can’t shoot like the best
The massive hole on the left side of Cleveland's offensive line may be shrinking.
Needing to find a replacement at tackle following the retirement of perennial Pro Bowler Joe Thomas Ian Thomas Jersey Panthers , the Browns used the first pick in the second round of the NFL draft Friday night on Nevada's Austin Corbett, a walk-on who turned into a four-year college starter and is versatile enough to play three positions.
The 307-pounder close friends with Browns guard Joel Bitonio, who played alongside Thomas for several years and told Corbett about the person and player he could replace.
"As far as it goes in being 'the next Joe Thomas,' that is just a rare, rare human there," Corbett said. "If I can learn from him and follow in his footsteps, that's just amazing."
Two picks after getting Corbett, the Browns used the No. 35 overall selection on bruising Georgia running back Nick Chubb, who ran for 1,345 yards last season, two years after suffering a knee injury.
The pick was announced by Browns legend Jim Brown, the franchise's all-time leading rusher.
"I have no questions about this guy," said vice president of player personnel Alonzo Highsmith, who compared Chubb to former All-Pro Jamal Lewis. "Just give him the ball."
The Browns traded their third second-round pick, No. 64 overall, to Indianapolis for the No. 67 pick and took Miami defensive end Chad Thomas. Cleveland also received a sixth-round pick from the Colts.
If football doesn't pan out Cheap Customized Minnesota Vikings Jerseys , Thomas has a music career to fall back on. He plays nine instruments and has produced for hip-hop artists, including Rick Ross.
For the Browns, the first two days have provided a chance to bolster a roster that failed to produce a win last season. They've been bold, taking quarterback Baker Mayfield with the No. 1 pick, and feel much better about their future.
"The main thing is that we have improved," said assistant general manager Eliot Wolf. "You set out to improve every single day. We feel like we have done that. Obviously, if we go out and do not win a game, then none of this means anything. Anyone can win in March or April."
As the league's lowest scoring team last season, the Browns needed playmakers. Chubb gives them another and he joins a running back group that includes free-agent signee Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson, Cleveland's best offensive player last season.
At 227 pounds, Chubb can run inside and he's quick enough to turn the corner for a big gain. He scored 15 touchdowns last season finished his career with 4,769 yards, second in SEC history to Herschel Walker.
"When you play running back in the SEC, you have to be able to create between the tackles with your feet and you have to be able to play a physical style of football, and Nick Chubb exemplifies all of that in his running style," Highsmith said. "Not only is he a great football player Cheap Michael Dickson Jersey , he's a tremendous person, tremendous individual, tremendous leader and he exemplifies what we're trying to build here in Cleveland."
Corbett fits that mold as well.
He was undersized when enrolling at Nevada, but inspired by his brother who played at San Diego State, he worked his way into getting a scholarship and eventually drafted by the Browns.
"No D-I program wants a 240-pound offensive lineman. My brother at the time was playing at San Diego State," he said. "He was on scholarship so he kind of set the bar for me. If he can play D-I, then so can I.
"Then I just got the opportunity to walk on at the local college here at Nevada. That was the only way I could play D-I. Financially, that was the only way so it made sense for us. It is just a difference in how you have to go about yourself when you are a walk-on."
The Browns plan to move right tackle Shon Coleman to the left side, but he could be challenged for the starting job by Corbett.
"If Austin is able to be the left tackle, it would be great," Wolf said.
The 6-foot-5, 275-pound Thomas started for two seasons with the Hurricanes, recording 10 sacks.
Andrew Berry, another of the team's player personnel vice presidents, feels Thomas can have an immediate impact as a rookie.
"We thought he was one of the most physical defensive linemen in the draft," Berry said. "We think he's a very talented Authentic D.J. Fluker Jersey , strong, athletic defensive lineman who can play multiple spots along our front. He is a player when we talk about setting the edge or keeping contained in the run-game, he can really put on a clinic tape of being able to do that at one of the end spots.
"He is just a strong, long, physical guy that uses his hands well."
The Philadelphia 76ers have morphed from laughingstock to legitimate Eastern Conference contender in just two seasons.
But just how far can The Process take them?
– Was a 52-win season that ended with a five-game loss to the Boston Celtics in the conference semis just part of the learning curve on the way toward NBA titles?
– Or are the Sixers destined to become a Toronto/Indiana-type of franchise where strong regular seasons end up with postseason disappointment and championships?
Those are suddenly fun problems for a team to have only two years removed from a 10-win season and serious doubts about the future of a rebuilding plan both condemned and praised by zealots on both sides. Joel Embiid (22.9 points, 11 rebounds) made his first All-Star team and seemed worth every bit of the $148 million, five-year extension he signed before the season. Ben Simmons was a regular triple-double threat and emerged as a favorite to win rookie of the year. Those two should anchor Philly’s run for the next decade, a Russell Westbrook/Kevin Durant tandem of sorts that should make them playoff regulars until they are in their 30s.
Yes, there was a 16-game winning streak to end the regular season, a first-round playoff series win over Miami and so much hoopla over rapper Meek Mill that it seemed like the Sixers had the ingredients to throw a parade this season. There are serious questions ahead about who will team with Embiid and Simmons to form a championship core – and plenty of room to grow for both franchise stars.
”If we all sat in that room when we met back in September, and said we’re going to finish third in the Eastern conference, we’re going to lose in the semifinals of the Eastern Conference, there’s a strong chance we all would have been hugging each other,” coach Brett Brown said. ”The initial goal was to make the playoffs. The final piece is, if we’re going to do anything of any significance.”
They did, which makes this offseason about as key as any in recent 76ers history for team president Bryan Colangelo.
Here’s what else to know about the 76ers:
No doubt about it Dallas Goedert Color Rush Jersey , the Sixers got outplayed by Boston in the playoffs – and last year’s draft. It was a gut-punch for every Sixers fan who watched Jayson Tatum torch the Sixers while Markelle Fultz rode the bench. The Sixers, of course, swapped the No. 3 pick to Boston (who took Tatum) for the No. 1 pick (Fultz).
It’s too early to call a 19-year-old No. 1 pick a bust (right? … right?) but Fultz is certainly trending that way after a pitiful rookie year derailed by a mysterious shoulder injury, a broken shot and confidence issues. He played the first four games, missed 68 games because of injury, then was persona non grata in the postseason.
Simmons-Embiid-Fultz were expected to form a trio of stars that would lead the Sixers to the top. Fultz’s ignominious first year instead made him more of a mystery than when the Sixers selected him out of Washington.
Fultz said it hasn’t been discussed if he’ll play summer league.
JJ Redick said he enjoyed his season with the Sixers about as much as any over his 12-year career.
Redick averaged 17.1 points and shot 42 percent from 3-point range on a $23 million, one-year deal.
Will he return?
Redick would like to return but it’s doubtful the Sixers would offer him that kind of cash, even on a shortened deal.
The Sixers are flush with cash to go on a spending spree. The sometimes-forgotten part of The Process wasn’t just jettisoning players to lose and gobble draft picks. It was clearing money on the salary cap to put them in position to sign major free agents. The Sixers have $70 in committed salary next year, leaving them with about $31 million to play with this summer to make a run at LeBron James or Paul George or overpay a lower-tiered free agent.
SPEAKING OF LEBRON
James is a mentor of Simmons and their friendship could be a factor in the Cleveland star’s defection to Philly. Or not. Who knows what James will do this summer, and he could still have another month of basketball left to play. One Pennsylvania company paid for three billboards in Ohio urging James to sign with the 76ers this summer. James, who famously left Cleveland in 2010 and signed with the Miami Heat, could bolt again if he feels the Cavs and 76ers are both trending in different directions.
THE BIG 3-0
Simmons can drive the lane as well any guard in the league. He sure can’t shoot like the best, though.
Simmons failed to make a 3-pointer this season (on 11 attempts) and Fultz didn’t make one either in just 14 games. Simmons attempted just one 3 in the postseason.
He’ll have to establish some sort of long-range jumper to become a serious all-around threat in the NBA.
”It just takes time, shooting the ball,” Simmons said. ”It’s one of those things where you want to improve your game and get better.”