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The argument for offensive guard Quenton Nelson to go in top 10 in draft

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Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Will Notre Dame offensive guard Quenton Nelson buck the trend of players at his position being taken highly in the first round? That’s still to be determined.

What isn’t up for debate? Nelson has a strong case as any guard in this decade to go in the top 15.

We wrote previously about the Notre Dame Captain who is 6’5 330lbs and has a “nasty streak” to go along with his impressive play. And, that Nelson might be a good fit for the Bucs at #7 overall, and maybe for the Dolphins at #11.

Well, the accolades and momentum continue to stack up.

First, Nelson was impressive at the NFL Scouting Combine in February:

And, many teams came away impressed with his interview sessions.

One NFL personnel source tells F.F.I. that Nelson convinced numerous teams even more, that he should go in the first round, once they got to be around and talk to him in Indianapolis.

Next, you see something like this analytical look at his pass protection last year with the Fighting Irish, and you cannot help but be impressed:

Now, look, we get that an offensive guard giving up sacks in pass protection is much more rare than a tackle on the end of the line. However, one sack allowed in 430 passing snaps? That’s a ridiculously good stat.

And then, late last week, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly appeared on the NFL Network’s “NFL Up to the Minute” program to talk more about Nelson and his fellow line teammate Mike McGlinchy having played for him and their professional futures:

We particularly like hearing from Kelly, “We knew what his (Nelson’s) intent was..to be the best on every single play. And, to bring out the best in the players around him.”

Kelly’s endorsement will also have an impact on how high that Nelson will be considered on night one of the draft.

If you are curious about how unusual it is for a guard to go high in the first round? Then, consider only one player, Leonard Davis in 2001, has been picked in the top five since 2000. And, only eight total have been taken in the first round since 2010.

Still, all signs are pointing to Quenton Nelson to go on night one, and with the Buccaneers and Dolphins in need of some guard help/depth, he may be one of their targets.

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NFL

Some week one Fantasy “start’em or sit’em” advice

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Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the opening weekend of the NFL season, and also, fantasy football fans are rejoicing at seeing their season is getting underway, too.

So, with the fact that there’s so much interest in the beginning of the year and there are some unknowns involving the three Florida pro football teams, we decided to give out some quick “start or sit” fantasy football advice.

First up is the Buccaneers matchup with the Saints in New Orleans.

And while Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson will be the focus of the Saints secondary, they have veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing to them.  They are probably both still worth the “start” on Sunday, especially Evans, who is off a disappointing season by his standards.

If you’re looking for a “sleeper,” it’s third receiver Chris Godwin, who really came into his own down the stretch of 2017. That included catching the game-winning touchdown pass in the final seconds against the Saints in week 17 .

More than likely, running back Peyton Barber (above) isn’t one of your primary backs in your league, but he will be the guy that gets the ball in key situations, including in the red zone and the goal line.

If you drafted rookie 2nd round pick speedster Ronald Jones, don’t expect much this week. While Jones will likely be active, he will probably be third-string behind Barber and Veteran Jacquizz Rodgers. And, he may not see the feel very much.

As for the Dolphins, Ryan Tannehill is back at the helm and that means receivers Kenny Stills and free agent newcomers Danny Amendola and Albert Wilson are guys he will look to spread the ball around to against Tennessee.

As a Fins sleeper? We’ve been touting second round draft pick tight end Mike Gesicki. He will especially be a threat to score TDs in the red zone.

Similarly with Barber for the Bucs, Kenyan Drake will likely get the bulk of the carries in this game. However, different from the Tampa Bay situation, it’s veteran Frank Gore is in the Miami mix. And, no one is not clear yet, who will get the ball in the red zone and on the goal line.

So therefore it’s dangerous to play Drake, if you have other options.

As for the Jaguars who are in New York to play the Giants, Leonard Fournette is always going to be a “must-play.” He looks to get his second year off to a big start against a shaky Giants front seven.

The real question becomes whether you trust Blake Bortles to get the ball to any of Jacksonville’s receivers, if you drafted them?

With Marqise Lee lost for the season with his ACL injury, Donte Moncrief will assume the role as the number one receiver. Players like Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole are also good options. And we will have to  play the” wait-and-see game” with how much rookie second-round pick wide receiver D.J. Chark will be used?

Again, most of the Jags receivers would be in the “sit’em” category, if you have other options.

Good luck with your team and roster and just remember this advice is worth every penny that you paid for it

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Bucs, Dolphins, and Jaugars had surprises on cut down day

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a tough day all over the NFL has every team had to be down to 53 players at 4 p.m. eastern time. That meant for the Bucs, Dolphins and Jaguars, as well as everyone else, you were saying goodbye to 37 players that have been with you throughout the off-season and training camp.

There were some surprising names put on the waiver wire by each team:

In Tampa Bay, coach Dirk Koetter and staff parted with veteran safety and special-teams ace Keith Tandy. This one was a bit of a surprise because the six year veteran Tandy had moved into significantly more playing time the last couple of seasons. He started five games at the end of 2016 with 41 tackles and four interceptions. And by all accounts, he was a very hard-working and popular player. Bucs will apparently go with rookie Jordan Whitehead and also may move rookie defensive back MJ Stewart to safety some to compensate.

The Buccaneers also released two receivers in Bernard Reedy and Bobo Wilson, who saw a bunch of playing time and each had five catches in the final preseason game with Jacksonville.

Meanwhile for the Dolphins, they also released a veteran defensive back in Tony Lippett Saturday. Lippet had battled back from an achilles injury last year, but obviously was not effective enough for Adam Gase and staff to keep him on board. The Fins do have young DBs in Xavien Howard and Cordrea Tankersley, as well as veteran Bobby McCain.

Miami also released fourth string QB Bryce Petty who had an oblique injury the last two weeks of camp. The Fins kept David Fales as the third string QB behind Ryan Tannehill and Brock Osweiler. Also, Miami cut WR Leonte Caroo, who was a third round pick in 2016.

In Jacksonville, a bit of a surprise, as the Jaguars did not keep third string quarterback Tanner Lee. Lee a rookie from Nebraska fared well on Thursday night in the preseason finale against the Buccaneers. However, for now, the Jaguars seem to be content to go with Blake Bortles and Cody Kessler as the only two quarterbacks on the roster. Lee could come back on the practice squad.

Jacksonville cut veteran WR Shane Wynn and also injured tight end Ben Koyack in their moves.

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Browns coach Jackson to Antonio Callaway- “I’ll have your

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The second edition of “Hard Knocks” with the Browns aired Tuesday night on HBO and the dominant story line involved rookie former Gators WR Antonio Callaway.

One of the draws for the series each August is the the show has 24/7 access to the team through NFL Films’ cameras and microphones. And, it typically reveals insight and conversation not yet known.

And, the segments with Callaway did not disappoint in that department.

First, “Hard Knocks” already had Callaway mic’ed up for the Sunday afternoon August 5th workout, which was hours after Callaway was cited, but not arrested in a nearby town of Strongsville, OH, for driving with a suspended license and a small amount of marijuana in his car.

Something he did not tell anyone about.

We recapped the incident and wondered, if Callaway isn’t about to be out of chances already with his new team.

Callaway’s story took up the first approximate 10 minutes of the show. And on the episode, both coach Hue Jackson (above) and offensive coordinator Todd Haley could sense something is wrong with Callaway, as his body language and ineffective play were going on that day.

Then, came the most intriguing and riveting part of entire show, as GM John Dorsey and Jackson met with Callaway after the news media found out about the traffic citations and told the team.

Dorsey was upset, as much with Callaway not telling them, as anything, but it was Jackson, who cut to the chase on Callaway’s expected behavior accountability in the future. “If you’re lying to me, I’ll have your ass,” he told the rookie.

Later in the episode, Jackson had Callaway stand up and apologize to the entire team.

And, then, as we wrote about Tuesday morning, when “Hard Knocks” filmed during the Browns opening preseason game with the Giants, you got more insight into Callaway playing the entire four quarters and 57 snaps of action. Callaway excelled during the game, including a catch and run touchdown from Baker Mayfield in the fourth quarter.

Again, Jackson, while mic’ed up for the show, was shown standing and putting his arm around Callaway in the fourth quarter and telling him that he believes in him.

Time will tell, if Callaway will continue to do the right things and stay out of trouble

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