Former New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz went from an undrafted player to a Super Bowl champion in the span of two years.
So it’s fair to say that the salsa-dancing superstar knows a thing or two about late-round or undrafted talent making a splash in the NFL. This year, the recently retired Cruz has his eye specifically on one 2019 second-rounder, who went 62nd overall to the Arizona Cardinals.
“His name is Andy Isabella,” Cruz told AOL.com on behalf of DSW. “He’s a player, man.”
Isabella first caught Cruz’s attention while playing college football at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where Cruz also played. In his senior year, Isabella averaged nearly 17 yards per reception and scored 13 touchdowns en route to being named to the 2018 College Football All-America Team. His 141.5 receiving yards per game last year led the country.
Injuries are an inevitable part of the NFL. Torn ligaments and fractured bones don’t discriminate against any team, position or pay grade. Thankfully, with proper medical attention and support, players that get hurt can generally return to their previous form — if not even better.
Several notable athletes went down during the 2018 season and will be using 2019 to stage their comebacks. According to the experts at NFL Network, the top players to watch this season are Earl Thomas, Cooper Kupp and two big names on the Atlanta Falcons’ defense.
The mountains in Scottsdale, Ariz. weren’t doing N’Keal Harry any favors during the first round of the NFL draft on Thursday.
Harry, a wide receiver out of Arizona State, was selected 32nd overall by the New England Patriots – but when the time came to speak with Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft, his phone stopped working.
“We couldn’t get them on the line,” Harry said. “One of my agents actually had to reach out.”
Cell service aside, it was a life-changing evening for Harry, who finally did get in touch with the powers that be up in New England.
Marquise Brown’s life changed the instant he was selected 25th overall in the first round of the 2019 NFL draft.
The newest Baltimore Ravens wide receiver wasn’t about to let that moment pass him by. Brown, nicknamed “Hollywood,” was overcome with emotion while discussing his selection with NFL legend Deion Sanders.
“I’m just happy to be here,” he said as tears filled his eyes. “It means so much.”
The former Oklahoma Sooner wasn’t entirely unprepared for the intensity and excitement of the evening. His cousin, Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown, gave Hollywood a simple piece of advice before the draft: “Just enjoy this moment.”
In 2016, Nick Bosa watched as his older brother and Ohio State teammate, Joey, was picked third overall in the NFL draft by the then-San Diego Chargers.
Three years later, it was Nick’s turn to hear his name called.
The younger Bosa brother was selected by the San Francisco 49ers with the No. 2 pick in the 2019 NFL draft on Thursday night. Had it not been for Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Kyler Murray also being in the draft, Bosa would have had a real chance at being selected first overall.
The success of the Bosa brothers is no accident. Their father, John, also played a brief stint in the NFL after being selected in the first round of the 1987 draft out of Boston College. While plenty of hard work and dedication goes into becoming a successful athlete, Nick says his family’s success is largely due to “good genes.”
Thirty-two dreams came true Thursday night during the first round of the NFL draft — but the 2019 picks had extremely varied reactions after hearing their names called by commissioner Roger Goodell.
Some calmly approached the stage, some went for an ill-timed chest bump, and others – like Rashan Gary – simply couldn’t control their emotions.
Gary, a defensive end from Michigan, was selected by the Green Bay Packers with the No. 12 pick of the night. The former Wolverine wasn’t present at the draft in Nashville, instead choosing to watch the evening unfold from Ann Arbor with family members and friends.
When he received the call that he had been drafted by the Packers, Gary immediately burst into tears. He could be heard thanking the Green Bay executive on the other end of the line before picking up a Packers hat, prompting a round of loud cheers from his loved ones.
The full 2019 NFL schedule was released to the public on Wednesday night and some teams aren’t thrilled with the hand they’ve been dealt for the upcoming season.
Most notably, the New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders and Philadelphia Eagles have the most difficult schedules, according to NFL Network analysts.
The most difficult part of the Saints’ season, says Maurice Jones-Drew, will be the first four weeks, putting pressure on the team to start strong – otherwise, their hopes of making the playoffs could be crushed from the get-go.
Shield your eyes, football fans, because it looks like the New England Patriots will sail smoothly into the playoffs once again this year.
The experts at NFL Network have determined that New England has the “most favorable” schedule this upcoming season after each team’s 2019 opponents were revealed on Wednesday night.
A major factor in the Patriots’ schedule being deemed so favorable is that their most difficult games, including an AFC Championship game rematch against the Kansas City Chiefs, will be held at home at Gillette Stadium. New England’s most difficult road game, according to Maurice Jones-Drew, will come Week 11 in Philadelphia.
The 2019 NFL draft is fast approaching. With names like Kyler Murray, Nick Bosa and Josh Allen available, it seems likely we already know how the first few selections of the first round will go on April 25.
But what about the rest of the picks?
A top-heavy draft class doesn’t mean some diamonds in the rough won’t be found further down in the draft. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, selected No. 199 overall in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft, is evidence of that — and this year, the Patriots may draft his heir apparent.
The NFL regular season is only 16 games long, so it’s important to make them all count.
Of course, some teams will always get luckier than others. A weak division or the ability to face stronger opponents at home are obvious advantages that not every team receives each season.
NFL.com graded each team’s strength of schedule for the upcoming season and ranked the Washington Redskins’ 2019 opponents as the easiest group to face.
Other teams that got pretty lucky with their schedules include the New York Giants (who will “visit” the Jets this season), the Cincinnati Bengals (who will host three of 2018’s last-place teams), and the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots (who will play the Chiefs in Foxborough yet again).