Associated Press Top-end receivers this year include Colorado’s Laviska Shenault, Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III, Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb, LSU’s Justin Jefferson, Arizona State’s Brandon Aiyuk and Clemson’s Tee Higgins.“This receivers’ class is honestly unbelievable in my eyes,” Lamb said. “You can’t really go wrong with anybody you draft” in any round. “You’re going to get a great pick.”Whether in search of a crisp route-runner, a deep threat, a fearless player going over the middle or even taking the direct snap, there’s someone for everyone in this year’s draft.“I think this class is going to do great things,” Shenault said.Right from the start, no less. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe upcoming NFL draft features a tantalizing class of wide receivers expected to make an immediate impact as rookies.It’s a tall task even for an exceptionally deep group that’s expected to produce up to a half dozen first-round picks Thursday night. Receivers face one of the hardest adjustments to the pros because they have to absorb a monster playbook, beat press coverage and elude D-backs who are quicker, stronger and savvier. Sometimes the gamble pays off; sometimes it doesn’t.“One of the things that makes it tough to evaluate is that there’s so much difference playing at the National Football League level because of all the defenses we see and all the adjustments they have to make,” said long-time talent evaluation expert Gil Brandt, a Pro Football Hall of Famer.Quarterback is the only position with a steeper learning curve, Brandt suggested.“These guys have to do a lot more things in the NFL as far as adjustments — and do it quickly,” he said. “And the other thing is separation. There’s a lot of guys that can run fast but they can’t separate.”Mark Dominik, a SiriusXM NFL Radio host and former Buccaneers general manager, said receivers go from facing “18-, 19- and 20-year-old young men who aren’t as strong or as physical as they’re going to end up being” to “going up against a 29-year-old man and it’s a huge difference. Intersecting this meet-you-halfway approach is an uptick in the athleticism of wide receivers, a product of the multiple-receiver sets now the norm all the way down to youth football.“I think in today’s day and age where these guys were starting 7-on-7, it’s almost like AAU basketball,” Packers GM Brian Gutekunst said. “The receivers are so much more advanced in terms of their fundamentals coming into college and the league than maybe they have been in the past. It’s really just the NFL offense that will take time. “So I think there’s some guys sitting here today that I think will have a chance to make a pretty immediate impact, and I’m excited about that.”Washington Redskins coach Ron Rivera said today’s prospects are primed for the pro game as never before. “I think that’s why you see receivers bust, just because of the different player they’re going against.”That is starting to change, however.Teams are more willing than ever to bypass the old wait-and-watch standby for a plug-and-play approach with bigger, faster, quicker pass-catchers coming out. Calvin Ridley and D.J. Moore made big splashes in 2018, followed by Deebo Samuel, DK Metcalf, Marquise Brown, Terry McLaurin and A.J. Brown, who wasted no time establishing their credentials last season.“Last year was a good year in terms of a bunch of rookies coming in and having a lot of success, but if you look over the last several years, that second- and third-round receiver group has arguably been better than the first-round group,” said NFL draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah. “The challenge in scouting the position is it’s almost like two different games for college and the NFL in terms of what routes you’re asked to run, which are very limited at the college level,” Jeremiah said. “You watch a college game on Saturday you’re going to see a bunch of slants, hitches and go’s. It’s very limited in terms of what they ask them to do, very limited in terms of them having to read coverage and sight-adjust their routes. They don’t see very much press coverage.”Reading and reacting to coverage and keeping defenders from knocking them off their routes can prove difficult even for receivers who dominated college competition.“There’s just a lot of adjustment there, but I give the NFL credit,” Jeremiah said. “I think the last couple of years we’re seeing the NFL be a little smarter with the transition period for these guys and figuring out ways they can get them on fly sweeps or bubble screens and just get the ball in their hands and let them make plays, simplifying it a little bit while they’re young before they can grow and evolve into everything you want them to be.”Jeremiah said last season in particular provided “the blueprint to get these guys on the field and improve that track record at the position.” April 19, 2020 Deep receiver class faces high hopes for immediate impact ___Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton___More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6
A 26,000 sellout is expected at Thomond Park this evening when provincial rivals Munster and Leinster go head-to-head in the Guinness Pro 12.Leo Cullen’s side defeated the Reds the last time the two sides met in October, but Munster are unbeaten in the league since that game.The Reds have made three changes from the side that lost to Leicester in the Champions Cup nine days ago, with James Cronin, Jean Kleyn and Ronan O’Mahony all included. Leinster meanwhile have named a total of 10 changes, with Sean O’Brien, Jamie Heaslip and Devin Toner among the players who have been left out.Munster head coach Rassie Erasmus says they owe it to both sets of fans to make it an entertaining evening.Kick off in Limerick is at 5.30.Also today in the Pro 12, Welsh sides Cardiff and Newport face off at 2.05, and Scottish rivals Edinburgh and Glasgow meet in Murrayfield at 4.05.
ExxonMobil has added a third drillship to its Guyana basin as the US based oil major ramps up exploration activities.“Following the close of the second quarter, the drillship Noble Tom Madden was awarded a contract for work offshore Guyana, which includes two firm wells, plus three optional wells. Re-activation of the rig from its warm stacked status has begun, with the contract expected to commence in October 2018,” said offshore drilling contractor, Noble Corporation in its second quarter report.The Noble Tom Madden is currently moored in an area in the Gulf of Mexico just south of New Orleans in the United States where rigs not in use are stored. With a lot of capacity in the industry, many drill ships are currently warm stacked or cold stacked awaiting contracts.This will be Noble’s second rig under contract to ExxonMobil in the Guyana basin. Developing Liza Field The Noble Bob Douglas is currently developing the Liza 1 Field for production with first-oil expected by early 2020. ExxonMobil says it has 19 targets to drill in what has become a world-class oil field. To date, ExxonMobil has made eight discoveries out of 10 wells drilled and total reserves to date now stand at 4B barrels.Oil production is planned to begin in early 2020 with revenues for the country to begin being used for development projects soon after. Local operator ExxonMobil’s affiliate, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL) is operator of the Stabroek Block, holding a 45 percent interest, Hess Guyana Exploration Ltd. holds 30 per cent interest and CNOOC Nexen Petroleum Guyana Limited holds 25 per cent interest.Noble owns and operates one of the most modern, versatile and technically advanced fleets in the offshore drilling industry. Noble performs, through its subsidiaries, contract drilling services with a fleet of 24 offshore drilling units, consisting of 12 drill ships and semisubmersibles and 12 jackups, focused largely on ultra-deep water and high-specification jackup drilling opportunities in both established and emerging regions worldwide.