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Another week, another NFL-caliber QB faces Maryland


Another week, another NFL-caliber QB faces Maryland

COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland has faced quarterbacks with legitimate pro aspirations before. Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, on his way to tearing apart defenses all season, helped the Falcons upset Maryland in Week 2. Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg used the deep ball to eek out a one-point Nittany Lion win in Baltimore.

But now there is Michigan State's Connor Cook, projected by many to be at least one of the Top 3 quarterbacks in the upcoming crop of talent that can enter the 2016 NFL Draft.

In 2015, Cook has thrown for 2,405 yards and 21 touchdowns with just three interceptions.

“He does things so effortlessly,” Maryland defensive coordinator Keith Dudzinski said on Wednesday.

“He doesn’t even look like he’s throwing the ball that hard and all of the sudden it comes firing out of there. I think he’s an outstanding quarterback. He has surprising mobility. Sometimes a big guy like that you don’t think can run around, but he gets out of a lot of trouble. He’s tough to get down and he’s able to make a lot of plays with his arm.”


Cook has thrown for at least 325 yards in each of the past four games, all in Big Ten play and three times on the road. That included a 398-yard day against Indiana and a 335-yard, four-touchdown performance in the team’s first loss of the year last week against Nebraska.

“Obviously Connor Cook is probably the best of [the quarterbacks Maryland has faced],” linebacker Jermaine Carter said. “He’s going to be a first-round draft pick probably coming up … and it shows on film.

“We’re going to have to put pressure on him, make him get the ball out, try to force him to make mistakes.”

So the key again for Maryland is its pass rush. Junior Yannick Ngakoue is closing in on the school’s sack record and he will be part of the equation for limiting Cook’s effectiveness.

Kickoff is at noon in East Lansing.

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Maryland's Darnell Savage signs rookie contract with Green Bay Packers

Maryland's Darnell Savage signs rookie contract with Green Bay Packers

Darnell Savage is the third NFL draft prospect profiled in our series ‘I Am the Prospect’. Download the MyTeams App for all three features.

Darnell Savage Jr. spent four seasons wowing fans in College Park as a defensive star for the Maryland Terrapins, and in April he found out he’ll be taking his talents to Wisconsin after being selected in the first round of the NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers.

Now, his future in Green Bay is officially official.

As Schefter mentions, Savage is the first first-rounder to sign a contract in 2019. It will be the standard length of first-round draft picks, going four years guaranteed with a fifth-year option. Reports are that the speedy, hard-hitting safety will earn $12.5 million over the first four seasons of the contract.

There were some questions about Savage’s fit in an NFL defensive backfield, given his size. But he is an athletic player with great instincts for the ball, and his statistics were thoroughly impressive the last two seasons in college. The Packers certainly believed he would be a terrific fit in their defense, considering they traded up to the 21st pick in order to make the selection.

Savage should have a great opportunity to start early in Green Bay, and now that he’s signed his contract so early, he’ll be able to get to work sooner rather than later. Knowing Savage, that’s just the way he wants it.


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NFL Draft prospect Tre Watson hopes to time draft night around 'Avengers' release

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NFL Draft prospect Tre Watson hopes to time draft night around 'Avengers' release

Thursday night will be a very important moment in the life of former Maryland linebacker Tre Watson.

At midnight, the highly-anticipated Marvel movie Avengers: Endgame will hit the big screen for general audiences to see, bringing the conclusion to a decade worth of popular films. Watson, like millions of others, has been counting down the days until he could see the Avengers and Thanos go at it one more time.

Oh, and Thursday also marks the beginning of the 2019 NFL Draft, where Watson will most likely hear his name called at some point over the three-day span.

While Watson will be tuning into the draft that night, he understands that his moment of recognition may come a little later on in the week. Therefore, Thursday is all about 'Avengers'.

"Fortunately, you know, I'm kind of realistic. I know I'm not going to be a first-round pick," Watson said in an interview on NFL Network. "So I'll just be watching that just kind of for the formality of it, I'm definitely excited for 'Avengers' and then I kind of will springboard into Day 2 and Day 3 where I'm hoping to hear my name called. It's really a perfect set up for me, honestly."

This isn't the first time that Watson has let it be known to the world that he is a dedicated Marvel fan. His Twitter feed is filled with thoughts on the movie, including a tweet from a few months back that took the internet by storm.

The first round of the draft still does have some intrigue for Watson, as his former teammate Darnell Savage Jr. has gained a lot of steam during the draft process and has a chance to be chosen on Thursday night. However, Watson will hope that Savage's name is called earlier in the night rather than later, as he will need time to get to the theatre to prepare to watch  Captain America and company save the day one last time.