Andy Isabella Jersey

With the Senior Bowl, the NFL Scouting Combine, pro day and individual workouts all behind him, Andy Isabella finally had time to go back to his native Ohio to wait for the draft.

While some draft prospects used the time to slow down, Isabella, who could be drafted as soon as Friday’s second or third rounds, has stayed active even with nobody evaluating him anymore.

“He bought a jugs machine,” said former UMass coach Mark Whipple, who is now the offensive coordinator at Pitt. “His high school coach came down to Pittsburgh. He said Andy bought a jugs (artificial passing/punting) machine so he could keep working on the side. When Ross (Comis) worked out with him to prepare for UMass pro day, he said Andy was in bed by 9:30 p.m.every night.”

Whipple, who worked as an NFL assistant for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns, said Isabella’s work ethic and dedication would help him keep improving as a pro.

“He’s tremendously dedicated in everything he does,” Whipple said. “He just really really worked at his craft. I still think he’s got a lot of room for development and he’ll give everything he’s got to it. All the things he does on his own will make him that much better.”

Isabella caught 102 passes for 1,698 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior including 15 catches for 219 yards and two touchdowns against Georgia in the final game of his career. After an impressive Senior Bowl, he tied for the fastest time for a receiver at the combine.

Whipple was looking forward to following his former player.

“He’s a great kid. He does everything the right way. He’s got a big heart and cares a lot.

This is an exciting time for him,” Whipple said. “It’s just the beginning. I think he’ll play a long time and have a great career.”

Byron Murphy Jersey

Of Friday night’s 32 picks, 11 were defensive backs charged with holding down pass catchers, of which seven were chosen. Plus another seven offensive linemen charged with protecting the guys who throw the ball.

Only one of those, Drew Lock of Missouri, was taken in Round 2, going to Denver 42nd overall after the Broncos traded up with Cincinnati to get Lock. Some projections had him going in the opening round.

“Certainly. It certainly does,” Lock said when asked about being even more motivated to prove himself now that he slipped so far; the previous quarterback selected was Dwayne Haskins at 15th.

“I know the kind of player I am. I know the kind of player I’m going to be. This adds a little chip to the shoulder bigger than the one that’s already on there.”

Many players might have that outlook, thinking they belonged in the opening round. Such as tackle Jawaan Taylor of Florida and guard Cody Ford of Oklahoma, who were on hand for the draft and had to wait much longer than other prospects.
“It was a little devastating,” Taylor said of being ignored Thursday before the Jaguars grabbed him. “I just have so much confidence in myself and I have high expectations for myself. I feel like I have something to prove … so I’m just looking forward to seeing what happens next.”

As is Ford, who now belongs to Buffalo, which like Jacksonville traded up for the blocker.

“I came back tonight because last night was a terrible disappointment,” Ford explained. I’ve worked so hard to walk across that stage, I didn’t want to leave and regret not being able to do that opportunity.”

The defensive big guys dominated the opening round, then there was much more of a mix on Friday. Again, the SEC had the most picks with 13, on top of the nine the previous night.

“In the SEC, I had 35 career starts,” Taylor said. “I left a year early, but I feel like I was ready and prepared to play in the NFL because I played against a lot of great competition. Definitely playing at Florida, playing in such a great conference, prepared me for this role.”

The second round began with cornerbacks Byron Murphy of Washington and Rock Ya-Sin of Temple going to Arizona and Indianapolis respectively.

A bit later, that run continued with Central Michigan’s Sean Bunting, Clemson’s Trayvon Mullen, Vanderbilt’s JoeJuan Williams, LSU’s Greedy Williams — at one point considered the top defensive back in this crop — and Utah safety Marquise Blair.

It didn’t subside until safety Juan Thornhill of Virginia went to the Chiefs on the penultimate selection in the second round.

One spot later, Seattle moved up for Mississippi WR DK Metcalf, who was rated by some the best wideout in this group.

Arizona finally pulled off the trade of QB Josh Rosen, expendable because the Cardinals took Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray to start proceedings on Thursday night. Miami sent the 62nd overall spot to the desert for Rosen, a first-rounder a year ago.

The Cardinals opted for UMass receiver Andy Isabella with that pick.

Kyler Murray Jersey

With less than 24 hours to go until the start of the 2019 NFL Draft, Kyler Murray is already making headlines, but probably not for the reasons he was hoping.

First, the former Oklahoma quarterback was scheduled to be at a charity event on Wednesday, but he ended up being a no-show. Although Murray missed the morning event because he didn’t arrive in Nashville until just after 1 p.m. CT, a report from the Arizona Republic painted a more unflattering picture. According to the Republic, the reason Murray didn’t show up at the charity event is simply because he “had other places to be.”

If the Republic’s report is accurate, it’s not a great look for Murray. Skipping out on a charity event is never ideal, but doing it one day before you’re potentially going to be the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft is even worse.

Speaking of being the No. 1 pick, it seems that oddsmakers are starting to feel that Murray might not get drafted in the top spot on Thursday. Although Murray seemed like a lock to go No. 1 just 24 hours ago, his odds have taken a tumble at various sportsbooks around the country.

According to ESPN.com, Murray’s odds are down to -400 at the FanDuel Sportsbook in New Jersey, which is a big drop from previous weeks when he was listed at -1200 (you’d have to bet $1,200 to win $100).

There’s so much mystery surrounding the first pick that the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas has actually take the bet off its board. Back in March, Murray was listed as the -140 favorite to be taken with the top pick. Those odds jumped to -2500 in April before the SuperBook decided to pull the bet.

Basically, no one seems to know what’s going to happen with the top pick, which is exactly what the Cardinals want.

If you’re wondering where Murray might end up, make sure to click here so you check out all of our mock drafts here at CBSSports.com. With roughly 24 hours to go until the first pick is announced, four of our six writer are predicting the Murray goes to the Cardinals with the top pick. Two of our other writers have Murray ending up somewhere else, and to find out where, you’ll have to check out their mocks.

Benson Mayowa Jersey

Benson Mayowa has made a living in the NFL as a journeyman pro, a defensive end who can start or add depth.

Only 27, Mayowa enters his seventh season in the league and will play for the Raiders again after spending the 2014 and 2015 seasons in Oakland. Those years were sandwiched between stints with Seattle (2013), Dallas (2016-17) and Arizona (2018).

This week Mayowa signed a free-agent deal to return with the Raiders on a one-year deal worth as much as $3 million.

While the Raiders will no doubt bring in more firepower for the defensive line through the draft that begins on April 25, Mayowa gives Oakland experience and a player capable of making plays against the run and pass.

In 15 games for Arizona last season, he had four starts, four sacks, 11 quarterback hits, a forced fumble, was in on 38 tackles and had 11 tackles for loss.

In his two previous seasons with the Raiders, he had a combined three starts, 30 tackles and two sacks, with a safety.

The 6-foot-3, 265-pound Mayowa, who played at Idaho, says he was excited to come to Oakland because defensive coordinator Paul Guenther called him recently to recruit him. He loved that Guenther “was straight ahead” about wanting Mayowa.

Mayowa says he’s a better player now than he was in 2014 and 2015 with the Raiders.

“I’m just more mature,” he told Eddie Paskal of the team’s website. “The game slowed down, a lot. When you’re young, playing NFL football, it’s much, much faster. It’s much more mental. You can be the fastest, you can jump the highest, but if you don’t know where the plays are going, if you don’t know positioning, or how to react to certain things, then that kind of makes you (not effective).”

Now, he says, he has that knowledge and experience and is eager to contribute in a bigger way in 2019.

Andre Smith Jersey

For the 16th consecutive year, the NFL Draft will include at least one player with Alabama football roots in the first round.

NFL teams will select 32 players in the first round of the league’s 84th draft, which starts at 7 p.m. CDT Thursday in Nashville, Tenn. ABC, ESPN and NFL Network will televise the first round.

Among those players will be defensive tackle Quinnen Williams. The former Wenonah High School and Alabama standout is projected to be one of the first five selections in the 2019 draft.

If Williams is the No. 1 pick, he’d become the eighth player from an Alabama high school or college to be the first selection in an NFL Draft.

Draft prognosticators are unanimous in forecasting that Williams and Alabama offensive tackle Jonah Williams will be first-round selections on Thursday. Crimson Tide running back Josh Jacobs also has been widely predicted to come off the board in the first round.

The most recent draft without a state player in the first round came in 2003. That year, the first player from Alabama drafted was Tuskegee defensive back Drayton Florence at No. 46.

Since the NFL Draft started in 1936, 104 players with Alabama football roots have been selected in the first round. Another 33 have been picked in positions that would be in the first round now, but weren’t when the player was selected. The first NFL draft had nine first-round picks — 23 fewer than will be made on Thursday night.

The most players drafted from the state in a single first round is seven in 2011.

The fourth and sixth selections have been the most prolific for state players. The Oakland Raiders and the New York Giants, respectively, hold those picks in this year’s draft.

The eight Pick Six players have been Robert Brazile, Eric Curry, Julio Jones, Walter Jones, Lee Roy Jordan, Barry Krauss, Andre Smith and Richard Todd.

Brazile and Walter Jones are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Two of the eight No. 4 picks with Alabama roots also are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame – John Hannah and Derrick Thomas.

The other state players taken with the fourth pick have been Amari Cooper, Brent Fullwood, Jon Hand, Keith McCants, Philip Rivers and Lowell Tew.

Pat Tillman Jersey

A year ago, the Pac-12 defensive player of the year was selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. That won’t be the case next week in Nashville, Tennessee.

Ben Burr-Kirven and Vita Vea, products of Sacred Heart Prep and Milpitas, respectively, left the Bay Area to play college football at Washington.

A prototypical NFL prospect, Vea is a 6-foot-4, 347-pound defensive lineman that went 12th overall to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2018.

Burr-Kirven is 6-0, 230-pound inside linebacker that led the nation in tackles this past season but isn’t quite the physical specimen scouts drool over.

“I don’t see any reason to be upset about that,” Burr-Kirven said last week. “I mean, Vita was a once-in-a-kind-of-generational guy. I know I’m undersized and all that stuff, so I’m not surprised at not being in first-round mock drafts. It doesn’t really bother me that much. Just getting a chance to get drafted and hopefully play is more than enough for me.”

Burr-Kirven more closely mirrors a seventh-round pick out of Arizona State that claimed the 1997 Pac-10 defensive player of the year trophy as an undersized linebacker at 5-11, 202 pounds.

That would be Pat Tillman, a Leland graduate that left the NFL in 2002 to enlist in the U.S. Army and was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan in April of 2014.

“Pat Tillman is one of the best stories to come out of this Bay Area,” Burr-Kirven said. “Obviously sad story losing his life, but I think in terms of the football side of it, definitely he’s kind of on the same boat in between safety and linebacker.”

He added: “There’s definitely similarities in terms of the play style.”

Tre Boston Jersey

Alright let’s get this out of the way now. Yes, Eric Berry is a great player, has had a good career so far, is one of the best when healthy, blah blah blah. Nobody saw cancer coming, can’t count that against the poor guy.

Honestly, if Berry doesn’t miss the last two years between cancer and injury then he isn’t a free agent. Eric Berry is a very good player, but if you’re going to bring one of these two men to Cleveland, it needs to be Tre Boston.

Boston produced almost identical numbers compared to Berry in his last healthy year. Mention the fact that Boston knows and has played for Steve Wilks, the current Browns defensive coordinator.

Berry also hasn’t had a quarterback hit since 2014. Yes, the man has talent, but this team should look to go younger, more familiar. and potentially more talented on this defense that is being assembled.

“Steve, Eric Berry fought injuries and cancer AND still came back and had a good year.” You know what Joe Schmo, he sure did. You also know what? His year after his cancer diagnosis, he had right around the same kind of year that Boston gave last year. So, do you take a younger, coming into his prime player who has experience with the current defensive coordinator, or do you take a player who has played only three regular season games in the last two years and is injury prone?

Go younger, potentially cheaper, close to the same skill set, and one who has that bond with their future defensive coordinator.

Ricky Seals-Jones Jersey

Over one month ago John Buckley wrote about what the Arizona cardinals should do with each and every one of their 27 in house free agents heading into the offseason.

John understood something quite clear at the time and his early prognostications have shown to be correct, the Arizona Cardinals needed to turn over their roster.

27 free agent decisions later, the biggest name returning to the Cardinals was signed today in Rodney Gunter, outside of Larry Fitzgerald but there was never a question if he was leaving, just if he was retiring.

No, John was astute last month when he put out his list, but his reasoning for keeping Gunter also made sense at the right price:
From people I trust, Gunter thought he would get a deal at worst similar to what the Cardinals gave Darius Philon.

That didn’t manifest, so the Cardinals correctly grabbed Gunter back and have him in the fold.

Yet, outside of some smaller deals, Gunter and Ricky Seals-Jones are the only names back.

It makes sense to me, this was the core of a team who struggled over the last three seasons, so rebuilding it makes sense.

However, the Cardinals offseason riches were overstated when you factored in the sheer volume of players needing replaced.

Now, with Gunter back in the fold, the Cardinals have a starting defense, they have a starting offense, they just need to find the right pieces to fill in and or replace where possible.

It is good to see Gunter back though.

Gabe Holmes Jersey

Petry, a redshirt sophomore defensive back from Missouri City, Texas, played in eight games last season, mostly at the beginning of the year, but was passed on the depth chart as the season progressed. At the start of spring practice he was second at cornerback behind DeMarkus Acy, a senior and one of the Tigers’ best and most experienced defensive players.

Missouri had a four-man depth rotation at cornerback spots, and in-game reps were going to be hard to come by unless Acy or Christian Holmes were injured, especially as Adam Sparks works his way back from a leg injury that kept him out the second half last season.

Tahane, a sophomore forward from Bondy, France, was a role player off the bench and a defensive spark for coach Robin Pingeton’s team. She played in all 35 games, starting just the season opener at Western Illinois, and averaged 13.4 minutes, 3.3 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.

Tahane was a key factor in Missouri’s 77-76 overtime win against Drake in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, playing 30 minutes off the bench. She took just one shot and scored two points, but had seven rebounds and three steals, and was able to effectively guard former Eldon Lady Mustang Sara Rhine and Monica Burich while Cierra Porter was in foul trouble and eventually fouled out before the end of regulation.

Tahane or Hannah Scuchts likely would have been the front-court starters for Missouri next season, unless some combination of Brittany Garner, who redshirted with a shoulder injury, and incoming freshman Hayley Frank made themselves the favorites during the summer.

If Tahane were to leave, she would join Kelsey Winfrey, who has already decided to transfer to Drury, as well as Sophie Cunningham, Porter and Lauren Aldridge, who graduated, in leaving the program this spring.

If it takes Akira Levy until the winter to fully recover from her ACL tear, the Tigers would start the season with eight returning players, and just one — Schuchts — with experience at forward.

Justin Pugh Jersey

The Arizona Cardinals went out in free agency and signed a pair of guards and re-signed another. Guard has been a major issue over the last couple of seasons, mostly because of injuries.

However, with the moves they have made, Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury is at least temporarily satisfied with the state of the offensive line.
“Coach Kugler and I have had discussions and we feel like now we really have some depth, particularly inside and so there’ll be some good competition for those guards and center spots,” Kingsbury said when he spoke to reporters at the annual league meeting in Phoenix in March.

They already had Justin Pugh, who signed a five-year deal last year. They added J.R. Sweezy and Max Garcia in free agency. They re-signed Jeremy Vujnovich. Mason Cole returns at center and A.Q. Shipley is coming off a torn ACL. Colby Gossett, who was the starter at the end of the year at left guard, and Will House, who spent part of last season on the practice squad, also returns.
Cole and Shipley presumably will battle for the job at center. Pugh and Sweezy are expected to start at both guard positions. Garcia and Vujnovich have multiple years of experience as starters. Gossett showed some promise late last season.

They might still add to the mix in the draft as well.

Obviously, health and durability must be considered, but the offensive line definitely looks better than it has in years past.