexual preference, they are unlikely to risk their reputations and careers to make him uncomfortable in the locker room. But as the ESPN poll shows, there are still a lot of issues that need to be sorted through.
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