Sorry, Minkah Fitzpatrick, there’s only one Fitzmagic.
Minkah Fitzpatrick just completed his rookie season as a safety for the Miami Dolphins. He tried to fill a trademark with the US Patent & Trademark Office for “Fitzmagic,” but was essentially denied. The reason given is that it creates a false connection because the “Fitzmagic” nickname is strongly associated with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
On New Year's Day, the USPTO denies Mikah Fitzpatrick's trademark application for FITZMAGIC because it creates a "false connection" with Ryan Fitzpatrick.
— Josh Gerben (@JoshGerben) January 3, 2019
Minkah can still respond and appeal the decision if he wants, but he’s facing an uphill battle.
Though Ryan Fitzpatrick was benched by the Buccaneers this season in favor of Jameis Winston, there was still a time early in the year when he was lighting things up and going viral for his swag. People love their Fitzmagic, and they think of the bearded quarterback when they hear the name, not the Dolphins defensive back.
- Minkah Fitzpatrick
Just because a rookie is selected highly in the NFL Draft doesn’t mean he will be an immediate impact player. Don’t be surprised, for instance, if none of the first-round quarterback selections are starting for their teams in Week 1. That’s not a blanket rule, though — many players will be expected to contribute early and often to their new teams.
There’s a big difference between contributing and excelling, though. Here are ten rookies who have a good chance to do the latter in their rookie seasons.
1) Saquon Barkley, RB, Giants
Barkley is walking into a rather envious position. He’s on a team that still has aspirations of contending. They have a veteran quarterback and an offense where he’ll be expected to have a big role. If you believe the scouting reports on him, he’s as NFL-ready as any draft pick, and he’ll get an immediate chance to show it. It’s an open question whether the Giants will be any good, but whatever they do, Barkley will be at the center of it.
2) Bradley Chubb, EDGE, Broncos
Chubb is another rookie who’s walking into a great situation. Widely considered the best defender in the draft, he’s headed to a Denver team that has prided itself on a strong defense during this recent era of success. He’ll get to learn directly from Von Miller and be part of a fearsome pass rush. A lot of rookies of this caliber go to teams that are otherwise bereft of talent, but that’s not so in Denver. Playing alongside top quality talent could help him develop more quickly.
3) Quenton Nelson, OG, Colts
You may not always notice the rookie guard’s contributions, but they’re going to be immense and immediate. Nelson is more or less assured a starting spot on a Colts offensive line that hasn’t been good. He’s about as NFL-ready as they come in any context. Nelson could be a Pro Bowler very early in his NFL career if things go well. He’s that good already and has that much potential to get even better, and will be afforded every opportunity to.
4) Derwin James, S, Chargers
As long as James is healthy, this could turn out to be the steal of the draft. He’s headed to a team whose defensive coordinator, Gus Bradley, has a history of getting the best out of players like this. James is also a top ten talent who fell further than many expected in the first round. The Florida State product is a skilled and versatile defender who has a very good chance of making a big impact in the NFL from day one.
5) Roquan Smith, LB, Bears
The draft’s best pure linebacker, Smith will be handed a big role immediately in a moribund Chicago defense that is just looking for a spark. Expect him to provide it. The speedy linebacker had 137 total tackles in 2017 and will look to wreck opposing offensive gameplans very quickly as he starts his career. His immense physical tools alone should make him an impact player from day one, and he’s another guy that could contend for some awards early in his career.
6) Denzel Ward, CB, Browns
The Browns received a fair amount of criticism for taking Ward No. 4, which seemed like a reach to some critics. Perhaps it was, but the bottom line is the Browns badly needed help in the secondary and Ward will have the opportunity to prove his worth right away. That’s something that not even the first overall pick Baker Mayfield can bank on. Ward is also a talented young cornerback who can have a long NFL career as a starter, and he’ll be trusted to do the job early on.
7) Vita Vea, DL, Buccaneers
Vea is in a pretty nice situation himself. He’s still a work in progress, but the Washington Huskies product will likely be paired with Gerald McCoy up front. He’ll be told to use his physical gifts to stuff the run, and he’ll probably be good at it. He has room for improvement, but Vea should be an impact player on the defensive line from day one. Being paired with an accomplished veteran who can help cover some of his flaws and spotlight what he’s good at should make him look even better.
8) Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Dolphins
The rookie from Alabama is so versatile that it’s a question of where the Dolphins will utilize him, not when. Fitzpatrick can play pretty much anywhere within the secondary. He can cover in the slot, roam as a safety, and he can even get after the quarterback as a blitzer. He may not defend the top target on any other team, but Fitzpatrick is certainly good enough to walk into the NFL and cover slot receivers at worst.
9) Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Bills
Edmunds is another player whose combination of speed and versatility will ensure that he has a spot on the field somewhere. He finished last season with 109 tackles and 5.5 sacks, and it’s fair to say that the Bills will be looking for the linebacker to mature into something similar at the NFL level as well. He can play on the edge or on the inside, and the Bills will look to find a spot for him early so he can wreak havoc on opposing defenses.
10) Michael Gallup, WR, Cowboys
Unlike the rest of the players on this list, Gallup was not a first-round pick, and he’s flying under the radar. However, the wide receiver is going to have opportunities that even he may not have envisioned when the Cowboys selected him in the third round. Dez Bryant was released, Jason Witten has retired, and Dak Prescott is going to need to find targets somewhere. That could be Gallup, a rookie with very good speed and size who could have a significant early role in the Dallas offense as it moves into a new era post-Bryant and Witten.
The Green Bay Packers are reportedly making an effort to trade up in the draft with an eye on Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller reported on Thursday that the Packers were targeting the Alabama defensive back.
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) April 26, 2018
In addition to Miller, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported that the Packers were looking to trade up.
The new #Packers may be on display Thursday night. They are among the teams plotting a potential trade up — from No. 14 — for a top-tier talent, sources say. It would be their first opening round move up since Clay Matthews in 2009.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 25, 2018
Green Bay focused on improving their defense this offseason, with their big move being the addition of Muhammad Wilkerson. They now want to improve their secondary.
Fitzpatrick had nine interceptions and five sacks in three seasons with the Tide. The Packers have been linked to him several times leading up to the draft.
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Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick is sick and tired of UCF puffing their chests out.
In an interview with Andrew Astelford of SEC Country that ran on Tuesday, Fitzpatrick reacted to UCF self-proclaiming themselves the national champs.
“I wanted to play them so bad,” he said. “I was all busted up after this season. But I said, ‘I’ll play another game if UCF wants to play another game.’ I would have definitely done it for sure. I’m competitive. I don’t want anybody else claiming that they’re the champions when we’re the real champions. So I would have went out there all busted up, beat up, strapped up, whatever I had to do, to go out there and show them who the real champions are.
“Man, we would have whooped up on them boys. It wouldn’t have been close,” Fitzpatrick added. When asked to predict the score of a potential Alabama-UCF game, the defensive back said, “Man, I’ll say, ‘50-plus to 10-minus.’”
UCF was, of course, the only team to finish the 2017 season with an undefeated record. However, they failed to receive a bid to the College Football Playoff, leading the Knights to declare themselves the national champs in a show of defiance. Meanwhile, Alabama won the actual national championship, defeating Georgia in this year’s title game by the final of 26-23.
As for Fitzpatrick, he just declared for the NFL Draft after three seasons at Alabama and is projected to be a potential first-round pick. He is not the first Crimson Tide player to clown UCF over their supposed national title either.
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- College Football
The entire slate of bowl games has been unveiled, and it includes a lot of interesting matchups. Even beyond the College Football Playoff, there are a lot of elite players across the board. Some of them will be playing their final games at their school, while others will hope a strong performance could lay the groundwork for a big 2018 season.
Here are 15 players to watch across the college football bowl game slate in 2017-2018.
Brandon Peters, QB, Michigan
It’s easy to forget just how mediocre Michigan was before Jim Harbaugh took over. He’s made the program nationally relevant again, but some of the fans remain restless as the team has yet to break through and reach the Big Ten Championship during his tenure. That has largely been because Harbaugh has never quite found his program-leading quarterback. Could it be Peters? An injury kept him out of the Ohio State game, but he should be healthy in time to take on South Carolina in the Outback Bowl. A strong performance from the sophomore could set the stage for a breakthrough in 2018.
Sam Darnold, QB, USC
Will Darnold go pro? That’s a big question. Some reports have said he may return to school, but with his draft stock high, he could decide to leave. We don’t know, but everything he does affects his draft stock. If he chooses to go pro, he’ll want to go out with a signature win. If he can put up big numbers against an Ohio State team that just barely got shut out of the playoff, it would look great for NFL scouts. That alone should make the Cotton Bowl one to watch.
Who are the best skill position players in college football? We’re talking about the guys who have the ability to make big plays every time they’re on the field, whether they’re dual-threat quarterbacks, explosive running backs, speedy wide receivers, dominant defensive backs, or pass-rushers with the ability to blow up any play in the backfield.
Here’s a look at 25 of the best playmakers in all of college football.
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
The consensus best running back in college football, Barkley is poised for a big year. He already had one in 2016 after racking up nearly 1,900 yards from scrimmage and 22 total touchdowns en route to a Rose Bowl appearance. An incredible athlete, Barkley possesses great size as well as the agility, speed, and vision to make himself an elite running back at the pro level. He already is one in college.
Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
To be a quarterback on a list of playmakers, you have to have a great arm and be able to make plays on the move as well. Allen is capable of both. He threw for 3,203 yards and 28 touchdowns, all while adding 512 rushing yards and seven more touchdowns on the ground. He has a great arm, the ability to throw on the run, and he is exciting NFL scouts already.
Marcus Allen, S, Penn State
- Antonio Callaway, Bo Scarbrough, Calvin Ridley, Chase Hansen, Courtland Sutton, Dante Pettis, Derrius Guice, Derwin James, Josey Jewell, Josh Allen, Kamryn Pettway, Lamar Jackson, Malik Jefferson, Marcus Allen, Micah Kiser, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Quinton Flowers, Richie James, Royce Freeman, Sam Darnold, Saquon Barkley, Tremaine Edmunds
College football has many great players, but not all of them will make it into the NFL. Even fewer will become highly-touted first round prospects. Those who are will get a lot of attention and hype in 2017, from fans, analysts, and NFL people alike.
Here’s a list of eight players who, if all goes well, will likely be highly-touted first-round picks in next April’s NFL Draft.
1) Sam Darnold, QB, Redshirt Sophomore, USC
All eyes will be on the USC quarterback once the season gets underway, as he has a legitimate chance of being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 Draft if he has a good enough season and other things fall his way. It will be an interesting study in how he handles pressure; Darnold wasn’t even the starter at the beginning of last season, and even as he was lighting up the Pac-12, expectations weren’t as high as they will be now. This is a USC team with playoff aspirations and a player surrounded by lots of Heisman hype.
If Darnold proves he’s the real deal, he’ll easily be a top-five pick at minimum. Consider that he threw for 31 touchdowns and over 3,000 yards despite not even starting his first game until the end of September.
Of course, Darnold is only a sophomore. If things don’t work out the way he hopes in 2017, he can always stay in school for another season. He may choose to return for his junior season even if he does light it up this coming season.
2) Josh Rosen, QB, Junior, UCLA