Khalen Saunders Jersey

With the 84th pick overall in the NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs selected defensive tackle and former Western Illinois starter, Khalen Saunders. The 6-foot, 324-pound senior was the Chiefs final pick in the third round of the draft on Friday night.

Sanders became the first player from Western to be drafted since 2009 when Jason Williams was drafted as the sixth pick of the third round to the Dallas Cowboys.

During his time as a Leatherneck, Saunders played in 47 games completing 204 tackles, 72 of those coming in his senior year. He also recorded 18 sacks over the course of four seasons and added 13 TFL’s for 57 yards lost his final season, which ranked him fifth in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. He recorded a career high 11 tackles against the reigning MVFC Champions back on Oct. 13. Though he ended his career as a Leatherneck in a frustrating 15-13 loss on Senior Day, he has so much more to look forward to now.

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Saunders raised eyebrows in the NFL Combine with a 5.01 40-yard dash, one of the fastest times for a defensive tackle. He also took on 27 reps in the bench press and had a 30.5-inch vertical jump.

He put up a phenomenal performance in the combine, raising many eyebrows and attracting a lot of attention. But it was what was going on off the field that really put him in the limelight.

It was a video of him doing a backflip that went viral that really changed his life forever. Sure, he had some good stats and a stellar combine performance, but it was that video that got him trending in the right direction. There were multiple videos of him back flipping, but it wasn’t until ESPN’s Adam Schefter shared it that it really gained popularity.

Not only will Saunders be playing in the NFL, but also he’ll be playing for his home state team. That’s right; Saunders is a St. Louis native and a graduate from Parkway Central High School. With the departure of the St. Louis Rams most Missourians transitioned into becoming Chiefs fans, including Saunders’ parents. That’s because STL is only about a three and a half hour drive to Arrowhead Stadium, so surely his family will be in attendance for most of the home games.

Speaking of Saunders’ family, he recently had a new addition when he welcomed his daughter into the world. One day after practice, Khalen was notified that his fiancé was going into labor. He wasn’t able to make it in person because he was down in Mobile, Ala. competing in the Senior Bowl. Oh yeah, he was also the first Leatherneck to even get an invite to that game as well.

Between viral backflips, becoming a father and getting drafted into the NFL, Saunders has had one crazy year, a year he’ll never forget. Come October, I’m excited to see the number of students walking around campus with a red Kansas City Chiefs No. 99 jersey. The whole school will be rooting for him no doubt, as Saunders looks to take his talent to the next level and continue making a name for himself.

Once told he was too short to play major college football, Khalen Saunders now stands alongside others in one of the NFL draft’s deepest defensive line classes — perhaps not quite shoulder to shoulder, but finally on level ground.

“Before the Senior Bowl, it was more that skepticism, ‘He’s from Western Illinois, he was just more athletic than everybody, he needs more technique,'” Saunders said. “At the end of the combine, I proved to everybody that it’s not a fluke.

Saunders’ popularity grew off the field. The WIU football team holds a talent show before each season, and players vote on the master of ceremonies. Saunders was picked every year. “The Khalen Saunders show,” Elliott said, “like an hour of straight comedy.” Saunders also entertained on the piano, another skill he taught himself, playing John Legend’s “Ordinary People” and Alicia Keys songs.

WIU’s coaches play noon basketball at a campus gym, and one day last summer, Saunders dropped by. He ran the point and brought the moves.

“He would jump up and pump it to one side and take it to the other side, the old Michael Jordan up and under,” defensive line coach John Haneline said. “I would call him ‘The Fat Kyrie.’ The D-line room, we’ve got ‘The Fat Kyrie.’ He was on our team.”

Since January, Khalen Saunders’ life has had “a whirlwind type of vibe.” Every month has brought significant events. Another arrives next week, when a guy who used to be overlooked can stand up as an NFL player.

“A lot of times people, especially in this generation, are focused on other people to validate their success,” Saunders said. “Believe in yourself. Take opportunities.

Juan Thornhill Jersey

The 2019 NFL Draft is over, and two Virginia Cavaliers heard their names called. First up came Juan Thornhill, picked up at No. 63 overall by the Kansas City Chiefs. The defensive back was surrounded by family and friends when he got the news he’d be going with KC’s first second-round pick.

That excitement was present when his phone rang to alert him that he’d be going to Kansas City, as it appeared the Chiefs’ front office and head coach Andy Reid had trouble hearing Thornhill over the cheering.

Cornerback Tim Harris was the second Wahoo to go in the draft with San Francisco taking the tough Cavalier in the sixth round. His emotion was evident as he chatted with GM John Lynch and 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan.

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The Kansas City Chiefs added to their secondary on Friday night, selecting University of Virginia defensive back Juan Thornhill with the No. 63 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Thornhill was a three-year starter for the Cavaliers, tallying 208 tackles, 39 passes defensed, 12.0 tackles-for-loss, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble from 2016-18.

He entered his senior season on the Nagurski and Bednarik watch lists – which each identify the top defensive players in college football – and finished his career at Virginia as an AP All-ACC selection in 2018.

After the end of a 33-year streak of having at least one player drafted in the NFL Draft, Virginia Football is attempting to put together another streak. Two UVA players were drafted last year, and there’s at least one going this year.

Thornhill’s performance at the NFL Combine catapulted him into the national NFL Draft discussion. He ran a 4.42 40, which tied for 9th fastest among DBs. His vertical jump of 44” was the best of all players at the combine. And his 11’9” broad jump was not only tied for the best of the combine, it was tied for the second best of all time. Juan didn’t perform any other drills at the combine, but he had a 4.2 second 20-yard shuttle and a 6.86 second three cone drill at the UVA Pro Day. (Juan injured his hamstring running the 40 and didn’t do any more drills after that.)

Obviously, those workout results are very good. The speed and explosiveness are off the charts, but the change-of-direction numbers aren’t nearly as good. Because of that, Thornhill is seen as a safety in the NFL, rather than a CB. Though most NFL teams run a lot of Cover-2 zones, CBs still need to have man cover skills and his are only average. However, average cover skills for a CB are pretty good for a safety. Thornhill’s ability to cover ground in the deep secondary as well as play up against the run and defend TEs over the middle makes him an ideal NFL safety.

That player is, of course, defensive back Juan Thornhill. He is listed at DB because he’s played both CB and S in his UVA career, but also because he could truly play both in the NFL.

Juan finished his career with 13 interceptions, 39 passes defensed, and 208 tackles. That’s impressive, especially since he didn’t play much as a freshman. He also had 12 tackles for a loss, a forced fumble, and blocked a PAT. The 13 INTs are tied for 6th all-time at Virginia. Thornhill’s senior year was fantastic as he led the team with 98 tackles and was sixth with 4.5 TFLs. He also grabbed six INTs, which tied for 3rd in the nation (and in the ACC).

As a DB, Thornhill’s strength is obvious in pass coverage. But he’s a willing and able run defender as well.

This is perfect coverage of an option play. Thornhill steps into the QB’s path, forcing the pitch. Then he’s able to get to the RB and make the tackle for loss. This is the kind of play you expect from an OLB, not a DB. Yes, Ryan Finley isn’t the quickest of QBs, but he is an NFL caliber QB and this is the type of play Thornhill might encounter in the NFL.

Above, you can see Thornhill playing centerfield against the deep ball. This play is a Cover-2 from Virginia and he has responsibilities deep on his side of the field. It’s hard to tell from this video, but when the inside WR breaks off his route, Thornhill stays with the deep man. There’s good coverage over the top from the CB, so he stays inside the man and comes up with the pick. This is picture perfect from Thornhill.

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Mecole Hardman Jersey

The Kansas City Chiefs selected Georgia wide receiver Mecole Hardman with the 56th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

The five-foot-ten, 187-pound Hardman isn’t the biggest of receivers, but where he specializes is in his speed. He ran a blazing a 4.33 40-yard dash, and his deep speed is reflective of that time. With his quick, sudden movements, he is tough for defensive backs to match from an athletic standpoint.

He also has a lot of special teams value, as he is a reliable gunner on punt coverage and averaged over 20 yards per punt return in 2018.

It’s entirely possible Tyreek Hill won’t be returning to the Chiefs following the latest developments in his legal case. Assuming he doesn’t play a down with the team again, Hardman will do a great job of replacing Hill’s speed.

The Kansas City Chiefs traded up to select wide receiver Mecole Hardman with the No. 56 selection of the 2019 NFL Draft on Friday night, making the speedy wideout Kansas City’s first selection this year.

Hardman hauled in 59 catches for 950 yards and 11 touchdowns in his last 29 games for the Bulldogs, averaging 16.1 yards per catch.

He tallied seven catches of 30+ yards – and four of at least 50+ yards – last season alone.

One of the top return-men in the nation, Hardman earned All-America First-Team honors at kick returner in 2018 from the folks at ESPN. He was a Second-Team selection by Sports Illustrated.

He averaged 20.1 yards per punt return in 2018 – falling just shy of NCAA minimum qualification rankings – but would have ranked second in the nation had he qualified.Hardman possesses blazing speed, plain and simple. His 4.33 40-yard dash was the fifth-fastest among all players at the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this year (and third among receivers).

And, as his stats suggest, it’s translated to the football field. Check out this 80-yard grab in the National Championship Game a year ago.Ranked as the No. 2 athlete in the country according to ESPN, Rivals and, Hardman was a star on both sides of the ball for Elbert County High School in Bowman, Ga. He earned a trip to the U.S. Army All-America Bowl as a senior, where he lined up at wide receiver and caught three passes for 36 yards.

The Bulldogs had Hardman at defensive back for his first year on campus, but switched him over to the offense in 2017. It turned out to be a wise decision.

The first-round of the 2019 NFL Draft has come and gone, but the Dallas Cowboys have yet to make a pick. The impatience many of us are dealing with right now will finally come to an end today when the Cowboys make the first of their two Day 2 selections at 58th overall in the second-round.

The Dallas Cowboys are slotted to pick 26th in the second-round today, meaning there’s still a lot that’s going to happen between now and then before they can write a name down on their draft card. Instead of getting into specifics of who the Cowboys could select with the 58th overall pick, I’d rather focus on a player I believe they should draft at some point on Day 2 no matter what…Mecole Hardman.

Drafting Hardman 58th overall is a bit of a reach for most people, but I don’t think so if you take into consideration all of the ways he can help as a rookie. I don’t believe the Cowboys will take him that early, but the 90th overall pick in the third-round is much more realistic. If I was in the draft room, I would absolutely pound the table for Hardman in the third if he still available.

Mecole Hardman, the former Georgia product, is a dynamic playmaker in all three phases of the game. He can play receiver, special teams, and even as an emergency defensive back due to his background as a cornerback. That kind of versatility is invaluable, especially in the NFL where roster spots are priceless.

Hardman was part of a deep skill group with the Bulldogs the past two years. Despite being one of the most dynamic playmakers on the team, he only accumulated 73 touches during that time span. He turned those touches into 13 touchdowns, 16 yards per reception, 7.5 yards per rushing attempt, and averaged over 20 yards per punt return. It’s a small sample size, but the numbers speak for themselves.

Surprisingly enough, Hardman is just starting to scratch the surface of his potential. He is going to be even better in the NFL than he was in college. But don’t take my word for it, have a look for yourself

Mecole Hardman is the most dangerous player in space in the entire 2019 draft class in my opinion. His legitimate 4.33 speed certainly helps, but it’s his flexibility, explosion, and balance that makes him extremely difficult to tackle in space and in close quarters. There are very few defenders, if any, who possess the kind of quickness and athleticism to corral him, which is why he can turn a simple play into a home run anytime he touches the ball.