The 9th Inning Column: The London Series, Race for NL MVP, and Brendan McKay’s fantastic debut

Welcome back to the 9th Inning. This is the third edition of this in the 2019 MLB season. This is a monthly column on Pro Sports Fandom in which I roundup the month’s biggest happenings in the baseball realm. I’ll discuss what teams are hot and what teams are not. I will also give my personal thoughts on a few notable baseball-related events as well as giving out monthly awards for team of the month, players of the month, and rookies of the month. It’s basically a baseball podcast squeezed into an article that happens near the end of every month. This is the second article of this season and I hope for some immense success with this column. If you’d like, be sure to share with your friends, social media, and family! I’d love my column to reach as big a global outreach as possible.

I’m going to start the 9th Inning Column for June with a few rounded-up thoughts in recap of the biggest stories recently, both on the field and off.

The London Series

What a wild two game series it was in London this weekend between the Red Sox and the Yankees. The two teams combined for 50 runs, a two-game record between the two clubs. It was an offensive showdown on both days, as neither starting pitcher made it out of the first inning in Game 1, and the bullpen for both teams proved to be shaky at times. The Yankees had three innings in the series in which they scored six or more runs, and the Red Sox had two of these innings. When the MLB returns to London next season, hopefully they can give the fans a pitcher’s duel to remember.

The race for NL MVP

Christian Yelich and Cody Bellinger are in a tight race for the National League MVP award at the moment. Both of these young outfielders are having fabulous seasons and Yelich is looking to win his second MVP in a row. Both are All-Star starters, so how do we separate them? Bellinger has a better batting average, RBIs, and WAR, while Yelich has more home runs and stolen bases. It’s extremely close at the moment, but Bellinger would be my pick if I had to choose between these two.

McKay’s fantastic debut

The Tampa Bay Rays had an exciting weekend by taking a series with the Texas Rangers, but also with the debut of highly touted prospect Brendan McKay, who came up as a pitcher who still has two-way potential. He was ranked as the 23rd best prospect in all of baseball by MLB Pipeline and he was the second best prospect in the Rays system. He retired the first 16 batters of his MLB career and finished a terrific outing by pitching six innings of one-hit shutout baseball with only one walks and three strikeouts. This is a sign of things to come for McKay, who has an extremely bright future in the big leagues.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not?

The New York Yankees have been on the hot section of this list for all three columns thus far in 2019, and it seems to be with good reason. Since losing two in a row to the White Sox on June 13th and 14th, the Yankees rattled off eight consecutive victories and have gone 13-1 overall, with series wins over the Rays, Astros, and Red Sox. Chad Green has found success as an opener as he pitched to a 0.69 ERA in 13 innings during the month. The offense was ruthless throughout the month, led by D.J. LeMahieu’s clutch hitting, Gleyber Torres balanced approach, Gary Sánchez’s pop, and the returning Aaron Judge. They are undoubtedly the best team in baseball right now, and they’ve shown no signs of slowing down.

The Oakland Athletics have once again gotten extremely hot near the end of the month, similar to how the month of May concluded. They’ve gone 7-3 in their past 10 games, climbing within a half game of the second AL Wildcard spot. Matt Olson was a big contributor for the A’s, hitting 9 homers and notching 20 RBIs. Ramon Laureano also showed significant increases in his power hitting abilities, hitting 7 home runs in the month. It certainly hurts to lose Frankie Montas to a PED suspension, but the Athletics are still hungry to make the postseason for the second straight season.

The Washington Nationals were struggling to win not too long ago, but recently they’ve found something that’s clicked. They are 7-3 in their last 10 games and still find themselves in the thick of the hunt for the NL Wildcard spots. Anthony Rendon continued to prove why he’s going to get paid this fall, as he batted .311 with 9 homers and 24 RBIs in the month. Max Scherzer was also phenomenal in June, but we’ll discuss that later. All this stretch did was prove that the Nats won’t sell and why would they?

The New York Mets were expected to contend in the NL East in 2019, but instead they looked like they’ve built an utter disaster. They just ended a seven game losing streak and have gone 3-7 in their last 10 games. The roster was built to win but it simply has not done that, as they now sit 12 games back of the first place Braves. Barring a massive hot stretch, it doesn’t look like Queens will be able to see their hometown Mets play in October this season.

The Boston Red Sox have simply not looked like a great baseball team this season. The defending champs have serious issues with the bullpen and getting run support for Chris Sale. The London Series was pretty embarrassing to be quite frank with you, as Rick Porcello and the bullpen got slaughtered. They’ve fallen 11 games back of the Yankees in the AL East standings amid a three game losing streak and a 4-6 stretch in their last 10 games.

The Monthly Awards:

Team of the Month is…

The Atlanta Braves (20-8)

Despite losing to the Mets on Sunday Night Baseball in difficult fashion, the Braves had a phenomenal month in June, going 20-8 and building a 5.5 game lead in the NL East Standings over the Philadelphia Phillies. They joined the 50 win club yesterday, becoming the fifth team to do so thus far in 2019. Freddie Freeman is unbelievable, Ronald Acuña Jr. is one of the game’s brightest young stars, and Mike Soroka has been unbelievable in his rookie season. Even if they don’t win the World Series this year, the Braves can rest assured that they have one of the brightest futures of any team in the MLB.

Hitter of the Month is…

New York Yankees 2B D.J. LeMahieu

LeMahieu was an absolute superstar for the unstoppable Yankees offense in June, and he is climbing his way up the AL MVP contenders list because of it. LeMahieu batted .395 in the month with six homers and 29 RBIs with a 1.092 OPS. He continues to be one of the most (if not, the most) valuable signings from the offseason. In fact, he’s been rewarded for his outstanding play by being named as the AL Starter at Second Base in the 2019 All-Star Game. He undoubtedly deserves the hitter of the month award for his performance in June.

Starter of the Month is…

Washington Nationals RHP Max Scherzer

Frequently being talked about as a long shot trade deadline target for a few clubs, Max Scherzer’s dominant month of June has been a huge reason why the Nationals are right back in the NL Wildcard hunt. He broke his nose and pitched a gem against the Phillies the next day. Not to mention, he made 6 starts in the month, getting the victory in all 6, and pitching 45 innings with a 1.00 ERA. He only gave up 25 hits, 5 runs, and had 68 strikeouts against only 5 walks in the month. Opponents were hitting just .156 against him and he had a 0.67 WHIP as a result.

Reliever of the Month is…

Oakland Athletics RHP Liam Hendriks

Used as an opener near the end of the 2018 campaign, Liam Hendriks has reestablished himself as one of the better relief pitchers on the Oakland Athletics roster. He pitched 15 innings of one run baseball in June, good for a 0.60 earned run average. He gave up only 10 hits, struck out 22, and walked four batters. Opposing hitters batted just .192 against him in the month and struggled against him all month long.

Rookie Hitter of the Month is…

New York Mets 1B Pete Alonso

Despite being apart of a struggling Mets ball club, first baseman Pete Alonso coasted his way to his second Rookie Hitter of the Month award for my column. In June, the newly announced NL All-Star batted .309 with 9 home runs, 19 RBIs, and a 1.097 OPS. He also had an impressive on-base percentage of .437, as he walked 17 times compared to striking out 22 times. If he continues to hit like this, he’ll be the unquestioned NL Rookie of the Year.

Rookie Pitcher of the Month is…

Arizona Diamondbacks RHP Merrill Kelly

You might be questioning how a 30 year old can be a successful rookie, but Merrill Kelly fits the bill. An eighth round draft pick of the Rays in the 2010 draft, Kelly pitched in the minors until 2015, when he went to the KBO to play baseball. After three years there, Kelly has made his MLB debut in 2019. He was phenomenal in June, making six starts and pitching 39.1 innings with a 2.75 earned run average. He only walked five batters all month and opponents were hitting .212 with a .238 on-base percentage against him in the month.

Thanks for reading the June edition of the 9th Inning column! I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to share with your friends, family, and on social media! Feel free to contact me on my Twitter @TBeckmann24 if you have any questions! I’ll be back next month! Peace!

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The 9th Inning Column: MLB Draft Week, Jose Ramirez’ struggles, and RIP Bill Buckner

Welcome back to the 9th Inning. This is the second edition of this in the 2019 MLB season. This is a monthly column on Pro Sports Fandom in which I roundup the month’s biggest happenings in the baseball realm. I’ll discuss what teams are hot and what teams are not. I will also give my personal thoughts on a few notable baseball-related events as well as giving out monthly awards for team of the month, players of the month, and rookies of the month. It’s basically a baseball podcast squeezed into an article that happens near the end of every month. This is the second article of this season and I hope for some immense success with this column. If you’d like, be sure to share with your friends, social media, and family! I’d love my column to reach as big a global outreach as possible.

I’m going to start the 9th Inning Column for May with a few rounded-up thoughts in recap of the biggest stories recently, both on the field and off.

It is almost time for the MLB Draft!

We are less than a week away from the 2019 MLB Draft and there’s a lot of speculation swirling about the first few rounds. Firstly, nearly everybody in the business believes that the Orioles have to take Adley Rutschman with the top pick. Rutschman, a catcher for Oregon State, is a switch-hitter with solid power and great defensive skills behind the plate. Secondly, a lot of people believe that the Royals will take Bobby Witt Jr. with the second pick. Witt Jr. is a five-tool shortstop coming out of Colleyville Heritage High School in Texas, and he’s the son of a former big league starter. Overall, we are looking at a draft class that is somewhat weak on quality arms but more than makes it up for it with high potential position players.

What is wrong with Jose Ramirez?

In the past few seasons, Jose Ramirez gave the Cleveland Indians another budding star to put alongside Francisco Lindor. Yet in 2019, Ramírez looks to be well off his game. He doesn’t look like he’ll achieve a three peat of third place AL MVP finishes. In 55 games, the 26 year old third baseman is batting a mere .211 with only 4 home runs and 17 RBIs. He’s striking out more, walking less, and seems to have lost his touch at the plate. A good thing for Ramirez is that he’s been playing well lately, batting .357 in his last three games. Still though, the Indians are struggling as a team and falling way back in the race for the AL Central, and they’ll need Ramírez to start putting up the numbers that he’s capable of if they want to get back in it.

Former batting champ Bill Buckner passes away

An MLB legend passed away on Monday after a battle with dementia. Bill Buckner played in the big leagues for 22 seasons and totaled 2,715 hits on a career .289 batting average. Buckner was a great teammate and was highly valued as a utility player during his time in the MLB. In 1980, he batted .324 and was the National League Batting Champion. In 1981, he made his only All-Star team. Buckner deserves respect across the league for his great career. Rest In Peace, Bill Buckner.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not?

The New York Yankees were the best team in baseball throughout the month of May and I’ll discuss them later, because they won one of the column’s awards.

The Minnesota Twins were certainly in the mix for the team of the month award in May, but they were just edged out by the Yanks. They’re pulling away from the Indians in the AL Central, as they currently have a 9.5 game cushion. Newfound ace Jake Odorizzi was phenomenal in May, pitching his way to a 0.94 ERA in five starts. First baseman C.J. Cron led the high powered Twins offensive attack in May as he hit eight home runs, batted .301, and tallied 21 RBIs. The Twins continue to surprise folks and they are seriously one of the top five teams in baseball right now, without any doubt.

The Oakland Athletics have recently gotten themselves firmly back in the hunt for the AL West crown with a 10-game winning streak and an 8-2 stretch over their past ten games. They are alone in second place in their division and sit 7.5 games back of the Houston Astros. The Athletics were led by Frankie Montas strong pitching (2.64 ERA in 30.2 IP) and the offense was helped a lot by Josh Phegley (4 HRs and 20 RBI). With franchise cornerstone Matt Chapman and a solid pitching staff, last year’s second AL Wildcard team could be well on their way to another postseason appearance.

If you haven’t heard about Cody Bellinger’s stellar start of a 2019 campaign, then you’ve been living under a rock. Combine that with a dominating pitching staff and you can see why the Los Angeles Dodgers are continuing to build a sizeable lead in the NL West Standings. They either won or split every series in the month of May, proving that they can compete in every single game. Sitting at a 38-19 record, the Dodgers look to be well on their way to another NL West crown.

The St. Louis Cardinals were very good in the first month or so of 2019, but they’ve fallen off to a below .500 record as we turn the calendar to June. They are 4-6 in their last ten games and now sit 4.5 games back of the first place Cubs in the NL Central. The Cardinals play in perhaps the toughest division in all of Major League Baseball, so they’ll need to stop skidding before they find themselves in too big of a hole.

Remember when the Seattle Mariners were hitting all sorts of bombs every day and were in first place in the AL West? Yeah, I do too, and those days are long gone as the Mariners have the worst record in all of Major League Baseball in the month of May at 6-21. They’ve struggled as a pitching staff and had tough offensive nights, leading to their fall to dead last in the AL West standings. It looks like the Mariners have run out of magic.

In last month’s column, I talked extensively about what the San Francisco Giants should do if they didn’t start winning soon. Well, the Giants haven’t done any better and are still in last place in their division as they’ve been extremely cold as of late. They’re in the midst of a 2-8 stretch in their last ten games and they are on their way to being an early seller on the summer trade market.

The Monthly Awards:

Team of the Month is…

The New York Yankees (19-7)

The New York Yankees have surged to the top of the American League East recently due to a continued stretch of dominance. They’ve gone 12-3 since May 12th and that includes series victory over the Tampa Bay Rays (twice) and the San Diego Padres. Masahiro Tanaka had been dominant in May until his start on Tuesday, having a 2.80 earned run average in 35.1 innings of work. Gleyber Torres (.308 AVG and 9 HRs) and Gary Sanchez (.288 AVG and 9 HRs) have carried the load offensively for the Yanks throughout the month. The bullpen is starting to round into form as well, proving it is as good as advertised with Chapman, Britton, Kahnle, and Ottavino all in peak form right now. With so many injuries, the Yankees performance has simply been impressive.

The Hitter of the Month is…

Pittsburgh Pirates 1B Josh Bell

One of the best hitters in all of the majors through the season thus far, Pirates first baseman Josh Bell has been absolutely smoking baseballs left and right. He is undoubtedly the hitter of the month of May, as he hit at a .389 batting average with a .444 on-base percentage and an .814 slugging percentage. He also has hit 12 homers in the month and has racked up 30 RBIs. He’s shown considerable improvements in the 2019 campaign so far, as he’s close to reaching previously career high numbers already. Bell is the unquestioned leader in Pittsburgh and if he continues hitting like this, he will be in Cleveland as an All-Star this summer.

The Starter of the Month is…

Los Angeles Dodgers LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu

Garnering praise as a “left handed Greg Maddux”, the 32-year old veteran Ryu is off to a Cy Young-esque start in 2019. In May, he was nearly unhittable, going 5-0 and pitching his way to a 0.59 ERA in 45.2 innings on the mound. Opposing hitters had just a .177 batting average against him in his six starts and he continues to provide great outings for the dominating LA Dodgers club. If Ryu continues to control the strike zone and limit walks, I could easily see him being named the Cy Young award winner for the National League in the fall.

The Reliever of the Month is…

New York Yankees RHP Adam Ottavino

Adam Ottavino has started off his 2019 campaign still right in his dominant 2018 form. The veteran reliever was superb in May, appearing in 13 games and not giving up any runs. Since April 21st, Ottavino has not given up a run. Thus far in 2019, the former Rockie has a 2-1 record with 12 holds and a 1.37 ERA in 26.1 innings pitched. He’s been exactly the guy that the Yankees wanted him to be when they signed him in the offseason. He undoubtedly deserves the reliever of the month award for his performance in May.

Rookie Hitter of the Month:

Boston Red Sox 2B Michael Chavis

The third best prospect in the Boston farm system, Chavis has immediately come up into the big leagues and helped provide a stable bat in the lineup. In May, he batted .255 with seven home runs and he’s showing off his advanced hitting tool. With other rookies struggling, Chavis has climbed his way up near the top of the American League Rookie of the Year award race.

Rookie Pitcher of the Month:

Atlanta Braves RHP Mike Soroka

Mike Soroka has been more than just a valuable contributor for the Braves rotation this season. He’s been dominant and looks to be firmly in the mix for the NL Rookie of the Year award. If the award was won in May, Soroka may have just clinched it. He pitched his way to a 0.79 ERA in 34 innings during the month. He only gave up three earned runs and opponents hit just .145 against him in the month. Soroka has been just as good as his prospect evaluation hyped him up to be, and he’s on his way to becoming the ace of the Braves already.

Thanks for reading the May edition of the 9th Inning column! I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to share with your friends, family, and on social media! Feel free to contact me on my Twitter @TBeckmann24 if you have any questions! I’ll be back next month! Peace!

PSF’s College Basketball Bracketology (3/11/2019)

Welcome back to the seventh edition of my College Basketball Bracketology, where I project the NCAA Tournament field and matchups as we lead up to next week’s Selection Sunday. We are counting down the last week of games to the biggest day of the college basketball season. Teams are rising, conference tournaments are in full swing, and the bracket is shaping up as well! It’s time to run through the procedures and get into my seventh bracket of the season with help from MyTopSportsBooks and their value picks for march madness. 

In this edition, per usual, I’ve projected seeding and matchups for all tournament teams. College basketball fans and experts abroad have all gained a decent understanding of the contenders and pretenders in each college basketball conference, and I’m as big of a college hoops fan as you’ll find. Some teams are continuing to distance themselves from the bubble, some teams continue to remain clustered around it, and some teams are watching as their bubble hopes vanish by the minute.

During the weekend, the bubble became a lot less crowded as some teams won their way off of it, and some had their bubble pop. Temple sealed a huge resume-building win at home over a hot UCF team. Georgetown and Seton Hall both made vases as they knocked off the top two squads in the Big East, respectively. It was a really fun weekend of college hoops and it looks to be just a small taste of what’s to come this week and beyond in March this year!

My process of bracketing is pretty simple actually. Firstly, I’ve compiled a list of college basketball teams who realistically still have a chance at making the NCAA Tournament. Secondly, I’ve used the brand new NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) Rankings as a seeding criteria for all teams, which will also be heavily used by the actual selection committee. Lastly, I’ve looked at every team’s current record, strength of schedule, and used the NCAA’s Quadrant Wins System to analyze the quality of their respective wins and losses.

After I have made a judgment on all teams, I begin to seed the 68 chosen teams from 1 to 68. Ranking them this way allows me to separate them into seed lines (#1 to #16). Finally, I place the teams into regions based on their respective seeds, conferences, and game location (for the top 16 seeds). I tried my best to keep conference opponents from playing until at least the Sweet 16, but there may have been situations where this wasn’t realistically possible.

There are three rules that I assure are being followed. Firstly, I tried to make the top four seeds in each region add up to similar overall region numbers, to make the regions competitive and balanced. With this in mind, there was a two-number differential between all four regions. I also made sure I never put teams from the same conferences on the same top four seed line. And lastly, I assured that the number one overall seed Virginia would not have the best two seed in their bracket.

All in all, the process I go through definitely isn’t easy, but it’s fun to look at the possibilities. I’ve tried my best to simulate what the actual selection committee would be doing if the tournament had to be seeded today. So before we start a crazy conference tournament week in college hoops, let’s check into my seventh Bracketology projection!

East Region (Washington, D.C.):

Columbia, South Carolina

#1 Virginia vs. #16 Norfolk State/#16 St. Francis (PA)

#8 Ole Miss vs. #9 Washington

San Jose, California

#4 Kansas State vs. #13 New Mexico State

#5 Maryland vs. #12 Liberty

Des Moines, Iowa

#3 LSU vs. #14 Harvard

#6 Cincinnati vs. #11 TCU

Columbus, Ohio

#2 Michigan State vs. #15 Wright State

#7 Auburn vs. #10 Seton Hall

Midwest Region (Kansas City, MO):

Columbia, South Carolina

#1 North Carolina vs. #16 Omaha

#8 Iowa vs. #9 Baylor

San Jose, California

#4 Kansas vs. #13 Hofstra

#5 Nevada vs. #12 NC State/#12 Ohio State

Hartford, Connecticut

#3 Purdue vs. #14 Old Dominion

#6 Buffalo vs. #11 St. John’s

Jacksonville, Florida

#2 Tennessee vs. #15 Colgate

#7 Wofford vs. #10 Temple

West Region (Anaheim, CA):

Salt Lake City, Utah

#1 Gonzaga vs. #16 Prairie-View/#16 Iona

#8 UCF vs. #9 Utah State

Hartford, Connecticut

#4 Florida State vs. #13 Vermont

#5 Marquette vs. #12 Murray State

Des Moines, Iowa

#3 Michigan vs. #14 Montana

#6 Mississippi State vs. #11 Clemson

Tulsa, Oklahoma

#2 Texas Tech vs. #15 Bradley

#7 Louisville vs. #10 Minnesota

South Region (Louisville, KY):

Columbus, Ohio

#1 Kentucky vs. #16 Gardner-Webb

#8 Iowa State vs. #9 Syracuse

Salt Lake City, Utah

#4 Wisconsin vs. #13 UC Irvine

#5 Virginia Tech vs. #12 Florida/#12 Indiana

Tulsa, Oklahoma

#3 Houston vs. #14 Georgia State

#6 Villanova vs. #11 Arizona State

Jacksonville, Florida

#2 Duke vs. #15 Sam Houston State

#7 VCU vs. #10 Oklahoma

The Bubble:

Last Four In:

Indiana (17-14, 8-12 Big Ten, 55th NET, 6-9 Quadrant 1, 2-5 Quadrant 2, 9-0 Quadrants 3/4, 47th SOS, 183rd Non-Conference SOS)

Ohio State (18-13, 8-12 Big Ten, 52nd NET, 4-9 Quadrant 1, 4-3 Quadrant 2, 10-1 Quadrants 3/4, 52nd SOS, 154th Non-Conference SOS)

NC State (21-10, 9-9 ACC, 32nd NET, 2-8 Quadrant 1, 6-0 Quadrant 2, 13-2 Quadrants 3/4, 147th SOS, 352nd Non-Conference SOS)

Florida (17-14, 9-9 SEC, 33rd NET, 3-11 Quadrant 1, 3-1 Quadrant 2, 11-2 Quadrants 3/4, 27th SOS, 93rd Non-Conference SOS)

First Four Out:

Creighton (18-13, 9-9 Big East, 54th NET, 3-10 Quadrant 1, 6-3 Quadrant 2, 9-0 Quadrants 3/4, 15th SOS, 25th Non-Conference SOS)

UNC-Greensboro (28-5, 15-3 Southern, 57th NET, 2-5 Quadrant 1, 2-0 Quadrant 2, 22 Quadrants 3/4, 123rd SOS, 137th Non-Conference SOS)

Alabama (17-14, 8-10 SEC, 58th NET, 2-9 Quadrant 1, 7-3 Quadrant 2, 8-2 Quadrants 3/4, 22nd SOS, 33rd Non-Conference SOS)

Belmont (26-5, 16-2 OVC, 45th NET, 2-2 Quadrant 1, 3-1 Quadrant 2, 20-2 Quadrants 3/4, 198th SOS, 72nd Non-Conference SOS)

Next Four Out:

Texas (16-15, 8-10 Big 12, 39th NET, 5-9 Quadrant 1, 4-5 Quadrant 2, 7-1 Quadrants 3/4, 61st SOS, 14th Non-Conference SOS)

Lipscomb (25-7, 14-2 Atlantic Sun, 42nd NET, 2-3 Quadrant 1, 1-3 Quadrant 2, 20-1 Quadrants 3/4, 205th SOS, 47th Non-Conference SOS)

Georgetown (19-12, 9-9 Big East, 76th NET, 5-6 Quadrant 1, 6-4 Quadrant 2, 8-2 Quadrants 3/4, 76th SOS, 248th Non-Conference SOS)

St. Mary’s (20-11, 11-5 West Coast, 37th NET, 1-6 Quadrant 1, 2-3 Quadrant 2, 17-2 Quadrants 3/4, 53rd SOS, 38th Non-Conference SOS)

Conference Count-Ups:

American Athletic Conference (4 Teams): #10 Houston, #24 Cincinnati, #31 UCF, #38 Temple.

Atlantic Coast Conference (9 Teams): #1 Virginia, #4 North Carolina, #5 Duke, #13 Florida State, #18 Virginia Tech, #26 Louisville, #35 Syracuse, #41 Clemson, #48 NC State.

Big 12 (7 Teams): #8 Texas Tech, #15 Kansas, #16 Kansas State, #30 Iowa State, #36 Baylor, #37 Oklahoma, #42 TCU.

Big East (4 Teams): #20 Marquette, #23 Villanova, #40 Seton Hall, #43 St. John’s.

Big Ten (9 Teams): #7 Michigan State, #9 Michigan, #12 Purdue, #14 Wisconsin, #17 Maryland, #29 Iowa, #39 Minnesota, #47 Indiana, #48 Ohio State.

Mountain West (2 Teams): #19 Nevada, #34 Utah State.

PAC-12 (2 Teams): #33 Washington, #44 Arizona State.

SEC (7 Teams): #3 Kentucky, #6 Tennessee, #11 LSU, #22 Mississippi State, #25 Auburn, #32 Ole Miss, #50 Florida.

Singular Bid League Teams (24 Teams): #2 Gonzaga, #21 Buffalo, #27 Wofford, #28 VCU, #45 Murray State, #46 Liberty, #51 New Mexico State, #52 Hofstra, #53 UC Irvine, #54 Vermont, #55 Old Dominion, #56 Georgia State, #57 Harvard, #58 Montana, #59 Bradley, #60 Colgate, #61 Wright State, #62 Sam Houston State, #63 Omaha, #64 Gardner-Webb, #65 Prairie-View, #66 Iona, #67 St. Francis (PA), #68 Norfolk State.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed. If you have any insight, opinions, or questions about my Bracketology projection, feel free to contact me on Twitter @TBeckmann24. Have a great rest of your day and peace!

 

Tristan Beckmann’s 2019 Post-Combine NFL Mock Draft 5.0 (Four Rounds)

The time for NFL Mock Drafts is in full swing as we have wrapped up the NFL Draft Scouting Combine and are getting ready to go into the prospects pro days. After reading this article, you’ll have a glimpse of hope for the future and perhaps you’ll be extremely excited for the NFL Draft. All 32 teams have gained a sense of identity into which they will ride by in the upcoming offseason. The final draft positioning has been sorted out, and compensatory picks have been awarded.

Welcome back to my NFL Mock Draft Version 5.0, in which I’m going to project four rounds in the draft for the third time ever on this website. I’ve been scouting a ton of collegiate prospects over the last few months or so and I’ve got a pretty good feel on who I like transitioning to the NFL more so than who I don’t like in that aspect. I’ll even provide brief analysis on the first round prospects.

I watched most of the NFL Draft Combine and have re-evaluated plenty of prospects on my board based on their performance. For me, the biggest winner out of combine week was Ole Miss wide receiver D.K. Metcalf, who took over the top receiver spot on my board. Metcalf, a 6’3 monster, dominated in Indy, running a 4.33 second 40 yard dash, going for 27 reps on the bench press, and having a 40+ inch vertical leap. He did struggle with his footwork in the three cone drill and 20 yard shuttle, and reports surfaced that Metcalf has 1.6% body fat. While I think his body fat is probably low, 1.6% isn’t realistic or healthy and it cannot possibly be that low.

The biggest loser of combine week is definitely Florida edge rusher Jachai Polite, who I had as a first round pick in Mock Draft 4.0. Polite, who was a force in the SEC on the Gators defensive line, struggled during the drills that he participated in before he pulled out because of an injury that NFL teams believe he made up. Polite also said he didn’t enjoy the interviews with teams, as most of them were spent bashing his game. This was definitely something that pushes Polite down to a Day 2 selection at best.

This year’s draft class is loaded with interior defensive lineman as eight of them have first round grades from me, yet they all don’t even go off the board in round 1 or even round 2. All of this and more remains to be played out as we inch closer towards the 2019 NFL Draft in late April, but enough talk, let’s get into the fifth version of this year’s mock draft.

1ST ROUND:

1. Arizona Cardinals:

Ohio State EDGE Nick Bosa

Bosa was an absolute beast on the edge at Ohio State, and we would’ve gotten more of a glimpse of him if he hadn’t suffered a season ending injury earlier in the season. Bosa has the size, speed, and physical technique that should allow his game to translate quickly into the NFL stage and let him make an impact on whoever drafts him.

2. San Francisco 49ers:

Alabama DL Quinnen Williams

Williams is a guy who has jumped up everybody’s board with a tremendous breakout season for the Alabama Crimson Tide. He’s been the leader of their defense and he can truly wreak havoc inside the line. He’s an impactful interior lineman with a bright future if the right team drafts him.

3. New York Jets:

Michigan EDGE Rashan Gary

Gary can play everywhere on the defensive line and the team that drafts him will get a big versatile player. He will make an impact in stopping the run game while also putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Despite some injury concerns, the former Michigan star is a surefire early first round selection as of now.

4. Oakland Raiders:

Kentucky EDGE Josh Allen

Allen took home plenty of hardware in terms of the College Football Awards this past season, but let’s not act like it’s undeserved. Allen was a force on the Kentucky defense and was arguably the best defensive player in all of college football in 2018. He will be able to play as both an edge rusher or an outside linebacker if the team that drafts him needs it.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

LSU CB Greedy Williams

Williams’ combination of great size at 6’3 with solid speed and high football IQ help him become the consensus top cornerback in the draft class. He’s smart in coverage and has consistently shown an ability to absolutely clamp down on opposing receivers. He’s a superstar shutdown corner in the making.

6. New York Giants:

Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray

The story of this year’s draft class, Murray ended up choosing football over baseball. The Heisman Trophy winner dominated in the past year as a starter for the Sooners and led them to the College Football Playoff. He’s got a tremendous baseball like arm (similar to Patrick Mahomes arm), and he’s still improving as a consistent accurate thrower of the football. Plus, you can’t say enough about Murray’s abilities to stretch plays outside of the pocket with his quick feet and electric mobility. He could be a Week 1 starter next season in the league!

7. Jacksonville Jaguars:

Alabama OT Jonah Williams

Williams is a disciplined offensive tackle with a lot of experience at Alabama while protecting Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts. He shows great technique for a tackle in this day and age of the league, and he is the strong, smart, and quick twitch tackle that an NFL team will love to have protecting the edge.

8. Detroit Lions:

Mississippi State EDGE Montez Sweat

In a class full of dominant defensive line players, Sweat was near the early second round ranks for me before he absolutely tore it up in Indy. He ran a ridiculous 4.41 forty yard dash and looked solid in drills. Those are great numbers for a guy who dominated his whole career at Mississippi State as a 6’6, 260 pound edge rusher. Sweat has certainly grabbed everyone’s attention now.

9. Buffalo Bills:

Ole Miss WR D.K. Metcalf

Metcalf is as close as Calvin Johnson as they come, and I haven’t seen a player like him in years. He’s got the lovable combination of size and speed as he’s 6’3 and 230 pounds. He’s a true outside receiver who has a tremendous nose for the football. He can go up and get it when his QB really needs him to, and hearing that’ll be something coaches will love the sound of. Despite his tremendous combine, teams will be wary of his injury history, so be on the look out for that.

10. Denver Broncos:

LSU LB Devin White

White is a Deion Jones type linebacker. He is the fastest linebacker in the draft class and shows some of the quickest instincts I’ve seen in quite a while from a linebacker. He is strong, powerful, and has improved every aspect of his game in the 2018 season. He’s a do it all linebacker who will immediately improve the defense of the team who drafts him.

11. Cincinnati Bengals:

Florida OT Jawaan Taylor

Jawaan Taylor was unable to participate in most of the drills at the Scouting Combine, but he’s risen quickly in a draft class that’s become surprisingly strong at offensive tackle. The Florida product slots in as a right tackle in the pros and he is a good pass protector and developing run blocker. He’s got strong hands and his frame (6’5 and 328 pounds) is excellent for his position. Taylor may climb into the top ten of the draft when it’s all said and done.

12. Green Bay Packers:

Clemson EDGE Clelin Ferrell

Ferrell is always the guy that everyone tends to forget about on that historic Clemson championship defensive line. He’s experienced and has been a leader for the Tigers throughout his career. He’s got the length at 6’5 to be a dominant pass rusher in the NFL and he also displays outstanding power to move around the offensive line.

13. Miami Dolphins:

Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins Jr.

Haskins is in a battle with Kyler Murray for the title of best player in this draft at the quarterback position right now. As Haskins is way more talented in terms of his arm strength and accuracy than anyone else in the draft. Haskins has a great shot to be the first QB taken in the draft too, but we will have to watch the pre-draft process. He’s a legitimate quarterback with the tools to develop into a Patrick Mahomes type thrower of the football. Yeah, I said it.

14. Atlanta Falcons:

Houston DL Ed Oliver

Oliver was a lot of people’s preseason number one pick, but he’s fallen a bit due to a sudden struggle to make an impact when rushing passers. Oliver makes his impact against the run and most NFL teams would drool at the Houston product as a guy to plug up the middle of the defensive line and shut down opposing running backs.

15. Washington Redskins:

Missouri QB Drew Lock

Drew Lock probably is the most further developed along out of the quarterbacks in the draft class, but his potential just doesn’t compare to theirs. He’s got pocket passer type size at 6’4 and 225 pounds, and he’s got an incredible arm with strength and accuracy always on display. He’s not afraid to hurl one deep and he’s certainly what NFL teams would call an aggressive deep ball thrower.

16. Carolina Panthers:

Florida State EDGE Brian Burns

Brian Burns was a disruptive edge defender at Florida State and a lot of that has to do with his outstanding 6’5 frame. He’s not a thick bodied edge defender like most, as he only sits at 235, but he more than makes up for it with his generational athletic abilities as an impact player off the edge. He should do well rushing the passer in the NFL.

17. Cleveland Browns:

Clemson DL Christian Wilkins

I saw my fair share of Wilkins in his career at Clemson when they played my Louisville Cardinals. He’s a big inside guy who plays tough against the run, and is quickly developing into being an every down pass rusher. He has an excellent combination of size at 6’4 and 315 pounds with some incredible game-wrecking power. He still needs to work on his moves to generate pressure as well, but he’s a great bet to develop into a Pro Bowl defensive lineman.

18. Minnesota Vikings:

Oklahoma OG Cody Ford

For a 6’4, 330 pound lineman, Ford displays tremendous agility and balance, two rare traits these days for guys that size. He played right tackle at Oklahoma but will probably be better off inside as a guard in the NFL. He’ll need to work on his footwork but he’s got tremendous strength that will sell to the scouts.

19. Tennessee Titans:

Washington CB Byron Murphy

Murphy was also a breakout player in 2018 who a lot of people did not have ranked highly on their draft boards. After watching his tape, I can see why he’s now so highly touted. Murphy is going to play more slot than outside due to his small frame at 5’11 and 182 pounds, but he’s not to be messed with. He makes plays and can shutdown opposing wideouts if asked to do so. He’s got great fundamental cornerback techniques that should help him ease into a starting role in Week 1.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers:

Michigan LB Devin Bush Jr.

Bush is a physical, fast linebacker who manned the middle of the strong Michigan Wolverines defense in his tenure there. He’s a guy that can help lead a defense and help out a team at any linebacker spot. He can drop back in coverage but he’s not bad at rushing the passer either, making him an easy first round projection here.

21. Seattle Seahawks:

Washington State OT Andre Dillard

Andre Dillard has certainly climbed up my board since I first made it. He has now entered first round NFL starter caliber territory for me. He’s 6’5 and weighs in at 315 pounds which is a good size for his position, and he ran an amazing 4.96 forty yard dash, which is good for a player his weight. He looked very good in drills at the combine, adding to his film at Washington State where he was a four year starter who dominated with power, athleticism, and blocking abilities.

22. Baltimore Ravens:

Ole Miss WR AJ Brown

Brown is the type of deep threat and playmaker that NFL teams are looking for nowadays. He’s got a solid frame at 6’1 and 230 pounds but doesn’t lack in the speed department. He’ll be a redzone threat immediately in the NFL on any team with his tough hands and outstanding route-running ability. He can fight through traffic as well, which is why he comes off the board here at number 22.

23. Houston Texans:

Iowa TE T.J. Hockenson

Hockenson has emerged as the best tight end in this class over his own teammate Noah Fant, in part due to his blocking skills being far more advanced at this point. Fant is more athletic but Hockenson is not a slouch in terms of his athleticism. Combine this with above-average hands and tremendous football IQ, and this kid could climb up draft boards in an instant!

24. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago):

Arizona State WR N’Keal Harry

Harry is a playmaking freak of nature, and he is easily one of the best WRs in this draft class. Harry has unreal size at 6’4, and it seems like he can jump up and go get the ball from anywhere. He’s no slouch running either, as he’s displayed solid speed at Arizona State that should allow him to separate from some of the league’s best cover corners.

25. Philadelphia Eagles:

Alabama RB Josh Jacobs

I didn’t even have this kid on my draft board two months ago. But now, he’s a top five talent and a future star running back in the NFL. Jacobs checks every box that NFL teams look for in a running back, combining a gift of elusiveness, a big frame, power running ability, and strong football IQ. At Bama, Jacobs showed his hard-working ability as a player who played at maximum effort on any play he was on the football field. This dude is an all-around stud!

26. Indianapolis Colts:

Georgia CB DeAndre Baker

DeAndre Baker is a physical man coverage cornerback who can compete with the best of the best. He’s an agile 5’11 guy with good tackling abilities as well as the instincts to match up with a lot of guys in the league. He should probably be drafted higher than he will be, but that’s due to this draft being insanely stacked with defensive talent.

27. Oakland Raiders (via Dallas):

Alabama LB Mack Wilson

Yet another Alabama player goes off the board as linebacker Mack Wilson is selected. Wilson is fast, strong, and agile enough to cover nearly any tight end in the NFL. He’s a great player against the run, but Wilson can also step back into coverage and make plays in the passing defense as well. He will immediately slot into a significant role for the team that selects him.

28. Los Angeles Chargers:

Mississippi State DL Jeffery Simmons

Simmons had some off the field concerns that NFL teams may not like, and now he’s dealing with a knee injury that could keep him out for a good portion of his first NFL season. Despite this, he’s one of the most talented players in this defensive line heavy draft class. He’s a great impact pass rusher from the interior of the defensive line and he could develop into a future All-Pro if drafted by the right team.

29. Kansas City Chiefs:

Temple CB Rock Ya-Sin

When I first saw this guy’s name, I laughed because it’s just an odd name, and he was a fourth rounder at that point. Now, after watching his tape and combine performances, I love Rock Ya-Sin as a late first round pick. The Temple product is six feet tall and weighs 192 pounds, which is solid size for a corner in today’s NFL. He excelled in combine drills and showed why he’s one of the best all-around cornerbacks in this draft class. He’s definitely going to need to work on his press coverage and overall techniques, but this is good value.

30. Green Bay Packers (via New Orleans):

Alabama S Deionte Thompson

Thompson is one of the best all around players in this draft class. He’s been the center fielder for the Crimson Tide defense for a few seasons now and he’s ready to make the jump to the NFL. He has an unruly combination of speed, range, length, and instincts that should allow him to dominate on the back end of any defense in the pros.

31. Los Angeles Rams:

Boston College OG Chris Lindstrom

A former three star recruit, Lindstrom was one of the best offensive linemen in the ACC in 2018, which is reflected by the success of the Boston College rushing attack. He played in the Golden Eagles run-heavy offense, but displayed great potential and power when put into pass blocking situations. He’s an agile guy as well, showing great movement all across the field.

32. New England Patriots:

Iowa State WR Hakeem Butler

Hakeem Butler is the biggest receiver in this draft class, but has been slept on thus far in the pre draft process. At 6’5 and 227 pounds, Butler impressed scouts by running a 4.48 forty. He did well in other drills and certainly helped his stock by excelling in interviews. He’s a matchup problem waiting to break out in the NFL with his size and abilities as a wide receiver. Butler would be a steal in the late first round or early second round.

2ND ROUND:

33. Arizona Cardinals

Kansas State OL Dalton Risner

34. Indianapolis Colts (via New York):

NC State WR Kelvin Harmon

35. Oakland Raiders:

Clemson CB Trayvon Mullen

36. San Francisco 49ers:

Virginia S Juan Thornhill

37. New York Giants:

Ole Miss OT Greg Little

38. Jacksonville Jaguars:

Oklahoma WR Marquise Brown

39. Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

Washington S Taylor Rapp

40. Buffalo Bills:

Ohio State DL Dre’Mont Jones

41. Denver Broncos:

Iowa TE Noah Fant

42. Cincinnati Bengals:

Duke QB Daniel Jones

43. Detroit Lions:

Penn State CB Amani Oruwariye

44. Green Bay Packers:

South Carolina WR Deebo Samuel

45. Atlanta Falcons:

Florida EDGE Jachai Polite

46. Washington Redskins:

Ohio State WR Parris Campbell

47. Carolina Panthers:

NC State C Garrett Bradbury

48. Miami Dolphins:

Clemson DL Dexter Lawrence

49. Cleveland Browns:

West Virginia OT Yodny Cajuste

50. Minnesota Vikings:

NC State LB Germaine Pratt

51. Tennessee Titans:

Old Dominion EDGE Oshane Ximines

52. Pittsburgh Steelers:

Notre Dame CB Julian Love

53. Philadelphia Eagles (via Baltimore):

Central Michigan CB Sean Bunting

54. Houston Texans (via Seattle):

Alabama State OT Tytus Howard

55. Houston Texans:

Mississippi State C Elgton Jenkins

56. New England Patriots (via Chicago):

Louisiana Tech EDGE Jaylon Ferguson

57. Philadelphia Eagles:

Wisconsin OG Michael Deiter

58. Dallas Cowboys:

Alabama TE Irv Smith Jr.

59. Indianapolis Colts:

Delaware S Nasir Adderley

60. Los Angeles Chargers:

Texas LB Gary Johnson

61. Kansas City Chiefs:

Notre Dame DL Jerry Tillery

62. New Orleans Saints:

Georgia WR Mecole Hardman

63. Kansas City Chiefs (via Los Angeles):

Mississippi State S Johnathan Abram

64. New England Patriots:

Miami (FL) DL Gerald Willis

3RD ROUND:

65. Arizona Cardinals:

Georgia WR Riley Ridley

66. Oakland Raiders:

Florida S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson

67. San Francisco 49ers:

Penn State OG Connor McGovern

68. New York Jets:

Wisconsin OT David Edwards

69. Jacksonville Jaguars:

Alabama EDGE Christian Miller

70. Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

Notre Dame LB Te’Von Coney

71. New York Giants:

*SELECTION FORFEITED*

72. Denver Broncos:

Kentucky CB Lonnie Johnson Jr.

73. Cincinnati Bengals:

Florida LB Vosean Joseph

74. New England Patriots (via Detroit):

Stanford TE Kaden Smith

75. Buffalo Bills:

Ohio State OT Isaiah Prince

76. Green Bay Packers:

Ohio State OG Michael Jordan

77. Washington Redskins:

Texas A&M C Erik McCoy

78. Carolina Panthers:

Buffalo LB Khalil Hodge

79. Miami Dolphins:

Ohio State WR Terry McLaurin

80. Atlanta Falcons:

Michigan CB David Long

81. Cleveland Browns:

Michigan State CB Justin Layne

82. Minnesota Vikings:

Clemson OT Mitch Hyatt

83. Tennessee Titans:

Arizona State DT Renell Wren

84. Pittsburgh Steelers:

Michigan EDGE Chase Winovich

85. Seattle Seahawks:

TCU EDGE LJ Collier

86. Baltimore Ravens:

Oklahoma OG Ben Powers

87. Houston Texans:

Iowa State RB David Montgomery

88. Chicago Bears:

Iowa S Amani Hooker

89. Detroit Lions (via Philadelphia):

Notre Dame WR Miles Boykin

90. Indianapolis Colts:

Kansas DL Daniel Wise

91. Dallas Cowboys:

Miami (FL) DE Joe Jackson

92. Los Angeles Chargers:

Oklahoma OT Bobby Evans

93. Kansas City Chiefs:

Washington LB Ben Burr-Kirven

94. New York Jets (via New Orleans):

Stanford WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside

95. Los Angeles Rams:

USC S Marvell Tell III

96. Cleveland Browns (via New England):

Buffalo WR Anthony Johnson

97. Washington Redskins:

Boston College EDGE Zach Allen

98. New England Patriots:

Clemson LB Tre Lamar

99. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Los Angeles):

West Virginia QB Will Grier

100. Los Angeles Rams:

Texas Tech LB Dakota Allen

101. Carolina Panthers:

Northern Illinois OT Max Scharping

102. New England Patriots:

Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham

103. Baltimore Ravens:

Alabama C Ross Pierschbacher

4TH ROUND:

104. Arizona Cardinals:

Vanderbilt CB JoeJuan Williams

105. San Francisco 49ers:

NC State WR Jakobi Meyers

106. New York Jets:

Oklahoma State RB Justice Hill

107. Oakland Raiders:

UCLA TE Caleb Wilson

108. Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

Miami S JaQuan Johnson

109. New York Giants:

Ohio State CB Kendall Sheffield

110. Jacksonville Jaguars:

Texas A&M TE Jace Sternberger

111. Cincinnati Bengals:

LSU TE Foster Moreau

112. Detroit Lions:

Kentucky S Mike Edwards

113. Buffalo Bills:

TCU EDGE Ben Banogu

114. Baltimore Ravens (via Denver):

Wisconsin LB T.J. Edwards

115. Green Bay Packers:

Georgia LB D’Andre Walker

116. Carolina Panthers:

Ole Miss WR DaMarkus Lodge

117. Miami Dolphins:

Texas CB Kris Boyd

118. Atlanta Falcons:

New Mexico State LB Terrill Hanks

119. Green Bay Packers (via Washington):

Stanford OG Nate Herbig

120. Cleveland Browns:

LSU OG Garrett Brumfield

121. Minnesota Vikings:

Missouri DL Terry Beckner Jr.

122. Tennessee Titans:

Colorado State WR Preston Williams

123. Pittsburgh Steelers:

Washington OT Kaleb McGary

124. Baltimore Ravens:

Kentucky RB Benny Snell Jr.

125. Seattle Seahawks:

Miami CB Michael Jackson

126. Denver Broncos (via Houston):

Wisconsin OG Beau Benzschawel

127. Chicago Bears:

Auburn CB Jamel Dean

128. Philadelphia Eagles:

South Carolina OT Dennis Daley

129. Dallas Cowboys:

Cincinnati DL Marquise Copeland

130. Indianapolis Colts:

Oregon EDGE Jalen Jelks

131. Los Angeles Chargers:

Mississippi State OG Darryl Williams

132. Buffalo Bills (via Kansas City):

Alabama DL Isaiah Buggs

133. New York Giants (via New Orleans):

Maryland S Darnell Savage Jr.

134. Los Angeles Rams:

West Virginia LB David Long Jr.

135. New England Patriots:

James Madison CB Jimmy Moreland

136. Indianapolis Colts:

BYU LB Sione Takitaki

137. Dallas Cowboys:

Alabama OG Lester Cotton

138. Atlanta Falcons:

Jacksonville State OG B.J. Autry

139. Philadelphia Eagles:

San Diego State OT Tyler Roemer

Tristan Beckmann’s College Basketball Bracketology (3/4/2019)

Welcome back to the sixth edition of my College Basketball Bracketology, where I project the NCAA Tournament field and matchups as we lead up to Selection Sunday. We are counting down the last few days to the biggest week of the college basketball season. Teams are rising, conference tournament seeding is starting to become clear, and the bracket is as well! It’s time to run through the procedures and get into my sixth bracket of the season!

In this edition, per usual, I’ve projected seeding and matchups for all tournament teams. College basketball fans and experts abroad have all gained a decent understanding of the contenders and pretenders in each college basketball conference, and I’m as big of a college hoops fan as you’ll find. Some teams are continuing to distance themselves from the bubble, some teams continue to remain clustered around it, and some teams are watching as their bubble hopes vanish by the minute.

During the weekend, the bubble became a lot less crowded as some teams won their way off of it, and some had their bubble pop. UCF sealed a signature win on the road against Houston, while Georgetown outlasted Seton Hall in a Big East two overtime bubble battle. Indiana upset Michigan State to get itself back on the radar, for now, and Tennessee got its revenge on Kentucky by absolutely showing them up in Knoxville. It was a really fun weekend of college hoops and it looks to be just a small taste of what’s to come here in March this year!

My process of bracketing is pretty simple actually. Firstly, I’ve compiled a list of college basketball teams who realistically still have a chance at making the NCAA Tournament. Secondly, I’ve used the brand new NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) Rankings as a seeding criteria for all teams, which will also be heavily used by the actual selection committee. Lastly, I’ve looked at every team’s current record, strength of schedule, and used the NCAA’s Quadrant Wins System to analyze the quality of their respective wins and losses.

After I have made a judgment on all teams, I begin to seed the 68 chosen teams from 1 to 68. Ranking them this way allows me to separate them into seed lines (#1 to #16). Finally, I place the teams into regions based on their respective seeds, conferences, and game location (for the top 16 seeds). I tried my best to keep conference opponents from playing until at least the Sweet 16, but there may have been situations where this wasn’t realistically possible.

There are three rules that I assure are being followed. Firstly, I tried to make the top four seeds in each region add up to similar overall region numbers, to make the regions competitive and balanced. With this in mind, there was a two-number differential between all four regions. I also made sure I never put teams from the same conferences on the same top four seed line. And lastly, I assured that the number one overall seed Virginia would not have the best two seed in their bracket.

All in all, the process I went through definitely isn’t easy, but it’s fun to look at the possibilities already. I’ve tried my best to simulate what the actual selection committee would be doing if the tournament had to be seeded today. So before we start a crazy final week in regular season hoops, let’s check into my sixth and final regular season Bracketology projection!

East Region (Washington, D.C.:

Columbia, South Carolina

#1 Virginia vs. #16 Prairie-View/#16 Norfolk State

#8 Auburn vs. #9 Oklahoma

Salt Lake City, Utah

#4 Wisconsin vs. #13 Old Dominion

#5 Nevada vs. #12 Belmont

Des Moines, Iowa

#3 Texas Tech vs. #14 South Dakota State

#6 Cincinnati vs. #11 NC State

Tulsa, Oklahoma

#2 LSU vs. #15 Georgia Southern

#7 Louisville vs. #10 Ohio State

Midwest Region (Kansas City, MO):

Jacksonville, Florida

#1 Tennessee vs. #16 Campbell

#8 Baylor vs. #9 UCF

Hartford, Connecticut

#4 Florida State vs. #13 Vermont

#5 Maryland vs. #12 Clemson/#12 Georgetown

Tulsa, Oklahoma

#3 Houston vs. #14 UC Irvine

#6 Villanova vs. #11 Texas

Columbus, Ohio

#2 Michigan vs. #15 Colgate

#7 Wofford vs. #10 Utah State

West Region (Anaheim, CA):

Salt Lake City, Utah

#1 Gonzaga vs. #16 Iona/#16 Fairleigh Dickinson

#8 Syracuse vs. #9 Washington

San Jose, California

#4 Kansas vs. #13 Hofstra

#5 Virginia Tech vs. #12 Lipscomb

Hartford, Connecticut

#3 Michigan State vs. #14 Yale

#6 Mississippi State vs. #11 TCU

Jacksonville, Florida

#2 North Carolina vs. #15 Loyola-Chicago

#7 Iowa vs. #10 St. John’s

South Region (Louisville, KY):

Columbia, South Carolina

#1 Duke vs. #16 Sam Houston State

#8 VCU vs. #9 Ole Miss

San Jose, California

#4 Marquette vs. #13 New Mexico State

#5 Kansas State vs. #12 Minnesota

Des Moines, Iowa

#3 Purdue vs. #14 Montana

#6 Buffalo vs. #11 Florida

Columbus, Ohio

#2 Kentucky vs. #15 Northern Kentucky

#7 Iowa State vs. #10 Temple

The Bubble:

Last Four In:

Arizona State (20-9, 11-6 Pac 12, 69th NET, 3-3 Quadrant 1, 74th SOS, 27th Non-Conference SOS)

Minnesota (18-11, 8-10 Big Ten, 56th NET, 2-8 Quadrant 1, 49th SOS, 147th Non-Conference SOS)

Clemson (17-12, 7-9 ACC, 40th NET, 1-9 Quadrant 1, 37th SOS, 125th Non-Conference SOS)

Georgetown (18-11, 8-8 Big East, 72nd NET, 3-6 Quadrant 1, 83rd SOS, 246th Non-Conference SOS)

First Four Out:

Furman (24-6, 13-5 Southern, 44th NET, 1-5 Quadrant 1, 192nd SOS, 271st Non-Conference SOS)

Alabama (17-13, 8-9 SEC, 53rd NET, 2-7 Quadrant 1, 24th SOS, 42nd Non-Conference SOS)

Indiana (15-14, 6-12 Big Ten, 54th NET, 6-9 Quadrant 1, 28th SOS, 188th Non-Conference SOS)

Seton Hall (16-12, 7-9 Big East, 63rd NET, 4-7 Quadrant 1, 46th SOS, 84th Non-Conference SOS)

Next Four Out:

Murray State (25-4, 16-2 OVC, 50th NET, 0-2 Quadrant 1, 273rd SOS, 191st Non-Conference SOS)

St. Mary’s (20-11, 11-5 West Coast, 38th NET, 1-6 Quadrant 1, 50th SOS, 39th Non-Conference SOS)

Butler (15-14, 6-10 Big East, 60th NET, 2-9 Quadrant 1, 19th SOS, 70th Non-Conference SOS)

UNC Greensboro (26-5, 15-3 Southern, 59th NET, 1-5 Quadrant 1, 141st SOS, 154th Non-Conference SOS)

Conference Count-Ups:

American Athletic Conference (4 Teams): #12 Houston, #24 Cincinnati, #33 UCF, #40 Temple.

Atlantic Coast Conference (9 Teams): #1 Virginia, #3 Duke, #6 North Carolina, #14 Florida State, #17 Virginia Tech, #27 Louisville, #32 Syracuse, #41 NC State, #49 Clemson.

Big 12 (8 Teams): #9 Texas Tech, #13 Kansas, #18 Kansas State, #25 Iowa State, #29 Baylor, #36 Oklahoma, #42 Texas, #44 TCU.

Big East (4 Teams): #16 Marquette, #21 Villanova, #38 St. John’s, #50 Georgetown.

Big Ten (8 Teams): #5 Michigan, #10 Purdue, #11 Michigan State, #15 Wisconsin, #19 Maryland, #26 Iowa, #39 Ohio State, #48 Minnesota.

Mountain West (2 Teams): #20 Nevada, #37 Utah State.

PAC-12 (2 Teams): #34 Washington, #47 Arizona State.

SEC (7 Teams): #4 Tennessee, #7 Kentucky, #8 LSU, #22 Mississippi State, #35 Ole Miss, #30 Auburn, #43 Florida.

Singular Bid League Teams (24 Teams): #2 Gonzaga, #23 Buffalo, #28 Wofford, #31 VCU, #45 Belmont, #46 Lipscomb, #51 New Mexico State, #52 Old Dominion, #53 Vermont, #54 Hofstra, #55 UC Irvine, #56 Yale, #57 Montana, #58 South Dakota State, #59 Georgia Southern, #60 Northern Kentucky, #61 Loyola Chicago, #62 Colgate, #63 Campbell, #64 Sam Houston State, #65 Iona, #66 Fairleigh Dickinson, #67 Prairie-View, #68 Norfolk State.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed. If you have any insight, opinions, or questions about my Bracketology projection, feel free to contact me on Twitter @TBeckmann24. Have a great rest of your day and peace!

Tristan Beckmann’s 2019 Pre-Combine NFL Mock Draft 4.0 (Four Rounds)

The time for NFL Mock Drafts is in full swing as we have wrapped up the Super Bowl and head into the week of the NFL Draft Scouting Combine. After reading this article, you’ll have a glimpse of hope for the future and perhaps you’ll be extremely excited for the NFL Draft. All 32 teams have gained a sense of identity into which they will ride by in the upcoming offseason. The final draft positioning has been sorted out, and compensatory picks have been awarded.

Welcome back to my NFL Mock Draft Version 4.0, in which I’m going to project four rounds in the draft for the second time ever on this website. I can finally have compensatory picks in my draft so there will be more picks in end of the third and fourth rounds. I’ve been scouting a ton of collegiate prospects over the last few months or so and I’ve got a pretty good feel on who I like transitioning to the NFL more so than who I don’t like in that aspect. I’ll even provide brief analysis on the first round prospects.

This year’s draft class is loaded with interior defensive lineman as ten of them have first round grades from me, yet they all don’t even go off the board in round 1 or even round 2. All of this and more remains to be played out as we inch closer towards the 2019 NFL Draft in late April, but enough talk, let’s get into the fourth version of this year’s mock draft.

Round 1:

1. Arizona Cardinals:

Ohio State EDGE Nick Bosa

Bosa was an absolute beast on the edge at Ohio State, and we would’ve gotten more of a glimpse of him if he hadn’t suffered a season ending injury earlier in the season. Bosa has the size, speed, and physical technique that should allow his game to translate quickly into the NFL stage and let him make an impact on whoever drafts him.

2. San Francisco 49ers:

Alabama DL Quinnen Williams

Williams is a guy who has jumped up everybody’s board with a tremendous breakout season for the Alabama Crimson Tide. He’s been the leader of their defense and he can truly wreak havoc inside the line. He’s an impactful interior lineman with a bright future if the right team drafts him.

3. New York Jets:

Michigan EDGE Rashan Gary

Gary can play everywhere on the defensive line and the team that drafts him will get a big versatile player. He will make an impact in stopping the run game while also putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Despite some injury concerns, the former Michigan star is a surefire early first round selection as of now.

4. Oakland Raiders:

Kentucky EDGE Josh Allen

Allen took home plenty of hardware in terms of the College Football Awards this past season, but let’s not act like it’s undeserved. Allen was a force on the Kentucky defense and was arguably the best defensive player in all of college football in 2018. He will be able to play as both an edge rusher or an outside linebacker if the team that drafts him needs it.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

Alabama RB Josh Jacobs

I didn’t even have this kid on my draft board two months ago. But now, he’s a top five talent and a future star running back in the NFL. Jacobs checks every box that NFL teams look for in a running back, combining a gift of elusiveness, a big frame, power running ability, and strong football IQ. At Bama, Jacobs showed his hard-working ability as a player who played at maximum effort on any play he was on the football field. This dude is an all-around stud!

6. New York Giants:

Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins

Haskins is the clear cut best player in this draft at the quarterback position right now. As Haskins is way more talented in terms of his arm strength and accuracy than anyone else in the draft. Haskins has a great shot to be the first QB taken in the draft too, but we will have to watch the pre-draft process. He’s a legitimate quarterback with the tools to develop into a Patrick Mahomes type thrower of the football. Yeah, I said it.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars:

Alabama OT Jonah Williams

Williams is a disciplined offensive tackle with a lot of experience at Alabama while protecting Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts. He shows great technique for a tackle in this day and age of the league, and he is the strong, smart, and quick twitch tackle that an NFL team will love to have protecting the edge.

8. Detroit Lions:

Clemson EDGE Clelin Ferrell

Ferrell is always the guy that everyone tends to forget about on that historic Clemson championship defensive line. He’s experienced and has been a leader for the Tigers throughout his career. He’s got the length at 6’5 to be a dominant pass rusher in the NFL and he also displays outstanding power to move around the offensive line.

9. Buffalo Bills:

Arizona State WR N’Keal Harry

Harry is a playmaking freak of nature, and he is easily the best WR in this draft class. Harry has unreal size at 6’4, and it seems like he can jump up and go get the ball from anywhere. He’s no slouch running either, as he’s displayed solid speed at Arizona State that should allow him to separate from some of the league’s best cover corners.

10. Denver Broncos:

Houston DL Ed Oliver

Oliver was a lot of people’s preseason number one pick, but he’s fallen a bit due to a sudden struggle to make an impact when rushing passers. Oliver makes his impact against the run and most NFL teams would drool at the Houston product as a guy to plug up the middle of the defensive line and shut down opposing running backs.

11. Cincinnati Bengals:

LSU LB Devin White

White is a Deion Jones type linebacker. He is the fastest linebacker in the draft class and shows some of the quickest instincts I’ve seen in quite a while from a linebacker. He is strong, powerful, and has improved every aspect of his game in the 2018 season. He’s a do it all linebacker who will immediately improve the defense of the team who drafts him.

12. Green Bay Packers:

Florida State EDGE Brian Burns

Brian Burns was a disruptive edge defender at Florida State and a lot of that has to do with his outstanding 6’5 frame. He’s not a thick bodied edge defender like most, as he only sits at 235, but he more than makes up for it with his generational athletic abilities as an impact player off the edge. He should do well rushing the passer in the NFL.

13. Miami Dolphins:

Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray

The story of this year’s draft class, Murray ended up choosing football over baseball. The Heisman Trophy winner dominated in the past year as a starter for the Sooners and led them to the College Football Playoff. He’s got a tremendous baseball like arm (similar to Patrick Mahomes arm), and he’s still improving as a consistent accurate thrower of the football. Plus, you can’t say enough about Murray’s abilities to stretch plays outside of the pocket with his quick feet and electric mobility. He could be a Week 1 starter next season in the league!

14. Atlanta Falcons:

LSU CB Greedy Williams

Williams’ combination of great size at 6’3 with solid speed and high football IQ help him become the consensus top cornerback in the draft class. He’s smart in coverage and has consistently shown an ability to absolutely clamp down on opposing receivers. He’s a superstar shutdown corner in the making.

15. Washington Redskins:

Missouri QB Drew Lock

Drew Lock probably is the most further developed along out of the quarterbacks in the draft class, but his potential just doesn’t compare to theirs. He’s got pocket passer type size at 6’4 and 225 pounds, and he’s got an incredible arm with strength and accuracy always on display. He’s not afraid to hurl one deep and he’s certainly what NFL teams would call an aggressive deep ball thrower.

16. Carolina Panthers:

Florida OT Jawaan Taylor

Jawaan Taylor won’t be able to participate in most of the drills at this week’s Scouting Combine, but he’s risen quickly in a draft class that’s become surprisingly strong at offensive tackle. The Florida product slots in as a right tackle in the pros and he is a good pass protector and developing run blocker. He’s got strong hands and his frame (6’5 and 328 pounds) is excellent for his position. Taylor may climb into the top ten of the draft when it’s all said and done.

17. Cleveland Browns:

Ole Miss WR D.K. Metcalf

Metcalf is as close as N’Keal Harry as they come, yet he’s coming off the board 14 picks later. He’s got the lovable combination of size and speed as he’s 6’4 and 230 pounds. He’s a true outside receiver who has a tremendous nose for the football. He can go up and get it when his QB really needs him to, and hearing that’ll be something coaches will love the sound of. But teams will be wary of his injury history, so be on the look out for that.

18. Minnesota Vikings:

Oklahoma OG Cody Ford

For a 6’4, 330 pound lineman, Ford displays tremendous agility and balance, two rare traits these days for guys that size. He played right tackle at Oklahoma but will probably be better off inside as a guard in the NFL. He’ll need to work on his footwork but he’s got tremendous strength that will sell to the scouts.

19. Tennessee Titans:

Washington CB Byron Murphy

Murphy was also a breakout player in 2018 who a lot of people did not have ranked highly on their draft boards. After watching his tape, I can see why he’s now so highly touted. Murphy is going to play more slot than outside due to his small frame at 5’11 and 182 pounds, but he’s not to be messed with. He makes plays and can shutdown opposing wideouts if asked to do so. He’s got great fundamental cornerback techniques that should help him ease into a starting role in Week 1.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers:

Alabama LB Mack Wilson

Yet another Alabama player goes off the board as linebacker Mack Wilson is selected. Wilson is fast, strong, and agile enough to cover nearly any tight end in the NFL. He’s a great player against the run, but Wilson can also step back into coverage and make plays in the passing defense as well. He will immediately slot into a significant role for the team that selects him.

21. Seattle Seahawks:

Florida EDGE Jachai Polite

Jachai Polite may be undersized compared to other edge defenders in this draft class, but he’s one of the best and quickest of them all. He’s got a great technique and uses his hands to make a great advantage when rushing the passer. A lot of scouts have said that Polite reminds them of Titans legendary edge rusher Jevon Kearse, who was a first round pick and great player in his own right.

22. Baltimore Ravens:

Oklahoma WR Marquise Brown

Marquise Brown is a well-known commodity in college football perhaps due to his dominance at the WR position but also to his nickname Hollywood. He’s probably the fastest wideout in the draft, and he’s earned the Hollywood tag. He will be a popular pick in the new age NFL and he will undoubtedly be a day 1 deep threat in the league. He’s the closest thing to Tyreek Hill in this draft and a lot of teams would love that type of player on their team.

23. Houston Texans:

Iowa TE T.J. Hockenson

Hockenson has emerged as the best tight end in this class over his own teammate Noah Fant, in part due to his blocking skills being far more advanced at this point. Fant is more athletic but Hockenson is not a slouch in terms of his athleticism. Combine this with above-average hands and tremendous football IQ, and this kid could climb up draft boards in an instant!

24. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago):

Georgia CB DeAndre Baker

DeAndre Baker is a physical man coverage cornerback who can compete with the best of the best. He’s an agile 5’11 guy with good tackling abilities as well as the instincts to match up with a lot of guys in the league. He should probably be drafted higher than he will be, but that’s due to this draft being insanely stacked with defensive talent.

25. Philadelphia Eagles:

Clemson CB Trayvon Mullen

Trayvon Mullen is a poor man’s Greedy Williams. He’s got solid size at 6’1 and shows great quickness on the field in tape. He could easily be off the board in the first ten picks or still be on the board during the last ten picks, but I think Mullen is definitely not falling out of the first round, barring a disappointing NFL combine showing.

26. Indianapolis Colts:

NC State WR Kelvin Harmon

Harmon is a strong, physical receiver who’s shown some limitations with his speed and elusiveness. Yet, he’s been a consistent playmaker at NC State. He’s got great ball skills and hands, while being able to run routes with the best of them in this draft class. Oh and did I mention Harmon is an absolutely dominant run blocker and a guy who will get it done on the perimeter.

27. Oakland Raiders (via Dallas):

Alabama S Deionte Thompson

Thompson is one of the best all around players in this draft class. He’s been the center fielder for the Crimson Tide defense for a few seasons now and he’s ready to make the jump to the NFL. He has an unruly combination of speed, range, length, and instincts that should allow him to dominate on the back end of any defense in the pros.

28. Los Angeles Chargers:

Mississippi State DL Jeffery Simmons

Simmons had some off the field concerns that NFL teams may not like, and now he’s dealing with a knee injury that could keep him out for a good portion of his first NFL season. Despite this, he’s one of the most talented players in this defensive line heavy draft class. He’s a great impact pass rusher from the interior of the defensive line and he could develop into a future All-Pro if drafted by the right team.

29. Kansas City Chiefs:

Clemson DL Christian Wilkins

I saw my fair share of Wilkins in his career at Clemson when they played my Louisville Cardinals. He’s a big inside guy who plays tough against the run, and is quickly developing into being an every down pass rusher. He has an excellent combination of size at 6’4 and 315 pounds with some incredible game-wrecking power. He still needs to work on his moves to generate pressure as well, but he’s a great bet to develop into a Pro Bowl defensive lineman.

30. Green Bay Packers (via New Orleans):

Boston College OG Chris Lindstrom

A former three star recruit, Lindstrom was one of the best offensive linemen in the ACC in 2018, which is reflected by the success of the Boston College rushing attack. He played in the Golden Eagles run-heavy offense, but displayed great potential and power when put into pass blocking situations. He’s an agile guy as well, showing great movement all across the field.

31. Los Angeles Rams:

Michigan OLB Devin Bush

Bush is a physical, fast linebacker who manned the middle of the strong Michigan Wolverines defense in his tenure there. He’s a guy that can help lead a defense and help out a team at any linebacker spot. He can drop back in coverage but he’s not bad at rushing the passer either, making him an easy first round projection here.

32. New England Patriots:

Iowa TE Noah Fant

Fant is a modern NFL tight end, with the ability to take the field on all three downs as a blocker and pass catcher. He is still developing into being an effective blocker at his position, but he’s miles ahead of any other tight end in the class. He shows flashes of great speed and looks like a complete red zone threat on the tapes he has at Iowa. Fant will be an easy choice for a team looking for a tight end on Day 1.

2ND ROUND:

33. Arizona Cardinals:

Ole Miss OT Greg Little

34. Indianapolis Colts (via New York):

Notre Dame CB Julian Love

35. Oakland Raiders:

South Carolina WR Deebo Samuel

36. San Francisco 49ers:

Washington S Taylor Rapp

37. New York Giants:

Kansas State OL Dalton Risner

38. Jacksonville Jaguars:

Iowa State WR Hakeem Butler

39. Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

Delaware S Nasir Adderley

40. Buffalo Bills:

Ohio State DL Dre’Mont Jones

41. Denver Broncos:

Duke QB Daniel Jones

42. Cincinnati Bengals:

West Virginia OT Yodny Cajuste

43. Detroit Lions:

Temple CB Rock Ya-Sin

44. Green Bay Packers:

Ole Miss WR AJ Brown

45. Atlanta Falcons:

Mississippi State EDGE Montez Sweat

46. Washington Redskins:

Old Dominion EDGE Oshane Ximines

47. Carolina Panthers:

Mississippi State C Elgton Jenkins

48. Miami Dolphins:

Notre Dame DL Jerry Tillery

49. Cleveland Browns:

Penn State CB Amani Oruwariye

50. Minnesota Vikings:

Wisconsin OT David Edwards

51. Tennessee Titans:

Louisiana Tech EDGE Jaylon Ferguson

52. Pittsburgh Steelers:

Ohio State OL Michael Jordan

53. Philadelphia Eagles (via Baltimore):

Wisconsin LB T.J. Edwards

54. Houston Texans (via Seattle):

Penn State OG Connor McGovern

55. Houston Texans:

Texas A&M C Erik McCoy

56. New England Patriots (via Chicago):

Boston College EDGE Zach Allen

57. Philadelphia Eagles:

Iowa State RB David Montgomery

58. Dallas Cowboys:

Alabama TE Irv Smith Jr.

59. Indianapolis Colts:

Clemson DL Dexter Lawrence

60. Los Angeles Chargers:

Washington OT Kaleb McGary

61. Kansas City Chiefs:

Buffalo LB Khalil Hodge

62. New Orleans Saints:

Ohio State WR Parris Campbell

63. Kansas City Chiefs (via Los Angeles):

Miami (FL) S JaQuan Johnson

64. New England Patriots:

Georgia WR Mecole Hardman

3RD ROUND:

65. Arizona Cardinals:

Kentucky CB Lonnie Johnson Jr.

66. Oakland Raiders:

NC State LB Germaine Pratt

67. San Francisco 49ers:

Texas CB Kris Boyd

68. New York Jets:

Ohio State OT Isaiah Prince

69. Jacksonville Jaguars:

West Virginia QB Will Grier

70. Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

Notre Dame LB Te’Von Coney

71. New York Giants:

*SELECTION FORFEITED*

72. Denver Broncos:

Wisconsin OG Michael Deiter

73. Cincinnati Bengals:

Stanford TE Kaden Smith

74. New England Patriots (via Detroit):

Miami (FL) DL Gerald Willis

75. Buffalo Bills:

FAU RB Devin Singletary

76. Green Bay Packers:

Mississippi State S Johnathan Abram

77. Washington Redskins:

Georgia WR Riley Ridley

78. Carolina Panthers:

Michigan EDGE Chase Winovich

79. Miami Dolphins:

Mississippi State OG Darryl Williams

80. Atlanta Falcons:

Florida State DL DeMarcus Christmas

81. Cleveland Browns:

Arizona State DL Renell Wren

82. Minnesota Vikings:

Florida LB Vosean Joseph

83. Tennessee Titans:

Buffalo WR Anthony Johnson

84. Pittsburgh Steelers:

Vanderbilt CB Joejuan Williams

85. Seattle Seahawks:

Clemson LB Tre Lamar

86. Baltimore Ravens:

Kentucky RB Benny Snell Jr.

87. Houston Texans:

Alabama RB Damien Harris

88. Chicago Bears:

Ohio State CB Kendall Sheffield

89. Detroit Lions (via Philadelphia):

Stanford WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside

90. Indianapolis Colts:

Florida S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson

91. Dallas Cowboys:

NC State C Garrett Bradbury

92. Los Angeles Chargers:

Texas Tech LB Dakota Allen

93. Kansas City Chiefs:

Texas EDGE Charles Omenihu

94. New York Jets (via New Orleans):

Alabama State OT Tytus Howard

95. Los Angeles Rams:

Texas LB Gary Johnson

96. Cleveland Browns (via New England):

Clemson OT Mitch Hyatt

97. Washington Redskins:

Alabama C Ross Pierschbacher

98. New England Patriots:

Kansas DL Daniel Wise

99. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Los Angeles):

Miami (FL) EDGE Joe Jackson

100. Los Angeles Rams:

Virginia S Juan Thornhill

101. Carolina Panthers:

Georgia LB D’Andre Walker

102. New England Patriots:

Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham

103. Baltimore Ravens:

Wisconsin OG Beau Benzschawel

4TH ROUND:

104. Arizona Cardinals:

Ohio State WR Terry McLaurin

105. San Francisco 49ers:

Stanford OG Nate Herbig

106. New York Jets:

NC State WR Jakobi Meyers

107. Oakland Raiders:

Stanford RB Bryce Love

108. Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

Northern Illinois OT Max Scharping

109. New York Giants:

Miami (FL) CB Michael Jackson

110. Jacksonville Jaguars:

UCLA TE Caleb Wilson

111. Cincinnati Bengals:

Oklahoma OG Ben Powers

112. Detroit Lions:

Iowa S Amani Hooker

113. Buffalo Bills:

South Carolina OT Dennis Daley

114. Baltimore Ravens (via Denver):

New Mexico State LB Terrill Hanks

115. Green Bay Packers:

LSU OG Garrett Brumfield

116. Carolina Panthers:

Boston College S Lukas Denis

117. Miami Dolphins:

Texas WR Lil’Jordan Humphrey

118. Atlanta Falcons:

Missouri DL Terry Beckner Jr.

119. Green Bay Packers (via Washington):

West Virginia WR David Sills V

120. Cleveland Browns:

Oregon S Ugo Amadi

121. Minnesota Vikings:

Alabama DL Isaiah Buggs

122. Tennessee Titans:

Cincinnati DL Marquise Copeland

123. Pittsburgh Steelers:

Clemson EDGE Austin Bryant

124. Baltimore Ravens:

Georgia C Lamont Gaillard

125. Seattle Seahawks:

Arkansas OT Colton Jackson

126. Denver Broncos (via Houston):

Michigan CB David Long

127. Chicago Bears:

USC S Marvell Tell III

128. Philadelphia Eagles:

Oregon WR Dillon Mitchell

129. Dallas Cowboys:

Iowa EDGE Anthony Nelson

130. Indianapolis Colts:

Washington LB Ben Burr-Kirven

131. Los Angeles Chargers:

Florida OG Martez Ivey

132. Buffalo Bills (via Kansas City):

Alabama OLB Anfernee Jennings

133. New York Giants (via New Orleans):

Alabama OG Lester Cotton

134. Los Angeles Rams:

Jacksonville State OG B.J. Autry

135. New England Patriots:

James Madison CB Jimmy Moreland

136. Indianapolis Colts:

TCU EDGE Ben Banogu

137. Dallas Cowboys:

Oklahoma RB Rodney Anderson

138. Atlanta Falcons:

Penn State RB Miles Sanders

139. Philadelphia Eagles:

Missouri OT Paul Adams

Tristan Beckmann’s College Basketball Bracketology (2/25/2019)

Welcome back to the fifth edition of my College Basketball Bracketology, where I project the NCAA Tournament field and matchups as we lead up to Selection Sunday. We are counting down the last few days to the biggest month of the college basketball season. Teams are rising, conference tournament seeding is starting to become clear, and the bracket is as well! It’s time to run through the procedures and get into my fifth bracket of the season!

In this edition, per usual, I’ve projected seeding and matchups for all tournament teams. College basketball fans and experts abroad have started to gain a decent understanding of the contenders and pretenders in each college basketball conference, and I’m as big of a college hoops fan as you’ll find. Some teams are distancing themselves from the bubble, some teams continue to remain clustered around it, and some teams are watching as their bubble hopes vanish by the minute.

My process is pretty simple actually. Firstly, I’ve compiled a list of college basketball teams who realistically still have a chance at making the NCAA Tournament. Secondly, I’ve used the brand new NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) Rankings as a seeding criteria for all teams, which will also be heavily used by the actual selection committee. Lastly, I’ve looked at every team’s current record, strength of schedule, and used the NCAA’s Quadrant Wins System to analyze the quality of their respective wins and losses.

After I have made a judgment on all teams, I begin to seed the 68 chosen teams from 1 to 68. Ranking them this way allows me to separate them into seed lines (#1 to #16). Finally, I place the teams into regions based on their respective seeds, conferences, and game location (for the top 16 seeds). I tried my best to keep conference opponents from playing until at least the Sweet 16, but there may have been situations where this wasn’t realistically possible.

There are three rules that I assure are being followed. Firstly, I tried to make the top four seeds in each region add up to similar overall region numbers, to make the regions competitive and balanced. With this in mind, there was a two-number differential between all four regions. I also made sure I never put teams from the same conferences on the same top four seed line. And lastly, I assured that the number one overall seed Duke would not have the best two seed in their bracket.

All in all, the process I went through definitely isn’t easy, but it’s fun to look at the possibilities already. I’ve tried my best to simulate what the actual selection committee would be doing if the tournament had to be seeded today. So after a crazy start to the week in the college hoops world, let’s check into my fifth Bracketology projection!

East Region (Washington, D.C.):

Columbia, South Carolina

#1 Duke vs. #16 Norfolk State/#16 St. Francis (PA)

#8 Ole Miss vs. #9 Wofford

San Jose, California

#4 Kansas vs. #13 New Mexico State

#5 Maryland vs. #12 Belmont

Tulsa, Oklahoma

#3 Houston vs. #14 Montana

#6 Washington vs. #11 NC State

Des Moines, Iowa

#2 Michigan vs. #15 Radford

#7 Mississippi State vs. #10 Oklahoma

Midwest Region (Kansas City, MO):

Columbus, Ohio

#1 Kentucky vs. #16 Bucknell

#8 St. John’s vs. #9 VCU

Hartford, Connecticut

#4 Florida State vs. #13 Yale

#5 Iowa vs. #12 Alabama/#12 Clemson

Salt Lake City, Utah

#3 Texas Tech vs. #14 Vermont

#6 Virginia Tech vs. #11 Temple

Columbus, Ohio

#2 Michigan State vs. #15 Wright State

#7 Louisville vs. #10 Florida

South Region (Louisville, KY):

Columbia, South Carolina

#1 Virginia vs. #16 Rider/#16 Prairie-View

#8 Baylor vs. #9 Auburn

San Jose, California

#4 Wisconsin vs. #13 Old Dominion

#5 Nevada vs. #12 Lipscomb

Des Moines, Iowa

#3 Marquette vs. #14 UC Irvine

#6 Iowa State vs. #11 Arizona State

Jacksonville, Florida

#2 Tennessee vs. #15 Texas State

#7 Buffalo vs. #10 Ohio State

West Region (Anaheim, CA):

Salt Lake City, Utah

#1 Gonzaga vs. #16 Sam Houston State

#8 Syracuse vs. #9 TCU

Hartford, Connecticut

#4 Purdue vs. #13 Minnesota

#5 Kansas State vs. #12 Utah State/#12 Minnesota

Tulsa, Oklahoma

#3 LSU vs. #14 South Dakota State

#6 Villanova vs. #11 UCF

Jacksonville, Florida

#2 North Carolina vs. #15 Loyola-Chicago

#7 Cincinnati vs. #10 Texas

The Bubble:

Last Four In:

Utah State (22-6, 12-3 MWC, 36th NET, 1-2 Quadrant 1, 126th SOS, 27th Non-Conference SOS)

Alabama (16-11, 7-7 SEC, 55th NET, 2-7 Quadrant 1, 31st SOS, 52nd Non-Conference SOS)

Clemson (16-11, 6-8 ACC, 43rd NET, 1-8 Quadrant 1, 36th SOS, 117th Non-Conference SOS)

Minnesota (17-11, 7-10 BIG 10, 54th NET, 3-8 Quadrant 1, 38th SOS, 137th Non-Conference SOS)

First Four Out:

Seton Hall (16-11, 7-8 Big East, 63rd NET, 3-6 Quadrant 1, 41st SOS, 75th Non-Conference SOS)

Butler (15-12, 6-8 Big East, 49th NET, 2-7 Quadrant 1, 21st, 45th Non-Conference SOS)

Furman (22-6, 11-5 Southern, 48th NET, 1-5 Quadrant 1, 193rd SOS, 303rd Non-Conference SOS)

Davidson (19-6, 10-2 A10, 68th NET, 0-2 Quadrant 1, 108th SOS, 88th Non-Conference SOS)

Conference Count-Ups:

American Athletic Conference (4 Teams): #9 Houston, #28 Cincinnati, #42 UCF, #43 Temple.

Atlantic Coast Conference (9 Teams): #1 Duke, #2 Virginia, #6 North Carolina, #14 Florida State, #22 Virginia Tech, #27 Louisville, #29 Syracuse, #41 NC State, #49 Clemson.

Big 12 (8 Teams): #12 Texas Tech, #16 Kansas, #18 Kansas State, #21 Iowa State, #31 Baylor, #36 TCU, #38 Oklahoma, #39 Texas.

Big East (3 Teams): #11 Marquette, #24 Villanova, #30 St. John’s.

Big Ten (8 Teams): #5 Michigan State, #8 Michigan, #13 Purdue, #15 Wisconsin, #19 Maryland, #20 Iowa, #40 Ohio State, #50 Minnesota.

Mountain West (2 Teams): #17 Nevada, #47 Utah State.

PAC-12 (2 Teams): #23 Washington, #44 Arizona State.

SEC (8 Teams): #4 Kentucky, #7 Tennessee, #10 LSU, #25 Mississippi State, #32 Ole Miss, #35 Auburn, #37 Florida, #48 Alabama.

Singular Bid League Teams (24 Teams): #3 Gonzaga, #26 Buffalo, #33 Wofford, #34 VCU, #45 Lipscomb, #46 Belmont, #51 New Mexico State, #52 Old Dominion, #53 Yale, #54 Hofstra, #55 Vermont, #56 UC Irvine, #57 South Dakota State, #58 Montana, #59 Radford, #60 Texas State, #61 Loyola Chicago, #62 Wright State, #63 Bucknell, #64 Sam Houston State, #65 Rider, #66 Prairie-View A&M, #67 Norfolk State, #68 St. Francis (PA).

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed. If you have any insight, opinions, or questions about my Bracketology projection, feel free to contact me on Twitter @TBeckmann24. Have a great rest of your day and peace!

Tristan Beckmann’s College Basketball Bracketology (2/20/2019)

Welcome back to the fourth edition of my College Basketball Bracketology, where I project the NCAA Tournament field and matchups as we lead up to Selection Sunday. We are counting down the days to the biggest month of the college basketball season. Thus far this week, there has been a lot of chaos around the nation but it’ll have to wait, as it’s time to run through the procedures and get into my bracket!

In this edition, per usual, I’ve projected seeding and matchups for all tournament teams. College basketball fans and experts abroad have started to gain a decent understanding of the contenders and pretenders in each college basketball conference, and I’m as big of a college hoops fan as you’ll find. Some teams are distancing themselves from the bubble, but some teams continue to remain clustered around it.

My process is pretty simple actually. Firstly, I’ve compiled a list of college basketball teams who realistically still have a chance at making the NCAA Tournament. Secondly, I’ve used the brand new NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) Rankings as a seeding criteria for all teams, which will also be heavily used by the actual selection committee. Lastly, I’ve looked at every team’s current record, strength of schedule, and used the NCAA’s Quadrant Wins System to analyze the quality of their respective wins and losses.

After I have made a judgment on all teams, I begin to seed the 68 chosen teams from 1 to 68. Ranking them this way allows me to separate them into seed lines (#1 to #16). Finally, I place the teams into regions based on their respective seeds, conferences, and game location (for the top 16 seeds). I tried my best to keep conference opponents from playing until at least the Sweet 16, but there may have been situations where this wasn’t realistically possible.

There are three rules that I’ve started assuring that they are being followed. Firstly, I tried to make the top four seeds in each region add up to similar overall region numbers, to make the regions competitive and balanced. With this in mind, there was a two-number differential between all four regions. I also made sure I never put teams from the same conferences on the same top four seed line. And lastly, I assured that the number one overall seed Duke would not have the best two seed in their bracket.

All in all, the process I went through definitely isn’t easy, but it’s fun to look at the possibilities already. I’ve tried my best to simulate what the actual selection committee would be doing if the tournament had to be seeded today. So after a crazy start to the week in the college hoops world, let’s check into my fourth Bracketology projection!

East Region (Washington, D.C.):

Columbia, South Carolina

#1 Duke vs. #16 Norfolk State/St. Francis (PA)

#8 Baylor vs. #9 Auburn

San Jose, California

#4 Nevada vs. #13 Yale

#5 Iowa vs. #12 Liberty

Salt Lake City, Utah

#3 Kansas vs. #14 Montana

#6 Virginia Tech vs. #11 Alabama

Des Moines, Iowa

#2 Michigan State vs. #15 Radford

#7 Buffalo vs. #10 VCU

Midwest Region (Kansas City, MO):

Columbus, Ohio

#1 Kentucky vs. #16 Bucknell

#8 Syracuse vs. #9 TCU

Hartford, Connecticut

#4 Purdue vs. #13 Vermont

#5 Iowa State vs. #12 NC State/Temple

Tulsa, Oklahoma

#3 Houston vs. #14 UC Irvine

#6 Villanova vs. #11 Belmont

Jacksonville, Florida

#2 North Carolina vs. #15 Bowling Green

#7 Washington vs. #10 Seton Hall

South Region (Louisville, KY):

Columbia, South Carolina

#1 Virginia vs. #16 Prairie-View A&M/Quinnipiac

#8 Ole Miss vs. #9 Wofford

San Jose, California

#4 Texas Tech vs. #13 Hofstra

#5 Wisconsin vs. #12 New Mexico State

Hartford, Connecticut

#3 Marquette vs. #14 Northern Kentucky

#6 Maryland vs. #11 UCF

Columbus, Ohio

#2 Tennessee vs. #15 Loyola-Chicago

#7 Cincinnati vs. #10 Lipscomb

West Region (Anaheim, CA):

Salt Lake City, Utah

#1 Gonzaga vs. #16 Sam Houston State

#8 Mississippi State vs. #9 Ohio State

Jacksonville, Florida

#4 Louisville vs. #13 Old Dominion

#5 Kansas State vs. #12 Arizona State/Utah State

Tulsa, Oklahoma

#3 LSU vs. #14 South Dakota State

#6 Florida State vs. #11 Minnesota

Des Moines, Iowa

#2 Michigan vs. #15 Texas State

#7 St. John’s vs. #10 Texas

The Bubble:

Last Four In:

Temple (19-7, 9-4 AAC)

Arizona State (17-8, 8-5 PAC-12)

Utah State (20-6, 10-3 MWC)

NC State (18-8, 6-7 ACC)

First Four Out:

Clemson (15-11, 5-8 ACC)

Oklahoma (16-10, 4-9 BIG 12)

Butler (15-11, 6-7 BIG EAST)

Florida (14-11, 6-6 SEC)

Next Four Out:

Furman (22-5, 11-4 SOUTH)

Davidson (19-6, 10-2 A-10)

South Carolina (14-12, 9-4 SEC)

Oregon State (16-8, 8-4 PAC-12)

Next Four Out:

Arkansas (14-11, 5-7 SEC)

Nebraska (15-12, 5-11 BIG 10)

Georgetown (15-10, 5-7 BIG EAST)

Fresno State (19-6, 10-6 MWC)

Conference Count-Ups:

American Athletic Conference (4 Teams): #9 Houston, #28 Cincinnati, #43 UCF, #45 Temple.

Atlantic Coast Conference (8 Teams): #1 Duke, #2 Virginia, #7 North Carolina, #16 Louisville, #23 Florida State, #24 Virginia Tech, #30 Syracuse, #48 NC State.

Atlantic Sun (2 Teams): #40 Lipscomb, #50 Liberty.

Big 12 (7 Teams): #11 Kansas, #15 Texas Tech, #18 Iowa State, #19 Kansas State, #31 Baylor, #36 TCU, #38 Texas.

Big East (4 Teams): #12 Marquette, #21 Villanova, #25 St. John’s, #39 Seton Hall.

Big Ten (8 Teams): #6 Michigan, #8 Michigan State, #13 Purdue, #17 Wisconsin, #20 Iowa, #22 Maryland, #35 Ohio State, #42 Minnesota.

MAC (2 Teams): #27 Buffalo, #60 Bowling Green.

Mountain West (2 Teams): #14 Nevada, #47 Utah State.

PAC 12 (2 Teams): #26 Washington, #46 Arizona State.

SEC (7 Teams): #4 Kentucky, #5 Tennessee, #10 LSU, #29 Mississippi State, #32 Ole Miss, #33 Auburn, #41 Alabama.

Singular Bid League Teams (22 Teams): #3 Gonzaga, #34 Wofford, #37 VCU, #44 Belmont, #49 New Mexico State, #51 Old Dominion, #52 Hofstra, #53 Yale, #54 Vermont, #55 UC Irvine, #56 South Dakota State, #57 Montana, #58 Northern Kentucky, #59 Radford, #61 Texas State, #62 Loyola Chicago, #63 Bucknell, #64 Sam Houston State, #65 Norfolk State, #66 Prairie-View A&M, #67 Quinnipiac, #68 St. Francis (PA).

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed. If you have any insight, opinions, or questions about my Bracketology projection, feel free to contact me on Twitter @TBeckmann24. Have a great rest of your day and peace!

Tristan Beckmann’s College Basketball Bracketology (2/14/2019)

Welcome back to the third edition of my College Basketball Bracketology, where I project the NCAA Tournament field and matchups as we lead up to Selection Sunday. I should be back on schedule now after delaying this post until today. You should expect the next Bracketology to be released on Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday. With that said, what a week of college hoops we’ve had so far and yet we still haven’t even reached the weekend, where we will witness three matchups between teams ranked inside the AP Top 25 poll.

Sadly, my Louisville Cardinals collapsed while holding a 23 point second half lead over #2 Duke on Tuesday night, en route to a 71-69 Blue Devils win. While it didn’t affect their seeding much, they’ve still moved way down from their position in last week’s Bracketology. Michigan got stunned by a struggling Penn State team on the road, Virginia rallied to beat North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and LSU stunned Kentucky on a buzzer beating tip in. There was so much more chaos around the nation but it’ll have to wait, as it’s time to run through the procedures and get into my bracket!

In this edition, per usual, I’ve projected seeding and matchups for all tournament teams. College basketball fans and experts abroad have started to gain a decent understanding of the contenders and pretenders in each college basketball conference, and I’m as big of a college hoops fan as you’ll find. Some teams are distancing themselves from the bubble, but some teams continue to remain clustered around it.

My process is pretty simple actually. Firstly, I’ve compiled a list of college basketball teams who realistically still have a chance at making the NCAA Tournament. Secondly, I’ve used the brand new NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) Rankings as a seeding criteria for all teams, which will also be heavily used by the actual selection committee. Lastly, I’ve looked at every team’s current record, strength of schedule, and used the NCAA’s Quadrant Wins System to analyze the quality of their respective wins and losses.

After I have made a judgment on all teams, I begin to seed the 68 chosen teams from 1 to 68. Ranking them this way allows me to separate them into seed lines (#1 to #16). Finally, I place the teams into regions based on their respective seeds, conferences, and game location (for the top 16 seeds). I tried my best to keep conference opponents from playing until at least the Sweet 16, but there may have been situations where this wasn’t realistically possible.

There are three rules that I’ve started assuring that they are being followed. Firstly, I tried to make the top four seeds in each region add up to similar overall region numbers, to make the regions competitive and balanced. With this in mind, there was a two-number differential between all four regions. I also made sure I never put teams from the same conferences on the same top four seed line. And lastly, I assured that the number one overall seed Duke would not have the best two seed in their bracket.

All in all, the process I went through definitely isn’t easy, but it’s fun to look at the possibilities already. I’ve tried my best to simulate what the actual selection committee would be doing if the tournament had to be seeded today. So after a crazy start to the week in the college hoops world, let’s check into my third Bracketology projection!

East Region (Washington, D.C.):

Columbia, South Carolina

#1 Duke vs. #16 Quinnipiac/Norfolk State

#8 St. John’s vs. #9 Minnesota

Jacksonville, Florida

#4 LSU vs. #13 Yale

#5 Texas Tech vs. #12 Liberty

Salt Lake City, Utah

#3 Houston vs. #14 Montana

#6 Florida State vs. #11 Seton Hall

Des Moines, Iowa

#2 Michigan State vs. #15 Bowling Green

#7 Mississippi State vs. #10 Lipscomb

West Region (Anaheim, CA):

Salt Lake City, Utah

#1 Gonzaga vs. #16 Bucknell

#8 Baylor vs. #9 Auburn

Hartford, Connecticut

#4 Louisville vs. #13 Old Dominion

#5 Iowa vs. #12 Hofstra

Tulsa, Oklahoma

#3 Kansas vs. #14 South Dakota State

#6 Virginia Tech vs. #11 UCF/Arizona State

Des Moines, Iowa

#2 Michigan vs. #15 Radford

#7 Washington vs. #10 Alabama

South Region (Louisville, KY):

Columbus, Ohio

#1 Tennessee vs. #16 Prairie-View/Robert Morris

#8 Syracuse vs. #9 TCU

San Jose, California

#4 Wisconsin vs. #13 Vermont

#5 Kansas State vs. #12 Belmont

Hartford, Connecticut

#3 Marquette vs. #14 UC Irvine

#6 Maryland vs. #11 Texas

Jacksonville, Florida

#2 North Carolina vs. #15 Texas State

#7 Cincinnati vs. #10 VCU

Midwest Region (Kansas City, MO):

Columbia, South Carolina

#1 Virginia vs. #16 Sam Houston State

#8 Ohio State vs. #9 Ole Miss

San Jose, California

#4 Nevada vs. #13 Davidson

#5 Villanova vs. #12 New Mexico State

Tulsa, Oklahoma

#3 Purdue vs. #14 Northern Kentucky

#6 Iowa State vs. #11 NC State/Temple

Columbus, Ohio

#2 Kentucky vs. #15 Loyola-Chicago

#7 Buffalo vs. #10 Wofford

Bubble:

Last Four In:

NC State (18-7, 6-6 AAC)

UCF (18-5, 8-3 AAC)

Temple (18-7, 8-4 AAC)

Arizona State (16-8, 7-5 PAC-12)

First Four Out:

Arkansas (14-10, 5-6 SEC)

Utah State (19-6, 9-3 MWC)

Clemson (15-9, 5-6 ACC)

Butler (14-11, 5-7 BIG EAST)

Conference Count-Ups:

American Athletic Conference (4 Teams): #12 Houston, #27 Cincinnati, #44 UCF, #45 Temple.

Atlantic Coast Conference (8 Teams): #1 Duke, #3 Virginia, #7 North Carolina, #14 Louisville, #21 Virginia Tech, #24 Florida State, #30 Syracuse, #43 NC State.

Atlantic Sun (2 Teams): #40 Lipscomb, #50 Liberty.

Atlantic 10 (2 Teams): #37 VCU, #53 Davidson.

Big 12 (7 Teams): #10 Kansas, #18 Kansas State, #19 Texas Tech, #22 Iowa State, #29 Baylor, #33 TCU, #41 Texas.

Big East (4 Teams): #9 Marquette, #17 Villanova, #32 St. John’s, #42 Seton Hall.

Big Ten (8 Teams): #6 Michigan, #8 Michigan State, #11 Purdue, #15 Wisconsin, #20 Iowa, #23 Maryland, #31 Ohio State, #36 Minnesota.

MAC (2 Teams): #28 Buffalo, #59 Bowling Green.

PAC 12 (2 Teams): #26 Washington, #46 Arizona State.

Southeastern Conference (7 Teams): #2 Tennessee, #5 Kentucky, #13 LSU, #25 Mississippi State, #34 Ole Miss, #35 Auburn, #38 Alabama.

Singular Bid League Squads (22 Teams): #4 Gonzaga, #16 Nevada, #39 Wofford, #47 Hofstra, #48 New Mexico State, #49 Belmont, #51 Yale, #52 Vermont, #54 Old Dominion, #55 South Dakota State, #56 Northern Kentucky, #57 UC Irvine, #58 Montana, #60 Texas State, #61 Loyola-Chicago, #62 Radford, #63 Bucknell, #64 Sam Houston State, #65 Prairie-View, #66 Quinnipiac, #67 Norfolk State, #68 Robert Morris.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed. If you have any insight, opinions, or questions about my Bracketology projection, feel free to contact me on Twitter @TBeckmann24. Have a great rest of your day and peace!

Doubting the King is never a good idea, and last night’s Laker win over Boston proved just that

On Thursday, February 7th, much of the talk in the NBA was surrounding the trade deadline. It usually is always like this on this big day, but this year it seemed somewhat different. Perhaps the biggest headline was the fact that it looked as if the Lakers weren’t going to acquire disgruntled superstar center Anthony Davis from the Pelicans. There had been a week of negotiating and leveraging between New Orleans and LA, but Pelicans general manager Dell Demps wasn’t ever seriously considering dealing the NBA’s best big man to the Lake Show.

Demps seemingly made his mind up on waiting to trade Davis until the summer, when the draft pick stacked Boston Celtics can enter the bidding war for the star. Demps also looks to love the idea of acquiring 2017 top three draft pick Jayson Tatum from the Celtics in a potential trade package. It became clear the Lakers were done for the day when they made a move to trade 21 year old center Ivica Zubac and veteran forward Michael Beasley to the rival Clippers for floor stretching center Mike Muscala. It might’ve been a panic move to trade away a young player who’d been contributing a ton for the team while LeBron James was out, but many are saying it was a move made primarily to add more shooting and create a roster spot for the buyout market.

A few days ago, the Lakers made their first trade deadline move, acquiring experienced shooting and defense from the Pistons in the form of forward Reggie Bullock. The buyout market name they’ve been connected to most is Carmelo Anthony, who isn’t as good as he once was, but still could be an impactful bench player for the Lakers. But enough of discussing players who aren’t yet on the roster or are possible additions, what happened last night at the TD Garden was a big statement for the Lakers and one that was much needed.

It honestly felt like there wasn’t even a game on this trade deadline day, but the Lakers were continuing their Eastern Conference road trip against the Boston Celtics, renewing a longtime rivalry between two NBA powerhouses. The Lakers were two and a half games out of the 8th seed in the West, and were just now getting healthy with LeBron James having returned a few games ago. But fans were worried, they hadn’t made a big splash at the deadline, and they were coming off a 42-point road loss to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night.

It looked as if another big blowout loss was going to be handed to the Lakers on Thursday night in the early stages of the game. The Lakers came out ice cold, missing shots inside the paint and out, and also struggling to shoot free throws. In the second quarter, Boston started connecting on open shots, and opened up a 53-35 lead when Luke Walton called for a timeout with less than seven minutes remaining. Social media was calling for Walton to be fired in order to send a message to the team, but what happened after this timeout was something no one could’ve expected.

The Lakers started playing fast-paced basketball, getting back to their preferred style of play. They also began hitting shots and making plays on defense, as they finished the half on a 22-13 run to cut the Celtics lead in half. The hot stretch continued as the Lake Show came out for the second half, taking the lead early in the third quarter. The Lakers hit nine threes in the quarter, including four from young rising star Kyle Kuzma, who is still finding a feel for his jumper. The Lakers led by six at the end of the third quarter, which by the way was a 42-point third quarter, and likely the team’s best quarter of the season.

But NBA fans knew that Boston wouldn’t let up easily, as they stormed back to take the lead and it looked as if they wouldn’t let it slip a second time. Kyrie Irving was getting hot, and the Celtics couldn’t seem to be stopped by LA. But they also couldn’t seem to stop the King, as LeBron made the fourth quarter his. He first hit a three with less than six minutes to go that got the Lakers within two. Two minutes later, James stepped back to make a 27 foot three point jumper to cut the lead to one.

The three was quickly answered by Kyrie Irving’s step back three pointer that put the lead back to four points. A possession later when Irving hit two free throws, many fans thought the Celtics were in a safe position and wouldn’t blow a six point lead in the final three minutes. With Boston doubling up on LeBron, the Lakers young core had to step up in the bright lights, and they proved to be ready for the challenge. Brandon Ingram hit a quick pull-up jumper to make it a four point game, and after Jayson Tatum missed a jumper, Ingram assisted on a sweet Kyle Kuzma floater.

The Celtics led 119-117 with less than three minutes remaining. They possibly could’ve put a dagger in the Lakers when Marcus Smart got open twice on their next possession. Smart, the most accurate shooter in the East since the new year, came up short on both attempts before the Lakers secured the rebound. Brandon Ingram drove inside and got fouled by Kyrie Irving, but the Lakers free throw struggles continued as Ingram only managed to hit one of two. After missing the second, Ingram committed a silly foul on an inbounds pass by basically tackling Kyrie, who made both free throws to give the Celtics a three point lead.

After Kyle Kuzma missed an easy inside shot, the Celtics ran the fast break and Irving found a wide open Marcus Morris in the corner for three, and he drilled it. With the Celtics up six with nearly a minute to play, it felt over. But it wasn’t over, and the Lakers didn’t fold under pressure. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope answered with an open corner three on an inbounds pass from Rajon Rondo. Then when Kyrie Irving lost control of the ball, Brandon Ingram stole it and ran the fast break. The former number two overall pick dished it off to LeBron, who nearly lost the ball out of bounds while driving to the rim on Kyrie and Al Horford. The older James made an acrobatic save that ended up in the hands of KCP, who quickly saw James getting back into the play in the corner. And just like we would expect from the greatest ever, James silenced the TD Garden crowd with a three pointer to tie the game at 124.

After the Celtics called a timeout, Jayson Tatum drew a foul on the inbounds play and was able to hit two free throws to give them the lead. The Lakers called a timeout and Luke Walton drew up a beautiful play that would get the focus on LeBron and open up Kuzma for three. It worked to perfection as Kuzma drilled the go-ahead three pointer with 18.5 seconds left. Kyrie Irving didn’t let up though, as he drove to the basket and got an angle for the go-ahead layup with 11 seconds left.

The Lakers had no timeouts, and Marcus Morris wasn’t letting LeBron get the ball, so Brandon Ingram brought the ball up quickly. He drove into the paint and went for an up and under layup that was heavily contested by Al Horford. The ball was batted around before Tyson Chandler hit it towards Rajon Rondo, who caught it and swished the game-winning mid range jumper as the buzzer sounded.

It was a huge win for a Lakers team that really needed it. They’d battled all night and came out on top with a storybook ending for the former Celtic point guard in Rondo. The floor general had a game for the ages in his return home, scoring 17 points on 7 of 11 shooting, dishing out 10 assists, and grabbing 7 rebounds. He also hit three of four three point attempts. The King dominated this game as well, scoring 28 points, grabbing 12 boards, and dishing out 12 assists in a great performance.

It was a team effort however, as the young guys continued to produce despite having all of this drama surrounding them as of late. Kyle Kuzma looks to be gaining confidence in his jumper, scoring 25 points and hitting five three pointers. Brandon Ingram struggled from the field (4 for 14), but he played tremendous defense on Kyrie Irving for a long portion of the night, and he made impact plays away from his scoring, recording seven assists. The veterans were contributors as well, with JaVale McGee putting up 17 points and 8 rebounds, Lance Stephenson scoring 14 points off the bench, and KCP hitting five threes in a 17 point bench performance.

After this win, it has certainly become clear that these Lakers are a playoff team with this mix of veterans and rising young players, but they’ll have to continue winning over the final two months of the season to secure their spot. And don’t forget that they played last night’s game without any of their new trade deadline additions and Lonzo Ball. The road to the playoffs won’t be easy, but it certainly got easier with the Clippers seemingly tanking by trading star forward Tobias Harris to Philly. This win could be the game that turns the season around, but we will all have to wait and see.

The team celebrated this win together and nobody could’ve expected this from a team that looked terrible and had no chemistry in that awful loss to the Pacers. With the trade deadline behind them, the Lakers young core was still in tact and they played more confidently on this night. Being embroiled in trade deadline rumors for a week had to have been tough and it definitely took a toll on these young guys, but they overcame these hardships and won this game, together. But the main takeaway from last night’s thriller is simply this: don’t doubt LeBron James, he’s playing some of his best basketball of his career, he’s finally healthy, and he’s still the King.