After the dust settles on the NFL season, each franchise outlines what they need going forward for the next one. Much of that planning is going ahead during the season, but the NFL Draft is where it all comes to a point. Every team is fortunate enough to get stronger thanks to the draft, but these are the franchises who really won this year’s recruitment drive.
The New York Giants
Sometimes you just have to accept that the team you’re building is going to take a little time to come into its own. The Giants had the next few years in mind with their draft picks, although Deandre Baker and Dexter Lawrence will come into the line up immediately. Their first pick of the 2019 draft was Daniel Jones, and in a few years, he is expected to be a standout player.
Sometimes a team just has a great year in the draft and you know they’re set up for great things right away. Washington were in desperate need of a big draft, and they managed to pull one out of the bag. They managed to draft in a franchise quarterback in the shape of Dwayne Haskins and managed to steal the fastest edge rusher in Montez Sweat.
Then the Redskins managed to bring in WR Terry McLaurin, who played with Haskins at Ohio State. As if that wasn’t enough, they picked up the steal of the entire draft by taking RB Bryce Love in the fourth round. After several disappointing years, they could be set for a big 2019.
There is some optimism surrounding the Bills following their draft picks. Buffalo managed to fix many of their problems and came out with some exciting prospects. They grabbed Ed Oliver, 2019’s highest-graded defensive tackles and Cory Ford is going to provide excellent cover for second-year QB Josh Allen.
The Bills are putting together an exciting young team, and in Dawson Knox, they have found a tight end to fix their problem that hasn’t gone away in recent years. Finally, Devin Singletary is going to learn a lot from the veteran running backs ahead of him, and after a year of bedding in, he’ll be a force in 2020.
Everyone’s a winner when the draft comes around, but these teams have made major gains in areas they all desperately needed.
Gone are the days when false beliefs about women participating in sports dominated society. Nowadays, many women have become notable personalities on and off the pitch, and some have even successfully done both, like Alanna Rizzo, who was an accomplished athlete before she started working as a sports journalist. Alanna Rizzo initially earned an undergraduate degree in international business, but eventually, her interests moved away from the world of business. She then returned to the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she received an M.A. in broadcast journalism in 2003. Rizzo went on to win three regional Emmy Awards.
Alex Curry was a soccer player throughout her youth and continued her career in college, where she won the NISRA title in 2006. As a lifelong Southern California resident, Alex is always finding new ways to give back to her community and can often be found volunteering at GrowingGreat, a charity that encourages healthy eating. Alex Curry is now a TV host and reporter for FOX Sports. Alex has covered everything from E! News Now to football, baseball, hockey, volleyball, and action sports all around the world.
We’ve watched her on the sidelines, followed her on social media and even learned a thing or two while watching her interviews. Beauty, brains, sports, what more can we ask for? Coming from a family of athletes, it makes perfect sense that Allie LaForce played basketball for the university team while studying at Ohio State, where she majored in broadcast journalism. She also appeared in the charity basketball game, Celebrity Cheese Crunch Classic, back in 2008. Allie went on to win a 2011 Emmy award for anchoring FOX 8’s Friday Night Touchdown high school football show.
Cari Champion attended UCLA, where she landed an internship with CNN. Following her graduation, she was brought on board with the Tennis Network to follow the Williams sister’s tennis careers. Cari was drawn to journalism to challenge and change negative stereotypes: “I wanted to give people a voice that didn’t have a voice. I’m always fighting for the underdog. I’m not sure where I got it from, but I’ve been like that all my life. That’s why I love journalism.”
Carissa Thompson was born and raised in Seattle, Washington, and she always knew she wanted to be a broadcaster from an early age. However, she graduated from UCLA with a degree in Law and Society. She has been the host of many sports programs including, NHL on Versus and the NFL on Fox Sports. Carissa was also one of the hosts of Ultimate Beastmaster, and for three consecutive years, she was a co-host on the entertainment news show Extra.
Erin Andrews is a TV personality and sportscaster, and definitely in the sports reporting hall of fame. Erin is most well known for her roles on ESPN College Gameday and Good Morning America, and frequently appears as the host of Dancing with the Stars. In an interview, Erin said that growing up she always described herself as a tomboy. She lived a life that always revolved around sports, whether that was watching NBA games with her father or playing basketball at school.
Heidi Watney is a host and sideline reporter for the Major League Baseball Network. Heidi Watney attended Clovis West High School in Fresno, participating in hurdles, diving, gymnastics, and cheerleading. Heidi was a National Merit Scholar and earned a scholarship to San Diego State, where she graduated with honors. She also took part in the Miss California USA pageant, where she was the first runner-up in 2002. Her experience includes sportscasting roles at New England Sports Network in Boston and Time Warner Cable SportsNet in Los Angeles.
Jimena Sanchez is one of the most recognized Mexican women on American television, as she appears as a host on Fox Sports. She boasts many followers on her social media accounts, not only for her beauty but also for her talent on camera. Jimena is currently the host of Lo Mejor De Fox Sports on Fox Sports 2. A lover of American sports, Sanchez’s favorite teams are the Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Lakers, and New York Yankees!
The Texas native graduated from Texas A&M University and worked in College Station after graduation for TexAgs.com, where she took on multiple roles, including radio personality, stand-in host, and producer. Smith has a passion for and an extensive background in sports talk radio. Kayce Smith is currently located in New York, New York, where she is a personality at Barstool Sports and SiriusXM. Before relocating to NYC, she lived in Boston in 2017-2018, where she was a part of NBC Sports Boston.
Kaylee Hartung is a reporter for ABC News, and she was previously a reporter for the news channel CNN as well as for the sports channel ESPN, where she contributed to the SEC Network. Kaylee earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in journalism and politics from Washington and Lee University, graduating in 2007. Kaylee was also a CBSNews.com reporter on the daily Washington Unplugged program and a featured correspondent for Unplugged Under 40. In July 2019, ABC announced she was joining the Disney family as a correspondent based out of New York City.
Kelsey Wingert is a journalist that previously worked for Fox Sports South covering the Atlanta Braves and other teams that Fox Sports South covers. In the offseason, she does studio cut-ins for NBA and NHL games and does sideline reporting for Atlantic Coast Conference football games. Kelsey Wingert grew up in Sugar Land, Texas, and graduated from Louisiana State University in 2014, where she played volleyball and was a member of the sorority group Delta Zeta. She picked LSU because of the TV broadcast department.
Kristine Leahy gained fame for hosting the American action game show American Ninja Warrior back in 2010. She earned her degree from Boston University and bounced around news stations as an anchor before being hired by the NBC network. Kristine moved to Los Angeles back in 2012 and contributed as a sideline reporter for Turner Sports’ March Madness coverage. Kristine is the former co-host and newswoman of Fox Sports 1’s simulcast of The Herd with Colin Cowherd.
Laura Rutledge was born in St Petersburg, Florida, and won the Miss Florida title in 2012; her competition talent was ballet. Laura is a graduate of the University of Florida, having majored in broadcast journalism. She is known for her contributions to ESPN, where she is featured in multiple shows, including the SEC Network, and as a host for CNN International. She is also the producer and host of SDLive, an original show she started at Fox Sports San Diego.
Maria Taylor grew up in Alpharetta, Georgia, where she attended Centennial High School, earning many accolades for volleyball starting in high school, through college. Among her awards were being a member of the Atlanta Tip-Off Team of the Year and MVP of her high school volleyball team. Nowadays, she covers all things college football and has an outstanding reputation with the ESPN network as an analyst and host. In 2019, Taylor began hosting NBA Countdown, the pre-game show for ESPN’s Friday night and Sunday afternoon NBA games.
Marakovits grew up in Allentown, Pennsylvania where she earned a volleyball scholarship to play at La Salle University. Meredith is known for reporting on the Yankees as the YES network host, and for her presence online at YESNetwork.com. Meredith worked as a sideline reporter for the Philadelphia 76ers on Comcast SportsNet. Before her work in Philadelphia, she began her career by serving as both the pre- and post-game host and reporter for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs for the television network in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Molly McGrath attended Boston College and graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and Broadcast Journalism. After graduating, Molly worked at ESPN as a production assistant, where she produced highlights, logged play-by-plays, as well as other support tasks for various ESPN shows. Molly McGrath has hosted several sportscasts on FOX as well as a revival of the robot-fighting show Battlebots on ABC. After her hiatus, she returned to the sports network with ESPN to cover college football.
Olivia Harlan is now known as Olivia Dekker after she married Sam Dekker, the professional basketball player. Oliva has covered all things football including SEC and ACC broadcasts for Fox South and a web series for the Green Bay Packers. Olivia and her father Kevin Harlan made history by being the first father-daughter team to call an NFL game when the San Francisco 49ers played the Green Bay Packers. She is an active philanthropist, for her wedding, she asked her guests to donate to the Children’s Center Family Foundation, instead of gifts, raising over $65,000!
Diletta Leotta is an Italian television presenter from Catania, Sicily. Leotta studied Law at the Luiss University in Rome and graduated in 2015. She currently presents the Serie A broadcasts for DAZN since the 2018–2019 season. Earlier, she hosted Serie B games on Sky Sport in Italy. From April to August of 2018, Leotta worked alongside Aída Yéspica as the host of 105 Take Away, a program of Radio 105 Network. In 2020, Leotta co-presented the 70th annual edition of the Sanremo Music Festival.
Rebecca Haarlow has an extensive career reporting for MSG Network, NBA TV, NBA on TNT, Fox Sports Net, the NFL Network and the Big Ten Network. A Chicago native, she spent her youth as a track star, securing six state medals. She also graduated from Princeton University. She scored 4,700 in the 1999 Ivy League Heptagonal Outdoor Championships in which is the second-highest mark in Princeton history, finishing in third place with that score. Now that is amazing, well done Rebecca!
Samantha Ponder is a career broadcaster who, after graduating from King’s College, began as a sideline reporter for smaller college football and basketball games. Her big break came when she was promoted to host the College Gameday segment on ESPN. She is currently hosting the Sunday NFL Countdown on ESPN. Samantha was named host of Sunday NFL Countdown. She’s just the third person to occupy this position in the 32-year history of ESPN’s Sunday morning NFL pregame show.
Sara Carbonero Arévalo
Sara Carbonero Arévalo is a Spanish sports journalist. When Sara was in the third year of her Journalism degree from the Complutense University of Madrid, she began as an intern at Radio Marca, and six months later she was hired as a paid employee. In April 2009, she signed with Telecinco as an editor and sports presenter. Telecinco is a free-programming Hispanic channel know for it’s myriad of programs. A notable event was her coverage in the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the unexpected Swiss victory over the Spaniards.
Brittany May McHenry is a former ESPN personality. Nowadays she works as a commentator on Fox Nation, Fox News’ 24/7 streaming service. Soon after graduating from the Medill School of Journalism, Brittany began her illustrious career working as a sports reporter and fill-in anchor for ABC Television’s Washington affiliate, and its sister station NewsChannel 8. She spent two weeks at Fox Sports San Diego as a sideline reporter on the San Diego Padres telecasts, and she then returned to ABC 7.
Michelle Beisner is currently a feature reporter for ESPN and is also a member of the Monday Night Countdown crew, along with Monday Night Football. Before that, she had an eight-year tenure at the NFL Network as the host of NFL Weekly Countdown and served as a sideline reporter for NFL Total Access and NFL GameDay Morning. Michelle is not just a reporter but also a talented actress and has acted in the films Any Given Sunday, Throttle, and Alice in Wasteland.
Kacie McDonnell was born and raised in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. She went to Villanova University where she graduated in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in Communications. Kacie is a Fox News talent mostly on the Fox Nation Subscription Channel as a lifestyle and sports host. Her first assignment ever was hosting the red carpet in the Patriot Awards in 2019. Before joining Fox News, Kacie began her career in sports at WTXF-TV, delivering reports on the Philadelphia Eagles for Good Day Philadelphia.
After multiple years working in the states, Hawksworth finally returned to her native Canada to become a sports anchor/reporter for Rogers Sportsnet in Toronto. Hawksworth initially got her start as an intern for the National Broadcasting Company, covering the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. Erin has also served as a sports anchor for CNN. Erin worked for KCPQ, the Fox affiliate in Seattle as both a sports reporter and morning news anchor. Erin also worked for WFXT, the Fox affiliate in Boston, and KJCT in Grand Junction in Colorado.
Amanda Pflugrad currently works as the reporter for the 17-Time World Champion Boston Celtics. She conducts pre, and post-game interviews with both players and coaches, delivering live game recaps/analysis as well as providing daily updates from the practice. Her duties also including hosting the Celtics live pregame show during every home game. In 2015, Amanda was a sideline reporter for ESPN, covering women’s gymnastics. She continues her duties as an analyst and sideline reporter for the PAC-12 Network; covering college football, track and field, and gymnastics.
Jennifer Dell Middlebrooks, publicly known as Jenny Dell, is an NFL reporter for CBS Sports. She is about as versatile as sideline reporters get, need her to do baseball? Done. Want her to do some football? No problem, she’s done it all! After growing up in Connecticut, Jenny Dell attended college at the University of Massachusetts and earned her degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management. Back in 2012, Dell started dating Will Middlebrooks, at the time the third baseman for the Red Sox. The two became engaged in July 2014 and were married in February 2016.
Lauren Gardner is a Colorado native and American sportscaster who served as a sideline reporter and host for CBS Sports Network, Fox Sports Ohio, Smithsonian Channel and Altitude Sports and Entertainment. She has covered the NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, College football and College basketball. More recently, Lauren Gardener joined the DAZN team as a host of the MLB whip around the show, Change-Up in 2019 and is part of NHL and MLB Networks where she works on various programs.
Sage Steele is one of the best female reporters in the game, there’s no doubt about it. She attended Thomas B. Doherty High School in Colorado Springs for two years, then she transferred to Carmel, Indiana, and attended Carmel High School as a senior, graduating in 1990. She attended Indiana University Bloomington and graduated in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science degree in sports communication. It was precisely 20 years later that she was the commencement speaker at the 2015 Indiana University undergraduate commencement, which she considers the highest honor of her career.
Jennifer Lynne Brown was acollegiate athlete for the University of Florida, where she worked as a reporter and host for eight years for ESPN and American Ninja Warrior. Jenn grew up with a passion for sports. She played and captained several sports in High School. Before ESPN, Jenn worked for Showtime Sports as a reporter for two consecutive years. Brown was a special correspondent on Inside the NFL for two seasons, which won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Studio Show in 2008.
Jen started her career in journalism at KNOE-TV in Monroe, Louisiana, which sent her to Baton Rouge as their capitol correspondent in Louisiana. While she was a weekend anchor and reporter for WVTM in Birmingham, Alabama, she wrote a book called Historic Plantations of Alabama’s Black Belt in 2009. Jen is currently working for Fox Sports as an NFL sideline reporter. She also covers NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans for Fox Sports New Orleans, as well as college football for Fox Sports.
The beautiful and popular journalist was born on June 21, 1983, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Kristina went on to attend the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications and graduated with a news broadcasting degree in 2006. Now she can be found hosting shows as a sports reporter and anchor and is well-known for making appearances on CNN shows such as New Day and Weekend Express with Lynn Smith. Kristina Akra also covers the Atlanta Braves on FoxSports South with in-game reports from the field.
Kristen Ledlow was the third runner up in the 2010 Miss Florida USA pageant and a former Miss Capital City USA. Now, she’s the host of NBA Inside Stuff on NBA TV. She attended Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, majoring in broadcasting and communications, while minoring in business, and graduated in 2010. After college, Ledlow became an anchor at WTXL-TV, hosting the Good News Show, while writing for the Tallahassee Quarterback Club and working on radio for ESPN Tallahassee, later becoming a sideline reporter for Florida State Seminoles football games.
Jamie Erdahl is originally from Minnesota, as she was born and raised in Bloomington. She went on to graduate from the Breck School in 2007. Jamie is currently a reporter for CBS Sports where she’s the lead sideline reporter for The SEC on CBS, teaming up with Brad Nessler and Gary Danielson. Jamie also covers the NCAA basketball during the season and March Madness for CBS/Turner. She joined the company in 2014 and still contributes to CBS Sports Network as a studio host.
Kathryn Tappen hails from Morristown, New Jersey. Growing up, she played baseball and basketball on the boy’s team because there were no teams for girls at her school, and she wasn’t going to let that stop her. In her senior year of high school, Kathryn focused solely on track, and as a result, she received academic and athletic scholarships to attend Rutgers University. While studying at Rutgers, Tappen majored in journalism and was a member of the cross-country and track teams until she graduated in 2003.
Amanda Balionis has become a household name to golf fans who tune in to TNT and CBS Sports broadcasts. Amanda climbed her way up to the top, starting her media career at Hofstra University, where she majored in Broadcast Journalism and worked at the student newspaper. She interned for several stations, and from there, she started her professional career at a local newspaper in Lancaster. In 2011 she began as a reporter for the PGA Tour, then went to Callaway, eventually working her way to CBS Sports in 2017.
Jill Arrington attended the University of Miami and graduated with a degree in Broadcast Journalism; she then began her broadcasting career as a producer for five years for the entertainment show called Main Floor and a year producing for Paramount’s Real TV. She was previously a sports anchor at KCBS-TV and KCAL 9 in Los Angeles. Jill Arrington has since married Dean Panaro, a four-time NCAA Champion diver. Together, they have a daughter named Presley Kate Panaro, born in 2004.
Many recognize Shannon Spake for her work with Fox Sports, where she handles all anchor duties for the NASCAR Cup Series as well as NASCAR Series races and pre-race shows. She was also a college football and basketball reporter for Fox Sports. Previously, she worked for ESPN, where she contributed to SportsCenter and also worked as a sideline reporter for SEC on ESPN basketball games as well as college football games. In 2017 Spake was the voice of Shannon Spokes in the Pixar film Cars 3.
Melissa is a television personality and sportscaster, probably most well-known for her three-year term as a sideline reporter for Monday Night Football. She’s currently a reporter for the NFL Network and has previously had worked with NBC, primarily at its MSNBC subsidiary. Melissa began her career at WMAR-TV in Baltimore in 1991 as a news intern working on the assignment desk. Melissa was a news intern for the CBS Evening News, where she wrote scripts and assembled background information on investigative pieces for health correspondent Dr. Bob Arnot.
Melanie Collins is another example of a Broadcast Journalism graduate who has worked hard to achieve her dream as a reporter at the top of her profession. She is currently working as an NFL sideline reporter for CBS Sports and the host of the show Big Break. Melanie was the face of Yahoo! Sports, where her assignments included reporting from all major sporting events across the globe. Melanie also served as the host of the weekly show Fantasy Football Live.
Jenn Sterger is an American model, television personality, and former online columnist for Sports Illustrated. She has worked as the Gameday Host for the New York Jets and was a co-host of the Versus sports news show The Daily Line. She currently works for All Elite Wrestling as a backstage interviewer. While Sterger’s name has been out of the spotlight in recent years, especially in NFL circles, she is still one of the most notable women in sports media over the last 20 years.