The NFL draft came and went last week and word has it within the world of NFL pundits that the Carolina Panthers fared quite well with their 2018 selections.
It was not a big secret that Carolina needed help at the wide receiver position, so taking D.J. Moore out of Maryland in the first round was not a surprise. I read more than one draft review that spoke of Moore being a lot like former Panthers great, Steve Smith. Quarterback Cam Newton needs a favorite receiver and it is hoped he and Moore develop into a dangerous tandem. Moore is known for his toughness and was widely viewed as the best receiver in the draft.
Help in the defensive secondary was also a need and Carolina addressed this by taking LSU cornerback Donte Jackson in the second round. Jackson will be one of the fastest players in the NFL as he ran a 4.32 forty at the NFL Combine. Safety Rashaan Gaulden was their third round pick. He is more known for his physicality than he is as a cover man which could aid the team’s rush defense.
The pick I like was Carolina getting tight end Ian Thomas out of Indiana in the fourth round. Many draft experts had Thomas as the best tight end in the draft. The Panthers like to run the ball in a two tight-end formation and Thomas should contribute immediately.
Linebacker Marquis Haynes out of Ole Miss could be a surprise pick. Haynes left Oxford with school records for sacks and tackles for loss. Carolina rounded out its draft by taking two more linebackers, Jermaine Carter out of Maryland and Andre Smith out of North Carolina. Those picks tell me they realize Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly are getting older.
LeBron May Tire Out
It took seven games for LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to get out of the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. It was a stressful series for the Cavs as their margin of victory in their four wins was just 14 points. And James was quoted as saying afterwards that he was spent.
I have always believed that the team with the best player usually ends up winning the close games and that was the case this time with LeBron. Of course, it helps when LeBron will never be allowed to foul out of a game, but that is another story for another time.
James let it be known that he intended to play all 48 minutes in Game Seven against the Indiana Pacers. It did not happen because he left the game in the third quarter due to leg cramps. I, for one, have never seen James suffer from leg cramps before. And this is just the first round.
The competition is about to get much harder for the Cavaliers, and if it is rest LeBron is seeking, he is not in luck. Next up Cleveland will take on a much more talented, deeper roster in Toronto where they will receive no more than one day of rest at a time the entire series.
LeBron’s exhaustion is not just a result of a seven-game series where he played a lot of minutes, it also comes from playing all 82 games in his fifteenth season. In doing so, LeBron actually led the league in minutes.
That would have been a tough journey for any player in their fifteenth year, but LeBron has also accumulated a massive amount of extra minutes on top of that. Going to seven straight NBA Finals has extended his total minutes dramatically.
I have a feeling this will catch up with him soon.