Pro Player Insiders Executive Editor Melissa Mahler http://proplayerinsiders.com Behind the scenes look at lives and lifestyles of NFL players and their families plus sports news, interviews & events Thu, 23 Feb 2017 15:00:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Townes-Feather Mock Draft 1.0 http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/townes-feather-mock-draft-1-0/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/townes-feather-mock-draft-1-0/#comments Thu, 23 Feb 2017 15:00:13 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=169218 The 2017 NFL Draft class is locked and loaded with talent all across America. The Draft is an opportunity for teams to establish an identity, build on last year’s success, take that next step, or sustain success. There is still much to be decided with the NFL Combine, Pro Days, free agency, and other miscellaneous events that can help or hurt a prospect. Most teams draft players based off a team need, who is the best available, or use the pick as trade bait. As for now, these are the picks for each team in the first round by DeVaughn Townes and Chris Featherstone.

1. Cleveland
Team needs: QB, Interior OL, DB
Townes: Myles Garrett
Analysis: Garrett instantly bolsters the Browns pass rush and gives the fans a glimmer of hope. He had 31 sacks in his career, but he had 47 tackles for losses to show he is an all-around player.

2. San Francisco
Team needs: QB, OLB, OL
Feather: Jonathan Allen
Analysis: The biggest need is QB with Kyle Shanahan taking over. 2018 class is the class to snag a QB. Allen adds to a young passing core that already features Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner.

3. Chicago
Team needs: QB, DB, OL
Townes: Mitch Trubisky
Analysis: The Bears get their franchise quarterback immediately and it sets the tone for how they draft the next two days.

4. Jacksonville
Team needs: OL, DT, S
Feather: Malik Hooker
Analysis: The Jags could trade this pick to move down to snag an offensive lineman, as that is a reach at number four. Hooker would bolster the secondary and make the back end scary for years to come.

5. Tennessee (via Rams)
Team needs: CB, WR, ILB
Townes: Jamal Adams
Analysis: The Titans desperately need a consistent play-maker for super sophomore Marcus Mariota. How could they justify passing up on the do-it-all safety out of LSU? Adams would instantly become a franchise player defensively.

6. New York Jets
Team needs: QB, OLB, CB
Feather: Marshon Lattimore
Analysis: The best corner in the draft headed to the big apple to learn from the great Darrelle Revis. Having a talent like Lattimore to make an immediate impact and learn from one of the greatest to ever do it, boosts the poor Jets secondary from a season ago.

7. Los Angeles Chargers
Team needs: OT, WR, QB
Townes: Corey Davis/Trade
Analysis: This is a nightmare scenario for the Bolts with both Adams and Hooker gone. Davis presents an immediate jolt of production at wide receiver, but a trade may be warranted.

8. Carolina
Team needs: OT, DE, RB
Feather: Leonard Fournette
Analysis: Rated the best running back prospect since the great Adrian Peterson, Fournette fills an immediate need if Jonathan Stewart is released.

9. Cincinnati
Team needs: C, LB, Pass Rusher
Townes: Reuben Foster
Analysis: Age and health is a concern for the Bengals at linebacker. Foster is an instant upgrade in a division where you need tough linebackers with great instincts.

10. Buffalo
Team needs: OT, WR, DB
Feather: Mike Williams
Analysis: With Tyrod Taylor potentially set to depart from Buffalo, drafting a QB would be the ideal pick. However, majority of the foundation around Sammy Watkins is set to hit free agency and Williams would help Watkins tremendously.

11. New Orleans
Team needs: DB, LB
Townes: Sidney Jones
Analysis: Jones has the speed and height to stick the league’s best receivers. He has to add weight to deal with the physicality of the league as well as show up in the run game.

12. Cleveland (via Eagles)
Team needs: QB, Interior OL, DB
Feather: Deshaun Watson
Analysis: The Browns stay put at 12 as a dynamic quarterback falls to them. Watson would bring excitement to a dormant fanbase with his arm, legs, and charisma.

13. Arizona
Team needs: QB, G, WR
Townes: DeShone Kizer
Analysis: With receivers Davis and Williams no longer on the board, Bruce Arians gets a young quarterback with oodles of talent. He has the arm to fit into the offensive scheme and add a few wrinkles with his legs.

14. Indianapolis
Team needs: LB, OL, RB
Townes: Dalvin Cook
Analysis: Frank Gore ended the 1,000-yard back drought for Indy, but he is reaching his mid-30′s. Cook can be brought along slowly and will learn a lot from the veteran. His play-making in the passing game is just icing on the cake.

15. Philadelphia (via Vikings)
Team needs: CB, WR, RB
Feather: Cooper Kupp
Analysis: Kupp will be the pick at 14 to give Wentz a target, security blanket, and best friend when throwing. Kupp is a trustworthy receiver that runs precise routes, catches the ball with his hands, and has big play ability. Making Wentz comfortable is the key, and once the chemistry between the two is displayed, this combo will be deadly.

16. Baltimore
Team needs: WR, Pass Rusher, FS
Feather: Tim Williams
Analysis: Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs continue to age as they combined for just 11 sacks in 2016. Williams compiled 18.5 sacks in the last two seasons for the Tide.

17. Washington
Team needs: DL, S, ILB
Townes: Solomon Thomas
Analysis: There is a lot of scrutiny toward Thomas because he is “position-less.” A better word would be versatile and in a 3-4 scheme he would be a handful based on match-ups each week.

18. Tennessee
Team needs: CB, ILB, WR
Feather: Quincy Wilson
Analysis: The most ready corner out of the 2017 crop is an immediate starter in Dick Lebeau’s defense. A great understanding of playing zone defense and an awesome man corner, there is nothing like having a complete corner that can bait a QB into throwing into his zone, or being alone on an island.

19. Tampa Bay
Team needs: DL, S, WR
Townes: Jabrill Peppers
Analysis: The Bucs defense could elevate tremendously with Peppers roaming the secondary. He would bring size, speed, and sheer power to the defense. He would be the equivalent to what Keanu Neal was to the Falcons.

20. Denver
Team needs: OT, G, TE
Feather: Ryan Ramczyk
Analysis: Khalil Mack, Justin Houston, and Joey Bosa all reside in the AFC West. This pick is a no-brainer.

21. Detroit
Team needs: Pass Rusher, CB, LB
Townes: Jalen “Teez” Tabor
Analysis: There is a man named Aaron Rodgers who the Lions play twice a year. His flare for jumping routes could be an added bonus as he learns under Darius Slay.

22. Miami
Team needs: G, DE, LB
Feather: Zach Cunningham
Analysis: He is the old school sideline-to-sideline linebacker that the Dolphins really need. 30th in rushing is not going to cut it and this grown man is a complete linebacker that can play all three downs. With that being said, his pass coverage is extremely underrated.

23. New York Giants
Team needs: LB, RB, DT
Townes: Malik McDowell
Analysis: The Giants could use someone to help stuff the run. Although he is just 276 pounds, McDowell uses his height to his advantage as he fights off blocks and levels running backs.

24. Oakland
Team needs: MLB, DT, CB
Feather: Jarrad Davis
Analysis: Ken Norton Jr. will love to have this weapon leading the charge with Khalil Mack on the defensive side of the ball. Filling a need at LB now would be the best bet. This pick will have the Raiders defense on track to look how they were supposed to look last season.

25. Houston
Team needs: QB, ILB, OL
Townes: Garrett Bolles
Analysis: The Texans have to build inside out on offense in order to have a formidable scheme. Bolles brings physicality to the table for a team that needs to establish the run.

26. Seattle
Team needs: OT, DT, CB
Feather: Cam Robinson
Analysis: Rated at the high end of this draft class at the offensive tackle position, Robinson gives the Seahawks a much needed starter at the tackle position.

27. Kansas City
Team needs: ILB, DL, CB
Townes: Budda Baker
Analysis: This pick could change if the Chiefs re-sign Eric Berry. Baker would be a good addition with his speed and multi-faceted game.

28. Dallas
Team needs: DE, CB, TE
Feather: Marlon Humphrey
Analysis: With Witten set to return, TE is not the teams biggest need. Corner is a position where the team struggled most. Ranked 27th in pass yards allowed, this position needs to be addressed immediately. Getting off the field more often, will let that offense take that next step toward greatness.

29. Green Bay
Team needs: CB, LB, Pass Rusher
Townes: Takkarist McKinley
Analysis: McKinley was extremely productive as the featured edge rusher for the Bruins with 18 TFLs and 10 sacks last season. Can he adjust to standing up as an OLB?

30. Pittsburgh
Team needs: LB, TE, RB
Feather: T.J. Watt
Analysis: A complete OLB that can wreck the backfield and cover, which will be a huge boost for this Pittsburgh Steelers defense. With James Harrison getting older, but also having the Benjamin Button syndrome, it is a huge question mark when he will retire. Having the insurance of Watt to learn from one of the great Pittsburgh Steelers, especially at the linebacker position in the Steel City is something to take advantage of.

31. Atlanta
Team needs: DT, CB, Pass Rusher
Townes: Derek Barnett
Analysis: Barnett would help Vic Beasley Jr. out tremendously as he accounted for nearly 50 percent of Atlanta’s sacks. He had 52 TFLs and 32 sacks as a Volunteer.

32. New England
Team needs: OT, LB, TE
Feather: Haason Reddick
Analysis: With the loss of Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower not yet locked up for the future, Reddick is a must draft for the Pats. He is a three down linebacker that is a bit undersized (6’2 240 pounds), but makes up for the lack of size with his aggressive style of play and ability to cover tight ends and backs that come out of the backfield.

Follow us on Twitter @playerinsiders. Follow Townes @realdt_ and Feather @stoney_montana_

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Carolina Panthers release Tolbert and Soliai http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/carolina-panthers-release-tolbert-soliai/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/carolina-panthers-release-tolbert-soliai/#comments Tue, 21 Feb 2017 20:12:22 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=169215 The NFL free agency period will begin in a little over two weeks, but the Carolina Panthers have gotten a head start by letting a couple of veteran players go before March 9. Carolina released fullback Mike Tolbert on Tuesday and reportedly will release defensive tackle Paul Soliai.

Tolbert spent five seasons with the Panthers as he mostly used as a short-yardage running back and a receiver out of the backfield. Before playing with the Panthers, Tolbert played four seasons with the San Diego Chargers. During his five seasons in Carolina, Tolbert was named to the Pro Bowl three times.

““I feel very fortunate to have coached Mike for nearly his entire career,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said in a team statement. “He was someone we targeted in 2012 because we felt he would be a good addition to our offense and he was very productive for us. He brought great energy and leadership to our locker room and I wish him the best.”

Last season for the Panthers, Tolbert rushed for 114 yards on 35 carries. Tolbert’s role in the Panthers offense has shriveled in recent years as he only recorded one touchdown (receiving) in 2016.

While not official, the Panthers appear to be ready to release Soliai. His agent David Canter announced the move on Tuesday via Twitter.

Soliai only played one season for the Panthers as he recorded eight tackles and a fumble recovery in 10 games last season as he was inactive in a number of games. Last offseason, Soliai signed a two-year, $7 million contract after playing two years with the Atlanta Falcons.

It is projected that the Panthers will save $2.2 million with the release of Soliai. Carolina will save over $1.7 million by releasing Tolbert.

Carolina has depth at defensive tackle with Kawann Short, Star Lotulelei and Vernon Butler on their roster, so they could afford to move on from Soliai. The Panthers now have two fullbacks (Darrel Young and Devon Johnson) on the roster with the release of Tolbert.

Follow Antwan Staley on Twitter @antwanstaley

 

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The Unheralded Star http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/unheralded-star/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/unheralded-star/#comments Tue, 21 Feb 2017 15:00:43 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=169206 If you do not know who Patrick Mahomes is, it is time to wake up and smell the coffee. He is third in passing yardage and touchdowns in Texas Tech history with 11,252 yards and 93 touchdowns. He holds the NCAA single game record for passing yards (734) and total yards (819). The Whitehouse native was also awarded the Sammy Baugh Trophy that is given to the nation’s top passer.

MahomesMahomes is well on his way in terms of a fruitful career in football. However, he had to work hard to get to this point as he was lightly recruited coming out of high school. He linked up with quarterback connoisseur Kliff Kingsbury at TTU who was a star in his heyday. Kingsbury had coached Johnny Manziel, Baker Mayfield, and Davis Webb so naturally he helped morph Mahomes into a fine orchestrator for his air raid offense. Three years later, he is now one of the best passers of his class. Mahomes knows there are many underdogs like him and he has a message for them.

“Follow your dream. I was lightly recruited and it worked out for me. Just follow your dream,” stated the Red Raider.

Now everybody has gaudy numbers and accolades these days from Division I prospects all the way down to Division III. Here are some reasons why Mahomes is considered a top five quarterback prospect for the 2017 NFL Draft. Physically, the Red Raider captain passes the eye test standing at 6’3 and weighing 230 pounds. On a lot of his deep throws, he stood tall in the pocket has he took spine tingling hits. He has a cannon for an arm and he displays supreme confidence in his arm. Mahomes had a barrage of throws down the field that arouse fans on account of his touch and effortless motion. He would drop it right on the money without breaking receivers’ strides.

Athletically, Mahomes is capable of running with the ball. Tech ran a few plays during the season to keep teams honest. He showed a few moves in a few games and his athleticism can be attributed to his basketball and baseball background. He was going to follow in his father’s footsteps as a baseball player, Pat Mahomes, until he committed to football before his junior year at TTU.

Mahomes may still sound like the typical prospect, but the characteristics that separate him from the pack are calamity and his improvisation. He played behind a young offensive line so that meant he was on the run more than a wanted fugitive. However, Mahomes showed he was comfortable being uncomfortable. He would run around the pocket making defenders miss and complete these ostentatious throws at Texas Tech. He was like Houdini in the pocket.

The Texas Tech product’s best throw of the season might have come against Oklahoma. He went through his progression, realized he needed to buy more time, evaded pressure, threw the ball to his receiver who was covered by three defenders, and completed it. That is the type of confidence he has in himself. His ability to make lemonade with oranges is reminiscent me of Aaron Rodgers whom he models his game after. In other words, Mahomes is innovative.

As the NFL Combine, Pro Day, and Draft near, Mahomes continues to fine tune his game mentally and physically.

In terms of improvement, Mahomes said, “Definitely working on my footwork and my knowledge of the game. Just trying to learn the NFL systems and relay them to my offense.”

He continues to seek guidance from former MLB player and family friend Latroy Hawkins. Hawkins has been there for his entire life and he has been instrumental with guiding the young quarterback through the NFL process.

Mahomes has a great arm, is a good improviser, and plays with a chip on his shoulder. He continues to fly under the radar and it only adds to his drive and competitive spirit. In the right system, Mahomes can continue to turn heads as an unheralded star.

Follow us on Twitter @playerinsiders @realdt_

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The Greatest Bears Linebackers of All Time http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/greatest-bears-linebackers-time/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/greatest-bears-linebackers-time/#comments Sat, 18 Feb 2017 13:08:13 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=166727 The Chicago Bears Franchise is known for producing some of the best linebackers in the history of the NFL. From generation to generation, putting on the Bears uniform meant a dedication to excellence on the defensive side of the ball. Perhaps no position on the field is that more fully understood than at linebacker. Here is a list of the Top-5 greatest Bears linebackers of all-time.

#5 Bronko Nagurski

While most remember Nagurski for his work as a fullback in George Halas’ pre-World War II Bears, Nagurski was equally effective on the defensive side of the ball playing linebacker. The Hall of Famer spent nine seasons competing for Halas, winning two NFL Championships in the process. Nagurski truly set the tone for the Bears franchise on what it means to be a linebacker in the NFL.

#4 Bill George

A name that isn’t mentioned nearly enough among the Bears great lineage of middle-linebackers is Bill George. George was the heart and soul of the Bears defense during the 1950′s and ’60′s and led them to their last NFL Championship victory in 1963. The Hall of Fame inductee continued what Nagurski started and pushed the bar even higher for what to expect from a Bears linebacker.

#3 Brian Urlacher

One of the best middle-linebackers during the 2000′s, Urlacher made his presence felt every time he stepped onto the field. The eight-time Pro Bowler was a force at the second level, known for his innate ability to blow up run-plays and rush the passer. His enormous impact on the Bears defense was enough to earn him the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in 2005, and a trip to the Super Bowl a year later for the second time in franchise history. When Urlacher becomes eligible, he will undoubtedly be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

#2 Mike Singletary

The heart and soul of the 1985 Bear’s defense came up just short on my all-time list and it was truly a toss-up. The man known as “Samurai Mike” put the fear of God into opposing running backs and quarterbacks with his bone-crushing hits that could be heard from the nose-bleed seats. A 10-time Pro Bowler during his 12-year career, Singletary retired as one of the best to ever put on the pads as a middle-linebacker, setting the tone for players like Urlacher decades later. Singletary is now immortalized in Canton as a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

#1 Dick Butkus

A man that needs no introduction is Dick Butkus, the embodiment of what it means to be a middle-linebacker in the NFL. The most feared man in the history of the NFL was a human wrecking-ball when he stepped out on the field, laying some of the most viscous hits that the game has ever seen. Standing 6’3″ he towered over the offensive line and sent shivers down the spines of quarterbacks before the ball was even snapped. Butkus spent only nine seasons in the NFL, but the impact he made in that small-window of time is still felt today. A no-brainer Hall of Famer, Butkus is a member of the NFL’s 1960′s and 1970′s All-Decade teams and one of the best to ever play the game of football.

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In-Depth with Ricky Jean Francois http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/depth-ricky-jean-francois/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/depth-ricky-jean-francois/#comments Wed, 15 Feb 2017 17:52:22 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=169193 He was a seventh round pick coming out of LSU where he won a national championship in 2007. He is, now, heading into his ninth season in the National Football League. He has played on playoff teams and been to the Super Bowl with the San Francisco 49ers. Ricky Jean Francois has done well for himself as he has overcome obstacles as a seventh rounder and been a solid contributor for any team he has been on.

Jean Francois has generated 12 sacks in 109 games with the Niners, Indianapolis Colts, and now the Washington Redskins. His numbers may not impress the average spectator and his role during games can often be overlooked. However, this is a man that plays a position where he sacrifices his personal success for his team’s success.

The defensive end position in a 3-4 scheme is quite demanding. It can get physical in the trenches as they face blocks to the knees, double teams, and the occasional chip from a back or tight end. Jean Francois endures all of this to make sure his linebackers and safeties stay clean and deliver a hit on the ball carrier.

The Redskins barely missed the playoffs with a 8-7-1 record. It came down to a Week 17 matchup against the grossly detested New York Giants in which they lost. The Miami native touched on the team and made a sales pitch in favor of Kirk Cousins.

“I feel confident about our team this year,” said Jean Francois. On the matter of Cousins, he stated, “The man did everything you needed him to do. He’s put up the numbers, touchdowns, passing yards, franchise records, now it’s time for him to get paid.”

Jean Francois certainly knows the importance of having a good signal caller on a team. He also discussed his plans for the offseason as he went to Haiti last year with fellow Haitian teammate Pierre Garçon. They gave their island home medical supplies. Ricky is looking forward to going to Haiti again, this time, with Washington’s owner.

“I’m still doing things with Haiti going back and forth with Dan Snyder [the Redskins' owner],” Jean Francois said with optimism. “I’m going back in my community where I once was and helping my high school teams and helping little league teams.”

As someone who has played in college and now in the NFL, Jean Francois has invaluable experience and wisdom that is worth sharing. In a league where everyone is freakishly athletic and talented, he believes listening is an undervalued characteristic. Listening is the gateway to playing and playing at a high level. He gave another piece of advice as well.

“Make sure you have a strong circle or a top five circle because those top five people will be a reflection of you.”

A strong circle is certainly a reflection of a player. The best thing players can do is surround themselves with people with the same drive, dedication, and determination as them.

Follow us on Twitter @playerinsiders @realdt_

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Underdog Turned All-Pro http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/underdog-turned-pro/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/underdog-turned-pro/#comments Fri, 10 Feb 2017 13:30:14 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=169169 Chris Harris Jr. has epitomized the phrase “shutdown corner.” He can go up top and fight for the ball with the likes of AJ Green, Mike Evans, or Julio Jones. He can cover smaller wideouts or slot receivers like Julian Edelman, Antonio Brown, or Jarvis Landry. No matter the assignment, CHJ will be on his man’s hip like they are conjoined twins and frustrate opposing quarterbacks. Heck, he might pick that same quarterback off and smile as he takes it to the house. No matter the opposition or level of competition, Harris Jr. has been a consistent football player.

HarrisThe three-time Pro Bowler was undrafted out of Kansas in 2011. Denver signed him and he has morphed into one of the premiere corners the league has to offer. His technique is sound, as he never bites on the eye candy receivers try to seduce him with in the early part of their routes. Harris Jr. shows great anticipation on routes, which has made him one of the most feared corners. In his career, he has posted 66 pass deflections, 14 interceptions, and three touchdowns. He reflected on his early years on guys that served as mentors to him.

“I would say Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins. Those guys are for sure Hall of Famers,” said the Bronco corner.

Bailey and Dawkins were cerebral athletes in their prime, but were known for their anticipation, preparation, and knowledge of the game. These are two reasons why they were able to extend their prime. Harris Jr. has those same qualities, but the best part of his game is his consistency. If you have ever turned on a Broncos game, you might not hear his name often. This is a good thing because it means Harris Jr. is locking his man up. He talked about what makes him a steady contributor.

“Just being consistent every year I think comes with my preparation. I think I prepare hard for the season every year,” stated Harris Jr. “Where I separate myself from a lot of corners is that I try to play good every week.”

His dominance at his position is directly correlated to his team’s success on the field. He along with TJ Ward, Darian Stewart, Bradley Roby, and Aqib Talib has formed quite the secondary. The Broncos have finished in the top five in total defense since 2014. They won a Super Bowl last year as they frustrated Tom Brady and Cam Newton on their way to hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. Denver missed the playoffs this year, but the defense was still Fort Knox-esque. They finished fourth in total yards and points per game and finished first in passing yards allowed.

Part of the reason why the Broncos missed the playoffs can be attributed to the strength of the reinvigorated AFC West. The Sheriff, Peyton Manning, left town and the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs jumped at the opportunity to compete for the division crown. The San Diego Chargers only won five games, but they welcomed the challenge against their divisional foes. Harris Jr. loves the competition in the division and highlighted a few marquee matchups.

Harris Jr. said, “You got great quarterbacks in there [the AFC West] and great receivers. It challenges me every year to be able to guard Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin, and Keenan Allen.”

BroncosOn the field, Harris Jr. is a top five corner and is certainly in the best cornerback discussions. He finished as the top-graded corner with a 92.9 grade according to Pro Football Focus.  He has been an All-Pro player since 2014 and was named a first-team selection this past season. Off the field, he has been the ultimate humanitarian. The Chris Harris Jr. Foundation was founded in 2013 and was made to help children in need. Harris spoke glowingly on his efforts with his foundation.

“Being able to find underdogs, like me, and give them a head start in life. That’s the main goal and trying to reach as many kids and touch as many kids as possible,” said CHJ.

The foundation has a football camp every year, works with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, and the Salvation Army. Harris has also been outspoken against domestic violence. He continues to win on the field, but his greatest efforts come when he is off the field.

Follow us on Twitter @playerinsiders @realdt_

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PRO PLAYER INSIDERS PRE-COMBINE 2017 NFL DRAFT TOP 400 http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/pro-player-insiders-pre-combine-2017-nfl-draft-top-400/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/pro-player-insiders-pre-combine-2017-nfl-draft-top-400/#comments Thu, 09 Feb 2017 21:18:43 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=169165 PRO PLAYER INSIDERS PRE-COMBINE 2017 NFL DRAFT TOP 400

 

With the combine just a few short weeks away we decided to update our rankings one more time. We have moved a few new names in our top 250 and begun to really shuffle around our late round to priority free agent board.

 

Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett maintains his top ranking. Eastern Washington wide receiver Cooper Kupp is still our top small school prospect and likely will be.

 

We have 229 players that we believe should definitely be drafted with a strong group from 230 to 400 that should see several move up into the late rounds on our board.

 

Below is our full list:

 

 

PRO PLAYER INSIDERS 2017 NFL DRAFT TOP 400

Rank Pos First Name Last Name School HT WT Projection
1 DE Myles Garrett Texas A&M 6’5 270 1st
2 SS Jabrill Peppers Michigan 6’0 205 1st
3 DT Jonathan Allen Alabama 6’3 295 1st
4 DE Solomon Thomas Stanford 6’3 273 1st
5 OLB Tim Williams Alabama 6’3 245 1st
6 FS Malik Hooker Ohio State 6’2 205 1st
7 QB Mitch Trubisky North Carolina 6’3 225 1st
8 DT Malik McDowell Michigan State 6’6 276 1st
9 WR Mike Williams Clemson 6’3 225 1st
10 CB Marshon Lattimore Ohio State 6’0 192 1st
11 DE Derek Barnett Tennessee 6’2 265 1st
12 RB Leonard Fournette LSU 6’0 230 1st
13 OT Roderick Johnson Florida State 6’7 311 1st
14 WR John Ross Washington 5’10 190 1st
15 CB Tre’Davious White LSU 5’11 191 1st
16 SS Jamal Adams LSU 6’0 211 1st
17 OLB Zach Cunningham Vanderbilt 6’3 238 1st
18 OT Cam Robinson Alabama 6’6 310 1st
19 CB Jalen Tabor Florida 6’1 201 1st
20 OT Ryan Ramczyk Wisconsin 6’5 314 1st
21 QB Deshaun Watson Clemson 6’2 215 1st
22 OT Garett Bolles Utah 6’5 300 1st
23 IB Reuben Foster Alabama 6’0 246 1st
24 CB Desmond King II Iowa 5’10 206 1st
25 TE David Njoku Miami 6’4 245 1st-2nd
26 CB Sidney Jones Washington 6’0 178 1st-2nd
27 CB Marlon Humphrey Alabama 6’1 196 1st-2nd
28 DE Taco Charlton Michigan 6’6 277 1st-2nd
29 TE Evan Engram Mississippi 6’3 236 1st-2nd
30 WR Corey Davis Western Michigan 6’3 212 1st-2nd
31 DE Charles Harris Missouri 6’2 260 1st-2nd
32 CB Cameron Sutton Tennessee 5’11 182 1st-2nd
33 TE OJ Howard Alabama 6’6 249 1st-2nd
34 WR Curtis Samuel Ohio State 5’10 197 1st-2nd
35 DE Carl Lawson Auburn 6’2 253 1st-2nd
36 RB Christian McCaffrey Stanford 5’11 200 1st-2nd
37 C Pat Elflein Ohio State 6’2 299 2nd
38 QB DeShone Kizer Notre Dame 6’4 230 2nd
39 OLB Takkarist McKinley UCLA 6’2 245 2nd
40 OG Forrest Lamp Western Kentucky 6’4 305 2nd
41 IB Jarrad Davis Florida 6’1 236 2nd
42 WR Dede Westbrook Oklahoma 5’11 176 2nd
43 IB Raekwon McMillan Ohio State 6’2 243 2nd
44 QB Patrick Mahomes II Texas Tech 6’3 230 2nd
45 CB Gareon Conley Ohio State 6’0 195 2nd
46 TE Bucky Hodges Virginia Tech 6’6 245 2nd
47 SS Obi Melifonwu Connecticut 6’4 219 2nd
48 DE DeMarcus Walker Florida State 6’2 280 2nd
49 RB Dalvin Cook Florida State 5’11 213 2nd
50 FS Budda Baker Washington 5’9 178 2nd
51 OLB T.J. Watt Wisconsin 6’4 243 2nd
52 DT Davon Godchaux LSU 6’4 299 2nd
53 CB Adoree’ Jackson Southern California 5’11 185 2nd
54 DT Vincent Taylor Oklahoma State 6’2 310 2nd
55 FS Marcus Williams Utah 6’0 195 2nd
56 OLB Ryan Anderson Alabama 6’2 258 2nd
57 DT Caleb Brantley Florida 6’2 297 2nd
58 WR Cooper Kupp Eastern Washington 6’2 198 2nd
59 OLB Haason Reddick Temple 6’2 237 2nd
60 OLB Devonte Fields Louisville 6’3 242 2nd-3rd
61 WR ArDarius Stewart Alabama 6’1 204 2nd-3rd
62 DE Jordan Willis Kansas State 6’4 255 2nd-3rd
63 RB D’Onta Foreman Texas 6’0 249 2nd-3rd
64 CB Jourdan Lewis Michigan 5’10 188 2nd-3rd
65 WR JuJu Smith-Schuster Southern California 6’2 220 2nd-3rd
66 SS Jadar Johnson Clemson 6’1 198 2nd-3rd
67 TE Gerald Everett South Alabama 6’3 227 2nd-3rd
68 CB Chidobe Awuzie Colorado 5’11 205 2nd-3rd
69 CB Quincy Wilson Florida 6’0 213 2nd-3rd
70 OG Dan Feeney Indiana 6’4 304 2nd-3rd
71 DT Carlos Watkins Clemson 6’4 312 3rd
72 SS Eddie Jackson Alabama 6’1 195 3rd
73 DT Chris Wormley Michigan 6’5 297 3rd
74 RB Wayne Gallman Clemson 6’0 210 3rd
75 DT Jarron Jones Notre Dame 6’6 319 3rd
76 RB Marlon Mack South Florida 6’0 205 3rd
77 TE Jake Butt Michigan 6’5 246 3rd
78 DT Dalvin Tomlinson Alabama 6’3 312 3rd
79 WR Isaiah Ford Virginia Tech 6’1 195 3rd
80 OT Zach Banner Southern California 6’8 361 3rd
81 DT Elijah Qualls Washington 6’0 321 3rd
82 WR Zay Jones East Carolina 6’2 202 3rd
83 OG Dion Dawkins Temple 6’4 317 3rd
84 DT Larry Ogunjobi Charlotte 6’3 304 3rd
85 CB Cordrea Tankersley Clemson 6’0 198 3rd
86 OT Taylor Moton Western Michigan 6’5 330 3rd
87 C Ethan Pocic LSU 6’6 307 3rd
88 DT Jaleel Johnson Iowa 6’3 309 3rd
89 WR Amara Darboh Michigan 6’2 215 3rd
90 DE D.J. Smoot Illinois 6’3 255 3rd-4th
91 IB Kendell Beckwith LSU 6’3 255 3rd-4th
92 CB Rasul Douglas West Virginia 6’2 204 3rd-4th
93 WR Artavis Scott Clemson 5’10 193 3rd-4th
94 WR Chris Godwin Penn State 6’1 208 3rd-4th
95 OG Damien Mama Southern California 6’4 325 3rd-4th
96 TE Adam Shaheen Ashland 6’6 277 3rd-4th
97 CB Kevin King Washington 6’4 186 3rd-4th
98 QB Davis Webb California 6’5 229 3rd-4th
99 WR Noah Brown Ohio State 6’2 218 3rd-4th
100 OG David Sharpe Florida 6’6 357 3rd-4th
101 RB Samaje Perine Oklahoma 5’10 235 3rd-4th
102 WR Josh Malone Tennessee 6’2 200 3rd-4th
103 WR Taywan Taylor Western Kentucky 5’11 198 3rd-4th
104 DE Tanoh Kpassagnon Villanova 6’7 280 3rd-4th
105 FS Justin Evans Texas A&M 6’0 193 3rd-4th
106 WR Malachi Dupre LSU 6’3 195 3rd-4th
107 SS Josh Harvey-Clemons Louisville 6’4 228 3rd-4th
108 TE Jordan Leggett Clemson 6’5 264 4th
109 QB Brad Kaaya Miami 6’3 210 4th
110 DE Deatrich Wise Jr. Arkansas 6’5 275 4th
111 CB Marquez White Florida State 6’0 184 4th
112 TE Cole Hikutini Louisville 6’4 245 4th
113 RB Jeremy McNichols Boise State 5’9 207 4th
114 WR Ryan Switzer North Carolina 5’8 179 4th
115 DE Carroll Phillips Illinois 6’3 237 4th
116 RB Alvin Kamara Tennessee 5’10 215 4th
117 OG Dorian Johnson Pittsburgh 6’5 311 4th
118 IB Anthony Walker Northwestern 6’0 245 4th
119 RB Kareem Hunt Toledo 5’11 208 4th
120 DT Montravius Adams Auburn 6’3 308 4th
121 WR KD Cannon Baylor 6’0 180 4th
122 OT Antonio Garcia Troy 6’6 293 4th
123 CB Howard Wilson Houston 6’1 185 4th
124 WR Carlos Henderson Louisiana Tech 5’10 191 4th
125 RB Matt Dayes North Carolina State 5’9 207 4th
126 FS Marcus Maye Florida 6’0 209 4th-5th
127 C Tyler Orlosky West Virginia 6’3 292 4th-5th
128 DT Nazair Jones North Carolina 6’4 310 4th-5th
129 DE Tarell Basham Ohio 6’4 259 4th-5th
130 FS Josh Jones North Carolina State 6’2 215 4th-5th
131 WR Jehu Chesson Michigan 6’3 207 4th-5th
132 OT Avery Gennesy Texas A&M 6’3 308 4th-5th
133 OT Chad Wheeler Southern California 6’7 316 4th-5th
134 RB Jamaal Williams BYU 6’0 211 4th-5th
135 RB James Conner Pittsburgh 6’1 235 4th-5th
136 CB Ahkello Witherspoon Colorado 6’2 195 4th-5th
137 WR Travis Rudolph Florida State 6’1 192 4th-5th
138 QB Nate Peterman Pittsburgh 6’3 225 4th-5th
139 DT Eddie Vanderdoes UCLA 6’3 320 4th-5th
140 SS John Johnson Boston College 6’1 205 4th-5th
141 RB Joe Mixon Oklahoma 6’1 226 5th
142 SS Rayshawn Jenkins Miami 6’1 220 5th
143 WR Keon Hatcher Arkansas 6’1 206 5th
144 RB Elijah Hood North Carolina 5’11 230 5th
145 OG Nico Siragusa San Diego State 6’5 326 5th
146 WR Fred Ross Mississippi State 6’1 203 5th
147 OG Jordan Morgan Kutztown 6’3 313 5th
148 DT Ryan Glasgow Michigan 6’3 299 5th
149 DE Trey Hendrickson Florida Atlantic 6’4 255 5th
150 WR Shelton Gibson West Virginia 5’11 198 5th
151 TE Cethan Carter Nebraska 6’3 234 5th
152 OLB Vince Biegel Wisconsin 6’3 242 5th
153 DE Noble Nwachukwu West Virginia 6’2 275 5th
154 OG Isaac Asiata Utah 6’3 325 5th
155 DE Daeshon Hall Texas A&M 6’5 265 5th
156 OG Jessamen Dunker Tennessee State 6’4 306 5th
157 WR Amba Etta-Tawo Syracuse 6’1 198 5th
158 CB Treston Decoud Oregon State 6’2 203 5th
159 OT Dan Skipper Arkansas 6’9 317 5th
160 RB Brian Hill Wyoming 6’0 219 5th
161 CB Damontae Kazee San Diego State 5’10 183 5th
162 K Zane Gonzalez Arizona State 6’1 201 5th-6th
163 TE Jeremy Sprinkle Arkansas 6’5 256 5th-6th
164 CB Brandon Wilson Houston 5’10 201 5th-6th
165 DE Garrett Sickels Penn State 6’3 260 5th-6th
166 SS Tedric Thompson Colorado 6’0 211 5th-6th
167 QB Jerod Evans Virginia Tech 6’3 238 5th-6th
168 DT Tanzel Smart Tulane 6’1 296 5th-6th
169 RB Donnel Pumphrey San Diego State 5’8 169 5th-6th
170 OLB Jalen Reeves-Maybin Tennessee 6’0 229 5th-6th
171 WR Travin Dural LSU 6’1 206 5th-6th
172 CB Ezra Robinson Tennessee State 5’11 185 5th-6th
173 C Kyle Fuller Baylor 6’5 306 5th-6th
174 QB C.J. Beathard Iowa 6’3 219 5th-6th
175 OT Sam Tevi Utah 6’5 312 5th-6th
176 CB Jack Tocho North Carolina State 6’0 200 5th-6th
177 TE Michael Roberts Toledo 6’4 261 5th-6th
178 RB Corey Clement Wisconsin 5’10 221 6th
179 OT Julie’n Davenport Bucknell 6’7 310 6th
180 WR Kenny Golladay Northern Illinois 6’4 210 6th
181 IB Connor Harris Lindenwood (MO) 5’11 241 6th
182 OLB Tanner Vallejo Boise State 6’1 225 6th
183 OT Justin Senior Mississippi State 6’5 322 6th
184 OLB Jayon Brown UCLA 5’11 220 6th
185 DE Keionta Davis Chattanooga 6’3 274 6th
186 FS Nate Gerry Nebraska 6’2 214 6th
187 SS Lorenzo Jerome Saint Francis (PA) 5’11 202 6th
188 OG Danny Isidora Miami 6’4 311 6th
189 OLB Pita Taumoepenu Utah 6’1 242 6th
190 WR Chad Hansen California 6’1 205 6th
191 C Jon Toth Kentucky 6’5 308 6th
192 RB Elijah McGuire Louisiana Lafayette 5’10 212 6th
193 WR Zach Pascal Old Dominion 6’2 216 6th
194 OT Collin Buchanan Miami (Ohio) 6’5 324 6th
195 RB Aaron Jones UTEP 5’9 205 6th
196 OG Ben Braden Michigan 6’6 335 6th
197 DE Keion Adams Western Michigan 6’2 237 6th
198 WR Josh Reynolds Texas A&M 6’3 187 6th
199 CB Channing Stribling Michigan 6’1 179 6th
200 FS Xavier Woods Louisiana Tech 5’11 203 6th
201 WR Rodney Adams South Florida 6’1 190 6th-7th
202 TE Eric Saubert Drake 6’5 247 6th-7th
203 OLB Tyus Bowser Houston 6’3 244 6th-7th
204 DT Stevie Tu’ikolovatu Southern California 6’1 350 6th-7th
205 OLB Ejuan Price Pittsburgh 5’11 246 6th-7th
206 DE Derek Rivers Youngstown State 6’4 250 6th-7th
207 WR Trent Taylor Louisiana Tech 5’8 177 6th-7th
208 WR Billy Brown Shepherd 6’3 254 6th-7th
209 OT Will Holden Vanderbilt 6’7 313 6th-7th
210 IB Riley Bullough Michigan State 6’2 228 6th-7th
211 QB Joshua Dobbs Tennessee 6’3 216 6th-7th
212 WR Stacy Coley Miami 6’0 195 6th-7th
213 FS Mike Tyson Cincinnati 6’1 198 6th-7th
214 OT Conor McDermott UCLA 6’8 305 6th-7th
215 WR Keevan Lucas Tulsa 5’9 192 6th-7th
216 WR Jalen Robinette Air Force 6’3 215 7th
217 CB Corn Elder Miami 5’10 179 7th
218 P Toby Baker Arkansas 6’3 207 7th
219 DE Isaac Rochell Notre Dame 6’4 282 7th
220 WR James Quick Louisville 6’0 177 7th
221 RB T.J. Logan North Carolina 5’9 195 7th
222 DE Dylan Donahue West Georgia 6’2 243 7th
223 WR Victor Bolden Oregon State 5’9 175 7th
224 IB Hardy Nickerson Illinois 6’0 236 7th
225 SS Devin Chappell Oregon State 6’1 201 7th
226 RS Isaiah McKenzie Georgia 5’8 175 7th
227 OG Cameron Lee Illinois State 6’4 316 7th
228 IB Keith Kelsey Louisville 6’0 236 7th
229 TE George Kittle Iowa 6’4 250 7th
230 WR Ishmael Zamora Baylor 6’3 215 7th-PFA
231 DT Charles Walker Oklahoma 6’2 297 7th-PFA
232 OLB Alex Anzalone Florida 6’3 240 7th-PFA
233 WR Mack Hollins North Carolina 6’4 207 7th-PFA
234 OG Michael Dunn Maryland 6’5 297 7th-PFA
235 RB Joe Williams Utah 5’11 202 7th-PFA
236 FS Shalom Luani Washington State 6’0 195 7th-PFA
237 OLB Elijah Lee Kansas State 6’3 228 7th-PFA
238 RB De’Veon Smith Michigan 5’11 220 7th-PFA
239 WR Bug Howard North Carolina 6’4 218 7th-PFA
240 WR Darreus Rogers Southern California 6’1 220 7th-PFA
241 WR Gabe Marks Washington State 5’11 185 7th-PFA
242 FS Rudy Ford Auburn 5’11 200 7th-PFA
243 OLB Dylan Cole Missouri State 6’0 233 7th-PFA
244 DT D.J. Jones Mississippi 6’0 320 7th-PFA
245 OT Javarius Leamon South Carolina State 6’7 328 7th-PFA
246 CB Brendan Langley Lamar 6’0 199 7th-PFA
247 IB Kevin Davis Colorado State 6’1 237 7th-PFA
248 OT Jerry Ugokwe William & Mary 6’7 318 7th-PFA
249 CB Shaquill Griffin Central Florida 6’0 198 7th-PFA
250 QB Cooper Rush Central Michigan 6’3 229 7th-PFA
251 IB Harvey Langi BYU 6’2 252 7th-PFA
252 RB De’Angelo Henderson Coastal Carolina 5’8 209 7th-PFA
253 OG Jermaine Eluemunor Texas A&M 6’4 333 7th-PFA
254 DE Josh Carraway TCU 6’3 241 7th-PFA
255 TE Hayden Plinke UTEP 6’4 258 7th-PFA
256 WR Drew Morgan Arkansas 6’0 190 7th-PFA
257 RB Boom Williams Kentucky 5’9 196 7th-PFA
258 DE Darius English South Carolina 6’5 237 7th-PFA
259 CB Jalen Myrick Minnesota 5’10 202 7th-PFA
260 IB Ben Boulware Clemson 6’0 236 7th-PFA
261 FS Damarius Travis Minnesota 6’1 211 7th-PFA
262 WR Noel Thomas Connecticut 6’0 200 7th-PFA
263 DE Hunter Dimick Utah 6’3 274 7th-PFA
264 TE Scott Orndoff Pittsburgh 6’5 254 7th-PFA
265 OG Corey Levin Chattanooga 6’4 305 7th-PFA
266 CB Aarion Penton Missouri 5’9 177 7th-PFA
267 FS Delano Hill Michigan 6’1 207 7th-PFA
268 WR Thomas Sperbeck Boise State 6’0 180 7th-PFA
269 DE Avery Moss Youngstown State 6’3 262 7th-PFA
270 DT Jarrod Clements Illinois 6’3 297 7th-PFA
271 CB Jeremy Clark Michigan 6’3 206 7th-PFA
272 WR Kendrick Bourne Eastern Washington 6’1 197 7th-PFA
273 IB Ben Gedeon Michigan 6’2 243 7th-PFA
274 CB Jeremy Cutrer Middle Tennessee State 6’1 159 7th-PFA
275 WR Krishawn Hogan Marian (IN) 6’3 224 7th-PFA
276 OT Aviante Collins TCU 6’4 305 7th-PFA
277 IB Marquel Lee Wake Forest 6’3 230 7th-PFA
278 CB Brian Allen Utah 6’3 208 7th-PFA
279 DE Bryan Cox Jr. Florida 6’3 264 7th-PFA
280 TE Darrell Daniels Washington 6’3 254 7th-PFA
281 OG Ethan Cooper Indiana (PA) 6’2 334 7th-PFA
282 IB Brooks Ellis Arkansas 6’2 244 7th-PFA
283 CB Nate Hairston Temple 6’0 192 7th-PFA
284 SS Montae Nicholson Michigan State 6’1 219 7th-PFA
285 OT Adam Bisnowaty Pittsburgh 6’6 307 7th-PFA
286 RB Tarik Cohen North Carolina A&T 5’6 178 7th-PFA
287 DE Joe Mathis Washington 6’2 254 PFA
288 RB Justin Davis Southern California 6’1 198 PFA
289 IB Blair Brown Ohio 6’0 234 PFA
290 CB Fabian Moreau UCLA 6’0 205 PFA
291 WR Michael Rector Stanford 6’0 187 PFA
292 OLB Matt Milano Boston College 6’0 216 PFA
293 CB Breon Borders Duke 6’0 186 PFA
294 QB Seth Russell Baylor 6’3 203 PFA
295 OLB Duke Riley LSU 6’1 231 PFA
296 TE Pharaoh Brown Oregon 6’5 248 PFA
297 SS Darrion Millines Southern Methodist 5’11 203 PFA
298 OLB Steven Taylor Houston 6’1 224 PFA
299 FB Freddie Stevenson Florida State 6’0 236 PFA
300 CB Arthur Maulet Memphis 5’9 188 PFA
301 FS Chuck Clark Virginia Tech 6’0 205 PFA
302 OT Erik Magnuson Michigan 6’5 303 PFA
303 OLB Kennan Gilchrist Appalachian State 6’0 226 PFA
304 TE Jonnu Smith Florida International 6’3 245 PFA
305 WR Quincy Adeboyejo Mississippi 6’3 192 PFA
306 RB Devine Redding Indiana 5’9 208 PFA
307 OLB Tashawn Bower LSU 6’4 248 PFA
308 SS Jamal Carter Miami 6’1 214 PFA
309 RB Jahad Thomas Temple 5’10 192 PFA
310 WR Jamari Staples Louisville 6’3 190 PFA
311 IB Calvin Munson San Diego State 6’1 245 PFA
312 OLB Eric Wilson Cincinnati 6’1 225 PFA
313 DE Lewis Neal LSU 6’0 274 PFA
314 DE Al-Quadin Muhammad Miami 6’3 256 PFA
315 DT Treyvon Hester Toledo 6’3 312 PFA
316 C Chase Roullier Wyoming 6’3 321 PFA
317 P Austin Rehkow Idaho 6’3 205 PFA
318 FB Sam Rogers Virginia Tech 5’10 231 PFA
319 OT Cole Croston Iowa 6’6 306 PFA
320 OG Sean Harlow Oregon State 6’4 295 PFA
321 RB Dare Ogunbowale Wisconsin 5’10 208 PFA
322 DT Jeremiah Ledbetter Arkansas 6’3 281 PFA
323 OLB Psalm Wooching Washington 6’4 231 PFA
324 WR Speedy Noil Texas A&M 5’11 200 PFA
325 WR Jerome Lane Akron 6’3 220 PFA
326 OT Levon Myers Northern Illinois 6’5 307 PFA
327 FS David Jones Richmond 6’0 210 PFA
328 FB Nate Iese UCLA 6’3 244 PFA
329 WR Greg Ward Jr. Houston 5’10 186 PFA
330 DE Ifeadi Odenigbo Northwestern 6’3 257 PFA
331 SS Weston Steelhammer Air Force 6’1 189 PFA
332 C Jay Guillermo Clemson 6’3 301 PFA
333 OT Nate Theaker Wayne State (MI) 6’4 319 PFA
334 WR Jesus Wilson Florida State 5’10 184 PFA
335 WR Robert Davis Georgia State 6’3 225 PFA
336 OLB Javancy Jones Jackson State 6’1 245 PFA
337 DT Patrick Gamble Georgia Tech 6’4 277 PFA
338 RB Chris Carson Oklahoma State 6’2 206 PFA
339 CB Najee Murray Kent State 5’9 180 PFA
340 DE Ken Ekanem Virginia Tech 6’3 260 PFA
341 DE Fadol Brown Mississippi 6’5 273 PFA
342 P Justin Vogel Miami 6’4 216 PFA
343 QB Mitch Leidner Minnesota 6’3 232 PFA
344 K Jake Elliott Memphis 5’9 166 PFA
345 FS Jordan Sterns Oklahoma State 5’11 196 PFA
346 RS Kermit Whitfield Florida State 5’8 183 PFA
347 P Cameron Johnston Ohio State 6’0 197 PFA
348 OG Kyle Kalis Michigan 6’4 308 PFA
349 SS Dallas Lloyd Stanford 6’2 210 PFA
350 TE Blake Jarwin Oklahoma State 6’5 244 PFA
351 C J.J. Dielman Utah 6’5 300 PFA
352 OT Storm Norton Toledo 6’8 308 PFA
353 P Hayden Hunt Colorado State 6’0 209 PFA
354 QB Chad Kelly Mississippi 6’2 213 PFA
355 WR Ricky Seals-Jones Texas A&M 6’4 240 PFA
356 CB Will Likely Maryland 5’7 175 PFA
357 DT DeAngelo Brown Louisville 6’0 312 PFA
358 WR Taquan Mizzell Virginia 5’10 194 PFA
359 WR Damore’ea Stringfellow Mississippi 6’1 219 PFA
360 TE Anthony Firkser Harvard 6’2 235 PFA
361 CB Ashton Lampkin Oklahoma State 6’0 189 PFA
362 C Cameron Tom Southern Mississippi 6’4 291 PFA
363 CB Des Lawrence North Carolina 6’0 188 PFA
364 QB Trevor Knight Texas A&M 6’0 211 PFA
365 DT Ralph Green III Indiana 6’3 317 PFA
366 OT Jonathan McLaughlin Virginia Tech 6’4 293 PFA
367 OG Abdul-Kareem Are Florida State 6’5 325 PFA
368 QB Sefo Liufau Colorado 6’3 240 PFA
369 OLB Brandon Bell Penn State 6’1 232 PFA
370 CB Josh Thornton Southern Utah 5’11 180 PFA
371 FS Ahmad Thomas Oklahoma 6’0 215 PFA
372 QB Alek Torgensen Penn 6’2 215 PFA
373 FS Dymonte Thomas Michigan 5’11 195 PFA
374 OG Alex Kozan Auburn 6’3 309 PFA
375 CB Sojourn Shelton Wisconsin 5’10 174 PFA
376 OG Erik Austell Charleston Southern 6’3 290 PFA
377 C Lucas Crowley North Carolina 6’2 297 PFA
378 WR R.J. Shelton Michigan State 5’10 203 PFA
379 P Kenny Allen Michigan 6’4 222 PFA
380 OLB James Onwualu Notre Dame 6’1 230 PFA
381 OG Jake Eldrenkamp Washington 6’4 301 PFA
382 CB Xavier Coleman Portland State 5’11 205 PFA
383 DT Winston Craig Richmond 6’3 292 PFA
384 OT Andreas Knappe Connecticut 6’8 323 PFA
385 FS Leon McQuay III Southern California 6’1 192 PFA
386 RB Rushel Shell West Virginia 5’10 227 PFA
387 SS D’Nerius Antoine Southern Mississippi 5’11 219 PFA
388 DT Josh Tupou Colorado 6’3 362 PFA
389 K Harrison Butker Georgia Tech 6’4 210 PFA
390 K Conrad Ukropina Stanford 6’0 186 PFA
391 OLB Jimmie Gilbert Colorado 6’4 223 PFA
392 C Tobijah Hughley Louisville 6’1 289 PFA
393 LS Brad Northnagel California 6’2 247 PFA
394 OT Dan Brunskill San Diego State 6’5 257 PFA
395 FS Fish Smithson Kansas 5’10 197 PFA
396 DT Woody Baron Virginia Tech 6’1 280 PFA
397 OG Zack Johnson North Dakota State 6’4 346 PFA
398 LS Colin Holba Louisville 6’4 245 PFA
399 DT Matt Godin Michigan 6’5 288 PFA
400 OT Victor Salako Oklahoma State 6’6 327 PFA

 

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Rams’ Cheerleader using her platform to bring awareness to Parkinson disease http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-headline-news/rams-cheerleader-using-platform-bring-awareness-parkinson-disease/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-headline-news/rams-cheerleader-using-platform-bring-awareness-parkinson-disease/#comments Tue, 07 Feb 2017 21:22:38 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=169159 Jennifer Cobb, who is an alumni cheerleader for the Los Angeles Rams uses her platform to promote her foundation Team Gateway to a Cure. “Team Gateway to a Cure means so much to me. This foundation is something that enlighten individuals about Parkinson disease, as well as making sure that people are aware of treatments, a great support system, and making sure that everyone knows how to make whomever comfortable with the disease.”

Jennifer’s dad suffers from Parkinson and she has been fond of the courage that her father puts up each and everyday. “My dad is my rock. I know he is fighting everyday with this disease and has helped me gain more knowledge. I have researched the ins and outs about this disease, if there were any cures, and how to make my dad, as well as myself comfortable.”

While Jennifer is an alumni cheerleader for the Rams, she has expressed her gratitude about the organization and how they have helped her. “It is amazing that I am doing something I love, as well as educating others about Parkinson. The platform that I was given to convey a positive message about the disease has been great. I am very thankful and love how they have supported me.”

Outside of starting her foundation, Jennifer has a family, take care of her children, and her dad. Being positive is something that draws a lot of individuals to her and admire what she is doing. “I mean in life, you have to be a positive person. Trials will come, but you can not let that affect you in a negative way. You never know whom you may touch, so it is essential to shine your light in a positive way. Use your platform to encourage or shine light on different situations, diseases or concerns. We need to educate each other on life.”

“People who are going through any type of disease needs to have that encouraging support and I am so blessed that Team Gateway to a Cure has given people that.”

 

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The Men Behind the Mask http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/men-behind-mask/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/men-behind-mask/#comments Mon, 06 Feb 2017 15:00:13 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=169063 In an infographic distributed by the NFL, it was reported that only 1.6 percent of players in the NCAA make it to the NFL. For those select few who make it, they have reached the panicle of their athletic career. These athletes are admired, seen as role models, and looked upon by as having the ultimate celebrity status. When these people are viewed by the “average” person they aren’t viewed with emotions, they aren’t seen as individuals, rather they are looked upon as a part of a team, someone that is only good for what they can do as an athlete, and a productive one at that. The reality is that these are simply just people, people who are doing their job to the best of their ability and are so much more than just athletes. These professional athletes have goals outside of football, they have other accomplishments, and they have role models of their own who they look up to and aspire to be like. Every athlete and every person are different, on the field they are all the same, striving for the same goals, but off the field every person is different, everyone has their own upbringing, their own role models, and their own goals in life.

The following are responses from NFL players about what they are most proud of in regard to their off the field accomplishments as well as who inspires them as individuals:

Chase Daniel, Philadelphia Eagles
“The fact that in Philadelphia we have a really good community of Christian believers. Faith is very big to me and my wife, so probably being able to share our faith off the field with a bunch of our teammates, and something that wherever I go, even outside of football that will always mean a lot to me.”

“Outside of football, there is no doubt it is my dad, everything he was able to give to me and to coach me, he was my coach growing up. He was such a true fatherly figure. In terms of on the field probably Drew Brees, I spent the first four years of my NFL career with him, sort of showing me how to become a football player.”

Ryan Allan, New England Patriots
“I definitely want to do more community service, I will say this, the first couple of years and getting used to the season, we are usually winning and getting into the playoffs, at least we have every year I have been playing, I don’t have too much time honestly. I value my relationship with my family and close friends, and I don’t see them quite that often because I live in Oregon. Usually, on those ten weeks, we have off I try to get home and spend some time with them because they mean a lot to me and they are what keeps me pushing at the end of the day and that would be my most important thing. I am getting more into cooking and I actually do want to go back to school and get a degree in business management.”

D.J. Foster, New England Patriots
“Being a man of character, treating people with respect, always putting my family first and never forgetting where I come from. You know just being a person who is dependable and someone can rely on.”

Rob Ninkovich, New England Patriots
“Understand that as a professional athlete I have a platform and you can influence young people with the decisions I make. I think it is trying to speak to as many young people as I can to just motivate them and show them that they really have control over their life. If someone tells them that they cant do anything, don’t listen to them and stick to it. I think as a professional athlete you can really help these people achieve their goals.”

Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks
“Continuing to grow, I think that’s what I am most proud of. It is easy to lose yourself in this world and I am thankful I have been surrounded by people around me that have pushed me to grow. My mom was very instrumental in pushing me to never have that content mentality and never being satisfied with myself and for those around me.”

Danny Amendola, New England Patriots
“My foundation, something I have been apart of for six years, providing opportunities for kids in Boston so it’s a blessing to have something like that.”

“I would say my dad, he has been a coach in Houston for 30 years and he is inspiring kids, that is something I aspire to be someday.”

Matthew Slater, New England Patriots
“I like to think that in my career I have tried to be a man that is heavily invested himself in the human element, taking a lot of pride in getting to know people and developing relationships. Truly that is bigger than the game of football. So I hope when people in New England talk about Matthew Slater, they will think of first as him of a man of god and secondly as a man dedicated to his family and also dedicated to his friends and community. “

Nate Ebner, New England Patriots
“Something I still want to strive for, I want to do more outside of sports. For me, it’s really the type of person I’ve been trying to become. I try to hold myself highly as a person from a character standpoint on how you treat other people. I’m glad for the way that I was brought up to reach that potential as a young man. I strive to do that every day, try to get other people to come along with me, get the most out of my teammates and my friends. To hold each other at a high character level and standard because I think that’s what’s missing in our society In some ways in our country and I’d like to see us go in the other direction with the better character.”

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Dak Prescott 2017 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/dak-prescott-2017-ap-offensive-rookie-year/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/dak-prescott-2017-ap-offensive-rookie-year/#comments Mon, 06 Feb 2017 06:36:30 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=169120 Dak Prescott has been chosen as Associated Offensive Rookie of the year.  Prescott was nominated along with his Dallas Cowboy teammate Ezekiel Elliott, but the QB walked away with the award.  Prescott invited Elliot onstage with him when he went to accept the award and stated, “I wish I had a knife so I could cut this thing in half.”  Prescott felt Elliot deserved the award just as much as he did, “I wouldn’t be where I was without him.”

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Prescott also thanked the other 32 teams for passing him up.  He was drafted in the 4th round by the Dallas Cowboys.  Prescott came out of Mississippi State 135th overall in the 2016 NFL Draft.  He had been passed up multiple times by all NFL teams.  “I was passed up 3 times by 33 teams.  The Cowboys just got lucky.”

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In his rookie year, Prescott passes for 23 touchdowns, four interceptions, and finished the year with a 104.9 rating.  Prescott has attributed much of his success to the Dallas Cowboy offensive line who provide impenetrable protection and helped to elevate them to first in their division and a number one seed in the playoffs.

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The AP offensive rookie of the year is chosen by a nationwide panel of 50 sportswriters who vote on the players prior to the playoffs– but after the end of the season.  

 

Prescott is among a very elite group of quarterbacks who have also received the award.  Previous winners include Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger, Vince Young, and Cam Newton.  

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Falcons Blow Lead, Lose to Patriots in Super Bowl LI http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/falcons-blow-lead-lose-patriots-super-bowl-li/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/falcons-blow-lead-lose-patriots-super-bowl-li/#comments Mon, 06 Feb 2017 05:51:39 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=169150 After leading 28-3 midway through the third quarter, the Atlanta Falcons did not score again as they lost to the New England Patriots 28-34 in overtime. It was the largest comeback in Super Bowl history.

Patriots scored 31 unanswered points after the Falcons last touchdown. Quarterback Tom Brady kept fighting against this fast Falcons defense. They forced Brady to throw his first postseason pick-6 in the first half and sacked Brady five times in the game. Even with the pressure the Falcons applied, they were not able to contain Brady throughout the game. He finished with Super Bowl records with 466 yards passing and 43 completions while adding two touchdowns on his way to Super Bowl MVP.

The Falcons did not have an answer for running back James White. White finished with a Super Bowl record 14 catches for 110 yards and three total touchdowns. The Falcons defense looked out of gas as the Patriots had 93 total plays compared to only 46 from the Falcons.

“Well, I think for sure we ran out of gas some,” said Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn. “I don’t know what time of possession was, I didn’t look at that. But, I can tell you how hard these guys battled for it. We know it was going to come down to the end for sure, and just at the end for them to have the scores back-to-back, that was the difference for sure.”

Offensively, the Falcons failed to get the football to their star players. After running for 71 yards and one touchdown, RB Devonta Freeman only added four more yards in the second half and overtime. All-Pro WR Julio Jones was only targeted four times, but he did manage to haul in those four targets for 87 yards.

For the first time this postseason, the Falcons turned it over. In the third quarter, 2017 NFL MVP Matt Ryan fumbled after getting hit by Patriots LB Dont’a Hightower and was recovered by the Patriots. The fumble set up the Patriots at the Falcons 25 yard line and was capped with a Brady touchdown pass to WR Danny Amendola on five plays.

The Falcons failed to bring their first Vince Lombardi Trophy to Atlanta and will have to try again next season. They played their hearts out, but came up just short. This is a game the Falcons can learn from and build on in the offseason, even after the tough loss.

“We are a tough group,” said Quinn on the lessons his team can learn from the loss. “A loss like tonight, although it’s difficult, I would like to think that this group, we’re putting our stamp and we’re just getting started to be what we can be.”

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Patriots Receivers: The Brady Bunch http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/patriots-receivers-brady-bunch/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/patriots-receivers-brady-bunch/#comments Mon, 06 Feb 2017 05:41:11 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=169146 The New England Patriots came back and stunned the Atlanta Falcons in overtime 34-28 in Super Bowl 51 in Houston. The game came down to being mentally tough and the players looking themselves in the mirror to see if they were made of championship material. New England was dead in the water at one point with the score showing 28-3. The man that gets better with time like fine wine Tom Brady was the curator for this masterpiece. He painted the picture, but his receivers were the paint brushes he needed.

In the first half, Brady and his top receivers Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, and Malcolm Mitchell could not get on the same page. The quadruplets struggled to get separation at the top of their routes against Robert Alford, Jalen Collins, Brian Poole, and other Falcons’ defensive backs. They combined for seven catches for 92 receiving yards.

“Just play. Just play every play. Play every play,” said Edelman on the halftime adjustments.

And they did play in the second half. In fact, they played really well and it slowly went from another Boston Massacre to a New England Revolution. Brady started to get comfortable with being uncomfortable in the pocket as he threw darts under duress. 1, 2, 3 BOOM first down to Hogan. 1, 2, 3, BAM first down to Amendola. The same sequence continued in the second half as the former MVP found his guys open on routes.

Edelman talked about why the Patriots never gave up. He said, “Mental toughness, believe, do your job, work hard, and we’d be champions in the champion game.”

The Patriots have been tortured in past Super Bowls by unprecedented catches. Today, they had their revenge as Edelman caught a pass late in the fourth. The play was challenged, but he maintained concentration despite juggling the ball twice on the way to the ground for a 23-yard gain. The building erupted as New England fans felt they were on the brink of an epic comeback. They were right. The Patriots would go on to score and tie the game with a two-point conversion.

Amendola, Hogan, and Edelman continued to dominate in overtime as they helped generate three first downs. The Brady Bunch helped their quarterback set up with a shot to win the game. The rest is history as New England went on to win Super Bowl 51.

Edelman, Hogan, Amendola, and Mitchell went on to finish with 23 receptions to go along with 292 yards and a score. All four guys averaged 9.8 or more per catch. Amendola talked about the adjustments made by the team.

“They were coming at us with a lot of things,” Amendola stated. “We just wanted to be resilient, we wanted to be tough mentally, and we got it done.”

This game was an instant classic and was one that will be talked about for years to come.

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Patriots come back from 25-point deficit, to capture fifth Super Bowl win in team history http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/patriots-come-back-25-point-deficit-capture-fifth-super-bowl-win-team-history/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/patriots-come-back-25-point-deficit-capture-fifth-super-bowl-win-team-history/#comments Mon, 06 Feb 2017 04:01:22 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=169116 Once upon a time in Super Bowl LI in Houston, so much of the worldwide public saw a Super Bowl blowout coming. The New England Patriots were down 28-3 as late as near the 6:30 mark of the third quarter. But once again, the whole world saw that you don’t EVER count out TOM BRADY as a comeback artist or head coach BILL BELICHICK’s game-planning acumen. Dealing with Brady (today’s MVP) can be as dangerous as trying to fight a gas-fire. tom-brady-012517-getty-ftrjpg_j3f76y7r1pgz1qug81kqimtow

Brady who went 43 for 62 for 466 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception today, fought off first half frustration and a 25-point deficit to help lead the Patriots to a 34-28 Overtime win for their fifth Super Bowl title in franchise history. Also with this win, Brady is now the all-time leader in Super Bowl wins by a quarterback in NFL history with five. He beat the record of  NFL legends JOE MONTANA and TERRY BRADSHAW who each had four Super Bowl titles in each of their careers.

Even though Brady won today’s MVP, it wasn’t all about him. Players like running back JAMES WHITE came through with three scores (2 rushing and 1 receiving) including the game-winning score in the overtime period. White put together 139 yards total offense as he picked up the slack for first and second running backs LEGARRETTE BLOUNT and DION LEWIS who both had quiet games today.

Then there was receiver DANNY AMENDOLA (8 catches for 78 yards, and 1 score), whose late fourth quarter two-point conversion catch provided the jump off point the Patriots needed to come back and win this game.

This game was a heartbreaker for the Falcons. Quarterback MATT RYAN (17 of 23 for 284 yards and 2 scoring passes) was on his way to a Super Bowl MVP performance, but that road was blocked by the Patriots pass rush which included two key sacks by outside linebackers DONT’A HIGHTOWER and KYLE VAN NOY late in the game.

The Falcons took advantage of the Patriots’ early second quarter fumble, by going on a 5-play, 71 yard drive that was culminated by an off left tackle 5-yard scoring run by running back DEVONTA FREEMAN (11 carries for 75 yards and 1 score). That scoring run gave the Falcons a 7-0 lead at the 12:15 mark of the second quarter.

The Falcons added to their lead, when rookie tight end AUSTIN HOOPER beat Patriots strong safety PATRICK CHUNG for a back of the end zone 19-yard score. At the 8:48 mark of the second quarter the Falcons had a 14-0 lead.

Then the Falcons really got the Patriots scared, when cornerback ROBERT ALFORD intercepted a Brady pass and took the theft 82 yards untouched down the right side for a score. At the 2:21 mark of the second quarter, the Falcons took a commanding 21-0 lead.

Patriots kicker STEPHEN GOSTKOWSKI gave his team their only points on the first half, a successful 41-yard field goal that cut the Falcons’ lead to 21-3 at the two-second mark of the second quarter.

When the Falcons scored their fourth touchdown of the game, which was a 6-yard TEVIN COLEMAN touchdown reception in which the running back beat Patriots linebacker ROB NINKOVICH to the right corner of the end zone. Coleman’s touchdown catch gave Atlanta a 28-3 lead at the 8:31 mark of the third quarter.

The Patriots late in the third quarter made sure they did their part to get back into this game. White took a Brady pass near the left sideline. White then maneuvered his way forward and eventually got himself into the end zone for a 5-yard scoring pass and an eventual 28-9 score at the 2:06 mark of the third quarter.

Amendola, who was very underused (2 catches for 12 yards and no score) in the previous two playoff games leading up to today’ s Super Bowl, scored the Patriots’ most important points of this game. He got behind Falcons cornerback JALEN COLLINS for a left corner of the end zone 6-yard scoring reception. The subsequent and successful two-point conversion run by White cut Atlanta’s lead to 28-20 at the 5:56 mark of the fourth period. NFL: JAN 30 Super Bowl Opening Night - Falcons

But the Patriots as they have been apt to do in the Brady era, found a way to rally. Super late in the last quarter, White carried the ball 1-yard up the middle and into the end zone. Amendola then added a gritty 2-point conversion reception to tie the game at 28-28 with 37 seconds left in the contest.

 

 

 

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Patriots Come Storming Back Against Falcons http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/patriots-come-storming-back-falcons/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/patriots-come-storming-back-falcons/#comments Mon, 06 Feb 2017 03:25:11 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=169127 After a long and grueling 26 weeks of the pre-season, the regular season, and of course the post season there was one final game left to be played. Super Bowl 51, taking place at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas brought together two teams, the Atlanta Falcons, and New England Patriots who both clawed their way to the top for the chance to play in the Super Bowl and ultimately take home the Lombardi Trophy. The Atlanta Falcons came into the matchup with a record of (11-5) and owner of the NFL’s best offense throughout the season. The Patriots come storming in with a record of (14-2) thanks in large part to the lowest scoring defense in the NFL this past season. Coming in the attention was in large part on Tom Brady going for Super Bowl victory number five while newly crowned MVP Matt Ryan is looking to deliver Atlanta its first title.

Prior to kick off the NFL delivered a moving pre-game presentation. The singing of the national anthem by well-known country singer Luke Bryan that brought the crowd to its feet was all that was needed to pump even more enthusiasm into an already electric atmosphere. An amazing performance only to be followed by the pre-game coin toss brought out by former President George H.W. Bush and First lady Barbra Bush, bringing the Houston crowd to their feet. Winning the coin toss, Atlanta elected to defer the ball to begin the game.

With the opening kickoff booted into the Patriots, end zone Super Bowl LI was officially underway. In search of his fifth ring, Brady and the rest of the Patriots offense took the field for their first offensive possession of the game. Brady completed his second attempt and the first completion of the Super Bowl on a completion to Julian Edelman for 9-yards. The Falcons defense would “rise up” to the challenge making the stop on third and one forcing a Patriots punt. The 2016 NFL MVP Matt Ryan and the NFL leading offense in the Falcons took over inside their twenty-yard line. The first play for the Falcons was a 37-yard run by running back Devonta Freeman, as he would run through the heart of the Patriots defense. Freeman would finish the first quarter with 42-yards rushing. The Falcons would, however, follow the Patriots lead and stall out after a sack of Ryan by Trey Flowers.

The First quarter was a defensive battle for both sides as either offense could find sustained success. The Patriots and Falcons each picked up two sacks apiece in the first quarter. Tom Brady would go into the second having been 7 of 9 for 95-yards. Notably, Brady had connected with favorite target Julian Edelman 3 times for 49-yards.

Changing of the tides would quickly occur in the second as a Patriots mistake was quickly turned into Falcons points. A LeGarrette Blount fumble, for the first turnover of the game gave the Falcons the ball at the Atlanta 29-yard line. The Falcons would go 71-yards in 5 plays and take advantage of the Blount miscue. Two key back to back throws from Matt Ryan to Julio Jones for a combined 42-yards would ultimately set up a Freeman touchdown run of 5-yards for the Falcons lead and the first score of the Super Bowl.

Following the Falcons score, the Patriots offense continued to remain stagnant as the Falcons defense was able to make another key stop. Getting the ball back in good field position following a knuckleball of a kick from Patriots punter Ryan Allan, Matt Ryan, and the offense continued to thrive. Connecting with speedster receiver Taylor Gabriel for 24-yards the Falcons offense continued to be able to do whatever they wanted with the league-leading defense. Escaping the pass rush Ryan showed off why he was chosen as MVP hitting Julio Jones once again for 18-yards on the sideline, This would set up what would be a perfect throw from Ryan to Austin Hooper for the 19-yard touchdown. The Falcons would push their lead to double digits with a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.

Early signs of life from the Patriots offense were quickly erased due to another costly mistake. The Patriots took advantage of the Falcons defense, which was flagged for holding penalties on 3 straight third downs. As quickly as the Falcons defense gave it took away. In very un-Tom Brady-like fashion, the future hall of fame quarterback playing in his 7th Super Bowl threw a pick six to Falcons cornerback Robert Alford for 82-yards. The defensive touchdown would extend the Patriots deficit to 21-0.

The Patriots would one have more opportunity before the half to get on the board and claw their way back into this one. The Patriots were able to put 3 points up on the board on a 41-yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal in the closing seconds of the first half. In the first half although being down on the scoreboard the Patriots outgained the Falcons in total yards 210 to 189. Brady picked up 184-yards passing in the first half while spreading the ball around with receptions to 6 different receivers. The first half turnovers coming in the form of a Blount fumble and a Brady pick-six counted for 14 points in favor of the Falcons and put the Patriots in a whole early.

Following the Pepsi Halftime Show with a performance by Lady Gaga, the Patriots came out of the tunnel exhibiting much of the same play that derailed them in the first. The Falcons offense appeared simply too fast for the Patriots defense. Taylor Gabriel was able to torch the Patriots defense for two receptions for a combined 67-yards. The drive was capped off by a 6-yard touchdown reception from Matt Ryan to Tevin Coleman. The Falcons extended their lead to 28-3.

The Patriots were able to grab their first touchdown of the night midway through the third quarter. Putting together a lengthy six minute and twenty-five-second drive going 75-yards over 13-plays Brady was able to connect with running back James White for the 5-yard score. The missed extra point made the score 28-9. On the ensuing kickoff the Patriots attempted an onside kick, the Falcons recovered the ball on the attempt.

Inching their way back in the game however, Brady led another strong drive down into Falcons territory, the play of the Falcons defense and in particular Grady Jarret would cause problems. Jarret would pick up his third sack of the day on third down causing the Patriots to settle for another field goal, this time from 33-yards out. The Gostkowski kick would bring the Patriots closer with the score 28-12. The Patriots grit would not run out as they would come roaring back, a game that at one point looked over had a new begining. Receiving a Matt Ryan fumble from a Dont’a Hightower sack set the Patriots up in scoring position. Brady would connect with Amendola on a 6-yard score and a two point conversion to make it a 28-20 game.

The Patriots defense looking like a defense that was top in the league all season came to life late in the fourth quarter making defensive stop after stop as Trey Flowers picked up his second sack of the game in the process. The Patriots offense under Brady who has been in this situation numerous times had the offense rolling. A game saving reception by Julian Edelman in triple coverage only helping the Patriots cause with a little over two minutes left. A touchdown with 57 seconds left in the game by James White followed by a two point conversion to Danny Amendola tied the game up 28-28. The Patriots were able to come back from 25 points down and gained all the momentum back.

The Patriots miraculously forced overtime as Tom Brady and James White  forced overtime against the Falcons as the clock ran out in the fourth with the score tied 28-28. At one point it was reported the Falcons had a 98% chance of coming out on top. Winning the coin toss going into overtime the Patriots elected to receive the ball first.

Tom Brady was simply playing like a future hall of famer in overtime completing pass after pass en route for a Patriots victory. A James White rush from 2-yard out would be the game winner. James White would finish with over 100-yards receiving and one of the key players in the win. The Patriots would go on to win by a score of 34-28.

The owner of the Patriots Robert Kraft stated,“Two years ago we won our fourth Super Bowl down in Arizona and I told our fans that was the sweetest one of all,” Kraft said. “But a lot has transpired over the last two years and I don’t think that needs any explanation. I want to say to our fans, brilliant coaching staff and players who are so spectacular, this is unequivocally the sweetest. I’m proud to say for the fifth time, we are all Patriots.”

MVP: Tom Brady 466 yards passing and 2 touchdowns.

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Castro Edge Clutch Performer of the Year http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/castro-edge-clutch-performer-year/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/castro-edge-clutch-performer-year/#comments Sun, 05 Feb 2017 02:22:26 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=168531 Throughout the NFL season week in and week out, there are a select few players who go above and beyond and are ultimately the deciding factor in their team securing the win. These select players are honored weekly for their effort with the Castrol Edge Clutch Performer of the week award. The accolade is given to the player who made the extra effort in a crucial situation and came through in a clutch situation. In addition to the weekly occurrence, the award has been expanded to award a top player for their yearly performance as well as a specific clutch performance as voted by the fans. This year’s crop of players consistently created highlight plays week in and week out and showed off their clutch instinct ultimately making a very close competition for the honor.

Candidates:

Mike Evans
A career year for Mike Evans as he hauled in 96 receptions for 1,321 yards and 12 scores on the season. The biggest catch of Evans season was perhaps his last as in week 17 against division rival Carolina Panthers Evans caught a late fourth quarter touchdown from Jameis Winston. This score would go on to be the deciding factor in a Buccaneers victory that they would go on to win 17-16.

Marcus Mariota
One of the brightest young stars in the NFL Marcus Mariota has a long career ahead of him. One of the defining moments of the young stars career, was his play in week two as a come from behind performance from he and his Titans helped seal the deal. On a fourth down play against the Detroit Lions late in the fourth quarter Mariota connected with future hall of famer Andre Johnson for the game sealing score.

Antonio Brown
Putting together another solid season Antonio Brown continued to flex his clutch trait week in and week out. Brown finished the 2016 season with 106 receptions for 1,284 yards and 12 touchdowns. The biggest touchdown of Brown’s season not only helped seal a Steelers victory but clinch the division. In the closing seconds of the game against the Baltimore Ravens for the AFC North, Brown reeled in a pass from Ben Roethlisberger falling just short of the goaline, with an extra effort Brown was able to stretch the ball into the endzone. A crucial play as without the extra effort the clock would have run out on the game and perhaps the Steelers season.

Derek Carr
Arguably one of the most clutch players week in and week out in the 2016 NFL season, Derek Carr put together for an MVP caliber season. Carr took home the Castrol Clutch player of the week award four times throughout the season. In week 12 against the Carolina Panthers in Oakland Carr led a drive while down in the fourth quarter connecting with Clive Walford for the late victory.

Khalil Mack
The other clutch Oakland Raider up for the award, Khalil Mack showed that you do not have to be on offense to be considered clutch this season. Another strong showing for Mack as he compiled 11 sacks on the season, the biggest being a strip sack on Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor. The strip sack would go on to be the deciding factor in an Oakland come from behind win.

Winner: Derek Carr

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NFL’s Hall of Fame Class 2017 http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/nfls-hall-fame-class-2017/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/nfls-hall-fame-class-2017/#comments Sun, 05 Feb 2017 02:15:17 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=169099 The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017 was revealed the night before Super Bowl 51 in Houston. The new class consists of LaDainian Tomlinson, Terrell Davis, Jason Taylor, Kurt Warner, Morten Andersen, Jerry Jones, and Kenny Easley. This honor is a career milestone and the culmination of hard work and dedication they put into perfecting their craft. Whether it is running, passing, catching, kicking, or owning a team, these guys had a sustained level of elite excellence worth enshrining.

The Selection Committee is made up of 46 people that largely consist of media members. Every team sends a representative to the committee from the local media, 13 at-large delegates, and one representative from the Pro Football Writers Association.

The Cowboys’ owner Jones is the only person inducted that is not a player. Owners and executives can be voted in at any time while players or coaches must be retired for at least five years. Fans have an opportunity to vote for players, which is then narrowed down to 25 semi-finalists.

The enshrinement and ceremony will be held on the first full weekend in August. They will have their face molded and crusted into a look similar to their game face or smile.

In the coming months, the inductees will be interviewed as well as their family on what it means to accomplish such a feat. In addition, they will be asked what it means to them. Finally, list people that have meant the most to them along the way as well as tough times they had to overcome.

Social media erupted with an outcry of players that should have made it like Terrell Owens and Kevin Mawae.

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Star-Studded NFL Women’s Summit Inspires Teens http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/star-studded-nfl-womens-summit-inspires-teens/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/star-studded-nfl-womens-summit-inspires-teens/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=169072 “I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much girl power in one room.” This statement from Shelly Zalis, CEO & Founder of The Girls’ Lounge, perfectly sums up the two-day NFL ‘Plays for Life’ Women’s Summit for teen girls. The star-studded event with emcee Pam Oliver of FOX Sports featured over 30 speakers, panelists, and special guests inspiring the young attendees to follow their dreams and be bold despite the challenges they may face in life.

Over the past two days, 250 Houston-area teen girls heard from prominent leaders from across the NFL and beyond about their own personal journeys and participated in a discussion about how to achieve their goals, prepare for life’s challenges, and best utilize the tools that are critical for personal and professional development.

“Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. If you want to do it, go do it.” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell during the opening session. “Take today as a learning opportunity. This is an opportunity to ask questions and learn from our speakers so you can start moving down your own path and find out what you want to be. This is the discovery phase of your life.”

Building on the success of last year’s Women’s Summit in San Francisco – which explored the role of sports participation in developing leadership, teamwork and other skills that promote success throughout one’s life and career – Plays for Life expanded upon that conversation by engaging teen girls through an interactive and experiential event focused on personal development and achievement.

Womens Summit Collage

In addition to Goddell, several other speakers shared their inspirational stories throughout the event. Other prominent attendees included:

THOMAS DAVIS, Carolina Panthers Linebacker

SIMONE BILES, Olympic Gold Medalist & Team USA gymnast

GABBY DOUGLAS, Olympic Gold Medalist & TEAM USA gymnast

ALY RAISMAN, Two-Time Olympic Gymnast & Team USA gymnast

CHLOE X HALLE, Musical Guests

HABEN GIRMA, Disability Inclusion Leader

MATT HASSELBECK, NFL Legend

LELAND MELVIN, NFL Legend & Astronaut

NFL LEGENDS: Donovin Darius, Dhani Jones, Chad Pennington, Tony Richardson, Leonard Wheeler, Aeneas Williams, Will Shields

“The one thing I want girls to walk away with today is the belief they are enough. They do enough. They have enough,” said Alexis Jones, Founder of I Am That Girl. “I want to remind girls they are awesome.”

Some young entrepreneurs also stopped by to offer words of encouragement. “Use your gift to make a difference,” said 14-year old Maya Penn, CEO of Maya’s Ideas, Eco-designer, Philanthropist, Animator & Author. “There will be roadblocks and mistakes. You have to learn from them and keep going. Really hold on to what you are passionate about.”

“You’re never too young to change the world,” added 13-year old Hannah Alper, Blogger & Activist.

One of the biggest highlights for the teen girls came when a few of the USA Gymnastics Team members from the Rio Olympics hit the stage: Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, and Aly Reisman. They offer advice on overcoming obstacles and choosing a career that means something to them.

“If you hate what you do you’re not going to enjoy it but if you love what you do you’re going to feel good,” said Gabby Douglas.

“There are hard days but those are what make you stronger and those hard days make the good days that much more fun,” stated Aly Raisman.

Houston native Simone Biles shared her key for staying joyful no matter what curve balls life brings, “I was born happy. I wake up with a smile on my face.” said Biles.

The event ended on Saturday with more amazing speakers and a special moment with Leah and Devon Still. Leah has overcome huge obstacles at such a young age. She offered some advice of her own:

“Believe in yourself no matter what and be strong.”

Now that is a lesson for life!

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Panini Skills Event Goes Beyond the Game of Football http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/panini-skills-event-goes-beyond-game-football/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/panini-skills-event-goes-beyond-game-football/#comments Sun, 05 Feb 2017 01:15:00 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=169053 Leading up to the Super Bowl all the attention is on the players that will be suiting up on Sunday and taking part in the big game. Perhaps just as if not more important is the little-known work NFL players do aside from their play on the field, a prime example of this is the Panini Skills clinic that took place on February 3rd. The Panini Skills clinic, hosted at the local YMCA in Houston brought local Houstonian pop Warner football teams together with some of the NFL’s brightest stars for an afternoon of football drills, mentoring, and a good time for all. The event included appearances from current and future NFL stars, Le’Veon Bell, Teddy Bridgewater, Doug Baldwin, Leonard Fournette, and Greg Ward Jr. as well as numerous Panini representatives including Jason Howarth the Vice President of Marketing for Panini.

Panini America is a company originally founded in 1961 by Giuseppe Panini in Modena, Italy. Since its founding, Panini has continued to expand its roots globally as a company that focused in the selling of books, stickers, trading cards, and other novelty pieces. This led to the creation of Panini in American sports and specifically Panini America, the leader in American sports trading cards as the only company with agreements with all four major sports. Outside of the business aspect of Panini, they have made great strides in philanthropy work as they have prided themselves on their outreach to the communities that they work in. Going beyond simply being a publication and trading card distributor, Panini often puts on clinics for young children interested in the sport, and putting on this clinic over the course of Super Bowl week has become a tradition for them.

“One of the things Panini likes to do with kids is really find a way to give them experiences that go beyond just the trading cards and turn that into real life experiences, “ explained Jason Howarth. “For the past 8 years we have really been focusing on when the Super Bowl comes into a town we want to make sure that those kids who are playing the game each and every day have an opportunity to experience this and what the Super Bowl is like. We bring in the best players that we can bring to the table, get them involved and integrated with the kids and teach them football skills.”

Events such as these are able to show children from a young age simply just how important it is to give back, to be a stand-up and respectable person. While these kids are running routes, taking handoffs from Bell, catching passes from Bridgewater, among other drills they are also taking in life lessons and learning what it took for those players to get where they are through hard work and dedication. “Pop Warner is very focused on academics so you also have to have a certain grade point average to be able to play Pop Warner football, so they are all about success in the classroom before success on the field. All these kids are good students and that is their reward for being here,” explained Howarth on how the children are chosen to participate in these events. Instilling in these kids that they are students first and athletes second follow in Panini’s goal and mindset when running these events.
As impactful as these events are on the kids who participate, the players may argue that it benefits them even more. Teddy Bridgewater, in his second year taking part of the event really believes in the message being sent and that it is important to give back.” Participating in events like this goes a long way…an event like this can make a kids entire year, its just amazing what Panini does,” said Teddy Bridgewater. “Today is just all about Panini.”

For those who were able to participate in the event, it truly was a great day for a great cause. While the big game will be occurring on Sunday, undoubtedly those kids who took part in the event will be feeling like winners no matter who comes out on top in the Super Bowl.

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Future of the league is bright at the NFL’s 1st and Future competition http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/future-league-bright-nfls-1st-future-competition/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/future-league-bright-nfls-1st-future-competition/#comments Sat, 04 Feb 2017 23:36:29 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=169025 The IQ inside the Texas Medical Center was high on Saturday, Feb. 4 during the second annual NFL’s 1st and Future competition.

Tech startup groups battled for a $50,000 grand prize, an acceptance into the Texas Medical Center Accelerator and tickets to Super Bowl LI. The competition was compared to a “sports-like Shark Tank.” The companies pitched their ideas to judges on a panel who decided three winners from three different categories.

The idea is to select companies who can bring technology that will make the game not only safer for players but also to change the future of the game and how it is watched. These innovations will make the game more fan-friendly and provide more in-depth content.

Judges included former Miami Dolphins’ quarterback Chad Pennington and Baltimore Ravens’ offensive lineman John Urschel, both very active in the four-minute questioning period of each company.

The event began with introductory remarks from NFL Network’s Scott Hanson who introduced speakers Roger Goodell and GE CEO Jeff Immelt. The executives engaged in a conversation about mental health, concussions and the technology and innovation that is changing sports. Goodell talked about the health care that NFL players currently receive and will receive in the future.

“As an NFL player, you get the best medical care in the world,” he said. “What we are leaning towards is mental health, making counseling available. In addition to that, our big initiative is taking care of the retired players, a lot of that is mental.”

The timing of the competition is not a coincidence. There were 244 concussions in the NFL in 2016, a decrease from 2015 but still high. With more CTE cases being discovered, the topic of head injuries is more popular than ever. Immelt feels that diagnosing concussions is still an inexact science, and should be something that is more important than sending a man to the moon.

The competition was broken down into three categories: “Communicating with the Athlete,” “Training the Athlete” and “Materials to Protect the Athlete.” Each team had four minutes to present their product with an additional four minutes to answer questions from judges.

The winners were GoRout, Mobile Virtual Player and Windpact.

Winners

GoRout – The wearable technology allows players to stream communication between the staff. Players, on a heads-up display, are able to receive digital play diagrams instead of checking scout cards and play boards. It can be seen in the facemask or on a wristband.

The technology helps teams run up to 4x as many plays and is built of 100 percent military grade material. The technology has been featured in Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports and is used by the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Mobile Virtual Player – This training platform is a remote-controlled virtual player that is an upgraded tackling dummy. Dartmouth football head coach Buddy Teevens serves as the companies’ chairman. This innovation will lower player injuries and allow for revolutionizing training.

The device is already used in the NFL, specifically by the Pittsburgh Steelers. The product has been featured in outlets such as ESPN, Bleacher Report and the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Windpact – This small product made of foam can be attached to helmets or padding to absorb and disperse impact energy. Former Pro-Bowl NFL veteran Shawn Springs leads the team and wishes this product was available to him when he played.

The device will lower concussions while also taking away the brutal hits of the game. The company has already partnered with Under Armour for production.

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NFLPA Smocks and Jocks Painting and Brunch http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/nflpa-smocks-jocks-painting-brunch/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/nflpa-smocks-jocks-painting-brunch/#comments Sat, 04 Feb 2017 23:22:18 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=169066 The NFLPA hosted a festive brunch a day before the Super Bowl at a local restaurant called Caracol. Caracol was set up with a great deal of scrumptious choices of food to eat with a soft soothing Jazz band playing in the background. Spectators walked around the restaurant and took a gander at the art that was on display. There was were masterpieces on the American flag, two rams colliding, a Warren Moon frame, and a Peyton Manning retirement piece.

There were former and current NFL players that were among the crowd of bidders as well. Nolan Harrison III, Justin Houston, LaSean McCoy, Vince Young, Eric Winston, and others were just a few that were there. Andre Collins and his wife Leslie Isler hosted the event. Collins has helped orchestrate these events since 2005 while this is Isler’s second.

Collins said, “It’s really been able to grow especially over the last few years since New York, I feel, to another level.”

The former NFL linebacker loves hosting these events as he harked back on the first time. He recalls driving to the Detroit stadium before the Steelers took on the Seahawks in 2005 for the Super Bowl. It is remarkable, to him, with how talented and interested players are in art. Collins hopes to start a website to help display current and former players art.

Young and Houston gave some insight on the event. Young talked about how he loves how kids can express themselves through art. Although he barely started appreciating art, he has become an avid learner and appreciative of the work created by artists. Houston had a captivating take on art.

“To me, playing my position as a pass rusher, I think it’s an art,” said the Chiefs sack artist. “Every sport has art.”

In other words, Houston believes every player is creating a masterpiece as they get to display it on the field to fans every Sunday.

The NFLPA President, Winston, digressed on what it means to attend these types of events.

“We love doing events with the former players and raising money for former players. Raising money for people is part of who we [the union] are,” said Winston.

Collins honored a few guests in attendance. Young was awarded a check for taking initiative and for the things he does for his foundation. Ashley Carter and Jaxson Heise were a young group of kids that were given the Champion Certificate for what they do in their community.

Follow us on Twitter @playerinsiders @realdt_

Photos courtesy of Barry Lively

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