The Latest: Houston goes to FCS for tackle to protect Watson
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Latest on the NFL draft (all times EDT):
The Houston Texans want to protect Deshaun Watson better, and they took the first player from a non-Football Bowl Subdivision school to help their offensive line.
The Texans drafted tackle Tytus Howard at No. 23 out of Alabama State. The 6-foot-5 can only help a line that gave up a league-worst 62 sacks last season despite winning the AFC South title.
Josh Jacobs became the first running back drafted with Oakland also making him the third Alabama player selected at No. 24.
Baltimore stuck with the run on offensive players and drafted wide receiver Marquise Brown out of Oklahoma, giving quarterback Lamar Jackson a very speedy and shifty target. Brown was an AP All-American last season at Oklahoma with Kyler Murray, though he faced questions about his size at 166 pounds and a foot injury that kept him from running at the combine.
John Elway traded for Joe Flacco earlier this offseason, and now he’s giving his new quarterback a healthy tight end in Noah Fant.
He’s now the second tight end taken in this draft and will be a welcome option as Flacco settles in with the Broncos.
Denver has Jake Butts, but he has played just three games in his first two seasons because of ACL injuries.
The Green Bay Packers are working hard to improve their defense. After taking defensive end Rashan Gary at No. 12, the Packers traded up to No. 21 from 30th overall to select speedy safety Darnell Savage Jr. of Maryland. The Packers obviously like the safety who ran a 4.36-second 40-yard dash at the combine in February.
The Seahawks now will pick at No. 30 and also added a pair of fourth-round selections at Nos. 114 and 118 in the deal.
Baltimore traded down three spots with Philadelphia, and the Eagles used the 22nd pick on a big offensive tackle in Andre Dillard as a possible heir apparent for Jason Peters who’s now 37. The Ravens picked up selections No. 125 in the fourth round and No. 197 in the sixth round.
Dexter Lawrence has become the third Clemson defensive player taken in the first 17 selections of the NFL draft.
The New York Giants picked Lawrence at No. 17 to help their defense after drafting a quarterback in Daniel Jones at No. 6. Lawrence joins Clelin Ferrell taken by Oakland and Christian Wilkins drafted by Miami despite being one of three on the Tigers’ roster to test positive for a banned substance called ostarine. Wilkins was suspended from Clemson’s bowl game along with the other two players and also missed the national championship game.
Carolina also stayed with the defensive theme of the first round, taking Florida State edge rusher Brian Burns at No. 16. Tennessee gambled by taking defensive tackle Jeffrey Simmons from Mississippi State at No. 19 despite him tearing his left ACL in February.
Minnesota took the seventh offensive player of the round with the 18th pick, selecting center Garrett Bradbury from North Carolina State.
Kyler Murray, like so many NFL draft picks, took to social media to celebrate.
He also made some coin while doing it.
The Heisman Trophy winner went to Twitter twice shortly after the Arizona Cardinals selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft. Both tweets were sponsored; one by Madden20 the other by Panini Instant.
“What an amazing night,” said in his first tweet shortly after being drafted. “Can’t wait to join my @AZCardinals teammates and get started. Check out my #NFLDraft card now on #PaniniInstant.”
“You know it’s official once you hit #Madden20!” he tweeted about an hour later. “I can’t wait to get on the sticks #EAathlete.”
Call it a sign of the times.
The dominance of defensive players in the first round of the draft subsided for a couple of picks when Atlanta bolstered a weak offensive line with Boston College guard Chris Lindstrom. Just behind that, Washington showed that patience is, indeed a virtue, and got Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins.
Lindstrom should move directly into the starting lineup for the Falcons, who desperately need an upgrade up front. Haskins, at one point regarded as the top quarterback in this crop, might not be an immediate starter for the Redskins, who acquired Case Keenum in the offseason with starter Alex Smith and backup Colt McCoy both coming off broken legs.
But Washington had targeted Haskins, stayed put instead of trading up, and got him.
New York Giants fan Greg Hampton has won two season tickets for the team for the next century.
As part of the NFL’s celebration of its 100th season, which begins in September, the league held a contest that drew about 5,000 entrants.
Hampton, 36, from the New York borough of Queens, was turned on to football by his father, and sent a letter to then-coach Tom Coughlin “telling him about my dad and he was a big fan of his. He actually sent my dad a nice letter telling him to get well, and a signed photo. To me that meant the world. It shows that my favorite team cared about its fans as if they were family.”
Hampton’s ill father passed away before seeing the letter.
He was one of three finalists and was announced as the winner onstage at the outset of the draft as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Pro Football Hall of Famers Joe Greene and Tim Brown, and Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota looked on.
“I plan to take both of my sons to games; will use my extra ticket for one son and buy another ticket for my other son,” he said of Jaydon, 12, and Jordon, 10. “My brother will get to be in the rotation sometimes, as well.'”
His sons did the contest submission.
Hampton travels to three or four home games a year, he said, as well as attending some games at MetLife Stadium.
When Michigan linebacker-defensive end Rashan Gary was told he’d gone 12th overall to Green Bay, he broke down in tears at home. Gary, who has formed his own agency to represent athletes, is quick, strong and was a two-time All-Big Ten choice.
More defense —and another lineman— followed as Miami shored up its trenches with Clemson DE Christian Wilkins. He played four seasons for the Tigers and was a terror for several of them, making All-America. He had 53 tackles for no gain or a loss in his career.
One spot after Pittsburgh jumped in front of them, the Cincinnati Bengals bolstered their offensive line by grabbing Alabama tackle Jonah Williams.
He can play either side of the line, is strong and mobile, and technically sound.
Just like Michigan linebacker Devin Bush, the player the Steelers traded up ahead of the Bengals, to get, Williams should be an immediate starter.
The first trade of the 2019 NFL draft lifted Pittsburgh from 20th to 10th, swapping with Denver.
The Steelers, with all-time great Joe Greene making the announcement, then selected Michigan linebacker Devin Bush — a player apparently coveted by AFC North rival Cincinnati at No. 11.
Denver now has the 20th spot, the 52nd overall pick, and a third-rounder in 2020.
Pittsburgh doesn’t often make such bold moves in drafts, but after missing the playoffs last season, and with Ryan Shazier unlikely to play again because of a severe injury, getting Bush was a key to rebuilding the defense.
Buffalo also shored up its defensive line with tackle Ed Oliver, a three-time All-AAC player who didn’t have a great 2018 season after being dominant the previous years, including first-team All-America in 2016.
He had 50 tackles for loss or no gain in the past three years, leading FBS.
Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson, who seemed destined for Jacksonville before Josh Allen fell to the Jaguars, went at the eighth pick one spot later to Detroit.
Hockenson is an all-around tight end with blocking skills, speed and savvy. He finds open areas in defenses and doesn’t drop the ball.
Kentucky’s Josh Allen, the national defensive player of the year (Bednarik Award) and a fast, physical linebacker, went to Jacksonville at the seventh spot.
The Jaguars have some significant needs on offense, but Allen generally was projected to go in the top five picks.
It’s the second successive draft in which Josh Allen went seventh. Buffalo took the Wyoming quarterback by the same name in 2018.
The Giants ended that mini-run of D-linemen when they took Duke quarterback Daniel Jones, who has learned under Blue Devils coach David Cutcliffe — the same man who tutored Peyton and Eli Manning.
Jones was considered an outsider to go in the opening round until recently, and the Giants clearly feel he can do some more learning under Eli Manning before taking over as their signal caller.
Jones was the MVP of the Senior Bowl.
Up next was Tampa Bay, which had a sieve of a defense last season. So the Buccaneers, with new coach Bruce Arians — and offensive mastermind— chose LSU linebacker Devin White, the Butkus Award winner who led the SEC in tackles.
He’s exactly the kind of playmaker the unit has lacked for several years and had the highest percentage of pass pressures in FBS last year.
Oakland, which owns three first-round spots, took the third straight defensive lineman in a draft loaded with them, selecting Clelin Ferrell of Clemson.
A two-time All-ACC player who has pass rushing skills on the edge, he is the first of several national champion Tigers likely to go very high from their outstanding D-line.
The rain is really coming down in Nashville on the NFL draft now.
Nashville may be dodging the worst of thunderstorms and rain that had been predicted for much of Thursday. But not long after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Kyler Murray as the No. 1 pick overall to Arizona, the rain started falling.
Fans packing Broadway next to the draft stage had no issues with the rain, wearing ponchos or having umbrellas and hats at the ready.
Rain is coming through the roof at the media center where approximately 2,000 reporters are covering the draft.
The New York Jets held onto the third pick and took defensive tackle Quinnen Williams of Alabama, a dominant man in the trenches accustomed to playing in big games. The Jets were widely speculated to want to trade down, but instead got a building block for their defense and new coach Adam Gase.
Not even a starter before 2018, Williams won the Outland Trophy last season and is Alabama’s highest-drafted defensive player since linebacker Cornelius Bennett went No. 2 overall in 1987.
Ohio State edge rusher Nick Bosa went to San Francisco as expected. The 49ers have used a first-round selection on four defensive linemen in the past five drafts.
Bosa is considered the top pass rusher in this group. His older brother, Joey, plays for the Chargers and was the 2016 Defensive Rookie of the Year. Their father also played in the NFL.
Bosa is the highest Ohio State draft pick since offensive tackle Orlando Pace went No. 1 to St. Louis in 1997.
Bosa missed all but three games last season with a core muscle injury, but already had exhibited the kind of playmaking that lifts players to loft status. Such as the second pick in the draft.
Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray is the first pick in the NFL draft, going to Arizona and immediately creating a quarterback quandary.
A year after the Cardinals traded up to the 10th spot to grab Josh Rosen, they went with Oklahoma’s dynamic Heisman Trophy winner. The team apparently believes Murray is a better fit running the offense of new coach Kliff Kingsbury, who worked in the Big 12 that Murray dominated last season.
Murray is the second straight Sooners quarterback taken atop the draft, following another Heisman recipient, Baker Mayfield, who went to Cleveland last year. Mayfield had a superb rookie season, and the Cardinals can only hope Murray has a similar impact in the desert.
The NFL draft has begun with Commissioner Roger Goodell accompanied by Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver Tim Brown, Hall of Fame defensive tackle Joe Greene and Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota.
They immediately presented the winner of a contest for two season tickets for the next 100 years as part of the NFL’s celebration of its 100th season.
Giants fan Greg Hampton won the contest.
While he’s making no predictions about continued labor peace, Roger Goodell is encouraged that talks with the players’ union have begun.
The 10-year collective bargaining agreement was reached in 2011 after a lockout of the players that lasted from March until midsummer. The NFL commissioner says mutual respect on both sides can lead to productive dialogue before the deal runs out in March 2021.
“The bottom line is we do have a CBA in place for close to eight years and it has worked very well for players, clubs, fans and the game,” he told SiriusXM NFL Radio. “These discussions are happening and hopefully we will get to a place where we can extend the deal in some format.
“When you have dialogue and understand each other and listen to each other, it’s ‘OK, how can we use this to have a better league?’ Our league is better when we listen to opposing views.”
The agent for Jaylon Ferguson says the potential first-round pick has spent much of Thursday helping people affected by a tornado that tore through Ruston, Louisiana, in the early morning hours.
Safarrah Lawson said Ferguson was going through neighborhoods making sure people who didn’t have power had bottled water and other necessities. Lawson, who is also in Ruston, said Ferguson’s family was safe but that the area he was staying in sustained some damage, including downed trees.
The tornado killed two people and Louisiana’s governor has declared a state of emergency.
Ferguson played college football at Louisiana Tech, which is in Ruston. The 6-foot-5, 271-pound defensive end set the FBS record with 45 sacks.
Hall of Fame-bound Kevin Mawae, a star center for the Tennessee Titans and, before them, the Jets and Seahawks, spoke as part of the Heart of a Hall of Famer program this week. Mawae appeared at Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, where he was a dean of students.
“It’s not where you start the race; it’s how you finish it,” Mawae said as he told students how being involved in the draft can apply to life in general.
“You can start at the bottom, the middle, or even the top, but it is how you finish the race and run the race. A career is not a sprint; it’s a marathon.”
The Heart of a Hall of Famer educational series provides students the opportunity to learn firsthand what it took beyond athletic ability for players to achieve success on and off the field. The program focuses on the Hall of Fame’s core values of commitment, integrity, courage, respect and excellence.
Mawae will be inducted into the hall in August in Canton, Ohio.
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