D’Onta Foreman’s path to the NFL Draft

The anticipation surrounding the NFL draft is high, as prospects and fans look forward to the start of the draft this Thursday. Swoopes, Foreman, and Haines, are a couple of Texas prospects, but one stands out as the only junior on the roster, D’Onta Foreman.

The NFL Network released an exclusive interview with Texas running back D’Onta Foreman where he publicly revealed a secret that had inspired his outstanding final season as a Longhorn, the death of his premature son. “He was a fighter, you know,” Foreman said about his son. “He would like fight and he’s going to make it and everything will be fine.”

D’Onta Foreman Jr. developed an infection the day before playing Big 12 rival Texas Tech. Foreman described the news as heartbreaking but still went on to play the best game of his life, rushing 341 yards and 3 touchdowns, making it the third best rushing performance in Texas history. “It was something about that game. I was doing it for my son. I’m leaving it all out there,” he said.

Winner of the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s best running back, ending the season with over 2,000 yards and 15 touchdowns, there is no doubt that Foreman’s current projection as a second round pick this weekend is right on.

Texas, even with a less than stellar football season, has always been a team comprised of men with integrity, strength, and character, on and off the field, which is something that we can take full pride on. In life and in football, you have to keep moving through the tough parts and we are all very thankful for the drive and focus Foreman possessed through all this grief. He is without a doubt a class act, a fighter, and true Longhorn. I believe I can speak on behalf of Texas fans and those rooting for Foreman that we all wish him nothing but success in the NFL and the future ahead of him.

 – Laura Sorto

On the Clock with UTadsports

1.Cleveland Browns: Defensive End Myles Garrett

The best player in the draft, it would be a mistake for the Browns not to pick him.

2.San Francisco 49ers: Defensive End Solomon Thomas

I don’t see the 49ers taking a quarterback here so the best available player is Solomon Thomas who can make an impact for the 49ers defense on day one.

3.Chicago Bears:  Defensive End Jonathan Allen

The Bears need players on both sides of the ball and Allen can provide them with a difference maker on defense. Allen also fits in perfectly at the defensive end spot in the Bears 3-4 scheme.

4.Jacksonville Jaguars: Safety Jamal Adams

This is my favorite player in the draft, the combination of size and speed will pair well with last year’s draft pick Jalen Ramsey and will make the Jaguars’ secondary a strength for the next decade.

5.Tennessee Titans: Cornerback Marshon Lattimore

The Titans need help at cornerback, the team ranked 30th in pass defense Lattimore will be able to add some security to the Titans secondary.

6.New York Jets: Tight End OJ Howard

As much as the Jets need a quarterback they have already heavily invested at that position in the past couple of drafts. Howard gives those young quarterbacks a reliable go to threat at tight end.

7.Los Angeles Chargers: Safety Malik Hooker

Ever since Eric Weddle left, the Chargers have missed the impact he made on the back end of their defense. Hooker can provide that same range that Weddle did for so many years in San Diego.

8.Carolina Panthers: Running Back Leonard Fournette

Cam Newton and Leonard Fournette in the same backfield say no more.

9.Cincinnati Bengals: Defensive End Derek Barnett

Barnett was a highly productive player at his time at Tennessee racking up sacks left and right. Barnett can pair with current edge rusher Carlos Dunlap and help pressure the quarterbacks like Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco in the division.

10.Buffalo Bills: Quarterback Deshaun Watson

The Bills have been rumored to be fans of Watson and they make Watson the first quarterback taken. With the Bills having the option to cut Tyrod Taylor next year, Watson can learn under Taylor for a year and be ready to start next year.

11.New Orleans Saints: Cornerback Marlon Humphrey

The Saints need help in the secondary and at the moment a trade for Malcolm Butler has not not happened. Rumors have been circulating that the Saints like Humphrey and would consider taking him at 11.

12.Cleveland Browns: Quarterback Mitch Trubisky

Hue Jackson gets his guy without having to use the number one pick or trading up. If this happens the Browns could have a bright future from their first round picks alone.

13.Arizona Cardinals: Wide Receiver Mike Williams

Larry Fitzgerald doesn’t have many years left in the league. Williams can step in right away and be option number two for quarterback Carson Palmer and then be option number one when Fitzgerald retires

14.Philadelphia Eagles: Cornerback Gareon Conley

Right now the Eagles best cornerback on the roster is last year’s seventh round Jalen Mills. Conley adds talent to a position that is in desperate need for it.

15.Indianapolis Colts: Running Back Christian McCaffrey

McCaffrey gives the Colts a legitimate three down running back. Not only will he take pressure off quarterback Andrew Luck but he will also be an option for Luck on passing downs.

16.Baltimore Ravens: Offensive Tackle Cam Robinson

The Ravens offensive line gets even younger adding Robinson to play on the right side.

17.Washington Redskins: Defensive End/Linebacker Hassan Riddick

Probably the most versatile prospect falls to Washington. Riddick will pair up nicely with current outside linebackers Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith.

18.Tennessee Titans: Wide Receiver Corey Davis

There is questions about Davis medical history considering he hasn’t been able to workout for teams but the Titans need a big play wide receiver and Davis is two good to pass up.

19.Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Running Back Dalvin Cook

Running back Doug Martin has been unreliable for the Buccaneers. Cook can pair with former teammate quarterback Jameis Winston and wide receivers Mike Evans and Desean Jackson and create an offense to be feared.

20.Denver Broncos: Offensive Tackle Ryan Ramczyk

The Broncos get some much needed help to their offensive line by adding the best offensive lineman in the draft

21.Detroit Lions: Defensive End Takkarist McKinley

The Lions struggled to get to the quarterback last year and McKinley is arguably the second best pass rusher in the draft.

22.Miami Dolphins: Guard Forrest Lamp

The Laremy Tunsil pick worked out for the Dolphins last year and they expect to move him to left tackle. Slide in Forrest Lamp and you give quarterback Ryan Tannehill and a solid offensive line to operate from

23.New York Giants: Tight End David Njoku

Nojoku gives the Giants a legitimate threat from the tight end position for the first time since Jeremy Shockey left town.

24.Oakland Raiders: Linebacker Reuben Foster

The slide for Foster finally ends but he lands with a team that is match made in Heaven for him. Foster will fit in perfectly with the Raiders defensive and make stopping the run easier for pass rushers like Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin

25.Houston Texans: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes

Even though the Texans missed out on the Tony Romo sweepstakes, they get their quarterback of the future. Head coach Bill O’Brien should be able to mold Mahomes into a good quarterback in the near future.

26.Seattle Seahawks Cornerback Kevin King

The Seahawks add another long body to an already long secondary. King who stands at 6’3” should be able to slide in opposite of cornerback Richard Sherman and hold his own in the Seahawks cover 3 scheme.

27.Kansas City Chiefs: Running Back Joe Mixon

Despite all the drama Mixon is selected in the first round. The Chiefs need a feature back after cutting Jamaal Charles and head coach Andy Reid should be able to handle the media circus that comes with drafting Mixon.

28.Dallas Cowboys: Defensive End Charles Harris

The Cowboys get an edge rusher to help strengthen their defense. Harris is a raw player only playing a couple of years of organized football but he displays the burst the Cowboys are looking for in their right defensive end position.

29.Green Bay Packers: Linebacker/ Defensive End TJ Watt

The Packers need a pass rusher with the retirement of Julius Peppers. Insert Watt the younger brother of JJ Watt who can provide a consistent pass rush opposite of linebacker Clay Matthews

30.Pittsburgh Steelers: Linebacker Zach Cunningham

Cunningham will be able to fill in and play right away alongside rising star linebacker Ryan Shazier and become a tackling machine duo for the Steelers.

31.Atlanta Falcons: Defensive End Taco Charlton

The Falcons add another pass rusher in order to help prevent what happened last year in the Super Bowl

32.New Orleans Saints: Linebacker Jarrad Davis

The Saints go defense again, this time adding a linebacker. Davis can play right away and help add stability to the up and down Saints defense.

2016 NFL Draft: Round 1 Recap

2016NFLDraftlogo

By Phillip Brida

The NFL Draft is easily one of the most hyped events of the year in the world of sports. Following the conclusion of the Super Bowl in early February, draft related speculation, mocks, analysis, and general reporting dominates the NFL headlines for more than two months. Each team evaluates prospects with methodology specific to current needs, coaching philosophies, and other metrics, making each and every pick of the draft heavily speculative but nonetheless exciting. The early rounds of the NFL draft truly can change the course of a franchise, while the laters rounds are all about getting the most value out of a pick and taking a chance on finding the “diamond in the rough”. All in all, it truly is a must-watch event for any fan of football or the drama of sports in general.

This year’s draft featured as much change at the top of the draft (order wise) as any draft in recent history. Originally featuring the Tennessee Titans and Cleveland Browns selecting first and second, respectively, we saw blockbuster trades in the weeks prior rearrange the order such that the newly minted LA Rams and Philadelphia Eagles found themselves at the forefront of the 2016 NFL Draft. As such, it became heavily apparent that quarterback prospects Jared Goff (Cal) and Carson Wentz (North Dakota State) were to go 1-2, which left the “real” start of the draft at the hand of the San Diego Chargers at number three. From there, surprise, disappointment, and utter shock unfolded. But first, let’s hit on the story of the night- the fall of Laremy Tunsil.

The Shocking Fall of Tunsil

tunsil

Social media can be a man’s best friend but also one’s worst enemy. In the case of Laremy Tunsil, it likely cost him tens of millions of dollars. Tunsil, an offensive tackle out of Ole Miss, was regarded as a potential number one overall pick from a talent standpoint, but carried some off the field baggage that concerned many teams. An hour before the draft, a video depicting Tunsil smoking (assumedly marijuana) was posted on his Twitter account in what immediately was perceived as a hack of his profile. If you haven’t seen it already, feel free to check it out here. From here, the free-fall ensued.

With Goff and Wentz essentially locks for the first two picks, many thought Tunsil would fall to the Chargers at three or at worst at five with the Jacksonville Jaguars. However, team after team passed on Tunsil, seeing two offensive linemen actually chosen ahead of him. Finally, the Miami Dolphins took the “troubled” OL with the thirteenth pick. There is obviously some inherent risk with this pick for Miami, though many (myself included) believe this to be the steal of the draft so far. Tunsil is an absolute gamechanger on the offensive line, fitting the bill physically at 6’5″ and 310 lbs to go along with two All-American selections in three years at Ole Miss. If he can keep out of trouble off of the field, Laremy Tunsil will dominate the Dolphin’s offensive line on the field for years to come.

Dallas’s Commitment to RB’s

After San Diego made a bit of a surprising decision in selecting Ohio State’s Joey Bosa at #3 overall, the Dallas Cowboys found themselves on the clock at four without clarity. Bosa was believed to be a very good fit for the Cowboy’s, a team that was a liability on defense all season long in 2015, as a defensive end entering the league as less of a project and more of a polished product. Jalen Ramsey remained available as a top-notch athlete and defensive back out of Florida State, which to many analysts and fans seemed to be the next best option for Dallas after Bosa. Instead, the Cowboys did what most teams refuse to do– take a running back in the first round and at number FOUR.

elliottEzekiel Elliott, widely believed to be the best RB in this year’s draft, heard his name called instead of Ramsey. Dallas will see incumbent starter Darren McFadden and backup Lance Dunbar return this season and even brought in former Redskin’s starter and Pro Bowler Alfred Morris on a two-year deal. Did the Cowboys really need to add a fourth RB with their first pick? Consensus varies so far, but Dallas has a great offensive line to develop Elliott behind, leaving a great deal of potential for him to succeed. They certainly have a LOT of work to do on the defensive end, but opponents will certainly have a difficult time preparing for such a talented backfield next season.

Broncos Trade Up, Select…Lynch?

The Denver Broncos are in a unique position entering the 2016 season. Rarely does a Super Bowl winning team see as much change, personnel wise, as the Broncos have this offseason. Most notable of these changes lies in the retirement of eventual hall of famer, Peyton Manning. Losing your starting quarterback certainly hurts, but losing backup Brock Osweiller added insult to injury and left an immense void at the most important position in all of football. Unable to find a solution through free agency (disregarding average joe Mark Sanchez), most experts believed that the Broncos would be in the market for a QB in the draft. lycnh

Sure enough, the Broncos traded up from the back end of the first round to number 26, swapping picks with the Seahawks and selecting Memphis QB Paxton Lynch. Paxton Lynch was a name, prior to the release of mock drafts and combine information, that most fans of the college football circuit weren’t familiar with. A very successful QB in college, Lynch’s primary problem lied in his locale, being at Memphis. Definitely take the opportunity, if you can, to read up on his draft profile.

Having a potential mentor in John Elway within the organization, Lynch has as much support as any quarterback could going into a situation as a rookie. Not to mention, the defense proved to be historically good this past season and he will have weapons at his disposal in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. The real question is, will Lynch get the chance to start week 1, let alone this season? If the Broncos feel that Lynch is truly their quarterback of the future, getting him on to the field sooner rather than later will be an obvious priority.

Further Notes

  • For the first time in 9 years, no player from the SEC was selected in the top-5. The first SEC affiliated player drafted this year was Leonard Floyd out of Georgia at #9 to the Chicago Bears. In the end, the SEC still led all conferences with 8 sections in the first round, though many more fell significantly further than expected.
  • Unlike the SEC as a whole, Ohio State ran away with the first round from the perspective of a single school. Three Buckeyes were taken in the first ten picks (Joey Bosa, Ezekiel Elliott, Eli Apple) and overall saw five taken in the first twenty. Withstanding the 31 players drafted last night, Urban Meyer was probably celebrating more than anyone else.
  • To no surprise, Ezekiel Elliott was the only RB taken in the first round. Popular sentiment around the league dictates this trend, favoring value for RB’s in later round rather than early. Likewise, no wide receiver heard their name called until Corey Coleman (Baylor) was drafted fifteenth by the Cleveland Browns. Three more receivers were drafted before the end of the night, but seeing only 5 skill position players taken in the first is traditionally very uncommon.
  • Two of the draft’s most talented linebackers, Myles Jack and Jaylon Smith, went undrafted after day one. It’s important to consider the significant knee injuries that both suffered this past year, but based on talent alone were listed as the second and third best prospects on Bleacher Report’s 2016 Big Board. Most believed that both would land somewhere in the later end of the round, but both remain on the board going into day two. Both are pro-bowl caliber players but have a lot of work ahead of them in rehabbing to get back on the field. Of course, the typical question of their effectiveness post injury is still in play. Injuries really are a terrible reality of the game of football.

If you want to check out the results of the first round, which I highly recommend, click here. Rounds two and three will begin tonight at 7 PM on ESPN. Talent is still aplenty on the board, so be sure to watch!