Isaac Nauta Jersey

While NFL fans might be learning about Nauta for the first time, college football fans have long known about Nauta. The former Georgia tight end was a 5-star high school prospect in the 2016 recruiting cycle. He was ranked as the No. 14 overall player in the class, ahead of other 2019 NFL Draft hopefuls like Devin White and DK Metcalf.

Nauta was the No. 1 overall tight end prospect in the 2016 cycle. However, he will not be the first tight end taken in the draft class. That distinction goes to Iowa tight end TJ Hockenson, who the Detroit Lions took with the No. 8 overall pick.

Nauta committed to Georgia in January of 2016. For most of his Georgia recruitment, he was being pursued by Mark Richt. But Richt and Georgia parted ways in December of 2015, and the Bulldogs hired Kirby Smart to then be the coach of the Bulldogs.

Nauta also played for multiple tight end coaches during his time at Georgia. Shane Beamer coached Nauta for his first two seasons at Georgia. Jim Chaney took over for Beamer in the tight end room this past season, while also serving as the team’s offensive coordinator. Georgia hired a new tight ends coach this offseason, as Todd Hartley replaced Chaney.

Nauta took a big step back as a sophomore when he hauled in only 9 passes for 114 yards. Part of this is due to the fact that Georgia was a run-heavy team and using a freshman quarterback.

As a junior, Nauta hauled in 30 catches for 430 yards and 3 touchdowns. Nauta finished third on the team in receiving yards last season. Nauta made the decision to leave for the NFL following his junior season, forgoing his final year of eligibility.

Nauta did not test well athletically at the 2019 NFL Draft Combine. He ran a 4.91 40-yard dash, one of the worst for the tight end position this year. Nauta also had a below average showing in the 3-cone drill and vertical jump.

Nauta’s strengths come in his route running ability and his blocking prowess. Despite being undersized for the position, Nauta’s blocking has been consistently praised as a blocker. That will be a skill he brings with him to the NFL.

“I think it really started in my Buford days, we focused a lot in the fundamentals of blocking,” Nauta said of his blocking skills. “That’s where ay good blocker starts, you have to have the right technique and fundamentals, and you have to want to beat the guy across from you.

“It’s getting the right positioning, beating him to a spot and keeping him from winning his gap.”

Ty Johnson Jersey

Former Maryland teammates Byron Cowart and Ty Johnson, who saw the trajectories of their respective college football careers start and end going in different directions, will begin their NFL careers on nearly the same plane after being drafted Saturday.

Cowart, a defensive lineman who was the top-rated high school prospect in the country in Florida but did little in two years at Auburn before transferring to Maryland last season, was taken by the reigning Super Bowl champion New England Patriots in the fifth round (No. 159 overall).

Johnson fought some injuries, including a calf injury that cost him the final two games of his senior season. He finished with 66 carries for 506 yards for a 7.7-yard average. As a sophomore, he had 110 carries for 1,004 yards and six touchdowns.

ohnson said he has been returning kicks since he was a kid and that it has always come naturally to him.

“Just being able to have that, those extra steps, like leading, running into the ball,” he said. “Having a few steps while catching the ball to get the wheels turning, you know, I love that. Just being able to have that whole open field, being able to see it.

“When you’re a running back, you know, you’re only five yards behind the line. But at kick returner, you can see the whole field before any of the blocks really happen, so I like that part of it, and it’s a good thing.”

Johnson wasn’t happy about the combine snub, but he was ready for redemption Saturday as he sat glued to the television waiting to hear his name called. He sat on a small rotating chair and never stepped away from the TV. Well, almost never.

“No, it wasn’t frustration,” he said. “It was more of like, ‘OK, my time’s coming. It’s just a matter of when.’ Anything can happen, really. It’s the draft.

Travis Fulgham Jersey

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After breaking the NFL Draft barrier down last night, the Monarchs hear another one of their own called at the NFL Draft.

Old Dominion receiver Travis Fulgham was selected in the sixth round by the Detroit Lions.

Fulgham, who began his career at ODU as a walk-on, tallied 1,083 receiving yards in 2018, the second-best single season output by a Monarch in program history.

The Ashburn, Va. native finished with 2,044 career yards. He finished with 128 receptions and 18 touchdowns in his four-year career in Norfolk. Fulgham was the first offensive player in school history to play in the Reese’s Senior Bowl along with teammate Oshane Ximines, as well as participate as teammates at the NFL Combine.

Friday night, the New York Giants selected Ximines in the third round, marking the first time an ODU football player heard his name called in the NFL Draft.

NORFOLK (WAVY) – Less than 24 hours after Oshane Ximines made history as the first Old Dominion player ever selected in the NFL Draft, his teammate hears his name.

Wide receiver Travis Fulgham was taken with the 184th overall pick (6th round) by the Detroit Lions, and is just the second Monarch ever to be selected in the draft.

Ximines, ODU’s all-time sacks leader, was taken with the 95th overall pick (third round) by the New York Giants on Friday night.

Fulgham blossed during his senior season, catching 63 passes for 1,083 yards and nine touchdowns, as compared to nine touchdowns through his first three seaons.

Amani Oruwariye Jersey

At 6 feet 2 and 205 pounds, Oruwariye has the size and length the Lions wanted to complement Slay, a two-time Pro Bowler, in their secondary.

“It just allows me to be able to match up with bigger receivers that the teams bring,” Oruwariye said. “It allows me to use my body to my abilities and really dominate at the line of scrimmage and go up with receivers and make plays on the ball.”

A first-team All-Big Ten selection last season, Oruwariye led Penn State with 11 passes defensed and had three interceptions.

He’s much more fleet of foot than the last big cornerback the Lions drafted, Teez Tabor, and his presence could mean the end of Tabor’s tenure in Detroit.

Tabor, a second-round pick in 2017, ran a 4.62-second 40-yard dash coming out of college and his lack of speed has hampered his development as a pro.

Oruwariye, with a similar frame, ran a 4.47-second 40 at the NFL combine.

The Lions have revamped their secondary this offseason, cutting 2/5 of last year’s starters in Glover Quin and Nevin Lawson and adding Justin Coleman and Rashaan Melvin in free agency and Oruwariye and third-round pick safety Will Harris in the draft.

Coleman and Slay project as the Lions’ starting cornerbacks next season, with Coleman moving inside and Melvin joining them on the field in nickel packages, and Tabor and Jamal Agnew are among those competing for backup spots.

Along with Slay, Oruwariye said he tries to model his game after Richard Sherman because of his size and Jalen Ramsey because of his physicality.

“All three of those guys are great corners in the league that I can definitely take something from and learn from,” Oruwariye said.

As for slipping to Round 5 after some projected him as a Day 2 pick, Oruwariye said he doesn’t have the time “to sit there and dwell on what didn’t happen and what should have happened.”

“I’m just going to make the other 31 teams that didn’t draft me pay when my opportunity comes and just go with my standards,” he said. “I’m going to work hard regardless of where I’m picked at. It doesn’t matter what day, when, where, I’m going to work hard. That’s my standard, so that’s not going to change.”

Austin Bryant Jersey


ALLEN PARK — The Detroit Lions wanted to get bigger in this draft. They wanted to get tougher in this draft.

And they got both in Clemson defensive lineman Austin Bryant, their fourth-round pick.

Get this: Bryant tore his pectoral muscle in a win against Louisville on the first Saturday in November. Tore it right off the bone, and only surgery would fix it. Instead, he played on.

He played with one pec the very next week, and the week after that. He didn’t miss a single game. He played in all 15 of them, actually, and was crowned defensive MVP of the national semifinals. Clemson went on to win the national championship.

“I thought about (having surgery right away), but at the end of the day, I knew what I came back to school to do,” Bryant said by phone after Detroit took him 117th overall. “And that was not only to get my degree, but play and win the national championship. That’s what I wanted to do. If I can walk, I was going to be out on that field with my teammates just because that’s how much I love those guys.

“I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I knew that I could’ve went out there and played, and I didn’t do so. I’m very glad I made the decision to play, even though it may have had its consequences (in the draft process). It’s well worth it, and I ended up in the right place.”

In an era when more players are skipping bowl games to preserve their NFL stock, Bryant’s team-first attitude stands out. So does his toughness. The week after he tore his pec off the bone, he racked up 1.5 sacks, two tackles for loss and a season-high six tackles in a blowout win against Boston College. They allowed seven points.

Bryant shredded Notre Dame’s talented offensive line for three tackles for loss and two sacks in a blowout win in the national semifinals, and was named the game’s defensive MVP. He added another three tackles — one for loss — in the win against Alabama in the national championship.