Wisconsin-LSU at Lambeau, International Games Fueling Early Excitement for 2016 College Football Season

Don’t look now, but the start of the 2016 College Football season is just a mere three months away. Little was left to the imagination during last year’s Championship Game, as the Alabama Crimson Tide stormed back in the fourth quarter to beat the Clemson Tigers, and excitement for the upcoming season has been building since.

The upcoming season will be filled with big games, notable players, and a growing sense of international appeal. While college football returns to Australia for the first time in more than 30 years, Ireland will also host an early-season matchup between Boston College and Georgia Tech. Both games are among the most anticipated of the year, but in terms of resale ticket demand, it will be an Opening Week meeting between Wisconsin and LSU at Lambeau Field that owns the most expensive prices on the secondary market.

The Badgers went a promising 10-3 in 2015 but could not hold a candle to the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten, who waltzed to the Conference Championship before losing to Michigan State. They’ll open the season in grand style at nearby Lambeau Field, and tickets are already garnering big resale prices. According to TiqIQ the average price for Wisconsin vs LSU tickets is now a hefty $714.17. The cheapest ticket is listed from $360.

Lambeau will be the site of many big games through the winter months, whether housing college teams or the illustrious Green Bay Packers, but there exists a special fervor around the international games at the start at the end of the summer. 11 games have been held outside the U.S. since the 2007 season, and the NCAA’s latest expansion is slated to bring California and Hawaii to ANZ Stadium in Sydney on August 27.

Not since a 1985 meeting between USC and Oregon has college football landed down under, and it’s likely that many fans will be making the long trek to be on hand in late August. Hotels in Sydney near ANZ Stadium will be in high demand over the coming months, so booking now will yield the most options and best rates.

Just a week later, Dublin will be the site a Boston College-Georgia Tech game at Aviva Stadium. What is being called the Aer Lingus College Football Classic, the game is set to be the sixth college football game held in Dublin since 1988 and just the second ever at Aviva Stadium. Plenty of tickets still exist for the game on the primary market and prices starting from €35. Traveling costs aside, the Week 2 matchup may be one of the best deals of the season considering the overseas appeal in Ireland’s capital city.

So what’s the hold up? Whether planning on a trip to Green Bay or across the world to Australia, there are plenty of reasons to get excited for this year’s college football season. Snag some tickets, book a flight and hotel, and take in all that 2016 has to offer.

Nick Saban says satellite camps create a ‘wild, wild West’

Alabama’s Nick Saban has discussed his opposition to satellite camps before, and he did so again Tuesday at the SEC spring meetings. “By doing what we’re doing now, we’re doing what we’ve done in every other sport that we complain about every day – AAU basketball and all this,” he said. “Because that’s what’s happening […]

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McElwain: Antonio Callaway not currently enrolled at UF

Florida coach Jim McElwain said Tuesday at the SEC spring meetings that wide receiver Antonio Callaway isn’t currently enrolled in summer school and remains on indefinite suspension. Callaway’s suspension was announced in March; he and fellow receiver Treon Harris were suspended for a violation of the school’s conduct code. A few days after the suspension […]

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Verne Lundquist to stop doing SEC games after 2016 season

Verne Lundquist will step down as the lead voice of “SEC on CBS” after the 2016 season, CBS Sports announced Tuesday. Lundquist, who has been the voice of CBS’ college football coverage since 2000, will be replaced by Brad Nessler, who is leaving ESPN for CBS. “Being a part of the SEC ON CBS since […]

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Browns shuffle scouting department

The Cleveland Browns on Tuesday announced six promotions and a new hire within their player personnel department.
The following six members of the department have taken on new titles:
Ken Kovash – Vice President, Player Personnel
Mike Cetta – Director of Scouting
Kevin Meers – Director of Research and Strategy
Chisom Opara – Director of Player Personnel
Dan Saganey – Director of Scouting
Bobby Vega – Director of Scouting
Additionally, the Browns named Glenn Cook, who spent the previous four years in Green Bay’s player personnel department, as their new Assistant Director of Scouting.
The staff will work with Executive Vice President of Football Operations Sashi Brown, Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta and Vice President of Player Personnel Andrew Berry.
“We feel really good about our department as a whole and the extensive collaboration we have established in our everyday work,” Brown said. “Our intent has been to assemble a group committed to creating strategic and comprehensive processes that help us make the best decisions possible for building our football team. We are excited about the high caliber individuals within our football operations, the quality of their work and their passion for football.”
Kovash has been with the Browns since 2013 and spent the past three seasons in Cleveland’s player personnel department as the director of football research. His first three seasons in the NFL were with the Dallas Cowboys, where he worked as the team’s senior analytics manager.
“Ken is an intelligent, critical thinker,” Brown said. “He provides valuable leadership and input to our decision-making process and will continue to be a key component to our personnel department.”
Cetta joined the Browns scouting department in 2013 as an intern. He was hired full time in 2014 as a department assistant. In his new role, he will help direct systems and processes that support the Browns scouting department.
“In Mike’s three years with our organization he has worked extremely hard and has proven that he can have a positive impact on our scouting process,” Brown said. “He’s another smart, diligent and collaborative worker that has a bright future with our organization.”
Meers has been with the Browns for three years and was a football research analyst the past two seasons. Meers began his career with the Browns as a football research intern in 2013. He will work closely with DePodesta.
“Kevin’s inquisitive nature, his intelligence, and his tireless work ethic make him a perfect fit to lead our research function,” DePodesta said. “We look forward to him helping us in many different areas.”
Opara enters his 12th season with the Browns and will also work directly with DePodesta. He joined the team in 2005 and was an area scout for the first nine years after breaking into the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens, where he was a player personnel assistant. A former wide receiver at Princeton, Opara signed with the Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2003, was waived at the end of training camp but landed with Baltimore one year later in the player personnel department.
“We’re thrilled to add Chisom’s expertise to the broader player personnel function,” DePodesta said. “His deep background in scouting and his ability to work across many different lines will make a huge impact on the organization.”
Saganey is in his eighth year with the Browns, most recently serving as a manager in the player personnel department. He tracked player movement around the league, conducted advance scouting of Browns’ opponents, helped prepare the staff during pro free agency and was also involved in the evaluation of college prospects. A position coach at Harvard for two seasons before he joined the Browns in 2009, Saganey is a native of Norfolk, Massachusetts, and an alum of Colby College in Waterville, Maine.
“It was very important for us to be able to retain Dan,” Brown said. “He has a diverse background in that he’s coached on the college level and has worked in our personnel department for seven seasons. He knows our league and knows our division especially well. We look forward to him leading our scouting efforts on the pro side.”
Vega has been with the Browns for 12 seasons working in different capacities within the player personnel department. A scouting assistant in his first two seasons with the Browns, Vega was elevated to a college-area scout in 2007, evaluating prospects from small schools from Maine to Florida before taking on mid-Atlantic responsibilities and eventually taking over as the club’s Southeast scout in 2009. A four-year letter winner at The College of Wooster, Vega will move to Cleveland after residing in Monroeville, N.C.
“Bobby has been one of the most respected college scouts on our staff for some time,” Brown said. “He understands our vision and we really value his input. In his role as director, we will look for him to provide leadership and efficiency in our college scouting process, enhancing our opportunities to pick the best players.”
Cook joined the Packers in 2012 and held a variety of responsibilities in the Packers’ pro personnel department. An alum and former graduate assistant at the University of Miami, Cook assisted in the evaluation of college and professional players, prepared advance scouting reports of upcoming opponents, conducted tryouts during the season and evaluated pro day/draft prospects during the spring.
“We are fortune to be able to add Glenn to our personnel department,” Brown said.  “He is a highly-regarded, bright scout that has been a part of a very successful scouting environment in Green Bay. He will bring a fresh perspective to our group and we are excited to have him on our staff.”

Source: Nate Chandler to visit Lions on Wednesday

Former Carolina Panthers offensive tackle Nate Chandler will visit the Detroit Lions on Wednesday, according to a league source.
Chandler was released in March after missing the entire 2015 season because of a knee injury. He started 11 games at right tackle in 2014 and eight games in 2013.
The Lions drafted Taylor Decker in the first round and are evaluating him at left tackle.
They also have Riley Reiff as a starting option at either tackle spot.
Follow me on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL
Aaron Wilson covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle.

Bills sign Jamari Lattimore

The Buffalo Bills signed linebacker Jamari Lattimore.
Lattimore comes to Buffalo after spending the 2015 season with the New York Jets. Prior to arriving in New York last season, Lattimore spent the first three seasons of his career with the Green Bay Packers.
The 6-2, 229-pound Middle Tennessee State product has appeared in 64 career games, starting nine, while accumulating 68 tackles, two sacks and one interception—in addition to 22 solo and eight assisted special teams tackles. Lattimore, 27, is a native of Miami, Florida.
Follow me on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL
Aaron Wilson covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle.

Monday Morning MD: When your examination room is the 50-yardline

I have faithfully written a weekly column (plus other features) without a break since October 14, 2013 when I started my post team physician media adventure. After a total of 153 thousand-plus word articles, I am taking my first break this Memorial Day weekend. Last week at the Marshall Faulk charity fundraiser, I ran into the author of this Physician Magazine piece written 15 years ago who has graciously allowed me to reprint it. The feature was unusual as the Chargers allowed unprecedented game day access in a time that was well before the first HBO Hard Knocks. I hope you enjoy it.

When Your Examination Room Is the 50-Yardline

Every professional sports franchise has them—team doctors. In this special Physician report, we follow an NFL team doctor on Game Day.
by Mike Yorkey
December 15, 2001: 12:07 p.m.
It’s two hours before kickoff against the Oakland Raiders, and San Diego Chargers’ All-Pro linebacker Junior Seau is all over Dr. David Chao.
“Hey, everybody, a reporter is here to do a story on Chao!” hollers out an animated Seau, who’s obviously enjoying seeing the tables turned for a change. “Doc’s going to be famous. C’mon and see this everybody!”
I’ve just arrived in Dr. Chao’s cubbyhole office, which adjoins the Charger training room and locker room underneath the west grandstands of Qualcomm Stadium. In this quiet, windowless environment, it’s difficult to believe that the Chargers and Raiders will square off in a noisy nationally televised game two hours from now.
Several half-dressed players—some of the biggest human beings I’ve ever seen up close—pop in their heads to see what the commotion is all about. Meanwhile, Junior continues to tease Dr. Chao. “This is what you gotta write,” he says. “You gotta tell everyone that he’s the best doctor in the whole wide world! You don’t have enough paper to print everything I’m going to tell you about him.”
I shoot a glance toward Dr. Chao, whose grinning smile is a mixture of pride and embarrassment. “Now, Junior . . .”
“Take a look at my fingers and hands,” says Junior, as he fans out his massive, battle-scarred extremities. I peer at his supersized fingers, which resemble long, gnarled tree branches. The digit and middle fingers on the left hand make several intriguing zigzags, but what’s especially interesting is the double-sized knuckle on the middle finger. How did that happen? Junior, however, wants to show off Dr. Chao’s handiwork on his right hand.
“See this scar?” he says, pointing to a nasty gash below the padded thumb area. “Chao was trying to write my initial, so gave me this S.”
Junior is right. I have never seen a set of simple interrupted sutures come out in the shape of an S, but that is how his brutish scar healed. “I got sewn up during a game, but it doesn’t matter,” says Junior, as he turns serious for the first time. “Chao is a good man. He’s done a lot for the kids in my foundation,” he says.
As a native San Diegan, I am well aware of Junior’s foundation and his remarkable story. The son of American Samoa immigrants, Junior grew up in nearby Oceanside, where he made good on the gridiron and starred at USC. He was a first-round pick of the Chargers in 1990, and when riches and glory came his way for becoming one of the best linebackers in NFL football, he formed the Seau Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization.
“How does Dr. Chao help?” I ask Junior.
“Let’s say a kid on the Oceanside High football team goes down with a serious knee injury and comes to us for help,” replies Junior. “The boy doesn’t have medical insurance. We cover the cost of the surgery bay and materials, which are given to us at cost, while Chao donates his surgical skills. I would say that Doc’s done ten kids for me,” says Junior. “He’s a good man.”
Dr. Chao is still smiling like a Cheshire cat.
12:45 p.m.
For the last ten minutes, I’ve been playing straight man to Dr. Jerry Hizon, a Charger team doctor who must have moonlighted at the Comedy Store during residency.
“You know where David went to high school?”
“No, I’m afraid not,” I reply.
“Think 90210.”
“You mean Beverly Hills High?”
“You got it. And did you know that David thought Harvard was too easy?”
“He went to Harvard?”
“Sure, but you probably want to write about David’s water polo days at Northwestern. He was All Big-10 while he was in med school.”
I look at Dr. Chao, and he’s rolling his eyes again. Now, I’m really confused, which causes Dr. Hizon and the rest of the doctors in the room to crack up. I feel like I’m part of a freshman hazing.
Welcome to the sports medicine world of NFL football, a fraternity that David Chao has belonged to since 1997, when he joined the Chargers. The 37-year doctor is affiliated with Oasis Sports Medical Group, the official team physicians for the Chargers. As the lead doctor, David is on-call 24/7 throughout the season, which lasts six to seven months. He also flies with the team on all road trips, which often start with a Friday morning flight to points east and doesn’t end until the team plane returns to San Diego on Sunday evening. During the week, David maintains his practice with Oasis, seeing patients, performing surgery (usually knee, shoulder, and hip repair) and making “house calls” at the Chargers’ practice facility near Qualcomm Stadium.
For today’s game against the Raiders, David is quarterbacking the medical coverage. Dr. Hizon, a family practitioner, and another Oasis doctor, Dr. Paul Murphy, an orthopedist, will assist him. This trio works all games, home and away. Dr. Bob Speer, a pediatric anesthesiologist, Dr. Calvin Wong, a family practitioner, and Dr. Stan Sherman, a trauma anesthesiologist, will handle back-up roles. Finally, an orthopedic fellow, Dr. Chris Pallia, is on hand to observe the action. With seven doctors on the field, you could say that the Chargers are ready for anything, but experience has been a stern teacher in the violent world of NFL football.
We are ninety minutes before game time. A dozen players drop by David’s office to have their sore joints and muscles checked—ankles, knees, hips, ribs and shoulders. Many are linemen and all are gargantuan: the typical size appears to 6-foot, 5-inches tall and 300 pounds. These players will be slamming their bodies in the trenches with devastating impacts. When an irresistible force meets an immovable object, something has to give, and it’s usually a joint, a bone or a ligament.
“The guys are big and the size is good, but I think what you have in the NFL is the last of the warriors,” says David. “Injuries are a big part of the game, however. Out of 53 guys on the team, I would say that I operate on 15 to 20 during and after the season, and I’ve operated on more than half the players on this team at one time or another.” No wonder why Dr. Hizon told me that the NFL stands for the Not For Long league. The players have incredibly short careers.
The talk turns to what Dr. Chao does during the game. “What’s it like running out on the field with a capacity crowd and all those people on TV watching you treat a player for an injury?” I ask.
“What I’ve found about sports medicine is that you have to keep a little perspective,” says David. “I’m here as a doctor and a physician, and my job is to see the players, and that’s it. The fans are here to see the players play, not the doctors. If I’m not noticed in a game, then I’m happy. In fact, I’m the only guy on Sunday that team owner Dean Spanos wants to do nothing. My goal is to stay out of the way and in the background.”
“But don’t you have to make quick judgment calls?” I ask.
“The easiest part about sports medicine is the medicine itself, if that’s where you keep your focus. I remember when I was working at the X Games in San Francisco. There was a doctor who was helping me, and we had a freestyle motocross rider go down with a lunate dislocation. I evaluated and treated him, and then I sent him off with another X Games doctor to the hospital with instructions to get X-rays and call me back with the results. About an hour later, I received a call on my cell phone from the other doctor, and he said, `It’s a non-displaced radial fracture. I’m going to put him in a cast and bring him back.’ ”
“I asked whether he was sure, and he said yes, but I asked him to bring me a copy of the X-rays when he returned. When I got a look at them, he said that it’s the only fracture, the radial head, but I immediately noticed that his lunate was dislocated. It’s a common error to make, but an error that I am 100 percent sure that he would not have made if he was back in his own office. With everything else going on at the X Games, his focus was off, which was a reminder to me to take care of the medicine first.”
2:07 p.m.
We run out onto the field with the Charger players, and the wall-to-wall noise of the capacity crowd creates intense energy. Everywhere I look, everyone has his game face on. We are minutes away from kickoff against the first-place Raiders, the evil-dreaded Silver and Black who have been the Chargers’ bitterest rivals for forty years. This late-season matchup has drawn the third-largest home crowd in franchise history—67,349—and filled Qualcomm Stadium to the brim. Unfortunately for the Chargers, two-thirds of the fans appear to wearing black Raider jerseys.
David stands amongst the coaches and players on the Charger sideline. As soon as the opening kicking sails through the air, he doesn’t take his eye off the action. He must concentrate on the players because a career-ending—or life-threatening—injury is just a snap of the ball away. It’s also not a good idea to direct your gaze away from the action if you value keeping your body in one piece.
“I’ve covered high school, junior college and college football, but NFL games are different,” says David. “At the high school level, if there is a pitch coming toward me, I will wait until the players are right on top before stepping back. In the college game, I start to think about moving when I see a sweep coming my way. But NFL `game speed’ is so fast that if quarterback Doug Flutie even looks my way, I’m backing up because they are coming hard. As you see on TV, the players will fly 10, 12 yards out of bounds sometimes. They are on top of you in a split-second because their speed and quickness are so unbelievable.”
2:25 p.m.
Injured player!
The game is only a few minutes old when the Chargers’ rookie cornerback Davis Sanchez is slumped on the grass, writhing in pain. David and team trainers James Collins and Scott Trulock sprint out to midfield, where they take several minutes tending to the young player. After they gingerly assist him to his feet, Sanchez nearly collapses from back spasms. They half-carry him to an examination table behind the bench for a further look, but Sanchez is grimacing with each step. He looks done for the day.
Before the game, David told me that decisions about whether an injured player can return to the game are made as a team. James Collins, as the head trainer, is the first to make an evaluation. If it’s an orthopedic question—a tender back, an injured knee, or a deranged shoulder—then Dr. Chao takes the lead. If it’s a possible concussion or something internal, then Dr. Hizon is the go-to guy.
Earlier in the season, quarterback Doug Flutie was knocked silly in a game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Dr. Hizon proceeded to ask him several standard memory questions:

  • “What’s the date?”
  • “Who are we playing?”
  • “What’s the score?”
  • “Who did we play last week?”

When Flutie didn’t have the answers, he was through.
“Football players are proud,” said David. “They do not like to be carried off the field. If they can get up, then they will walk off as best as they can. I’ve had players with dislocated shoulders, with ACL tears, even with ankle fractures, refuse to be carried off the field. Then there are some players you just can’t keep from playing. I’ve seen James Collins carry their helmets so they couldn’t go back in.
“The best story I can tell you happened in Oakland. Late in the first half, Junior Seau hurt his leg, and when I ran out onto the field, I was worried about a fractured tibia. He continued to limp and play, but during halftime, we accompanied him to a special room and took some X-rays. Afterward, I told him to wait until we could determine whether there was a fracture. We didn’t want him to hurt himself anymore.
“The X-ray developer took forever, but when I finally got a look, I could see that his tibia was negative. I ran as fast as I could to the field to tell Junior that he was okay to play, but just as I arrived, I heard the public address announcer say, `TACKLE MADE BY JUNIOR SEAU.’ That pretty much sums up Junior and all the players—they will play with pain.”
3:20 p.m.
Already, David has made four “field visits” as the first half winds down toward the two-minute warning. No major injuries; just the usual bang-ups.
Suddenly, Carl Robbins, a 70-year-old member of the chain crew, collapses like a sackful of football helmets and hits the ground with a thud. At first blush, it doesn’t look good.
Dr. Chao is first on the scene since the older man toppled within a few yards of him. Heart attack? Stroke? Dr. Chao works to clear the breathing passage and stabilize him as EMTs rush to the scene. Technically speaking, Carl Robbins is not David’s medical responsibility since the chain gang member is working for the NFL, but those technicalities are naturally brushed aside as moments like this.
An EMT places an oxygen mask on the man while they wait for a sled to arrive. Play cannot resume, however, since the chain-crew member collapsed just a few yards from the sideline. It will take 20 minutes before Robbins can be driven off in a cart and taken to nearby Kaiser Medical Center. (Later, it was learned that Robbins passed out in reaction to some blood pressure medicine he had taken. “I’ve gotten calls from Florida and Philadelphia, people who thought I was dead,” he said, adding that he was grateful for the quick medical attention.)
4:59 p.m.
We’re deep into the second half, and for the eighth time, David runs out onto the field to help an injured player. Normally, David is out on the field two or three times, but today’s game seems to be an exception. One injury looks career threatening: Charger receiver Curtis Conway’s legs twisted around like a pretzel while trying to make a catch. Instead of a fibular fracture or torn ACL, however, Conway was able to shake off the pain and even return to the game.
5:12 p.m.
Drats! The Chargers have just lost another tight game in the last minute, 13-6. Dr. Chao runs to the middle of the field for his post-game handshake with his Oakland counterparts—the Raider team doctors. Then we hustle off the field and into the locker room with the disappointed players.
Dr. Chao beckons me to follow him. Charger team chaplain Shawn Mitchell is about to lead the team in its post-game prayer. David bends one knee, bows his head, and places his hand on the shoulder of a Charger player; I do the same with Dr. Chao.
“Thank you, Lord, for Your protection today, and we ask that you help any weary and injured players on our team and on the Raiders,” says the Charger chaplain. “Please heal anyone that’s hurt, and we give You all the glory, amen.”
Dr. Chao and several doctors return to their cubbyhole office, where they will be available for the next 90 minutes or so. Sometimes after a game, it takes the players some time for the adrenaline to wear off—and that’s when the body starts sending signals to the brain that something hurts.
When that happens, they need to see a doctor who understands what they’ve been through. Fortunately for the players, they will be evaluated by an all-star team of sports medicine physicians led by Dr. Chao.


Up Close and Personal
Dr. David Chao
Age: 37
Marital status: single
Education background: After graduating from Beverly Hills High with honors, David attended Harvard University, where he majored in psychobiology. He then attended the Northwestern University School of Medicine (where he was a standout water polo player), served his residency at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, and a fellowship with the Minnesota Vikings, Timberwolves and Twins.
Current team physician duties with: San Diego Chargers, Point Loma Nazarene University, United States International University, X Games (Winter and Summer), and various San Diego high schools.
Notables: He is considered a worldwide expert in hip replacement surgical techniques.
What Are You Doing Friday Night—or Monday Afternoon?
Dr. David Chao says that you don’t have to work in the NFL to work the sidelines. In fact, there are probably high schools in your hometown that could use your expertise during the game and afterward in the surgical bay.
In addition to taking care of the Chargers’ medical needs, Dr. Chao says doctors around the country can make it a ministry to help injured high school players without insurance or the ability to pay. “I just started my own foundation to help high school players in San Diego who need surgical care,” said Dr. Chao, who added that he probably does 20 plus free operations on injured high school football players during the year.
“A foundation can pay for the hard costs—the screws, the equipment, and hospital—so all the professional costs are free,” said David.
If you would like more information on setting up a foundation in your hometown, contact San Diego Sports Medicine Foundtation.
I hope the readers enjoyed this guest column with a small peak behind the curtain. Thanks to the author, Mike Yorkey, for allowing me to re-publish it.

Jacob Eason, Trevor Knight among the QBs at elite camp

Most SEC football players are spending the Memorial Day weekend getting some needed rest and relaxation before the start of summer workouts. But that wasn’t the case for Georgia’s Jacob Eason, Texas A&M’s Trevor Knight, Florida’s Feleipe Franks and Ole Miss’ Shea Patterson. The SEC quartet – Knight (pictured above with Clemson’s Deshaun Watson) is […]

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Class Sleepers – NFC East

With most NFL draft’s it’s usually the first round picks who receive much of the attention and attract most of the spotlight. Yet over the years when you go back and review successful draft classes it’s typically the “sleepers” or day three selections that make a good class turn into a great class.
With that in mind we reviewed each NFL teams draft class, per division, and attempted to point out who potentially could turn out to be that groups “sleeper”
NFC East
Dallas Cowboys – Charles Tapper, DE Oklahoma 4th rd. 3rd pick (#101 overall)
Heading into the draft defensive end was a big need position for the Cowboys after deciding not to resign free agents Greg Hardy, and Jeremy Mincey, while also having both DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory suspended for the season’s first four games due to violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
After deciding to bypass the position on their first three picks the Cowboys were able to get their defensive end in the form of Oklahoma’s Charles Tapper at the top of the fourth round.
Tapper is an athletically gifted edge defender who does a nice job of converting speed to power. He possesses long arms and deceptive strength at the point of attack, and is capable of holding his ground versus double-teams.
Tapper performed well at the combine running a 4.59 forty with a 1.64 ten-yard split, coupled with 23 reps on the bench press and a 34 inch vertical.
Tapper’s limited production at Oklahoma is somewhat deceiving (only 13.5 sacks for his career) due to the fact he was asked to play a position not ideally suited for his skill set as a defensive end on a three-man line. Tapper was asked to do more two-gapping then rushing up field and getting after the quarterback.
With the Cowboys and in defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli’s defensive system Tapper will be given the opportunity to use his athletic ability to go after the passer. Look for him to be used early on as a situation pass rusher supplying speed off the edge.
New York Giants – Paul Perkins, RB 5th rd. 10th pick (#149 overall)
The Giants not only received terrific value in the fifth round by selecting UCLA running back Paul Perkins, they may have also landed one of the steals of the draft.
Perkins leaves UCLA having rushed for almost 3,500 yards in three seasons to go along with 29 rushing touchdowns. He led the PAC-12 in rushing as a sophomore in 2014 with 1,572 yards, becoming the first Bruin to do so since DeShaun Foster back in 2001.
Perkins plays with outstanding balance and anticipation excelling at cutting back against the grain picking up big chunks of yardage. He has tremendous vision, and is patient as a runner allowing his blockers time to set up. He is elusive in the open field and is almost always able to make the first defender miss.
While he may not possess the ideal size or breakaway speed Perkins has a knack for finding running lanes and producing in key moments of a game.
The Giants running back combo of Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams produced a combined 1,120 rushing yards last season which ranked the Giants 18th in rushing overall. With the addition of Perkins, they added a runner who will help supply a quicker more elusive option in the backfield which should nicely compliment the north south downhill running style that both Jennings and Williams possess.
Philadelphia Eagles – Jalen Mills, FS 7th rd. 12th pick (#233 overall)
Jalen Mills is a versatile defensive back who over his career at LSU started games at cornerback, free safety, and nickel back. Not built to play safety in the NFL look for Mills to excel inside as a nickel corner in some of the Eagles sub-packages.
Mills is quicker than fast with loose hips and the ability to quickly change directions. His 3-Cone times at the combine (6.86) are indicative of the agility he possesses. While his 37-inch vertical shows he has some explosion in his legs. Although he may lack the strength to land a good jam on a receiver he makes up for that with his quickness and ability to turn and mirror the receiver off the line of scrimmage.
Some off the field issues and past injury concerns may have played a role in Mills dropping to the seventh round, but Jalen Mills is not your typical seventh round selection. Look for him to have a prominent role on both the defense and special teams as a rookie next season for Philadelphia.
Washington Redskins – Steven Daniels, ILB 7th rd. 11th pick (#232 overall)
Steven Daniels is a hard hitting instinctive linebacker who plays much bigger on the field than he measures off it. Daniels will not blow you away with his measurable but when you turn on the tape you see a linebacker physical at the point-of-contact, able to take on blockers, shed and make a play. He is a terrific run defender who displays good instincts for the position. He is able to offset the lack of speed or burst by knowing the opponent’s tendencies and getting in position to make the play.
Daniels was the leader of a very tough Boston College defense in 2015, where he had 86 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, and six sacks as a senior.
Daniels, a former high school teammate of the Panthers Luke Kuechly, will be thrown into the mix at inside linebacker and allowed to compete with veterans Mason Foster, Perry Riley Jr., and Martrell Spaight.
While Daniels best chance of seeing the field as a rookie might probably be on special teams, it will not surprise me to see Daniels get some snaps playing inside linebacker for the Redskins next season. It could turn out that keeping Daniels on the sidelines might be harder, for the Redskins coaching staff to do, than originally anticipated.
Danny Shimon is a graduate of Introduction to Scouting and Scouting Boot Camp. 
Follow Danny on Twitter @dshimon56