2019 NFL Draft Preview – Tackles

This year's crop of offensive tackles stands to produce a couple more high-level draft talents than in 2018. Prior to tearing his ACL, Washington's Trey Adams was pegged to be the first edge blocker selected but opted to return to school. He's followed by an impressive pair of SEC underclassmen in Alabama's Jonah Williams and

This year’s crop of offensive tackles stands to produce a couple more high-level draft talents than in 2018. Prior to tearing his ACL, Washington’s Trey Adams was pegged to be the first edge blocker selected but opted to return to school. He’s followed by an impressive pair of SEC underclassmen in Alabama’s Jonah Williams and Mississippi’s Greg Little – both of whom are primed for the national spotlight. All told, there is a considerably higher amount of blockers with long-term left tackle potential in the 2019 class.

1. Trey Adams, Washington (6’8″ 327lbs.)
• Adams enters this collegiate season as the most polished and distinguished blocker and would likely have been a first round pick in 2018 despite a torn ACL. Possessing a mammoth frame with the desired length for the edge, if he proves he can overcome his injury it’ll be difficult to dethrone him as the top tackle available.

© Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

2. Jonah Williams, Alabama (6’5″ 301lbs.)
• A gifted, physical blocker equally skilled in the pass and run games, Williams took hold of Bama’s left tackle as a Sophomore (after starting on the right as a Freshman) and became a pillar for the Tide’s offense. He’s technically advanced and often initiates at the point of attack first.

3. Greg Little, Ole Miss (6’6″ 325lbs.)
• Despite his tremendous size, Little is a fine technician with excellent footwork. Terrific at carrying his weight, he gets to the second level quite comfortably in the ground game. Though he could be more physical while engaged with defenders, the dimensions and exciting upside will generate a strong buzz throughout the season.

4. Andre Dillard, Washington State (6’5″ 306lbs.)
• A ‘plus’ athlete at left tackle with excellent mobility and lateral movement skills. Dillard’s skill set caters to many modern NFL spread offenses and his profile will be of great value to teams who like to pass. Shades of Duane Brown out of Virginia Tech in 2008, though probably with more polish.

5. Michael Deiter, Wisconsin (6’6″ 328lbs.)
• Uniquely experienced, Deiter has started full seasons at center, guard and tackle. His reps as an interior blocker proved useful as an edge blocker last season and it looks like he could remain there at the next level. He even scored a touchdown against Illinois last season. He enters his Senior campaign with a whopping 41 starts under his belt. The next prototypically polished Badger lineman.

Honorable Mention: Calvin Anderson, Texas (6’5″ 300lbs.)
• Keep an eye on Anderson. Texas landed him as a coveted graduate transfer from Rice despite interest from the likes of Michigan, Auburn and Oklahoma among others. A highly intelligent individual on and off the field, Anderson grades out as an excellent pass blocker and is fully expected to fill the void left by outgoing Connor Williams on the blindside. He’s positioned himself well to skyrocket up many draft boards this fall.

This is part two of our positional look at the 2019 NFL Draft. Part one was quarterbacks which can be found here.

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5 NFC East Players/Owners Involved with Esports

Odell Beckham Jr. – WR New York Giants

The star wide out made a sizable investment in Vision Esports back in February. Kevin Durant and the St. Louis Cardinals joined him in a $38 million cap raise for the ownership group that is behind esports organization Echo Fox, (owned

Odell Beckham Jr. – WR New York Giants

The star wide out made a sizable investment in Vision Esports back in February. Kevin Durant and the St. Louis Cardinals joined him in a $38 million cap raise for the ownership group that is behind esports organization Echo Fox, (owned and operated by former NBA player Rick Fox) video game record keeper Twin Galaxies and media company Vision Entertainment.

It isn’t clear what games ODB plays himself, but if he’s invested in esports, he’s likely a gamer as well. He could, however just be a shrewd businessman who knows opportunity when he sees it.

If he is a gamer, it’s likely that he is playing Fortnite – along with the rest of the world. One of the purchasable in-game skins called “Brite Gunner” bears a striking resemblance to the star receiver. As such, he’s become the subject of a lot of clickbait videos that claim to be playing with the receiver, when in actuality, they are just playing with the skin. (See screenshot below.)

 

Jerry Jones – Owner Dallas Cowboys

He’s not a player, but as owners go, Jones is one of the most recognizable in the league. In 2017 he bought – along with real estate mogul John Goff – one of the longest running esports organizations, CompLexity Gaming.

He moved the organization to Texas where he also had a hand in developing the largest esports arena in North America. Technically in Arlington, the stadium is 100,000 square feet and is only about a mile from AT&T Stadium, home of the Cowboys.

Founded in 2003, CompLexity is ancient in the esports world. It fields teams in CS:GO, Call of Duty, Rocket League and Fortnite, to name a few.

However, it is not present in the two largest franchise-based esports leagues in North America. Riot’s North America League Championship Series (NALCS) and Blizzard’s Overwatch League (OWL.) The buy-ins for those leagues are $10 million and $20 million respectively. The majority of teams in both the NALCS and the OWL are backed either fully or in-part by traditional sports owners. Those include NFL owners Stan Kroenke (Los Angeles Rams) and Robert Kraft (New England Patriots)  as well as NBA owners Andy Miller (Sacramento Kings)  and Wesley Edens (Milwaukee Bucks).

Derrius Guice – RB Washington Redskins

The rookie running back is projected to be the starter for Washington this season. He was drafted in the second round, 59th overall, but many thought the LSU star would go in the first round.

So why’d he slide?

There were rumors about his professionalism and maturity, but they didn’t come from LSU, which assured he would pass every test of character. The other, more inexplicable reason is that he is “addicted to video games.”

“I never saw a concern with that until I started seeing reports that said I probably game too much,” Guice told Fox Sports reporter Garland Gillen before the draft. “I was still getting my workouts in, I was still ready for pro day, I don’t see what the problem is. A lot of people in pro sports play video games, so I don’t see why you would be worried to draft someone who does.”

Honestly, if I was a coach, I would much rather my players be dropping into Fortnite games than dropping Jägerbombs. You can’t workout 24/7, and if the rest of the time is spent being competitive online, seems good to me. That sentiment was echoed by fellow gamer and teammate in the backfield Chris Thompson.

For a player who outrushed Jacksonville Jaguars’ star back Leonard Fournette in 2016 at LSU, Washington may have come out like bandits with the seventh back taken in the NFL Draft.

Oh, and for fantasy players, he’s projected as a 4th/5th rounder. Like former teammate Fournette, he could be a steal as an RB2.

Dez Bryant – WR Free Agent

While not technically in the division anymore, the former Cowboys star is a huge Madden fan. In 2017, he played against Dave Grunfeld from NFL.com. It was a close game with Grunfeld taking an early lead but eventually losing to Bryant.

“It’s the best simulation of the game out there,” Bryant said when asked about how it compares to an actual game.

In the third quarter, in true Dez fashion he looked past the wide-open check down and threw a corner route to his virtual persona in triple coverage. And, in true Dez fashion, he caught it.

As he waits to find his next team destination, he probably is playing a lot of Xbox. A huge fan of DragonBall Z, it’s likely Dez has checked out the new fighting game Dragon Ball FighterZ, which recently announced the formation of an official tournament circuit after becoming a favorite title in the fighting game community.

Zach Ertz – TE Philadelphia Eagles

Before the Eagles took down the Pats in the Super Bowl, Ertz and some of his teammates took on a different challenge —  playing troops stationed overseas in a variety of esports.

It came from the non-profit Joint Forces Initiative, which helps connect athletes and celebrities with military members all over the world.

“It builds up the morale,” said airman Jonathan Cunningham to FOX29 photojournalist Bill Rohrer. “If you’re able to be happy when you’re out there. I’ve been there. Little things like this just bring up the morale and perform better for the Air Force, the Army, what have you.”

Receiver Mark Hollins played Overwatch and defensive end Steve Means played Madden. Means ended up throwing a touchdown to the virtual Ertz, while the real one stood over his shoulder, watching the action.

Joint Forces founder Greg Zinone told Rohrer how gaming can help bring people together.

“What that controller does in their hand, with just playing a video game for that long. It breaks down barriers and it is like you are almost playing your best friend in the basement,” Zinone said.

This is the part three of our division by division look at esports in the NFL. For future reading here’s Clay Matthews, Kyle Long and the NFC North. And here’s Richard Sherman, Todd Gurley and the NFC West. 

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3rd ex-Wheaton football player pleads guilty in hazing case

 

WHEATON, Ill. (AP) — A third former member of a Christian college football team in suburban Chicago who faced felony charges in a 2016 hazing incident has pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

Samuel TeBos of Allendale, Michigan, pleaded guilty Tuesday to misdemeanor battery and was sentenced to one year of conditional discharge and ordered

 

WHEATON, Ill. (AP) — A third former member of a Christian college football team in suburban Chicago who faced felony charges in a 2016 hazing incident has pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

Samuel TeBos of Allendale, Michigan, pleaded guilty Tuesday to misdemeanor battery and was sentenced to one year of conditional discharge and ordered to complete 100 hours of community service. Prosecutors dropped the felony charges the former Wheaton College player faced in exchange for his plea.

The plea deal and sentence are the same as one that co-defendant Noah Spielman agreed to in March and that co-defendant Kyler Kregel agreed to earlier this month.

TeBos’ defense attorney Todd Pugh called the resolution “bittersweet,” saying there was no malicious intent.

TeBos, Spielman, Kregel and two other Wheaton players were arrested last year in connection with a 2016 incident in which they allegedly duct-taped a teammate and dumped him half-naked in a park.

 

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Reports: Ravens sign first-rounder Hurst, completing 12-man class

Reports: Ravens sign first-rounder Hurst, completing 12-man class

The Baltimore Ravens agreed to terms with first-round tight end Hayden Hurst on a four-year contract, according to multiple reports, putting all 12 of the team's 2018 draft picks under contract.

The deal, like those for all first-round picks, comes with a

Reports: Ravens sign first-rounder Hurst, completing 12-man class

The Baltimore Ravens agreed to terms with first-round tight end Hayden Hurst on a four-year contract, according to multiple reports, putting all 12 of the team’s 2018 draft picks under contract.

The deal, like those for all first-round picks, comes with a fifth-year team option for 2022. Terms have not been reported, but the deal should be worth around $10.4 million over the first four years, with a signing bonus around $5.7 million, based on his draft slot.

The Ravens took Hurst with the 25th overall pick in April’s draft after trading down twice, first from No. 16 to No. 22 and then to No. 25. They later traded back into the first round at No. 32 to draft quarterback Lamar Jackson.

Hurst, who turns 25 in August, spent two years as a minor league baseball player in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ system, having joined them on a $400,000 signing bonus after being drafted in the 17th round in 2012.

He then played football for three years at South Carolina and garnered first-team All-SEC honors in 2017 before declaring for the 2018 draft.

Hurst was the first tight end off the board in April. The Ravens later took Oklahoma tight end Mark Andrews, the fourth off the board at the position, in Round 3.

–Field Level Media

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Bugel, Thomas win PFWA’s assistant coach award

Joe Bugel and Emmitt Thomas are winners of the 2018 Paul "Dr. Z" Zimmerman Award given by the Professional Football Writers of America for work as an NFL assistant coach.

Bugel spent 27 of his 32 NFL seasons as an assistant coach and is best known for building Washington's famous Hogs offensive line

Joe Bugel and Emmitt Thomas are winners of the 2018 Paul “Dr. Z” Zimmerman Award given by the Professional Football Writers of America for work as an NFL assistant coach.

Bugel spent 27 of his 32 NFL seasons as an assistant coach and is best known for building Washington’s famous Hogs offensive line unit as the Redskins won three Super Bowls under head coach Joe Gibbs.

Kansas City defensive backs coach Thomas, a Pro Football Hall of Famer as a player, is in his 38th season as an NFL assistant coach. He has been lauded for his ability to develop players in the secondary.

Bugel and Thomas are the 11th and 12th recipients of the Dr. Z Award, which was instituted by the PFWA in 2014.

Other 2018 nominees for the Dr. Z Award were Bobb McKittrick, Jim McNally and Dave Toub.

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For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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Wake Forest adds 2 grad transfer kickers

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Wake Forest has added two graduate transfer kickers, including one who has spent five years serving a military tour of duty.

Coach Dave Clawson added Darren Ford and Eric Osteen to the team Tuesday. Ford kicked and punted at Division III Hope College while Osteen completed his military service

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Wake Forest has added two graduate transfer kickers, including one who has spent five years serving a military tour of duty.

Coach Dave Clawson added Darren Ford and Eric Osteen to the team Tuesday. Ford kicked and punted at Division III Hope College while Osteen completed his military service after graduating from West Point in 2013.

Osteen, 27, has been a platoon leader, company executive officer, and company logistics officer who most recently led U.S. Army operations after three hurricanes in 2016 and 2017. As a player, he had 29 touchbacks on 53 kickoffs as a senior in 2012.

Ford made 25 of 38 field goals and 99 extra points last season at Hope.

Wake Forest must replace kicker Mike Weaver, who set the school’s single-season scoring record in 2017.

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More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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Irish LB Coney pleads guilty to marijuana possession

ROCHESTER, Ind. (AP) — Notre Dame senior middle linebacker Te'von Coney pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana Tuesday and was given a year of probation for an incident that happened nearly two years ago.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Wayne Steele accepted a plea deal and put Coney on probation from 363 days,

ROCHESTER, Ind. (AP) — Notre Dame senior middle linebacker Te’von Coney pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana Tuesday and was given a year of probation for an incident that happened nearly two years ago.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Wayne Steele accepted a plea deal and put Coney on probation from 363 days, suspending a 180-day jail sentence with time served (one day) while vacating an Aug. 1 trial date.

Coney is attending summer classes at Notre Dame and working out with his teammates. Earlier this month, coach Brian Kelly told the South Bend Tribune that Coney would be back “if he takes care of it (the court case) in the manner I expect him to . we’re not going to wait until Aug. 1 for all this stuff.”

Coney is expected to start for the Fighting Irish after leading the team in tackles (116) and tackles for loss (13) last season. Notre Dame did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Coney was one of five players arrested Aug. 19, 2016, after an Indiana State Police trooper made a traffic stop for speeding and discovered marijuana and an unregistered handgun in the car. The others were safety Max Redfield, wide receiver Kevin Stepherson, cornerback Ashton White and running back Dexter Williams.

Williams, now a senior, is expected to share running back duties this fall with junior Tony Jones. Redfield was kicked off the team after the traffic stop and later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of carrying a handgun without a license and marijuana possession.

Coney, who is from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, was the last of the other four who pleaded guilty to marijuana possession. Stepherson was arrested for shoplifting last autumn and kicked off the team. White will use a graduate season to play at the University of Buffalo.

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Rhode Island Inches Closer to Making Sports Betting Legal

The post Rhode Island Inches Closer to Making Sports Betting Legal appeared first on SportsHandle.

Rhode Island’s Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday voted in favor of S7200, a sweeping appropriations bill that includes a 15-page section that calls for legal RI sports betting. The bill

The post Rhode Island Inches Closer to Making Sports Betting Legal appeared first on SportsHandle.

Rhode Island’s Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday voted in favor of S7200, a sweeping appropriations bill that includes a 15-page section that calls for legal RI sports betting. The bill passed the House, 66-7, late Friday and after the nod of approval from the Finance Committee, will now move on to the full Senate floor for a vote later this week. The bill is not currently on the Senate calendar for today or Wednesday.

It’s likely that the bill will pass the Senate with no problem, and that Governor Gina Raimondo will sign it into law. Raimondo has a $23.5 million line item in her upcoming budget earmarked as revenue from sports betting.

The bill allows for sports betting at Rhode Island’s two casinos, Twin River and Tiverton, both tribal-owned gaming facilities. The state’s lottery would regulate sports betting.

Rhode Island Poised to Become Second State in Post-PASPA Era to Pass New Legislation That Legalizes Sports Betting.

Should the bill sail through the Senate, and when Raimondo signs it, Rhode Island will become the second state since the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act on May 14 to pass a sports betting law. New Jersey, which accepted its first bet at Monmouth Park on June 14 was the first. Delaware, which did not need to pass new laws, was the first state to accept sports bets in the post-PASPA era when it did so beginning June 5.

The Rhode Island bill does have a few peculiarities – in particular, it expressly forbids the payment of an “integrity fee” or “royalty,” which the professional leagues have been lobbying for; it calls for the cities of Lincoln and Tiverton, home of the two casinos, to be paid $100,000 per year for “hosting” sports betting; and gaming operators will be responsible for paying for their own integrity monitoring.

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The post Rhode Island Inches Closer to Making Sports Betting Legal appeared first on SportsHandle.

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The Analyst: Basic Guide for Monitoring a Sportsbook

The post The Analyst: Basic Guide for Monitoring a Sportsbook appeared first on SportsHandle.

As sport betting fever continues to roll through the country with many a state legislature adopting or considering the adoption of laws and regulations to permit sports wagering, regulators and enforcement

The post The Analyst: Basic Guide for Monitoring a Sportsbook appeared first on SportsHandle.

As sport betting fever continues to roll through the country with many a state legislature adopting or considering the adoption of laws and regulations to permit sports wagering, regulators and enforcement agents are starting to question what they need to do to audit and monitor sports betting operations.

Under that motivation, a few former associates of mine who moved to the regulatory side of the gaming business separately called and asked similar questions:

What are the most common problems you have seen in sportsbook operations? What weaknesses are there in the control of book operations? Can a sportsbook be cheated?

Please click here to read the remainder of the article at Gaming Today.

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Sports betting news, business and stories Las Vegas live odds
Where can I bet online? Check out our betting legislation tracker MLB, NFL, NCAA and more game coverage and sports betting breakdowns
The latest on sports betting legislation and regulation The latest sports betting podcast ‘The Hedge’ from Jimmy Shapiro

The post The Analyst: Basic Guide for Monitoring a Sportsbook appeared first on SportsHandle.

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Tennessee adds Alabama graduate transfer Brandon Kennedy

 

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee has boosted its offensive line by adding Alabama graduate transfer Brandon Kennedy.

Tennessee announced the additions of Kennedy and former Michigan State running back Madre London on Tuesday.

Because they're graduate transfers, both are eligible to play for Tennessee this fall. Kennedy has two seasons of eligibility remaining. London

 

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee has boosted its offensive line by adding Alabama graduate transfer Brandon Kennedy.

Tennessee announced the additions of Kennedy and former Michigan State running back Madre London on Tuesday.

Because they’re graduate transfers, both are eligible to play for Tennessee this fall. Kennedy has two seasons of eligibility remaining. London has one season left.

Kennedy tweeted a picture of himself in a Tennessee uniform on Saturday with the message, “A new approach to an old dream.” London had announced on social media in March that he was transferring to Tennessee.

Kennedy played a total of 10 games for Alabama as a reserve center over the 2016 and 2017 seasons after redshirting in 2015.

Kennedy and London join former Stanford quarterback Keller Chryst as graduate transfers on Tennessee’s roster.

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More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

 

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Oklahoma approves 5-years, $25 million for Lincoln Riley

 

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma will pay football coach Lincoln Riley $25 million over the next five years, including $4.8 million this season.

Oklahoma's Board of Regents approved the new numbers on Tuesday.

The 34-year-old Riley was one of the highest-paid assistant coaches in the nation before being promoted to head coach after Bob

 

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma will pay football coach Lincoln Riley $25 million over the next five years, including $4.8 million this season.

Oklahoma’s Board of Regents approved the new numbers on Tuesday.

The 34-year-old Riley was one of the highest-paid assistant coaches in the nation before being promoted to head coach after Bob Stoops’ abrupt retirement. Shortly after becoming head coach, the board approved a deal for him that started at $3.1 million. He led the Sooners to the Big 12 title, a spot in the College Football Playoff and a No. 3 final ranking while coaching Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Baker Mayfield.

The biggest jump came in his supplemental income, which increased from $2.475 million to $3.475 million and is set to increase by $100,000 per year. He has an annual retention benefit of $500,000.

 

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