Terry Beckner Jersey

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COLUMBIA, Mo. — There is a player expected to be selected in the middle of Rounds 4 or 5 of the 2019 NFL draft who at one time was held in higher regard (by at least one publication) than six eventual first-round picks in last year’s draft — including Derwin James, Roquan Smith and Josh Rosen — and the likely No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft (Kyler Murray).

However, when said player — University of Missouri defensive lineman Terry Beckner Jr. — was recently reminded of his high school days, back when Rivals.com ranked him 36th overall and ESPN had him as high as No. 2 in 2015, the 22-year-old just shrugged.

While the 6-foot-4, 296-pounder’s path to the NFL turned out to have a few more roadblocks than he would have expected, there’s still zero doubt for Beckner that his career remains right on schedule.

“Forget what everybody expects of me,” Beckner said. “I already know what I’ve got within myself.”

‘His work habits, they’ve changed’

Beckner bounced back from a rough start at Missouri to become a two-year starter and team captain as a senior. Missouri’s defensive line coach Brick Haley leaned on him heavily in 2018.

“Terry is so much more mature than he was when he got here,” Haley said. “He’s a young man that has actually done the things we’ve asked him to do, and he’s grown to be a man — always on point and taking care of his business.”

Beckner started five of 10 games as a true freshman and did enough to be named a freshman All-American despite a season-ending right knee injury. But after he tore the ACL in his left knee in the middle of a less productive sophomore campaign — which came months after he was briefly suspended from the team for possession of less than 35 grams of marijuana (a misdemeanor) — there was uncertainty around Beckner when Haley was hired in December 2016.

“His work habits, they’ve changed [since then],” said Haley, who added that Beckner also used to have a tendency to miss class or show up late to functions.

Shortly after Haley was hired, the two sat down and had a heart-to-heart. Haley reminded Beckner that if he wanted to play in the NFL, he’d have to act like a pro first. He was a grown man, Haley told him, and it was time for Beckner to start acting like it. No one would be texting him or following him to class, there would be no hand-holding.

“And he said, ‘You know what coach? You’re right. That’s my responsibility and that’s what I need to do,’” Haley recalled. “And I watched him take the bull by the horns, and there was never another conversation after that situation where we were worried about Terry Beckner going to class or showing up late. He was always there, on time and doing what he was supposed to.”
Beckner blossomed late in Missouri career

Haley’s arrival coincided with Beckner’s junior season at Missouri, when he had the option of declaring for the NFL. And after his first two seasons at Mizzou didn’t go as planned, Beckner realized he was coming too close to not living up to his potential.

“You gotta mature at some point — you can’t be a kid forever,” Beckner said. “[As an upperclassman], you’re about to play grown men in the NFL so you might as well start acting like one before you get there. I had a lot more to give to the game than I was giving it.”

A refocused Beckner in 2017 recorded career highs in tackles (38), tackles for loss (11), sacks (seven) and quarterback pressures (five) in 13 starts. And when he decided to come back his senior year to improve his draft stock, he was so respected by his teammates that he was named a team captain.

During a strong senior campaign in which he logged 34 tackles (11½ for loss), 3½ sacks and five pressures in 13 starts, Haley says Beckner regularly held his defensive teammates accountable. A passionate speech during a d-line meeting the week of the Georgia game in September served as a turning point for his leadership.

Scott Miller Jersey

Bowling Green State University WR Scott Miller (21) scores a touchdown against the University of Toledo during 2017 rivalry game.

BOWLING GREEN — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted Bowling Green receiver Scott Miller with the 208th overall pick Saturday in the NFL draft.

Miller finished his time at Bowling Green third in school history in receiving yardage and caught 23 touchdown passes in his final three years at BGSU.

An undersized player listed at 5-foot-11 and 166 pounds, Miller stood out as one of the fastest players in the draft.

Miller was not invited to the NFL combine or the top-tier all-star games, but ran a hand-timed 4.32 40-yard dash at Bowling Green’s pro day and received late interest in the draft process.

The Barrington, Ill., native caught 215 passes for 2,867 yards in four seasons with the Falcons, and served as BGSU’s primary kick returner during his first two seasons with an average of 18.4 yards.

Miller was the only offensive player the Buccaneers selected during the draft, and the receiver should have a solid chance to make the team’s 53-man roster.

The Tampa Bay roster includes star receiver Mike Evans along with Chris Godwin, and the team signed veteran Breshad Perriman in the offseason to go along with last year’s fifth-round pick, Justin Watson.

The Buccaneers lost receiver and punt returner Adam Humphries to Tennessee, which signed him to a four-year, $36 million deal.

Tampa hired former Arizona head coach Bruce Arians as its coach this offseason.

Matt Gay Jersey

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In 2012, Matt Gay was scoring 18 goals as part of an Orem High boys soccer team that made it to the state semifinals.

His next stop was at UVU, where he was a talented soccer player for the Wolverines.

But this is a guy who kicked a 54-yard field goal in a high school football game and once made one from 72 yards in practice for the Tigers, so there was always the thought that he would go back to the gridiron.

Eventually Gay joined the Utah football team and had a spectacular career, including winning the 2017 Lou Groza Award as the best kicker in college football.

Now Gay is taking the next step as he heads to the NFL. He was drafted Saturday by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the fifth round of the NFL draft (145th pick overall).

Gay was the fourth Ute player selected in the NFL draft and the second specialist as punter Mitch Wishnowsky was taken in the fourth round by the San Francisco 49ers.

The draft analysis on NFL.com written by Mark Dulgerian emphasized that Tampa Bay was addressing a specific need with the selection.

“The Bucs were abysmal in the kicking game last season, hitting on just 74.1% of their field goals (4th-worst in the NFL),” Dulgerian said. “Gay has a booming leg and should help the points per game column for an offense that ranked 3rd in total yards.”

During the post-draft press conference, Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht said Matt Gay is a big guy with a big leg who can kick it far and accurate both in Utah and at sea level. He said he likes Gay’s accuracy from distance beyond 40 yards and said the Bucs have a coach with an emphasis on kickers and finds them very important.

“We’ve exhausted everything we can to try to find a kicker,” Licht said. “We’ll continue to, like every other position. We’ve drafted one, we’ve signed free agents, UFAs, street free agents, gone to Denmark. We like this guy.”

In the seventh round (236th pick overall), former Westlake quarterback John Ursua, who played receiver at Hawaii and chose to declare for the NFL draft after his junior season, was selected by the Seattle Seahawks.

Dion Caputi tweeted from his @NFLDraftUpdate Twitter account that Ursua helped himself by putting up some good measurables during the pre-draft process.

“Small, rocked out slot profile with great athleticism,” Caputi tweeted. “He had a really good Pro Day that probably got his name called before the end of the draft.”

Ursua told radio station 710 ESPN Seattle after being selected that he was fielding calls about signing as an undrafted free agent until Seahawks coach Pete Carroll called and said they were on the clock and picking him. He said it meant a lot that Seattle would trade a pick next year to come and get him.

Other Utah County players who had appeared to at one point be locks to be drafted ended up going all three days without hearing their names called.

Former five-star recruit Porter Gustin from Salem Hills and former Lone Peak quarterback Chase Hansen (who played linebacker at Utah) were both hampered by injuries, which might have made NFL teams hesitate to select them.

Hansen was the first local player to accept a free agent contract, signing with the New Orleans Saints shortly after the conclusion of the draft.

Timpview’s Dax Raymond, who had a solid career at tight end for Utah State, also had to wait to sign a free agent deal, signing with the Chicago Bears.

As of press deadline, Gustin had yet to sign a contract.

Mike Edwards Jersey

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Former Kentucky Wildcats safety Mike Edwards and Tight End CJ Conrad held a workout on Monday morning to showcase their talents to NFL scouts. Since both players had to sit out the NFL combine due to injuries, this was their first time for scouts to see the players participate in drills.

Missing time for an injury was completely new ground for Mike Edwards. He never missed a game in his entire 4 year career with the wildcats, including starting his last 44 games with the team.

“I did pretty good,” said Edwards of his performance. “I could’ve done better. I tweaked my hamstring a little bit running that last 40. Nothing major. I wanted to do the shuttle because I feel like it was one of my best drills. But I think I showed enough. People question my speed, I showed them my speed. I showed I could jump a little bit. And definitely my position drills.”

Edwards measured in at 5-foot-10 and 203 pounds at today’s workout. He ran a 4.5 on both of his 40 attempts with a 37 inch vertical. Since he tweaked his hamstring, he did not participate in the 3 cone drill or shuttle drill. However, Edwards did participate in his position drills.

Out of the 32 NFL teams, 12 were represented at the workout, those being the Browns, Jaguars, Lions, Broncos, Seahawks, Raiders, Chargers, Jets, Bengals, 49ers, Redskins, and Titans.

Currently, Edwards is projected as 2nd or 3rd day draft pick. He most likely won’t be one of the top 5 safeties off the board. Given his production at UK though, he’s talented enough to be a starter at the next level. It’s all dependent on a team’s ability and willingness to develop Edwards.

The NFL Draft takes place on April 25-27 in Nashville, Tennessee. Edwards should be one of the many Wildcats to hear their name called this year.

Anthony Nelson Jersey

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The 2019 NFL Draft promises to have a lot of star power on the defensive side of the ball. Even though most of the attention will be focused on the first round selections, plenty of quality defenders will be available on the second and third days of the draft that can contribute right away on NFL rosters. Among these is former Iowa Hawkeye defensive end Anthony Nelson. Attending Waukee High School in Iowa, Nelson started both his junior and senior seasons. In his two seasons, he racked up 12.5 sacks, 29 tackles for loss, 10 forced fumbles, nine fumble recoveries, and a J.J. Watt-like 24 passes defended. A first-team all-district as a senior, Nelson followed in his father Jeff’s footsteps to play at Iowa.

After redshirting in 2015, Nelson appeared in all 13 games in the 2016 season, getting one start. Despite only starting one game, he finished second on the team in sacks, notching seven. In 2017, Nelson finally led the team with 7.5 sacks and was an honorable selection All-Big Ten in his first season as a full-time starter. As a redshirt junior, Nelson finished his collegiate career with a 9.5 sack season in 2018, this time finishing as a third-team All-Big Ten. With plenty of production under his belt to go along with plenty of upside, Nelson decided to forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft.
Strengths

has the look of an NFL defensive end from a length standpoint;
athleticism in workouts translate on the field;
shows great football I.Q. on the field;
if he can’t get to the quarterback, he gets his hands up to knock the ball down;
once he beats a tackle to the outside, he uses exceptional leverage to push the pocket and win his assignment;
likewise, once he beats a lineman to the inside, he uses leverage to win not-always-favorable match-ups;
uses his hands to set up swim moves;
has flexibility and experience lining up all along the defensive line in sub-packages;
despite not showing exceptional strength, is able to hold his ground when engaged;
makes plays near the sidelines and down the field on screens, sweeps, and short passes;

Weaknesses

not overly powerful at the point of attack;
can play too high at times;
sometimes seems a bit slow off the ball (although this could be assignment-driven to counter spread offenses; other times he explodes off the ball);
could stand to add a little more mass;
stronger in the pass game than in the run game;
will probably start career off in nickel situations before maturing to a full-time role

NFL Comparison: Brian Robison

Teams with Need at Position: Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks

Projection: Third to fifth round
Bottom Line

While not a premier name, Nelson’s pass-rushing ability will not go unnoticed as the draft goes late into its second day. In today’s NFL, teams can’t get enough pass rushers and a team running a 4-3 defense will recognize the tape and ability Nelson possesses. His flexibility and athleticism will make it hard for a team to keep him on the bench during his entire rookie season. Likely a one or two-down player to begin his career, Nelson has a good skill set and body frame to build on to maybe one day become a solid, every-down player in the league.

Jamel Dean Jersey

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Auburn, Alabama — Jamel Dean’s journey to the NFL Draft has been far from easy.

When he first turned up on campus in 2015, he was forced to redshirt due to injury.

In his first year playing collegiately, he racked up 43 tackles for the season, 23 solo tackles.

The 6-foot-2, 208-pound cornerback has declared for the 2019 NFL Draft, where he’s projected to be a second or third round pick.

Here are a few things to know about Dean.
Jamel Dean almost thought his football career was over

During his senior year of high school, Dean tore the anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his right knee.

He had already accepted a scholarship at Ohio State, and upon early enrollment, he was evaluated by Ohio State medical staff, which declared him as medically ineligible.

Dean then saw Dr. James Andrews, a world-renowned orthopedic surgeon, to be examined. Andrews said his issue was strengthening the quad muscles.

Dean then transferred to Auburn University in May of 2015.

As a sophomore in high school, Dean clocked in a blazing 100-meter time of 10.63 seconds.

Through all the injuries, Dean has lost his speed, clocking in a time of 4.31 seconds at the NFL Combine.

A student-athlete must have a grade point average of 3.00 or above for either the preceding academic year or have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or above at the institution to earn SEC academic honors.

As a junior and senior, Dean earned Southeastern Conference academic honors.

Dean is no stranger to receiving high achievement in academics. He graduated high school with a 3.8 GPA.

Sean Bunting Jersey

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STRENGTHS

—Good build at 6’0″ and 195 pounds with 4.42 speed and a 41.5″ vertical jump.

—Long-armed (31¾”), and it shows at the line of scrimmage and when reaching to deflect balls or attack passes in the air.

—Excels going up to challenge 50-50 balls and has both the size and vertical ability to take away the deep ball.

—Times his transitions well and shows he can flip his hips and run; good short-area quickness and can mirror and match on short routes.

—Could be an excellent fit in the slot but more so in a zone scheme, where he can keep his eyes on the route and close on the ball with his speed and length.

WEAKNESSES

—Frame didn’t look 195 pounds on film; has a lean, long build that lets receivers run through him.

—Can be slow to read and react and too often gets caught relying on physical tools, which won’t work against NFL speed.

—Didn’t get challenged by many pro-caliber receivers and wasn’t Senior Bowl-eligible as an underclassman, so level of competition could be an issue.

—Never comes across as very twitchy or with much open-field burst, which could limit his projection as an outside cornerback, but his 4.42 run at the NFL Scouting Combine opened some eyes.

OVERALL

Bunting is a bit of a project, but we’re betting on his traits and ability to improve with NFL coaching, making him more valuable than some pro teams might see on tape. Bunting has received grades from scouts in the Round 3 range, but we’re a little higher on his skills and upside as a starting cornerback.

Devin White Jersey

Louisiana State linebacker Devin White poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected White in the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) AP

NASHVILLE — Maybe it was the eight-hour flight delay at the Tampa airport. Or the connection Jack Marucci held between the two linebackers. Or the good feeling White had from meeting Bruce Arians for the first time.

One way or another, Devin White felt destined Thursday (April 25) to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

White, a Butkus Award winner as the top linebacker in college football last season, joined the Buccaneers as the No. 5 overall selection in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, making him the first linebacker selected by the team in the first round since Derrick Brooks went there in 1995.

Brooks played his entire 14-year NFL career with Tampa Bay and won a Super Bowl while there, and later went into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Marucci, the LSU athletic trainer since 1997, saw Brooks play in college at Florida State when Marucci worked there from 1988 through 1996.

“He always told me how I reminded him of Derrick,” White said.

Marucci intended for White to speak with Brooks at some point after White decided in January to skip his senior season and begin his professional career, but for some reason or another, the phone call never happened.

But with White joining the team for which Brooks had his No. 55 retired, the player who wore No. 40 for LSU is eager for his first chance to speak with legendary linebacker “so I can pick his brain and get advice from him about how he became such a great pro.”

“At the end of the day, I want to help my team,” White said. “With him being a great Buc, I know he wants to help us win.”

White met with the Buccaneers while at the NFL Scouting Combine in February and had dinner with team officials the night before the LSU Pro Day in March. He also visited the team facility sometime after that, where he said all the conversation there was all about getting to know each other more as people and not just as football coaches and players.

White felt a spark from the moment he first met Arians, the team’s first-year head coach, because “you know he knows the game of football,” White said. “You know he knows when he’s around a great player. That’s one of the reasons I’m so excited, because I want to be a great pro.”

At some point, Arians, who previously coached the Arizona Cardinals, told White the team would definitely select him if he was still on the board at No. 5 overall.

“I knew I was in play with the Raiders at (No. 4 overall), but coach Bruce told me if I was on the board at five he was going to take me,” White said. “That was my most-kept secret from the media. I just never knew if the Raiders were going to take me or not.”

White going to the Buccaneers was where most mock drafts had him targeted, with many analysts saying he would likely go no later than No. 10 to the Denver Broncos. White is the fourth linebacker selected in the top-5 in the last 10 years, and he’s the 10th LSU player selected in the top 10 since 2007.

Still on the draft board is former LSU cornerback Greedy Williams, who attended the draft with a large group of family and friends so they could get the full draft experience. He’ll likely be selected Friday during the second and third rounds. Tight end Foster Moreau and kicker Cole Tracy also are likely to be selected before long.

When White visited the Buccaneers, he sat through an eight or nine hour flight delay in Tampa before he flew to New York to do some stuff with ESPN and also meet with the Giants, who came into the draft with the No. 6 and 17 overall picks in the first round.

During that delay, White said he took it as a sign from God that maybe Tampa Bay was “where I need to be.” Now, Tampa is where he actually belongs. It’s the feeling he had all along.