The visit was a surprise to the students, who are members of the Y-Achievers Program enrolled in a college-prep program learning about the business of sports.
Wentz was joined by quarterback Deshaun Watson, who guided the Clemson Tigers to the National Championship in January and is a potential first-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. The two appeared on behalf of JCPenney, as the store fitted the young men for suits of their own and provided gift cards.
It was a fun afternoon, and as always I learned a lot from Quick, and we started the session with a look at Williams against Pittsburgh, Clemson’s lone loss of the season. In a high-scoring game, Williams had a career day, catching 15 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown. There were a lot of opportunities for us to evaluate Williams with the ball going his way, but it only took one snap, where he wasn’t even targeted, for him to draw praise from the Eagles Hall of Famer.
“See this release? This is the first play and I like him already,” Quick said. It was first-and-10, and quarterback Deshaun Watson goes to the other side of the field with this ball, but Williams is lined up on the left facing a press corner. He runs a fade and is able to get on top of the corner efficiently.
“There’s no wasted motion. He’s not bailing to the outside. He’s going right at the corner’s shoulder. He’s not wasting any time getting upfield, I like that,” Quick continued. “If this play comes to him he’s in great position just off the ball to go up and make a play.” It was Williams’ release that caught Quick’s eye again just four plays later.
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This is a quarterback class riddled with question marks. Mitch Trubisky has only started 13 games. DeShone Kizer didn’t win enough. Patrick Mahomes struggles to play within structure. Nate Peterman doesn’t have tools that blow you away. Watson’s play was a bit uneven this year and, like Peterman, there’s nothing physically about his skill set that will wow you. I believe he has the potential to be a starting quarterback in the NFL down the line because of what he brings on and off the field.
Alabama’s success in the semifinal game against Michigan State centered on making that team one-dimensional. Running back Larry Scott, the hero of the Big Ten Championship Game for Michigan State, was held to just 8 yards on the ground, as the Spartans averaged just 1.1 yards per carry on the day. This Clemson attack, however, is completely different than what the Tide saw against Michigan State, and a lot of that has to do with the Heisman finalist Deshaun Watson.
The true sophomore quarterback ran for over 1,000 yards this year, averaging 5.5 yards per carry. The Tigers, much like the Ohio State team that beat Alabama a year ago in the playoffs, have an offense focused on speed, tempo and deception. The zone-read element will be a huge factor in this game, and whether it’s Watson carrying the ball or running back Wayne Gallman, or any of the receivers that you’ll see used on jet-sweep action throughout the night, the Alabama front seven’s eye discipline will be put to the test.
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In projecting an All-Rookie Team for NFL.com, Brooks included defensive end Derek Barnett on his squad.
The No. 14 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Barnett set a new school record at Tennessee with 33 career sacks, surpassing the previous record of 32 set by Pro Football Hall of Famer and Eagles legend Reggie White. Barnett was the first true freshman to start along the defensive line in school history. He earned first-team All-America honors from the Associated Press as a junior in 2016 after registering a career-high 13.0 sacks with 56.0 tackles, 19.0 tackles for loss, 16 hurries, and 2 forced fumbles.
With the No. 14 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles jersey selected former Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett on Thursday night.
The 6-3, 259-pound Barnett was a three-year starter at right defensive end. In fact, Barnett was the first true freshman in Volunteers history to start along the defensive line.
After adding Derek Barnett to the front seven on Thursday, the Eagles added their second straight defensive piece on Friday by selecting Washington cornerback Sidney Jones with the 43rd-overall pick.