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African Parks backs marine reserve brimming with wildlife in Mozambique

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Article published by John Cannon Animals, Biodiversity, Birds, Community Development, Community-based Conservation, Conservation, Coral Reefs, Defaunation, Ecotourism, Endangered Species, Environment, Fish, Fishing, Illegal Fishing, Mammals, Marine Animals, Marine Biodiversity, Marine Birds, Marine Conservation, Marine Ecosystems, Marine Mammals, Marine Protected Areas, National Parks, Oceans, Overfishing, Parks, Protected Areas, Reptiles, Tourism, Whales, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation center_img The conservation NGO African Parks signed an agreement to manage Bazaruto Archipelago National Park in Mozambique.Leaders established the park in 1971, but recent illegal fishing and unregulated tourism has threatened the ecosystem and its economic value, African Parks said.The park is home to 2,000 species of fish and hundreds of species of birds, reptiles and mammals, including some of the last dugongs in the western Indian Ocean. A sliver of ocean on the Southern Africa coast is getting a new chance at success thanks to an agreement announced Dec. 6.The National Administration of Conservation Areas of Mozambique has enlisted the help of the conservation NGO African Parks, which manages more than a dozen protected areas in eight other countries on the continent, to run Bazaruto Archipelago National Park for the next 25 years. The organizations hope the move will jumpstart tourism in the park and help safeguard its resident wildlife, including hundreds of species of birds, reptiles, mammals and fish.“Bazaruto has the tremendous opportunity to show how a national park can create a conservation-led economy, where the protection and management of wildlife and their habitats not only ecologically restores the park, but can create economic benefits for local communities,” said Peter Fearnhead, the CEO of South Africa-based African Parks, in a statement.Reef manta rays (Manta alfredi), pictured here in the Maldives, are found along Mozambique’s southern coast. Photo by Shiyam ElkCloner (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.The government set aside the 1,430-square-kilometer (552-square-mile) reserve in 1971. In an email to African Parks supporters, Fearnhead described Bazaruto as “a critical sanctuary for numerous species of marine megafauna including dolphins, sharks, whales, whale sharks, manta rays and turtles.”Around 2,000 fish species call the park home, along with some of the last remaining dugongs (Dugong dugon) in the western Indian Ocean, according to African Parks. The dugong, or sea cow, is an IUCN-listed Vulnerable marine mammal.Despite the presence of unique wildlife, recent threats have jeopardized its potential as a destination for tourists and a lynchpin of the local economy, Fearnhead said in his email. Illegal fishing outfits have moved in, and authorities haven’t been able to control the extraction of natural resources or the spike in “uncontrolled tourism activities.”Bazaruto Archipelago National Park is home to several species of marine mammal, including dugongs (Dugong dugon). Photo by Christian Schlamann, courtesy of African Parks.Fearnhead pointed out that these issues could cause problems for the park’s ecosystem, and he said that revenues from the park have already taken a hit — a problem for local communities already struggling with poverty.Nearly 6,000 people live on three of the five islands found in the park, and they depend on resources from the sea to survive, African Parks said.The NGO’s plan includes training local residents to work in tourism and hospitality, as well as helping them with launch businesses to generate income. It will also add airborne surveillance to complement boat and foot patrols by rangers in the park with the goal of warding off further illegal activity. And the team plans to monitor the conservation statuses of key species found in the park.Whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) are a major draw for tourists around the world. Photo By Abe Khao Lak (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.“Bazaruto is an extraordinary conservation area whose time has come to be sufficiently protected and revitalized,” said Celmira Frederico Pena da Silva, the vice minister of the Ministry of Land, Environment and Rural Development in Mozambique, in the African Parks statement.She welcomed the partnership and said that with its help it could both protect the park’s natural resources and ensure that local communities benefit.Pena da Silva added, “Together, we can finally elevate Bazaruto to its rightful position as one of Africa’s greatest marine sanctuaries.”The park, shown here using Global Forest Watch, is located off the coast of Mozambique in southern Africa and covers 1,430 square kilometers.CITATIONIUCN and UNEP-WCMC (2017), The World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) [On-line], September, Cambridge, UK: UNEP-WCMC. Available at: Accessed through Global Forest Watch in December 2017. www.globalforestwatch.orgBanner image of a dugong by Christian Schlamann, courtesy of African Parks.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.last_img read more

Men’s Soccer Plays at Northern Illinois Tuesday and Hosts Bradley Saturday

first_imgBradley (5-4-3, 0-4-0 MVC) hosts Omaha Tuesday night before it travels to Des Moines. The Braves are vying for their first league win when they take the pitch Saturday. Bradley is 0-4-1 in its last five matches with conference losses to Central Arkansas, Loyola, Missouri State and Valparaiso. Gerit Wintermeyer leads the team with five goals. Drake and Northern Illinois (7-5) will play each other for the first time since 2012 in a series that the Huskies hold a slight edge in all-time at 4-3-2. The teams battled to a 1-1 draw in 2012. Drake is looking to beat NIU for the first time since the 2007 season. Story Links The Drake University men’s soccer team plays at Northern Illinois Tuesday night in the team’s final non-conference contest of the regular season. First kick in DeKalb, Ill., is scheduled for 7 p.m. Following its midweek non-conference match, Drake returns to Missouri Valley Conference play when it hosts Bradley Saturday, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. at the Cownie Soccer Complex. That match is slated to be broadcast on ESPN+. Following this week, Drake welcomes Missouri State Oct. 27 for its final home match of the 2018 season. Prior to the 7 p.m. match with the Bears, the Bulldogs will host a Senior Day Ceremony. Print Friendly Version Bradley (ESPN+) Drake (6-4-1, 1-1-1 MVC) is coming off a 2-1 road defeat at Evansville this past Saturday. The Purple Aces scored a goal in the 88th minute to give the Bulldogs their first MVC loss. Drake, which fell behind 1-0 after Evansville scored an early goal in the fifth minute, evened the score out of halftime as Steven Enna (Overland Park, Kan.) scored his fourth goal of the season. Bradley Live Stats NIU Live Stats last_img read more

Faecal parasite detected in three drinking water supplies in Donegal

first_imgThe number of Cryptosporidium detections has doubled in Irish drinking water supplies in the past two years, posing a risk to human health.The EPA has seen detections of Cryptosporidium in 25 public water supplies in 2018, up from 17 in 2017 and 12 in 2016.In Donegal, the EPA detected inadequate Cryptosporidium treatment in three public water supplies. Cryptosporidium is a parasite found in human and animal waste that can cause persistent diarrhoea.Creeslough, Glenties-Ardara and Letterkenny are all on the Remedial Action List (RAL) for the lack of adequate Cryptosporidium treatment.Action has been taken to address the issue in the Creeslough and Glenties-Ardara, according to the RAL list. The two supplies remain on the list as the water treatment plant upgrades must be checked after a 3 month period to demonstrate the effectiveness of works.Works are currently underway in Letterkenny to upgrade the water treatment plant to include a barrier for Cryptosporidium removal. This is expected to be completed in October. The EPA has said that the quality of drinking water in Ireland’s public supplies remains high with 99.9% compliance with microbiological parameters and 99.6% compliance with chemical parameters.Commenting on the Drinking Water Quality in Public Supplies Report 2018, Dr Tom Ryan, Director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement said:“We are seeing an upward trend in Cryptosporidium contamination in drinking water supplies. We know that Cryptosporidium can cause serious gastrointestinal illness, particularly in young children and the elderly, and the EPA has ensured that Irish Water has investigated each of these Cryptosporidium detections.“Irish Water must make certain that water treatment plants are properly and effectively operated to protect public health. Those plants without appropriate treatment for Cryptosporidium need to be prioritised for investment by Irish Water.”Faecal parasite detected in three drinking water supplies in Donegal was last modified: September 10th, 2019 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:CreesloughCryptosporidiumDrinking WaterEPAGlenties-ArdaraletterkennyRemedial Action Listlast_img read more

Giants exploring new philosophies, anticipating changes

first_imgLAS VEGAS–With no major additions on the board yet this offseason, it’s too early to predict whether the Giants will improve or regress after a challenging 2018 season.It’s hard to say whether the club will be better or worse, but this much is clear: The Giants will look different.The personnel may not change drastically, but philosophies certainly will. Under new president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, the old way of operating is far from sacred.And Bruce Bochy, the longest-tenured …last_img read more

Why’s Scrobbling Technology Is A Better Metric Than The Pop Charts

first_imgTags:#Big Data#internet radio#lastfm#music#streaming music The Swedish sure do love them some Coldplay. The Japanese? They’re more into The Beatles and Radiohead, but not quite as much as they adore Utada Hikaru, a 30-year-old J-pop singer based in the U.S. These musical insights and many, many more can be gleaned from a massive, interactive data set published by, the Internet radio and recommendation service. Its user base might not be a representative sample, but the numbers are still fascinating. has also put together an interactive timeline breaking down music milestones and trends tied to its own music playback data. Rick Astley saw a big spike in listens in 2008, for instance, when “rickrolling” was at its peak. has now been tracking everything its users listen to for a decade. Its “scrobbling” technology has been watching us hit the Play button since the iPod was a chunky white brick with a big click wheel. Today, it’s baked into Spotify, a Chrome add-on and a host of digital music platforms and apps. The Value of’s Aggregate Listening DataThe service may not get the attention it once did, but holds a uniquely significant, if underrated asset: Big Data. By embedding itself on desktops, mobile devices and within music services, has an unparalleled, platform-agnostic view of what people are listening to. As a user, I can see which artists, empirically speaking, I listen to the most. Which songs I played excessively six months ago., of course, uses this data to recommend new music to me, which it actually does quite well. But there’s also huge value in the aggregate data it collects.What good are traditional music sales charts when people download torrents, stream albums on Rdio and check out new bands on YouTube? Not much actually.But if we permit it, can watch all of that activity, compiling rich and detailed data about what we listen to, both as individuals and as a group. That aggregate data could be a goldmine of insights for radio DJs and other tastemakers, argues radio futurologist James Cridland. He’s right.I hope keeps spreading its API far and wide, and that more people opt to use the service, even if it does lack the buzz of Spotify or the headline-grabbing power of Pandora. The company should push hard to forge partnerships with music apps, hardware manufacturers and mobile platforms to keep collecting all that data. The insight we stand to gain would be pretty incredible. 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People…center_img Related Posts john paul titlow 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe Applast_img read more

Fernandez rues little things as San Beda left without twice-to-beat

first_imgPhoto by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netSan Beda head coach Boyet Fernandez rued the little things that went wrong in San Beda’s 107-105 loss to Lyceum in double overtime in its last game in the NCAA Season 93 elimination round.Only a free throw separated victory and defeat for the Red Lions, who missed out of a chance thwart the Pirates’ historic sweep bid and keep the regular Final Four format.ADVERTISEMENT Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Read Next LATEST STORIES Kin of Misamis Oriental hero cop to get death benefits, award — PNP MOST READ Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients  Perez grateful for immense trust from ‘hero’ Robinson Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf PLAY LIST 01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Gamescenter_img “We have a good chance of winning that game but in the end, it just boiled down to one free throw,” he said, citing Robert Bolick’s split from the free throw line in the last 1.5 seconds of the first overtime period which could have decided the game.“It boiled down to easy layups, misses, and they got defensive rebounds, and then we fouled. It’s just little things that hopefully we can learn and look forward for the next round.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThe Pirates completed the record-setting 18-0 finish while snapping defending champions’ 15-game winning streak and forcing them to play in the stepladder semifinals without a twice-to-beat advantage despite their no. 2 record.Still, the multi-titled mentor was glad with how the Red Lions fought against the Pirates, noting that hope is still not lost in their title retention quest despite missing out on the Final 4 bonus. Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president View comments Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa “We nearly won the game but we didn’t finish it. I just told the players that even though we lost this game, we still have another chance of getting into the Finals,” he said. “We just lost twice-to-beat advantage (because of the stepladder semis). We’re just on a bye and waiting for a knockout match. We just made life hard for us, but at least we showed that we can beat Lyceum.”But Fernandez warned San Beda that as much as the players want to get back at Lyceum in the big stage, it has to focus on the task at hand which is the stepladder semifinals.“Our main goal right now is not to look for LPU. Our focus is on the semifinals and who we’re gonna play next because until now, we still don’t who are opponent is in the stepladder,” he said. “Let’s forget LPU first. Let’s manage that semifinals win. Right now, we’re staying focused on what we have to do and focus on the next game.”ADVERTISEMENT BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fightlast_img read more

NBA Power Ratings And Playoff Odds Playoff Power

The NBA regular season ends Wednesday, and the playoffs begin Saturday. And with that in mind, we’re going to shake things up a bit with regard to FiveThirtyEight’s NBA Power Ratings.Until now, we’ve ranked every team according to a projection of its true talent over the upcoming week — and the upcoming week only — using Real Plus-Minus (RPM) player ratings provided by Jeremias Engelmann and Steve Ilardi. (For more details on the original methodology, see our introductory rankings post.)But this week, with many teams resting key players in preparation for the playoffs, we’re ranking every team according to its projected playoff power rating. This means we’re projecting every team to be at “full strength” in terms of minutes given to players who will be available for the postseason, instead of only projecting for the next week. Playoff probabilities and expected end-of-season wins are still driven by projected minute distributions over the next few days, but the power ratings themselves have been geared to capture the talent that each team is bringing into the playoffs.With the playoffs being emphasized more in our ratings, it’s fitting that the San Antonio Spurs rank in the top two for the first time since early February. They’ve won 11 straight games, a run backed up by the underlying talent of one of the league’s best teams.The Atlanta Hawks also benefit from our switch to “playoff power” — while Thabo Sefolosha’s bizarre season-ending injury hurts their chances of winning the championship, we’ve boosted the playing time for many of their good players who have consistently been listed as day-to-day in the injury report in recent weeks.As for teams on the fringe of the playoffs, we noted last week that the Boston Celtics were basically a coin flip to make the playoffs, battling it out with the Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers for one of the two remaining postseason slots in the Eastern Conference. A week later, the Celtics have all but completely claimed their spot; our model now gives them a 98.9 percent probability of making the playoffs.By the same token, the Heat have almost completely dropped out of the race, with just a 2.4 percent chance of qualifying for the postseason. That leaves the Nets and Pacers to fight over one spot with two games left per team. Our calculations give Brooklyn the inside track largely because of the team’s possession of the tiebreaker over Indiana, in addition to an easier remaining schedule (the Nets face the No. 9 Chicago Bulls and No. 23 Orlando Magic; Indiana faces No. 7 Memphis and No. 15 Washington).Out West, the race for the No. 8 seed is between the New Orleans Pelicans and Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Pelicans have the edge in our simulations. Oklahoma City is marginally more talented, according to RPM, and is even projected to win fractionally more games on average, but New Orleans holds the tiebreaker over the Thunder.In no small part because of those tiebreakers, there’s a 45 percent probability that the Nets and Pelicans will be the final two teams to slip into the playoffs when the season ends Wednesday. read more

The Blind Side Era is Over At The NFL Draft

Quenton Nelson looks exactly like a franchise-cornerstone left tackle: Standing 6 foot 5, 325 pounds, Nelson is “built like a bank safe” and blessed with the athleticism and aggressiveness to be a perennial All-Pro. The quarterback’s protector is often called the second-most-important offensive position, so it’s no wonder that Nelson’s in the mix to be the first non-quarterback to be picked in this year’s draft.But one thing does separate Nelson from other highly coveted tackles on draft day: He isn’t a tackle. He’s a guard.How players at one position in the NFL’s otherwise-anonymous quintet of trench warriors became some of American sports’ most-prized athletes is a story so well-known it was turned into a best-selling book, and even a movie: The uniquely gifted protectors of “The Blind Side” emerged in the 1990s to stop the pass-rushing outside linebackers of the 1980s, like eight-time All-Pro Lawrence Taylor.For years afterward, teams trying to land the next Orlando Pace or Walter Jones had no qualms about throwing high draft picks at top tackles. Even less-than-perfect tackle prospects like Michigan’s Jake Long and Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher were deemed “safe” picks at No. 1 overall — because unlike quarterbacks, who are unlikely to play another position well, if those tackles fail to establish themselves as quality starters, teams have the option of kicking them inside to guard.As recently as 2012, guards were still afterthoughts, not worthy of the draft-value (and contract) investment that comes with a high first-round selection. Outstanding guard prospect David DeCastro, whom many evaluators deemed worthy of at least a top-10 pick, didn’t come off the board until No. 24 that year.In the 32-team era,1Since 2002. 62 tackles have been drafted in the first round compared to just 14 guards. On average, those tackles were taken with the 14th pick, while the average guard went between 23 and 24. In fact, after “The Blind Side” was released in September 2006, NFL teams went on a four-year tackle binge, drafting 19 first-round tackles compared to just three centers and two guards.Last season, though, the market for elite tackles seemed to dry up. Only two — Garett Bolles and Ryan Ramczyk — went in the first round, and both were picked in the back end of the round (20 and 32 respectively). After Alabama’s Cam Robinson was taken with the second pick of the second round, which was lower than most expected, no tackles were taken until pick No. 85. To get a sense of how high in the draft tackles have tended to go over time, we can quantify pick position using Jimmy Johnson’s draft-pick value chart, which assigns a point value to every pick in the draft based solely on how early the pick is, not on which player is taken. Last year, the picks used on tackles in rounds one and two were worth a total of 2000 points, the lowest sum since at least 1994. By comparison, the picks used on the six tackles taken in the first two rounds in 2013 were worth more than 10,000 points. The trend of devaluing tackles seems certain to continue in the 2018 NFL draft. After Nelson, tackle Mike McGlinchey (average mock draft position: 22.2) is the next offensive lineman projected to go. But then it’s a run of interior linemen: Center James Daniels (28.5) and guards Isaiah Wynn (28.8) and Will Hernandez (28.9) are all set to be drafted ahead of the only other tackle who’s projected to be taken on the draft’s first night, Kolton Miller (31.2).If Miller doesn’t make it into the first round, it’ll be the first time that fewer than two tackles have been drafted in any first round since “The Blind Side” was released, and it would match the 2005-2006 nadir for high-pick tackles — only three tackles were taken in the first round in each of those two back-to-back draft classes.It’s not like NFL teams suddenly decided that the offensive line isn’t important, it’s more that the value pendulum is shifting away from left tackle. If Nelson goes as high as he’s expected to, he’ll be the third guard picked in the top 10 in the last six seasons (the fourth if you count Washington’s Brandon Scherff, who was drafted as a tackle but has since become a Pro Bowl guard2Washington initially tried Scherff at tackle before switching him to guard in his first training camp.). Before Chance Warmack and Jonathan Cooper went in the top 10 in 2013, no guard had been picked that high in a dozen years.3Leonard Davis went No. 2 overall in 2001 as a guard, though he went on to play both tackle and guard in the NFL.But it’s not just draft capital that teams are investing in a previously neglected position.This spring, All-Pro guard Andrew Norwell signed a five-year, $66.5 million unrestricted free-agency deal that briefly made him the NFL’s highest-paid offensive lineman. Though former New England Patriots left tackle Nate Solder’s four-year, $62 million contract with the New York Giants topped Norwell’s $13.3 million average annual value, Norwell remains No. 2.In 2016, the five biggest free-agency deals4In terms of contracts’ average annual value. given to offensive linemen went to left tackles. In 2017, half of the eight offensive-line contracts worth at least $10 million per year went to left tackles — but the other half went to three guards and a center. In 2018, Solder’s was the only one of the top six offensive-line deals that did not go to a guard or center.So why the sudden change? For starters, the evolution of the left tackle was a response to a defensive revolution that’s been over for a long time; Taylor’s 10-season Pro Bowl streak ended 27 years ago. From Dick LeBeau’s zone blitzes to Jim Johnson’s and Jim Schwartz’s aggressive 4-3s, Wade Phillips’s one-gap 3-4 schemes to Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia’s hybrid/multiple fronts attack, defensive coordinators have as many different ways to send pass rushers at quarterbacks as there are gaps between offensive linemen.According to ESPN Stats & Information Group, 36 percent of the 1,082.5 sacks by front-seven players in 2017 were registered by a player lined up at right defensive end or right outside linebacker. That means even a Hall of Fame left tackle can’t possibly help with at least two-thirds of the pressure that defenses are generating.Then there’s the fact that quarterbacks don’t really have a “blind side” anymore. The heavy use of shotgun formation in today’s NFL allows quarterbacks to keep the whole defense in front of them. According to ESPN Stats & Info, just 13,319 of 32,436 offensive plays (41 percent) were run from under center in 2017– and of those, a quarterback dropped back to pass on just 4,201 plays (13 percent of all offensive plays).The average left tackle, then, will only be called upon to keep his quarterback clean during a traditional dropback about 1/8th of the time he’s on the field.But don’t tell Nelson, Wynn, Hernandez or any of the other guards set to be drafted this weekend that the value of offensive linemen has crashed. They’re about to prove that the NFL has finally figured out that anyone who can get keep a pass-rusher from getting to a quarterback is worth an awful lot — regardless of where he’s positioned on the line. read more