Cats in the NFL
Tennessee Titans linebacker Avery Williamson will try his hand at carrying Tuesday’s Kentucky Sports Radio radio show. A former All-SEC selection in his senior season at Kentucky, Williamson will be on to tell old tales from his four seasons as a Wildcat and what’s it like playing professionally for the next Super Bowl championship team. (Go Titans.)
Be sure to give Avery a call to talk football or whatever is on your mind. He is excited to host and would love to hear from Big Blue Nation.
Ten o’clock Tuesday morning. Tune in.
Bud Dupree’s second NFL season was filled with obstacles, but the former Kentucky defensive end found a way to finish strong for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The preseason was filled with lofty expectations for the Steelers’ 2015 first round pick, expectations that could not be met thanks to a preseason injury. Described as a groin/abdominal injury (a.k.a. hernia), Bud was placed on injured reserve. He initially did not expect to play at all last year.
One of the hardest workers in the biz, Bud was able to return for the final seven games of the regular season. It took three games for him to get his feet wet, but when he returned to the starting lineup, he returned with a bang. Dupree had 6 tackles and 2.5 sacks in a snowy road game at Buffalo. For the final four games of the regular season and three playoff games, he was a menace in the backfield, accumulating 35 tackles, 5 sacks and a forced fumble.
Hear how Bud overcame adversity to get his groove back in this interview with Steelers.com.
Bud Dupree talks about battling back from injury, his love for football and his teammates and more. pic.twitter.com/cBi9zS9j75
– Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) July 7, 2017
Now Dupree understands his body and the Steelers defense. If he can remain healthy, he can turn into one of the NFL’s best on the edge in 2017.
By Nick Roush on ©June 24th, 2017 @ 11:00am
Former Kentucky offensive guard Todd Perry was one of six inducted into the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame last night in Lexington.
The Elizabethtown native was an All-SEC performer for Bill Curry in 1992. A fourth round selection by the Chicago Bears, Perry spent eight seasons in Chicago and finished his 11-year career in 2003 after three years in Miami. Before the induction ceremony, Perry caught up with his former teammate Freddie Maggard.
Perry wasn’t the only Wildcat honored last night.
Mike Edwards, Nick Haynes, Courtney Love and Stephen Johnson were honored as members of the All-Commonwealth Team. The quarterback could not make it to the event because Johnson is spending time in New Orleans, improving his game at the Manning Passing Academy.
The gang also ran into a sharp-dressed Marty Moore.
The emcee of the event cleaned up pretty well.
Sorry to include this unflattering photo of your bald spot Mr. Lemond, but I had to. It’s in my contract.
At Kentucky Sports Radio, the blog never sleeps. We blog till we fall. However, finding original statistical concoctions in said blogs are few and far between. That’s not the case at Pro Football Focus.
While I use my fingers to count how many days till football season, they’re crunching next level numbers. Even though the Cats in the NFL don’t receive the same hype as the NBA Cats, they’re pretty damn good.
Defensively, UK’s linebackers are some of the best in the business. The Cats have three of the ten best run stoppers in the NFL. According to PFF’s Run Stop Rate, a metric I don’t entirely understand, Avery Williamson is at 10.6 percent, Wesley Woodyard is at 11.4 percent and Danny Trevathan is at 12 percent. What those numbers mean, I do not know exactly, but I’m pretty sure it translates to “don’t run it their way.”
Offensively, two former Kentucky pass-catchers have some of the best hands in the League. Last season, only five NFL players were targeted more than 30 times without a drop. Two of them were Wildcats. Randall Cobb had 60 catchable targets; he did not drop one. Jacob Tamme’s season ended early, but before it was finished he proved he’s a sure-handed tight end, failing to drop one pass in 30 targets. Hopefully some of this year’s Cats are taking notes.
98 days till football season.
Another former Wildcat has found a new home in the NFL.
Marcus McWilson, the former UK safety and one of Mark Stoops’ first big commitments at Kentucky, inked a deal with the Oakland Raiders today. The Youngstown, Ohio native shined at UK’s Pro Day back in March and that likely played a big role in his upcoming move to the Bay.
Here he is signing the contract with Vince Marrow by his side:
McWilson is the fifth former Wildcat to sign with an NFL team since the draft, along with Boom Williams, Ryan Timmons, JoJo Kemp and J.D. Harmon.
By Kory Henry on ©May 06th, 2017 @ 1:00pm
Bad news for Boom and Bengals fans…
Bengals.com is reporting that Stanley “Boom” Williams pulled a hamstring just minutes into the Bengals’ workout on Friday. Prior to the injury, Boom was already in for an up-hill battle to make Cincinnati’s final roster.
Jeremy Hill will undoubtedly be the Bengals’ starter at running back, barring any injury heading into the season. Gio Bernard is their speed back, but he’s coming off of a season-ending knee surgery to repair a torn ACL. With the Bengals’ controversial addition of Joe Mixon in last week’s NFL Draft, that makes the locker room even more crowded. Don’t forget Cedric Peerman, who’s also listed as a running back, and is almost guaranteed a roster spot since he’s been Cincinnati’s special teams captain for years.
All that’s left is Boom. He certainly has the talent to make the final cut, but the Bengals simply don’t have the room. The best case scenario, at least for Boom to make the Bengals, would be for Bernard to start the season on the PUP list. That would open up a spot for Boom during the first 6-11 weeks of the season. After that, he could remain on the practice squad until camps re-open next year.
Unfortunately, Boom’s first opportunity to impress the Bengals’ coaching staff is no more. He’ll likely be sidelined for the remainder of rookie mini-camps, as he allows his hamstring to recover. Training camp in August will be huge for the former Wildcat.
HBO’s Hard Knocks possibly?
Running back JoJo Kemp just became the latest Kentucky Wildcat to sign a free agent deal with an NFL team following this weekend’s draft. According to UK, Kemp has signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Meanwhile, defensive back Blake McClain tweeted that he’s got minicamp try outs with the Cincinnati Bengals and Washington Redskins:
Bengals and red skins mini camp . All I can ask is for an opportunity and blessed for that! Make the most of it #UnderDog
— Blake McClain (@Bmcclain6) May 1, 2017
Here’s a running tab of which NFL Cats went were in the last few days:
- Boom Williams: Signed with Cincinnati Bengals
- JD Harmon: Signed with Cleveland Browns
- Ryan Timmons: Signed with Chicago Bears
- JoJo Kemp: Signed with Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Blake McClain: Mini-camp try outs with Cincinnati Bengals and Washington Redskins
Meanwhile, still no news on Kentucky’s top draft prospect, Jon Toth. Toth was considered the fourth best center in the draft by ESPN’s Todd McShay, but, mysteriously, went undrafted. There were rumors he was going to sign with the San Francisco 49ers, but those have since been shot down after rumblings of a potential injury. Hmm.
Stay tuned for more on Toth. In the meantime, congrats to JoJo, Blake, and all the other former Cats who have a chance at making a roster.
Good morning, everyone, and happy May Day. While the first day of May is traditionally celebrated with people dancing around a Maypole, nowadays, it’s usually greeted by one of your friends texting or tweeting you a picture of Justin Timberlake in his NSYNC days because you know, it’s gonna be May. I’m going to celebrate by attempting to stay in my chair all day because it hurts too much to walk. Saturday’s Rock ‘N Roll half marathon was brutal, guys. Thankfully, this chair’s got wheels.
Lots going on today, so let’s get to it.
1. UK landed a four-star football commitment last night
Mark Stoops and company got some big news late last night when four-star offensive tackle Darian Kinnard committed, becoming the seventh member of UK’s 2018 class. Kinnard is a massive get — literally. At 6’7″ 336 lbs., he’s a monster, and ranked the 17th best offensive tackle in his class by 247 Sports. The Cleveland, Ohio native picked the Cats over West Virginia, Penn State, Maryland, Missouri, Pittsburgh and Purdue, and he was also drawing interest from Ohio State.
— Darian Kinnard (@DarianJoe) May 1, 2017
Welcome aboard, Darian. Stay a while, won’t you?
2. Maybe that’s why Vince Marrow was so swaggy
Kentucky’s recruiting guru was a tweeting machine yesterday, putting a good spin on Kentucky’s disappointing NFL Draft (more on that in a minute). Marrow said Kentucky’s days of not having a player go in the draft are over:
Big shout out and thanks to those seniors that signed yesterday. But I guarantee from now on we will not have an undrafted player…
— CoachMarrowUK (@vincemarrow) April 30, 2017
With 18 young returning starters who competed in the best conference in the country and on a team that made it a bowl game, #BBN get ready.
— CoachMarrowUK (@vincemarrow) April 30, 2017
Gotta love the big dawg’s confidence.
3. Cats in the NFL update
Saturday was a surprising day for the program as Kentucky’s two best NFL Draft prospects, Jon Toth and Boom Williams, went undrafted. Boom signed with the Bengals afterwards, but Toth still doesn’t have a home, which is truly bizarre given that he was projected to be a fourth or fifth round pick. Yesterday, rumors circulated that Toth signed with the 49ers, but ESPN’s Field Yates shot that down, tweeting that Toth “will soon be fully healthy” and should sign with a team then. Wait, what? He was injured? That’s the first we’re hearing of that.
Meanwhile, Ryan Timmons signed with the Bears and JD Harmon with the Browns. Here’s hoping Toth finds a home soon. Whichever team lands him is getting a heck of a steal.
4. UK Baseball won their series with South Carolina
Nick Mingione’s squad continues its impressive rise, winning the series at South Carolina this weekend, the first time the Bat Cats have beaten the Gamecocks in Columbia since 1999. UK improves to 31-14, leading the SEC East with a 14-7 league mark and tying Western Division co-leaders Mississippi State and Auburn for the overall league lead. On Friday, they got their first win in the series in dominating fashion, beating South Carolina by an astounding score of 19-1, Kentucky’s largest margin of victory against an SEC opponent in school history. Do yourself a favor and watch the highlights below:
They’re getting it done, folks.
5. It was a big weekend for basketball recruiting
The spring live period continues, which means John Calipari was on the road to watch targets at Nike and Under Armour events in Indianapolis. Cal watched pretty much all of his 2018 and 2019 targets, including Marvin Bagley, Cameron Reddish, Javonte Smart, Romeo Langford, Immanuel Quickley, Moses Brown, and 2019 stars Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis, who will visit UK later this week. I’ll have a more detailed rundown on the recruiting weekend for you later this morning.
6. Calipari found a home for his Air Jordan 8 Calipari Pack
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) April 30, 2017
Something tells me he’ll still sport a pair on the road on recruiting trips.
7. ICYMI, Hamidou Diallo got an NBA Combine invitation
On Saturday, five Cats received invitations to next week’s NBA Combine: Malik Monk, De’Aaron Fox, Bam Adebayo, Isaiah Briscoe, and, yes, Hamidou Diallo. Diallo is the only Cat left who declared for the draft but didn’t sign with an agent. The Combine takes place in Chicago May 9-14 and while Diallo has until May 24 to decide whether or not to stay in the draft, A LOT of that decision could weigh on his performance next week.
8. It’s Derby Week
Can you believe it’s already Derby week? I can’t, but it’s here, which means the city of Louisville will put its best foot (hoof?) forward this week. The draw is Wednesday morning at 11 a.m., and I’ll be honest, I haven’t done a bit of research on this year’s contenders. Thankfully, Chad Lashbrook and the folks at Twin Spires will be by this week to get us ready.
9. Rich Brooks is having a heck of a time on vacation
Nobody does retirement like Rich Brooks, who is currently fishing in the Bahamas:
Pic of bone fish I caught in the flats on Long Island south of Nassau. pic.twitter.com/L4BMBEE5hW
— Rich Brooks (@UKcoachbrooks) May 1, 2017
Is there anyone cooler than Brooks in this picture?
Pic of John and I with our guide moving from 1 flat to another. pic.twitter.com/VOz32Khg8b
— Rich Brooks (@UKcoachbrooks) May 1, 2017
The answer is no. Man is having the time of his life, and I’m super jealous.
10. The KSR Movie Bracket rolls on
The gang will wrap up the KSR movie bracket on today’s show, which means you’ve got an hour to mull over your picks:
– Shawshank Redemption vs. Top Gun
– Wolf of Wall Street vs. Titanic
– Pulp Fiction vs. Silence of the Lambs
– Rocky vs. Lord of the Rings
– Star Wars vs. Batman
– Goodfellas vs. Schindler’s List
– Saving Private Ryan vs. Jurassic Park
– Se7en vs. Forrest Gump
My Final 4: Shawshank Redemption, Rocky, Star Wars, and Saving Private Ryan. Gimme Rocky in an upset.
Well this one’s really starting to be a head scratcher…
Jon Toth has yet to find a home in the NFL. After being projected as the 4th best center available in the 2017 NFL Draft, BBN was shocked to see Toth passed up 253 times. He was almost certain to be selected by somebody. However, here we are the morning after the draft, and now we have reports that Toth may not be “fully healthy”?
As surprising as it was to see him go undrafted, conflicting reports of Toth signing with the San Francisco 49ers have us even more confused. JD Harmon and Boom Williams were quickly signed, as teams immediately hit the undrafted free agent market upon the Draft’s conclusion. Jon Toth had apparently signed with the 49ers during this rapid process, but NFL insider Ian Rapoport shot that down.
@KySportsRadio Toth is still a FA. Not signing
– Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 30, 2017
Then this morning, ESPN’s Field Yates says that Toth “will soon be fully healthy” and sign with a team soon.
Former Kentucky C Jon Toth has not signed with the 49ers. He will soon be fully healthy and expected to find a team shortly thereafter.
– Field Yates (@FieldYates) April 30, 2017
This tweet even had our very own Freddie Maggard scratching his head…
Huh? Fully healthy? https://t.co/hngsG5sbll
– Freddie Maggard (@FredMaggard) April 30, 2017
There were no injuries publicly announced prior to the NFL Draft, but regardless of what it is, it seems to have hurt Toth’s chances of being drafted. You hate to see such a talented young man get passed up. Hopefully, whatever it is keeping Toth below 100%, it heals quickly and we can see him starting at Center once August rolls around.
We will keep you updated as soon as we hear anything, hopefully with news that Toth has signed with another team.
The biggest name in NFL draft coverage has Kentucky’s own Boom Williams moving up his board on draft day.
Mel Kiper, the king of the draft, ranked Williams at No. 150 in his final rankings, which would be a fifth-round selection if the rankings hold up. That’s Williams’ best projection to date and the only one that has him anywhere close to being drafted.
Unfortunately, Kiper lists Jon Toth as his No. 278 overall prospect, which would mean undrafted for the former Wildcat center. Toth’s projections are all over the place, ranging from fourth-round pick to not selected. Toth is No. 169 in Todd McShay’s final rankings.
Neither Wildcat is expected to get picked up tonight or tomorrow, but Saturday is a big day for their football futures.