Patriots

Sarah Thomas will be first woman to officiate NFL playoff game in Patriots-Chargers

usatsi_9740686_133468180_lowres.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Sarah Thomas will be first woman to officiate NFL playoff game in Patriots-Chargers

History will be made Sunday when Sarah Thomas becomes the first woman to be part of an NFL officiating crew for a playoff game.

Thomas will be a down judge in Ron Torbert's officiating crew for Sunday's AFC divisional round matchup between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Chargers at Gillette Stadium.

She's in her fourth season as an NFL official, and was among the alternates for last season's NFC wild card game between the Atlanta Falcons and Los Angeles Rams.

Here's the complete crew for Sunday's game. Football Zebras was the first to report the officiating crew for Patriots-Chargers.

Referee: Ron Torbert
Umpire: Rich Hall
Down judge: Sarah Thomas
Line judge: Mark Steinkerchner 
Field judge: Brad Rogers 
Side judge: Scott Roberts
Back judge: Dino Paganelli

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

2019 NFL Draft QB Dwayne Haskins responds to bold Tom Brady comparisons

2019 NFL Draft QB Dwayne Haskins responds to bold Tom Brady comparisons

Ohio State star Dwayne Haskins might be the best quarterback prospect entering the 2019 NFL Draft.

Haskins completed 70 percent of his passes for 4,831 yards, 50 touchdowns and just eight interceptions for the Buckeyes last season. 

The 21-year-old received some high praise earlier this month from former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer, who compared Haskins to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Here's what Dilfer told The MMQB's Albert Breer:

I thought Dwayne should’ve waited (to declare for the NFL Draft), but he’s the most like Tom Brady of anyone we’ve had. He sees it like Tom, he works at it, he plays that way. He plays on time, with his intellectual process. I don’t want to compare anyone to Brady, but he’s Tom Brady-ish.

What did Haskins think of Dilfer's Brady comments?

"From the neck up I feel I'm a lot like Tom Brady," Haskins recently told Sports Illustrated. "From how I study, to how much I commit to get ready for the game, to how I read defenses, to how I pick up protections and how I operate my guys. That's a great comparison for me because I want to be like Tom Brady. He's one of the best quarterbacks of all-time, if not the best. Just to be in the same sentence as 'Tom Brady-ish' is pretty cool to me."

Oklahoma star and reigning Heisman trophy winner Kyler Murray is at the top of most experts' quarterback draft boards. Murray could go as high as No. 1 to the Arizona Cardinals, and if that happens, the next team in need of a quarterback likely is the New York Giants at No. 6. Haskins would be an excellent fit with the Giants, who desperately need a successor to veteran QB Eli Manning.

The comparisons between Brady and Haskins obviously are absurd at this stage, but there's still a lot to like about the Ohio State star's game.

Ex-GM reveals what it's like talking trades with Bill Belichick>>>

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Patriots draft prospects tracker: Notable players to meet with New England

Patriots draft prospects tracker: Notable players to meet with New England

Unlike in past years, the NFL Draft could help the New England Patriots address some serious needs.

The Patriots enter the 2019 NFL Draft armed with 12 total picks, more than any team in the league. With holes to fill wide receiver, tight end and defensive end (among others) and a potential quarterback of the future to target, head coach Bill Belichick and Co. actually might use a lot of those picks.

Exactly what the Patriots have up their sleeve when the draft kicks off April 25 is anyone's guess. But we can get a feel for their strategy by observing which prospects the team holds individual meetings with in the days and weeks leading up to the draft.

Below is a list of notable NFL draft prospects (organized by position) who have already met with or plan to meet with New England this offseason, as confirmed by reports or the prospects themselves:

QUARTERBACK
Will Grier, West Virginia
Daniel Jones, Duke
Jarrett Stidham, Auburn
Clayton Thorson, Northwestern

WIDE RECEIVER
A.J. Brown, Ole Miss
David Sills, West Virginia
Gary Jennings, West Virginia
Marquise Brown, Oklahoma
Riley Ridley, Georgia
Andy Isabella, UMass
Deebo Samuel, South Carolina
Hunter Renfrow, Clemson

N'Keal Harry, Arizona State
Miles Boykin, Notre Dame

Nsimba Webster, Eastern Washington
Mecole Hardman, Georgia
Jalen Hurd, Baylor

TIGHT END
Noah Fant, Iowa
Irv Smith Jr., Alabama

Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M
Kaden Smith, Stanford
Isaac Nauta, Georgia

OFFENSIVE LINE
OT Kaleb McGary

SAFETY
Johnathan Abram, Mississippi State

CORNERBACK
Joejuan Williams, Vanderbilt

LINEBACKER
Blake Cashman, Minnesota
Terez Hall, Missouri

DEFENSIVE LINE
DE Jalen Jelks, Oregon
DE Zach Allen, Boston College
DT Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame
DT Kingsley Keke, Texas A&M

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.