Archive for the ‘Christian Roberts’ Category

Why Michigan’s Head Coach Brady Hoke is on Thin Ice

Monday, January 13th, 2014

by Christian Roberts

Christian Roberts Blog








In 2011 when the University of Michigan hired Brady Hoke as their HC from San Diego State, the team was thought to be in much better shape with him replacing Rich Rodriguez. That held true his first year, after leading the Wolverines to a 11-2 record. That included a Sugar Bowl win over Virginia Tech. Hoke was also named Big Ten coach of the year. Things looked very promising for the Michigan program.

The following year, things were not so great. The team finished 8-5 and lost their bowl game to South Carolina. That was the infamous “Jadeveon Clowney hit game”. The team struggled running the ball and was very inconsistent in the passing game led by Denard Robinson and Devin Gardner. Michigan’s football team as a whole just seemed to regress. This was clearly not the same team from 2011.

With another top 10 recruiting class coming in, 2013 was supposed to be the year Michigan got back to the basics. With Gardner leading the way at QB full time and Brady Hoke leading from the sidelines. After starting 5-0, it seemed things were back on track. Though none of the 5 wins were really impressive, the bottom line was they were undefeated at 5-0. Once they began to face Big Ten competition, they fell straight on their faces, finishing 2-6, including a 14-31 beat down given by Kansas State in the Buffalo Wild Wings bowl.

The free fall Michigan has endured over the past two years falls at head coach Brady Hoke’s feet. Continuously getting out coached game in and game out and not putting together an adequate defense on the field. Outside of a few players including LB Jake Ryan, that defense is awful.

Simply put, 2014 is a make it or break it year for coach Hoke. The team has already fired OC Al Borges and replaced him with Alabama OC Doug Nussmeier. The Wolverines should see immediate benefits from this hire. Nussmeier led one of the most potent offenses in the country with Alabama, he can definitely do the same for Michigan. The talent is there, but coach Hoke needs to help them maximize that. Expect Hoke and Nussmeier to work hand in hand to restore this offense.

With yet another great recruiting class coming in led by 5-star ATH Jabrill Peppers, the defense can drastically be improved. But yet again that falls on Hoke and how ready he gets his guys to play. Maybe a scheme change is necessary. I don’t think that will happen though.

As you can see there are a lot of factors for how Michigan’s 2014 season goes. Most will depend on how fast this defense can improve. If not, Brady Hoke and the rest of his staff will be in the unemployment line for coaches.


Christian Roberts of Sportz Overtime, for War Room Sports

2014 NFL Mock Draft (1-24 picks set)

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

by Christian Roberts

Christian Roberts Blog




1. Houston Texans (2-14) – Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater

With new head coach Bill O’Brien, expect the Texans to select their franchise QB in Teddy Bridgewater. Houston’s QB play this season has been miserable, and it’s time for the team to move on from Matt Schaub and Case Keenum. Coach O’Brien will be excited to coach this going man up, and maximize his potential. Bridgewater has all the tools you want in a franchise guy. The Texans will be smiling from ear to ear when they call this pick in.

2. St Louis Rams (via WSH) (3-13) – South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney

Does pairing the most dominant pass rusher in this draft class with Robert Quinn, Chris Long, Alec Ogletree, and Michael Brockers sound good? It does to me and I’m sure it does to coach Jeff Fisher as well. The front 7 would cause havoc year in and year out. There has been some rumbling of the Rams possibly trading out of this spot, but if that does not happen, expect to hear Clowney’s name called.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-12) – UCF QB Blake Bortles

Jaguars FINALLY get their guy at QB. Bortles is the safest pick of the QB’s left on the board, and the Jaguars would be happy to have him. Bortles has been one of the fastest rising players in this year’s class. Rightfully so, he possesses great arm strength, accuracy, high football IQ and the mobility to escape pass rushers on the edge. The Blaine Gabbert era is over. I bet that sounds like music to Jags’ fans ears.

4. Cleveland Browns (4-12) – Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel

The Texas A&M QB is the most puzzling out of all the quarterback prospects in this draft. On one hand, his playmaking ability and knack for making plays all over the field can’t be denied. On the other, his lack of maturity could pose a big problem in his NFL career. The Browns will have to decide which one out weighs the other. A QB with Manziel’s skill set, may be too hard for Cleveland to pass up though.

5. Oakland Raiders (4-12) – Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews

The Raiders appear to like what they have in young QB Matt McGloin. Why not protect him by going out and getting him the best offensive tackle in this draft. Oakland needs to build depth on that roster. Their o-line play last year was horrible. Pairing Matthews with stud tackle Jared Veldheer would open up lanes for the struggling Darren McFadden and make life a little easier for McGloin.

6. Atlanta Falcons (4-12) – UCLA LB Anthony Barr

Besides Jadeveon Clowney, Barr is probably the most athletically gifted player in this entire draft. With just straight raw ability, Anthony Barr is a terror coming off the edge. He is a bit wet behind the years because he has only played defense for 2 years, but he is this good now, imagine his ceiling. He could be un-blockable at the next level. This is exactly what Atlanta needs. They struggled getting to the passer all year, which played a part in their poor record this season. In 3 years, Barr could be one of the best defensive players in all of the NFL.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12) – Buffalo LB Khalil Mack

New head coach Lovie Smith’s first pick will be a defensive player. What better player to pick than Khalil Mack. A downright playmaker on the football field. Adding him with star LB Lavonte David will give opposing offenses fits. Lovie Smith will have fun coaching up this supremely talented linebacker.

8. Minnesota Vikings (5-10-1) – Fresno State QB Derek Carr

Carr’s last name will probably scare some teams off, seeing that his brother David Carr was a disaster in the NFL. But these brothers couldn’t be more different. Derek Carr has elite arm strength and can make every throw on the football field. His downfall is sloppy mechanics. But that can be fixed with good coaching. If he puts in the work, Minnesota will reap the benefits. Vikings desperately need to hit on a QB, especially after dropping the ball so bad with the Christian Ponder pick.

9. Buffalo Bills (6-10) – Texas A&M WR Mike Evans

This may be a little high for the stud WR, but Buffalo needs playmakers on offense. Yes, Sammy Watkins could go here as well, but I think Buffalo will target the big 6’5″ Evans here. It will give promising young QB EJ Manuel a huge target to throw to, and will attract double teams so Roberts Woods can do some damage. He would also be a terror in the red zone.

10. Detroit Lions (7-9) – Clemson WR Sammy Watkins

The most explosive receiver in this class. Watkins has it all. Elite speed, hands, and route running. He’s only 6’1″ but plays a lot bigger than his height suggests. He’s just a playmaker. With him on the opposite side of Megatron, a lot of offensive coordinators will lose sleep preparing to play the Lions.

11. Tennessee Titans (7-9) – Auburn OT Greg Robinson

Assuming the Titans hang on to RB Chris Johnson, this would be a great pick. Robinson is one of the top tackles in this class, and would immediately upgrade the offensive line for Tennessee. Holes would open for Chris Johnson the moment Robinson steps on the line. Titans could also use a linebacker here, but I think they will continue to try and make their RB happy.

12. New York Giants (7-9) – Alabama LB CJ Mosley

Cornerback and offensive line will be a strong choice here as well, but this class is pretty deep on cornerbacks, and they could sign a couple o-linemen in free agency. Why not add some young talent on that front 7 of the Giants with drafting CJ Mosley. He would be an immediate upgrade to New York’s linebacking core and would pair nicely with Jon Beason. This is the first step in rebuilding that defense.

13. St Louis Rams (7-9) – USC WR Marqise Lee

I expect the Rams to trade down with this pick and eventually select Marqise Lee. While Sam Bradford may not be the answer for the Rams, it seems they are going all in for him, so why not get him some more weapons to help him succeed? Lee is arguably the best route-runner in this NFL draft and will have absolutely no problem getting open in the NFL. He also has a great set of hands and can make the tough catch if needed. We could possibly be looking at the next Torry Holt.

14. Chicago Bears (8-8) – Alabama S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

With Charles Tillman hitting the free agency market, Chicago needs to retool their secondary. Clinton Dix would step in at safety and make plays right away. Clearly the best safety on the board, the Bears can’t go wrong selecting the talented Bama safety.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8) – Michigan State CB Darqueze Dennard

Steelers are jumping up and down right now with the best cornerback on the board sliding to them at 15. He would bring a physicality the Steelers and Mike Tomlin loves. He plays the run like a safety and is not afraid to stick his nose in there and make a tackle. This would also be a great start in adding some fresh young talent to that aging defense.

16. Baltimore Ravens (Coin Flip)(8-8) – North Carolina TE Eric Ebron

TE Dennis Pitta is coming off of an injury and TE Ed Dickson didn’t exactly have his best year. Eric Ebron is a dynamic tight end and would provide an upgrade for Baltimore and Joe Flacco. The 100 million dollar QB would love this pick. Ebron would come in and help the passing game drastically and give Baltimore the best playmaking TE they have had since Shannon Sharpe.

17. Dallas Cowboys (Coin Flip)(8-8) – Notre Dame DT Louis Nix III

Cowboys need all the help they can get on defense. The huge 340 pound Notre Dame defensive tackle could be that run stuffer Dallas so desperately needs. Safety is also a huge possibility here, but I think they grab Nix to anchor that front seven.

18. New York Jets (8-8) – Texas Tech TE Jace Amaro

New York Jets receiving options are laughable. Outside of the strange Santonio Holmes and injured Dustin Keller, the Jets have absolutely nothing to be impressed about. Getting young talented playmakers in the fold for QB Geno Smith is essential in his growth process. Drafting Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro would be a start. Amaro will be a matchup nightmare for defenders in the NFL, and make the learning curve for Geno a little bit easier.

19. Miami Dolphins (8-8) – Auburn RB Tre Mason

Offensive tackle is a huge need for Miami, but I feel so is the running back position. Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas have basically done nothing since entering the league. Miller has the potential, but for some reason he hasn’t been able to put it all together. They need another RB in the fold. Insert Auburn stud RB Tre Mason here. Mason would bring a toughness both Miller and Thomas lack. He could carry the load for the Dolphins so QB Ryan Tannehill doesn’t have to throw the ball so much every game. This might be a little high for a running back to go in the draft but Mason possesses outstanding vision and breakaway speed coveted by NFL teams today.

20. Arizona Cardinals (10-5) – Michigan OT Taylor Lewan

Arizona led by HC Bruce Arians is going to be a force in the NFC for a long time. They don’t have any gaping holes besides at running back, so why not sure up that offensive line for Carson Palmer? There’s a good chance Lewan doesn’t slide this far, but if he does, Arizona should hop all over the chance to draft him.

21. Green Bay Packers (8-7-1) – Clemson LB Vic Beasley

Vic Beasley is a beast. Him and a healthy Clay Matthews would do damage. His closing speed and burst are what make Beasley a intriguing prospect. Similar to Seahawks Bruce Irvin, he relies on his athleticism a lot to make plays, but if coached up he could be a special edge rusher in the NFL.

22. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6) – Oklahoma State CB Justin Gilbert

Gilbert is exactly what the doctor ordered for Philly. He may not be the shutdown corner Michigan State CB Dennard is, but when it comes to making the big play, Justin Gilbert is your man. TCU CB Jason Verrett is also a possibility here, but I think Gilbert’s playmaking ability and ridiculous athletic ability makes him the pick here. The Eagles’ secondary struggled a lot this year. Adding a talent like this will make coach Kelly a happy man.

23. Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) – Florida State WR Kelvin Benjamin

The hero of the BCS Championship game is oozing with potential. His 6’5″ frame gives him the ability to make the tough catch and create mismatches for cornerbacks. He’s a bit raw, but the overwhelming potential is there. Alex Smith could use a big WR like this. Benjamin could make the Chiefs offense that much more dangerous next season.

24. Cincinnati Bengals (11-5) – TCU CB Jason Verrett

Bengals are thrilled to land Verrett here. Needing more depth in the secondary, the TCU product is a great fit for Cincinnati. Great coverage skills, but is a little undersized. Still, that being said, this kid can play. Bengals already boast one of the best defenses in the NFL, so being able to snatch Verrett here, the rich get richer.


Christian Roberts of Sportz Overtime, for War Room Sports

Who’s Really the #1 QB in the 2014 NFL Draft?

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

by Christian Roberts

Christian Roberts Blog






College QBs


-Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater, 6’3″, 220 pounds
3,523 Passing Yards, 28 TDs, 4 int, 70.2% 

What he brings to the table: Football IQ, Accuracy, Toughness, Arm Strength, and Pocket Awareness

Teddy Bridgewater is considered the prize of the QB class this year. Rightfully so, he brings a very good skill set to the table. His pocket awareness and poise are incredible. Add that with pinpoint accuracy and you can see what all the hype is about. He doesn’t have the upside of past QB’s taken number 1, but he still is a great QB prospect. His ceiling isn’t as high as UCF QB Blake Bortles or Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel. What you see is what you get with Bridgewater. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Durability may be a concern for him though. He has taken a lot of hits over his career. Mostly because he hangs so tight in the pocket. The talented QB also has a tendency of playing down to his competition. The teams you think he’s going to pick apart, you come away from the game wanting more.

Draft Projection: Top 5

-UCF QB Blake Bortles, 6’4″, 230 pounds
3,280 Passing Yards, 22 TDs, 7 int, 68.1%

What he brings to the table: Prototypical Size, Arm Strength, High Upside, and Mobility.

Bortles has snuck up on everybody this year and put himself into the conversation of being the first QB taken off the board. He has scouts drooling over his physical tools and upside. He’s very good in the pocket, but can escape when pressure is in his face. No, he won’t be Cam Newton, but having that ability to escape pass-rushers is a plus. His downside would be he hasn’t played top competition at the collegiate level and his passing mechanics could use some work. With the right coach and QB coach, he could develop into a special quarterback. He reminds me a lot of another player who hadn’t faced topped competition in college, but you could clearly see all the physical tools. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger.

Draft Projection: Top 15

-Alabama QB AJ McCarron, 6’4″, 214 pounds
2,676 Passing Yards, 26 TDs, 5 int, 67.6%

What he brings to the table: Leadership, Accuracy, Pocket Awareness, and Poise.

The Bama QB doesn’t have a high ceiling, but his skills translate well to the NFL. He may need to sit for a year or two, to hone his skills behind a vet. His leadership and accuracy will serve him well at the next level. His college numbers aren’t as gaudy as some of the other top passers in college football, but that’s mainly because Alabama runs a power run scheme. If not for that, his numbers would be right up there. McCarron doesn’t have ideal arm strength, but it’s strong enough to make all the throws at the next level. How he develops will play a major part on how the QB will turn out. If he’s thrown into the fire too soon, it could ruin him.

Draft Projection: Mid 1st-Early 2nd Round

-Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel, 6’1″, 210 pounds
3,732 Passing Yards, 33 TDs, 13 int, 69.1%

What he brings to the table: Playmaking Ability, Athleticism, Arm Strength, Instincts.

Johnny Manziel might be the greatest college quarterback ever. Statistically, you could make an argument. How that greatness translates to the pros, remains to be seen. Manziel’s biggest obstacle he has to overcome, to achieve that greatness is his immaturity. If he comes into the NFL ready to learn and work hard, no doubt he will be a star. His playmaking ability and instincts are second to none. Some may say he is too short to play QB in the NFL and be successful, but Seahawks QB Russell Wilson is putting an end to that stereotype. If you’re a playmaker as Wilson and Manziel are, height means nothing. It’s just a number. He also needs to work on his mechanics. He tends to try and make every play, and that leads to inaccurate passes and costly interceptions. Once that is corrected, sky’s the limit for this kid. But he has to put in the work.

Draft Projection: Top 10

-Fresno State QB Derek Carr, 6’3″, 205 pounds
5,080 Passing Yards, 50 TDs, 8 int, 68.7%

What he brings to the table: Elite Arm Strength, Accuracy, Pocket Awareness and Mobility.

Let me just get this out the way. Derek Carr is by far a better QB prospect than his older brother ever was. Carr is blessed with a cannon arm and is the definition of a gunslinger on the football field. When his mechanics are right, his accuracy is tremendous. But like his older brother David, sloppy footwork is an issue. While that bad footwork doesn’t rear its ugly head too often, it’s still an issue that needs to be corrected at the next level. This issue was front and center in Fresno State’s bowl game loss vs USC. If this is not corrected,  you could see Derek Carr end up like Lions QB Matthew Stafford. Can throw the ball all over the field, but his sloppy footwork and mechanics result in a lot of back-breaking interceptions. There is no doubt Carr needs a bit of refining, but his upside is extremely high. The lack of competition he faced will also raise some eyebrows, but his physical tools will be too good to pass up in the first 15 picks.

Draft Projection: Top 15

Conclusion: This is a very good crop of quarterbacks in this class. Everybody brings something different to the table. The slight edge goes to Teddy Bridgewater for the best QB in this class. But it’s by a very slight margin. Johnny Manziel would be my #1 QB, but the immaturity factor is too big for me to look past. While he might have the greatest upside of the 5 QB’s, he is also the greatest risk. Bridgewater is easily the safest pick at QB. You know exactly what you are getting. One thing’s for sure, this 2014 NFL Draft is top-heavy with great talent at the quarterback position and it’s going to be interesting to see who’s name is called first.


Christian Roberts of Sportz Overtime, for War Room Sports

Making The Case For Jamaal Charles As The NFL’s MVP

Saturday, December 21st, 2013

by Christian Roberts

Christian Roberts Blog






2013 Statistics: 246 Carries, 1,181 Rushing Yards, 11 TDs, 65 Receptions, 655 Receiving Yards, 7 TDs

2013 Statistics: 246 Carries, 1,181 Rushing Yards, 11 TDs, 65 Receptions,
655 Receiving Yards, 7 TDs

Jamaal Charles is becoming one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in all of the NFL. The former Texas standout has been the heart and soul of Kansas City’s offense all year. After an abysmal 2012 season where they went 2-14, Charles has been a huge part of the team’s turnaround to an 11-3 record so far in the 2013 campaign. Andy Reid deserves credit for this dramatic turnaround as well.

The Chiefs couldn’t have picked a better coach to utilize the star running back’s talents. His 98 targets out of the backfield are by far the most of his career. His previous high was 66. The workload he has taken on this year should speak volumes of how new head coach Andy Reid views him as a player.

With 2 games left in the season, Jamaal Charles has catapulted himself right into the thick of the MVP race with Broncos’ QB Peyton Manning. Dominating seemingly every time he touches the ball, the stud back is more than worthy of being the NFL’s MVP this year. Yes, Manning is on the verge of shattering the passing touchdown record, but what Charles has meant to Kansas City this year is almost unmatched by any player in the NFL.

Having picked up 98 first downs this year, the Chiefs’ offense lives and dies by Charles. Being the team’s leading rusher and receiver, you could argue the team wouldn’t even be in the playoffs without him.

All in all, taking the MVP from Peyton Manning this year is going to be one tough task, but the only other player as deserving of the award resides in Kansas City. How Jamaal Charles plays these next two games will be a direct determinant of just how close this MVP race is at season’s end.


Christian Roberts of Sportz Overtime, for War Room Sports


Why Kansas center Joel Embiid could end up being the best player out of the 2014 NBA Draft

Friday, December 13th, 2013

by Christian Roberts

Christian Roberts Blog






Joel Embiid


With all the hype surrounding Duke’s Jabari Parker, Kentucky’s Julius Randle, and teammate Andrew Wiggins (rightfully so – all three will be great), a new-comer to the sport of basketball, Joel Embiid, may end up surpassing all three of them at the next level.

The special skill-set embodied by Embiid, is what has NBA scouts drooling. Also the fact that he’s only been playing this game for a few years and he is already this good. He’s basically dominating while learning on the job. His defensive prowess is unmatched. Offensively, he one of the most efficient and effective big men in college basketball. Once he gets a better awareness and feel for the game, which will come along as he plays, he will be unstoppable.

Showing an array of post moves some big men in the NBA don’t even have, you can see why some scouts are putting him in the conversation for the #1 overall pick in the 2014 draft. One NBA exec is even quoted as saying, “If he’s not the first overall pick, he’s definitely the second”. That’s high praise for a young man who is just now getting his feet wet.

While only playing 20 minutes per game, the 7-foot/250 pound center makes his presence known every game. Teammate and fellow freshman Andrew Wiggins, plays 10 minutes more per game than Embiid, but you could argue, the center’s impact is much bigger. The only real downside to his game is his rawness to the game and he is prone to foul trouble. The game that’s being played in the NBA now-a-days, with all the flopping, could pose a problem for Embiid and his physical presence. As long as he continues to get “coached up” and plays under control, he should be just fine.

A center with this kind of unlimited upside, both offensively and defensively, doesn’t come around too often. You can see why he’s receiving the praise he has received thus far.

The NBA will have to wait for now though, as the future lottery pick will play a key component in the Kansas Jayhawks’ quest for a National Title this year. But when that time does indeed come, don’t be surprised if Joel Embiid is the first name you hear called off the board in next year’s draft.


Christian Roberts of Sportz Overtime, for War Room Sports

10 NBA Players on the Verge of Super Stardom

Friday, December 6th, 2013

by Christian Roberts

Pistons C Andre Drummond:
13.5 ppg 12.8 rpg 1.3 bpg 2.0 spg 64% fg

Andre Drummond has pretty much exceeded everybody’s expectations of him since being drafted in the 2012 draft. The level of dominance he shows in the paint night in and night out, is really something to see. He does this with ease because he’s that much more athletic than every other center in the NBA. President of Basketball Operations, Joe Dumars has even been quoted recently as saying “I didn’t think Drummond was this good”. That should speak volumes to what this guy is doing right now. His efficiency on the offensive end of the ball is also what makes him so special. Shooting 64%. Just a look at how dominant the big man has been has of late. Here’s his stat line from the last 3 games:

24 points 19 rebounds 3 block 2 steals vs Bucks
10 points 18 rebounds 2 steals 1 block vs Heat
31 points 19 rebounds 6 steals 2 blocks vs 76ers

He’s doing all this while only playing 33 minutes per game. I think right now the Cleveland Cavaliers, Charlotte Bobcats, and Washington Wizards are kicking themselves in the behind for passing on Drummond. Imagine how much better those teams would be with him. It’s still early but this young center is not just on the verge of super stardom, but he’s on the verge of greatness. He is still figuring things out on the court, think 3 years from now, he might be the most unstoppable center in the NBA.

Pacers G/F Paul George:
24.9 ppg 3.4 apg 5.9 rpg 2.1 spg 47% fg

Some may argue Paul George is already a superstar. Whether you think he is now or not really, doesn’t matter. He will be. Arguably the best two-way player the NBA has to offer, George’s star is shining brighter than ever this year. Since Danny Granger went down all season with an injury last year, the talented wingman has single-handedly put the Pacers on his back. Last year, pushing the defending champion Miami Heat to their limits, this year, Paul George is out for blood. Having improved his jump shot and making better shot decisions, makes him almost unguardable. On defense, the Pacers’ guard brings it every night. Causing fits for some of the NBA’s very best. Paul George has put himself in the MVP conversation already in this early NBA season. A conversation some might have thought to be laughable in the off-season. He is making the world realize how talented he really is. It’s going to be fun to see how far he can take the Indiana Pacers this year.

Nuggets PG Ty Lawson:
20.2 ppg 8.1 apg 3.8 rpg 1.1 spg 46% fg

Denver has been looking for a go-to scorer and star since Carmelo Anthony was traded to the New York Knicks. Ty Lawson is emerging into that player for the Nuggets. Don’t be fooled by his small stature, he can ball and ball at a very high level. He is also a feisty perimeter defender and plays the passing lane very well. Denver started the season off slow but has now picked it up, and part of that is due to Ty Lawson’s play every night. By the end of the season Lawson should be a household name.

Kings C Demarcus Cousins:
21.7 ppg 10.1 rpg 2.6 apg 1.2 bpg 1.6 spg 48% fg

I think we all knew the story on Demarcus Cousins coming out of Kentucky. Extremely talented and could be a great player if he wants to be, but his immaturity and temper might prevent that. Up until this season all the immaturity concerns and temper problems proved to be true. This year, Cousins seems to have his head on straight and is maximizing his potential. Though the Kings are still not a very good team, Cousins has been the only consistent piece. With a wide array of moves, he poses matchup problems every night. You can’t really double team him in the post because he’s one of the better passing centers in the league. There aren’t too many flaws in the big man’s game, other than he sometimes takes way too many shots. But on that team, can anyone blame him?. As long as Demarcus can stay focused on basketball and continue to grow as a person, I see no reason he can’t be a superstar. Talent isn’t the issue. It’s all the other things not basketball related.

Cavaliers PG Kyrie Irving:
20.6 ppg 5.9 apg 3.4 rpg 1.0 spg 40% fg

The Cavs PG is having somewhat of a down year, but it’s not completely his fault. He has to do it all on a nightly basis and is the team’s only consistent scorer. That being said, even through a down year, you can’t deny the fact that Kyrie is a superstar in the making. Great ball-handler, passer, and just has a great feel for the PG position. Irving’s best attribute without a doubt, is that silky smooth jump shot. He is hands down one of the best shooters in the league and is dangerous from anywhere on the court. Also, Kyrie is not afraid of the big moment. He embraces it. That’s what superstars do. Cleveland’s front office really has to put some talent around this guy. Dion Waiters is about as hot and cold as you can get in the NBA. He’s not the answer, and they have no other real threat with the ball in their hands, which puts added pressure on Kyrie. You see the numbers he’s capable of putting up every night, imagine when he has someone to take the pressure off him consistently.

Pelicans C/PF Anthony Davis:
18.8 ppg 10.2 rpg 3.6 bpg 1.6 spg 49% fg

The best big man in the game as far as I’m concerned (most will disagree). What’s not to love about Davis? He’s an incredible defender, great around the rim, runs the the floor like a guard, and is a freak athlete. He also has a high motor, and gives 100% every night. The only thing standing in his way of taking that next step, is he is hurt a lot. This year he is already out for 4-6 weeks with a fractured hand. If he can stay healthy, no doubt he will reach that level of being a superstar. But you have to be on the court to do so.

Wizards PG John Wall:
19.0 ppg 9.2 apg 4.4 rpg 2.2 spg 41% fg

The former Kentucky guard is showing us every night why he earned that hefty contract extension in the off-season. Averaging a career high 9.2 assists per game, Wall looks to be more comfortable running the point this year. He and 2nd year player Bradley Beal have made quite the dynamic duo this year. What makes Wall so special is his ridiculous speed and athleticism. Probably the fastest player in the NBA, John Wall is a downright beast in transition. That doesn’t come with some negatives though. Sometimes he plays out of control and that leads to a lot of turnovers. Another area of his game that can be fixed is his shot selection. Sometimes settling for too many jump shots. Typical growing pains for a young NBA player. We have yet to see the best of John Wall though. He hasn’t even scratched the surface on how good he can really be. He’s a superstar in the making.

76ers PG Michael Carter Williams (R):
17.7 ppg 7.3 apg 5.8 rpg 3.1 spg 40% fg

Yes, a rookie made this list. It’s not everyday you a see highly skilled 6’6″ point guard in the NBA. That’s exactly what MCW is. With unbelievable court vision and poise for a rookie PG, Williams has set the NBA world on fire. Having one career triple-double under his belt already and a near quadruple-double on opening night, the game just looks like it slowed down for him. Most young players’ problems are the speed of the game. MCW has no problem with that at all, looking like a seasoned vet on the court. The knock on him coming out of Syracuse was his shooting. Though not great, his jumpshot has been very impressive and so has his defense, stealing 3 balls per contest. MCW just has that “it” factor you don’t see in a lot of rookies coming out of school. It wouldn’t surprise me if 2-3 years from now, he’s the best PG in the game. This kid is that good.

Blazers PG Damian Lillard:
20.6 ppg 5.7 apg 4.1 apg 39% fg

Lillard is really a great player. Fearless scorer and not afraid to take that last second shot. Even though his field goal percentage is down from last year, you really can’t put a number on how he’s helped the Blazers back to relevancy. He has also helped Portland to one of the best records in the league, alongside LaMarcus Aldridge. His shot selection will have to be better if he wants to take that next step. But other than that, Lillard has all the tools of a star. The Blazers have a good enough team to make it far in the playoffs, and that will be Damian Lillard’s time to shine and prove he is among the league’s best.

Suns PG/SG Eric Bledsoe:
18.8 ppg 5.8 apg 4.3 rpg 1.5 spg 49% fg

Eric Bledsoe continues to be one of the NBA’s best kept secrets. A flat out steal for the Phoenix Suns in free agency, the undersized PG has proved his money’s worth. Dubbed by some the “mini Lebron”, Bledsoe is just as good on defense as he is on offense. One of the best perimeter guard defenders in the league. He might be small but he’s an extremely strong guard; especially when driving to the rim. He gets to the hole with ease. A true combo guard. He had to leave LA so he could flourish in his own role, other than playing behind Chris Paul every night. Even then, he showed flashes of being a great player in limited minutes. His former coach at Kentucky, John Calapari, is on record as saying “If not for John Wall being here, Bledsoe could have been the #1 pick in that draft”. That should speak volumes to the talent level of the young point guard. Led by Bledsoe, the future looks really bright for the Phoenix Suns.

Christian Roberts of Sportz Overtime, for War Room Sports

Jordan Lynch: Unsung Hero

Friday, November 29th, 2013

by Christian Roberts

Jordan Lynch

With all the Heisman hype being talked about on just about every sports site, sports show etc., one name that constantly gets lost in the shuffle is Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch. The 6-foot quarterback has put his team on his back and led them to a 12-0 record this year and to the MAC championship. Seemingly breaking a new record every time he touches the field, the QB doesn’t get the same respect as a Jameis Winston or Johnny Manziel. The level of competition is the big reason for that. With Winston and Manziel playing in two of the premier conferences in the nation, the level of competition is indeed different. But the way Lynch is performing cannot be discredited because of who he’s playing week in and week out. He doesn’t make the conferences or set schedules. He just plays and plays at a high level every single week.

The dynamic QB’s numbers on the season are even more evidence he should be among the Heisman finalists in New York this year. Having passed for 2,457 passing yards & 22 touchdowns, and rushing for 1,755 yards & 20 touchdowns, you would be hard-pressed to find a more productive QB in the nation. Johnny Manziel put up similar numbers last year when he won the Heisman Trophy. So for Lynch to be a long-shot for the award is downright disrespectful. There is no doubt in my mind he would succeed in a top college conference. Northern Illinois’ first win and highlight on the season this year was their 30-27 victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes. In that game, he proved he can play with the bigger teams in the country, passing for 275 yards, 3 touchdowns, and rushing for 56 yards. Granted, Iowa isn’t Florida State, Texas A&M, Alabama, etc, but they are one of the better teams in the Big Ten and a respectable opponent.

We need to stop short-handing these top performers in college sports just because of who is on their schedule or what conference they are in. Not everybody can do what Lynch is doing. If that were the case, you would see more players putting up his kind of numbers. You don’t, because it’s not an easy thing to do, no matter who you are facing.

Simply put, Jordan Lynch is just a blue-collar football player. He might not have the prototypical size you want for your starting QB, but you can’t measure competitiveness and heart. He gets the job done and is a general on the football field. This is a guy you want in your huddle every Saturday. And this incredible season he is having deserves as much praise as the other top QB’s in the country. Appreciate the high level he is performing on and not the name of the conference or team on the jersey.

Christian Roberts of Sportz Overtime, for War Room Sports

5 NFL Draft Prospects that can help the Atlanta Falcons back to the postseason

Friday, November 29th, 2013

by Christian Roberts

The Falcons have surprised everyone this year. Not by how good they are, but how awful they are so far this season. With a 2-9 record, the playoffs are a no-go this year for a team that is a year removed from playing in the NFC championship game.
With help needed on both sides of the ball, here’s a list of 5 NFL draft prospects that can help lead the Falcons back to playoff contention.

1. South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney
The ultra talented defensive end isn’t having as explosive of a year as last season, but he is still going to be one of the prizes of the 2014 NFL Draft. Equally great against the pass and run, Clowney is sure to be a game-changer at the next level. If not for Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, Clowney might be the consensus number 1 overall pick. The Falcons are in a great position to add an elite player to an already talented team. Clowney would start from day 1 for Atlanta, and immediately upgrade a putrid defensive line.

2. Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews
Like the defensive line of the Falcons, the offensive line desperately needs talent on it. Matthews is good at protecting the passer but his strong suit is run blocking; something he is terrific at. This would help Atlanta find some kind of running game and open up holes to run through. The Texas A&M tackle is the cream of the crop in this year’s offensive line class. Atlanta would welcome him with open arms.

3. UCLA OLB Anthony Barr
Barr is somewhat of a “raw” prospect. This is only his 2nd year playing on the defensive side of the ball, and simply put, he is a force to be reckoned with. With rare speed for a linebacker, Barr causes havoc for offensive linemen. He is also very strong, something you would not think because of his lean 6’4 frame. He would be to Atlanta’s 4-3 defense what Von Miller is to the Broncos 4-3 defense. If Clowney is off the board when the Falcons pick, Barr should be at the top of their big board. His only downfall is he relies too much on his ridiculous athletic ability to make plays. Once he works on his technique more, sky’s the limit for this kid. He would give the Falcons a pass rush they have been desperately searching for, for years now. This is a terrific fit.

4. Michigan OT Taylor Lewan
In the case Jake Matthews from Texas A&M is gone, Lewan is their guy. With great size at 6’7″, 315 pounds, he was built to play Left Tackle. Long arms and quick feet also make him an elite offensive line prospect. He has to learn to play with his head in the game more, to negate all the penalties he gets called for. Once he does that, no doubt in my mind he will be a great Left Tackle at the next level. Matt Ryan would love to drop back knowing this big guy is protecting his blindside.

5. Alabama FS Hasean Clinton-Dix
Clearly the best safety in this class, this guy has all the makings of a ball-hawk at the next level. With great hands and closing speed, Clinton-Dix would be an immediate upgrade to the safety position for the “dirty birds”. Like alot of young safeties, he tends to get stuck on blockers, and he needs to work on his tackling ability. He does need to get stronger. Neither is too big of a concern and can be worked on with good coaching. Ed Reed wasn’t the greatest tackler coming out of “The U” either.

Christian Roberts of Sportz Overtime, for War Room Sports