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2016 NFL Mock Draft 10.0: Risers and Fallers


2016 NFL Mock Draft 10.0: Risers and Fallers

The NFL mock draft circuit is running at full blast these days. On this end, the 2016 mocks have been going since late in 2015, which means plenty of changes, but especially of late when it comes to stock value. Here's my sense of those making moves in both directions.


Devontae Booker, RB, Utah  

Ezekiel Elliott is the clear top running back this year with Derrick Henry seemingly on his own tier. As for third on the list, Louisiana Tech's Kenneth Dixon is the call, but perhaps not by draft if the illusive Booker catches him. Speaking of catching, Booker is a true dual threat after hauling in 80 passes combined over the last two seasons while averaging at least 4.7 yards per carry during those campaigns. Could be a good Day 2 pick for the Browns or Dolphins. 

Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State

Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State 

Now that we know Jared Goff and Carson Wentz will in some order go 1-2 in the draft, all the potential quarterbacks with projections in the first two rounds move up. Paxton Lynch remains third in the class and likely goes off the board around pick 20. If Kansas City, Arizona and Denver want long-term options, passing on a passer in round one might not be wise. If Cleveland, Dallas and San Francisco are desperate for QB help, those teams might have no choice but to jump into the latter section of round one. 

Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia 

Read his NFL.com bio and just about everything sounds like what Redskins general manager desires in a "football player." Team captain and impactful leader. Plays with passion and a deep love of the game. Play-making safety with man cover ability and plus ball skills. Play style shows complete lack of respect for his own body. All of that sounds like a top 20 selection except Joseph injured his knee during a non-contact practice drill last season. After weeks and months of Day 2 projections, the buzz is ramping up. Assuming the final medical reports aren't nasty, I'd be shocked if Joseph isn't selected in the first round. 



Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson

Listen to some draft mavens like DraftInsider.com's Tony Pauline praise Alexander's cover skills, even making comparisons to Darrelle Revis and it seems impossible that the third-team All-American could slip beyond the first 31 picks. Then again, more and more do we see just that. Alexander would make sense for teams like the Steelers and Seahawks late in round one, but if his limited size and production spooks teams, we could be looking at a Day 2 pick. 

Jeremy Cash, S, Duke

Perhaps it's not fair to say the hard-hitter is falling, but other safeties are moving past him including Joseph and Florida's Keanu Neal. The drop might not be significant if Joseph and Ohio State's Vonn Bell go off the board no later than early second round. Otherwise, if Cash is the fourth or fifth safety selected, he might not learn his fate until late in the second round. 

Robert Nkemdiche, DL, Mississippi

This tweet sums up the status of the talented though perhaps troubled Nkemdiche.

Rule out the third pick and the top 10 even though he was headed that way late in his college season. In fact, at this point it seems far more likely Nkemdiche lands in the first 10 picks of the second round as the draft world notices the actual production (6.5 sacks over three seasons) while factoring in some concerning personal behavior. There is clear talent to mine. Perhaps the Denver Broncos consider selecting at 31 as a Malik Jackson replacement. For now, the trend is not Nkemdiche's friend.


Chris Jones, DL, Mississippi State 

As many as seven defensive tackles could hear their names called in the first round. The powerful Jones lagged toward the back of that pack and seemingly wasn't part of it after recent off-the-field matters. Yet more and more, the powerful lineman with the ability to collapse the pocket is popping up in first round scenarios. In some cases, not just sneaking in either. However, some of these DL prospects will fall with Jones and UCLA's Kenny Clark being the most likely.

Noah Spence, OLB,  Eastern Kentucky

One NFL Insider reported this week that the pass rusher "seems to have solidified himself mid-to-late 1st rd." Yet a different gatherer of information told the world the former Ohio State transfer is unlikely to hear his name called in round one. Of these three first round mocks, one has Spence of the board with the 19th pick while the other two passed. The Redskins have taken a close look at Spence, but are they doing so for 21 or 53? Exactly. Where he lands largely depends on whether the off-the-field concerns trump his natural pass rush prowess.

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Justin Tucker missed a game-tying PAT, but the Ravens aren't fazed at all


Justin Tucker missed a game-tying PAT, but the Ravens aren't fazed at all

Justin Tucker making an extra point for the Baltimore Ravens is a sure thing.

As sure as the sun will rise each morning, Tucker's dependability and success have been a constant for the team. But on an afternoon where winds of around 17 mph were a factor though 60 minutes, Tucker's success came to a shocking halt. 

After Joe Flacco and the offense made their way downfield, Flacco found wide receiver John Brown in the end zone to make the score 24-23 with 24 seconds left in regulation.

In walked the most accurate kicker in NFL history to do what he's done so many times before; keep the Ravens in the game. As the ball sailed off Tucker's foot, it took a right and became the first point-after-touchdown the kicker has ever missed.

"I felt like when the ball came off my foot, that I hit it just how I wanted to," Tucker said at the podium following the Ravens' Week 7 loss to the Saints. "Don't get me wrong, today was a challenging day to kick the ball in our stadium, to the right of our bench."

Two hundred and twenty two-straight PATs. 222 consecutive makes, including 112 consecutive since PATs were moved back to the 15-yard line in 2015. Tucker was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for September, marking the fifth time he's been awarded the honor.

From the field to the press box and all the way to the nosebleeds, M&T Bank Stadium was in shock. 

"A lot of things go through your mind, but I've been there plenty of time," Flacco said. "If you play football long enough, you're going to be there at some point. We're a very tight team here, and the first thing you think about is your brother and him dealing with it. Justin's the best in the world at what he does, and he's the most confident person that I know. It's not going to be an issue." 

"We're a tight group – we are light years better than we've been in the past," safety Eric Weddle said in the locker room after the loss. "Shoot, 'Tuck' is going to win us some games. We're not worried about that missed kick. Shoot, I think it's the first extra point ever that he's missed. Let's not get on him too hard. He's going to be hard on himself. That wasn't the only reason we lost." 

The support for Tucker, in what was a one-off for their teammate, was apparent throughout the entire locker room. When Tucker took to the podium to address the media, long snapper Morgan Cox and punter Sam Koch stood in the interview room while their kicker tried to explain what went wrong in a show of support.

"This one just happened to get away from me," Tucker added. "I'll have to look at it. I can't tell you exactly what happened, but at the end of the day, I feel like I cost us the game. Every single one of my teammates thus far has told me the opposite, and no one plays wins or loses a game, but that's a tough thing to grapple with when you're the guy in the situation at the end of the game."

Even members of the Saints were in disbelief. Almost everyone was mentally preparing for overtime as Tucker's accuracy is known around the league.

"When [Tucker] missed it, I thought, 'Let's get up and get out of here,'" running back Mark Ingram said. "I mean, that guy is good, so I was shocked."

"I automatically was thinking about overtime and what we were going to do," quarterback Drew Brees added. "I was very, very surprised when he missed it."

What the Ravens and fans alike can take solace in is that Tucker's stats speak for themselves showing more positive plays than negative. While it was probably the most heartbreaking loss they've had since Week 17 of the 2017 season, Tucker's point of emphasis when speaking with the media postgame was about more than a missed extra point.

"But, more than anything, I just wanted to be here [at the podium]," he said. "If I was going to ever teach my son or any young person about accountability, I felt like it was really important that I stand up here and answer whatever questions you guys may have."


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What you need to know from the Ravens' 24-23 loss to the Saints

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What you need to know from the Ravens' 24-23 loss to the Saints

The Baltimore Ravens' top-ranked scoring defense clashed with the New Orleans Saints' top-ranked scoring offense in a game fans will soon never forget.

After a constant back and forth and a chance to tie the game, Justin Tucker missed his first ever point-after-touchdown attempt with seconds to spare.

Here's what you need to know from the Ravens' 24-23 loss over the Saints.

— We knew this game was going to be interesting and the Saints didn't waste any time getting things rolling. Facing a fourth down, New Orleans faked a punt for a five-yard gain from third-string quarterback Taysom Hill. The 20 play, 69-yard drive was highlighted by four fourth-down attempts, two challenges from the Ravens and a fumble recovery by nose tackle Michael Pierce on the final fourth down attempt at the six-yard line.

Not only was the 9:58 drive the longest opening drive by a team this season, it was the longest opening drive to result in zero points since the Browns' 9:59 opening drive Week 1 of 2015, per NFL research.

— Drew Brees continues making history during the 2018 season. The QB threw his 500th career touchdown to former Raven Ben Watson in the second quarter joining Brett Favre, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in the prestigious club. Then when the clock hit zero and the Saints came away with the win, Brees also joined Manning and Favre as the third QB to beat all 32 NFL teams.

Prior to Sunday, Brees was 0-4 against the Ravens. He also became the NFL's all-time leading passer back in Week 5.

— It only took seven weeks, but rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson scored his first NFL touchdown with four seconds left in the first half. While it was only from one-yard out, it was nice to see Jackson kick it into gear with the clock ticking. He wasn't the only guy from the Ravens' 2018 draft class to make an impact. Tight end Mark Andrews scored an eight-yard touchdown late in the third quarter to put the team up 17-7 and left guard Bradley Bozeman and right tackle Orlando Brown Jr. held down the O-line for much of the afternoon. 

— The Ravens' streak of not allowing a second-half touchdown in the 2018 season came to an end Sunday. Drew Brees gave the ball to running back Alvin Kamara at the top of the fourth quarter resulting in a two-yard touchdown. Kamara finished the day with 17 attempts for 64 yards and one touchdown. 

— Jimmy Smith's first start of 2018 didn't go quite as well as he'd like.

Smith was hit with two pass interference calls, with one of them coming in the end zone leading to a Saints touchdown and the other on one of many third downs. The cornerback had trouble covering wide receiver Michael Thomas, who heading into Week 7 was ranked fourth in the NFL,  all afternoon. One of their meetings resulted in a touchdown to put the Saints up 21-17.

— Then there was, of course, Justin Tuckers' first-ever PAT miss. After Joe Flacco hit John Brown in the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown with 0:24 left on the clock, the Ravens were preparing to go into overtime until that wasn't necessary. Tucker, who is the most accurate kicker in NFL history, was on the wrong side of history when his kick went wide right.

From the field to the nosebleeds, M&T Bank Stadium was in shock as the clock expired and the final score was 24-23.

Postgame, Tucker took responsibility for the team's loss while his head coach and teammates all reiterated that a game never comes down to just one play.