Entering Saturday’s final four rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft, one of the more puzzling situations and draft free-falls was Miami defensive tackle Gerald Willis still being on the board.
After watching six defensive tackles fly off the board in round one on Thursday night, everyone anticipated that Willis’ name would be called at some point in the second or the third round on Friday evening in Nashville.
That did not happen.
And, even more discouraging for the former All-ACC defensive tackle is that numerous other defensive tackles were taken instead of him night two, as well.
That included UCF defensive tackle Trysten Hill being taken by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round and then, two more defensive tackles being taken instead of Willis in round three.
Finally, came Saturday afternoon, where round four came and went and still no Willis. Yet another D-tackle came off the board, as Arizona State’s Renell Wren was taken by the Bengals in the middle of the fourth round at #125.
We knew previously that Willis was being called into question by the NFL, when he wasn’t invited to the Scouting Combine in February.
However, because he led all defensive tackles in college football with 18 tackles for loss last season, and he comes from a tradition-rich program that has produced the likes of the late Jerome Brown, Russell Maryland, Warren Sapp, and even, Vince Wilfork back in the early 2000s, you thought he’d get more consideration.
In fact, most mock drafts believed that he would go no later than the 3rd round. Yet, it has become apparent that either the interview process or some injury concern possibly had cropped up about the New Orleans native and his draft status.
Willis had a hand injury at the end of Miami’s season and skipped the playing of the Pinstripe Bowl in the Bronx, New York, against Wisconsin. However there’s no indication that it’s a long-term lingering situation and that the hand would be the reason for the slide.
In the end, Willis incredibly lasted the entire seven rounds without being drafted.
We will await in the coming hours and days the reporting on the “why” that one of the top defensive tackles in a power conference was passed on by everyone this weekend.
Saturday night, media reports had Willis being signed as an undrafted free agent by the Ravens:
— David Wilson (@DBWilson2) April 27, 2019
At the minimum this has cost Williams a couple of million dollars (had he been a late second or early third round pick).
Now, he gets a chance to prove everyone that doubted him wrong.
Or, maybe he’s gonna reinforce that they were right not to draft him.
Former Bucs- Hurricanes TE Winslow pleads guilty Monday
With his retrial on felony rape charges about to begin Monday in San Diego, former Hurricanes All American and NFL TE (including with the Buccaners) Kellen Winslow II accepted a guilty plea deal from San Diego prosecutors on two more of the charges against him.
Winslow was in court Monday afternoon, as prosecutors and his defense team told the judge that he agreed to plea, if the six other remaining serous charges against him would be dropped and he could avoid a longer sentence.
Kellen Winslow Jr. Pleads Guilty to Raping Unconscious Woman https://t.co/U8vnwUGm28
— TMZ Sports (@TMZ_Sports) November 4, 2019
Winslow had been previously convicted in June on four counts of rape and other sexual misconduct charges involving multiple women. The jury deadlocked on the eight remaining charges that were brought against him and a mistrial on those was declared. However, prosecutors exercised their right to retry the 38 year old Winslow on those remaining counts.
The guilty pleas Monday involve sexual battery on a 54 year old unidentified woman, who claims Winslow raped her in his Jeep in 2018.
The other count involved a 2003 accusation that Winslow had raped a then 17 year old San Diego High School student at a home during the summer, while he was a prominent 19 year old player at the University of Miami.
Winslow is a former All American tight end from the Miami Hurricanes from 2001-03 and played 9 seasons in the NFL, including three with the Buccaneers from 2009-11. He was the sixth overall pick by the Browns in the 2004 draft and is the son of former Chargers great and Hall of Fame inductee, Kellen Winslow.
After his rookie season Winslow suffered a horrific knee and leg injuries in a motorcycle accident in a Cleveland suburb mall parking lot. He was unable to play in the 2005 season, because of the injuries.
Winslow played three more seasons for the Browns before being traded in the 2009 offseason to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In exchange for a second and fifth round picks, the Bucs acquired Winslow and gave him, at that time, the largest contract for a tight end in NFL history with $36 million over six seasons.
In his first season in Tampa Bay he set the Bucs single season tight end receiving record with 77 catches and 884 yards. He led the team in receptions again in 2010, as the Bucs finished 10-6 and missed the playoffs on a tiebreaker. In his final Buccaneers season of 2011 Winslow finished with 75 receptions in a dismal 4-12 year.
Winslow had been facing life in prison, if convicted on all 12 counts. However, it is believed with the plea deal and the total now being six convictions/guilty pleas, that his sentence will be somewhere between 12 and 18 years on the charges.
Winslow will be sentenced in February.
Canes take rivalry game with shutdown of FSU
This long-standing rivalry provided an opportunity for two teams evenly matched teams to bring home a win to salvage a below-average season. It would provide a good momentum shift for the Canes or the Noles to head into the final few weeks of the 2019 season with.
FSU/Miami is always a hard fought matchup regardless of the state of each program but today, Miami wanted it far more in a 27-10 win.
As we wrote earlier today, the Noles and Hurricanes have both been bad for stretches of 2019. Inconsistency has killed both teams and would play a huge part of this game. The winner will be whoever has the most consistent offense.
And that’s exactly what it came down to.
In the first half, Florida State was not only playing against the Canes but also against themselves. They had 8 penalties for a total of 60 yards, which halted any attempted of offensive momentum for the Seminoles.
The defense, who in recent weeks have been much improved, wasn’t bad overall. However, they gave up a couple of big passing plays that resulted in touchdowns for Miami. If you have to place the blame on one side, it was the offense, or lack thereof.
The real issue for Florida State remains the offensive line. They allowed 9 sacks on Alex Hornibrook and James Blackman and didn’t create any holes for Cam Akers to produce on offense. OC Kendal Briles attempted to call creative plays with Akers running the wildcat to set up their single TD drive.
It was Briles’ effort to compensate for the lack of protection on the line, however, it wasn’t enough to produce more than one solid drive down the field.
The most glaring difference between the two programs today was that Canes QB Jarren Williams had time to throw down the field, while Hornibrook didn’t.
Florida State went into the game as a very mediocre football program with a opportunity to garner an important victory at home, but remains a poorly coached, mediocre program with a long way to go to get back to relevancy.
Credit to Miami, who’s now won three straight in the FSU series. They came into the game with the same record and similar issues to the Noles, who left with a hard earned win.
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