Deshaun Watson Has Strong Showing At NFL Combine — Could Be Chicago Bears' Pick

Deshaun Watson is looking to set himself apart from the lot of NFL hopefuls at the NFL draft combine. A strong showing could grab the Chicago Bears‘ attention. There is a lot of time between now amd the NFL Draft, but every moment Watson has to make an impression, he must make it count. The Chicago Bears, who have the No. 3 pick in the April 26th draft, are in desperate need of a quarterback. Watson is believed to be on the Bears’ radar. Whether or not they are willing to use the third pick of the draft to get him remains to be seen. Watson did everything that he could at the NFL draft combine to ensure that he will likely be taken in the top half of the draft. Strong showings at his professional workouts will determine how high he goes. Realistically, the Chicago Bears would be the first team to consider taking him. The top two players in the draft are Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett and Alabama’s Jonathan Allen. Monday Morning Quarterback’s Robert Klemko has both Garrett and Allen going one and two in his recently released NFL mock draft. After Garrett and Allen is anyone’s guess. The Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers, both teams who also have a need at quarterback, have the first two picks. Myles Garrett is the consensus overall top pick. Unless the Browns trade the selection, Garrett is all but guaranteed to be Cleveland bound. Deshaun Watson had a strong showing at the NFL draft combine. Following that up with a strong performance at his Clemson workout should catapult his draft status even further. [Image by Joe Robbins/Getty Images] The 49ers may shock everyone and go with a quarterback with the second pick. If so, Deshaun Watson and Mitchell Trubisky will receive heavy consideration. What the Chicago Bears do will somewhat be dictated by who the 49ers take. In Klemko’s mock draft, the Bears are taking LSU safety Jamal Adams. Deshaun Watson could sneak into this spot. In order to stand out, Deshaun Watson needed to show the NFL scouts that he can handle five and seven step drops, which takes place outside of taking snaps from the shotgun formation. Watson proved at the NFL draft combine that his footwork can be effective receiving snaps under center. Avoiding a professional defensive lineman looking to sack him cannot be simulated, but Watson showed everyone that he can throw the football with neat footwork and a clean pocket. Watson did it in an effort to achieve his goal — become the first quarterback taken in the NFL draft. DeShaun Watson confirming that he’s the total package at the #NFLCombine, just like he did with @ClemsonFB. — Sporting News (@sportingnews) March 4, 2017 Deshaun Watson admitted during his interview session (courtesy of USA Today) that he wants to be the draft’s top QB. “It’s a goal that I wrote down and that’s what I want to achieve. But if it happens it happens. That’s out of my control. I can just be the best I can be in this process and continue to get better.” Deshaun Watson went on to talk about what adjustments he has to make from the college game to the professional game. “One thing that translates from college to the NFL is winners, and I think being a quarterback, that’s the biggest thing being recognized, winning games. That’s all I’ve been doing.” The ability to make the adjustments is what have teams pressing pause on not only Deshaun Watson but every other quarterback as well. It is not an exact science, but a lasting impression can be made. Deshaun Watson is in the position to control his own destiny. The Chicago Bears are looming as his first realistic destination for Watson. If not the Bears, there is the New York Jets. The best case for everyone involved is for Deshaun Watson to perform even better for his professional showcase. If Watson can build on his showing from the NFL draft combine, it will generate some excitement. [Featured Image by Joe Robbins/Getty Images]

Los Angeles Lakers Continuing Rebuild

The rebuild of one of the most storied franchises in the history of the NBA — the Los Angeles Lakers — has taken another step on the court with the Lakers looking to see what they have in the younger players on their roster, while telling some of their remaining veterans to take a seat and watch the action on the court. Seeing the Lakers are looking to get back to the top of the NBA, it makes sense for them to continue the rebuild of their franchise this season by playing the younger players as they will be the ones on the roster next season. One player who was placed on the inactive list this week was veteran forward Luol Deng. A 12-year NBA veteran, Deng this season averaged nearly 27 minutes per game of playing time, and in the past 10 games he played in, that number has dropped to 21 mpg. Deng hasn’t produced much for the Lakers this season with 7.6 points per game, 5.3 rebounds per game and 1.3 assists per game, as he’s playing below his career averages. #CavsNation #GoCavs #Cavaliers #Cavs Luol Deng stays classy by accepting demotion to inactive list — Cavaliers Fans (@CavaliersViews) March 6, 2017 Now in a recent article by Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times, it has been stated the Lakers placed Deng on the inactive list this past Friday night against the Boston Celtics. The article quotes Lakers head coach Luke Walton on the situation: “We’re trying to get looks at all the young guys that we can,” Walton said. “… He was OK with it and it was just a way to keep all the young guys active and be able to play them all.” That is one way for the Lakers to put it, and in all honesty it makes the most sense for the Lakers, because with just 19 wins and a last place spot in the Western Conference, it is 100-percent safe to say this season is all but meaningless in the NBA standings. What is left of this season for the Lakers is seeing exactly how productive their roster can be and knowing exactly which players need to stay on the Lakers roster and which need to be playing elsewhere next season. One player who’ll have to become the leader of the Lakers is D’Angelo Russell. He’s currently averaging 14.8 ppg in 27 minutes per game. Jordan Clarkson is another player to watch for the rest of the season. He’s averaging 13.9 ppg in 62 games played thus far this season. Speaking of the Lakers head coach, Walton is also a very important piece of this rebuilding process, as he is working with not just rebuilding an NBA roster in his first season as the head coach of the Lakers, but the front office of the Lakers has changed this season, too. Lakers coach Luke Walton adjusting to new landscape in Los Angeles — Allen Sliwa (@LakersTalk710) March 6, 2017 Sam Amick of The USA Today wrote on the topic of Walton adjusting to all the changes being made by the Lakers this season and into the pending offseason: “Walton knows that finding a new rhythm might take some time. With the Lakers (19-43) floundering in the standings and the focus on the continued development of D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram and Jordan Clarkson…” Seeing the Lakers rebuild is going to be exciting for NBA fans, and for others, it will continue to raise many questions as to who is in charge, and where will the final rebuild lead the Lakers. Even when the Lakers are in last place, they still remain a top priority in the NBA world. As for this current version of the Lakers, it will be very fun to watch the young players improve with more playing time. It will also be very interesting to see which players are good enough to stay a part of what the “new look” Lakers are trying to achieve while rebuilding the historic NBA franchise not just on the court, but the front office as well. [Featured Image by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]

Green Bay Packers: Eddie Lacy Should Not Be Re-Signed

Eddie Lacy was selected with the No. 61 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers and immediately became a household name in Wisconsin. He was a coveted running back coming out of Alabama who had been hyped up in a big way throughout the draft process. Lacy proceeded to prove why fans wanted him in his first two seasons with the team. During the first two years of his career in Green Bay, Lacy carried the football 530 times for 2,317 yards and 20 touchdowns. Over the last two years, Lacy has only rushed for 1,118 yards and three touchdowns on 258 carries. His production has dipped in a big way and the Packers have suffered because of it. Weight issues have been the biggest obstacle for Lacy. Two years ago it was obvious that weight was a problem, while he seemed to struggle with it again in 2016. An injury cut his season short last year, but that was far from the only problem that he had. At just 26-years-old, there is plenty of time for Lacy to turn his career around and get back on track. That being said, the Packers should not re-sign Lacy when free agency opens up. “Talking to my agent, the Packers have been very vocal about having me back there.”
-Eddie Lacy — Packers Nation (@GOPackersNation) March 3, 2017 Even though Lacy was considered to be the answer to the Packers’ ground game just a couple years back, he has not shown the work ethic or talent over the last two years. Even after having his job called into question due to weight issues, Lacy did not have the initiative to work hard and get back in shape. Mike McCarthy has been very vocal about his desire to bring back Lacy. Green Bay has also reportedly been in contact with Lacy’s agents and have interest in a reunion. If that does end up happening, it seems likely that it would be a one-year contract to give Lacy one more chance to prove himself. “Eddie Lacy, I’d love to see back,” McCarthy said. “Eddie’s going through a medical situation. I clearly understand his contract situation, so that’s really something we’re continuing to work through.” There have not been many teams with known interest in Lacy outside of the Packers. In fact, no rumors have been circulating about the former star running back. Other teams will likely look into the option of signing him, but only after the better free agency options sign elsewhere. .@Lil_Eazy_Ana_42 back for OTAs? (via @RapSheet) — NFL (@NFL) March 1, 2017 Rumors have begun heating up that the Packers could be interested in signing Adrian Peterson. Minnesota chose to release the face of their franchise and a change of scenery to Green Bay would be an NFC North shock. The Inquisitr already went into five reasons why the Packers should sign Peterson. If the Packers decided to move on from Lacy, there are other options outside of Peterson. Green Bay could consider giving Jamaal Charles a chance, or go after another free agent like DeAngelo Williams, Latavius Murray, or even Chris Johnson. Bringing in a speed back would seem to be a smart move for the Packers with the offense that they run. Green Bay could also roll with Ty Montgomery as their starting running back. Montgomery started the 2016 season as a wide receiver and ended up showing promise at running back. Unfortunately, Montgomery does not have the body to hold up to the beating an every down back takes in the NFL. Aaron Rodgers isn’t getting any younger and the Packers cannot continue hoping that things can fix themselves. Lacy hasn’t been getting the job done and Green Bay cannot keep hoping that he will figure things out and get back to being a star. Lacy has plenty of potential to be a workhorse running back in the NFL. If he can get his work ethic back and figure out how to cut down his weight, Lacy can get back to being a legitimate No. 1 back. All of that being said, don’t be surprised if the Packers end up re-signing Lacy. McCarthy has been campaigning to bring him back and Green Bay has never shown interest in spending money to bring in the help that Rodgers needs. Sticking with Lacy and Montgomery seems like the most likely course of action for the Packers when everything is said and done. Do you think the Green Bay Packers should re-sign Eddie Lacy? Which running back would you like to see in the backfield with Aaron Rodgers? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below! [Featured Image by Joe Mahoney/AP Images]

NFL Rumors: New York Giants Interested In Signing Brandon Marshall?

Brandon Marshall is one of the newest additions to a stacked list of upcoming free agents. He is coming off of a bit of a down season, but was still the New York Jets’ top receiver. Now, he will search to find a better fit where he can contend to win a ring. New York decided to release Marshall in a rather shocking move. They also released Darrelle Revis, which shows a move towards a rebuild rather than keeping established veterans around to continue competing now. Marshall is one of several big names at the wide receiver position who will be searching for new deals this offseason. Last season with the Jets, Marshall ended up catching 59 passes for 788 yards and three touchdowns. He may not have had a huge season from a statistical standpoint, but he proved that he is still capable of making a major impact. At 32-years-old, Marshall only has a few more good seasons left to play in his career. He will likely be searching for a team that can give him the opportunity to compete for a championship. Marshall may even consider signing a one-year deal in order to ensure that he has more chances to switch teams if this season doesn’t go as desired. “You can never have too many playmakers.”@89SteveSmith says his former team would be a good fit for @BMarshall: — NFL (@NFL) March 5, 2017 According to Marc Sessler of, the New York Giants could be one potential landing spot for Marshall when free agency opens up. Marshall has enjoyed his tenure in New York and could be interested in staying. While he won’t be agreeing to another deal with the Jets, the Giants are in major need of help at the wide receiver position. Eli Manning only has a couple good years left in his career as well. Playing with a quarterback like Manning would be a luxury for Marshall after dealing with Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith over the past couple years. Bryce Petty wasn’t a step up from either of those quarterbacks in 2016. One issue could be the fact that the Giants are not widely viewed as a serious contender heading into the 2017 NFL season. If Marshall is truly searching for a ring, the Giants can’t offer him the best opportunity. They would likely be willing to pay more than other major contenders would, but that might not mean much to Marshall at this stage of his career. That being said, the Giants have to find help at the wide receiver position. After releasing Victor Cruz, the Giants are a bit thin on the depth chart. Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard are a solid duo, but a veteran like Marshall would give Manning a security blanket that he needs in a big way. Brandon Marshall to the Giants make perfect sense on paper, but only on paper — New York Post Sports (@nypostsports) March 3, 2017 Needless to say, adding Marshall would be a no-brainer for the Giants. There are other options that would be better long-term, including both Alshon Jeffery and Terrelle Pryor. While those two names may be better long-term fits for New York, they will also come with a much higher price tag. When everything is said and done, Marshall will have his pick of where to play the next chapter of his career. New York certainly figures to be one of his potential landing spots. Marshall will also have the opportunity to convince another team to pick him up that may not be needy at the wide receiver position. Expect to see the Giants show interest in Marshall immediately when free agency opens up. They are going to look into a wide receiver in free agency or the draft and Marshall would be a huge difference maker for them. New York has always been an intriguing free agency destination and Marshall could find himself switching teams in the city. Do you think the New York Giants are a good fit for Brandon Marshall in free agency? Which team do you think he will end up signing with? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below! [Featured Image by David Richard/AP Images]

Jahlil Okafor Defense: Video Of 76ers Center's Poor Effort Going Viral

Philadelphia 76ers center Jahlil Okafor already had a shaky reputation in terms of his defense, but a fresh video clip of Okafor in action — or inaction — on that end of the basketball floor is going viral and causing a stir among NBA fans worldwide (per Fansided). During a recent game against the Miami Heat, Okafor showed in an approximate 12-second span why his defensive skills and effort have been so widely criticized since he joined the NBA in 2015. The clip begins with Okafor defending the paint as Heat point guard Goran Dragic drives the lane for a shot attempt. As Dragic drives right into Okafor’s area, the 76ers big man barely moves and fails to raise his arms to defend the shot attempt. Dragic misses the floater in the lane, but Okafor stands and watches as Miami swingman Rodney McGruder aggressively goes after the rebound in front of Okafor, dribbles out to about 12 feet where he dishes the ball to Heat center Hassan Whiteside. Whiteside then takes an uncontested shot from inside the free throw line and makes the short jumper. Jahlil Okafor makes little-to-no effort during this entire sequence, and after Whiteside scores the basket, Okafor very slowly begins to walk to the other side of the court. Okafor’s body language during and after the play is disturbing in that it gives the viewer the impression that he doesn’t care enough to even give minimal effort on the defensive end of the floor. If this was an isolated incident, one could perhaps chalk this up to fatigue, a nagging injury or even just suffering a moment of poor execution (after all, everyone has an off day now and then). Jahlil Okafor seemed full of promise when he was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in 2015. [Image by Elsa/Getty Images] The problem for Jahlil Okafor and the Philadelphia 76ers is that this isn’t an isolated incident. Okafor has earned a reputation as a “lazy” defensive player, and the numbers bear that out. According to ESPN’s NBA Real Plus-Minus statistics, Jahlil Okafor’s defense is rated dead-last in the NBA among the 70 centers currently playing in the league. This is a case where perception and reality are in complete agreement — Jahlil Okafor’s lack of defensive intensity is making him a liability to his team, despite the low-post scoring he provides on the other side of the basketball court. RELATED ARTICLES ON THE INQUISITR: Joel Embiid’s Injury A Blessing In Disguise For The Philadelphia 76ers Dallas Mavericks Make Big Splash By Landing Philadelphia 76ers’ Nerlens Noel NBA Trade Rumors: Philadelphia 76ers Are Making Huge Mistake With Jahlil Okafor As a result of the attention this video clip is receiving, Okafor is being roasted by fans and media alike. The Sporting News reports that Shaquille O’Neal’s “Shaqtin’ a Fool” segment on the TNT Network threw shade at Okafor for his performance in this viral video via their official Twitter account. Numerous online media outlets are piling on Jahlil Okafor for his apparent disinterest in playing defense, as described by the Philadelphia Inquirer. The article gives examples of several snarky headlines being attributed to the Okafor video, including “This Horrendous Defense By Jahlil Okafor Is Truly Something to Behold,” as well as “Jahlil Okafor Plays Twelve Seconds Of The Worst Defense You’ve Ever Seen.” Jahlil Okafor will not play on Saturday night against the Detroit Pistons, and sadly, that might be a plus for the Sixers. Starting center Joel Embiid is now out for the season due to a meniscus tear, and Nerlens Noel was dealt to the Dallas Mavericks before the NBA trade deadline on February 23. Philadelphia’s other center, Richaun Holmes, is also not completely healthy, but is expected to play through a right hamstring injury and has been doing a solid job of filling in for the 76ers since the injury bug hit the team’s big men. Nerlens Noel was a very good defender for the Sixers, but he now plays for the Dallas Mavericks. [Image by LM Otero/AP Images] Less than two years ago, Jahlil Okafor was looked upon as a potential franchise center when the Sixers draft him third overall in 2015. His stock has now fallen so low that the team was unable to trade him, even though it has been reported that they tried hard to move him before the trade deadline. Okafor is a sieve on defense, and his old-school post-up game and lack of athleticism make him a dinosaur in today’s NBA. Okafor is well on his way to becoming a colossal bust as a high draft pick, but if he has any chance of succeeding, he will have to find a way to crank up his motor and start playing with some energy and desire as his NBA career progresses. [Featured Image by Lynne Sladky/AP Images]

Christian McCaffrey To Interview With Denver Broncos At NFL Scouting Combine

Denver Broncos general manager John Elway did not initially agree with Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey’s decision to skip the Sun Bowl to avoid possible injury, but that won’t stop Elway and the Broncos from meeting with McCaffrey at the NFL Scouting Combine this week. McCaffrey joined several other prominent college football stars this past season in skipping their teams’ bowl games to preserve their health with a potentially lucrative NFL career on the horizon. John Elway, who also played college football for the Stanford Cardinal, did not speak kindly of McCaffrey’s decision when it was announced, but in retrospect, he has softened his stance on the topic, per CBS Denver. Denver Broncos general manager John Elway speaks at the NFL Scouting Combine. [Image by Michael Conroy/AP Images] “You know what, I understand it now. Obviously, when I thought about it, kind of the old school in me wanted to come out saying, ‘Why not play? It’s your last game.’” But I tell you what, when you look at where the league is now and the value of these contracts for these kids coming out now, and the risk that they’re taking, the old salty guy in me got flipped back to saying I understand why they didn’t play.” Not all NFL executives are accepting of players skipping the final game of their college careers so they don’t risk injury. Another Stanford alumnus, San Fransisco 49ers general manager John Lynch, admitted that he wasn’t a fan of McCaffrey’s decision and went on to share that he knows players skipping bowl games for this reason “really bothers” a lot of NFL front office personnel. It remains to be seen if this situation will affect the draft stock of any of the players involved, but it’s a reality that NFL general managers now have to deal with. RELATED ARTICLES ON THE INQUISITR: Tony Romo Trade Rumors: Denver Broncos Ready To Acquire Romo In Free Agency? Denver Broncos News: 2017 Schedule For Head Coach Joseph’s Squad Is NFL Toughest Denver Broncos: Five Potential 2017 NFL Free Agency Targets Christian McCaffrey already has strong connections to the Denver Broncos organization. His father, Ed, played wide receiver for Stanford as well as the Denver Broncos — catching passes from none other than quarterback John Elway, as described by Mile High Sports. McCaffrey has stated to the media that he would love to play for the Broncos, and Elway also thinks very highly of McCaffrey as an NFL prospect. “He’s a dynamic player who can do it all,” Elway said. “Wherever he goes, he’s going to have an impact immediately.” The Detroit Free Press reveals that McCaffrey is considered a probable first-round draft pick. If Denver wants to add McCaffrey to their roster, they would likely have to use their first-round choice (No. 20 overall) to land the former Stanford star. The running back position does not appear to be one of the team’s top needs (offensive line should arguably be the prime focus of the Broncos’ early-round draft picks), so it might be a reach for John Elway to grab Christian McCaffrey at No. 20 unless he truly believes that McCaffrey is a three-down running back who can become a star at the NFL level. Christian McCaffrey running drills at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. [Image by David J. Phillip/AP Images] Christian McCaffrey is a smaller running back (six feet tall, 201 pounds) who would normally project to being a third-down back in the NFL. However, he has shown physical toughness as a runner and has displayed his versatility as a wide receiver and a return man, as detailed by CSN Chicago. McCaffrey’s ability to contribute in a variety of ways to a football team serves to increase his value; thus, he carries a first-round grade from many NFL Draft scouts and could be on the Denver Broncos’ radar. Christian McCaffrey is the latest in a long line of talented, but smallish running backs to enter the NFL with hopes of stardom. Many of those players faded into NFL obscurity while a few overcame the odds and became prominent performers in the National Football League. McCaffrey, who is currently working out and conducting interviews at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, will soon get the opportunity to prove he belongs among the NFL’s elite. [Featured Image by Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Images]

2017 Colts Free Agency: Chris Ballard, Jack Doyle, Mike Adams, And Fan Favorites

We are now just days away from the NFL free agency signing period, and there is plenty of related news regarding the Indianapolis Colts. New general manager Chris Ballard is going into his first offseason with the Colts, and while he knows the game of football, he is still trying to learn the strengths and weaknesses of the roster, as well as those of individual players. The Indianapolis Star shares that Ballard has been on a crash course since joining the team on January 29, picking the brains of everyone on the coaching and scouting staffs. Ballard feels that the coaches and scouts have done an outstanding job of educating him on the players the team has, and the type of players Indianapolis needs to be successful with the offensive and defensive schemes they run. So far, Chris Ballard’s all-inclusive approach to managing the Colts franchise appears to be paying dividends. Ballard wants the entire staff to be part of the decision-making process, and that should be a plus as Indianapolis attempts to improve the team and get back to the NFL Playoffs in 2017. Chris Ballard at the NFL Scouting Combine. [Image by Michael Conroy/AP Images] Anyone who follows the Colts knows that they need to make vast improvements on defense; not only has the defense been ineffective, it is getting old. The Colts website discusses the team’s realization that the state of the defense is a major concern, and reveals an intriguing statistic that summarizes the impact a better defense would have on the team. During quarterback Andrew Luck’s NFL career, he has started 25 games in which the Colts gave up 18 points or less. The Indianapolis Colts’ record in such games? Twenty-five wins, zero losses. If the defense can improve even marginally in 2017, and Andrew Luck and the offense can limit turnovers that turn into points for the opponent, the Colts have a great chance of winning the AFC South and playing in the postseason this coming year. Chris Ballard has said that he knows the defense needs work, but claims “we’ll get that done.” We’ll begin to find out next week how he plans to upgrade a Colts defense that has been a disappointment in recent seasons. RELATED ARTICLES ON THE INQUISITR: Indianapolis Colts News: 2017 Free Agency And Salary Cap Update, Will Pat McAfee Hedge On Retirement? Indianapolis Colts News: 2017 Team Needs Going Into Free Agency And The Draft [Opinion] Colts Rumors And News: ‘Hard Knocks,’ Signings, Trades, And More Indianapolis Colts News: Defensive Backs, Linebackers, And 2017 Schedule One important decision that has to be made in NFL free agency is what to do with your in-house free agents. SB Nation has published a piece that details the results of a survey that asked fans which Colts free agents they would like to see brought back in 2017. Tight end Erik Swoope received the highest percentage of yes votes with 97 percent. Defensive lineman Zach Kerr was next with 95 percent. Defensive back Darius Butler and tight end Jack Doyle were tied with 94 percent, but Fansided reports that despite the Colts’ best effort in recent weeks to re-sign Doyle, he is planning to explore the free agent market when negotiations begin on March 7. Despite making the Pro Bowl with Indianapolis in 2014 and 2015, only 58 percent of fans who were surveyed wanted to see safety Mike Adams return to the team — and that lukewarm interest may also be reflective of how the team feels about retaining Adams. SB Nation reports that the Colts and Mike Adams have had “zero discussions” regarding his potential return to Indianapolis in 2017. Adams will turn 36 years old later this month, and the Colts may be ready to move on from him in order to develop some younger safeties — some of which may not even be on the team’s current roster. Mike Adams and Andrew Luck celebrate a victory over the Tennessee Titans. [Image by Joe Robbins/Getty Images] The Indianapolis Colts are most definitely a team in transition. The club has a new general manager in Chris Ballard, and he will be significantly reshaping the Colts roster in the coming months. That process will begin just a few short days from now, so stay tuned for much more 2017 Colts free agency and NFL Draft news. [Featured Image by Michael Conroy/AP Images]

Pacers Rumors And News: Comeback Win, Terrence Jones, And Rakeem Christmas

Getting off to an 18-2 deficit to begin an NBA basketball game is usually not a recipe for success, but the Indiana Pacers overcame that inauspicious start to notch a 117-108 victory over the Houston Rockets on Monday night in the Toyota Center. The fact that the Pacers came out flat early in the game is a concern, but their ability to climb back in the contest and ultimately win the game shows that Indiana is making progress toward being the kind of team they want to be, as detailed by the Indianapolis Star. Many times when a team gets behind in a game, players try to do too much individually to aid in the comeback attempt. In contrast, the Pacers moved the ball well last night and trusted each other to make the correct plays — the result of which was outscoring the Rockets 115-90 after the horrid start, with an impressive 29 assists. Consistency is always going to be a work in progress, but Indiana showed mental fortitude in this game that bodes well for the remainder of the season. Indiana’s Myles Turner defends the basket against Lou Williams of the Rockets. [Image by Eric Christian Smith/AP Images] The NBA trade deadline may have passed, but there are still ways for teams to tweak their rosters going into the final weeks of the regular season. The New Orleans Pelicans waived power forward Terrence Jones a few days ago, as reported by CBS Sports. Jones is now a free agent, and according to Fansided, the Indiana Pacers may consider adding the six-foot-nine frontcourt performer out of the University of Kentucky. The Pacers could use another power forward due to injuries and lack of performance. Starter Thaddeus Young is now back from his wrist injury, but he is not playing at 100 percent. Lavoy Allen and Kevin Seraphin have had their moments, but neither has stepped up and won the backup power forward job. Terrence Jones is in his fifth year in the NBA and he has been productive, as well as displaying an intense playing style that would aid the Pacers’ bench unit. Indiana should be taking a long look at Jones, but if the team does not sign him, they may have another option on the roster just waiting for a prolonged opportunity. RELATED ARTICLES ON THE INQUISITR: Indiana Pacers Rumors And News: Celtics, Paul George Trade Talk Details Revealed, What Happens Now? [Opinion] Pacers News: Paul George Stays With Indiana, NBA Trade Deadline Recap [Opinion] NBA Trade Rumors: Celtics Getting Pacers’ Paul George Within The Next Few Hours Forward/center Rakeem Christmas has been a developmental project for the Indiana Pacers since joining the team in a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2015, but with center Al Jefferson out due to an emergency root canal procedure, Christmas has been given some time on the floor in recent games. Christmas has played well since joining the rotation, posting 10 points in 20 minutes against the Houston Rockets, and grabbing seven rebounds in 16 minutes versus the Miami Heat. It will take more time to see if Rakeem Christmas has enough talent and potential to be a regular contributor in Indiana, but the early returns are very encouraging. Christmas appears to have strong support from his teammates as well, as documented by Vigilant Sports. Rakeem Christmas. [Image by Darron Cummings/AP Images] “That’s been Rakeem all season long in practice,” said Pacers All-Star Paul George. “Just happy they finally gave the kid a chance. I thought he could’ve helped us a lot earlier.” “I’ve been waiting on him,” stated swingman Glenn Robinson III. “I think the whole team has been waiting on him to make the move. I don’t know why they don’t play him. He screens, he rebounds. It’s crazy, like signing a dude for (two) years and don’t play him. I’m just happy he did his thing.” The Indiana Pacers (31-29) are currently in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, and they face the second-toughest remaining schedule in the East (per Moving up in the playoff standings will be a tall order for the Blue and Gold, but an impressive come-from-behind road win over a very good Houston Rockets team should give Pacers fans reason for optimism. If Indiana can sign Terrence Jones, and/or receive continued contributions from Rakeem Christmas, their odds of success will rise even further. [Featured Image by Max Becherer/AP Images]

New England Patriots: Five Potential 2017 NFL Free Agency Targets

Coming off of yet another Super Bowl win with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady leading the way, the New England Patriots still aren’t satisfied. They are already looking ahead to next season trying to figure out how they can repeat as champions. That mindset is exactly what has made them one of the most dominant franchises in the modern era of football. Speaking of the Patriots looking to win another championship, they will be searching for roster additions that can be made to improve their chances of doing just that. Looking ahead at the upcoming free agency market, there are quite a few players that the Patriots could target. There are a lot of players who would be safe pickups, as well as some players who have issues on and off-the-field that some teams won’t touch. Belichick has never been scared to pick up players that other teams would view as headcases. New England has also become one of the most sought after landing spots for veteran free agents. They can offer any veteran the chance to compete for a championship and have the track record to prove it. All of that being said, which five players could be potential 2017 NFL free agency targets for the New England Patriots? Best picture. — New England Patriots (@Patriots) February 27, 2017 LeGarrette Blount, Running Back First and foremost, finding a way to bring LeGarrette Blount back should be the Patriots’ top priority. He was a major threat for the New England offense in 2016, carrying the football 299 times for 1,161 yards and 18 touchdowns. Blount would love to return to the Patriots and it is widely expected that the two sides will figure something out. Dont’a Hightower, Linebacker At 26-years-old, Dont’a Hightower is another free agent that the Patriots should re-sign. He racked up 65 tackles last season to go along with 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Hightower has star potential and the Patriots cannot afford to lose too much more at the linebacker position if they want their defense to stay solid in 2017. Brian Quick, Wide Receiver Bringing in more weapons for Brady is always a good option for the Patriots to take a look at. Brian Quick could be the right receiver at the right price, with projecting him to receive a deal worth around $5.6 million annually. Quick caught 41 passes for 564 yards and three touchdowns with the Los Angeles Rams last season and would be a solid pickup for New England. #Patriots fans should not be upset by anything that happens in free agency as long as we have this man — Bill M (@_BillM) February 28, 2017 Manti Te’o, Linebacker If the Patriots do decide to let Hightower walk, they could show interest in former Notre Dame superstar Manti Te’o. He has not had a successful start to his NFL career with the San Diego Chargers and totaled just 17 tackles in three games last season. Te’o is just 26-years-old and perhaps joining the Patriots could turn his career around. Sam Shields, Cornerback The Green Bay Packers decided to release Sam Shields due to his inconsistency and injury issues. New England would be wise to swoop in and try to scoop him up on a team-friendly contract. Shields would be a huge addition to their defense, as he has been one of the top cover corners in the NFL over the last few seasons when he has been healthy. Expect to see the Patriots active once again this offseason when free agency opens up. New England will get a few players on bargain deals and should be able to keep one or two of their own key free agents. Don’t be surprised if the Patriots are in the mix for yet another Super Bowl appearance next season. Do you think the New England Patriots should target one of these five free agents? What other names would you add to the list? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below! [Featured Image by Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini]

Dallas Cowboys: Five Potential 2017 NFL Free Agency Targets

Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys were just a move or two away from a Super Bowl victory last season and are hoping to take the next step in 2017. After losing in heartbreaking fashion to the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs, the Cowboys will look to make some moves in free agency. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott took the NFL by storm in 2016. Dallas has the majority of their offense figured out moving forward, although improving around those two young talents would be wise as well. On the defensive side of the football, the Cowboys showed major improvement this past season. They still have holes, especially when it comes to putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Dallas will likely spend the majority of their offseason money on defense, which gives them quite a few options to look at. Jason Garrett has to be excited about the future of his football team. They have the potential to win at least one or two Super Bowls with Prescott leading the way and are still viewed as a top free agency landing spot. If they play their cards right this offseason, the Cowboys could bring in a few more key pieces. All of that being said, which five players could be potential targets in 2017 NFL free agency? 2017 Free Agency Preview: Dallas Cowboys by @PFF_Matt — Pro Football Focus (@PFF) February 24, 2017 Darius Butler, Cornerback If the Cowboys are looking to make a cheap addition to the defensive secondary, Darius Butler could be the guy. Butler has spent the last five years with the Colts and recorded 33 tackles, three interceptions, and seven broken up passes last year. Dallas could get him at a cheap price and he could help take their defense to the next level. Jeremy Kerley, Wide Receiver Assuming the Cowboys don’t go out of their way to re-sign Terrance Williams, they could be looking for a replacement. Jeremy Kerley is a potential target should the Cowboys search for one. Last season with the San Francisco 49ers, Kerley racked up 64 passes for 667 yards and three touchdowns and would be a solid depth pickup for the Cowboys. Andre Ellington, Running Back Dallas could very well be looking at pursuing a new backup running back this offseason. Lance Dunbar and Darren McFadden are both likely to leave, which could leave a hole. Andre Ellington would make a lot of sense to back Elliott up and wouldn’t cost much on the open market. National analyst: Cowboys need to make ‘bold move’ to sign DE Jason Pierre-Paul — SportsDay Cowboys (@dmn_cowboys) February 14, 2017 Jason Pierre-Paul, Defensive End Signing Jason Pierre-Paul would be a big step in the right direction for the Cowboys’ pass rush. Pierre-Paul has been a threat for the division rival New York Giants for years and could fill a major hole in Dallas. JPP may not end up leaving the Giants but if he does, the Cowboys need to be one of his potential suitors. Trumaine Johnson, Cornerback There is no guarantee that Trumaine Johnson will end up leaving the Los Angeles Rams this offseason. If he does and the Cowboys decide to make a big splash in free agency, they could be a perfect fit. Johnson is one of the more underrated players in the NFL and would be a big boost to the Dallas defense. Expect to see the Cowboys consider aggressive moves in free agency this offseason. There are plenty of holes for them to fill, with these five players being potential targets that could fit those needs. Dallas may not make any major moves this offseason, but if they do, they will put themselves in a better position to finally bring the Lombardi Trophy back to town. Do you think these five players are good free agency targets for the Dallas Cowboys? What other players do you think they should target when free agency opens up? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below! [Featured Image by Bill Kostroun/AP Images]