Monthly Archives: March 2019

2018 SEC Awards

POWER 5

SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE

With the NFL Scouting Combine just finished on Monday, we’ll take a quick re-cap of the major D-I College Football Conferences awards.

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DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: OLB/DE JOSH ALLEN, KENTUCKY

Allen has been projected to go as high as second in this year’s NFL Draft.
Photo: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Allen set the Kentucky record with 31.5 career sacks, including a school-record 17 in 2018. He is the SEC’s leader in sacks, tackles for loss (21.5) and forced fumbles (5). Allen is tied for first on Kentucky’s all-time career forced fumbles list with 11. He was named winner of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy awarded to the nation’s top defensive player.

Allen was also the winner of the Lott Impact Trophy; winner of the Chuck Bednarik Award; and a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award;

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OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: QB TUA TAGOVAILOA, ALABAMA

Tagovailoa finished tops in the SEC with a 199.4 passer efficiency rating.
Photo: Alabama Athletics

Tagovailoa has thrown for 3,966 yards this season and set a school record with 43 touchdown passes. He has thrown for 300 or more yards in six of Alabama’s games, and he also set a school record with a combined 48 passing and rushing touchdowns. Tagovailoa is tied for second on Alabama’s all-time career touchdown pass list with 54. He was one of three finalists for the Heisman Trophy.

Beyond the stats, Tagovailoa’s pure arm talent simply looks better than anyone else’s in the SEC. He’s making throws like no Alabama quarterbacks has done before. And his career QB rating of 195.1 is better than any Alabama quarterback, ever. He’s well on his way to become the greatest to ever play the position in program history.

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SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR: P BRANDON MANN, TEXAS A&M

Mann broke LSU’s Chad Kessler’s 1997 mark of 50.3 yards per punt.
Photo: Texas A&M Athletics

Mann is the first Aggie to be named SEC Special Teams Player of the Year. He lead the FBS with a 50.98 punting average. He set a pair of NCAA records in 2018 with a 60.8 gross punt average on five punts against Alabama and 14 60-yard punts for the season. The Aggie punter was named to the A.P. All-American; All-SEC First Team; awarded Special Teams Player of the Year; and took home the Ray Guy Award for best punter in America. Mann will return for his senior year.

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FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: JAYLEN WADDLE, ALABAMA

Waddle has 4 catches for 113 yards and 1 touchdown against Georia.
Photo: Alabama Athletics

Waddle lead all SEC freshmen with 61.8 receiving yards per game and seven touchdown receptions during the regular season. He was fourth in the SEC in yards per catch (19.6) and second in punt return average (15.1). Waddle has returned one punt for a touchdown this year. He finished 2018 with 848 receiving yards and 233 punt return yards

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SCHOLAR-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: HALE HENTGES, ALABAMA

Hentges graduated Magna Cum Laude in three years and is now pursuing a master’s in marketing. He earned a 3.74 GPA as an undergraduate and holds a 4.0 GPA in his master’s program. A CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree, Hentges has played in all 13 games this season and has a pair of touchdown receptions.

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JACOBS BLOCKING TROPHY: LT JONAH WILLIAMS, ALABAMA

Williams has start all 15 games this season for Alabama and helped pave the way for an offense that leads the SEC with 522 yards per game. The Crimson Tide lead the FBS with 12 games of 500+ total yards.

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SEC COACH OF THE YEAR: MARK STOOPS, KENTUCKY

Stoops led the Wildcats to their best finish in 41 years.
Image: SEC

Stoops led Kentucky to a 9-3 regular season record, including a 5-3 mark in SEC play, both of which are the best for the Wildcats since 1977. Kentucky earned a bid to the Citrus Bowl for the first time in school history, defeating Penn State 27-24.

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NFL Scouting Combine: Monday’s talking points

Tentative Combine workout schedule:
» GROUP 1: Friday, Mar 1: PK, ST, OL, RB 
» GROUP 2: Saturday, Mar 2: QB, WR, TE 
» GROUP 3: Sunday, Mar 3: DL, LB 
» GROUP 4: Monday, Mar 4: DB 

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We’ve all know, for quite some time now, that the DL was the strength of the draft. And after watching, Quinnen Williams, Nick Bosa, Montez Sweat, Rashan Gary and Dexter Lawrence … the DB’s looked less than impressive.

Greedy Williams ran a 4.37, but then looked less than stellar in the workouts. He stumbled in the backpedal, and had to restart several times. Eventually, he was sidelined due to cramping. I would think he’d want to do it again at Pro Day.

Not all was lost on Monday though. Several guys upped their stock. Jamel Dean ran a blistering 4.30. Originally signed at Ohio State, but knee issues led him to being declared medically disqualified by the Buckeyes. He had another knee injury in 2016 while at Auburn. However, in 2017, Dean emerged as a quality cover corner having eight pbu’s to go with 43 tackles. In 2018, Dean finished with 30 total tackles and nine pbu’s. The NFL Scouting Combine will determine exactly where Dean will go in the draft. With so many picks, the Broncos could easily gamble on a risk-reward prospect like Dean.

For Dean’s Combine footage, click here.

Michigan’s David Long looked good throughout the day. While Central Michigan’s Sean Bunting looked smooth running a 4.42, with a 41.5 vertical and 126 broad jump.

Washington’s Taylor Rapp solidified himself as a top safety prospect. Rapp’s teammate, Byron Murphy solidified himself as one of the top corners in this draft.

Until Greedy Williams can redeem himself, DeAndre Baker will now compete with Bryon Murphy for the top cornerback to be drafted. Rock Ya-Sin looked solid as well, keeping his place in the top tier.

There’s a couple of players that will be moving up draft boards: one is Maryland’s Darnell Savage, another is Boston College’s Will Harris. Houston’s Isaiah Johnson tested well, and looked good in the drills. And Virginia’s Juan Thornhill put up some eye popping numbers.

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The Dallas Cowboys have the 58th overall pick. Jerry Jones meets with local reporters at the NFL Combine and tells-all on Witten’s return, Dak, D-Law, and Garrett’s contracts, his desire to win now and more.

RELATED: Jerry Jones’ Full Uncut Interview @ 2019 Combine

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KEY DATES

The NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis will begin on Feb. 26; the franchise-tag deadline is on March 5; free agency starts on March 13; and then the 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville, Tennessee, will run from April 25-27.

NFL Scouting Combine: Sunday’s talking points

Tentative Combine workout schedule:
» GROUP 1: Friday, Mar 1: PK, ST, OL, RB 
» GROUP 2: Saturday, Mar 2: QB, WR, TE 
» GROUP 3: Sunday, Mar 3: DL, LB 
» GROUP 4: Monday, Mar 4: DB 

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It’s no surprise that Sunday proved to be the most action packed day of the combine. This draft is deep with defensive line talent, and that talent was on display for all to see.

It’s difficult to know where to begin, because so many memorable moments took place. Let’s start with DT Quinnen Williams of Alabama. Williams measured in at 6-3, 303. He turned in one of the fastest 40 times by a 300+ defensive lineman ever (4.83), with NFL Research reporting it ranked fifth all time. His performance was another push to be the first player taken overall in this year’s draft.

Nick Bosa was on hand, after a long time rehabbing his Core muscle injury. Bosa look relaxed and ran 4.84, beating his bother’s 4.86 combine run. One couldn’t help but notice, Bosa’s thighs were absolutely huge, like tree trunks. He kept himself in the running for the top overall pick.

Montez Sweat was the talk of the Senior Bowl, and now he’s creating a buzz at the combine by running a 4.42 with a 1.58 split. Sweat put up 21 reps in the bench press and had a 36 vertical and 125 broad jump. He keeps moving up the draft broads.

Last week, I had questions about FSU’s Brian Burns’ size. Officially, he measured in at 6-5, 249. That’s DE size. He ran a 4.53 and that’s linebacker speed. He showed plenty of explosiveness in the vertical and broad jump. He’ll move up draft boards based on his size/speed combination.

Clemson’s Dexter Lawrence weighed in a 342. 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. I think Lawrence could be drafted somewhere in the 20’s range.

The two Devin’s. LSU’s Devin White ran a 4.42 and still looks like he’ll be the first pure linebacker off the board. While, Michigan’s Devin Bush ran a 4.4. Both looked smooth and fluid in their runs.

Speaking of Michigan. Rashan Gary is keeping himself in the top 5 talk. He ran a 4.58, the fastest time for all players listed as interior defensive linemen. Gary weighed 277 lbs.

Ben Banogu set a defensive linemen’s record with a 11′ 2″ broad jump. He made the jump at 250 lbs.

Houston’s Ed Oliver weighed-in at 287 (heavier than anticipated) and had 32 reps on the bench. It will be interesting to see where he will land and how he will be used at the next level. Dwight Freeney was only 6-1 and 266. Could Oliver, at 6-2, end up on the edge, playing closer to 260?

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The New York Giants have the sixth pick overall, and many expect them to select a QB with that pick. Here’s Giants’ GM Dave Gettleman’s Combine Presser.

RELATED: Dave Gettleman’s Full Combine Press Conference 2019

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Again, some of the most important skills tests include:

  • 40-yard dash
  • Bench press (225 lb repetitions)
  • Vertical jump
  • Broad jump
  • 20-yard shuttle
  • 3 cone drill

To view the full list of prospects invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, click here.

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KEY DATES

The NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis will begin on Feb. 26; the franchise-tag deadline is on March 5; free agency starts on March 13; and then the 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville, Tennessee, will run from April 25-27.

NFL Scouting Combine: Saturday’s talking points

Tentative Combine workout schedule:
» GROUP 1: Friday, Mar 1: PK, ST, OL, RB 
» GROUP 2: Saturday, Mar 2: QB, WR, TE 
» GROUP 3: Sunday, Mar 3: DL, LB 
» GROUP 4: Monday, Mar 4: DB 

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Friday’s NFL Scouting Combine saw the OL, RB, and ST groups workout. On Saturday, the QB, WR, and TE groups took the field.

There were a handful of wide receivers that ran under 4.4. The wide receivers that captured the audience’s attention included D.K. Metcalf, Parris Campbell, Andy Isabella, Mecole Hardman, Terry McLaurin, and Darius Slayton.

D.K. Metcalf is a complete and total freak. He measured in a 6-3, 228. Has a 34 7/8″ wingspan (compare to center Garrett Bradbury who is also 6-3, but only has a 31 3/4 wingspan). His mits measured 9 7/8. But there’s more, beyond the measurables.

Not only did Metcalf run a 4.33. He bench pressed 27 reps at 225. He out-lifted 26 of the offensive linemen and tied two others.

His vertical was 40.5 and his broad jump was 134. The man is a beast. After this performance, I would expect Metcalf to move into the top 15.

A trio of Ohio State guys lit it up. Johnny Dixon ran a 4.41. Terry McLaurin ran a 4.35, after impressing scouts at the Senior Bowl – his stock will rise. And Parris Campbell ran a blistering 4.31.

Let’s quickly compare Campbell to another Ohio State guy, Curtis Samuel (now with Carolina). Both ran a 4.31 forty. Samuel had 18 reps on the bench to Campbell’s 10. However, Campbell easily beat Samuel’s vertical, broad jump and 20-yard shuttle. Samuel went in round two, pick forty. Campbell should go in about that same area.

Andy Isabella is being touted as the next great slot receiver, but he just blew a 4.31 (matching Campbell). With that kind of speed, teams will envision him as more than just a slot receiver.

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Friday was also the day when QB’s talked with the media. Perhaps, the most interesting press conference belonged to the 5-10 Kyler Murray.

RELATED: Ohio State Defensive Lineman Nick Bosa Interview

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The TE’s also worked out on Saturday. Noah Fant may have re-established himself as the top TE in this class. Fant ran a group best 4.5 forty, while posting very good numbers in the vertical, broad jump, the three cone drill and in both shuttle drills.

Irv Smith, Jr., measured a smaller than anticipated. He came in at 6-2, and his wingspan only measured 31 1/2. So, will most likely fall behind both Iowa Hawkeyes on draft day.

Hockenson, the other Hawkeye, came in at prototypical size (6-5/251). His numbers were near the top of the pack all the way across the board.

Zach Gentry, from Michigan, disappointed with only 12 reps at 225. Two California tight ends helped themselves this weekend. Josh Oliver of St. Jose State and Kahale Warring of San Diego State both turned in workouts that will move them up draft boards.

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Again, some of the most important skills tests include:

  • 40-yard dash
  • Bench press (225 lb repetitions)
  • Vertical jump
  • Broad jump
  • 20-yard shuttle
  • 3 cone drill

To view the full list of prospects invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, click here.

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KEY DATES

The NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis will begin on Feb. 26; the franchise-tag deadline is on March 5; free agency starts on March 13; and then the 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville, Tennessee, will run from April 25-27.

NFL Scouting Combine: Friday’s talking points

Tentative Combine workout schedule:
» GROUP 1: Friday, Mar 1: PK, ST, OL, RB 
» GROUP 2: Saturday, Mar 2: QB, WO, TE 
» GROUP 3: Sunday, Mar 3: DL, LB 
» GROUP 4: Monday, Mar 4: DB 

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Friday’s NFL Scouting Combine saw the OL, RB, and ST groups workout.

The running backs that captured attention included Justice Hill, Miles Sanders, Travis Homer, and Alex Barnes.

Justice Hill, by far, had the most rewarding day. The junior from Oklahoma State recorded the fastest 40-time, at 4.40. Among his group, he also had the best vertical jump, and tied with two others for the best broad jump. Leading up the combine, I thought Hill looked explosive on tape. Hill will move up draft boards because of his performance this week.

Miami’s Travis Homer is another running back that helped himself with a good outing. He ran a 4.48 with a 39.5 vertical and 130 broad jump.

Penn State Miles Sanders had a good day, as did Michigan’s Karan Hidgon and Notre Dame’s Dexter Jackson.

K-State’s Alex Barnes had the best day for backs weighing in at over 220 lbs. He had 34 reps on the bench press, best by far for his position. He showed plenty of explosiveness to go with that power. His stock should improve as well.

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Friday was also the day when QB’s talked with the media. Perhaps, the most interesting press conference belonged to the 5-10 Kyler Murray.

Mar 1, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray (QB11) speaks to media during the 2019 NFL Combine at the Indiana Convention Center.
Photo: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

RELATED: Kyler Murray’s 2019 NFL Scouting Combine press conference

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The OL also worked out on Friday. The most impressive day was had by Andre Dillard of Washington State. At 306 pounds, Dillard ran an impressive 4.92 in the 40-yard dash. He also posted the top 20-yard shuttle for his group, coming in at 4.4.

There was a lot of buzz around NC State’s Garrett Bradbury. He ran the fastest off all the OL, coming in at 4.92 in the forty. He also came in with the second shortest wingspan of his group, measuring only 31 3/4 inches.

Boston College’s Chris Lindstrom followed up a strong Senior Bowl with a good showing, he should continue to rise up draft boards.

There was a some talk about Alabama’s Jonah Williams maybe being asked to move inside to guard at the next level. Williams didn’t do anything to hurt himself, but he didn’t stand out either. So, we shouldn’t be surprised if we his stock slipping a little bit between now and the draft.

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Again, some of the most important skills tests include:

  • 40-yard dash
  • Bench press (225 lb repetitions)
  • Vertical jump
  • Broad jump
  • 20-yard shuttle
  • 3 cone drill

To view the full list of prospects invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, click here.

***

KEY DATES

The NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis will begin on Feb. 26; the franchise-tag deadline is on March 5; free agency starts on March 13; and then the 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville, Tennessee, will run from April 25-27.

NFL Scouting Combine: Kyler Murray and Joe Hamilton a generation apart.

Tentative Combine workout schedule:
» GROUP 1: Friday, Mar 1: PK, ST, OL, RB 
» GROUP 2: Saturday, Mar 2: QB, WO, TE 
» GROUP 3: Sunday, Mar 3: DL, LB 
» GROUP 4: Monday, Mar 4: DB 

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The biggest news, so far, is Kyler Murray’s height. If you haven’t, yet, heard, he measured 5-10 1/8 — less than an inch shorter than Russell Wilson.

Kyler Murray standing tall between Dwayne Haskins (l) and Tua Tagovailoa (r).
Photo: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

His hands measured 9 1/2 – again, bigger than anticipated.

Times have changed and everyone seems convinced that Murray will be a first round pick and a star in the making.

I remember when Joe Hamilton was coming out of Georgia Tech. As a senior in 1999, he was recognized as a consensus first-team All-American, won the Davey O’Brien Award, and was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, finishing as the runner-up in the Heisman voting behind Wisconsin running back Ron Dayne.

Hamilton could throw it 50 yards and run like grease lightning. He was an exciting player to watch, not just for fans of the Ramblin’ Wreck, but for any college football fan. Much like Murray in 2018-2019.

Due to Hamilton’s lack of prototypical height for an NFL quarterback (standing just 5’10″/1.78 m), he fell to the 7th round of the 2000 NFL Draft before being selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In three years with the Buccaneers he only played four downs in a single regular-season game.

It’s interesting to look back at how much the game has changed in only one generation. Today, Murray will get an opportunity that, unfortunately, wasn’t available to Joe Hamilton a short 20 years ago.

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Another Combine interview worth checking out: Steve Keim, GM of the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals own the first overall pick. They have one pick in each of the first four rounds, plus four compensatory picks.

RELATED: Listen in to GM Steve Keim address various topics on Wednesday from the NFL Scouting Combine.

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To view the full list of prospects invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, click here.

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KEY DATES

The NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis will begin on Feb. 26; the franchise-tag deadline is on March 5; free agency starts on March 13; and then the 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville, Tennessee, will run from April 25-27.

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