What you need to know about new Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper

Jay Asser 17/05/2018
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The Carolina Panthers have a new owner in David Tepper, who agreed to buy the franchise from Jerry Richardson for $2.2 billion.

The record-breaking price is the highest for an NFL team, surpassing the $1.4 billion for the Buffalo Bills in 2014.

Here’s what you need to know about 60-year-old Tepper and what he means for the Panthers.

Staying put

Most importantly for Carolina fans, Tepper is expected to keep the team where they are and not relocate.

Of course, with Tepper’s background as a shrewd businessman, it’s fair to wonder if that could change down the road when an opportunity opens up. But at the moment, according to all indications, Tepper shares Richardson’s vision for the franchise in the North Carolina region.

Familiar face

Tepper is actually already a known name in NFL circles because he’s a minority owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

For that reason, it was simpler for the NFL to approve the sale of the Panthers to him as he’s already passed the league’s vetting process.

Tepper, who was born in Pittsburgh, will have to sell his 5 per cent stake in the Steelers before completing the Panthers purchase.

Money man

Tepper will immediately become one of the wealthiest owners in the NFL, thanks to his background as the founder of global hedge fund Appaloosa Management.

His net worth, according to Forbes, is a whopping $11 billion, so he certainly knows how to make money.

His Appaloosa offices have the look of a high-end sports bar, with Steelers memorabilia dispersed throughout.

Anti-Trump

It’s unclear how much it will matter, but one interesting tidbit on Tepper is that he’s not a fan of United States President Donald Trump.

He hasn’t been shy in his criticism of Trump, having spoken on his disapproval of the President in interviews and even at his alma mater, Carnegie Mellon University.

“You have one person with questionable judgment and the other person may be demented, narcissistic and a scumbag,” Tepper said back in October 2016, ahead of the Presidential election, in an interview on CNBC. “Not saying which one’s which. You can make your own decision on that.”

Trump has his fair share of supporters among owners in the NFL, but he also faced resistance last season when the league pushed back at him regarding the national anthem protests.

With Tepper now one of the most important people in the NFL, there’s a chance he and Trump butt heads.

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Peyton Manning and the other top quarterbacks to be taken in the first round of the NFL draft

Jay Asser 2/05/2018
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Peyton Manning was drafted first overall in 1998.

As a quarterback, being selected in the first round of the NFL draft isn’t the be-all, end-all. Just ask Tom Brady, among others.

But there is some prestige, as well as expectation, that comes with being a QB taken within the first 32 picks, as the five players who went in the first round of last week’s draft will learn.

Here are the top five quarterbacks drafted in the first round in NFL history, beginning with the greatest number one overall pick ever.

Peyton Manning

You could see a successful career for Manning coming from a mile away when he was highly-rated in college at Tennessee and the number one overall draft pick in 1998. And yet, he somehow surpassed the hype and went on to become one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.

Manning

Aaron Rodgers

Unlike many of his peers, the Green Bay Packers quarterback took an unorthodox route to stardom. After spending one year in junior college, Rodgers transferred to California, where he shined to become a top prospect. However, he still fell to No24 in the 2005 draft, but it all worked out in the end.

Rodgers

John Elway

Even though Stanford had a losing record during his time in college, Elway was a can’t-miss prospect for a reason, which he showed when he got to the NFL by being drafted first overall by Baltimore in 1983. After forcing his way to Denver, Elway led the franchise to two Super Bowl wins and earned Super Bowl MVP.

Elway

Dan Marino

Even though he’s one of the most talented quarterbacks in NFL history, Marino wasn’t even one of the first QBs taken in his draft as five others went before him in 1983. The Miami Dolphins finally selected him at No27 and Marino would go on to be a legend, even without winning a Super Bowl.

Marino

Otto Graham

The Cleveland Browns have been a laughingstock for a while now, but there was a time when they were dominant, thanks to Graham. He was drafted fourth overall by the Detroit Lions in 1944, but didn’t join them due to being with the Navy. When he reached Cleveland, he won three championships.

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NFL Draft: Baltimore Ravens are winners with Lamar Jackson, Buffalo Bills losers for trading up twice and other takeaways

Jay Asser 29/04/2018
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Lamar Jackson was taken 32nd overall by the Ravens.

The NFL draft, after lasting what felt like a week, is finally over. And it didn’t disappoint as surprising picks and several trades highlighted the proceedings.

It’s always important to remember that the true impact of these draft picks won’t be fully realised for years and that none of these rookies have played a snap in the league yet.

But with that said, here are winners and losers of the draft, along with some miscellaneous takeaways.

WINNERS

Cleveland Browns

It would have taken a significant screw-up for Cleveland to not end up here, considering they had two picks in the first four selections. But they deserve credit for wielding those picks well, too.

It’s way too soon to say if Baker Mayfield will be the best quarterback in this class, but it’s certainly easier to believe him in right now than in the theoretical nature of someone like Josh Allen.

You could argue they should have followed that up by taking the consensus best player in the draft, Bradley Chubb, at four, but forgoing a pass rusher in favour of a playmaking cornerback in Denzel Ward is hardly a crime.

Running-back Nick Chubb and wide receiver Antonio Callaway were also promising picks later on as the Browns came out of the draft with a reason for optimism.

Baker

Denver Broncos

John Elway didn’t spring on his quarterback of the future, but you can’t blame him because of what he ended up with instead.

Bradley Chubb fell into the Broncos’ lap at fifth overall, so instead of trading their pick and acquiring more capital, Elway decided to bolster their strength and add the pass rusher to a defence that already includes Von Miller.

That’s the type of luxury you can afford when you bring in a veteran quarterback like Case Keenum, who may not light the world on fire, but is more than a steady hand.

Baltimore Ravens

There’s a chance Baltimore ended up with the best quarterback in the draft, and all it took was moving into the 32nd pick.

Lamar Jackson may not be the prototypical quarterback, but if you have eyes and followed his college career, you know he’s an electric playmaker capable of taking over games. Will he have to improve his accuracy and reads to succeed in the NFL? Sure. But the talent is unquestionably already there and he’ll have at least a year to develop behind Joe Flacco.

Ozzie Newsome wasn’t done there though, as he went on to select multiple players who thrived in college, including offensive tackle Orlando Brown, cornerback Anthony Averett and safety Deshone Elliott.

LOSERS

Buffalo Bills

The NFL draft is a crapshoot, which is why packaging picks to trade up – essentially sacrificing multiple chances at landing an impact player in favour of going all-in on one player – is often foolhardy.

To trade up twice in the first round? That’s just asking for regret down the road.

And yet Buffalo felt it necessary to move up to seventh overall to take Josh Allen and then trade up to 16 and nab Tremaine Edmunds.

This criticism of the Bills has less to do with the players they picked – although Allen has his doubters for a reason – and more to do with their process. This is the same team, by the way, that traded the ninth overall pick, along with a first and fourth-rounder in 2015 to move up and select wide receiver Sammy Watkins fourth overall.

The circumstances are different this time around, but still. Have the Bills learned nothing?

Josh Allen

New Orleans Saints

Speaking of trading up, the Saints were also guilty of giving in to temptation.

New Orleans surrendered next year’s first-rounder to move from 27 to 14 to snag raw but talented pass rusher Marcus Davenport, which is a good pick in a vacuum, but perhaps not for the price it required.

They then took offensive lineman Rick Leonard in the fourth round, which was a head-scratcher based on where he was ranked by many coming into the draft.

Maybe the Saints know something the rest of us don’t?

TAKEAWAYS

Patriots wait on QB

Somewhat surprisingly, New England didn’t take a quarterback until the seventh round, when they selected Danny Etling.

So after rumours ahead of the draft suggested they may move up and take a top quarterback prospect, the Patriots ultimately played it pretty safe at the position. Which is a little disappointing because they could have taken Jackson at 31 overall, instead of fortifying their deep stable of running backs.

But Bill Belichick is Bill Belichick for a reason and it’s probably safe to assume he knows what he’s doing. That’s not to say Etling will become Tom Brady’s successor, but New England is always going to take the measured approach.

Belichick

Worth a shot

It’s always interesting to see where talented players with red flags – medical, behavioural, legal, etc. – will go.

Highly productive defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, who has heart issues, was taken in the fifth round by Oakland; linebacker Shaquem Griffin, who has one hand, was taken in the fifth round by Seattle; and Callaway, who has been in trouble for various reasons, was picked in the fourth round by Cleveland.

All three of those players have the talent to outperform where they were drafted, and if they do, the teams that took them will look smart. And if they don’t work out, a fourth or fifth round pick hardly constitutes much of a risk.

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