Monthly Archives: March 2019

2019 Player Profile: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

Houston’s Ed Oliver had been considered a top three pick going back as far as January of 2017. By January of 2018, every publication had Oliver, Bosa, and Oregon QB Justin Herbert as the top three players heading into the 2019 NFL draft. Herbert decided to stay in school, while, Bosa has been consistently at the top of mock drafts ever since. Oliver, however, has been largely ignored in draft conversations, his name freely floating up and down draft boards without much discussion. All of that has changed since Oliver’s Pro Day earlier this week.

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2019 NFL DRAFT: ED OLIVER | DT | HOUSTON

Height: 6-2 | Weight: 287 | Class: Junior | 40 time: 4.71

Oliver is rising up draft boards and receiving plenty of well-deserved press since his Pro Day earlier this week. He is one of the most explosive players in the draft, even drawing comparisons to DT Aaron Donald of the LA Rams. Oliver is the best pass-rushing DT in the draft.

He possesses cat-quick get off which has allowed him to pile up 53 tackles-for-loss over his career. At his Pro Day, his 10-yard split was 1.7 – proof of his short area burst. Oliver has also displayed incredible strength for a man of his size. At the Scouting Combine, Oliver benched 225 lbs. thirty-two times – tied for second best among his position group. He also recorded a group best 36″ vertical and a 120″ broad jump.

Unlike the cats from Clemson, Oliver was the only stud in the front seven at Houston and took on double and triple teams, the majority of time. And still he dominated. Don’t be surprised to hear his name called in the top five picks of the 2019 NLF Draft.

In his three years in Houston, Oliver played in 32 games. He had 192 total tackles; 122 solo; and 70 assists. He had 53 tackles-for-loss and 13.5 sacks. He also had 11 passed defended, five forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

He won the Outland Trophy after his sophomore campaign. The Outland Trophy is awarded to the best interior lineman in the nation. He was named a Consensus All-American in 2018, even though he played in only 8 games.

Due to his playing weight (speculated as low as the 260’s), there has been some talk of Oliver making a position switch at the next level. Could he move to end, or linebacker? That, of course, will depend on what team he ends up with.

For more, check out Ed Oliver’s post-Pro Day workout interview with Jane Slater for NFL.com.

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Check out the updated Position Rankings: QBWRDEDT, and more.

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Team Needs:

AZ | SF | NYJ | OAK | TB | NYG | JAX | DET | BUF | DEN | CIN | GB | MIA | ATL | WASH | CAR | CLE |MIN |TEN | PIT | SEA | BALT | HOU | CHI | PHI | IND | DAL | LAC | KC | NO | LAR | NE

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The 2019 NFL Draft will be held Thursday-Saturday, April 25-27 in Nashville, Tenn.

2019 Player Profile: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

Clemson’s Dexter Lawrence will easily be the most coveted run-stuffer in the 2019 NFL Draft. At the NFL Scouting Combine, Lawrence weighed in at 342 pounds – looking like the second coming of Vince Wilfork. In 2004, Wilfork weighed in a 340, ran a 5.08 and benched 36 reps. Lawrence ran a 5.05 and also had 36 reps on the bench. Wilfolk was drafted 31st overall by the New England Patriots. Lawrence should be drafted somewhere in the 20’s range.

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2019 NFL DRAFT: DEXTER LAWRENCE | DT | CLEMSON

Height: 6-4 | Weight: 342 | Class: Junior | 40 time: 5.05


Lawrence is clearly the biggest defensive tackle in the draft. He possesses the size to eat up double and triple team blocks. He has the strength to overpower almost any guard/center combo he’s played against – and shows a great ability to anchor. He is happy doing the dirty work that doesn’t always show up on the stats sheet, freeing his teammates to make plays. What makes Lawrence special is his straight line speed; lateral quickness; and balance and agility.

Lawrence is the prototypical run-stuffing nose tackle teams covet.
Photo: Gwinn Davis|The Post and Courier

In his three years with the Tigers, Lawrence played in 38 games. He had 131 total tackles; 50 solo; and 81 assists. He had 18 tackles-for-loss and 10 sacks. He also had an interception, four passed defended, recovered three fumbles and forced one.

Lawrence made the news earlier this year when he was suspended for a Peds/drug violation which caused him to miss the National Championship game versus Alabama. While for many players, this kind of negative press would drive down their stock value, for Lawrence it has not created a major impact. Championing forgiveness for the mistake has been Clemson head coach Deebo Sweeney. Sweeney and the Clemson coaching staff have spoken publicly about the situation, even going so far as to say they may have been inadvertently responsible for the Peds that Lawrence unknowingly took.

With the Clemson staff backing Lawrence’s good character, he should be one of the top defensive tackles taken in this year’s draft.

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Check out the updated Position Rankings: QBWRDEDT, and more.

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Team Needs:

AZ | SF | NYJ | OAK | TB | NYG | JAX | DET | BUF | DEN | CIN | GB | MIA | ATL | WASH | CAR | CLE |MIN |TEN | PIT | SEA | BALT | HOU | CHI | PHI | IND | DAL | LAC | KC | NO | LAR | NE

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The 2019 NFL Draft will be held Thursday-Saturday, April 25-27 in Nashville, Tenn.

2019 Player Profile: Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State

Mississippi State’s Montez Sweat has been one of the most talked about storylines in this year’s NFL draft. Sweat started his career at Michigan State, where he played two games in 2014. He took a redshirt season in 2015 and transferred to Copiah-Lincoln Community College in 2016. After receiving offers from Texas A&M and LSU, Sweat decided on Mississippi State. Playing in the SEC, Sweat displayed sweet blend of quickness, length, and power.

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2019 NFL DRAFT: MONTEZ SWEAT | DE | MISSISSIPPI STATE

Height: 6-6 | Weight: 260 | Class: Junior | 40 time: 4.41


Sweat was clearly one of the top talents in the SEC last year. He dominated opponents weekly with a combination of hand placement, speed, power, and cat-quickness. In 2018, he led the SEC with 11.0 total sacks. According to PFF, he was the second in the conference among all edge defenders with 40 total pressures. Out of all the Edge rushers coming out this year, Sweat shows the best lean around the corner. He has prototypical size and plenty of untapped potential, which will only help drive his stock up the draft boards.

Mississippi State defensive end Montez Sweat was an SI first-team All-American.
Photo: Mississippi State Athletics

In his two years with Mississippi State, Sweat played in 26 games. He had 101 total tackles; 48 solo; and 53 assists. He had 30 tackles-for-loss and 22.5 sacks. He also had one fumble recovery and one forced fumble.

At the Senior Bowl, the Georgia native, dominated the competition during the one-on-one drills. He showed surprising power for a guy who is so tall and lanky. He continually drove defenders straight back to the quarterback. He also displayed the quickness to beat anyone around the corner.

Sweat set an NFL scouting combine record last month when he posted a 4.41-second 40-yard dash – the fastest 40 ever run by a defensive lineman at the combine. He measured in at 6′ 6″ and 260 pounds. His 4.41 forty time is even more eye popping once you realize it would have ranked him in the top three of running backs and the top 10 of wide receivers.

Sweat could possibly be drafted as high as number five to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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Check out the updated Position Rankings: QBWRDEDT, and more.

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Team Needs:

AZ | SF | NYJ | OAK | TB | NYG | JAX | DET | BUF | DEN | CIN | GB | MIA | ATL | WASH | CAR | CLE |MIN |TEN | PIT | SEA | BALT | HOU | CHI | PHI | IND | DAL | LAC | KC | NO | LAR | NE

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The 2019 NFL Draft will be held Thursday-Saturday, April 25-27 in Nashville, Tenn.

2019 Player Profile: Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State

Ohio State’s, defensive end, Nick Bosa is considered the most polished and pro-ready player in the 2019 NFL Draft. Yet, he only played in 3 games last year. In that third game, against TCU, Bosa suffered a core muscle injury. When he got hurt, he was leading Ohio State in tackles, tackles-for-loss, sacks and fumble recoveries. He was on pace to have a better junior season than his older brother, Joey Bosa, who went third overall to the San Diego Chargers in 2016 NFL Draft.

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2019 NFL DRAFT: NICK BOSA | DE | OHIO STATE

Height: 6-4| Weight: 266 | Class: Junior | 40 time: 4.79


Nick Bosa was named the 2017 Big-10 Defensive Lineman of the Year and was named a first-team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA). Bosa is an incredible athlete that hustles every play and works to maximize his potential. He has a very stout compact frame that is thick, muscular, and solid. He uses his power well, and has good, but not exceptional, get off. He displays excellent hand technique and utilizes a variety of rip, swim, and power moves to defeat blockers.

Ohio State Buckeyes defensive end Nick Bosa (97) rushes the passer.
Photo: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

In his three years with Ohio State, Bosa played in 29 games. He had 77 total tackles; 47 solo; and 30 assists. He had 29 tackles-for-loss and 17.5 sacks. He also had two forced fumbles in his career.

It’s interesting to note that Nick Bosa wore his bother’s number 97. The two are very similar in build; they play the game the same way; and are noted for their technical savvy.

The only player that could possibly be drafted ahead of Bosa would be a quarterback. If a team, let’s say Arizona, fell in love with a particular quarterback, they may take him over Bosa. Outside of that scenario, there’s really no reason not to believe Bosa would be the number one pick in the 2019 NFL draft.

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Check out the updated Position Rankings: QBWRDEDT, and more.

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Team Needs:

AZ | SF | NYJ | OAK | TB | NYG | JAX | DET | BUF | DEN | CIN | GB | MIA | ATL | WASH | CAR | CLE |MIN |TEN | PIT | SEA | BALT | HOU | CHI | PHI | IND | DAL | LAC | KC | NO | LAR | NE

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The 2019 NFL Draft will be held Thursday-Saturday, April 25-27 in Nashville, Tenn.

2019 Player Profile: Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan

Rashan Gary is one of those players who has been ranked at the top no matter what level of play. Coming out of Paramus Catholic high school in New Jersey, Gary was the most coveted prospect in the nation. After only three years at Ann Arbor, Michigan, Gary is again one of the top rated prospects in the nation.

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2019 NFL DRAFT: RASHAN GARY | DE | MICHIGAN

Height: 6-4| Weight: 277 | Class: Junior | 40 time: 4.58


Gary has a unique set of tools. He’s got plenty of strength, plenty of speed, and the versatility to play inside or out. At 280 lbs., you might think him too small for inside and too big for the edge – but that’s exactly where his freak athleticism comes into play. He can do both, and do them both very well. At the next level, however, he’ll need to add some finesse to his game, as he won’t be able to out-athlete the competition the way he did in college. Gary has been sitting in the top 5 of almost every draft board in the country since he announce he was coming out.

Gary has freakish athleticism, running a 4.56 at 277 pounds.
Photo: Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press

In his three years with Michigan, Gary played in 35 games. He had 137 total tackles; 53 solo; and 84 assists. He has 24 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. He also had one forced fumble in his career.

It might have been nice to see a some bigger stats over his three year career. You could say, he didn’t force enough fumbles or he didn’t recover an fumbles. Or you may ask, how can a guy with only 10.5 sacks be a top five pick?

There’s two answer to that question. The first is watch the film. At only 277 pounds this guy is taking on double and occasionally triple team blocks. Opponent know he’s a handful and game plan to limit his ability to disrupt. The second answer is look at his Combine numbers: 4.58 forty; 26 reps on the bench; a 38 vertical; and a 120 broad jump. The numbers along speak of explosiveness and strength. Gary has both. And he’ll go high in the top of this year’s draft class.

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Plus all NEW, updated, Position Rankings: QBWRDEDT, and more.

Team Needs:

AZ | SF | NYJ | OAK | TB | NYG | JAX | DET | BUF | DEN | CIN | GB | MIA | ATL | WASH | CAR | CLE |MIN |TEN | PIT | SEA | BALT | HOU | CHI | PHI | IND | DAL | LAC | KC | NO | LAR | NE

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The 2019 NFL Draft will be held Thursday-Saturday, April 25-27 in Nashville, Tenn.

2018 Sun Belt Awards

SUN BELT CONFERENCE

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: JUSTICE HANSEN, ARKANSAS STATE

Photo: RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

Hansen, a two-time, All-Sun Belt first-team selection and 2017 Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year, leads the league in total offense per game (297.3), passing yards per game (264.3), passing touchdowns (27) and points responsible for (202). His 27 passing touchdowns are already the second-most in school history. Hansen enters the Red Wolves’ bowl game in the conference’s career top 10 in two categories – second in passing touchdowns (83) and sixth all-time leader in total offense (10,807). He is listed on eight major award watch lists, including the Walter Camp, Maxwell and Senior Bowl.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: RONHEEN BINGHAM, ARKANSAS STATE

Bingham paces the Sun Belt and ranks tied for 21st in nation in sacks (9.0, 0.75 per game). He also leads the league and ranks tied for 11th in tackles for loss (18.5, 1.5 per game). Bingham has been responsible for at least a 0.5 tackle for loss in 10 games and credited for multiple tackles behind the line of scrimmage in six outings. His 5.4 tackles per game ranks tied for eighth in the nation among defensive linemen. Bingham posted double-figure stops in two games, including a career-high 13 tackles against Louisiana on Oct. 27.  

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: ZAC THOMAS, APPALACHIAN STATE

Thomas tops the Sun Belt and ranks 13th in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision with a 79.9 QBR rating. He ranks among the nation’s best in passing efficiency (152.6), yards per attempt and yards per completion. Appalachian State is 8-1 overall and 6-0 in conference games this season in games Thomas played the full game. He threw 21 touchdowns in his sophomore campaign.

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: KIRK MERRITT, ARKANSAS STATE

Photo: Thomas Metthe/Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Merritt has come up big in his first season with the Red Wolves, leading the Sun Belt in receptions per game (6.3), which sits tied for 20th nationally. He also leads the league in receptions (75) and receiving yards (939). Merritt hauled in a career-high 11 receptions at Georgia Southern on Sept. 29 and at Coastal Carolina at Nov. 10, which tied for seventh-most in a single game in school history. In the victory over the Chanticleers, his 11 catches went for a career-high 180 yards, which ranks as the ninth-most in school history.

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: MARCEL MURRAY, ARKANSAS STATE

Murray has made an immediate impact in his first season at Arkansas State, finishing the regular season ranked in the Sun Belt’s top 10 in two categories – fourth in rushing yards per attempt (5.8) among players with at least 100 carries and tied for eighth in rushing yards per game (66.1). He is the only freshman in the Sun Belt on offense or defense ranked among the top 10 in the league in multiple statistical categories. Murray recorded two 100-yard rushing games, including a career-high 121 yards against Louisiana.

COACH OF THE YEAR: SCOTT SATTERFIELD, APPALACHIAN STATE

Photo: Robert McDuffle-USA TODAY Sports

Satterfield guided Appalachian State to the East Division title and the right to host the inaugural Sun Belt Football Championship Game with a 9-2 record overall and a 7-1 mark in league play. He earned his 50th win at the school with the victory over Troy on Nov. 24. Satterfield ranks third in coaching wins in program history behind Jerry Moore (215) and E.C. Duggins (57). He is tied for sixth nationally with 39 wins since 2015 and holds a 43-7 record against opponents from Group of Five conferences and a 34-6 record against Sun Belt opponents.

2018 CUSA Awards

CONFERENCE USA

CUSA MVP: BRENT STOCKSTILL, QB, MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE

Photo: Jim Brown/USA TODAY Sports

Middle Tennessee graduate QB Brent Stockstill is the recipient of the C-USA Most Valuable Player Award. Stockstill leads C-USA in completions (301) and touchdown passes (28) this season, ranking fourth in the FBS in completion percentage (70.5) and 15th nationally with 3,214 passing yards.  He has thrown multiple scores in seven straight games and nine total outings on the year, topping the 300-yard mark in passing four times.  He’s also tied for 20th all-time in the NCAA in touchdown passes (105), and the owner of virtually every passing record in school history.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: JAYLON FERGUSON, LOUISIANA TECH

Photo: Tom Morris/USA TODAY Sports

In 2018, Louisiana Tech’s Jaylon Ferguson passed Terrell Suggs (Arizona State) to become the NCAA all-time sack leader with 45 career sacks. He leads the FBS with 17.5 sacks in 2018, while ranking second nationally with 26 tackles for loss.  Ferguson broke his own school record for single-season sacks, which he set in 2016 with 14.5.  A four-time all-conference selection, he has recorded 64 total tackles this season, including 37 solo stops, while he has also recorded nine quarterback hurries, three pass breakups and two forced fumbles. 

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: MASON FINE, NORTH TEXAS

Photo: Gary Sanderson

North Texas junior Mason Fine becomes the fifth player in C-USA history to be named Offensive Player of the Year multiple times, winning the honor for the second straight season.  He ranks eighth in the FBS in passing yards (3,743) and is eighth in the FBS in passing yards per game (311.2) through 12 games.  Fine has completed 295-of-457 passes (64.6%) for 3,743 yards and 27 touchdowns with only five interceptions.  He topped the 300-yard mark five times and the 400-yard mark twice, while throwing for 240 or more in all but one outing.  Fine, who also had a pair of rushing scores, threw multiple touchdowns in 10 games while becoming the all-time leading passer in program history in less than three full seasons (9,358 yards).

SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR: JACK FOX, P, RICE

Several NFL teams have Fox on their radar.
Photo: Rice Athletics

Fox led C-USA in punting for the second consecutive year, finishing with a career-best 45.5 average.  His average was second best in the nation among punters with at least 60 punts in the regular season and ranked 8th nationally among all punters.  He topped the FBS with 3,636 punting yards in the regular season, which also set a school record.  He had 26 punts of 50 yards or longer and he placed 31 punts inside the 20-yard line, both top figures in the conference. 

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: CHRIS ROBINSON, QB, FLORIDA ATLANTIC and ISAIAH GREEN, QB, MARSHALL

Photo: FAU Athletics

Robison played in all 12 games for the Owls, completing 63.2 percent of his passes (192-of-304) for 2,533 yards.  He threw 12 touchdowns and rushed for three scores.  Robison was named C-USA Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 10 after he set a school record with 471 passing yards and tossed three TDs in a win over Air Force. 

Photo: Herald-Dispatch

Green placed fourth in C-USA with an average of 248.7 passing yards per game.  He has thrown at least one touchdown pass in all nine games he has played (eight starts), totaling 15.  Green has five games with multiple TD tosses, with a season-high three in a win over Eastern Kentucky.

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: JAMES MORGAN, QB, FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL

Photo: Florida International University

Morgan, a junior graduate transfer from Bowling Green, started every game under center for the Panthers. He threw for a school-record 26 touchdowns and 2,764 yards, which ranks second in a FIU single season.  He lead C-USA in passer efficiency rating (157.6) and passing yards per attempt (8.4).  Morgan had a season-best 341-yard passing yards and set a school-record with four touchdown passes against Arkansas-Pine Bluff in late September. 

COACH OF THE YEAR: RICK STOCKSTILL, MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE

Photo: Patrick Semansky/AP

After leading his team to an East Division title and a school-record fourth consecutive bowl appearance, Middle Tennessee head coach Rick Stockstill has been named Conference USA Coach of the Year, as voted on by the league’s 14 head coaches. Stockstill has led MT to an 8-5 record this season and bowl against Appalachian State. The Blue Raiders also played in and hosted the C-USA Championship game for the first time.  Middle Tennessee was picked by conference media members in the preseason to finish third in the East Division, but it defied those odds by finishing with a 7-1 league record and its first division title.

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