Watch: David Njoku gives Cleveland first lead of season

Published: Sunday, October 08, 2017 @ 3:24 PM

It’s been a good weekend for Miami Hurricanes football. David Njoku thought he’d keep it going.

The rookie first-round draft pick caught a pass from Kevin Hogan to give the Browns their first lead of the season at 7-3 over the New York Jets.


The lead didn’t last long. Josh McCown led the Jets down the field and they’re back up 10-7.

American veterans group claims NFL is censoring Super Bowl ad

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 12:06 PM

An American veterans group is irked with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Mario Tama/Getty Images
An American veterans group is irked with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.(Mario Tama/Getty Images)

More than a week before Super Bowl LII, the group AMVETS is furious after the NFL reportedly censored an ad with the hashtag #PleaseStand.

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In an open letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Marion Polk, national commander of the American Veterans , aired his frustrations.

He thanked Goodell before ripping him with “deep disappointment” for his staff’s reported refusal to publish the ad due to its #PleaseStand message.

Polk noted the message is neither a demand nor judgement for kneeling, but a polite request not to. He laid out that “veterans are good for more than just military aircraft flyovers,” photo ops and camouflage NFL apparel. He then acknowledged that the NFL isn’t following suit with the NBA and NHL, which apparently allowed #PleaseStand to run in programs.

The latest controversy comes on the heels of President Donald Trump slamming athletes for protesting the national anthemVice President Mike Pence left an NFL game after players knelt in what became quite clearly a planned demonstration in October.

Many athletes struck back across the NFL, with demonstrations across the board.

The Super Bowl will be held Feb. 4 in Minneapolis between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles.

Baker Mayfield could be ‘quality’ NFL starter early in career, draft analyst says

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 7:05 AM

Baker Mayfield might not take very long to become a good NFL starting quarterback, according to NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah.

Jeremiah ranked Mayfield No. 13 overall among the prospects in 2018 NFL Draft, and said Mayfield has the skill set to be a starter and have success early. Mayfield ranked behind only USC’s Sam Darnold (No. 6) and UCLA’s Josh Rosen (No. 7) among quarterbacks on Jeremiah’s board.

From NFL.com:

Long story short, Mayfield might lack ideal size, but I love his accuracy, playmaking skills and toughness. He has the tools to be a quality NFL starting quarterback early in his career.

According the draft expert, Mayfield boasts impressive accuracy, even when scrambling and throwing without great footing. His ability to escape pressure and make plays as a runner also makes him dangerous. All that could add up to a quarterback who could win a starting job and be successful without having to wait on the bench very long.

Mayfield has consistently been ranked among this year’s top 15 prospects by most draft analysts, and has consistently been projected as an early first-round pick. Many of the teams with picks near the top of the draft are expected to have interest in him.

However, there is some disagreement about where he ranks among quarterback prospects. For instance, ESPN’s Mel Kiper ranks Mayfield behind Darnold and Rosen, as well as Wyoming’s Josh Allen. Meanwhile, Pro Football Focus has projected Mayfield as high as No. 1 overall to the Cleveland Browns.

The draft stock of Mayfield and the other quarterbacks should become more clear as the evaluation process continues. Mayfield will work out at the Senior Bowl this week, and is expected to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine. The 2018 NFL Draft begins Thursday, April 26.

Draft analyst names Texas OT Connor Williams top 20 prospect, praises ‘quickness’

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 7:03 AM

Texas football fans should expect Connor Williams to go early in the 2018 NFL Draft.

The Longhorns offensive tackle, who declared early for the draft, has established himself as one of the best draft prospects at his position despite an injury-ridden 2017 season.

NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah had Williams at No. 17 overall in his list of the top 50 prospects for the upcoming draft in April at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

From Jeremiah:

“He has excellent height/bulk for the position and average length. In the passing game, he’s fluid out of his stance. He possesses the foot quickness to kick out and cover up speed rushers. He’s a very easy mover and plays with excellent knee bend. He has a sharp punch, but occasionally, he is late to shoot his hands and allows defenders to get into his chest. In the run game, he can latch and generate movement at the point of attack.”

Williams only made it two games into the 2017 season unscathed before going down with a knee injury at USC on Sept. 16. He returned to action in November after a two-month recovery.

Texas has no shortage of players declaring early for the 2018 NFL Draft, but Williams was the only Longhorn featured in Jeremiah’s list.

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield was the only Big 12 player listed higher than Williams, coming in at No. 13 overall.

The NFL Draft will occur from April 26-28. It will be the first time ever that the event has been hosted at a league stadium.

Nebraska recruiting mailbag: How will multiple remaining targets vs. few remaining scholarship spots shake out?

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 7:00 AM

Welcome to the Nebraska recruiting mailbag. Each Tuesday, Land of 10 Nebraska recruiting reporter Chris Bumbaca will tackle the latest recruiting questions from readers. Ask your question for a chance to be featured in the next mailbag by tweeting him  @BOOMbaca. As always, thank you for the questions.

We’re a little more than two weeks from National Signing Day. Sure, some of the allure is taken away and most of the recruits are out of the picture because of the early signing period, but there’s still something powerful about National Signing Day. For Nebraska, this date still holds plenty of weight since it still has to sign approximately 10-12 more members to its 2018 recruiting class.

Let’s see what questions came in this week.

Nebraska has received 19 commitments in the class (not counting Ole Miss defensive back transfer Breon Dixon). With only 25 spots available per class (this goes for all FBS teams), that means Nebraska has six more spots remaining. Obviously, the Huskers have more offers out than spots available. That’s OK — normal, in fact.

The way Nebraska has juggled this — we talked about it in last week’s mailbag too — is to try and backload scheduled official visits. Usually, recruits do not commit blind to a school, but as we saw in the case of 3-star receiver Dominick Watt, that’s not always the case. But by doing that, the Huskers have a chance to bring in their priority recruits first, giving them a chance to commit, and then bringing in the backup plans if their top choices either: 1) are taking too long to commit or 2) appear to be headed elsewhere.

Recruits also see the writing on the wall. They know who is being recruited for what position at which school.

Here’s a hypothetical. If I’m a receiver, and there’s four total spots open in a class and I know the staff is really only looking to use one of those spots on a receiver, that’s pretty useful information. If the team wants me to take my visit until after a guy ranked higher than me, or won’t take my commitment right away, that’s a pretty clear indication there’s someone on their board higher than me.

Now, I may wait it out if I am particularly high on this school. Or, I may commit to a different school where I’m the top priority.

This is common in recruiting. Nebraska, with many slots to fill leading up to National Signing Day, is one of the few big-time programs in this situation right now.

David, you are correct. Programs can have up to 88 scholarships during the spring. If Nebraska goes that route, and it’s becoming increasingly likely it will, it needs to submit a proposal to the Big Ten on how the school intends on being down to 85 scholarships by the time summer camp begins.

That would give more time for Nebraska to figure out its attrition to get under the number, allowing for spring practices to help weed out some players who want to leave or decide to stop playing.

Basically, don’t worry too much about oversigning. The staff won’t let it happen.

I absolutely love this question. So succinct, and we all know exactly what he means.

Last week, we wrote about how 3-star running back Maurice Washington appears to be academically eligible. This is a good thing, obviously.

With 4-star back Jashaun Corbin likely off the Huskers’ board (he did not take his scheduled official visit to Nebraska last weekend), Washington now occupies the top spot on the running backs board. Fellow Texas native and 3-star back Ta’Zhawn Henry is also right there with him.

Both will be on campus for their official visits the weekend of Feb. 2-4. At least, that’s what is scheduled for now. As we know, these visits are extremely fluid.

Washington will check out Ohio State first. If the Buckeyes convince him to join their class, then Washington probably would give his commitment at some point this weekend. Taking both Washington and Henry right now doesn’t seem like an option for Nebraska. With limited official visits remaining, the coaching staff will have to make some tough decisions.

I’ve watched the tape on both Washington and Henry. In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with either. The one stark difference is height: Washington is 6-foot-1 and Henry is 5-8. Even that, though, is really pulling at nothing.

It’s probably the latter. The one “surprise” I could see is Nebraska landing 4-star outside linebacker Javontae Jean-Baptiste, but even that wouldn’t be too much of a surprise. The Huskers have impressed him and have a shot with him.

But there’s two weeks left. A lot can happen in that time.