Smith’s Rams tenure lasted longer than one year, but effectively, he was finished with the franchise that drafted him before his rookie season ended.

A concussion ended Smith’s first year early, and he was replaced in the Rams’ lineup by Year 2. He was traded to the Jets in 2012.

Curry, then believed to be a can’t-miss linebacker prospect out of Wake Forest, started his entire rookie year and a couple games into Year 2 before he was replaced in Seattle’s lineup. He was traded to the Raiders a little more than two years after he was drafted.

Chris Stratton (R), 4.2 percent, San Francisco Giants at Arizona Diamondbacks: Stratton would probably rank first or second if we were ranking these streamers for full-season value: The high spin rate on his curveball makes him a Statcast darling, after all. The Diamondbacks’ dangerous lineup makes him Wednesday’s biggest risk-reward listing, and Chase Field’s humidor hasn’t exactly made its presence felt yet. Fortunately, the allure lies in the Snakes’ penchant for whiffing: They’re tied for fourth with a 25.5 percent strikeout rate.

He still gets caught napping and can be taken advantage of by more experienced players, but being able to switch everything with him on the floor helps the Sixers, especially against a smaller Heat team.

Of course, Fultz alone isn’t responsible for this winning streak, which started even before he resurfaced. But he has done an excellent job of drowning out historic levels of noise and impacting the game in a variety of ways while playing mostly within 15 feet. The spark he provides off the bench can be infectious, and even the level of camaraderie his flashes of success have generated could be a key factor as Philly tries to push deep into the postseason.

Penny could continue his college shine in the NFL, but the Seahawks had bigger needs in the secondary and along the offensive line, and there were worthy options from both positions before they traded back to No. 27. They also don’t pick again until the third round, where they could have found a good value for the backfield, probably Penny. The Seahawks should be in rebuilding mode, yet they went luxury. Heck, even wide receiver or tight end would have made more sense.canucks_679

Chiefs coach Andy Reid gives up play-calling duties, report says

After starting the season 5-0, Kansas City has lost three consecutive games to drop to five losses on the season. The Chiefs (6-5) will look to snap their skid when they visit the Jets (4-7) at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.

Now, some people might be angered by that take, but I’m not trying to be incendiary. Revolver and Sgt. Pepper are two of the best children’s albums ever made, and I’ll take “Yellow Submarine” over “Banana Phone” any day. Well, almost any day. Banana phones are pretty funny.

Both defenses in the Saints-Rams game have stiffened no points in 3rd quarter, and not much in the way of drives, either.

Bork Birdles scores on a bootleg. The Jags trail 16-10.

Jimmy Graham scores a touchdown on a short slant. With the ball on the left hash, the Seahawks lined up five wide receivers — three on the left, two on the right. Then they motioned Tyler Lockett to the left, leaving Graham isolated on the wide side of the field. A fade was the obvious call, which is probably what made getting open on the slant so easy.

The 76ers decided to sit Joel Embiid minutes before Philadelphia’s 131-124 loss to the Pelicans on Sunday because of stiffness in the 7-foot center’s back.

Embiid was expected to play in New Orleans after sitting out Saturday night’s loss to Cleveland to rest his surgically repaired knee.

“I tried to warm up earlier, but I couldn’t,” Embiid said after Sunday’s game. “If it was the Finals, I’m sure I could have gone. But we got 82 games, and they don’t want me to push if I’m not 100 percent, so that’s what I did.”

Embiid, who has averaged 23.5 points and 11.1 rebounds in 21 games, had offseason surgery for a torn meniscus in his left knee, and the Sixers have been limiting his playing time, including not playing him on back-to-back nights.chargers_030

Parkey made both of his field goal attempts for the Browns this preseason.

Still, he manages to do it in a way that merely forces even the squeaky clean Derek Carr to shake his head and laugh.

“Ah, it’s been so fun,” said the Raiders’ Pro Bowl quarterback. “We have such a great time. We like to talk trash to each other. I do it in my way, he does it in his, but we have a great time just getting to know each other.”

There’s always been a magnetic force between Lynch and Oakland. His NFL journey started in Buffalo and continued in Seattle, but flights back to Oakland for off days were common.

Parkey joined the Browns in Week 3 last season after Patrick Murray injured his knee in practice. Parkey missed three of six field-goals in his debut — he met his holder and long-snapper only in pregame warm-ups — but recovered to make 17 of his next 19 attempts.

He was with the Philadelphia Eagles before joining the Browns and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2014 when he made 32 of 34 field goal attempts and was perfect on 54 point-after attempts. His 150 points broke the record for points scored by a rookie.

Franks, 24, has been the Dolphins’ kicker for the past two seasons, converting 29 of 37 field goal attempts and 74 of 78 extra-point attempts.

Franks had a solid preseason, including a 56-yard field goal against the Philadelphia Eagles in the third exhibition game. He was 2-for-3 overall.

Parkey made both of his field goal attempts for the Browns this preseason.raptors_147

Browns coach Hue Jackson doesn’t want his players protesting

Hue Jackson is a firm believer in patriotism.

EA Sports has an exclusive license with ESPN that allows the company to integrate the authentic ESPN/ABC broadcast presentation — including the commentary team of Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy — in addition to the role “First Take” plays in the game.

The “NBA Live” series has gone through a tumultuous last seven years with cancellations outnumbering actual products released. What was once a proud franchise has been largely forgotten by fans as competitor “NBA 2K” has risen to previously unthinkable sales levels and cultural relevance. A mobile version of “NBA Live'” came out last year and has done very well, but it remains to be seen whether the series can pull itself up off the ground on consoles and avoid the fate that several other sports game franchises have faced over the last decade of contraction within the genre.

James Harden appears on the cover of “NBA Live 18,” which will release on Sept. 15 for just $40 as part of a pre-order bonus. In addition to the new career mode, the WNBA makes its debut in the game. A demo will go live in North America on Aug. 11 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and include the ability to start the career mode and carry over progress to the full game if purchased along with an NBA Finals rematch of Cavaliers vs. Warriors.

The Niners had a pretty good tradition of QBs in the 1980s and ‘90s, but it was a little rough in the ‘70s. Before he was the “Head Ball Coach,” Spurrier was a No. 3 overall pick in 1967 after winning the Heisman at Florida. His pro playing career hit a nader with a winless season in Tampa Bay, but before then, he struggled as a middle passer for nine years in San Francisco. Going 13-12-1, he threw 33 touchdowns to 48 interceptions for a 61.2 rating and major bust status.dolphins_085

Jones sure can turn a phrase, but he’s also up for the occasional dad joke.

That’s what he resorted to during a conversation with Michael Irvin’s agent, Steve Endicott, about renegotiating Irvin’s contract.

“Jerry says to me, ‘Steve, you know that town out in West Texas, El Paso?’” Endicott recalls Jones saying of his proposal. ‘“Well, I think we’re going to El Paso on that.’”

Despite being mostly a basketball player in college (he played just one year of football at the University of Miami), Graham’s athletic gifts made him a fascinating NFL prospect. He ran a 4.56 at the combine while measuring in at 6’6, 260 pounds — a combination of size and speed that would make him an imposing matchup for opponents.

Sure enough, the Saints got the most they could out of Graham after selecting him in the third round of the 2010 NFL draft. He went on to be one of the most prolific tight ends in the game, scoring 51 touchdowns in five seasons with the Saints. In 2014, New Orleans gave Graham a four-year contract extension, worth up to $40 million with $20.9 million in guarantees. It seemed liked Graham would be a Saint for life, forming a career-long connection with Drew Brees similar to the one shared by Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates.

Unfortunately, Graham’s Saints tenure didn’t last long after that. He had another strong performance in 2014 with 10 touchdowns and 885 yards on 85 catches, but the Saints ran into salary cap hell in the offseason and needed to clear space off the books, so they decided to put Graham on the trade market. The Seahawks pounced, sending a first-round pick and center Max Unger to New Orleans.
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James Harden just put together the greatest offensive season ever

Everyone knows that James Harden just put together an incredible campaign in 2016-17. His work on offense was so brilliant, that if you take a deep dive into his season, you’ll come to the realization that no one in the history of the NBA has ever had a season on that end of the floor quite like The Beard.

Harden, without another star by his side, was the nightly focal point of his opponents’ defensive game plan. But he had counters for anything and everything coaches threw at him in putting together one of the great scoring seasons you’ll ever see. You can probably count on one hand the guys that have scored as much and as efficiently as Harden did.

But he was also so much more than that. When defenses collapsed on him, he perfected the art of leveraging that attention to create opportunities and open looks for his teammates.

Whether it was feeding Clint Capela or Nene rolling to the rim or Patrick Beverley, Eric Gordon, Lou Williams, Trevor Ariza, or Ryan Anderson spotting up for 3, Harden complemented his dynamic scoring with a historically strong job setting up his teammates. Combine those two elements together, and Harden makes quite the compelling case for the greatest season of offense … ever.

But here we are, once again, with Paul George looking at elimination at the hands of LeBron James. The Pacers had a chance to win Game 1 on the road but came up short. They also blew a 26-point lead in Game 3 at home. Neither of those things were Paul George’s fault. He’s one of the best two-way players in the game who has given everything to Indiana. But have they given it back to him?
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Alabama set to tie Floridas 9-year streak of 1st-round picks in the NFL draft

The 2017 NFL draft is less than a week away, and several college teams across the country will be represented as their players names get called by commissioner Roger Goodell. One draft streak that will be tied on Thursday night is that for the longest consecutive stretch with a first-round draft pick. The Florida Gators had the second-longest from 1983-91 with a first-round selection.
Ike Davis Authentic Jersey
Frank Clark Authentic Jersey King also reported that New Orleans believes it can draft immediate contributors between picks 25 and 75. Since defensive backs are the strength of this draft class, the Saints do not need to mortgage high picks for Butler when they could upgrade through the draft. In fact, our own Dan Kadars latest mock draft has the Saints using their No. 32 pick on LSU cornerback TreDavious White.

Butlers price tag could be too steep for New Orleans, too. Trading for Butler wouldnt be a bad idea for a Saints pass defense that ranked last in the NFL in 2016, but one cornerback cannot completely fix that secondary.

Now, according to NFL Insider Ian Rapoport, Butler will likely stay in Foxborough for another season. Even if the Saints do not try to negotiate a trade with New England for Butler, other teams will likely call the Patriots to inquire about him.

In college, when youre physically superior to your opponent, some of these issues can be overlooked, but if a lineman struggles with his base in college, he is bound to struggle in the NFL when the game is faster and more precise.

Lack of practice time, which is most appreciated by current players, has no doubt hurt offensive lineman the most, but the NFL is slowly starting to fix the process. Teams are hiring offensive line scouts specifically to help identify college players — players like Ronnie Stanley, Taylor Decker, and Jack Conklin — who are able to smoothly transition to the NFL out of their college systems.

NFL power rankings: Eagles and 49ers slide for Week 15

The Philadelphia Eagles vacated the No. 2 spot in SB Nation’s power rankings with their 24-14 loss to the Seattle Seahawks at home. While Philly remains atop the NFC East, the Seahawks closed the gap between themselves and the top of the conference.

Against a stingy Eagles defense, Russell Wilson played a fine game, throwing for 263 yards and two touchdowns. He added 48 more yards and a score on the ground. But the star for Seattle was its defense, which held Mark Sanchez to just 96 yards. Tharold Simon’s fourth-quarter interception sealed the win for the Seahawks and signaled their return to prominence in the NFC. Now 9-4, the Seahawks trail the Arizona Cardinals by one game in the division. The NFC West rivals face off again in two weeks.

The event was a fundraiser for Rawhide, a foundation supported by former-Packers great Bart Starr to help at-risk youth in Wisconsin. Favre appeared with Steve Young, who was in town with ESPN for coverage of the Falcons-Packers game. Though Favre will not attend the game, the time is drawing near for the legendary quarterback to get his due. The team has previously discussed plans to retire his number at a game in 2015.

When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tired of Mike Williams after a stabbing incident this offseason, the Buffalo Bills swooped in and acquired the embattled wide receiver for a sixth-round pick. Williams, a native of Buffalo, had an opportunity to revitalize his career. However, after being left inactive for four of the team’s last eight games, the Bills elected to waive Williams and open up a spot on their 53-man roster according to NFL.com.

Officially, Williams’ release comes with an injury designation related to a calf strain he suffered during practice last week. However, as the report notes, the injury is not likely the motivation behind the move. If Williams goes unclaimed, he reverts to the Bills’ injured reserve list. Teams have until 4 p.m. ET Tuesday to place a claim on the receiver.5

Mulroy’s approach with Wacha was more subtle.

Mulroy didn’t put 20 pounds on Wacha, which is why he doesn’t look dramatically different this spring. If anything, Wainwright is the pitcher in camp who looks to have packed on the most bulk muscle. With his legs fully healthy, he said he was able to lift more aggressively and he put on, well, about 20 pounds.

Because the only known fix for the chronic injury is to strengthen the muscles around it to stabilize the bone, Mulroy’s approach with Wacha was more subtle. The pair worked out together three days a week, concentrating on the muscles of his right shoulder but hitting every major group in his body. The rest of the days, he let Wacha’s body recover through less stressful workouts of Pilates or yoga. The idea wasn’t to win a bodybuilding contest on Venice Beach but rather to get the right muscles firing in the right sequence around Wacha’s shoulder, putting less stress on his scapula, allowing him to deliver the baseball with more zip.

McCarthy’s fastball velocity went from the low 90s to the mid-90s in the season after he first worked with Mulroy, and the trainer said he was eager to hear about Wacha’s early radar readings. It’s too early for that now; the radar guns will come out later. The Cardinals don’t want their pitchers overthrowing early in camp and getting injured. For now, it’s about feel.

Still, Harper appears to have moved on. At the very least, he seems to have compartmentalized. In November, he did the red-carpet thing at the American Music Awards before handing out the hardware for Best New Artist. The following month in Vegas, he rubbed elbows with the Duke hoops squad (adjusted for height, it was more like his elbows rubbing with their wrists). A week later, he tied the knot with longtime girlfriend Kayla Varner, then jetted off to Cabo for the honeymoon.

“The offseason’s a big deal for everyone,” says Turner, who was one of the guests at Harper’s wedding, “but especially for Bryce because he had such a long season filled with so much tension. He has lots of opportunities to do some really cool things, and he takes full advantage of it.”

The Bosnian Beast has coughed it up on 20 percent of the possessions he has finished with a shot

It’s not happening right now for the other half of the (mostly) dead Jurkic pairing. With Kenneth Faried rejuvenated, Nurkic is hurting for playing time. Perhaps the main reason: his hideous turnover rate.

The Bosnian Beast has coughed it up on 20 percent of the possessions he has finished with a shot, drawn foul, or turnover — a gargantuan number for a big man. Only 10 guys 6-foot-10 or taller have ever tossed away so many possessions while hoarding as large a share of offense as Nurkic.

A lot of these gaffes are just careless. Nurkic is huge, and bowls over defenders in the post — putting him at high risk for charging calls. He has slippery hands. He loves flicking fancy one-handed passes to cutters, but he often misfires or hits their legs.

He also loves hitting people. Sometimes he backs into a post-up with such force, the collision jars the ball loose.

Nurkic should be an efficient player. He’s shooting 51 percent, he’s a good passer, and he can bulldoze to the rim almost whenever he wants. But coaches won’t trust him until he buttons up.

With the Steelers, offensive line coach Mike Munchak was among those yelling “hit it, hit it” from the press box in 2014 when the second-year back wouldn’t accept the first available hole. But largely, Bell has felt the team accepts who he is. Tomlin, who was the only NFL head coach at Bell’s pro day at MSU, never tried to change his thinking. Bell is rewarding that faith with a mushrooming arsenal of cuts and wait-for-its.

“He kind of understood it’s just the way I run the ball, and they kind of just let me do my things and evolve as a, I guess, unique runner,” Bell says.