CLOSINGS AND DELAYS:

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Browns cut roster to 65 players

Published: Friday, September 01, 2017 @ 1:36 PM

Cleveland Browns' Randall Telfer
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Cleveland Browns' Randall Telfer(86)

The Browns have trimmed their roster down to 65, the team announced. They still need to cut 12 more players to reach the 53-man roster limit.

The 18 transactions are as follows:

Placed on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP):

DB Howard Wilson 

Terminated contract:

WR Josh Boyce 
DL Brandon Thompson 

Waived:

WR Mario Alford
WR Rasheed Bailey
LB B.J. Bello
DB Christian Bryant
DB Trey Caldwell
LB Ladell Fleming
DB J.D. Harmon
DB Alvin Hill
TE Nate Iese
TE Taylor McNamara

WR Richard Mullaney
OL Kitt O’Brien
DL Karter Schult
DB Channing Stribling
RB Brandon Wilds (injury designation)

WATCH: Oklahoma PG Trae Young explodes for 48 points in OT loss to Oklahoma State

Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 7:51 AM

Oklahoma-Oklahoma Sooners-trae young-48 points

Another day, another explosive performance from Oklahoma freshman guard Trae Young.

Just one week after dropping 43 points on the Horned Frogs to tie his career-high, Young outdid himself yet again.

Unlike against TCU, though, in which his borderline heroic shooting display was enough for a 102-97 overtime victory, Young wasn’t able to carry the Sooners to another Big 12 win over Saturday. On the road against in-state foe Oklahoma State, Young set a new career-best with a mind-boggling 48 points. The effort fell just short, though, as Oklahoma loss to Oklahoma State in overtime, 83-81, as a Young heave at the buzzer fell short.

But as seen by his 48 points, which was complemented by 8 assists, 5 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks, Young put forth one of the best performances in college basketball this season.

The 48-point performance now stands as the best single-game scoring effort in a loss in Oklahoma school history.

With Young and the Sooners having come up just short against the Cowboys, Oklahoma is now riding a two-game winning streak after climbing to No. 4 in the Associated Press poll. Stopping the skid won’t come easy, either, as Oklahoma’s next game comes against a surging Kansas squad that’s ranked within the top itself.

The Sooners and Jayhawks are set to tip-off at 7:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Jan. 23 on ESPN.

The post WATCH: Oklahoma PG Trae Young explodes for 48 points in OT loss to Oklahoma State appeared first on Diehards.

NFL mock draft 2018: First-round picks, top players for the 2018 NFL Draft (1/21/2018)

Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 2:00 AM

The  2018 NFL Draft is once again expected to be loaded with talented players.  A numbers elite players declared for the draft, such as Sam Darnold, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen.   Baker Mayfield is expected to take center-stage at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

This draft figures to be quarterback heavy, with potentially four signal callers,  Rosen, Darnold, Mayfield and Josh Allen going among the top-10 picks. Of the non-quarterbacks, Penn State’s Saquon Barkley and Texas’ Connor Williams could be selected in the top 5.

The order for the first 20 picks is set.

NFL mock draft 2018, Round 1

  1. Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, USC QB: The Browns have to use the pick on a quarterback, and we think they’ll choose Darnold.
  2. New York Giants: Josh Rosen, UCLA QB:  Rosen vs. Darnold will be an interesting debate. The UCLA quarterback might be wired to better succeed in New York than Darnold.
  3. Indianapolis Colts: Connor Williams, Texas T: For the Colts, it’s simple: They must do a better job of protecting Andrew Luck, provided he can return in 2018. As long as Williams can stay healthy, he’ll be a top draft pick.
  4. Cleveland Browns (via Houston): Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama DB:  The Browns went quarterback with their first pick. Next up, they grab the best defensive prospect in the class. Fitzpatrick is a queen-on-the-chessboard-type of defensive back.
  5. Denver Broncos: Josh Allen, Wyoming QB: Offensive tackle could be the pick here. Drafting Allen is a risk, but the Denver quarterback situation might be the worst in the league.
  6. New York Jets: Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma QB: The Jets will continue toiling in mediocrity as long as they lack quality quarterback play. If anyone can handle the spotlight and attention that comes with playing for the Jets, it’s the Heisman Trophy winner.
  7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bradley Chubb, N.C. State DE: The Buccaneers have stumbled this season thanks to both Jameis Winston’s struggles and a poor pass rush. Chubb should help shore up the latter of their issues.
  8. Chicago Bears: Christian Kirk, Texas A&M WR:  The Bears almost have to pick a wide receiver. While many will peg Alabama’s Calvin Ridley, I think Kirk is a little bit better. But the Bears couldn’t go wrong with either.
  9. San Francisco 49ers: Saquon Barkley, Penn State RB:  With Jimmy Garoppolo looking like the quarterback of the future, San Francisco can draft the best player available, which is the superstar running back from Penn State.
  10. Oakland Raiders: Roquan Smith, Georgia LB: A defense with Khalil Mack on it shouldn’t be as bad as Oakland’s was this season. Smith is maybe the best off-ball linebacker prospect since Luke Kuechly.
  11. Miami Dolphins: Arden Key, LSU DE/OLB : Quenton Nelson could be an option, but instead they’ll take Key. While he might have off-field concerns, the LSU product has the potential to be an elite pass rusher.
  12. Cincinnati Bengals: Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame T : The Bengals have skill players and a number of young and talented defenders. Where they most need help is on the offensive line. McGlinchey, or his teammate, Quenton Nelson, could be an option.
  13. Washington Redskins: Derwin James, FSU DB: What Washington does will largely depend on whether it keeps QB Kirk Cousins. If it does, look for them to take a player such as James, who is 95 percent the player that Fitzpatrick is.
  14. Green Bay Packers: Josh Jackson, Iowa CB: The Packers were a bit of a mess without Aaron Rodgers, so look for them to go best player available. The secondary was one of their biggest concerns and they’ll address it here.
  15. Arizona Cardinals: Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame G:  If Mayfield were still on the board, he could be an option. Instead, the Cardinals will gladly take the best interior lineman in the class.
  16. Baltimore Ravens: Calvin Ridley, Alabama WR:  The Ravens might have the worst group of pass catchers in the NFL. This makes too much sense.
  17. Los Angeles Chargers:  Da’Ron Payne, Alabama DT : The Chargers had the second-worst rush defense in the league. Payne will help them improve.
  18. Seattle Seahawks: Derrius Guice, LSU RB: The Seahawks have had a revolving door of running backs since Marshawn Lynch departed. Guice should make it two years in a row that an LSU running back goes in the first round.
  19. Dallas Cowboys: Maurice Hurst, Michigan DT: Hurst might not be drafted this high simply because of his position. But the Cowboys need defensive tackles who can play, and Hurst is one of the best football players in this draft class.
  20. Detroit Lions: Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech LB: Running back could be an option here, but Edmunds fits a similar role to what Anthony Barr does for Minnesota.
  21. Buffalo Bills: James Washington, Oklahoma State WR: While they need to figure out their quarterback situation, the Bills need to improve at the wide receiver position.
  22. Buffalo Bills (via Kansas City), Vita Vea, Washington DT: The Bills traded Marcell Dareus earlier this season. And they’ll look to Vea to fill his void.
  23. Carolina Panthers: Courtland Sutton, SMU WR: Offensive line could be the choice, but Cam Newton needs guys on the outside who can help him out. Sutton might be the most physically gifted wide receiver in the draft.
  24. Los Angeles Rams: Orlando Brown, Oklahoma T: Andrew Whitworth was huge for the Rams this season. But he’s also 36 years old. Brown is raw, but he could become the Rams’ left tackle of the future.
  25. Tennessee Titans: Denzel Ward, Ohio State CB: The Titans selected a cornerback in the first round last year and will look to continue to improve their secondary. The Titans also could target a pass rusher.
  26. Atlanta Falcons: Harold Landry, Boston College DE/OLB: The Falcons love athletic playmakers, and Landry fits that role. It would not be a surprise to see him go higher in the draft than this. Landry led the NCAA in sacks in 2016.
  27. New Orleans Saints: Harrison Phillips, Stanford DT: While the Saints defense has made huge improvements, it could stand to get better. Phillips was a monster for Stanford this past season.
  28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Rashaan Evans, Alabama LB:  With the Ryan Shazier injury casting doubt on his NFL future, linebacker becomes a position of need. Evans isn’t the prospect that Shazier was, but he, like many other Alabama linebackers, can be very good.
  29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State QB: Blake Bortles isn’t the answer for Jacksonville. The Jaguars could look at Rudolph or Louisville product Lamar Jackson.
  30. Minnesota Vikings: Billy Price, Ohio State G/C: Quarterback could be in play here, but Price, like Pat Elflein did this season for Minnesota, could be a Day 1 starter on the interior.
  31. New England Patriots: Sam Hubbard, Ohio State DE/OLB: Bill Belichick loves players who have ties to Greg Schiano. Pass rusher is a huge need for New England. And Hubbard’s defensive coordinator is in fact Schiano.
  32. Philadelphia Eagles: Ronnie Harrison, Alabama S:  The Eagles appear set at corner with Ronald Darby, Sidney Jones and Jalen Mills, but the secondary is still a weakness. Harrison could help turn that into a strength.

*Order is through the Divisional round of the NFL playoff. The top 20 picks are official. Picks 29-32 will finalize after each round of the playoffs. San Francisco and Oakland will hold a coin flip for picks 9 and 10.

2018 NFL Draft: First-round order

Pick Nos. 1 through 20 are set now that the regular season is finished.

1. Cleveland Browns

2. New York Giants

3. Indianapolis Colts

4. Cleveland Browns

5. Denver Broncos

6. New York Jets

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

8. Chicago Bears

9. San Francisco 49ers OR Oakland Raiders (coin flip)

11. Miami Dolphins

12. Cincinnati Bengals

13. Washington Redskins

14. Green Bay Packers

15. Arizona Cardinals

16. Baltimore Ravens

17. Los Angeles Chargers

18. Seattle Seahawks

19. Dallas Cowboys

20. Detroit Lions

21. Buffalo Bills

22. Buffalo Bills(Via Kansas City)

23. Carolina Panthers

24. Los Angeles Rams

25. Tennessee Titans

26. Atlanta Falcons

27. New Orleans Saints

28. Pittsburgh Steelers

How Auburn basketball got Mustapha Heron out of slump in latest come-from-behind victory

Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 7:30 AM

Auburn basketball-Auburn Tigers-Auburn-Mustapha Heron

AUBURN, Ala. — Mustapha Heron was struggling heading into the second half Saturday against Georgia, and Auburn basketball needed him to snap out of it.

So Auburn coach Bruce Pearl drew up the first play of the second half for Heron, the former 5-star guard who was held scoreless before halftime thanks in large part to early foul trouble.

“I wanted him to just set a screen, get a screen and shoot a 3,” Pearl said. “I didn’t care if it was contested or not, I wanted him to shoot it. We had to get him going. He knocked that 3 down, and after that, he was ready to just play.”

MORE: No. 17 Auburn basketball stifles Georgia in another comeback win

That 3-pointer was Heron’s first made shot from downtown in two full weeks. His last one came in an upset win over Arkansas on Jan. 6.

“He said it was going to come to me, so I had to knock it down,” Heron said.

A few minutes later, Heron threw down one of the best dunks the fans inAuburn Arena have ever seen — a mammoth slam through a foul. That gave Auburn the lead, erasing what was a 14-point halftime deficit in what would become a 14-point win for the Tigers.

“I was expecting them to come out hard on the next shot that I’d try to take,” Heron said. “It was a late close-out. I waited for him, and then I kind of went by him. Then I just tried to attack the rim as hard as I could, because I knew the big was going to rotate over. I just tried to finish.”

Heron finished, and he did it with an authority his teammates didn’t even know he had.

“I honestly did not see that coming,” junior guard Bryce Brown said. “I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t believe what I just saw. I mean, Staph is definitely an explosive player, but I didn’t see that coming. That was amazing right there.”

When the horn sounded on the Tigers’ latest double-digit comeback win in SEC play, Heron had 14 points and a team-high 3 steals in 21 minutes of action. He finished with a plus-26 in plus/minus, which was the second-highest for the Tigers.

“It was just getting the flow in the game,” Heron said. “That was pretty much it. Just being in the game.”

Auburn basketball-Auburn Tigers-Auburn-Arkansas-Mustapha Heron
Auburn is unbeaten this season when Mustapha Heron scores in the double digits. (Dakota Sumpter/Auburn Athletics)

It couldn’t come at a better time for Auburn. While Heron isn’t Auburn’s leading scorer or rebounder, his success has gone a long way toward the Tigers’ success this season.

Heron has been held to single-digits in scoring just three times this season. Two of those games are Auburn’s two losses so far in 2017-18. The other one was a blowout win over Gardner-Webb in which Heron played only nine minutes due to injury.

Heron was fresh off a rough night against Alabama. He just hit 2 of his 7 shots for 5 points, and he turned the ball over four times in the loss. His two quick fouls against Georgia seemed to signal another subpar performance in a rivalry defeat.

That all changed when Heron hit the opening 3-pointer of the second half and found his rhythm again.

“He’s one of our go-to guys, and getting him going helps everybody get going,” Brown said. “We see him get going, so all of us decide to lock up on the defensive end and make plays and hit him in the right spots. … Getting him going was big for us in this win.”

MORE: What if NCAA would’ve cleared Auburn center Austin Wiley this season?

Auburn doesn’t need Heron to score 20-plus points per game in what has been a balanced and deadly offense this season. But the Tigers need him to attack defenses in the flow of the game and be an all-around threat whenever he gets the ball in his hands. Pearl thought Heron did a better job of that after halftime Saturday.

“I would like to see him be more aggressive catching and shooting,” Pearl said. “He is a beautiful shooter, and sometimes he will catch it and just shot-fake it. When he shot-fakes it, sometimes he will settle for what I think is an OK mid-range jump shot. I would rather him shot-fake it, drive it and dunk it. I would rather him shot-fake it, drive it and go get a teammate a 3-ball.”

Pearl would definitely prefer the former, if Heron can do it like he did Saturday.

“When [Georgia’s Derek Ogbeidi] comes over there to block his shot and he throws it down like that — there just aren’t many guys that can do that,” Pearl said. “That is next-level stuff. We could not win the game if Mustapha didn’t come back and accept responsibility, and he did. I am really proud of him for that.”

The post How Auburn basketball got Mustapha Heron out of slump in latest come-from-behind victory appeared first on SEC Country.

Malek Young loss puts heaps of pressure on Miami CB Trajan Brandy

Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 7:17 AM

Miami hasn’t yet officially acknowledged the news that cornerback Malek Young suffered a career-ending neck injury in the Orange Bowl loss to Wisconsin, but the reaction of Hurricanes players really says it all.

Young was Miami’s bests cornerback and now that he’s gone, once people have come to grips with this unfortunate reality, heads are going to start turning towards Trajan Brandy to help fill the void and start alongside Michael Jackson. That might not be altogether fair, but it’s a reality he has to brace for and a challenge he’ll have to accept nonetheless.

It’s a cruel world that just over half a day after the news came to light we have to consider the consequences of the loss. But it’s the one we live in.

As Miami’s coaching staff continues to support Young in whatever comes next for the young man after his playing days have come to an end, they’re also looking ahead to what’s next. If Young’s nameplate hasn’t yet come off the depth chart in Mark Richt’s office (a permanent fixture in every head coach’s office) it will soon.

And chances are it’s Brandy’s nameplate that slides up for the time being, but it will be up to him to make sure it’s no band-aid. Because Miami’s talented 2018 recruiting class has already delivered two 4-star cornerbacks (Gilbert Frierson and D.J. Ivey) with another (Al Blades, Jr.) having already signed his letter of intent.

They’re also in the running for American Heritage 5-stars Patrick Surtain, Jr. and Tyson Campbell who would both be immediate threats to work their way into the starting lineup no matter when they arrived on campus.

But Brandy has shown a lot in his only season in Coral Gables and that will earn him first crack.

The former 4-star recruit earned a role during camp and played in all 13 games, making 3 starts. He made 25 tackles (1.5 tackles for loss) and broke up 6 passes which was good for third-most on the team. He also intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown in Miami’s biggest win of the season over Notre Dame.

Brandy earned Richt’s confidence and that’s something that every incoming cornerback will have to do before mounting any attempt to crack the rotation. So he’s in a good position to win a starting job.

Losing Young is remarkably hard and it’s unfortunate to see a good kid whose future as a football player seemed so bright cut down by something totally beyond his control. And it puts Miami in a temporary bind, but they’re in the fortunate position of having the talent to survive.

You don’t replace Malek Young and you shouldn’t want to. But football is unfair and when it chooses to test a team’s ability to cope with adversity the only two options are forward or backward.

Brandy could be their way forward. Maybe not.

However, he’s going to face the pressure either way so he’s better off embracing it and earning his place in Miami history by stepping in and stepping up when they need him most.