Posts by Dion Caputi

2019 NFL Draft Preview – Defensive Line

Saddle up, because this year's group of draft-eligible defensive tackles has the pure talent to be one of the more legendary positional classes in recent memory. Featuring three or four players with legitimate early round ability, the class is led by Houston product Ed Oliver - who already announced he will enter the 2019

Saddle up, because this year’s group of draft-eligible defensive tackles has the pure talent to be one of the more legendary positional classes in recent memory. Featuring three or four players with legitimate early round ability, the class is led by Houston product Ed Oliver – who already announced he will enter the 2019 NFL Draft after this season. The positional grouping’s top talents primarily occupy the interior/defensive tackle space for their respective teams, but all have the skill-set to provide versatile coverage as base 3-4 five-techniques. This a particularly outstanding group, especially because the modern NFL seeks diversity in matchup profiles along the defensive front in all setups.

1. Ed Oliver, Houston (6’3″ 290lbs.)
• A truly special talent. We haven’t seen a defensive tackle prospect of Oliver’s caliber since Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy entered the league in 2010 – and the former five-star recruit compares favorably to the latter. In two seasons, Oliver has amassed a colossal line of 139 tackles, 39.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. As an ideal 3-technique profile, most-suitable for a 4-3 base, Oliver possesses a mouthwatering blend of explosion and power, largely attributable to his tremendous understanding of leverage. His performances only improved despite commanding more attention in 2017. It’d take a catastrophic collapse to knock him off his perch as the top eligible interior defender.

2. Raekwon Davis, Alabama (6’7″ 306lbs.)
• The Tide’s mammoth lineman is as physically imposing as he is athletic. After spending a Freshman season buried on the depth chart, Davis exploded onto the scene as a Sophomore in 2017. That season he accumulated 69 tackles, 10.0 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks, and added an interception for good measure. He possesses the tantalizing physical skill-set to project as an interior 4-3 defender, but also as a 5-technique in a base 3-4, both of which would maximize his freakish dimension and length. While he enters his Junior campaign as something of a one-year wonder, Davis is firmly on the radar and his size + speed ratio combined with his production are impossible to dismiss.

3. Rashan Gary, Michigan (6’5″ 281lbs.)
• Remember, the modern NFL is about creating mismatches along the defensive line through diversity in speed and length. The in-out defender is ‘in’ at the moment, and Gary will stand as one of the more versatile front seven defenders available when he jumps to the pros. Gary is a power-player with explosion and length, who has had pro caliber coaching over the past two seasons. An all-encompassing talent, he’s one complete season away from entrenching himself as a first-round selection (if he isn’t already).

4. Christian Wilkins, Clemson (6’4″ 300lbs.)
• It caught many by surprise when Wilkins elected to return for his Senior campaign this offseason in search of another national title. He’s a bigger, beefier 3-technique with a skill-set that could appeal to teams seeking a 5-technique as well. A fixture on Clemson’s historically talented defensive line, Wilkins’ ability to disrupt and pocket-push has markedly improved with every passing season. Coming out, some will inevitably ask the unfair, but necessary question: How much of any Clemson defender’s success boils down to an elite supporting cast?

5. Derrick Brown, Auburn (6’5″ 325lbs.)
• One of the most influential pieces of Auburn’s sharp defense in 2017, particularly in the front seven. Brown possesses a huge frame, but exhibits ‘plus’ movements skills and range, as well as deceptive athleticism. On numerous occasions, he was able to collapse a pocket, but also absorb double-team attention and create space for teammates. If he can replicate or improve upon his Sophomore campaign he could easily slide up this ranking. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s an honor roll student with an academic pedigree.

Honorable Mention: Olive Sagapolu, Wisconsin (6’2″ 346lbs.)
• The role of the out-and-out, two-down nose tackle has largely been diminished at the pro level and it’s translated to the college game as well, but players like Olive Sagapolu will always have a place. His role within the Badgers’ defensive front is the primary space-eater and thus his statistical production is quite limited. Sagapolu still notched three sacks as a Junior last year in his only full season of game experience. Former Washington Husky nose tackle Danny Shelton did not produce quality numbers until his Senior campaign in 2014, subsequently being selected in the first-round. While I’m not suggesting this situation will play out as such, be prepared to hear more about the Badgers’ backflipping nose tackle in 2018.

This is the first defensive positional group of NFP’s 2019 NFL draft preview. Here are the standouts on offense: QB, RBWRTEOTG/C

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2019 NFL Draft Preview – RBs

Fresh off a loaded 2018 running back class, this year doesn't boast as much top end talent or depth but still holds an assortment of interesting prospects. The group is defined by electrifying Stanford standout Bryce Love, who I graded just behind the comparably elite Saquon Barkley. Past Love, we see a stable of well-built

Fresh off a loaded 2018 running back class, this year doesn’t boast as much top end talent or depth but still holds an assortment of interesting prospects. The group is defined by electrifying Stanford standout Bryce Love, who I graded just behind the comparably elite Saquon Barkley. Past Love, we see a stable of well-built backs with a combination of size + speed, peppered with a collection of quality scat-back profiles who could be effective third-down contributors. Not unlike this year’s quarterback class, the college season will reveal a lot about what order the runners will come off the board next spring.

1. Bryce Love, Stanford (5’10” 196lbs.)
• Springy pin-ball with track speed. Love’s junior campaign was eerily reminiscent of Chris Johnson’s 2k season in 2009, littered with long touchdown runs and dizzying elusiveness. He continued the Stanford tradition of finishing second in the Heisman voting but is an early favorite for the award this season. Had he entered the 2018 NFL Draft, Bryce Love could easily have been a top 25 selection.

2. Damien Harris, Alabama (5’11” 221lbs.)
• An explosive, efficient runner who’s amassed a staggering 2,037 yards over the past two seasons in just 281 carries (7.2yards per carry). Rough and tumble style that doesn’t wane over four quarters, he’s also deceptively good in the passing game.

3. Benny Snell Jr., Kentucky (5’11” 223lbs.)
•  Snell was a surprise Sophomore who improved as the 2017 season went on, despite defenses keying in on him as Kentucky’s best offensive threat. He boasts an ideal blend of size, speed and vision;and is adept in short-yardage situations. Receiving skills are totally untested entering 2018.

4.L.J. Scott, Michigan State (6’1″ 226lbs.)
• All-around back with a complete game who should translate quite comfortably to the NFL in 2019. Like fellow Sparty alum Le’Veon Bell, many believe L.J. Scott could benefit from trimming down slightly. Though he’s yet to have a 1,000-yard rushing season, Scott profiles as the draft’s premier three-down bell-cow.

5. Rodney Anderson, Oklahoma (6’1″ 219lbs.)
• Two serious injuries (broken leg, 2015 / neck, 2016) derailed two seasons of his collegiate career, but if not for those concerns Rodney Anderson is comfortably a top three runner in this class entering 2018. Anderson bounced back with a tremendous RS-Sophomore campaign with an angry, downhill style. Also doubles as a terrific receiver.

Honorable Mention: Devin Singletary, Florida Atlantic (5’9″ 200lbs.)
• Thickly built despite his diminutive frame, Singletary was one of college football’s most productive players over the past two seasons, particularly in 2017 – rushing for 32 touchdowns. If he can become a little more efficient with his carries in 2018 he’ll be well-prepared for the pro level, as there’s little left to prove for him in Boca Raton.

This is the final offensive position of our look at the 2019 NFL draft. The other positions can be found here: QB, WR, TE, OT, G/C

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2019 NFL Draft Preview – TEs

For a position where age often wins out, this year is a uniquely youthful group of underclassmen with lots of pass-catching potential. This projection hinges on how many will actually enter the 2019 draft. Some of the top talents will break in new quarterbacks while others must continue growing physically. UCLA's Caleb Wilson and Iowa's

For a position where age often wins out, this year is a uniquely youthful group of underclassmen with lots of pass-catching potential. This projection hinges on how many will actually enter the 2019 draft. Some of the top talents will break in new quarterbacks while others must continue growing physically. UCLA’s Caleb Wilson and Iowa’s Noah Fant are vying for the preseason crown, but I’m eager to see if a dark horse emerges as the top talent. Wilson is the classic every-down workhorse, while Fant is the explosive playmaker.

1. Caleb Wilson, UCLA (6’4″ 235lbs.)
• Many will remember Wilson as the centerpiece of the Bruins historic comeback against Texas A&M, but the former USC walk-on was more than a one-game wonder in 2017. Wilson was on a torrid pace with 490 yards and one touchdown on 39 receptions in just five games before his season was cut short due to a foot injury.

© Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

2. Noah Fant, Iowa (6’5″ 232lbs.)
• Little separates Fant from Wilson, and it may come down to preference – so understand this is a 1a, 1b ranking. As Fant continues adding to his frame his appeal will only increase. The 2017 Big Ten touchdown leader (11) regardless of position can score in and out of the red zone and possesses mouthwatering athleticism.

3. Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri (6’5″ 260lbs.)
• An exciting passing-game threat, particularly in the red zone, he caught 11 touchdowns as a redshirt-Freshman last season. I suspect if he produces comparable numbers in 2018 then Okwuegbunam could leave school early with his graduating quarterback Drew Lock. Physically speaking, he’s already mature and ready for the pro level.

© Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

4. Tommy Sweeney, Boston College (6’5″ 255lbs.)
• Lacks the speed and athleticism to punish defenses, but there’s probably not a safer, more complete player available at the position. Sweeney blocks in-line competently, will move chains as a receiver, and has some yard-after-catch ability. I’ve noticed he has a good feel for soft zones in the passing game.

5. Kaden Smith, Stanford (6’5″ 259lbs.)
• The latest creation from a developing tight end factory at Stanford, Kaden Smith is a physically impressive athlete with desired length and movement skills to impose as a receiver. Another year of sustained production could convince Smith to make the pro leap.

Honorable Mention: Tyler Petite, USC (6’4″ 250lbs.)
• It’s apparent that Petite has plenty of untapped ability as a pass-catcher, as he generated a lot of positive momentum in that regard with Sam Darnold under center in 2017. Petite’s got an otherwise all-around game and if he can maintain his annual growth in production he’ll enter the NFL as a polished option for any team.

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2019 NFL Draft Preview – G/C

Going into this collegiate season, it's wise to remember that when evaluating draft-eligible offensive linemen - particularly along the interior - how they physically project to translate to the pro game. Size and length are crucial so some of the better collegiate blockers may not make for the best pro prospects. That said, this class

Going into this collegiate season, it’s wise to remember that when evaluating draft-eligible offensive linemen – particularly along the interior – how they physically project to translate to the pro game. Size and length are crucial so some of the better collegiate blockers may not make for the best pro prospects. That said, this class of interior linemen is full of experience and grit. The 2018 class seemed to possess more plug and play talent atop the board, but the polish of many 2019 blockers should produce a handful of early contributors.

1. Hjalte Froholdt, Arkansas (6’5″ 315lbs.)
• The Denmark native transitioned from defensive tackle to left guard as a Sophomore in 2016 where he’s since made 25 starts. His combination of desirable size and length are supplemented by his mean streak and brute strength. Froholdt has immersed himself in the guard position rather quickly and considerably cut down penalties in 2017, committing only two. He’s primed for a big year and subsequent first-round consideration.

2. Beau Benzschawel, Wisconsin (6’6″ 317lbs.)
• The epitome of a Badger lineman, Benzschawel is tough, polished, highly experienced and physically mature. Moved from right tackle to right guard as a redshirt-freshman and has started there ever since. Possessing the ideal length, he also played through injuries and remained a reliable cog at Wisconsin. After receiving a “return to school grade” he opted against entering the 2018 draft, which was the right decision – he has a chance to be a top 60 pick in 2019.

3. Connor McGovern, Penn State (6’5″ 320lbs.)
• Not to be confused with the Denver Broncos guard of exactly the same name. McGovern is a physically mature true Junior with advanced abilities. As a Freshman in 2016, he took hold of the right guard job early on, making nine starts, prior to becoming Penn State’s full-time starter at center as a Sophomore. His bigger, longer frame aligns with the modern profile of NFL centers and accruing one more strong season would leave him with little left to prove at the college level.

4. Ross Pierschbacher, Alabama (6’4″ 303lbs.)
• Perhaps the most experienced and distinguished blocker in this entire class, Pierschbacher – a redshirt-Senior – has 43 career starts under his belt (42 at left guard, one at right guard). Bama has many moving pieces along it’s offensive line, but he will be shifting to center for the 2018 season, further adding to his pro appeal.

5. Elgton Jenkins, Mississippi State (6’4″ 313lbs.)
• A well-built, industrious interior blocker with excellent mobility and prototype dimension. Jenkins comes from an offensive tackle background, but his genuine ability was unlocked when kicked inside. At center, he’ll be a key figure in new head coach Joe Moorehead’s multi-tempo spread employing modern RPO looks. He’s featured on the 2018 Rimington Trophy watch list.

Honorable Mention: Dalton Risner, Kansas State (6’5″ 300lbs.)
• Keeping with the theme of experience, Risner – a redshirt-Senior – has started 38 games in his Wildcat career (13 at center, 25 at right tackle). A team captain who moved to right tackle after a Freshman season at center that landed him on the 2016 Rimington Trophy watch list, his best fit at the pro level will come on the interior. Intangibles are off the chart and teams will like his attitude. The only remaining question for Risner is whether or not he can return to full effectiveness after surgically repairing his left shoulder prior to the 2017 Cactus Bowl.

Here are the rest of our positional breakdowns looking way forward to next April and the 2019 Draft: QB, WR, TE, OT.

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2019 NFL Draft Preview – WRs

The 2019 receiving class is a mix of size, length and speed, yet most (but not all) are plagued by issues, whether it's inconsistent quarterback play or injury. Despite those drawbacks, all have remained productive. My (very fictional) crystal ball tells me that at the end of the 2018 collegiate season we'll be more excited

The 2019 receiving class is a mix of size, length and speed, yet most (but not all) are plagued by issues, whether it’s inconsistent quarterback play or injury. Despite those drawbacks, all have remained productive. My (very fictional) crystal ball tells me that at the end of the 2018 collegiate season we’ll be more excited about this year’s crop than last years.

1. A.J. Brown, Ole Miss (6’1″ 225lbs.)
• Though catching passes from multiple quarterbacks in 2017, Brown remained highly productive. Despite lacking in top-end speed, Brown possesses dangerous ability after the catch, running with reckless abandon. His pro comparison is a rich man’s 2010-2011 Hakeem Nicks.

2. N’Keal Henry, Arizona State (6’4″ 216lbs.)
• Long, big-bodied volume catcher with a wide catch radius, Henry does quite well in most 50-50 situations, imposing size on smaller defenders. A former blue-chip recruit, Henry has acrobatic athleticism and makes play-saving adjustments on film. The question he will have to answer is can he separate against speed consistently in 2018?

© Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

3. Deebo Samuel, South Carolina (6’0″ 210lbs.)
• Your quintessential Swiss Army knife. Before suffering a broken leg injury that ended his season in SC’s third game, Deebo accumulated four offensive touchdowns (three receiving, one rushing) and returned both of his two kick return attempts for scores. He could be a special playmaker, but needs to stay healthy.

4. David Sills V, West Virginia (6’4 203lbs.)
• A former quarterback prodigy who committed to USC at the tender age of 13, Sills ultimately wound up in Morgantown and, after a transition year in JUCO, he went on to lead the NCAA in receiving touchdowns (18, tied with Anthony Miller). Though quite raw, if Sills continues to develop and proves he can run a greater variety of routes he will shine at the pro level. He’s already a lethal red zone threat.

© Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

5. Stanley Morgan Jr., Nebraska (6’1″ 195lbs.)
• The focal point of Nebraska’s passing offense in 2017, Morgan’s blend of physicality and inside-outside versatility will assure him of even more responsibility this season. Due for a production bump in Scott Frost’s newly implemented offense, Morgan could become a household name.

Honorable Mention: Marquise Brown, Oklahoma (5’11” 162lbs.)
• This underclassman is one of college football’s fastest offensive players. While size and bulk are concerning, the success of diminutive profiles like Tyreek Hill and Antonio Brown have broken barriers for receivers like Marquise Brown. Lincoln Riley’s offense should give him a good place to showcase his skills.

This is our way-too-early position by position look at the 2019 NFL draft. The previous parts in the series were Quarterbacks and Offensive Tackles.

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2019 NFL Draft Preview – Tackles

This year's crop of offensive tackles stands to produce a couple more high-level draft talents than in 2018. Prior to tearing his ACL, Washington's Trey Adams was pegged to be the first edge blocker selected but opted to return to school. He's followed by an impressive pair of SEC underclassmen in Alabama's Jonah Williams and

This year’s crop of offensive tackles stands to produce a couple more high-level draft talents than in 2018. Prior to tearing his ACL, Washington’s Trey Adams was pegged to be the first edge blocker selected but opted to return to school. He’s followed by an impressive pair of SEC underclassmen in Alabama’s Jonah Williams and Mississippi’s Greg Little – both of whom are primed for the national spotlight. All told, there is a considerably higher amount of blockers with long-term left tackle potential in the 2019 class.

1. Trey Adams, Washington (6’8″ 327lbs.)
• Adams enters this collegiate season as the most polished and distinguished blocker and would likely have been a first round pick in 2018 despite a torn ACL. Possessing a mammoth frame with the desired length for the edge, if he proves he can overcome his injury it’ll be difficult to dethrone him as the top tackle available.

© Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

2. Jonah Williams, Alabama (6’5″ 301lbs.)
• A gifted, physical blocker equally skilled in the pass and run games, Williams took hold of Bama’s left tackle as a Sophomore (after starting on the right as a Freshman) and became a pillar for the Tide’s offense. He’s technically advanced and often initiates at the point of attack first.

3. Greg Little, Ole Miss (6’6″ 325lbs.)
• Despite his tremendous size, Little is a fine technician with excellent footwork. Terrific at carrying his weight, he gets to the second level quite comfortably in the ground game. Though he could be more physical while engaged with defenders, the dimensions and exciting upside will generate a strong buzz throughout the season.

4. Andre Dillard, Washington State (6’5″ 306lbs.)
• A ‘plus’ athlete at left tackle with excellent mobility and lateral movement skills. Dillard’s skill set caters to many modern NFL spread offenses and his profile will be of great value to teams who like to pass. Shades of Duane Brown out of Virginia Tech in 2008, though probably with more polish.

5. Michael Deiter, Wisconsin (6’6″ 328lbs.)
• Uniquely experienced, Deiter has started full seasons at center, guard and tackle. His reps as an interior blocker proved useful as an edge blocker last season and it looks like he could remain there at the next level. He even scored a touchdown against Illinois last season. He enters his Senior campaign with a whopping 41 starts under his belt. The next prototypically polished Badger lineman.

Honorable Mention: Calvin Anderson, Texas (6’5″ 300lbs.)
• Keep an eye on Anderson. Texas landed him as a coveted graduate transfer from Rice despite interest from the likes of Michigan, Auburn and Oklahoma among others. A highly intelligent individual on and off the field, Anderson grades out as an excellent pass blocker and is fully expected to fill the void left by outgoing Connor Williams on the blindside. He’s positioned himself well to skyrocket up many draft boards this fall.

This is part two of our positional look at the 2019 NFL Draft. Part one was quarterbacks which can be found here.

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2019 NFL Draft Preview – QB

Despite the weight of a uniquely never-ending draft grind, there's something poetic about the start of a new collegiate cycle that attracts a total spectrum of fans, from the educated onlookers to the full-blown draft degenerates (such as myself).

As such, we proceed with a detailed evaluation of my introductory positional rankings - coming out one group

Despite the weight of a uniquely never-ending draft grind, there’s something poetic about the start of a new collegiate cycle that attracts a total spectrum of fans, from the educated onlookers to the full-blown draft degenerates (such as myself).

As such, we proceed with a detailed evaluation of my introductory positional rankings – coming out one group at a time, beginning with quarterbacks.

So, to (inaccurately) quote the great Matthew McConaughey: “I’ll write, I’ll write, I’ll write.”

 

QUARTERBACK

Overview:

Five teams selected a first-round passer in the 2018 class and my suspicion is that it was a partial indictment of the potential 2019 crop. Presently, we’re faced with a quarterback class asking numerous questions of evaluators – who only seem to agree about being unable to distinguish who will emerge on top.

Simply put, there are a handful of quarterbacks with the potential to rise above the class, but most require a step-forward season in 2019 in order for that to happen. This year’s preseason quarterback evaluation requires more projection than most years I’ve studied the NFL Draft, which personally elicits equal levels of excitement and indignation.

1. Jarrett Stidham, Auburn (6’3″ 215lbs.)
• Will be hit with the ‘system’ tag, but he completes a high degree of attempts and rapidly immersed himself in Gus Malzahn’s intricate passing offense. I don’t see a quarterback with better ‘feel’ for his position in this class right now.

2. Justin Herbert, Oregon (6’6″ 225lbs.)
• Possesses all of the tantalizing physical traits evaluators want in a franchise passer: size, arm and athleticism. Also boasts a smooth delivery and statistical accuracy. If he takes the next step this season it’ll be tough to value another passer more.

3. Will Grier, West Virginia (6’2″ 214lbs.)
• The ex-Florida Gator was highly prolific throughout his first season in Morgantown, forming a good connection with stud receiver David Sills. Everything’s on a rope; makes NFL-esque window throws, but needs to learn that not every pass needs to be a bullet.

4. Drew Lock, Missouri (6’4″ 225lbs.)
• Ticks all of the prototype passer boxes, possessing ideal size, arm talent and an ever-present inclination to push the ball downfield. Must overcome issues relating to accuracy (both in-game and statistical), but did suffer from receiver drops last year.

5. Brian Lewerke, Michigan State (6’3″ 215lbs.)
• Underclassmen who must drastically improve accuracy, but showed plenty of promise in his ten-win Sophomore campaign. Moves through reads in rapid-fire. Will take a hit to deliver an accurate pass. Nice pocket footwork, but liable to hurt a defense with them too.

Honorable Mention: Ryan Finley, North Carolina State (6’4″ 210lbs.)
• Boise State transfer with prolific aerial numbers. Major positive is his compact, lightning-quick release and decisive style – always aware of quick-read options and fall-back outlets. Has many physical tools at his disposal. Downfield ball placement is inconsistent.

 

Find me on Twitter: @NFLDraftUpdate

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2018 Two-Round NFL Mock Draft (2.0)

• Mock Draft 1.0, released on February 19, 2018, can be viewed here.

(Round 1)

1. Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB. USC

Analysis: Simply couldn’t protect the ball in 2017, but see the 2016 Rose Bowl vs. Penn State for a glimpse into how special he can be. Projectable prototype quarterback for Dorsey &

• Mock Draft 1.0, released on February 19, 2018, can be viewed here.

(Round 1)

1. Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB. USC

Analysis: Simply couldn’t protect the ball in 2017, but see the 2016 Rose Bowl vs. Penn State for a glimpse into how special he can be. Projectable prototype quarterback for Dorsey & Co. to move forward with.

2. New York Giants: Josh Rosen, QB. UCLA

Analysis: Best to find your man a year early than a year late, and the G-Men aren’t likely to have a better opportunity of acquiring Eli’s successor. Rosen is the most pro-ready quarterback available.

3. New York Jets (f/IND): Josh Allen, QB. Wyoming

Analysis: Though any team drafting Allen is taking a tremendous risk, he suits the conventional mold of quarterbacks GM Mike Maccagnan has preferred in his time with Gang Green. Jets are all-in.

4. Cleveland Browns (f/HOU): Quenton Nelson, OG. Notre Dame

Analysis: In 2013, John Dorsey made the shrewd, unsexy decision to oversee the selection of Eric Fisher at No. 1 overall and has always valued linemen with premium picks. This gives Cleveland the flexibility to kick Joel Bitonio back to his college position at left tackle.

5. Denver Broncos: Saquon Barkley, RB. Penn State

Analysis: Despite the tremendous depth at the position in this class, the Broncos find themselves fortunate that the potential best player available falls to them. Denver is sorely lacking in explosion at the position and Barkley pairs with Keenum for a backfield overhaul.

Chris Ballard's Colts, with four picks in the first two rounds, are well-positioned to win the 2018 NFL Draft.

Chris Ballard’s Colts, with four picks in the first two rounds and no quarterback need, are well-positioned to win the 2018 NFL Draft.

6. Indianapolis Colts (f/NYJ): Bradley Chubb, DE. NC State

Analysis: How smart does Chris Ballard look if this materializes? The Colts collectively accumulated 25.0 sacks in 2017 – good for second-worst in the NFL. Chubb is the defined No. 1 edge player in the class and has amassed 44 TFL and 20.0 sacks over the past to seasons.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB. Alabama

Analysis: Having already made a concerted effort to reinforce the league’s worst pass rush with the acquisitions of Vinny Curry and Jason Pierre-Paul, Tampa would be fortuitous to land the draft’s top defensive back. Whether it’s at corner or safety, he starts immediately.

8. Chicago Bears: Tremaine Edmunds, LB. Virginia Tech

Analysis: A rare breed of physical specimen, the 19-year-old could either project as an interior player or on the edge as a stand-up pass rusher.

9. San Francisco 49ers: Derwin James, S. Florida State

Analysis: Few first-round prospects have ascended throughout the process quite like James has. 49ers GM John Lynch – a former safety himself – knows the value of the position better than most.

10. Oakland Raiders: Vita Vea, DT. Washington

Analysis: Despite the signings of cornerback Rashaan Melvin and linebacker Tahir Whitehead more is needed at each position – however, there’s presently no greater need than along the interior defensive line (as evidenced by Oakland’s flirtation with Ndamukong Suh). Vea is a good-bodied power nose in the Haloti Ngata mold who can take attention off Khalil Mack.

11. Miami Dolphins: Denzel Ward, CB. Ohio State

Analysis: The Phins’ pass defense placed right on the Mendoza line in 2017 and, despite Xavien Howard showing strong signs of encouragement, more is needed –  a particularly prudent option with Vea off the board. Ward is a productive and complete cornerback.

12. Buffalo Bills (f/CIN): Baker Mayfield, QB. Oklahoma

Analysis: After sliding up nine picks, this selection will be for a quarterback one way or another and it’s quite possible the Bills continue moving up the board from here. The signing of A.J. McCarron no longer necessitates the need to find an immediate starter, but if he falters than there may not be a more polished player at the position from this class than Mayfield.

13. Washington Redskins: Roquan Smith, LB. Georgia

Analysis: Best-player-available. Zach Brown is quality and was re-signed, as was Mason Foster – but the latter is declining and easily upgradeable. Roquan Smith is a rangy athlete capable of playing in a wide variety of base fronts.

14. Green Bay Packers: Mike Hughes, CB. Central Florida

Analysis: In 2016, Green Bay began overhauling its secondary by adding length and speed, but the process is far from complete – particularly on the boundaries. New defensive coordinator Mike Pettine deploys a more aggressive press-man approach, which Hughes suits quite nicely. He’s scratching the surface of his potential.

15. Arizona Cardinals: Connor Williams, OT. Texas

Analysis: There are few teams in the current NFL landscape who struggle to protect the quarterback more than Arizona (who ranked tied for 30th in sacks allowed in 2017). Williams is right tackle or guard versatile with NFL-ready run blocking skills. In a no-trade scenario, with no quarterback available suited to play-caller Mike McCoy’s offense, the Cards address issues elsewhere.

16. Baltimore Ravens: Mike McGlinchey, OT. Notre Dame

Analysis: Offensive line has been an area of strength for Baltimore for multiple years, but a continued infusion of talent would be an all-encompassing benefit. McGlinchey book-ended Ronnie Stanley once before at Notre Dame in 2015 and would allow the Ravens to utilize Alex Lewis as a swingman.

17. Los Angeles Chargers: Da’Ron Payne, DT. Alabama

Analysis: Starting nose tackle Brandon Mebane is regressing with age and entering the final year of his contract. As well, defensive end Corey Liuget was suspended four games to start the 2018 season due to a PED violation. Da’Ron Payne’s is an ideal solution to both concerns.

18. Seattle Seahawks: Marcus Davenport, DE. Texas-San Antonio

Analysis: The Seahawks totalled 39.0 sacks in 2017 – 8.5 of which were traded to Philly with Michael Bennett. Between various pass-rushing reclamation projects and the likely release of Cliff Avril, Seattle could opt for upside and plug-in the explosive Davenport.

19. Dallas Cowboys: Leighton Vander Esch, LB. Boise State

Analysis: Sean Lee is turning 32, has never played 16 games in a season and the Cowboys defense is consistently weakened without him. Vander Esch is an impressive athlete with low mileage, coming off an elite year of all-around production.

20. Detroit Lions: Sam Hubbard, DE. Ohio State

Analysis: Pass-rushing woes in 2017 necessitated a move for a now-38-year-old Dwight Freeney, and despite Ziggy Ansah’s pricey Franchise Tag the need for an upgrade on the edge is sorely required. Hubbard is a productive, athletic end with deceptive ability in space.

21. Cincinnati Bengals (f/BUF): Isaiah Wynn, OG. Georgia

Analysis: The trade down to this selection, which also added Cordy Glenn, allows for better value at guard. New offensive line coach Frank Pollack saw first-hand how smooth a transition Zack Martin made from college tackle to pro guard – Wynn’s physical composition is similar.

22. Buffalo Bills (f/KC): Jaire Alexander, CB. Louisville

Analysis: While it’s very likely this pick is used in part as a trade-up chip for the Bills to land their passer in the top ten, if they keep it they land one of round one’s biggest bargains. Alexander may be the draft’s best player at his position and for durability and height/length reasons, he slips. Think Josh Verrett 2.0, and a fantastic complement to Tre’Davious White.

Sean McVay and Co. have quickly transformed the Rams into NFC contenders, but require pass rush help.

Sean McVay and Co. have quickly transformed the Rams into NFC contenders, but require pass rush help.

23. Los Angeles Rams: Harold Landry, OLB. Boston College

Analysis: The roster needed to contend in the NFC is taking shape, but Wade Phillips still lacks a reliable edge rushing option. Landry’s stellar Combine performance solidified the belief in his ability to be a space-playing 3-4 linebacker. The most polished player available in the position the Rams require most.

24. Carolina Panthers: Joshua Jackson, CB. Iowa

Analysis: GM Marty Hurney indicated a willingness to address the positional need by attempting to sign Bashaud Breeland (who failed his physical) and the corner market is relatively scarce. Rather than opting for a committee approach on the opposite boundary to James Bradberry, the high-potential Joshua Jackson is a seamless schematic fit for a primarily zone base secondary that finished middle of the pack in coverage last year.

25. Tennessee Titans: Josh Sweat, OLB. Florida State

Analysis: Gifted athlete with desirable speed, size and length. It was apparent at the Combine that his ideal fit comes as a base 3-4 edge, and despite past injury concerns he’s proven to be an accomplished pass disruptor. There is some ‘boom or bust’ factor to Sweat’s evaluation, but if he puts it together at the next level he could be a gem.

26. Atlanta Falcons: Taven Bryan, DT. Florida

Analysis: With a relatively complete roster it’s quite possible that Thomas Dimitroff looks to be aggressive and move up to secure Atlanta’s target. If not, Taven Bryan is a fantastic option. Possessing a bullish lower-body build with an active motor, the Casper, Montana-native provides an excellent solution to the vacancy left by Dontari Poe.

27. New Orleans Saints: Calvin Ridley, WR. New Orleans

Analysis: When you’re picking at the bottom of round one and the top available player at a position of need falls to you, it’s fate. Though this is more based on circumstance, New Orleans’ offense would benefit tremendously from adding a passing game workhorse to aid Drew Brees while the window of contention remains open. Ridley possesses some similarities to Reggie Wayne in 2001.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Lorenzo Carter, LB. Georgia

Analysis: One pick that touches upon a couple needs. Jon Bostic only begins to answer how Pittsburgh will replace Ryan Shazier in 2018 and the team requires more production from former first-rounder Bud Dupree, having yet to active his fifth-year option. Carter is a long, rangy uber-athlete who can be molded into either role moving forward.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Christian Kirk, WR. Texas A&M

Analysis: A rapid turnaround, aided by relatively wise spending in free agency, has the Jags sitting pretty on draft night. Though linebacker is arguably the team’s most glaring hole following Paul Posluszny’s retirement, it’d be a minor surprise to see Kirk available. The organization stood behind Blake Bortles this offseason and, as such, add another dynamic weapon to aid in his continued development.

30. Minnesota Vikings: Will Hernandez, OG. UTEP

Analysis: After hammering top roster needs at quarterback and defensive tackle in free agency the Vikings are free to address the interior offensive line. Rookie center Pat Elflein is a stud, but both guard spots are easily upgradeable, and a phone-booth mauler like Hernandez would bring a welcomed mean streak to an O-line that was ill-equipped against a formidable pass rush in the NFC title game.

31. New England Patriots: Kolton Miller, OT. UCLA

Analysis: After Nate Solder joined the Giants for historic money it’d be fitting if a player of a near-identical physical profile slots in as his replacement. One of the 2018 Combine’s true workout warriors, the mammoth blind-side Bruin blocker is raw but offers a boatload of athleticism for the position. Besides, edge blocking as a rookie isn’t such a herculean task when it’s for Tom Brady’s lightning-quick internal clock.

32. Philadelphia Eagles: Dallas Goedert, TE. South Dakota State

Analysis: For a team with few – if any – immediate holes, there is an opportunity for reinforcement behind Zach Ertz. After losing a quality ‘move’ tight end in Trey Burton to free agency, Goedert can effectively replicate the physical attributes lost in the passing game. More of a linear athlete in the Travis Kelce mold, this adds another dynamic dimension to an Eagles offense patiently awaiting the return of Carson Wentz.

(Round 2)

33. Cleveland Browns: Isaiah Oliver, CB. Colorado

Analysis: Size, length, ball skills. Tremendous potential at the top of round two, and can also help as a returner. Offers a new matchup dimension on Cleveland’s boundary.

34. New York Giants: Billy Price, OG/C. Ohio State

Analysis: Big Blue invested heavily at left tackle with Nate Solder and double-down with the nasty (guard-capable) Billy Price, a fellow Buckeye product equally polished as Shurmur’s rookie center (Pat Elflein) in Minnesota last season.

35. Cleveland Browns (f/HOU): Justin Reid, S. Stanford

Analysis: Versatile, “student of game” type who can cover multiple positions in the secondary behind Damarious Randall, who enters a contract year.

36. Indianapolis Colts: Derrius Guice, RB. LSU

Analysis: The feature ‘back Indy’s been seeking since the Edgerrin James/Joseph Addai days; whether it’s Luck or Brissett under center, Guice is capable of carrying the load offensively.

37. Indianapolis Colts (f/NYJ): James Daniels, OG/C. Iowa

Buccaneers GM Jason Licht has quickly addressed pass rushing needs through free agency and the trade market, allowing for increased draft flexibility.

Buccaneers GM Jason Licht has quickly addressed pass rushing needs through the free agent and trade markets, allowing for increased draft flexibility.

Analysis: Reich touted the interior O-line depth of this class and the Colts are pleased to find a first-round talent, in the Pouncey twins’ mold, capable of playing three positions atop round two.

38. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Sony Michel, RB. Georgia

Analysis: Perpetual home run threat capable of stabilizing a backfield in need of a workhorse. Sony finally becomes an outright bell-cow.

39. Chicago Bears: Desmond Harrison, OT. West Georgia

Analysis: An ideal schematic fit for Nagy/Helfrich; high-potential long-term left tackle option who could physically follow in the Tyron Smith development path when he fills out his athletic frame.

40. Denver Broncos: Braden Smith, OG. Auburn

Analysis: Guard will be a point of emphasis early on and Smith is a big, powerful people-pusher with a ready-made NFL frame.

41. Oakland Raiders: Rashaan Evans, LB. Alabama

Analysis: Modern prototype linebacker with range and explosion; doubles as a sub-package pass rusher.

42. Miami Dolphins: Lamar Jackson, QB. Louisville

Analysis: Though maybe not a round one quarterback team after converting $16.7M into guaranteed money on Tannehill’s deal, this would be an ideal situation for player and team; electrifying playmaker.

43. New England Patriots (f/SF): Mike Gesicki, TE. Penn State

Analysis: Gronk is pondering retirement and Dwayne Allen was a non-factor in the passing game last season. Gesicki is a more athletic Jeremy Shockey and red-zone demon.

44. Washington Redskins: Harrison Phillips, DT. Stanford

Analysis: Brute power and a hulking physical build, Phillips provides an instant upgrade at nose tackle as Washington continues to beef up through the defensive middle.

45. Green Bay Packers: Arden Key, OLB. LSU

Analysis: Ideal dimensions and profile as a base 3-4 edge rusher with considerable upside. If they’re drafting the 2016 version, then it’s a tremendous bargain at this point.

46. Cincinnati Bengals: Hayden Hurst, TE. South Carolina

Analysis: Eifert’s proved unreliable and, at worst, this provides a well-rounded contingency plan at a position lacking depth.

47. Arizona Cardinals: Mason Rudolph, QB. Oklahoma State

Analysis: Despite lacking an A+ arm, Rudolph is a formidable downfield passer with terrific accuracy; Cards finally secure what could be their long-term answer under center.

48. Los Angeles Chargers: Ronnie Harrison, S. Alabama

Analysis: Unbelievable value in a position of need; heavy, downhill box safety with ‘plus’ coverage skills for the position. Charger fans screaming ‘Roll Tide’ in this scenario.

49. Indianapolis Colts (f/NYJ): Courtland Sutton, WR. Southern Methodist

Analysis: Lacking explosion, but a big-bodied possession target who adds a much-needed dimension to Indy’s stable of receivers.

50. Dallas Cowboys: Orlando Brown, OT. Oklahoma

Analysis: A lot of value at this point; an immediate right tackle option who allows La’El Collins to kick back to guard where he was stellar in 2016.

51. Detroit Lions: Ronald Jones III, RB. USC

Analysis: Delivers the ‘big play’ element sorely lacking in the Lions stagnant backfield; Jamaal Charles 2.0?

52. Baltimore Ravens: Kerryon Johnson, RB. Auburn

Analysis: Alex Collins was reliable, but there is tremendous value here in Johnson – an explosive, efficient, productive runner – who adds more excitement and depth to Baltimore’s backfield.

53. Buffalo Bills: Anthony Miller, WR. Memphis

Analysis: Benjamin enters a contract year and Zay Jones’ situation is up in the air. Miller is a production machine with numerous similarities to Antonio Brown out of CMU in 2010.

54. Kansas City Chiefs: Kyzir White, S. West Virginia

Analysis: Ron Parker is gone and depth beyond Eric Berry is severely lacking. White favorably complements the aforementioned Berry and ideally profiles as a hybrid big-slot/tight end coverage option.

55. Carolina Panthers: Martinas Rankin, OL. Mississippi State

Analysis: A savvy selection that would provide deep coverage along the O-line; immediate help at guard and a strong center candidate once Ryan Kalil retires.

56. Buffalo Bills (f/LAR): Malik Jefferson, LB. Texas

Analysis: Rangy H/W/S prototype with superior coverage skills and an attack-minded approach to the position.

57. Tennessee Titans: Frank Ragnow, OG/C. Arkansas

Analysis: Deeply experienced leader with the ability to cover all three interior positions; lunchpail blocker with deceptive athleticism.

58. Atlanta Falcons: Rasheem Green, DE. USC

Analysis: Versatile, hybrid lineman with enough bulk for a sub-package interior rusher, but enough agility and quickness to disrupt from the edge as well.

59. San Francisco 49ers (f/NO): Austin Corbett, OG. Nevada

Analysis: The organization has heavily prioritized building an O-line in the Lynch era; the fleet-footed college tackle is a perfect fit for Shanahan’s outside zone and appears to be a carbon copy of fellow Nevada alum Joel Bitonio.

60. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jessie Bates, S. Wake Forest

Analysis: Self-motivator just scratching the surface of his potential; highly productive tackler with natural, center-field coverage awareness.

The always-enigmatic Patriots hold three of the first 63 selections and are liable to go in a number of directions.

The always-enigmatic Patriots hold three of the first 63 selections and are liable to go in a number of directions.

61. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jerome Baker, LB. Ohio State

Analysis: Springy defender, covers ground seamlessly with blistering play-speed; capable of matching nearly any caliber of athlete in coverage. Kindly suits the Jags’ defensive profile.

62. Minnesota Vikings: Kemoko Turay, DE/OLB. Rutgers

Analysis: In Mike Zimmer’s desired H/W/S mold; a limitless athlete whose role can be shaped in a number of ways, similarly to Anthony Barr.

63. New England Patriots: Mike White, QB. Western Kentucky

Analysis: Prototype pocket-passer with a firehose arm; New England uses young quarterbacks as currency and can restock the cupboard.

64. Cleveland Browns (f/PHI): Nick Chubb, RB. Georgia

Analysis: Prodigious, productive Dawg rusher who likely would’ve gone higher had he not suffered a significant knee injury in 2015.

 

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Dion Caputi’s 2018 NFL Draft position rankings (2.0)

Dion Caputi’s 2018 NFL Draft position rankings are based on pre/post-Combine film study and encompass evaluations from various All-Star bowls (Shrine Game, Senior Bowl, etc.). Note: Honorable mentions (“HM”) aren’t necessarily the No. 6 rated players by position, but noteworthy nevertheless.

*Bracketed numbers denote previous ranking.

Position rankings (1.0), released on

Dion Caputi’s 2018 NFL Draft position rankings are based on pre/post-Combine film study and encompass evaluations from various All-Star bowls (Shrine Game, Senior Bowl, etc.). Note: Honorable mentions (“HM”) aren’t necessarily the No. 6 rated players by position, but noteworthy nevertheless.

*Bracketed numbers denote previous ranking.

Position rankings (1.0), released on February 13, 2018.


Quarterback

  1. Josh Rosen, UCLA (2)
  2. Sam Darnold, USC (1)
  3. Baker Mayfield, OU (3)
  4. Lamar Jackson, LOU (4)
  5. Mike White, WKU (n/a)

HM: Riley Ferguson, MEM (5)


Running Back

  1. Saquon Barkley, PSU (1)
  2. Derrius Guice, LSU (4)
  3. Ronald Jones, USC (2)
  4. Sony Michel, UGA (3)
  5. Kerryon Johnson, AUB (5)

HM: Nick Chubb, UGA (n/a)


Wide Receiver

Antonio Callaway, fresh off a tremendous Combine, could be one of the steals of the draft at receiver.

Antonio Callaway, fresh off a tremendous Combine, could be one of the steals of the draft at receiver.

  1. Anthony Miller, MEM (1)
  2. Calvin Ridley, BAMA (2)
  3. Christian Kirk, TAMU (3)
  4. Equanimeous St. Brown, ND (5)
  5. D.J. Chark, LSU (n/a)

HM: Antonio Callaway, UF (n/a)


Tight Ends

  1. Mike Gesicki, PSU (2)
  2. Dallas Goedert, SDST (n/a)
  3. Hayden Hurst, SCAR (3)
  4. Tyler Conklin, CMU (5)
  5. Mark Andrews, OU (1)

HM: Adam Breneman, UMASS (HM)


Offensive Tackle

  1. Mike McGlinchey, ND (1)
  2. Desmond Harrison, WGA (2)
  3. Connor Williams, UT (4)
  4. Orlando Brown, OU (3)
  5. Kolton Miller, UCLA (n/a)

HM: Brian O’Neill, PITT (n/a)


Offensive Guard/Center

  1. Quenton Nelson, ND (1)
  2. Isaiah Wynn, UGA (2)
  3. Will Hernandez, UTEP (n/a)
  4. Billy Price, OSU (3)
  5. James Daniels, IOWA (n/a)

HM: Rod Taylor, MISS (n/a)


Interior Defensive Line/Defensive Tackle

  1. Vita Vea, UW (1)
  2. Da’Ron Payne, BAMA (n/a)
  3. Taven Bryan, UF (3)
  4. Rasheem Green, USC (2)
  5. Harrison Phillips, STAN (n/a)

HM: Nathan Shepherd, FHST (n/a)

Kansas star Dorance Armstrong Jr. is perfectly suited to a 3-4 edge role at the next level.

Kansas star Dorance Armstrong Jr. is perfectly suited to a 3-4 edge role at the next level.


Edge Defender/Defensive End

  1. Bradley Chubb, NCST (1)
  2. Harold Landry, BC (4)
  3. Marcus Davenport, UTST (2)
  4. Sam Hubbard, OSU (n/a)
  5. Andrew Brown, UVA (n/a)

HM: Dorance Armstrong Jr., UK (n/a)


Linebacker

  1. Roquan Smith, UGA (1)
  2. Tremaine Edmunds, VT (2)
  3. Leighton Vander Esch, BSU (3)
  4. Lorenzo Carter, UGA (HM)
  5. Shaquem Griffin, UCF (5)

HM: Kemoko Turay, RUT (n/a)


Cornerback

  1. Jaire Alexander, LOU (2)
  2. Denzel Ward, OSU (3)
  3. Joshua Jackson, IOWA (1)
  4. Mike Hughes, UCF (5)
  5. Isaiah Oliver, CU (n/a)

HM: J.C. Jackson, UMD (n/a)


Safety

  1. Minkah Fitzpatrick, BAMA (1)
  2. Derwin James, FSU (2)
  3. Ronnie Harrison, BAMA (4)
  4. Justin Reid, STAN (5)
  5. DeShon Elliott, UT (3)

HM: Dane Cruikshank, UA (n/a)

Kicker/Punter

  1. Michael Dickson, UT (1, punter)
  2. Eddy Pineiro, UF (2, kicker)
  3. Matthew McCrane, KSU (3, kicker)
  4. Daniel Carlson, AUB (4, kicker)
  5. Shane Tripucka, TAMU (5, punter)

HM: Ryan Santoso, UMN (HM, punter/kickoff specialist)

Hit me on Twitter: @NFLDraftUpdate

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NFL Combine 2018: Who will be the ‘Alpha’ QB?

A new set of 300-something (336 to be exact) collegiate stars take the annual trip to Indianapolis in what will likely be the most grueling job interview process of their lives.

Entering this Combine, I remain steadfast in my belief that all invited passers should throw, as nobody has anything to lose with so much

A new set of 300-something (336 to be exact) collegiate stars take the annual trip to Indianapolis in what will likely be the most grueling job interview process of their lives.

Entering this Combine, I remain steadfast in my belief that all invited passers should throw, as nobody has anything to lose with so much uncertainty regarding the selection order of quarterbacks at the top of the class. In essence, the distinction of being the first passer chosen – and likely at No. 1 overall – is entirely up for grabs.

With Sam Darnold electing not to throw at the Combine, additional eyes will be on Josh Rosen.

With Sam Darnold electing not to throw at the Combine, additional eyes will be on Josh Rosen.

USC’s Sam Darnold, who – for the time being – is tipped as the likeliest to be selected first by Cleveland, bowed out of the race after electing not to throw, leaving the door agape for others to claim the spotlight.

UCLA’s Josh Rosen will primarily be tasked with dispelling his perceived character concerns at this year’s Combine, but there may not be a ‘prettier’ stationary passer in this class. As such, he stands an excellent chance at significantly elevating his on-field perception with a comfortable and composed display in drills. Unlike his three years with the Bruins, he’ll have more than a half-second to deliver passes at the Combine.

Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield is one of the most polarizing of talents in the 2018 draft class. The 2017 Heisman Trophy winner’s confident, animated demeanor is both a positive and negative depending on who you speak to, but his ability to lead an offense is inarguable. I’m eager to see him interact with fellow groupmates during the workout and how willing he’ll be to simply ‘be himself’ with so much discussion surrounding his personality throughout the process. Mayfield’s at his best when he plays with personality and it’d behoove him to do the same in Indy.

Two who will be scrutinized above all others are Wyoming gunslinger Josh Allen and Lousiville playmaker (and 2016 Heisman Trophy winner) Lamar Jackson.

Allen possesses a mouthwatering physical skill-set and a fully equipped toolbox, which has some believing he could go as high as No. 1 overall, but his evaluation is marred by erratic tape. On the other hand, Jackson has the most to prove of any Combine passer. It’s imperative for the 2-time ACC Player of the Year to exhibit an improved ability while throwing from a stationary position, as he’s developed a penchant for feeling more comfortable while mobile. Nevertheless, a tremendous talent and Combine discussion point.

I’m higher on Memphis’ Riley Ferguson than most. The former Tennessee Volunteer combined with Anthony Miller for what was one of college football’s most lethal pass-catch tandems last season. He enters the Combine as my No. 5 rated quarterback and I’m excited to observe how he compares to the perceived top talents at the position in Indy.

The three-time Buckeye captain might be the most appealing late-round quarterback option in the 2018 draft.

The three-time Buckeye captain might be the most appealing late-round quarterback option in the 2018 draft.

For prolific Oklahoma State pivot Mason Rudolph, his delivery will be an observation point as he possesses more of a push-power arm. Has he shortened his motion a bit? If so, it’ll elevate his perception.

Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett leaves college a similar prospect to how I viewed Tyrod Taylor out of Virginia Tech in 2011 – though slightly less of an athlete and slightly more of a ‘quarterback’. He stands a strong chance of having an extended NFL career and that begins in Indy by putting what I consider to be a ‘complete’ skill-set on display during workouts.

Lastly, Washington State’s Luke Falk has people wondering if he has enough arm to make every NFL throw. A dreaded ‘system’ player? The Combine is a perfect stage for him to quell those concerns.

Prediction:
For quarterbacks, the Combine is primarily beneficial to individuals with great physical optics – the guys who ‘look’ like quarterbacks in stature or motion. Therefore, the odds-on favorites to improve their draft appeal after drills will be Josh Allen (tantalizing blend of size and arm strength) and Josh Rosen (silky-smooth throwing motion and advanced mechanics). Expect them to be the biggest ‘winners’ from the positional group.

As a final honorable mention, keep an eye on Western Kentucky prototype Mike White: He looks the part and is equipped with an A-grade arm. The former Louisville Slugger All-American pitcher’s lack of evasion or mobility will be well-hidden during the battery of on-field testing where he’ll be allowed to just let-rip and put on a show.

Quarterbacks workout with running backs and tight ends on Saturday, March 3.

Drop me a line on Twitter: @NFLDraftUpdate

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2018 Two-Round NFL Mock Draft (1.0)

*Note: As there was a tie, No. 9 and 10 overall will be decided via coin toss at the Combine. In order to determine the order for this mock, I literally brought a 49ers fan and a Raiders fan together for a coin toss (in what proved to be a monumental waste of time and

*Note: As there was a tie, No. 9 and 10 overall will be decided via coin toss at the Combine. In order to determine the order for this mock, I literally brought a 49ers fan and a Raiders fan together for a coin toss (in what proved to be a monumental waste of time and resources). 49ers won the toss.


(Round 1)

1. Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB. USC

Analysis: Simply couldn’t protect the ball in 2017, but offers more in both production and upside than all fellow quarterback classmates. See 2016 Rose Bowl vs. Penn State for a glimpse at how special he can be.

2. New York Giants: Josh Rosen, QB. UCLA

Analysis: No worthy pass protection and the long-term need under center is palpable. Best to find your man a year early anyway, as this also relieves pressure on Shurmur to identify Eli’s successor. Rosen’s persona should mesh well in NYC.

3. Indianapolis Colts: Bradley Chubb, DE. NC State

Analysis: Though Indy’s rush offense was poor in 2017 its defense ranked 30th in yards (conceded) per game + 31st in sacks and Chubb is consistently dominant. This running back class may be the best in history – fry that fish later

4. Cleveland Browns (f/HOU): Saquon Barkley, RB. Penn State

Analysis: I struggled because this is the least-John Dorsey pick ever, but to land arguably the draft’s best player with the second of two picks makes it less of a luxury. O-line help still wouldn’t surprise me here either.

5. Denver Broncos: Quenton Nelson, OG. Notre Dame

Analysis: Unquestionably the best, most plug-and-play blocker in this draft class and the Broncos ranked 30th in sacks-allowed last year.

6. New York Jets: Calvin Ridley, WR. Alabama

Analysis: Ridley is a pass-game workhorse in the Reggie Wayne mold. Plenty of unpolished passers will still be available later, and with less immediate pressure than they would if taken here.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB. Alabama

Analysis: Corner, safety – doesn’t matter. Tampa’s defense sorely needs a talent upgrade and Minkah fields an all-around game with huge upside. Adding some more length to that secondary is an added bonus.

8. Chicago Bears: Connor Williams, OT. Texas

Analysis: New head coach Matt Nagy arrives from an organization in KC that put a premium on O-lineman, and with a bright-eyed young passer under center comes the responsibility of protecting him.

9. San Francisco 49ers: Roquan Smith, LB. Georgia

Analysis: Whether Reuben Foster plays 16 games or not, there’s a need to upgrade the linebacking unit. Roquan is an alpha-dog in the Patrick Willis mold.

10. Oakland Raiders: Vita Vea, DT. Washington

Analysis: Brute power and an absurd first step, Vea is mammoth-sized (6’4″ 344lbs.) but packs it all into a good body. A 3-down space-eater who would certainly take some attention off Khalil Mack.

11. Miami Dolphins: Mike Hughes, CB. Central Florida

Analysis: Defense ranked 28th in the league in interceptions last season and there’s rather significant need for added talent + depth at the corner position. If not a quarterback (and I don’t expect it to be), pass defense must be a priority.

12. Cincinnati Bengals: Baker Mayfield, QB. Oklahoma

Analysis: Shocker, right? Not really. Andy Dalton will be 31 this year and – after peaking in 2015 – has regressed considerably. His salary also escalates beginning in 2019, just in time for Mayfield to take reigns. Something’s got to give on that idle offense.

13. Washington Redskins: Tremaine Edmunds, ILB. Virginia Tech

Analysis: Heavy down-hill playmaker who can bolster a run defense that was hapless in a few key moments last season. HWS (height/weight/speed) specimen cut from the same cloth as Dont’a Hightower.

14. Green Bay Packers: Rasheem Green, DT/DE. USC

Analysis: An all-encompassing defensive upgrade with an untraceable ceiling. Though boasting a similar skill-set (and pass rushing threat) to Fletcher Cox coming out of Mississippi State, Green’s best fit could come as a 5-tech.

15. Arizona Cardinals: Josh Allen, QB. Wyoming

Analysis: I have extreme hesitancy on Allen, but the need for long-term hope under center is unquestionably required. The physical tools are tantalizing – but he must sit for at least a year.

16. Baltimore Ravens: Orlando Brown, OT. Oklahoma

Analysis: Likely a right tackle only, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Brown reminds me of another former mammoth OU tackle in Phil Loadholt, who was an above-average right tackle for 6 seasons.

17. Los Angeles Chargers: Billy Price, C. Ohio State

Analysis: Multiple needs and the board is set up for all of them, but center may be the most glaring of all. Price is an angry blocker, day-one-ready and can arguably match even Phil Rivers for intensity.

18. Seattle Seahawks: Derwin James, S. Florida State

Analysis: At minimum, Chancellor claims he’ll sit out 2018 and this is a near-perfect solution from a talent perspective. The Legion of Boom is deteriorating and youthful turnover in the secondary is badly required.

19. Dallas Cowboys: Leighton Vander Esch, LB. Boise State

Analysis: Sean Lee is turning 32, has never played 16 games in a season and the Cowboys defense is consistently weakened without him. Vander Esch is an impressive athlete with low mileage, coming off an elite year of all-around production.

20. Detroit Lions: Marcus Davenport, DE. Texas at San Antonio

Analysis: Pass rush ineffectiveness necessitated the mid-season signing of Dwight Freeney and Ziggy Ansah is a free agent. Davenport bundles length, power and movement skills in a high-potential 6’6″ 255lb frame.

21. Buffalo Bills: Denzel Ward, CB. Ohio State

Analysis: Smooth, instinctual athlete who will likely play the majority of his snaps inside. Tre’Davious White was DROY-worthy, but the Bills’ pass defense still finished bottom-half in yards conceded in 2017.

22. Buffalo Bills (f/KC): Da’Ron Payne, DT. Alabama

Analysis: In 2017, the Bills defense ranked 29th in rushing yards conceded per game. Payne is a trim and powerful 3-down nose tackle who can help anchor a run defense early on as a rookie.

23. Los Angeles Rams: Joshua Jackson, CB. Iowa

Analysis: After Trumaine Johnson, who is a free agent, there is little to get excited about at the corner position. Jackson requires polish but possesses tremendous potential. B1G DB of the Year following a phenomenal 8-interception season.

24. Carolina Panthers: Courtland Sutton, WR. Southern Methodist

Analysis: After moving on from Kelvin Benjamin, this establishes an added big-bodied physical presence out wide for Cam. On the high-end, Sutton functions like Marques Colston did and can provide a consistently reliable target.

25. Tennessee Titans: James Daniels, C. Iowa

Analysis: Though he must continue to fill out his frame and strength is to be developed, Daniels can play all three interior positions along the O-line, where stability is needed. Titans have valued blockers with premium picks before.

26. Atlanta Falcons: Isaiah Wynn, OG. Georgia

Analysis: Fleet-footed college tackle with Pro Bowl potential at guard moving forward – and an ideal schematic fit in a ZBS.

27. New Orleans Saints: Christian Kirk, WR. Texas A&M

Analysis: Doesn’t quite replace the vertical threat lost when Cooks was dealt, but Kirk’s style of play is similar to that of Odell Beckham leaving LSU. Lack of stability in Aggies’ quarterback situation hampered production.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ronnie Harrison, S. Alabama

Analysis: Heavy, productive, down-hill defender tied into an athletic and imposing 6’3″ 215lb frame. More importantly, ready to help out from day one.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dallas Goedert, TE. South Dakota State

Analysis: Relatively unpolished as a blocker, but there may not be a more dynamic route-runner and receiver from the tight end position in this class. Seems wildly unlikely a quarterback is considered here.

30. Minnesota Vikings: Mike McGlinchey, OT. Notre Dame

O-line took a big step forward in 2017 and Elflein is a stud, but further reinforcement is needed. McGlinchey is a four-position blocker and would help immediately wherever he’s plugged.

31. New England Patriots: Taven Bryan, DT. Florida

Analysis: Piece of clay with tremendous upside. Lack of top-end collegiate production won’t prevent a confident coach like Belichick from acquiring such a talent. Patriots are quirky on draft day but always value defense early.

32. Philadelphia Eagles: Rashaan Evans, LB. Alabama

Analysis: Ideal inside-outside fit in a base 4-3 front with impressive lateral movement abilities. Explosive box defender who doesn’t get swallowed or stuck to blockers.

(Round 2)

33. Cleveland Browns: Isaiah Oliver, CB. Colorado

Analysis: Size/speed/length athlete + ball skills. Tremendous potential at the top of round two, and can also help as a returner.

34. New York Giants: Ronald Jones III, RB. USC

Analysis: Committee rushing approach isn’t working and RJ3 is a home run hitter with world class speed. Jamaal Charles 2.0.

35. Cleveland Browns (f/HOU): Justin Reid, S. Stanford

Analysis: Well-rounded, complete safety with good instincts and athleticism. “Student of the game”.

36. Indianapolis Colts: Derrius Guice, RB. LSU

Analysis: Uber-talent. Top 15 player based on 2016 tape but dealt with injuries in 2017.

37. New York Jets: Lamar Jackson, QB. Louisville

Analysis: Playmaker in every sense – supremely effective passing on the move, but requires polish. Good situation sitting a year behind McCown.

38. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Arden Key, DE. LSU

Analysis: Defense is a mess and Tampa only mustered 22.0 sacks in 2017 – good for worst in the league. Key has double-digit sack potential.

39. Chicago Bears: Anthony Miller, WR. Memphis

Analysis: Reminiscent of Antonio Brown’s electric Central Michigan tape. Stat-freak who eats with feet despite diminutive physique.

40. Denver Broncos: Sony Michel, RB. Georgia

Analysis: Strong north-south rusher capable of hitting home runs, and he’s accustomed to running as part of a tandem/committee.

41. Oakland Raiders: Donte Jackson, CB. LSU

Analysis: Lacking in overall size, but might be the fastest corner available in this class. Adds a sorely required element to a cornerback group that must start over.

42. Miami Dolphins: Will Hernandez, OG. UTEP

Analysis: Interior O-line stability is desperately needed, and Hernandez started 37 games at LG in four years. LOVES a trench fight.

43. New England Patriots (f/SF): Jaire Alexander, CB. Louisville

Analysis: Jason Verrett 2.0 – probably a top 15 pick if he were taller, but size means less for Patriots when evaluating DBs.

44. Washington Redskins: James Washington, WR. Oklahoma State

Analysis: Adds a downfield element not currently present on the roster and Alex Smith is locked in at $71M guaranteed – he needs support.

45. Green Bay Packers: Harold Landry, DE/OLB. Boston College

Analysis: Coming off a down year, but looked to be college football’s most fearsome edge rusher in 2016 with 16.5 sacks (and 22.0 TFL).

46. Cincinnati Bengals: Martinas Rankin, OT. Mississippi State

Analysis: Might be at tackle, might be at guard, but he’s a 4-position blocker and enters the league ready to play now.

47. Arizona Cardinals: Simmie Cobbs Jr. WR. Indiana

Analysis: Life after Larry Fitzgerald’s retirement could be rough; might be best to groom a prospect with a similar skill-base under him.

48. Los Angeles Chargers: Terrell Edmunds, S. Virginia Tech

Analysis: Tremaine’s older bro; big-bodied, downhill safety adept in coverage. Willing tackler in the box and can physically match NFL tight ends.

49. New York Jets (f/SEA): Harrison Phillips, DT. Stanford

Analysis: High-motor, power lineman with violent hands. 15.0 sacks over the last two seasons. Steps off the bus pissed off.

50. Dallas Cowboys: Desmond Harrison, OT. West Georgia

Analysis: Texas transfer might be the premier ‘boom or bust’ prospect in 2018; mouthwatering dimensions and talent base. Collins eventually slides back inside.

51. Detroit Lions: Maurice Hurst, DT. Michigan

Analysis: (Very) poor man’s Aaron Donald who can provide a consistent leverage-based pass-rush inside. Would be supreme value.

52. Baltimore Ravens: D.J. Moore, WR. Maryland

Analysis: B1G WR of the Year; combines strength + speed, Moore is a fantastic YAC threat and volume catcher.

53. Buffalo Bills: Mason Rudolph, QB. Oklahoma State

Analysis: If you’re going to select a quarterback who’s at least one year away from meaningful snaps, better to do it on day two.

54. Kansas City Chiefs: Braden Smith, OG. Auburn

Analysis: The Olathe, Kansas-native ideally projects to guard (with swing-tackle versatility). It’s imperative to protect Mahomes while he acclimates.

55. Carolina Panthers: Kyzir White, S. West Virginia

Analysis: Complete safety and the ideal frame + skill base for an NFL safety. Ascending quickly.

56. Buffalo Bills (f/LAR): Frank Ragnow, C. Arkansas

Analysis: Experienced captain with guard versatility; natural replacement for the retiring Eric Wood.

57. Tennessee Titans: Andrew Brown, DE. Virginia

Analysis: Fits the 3-4 end profile perfectly and proved to be a penetrative force when rushing from in or out over the past two years.

58. Atlanta Falcons: Derrick Nnadi, DT. Florida State

Analysis: Squatty three-down nose tackle in a base 4-3 with impressive lateral movement skills; Poe, Rubin up for free agency.

59. San Francisco 49ers (f/NO): Kerryon Johnson, RB. Auburn

Analysis: Whether Carlos Hyde returns or not, more is needed; Kerryon can be the workhorse in any offense.

60. Pittsburgh Steelers: Malik Jefferson, LB. Texas

Analysis: Who knows if Shazier will play again and Pittsburgh badly missed the range he provided at the position. Supreme value.

61. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jamarco Jones, OT. Ohio State

Analysis: Profiles well at either tackle spot and allows the Jags to reshuffle the deck along the O-line where necessary.

62. Minnesota Vikings: R.J. McIntosh, DT. Miami (FL)

Analysis: Height/weight/speed defender, just how Zim likes ’em. His dynamic skill-set would offer creative possibilities.

63. New England Patriots: Mike Gesicki, TE. Penn State

Analysis: Gronk is pondering retirement and Marty Bennett could be cut or retire; Gesicki is a Jeremy Shockey clone and helps in the red zone immediately.

64. Cleveland Browns (f/PHI): Carlton Davis, CB. Auburn

Analysis: Modern long-limbed press-man boundary corner; boasts terrific ball skills.

 

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Dion Caputi’s 2018 NFL Draft position rankings


*Dion Caputi's 2018 NFL Draft position rankings are based on pre-Combine film study and encompass evaluations from various All-Star bowls (Shrine Game, Senior Bowl, etc.). Note: Honorable mentions ("HM") aren't necessarily the No. 6 rated players by position, but noteworthy nevertheless.

Quarterback

  1. Sam Darnold, USC
  2. Josh Rosen, UCLA
  3. Baker Mayfield,


*Dion Caputi’s 2018 NFL Draft position rankings are based on pre-Combine film study and encompass evaluations from various All-Star bowls (Shrine Game, Senior Bowl, etc.). Note: Honorable mentions (“HM”) aren’t necessarily the No. 6 rated players by position, but noteworthy nevertheless.

Quarterback

  1. Sam Darnold, USC
  2. Josh Rosen, UCLA
  3. Baker Mayfield, OU
  4. Lamar Jackson, LOU
  5. Riley Ferguson, MEM

HM: Nic Shimonek, TTU

Running Back

  1. Saquon Barkley, PSU
  2. Ronald Jones III, USC
  3. Sony Michel, UGA
  4. Derrius Guice, LSU
  5. Kerryon Johnson, AUB

HM: Rashaad Penny, SDSU

Memphis star Anthony Miller amassed 2,896 yards and 32 touchdowns on 191 receptions over the last two seasons.

Memphis star Anthony Miller amassed 2,896 yards and 32 touchdowns on 191 receptions over the last two seasons.

Wide Receiver

  1. Anthony Miller, MEM
  2. Calvin Ridley, BAMA
  3. Christian Kirk, TAMU
  4. Courtland Sutton, SMU
  5. Equanimeous St. Brown, ND

HM: Daurice Fountain, UNI

Tight End

  1. Mark Andrews, OU
  2. Mike Gesicki, PSU
  3. Hayden Hurst, SCAR
  4. Troy Fumagalli, WISC
  5. Tyler Conklin, CMU

HM: Adam Breneman, UMASS

Offensive Tackle

  1. Mike McGlinchey, ND
  2. Desmond Harrison, WGA
  3. Orlando Brown, OU
  4. Connor Williams, UT
  5. Tyrell Crosby, ORE

HM: Brandon Parker, NCAT

Offensive Guard/Center

  1. Quenton Nelson, ND
  2. Isaiah Wynn, UGA
  3. Billy Price, OSU
  4. Braden Smith, AUB
  5. Frank Ragnow, ARK

HM: Mark Korte, ALBERTA

Interior Defensive Line/Defensive Tackle

  1. Vita Vea, UW
  2. Rasheem Green, USC
  3. Taven Bryan, UF
  4. Derek Nnadi, FSU
  5. R.J. McIntosh, MIA (FL)

HM: Harrison Phillips, STAN

Pass rusher Jeff Holland is comparable to fellow Auburn alum Dee Ford, who was selected 23rd overall in 2014.

Pass rusher Jeff Holland is comparable to fellow Auburn alum Dee Ford, who was selected 23rd overall in 2014.

Edge Defender/Defensive End

  1. Bradley Chubb, NCST
  2. Marcus Davenport, UTSA
  3. Arden Key, LSU
  4. Harold Landry, BC
  5. Jeff Holland, AUB

HM: Joe Ostman, CMU

Linebacker

  1. Roquan Smith, UGA
  2. Tremaine Edmunds, VT
  3. Leighton Vander Esch, BOISE
  4. Malik Jefferson, UT
  5. Shaquem Griffin, UCF

HM: Frank Ginda, SJSU / Lorenzo Carter, UGA

Cornerback

  1. Joshua Jackson, IOWA
  2. Jaire Alexander, LOU
  3. Denzel Ward, OSU
  4. Holton Hill, UT
  5. Mike Hughes, UCF

HM: Devron Davis, UTSA / Siran Neal, JSU

Safety

  1. Minkah Fitzpatrick, BAMA
  2. Derwin James, FSU
  3. DeShon Elliott, UT
  4. Ronnie Harrison, BAMA
  5. Justin Reid, STAN

HM: Jordan Whitehead, PITT

Texas' Aussie-born punter was named MVP of the Texas Bowl after 10 of his 11 punts were downed within Missouri's 15-yard line.

Texas’ Aussie-born punter was named MVP of the Texas Bowl after 10 of his 11 punts were downed within Missouri’s 15-yard line.

Kicker/Punter

  1. Michael Dickson, UT (punter)
  2. Eddy Pineiro, UF (kicker)
  3. Matthew McCrane, KSU (kicker)
  4. Daniel Carlson, AUB (kicker)
  5. Shane Tripucka, TAMU (punter)

HM: Ryan Santoso, UMN (punter/kickoff specialist)

 

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College Football: Week 2 Storylines

UCLA's unforgettable comeback, (1) Alabama knocking off (3) Florida State, a nail-biter between West Virginia and Virginia Tech, as well as the Big Ten thriving early. Week 1 of the 2017 college football season was excellent, and fortunately for those of us at home, we're just getting started.

As we move into the second week

UCLA’s unforgettable comeback, (1) Alabama knocking off (3) Florida State, a nail-biter between West Virginia and Virginia Tech, as well as the Big Ten thriving early. Week 1 of the 2017 college football season was excellent, and fortunately for those of us at home, we’re just getting started.

As we move into the second week of the collegiate season, there’s once again a bevy of intriguing storylines on schedule for you to keep a close eye on. Here’s what I’m most looking forward to this weekend:

(5) Oklahoma AT (2) Ohio State – September 9, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC

The Buckeyes went to Norman and throttled the Sooners on their home turf last season, 45-24. This year, Oklahoma is coming off a more convincing Week 1 offensive performance where Sr. quarterback Baker Mayfield was able to call it a day by halftime. Can OU’s young head coach Lincoln Riley vindicate last season’s bad loss in Columbus? We’ll see.

Tyquan Lewis led the way against Indiana with two sacks.

Tyquan Lewis led the way against Indiana with two sacks.

Ultimately, this game will come down to Oklahoma’s offense against Ohio State’s defense, where the former looked dominant while scoring 35 first-half points and the latter notched five sacks, two interceptions, and one fumble in week 1.

Baker Mayfield will be under heavy scrutiny all season from an NFL evaluation standpoint, as he’s lacking prototype size or ideal physical traits for the next level. However, a signature performance early on would generate a dose of positive momentum for the Austin, Texas native.

Conversely, Ohio State’s defensive edge trio of Tyquan Lewis, Sam Hubbard, and Nick Bosa are sure to leave a mark on the game. As well, true Fr. running back J.K. Dobbins has Buckeye fans excited after his 181-yard rushing effort in his college debut. Scouts and fans alike will want to get a look at him – he’s wearing No. 2.

(13) Auburn AT (3) Clemson – September 9, 7 p.m. ET

Dabo Swinney spoke highly of Auburn’s balance on both sides of the ball last season and War Eagle is unquestionably superior to its 2016 counterpart. While it’s not impossible for Gus Malzahn’s squad to win ten regular season games this year, it’d require a sizable upset in order to win a night game at Memorial Stadium this Saturday.

However, Auburn boasts a potentially elite running game featuring the trio of Kerryon Johnson, Kam Martin, and Kamryn Pettway. Though Johnson is unlikely to suit up due to a hamstring injury, Pettway – last season’s bell cow – returns from suspension this week. Everyone’s favorite sleeper quarterback Jarrett Stidham will have to be a lot more effective this week if Auburn is to stand a chance of outscoring Clemson.

Clemson, last year’s national champion, has an enviable ground game itself with four players rushing for 50+ yards and at least one touchdown against Kent State in week 1. Oh, and the Tigers also completed passes to 15 different receivers as well.

Get ready for a lot of offense. Slam the over on this one.

(14) Stanford AT (6) USC – September 9, 8:30 p.m. ET

“It’s one of those dates you mark on your calendar because you know it’s going to impact your season,” said USC head coach Clay Helton of this tie.

Ronald Jones II rushed for three touchdowns in week one against Western Michigan.

Ronald Jones II rushed for three touchdowns in week one against Western Michigan.

We may be getting an early preview of the Pac-12 title game here and the contest is likely to be a tale of two star rushers. USC Jr. Ronald Jones II took charge offensively against Western Michigan in week 1 as his quarterback, Sam Darnold, failed to settle into the game. Meanwhile, Cardinal Jr. Bryce Love stepped in nobly in the wake of Christian McCaffrey as Stanford routed Rice in Australia.

As eluded to, Trojan Jr. quarterback Sam Darnold was porous in his season debut, but can quickly extirpate all negativity with a strong game this weekend. Though Josh Rosen carries the lion’s share of the pro buzz after UCLA’s come back, Darnold is still favored by many to be selected No. 1 overall in next year’s draft.

I’m expecting a tight game with a fun conclusion, and it’s possible that this won’t be the last time we see these two teams lock horns in 2017.

Quick Hits…

• (15) Georgia travels to South Bend to take on newly minted top twenty-five ranked (24) Notre Dame, but will do so with true Fr. Jake Fromm under center. Starter Jacob Eason sprained his knee against Appalachian State before Fromm entered and led Georgia on three consecutive touchdown drives. Gametime at 7:30 p.m. ET.

• (20) Washington State looks to avenge last season’s loss to unranked Boise State on September 9 at 8:30 p.m. ET. Get a good look at the Cougars’ interesting pro prospect Luke Falk, as he’s 101 passing yards away from breaking the school’s career passing record.

• Don’t forget, (16) Miami FL vs. Arkansas State has been canceled outright due to Hurricane Irma despite the game being staged in Jonesboro. ‘Canes athletic director Blake James confirmed it will NOT be replayed at a later date.

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2018 NFL Draft: Rosen takes early lead in QB race

College football is back, as evidenced by UCLA completing one of the greatest comebacks in history against Texas A&M this past week.

The Bruins stormed back from a 44-10 deficit late in the third quarter to emerge victorious, 45-44. The improbable comeback was largely attributed to the heroics of UCLA's Junior quarterback - and touted

College football is back, as evidenced by UCLA completing one of the greatest comebacks in history against Texas A&M this past week.

The Bruins stormed back from a 44-10 deficit late in the third quarter to emerge victorious, 45-44. The improbable comeback was largely attributed to the heroics of UCLA’s Junior quarterback – and touted 2018 draft prospect – Josh Rosen.

UCLA’s offense struggled early, as last season’s pass protection woes continued to prove problematic, while Rosen only completed about 50 percent of his first-half throws. However, evaluators will have noted multiple positives: Rosen took a balance of snaps both under center and in the shotgun with ease, he consistently compensated for an extreme lack of protection with a quick read + release, as well as exhibiting good pocket-mobility.

As the Bruins’ offense upped its tempo in the beginning of the fourth quarter, Josh Rosen seemingly developed a better rhythm and looked increasingly comfortable while moving the ball downfield in 10-15 yard increments. Methodical, cerebral, and never putting ball security at risk.

Comeback aside, what set Rosen’s performance apart from his 2018 quarterback classmates in week 1 was his ability to control the opposing secondary with look-offs and pump fakes. The second-half tape was ripe with NFL-esque window throws, and – to my quiet intrigue – Rosen would often change his arm angle dependent on the play, adjusting the release point of passes in order to avoid interference from defenders.

It was hardly a perfect game from the 2014 USA Today HS All-American, but mental fortitude is paramount in the evaluation game for quarterbacks. USC’s blue-chip passer Sam Darnold – who Rosen will compete with for the distinction of top eligible quarterback in this year’s draft – has a signature performance under his belt after last season’s Rose Bowl, and now Rosen has his.

Josh Rosen stat line vs. Texas A&M: 35/59 (59.3%), 491 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INT, 2 fumbles (2 lost)

Elsewhere…

•  Speaking of Sam Darnold: the Trojans’ redshirt-Sophomore passer got off to a painfully slow start against upstart Western Michigan at home. He was lacking intermediate-long range potency, completing mostly short-range passes in bunches. He finished with no touchdowns and two interceptions, but his team won. Darnold faces Stanford on prime time this weekend.

• Many people are hot on imposing Wyoming gunslinger Josh Allen, but for now the big-armed passer with size I’m fixated on is Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph. Though his Cowboys faced lowly Tulsa, good players take advantage of poor competition. He was dialed in from the outset, completing 20/24 passes (83.3%), for 303 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INT. Rudolph’s first real test this season comes week 3 at Pittsburgh.

• While on the subject of Josh Allen, Wyoming’s offense was a horror show at Iowa converting just 5 of 18 third downs. Allen is purely a shotgun passer and while he flashed his elite arm talent and pocket athleticism, his performance was littered with dangerous throws. Though he’d occasionally throw the ball away on the scramble when running out of space, he would often fall susceptible to trusting his arm too much. His day ended 23/40 (57.5%), 174 yards, 0 TD, 2 INTs. The next test evaluators will eagerly await is when Oregon comes to Laramie on September 16 for week 3. To me, the Carson Wentz comparisons are lazy, but Allen’s talent base is undeniable.

• Lastly, Louisville’s elite dual-threat (and Heisman candidate) Lamar Jackson picked up where he left off last year, completing 65.2% of his week 1 passes against Purdue, throwing for 378 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT + 107 yards rushing. For what it’s worth, Washington State gunslinger Luke Falk completed 84.6% for 311 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INT against minnow Montana State. He’ll face Boise State at home next week and his performance this year could elevate him into the first round.

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2017 NFL Draft Grade: NFC North

The Bears hitch their wagon to Mitchell "Don't call me Mitch" Trubisky, the Lions get some Gators, Ted Thompson and the Packers leverage the second round for secondary support, while Minnesota was fortuitous to land its "All Day" replacement on day two.

Chicago Bears
Round 1 (No. 2): Mitchell Trubisky, QB. North

The Bears hitch their wagon to Mitchell “Don’t call me Mitch” Trubisky, the Lions get some Gators, Ted Thompson and the Packers leverage the second round for secondary support, while Minnesota was fortuitous to land its “All Day” replacement on day two.

Chicago Bears
Round 1 (No. 2): Mitchell Trubisky, QB. North Carolina
Round 2 (No. 45): Adam Shaheen, TE. Ashland
Round 4 (No. 112): Eddie Jackson, DB. Alabama
Round 4 (No. 119): Tarik Cohen, RB. North Carolina A&T
Round 5 (No. 147): Jordan Morgan, OG. Kutztown

Let me preface by saying that I actually like the collection of players the Bears added, but this evaluation hinges at least partially on Ryan Pace & Co.’s one-spot trade up into No. 2 overall. I’m a cautious believer in Trubisky and I think the biggest ‘win’ from this Chicago class is the fact that he is allowed to sit for a complete year behind Mike Glennon. Adam Shaheen is not “Gronk-lite”, but he’s a well-rounded player who can block/run/catch. Eddie Jackson is decent safety depth, but my two favorite picks were the last two: “Joystick” Tarik Cohen is an intriguing change of pace ‘back who offers electricity in space, while Jordan Morgan is a high-potential college left tackle who will transition to guard. Chicago gave up a boatload for one draft position and didn’t get much draft value elsewhere, but this is a long-term class for a rebuilding team so they won’t care what I think.

Grade: C+

Detroit Lions
Round 1 (No. 21): Jarrad Davis, LB. Florida
Round 2 (No. 53): Teez Tabor, CB. Florida
Round 3 (No. 96): Kenny Golladay, WR. Northern Illinois
Round 4 (No. 124): Jalen Reeves-Maybin, LB. Tennessee
Round 4 (No. 127): Michael Roberts, TE. Toledo
Round 5 (No. 165): Jamal Agnew, CB. San Diego
Round 6 (No. 205): Jeremiah Ledbetter, DE. Arkansas
Round 6 (No. 215): Brad Kaaya, QB. Miami (FL)
Round 7 (No. 250): Pat O’Connor, DE. Eastern Michigan

I don’t see the ‘wow’ factor anywhere in this class past round one. I really like the Jarrad Davis pick: fills a major position of need and adds a very dynamic, twitchy interior linebacker with range and on-field leadership qualities. However, Teez Tabor and Kenny Golladay combine for maybe the most underwhelming day two haul of any draft class this year. Jalen Reeves-Maybin adds more athleticism in a big area of need, but was questionable value. Michael Roberts is a good blocker and a nice red zone option, while Brad Kaaya is the most exciting of the late round project passers, but that’s not enough to salvage a desired grade here.

Grade: C

Green Bay Packers
Round 2 (No. 33): Kevin King, CB. Washington
Round 2 (No. 61): Josh Jones, S. North Carolina State
Round 3 (No. 93): Montravius Adams, DT. Auburn
Round 4 (No. 108): Vince Biegel, LB. Wisconsin
Round 4 (No. 134): Jamaal Williams, RB. Brigham-Young
Round 5 (No. 175): DeAngelo Yancey, WR. Purdue
Round 5 (No. 182): Aaron Jones, RB. Texas-El Paso
Round 6 (No. 212): Kofi Amichia, OG/C. South Florida
Round 7 (No. 238): Devante Mays, RB. Utah State
Round 7 (No. 247):
 Malachi Dupre, WR. Louisiana State

Green Bay’s methodical and workman-like approach was evident yet again this year, valuing need over BPA. I was fired up about the team’s first three picks: King is your modern matchup boundary, while Josh Jones is a hit-stick safety with supreme athleticism – and in a post-Raji world, Montravius Adams’ blend of size/quickness/power fits right in. Mid-late rounds are hit or miss, but Jamaal Williams can do the dirty work Ty Montgomery can’t and Aaron Jones has intriguing long-speed. Malachi Dupre was a nice stamp: blue-chip high school recruit who suffered from poor quarterback-play at LSU – potential diamond. Par value, plenty of contributors.

Grade: B

Minnesota Vikings
Round 2 (No. 41): Dalvin Cook, RB. Florida State
Round 3 (No. 70): Pat Elflein, C. Ohio State
Round 4 (No. 109): Jaleel Johnson, DT. Iowa
Round 4 (No. 120): Ben Gedeon, LB. Michigan
Round 5 (No. 170): Rodney Adams, WR. South Florida
Round 5 (No. 180): Danny Isidora, OG. Miami (FL)
Round 6 (No. 201): Bucky Hodges, TE. Virginia Tech
Round 7 (No. 219): Stacy Coley, WR. Miami (FL)
Round 7 (No. 220): Ifeadi Odenigbo, DE. Northwestern
Round 7 (No. 232):
 Elijah Lee, LB. Kansas State
Round 7 (No. 247): Jack Tocho, CB. North Carolina State

One of three teams (Seattle, Cincinnati) who made 11 selections – the most this year. Like Green Bay, the Vikings knocked off a lot of needs. Dalvin Cook was my top rated running back, so to get him at No. 41 might be my favorite pick from the 2017 draft overall. A new long-term center was sorely needed and Elflein addresses that, offering some guard versatility in the interim. Jaleel Johnson is a wide-bodied 3-tech in the profile of Sharrif Floyd (who may not play again). Rodney Adams takes Cordarrelle Patterson’s place as the WR/KR on roster, while the intriguing Bucky Hodges is a modern move-TE with long arms and movement skill. I don’t think Ben Gedeon is the long-term Chad Greenway replacement Spielman & Co. might, but time will tell.

Grade: B

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Caputi: Pick-By-Pick Analysis (Round 1)

Settle in, I'm here to accompany you through the 2017 NFL Draft's first day of selections. Here you'll find my pick-by-pick analysis as we progress through the night.

Have a comment for me? Hit me up on Twitter: @NFLDraftUpdate

 

1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE. Texas A&M
The right pick for

Settle in, I’m here to accompany you through the 2017 NFL Draft’s first day of selections. Here you’ll find my pick-by-pick analysis as we progress through the night.

Have a comment for me? Hit me up on Twitter: @NFLDraftUpdate

 

1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE. Texas A&M
The right pick for a franchise lacking a genuine premier cornerstone on defense for far too long. This situation reminds me so much of Mario Williams’ selection by Houston in 2006. Defensive end has become a true value position over the past half-decade and good teams require elite edge play. Myles Garrett will have bare the flag of the Cleveland revolution, but fortunately he has a ton of talent supporting his efforts.

2. Chicago Bears (via SF): Mitchell Trubisky, QB. North Carolina – *TRADE
Let the games begin. Cleveland consciously passed on Trubisky at No. 1 knowing it was impossible he’d be available to them again. Oh, and don’t forget about John Lynch’s San Francisco 49ers already making a bold move by allowing the Bears to select the potential franchise arm – acquiring a boatload for the one draft spot in the process, I’ll add. Only two picks in and already we have a major storyline to follow in the coming years. Browns and 49ers pass on Trubisky: will they find their QBs later? will Trubisky pan out? Time will tell.

*Details of trade
To Bears: 1st round pick (No. 2 – Trubisky)

To 49ers: 1st round pick (No. 3), 3rd round pick (No. 67), 4th round pick (No. 111) + 2018 3rd round pick

3. San Francisco 49ers (via CHI): Solomon Thomas, DE. Stanford
John Lynch goes to his alma mater for his first pick as a General Manager. Building the defense from the ground up after making Thomas the franchise’s third 1st round defensive lineman selection in as many years (previous Arik Armstead, 2015 and DeForest Buckner, 2016). He’s not a tweener, he’s versatile. Hand in the dirt on 4-3 looks or rushing off the edge in a two-point stance on 3-4 downs, he can change the complexion of games.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, RB. Louisiana State
Elite size to speed ration with an undeniable mean streak. Ultimately, this pick had to be made in support of Blake Bortles and the Jags’ minimalist ground game. T.J. Yeldon is a nice player, but Fournette adds an element that simply wasn’t there before this evening.

5. Tennessee Titans: Corey Davis, WR. Western Michigan
A more complete, all-around receiver than guys perceivably graded ahead of him, but finds the right “fit” for your offense trumps the public’s draft board. Davis is tremendously productive + experienced, enters the league with a ton of polish and adds a more imposing physical element to Mariota’s arsenal.

6. New York Jets: Jamal Adams, S. Louisiana State
Whether the organization realizes it or not, there is a rebuild going on right now and Adams’ tone-setting abilities are a timely addition. Though the needs on defense were greater elsewhere, the Jets front office were not expecting this scenario – too much talent to pass on. Great pick – my favorite thus far.

7. Los Angeles Chargers: Mike Williams, WR. Clemson
The wide receiver need was always evident, but to get their guy this early is surprising when you consider the talent available on defense. That said, Phil Rivers ain’t getting younger and he’s never been able to rely on Keenan Allen to be healthy for a full 16 games. Williams is the best 50-50 receiver in this draft and adds an element that was sorely missing in the pass game.

8. Carolina Panthers: Christian McCaffrey, RB/WR. Stanford
Four-down player, don’t put him in a box as just being a running back. You want to allow him 20-30 touches and create opportunities for him in space, as he offers pretty scary open-field elusiveness. Can you imagine the possibilities of a Cam Newton + Christian McCaffrey backfield? Sign me up for some college-style options looks once in a while – they could be special together. Caf’s special teams ability is just the cherry on top.

9. Cincinnati Bengals: John Ross, WR. Washington
The fastest man in NFL Combine history is off to Cincy. The Bengals are fortunate that the one receiver who suits their offense best in this receiver group fell to them. Ross’ speed creates a dangerous over-the-top threat that should relieve AJ Green of some pesky double-coverages. Calling Ross a similar player to DeSean Jackson would be miscasting him – at minimum, he enters the NFL running B+ routes with A++ speed.

10. Kansas City Chiefs (via BUF): Pat Mahomes, QB. Texas Tech – *TRADE
The biggest talent at his position in the class and he’s entering the ideal situation where he can sit for a complete season before worrying about meaningful snaps. We thought all along that he had a hard-stop at No. 12-13 with the quarterback-hungry Browns and Cardinals soon on the clock. He creates his own opportunities and is equipped with an A++ arm. In 3-5 years, we may look back at the quarterback order and say this situation worked out the best.

*Details of trade
To Chiefs: 1st round pick (No. 10 – Mahomes),

To Bills: 1st round pick (No. 27), 3rd round pick (No. 91) + 2018 1st round pick.

11. New Orleans Saints: Marshon Lattimore, CB. Ohio State
The Saints front office, much like the viewing public, could never have imagined Lattimore would be available outside of the top ten. You must think his constant hamstring issue may have at least mildly contributed to this happening, but the cornerback-starved Saints are thrilled by the opportunity to roll the dice here.

12. Houston Texans (via CLE): DeShaun Watson, QB. Clemson – *TRADE
It’s well-documented that Bill O’Brien is a fan of the big, strong prototype passers. DeShaun Watson doesn’t quite fit that profile and it just goes to show how highly O’Brien must rate his intangibles. An accurate passer who comes alive in big moments, Watson is the safest quarterback in this class and he’s joining a playoff team. Houston went to the playoffs despite receiving marginal QB play last year, so the pressure isn’t on Watson to be a world-beater in year one.

*Details of trade
To Texans: 1st round pick (No. 12 – Watson),

To Browns: 1st round pick (No. 25) + 2018 1st round pick.

13. Arizona Cardinals: Haasan Reddick, LB. Temple
Cards missed out on landing a QB to create the ideal redshirt scenario they desired, but might have landed the best realistic player on their board otherwise. Reddick is a self-starter, improving annually and holds genuine 2-3 position versatility. Will help wherever needed and contribute as a pass rusher from day one.

14. Philadelphia Eagles: Derek Barnett, DE. Tennessee
This one made a lot of sense pre-draft. Marcus Smith hasn’t panned out and Philly required a more reliable option off the edge behind Brandon Graham. Three consistent years of sack production at Tennessee, I don’t care if the combine numbers weren’t eye-popping on him, he gets after it.

15. Indianapolis Colts: Malik Hooker, S. Ohio State
Boom or bust poster boy from this draft class. Hooker has only one year of production, but it was absurdly productive. Elite center-field type with excellent ball skills. Sideline to sideline range and near-cornerback caliber movement skills, but the inexperience and durability concerns must be noted. Will he show flashes of Ed Reed at the next level or are we talking Raheem Moore 2.0? I’m suspect there won’t be much in-between with him. Tremendous potential-based pick.

16. Baltimore Ravens: Marlon Humphrey, CB. Alabama
Ozzie Newsome drafts a player from Alabama? No way! Seriously, this is a bargain pickup here as Humphrey could have easily gone to New Orleans had Lattimore not been available as expected. A physical press-man type, he profiles somewhat like Pro-Bowler Stephon Gilmore stylistically. Makes you wonder about Jonathan Allen though – if Ozzie wasn’t even comfortable scooping him 

17. Washington Redskins: Jonathan Allen, DL. Alabama
While the arthritic shoulder situation is worrisome, the Redskins have glaring issues along their 3-4 base defensive line. Strictly from a talent standpoint, Allen is a top 3 player in this class and worth the risk here for Washington. The Skins’ trench play has already improved with this selection.

18. Tennessee Titans: Adoree Jackson, CB. Southern California
This pick was (hopefully) made with patience in mind. As the diminutive playmaker develops as a corner I do hope to see him contribute immediately as an ace returner and hopefully on offense a little. Size and matchup length aren’t mandatory physical traits in Tennessee, nor have they ever been. It was always going to take an open-minded team to choose Adoree and the Titans may reap the long-term benefits as a result.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: O.J. Howard, TE. Alabama
Great fortune for the Bucs, who continue adding to an enviously impressive core of weaponry for Famous Jameis. Howard represents elite pass-catching potential, but enters the league with polish as a blocker. Hell, he did it so much at Bama, that shouldn’t come as a surprise. Either way, massive bargain at this point.

20. Denver Broncos: Garett Bolles, OT. Utah
There’s no better athlete available along the offensive line in this draft class. Bolles essentially stays home and has long-term left tackle potential, though he requires a bit of polishing – which should come at RT. In a rather weak OL draft overall I think Elway & Co. go the potential route. Bolles is a mean dude on-field and enjoys a good trench battle.

21. Detroit Lions: Jarrad Davis, ILB. Florida
Rangy interior linebacker to the team who was most desperate for help in that spot in the league. Davis is a leader by example, modern in style and provides a major athletic boost to the Lions’ linebacking core. Conventional thinking says there was just no way Reuben Foster would be available here though. For them to pass on him says quite a bit about what kind of slide Foster might be in for tonight and/or tomorrow.

22. Miami Dolphins: Charles Harris, DE. Missouri
A coaches dream, Harris is a self-starter who has had to earn his time at Missouri behind a conveyer belt of strong collegiate edge defenders. After two productive starting seasons, I’m happy to see him land with a 4-3 team as I believe 4-3 end is his ideal situation. To Miami, he’s Cam Wake’s heir apparent.

23. New York Giants: Evan Engram, TE. Ole Miss
All along, it was a very strong possibility that Engram could go ahead of David Njoku. His skill-set appeals to more teams, including those who already had an entrenched tight end. The reason is he’s not a true tight end, nor is he a wide receiver – though versatile nonetheless. Eli obtains a field-stretcher.

24. Oakland Raiders: Gareon Conley, CB. Ohio State
Simply put, if the off-field allegations didn’t happen, he’s comfortably a top 15 pick. Give the Raiders front office the benefit of the and assume they know something the public doesn’t, because there still appears to be some uncertainty here. That said, on-field, this is a fantastic all-around player who contributes day one. Oakland entered this draft lacking a solution at corner opposite Sean Smith. We’ll see how this one plays out.

25. Cleveland Browns (via HOU): Jabrill Peppers, S/LB. Michigan – *TRADE
His personality should certainly help to provide a spark in a stagnant Browns locker room. Hue Jackson is attempting to change the culture of the organization’s on-field product and you do that by collecting players like Peppers. Though, to me, he’s more of a tweener than he is versatile I’ll assume the team selecting him is doing so with a specific role in mind for him.

26. Atlanta Falcons (via SEA): Takkarist McKinley, DE/OLB. UCLA – *TRADE
Relentless motor off the edge either as a 4-3 end or standup edge linebacker. Offers some role diversity for the Falcons’ pass rushing setups and increases the ‘compete’ level of an already strong defensive core. By the way – who didn’t love that on-stage moment? You’ve just got to love live TV. Good for him – as he’s certainly not going to enter the NFL lacking in motivation.

*Details of trade
To Falcons: 1st round pick (No. 26 – McKinley),

To Seahawks: 1st round pick (No. 31), 3rd round pick (No. 95), 7th round pick (No. 249).

27. Buffalo Bills (via KC): Tre’Davious White, CB. Louisiana State – *TRADE
4-year starter who should make a seamless transition into a starting role from day one and competent enough to contribute in a multitude of roles in coverage. Stephon Gilmore departed and reinforcements were needed asap. Nice to see Buffalo think big-picture and acquire a 2018 1st round selection while still crossing off a considerable roster hole.

28. Dallas Cowboys: Taco Charlton, DE. Michigan
Long disruptive figure who feasted in opposing backfields. That said, he’s a one-year wonder, but the Cowboys are clearly pleased with the upside aspect of this pick. Despite his size + frame, Taco gets real-real skinny. Dallas has some talent on the edges, but these days teams require 3-4 viable options. I like this pick, Taco is too talented to have slid out of day one.

29. Cleveland Browns (via GB): David Njoku, TE. Miami (FL) – *TRADE
Supremely gifted athlete with absolutely no physical limitations. Njoku is still just 20 and enters the league as something of a diamond in the rough, as his catching is a little inconsistent for my liking. However, when he’s your third 1st round pick, than I think you feel comfortable rolling the dice on his talent. If you pass on all of the quarterbacks, at least help Kessler. They did with this pick.

30. Pittsburgh Steelers: T.J. Watt, OLB. Wisconsin
Can’t draw it up any better. Energy, toughness, attitude – all ideal characteristics Pittsburgh seeks on defense, all adjectives of T.J. Watt. One of the more complete defenders available at this point and it’s logical that he proved too talented to slip out of day one. Steelers have been trying to get younger on D for years.

31. San Francisco 49ers (via ATL by SEA): Reuben Foster, ILB. Alabama – *TRADE
We’ll assume this slide – like teammate Jonathan Allen’s – was medical related, but I applaud rookie GM John Lynch for being aggressive at both the top and bottom of round 1. Thomas and Foster help frame a new attitude for a rebuilding San Francisco defense that was very good not long ago.

*Details of trade
To 49ers: 1st round pick (No. 31 – Foster),

To Packers: 2nd round pick (No. 33), 4th round pick (No. 108).

32. New Orleans Saints (via NE): Ryan Ramczyk, OT. Wisconsin
Plug and play right tackle to help keep the grizzled Drew Brees upright. Saints addressed the big cornerback need earlier and now knock off arguably the second largest hole on the roster. Unsexy, but sound pick to conclude the day.

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Caputi’s Final 2017 NFL Mock Draft

Here we go, football fans - the big day is here.

1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE. Texas A&M
Quarterback rumors are on sale, but no one's buying. There's an obvious dearth of talent in Cleveland and fortunately the most talented player in this class also addresses a considerable need. Note: Browns

Here we go, football fans – the big day is here.

1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE. Texas A&M
Quarterback rumors are on sale, but no one’s buying. There’s an obvious dearth of talent in Cleveland and fortunately the most talented player in this class also addresses a considerable need. Note: Browns defense ranked No. 30 in sacks last year (26.0)

2. San Franciso 49ers: Mitch Trubisky, QB. North Carolina
New General Manager. New Head Coach. New Quarterback? The organization’s current situation under center is concernedly comprised of Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley. Shanahan gets his prototype. Note: 49ers had the league’s worst-ranked passing offense in 2016.

3. Chicago Bears: Jamal Adams, S. Louisiana State
An impact player is needed in the defensive secondary here and there may not be a safer player in this class. Da Bears have lacked a tone-setting defender since Brian Urlacher’s retirement; Adams fits the bill. Note: Bears defense conceded 399 points last season (ninth-worst in the league).

4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, RB. Louisiana State
In a make-or-break season for Blake Bortles the franchise is well placed to support its fourth-year quarterback while still solving a position of concern. Doug Marrone is given a physically imposing specimen with long speed. Note: Jacksonville’s 101.9 rushing yards per game ranked 22nd-best in 2016.

5. Tennessee Titans: Marshon Lattimore, CB. Ohio State
Long-time starting cornerback Jason McCourty was jettisoned for economic reasons and despite the signing of Logan Ryan, help remains sorely required at the position. The former Buckeye is a gifted athlete with an exciting future if hamstrings issues don’t continue to flare up. Note: Titans defense begrudgingly boasted the NFL’s 30th-ranked passing defense last year.

6. New York Jets: O.J. Howard, TE. Alabama
If Gang Green isn’t feeling a quarterback here (and the belief entering the day is they aren’t), this is represents a tantalizing alternative. Elite pass-catching potential + nicely refined blocking skills in a position of significant need. Note: The last tight end to be selected No. 6 overall (or higher)? Vernon Davis in 2006.

7. Los Angeles Chargers: Malik Hooker, S. Ohio State
The vintage Eric Weddle era already feels like a lifetime ago and the organization is desperate for a playmaker in the secondary. Ohio State produced last year’s Defensive Rookie of the Year for the team – double dipping is allowed. Note: Chargers defense allowed the 4th-most points in the NFL in 2016 (423 total).

8. Carolina Panthers: Christian McCaffrey, RB. Stanford
Provides much-needed electricity and can hurt a defense in a multitude of ways. Think outside the box here – position and role can change on any down; he runs, he catches, he scores touchdowns when in space. Note: Panthers offense finished middle of the pack in total yards (19th) and touchdowns (17th).

9. Cincinnati Bengals: Solomon Thomas, DE. Stanford
Michael Johnson is now 30 and the quietly-elite Carlos Dunlap becomes a free agent after 2018. Cincy, more so than most, values pass rushing options. Thomas is an active power-edge reminiscent of vintage Aaron Kampman (2006-2007). Note: Bengals defense had 9.0 less sacks in 2016 than in 2015.

10. Buffalo Bills: Marlon Humphrey, CB. Alabama
A similar profile to the now-departed Stephon Gilmore: comfortable in press-man, combining length + speed with an eagerness to intervene in run defense. Not much on the roster past Ron Darby. Note: Humphrey created 8 turnovers in two years (five interceptions, three forced fumbles).

11. New Orleans Saints: Haasan Reddick, LB. Temple
Though cornerback is by far the bigger concern, this selection represents more talent value. Nollins’ added some depth at linebacker, but Reddick has 2-3 position versatility and flashed elite pass rushing proficiency as a senior in 2016. Note: Saints defense placed 27th in sacks last season (30.0).

12. Cleveland Browns: Mike Williams, WR. Clemson
Were quarterback a real priority, I find it difficult to believe they’d pass on “their guy” at No. 1. Instead, Cleveland opts to add some weaponry for Kessler & Co after upgrading the defense earlier. Kenny Britt is barely a short-term solution and Williams could create a mouthwatering duo with last year’s 1st round draft choice Corey Coleman. Note: In 2016, Browns placed 27th in receiving yards per game (230.8) and t-30th in receiving touchdowns (15).

13. Arizona Cardinals: Pat Mahomes, QB. Texas Tech
Never look a gift horse in the mouth – particularly when the gift is a quarterback. Arizona is in the optimal situation of being able to give a redshirt year to whomever it taps as its future under center. Highly gifted, in-time Mahomes could prove to be the best passer this class produces. Note: In 2012 – a year before Carson Palmer’s arrival – the Cards ranked 28th in passing yards per game.

14. Philadelphia Eagles: Derek Barnett, DE. Tennessee
Supreme value, as he could’ve crept into the top 10. Tremendous production with 32.0 sacks in three seasons of starting. Barnett is as prolific in the classroom as he is on-field; great character. Marcus Smith hasn’t panned out and Chris Long is a stop-gap. Note: Eagles defense was t-16th in sacks last season (34 total).

15. Indianapolis Colts: Takkarist McKinley, DE/OLB. UCLA
Robert Mathis has rode off into retirement and incomes a fresh-faced motor edge in his likeness. McKinley enters the NFL coming off a better year than some remaining counterparts in the same role. Note: Indy’s defense placed 19th in the league with 33.0 sacks last season.

16. Baltimore Ravens: Corey Davis, WR. Western Michigan
The current wide receiver situation in Baltimore is shocking. If Breshad Perriman can put things together, great – it’s a bonus, but otherwise reinforcements are needed. Davis, and his four years of absurd production, are a safe selection here. Note: Ravens offense finished 2016 with 20 receiving touchdowns, tied for 21st in the league.

17. Washington Redskins: Jonathan Allen, DL. Alabama
The (medical-related?) slide ceases, much to the Skins’ benefit. Though some more disruption depth off the edge would help, this is tremendous value. A top 3-5 talent if healthy, Washington can easily improve its 3-4 base trench-play. Note: Last year, the Redskins’ defense placed 9th in both sacks (38.0) and yards per game (119.8).

18. Tennessee Titans: John Ross, WR. Washington
Front office has taken care to ensure Mariota is continuously supported in his development and an injection of electricity is needed. Ross is often miscast as a one-dimensional vertical threat, but he boasts elite speed and (as of today) B+  route running skills. Note: (At 232.5) Titans offense ranked 25th in overall receiving yards per game last season.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dalvin Cook, RB. Florida State
A tornado of uncertainty surrounds Doug Martin’s future with the Bucs and the chance to grab a special all-around workhorse is too tempting to pass on. And he’s only about a four hour drive away. Note: Bucs rushing offense ranked 24th in the league last season (101.0).

20. Denver Broncos: Cam Robinson, OT. Alabama
His combination of length and size could allow him to cover 3-4 positions in the NFL. If the whole long-term left tackle thing doesn’t pan out, he projects to be an elite guard/right tackle. Note: Denver conceded a 24th-ranked 40.0 sacks in 2016.

21. Detroit Lions: Reuben Foster, LB. Alabama
Victim of circumstance (and maybe some pre-draft character questions), as he’s undoubtedly a top 10 talent in this class. Detroit is gifted an elite falling talent at arguably its greatest position of need. Note: Lions defense finished middle of the pack (15th) in total yards conceded per game last season (354.8).

22. Miami Dolphins: Forrest Lamp, OG. Western Kentucky
The franchise has shown the willingness to invest prominent picks in reinforcing the offensive line. Laremy Tunsil kicks out to left tackle and Forest Lamp, at guard, is arguably the most ready-to-play blocker in this class. Note: Phins allowed the 14th-most QB hits in the league last year.

23. New York Giants: David Njoku, TE. Miami (FL)
G-Men have invested prominent picks into their OL recently and brought in D.J. Fluker as well. This could finally be the year they address the need for a dynamic tight end, and Njoku is a special athlete. Note: NYG ranked 18th in receiving yards per game (251.7) last season.

24. Oakland Raiders: T.J. Watt, OLB. Wisconsin
It’s a great spot for a corner (among other defensive positions), but the organization is in dyer need of pass rush help. “Little” Watt gets to the quarterback and probably shouldn’t be available here. Note: Raiders finished last in the league with 25.0 team sacks in 2016.

25. Houston Texans: DeShaun Watson, QB. Clemson
He’s not the ideal Bill O’Brien profile, but you want your quarterback to be an alpha-male personality who performs best in big situations. Houston went to the playoffs with poor play under center in 2016, so there’s little pressure to do “too much” in his rookie campaign. Note: In 2016, Texans ranked last in average yards per pass attempt (5.9).

26. Seattle Seahawks: Kevin King, CB. Washington
Perfectly suits the profile of what’s desired on the boundary in Seattle and he’s a local product. The Legion of Boom core is aging fast and Richard Sherman’s situation is awkwardly uncertain. Note: ‘Hawks defense conceded 7.2 yards per reception last season, tying them for 15th in the NFL.

27. Kansas City Chiefs: Zach Cunningham, ILB. Vanderbilt
Derrick Johnson is 34 and coming off a ruptured Achilles tendon in 2016. They reinforce the interior linebacker spot with a big search-and-destroy playmaker. Note: Chiefs gave up the 7th-most rushing yards per game (121.1) last season.

28. Dallas Cowboys: Tre’Davious White, CB. Louisiana State
The position needs to be addressed early and the ‘Boys are fortunate to see an experienced man-capable available here. Note: Dallas conceded the 7th-most passing yards per game (260.4) in 2016.

29. Green Bay Packers: Alvin Kamara, RB. Tennessee
Offense lacks a workhorse in the ground-game and there’s 3-down value here. Exciting do-it-all talent if perceived character concerns can be overcome. Note: Pack came in at 20th in rushing yards per game (106.3) last season.

30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Charles Harris, DE/OLB. Missouri
There’s little behind the soon-to-be 39-year-old James Harrison on the edge opposite Bud Dupree. Harris is a self-motivater with the ideal skill-set for a 3-4 conversion rusher. Note: Pittsburgh conceded the 10th-fewest points (327) in the league in 2016.

31. Atlanta Falcons: Jordan Willis, DE. Kansas State
Ascending prospect who has improved in each of his last three-years as a starter, including a strong pre-draft process. Active and instinctual, a bargain for a team with very few needs. Note: Atlanta conceded the 8th-most yards per game (371.2) in 2016 on defense.

32. New Orleans Saints (via Patriots): Rasul Douglas, CB. West Virginia
Surprise. Former JUCO, one (elite) year wonder with 8 interceptions in 2016. Physically he combines size and modern prototype length. Cornerback must be addressed with one of their two picks. Note: Nollins’ allowed the most passing yards per game (273.8) in 2016.

Call me an idiot on Twitter: @NFLDraftUpdate

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Draft: 3 biggest bargains of round one

Although there were very few curveballs in a rather vanilla round one of the 2015 NFL draft, we certainly weren't void of a few value selections in the latter stages of the night.

Here are three in particular that stood out:

Bud Dupree to the Steelers at No. 22

Prior to Randy Gregory

Although there were very few curveballs in a rather vanilla round one of the 2015 NFL draft, we certainly weren’t void of a few value selections in the latter stages of the night.

Here are three in particular that stood out:

Bud Dupree to the Steelers at No. 22

Prior to Randy Gregory and Shane Ray’s off field indiscretions in the pre-draft, there may have been a limited number of scenarios where all five of the highly rated pass rushers were not all off the board by the time Pittsburgh was on the clock at No. 22. However, for the eternally defensive-minded Steelers, Kentucky conversion edge defender Bud Dupree fell fortuitously into their lap. Although the secondary absorbed multiple blows this offseason, with Jason Worilds’ shock retirement came the immediate requirement for a pass rushing reinforcement. Dupree (my 10th ranked player overall) was projected by some to go as high as seventh to Atlanta. A height, weight, speed specimen with significant upside, he will luckily not be thrust into a high leverage role prematurely as he — and his raw skill set — acclimatizes to the NFL game.

Shane Ray to the Broncos at No. 23

The 2014 SEC Defensive Player of the Year’s slide was not unforeseen after being cited for marijuana possession during the very week of the draft, but the Broncos were happy to capitalize. Ray (my 3rd ranked player overall) brings with him to Denver a pleasantly violent on-field demeanor and unmatched motor. Though I view him to be a better fit as a classic 4-3, hand in the dirt, defensive end, simply having him installed opposite Von Miller makes a good unit all the more dynamic. I’d expect him to contribute primarily as a spot rusher while he adjusts to the pro level and (hopefully) adds to his frame.

Malcom Brown to the Patriots at No. 32

Big bodies who can move and affect the passing game are a commodity. For New England, it was fortunate that Brown (my 14th ranked player overall) was able to get past a handful of defensive tackle-needy teams in the twenties — particularly the Detroit Lions at No. 28 who lost both Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley this offseason. Malcom Brown improved significantly in 2014 and accumulated 13.0 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. A slippery pass rusher packed into a beefy frame, he boasts an abundance of athleticism for the position as well. Yes, Vince Wilfork is gone, but Brown is not his replacement. The latter is a different profile of player and, unlike Big Vince, won’t have to come off the field in obvious passing situations.

Honorable Mention…

The 49ers trade down two spots and still get their man

Despite the surprisingly sparse amount of trade movement, San Francisco was able to slide down just two spots and take the player they coveted all along. The 49ers went from No. 15 to No. 17, managing to acquire a fourth round pick (No. 117 overall) and a 2016 fifth round pick as well. Fair play to San Diego for getting its man, but quick and easy draft manipulation is always worthy of props.

Let me hear it on Twitter: @NFLDraftUpdate

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NFL Draft Day Two: The 11 Best Available

When the music stops at the cessation of any NFL draft's first day, we're left with a handful of talented players still standing, unselected.

Though the 2015 NFL draft isn't as classically stockpiled with as much overall depth as we've been accustomed to in recent years, there is plenty to monitor heading into the top

When the music stops at the cessation of any NFL draft’s first day, we’re left with a handful of talented players still standing, unselected.

Though the 2015 NFL draft isn’t as classically stockpiled with as much overall depth as we’ve been accustomed to in recent years, there is plenty to monitor heading into the top of the second round.

Of the remaining dancers without a partner, here are the eleven most enticing available:

Jake Fisher, OT. Oregon (6’6″ 306 lbs.)

Former tight end with superior athleticism and quickness off the snap. A potential left tackle in a zone blocking scheme, he gets by on good technique and above-average footwork. There is a Joe Staley element to his profile.

Randy Gregory, OLB. Nebraska (6’5″ 235 lbs.)

Quality movement skills and lower body explosion packaged into a long frame. Though his get-off is sub par as slowly unravels out of his stance, Gregory does well to use his hands to beat blockers. Chase linebacker who plays with effort. If he gets past his substance concerns and reinforces his semi-wiry frame, he could be a major day two bargain.

Landon Collins, S. Alabama (6’0″ 228 lbs.)

Aggressive and tough, Collins is a downhill hammer that finds the football in run and pass defense. Will add a certain attitude to a defense and comes physically ready for the NFL. A lack of ball skills or natural coverage ability prevented him from the first round, but he’s an impact run defender from day one at the strong safety position.

Eddie Goldman, DT. Florida State (6’4″ 336 lbs.)

A lot to be said about big men who can carry their weight well. Goldman is a wrecking ball at the point of attack and can affect the oppositions rhythm with his natural power. He lacks the ability to consistently affect the passing game on third-down, likely limiting him to 3-4 teams.

T.J. Clemmings, OT. Pittsburgh (6’5″ 309 lbs.)

Experienced leader who displays impressive quickness and lateral movement skills. The former defensive end is still constantly learning the nuances of playing on offense, but has long term potential to be a left tackle if he goes to a patient team.

Jaelen Strong, WR. Arizona State (6’2″ 217 lbs.)

Big body target who can prove to be a reliable safety valve due to his ability to adjust and shield defenders away from passes. Lacks explosion and doesn’t consistently make catches off hi frame with natural hands, but there’s an undeniable talent level that should intrigue teams early day two.

La’El Collins, OG/RT. LSU (6’4″ 305 lbs.)

Powerful, thickly-built dual guard or right tackle. A finisher in the run game who eliminates when engaged. Leader with three-years of starting experience. Though he is not a suspect, Collins has a scheduled meeting with police over an April shooting of a pregnant woman. If not for the uncertainty of the situation, he’d have likely been a first round selection.

Dorial Green-Beckham, WR. Missouri (6’5″ 237 lbs.)

A laundry list of maturity and off-field concerns are difficult to overlook, but the physical makeup is tantalizing. Fluidity and smooth movement despite carrying a larger, taller frame. Strength and separation of areas of concern, but can extend and high-point over most defensive backs. Can he deal with physical NFL cornerbacks, though?

Jordan Phillips, NT. Oklahoma (6’5″ 329 lbs.)

Beefy 3-4 nose tackle only; decent movement skills. Anchors well and can push the pocket using his supreme length and strength. Won’t provide much of a pass rush, but should contribute from the outset for a team that needs help at the 0-tech. Two down player, but imposing dimensions.

Ronald Darby, CB. Florida State (5’11” 193 lbs.)

Track speed with smooth change or direction and obvious fluidity. Man-coverage capable boundary corner by gives up inside release quite often on film. Lacks top end ball skills, but could make for a very intriguing project to a team in day two. Rather significant upside.

Tevin Coleman, RB. Indiana (5’11” 206 lbs.)

Workhorse ‘back who produced heavily despite playing behind an unimpressive offensive line. Greatest strength is his refusal to go down, but can also be a weakness as he too often looks for the home run. Still, a smooth-cutting between the tackle rusher who can maintain speed off contact. Lacks open-field elusiveness of some others and relatively unproven as a pass catcher.

Honorable mentions…

Jalen Collins, CB. LSU (6’1″ 203 lbs.) – New school boundary corner; size/speed/length.
T.J. Yeldon, RB. Alabama (6’1″ 226 lbs.) – Decisive bruiser with instincts; keeps feet moving.
Eric Kendricks, ILB. UCLA (6’0″ 232 lbs.) – Stat freak with an aggressive downhill demeanor.
Donovan Smith, OT. Penn State (6’6″ 338 lbs.) – Day one starter at guard/right tackle.
Eli Harold, DE/OLB, UVA (6’3″ 247 lbs.) – Gets regular pressure; fluidity to play in space.

Let me hear it on Twitter: @NFLDraftUpdate

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T.J. Clemmings to visit three teams this week

It's a busy period for all draft eligible players with the big day rapidly approaching -- and few have been more active than Pittsburgh offensive tackle T.J. Clemmings.

According to NFL Insider Ian Rapoport, Clemmings has visits scheduled with the Saints, Falcons, and Rams this week.

Rapoport added that the former defensive lineman

It’s a busy period for all draft eligible players with the big day rapidly approaching — and few have been more active than Pittsburgh offensive tackle T.J. Clemmings.

According to NFL Insider Ian Rapoport, Clemmings has visits scheduled with the Saints, Falcons, and Rams this week.

Rapoport added that the former defensive lineman has visited with 19 teams since his March 3 pro day.

The 6’5″ 309-pound blocker only began playing offense in 2013, when he started 13 games at right tackle for the Pitt Panthers. He proceeded to start all 13 games at right tackle once again this past season as an elected offensive captain, earning All-ACC honors.

Although T.J. Clemmings is universally regarded as unpolished, his career path could be reminiscent to that of Dallas Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith — a supremely athletic right sided blocker in college who transitioned well to the NFL and now protects the blindside at All-Pro caliber.

Clemmings’ best fit at the next level will be in a zone-blocking based scheme that can maximize his unparalleled change of direction and quickness. Patience will be required from any team drafting the Mount Vernon, NY native, as his technique can fail him when beaten off the snap.

Currently projected as a fringe first rounder, Clemmings’ inexperience could slide him into early day two just as easily as his immense upside could push him into the top twenty.

Let me hear it on Twitter: @NFLDraftUpdate

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Steelers’ Antonio Brown seeking new deal

After a statement 2014 season, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown appears ready for a pay raise.

According to FOX Sports' Mike Garafolo, Brown will not partake in the team's optional offseason workouts and could hold out of mandatory camps in effort to obtain a new contract.

The former sixth round draft choice from Central

After a statement 2014 season, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown appears ready for a pay raise.

According to FOX Sports’ Mike Garafolo, Brown will not partake in the team’s optional offseason workouts and could hold out of mandatory camps in effort to obtain a new contract.

The former sixth round draft choice from Central Michigan garnered All-Pro honors this past season after accumulating 1,698 yards and 13 touchdowns on 129 receptions, combined with a 10.6-yard average and one touchdown on punt returns.

The issue from an organizational perspective?

In 2012, Brown signed a six-year, $43.04 million deal. He’s slated to earn $6 million next season, with the tally rising to $8.25 million in 2016 and $8.71 in 2017.

While the player’s case is strong, the report begs the question: Does he deserve to be further compensated with half the life of his current agreement still in place?

The player’s stance?

Since signing his second NFL contract, it’s difficult to argue many (if any) receivers have been as effective as Antonio Brown. Over the three-year duration of his current deal, he has amassed 3,984 yards and 26 touchdowns on 305 receptions — production well above his pay grade.

As a baseline, the Green Bay Packers retained receiver Randall Cobb at four-years, $40 million ($10 million average) during this offseason. While Cobb’s numbers stand immense, they still pale in comparison to those of Brown (who currently average $7.2 million a year).

Conversely, the Steelers front office could lean on the fact that it rewarded Brown handsomely after just two seasons as a pro, before the significant production increase.

And, of course, the organization can also hold him to his contract.

Regardless of your stance as a viewer at home, the situation has rapid potential to become one of the primary storylines to follow with mandatory camps just over the horizon.

Let me hear it on Twitter: @NFLDraftUpdate

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Who is Latavius Murray?

The Oakland Raiders entered Week 12’s divisional showdown against the Kansas City Chiefs carrying a futile 0-10 record and little reason to be excited heading down the stretch of the 2014 campaign. However, the team exited victorious, and with one very significant bright spot to look forward to in the remaining games of the 2014

The Oakland Raiders entered Week 12’s divisional showdown against the Kansas City Chiefs carrying a futile 0-10 record and little reason to be excited heading down the stretch of the 2014 campaign. However, the team exited victorious, and with one very significant bright spot to look forward to in the remaining games of the 2014 season.

Latavius Murray, a little known second-year running back, became the first player in NFL history to rush for 110+ yards on less than five carries. The historic mark was set prior to an early concussion, which in today’s NFL means Murray was sidelined for the rest of the game. As is now known, the Raiders would go on to win the matchup, with Murray’s brief, but impactful performance being the most palpable catalyst.

The potency of Murray’s succinct appearance on Thursday Night Football left a wide margin of NFL fans collectively uttering the same question: “Who is Latavius Murray?”

Amidst interim-coach Tony Sparano saying Murray’s return is “close,” it might just be time to find out.

Coming out of high school, the Nedrow, New York native was regarded as a semi-mediocre linebacker/running back recruit despite playing both positions at a high level. Ultimately, he chose the University of Central Florida, where he became a highly productive offensive threat. Over the course of his collegiate career, the all-purpose back posted three particularly impressive seasons between his sophomore and senior campaigns – with the latter being his most productive. Murray left the Knights program having rushed for 2,424 yards on 453 carries (5.4 YPC) and 37 touchdowns, adding 524 yards and six scores on 50 receptions.

Latavius MurrayMurray currently ranks second on the team in rushing yards despite carrying the ball just 14 times this season.

Although Murray left Orlando as a 2012 first-team All-CUSA selection with multiple years of consistent production, he was somewhat surprisingly not extended an invitation to the NFL Combine. Evidently, the slight only helped motivate him, as his performance at the UCF pro day generated intrigue from pundits and evaluators alike. At 6’2” 230 pounds, Murray recorded a staggering 4.38 40-time, 36” vertical leap, 10’4” broad jump and 4.36 shuttle time. Comparatively to quintessential all-world athlete Adrian Peterson in 2007 (4.4, 38.5”, 10’7” and 4.4), Murray’s pro day numbers helped to justify his own immense athleticism for the position.

All told, I carried a fourth-round grade on Murray at the time, given he remained productive throughout his college career as both a runner and short-yardage receiver, along with possessing a good frame and foundation to grow as a pass protector. His special teams/returning skills only helped solidify my grade. Still, despite his 40-time, there wasn’t much evidence that Murray was a top-end burner in pre-draft study – leaving some to question his game speed. The perception became that he was just a perfectly decent all-purpose back, with some skill, who performed well in a lesser conference. Additionally, a rather deep overall rushing class was expected to harm Murray’s cause.

In the 2013 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders selected Latavius Murray in the sixth round with the 181st pick, making the UCF-standout the 15th running back selected overall. It was hardly smooth sailing from then on, as an ankle injury landed Murray on injured reserve in August of 2013 before his rookie season even began.

The 2014 offseason saw veteran Maurice Jones-Drew join Darren McFadden and Murray on the Oakland depth chart, leaving less room for the now second-year rusher. It wasn’t until Week 11 against the division rival Chargers that he was given a reasonable opportunity to earn further touches. After rushing for 43 yards on four carries with 16 yards on three receptions in San Diego, Murray was finally given full reign against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 12. He rewarded the faith by rushing for 112 yards and two touchdowns on only four carries before being ruled out due to his concussion.

At 24-years-old, the rest of Murray’s story is still very much in the process of being written, but there has been an interesting thread of instances that have led up to what we saw on Thursday night of Week 12. To this point, we know who Latavius Murray is, but the inquiry being bandied amongst NFL faithful has changed.

Now we eagerly await the answer to our next question: “What will Latavius Murray become?”

<p> Follow Dion on Twitter: @nfldraftupdate

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The face of perseverance

Perseverance in the face of mediocrity: That’s something few understand the way Cleveland Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer does.

In a cutthroat league where players are flat out judged, there is little room for weakness. When you possess physical limitations, the allowance for error is marginalized considerably. In short, the ‘mediocre’ crop of prospective

Perseverance in the face of mediocrity: That’s something few understand the way Cleveland Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer does.

In a cutthroat league where players are flat out judged, there is little room for weakness. When you possess physical limitations, the allowance for error is marginalized considerably. In short, the ‘mediocre’ crop of prospective NFL’ers must be as perfect as humanly possible when given a shot, because front office personnel around the league are working daily to eliminate the weak. That’s why, despite being a limited, undrafted quarterback, Brian Hoyer still finds himself both employed and starting with regularity six years into his NFL career. ??

In 2008, Hoyer entered his final collegiate season at Michigan State as a fifth-year senior, coming off a quality 2007 campaign in which he earned a commendable All-Big Ten Honorable Mention. Wide receiver Devin Thomas and tight end Kellen Davis had shipped off to the NFL, leaving the passer with a bare cupboard of aerial options in a crucial year. When all was said and done, those expecting Hoyer to re-create his production from the previous season were left disappointed. The Lakewood, Ohio native’s completion percentage dipped considerably to a 51.0 (from 59.3 in 2007), while his touchdown to interception ratio of nine to nine paled in comparison to his 2007 total of 21 to 11.

With regards to his draft status, Hoyer had flopped statistically and the Spartans’ run-first offense certainly hadn’t helped him flourish. The ex-baseball player went undrafted in a rather weak quarterback class and ultimately signed with the New England Patriots as a free agent. ??

Brian HoyerHoyer has thrown just five interceptions through ten games this season.

Given future Hall of Famer Tom Brady’s presence, it wasn’t the most ideal situation. Being road-blocked with no hope of promotion past backup duties is difficult to swallow for anyone, but Hoyer paid his dues. He quickly became Brady’s understudy after an impressive rookie preseason and for two years forward was the roster’s only backup quarterback. In 2011, the Patriots surprisingly selected promising passer Ryan Mallett, signaling that the end was likely near for Hoyer’s Patriot career. Despite the difficult competition, Hoyer retained his backup duties for one more season before becoming a victim of final cuts in 2012.??

Following his release from New England, Hoyer went unsigned and spent time practicing with players from his high school alma matter Saint Ignatius while waiting for a call that may never have came. Fortuitously, that call did arrive, as the Pittsburgh Steelers became desperate for help at the position following mid-season injuries to starter Ben Roethlisberger and backup Byron Leftwich. Though he was waived less than three weeks later without throwing a pass, Hoyer was quickly claimed by the Arizona Cardinals and given his first career start in the 2012 season finale.??

That offseason, the Cardinals had decided to cut ties with the quarterback, once again making him a free agent. On May 16, 2013, Hoyer returned to his home state after signing a two-year deal with the Cleveland Browns. Still just happy to be on a roster, Hoyer was slotted into the third-string role behind backup Jason Campbell and starter Brandon Weeden—a first round draft choice the previous year. After a thumb injury sidelined Weeden, Hoyer leaped Campbell and was named the Week 3 starter. He proceeded to win three consecutive games, but heartbreakingly suffered a torn ACL in a Thursday night contest against the Buffalo Bills. ??

Coming out of the 2014 offseason, the Browns began a new regime with Mike Pettine as head coach. Although Weeden and Campbell were released, a new competitor to Hoyer’s ever-elusive starting job had entered the mix in the form of larger-than-life Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. Upon selecting Manziel in the first round of the 2014 draft, it appeared to be a foregone conclusion that the Texas A&M product would be both the long and short-term answer in Cleveland.

However, it would be the oft-underappreciated and physically unimposing Hoyer who arose from the ashes as the Week 1 starter. There it was, for all to see – Hoyer had overcome what was expected to be an insurmountable battle. He had essentially defeated the living embodiment of what evaluators were telling him he needed to be in order to attempt success at the NFL level. The flash, the physical tools, the quickness. The traits Hoyer inherently lacks. In addition to Hoyer’s own solid preseason performance, Manziel’s inability to acclimatize to the NFL quickly enough would only ensure an easy decision. ??

Now past the halfway point of the 2014 season, the Cleveland Browns are impressively sitting on a 6-4 record with quality defensive play and Hoyer’s composure to thank. The importance of Brian Hoyer’s career is significant, as it continues to serve as a sterling example to all employees in all fields of work on how to be a professional. Few are blessed with superior athleticism or an advanced skill set, but the truth is even fewer are blessed with the hunger to seek success despite lacking those gifts.

Perseverance in the face of mediocrity – something Brian Hoyer knows all too well about.

Follow Dion on Twitter: @nfldraftupdate

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Solutions to Marshawn Lynch’s holdout

<p> The end of running back <a href="http://footballpost.wpengine.com/Marshawn-Lynch-holding-out-from-Seahawks-camp.html" target="_self">Marshawn Lynch’s holdout</a> doesn’t appear to be anywhere in sight with both sides firmly entrenched in their respective positions. The Seattle Seahawks expect Lynch to play under the four-year, $30 million contract (with $17 million in guarantees and additional $1 million in incentives) he signed in 2012

<p> The end of running back <a href=”http://footballpost.wpengine.com/Marshawn-Lynch-holding-out-from-Seahawks-camp.html” target=”_self”>Marshawn Lynch’s holdout</a> doesn’t appear to be anywhere in sight with both sides firmly entrenched in their respective positions. The Seattle Seahawks expect Lynch to play under the four-year, $30 million contract (with $17 million in guarantees and additional $1 million in incentives) he signed in 2012 while Lynch would like his contract redone.</p> <p> Lynch is subject to a fine of $30,000 for each day of training camp he misses during his holdout. Since Lynch’s holdout reached six days on Tuesday, the Seahawks can also recoup $225,000 of his $6 million signing bonus. 15 percent of the $1.5 million prorated amount of Lynch’s signing bonus became recoverable on the sixth day of his holdout. Another one percent ($15,000) can be recouped for each additional missed day with a maximum of 25 percent of the prorated amount ($375,000) forfeitable during training camp. An additional 25 percent can be recovered if Lynch misses Seattle’s first regular season game. After four missed weeks of the regular season, the Seahawks can recover 1/17th of the prorated amount ($88,235) for each additional week of Lynch’s absence. The most that can be recouped from Lynch’s signing bonus during 2014 is $1.5 million, the entire prorated amount of his signing bonus. Teams will typically reduce or waive the penalties accumulated as a gesture of goodwill once a player ends his holdout.</p> <p> Contrary to reports, Lynch isn’t subject to a fine of one week’s base salary (1/17 of $5 million) for each pre-season game missed, which would be $294,117 per game. This fine is applied to players who signed contracts as unrestricted free agents. Lynch signed his current deal about a week before he was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent.</p> <p> The Seahawks are content to follow their “Next Man Up” philosophy with 2013 second-round pick Christine Michael and 2012 fourth-round pick Robert Turbin serving as the primary ball carriers during Lynch’s absence. Michael and Turbin are the main components of Seattle’s succession plan at running back. The team was already planning on reducing Lynch’s workload before the holdout. The 28-year-old has a league-leading 901 rushing attempts over the last three seasons as the centerpiece of Seattle’s run-oriented offense. There has been speculation that the Seahawks could release Lynch in 2015.</p> <p> Lynch is adequately compensated by most standards. Although Lynch is currently the NFL’s sixth-highest paid running back by average salary at $7.5 million per year, he ranks third in the NFL in rushing yards (2,847), first in rushing touchdowns (23) and tied for fourth in yards from scrimmage (3,359 yards) since signing his deal. Lynch has the fifth-best cash flow in the first three years of running back deals ($22.5 million). He’s also fifth in compensation for running backs over the last two years with $17 million, ranking behind only Ray Rice ($25 million), Arian Foster ($23.5 million), Adrian Peterson ($19.75 million) and Chris Johnson ($18 million).</p> <p class=”co_image co_image_right inline_right”> <img alt=”Marshawn Lynch” src=”http://cdn.cloudfiles.mosso.com/c1910342/media_center/images/rendered/blog/wysiwyg/lynch3-2286.jpg” />Should Lynch honor his current contract or does he deserve a raise?</p> <p> Lynch is in a different financial situation than Jamaal Charles, <a href=”http://footballpost.wpengine.com/Chiefs-sign-Jamaal-Charles-to-twoyear-extension.html” target=”_self”>who received an additional</a> $5.1 million over the remaining two years of his deal as a part of a two-year, $18.1 million contract extension signed on August 23. Charles was dramatically underpaid. The $18.57 million Charles made from 2010 to 2013 was $1.57 million less than Lynch earned over the last two years.</p> <p> The Seahawks don’t have any plans to deviate from their position but might be able to quickly end the stalemate by extending an olive branch to Lynch where they attempted to rework his deal within its existing framework. Interestingly, fans are almost evenly split on Lynch’s holdout according to an ESPN.com poll. 51.2 percent are in favor of reworking his contract while 48.8 percent think Lynch should honor his deal.</p> <p> Lynch is scheduled to make $5.5 million this year with a $5 million base salary and $500,000 as a per game 46-man active roster bonus ($31,250 per game). His 2015 salary is $7.5 million consisting of a $5.5 million base salary and $2 million as a per game 46-man active roster bonus ($125,000 per game). Lynch also has a $500,000 incentive in each of these years for 1,500 or more rushing yards.</p> <p> One easy cosmetic change would be to convert Lynch’s $500,000 roster bonus into base salary to ensure that he earned the money. The per game amount is only payable if Lynch is on the 46-man active roster for that particular game. For example, if Lynch suffered a season-ending injury during Seattle’s fourth game of the season, he would only earn $125,000 of his $500,000 roster bonus. Percy Harvin, Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas <a href=”http://footballpost.wpengine.com/Breaking-down-Richard-Shermans-57431-million-contract.html” target=”_self”>don’t have per game roster bonuses</a> in their contracts. Per game roster bonuses were a rarity in Seattle contracts when Lynch signed in 2012, but have started becoming more prevalent in their deals. Michael Bennett has $1 million and $1.5 million of per game roster bonuses in the last two years of the four-year contract he signed this off-season.</p> <p> The Seahawks could convert this year’s $500,000 rushing yards incentive into 2014 base salary, if not the entire $1 million in incentives for both years. The conversion would use $1 million of Seattle’s $7.55 million of existing salary cap room (includes Lynch’s $5 million base salary in calculations which isn’t counting while he is holding out). If the Seahawks wanted to spread out the cap hit over two years, the $1 million could be a signing bonus instead. The Seahawks are in good shape cap wise in 2015, with $116.922 million of cap commitments (top 51 players).</p> <p> Another possibility would be to also fully guarantee a small portion (no more than $1 million) of Lynch’s $5.5 million 2015 base salary. As an alternative, the amount guaranteed could be tied to Lynch’s 2014 performance. Seattle would insist on any 2015 guarantees containing an offset so Lynch couldn’t “double dip” (get paid Seattle’s guarantee and the entire amount of his contract with another team) if he’s released next year. Additionally, Seattle could convert Lynch’s $2 million per game roster bonus in 2015 or $2 million of 2015 base salary into a first day of the 2015 league year roster bonus. If Lynch wasn’t a part of Seattle’s plans next year, he would hit the free agent market while teams had all of their cap room available to sign players.</p> <p> Another impediment to reworking Lynch’s deal is that NFL teams are reluctant to establish contractual precedents, especially a precedent of giving into a player’s demands for a new contract through a holdout. Although teams should be able to easily make distinctions based on each player’s particular circumstances, they don’t want to send a signal to the other team members that they could get rewarded by holding the team hostage. Seattle doesn’t want to give Sherman or Thomas ammunition to approach them about renegotiating their deals in a couple of years because of how they handled Lynch’s situation.</p> <p> Seattle did make some changes to Brandon Browner’s contract last year to give him the opportunity to earn an additional $250,008 in the final year of the three-year deal he signed in 2011. Browner received a $125,000 signing bonus and $125,008 as a per game 53-man roster bonus ($7,813 per game). Browner’s situation can be differentiated because he was only making minimum salary in his deal and a portion of the salary increase may have been a reimbursement for him accepting a four-game performance enhancing drugs suspension without pay at the end of the 2012 regular season instead of appealing so he would be available during the playoffs.</p> <p> Outside of a serious injury at running back or extremely poor performance of the rushing attack during pre-season games, it’s hard to envision anything else that could shift leverage before the start of the regular season. Unless Seattle eventually softens its stance, Lynch’s holdout will likely end the same way Maurice Jones-Drew’s did with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2012. Jones-Drew returned to the Jaguars at the end of the pre-season without getting his contract adjusted.</p> <p> <strong>Follow Joel on Twitter:</strong> @<a href=”http://www.twitter.com/corryjoel” target=”_blank”>corryjoel</a></p> <p> <em><strong>Joel Corry is a former sports agent who helped found Premier Sports & Entertainment, a sports management firm that represents professional athletes and coaches. Prior to his tenure at Premier, Joel worked for Management Plus Enterprises, which represented Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon and Ronnie Lott. You can email Joel at jccorry@gmail.com. </strong></em></p>

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Rams to shift Saffold inside?

There's been plenty of discussion regarding what Rodger Saffold's true position is at the NFL level dating back to 2010. Selected No. 33 overall by the St. Louis Rams out of Indiana, Saffold was immediately plugged into his college position at left tackle. Establishing himself as an above-average blindside protector throughout his rookie year,

There’s been plenty of discussion regarding what Rodger Saffold’s true position is at the NFL level dating back to 2010. Selected No. 33 overall by the St. Louis Rams out of Indiana, Saffold was immediately plugged into his college position at left tackle. Establishing himself as an above-average blindside protector throughout his rookie year, things went drastically south in 2011, causing some to re-evaluate.

Heading into the halfway point of the 2012 season, Saffold is recovering from a grade-three MCL sprain to his knee and has not suited-up since Week 2.

According to Pro Football Weekly, Saffold could be moved to left guard next season.

After relinquishing only 3.5 sacks in 16 games as a rookie, Saffold allowed nine sacks in nine games last year and two sacks in two games this season. St. Louis currently has issues at offensive tackle and regardless of what decision is made, the position is expected to be an area that will be addressed this offseason.

Follow me on Twitter: @NFLDraftUpdate

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Phillips, Bernard ruled out for showdown at Dallas

The defending Super Bowl champions square-off in a pivotal NFC East matchup this Sunday, as the 3-3 Dallas Cowboys look to get within striking distance of the 5-2 New York Giants.

Unfortunately for the G-Men, they will once again be missing a pair of defensive starters.

According to Paul Schwartz of the

The defending Super Bowl champions square-off in a pivotal NFC East matchup this Sunday, as the 3-3 Dallas Cowboys look to get within striking distance of the 5-2 New York Giants.

Unfortunately for the G-Men, they will once again be missing a pair of defensive starters.

According to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post, Giants’ safety Kenny Phillips and defensive tackle Rocky Bernard did not make the trip with the team to Dallas and have been ruled out for the game.

Neither defender has suited up since Week 4’s 19-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Phillips, who is battling a knee injury, will once again be replaced by Stevie Brown. The 2010 seventh-round draft choice from Michigan has spent time on-field with the Oakland Raiders and Indianapolis Colts over the past two seasons, but appears to be catching on in New York. With three interceptions in as many starts, coupled with an impressive 131 interception-return yards, Brown has quickly carved out a nice role for himself.

Rocky Bernard has been ailing with a quadriceps issue, but said the injury is improving. Expected to take his place in the lineup is former Cowboy lineman Chris Canty.

Although this week’s game marks only the mid-point of the season for each team, it very well could go a long way in deciding the outcome of the division.

Follow me on Twitter: @NFLDraftUpdate

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Revis still hasn’t been cleared for practice

There appears to be a growing amount of cynicism about cornerback Darelle Revis' chances to play in Week 2 against the Pittsburgh Steelers after suffering a concussion in last Sunday's contest against the Buffalo Bills.

According to Rich Cimini of ESPN New York, the Jets' star defender has still not been cleared for

There appears to be a growing amount of cynicism about cornerback Darelle Revis’ chances to play in Week 2 against the Pittsburgh Steelers after suffering a concussion in last Sunday’s contest against the Buffalo Bills.

According to Rich Cimini of ESPN New York, the Jets’ star defender has still not been cleared for practice, despite getting the green light for physical activity on Wednesday.

Darrelle RevisICONCan the Jets slow down Big Ben and the Steelers without Darrelle Revis?

Revis has resorted to working on the sidelines on the exercise bike while his team prepares for a showdown at Heinz Field on Sunday — the former University of Pittsburgh star’s collegiate home stadium.

Head coach Rex Ryan said the team expects to make a decision regarding his status by Saturday before the team travels to Pittsburgh.

“If he’s not 100 percent, Darrelle won’t play, it’s as simple as that,” said Ryan. “This coach would never put a player out on the field if there’s a higher risk of him getting injured. There’s no way in heck I’d do it.”

In order for Revis to play Sunday, he must be cleared by both the team doctor and an independent neurologist, per NFL protocol.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have not begun a season 0-2 since 2002 and linebacker LaMarr Woodley essentially assured media members the streak will not end this season, potentially adding even more incentive to run Revis out this week. With that said, it does not seem as though any external influence will factor into the team’s decision.

Stay tuned for an update.

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Adrian Peterson feels 95%

For multiple weeks leading into the 2012 regular season opener, Adrian Peterson's chances of being active against the Jacksonville Jaguars were in doubt . What's more is his workload, if active, was surrounded by even more doubt. "Purple Jesus" put each and every doubt to rest and then some by rushing for 84 yards

For multiple weeks leading into the 2012 regular season opener, Adrian Peterson’s chances of being active against the Jacksonville Jaguars were in doubt . What’s more is his workload, if active, was surrounded by even more doubt. “Purple Jesus” put each and every doubt to rest and then some by rushing for 84 yards and two scores on 17 carries last Sunday.

Adrian PetersonICONAP found the end zone twice in Week 1 despite playing at less than 100%.

Via ESPN 1500 Twin Cities, the four time All-Pro said he feels he’s achieved 95% strength, and despite some expected soreness, he said he felt “pretty good” on Thursday.

Peterson, a player always fond of offering percentages, also noted the remaining five percent will be significant. “Like day and night, seriously,” he said.

Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave noted that the former Oklahoma Sooner has “a ways to go,” but the team is positive about its star player moving forward.

“We’ll continue to gauge it, gauge his progress a little bit like we did during the game on Sunday…We’ll hope that he continues to heal and becomes more confident on that left knee,” said Musgrave.

All signs indicate a strong follow-up performance for the 2008 rushing champion in Week 2, as the Minnesota Vikings offense will be opposed by an Indianapolis Colts run defense that ranked 29th in the NFL last season.

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Kolb to start for Cardinals

When the Arizona Cardinals square-off against the New England Patriots this week, it will be with quarterback Kevin Kolb under center.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Cardinals plan to start the former Philadelphia Eagles signal-caller this week against the reigning AFC champions.

Kevin KolbUS PRESSWIREKevin

When the Arizona Cardinals square-off against the New England Patriots this week, it will be with quarterback Kevin Kolb under center.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Cardinals plan to start the former Philadelphia Eagles signal-caller this week against the reigning AFC champions.

Kevin KolbUS PRESSWIREKevin Kolb gets another shot to lead the Cardinals.

Kolb, who was forced into action against the Seattle Seahawks after starter John Skelton suffered a sprained right ankle, essentially saved the day for Arizona in Week 1. The former second-round draft choice from Houston went six of eight for 66 yards on the game winning drive, capped by a six-yard touchdown pass to Andre Roberts which gave Arizona a lead they would not relinquish.

Although team president Michael Bidwill said via radio interview Tuesday that Kolb would get the nod, head coach Ken Whisenhunt has yet to confirm the notion. However, Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com reported John Skelton is expected to miss 2-4 weeks due to a low-ankle sprain, which certainly lends credence to Schefter’s Thursday update.

If Skelton is listed as a Week 2 inactive, it would leave Arizona with the duo of Kolb and rookie sixth-round pick Ryan Lindley of San Diego State, who was inactive against Tennessee in the team’s season opener.

Regardless of who starts under center Sunday, in order for the Cardinals to have any sort of chance against the New England Patriots — fresh off a Week 1 romp of the Titans — the offense must minimize turnovers and sustain drives.

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Kaepernick wins backup quarterback job

When the San Francisco 49ers selected quarterback Colin Kaepernick from Nevada in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft, it was done with the obvious intention that he would one day take the reigns as the organization's starting signal-caller. Although the above average play of current starter Alex Smith was rather unforeseen heading

When the San Francisco 49ers selected quarterback Colin Kaepernick from Nevada in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft, it was done with the obvious intention that he would one day take the reigns as the organization’s starting signal-caller. Although the above average play of current starter Alex Smith was rather unforeseen heading into last season, Kaepernick has taken the next step along his trek to become the team’s first-string passer.

Colin KaepernickNow that Kaepernick has won the backup job in San Francisco, how long will it take before he becomes the starter?

Thursday, head coach Jim Harbaugh announced that Kaepernick has earned the backup quarterback duties for the upcoming season.

There have been mixed reviews on Kaepernick’s camp and preseason — thus far — but the franchise clearly has plans for the young quarterback. Despite varying accuracy, Kaepernick has proven he can be a valuable asset in sub-packages due to his ‘plus’ running ability. It was on grand display against the Minnesota Vikings, when the second-year quarterback took a zone-read keeper 78-yards for a touchdown in the first week of preseason play.

Whether or not Alex Smith can repeat last season’s success has become a hot topic of debate to many, but regardless of how that situation plays itself out, we will see an increasing amount of Colin Kaepernick this year in San Francisco.

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Week 1 in question for Urlacher?

It goes without saying that middle linebacker Brian Urlacher would stop at nothing to suit up in his team's regular season home-opener. Unfortunately, due to continued complications with his knee, there appears to be growing doubt within the organization over his availability for week one.

Brian UrlacherWill

It goes without saying that middle linebacker Brian Urlacher would stop at nothing to suit up in his team’s regular season home-opener. Unfortunately, due to continued complications with his knee, there appears to be growing doubt within the organization over his availability for week one.

Brian UrlacherWill Urlacher be ready to go for the opener against Indianapolis?

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, the Bears are “pessimistic” about Urlacher’s chances of being ready for the team’s Week 1 matchup against Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts.

The organization is allowing its defensive stalwart to prepare as if he will play in the opener, but internally, are preparing as if he wont, writes Rapoport.

A Chicago Tribune report revealed the eight-time pro bowl defender traveled to Germany in order to seek alternative treatment from Dr. Peter Wehling — alternative treatment not approved in the United States — in an effort to aid in his recovery.

While wins are never guaranteed in the National Football League, you can certainly make the case that it’d best serve the Chicago Bears to hold arguably its most impactful defensive presence out for Week 1 in order to prepare for a showdown with divisional rival Green Bay at Lambeau Field the following week.

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Adrian Peterson coming along nicely

Shortly after Adrian Peterson tore his ACL and MCL in late December, Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier conceded his running back's recovery would need to go "perfectly" in order for him to play in the team's 2012 regular season opener. Although we remain a couple weeks away from finding out whether No. 28

Shortly after Adrian Peterson tore his ACL and MCL in late December, Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier conceded his running back’s recovery would need to go “perfectly” in order for him to play in the team’s 2012 regular season opener. Although we remain a couple weeks away from finding out whether No. 28 will see action in Week 1, it appears as though the odds are getting better by the day.

Adrian PetersonICONAP could be ready to go for Minnesota’s Week 1 showdown with Jacksonville.

According to Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Peterson has experienced no swelling in his surgically-repaired left knee the morning after practices.

This is especially good news, as it’s not uncommon for players to feel discomfort or soreness while the injured knee is in the process of healing.

“Good sign for player tunnel-visioned for Sept. 9,” noted Fowler, via Twitter.

The Vikings host the Jacksonville Jaguars at Mall of America Field on September 9, the season opener for both teams.

Peterson completed an 18-carry workload in practice on Monday with good response from the knee. The Vikings are now “in the early stages” of working Peterson into upper-body contact in practice, but will refrain from lower-body contact, says Fowler.

There is no hard timeline for AP’s return, as the organization will continue to evaluate its franchise player on a daily basis, but right now, it’s all good news.

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Richardson to have minor knee surgery

Renowned in his profession or not, the one person you'd preferably never have an individual on your football team be forced to visit is Dr. James Andrews. In the case of Cleveland Browns rookie running back Trent Richardson, it's reality.

Trent RichardsonICONFormer Alabama running back Trent Richardson

Renowned in his profession or not, the one person you’d preferably never have an individual on your football team be forced to visit is Dr. James Andrews. In the case of Cleveland Browns rookie running back Trent Richardson, it’s reality.

Trent RichardsonICONFormer Alabama running back Trent Richardson is expected to undergo surgery.

Via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal, Browns head coach Pat Shurmur announced the rookie runner is traveling to Pensacola, Florida to have his left knee further examined by Dr. Andrews on Thursday.

Dealing with soreness, Richardson spent Tuesday’s practice on the exercise bike with a sleeve covering the same left knee he had scoped last February. The issue prompted a cautionary MRI which revealed nothing worrisome.

Shortly after Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported the former Alabama star has had some swelling, ESPN’s Chris Mortenson revealed Richardson’s visit to Dr. James Andrews tentatively includes arthroscopic knee surgery in order to clean up a loose particle of cartilage — a minor procedure, unrelated to his February meniscus repair.

“Richardson is expected to be ready for (the) season opener, if not sooner,” writes Mortenson.

While knee issues are never to be brushed aside, it appears the Browns are simply taking a proactive approach in order to ensure the team’s top draft pick is healthy and ready for the start of the regular season.

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How does the supplemental draft work?

The Supplemental Draft process is very different from April’s installment of the same kind.

Each year, we as analysts, draftniks, and enthusiasts alike all get prepared for late April’s NFL Draft as if the outcome directly affects our lives — and in many ways it does. As a raging football fan, nobody can

The Supplemental Draft process is very different from April’s installment of the same kind.

Each year, we as analysts, draftniks, and enthusiasts alike all get prepared for late April’s NFL Draft as if the outcome directly affects our lives — and in many ways it does. As a raging football fan, nobody can tell you your team’s success (or failure) does not affect your mood throughout the week. This can typically be correlated to an organization’s ability to annually piece together a solid, complete draft class.

With that being said, after every April installment of the NFL Draft — but before the start of a new regular season — comes the less glamorous, but occasionally prosperous Supplemental Draft. The ‘Supp Draft’ is an intriguing and often-times mysterious entity to most NFL fans. Some have an idea of how the process works, while others know less than nothing about it.

Terrelle PryorThe Oakland Raiders gave up a third round pick last season for the right to land Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

For those of you who fall under the category of the latter, lets go ahead and change that. Here is how the NFL’s Supplemental Draft works:

Firstly, note the Supplemental Draft is a process designed to allow individuals, who did not enter April’s initial draft, entry into the league. Players typically go the route of entering the Supplemental draft for special or unideal circumstances. Often the cause is underclassmen have not declared their intent to gain early entry into the league in order to be an applicant in April’s draft prior to the listed deadline to do so — and have been ruled ineligible for the forthcoming college football season. Reasons for being ruled ineligible are generally due to academic infraction or disciplinary consequence.

The Supplemental Draft order is determined by a three-step ‘weighted’ system that entails a lottery within each level:

1. The first grouping consists of teams with 6 wins or less. A lottery is then conducted within this specific grouping and the odds are determined by record. Teams with a worse record are given a higher probability of winning a higher position within the grouping. Ex: The Indianapolis Colts (2-14) are given a ‘weighted advantage’ over the Washington Redskins (5-11).

2. The second grouping is comprised of non-playoff teams with more than 6 wins. This group follows the same weighted system as the first group.

3. The third grouping is comprised of the 12 playoff teams and also follows suit with the format of the initial two groups.

Now, after the order is determined following the format detailed above, teams are allowed to partake in a semi-auction style process. This enables teams to submit formal bids to the league with a round the organization would like to select a player in. Based on the determined order, the team who placed the highest bid is awarded the rights to that player. Ex: If the Dallas Cowboys (a group two team) bids a 3rd round draft choice on Joe Quarterback, and the Miami Dolphins (a group one team) bids a 4th round draft choice on Joe Quarterback, the player is awarded to Dallas.

If two teams within the same group bid equally on a player, quite obviously, the team with the higher pick following order determination wins the bid. Subsequently, if a team successfully bids in the Supplemental Draft and is given the rights to a player, they must forfeit a selection in the same round of the following draft. Ex: The Oakland Raiders were awarded quarterback Terrelle Pryor after a successful 3rd round bid in the Supplemental Draft of 2011; Oakland then forfeited its 3rd round draft choice in the traditional 2012 NFL Draft held this past April.

Note: in the Supplemental Draft, teams are in no way required to submit bids on available players.

Here’s a breakdown of the number of players selected, by round, since the inception of the Supplemental draft in 1977:

Round 1: 8

QB Dave Wilson (1981), QB Bernie Kosar (1985), LB Brian Bosworth (1987), QB Steve Walsh (1989). QB Timm Rosenbach (1989), RB Bobby Humphrey (1989), WR Rob Moore (1990), QB Dave Brown (1992).

Round 2: 4

DE Darren Mickell (1992), OL Mike Wahle (1998), DT Jamal Williams (1998), RB Tony Hollings (2003).

Round 3: 5

DT Dan Sileo (1987), DT Darren Benson (1995), LB Ahmad Brooks (2006), DL Jeremy Jarmon (2009), QB Terrelle Pryor (2011).

Round 4: 5

RB Al Hunter (1977), WR Cris Carter (1987), DB Tito Wooten (1994), DB J’Juan Cherry (1999), DB Paul Oliver (2007).

Round 5: 4

WR Ryan Bethea (1988), TE John Davis (1994), DT Manuel Wright (2005), OT Jared Gaither (2007).

Round 6: 2

RB Rod Stewart (1979), OL Milford Brown (2002).

Round 7: 4

DE Matthew Teague (1980), RB Charles Crawford (1986), RB Harvey Unga (2010), DT Josh Brent (2010).

Round 8: 2

RB Roosevelt Snipes (1985), DB Brett Young (1989).

Round 9: 3

WR Billy Mullins (1980), DB Kevin Robinson (1982), TE Willie Williams (1990).

Round 10: 1

WR Johnnie Dirden (1978).

Round 11: 1

WR Chy Davidson (1981).

Round 12: 2

RB Rod Connors (1978), RB Mike Lowman (1989).

Quick Hits

-Franchise to use the most selections in the Supplemental Draft: Dallas Cowboys – 5

-Franchise with the second most selections in the Supplemental Draft: San Diego Chargers – 3

-Colleges with the most selections in the Supplemental Draft: Miami (FL)/USC – 3

-Colleges with the second most selections in the Supplemental Draft: Five schools – 2 (Florida St., Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio St., Oklahoma St.)

-Most selected position in the Supplemental Draft: RB – 9

-Second most selected position in the Supplemental Draft: QB/WR – 6

-Last All Pro (or Pro Bowler) selected from the Supplemental Draft: NT Jamal Williams (1998) – San Diego Chargers / OL Mike Wahle (1998) – Green Bay Packers.

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Buccaneers sign first rounder Doug Martin

On Monday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced the signing of Boise State running back Doug Martin, the No. 31 overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, to a five-year deal.

The organization moved up from the early portion of round two in order to make Martin the second running back selected in this

On Monday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced the signing of Boise State running back Doug Martin, the No. 31 overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, to a five-year deal.

The organization moved up from the early portion of round two in order to make Martin the second running back selected in this year’s draft. Regarded by some as a player with a similar skill set to that of New Orleans Saints 2011 first round pick Mark Ingram, he is a quality fit for new head coach Greg Schiano’s offense, which will emphasize the running game.

The 5’9″ 223 pound senior totaled 1,299 yards and 16 touchdowns rushing in 2011.

Tampa has only one remaining draft pick unsigned. That being the team’s top choice, Alabama safety Mark Barron, taken No. 7 overall.

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Pryor: ‘I’m not planning to be a backup”

There have been mixed reviews on quarterback Terrelle Pryor that date back to his high school days. Naturally, after electing to play college football at Ohio State, opinions -- both good and bad -- continued to form around the 6'5" 233-pound passer. Following a controversy, a resignation from the university, and a call from

There have been mixed reviews on quarterback Terrelle Pryor that date back to his high school days. Naturally, after electing to play college football at Ohio State, opinions — both good and bad — continued to form around the 6’5″ 233-pound passer. Following a controversy, a resignation from the university, and a call from the Oakland Raiders during the third round of the 2011 Supplemental Draft, Pryor began his pro career — and, unfortunately for him, with an NFL-mandated five-game suspension.

After having missed so much time and coaching due to both the suspension and lockout, in addition to not having the aid of a true quarterbacks coach, the unconventional beginning to Pryor’s career forged on, and the unpolished, but talented, former Buckeye has evidently not lost the urge to work hard despite some early adversity and the discouragement of going from big man on campus to seldom-used third-stringer.

Terrelle PryorICONTerrelle Pryor is working hard, but will he ever have an opportunity to start in the NFL?

Pryor sat down with Steve Corkran of the Contra Costa Times and discussed a multitude of topics relating to his personal development, the frustrations of being a backup, the late-owner who picked him, and more.

When asked about the difficulty of last year, the former top high school recruit noted it was a tough transition from being a starter who is relied on heavily, to becoming a player unlikely to get an opportunity.

“It was just hard not playing,” said Pryor. “It’d be like you not being able to report or do something that you love. You maybe love to golf and you can’t, you have a sore arm or whatever or your back and you can’t golf anymore. It just gets frustrating.”

Regarding development, Pryor continued to make note of his improved footwork.

“Big, big, huge improvement,” he said. “I spent a lot of time with (quarterbacks) coach (John) DiFilipio and I cleaned up the footwork, taking my feet in my progression and nothing but good results.”

Also, Pryor made no qualms about his intentions to get on the field and start for the silver and black, noting he is not content with being a backup.

“I don’t put myself as I’m going to be backup,” said the quarterback. “I mean, I don’t sit around saying, ‘I want to be a backup, that’s what I want to be.’ That’s not how I operate. That’s not how I want to be. I’m going to work to play…I’m not planning to be a backup. Get that correct.”

The 2010 Rose Bowl MVP had high praise for the veteran starter primarily responsible for preventing him from playing: Carson Palmer.

“He’s great. A lot of the stuff I know right now I’ve learned from Carson. It’s just great to have him here.”

Finally, the sophomore signal caller also received the opportunity to touch on former Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis, who’s final pick will forever be known as Terrelle Pryor — whom he hand chose personally.

“I talked to him a couple times a week before he passed. He would give me a call. Just a couple times a week he would just tell me he believed in me and stuff like that.”

For the most part, it appears Pryor has a good group of individuals in the organization’s new regime who believe in him as well. Belief, patience, and hard-work on the part of the coaching staff is imperative for this experiment work, and Pryor himself will have to adopt the very same mindset.

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Seahawks giving Wagner a look at middle linebacker

With the departure of linebacker David Hawthorne leaving a sizable hole in the middle of the Seattle Seahawks defense, the organization addressed the need by selecting Utah State's Bobby Wagner in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft. However, the athletic and productive former Aggie may be thrust into a high-leverage situation early

With the departure of linebacker David Hawthorne leaving a sizable hole in the middle of the Seattle Seahawks defense, the organization addressed the need by selecting Utah State’s Bobby Wagner in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft. However, the athletic and productive former Aggie may be thrust into a high-leverage situation early in his rookie campaign.

According to Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune, Wagner worked with the first-team defense as the unit’s middle linebacker on Saturday, between outside linebackers K.J. Wright and Leroy Hill.

The team signed veteran MLB Barrett Ruud on April 6 with the intention of giving him the brunt of the responsibilities at the position. But the 28-year-old is battling an array of injuries including the groin, knee, and shoulder. After missing seven games due to injury in 2011, Seattle head coach Pete Carroll noted that the team will be careful with him during recovery.

While Wagner was projected to take on an early role in nickel packages as a rookie, he will state his case to be the full-time replacement for the now-New Orleans Saint David Hawthorne — a player who seldom came off the field.

Hopes for the 6’1″ 235-pound youngster are high, as Wagner put together a stat-filled collegiate career in Logan, compiling 445 tackles, 28.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, and four interceptions.

The coaching staff certainly wanted its young linebacker to get on the field early, but it will be interesting to see how the three-year starter fares if he is plugged in from day one.

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The complete list of draft picks and UDFA signings for all 32 teams

Here’s the compete list of all 32 teams’ 2012 NFL Draft classes and subsequent undrafted free agent signings:

BUFFALO BILLS

Round 1 (10) – CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina
Round 2 (41) – G/T Cordy Glenn, Georgia
Round 3 (69) – WR T.J. Graham, NC State
Round 4 (105)

Here’s the compete list of all 32 teams’ 2012 NFL Draft classes and subsequent undrafted free agent signings:

BUFFALO BILLS

Round 1 (10) – CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina
Round 2 (41) – G/T Cordy Glenn, Georgia
Round 3 (69) – WR T.J. Graham, NC State
Round 4 (105) – LB Nigel Bradham, Florida State
Round 4 (124) – CB Ron Brooks, LSU
Round 5 (144) – OT Zebrie Sanders, Florida State
Round 5 (147) – LB Tank Carder, TCU
Round 6 (178) – OG Mark Asper, Oregon
Round 7 (251) – K John Potter, Western Michigan
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Delano Howell, S, Stanford, Nick Sukay, S, Penn State, Shawn Powell, P, Florida, StateIan Wild, S, Mercyhurst, Chris Douglas, RB, Missouri St, Aaron Corp, QB, Richmond, Chris Hill, CB, Virginia Tech, Garrick Williams, OLB, Texas A&M, Paul Madsen, OL, Colorado St, David Snow, C, Texas

MIAMI DOLPHINS

Round 1 (8) – QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M
Round 2 (42) – OT Jonathan Martin, Stanford
Round 3 (72) – DE Olivier Vernon, Miami (FL)
Round 3 (78) – TE Michael Egnew, Missouri
Round 4 (97) – RB Lamar Miller, Miami (FL)
Round 5 (155) – LB Josh Kaddu, Oregon
Round 6 (183) – WR B.J. Cunningham, Michigan State
Round 7 (215) – DT Kheeston Randall, Texas
Round 7 (227) – WR Rishard Matthews, Nevada
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Jacquies Smith, DE, Missouri, Jonas Gray, RB, Notre Dame, Derrick Shelby, DE, Utah, Derek Moye, WR, Penn State, Kelcie McCray, S, Arkansas State, Jeff Fuller, WR, Texas A&M, Derrick Dennis, OL, Temple, Albert Evans, S, Purdue, Shelly Lyons, LB, Arizona State, Jarrell Root, DE, Boise St, Derrick Shelby, DE/OLB, Utah, Josh Samuda, OL, UMass, Terence Brown, OL, BYU, Dustin Waldron, OT, Portland State, Myron Johnson, S, Arkansas Tech, Kevin Scott, CB, Syracuse, Kelvin Bolden, WR, Southern Miss, Jacory Harris, QB, Miami (FL) – (Invite)

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

Round 1 (21) – DE Chandler Jones, Syracuse
Round 1 (25) – LB Dont’a Hightower, Alabama
Round 2 (48) – S Tavon Wilson, Illinois
Round 3 (90) – DE Jake Bequette, Arkansas
Round 6 (197) – DB Nate Ebner, Ohio State
Round 7 (224) – CB Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska
Round 7 (235) – WR Jeremy Ebert, Northwestern
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Jeremiah Warren, OL, South Florida, Markus Zusevics, OT, Iowa, Marcus Forston, DT, Miami, Brad Herman, TE, Iowa, Matt Roark, WR, Kentucky

NEW YORK JETS

Round 1 (16) – DE Quinton Coples, North Carolina
Round 2 (43) – WR Stephen Hill, Goergia Tech
Round 3 (77) – LB Demario Davis, Arkansas State
Round 6 (187) – S Josh Bush, Wake Forest
Round 6 (202) – RB Terrance Ganaway, Baylor
Round 6 (203) – OG Robert Griffin, Baylor
Round 7 (242) – S Antonio Allen, South Carolina
Round 7 (244) – WR Jordan White, Western Michigan
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Damon Harrison, DT, William Penn, Ryan Steed, CB, Furman, Brett Roy, DE, Nevada, G.J. Kinne, QB, Tulsa, Brian Linthicum, TE, Michigan State, Donovan Robinson, DE, Jackson St, Brody McKnight, K, Montana, John Cullen, OT, Utah, D’Anton Lynn, CB, Penn State, Donovan Robinson, LB, SC State, Marcus Dowtin, LB, Northern Alabama, Donnie Fletcher, CB, Boston College, Pashaun Brown, RB, Maine, Anthony Parker, OT Western Michigan, Josue Ortiz, DL, Harvard (Invite)

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Round 2 (35) – OLB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
Round 2 (60) – OG Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State
Round 3 (84) – RB Bernard Pierce, Temple
Round 4 (98) – OG Gino Gradkowski, Delaware
Round 4 (130) – S Christian Thompson, South Carolina State
Round 5 (169) – CB Asa Jackson, Cal Poly
Round 6 (198) – WR Tommy Streeter, Miami (FL)
Round 7 (236) – DT DeAngelo Tyson, Georgia
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John Brantley, QB, Florida, Charles Brown, CB, North Carolina, Austin Johnson, LB, Tennessee, Chyl Quarles, S, Wake Forest, Nick Jean-Baptiste, DT, Baylor, Deonte Thompson, WR, Florida, Nick Provo, TE, Syracuse, Devin Goda, WR, Slippery Rock, Chris Anzevino, C, Kent State, Chad Diehl, FB, Clemson, Antoine McClain, OL, Clemson, Bruce Figgins, FB, Georgia, Bobby Rainey, RB, Western Kentucky, Jack Cornell, G/T, Illinois, Ishmaa’ily Kitchen, DT, Kent State, Elliot Henigan, DT, UAB, Alfred McCullough, OL, Alabama, Dorian Graham, WR, Syracuse, James Carmon OL Mississippi State, Justin Tucker, K, Texas

CINCINNATI BENGALS

Round 1 (17) – CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama
Round 1 (27) – OG Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin
Round 2 (53) – DT Devon Still, Penn State
Round 3 (83) – WR Mohamed Sanu, Rutgers
Round 3 (93) – DT Brandon Thompson, Clemson
Round 4 (116) – TE Orson Charles, Georgia
Round 5 (156) – CB Shaun prater, Iowa
Round 5 (166) – WR Marvin Jones, California
Round 5 (167) – S George Iloka, Boise State
Round 6 (191) – RB Dan Herron, Ohio State
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Julian Miller, DE, West Virginia, Justin Hinton, WR, Indiana St, Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State, Tony Dye, S, UCLA, Derrius Brooks, CB, Western Kentucky, Brandon Joiner, DE, Arkansas St, Kashif Moore, WR, UConn, Tyler Hansen, QB, Colorado, Rodney Stewart, RB, Colorado, Bubba Forrest, S, New Mexico, Emmanuel Lamur, LB/S, Kansas State, Ben Bojicic, OL, Bowling Green, Taveon Rogers, WR, New Mexico State

CLEVELAND BROWNS

Round 1 (3) – RB Trent Richardson, Alabama
Round 1 (22) – QB Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State
Round 2 (37) – OT Mitchell Schwartz, California
Round 3 (87) – DT John Hughes, Cincinnati
Round 4 (100) – WR Travis Benjamin, Miami (FL)
Round 4 (120) – LB James-Michael Johnson, Nevada
Round 5 (160) – OG Ryan Miller, Colorado
Round 6 (204) – LB Emmanuel Acho, Texas
Round 6 (205) – DT Billy Winn, Boise State
Round 7 (245) – CB Trevin Wade, Arizona
Round 7 (247) – TE Brad Smelley, Alabama
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Josh Cooper, WR, Oklahoma State, Jermaine Saffold, WR, Missouri State, Andrew Sweat, LB, Ohio State, Matt Cleveland, OT, Idaho, Antwuan Reed, CB, Pittsburgh, J.B. Shugarts, OT/OG, Ohio State, William Green, DE, Florida, Tashaun Gipson, S, Wyoming, Garth Gerhart, OG/C, Arizona State, Bert Reed, WR, Florida State, Emanuel Davis, CB, East Carolina, Mike Allen, CB, James Madison, Johnson Bademosi, S, Stanford, L.J. Fort, LB, Northern Iowa

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Round 1 (24) – OG David DeCastro, Stanford
Round 2 (56) – OT Mike Adams, Ohio State
Round 3 (86) – LB Sean Spence, Miami (FL)
Round 4 (109) – NT Alameda Ta’amu, Washington
Round 5 (159) – WR Chris Rainey, Florida
Round 7 (231) – WR Toney Clemons, Colorado
Round 7 (240) – TE David Paulson, Oregon
Round 7 (246) – CB Terrence Frederick, Texas A&M
Round 7 (248) – OG Kelvin Beachum, Southern Methodist
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Brandon Lindsey, LB, Pittsburgh, Drew Butler, P, Georgia, Robert Golden, DB, Arizona, Marquis Maze, WR, Alabama, Desmond Stapleton, OG, Rutgers, Adrian Robinson, DE, Temple, Alex Tanney, QB, Monmouth, Grant Ressel, K, Missouri, Ryan Lee, OG, Furman, Jake Stoller, DL, Yale, Connor Dixon, WR, Duquesne

HOUSTON TEXANS

Round 1 (26) – OLB Whitney Mercilus, Illinois
Round 3 (68) – WR DeVier Posey, Ohio State
Round 3 (76) – OG Brandon Brooks, Miami (OH)
Round 4 (99) – C Ben Jones, Georgia
Round 4 (121) – WR Keshawn Martin, Michigan State
Round 4 (126) – DE Jared Crick, Nebraska
Round 5 (161) – K Randy Bullock, Texas A&M
Round 6 (195) – OT Nick Mondek, Purdue
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Desmond Marrow, S, Toledo, Jerrell Jackson, WR, Missouri, Shawn Loiseau, LB, Merrimack, DJ Bryant, DE, James Madison, Case Keenum, QB, Houston, Logan Brock, TE, TCU, Mario Louis, WR, Grambling State, Nate Menkin, OT, Mary Hardin-Baylor, Davin Meggett, RB, Maryland, Cody White, OT, Illinois State, Jason Ford, RB, Illinois, Hebron ‘Loni’ Fangupo, DT, BYU, Dwight Jones, WR, North Carolina, Eddie Pleasant, S, Oregon, Delano Johnson, DE/OLB, Bowie State, David Hunter, DT, Houston, Tracy Robertson, DT, Baylor, Johnathan Grimes, RB, William and Mary, Greg Williams, LB, Pittsburgh, Rennie Moore, DT Clemson, Phillip Supernaw, TE, Ouchita Baptist

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

Round 1 (1) – QB Andrew Luck, Stanford
Round 2 (34) – TE Coby Fleener, Stanford
Round 3 (64) – TE Dwayne Allen, Clemson
Round 3 (92) – WR T.Y. Hilton, Florida International
Round 5 (136) – NT Josh Chapman, Alabama
Round 5 (170) – RB Vick Ballard, Mississippi State
Round 6 (206) – WR LaVon Brazill, Ohio
Round 7 (208) – OG Justin Anderson, Georgia
Round 7 (214) – LB Tim Fugger, Vanderbilt
Round 7 (253) – QB Chandler Harnish, Northern Illinois
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Micah Pellerin CB, Hampton, Jabin Sambrano, WR, Montana, Cameron Chism, CB, Maryland, Buddy Jackson, CB, Pittsburgh, Chris Galippo, LB, USC, Matt Merletti, S, North Carolina, Griff Whalen, WR, Stanford, Antonio Fenelus, CB, Wisconsin, Jason Foster, OL, Rhode Island, Brian Stahovich, P, San Diego State, Hayworth Hicks, OL, Iowa State, Steven Baker, OL, East Carolina, Kevin Eagan, DE, Endicott, James Aiono, DT, Utah

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

Round 1 (5) – WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
Round 2 (38) – DE Andre Branch, Clemson
Round 3 (70) – P Bryan Anger, California
Round 5 (142) – LB Brandon Marshall, Nevada
Round 6 (176) – CB Mike Harris, Florida State
Round 7 (228) – DT Jeris Pendleton, Ashland
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Drew Nowak, DT, Western Michigan, Kevin Elliot, WR, Florida A&M, Lee Barbiasz, OT, Northern Colorado, Dontell Johnson, DB, Murray State, J.K. Schaffer, LB, Cincinnati, Ryan Davis, DE, Bethune-Cookman, Matt Veldman, TE, North Dakota State, Antonio Dennard, CB, Langston, Mike Brewster, C, Ohio State, Jarrett Boykin, WR, Virginia Tech, Long Ding, K, Norwich, Joe Banyard, RB, UTEP, Donovan Richard, S, South Carolina State, Taylor Allen, TE, Endicott, Raymond Carter, RB, Colorado State, Nelson Rosario, WR, UCLA, Chris Forcier, WR, Furman (Invite), Dan Hoch, OL, Missouri (Invite)

TENNESSEE TITANS

Round 1 (20) – WR Kendall Wright, Baylor
Round 2 (52) – LB Zach Brown, North Carolina
Round 3 (82) – DT Mike Martin, Michigan
Round 4 (115) – CB Coty Sensabaugh
Round 5 (145) – TE Taylor Thompson, Southern Methodist
Round 6 (190) – S Markelle Martin, Oklahoma State
Round 7 (211) – DE Scott Soloman, Rice
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DJ Woods, WR, Cincinnati, Devin Aguilar, WR, Washington, Christian Scott, S, Texas, Alex Watkins, LB, Alabama, Nick Stephens, QB, Tarleton State, Chandler Burden, OL, Kentucky, DaJohn Harris, DT, USC, William Vlachos, C, Alabama, Beau Brinkley, LS, MIssouri, LaQuinton Evans, WR, Southern, Brandon Barden, TE, Vanderbilt, Darryl Whiting, RB, Fordham, Gary Wilburn, CB, UConn, Chase Deadder, WR, Sacramento State, George Bias, OG, Stephen F. Austin

DENVER BRONCOS

Round 2 (36) – DT Derek Wolfe, Cincinnati
Round 2 (57) – QB Brock Osweiler, Arizona State
Round 3 (67) – RB Ronnie Hillman, San Diego State
Round 4 (101) – CB Omar Bolden, Arizona State
Round 4 (108) – C Philip Blake, Baylor
Round 5 (137) – DE Malik Jackson, Tennessee
Round 6 (188) – LB Danny Trevathan, Kentucky
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Duke Ihenacho, S, San Jose State, Steven Johnson, LB, Kansas, Austin Wuebbels, OG, Missouri, Gerell Robinson, WR, Arizona State, Coryell Judie, CB, Texas A&M, Jerry Franklin, LB, Arkansas, Wayne Tribue, OL, Temple, Elliot Coffey, LB, Baylor, Anthony Miller, TE, California, Jamie Blatnick, DE, Oklahoma State, Mike Remmers, OT, Oregon State, Eric Page, WR, Toledo, Demario Pippen, RB, Tuskegee

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Round 1 (11) – DT Dontari Poe, Memphis
Round 2 (44) – G/T Jeff Allen, Illinois
Round 3 (74) – OT Donald Stephenson, Oklahoma
Round 4 (107) – WR Devon Wylie, Fresno State
Round 5 (146) – DB DeQuan Menzie, Alabama
Round 6 (182) – RB Cyrus Gray, Texas A&M
Round 7 (218) – DT Jerome Long, San Diego State
Round 7 (238) – WR Junior Hemingway, Michigan
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Tysyn Hartman, S, Kansas State, Justin Cheadle, OG, Cal, Nate Eachus, RB, Colgate, Josh Bellamy, WR, Louisville, Brandon Kinnie, WR, Nebraska, Jean Fanor, S, Bethune-Cookman, Taylor Gentry, FB, NC State, Terrance Parks, S, Florida State, Tim Biere, TE, Kansas, Neiko Thorpe, DB, Auburn, Ethan Johnson, DE, Notre Dame, Dexter Heymen, LB, Lousiville, Cam Holland, OL, North Carolina, David LeGree, QB, Hampton, Dominique Ellis, CB, SC State, James Winchester, LS, Oklahoma

OAKLAND RAIDERS

Round 3 (95) – OG Tony Bergstrom, Utah
Round 4 (129) – LB Miles Burris, San Diego State
Round 5 (158) – DE Jack Crawford, Penn State
Round 5 (168) – WR Juron Criner, Arizona
Round 6 (189) – DT Christo Bilukidi, Georgia State
Round 7 (230) – LB Nate Stupar, Penn State
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Marquette King, P, Fort Valley State, Aaron Henry, S, Wisconsin, Dominique Hamilton, DT, Missouri, Chaz Powell, CB/WR, Penn State, Thomas Mayo, WR, Cal (PA), Lucas Nix, OG, Pittsburgh, Conroy Black, CB, Utah, Dan Knapp, OL, Arizona State, Derek Carrier, TE, Beloit, Mario Kurn, LB, San Diego, Kaelin Burnett, DE, Nevada, Brandon Carswell, WR, USC, Rod Streater, WR, Temple, Raphael Guidry, DT, Kansas State, Corey Gatewood, CB, Stanford, Darius Nall, DE, UCF (Invite)

Round 1 (18) – OLB Melvin Ingram, South Carolina
Round 2 (49) – DE Kendall Reyes, UConn
Round 3 (73) – S Brandon Taylor, LSU
Round 4 (110) – TE Ladarius Green, Louisiana-Lafayette
Round 5 (149) – OG Johnnie Troutman, Penn State
Round 7 (226) – C David Molk, Michigan
Round 7 (250) – RB Edwin Baker, Michigan State
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Phillip Payne, WR, Nevada-Las Vegas, Michael Hayes, RB, Houston, Jarrett Lee, QB, LSU, Josh Linam, LB, Central Florida, De’Andre Presley, WR, Appalachian State, Eddie Brown, DT, Texas A&M, Paul Cox, WR, Miss Valley State, Christian Tupou, DT, USC, Mike Harris, OG, UCLA, Taylor Embree, WR, UCLA, Kyle Martens, P, Rice, Logan Harrell, DT, Fresno State, Mike Willie, WR, Arizona State, Sean Cattouse, S, California, Cordell Bell, OG, Mississippi State, Hubert Anyiam, WR, Oklahoma State, Nick Guess, LS, Tennessee, Charles Burton, G/T, Montana, Jason Barnes, WR, South Carolina, Greg Gatson, CB, Arkansas

DALLAS COWBOYS

Round 1 (6) – CB Morris Claiborne, LSU
Round 3 (81) – DE Tyrone Crawford, Boise State
Round 4 (113) – OLB Kyle Wilber, Wake Forest
Round 4 (135) – S Matt Johnson, Eastern Washington
Round 5 (152) – WR Danny Coale, Virginia Tech
Round 6 (186) – TE James Hanna, Oklahoma
Round 7 (222) – LB Caleb McSurdy, Montana
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Darrell Scott, RB, South Florida, Troy Woolfolk, CB, Michigan, Ronald Leary, OG, Memphis, Jeff Adams, OT, Columbia, Taylor Dever, OT, Notre Dame, Adrian Hamilton, DE, Prairie View A&M, Aston Whiteside, LB, Abilene Christian, Levy Adcock, OT, Oklahoma State, Eddie Whitley, S, Virginia Tech, George Bryan, TE, North Carolina State, Andrew Szcerba, TE, Penn State, Isaac Madison, CB, Arkansas, Lionel Smith, CB, Texas A&M, Lance Dunbar, RB, North Texas, Cole Beasley, WR, Southern Methodist, Tyrone Novikoff, OT, Idaho, Charley Hughlett, LS, Central Florida

NEW YORK GIANTS

Round 1 (32) – RB David Wilson, Virginia Tech
Round 2 (63) – WR Rueben Randle, LSU
Round 3 (94) – CB Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech
Round 4 (127) – TE Adrien Robinson, Cincinnati
Round 4 (131) – OT Brandon Mosley, Auburn
Round 6 (201) – OT Matt McCants, Alabama-Birmingham
Round 7 (239) – DT Markus Kuhn, North Carolina State
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Janzen Jackson, S, McNeese State, Matt Broha, DE, Louisiana Tech, Damian Davis, WR, Mary Hardin-Baylor, David Douglas, WR, Arizona, Adewale Ojomo, DE, Miami (FL), Julian Talley, WR, UMass, Joe Martinek, FB/RB, Rutgers, Jojo Nicolas, S, Miami, D’Angelo McCray, OL, Memphis, Stephen Goodin, OG, Nebraska-Kearney

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

Round 1 (12) – DT Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State
Round 2 (46) – LB Mychal Kendricks, California
Round 2 (59) – DE Vinny Curry, Marshall
Round 3 (88) – QB Nick Foles, Arizona
Round 4 (123) – CB Brandon Boykin, Georgia
Round 5 (153) – OT Dennis Kelly, Purdue
Round 6 (194) – WR Marvin McNutt, Iowa
Round 6 (200) – OG Brandon Washington, Miami (FL)
Round 7 (229) – RB Bryce Brown, Kansas State
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Cliff Harris, CB, Oregon, Phillip Thomas, DB, Syracuse, Emil Igwenagu, FB/TE, UMass, Matt Camilli, LS, UTEP, Damaris Johnson, WR, Tulsa, Chris Polk, RB, Washington, Chase Ford, TE, Miami

WASHINGTON REDSKINS

Round 1 (2) – QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor
Round 3 (71) – OG Josh LeRibeus, Southern Methodist
Round 4 (102) – QB Kirk Cousins, Michigan State
Round 4 (119) – LB Keenan Robinson, Texas
Round 5 (141) – OG Adam Gettis, Iowa
Round 6 (173) – RB Alfred Morris, Florida Atlantic
Round 6 (193) – OT Tom Compton, North Dakota
Round 7 (213) – CB Richard Crawford, Southern Methodist
Round 7 (217) – CB Jordan Bernstine, Iowa
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Eain Smith, S, West Virginia, Michael Shaw, RB, Michigan, Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia, Lance Lewis, WR, East Carolina, Brian McNally, DE, New Hampshire, Darius Hanks, WR, Alabama, Lennon Creer, RB, Louisiana Tech, Vaughn Meatoga, DT, Hawaii, D.J. Holt, LB, California, Grant Garner, C, Oklahoma State, Kerby Long, WR, James Madison, Josh Oglesby, OL, Wisconsin, Marcus Hyde, DE, William & Mary (Invite)

CHICAGO BEARS

Round 1 (19) – DE Shea McClellin, Boise State
Round 2 (45) – WR Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina
Round 3 (79) – S Brandon Hardin, Oregon State
Round 4 (111) – FB/TE Evan Rodriguez, Temple
Round 6 (184) – CB Isaiah Frey, Nevada
Round 7 (220) – CB Greg McCoy, TCU
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Ronnie Cameron, DT, Old Dominion, James Brown, OG, Troy, Trevor Coston, S, Maine, Chris Summers, WR, Liberty, Jake Anderson, OT, Akron, Ronnie Thornton, LB, Southern Miss, Adrien Cole, LB, Louisiana Tech, Tyler Holmes, LB, UMass, Kyle Wojta, LS, Wisconsin, Alvester Alexander, RB, Wyoming, Adonis Thomas, RB, Toledo (Invite)

DETROIT LIONS

Round 1 (23) – OT Riley Reiff, Iowa
Round 2 (54) – WR Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
Round 3 (85) – CB Dwight Bentley, Louisiana-Lafayette
Round 4 (125) – DE/OLB Ronnell Lewis, Oklahoma
Round 5 (138) – LB Tahir Whitehead, Temple
Round 5 (148) – CB Chris Greenwood, Albion
Round 6 (196) – CB Jonte Green, New Mexico State
Round 7 (223) – LB Travis Lewis, Oklahoma
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Derek Dimke, K, Illinois, Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State, Patrick Edwards, WR, Houston, J.C. Oram, OG, Weber St, Rodney Austin, OG, Elon, Carmen Messina, LB, New Mexico, Ronnie Sneed, LB, Kentucky, Quinn Barham, OL, Penn St, Jared Karstetter, WR, Washington State, Michael Cosgrove, DT, Idaho, Monte Lewis, DE, Jacksonville State, Sam Proctor, S, Oklahoma, Alex Gottlieb, TE, William & Mary

Round 1 (28) – OLB Nick Perry, USC
Round 2 (51) – DE Jerel Worthy, Michigan State
Round 2 (62) – CB Casey Hayward, Vanderbilt
Round 4 (132) – DT Mike Daniels, Iowa
Round 4 (133) – S Jeron McMillian, Maine
Round 5 (163) – LB Terrell Manning, North Carolina State
Round 7 (241) – OT Andrew Datko, Florida State
Round 7 (243) – QB B.J. Coleman, Tennessee-Chattanooga
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Dale Moss, WR, South Dakota State, Darius Reynolds, WR, Iowa State, Sean Richardson, S, Vanderbilt, Marcus Rivers, WR, Buffalo, Nic Cooper, RB, Winston-Salem, Eric Lair, TE, Minnesota, Randy Colling, NT, Gannon, Dezman Moses, DE, Tulane, Dion Turner, DB, Southern Utah, Marc Tyler, RB, USC, Tommie Draheim, OL, San Diego State, Duane Bennett, RB, Minnesota, Cameron Ford, TE, Wake Forest, Don Barclay, OL, West Virginia, Drew Vanderlin, TE, Michigan Tech, David Nadeau, K, Minn-Duluth (Invite)

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Round 1 (4) – OT Matt Kalil, USC
Round 1 (29) – S Harrison Smith, Notre Dame
Round 3 (66) – CB Josh Robinson, Central Florida
Round 4 (118) – WR Jarius Wright, Arkansas
Round 4 (128) – FB/TE Rhett Ellison, USC
Round 4 (134) – WR Greg Childs, Arkansas
Round 5 (139) – DB Robert Blanton, Notre Dame
Round 6 (175) – K Blair Walsh, Georgia
Round 7 (210) – LB Audie Cole, North Carolina State
Round 7 (219) – DL Trevor Guyton, California
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Bobby Felder, CB, Nicholls St, Quentin Saulsberry, C, Mississippi State, Darrion Weems, OL, Oregon, Chase Baker, DT, Boise State, Derrick Coleman, RB, UCLA, Tydreke Powell, DT, North Carolina, Kevin Cyrille, DE, Florida Atlantic, Kamar Jorden, WR, Bowling Green, Tyler Nielsen, LB, Iowa, Eric Latimore, DE, Penn State, Corey Paredes, LB, Hawaii, Austin Pasztor, OG, Virginia, Terrell Resonno, DT, Missouri, C.C. Whitlock, DB, South Carolina, Mitch Elliott, OL, Bethel College

ATLANTA FALCONS

Round 2 (55) – C Peter Konz, Wisconsin
Round 3 (91) – OT Lamar Holmes, Southern Mississippi
Round 5 (157) – FB Bradie Ewing, Wisconsin
Round 5 (164) – DE Jonathan Massaquoi, Troy
Round 6 (192) – S Charles Mitchell, Mississippi State
Round 7 (249) – DT Travian Robertson, South Carolina
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Pat Schiller, LB, Northern Illinois, Josh Harris, LS, Auburn, Cory Pearcy, WR, Huntington, Lamark Brown, WR, Minn-Mankato, Tyler Horn, C, Miami, Chad Faulcon, S, Montclair State, Casey Therriault, QB, Jackson State, Jerrell Harris, LB, Alabama, Adam Nissley, TE, Central Florida, Louis Nzegwu, DE, Wisconsin, Dawson Zimmerman, P, Clemson, Micanor Regis, DT, Miami (FL), Dominique Davis, QB, East Carolina, Bryce Harris, OT, Fresno State

CAROLINA PANTHERS

Round 1 (9) – LB Luke Kuechly, Boston College
Round 2 (40) – OG Amini Silatolu, Midwestern State
Round 4 (103) – DE Frank Alexander, Oklahoma
Round 4 (104) – WR Joe Adams, Arkansas
Round 5 (143) – CB Josh Norman, Coastal Carolina
Round 6 (207) – P Brad Nortman, Wisconsin
Round 7 (216) – S D.J. Campbell, California
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Ryan van Bergen, DE, Michigan, Rico Wallace, WR, Shenandoah, Wes Kemp, WR, Missouri, Jared Green, WR, Southern, Matt Reynolds, OT, BYU, Brenton Bersin, WR, Wofford, Will Blackwell, C, LSU, Nate Chandler, DT, UCLA, Lyndon Rowells, RB, Humboldt State, Tauren Poole, RB, Tennessee

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Round 3 (89) – DT Akiem Hicks, Regina
Round 4 (122) – WR Nick Toon, Wisconsin
Round 5 (162) – S Corey White, Samford
Round 6 (179) – OG Andrew Tiller, Syracuse
Round 7 (234) – OT Marcel Jones, Nebraska
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Laron Scott, CB, Georgia Southern, Braylon Broughton, OLB, TCU, Johnny Thomas, S, Ok State, Travaris Cadet, WR, Appalachian State, Aderious Simmons, OT, Arizona State, Jerico Nelson, S, Arkansas, Jose Gumbs, S, Monmouth, Tyrunn Walker, DL, Tulsa, Kadarron Anderson, LB, Furman, Brian Folkerts, OL, Washburn, Jacob Byrne, TE, Wisconsin, DeOn’Tae Pannell, OL, Penn State, A.J. Davis, CB, Jacksonville State, Stephen Johnson, LB, Temple, Aaron Tevis, LB, Boise State, Chris Givins, WR, Miami (OH), Kevin Hardy, WR, Citadel, Justin Aldredge, FB, Northwestern State

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Round 1 (7) – S Mark Barron, Alabama
Round 1 (31) – RB Doug Martin, Boise State
Round 2 (58) – LB Lavonte David, Nebraska
Round 5 (140) – LB Najee Goode, West Virginia
Round 6 (174) – CB Keith Tandy, West Virginia
Round 7 (212) – RB Michael Smith, Utah State
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Leonard Johnson, CB, Iowa State, Zach Collaros, QB, Cincinnati, Sean Baker, S, Ball State, Morkeith Brown, DE, Temple, Tyler Shoemaker, WR, Boise State, Mike VanDerMeulen, OL, Toledo, Brandon Herron, LB, Michigan, Chaz Hine, OG, South Florida, Tramaine Thomas, S, Arkansas, Adonis Thomas, RB, Toledo (Invite), Dan Persa, QB, Northwestern (Invite)

ARIZONA CARDINALS

Round 1 (13) – WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
Round 3 (80) – CB Jamell Fleming, Oklahoma
Round 4 (112) – OT Bobby Massie, Ole Miss
Round 5 (151) – OG Senio Kelemete, Washington
Round 6 (177) – DB Justin Bethel, Presbyterian
Round 6 (185) – QB Ryan Lindley, San Diego State
Round 7 (221) – OT Nate Potter, Boise State
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Scott Wedige, OL, Northern Illinois, Jared Crank, FB, Purdue, Broderick Binns, DE, Iowa, Tevita Finau, DL, Utah, Tre Gray, WR, Richmond, Marcus McGraw, LB, Houston, Zach Nash, DL, Sacramento State, Richetti Jones, DE, Oklahoma State, Paul Vassallo, LB, Arizona, Marc Wilson, WR, Saint Anslem, James Nixon, CB, Cal (PA), Colin Parker, LB, Arizona State, Blake Gideon, S, Texas, Blake DeChristopher, OL, Virginia Tech, Conrad Obi, DT, Colorado, Jacory Harris, QB, Miami (Invite)

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Round 1 (30) – WR A.J. Jenkins, Illinois
Round 2 (61) – RB LaMichael James, Oregon
Round 4 (117) – OG Joe Looney, Wake Forest
Round 5 (165) – OLB Darius Fleming, Notre Dame
Round 6 (180) – S Trenton Robinson, Michigan State
Round 6 (199) – OT Jason Slowey, Western Oregon
Round 7 (237) – OLB Cam Johnson, Virginia
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Brian Tymes, WR, Florida A&M, Nathan Palmer, WR, Northern Illinois, Al Netter, OG, Northwestern, Joe Holland, OLB, Purdue, Garrett Celek, TE, Michigan State, DaJuan Cofield, RB, San Jose State, Jewel Hampton, RB, Southern Illinois, Kevin Murphy, OT, Harvard, Michael Thomas, S, Stanford, Chris Owusu, WR, Stanford, Matthew Masafilo, DE, Stanford, Johnson Bademosi, S, Stanford, Kourtnei Brown, DE, Clemson, Patrick Butrym, DL, Wisconsin, Georgio Tavecchio, K, California, Tony Jerod-Eddie, DL, Texas A&M

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

Round 1 (15) – DE/OLB Bruce Irvin, West Virginia
Round 2 (47) – LB Bobby Wagner, Utah State
Round 3 (75) – QB Russell Wilson, Wisconsin
Round 4 (106) – RB Robert Turbin, Utah State
Round 4 (114) – DT Jaye Howard, Florida
Round 5 (154) – LB Korey Toomer, Idaho
Round 6 (174) – CB Jeremy Lane, Northwestern State
Round 6 (181) – S Winston Guy, Kentucky
Round 7 (225) – DE J.R. Sweezy, North Carolina State
Round 7 (232) – DE Greg Scruggs, Louisville
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Jermaine Kearse, WR, Washington, Phil Bates, WR, Ohio, London Durham, CB, McNeese State, Rishaw Johnson, G, California (PA), Sean McGrath, LS/TE, Henderson State, Jon Opperud, OL, Montana, Deshawn Shead, DB, Portland State, Monte Taylor, DE, Cincinnati, Lavasier Tuinei, WR, Oregon, Addison Lawrence OL Mississippi State, James Stampley, FB, LSU, Carson Wiggs, K, Purdue

ST. LOUIS RAMS

Round 1 (14) – DT Michael Brockers, LSU
Round 2 (33) – WR Brian Quick, Appalachian State
Round 2 (39) – CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama
Round 2 (50) – RB Isaiah Pead, Cincinnati
Round 3 (65) – DB Trumain Johnson, Montana
Round 4 (96) – WR Chris Givens, Wake Forest
Round 5 (150) – OG Rokevious Watkins, South Carolina
Round 6 (171) – K Greg Zuerlein, Missouri Western
Round 7 (209) – LB Aaron Brown, Hawai’i
Round 7 (252) – RB Daryl Richardson, Abilene Christian
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Matt Daniels, S, Duke, Cory Harkey, TE, UCLA, Matt Conrath, DT, Virginia, Alex Hoffman-Ellis, LB, Washington State, Derrick Choice, OLB, Stephen F. Austin, DeAngelo Peterson, TE, LSU, Sammy Brown, LB, Houston, Austin Davis, QB, Southern Miss, Johnny Hekker, P, Oregon State, Joe Long, OL, Wayne State, Noah Keller, LB, Ohio, Jamaar Jarrett, DE, Arizona State, Jeremy Caldwell, WR, Eastern Kentucky, T-Bob Hebert, C, LSU, Todd Anderson, FB, Michigan State, Travis Tripucka, LS, UMass, Calvin Middleton, RB, Jackson State

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Which Saints coach will interim for Vitt?

While the New Orleans Saints have opted to christen assistant head coach and linebackers coach Joe Vitt as their interim leader for the 2012 season in Sean Payton's absence, the new question instantly becomes who will interim for Vitt.

Vitt is also involved in the Saints bounty scandal sanctions and while his suspension

While the New Orleans Saints have opted to christen assistant head coach and linebackers coach Joe Vitt as their interim leader for the 2012 season in Sean Payton’s absence, the new question instantly becomes who will interim for Vitt.

Vitt is also involved in the Saints bounty scandal sanctions and while his suspension will only force him to miss New Orleans’ first six regular season games, the team must decide on a second interim head coach in his absence.

NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora reported he and colleague Steve Wyche are “hearing from good sources” that the team has not yet made a decision, but that it could be one of either offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael, offensive line coach Aaron Kromer, or defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo — the only of the trio with head coaching experience.

According to ESPN Insider Adam Schefter, offensive line coach Aaron Kromer is expected to become the team’s interim head coach while Joe Vitt serves his six game suspension.

The team has time to make the decision and could use the 2012 preseason in order to help make a more informed choice. Regardless of who garners the distinction, offensive responsibilities will likely circle back to the tandem of coordinator Pete Carmichael and quarterback Drew Brees.

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Manning thanks Colts writers

When you spend thirteen years of your life in one place, it's natural to become attached to it in some way, shape, or form. In the case of former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, there remains an admiration for one perceivably minor aspect of his old home: the Colts team writers.

Phillip B

When you spend thirteen years of your life in one place, it’s natural to become attached to it in some way, shape, or form. In the case of former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, there remains an admiration for one perceivably minor aspect of his old home: the Colts team writers.

Phillip B Wilson of The Indianapolis Star said via Twitter, “Stunned today to receive cell call from Peyton Manning. Former Colts QB is calling writers to thank them for their work over the years.”

Wilson went on to note that this was the first time he had ever received a “good-bye call” from a departing player.

Somewhat of an unsurprisingly class move from a morally strong individual. It’s certainly safe to say Peyton Manning’s tenure in Indianapolis ended a little better than Brett Favre’s did in Green Bay.

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Demaryius Thomas not sad Tebow’s gone

If you thought the feelings regarding Tim Tebow's status as the savior of the Denver Broncos in the media's eye were exactly how it was in the team's locker room, it'd be difficult for anyone to truly argue otherwise. However, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas -- the other half of the 80-yard overtime touchdown pass

If you thought the feelings regarding Tim Tebow’s status as the savior of the Denver Broncos in the media’s eye were exactly how it was in the team’s locker room, it’d be difficult for anyone to truly argue otherwise. However, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas — the other half of the 80-yard overtime touchdown pass against the Steelers in the playoffs — indicated that the internal feelings on the team’s former quarterback may not have been what they were believed to be.

Demaryius ThomasICONIt’s safe to say Thomas didn’t shed any tears over the departure of Tim Tebow.

Appearing on 790 The Zone in Atlanta with The 2 Live Stews, Thomas opened up about his old quarterback and the organization’s decision to trade him.

“It’s a business decision. I ain’t going to say I was sad (about Tim leaving) because the only thing they remember is that pass. You gotta go back and look at the rest of the games. I wasn’t getting no balls. You had to make some of these plays where some players were open and he is not making the throws, but I don’t want to talk bad about Tim, but hey I am happy we got Peyton.”

Regarding the attitude in the locker room, Thomas noted there were some mixed reviews.

“There wasn’t much talk about him, but you know everything on ESPN was all about Tim. That bothered some players too because they would say “Tim Tebow Time.’ I felt like it was a team thing. If it wasn’t for the defense most of the time there wouldn’t be no supposed ‘Tim Tebow Time.'”

Finally, Thomas shared his thoughts of the Tim Tebow trade as it relates to the New York Jets.

“I ain’t going to say it was a good move, but I really don’t know. I feel like Tim can get better, but it is going to take some time because he’s got to read the defenses and throwing patterns.”

While Thomas wasn’t completely slamming the unconventional passer, he certainly wasn’t raining compliments on him either. If Thomas’ comments are any type of extension of the internal feelings of the Denver Bronco players, the team may not be as distraught about the former Heisman Trophy winner’s departure as some believe.

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Vikings ink Chris Carr

In 2011, the Minnesota Vikings allowed a total of 4,019 yards through the air, which ranked them as the league's 26th best pass defense. Quite obviously, improvement is necessary on the back end in Minnesota moving forward. The team cut ties with cornerback Cedric Griffin at the start of the offseason and has since

In 2011, the Minnesota Vikings allowed a total of 4,019 yards through the air, which ranked them as the league’s 26th best pass defense. Quite obviously, improvement is necessary on the back end in Minnesota moving forward. The team cut ties with cornerback Cedric Griffin at the start of the offseason and has since added former Chicago Bear Zack Bowman.

Wednesday, the team reached an agreement with its second cornerback this offseason.

According to NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora, the Minnesota Vikings have agreed to terms with former Baltimore Raven Chris Carr on a one-year contract.

Primarily a slot-cornerback with special teams capabilities, Carr won’t set the world ablaze in Minnesota, but should provide quality depth in the team’s secondary.

At this point, one must wonder just how realistic it is for the Vikings to select LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne with the third overall pick on draft day. Despite earlier rumblings the team was considering the former LSU Tiger, they now have a sizable group at the position, with seven cornerbacks currently on the roster.

In three seasons with the Ravens, Carr — a former undrafted free agent from Boise State — totaled 116 tackles, 2.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, and four interceptions.

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Former Cardinals lineman worked out for the Niners

Deuce Lutui took hold of the starting right guard job for the Arizona Cardinals in his rookie year of 2006, but lost the gig in 2011 after reporting to training camp overweight. With very little momentum heading into free agency this offseason, Lutui has seen virtually no interest on the open market.

However,

Deuce Lutui took hold of the starting right guard job for the Arizona Cardinals in his rookie year of 2006, but lost the gig in 2011 after reporting to training camp overweight. With very little momentum heading into free agency this offseason, Lutui has seen virtually no interest on the open market.

However, according to TheSidelineView.com’s Adam Caplan, the San Francisco 49ers recently worked out the former Arizona Cardinal.

Lutui, who will be 29-years-old in May, must get his conditioning in order prior to once again becoming a full-time starter, but he is a good interior lineman when on his game.

The former second-round draft choice from USC has started 72 games and appeared in 93 over the course of his six-year career.

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Falcons re-sign McClure

The Atlanta Falcons allowed veteran center Todd McClure to test the free agent waters this offseason, but he saw minimal interest on the market.

Tuesday, the team announced the 13-year veteran had agreed to terms on a deal with the only organization he has ever played for.

The St. Louis Rams had

The Atlanta Falcons allowed veteran center Todd McClure to test the free agent waters this offseason, but he saw minimal interest on the market.

Tuesday, the team announced the 13-year veteran had agreed to terms on a deal with the only organization he has ever played for.

The St. Louis Rams had contract talks with McClure early in free agency, but no agreement was reached. The organization instead signed former Green Bay Packers center Scott Wells to a four-year contract.

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff still expressed excitement over the re-signing, referring to the former seventh-round draft choice as “the consummate leader.”

McClure started every game from 2002-2010 (144 games) and has a career total of 179 starts.

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Why Matt Flynn chose Seattle

Despite quarterbacking the LSU Tigers to a national title in 2008, Matt Flynn wasn't regarded highly as a prospect entering the NFL draft. Evaluated as a passer with good short-range accuracy but little athleticism and lacking overall arm strength, Flynn fell into the lap of the Green Bay Packers organization, who selected him in

Despite quarterbacking the LSU Tigers to a national title in 2008, Matt Flynn wasn’t regarded highly as a prospect entering the NFL draft. Evaluated as a passer with good short-range accuracy but little athleticism and lacking overall arm strength, Flynn fell into the lap of the Green Bay Packers organization, who selected him in the seventh round — 209th overall — of the 2008 draft.

Matt FlynnFlynn opted against joining Philbin in Miami and instead picked the Seahawks.

Fast forward to March of 2012 and Flynn was the second most coveted free agent quarterback option behind only Peyton Manning, a future first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Although conventional wisdom had Flynn perhaps joining his old offensive coordinator Joe Philbin in Miami, things did not shake out as such. He instead opted to sign a three-year contract with the Seattle Seahawks, worth $26 million, including $10 million guaranteed. Notably, Flynn also had ties to Seattle’s general manager John Schneider — who held the position of Green Bay’s director of football operations at the time of Flynn’s selection in 2008.

While speaking on 710 ESPN Seattle, Flynn addressed the situation and explained why he bypassed the Miami sunshine in order to join Pete Carroll and the Seahawks.

“I just felt like it was a better situation for me,” said the 26-year old. “I felt it’s a program that’s really on the rise, doing the right thing, is being led by the right type of people.”

Regarding former coach Joe Philbin, Flynn was very complimentary.

“I am close with Joe,” he said. “I think a lot of him. I think he’s gonna do a great job in Miami.”

Although it may subtly beg the question as to whether there may be a need for change down in Miami, it also speaks to the growing expectations coming out of Seattle. Former Southern California head coach Pete Carroll has indeed changed the culture of the organization for the better, and they hope to move forward with another young piece to build around for the future.

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A Tim Tebow trade is looming

Tim Tebow has quickly become one of the most openly discussed players in the sporting world today, and despite Peyton Manning -- one of the most sought-after free agents of all time -- choosing his new team on Monday, most are still talking about the former Florida Gator.

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Tim Tebow has quickly become one of the most openly discussed players in the sporting world today, and despite Peyton Manning — one of the most sought-after free agents of all time — choosing his new team on Monday, most are still talking about the former Florida Gator.

Tim TebowWill Tim Tebow be a starting quarterback in the NFL next season?

The 2007 Heisman Trophy award winner took the league by storm in 2011 and–with the help of a strong defense–Tebow rejuvenated the Denver Broncos, leading the team multiple comeback victories and finishing the season with a 7-4 record as the starter en route to spot in the postseason. The buzz only continued following a dramatic overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC wildcard round.

From then on, the story has been anything but ‘happily ever after’ for Tebow. The season ended abruptly a week after the emotional victory over Pittsburgh, as the New England Patriots defeated Denver in crushing 45-10 fashion. Fast forward a couple months, a few phones calls and a plane ride to Raleigh, North Carolina, and the organization found itself a new passer. Theoretically, a new quarterback more in the mold of what Broncos’ executive John Elway had envisioned his quarterback to be when joining the Denver brass.

Immediately after Peyton Manning chose to sign with the Denver Broncos, reports followed that newly incumbent quarterback Tim Tebow was headed for the trade block.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, a trade “will happen,” and listed the Jacksonville Jaguars, Green Bay Packers, and Miami Dolphins as teams who could make a move for the unconventional passer, while noting the long-shot New York Jets have also discussed the possibility. NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora included the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots as teams he will keep an eye on in the process.

Regarding the price tag, La Canfora suggested that the former first-round draft choice may not fetch Denver anything higher than a fifth-round selection.

While there is no real indication which destination seems most likely for Tebow, it is sure to be followed by optimism on his part, combined with questions and controversy on the part of the organization’s fan base.

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CJ2K’s 2012 salary become guaranteed

If there was any legitimate doubt over the future of running back Chris Johnson with the Tennessee Titans, it has now been put to rest -- at least for the 2012 season.

Chris JohnsonThe Titans are hoping Chris Johnson can get back to his 2010 ways.

If there was any legitimate doubt over the future of running back Chris Johnson with the Tennessee Titans, it has now been put to rest — at least for the 2012 season.

Chris JohnsonThe Titans are hoping Chris Johnson can get back to his 2010 ways.

According to Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean, the former 2,000 yard rusher’s $8 million salary for this upcoming season has become fully guaranteed.

The questions surrounding the former first-round draft pick from East Carolina are the cause of a tremendously disappointing 2011 season in which Johnson rushed for a mere 1,047 yards, four touchdowns, and a career low 4.0 yards per carry. There has been some speculation as to whether or not the Titans organization would relieve itself from future payment of the heavy $53.5 million extension Johnson agreed to last September, but it appears those rumblings have been quashed following Tuesday’s decision.

Wyatt also writes that Johnson’s $9 million salary for the 2013 season becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the league year next offseason.

Clearly, the organization is hoping to see All-Pro Chris Johnson again and avoid having this issue resurface a year from now.

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Falcons lock up Biermann

Wednesday the Atlanta Falcons announced they had reached an agreement with free agent defensive end Kroy Biermann.

Although the team did not disclose terms, NFL Network's Jason La Canfora reported the contract was a three-year deal worth roughly $9 million, including nearly $3 million more available through incentives.

The organization faces a

Wednesday the Atlanta Falcons announced they had reached an agreement with free agent defensive end Kroy Biermann.

Although the team did not disclose terms, NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora reported the contract was a three-year deal worth roughly $9 million, including nearly $3 million more available through incentives.

The organization faces a tricky situation with fellow defensive end John Abraham, who’s set to hit the free agent market on March 13th. Abraham has gone on record saying he is seeking annual money in the $12 million range, which appears highly unlikely to be the case for the soon-to-be 34-year old pass rusher. With that in mind, re-signing Biermann for the purpose of depth was a wise decision.

The former fifth-round draft pick out of Montana accumulated 36 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and an interception return for touchdown in 2011.

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Buccaneers tender four

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers extended multiple tenders to upcoming free agents on Wednesday, according to Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com.

LeGarrette BlountRunning back LeGarrette Blount was designated as an exclusive-rights free agent on Wednesday.

The most high-profile player of the bunch is defensive end Michael Bennett, given

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers extended multiple tenders to upcoming free agents on Wednesday, according to Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com.

LeGarrette BlountRunning back LeGarrette Blount was designated as an exclusive-rights free agent on Wednesday.

The most high-profile player of the bunch is defensive end Michael Bennett, given a first round tender — valued at $2.742 million — a clear statement of the team’s interest in retaining the former Texas A&M Aggie. Bennett is a versatile pass rusher who, for the most part, did a nice job staving off talented rookie Da’Quan Bowers at the left defensive end spot. The older brother of Dallas Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett managed 40 tackles, four sacks, and one forced fumble this past season.

Running back LeGarrette Blount and wide receiver Preston Parker, a pair of exclusive-rights free agents, were slapped with tenders valued at $540,000. Blount, one of the league’s breakout rookie performers in 2010, regressed in 2011 as his yards per carry dipped by 0.8 and he failed to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark despite appearing in more games.

Finally, the Buccaneers placed the right-of-first-refusal tender on 6-9, 315-pound offensive tackle DeMar Dotson, a player that is well-liked within the organizational ranks. Tampa would not receive draft pick compensation if Dotson is signed by another team. According to Yasinskas, the tender is expected to be valued at $1.26 million.

With free agency beginning on Tuesday, March 13th, teams are making final adjustments leading up to what is sure to be a pleasantly chaotic and eventful 2012 offseason.

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Will Henne generate interest on the open market?

While the Chad Henne era is by all accounts over in Miami, that isn't going to prevent certain teams from kicking the tires on the former University of Michigan signal-caller.

According to Alex Marvez of FOXSports.com, the 26-year-old has emerged as the hottest potential free agent commodity at the quarterback position not named

While the Chad Henne era is by all accounts over in Miami, that isn’t going to prevent certain teams from kicking the tires on the former University of Michigan signal-caller.

According to Alex Marvez of FOXSports.com, the 26-year-old has emerged as the hottest potential free agent commodity at the quarterback position not named Matt Flynn or Peyton Manning.

Chad HenneWith a lackluster stint in Miami behind him, Henne will look to his next opportunity.

“Henne is drawing the strongest consideration from teams seeking a “1A” option,” writes Marvez. “The guy who can push a suspect starter for the job but not command starter’s money.”

Although the former second-round draft pick is not expected to come at a bargain price, he is perceived to be a better option than journeymen pivots such as Vince Young, David Garrard and Kyle Orton, among others. Marvez also notes that Henne is expected to sign a contract averaging between $4-5 million annually.

Teams mentioned as possibilities to pursue the fifth-year veteran on the open market include the Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets — who are believed to have legitimate interest in re-uniting Henne with new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano.

While it’s highly unlikely that Henne goes on to set the world ablaze in another city, he can still offer quite a bit to an organization not seeking a completely new face to the quarterback position, like Miami. In today’s shrewd business-first league, a legitimate second opportunity to start is not easy to come by. In Henne’s case, he will get that second opportunity — and be paid good money for it.

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