Il Super Bowl torna a L.A.

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Il Super Bowl ritorna a Los Angeles dopo 48 lunghissimi anni grazie al nuovo stadio che i Rams stanno costruendo ad Inglewood con fine lavori prevista per il 2019. Due anni dopo, nel 2021, lo stadio ospiterà infatti l’edizione numero 55 della finale del campionato NFL. Due volte, in passato, Los Angeles ha ospitato l’evento clou della stagione: nel 1967, quando nell’edizione inaugurale i Green Bay Packers guidati da Vince Lombardi ebbero la meglio sui Kansas City Chiefs, e nel 1973, quando i Miami Dolphins sconfissero i Washington Redskins per completare la loro celeberrima Perfect Season. Entrambe le finali vennero giocate al Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, proprio il campo dove i Rams giocheranno in attesa di poter inaugurare il nuovo stadio tra tre anni. Altre cinque volte (1977, 1980, 1983, 1987 e 1993) il Super Bowl venne giocato nell’area di Los Angeles, a Pasadena.
L’assegnazione del Super Bowl a Los Angeles era una cosa praticamente certa fin dall’annuncio del ritorno a casa dei Rams, anche perché il progetto dello stadio include anche una sorta di quartier generale della lega sulla costa Ovest. Assieme a Los Angeles 2021, sono stati assegnati anche i Super Bowl del 2019 che verrà giocato nel nuovo stadio degli Atlanta Falcons e del 2020, assegnato  a Miami dove il proprietario dei Dolphins sta operando una totale ristrutturazione dello stadio attualmente esistente.
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Draft 2016 - Pick #6: Mike Thomas, WR, Southern Miss

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Ruolo: Wide Receiver College: Southern Miss – Classe: Senior

Età: 21 – Altezza: 6’1 (186 cm) – Peso: 193 (873 kg)

PLAYER OVERVIEW
College football's "other" Michael Thomas (not to be confused with the Ohio State pass-catcher), the Southern Miss wideout has been a consistent playmaker for the Golden Eagles this season with 62 catches, 1,201 receiving yards and 12 scores, including at least one touchdown in the final nine games the regular season.
STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES
 
STRENGTHS: Easy acceleration off the line and plant-and-go burst in his breaks, selling patterns with timing and creating separation at the stem. He has quick hands to snare without breaking stride.
WEAKNESSES: Needs to be more aggressive at the catch point and his pipe-cleaner frame will be the main question mark regarding his NFL future.
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Draft 2016 - Pick #5: Josh Forrest, ILB, Kentucky

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Ruolo: Inside Linebacker College: Kentucky – Classe: Senior

Età: 21 – Altezza: 6’3 (192 cm) – Peso: 249 (113 kg)

PLAYER OVERVIEW
 
Forrest signed with UK as a wide receiver before making the transition to defense as a hybrid linebacker/safety as a true freshman. He flashed in limited duty the next two seasons but took off at inside linebacker in 2014, starting all 12 games and pacing the Wildcats with 110 tackles (including 63 solos), as well as eight tackles for loss and two interceptions.
His numbers dropped slightly in 2015 (93 tackles, six tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and two interceptions) though with standout edge rushers Bud Dupree (Pittsburgh Steelers) and Za'Darius Smith (Baltimore Ravens) now in the NFL, opposing offenses were left to key on Forrest in 2015. His combination of agility and length (including 32 7/8" arms) turned heads at the Senior Bowl.
 
While perhaps lacking ideal instincts for inside linebacker, Forrest's production and intriguing traits could help him join his former teammates as a surprisingly early pick this spring.
 
 
STRENGTHS: Forrest still looks a bit more like a receiver (or tight end) than a traditional 'thumper inside linebacker. He sports a relatively lanky, athletic frame, and his best attribute may be his acceleration as Forrest's speed and aggression make him a nice fit in coach Mike Stoops' scheme and potentially in the NFL.
He possesses impressive burst and closing speed for his size once he locates the ball - traits which could intrigue special teams coaches. Flashes physicality in taking on blockers. Boosted his cause by impressing with his overall athleticism at the Senior Bowl, including when he was asked to attack as an edge rusher, showing an intriguing combination of burst and bend off the corner.
 
WEAKNESSES: He needs to develop greater functional strength to shed blockers and his relative inexperience at the position is clear on tape, as too often he's fooled by misdirection.
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Draft 2016 - Pick #4: Temarrick Hemingway, TE, South Carolina State

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Ruolo: Tight End College: South Carolina State – Classe: Senior

Età: 21 – Altezza: 6’5 (195 cm) – Peso: 244 (110 kg)

PLAYER OVERVIEW
 
A no-star wide receiver recruit, Hemingway grew up in a small town and weighed only 180-pounds out of high school, causing him to go under-recruited by FBS programs. A three-year starter at South Carolina State, he was used as a versatile "Y" tight end and lined up inline, wing and in the slot, running mostly short-to-intermediate routes.
Hemingway started every game as a senior in 2015 and finished with 38 receptions for 418 yards and one touchdown, earning First Team All-MEAC and All-American honors. His 2015 campaign earned him an invitation to the 2016 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.
 
STRENGTHS: Skyscraper with arms and projectable frame. Uses his reach to extend and highpoint, climbing the ladder. Big-bodied target to split defenders and manipulate the middle of the field. Long, fluid strides to accelerate off the line of scrimmage and threaten the seam. Flexible lower body to make strong cuts and create separation at the stem. Smooth route-runner, using patience and body fakes to sell patterns.
Stabs at the catch point, not allowing traffic to alter his focus. Good pop at initial contact as a blocker. Worked hard to develop his frame, adding 60+ pounds since arriving at South Carolina State. Well-respected individual and earned the 2015 Walter Payton Achievement Award, which is given to the student-athlete in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge who best shows character and team spirit.
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Draft 2016 - Pick #3: Pharoh Cooper, WR, South Carolina

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Ruolo: Wide Receiver College: South Carolina – Classe: Junior

Età: 21 – Altezza: 5’11 (180 cm) – Peso: 203 (92 kg)

PLAYER OVERVIEW
 
The Gamecocks' tumultuous 2015 season did not go according to plan as South Carolina missed a bowl game for the first time since 2007. But Cooper was one of the few consistent players for the team in 2015 with his Randall Cobb-type of playmaking skills.
Cooper's father disclosed to The State on Nov. 24 that his son planned to declare for the 2016 NFL Draft.
 
"He definitely appreciates the opportunity to play for South Carolina, and we as parents appreciate the opportunity they gave him," Glen Cooper told The State.
 
The South Carolina coaching staff realized early on the versatility and big-play potential that Cooper provided, as he finished third on the team with 655 all-purpose yards as a true freshman in 2013.
 
His success as a freshman provided just a hint of what was to come a year later when Cooper finished third in the SEC in receptions (69), second in receiving yards (1,136) and receiving yards per game (87.4), fourth in receptions per game (5.3) and ninth in all-purpose yards/game (108.5) earning First Team All-SEC honors at receiver from rival coaches and the media alike, as well as second team honors as a returner in 2014.
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