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nfl#TBT: Looking back, the 1995 NFL draft was a really weird one (Shutdown Corner)
Looking back, the 1995 NFL draft was, well, not so hot. But the top 10 picks were a fascinating historical study. We had a trade involving the No. 1 overall pick, only the fourth time that ever has happened in the league history, and the pick — Ki-Jana Carter — turned out to be a major bust. He’s also the final running back to be taken first overall. Maybe for good reason. The expansion Carolina Panthers traded down out of that spot, down to No. 5, where they took quarterback Kerry Collins with their first-ever selection. Fellow expansion club Jacksonville Jaguars took Tony Boseli second. Although Boseli played fewer than half the NFL games that Collins did, the offensive tackle had a brilliant run when healthy. Steve McNair out of Alcorn State went third, followed by Michael Westbrook fourth, Collins fifth and Kevin Carter sixth. McNair had a great career but never won a Super Bowl, beaten out by the St. Louis Rams’ Carter in the 1999 season. Westbrook never fulfilled his potential after making one of the more incredible catches in college football history. Also falling under the category of unfulfilled potential is Mike Mamula — perhaps the most famous “workout warrior” of all time, tearing up the NFL scouting combine workouts and moving up to the No. 7 pick all time. But to call him a bust is roundly unfair; he had 31.5 sacks and eight forced fumbles in a good but not great (and injury-plagued) six NFL seasons. The problem? The Philadelphia Eagles traded up from No. 12 to select him, swapping picks with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Their pick: Warren Sapp, whose stock had tumbled after a positive drug test. Another team passing on Sapp was the New York Jets, whose fans tore into them when the pick of Penn State tight end Kyle Brady, he of the nine touchdown catches in 45 college games. We also had a trade to round out the top 10, with one coaching genius (Bill Walsh) swapping picks with another (Bill Belichick). Word is that Belichick loved Brady — insert punch line here — and moved out when he was off the board. Walsh wanted to draft his top-rated receiver in the draft, J.J. Stokes. Like Westbrook, Stokes had a fairly nondescript NFL career. In fact,  only one receiver in the entire draft class — Joey Galloway, who was taken eighth overall — had more receiving yards in the NFL than Wayne Chrebet, who went undrafted that year. Yeah, it was one of those years. Incidentally, the two players in the ’95 draft Belichick acquired in the Stokes deal —linebacker Craig Powell and defensive end Mike Frederick — barely contributed. Of course, the 1996 first-round pick the Browns acquired in the deal turned out to be pretty good … for the Baltimore Ravens. That pick was Ray Lewis. Here are 10 more interesting facts on the 1995 NFL draft: Ki-Jana Carter before Curtis Martin, Terrell Davis Two running backs selected, respectively, in the third round (Hall of Famer Curtis Martin) and the sixth round (Hall of Fame candidate Terrell Davis) rushed for a combined 21,708 career yards in their careers, which is only 1,099 fewer than the eight running backs who were selected ahead of Martin. That included No. 1 overall pick Carter, who ran for 1,144 yards — fewer than two quarterbacks and four fullbacks from the same draft class — in an injury-plagued career. A lose-lose deal? The expansion Panthers originally held the No. 1 selection prior to their maiden season but traded out of the pick. The Bengals moved up from the fifth overall pick, throwing in their second-rounder (No. 36 overall) as well, to select Carter. Call it a lose-lose deal. Carter tore his ACL on his third preseason carry as a rookie and never was the same. Collins had his moments as a Panther, leading the team to the NFC title game in 1996, but he flamed out there after a bout of alcohol abuse before resurrecting his career elsewhere. Shaun King, a defensive end from Louisiana-Monroe, was the Panthers’ other pick in the deal, and he tallied 8.5 sacks in six nondescript seasons that were plagued by multiple substance-abuse suspensions. The Bucs’ draft grade: A+ There are three Hall of Famers to date in the 1995 class — Martin, Derrick Brooks and Sapp. Brooks and Sapp both were first-round picks of the Tampa Buccaneers, at Nos. 12 and 28 overall. Brooks and Carter, who was the sixth overall pick, each played in 224 career regular-season games — the most from this class. Kansas City Chiefs first-round pick (31st overall) Trezelle Jenkins played in only nine games over three seasons. And the Iron Man Award goes to … Collins was the final member of the 1995 draft class to play a game in the NFL. He started the first three games, losing all three, of the 2011 season for the Indianapolis Colts when Peyton Manning was out for the season with a neck injury. Second-round pick Jimmy Oliver (61st overall) by the San Diego Chargers was the highest selection that year never to appear in a regular-season game. Shane Hannah, a guard picked by the Dallas Cowboys two spots later, also never appeared in a regular-season game. "We want Sapp! We want Sapp!" The Jets were one of the teams to pass on Sapp, setting off one of the great mass Jets fan apoplexies of all time. Instead, the Jets selected Brady (and listen to the creepy way Chris Berman says, "ooohhhhh" when they do), who played in 197 games in the NFL but only 63 for the Jets. In the four seasons with the team that drafted him, Brady caught 93 passes for 949 yards and 10 touchdowns. In his 13-year career, Sapp made seven Pro Bowls, was named first-team All Pro four times and collected 96.5 sacks. Uh, yeah, he was > Brady. Not exactly football factories The 1995 draft was the last time a player was drafted from the following schools: Augustana (S.D.) College — Brian Schwartz, second round; Central Oklahoma — Joe Aska, third round; Concordia (Quebec) — Mark Montreuil, seventh round; Howard Payne College — Brandon Harrison, sixth round; University of Pacific — Craig Whelihan, sixth round; Wayne State (Nebraska) — Byron Chamberlain, seventh round; Trinity (Texas) — Herb Coleman, seventh round. Top of their class This year also featured the highest-drafted players ever from the following schools: Alcorn State —McNair, third overall; Central State (Ohio) — Hugh Douglas, 16th overall; Fort Valley State — Tyrone Poole, 22nd overall; Stephen F. Austin — Terrance Shaw, 34th overall; and Augustana (S.D.) — Schwartz, 64th overall. Rocky Mountain High The two schools that produced the most draft picks in 1995, with 10 apiece, were Florida State and, interestingly, Colorado. In the 19 drafts since then, FSU has produced 108 NFL draft picks. Colorado has had 56. Punters and kickers are people, too The Chicago Bears made punter Todd Sauerbrun the 50th overall selection, which made him the second-highest punter taken since 1980. The St. Louis Rams made kicker Steve McLaughlin the 82nd overall pick; only eight kickers were drafted higher in that same time range. Sauerbrun had a very respectable 13-year NFL career, making three Pro Bowls, being named first-team All Pro twice and currently sitting 30th all time in punting yards. McLaughlin, however, flamed out after a mere eight games, missing half of his 16 field-goal attempts as a rookie. RIP McNair, Stringer Two first-round picks from the class are deceased. McNair was murdered on July 4, 2009 by his mistress, Sahel Kazemi. Korey Stringer, the 24th overall pick by the Minnesota Vikings, died on August 1, 2001, suffering a heat-related stroke during a training camp practice after a six-year NFL career. - - - - - - - Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm
nflTwo-round NFL mock draft: Trade speculation heats up in top 10 picks (Shutdown Corner)
What has happened since our last NFL mock draft ? Not a ton outside of some wild rumors and baseless chatter — the fun stuff! — about Team X liking Player Y and the like. But we’ve been gathering information behind the scenes, double-checking our lists and circling back on prospects we missed the first time around. And with it comes another two-round mock draft, this one two weeks prior to liftoff on April 30: 1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers  — Florida State QB Jameis Winston Although the team has gone out of its way to point out that it is examining all avenues, and wild rumors tend to catch wind this time of year,. we believe this pick has been solid since head coach Lovie Smith essentially signed off on Winston’s character at the NFL scouting combine, even if some higher-ups are a little skittish. 2. Tennessee Titans — Oregon QB Marcus Mariota We don’t believe the Titans will be making this pick themselves, but rather another team — the San Diego Chargers have been our wild-card pick here for weeks, and the St. Louis Rams should not be ignored — trading up to pick in this spot. If the Titans stand pat, we think they’d select USC’s Leonard Williams, for what it’s worth. 3. Jacksonville Jaguars — Clemson OLB Vic Beasley Dante Fowler Jr.  said he’d be stunned if he wasn’t the third pick. Well, Dante, prepare your best “stunned” face. Yes, the Jaguars threw a changeup with Blake Bortles in this same slot a year ago, and we would not be shocked if it’s happening again. It’s either Beasley or Williams in our eyes, and Beasley is the bigger need in the Jaguars’ “Leo” pass rusher role. 4. Oakland Raiders — USC DE Leonard Williams If you’ve been following our mocks, we’ve etched in a receiver here consistently. But that was on the premise that Williams was gone. Given that Williams is the rare player who openly has campaigned for the Raiders to take him — and that he’d fill a need, too — we feel like it must happen. The Raiders can get their wideout(s) later. 5. Washington Redskins — Florida DE Dante Fowler Jr. New Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan fills a major hole opposite Ryan Kerrigan now that Brian Orakpo is gone. Trent Murphy is a nice player, but don’t be fooled; he’s nowhere near the all-around force Fowler is. This also is a strong trade-down slot if the right deal materializes. Otherwise, we also could see a safe pick such as Iowa’s Brandon Scherff. 6. New York Jets — Alabama WR Amari Cooper There’s no glaring need at receiver with Eric Decker, Brandon Marshall and Jeremy Kerley currently manning the top three slots. But what better way to boost Geno Smith (or Ryan Fitzpatrick) than with a front-line playmaker such as Cooper? He’s silky smooth, polished and a nice complement to the size of Decker and Marshall and the underneath ability of Kerley. Plus, Marshall currently is a one-year investment, and the Jets could walk away from either Decker or Kerley after this season without getting crushed on the salary cap. We could see this very safe, very smart maiden pick by new GM Mike Maccagnan. 7. Chicago Bears — West Virginia WR Kevin White The Bears would be in a win-win position, able to pick between the draft’s top two receivers and its best nose tackle in Danny Shelton. With new GM Ryan Pace spending most of his time this offseason sprucing up the defense, he shifts gears and gives Alshon Jeffery a running mate who could be a perfect replacement for Marshall — without the headaches. White’s character checks with NFL teams have been off-the-charts good, a total departure from the wideout he'd be replacing.
nflNFL Draft Needs: Schedule (Rotoworld)
Josh Norris and Evan Silva break down every team�s needs and which players fit those needs. Check out the weekly schedule.
nflNFL draft positional rankings: Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota at QB? (Shutdown Corner)
Leading up to the NFL draft on April 30-May 2, Shutdown Corner will examine each position, rank the top players at each spot and identify some sleepers, sliders and lesser-known gems. As was the case in the drafts of 2008 (Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco), 2005 (Alex Smith and Aaron Rodgers) and 1998 (Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf), this year’s quarterback class is viewed roundly as a two-QB field heading into draft night. There’s Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, and there’s everyone else. Again, that’s the perception right now, and though history showed that Leaf was a far bigger bust than, say, Matt Hasselbeck, Brian Griese or Charlie Batch — other ’98 draft quarterbacks — we have little reason at this moment to expect much change. Could Winston or Mariota flame out in the NFL? Absolutely. And perhaps there is a Hasselbeck or a Griese in a group made up of Bryce Petty, Garrett Grayson, Brett Hundley and Sean Mannion. But as things stand right now, there’s a wide gap between Winston and Mariota and the remainder of the field. Winston and Mariota couldn’t be much different. Winston is a fiery, engaging and chaotic leader who fits the classic NFL pocket mold. Mariota is the new breed of quarterback, cutting his teeth in the college spread offense that’s starting to leak into the NFL, and his stoic personality is far different from his Florida State counterpart. Both could be quality NFL starters — they’re just nothing alike. We believe, based on conversations with multiple teams, that there could be as many as five quarterbacks taken in the first 50 selections. Winston and Mariota are top-10 picks, and they could go 1-2. Don’t be stunned if at least two out of three of the Petty-Grayson-Hundley group land in Round 2, perhaps with one even sneaking into the final few picks of Round 1. It’s not the most inspiring group of QB talent we’ve seen in recent years, but it does feature two very intriguing options at the top, plus a few smaller-school options later in the draft who might be worth cultivating.  Ranking Player School Height Weight Notable statistic Scouting skinny 1 Jameis Winston Florida State 6-3 231 Had a 40-10 TD-INT ratio in 2013; 25-18 in 2014 Rare competitor who must overcome maturity issues, INTs but has the goods to be great 2 Marcus Mariota Oregon   6-4 222 Passed for 10,796 yards (263.3 per game) and rushed for 2,237 yards (54.6 per game) in 41 college starts Athletic, poised, quiet spread passer who must adapt to NFL offenses but has unique skills 3 Bryce Petty Baylor 6-2 230 Set Cotton Bowl record with 550 yards passing vs. Michigan State Strong-armed, confident spread thrower who might take a little time to percolate 4 Garrett Grayson Colorado State 6-2 213 Threw for 310 more yards on 58 fewer attempts from 2013 to 2014 Dink-and-dunk, rhythm passer with size, arm limitations but has smarts to make it 5 Brett Hundley UCLA 6-3 226 Owns Bruins record for career TD passes (75) and three straight nine-win seasons Athletically blessed pocket passer who made limited improvement despite 40 college starts 6 Sean Mannion Oregon State 6-5 229 Fell from 37 TD passes to 15 as senior despite only one fewer start than in 2013 Statuesque pocket passer with funky delivery but has football IQ, toughness 7 Taylor Heinecke Old Dominion 6-1 211 School leader in pass yards, completion %, TD passes Small-framed, small-school rhythm passer who worked primarily out of shotgun 8 Bryan Bennett Southeast Louisiana 6-2 211 Passed for 4,058 yards, ran for 1,701 yards in two seasons at SELA Former Marcus Mariota backup has similar skills but needs major development 9 Brandon Bridge South Alabama 6-4 229 College pass completion percentage a mere 50.9% on 762 attempts Alcorn State transfer is raw as heck but has fascinating physical tools 10 Jerry Lovelocke Prairie View A&M 6-4 248 Large-framed, strong-armed shotgun passer who needs mechanics overhaul, NFL coaching Raw, big-framed developmental passer with good arm talent but long way to go SLEEPER Heinecke His gaudy passing totals at FCS Old Dominion fell off a bit last season, but some of that can be attributed to a right shoulder injury he suffered early in the season and played gamely through. Heinecke does not possess textbook size or arm strength, and he likely will have to spend time adjusting to playing under center after operating in a predominantly shotgun offense. But he has good football smarts, a quick release and nice touch on his throws and could be a nice project to groom for a team such as the New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs or New England Patriots that ask their quarterbacks to get rid of the ball quickly out of spread formations.
nflNFL Draft Needs: Chiefs (Rotoworld)
Josh Norris and Evan Silva look at the Chiefs' biggest needs and project each of their 2015 NFL Draft selections.
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