NEWS AND NEAR NEWS

Media outlets wishing to interview Colin Lindsay or Pigskin Paul Guillemette about the draft or other football topics should email the editor or call 613-692-1088

Offensive position rankings posted … Along with the QB rankings posted yesterday here are the initial GBN rankings for the remaining offensive positions including RB, WR, TE, OT, OG and C.

A tale of two QBs … We have had several queries wondering why we did not include Ohio State redshirt sophomore Dwayne Haskins and Oklahoma junior Kyler Murray on our latest ranking of QB prospects for the 2019 posted yesterday. No question both guys are terrific college quarterbacks. However, we just don’t think that Haskins is going to enter the upcoming draft after just one year as a starter at Ohio State, although he will almost certainly join the ranks of the top prospects if and when he does opt to turn pro. On the other hand, Murray really isn’t a NFL prospect at the position; he’s barely 5-9 and 190 pounds and has already signed a big contract to play with MLB’s Oakland A’s after being the 9th player selected at this past spring’s baseball draft.

To QB or not to QB … Needless to say, with the 2019 draft still some 230 days away there is still a ton of sorting out to be done at the position before April 25th next spring. The early returns are that this year’s QB draft class doesn’t appear to as strong as it was this past spring, but its also not hard to make the case that the 2019 QB draft class is at least interesting. Indeed, there are as many as a half dozen very productive college QBs with at least some opening round potential including juniors Justin Herbert of Oregon and Jarrett Stidham of Auburn , along with seniors Drew Lock of Missouri, West Virginia’s Will Grier and Ryan Finley of North Carolina State. There are also a couple of other very intriguing emerging juniors in Daniel Jones of Duke and 6-7 Tyree Jackson of Buffalo, both of whom have the size and elite arm talent to move up into that top group as the season evolves, although Jones is out right now with a clavicle injury. Right now it doesn’t appear as if any one of this year’s QB class is a lock to be top ten pick, but in the end, no one should be surprised if several are early picks next April. Meanwhile, it also looks like there will be some decent depth in this year’s draft class including several small school prospects such as Easton Stick of North Dakota State, Drew Anderson of Murray State, Gage Gubrud of Eastern Washington and Samford’s Devlin Hodges. For now, here is our initial ranking of the top QB prospects for the upcoming draft, along with some preliminary thumbnail profiles of some of those top prospects.

DE Bosa to sit OSU game this week … Ohio State has confirmed that star junior DE Nick Bosa, the early consensus top prospect overall for the 2019 draft, will not play this weekend when the Buckeyes host Tulane. Bosa suffered what is being reported as a groin and abdominal strain in the Buckeyes big win over TCU in Dallas this past weekend and will reportedly undergo more tests this week. As such, there is no prognosis for Bosa beyond this week, but reading between the lines one gets the sense that Ohio State officials are concerned that this could be a lingering issue. And it likely won’t be a big issue for OSU if Bosa doesm’t play against Tulane in what is not much more than a breather game, however, the following week the Buckeyes play Penn State in what is looking like it could be the penultimate game in the Big Ten regular schedule.

Browns get Pats 5th for WR Gordon … The Josh Gordon soap opera has moved onto New England after Cleveland sent the enigmatic receiver to the Patriots in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2019. The Patriots will also get a 2019 seventh-round pick from the Browns if Gordon is not active for 10 games.

Cane WR sits again … Miami junior WR Ahmonn Richards did not play again this week in the Hurricanes’ win over FCS Savannah State. Richards, one of the top 2-3 prospects at the position for the upcoming draft, hurt a knee in the season opener against LSU and hasn’t played since and there is no timetable on his return. And that could take a hit on Richards’ grade as he was already returning from a season-ending knee injury last year. Stay tuned!

Who to watch in college football this weekend … Its kind of a ‘meh’ week on the college football schedule, but there are always pro prospects to watch. There’s also one major game on this week’s docket when LSU plays at Auburn in a key early season SEC West match-up. GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette profiles the weekend’s top games including the Tigers against the Tigers at Auburn.

Senior Bowl adds to scout staff … The Senior Bowl has announced the addition of 4 veteran scouts to their personnel department. The four include Zac Bocian, Jim Jauch, Ryan Kessenich and Seth Turner. Bocian, who spent 15 years in the Browns’ organization, will be scouting players on the West coast; Jauch, who spent 25 years as an NFL scout 17 with the Chargers, will scout the Northeast; Kessenich, a ten-year NFL vet, most with the Bears, will handle players from the Midwest, while Turner, a long-time Tampa Bay scout, will work the Midlands area. In addition, the game has also added two in-house scouting assistants in Dante Fargnoli and Jack Gilmore.

Bonus coverage … Most years a Thursday game in the direct line of fire of a major hurricane between Boston College and Wake Forest wouldn’t attract much more than a few yawns from NFL scouts, but tonight’s match-up is worth a look as the Eagles have two of the better prospects for the upcoming draft in veteran DE Zach Allen (#2, 6-5, 285) and FS Lukas Denis (#21, 5-11, 185). Note though that the game, which will be telecast on ESPN, has been moved up to 5:30 PM ET because of the storm. In particular, Allen is considered to be a legitimate first-round prospect as he was just one of two FBS defensive linemen with 100+ tackles last fall, although he is off to something of a slow start this year. For his part, Denis, a ball-hawker who had 7 picks last year – and one more so far in 2018 – is more a second-day candidate. Meanwhile, other Eagles with later round potential include OG Chris Lindstom (#75, 6-3, 310), TE Tommy Sweeney (#89, 6-5, 260) and DT Ray Smith (#96, 6-1, 305). And just for fun, check out true sophomore RB A.J. Dillon (#2, 5-11, 245), the ACC’s leading returning rusher, although he won’t be draft eligible until 2020.

Weekly college football prospects review … With the secondt full weekend of the college season now in the books, GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette weighs in with some observations about players who caught his eye this week.

Injured Gopher RB to seek 6th year … Minnesota RB Rodney Smith, a later round or free agent draft prospect, will reportedly apply for a 6th year of eligibility after he suffered a season-ending knee injury early in Saturday’s win over Fresno State. Smith has already used up his redshirt year so will have apply for the additional year of eligibility. Smith is 5-10, 210 and already has close to 3,000 career rushing yards.

Duke CB Gilbert done for year … Duke has confirmed that star CB Mark Gilbert, a second-day prospect for the 2019 draft who led the ACC with 6 picks in 2018, will miss the rest of the year after suffering what is being described as a ‘freak’ hip injury during Saturday’s upset win at Northwestern. The Blue Devils will also be without junior QB Daniel Jones, a rising prospect in his own right, after he fractured his clavicle in the game and underwent surgery earlier today. Jones is listed as out indefinitely, but the injury is not considered necessarily season-ending.

Sooners RB Anderson confirmed out for the year … Updating yesterday’s report on the status of star Oklahoma junior RB Rodney Anderson, a leading prospect at the position for the 2019 draft who was forced to leave Saturday’s win over UCLA with an apparent knee injury; the school has confirmed that Anderson will indeed miss the rest of the campaign. No word yet though on the actual projected rehab time or whether Anderson will still consider entering the 2019 or opt to return to school next fall.

Who to watch in college football this week … There are at least two really key early season games on this week’s college football schedule with major national implications as #2 Clemson goes on the road to play a SEC West opponent at Texas A&M, while Southern Cal and Stanford hook up in a big Pac-12 game on the west coast. Here’s a quick preview of who to watch in the USC-Stanford contest, while GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette profiles the weekend’s other top games including Clemson-A&M.

Back surgery ends season for Husky OT Adams … Updating the update on the condition of star Washington LT Trey Adams, a potential first round pick who didn’t play in the Huskies’ season opening loss to Auburn because of a back issue, the school has confirmed that Adams has undergone back surgery and is out for the rest of the year. That would be a major blow for any prospect, but is something of a double whammy for Adams who also missed the second half of the 2017 season after tearing an ACL last October. The 6-8, 320-pound Adams could conceivably still enter the draft where he’d still likely be no worse than a second day pick, but reports out of Seattle indicate that he is leaning toward taking a redshirt and playing another year of college football. Stay tuned!

Are you ready for some football!!!¬† Don’t know about you guys but we sure are!! In fact, it all gets underway later tonight when defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia opens the season against Atlanta. And while we think predictions are best left for gypsies our staff has weighed with their picks in our annual NFL Fearless Forecast. Also, just for fun, here’s our annual kick-off draft projection for next year’s opening round.

Impressions from first week of college schedule … With the first full weekend of the college season now in the books, GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette weighs in with some observations about players who caught his eye this week.

Wake OT Herron to miss year … Wake Forest OT Justin Herron, a solid mid-round prospect for the upcoming draft with 37 straight starts at LT for Demon Deacons, will miss the rest of the year after tearing an ACL over the weekend. Herron is a 5th year senior, but would appear to be eligible to apply for an extra year

Top FCS done for year … James Madison CB Rashad Robinson, one of the top prospects at the position for the 2019 draft, will miss the upcoming season with a foot injury suffered in a non-contact training incident. Robinson, an FCS All-American who had 7 picks last fall, has a redshirt year and will return for a 5th year at JMU next fall.

Canes star WR Richards dinged in loss to LSU … One of the mysteries of Miami’s disappointing season opening 33-17 loss to LSU (a final score that flattered the Hurricanes who were down 33-3 at one point late in the game) was where was junior WR Ahmmon Richards, a projected first round prospect for the 2019 draft, who caught only one pass against the Tigers. Turns out Richards hurt a knee on that one catch and was limited the rest of the way. Miami reportedly still doesn’t have a full diagnosis on Richards, but are hopeful that the injury is only minor and not season threatening. Stay tuned.

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