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Texas Tech’s 2023 NFL Draft prospects led by Tyree Wilson, Tony Bradford Jr.

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Could the 2023 NFL Draft bring the Texas Tech Red Raiders one of their strongest NFL classes in recent memory? A lot hinges on the 2022 season, but Texas Tech has the talent to potentially make an imprint next April.

Texas Tech prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft

On both offense and defense, the Red Raiders are stocked with a surprising amount of talent. Let’s take a look at who from Texas Tech’s locker room might make noise in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Donovan Smith, QB

Tyler Shough was the transfer that brought all the hype last offseason. But down the stretch in 2021, it was redshirt freshman Donovan Smith who showed the most promise.

Smith likely won’t declare as a redshirt sophomore, but he has the tools to potentially break out, provided he eventually becomes the unquestioned starter at Texas Tech. Smith is tall, well-built, and athletic. He’s shown he can throw with touch from the pocket and also generate velocity out of structure.

Tyler Shough, QB

Shough is still on the roster at Texas Tech, and presumably battling for the starting QB job. But right now, the former Oregon starter feels as if he’s in limbo.

A broken collarbone took Shough off the field early in 2021, and eventually paved the way for the upstart Smith to show promise at QB. Now, nothing is assured for Shough. He has the athleticism to create, but as a thrower, Smith possesses a visibly higher ceiling. Shough will have to rely on his experience to re-emerge.

SaRodorick Thompson, RB

The 2023 NFL Draft’s running back group projects to be very deep, and SaRodorick Thompson is a part of that group. The Red Raiders RB logged 107 carries for 500 yards and 10 scores in 2021, and he figures to once again be a vital weapon on offense. Thompson has nice frame density, which he pairs with great open-field burst and urgency. His hips aren’t incredibly loose, but he has a combination of burst and balance worth keeping tabs on.

Tahj Brooks, RB

Thompson may have been the Red Raiders’ primary back in 2021, but Tahj Brooks was quietly more efficient. On 20 fewer carries, Brooks earned 68 more yards than Thompson, averaging 6.5 yards per carry, compared to Thompson’s 4.7.

Brooks is younger than Thompson and arguably has more upside. He has a similarly dense frame, standing at 5’10”, 220 pounds, but also shows off spry lateral athleticism, quick cutting ability, and speed in the open field.

Myles Price, WR

If you remember, in the 2022 NFL Draft, I was irrationally high on Texas Tech WR Erik Ezukanma. Well, we’re into the 2023 NFL Draft cycle, and I’ve already found another Red Raiders receiver to market: Myles Price.

Standing at 5’10”, 180 pounds, Price isn’t close to the physical specimen that Ezukanma was, but he’s an equally dangerous mold of receiver. Price is a speed WR who splices through coverages with natural separation ability and hauls in tough catches amidst contact.

Xavier White, WR

Xavier White feels like a player who still has yet to show the full extent of what he can do. He’s flashed brightly, but perhaps the arrival of offensive coordinator Zach Kittley will be the final piece in his emergence.

White is 6’0″, 200 pounds, and has a unique background as a hybrid RB-WR. Over the past two seasons, he’s accumulated 169 touches, 983 total yards from scrimmage, and six touchdowns. His unique blend of RB and WR traits might lend him a breakout opportunity in 2022.

Weston Wright, G

After losing Dawson Deaton, the Red Raiders will likely rely on senior Weston Wright to build around on the interior line. Wright is 6’6″, 320 pounds, with a well-sized frame. He doesn’t have great proportional length for his size, but he’s shown to generate power at the point of attack.

Wright likely isn’t going to be a coveted 2023 NFL Draft prospect, as his length is limiting, and he needs to work on his pad level. Nevertheless, a good year could generate more appeal.

Tony Bradford Jr., DT

There are two interior defensive line prospects within similar molds for Texas Tech. But the most appealing of the two prospects is Tony Bradford Jr.

On the surface, Bradford is a smaller defensive tackle — listed at around 6’1″, 290 pounds. But while his frame is stout, he has exceptional proportional length for his size, as well as a great first step off the line. With his burst and length, Bradford has great power capacity to go along with strong natural leverage. He could be a legitimate sleeper in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Jaylon Hutchings, DT

Jaylon Hutchings isn’t quite as long as Bradford, but aside from that, he has a similar athletic makeup. Hutchings is listed at 6’0″, 305 pounds. And like Bradford, he also shows off good quickness at the snap.

Hutchings can use his initial burst to surge through running lanes, and he has the strength to pry through blockers, even if his length is below average. Hutchings was productive last year, with 3½ sacks and 6½ tackles for loss. He’ll aim to finish even stronger in 2022.

Tyree Wilson, EDGE

Early on, Tyree Wilson might be one of the most underrated prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft. He could be a player who undergoes a massive ascent with another season of production.

Wilson logged 13½ tackles for loss and seven sacks in 2021, using his massive 6’6″, 275-pound frame to blast back tackles and puncture pockets with devastating force. He’s incredibly strong, but also explosive off the line, and has a potentially dominant skill set with early-round upside.

Krishon Merriweather, LB

The Red Raiders lost to two of their leading tacklers last year when linebackers Colin Schooler and Riko Jeffers exhausted their eligibility. In their place, Krishon Merriweather will be asked to carry greater responsibilities at the second level. Merriweather, a veteran leader listed at 6’0″, 240 pounds, has the makeup of a solid college LB. But he’s a bit undersized and not overly athletic. Thus, Merriweather’s professional ceiling might be limited.

Rayshad Williams, CB

With the departure of Damarcus Fields, Rayshad Williams becomes even more important in the Red Raiders’ secondary. Williams already stepped up in 2021 with 10 pass deflections, and now, even more eyes will be on him as he locks down the boundary. He has room to grow before he becomes a surefire 2023 NFL Draft prospect. But Williams is a long cornerback with good ball skills, and he’s shown solid route recognition and breaking ability in zone.

Adrian Frye, CB

Believe it or not, Adrian Frye was one of the best freshmen in the country back in 2018. That year, the Texas Tech defender put up five interceptions and 10 deflections in a spectacular debut season. Since then, however, it’s been quiet for Frye.

In the three seasons since, he’s tacked on a total of two interceptions and four pass breakups. Frye does have visible upside with his length, frame density, and burst. Although he’s not the most fluid, Frye has a skill set worth watching. And he’s proven before that he can produce.

Dadrion Taylor-Demerson, DB

Affectionately nicknamed “Rabbit”, Dadrion Taylor-Demerson could bounce into the 2023 NFL Draft conversation with another standout season at Texas Tech. The defensive back quietly hauled in three picks and 10 deflections in 2021, showing off natural playmaking ability and great zone awareness in space.

Taylor-Demerson is a little undersized, but he’s smart, fluid, and has impressive closing speed. The glue of the Red Raiders secondary, expect Rabbit to get more buzz down the stretch.

Reggie Pearson Jr., DB

Returning as a starting safety, Reggie Pearson Jr. is yet another player to know in a stocked Texas Tech secondary. The 5’11”, 200-pound DB is a former Wisconsin commit with cornerback experience. In his first season at Texas Tech in 2021, Pearson showed promise, accounting for 54 tackles, two tackles for loss, a pick, and three deflections. Pearson has room to improve in coverage, but he’s very willing to come downhill and tackle.

Marquis Waters, S

Marquis Waters brings additional safety experience to the Red Raiders. He’s unique in his build, standing around 6’1″, 215 pounds. That frame density brings value in run support, but Waters has flashed playmaking ability before as well. A former Duke standout, Waters logged two picks and seven deflections with the Blue Devils back in 2019. Perhaps another season with the Red Raiders enables him to make more plays.

Ian Cummings is a Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can find his writing here and follow him on Twitter: @IC_Draft.





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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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