Irving Fryar Jersey

Aventura, FL – The Miami Dolphins held the annual Nat Moore Endowment Fund Golf Classic at JW

Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa’s Soffer’s Course on Monday, March 18, 2019. Funds raised from

the golf tournament benefited the Nat Moore Endowment Fund, which serves as the education pillar of

the Miami Dolphins Foundation and provides graduating high school seniors in Miami Dade, Monroe,

Broward and Palm Beach counties with the financial resources needed to pursue avenues of education and

training for employment readiness.

“In our second year of the Nat Moore Endowment Fund as part of the Miami Dolphins Foundation, we are

constantly looking for ways to help more kids go to school, educate themselves and give them a chance

to be successful in whatever it is they choose to do,” Miami Dolphins Senior Vice President of Alumni

Relations Nat Moore said. “This is something that has been near to my heart for as long as I can

remember so I am very excited to see everyone come together for this event and raise funds that will

give the youth of our community a greater opportunity to pursue their dreams.”

Celebrity guests teed off for a round of scramble-golf on the world-famous Soffer Course, home to a

number of LPGA and PGA events including participation from former NFL and NBA athletes Dick Anderson,

Donny Anderson, Otis Anderson, Hank Bauer, Bobby Bell, Otis Birdsong, Ronnie Brown, Bob Brudzinski,

Keith Byars, Ki-Jana Carter, Mark Clayton, Richard Dent, Parnell Dickinson, Troy Drayton, Mark Duper,

Irving Fryar, Darrell Fullington, Jimmie Giles, Andrew Givens, Jacob Green, Bob Griese, Lorenzo

Hampton, John Harris, Ted Hendricks, Sam Jones, Ed “Too Tall” Jones, Brian Kelley, Terry Kirby, Sam

Madison, Dan Marino, Leonard “Truck” Robinson, Sterling Sharpe, Duane Starks, Lawrence Taylor, Jim

Thornton, Darryl Williams and Gus Williams.

2019 Nat Moore Endowment Fund Golf Classic Winners

 

Hotel & Casino

This event is a follow up to the Nat Moore Scholarship and Vocational Grant Endowment open application

announcement made earlier this year and is in its second year under the Miami Dolphins Foundation.

Last year, five graduating seniors were the first recipients awarded the fund and were selected

through an application process that showcased community service, leadership, financial need and

academic standing. This initiative aligns with the Miami Dolphins mission of “Teamwork at Work” —

an effort to level the playing field through the power of teamwork to inspire a healthier, more

educated and united South Florida community.

The fund is a continuation of the Nat Moore Foundation, which started in 1998 to serve the youth of

South Florida through education. The Miami Dolphins Foundation through the Nat Moore Endowment Fund is

committed to raising $10 million in 10 years to fund educational opportunities for South Florida

youth. This commitment will foster the next generation of industry and community leaders by providing

students who are achieving academically and who give back to their communities with the opportunity to

attain their educational goals. Application for the Nat Moore Vocational Grant are accepted on a

rolling basis. For more information and to apply, please CLICK HERE.

John Hannah Jersey

Leon Gray is the 28th man selected into the New England Patriots’ Hall of Fame, as the club announced yesterday. A third-round draft pick by the Miami Dolphins in 1973, Gray joined the organization off waivers that same year and went on to establish himself as one of the best left tackles in football: he appeared in 80 games for New England over the course of six seasons and became a core member of what is now a legendary offensive line.

One of the voters responsible for bestowing the honor upon the former Patriots starting left tackle, who passed away in 2001 at just 49 years old, is the club’s current football research director, Ernie Adams. Revisiting some previous comments made by Adams about Gray tells just why he and his brethren decided on including the late offensive lineman in the exclusive club as the third ever senior inductee.

“Leon Gray was everything you had wanted as a left tackle,” Adams told patriots.com back in 2013, when Gray first came up as a candidate for the Hall. “There are very few teams in the history of the National Football League that have run the ball over the course of a season for 200 yards a game: the ‘76 Patriots and the ‘78 Patriots were two of those teams. A lot of that was Sam Cunningham running behind Leon Gray.”

As Adams mentioned, Gray and his teammates helped the Patriots average more than 200 rushing yards — 210.6, to be precise — over the course of 1976’ 14 regular season games. Two years later and following the NFL’s switch to a 16-game regular season format, Gray and the rest of the Patriots’ offensive line paved the way for 3,165 rushing yards. The number still stands as an NFL record today and will likely never be broken again.

Gray’s excellence extended beyond his run blocking, though, and was only one reason why he was voted to two Pro Bowls and an All-Pro team in his six years in New England. “You never had to worry about having Leon Gray pass block for Steve Grogan at left tackle,” said Adams about the former waiver wire pickup that turned into one of the NFL’s premier offensive tackles of the 1970s.

The man in question — long-time Patriots quarterback Steve Grogan — also spoke glowingly about Gray six years ago. “Leon was smart, he had great feet, good hands. You just knew that he was going to do his job,” said Grogan, who himself was inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame in 1995. “The success we had during the mid-’70s, wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for a guy like Leon Gray playing left tackle for us.”

Despite some outstanding play throughout his Patriots tenure and being voted to the organization’s team of 1970s, however, Gray is not the biggest name on New England’s outstanding offensive lines of the decade: the unit’s superstar was and still is Pro Football Hall of Fame guard John Hannah, who played shoulder-on-shoulder alongside the left tackle for all six of his seasons with the Patriots.

“Hannah could very well be the best offensive lineman in the history of the league. Everybody remembers John,” said Adams before pointing out that the man playing on his left also needs to be recognized for his performance wearing the red, white, and blue. “I think John would probably be the first one to tell you a big part of the reason he was so good was he knew he was going to get great play from left tackle.”

Indeed, Hannah named Gray as a reason for his success on the gridiron. Speaking to Sports Illustrated’s Paul Zimmerman in 1981, the player dubbed as ‘the greatest offensive lineman of all time,’ also spoke about his relationship with the man playing alongside him. “Having Leon Gray next to me all those years helped so much,” Hannah said. “We got to know what each of us could do. We ate together, studied films together. I knew the air he breathed.”

The formidable duo was not built to last, however: New England traded away its stalwart left tackle to the Houston Oilers in a cost-cutting move just prior to the 1979 season — a decision criticized by Hannah at the time and in the years that followed. “When the Patriots traded Leon… well, I never wanted to sign another contract with them,” he told Sports Illustrated in 1981. “I still haven’t gotten over it.”

Hannah, of course, played out the rest of his career in New England before retiring after the Patriots’ Super Bowl loss in 1985. At that point, Gray was already retired: after spending three years in Houston and earning two more Pro Bowl and All-Pro selections each, he was traded again. After two years with the New Orleans Saints, the then-32-year-old decided to hang up his cleats at the age of 32.

His legacy in New England still lives on, though, even beyond his untimely death during what would turn out to be the Patriots’ first championship season. “[Gray and Hannah] together, I’d be hard-pressed to think of a better guard-tackle combination anywhere that I’ve seen in the league,” said Adams, who saw both perform first-hand during his initial coaching tenure in New England from 1975 through 1979.

“When you think of left tackle you think of someone like Leon Gray and somebody who plays the position like that.”

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“We (also) had Troy Brown and Adam Vinatieri,” he continued. “That was a long time ago. I don’t think back. Temporarily it bothered me. I’d probably do things differently now if I had to do it again.”

So you see, even though three declining seasons under Pete Carroll followed his tenure, the core of the first Super Bowl championship-winning team was already in place. He knew it then; we know it now.

And there has been contrition for his actions at the time, too.

“I was absolutely too headstrong,” he told USA Today six years ago. “And (Robert Kraft) might have been a little headstrong, too. I think both Kraft and myself, retrospectively, would have done things a little differently.”

That situation has also been explained by Mr. Kraft. “Look, I was a new owner,” he also told USA Today. “I had a lot of debt. I had stardust in my eyes. I had a Hall of Fame coach. I was green and new. And I don’t think Bill had ever dealt with someone like myself.

“He had a contract that said he’d coach year to year,” Kraft added. “And that didn’t make me feel secure. He was coaching year to year, making personnel decisions. He used to drive down to Jupiter, Florida at the end of the year and he’d say he’d decide whether he was coming back to coach.

“That didn’t inspire confidence in me.”

The way Bill Parcells left the Patriots certainly didn’t leave a positive feeling about his tenure overall, despite the rebuild and the second all-time Super Bowl appearance in team history. But as we all know, time has a way of healing wounds or correcting fault. Perspective changes. Truth usually wins out in the end.

And the truth here is, Parcells helped this team – this franchise – become what it is today. With him, the Patriots became a contender on the field and a stronger business entity off of it because of his ability to coach, and also his ability to inspire confidence in others both on and off the field.

League-wide respect has since followed. Without him, who knows?

We may not have a Patriots Hall of Fame to discuss today. We may be talking about ‘what might have happened’ if the Patriots had relocated to St. Louis 26 years ago.

But we’re not, and for that we’re thankful. Whether as a coach, a contributor or a veteran presence, Bill Parcells’ arrival in New England helped change the course of history around here. And as the Hall of Fame is a museum which showcases history – both the good and the not-so-good – leaving a significant piece of history out of the franchise’s story simply isn’t an accurate account.

It isn’t right. He has been a candidate for induction into the Patriots’ Hall three times previously.

It’s time to remember what Parcells’ arrival and tenure meant to football in New England. He belongs in this Hall, too.
And the nominees are…

I was both happy and humbled to have been asked to serve on the nominating committee this year, and not at all surprised that 13 players and coaches from the Patriots’ past were named for potential inclusion.

You simply could not go wrong with anyone who was nominated. Ultimately, you have the honor of electing the 2019 choice into the Patriots’ Hall, which is a fantastic way for all Patriots to celebrate the history of the team together. Our task was simply to decide upon the three finalists for you to consider.

The nominating committee included a 10-person senior committee of Patriots’ Director of Football Research (and one-time assistant under Chuck Fairbanks) Ernie Adams, Ron Borges (Boston Globe/Herald and a Canton voter), Ron Hobson (Quincy Patriot-Ledger), Jim Donaldson (Providence Journal), Bill Burt (Lawrence Eagle-Tribune), Mark Farinella (Attleboro Sun-Chronicle), Glen Farley (Brockton Enterprise), Carlo Imelio (Springfield Union News), Matt Smith from Kraft Sports Productions and our own Paul Perillo from Patriots.com.

The remainder of the committee included Patriots’ Hall of Fame Executive Director Brian Morry, Pro Football and Patriots’ Hall of Famer Andre Tippett, Patriots’ Hall of Famer Steve Nelson, Butch Stearns of WFXT (Fox 25), Patriots.com’s Fred Kirsch, radio play-by-play man Bob Socci and producer Marc Cappello (98.5 The Sports Hub), ESPN’s Mike Reiss, Boston Sports Journal’s Chris Price, the Boston Globe’s Jim McBride, the Boston Herald’s Kevin Duffy and NBC Sports Boston’s Phil Perry, along with yours truly.

That’s some company. And quite the brain trust through the years.

The nominees, in no particular order of importance:

Richard Seymour
Mike Vrabel
Rodney Harrison
Bill Parcells
Julius Adams
Fred Marion
Mosi Tatupu
Russ Francis
Chuck Fairbanks
Lawyer Milloy
Randy Moss
Larry Eisenhower
Tim Fox

The senior committee’s election of offensive tackle Leon Gray is timely and warranted. Other players and coaches, obscured by the glare of the Kraft Championship Era, will someday follow and deservedly so.

My support this year was thrown behind the candidacy of Richard Seymour and Mosi Tatupu, in addition to Coach Parcells. Seymour was the best at his position during his time here as a four-time all-Pro and three-time Super Bowl winner, and he remains a strong candidate for eventual inclusion into Pro Football’s Hall of Fame.

No brainer? Probably.

Tatupu, who passed away in 2010, made his name as a crowd and fan-favorite mostly for his work on special teams. What you might not know is Tatupu, as primarily a fullback, also once led the NFL in single-season rushing yard average, running for 5.5 yards per carry in 1983.

What you might also not know is that he was the consummate teammate – beloved by his fellow Patriots in the locker room for his leadership, ability and dedication to the game and to his family.

And shouldn’t that be a big part of what the ‘Patriot Way’ – and the Patriots Hall of Fame – is all about?

John Rooke, an author and award-winning broadcaster, is entering his 27th season as the Patriots’ stadium voice. Currently serving in several media capacities – which include hosting “Patriots Playbook” on Patriots.com Radio – Rooke has broadcast college football and basketball locally and nationally for more than 30 years and is a member of the Rhode Island Radio & Television Hall of Fame and RI’s Words Unlimited Hall of Fame.

Tedy Bruschi Jersey

Every November, just before their challenging journey to train for the Boston Marathon begins, the runners for Tedy’s Team — the foundation created by Tedy Bruschi and his wife, Heidi — meet for the first time at the team’s kickoff dinner. This year, they convened at Granite Links Golf Club in Quincy.

And it’s there that, for many of them, they have the outlet to talk about their experience for the first time.

In some way, every runner that’s run for Tedy’s Team has been affected by stroke or heart disease. Whether they’re a survivor, a caregiver, or running in honor of a loved one, they all come together for a common purpose, and the stories are emotional.

For Bruschi, this is the most rewarding part of what’s now been a 14-year journey; meeting his runners for the first time, and listening to their stories. It’s exactly what the former Patriots linebacker envisioned shortly after he survived a stroke in 2005 — to build a support system that may have otherwise not existed.

“That’s why the team is in the name,” Bruschi said. “That’s what I wanted to create. To give them an experience and to feel a part of a team, and feel like they’re not alone through this. Because it’s hard to talk about sometimes after you go through something that’s so devastating like stroke or heart disease.”

The stories have been so inspirational that Bruschi decided to take more action this year. He’s running the Boston Marathon for the third time this Monday after doing it in 2012 and 2014, and he’ll toe the starting line in Hopkinton alongside 48 of his Tedy’s Team teammates.

“It’s tough to be around the type of people our runners are and not get inspired,” Bruschi said. “Every single year, the stories of the stroke survivors, the heart survivors, the people who are running for their loved ones, their stroke or heart heroes, their motivation for running. These people are incredible people, they’re motivated people, they live with purpose, and it inspires me. …

“I’ve tried to form a group, a group where people can get together that have suffered adversity in their lives through stroke and heart disease, and talk about it, and run for it, and run for people, or run for themselves if they’re survivors, to be inspired by others. I think that’s what this group is. This group is very strong in that aspect, so I’m proud of what Heidi and I have created.”

Bruschi’s story is well-documented. He had just won his third Super Bowl in February 2005 when one day, he suddenly started experiencing severe headaches, loss of vision and numbness down the left side of his body — all what he later found out were classic symptoms of stroke. He was admitted to Mass. General Hospital, and after eight months of rehabilitation, he miraculously rejoined the Patriots and resumed playing football.
Bruschi played until 2008, but felt a calling and responsibility to bring awareness to stroke. He’s now been on a 14-year mission to educate on the warning signs, including the BE FAST acronym that’s become a critical teaching tool.

“I realized there’s a stigma with the word stroke sometimes,” Bruschi said. “It’s people sort of (say), ‘Whoa.’ They’re taken back when they say stroke. They thought that was just for your grandparents or the elderly, so people, they don’t really understand what it is. I think me having a stroke when I was 31 and having just won a Super Bowl, it opened a lot of people’s eyes as to what’s really possible, so I wanted to just bring awareness to it.”

Along with Tedy’s Team, he’s done just that. The group had humble beginnings in 2005, starting with just five runners, but it’s continued to grow. The team’s 49 runners have raised $537,337 of their $575,000 goal as of Tuesday, ninth-most of all Boston Marathon charities.

Bruschi is happy with the growth. He said he’s declined opportunities for bigger expansion over the years because he just wanted to slowly grow. The team has expanded to participate in the annual Falmouth Road Race, and they also do a travel marathon every year. This year, it’s the Duke City Marathon in New Mexico.

“I didn’t dream of it being huge,” Bruschi said. “I wanted to make a difference one person at a time, one survivor at a time, or one caretaker at a time. …

“I’m OK with slowly growing. It’s OK, because I learn every year about ways to make a difference through my runners and through survivors and caregivers, and what’s important to them, so it’s something I’m really proud of.”
Bruschi will also be proud to join his runners at the starting line again. After posting a time of 5 hours, 26 minutes with Heidi in 2012, then a 4:47 in 2014, he’s hoping for a 4:30 this year. He’s not sure if he’ll run it again, but he’ll certainly cherish it before heading to the Lenox Hotel after the race to celebrate all of what his teammates have achieved, too.

“My little motto has been three rings, three medals,” Bruschi said. “I don’t know how motivated I’ll be after this one. You say that before because you’re coming towards the end of it, but three rings, three medals, and that’s a heck of a ride right there.”

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It was a busy Monday for a handful of Louisiana prospects in the 2020 and 2021 classes as they picked up new scholarship offers ahead of the spring evaluation period. Here’s a look at some of the prospects who landed new scholarships to kick off the week.Holstein has officially busted through the Power 5 window with his first Southeastern Conference scholarship offer this week, with Missouri being the first team from the conference to join the race for his services.

The Missouri offer comes after a strong junior season for Holstein where he upped his completion percentage from 58-percent as a sophomore to 72-percent as a junior. He finished the year with 3,854 yards passing on 245-of-342 attempts with 47 touchdowns and seven interceptions for a QB rating of 139.8. In-state offers are in from Louisiana-Lafayette and Louisiana Tech, and out-of-state offers are now in from Missouri, Cincinnati, Southern Miss and Western Kentucky. Holstein is ranked as the No. 21 pro-style quarterback prospect in the country on the 247Sports Composite.The 6-foot-4, 265-pound rising senior out of North Louisiana has been a bit of a sleeper on the recruiting trail, but don’t expect him to be labeled as that much longer.

Colleges are beginning to take notice of the Stonewall native, the same hometown as former LSU linebacker Devin White. Mitchell has some impressive film coming off his junior season and was able to reel in an offer from Tulane on Monday. His first college offer came a couple weeks back when the Southern University staff made a move on the unranked prospect. He’s also coming off a junior season where he was a two-time state champion in track and field. At the LHSAA/All-State Sugar Bowl Track and Field meet last May, Mitchell won the 4A title in shot put (52-10.75) and discus (152-7.). Here’s a look at some clips from his junior year.It’s been an eventful month for Green, who had a nice showing at The Opening’s regional event in New Orleans last month and has added a handful of offers this spring. Southeastern became the latest team to offer him a scholarship when the Lions made its move on Monday.

Offers are now in from Tulane, Air Force, Louisiana-Lafayette, Nicholls State, Baylor, Southern and Southeastern. Green was part of a U-High team that won a state title in December, and he’s set to be back as a starter for the Cubs as a senior in 2019. At The Opening, Green measured in at 6-2.5, 303 pounds and recorded a 5.11 40-yard dash, a 4.88 shuttle and a 26.2-inch vertical jump. He was the lone offensive lineman to break 40-feet on the powerball toss, putting his SPARQ score at 97.14, the highest mark of any offensive lineman at the event.The Arkansas commitment out of New Orleans landed an offer from Louisville on Monday, and now his scholarship total has grown to 15 teams after committing to the Razorbacks in February. Vance is certainly one of the state’s top defensive backs in the 2020 class, and he’s ranked by 247Sports as a Top 25 overall prospect in Louisiana this cycle. Vance, who is coming off a strong junior year at Edna Karr, had a great showing at The Opening in New Orleans before going down with an injury. While he scratched his 40-yard dash time, Vance checked in at 5-foot-10, 152 pounds and clocked a 4.25 shuttle and a 34.7-inch vertical jump.

Ryan’s rise from his junior season through The Opening’s event in New Orleans has been well-documented. Ryan was a key member of LCA’s state title team in December, and he posted the best the highest SPARQ score (122.5) of any underclassmen in the country up to that point. At 5-foot-10.5, 193 pounds, Ryan clocked a 4.45 40-yard dash, a 4.37 shuttle and a 36-inch vertical jump. The following day, Colorado and Tennessee became his first two college offers. Then came a huge offer from LSU, which Ryan said certainly changed the outlook on his recruitment moving forward. Ryan’s uncle, Trev Faulk, and cousin, Kevin Faulk, were both standouts in purple-and-gold. Virginia also joined the fold, and on Monday, Jim Harbaugh’s staff at Michigan reached out to the South Louisiana native with an offer. Ryan is expected to be one of Louisiana’s top prospects in the 2021 class.

Steve Grogan Jersey

Leon Gray is the 28th man selected into the New England Patriots’ Hall of Fame, as the club announced yesterday. A third-round draft pick by the Miami Dolphins in 1973, Gray joined the organization off waivers that same year and went on to establish himself as one of the best left tackles in football: he appeared in 80 games for New England over the course of six seasons and became a core member of what is now a legendary offensive line.

One of the voters responsible for bestowing the honor upon the former Patriots starting left tackle, who passed away in 2001 at just 49 years old, is the club’s current football research director, Ernie Adams. Revisiting some previous comments made by Adams about Gray tells just why he and his brethren decided on including the late offensive lineman in the exclusive club as the third ever senior inductee.

“Leon Gray was everything you had wanted as a left tackle,” Adams told patriots.com back in 2013, when Gray first came up as a candidate for the Hall. “There are very few teams in the history of the National Football League that have run the ball over the course of a season for 200 yards a game: the ‘76 Patriots and the ‘78 Patriots were two of those teams. A lot of that was Sam Cunningham running behind Leon Gray.”

As Adams mentioned, Gray and his teammates helped the Patriots average more than 200 rushing yards — 210.6, to be precise — over the course of 1976’ 14 regular season games. Two years later and following the NFL’s switch to a 16-game regular season format, Gray and the rest of the Patriots’ offensive line paved the way for 3,165 rushing yards. The number still stands as an NFL record today and will likely never be broken again.

Gray’s excellence extended beyond his run blocking, though, and was only one reason why he was voted to two Pro Bowls and an All-Pro team in his six years in New England. “You never had to worry about having Leon Gray pass block for Steve Grogan at left tackle,” said Adams about the former waiver wire pickup that turned into one of the NFL’s premier offensive tackles of the 1970s.

The man in question — long-time Patriots quarterback Steve Grogan — also spoke glowingly about Gray six years ago. “Leon was smart, he had great feet, good hands. You just knew that he was going to do his job,” said Grogan, who himself was inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame in 1995. “The success we had during the mid-’70s, wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for a guy like Leon Gray playing left tackle for us.”Despite some outstanding play throughout his Patriots tenure and being voted to the organization’s team of 1970s, however, Gray is not the biggest name on New England’s outstanding offensive lines of the decade: the unit’s superstar was and still is Pro Football Hall of Fame guard John Hannah, who played shoulder-on-shoulder alongside the left tackle for all six of his seasons with the Patriots.

“Hannah could very well be the best offensive lineman in the history of the league. Everybody remembers John,” said Adams before pointing out that the man playing on his left also needs to be recognized for his performance wearing the red, white, and blue. “I think John would probably be the first one to tell you a big part of the reason he was so good was he knew he was going to get great play from left tackle.”

Indeed, Hannah named Gray as a reason for his success on the gridiron. Speaking to Sports Illustrated’s Paul Zimmerman in 1981, the player dubbed as ‘the greatest offensive lineman of all time,’ also spoke about his relationship with the man playing alongside him. “Having Leon Gray next to me all those years helped so much,” Hannah said. “We got to know what each of us could do. We ate together, studied films together. I knew the air he breathed.”

The formidable duo was not built to last, however: New England traded away its stalwart left tackle to the Houston Oilers in a cost-cutting move just prior to the 1979 season — a decision criticized by Hannah at the time and in the years that followed. “When the Patriots traded Leon… well, I never wanted to sign another contract with them,” he told Sports Illustrated in 1981. “I still haven’t gotten over it.”

Hannah, of course, played out the rest of his career in New England before retiring after the Patriots’ Super Bowl loss in 1985. At that point, Gray was already retired: after spending three years in Houston and earning two more Pro Bowl and All-Pro selections each, he was traded again. After two years with the New Orleans Saints, the then-32-year-old decided to hang up his cleats at the age of 32.

His legacy in New England still lives on, though, even beyond his untimely death during what would turn out to be the Patriots’ first championship season. “[Gray and Hannah] together, I’d be hard-pressed to think of a better guard-tackle combination anywhere that I’ve seen in the league,” said Adams, who saw both perform first-hand during his initial coaching tenure in New England from 1975 through 1979.

“When you think of left tackle you think of someone like Leon Gray and somebody who plays the position like that.”

Drew Bledsoe Jersey

It’s time for my favorite “hobby” inside my job as an NFL Draft analyst — pro comparisons.

Most people hate them. I love them. They provide perspective into the type of player a team will be getting in the draft.

However, it’s important to remember NFL comparisons for draftees don’t factor into team situation or fit, and as a whole, don’t act as a guarantee a prospect will have the identical career to that of his pro counterpart.

In this series, starting today with quarterback, I’ll run through top prospects at every position and give my NFL comparisons — some current players, some former. In some instances, a prospect will be compared to two pros as a way to represent a “range” or a ceiling and a floor for that prospect. Oh, and these comparisons are not based on size nor race.

They’re almost solely stylistic.

(Prospects are listed in the order they appear in my draft rankings.)
Drew Lock, Missouri

NFL comparison: Matthew Stafford

Lock is a cannon-armed pocket passer capable of making the jaw-dropping throws down or across the field who plays the game with “shooter’s amnesia.” If he makes a bad decision or throws a pick, it doesn’t impact his aggressiveness on the next play or series. He can effortlessly throw from a variety of arm angles, and the arrow is pointing up in terms of his pocket patience and presence, although hiccups in those areas are still present. He won’t run away from many NFL linebackers but can pick up yards with his feet when needed, and his accuracy downfield is more impressive than his touch on short passes. Sounds a lot like Stafford.
Kyler Murray, Oklahoma

NFL comparison: Steve Young

Here me out on this one. Young was an ultra-efficient, frightening dual-threat quarterback at the collegiate level who could win from inside the pocket and could erupt with his legs thanks to high-level athleticism. That is Murray to a T. Young wasn’t the biggest quarterback either at around 6-foot-0 and 210-ish pounds. It wasn’t until Young landed with the 49ers that he reached his full potential — and became a Hall of Fame signal-caller. He sat behind Joe Montana for his first four seasons in San Francisco and didn’t become the starter until his age 30 (!) season. Murray’s going to be starting for whichever team drafts him just a little earlier than that. Anyway, I’ll admit I wasn’t scouting Young when he came out of BYU after the 1983 season. In fact, I wasn’t alive yet. But I do remember the way he could take over a game with pinpoint accuracy or as a scrambler in the NFL. Murray only showed it for one year in college, but I truly believe he has “take over the game” type skills as a refined passer and runner. Young was pretty unique. So is Murray.
Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State

NFL comparison: Drew Bledsoe

When I think of “pure” pocket passers — and in this case that comes with a touch of a negative connotation denoting a serious lack of mobility — Drew Bledsoe is one of the first quarterbacks who comes to my mind. Bledsoe was statuesque in the pocket; he just wanted to live there and fire rockets all over the field. Yes, there was an occasional step up away from pressure, but most often Bledsoe either delivered the football from inside the pocket or was hit or sacked inside the pocket. I see a lot of that with Haskins, a slow-footed, pure pocket passer. He’s a little more athletic than Bledsoe was, but Bledsoe had a stronger arm. I wasn’t scouting Bledsoe when he was a prospect in 1993. I was scouting bad guys Power Rangers had to fight. But I do have vivid memories of Bledsoe in the NFL. Haskins can read the entire field, is mostly accurate, and wants to set up shop between the tackles on every snap. If protected well, he can be an awesome quarterback in the NFL. Like with Bledsoe, I’m worried about Haskins when he faces pressure.
Ryan Finley, NC State

NFL comparison: Ryan Tannehill

Finley and Tannehill are stylistically so similar it’s scary. From their throwing motions to their strengths and weaknesses, Finley is a Tannehill clone. At NC State, Finley had elite-level outings in which he made a handful of high-degree-of-difficulty tosses that needed plenty of anticipation and accuracy. He also had his fair share of stinkers, games in which he looked completely out of sorts against blitzes and/or complex coverages and his lack of arm strength was very apparent. Both Finley and Tannehill are quietly effective as scramblers too.
Brett Rypien, Boise State

NFL comparison: Marc Bulger

Another throwback, and it seems perfect. Bulger was an intelligent quarterback who had a brief stint as one of the most efficient passers in the league who got it done with his mental processing, accuracy, and quick release from inside the pocket without having standard NFL size, athleticism, or arm strength. While watching Rypien’s illustrious career unfold at Boise State, I got that same vibe. Rypien actually takes hits and sacks at times because he doesn’t notice pressure. He almost always keeps his eyes up to scan the field. Love that attribute; many passers have a tendency to drop their eyes when they initially don’t like what they see or feel pressure. Rypien has a decent, not great arm, consistently throws with anticipation, and you don’t have to worry about him misfiring to any portion of the field.
Will Grier, West Virginia

NFL comparison: Andy Dalton

Dalton was a second-round pick out of TCU in 2011, and his effectiveness in the NFL has largely been contingent upon the talent around him: Offensive line and receivers. Grier seems like that type too. When kept clean, Dalton, who isn’t big for the position and doesn’t have a huge arm, can make any throw. Under pressure he typically crumbles … another way Grier is just like him. At West Virginia, when he was out of harm’s way, Grier was accurate and knew where to throw the football. Under pressure … not so much. If he lands with a team that has an impressive collection of receivers and a good line, Grier can be a mid-level quarterback in the NFL, capable of high flashes. If that’s not the situation in which he lands, Grier’s likely to struggle.
Daniel Jones, Duke

NFL comparison: Josh McCown

I don’t know if Jones will ultimately stick around for as long as McCown has, but they seem like similar quarterbacks. Smart, good arms, decently accurate to all levels but antsy under pressure and can be somewhat easily baited into making bad decisions. Jones is a plus scrambler, yet the team that drafts him likely won’t be installing designed runs for him, although he was used on those at Duke. Anyway, Jones is a West Coast Offense signal-caller who you don’t want holding onto the ball for too long.
Tyree Jackson, Buffalo

NFL comparison: Colin Kaepernick

Jackson measured in as the biggest quarterback in combine history and had one of the most athletic showings ever at that position. Kaepernick was no slouch athletically either, and while he’s not quite as big as Jackson, he was listed just under 6-5 and 233 pounds as he entered the league in 2011. In college, Kap repeatedly threw fastballs all over the field. That’s Jackson too. Kap was probably a little more accurate on short passes than Jackson, but the Buffalo product is more competent stretching defenses deep. Kaepernick was “projecty” and so is Jackson. Like Kap, in the NFL Jackson will need to get faster going through his reads and calmer staying inside the pocket.

Rob Gronkowski Jersey

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — When it comes to the history of the NFL and where players rank among the all-time greats, Gil Brandt and Ernie Accorsi provide a unique, credible perspective based on their longevity, success in evaluating personnel and résumés of helping build competitive teams.

So when it comes to Rob Gronkowski …

“If I were to put him where he belongs, if you take the top five tight ends ever, he is probably right there in the middle at three,” said Brandt, the longtime vice president of player personnel for the Dallas Cowboys (1960-1988) who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2019. “I think [Tony] Gonzalez is probably better. I think [Kellen] Winslow is probably better. But I think when we hash it out at the end, he’ll be right up there with the top three to five players.”Brandt, whose scouting-based contributions to football have been praised by New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick as being Hall of Fame-worthy, puts Mike Ditka and John Mackey in the top-five conversation, as well.

Meanwhile, Accorsi didn’t hesitate elevating Gronkowski into the elite ranks.

“I don’t know where you put him — there’s always opinions — but he’s one of the greatest to play the game, if not the greatest. There’s no question about that,” Accorsi said before noting the similarities between Gronkowski and late Green Bay Packers tight end Ron Kramer (1957-1967).

“Same type of player — ran over people. If you go back and look at the film of the 1961 championship game when the Packers beat the Giants 37-0, [Kramer] was the hero of that game, scored two touchdowns,” Accorsi said. “Gronkowski [6-foot-6] is a little bigger. [Kramer] was 6-3 and an all-around athlete who won nine letters at Michigan. He’s in the College Football Hall of Fame and could be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was so much like Gronkowski.”

Accorsi said some of the things that separate Gronkowski from others are his performance in the clutch, the matchup issues he presented defenses and how he was open even when he was covered.

“His last big catch, in the Super Bowl, defines who he is to me,” said Accorsi, who served as an assistant general manager or general manager from the mid-1970s to 2007 with the Baltimore Colts, Cleveland Browns and New York Giants. “It was a sluggish offensive game, nobody could really get anything done, and it was no surprise to anyone that [Tom] Brady is going to come up with a touchdown to win it, and who makes the play? Gronkowski almost willed himself down the field to make that catch that set up the winning touchdown. That’s him.”The great ones, to me, are Mackey, Ditka. But Mackey was shorter. Mackey was probably faster but didn’t have the hands Gronkowski had — even though he never dropped the ball. He knew he was a body-catcher, and that was keeping him out of the Hall of Fame for a while. Winslow, who was more of a receiver. Gonzalez, obviously, caught a million passes, and he’s in there, too. Ron Kramer.”

This year, Gonzalez became the ninth tight end to earn induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, joining Dave Casper (1974-1984), Ditka (1961-1972), Mackey (1963-1972), Ozzie Newsome (1978-1990), Charlie Sanders (1968-1977), Shannon Sharpe (1990-2003), Jackie Smith (1963-1978) and Winslow (1979-1987).

The list serves as a reminder of how the tight end position has changed over the years.

“Gonzalez played a long time and caught a lot of passes. Winslow came along, and he brought the new era to the tight end,” said Brandt, who compares Gronkowski’s style of play most to Ditka’s. “We looked at Mackey — and yeah, he was a tight end and caught a touchdown pass to win a game against the Cowboys in the Super Bowl — but he was really, No. 1, a blocker first and a receiver second. I think in Gonzalez’s case, he was a receiver first and a blocker second.”Gronkowski is unique, because if you graded on a scale, you’d give him the same grade for receiving as blocking. In Winslow, as an example, he’d have a higher grade for receiving, lower grade for blocking. [Gronkowski] in his prime, he was a cut above everyone else [in his era]. He was bigger, faster, more talented, more athletic than other players at that position.

“It’s hard comparing [Gronkowski] to John Mackey, because we throw the ball so much more to tight ends. We do so much more to get them open than ever before. The tight end used to line up at the end of the line, and really, his first job was to be a blocker, not a receiver. Now, we play two tight ends and both of them can be equally as good as blocking and receiving, and it destroys the tendencies that the defense has of playing strongside and weakside.”

No one, arguably, has fit that bill more than Gronkowski.

“I don’t have a vote, but to me, he’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer and there’s no question about it,” Accorsi said. “With all the great plays he’s made, I love people who make the play with the championship on the line. I just think that last catch typifies his career.”

Julian Edelman Jersey

Julian Edelman has never made a Pro Bowl and in an era of unprecedented passing numbers in the NFL, he still ranks just 148th all-time in receptions and 248th in receiving yardage. Nevertheless, it’s fair to wonder if the Patriots wide receiver will end up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

At 32, Edelman still figures to have a few seasons left to increase his regular season numbers. His case for enshrinement in Canton rests on a tremendous postseason résumé burnished Sunday with a performance that earned him Super Bowl MVP honors in a 13-3 New England win over the Rams.

Given the low score — in fact, the lowest combined total in Super Bowl history — the Patriots needed all of Edelman’s 10 catches for 141 yards. Throwing to everyone else, New England quarterback Tom Brady completed just 11 passes for 121 yards, while Rams counterpart Jared Goff accumulated 229 yards on 19-of-38 passing.

[Julian Edelman began the season with a PED suspension and ended it as Super Bowl MVP]

Edelman proved once again to be the most dependable target for Brady, who himself is a lock for a gold jacket, and the receiver’s outing had ESPN’s Adam Schefter declaring that Edelman was making a strong case to join the quarterback in that club. NFL Network analyst and former wide receiver Nate Burleson agreed, calling the 5-foot-10, 198-pound Edelman “the biggest dog on the field.”The MVP performance was just the latest in a series of strong postseason outings for Edelman, who missed the Patriots’ run to last year’s Super Bowl after tearing his ACL in a preseason game. In the 2017 Super Bowl, he created arguably the most indelible play of the game, making a miraculous catch that went a long way toward helping New England storm back from a 28-3 deficit against the Falcons.

In Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium Sunday, Edelman added to postseason numbers that are second-best in NFL history, behind only the immortal Jerry Rice. Over 18 playoff appearances, a little more than a full season’s worth of games, the former Kent State quarterback has 115 receptions for 1,412 yards, plus five touchdowns.

To put that into some perspective, Michael Irvin, a Hall of Fame wide receiver who starred for the Cowboys during their 1990s dynasty, amassed 87 catches for 1,315 yards and eight touchdowns in 16 playoff games. Irvin posted much better regular season numbers than Edelman has put together so far, but the Dallas quarterback for that run, Troy Aikman, is in the Hall of Fame almost entirely because of his role in leading his team to three titles in four years.Edelman now has the same number of rings, and his lines in those games go as follows: 9-109-1, 5-87-0, 10-141-0. In that span, he has five other playoff games with at least 96 yards and in the run-up to this Super Bowl, CBS Boston’s Michael Hurley compared him to another Hall of Fame quarterback, former Rams and Cardinals star Kurt Warner.

“He ranks 40th on the all-time passing yards list, just ahead of Mark Brunell and Ryan Fitzpatrick,” Hurley wrote of Warner. “He’s tied with Kerry Collins for 38th on the all-time touchdowns list, just behind Joe Flacco and Matt Hasselbeck, and with 18 more touchdowns than Fitzpatrick. As a regular-season QB, he was average. But he’s thrown the seventh-most playoff touchdowns, he’s 10th in playoff passing yards, and he owns the second-best passer rating in playoff history. That’s why the man wears a gold jacket.

“If that can be the case for Warner, can’t it be the case for Edelman?”CBS analyst Boomer Esiason, a former Super Bowl quarterback in his own right — and someone who ranks well ahead of Aikman on Pro Football Reference’s career approximate value list — said recently that he was buying Edelman’s argument for enshrinement. While the receiver’s “numbers in the regular season don’t add up to Antonio Brown, A.J. Green or Julio Jones,” Esiason noted, Edelman “is clutch in the biggest of games.”

“I don’t know what else to tell you,” Esiason added after Edelman helped the Patriots outlast the Chiefs in the AFC championship game in part by contributing a number of key receptions in overtime. “He is, in my eyes, truly the definition of a Hall of Famer: make the play when the play needs to be made in the biggest games to win the game.”

One issue that could well arise, should Edelman eventually make it to the final round of Hall of Fame voting, is the four-game suspension he was given to start the 2018 season for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. As some pointed out online Sunday, a few baseball players with far greater careers than Edelman’s have been shunned by Hall of Fame voters, and in the particularly high-profile cases of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, neither was definitively linked to PEDs.Given that the Patriots have left no doubt about their status as the NFL’s all-time greatest dynasty, that run of dominance would figure to call for some acknowledgment in Canton. Brady and Coach Bill Belichick are guaranteed to waltz in on their respective first ballots and team owner Robert Kraft could get some support, but while cornerback Ty Law was just voted in, who else will be?

Other stars from the early, more defense-oriented years of New England’s dynasty, including Willie McGinest, Tedy Bruschi, Rodney Harrison, Troy Brown and Lawyer Milloy, don’t appear likely to make it, while Richard Seymour was a finalist this year in his first year of eligibility but failed to make the cut. Wide receiver Randy Moss is in the Hall of Fame as much for the record-setting start to his career in Minnesota as for his four years with the Patriots, which were very fruitful but did not result in a championship.

Rob Gronkowski, who may have played his final game on Sunday, is almost certain to be voted in as arguably the greatest tight end ever, and former Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri, the NFL’s all-time leading scorer who is still plying his trade with the Colts, figures to make it. Beyond them, nose tackle Vince Wilfork has a good case, wide receiver Wes Welker could get consideration and guard Logan Mankins was regarded as one of the finest at his position in his day.

Still, a team that hasreached a mind-boggling nine Super Bowls in 18 years, winning six while also getting to 13 conference championship games, would seem to merit more than, say, six sure-thing Hall of Famers. For comparison, the four-time champion Steelers of the 1970s put 10 players in Canton, plus Coach Chuck Noll and owner Art Rooney.

That Pittsburgh contingent also includes wide receivers John Stallworth and Lynn Swann, whose candidacies were based greatly on their postseason contributions. Both players have many more regular season touchdowns than Edelman’s 30, but he has far more catches than Swann (499-336), just 72 fewer yards and is 38 catches behind Stallworth.In terms of playoff numbers, Edelman has more catches than those two combined and more yards than either. Of course, Swann and Stallworth played in a different, vastly less passing-oriented era and were much more dangerous downfield threats, but by the same token, Edelman is perfectly suited for the Patriots’ high-percentage passing game, which relies on him to read and react to defenses almost as well as Brady does.Alternatively, voters could heed the words of Rice, regarded by some as the greatest NFL player ever at any position. The former 49ers star recently said of slot receivers such as Edelman to The Athletic, “You have to start considering these guys.”

“Yeah, he doesn’t have the regular-season numbers and stuff like that, but it’s what this guy is doing during the playoffs. … It’s up to the Hall to make that decision, but I think you have to start looking at these guys from the slot position,” Rice added.

“I don’t know how the [Hall of Fame] committee makes their decision on who is going in and who is not, but I think you have to start looking at these guys that you don’t consider the go-to guy — which he is the [Patriots’] go-to guy — and the guy playing that position, a much smaller guy, is getting the job done and putting up the numbers.”

Edelman may be smaller than Rice, Irvin and many other wide receivers who fit the traditional mold of Hall of Famers at that position, but he has consistently come up big when it has counted the most. In the past, that has meant plenty in the minds of voters, and now he has a Super Bowl MVP award to place high on his résumé.