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
If you were still unsure just how important defensive backs have become in today’s pass-happy NFL, the 2016 draft should provide some pretty compelling evidence.
Thursday’s first round saw seven defensive backs selected; tied with defensive linemen and offensive linemen as the most popular position group. In Friday’s second and third rounds, as many as 16 defensive backs were chosen (there’s one hybrid linebacker-type in the group), 10 of them by teams who made the playoffs this past season.
The Day 2 group of defensive backs was led by Baylor cornerback Xavien Howard, and featured Clemson teammates Mackensie Alexander and T.J. Green. The maybe-maybe-not DB of the bunch was USC’s Su’a Cravens, who was announced as a linebacker during the draft but played some safety in college and could eventually line up at safety in the pros. 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
Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:
Missouri Tigers (NCAA): Some things are bigger than wins and losses on the football field. Over the weekend, the Black players on the Tigers joined with fellow students in protesting the inactivity and ineffectiveness of university president Tim Wolfe in addressing a campus culture of racism. The football players — including defensive backs Anthony Hines, Cortland Browning, Logan Cheadle, Kenya Dennis, John Gibson, Cam Hilton, DeAndre McKenzie, Dominic Nelson, Aarion Penton, Isiah Pierre, Tavon Ross, Anthony Sherrils, Ian Simon, Finis Stribling IV, Trei Walton, TJ Warren, Faheem Williams and Thomas Wilson — vowed to boycott all further athletic activities until Wolfe resigned, which he did on Monday. Props to these brothers for “activist” to their student-athlete status.
B.W. Webb, CB, Titans (NFL): With Drew Brees on the schedule and Tennessee’s secondary depleted by injuries, Webb was called up from the practice squad on Saturday. On Sunday, Webb made five tackles and intercepted Brees during the Titans’ 34-28 upset victory. Webb’s end-zone INT in the third quarter was the first of his three-year, three-team pro career. Continue reading