NFL Draft 2017: How great was 49ers’ first round? GM John Lynch puts it in perspective

In case there is any doubt the 49ers were a decided “winner” on the first day of the NFL Draft, the players the team landed with the Nos. 3 and 31 overall picks were two of the top three prospects on its board, new GM John Lynch claims.

Those two players: Stanford DE Solomon Thomas and Alabama LB Reuben Foster

“I can tell you right off the bat that what we had on the board was just under 200 players, and in terms of how we rated them, we got two of our top three players,” Lynch said, per ESPN.com. “We were able to do that, and we’re thrilled. We’re ecstatic. We think these guys have a lot of traits of what we want to be about as a football organization.”

As the night began, San Francisco swapped the second and third overall picks with Chicago and also acquired the Bears’ third-round (No. 67 overall) and fourth-round picks (No. 111) this year and their third-round pick in 2018. While the Bears selected QB Mitch Trubisky with the No. 2 pick and the 49ers picked Thomas No. 3, the overwhelming feeling among NFL observers is the 49ers got the far better end of the trade.

Michigan tight end Jake Butt ran into the same thing this season. He suffered a torn ACL in the Orange Bowl and went from what some thought was a late first-round grade, all the way to possibly undrafted.

Ultimately he was selected in the fifth round, No. 145 overall, by the Broncos Saturday, but his injury cost him a large sum of money. Quantifiably $543,000.

Because Butt had an insurance policy taken out on himself prior to the draft in case, he will get that money back, according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell.

While that could never make up for what he could eventually make with a second contract in case he never truly recovers from the knee injury, it’s at least something that can keep him from getting absolutely nothing just because he decided to play in a bowl game.

Brad Stevens mouthed ‘shut up’ when Bulls fans chanted ‘Fire Hoiberg’

For the first few games, the Bulls-Celtics series did not make sense, but it was inevitable that Chicago would take its exit from the playoffs. Before the Celtics eliminated the Bulls on Friday, the fans at the United Center let out their collective frustration at what a disappointing season they witnessed, chanting “Fire Hoiberg” near the end of the game.

ESPN’s cameras caught Brad Stevens in the middle of the chant, shaking his head and mouthing “shut up.” His reaction is understandable because he has a lot of respect for the Bulls coach. And in a way, his reaction to that is justified — the frustration over the Bulls should also be directed toward the front office, not just Hoiberg.

Additionally, Chicago might have had some residual anger after the Bears drafted new QB Mitchell Trubisky on Thursday (after trading up from No. 3 to No. 2 with the 49ers). Trubisky was also at the game, and while the team welcomed him with open arms, the fans actually booed him. Trubisky took it all in stride, though.

Chicago sports fans can be a fickle bunch.

If there’s one thing that Rossi’s and Starkey’s Ovechkin pieces does well, it’s getting people to talk. And talk they did. However, at what point do we step back from our hot takes? Are we really adding anything to the conversation if we’re just writing incendiary things we may not even believe to get clicks?

It’s also hard to take Pittsburgh media’s outrage seriously when they’ve stood idly by as the team employed players such as Matt Cooke in the past. That Cooke, who put into motion the NHL’s stance on headshots with this career ending one to Marc Savard.
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the Atlanta Falcons were coming off one of the most tragic seasons in team history

Back in 2008, the Atlanta Falcons were coming off one of the most tragic seasons in team history. Michael Vick was in prison serving a sentence for a dogfighting conviction, and the team was reeling after head coach Bobby Petrino slid out of town in the middle of the night, letting players know he was leaving with notes in their lockers.

After a 4-12 finish with a combination of Chris Redman, Joey Harrington and Byron Leftwich behind center, the Falcons needed a quarterback. They got one with the third overall pick, and Matt Ryan went on to be named MVP and Offensive Player of the Year last season. But fans didn’t want Matt Ryan in the first round.

After four consecutive winning seasons and back-to-back trips to the playoffs, the Chiefs have one of the NFL’s best rosters. With 10 draft picks (two each in the third, fifth and sixth rounds), it’s difficult to imagine so many rookies making the team. Packaging some of those picks to get better value early would make sense.

It would also be a good move by the Chiefs to find a quarterback to groom for the 2018 season when Alex Smith’s cap hit balloons to $20.6 million, and has the potential for $17 million in savings if Kansas City moves on. Going up to get the No. 1 quarterback isn’t realistic, but if a passer the Chiefs like drops to an attainable range, they’re primed to go up and secure the future of the position.

During the 2016 NFL Draft, there were five trades during the first round, and it’s likely that we’ll see a similar amount next Thursday.

The Browns are reportedly split between North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and Texas A&M edge rusher Myles Garrett, although most believe the latter will be the selection.

Brown said Wednesday that one of the teams that called Cleveland about possibly acquiring the No. 1 pick was interested in a quarterback, presumably Trubisky. But the likeliest scenario is that the Browns stick with Garrett, leaving the next 31 picks in the draft open for business.
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Dion Dawkins drafted by the Bills after trade with Falcons

Dion Dawkins did whatever Temple needed him to do in his four seasons with the Owls. The 6’4, 314-pound lineman started at each tackle position and earned All-AAC honors while developing a reputation as a mean, path-clearing run blocker.

That was enough to earn him a second-round grade from the Bills, who snapped him up with the 63rd pick of the 2017 NFL draft.

However, concerns about his pass protection and whether or not he’s good enough to stay at tackle raise one big question: Was Dawkins, who wasn’t highly recruited out of high school in New Jersey and labeled himself a “no-star,” a reach?

The Temple product was projected everywhere from the late first round to the early fourth as scouts and executives struggled to find common ground. He’ll have plenty to prove as he jumps to the next level and cuts his teeth in the league.

Remember Brady Quinn? The Browns traded up to select him in the first round of the 2007 draft, and it cost Cleveland its first-round pick the next year. He started 12 games for them, going 3-9, before Cleveland gave up on Quinn and traded him to the Denver Broncos.

The Browns could have had Julio Jones. Instead, they traded with the Atlanta Falcons and got five picks. On paper, that sounds like a great deal, but Cleveland used those picks to draft Trent Richardson, Brandon Weeden, Phil Taylor, Greg Little, and Owen Marecic.

There are only two players from the first round of the 2014 draft who are no longer in the NFL; the Browns drafted them both. Justin Gilbert played just 23 games for the Browns. Johnny Manziel washed out of the NFL after eight starts.

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Joe Johnson gave the Clippers a very Clippers loss

The L.A. Clippers never have it easy. The Utah Jazz are every bit as good as them, and maybe better. We knew that coming into this series. But when Rudy Gobert goes out with a knee injury on the first play of the game, you expect L.A. to take advantage at home.

Nope.

Joe Johnson hit a floater at the buzzer to give Utah a 97-95 win in Game 1. It’s Joe’s 2,453rd game-winner (estimate) and a perfect explanation of why the Jazz signed him to join their otherwise fairly young team in the summer.

This might seem a bit melodramatic given we’re talking about a man making $26 million a year to play basketball and a man making $12 million a year to run a basketball team. But … we’re also talking about a comic book panel. We’re allowed to apply it to situations that fall short of life and death.

What Carmelo Anthony could do — what Carmelo Anthony should do, in my opinion — is plant himself like a tree beside the river of truth (the Hudson, I suppose?) and tell the whole world, “No, I’m not waiving my no-trade clause. You move.”

We have seen the New York Knicks succeed with Carmelo. The Knicks made the playoffs in three of the four seasons Anthony was on the team before Jackson took over. The Knicks are 0-for-3 since Jackson arrived.

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I think the more you dwell on it and you think about it too much

I think whenever we get to that week well do the same thing weve done the past couple of years: Thats try to make it as normal as possible week to week. That (Super Bowl video) will be part of our breakdown for sure, but its only one part. Were going to have a few different guys, too, and so will they.

By the time this week ends, Ryan and more than 40 of his Falcons teammates will have gathered in South Florida to get a head start on Atlantas official offseason workout program set to begin Monday at team headquarters. Thats when the process of leaving behind memories of losing a 25-point lead in the Super Bowl will begin in earnest for the entire franchise.

I think the more you dwell on it and you think about it too much, the more it lingers, Ryan said. It is what it is. Well move forward and learn from it.

Even if it means having to take a step back when readying to face the Patriots.

Alex Marvezs interview with Matt Ryan will appear Wednesday morning at sportingnews.com. Alex can be heard from 7-11 p.m. ET Tuesday through Thursday on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

Quarterback Christian Chapman. Im not going to pretend Chapman is a world-beater. He was only asked to throw about 20 passes per game last year, took too many sacks, and mostly stuck the ball in an awesome runners belly. Still, hes started for two years, and he completed 61 percent with a 20-to-6 TD-to-INT ratio. He could become more of a play-maker in his third year.

Receiver Mikah Holder. The only receiver targeted more than 40 times last year, Holder averaged a ridiculous 21.7 yards per catch, and every pass he caught resulted in a successful play (per success rate definitions).
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Kansas freshman Josh Jackson says he is entering NBA draft

Josh Jackson declared for the NBA draft on Monday after one of the best freshman seasons in Kansas history, one marked by plenty of highlights on the floor and a few distractions off it.

Jones then walked away after declaring the reporter was not allowed to ask him any more questions for the rest of the year. He walked across the locker room to the restroom before turning around and coming back to berate the reporter. Jones repeatedly cursed at the reporter and said it was a “dumbass question.” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis eventually entered the room to speak with Jones.

Just a few minutes earlier, Jones answered a question from the same reporter on how he felt about the support from the Bengals organization after the arrest.

“Words can’t express my feelings for the organization, Mr. Brown, Coach Lewis, my teammates, the city of Cincinnati,” Jones said. “This is home for me, so I’m very eager [to] be here and I don’t take it for granted.”

The reporter whose question drew Jones’ ire addressed the incident late Monday afternoon on Twitter. If Atlanta hopes to make another Super Bowl run, it needs its young defense to play more like it did late in the year in 2016. Adding more talent would help it get there, and Rivers is the type of edge rushing talent that fits perfectly at the LEO position in Dan Quinn’s defense.

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Van Gundy seems absolutely miserable.

Sometimes referees need to know when to keep their flags in their pocket. We don’t tune in to see them, after all. Prime example? Bengals linebacker James Harrison intercepted Browns quarterback Jason Campbell on Sunday and went HAAAAMMMM. He ran over not one, but two Browns offensive linemen on his way to the end zone. The man didn’t even get to celebrate, however, because some no-name referee threw a flag for a block in the back.

Disappointing seasons for well-respected coaches. The Hornets have talent issues, but fell off hard compared to both last season and to the early part of this season. Clifford is likely safe in the offseason, but the shine wears thin when you can’t put together a good team in back-to-back seasons with similar talent levels.

Van Gundy seems absolutely miserable. He gets paid too much to get fired now, but you almost wonder if that’s not what he’s after. This is perhaps his worst season ever in the NBA.

This SUCKS. This royally SUCKS. And it’s insulting for Bettman and the NHL to insist over and over again that they’re doing this because the fans want this. No, really. This was part of the league’s statement:

The NHL conducted polls in both Canada and the United States to determine if fans were in favor of the League taking a break in February to allow players to compete in the Olympics. In the United States, 73 percent said they were not in favor. In Canada, it was 53 percent against the break.
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The Game of the Week was never really in doubt for the Denver Broncos.

The Eagles are now 6-5, following a well-rounded win over the Redskins at home. Despite this being the Eagles’ first win at home, Philadelphia has a winning record after 11 weeks of competition. Nick Foles and the offense scored 24 points without interruption, while the defense was able to hold the Redskins to 16 points throughout the game. A fourth-quarter comeback was not be as the Eagle won the game, 24-16.

Brandon Lee Gowton of Bleeding Green Nation is impressed by Nick Foles but believes the team could have had a better performance against their division foes:

Kaepernick was far from perfect, but had a better game than recent weeks. The 49ers quarterback finished with 127 yards passing and two touchdowns — but was unable to make an impact when the team needed him to step up. Entering the game it felt like San Francisco would make running the ball a focal point, but Frank Gore carried the ball just 13 times in the loss. Moving away from running the ball was a critical mistake that allowed New Orleans to dictate the tempo on offense.

The Saints realized following the 49ers’ second touchdown that they needed to flip the game from a defensive slugfest into a shootout. After some initial failures, the deep completions started to flow, and the Saints got in an offensive rhythm. They moved the ball successfully in the fourth quarter, and while the offense couldn’t punch the ball into the end zone, the Saints were able to slowly whittle down the 49ers’ lead with a series of field goals.

The stage was set for Kaepernick to prove he wasn’t a flawed third-year quarterback struggling to read defenses. Two minutes were on the clock, the ball was in his hands and a drive would set up the game-winning field goal — but he was stopped, the ball was punted away and the Saints finalized another drive to leave with the victory.
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Baylor trying to dismiss lawsuit alleging 52 rapes in 4 years by football players

Baylor has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit that alleges 52 rapes by 31 Baylor football players over a four-year span between 2011 and 2017. Baylor’s filing was first reported by Deadspin.

He wants people to see him as more than a football player. Sure he’s a great athlete that makes more money than most, but he’s also smart with his money, and has plenty of flexibility, and knowledge of it.

Unsurprisingly, what makes this tape a banger is what makes Marty B interesting: He sticks to his guns and doesn’t try to weigh in about something that may not interest him.

At the end of a horrific March laced with mediocre defense and a bit of panic, the Cleveland Cavaliers, have fallen out of the No. 1 seed. The two-time defending Eastern Conference champions now face something rarely seen by LeBron James teams: uncertainty.

It’s no longer obvious that the Cavaliers will be back in the NBA Finals.

LeBron has represented the East in the NBA Finals in each of the past six seasons, so this would be quite a change if the Cavaliers were to fall short. As Kristian Winfield reminds us, however, LeBron’s teams have only been the No. 1 seed in two of those six seasons. When LeBron’s teams have had the opportunity to face the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, they have dominated.
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