Deep wide receiver class jockeying at NFL scouting combine Associated Press “I think in today’s day and age where these guys were starting 7-on-7, it’s almost like AAU basketball,” Packers GM Brian Gutekunst said. “The receivers are so much more advanced in terms of their fundamentals coming into college and the league than maybe they have been in the past. It’s really just the NFL offense that will take time. So I think there’s some guys sitting here today that I think will have a chance to make a pretty immediate impact, and I’m excited about that.”Receivers may still need to adjust to the NFL’s press coverage but just as often they’re the ones putting the DBs on their heels from the get-go.“Historically, receivers have struggled a little bit with the learning curve up to the NFL. But in the last three, four or five years, we’ve seen a lot of guys make immediate” impacts, said Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta. “Especially last year, if you look at the class, you’ll see a bunch of guys come in right away and make big plays. We were fortunate last year with Marquise and even Miles (Boykin) to a degree made plays for us. We’re excited about those two guys and we look at this year’s draft class as an opportunity for us to improve at the position even more.”Every team does. “So, there’s depth throughout and there’s quality up top,” Mayock said. And there’s jockeying for cream-of-the-crop status when they showcase their skills during on-field workouts at Lucas Oil Stadium in prime time on Thursday night.The best of the bunch is probably Jeudy or Lamb, but they all sport that one attribute that premier pass catchers also possess: a confidence bordering on cockiness.Jeudy said he’s the best, but he’s hearing everyone else say they’re the best.“I feel like everybody should think they’re the best receiver coming out in the class,” Jeudy said. “You’ve probably heard every GM and coach talk about this wide receiver class; it is a good one,” Jets GM Joe Douglas said. “Just watching them go across the stage, there is a lot of talented players and we see how much the pass game affects the National Football League. So we do feel good about this group.”Actually, teams feel great about the 2020 receivers.Teams are more willing than ever to bypass the old wait-and-watch standby for a plug-and-play approach with bigger, faster, quicker pass-catchers coming out such as Calvin Ridley and D.J. Moore who made an immediate impact in 2018, followed by Deebo Samuel, DK Metcalf, Marquise Brown, Terry McLaurin and A.J. Brown, who wasted no time establishing their credentials last season.“There is a lot more receivers coming into the draft because there’s just a lot more receivers in college football and high school football,” Rams GM Les Snead said. “A lot of teams running three, four, five wides.”It starts way before college. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditINDIANAPOLIS (AP) — If your favorite NFL team doesn’t have a Tyreek Hill, Julio Jones or Courtland Sutton streaking down the field, making cornerbacks cringe and constantly redefining the highlight catch, just wait.Chances are good they’ll grab one in this year’s draft.The NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis features a tantalizing wide receiver class unlike anything ever seen at the league’s annual gathering of top prospects. February 26, 2020 “I think it’s a combination of things,” Washington Redskins coach Ron Rivera said. “I think teams are starting to understand how you use players. But I also do think because the ball is being thrown so much in college football the receiver is learning to be an explosive guy. “I also think the body types of the receivers is changing,” Rivera said. “I think they’re getting bigger and stronger. There’s a lot more guys that are coming out that are ready to go and are dynamic players. The guys I think people are really looking for are these bigger receivers who are dynamic with the ball in their hands.”Guys such as Colorado’s Laviska Shenault, Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III, Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb, LSU’s Justin Jefferson, Arizona State’s Brandon Aiyuk and Clemson’s Tee Higgins.Just to name a few.The wide receiver group is “as deep as I’ve seen,” NFL draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said. “I’ve got 27 wide receivers with top-three round grades in this draft. And consider average 31 are taken. We had a max of 35 taken in (2015). So this is a really phenomenal group of wideouts.” There’s someone for everyone this year, whether they’re looking for a deep threat, a crisp route-runner, a fearless man going over the middle or even taking the direct snap like Shenault did so often at Colorado.“Receiver, of all positions, probably comes in the Baskin Robbins 31 favors,” Bills general manager Brandon Beane said. “Size, speed, length, run after catch, all sorts of variables.”This year, especially.“I think there could be a lot of guys drafted all the way through from 1 to 7 (rounds),” Beane said. “We were talking about it the other day. There’s going to be guys drafted on the third day of the draft who may come in and take a veteran’s spot on a team. It’s that deep.”Las Vegas Raiders GM Mike Mayock noted an average of 12 wide receivers have been selected in the first three rounds over the past decade, and this year’s group features twice that number who are graded by teams as top-100 talents. They all might end up being part of the best wide receiver class ever.___Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton___More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
The USC football team continued to prepare for its long road trip to Boston at practice on Wednesday. Head coach Steve Sarkisian called it a productive day and praised the Trojans’ execution and energy.Step right up · Sophomore linebacker Michael Hutchings will start in the place of suspended senior captain Hayes Pullard in Saturday’s game at Boston College. Hutchings has four total tackles this season. – Ralf Cheung | Daily TrojanNo Campfire SongsUSC will face another tough test on Saturday as they travel more than 3,000 miles to play the Boston College Eagles in an attempt to improve their record to 3-0. Though the team will be making quite a trek, Sarkisian stressed the importance of focusing more on the game than the location.“We [need to] keep doing things the way we do them regardless of who the opponent is or where we’re headed,” Sarkisian said. “Ultimately, it’s going to be about how we play Saturday night.”The Trojans understand that it is always a challenge to play on the road, but coming off a huge conference win at Stanford, the team is prepared to deal with adversity and rally around the challenges that a road game entails.“It wasn’t us sitting around a campfire and singing songs together,” Sarkisian said in reference to the Stanford trip. “It was hard. It was grueling. It was guys potentially wanting to tap out, coaches included … [But] you rely on the people around you to keep building you back up and [motivate you].”Sarkisian did not seem worried about a letdown following such an emotional victory against Stanford. He emphasized the focus and preparation of the team and hopes to see even more improvement as the week goes on.Fighting through the painAfter winning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts against Stanford, junior defensive end Leonard Williams is still dealing with an ankle injury that nearly kept him from playing last week and has limited his availability in practice. Though his injury might prove to be bothersome, the defensive captain is determined to play in Boston.“The reason I go out there and try to fight through all these games is because I want to have a good season this year … I want to take this team as far as possible,” Williams said. “I’d never want to sit on the sideline and watch them fight through a tough game knowing I can’t help out.”Williams made it clear that his ankle feels better than it did in the week of practice leading up to the Stanford game, and when asked if there was a chance that he might not be able to play on Saturday, Williams responded, “No, I’m going to play.”Williams should get the opportunity to repeat his dominant performance from Saturday against the Eagles as long as he remains healthy, and after Wednesday’s practice, he appears to be ready.“Obviously we got more work out of Leonard today than we did yesterday, which is a positive,” Sarkisian said. “Our goal is to go win the game. If Leonard is healthy enough to play, he’s going to play.”Time to step upDue to his ejection in the second half of the Stanford game, redshirt senior linebacker Hayes Pullard is required to sit out the first half of Saturday’s game. Stepping into his starting role will be sophomore Michael Hutchings, who seemed prepared and excited to contribute on the defensive end.“I feel like I’ve played well. I study Hayes’ every move,” Hutchings said. “I feel like I’m ready to take on this moment.”While Hutchings will not have to stop the struggling Eagles’ offense on his own, he will be called upon to be a leader for the defensive unit at the strong side inside linebacker position. Other members of the defensive unit have expressed their support for the inexperienced Antioch, California native.“The team lets him know that we count on him and we trust him,” Williams said. “We let him know that he can handle it.”
Mike McCarthy isn’t the only Green Bay coach who won’t be with the team in Week 13.The Packers fired longtime assistant Winston Moss on Tuesday just hours after he posted a tweet that many perceived to be critical of quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the team’s coaching staff. “It’s never about one thing,” Philbin said. “Again, I think it’s important, as I said to the team, we’ve got to be professional, accountable, respectful and punctual. Those are the four things that we’ve got to do the next four weeks. And if we do all those things, we’ll be in good shape. It wasn’t about — again, you’re talking to a guy who’s never tweeted in his life, doesn’t even know what Twitter is — so again, it’s not about a tweet or anything like that. I just think the fit right now isn’t where it needs to be.”Moss, 52, had been a linebackers coach for Green Bay since 2006 and an associate head coach under McCarthy since 2007.Philbin will have his first game at the helm when the Packers host the Falcons in Week 14 action. Aaron Rodgers hopes he’s not the reason Mike McCarthy was fired Moss asserted the organization needed to “find somebody that is going to hold #12 and everybody in this building” accountable after McCarthy was fired on Sunday following a disappointing home loss to the Cardinals.Ponder this… what Championship teams have are great leadership! Period! It’s not the offensive guru trend, it’s not the safe trend. Find somebody that is going to hold #12 and everybody in this building to a #LombardiStandard! Period! #losingsucks!— Winston Moss (@Insanecane99) December 4, 2018Moss confirmed he had been dismissed with a follow-up tweet Tuesday night. Related News The Packers have informed me that there letting me go. #thankstwitter!— Winston Moss (@Insanecane99) December 5, 2018Packers interim head coach Joe Philbin also released a statement of his own on the matter.”We thank Winston for his contributions to the Packers over the past 13 years,” Philbin said. “We hope for the best for Winston and his family moving forward.”Philbin followed up with another statement during his press conference Wednesday that a lot more than the tweet went into the decision to let Moss go. Packers interim coach Joe Philbin: ‘We have to get these guys to play better’
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