Texas A&M

Garrett

The Cleveland Browns just got a little bit, if not a lot, better. On Friday, the Browns announced the signing of their number one overall draft pick in Texas A&M defensive lineman Myles Garrett. Per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the deal is for four years and $30.4 million. The deal includes a $20.25 million signing bonus.

The defensive end was largely considered the best player in the draft and the Browns will be looking for him to make an immediate impact on the field. Garrett is a shredded physical specimen at 6″4′-inches, 272-pounds. At the NFL Combine he recorded 33 reps of the 225-pound bench press, 41-inch vertical jump, a 10″8′-inch broad jump and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.64-seconds. At the Texas A&M Pro Day, he improved his 40 time to 4.57-seconds.

The Browns tweeted out the moment Garrett signed on the dotted line while “Kiss From A Rose” by Seal played in the background.

Bolting for the NFL after his junior year at Texas A&M, Garrett amassed 141 tackles (81 solo), 47 tackles for loss, 31 sacks, five passes defensed and one interception. Those numbers would have been even more substantial had it not been for an ankle injury that limited his production last season.

Below is a look at the beast the Browns will be unleashing this season:

AS1

Immediately after the conclusion of the 2017 NFL Draft the Los Angeles Chargers set to signing undrafted free agents. In all, 15 players were chosen to come into camp and compete for the opportunity of realizing their dream of making an NFL roster.

The names on this list are largely unfamiliar except to the devoutest college football fans. These are the underdog stories we’ll all root for in hopes they can join the ranks of the Chargers’ legacy of great undrafted free agent triumphs. Look no further than Hall Of Fame bound tight end Antonio Gates and the recently retired wide receiver Malcom Floyd for recent examples.

Here is the Los Angeles Chargers undrafted free agent class of 2017:

CB Brandon Stewart, Kansas

CB Brad Watson, Wake Forest

T Mason Zandi, South Carolina

K Younghoe Koo, Georgia Southern

LB Mike Moore, Kansas State

WR Artavis Scott, Clemson

LB James Onwualu, Notre Dame

WR Andre Patton, Rutgers

WR Dontre Wilson, Ohio State

QB Eli Jenkins, Jacksonville State

LB Nigel Harris, South Florida

RB Austin Ecker, Western State

C Dillon Deboer. Florida Atlantic

CB Michael Davis, BYU

TE Sean Culkin, Missouri

There are a lot of great underdog stories among this group that will be brought to light in upcoming UDFA profiles. Kenkins is a dual-threat quarterback that threw for 2100 yards and eleven touchdowns. He also ran 175 times for 984 yards and 13 touchdowns. The Chargers have never started a ‘mobile’ quarterback. It’s an interesting thought that of all the free agent quarterbacks available, he’s the one they chose. Zandi is a 6″9′-inch, 315-lb. behemoth. Before we get too excited about that prospect, we have to look no further than the recently departed King Dunlap.

The most intriguing prospect and my lock to make the team is Clemson wide receiver Artavis Scott. Scott was the wideout lined up opposite the Chargers number one draft pick, WR Mike Williams for three seasons. The 5″10′-inch, 190-lb. Scott was a freshman All-American, first-team All-ACC his sophomore year and second-team All-ACC his junior year. Entering the draft after his junior year, he caught 76, 93 and 76 passes for a combined 2,480 yards and 19 touchdowns.

The Chargers have made a conscious effort to foster a more collegiate atmosphere by selecting players that were teammates with existing core players. Cases in point, RB Melvin Gordon and FB Derek Watt (Wisconsin); DE Joey Bosa and LB Joshua Perry (Ohio State); K Josh Lambo and P Drew Kaser (Texas A&M). You’d figure taking such an approach helps the incoming player settle in a little quicker seeing a familiar face; a player they battled side-by-side with and won and lost together.

Now the two starting wide receivers from the reigning collegiate National Championship team arrive at the same time. They undoubtedly have chemistry together and will learn and grow together. The Chargers’ wide receivers room is already very crowded but the potential in bringing Williams and Scott through the ranks together and replicating the magic they had in Clemson is too good to pass up.

I, for one, can’t wait to see it!

Any UDFA’s you’re looking forward to seeing? Post your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Bolt Up!!

 

The Greg One

 

#TelescoMagic

 

GordonWatt1

 

Roger Staubach once said, “In any team sport, the best teams have consistency and chemistry.”

General Manager Tom Telesco drafted rookies and signed veterans in free agency who have ties to each other. If he did not do this on purpose, then he got very lucky. Players who already have chemistry might be the best thing Telesco has done in the offseason.

The Chargers drafted Joey Bosa of Ohio State with the 3rd overall pick of the draft. As the NFL world was discussing this shocking pick, the Chargers drafted Joshua Perry with the 102nd overall pick. Perry, a 6-foot-4, 254-pound linebacker, was also a Buckeye. Bosa and Perry already have chemistry from playing defense together at Ohio State. This should help them both transition into the Chargers’ defense.

During free agency, the Chargers signed wide receiver Travis Benjamin from the Cleveland Browns. With the 175th overall pick, the Chargers drafted OLB Jatavis Brown from Akron. This pick will not only boost the Chargers’ defense, but also reunite childhood neighbors. Although Benjamin is four years older than Brown, they knew each other because they lived only two houses away from each other in Belle Glade, Florida. Not surprisingly, Brown looked up to Benjamin and he became his idol. Benjamin, in turn, had followed Brown’s high school and college career, becoming one of his biggest cheerleaders. The 2016 Chargers’ offseason brought these two together to play on the same team and they couldn’t be happier about it. This is chemistry that is rarely found in the NFL.

Last year, the Chargers shocked the fans by letting kicker Nick Novak go, replacing him with undrafted rookie Josh Lambo from Texas A&M. This year, the Chargers shook up the special teams again with the release of punter Mike Scifres.

Scifres will go down as the best punter in Chargers’ history! The replacement for Scifres, Drew Kaser, was drafted with the 179th overall pick. The 6-foot-2, 212-pound punter also played for Texas A&M. Kaser will have big shoes to fill, much like Lambo did last year. Lambo, already having a relationship with Kaser, will be able to help him get acclimated to the NFL during his rookie year, as Lambo can share his experience being the new guy replacing the “really good old” guy!

Last year’s first-round pick, Melvin Gordon, had a less than stellar rookie year. Gordon never reached the endzone and was benched a couple of times after multiple fumbles. Many would argue that Gordon would play better during his rookie campaign, and much like he did in college, with the addition of a fullback. Not only did the Chargers draft a fullback, but they drafted Gordon’s fullback from the University of Wisconsin. With the 198th overall selection, the Bolts selected 6-foot-2, 236-pound fullback Derek Watt. This will be the best pick regarding “chemistry” of the 2016 draft. Watt, although a rookie, will bring motivation to Gordon, who is probably still feeling defeated following the 2015 season. Gordon is a workhorse and will do whatever it takes to have a better season. Having Watt as his fullback will lessen some of the load. This fullback-running-back combo is one to watch this season.

Staubach was right about consistency and chemistry being the ingredients to building a great team. Consistency, though, is the key to achieving that chemistry on a team.

The Chargers have added some new unique chemistry via free agency and the draft. The football gods just need to show the Bolts some mercy and allow the team to have a season without the plethora of constant injuries.

Telesco is a smart man. These ties to other players do not seem to be a coincidence. He definitely thought about the impact of having players that already have some chemistry to help individual transition into the NFL.

Let’s hope this science experience, of sorts, helps turn around the 2015 4-12 team in the 2016 season.

 

Laura Leech

 

 

tourney

I was given the opportunity to attend and observe the Second Annual Ryan Mathews Golf Tournament at the Rancho Bernardo Inn this last Tuesday. I flew out for the day from Phoenix, Arizona to San Diego in order to participate in such an incredible event. The proceeds from the event benefit Trish and Ryan Mathews’s Door of Hope Chest, a non-profit charitable foundation overseen by the Salvation Army. After multiple encounters from the most well-known San Diego Chargers, with all respect, some players are awful – awfully humble that is.

Walking onto the Rancho Bernardo Golf premises, seeing all the supporters and fans of Ryan Mathews, I couldn’t help but think how incredibly awesome it was to be there. To be at an event that supports and helps homeless women and their children get back on their feet was the focus, but to have met Ryan Mathews, Ronnie Brown and Seyi Ajirotutu “Tu-Tu” was the icing on the cake. Meeting them wasn’t just what it implies. I’m talking about being able to discuss and interact with them; something many people, especially fans, are unable to do.

Ronnie Brown, current running back for the Chargers, was one of the first players to arrive. However, you would have never known it was him by his casual demeanor and undisturbed attitude. Yes, Tuesday’s are off days for players, which means that any Charger may not want to be disturbed, but Ronnie didn’t seem bothered at all. In fact, he welcomed those around him and engaged in conversation. I had mentioned that I was in from Phoenix for the tournament and he eagerly replied, “Oh great! I used to train in Phoenix.” We briefly discussed how I am familiar with the training facility that he is referring to and how many NFL athletes train there as well. I even brought up the bye week and asked if he had any plans to go to an Auburn football game – considering he played at Auburn. He said, “Yes, I plan to go to the Auburn vs. Texas A&M game” and we eventually ended the conversation of how great of a SEC matchup it will be. The whole time I thought, “Oh my god, Ronnie is the chillest player I have met and doesn’t seem irritated by our interaction.”

Ronnie wasn’t the only player at the tournament. Of course Ryan Mathews was there with Seyi Ajirotutu accompanying him. Many do not know this but the two played at Fresno State together and are actually great friends outside of football – they even train with each other in the off-season. Even though Ryan was being pulling in different directions as he arrived, I still managed to talk briefly with him. Growing up, I played club soccer in various cities across Southern California – Bakersfield and Tehachapi to name a few. Well, Ryan is from Bakersfield and when I brought up that I used to play soccer there, he instantly became intrigued. He said, “I used to play football all over Bakersfield. We probably even played on the same fields.” Ryan and I are very similar in age and his statement very well could be true. Again, he didn’t feel bothered to chit-chat and made me feel welcomed to his charity benefit.

Of course I can’t forget Tu-Tu. Not only was he humble, but a real comical guy. His laid back personality fit the theme which others adopted. I didn’t get to talk much to him, but I can say he has a mean golf swing that slices through the air like soft butter – even if it went in the complete opposite of the intended direction. To see all the players and attendees of the event having so much fun was completely satisfying. All three of them even signed some items I had with no hesitation whatsoever. After this experience, I can say that the Chargers are some of the most down to earth guys in the NFL. I’m not too sure if it’s the cool San Diego air, beautiful beaches, or relaxed persona that they have embraced, but I’m happy to continue to call myself a Charger fan after this incredible experience.

 

Briana Soltis

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