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wanted him, Hagestad joked

  • 27 March 2019
    Who is that one player each team could least afford to lose this season? NFL Nation reporters look beyond the quarterback and select 32 most valuable players.NFC East | NFC North | NFC South | NFC West AFC East | AFC North| AFC South | AFC WestNFC EASTDallas CowboysLeft tackle Tyron SmithThe Cowboys are so dependent on Tony Romo it is hard to come up with someone else for this category. Sean Lee would be an obvious defensive choice. Jason Witten means so much to this offense and because he has never missed a game since 2003 any absence would be shocking. But the answer is Smith. Romo would be able to compensate well enough to a prolonged absence of Dez Bryant. Smith has missed just one game in his career and he has been dominant in protecting Romos blind side. If the Cowboys lose Smith they would have to go to second-year tackle Chaz Green or move right tackle?Doug Free, right guard Zack Martin or left guard Lael Collins to compensate. -- Todd ArcherNew York GiantsWide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.Hes the best player on the field every day at Giants practice ... and by a wide margin. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Janoris Jenkins are proven, solid cornerbacks, but they cant guard him. Beckham has 25 touchdowns in 27 career games. Thats a significantly better touchdown-per-game ratio than legends such as Jerry Rice and Randy Moss. He has been the Giants MVP each of the past two seasons, and it hasnt even been close. -- Jordan RaananPhiladelphia EaglesDefensive tackle Fletcher CoxOne of the top defensive players in the game, Cox led the Eagles in sacks (9.5), tackles for a loss (16.5) and hurries (32) last season. Now back in an attack 4-3 system similar to the one he was originally drafted to play in, his presence is expected to be felt all the more along the defensive front. Jim Schwartzs scheme is largely dependent on the D-line being able to generate a pass rush on its own. Expect a lot of that pressure to come straight up the gut. -- Tim McManusWashington RedskinsTight end Jordan ReedIn the past it always has been left tackle Trent Williams and perhaps in many ways that remains true. But Reed is critical to what they do in the passing game and such a strong target for quarterback Kirk Cousins (a 130.1 passer rating when targeting him last season) that losing him for a long period of time would be damaging. You can make a similar case for receiver DeSean Jackson, but the Redskins rely on Reed in so many areas of the field and their passing game revolves around him. And their passing game is the reason theres optimism in Washington. -- John KeimNFC NORTHChicago BearsWide receiver Alshon JefferyJeffery is the only Pro Bowl-caliber skill position player on the offense. Hes ninth in receiving yards (3,361) since 2013, and he tied a Bears record with three straight 100-yard receiving games last season. Despite all the injury problems in 2015, Jeffery still averaged 89.7 receiving yards per game. Without Jeffery, the Bears are left with promising but unproven Kevin White, and the injury-plagued Eddie Royal. Jeffery is a player the Bears can absolutely not afford to lose in 2016. -- Jeff DickersonDetroit LionsDE Ezekiel AnsahHe had one of the better seasons for a defensive end in Lions history in 2015, picking up a Pro Bowl berth and 14.5 sacks. He has become Detroits best overall player with the retirement of Calvin Johnson and even though the Lions are deep on the defensive line, it could be season-crushing if they lost him. Hes the anchor of the defensive line and one of the premier pass-rushers in the NFL this season.-- Michael RothsteinGreen Bay PackersWide receiver Jordy NelsonThe Pro Bowl receivers value was never more evident than in 2015, when he missed the entire season because of a knee injury and the Packers offense plummeted to 23rd in the NFL and tied for 25th in passing yards. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers needs the big-play threat that Nelson provides in order to make the rest of the offense work. -- Rob DemovskyMinnesota VikingsRunning back Adrian PetersonThere are a number of defensive players, such as Everson Griffen and Harrison Smith, who are contending for this title. But at the moment, its still Peterson. No player in the NFL accounted for a greater percentage of his teams yardage than the leagues leading rusher a year ago, and at age 31, Peterson still figures to be a central piece of the Vikings offense. -- Ben GoesslingNFC SOUTHAtlanta FalconsWide receiver Julio JonesJones is, of course, the non-QB MVP of the Falcons. In fact, Jones is the MVP of the Falcons, period, as the best player on the team. He had the second-highest single-season receiving total in NFL history last year with 1,871 receiving yards. His combination of size, speed and athleticism is unmatched at the receiver position. -- Vaughn McClureCarolina PanthersMLB Luke KuechlyDont be fooled by Carolina going 3-0 without him last season. Kuechly is arguably more valuable to the team than quarterback Cam Newton in terms of everything he does for the defense. He has led the NFL in tackles since entering the league in 2012 and few, if any, linebackers are better in coverage. Now he says he wants to be a better pass-rusher, so quarterbacks beware. -- David NewtonNew Orleans SaintsDefensive end Cameron JordanIll give a slight edge to Jordan over left tackle Terron Armstead -- mostly because the Saints struggling defense needs Jordan so badly. Jordan, 27, made his second Pro Bowl as an alternate last season with 10 sacks. Since 2012, he ranks in the top 10 in the NFL in both sacks (38) and batted passes (14). Only J.J. Watt and Justin Houston have him beat in both categories. -- Mike TriplettTampa Bay BuccaneersDefensive tackle Gerald McCoyThe Bucs defense looked noticeably different in the second preseason game, with the defensive line failing to generate a single sack after four the previous week. What was the difference? McCoy sat out because of a minor ankle injury. It all starts up front with McCoy, a four-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro who has, as several players have pointed out, one of the fastest, scariest get-offs theyve seen. Since 2013, he has had 26.5 sacks, the most of any defensive tackle during that span. -- Jenna LaineNFC WESTArizona CardinalsLeft tackle Jared VeldheerWhile the entire offensive line is charged with protecting quarterback Carson Palmer, Veldheer is the one whos most responsible for making sure Palmer stays upright and doesnt get hurt. Veldheer lost about 20 pounds last season because of a new diet. But he has gained that all back heading into 2016 and his teammates have noticed. Hes been lights out all camp, Palmer said. If Palmer goes down, so do the Cardinals Super Bowl hopes (see: 2014), so keeping him healthy is literally the difference between winning a ring and not. -- Josh WeinfussLos Angeles RamsDefensive tackle Aaron DonaldGreat as running back Todd Gurley may be, the Rams most important player is Donald, who is already considered the consensus best at his position. Donald compiled 20 sacks in his first two seasons in the NFL, both of which ended with invitations to the Pro Bowl, and is key to a defensive line that must effectively get to the quarterback in order to take some pressure off what appears to be a vulnerable secondary. Pro Football Focus named Donald the best performer last season, with a 98.8 pass-rush grade that was the best for interior defensive linemen. His combined sacks-and-hits total of 37 was 14 more than any other positional peer. -- Alden GonzalezSan Francisco 49ersRunning back Carlos HydeNot to be redundant here but the Niners will lean on Hyde to be the focal point of coach Chip Kellys offense. That offense works best when the running game revs, as evidenced by the 2013 season when Philadelphia finished second in the NFL in total yards behind a running game that was 16 yards per game clear of the second-best team in the league. The 49ers were 21st in the NFL in rushing yards a year ago when there was no clear-cut No. 2 back capable of carrying the load in Hydes place. San Francisco hopes that DuJuan Harris (who showed flashes in 2015), Shaun Draughn, Mike Davis or someone else emerges but Hyde is the most important person on this offense. That makes him the most irreplaceable part of a team that must score more points in 2016. -- Nick WagonerSeattle SeahawksSafety Earl ThomasIt really comes down to Thomas and CB Richard Sherman. Thomas gets the nod here because without him, the Seahawks would have to change the way they play. Earl Thomas is kind of like either the Dos Equis guy or Chuck Norris, Sherman said. Hes a guy who is exactly who people think he is and better than the people who think hes the best. Thomas range allows the Seahawks to consistently play with a single high safety. He is one of the main reasons why the defense consistently limits big plays in the passing game, and Thomas does a great job playing downhill as the last line of defense against the run as well. -- Sheil KapadiaAFC EASTBuffalo BillsWide receiver Sammy WatkinsThe Bills offense is a shadow of itself when Watkins, the fourth overall pick in 2014, isnt on the field. Watkins is arguably more valuable than quarterback Tyrod Taylor because when he is healthy, opposing defenses have game plans that start with attempting to stop him. -- Mike RodakMiami DolphinsDefensive tackle Ndamukong SuhSuh is the engine in the middle of Miamis defense and the player it can least afford to lose. In many ways, the Dolphins wide-9 alignment is built around Suh being hard to move in the middle. Fortunately for the Dolphins, Suh has been durable. He has missed only two games his entire career, and that was because of a NFL disciplinary suspension while with the Lions. -- James WalkerNew England PatriotsLinebacker Jamie CollinsCollins is a rare athlete, and because the Patriots dont have great depth at their off-the-line linebacker spot, it makes him that much more valuable. Coach Bill Belichick once talked about Collins rare physical traits in the same sentence as Pro Football Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor, saying, Its not exactly like theres two dozen of them in the draft every year. Were lucky to have one. Was Lawrence Taylor a prototype outside linebacker? Wheres the next Lawrence Taylor? Those guys dont grow on trees. -- Mike ReissNew York JetsWide receiver Brandon MarshallMarshall is the difference-maker on offense. The Jets have a handful of blue-chip players on defense, but they could overcome the loss of one, maybe two. But if they were to lose Marshall, there would be a negative trickle-down effect on the entire offense. Hes Ryan Fitzpatricks go-to guy, as he averaged 10.9 targets per game in 2015. -- Rich CiminiAFC NORTHBaltimore RavensLinebacker Terrell SuggsRavens owner Steve Bisciotti said at the end of last season that he didnt realize how valuable Suggs was until he suffered a season-ending Achilles injury 3 1/2 quarters into the 2015 season. It was the biggest domino effect of losing one guy, Bisciotti said after Baltimore finished 5-11. The numbers back up the importance of Suggs. With Suggs, the Ravens are 109-73 (.598) and allow 17.9 points per game. Without him, Baltimore is 11-15 (.423) and gives up 23.7 points per game since 2003 (his first season). -- Jamison HensleyCincinnati BengalsWide receiver A.J. GreenGreen is by far the most valuable offensive weapon next to quarterback Andy Dalton. He has had at least 1,000 yards receiving every season of his career (1,297 yards and 10 touchdowns last year). He has been the undisputed No. 1 Bengals wideout for years, but with Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones gone, the Bengals might lean on the five-time Pro Bowler Green even more this season, if thats possible. Losing him would be devastating for the offense. -- Katherine TerrellCleveland BrownsLeft tackle Joe ThomasEasy decision. No-brainer, really. Thomas has been on the field for every snap since being drafted in 2007, and he has made the Pro Bowl every season he has played. Thomas is probably the team MVP even including the QB. -- Pat McManamonPittsburgh SteelersWide receiver Antonio BrownHe has entered the conversation of the NFLs best players regardless of position. His 265-catch performance from 2014-15 is an NFL record for a two-year span. Steelers players have voted him a team MVP in three of his first six seasons. He might get 200 targets from Ben Roethlisberger this year. And hes a top-20 jersey seller leaguewide. Brown is a poster child for non-QB MVPs. -- Jeremy FowlerAFC SOUTHHouston TexansDefensive end J.J. WattWatt may be the best player in the NFL, so naturally he would be the player Houston cannot afford to lose this season. He is currently on the physically unable to perform list after having back surgery at the end of July. Watt, who has 38 sacks over the past two years, might miss the start of the regular season, but the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Years health after returning will be key to the Texans quest to repeat as AFC South champions. -- Sarah BarshopIndianapolis ColtsCornerback Vontae DavisThe last thing the Colts can afford on defense is to lose Pro Bowl cornerback Vontae Davis. Guess what? The Colts have lost Davis for a period of time. He could miss the first month of the season with a medial right ankle sprain. Davis showed his value when he went through a 25-game stretch starting late in the 2013 season where he did not give up a touchdown reception. -- Mike WellsJacksonville JaguarsWide receiver Allen RobinsonRobinson had a breakout season in 2015 (1,400 yards, team-record 14 TDs), and hes clearly the key to the offense. He worked on becoming a better route runner, which will make him even tougher to stop. Hes an amazing athlete (40-inch vertical leap) and has shown that off by going up and winning 50-50 balls and making countless back-shoulder catches. Defenses are going to have to double him and that opens up other options for an offense that has a good supply of playmakers. -- Mike DiRoccoTennessee TitansDefensive lineman Jurrell CaseyCasey keys both the pass rush and the run defense with his quick and powerful game. He may not look the part, but hes consistently disruptive and should continue to be the defensive tone-setter for the Titans. Last season, when the Titans left Jets receiver Brandon Marshall uncovered, Casey was the one defender to recognize what was up. The 6-foot-1, 305-pound bad-body lineman showed off his exceptional athleticism as he nearly tracked down the receiver as he ran to a long touchdown. -- Paul KuharskyAFC WESTDenver BroncosLinebacker Von MillerNon-quarterback MVP? Thats easy, go right to the $114.5 million man. Miller skipped the teams offseason program during his contract negotiations, but arrived to training camp fit and has been dialed in from the start. He shows elite explosiveness in the pass rush and also has been consistently disruptive in run defense. In short, if he stays healthy hes poised for a big season and should be in line to be among the players discussed as the leagues defensive player of the year when all is said and done. -- Jeff LegwoldKansas City ChiefsCornerback Marcus PetersPeters last year turned the Chiefs defense from one that struggled to force turnovers (six interceptions in 2014) to one of the NFL leaders in interceptions (22 last season). He tied for the NFL lead in interceptions with eight (and had another in the playoffs) and was selected as the NFLs Defensive Rookie of the Year. Those turnovers are crucial to a team that doesnt get a lot of big offensive plays. -- Adam TeicherOakland RaidersDefensive end Khalil MackThe non-quarterback MVP for the Oakland Raiders? Two words -- Khalil Mack. All Mack did last season was make history by being the first player in NFL annals named first-team All-Pro at two positions in the same season -- defensive end and outside linebacker. Macks 15 sacks set a high bar, but with another year of seasoning, he is already among the leagues elite players. -- Paul GutierrezSan Diego ChargersDefensive tackle Brandon MebaneThe Chargers top addition in free agency helped change the way San Diego defends the run and added some swagger to the defense. With the Chargers allowing 4.8 yards per carry last season -- second worst in the NFL -- the former Seattle Seahawk patrolling the middle should make San Diego much better stuffing the run in 2016. -- Eric D. Williams Wholesale Air Jordan Online .Y. - Free agent outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, fresh off winning the World Series with Boston, reached agreement with the rival New York Yankees on a seven-year contract worth about $153 million, a person familiar with the negotiations said Tuesday night. Wholesale Air Jordan China . The Clippers were angry about blowing a big lead; the Kings didnt like being in that kind of hole and nearly digging themselves out only to lose. . 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ELVERSON, Pa. -- Stewart Hagestad rallied to win the U.S. Mid-Amateur title Thursday, overcoming a late four-hole deficit and beating Scott Harvey with a 15-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole.Hagestad, the 25-year-old former Southern California player from Newport Beach, California, won four of the final five holes of regulation -- all with birdies -- and finished off Harvey on the par-3 37th with a spot in the Masters at stake at Stonewall Links.Its an absolute dream come true, Hagestad said. This is something Ive dreamed about ever since I can remember, and its an honor and a privilege to represent mid-amateurs around the country and to have won the championship.Hagestad was 5-down after 25 holes and 4-down after 31 in the event for players 25 and older.I had him right where I wanted him, Hagestad joked.Hagestad won the par-4 32nd and par-3 33rd, halved the par-4 34th with a bogey and won the par-3 35th and par-4 36th to tie it.Just keep chipping away at it, Hagestad said. I didnt want to go to sleep tonight knowing I left anything out there, or I wanted to leave everything I had out there. Just one hole at a time, one shot at a ttime.ddddddddddddAnd I was hitting it pretty darn well, I felt like for the last couple days, and if I could just see a couple putts go in the hole, I felt like I could get the ball rolling.The 38-year-old Harvey, from Greensboro, North Carolina, won the 2014 title. He missed a 15-foot birdie try on the 37th hole before Hagestad holed the winner from a foot closer.Im fine, Harvey said. I mean, Ive been here before and had some tough losses. Its one thing to completely give it away, and its another to get beat like that. He just made some incredible birdies coming in.Hagestad is planning a practice round at Augusta National with friends Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.Thats probably one of the first phone calls Im going to make, Hagestad said.For the first time in USGA championship history, the stroke-play, co-host course was used in a 36-hole championship match. The first 18 holes were played on the par-70 North Course and the afternoon round was on the par-70 Old Course, the site off all of the other matches. ' ' '