What does newly-signed WR Keelan Doss bring to the Giants?

keelan doss, giants

The New York Giants made a roster move today, signing free agent wide receiver Keelan Doss and waiving linebacker T.J. Brunson. The Giants are adding another veteran wide receiver to a receiver room that has previously dealt with a slew of injuries. In fact, they are still dealing with injuries, as Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, and Sterling Shepard practiced in red jerseys during mandatory minicamp. Acquiring more depth at wide receiver was crucial and the Giants have accomplished that by signing Keelan Doss.

What does Keelan Doss bring to the Giants?

The Giants had Doss working out during training sessions this week before ultimately signing him. Keelan Doss signs with the Giants after spending the 2021 season on the practice squads of the Atlanta Falcons and New York Jets. Doss was an undrafted free agent that signed with the Raiders in 2019 and suited up in 9 games for them from 2019 to 2020.

Keelan Doss was a pre-season standout in 2019. He made the most of the few opportunities he was given. However, this impressive preseason performance was not enough to secure a long-term spot on the Raiders’ roster.

In his career, Keelan Doss has received little regular-season playing time. He has only been given 14 targets, all in 2019, catching 11 of those passes for 133 yards. The likelihood of Doss making a real impact for the Giants is slim. However, Giants fans will remember that in recent years the team was sending practice-squad receivers on the field due to an abundance of injuries. Having Doss in for the summer, learning the playbook and geling with the coaching staff provides value as the team could sign him if they are in a pinch later this year.

Keelan Doss is a 6-foot-3, 215 pound wide receiver that has the frame to play on the outside. The Giants are wise to sign big-body receivers as depth pieces considering the injury history of WR1 Kenny Golladay. If Golladay is unable to participate in practice, at least the cornerbacks can be challenged by a big-bodied guy in Doss throughout this summer. Keelan Doss will add value to the Giants behind the scenes as a defacto-Golladay.

Assessing the six New York Jets undrafted free agents

Zonovan Knight, jets

Following an enjoyable 2022 NFL draft, the New York Jets signed six undrafted free agents. There were a few positions of need the team was not able to upgrade during the draft. Joe Douglas ended up adding at two of the bigger concerning positions across the depth chart. The background, talent, and expectations of these rookies will be highlighted below.

Zonovan Knight, RB

Out of the group of undrafted free agents for the Jets, Zonovan Knight was the biggest surprise to not be drafted. In each of his three years of college, Knight recorded at least 700 yards rushing. He finished his college career with 5.5 yards per carry and 18 rushing touchdowns. Knight runs with good patience and vision. He has short-area quickness as a runner. Also, he can beat defenders on runs with his contact balance. Finally, Knight can accelerate on big runs.

His ability as a kick returner gives him a chance to make the final roster. Knight turned 21-years-old in April. He has the potential to be the Jets’ fourth running back after Breece Hall, Michael Carter, and Tevin Coleman. If that job ends up going to Ty Johnson or La’Mical Perine, Knight has a strong chance to still end up on the Jets practice squad. He could have a future in the league with the Jets.

DQ Thomas, LB

The linebacker position was one of the bigger needs that could have been addressed during the draft. In the end, the Jets ended up signing DQ Thomas. He enters the NFL with a substantial amount of playing experience in college over the last five years. Each season, he had some good production. Thomas has the speed, agility, and overall athleticism for a linebacker. He can contribute against the pass both in coverage and as a blitzer.

There are some unknowns and a potential opportunity for someone like Thomas to take a role for this linebacker group. If he does not wind up on the final 53-man roster, Thomas will likely be kept on the practice squad to continue to develop.

Calvin Jackson, WR

The Jets signed Calvin Jackson at a workout that was held at their facility shortly after the draft. Jackson had his best college season by a wide margin in 2021. He concluded the year with seven touchdowns. Jackson is a smaller receiver and will likely play in the slot. His speed is not blazing but still good enough. Jackson offers the ability to generate big plays after the catch with his quickness. It will be interesting to see how he performs this summer and if he does enough to stay with the team.

Tony Adams, S

Along with linebacker, free safety and nose tackle were the other two starting needs not addressed during the draft. The free safety ended up with a rookie free agent addition in Tony Adams. He played a ton of college football over the last five years and attained some great success last season. Athletically, Adams is gifted, as shown by his 9.76 Relative Athletic Score. He has the speed to cover ground with a 4.47 40-yard dash and 1.52 10-yard split time. Adams offers coverage ability, size, and physicality as a tackler. The Jets have an unknown at free safety, which gives him a chance as an undrafted rookie. Adams does at least seem like a practice squad player early on.

Irvin Charles, WR

Irvin Charles provides the Jets wide receiving core with great size and physicality at 6-foot-4 and 228 pounds. He is a true contested-catch target in one on one situations. Charles is a possession receiver down the field where he can create big plays. In the red zone, he has the frame to be impactful. Throughout his college career, he had moments as a contributor on special teams. His ability to help Brant Boyer on special teams, along with his size on the outside in the passing game, give Charles a chance moving forward.

Keshunn Abram, WR

Keshunn Abram put together a respectable final stat line in 2021 with 699 yards receiving, his lone productive year in college. Last season, he had a couple of big games over 100 yards. He generated big plays frequently throughout 2021. Abram offers the ability to win after the catch. He also had success on some one on ones on the outside as well as in the red zone. Showing upside on special teams will only help Abram’s chances. Potentially, he could be in play as a depth receiver, an area with some unknowns for the Jets right now.

Yankees star prospect finally starting to showcase his insane talents

anthony volpe, yankees

New York Yankees star prospect Anthony Volpe has struggled to open the 2022 season, despite lofty expectations. The 21-year-old New Jersey native is currently hitting .207 with six homers and 24 RBIs over 48 games with Somerset in Double-A.

However, Volpe’s teammates continue to praise the certified elite prospect, despite his troubles making the transition to Somerset.

“He’s 21, but he acts like he’s 30,” teammate and road roommate Elijah Dunham said, via the NY Post. “It makes me mad sometimes because I’m like, ‘Dude, you gotta mess up once in a while,’ but he doesn’t. He’s just a great dude.”

Volpe takes his battles seriously, sometimes harping too much on being a perfectionist instead of simply rolling with the punches and learning from them. His tumultuous start to the campaign somehow dampened his stock, but there’s no question how valuable he is to his teammates.

“Some people might not say he’s living up to what you see on the scoreboard, but everyone on this team knows we wouldn’t be winning games without him,” Dunham said. “The way he plays at short, the way he runs the basepaths, he just brings value in different parts of the game that only baseball people see.”

Defensively, Volpe hosts a .963 fielding percentage over 398.2 innings. He has six errors and 18 double plays turned to his name during that sample size.

Anthony Volpe is starting to hit his stride:

Over the past few games, Volpe has turned up the temperature, specifically in the month of June. The final three games of May were electric for the young shortstop, recording six combined hits over 15 at-bats. So far this month, he has curated seven hits in eight games, including one homer and two RBIs.

Volpe has the right mentality when it comes to facing cold streaks and overcoming challenges, noting the importance of learning from these experiences.

“One hundred percent, I think that’s just as important, if not more important, than going through the good times,” Volpe said. “It’s obviously really frustrating at times, and you want to be playing better and helping your team win. For me, that’s kind of the worst part of it. Even when you’re making good contact and make an out, you obviously want to be on base and contributing to the team.

Somerset manager Dan Fiorito pointed out how important it is for players to go through adversity and come out stronger on the other side. With the top team, slugger Joey Gallo is experiencing that reality now, having a far more productive June than the previous two months since the start of the year.

“To see guys go through adversity is so important, from position players to pitchers,” Fiorito said, per the NY Post. “When the game out there gets difficult, when the pressure is on the line or when they’re going through struggles themselves, to see what they’re really made of. That’s something that’s impressed me so much with Anthony. At 21 years old, with all the noise outside of the field, he handles it unbelievably. He just keeps pushing to get a little bit better every day.”

UFC 275 Preview: Zhang Weili – Joanna Jedrzejczyk 2

Tomorrow night on the main card of UFC 275, we will see a strawweight matchup that is a rematch from the 2020 Fight of the Year. Former strawweight champions Zhang Weili (21-3) and Joanna Jedrzejczyk (16-4) will meet for the second time.

Their first fight took place at UFC 248 just a little over two years ago. It was an absolute war with both fighters landing huge shots on the other. In the end, Zhang Weili defended her title at the time and won by split decision.

Since then, Joanna Jedrzejczyk hasn’t fought. She took some time away to heal and refocus. Now, she’s back and she looks happier than ever as she tries to climb back up the mountain to once again become champion.

Speaking of climbing back up the mountain, Zhang Weili is looking to do that. After having a dominant run to capture and defend the UFC title, Weili lost the title to Rose Namajunas last year. She then lost the immediate rematch to Namajunas. She’s looking to defeat Jedrzejczyk for the second time to get back to the title.

UFC 275 Prediction

Earlier this week, Dana White really upped the stakes for this matchup. He confirmed that the winner of this fight will be next for newly crowned UFC champion Carla Esparza so in addition to being a massive fight, there’s so much on the line.

One thing I’m going to watch for is Weili’s wrestling. In her last fight with Namajunas, we really saw her try to go to that. She had been training with Henry Cejudo in preparation for that fight. She didn’t train for Cejudo for this fight.

It wouldn’t be the worst strategy to focus on grappling Jedrzejczyk. For Jedrzejczyk, I’m really curious to see how fresh she looks on the feet. Jedrzejczyk might look better than ever at UFC 275 having had the time to refocus on her career.

I’ve really gone back-and-forth on this pick. All week long, I thought I’d pick Weili. I think she lands with bigger power and that might sway the judges at UFC 275. However, I have this nagging feeling that Jedrzejczyk is going to pull it out.

Call me crazy, but I think the time off will prove to be a good thing. I think we see her sharper than ever and I expect another razor close fight. In fact, I’ll say now that I see another split decision. However, Jedrzejczyk will get the nod at UFC 275.

Prediction: Joanna Jedrzejczyk by Split Decision

UFC 275 Co-Main Event Preview: Valentina Shevchenko – Taila Santos

Tomorrow night in the co-main event of UFC 275, the women’s flyweight title is on the line. The undisputed queen makes her return as Valentina Shevchenko (22-3) will look to add another ruby to her title as she defends against Brazil’s Taila Santos (19-1).

For Santos, she rides a four-fight winning streak into UFC 275. She was introduced to UFC fans via Dana White’s Contender Series. At the time, she was unbeaten and she was given a contract. Unfortunately, she lost her debut by split decision.

That said, she’s been perfect since. In her last two fights, she’s picked up big wins over Roxanne Modafferi and Joanne Wood. The Wood win was very impressive as she submitted her in the first round.

However, let’s be clear, she’s never met a challenge like she’ll see at UFC 275. I’ve long held the belief that Valentina Shevchenko is the best fighter in the world. She’s the best pound-for-pound and she’s been flawless at 125. She’s defended her title six times and she’s looking for tomorrow night to be another night at the office.

UFC 275 Prediction

Let me start out by stating here that Taila Santos is a very good flyweight. She has good striking and she has good grappling. I think that she is a dangerous contender when you compare her to the rest of the contenders at 125.

However, the key part to that statement is comparing her to other contenders. That’s not what is in front of her at UFC 275. Valentina Shevchenko is miles and miles ahead of every contender at 125 pounds. She is truly out of this world and every time someone thinks they found her weakness, she wins even more dominantly than expected.

Her speed is going to be a huge issue for Santos. I think that Shevchenko’s ability to bounce in and out with lightning fast combinations is going to get overwhelming for Santos. Don’t get me wrong, Santos will land shots, but they will be few and far between.

Now, we saw Jennifer Maia control Shevchenko for a round in their fight. Perhaps Santos will look to grapple at UFC 275. However, Shevchenko is insanely strong and I’m not convinced that Santos will get her down and be able to keep her down.

Ultimately, this is Valentina’s world and we are just living in it. I think she’ll make another statement tomorrow and pick up a late finish to defend her title and secure another ruby.

Prediction: Valentina Shevchenko by TKO – Round 4

Giants’ rookie TE Daniel Bellinger shines, making push for starting job

daniel bellinger, giants

The New York Giants have had a polarizing experience at the tight end position over the past few seasons. Former first-round pick Evan Engram has provided inconsistent hands and spotty blocking during his five-year career with the Giants. However, the team went in a different direction this past off-season, as Engram signed a one-year, $9 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Giants wanted blocking, and they got it:

New general manager Joe Schoen drafted San Diego State TE Daniel Bellinger in the fourth round, providing a great blocking option from the position with upside as a receiver.

Bellinger is already making an impression during mini camp, utilizing his strong hands and blocking pedigree to help carve out a legitimate role for the 2022 season. Last year with San Diego State, Bellinger finished with 353 total yards and two touchdowns. Impressively, he didn’t drop a single pass in 2021 and has a 4.2% drop rate in his entire career. That will be a welcomed statistic for most Giants fans.

When asked about a specific skill set, Ballinger harped on his ability to block well.

“I like being able to block somebody,” Bellinger said, per Art Stapleton of NorthJersey.com. “I feel like that‘s football. It’s how I grew up, with a mindset that, hitting somebody is football. So blocking somebody is football. I love blocking.”

At 6’5″ and 253 pounds, Bellinger has great size at the position and phenomenal straight-line speed. At the NFL Combine, he ranked in the 82nd percentile in the 40-yard dash, earning a 4.63 second time. He also has some of the biggest hands in the position, ranking in the 99th percentile with 11-inch hands.

New tight ends coach Andy Bischoff has raved about Bellinger’s skill set, indicating he has all the tools to become a great player in the NFL.

“He’s one of those rare guys today that can really do it all,” Giants tight ends coach Andy Bischoff said of Bellinger. “He can block, he can protect and what we want him to do is get open against man coverage. He can do all those things.”

Bischoff has an impressive history of developing tight ends. Notably, he helped groom Mark Andrews into one of the best players at the position. Bellinger and Andrews have an eerily similar frame, which is something the Giants can work with this off-season and into the 2022 campaign.

Considering Big Blue signed Ricky Seals-Jones and Jordan Akins to one-year contracts, they are better off developing Bellinger as a rookie than placing him behind several journeymen options. Nonetheless, the depth chart is far from settled, but Bellinger’s positive impression is already indicating a bright future.

Yankees’ Joey Gallo making trade deadline decision even more difficult

joey gallo, yankees

The New York Yankees have a few big decisions to make with the trade deadline quickly approaching. The team had two major liabilities in the outfield: Aaron Hicks and Joey Gallo.

They’ve begun to pick up the pace in the month of June, making the decision to replace them even more difficult.

Specifically focusing on Gallo, he’s hitting .273 with a 33.3% on base rate this month. He’s launched three homers and collected six RBIs, including five hits over his last three games combined.

The Yankees are between a rock and a hard place with Gallo if he keeps up the good hitting:

The 28-year-old outfielder is in the final year of his contract before becoming a free agent in 2023. There is an argument to be made at the Yankees should target Kansas City Royals OF Andrew Benintendi to replace him, given his ability to get on base. However, with Gallo finally hitting his stride, general manager Brian Cashman may decide to stick with his guns.

Gallo hit two homers against the Minnesota Twins on Thursday, helping to fuel a phenomenal comeback after Gerrit Cole give up five homers in just 2.1 innings.

“It was nice to see a ball over the fence,” Gallo said. “I’d like a lot more of those.”

Gallo has changed his swing a bit the past few games, moving his hands a bit higher, allowing him to generate more power with added control. On the season, he’s hitting .193 with eight homers and 13 RBIs. His 38.8% strikeout rate is still well above average and the highest of any starting player on the roster.

“I moved my hands a little bit higher to start,” Gallo said. “I’m getting back to where I was early last year, kind of where I’ve been the whole life. So I’m just feeling good with that and rolling with it.”

Consistency is key:

Hopefully, his new stance can alleviate some of his most prevalent concerns. He needs to get on base more to start, earning a 29% on-base rate. Last season, he was getting on base at a 35% clip, hosting an 18% walk rate. That number has dropped to 12.1% this year, hurting him significantly. If Gallo can make better contact and maintain his patience, he can provide a ton of value for the Yankees down the stretch. In addition, he did win a Gold Glove in the outfield last year, so he is a serviceable defensive player at the very least.

The question is, is it worth forgetting about the first two months of the season after just a few games of better play from Gallo? Cashman might still want an upgrade in the outfield, and with Benintendi hitting .312 and a 38% on-base rate, it’s hard to ignore the opportunity.

Clint Frazier takes shot at Yankees ahead of weekend series against Cubs

New York Yankees, Clint Frazier

There may not be a more disappointing New York Yankees prospect than Clint Frazier, who was once expected to be a staple in the outfield after joining the team in 2017.

Frazier faced his fair share of adversity, dealing with vertigo and migraines after suffering a concussion early in his career. During the 2019 season, Clint showed signs of life, hitting .267 with 12 homers and 38 RBIs. General manager Brian Cashman finally believed he could be an everyday outfielder, but his production quickly fell off in 2020, and he failed to replicate his performance in 2021, seeing his average drop to .186.

Frazier is on the Cubs, but he’s still struggling to find his groove:

The Yankees elected to let Frazier go after the 2021 campaign, where he made his way to the Chicago Cubs, looking for another opportunity at glory.

‘‘I like it here,’’ Frazier said of Chicago, per the Chicago Sun Times. ‘‘Certainly don’t miss some of the things over there. And I’m really enjoying the way that this clubhouse has maneuvered. It seems like there’s a lot of guys in here that are just accepting of everyone. And it’s been really good for me.

Frazier had some tough words regarding the Yankees and how they built their team. The Cubs have allowed him to be himself and a unique player, but that still hasn’t helped him elevate his quality of play.

“You had to be a cookie-cutter version to be on that team,” he continued of the Yankees. “If not, then you were like a really bad distraction, it seemed like. So I don’t miss being told how I had to look for the last five years.”

This season, Frazier has played in 19 games, hitting .216 with zero homers and one RBI. By all accounts, he’s playing far worse than he ever did with the Yankees aside from the 2021 season. It is interesting that Frazier is making these claims ahead of the team’s series over the weekend.

In the same breath, Clint made a plea to management to give him more opportunities and reps at the big league level.

UFC 275 Main Event Preview: Glover Teixeira – Jiri Prochazka

Anthony Smith, UFC

Tomorrow night in the main event of UFC 275, the light heavyweight title is on the line. Glover Teixeira (33-7) will look to continue his magical run and defend his title for the first time when he takes on the surging Jiri Prochazka (28-3-1).

A few years ago, things were not looking great for Glover Teixeira in the UFC. He had been viciously knocked out by Rumble Johnson, Alexander Gustafsson, and decisioned by Corey Anderson. The dream of Teixeira being a UFC champion was quickly fading.

However, he didn’t give up. On the heels of his grappling, Teixeira rattled off five straight wins to earn a shot at Jan Blachowicz. Ultimately, he was able to submit Blachowicz and became the light heavyweight champion at UFC 267 last October.

Now, while Teixeira might have the belt, many consider Jiri Prochazka to be the best light heavyweight in the world. Prochazka has won 12 fights in a row leading up to UFC 275. In his two UFC appearances, he’s looked sensational knocking out Volkan Oezdemir and Dominick Reyes.

UFC 275 Prediction

I feel like I’ve been picking against Glover Teixeira for the last few years. The UFC light heavyweight champion is constantly overlooked because of his age and I can honestly say I’ve been one of the people who has counted him out.

Up until this point, he’s proved me wrong. However, I’m not sure he can continue that at UFC 275. For Teixeira, he’s going to need to get this fight to the ground. I think if the fight takes place on the feet for the most part, Jiri Prochazka is going to win the light heavyweight title.

Both Teixeira and Prochazka have been hit clean inside the octagon. For Teixeira, I see a path to victory by rocking Prochazka on the feet and following it up with a takedown. Once there, I could see him beating Prochazka down until he could lock up a choke.

However, that’s not what I see playing out. I think that Prochazka is going to prove at UFC 275 that he’s the best in the world. I think we see some solid exchanges in the first couple of rounds and in the second round, Prochazka lands a big shot. He will follow up and get the stoppage victory to become the light heavyweight champion.

Prediction: Jiri Prochazka by TKO – Round 2

New York Rangers face elimination after failing to win Game 5 Thursday night

The New York Rangers face elimination for the sixth time in these playoffs after they were unable to keep home-ice advantage in a 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night at MSG.

The New York Rangers find themselves in a familiar situation after losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning, 3-1, on Thursday night.  For the sixth time in these Stanley Cup Playoffs, they face elimination.

For a glimpse of a moment, it looked as if the Rangers would take a 2-1 lead with 5:48  left in the third period when center Ryan Strome had a pass by Andrew Copp come to him but he was unable to handle the pass and a glorious opportunity to win the game slid under his stick.

The Lightning’s Ondrej Palat then scored on a deflection of Mikhail Sergachev’s wrist shot into traffic from the right point at 18:10 of the third period and Tampa Bay found a way to take a 3-1 win back to Tampa Bay now one win from their third consecutive trip to the Stanley Cup Final.

Lack Of Scoring

Even strength scoring has been non-existent for the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals since Game 2 of the series. Defenseman Ryan Lindgren scored his second goal of the playoffs in the second period to give the Blueshirts a 1-0 lead.

It was the team’s first five-on-five goal since Artemi Panarin scored in the third period 30 seconds into the final session.

Not one Ranger player on the four offensive lines has scored a five-on-five goal in nine periods.

The Rangers have been guilty of being too slow when they have the puck, and lack any sustainable forecheck when they are in the Lightning end of the ice.

Over-passing has been the team’s public enemy number one over the last nine periods. Tampa’s goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy has played very well after a rusty start. He is playing so well that the Rangers seem to think they can’t beat him straight on and believe they need to get him moving post to post for any chance to score a goal.

“I think you can always say in a game you can get more, but the chances were there,” defenseman Jacob Trouba said. “The goalie made some good saves. It was a tight game, could go either way, and that’s what makes it more frustrating for us, I think. It’s not like we’re getting the doors blown off us. We’re in these games. We’re right there.”

Played Well Enough To Win

Despite the lack of scoring, the Rangers played well enough to win. Unfortunately, this was the second game of the series where the team could not hold a third-period lead and lost the contest in the closing minutes of the third period.

Coach Gallant liked what he saw in Game 5 after a disappointing Game 4 result.

“I thought we played well, well enough to win, and it didn’t go our way.” Gallant went on to say, “We played a sound hockey game, it’s tough to lose like that at the end.”

In order to win this series now, it will take wins in both Game 6 on the road and a potential Game 7 at the Garden on Tuesday night.

This team has shown it can overcome everything thrown its way all season. The road to the Finals is much harder than a week ago, but it’s something they can accomplish.

Follow Frank Curto on Twitter at @RangerProud