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Classic Team Logo of The Day

04 Sep

NCCUEagles06

Logo of a small college football team, the North Carolina Central University Eagles, who play in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. They were the Historically Black Colleges national champions in 2005 and 2006, and Eagle alumni who have gone on to play professional football include John Baker, Louis Breeden, Doug Wilkerson, William Frizzell, Chuck Hinton, Ernie Warlick, Robert Massey and Charles Romes.

 

Classic Sports Card of The Day

04 Sep

76toppspatulski

1976 Topps football card of former pro football defensive end Walt Patulski, who was the top overall draft pick of the 1972 NFL draft. Drafted out of Syracuse by the Buffalo Bills, he would become one of many of the team’s draft busts over the years. Patulski played 4 uneventful seasons for the Bills until he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1977. He played only a single season for the Cards before a knee injury ended his career. He has been active with the Syracuse Board of Education and the Boys And Girls Clubs of America since his playing days ended, and was inducted into the Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.

 

NFL – Mock Draft 2018

05 Apr

Welcome to the third annual Rayonsports.com mock draft of college players to the National Football League. This year our panel of expert draft analysts will expand our picks to three rounds. Here are our guesses for how the NFL’s teams will restock their rosters through the college draft:

Round One

 

darnoldUSC QB Sam Darnold

 

  1. Cleveland Browns – Sam Darnold, QB (USC). He seems to be the consensus top pick on most draft boards.
  2. New York Giants – Saquon Barkley, RB (Penn State) – many draft experts consider him to be the top player in the draft.
  3. New York Jets (from Indianapolis) – Josh Rosen, QB (UCLA) – his big time personality will bode well for success in the Big Apple.
  4. Cleveland Browns (from Houston) – Bradley Chubb, DE (NC State) – the best edge rusher in the draft gets paired up with last year’s top pick, Myles Garrett.
  5. Denver Broncos – Denzel Ward, CB (Ohio State) – Broncos add a blue chip replacement for Aquib Talib.
  6. Indianapolis Colts (from NY Jets) – Quenton Nelson, G (Notre Dame) – Colts realize the importance of protecting Andrew Luck, and add a solid offensive lineman to help accomplish that.
  7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Minkah Fitzpatrick, S (Alabama) – Bucs pluck a playmaker from the national champion Crimson Tide.
  8. Chicago Bears – Vita Vea, DT (Washington) – this run-stuffing beast will be a big part of reviving the Monsters of The Midway defense in the Windy City.
  9. San Francisco 49ers – Tremaine Edmonds, LB (Virginia Tech) – a great combination of size and speed makes this youngster a top ten pick.
  10. Oakland Raiders – Roquan Smith, LB (Georgia) – Raiders covet Edmonds, but grab the next best ‘backer in this powerful Bulldog.
  11. Miami Dolphins – Derwin James, S (Florida State) – Fish consider a quarterback, but opt to go with the “best player available” strategy instead.
  12. Buffalo Bills (from Cincinnati) – Baker Mayfield, QB (Oklahoma) – this pick stirred up the most debate among our panel of experts, but the final choice was the controversial Heisman Trophy winner.
  13. Washington Redskins – Harold Landry, LB (Boston College) – linebacker may not be his true position, but neither is defensive end. Like NC State’s Chubb, he is one of what NFL talent evaluators list as an “edge rusher”.
  14. Green Bay Packers – Joshua Jackson, CB (Iowa) – in a bit of a reach here, Packers choose to upgrade their weak secondary.
  15. Arizona Cardinals – Josh Allen, QB (Wyoming) – there’s a distinct possibility that this pick and Buffalo’s at #12 are reversed.
  16. Baltimore Ravens – Calvin Ridley, WR (Alabama) – the first receiver of the draft comes off the board as the Ravens add a dynamic playmaker for QB Joe Flacco.
  17. Los Angeles Chargers – Lamar Jackson, QB (Louisville) – Bolts recently signed Geno Smith, but that won’t stop them from grabbing Phillip Rivers’ eventual replacement.
  18. Seattle Seahawks – Derrius Guise, RB (LSU) – Hawks finally find an adequate replacement for Marshawn Lynch.
  19. Dallas Cowboys – Marcus Davenport, DE (Texas-San Antonio) – another “edge rusher” that will step in and help the Cowboys defense.
  20. Detroit Lions – Maurice Hurst, DT (Michigan) – with a nod to new coach Matt Patricia, the Lions go defense with this pick, despite Hurst’s possible medical issues.
  21. Cincinnati Bengals (from Buffalo) – Will Hernandez, G (Texas-El Paso) – Bengals need to strengthen their interior offensive line.
  22. Buffalo Bills (from Kansas City) – Rashaan Evans, LB (Alabama) – he should step in as a day one starter at middle linebacker, as coach Sean McDermott seeks a speedier replacement for the departed Preston Brown.
  23. New England Patriots (from LA Rams) – Leighton VanderEsch, LB (Boise State) – this rangy inside backer could become an instant star playing in coach Bill Belichick’s defense.
  24. Carolina Panthers – Christian Kirk, WR (Texas A&M) – some analysts have him rated as a second round prospect so this may be a reach for the Panthers.
  25. Tennessee Titans – Da’Ron Payne, DT (Alabama) – Titans add a strong presence to their interior defensive line.
  26. Atlanta Falcons – Ronnie Harrison, S (Alabama) – back-to-back defensive picks from the national champion Crimson Tide.
  27. New Orleans Saints – Mike McGlinchey, T (Notre Dame) – in a bit of a down year for offensive tackle prospects, the Saints add the best of the lot, a steal this far down in the round.
  28. Pittsburgh Steelers – Mike Hughes, CB (Central Florida) – Coach Mike Tomlin recognizes the need to fortify his club’s weak secondary.
  29. Jacksonville Jaguars – Cortland Sutton, WR (SMU) – after suffering some free agent losses at this position, the Jags add a potent weapon for QB Blake Bortles.
  30. Minnesota Vikings – Arden Key, DE (LSU) – another “edge rusher”, he should be an added defensive piece to what should be a top NFC contender.
  31. New England Patriots – Isaiah Oliver, CB (Colorado) – after surrending 41 points to the Eagles in the Super Bowl, the Pats move to add much needed help to their defense.
  32. Philadelphia Eagles – Jaire Alexander, CB (Louisville) – Super Bowl champs wind up the first round by choosing a second round prospect, but still a top defender in this year’s draft.

 

Round Two

33. Cleveland Browns – Connor Williams, T (Texas) – the Browns, with a wealth of picks, make this one with an eye toward replacing retiring All Pro Joe Thomas.

34. New York Giants – Isaiah Wynn, G (Georgia) – the likelihood that Eli Manning remains the starting QB makes protecting him a priority.

35. Cleveland Browns – Taven Bryan, DT (Florida) – Brownies resort to the “best player available” mode with this pick.

36. Indianapolis Colts – Sony Michel, RB (Georgia) – with Frank Gore gone, Colts plug in a runner who some scouts are calling this year’s Alvin Kamara.

37. Indianapolis Colts – Uchenna Nwosu, LB (USC) – Colts grab an edge rusher who is a solid first round talent.

38. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Nick Chubb, RB (Georgia) – a replacement for the departed Doug Martin.

39. Chicago Bears – Brian O’Neill, T (Pittsburgh) – Bears add a protector for their new franchise QB Mitch Trubisky.

40. Denver Broncos – Lorenzo Carter, LB (Georgia) – the fourth Bulldog chosen so far in the second round, he will look great lined up as an edge rusher opposite Von Miller.

41. Oakland Raiders – Sam Hubbard, LB (Ohio State) – another edge rusher, the Raiders continue to load up on defense.

42. Miami Dolphins – Mike Gesicki, TE (Penn State) – Dolphins choose a player who will likely be an instant starter with Julius Thomas gone.

43. New England Patriots – Anthony Miller, WR (Memphis) – with Tom Brady as his QB, this kid steps into a great situation.

44. Washington Redskins – James Washington, WR (Oklahoma State) – yes, Mr. Washington goes to Washington.

45. Green Bay Packers – Josh Sweat, DE (Florida State) – defensive end and outside linebacker, in today’s game, have pretty much morphed into a new position – edge rusher. This kid is another one.

46. Cincinnati Bengals – James Daniels, C (Iowa) – with a need at the center position, Bengals reach to draft a round 3-4 prospect.

47. Arizona Cardinals – Braden Smith, G (Auburn) – Cardinals begin the process of adding protection for their shiny new QB.

48. Los Angeles Chargers – Billy Price, C (Ohio State) – despite an injury that may postpone the start of his career, Chargers find his value too good to pass up.

49. Indianapolis Colts – Carlton Davis, CB (Auburn) – a much needed cover corner for the Colts’ secondary.

50. Dallas Cowboys – Holton Hill, CB (Texas) – “Hollywood” Hill is made to play for the ‘Boys. He’s a flashy corner who doesn’t lack confidence.

51. Detroit Lions – Mark Andrews, TE (Oklahoma) – Lions reach a bit for a replacement for Eric Ebron.

52. Baltimore Ravens – Quenton Meeks, CB (Stanford) – Baltimore needs to infuse some youth into their secondary.

53. Buffalo Bills – D.J. Chark, WR (LSU) – Bills add a solid deep threat to their thin receiving corps with this stud who stood out in the Senior Bowl.

54. Kansas City Chiefs – Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, DE (Oklahoma) – KC finally gets their first choice in this draft and adds a bona fide pass rusher.

55. Carolina Panthers – Harrison Phillips, DT (Stanford) – Bolts grab a great D-line addition to pair with Joey Bosa.

56. Buffalo Bills – Darius Leonard, LB (South Carolina State) – Bills add this small school undersized gem to their stable of LBs, which is need of a major upgrade.

57. Tennessee Titans – D.J. Moore, WR (Maryland) – Titans snap up this explosive pass catcher who gets first round grades from some scouts.

58. Atlanta Falcons – Malik Jefferson, LB (Texas) – athletic inside linebacker who fits the Falcons’ defensive scheme.

59. San Francisco 49ers – Michael Gallup, WR (Colorado State) – Niners pile up another shiny new toy for Jimmy G to play with.

60. Pittsburgh Steelers – Mason Rudolph, QB (Oklahoma State) – could this kid be Ben Roethlisberger 2.0?

61. Jacksonville Jaguars – Hayden Hurst, TE (South Carolina) – after jettisoning veteran Marcedes Lewis, Jags grab a young replacement.

62. Minnesota Vikings – Frank Ragnow, C (Arkansas) – rugged future building block for the Vikings’ interior offensive line.

63. New England Patriots – Justin Reid, S (Stanford) – Pats continue to fortify their secondary.

64. Cleveland Browns – Jesse Bates III, S (Wake Forest) – Steelers see a lot of upside in this young addition to the secondary.

 

Round Three

 

65. Buffalo Bills – Kolton Miller, T (UCLA)

66. New York Giants – Da’Shawn Hand, DT (Alabama)

67. Indianapolis Colts –  Orlando Brown, T (Oklahoma)

68. Houston Texans – Donte Jackson, CB (LSU)

69. New York Giants – Mike White, QB (Western Kentucky)

70. San Francisco 49ers – Brendan Mahon, G (Penn State)

71. Denver Broncos – Deon Cain, WR (Clemson)

72. New York Jets – Jeff Holland, LB (Auburn)

73. Miami Dolphins – Kalen Ballage, RB (Arizona State)

74. San Francisco 49ers – Dallas Goedert, TE (South Dakota State)

75. Oakland Raiders – Marcell Ateman, WR (Oklahoma State)

76. Green Bay Packers – M.J. Stewart, CB (North Carolina)

77. Cincinnati Bengals – Joshua Frazier, DT (Alabama)

78. Kansas City Chiefs – R.J. McIntosh, DT (Miami)

79. Arizona Cardinals – Dante Pettis, WR (Washington)

80. Houston Texans – Derrick Nnadi, DT (Florida State)

81. Dallas Cowboys – DeShon Elliot, S (Texas)

82. Detroit Lions – Ronald Jones II, RB (USC)

83. Baltimore Ravens – Josey Jewell, LB (Iowa)

84. Los Angeles Chargers – Rasheem Green, DT (USC)

85. Carolina Panthers – Tarvarus McFadden, CB (Florida State)

86. Kansas City Chiefs – Duke Dawson, CB (Florida)

87. Los Angeles Rams – Tegray Scales, LB (Indiana)

88. Carolina Panthers – Anthony Averett, CB (Alabama)

89. Tennessee Titans – Bradley Bozeman, C (Alabama)

90. Atlanta Falcons – Shaquem Griffin, LB (Central Florida)

91. New Orleans Saints – Luke Falk, QB (Washington State)

92. Pittsburgh Steelers – Troy Fumagalli, TE (Wisconsin)

93. Jacksonville Jaguars – DaeSean Hamilton, WR (Penn State)

94. Minnesota Vikings – Kameron Kelly, S (San Diego State)

95. New England Patriots – Kyle Lauletta, QB (Richmond)

96. Buffalo Bills – Rashaad Penny, RB (San Diego State)

97. Arizona Cardinals – Wyatt Teller, G (Virginia Tech)

98. Houston Texans – Brandon Parker, T (North Carolina A&T)

99. Denver Broncos – Poona Ford, DT (Texas)

100. Cincinnati Bengals – Riley Ferguson, QB (Memphis)

 
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Classic Team Logo of The Day

05 Apr

bowiestate

Logo of a small college football team that plays in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, the Bowie State Bulldogs. They are a Division II team so their contribution to pro football is minimal, with the most notable alumni being Isaac Redman and current player Khari Lee.

 

Classic Sports Card of The Day

05 Apr

51bowmandudley

1951 Bowman football card of former pro football halfback “Bullet” Bill Dudley, who played 9 years in the National Football League in the 1940s and ’50s for 3 different teams. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1966, becoming the first player who was drafted first overall to become enshrined in Canton. He was a six-time All Pro and MVP of the league in 1946, and was chosen as a member of the NFL’s All decade team for the 1940s. His career was interrupted by military service in World war II, as he served in the Army Air Corps for 3 years. After retiring, Dudley served as a scout for the Steelers and Lions, and also served 4 terms in the Virginia House of Delegates. He passed away in 2010.

 

NFL – Bills’ Season Review – Part 4

23 Jan

The fourth and final entry of our Bills’ 2017 season review takes a look at positions of need for the team going into next season, and some possible avenues, through trades, free agency and the draft, that they can address those needs:

 

Quarterback

 

There is almost no chance the Bills bring back Tyrod Taylor as their starting QB in 2018. He will be cut or possibly traded if they can find a willing partner. With third stringer Joe Webb III being unsigned, the only signal caller under contract is rookie Nathan Peterman. Peterman is still a project at this point, and although he still could be a future starter, management has to bring in a different, and hopefully better option than Taylor, to be a bridge QB until Peterman or any rookie they draft, is ready. The possibilities include a free agent, like Sam Bradford or Josh McCown. I don’t see them breaking the bank on a high-priced vet like Kirk Cousins. Most likely, they’ll use a draft choice on a QB, either by packaging some of their draft capital and/or players to move up in the draft, or staying put and nabbing a player they like with their own picks. Possibilities there include Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph, Wyoming’s Josh Allen, Western Kentucky’s Mike White or Luke Falk of Washington State.

 

Running Back

 

LeSean McCoy is the heart and soul of Buffalo’s offense, but the team needs to find him some help in the form of a capable backup who can lessen his workload. Late season signee Marcus Murphy showed some promise but depth is needed here badly. In the free agent market, Minnesota’s Jerick McKinnon would be an option. Rookie Dalvin Cook will return from injury next season so the Vikings may not put a priority on signing McKinnon. Other free agents include Cleveland’s Isaiah Crowell and Rex Burkhead of the running back-loaded Patriots. Sometimes gems can be found in the middle to late rounds of the draft at running back. There are a few possible diamonds in the rough there – Rashaad Penny of San Diego State, L.J. Scott from Michigan State and Vanderbilt’s Ralph Webb.

 

Receiver

 

The Bills could go high in the draft for a receiver, since they could use a sure-handed deep threat to add to this unit. A lot of mock drafts have them plucking Oklahoma State’s James Washington with one of their first round picks. His teammate, Marcell Ateman is also rated high. In the middle rounds, a sleeper could be L.S.U.’s D.J. Chark. An intriguing free agent prospect is John Brown of the Arizona Cardinals, who has played in Larry Fitzgerald’s shadow but could blossom if given an opportunity to be a featured receiver.

 

Defensive Line

 

One of the Bills’ most pressing needs is a run-stuffing defensive tackle, followed by a consistent edge rusher who can improve the pass rush. A top draftee who may interest the Bills is Michigan DT Maurice Hurst, a projected first rounder. In the middle rounds, Kentavius Street of North Carolina State is a possibility. Marcus Davenport of Texas-San Antonio is a top rated edge rusher who would fit nicely in the Bills’ D-line rotation. In free agency, the Bills management’s fascination with Carolina Panther players could lead them to pursue D-tackle Star Lotulelei, while a much-sought after pair of pass-rushing ends will be Dallas’ DeMarcus Lawrence and Detroit’s Ezekiel Ansah. Could the Bills persuade either of them to sign here?

 

Linebackers

 

This is another area of great need for the Bills. They have to add youth, speed and toughness to their linebacking corps. Demario Davis of the Jets stands out among a weak class of free agents, so linebacker looks to be a need the team will address in the draft. Georgia’s Roquan Smith is a standout inside backer who would be a good fit if he drops to one of the Bills’ first round spots. In the middle rounds, Josey Jewell of Iowa is a classic over-achiever who might surprise in the pros. Middle round outside linebacker draft prospects include Jeff Holland of Auburn, Miami’s Chad Thomas and Tegray Scales of Indiana.

 
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Classic Team Logo of The Day

23 Jan

washstcougars5355

Used from 1953 until 1955, this is a logo of a college football team from the Pacific 12 Conference, the Washington State Cougars. The school’s football program has existed since 1893, while they began play in the Pac 12 in 1962 (it was the Pacific Eight Conference at that time). The Cougars’ list of alumni who played pro football includes Hall of Famers Mel Hein and Turk Edwards, as well as Keith Lincoln, Gail Cogdill, James Hasty, Joe Danelo, Rian Lindell, Drew Bledsoe, Mark Rypien, LaVern Torgeson, Harland Svare and the unforgettable Ryan Leaf.

 

Classic Sports Card of The Day

23 Jan

51bowmanderogatis

1951 Bowman football card of former pro football player and broadcaster Al DeRogatis, who played four seasons at defensive tackle for the New York Giants. He was named an All Pro in 2 of those seasons, 1950 and ’51, but a knee injury cut his career short. He moved into the broadcast booth after that, calling Giants’ games with Marty Glickman on radio. From 1966 until 1975, DeRogatis served as color analyst alongside Curt Gowdy on NBC’s national television broadcasts of AFL (and after the merger AFC) games. He died of cancer in 1995.

 

NFL – Bills’ Season Review- Part 3

19 Jan

Part 3 of our Buffalo Bills’ season review looks at the defensive side of the ball, which had an up and down season and looks like it will be going through a lot of changes entering the 2018 season. Here’s a positon-by-position look at the defense, and also the special teams:

 

Defensive Line

 

There a lot of question marks with this unit heading into next season. Will Kyle Williams be back? Who will replace the departed Marcel Dareus? How can the pass rush be improved? There’s no question Bills’ management wants Williams, a major locker room leader, to return. Should he come back, his role in the line rotation may be diminished due to his age but he is unquestionably still a very productive player. How much the trade of Dareus hurt the team is debatable, but there’s no question the team needs to find another big run-stuffer to replace him, preferably one with more of an unselfish, team-first attitude. The current management hasn’t shown a lot of patience with players brought in by the previous regime, so the futures of Adolphus Washington, and even Jerry Hughes, are very much up in the air. Washington’s play has been average, although he is still young and developing. Hughes, on the other hand, has underperformed since signing a big contract a couple of years ago, and looks like a prime example of the type of player the team wants to replace with an upgrade in talent. Shaq Lawson, who ended the season on injured reserve, is a cross between Washington and Hughes. He’s still young, but hasn’t lived up to his first round billing. Will the team give him time to develop, or decide he doesn’t fit into their plans? Three other members of the D-line rotation, Ryan Davis, Cedric Thornton and Eddie Yarbrough, performed admirably but are just stop-gap players. Attempting to find some depth along the defensive front as the year went on, the Bills added a pair of street free agents, Cap Capi and Rickey Hatley, late in the season. Both saw playing time, and should be afforded an opportunity to expand on their roles in training camp this year.

 

Linebackers

 

This unit could look radically different entering the 2018 season. Rookie Matt Milano, who won a starting job during the season, might be the only member returning. Lorenzo Alexander and Ramon Humber are aging, average players, and Preston Brown is not necessarily a fit in the style of defense the Bills want to employ. There will be a concerted effort to find more speed at the linebacker position, either through free agency or the draft. Two other LBs on the roster, Deon Lacey and Tanner Vallejo, are almost exclusively special teamers, although Vallejo, a rookie, will be given every chance to try and crack the lineup in his sophomore season. There’s no question the lack of quality players and depth at linebacker need to be addressed this off-season.

 

Defensive Backs

 

The biggest surprise of the 2017 season was how well the completely revamped Bills’ secondary jelled together. Buffalo entered the season with all new starters – E.J. Gaines (acquired from the Rams for Sammy Watkins) and rookie Tre White at the corners, and free agent signees Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer at safety. An argument could be made that White, Hyde and Poyer all deserved to be Pro Bowlers. The regular nickel corner, Leonard Johnson, was also a newcomer. He had his ups and downs, but was mostly a solid contributor. Injuries forced Shareece Wright, Lafayette Pitts, Shamarko Thomas and Colt Anderson into action at different times in 2017, with varying results. Pitts, Thomas and Anderson were big special teams contributors, while Wright looked liked an aging stop-gap player who won’t be on the roster in 2018. Another late-season signee, Breon Borders, didn’t get to show much.

 

Special Teams

 

The biggest bright spot on the bomb squads in 2017, and one of the highlights of the entire team, was the free agent addition of kicker Stephen Hauschka. “Hausch Money” was a dramatic improvement over Dan Carpenter, who declined badly in 2016. Punter Colton Schmidt was hot and cold, but mostly adequate. He will likely get training camp competition, though, on a team always striving to get better in all areas. Long snapper Ryan Ferguson was barely noticeable, which means he was practically flawless. The kick coverage teams did an admirable job all year. The Bills’ return game could use a shot in the arm. Brandon Tate was uninspiring most of the year as the primary punt and kickoff returner. They need to upgrade to a more dynamic player in 2018.

 
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Classic Team Logo of The Day

19 Jan

morehouse

Logo of a small college football team, the Morehouse College Maroon Tigers, whose alumni list of former players includes NFL referee Jerome Boger, former NFL players Kalvin Pearson and Isaac Keys, John David Washington (actor Denzel Washington’s son) and former major league baseball star Donn Clendenon, who was the 1969 World Series MVP. While at Morehouse, Clendenon’s graduate “Big Brother” mentor was Martin Luther King Jr.