The Wolfpacker

September 2018

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 91 of 95

92 ■ THE WOLFPACKER ■ PACK PROS affiliates — although he landed on the seven- day disabled list Aug. 5. In 80 combined appearances between the Cardinals' two highest-level minor league teams, Knizner was batting .323 with 91 hits, 39 runs scored, 17 doubles, six home runs and 42 RBI. He was actually better at the plate in his 14 contests with the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds (.333 batting average, .400 on-base percentage) than the 66 games he's spent with the Double-A Springfield Cardinals (.321, .382, respectively). However, he's with an organization with one of the strongest batch of catchers in the league, though he's making a strong case to continue moving up the ranks. "In nearly any other system, the 23-year- old backstop would be facing the challenge of Triple-A, but with [nine-time All-Star] Yadier Molina in St. Louis and [24-year-old] Carson Kelly needing consistent playing time with Memphis, Knizner has been left to toil in the Texas League,"'s Sam Dykstra wrote in late July. Darrion Caldwell Looking To Become Latest Two-Division MMA Champ Former national champion wrestler Dar- rion Caldwell ascended to the top of his cur- rent sport — mixed martial arts (MMA) — when he won the Bellator Bantamweight (135 pounds) World Championship on Oct. 6, 2017. He defended his crown in March with a first-round submission victory, and now has a new goal in his sights — becoming a two-di- vision champion in the world's No. 2 MMA organization, behind the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). The UFC had its first simultaneous two- division champion less than two years ago — when featherweight king Conor McGregor moved up to win the lightweight title in No- vember 2016. Daniel Cormier became the second when he claimed the heavyweight belt July 7, adding to his light heavyweight gold. Bellator, which was founded in 2008, has never had one person hold two belts at the same time, and Caldwell is looking to be- come the first. He'll return to featherweight (145 pounds) — the weight he fought his first six professional fights at, but has not competed at since October 2014 — at Bel- lator 204 Aug. 17. The main card, which is headlined by the 12-1 Caldwell taking on 12-3 Noad Lahat in a non-title fight, will be- gin at 9 p.m. on Paramount Network. If the 30-year-old Caldwell wins, the next logical step would be for him to meet cur- rent Bellator featherweight champion Patrício Freire, who has not lost since August 2016, in a matchup of two of the organization's best fighters. Caldwell has expressed interest in fighting the champion, especially after tapping out one of his teammates and having Freire inter- rupt the post-fight interview. The two have also exchanged trash talk on Twitter. "I just want to fight everybody," Caldwell told "The MMA Hour" after his first bantam- weight title defense. "I don't want to keep fighting the same guys that I fought. … My goal is to be a two-division champ." Caldwell is currently ranked as the No. 7 bantamweight in the world, regardless of organizational home, by ■ A look at where former NC State players on NFL rosters as of Aug. 8 stand on their respective teams: Likely To "Redshirt" DL Kentavius Street, San Francisco 49ers* The fourth-round pick's roster spot is safe, but he's not likely to see the field after tearing his ACL just weeks before the NFL Draft. Fighting For Roster Spots CB Jonathan Alston, Miami Dolphins^ CB Juston Burris, New York Jets RB Matthew Dayes, Cleveland Browns LB Jerod Fernandez, Washington Redskins^ QB Mike Glennon, Arizona Cardinals TE David Grinnage, Jacksonville Jaguars CB Dontae Johnson, Seattle Seahawks DT T.Y. McGill, Kansas City Chiefs LB Airius Moore, Arizona Cardinals^ CB Jack Tocho, Minnesota Vikings The safest bets from this list to make rosters are prob - ably Burris, Glennon and Johnson, but each is in a deep position battle. Glennon's status comes down to how many quarterbacks the Cardinals keep on the roster — fellow free agent addition Sam Bradford is expected to be the starter but is injury prone, while first-round pick Josh Rosen is the quarterback of the future but still a rookie. If Glennon plays well in the preseason, he'll get a shot somewhere — even if it's not in Arizona. Fighting For Playing Time/Rotational Players QB Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis Colts RB Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts* DT Justin Jones, Los Angeles Chargers* OL Ted Larsen, Miami Dolphins OL Will Richardson, Jacksonville Jaguars* RB Jaylen Samuels, Pittsburgh Steelers* OG J.R. Sweezy, Seattle Seahawks Brissett could wind up opening some games if starter Andrew Luck is not healthy enough to open the season. The Colts reportedly turned down trade offers for Bris - sett during the offseason. Larsen started all eight games he played in last year, but goes into training camp as the Dolphins' sixth lineman. Sweezy is probably in a similar position after he was cut by the Buccaneers and signed with the Seahawks Aug. 1. The rookies outside of Rich - ardson are likely to see the most action, particularly the versatile Hines, who has already been dubbed the Colts' starting punt and kick returner. Good Bets To Start Or See Significant Action CB David Amerson, Kansas City Chiefs LB Bradley Chubb, Denver Broncos* DL B.J. Hill, New York Giants* S Josh Jones, Green Bay Packers Amerson started all six games he played in last year for the Raiders but was cut this offseason — he's normally at his best with something to prove (i.e. after the Redskins released him two games into his third professional campaign), and he's at a career crossroads again on a one-year deal. Hill and Chubb were both listed as starters on their team's first depth charts in early August. No. 5 overall pick Chubb will play a prominent role, whether he of - ficially starts or not — and he should thrive opposite Von Miller, one of the league's best pass rushers. Jones played in every contest as a rookie last year, starting seven times, and should take the reins of the top strong safety spot in Green Bay. Locks For The Lineup K Stephen Hauschka, Buffalo Bills QB Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers OL Joe Thuney, New England Patriots QB Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks This quartet is starting as long as they're healthy. Wilson is one of the league's elite quarterbacks, and Rivers isn't far behind despite the fact that he'll turn 37 in December. Thuney has started all 38 regular- season and playoff games during his two-year career, playing more than 99.5 percent of the snaps each season, and is still improving. Hauschka has kicked in less-than-ideal weather cities for much of his ca - reer — Seattle and Buffalo — but is still one of the league's best. Players who finished their careers at other schools but are in training camps: TE Pharoah McKever^ (Florida International), Pittsburgh Steel - ers; WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling* (South Florida), Green Bay Packers * Rookie draft pick; ^ undrafted rookie Where Pack Pros Stand Going Into NFL Training Camps Bradley Chubb was listed as the starting strongside linebacker on the Broncos' depth chart released Aug. 7. PHOTO BY GABRIEL CHRISTUS/DENVER BRONCOS

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolfpacker - September 2018