Bold Predictions for the 2018 NFL Draft Class

Bold Predictions for the 2018 NFL Draft Class

The 2018 NFL Draft has come to an end. Now that the dust has settled, let’s talk about how the first round picks will pan out.

2018’s first round picks will be graded using a scale ranging from future Hall of Famer to absolute bust. Let’s see how each team’s pick will do for them.

1. Cleveland Browns: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

Prediction: Bust

The pick that shocked the world will end up in flames. Mayfield is accurate and an electric playmaker. However, I have my concerns with him. He’s had legal issues, unsportsmanlike conduct on the field and on the sidelines, which does not bode well for the prototypical NFL quarterback. He isn’t Johnny Manziel, but he won’t be Peyton Manning, or even Joe Flacco, for that matter.

Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield.

2. New York Giants: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Prediction: Pro Bowler

This is a match made in heaven. Some suggested that the Giants should have drafted a quarterback, but when’s the last time Eli Manning had a running game? The answer: since Tiki Barber. Barkley will be an electric playmaker for the Giants and the trio of Manning, Beckham and Barkley will be quite the spectacle.

New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley.

3. New York Jets: Sam Darnold, QB, USC

Prediction: Pro Bowler

The Jets must have sprinted to get that draft card in to the commissioner. Darnold fell into their lap, and he should be a nice fit in the Big Apple. Darnold has good leadership intangibles and has great QB traits. I doubt he’ll be a Hall of Famer, but he’ll make a few Pro Bowls and lead his team to some respectable playoff runs.

New York Jets QB Sam Darnold.

4. Cleveland Browns: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

Prediction: Quality Starter

Many suspected that the Browns would have taken Bradley Chubb with the fourth pick, but they opted for local standout Denzel Ward. Personally, I like the move, since I’m not as high on Chubb as some are, and I like the idea of having more Ohio State players. Ward won’t be as good as his former teammate Marshon Lattimore, who won Defensive Rookie of the Year, but look for Ward to make some Pro Bowls in the future.

Cleveland Browns CB Denzel Ward.

5. Denver Broncos: Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State

Prediction: Quality Starter

Like I said before, I’m not as high on Chubb compared to others, but he’ll be a quality starter. It’ll be interesting to see who will start opposite Von Miller, since Shane Ray is still a solid starter. The Broncos will likely regret picking Chubb, since there will be players who were picked after who could make a great impact for their respective teams. However, I’m happy they didn’t select a quarterback.

Denver Broncos DE Bradley Chubb.

6. Indianapolis Colts: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame

Prediction: Future Hall of Famer

The Colts may have gotten the steal of the draft. Yes, Nelson is a guard, but ask any QB who has to play Aaron Donald or Fletcher Cox and they’ll tell you that guard play is important. Andrew Luck has been a human piñata since he got into the league, and his resurgence will be attributed to the additional protection.

Indianapolis Colts G Quenton Nelson.

7. Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

Prediction: Bust

Buffalo traded up with Tampa Bay to select their quarterback of the future. Allen has a cannon of an arm, but he’s very unpolished and will need to adapt to NFL defensive schemes. His football IQ is lacking and he has to play Bill Belichick twice a year. Evidently, he’ll become a bust in Buffalo.

Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen.

8. Chicago Bears: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

Prediction: Quality Starter

I’m a big fan of Smith going to the Bears. He fits Chicago’s mantra of being blue collar and tough, and he gets to join his former teammate Leonard Floyd. Smith will end up being a staple in the Bears’ defense.

Chicago Bears LB Roquan Smith.

9. San Francisco 49ers: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

Prediction: Quality Starter

San Francisco invested in Jimmy Garoppolo’s future by getting a tackle in Mike McGlinchey. Left tackle Joe Staley is old and they traded their right tackle Trent Brown to the New England Patriots. McGlinchey will start at right tackle and eventually slide over to left tackle. McGlinchey will struggle early in his career, but I see him having a Eric Fisher type career where he struggles early on, but improves as the years pass.

San Francisco 49ers OT Mike McGlinchey.

10. Arizona Cardinals: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

Prediction: Pro Bowler

The Arizona Cardinals traded with the Oakland Raiders to nab their future starting QB. Rosen is loved by some and hated by many, due to his smug behaviour. Because of this, Rosen fell to 10. The UCLA product was my favourite QB in this year’s draft, but I think his ceiling is limited. He may make a few Pro Bowls, but he won’t be a generational talent.

Arizona Cardinals QB Josh Rosen.

11. Miami Dolphins: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama

Prediction: Pro Bowler

Miami got a great player in Minkah Fitzpatrick. His outstanding work ethic and Alabama pedigree makes him a special talent. The Dolphins lack hard working, dependable players, and Fitzpatrick has the ability to be a culture changer. Because of this, he will make a few Pro Bowls in a likely successful career.

12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Vita Vea, DT, Washington

Prediction: Bust

I like Vea, but I don’t see him succeeding in Tampa Bay. The thought of him and Gerald McCoy in the middle of the defensive line is scary, but Vea will be marginalized by McCoy’s exceptional play. Hopefully this doesn’t happen, but I envision Vea being a bust.

13. Washington Redskins: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

Prediction: Quality Starter

I was not a fan of this pick, but Washington won’t be too disappointed by this pick. Payne gets to join former Alabama teammate Jonathan Allen in the Capital, but Payne won’t be a difference maker, even with a supporting cast. He’ll be a decent player, and that’s about it.

14. New Orleans Saints: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA

Prediction: Bust

The Saints traded a boat load to the Green Bay Packers in order to select Marcus Davenport, and it will end up not being worth it. Davenport tests well, but he doesn’t dominate his lower level competition as much as one would want. Davenport won’t end up being the dominant edge rusher opposite Cam Jordan that NOLA wants him to be.

15. Oakland Raiders: Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA

Prediction: Quality Starter 

Oakland shocked many draft analysts when they selected Kolton Miller. Their right tackle position hasn’t been solidified, and Donald Penn is getting closer to retirement. Miller will be a decent tackle, but Jon Gruden and Reggie McKenzie could have maximized the value of this pick more.

16. Buffalo Bills: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

Prediction: Pro Bowler

Buffalo traded up to select their next great defender in Tremaine Edmunds. His impressive tape and athletic ability will make him a Pro Bowl talent for the Bills.

17. Los Angeles Chargers: Derwin James, S, Florida State

Prediction: Pro Bowler

The Chargers were the beneficiaries of James slipping to them. His instincts and playmaking ability will make him a great safety. He learned his swagger from former Florida State teammate Jalen Ramsey, and that alone will earn him a few Pro Bowls.

18. Green Bay Packers: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

Prediction: Quality Starter

The Packers nabbed one of the best corners in this year’s draft. Alexander is a physical, ball hawking corner who’s skill set can fill a void in the Packer defense. His flashy play will help him be respected around the league, but his size will hurt him from being a Pro Bowl talent.

19. Dallas Cowboys: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State

Prediction: Quality Starter

The Dallas Cowboys have been solid at drafting in recent years, and Vander Esch shouldn’t disappoint. Some analysts believe he could be Brian Urlacher, which I vehemently disagree with, but he has that old school mentality. He won’t be a Pro Bowl level linebacker, but he’ll be a solid starter.

20. Detroit Lions: Frank Ragnow, C, Arkansas

Prediction: Quality Starter

I’ll never understand this pick, but to be fair, I’d consider it a safe pick. It’s a reach, most definitely, but Ragnow will be a quality starter in the NFL. He didn’t warrant a first round pick, and James Daniels is the better center prospect, but Matthew Stafford should be happy that he has a quality snapper now.

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Billy Price, C, Ohio State

Prediction: Quality Starter

Again, I don’t understand why these teams take average centers in the first round. Again, the Bengals and Andy Dalton will be happy to have a decent center with Price, but they could have gotten better offensive linemen at this stage of the draft. In essence, bad pick, yet still a good player.

22. Tennessee Titans: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

Prediction: Pro Bowler

The Titans’ strategy in this draft was quality over quantity. They traded up for three of their four draft picks, and it should work out for them. Rashaan Evans, their first round pick, has Pro Bowl potential and will slide right into this defense.

23. New England Patriots: Isaiah Wynn, OT, Georgia

Prediction: Quality Starter 

With Nate Solder signing with the New York Giants, the Patriots used one of their first round picks on an undersized tackle. Isaiah Wynn is a good prospect who could be a great guard, but it seems as though Bill Belichick wants to play him at tackle. His 6’2″ height is concerning for a blindside tackle, but perhaps he can make it work.

24. Carolina Panthers: D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland

Prediction: Bust

I didn’t understand the D.J. Moore hype train during the late stages of the draft. He’s a solid prospect, but he’s not a first round talent, so I expect him to be a bust. Cam Newton might be able to make him a better player, but Carolina would have been better off with a Calvin Ridley or Courtland Sutton.

25. Baltimore Ravens: Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina

Prediction: Quality Starter

The Maxx Williams experiment didn’t work out, so the Ravens got two of the top tight end prospects in Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews. Hurst is a volume catcher who can be a game changer, and Joe Flacco (or Lamar Jackson) will love to throw to him.

26. Atlanta Falcons: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

Prediction: Quality Starter

Julio Jones’ future in Atlanta is up in the air, but if he comes back and is paired up with Calvin Ridley, the league will be put on notice. Matt Ryan should be ecstatic to get Ridley who’s an excellent compliment to Jones. I don’t see him being a Pro Bowler, but he’ll be respected around the league.

27. Seattle Seahawks: Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State

Prediction: Bust

Seattle had one of the most surprising selections of the first round in drafting Rashaad Penny. Ultimately, it’ll end up not panning out for them. Penny is an all-round back, but he doesn’t warrant a first round pick and the expectations surrounding a first round running back.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Terrell Edmunds, S, Virginia Tech

Prediction: Quality Starter

Pittsburgh surprised the football world when they picked Edmunds, but he’ll end up being a good player for them. He has good instincts and a solid work ethic, and should personify the Pittsburgh Steelers well.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Taven Bryan, DT, Florida

Prediction: Bust

The Jags opted to draft another Florida product in the first round. Bryan has a lot of good physical traits, but he lacks instincts and might find himself lost in the mix in Jacksonville’s competitive defensive line.

30. Minnesota Vikings: Mike Hughes, CB, Central Florida

Prediction: Future Hall of Famer

This prediction might seem bold, but I really like this fit for Hughes. Him and Xavier Rhodes will be an exciting one, and they could have a better Legion of Boom on their hands.

31. New England Patriots: Sony Michel, RB, Georgia

Prediction: Quality Starter

New England picked two Georgia products in Isaiah Wynn and Sony Michel. Michel was highly productive at Georgia, even with Nick Chubb taking some of the carries. Michel is a great fit in New England, since they have a running back by committee approach.

32. Baltimore Ravens: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

Prediction: Pro Bowler

Few players fit their team’s mantra quite like Lamar Jackson does to the Baltimore Ravens. His electric play will make him supersede the average Joe Flacco. Eventually, I see Jackson becoming a Pro Bowl quarterback.

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The GOAT Chronicles: QB Edition

There is much debate over who the greatest QB of all time is, but the most common answer appears to be Tom Brady.  Well, since it’s that boring part of the NFL offseason, I will look at 7 QBs and their cases for and against being the greatest of all time, and then tell you in the end who I believe to be the GOAT.

Tom Brady- The Argument that he is the GOAT:

He has a 27-10 record in the playoffs.  If it wasn’t for a David Tyree helmet catch, a Wes Welker drop, and a Derek Barnett fumble recovery, we could be talking about a man with 8 Super Bowls who led a team to an undefeated season.  He has led the Patriots to an incredible 15 division titles.  One might argue that all these are team accomplishments, so how about this:  Brady led the 14-pt underdog Patriots on a game-winning drive in Super Bowl XXXVI.

John Madden said “kneel and go into overtime”.  They didn’t do that.  As you are probably aware, he led the Pats on a comeback from 25 points down in his most recent Super Bowl victory.  Brady puts everything into his game, which is why he’s still going strong entering his 40s.  He is 4th all-time in passing yards, and will likely be in the Top 3 when he retires.  He has made 12 pro bowls, is on the 2000s NFL all decade team, and will probably make the 2010s list as well.

The argument that he isn’t the GOAT:

The Pats are infamous for being involved in alleged cheating scandals.  The whole “Deflategate” saga pales in comparison to “Spygate”, where the Pats appeared to have taped many teams during the 2000s.  Many will point to the fact that Brady is a “system QB”, and that having a coach like Bill Belichick is the real reason the Pats have won so many rings.  In addition, having a dominant defense in the early 2000s Super Bowl runs certainly helped his ring collection as well.  Other than the wildcat 2008 Dolphins, and the 2009-10 Jets, Brady and the Pats have had notoriously poor competition in the division.

Peyton Manning- The Argument that he is the GOAT:

He has 71,940 passing yards, the most in NFL history.  Manning has won 5 MVP awards, also the most in NFL history.  This man practically saved the Colts franchise, a franchise that drafted QB Jeff George and DT Steve Emtman with #1 overall picks just a few years earlier (both were miserable busts).  He came back from a career threatening injury in 2012 to make the Broncos a Super Bowl contender.  In 2013, he led arguably the greatest offense in NFL History to the Super Bowl.  He passed for a league record 5,447 yards that season, and also set a record for most TDs (he had 55, the previous record was 50).

For 7 straight seasons (2003-09), he led the Colts to 12+ wins in the regular season.  He has the most 4,000 yard seasons in NFL history (14).  Manning has made it to 14 pro bowls, and was named 1st team all pro an incredible 7 times.  In comparison, Brady has been named 1st team all pro 3 times.  Nicknamed “The Sheriff” by Jon Gruden, Manning would often audible before the snap (Omaha!).  This is due to an incredibly high football IQ, as Manning was known for his countless hours of film study, which was called the “stuff of legend”.

The argument that he isn’t the GOAT:

His 14-13 playoff record (9-10 with the Colts) leaves a lot to be desired.  He had 7 one-and-done seasons with the Colts in the playoffs, practically the king of first round eliminations.  Looking back, he should’ve had three or four rings with Indy, not just one.  His contemporary competition in the AFC was of course Tom Brady.  What was his record against Brady?  A dismal 6-11 in the regular season (granted he was 3-2 against Brady in the playoffs).  Although he got to ride out into the sunset with a can of fresh Budweiser, it is well-known that Manning was carried to his 2nd Super Bowl by that Denver defense.  He threw 9 touchdowns to 17 interceptions that year, not exactly a great encore performance.

Joe Montana- The Argument that he is the GOAT:

The man is called Joe Cool for a reason.  He won 4 Super Bowls over the course of 9 seasons, and made the 80s 49ers one of the NFL’s great dynasties.  In his four Super Bowl appearances, Montana completed almost 70% of his passes for 1,142 yards and 11 TDs to no INTs.  Has there ever been a more clutch QB?  After all, Montana has had over 30 4th quarter comebacks during his career.  He is so known for leading the drive that led to “The Catch” that many people forget about his 92-yard march down the field to help the Niners win Super Bowl XXIII.

He passed for 273 touchdowns to 139 interceptions, during an era where NFL rules were a lot less nice to QBs.  In comparison, the 70s dynasty leader Terry Bradshaw had 212 touchdowns to 210 interceptions in his career.  He won 3 MVPs, and was 3 times a 1st team All Pro in an era with some great QBs (Marino, Elway, Kelly…)  Not to mention, he competed in a stacked NFC with the Giants, Redskins, and Bears all being great teams in the 80s.  And Montana still made it to four Super Bowls.

The argument that he isn’t the GOAT:

What QB has exactly 5,682 more passing yards in his career than Montana?  Take a guess.  If you guessed journeyman QB Vinny Testaverde, you’re correct!  And if you thought Brady was a system QB, Montana was fortunate enough to have the genius who created the revolutionary West Coast offense as his head coach.  People will also point out that Montana played during the pre-salary cap era.  Having players like Jerry Rice and Ronnie Lott on your team for most of your career sure does help.  What also helped was his #1 receiver Jerry Rice using stickum to become Montana’s #1 target.

Johnny Unitas- The Argument that he is the GOAT:

A man that is often forgotten in the GOAT debate, Johnny Unitas doesn’t get the credit he deserves for revolutionizing the QB position.  In an era where teams would run the ball much more than they’d pass it, Unitas threw for at least 1 TD pass in 47 consecutive games.  He held that record for over 50 years until Drew Brees broke it (we’ll get to him later).  Unitas led the NFL’s first “two minute drill” in the 1958 NFL Championship, allowing the Colts to tie the game and send it to OT.  In this overtime game, he led the Colts on yet another drive to win what is often considered the greatest football game ever played.

It truly led to a surge in popularity for the NFL, and Unitas is the reason why.  The QB known as “The Golden Arm” threw for 290 TDs to 253 INTs.  In comparison, here are some stats from other hall of fame QBs of his era.  Joe Namath: 173 TDs to 220 INTs.  George Blanda: 236 TDs to 277 INTs.  Bobby Layne: 196 TDs to 243 INTs.  Have I made my point?  Unitas was in a league of his own during his career, and his 3 MVPs and 5 first team All Pro awards are a testament to that.

The argument that he isn’t the GOAT:

Simply put, what competition did he have?  There was less than 15 teams in the NFL for much of his career.  QBs like Brady and Montana were in a league with many more teams, and won more championships anyway.  While the famous 1958 NFL Championship game was the first NFL game to be nationally televised, it just doesn’t hold the same weight as playing in a Super Bowl.  If you thought Peyton Manning had a rocky end to his career, look at what Unitas did.  In the 1971 AFC Championship, he threw 3 picks in a 21-0 Colts loss.  He then went on to to awkwardly end his career with the Chargers in 1973.  During his last 6 seasons, he passed for 38 TDs to 64 INTs.

Drew Brees- The Argument that he is the GOAT:

A 5,000 yard passing season has happened 9 times in NFL history.  Only one QB has had such a season more than once.  That’s Drew Brees, and he’s done it FIVE times!  That should certainly throw him into the GOAT debate.  One could argue that Brees playing in only 11 playoff games is a big reason why he shouldn’t be thrown in the GOAT debate, but his defense clearly has let him down in many seasons.  Give Drew Brees a solid defense, and he’ll give you a shot at a Super Bowl (he proved that in 2009).

He broke Unitas’s legendary record for most consecutive games with a TD pass, having tossed a TD in an incredible 54 straight games.  The greatest Saint of all time is 3rd all time in passing yards, and can certainly close in at #1 if he plays 2 more seasons.  He overcame a horrible shoulder injury to become the Saints franchise QB that essentially kept them in New Orleans.  The Saints had a losing culture before Brees arrived, and had just suffered from Hurricane Katrina.  He led New Orleans to the NFC Championship the year he got there, and of course a few years later they won the Lombardi trophy.  Brees has made it to 10 pro bowls and has led the NFL in passing yards 7 times.  His 478 TD to 224 INT ratio is simply incredible.

The argument that he isn’t the GOAT:

For making the postseason only 7 times in his NFL career (once in San Diego), Brees will always seem to be overshadowed by Manning and Brady.  Despite his collection of 5,000 yard seasons, Brees has never won an NFL MVP award.  That’s got to be pretty crushing if you want to make a case that you’re the GOAT.  Brees has only been named first team All Pro once in his career.  Brees has very few signature games, he mostly just impresses you with stats.  The GOAT of a sport should have more memorable moments than Brees has had.  However, with the way the Saints are playing now, Brees might be able to lead another Super Bowl run.

Dan Marino- The Argument that he is the GOAT:

You have to stretch a bit to consider Marino as the GOAT, but in 1984 he had by far the greatest season the NFL had seen at the QB position at the time.  He passed for 5,084 yards, a record that stood for almost 30 years (Drew Brees broke the record, of course).  Marino essentially carried the Phins to playoff contention, as he didn’t have that great of a supporting cast throughout his career.  Not to mention, he played in a tough AFC East where the Bills and occasionally the Pats were good during his playing time.

It’s been argued that Marino in his prime would dominate in today’s NFL, and that’s pretty hard to disagree with.  When teams went up against Marino, they knew the Dolphins would primarily pass the ball… and they couldn’t stop him anyway.  His release was very quick and he had great pocket awareness, Marino was simply talented.  He is 5th all time in passing yards at 61,361, by far the most of the 80s/90s QB era (John Elway would be next with almost 10,000 less yards).  Marino led the NFL in passing yards in 5 seasons, a feat Joe Montana never accomplished once.

The argument that he isn’t the GOAT:

When you think about Marino, you think about what could’ve been.  This man ended his NFL career with a 62-7 loss to the Jaguars in the playoffs.  Anyway, Marino will forever be known for not winning the big one.  In his lone Super Bowl appearance, he threw 2 interceptions.  This was of course from his legendary 1984 season, but he never made it back to the big game.  Marino was 8-10 in the playoffs, which just isn’t clutch enough to be considered a top GOAT contender.

Aaron Rodgers- The Argument that he is the GOAT:

Okay, so you really have to stretch to consider Rodgers the GOAT.  Most people who do I would presume live in Wisconsin.  However, his career 104.1 passer rating is an NFL record among qualifying QBs.  So is his 4.13:1 TD to INT ratio (he’s thrown for 310 TDs and 75 INTs… just think about that).  From 2014-16, he threw for 109 TDs to 20 INTs, so it’s obvious he’s only getting better as his career progresses.

He’s a 2 time NFL MVP, and is a 6-time Pro Bowler (he probably would’ve made the Pro Bowl in 2013 and this year if it wasn’t for his injuries).  From 2009 onwards, he has led the Pack to 8 straight playoff appearances including 5 division titles.  Rodgers has incredible pocket presence, and he has become famous for his ability to throw the Hail Mary.  He won Super Bowl XLV, and might just have more trophies under his belt if his defense would stop choking in the playoffs.

The argument that he isn’t the GOAT:

He’s only 33 years old and still has a lot more to prove in the NFL.  He still has less passing yards than QBs like Kerry Collins, Drew Bledsoe, and Vinny Testaverde.  As long as Rodgers stays healthy in the upcoming seasons, to me he has a legitimate shot at becoming the GOAT.

So, who is the GOAT?

To me it’s Tom Brady.  If you asked me this question a few years ago, I probably would’ve said Peyton Manning.  However, Brady is still going strong at 40 and appears to have a legitimate shot at breaking all of Peyton’s passing yards and touchdown records, while also having far more championships than Peyton.  You can bring up the cheating scandals all you want, but to me every team in the NFL cheats to some degree.  Brady does everything he can to make sure he can still play football in prime form, to the point where his age 39 season was probably his best (14:1 TD to INT ratio!)

The Top 10 QBs of All Time (in my opinion)

1.) Tom Brady

2.) Peyton Manning

3.) Joe Montana

4.) Johnny Unitas

5.) Drew Brees

6.) Dan Marino

7.) Aaron Rodgers

8.) Otto Graham

9.) John Elway

10.) Brett Favre

The Raptors Need to Blow it Up

Now that the Cleveland Cavaliers have finished off Toronto in the Eastern Semis, the front office has some thinking to do regarding the team’s future. Here’s 3 reasons why the Raptors should flip their situation in the offseason:

 

 

 

 

 1. Lack of a Real Superstar:

Derozan and Lowry on the bench.

Photo Credit/newsok.com

 

Despite DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry both making All-Star teams in their time with the Raptors, neither have ever fully catapulted themselves to superstardom for an extended period of time. The two thrive in the regular season but don’t have the juice to get it done in the postseason, year in and year out. Lowry is also now 32 years old and after a down year in terms of numbers could be looking at a shortened future as a top point guard in the league. For DeRozan, after an awful 8 point outing and late game benching in game 3 along with another poor effort on Monday, it’s even more possible the team looks to part ways with him. They’ve had years to fix their playoff woes and have yet to find a stride in the spring.

 

 

 

2. O.G. Anunoby:

Anunoby driving to the rim.

Photo Credit/raptorshq.com

 

After emerging as one of the steals of the NBA Draft during the regular season, Anunoby was much better than the box score showed in this year’s playoffs. His insane length on the defensive end combined with his offensive athleticism and surprising shooting ability makes him the most exciting young player on Toronto’s team. He’s not ready to take on a role as a lead scorer for a team but he should be a bigger part of the offense next season as the coaching staff expands his game over the summer. Taking on the task of being LeBron James’ primary defender as a rookie in the playoffs certainly will help develop him as a defender and get him ready for his sophomore year. He’s not a sure thing but he has the potential to be a Kawhi-like forward. Unlike most teams, Toronto can trade their lead guys and still have superstar talent on their team.

 

 

 

 

3. The Rise of Philly and Boston 

Tatum dunking on Embiid.

Photo Credit/cleveland.com

 

It’s clearer now than ever that Philadelphia and Boston are on the come up in the East with multiple superstars on each team. This is just another reason Toronto has to think practically about their future. If these two teams haven’t already surpassed the Raptors in talent, they’ll be there in no time with both being contenders in the offseason with already elite teams. It’s likely we see the C’s and Sixers as the top two seeds in the East next season even if the Raptors don’t clean house. This would put Toronto into 3rd in their division at best and could begin their downfall to total mediocrity, which is exactly where you don’t want to be as a franchise. The Raptors should trade starters in the summer, experiment with young players as go-to guys next year, and build through the draft before delving into the middle of the pack in the East.