In the most significant trade from the first round of the NFL Draft, wide receiver A.J. Brown was traded from the Tennessee Titans to the Philadelphia Eagles for pick 18 and a third-rounder.

Brown, 24, is considered one of the best young receivers in the league, but is coming off his least productive season with 869 yards and five touchdowns from 63 catches, having battled injuries in 2021.

The Eagles previously traded up to pick 13, where they took defensive tackle Jordan Davis after four receivers were selected from the previous five picks.

Philadelphia were clearly determined not to end the night without a franchise-altering talent for quarterback Jalen Hurts to throw to, and parted ways with their second selection to make it happen.

After the trade, it was announced Brown had agreed to a four-year extension with Philadelphia worth up to $100million, with $47m guaranteed.

The Titans used pick 18 on Arkansas wide receiver Treylon Burks, who has received comparisons to both Brown and Deebo Samuel of the San Francisco 49ers.

The Detroit Lions did make a huge draft-day trade, but it was for wide receiver Jameson Williams rather than a quarterback.

Detroit, having picked Aidan Hutchinson second overall, traded the final pick in the first round (32nd overall) as well as selections 34 and 66 to move up to number 12 in a deal with the Minnesota Vikings, who also sent pick 46 to their NFC North rivals.

Many had thought the Lions might take a swing on Liberty's Malik Willis, the highest upside quarterback in an underwhelming class.

But they instead made the move for the premier deep receiving threat in the draft, showing faith in Williams to return quickly from the torn anterior cruciate ligament the Alabama star suffered in the National Championship Game in January.

A transfer from Ohio State, Williams' sole season with Alabama saw him rack up 79 catches for a team-high 1,572 yards, with his 15 touchdown catches tied for third in the FBS.

Nine of Williams' 15 touchdown catches were for 40 or more yards, while no player in the FBS produced more than his nine receptions of at least 50 yards.

According to Stats Perform data, Williams registered a burn, which is when a receiver wins his matchup on a play where he is targeted, on 74.6 per cent of his targets in 2021.

He comfortably led all receivers in burn yards per target, his average of 19.34 nearly five full yards better than that of his nearest challenger, Cincinnati's Alec Pierce (14.74), and was also the cream of the crop in burn yards per route (4.9).

The Lions may not yet have their quarterback of the future but, after acquiring Williams, they have the receiver they hope will be the favourite target of that as yet unidentified signal-caller.

The New Orleans Saints traded up to 11 in order to select wide receiver Chris Olave.

To make it happen, the Saints traded picks 16, 98 and 120 to the Washington Commanders.

Olave, 21, was the third receiver off the board after USC's Drake London went at eight, and Olave's Ohio State teammate Garrett Wilson was selected by the New York Jets at 10.

The shifty route-runner clocked in with a lightning-quick 4.39 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, and had two seasons with the Buckeyes where he had at least 12 touchdowns, with 13 touchdowns, 65 catches and 936 yards in 2021.

New Orleans will pick again at selection 19.

The Atlanta Falcons selected wide receiver Drake London with the eighth pick in the NFL Draft.

London, 20, was a two-sport athlete at the University of Southern California, initially playing basketball before committing full-time to football.

The 6'5 star broke out in a big way in 2021, recording 88 catches, 1084 yards and seven touchdowns in just eight games.

In six of his eight games, London had at least 130 yards, and caught at least nine passes in all but one fixture.

The Falcons are in big need of receiver help after former first-round pick and top option Calvin Ridley was suspended for betting on NFL games last season, when he was away from the team with an injury.

London was the first receiver selected on Thursday and while he was considered in contention for that honour, Ohio State's Garrett Wilson was the favourite, who ended up going 10th to the New York Jets.

Kayvon Thibodeaux is now a member of the New York Giants, claiming he spoke his selection with the fifth overall pick into existence.

Thibodeaux had once been in the conversation to be the first player off the board in Las Vegas, but saw fellow edge rushers Travon Walker and Aidan Hutchinson go before him with the first and second picks.

But he did not have to wait long to hear his name called, the Giants selecting the former Oregon star to boost a defense that ranked 26th in pass rush win rate in 2021, according to Stats Perform data. 

Blessed with an extremely explosive first step and the ability to translate speed to power and bend around the edge, Thibodeaux's pressure rate of 24.5 per cent last year was the fourth-best among edges in this class.

Speaking on stage after his selection, Thibodeaux said: "I manifested it, we had great talks. [The Giants] FaceTimed me right before I got on the plane."

Two selections later, the Giants bolstered the other side of the trenches, taking Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal seventh overall.

The Giants were 22nd in pass block win rate last year and will likely slide Neal in at right tackle, having taken left tackle Andrew Thomas fourth overall in 2020.

The Houston Texans sprung a surprise with the third overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, selecting cornerback Derek Stingley Jr.

Many had expected the Texans to take a pass protector or an edge rusher with their top choice.

However, after the Jacksonville Jaguars took Travon Walker and the Detroit Lions selected Aidan Hutchinson, the Texans instead elected to boost their secondary with Stingley.

Stingley was many observers' second-ranked corner in the class behind Cincinnati's Ahmad 'Sauce' Gardner.

But the Texans have backed Stingley to rediscover his remarkable form of his freshman year at LSU in 2019, when he helped the Tigers to a National Championship.

Stingley had six interceptions and 15 pass breakups that year, but he struggled to replicate that level of play in 2020 and missed most of 2021 through injury.

He will be tasked with improving a pass defense that allowed the third-most yards per pass play (7.12) in 2021.

The Jets (7.11) were fourth on that list and immediately followed the Texans by taking Gardner with the fourth overall pick.

The Detroit Lions have selected edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson with the number two pick in the NFL Draft.

Hutchinson, 21, set a school record for sacks with 14 in 16 games at Michigan in his senior season and was billed as the likely number one pick shortly after the college football season ended.

The Lions went 3-13-1 in 2021 and struggled mightily to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks, ranking 30th in the league in sacks.

Speaking on stage in Las Vegas after his selection, Hutchinson said: "It's great, I'm happy I get to go back to Detroit, the Motor City. I'm fired up."

The Lions pick again at 32 and 36.

The Jacksonville Jaguars took a significant gamble with the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, using that selection on Georgia edge rusher Travon Walker.

Walker usurped Aidan Hutchinson as the favourite to go number one overall late in the pre-draft process.

And the Jaguars, picking number one overall for the second successive year after taking Trevor Lawrence first in 2021, proved the noise around Walker correct by backing him to develop into a dominant pass rusher at the next level.

General manager Trent Baalke made that move despite Walker finishing his college career with the Bulldogs with just 9.5 sacks, six of those coming in a final season that saw Georgia win the National Championship.

Walker registered 31 pressures on 259 pass-rush snaps for a pressure rate of just 12 per cent, according to Stats Perform data.

Those numbers were in stark contrast to Michigan star Hutchinson, who had a pressure rate of 30.8 per cent in 2021.

However, the Jaguars will be hoping his outstanding athletic traits translate to vastly improved production in the pros.

Though his Georgia defensive line mate Jordan Davis stole the show at the Combine with his remarkable 40-yard dash, Walker's pre-draft workout was exceptional.

Measuring at 6ft 5in and 272 pounds, Walker ran the 40 in 4.51 seconds, putting him in the 98th percentile for defensive ends. His 10-yard split of 1.62 seconds placed him in the 70th percentile.

Walker's arm length (35 and a half inches), hand size (10 and three-quarter inches) and wingspan of over seven feet (84 and a quarter inches) all measured in the 95th percentile for his position.

In the vertical jump and broad jump, which gauge lower-body explosiveness, Walker produced efforts to put him 80th and 87th percentile respectively. In the three-cone drill, used for edge players as an examination of their flexibility to turn the corner and beat an offensive tackle to the outside, Walker posted a time of 6.89 seconds, good enough for the 93rd percentile.

Picking him first overall is a bet on athletic ability over production. It is a massive risk and, as the Jags look to build around a generational quarterback talent in Lawrence, it is one they cannot afford to have backfire.

The Jacksonville Jaguars took a significant gamble with the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, using that selection on Georgia edge rusher Travon Walker.

Walker usurped Aidan Hutchinson as the favourite to go number one overall late in the pre-draft process.

And the Jaguars, picking number one overall for the second successive year after taking Trevor Lawrence first in 2021, proved the noise around Walker correct by backing him to develop into a dominant pass rusher at the next level.

General manager Trent Baalke made that move despite Walker finishing his college career with the Bulldogs with just 9.5 sacks, six of those coming in a final season that saw Georgia win the National Championship.

Walker registered 31 pressures on 259 pass-rush snaps for a pressure rate of just 12 per cent, according to Stats Perform data.

Those numbers were in stark contrast to Michigan star Hutchinson, who had a pressure rate of 30.8 per cent in 2021.

However, the Jaguars will be hoping his outstanding athletic traits translate to vastly improved production in the pros.

Though his Georgia defensive line mate Jordan Davis stole the show at the Combine with his remarkable 40-yard dash, Walker's pre-draft workout was exceptional.

Measuring at 6ft 5in and 272 pounds, Walker ran the 40 in 4.51 seconds, putting him in the 98th percentile for defensive ends. His 10-yard split of 1.62 seconds placed him in the 70th percentile.

Walker's arm length (35 and a half inches), hand size (10 and three-quarter inches) and wingspan of over seven feet (84 and a quarter inches) all measured in the 95th percentile for his position.

In the vertical jump and broad jump, which gauge lower-body explosiveness, Walker produced efforts to put him 80th and 87th percentile respectively. In the three-cone drill, used for edge players as an examination of their flexibility to turn the corner and beat an offensive tackle to the outside, Walker posted a time of 6.89 seconds, good enough for the 93rd percentile.

Picking him first overall is a bet on athletic ability over production. It is a massive risk and, as the Jags look to build around a generational quarterback talent in Lawrence, it is one they cannot afford to have backfire.

The 2021 NFL Draft was unreservedly the year of the quarterback. The 2022 draft is anything but.

A year on from quarterbacks going 1-2-3 in a first round that saw five taken in total, it is tough to make the case for any of the consensus best five from this year's uninspiring crop going in the top 10.

None of that quintet come without significant concerns that will make it hard for franchises to justify spending a premium pick to make them the quarterback of the future.

But there is a clear hierarchy among the group, with two players the standout choices for teams eyeing a potential day-one starter and one prospect standing alone as the home-run swing who brings as much risk as he does reward.

Quarterbacks inevitably get pushed up the board in the draft but, even with the top three members of this class, it may take some teams to get desperate for that to happen his year.

The pro-ready pair

Talk of Kenny Pickett going in the top 10, with the Carolina Panthers viewed as a landing spot due to his connections with head coach Matt Rhule, has raised plenty of eyebrows.

Yet for all the justifiable concerns about taking a quarterback whose ceiling at the highest level may be limited due to arm strength that can make deep throws outside the numbers a challenge for Pickett, the reality is that the former Pittsburgh quarterback is the most pro-ready player at the position in this class.

Last season, Pickett produced an accurate, well-thrown ball on 82.70 percent of his throws, the highest ratio of anyone in the draft. His pickable pass rate of 2.11 percent was also best in class.

Pickett excels at throwing with timing and anticipation, frequently hitting his receivers in stride to maximize their potential to create yards after the catch. He can make throws with pressure in his face and moves well in the pocket to escape pressure while also succeeding at breaking structure and creating with his legs.

Having displayed accuracy in throwing across his body on the run, Pickett will not enter the league with the "statue" concerns that Mac Jones faced last year.

And, though the ball does often die in the air when he goes deep, Pickett's completion percentage of 51.4 percent on 20-plus yard throws put him top of the class, while he was second in well-thrown percentage (68.06) on such attempts.

The upside of a top-10 selection may be absent from Pickett's game, but he should be the leading candidate if a team is looking for a rookie who can play right away, and the gap between him and Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder is perhaps larger than many would believe.

Ridder will go into the league having had the benefit of succeeding while being asked to operate in a manner that should help him acclimatise to the NFL quicker than most. He showed calm under pressure, negating it through intelligent pocket movement, and consistently worked through his progressions before finding his checkdown.

Another impressive timing thrower who is a better athlete than he is given credit for and boasts a stronger arm than Pickett, deep accuracy will be the main concern surrounding Ridder at the next level.

His overall well-thrown percentage of 75.66 was the third-worst in the class and Ridder was the second-worst by that same metric on downfield throws as just 58.57 percent of his deep attempts were accurate.

Ridder can offer a baseline of quarterback play because of what he was asked to do at Cincinnati, but teams must decide whether that is worth the cost of a late first or high second-round pick when there is the possibility to swing for the fences on a higher ceiling quarterback who may take significantly longer to blossom into a starting-calibre player.

Talkin' bout Willis

Unquestionably the most divisive quarterback of the 2022 class is Liberty's Malik Willis, who between his elite-level arm and his remarkable proficiency running the ball in the open field has the highest upside of any signal-caller in this year's crop.

With his 27 rushing touchdowns tied with Malik Cunningham for the most by an FBS quarterback over the last season, Willis demonstrated speed, vision, elusiveness and contact balance as a runner, making him a threat with the ball in his hands from anywhere in the field. Willis led all quarterbacks in this class with a yards per carry average of 6.64 on scrambles and was second with 7.42 on designed runs.

Adept at completing off-platform throws and displaying unerring accuracy throwing on the move, it is extremely exciting to think about Willis could become, his ability to blend touch and velocity when going deep allowing him to post the fourth-best well-thrown percentage (61.11) in the class on throws of 20 yards or more.

Willis fits the role of modern-day NFL quarterback better than any of his contemporaries in the draft but harnessing his obvious potential will take time.

So little was asked of him by Hugh Freeze at Liberty that there are question-marks over whether Willis will be ready to start in the NFL even after a year on the bench.

Though he can get through his progressions and perform full-field reads, Willis struggles significantly as a processor. He plays far too slow in working through his reads, leading to him holding the ball too long and failing to hit open receivers underneath.

Playing too slowly at the NFL level is a recipe for disaster. A team will fall in love with Willis' traits, but they must be prepared to be ultra-patient in waiting for the right moment to maximize them.

A Rebel with a cause... for optimism?

Willis has remained in the QB1 discussion despite struggling in his only 2021 game that saw him go up against one of his quarterback counterparts in this class.

Perhaps unsurprisingly given their respective supporting casts, Willis was outplayed when he and Liberty faced off with Ole Miss and their quarterback Matt Corral.

Yet Corral does not head into the draft in the first-round discussion even after a season in which he helped the Rebels to 10 wins and delivered a well thrown ball on 80.69 per cent of his pass attempts.

He displayed that accuracy while averaging the lowest air yards per attempt (8.20) of any of the top quarterbacks. A decisive thrower to the short and intermediate areas, Corral had the confidence to let it rip due to playing in an offense that relied predominantly on run-pass option plays that provided him with open looks.

When the throwing windows got tighter, Corral struggled to display the same accuracy and consistently risked turnovers on deep passing attempts. No quarterback in the 2021 class had a higher pickable pass rate on throws of 20-plus yards downfield than Corral's 9.80 per cent.

Corral, though, does have the arm to push the ball downfield with success, as reflected by his well-thrown percentage of 60.78 on deep attempts, which puts him less than a percentage point behind Willis.

Possessing the elusiveness in the pocket to evade pressure and the athleticism to be a viable threat on the ground, Corral ticks a lot of the boxes required for a quarterback to succeed in the modern NFL. However, after playing in such a simplified offense at Ole Miss, it would be a significant stretch to expect him to be able to helm an NFL attack early in his pro career.

The team that invests in Corral will likely initially view him as a high-end developmental backup and that is the role North Carolina's Sam Howell can also expect to fulfil for many of the same reasons.

Howell understandably struggled to adapt after losing NFL draft picks Dyami Brown, Michael Carter and Javonte Williams following the 2020 season and there was little in last year's tape to build a compelling case for him as a first-round pick.

Blessed with the arm strength to make throws to every level, Howell averaged more air yards per attempt (11.45) than any quarterback in the class.

But only Willis had a lower well-thrown percentage than Howell's 75.60 and that declined to 50 per cent on throws of 20 or more yards.

Simply put, the consistency throwing the ball was not there for Howell in his final season, in which he was reliant on one-read RPO throws and scrambles or designed runs.

He frequently ran the ball if his first read was not open, showing impressive contact balance to stay on his feet through attempted tackles when he did so.

Howell's 8.42 yards per carry average on designed runs was the highest among quarterbacks in the class. The blend of huge arm and intriguing running ability is likely to entice a team into taking a bet on him as a day-two project, but the road to Howell being a viable NFL starter will be a long one.

Kyler Murray's future with the Arizona Cardinals has been secured after the franchise took up a fifth-year option in the quarterback's contract.

Murray had been at the centre of speculation after his agent Erik Burkhardt issued a statement in February calling for Arizona to make "a real commitment" to the 24-year-old with a new contract offer.

According to a report from the NFL network, the Cardinals have now exercised the fifth-year option in Murray's deal, locking him in for nearly $30million in 2023, an escalation resulting from Murray making two Pro Bowl appearances.

Cardinals general manager Steve Keim indicated in early March that the option would likely be taken up, and with Murray now under contract for a further two seasons in Arizona, the pressure on the franchise to strike a long-term deal with the 24-year-old has been lessened.

The quarterback threw 3,787 yards with 24 touchdown passes and five rushing TDs throughout the 2021 season, also posting the NFL's second-highest completion rate at 69.2 per cent.

Last month, coach Kliff Kingsbury said he was "excited" about Murray's future in Arizona after he helped the team post their best record for six years in 2021 (11-6).

The player himself, meanwhile, insisted in March that he was "happy" in Arizona and "was not too worried" about his future with the team despite the mounting speculation.

Murray was the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft and the team have a 22-23-1 record in the games where he has featured.

It has been five years since a defensive lineman was last taken first overall in the NFL Draft.

Back in 2017, Myles Garrett's name had been written in pen next to the number one slot for a long time before the Cleveland Browns officially gave him the distinction of being the first player off the board.

Garrett was seen as a can't-miss prospect, and he has lived up to that billing, with his 361 career quarterback pressures the fourth-most in the NFL since 2017.

All the signs are pointing to an edge rusher going first overall again in 2022. However, while Garrett was a sure thing, the Jacksonville Jaguars appear set to select a player who is anything but.

Talk of Aidan Hutchinson and Kayvon Thibodeaux going number one has given way to the belief Georgia's Travon Walker will be hearing his name called first in a class filled with more divisive prospects than clear-cut stars.

Walker has emerged as the favourite despite finishing his college career with Georgia, which ended with the Bulldogs winning the National Championship, with just 9.5 sacks.

His stock has risen sharply in the wake of stunning athletic performance at the NFL Scouting Combine, yet given his mediocre production compared to his contemporaries in the edge class and the role he played for Georgia, selecting Walker would represent a substantial gamble by the Jags.

A year on from selecting Trevor Lawrence with the first overall pick, it is a gamble Jacksonville cannot afford to backfire.

Walker's production woes

Any conversation about Walker must begin by addressing the elephant in the room: the production, or lack thereof.

Walker had 3.5 sacks over his first two seasons before displaying a marked improvement in that regard as Georgia's dominant defense laid the foundation for their National title.

Indeed, he registered six sacks, 17th among all defenders in the SEC, yet his pressure numbers are illustrative of a player who failed to impact the quarterback on a consistent basis.

Walker registered 31 pressures on 259 pass-rush snaps for a pressure rate of just 12 per cent, which is in stark contrast to the player he appears to have usurped as the number one pick, Michigan star Hutchinson, who had a pressure rate of 30.8 per cent in 2021.

Only 16 of Walker's pressures involved him beating a pass blocker. Hutchinson beat a pass protector on 72 of his 85 quarterback pressures.

Yet the paucity of pass rush production is in part a reflection of how Walker was utilised by the Bulldogs.

Though Walker played 96 more snaps as a pass rusher than a run defender, his goal in attacking pass protectors was not always to get to the quarterback but to soak up attention from the offensive line and open rush lanes for second-level defenders.

As a result, teams evaluating Walker only saw flashes of his potential as a pass rusher, but it is the combination of those flashes and his astounding athletic profile that appears to have enticed the Jaguars into taking a significant risk.

Crushing the Combine

Though his Georgia defensive line mate Jordan Davis stole the show at the Combine with his remarkable performance in the 40-yard dash, Walker's pre-draft workout stands among the finest in NFL history.

Measuring at 6ft 5in and 272 pounds, Walker tore down the track in 4.51 seconds, putting him in the 98th percentile for defensive ends. His 10-yard split of 1.62 seconds was not quite as impressive but was still good enough for the 70th percentile.

Walker's arm length (35 and a half inches), hand size (10 and three-quarter inches) and wingspan of over seven feet (84 and a quarter inches) all measured in the 95th percentile for his position.

In the vertical jump and broad jump, which gauge lower-body explosiveness, Walker was in the 80th and 87th percentile respectively. In the three-cone drill, used for edge players as an assessment of their flexibility to turn the corner and beat an offensive tackle to the outside, Walker posted a time of 6.89 seconds that put him in the 93rd percentile.

Walker's testing suggests he has the physical skill set to blossom into an explosive and bendy pass rusher whose arm length should allow him to win hand fights with offensive linemen, with half the battle for pass rushers being the ability to make contact before the pass protector.

Evidence of his potential to develop into that player was sporadic during his college career, but the glimpses of that promise were undoubtedly tantalising.

A home-run swing

With Georgia frequently mixing up their defensive fronts, Walker played in a variety of roles. He was used as a defensive end in both 4-3 and 3-4 fronts and also played as a 3-technique defensive tackle lined up on the outside shoulder of the guard.

As such, it is difficult to know what Walker's best position is, though his versatility is undoubtedly part of his appeal.

Walker's athleticism clearly makes him a mismatch problem for guards when pass rushing from the inside. He had 13 pressures from the defensive tackle spot, with nine of those seeing him beat a pass protector, his quickness off the snap extremely tough for interior offensive linemen to react to and posing them significant issues when Walker was used in a stunt by the Georgia defensive line.

That same burst has facilitated his – albeit limited – success on edge. Though he needs to do a better job of translating his speed to power, when he does do so and gets his long arms into the pads of blockers, he can produce an impressive bull rush to help collapse the pocket.

On the top of that, Walker has fleetingly displayed the ability to get around the corner and flatten to the quarterback, with the acceleration he demonstrated on the 40 track showing up in the closing speed he displays when he has a path into the backfield and an opportunity to force a negative play.

Such closing speed can also be a substantial asset in the run game, in which Walker's arm length and power in his hands come into play in helping him disengage from blocks, freeing him to hunt the ball carrier.

Defending the run was certainly Walker's strength statistically last season, with only UAB's Alex Wright (18.7 per cent) and Hutchinson (17.9 per cent) recording a better run disruption rate among edge rushers than Walker's 12.9 per cent.

Of course, excelling as a run defender is a long way from being enough to justify a number one overall selection and, to make such a decision, the Jaguars must believe they can harness the untapped pass rush potential and refine a limited set of moves, with the rip move and the push-pull the only two with which Walker has enjoyed anything resembling consistent success.

The Jaguars do have a highly experienced defensive line coach who would be tasked with developing Walker. Brentson Buckner has worked with the likes of Chandler Jones and Jason Pierre-Paul during his career and was the defensive line coach for the then Oakland Raiders in 2019 when Maxx Crosby had 10 sacks as a rookie fourth-round pick.

Crosby, however, did not have the massive burden of expectation of being the number one overall pick.

Too often the Jaguars have seen top-five picks go to waste. Between 2012 and 2017 they picked in the top five for six consecutive drafts and only one of those selections, now Los Angeles Rams star Jalen Ramsey, even made a Pro Bowl.

In an era that will be defined by whether they take advantage of the gift of having Lawrence fall into their lap with the top overall pick last year, they cannot afford to miss on premium draft picks.

By likely taking Walker over Hutchinson, the Jags are going with the home-run swing over the prospect most believe to be a pro-ready day-one contributor. If they are to turn their fortunes around and contend with Lawrence, that swing must make contact.

Nashville SC have confirmed three new investors have joined their ownership group, including NFL star Derrick Henry and actor Reese Witherspoon.

Tennessee Titans running back Henry is a two-time All-Pro and has featured in two Pro Bowls, while he was named the NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 2020 and led the league for rushing yards and touchdowns in 2019 and 2020. 

The 28-year-old has now, alongside actor and producer Witherspoon and her husband, the technology investor Jim Toth, joined the ownership group of Nashville SC, who had their inaugural season in MLS in 2020 and sit eighth in the Western Conference with three wins so far this season.

All eight of Nashville's games so far in 2022 have been played on the road, but that will change on Sunday when they welcome the Philadelphia Union to their new stadium, GEODIS Park.

With a capacity of 30,000, it is the largest soccer-specific stadium in the United States or Canada.

"As a kid growing up in Florida, I imagined being a professional sports owner and the opportunity to do that with an MLS club is truly a dream come true," said Henry, who was drafted by the Titans in 2016 and becomes the fourth player in NFL history to own an MLS team.

"My investment in Nashville SC is way more than financial, it's truly an investment in the city of Nashville.

"The chance to be part of a club like Nashville SC, especially after seeing what they are accomplishing in the community, was an opportunity I did not want to miss."

Witherspoon added: "As a Tennessee native, it is thrilling to see how much growth and development has come to our home state.

"One of the things that my whole family is most excited about is Nashville Soccer Club! The opportunity to go as a family and watch a world-class team compete has been such an incredible experience."

Witherspoon is not the first A-list film star to have invested in soccer in the United States, with Natalie Portman having founded Angel City FC, who debuted in the National Women's Soccer League this year. 

Tennis greats Billie Jean King and Serena Williams, along with a host of huge stars across sports and entertainment, have a stake in Angel City.

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch said he "can't ever imagine wanting to move on from" Deebo Samuel after the star wide receiver requested a trade.

Samuel was used by the 49ers in a unique hybrid role for the 2021-22 season, increasing his productivity, but also increasing his wear-and-tear as he handled more physically demanding running back carries as well as his primary receiver duties.

The 2019 second-round pick amassed a career-high 1,405 receiving yards and six receiving touchdowns from 77 catches, and added career-highs in rushing yards (365), rushing touchdowns (eight) and carries (59).

Speaking to the media at a pre-draft press conference, Lynch said even after considering what the 49ers could gain through a trade, he views Samuel in the class of player in which a team should never part ways with by choice.

"I can't ever imagine wanting to move on from Deebo," he said.

"You put yourself through the exercises of, even though we don't have a first-round pick, you have to be thorough in this process and prepare for everything, and as you go through and do that [you realise] he's just too good of a player. You don't let guys like that walk."

The praise for Samuel did not end there, with Lynch calling him a "game-changing player for the franchise."

"I told Deebo this," he said. "I think he's the perfect illustration of what Herm Edwards used to talk about, 'When will meets skill you got the opportunity to be special' – and I think Deebo embodies that as much as anybody.

"He's got tremendous will. He's a very talented player. By virtue of the way he plays, it's inspiring. 

"So, to me, that entails leadership. Do you make people around you better? He checks that box. 

"He's a great teammate, and I think of things like prior to games, he gets out there and is throwing the ball to fans.

"He's a great member of our community. We got nothing but love for him."

Despite the public nature of Samuel's request to leave San Francisco, Lynch insists the bridge is not burnt, and he believes he can salvage the relationship.

"We pride ourselves on our communication with our players," he said. "This is no different. I'm confident we can find the solutions for whatever is going on.

"That's life, you've gotta work through things. That's what we plan on doing.”

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