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Classic Team Logo of The Day

08 Sep

There have been many fan suggestions for renaming the Washington NFL franchise, and one of the most popular is the Washington Red Tails, who were an African American fighter pilot group in World War II that got little to no recognition after the war. This is a rendition of a logo that could be used should the team adopt that name. The original Red Tails were Tuskegee Airmen who comprised the 332nd Fighter Group of the U.S. Army Air Corps whose mission was primarily as bomber escorts. Their exploits were featured in the movie Red Tails, starring Cuba Cooding Jr. and Terrence Howard.

 

Classic Sports Card of The Day

08 Sep

2002 Bowman football card of former NFL running back Travis Henry, who played 7 seasons in the league for 3 teams. He was a Pro Bowler while with Buffalo in 2002, and spent a total of 4 years with the Bills. Henry is reported to have fathered 11 children by 10 different women, and unfortunately in 2009 was sentenced to 3 years in federal prison for financing a cocaine trafficking operation.

 

Buffalo Bills’ 2020 Draft Picks

23 Aug

We’re a little late to the party this year in posting our evaluations of the Buffalo Bills’ choices in this year’s college draft, but with the season fast approaching and our season preview post due soon, it’s better late than never! The Bills used their first round pick as part of a trade with Minnesota for a proven veteran wide receiver, Stefon Diggs. Here’s an analysis of their remaining choices:

 

(James Coller photo)

Round 2 – A.J. Epenesa (DE, Iowa) – a quick, strong pass rusher to add to the team’s defensive line rotation. Known for a strong work ethic, he should fit in well with the Bills’ “process”.

 

Round 3 – Zach Moss (RB, Utah) – the Bills elected not to resign Frank Gore, so there is an obvious opening for another back on the roster. Moss is a tough inside runner who should excel in short yardage situations, and also possesses good pass receiving skills.

 

Round 4 – Gabriel Davis (WR, Central Florida) – the first of 2 big receivers the Bills went after in the draft. Davis had impressive stats in his junior year at UCF before declaring for the draft – 72 receptions for 1,241 yards and 12 touchdowns.

 

(Tammy Baker photo)

Round 5 – Jake Fromm (QB, Georgia) – Jake “Fromm State Farm” became a controversial pick after some questionable texts by him were revealed, but his football ability makes him a solid possibility to win the team’s backup quarterback job behind Josh Allen.

 

Round 6A – Tyler Bass (K, Georgia Southern) – the first of a pair of sixth round choices turned out to be a serious competitor for incumbent kicker Stephen Hauschka. Bass has an extremely strong leg to compete with Hauschka, who seems to have lost some long range ability with age. Having kicked in a small conference in the south, Bass will have to show he can handle booting in the Buffalo weather.

 

Round 6B – Isiah Hodgins (WR, Oregon State) – here’s the other big-bodied wideout GM Brandon Beane chose. At 6’4 and 209 pounds, he is an imposing red zone target with a great pair of hands, and will be solidly in the mix for a roster spot among a talented group of receivers the team has.

 

Round 7 – Dane Jackson (CB, Pittsburgh) – seventh round draft picks are always long shots to stick with an NFL team, but the Bills value depth in their defensive secondary so he has a chance. He played 4 years at Pitt so he is experienced, and was second team All-ACC in his senior year.

 

The Bills, as always, signed some intriguing undrafted free agents after the selection process was over, including Reggie Gilliam, a fullback from Toledo who comes into camp with a reputation for being a special teams standout, specializing in blocking kicks. Trey Adams, a massive 6’8 311 pound tackle from Washington, was considered a top prospect before injuries hampered him but if he stays healthy he can win a roster spot. Brandon Walton, a big tackle from Florida Atlantic, blocked for Bills’ back Devin Singletary in college. Ike Brown is a cornerback from Florida International who will be one of a large group of young CBs trying to stick with the team. The COVID-19 virus and the NFL’s decision to expand rosters and practice squads to account for possible positive tests during the season certainly gives a lot of these players a great opportunity to continue their careers. However, the shortened training camp and lack of preseason games definitely cuts down on their chances to show their worthiness.

 

 

 
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Classic Team Logo of The Day

23 Aug

It’s pretty generic, not very much of a classic and most likely temporary, but this is the logo of the NFL team formerly known as the Washington Redskins. The team, under pressure, retired the racist nickname recently.  Until they decide on a permanent name for the franchise, they will go into the 2020 season as simply the “Washington Football Team”. Owner Dan Snyder did make a positive move this week, hiring Jason Wright as the first Black NFL team president in league history.

 

Classic Sports Card of The Day

23 Aug

1999 Topps football card of former NFL wide receiver Peerless Price, who played 9 seasons in the league for 4 different franchises. He had 2 separate stints in Buffalo, where he had his most success as the Bills’ second option behind Eric Moulds. His career stats included 403 receptions for over 5,000 yards and 31 receiving touchdowns, so he had a decent career. Moulds recently returned to the University of Tennessee to earn his degree.

 

NFL – 2020 Bills’ Mock Draft Predictions

19 Apr

We are now less than a week away from the NFL’s 2020 college draft. The first round mock draft by our Rayonsports correspondents is in the books, and now the four of us will try our hand at identifying the 7 players that our local team, the Buffalo Bills, will select this week. Here are our picks along with scouting reports and some rationale as to why the choices make sense:

 

Round 2, Pick # 54

 

Connor Pohlman – D’Andre Swift, RB (Georgia) – Recently Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller noted that the Bills will look to add more offensive playmakers in this year’s draft. With the addition of stud WR Stefon Diggs this offseason, the Bills’ offense looks to take that step and the addition of Swift will help them get there.

 

Josh Pohlman – Jonathan Taylor, RB (Wisconsin) – Taylor would be the perfect 1-2 complement to Devin Singletary and would be the best player available at pick 54. 2019 Bills’ RB Frank Gore became a free agent in the offseason.

 

Scott Prelewicz – Trevon Diggs, CB (Alabama) – cornerback depth is added by picking up the brother of recent trade acquisition – wide receiver Stefon Diggs.

 

Ray Prelewicz – Curtis Weaver EDGE (Boise State) – GM Brandon Beane has put his team in position to pick the best player available and Weaver fits that description as well as filling a future position of need, with Jerry Hughes, Trent Murphy and newly-signed Mario Addison all getting up in age.

 

Round 3, Pick # 86

 

Connor Pohlman – Chase Claypool, WR (Notre Dame) – Beane continues to add offensive playmakers here and clocking in at 6’4 and 238 lbs. Claypool would be the primary big body target in a WR room filled with “smurfs”, as coach Sean McDermott said last year.

 

Josh Pohlman – Chase Claypool, WR (Notre Dame) – the final offensive piece for the Bills, a big-bodied receiver who can make contested catches. It would be a stretch if he’s still available at pick # 86 but would also be the best player available.

 

Scott Prelewicz – Matthew Peart, OT (UConn) – Jamaican-born prospect with long arms and great athletic ability who may need development but his ceiling is high.

 

Ray Prelewicz – Bryan Edwards, WR (South Carolina) – Edwards is a physical, possession type receiver who projects as a slot receiver, making him the eventual heir apparent to Cole Beasley as well as an immediate contributor as he learns the ropes of being an NFL player.

 

Round 4, Pick # 128

 

Connor Pohlman – Kenny Willekes, EDGE (Michigan State) – the Bills added DE Mario Addison this offseason, who has been extremely consistent in his time with the Panthers, racking up at least 9 sacks every year since 2016. Adding Willekes here is a good value pick and will help the Bills get younger on the edge, eventually replacing Trent Murphy and Jerry Hughes.

 

Josh Pohlman – Alton Robinson, EDGE (Syracuse) – a dominant pass rusher who would be a nice replacement for UFA Shaq Lawson. He has a career total of 19.5 sacks for 102 yards lost in the ACC.

 

Scott Prelewicz – Darrynton Evans, RB (Appalachian State) – small school back who would be expected to complement Devin Singletary. He’s an explosive, shifty runner who is good in pass protection, a bonus for a rookie back.

 

Ray Prelewicz – A.J. Dillon, RB (Boston College) – Bills need a big, physical short yardage back to complement Devin Singletary and Dillon would provide an immediate plug-and-play option there. He is a 6’1 249 lb. bruiser who also displays some unexpected shiftiness in the open field.

 

Round 5, Pick # 167

 

Connor Pohlman – Tanner Muse, S (Clemson) – Jordan Poyer was just recently extended for 2 more years on his current contract, but adding Muse will add depth and youth to the position. While he won’t start at safety right away, McDermott and DC Leslie Frazier like to rotate their young DBs similar to Taron Johnson and Siran Neal in their rookie seasons. Muse could compete for the chance to start on special teams. The Bills were also heavily involved in Clemson’s pro day.

 

Josh Pohlman – Shaquille Quarterman, LB (Miami) – Quarterman is a potential replacement for retired linebacker Lorenzo Alexander. Also, Matt Milano hits free agency in 2021, barring an extension.

 

Scott Prelewicz – Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR (Liberty) – a big (6’4 223 lb.) red zone target for Josh Allen. He has a big catch radius and showed tremendous improvement with his hands in his senior year.

 

Ray Prelewicz – Markus Bailey, LB (Purdue) – a tough, blue collar defender who has the tenacity to carve out a role for himself in the NFL. He would have to earn a spot on special teams while learning the nuances of the position, but with the Bills’ lack of depth at LB would have a chance.

 

Round 6A, Pick # 188

 

Connor Pohlman – Javaris Davis, CB (Auburn) – Davis brings youth and depth to a position the Bills have done a good job of improving this offseason with the additions of Josh Norman and E.J. Gaines. Davis could find himself rotating at nickel corner with Taron Johnson.

 

Josh Pohlman – Terence Steele, OT (Texas Tech) – there are still some questions along the offensive line. Dion Dawkins will be a free agent in 2021 barring an extension and Ty Nsekhe will be 35 years old in October.

 

Scott Prelewicz – Raequan Williams, DL (Michigan State) – a good hand fighter in the defensive line who would have to work hard to make the Bills’ roster. His versatility to be able to play any position along the line would help him.

 

Ray Prelewicz – Carter Coughlin, EDGE (Minnesota) – a consistent playmaker for the Gophers in his college career, Coughlin totaled 22.5 sacks and 8 forced fumbles. Some scouts question his height and strength but he is a high-motor guy and a good value pick at this point.

 

Round 6B, Pick # 207

 

Connor Pohlman – Francis Bernard, LB (Utah) – with the loss of veteran LB Lorenzo Alexander this offseason, the Bills lost a pivotal part of that #3 ranked defense. Newest signing A.J. Klein should become a starter at OLB, but the addition of Bernard will add good depth, coming from a Utah defense that played a major role in landing them in the AP Top 10 this past season.

 

Josh Pohlman – Reggie Robinson II, CB (Tulsa) – cornerback depth is always needed and with Josh Norman only on a one year deal there is room to make the roster. Levi Wallace and Tre’Davious White are potential free agents also barring extensions for them.

 

Scott Prelewicz – K.J. Osborn, WR (Miami) – he transferred from MAAC school University at Buffalo to Miami for his senior season and the jump wasn’t too big for him as he led the Hurricanes in receiving and contributed as a punt returner and on special teams, which gives him an edge in his attempt to stick in the NFL.

 

Ray Prelewicz – Jake Hanson, C (Oregon) – some scouts don’t think he’s strong enough to thrive in the NFL but his college coaches rave about him, especially his nasty temperament. He will probably have to show some versatility at other line positions to make the Bills’ roster if they pick him.

 

Round 7, Pick 239

 

Connor Pohlman – Austin Mack, WR (Ohio State) – the last pick of the Bills’ draft brings in a WR from a good college football program who made some big plays in the 2020 CFB Playoff.

 

Josh Pohlman – Rodrigo Blankenship, K (Georgia) – Bills’ kicker Stephen Hauschka will turn 35 years old in June. Last season he signed an extension and won’t be a free agent until 2022. Hauschka had a rocky start to the 2019 season, going 8-13 on field goals through the first 9 games. One game included an 0-2 performance (with a missed extra point also) that resulted in a 19-16 loss to Cleveland. It became clear that the Bills were exploring other options when they put in a waiver claim for Chase McLaughlin later in the season.

 

Scott Prelewicz – Trevon Hill, EDGE (Miami) – another Hurricane is picked. Hill enrolled at Miami after being dismissed from the team at Virginia Tech. He doesn’t have ideal size for an edge rusher but his play sometimes defied his lack of the prototypical body type.

 

Ray Prelewicz – Reggie Robinson II, CB (Tulsa) – big corner with good ball skills and a willing and able tackler in the run game. A versatile player who has also played safety.

 
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Classic Team Logo of The Day

19 Apr

Lenoir-Rhyne-University

Logo of a small college football team that plays in the Division II South Atlantic Conference, the Lenoir-Rhyne University Bears. The school’s football program began play in 1907 and they’ve garnered 22 conference titles and an NAIA national championship in 1960. Despite it’s small school status, the Bears have sent 3 players – Craig Keith, John Milem and Terence Steward, to the pros, along with a long-time NFL assistant coach, Perry Fewell. The Bears produced another draftable pro prospect this season in safety Kyle Dugger.

 
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Classic Sports Card of The Day

19 Apr

2012toppstriplethreadfredjackson

2012 Topps Triple Thread football card of former pro football running back Fred Jackson, who played 9 seasons in the NFL for the Buffalo Bills and retired as the team’s third all-time leading rusher. He was undrafted out of Coe College and played in an arena league and NFL Europe before Bills’ GM Marv Levy, a Coe alumnus, gave him a shot at making the team’s roster. He made the most of that opportunity and carved out a nice career, even becoming a fan favorite in Buffalo. He finished his career in Seattle before retiring after the 2015 season.

 
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2020 NFL First Round Mock Draft

14 Apr

We here at Rayonsports  have decided to do a first round only mock draft of college players into the NFL, with the picks made alternately by Rayonsports correspondents Connor Pohlman, Josh Pohlman, Scott Prelewicz and Ray Prelewicz. Due to various trades, several teams have multiple picks in the first round. Those teams are: Miami Dolphins, with 3 choices, and Minnesota Vikings, Jacksonville Jaguars, Las Vegas Raiders and San Francisco 49ers all with a pair each. Also, each of our contributors will offer a complete 7 round draft for the hometown Buffalo Bills, to be published sometime prior to the actual selection process. Here is how we see the opening round of this year’s draft, held “virtually” because of the Covid-19 virus, shaking out:

  1. Cincinnati Bengals (Connor Pohlman) – Joe Burrow, QB (LSU)
  2. Washington Redskins (Josh Pohlman) – Chase Young, EDGE (Ohio State)
  3. Detroit Lions (Scott Prelewicz) – Jeffrey Okudah, CB (Ohio State)
  4. New York Giants (Ray Prelewicz) – Tristan Wirfs, OT (Iowa)
  5. Miami Dolphins (CP) – Justin Herbert, QB (Oregon)
  6. Los Angeles Chargers (JP) – Tua Tagovailoa, QB (Alabama)
  7. Carolina Panthers (SP) – Isaiah Simmons, LB (Clemson)
  8. Arizona Cardinals (RP) – Mekhi Becton, OT (Louisville)
  9. Jacksonville Jaguars (CP) – Derrick Brown, DT (Auburn)
  10. Cleveland Browns (JP) – Jedrick Wills, OT (Alabama)
  11. New York Jets (SP) – Andrew Thomas, OT (Georgia)
  12. Las Vegas Raiders (RP) – CeeDee Lamb, WR (Oklahoma)
  13. San Francisco 49ers (CP) – Jerry Jeudy, WR (Alabama)
  14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (JP) – Javon Kinlaw, DT (South Carolina)
  15. Denver Broncos (SP) – Henry Ruggs III, WR (Alabama)
  16. Atlanta Falcons (RP) – C.J. Henderson, CB (Florida)
  17. Dallas Cowboys (CP) – Kristian Fulton, CB (LSU)
  18. Miami Dolphins (JP) – Josh Jones, OT (Houston)
  19. Las Vegas Raiders (SP) – K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE (LSU)
  20. Jacksonville Jaguars (RP) – Jeff Gladney, CB (TCU)
  21. Philadelphia Eagles (CP) – Justin Jefferson, WR (LSU)
  22. Minnesota Vikings (JP) – Noah Igbinoghene, CB (Auburn)
  23. New England Patriots (SP) – Jordan Love, QB (Utah State)
  24. New Orleans Saints (RP) – DeAndre Swift, RB (Georgia)
  25. Minnesota Vikings (CP) – A.J. Epenesa, EDGE (Iowa)
  26. Miami Dolphins (JP) – Denzel Mims, WR (Baylor)
  27. Seattle Seahawks (SP) – Trevon Diggs, CB (Alabama)
  28. Baltimore Ravens (RP) – Grant Delpit, S (LSU)
  29. Tennessee Titans (CP) – Yetir Gross-Matos, EDGE (Penn State)
  30. Green Bay Packers (JP) – Tee Higgins, WR (Clemson)
  31. San Francisco 49ers (SP) – Xavier McKinney, S (Alabama)
  32. Kansas City Chiefs (RP) – Patrick Queen, LB (LSU)

 

joeburrow

Joe Burrow, LSU QB,  consensus top pick on most draft boards

Some highlights and surprises of this mock draft: Miami passing up Tua to draft Herbert (what happened to Tank For Tua?), New Orleans causing consternation in the Dolphins’ war room by snatching up Swift, the top available RB, two picks before the Dolphins, and the number of wide receivers (6) and cornerbacks (6) chosen. Five offensive tackles are included, a sign of how that position is becoming a premier one in the league. National champion LSU and Alabama have 6 players chosen each. Also, a question posed – would the Patriots have drafted a quarterback regardless of whether Tom Brady left or not? We’ll check back after the actual draft to see how close we came to the actual selections.

chaseyoung

Chase Young of Ohio State, consensus #2 pick some consider best player available

 

 
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Classic Team Logo of The Day

14 Apr

LARamsnew

It’s not exactly a “classic”, it’s the brand new logo of the Los Angeles Rams, a pro football team that plays in the NFL. The Rams will be moving into their brand new stadium in 2020 and decided to freshen up both their uniforms and logos for the move. The franchise relocated from Cleveland in 1946 and stayed until a move to St. Louis in 1995. They returned to L.A. in 2015. Some players from their glory years in the City of Angels include Bob Waterfield, Norm Van Brocklin, Tom Fears, Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch, Les Richter, Roman Gabriel, Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen, Roosevelt Grier, Eric Dickerson, Fred Dryer, Jackie Slater and Jack Youngblood.

 
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