Tar Takes S2E7: LeBron + Lakers playoffs, Amari Cooper traded, UNC Basketball 3rd best ACC team?

On this week’s episode we discuss LeBron James and the Lakers, the latest trades in the NFL and the Tar Heel’s outlook for basketball season which is just right around the corner.

Tar Takes with Ryan Lipton and David Matlock is presented by The JR Report and Relevnt!

Lakers are off to a rough start, so you think they can still make the playoffs? If so what seed?

Thoughts on Big NFL trades and rumors: Amari Cooper to Cowboys, Apple to Saints, etc.

After a tough 40-37 loss to Syracuse, what should Tar Heel fans look for going forward as UNC football finishes out the season?

UNC ranked No. 8 in AP Poll Duke #4, Virginia: Are the Tar Heels the third best team in the ACC?

Zion Williamson scored 29 points and 6 rebounds in an exhibition game: Should UNC fans be worried about Zion’s performance?

Photo Credit:

LeBron James – Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Amari Cooper – Getty Images

Syracuse UNC – Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Theo Pinson – Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Zion Williamson – Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Tar Takes: Are the Oakland Raiders’ 2018 NFL draft grades too harsh?

Oakland Raiders’ OT Kolton Miller, Jon Gruden and Reggie McKenzie (Photo via Ben Margot/AP Photo)

After Jon Gruden executed a 2018 NFL draft with many high-risk, high-reward selections, are the draft grades from the media too harsh?

Tar Takes breaks it down.

Ryan Lipton is a paid contributor for SB Nation’s Silver and Black Pride and the founder at the JR Report.

Tune Monday morning to see a full episode of Tar Takes where we break down the 2018 NFL draft, Game 7 of between the Indiana Pacers and the Cleveland Cavaliers and the rest of the 2018 NBA playoffs.

If you liked this, check out our most recent episode of Tar Takes presented by The JR Report and the brand new app Relevnt.

We discuss

What do you make of the Cavaliers’ struggles?

What will be the Eastern Conference Finals matchup in the 2018 NBA playoffs?

Can UNC’s Luke Maye make it to the NBA?

Will Joel Berry or Theo Pinson be drafted to the NBA?

What are the top storylines for the 2018 NFL draft?

Is Patrick Reed commenting on our post?

Ryan Lipton is the founder of The JR Report. For more news and The JR Report updates follow him on twitter @rytime98.

NFL: Ryan Lipton’s Week 17 picks against spread (63% in 2016)

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees (Photo via Getty Images)

After hitting on 63 percent (34/54) of his picks during the 2016 NFL regular season, The JR Report and Ryan Lipton are back with their top picks against the spread for Week 17.

Ryan Lipton’s NFL Week 17 picks against the spread!

Continue reading “NFL: Ryan Lipton’s Week 17 picks against spread (63% in 2016)”

NFL: Ryan Lipton’s Week 16 picks against spread (63% in 2016)

Cleveland Browns HC Hue Jackson (Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)

After hitting on 63 percent (34/54) of his picks during the 2016 NFL regular season, The JR Report and Ryan Lipton are back with their top picks against the spread for Week 16.

Ryan Lipton’s NFL Week 16 picks against the spread!

Continue reading “NFL: Ryan Lipton’s Week 16 picks against spread (63% in 2016)”

NFL: Ryan Lipton’s Week 15 picks against spread (63% in 2016)

Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

After hitting on 63 percent (34/54) of his picks during the 2016 NFL regular season, The JR Report and Ryan Lipton are back with their top 5 picks against the spread for Week 15.

Ryan Lipton’s NFL Week 15 picks against the spread!

Continue reading “NFL: Ryan Lipton’s Week 15 picks against spread (63% in 2016)”

NFL: Ryan Lipton’s Week 14 picks against spread (63% in 2016)

Oakland Raiders WR Michael Crabtree (Photo via USA Today Sports Images)

After hitting on 63 percent (34/54) of his picks during the 2016 NFL regular season, The JR Report and Ryan Lipton are back with their top 5 picks against the spread for Week 14.

Since I am feeling confident this week, I have thrown one extra game in there to make it six for Sunday.

Ryan Lipton’s NFL Week 14 picks against the spread!

Continue reading “NFL: Ryan Lipton’s Week 14 picks against spread (63% in 2016)”

NFL: Ryan Lipton’s Week 6 picks against spread (63% in 2016)

Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff (Photo via USA Today Sports)

After hitting on 63 percent (34/54) of his picks during the 2016 NFL regular season, The JR Report and Ryan Lipton are back with their top 5 picks (plus one) against the spread for Week 6.

So far, Ryan Lipton has hit on 55.5 percent (15/27) of his picks during the 2017 NFL season and went 4-2 last week (Week 5).

Ryan Lipton’s NFL Week 6 picks against the spread!

Continue reading “NFL: Ryan Lipton’s Week 6 picks against spread (63% in 2016)”

Raiders’ Amari Cooper best deep-threat in NFL

Photo via USA Today Sports Images

The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!


Most have acknowledged that Oakland Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper is very good at his, however, few realize just how dangerous Cooper is each time his team has the ball.

It was just a few days ago that Pro Football Focus ranked Raiders quarterback Derek Carr as one of the most elusive quarterbacks in the NFL and the best quarterback in the AFC West.

Today, Pro Football Focus rated Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper as the top deep-pass catcher in the NFL.

Cooper is already one of the best in the game, yet he still feels like he can mightily improve. He is only 22 years old and is nowhere near his prime making his talk of improving probable.

With all the recent hype around Cooper, it is likely he will shatter his 61.1 deep-ball catch rate this season en route to another Pro Bowl year.

 

Raiders 53-man roster projection 1.0: Offense

Written by Ryan Lipton

Photo via Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!


The 2017 offseason program is underway for the Oakland Raiders, with 90 players currently on a roster that will ultimately be trimmed to 53 players by Week 1.

Below, fans can find Raiders Wire’s first 53-man projection on offense in a series that will be updated throughout OTAs.

Derek Carr with QBs.jpg
Photo via AP Images

Quarterback (3):

Derek Carr, Connor Cook, EJ Manuel

Notable cuts: None

This is probably the easiest position group to project for next season. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is going to be an MVP candidate again in 2017, making the starting quarterback job a no-brainer.

The Raiders carried three quarterbacks in 2016, and there is no reason to believe that will be any different this year.

Oakland also used a fourth-round draft pick on backup quarterback Connor Cook, making it unlikely they would cut bait so soon. And former Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel is almost certainly going to challenge — and potentially win — the No. 2 spot on the depth chart behind Carr.

(running backs here)

4 causes for concern in 2017 for the Oakland Raiders

Written by Ryan Lipton
Photo via Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!


With NFL free agency nearly over and the NFL draft squarely in the rear-view mirror for the Oakland Raiders, the time to look forward is now.

Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie has done a commendable job at stockpiling talent at key positions while not overplaying his hand this offseason, but the team still has some vital questions to answer this season.

Here are the four biggest causes for concern heading into 2017 for Oakland.

 

Marquel Lee practice.jpeg
Photo via D. Ross Cameron (AP Photo)

 

No. 4, No help in the middle of the defense

McKenzie didn’t do a lot this offseason to address the team’s concern at inside linebacker, only signing former Miami Dolphins inside linebacker Jelani Jenkins and drafting Marquel Lee in the fifth round.

This is somewhat confusing after McKenzie allowed team leader in tackles Malcolm Smith to walk in free agency and has still not entertained re-signing Perry Riley at the time of publication despite his posting a top-20 season at his position in 2016.

Unfortunately, Jenkins posted the worst Pro Football Focus grade of all qualifying linebackers in the NFL last year (31.3), and Lee is expected to struggle in coverage as he’s known as a downhill linebacker primarily.

McKenzie also cut the team’s healthiest and most productive defensive tackle last season in Dan Williams, leaving yet another cavernous void to fill in the center of the team’s defense. The move was made to make salary cap room for Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch, but the replacements McKenzie have brought in again are suspect.

After leaping much higher than they had to in order to draft a fifth-round prospect in Raiders rookie defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes, McKenzie did snare a good value selection in the seventh round in DT Treyvon Hester.

However, relying on two rookies and the services of players such as Raiders defensive tackles Darius Latham and Justin Ellis (each of whom struggled mightily last season) seems risky at best.

When that fact is partnered with the massive question marks at middle linebacker, Oakland may find themselves in quite the conundrum up the middle of their defense in 2017.

(next page below)