Todd McShay’s updated Top 32: Ranking 2018 NFL draft prospects

We’re nearly halfway through another exciting college football season, and the standout prospects are cominginto focus.

There aren’t too many changes to this new list, but we have a new cornerback making his debut in the top 15.

Here are my top prospects for the 2018 NFL draft right now:

Wide receiver Jordan Matthews, who suffered a thumb injury in Week 4 that required surgery, was cleared Wednesday to return to practice on a limited basis. Coach Sean McDermott said it has yet to be determined whether Matthews will be able to play against the Buccaneers on Sunday, and he is designated as day-to-day. If Matthews can’t play, expect the Bills to turn to Zay Jones as their top wideout again. — Mike Rodak

Wide receiver DeVante Parker missed his first game of the season last week with an ankle injury and also missed Wednesday’s practice. Coach Adam Gase described Parker as day-to-day, but Thursday’s practice will be huge in determining Parker’s status against the Jets. Miami needs Parker to help stretch the defense. — James Walker

That was the plan here. Offensive coordinator Ron Turner had worked with Hester on the play that week, an out-and-up. The Bears tried to call the play earlier in the game, but didn’t like the coverage. Down seven with less than two minutes to play, it was time.

“Ron (Turner) told him, ‘You’re going to score a touchdown on this play,’” wide receivers coach Darryl Drake said about those practices. “And he did.”

Indeed, Hester took off from the 19, shimmied a bit to his right on the out, and then bolted up the field. Griese took a deep drop and a couple of launch pad steps up in the pocket and unloaded. The pass traveled 53 yards to Hester, who caught it two steps ahead of the defender.

“It seemed like a type of cover-two,” Hester said later. “The safety bit on the out route.”falcons_014

Aaron Gordon had 11 points, six rebounds and two blocks in the first half. He finished with 14 points.

Heat: All five of Miami’s starters scored in double figures. Kelly Olynyk had 10 points in his first game with the Heat and Dion Waiters had 15. бн Whiteside had 10 rebounds in the first half.

Magic: Rookie Jonathan Isaac, the No. 6 overall pick in June’s NBA Draft, converted his first NBA attempt on a put-back late in the first quarter after coming in with 3:10 to play. бн Gordon took a hard hit from Whiteside on a baseline drive late in the second quarter. Gordon remained on the floor momentarily before getting up. The play was reviewed and ruled a common foul.

Kaepernick had been linked to a handful of teams last summer, including the Ravens and Dolphins. Still, there’s been little interest in a 29-year-old quarterback who ranked 17th in the league in passer rating last fall. He’s languished as a free agent while players like Mark Sanchez and Ryan Fitzpatrick landed backup deals.

Earlier this week, his management reached out to the Tennessee Titans after starter Marcus Mariota was forced out of a blowout loss to the Texans with a hamstring strain. The franchise decided to sign Brandon Weeden, 6-19 as a starter and with a career 31:30 touchdown-to-interception ratio, instead.

Kaepernick remains a free agent in a season where players like Mike Glennon, Blake Bortles, Matt Cassel, Josh McCown, Jacoby Brissett, Brian Hoyer, and Case Keenum have all earned starts. If the league’s struggling teams reverse course and decide they need him, he’ll be ready to answer the call.

Score, results, highlights from Sunday night game in Denver

Nobody could have predicted the Giants would enter their Week 6 game against the Broncos in search of their first win of the season. But that was the case for New York, ravaged by injuries and suddenly facing major questions regarding its future, entering Sunday night’s game.

Another reason this would work: Kaepernick wouldn’t start for the Packers next season no matter what. If he were to succeed with Green Bay, somebody else would sign him in 2018.

Imagine the storyline: Romo, also a Wisconsin native, leaves the booth (where he is good) and leads the Packers to the postseason. The headlines in Dallas would look much like the ones in Green Bay after Favre signed with Minnesota.

It would be the biggest story of the season, and social media would not be able to handle a Romo playoff win in a Green Bay uniform.

It’s also hard to believe this would happen considering Romo is 37, injury prone and has made just four starts since 2015.

No matter, they were already soaked from celebratory beer and sparkling wine.

“Both teams were throwing their guys, and that’s what you live for,” Houston third baseman Alex Bregman said on Monday after Justin Verlander came out of the bullpen to beat Chris Sale in an aces-turned-relievers role reversal and helped the Astros eliminate the Red Sox in four games with a 5-4 victory.

According to Rathke, the NLRB will assign a field agent to investigate the claim and if there is a determination that there is a violation of the act it will go to trial if no settlement is reached.

Steelers WR Martavis Bryant’s trade request is more fantasy football

With 4:41 left in the second quarter of their game Sunday in Kansas City, as the Steelers drove toward still another of this season’s many field goals, Antonio Brown caught a pass over the middle and dashed through the Chiefs secondary for a 26-yard gain.

“We first learned through media reports today that Mr. Kaepernick filed a grievance claiming collusion through our arbitration system and is represented by his own counsel. We learned that the NFL was informed of his intention to file this grievance before today. We are scheduling a call with his advisors for early this week.”

Kaepernick became a controversial figure last year when he became the first player to refuse to stand for the national anthem as a sign of protest against what he called racial injustice in the U.S. Many other players have since followed his lead, leading to fan protests and concern among owners and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell that the players’ actions are hurting TV ratings and attendance.

The Browns are stuck in the mud for the most part offensively, but someone has to emerge as a consistent pass-catcher, right? (Well, apart from Duke Johnson Jr.) Louis has back-to-back five-catch games. This is a deeper-league add, as the Browns’ top receiver job has also been a merry-go-round so far this year.

I also think the union has a case in that NFL players’ contracts not only include how players are supposed to act on the field, but also off the field. You can therefore make the case that what they are doing in protesting is taking part in that civic duty.”tigers_048

This wasn’t the bash they’re after, anyway.

On the ensuing free kick, Pittsburgh fails to corral it and Kansas City’s Jehu Chesson recovers. Kansas City now has the ball at the Steelers 29.

Safety. Kansas City center Zach Fulton snaps it over Alex Smith’s head and through the back of the end zone, giving the Steelers a 2-0 lead. Pittsburgh will get the ball back following a free kick.

Now that the Packers have quickly made the decision to stick with Hundley rather than bring in a free agent who would have to learn the offense, these are the growing pains they’re going to have to live with.

And they will have to do so while losing Rodgers’ flair for the dramatic.

But coach Mike McCarthy believes the offense can work with Hundley at the helm.

“I have confidence in Brett Hundley, but more importantly it’s how it all fits together,” McCarthy told reporters after Sunday’s loss. “So we’re going to have strengths as an offense, we’re going to focus on those, look at the matchup of our opponent and then we’re going to go get it.”

“Being around this team for long enough, this is where we expect to be,” ace Clayton Kershaw said. “We are fortunate enough to be in a big market, have a big payroll, have a lot of good players, a lot of talent. They did a great job of putting this team together. They expect us to be here and we expect us to be here, too.”

Bellinger hit his homer in the fifth, then made a daring catch to end the bottom of the inning. The rookie first baseman fell into the Dodgers dugout as he snagged Jeff Mathis’ popup, nearly dropping into the lap of manager Dave Roberts.

Devers, who turns 21 on Oct. 24, is the youngest Red Sox player to homer in the postseason and one of only six players in major league history to hit a postseason home run before their 21st birthday.tigers_015

This made Sunday a perfect time for Pence to grandstand.

The Chiefs were up by six when Smith found West on an 8-yard touchdown pass to make it 13-0 in the second quarter. Houston rookie D’Onta Foreman fumbled two plays later to give Kansas City the ball right back and the Chiefs tacked on a field goal.

Foreman stepped out of one tackle before plowing over Marcus Peters as he tried to tackle him before two other Chiefs finally brought him down after a 25-yard gain that got Houston to the 10 on the Texans’ next drive. The Texans cut it to 16-7 when Watson found DeAndre Hopkins in the back of the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown pass with about two minutes left in the first half.

While I’m not expecting Pence to keep close track of NFL happenings — heck, I hope his focus is on more pressing matters pertaining to our country’s prosperity and security — it’s no secret that the Colts were playing the team that began the anthem protests in 2016. Colin Kaepernick may be gone, but the kneeling among 49ers players has continued in hopes of promoting racial equality and protesting social injustices.

If Pence didn’t know that, his advisers surely would. They also would know nothing has changed in the past two weeks like a team ownership or NFL mandate that would prompt participating 49ers to stand.

The detailed statement he sent on Twitter so quickly after splitting provides a strong indicator this wasn’t an impromptu action.

Trump then took credit for Pence’s hightailing, sending out a Tweet proclaiming he asked his second to leave if any players kneeled “disrespecting our country.”x (11)

There’s the right blend of experience and youth that will serve the team well.

The pool reporter with the vice president had been told to stay outside the stadium and that Pence might leave the game early.

Aides to the vice president did not respond to questions on whether he had planned to make the public walk-out in the game against the 49ers, who have regularly held the demonstrations.

Pence has attended other NFL games, including December’s Colts-Jets game at MetLife Stadium when he was the vice president-elect.

Since 1950, only eight running backs have had more non-PPR fantasy points through five games: Eric Dickerson (132.7), Billy Sims (112.6), Adrian Peterson (106.2), Marcus Allen (106.2), Gale Sayers (104.4), Kareem Hunt (99.9, though he plays his fifth game on Sunday Night Football), Marshall Faulk (99.3) and Joe Cribbs (97.1). Nine have had more using PPR scoring: Dickerson (150.7), Allen (127.2), Sims (123.6), Sayers (119.4), Cribbs (119.1), Faulk (116.3), Peterson (116.2), Hunt (112.9, pending Sunday night’s game) and Curt Warner (110.1). Fournette also finds himself on pace for 349 carries, which not only shows the Jaguars’ continued reliance on him as their offensive centerpiece, but also puts him on track for the fifth-largest total by any rookie running back in history.

In just two offseasons, Quinn has delivered the team 10 of its current 22 starters. He and his scouting staff piled on the building blocks to improve the team’s two biggest weaknesses in order — pass defense and rushing offense. That’s the formula for consistent winning teams, something Quinn should know from his significant time in New England.

With it, Quinn has made things a lot easier on Stafford to win games.
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4-1 teams separate themselves in jumbled NFC playoff race

A thousand miles northeast of Arlington, Texas, where the Cowboys and the Packers were re-legislating last year’s NFL playoff thriller, two teams engaged each other here at Ford Field on Sunday with designs on joining them.

While the Browns dropped to 2-30 in their past 32 games, they did finally get to see No. 1 overall draft pick Myles Garrett.

Garrett, who missed Cleveland’s first four games with a high ankle sprain, sat out the first two plays before recording a sack on his first snap.

He finished with two sacks in limited time.

“Sacks don’t mean anything if you don’t win,” Garrett said. “It’s nice to have stats, but you have to get the dub (W) at the end of the day.”

McCown threw a 2-yard TD pass to Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the third quarter and a 24-yarder to Jermaine Kearse in the fourth to give the Jets a 17-7 lead en route to their third straight victory.

Kearse’s TD capped a 97-yard drive after Jackson decided not to try a potential tying field goal — rookie kicker Zane Gonzalez missed two attempts in the first half — and went for it on fourth down.

However, running back Isaiah Crowell was stopped short by New York’s defense and McCown moved the Jets down the field, helped by a 34-yard pass on third down to tight end Eric Tomlinson.

Jackson said Gonzalez’s earlier misses factored into his decision, but he was confident that his defense would get the ball back in good field position.

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Lawrence Timmons reportedly visited Steelers during Week 1 bye

After the Miami Dolphins’ Week 1 game was postponed due to Hurricane Irma, linebacker Lawrence Timmons made an unannounced visit to a Steelers practice and told some of his former teammates that he wanted to return to Pittsburgh, reported Sunday.

According to the report, Timmons told some with the Steelers, including coach Mike Tomlin, that he wanted to visit, but most of the team’s personnel were unaware. The visit reportedly took place on Friday, Sept. 8.

The now six-game punishment, though, has a net effect of nil for the Ravens this season, since Dixon is out for the year after having knee surgery in July.

For Dixon, though, it’s obviously not good news. Per ESPN, he’ll lose $190,588 for the six games, and the Sun writes his most recent transgression “calls Dixon’s reliability into further question,” what with a history of hamstring, knee and drug issues.

In his rookie season last year, the fourth-round pick out of Louisiana Tech carried the ball 88 times for 382 yards and two touchdowns and caught 30 passes for 162 yards and a TD. But, as NFL observers know, running backs are often expendable and interchangeable in this league.

I’m due for an explosion play. It hasn’t happened yet, he said assuredly after last week’s game. The good news that he’s having fun.

Le’Veon Bell said he had more fun this week than last. Smiles and explains, You have more fun when you get the ball a lot.

Panic index: Patience. The early numbers are concerning, but there’s no reason to freak out just yet. Bell’s getting the touches and the looks you expect, so the numbers should come eventually. At the very least, give it another couple weeks before hitting the panic button.

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Broncos DE Jared Crick (back) placed on IR, facing surgery, report says

Broncos defensive end Jared Crick, the team’s leading tackler among linemen in 2016, was placed on injured reserve Friday with a back injury suffered in mid-August, the team announced.

Crick will undergo surgery for the injury, initially described as a bad back spasm by coach Vance Joseph, reported, citing unidentified sources.

According to a police report from DeKalb County, Georgia, obtained by The Associated Press, Hageman faced misdemeanor charges of battery, cruelty to children and interfering with calls for emergency assistance stemming from a March 2016 incident at the home of Janeal Jefferies. Her son was present at the time, according to the report.

The league had placed him on the commissioner’s exempt list as a result of domestic-violence-related charges.

The Falcons terminated Hageman’s contract earlier this month, letting go of a player who was set to be their backup nose tackle. His deal had a year and $1,147,614 remaining on it.

Hageman currently is a free agent. He does not need to be on a team to serve the suspension, the league said.

Quite frankly, I feel [conflicted] in a sense because I have no courage to be able to do something like that. So I understand the magnitude that they’re fighting across the world for our freedom … The message is we just want respect and unity and there’s only so many ways you can do it.” Cooks was one of 17 Patriots players who knelt.
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