With another losing record, Falcons can start looking ahead
Even with one game remaining in the regular season, the Atlanta Falcons can start thinking about the offseason. The Falcons are assured of missing the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year. The Falcons had not suffered such a long string of losing records since 10 consecutive losing seasons from 1981-90.news.yahoo.com
Detroit Lions at Atlanta Falcons: Matchups to watch, key questions heading into Week 16
The Detroit Lions are headed south after the holidays, drawing the Atlanta Falcons in Week 16 action set for the day after Christmas. He’s run 37 times for 195 yards in two games off the practice squad, getting signed to the main roster this past week. Godwin Igwebuike has had the fumble struggles in recent weeks, while Jermar Jefferson hasn’t played double-digit snaps since Week 8. “Last couple weeks, he’s been unbelievable,” Taylor Decker said after last week’s win. Jalen Reeves-Maybin made his return to the lineup after a two-game absence last week, playing a season-high 72 defensive snaps.mlive.com
Looking ahead: Lions get shot at third win in 4 weeks against slumping Atlanta Falcons in Week 16
ALLEN PARK -- The Detroit Lions (2-11-1) are heading south for the holidays, drawing the Atlanta Falcons (6-8) in Week 16 action on the day after Christmas. Here is what kind of fires us up is Tim)’s been in it now four weeks,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said. “He’s been practicing and he was kind of fresh right back from the injury, really a week off the injury. Certainly, we’ll have a plan to where he can succeed as the offense will, but I don’t think we’re going to be hindered. See below for results from the previous five matchups:2020 -- Lions 23, Falcons 222017 -- Falcons 30, Lions 262014 -- Lions 22, Falcons 212012 -- Falcons 21, Lions 182011 -- Falcons 23, Lions 16mlive.com
2021 NFL draft: Detroit Lions select Oregon OT Penei Sewell with seventh overall pick
An early run on quarterbacks and pass-catchers pushed top offensive lineman Penei Sewell down the board, and the Lions opted to take the Oregon offensive tackle with the seventh overall pick. One NFL head coach called Sewell “the one surefire Hall of Famer in this draft class,” according to ESPN. As the seventh-overall pick, Sewell will sign a four-year contract worth a fully guaranteed $24.099 million. That’s one of the perks.”The Sewell pick is the product of the most unusual draft cycle in NFL history. Many of the top prospects, including Sewell, opted out of last season because of the pandemic.mlive.com
Detroit Lions cut TE Hunter Bryant with non-football injury designation before NFL draft
ALLEN PARK -- The last regime loved Hunter Bryant. The Detroit Lions cut the Bryant on Wednesday, mere hours before the start of the NFL draft, with a non-football injury designation. Bryant was a talented pass-catching tight end during his college days at Washington, and would have been drafted if not for red flags about his injury history. Instead, he fell out of the draft entirely and the Lions swooped in with a bunch of cash and the best opportunity to make a roster. Alize Mack and Hunter Redford are the other tight ends on the roster for now, but Detroit could draft another this week, including as high as the first round.mlive.com
2021 NFL draft: Mocking 5 draft trades that could work for the Detroit Lions
Let’s run through five mock trades that could make sense for the Detroit Lions in the NFL draft. This post was created with assistance from the mock draft simulators from Pro Football Focus, The Draft Network and Pro Football Network. Detroit receives: Pick 9, Pick 71, third-round pick in 2023Denver receives: Pick 7Denver trades up two spots to take Alabama quarterback Mac Jones. Detroit receives: Pick 27, Pick 31, second-round pick in 2022Baltimore receives: Pick 7Let’s get weird. Detroit receives: Pick 4, Pick 219Atlanta receives: Pick 7, Pick 41, second-round pick in 2022 and third-round pick in 2023We can’t get out of here without executing one scenario where the Lions move up.mlive.com
Brad Holmes isn’t letting Detroit’s history of drafting pass-catchers alter his approach
ALLEN PARK -- Brad Holmes is well aware of Detroit’s ho-hum and frequent history of drafting first-round pass catchers, but that doesn’t mean he’s letting it alter his approach to his first NFL draft in the big chair. Hockenson went on to enjoy the best debut for a tight end in league history and happens to be fresh off his first Pro Bowl nod, so that’s worked out well so far. “If it’s a corner that we really, really like. That’s just the corner that we really, really like and think is a great fit. The Florida tight end has ascended most draft boards and mocks, routinely going before either of the receivers.mlive.com
2021 NFL draft preview: The Lions have options at tight end if they don’t land Kyle Pitts
This is the third of an eight-part series previewing the Detroit Lions’ positional needs and priorities heading into the NFL draft, which is scheduled for April 29-May 1. It’s easy to understand the tight end fatigue in Detroit after failed experiments with Brandon Pettigrew and Eric Ebron. With former Saints blocking tight end Josh Hill already signed to replace Jesse James, the Lions are in good shape at tight end if they don’t land Pitts. At 6-foot-5 and 251 pounds, he’s big enough to block too, though still needs polishing there. Then there’s Hunter Long, who led the nation in catches by a tight end last season.mlive.com
Detroit Lions could have opportunity to select ‘special’ pass-catcher in 2021 NFL draft
“They’re special,” ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. said during a pre-draft call on Thursday afternoon. “They’re guys that are, to me, they’re the highest-rated guys in this draft. They’re all special players. So they’re all just special players, and they proved it time and time again. And not only is he a great receiver, Waddle is also a great punt returner.mlive.com
NFL mock draft roundup: How did last week’s trades impact the Detroit Lions and Pick 7?
ALLEN PARK -- Teams are officially wheeling and dealing in the order with the NFL draft less than a month away. Miami then sent its newly-acquired Pick 12 (via SF), Pick 123 and a first-round pick in next year’s draft to the Eagles for Pick 6. Now, how does this change things for the Detroit Lions at Pick 7? McShay has the Lions acquiring Pick 8 one spot back via the Panthers, landing Alabama wideout Jaylen Waddle in the process. It’s worth noting the two top tackles, Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater and Oregon’s Penei Sewell, get some love to Detroit at Pick 7 in this week’s roundup.mlive.com
Florida TE Kyle Pitts blows up pro day, intrigued by fit with Detroit Lions
ALLEN PARK -- The great tight end debate is already raging in Detroit, where the Lions have already spent two top-10 picks on tight ends since 2014 and three first-round picks on tight ends since 2009. No other team in the league has come close to making that kind of investment in the tight end position. And his pro day proved that, when he ran a preposterous 4.44-second 40-yard dash. “I think he’s an elite wide receiver and I think he’s an elite tight end,” Florida coach Dan Mullen said after the Gators’ pro day on Wednesday. At his pro day, he showed why when he blistered the 40 in 4.44 seconds.mlive.com
2021 NFL draft: Could the Detroit Lions really take yet another tight end in the top 10?
Of course, it had nothing to do with Hockenson himself, a talented player who was widely regarded to be the best, most polished tight end prospect in years. The people just didn’t want another tight end, period. But he also runs and catches so well that he’s more of a receiver than a traditional tight end, even a traditional tight end that catches well. “He’s a different bird than what, you know, a traditional tight end has been or certainly has been when I played,” said Lions coach Dan Campbell, a former blocking tight end. You can always debate the value of taking someone listed as a tight end so highly in the draft.mlive.com
NFL mock draft roundup: Lions remain tied to top receivers, Micah Parsons after recent moves
ALLEN PARK -- The three top wide receivers and Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons have remained favorites for the Detroit Lions at Pick 7 after a week-plus of moves in free agency. Jaylen Waddle, WR, AlabamaMocked by: Drafttek, The Athletic (beat writer mock), Fox Sports, Bucky Brooks of the NFL Network, Eric Edholm of Yahoo! With the Lions leaning toward athletic playmakers at receiver in recent weeks, one would have to imagine more mock draft attention will turn toward Waddle. “I wouldn’t have any issues with the other two either, from Alabama,” NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said in a recent conference call. Micah Parsons, LB, Penn StateMocked by: Jordan Reid of The Draft Network (Pick 12 after trade with 49ers), Cynthia Frelund of the NFL Network, Chad Reuter of the NFL Network, Charley Casserly of the NFL Network, Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL NetworkThe Lions haven’t done much to improve their dreadful defense, keeping Micah Parsons more than in the mix.mlive.com
Ben Raven’s 2021 NFL mock draft 1.0: Detroit Lions select reigning Heisman winner at Pick 7
The Detroit Lions are heading into uncharted waters with a new general manager, head coach and starting quarterback. Check out fellow MLive Lions beat writer Kyle Meinke’s first mock draft of the offseason by clicking here. This pick isn’t a knock on Jalen Hurts, the team’s second-round quarterback pick last year, but more about Lance’s ceiling and opportunity for built-in patience to figure out what they have in each. Detroit Lions -- Alabama WR DeVonta SmithThe choice between DeVonta Smith and Alabama teammate Jaylen Waddle was more agonizing than expected. He had 36 tackles, four sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss, four interceptions, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and two touchdowns.mlive.com
NFL draft early entry list has 3 national title-winning QBs
National champion Alabama has five players leaving early after beating Ohio State in the CFP title game on Jan. 11, with All-America quarterback Jones and linebacker Dylan Moses both early graduates. The 30 players with college eligibility remaining after completing their degree requirements had to notify the NFL of their intentions for the draft. Players less than four years removed from high school who have not completed a degree need to be granted special entry to the draft by the NFL. Southern California has the most players leaving early for NFL draft eligibility with six. Stanford and Ohio State matched Alabama with five each.
Gators rattled: No. 8 Oklahoma routs Florida in Cotton Bowl
8 Oklahoma beat 10th-ranked SEC runner-up Florida 55-20 on Wednesday night in the Cotton Bowl. Back in the same NFL stadium where 11 days earlier they won their sixth consecutive Big 12 title, the Sooners (9-2, No. The 55 points were their most ever in a bowl game, while piling up a Cotton Bowl-record 684 total yards. 1 Alabama in the SEC title game, and had averaged nearly 42 points a game. Oklahoma: With Rattler and Mims among the young standouts coming back, the Sooners could again be favored to win another Big 12 title.
No. 10 Florida will be without top 4 pass catchers in Cotton
10 Florida will be without its top four pass catchers in the Cotton Bowl against eighth-ranked Oklahoma. Receivers Trevon Grimes and Kadarius Toney announced Monday they are skipping the game in Arlington, Texas, to prepare for their NFL futures. Their absences leave Florida trying to replace four guys who combined to catch 174 passes for 2,778 yards and 34 touchdowns in 2020. Pitts is expected to be a top-15 draft pick, and Grimes and Toney also could go in the early rounds. Toney might not be quite as fast as Grimes, but he's one of the shiftiest players in the country.
Heisman finalists: Tide teammates plus Lawrence and Trask
(AP Photo/Brian Blanco, File)Alabama teammates Mac Jones and DeVonta Smith along with Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Florida’s Kyle Trask have been named finalists for the Heisman Trophy. Jones and Smith are the eighth set of teammates to be finalists together since the tradition started in 1982. Smith is trying to become the first wide receiver to win the Heisman since Michigan's Desmond Howard in 1991. Jones or Smith would become Alabama's third Heisman winner, but first that is not a running back. Iowa State running back Breece Hall was sixth, followed by Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, BYU quarterback Zach Wilson, Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book and Florida tight end Kyle Pitts.
Cotton Bowl: Big 12 champ Oklahoma vs SEC runner-up Florida
ARLINGTON, Texas – Oklahoma is going right back to the stadium where the Sooners just won their sixth Big 12 championship in a row to play SEC runner-up Florida in the Cotton Bowl. During a Gators team meeting on Zoom to discuss their bowl destination, one of the first questions players asked Mullen was where the Cotton Bowl was played. Oklahoma is in the Cotton Bowl for only the third time, its first since a 41-13 loss to Texas A&M on Jan. 4, 2013. The Cotton Bowl will be played two days before Alabama faces No. Pitts announced is turning pro and won't play in the Cotton Bowl.
Harris scores 5 TDs, No. 1 Bama escapes No. 11 Florida 52-46
11 Florida in a 52-46 shootout for the Southeastern Conference championship Saturday night. “The resiliency this team has shown this season to win 11 games is pretty phenomenal.”After falling behind 35-17 by halftime, Florida (8-3, No. Alabama had won every game in the pandemic-affected season by at least 15 points until Florida gave the Tide a scare. Florida: The Gators might’ve pulled off the upset if not for some crucial mistakes in the first half. But Florida also had two silly penalties on apparent third-down stops, extending a pair of drives that turned into touchdowns.
Smith, Pitts are the real stars of SEC's Alabama, Florida
Alabama receiver DeVonta Smith and Florida tight end Kyle Pitts are the real stars of the leagues most potent offenses. Alabama receiver DeVonta Smith and Florida tight end Kyle Pitts are the real stars of the league’s most potent offenses. “He’s great at the point of attack.”Added Smith: “Pitts, he just makes unbelievable plays.”Pitts was in the middle of a cautious and costly decision last week. Pitts is a lock for the Mackey Award given annually to college football’s top tight end. But anyone who has watched even a little bit of Alabama and Florida this season knows who the real stars are.
No. 6 Florida runs past Tennessee 31-19
Kyle Trask threw for 433 yards and four touchdowns, and the Gators beat Tennessee 31-19 on Saturday to clinch a spot in the SEC championship game. “It felt like they threw on every snap.”Playing with a depleted roster, Tennessee (2-6) dropped its sixth consecutive game. Florida stretched a 10-point halftime advantage to 24-7 with a 75-yard drive capped by an 8-yard pass from Trask to Trevon Grimes. “I think they did a great job — Tennessee — throughout the game of giving us some different looks," Trask said. The Tennessee defense stiffened and forced the Gators into a field goal attempt from 53 yards.
Week 14: Ohio State returns and BYU-Coastal square off
Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields throws a pass against Indiana during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, in Columbus, Ohio. 3 Ohio State is playing as much as who will be play playing for the Buckeyes this weekend. Ohio State seems to be on track to play at Michigan State on Saturday after a spike in COVID-19 cases in the program forced a cancellation of last week's road trip to Illinois. If Ohio State has one more game canceled it would be unable to meet the Big Ten's minimum game played to be eligible for the conference title game. UNDER THE RADARNebraska at PurdueNeither team is in the Big West race, but the interesting thing is the Boilermakers (2-3) have won two straight against the Cornhuskers (1-4).
Heisman front-runner? Trask, No. 6 Florida thump Hogs 63-35
Arkansas acting head coach Barry Odom, center, watches a stadium video monitor after Florida scored a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Heisman front-runner? Trask, No. 6 Florida thump Hogs 63-35
Trask repeatedly torched the Razorbacks (3-4), who were without coach Sam Pittman and without much of a chance by halftime. It was the second time this season Trask tossed six TDs in a game. “I think I did a great job of executing and being efficient,” said Trask, who now has an SEC-record 27 TD passes and just three interceptions in six games. He became the third player in school history with at least 25 touchdown passes in multiple years, joining Heisman Trophy winners Tim Tebow and Danny Wuerffel. Florida: The Gators have the offense to beat anyone and the defense to keep everyone in games.
Trask, Florida upend Georgia 44-28 in 'Cocktail Party'
8 Florida beat fifth-ranked and undermanned Georgia 44-28 on Saturday. The Bulldogs (4-2), who entered the game as 3½-point favorites, were likely eliminated from College Football Playoff consideration and probably have a quarterback competition moving forward. Trask and the Gators took advantage, burning Georgia repeatedly with wheel routes while overcoming a 14-0 deficit. POLL IMPLICATIONSGeorgia likely will fall out of top 10 of T he Associated Press' college football poll for the first time this season. ___More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
Week 9: Ohio State faces its biggest test; Florida returns
18 Penn State was upset by Indiana so instead of returning to Happy Valley to host No. 3 Ohio State with an unbeaten record, the Nittany Lions are trying to avoid going 0-2 for the first time since 2013. No Big Ten team has tested Ohio State in recent years like Penn State, though the Nittany Lions haven't actually beaten the Buckeyes since 2016. 3 Ohio State at No. Can they disturb Justin Fields, who was near perfect last week for Ohio State?
Spiller helps No. 21 A&M top No. 4 Florida 41-38
“Now I want to see what do you follow up with?”Isaiah Spiller rushed for 174 yards and two touchdowns, and No. 21 Texas A&M beat fourth-ranked Florida 41-38 on Seth Small’s 26-yard field goal as time expired Saturday. Spiller helped get the Aggies get into position for Small’s decisive kick, sending A&M to its first win over a top-five team since a 41-38 victory over No. Florida led 28-24 early in the fourth when Spiller struck again, running 19 yards for a touchdown on a fourth-and-2 play. Spiller bounced off several defenders before waltzing into the end zone and then hitting the Florida fan section with a Gator chomp.
Trask, Pitts help No. 3 Florida top South Carolina 38-24
Kyle Trask and Kyle Pitts hooked up for two more touchdowns, continuing their hot start and leading Florida to a 38-24 victory over South Carolina on Saturday. But the Gators had their way with South Carolina for three quarters in front of 15,120 socially distant fans in the Swamp. BRIGHT SPOTHarris was one of the few bright spots for South Carolina. "I just did what I had to do.”DROPPED PASSESA big reason South Carolina couldn’t keep up was dropped passes. Florida takes its “Kyle to Kyle Show” to Kyle Field to play Texas A&M next Saturday.
No. 5 Florida beats Ole Miss 51-35 in Kiffin's debut
– Kyle Pitts caught four of Kyle Trask's six touchdown passes and No. 5 Florida spoiled the head coaching debut of Mississippi’s Lane Kiffin with a 51-35 victory Saturday. Trask completed 30 of 42 passes for 416 yards including touchdown passes of 1, 16, 71 and 17 yards to Pitts. Ole Miss (0-1) tied it at 14 midway through the second quarter before yielding to the Trask-led Florida outburst. “As members of the Florida and Ole Miss football teams, we recognize the impact of our personal platforms and are choosing to amplify the issues that directly impact us.