Through the first three rounds of the NFL Draft, fans have witnessed unexpected trades, picks, and antics. We’ve been tracking each pick and have inputted the results into our analytics-based model. The model accounts for several inputs, namely weight-adjusted speed, agility, strength, and collegiate productions. Here’s a brief overview of the Top 5 drafts, by defense.

Defense:

  1. Green Bay Packers: Kevin King, CB (Pick 33), Josh Jones, FS (61), Montravious Adams, DT (93)
  2. New Orleans Saints: Marshon Lattimore, CB (11), Marcus Williams, FS (42), Alex Anzalone, OLB (76),  Trey Hendrickson, DE (103)
  3. Indianapolis Colts: Malik Hooker, FS (15), Quincy Wilson, CB (46), Tarell Basham, DE (80)
  4. Baltimore Ravens: Marlon Humphrey, CB (16), Tyus Bowser, OLB (47), Chris Wormley, DE (74), Tim Williams, OLB (78)
  5. Oakland Raiders: Gareon Conley, CB (24), Obi Melifonwu, FS (56), Eddie Vanderdoes, DE (88)

After a tough loss in the NFC Championship, the Green Bay Packers addressed their secondary by adding Kevin King and Josh Jones. King, who ranked in the 95th percentile in Speed Score and Agility Score, is arguably the best athlete in the draft. Likewise, Jones is an excellent athlete. Both King and Jones did not grab many interceptions in college, so ball skills will be a priority. Adams was the third ranked defensive tackle in a weak class, but should help generate inside pressure.

The New Orleans’ Saints has been a laughing stock, but four new additions will try to change that. Lattimore is an excellent athlete and is one of the best playmaking corners in recent memory. Alike, Williams showed his play-making ability by grabbing eight interceptions in 2016. Anzalone is a speedy outsider linebacker that graded highly as a coverage player. Hendrickson is undersized as a defensive end, but showed big time production at Florida Atlantic. Will that carry over to the NFL? That remains to me seen!

With new General Manager, Chris Ballard in tow, the Colts have gone ‘all-in’ on defense in free agency and in the draft. In the draft, the Colts’ added the best free safety in recent memory, Malik Hooker. Hooker slid in the draft due to some injury concerns, but he’s a flat out stud that ranked in the 87th percentile (or above) in Speed Score and Production Score. Joining Hooker in the secondary will be, Quincy Wilson, a playmaking corner from Florida. Wilson ranked in the 78th percentile of Speed Score and 85th percentile in Agility Score. The Colts rounded out their first three picks by taking defensive end, Tarell Basham. Basham, alike Hendrickson, is undersized, but displayed playmaking ability at Ohio University.

The Baltimore Ravens keep churning out strong draft after strong draft. Humphrey ranked in the 80th percentile of Production Score, Speed Score, and Agility Score. He’ll play immediately and Baltimore got a steal at Pick #16. Bowser ranked in the 75th percentile of Production Score, Speed Score, and Agility Score. He reminds me of Brian Cushing. Baltimore finished their first three rounds of picks by selecting Wormley and Williams. Wormley, a large, productive defensive end from Michigan, ranked in the 90th percentile for Speed Score and Agility Score. Williams, who has some off-field concerns, was a bit of a reach, but shows playmaking ability.

The Oakland Raiders round out the Top 5 with three intriguing picks. As a player, Conley, a ball-hawing corner from Ohio State, graded out as a 2nd rounder after posting a 72th percentile Speed Score and 71th percentile Production Score. Melifonwu, a 225-pound safety who can also play corner, is big, fast, and intimidating. Melifonwu ran a 4.40 40-yard dash and a 7.09 3-cone. Vanderdoes, a former 5-star recruit, ranked in the 78th percentile in Speed Score.

Through the first three rounds of the NFL Draft, fans have witnessed unexpected trades, picks, and antics. We’ve been tracking each pick and have inputted the results into our analytics-based model. The model accounts for several inputs, namely weight-adjusted speed, agility, strength, and collegiate productions. Here’s a brief overview of the Top 5 drafts, by offense and by defense.

Offense:

  1. Los Angeles Chargers: Mike Williams, WR (Pick 7), Forrest Lamp, T/G (38), Dan Feeny, G (71)
  2. Carolina Panthers: Christian McCaffrey, RB (Pick 8), Curtis Samuel, WR (40), Taylor Moton, OT (64)
  3. Buffalo Bills: Zay Jones, WR (37), Dion Dawkins, OT (40)
  4. Cincinnati Bengals: John Ross, WR (9), Joe Mixon, RB (45)
  5. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, RB (4), Cam Robinson, OT (34)

The Chargers added two of our highest graded offensive linemen. Of note, Lamp, who graded out as our top-ranked linemen, was selected with Pick #38. Feeny, a player who started 45 games for Indiana and displayed elite agility, will compete to start. Mike Williams did not grade out highly in our metrics and seems somewhat of a redundant talent. Rivers, however, is a great deep ball thrower and having another big target will help this offense.

The Carolina Panthers need to limit hits on Cam Newton, so they added two super-agile, speedy players. McCaffrey, the third-highest rank player on our running back model, can play all four downs. He’ll bring elite pass-catching upside to Carolina’s backfield. Samuel, who graded out as a Top 10 wide receiver, has a similar skill set to McCaffrey, but will likely be split out wide and play on special team. Moton, our sixth highest graded offense lineman, has elite athleticism and started 44 games for Western Michigan.

With Sammy Watkins’ future in jeopardy, Buffalo selected speedy slot receiver, Zay Jones. Jones, who amassed 158 catches for Buffalo last season. Jones graded out as our sixth-ranked receiver after amassing a huge catch total and displaying 4.45 speed. Dawkins, who is arguably the best value in the draft, is a large, mauling, athletic tackle in the same cut as former first rounder, D’Brickashaw Ferguson.

The Cincinnati Bengals secured our second highest-ranked wide receiver, John Ross. Blessed with 4.22 speed and impressive deep-ball tracking ability, Ross has garner comparisons to Desean Jackson. Ross and Corey Davis were the only receivers that graded out as first rounders. Joe Mixon graded out as our fifth-highest ranked running back in a stacked class, but may be the most talented back in this class.

With Tom Coughlin in fold, many were expecting Jacksonville to become a more physical team. Coughlin didn’t waste any time changing the identity of this team by drafting Fournette, our highest ranked running back and Cam Robinson. Fournette ranks in the 92nd percentile (or better) in production premium and speed score. Mauling left tackle, Cam Robinson, brings toughness and physicality to the offensive line. Robinson graded out as our second highest ranked offensive lineman after starting 42 games for Alabama and posting an elite speed score.

  • Your most critical pick: The Champion
    • Avoid teams that shoot a high rate of 3-point shots unless they have 5 future NBA starters LOL
  • Your ‘Champion Pick’ strategy depends on pool size.
    • Small Pool (<10 people): Pick the most likely Champion
      • Medium Pool (<30 people): Pick a Champion whose win probability far exceeds the public pick fraction.
        • Use ESPN to determine public pick fraction.
        • Known as the Contrarian Champion. Don’t pick many early round upsets.
      • Big Pool (>50 people): Don’t bother playing. Too random and sad!
  • Over the last 14 seasons, the higher seed defeated the lower seed 72% of the time. (Don’t go crazy with upsets.)
  • List every team’s margin of victory during the regular season and compare it against the ‘average’ NCAA team.

There’s no denying it–Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are the greatest quarterback-coach duo in NFL History. Brady, armed with precision, timing, and experience, willed the New England Patriots to the most unexpected win in Super Bowl history. Facing a 28-3 deficit in the third quarter, Brady and Co. went to work, methodically engineering scoring drives to get back into the game. Granted, Atlanta’s defense, which predominantly played man coverage in the first half, was completely gassed in the fourth quarter. In total, Atlanta’s defense played 99 total snaps, 35 more than the average game. Key secondary members (i.e., Jalen Collins, Ricardo Allen, Keanu Neal, and Robert Alford) all played at least 95 snaps. Brady did not have any issues picking Atlanta’s tired secondary apart as he engineered the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.

Entering the game, one of the little know story lines was Atlanta’s susceptibility to pass catching running backs. During the season, Atlanta yielded 823 receiving yards against enemy running backs, easily the worst mark in the NFL. Many were expecting Dion Lewis, who scored three touchdowns in the Division Round, to be the focal point of New England’s attack. Instead, James White led the way with eleven catches for 165 yards and two touchdowns, including the game winner. White, a former fifth round pick, is used to playing second fiddle to more talented runners, but shines when called upon. In high school, White backed up, and even rotated at fullback, for current Bengals’ running back, Gio Bernard. At Wisconsin, White saw limited playing time behind Montee Ball before sharing the backfield with Melvin Gordon, the Chargers’ current starting running back. In the NFL, White has been the third option behind LeGarrette Blount and Lewis, but has earned the trust and respect of Belichick and Josh McDaniels.

Brady, who turns 40-years-old in August, is in great shape, physically, and wants to keep playing. That’s bad news for any of New England’s AFC East foes, including the New York Jets. Brady showed that he has the heart of a champion, and more importantly, character that can overcome any difficult situation.

Athletes push the limits of their human body in pursuit of their sport, and that often results in injuries. The nature of the injury and where it is will determine how the injury will be treated.

Some of the most common sports-related injuries are, in no particular order:

  • Sprains and strains,
  • Knee injuries,
  • Tennis elbow (epicondylitis),
  • Groin pull
  • Shin splints

Fractures are also common. Regardless of the injury, an athlete has a key advantage in recovery after an injury due to his or her overall physical condition.

Because their muscles are in top condition, they are able to support the body’s injury much better than someone less fit. Their physical condition also increases their ability to participate and benefit from physical therapy when it is recommended for rehabilitation.
Prevention of these injuries is important, and performing regular warm-ups and stretching before a rigorous workout is excellent prevention.

But sometimes in spite of the best prevention efforts, injuries still occur and require treatment. Here are some of the most common treatments for the injuries discussed above.

Sprains and strains

A sprain is the tearing or wrenching of a ligament. A strain is the tearing or wrenching of a muscle or tendon. A ligament is the tough band of material that attaches bones to each other. Ligaments are the bands that attach muscle to bones. And muscles, of course, are the structures that enable us to have movement and strength.

While sprains and strains are relatively minor injuries, they can be painful. They can most often be treated by using the RICE method. RICE is an acronym which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

  • Rest. Take a break from the workouts and games and give your body a chance to heal.
  • Ice. Helps prevent and reduce any swelling related to the injury. Twenty minutes on, twenty minutes off is a good general guideline for an icing schedule.
  • Compression. Gentle compression can help to control swelling as well. An ACE bandage or elastic sleeve over the injury will keep swelling in check.
  • Elevation. Raise the affected area, preferably above the level of your heart when possible.

Knee injuries

There are a number of knee injuries caused by strenuous physical activity: dislocation, fractures, ligament injuries, tendon tears and meniscus tears. A knee injury will leave an athlete feeling very unsteady on his feet. The first course of treatment would be the RICE Method discussed previously.

If the pain and difficulty with mobility continue, your doctor may recommend immobilizing the affected leg with a brace or cast, and you may even require crutches to assist you with getting around. You may be restricted from bearing any weight on the leg.

Your doctor may recommend physical therapy to help strengthen the muscles surrounding the injury to better protect and support that area.  And of course, anti inflammatory medication such as Ibuprofen, aspirin or Tylenol may be recommended for pain.

Tennis elbow

While epicondylitis has the more colorful common name, affiliating it with one of the sport of kings, it is a common injury resulting from activity that puts a great deal of strain on the forearm or wrist.

The pain is felt on the back of elbow where the bony prominence can be felt, and also in the forearm. The tendons that attach the muscles to the elbow become inflamed.

The first line of treatment is icing the injured area, rest and the anti-inflammatory medications mentioned previously. If these do not lead to the desired results, your doctor may recommend physical therapy or an elbow splint to relieve the injured tendon.

Groin Pull

This is actually a tear injury of the adductor muscles that support the groin and hips and run down the inside of the thighs.

Initial treatment should include ice to the inside of the thigh in the affected area, compression to minimize swelling and anti-inflammatories to reduce pain and swelling.

Therapy may be recommended by your doctor to gently strengthen the area as it heals and protect it from further injury. In some cases, ultrasound therapy may be used for additional relief from injury.

Shin Splints

One of the most common injuries in high impact sports and exercise, shin splints is pain that runs down the front of the lower leg. It’s also associated with overpronation (the tendency to run with the ankles moving toward the medial line).

Rest is crucial for shin splints. This is not a condition that improves with a no pain, no gain approach. The RICE method again comes to the rescue, and lower-impact activity is recommended while recovering.

These are some of the more common sports injuries that athletes encounter. While the first line of treatment for these is relatively accessible, it’s important to remind all athletes of the importance of consulting with your sports medical specialist to keep your body as healthy and competitive as possible.

About Dr. Mark E. Pruzansky

Dr. Mark E. Pruzansky, Director of HandSport Surgery Institute, is a seasoned specialist in hand surgery, wrist surgery and microsurgery, sports injuries and arthroscopic and reconstructive surgery of the hand, wrist, elbow and brachial plexus.  With more than 20 years of high-level practice and a comprehensive knowledge of the body’s biomechanical linkages, Dr. Pruzansky is able to diagnose patients using a “kinetic-chain approach” that reveals underlying—and often overlooked—issues coming from other parts of the musculo-skeletal system.

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The 2016-17 NCAA Football has been released and fans have begun circling top match-ups on the schedule. Luckily for fans, the first three weeks in September are chock full of top match-ups between Power 5 Conference foes. Most of the match-ups featured in the first three weeks are not your typical intra-conference match-ups; rather fans can enjoy cross-conference match-ups between some of the best teams in America. In addition, some of America’s most famous venues will host the games.

While Clemson and Alabama are considered the favorites heading into this season, there are numerous teams that could make some noise. Ohio State and Oklahoma are hoping to bounce back after endings to their seasons while Georgia and LSU are led by Heisman Trophy hopefuls. The top upcoming games in September are presented below.

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The 2016-17 NCAA Football has been released and fans have begun circling top match-ups on the schedule. Luckily for fans, the first three weeks in September are chock full of top match-ups between Power 5 Conference foes. Most of the match-ups featured in the first three weeks are not your typical intra-conference match-ups; rather fans can enjoy cross-conference match-ups between some of the best teams in America. In addition, some of America’s most famous venues will host the games.

While Clemson and Alabama are considered the favorites heading into this season, there are numerous teams that could make some noise. Ohio State and Oklahoma are hoping to bounce back after endings to their seasons while Georgia and LSU are led by Heisman Trophy hopefuls. The betting lines for each of these games is fairly close, so fans should check out http://www.ogpaper.com/sports-betting.html to educate themselves on how to bet on games. Game previews for each top game in September is presented below.

9/3/16 LSU Tigers @ Wisconsin Badgers (Lambeau Field)

An SEC-Big 10 match-up between the LSU Tigers and Wisconsin Badgers currently commands the highest get-in ticket price. While both teams are made up of All-Americans, all eyes will be on running back, Leonard Fournette. Fournette, who was the NCAA rushing champion last season, has scored 32 rushing touchdowns in his first two seasons while averaging 6.0 yards per carry. Since this game will be played at the historic Lambeau Field, fans should act soon in order to secure their tickets.

9/17/16 Ohio State Buckeyes @ Oklahoma Sooners (Memorial Stadium) 

The Ohio State Buckeyes will make a rare trip to Norman, Oklahoma for a match-up against the Sooners on Saturday, September 17th. Based on early Vegas lines, the Sooners are 9-point favorites over the Buckeyes. Granted, a total of 12 Buckeyes were selected in the NFL Draft, so this team will miss some of its playmakers in this match-ups. Ohio State will still have quarterback, JT Barrett in fold, but Oklahoma will feature a dynamic offense that features quarterback, Baker Mayfield and running back, Samaje Perine.

9/17/16 Michigan State Spartans @ Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Notre Dame Stadium)

The rivalry between Michigan State and Notre Dame will be renewed on Saturday, September 17th at Notre Dame Stadium. The rivalry between Michigan State and Notre Dame dates back to 1897–and Notre Dame leads the rivalry 48-28-1. These two teams haven’t played since 2013 when Notre Dame came away with a 17-13 victory. Notre Dame has won three straight games against Michigan State, so the Spartans will look to snap their winning streak.

9/4/16 Notre Dame Fighting Irish @ Texas Longhorns (Darrell K Royal Texas Memorial Stadium) 

The Notre Dame-Texas college football rivalry dates back to 1913, but this rivalry has been dominated by the Irish. Notre Dame has nine of 11 match-up against the Longhorns, including a 38-3 victory last season. Given the magnitude of these two programs, this game will be played in primetime on Sunday, September 4th. This will be Notre Dame’s first trip to Darrell K Royal Texas Memorial Stadium since 1996 when Notre Dame won a close 27-24 decision.

9/3/16 North Carolina Tarheels @ Georgia Bulldogs (Georgia Dome) 

North Carolina and Georgia will square off in the Chik-Fil-A kick-off game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta and will renew an old ACC-SEC rivalry. These two schools have played 30 times with Georgia holding a 16-12-2 advantage. Georgia fans are hoping that their star running back, Nick Chubb, will return for the season opener. Chubb tore his ACL last season after getting off to a blistering fast; Chubb averaged 149 rushing yards per game over his first five games and averaged an absurd 8.1 yards per carry. In 2014, Chubb rushed for 1,547 yards and 14 rushing touchdowns.

When it comes to sports, New York has bred a number of world-class competitors over the last few decades. From classic swingers, such as Babe Ruth, to modern day heroes, such as Michael Jordan and Mike Tyson, New York has a long history of sporting greats.

However, away from the baseball fields, football fields and other arenas of competition, in recent years New York has also become something of a breeding ground for another type of champion – poker players.

Thanks to a steady stream of poker icons making a name for themselves on the international circuit, New York has become synonymous with poker success and was even used as the setting for the cult classic Rounders. Starring Matt Damon, Ed Norton and John Malkovich, the 1998 film focuses on Mike McDermott (played by Damon) who is a poker player tasked with using his skills to rebuild his bankroll and take part in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event.

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The New York Jets won their third straight game, demonstrating the urgency needed to make a serious playoff push. New York dominated Tennessee on both sides of the ball, outgaining the overmatched Titans, 439-292. Ryan Fitzpatrick continued to dominate, tossing more three touchdown passes, while Chris Ivory turned in his first 100-yard performance in nearly two months. While New York’s offense capitalized and made plays, Tennessee’s defensive play was putrid. Defenders resorted to arm tackling ball carriers and the secondary missed countless assignments. Right before halftime, Fitzpatrick and Brandon Marshall connected for the easiest 69-yard touchdown in NFL history. Tennessee’s secondary forgot to cover Marshall, so Marshall caught a quick screen and ran free for an easy touchdown. This scoring play gave New York a commanding 27-0 lead before halftime and basically ended the game. On the other side of the ball, New York’s defensive line, namely Muhammad Wilkerson, was all over Marcus Mariota; Mariota was sacked five times and looked completely befuddled by New York’s defensive alignments. With Darrelle Revis back in the fold, the secondary locked down Tennesse’s middling pass catchers, giving its talented array of pass rushers to attack Mariota at will. Wilkerson had his first career three-sack game and is just 0.5 sacks away from breaking Shaun Ellis’ career record (12.5 sacks).

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The New York Jets delivered their biggest win under Todd Bowles, rallying from a 10-point, 4th quarter deficit to sneak away with a 23-20 overtime victory. By virtue of their win, the Jets snap a five-game losing streak to the Giants and cement their status as a Wildcard contender in the AFC. The Jets were resilient on both sides on the ball while taking advantage of some questionable decisions made by Tom Coughlin. The Jets’ offense was stagnant for nearly three quarters, but Coughlin’s decision to ‘go-for-it’ on 4th-and-Goal from the Jets’ 2-yard line swung momentum in the Jets’ favor. The Giants were holding a 10-point lead, so it was a very questionable decision by Coughlin. Regardless, Coughlin’s decision gave the Jets an opening—and Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brandon Marshall ran through it. Fitzpatrick and Marshall connected for a 9-yard scoring strike with just 27 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. This scoring play knotted the score at 20. In overtime, the Jets pushed the ball downfield, but settled for a field goal by new kicker, Randy Bullock. Giants’ kicker, Josh Brown, missed his game-tying kick in overtime, handing the Jets the victory. Overall, it was a very emotional game and tempers ran high at times, but the duo of Fitzpatrick-Marshall, not Manning-Beckham, proved to be the winning combo.

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