ESPN The Magazine's 2016 NFL Preview On Newsstands Friday

On newsstands Friday: ESPN The Magazine's 2016 NFL Preview, Part 1: Revenge of the Defense. In the issue: Can Josh Norman Save the Redskins? Josh Norman will tell you-and not many will argue-that he is the best cornerback on earth. So why is he still scouring the planet in search of recognition? The Mag traveled to Paris with the Redskins' offseason signing to find out. By Kevin Van Valkenburg

COMING SEPTEMBER 9: NFL Preview, Part 2: The Offense Strikes Back. A look at how the offense is responding, including team-by-team previews and more.


  • The Implosion of Daily Fantasy: At its peak last summer, a daily fantasy commercial aired every 90 seconds on television. Rival companies DraftKings and FanDuel were seemingly everywhere, darlings of the major American sports leagues that raked in a combined $3 billion in player-entry fees in 2015-a story of overnight success to rival Silicon Valley's greatest. But as quickly as the industry boomed, it bottomed. One year later, both companies are still not profitable. Facing criminal investigation in several states, they have hemorrhaged tens of millions of dollars in legal and lobbying expenses. The fall has been spectacular, and this is the story of how it unfolded. By Don Van Natta Jr., presented in collaboration with Outside the Lines, special to air Wednesday, Aug. 24, at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN.
  • Pin Kings: Alex DeCubas and Kevin Pedersen were high school wrestlers in 1970s Miami. Teammates and co-captains, they forged a close bond. But their lives would take wildly different paths: Pedersen joined the DEA to fight the booming South American drug trade, while DeCubas became the largest trafficker of Colombian cocaine on the Eastern Seaboard. Their lives remained parallel and at conflict for decades, until DeCubas was captured in 2003 and sentenced to 30 years in federal prison. Today, decades later, Pedersen and DeCubas are once more reunited by wrestling. After taking a job as a high school wrestling coach, Pedersen hired DeCubas, released from prison in 2012, as his assistant. Their story is one of violence and redemption, the bond between coach and player, and the lasting power of friendship made in sports. By Brett Forrest Presented in collaboration with SC Featured, special to air Monday, Aug. 22, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2

Issue highlights and features:

THE DRAFT Class That Ushered in the Age of Defense

The 2011 draft class, with perhaps five future Hall of Fame defenders, seems to have reshaped how we think about what's possible for defenses, particularly in the playoffs. J.J. Watt is the best player in football in the Age of the Quarterback. Von Miller is the reigning SUPER BOWL MVP. Richard Sherman is a SUPER BOWL champ and Legion of Boom star. The list goes on ... Houston, Peterson, Wilkerson, Jordan, Dareus. Bill Barnwell writes that this could be the best defensive class in NFL DRAFT history, and it has ushered in a dominant defensive age. By Bill Barnwell

View from the QB: Q&A with Matt Ryan

Falcons QB Matt Ryan shares his thoughts on how defense has evolved since he entered the league in 2008.

By David Fleming

Von Miller: QB Money, QB Problems

The Broncos' decision this summer to pay Von Miller $114.5 million over six years made him the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history. But with quarterback money comes quarterback problems. In the wake of Peyton Manning's departure, Miller is now the undisputed face of the Broncos-an unlikely role for the unrepentant goofball and fun-loving extrovert who seems to live under a ray of perpetual sunshine. By Mina Kimes

The Rise of the Monsterback

The NFL's current defensive resurgence is driven by versatility. Guys who can do it all: Play the pass. Play the run. Blitz. Win matchups in space. Find the ball. Tackle. A physical, fast, playmaking chess piece in the game plan. Call them monsterbacks, and every team in the league is looking for these unique, hybrid defenders. Writer and former NFL safety Matt Bowen breaks down the league's best monsterbacks.

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