Player News

Date:

Jim McElwain has told ESPN's Chris Low that he has joined the Michigan coaching staff.

"I'm excited to get back into it and am looking forward to going there and learning and helping Michigan get better," McElwain told Low. He replaces Dan Enos, who left the Wolverines to join the Alabama coaching staff. Bruce Feldman reported on Friday that McElwain could have offensive coordinator duties as part of his new role. He's been a head coach for both Colorado State and Florida, and he has a career win-loss record of 44-28.
Source: ESPN
Feb 17 - 9:44 PM

Pro Football Focus's analysis team lists Texas Tech WR Keke Coutee as one of the most versatile offensive players available in the draft class.

Coutee put up massive numbers at Texas Tech, which is nothing new considering the pass-happy scheme the Red Raiders run. What makes Coutee unique is how he was able to put up his numbers. "He ranked eighth in the nation with 542 yards on deep passes last season despite tying for only 114th in deep targets," they write. "He was a dominant slot receiver for Texas Tech, ranking second in the nation with 1,088 yards from the slot and he has plenty of slot value at the next level." The ability to beat defenders deep and also run across the middle in the slot will make Coutee a highly-scouted prospect up until draft day.
Feb 17 - 9:27 PM

While ranking Fort Hays State DT Nathan Shepherd among the best non-FBS prospects in the 2018 draft class, NFLDraftScout write that he might require a "redshirt year."

That's concerning, because as they point out, Shepherd will turn 25 next year, so this is not one of the younger prospects or anything close. Still, he's very intriguing, and he really stood out working against the quality guards of the Senior Bowl. "He stood out immediately at the Senior Bowl with his nimble lower body and powerful upper body before breaking his hand during the second practice," they write. "Shepherd might require a "redshirt" NFL season, which isn’t ideal for a player who turns 25 years old as a rookie, but his exciting traits are promising for a patient coaching staff."
Feb 17 - 9:00 PM

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock compares Georgia RB Sony Michel to Saints RB Alvin Kamara.

Mayock notes that Michel (5'11/208) has similar size to Kamara, and that both players have the ability to make tacklers miss with their shiftiness, but also run with a toughness. The only thing he questions about the comparison is whether or not he can be as effective as Kamara in the pass game. Kamara was a revelation in 2017; arguably the most impressive rookie in the NFL when you combine his impact in special teams, running the football and the pass game. If a team can get a player like that in Michel, that team will be jumping for joy for a long time.
Source: NFL.com
Feb 17 - 8:33 PM

Benjamin Allbright reports that the Bills are trying to trade up into the top ten of this year's draft, presumably to acquire a quarterback.

The Bills have both the 21st and 22nd pick in this year's draft, as they acquired Kansas City's first-round pick last spring in the Patrick Mahomes deal. What quarterback they'd be targeting remains to be seen, but there has been recent speculation tying them to UCLA's Josh Rosen. His arm strength should play fine in the cold wind of Buffalo, and many consider him the most "NFL ready" signal-caller in the class. Stay tuned; we often see trade movement around the combine, and that's just around the corner.
Feb 17 - 8:14 PM

NFL.com Draft Analyst Chad Reuter calls Anthony Miller one of the ten safest NFL draft prospects in the 2018 class.

Miller (5'11/196) saw his stock slip slightly after an uneven season at Memphis, but Reuter still sees value in the wideout. "Miller is not the tallest, biggest, or fastest receiver in the class, he writes. "But I'll tell you what he's going to do -- go get the ball, and then make a play after the reception." Reuter also notes that teams have begun to see value in the smaller wideouts like Antonio Brown, Brandin Cooks, etc. Miller isn't likely to go in round one, but because of his playmaking potential, he could be a steal on Day 2.
Source: NFL.com
Feb 17 - 7:54 PM

Four-star 2020 QB DJ Uiagalelei told 247 Sports that Oregon and Utah are the two schools that are recruiting him the hardest.

"I like Oregon a lot and they have been in steady contact," Uiagalelei said. "I like the coaches there. Coach (Marcus) Arroyo and all the coaches, it's a great staff they've put together. Utah has been recruiting me hard, too. I have an uncle that's coaching out there and I talk with coach Troy Taylor, the offensive coordinator, a lot. I like what he's doing over there. I can see myself fitting into that offense." Uiagalelei is also considering USC, Florida, Louisville and Tennessee, and is planning on taking visits this spring. He's rated the third best pro-style quarterback on 247 Sports composite rankings.
Source: 247 Sports
Feb 17 - 7:41 PM

NFLDraftScout's Rob Rang and Dane Brugler call Idaho State G Skyler Phillips an "NFL caliber athlete."

Phillips makes the list of sites top non-FBS prospects, and ranks 146th overall on their board. Dane and Brugler note that he helped himself at the Senior Bowl, where he played well in both the game and practices in Mobile. "Phillips is an NFL-caliber athlete, but, at 6-foot-2, he is far too short for tackle and might be too short for some teams at guard," they write. "He does have some starting experience at center." Right now, it appears that Phillips would be an early Day 3 selection.
Feb 17 - 7:25 PM

NFL.com Draft analyst Chad Reuter ranks Notre Dame G Quenton Nelson as the safest prospect in the NFL Draft class.

Nelson (6'5/325) ranks near the top of many draft boards being released, and a select few have him at the top of the class. It's no surprise given his ability as a run and pass blocker that he is considered close to a sure thing. "Nelson is as close to the top of the heap as any guard has been since Hall of Famer John Hannah destroyed New England's opponents for 13 seasons," Reuter writes. "Whichever team selects Nelson in the top 10 will watch him become a perennial Pro Bowler as a nasty and athletic leader on the line."
Source: NFL.com
Feb 17 - 7:09 PM

Louisiana Lafayette has hired former HS coach Devan Walker as a defensive quality control assistant.

Walker played in the NFL for the Chargers and Chiefs as an outside linebacker. It is probably not a coincidence that he'll be working with outside linebackers for the Ragin' Cajuns.
Feb 17 - 6:57 PM

Pro Football Focus notes that Lamar Jackson had 8.6 percent of his passes dropped in 2017.

That's the highest percentage of passes dropped by any of the "big 6" quarterbacks; which are made up of Jackson, USC's Sam Darnold, UCLA's Josh Rosen, Wyoming's Josh Allen and Oklahoma State's Mason Rudolph. Darnold had the lowest percentage with just 3.9 percent of his passes dropped. It's worth noting that one of the criticism's of Jackson is that he doesn't always show great touch on the ball, so some of those drops could be passes that were zoomed in when they could have been thrown with a bit more loft. That's nitpicking, however, and it shows that Jackson's completion percentage should have been considerably higher in 2017.
Feb 17 - 6:45 PM

Washington State HC Mike Leach went on SiriusXM radio and stated that he believed both USC QB Sam Darnold and UCLA QB Josh Rosen should have stayed in school.

"I thought they both should have stayed," Leach said on SiriusXM NFL radio. "I think that Rosen measures out better in some areas, the ball he throws is real pretty, but to me it seems like Darnold elevates his team and I think those guys play around him a little better." According to most draft analysts, Darnold and Rosen are the top two quarterback prospects in the class, with Darnold having a chance to be the first-overall pick. The Pirate seems to feel they could have used another year of seasoning.
Feb 17 - 6:31 PM

Bleacher Report's David Kenyon ranked Iowa State HC as the top head coach under the age of 40.

Kenyon ranks Troy's Neal Brown second, and Minnesota's P.J. Fleck third. Campbell has already turned Iowa State into a potential Big 12 contender; an impressive fete especially when you consider how bad of shape the program was in before he arrived from Toledo. He turned down overtures to interview for jobs after the season, but if a big-time job opens up at the end of the year -- and it assuredly will -- Campbell will rank at or near the top of lists.
Feb 17 - 6:09 PM

ESPN's Mel Kiper ranks UCLA WR Jordan Lasley as the second best wide receiver in his updated position rankings.

Lasley (6'0/190) ranks only behind Alabama's Calvin Ridley, who is the only wideout who makes Kiper's Big Board of the top 25 draft prospects at 14. Lasley left school with a year left after putting up big numbers for the Bruins (69/1,264/9), but we haven't seen much talk about him going ahead of players like Texas A&M's Christian Kirk or Oklahoma State's James Washington, among others. How well he tests at the combine compared to those players will go a long way towards determining if he has a chance to be a late-first, early-second round selection.
Source: ESPN
Feb 17 - 5:52 PM

Pro Football Focus lists Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch as the linebacker who had the highest run-stopping percentage in the 2017 season.

Vander Esch made a stop on approximately 15.9 percent of his chances, which is above TCU's linebacker Travin Howard and Auburn's Trey Williams. "Against the run, Vander Esch has the eyes to find the ball and has a knack for sliding past blockers to make a run stop," PFF's Jordan Plocher writes. " He uses his long stride to quickly cover ground on outside runs and is also a productive pass-rusher when asked, generating four sacks, two QB hits, 12 hurries and one batted pass on his 98 pass-rushing snaps." Vander Esch is considered one of the more intriguing athletes in the class, and has a strong chance of going before the end of the second round.
Feb 17 - 5:33 PM



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