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PODCAST: Draft, transfers and more



PODCAST: The Project, Transfers & More – Panther’s Lair

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From the NFL Draft to the transfer portal, college sports changes and more, we had a lot to discuss at the Panther-Lair Show this week.

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2023 NFL Draft Top 10 Tight Ends Ranked



With just a few days left before the 2023 NFL Draft, NFL teams are putting the finishing touches on their draft boards. From the Shrine Bowl, to the Senior Bowl, to the 2023 NFL Scouting Association, to the days, there have been many events since January that have changed the rankings. However, all of the aforementioned events are now in the rearview mirror, which means it’s time to release the SB Nation 2023 NFL Draft Rating!

Today we rank and analyze the top ten tight ends of the upcoming draft. These rankings are based on a vote among some of the SB Nation community project analysts. These ratings are not a reflection of any one person’s ratings, but rather a consensus of several opinions.

This year’s tight end class is one of the deepest in recent memory as we could see up to four contestants in the first round and ten in the first three rounds. What I find interesting about the top of the class is the many styles of tight ends. From blocking tight ends that stay in the line, to fast tight ends to line up in the slot, to super-big tight ends that are a match-up nightmare, there is something for everyone in this class.

Here are SB Nation’s top 10 picks for the 2023 NFL Draft.

1. Michael Mayer, Notre Dame

Mayer is by far the most complete tight end in the NFL Draft and he has received all but one of our first overall votes. The confident, big-bodied Notre Dame pass catcher has solid speed, great hands and a large catch radius. Also known for his excellent ball handling skills, Mayer is great at tracking the ball in the air and knows when to turn around to play the ball. He’s going to make a direct contribution to his rookie season, and the team that picks him up could have one of the next tough results in the NFL’s top tier.

2. Dalton Kincaid, Utah

Kincaid, another top spot in our poll, is a typical modern tight end that is almost always out of the slot. The most complete receiving Last in his class, Kincaid has soft hands, superb body control, and impressive trail-running ability. Teams that miss their favorite receiver at the end of the first round may decide to hit a guy like Kincaid instead of looking for another receiver.

3. Darnell Washington, Georgia

Washington’s modest numbers are due not to a lack of ability, but rather to a lack of opportunity. Despite being TE2 on Georgia offense, Washington had a huge impact on their championship, especially as a run blocker. With confident hands, a huge grip radius, and surprisingly good speed, Washington is sure to please an NFL team, whether it’s a team picking late in the first or early in the second round. His ratings here were invariably either second or third in all lists.

4. Sam LaPorta, Iowa

Having over 650 yards in a season marked by Iowa’s offensive shortcomings is nothing short of impressive. The area that worries me more in LaPorte is blocking. LaPorta doesn’t have the strongest lower body, causing him to be pushed out as a blocker and pushed back by pass rushers in the lane. He’s ready and I believe he’ll get better with time, but expectations should be moderate in the first season. If LaPorta improves his blocking, he has the potential to become a top 10 tight end in the league.

5. Luke Musgrave, Oregon

Musgrave is one of many tight ends in the class whose hauler suffered injuries. Limited to only two games in 2022, Musgrave’s stock took a while to get going in the right direction, but after an impressive performance at the combine, the first-round hype began to pick up. his combination of size and speed is too much for average safety and linebackers to handle in the middle of the field.

6. Tucker Craft, South Dakota

One thing I really appreciate about the Craft is its sass as a mileage blocker. He doesn’t have the best blocking technique or finesse, but he never backs down from a game even when he appears to be defeated. He has active arms, good leg movement and the necessary awareness to diagnose another follow like a blocker. While you will see occasional drops on the tape, Kraft is generally a solid receiving weapon that can beat slower linebackers with her athleticism and beat the average defender with her size. If he falls outside the top 80 of picks, he will become a real steal.

7. Zach Kunz, Old Dominion

If you’re looking for a real matchup with superb athleticism, look no further than Zach Koontz. Switching from Pennsylvania, Koontz appeared in just 5 games in 2022, recording just 12 catches for 144 yards and 2 touchdowns. However, I fell in love with its pros. At 6ft 7in, Koontz naturally struggles to keep his pads low as a run blocker, but his long build will allow him to add extra weight to the next level. This should help solidify his base and prevent him from being pushed out as a blocker so often.

8. Luke Schoonmaker, Michigan

The Schoonmaker is an intriguing tight end that runs dangerously at the seams. It’s not an elite athlete and it’s not the tightest, but it does provide a great grip radius as well as secure hands. After running 40 points faster than I expected (4.63), Schoonmaker moved up my board and is now the guy I could see even before day 2 ended.

9. Brenton Strange, Pennsylvania

Strange came up late in the draft process, establishing himself as a viable option for Day 2. Despite only moderate performance at the student level, Strange’s play is well-suited to the pros, as his physical form is like a blocking run. another receiver is one of the best in its class. He can also line up from anywhere in the formation, showing great versatility and flexibility.

10. Payne Durham, Purdue

Durham is not the most dynamic athlete, but his ability to get the ball into the red zone makes him a dangerous weapon at the goal line. Durham’s arm position is inconsistent as a blocking run, but he shows decent strength and a willingness to do the dirty work. We may not have seen his best qualities yet.

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Tank Davis-Ryan Garcia represents everything boxing should be



Tank Davis.

Ryan Garcia.

Let’s fucking go.

Boxing is a crazy sport. At best, he is incomparable. Think of the most memorable atmosphere you have ever experienced at a sporting event. I promise you: Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao was better. The rush of the NBA 7 final game? Give me Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder. Noise from the Super Bowl? I will take the first fight between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin.

Too often, however, this is the worst case. For every Mayweather-Pacquiao, there were a dozen losers. For every Fury-Wilder – and all three of their matches were worth the price – you have to shell out for Wilder-Luis Ortiz. The best fighters are inactive. Natural fights do not work. The economy has forced fights that were once reserved for premium cable TV to become pay-per-view. Instead of attracting new fans, boxing is more interested in bleeding out its most dedicated fans.

Davis-Garcia will not save boxing. But it will attract new views to him. There are three things that make a super fight: skill, strength, and popularity. Davis-Garcia has them all, Davis is 28-0. Garcia 23-0. Davis knocked out 93% of his opponents. Garcia stopped at 83%. Davis drew huge crowds in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Brooklyn. Garcia has nearly 10 million Instagram followers and endorsement deals with Gatorade, Dior and 1800 Tequila. Tickets for the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas will sell out on Saturday, with ticket prices exceeding $10 million. Pay-per-view purchases should rise to six figures.

Davis made himself. He escaped poverty, established himself as a top amateur and turned professional. He eventually joined Floyd Mayweather and grew into one of boxing’s biggest attractions. Critics – and I was one of them – may cite Davis’ summary. They cannot deny his connection with the public or his amazing talent.

The pre-fight press office on Thursday brought fireworks that promised a contentious fight.

John Locher/AP

Garcia’s upbringing was more stable. He grew up in southern California and worked his way up the amateur charts before turning pro. He set his record in bars in Mexico, signed with Golden Boy, and quickly became one of the most explosive punchers in boxing. Skeptics – and there are many of them – say that Garcia is more about style than substance. Garcia’s recent opponents, including Luke Campbell and Javier Fortuna, will disagree.

There is unpredictability in this fight. Davis knockout? The judges consider this the most likely outcome. Davis, 28, is more experienced. As the unofficial A-side, he forced Garcia, who had fought at 140 pounds in his last two fights, to shrink to 136… and added a 10-pound rehydration clause to it. In 2021, Garcia was knocked out by Campbell. Campbell, like Davis, is left-handed, but with little strength. If Davis gets hit like that, it’s over.

Garcia early? I would believe it too. Garcia’s speed is blurred. His strength is undeniable. Campbell went the distance with Jorge Linares and Vasily Lomachenko. Garcia sent him off at seven. Fortuna, the 130lb title holder, couldn’t move out of sixth place. Garcia, 24, wants to have a four-inch advantage over Davis. To get inside, Davis might have to take a chance. Garcia, a powerful counterpuncher, could benefit if he does.

Solution? Seems unlikely, but sure. Davis is a thoughtful puncher. Garcia can be selective too. If both fighters fear the other’s strength—and if both have strong enough chins to handle it—this one can go awry.

There is hostility. Real hostility. At a press conference on Thursday, Davis vowed to punish Garcia. To break his jaw. “Don’t even bring your mother,” Davis said. “Or your daughter,” Garcia promised to break him. “I only need one punch,” Garcia said. “That left hook. I feel like I’m going to break his jaw with this hook. I just see him laying on the floor.” At the weigh-ins, Davis nearly got into a fight… with Garcia’s promoter, Bernard Hopkins.

It was suggested that Davis-Garcia could open the door for more big fights. It was not an easy deal. There were competing promoters. competing networks. It was necessary to make concessions, mainly from Garcia. That this fight took place should mean other big events (Terence Crawford-Errol Spence, Jaron Ennis-Virgil Ortiz) might as well.

Don’t count on it. Boxing is broken and will probably stay that way. Promoters isolate themselves by hiding behind contracts and network deals. Fighters will fight harder on social media than in the ring. Hall of Fame broadcaster Larry Merchant once said, “Nothing will kill boxing…and nothing can save it.” Mayweather-Pacquiao didn’t. Davis-Garcia won’t either.

However, for one night boxing gives us anything. For purists, this is a reward, albeit an expensive one, for staying there. For the average fan, this is a reason to watch. Davis-Garcia represents everything boxing should be. Even when it’s not.

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Scottish strongman Tom Stoltman: “Autism is a superpower” | Kinds of sports



In unlike many other athletes this year The strongest man in the world competition, two-time defending champion Tom Stoltman shows a deadpan, almost stoic appearance during the qualifying stages of the tournament. His opponents often seem eager to maximize their adrenaline in the run-up to each event – they punch the crowd, yell at the sky, have a training partner slap them on the back, and so on. Stoltman, on the other hand, calmly stares off into the distance, outwardly oblivious to the crowd and TV cameras just a few feet away. This measured behavior is an acquired trait and, according to Stoltman, is a competitive advantage.

“The first few years, I mentally approached qualifying and jumped up and down… I would show my emotions more, be more aggressive, turn on the crowd and all that,” he says. It’s not like that anymore. “If I get really angry or really angry today, it will just exhaust me… [My] the tank will be empty by the time the final comes… That’s why I don’t really get out of first gear in qualifying.”

That kind of earned wisdom makes Stoltman one of the favorites to win this year’s contest, which began Wednesday and ends Sunday in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. If he manages to win, Stoltman will do more than just keep the title of the most powerful man in the world – at 28 years old, still young for his sport, he will be catapulted into a rare company of all competitors. great times. In the almost 50 year history of the competition, only two other athletes have won three titles in a row, and no one has done so in the last quarter of a century. However, before such discussions could be seriously entertained, Stoltman first needed to qualify for this year’s finals, and for hours during Thursday’s group stage, his bid for the top three was in jeopardy. After the first five tournaments, Stoltman was on the verge of elimination… at least technically. It takes time to explain.

World’s Strongest Man is a multi-disciplinary competition – think something like a weightlifting decathlon. However, instead of using conventional weights, athletes pull large machines, carry 100-kilogram anvils, lift equally large logs, and perform many other unusual strength feats. The first two days of the tournament serve as its qualifying stages, during which the initial field of 30 participants is reduced to 10 finalists who will compete in six tournaments over the remaining two days of the tournament. In many ways, this process is comparable to the “struggle” in golf tournaments – this is perhaps the only thing in which a strongman is similar to golf.

The scoring system for the qualifying stages is too complicated to explain here, but the basic facts are that the 30 participants in the tournament are divided into five groups, and after the first few competitions, five people from each group automatically advance to the final. . However, the second and third place finishers in each group must go head-to-head for one of the five remaining places in the final. Despite his status as the defending champion, the last place in his group’s penultimate tournament meant that Stoltman was forced to face American Bobby Thompson for a place in the final. Luckily for Stoltman, the decisive event is called the “stone elimination” and one of Stoltman’s nicknames is “King of the Stones”.

“I would say this: if Tom lost the stone, I would write a whole article about only what, says Phil Blechman, staff editor for BarBend, a website that regularly covers strongmen events. “Literally any out of 29 other athletes against Tom [in a stone-off] and I would say the same.”

Stone-off is one of the most exciting strongmen events. The rules are simple: Competitors take turns pushing progressively heavier boulders (known as “atlas stones”) over a four-foot obstacle until one of them can no longer do so. The first strongman who fails to lift a boulder over an obstacle is eliminated from the tournament, and the winner goes to the final. In his throw against Johnson, it quickly becomes apparent how Stoltman earned his nickname. It seems that he and Thompson are participating in two completely different activities. While Thompson deftly but effortlessly lifts the stones just above the barrier, Stoltman lifts them with such ease that the stones seem to float in the air for a microsecond after each lift. Blechman’s former confidence in Stoltman becomes clear – it’s hard to imagine anyone beating him in this tournament.

Tom Stoltman competes in the stone throw. Photographer: Channel 5

“I never lost a single time,” Stoltman later confirms in a conversation with The Guardian shortly after defeating Thompson. Dressed in an old Penny Hardaway basketball jersey and greeting acquaintances as he walks through the hotel lobby, Stoltman looks relaxed after a long day of competition under the South Carolina sun.

“For me, the group stage is the hardest part,” he says. “It was a very competitive field, which was nice to see. You know, you’re in World’s Strongest Man, you need thirty top guys. You don’t just want to reach the final.”

A native of Invergordon, Scotland, Stoltman is in many ways, including, irresistibly huge, even for a strongman. At 6 feet 8 inches (2.03 m) and weighing 418 pounds (190 kg), if he had been born a thousand years ago, people would probably have simply mistaken him for a real giant. Therefore, it is surprising to learn that Stoltman came to weightlifting relatively late.

“When I went to the gym at 18, I was skinny… [I was] was never stronger than my comrades,” says Stoltman. “I was an ordinary guy. I used to play football, football – that’s what I wanted to be, a professional football player … I hated the gym, I didn’t see the point in it. Ten years later, the same skinny teenager who once hated the gym has become the strongest man in the world. What’s happened?

Although he doesn’t say it directly, going to the gym seems to have saved Stoltman’s life. Stoltman is on the autism spectrum, which often made him feel isolated in his youth. “My teachers said you weren’t going to do anything with your life. I was bullied… I wouldn’t be able to spend the night at a friend’s house. I wouldn’t be able to take the train 10 minutes from my house. I should always have my mom everywhere.” His difficulties intensified after he left school and saw that his friends were starting to drift away.

“I was really a little discouraged by the fact that I have autism … I thought:“ Why is this to me who has it if not my brothers and sisters?” Stoltman recalls. “I left the football team because all my friends had left and I had nowhere to go. I locked myself in my house and thought, “Okay, I’m either going to [the social care system] or I’ll just kill myself.”

Stoltman believes that going to the gym changed his view of his condition, implying that some characteristics of autism ended up being decisive for his workouts. “Because I have such narrow vision,” he says, “it’s a superpower.”

Stoltman’s transformation, of course, is not only the result of narrow vision and repetition – it took a decade of consistent training to change his body. Stoltman consumes 10,000 calories a day and trains five days a week during the months leading up to the world’s strongest man. (“Saturday and Sunday are my free time,” says Stoltman. “It took me a while to find the right balance.”) Still, Stoltman’s relationship with autism is an important element in both his personal and professional life, and, ever since he won the World’s Strongest Man, he has also tried to make it an important feature of his social life.

“I have this platform,” says Stoltman. “My biggest goal is to be an ambassador for people with autism and change the way people view it. I’ve had five-year-olds, six-year-olds… all the way to 40- or 50-year-olds who told me, “You changed my life by calling [autism] like a superpower.”

When asked how it would be best for people unfamiliar with autism to become interested in the topic, Stoltman recommends being empathetic and direct. “If you think someone has autism, if you think someone needs help, just [ask] their. They won’t be offended by that, they’ll be grateful that you asked that question… That’s all I ever wanted for myself.”

It’s tempting to juxtapose Stoltman’s thoughtful defense with his imposing physical stature. However, this is humiliating, and besides, the phrase “gentle giant” is too clichéd to carry any real meaning. In truth, it seems that Stoltman would be an eloquent public face for people with autism, no matter his size.

What’s more, as touching as he is about his condition, Stoltman also remains a battle-tested athlete looking to win his third straight World’s Strongest Man title on Sunday. “I am very, Very confident [heading into the finals],” he says. “It will be a good fight, but I won’t give up this title so easily.”

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