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How many ACC prospects will go in the first round?

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The fallout from the 2022 NFL Draft is still fresh, and the college football season is a few months away. However, it is time to turn the chapter to the 2023 class. In 2022, four ACC prospects were selected in the first round (third-most among all conferences), but how many could we see in 2023?

2023 NFL Draft: How many ACC prospects will go in the first round?

We have to recap the past to put the future into perspective. Last year, the ACC had four representatives drafted in Round 1: NC State OT Ikem Ikwonu (No. 6 – Carolina Panthers), Boston College G Zion Johnson (No. 17 – Los Angeles Chargers), Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett (No. 20 – Pittsburgh Steelers), and Florida State EDGE Jermaine Johnson II (No. 26 – New York Jets).

From 1936-2009, the ACC had 229 players selected in Round 1, the third-most of any conference. Since 2010 (last 13 drafts), the conference has averaged 4.69 players drafted in the first round. So, with the history lesson out of the way, how many ACC prospects could hear their names called in the 2023 NFL Draft?

ACC prospects who could go in the first round

It is a futile task to predict how many players from a given conference will go in Round 1 this far out. We do not know. Even if we had all the information in the world, the NFL Draft likes to throw a wrench in predictions. But this exercise allows us to explore the top draft-eligible talent in the ACC and who could rise above the rest.

Near locks

I’m being careful with the verbiage here, as there are few true “locks” when it comes to the NFL Draft. Wide receiver Jordan Addison exploded onto the scene for Pitt last year, aiding in Kenny Pickett’s ascension. Yet, he may not be a Panther for much longer as he entered his name into the transfer portal. There is a chance Addison returns next season, but all signs point to the uber-talented wideout playing elsewhere.

A Pitt prospect not in the transfer portal, DT Calijah Kancey has been a consistent force for the Panthers’ defense. The 6’0″ and 275-pounder isn’t the biggest man, but he makes up for it with technique and easy-to-see athleticism.

Clemson has a trio of first-round caliber prospects in LB Trenton Simpson, DT Bryan Bresee, and EDGE Myles Murphey. Simpson is one of the better athletes at the position, and DC Brent Venables deployed him as such. The No. 1 recruit in 2020, Bresee had his 2021 campaign cut short due to a torn ACL. If he is 100% healthy, he should enjoy a breakout campaign on the interior. Lastly, Murphy has been a consistent disrupter off the edge. While he can rush the passer, he is an even stronger run defender.

The quarterbacks

On paper, five ACC quarterbacks could propel themselves into the first-round conversation. And in all likelihood, at least one or two will be Round 1 signal-callers. But which ones?

Boston College’s Phil Jurkovec was thought of as a contender for Day 1 capital in the 2022 class before injury robbed him of the opportunity to prove his case. The offensive line will be retooled, but Christian Mahogany remains up front, and WR Zay Flowers is still catching passes on the outside.

Clemson’s D.J. Uiagalelei is in a QB battle with true freshman Cade Klubnik. If the “veteran” loses, he can kiss his first-round aspirations good by. Still, he has the physical tools to right the ship in his second season as the starter in “Death Valley.”

Former USC QB Kedon Slovis will be taking the reins from Pickett in Pittsburgh, and I would feel much better about his prospects if Addison returned. Nevertheless, Akron transfer Konata Mumpfield hopes to be a key piece of the receiving puzzle.

NC State head coach Dave Doeren has gone on record calling Devin Leary the best passer in the nation. The flashes of arm talent are there, and one exceptional campaign could thrust him into Day 1. Last but not least is Miami’s Tyler Van Dyke. In a similar boat to Leary, Van Dyke showcased his ability last year, but a full year of consistent play under center will be pivotal for his draft stock.

Other ACC names to know in the 2023 NFL Draft

UNC WR Josh Downs was Sam Howell’s only reliable pass catcher last season. He is an explosive playmaker who simply creates separation. Downs was the Tar Heel’s offense and should retain that role in 2022. Still, a change under center muddies the waters, especially coming from a player of Howell’s caliber throwing him the football.

Virginia possesses an elite receiving duo in Dontayvion Wicks and Keytaon Thompson. Thomspon is a converted QB at 6’4″ and 210 pounds and outmuscles opponents. He can break tackles and win contested situations all while being a versatile weapon all over the field. Wicks was the Cavaliers’ downfield threat, averaging 21.1 yards per reception en route to 1,203 yards and 9 TDs. He possesses legitimate 4.4 speed and can take the top off defenses.

Yet another Pitt prospect to know is edge rusher Habakkuk Baldonado. A native of Rome, Italy, Baldonado began playing in the states in 2017. But you couldn’t tell by watching his tape as he was a terror off the edge. He was a second-team All-ACC honoree last year after generating 12 tackles for loss and 9 sacks. Alongside Kancey, expect Baldonado to continue to grow.

Miami CB Tyrique Stevenson spent his first two years as a slot defender for Georgia. But after transferring to South Beach, Stevenson has proven to be a dependable outside corner. He allowed just 51% of his targets to be caught last year, allowing no more than 49 yards in a single game. He has the size, length, and skill set to maintain his dominance in 2022.

Honorable mentions

  • Sean Tucker, RB, Syracuse
  • Jordan McFadden, OL, Clemson
  • Robert Scott Jr., OT, Florida State
  • Zion Nelson, OT, Miami (FL)
  • Carter Warren, OT, Pittsburgh
  • Tyler Davis, DT, Clemson
  • Yasir Abdullah, LB, Louisville
  • Tony Grimes, CB, North Carolina
  • Akeem Dent, S, Florida State



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First day of Deshaun Watson disciplinary hearing in Delaware concludes, second day set for Wednesday

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The legal team for Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson made their case before jointly appointed disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson in Delaware on Tuesday during the first day of a disciplinary hearing.

Opening statements began at 9 a.m. ET, and the second day of the proceedings will commence on Wednesday.

Day 1 of Deshaun Watson disciplinary hearing concludes

The hearings are held in Delaware, and it’s unclear how many days it will take, per a source.

Watson, represented by NFL Players Association outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler and Houston-based attorney Rusty Hardin, has been accused of multiple violations of the NFL personal conduct policy after being sued and settling 20 of 24 civil lawsuits with female massage therapists accusing him of sexual misconduct. Watson

The NFL investigation, led by senior vice president and special counsel for investigations Lisa Friel, a former Manhattan, NY chief sex crimes prosecutor, is pushing for an indefinite suspension of at least one year, according to league sources.

Watson’s legal team is requesting no punishment or a much lesser sanction based on precedent, evidence, and the slight consequences for NFL owners Robert Kraft, Jerry Jones, and Daniel Snyder, according to sources.

This marks the first case heard by Robinson, a former U.S. District Judge now practicing law in Delaware, under a new system after the collective bargaining agreement that was amended two years ago.

The three-time Pro Bowl selection and former first-round draft pick from Clemson reached a confidential settlement with 20 of 24 plaintiffs represented by Houston-based attorney Tony Buzbee. Buzbee has subsequently added the Houston Texans, Watson’s former employer, as a defendant, alleging that they “enabled” his “behavior.”

Robinson is expected to issue a ruling in advance of training camp. One source predicted the ruling could come as soon as within one week after the hearing is completed.

The NFL and the players union have previously attempted to strike a compromise on a settlement of a proposed punishment of Watson, who didn’t play last season and was paid his full $10.54 million salary after requesting a trade from the Texans. However, sources emphasized that they never came close to a deal.

The reasoning from the league behind a potential indefinite suspension, as the NFL imposed in the Michael Vick dog fighting scandal and Ray Rice’s domestic violence case, would be to give them flexibility to potentially impose further discipline in case other allegations of misconduct surfaced. Although no DNA, audio, or video evidence exists in the cases, according to multiple sources, the NFL will use text messages, depositions, and interviews to make its argument.

Under NFL rules governing personal conduct policy matters, Watson has the right to appeal to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. The appeal could also be heard by another appointed officer.

When the settlement was reached, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email to Pro Football Network that the settlement wouldn’t affect the ongoing league investigation, writing, “Today’s development has no impact on the collectively bargained disciplinary process.”

Plaintiffs’ attorney Tony Buzbee has also filed a lawsuit against the Houston Texans, lawsuit alleging they enabled Watson’s behavior by providing a membership to the Houstonian hotel and spa and giving him a nondisclosure agreement for vendors. The Texans have stated previously they had no knowledge of Watson’s alleged misconduct.

Watson was not charged by two Texas grand juries. He has maintained his innocence throughout the legal process.

“I’ve been honest and I’ve been truthful about my stance and that’s I never forced anyone, I never assaulted anyone,” Watson said during a recent minicamp press conference. “So, that’s what I’ve been saying it from the beginning and I’m going to continue to do that until all the facts come out on the legal side. I have to continue to just go with the process with my legal team and the court of law.”



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Which kicker has scored the most fantasy football points in a single game?

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The role of kickers in fantasy football leagues is becoming much more of a debate, and the recency of our list of the most fantasy football points by a kicker in a single game demonstrates why. With all of the top scores on this list of leading fantasy performances in a single game coming since 2000, it is somewhat clear why the role of kickers is so controversial. With the volatile position able to change a contest, let’s examine which kickers sit among the top 10 for the most fantasy points scored in a single game.

The role of kickers in the NFL and consequently fantasy football has evolved over time. Prior to the merger, kickers were not always specialists and often served other roles. Take George Blanda, for example, who was both a kicker and QB. If we included premerger scores, Blanda would top this list with 36.8 fantasy points. However, the majority of those points would come from his role as a QB.

Therefore, we have set the benchmark for this article at the merger (1970) between the AFL and NFL. That allows us to keep the scoring consistent across the position as well as with the rest of this series of articles. The data for this article comes from Pro Football Reference. The scoring sees 1 point for an extra point, 3 points for field goals, and 2 bonus points for field goals of 50 yards or more.

T-8) Greg Zuerlein | 23 fantasy points

Rams at Cowboys | Week 4 | Oct. 1, 2017

Greg Zuerlein’s reputation as a kicker has earned him the nicknames “Greg the Leg” and “Legatron.” His best performance from a fantasy perspective came in Week 4 of the 2017 season. Zuerlein was a perfect 9 for 9 as he scored seven field goals and kicked two extra points. Zuerlein scored 23 of the Rams’ 35 points as they defeated the Cowboys 35-30.

T-8) Jeff Wilkins | 23 fantasy points

Rams vs. Chargers | Week 5 | Oct. 1, 2000

The oldest performance on this list also makes it back-to-back appearances from Rams players. Wilkins spent 11 years with the Rams and played 171 games, but his best performance came in 2000. Wilkins’ performance was more balanced than Zuerlein’s as he kicked five field goals and six extra points. One of those field goals was also over 50 yards.

T-8) Blair Walsh | 23 fantasy points

Vikings vs. Giants | Week 16 | Dec. 27, 2015

Unlike Wilkins and Zuerlein, Blair Walsh was not perfect in this 2015 performance. However, with five field goals and going 4 of 5 on extra points, he also posted 23 fantasy points. Despite just nine kicks, two were from more than 50 yards, giving Walsh 23 points and having him tie for eighth on this list of the most fantasy points by a kicker in a single game.

T-8) Jason Sanders | 23 fantasy points

Dolphins at Jets | Week 14 | Dec. 8, 2019

This performance on the list has a very different look to it. Jason Sanders scored all 21 points for the Dolphins in this game as he made 7 of 8 attempts. Included in that was a 53-yard field goal to give him 23 fantasy points for the game.

T-6) Blair Walsh | 24 fantasy points

Vikings at Rams | Week 15 | Dec. 16, 2012

Walsh makes his second appearance on our list of the most fantasy points by a kicker in a single game. In this game, Walsh kicked three extra points and five field goals for 18 of the Vikings’ 36 points. With three field goals of 50 or more, Walsh finished the game with 24 fantasy points.

T-6) Jason Myers | 24 fantasy points

Jets vs. Colts | Week 6 | Oct. 14, 2018

Jason Myers kicked a combined 10 field goals and extra points as the Jets prevailed 42-34 over the Colts. Myers had three extra points and seven field goals to score a total of 24 fantasy points.

T-3) Cairo Santos | 25 fantasy points

Chiefs at Bengals | Week 4 | Oct. 4, 2015

In a game where the Bengals’ defense blunted the Chiefs’ offense, Cairo Santos provided all of the scoring for Kansas City. Santos kicked seven field goals, two from more than 50 yards, to finish with 25 fantasy points in this Week 4 contest.

T-3) Stephen Gostkowski | 25 fantasy points

Titans at Vikings | Week 3 | Sept. 27, 2020

Stephen Gostkowski is best known for his time with the New England Patriots. However, his appearance on this list of the most fantasy points by a kicker in a single game came while he played for the Titans. Gostkowski had one extra point and six field goals as the Titans won 31-30. Three of those field goals were from over 50 yards to leave Gostkowski with 25 fantasy points.

T-3) Billy Cundiff | 25 fantasy points

Cowboys at Giants | Week 2 | Sept. 15, 2003

Billy Cundiff was a key contributor in the Dallas Cowboys’ 35-32 victory over the New York Giants. He kicked two extra points and went 7 for 8 on field goals in a fantastic performance. One of those field goals came as time expired in the fourth quarter to tie the game before another in overtime won the game for Dallas. Cundiff’s game-tying field goal was a 52-yarder, giving him 25 fantasy points.

2) Jay Feely | 27.5 fantasy points

Cardinals vs. Broncos | Week 14 | Dec. 12, 2010

Jay Feely finds himself second on the list of the most fantasy points by a kicker in a single game thanks to being the only player on the list to score some of his points by finding the end zone. Feely actually scored six consecutive times in this game against the Broncos.

Five of them were field goals, with a five-yard rush and subsequent extra point in the middle. Feely would kick another three extra points as the Cardinals ran out 43-13 victors. He finished with five field goals, four extra points, five rushing yards, and a rushing touchdown for 27.5 fantasy points.

Which kicker has scored the most fantasy points in a single game?

1) Rob Bironas | 28 fantasy points

Titans at Texans | Week 7 | Oct. 21, 2007

Rob Bironas is the kicker that tops our list with the most fantasy points in a single game. The performance came in a 38-36 victory for the Titans over the Texans, with Bironas kicking a game-winning field goal as time expired. Bironas would kick a total of eight field goals — two of more than 50 yards — and two extra points. He finishes atop this list with 28 fantasy points in Week 7 of the 2007 season.



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Why Commanders WR Terry McLaurin’s three-year contract extension stands out

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The financial windfall for elite wide receivers continues to unfold. The Washington Commanders struck a three-year, $71 million contract extension with wide receiver Terry McLaurin, according to league sources. The contract was negotiated by agents Buddy Baker and Tony Bonagura of Exclusive Sports along with Commanders executive Rob Rogers.

Terry McLaurin, Commanders agree to three-year extension

Per a source, 76% of McLaurin’s deal is guaranteed at signing, including a $28 million signing bonus.

McLaurin is one of the top young wide receivers in the NFL. The Commanders standout skipped minicamp after previously choosing to not attend voluntary organized team activities.

Heading into the final year of his rookie contract, McLaurin was originally due a $2.79 million base salary. Now, he’s netted a huge payday.

McLaurin has done everything the Commanders could have hoped for. Head coach Ron Rivera told reporters at minicamp he understands what the former Ohio State standout is doing and expressed confidence that something would ultimately be worked out.

Now, it has.

McLaurin had 1,053 yards and five touchdowns last season on 77 receptions. He’s incredibly valuable to an offense that’s hoping to revive the career of quarterback Carson Wentz.

This is an extremely positive development for the NFC East franchise. They’ve rewarded one of their top young players and established that they will take care of their homegrown players when they’ve earned a new deal.

This is regarded as a true win-win. The Commanders avoided drama with McLaurin and have taken care of business.



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