Two of the top 3 Heisman vote getters from 2016 are back including the winner Lamar "Action" Jackson. But like last year Jackson came from out of nowhere to win the school's first ever Heisman Trophy for Louisville so don't take this list as the end all, be all.
Here is a look at the preseason candidates I feel have the best chance of hoisting the hardware in New York City.
Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville: A playmaker with his arms and legs the reigning Heisman winner will have his work cut out for him this season as every opponent's objective will be to contain him. He took an insane amount of sacks last year: 46. Needs to cut it in half if he hopes to even walk to NYC.
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma: Wake n Bake has back-to-back NYC invites in his back pocket as a Heisman finalist. If he wants to win one this season he has to beat Ohio State in Columbus.
Sam Darnold, QB, USC: Darnold seems to have the early momentum going for him in terms of preseason Heisman hype. Not a starter at the beginning of the 2016 season, he led USC to 9 straight wins to close out the year. If he puts up the numbers he did or exceeds them he's a lock for an invite.
JT Barrett, QB, Ohio State: It was a rocky up and down season for Barrett last year despite getting the Buckeyes to the College Football playoffs. His QBR continues to decline as he gets older which is alarming.
Jake Browning, QB, Washington: After having shoulder surgery it appears the Pac-12 Offensive player of the year is ready to roll and get the Huskies back to the playoffs. After finishing 6th last year in Heisman voting his main competition will be Darnold for West coast votes.
Deondre Francois, QB, FSU: Francois will get plenty of chances to make a Heisman push starting with week 1 in Atlanta vs Alabama.
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State: The Big Ten offensive player of the year appears to be the best returning back in the nation. If Barkley puts up another 2000 plus all-purpose yards and has Penn State in National Title consideration he should "hurdle" to get an invite.
Jalen Hurts, QB, Alabama: The SEC offensive player of the year as only a true freshman Hurts will need to improve his passing efficiency as teams will continue to stack the box in order to stop the run.
Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State: The rising senior had a spectacular 28 TD-to-4 INT ratio last year. Perhaps one of the more underrated players in the nation, if Rudolph can get the Cowboys a Big 12 Championship he will be a contender for the Heisman.
BACK FROM INJURY
Seth Rosen, QB, UCLA: Coming off shoulder surgery the Rosen One will need to live up to his high school hype and beat the likes of crosstown rival USC in order to crack consideration.
Derwin James, S, FSU: James is coming off a meniscus tear in his left knee that caused him to redshirt 2016 season. While he is a safety he is also a special enough athlete to garner recognition like Jabrill Peppers did last year for Michigan.
Bo Scarbrough, RB, Alabama: Coming off a broken leg in the National Title game vs Clemson no Heisman list would be complete without at least one Bama running back on it. Scarbrough will get plenty of chances to make a statement like Mark Ingram and Derrick Henry did starting in week 1 vs FSU.
DON'T FORGET ABOUT
QUARTERBACKS: Trace McSorley (Penn State), Luke Falk (Washington State), Nick Fitzgerald (Mississippi State), Quinton Flowers (South Florida), Josh Allen (Wyoming)
RUNNING BACKS: Royce Freeman (Oregon), Nick Chubb (UGA), Josh Adams (Notre Dame), Derrius Guice (LSU), Kamryn Pettway (Auburn)
WIDE RECEIVERS: James Washington (Oklahoma State), Calvin Ridley (Alabama), Equanimeous St. Brown (Notre Dame), Courtland Sutton (SMU)
THE MULTIPURPOSE CANDIDATES
Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M: Coming off nearly a 1000 yard season receiving Kirk also had 3 kick returns for TDs last season. He's one of the most dynamic players in the nation and will be feared by all special teams coordinators.
Jarrett Stidham, QB, Auburn: The Baylor transfer is already getting serious Heisman dark horse consideration talk down in Auburn because of his dual-threat capabilities. If Stidham can lead Auburn to a SEC Championship game you better believe he can also make it to NYC for a Heisman invite.
Brandon Wimbush, QB, Notre Dame: The redshirt sophomore is the unquestioned leader of the ND offense now with Deshone Kizer in the NFL. Wimbush has the same build and leadership skills of Brady Quinn who was a two-time finalist and also has plenty of offensive weapons around him to lead a potent Fighting Irish attack this fall.
Kyle Allen, QB, Houston: The Texas A&M transfer put up some impressive numbers in the SEC before suffering a AC sprain in his shoulder. At Houston he will be given the chance to run Major Applewhite's offense that should put up points and contend for a New Year's six bowl.
Ed Oliver, DT, Houston: Defensive players have basically next to none shot at winning the Heisman but I still gotta put Oliver on this list because he's that special. As a true freshman last year he started all 12 games and despite the constant double teams he managed to sack the QB five times.
Arden Key, DE, LSU: Key is one of the top underclassmen's in Mel Kiper's 2018 NFL Draft position rankings. Coming off a 12 sack season the rising junior will be a force to be reckoned with all year vs the Bayou Bengals.
Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson: Still just considered a freshman Lawrence is a future #1 overall draft pick who is so great it would be impossible for me to keep him off this list. While playing nine games as a true freshman Lawrence racked up 7 sacks, two fumble recoveries, two block kicks and a team-leading 20 QB pressures. It would not be shocking to see Lawrence get double digit sack numbers this season.
Boom Boom has been on fire ever since the Orioles called him up late last season. With 10 HRs in his first 83 professional at-bats he is the second fastest in MLB history to reach double digits. Boom Boom is a Golden Domer who has taken the MLB stage on fire with his majestic shots.
It's one thing to be the head coach of the Florida Gators and look goofy as your team gets it's ass kicked once again in the SEC Championship by Alabama but Jim McElwain is taking it to a whole other level with this viral picture.
Now Florida and McElwain have come out and flat out denied it's him but we all know it's him. If it walks, talks and smiles like a shark fucker it's definitely McElwain.
You can't look at this face and say that's not a shark diddler:
The work room pic.twitter.com/0v2Btv5s40— Julio Jones (@juliojones_11) May 3, 2017
Falcons All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones posted the Atlanta Falcons' offseason workout video on his Twitter today and while it may be mild in nature damn does it make me long for some football.
I haven't talked about the Super Bowl because honestly it still hurts. It was the biggest choke in NFL history. The Falcons should have a Lombardi Trophy and the city should still be celebrating it.
But it didn't happen. Now we get to see the Falcons get back to work. All those extra reps in the weight room are going to pay off this fall. The hunger to be best is evident on Matt Ryan and Julio's faces. Now they just got to complete the mission.
You can't blame Manny Machado here for wearing his emotions on his sleeve. The Red Sox have had their pink hat panties in a bunch ever since Machado slid into Dustin Pedroia 10 days ago. It was pretty clear when the slide happened that Machado wasn't trying to hurt Pedroia. He even caught him and tried to hold up to prevent further injury. If you have ever watched Machado run the bases despite his enormous talent you will realize he is an awful baserunner and even worst slider. It's could be due to the fact he's blown out both knees already.
Anyways the Red Sox kept drinking their cranberry juice and two days later Matt Barnes threw at Machado's head. It was a bush league move and honestly it was expected because the Red Sox are managed by a notorious cocksucker in John Farrell. I mean that as respectfully as it's written. The Orioles take the high road and Machado shows his maturity by not charging the mound.
It should have been over but fast forward to Monday night with Baltimore in Fenway Park. You have racist fans throwing out N-word insults to Orioles centerfielder Adam Jones and even throwing a bag of peanuts at him as he's leaving the field. It was an ugly scene. We all know Boston has a reputation for being a racist city it just sucks to see it in 2017. As liberal as it is it's still a place where black people aren't really welcomed unless they are helping you win a championship and even then you still aren't completely welcomed. Case in point Bill Russell. So Boston does the right thing and their mayor, governor, team president, GM, players, etc. all come out and apologize for the behavior and actions that Jonesy was victim to. All appeared good when the Fenway faithful gave Jonesy a standing ovation with his first plate appearance in the first. Even Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale backed off the mound and let Jonesy sink in the moment. I give props to those actions. Unfortunately all the good will ended with the next batter.
Machado comes up after Jones strikes out and the first pitch is directly behind his knee caps. Sale clearly threw it at Machado but missed him. Machado and the Orioles again took the high road and didn't start a bench clearing brawl. The Red Sox apparently still had a heavy flow of vaginal secretion from the night before because Mookie Betts got hit by Dylan Bundy in the 6th inning of a two run ball game. A game in which the Orioles were winning. A game in which they put Betts at first with the hot hitting Hanley Ramirez coming up next. But the Red Sox insist it was intentional. You can't fix stupid.
I don't blame Machado at all for going off on the entire Red Sox organization. Could he have said it more eloquently with less profanity? Sure. But we are talking about a player who did nothing wrong and even Pedroia acknowledged it and threw his own team under the bus saying they handled it wrong and it wasn't him. They have now thrown at Machado five times this year. Of course he is going to get pissed off and drop some F bombs and call out the Red Sox as a classless organization because that is the way they are behaving.
The Red Sox need to grow the fuck up. Not every hard slide or inside pitch is meant to injure you. I've never seen a more sensitive bunch of babies on a baseball field and I blame it all on their manager in Farrell. He's the douche who keeps poking the flames. He's the one telling Eduardo Rodriguez, Barnes and now Sale to throw at Machado. Farrell should be suspended for a long, long time but of course MLB does nothing to protect one of their biggest stars in Machado. They gave Barnes a 4 game suspension. Now imagine if they throw at Machado again tonight and he charges the mound like he did last year on Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura (RIP). Machado is looking at a 4 game suspension at a minimum.
You know it's got embarrassing for the Red Sox when ex-players like Mike Lowell and Pedro Martinez basically apologize and are embarrassed by the actions of the team right now. This bush league shit needs to stop before somebody gets seriously hurt. One fastball to the head can not only end a career but it can end a life. Unfortunately the Red Sox don't have the leadership to accept responsibility for their idiotic behavior.
Is sand called sand because it is between the sea and the land???? #owlup— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) May 2, 2017
Sitting here on a beautiful Tuesday afternoon thinking about what to write and Lane Kiffin just throws out a total mindfuck bomb. You know the old saying never bring sand to the beach? How about we tell college football coaches to never think too much into things that throws our brain into a mental pretzel.
When this happened live last night I cringed when UCLA LB/DE Takkarist McKinley dropped the "god damns" and "fucking" words on live television after being picked by the Atlanta Falcons. But after watching it a few times I'm getting goose bumps about the kid because of the energy and passion he brings. Can you imagine how hyped up Takk is in the locker room? Takk would run through a wall "to get to the damn quarterback" and I believe that. He's the perfect compliment to NFL sack leader Vic Beasley on the other side and the Falcons under Dan Quinn are building a young defense for the ages after nailing all their defensive picks the last two years.
Check out Quinn's reaction after he gets off the phone with Takk...
Quinn's fist pump tells me all I need to know. The Falcons just got a guy who has a lot of dog in him and will do everything to get to the quarterback.
My Grade: A+
PS - Also I gotta do a "Fine Me Later, Man!" shirt.
It will be interesting to see where Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer gets drafted. Less than 6 months ago he was being touted as the #1 overall player. Now he has to clarify quotes he made about having Cam Newton's body with Tom Brady's mind. Not the best look by any means but I get what Kizer is saying: he wants to be the best of both.
Now I've seen guys like Mel Kiper aka "draft expert" say he's only the 6th best QB in this class. That's crazy talk when you think Kiper is a self proclaimed Notre Dame fan and he has Kizer ranked behind Tennessee's Joshua Dobbs. In what world is Dobbs the better QB? I honestly don't see one attribute or skill in which Dobbs is superior to Kizer.
Looking back at this whole process this could turn out to be a blessing for Kizer. Instead of getting drafted high by a perennial losing franchise like the Browns or Jaguars he could get scooped up by a winning franchise like the Pittsburgh Steelers and given an actual shot at success in the near future.
Finally after months of conjecture, rumors and talking heads with their hot takes we are here: the NFL Draft starts tonight.
Here is my mock draft which mocks all the rest while wearing moccasins because that's what Johnny Moxon would do at West Canaan.
1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE
This is the day all Cleveland fans dread. The NFL draft is just further reformation your franchise is in a never ending shitter. But I will say Garrett is the best pick here and could be the most "safe" pick. He's a day one starter. Don't fuck it up Cleveland and draft a QB.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Jamal Adams, S
This pick right here tells you how bad of a QB draft this is. The Browns and 49ers are both in desperate need of a QB and neither will touch one.
3. Chicago Bears: Soloman Thomas, DE
Don't laugh but from all the videos I've seen I think Thomas is the better pick over Garrett. Bears get themselves another Richard Dent with this pick.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, RB
I'm not high on Fournette and personally I would rather have Dalvin Cook if I'm picking a RB but the Jaguars seem to be all in for BUGA.
5. Tennessee Titans: Mike Williams, WR
Titans need to get Marcus Mariota a legit receiver and if you watched the National Championship game you will have noticed Clemson's Williams dominate Bama's stellar secondary.
6. New York Jets: Christian McCaffrey, RB
Ed's son can basically do it all on offense and will be called upon in the city that never sleeps. No pressure... just don't fuck it up.
7. Los Angeles Chargers: Jonathan Allen, DE/DT
LA's newest team gets a bit of luck as Bama's Allen slips to them at lucky number 7.
8. Carolina Panthers: Malik Hooker, S
Some people have compared this Hooker to Ed Reed which seems a little call girlish and premature personally.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: Marshon Lattimore, CB
It's only a matter of time before Pacman Jones spits, kicks, punches, shoots or abuses some other person so you need a backup plan. Lattimore grades out as the top corner in the draft.
10. Buffalo Bills: Kevin King, CB
The Bills want Lattimore to replace Stephon Gilmore but with him gone the pick before they go with the 2nd corner on their board in King.
11. New Orleans Saints: Haason Reddick, LB
Did you know that Reddick was a fucking walk on at Temple? Crazy right? Now here he is getting drafted in the first round.
12. Cleveland Browns: Mitchell Trubisky, QB
We finally get a QB picked and of course it's the Browns who do it. Poor little Mitchell Trubisky has no chance of winning in Cleveland. At least he will have a lot of money to drown those sorrows.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Corey Davis, WR
Fitzgerald is no spring chicken and Michael Floyd is still driving drunk somewhere so the Cardinals need to get Carson Palmer a player on the outside for his final season.
14. Philadelphia Eagles: Derek Barnett, DE
The Eagles need another edge rusher and the last time they drafted one out of Tennessee it seemed to pay off.
15. Indianapolis Colts: Charles Harris, OLB
Colts could be looking to trade down to get more picks but if they don't they take the best player available in Harris.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Reuben Foster, LB
Foster failed a drug test and was kicked out of the Combine because of his attitude. Sounds like the perfect LB for the Ravens!
17. Washington Redskins: Dalvin Cook, RB
When all is said and done Cook will be the best RB in this class.
18. Tennessee Titans: Marlon Humphrey, CB
Titans are in desperate need for corners.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: O.J. Howard, TE
Jameis Winston gets himself another weapon.
20. Denver Broncos: Garett Boles, OT
Crazy to think the first offensive tackle taken in the draft would be this late but the Broncos get their guy in Boles.
21. Detroit Lions: T.J. Watt, DE/OLB
JJ's brother gets scooped up because the Lions are in desperate need of an edge rusher.
22. Miami Dolphins: Jarrad Davis, LB
Dolphins are looking for the best available LB and Davis fits the description.
23. New York Giants: Ryan Ramczyk, OT
The Giants want Boles so they could trade up to get him. If not they take the next best offensive tackle in Ramczyk.
24. Oakland Radiers: Zach Cunningham, LB
25. Houston Texans: Patrick Mahomes, QB
Texans surprise everybody by passing on Deshaun Watson to take a local kid in Mahomes.
26. Seattle Seahawks: Obi Melifonwu, S
Love this kid at safety. Athleticism is through the roof.
27. Kansas City Chiefs: Forrest Lamp, OG
The best guard in the draft gets scooped up.
28. Dallas Cowboys: Adoree Jackson, CB
Cowboys reach with this pick but even if Jackson never amounts to anything as a corner he could still be a hell of a returner.
29. Green Bay Packers: Joe Mixon, RB
The Packers got a puncher's chance here with Mixon.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: DeShone Kizer, QB
The Steelers know all about Kizer and have been scouting him extensively, more than any other team reportedly. He will get a chance to be Roethlisberger's backup or maybe a starter if Big Ben chooses to retire.
31. Atlanta Falcons: Taco Charlton, DE
As a Falcons fans I would be ecstatic if Taco falls this far to them. Atlanta is in need of edge rushers and Taco certainly fits the description.
32. New Orleans Saints: Deshaun Watson, QB
Saints need to find an eventual replacement for Drew Brees and Watson is the best available if they decide to stick with this pick and not trade down.