Author Archives: Douglas Love

College Football: Week 1 Oregon at Auburn

#11 Oregon Ducks (0-0) vs #16 Auburn Tigers (0-0)

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OREGON DUCKS | PAC 12

Coach: Mario Cristobal

Oregon Players to watch:

Senior QB Justin Hebert (6-6/233)

Sep 22, 2018; Eugene, OR.; Oregon Ducks quarterback Justin Herbert (10) participates in warm-ups before playing the Stanford Cardinal at Autzen Stadium.
Photo Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Herbert has the potential to be the #1 overall pick of the draft.

Herbert has thrown touchdown passes in 28 consecutive games, which is the longest active streak in the FBS. He might have been the number one overall pick in last year’s draft, but he decided return to Eugene for his senior season. In 2018, Herbert threw for 3,151 yards – it could have been a lot more, but his receivers dropped over 50 passes. Look for his numbers to improve in 2019. His Heisman hopes will depend, largely, on how far he can take his team in the rankings.

Senior WR Juwan Johnson (6-5/230)

Herbert will be looking for a dependable possession receiver in 2019. Johnson is a grad-transfer from Penn State, where he had over 1,000 career receiving yards. In 2018, he accounted for 17 first downs through the air, and in 2017, he turned 38 of his 54 catches into first downs. Herbert and Johnson connected three times on seven targets for 32 yards and a touchdown in Oregon’s spring game.

Senior LG Shane Lemieux (6-4/317)

“Shane continues to be the physical force up front,” HC Cristobal said during spring practice. “He’s a really impressive offensive lineman. His threshold for work is mind-boggling.” Like Herbert, Lemieux turned down a shot at the NFL last year. He returns as one of the top rated guards in this year’s draft class.

Junior DT Jordon Scott (6-1/330)

Scott is a huge run-stuffing nose guard clogging up running lanes with his girth and quickness. They call him the “mini-fridge.” Scott has played in 24 consecutive games. He finished 2018 with 29 tackles, including 14 solo, 3.5 for loss and one sack. He looks stronger and quicker in 2019.

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AUBURN TIGERS | SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE

Coach: Gus Malzahn

Auburn Players to watch:

Freshman QB Bo Nixon (6-2/204)

Bo is the son of former Tigers’ QB Pat Nixon.
Photo: Montgomery Advertiser

Nixon won one of the most hotly contested quarterback competitions in the nation: beating out Joey Gatewood, who has Cam Newton size, and the strong-arm of Cord Sandberg, a former minor league baseball player. Nixon will work under new OC Kenny Dillingham, who comes over from Memphis. Nix dominated at the high school level, where he set an Alabama state record for total offense in a career, becoming the first player to surpass 12,000 yards.

Senior LG Marquel Harrell (6-3/307)

When Auburn can run the ball at will, it wins a lot. When Auburn can’t run with consistency, it loses in bunches – that’s historically been true. While there is no clear cut starter coming out of spring practice. Harrell will lead the pave for whomever Malzahn decides will carry the load. Harrell has started 19 games over the last two seasons for Auburn, including 18 in a row. He has appeared in 30 games over the last three seasons after redshirting as a true freshman in 2015.

Senior DT Derrick Brown (6-5/325)

Brown is another player that could have easily entered the NFL draft after his junior year, but opted to return to play another seasons of Saturdays. Brown has 115 career tackles, so far, for the Tigers. In 2018, he amassed 48 tackles, 10.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks.

Junior DE Nick Coe (6-5/282)

Coe lines up next to Brown and plays the BUCK position for the Tigers. In 2018, Coe had 27 tackles, 13.5 TFL, 7.0 sacks for season (leading Auburn in that category). Look for Coe and Brown to put plenty of pressure on opposing quarterbacks in 2019.

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Jordan-Hare Stadium – Grass
Auburn, Alabama | August 31, 2019

College Football: Week 0 Miami at Florida

Miami Hurricanes (0-0) vs #8 Florida Gators (0-0)

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MIAMI HURRICANES | ATLANTIC COASTAL CONFERENCE

Coach: Manny Diaz

Miami Players to watch:

Senior MLB Shaquille Quarterman (6-1/235)

Quarterman is a three-time All-ACC linebacker.

As a true freshman, the Oakleaf High product racked up 84 total tackles, 10 for loss, 3.5 sacks and a fumble recovery for a touchdown: leading to freshman All-American honors. Durable and tough, Quarterman has started every game since he arrived at Coral Gables. Last year, as a junior, he tallied 82 tackles, 14 for loss, 5 sacks, and an interception. Over his career, Quarterman has been one of the most consistent and fundamentally sound linebackers in the nation.

**Sophomore TE Brevin Jordan (6-3/245)

New Offensive Coordinator, Dan Enos – lured to Coral Gables from Alabama – loves to incorporate the tight ends into the game plan. “He loves the tight ends,” said Jordan of Enos, “he loves to throw us the ball.” Jordan, a third team All-ACC selection last year, started 11 of Miami’s 13 games. He caught 32 passes for 287 yards and four touchdowns. Look for him to double those numbers this year.

*Junior CB Trajan Bandy (5-9/188)

As a Sophomore, Bandy enjoyed a breakout  season, starting all 13 games and earning All-ACC third-team honors. He posted career-high totals in tackles (36), tackles for loss (4.5), interceptions (three), fumble recoveries (two) and passes defended (eight). Bandy wore the new “Turnover Chain” five times, more than any player. Quick and instinctual, look for Bandy to play almost exclusively at nickel/slot this year.

Junior DE Jonathan Garvin (6-4/250)

With the departure of Joe Jackson(NFL), Miami will be looking for more production from the four-star defensive end. Garvin Started all 13 games opposite Jackson last year. He finished with 60 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries and five PBUs. Garvin also added his first career touchdown on fumble return. He ranked fourth in ACC and second on team with 17 tackles for loss, and third on team with 5.5 sacks.

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FLORIDA GATORS | SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE

Coach: Dan Mullen

Florida Players to watch:

Senior DE Jabari Zuniga (6-4/257)

Jabari Zuniga (92) looks to step out of Jachai Polite’s shadow in 2019.
Photo: UFA | Jay Metz

Zuniga appeared in and started all 13 games last year, recording 45 tackles on the season. He finished second on the team with 11.0 tackles-for-loss, 6.5 sacks and four quarterback hurries. With a new defensive scheme in place this year, look for Zuniga to use his explosive power and quick first step to rack up double digit sacks.

Junior CB C.J. Henderson (6-1/191)

Regarded as one of the top cornerbacks in the entire country, new Defensive Coordinator Todd Grantham said C.J. Henderson is the definitely the best cornerback he’s ever coached. Henderson started all 13 games last year, racking up 38 tackles, five tackles-for-loss, three sacks, two interceptions, team-high seven pass breakups and two forced fumbles.

Junior QB Feleipe Franks (6-6/240)

Is this the year Feleipe Franks puts it all together? Highly touted out of high school, Franks arrived at Gainesville with prototypical size, a strong arm and endless potential, but has yet to turn those tools into production. However, Franks teammates are saying he’s found new confidence in HC Mullen’s system. Franks first must improve his decision-making and accuracy, while building on his ability as a running threat. He also might have to maintain confidence behind a rebuilt offensive line replacing four starters.

**Sophomore PK Evan McPherson (5-11/177)

Florida boasts one of the top special teams units in the country – and a lot of that has to do with placekicker Evan McPherson. McPherson was 50-50 last year on extra points; had a long of 48 yards; went 17 for 19 (89.5 percent) on field goals and led all freshmen in field goal percentage. McPherson was also Florida’s leading scorer with 101 points.

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Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Grass
Gainesville, Florida

Nat L. Faybian’s College Football Pre-Season Top 25

Alabama and Clemson are clearly the top two teams heading into the 2019 college football season. Georgia comes in at number three, and then there’s the rest of the field.

  1. Alabama Crimson Tide
  2. Clemson Tigers
  3. Georgia Bulldogs
  4. Louisiana State Tigers
  5. Texas Longhorns
  6. Michigan Wolverines
  7. Michigan State Spartans
  8. Oklahoma Sooners
  9. Ohio State Buckeyes
  10. Miami Hurricanes
  11. Utah Utes
  12. Penn State Nittany Lions
  13. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  14. Auburn Tigers
  15. Army Scarlet Knights
  16. Texas A&M Aggies
  17. UCF Knights
  18. Mississippi State Bulldogs
  19. Florida Gators
  20. Oregon Ducks
  21. Appalachian State Mountaineers
  22. Washington State Cougars
  23. Iowa Hawkeyes
  24. Minnesota Golden Gophers
  25. Ohio Bobcats

Other teams to watch: Nebraska; Texas Tech; Cincinnati; Boise State; Virginia; Florida State; Houston; Missouri; Memphis; and FAU.

2019 Pre-Season All-American team: Defense

*An early look ahead.

First Team

Utah State LB David Woodward was named a third-team All-American in 2018.
Photo: Utah State Athletics
PosNAMEYRTEAMHTWT
DEA.J. EpenesaJrIowa6′ 5″277
DTLeki FotuSrUtah6′ 5″323
DTRaequan WilliamsSrMichigan State6′ 4″295
DEMarlon DavidsonSrAuburn6′ 3″282
OLBDavid WoodwardJrUtah State6′ 2″230
ILBPaddy FisherSrNorthwestern6′ 4″245
OLBBryce HuffSrMemphis6′ 3″245
CBPaulson AdeboSoStanford6′ 1″188
CBBryce HallSrVirginia6′ 1″200
FSGrant DelpitJrLSU6′ 3″201
SSBrandon JonesSrTexas6′ 0″200
PBraden MannSrTexas A&M5′ 11″190

Second Team

Willekes made 20½ of his 78 tackles last season for lost yardage.
Photo: Mike Carter|USA TODAY Sports
PosNAMEYRTEAMHTWT
DERaekwon DavisSrAlabama6′ 7″306
DTMarvin WilsonJrFlorida State6′ 5″323
DTNeville GallimoreSrOklahoma6′ 2″330
DEKenny WillekesSrMichigan State6′ 4″265
OLBKyahva TezinoSrSan Diego State6′ 0″230
ILBJoe BachieSrMichigan State6′ 2″230
OLBMichael PinckneySrMiami6′ 1″228
CBThomas GrahamJrOregon5′ 11″184
CBLavert HillSrMichigan  5′ 11″177
FSAndre CiscoSoSyracuse6′ 0″186
SSCaden SternsSoTexas6′ 0″195
PJames SmithJrCincinnati6′ 5″225

Third Team

Penn State’s Gross-Matos looks to build on a successful Sophomore camgaign.
Photo: Adriana Lacy|Roar Lions Roar
PosNAMEYRTEAMHTWT
DEXavier YoungSoClemson6′ 3″255
DTJames LynchJrBaylor6′ 4”285
DTRyan LopezJrNew Mexico State6′ 2″310
DEYetur Gross-MatosJrPenn State6′ 5″257
OLBBaron BrowningJrOhio State6′ 4″238
ILBColin SchoolerJrArizona6′ 0″230
OLBTerrell LewisSrAlabama6′ 5″256
CBAdrian FryeSoTexas Tech6′ 0″190
CBA.J. TerrellJrClemson6′ 1″190
FSQuentin LakeJrUCLA6′ 1″183
SSJalen ElliotSrNotre Dame6′ 1″230
PPressley HarvinSrGeorgia Tech6′ 0″240

2019 Pre-Season All-American team: Offense

*An early look ahead.

First Team

Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa looks to duplicate his amazing sophomore season.
Photo: Al.com
PosNAMEYRTEAMHTWT
QBTua TagovailoaJrAlabama6′ 1″218
RBJonathan TaylorJrWisconsin5′ 11″214
RBTravis EtienneJrClemson5′ 10″210
WRJerry JeudyJrAlabama6′ 1″187
WRRondale MooreSoPurdue5′ 9″175
TEAlbert OkwuegbunamJrMissouri6′ 5″260
OTTrey AdamsSrWashington6′ 8″331
OTAndrew ThomasJrGeorgia6′ 6″320
OGCalvin ThrockmortonSrOregon6′ 5″316
OGJohn SimpsonSrClemson6′ 4″320
OCTyler BiadaszJrWisconsin6′ 3″322
KAndre SzmytSoSyracuse6′ 1″195
RSRondale MooreSoPurdue5′ 9″175

Second Team

National Championship quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
Photo: heavy.com
PosNAMEYRTEAMHTWT
QBTrevor LawrenceSoClemson6′ 5″205
RBSalvon AhmenJrWashington5′ 11″191
RBEno BenjaminJrArizona State5′ 10″200
WRJustyn RossSoClemson6′ 4″205
WRTylan WallaceJrOklahoma State6′ 0″185
TEMatt BushmanJrBYU6′ 5″250
OTWalker LittleJrStanford6′ 7″317
OTSamuel CosmiSoTexas6′ 6″290
OGShane LemieuxSrOregon6′ 4″315
OGParker BraunSrGeorgia Tech6′ 3″280
OCZach ShackelfordSrTexas6′ 4″295
KCooper RotheSrWyoming5′ 11″174
RSSavon ScarverJrUtah State5′ 11″180

Third Team

Look for Patterson to have a break-out Senior season.
Photo: MGoBlue.com
PosNAMEYRTEAMHTWT
QBShea PattersonSrMichigan6′ 2″203
RBMichael WarrenJrCincinnati5′ 11″2018
RBKennedy BrooksSoOklahoma5′ 11″201
WRCollin JohnsonSrTexas6′ 5″215
WRTyler JohnsonSrMinnesota6′ 2′190
TEJared PinkneySrVanderbilt6′ 4″255
OTJon Runyan, Jr.SrMichigan6′ 4′298
OTLiam EichenbergJrNotre Dame6′ 6″303
OGKeith IsmaelJrSan Diego State6′ 3″310
OGBen BredesonSrMichigan6′ 5″310
OCJimmy MorrisseySrPittsburgh6′ 3″295
KRidrigo BlankenshipSrGeorgia6′ 1″191
RSIsaiah WrightSrTemple6′ 2″218

The Draft: Round 2, Review

With a record number of underclassmen (135) declaring for the draft, the pool was very, very, rich. With such a deep class, it was bound to happen that some first round talent would fall into the second round.

When day two started, Bryon Murphy, Jawaan Taylor, Greg Little, Cody Ford, Dalton Risner, D.K. Metcalf, A.J. Brown and Greedy Williams were all still on the board.

There were hardly any real surprises in this round – a few, but no jaw droppers. The names called were either guys projected for the first round, but landed in the second, or names projected for the third that ended up going just a little earlier than anticipated. Overall, a solid round.

By-the-way, Arizona finally unloaded QB Josh Rosen in a trade with the Miami Dolphins. So, the Dolphins pick up Rosen, and the Cardinals got the 62nd overall pick. Arizona also gave Miami a 5th round pick in 2020. So good job, Miami, for being patient and getting your guy at a bargain basement price.

Let’s take a quick look at the second round.

Round 2

1/33. Arizona Cardinals: Bryon Murphy, CB, Washington

“Murphy’s got great skills, really natural anticipation and movement,” general manager Steve Keim said in a pre-draft press conference last Tuesday. “He’s really sudden in transition as a corner. He also has return ability … really passionate about the game and I think he’s going to be a heck of a player in the NFL.” A great way to start the second round with Murphy going off the board.

2/34. Indianapolis Colts (via NYJ): Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Temple

Abdurrahman Ibn Ya-Sin is his real name, but just call him “Rock” Ya-Sin.
Photo: Temple University Athletics

Indianapolis had trade offers for 34th overall pick, but decided to stay pat and select Rock Ya-Sin, the cornerback from Temple. “We had action,” Colts GM Chris Ballard told reporters. “I kept telling our guys, look, if we move down and we pass this guy that we love, and we don’t get him, we’re going to be regretting it.”

3/35. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Oak): Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida

Most all pundits, including me, had Taylor going to the Jaguars in the first round. Apparently, we are told, there were some concerns about Taylor’s medical (knees) that dropped him out of the first round. As long as he’s healthy, seems like a perfect fit in Jacksonville. They need him.

4/36. San Francisco 49ers: Deebo Samuel, WR, So. Carolina

From everything we heard, the 49ers were going to take a wide receiver in the second or third round, so no surprise here. Deebo Samuel was a player the 49ers got familiar with at the Senior Bowl. He’s a competitor that displays a nice combination of speed, power, and versatility.

5/37. Carolina Panthers (via NYG, Sea): Greg Little, OT, Mississippi

He’s big, he’s athletic, he’s got long arms. Little played in the SEC, against some of the top competition in the country. The Panthers expect him to come in and compete for the starting left tackle job.

6/38. Buffalo Bills (via Jax, Oak): Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma

“A lot [of mocks] had me in the first,” Ford said via conference call. “But I tweeted out earlier, always trust God. You never know what’s going to happen. This situation could be better than any situation in the first round, so I’m very grateful for it.” Pre-draft, Ford felt like there was a strong connection between him and the Bills new offensive line coach Bobby Johnson – which Ford believes will translate well on the field.

7/39. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Sean Bunting, CB, Central Michigan

Bunting is a lesser-known prospect from Central Michigan.

Bunting had 9 INT’s and 4 forced fumbles in three years with the Chippewas.
Photo: Mike Carter|USA TODAY Sports

He stands 6’0” tall, 195 lbs, and had a very solid combine showing wtih a 4.42 forty, a 41.5” on the vertical jump, and 126” on the broad jump. He’s one of the highest rated press-cover guys in this years’ draft. Over half the teams had Bunting in for a team visit or a private workout. Getting a press-cover corner was a high priority for the Bucs in this draft – and they land the player GM Jason Licht says they were targeting.

8/40. Oakland Raiders (via Buf): Treyvon Mullen, CB, Clemson

GM Mike Mayock said that Oakland had rated Mullen around No. 24 on their draft board, so when they were able to get him at No. 40, they were very excited. Mayock was quick to mention that Mullen had a great National Championship game. So, he can handle the big stage. He’s a long, rangy, press cover corner that Mayock believes will fit perfectly in DC Paul Gunther’s defensive scheme.

9/41. Denver Broncos: Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas State

From everything I heard, I thought the Broncos would target Risner. While getting him at ten seemed too high, it seemed reasonable they would trade back to get him.

Kansas State’s Dalton Risner is headed to Denver.
Photo: K-State Athletics

When Denver did trade back in round one, and didn’t pick Risner, I was a bit dumbfounded to be honest. But, as things played out, the Broncos still took Risner, but with the 9th pick of the second round. Risner can play four of the five offensive line spots. This is a good value pick for a guy that Denver really liked.

10/42. Denver Broncos (via Cin): Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

Denver then traded up for back-to-back picks, and select Drew Lock, quarterback from Missouri. Lock easily has the strongest arm in this year’s draft class. Giving him some time to learn behind the newly acquired Joe Flacco is an excellent way to groom this guy for the future.

11/43. Detroit Lions: Jahlani Tavai, MLB, Hawai’i

Jahlani who? Unfortunately, Tavai’s games were televised when most of the continental US was asleep. When that happens, you tend to get overlooked by the mainstream press. That, however, doesn’t mean you’re not a good player.

Tavai finished his career with 390 total tackles and 41 tackles-for-loss.
Photo: Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Detroit’s GM Bob Quinn had this to say about Tavai, “I thought we had a really, really good second day of the Draft. (We) acquired Jahlani Tavai from Hawaii – really versatile player, four-year starter, two-time captain, very versatile linebacker, can play the run, can rush, can blitz, can cover. (He’s a) very unique player. When we started scouting him during the season – actually going back to last spring – very unique with his body type, his playing strength, his ability to rush, cover, play the run, throw special teams in there as well. So there’s that. Just because he plays in Hawaii – he’s probably off the radar a tiny bit, but not for our scouts.”

12/44. Green Bay Packers: Elgton Jenkins, OG, Mississippi State

Elgton Jenkins is the exact type of offensive lineman that General Manager’s are looking for these days: versatile. Jenkins displayed his versatility by playing center, guard, as well as tackle and is a very athletic player. He is one of the best interior offensive linemen in this year’s draft.

13/45. New England Patriots (via Atl, LAR): Joejuan Williams, CB, Vanderbilt

With the Draft taking place in Nashville, it was awesome to see a hometown guy go in the second round. Williams, who grew up in Nashville housing projects, was an all-state performer at Father Ryan and an All-SEC selection at Vanderbilt. He was among the top defensive backs in the SEC, ranking second in the conference with four interceptions and 18 passes defended in the 2018 season. At 6’4″, Williams was the tallest corner in the draft.

14/46. Cleveland Browns (via Was, Ind): Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

Certainly, Williams poor showing at the NFL Scouting Combine had a lot to do with his slide into the second round. He’s only a redshirt sophomore, so I believe he will mature and get better and better as goes along. He’s long and fast – running a 4.37 forty – and is the best pure cover corner in the draft. I’m rootin’ for him.

15/47. Seattle Seahawks (via Car): Marquise Blair, S, Utah

GM John Schneider said, “He’s just physical,” Schneider said. “Great athlete. Ran fast. True competitor.” True, Blair is a physical safety, he loves to hit. On the downside of that, he’s not that big. In the NFL, that typically translates into time on the I.R. Certainly, hope that’s not the case here.

16/48. New Orleans Saints (via Mia): Erik McCoy, OC, Texas A&M

The Saints signed free agent Nick Eason and drafted Erik McCoy in an attempt find the heir apparent for retiring center Max Unger. McCoy fires off the ball and is best moving forward. He’ll compete for a starting job.

17/49. Indianapolis Colts (via Cle): Ben Bagonu, LB, TCU

Banogu (15) had 8 sacks and 18 tackles-for-loss last year.
photo: TCU Athletics

The Indy Star said this morning, “Banogu is a guy who posted eye-popping test results at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, measuring a smallish, for a defensive end, 6-3, 250 pounds – though that’s similar to Justin Houston (6-3, 258), a decorated pass-rusher from Kansas City whom the Colts acquired in free agency – but running the 40-yard dash in 4.62 seconds and posting an absurd 40-inch vertical leap.”

18/50. Minnesota Vikings: Irv Smith, Jr., TE, Alabama

Jamaal Stephenson, Vikings Director of College Scouting, spoke to the media after the team selected Alabama TE Irv Smith Jr. in round two of the 2019 NFL Draft. Stephenson said, “We believe Irv is a perfect fit for our new (offensive) scheme.” Smith is a player that Vikings will be able to move around and cause mis-match problems for defenses.

19/51. Tennessee Titans: A.J. Brown, WR, Mississippi

Titans General Manager Jon Robinson said Brown has big hands, and is a great route runner. “He can catch the ball, and he can break tackles,” Robinson said. “He has a good athletic skill-set, and has versatility to play a couple of spots. He’s a good athlete. We are excited to have him on the team.”

20/52. Cincinnati Bengals (via Pit, Den): Drew Sample, TE, Washington

Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan explained pick of tight end Drew Sample in the second round, “We just felt like he was the best offensive player for us, for what we needed.” He went on to say, the Bengals want to have a good run offense – and Sample’s blocking skills will fit nicely in Callahan’s scheme.

21/53. Philadephia Eagles (via Bal): Miles Sanders, RB, Penn State

“Miles was a staff favorite,” GM Roseman said. “A coaching staff favorite. A personnel staff favorite. A front-office favorite. He reminded us of some other players we’ve had around here.”

Sanders fell into Duce Staley’s lap, and the Eagles couldn’t be happier.
Photo: Abbey Drey|centredaily

“This is a guy, we got together two weeks ago as a staff and put together some hypotheticals. We joked about Miles falling to us like he did today. I went to (running backs) coach (Duce) Staley’s office and I said, ‘Let’s get some good karma. Maybe Miles will fall.'”

22/54. Houston Texans (via Sea): Lonnie Johnson, Jr., CB, Kentucky

Johnson raised his stock at the Senior bowl. For his final collegiate season, Johnson totaled 23 tackles (17 solo) with one forced fumble and one interception, along with four passes defensed. His has the traits to become a solid corner at the next level.

Kentucky Wildcats cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr. (6) defends the pass.
Photo: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

“Lonnie is going to be a great pro,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said before the draft Thursday. “He’s got so much upside. You can’t help but look at him and watch him play and like him and want him on your team. It’s just a matter of how high and what pick, but he’s going to be a great pro and has got a lot of upside.”

23/55. Houston Texans: Max Scharping, OT, No. Illinois

No question about it. Houston had to find more than just one offensive lineman in this draft. With the first pick, they got a right tackle in Tytus Howard. In round two, they snap up Max Scharping from Northern Illinois. Scharping is another player that has all the traits teams look for. With good coaching his floor should be high – and he should be able to play left tackle at the next level. He may spend a year seasoning at guard though.

24/56. Kansas City Chiefs (via Chi, NE, LAR): Mecole Hardman, WR, Georgia

Speed, speed, speed. Kansas City gets a dynamic return specialist who can come in and get some reps at wide receiver while he learns the nuances of the game. Looks for him on end arounds and bubble screens and deep shots down the field. I bet Mahomes is excited about this pick. HC Andy Reid said, “The place you really see his grit is in the return game. He’s strong, breaks tackles, and then you get … his speed also.”

25/57. Philadelphia Eagles: J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Stanford

Arcega-Whiteside is a 50-50 jump ball extraordinaire. He plays the redzone like a basketball player posting up in the paint. The Inquirer aptly pointed out, “Arcega-Whiteside fits as an understudy for (Ashlon) Jeffery who gives the Eagles another big-bodied presence.”

26/58. Dallas Cowboys: Trysten Hill, DT, UCF

The Cowboys finally get on the clock and they surprise us a bit by taking a big, explosive, defensive tackle that ends up on the ground way too often. DC Rod Marinelli loves Hill’s motor and high energy. I’m guessing they’ll use him at DT on third and long, creating disruption in the backfield. I think he’ll be a pass rush specialist to begin with.

27/59. Indianapolis Colts: Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State

Parris Campbell and his blazing 4.31 speed is going to Indianapolis. Campbell will give Luck a good target on crossing routes (that’s what Campbell does best) and on deep balls. The Colts like his versatility.

Ohio State’s Parris Campbell is still learning the nuances of playing wide receiver.
Photo: Joseph Maiorana|USA TODAY Sports


“I played multiple positions at Ohio State,” Campbell said. “I found my home at our H-back slot, wide receiver, outside, inside, even took handoffs in the backfield.”

28/60. Los Angeles Chargers: Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware

The L.A. Times proclaims, “Chargers pick ‘perfect fit’ safety Nasir Adderley in second round of NFL draft.” GM Tom Telesco said that Adderley was a player they had targeted and felt relieved when they found him still on the board at No. 60. The Chargers will plug Adderley in at safety.

29/61. Los Angeles Rams (via KC): Taylor Rapp, S, Washington

Here’s what RamWire had to say about Rapp stepping into a crowded defensive backfield. “Despite signing Eric Weddle and having John Johnson III back as a starter, the Rams weren’t satisfied with the current status of their secondary. Weddle is 34 and under contract for just two years, and the Rams love to run three-safety packages on defense.”

30/62. Arizona Cardinals (via NO, Mia): Andy Isabella, WR, UMass

University of Massachusetts All-American wide receiver Andy Isabella has serious 4.3 speed, so he’s not your typical slot receiver. “He had a lot of production inside and outside and that’s what’s exciting to us, is his ability to play on the outside and create space,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said of Isabella. “He’s dangerous on the inside as well. But he’s a guy that showed he could do both at a high level.”

31/63. Kansas City Chiefs (via LAR): Juan Thornhill, S, Virginia

The Chiefs signed Tyrann Mathieu in the off-season. Adding Thornhill to the mix gives them some flexibility in how they design their defensive schemes. Both players are considered to be safeties, but both have the tools to play some spot cornerback. Once again, versatility is the key work in today’s NFL. I like the idea of Mathieu mentoring Thornhill until he becomes an every down player.

32/64. Seattle Seahawks (via NE): D.K. Metcalf, WR, Mississippi

Seahawks GM Schneider said the team was surprised Metcalf was still on the board as the second round came to a close. They decided to make a trade with the Patriots to to move up to and get him

Photo: Matt Bush|USA TODAY Sports

According to the Seattle Times, Seahawks scout Aaron Hineline said of Metcalf: “D.K. fits the mold of smart, tough and reliable. He obviously has a great pedigree and is a freak of an athlete. He’ll be a great fit with all that we ask of our guys at that position. He blocks well and can contribute on special teams.”

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Draft Review: Round 1


Draft talk  . . . draft picks, rounds, team needs, and prospects to watch.

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.

The Draft: Round 1, Review

There were several surprises on day one of the draft. The Arizona Cardinals now have two top ten quarterbacks on their roster. They were unable to trade last years’ first round pick Josh Rosen and drafted Kyler Murray with the number one pick in this years’ draft. Honestly, we are kind of curious to see how all of this plays out. Will they unload Rosen on day two?

The Raiders really did surprise everyone by taking Clelin Ferrell with the fourth overall pick. Ferrell was projected to go somewhere between 10-20 in most mock drafts.

And then the NYGiants, shocked us by taking Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick. Some pundits had Jones buried towards the end of round three; and some had him going to the Giants at pick seventeen. However, nobody expected Jones to go at six, or before Haskins.

Let’s take a quick look at the first round.

Round 1

1. Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma 

With the first pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Arizona Cardinals select Kyler Murray, quarterback, Oklahoma.

Why Arizona waited to until draft day to make their selection known, who knows? Why did they not move Rosen a month ago, who knows? All we know is Murray is now the starting quarterback of the Arizona Cardinal and a perfect fit for new HC Kliff Kingsbury’s Air Raid offense. It will be fun to watch.

2. San Francisco 49ers: Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State

The 49ers will line Bosa up opposite newly acquired DE Dee Ford to create havoc off the edges. Bosa has exceptional short area quickness and excellent lower body strength. The 49ers were said to be shopping Solomon Thomas a couple of days before the draft, but so far no trade.

3. New York Jets: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

Williams to the NYJets is another great fit, great pick. Williams is coming off a college season where he absolutely dominated opponents with his quickness, agility, and hand techniques. By lining him up next to Leonard Williams, the Jets are going to create a lot of pressure up front.

4. Oakland Raiders: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

Clemson Tigers defensive end Clelin Ferrell won the 2018 Ted Hendricks Award.
Photo: Mark J. Rebilas|USA TODAY Sports

The first major surprise of the draft. How big of a surprise? Even Raiders new DE Clelin Ferrell remarked on being picked No. 4 overall: “I would be lying to you if I said I wasn’t surprised.” Ferrell is about as complete an end as there is in this draft. Quick enough to get the corner and stout enough to hold up against the run.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Devin White, ILB, LSU

Not shocked here, but a little surprised they took a linebacker (White) over an edge rusher (Josh Allen) with both still on the board. However, the Bucs lost their MLB, Kwon Alexander, to the 49ers in the off-season -so, it makes sense. Plus with Tampa switching to a 3-4 they needed another inside linebacker to suit up next to Lavonte David. Another great pick, great fit.

6. New York Giants: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

His relationship with quarterback guru David Cutcliffe and the Manning family probably had a lot to do with Jones landing in the Meadowlands. That part wasn’t too surprising. What was a complete shock is that Jones went off the board at No. 6 overall. Jones will learn the ropes from Eli, while Eli can feel secure that the number one quarterback in East Rutherford, New Jersey, is still named Manning.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Josh Allen, OLB, Kentucky

Jacksonville is in need of help along the offensive line, no secret there. The Jags gave up 50+ sacks last year. Most everyone expected the Jags to take an offensive lineman here. However, no one expected Ferrell to go off the board at No. 4 four, or Allen to slide to No. 7. Allen creates issues for tackles with his burst off the line, and bend around the corner. Jags took the best player available and will look for O-line help in round two.

8. Detroit Lions: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

The Lions need weapons on offense and they got a really good player here in Iowa’s T.J. Hockenson. Hockenson can inline block, adding value to the running game. He runs clean routes, gains separation, and has easy hands – adding value to the passing game. Just a smart pick.

9. Buffalo Bills: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

With the retirement of DT Kyle Williams, I thought they might address that need early in the draft. However, I thought they’d go after a big run-stuffer like Dexter Lawrence. The Bills, though, went after the smaller 3-technique Ed Oliver. Oliver is a tough competitor that plays from snap to whistle and should fit in well with that dominant defense.

10. Pittsburgh Steelers (via Den): Devin Bush, ILB, Michigan

This morning’s Detroit Free Press read, “Michigan’s Devin Bush Jr. was exactly what Pittsburgh Steelers wanted.”

Michigan’s Devin Bush is able to rush the quarterback or drop in coverage.
Photo: Detroit News

The Steelers trade up to grab the second best linebacker in the draft — and they take him ahead of arch-rival Cincinnati, who may have been contemplating at the same player. Good move to go up and get the player you want and keep him out of the hands of the competition.

11. Cincinnati Bengals: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

New HC Zac Taylor wants to fill the locker room with high effort, high character players. Williams isn’t a “splash” pick, but he’ll be lunch-bucket reliable and a very good foundation piece for the new regime in Cincinnati. The four-year starter fills one of the Bengals’ most pressing needs. Good pick, good value.

12. Green Bay Packers: Rashan Gary, OLB, Michigan

How will the Packers use Michigan DT/DE hybrid Rashan Gary? “He’ll start in the outside linebacker room. He’s a guy, because of his size and speed and versatility, you’d hope you can move him around the front,” Packers scout Joe Hueber told reporters Thursday night.

13. Miami Dolphins: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

I’m comfortable with Wilkins going at thirteen, but are the Dolphins throwing the 2019 season out the window? I can’t believe Fitz-Magic is really their answer? We’ll see if they go after a QB in day two? Miami Dolphins GM Chris Grier gushed about Wilkins position versatility and leadership – and he’s right about those things, I just thought they had a bigger need at QB.

14. Atlanta Falcons: Chris Lindstrom, OG, Boston College

I had Lindstrom going toward the bottom of round one, so there was a little surprise when he came off the board at fourteen. He’s definitely the best OG prospect in this year’s draft. In Atlanta, Lindstrom will be joining another former BC player in quarterback Matt Ryan. It will be Lindstom’s job to keep Ryan’s jersey clean. Solid pick.

15. Washington Redskins: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

Haskins will be playing thirty minutes from home.
Photo: Joe Maiorana|USA TODAY Sports

Happy for Washington to get the quarterback they really wanted without having to trade up to get him. I had Haskins as my number one rated quarterback since December. He’s accurate, patient, has excellent pocket presence and light feet. Next question, does Washington start him on day one?

And what did Haskins think of “falling” to pick fifteen?

“To be honest, I’m more motivated than ever before. I’ve got a chip on my shoulder,” Haskins told ESPN. “The league done messed up.” Got to like a guy who finds ways to self-motivate.

16. Carolina Panthers: Brian Burns, DE, Florida State

The Panthers have concerns on both sides of the line. They went defense first. “This guy has a huge ceiling,” GM Marty Hurney said. “He’s got some elite skill-set traits that are hard to find. He needs to develop as he grows and his body matures – he needs to get stronger – but you can’t coach some of the traits he has. The speed. The length. The change of direction.”

17. New York Giants (via Cle): Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman loves those big-bodied lineman that improve your team and defense by winning in the trenches. With QB Jones and DT Lawrence, Gettleman has improved his roster already.

18. Minnesota Vikings: Garrett Bradbury, OC, NC State

Bradbury seems like he’d be a best fit for a zone-blocking team – a team like Minnesota. The Vikings need to protect QB Kirk Cousins, so I thought they would go with an offensive tackler at eighteen, getting interior help a little later in the draft. HC Mike Zimmer said of Bradbury, “This dude is tough, physical and a ‘can’t miss’ guy.”

19. Tennessee Titans: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State (NLF)

The Titans coming out of round one with a DT wasn’t a surprise. Taking Simmons, who is coming off an ACL injury, was a minor surprise. Simmons has top ten talent, but he won’t be ready to play right away. The Titans are willing to wait, and should be largely rewarded for their patience.

Simmons said on a conference call Thursday night his ACL rehab is going great.
Photo: Clarion Ledger

“He’s a guy we did extensive research on, and he is going to come in here and get to work and help this football team,” Titans General Manager Jon Robinson said of Simmons. “I’m just really excited about the ability that he has. He has really good quickness, can really run for a big man. He is explosive, changes direction well. He finishes plays, and he is an aggressive player.

20. Denver Broncos (via Pit): Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

GM John Elway had this to say about trading down from ten to twenty, and about getting Fant with the twentieth pick.

Fant ran a 4.5 forty with a 6.81 3-cone at the Scouting Combine.
Photo: The Daily News

“We had a couple other options too. We had a lot going on in that 10 minutes. We ended up taking the deal with Pittsburgh, and we just felt like getting that extra pick in the second and getting a third next year that the value was there. Then to be able to pick up Noah at 20—he can really run and stretch the field, very athletic, and a very effective receiving tight end. We’re excited about where he ended up.”

21. Green Bay Packers (via Sea): Darnell Savage, S, Maryland

Seattle traded down to gain additional draft picks, while Green Bay made the move up to get the best safety in this year’s draft, Darnell Savage. The Packers exchanged their No. 30 pick and two fourth-rounders (No. 114 and 118) to move up to take the Terrapins’ senior safety, who had 181 tackles and eight interceptions (two returned for a touchdown) in 45 career games.

22. Philadelphia Eagles (via Bal): Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State

GM Howie Roseman traded up to draft Washington State offensive tackle Andre Dillard. Roseman said Dillard was not a need selection, rather he was the best player on their board. In fact, Roseman said, the Eagles had Dillard ranked as a top 10 player. They are not expecting him to step into the starting rotation right away.

23. Houston Texans: Tytus Howard, OT, Alabama State

Houston had to find a way to protect QB Deshaun Watson. With Dillard off the board, Houston turned its attention to Tytus Howard of Alabama State. Howard looked very good at the Senior Bowl. He has an excellent kick-step and mirrors well. GM Brian Gaine said that he believed Howard could play four of the five O-line positions.

24. Oakland Raiders (from Chi): Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

Jacobs is widely considered the top running back prospect in the nation.
Photo: Marvin Gentry|USAT

Oakland got their feature back in Josh Jocobs. With a big offensive line to run behind, a veteran quarterback to lead the way, and wide receivers to stretch the field, Jacobs should have a big rookie season.

25. Baltimore Ravens (via Phi): Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

For the second straight year, the Ravens traded in the first round with the Philadelphia Eagles, moving back three spots to No. 25 and picking up fourth- (127) and sixth-round (197) picks in return. With their pick, the Ravens selected WR Marquise Brown – a guy who can take the top off a defense. With QB Lamar Jackson’s cannon of an arm and Brown’s blazing speed, look for a lot of explosive plays from the Raven’s offense this season.

26. Washington Redskins (via Ind): Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State

Washington traded the 46th overall pick and a 2020 second-round pick to the Colts to draft Mississippi State pass rusher Montez Sweat at No. 26 overall. Sweat was considered a top 20 prospect on most draft boards. By getting their QB and a starting edge rusher the Redskins definitely had a successful first day.

27. Oakland Raiders (from Dal): Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State

Speed on defense was a priority this offseason for the Raiders, who added safety Lamarcus Joyner in free agency. Adding physicality was another priority, so they drafted Mississippi State’s Johnathan Abram. Abram is a hard-hitting tone-setter that flies to the ball and punishes ball-carriers.

28. Los Angeles Chargers: Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame

The Chargers need OL help and DT help. So, taking Tillery here was simple, take the best player available that fills a pressing need. GM Tom Telesco loves Tillery’s length, size, flexibility, and strength. Tillery was enjoying the Sun in Maui when he received the call from the Chargers.

29. Seattle Seahawks (via KC): L.J. Collier, DE, TCU

Texas Christian’s L.J. Collier runs through drills at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Photo: Seattle Tims

The Seahawks have been busy wheeling-and-dealing this week. They trade DE Frank Clark to Kansas City, then select Texas Christian defensive end L.J. Collier at the bottom of round one. While, Collier has been a player on the rise, taking him in the first round seems like a bit of a stretch. He not your prototypical rush end; he’s a bigger bodied run-stuffing end that has some up-field ability. Good player, but not sure its good value for the pick? The Chiefs traded out of the first round.

30. New York Giants (via New Orleans, GB, Sea): De’Andre Baker, CB, Georgia

The Gaints make a trade to go up and get Georgia cornerback De’Andre Baker. Baker won the Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back in college football. He’s not the fastest guy, but he’ll be a solid tackler – and maybe even be the starting nickel. It’s been a good day for the Giants.

31. Atlanta Falcons (via LAR): Kaleb McGary, OT, Washington

Atlanta trades back up into the first round to get some more help on the offensive line. McGary is an aggressive run blocker and likes to play with a nasty streak. With the addition of Lindstrom and McGary, the Falcons have improved one of the NFL’s worst rushing offenses (98.3 ypg 27th overall).

32. New England Patriots: N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State

Harry averaged 16.9 yards on punt returns last year.
Photo: arizonasports.com

The Patriots definitely needed a wide receiver. Taking a wide receiver that suffers from concentration lapses (aka dropping passes when he’s wide open) was a surprise. Harry is physically ripped, big bodied, with great control and the ability to make the circus catch. Basically, a big bodied slot receiver that is good at getting yards after the catch. Why not A.J. Brown, who has better hands? Why not D.K. Metcalf to stretch the field? Never doubt Bill Belichick — we’ll find out why Harry when the season starts.

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Draft Review: Round 2


Draft talk  . . . draft picks, rounds, team needs, and prospects to watch.

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

***

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

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