The Panthers are looking at receivers, and Ridley is the top talent left on the board.

Giving Cam Newton a versatile receiver would help keep this offense fresh and allow Carolina to draft offensive and defensive line throughout the rest of the draft.

Looking at the Panthers’ roster, it’s clear this team has a lot of talent but also a lot of holes. An infusion of young talent on offense and defense is sorely needed and the new talent needs to be able to contribute early.

Carolina has to use its four picks in the top 100 on players who not only fill a need but also can step onto the field in 2018 and claim a prominent role in the lineup.

(He posted 50-goal seasons at various levels in each of his four seasons before coming to the NHL.) We have already seen this postseason how important Hischier and McAvoy are to their respective teams. Meanwhile, Boeser may already be the next face of the Vancouver Canucks following the retirement of the Sedins.

My answer, however, is Barzal, the unequivocal Calder Trophy front-runner. Russ Farwell, the GM of Barzal’s junior team, the Seattle Thunderbirds, told me in January that, as he watched Barzal thrive with the New York Islanders from afar, the thing that impressed him most was that Barzal hadn’t changed his game at all — despite the significant talent jump from the WHL to NHL. Combine that confidence with pure talent and you have a recipe for a long and illustrious NHL career. Plus, everything you hear about Barzal is that he’s a true student of the game. The 20-year-old is poised for long-term success.

Safety: The Panthers parted ways with Kurt Coleman this offseason to clear cap space and to get younger and faster at the position. They signed former Titans safety Da’Norris Searcy in free agency and Mike Adams is likely to start again at strong safety. But the former should be more of a depth signing, and the latter, at 37, is no spring chicken, so this position needs to be addressed sooner than later.canucks_684

Will Broncos revive run game with first-round pick?

The Broncos needed a running back in the 2009 draft and used a first-round pick to get one, Knowshon Moreno, with the 12th overall pick. He did not, however, develop into the franchise back they were hoping for.

Which is more the norm than the exception.

The Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers play a makeup game of their April 4 postponement on Friday, giving them a doubleheader on that day, and both of them a seven-game week. Thanks in part to the extra game, the Tigers and their pair of series against below-average pitching staffs, and the Royals with a week-opening trip to hitting-friendly Rogers Centre, both teams could provide handy plug-ins for your Week 3 lineups.

Tigers leadoff man Leonys Martin (available in more than 95 percent of ESPN leagues) is worth your while in a week where the Tigers face five right-handed starters, while Royals four/five hitter Lucas Duda (available in roughly 85 percent) could benefit from the stronger home-run environments on the team’s schedule.

The Broncos have until May 3 to exercise the option, which guarantees him $9.2 million for injury only and can be otherwise rescinded.

Lowry gives DeRozan a hard time after 37-point gameKyle Lowry jokingly says DeMar DeRozan is a great basketball player but a terrible friend.
Lowry punctuated DeRozan’s statement with a sarcastic clap. DeRozan was neither amused nor offended. He was as steady as his procession of long-distance hoops, nifty step-throughs, leaners and floaters in traffic. When Washington nibbled the lead down to five with less than eight minutes remaining in the game, it was DeRozan who scored six of the next nine Raptors points to extend the lead back to 12.

As a team, the Raptors are leaving no money on the table. They’ve logged an otherworldly 91.7 percent effective field goal percentage on their uncontested shots in the two games, and they are 68.8 percent on their catch-and-shoot opportunities.seahawks_074

There is an ongoing search by the Giants to find a capable free safety to start alongside Landon Collins.

That search resulted in the signing of Michael Thomas, a veteran with 24 starts in his NFL career.

Thomas, 29, joined the Dolphins in 2013, became a full-time starter in 2015 and arrives with a reputation as a strong contributor on special teams. He played in 13 games for the Dolphins last season, starting two games, before landing on injured reserve in late December.

Thomas figures to challenge Darian Thompson for the starting free safety spot. Thompson showed great promise as a rookie, winning a starting job, but lasted only two games before hurting his foot, requiring season-ending surgery. He did not have a strong season in 2017, raising doubts about his ability to be a full-time starter.

As an organization, the Phillies are trying to temper a narrative that’s hard to corral. From the moment owner John Middleton pledged allegiance to the analytics revolution in 2015, they’ve had to balance their embrace of numbers with the perception that they have strayed from traditional scouting and become oblivious to the human element. The Phillies didn’t even have an analytics department until 2013, so upper management is less concerned with achieving world domination through statistics than with playing catchup with the competition.

Suh has visited the Titans, Rams and Saints since the Dolphins released him last week.

It is surprising the Jets would target the 31-year-old Suh based off of their approach to free agency so far. They have signed players mainly between the ages of 25-28 outside of quarterback Josh McCown. Other than cornerback Trumaine Johnson, the contracts have been more team friendly than what one would expect Suh to command.

Bowles could be the driving force behind the pursuit of Suh. He probably envisions him immediately upgrading his defensive line, which has lost Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson in the past year.

While Suh’s sack numbers have decreased recently, he still is an incredibly disruptive player. He had 30 quarterback hurries last year and 4.5 sacks.

Pro Football Focus graded him as the fifth best interior lineman last year. He ranked second with a 92.4 grade against the run, trailing only Giants run-stuffer Damon Harrison.

Suh is a versatile player who can move all over the defensive line. Bowles could use him in the traditional 3-4 defensive end role or slide him inside in a four-man front. He would be like a chess piece for the defensive-minded Bowles to use.

Bowles has always spoken highly of Suh.

TCU names former assistant Jeremiah Donati as athletic director

“[Bradshaw] is a great kid. The facts are the facts, and we are going to treat him, and everybody else, exactly the same. It’s important to do that and not favor any one cadet over another.”

Bradshaw, who has rushed for 1,566 yards — an Army single-season record — and thrown for 279 yards while scoring 13 total touchdowns this season, started Saturday’s 14-13 win against Navy.

Bradshaw’s 1-yard touchdown run in the final six minutes of the fourth quarter secured the victory.

Clay remains a questionable listing, despite the fact that he has played each week since returning from knee surgery. Although he was held out Wednesday, Clay returned for back-to-back full sessions Thursday and Friday. The bigger question might be who will be throwing passes his way on Sunday, but Clay is expected to be on the field to face the Colts.

Broncos safety Darian Stewart was fined $24,309 for Sunday’s hit on Amari Cooper, a blow that resulted in a concussion for the Raiders wide receiver.

Cooper tried to haul in a first-down pass over the middle from quarterback Derek Carr in Sunday’s win over the rival Broncos, but was hit mid-air by Stewart. Though the hit appeared to be clean, Stewart was penalized for unnecessary roughness.

Cooper dropped his head as Stewart approached and Cooper’s shoulder collided with Stewart’s back, causing Cooper’s neck to bend awkwardly.

A cart came out for Cooper, but he was able to stand and slowly walked off the field and straight to the Raiders locker room at The Oakland Coliseum. Cooper is expected to miss Sunday’s game against the Giants.

Cardinals’ David Johnson reportedly will have wrist surgery, miss 2-3 months

The Cardinals got the news they had feared about David Johnson’s dislocated wrist. The running back will have surgery this week and miss two to three months, ESPN reported Tuesday.

1. His full name is Sergio Alejandro Dipp Walther. He was born in Mexicali, Mexico, in 1988 and attended university in Monterrey, where he studied communications.

2. He began working in media in 2009 while he was still in university, and he joined ESPN Deportes in 2013. He covered the London Olympics in 2012 and the Packers-Steelers Super Bowl in 2011.

3. He was a football player himself. In Mexico. He was listed as a defensive lineman.

4. He covers the other football, too; the world’s football. One of his biggest coups as a reporter was getting an in-depth story with Mexican soccer star Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez in Germany. If you want to hear Dipp do work in his native language, check out this clip:

Coach Bruce Arians had hinted at that outcome and timeline Monday as the team awaited a second opinion, and another look merely ended up confirming the initial diagnosis. Johnson is headed to injured reserve with the hope that he’ll be able to return later this season, ESPN said.


New company will let sports fans rent jerseys of their favorite teams for monthly fee

Sports fans may soon have access to all different kinds of jerseys in a way that’s never been possible before.

A new company called Rep The Squad will give fans the chance to rent a different jersey each week for a monthly subscription.

“When Rickey burst on the scene, it was just another indication to all of us baseball players — and there were a plethora of us around at that time — that thought, ‘Wow, Rickey’s there. We can do it too’,” said Roberts, who went to Skyline High. “Rickey was what we all dreamed of being someday.”

McGill, 24, has a court appearance scheduled for Oct. 24. The Browns were not aware McGill had been charged before they claimed him.

McGill spent the past two seasons with Indianapolis after entering the NFL in 2015 with the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent. The former NC State player appeared in 25 games with the Colts, recording 17 tackles and five sacks.

The Charlotte Observer reported McGill was spotted by a law enforcement official with “a small amount” of marijuana in Charlotte on Saturday.

The teams in this tier are also imperfect. They’ve got one unit that has No.-1-in-the-league upside and one that might do well to finish around the league average. As that Bucs team showed us, though, that might be enough to do the job.

Joyner: The Jaguars face Houston, Tennessee, Pittsburgh and the Rams in four of their first six games. Blake Bortles could implode in all four of those tough matchups, but all it will take is one abysmal performance for Jacksonville to put an end to the Bortles era.raptors_140

Bill Belichick has some very good advice about training camp

Training camps are underway around the NFL, and it’s everybody’s first true football fix since the Super Bowl in February. While it feels like a monumental milestone, Bill Belichick wants to remind you that what you’re seeing now doesn’t mean as much as you might think it does.

On Friday, Belichick — who is usually short-winded with his answers (except when it involves actual football) — delivered a long speech on why the early parts of camp don’t really matter.

Kaepernick has said that he won’t continue his national anthem protest this year. And he’s working with a trainer to make sure he’s in game shape. He has more experience and has achieved more in this league than quarterbacks like Josh McCown, Brian Hoyer, and Nick Foles, who are all on rosters right now.

The fear of fan backlash is a flimsy excuse. Kaepernick’s officially licensed merchandise sales demonstrate that he has plenty of fan support.

The most common working theory for Kaepernick’s continued unemployment is that he’s being blackballed by owners who fear a negative fan response to his national anthem protests. Giants owner John Mara, who was slow to cut kicker Josh Brown despite a known history of domestic violence, claimed there was an outpouring of fan anger about last year’s national anthem protests like he had never seen.

“All my years being in the league, I never received more emotional mail from people than I did about that issue,” Mara said, via the MMQB. “If any of your players ever do that, we are never coming to another Giants game. It wasn’t one or two letters. It was a lot.”

Amar’e Stoudemire says he’d ‘shower across the street’ if he had a gay teammate

Former NBA All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire may receive some backlash for the homophobic comments he made Tuesday.

The 34-year-old, who is playing professional basketball in Israel, was asked by Walla Sport whether he would have a problem with a gay teammate.

“I’m going to shower across the street, make sure my change of clothes are around the corner,” Stoudemire said.

“And I’m going to drive [and] take a different route to the gym.”

When asked by a reporter whether he really meant what he said, Stoudemire replied, “There’s always a truth within a joke.”

Celtics: Given this accepted trade, it’s clear the asset-rich Celtics just decided to not go after Cousins. They could have easily topped this offer. Some fans in Boston will not be pleased by that, but the opportunity cost going after Cousins at the expense of another star is real for them. Also, the fit with Al Horford raises more questions than the one with Davis. Overall, that one makes sense.

Warriors: It wouldn’t surprise to see the Warriors be aggressive on the buyout market for a big man. It was likely something they were going to look into anyway, but a potential first-round date against Cousins and Davis could raise some eyebrows for them matchup-wise, even if it’s still probably not enough to get the job done.

Rodriguez, 31, was the EuroLeague MVP in 2014 and helped Real Madrid win the EuroLeague title in 2015. He also has been a staple on the Spanish national team, which won bronze at the Rio Olympics.

He came back stateside in 2016-17, averaging 7.8 points and 5.1 assists for the 76ers. saints_015-223x223

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra remembers the practice well.

“That’s what we need him to do,” star guard Isaiah Thomas said. “He’s a hell of a player. Even the stat sheet doesn’t explain how good of a player he is sometimes where he’s not scoring or rebounding, he’s doing a lot of things to help out everybody else on this team whether he helps on defense, whether that be making the right play on offense, he’s a complete basketball player. When he plays like he did tonight, especially in the second half, nine times out of 10 we usually win those games.”

If Horford had his faults during the regular season, he is playing past them now. He is one of the few players on the Celtics’ roster with extensive playoff experience; he reached the conference finals two years ago and was part of a Hawks team that beat the Celtics last year to advance to the second round.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra remembers the practice well. It was after a loss against the Bucks on Jan. 13, dropping Miami to at 11-30 overall, and the team had four days before its game versus the surging Rockets.

Sputtering a bit down the stretch, San Antonio lost four out of its last five, including three straight. It seems like age is finally going to take its toll on this team every year, yet every year the Spurs are contenders.

Kawhi Leonard took another step toward stardom this season by averaging 25.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. LaMarcus Aldridge (17.3 ppg) struggled at times, but he is rounding back into form at the right time.

The Grizzlies have not fared any better as of late. They enter the playoffs having lost five of six. The three-headed attack of Mike Conley, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol lost its bite a bit this season. Memphis, however, is very deep.

NFL is all set to ease up on celebration penalties, but still no twerking

The NFL is going to ease up on celebration penalties … finally. Roger Goodell released a letter that announced group celebrations, going to the ground, using the ball as a prop, etc., will now be allowed.

But they’re not going to completely surrender their reputation as the No Fun League. Anything with a little too much sexiness is still going to be verboten, stuff like twerking, hip thrusting, crotch grabbing, etc. Also banned still is anything involving a player mimicking a weapon (no bow-and-arrow shoots) or “prolonged” celebrations (gotta keep that clock moving). According to ESPN’s Kevin Seifert, dunking on the goal post is still a penalty as well.

Gronkowski is also known for his bro personality off the field: He has his own party cruise, he chugged beers “for the fans” at the Patriots’ victory parade, and he loves the number 69.

But on the field, he’s different. Last September, head coach Bill Belichick told MMQB that his tight end “is a versatile athlete, but he’s also a versatile guy mentally.

“He can handle a lot of different assignments. Some guys can’t. Either they mentally can’t do it, or it’s just too much and their game slows down. They don’t play to the same skill set you see athletically because they’re thinking too much. That’s not the case with Rob.”

He already registered 405 catches for 6,095 yards and 69 touchdowns in his career and has proved to be one of the best tight ends in the league. The only question surrounding him is if he can stay healthy.yankees_1262_259d48285ca0447b-180x180