Notre Dame’s Top ‘Men Of Steal’ In NFL Draft

Editor’s Note: The late, great Lou Somogyi possessed an unmatched knowledge of Notre Dame football and it was his mission in life to share it with others. Those of us at BlueandGold.com would like to continue to share his wisdom and unique perspective with our readers.

With the 2021 NFL Draft beginning this evening, we thought it would be a great time to revisit Lou’s feature on Notre Dame players who out-performed their draft position.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Miami Dolphins linebacker Nick Buoniconti

Nick Buoniconti was not drafted by the NFL, but was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. (Courtesy Miami Dolphins)

Former United States president Harry S. Truman (1945-53) reportedly stated “The ‘C’ students run the world.” Like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, among others, before him, Truman did not possess a college degree.

In perhaps that same vein, the NFL is dominated by fourth- to seventh-round picks, similar to college football having the bulk of its players comprised of athletes who were ranked with three or less stars.

That is mathematically natural because the volume is going to be larger among them. That is not even including free agents through the years who also made rosters and often contributed significantly. Among the better ones under current Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly have been defensive end Romeo Okwara and safety Matthias Farley following the 2015 campaign.

Here are our top dozen Notre Dame surprises in the NFL who originally weren’t thought of having what it takes to thrive in the NFL.

12t. Ray Lemek, 1956, 19th Round, No. 227 And Mike Golic, 1985, 10th Round, No. 255

Back in the 1950s when there were 30 rounds and only 12 teams, offensive lineman Lemek was tabbed way down but ended up playing nine years, and made the Pro Bowl in 1961 for the Washington Redskins.

Golic battled injuries as an Irish senior while his pro stock dropped. He still suited up for eight years and 115 NFL games (49 starts), mostly on head coach Buddy Ryan’s Philadelphia Eagles defenses.

11. Theo Riddick, 2013, Sixth Round, No. 199

Now in his ninth year in the league, he is currently with the Las Vegas Raiders. The leading rusher for the 2012 Fighting Irish who advanced to the national title game in 2012 (917 rushing yards, plus 36 catches for 360 yards), has been one of the top pass catchers in the backfield during his NFL career, nabbing 285 (14 for touchdowns), and also rushed for 1,023 yards in his career.

10. John Sullivan, 2008, Sixth Round, No. 187

The former Fighting Irish center played 10 full seasons in the NFL (sat out 2015 with an injury) and started in 125 regular season games out of a possible 153. This included all 16 in 2018 (plus three in the playoffs for the NFC champion Los Angeles Rams) before retiring in 2019.

9. Steve Sylvester, 1975, 10th Round, No. 259

A starting offensive tackle for the 1973 national title team, Sylvester’s low draft status made him opt to go into teaching right after the event — until a friend advised him to give the NFL a try because he shouldn’t ask later “what if?”

Sylvester played for three Super Bowl champions (1976, 1980 and 1983) while with the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders, where he appeared in 106 games as the utility man who played every position along the line, including long snapper.

8. David Givens, 2002, Seventh Round, No. 253

Taken in the final round, and only eight picks away from becoming “Mr. Irrelevant,” Givens became a favorite target of Tom Brady on Super Bowl champion New England in 2003 and 2004.

Givens caught only 72 passes and three touchdowns in four seasons with the Irish — but he snared at least one TD in seven straight playoff games, including back-to-back Super Bowls.

7. Pete Holohan, 1981, Seventh Round, No. 189

Originally a quarterback recruit and then a flanker at Notre Dame, where he never caught more than 22 passes in a season, he became a prolific tight end in the NFL. His 363 career receptions were nearly as many as Hall of Fame member Dave Casper (378), and a dozen ahead of Mark Bavaro (351). Holohan totaled 12 years on four teams.

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6. Jim Mutscheller, 1952, 12th Round, No. 134

The captain of Frank Leahy’s 1951 team was in the Marines his first two years after graduating. When he tried out in 1954 for the Baltimore Colts, he was told he had “Army legs” — good for marching but not for running — and barely made the final cut on a team vote.

The tight end became a top target for Johnny Unitas, and also was twice voted the franchise’s top blocker. He and Mike Ditka were among the first great receiving tight ends in league history.

5. Wayne Millner, 1936, Eighth Round, No. 65

There were only nine rounds and 81 picks in this first draft, but Millner made the most of his low selection by becoming the favorite target of Slingin’ Sammy Baugh for the Boston Redskins, who moved to Washington, D.C., in 1937 and beat the Chicago Bears 28-21 to win the NFL title. Millner caught 78- and 55-yard touchdowns from Baugh in that championship game.

Millner was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1968 even though his NFL career was interrupted when he served in World War II for three years.

4. Ryan Grant, 2005, Undrafted

Despite running a 4.43 at the NFL Combine, he was not drafted, and nearly bled to death when he cut himself on glass in an off-field accident. Doctors said he might not regain full function of his wounded arm.

The Green Bay Packers picked him up in 2007 — and he became one of the NFL’s premier backs from 2007-09, finishing with 956, 1,203 and 1,253 rushing yards in those respective years. That’s not including a 201-yard effort in a 2007 playoff victory.

An ankle injury sidelined Grant during the 2010 Super Bowl run, but he returned to the Packers in 2012.

3. Daryle Lamonica, 1963, 12th Round, No. 168

“The Mad Bomber” quarterback was 12-18 during his Notre Dame career under head coach Joe Kuharich, but in the 1962 East-West Shrine game while playing for Northwestern head coach Ara Parseghian, Lamonica drew some notice from scouts by completing 20 of 28 pass attempts for 349 yards during a 25-19 victory.

A two-time MVP in the AFL, the 12-year pro made the NFL Pro Bowl twice when the two leagues merged in 1970, after he had guided the Raiders into the 1968 Super Bowl versus Green Bay.

Lamonica passed for 19,154 yards and 164 touchdowns during his pro career, but more notable is his 66-16-6 record as a starter is good for a .784 winning percentage — which has been second in league history to Otto Graham’s .810, with Brady always a threat to get to No. 1.

2. Rocky Bleier, 1968, 16th Round, No. 417

Already deemed too small and too slow to make it in the NFL, a shattered leg in 1969 while serving in the Vietnam War then left doubts about whether he would be able to walk again without a limp.

Instead, he played 11 years for the Pittsburgh Steelers, helping them win four Super Bowl titles while rushing for 3,865 yards, catching 136 passes and serving as a superb blocker for running back Franco Harris and quarterback Terry Bradshaw.

1. Nick Buoniconti, 1962, Undrafted

Not selected in any of the 20 NFL rounds because he also was classified as too small and slow to line up at linebacker, Buoniconti was chosen in the 13th round by the inferior AFL.

During his 15-year career from 1962-76 in which he played 183 games, he was exceptional against the run and pass (32 career interceptions), and was selected to the All-Time AFL Team (six-time All-AFL pick).

After the leagues merged, he made the Pro Bowl for Miami in 1972 and 1973 — when the Dolphins were Super Bowl champs with 17-0 and 15-2 records — and was the leader of the vaunted “No Name” defense. He was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001.

Bunoiconti passed away in July 2019 at age 78.

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Gregory Rousseau 2021 NFL Draft Profile: What to know about Giants potential pick

Gregory Rousseau Treated

Gregory Rousseau Treated

The 2021 NFL Draft is drawing closer. With the Giants set to pick at No. 11 in the first round, we’ll be taking an in-depth look at potential prospects who could soon call New York home.

Here’s a look at Miami EDGE Gregory Rousseau

By The Numbers

Height: 6-foot-6 1/2
Weight: 266 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.68 (Pro Day)
Vertical: 30 inches
Stats: 15.5 sacks, 19.5 tackles for loss, 35 tackles, 14 games (opted out of 2020 season)
Accolades: Led ACC in sacks and tackles for loss in 2019 season

Prospect Overview

NFL.com: “Long-limbed, even-front end with a projectable frame but a concerning lack of functional edge experience. Much of his sack production came via athletic mismatches against interior blockers when reduced inside. He lacks prototypical get-off and needs more violence and pop in his hands, but his length, pursuit agility and wide-open throttle really stand out on tape. He doesn’t come off as unwilling at the point of attack. Expect noticeable improvement as a run defender once he adds play strength and learns to bend and anchor more effectively. The checked boxes are a bit uneven, but that appears to be more a reflection of a lack of film rather than projectable talent. He carries a bit of a boom/bust profile, but also has the makings of a player who can become a quality 4-3 end within his first three seasons”

The Draft Network: While the production is eye-popping and he has an exciting physical skill set, his game is underdeveloped, which comes as no surprise given his relative newness to playing on the defensive line after a high school career where he primarily played wide receiver and safety. While Rousseau’s frame and length jump off the tape, his lack of technical refinement, processing skills, and functional strength are concerning when projecting him to the next level. It will be important for the franchise that selects Rousseau to understand the need for patience with his development. Rousseau suffered a season-ending fractured ankle in 2018 after just two games and opted out of 2020, leaving 2019 as the only year of film to evaluate and his rawness was evident. With patience and development, Rousseau has the upside to become an impact defender that can play all across the defensive line in multiple fronts.”

Why He Fits

Like the overviews said, Rousseau doesn’t have a lot of tape to watch. But the athleticism and the production from the 2019 season is too intriguing not to like the potential of what Rousseau can become in the NFL.

Collecting 15.5 sacks in a single NCAA season is a very hard task. And Rousseau did that in one of his early seasons of learning the position. Imagine what kind of technical skills Patrick Graham and his staff could teach him to refine his craft, develop his fundamentals to be sound, and possibly create a serious problem off the edge – one the Giants haven’t had since Jason Pierre-Paul.

Now, with that said, is a project like that worth it at No. 11 overall? Probably not. Rousseau’s draft stock is lower because you want a sure-fire prospect in the first round who can make an impact immediately.

If the Giants trade back and select Rousseau while gaining more draft capital, that could be a win-win. The Giants get someone who has the potential and certainly the athletic fit to be a monster on defense. And they can select someone else down the road, too.

NFL Comp

Walter Football: Redskins DE Montez Sweat

Social Moment

NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo said this back on March 30 about the Giants and Rousseau…

7 Life Lessons for My 12-Year-Old Self: A Window to the 1980’s West Belfast

Are we traveling via a DeLorean or a hot tub time machine? It doesn’t matter as long as we get there. Where? Back in time to arguably the decade that revolutionized culture. We have arrived.

The year is 1989 and the community is West Belfast. Hold fire. I need to check the news on teletext. All clear. Let’s go exploring. Stall the ball. Put this on first. What is it? A pink and blue shell suit. You need to blend in. To give you an idea of influences shaping our lives back then, I need to break these into subcultures:

  • Super sporty (Aged 11-13) – American style bomber jackets (49ers, Dolphins, Celtics, Bears, Redskins,) and of course L.A. Raiders (Hip Hop culture N.W.A.), Nike Air Max, Manchester United, Glasgow Celtic, and Liverpool tracksuits and kits. Influences; Brut Faberge (Aftershave), Saint and Greavsie, Leisure World, Why Don’t You, and the Wonder Years. Habitually found racing Gliders, Mallusk playing fields, or jumping off the back of coal lorries, fire engines, and Ulsterbus.
  • Super trendy (Aged 14-16) – Miami vice jackets, Rupert the bear jeans, Lemon cardigans, Pink ties, 20 Pleats and multi coloured wrist bands Routinely trying to hit on the ladies, but hadn’t a £5 between them. Influences; Kouros (Aftershave), Erasure, Pet Shop Boys, Hitman and Her, Baywatch, Knight Rider., A-Team, and Airwolf.
  • Super rebellious (Aged 17-19) – Black slip-on shoes, white socks, drainpipe jeans, white t-shirts, and a black leather jacket. Normally buying 3 loose cigarettes, playing snooker (Conway Mill/Peter Pan), or extracting lead from an empty house. Influences; Old Spice aftershave, Auf Wiedersehen Pet, Minder, Only Fools and Horses, Desmond’s, Madness, Specials and Bad Manners.
  • Super confused-Desert Boots, Glasgow Celtic track bottoms, Denim jacket, and a Liverpool jersey. Switch the Liverpool jersey for a Manchester United one, and that was me! What a trendsetter. These are vivid memories that 30-plus years later I can still smell the lard sizzling. Or was it the vehicle burning nearby? We were still a country in conflict. How was I to know then (12 years old) that this environment was shaping part of my identity? To understand your present, you need to embrace the past.

What do you want to be when you grow up? Now, this is a question my daughters are discussing with their friends (Socially distanced via face time of course) as I sit and write this story! Jesus, where has the time gone? I can recall my teachers in school asking the class this same question when we began secondary (junior-high) school (aged 11-16 years). If you played soccer or enjoyed jumping from heights (guilty of both) then there were only 2 options: (1) a soccer player, (2) a fireman. What is it about these two career paths that created so much excitement and expectation in my mind? At age 12 you have no real concept of finance, except I want to be famous. That’s the soccer mindset. Grab the water key off the side of that fire engine. No need to state this career path!

Apologies to the residents of the Springfield Road area who had no water in the late summer of 1989! Nothing better than turning on those water hydrants. You all did it. Did I manage to reach any of these ambitions? Let’s put the latter out first! I failed the Fireman’s test aged 19 years on a technical error with the hose run. Where was Video Assistant Referee (VAR) when you needed it?

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Life Lesson One: We all face adversity and challenge, and we fail!

Making those soccer dreams a reality. Let me give you a typical day when I was aged 12 years. Return home from school, throw school bag in the hall, change shoes and play soccer in the street until I heard the following scream “Michael your dinner’s ready” At that stage, I was already playing for the Corpus Christi College soccer team and a local boys club (Holy Trinity FC). So, most of my spare time I had a ball at my feet. The passion, commitment, and enthusiasm for soccer dominated most of my thoughts. How many Panini sticker albums can you actually fill in one season? Swapping stickers was brilliant. It was like St George’s Market (Belfast).

I was a fan of Manchester United, my dad took me to my first match when I was 7 years old. Travelling through the night on the slow boat. It was an amazing childhood experience. Gordon Strachan scored in a 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Old Trafford. All this playing, training, and focus began to lead somewhere, as scouts started coming to our matches.

Before I knew it I was on trails with different clubs in the U.K. (Millwall, Southampton, and Leicester City Football Clubs). Those dreams were starting to be within reach. Time to fuel the body for performance. What do you need Michael? Bottle of milkman’s orange, Belfast bap and a packet of Tayto cheese and onion! The post-match meal of real champions.

Life Lesson Two: Focus, persistence, and attitude are essential for your mentality.

Coming to America-The cross-community experience. Before I had turned 12, I had travelled to America for six weeks through Project Children. The program was the brainchild of Denis P Mulcahy an NYPD Officer (formerly from Cork/Ireland). The idea was to bring both catholic/protestant children together from some of the worst conflicted communities in the country and give them an experience in a different culture. The children were placed with American families in various parts of the U.S.A. Fortunately for me, it was New England, the Boston region.

This was the decade of the Celtics when Bird, Mc Hale, Ainge, and Parish were making the NBA Finals. The famous Fenway Park home of the Redsox Baseball Team was all within a drive. It was the first time I had met protestant children on more relaxed terms. For some reason, I couldn’t stop staring at this kid’s ears. He didn’t look like Frodo Baggins at all. He looked just like me. Assumptions are the mother of all fuck ups. No need for any bricks and bottles today! Let’s go stateside.

We traveled via Aer Lingus. I’ve never seen so many kids on one flight. (Organised chaos). It was also my first time on a plane. Nervous, excitement, and fear do not make for a happy stomach. Fortunately, I was sitting beside the bathrooms! When we landed I never saw buildings so tall. Meeting the families was a riot. We traveled to a large venue where they had all gathered. I scan the room, and the hundreds of cardboard signs to find the new mum and dad.

I can still hear the excitement and screams now as I walked towards them. Instant family, here we go. The time in New England was an unbelievable experience. The family home was akin to something out of Beverly Hills 90210. It was a complete shock to the system returning to the streets of West Belfast. But I did keep the accent for a few weeks! I sounded like Mike Teavee from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Life Lesson Three: Embrace diversity and learn to accept others.

Enjoy yourself, for god’s sake. When I was aged 12 I loved nothing more than playing soccer and exploring. There was no hesitation or fear when trying new things. You just did it. No need to think about the consequences of your actions. What are those anyway? These were the days when your imagination could run wild about what to think up next. How did you have fun, when you were 12 years old? For me, there were a lot of pranks, risks, and running! Another apology, this time to Mr French Toast, and his window. Now, 30-plus years later, a lot of those simple things seem a lot more difficult. Why?

“Life is what happens when your busy making other plans.” ~~ John Lennon

Now I could say life got in the way. If it wasn’t for debt, losing a home, young offenders centre’s business risks, welfare, court cases, dead-end jobs, worry, stress, judgment, and shame I would be fine. But wait. All of those things I spoke of when I was 12 years old are still free to me now. So what happened? I forgot about the journey and focused on the fire fighting. Living in the present was put to one side for the stress that comes with worrying about everything. It took me until the COVID-19 global pandemic to get my head out of my rear end.

Life Lesson Four: We only get one shot at this journey. Enjoy the ride.

Being a dad is easy. When I think back to times around the house with my dad growing up I remember seeing him after he returned from work. He left before I got up for school most mornings. He took me everywhere at weekends in his car and was always at most of my soccer matches. To me, this looks like the easiest job in the world. Back to that concept of living in your reality! Now as the dad of 12-year-old twin girls, they are reaching that stage of life when they are becoming more attuned to the world around them.

It might be the role of technology in their lives (thanks Google Classroom), social media, (Tik Tok rules), Netflix and YouTube, or online shopping that can dominate parts of their day. A lot of this access I didn’t have available to me in 1989. Smartphones in the 80s! I probably would have thrown that at the passing army jeeps. Our world is changing at a rapid pace, and as a dad of twin girls, I had to reassess my approach to parenting. The volume of information, cultural shifts, and conversations you go through weekly should be a Ph.D. study. Did I say being a dad was easy? It requires the dedication, time, humility, and patience of a Buddhist Monk.

Life Lesson Five- You need to be there, show up, and play a huge part in your children’s lives.

My buddy says he fancies you? These were great learning moments, although I didn’t know that at the time of how you handle adversity! So here we go with an everyday scenario in a school, youth club, or community setting. You fancy the same girl as your friend. How will you know if she feels the same about you? It’s the best trick in the book. You approach her and tell her your friend fancies her to gauge her reaction. If she says I’m not interested then you can report back the situation to your friend. You imagine that her friend will come over after you spoke to her and say she fancies you instead! Don’t know if this always worked.

But that’s how you started to become curious. If all else fails you could always play kissy catch! For those who don’t know this game. The boys usually chased the girls and when they caught them they kissed them on the cheek. Or the lips if you were a bit of a lad! Be warned, you needed to have large doses of Insignia (aftershave) applied before chasing anyone!

As a dad of twin girls aged 12, I’m having nightmares of this situation happening! Is it different for the dads of girls? I speak to friends of mine all the time who have gone through this process, and they said it’s like Nightmare on Elm Street. Let me be clear on this point- if some lad called Sean Paul with two hoop earrings, a moustache, and skinny jeans rocks up at my door. I’m using The Undertaker’s chokeslam on them. Another learning moment filled with enjoyment to look forward to.

Life Lesson Six-Excitement, curiosity, and awkwardness is all part of learning.

The School of Hard Knocks. When I reflect on life growing up on the streets of West Belfast in 1989 I’m filled with amazing memories, even though we were a country in conflict. The streets were littered with kids in every direction, all doing their own thing to stay entertained. There was no chance of boredom even though your movement was restricted on certain days due to bombs, murders, or army checkpoints. You might say, that’s no environment for children to witness. However, we thought this was how everyone lived.

The streets were our playground and we revelled in all it had to offer. We developed a mental fortitude that children from that decade will understand. The community was tight-knit, everyone was viewed with suspicion who entered, or looked out of place. Did this environment shape part of the man who sits and writes this story? I’ve witnessed and experienced a lot of challenges and tests during my time to date.

These challenges have seen me lose childhood friends from school and sports teams to tragic accidents or suicide. I have lost liberty, a family home, a business (or three), part of my identity (now back), family members to illness/conflict, living on welfare, broken limbs, Covid19, and dead-end jobs that did not meet experience. There is huge learning from these lived experiences. Some of these experiences could see other men struggle psychologically. The fact I can sit and communicate this journey to you would suggest a mental toughness, or resilient mindset. You can be the judge of that.

Life Lesson Seven- Take control of your story

Life begins at 44. Just a play on words? Or is this true for me? Some say this is a myth. So, let’s explore why it’s part of my story.

“One can choose to go back towards safety or forward towards growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again” ~~ Abraham Maslow

In the past 30 plus years since introducing you to my 12-year-old self, I have experienced some real challenges. However, I became a dad of twin girls, gained a college degree, started writing for The Good Men Project, founded the Men of Aspirations platform during the Covid-19 pandemic while had no job, pulled on shoes again. I’ve found my mojo and am now getting up at 5:15 a.m. every morning with a real sense of purpose. Now, you don’t need to ask me what’s your why?

Given my love for soccer, it gives me great pride that one of the daughters is a county player with fantastic potential and enthusiasm to learn the game. It’s how I spend most nights, driving her to train. While the other daughter is finding her way, becoming curious and doing the girly things, with a tinge of attitude! Me, I know who I am, and what I need to do to enjoy this journey to whatever end. “Dad, she took my hair curlers! FFS Back to the Future!

 

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Way too early 2022 NFL Mock Draft Roundup: 8 different QBs are mocked to Washington next year! – Hogs Haven

One last mock draft roundup? Yes one last mock draft roundup, this time looking at the way too early projections for Washington’s draft pick in 2022. The mock drafters do not think Washington will be successful next season, with a draft range from #8 – #23. Vegas has also set expectations below average with a starting line of 8 wins for Washington in 2021. Super Bowl odds are currently at 66/1.

This year’s team is in a lot better spot than it was following last year’s draft. Expectations were low from Vegas, and a lot of fans, as Ron Rivera took over a team coming off of a 3-13 season. A lot has changed since then, Washington got a new name and a new division title to hang on the mantle. The team is still looking for a franchise QB after cutting Dwayne Haskins Jr. last year, and parting ways with Alex Smith this year. But they have some Fitzmagic for a year, and have added a few weapons for him to play with this season.

Washington had a good draft that addressed a lot of their immediate and future needs. The big need that wasn’t addressed was obviously QB of the future. Ron Rivera said there was some temptation to move up to get a QB like Ohio State’s Justin Fields as he was falling out of the top 10, but they stuck to the plan and their board. They also didn’t spend a Day 2 pick on a QB, as they feel comfortable with the 3 QBs behind Ryan Fitzpatrick(Taylor Heinicke, Kyle Allen, and Steven Montez).

That decision plays heavily into this roundup of mock drafts for next year. These ridiculously early mocks always focus heavily on need, and QBs have been weighted heavily in these for a while. There will always be QBs that rise in throughout the year, and especially when it gets closer to draft time. Eight is definitely the most QBs I’ve ever seen mocked to Washington in one of these roundups, and there has been a need at QB here for a while.

Part of this is that Washington is building a solid roster and most of their major needs are filled. Another QB is the insatiable thirst that teams(and mock drafters) have with filling the franchise QB position. This need is not going to change next year unless Ryan Fitzpatrick is magic all season and signs a long-term deal, or the team makes a big move to acquire a veteran QB through a trade.

Where will Washington pick, and who/what position should they take next year?

#8

CBS Sports(Wilson)

Spencer Rattler, QB, Oklahoma

Rattler is undersized at 6-foot-1, but that’s less of an issue in today’s NFL. Either way, he can sling it — he completed 67 percent of his throws last season with 28 touchdowns and he’s only going to improve.

Draft Wire(Easterling)

Kedon Slovis, QB, USC

#9

NBC Sports(Morgan)

Spencer Rattler, QB, Oklahoma

According to Pro Football Focus, Rattler finished third in its rating system (92.5) behind Zach Wilson and Mac Jones – two top 15 overall picks in the 2021 draft. Recently, the Washington FT competed with aging, past-their-prime veterans at quarterback. Possibly finding themselves drafting within the top ten, a talent like Rattler would be difficult for Washington to pass up.

NFL Mock Draft(Weiss)

Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina

We start a little bit of a run on quarterbacks here at No. 9 overall, where the Washington Football Team stands in our early 2022 mock draft. With this selection, the WFT adds UNC signal-caller Sam Howell, who could very well be the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s draft when all is said and done.

Washington has added some quality talent this offseason, but the combination of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Taylor Heinecke is not a long-term solution. Howell has a strong arm, does not make mistakes, and is as NFL-ready as they come in terms of the position group.

San Diego U-T(Brown)

Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati

Ridder’s size (6-4, 215), accuracy and dual-threat capabilities make him an intriguing prospect. He’s already 30-5 as a starter and if he levels up, he could be in considered for the top overall pick. Top needs: QB, OL, CB

The Score(Belbeck)

Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

It won’t be a surprise to see Hamilton selected well before No. 9, but for now he finds a home in Washington. At 6-foot-4 and 219 pounds, the Notre Dame star is one of the nation’s most versatile defenders, and he should shine right away for Washington’s young, dominant unit.

#10

The Athletic(Brugler)

J.T. Daniels, QB, Georgia

Georgia’s inconsistencies last season can be tied to its issues at quarterback. But over the final few games with Daniels as the starter, the Bulldogs looked like a different team. If he continues to make positive strides, he could put himself in the top half of Round 1.

The Game Haus(DiTullio)

JT Daniels, QB, Georgia

Washington still needs to find a long-term answer at quarterback because the rest of their roster looks ready to rock.

Fox Sports(Young)

JT Daniels, QB, Georgia

Like Goff, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Taylor Heinicke are not long-term answers for the team. But Daniels could be.

Through the last quarter of the 2020 season, Daniels showed the ability to push the ball downfield and throw receivers open. Pair Daniels with Terry McLaurin, and let him go to work.

NBC Sports(Klassen)

Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

Ryan Fitzpatrick only has so many years left in him. None of the other options on Washington’s roster are realistic long-term starters, either. It’s got to be a quarterback. The 2022 QB class is seemingly weak, but Willis’ size, speed, and arm talent make him one of the best candidates to rise through the process. If Willis can clean up the accuracy a bit and shave a tick off some of his processing, he may well be the first or second QB off the board when it’s all said and done.

Sporting News(Iyer)

Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati

Washington was fine passing on quarterback with Ryan Fitzpatrick as the bridge and it will be happy to know it will be better positioned for a rising first-round dual threat in 2022.

Draft Kings Nation(Sherwin)

Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

Lane Kiffin’s disciple completes 70+% of his passes, and he can move a little as well. Maybe not the most elite prospect on the board, but there’s a chance he becomes a very solid-if-not-spectacular NFL signal caller.

The Draft Network(Sikkema)

Cade Mays, IOL, Tennessee

Washington had a great draft in 2021, bringing in players that should have a big impact on its team. Washington could go quarterback, as the long-term answer at that position likely isn’t on the roster, but it also needs to keep an eye on offensive line addition. Cade Mays might be the top overall offensive lineman in the draft when it’s all said and done. A former Georgia Bulldog, this 5-star recruit has 25 games as a starter already under his belt.

#11

Pro Football Network(Cummings)

Carson Strong, QB, Nevada

The Washington Football Team arguably has one of the top five rosters in the NFL. However, this pick projection makes it clear that one year of that roster’s shelf life was wasted on Fitz-tragic. It wasn’t all Washington’s fault; they didn’t have a great opportunity to take a QB in 2021. Nevertheless, they should look to fill the need for a franchise quarterback as quickly as possible, and Carson Strong might be the guy.

Strong flashed big-time traits with the Nevada Wolfpack last year. Across nine games, he completed 70.1% of his passes for 2,858 yards, 27 touchdowns, and just 4 interceptions. He’s predominantly a pocket passer, but he’s a good athlete nonetheless for his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame. Additionally, his arm is incredibly explosive, and he has an easy, crisp throwing motion. The talent is all there, and on Washington’s roster, he could find success early.

Lines.com

Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati

#12

Bleacher Report(Sobleski)

Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati

The Washington Football Team features a playoff-caliber roster, except at quarterback. One position will hold back the franchise until it’s properly addressed.

Everyone loves a little Fitzmagic, but Ryan Fitzpatrick is better as a heater in a short-term situation. No one knows exactly what to expect from Taylor Heinicke after one impressive performance in the postseason.

Washington’s best bet is reinvesting in the quarterback position to make sure the rest of the roster doesn’t go to waste.

Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder has everything a franchise wants in a quarterback prospect. He’s an athletic 6’4”, 215-pound signal-caller who has helped elevate his program to the national consciousness. The reigning AAC Offensive Player of the Year completed 66.2 percent of his passes last season and amassed 2,888 yards from scrimmage in 10 games.

NFL Mocks(Schmelzer)

Kedon Slovis, QB, USC

#13

Yardbarker(Trachtman)

Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

Olave surprised some when he opted to return to school in 2021. He’s produced big numbers over the last two years, including 19 touchdowns, and has the speed to shoot up draft boards after the 2021 season.

Barstool Sports(Cheah)

George Pickens, WR, Georgia

He’s 6’3” 201 lbs. but he plays even bigger. Pickens would look good opposite Terry McLaurin.

Tankathon

Kedon Slovis, QB, USC

NJ.com(Giglio)

Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

#15

NBC Sports(Frank)

JT Daniels, QB, Georgia

Still hard to believe Washington took Dwayne Haskins with the 15th pick just three years ago. He won just 3 of 13 starts in a Washington uniform and is now a backup in Pittsburgh. It’s time for Washington to try again, and Daniels, a USC transfer, has good size at 6-3, 210 pounds and is one of the most accurate QBs in the country – 69 percent completion percentage the last two years.

#19

Fox Sports(McIntyre)

Carson Strong, QB, Nevada

Yes, I believe Ryan Fitzpatrick and Taylor Heinicke will fall short of the playoffs. Strong was the Mountain West POY in 2020; he’s a sneaky candidate to make a quantum leap as a pro prospect in 2021.

#20

Sportsnaut

Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

Another quarterback? Well, it’s fun at this early stage to at least get some names on the radar at the most important position on the field, and Malik Willis is definitely a sleeper worthy of attention. He transferred from Auburn and sat out for 2019, but showed improved polish as a passer last year in addition to running for 944 yards and 14 scores. He also notched a quality win against Coastal Carolina in the FBC Mortage Cure Bowl. Just saying, keep an eye on Willis.

Walter Football(Campbell)

Jalen Green, CB, Texas

Washington could use more young talent at corner.

In 2020, Green recorded 14 tackles, two passes broken up and an interception. He showed some impressive coverage ability and size during 2019, his first season as a starter. The 6-foot-1, 197-pounder recorded 30 tackles and five passes broken up that year. If Green continues to develop over 2021, he could be an early-round prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft.

#23

Walter Football

Evan Neal, G/OT, Alabama

Brandon Scherff is an impending free agent. The Redskins could use this pick to replace him, and they’re no strangers to drafting Alabama players.

Evan Neal is a 360-pound lineman who can move very well, which almost seems impossible.

Poll

Which position will Washington be picking in the 1st round in 2022?

  • 73%

    QB

    (645 votes)

  • 14%

    OL

    (124 votes)

  • 1%

    WR

    (9 votes)

  • 5%

    S

    (44 votes)

  • 2%

    CB

    (22 votes)

  • 3%

    Other

    (34 votes)



878 votes total

Vote Now

Poll

Where will Washington be picking in the 2022 NFL Draft?

  • 7%

    Top 10

    (48 votes)

  • 38%

    11-20

    (256 votes)

  • 47%

    21-30

    (318 votes)

  • 6%

    Super Bowl!

    (43 votes)



665 votes total

Vote Now

Cindy McCain Slams Arizona Republicans For ‘Ludicrous’ Election Recount

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Harvin Selected in 7th Round of NFL Draft – Georgia Tech Official Athletic Site

Harvin’s selection gives Georgia Tech two NFL Draft picks in the same year for the first time since 2016. Wide receiver Jalen Camp was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the sixth round on Saturday (No. 209 overall). After a two-year stretch with no NFL draft picks, Georgia Tech has had players selected in each of the last two NFL Drafts.

Harvin won the 2020 Ray Guy Award as college football’s top punter after leading the nation and setting Georgia Tech and Atlantic Coast Conference records with a 48.0-yard punting average. In addition to winning the Ray Guy Award, Harvin earned unanimous All-America recognition in 2020, joining Calvin Johnson and Ken Swilling as the only unanimous All-Americans in Tech’s illustrious football history.

In addition to his 48.0-yard average, 49% of Harvin’s 45 punts traveled 50 or more yards, 47% were fair caught, 40% were downed inside the opponent’s 20 yard line and only 17% were returned in 2020. Thanks in large part to those gaudy numbers, Georgia Tech ranked second nationally as a team in net punting (44.6-yard average).

For his college career, Harvin averaged 44.7 yards per punt, good for second in Tech history.

Harvin is the 212th NFL draft pick in Georgia Tech history but only the third Yellow Jackets punter ever selected, joining Rodney Williams (1999, seventh round, No. 252 overall – St. Louis Rams) and Durant Brooks (2008, sixth round, No. 168 overall – Washington Redskins). Harvin was also the first punter selected in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Harvin will graduate from Georgia Tech next weekend with a B.S. in business administration.

Alexander-Tharpe Fund

The Alexander-Tharpe Fund is the fundraising arm of Georgia Tech athletics, providing scholarship, operations and facilities support for Georgia Tech’s 400-plus student-athletes. Be a part of developing Georgia Tech’s Everyday Champions and helping the Yellow Jackets compete for championships at the highest levels of college athletics by supporting the Support The Swarm Fund, which helps Georgia Tech athletics offset the significant financial challenges associated with Covid-19, and the Annual Athletic Scholarship Fund, which directly provides scholarships for Georgia Tech student-athletes. To learn more about supporting the Yellow Jackets, visit atfund.org.   

For the latest information on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, follow us on Twitter (@GTAthletics), Facebook, Instagram or visit us at www.ramblinwreck.com.

How the N-Word Became Unsayable

Film is, as always, illuminating. We have been told that early talkies were splendidly vulgar because, for instance, Barbara Stanwyck’s character openly sleeps her way to the top in “Baby Face.” But linguistically, these films are post-Victorian. That character never says “fuck,” “ass” or “shit” as the real-life version would, and in films of this genre, that reticence includes “nigger.” It is, despite the heartless racism of the era, almost absent from American cinema until the 1960s. Rather, we today can glean it in the shadows: There it reigned with an appalling vigor.

So in the film “Gone With the Wind” no one utters it, but in the book it was based on, which almost everyone had read, Scarlett O’Hara hauls off with, “You’re a fool nigger, and the worst day’s work Pa ever did was to buy you.” And she then thinks, “I’ve said ‘nigger’ and Mother wouldn’t like that at all.” As in, there was now a veil coming down, such that one was supposed to be polite — approximately in the book, conclusively in the movie. But still, it was always just under the same surface that our Marine saw “nig”-ness through.

Same period, 1937: a Looney Tunes cartoon (“Porky’s Railroad”) has Porky Pig as the engineer in a race between trains. Porky’s rival zooms past a pile of logs and blows them away to reveal a Black man sitting, perplexed. Today we wonder why this person was sitting under a pile of logs. The reason is that this was a joke referring to the expression “nigger in the woodpile,” an old equivalent of “the elephant in the room.” No Looney Tunes character ever utters “nigger,” but this joke reveals that their creators were quite familiar with the word being used with joy.

Even into the 1970s, the word’s usage in the media was different from today’s. “The Jeffersons,” a television sitcom portraying a Black family that moves from working-class Queens to affluence in a Manhattan apartment tower, was considered a brash, modern and even thoughtful statement at the time. Here was the era when television shows took a jump into a realism unknown before, except in flashes: The contrast between the goofy vaudeville of “Here’s Lucy” and the salty shout-fests on “The Jeffersons” is stark. So it was almost a defining element of a show like “The Jeffersons” that loudmouthed, streety George Jefferson would use “nigger” to refer to Black people with (and without) affection.

George freely hurled it while playing the Dozens in an early episode. (“Take this elite nigga, wolfin’ at my door / With your yellow behind, I’m gonna mop up the entire floor!”) On the show the character began in, “All in the Family,” while bigoted Archie Bunker does not use the word, as his real-life counterpart would, George uses it, such as when he rages about the possibility of having (white) Edith Bunker help out at his dry-cleaning location. (“The niggers will think she owns the store, and the honkies will think we bleached the help!”)

Nor are only Black people shown using it; the writers air the “real” “nigger as well. White men use it a few times on an episode in which George meets modern Klansmen. But white people aren’t limited to it only in very special episode cases like this. George calls his white neighbor Tom Willis “honky,” and Tom petulantly fires back, “How would you like it if I called you ‘nigger’?” Then, that read as perfectly OK (I saw it and remember); he was just talking about it, not using it. But today, for Tom to even mention the word at all would be considered beyond the pale — so to speak.

The outright taboo status of “nigger began only at the end of the 20th century; 2002 was about the last year that a mainstream publisher would allow a book to be titled “Nigger,” as Randall Kennedy’s was. As I write this, nearly 20 years later, the notion of a book like it with that title sounds like science fiction. In fact, only a year after that, when a medical school employee of the University of Virginia reportedly said, “I can’t believe in this day and age that there’s a sports team in our nation’s capital named the Redskins. That is as derogatory to Indians as having a team called Niggers would be to Blacks,” the head of the N.A.A.C.P., Julian Bond, suggested this person get mandatory sensitivity training, saying that his gut instinct was that the person deserved to simply be fired. The idea, by then, was that the word was unutterable, regardless of context. Today’s equivalent of that employee would not use the word that way.

Washington Football Team Reportedly Bringing Back Guard Ereck Flowers From Miami Dolphins

There was a time when former No. 9 overall pick Ereck Flowers was considered to be a bust.

After three abysmal seasons with the New York Giants to begin his career, Flowers came into his own with the Washington Football Team in 2019 when he transitioned from tackle to guard. After delivering a strong performance that season, Flowers signed a three-year deal with the Miami Dolphins.

Now, the Dolphins have agreed to trade Flowers to the Washington Football Team in a deal involving a swap of late round draft picks, according to multiple reports. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport first reported the news.

The trade would send Flowers back to the team where he first began to flourish at the NFL level. Flowers increases the depth and competition at the offensive line in Washington, and should fill the team’s need for a starting-caliber guard. His presence would further bolster a position group that has been steadily improving over the past two offseasons.

Flowers was reportedly enthusiastic about the trade and the prospect of moving back to Washington.

“I’m very excited and anxious to get back up there because I love the O-line room and I already had a good relationship with coach John Matsko as well,” Flowers told reporter Josina Anderson. “This is best for me.”

Before his time in Washington, Flowers floundered with the Giants, who drafted him out of the University of Miami in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He delivered insufficient protection at tackle in his three years with team before being cut in 2018. Flowers started the remainder of the season with the Jacksonville Jaguars, who eventually released him.

Things changed for Flowers when he arrived in Washington in 2019 and transitioned from tackle to guard under one of the league’s best offensive line coaches, Bill Callahan. During Weeks 1-8 of the 2019 season, Flowers committed five penalties and had one game with a pass blocking grade above 70.0, according to Pro Football Focus, In Weeks 9-17, Flowers committed one penalty and had one game with a pass blocking grade below 70.0. Even without star lineman Trent Williams and guard Brandon Scherff, who missed five games due to injury, the Redskins’ offensive line finished at No. 13 in the league, according to PFF.

For those in Washington, Flowers’ rise was no coincidence. Callahan was promoted to interim head coach after Week 5 of the regular season, replacing Jay Gruden. Known for his attentiveness to details, Callahan came up with the idea to move Flowers from tackle to guard.

“When you talk to [Callahan], he’s just so knowledgeable,” Flowers said to the team’s site in March 2019. “Certain stuff you watch on film, or when he talks about certain things. I was just talking to him now, and there are things that I’ve never really heard, and it’s like ‘wow.’ You know he’s a great coach.”

Callahan is currently the offensive line coach for the Cleveland Browns. But ties remain for Flowers in Washington’s offensive line room, including with the aforementioned coach John Matsko.

Flower’s three-year, $30 million deal with the Dolphins still exists, which is why Washington is able to get a starting guard for only some late-round draft picks. Flowers’ cap hit is $10 million in 2021 and increases to $11 million in 2022, a number that Washington, which entered the 2021 offseason as one of the top five teams in the league in terms of salary cap, is well-positioned to afford.

For Miami, the deal allows them to clear a chunk of space in the days leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft.

Flowers’ presence will give Washington options at guard between him and Wes Schweitzer, who originally replaced Flowers when he left for the Dolphins.

Washington is also likely thinking ahead knowing that Scherff, 29, has not played a full 16-game season since 2016. He is playing on the franchise tag for the second season in a row in 2021 and will therefore likely part with the Football Team after the season’s end when they are no longer able to afford him.

All 29 times that NFL teams traded up to draft a quarterback

In the common draft era, teams have traded up in the first round to select a quarterback on 29 occasions.

It’s called “getting your guy.”

Sometimes it has changed the trajectory of franchises. Other times it has cost front-office personnel their jobs.

Trading up for a QB has become de rigueur. Of the 29 trades, 25 have come in the past 20 years. It’s believed the San Francisco 49ers will become trade No. 30, as they have moved up from No. 12 in the first round to No. 3, presumably for a QB in this draft class.

Ultimately, whoever makes the pick had better feel extremely comfortable, because trading up comes at a premium. There have been 25 trades up for a first-round QB involving solely draft picks, and in all 25 instances the team trading up overpaid, strictly in terms of draft pick value, according to ESPN draft pick valuations. Six of the past 12 teams to move up have overpaid the equivalent of a first-round pick.

No one is concerned about what the Kansas City Chiefs gave up to get Patrick Mahomes in 2017. Nearly everyone along the shores of Lake Michigan has some choice words for what the Chicago Bears surrendered to get Mitchell Trubisky in that same draft, however.

Here is a look at each of those 29 deals, starting with the most recent:

Note: This list does not include trading up for QBs centered around player compensation as opposed to high draft picks.

1. Packers pull a surprise for Jordan Love (2020)

The trade: Green Bay sends its first-round pick (No. 30) and a fourth-round pick to Miami for its first-round pick (No. 26).

The skinny: It wasn’t a steep price to move up four picks, but you can hang on to a first-round pick for only five years. The clock is ticking.


The trade: New York sends its first-round pick (No. 6), two second-round picks and a second-round pick in 2019 to Indianapolis for the Colts’ first-round pick (No. 3).

The skinny: Three second-rounders to move up three spots is a steep price. Darnold recently was traded to Carolina after compiling a 13-25 record in his three seasons in the Big Apple.


The trade: Buffalo sends its first-round pick (No. 12) and two second-round picks to Tampa Bay for the Buccaneers’ first-round pick (No. 7).

The skinny: The Bills are coming off their first divisional title and playoff victory since 1995, and Allen has gotten better in each of his three seasons.


4. Cardinals acquire Josh Rosen (2018)

The trade: Arizona sends its first-round pick (No. 15), a third-round pick and a fifth-round pick to the Raiders for their first-round pick (No. 10).

The skinny: The Cardinals gave Rosen 13 starts as a rookie and the results were disastrous: a 3-10 record, 11 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions. They traded him to Miami the following offseason.


5. Ravens swoop in for Lamar Jackson (2018)

The trade: Baltimore sends a second-round pick, a fourth-round pick and a 2019 second-round pick to the Eagles for their first-round pick (No. 32) and a fourth-round pick.

The skinny: The Ravens committed to utilizing Jackson’s rushing ability and improvisational skills. The results? Postseason appearances in each of the Louisville product’s three seasons, including a division title in 2019.


The trade: Chicago sends its first-round pick (No. 3 overall), a third-round pick, a fourth-round pick and a 2018 third-round pick to San Francisco for the 49ers’ first-round pick (No. 2 overall).

The skinny: The Bears gave up three draft picks to move up one spot and draft Trubisky, with Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson still on the board. If you listen closely you can hear palms hitting foreheads in the Windy City.


7. Chiefs strike gold with Patrick Mahomes (2017)

The trade: Kansas City sends its first-round pick (No. 27 overall), a third-round pick and a 2018 first-round pick to Buffalo for the Bills’ first-round pick (No. 10 overall).

The skinny: The move already has led to one Super Bowl title and another Super Bowl appearance. Mahomes is 38-8 as a starter, and his résumé includes one MVP and three Pro Bowl selections. All for the cost of a third-rounder and a 2018 first-rounder that was 22nd overall. Every team would make that trade 100% of the time.


8. Texans make a move for Deshaun Watson (2017)

The trade: Houston sends its first-round pick (No. 25) in 2017 and its 2018 first-rounder to Cleveland for the Browns’ first-round pick (No. 12).

The skinny: Prior to the 2020 season Watson was 24-13 as a starter and had led the Texans to the postseason twice. He led the NFL in passing yards in 2020 and set career highs in completion percentage, yards and TD passes, but Houston imploded and went 4-12. Now Watson is the subject of more than 20 lawsuits alleging sexual assault. To speculate on his future would be folly.


9. Rams trade six picks to net Jared Goff (2016)

The trade: The Rams send their first-round pick (No. 15 overall), two second-round picks, a third-round pick, a first-round pick in 2017 and a third-round pick in 2017 to Tennessee for the Titans’ first-round pick (No. 1 overall), a fourth-round pick and a sixth-round pick.

The skinny: The relationship between Goff and coach Sean McVay deteriorated during the 2020 season and after to the point he was shipped to Detroit in return for Matthew Stafford. Goff started all 69 games in which he played in Los Angeles and posted a 42-27 record. The Rams made the playoffs in three of Goff’s five seasons, and he passed for 107 TDs with 55 interceptions.


10. Eagles position themselves for Carson Wentz (2016)

The trade: The Eagles send their first-round pick (No. 8 overall), a third-round pick, a fourth-round pick, a 2017 first-round pick and a 2018 second-round pick to Cleveland for its first-round pick (No. 2 overall) and a 2017 fourth-round pick.

The skinny: The Eagles essentially gave up a first-, second- and third-rounder to move up six spots and draft Wentz. In the short term it looked great. Wentz was 11-2 as a starter in his second year in 2017, and the Eagles went on to win the Super Bowl that season after he was injured. But by the 2020 season, Wentz’s career had been beset by injuries and his relationship with coach Doug Pederson had soured. He was traded to the Colts this offseason, where Wentz will look to resurrect his career and reputation under Frank Reich, the offensive coordinator for the Eagles during the 2017 season.


11. Broncos roll dice on Paxton Lynch (2016)

The trade: Denver sends its first-round pick (No. 31 overall) and a third-round pick to Seattle for the Seahawks’ first-round pick (No. 26 overall).

The skinny: It wasn’t particularly costly, but Lynch was a bust. He started only four games over two seasons (1-3 record) and is no longer in the league.


12. Browns snag the mercurial Johnny Manziel (2014)

The trade: Cleveland sends its first-round pick (No. 26 overall) and a third-round pick to Philadelphia for the Eagles’ first-round pick (No. 22 overall).

The skinny: Manziel appeared in 14 games over two seasons with eight starts. He went 2-6. He never played in the NFL again after the 2015 season.


13. Vikings finagle a deal for Teddy Bridgewater (2014)

The trade: Minnesota sends a second-round pick (No. 40 overall) and a fourth-round pick to Seattle for the Seahawks’ first-round pick (No. 32 overall).

The skinny: This deal looked pretty good after two years in which Bridgewater went 17-11 as a starter and led the Vikings to the playoffs in 2015. But a devastating knee injury in training camp before the start of the 2016 season derailed Bridgewater’s career. He finally became a full-time starter again last season in Carolina, but he went 4-11 as a starter and the Panthers now have acquired Sam Darnold.


14. Washington jumps to grab Robert Griffin III (2013)

The trade: Washington sends its first-round pick (No. 6 overall), a second-round pick and first-round picks in 2013 and 2014 to Los Angeles for the Rams’ first-round pick (No. 2 overall).

The skinny: Washington mortgaged its future for the Heisman Trophy winner from Baylor, and in his rookie season under Mike Shanahan it looked pretty good. Griffin was Offensive Rookie of the Year after going 9-6 as a starter with 3,200 passing yards, 20 touchdowns and five interceptions and another 815 rushing yards with seven touchdowns. Washington made the playoffs, but it was there that Griffin suffered a serious leg injury. He did return to start 13 games in 2013, but he never returned to his previous glory. In 27 NFL starts since his rookie season, Griffin is just 7-20. The Redskins released him in March 2016.


The trade: Jacksonville sends its first-round pick (No. 16 overall) and a second-round pick to Washington for its first-round pick (No. 10 overall).

The skinny: Someone once wanted Gabbert this badly. He spent three seasons with the Jaguars and went 5-22 as a starter. He has managed to remain in the league as a backup.


16. Broncos put faith in Tim Tebow (2010)

The trade: Denver trades a second-round pick (No. 43 overall), a third-round pick and a fourth-round pick to Baltimore for the Ravens’ first-round pick (No. 25 overall).

The skinny: Remember Tim Tebow? Has it been that long? The Broncos never really committed to the left-hander, who made 14 starts and went 8-6, including 7-4 in 2011 when Denver made the postseason and stunned Pittsburgh behind Tebow in the wild-card round. Alas, the Heisman Trophy winner from Florida never found his niche and was out of the league for good by 2013.


17. Jets secure the “San-chise” (2009)

The trade: The Jets send their first-round pick (No. 17 overall), a second-round pick and players Kenyon Coleman, Brett Ratliff and Abram Elam to Cleveland for the Browns’ first-round pick (No. 5 overall).

The skinny: Mark Sanchez hung around the league for eight seasons over 10 years and did finish with a winning record as a starter (37-36) and with the Jets (32-29). But his numbers were mostly pedestrian: He finished his career with more interceptions (89) than touchdown passes (86).


18. Buccaneers get Josh Freeman (2009)

The trade: Tampa Bay sends its first-round pick (No. 19 overall) and a sixth-round pick to Cleveland for the Browns’ first-round pick (No. 17 overall).

The skinny: The price was minimal, and Freeman had a couple of decent seasons in Tampa. In his second year he guided the Bucs to a 10-6 mark and he passed for 25 touchdowns with only six interceptions. But his relationship with the team soured in the final year of his rookie contract, and the Bucs released him five games into the 2013 season. At the time he was the franchise’s leader in career touchdown passes.


19. Ravens land Joe Flacco (2008)

The trade: Baltimore sends its first-round pick (No. 26 overall), a third-round pick and a sixth-round pick to Houston for the Texans’ first-round pick (No. 18 overall).

The skinny: Flacco, elite or not, helped the Ravens win a Super Bowl. He was spectacular in the 2012 postseason with 11 touchdowns and no interceptions in four games, earning Super Bowl MVP honors. Baltimore let him walk after 11 seasons; he started all 163 games in which he appeared for the Ravens, going 96-67.


20. Browns get Brady Quinn (2007)

The trade: Cleveland trades its second-round pick (No. 36 overall) and first-round pick in 2008 to Dallas for the Cowboys’ first-round pick (No. 22 overall).

The skinny: The Notre Dame product was a bust, starting only 12 games over three seasons and going 3-9.


21. Broncos roll dice on Jay Cutler (2006)

The trade: Denver sends its first-round pick (No. 15 overall) and a third-round pick to the Rams for their first-round pick (No. 11 overall).

The skinny: Cutler had a cannon for an arm but never seemed to embrace the leadership role expected of a franchise quarterback. He played three seasons in Denver before the Broncos traded him to the Bears. His career numbers are hardly embarrassing (35,000-plus passing yards, 227 touchdowns, 160 interceptions); he just never won a lot and was too aloof for most.


22. Washington lands Jason Campbell (2005)

The trade: Washington sends its third-round pick, a 2006 first-round pick and a 2006 fourth-round pick to Denver for the Broncos’ first-round pick (No. 25 overall).

The skinny: Campbell was a serviceable QB. He made 52 starts in four seasons with Washington, going 20-32.


23. Bills slide up for J.P. Losman (2004)

The trade: Buffalo sends its second-round pick (No. 43 overall), a fourth-round pick, a fifth-round pick and a 2005 first-round pick to Dallas for the Cowboys’ first-round pick (No. 22 overall).

The skinny: Buffalo got fleeced. It swapped four draft picks for one, and Losman didn’t pan out. He went 10-23 as a starter over his five seasons in Orchard Park.


24. Ravens nab Kyle Boller (2003)

The trade: Baltimore sent its second-round pick (No. 41 overall) and a 2004 first-round pick to New England for the Patriots’ first-round pick (No. 19 overall).

The skinny: Boller lasted five seasons in Baltimore, compiling a 20-22 record. He never had more than 13 TD passes in a season.


25. Falcons go big for Michael Vick (2001)

The trade: Atlanta sends wide receiver/returner Tim Dwight, its first-round pick (No. 5 overall), a third-round pick and a 2002 second-round pick to the Chargers for their first-round pick (No. 1 overall).

The skinny: Vick might have been ahead of his time when you consider how dual-threat quarterbacks have been embraced in recent years. How best to describe his tenure in Atlanta: spectacular curiosity? He had two seasons in which he rushed for more than 900 yards. He made 67 starts for the Falcons, compiling a mark of 38-28-1 before his tenure came to an ignominious halt.


26. Chargers gamble on Ryan Leaf (1998)

The trade: The Chargers send their first-round pick (No. 3 overall), a second-round pick, a 1999 third-round pick and players Eric Metcalf and Patrick Sapp to the Cardinals for their first-round pick (No. 2 overall).

The skinny: Leaf’s flameout in the league has been well documented, but at the time plenty of teams wanted him.


27. Colts are sold on Jeff George (1990)

The trade: Indianapolis sends All-Pro guard Chris Hinton, wide receiver Andre Rison, a fifth-round pick and a 1991 first-round pick to Atlanta for the Falcons’ first-round pick (No. 1 overall), a fourth-round pick and a 1991 conditional pick (second round if Colts 1991 first-round pick sent to Falcons is 1-4, third round if pick is 5-12; the pick was not exercised).

The skinny: George’s arm talent kept him in the league for 12 seasons, but he made only 124 starts, including 49 with the team that drafted him. He was 14-35 with the Colts.


28. Chiefs get Steve Fuller (1979)

The trade: Kansas City sent a second-round pick (No. 31 overall) and a 1980 second-round pick to the Houston Oilers for their first-round pick (No. 23 overall).

The skinny: Fuller was the primary starter for the Chiefs in his first two seasons. He was 13-18 in four seasons in Kansas City and never passed for more than 10 TDs in a season.


29. Falcons land Steve Bartkowski (1975)

The trade: Atlanta sends its first-round pick (No. 3 overall) and perennial Pro Bowl right tackle George Kunz to the Colts for their first-round pick (No. 1 overall) and a sixth-round pick.

The skinny: The price for the first move up to get a quarterback, at No. 1 overall no less, wasn’t nearly as steep as it would be today. Bartkowski wasn’t overly special, nor was he anywhere near the worst QB on this list. He made two Pro Bowls and helped Atlanta reach the postseason three times in 11 seasons.

The ESPN Sports & Information Group provided the trade information for this story.

Browns make near-history with Jadeveon Clowney signing

On Tuesday, it was announced that the Browns signed former Texans, Seahawks, and Titans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney to a one-year contract with a base value of $8 million, and as much as $10 million total with incentives. With that signing, Cleveland now has three first-overall draft picks on its roster: Clowney, who was selected first overall in the 2014 draft by the Texans out of South Carolina, defensive end Myles Garrett, taken first overall by the Browns out of Texas A&M in the 2017 draft, and quarterback Baker Mayfield, selected with the first overall pick one year later out of Oklahoma.

It’s nearly historic to have three first-overall picks on the same roster, but not quite. In 2001, the then-Washington Redskins had four such players — quarterback Jeff George (first overall by the Colts in 1990), defensive lineman Bruce Smith (first overall by the Bills in 1985), running back Ki-Jana Carter (first overall by the Bengals in 1995), and defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson (first overall by the Bengals in 1994). As the Redskins were signing all the big names they possibly could at that time, and most of the guys they signed were still big names in name only, it’s appropriate that none of those players his their peak for Washington in 2001.

Well, perhaps Wilkinson did. He totaled 19 solo tackles, six tackles for loss, four sacks, and two interceptions. And Smith, who put his Hall of Fame resume together with the Bills, had 31 solo tackles, seven tackles for loss, five sacks, and three forced fumbles. Not had for a 38-year-old!

George, who was never able to marry his acumen to his laser rocket arm, was Tony Banks’ backup that season, completing 23 of 42 passes for 168 yards, no touchdowns, and three interceptions. And Carter managed 308 rushing yards on 63 carries, the second-highest yardage total of his career.

The Redskins went 8-8 in 2001, so the additions of first-overall picks do not automatically equate to winning seasons. But the Browns went 11-5 last season, made their first postseason since 2002, won their first playoff game since Bill Belichick was their head coach in 1994, and Mayfield and Garrett are two of the team’s most important players. Perhaps Clowney, coming off a down season with the Titans in which he didn’t register a single sack and put up just 28 pressures, can be a valuable part of an improving defense.

Whats at stake as NFL playoff matchups determined Sunday

What’s at stake as NFL playoff matchups determined Sunday – CBS News


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It’s the final week of the NFL regular season and it features some big games with big playoff implications. In the NFC, all six teams are set. The Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals hold the top two spots, followed by Green Bay Packers, Washington Redskins, Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks, but those seeds could change after Sunday night. Things are a little less clear in the AFC, as the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos currently hold the top two slots. CBS Sports “After Hours with Amy Lawrence” host Amy Lawrence joins “CBS This Morning: Saturday” to preview the matchups.

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The all-time all-SEC NFL Draft first round – AL.com

What if NFL teams could pick only SEC players in the first round of the league’s annual draft?

They were almost halfway there in last year’s first round. In the 2020 NFL Draft, teams chose 15 SEC players among the first 32 selections. That set a record for players from one conference in the first round, breaking the mark of 12 established by the ACC in 2006 and matched by the SEC in 2013 and 2017.

The SEC might be closer to the old record than the current mark in this year’s first round, which will be held on Thursday in Cleveland. The most generous mock drafts for the SEC appear to have 13 players from the conference as possible first-round selections.

The SEC players selected in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft will join the 461 conference alumni who have been among the first 32 players picked in one of the league’s annual events.

Not all those players were first-round picks. The NFL Draft’s first round has included 32 picks annually since 2002. It’s been growing in length as the NFL has added teams through the years since its first draft in 1936, when nine players were picked in the first round.

Of the 461 SEC players chosen with picks 1 through 32, 90 were not selected in the first round.

Seventeen members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame are former SEC players who were drafted among the first 32 picks. Three slots – No. 1, No. 3 and No. 4 – have produced two Hall of Famers apiece. In contrast, a few of the other slots have hardly produced a Pro Bowler from among the SEC selections.

Which SEC player has panned out the best in the pros and enjoyed the top career from each of the first 32 draft slots? Here’s a list of possibilities pick-by-pick for an all-SEC first round in an NFL fantasy draft:

First pick: Peyton Manning, quarterback, Tennessee

Frank Sinkwich and Cam Newton have been NFL MVPs, Eli Manning was the Super Bowl MVP twice and Charley Trippi is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and all were the first players picked in an NFL draft. So was Peyton Manning, going to the Indianapolis Colts in 1998, and he also was the NFL MVP (five times), Super Bowl MVP and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, joining the sport’s shrine as a member of the Class of 2021.

The SEC players drafted with the No. 1 pick include:

· Tennessee fullback George Cafego, Cardinals, 1940;

· Georgia back Frank Sinkwich, Lions, 1943;

· Georgia halfback Charley Trippi, Cardinals, 1945;

· Alabama quarterback Harry Gilmer, Redskins, 1948;

· Vanderbilt quarterback Billy Wade, Rams, 1952;

· Georgia end Harry Babcock, 49ers, 1953;

· LSU running back Billy Cannon, Rams, 1960;

· Tulane running back Tommy Mason, Vikings, 1961;

· Auburn running back Tucker Frederickson, Giants, 1965;

· Auburn running back Bo Jackson, Buccaneers, 1986;

· Auburn linebacker Aundray Bruce, Falcons, 1988;

· Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning, Colts, 1998;

· Kentucky quarterback Tim Couch, Browns, 1999; Ole

· Miss QB Eli Manning, Chargers, 2004; LSU quarterback

· JaMarcus Russell, Raiders, 2007; Georgia quarterback

· Matthew Stafford, Lions, 2009;

· Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, Panthers, 2011;

· South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, Texans, 2014;

· Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett, Browns, 2017;

· LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, Bengals, 2020

Second pick: Cornelius Bennett, linebacker, Alabama

Quarterback Bert Jones would seem to hold a trump card over the rest of the SEC players picked with the second selection in the NFL Draft: He was the league’s MVP in 1976, the middle campaign of a three-year run of sterling seasons for the Baltimore Colts. But Jones played in 102 NFL regular-season games. Cornelius Bennett played in 206, and the former Ensley High School star was invited to the Pro Bowl five times. Jones had one Pro Bowl invitation. And while Jones never played in a postseason victory, Bennett went to the Super Bowl five times (although his team lost each).

The SEC players drafted with the No. 2 pick include:

· Alabama back Riley Smith, Redskins, 1936;

· Florida back Paul Duhart, Steelers, 1945;

· LSU halfback Dub Jones, Cardinals, 1946;

· Georgia quarterback John Rauch, Lions, 1949;

· LSU back Jerry Stovall, Cardinals, 1963;

· Tennessee center Bob Johnson, Bengals, 1968;

· Ole Miss QB Archie Manning, Saints, 1971;

· LSU quarterback Bert Jones, Colts, 1973;

· Kentucky defensive end Art Still, Chiefs, 1978;

· Mississippi State linebacker Johnie Cooks, Colts, 1982;

· Alabama linebacker Cornelius Bennett, Colts, 1987;

· Auburn running back Ronnie Brown, Dolphins, 2005;

· Texas A&M tackle Luke Joeckel, Jaguars, 2013;

· Auburn tackle Greg Robinson, Rams, 2014

Third pick: Johnny Robinson, safety, LSU

Johnny Robinson had a great career, just not with the Detroit Lions, who selected him with the third pick in the 1960 NFL Draft. He also wasn’t a safety for the first two years of his pro career, when he played flanker. Robinson turned down the Lions to sign with the Dallas Texans of the new AFL. In 1962, Dallas put him on defense. In 1963, the Texans became the Kansas City Chiefs. In 1965, Robinson made the first of five straight appearances on the All-AFL team. In 1970 — the season after the Chiefs won Super Bowl IV — the AFL-NFL merger was completed, and Robinson earned a spot on the NFL All-Pro team. Robinson is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s AFL all-time team and joined the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2019, but even with all those accolades he wasn’t head and shoulders above other No. 3 picks, such as 1939 NFL MVP Parker Hall, six-time Pro Bowler Chris Samuels, four-time Pro Bowler Wes Chandler and four-time 1,000-yard rusher Garrison Hearst.

But what about Y.A. Tittle? He was a No. 3 pick, and he’s in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. For an explanation, see Pick No. 6.

The SEC players drafted with the No. 3 pick include:

· Ole Miss tailback Parker Hall, Rams, 1939;

· Tulane back Joe Renfroe, Yanks, 1945;

· Florida halfback Chuck Hunsinger, Bears, 1950;

· LSU quarterback Y.A. Tittle, 49ers, 1951;

· Mississippi State defensive back Bill Stacy, Cardinals, 1959;

· LSU defensive back Johnny Robinson, Lions, 1960;

· Ole Miss defensive tackle Jim Dunaway, Vikings, 1963;

· Florida quarterback Steve Spurrier, 49ers, 1967;

· Florida wide receiver Wes Chandler, Saints, 1978;

· Georgia running back Garrison Hearst, Cardinals, 1993;

· Tennessee quarterback Heath Shuler, Redskins, 1994;

· Alabama offensive tackle Chris Samuels, Redskins, 2000;

· Florida defensive tackle Gerald Warren, Browns, 2001;

· LSU defensive end Tyson Jackson, Chiefs, 2009;

· Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, Bills, 2011;

· Alabama running back Trent Richardson, Browns, 2012;

· Florida linebacker Dante Fowler, Jaguars, 2015;

· Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, Jets, 2019

Fourth pick: John Hannah, guard, Alabama

What a dilemma at No. 4: John Hannah, the fourth pick of 1973, and Derrick Thomas, the fourth pick of 1989, are both in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and each player was picked for the Pro Bowl nine times. Give the edge to Hannah, who was a first-time All-Pro seven times. Thomas was a first-team All-Pro twice.

The SEC players drafted with the No. 4 pick include:

· Georgia Tech back Eddie Prokop, Yanks, 1945;

· Alabama back Lowell Tew, Redskins, 1948;

· Kentucky quarterback Babe Parilli, Packers, 1952;

· Kentucky defensive end Lou Michaels, Rams, 1958;

· Alabama guard John Hannah, Patriots, 1973;

· Alabama defensive end Jon Hand, Colts, 1986;

· Auburn running back Brent Fullwood, Packers, 1987;

· Alabama linebacker Derrick Thomas, Chiefs, 1989;

· Alabama linebacker Keith McCants, Buccaneers, 1990;

· Kentucky defensive tackle Dewayne Robertson, Jets, 2003;

· Arkansas running back Darren McFadden, Raiders, 2008;

· Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green, Bengals, 2011;

· Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper, Raiders, 2015;

· LSU running back Leonard Fournette, Jaguars, 2017;

· Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas, Giants, 2020

Fifth pick: Steve Van Buren, halfback, LSU

Future lists like this one might have cornerback Patrick Peterson as the SEC’s best No. 5 selection. He has eight Pro Bowl selections and has been a first-team All-Pro three times so far in his NFL career. Another No. 5 pick, Eric Berry, was a first-team All-Pro three times, and yet another, Jamal Lewis, rushed for 2,066 yards for the Baltimore Ravens in 2003, when he won the Pro Football Writers of America’s NFL MVP Award. But Steve Van Buren is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, led the NFL in rushing four times, was All-Pro five times and scored 11 more touchdowns than Lewis on 1,222 fewer carries.

The SEC players drafted with the No. 5 pick include:

· LSU halfback Steve Van Buren, Eagles, 1944;

· Alabama center Vaughn Mancha, Yanks, 1948;

· Kentucky defensive tackle Bob Gain, Packers, 1951;

· Mississippi State defensive back Art Davis, Steelers, 1956;

· Auburn end Red Phillips, Rams, 1958;

· Vanderbilt halfback Tom Moore, Packers, 1960;

· Alabama linebacker E.J. Junior, Cardinals, 1981;

· Alabama defensive end John Copeland, Bengals, 1993;

· Tennessee running back Jamal Lewis, Ravens, 2000;

· Auburn running back Cadillac Williams, Buccaneers, 2005;

· LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, Chiefs, 2008;

· Tennessee defensive back Eric Berry, Chiefs, 2010;

· LSU defensive back Patrick Peterson, Cardinals, 2011;

· LSU linebacker Devin White, Buccaneers, 2019;

· Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins, 2020

Sixth pick: Y.A. Tittle, quarterback, LSU

NFL teams have hardly gone wrong when spending the sixth pick in the draft on an SEC player. The 18 players picked in this spot have combined for 38 Pro Bowl invitations and 12 first-team All-Pro honors. Nine of the No. 6 picks played at least 10 NFL seasons, and five are still playing. Richard Seymour was a Pro Bowler five times and All-Pro three times in 11 seasons. Lee Roy Jordan was a Pro Bowler five times and All-Pro once in 14 seasons. Lomas Brown was a Pro Bowler seven times and All-Pro once in 18 seasons. Julio Jones has seven Pro Bowl invitations and two All-Pro selections in 10 seasons so far. Y.A. Tittle has two big honors that the rest of Pick Six’s illustrious lineup doesn’t: He’s a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and was the NFL MVP in 1963, in addition to being a seven-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro in 17 NFL seasons.

But how did Tittle wind up being picked in the first round of two NFL drafts? In 1948, the Detroit Lions chose the QB at No. 3. Tittle instead signed with the Baltimore Colts of the All-American Football Conference. After two seasons, the Colts joined the NFL as it absorbed the rival league. In 1950, Tittle led the NFL in completions, but Baltimore folded at the end of the season. Instead of holding a dispersal draft or turning the Colts players into free agents, the league made them eligible for its 1951 draft, and the 49ers spent the sixth pick on Tittle.

The SEC players drafted with the No. 6 pick include:

· LSU quarterback Y.A. Tittle, Lions, 1948;

· Alabama linebacker Lee Roy Jordan, Cowboys, 1963;

· Tennessee defensive end Steve DeLong, Bears, 1965;

· Alabama quarterback Richard Todd, Jets, 1976;

· Kentucky tackle Warren Bryant, Falcons, 1977;

· Alabama linebacker Barry Krauss, Colts, 1979;

· Florida tackle Lomas Brown, Lions, 1985;

· Alabama defensive end Eric Curry, Buccaneers, 1993;

· Florida defensive end Kevin Carter, Rams, 1995;

· Georgia defensive end Richard Seymour, Patriots, 2001;

· Georgia defensive tackle Johnathan Sullivan, Saints, 2003;

· LSU defensive back LaRon Landry, Redskins, 2007;

· Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith, Bengals, 2009;

· Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones, Falcons, 2011;

· LSU defensive back Morris Claiborne, Cowboys, 2012;

· LSU linebacker Barkevious Mingo, Browns, 2013;

· Texas A&M tackle Jake Matthews, Falcons, 2014;

· LSU safety Jamal Adams, Jets, 2017

Seventh pick: Champ Bailey, cornerback, Georgia

In 15 NFL seasons after being drafted by the Washington Redskins in 1999, Champ Bailey received 12 Pro Bowl invitations, made first-team All-Pro three times and entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2019.

The SEC players drafted with the No. 7 pick include:

· Auburn back Travis Tidwell, Giants, 1950;

· LSU defensive back Ebert Van Buren, Eagles, 1951;

· Georgia Tech linebacker Larry Morris, Rams, 1955;

· Auburn back Joe Childress, Cardinals, 1956;

· Georgia running back Tim Worley, Steelers, 1989;

· Tennessee tackle Charles McRae, Buccaneers, 1991;

· Florida wide receiver Ike Hilliard, Giants, 1997;

· Georgia defensive back Champ Bailey, Redskins, 1999;

· South Carolina wide receiver Troy Williamson, Vikings, 2005;

· Florida defensive back Joe Haden, Browns, 2010;

· Alabama safety Mark Barron, Buccaneers, 2012;

· Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans, Buccaneers, 2014;

· Kentucky outside linebacker Josh Allen, Jaguars, 2019;

· Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown, Panthers, 2020

Eighth pick: Ken Rice, offensive tackle, Auburn

The eighth pick just hasn’t panned out when the NFL has reached into the SEC. Only one went on to become a big star – Bobby Marlow, but he became a big star in Canadian football. Of the 13 SEC players picked in this slot, seven have failed to play more than five seasons in the NFL, and the longest career is eight seasons by Michael Haddix. The only player to earn a postseason accolade is Ken Rice. He was second-team All-AFL in 1961 for the Buffalo Bills after signing with the upstart league instead of the team that drafted him in the NFL, the St. Louis Cardinals.

The SEC players drafted with the No. 8 pick include:

· Ole Miss fullback Merle Hapes, Giants, 1942;

· Alabama back Bobby Marlow, Giants, 1953;

· Kentucky end Steve Meilinger, Redskins, 1954;

· Auburn tackle Ken Rice, Cardinals, 1961;

· Florida running back Larry Smith, Rams, 1969;

· Georgia guard Royce Smith, Saints, 1972;

· Mississippi State running back Michael Haddix, Eagles, 1983;

· Vanderbilt defensive back Leonard Coleman, Colts, 1984;

· Tennessee tackle Antone Davis, Eagles, 1991;

· Arkansas defensive end Jamaal Anderson, Falcons, 2007;

· Florida defensive end Derrick Harvey, Jaguars, 2008;

· Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain, Raiders, 2010;

· Georgia inside linebacker Roquan Smith, Bears, 2018

Ninth pick: Fred Taylor, running back, Florida

In 13 NFL seasons after being drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1998, Fred Taylor ran for 11,695 yards – 17th in NFL history – and 66 touchdowns and caught 290 passes for 2,384 yards and eight touchdowns. Taylor had at least 1,100 rushing yards in seven seasons.

The SEC players drafted with the No. 9 pick include:

· Georgia end Dan Edwards, Steelers, 1948;

· Alabama back Butch Avinger, Steelers, 1951;

· LSU defensive back Wendell Harris, Colts, 1962;

· Kentucky tight end Tom Hutchinson, Browns, 1963;

· Alabama running back Wilbur Jackson, 49ers, 1974;

· Tennessee defensive back Terry McDaniel, Raiders, 1988;

· Alabama cornerback Antonio Langham, Browns, 1994;

· Florida running back Fred Taylor, Jaguars, 1998;

· Tennessee defensive tackle John Henderson, Jaguars, 2002;

· Auburn defensive back Carlos Rogers, Redskins, 2005;

· Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner, Jets, 2013;

· Georgia outside linebacker Leonard Floyd, Bears, 2016;

· Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson, Jaguars, 2020

10th pick: Willie Anderson, offensive tackle, Auburn

Willie Anderson, who was a prep star at Vigor, spent 13 seasons as a right offensive tackle in the NFL after being drafted in 1996 by the Cincinnati Bengals. He earned Pro Bowl invitations in four straight seasons and was an All-Pro three years in a row.

The SEC players drafted with the No. 10 pick include:

· Vanderbilt fullback Jack Jenkins, Redskins, 1943;

· Tennessee defensive back Bert Rechichar, Browns, 1952;

· Ole Miss center Ed Beatty, Rams, 1954;

· Ole Miss split end Bobby Crespino, Browns, 1961;

· Georgia Tech guard Rufus Guthrie, Rams, 1963;

· Mississippi State defensive tackle Jimmy Webb, 49ers, 1975;

· LSU linebacker Eric Hill, Cardinals, 1989;

· Auburn tackle Willie Anderson, Bengals, 1996;

· Florida wide receiver Travis Taylor, Ravens, 2000;

· South Carolina defensive back Dunta Robinson, Texans, 2004;

· Tennessee linebacker Jerod Mayo, Patriots, 2008;

· South Carolina defensive back Stephon Gilmore, Bills, 2012;

· Alabama guard Chance Warmack, Titans, 2013;

· Georgia running back Todd Gurley, Rams, 2015;

· Alabama offensive tackle Jedrick Wills Jr., Browns, 2020

11th pick: Doug Atkins, defensive end, Tennessee

Doug Atkins played 17 seasons in the NFL, but his best ones didn’t come with the Cleveland Browns, who drafted him in 1953. He earned eight Pro Bowl invitations in a nine-season span with the Chicago Bears on his way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Bill Stanfill, Wilber Marshall, Patrick Willis and Minkah Fitzpatrick also have earned All-Pro recognition after starting their NFL careers from the No. 11 draft slot.

The SEC players drafted with the No. 11 pick include:

· Tennessee defensive end Doug Atkins, Browns, 1953;

· Vanderbilt back Charlie Horton, Rams, 1956;

· Ole Miss defensive end Stan Hindman, 49ers, 1966;

· Georgia defensive end Bill Stanfill, Dolphins, 1969;

· Tennessee wide receiver Anthony Hancock, Chiefs, 1982;

· Florida linebacker Wilber Marshall, Bears, 1984;

· Vanderbilt quarterback Jay Cutler, Broncos, 2006;

· Ole Miss linebacker Patrick Willis, 49ers, 2007;

· Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker, Chargers, 2013;

· Florida defensive back Vernon Hargreaves, Buccaneers, 2016;

· Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, Dolphins, 2018;

· Alabama offensive tackle Jonah Williams, 2019

12th pick: Joe Namath, quarterback, Alabama

There might have been “Gateway Arch Joe” if Joe Namath had signed with the NFL team that drafted him, the St. Louis Cardinals in 1965. Instead, he chose to sign with the New York Jets’ offer of the most lucrative contract to that point in pro football history. Namath earned two AFL Player of the Year awards and secured a place in NFL lore by guaranteeing the Jets’ victory over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III, then winning the game’s MVP honor. “Broadway Joe” is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The SEC players drafted in the first round with the No. 12 pick include:

· Auburn back Dave Middleton, Lions, 1955;

· Vanderbilt halfback Phil King, Giants, 1958;

· Auburn center Jackie Burkett, Colts, 1959;

· Kentucky guard Irv Gooden, Cardinals, 1962;

· Alabama quarterback Joe Namath, Cardinals, 1965;

· LSU defensive tackle George Rice, Bears, 1966;

· LSU running back Charles Alexander, Bengals, 1979;

· Florida defensive end Trace Armstrong, Bears, 1989;

· Tennessee wide receiver Alvin Harper, Cowboys, 1991;

· Tennessee defensive end Shaun Ellis, Jets, 2000;

· Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno, Broncos, 2009;

· Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, Eagles, 2012;

· LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham, Giants, 2014;

· Alabama wide receiver Henry Ruggs III, Raiders, 2020

The SEC players drafted with the No. 12 pick who were not first-rounders include:

· LSU end Gaynell Tinsley, Cardinals, 1937;

· Tulane end Ralph Wenzel, Steelers, 1940;

· Georgia end Lamar Davis, Eagles, 1943;

13th pick: John Abraham, defensive end, South Carolina

Two of the 15 SEC players drafted with the 13th pick had especially long and productive NFL careers – John Abraham and Takeo Spikes. Spikes played in 219 games in 15 seasons, earned two Pro Bowl invitations and was All-Pro once. Abraham also appeared in 15 NFL seasons, playing in 192 games. He made the Pro Bowl five times and All-Pro twice, and his 133.5 sacks rank 13th on the NFL’s all-time list.

The SEC players drafted in the first round with the No. 13 pick include:

· LSU defensive tackle Earl Leggett, Bears, 1957;

· LSU linebacker A.J. Duhe, Dolphins, 1977;

· Georgia wide receiver Lindsay Scott, Saints, 1982;

· Florida fullback James Jones, Lions, 1983;

· Mississippi State defensive back Walt Harris, Bears, 1996;

· Auburn linebacker Takeo Spikes, Bengals, 1998;

· South Carolina defensive end John Abraham, Jets, 2000;

· Georgia defensive tackle Marcus Stroud, Jaguars, 2001;

· Tennessee wide receiver Donte Stallworth, Saints, 2002;

· Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley, Lions, 2011;

· Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, Jets, 2013;

· Ole Miss tackle Laremy Tunsil, Dolphins, 2016;

· Alabama defensive tackle Daron Payne, Redskins, 2018

The SEC players drafted with the No. 13 pick who were not first-rounders include:

· Alabama back Joe Kilgrow, Dodgers, 1938;

· Mississippi State back Blondy Black, Dodgers, 1943;

14th pick: Thomas Davis, linebacker, Georgia

Several of the 20 SEC players picked at No. 14 have had dependable NFL careers that lasted a decade or more. But they combined for only five Pro Bowl invitations and one All-Pro selection. Thomas Davis has three of the Pro Bowl selections and was All-Pro in 2015. Davis, who played safety at Georgia, retired following the 2020 season after overcoming three ACL tears in three years earlier in his career.

The SEC players drafted in the first round with the No. 14 pick include:

· Auburn end Jerry Wilson, Cardinals, 1959;

· LSU fullback Earl Gros, Packers, 1962;

· Tennessee defensive tackle Dick Evey, Bears, 1964;

· Florida quarterback John Reaves, Eagles, 1972;

· Florida linebacker Glenn Cameron, Bengals, 1975;

· Tennessee defensive back Roland James, Patriots, 1980;

· Alabama defensive end Marty Lyons, Jets, 1979;

· Auburn defensive end Gerald Robinson, Vikings, 1986;

· Georgia tackle Bernard Williams, Eagles, 1994;

· Florida tackle Kenyatta Walker, Buccaneers, 2001;

· Georgia linebacker Thomas Davis, Panthers, 2005;

· Vanderbilt tackle Chris Williams, Bears, 2008;

· LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers, Rams, 2012;

· Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett, Eagles, 2017;

· South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw, 49ers, 2020

The SEC players drafted with the No. 14 pick who were not first-rounders include:

· Alabama guard Tarzan White, Giants, 1937;

· Tennessee tackle Abe Shires, Rams, 1941;

· Auburn back Lloyd Cheatham, Cardinals, 1942;

· Tennessee halfback Bob Cifers, Lions, 1944;

· LSU defensive back Ken Konz, 1951;

15th pick: Jim Taylor, fullback, LSU

Jim Taylor was selected for the Pro Football Hall of Fame after a career that included five NFL championships as a member of the Green Bay Packers. Taylor turned in five straight 1,000-yard seasons for Green Bay, peaking in 1962, when he led the NFL with 1,474 rushing yards and 19 rushing touchdowns and earned the league’s MVP Award. Taylor was not a first-round pick. At No. 15 in 1958, he was the second player picked in the second round.

The SEC players drafted in the first round with the No. 15 pick include:

· Kentucky tackle Sam Ball, Colts, 1966;

· Auburn center Forrest Blue, 49ers, 1968;

· Florida fullback John Williams, Seahawks, 1986;

· Tennessee wide receiver Anthony Miller, Chargers, 1988;

· Florida linebacker Huey Richardson, Steelers, 1991;

· Auburn tackle Wayne Gandy, Rams, 1994;

· Florida defensive tackle Ellis Johnson, Colts, 1995;

· LSU defensive tackle Anthony McFarland, Buccaneers, 1999;

· Tennessee defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, Titans, 2002;

· LSU wide receiver Michael Clayton, Buccaneers, 2004;

· Florida guard Mike Pouncey, Dolphins, 2011;

· Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, Broncos, 2020

The SEC players drafted with the No. 15 pick who were not first-rounders include:

· Alabama back Eddie Salem, Redskins, 1951;

· LSU fullback Jim Taylor, Packers, 1958;

· LSU quarterback Warren Rabb, Lions, 1960;

16th pick: Jevon Kearse, defensive end, Florida

The NFL hasn’t gotten an equitable return from the 10 SEC players who have been the No. 16 selection. Three have been Pro Bowlers and All-Pros – Jevon Kearse, Shawn Andrews and Marlon Humphrey. Andrews’ career lasted six seasons. Humphrey is only four seasons into his career, but he’s been a Pro Bowler twice and an All-Pro once. Kearse started like a Hall of Famer, making All-Pro as a rookie and earning the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Award for 1999. He added two more Pro Bowl seasons in successive years, then settled in for an 11-year NFL career.

The SEC players drafted in the first round with the No. 16 pick include:

· Alabama defensive end Mike Pitts, Falcons, 1983;

· Florida wide receiver Reidel Anthony, Buccaneers, 1987;

· Florida defensive end Jevon Kearse, Titans, 1999;

· Arkansas tackle Shawn Andrews, Eagles, 2004;

· Tennessee defensive back Jason Allen, Dolphins, 2006;

· Tennessee defensive tackle Justin Harrell, Packers, 2007;

· Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey, Ravens, 2017

The SEC players drafted with the No. 16 pick who were not first-rounders include:

· Mississippi State end Lamar Blount, Giants, 1944;

· Mississippi State defensive back Harper Davis, Steelers, 1949;

· Auburn tackle Frank D’Agostino, Eagles, 1956;

17th pick: Emmitt Smith, running back, Florida

Emmitt Smith was a four-time All-Pro, led the NFL in rushing four times, turned in 11 consecutive 1,000-yard seasons and is the league’s all-time leader in rushing yards with 18,355 and rushing touchdowns with 164. He also played for three Super Bowl winners and earned the NFL’s MVP Award for the 1993 season. Needlessly to say, Smith is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The SEC players drafted in the first round with the No. 17 pick include:

· Tennessee wide receiver Clyde Duncan, Cardinals, 1984;

· Florida running back Emmitt Smith, Cowboys, 1990;

· Georgia linebacker David Pollack, Bengals, 2005;

· Florida defensive end Jarvis Moss, Broncos, 2007;

· Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, Bengals 2012;

· Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones, Steelers, 2013;

· Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley, Ravens, 2014;

· Florida defensive back Keanu Neal, Falcons, 2016;

· Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen, Redskins, 2017

The SEC players drafted with the No. 17 pick who were not first-rounders include:

· Tennessee back Bob Foxx, Cardinals, 1941;

· Auburn back Monk Gafford, Eagles, 1943;

· LSU back Red Knight, Redskins, 1947;

· Georgia quarterback Zeke Bratkowski, Bears, 1953;

18th pick: Bruiser Kinard, tackle, Ole Miss

A two-way star for a team that doesn’t exist today – the Brooklyn Dodgers – Bruiser Kinard was legendary for his unwillingness to come off the field. World War II did take Kinard off the field, though. But when he came back, he signed on with the New York Yankees of the All-American Football Conference and became the first player to have All-NFL and All-AAFC on his record. Kinard is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The SEC players drafted in the first round with the No. 18 pick include:

· Alabama guard Bob Cryder, Patriots, 1978;

· Tennessee wide receiver Willie Gault, Bears, 1983;

· Ole Miss defensive end Freddie Joe Nunn, Cardinals, 1985;

· Ole Miss defensive end Tony Bennett, Packers, 1990;

· South Carolina tackle Ernest Dye, Cardinals, 1993;

· LSU wide receiver Eddie Kennison, Rams, 1996;

· Georgia running back Robert Edwards, Patriots, 1998;

· Georgia guard Matt Stinchcomb, Raiders, 1999;

· Tennessee defensive end Robert Ayers, Broncos, 2009;

· Florida center Maurkice Pouncey, Steelers, 2010;

· South Carolina defensive end Melvin Ingram, Chargers, 2012;

· LSU defensive back Eric Reid, 49ers, 2013;

· Alabama center Ryan Kelly, Colts, 2016

The SEC players drafted with the No. 18 pick who were not first-rounders include:

· LSU center Marv Stewart, Bears, 1937;

· Ole Miss tackle Bruiser Kinard, Dodgers, 1938;

· Kentucky quarterback Ermal Allen, Cardinals, 1947;

· Tulane defensive end Don Joyce, Cardinals, 1951;

· LSU defensive end George Tarasovic, Steelers, 1952;

· Florida fullback Rick Casares, Bears, 1954;

19th pick: Shaun Alexander, running back, Alabama

Shaun Alexander earned the NFL MVP Award for the 2005 season, when he led the NFL with 1,880 rushing yards and set a single-season mark with 27 rushing touchdowns. He ran for another 236 yards and two TDs in the postseason as the Seattle Seahawks reached the Super Bowl. The season was the high point of a five-year stretch in which Alexander ran for 7,504 yards and 87 touchdowns.

The SEC players drafted in the first round with the No. 19 pick include:

· Auburn wide receiver Terry Beasley, 49ers, 1979;

· Kentucky running back George Adams, Giants, 1985;

· Tennessee running back James Stewart, Jaguars, 1995;

· Alabama running back Shaun Alexander, Seahawks, 2000;

· Tennessee tackle Ja’Wuan James, Dolphins, 2014;

· Alabama tight end O.J. Howard, Buccaneers, 2017;

· Mississippi State defensive end Jeffery Simmons, Titans, 2019

The SEC players drafted with the No. 19 pick who were not first-rounders include:

· Georgia Tech quarterback Frank Broyles, Bears, 1946;

· Florida guard Larry Gagner, Steelers, 1966;

20th pick: Jack Youngblood, defensive end, Florida

After the Rams drafted Jack Youngblood with the 20th pick in 1971, he spent the next 14 seasons with Los Angeles. Youngblood made the Pro Bowl every season from 1973 through 1979 and was a first-team All-Pro selection in five of those campaigns on his way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That gives him the edge on former Bessemer prep star Maxi Baughan, who had nine Pro Bowl invitations and two first-team All-Pro selections, and Eddie Price, who led the NFL in rushing in 1951 and had two first-team All-Pro seasons.

The SEC players drafted in the first round with the No. 20 pick include:

· Alabama wide receiver Dennis Homan, Cowboys, 1968;

· Florida defensive back Steve Tannen, Jets, 1970;

· Florida defensive end Jack Youngblood, Rams, 1971;

· Vanderbilt tackle Will Wolford, Bills, 1986;

· Ole Miss defensive tackle Kelvin Pritchett, Cowboys, 1991;

· Tennessee defensive back Dale Carter, Chiefs, 1992;

· Ole Miss defensive tackle Tim Bowens, Dolphins, 1994;

· Alabama linebacker Dwayne Rudd, Vikings, 1997;

· Tennessee defensive back Terry Fair, Lions, 1998;

· Georgia tackle George Foster, Broncos, 2003;

· LSU defensive end Marcus Spears, Cowboys, 2005;

· Alabama cornerback Kareem Jackson, 2010;

· Arkansas center Frank Ragnow, Lions, 2018;

· LSU outside linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson, Jaguars, 2020

The SEC players drafted with the No. 20 pick who were not first-rounders include:

· Tulane fullback Eddie Price, Giants, 1950;

· LSU guard Sid Fournet, Rams, 1955;

· Georgia Tech linebacker Maxie Baughan, Eagles, 1960;

· Georgia tackle Ray Rissmiller, Eagles, 1965;

21st pick: Richie Petitbon, safety, Tulane

Richie Petitbon, who was a Pro Bowler four times, is the only No. 21 pick from the SEC who has been first-team All-Pro, earning the recognition in 1963, when he intercepted eight passes for the Chicago Bears’ NFL championship team. Petitbon spent 14 seasons as a player in the NFL.

The SEC players drafted in the first round with the No. 21 pick include:

· Alabama defensive back Don McNeal, Dolphins, 1980;

· Tennessee wide receiver Tim McGee, Bengals, 1986;

· LSU running back Harvey Williams, Chiefs, 1991;

· Florida linebacker Clifford Charlton, Browns, 1988;

· Arkansas wide receiver Matt Jones, Jaguars, 2005;

· Florida defensive back Reggie Nelson, Jaguars, 2007;

· Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Packers, 2014;

· Texas A&M tackle Cedric Ogbuehi, Bengals, 2015;

· Florida linebacker Jarrad Davis, Lions, 2017

The SEC players drafted with the No. 21 pick who were not first-rounders include:

· Auburn back Rufus Deal, Redskins, 1942;

· Mississippi State guard Dub Garrett, Bears, 1948;

· Georgia Tech center George Morris, 49ers, 1953;

· Tulane defensive back Richie Petitbon, Bears, 1959;

· Georgia Tech tight end Bill Martin, Bears, 1964;

No. 22 pick: Jack Reynolds, linebacker, Tennessee

As the 22nd player picked in the 2020 NFL Draft, former LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson began his pro career as though he’s coming for this spot. Jefferson caught 88 passes for 1,400 yards and seven touchdowns for the Minnesota Vikings as a rookie. But Jack “Hacksaw” Reynolds spent 15 seasons in the NFL living up to his nickname. After 11 years and two Pro Bowl seasons for the Los Angeles Rams, Reynolds finished his career with the San Francisco 49ers, picking up two Super Bowl rings.

The SEC players drafted in the first round with the No. 22 pick include:

· Tennessee linebacker Jack Reynolds, Rams, 1970;

· LSU defensive back Mike Williams, Chargers, 1975;

· Georgia defensive back Ben Smith, Eagles, 1990;

· LSU tight end David LaFleur, Cowboys, 1997;

· Florida quarterback Rex Grossman, Bears, 2003;

· Arkansas running back Felix Jones, Cowboys, 2008;

· Florida wide receiver Percy Harvin, Vikings, 2009;

· Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, Browns, 2014;

· Kentucky outside linebacker Bud Dupree, Steelers, 2015;

· Missouri outside linebacker Charles Harris, Dolphins, 2017;

· Alabama inside linebacker Rashaan Evans, Titans, 2018;

· LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson, Vikings, 2020

The SEC players drafted with the No. 22 pick who were not first-rounders include:

· LSU end Ken Kavanaugh, Bears, 1940;

· Auburn tackle M.L. Brackett, Bears, 1956;

23rd pick: Ozzie Newsome, tight end, Alabama

Ozzie Newsome was an All-American split end for the Crimson Tide who spent 13 seasons as the Cleveland Browns’ tight end. When Newsome left the game, the former Colbert County High School star had more receptions for more yards than any player in NFL history at that position. Newsome has been a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame since 1999 and the Browns’ all-time receiving leader even longer.

The SEC players drafted in the first round with the No. 23 pick include:

· Alabama tight end Ozzie Newsome, Browns, 1978;

· Florida tackle David Williams, Oilers, 1989;

· Tennessee defensive end Chris Mims, Chargers, 1992;

· Florida guard Mo Collins, Raiders, 1998;

· Ole Miss running back Deuce McAllister, Saints, 2001;

· LSU wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs, 2007;

· Ole Miss tackle Michael Oher, Ravens, 2009;

· Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, Vikings, 2013;

· Auburn defensive end Dee Ford, Chiefs, 2014;

· Missouri defensive end Shane Ray, Broncos, 2015;

· Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, Vikings, 2016;

· Ole Miss tight end Evan Engram, Giants, 2017;

· Georgia offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn, Patriots, 2018

The SEC players drafted with the No. 23 pick who were not first-rounders include:

· Alabama back Charley Holm, Redskins, 1939;

· Tulane back Buddy Banker, Redskins, 1940;

· Georgia Tech guard Ray Beck, Giants, 1952;

24th pick: James Brooks, running back, Auburn

In his first two seasons in the NFL, James Brooks led the league in all-purpose yards. His chances in the return game declined after that, especially following his trade to the Cincinnati Bengals after three seasons with the San Diego Chargers. In Cincinnati, Brooks became the Bengals’ top ball-carrier, running for at least 929 yards five times in six seasons, producing three 1,000-yard campaigns and earning four Pro Bowl invitations.

The 24th slot has outproduced some of the selection positions ahead of it where SEC players are concerned. Rodney Hampton was a five-time 1,000-yard rusher, John Gordy and Eric Moulds were three-time Pro Bowlers and the 2019 No. 24 pick, Josh Jacobs, has started his NFL career with two 1,000-yard seasons.

The SEC players drafted in the first round with the No. 24 pick include:

· Auburn running back James Brooks, Chargers, 1981;

· Tennessee linebacker Alvin Toles, Saints, 1985;

· Georgia running back Rodney Hampton, Giants, 1990;

· Mississippi State wide receiver Eric Moulds, Bills, 1996;

· Florida defensive tackle Reggie McGrew, 49ers, 1999;

· South Carolina defensive end Johnathan Joseph, Bengals, 2006;

· Ole Miss defensive tackle Peria Jerry, Falcons, 2009;

· Florida tackle D.J. Humphries, Cardinals, 2015;

· Alabama running back Josh Jacobs, Raiders, 2019

The SEC players drafted with the No. 24 pick who were not first-rounders include:

· Vanderbilt center Charley Hoover, Lions, 1947;

· Ole Miss fullback John Dottley, Bears, 1950;

· Tennessee guard John Gordy, guard, Lions, 1957;

· Ole Miss guard Marvin Terrell, Colts, 1960;

· Alabama back Butch Wilson, Colts, 1963;

· Kentucky tackle Herschel Turner, Cardinals, 1964;

25th pick: Stanley Morgan, wide receiver, Tennessee

When the Patriots picked Stanley Morgan in 1977, they had obtained a field-stretching pass-catcher for 13 years. Morgan led the NFL in yards per catch for three straight seasons, and his career average of 19.2 yards per reception ranks 10th in NFL history. Morgan was a Pro Bowler in 1979 and 1980 and again in 1986 and 1987.

The SEC players drafted in the first round with the No. 25 pick include:

· Tennessee wide receiver Stanley Morgan, Patriots, 1977;

· Auburn tight end Reese McCall, Colts, 1978;

· Alabama defensive end Emanuel King, Bengals, 1985;

· Florida defensive back Louis Oliver, Dolphins, 1989;

· Georgia defensive end Charles Grant, Saints, 2002;

· Arkansas defensive back Ahmad Carroll, Packers, 2004;

· Auburn quarterback Jason Campbell, Redskins, 2005;

· Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, Broncos, 2010;

· Alabama offensive tackle James Carpenter, Seahawks, 2011;

· Alabama linebacker Dont’a Hightower, Patriots, 2012;

· South Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst, Ravens, 2018

The SEC players drafted with the No. 25 pick who were not first-rounders include:

· Alabama tackle Fred Davis, Redskins, 1941;

· LSU back Alvin Dark, Eagles, 1945;

· Ole Miss defensive back Billy Kinard, Browns, 1956;

· Florida guard Charley Mitchell, Browns, 1958;

· Georgia defensive back Charley Britt, Rams, 1960;

26th pick: Alan Faneca, guard, LSU

In 10 seasons as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ left guard, Faneca was a first-team All-Pro selection six times. He was a Super Bowl winner with the Steelers in 2005. And as a member of the Class of 2021, he’s now a Pro Football Hall of Famer. Over his 13 seasons, Faneca missed two games while starting 201 and earning nine Pro Bowl invitations.

The SEC players drafted in the first round with the No. 26 pick include:

· Mississippi State defensive end Glen Collins, Bengals, 1982;

· Auburn wide receiver Alexander Wright, Cowboys, 1990;

· Arkansas defensive end Henry Ford, Oilers, 1994;

· LSU guard Alan Faneca, Steelers, 1998;

· Alabama cornerback Fernando Bryant, Jaguars, 1999;

· Florida defensive back Lito Sheppard, Eagles, 2002;

· Ole Miss center Chris Spencer, Seahawks, 2005;

· Tennessee defensive tackle Dan Williams, Cardinals, 2010;

· Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley, Falcons, 2018;

· Mississippi State defensive end Montez Sweat, Redskins, 2019

The SEC players drafted with the No. 26 pick who were not first-rounders include:

· Vanderbilt end Bucky Curtis, Browns, 1951;

· Florida fullback Mal Hammack, Cardinals, 1955;

· Florida tackle Frank Lasky, Giants, 1963;

· LSU tight end Billy Truax, Browns, 1964;

· Kentucky tight end Bob Windsor, 49ers, 1966;

· Alabama running back Leslie Kelly, Saints, 1967;

· Kentucky wide receiver Randy Burke, Colts, 1977;

27th pick: Neal Anderson, running back, Florida

From 1988 through 1991, Anderson was a Pro Bowler each season for the Chicago Bears. During those four seasons, Anderson ran for 4,206 yards and 39 touchdowns and caught 178 passes for 1,657 yards and 10 TDs.

The SEC players drafted in the first round with the No. 27 pick include:

· Tennessee center Robert Shaw, Cowboys, 1979;

· Florida running back Lorenzo Hampton, Dolphins, 1985;

· Florida running back Neal Anderson, Bears, 1986;

· Florida wide receiver Ricky Nattiel, Broncos, 1987;

· LSU wide receiver Wendell Davis, Bears, 1988;

· Tennessee linebacker Todd Kelly, 49ers, 1993;

· Auburn tackle Victor Riley, Chiefs, 1998;

· Tennessee wide receiver Robert Meachem, Saints, 2007;

· LSU cornerback Tre’Davious White, Bills, 2017;

· Raiders safety Johnathan Abram, Raiders, 2019

The SEC players drafted with the No. 27 pick who were not first-rounders include:

· Vanderbilt back Jimmy Butler, Cardinals, 1959;

· Georgia Tech tackle Ed Nutting, Browns, 1961;

· Georgia guard Pete Case, Eagles, 1962;

· Vanderbilt tackle Bob Asher, Cowboys, 1970;

28th pick: Mark Ingram, running back, Alabama

Mark Ingram has three Pro Bowl and three 1,000-yard rushing seasons. The 2009 Heisman Trophy winner is the only one of the SEC No. 28′s who has played in the NFL’s all-star game without being a member of the championship team (from the days when the league champ played a team of all-stars from the rest of the NFL to wrap up the season).

Dick Plasman did that twice as a member of the champion Chicago Bears and also played on three NFL title teams. The first SEC player drafted at No. 28 also was the last NFL player to play without a helmet. That came in the 1940 NFL championship game. A teammate said Plasman “had a piece of cement for a head.”

The SEC players drafted in the first round with the No. 28 pick include:

· Tennessee linebacker Keith DeLong, 49ers, 1989;

· Alabama running back Mark Ingram, Saints, 2011;

· LSU linebacker Patrick Queen, Ravens, 2020

The SEC players drafted with the No. 28 pick who were not first-rounders include:

· Vanderbilt end Dick Plasman, Bears, 1937;

· Alabama center Joe Domnanovich, Dodgers, 1943;

· Tennessee guard Bob Dobelstein, Cardinals, 1945;

· LSU defensive back Dan Sandifer, Redskins, 1948;

· Georgia halfback Billy Mixon, 49ers, 1951;

· Georgia Tech back Stan Flowers, Redskins, 1958;

· LSU center Bo Strange, Eagles, 1961;

29th pick: Fran Tarkenton, quarterback, Georgia

In their first NFL Draft after joining the league as an expansion team, the Minnesota Vikings selected Tulane running back Tommy Mason with the No. 1 pick in 1961 and took North Carolina linebacker Rip Hawkins with the 15th choice. But it was at No. 29 where the Vikings hit the jackpot. They drafted Fran Tarkenton, sending him on his way to an 18-year career as an NFL starting quarterback and a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. When he retired, Tarkenton had more passing yards, touchdown passes, victories and rushing yards than any quarterback in NFL history.

The SEC players drafted in the first round with the No. 29 pick include:

· Alabama defensive back George Teague, Packers, 1993;

· Ole Miss running back John Avery, Dolphins, 1998;

· Auburn guard Ben Grubbs, Ravens, 2007;

· Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings, 2013;

· Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley, Patriots, 2014;

· Ole Miss defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche, Cardinals, 2016;

· Florida defensive tackle Taven Bryan, Jaguars, 2018;

· Georgia offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson, Titans, 2020

The SEC players drafted with the No. 29 pick who were not first-rounders include:

· Tennessee end Al Hust, Cardinals, 1943;

· Florida center Roger Adams, Steelers, 1945;

· Georgia Tech guard Bill Healey, Yanks, 1948;

· Georgia Tech halfback Frank Ziegler, Eagles, 1949;

· Tulane linebacker Bill Svoboda, Cardinals, 1950;

· Kentucky defensive end Walt Yowarsky, Redskins, 1951;

· Georgia Tech tackle Lum Snyder, Eagles, 1952;

· Tulane tackle Dalton Truax, Packers, 1957;

· Georgia quarterback Fran Tarkenton, Vikings, 1961;

· Kentucky quarterback Rick Norton, Browns, 1966;

· LSU defensive back Tommy Casanova, Bengals, 1972;

· Florida linebacker Ralph Ortega, Falcons, 1975;

· Florida linebacker Sammy Green, Seahawks, 1976;

· Auburn running back Joe Cribbs, Bills, 1980;

· Auburn defensive end Doug Smith, Oilers, 1984;

· LSU running back Garry James, Lions, 1986;

· Auburn guard Ed King, Browns, 1991;

30th pick: Joseph Addai, running back, LSU

Only one of the 12 SEC players picked at No. 30 has received a Pro Bowl invitation. Joseph Addai got that in 2007, the second of the two 1,000-yard rushing seasons that started his career with the Indianapolis Colts. Reggie Cobb, the 1990 No. 30 pick, ran for 1,171 yards for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1992; Kendall Simmons, the 2002 No. 30 pick, was a starting guard for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Super Bowl winner in 2005; and Willie Teal, the 1980 No. 30 pick, and Alex Ogletree, the 2013 No. 30 pick, are the only SEC players taken in the slot who have lasted eight seasons in the NFL.

The SEC players drafted in the first round with the No. 30 pick include:

· Tennessee wide receiver Marcus Nash, Broncos, 1998;

· Auburn guard Kendall Simmons, Steelers, 2002;

· LSU running back Joseph Addai, Colts, 2006;

· LSU wide receiver Craig Davis, Chargers, 2007;

· Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree, Rams, 2013;

· Georgia cornerback Deandre Baker, Giants, 2019;

· Auburn cornerback Noah Igbinoghene, Dolphins, 2020

The SEC players drafted with the No. 30 pick who were not first-rounders include:

· Alabama tackle Bob Wood, Rams, 1940;

· Georgia Tech center Paul Duke, Giants, 1946;

· Florida running back Jimmy DuBose, Buccaneers, 1976;

· LSU defensive back Willie Teal, Vikings, 1980;

· Tennessee running back Reggie Cobb, Buccaneers, 1990;

31st pick: Al Wilson, linebacker, Tennessee

The first NFL Draft in 1936 featured an SEC player as the No. 31 pick – Alabama end Paul “Bear” Bryant. Bryant never played in the NFL, going into coaching instead. The most recent NFL Draft picked at No. 31 is Georgia running back Sony Michel in 2018.

But the best SEC player picked at No. 31 has been Al Wilson. In his eight NFL seasons, Wilson collected more Pro Bowl invitations and All-Pro selections than the rest of the SEC’s No. 31 picks put together. After joining Denver in 1999, Wilson was a Pro Bowler for the Broncos five times, including his final two seasons, and was a first-team All-Pro selection in 2005. Two other former Tennessee players – Bill Anderson and Carl Pickens – split the spot’s four remaining Pro Bowl invitations.

The SEC players drafted in the first round with the No. 31 pick include:

· Tennessee linebacker Al Wilson, Broncos, 1999;

· Texas A&M guard Germain Ifedi, Seahawks, 2016;

· Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster, 49ers, 2017;

· Georgia running back Sony Michel, Patriots, 2018

The SEC players drafted with the No. 31 pick who were not first-rounders include:

· Alabama end Bear Bryant, Dodgers, 1936;

· Auburn center Walter Gilbert, Eagles, 1937;

· Georgia end Weyman Sellers, Packers, 1948;

· Tennessee end Bill Anderson, Redskins, 1958;

· Auburn tackle Billy Wilson, Cardinals, 1961;

· LSU running back Dalton Hilliard, Saints, 1986;

· Auburn wide receiver Lawyer Tillman, Browns, 1989;

· Tennessee wide receiver Carl Pickens, Bengals, 1992;

32nd pick: Ray Donaldson, center, Georgia

Ray Donaldson didn’t start a game during his rookie season after the Baltimore Colts drafted him in 1980. In the next 16 seasons, he started 228 of them – every game he played for the rest of his career with the Colts, Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys. Donaldson earned six Pro Bowl invitations along the way, including in each of his final two seasons.

The SEC players drafted in the first round with the No. 32 pick include:

· Georgia tight end Ben Watson, Patriots, 2004;

· Mississippi State tackle Derek Sherrod, Packers, 2011;

· Florida defensive back Matt Elam, Ravens, 2013;

· LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Chiefs, 2020

The SEC players drafted with the No. 32 pick who were not first-rounders include:

· Tulane back Bucky Bryan, Cardinals, 1937;

· Tulane back Gaston Bourgeois, Yanks, 1946;

· Kentucky end Al Bruno, Eagles, 1951;

· Auburn center Lee Gross, Saints, 1975;

· Georgia center Ray Donaldson, Colts, 1980;

The list includes only players selected in the regular NFL draft. The drafts from other leagues are not included nor are any supplemental drafts that have been held by the NFL.

Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @AMarkG1.

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Tennessee Tech professors face discipline for calling colleague a racist

This article contains potentially offensive terms that are essential to reporting on this situation. 

The culture war is raging in Cookeville, Tenn., where one of the biggest current controversies is what to call the local middle school’s sports teams: either the Algood Middle School Redskins, or an alternative that doesn’t offend many Native Americans and allies.

Tennessee Technical University is now implicated in that fight, with one professor — who is also the campus adviser for Turning Point U.S.A. — saying two colleagues threatened him over his pro-Redskins stance. Those professors now face possible disciplinary action from the university, which last week said that they’d violated a policy requiring employees to “conduct themselves fairly, honestly, in good faith and in accordance with the highest ethical and professional standards.” The policy also requires faculty members to create “an environment that promotes academic freedom, diversity, fair treatment and respect for all faculty, staff, students and the general public.”

The professors say they didn’t threaten their colleague but rather criticized him in a way that should be protected. They also feel they have targets on their backs for being politically liberal in a county where 70 percent of votes went to Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

A Mascot, a Motion, a Flier, an Investigation

Here’s what happened: in February, in response to demands from local activists, the Putnam County School Board considered forming a committee to rename the longtime Algood Redskins. When the time came for a vote, one board member moved to proceed with considering a committee. No one seconded.

The new mascot discussion was effectively over. That pleased Andrew J. Donadio, an assistant professor of nursing at Tennessee Tech who is also a local county commissioner. Donadio, who was in the audience at the school board meeting, clapped loudly.

Seated in front of Donadio — unbeknownst to him, he says — was Julia Gruber, an associate professor of German who supported abandoning the Redskins mascot on the grounds that it’s hurtful to Native Americans. Gruber found Donadio’s show of emotion inappropriate, she says, especially because there were Native Americans present, including a friend of hers and his children.

Gruber went home annoyed and texted about the incident with Andrew Smith, a friend and instructor of English at Tennessee Tech.

Smith had long been critical of Turning Point U.S.A., the conservative student group behind Professor Watchlist, a website dedicated to “unmasking radical professors” and “exposing bias on campus.” And he was especially bothered that Donadio had recently agreed to advise a new chapter of Turning Point U.S.A. at Tennessee Tech. Upon hearing how Donadio had responded to the mascot decision, he channeled his frustration into making a flier to be posted around campus about Donadio.

The professor profiles on Professor Watchlist — which often lead to those professors getting bombarded with hate email — tend to be splashy. So Smith says he modeled his flier after some of those profiles.

“This racist college professor thought it would be a great idea to help start a Tennessee Tech chapter for this national hate group, where racist students can unite to harass, threaten, intimidate and terrorize persons of color, feminists, liberals, and the like, especially their teachers,” the final flier said. “Their organization created a national ‘Professor Watchlist’ to harass and intimidate progressive educators, including many women, African-American and Muslim professors.”

The flier included a photo of Donadio from his Facebook page, in which he’s holding a gleaming sword and seated on a throne of knives that would probably look ominous to anyone not acquainted with the television show Game of Thrones (Donadio is a big fan of the series). Below the photo, additional large text reads, “Professor Donadio and Turning Point USA: You are on our list. Your hate and hypocrisy are not welcome at Tennessee Tech. No unity with racists. Hate speech is not free speech.”

Late the next day, a Friday, Gruber took some of fliers to the mostly empty nursing building. She says she put some down on tables in several locations and then headed to the gym. While she was on the treadmill, she said she started rethinking her decision — not because she thought the flier was wrong but because she worried it might get her in undeserved trouble. Gruber says she’s outspoken and that that’s attracted negative attention over the years. In one case, Gruber says, reporting that her students were complaining of headaches in her classroom due to a new cleaning product led to an eight-month investigation — not into the product’s safety but into whether or not she’d violated student privacy laws by asking students certain health questions before coming forward. The student privacy violation allegation was eventually dropped, but Gruber says the investigation was uncomfortable and she was asked whether she’d ever talked negatively about the university.

Gruber says she returned to the nursing building to retrieve the fliers after her workout, but they’d already been seen by a staff member.

Smith also posted a flier elsewhere on campus.

Donadio says a staff member who saw Gruber called him to alert him, and that he immediately became concerned about the safety of the students in the Turning Point U.S.A. chapter. He also worried about his ability to teach his nursing students and treat patients alongside them after being labeled a racist. After consulting a supervisor for advice, he says, he reported the flier — which he described as threatening — to university police. Tennessee Tech soon began its investigation, which involved pulling campus security footage of Gruber and Smith posting the fliers.

The university accused the professors of violating a number of different policies before finding that they’d violated one regarding professional conduct.

The final investigative report is now with the provost, who will decide what kind of punishment the professors face, if any.

Differing Perspectives on What’s Really at Stake

Tennessee Tech declined comment on the case, citing employee privacy protections, other than to say it’s “currently following its personnel policy and procedures. No disciplinary action has been taken at this time.”

Donadio said Monday that he did clap after the mascot decision, both because he’d have to deal with the budget implications of any change — estimated to be as much as $70,000 — in his role as a county commissioner, and because he opposed shifting mascots on principle.

“I don’t like changing things like that just because you have a small group of people who complain. I’m not a fan of that,” he said. Any committee charged with rethinking the Redskins name would have also drawn out the process, he said, as it’s hard enough for a group of people to “to agree on the flavor of orange juice.”

“I was very happy that elected people were making an elected-people decision.”

But is Donadio, who has also used social media to criticize college basketball players taking a knee over police violence, a racist? He said no, adding that he’d spent 24 years in the U.S. Navy and nearly a decade teaching without a single complaint against him of that nature.

“You know, it’s weird when you — when someone calls you that name, racist,” he said. “The initial thing is to defend yourself, and I’m not playing that game, because I can’t prove a negative. But I’m not gonna treat anybody any differently based on the amount of melanin that they have — that’s just born out of ignorance.”

As for Turning Point U.S.A., which has been accused of promoting white supremacist views, Donadio said he was contacted by the national group to advise a campus chapter due to his involvement with the local Republican Party. His interaction with the chapter is less “scout leader,” he said, than signing off on student requests to reserve a room for a meeting or a campus table for a membership drive. As for Professor Watchlist, Donadio said that students and parents should know what some professors are saying in the classroom.

“If I were in my classroom and I were saying horrible things about, about our president,” he said, “I would think that my students’ parents have a right to know that, and publish it, especially if I said it in the classroom. There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s free speech, as well.”

To Donadio, the central issue in his own case is the First Amendment.

“Freedom of speech protects you from the government” when one’s speech is legally protected, he said. “It doesn’t protect you from the consequences if your speech is threatening or harassing to a coworker, or students, or other faculty and staff, and that is what was found to be the case by the university’s investigation.”

To Smith, a pastor and self-described “hippie,” the idea that his flier threatened Donadio or anyone else would be laughable if his job weren’t on the line. The flier text, including the notion that Donadio is on his “list,” was an obvious parody of Professor Watchlist, he said.

Smith also referenced a Turning Point U.S.A. invitation to a presidential candidate debate watch party in 2019 (before Donadio was a supervisor) that was shared with faculty, staff and students, which he said he found to be highly offensive. The ad refers to Democrats as “do-nothings” and features unflattering pictures of “Sleepy Joe” Biden, “Crazy Bernie” Sanders and Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren. The Warren image is altered so that she’s wearing a headdress and a quiver of arrows.

Both Smith and Gruber have asked Tennessee Tech to reconsider the finding against them. Smith is worried Tennessee Tech will try to remove his tenure. Gruber’s not so sure.

Their attorney, Robert Bigelow, wrote in one missive to the university that both professors “openly welcome a healthy debate regarding Turning Point U.S.A., its campus leaders and its members. They invite Prof. Donadio and all members of Turning Point U.S.A. to denounce racism and institutional racism. They welcome a marketplace of ideas where members of Turning Point U.S.A. try to prove them wrong and perhaps even challenge the professors about their own beliefs.” Yet Gruber and Smith “must not be punished for espousing those protected beliefs in the first place.”

Smith said the issue is bigger than the flier, and that he’s been harassed by local community members since last year for his involvement in Black Lives Matter protests. He said he even lost his job as a pastor at a local church for that activism — such is the environment for liberals in Cookeville and, more broadly, Tennessee.

Ironically, he said, Tennessee has some of the country’s strongest campus speech protections. They’re just not always applied fairly, he added.

Gruber agreed, saying she wished that Tennessee Tech took free speech as seriously as it apparently takes the Second Amendment: according to multiple local news reports, the university’s vice president for advancement fired a gun in his campus office last month, leaving a hole in the floor. The discharge was deemed accidental, as apparently the vice president, Kevin Braswell, put his gun on a table while working and put his finger too close to the trigger when he tried to holster it later. Braswell’s pants appeared to be “grazed,” as well, according to a police report. Braswell remains employed. The university said it was aware of the incident but declined to share any additional information.

In that context, and in general, Gruber said, it’s hard to stomach Donadio’s contention that calling him a racist puts his patients’ lives at risk.

“I don’t think a flier can do that.”

Gruber’s email signature notes that she is writing from the “territories of the Yuchi, Cherokee or Aniyunwiya.” The Yuchi people gave the land the name Tanasi, the signature says, which is the origin of the word “Tennessee.”

Admitting that her own parents have “begged her to shut up” regarding her advocacy, Gruber, who is from Austria, said, “I can’t do that. I am who I am, and if I see something wrong, or if someone gets hurt, then I can’t.” So when Donadio cheered the failure of the mascot motion in front of her Native American friends, it triggered something in her.

“I just thought it was really chilling,” she said. Yet whatever happens with her own case, Gruber said she’s undeterred.

Change is a “marathon, not a sprint.”

 

Alex Smith retires after comeback from gruesome leg injury – The Globe and Mail

Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith speaks at a news conference after an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts in Landover, Md., Sept. 16, 2018, file photo. Alex Smith is retiring from the NFL after making an improbable comeback from a broken leg.

The Associated Press

Alex Smith retired Monday after making an improbable comeback from a gruesome broken leg, saying he’s ready to leave the NFL but believing he’s still able to play quarterback.

Smith made the announcement on Instagram a few weeks shy of his 37th birthday, hoping to enjoy more time with his family.

“I want to say thank you for believing in me, and thank you for helping me believe in myself — and in the impossible,” Smith said. “Because even though I’ve got plenty of snaps left in me, after 16 years of giving this game everything I’ve got, I can’t wait to see what else is possible.”

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Smith earned AP Comeback Player of the Year honours for getting back on the field last season, two years removed from an injury that required 17 operations. After breaking his right tibia and fibula in a game Nov. 18, 2018, against Houston, he said he wondered if he’d be able to take walks with his wife or play with his kids in the yard — let alone play in the NFL again.

He was hospitalized for almost a month and survived a life-threatening infection in addition to the operations. Smith spent the next year and a half rehabbing and was back at practice when Washington assembled for training camp last summer.

Smith’s first game action since the injury came Oct. 11 when Kyle Allen was injured, and he made his first start at Detroit on Nov. 15. He went 5-1 as the starter, including a victory at Philadelphia in Week 17 on a strained right calf that clinched the NFC East title for Washington.

“He accomplished the greatest comeback in professional sports history and was a huge part of our team’s success this past season,” owners Dan and Tanya Snyder said in a statement. “We witnessed every step of Alex’s comeback, and he personifies perseverance, strength and the will to never give up.”

The injury prevented Smith from playing against Tampa Bay in the wild-card round the next week, which Taylor Heinicke started and impressed enough to earn another contract.

Smith told GQ earlier this year that the organization didn’t expect him to play again. Coach Ron Rivera agreed with those comments, adding he was worried about Smith’s health.

“The biggest thing he and I talked about, really, was that there was really no roadmap to get us to where we were,” Rivera said last month. “He worked his butt off to put himself in a position to come back and play. … It was always in the back of my head: ‘What if he gets hurt again? What if he hurts that leg, that specific leg?’ I don’t want to be the guy that put him back on the field to let him get hurt again.”

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Washington released Smith in March and signed veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Smith initially expressed his intent to keep playing but went unsigned more than a month into free agency.

“I’m going to take a little time to enjoy a few of those walks with my wife, and my kids have no idea what’s coming for them in the backyard,” he said.

In a statement Monday, Rivera called Smith an inspiration and “the ultimate professional and one of the finest leaders” he has ever coached.

A self-professed “skinny, no-name recruit,” Smith was the No. 1 overall pick out of Utah in 2005 and played 14 seasons for San Francisco, Kansas City and Washington. He threw for 35,650 yards and 199 touchdowns in 174 regular-season games and played in seven playoff games.

“Football wouldn’t let me give up because, no, this isn’t just a game,” Smith said. “It’s about how hard and how far you can push yourself. It’s about the bond between those 53 guys in the locker room and everybody else in the organization. It’s about fully committing yourself to something bigger.”

Super Bowl winner and 2018 MVP Patrick Mahomes said Smith “really helped me be the quarterback I am today.” Kansas City coach Andy Reid called Smith one of his all-time favourite players.

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San Francisco CEO Jed York said, “Alex represented our franchise with class both on and off the field, and his contributions to the 49ers organization will be remembered forever.”

60 Minutes reveals model of new Redskins stadium

60 Minutes reveals model of new Redskins stadium – CBS News


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“Tailgating literally becomes a picnic in a park,” says architect Bjarke Ingels of the football team’s new stadium — complete with a moat.

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NFL Mock Draft Roundup: Mel Kiper Jr. gives Washington this week’s most popular pick – Hogs Haven

We are 16 days away from the 2021 NFL Draft! We’re getting a lot more rumors as we approach everyone’s favorite weekend of the year. There are a few teams that are rumored to be open to trading down(Falcons, Lions, Panthers, Broncos) which opens up some rumors for Washington to trade up to get their franchise QB. We get a few of those scenarios this week, but Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest 2-round mock(Subscribe to ESPN+ here) doesn’t have Washington selling out to move up.

Kiper gives the Washington Football Team something that is a huge need going into the 2021 season, a versatile LB to upgrade the position. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is the most popular pick linked to Washington this week, and it’s not even close. I didn’t even include at least 5 other mocks that had similar writeups for the pick. JOK has been the #2 LB behind Micah Parsons, and he continues that trend here. Some people(myself included) prefer fast-rising Jamin Davis, or even Zaven Collins, but JOK continues to be the #2 for many people, and a popular pick at #19.

The only other defensive position being mocked to Washington this week is one that they have been trying to lock down for more years than I care to type. Trevon Moehrig is considered the top safety in this year’s draft by a lot of people. He lands in Washington, and Peter Schrager has him as a top 10 talent in this year’s draft. A versatile safety that can also play CB seems like the type of player Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio could sell themselves on.

Offensive line continues to get some love this week, in the first, second, and third rounds. John Keim has been pretty vocal about Washington’s desire to address the left tackle position in the draft, and if they don’t get their guy at #19, it’s a pretty strong possibility they won’t wait until Day 3. Alabama OT Alex Leatherwood shows up this week as a player that could compete with Cornelius Lucas for the LT spot from Day 1. Alijah Vera-Tucker is a versatile offensive lineman that pops up again this week, this time from Daniel Jeremiah.

And for the give Ryan Fitzpatrick more weapons crowd(is that a thing yet?) we get one wide receiver option this week. Minnesota WR Rashod Batemen’s draft range has been all over the place. He seems like a guy that will go in the 2nd round and everyone will go how did everyone miss on him. We get this every year, and our own MattInBrisVegas wrote a great article on this issue.

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

ESPN(Mel Kiper Jr.)

Washington could go a few different ways here, including offensive line or wide receiver. I like the fit of Owusu-Koramoah, though, as a three-down off-ball linebacker with cover skills. He’s extremely versatile — he lined up as a slot corner for the Fighting Irish at times last season — and fast. He must improve as a tackler, but he should slot in as an instant-impact player for a defense that is already one of the league’s best.

Davis Mills, QB, Stanford

Mills is an interesting case, as he played in only 14 games at Stanford, which would be the fewest by a drafted quarterback in the last 15 years. And yet, at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, he has some arm-talent traits and looked like a first-round pick at times. He also looked like a Day 3 pick at other times. He threw for 428 yards with three touchdowns and three picks in his final college game. If I were running a team, I’d feel much better taking him on Day 2 than I would on Day 1, and this is a Washington team that could bring him along slowly. He’s the type of quarterback talent teams bet on, though.

Pro Football Focus

Whether JOK ends up playing as the Nickel or the Will, there is a place for him on Washington’s defense. With the team’s signing of William Jackson III, there is probably some room to play more man coverage than the predominantly zone defenses the Football Team played last season. And that would probably mean a move inside to Will for JOK.

A more zone-heavy approach could see him stick at Nickel. Either way, Washington is getting one of the most explosive players in the draft. He has an NFL body, so he can fit in right away. He also has the playmaking skills to get the job done from any position they put him in.

Round 2: Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame

JOK classmate Liam Eichenberg is the second pick here to solidify Washington’s offensive line as one of the NFL’s best. The team is solid on the right side, so bringing in left tackle Eichenberg helps to balance the line out. You might not like taking a tackle without elite physical traits this high, but he makes up for it with wonderful technique. He didn’t allow a sack over his last two years of college action, which tells you everything you need to know about him. Notre Dame’s offense was as pro-style as a college offense can be, and Eichenberg excelled in all phases of it.

Round 3: Josh Palmer, WR, Tennessee

Terry McLaurin and new addition Curtis Samuel form a top one-two punch in the NFL at receiver. The Football Team still need to round out that group, though, so they take Palmer here. McLaurin and Samuel give them something completely different from what Palmer does right now, so he’ll complement that duo right out of the gate. Palmer is a vertical runner and can take the top off the defense while McLaurin works the intermediate area and Samuel works underneath.

Osa Odighizuwa, DL, UCLA

With a player like this, you’re hoping his pass-rush moves eventually come along. For now, though, you are getting a plug-and-play run defender with some really nice speed and explosiveness. Odighizuwa is on the small side, which is why he’s not at least a second-round pick, and that might scare off some teams. It feels like he’s still learning what to do with his hands and how to have a counter move. If he figures that out, this is a steal in the late third round.

CBS Sports(Edwards)

Washington has a fantastic defensive line and an offense that can hold its own. It has some pieces in the back seven but starts to add more versatility with Owusu-Koramoah. He may be listed as a linebacker but he is going to excel on sub packages where he can flow in coverage and wreak havoc.

Round 2: Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame

Round 3: Kellen Mond, QB, Texas A&M

Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State

NFL.com(Reuter)

*Ideal top 2 picks mock

Round 1: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

Round 2: Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame

Head coach Ron Rivera has an outstanding defensive line and now will work on building up the other two levels. JOK would fit in well in Rivera’s scheme to handle coverage responsibilities versus tight ends and slot receivers. He also wrecks outside runs when lanes open up to him. Eichenberg played left tackle at Notre Dame, a position Washington has been trying to sort out since Trent Williams last played for the team in 2018.

The Big Lead(Phillips)

Washington gets an immediate upgrade at linebacker with Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, who could fit into a number of spots. Owusu-Koramoah is incredibly quick and can diagnose plays in an instant. At 6-foot-1 and 211 pounds, he’s a bit undersized but doesn’t play like it. He’s also crazy athletic. Owusu-Koramoah ran a 20-yard shuttle of 4.15 seconds at his Pro Day, which would have been the second-fastest among linebackers at the 2019 combine. His three-cone drill of 6.81 seconds would have been the fastest and his 36.5-inch vertical would have been among the top 10. The 2020 Butkus Award winner and first team All-American is fast, excellent in coverage and can get to the quarterback on blitzes.

Bleacher Report(Gagnon)

The Washington Football Team has famously built up its defensive front in high-profile fashion, but the linebacker corps is underwhelming with headliners like Cole Holcomb, Jon Bostic, Khaleke Hudson and David Mayo.

The run defense was a much weaker link than the pass D last season but can help fix that right away. The Notre Dame product is an explosive, high-instinct linebacker who can immediately make an impact on all three downs.

According to 247Sports, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. called Owusu-Koramoah one of the “best pure football players in this draft” earlier this year. He’s quite simply a playmaker who could take the WFT defense to another level, and he shouldn’t need too much time to get acclimated after two strong seasons with the Irish.

With the top offensive tackles off the board, this makes too much sense.

Pro Football Network(Farabaugh)

With no quarterback on the board at this point, Washington must face the music and instead add a coverage chess piece in Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. There is no doubt that Owusu-Koramoah will fill a void that Washington has at linebacker. Additionally, he can help them out at slot cornerback and safety. A complete unicorn, Owusu-Koramoah should be making an immediate high-level impact.

Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky

Walter Football(Campbell)

Washington could use some young talent for the middle of its defense, and Ron Rivera could develop Davis into a star.

Davis had an excellent 2020 season for the Wildcats, totaling 89 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, two passes defended and two interceptions. He played better than the numbers illustrate, as well. Davis is fast, physical and strong, plus possesses the ability to make an impact on all threedowns. The 6-foot-4, 234-pounder has excellent size and quickly covers a lot of ground. He has a ton of upside and could be a steal. Some team sources think he is the best linebacker prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft and worth a top-20 selection.

Round 2: Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame

Drawing on a strong class of offensive tackle and adding a long-term left tackle would make sense for Washington. The Redskins could land a nice value in Round 2.

Eichenberg won the left tackle job for 2018 as the replacement for Mike McGlinchey. The 6-foot-6, 305-pound Eichenberg was solid, but not overly impressive, for Notre Dame in 2019. He was wise to return for his senior year. Eichenberg was dominated by Michigan edge rusher Chase Winovich in the 2018 season opener, but after that, Eichenberg was much better for the Fighting Irish. Eichenberg possesses some physical talent, but he needs to improve his ability to handle speed rushers.

Round 3: Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State

The Redskins could use more offensive tackle talent.

With a lot of NFL eyes on Bison quarterback Trey Lance in 2020, Radunz (6-6 298) could have been a riser if he had a full season. As it stands, Radunz has good tape protecting Lance in 2019 and was an effective edge blocker for North Dakota State. Radunz could stand to get stronger for the NFL.

Rodarius Williams, CB, Oklahoma State

The Redskins could use more cornerback depth.

Sources from multiple teams say Williams’ play was massively improved in 2020, and they think he will be no worse than a second-day pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Williams did not produce a huge stat line in 2020, collecting 18 tackles and seven passes broken up, but scouts raved about the coverage ability he showed. The 6-foot, 195-pound Williams has quality size and will enter the NFL with significant experience after playing all four years for the Cowboys. However in his first three years, teams threw at Williams and his play was that of a late-rounder according to team evaluators. Williams’ draft stock could continue to rise.

Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa

Yahoo Sports(Edholm)

Ron Rivera had Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs in Chicago, Shawne Merriman in San Diego and Luke Kuechly in Carolina. All were big, rangy, highly instinctive linebackers who can play big or small. Collins fits that mold, and he has fascinating potential in the right hands. Washington has put together a nice defense but has a few holes at linebacker and safety, another position WFT could fill here (maybe Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah?).

Worth noting: There’s also talk floating around that Washington loves Trey Lance and could make a big move up to grab him.

Draft Wire(Easterling)

Offensive tackle is a strong possibility here, but with Darrisaw off the board just before this pick, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Washington look elsewhere and target a tackle on Day 2. This defense is talented, but they could still use a three-down playmaker at linebacker. Collins has a rare combination of size, athleticism and versatility, giving him limitless potential.

Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU

NFL.com(Schrager)

I had Moehrig as a top-10 prospect in the draft before the end of the NFL season. That doesn’t mean he’ll go in the top 10, but I think he’s that talented. A do-it-all safety who can play some CB if you need — he’s smart, talented and would be a fantastic addition to the back end of Ron Rivera’s D.

Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

NFL.com(Jones-Drew)

*Washington trades up with the Denver Broncos for Pick #9

Lance reminds me a lot of Cam Newton in terms of size and ability. And who was the guy who drafted Cam? Oh, that’s right: It was Ron Rivera. Lance learns behind a grizzled vet, Ryan Fitzpatrick, then takes the reins.

CBS Sports(Wilson)

*Washington trades up with the Carolina Panthers for Pick #8

Former NFL executive Michael Lombardi said last week that WFT loves Lance and that he could see the team moving up for him. We’ll know exactly how much Washington loves Lance later this month, but there could be a handful of teams in the bottom half of Round 1 that will be in the market to move up for a QB. Lance only has 17 starts, all at the FCS level, so there’s some projection to how his skills will translate to the NFL, but there is so much to love about his game.

Round 2: Terrace Marshall, WR, LSU

The Ringer

Projected trade: Washington trades nos. 19, 74, and 82, plus a 2022 first-round pick, to the Panthers for no. 8 overall.

This is a nice deal for both teams: After sending a 2021 sixth-rounder plus second- and fourth-round picks in 2022 to the Jets for quarterback Sam Darnold, Carolina GM Scott Fitterer recoups some valuable draft capital here by trading back out of the no. 8 spot. On the other side, Washington makes a big move to secure its quarterback of the future. Lance lacks game experience, with just 17 starts under his belt, but he’ll have the ability to sit and learn behind Ryan Fitzpatrick this season before taking the reins in 2022.

Pro Football Network(Valdovinos)

Proposed trade: Washington sends picks #19, 51, 124, a 2022 1st and 3rd to Detroit for pick #7.

Multiple sources have said that Washington is interested in moving up for a quarterback. Justin Fields fits the physical thresholds Ron Rivera wants in a quarterback. Big frame, strong arm, outstanding running ability.

Fields also portrays the type of person Rivera expects of his players. He is an elite leader, a player willing to put his body on the line to win for his team; he is someone his teammates rally around.

Fields falls to No. 7 here, and Washington gives Detroit a package of picks for their rebuild. Fields will compete with Ryan Fitzpatrick to be the team’s Week 1 starter and take over when Rivera feels he’s the team’s best.

Round 3: Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami

Caden Sterns, S, Texas

Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

The Score

Despite a ton of buzz regarding Jones being selected toward the top of the draft, the Alabama quarterback finds his home at No. 14 after Washington makes a trade. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Taylor Heinicke, and Kyle Allen offer more questions than answers for Ron Rivera. If Jones can show the skill set that helped him flourish with the Crimson Tide, expect him to be a starter sooner than later. – Belbeck

CBS Sports(Fornelli)

*Washington trades up to the Detroit Lions #7 pick

I don’t care what anybody says; I don’t believe that Washington sees Taylor Heinicke as anything other than a solid backup option. The Football Team moves up to choose their desired QB of the future, who could supplant Ryan Fitzpatrick right away.

Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT, USC

NFL.com(Jeremiah)

I liked that Washington kept guard Brandon Scherff (franchise tag), but the Football Team still needs to upgrade the offensive line. Vera-Tucker has the versatility to play tackle or guard.

Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama

Walter Football

The Redskins have an elite defensive line. The offensive line is solid, but not at left tackle. There’s a huge hole there, which Washington could fill with this selection.

Alex Leatherwood, a former five-star recruit, has excellent strength to be a stellar run blocker and the athleticism to block elite edge rushers.

Round 2: Jabril Cox, LB, LSU

The Redskins have an elite defensive line and talented secondary, but their linebacking corps must be upgraded.

Round 3: Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State

The Redskins need a better No. 3 receiving option than Cam Sims.

Tylan Wallace doesn’t have great size and speed, but he runs routes very well. He tore his ACL in October 2019.

Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State

The Redskins signed William Jackson as an upgrade over Ronald Darby, but they could still use some cornerback help.

Asante Samuel Jr. is a small corner (5-10, 184), but he has great play-making ability.

CBS Sports(Trapasso)

Two years of clean film at Alabama and an impressive pro day workout catapults Leatherwood inside the top 20. Plug-and-play left tackle for the Football Team.

Round 2: Dyami Brown, WR, UNC

Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

Pro Football Focus(Monson)

The Washington Football Team knew they didn’t have a great chance at a franchise quarterback who could win right away, so they signed Ryan Fitzpatrick — a player who ranks 15th in PFF passing grade since the start of 2018. That was only part of the mission, because if Fitzpatrick is going to take the team back to the postseason, he needs a great situation around him. So, Washington set about adding to an already good roster in free agency.

Rashod Bateman is just one more weapon, dragging even more attention away from Terry McLaurin as the team’s best receiver. Bateman doesn’t really have negatives as a prospect, and in a year without the likes of Ja’Marr Chase in the same class, he would be seen as the best receiver in the entire draft.

Poll

Which player would you pick if you were Washington’s GM?

  • 38%

    Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

    (262 votes)

  • 6%

    Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky

    (46 votes)

  • 15%

    Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa

    (109 votes)

  • 4%

    Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU

    (30 votes)

  • 21%

    Trade up for Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

    (145 votes)

  • 3%

    Trade up for Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

    (27 votes)

  • 1%

    Trade up for Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

    (9 votes)

  • 4%

    Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT, USC

    (31 votes)

  • 2%

    Alex Leatherwood, OT/G, Alabama

    (18 votes)

  • 1%

    Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

    (8 votes)



685 votes total

Vote Now

Atlanta Braves Aren’t Honoring Hank Aaron Or Jackie Robinson With Chopping And Chanting

Memo to the Atlanta Braves: Do whatever you wish regarding your flirtation with the 19th century, but leave Hank Aaron and Jackie Robinson out of this.

That’s the answer.

The question is coming, but here’s the problem: Whenever Braves fans visit the $722 million crazy house of the franchise (which is spending its fourth season operating inside of its financial empire called The Battery, with Truist Park in the middle), those Braves fans are pretending they’re auditioning for an old John Wayne western or something.

They’re still chopping and chanting.

Did I say Truist Park is a crazy house?

Yes, it is, and it’ll remain an empty house on Tuesday, July 13.

It wasn’t supposed to happen that way. Instead, courtesy of Georgia’s governor signing an anti-minority voting law that was passed earlier this month, Major League Baseball yanked the All-Star Game from the Braves’ place, along with the estimated $100 million in revenue the Cobb County Travel and Tourism Bureau said the game would have generated for local businesses during that summer weekend.

Braves officials ripped baseball for the decision. Among other nonsensical things, they responded with the following in their official statement: “Our city has always been known as a uniter in divided times and we will miss the opportunity to address issues that are important to our community.” 

Ohhhhh,

Ohhhh Ohhh.

Ohhhhhh Oh Ohhhhhh

The Braves don’t get it. Actually, they do.

They’re just covering their ears.

Even though the Cleveland “Indians” announced last year they would following the lead of the team formerly known as the Washington “Redskins” by changing their name and their emphasis on Native American gimmickry, the Braves told inquiring minds in the media (including me) they would remain “Braves,” but they said they were “reviewing” their use of the chopping and the chanting.

So much “reviewing.”

The Braves spokesperson assigned to discussing the chopping and the chanting with the media hasn’t returned messages (including me) in months.

Actually, the Braves did respond.

The chopping and the chanting returned this weekend against the Philadelphia Phillies during the home opener for the Braves.

Not only that, but when the Braves tried and failed Sunday night to rally against the Phillies in the bottom of the ninth inning for a 7-6 loss, ESPN showed the nation an Atlanta ballpark dominated by choppers and chanters.

Ohhhhh,

Ohhhh Ohhh.

Ohhhhhh Oh Ohhhhhh

Crazy house, indeed.

Those who comprise these defiant Atlanta sports fans and Braves officials are embarrassing themselves, MLB, the state of Georgia and the folks who spent decades helping their region earn labels such as Cradle of the Civil Rights Movement, Home of the New South and The City Too Busy To Hate.

It’s now The City That Couldn’t Care Less About How Backwards Many Of Its Baseball Fans Are Looking During Braves Home Games.

So, if I’m the Czar of the World, or at least of Major League Baseball, I’m telling Braves officials to stop it.

I’m not talking about telling Braves officials to stop yawning over another season of fans offending Native Americans by chopping and chanting. I’m not even talking about telling Braves officials to stop encouraging the whole tomahawk thing, with that drum beat moving in rhythm to the image of a huge tomahawk on the video board.

As Czar of the World, I’m telling Braves officials to stop dishonoring Aaron and Robinson, both Baseball Hall of Famers, both Civil Rights icons and both so outspoken during their time on earth that they just might reach down From Above to tell Braves officials — you know, loudly — what I’m about to write.

Just stop it.

More specifically, as Czar of the World, I’m telling Braves officials to stop doing what they had their team do this weekend, which is they had their team wear throwback uniforms from the 1974 season.

Braves officials said they were honoring Aaron who died in late January and who survived everything from death threats to racist messages to rip his 715th career that April 8th in Atlanta. Suddenly, back then, Hank became better than Babe Ruth, the Great White Hope to those who made the previous two seasons miserable for the former Braves player, executive and champion of social justice.

You see where I’m going?

Given this chopping and chanting, with no end in sight after 30 years of it, Aaron wouldn’t have enjoyed such an “honor” regarding those uniforms.

As Czar of the World, I’m also telling Braves officials to cancel their part of Jackie Robinson Day, which happens this Thursday for every MLB franchise. All 30 MLB teams will honor Jackie by wearing his No. 42, which shouldn’t happen for anybody involved with the Braves organization during their home game against the Miami Marlins.

Jackie was Hank’s hero.

Hank was Jackie, and Jackie was Hank.

They both would have asked this question of Braves officials, hiding in the shadows, where they suddenly went from silent over that chopping and chanting to supporting it without explanation.

Why?

CBS Sports Phil Simms on the Road to Super Bowl 50

CBS Sports’ Phil Simms on the Road to Super Bowl 50 – CBS News


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CBS Sports lead NFL analyst and former New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms joins “CBS This Morning” to preview the matchup between the Giants and the Washington Redskins.

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California bans schools from using the “Redskins” name

California bans schools from using the “Redskins” name – CBS News


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Public schools in California will be barred from using the Redskins name for sports teams and mascots under legislation Gov. Jerry Brown signed. CBSN’s Contessa Brewer has more on the controversy.

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