The NFL Network is in the process of gradually revealing its ranking of the league’s top 100 players for 2016, airing a new episode each week that unveils 10 players at a time.
The reveal of the NFL’s list of the league’s top 100 rookies for 2016 was less ceremonial. The whole thing landed quietly all at once as an NFL.com article last week.
Surprisingly, the second-ranked rookie was former UCLA linebacker Myles Jack, whose talent is unquestioned but whose injury history allowed him to fall to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second round of the draft. Since the top 100 rookies list is based on who the experts think will make the biggest impact next season — and because some observers still doubt whether Jack will be able to play next season — it was an interesting choice. Continue reading
Tags: 2016 NFL Draft, Eli Apple, Jalen Ramsey, Karl Joseph, Keanu Neal, KeiVarae Russell, NFL, Su'a Cravens, Vernon Hargreaves III, Vonn Bell, William Jackson III
More than 50 defensive backs were selected in this year’s NFL Draft — 52 to be exact, if you include Washington-bound linebacker/safety hybrid and second-round pick Su’a Cravens. That figure is up from 46 the previous year.
Seven DBs were taken in this year’s first round; up from five a year ago. And while the first DB drafted last year wasn’t called until the 11th overall pick (Vikings CB Trae Waynes), three DBs went in the top-11 this year: No. 5 Jalen Ramsey to the Jaguars, No. 10 Eli Apple to the Giants, and No. 11 Vernon Hargreaves III to the Buccaneers.
With each (no pun intended) passing year, it would appear defensive backs are becoming more valuable in the NFL. Just look at the salaries that the league’s best veteran DBs command in free agency, and look at how many rookies DBs are popping up on the draft tracker. Continue reading
The 2016 NFL Draft started with a pair of quarterbacks, and toward the end of Thursday’s first round, another QB provided the most authentically emotional moment of the night.
Then there was the twisting, turning story line involving a 315-pound offensive lineman and some social media skullduggery that sent him on a Warren Sapp-like slide down the draft board.
And added to the mix were some crazy red-carpet outfits, one adorable scene-stealing toddler, a handful of unexpected picks and some interesting trades.
Almost lost in all of that was the fact that no position group had a better first round than the defensive backs, a group headlined by No. 5 overall pick Jalen Ramsey, the Florida State corner-slash-safety who is headed to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Continue reading
In the 80-year history of the NFL Draft, only once has a defensive back been taken with the No. 1 overall pick. That was all the way back in 1956, when the Pittsburgh Steelers took safety Gary Glick out of Colorado A&M (now known as Colorado State). Glick, who was also a kicker, played seven years in the league with the Steelers, Colts, Chargers and Washington. He finished his career with 14 interceptions and 12 fumble recoveries.
Six decades later, 2016 was shaping up to be the year in which a defensive back went No. 1 in the draft again.
The league was ready for it. Continue reading
Tags: Darian Thompson, Eli Apple, Jalen Ramsey, Karl Joseph, Keanu Neal, Mackensie Alexander, Morgan Burns, NCAA, NFL, NFL Draft, Vernon Hargreaves III, Vonn Bell, William Jackson III
College football’s awards season will culminate with Saturday’s presentation of the Heisman Trophy which, as usual, will go to a quarterback (Clemson’s Deshaun Watson) or a running back (Alabama’s Derrick Henry; Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey).
In the days leading up to that ceremony, however, defensive backs across the country are getting their share of accolades.
Iowa junior cornerback Desmond King claimed the biggest prize, winning the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back. King recorded 67 tackles, 12 pass breakups and eight interceptions this season for the Hawkeyes, who were undefeated before losing to Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game. Iowa will play Stanford in the Rose Bowl. Continue reading
These are high-pressure times at the University of Florida, thanks to last season’s 4-8 record and the uncomfortably warm seat on which head coach Will Muschamp is currently sitting — undoubtedly made hotter under the glares of big-money boosters who are used to winning and not so much used to waiting.
So while most programs would be OK with the Gators’ 2-1 record this season — consisting of a 65-0 rout of Eastern Michigan, a triple-overtime win over Kentucky and last Saturday’s 42-21 loss to Alabama — there is panic in Gainesville because, well, they don’t like losing to the Alabama. Continue reading
Tags: Alabama Crimson Tide, Brian Poole, Florida Gators, Jabari Gorman, Jeff Driskel, Keanu Neal, Marcus Maye, NCAA, Nick Saban, Treon Harris, Vernon Hargreaves III, Will Muschamp