By: Lucas Kochevar
Another Chargers player is in the spotlight on this page and this time it is RB Melvin Gordon. Gordon is the topic of today as he has been holding out for a new contract. Gordon has been vocal about wanting to get paid more before his rookie deal is up. The issue that Gordon has is that he has a history of injuries and the RB position has gotten very replaceable i.e Leveon Bell/James Conner in Pitt.
The Chargers are having pause on a deal that would keep Gordon in LA for the future. I do not blame them, however I would pay the man. Gordon has been one of the best backs in football since entering the league. The two-time pro bowler has 3,628 yards rushing and 28 touchdowns in his four year career. He has shown in multiple ways that he thrives in stretch plays off tackle. Once he gets to the outside he can be a threat to OLB and secondary players. Gordon can run in between the tackles too even if it isn't his strength. He has a very balanced attack running the ball.
The second reason they should sign him is that he provides another element in the passing game. He has a career number of 1,577 yards including a career-high 490 last season in just 12 games. His versatility is huge in the Chargers offense too. The Chargers feature a lot of short/dump off passes to the RB. They leave it up to their backs to make plays once Phillip Rivers swings it out to them. Rivers only has a number of years left as he is 37 and surrounding him with as much talent as possible should be their strategy to push for a Super Bowl. The only risk they have is if he gets hurt, but that is just a risk you have to take because any player can get hurt any time. Best of luck to Gordon as he looks for his deal.
By Lucas Kochevar
The Chargers have the most underappreciated team in the league, partly due to a move from San Diego to LA, and they have the most underappreciated WR in the league. Keenan Allen went under the radar and was drafted in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Standing at 6'2 and 211 lbs, Allen has carved himself a very nice career. Allen has had a bumpy career but that is mostly due to an ACL injury he had a couple years ago. Now that he is back and better than ever, Allen is here to stay and be in the conversation for top 5 receivers.
Allen displays very talented route running for a physical receiver. Allen displays very foot work when running routes in the 10-20 yard area. He makes sure to create space between him and the defender. He finds a way to create this space with his release at the line of scrimmage. He shows multiple examples against talented corners where he either shakes the receiver or blows by him. Allen finds a way to get to a spot where Rivers can squeeze the ball in.
Allen has developed over his time in the NFL with his hands. Keenan came into the league has a raw talent from Cal. He came in and really found a role as a starter after an injury to Malcom Floyd. Allen has really become a guy where you can throw it up and he'll find the ball. Allen has become a guy to watch and a role model for how to overcome adversities such as injuries and coming in behind other talents. He looks to improve upon his season where he had 97 catches with 1,196 yards and 6 TDs. Watch out for Keenan Allen.
By: Lucas Kochevar
The Raptors sit atop the East as they have had a tremendous year with DeMar DeRozan playing at a superstar level alongside his running mate Kyle Lowry. They also have players that fill out the starting lineup, such as Serge Ibaka and his shot blocking ability and Jonas Valanciunas and his scoring down in the post. The bench has also done their job with young role players like Fred Van Fleet and Jakob Poetl. A big boost to their bench has been C.J. Miles. His 3 and D style of play has really added a true threat to their bench.
The question, however, is whether or not they can perform in the playoffs?
History has not been kind to the Raptors in the playoffs. They have clinched the playoffs the last three years, but these were the results:
The Raptors look like a changed team compared to the last couple of Raptors teams. The East is also much more favorable with a Celtics team that has struggled as of late and a Cavaliers team that is still trying to click after stripping their roster down. The Raptors have all the pieces put together and they remind me of the 2015 Hawks. They are fun to watch and are very deep with their roster. The problem is that they still have to go through LeBron, like the 2015 Hawks. These Raptors are loaded and they should finish out the season strong, but be careful in trusting them. Toronto's season will be very disappointing if it ends in anything less than a Conference Finals berth. These Raptors are contenders in the East, but they certainly have no chance in them contending in a best-of-7 playoff series against the Warriors, Rockets, or even the Spurs.