Andrew Booth

NFC Injury Notes: Giants, Cowboys, Seahawks, Vikings

Kadarius Toney‘s NFL tenure has been marred by injuries, and another one appears to have popped up. Head coach Brian Daboll told reporters that the Giants wideout is dealing with tightness in his hamstring, an issue which began earlier this week in practice (Twitter link via Dan Duggan of the Athletic).

The 2021 first-rounder also dealt with a hamstring issue in training camp last summer, and made frequent appearances on the injury report throughout the campaign. He was limited to 10 games in his debut season, and required knee surgery this past offseason. Between availability concerns and a number of other issues, the Florida product was involved in trade talk, though the Giants’ new front office made it clear that Toney was not being shopped.

The 23-year-old played just seven snaps during New York’s season opener. While he may suit up tomorrow, the workload he will be able to handle will be worth monitoring closely.

Here are some other injury updates from the NFC:

  • Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy confirmed that receiver Michael Gallup will sit out once again tomorrow, as noted by Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). Gallup continues to recover from the torn ACL he suffered in January, and was expected to miss a few weeks to begin the 2022 campaign. “There is still a process of return to play that he has to finish,” McCarthy added. The news will once again make CeeDee Lamb the undisputed focal point of Dallas’ WR room as they look to bounce back from last week’s league-worst offensive output.
  • The Seahawks‘ secondary has suffered another blow. Starting nickel corner Justin Coleman has been ruled out for Week 2, per a team announcement. The 29-year-old played 77% of defensive snaps in the team’s upset win over the Broncos, but Seattle will likely now turn to rookie Coby Bryant on the inside. In addition, the team confirmed that depth safety Joey Blount will be sidelined, something which will further test their depth given the fact that Jamal Adams will miss the remainder of the season.
  • Second-round Vikings rookie Andrew Booth exited Minnesota’s Week 1 win with a quad injury. He has not recovered in time to be able to suit up on Monday, as confirmed by a team announcement. With the Clemson product sidelined, Chandon Sullivan could be in line for the start opposite Patrick Peterson once again. Kris Boyd and Akayleb Evans will provide depth as the Vikings look to move to 2-0.

Week 1 Injury Roundup: Butker, Jones, Higgins, Rookies

Early in its Week 1 matchup against the Cardinals, Kansas City watched their kicker get carted off the field after Harrison Butker slipped on the kickoff following the team’s opening scoring drive, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. The injury brought on speculation that Chiefs safety Justin Reid may be forced to step in for kicks.

Fortunately, Butker’s injury wasn’t serious enough to keep him permanently out of the game as the sixth-year kicker made his way back onto the field at the end the second half to attempt (and convert) a 54-yard field goal. Still, the Chiefs did play it safe with Butker, calling on Reid to attempt two extra points following Butker’s slip. Reid was successful on his first extra point attempt but missed his second, likely leading to Butker’s return on the field.

Butker kicked the extra points for the remainder of the game, but Kansas City did elect to hold him off the field for kickoffs, letting Reid serve as the kickoff specialist for the rest of the day.

Here are a few other injury notes from around the first week of NFL games, starting with today’s matchup down by South Beach:

  • In a rough opening road trip for the Patriots, quarterback Mac Jones was not made available to the media as he was instructed to go to the X-ray room with a back injury, according to Jim McBride of the Boston Globe. The x-rays turned out to be negative, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, but the team will seek further evaluation on his back injury when they return to Foxborough. It’s unclear at what point in the game Jones suffered the injury, but the 24-year-old completed the game without visible issue.
  • Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins exited the game versus the Steelers today with a concussion after receiving a big hit in the second quarter, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Star receiver Ja’Marr Chase produced as expected, but running back Joe Mixon and new tight end Hayden Hurst had to step up in the passing game with Higgins out. If the concussion keeps Higgins out next week, as well, the Bengals will depend on Tyler Boyd, Mike Thomas, Trent Taylor, and Stanley Morgan to make up for Higgins’ lost production.
  • Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season saw three second-round rookies go down with injuries. The Commanders added one big piece to their defense this offseason in former-Alabama defensive tackle Phidarian Mathis. In the first quarter of NFL play for the rookie, Mathis went down awkwardly on his left leg, according to Charean Williams of NBC Sports, and did not return to the game. Mathis immediately reached for is knee and showed a flash of anger as the Commanders’ medical staff diagnosed the situation. Mathis isn’t a starter but, if the rookie is forced to miss significant time with the injury, it should mean more snaps for second-year defensive tackle Daniel Wise.
  • The Vikings also saw a second-round pick go down when former-Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth left the game with a quad injury, according to Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune. Injuries have plagued the rookie in the past and, if he is forced to miss more time, the Vikings will likely turn to Chandon Sullivan, Kris Boyd, and fellow rookie Akayleb Evans to fill in.
  • The Giants added rookie wideout Wan’Dale Robinson to their list of injured receivers, along with Darius Slayton and Collin Johnson, as he left the game today with a knee injury, according to Dan Salomone of Giants.com. Robinson had leapt ahead of Sterling Shepard to start the game alongside Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney before suffering the injury. The severity of the ailment is unknown for now, but Shepard should be able to step back into a starting role if Robinson is expected to miss a significant amount of time.

Latest On Vikings Rookies Lewis Cine, Andrew Booth

The Vikings used their top two selections in this year’s draft to bolster their secondary, though the prospects they landed may not be seeing major snaps right away. According to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, neither safety Lewis Cine nor cornerback Andrew Booth are likely to play starting roles to begin the season. 

Cine went No. 32 overall, the slot Minnesota took over as a result of their swap with the Lions which allowed Detroit to move up to the 12th position. The fifth and final member of Georgia’s elite defense to hear their name called on Day 1, Cine was a key contributor on the backend for the Bulldogs throughout his three-year college career.

Taking a step forward with each successive campaign, the six-foot-one, 200-pounder totaled 73 tackles last season, adding an interception and nine pass breakups. Known more for his physicality than his range or ball skills (dropping him below the likes of Kyle Hamilton and Daxton Hill in the position’s draft rankings), Cine has been competing with 2021 fourth-rounder Camryn Bynum for a first-team role. It appears the latter will get the nod to partner with Harrison Smith at least to start the season.

Booth was also selected in the wake of a trade, but in his case, the Vikings moved up to secure him. Hernia surgery may have hurt his draft stock, as he was considered a borderline first-rounder, but the Clemson product is healthy in time for Week 1. He registered 37 tackles (including three for a loss), along with five passes defensed in his final year with the Tigers.

He also ranked tied for second in the ACC with three interceptions, showcasing his ball skills which, combined with his athletic profile, give him a high upside. Instead of Booth, though, the Vikings are poised to use 2020 third-rounder Cameron Dantzler (who almost found himself being traded last offseason) as a bookend to Patrick Peterson on the perimeter.

The Vikings’ pass defense ranked 28th last season, allowing 253 yards per game through the air. While that makes their commitments to Cine and Booth understandable, familiar faces will prevent them from seeing full-time duty to start their respective careers.

Vikings Sign Second-Round Picks, Wrap Up 2022 Draft Class

Minnesota concluded contract discussions with its 2022 rookie draft class today after signing second-round picks Ed Ingram, according to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, and Andrew Booth (Twitter). With today’s two deals, the Vikings have completed the signing of their entire 10-man draft class.

Ingram was an immediate impact player at LSU, starting all but the first game of his freshman season. He sat out his entire sophomore year, taking a redshirt during a season that saw him suspended for events that occurred three years prior. His time away from the team allowed for another player, Damien Lewis, to slide into the starting role, and Ingram only had two starts in his redshirt sophomore season, seeing most of his action when Lewis was out with injury. Ingram returned to action as a full-time starter for his last two seasons in Baton Rouge and performed well enough in 2021 to warrant a second-round selection that would keep him in shades of purple and yellow.

Despite being the third overall pick for the Vikings this year, the team likely won’t rely on Ingram to start as a rookie. Minnesota will return starters Ezra Cleveland, Oli Udoh, and Garrett Bradbury on the interior. The team also brought in former Dolphins tackle Jesse Davis with the intention for him to play inside. While Ingram will be a game ready backup behind Cleveland, Udoh, and Davis, he may have opportunities to earn a starting position as neither Udoh nor Davis graded out very highly per Pro Football Focus. If Ingram shows he can provide an upgrade, look for him to earn early playing time between Bradbury and tackle Brian O’Neill.

Booth came into Clemson as a five-star cornerback out of Georgia. Joining a talented Tigers roster, Booth didn’t play much as a freshman but earned significant starting time as a sophomore including four starts. He became a full-time starter for Clemson in his junior year, his final with the team. Over 35 total games played and 15 starts, Booth recorded 5 interceptions, 10 pass breakups, 5.5 tackles for loss, and a sack.

Like Ingram, Booth will not be pressured to start full-time as a rookie. Also like Ingram, Booth should have several opportunities to get on the field in his first year of NFL play. Booth sits behind starters Patrick Peterson and Cameron Dantzler on the outside. He’ll compete with Harrison Hand for the first chance to take snaps at nickel and will be in the mix frequently for a position that rotates often.

Here’s the rundown of all 10 players set to join the Vikings at training camp tomorrow:

Round 1: No. 32 (from Rams through Lions) Lewis Cine, S (Georgia) (signed)
Round 2: No. 42 (from Commanders through Colts) Andrew Booth, CB (Clemson) (signed)
Round 2: No. 59 (from Packers) Ed Ingram, G (LSU) (signed)
Round 3: No. 66 (from Lions) Brian Asamoah, LB (Oklahoma) (signed)
Round 4: No. 118 (from Browns) Akayleb Evans, CB (Missouri) (signed)
Round 5: No. 165 (from Raiders): Esezi Otomewo, DE (Minnesota) (signed)
Round 6: No. 169 (from Titans through Raiders): Ty Chandler, RB (North Carolina) (signed)
Round 6: No. 184 (from Jets): Vederian Lowe, OT (Illinois) (signed)
Round 6: No. 191 (from Ravens through Chiefs) Jalen Nailor, WR (Michigan State) (signed)
Round 7: No. 227 (from Raiders through Panthers) Nick Muse, TE (South Carolina) (signed)

Vikings Trade Up To No. 42 For Andrew Booth

The Vikings traded for the Colts No. 42 overall pick to select Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth in the 2022 NFL Draft. Booth is the seventh cornerback off the board. 

For awhile, Booth was considered the consensus second-best cornerback in a first round that was expected to see many get selected. Booth didn’t hear his named called with the four other cornerbacks taken yesterday, but he didn’t last long into Day 2.

Booth led the Tigers with three interceptions and added 5 passes broken up in his first season as a full time starter. Booth recently underwent hernia surgery that may hold him out of the Vikings’ early offseason workouts, but Minnesota sees enough upside to the 21-year-old to move up for him anyway. When healthy, Booth boasts an intriguing combination of length, athleticism, and ball skills that should translate well at the next level.

Minnesota gave the Colts their 53rd (2nd round) pick, 77th (3rd round) pick, and 192nd (6th round) pick in exchange for the pick used to select Booth and Indianapolis’ 122nd (4th round) pick.

Draft Rumors: Ojabo, Jaguars, Jets, Giants

Michigan still might see two of its edge rushers become first-round picks this month. Despite David Ojabo‘s Achilles tear last month, the ex-Wolverine’s talent could well keep him on track to hear his name called on the draft’s first night. Ojabo remains firmly on the Round 1 radar, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes. Ojabo is expected to make a full recovery, and a team that uses a first-round pick on him would be positioned to have him contracted for five seasons — via the fifth-year option. Operating opposite Aidan Hutchinson, Ojabo recorded 11 sacks in a breakout 2021. There is recent precedent for pre-draft injuries not keeping talented pass rushers out of the first round (Jeffery Simmons) and for Achilles rehabs going well enough players become factors months after the tears (Terrell Suggs, Michael Crabtree, Cam Akers).

Here is the latest from the draft world:

  • Hutchinson and NC State tackle Ikem Ekwonu met with the Jaguars this week, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes both will head to New York for Giants and Jets visits (Twitter link). Both players are candidates to go first overall, with Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker joining them. The Jets and Giants hold four of the next nine picks — the Jets having Nos. 4 and 10 and the Giants at 5 and 7 — and will be set to add top talent. The Giants have a few needs, but it will be hard to see them exiting Round 1 without a right tackle prospect. They have done extensive homework on Mississippi State’s Charles Cross and would likely pounce if Ekwonu, who is rated ahead of Cross almost universally, fell to 5.
  • After a strong Combine showing, Walker is being projected as a top-five pick. He will visit with each of the teams holding those selections, with Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com noting the Jags, Lions, Texans, Jets and Giants are meeting with the pass rusher. Despite weighing 272 pounds and frequently playing inside with the national championship-winning team, Walker clocked a 4.51-second 40-yard dash at the Combine. Viewed as a D-lineman with fewer red flags than Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux, it is unlikely Walker will wait long to hear his name called.
  • Teams will do their due diligence on Thibodeaux, who is set to meet with the non-Jaguars contingent of the top five (Lions, Texans, Jets, Giants). The Eagles (Nos. 15 and 18) and Falcons (No. 9) are also planning “30” visits with Thibodeaux, Wilson notes. Questions about Thibodeaux’s motor and attitude have injected uncertainty into the defensive end’s status. A fall to Philly at 15 might not shock at this point.
  • One season remains on Saquon Barkley‘s contract, and the Giants‘ new regime has fielded trade calls on the previous staff’s top investment. The team is now using a few of its allotted 30 visits on backs. Breece Hall (Iowa State), Brian Robinson (Alabama) and James Cook (Georgia) visited the Giants on Tuesday, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets. Hall could be available when the Giants’ second-round pick (No. 36) comes. However, the ex-Cyclones standout grades as a first-round talent on Daniel Jeremiah’s NFL.com big board. Cook and Robinson are viewed as later-round prospects.
  • The Commanders are also taking a look at a top back, being set to meet with Michigan State’s Kenneth Walker on Friday, Rapoport adds (on Twitter). Scouts Inc. grades Walker just ahead of Hall as this class’ top back, but views him as a second-round talent. The Wake Forest transfer blew up for 1,636 rushing yards in his only Michigan State slate. Washington also met with Hall this week, John Keim of ESPN.com tweets.
  • Andrew Booth may miss his NFL team’s offseason workouts due to hernia surgery, but that should not deter teams from considering the Clemson cornerback in Round 1. Booth has met with the Bills (No. 25) and Eagles, with Rapoport adding Patriots (No. 21) and Saints (Nos. 16 and 19) meetings are also on Booth’s docket.

Extra Points: Rooney Rule, Booth, CFL, USFL

The NFL made more adjustments to the Rooney Rule this week. Teams must go into the season with a minority coach or a woman on their offensive staff, Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com notes. This can include a woman of any race, and the NFL also will include women among Rooney Rule requirements going forward. Teams must interview at least two external minority candidates for head coach, coordinator and GM roles; women are now included in this pool. Clubs, however, will not be required to interview female staffers for these positions. The female or minority staffer hired as part of this offense-based initiative must work closely with their respective team’s head coach, Seifert adds, and their respective salaries will be paid via a leaguewide fund. The NFL has a league-record 17 minority defensive coordinators currently, with two teams employing co-DC setups, but 27 of the league’s 31 offensive coordinators (the Patriots do not currently have a staffer in this role) are white.

Here is the latest from around pro football:

  • Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth looms as a first-round prospect, but he will not be ready for his team’s offseason activities. The incoming rookie defender underwent sports hernia surgery, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. While Booth (Scouts Inc.’s No. 30 overall prospect) is expected to be ready for training camp, it will be a bit before he is healthy.
  • De’Anthony Thomas joined Oregon draft hopefuls in working out at the school’s pro day Friday, with Schefter adding the former Chiefs wide receiver/return man is aiming to make a comeback (Twitter link). A six-year NFL veteran, Thomas has not played since 2019. He was among the first to opt out due to COVID-19 concerns ahead of the 2020 season. The Oregon alum is currently on the British Columbia Lions’ roster in the Canadian Football League, signing with the team in February.
  • Staying in the CFL, Martavis Bryant will receive another chance north of the border. The former Steelers and Raiders wide receiver who battled suspensions in the NFL signed with the CFL’s Edmonton Elks, who are taking a flier on the talented pass catcher despite his refusal to report to the Toronto Argonauts’ training camp in 2021. The Argos held Bryant’s rights last year, but he is now in Edmonton. Bryant last played in the NFL in 2018, catching 19 passes for 266 yards with the Raiders. Bryant posted two 600-plus-yard receiving seasons in Pittsburgh but was suspended three times during his NFL career for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.
  • Another spring league will launch this month, with the rebooted USFL beginning play April 16. The latest spring effort’s contracts are structured in a way that will make it a bit more difficult for the XFL to acquire players when its latest relaunch occurs in 2023. The USFL gave its players one-year contracts with team options for 2023, per Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal (via Mike Florio of PFT). None of the recent spring leagues — from the Alliance of American Football (2019) to XFL 2.0 (2020) — finished their respective seasons, so the matter of USFLers’ 2023 contracts is not exactly a front-burner item just yet. Some notable players — like Paxton Lynch, De’Vante Bausby, Kyle Lauletta and other ex-NFLers — are part of this centralized (in Birmingham, Ala.) USFL.

Clemson CB Declares For Draft

Andrew Booth Jr. is going pro. The Clemson cornerback is ranked second in Dane Brugler’s positional rankings and The Athletic’s writer has Booth going 12th overall in his first round mock of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Booth is the consensus second best corner in the draft to LSU’s Derek Stingley. With as many as four or five cornerbacks potentially getting picked on Day 1 of the draft, Booth is almost guaranteed to hear his name called on Thursday. The only question will be: how early?

Booth arrived at Clemson as a five-star prospect from Georgia. He’s played in all 34 games for the Tigers since he’s arrived and has tallied 3 interceptions and 9 pass break ups. His biggest splash play was a fumble recovery his sophomore year against Syracuse that he returned 21 yards for a touchdown.

Booth has an intriguing combination of length, athleticism, and ball skills that has NFL franchises ready to pull the trigger. He’ll look to improve his draft stock at the Combine and Clemson’s Pro Day before he hears his name called out on that night in late April.