Rodney Anderson Jersey

After rushing for 1,161 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2017, Rodney Anderson’s 2018 season was abruptly cut short, as was his right ACL in Oklahoma’s second game. It was Anderson’s third season-ending injury in his four years with the Sooners and the nail in the coffin for his aspirations of becoming an early draft pick.

Injuries have unfortunately defined Anderson’s profile, but when healthy, he’s an extremely impressive back. He has speed and power and anytime he gets his hands on the ball he is a threat to take it the distance. Let’s take a look at Anderson’s film to see what he is capable of.

You don’t have to use a stopwatch to tell that a player is fast. An offensive player can demonstrate great speed by beating a defensive player who appears to have a good angle on him.

In this clip, the free safety takes an angle that is clearly too tight to beat Anderson to the edge, but appears to be taking a good pursuit angle when he turns to chase him down. But looks can be deceiving.

Anderson is just fast enough to beat this angle and shake off a diving tackle attempt. The middle linebacker and the right cornerback also appear to be taking good angles, but they are left in the dust as Anderson runs 64 yards for a touchdown.

Anderson is not just fast; he is powerful. In this clip, he breaks through the line only to have two defenders converge on him at the three-yard line. With a defender on each hip, Anderson drives forward and into the end zone.

It is not enough for a running back to just be fast and powerful, he must also have the vision to read his blocks. On this play Anderson reads the center’s block on the defensive tackle. This tells him to cut back, and he does with great speed. As he gets to the second level he cuts again, this time off of right guard’s block on the linebacker. From there, he is off to the races and scores a 30-yard touchdown.

Blocks do not always set up as quickly as they did in the clip above. Like his predecessor in the Oklahoma backfield and now teammate Joe Mixon, Anderson demonstrates great patience. He is able to throttle down in the backfield, and burst through the gap once it opens up.

In this clip, the Sooners are running a counter play with the right guard and right tackle pulling to the left side. Anderson pauses allowing the pullers to get around before cutting behind their blocks and bursting through the hole for a big gain. His patience combined with his vision and speed make him a dangerous runner.

Trayveon Williams Jersey

Former Texas A&M junior running back Trayveon Williams tweeted tonight that he has signed with the Cincinnati Bengals, the team that selected him in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

I sign my first NFL contract and It’s official to say I am a Cincinnati Bengal. I am beyond blessed to be in this position through all the sacrifices and dedication was ultimately for this. The journey just now begins, God is good.

Williams left A&M as the school’s third-leading rusher all time with 3,615 yards in his three season. He moved into third place on the Aggies’ career rushing list this season behind only Darren Lewis (5,012 yards, 1987-90) and Curtis Dickey (3,703, 1976-79). He set the Aggies’ single-season rushing record with 1,760 yards this season on 271 carries, which broke Lewis’ 1988 record of 1,692 yards.

The second-team preseason all SEC pick led the SEC in rushing this year with 1,524 yards and 15 touchdowns during the regular season and earned first team all Southeastern Conference honors. The 5-foot-9, 200-pound junior was over 200 yards ahead of his nearest competitor for the title. He was a semifinalist for the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation’s top running back. It was the second time he had topped 1,000 yards in his A&M career as he also rushed for 1,057 yards as a freshman.

Williams came to A&M from Houston C.E. King in the class of 2016. A four-star prospect, he was once an early TCU commit before switching to the Aggies near the end of his senior season. In his first season, he became the first-ever true freshman at A&M to run for over 1,000 yards.

The Draft Network discussed Williams prior to the season.

Although shorter, Williams frame is not frail. Has the burst and quick feet to get through creases up front, doesn’t need a large gap to get to the second level. Can redirect as needed behind the line of scrimmage, vision is generally strong and can find backdoor creases to get north. Has enough acceleration to bounce and win the edge when the defense over-commits inside.

Here’s what we had to say about Williams during our post season review of the running back position.

A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher decided after his arrival on campus last year that Williams could be a 20 carry a game back that could also stay on the field all three downs. To do that, Williams needed to add mass to generate another yard or two to finish his runs, hold up under the pounding that 20 touches a game would entail, fight his and become a more physical blocker. Williams’ long runs actually dropped off as he the Aggies had just seven runs of over 30 yards this season as opposed to 23 of them in his first two seasons.
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However, Williams stayed on the field more with 21 carries a game in 2018 in comparison to 2016 and 2017 when he was between 12 to 15 carries a game. It resulted in another 1,000 yard campaign but this time he led the SEC in rushing with 1,524 yards and 15 touchdowns while maintaining a 6.05 per carry average. He also became a reliable pass catcher in the screen game and averaged ten yards on 27 receptions who could stalemate linebackers on blitzes in pass protection. He closed the season with 583 yards rushing in his last three games.

Williams made everyone around him better by assuming a leadership role in the spring with his dedication off of the field and translating that into productivity. He helped out a young offensive line until they started to find their stride. He improved himself as a runner down the stretch with his patience. He was a true three down back who also could power his way through in short yardage and goal line situations. For all intent and purposes, Williams WAS A&M’s running game in 2018 and in the process inserted himself into the discussions regarding who is the best back in A&M history.

Deshaun Davis Jersey

For NFL hopefuls, the draft is often one of the most emotional moments in their lives.

That was the case for Auburn Tigers linebacker Deshaun Davis, who was just hoping to hear his name called at any point in the draft. After all, most projections had him going undrafted, even though he enjoyed a First-Team All-SEC senior season with the Tigers after racking up 112 tackles, 3.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss.

But all it takes is one team to believe in you. As it turned out, the Bengals were believes in what Davis can bring to the a defense that is desperate need of linebackers.

And on Saturday, Davis got the call every football player dreams of getting:

The Cincinnati Bengals made more draft maneuvers that we have become accustomed to, but they continued to amass talent on Day 3. And, with their second pick in the sixth round, Zac Taylor’s crew went to re-stock one of the club’s weakest position groups.

Auburn’s Deshaun Davis was the pick at No. 210 overall, and while he has some limitations, he does bring a handful of great attributes to the Bengals’ defense.

Physicality: If you’re looking for an old school, thumping middle linebacker, then Davis is your guy. He is good at diagnosing a play, shooting into a lane and making the tackle with frequency. His 29.5 tackles for loss over the past four years bode well for a Bengals defense that needs improvement.

Leadership and motivation: If you want to hear about a guy who has had a chip on his shoulder, you should research Davis. One of his middle school teachers apparently told him he’d be dead or in jail by the time he was 18.

Instead, Davis parlayed his abilities into a football scholarship at one of the premiere college programs and was drafted into the NFL. Zac Taylor has wanted high character guys in this class, and few have the story that Davis does as he becomes a pro.

Depth: The linebacker group was the weakest position group for the Bengals coming into this weekend and they addressed it twice in the middle/late rounds. Throw in the fact that two starters (Vontaze Burfict and Preston Brown) ended the year on Injured Reserve, and one can see why the positional need was so pressing this season.

Davis was a linchpin on the Tigers’ defense and had some outstanding production as a senior. As the team likely looks to rotate players in and out of the lineup to mix up looks, Davis looks to be the improved replacement for players like Brandon Bell and Hardy Nickerson, Jr.


Ryan Finley Jersey

CINCINNATI — The Bengals must have really wanted quarterback Ryan Finley, trading up for only the fifth time in 51 years of draft history Saturday.

But don’t get your hopes up, you Andy Dalton haters. Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan immediately ruled out the possibility that the North Carolina Stater could unseat the eight-year starter this season.

“Andy Dalton is our starting quarterback. That has not changed and will not change,” Callahan said.

However, the fact that the Bengals jumped through hoops to get Finley with the second pick in the fourth round might give the rookie a leg up on last year’s No. 2, Jeff Driskel, in the training camp competition for the backup job.

In the end, Bengals selected six players on offense (two linemen, a tight end, a quarterback and two running backs) and four on defense (two linebackers, a lineman and a cornerback).

SEE all of the Bengals’ picks.

Rookie head coach Zac Taylor said the running game is the starting point for the offense, so adding competition and depth at RB, OL and TE was important in this draft.

WATCH Taylor’s end-of-draft news conference.

After stockpiling late-round picks, the Bengals traded their fourth-round pick (110) and two sixth-rounders (183 and 198) to the 49ers to move up six spots and get Finley, the first-team all-Atlantic Coast Conference quarterback, at 104.

SEE Finley’s draft profile at NFL.com.

The 6-4, 213-pound Finley is not considered a franchise quarterback – not now, anyway, But who knows, with a couple years’ tutoring from QB coach Alex Van Pelt and former Nebraska quarterback Taylor, Finley may make the Dalton haters forget about Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins, Duke’s Daniel Jones and Missouri’s Drew Lock – quarterbacks the Bengals passed up in earlier rounds.

Finley said he was pleased to go to Cincinnati.

“I remember thinking to myself how fortunate I would be if I got to play for the Bengals and all the quarterbacks they have in the building with Coach Taylor being a quarterback, Coach Callahan being a quarterback, and Van Pelt having coached quarterbacks for a long time,” Finley said.

Finley was a three-year starter at N.C. State after transferring from Boise State. As a junior, Finley threw 339 passes without an interception, second in school history to Russell Wilson’s FBS record of 379. Last year, Finley completed 67.4 percent (326-484) for 3,928 yards, 25 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

Driskel, a sixth-round pick by the 49ers in 2016, started the Bengals’ last five games in 2018 after Dalton’s season-ending injury, winning one.

The Bengals beefed up both the defensive and offensive lines in the fourth round, trading up again to take 6-5, 318-pound defensive tackle Renell Wren from Arizona State and then grabbing Ohio State guard Michael Jordan, a 6-6, 312-pounder who was born in Fairfield, Ohio, and grew up in Canton, Michigan.

Jordan said it was always his dream to play for the Bengals.

WATCH Bengals coaches talk about their fourth-round picks.

Michael Jordan Jersey

When the Cincinnati Bengals made Michael Jordan the 136th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, they trusted what second-year offensive lineman Billy Price told them about a player he lined up next to for two years at Ohio State. Price was the Bengals’ first-round selection a year prior and was named to the Pro Football Writers Association all-rookie team last season. Before that, he was the 2017 Rimington Trophy winner and a unanimous All-American for the Buckeyes, so he knows a thing or two about offensive linemen.

“We have a player that we invested in with Billy that felt had all of the things necessary to rate as a first-round pick,” Cincinnati offensive line coach Jim Turner said. “And to have a guy like that in the building that can give Michael a character reference is great. He’s been there with him in those battles. It’s very helpful to us.”

Jordan wasn’t the first offensive lineman the Bengals took in the recently completed draft. Cincinnati selected Alabama’s Jonah Williams in the first round, as the team looks to rebuild following a 6-10 season and third-straight year without the playoffs. This offseason, the Bengals parted ways with longtime head coach Marvin Lewis and brought in Los Angeles Rams’ quarterback coach Zac Taylor as the team’s new head coach.

Under Taylor, who was part of the Rams’ revolutionary offense that saw LA make it to the Super Bowl last year, Cincinnati hopes to improve on a 2018 season that saw the team finish 26th in the NFL in total offense and with the 21st best rushing attack. Taylor and his staff plan on fixing that facet of the team and having a solid offensive line is where that starts.

“You’re going to have to be able to run the ball in the league,” offensive coordinator Brian Callahan said. “The best teams at the end of the year do that well. It sets up everything. I believe the offense runs through the offensive line. The offensive line takes you as far as you want to go. If they’re moving people off the ball, that helps us mix in the play actions, the screens to attack defenses. Without making any proclamations, we’re going to want to run the ball and run it well.”

The Bengals believe they found a player in Jordan who will help them accomplish that.

After starting all three seasons at Ohio State, Cincinnati knows they are getting a talented player. They are also getting a guy who successfully played both guard and center at the college level, something Price did as well.

“We moved up and took Michael Jordan, a center/guard from Ohio State,” Callahan said. “We love his position versatility. He can play all of the interior spots. He’s big and has size and athleticism. He checks all of the boxes for us… He’s a really good player and has everything we’re looking for on the interior of the offensive line.”

“Those inside players, when they’re big, it helps. He (Jordan) has that width,” Turned followed up. “One thing I love in players on the line is width. They have the body type to be a big mass inside. He’s got that. The other big thing for him is intelligence. He’s a smart player. He started his freshman and sophomore year at guard. When Billy Price got drafted here last year, there was a hole in the middle (at Ohio State). They took him going into his junior year and made him the center. They don’t do that often. They obviously respected his intelligence.”

For Jordan, the wait on draft weekend was probably a little bit longer than he wanted given that he left the Scarlet and Gray with a year of eligibility remaining. But in the end, things happen for a reason. Despite playing high school football in Canton, Michigan, Jordan and his family are originally from the Cincinnati area and he grew up cheering for the Bengals.

Renell Wren Jersey

The Bengals selected Arizona State defensive tackle Renell Wren in the fourth round of the 2019 draft. Given the defensive line room he is walking into, Wren is primed to prosper in Cincinnati.

As you can see in snippets of the video below from the Scouting the NFL Draft YouTube channel, Wren’s initial burst off the ball is already fantastic. That alone should earn him some kind of spot in the defensive line rotation right away.

The biggest knock on Wren is that he does not really know how to rush the passer yet. He only played one here as a starter in college.

Rushing the passer is an absolute must in the modern NFL. Every player along any defensive front seven will eventually be asked to get after the quarterback at some point.

Enter Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap. In addition to doing everything right off the field, the veteran pass rushing duo has a combined 143.5 career sacks. Even last year while the defensive unit as a whole was atrocious, the pair still combined for 18 sacks.

For an incoming rookie like Wren who has a pass rushing deficiency, but freakish raw ability, there is no better place to have landed than Cincinnati.

Renell Wren was a 3-star prospect from St. Louis, Missouri who had little doubt in his mind where he wanted to play college football. Wren committed to Arizona State early in he recruiting process and never changed his mind. The defensive lineman has been one of the more underrated in this year’s draft due average production. When you watch him play though you’ll see a very disruptive player even if he doesn’t always finish. Wren has impressive physical traits and should have been more dominant in college. His explosion and strength is obvious but it looks like he hasn’t learned much in the way of technique from the Arizona State defensive line coaches. Wren has been spending his offseason preparing like every other NFL prospect but he has been trying to study his favorite players to help him get a hold of this technique thing. He spends his time watching tape on YouTube of Chris Jones and Fletcher Cox in hopes of getting a head start emulating their game. Wren knows what he has to work on now he’s hoping he goes to a good situation where he can show his true potential.

Germaine Pratt Jersey

North Carolina State's Nick McCloud (21) and Stephen Louis (12) congratulate Germaine Pratt (3) following Pratt's touchdown against Louisville during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017. North Carolina State won 39-25. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

The Bengals selected NC State linebacker Germaine Pratt with the 72nd pick of the third round in the 2019 NFL Draft. Here are some quick facts about the newest member of the Bengals defense.

A Converted Safety – Pratt, a 6-2, 240-pound linebacker played safety during his first two years at N.C. State before making the move to linebacker. Pratt finished the 2018 season with 104 tackles, a team-high 10.5 for loss and six sacks. He skipped his team’s bowl game to get healthy and focus on the NFL draft.

Combine Darling – Pratt dominated at the combine and pro day running a 4.57 40-yard dash which ranked seventh for all linebackers. He recorded 24 bench press reps which was sixth for all linebackers, a 32.5” vertical jump and a 116” broad jump.

Strong In Coverage – Pratt’s pass coverage was felt across the board, with opposing quarterbacks only registering a 45.4 passer rating when he was in coverage, per Pro Football Focus. Pratt only missed four tackles all year and had the ninth-best run-stop percentage at 13.4 percent for all linebackers in the country.

The Cincinnati Bengals selected N.C. State linebacker Germaine Pratt with the 72nd pick of the third round in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Pratt, a 6-2, 240-pound linebacker played safety during his first two years at N.C. State before making the move to linebacker.

Pratt finished the 2018 season with 104 tackles, a team-high 10.5 for loss and six sacks. He skipped his team’s bowl game to get healthy and focus on the NFL draft.

NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein wrote: “Free safety-turned-linebacker with good cover skills who has filled out his frame and checks the size and speed boxes, but Pratt is still in the process of learning to man his position. He plays upright in space and is unorthodox and inconsistent in taking on blocks and finding his run fits.”

He was initially projected to be drafted in the fourth round.

“We feel like he can play all three (linebacker) spots,” Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo told reporters “He’s a guy that brings size, speed and very long arms, which is good for a linebacker to shed blocks.”

Pratt was the second N.C. State player picked in the 2019 NFL draft. N.C. State offensive lineman Garrett Bradbury was selected No. 18 overall in the first round on Thursday.

Drew Sample Jersey

The Washington tight end at No. 52 in the second round was an unexpected move based on the general non-NFL consensus. So much so, in fact, Sample and his reps were also surprised.

Which is what tends to happen when a team takes a tight end primarily known for his blocking and boasts a career-high of just 25 receptions on a season in the second round.

But Taylor was blunt with the media about the move after the draft:

“There’s not too many details. I don’t think we would have gotten him in the third round. The more you watch the tape on him, he is a physical, does-it-the-way-you-want-it player. You look at his passing stats and say, ‘What’s up with that?’ But he does what you need him to do on first and second down in the passing game. It’s hard to find tight ends that are that physical and hard-nosed in the run game right now.”

Perhaps more notably, Taylor was short and sweet when asked how he feels if people outside his war room don’t like a move: “Nothing. We got a guy that we’re excited about and made our team better. That is going to come in all areas of football, we all know that. You can’t get caught up in that. That’s a guy we identified and liked and felt like we needed to go get.”

At the least, it is nice to see a Bengals coach identify what players he wants and go out and get them without hesitation. This is a much more in-depth explanation than fans would have received in the past, which is a nice bonus.

The reality is nobody knows for sure how Sample will play out and won’t for a few years. Taylor and his coaches are adamant Sample is much more than meets the eye, and no, he probably isn’t too worried if outsiders disagree.

Jonah Williams Jersey

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — No one can accuse Jonah Williams of being a sore loser. Frankly, it’s impossible to know for sure because he’s had precious few opportunities to taste defeat.

Over his past six football seasons, Williams’ teams have posted a gaudy 86-5 record. His Folsom (California) High School squad went 45-2 over three years with a state championship and two losses in the state semifinals.

Alabama posted a 41-3 mark with a national championship in 2017 bookended by a pair of losses to Clemson in the title game during his three seasons with the Crimson Tide.

No matter the competition, Williams simply refuses to lose.

So when he was surprisingly challenged to a staring contest by one of the team representatives during the dog-and-pony interview segment at the NFL combine last month, Williams, shall we say, didn’t bat an eye.

“That was pretty interesting,” Williams said in a USA Today interview. “I wasn’t expecting that. I didn’t have my eye drops prepared for that. They called it a tie, actually, so I didn’t lose. Neither of us were blinking.”

Despite his ocular mastery, all eyes will were squarely on Williams Thursday night during the opening round of the NFL draft proceedings.

Considered as one of the top three offensive linemen available along with Washington State’s Andre Dillard and Florida’s Jawaan Taylor, Williams’ competitive nature prompted him to desire top billing among his peers at his position.

Williams was selected 11th overall by the Cincinnati Bengals — the second Alabama player to be picked after Quinnen Williams was taken No. 3 by the New York Jets.

“It’s exciting to finally know where I’m going and I couldn’t be more happy,” Williams said. “I’m ready to take this next step. They’re getting a guy who is competitive and will always prepare. That’s something that I learned while at Alabama.”

The journey from California to Tuscaloosa and now to Cincinnati is the culmination of a dream for Williams.

“This is something I’ve dreamed about since I was young, imagining how this moment might feel,” Williams said. “Honestly, it’s as much relief as it is joy. I miss the structure of being a part of a team, and I’ve sort of been a mercenary since preparing for the draft. I’m looking forward to getting back at it with my new teammates.”

“If I don’t end up being first, I’m going to be ticked to myself,” Williams said before the draft. “Whichever team picks me is giving me an opportunity to prove whoever wrong and come win games with their organization.

“I’m excited just to go do that. I’m not going to whine and complain about things I can’t control. I’m just going to get to work and play the sport I’m drafted to play. That is what it’s all about at the end of the day. All this other stuff is hoopla.”

The Bengals can rest assured they are getting a master at his craft. A voracious student of film study, the 6-foot-4, 303-pound lineman has a reputation for his preparation as well as his technical skills.

Freshmen aren’t typically given starting assignments at Alabama, but Williams enrolled early and got the first-team nod at right tackle for every game of the 2016 season.

He moved to left tackle his sophomore year after Cam Robinson graduated, and Williams finished his Crimson Tide career starting all of his 44 games.