Corey Davis battled through numerous difficult emotions during the Tennessee Titans’ 34-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday night in Nashville.
Davis’ brother Titus died on Wednesday at the age of 27 due to a rare form of kidney disease. Davis decided to play a day later. He likely had his brother in mind when cameras showed him crying before the game.
Like Corey, Titus was also a star wide receiver. He played four seasons at Central Michigan and was all conference all four years. He is the Chippewas’ all-time leader in receiving yards (3,700) and touchdown receptions (37).
Corey went to Western Michigan and had 5,278 receiving yards and 52 receiving touchdowns before the Titans made him the No. 5 overall pick in 2017. Corey led the Titans with five catches for 67 yards in the loss.
The Chicago Bears are declining the fifth-year contract option for quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, which is just another reminder about how the top of the 2017 NFL Draft did not go too well.
As NFL Media’s James Palmer pointed out, only one of the top five picks from that year’s draft had his contract option picked up. None of the picks from 2-5 had their options picked up.
Myles Garrett has delivered for the Cleveland Browns, except for last year’s incident with Mason Rudolph. He has 30.5 sacks in 37 career games for Cleveland.
At No. 2, the Bears took Trubisky, who had a nice season with 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 2018. But Trubisky has shown inconsistency and has seems to be below the level of a franchise quarterback. The Bears added Nick Foles this offseason to compete with him.
The 49ers drafted Solomon Thomas at No. 3. He has 73 tackles and six sacks in 46 career games but has not played like a top-five pick. Though Thomas has not worked out, the 49ers did draft a steal in the 5th round in George Kittle, so they can feel like they still made out well.
The Jaguars took Leonard Fournette at No. 4. He has rushed for 2,631 yards and 17 touchdowns in three seasons but has missed 12 games and has supposedly been a problem in the locker room. He was taken ahead of Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, and Alvin Kamara, who were three of the next five running backs taken (Joe Mixon was the fourth).
Tennessee thought they were getting a speedster in Corey Davis and didn’t mind his foot injury when they took him at No. 5. He only has six career touchdown catches and has not posted a 1,000-yard season yet. The wide receivers taken high in that draft have not produced well (Mike Williams, John Ross, Zay Jones, Curtis Samuel), while some taken lower have done well, like JuJu Smith-Schuster, Cooper Kupp, Chris Godwin and Kenny Golladay.
The real studs at the top of the draft came with Jamal Adams at No. 6, McCaffrey at No. 8, Patrick Mahomes at No. 10 and Deshaun Watson at No. 12. The 2017 draft wasn’t devoid of talent, you just had teams miss early.
NFL players don’t walk onto the field as rookies and immediately become stars. They have to prove their worth on the field. Some have to bounce from team to team, and some were never even expected to be stars in the first place. Everyone gets there a different way, and every story is unique.
The 2018 NFL season has seen its share of breakout players. Some are rookies who were highly-anticipated but had to prove it on the field, while some were players once feared to be busts but finally put it together. Others were never expected to be anything more than squad players or roster filler, but have shown themselves to be capable of a whole lot more.
Here is each team’s biggest breakout player from the 2018 season.
Arizona Cardinals — Christian Kirk, WR
The rookie was only a second-round pick, but Kirk has offered the Cardinals some hope that their offense has a future beyond just Josh Rosen. Though he’s still searching for his first 100-yard game, he has several solid outings to his name, and has caught 3 touchdowns. He’s quickly become one of Rosen’s favorite targets and has racked up 536 yards receiving. He could end up in the 800-yard range when his season is over — a very solid rookie campaign.
It may be hard to believe, but training camps are just around the corner, and that means meaningful football isn’t far off. It also means that previously injured players, under-performers and sophomores have another opportunity to prove they belong in the hard-hitting NFL.
Here’s a look at 32 players — one from each team — who are ready to make the leap entering the 2018 season.
Arizona Cardinals – Budda Baker, S
With the departure of Tyrann Mathieu, the Cardinals have an obvious void to fill in their secondary. Enter second-year safety Budda Baker, who is expected to take on a much larger defensive role for Steve Wilks. In an aggressive system (Wilks blitzed on 44 percent of the defensive snaps in Carolina), Baker should find himself in a position to excel as a sophomore and potentially even improve upon his already impressive 84.5 Pro Football Focus grade from a season ago.
Every year, we see NFL players across the league come into their own despite not having much of a track record. They can be all types; many are second- or third-year players who have matured and overcome injury or adapted to the NFL. There are others who were never highly-touted but find themselves in the right situation.
Each NFL team has breakout candidates. Here is a leading candidate from all of them.
Arizona Cardinals — Haason Reddick, LB
The 13th overall pick in last year’s draft flashed potential and appeared in all 16 games, but only started three of them. He still made an impact, with 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles on the season. The Cardinals plan to move him to inside linebacker, where he’s been studying tape of Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis. That bodes well for a big year two breakout.
Atlanta Falcons — Austin Hooper, TE
Year three could be the one that sees Hooper mature into a big target at tight end. His numbers improved last season, as he caught 49 passes and scored three touchdowns. A more prominent role and regular playing time could await him in 2018 and make him a Matt Ryan favorite. He’ll just have to compete with Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Atlanta’s talented running backs for touches.
Corey Davis’ first career NFL touchdown catch was a special one.
The rookie first-round pick beat Malcolm Butler one-on-one and made a one-handed catch to put the Tennessee Titans on the board in their AFC divisional playoff game against the New England Patriots on Saturday:
Davis missed time during the regular season due to injuries, but he’s coming alive at the right time. That touchdown catch capped a 95-yard drive by the Titans that put them up 7-0 at the end of the first quarter.
There is good and bad news on Corey Davis.
The Tennessee Titans wide receiver left practice on Thursday with a hamstring injury and underwent an MRI. The good news is that Davis does not have a tear and will not need surgery. The bad news is he is expected to miss at least a week, according to coach Mike Mularkey.
Davis was the Titans’ first-round pick out of Western Michigan. The No. 5 overall pick in the draft, Davis was expected to give Marcus Mariota a big weapon this season.
Davis also underwent ankle surgery in January.
330 NFL hopefuls were invited to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. for the 2017 NFL Combine, which is held through March 6. During their time there, the young prospects will be run through the wringer, fielding questions from professional scouts and putting their athletic skills on display for the football world to see.
For some, the NFL Combine will provide a springboard to the NFL Draft. For others, it very well may harm their projected value. And for even fewer promising rookies, the opportunity to prove their worth won’t even come about.
But just because this event is hyped, don’t forget that there are plenty of athletes who won’t be there, or will be limited while there. Whether it’s because of injury, off-field issues or they simply weren’t invited, a number of good players are not participating in the NFL Combine. Some who will be there will be missing some action.
Here’s a look at 10 of the best players who will be missing the action in Indianapolis.
10. Erik Magnuson (offensive lineman, Michigan)
Unlike most players on this list who won’t participate in the NFL Combine due to injury or who were omitted due to character concerns, Michigan offensive lineman Erik Magnuson simply wasn’t invited.
A first team All-Big Ten Conference honoree in 2016, Magnuson appeared in 45 career games for Michigan, starting 36 of those, including 23 straight at right tackle. And while most experts would agree that there’s not a single standout tackle in the draft, there’s a belief that Magnuson could be an NFL starter for years to come.
The 6-foot-6, 304-pound Magnuson also offers the potential for versatility, having played inside at the guard position as well. And while good numbers at the NFL Combine certainly would have helped his draft stock, he’ll instead have to fall back on his game film and any Pro Days he attends.
At the end of the day, Magnuson will take a hit due to his non-invite to the combine, but should still be considered a solid mid-round option with a lot of upside.
9. Chad Williams (wide receiver, Grambling State)