Friday, June 30, 2023

Dallas Clark shares his thoughts on Tight Ends University

Jennifer Lee Chan catches up with Dallas Clark at George Kittle's 'Tight End University' and looks at how special of an atmosphere that San Francisco's TE has created, not just for the 49ers' tight end, but players throughout the NFL.


Wednesday, June 21, 2023

One non-QB each NFL team can least afford to lose in 2023


Which players are most important to their respective clubs?



June 21, 2023

Getty Images

Quarterbacks may be the driving force of the NFL; having one of the game's few elite signal-callers is often the difference between contending for the playoffs and contending for a Lombardi Trophy. However, football is a team sport, which means the QBs still require help on both sides of the ball. And there are plenty of important pieces at other premium positions.

With that in mind, here's a look at one non-QB each team can least afford to lose in 2023:

Arizona Cardinals: OT D.J. Humphries

Presumably, they'll already be down QB Kyler Murray at the start of the year. Losing their most accomplished tackle, whose injury-related absence in 2022 helped fuel offensive dysfunction, would put the next QB in danger as well.

Atlanta Falcons: OT Jake Matthews

With Tyler Allgeier behind rookie Bijan Robinson and Jonnu Smith now behind Kyle Pitts, neither RB nor TE is short on depth. Young QB Desmond Ridder needs to stay upright to feed the weapons, however, and Matthews is a solid blind-side bodyguard.

Baltimore Ravens: C Tyler Linderbaum

New WR Odell Beckham Jr. is already an injury risk, but Lamar Jackson's chief concern in 2023 is staying on the field. Linderbaum was an underrated rookie cog up front, and he's instrumental to their ground attack as the QB of the line.

Buffalo Bills: WR Stefon Diggs

This is why his reported offseason frustrations with Buffalo were such a concern. Without his killer route-running and alpha mentality, Josh Allen has only the mercurial Gabe Davis as a proven WR weapon, though rookie TE Dalton Kincaid could help.

Carolina Panthers: OT Ikem Ekwonu

At the end of the day, it's all about keeping rookie QB Bryce Young comfortable in the pocket, especially at his unprecedented size. Ekwonu was solid as a rookie left tackle, and his continued presence there isn't getting enough attention.

Chicago Bears: WR D.J. Moore

Justin Fields is an electric enough scrambler to avoid a collapsing pocket, but what he really needs in 2023 is improved decision-making through the air. Moore is the only legit No. 1 target in their revised WR corps, and could be key to unlocking the QB.

Cincinnati Bengals: DE Trey Hendrickson

Star wideout Ja'Marr Chase is a home-run hitter, but Joe Burrow has proven he can survive by leaning on Tee Higgins and Co. Hendrickson, meanwhile, is sorely underrated as a persistent pressure artist, headlining Cincinnati's defensive front.

Cleveland Browns: DE Myles Garrett

If Deshaun Watson were to lose No. 1 WR Amari Cooper, he could be in big trouble, with Elijah Moore and Donovan Peoples-Jones better suited for secondary roles. But what is the Browns defense without Garrett, who single-handedly terrorizes opponents?

Dallas Cowboys: OLB Micah Parsons

CeeDee Lamb is a star out wide, and his absence would surely affect Dak Prescott, who'll be counting on Brandin Cooks to help him downfield. But Parsons is the heart and soul of the team, his rangy athleticism enabling Dallas to be creative on "D."

Denver Broncos: CB Patrick Surtain II

No matter what happens with Russell Wilson's supporting cast, Sean Payton's chief hurdle will probably be getting the QB back into a comfortable scheme and mental rhythm. Surtain, on the other hand, buoys the stingy "D" with his cover skills on the outside.

Detroit Lions: OT Penei Sewell

An elite blocker in a 2022 breakout, Sewell is one of the biggest reasons Jared Goff was able to surprise skeptics with borderline top-10 production last year. His size and athleticism at right tackle are simply unteachable.

Green Bay Packers: WR Christian Watson

Left tackle David Bakhtiati is already such a frequent absentee that his loss wouldn't necessarily upend offensive plans. But Watson is the most accomplished and explosive in a young receiving corps, on which new starter Jordan Love will be leaning.

Houston Texans: OT Laremy Tunsil

Assuming rookie QB C.J. Stroud gets the nod under center, he'll need all the help he can get up front, not only because the interior remains a question mark but because Stroud isn't necessarily known for his mobility. Protect the signal-caller!

Indianapolis Colts: WR Michael Pittman Jr.

RB Jonathan Taylor is still their most dynamic all-around talent, but if rookie QB Anthony Richardson starts most of 2023 as expected, his own legs can help the ground game. Pittman, meanwhile, is basically the only sure thing at his position.

Jacksonville Jaguars: RB Travis Etienne Jr.

Why not new WR1 Calvin Ridley? Well, Trevor Lawrence and Co. fared reasonably well without him in 2022. Etienne, on the other hand, is an underrated multipurpose safety valve for the young QB, quietly accounting for 1,400+ scrimmage yards in his debut.

Kansas City Chiefs: TE Travis Kelce

It wouldn't have been crazy to vote for Kelce as MVP over Patrick Mahomes in 2022. He's as reliable as they come, forever finding green grass over the middle. And with Mahomes' WR room shuffling yet again, he'll remain the de facto No. 1 pass target.

Las Vegas Raiders: RB Josh Jacobs

You can see why Jacobs is holding out for financial security. Davante Adams may play a more important position, but with Jakobi Meyers and Hunter Renfrow out wide, Las Vegas can at least get by with WR reserves. Jacobs' power was their offense in 2022.

Los Angeles Chargers: OT Rashawn Slater

All eyes are on whether Justin Herbert can successfully grow as an aggressive passer under new coordinator Kellen Moore, but first he'll need to feel comfortable in the pocket, where Slater was elite at LT before an injury wiped out most of his last season.

Los Angeles Rams: WR Cooper Kupp

You might argue LT Joe Noteboom belongs here, considering Matthew Stafford isn't built to withstand another year of hard hits. But Kupp is the only real weapon at the QB's disposal, and his loss last year left them scratching and clawing for yards every week.

Miami Dolphins: OT Terron Armstead

Nothing is more important in Miami than Tua Tagovailoa's health after the QB's string of concussions prompted retirement consideration at just 25. Armstead is clearly their best blocker, so his absence could throw everything into a tizzy.

Minnesota Vikings: WR Justin Jefferson

Maybe the easiest pick of the entire list, Jefferson has rightfully drawn MVP consideration for his seamless play-making in Minnesota. Take him out of the lineup, and Kirk Cousins is left to lean on K.J. Osborn and rookie Jordan Addison out wide.

New England Patriots: OLB Matthew Judon

Most of Mac Jones' supporting parts -- both old and new -- are fairly replaceable, which speaks to their offensive struggles. Bill Belichick leans on the "D," however, and Judon's been one of his most consistent performers coming off the edge.

New Orleans Saints: DE Cameron Jordan

Who else is rushing the passer if the longtime veteran goes down? New QB Derek Carr probably can't afford to lose top WR Chris Olave, either, what with Michael Thomas' injury history. But Dennis Allen's team is still built on stuffing opposing offenses.

New York Giants: OT Andrew Thomas

His 2022 success confirmed his arrival as a top young tackle a la Penei Sewell in Detroit. For all the talk about getting Daniel Jones more help out wide, Brian Daboll's attack probably hinges more on Thomas standing pat at LT to keep the QB upright.

New York Jets: OT Duane Brown

Sauce Gardner is infinitely more talented at corner, and Garrett Wilson could be Aaron Rodgers' new Davante Adams. But what happens if Rodgers' LT goes down? Is he conditioned, going on 40, to transcend a bad pocket? The fact Brown is 38 himself, and coming off an injury-riddled season, doesn't necessarily bode well for A-Rod's setup in the trenches, as currently constructed.

Philadelphia Eagles: WR A.J. Brown

RT Lane Johnson, one of the best in the game at his spot, is probably more important overall. But he's already an annual candidate to miss a few games due to injury, and if Brown weren't active, DeVonta Smith would be Jalen Hurts' only truly trusted WR.

Pittsburgh Steelers: OLB T.J. Watt

Alex Highsmith filled out the stat sheet filling in for Watt in 2022, but the latter's injury-related absence was still felt throughout Mike Tomlin's defense. This remains a team built around that side of the ball, and Watt's ferocious edge work can't be replicated.

San Francisco 49ers: OT Trent Williams

Regardless of which QB opens 2023, be it Brock PurdyTrey Lance or even Sam Darnold, Kyle Shanahan's going to need his top tackle to be in full form. We all saw what happened last year, when protection broke down and their QBs dropped like flies.

Seattle Seahawks: OT Charles Cross

Once again, it's all about giving the QB a clean pocket. Geno Smith's turnover tendencies started to flare up down the stretch in his breakout 2022. With Jaxon Smith-Njigba joining the WR corps, Cross is an overlooked key to them staying in the mix.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OT Tristan Wirfs

Mike Evans is a fair candidate, considering he's the most reliable, consistent member of a WR corps lacking many answers beyond teammate Chris Godwin. But imagine Baker Mayfield under center if Wirfs, their best blocker, is knocked from the lineup.

Tennessee Titans: RB Derrick Henry

For years, they've made Henry the focal point of the offense. Nothing has changed. As Ryan Tannehill navigates yet another makeshift assembly of WRs, King Henry will be tasked with carrying Mike Vrabel's attack on his bruising shoulders.

Washington Commanders: WR Terry McLaurin

If Ron Rivera really believes new QB Sam Howell is capable of emerging as a long-term answer, he'd better hope the team's WR1 stays healthy, providing the second-year gunslinger with a downfield threat who's been relatively QB-proof in terms of production.


Top 10 NFL Supplemental Draft picks who made their mark in the league: Mike Wahle


Nick Igbokwe

Modified Jun 20, 2023 14:53 GMT

The NFL Supplemental Draft is set to return in July for the first time in four years, giving all 32 teams a chance to surrender future draft picks in exchange for prospects deemed ineligible for April's traditional draft.

The upcoming NFL Supplemental Draft will be a fantastic way for franchises to select fresh candidates, and it is another route for much-maligned prospects to live their NFL dream.

Before the 2023 NFL Supplemental Draft, let's look at ten of the most excellent picks in Supplemental Draft history. Without further ado, let's get to it.

Top 10 NFL Supplemental Draft Picks of all-time

Here are ten of the finest picks in Supplemental Draft history.

10. Terrelle Pryor, QB/WR, Oakland Raiders

The Raiders took a chance on the controversial but talented Pryor, who did a decent job repaying their faith.

Pryor threw nine touchdowns and tossed 11 picks with the Raiders, and given his massive size and explosive speed, a switch to wide receiver was logical. And while he never quite lived up to his high-school hype in the NFL, we have to hand it to Pryor for eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark in 2017 as a wideout in Cleveland, in only his second season playing that position. He reeled in 77 passes on 140 targets that year, but injuries ultimately sapped some of his juice, and Pryor's last season in 2018 featured just 22 catches and 252 yards receiving.

9. Bobby Humphrey, RB, Denver Broncos

Humphrey started his NFL career positively after being selected in the first round of the supplemental draft in 1989. As a member of the Broncos, he rushed for 1,151 yards and followed with a 1,202-yard campaign at 4.2 yards per attempt in 1990, the latter year earning him a spot in the Pro Bowl. He became the first Bronco to run for 1,000-plus yards in back-to-back years. His career later faded away after his ill-advised holdout during the 1991 season. He later closes out his NFL career as a member of the Miami Dolphins, putting up decent and efficient numbers.

8. Jared Gaither, OT, Baltimore Ravens

Following a three-year stint with the Ravens and spending the entire 2010 campaign on injured reserve, Gaither played with the Chiefs and had a three-year stay with the Chargers. He started 37 games in his NFL career and was typically one of the steadier albeit unspectacular left tackles in the league.

7. Josh Gordon, WR, Cleveland Browns

For all of Josh Gordon's controversies as an NFL player, even his most prominent critic must admit he was an excellent wide receiver. As a 22-year-old, he led the NFL with 1,646 yards receiving in just 14 games while catching passes from Jason Campbell, Brandon Weeden, and Brian Hoyer, an awe-inspiring feat. He earned first-team All-Pro nods in 2013 as a result.

However, Gordon's issues with substance abuse ended up being his kryptonite, as he never reached such high levels for the rest of his career. He even missed two full NFL seasons due to suspensions. He was last seen tearing it up in the XFL as he attempted to show NFL franchises that he still has enough gas left in the tank to play some rotational role.

6. Mike Wahle, OG, Carolina Panthers

After going in the second round of the 1998 supplemental draft, Wahle went on to have an 11-year NFL tenure, including 152 games played and an All-Pro nod in 2005 with the Panthers.

But it was with those good Packers teams in the late 1990s and early 2000s which Wahle cut his teeth. Before signing in Carolina, he was the club's full-time starter from 2001 to 2004.

5. Ahmad Brooks, LB, Cincinnati Bengals

Ahmad Brooks was selected in the third round of the 2006 supplemental draft. He was chosen by the Cincinnati Bengals, who saw a lot of potential in the Virginia alum. Brooks spent two seasons in Cincy before joining the San Francisco 49ers, where he made a name for himself as a dominant linebacker.

Brooks totaled 335 tackles, 88 QB hits, 71 tackles for loss, 51.5 sacks, 28 passes defended, three fumble recoveries, and three picks as a critical cog in the middle of the 49er's defense. He was a two-time second-team All-Pro performer and made one Pro Bowl.

4. Rob Moore, WR, New York Jets

The Jets took Moore in the first round of the 1990 supplemental draft, and he immediately paid dividends for the offense. He recorded 50 or more receptions and 700 or more receiving yards in four of his first five NFL seasons, including his breakout in 1994 when he topped 1,000 yards for the first time.

Moore left the Jets in the mid-90s and joined the Arizona Cardinals. He had two more 1,000-yard seasons while setting career highs in receptions (97), yards (1,584), and touchdowns (eight) in 1997. Moore is ranked 10th all-time in receiving yards and touchdowns, placing 12th in receptions in Cardinals' history.

3. Bernie Kosar, QB, Cleveland Browns

For a good reason, Bernie Kosar went number one in the 1985 supplemental draft. Had he not graduated in his junior year, he would have been a high Draft pick in the regular draft. Kosar entered the league with plenty of fanfare after an illustrious two-year career in Miami with the Hurricanes, in which the team won its first national title and the Fiesta Bowl the following season.

He threw for 23,301 yards, 124 TDs, and 87 interceptions over his 13-year NFL career, including stints with the Browns, Miami Dolphins, and Dallas Cowboys. He was a two-time Pro Bowler, winning a Super Bowl in Dallas while working as Troy Aikman's backup in 1994.

2. Jamal Williams, DT, Los Angeles Chargers

Jamal Williams turned a second-round NFL Supplemental Draft selection by the Los Angeles Chargers into a 13-year NFL career with three All-Pro and three Pro Bowl selections. That, by all means, is a testament to how important the NFL Supplemental Draft is to find diamonds in the rough.

Williams ended his career with 443 tackles (55 for loss), 13 sacks, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and one defensive touchdown. The Los Angeles Chargers were always one of the NFL's best defensive teams with Williams in the squad.

1. Cris Carter, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

It was never in doubt, as Cris Carter is the name you immediately think of when Supplemental Draft comes to mind. Carter remains the only former supplemental draft pick in the Hall of Fame. The Ohio State University alum had three productive but rocky years with the Eagles. Still, after he left for the Minnesota Vikings, he became a different player. In Minnesota, Carter earned three All-Pro selections, became an eight-time Pro Bowler, and was an NFL 1990s All-Decade Team member.

He had his first 1,000-yard season in 1993 (1,071 yards), starting eight straight years with 1,000 or more receiving yards. He also had seven seasons with 80 or more receptions and six with double-digit touchdowns. Carter ranks fourth all-time in league history for touchdown receptions (130), sixth in receptions (1,101), and 13th in receiving yards (13,899). He is the greatest Supplemental Draft pick in NFL history, and it's not even close.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

ESPN's SP+ ranks Iowa No. 8 nationally thus far in 2020s


Riley Donald 

Some fans may harp on Kirk Ferentz and his steady-handed approach with the Iowa Hawkeyes. Others seem to love knowing what they will get. Either way, the approach has the Hawkeyes with a 24-11 record so far this decade over three seasons.

Included in that are three bowl bids and a Big Ten conference record of 18-8. You would be hard-pressed to find fanbases, aside from maybe 10 others, that wouldn’t take that output in a heartbeat.

Nonetheless, the performance from the Hawkeyes through the 2020s, albeit still early on, has them among ESPN’s top 10 teams of the decade to this point. ESPN ranked the teams based on the SP+ metric. The Hawkeyes come in as the No. 8 team of the 2020s.

While Iowa didn’t crack any of the best offenses of the 2020s, they are tied with the Georgia Bulldogs with a pair of top-five defenses already this decade. The 2020 and 2022 Iowa defenses both reached that lofty mark. Just missing the turn of the decade was the 2019 Iowa defense which was the fifth-best defense of the 2010s decade.

While not a top-10 overall team, the Hawkeyes do have a renaissance era of being an elite offense. Back in the 1960s, the Hawkeyes’ 1960 offense was the top-rated one of the entire decade.

That’s right, there was a time when Iowa was known for elite offense. In 1960, quarterback Wilburn Hollis and halfback Larry Ferguson helmed an attack that ranked fifth in scoring offense (26.3 PPG) despite playing an incredible eight straight ranked opponents. – Bill Connelly, ESPN

The rest of the top 10 joining Iowa in the 2020s is mostly comprised of your usual suspects.

  1.       Alabama Crimson Tide
  2. Ohio State Buckeyes
  3. Georgia Bulldogs
  4. Michigan Wolverines
  5. Clemson Tigers
  6. Oklahoma Sooners
  7. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  8. Iowa Hawkeyes
  9. Utah Utes
  10. Cincinnati Bearcats

Huntsville native Trey Flowers holds second annual field day extravaganza


Posted: Jun 17, 2023 / 10:19 PM CDT

Updated: Jun 17, 2023 / 10:19 PM CDT

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Sometimes it’s just fun to run around and have fun like a kid, and Huntsville native and NFL defensive lineman Trey Flowers is making sure that the local kids get to have that kind of fun. On Saturday, the Columbia High School alum returned home to host his second annual field day extravaganza.

This year, Flowers said the event was bigger and better as kids got to play dodgeball, water balloon rights, ride horses, go on bounce houses, eat ice cream and more.

The two-time Super Bowl champ has always wanted to give back to his community but wanted to do something different than a normal football camp and that’s why he decided to have a field day instead. His goal is to just let these kids have fun, instill positivity and be a role model for his community.

“For them to come out and just have fun, and show them that they can smile and have fun, have a good time, it’s important to enjoy life. Just being the standard, being a role model for them to look up and see the example that I was just like them in the same city, same school system, same rec league, same whatever and I achieved the things that I achieved and you can do the same thing, if not more,” Flowers said.

Flowers added that he is already excited for next year’s event and to once again make it bigger and better for the local kids.

Popular Posts