All posts by Caleb Hixon

Life long Sooner fan and former resident of Norman, OK. I love sports, music and Jesus. My dream would to one day be Ron Burgundy.

A New Era In College Football

College Game Day kicked off the 2014-15 season in one of America's greatest cities: Fort Worth. With all the buzz and excitement that filled Sundance Square there was a certain air of confidence that permeated from each and every fan. The dog days of summer are over! Come out of your sports hibernation! Come and see the light! The September air has never felt so fresh, the sound of Lee Corso has never rung so true, even the idiocy that is David Pollack is welcome! Because it all means one thing: Football's back, baby!

Continue reading A New Era In College Football

This season the excitement goes beyond the renewed hope that this is the year for your team, it goes beyond the new uniform combinations of Oregon and beyond the fact that we have something other than baseball to watch. This year college football introduces an actual playoff system. Gone is the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) and long live the days of the College Football Playoff (CFB Playoff)! 

Sure the CFB Playoff has it's haters, but don't for a second think that I am one of those. I'm all for it! Here's why I love the CFB Playoff: progress. Is it a perfect system? Absolutely not! But is it better than the BCS? By the beard of Zues, YES! The BCS year after year failed college football. How can you have a landscape with so many teams that will never play each other and expect to chose the best two? Computer algorithms and writers voting just didn't cut it. Each year you had one, two or three teams that could have made a legitimate case for being in the national championship game. Yet, each year, as we all know since Auburn's grievances in 2004, were left out. 

Does the CFB Playoff eliminate the fact that someone's going to get left out? Nope. But it sure does minimize the chances of an actual contender not getting a shot to play it's way into the championship game. Again, I don't think this is a perfect system, it's far from it. But what I do love is the fact that college football is taking steps in the right direction. 

Yes, you can make the argument that a playoff system takes away from what makes college football "great" in your opinion, but I would disagree. By allowing a playoff system you are not negating the fact that every game still matters. Playing a 12 game schedule still means that one loss could be the end of the road for your team. Does it guarantee that? No, but neither did it when we had the BCS. You could still lose one game and get in the national championship game, it happened quite often. But what it does is give you a chance to prove if that one loss was a fluke or not. It gives more conferences a chance to prove their worth instead of just falling into this SEC bias we've found ourselves in for nearly a decade. Each game still matters because there can still be four teams that all go undefeated and your one loss team not get in. 

Again, we haven't arrived just yet with the perfect playoff system. Eventually they're going to have to expand it. How far they should expand it is the real question though. Do we need something reminiscent of what college basketball has? Let's not be silly. Well then what about a twelve team playoff like the NFL has? I don't know if that is the best option for college football. It works well for the pros but college is a different animal.

To me, an eight team playoff would be juuuuust right. This way you give the best teams from all over the country a chance to prove themselves. Because college football has so many different teams and conferences there needs to be a way to minimize doubt. In my mind, this would do it. Yea you're going to get that ninth ranked team upset because they got left out, but I'm willing to sacrifice that more than I would the fifth ranked team. Here's my logic, the chances that a fifth ranked team could win it all is far greater than the ninth. I know that you could just ask, "Duh Caleb, but where does it stop?" At some point you just gotta treat it like a Band-Aid and rip it off. 

I will say this, the new trophy they designed for the championship is lame. It's the most basic, ugly excuse of a trophy they could have come up with. I don't know who was in charge of that, but they dropped the ball. Hard. 

All in all though, we are witnessing a great new era in college football. The work's not done yet, but we're on our way. 


The Decision 2.0

In this day-and-age with the 24-hour, social media crazed, media cycle, I know that LeBron's "decision" is already old news. And I'm certain you've already read dozens of articles on it by now. Chances are you may even be sick of hearing about it. But my guess is you're likely not reading The Crimson Slate for breaking news. My job isn't to break the news, but comment on it. So with that in mind, I'll offer up my thoughts on The Decision 2.0, and try to go a little deeper with what the Cavs need to do next. 

Continue reading The Decision 2.0

"Today, we spell redemption [L-E-B-]R-O-N." -Wes Mantooth

King James comes home and Skylar Grey cashes in on the licensing rights to her "Coming Home" song. Going into the NBA offseason I knew that it was possible that LeBron could opt-out of his contract and sign somewhere else. And I knew that the Cavs had been basically structuring their entire organization with the hopes of landing 'Bron in this years off-season. But I never really thought it would happen.

After all, LeBron had been to four straight finals with the Heat, winning two of those four! How could you look at that type of success and objectively think, "Nah, that's not enough." And then there was the extremely messy break-up between King James and Cleveland. How could he ever go back to a city that seemingly hated him? Especially with an owner who would so publicly express his disdain for LeBron leaving the Cavs. What in the world would make someone want to go back to a city that burned his jersey?? 

Redemption. That's what. LeBron has won multiple championships in Miami, but has been haunted by the memory of Cleveland. Of the "decision." He has been haunted by the fact that he left his home town in such a catastrophic way that he couldn't help but feel compelled to come back. And that's what he did. 

But can it really work? Can LeBron truly bring glory to his home town franchise? Can he turn Cleveland into a championship town? Can he take a franchise that has been laughable before and after him? Will he be able to erase the painful memories of him leaving?

Probably. There's a book that says that "love covers a multitude of sins." Well, in sports, winning does as well. If LeBron wins and can bring a championship to Cleveland he will be nothing short of a hero. Forever enshrined in Cleveland glory. He would essentially go from a mercenary villain that he was portrayed as in Miami, to a home town hero. This is now what LeBron is chasing. Sure he's still after being the greatest of all time. Yes he wants to surpass MJ. But instead of doing that simply through winning championships, he now attempts it by taking a franchise out of the ashes and making them into champions. 

But for him to do this, he likely will need a little bit more help than what he has right now in Cleveland. If D-Wade and Chris Bosh aren't a good enough supporting cast to win it all, I can't imagine Kyrie and an unproven Wiggins will be. Could Andrew Wiggins turn into a stud in a few years? Sure! Especially if he's playing beside LeBron. But the question is if LeBron is ok with not making the finals for the next two years? I know he said he's willing to be patient in his letter on, but if there's an opportunity to win now, don't you think he'd want to jump on it? I sure do. And that opportunity is Love. Not the emotion, or feeling or verb love. But Kevin Love.

Look, I know this angle is nothing new. I'm not claiming to be some ESPN NBA analyst citing some "source" I have, but rather simply as a fan. Observing what could be possible and what would be awesome to watch. Kevin Love would pair up perfectly with LeBron. Let's face it, Kyrie is a younger, better D-Wade and Love is a younger, better and more all-around player than Bosh has ever been. With as much success as LeBron had in Miami with this formula, why wouldn't he try and replicate it with better pieces? He'd be crazy not to! LeBron, Kyrie and Love. I wouldn't even want my Spurs to face that in the finals. No way!

Reportedly, though, the one thing that is holding up this trade from getting done is the Cavaliers number one pick, Andrew Wiggins. The Timberwolves want him and the Cavs don't want to let him go. So you mean to tell me that if you're Dan Gilbert (the owner of the Cavs) that you aren't going to trade a rookie for a guy who averaged 27 points and 12 rebounds last season? WHAT?! Are you on crack?!!! Kevin Love is a double-double machine! And Andrew Wiggins has proven nothing! Does he have unlimited potential? Maybe. But are you willing to gamble on someone's potential over another's proven production? Not me, homie. I'm going to take that production all day every day. 

Whatever happens from here on out in Cleveland is up to fate to decide. What we do know is that LeBron's finally doing things the right way again. Will he succeed? Will he be able to bring Cleveland a championship? Who knows. One thing is for sure though, it's going to be fun to watch. 

USMNT World Cup Thoughts

Look, I get it. Most Americans couldn't care less about soccer for 3 years and 8 months, but when the World Cup rolls around people might actually pay attention. Being an avid soccer fan myself and a huge supporter of the US Men's National Team (USMNT), I can't get enough of the World Cup. I've been completely ineffective at work these last few weeks and have done everything in my power to watch as many games as possible. So I thought it would be appropriate to write up something on how the USMNT has done thus far and you might actually care. After all, this is the United Sates Men's National Team. What kind of American are you if you don't support your national team?! Have I guilted you into caring yet?

Continue reading USMNT World Cup Thoughts

The Group of Death

This World Cup the Americans found themselves staring face-to-face with the "Group of Death." This is a term given to a group of the World Cup in which typically is the most difficult group deemed by the media. With Germany, Portugal and Ghana in our group we were the undisputed Group of Death. Germany and Portugal are both top 5 teams in the world and Ghana had been the team to knock the US out of the World Cup the last two cycles. Things were not looking promising for the Yanks going into the World Cup, but rather than lay down and let the big dogs run over us the USMNT channeled the chant from the American Outlaws, "I believe that we will win!!"

And that's what they did in their first match. Win. Beating Ghana 2-1 on an amazing set piece header from John Brooks in the 83rd minute the USMNT put the demons of World Cup past firmly behind them. Despite a sloppy performance when the final whistle blew, we walked away with a victory and three points. Setting the stage for a showdown against a beat up Portugal team who would be missing two of their best players due to a red card and an injury. Even still, they're a top five team in the world rankings with arguably the best player in the world right now in Cristiano Ronaldo. Nothing was going to be handed to the USMNT.

After a weeks worth of media hype, Sunday finally came and with it the hope of a nation getting behind their soccer team in efforts to will us out of the Group of Death. Then five minutes into the match we gift wrap Portugal a goal and the doubts begin to rain in. How could we compete with a top five team? Are the flood gates going to open now for the Portuguese side? The US will never be able to hang with the top dogs of soccer. But what transpired in the coming minutes seemingly quieted those fears. The USMNT actually started taking Portugal to task a little bit. They began to battle back from an unfortunate goal and started to dominate the time of possession. Then their offense began to get going. By half the score line was still 1-0, but somehow I couldn't help but find myself filled with hope. We had taken more shots at half time then we did the entire game against Ghana. Could we put something together in the second half and actually tie this thing up? Take me back to Obama's 2008 campaign because YES WE CAN!

Jermaine Jones from outside the box freezes the keeper with a brilliant strike and levels the score at 1-1! Wow! The excitement in our house was through the roof. But that goal was no fluke either because the USMNT kept pressing. My family thought that with the score being tied Portugal would wake up and start playing hard again, but what happened next sent us into a frenzy. Clint Dempsey found himself in the right place at the right time and just like that, with approximately 15 minutes left, the US was beating Portugal 2-1. 

All of the sudden the conversation was no longer about getting out of the game with a tie, but advancing to the knock-out rounds with a victory! We were playing so well, and against Portugal! The minutes continued to pass by and our defense was actually playing extremely well, negating everything that Portugal tried. Even containing the best player in the world, Ronaldo, albeit that he likely wasn't 100% but no matter! The 90th minute arrived and we're starting to prepare for celebration. Five more minutes of stoppage time and victory is ours! The defense continues to hold, we even look like we're putting together a little offense when the 94th minute arrived and the ball fell into Ronaldo's feet with room to work on the right side. Our defense caught in transition, Ronaldo sent a beautiful cross inside the box that found the head of Varela who buried the shot along with our dreams. And just like that, the match is over. The latest goal in World Cup history. 

Had you told me going into the Portugal game that we would walk away with a tie I would have been elated. But the way it happened has since made me feel a little queasy. I keep telling myself that a tie is a great thing for us and puts us into the position to move out of the Group of Death. But then I keep remembering those twenty-or-so minutes when it seemed as if we were going to do the impossible and beat Portugal. The whole match agreed with the outcome. We had out played Portugal and deserved the win. It was ours for the taking. But then it was snatched out of our hands by a simple lapse of defensive hustle. I think I'm going to vomit.

This one hurt. Almost worse than a loss. And I absolutely hate to lose. If you ask me if I either love to win or hate to lose my answer every time is I hate to lose. But this draw, while it still was a positive for the USMNT, has been eating at me for the last 24 hours. 

Even still, with all things considered, we're in a position to move on. It's time to move past the draw and look to the positives. Maybe this article with act as a form of catharsis. If we can hang with a beat up Portugal side and if Germany can tie Ghana then who knows what can happen this Thursday. Yes I know that Germany is maybe the best team in this whole tournament, but if Ghana can pull off a tie then why can't we? Maybe Germany underestimated Ghana which lead to their tie, but I'm going to bet that Jurgern Klinsmann is telling the USMNT that we can hang with Germany. And honestly, after watching the Portugal match, maybe we can! No, you know what, WE CAN! Why not us? Why not now? Our guys believe in themselves and so do I. 

Whatever happens this Thursday I am going to be proud of our guys. We were given little to no chance in advances out of the group stage and here we sit going into the last game of group play with a great shot at making it out. If we don't advance to the knock-out round will I be disappointed? Of course. But I'm not going to consider it a failure at all because what I've seen thus far in the World Cup has given me hope that we can compete with just about anyone. If we get smoked by Germany and end up losing by 5, big deal? We aren't expected to be able to play with them yet. But we're on our way. We have some young talent that in four years could take us to the next level. Does that help right now? No, but it ought to give us hope. Our team is finally headed in the right direction and maybe for once we can elevate our game to not just be an after thought on the world stage but rather a formidable foe. 

I'm interested to see how the Germany games goes. And you know what? I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN!!! 

NBA Finals Thoughts and Musings

I'm doing it. I'm lifting the cone of silence The Crimson Slate has been in with the latter half of the NBA playoffs.

Why? Because history is on the line. And because these finals are the last piece of real sports (outside of the World Cup which most of you don't care about) that I can write about until football starts back up. Yes, I know this is The Crimson Slate, an Oklahoma centric sports blog. And yes, I know that the beloved Thunder are not part of the finals. But I'm hoping you can put that aside for the moment and enjoy what is shaping up to be a pretty spectacular NBA finals.

Here are just some general thoughts and comments on the finals thus far.

Continue reading NBA Finals Thoughts and Musings

As of right now the San Antonio Spurs are up two games to one against the Miami Heat. A familiar story line if you recall last years finals. One exception, which must be noted, is the format of the series. Last year the finals were a 2-3-2 format where the Heat played 2 games on their home court, then 3 games in San Antonio, and 2 games to finish out the series at home. This year, the format is 2-2-1-1-1 with the Spurs having home court advantage. A subtle difference, yes, but one that could make a notable impact. Instead of either team being able to go back home for the final 2 games of the series, they both could potentially have an opportunity to close it out on their home floor. 

Furthermore, in the NBA finals, the team with a 2-1 lead go on to win the series 83.6% of the time. With that being said, if you remember last year the Spurs were up 2-1 only to be one of the nine teams ever to lose a series after leading 2-1. 

The first three games of this series have been nothing but good television, though. Game one you've got the drama of the air conditioning "coincidentally" going out in the Spurs arena. Look, I know it's San Antonio, but when was the last time you were in any facility that the AC just decided to stop working? Subsequently LeBron James cramps up in the fourth quarter and the media jumps all over him. The Spurs go on to win the first game and the slogan, "I'm from Texas, I can stand the heat" was born and cheesy t-shirts were made

But then the Heat come back in game two and pull of an impressive victory in San Antonio. The media machine starts to over react, per usual, and the conversation of just how many rings will LeBron win in his career starts up. People go from calling LeBron a "quitter" and questioning if he pulled himself out in game one, to conceding his third straight NBA championship after game two. And the series was tied 1-1! 

Side note, for the reader who is currently trying to pin me into either the LeBron hater's club or lover's club. Stop. I don't fit in either. I appreciate the dude for what he is, the greatest player of this generation. Do I love him? Not really. Do I own a jersey of his like one of my fellow co-writers? Nope (sorry, cheap shot). Do I despise the guy and want him to fail at all cost? No! I'm just trying to appreciate getting to watch one of the greatest basketball players ever in the prime of his career. Now I'm sure every LeBron hater will label me a lover and vice versa. Whatever. 

Back to basketball. Game three rolls around and I have no clue what to expect. The Heat looked like the two time reigning champions that they are and the Spurs gave up a game at home. Honestly, I expected the Heat to take care of business in Miami, but then the most impressive half of NBA finals basketball ever played (in my opinion) occurred. The Spurs shoot nearly 90% from the field and scored 71 points in the first half! Led by Kawai Leonard's aggressive play and up by 25 points at half, the Spurs never looked back and emphatically took back a game in Miami. Despite the Heat's best efforts, and even closing the gap to 7 at one point in the third quarter, the Spurs looked like a championship team. 

Now I'm at a point in the series where I just don't know what to expect. Who knows how game one would have turned out if LeBron hadn't cramped up. Then the Heat proved that they weren't going to lie down in game two making me think that they might just take over the series. Now the Spurs have come in to hostile territory and had arguably their best game of the playoffs! I feel like I'm watching old school Chuck Liddell vs Wanderlei Silva just throwing bombs at each other with no idea who's gonna get knocked out first! 

Listen, love or hate either of these teams (or hate both for that matter), this series has been fun to watch. And however it shapes up, history is going to be made. Either the Spurs cast their bid for one of the greatest dynasties in the history of basketball or LeBron joins the mythical three-peat club all while bolstering his legacy. Would it be nice if this were Thunder vs Heat? Yea of course! But let's not let our sour grapes keep us from appreciating some really amazing basketball. Is it easier for me to say that because I grew up a Spurs fan? Sure. But go ahead and ask anyone who knew me in Norman who I was rooting for in 2012 when the Thunder beat my Spurs to play in the Finals. Yep, the Thunder. 

NFL Draft: Top 10 Preview

With the Super Bowl behind us, the NFL Draft is the highlight of most football fans off-season. Yes, the NBA playoffs are upon us and baseball season is in full swing (pun intended), but for NFL news, there's no such thing as an "off-season." The Draft is only a week away and I don't know about you, but I can't wait!

No, my name is not Todd McShay or Mel Kiper, Jr, but as your resident pseudo-expert I feel as if I would be doing you, and this great country, a disservice if I didn't offer up my thoughts on who will go where in this year's draft. This preview is not the picks that I would necessarily make, but what I think will happen. If you're unfamiliar with any of these players, just click on their name to view their highlight film.

With that being said, we welcome in Blake Mills to be the Mel Kiper to my Todd McShay (because I'm better looking, obviously). We will list each selection, showing you Blake's pick and my pick. According to an Adam Schefter tweet, no one can possibly accurately predict the first round of the draft. Well Mr. Schefter, prepare to have your pants blown off… for ten picks.

"With the Number 1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans select…"

Continue reading NFL Draft: Top 10 Preview

No. 1  Houston Texans:

BlakeJadeveon Clowney (DE – South Carolina) 
The Texans will have a nasty front with Clowney pairing up with JJ Watt. Clowney has the skills the NFL hasn’t seen, since some say, Reggie White. If, and I mean, IF, Clowney puts forth the effort, he will be a bad man for years to come. No one will run against Houston for a long while. No brainer pick, to me.

CalebJadeveon Clowney (DE – South Carolina) 
​This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. If the Texans hold on to their Number 1 overall pick I think the clear option here is Clowney. The Texans have a glaring need at QB, everyone knows that, but the problem is there just isn't a QB in the draft worth taking with the first pick. Because of this, I think there is a very real possibility they could shop this pick around and sell it to the highest bidder only to select another QB later in the first round. But if the Texans hold on to this pick they'll end up with an elite-level talent in Jadeveon Clowney. Come on, think about it. Clowney on one end of the D-Line, J.J. Watt on the other! Watch out Andrew Luck, your life in the AFC South might be getting rather scary if this pick happens. 

No. 2 – St. Louis Rams:

Blake: Greg Robinson (OT – Auburn)
I hear rumors that the Rams may, in fact, trade this pick away. I can see it happening, but for mock draft’s sake, let’s say they stay put. The signing of Jake Long last offseason has backfired. With a torn ACL and MCL, the Rams will have to find a Left Tackle again. Roger Saffold is a free agent, so they actually need two. Robinson is the best in the draft, easily.

CalebGreg Robinson (OT – Auburn)
This is a very interesting position for the Rams to be in. With Sam Bradford going into his final year of his rookie contract and being plagued with injuries, it's paramount that St. Louis gets him some help. Their two biggest area's of need to help Sam? Offensive line and wide receiver. Sitting in the 2 spot the Rams will have the option to draft two potentially elite athletes at both of those positions, Greg Robinson or Sammy Watkins. Do you try and protect Bradford? Or give him an elite target on the outside? I think the Rams ought to choose to protect him in hopes to keep Sam healthy. When Bradford's been healthy in the past, he's shown signs of being really good. This could be a make-or-break pick for the Rams season.

No. 3 – Jacksonville Jaguars:

BlakeKhalil Mack (LB – Buffalo)
Intriguing pick here, for me. Mack is a small school superstar. This isn’t the sexy pick that Jaguars fans want. BUT, Mack is the type of linebacker a franchise needs to solidify the entire defense. They need a captain. They need a guy who is young, hungry, and has something to prove. Mack, to me, can end up like a Derrick Brooks-esque player. A 12-14 year franchise guy who resurrects an entire city.

Caleb: Khalil Mack (LB – Buffalo)
Jacksonville obviously needs a QB here, but in my mind Khalil Mack is an elite level prospect. I know the guy played for Buffalo and may not have faced the top level talent week after week, but when he did (see Ohio State game) he still dominated. He's got all of the physical attributes you need to succeed at the professional level as well as the instincts that will ensure his success at the next level. I could see the Jags stretching here for a QB, but I think it would behoove them to not take Mack at this spot. The guys a lock to have an immediate impact on the defensive side of the ball, something that can't be said for any QB in the draft for the offensive side. In my opinion, Khalil Mack is just too good to pass up.

No. 4 – Cleveland Browns:

BlakeSammy Watkins (WR – Clemson)
Again, this pick intrigues me. Josh Gordon has proved he’s an NFL Superstar. The Browns need a TON of help, elsewhere. Again, Watkins iseasily the best receiver in this class. He’s got a chance to be a top 5 player in the game in a few years. He possesses it all. Size, speed, athleticism, and hands. Now the browns must pray a quarterback falls to them in the second round, or they trade back up into the first.

Caleb: Sammy Watkins (WR – Clemson)
Browns fans will go nuts if this pick comes in and it's anyone other than Johnny Manziel, but I don't think the Browns are going to spend another top pick on a QB after they've already whiffed on Colt McCoy and Brandon Weeden in years past. Without an elite QB prospect I think the Browns go with Watkins here, setting the stage for a fairly decent QB to be able to come in and have success. Think about it, you put Josh Gordon, Jordan Cameron and Sammy Watkins on the field and you could make almost any QB look pretty decent. This won't fix Cleveland's offensive woes, but it should help!

No. 5 – Oakland Raiders:

Blake: Johnny Manziel (QB – Texas A&M)
I know, Al Davis has passed away, but Johnny Football is the biggest name in the draft this year. Not necessarily the best player, but the biggest name. It just seems right to me. Raiders take the sexiest name of the entire class and sit back and watch the rest take place. (Look for a trade here, possibly)

Caleb: Johnny Manziel (QB – Texas A&M)
If Johnny Manziel is still on the board when Oakland picks at No. 5, I think the idea of bringing the "Raider swag" back to Oakland would be too much for them to pass up. Johnny Football is a big enough personality, and a potentially good enough athlete, to put Oakland back on the map. The Raiders just dumped Terrell Pryor because I think they're making room for Johnny Manziel to be the immediate starter. Do I personally think this is a smart move? No, but you can read my last article for my full opinion. However, I do think that the Raiders are just crazy enough to pull the trigger on Johnny Football. 

No. 6 – Atlanta Falcons:

Blake: Jake Matthews (OL – Texas A&M)
What in the world happened to the Falcons this year? I think the injury bug finally hit them in the face. They are fine at skill positions, especially when Jones and White come back healthy in 2014. I think it starts up front on offense. With Greg Robinson gone, the Falcons take the next best lineman, and a guy who can dominate the man in front of him. Matthews will be very good, for a very long time.

Caleb: Jake Matthews (OL – Texas A&M)
I really think that Atlanta will try to move out of the six spot, whether that be moving up to get Clowney or moving down if that's not possible. But for the sake of this mock draft, let's say they stay at six, they're most likely going to take an offensive tackle with this pick. Last season the Falcons couldn't protect Matt Ryan nor could they open any holes for Steven Jackson, when he was healthy. This addition would vastly improve the Falcons offensive efficiency and could put them back on track to be a contender again in 2014.

No. 7 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

Blake: Anthony Barr (LB – UCLA)
Lovie Smith takes over the Buccaneers, and everyone knows he’s all about the defensive side of the ball. Personally, I think Barr can be the Rookie of the Year. He’s fast, he’s mean and he can cover. He’s the perfect fit for what Lovie Smith will want to do in Tampa. He can play man, zone or blitz. Barr is a great player, who may deserve to go higher than this.

Caleb: Mike Evans (WR – Texas A&M)
Has there ever been a time in the Draft that three players from the same school are chosen in succession? I don't think so. At least not until now! This pick just makes sense, when I watched Evans at A&M he reminded me of current Buccaneers star WR, Vincent Jackson. And with the new signing of Josh McCown at QB the Bucs could really use another big target for Josh, and Evans fills that role perfectly. With his enormous size and great hands I think Evans would be a nice compliment to this offense as we've already seen McCown have great success with two large targets at WR in Chicago.

No. 8 – Minnesota Vikings: 

Blake: Teddy Bridgewater (QB – Louisville)
This is a panic pick for the Vikings. I honestly don’t know what to expect from them at this point. They may be praying for Manziel to fall, they may be praying for Sammy Watkins. Who knows? I do know that if I’m the Vikings, I’m going away from QB this round, but it’s their highest area of need. I’m not as high on Bortles as everyone else is, but heck, I’ve been wrong more than I’ve been right. I’ll stick with Bridgewater…a guy who may be a complete bust.

Caleb: Blake Bortles (QB – UCF)
​Here is where I disagree with my own projection. Remember, this is not what I would do if I were making the pick, but what I think will happen. The Vikings desperately need a QB. Case and point, the signing of Josh Freeman last year. If they can learn from past mistakes in reaching for Christian Ponder in the 2011 Draft and then starting him way too soon, I think they will be alright with choosing Bortles. But if they try to force him into a starting role in his first season I think they will be right back in this same situation two years from now, needing another franchise QB. 

No. 9 – Buffalo Bills:

Blake: Marquise Lee (WR – USC)
Lee reunited with Robert Woods and all the sudden, the Bills have a great wide receivers core. A lot has been invested in EJ Manuel and now it’s time to put some pieces around him. This is just nearly a perfect fit, adding to a young, dangerous Bills team.

Caleb: Eric Ebron (TE – UNC)
​While the Bills would love to have either Watkins or Evans with this pick, they will both likely be gone. Given the depth of the rest of the WR class I think the Bills go with an elite level TE here. Ebron reminds me of a Jimmy Graham type player, he's tall, slender and fast. He's a match up nightmare in the middle of the field and I think he could play a big role in the Bills offense, potentially developing into a safety net for E.J. Manuel. Sure there are needs on the defensive side of the ball for the Bills, particularly at DE, but if Ebron is sitting here at the ninth spot, I like this pick.

No. 10 – Detroit Lions:

Blake: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (S – Alabama)
The Lions can go 3-4 different ways here. Safety, Corner, LB, WR. Yes, WRI think the loss of Louis Delmas this offseason created a MAJOR hole in the safety core for the Lions. Enter, Ha Ha. He’s big, he’s fast, he’s rangy and he’s got a chip on his shoulder. I think this is the perfect scenario for the Lions. He’ll be a pro bowler in a few years.

Caleb: Darqueze Dennard (CB – Michigan State)
This is a purely need selection for the Lions. There are certainly players left at this point with better draft grades, ie Clinton-Dix or C.J. Mosley, but the need for a solid corner back in Detroit at this point out would be enough for the Lions to reach a little here. I wouldn't be surprised if the Lions tried to move down as well.

And there you have it, your first 10 picks of the draft. Deal with that Adam Schefter!