NEWS AND NEAR NEWS

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Dolphins name Rosen starter; claim DE Charlton … Tanking! Not us seems to be the rally cry in Miami this week. One of the main storylines of the early NFL season has been how bad Miami, which lost its first two games by a combined score of 102-10. However, the Dolphins at least looked like they were trying when they announced today that Josh Rosen will be the starting QB for Sunday’s game against Dallas. The Dolphins had acquired Rosen, the 10th player selected at the 2018 draft, from Arizona during this past April’s draft, but Rosen didn’t play the first two games of the season as the Dolphins started veteran journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Dolphins also claimed former first-round pick DE Taco Charlton off waivers from Dallas after he was cut Wednesday after demanding his release.

Key games on college football docket … Over the course of the first 2-3 weeks of the college football schedule there has been an absolute dearth of big games. However, that changes this weekend as conference play kicks off this weekend, although this week’s biggest game – #7 Notre Dame at #3 Georgia on Saturday evening – is an inter-conference affair. Meanwhile, the highlight of the first full week of the conference schedule is a Big Ten dual between #11 Michigan at #13 Wisconsin. Needless to say there are plenty of good prospects to watch in both games. Here’s a quick preview of the top prospects to watch in these two major games.

Pigskin’s weekly college observations … Every week, GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette posts his observations from the past weekend’s college football highlights focusing on players that stood out with an eye toward the 2020 draft.  Here is this week’s post.

College football injury update … So far, the major players for the 2020 draft have avoided the dreaded injury bug, however, there were still a number of injuries of note over the weekend. Rising Florida State junior DE Joshua Kaindoh, a legitimate early round draft prospect for either the 2020 or 2021 drafts, for example, is out for the season with an ankle injury suffered in the Seminoles’ loss to Virginia. Same story, Troy RB B.J. Smith, a pre-season conference selection who rushed for almost 1,200 yards and 13 TDs last season, is also out for the year with a torn patellar tendon. Smith is considered to be more of a later round or free agent type prospect. Meanwhile, Alabama junior 5T DE LaBryan Ray, another early round prospect for either the 2020 or 2021 drafts, reaggravated an off-season foot injury in Saturday’s win over South Carolina. There is still no timetable on Ray’s return, but Alabama officials are concerned that the issue could be season-ending. At the same time, Texas Tech sophomore QB Alan Bowman, one of the top non-draft eligible QBs in the country, is out for 6-8 weeks with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder. Last season, as a true freshman, Bowman was hospitalized twice with a partially collapsed lung.

Giants pull plug on Eli; to start rook QB Jones … The writing appeared to be on the wall yesterday when Giants head coach Pat Shurmur declined to commit to having Eli Manning start this weekend’s game at Tampa Bay and this morning. And this morning the Giants announced that rookie QB Daniel Jones, the 6th player selected at the 2019 draft, would in fact be the starter when they face the Buccaneers on Sunday.  It will be only the second time that Eli hasn’t started for the Giants since he took over the job early in the 2004 season. That, of course, was the botched experiment to have veteran journeyman Geno Smith start ahead of Eli that ultimately cost G.M. Jerry Reese and then head coach Ben McAdoo their jobs. This time, though, barring injuries, the change looks to be permanent as the Giants move on from the 38-year-old Manning. In fact, Jones clearly outplayed Manning in the pre-season when the former completed 83% of his pass attempts and likely would have been named the starter over just about anybody but the venerable Manning who lead the Giants to the 2007 and 2011 super Bowls and still has considerable support among the team’s fan base.

More picks involved in Steelers-Dolphins deal for DB Fitzpatrick … Multiple NFL sources are reporting that Miami and Pittsburgh actually flipped four other picks in last night’s trade in which the Steelers acquired DB Minkah Fitzpatrick from the Dolphins in exchange for a first round pick in 2020. The Dolphins also get the Steelers’ 5th round pick this year and 6th in 2021, while Pittsburgh will get Miami’s 4th rounder this year and 7th next year. What isn’t clear is whether the 4th round pick the Steelers will get is Miami’s original pick or the 4th the Dolphins acquired from Tennessee in the deal for QB Ryan Tannehill. Houston will get the 4th the Steelers don’t get as part of the Laremy Tunsil trade earlier this summer.

Dolphins ship S Fitzpatrick to Steelers for #1 pick … Miami has reportedly traded S/CB Minkah Fitzpatrick to Pittsburgh for the Steelers’ first-round pick at the 2020 draft. The teams have also agreed to swap lundisclosed later-round picks to complete the deal. With the acquisition of the Steelers first rounder, the Dolphins now control three opening round selections this coming April including their own and Houston’s top pick acquired in the deal for OT Laremy Tunsil. (Ed note: We will have to do a little digging here as according to our very unofficial list of future trades Miami had included its 2020 4th rounder to Houston as part of the deal for OT Laremy Tunsil and WR Kenny Stills)

Vet QB carousel spinning; Big Ben, Brees out, Eli wobbling … There will be some big changes at QB across the NFL this coming weekend and more could be coming with news that both Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees are out for extended periods. In fact, Pittsburgh’s Roethlisberger is out for the rest of the year as he’ll require surgery to repair an elbow injury. Meanwhile, Brees is out for 6 weeks after damaging a thumb in yesterday’s loss to the Rams. Roethlisberger will be replaced by second-year pro Mason Rudolph, a 3rd round pick in 2018 who completed 12 of 19 passes for 112 yards and 2 scores in yesterday’s loss to Seattle that dropped the Steelers to an uncharacteristic 0-2 record.  For his part, Brees will be replaced by veteran Teddy Bridgewater for the 1-1 Saints. Meanwhile, the ‘we want DJ’ has started in full earnest in New York where Giants’ head coach Pat Shurmur refused to commit to Eli Manning starting for the 0-2 team when they play at Tampa Bay on Sunday. When asked whether Manning would start behind center this week, Shurmur responded that Eli’s ‘been our starter to this point and I don’t want to talk about anything else moving forward from that standing point. I’m not ready to discuss that.” The Giants are 0-2 largely because of poor defense, but at the same time, the offense has scored only 31 points in the team’s two games to date in which Manning has been inconsistent at best and it just seems to be a matter of time before Daniel Jones, the 6th player picked at the 2019 draft who completed over 80% of his pass attempts in pre-season, gets the call.

Gator QB Franks done for year … Florida junior QB Feleipe Franks suffered a season-ending dislocated ankle in the Gators’ win over Kentucky on Saturday. Franks had been considered to be a solid second-tier type prospect for the 2020 draft, but now is pretty much expected to return to school for his senior campaign next fall.

Sooner DT; Irish WR head early CFL draft list … Oklahoma DT Neville Gallimore and Notre Dame WR Chase Claypool are 1-2 on the CFL Scouting Bureau’s first listing of the Top-20 prospects for the Canadian league’s 2020 draft. Meanwhile, Ohio QB Nathan Rourke is 3rd on the CFL list, while offensive lineman Ketel Asse and LB Adam Auclair, both of Laval, are the top-rated prospects attending a Canadian university at #s 7 and 8 respectively. The 2020 CFL draft has yet to be formally scheduled but is usually held the week after the NFL draft.

Pigskin’s weekly college observations … GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette got caught up in the middle of that storm that hit the east coast last weekend and that kind of threw his schedule for a loop; however, he was still able to catch a few of last week’s key college football games and posts his observations here.

Eclectic viewing week in college football … Whoever put together the college football schedule gets a failing grade this week with not one game on the docket between ranked teams. Indeed, you know its an off-week when one of the teams in what was supposed to be the feature game of the week is coming off a 40-point loss to a remarkably average; you also have to figure its an off week when the ESPN Game Day crew is at a game that is on cable rather than the national TV schedule. Still, if life gives you lemons, make lemonade! And this week there are a half dozen or so games involving teams with some very good prospects for the 2020 draft that don’t play on national TV all that often. That includes several top 10 prospects for the upcoming draft. Here’s a quick rundown on which of those players we’ll be focused on in college football action tomorrow.

Top Boiler LB done for year … Purdue has confirmed that ILB Markus Bailey, the Boilermakers top prospect for the 2020 draft, will miss the rest of the season because of a knee injury suffered at practice this week. It is believed Bailey tore an ACL and will require surgery. The 6-1, 240-pound Bailey, a fifth-year senior, recorded 14 total tackles in the first two games of the season; he also had over 200 tackles over the course of the past two seasons including 2018 when he led Purdue with 115. Bailey also missed much of the 2015 season with an earlier ACL injury and therefore will be eligible to apply to the NCAA for a 6th year of eligibility, but he has yet to confirm that is what he intends to do. When healthy, Bailey was considered to be a mid-to-late round prospect. He lacks ideal athleticism, but is one of those prototype MLB types with great instincts and a terrific motor.

College football injury update … In addition to the season-ending knee injury suffered by rising Stanford LT Walker Little yesterday, there were several other injuries of note in college football last weekend. North Carolina has confirmed, for example, that senior CB/S Patrice Rene will miss the rest of the year after tearing an ACL in Saturday’s win over Miami. Rene is considered to be a late round or free agent type prospect. In fact, his injury could have a bigger impact on next year’s CFL draft as Rene, a 6-2, 210-pound native of Ottawa, was rated the #3 prospect for the 2020 Canadian league draft on a recent early season watch list. Rene has yet to redshirt so could return to school for another year next fall. Meanwhile, Mississippi junior ILB MoMo Sanogo, one of the top prospects at the position for either the 2020 or 2021 drafts, had surgery yesterday to repair a broken ankle that he suffered in Saturday’s win over Arkansas. Team doctors estimate that Sanogo will be out about 10 weeks which puts him on the sidelines pretty much until the end of November, about the same time that the Rebels regular season winds up. And while it won’t affect the 2020 draft, Texas A&M has indicated that true sophomore RB Jashaun Corbin, arguably the top true soph runner in the country, will be out for the season after incurring a hamstring injury in Saturday’s loss to Clemson.

AFC rookie roster report … As he does every year, GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette reviews every NFL roster for its rookie content heading into the season. Earlier this week he posted his report on the NFC rookies. Here’s his report on the AFC situation.

Pac-10 Cardinal get QB Costello back; lose star OT Little for year … Stanford has confirmed that junior QB K.J. Costello will be back in the starting lineup when the 1-1 Cardinal play at #17 Central Florida on Saturday. Costello, a potential mid-to-late first round pick if he opts to enter the 2020 draft, missed last weekend’s 45-20 loss at Southern Cal after suffering what originally appeared to be a nasty neck injury in the Cardinal’s season opening win over Northwestern. That’s the good news for Stanford. The bad: star junior LT Walker Little, a possible top 10 pick this year, will in fact miss the rest of the year with an undisclosed knee injury. Little was also injured in the Northwestern game, but the early diagnosis was that he could be back by mid-season. However, that turned out not to be the case. Little is expected to opt to return to school for the 2020 season, but there is still a possibility that he could ultimately decide to enter the draft despite the injury.

Pats get future Jets 6th for WR Thomas … In a little bit of a surprising move, New England has reportedly traded WR Demaryius Thomas to the New York Jets for a 6th round pick in 2021. The deal is surprising in that it is between teams in the same division. Thomas, the one-time star receiver with Denver who tore his Achilles tendon in December, became expendable after New England signed WR Antonio Brown over the weekend.

Jags get QB Dobbs from Steelers for 5th … Pittsburgh has reportedly acquired a 5th round pick at the 2019 draft from Jacksonville in exchange for backup QB Josh Dobbs. The Jaguars need the depth at the position with news that incumbent starter Nick Foles is out for an extended period with a broken clavicle. For now, Dobbs, a 4th round pick in 2017, will back up rookie Gardner Minshew, the Jaguars’ sixth-round pick this year who took over for Foles and completed a remarkable 22 of 25 pass attempts, including his first 13 throws, in the loss to Kansas City yesterday.

SEC loses pair of starting QBs … Not the best news from the SEC East as two teams in the division lost their starting QB’s over the weekend. South Carolina’s Jake Bentley, for example, will undergo season-ending surgery on his foot after getting a second opinion on the situation. Bentley, a later round or free agent pro prospect, was expected to be out 6-8 weeks after injuring the foot in the Gamecocks’ season opening loss to North Carolina, but after seeking a second opinion, it has been determined that his foot will need surgery, which will put Bentley out for the season. Because Bentley has yet to redshirt, he will be eligible to return next fall should he choose to do so. Meanwhile, Kentucky junior QB Terry Wilson is also out for the season after suffering a torn patellar tendon in the Wildcats’ win over Eastern Michigan on Saturday.

LSU-Texas hilite weekend college football sched … After a pretty quiet opening week in which there were few games of national significance things heat up this weekend on the college football schedule with a number of really intriguing match-ups across the country. And the most intriguing match-up this weekend will be at Texas where the 9th ranked Longhorns host #6 LSU from the formidable SEC West at 7:30 PM ET Saturday evening on ABC. It is a particularly Important game for Texas which desperately wants to get back into the ranks of true college football elites and start contending for a spot in the national playoffs. And it wouldn’t be LSU-Texas without a passel of potential pro prospects showing off for the coming draft. Here’s a quick preview of who to watch when the Tigers play the Longhorns tomorrow evening.

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