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Jenkins latest Florida player to declare for NFL

Jenkins latest Florida player to declare for NFL

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) Florida linebacker Jelani Jenkins is turning pro after an injury-plagued season that ended with foot surgery.

Jenkins missed four games, including the Sugar Bowl, and might not be 100 percent for the NFL combine in February.

Nonetheless, the junior from Olney, Md., announced his decision to enter the NFL on Monday. He joins safety Matt Elam, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and tight end Jordan Reed as juniors leaving Florida early.

``Jelani informed me that he wishes to pursue his dream of playing in the NFL,'' Florida coach Will Muschamp said in a statement. ``We wish him the best of luck and encourage him to return to Florida and complete his degree.''

Defensive end Dominique Easley, though, announced Monday night that he is returning for his senior season. Easley had a team-high four sacks this season.

``I'm comin back for my senior season,'' Easley posted on his Twitter page. ``we gotta get where we need to get.''

Easley gave Muschamp his first bit of good news in weeks. The coach lost four juniors to the NFL and had several other players - including quarterback Jacoby Brissett, running back Chris Johnson, safety De'Ante Saunders and offensive tackle Matt Patchan - transfer in recent weeks.

Jenkins' decision was somewhat surprising.

He missed two games because of a broken bone on his right thumb and another because of a hamstring injury. His latest injury came in November, when he broke a bone in his right foot against Florida State, had surgery and missed the bowl game.

He finished the season with 29 tackles, two sacks and an interception. His biggest play came in November, when he returned a blocked punt 36 yards for a touchdown with 2 seconds remaining to beat Louisiana-Lafayette.

Jenkins played in 36 games at Florida, including 31 starts, and totaled 182 tackles, 16 1/2 tackles for loss, six sacks and three interceptions.

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Spurs trading Kawhi Leonard to Raptors in deal involving DeMar DeRozan, per report

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Spurs trading Kawhi Leonard to Raptors in deal involving DeMar DeRozan, per report

The NBA offseason has been nothing short of entertaining.

Overnight ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Toronto Raptors have agreed to a deal to acquire forward Kawhi Leonard from the San Antonio Spurs in a trade package that includes guard DeMar DeRozan. 

Leaving San Antonio with Leonard is Danny Green, while the Raptors are dealing DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round pick, according to the report

As of early this morning, only DeRozan had been informed of the trade. This trade has reportedly been in talks for several weeks, almost falling through multiple times. 

According to sources of ESPN's Chris Haynes, Leonard has no desire to play in Toronto while DeRozan was told he would not be traded by members of Toronto's front office during summer league in Las Vegas. 

Leonard was open early into the offseaosn about wanting to be traded away from the Spurs and there were even talks of the Wizards being interested in him. 

DeRozan, a four-time All-Star, has three years $83 million left on his contract that includes an early-termination option for the 2020-21 season. .

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10 Questions in 10 days: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

10 Questions in 10 days: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart 

No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

No. 8: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

The Redskins had to improve the defensive line this offseason. The defense ranked dead last against the run in 2017, and without improvement up front defensively, the playoffs would again be out of reach in 2018. 

And for the second straight season, Washington tried. 

The team selected Daron Payne out of Alabama with their first-round pick and Tim Settle out of Virginia Tech in the fifth round. The front office also waived under-performing Terrell McClain in the offseason and moved on from veteran A.J. Francis.

Perhaps most important, the team should have 2017 first-rounder Jonathan Allen completely healthy this fall. He and Matt Ioannidis looked like a strong front in 2017 before a foot injury shut down Allen for the year in Week 5. Add in Anthony Lanier, who flashed big-time sack potential, and the Redskins have a strong, young nucleus.  

But how does it all work?

In the base 3-4 scheme, Payne might have the strength to play nose tackle. Settle definitely has the size for the nose. Both are rookies, however, and will need to learn a lot, and fast, to start Week 1. Veteran Stacy McGee, coming off groin surgery, might be able to hold off the rookies if he is fully healthy. When a nose is on the field, expect Allen and Ioannidis to line up at the defensive tackle spots. If he's not playing nose, Payne will rotate in at tackle as well. Another veteran, Ziggy Hood, will provide depth at tackle, if he makes the team. 

In the nickel package, which the team deploys more than half of their snaps, expect to see a healthy rotation of Allen, Payne, Ioannidis and Lanier. Keeping those players fresh should allow interior pocket pressure, and that could be great news for Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith

With Payne and Allen the headliners, and Ioannidis and Lanier valuable, and Settle capable at the nose, the Redskins have five D-line roster spots about locked down. 

Last year, the team kept six defensive linemen coming out of camp. If McGee is healthy, that spot will be his. If he's not, Hood likely hangs on. It's also possible the team keeps seven D-linemen, particularly as they monitor McGee's groin injury. 

The good news is last year, due to injuries and the talent on the roster, a number of players were forced into spots they didn't truly belong. Hood doesn't have the true size to play nose, but he was forced into the position. Lanier is best served as an interior pass rusher, but was forced to be a run stuffer. 

With more investments on the line, and better luck in the training room, the 2018 Redskins D-line should have more people playing where they belong. And that could go a long way. 

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