Antonio Longino was supposed to participate in a minicamp tryout with the Cincinnati Bengals, but he found himself in serious legal trouble in connection with a homicide investigation before he ever hit the field.
Longino, who played linebacker at Arizona State, was arrested on Wednesday in Cleveland Heights and charged with tampering with evidence in a homicide investigation according to WEWS, the ABC affiliate in Cleveland.
According to the WEWS story, a vehicle with two bullet holes was towed from Longino's aunt's house. Also, a search warrant was served and "several bags of evidence" were taken from the home.
There was a homicide at the Sunny Spot Lounge in Cleveland Heights on Tuesday morning, WEWS said, and Longino's tampering arrest is in connection with that case.
Longino posted a $100,000 bond and was released Thursday morning, WEWS reported.
Undrafted players are often brought into rookie minicamps on a tryout basis. On May 1, on a Twitter account that appears to belong to Longino, he expressed his gratitude over getting a chance from the Bengals.
Its crazy bc this was never given 2 me Cincinnati thnk you 4 givn me ths opportunity and when I say itspersonal thts a under statement— Antonio Longino (@Tony_3x) May 2, 2016
WEWS said 28-year-old Stephen Johnson turned himself into Cleveland Heights Police on Wednesday and was charged with aggravated murder.
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Johnny Manziel has appeared in court for the first time on a domestic violence charge stemming from a January incident involving his ex-girlfriend Colleen Crowley. Manziel was booked and released on $1,500 bond on Wednesday, and on Thursday appeared in Dallas County Criminal Court.
The hearing was a brief one, with Judge Roberto Cañas ordering Manziel to have no contact with Crowley, and barring him from the possession of firearms.
Manziel's arrival in court was the definition of a circus:
Afterward, several observers reported that Manziel flipped the bird at cameras.
Johnny Manziel just flipped off the camera in the courtroom w/a middle bird tucked into folded hand behind back. Kid you not.— Fitzy (@FitzyGFY) May 5, 2016
Shortly after Wednesday's mug shot, Manziel tweeted then deleted a reference: "Just thankful I had a shirt this time." He had been arrested as a 19-year-old freshman at Texas A&M on charges of disorderly conduct and possession of a fake ID; the shirtless mug shot he took at that time went viral.
Manziel faces up to a year in prison and a $4,000 fine for the current misdemeanor family violence incident, in which he is accused of hitting and dragging Crowley into a car against her will. Manziel has agreed to a two-year protection order barring him from being within 500 feet of Crowley.
Manziel has been released by the Cleveland Browns and dropped by his agents and sponsors. He appears to have no current NFL prospects for the 2016 season.
Washington and tight end Jordan Reed finalized a multi-year contract extension for the 2013 third-round pick, the team announced on Thursday morning.
Via ProFootballTalk, it's a five-year deal worth just under $50 million, with $22 million guaranteed.
Reed had a breakout season in 2015, with a team-high 87 catches for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns, and was a huge part of the game plan when Washington played Green Bay in the postseason, with a game-high nine catches and 120 yards, with another score.
If those are the type of numbers Washington will get from Reed for the duration of his new contract, then it's certainly a great decision. But given his injury history, it's definitely a risk/reward proposition for the defending NFC East champions.
While at the University of Florida, Reed dealt with injuries to his right knee, hamstring and ankle, and was diagnosed with at least one concussion. In three seasons with Washington, Reed has played nine, 11 and 14 games, and in one game last year, when Washington faced the Eagles in Week 4, he suffered an MCL sprain, ankle injury and concussion.
Reed has been diagnosed with at least four concussions since college.
While Reed's past is shaky from a health standpoint, so was Rob Gronkowski's when the New England Patriots signed him to a six-year extension in 2012: there was the back issue that caused him to fall in the draft, and then a severly sprained ankle in the 2011 postseason. While endured a terrible stretch from 2011-2013, Gronkowski has been at full strength each of the last two seasons and a first-team All-Pro, and the Patriots' deal with him ($9 million per year) now looks like a bargain.
Tom Brady was about 13 when Vanilla Ice hit No. 1 with "Ice Ice Baby," so it makes sense that the New England Patriots quarterback would be hanging out on stage with the rapper and reality television star.
At an Under Armour event, Vanilla Ice took this selfie and posted it to Twitter. What do they say about a picture saying a thousand words?
Vanilla Ice also was feeling the love from Lindsay Vonn and Jordan Spieth.
Hey, everyone seemed to have a fun time. And if Brady, who has sponsored Under Armour for years, is feeling sad about his four-game suspension being reinstated, he didn't show it in that photo.
No word on whether Drew Brees will be taking any selfies with MC Hammer or Aaron Rodgers will be hanging out with De La Soul anytime soon.
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Former NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel has posted bond in Dallas County, Tex., on domestic violence charges, according to KXAS-TV. He is expected to appear in court on Thursday to answer charges of misdemeanor assault, and his attorney indicates that he will plead not guilty.
Manziel was booked and released on $1,500 bond. The charges stem from an incident in January during which he allegedly assaulted his then-girlfriend Colleen Crowley. A Dallas County grand jury indicted Manziel last month.
Crowley contends that a Jan. 29 argument between her and Manziel turned physical, and alleges that he hit her when she tried to get out of his car. Manziel was prohibited from being within 500 feet of Crowley for two years, and has been ordered to pay $12,000 in legal costs. If convicted, he faces a maximum of a year in prison and a $4,000 fine.
Manziel, only two years ago one of the most notable names in the NFL, has managed to party and drink himself out of the NFL after two less-than-spectacular seasons with the Cleveland Browns. Sponsors and agents alike have dropped him, and he faces an uphill road if he wants to play professional football again.
The kids at North Ridgeville High School in Ohio got new helmets presented to them by Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Cam Erving, a first-round pick last year, and that's a pretty full day on its own.
It got better.
When one of the players was asked to take the helmet off the "mannequin" onstage and show it around ... well, see for yourself:
Not every day a Heisman Trophy winner helps pull off a prank at your school.
Robert Griffin III startled the unsuspecting player, and the rest of the group seemed thrilled to see the Cleveland Browns new quarterback. And they also got a $25,000 donation for new helmets.
That's a pretty good story they'll be telling for a while.
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The NFC champion Carolina Panthers are the toast of Charlotte. NASCAR is based in Charlotte. So it stands to reason that the two Queen City entities would cross paths every now and then. On Wednesday, Panthers kicker Graham Gano and driver Austin Dillon met at Charlotte Motor Speedway to give each other an idea of how to do a very different job.
First, Dillon tried to kick a field goal ... and did pretty well, all things considered:
Now throw in a full rush and a crowd full of screaming fans and see how well he does. (For non-NASCAR fans: Dillon is the guy who took over driving the legendary #3 of Dale Earnhardt, so Dillon knows a thing or two about pressure.) Gano offered up a bit of his own expertise:
After that, Dillon took Gano for a spin around the track:
And a good time was had by all. Dillon will next see action this Saturday night at the Sprint Cup race in Kansas, while Gano will have to wait until September 8 against Denver to get in some work that counts.
The NFL draft class of 1998, much like the class of 2016, featured two marquee-level quarterbacks at the top of the pyramid. Both were projected as can't-miss, with bright futures ahead. And, if you average their careers out, that's exactly what happened: one became the greatest quarterback of all time, and one was out of the league within four years.
The first, of course, was Peyton Manning, who just capped one of the finest careers in sports history. The second was Ryan Leaf, who has been in and out of prison and is now attempting to atone for the damage he did to himself by seeking to help others.
Leaf appeared on The Dan Patrick Show on Wednesday to provide a remarkable look at the way that addiction, the NFL, and celebrity combined for a wicked, devastating blast that leveled him and destroyed his life. "The power, the prestige, and the money," Leaf said, naming his demons. He even conceded that prison helped him get his life in order and put those demons aside once and for all.
Right off the bat, Patrick and Leaf began discussing Johnny Manziel and the way that the former Cleveland Browns quarterback has "behaviorally it seems like you could be holding up a mirror to me," Leaf said. He noted that he has reached out to Manziel and his family: "When I tell my story my hope is that people don't have to hit the bottom I went to." Leaf suggested that Manziel's entire career is at risk now, and if he does not ask for help at this point, his career could well be over.
Leaf dug deep into his life, telling the stories of hiding his near-bankruptcy while attempting to coach, considering a suicide attempt, and even breaking into a home to steal drugs. He landed in prison, and that was where he believed he finally got his life together. He's now seeking to help others suffering from addiction.
On lighter topics, Leaf also had words of advice for Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, who entered the league together much like he and Peyton Manning did nearly two decades before. "On the field it's going to be very fast, faster than you remember," Leaf said. "Be open to failing and look at it as an opportunity. If they're open to struggling and seeing that as an opportunity to get better, that will serve them so well."
He admitted that he didn't follow his own advice, instead throwing fits and complaining about playing time. And he refused to ask for help, he said, because that wasn't how a quarterback is supposed to act: "When people say, "Why didn't ask for help?", you never see a movie with the star quarterback saying, 'Everybody, i need help.' You have to persuade people that the confidence is there irregardless of whether it is or not. And you get found out pretty quick."
Patrick was careful to point out that many people have questioned just how sincere Leaf is, and Leaf himself acknowledged the validity of the question. It was a powerful end to a strong interview, one well worth seeing to understand the temptations and trials of fame in the NFL.
There are many ways to judge an NFL offseason, including the grades we all love. But what about checking in with the oddsmakers in Las Vegas? They get paid to figure this stuff out, after all.
The sportsbook at the Westgate in Las Vegas is one of the most best known in that city, and it put out Super Bowl odds on Jan. 10. That's way too early, but why not? It constantly updates those odds, and Covers.com tweeted out the changes in the odds from Jan. 10 to May 1, when the draft came to a close.
Here's a disclaimer: Changes in odds aren't necessarily reflective of what an oddsmaker thinks of a team's offseason. The Broncos went from 20-to-1 to 16-to-1, and it would be hard to find anyone who thinks they're better now than they were on Jan. 10. But plenty of bettors probably saw that 20-to-1, figured it was good value, and the Westgate presumably changed the odds because plenty of people were betting on Denver. So a change for good or bad isn't necessarily a reflection of a team's offseason. It's not a scientific approach to rank offseasons based on odds moves.
But it's also not a terrible snapshot for some teams, and a fun way to measure. So here are the teams who have seen their Super Bowl odds decreased by at least 25 percent at the Westgate since early January. The first three seem to have changed for reasons other than their acquisitions, but there's probably something to be said about what the final three teams have done since the beginning of March:
PROBABLY RANDOM LINE MOVES
Jan. 10: 200-to-1 odds to win Super Bowl
May 1: 150-to-1
Who is betting on the Browns to win it all? If you are, you missed your chance to get that 200-to-1.
Are the Browns that much better off today? They added Robert Griffin III (are we sure he's better than Josh McCown, who he'll replace?), safety Rahim Moore and linebacker Demario Davis. They had a huge draft class that included some much-needed help at receiver. But nothing to get too excited about.
They did hire Hue Jackson as coach, and he did very fine work as the Cincinnati Bengals' offensive coordinator the past two years. Maybe that's the reason for the odds shift. Maybe the books just figured out 200-to-1 was too high — don't need to take that Leicester City body blow. But let's chalk this up to bad odds to start with, not a great offseason.
New England Patriots
Jan. 10: 8-to-1
May 1: 6-to-1
Very interesting, considering that between Jan. 10 and now, quarterback Tom Brady had his four-game suspension reinstated. Also, New England had no first-round draft pick and traded defensive end Chandler Jones.
However, the Patriots were close last season and other than Jones, they didn't lose much. Defensive end Akiem Hicks to the Bears might be the biggest loss, unless you're a big Brandon LaFell fan. They added their typical low-cost situational pieces like linebacker Shea McClellin, defensive end Chris Long, defensive tackle Terrance Knighton and receiver Nate Washington. They also signed tight end Clay Harbor and traded for tight end Martellus Bennett. They also traded for guard Jonathan Cooper, a former top-10 pick.
The odds probably dipped because Patriots fans love their team and 8-to-1 looked enticing. If you believe Brady will come back angry and the Patriots made some good moves this offseason (though it's hard to just dismiss the loss of Jones), then the shift makes some sense. But it's hard to think they had a top-five offseason.
Jan. 10: 12-to-1
May 1: 9-to-1
Think of where the Panthers were on Jan. 10. There were still some folks who weren't sure they were for real, despite a 15-1 record. Two big playoff wins might have changed the perception, which isn't totally erased by a Super Bowl loss.
It is also fair to point out that the Panthers lost an All-Pro player, cornerback Josh Norman, and got nothing in return when they yanked his franchise tag. They haven't added an amazing free agent. Their draft was solid, including three cornerbacks to try to replace Norman (no, I still don't know why they didn't just keep Norman around for a year on the tag), but not spectacular.
It's hard to say it has been a great offseason, but the Super Bowl odds have dipped. Kelvin Benjamin should be back and the Panthers should be very good again and let's face it: 12-to-1 in January was a bad line.
THE OFFSEASON MOVERS AND SHAKERS
Jan. 10: 40-to-1
May 1: 30-to-1
Now we're cooking. This is a much different team than we saw lose to the Kansas City Chiefs in the wild-card game. While everyone is excited about the Jacksonville Jaguars' offseason, Houston's offseason hasn't gotten enough attention. Jacksonville's Super Bowl odds have stayed steady at 50-to-1, by the way.
Coach Bill O'Brien had fielded a competitive team the past two years without a quarterback and not a ton of great skill-position talent aside from Arian Foster (when healthy) and DeAndre Hopkins. That will be changing.
Brock Osweiler was given $18 million a year to be the new quarterback. Running back Lamar Miller was signed. First-round pick Will Fuller should be a deep threat right away and third-round pick Braxton Miller can be an interesting matchup problem at slot receiver. Even the offensive line got a bump with guard Jeff Allen being signed.
The Texans invested heavily to upgrade the offense in the offseason. The defense, with J.J. Watt, should be solid again. Houston has improved a lot without a ton of fanfare, but apparently Vegas noticed.
Jan. 10: 40-to-1
May 1: 30-to-1
You could have done worse than blindly taking the Ravens at 40-to-1 in January. They're a good organization and won't be down long.
The offseason hasn't been bad. Safety Eric Weddle fills a huge need. Receiver Mike Wallace should match well with Joe Flacco's big arm (and all news on Flacco's recovery from an ACL injury has been good). Ben Watson was a nice add at tight end. Losing offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele was a blow, but overall the Ravens did well. Then the draft, headlined by tackle Ronnie Stanley, seems like it will include some rookie contributors.
If you believe the Ravens' terrible 2015 was an outlier, and the offseason was pretty strong, it makes sense why people are buying into a Baltimore turnaround.
Jan. 10: 50-to-1
May 1: 30-to-1
The biggest change, percentage wise, in any team's Super Bowl odds since early January was to Oakland. It's an exciting time to be a Raiders fan.
There's a good young core led by quarterback Derek Carr and linebacker Khalil Mack. Then came free agency: offensive lineman Osemele, cornerback Sean Smith, outside linebacker Bruce Irvin, safety Reggie Nelson. That's a pretty good haul. The draft should produce some instant contributors, especially safety and first-round pick Karl Joseph.
If you're looking for a breakout team, and you don't want to join everyone else on the Jaguars' bandwagon, Oakland is a nice pick. Vegas' Super Bowl odds agree.
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Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman was just getting in a nice little evening jog Monday when he saw a woman struggling in her front yard.
Eleanor Szendel, 82, was having trouble unloading her lawnmower, and Freeman decided to veer his workout a little bit. Pretty soon he was offering to step in and mow Szendel's grass for her as she was struggling to empty the grass clippings from the mower, because it was getting dark as afternoon quickly was turning to night.
According to the Tallahassee Democrat, Freeman's offer was respectfully rebuffed — she was pretty much finished — but he instantly endeared himself to Szendel and her daughter-in-law, Denise Szendel, who was planting rose bushes for Mother’s Day nearby.
Although the famous Falcons and former Florida State footballer didn't initially identify himself, Szendel knew exactly who he was.
“My mom recognized him because she’s had all four of her kids, a daughter-in-law and son-in-law go to FSU over the last 12 years, and so she was like ‘You’re Devonta Freeman,’” said her son, Bryan Szendel.
He was indeed, and Bryan posted the proof on Instagram to point out Freeman's good deed, which has caught the eye of Falcons and Seminoles fans the past few days.
“She was just really touched that he stopped and helped her out like that,” Denise said.
Freeman is known as one of the more charitable young players in the NFL, so this comes as little surprise. This is the same player who found out about his first Pro Bowl selection while delivering Christmas gifts this past years to families in need.
For the Szendel family, it was a chance meeting and just a simple offering, but also a perfect representation of one of their city's best ambassadors and one of their alma mater's finest gentlemen.
“I just really like meeting a young man who was so respectful. I just really liked the way he represented my kid’s school,” Denise said.
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All is good for Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff, who was the No. 1 overall pick in last week's draft and now has become one of the faces of a franchise that's re-embarking on its old city.
Fans are excited about the Rams, and they appear to be excited about Goff possibly taking over as the franchise quarterback in short order, too. But perhaps no one is more excited than the Goff family, namely father Jerry Goff.
Dad was a former major-league backup catcher with three teams in the early-to-mid 1990s and then raised his baseball- and football-playing son, who went on to star on the gridiron at Cal, the same school Jerry did in the 1980s.
And as great as Jared's NFL ascension has been, there was a bit of a fear for a long time that his future team could be the Cleveland Browns.
"There was a time ... we had a really good feeling he was going to end up in Cleveland, which isn't — nothing against Cleveland, it's fine," Jerry Goff, now a firefighter in the Bay Area, told Mitch Melnick and Rod Francis of TSN 690 in Montreal. "That would have been great; just to get drafted and go anywhere is fine."
Please, Jerry, corral your enthusiasm! But all that, of course, changed when the Tennessee Titans traded the first overall pick to the Rams, who squared in on Goff as their guy. It sounds like the Goff family breathed a sigh of relief — yes, because of the distance to their home in northern California. But perhaps also because ... well, the Browns. Jerry Goff wouldn't go so far as to say the latter.
"But when you compare the two, just logistically, [me] being an hour and 45 minutes plane flight away from L.A., and living in the same state you grew up in and so on and so forth is lucky. Timing is everything," Jerry Goff said.
Jerry added that multiple teams were doing extensive background work on Jared throughout the process, saying that even casual acquaintances of the family received calls from NFL scouts looking to dive into his character, even back to Jared's high school days and checking things on his social media accounts. But clearly, the Rams felt comfortable with everything they saw. We don't know exactly how the Browns felt about Jared, but it sounds like they were pretty enamored, too.
Jared clearly inherited some of Dad's athletic genes, but Jerry seemed to suggest that his son is clearly the superior athlete of the two of them. In a 90-game career, he batted .215 with seven home runs and 19 RBIs with the Montreal Expos, Pittsburgh Pirates and Houston Astros from 1990 to 1996.
But Jerry Goff's final major-league game on May 12, 1996 — almost 20 years ago to the day — has to be one of the strangest ever. Goff had two hits, including a home run, against his former Expos team for which the played the majority of his career. But Goff also achieved (if that's even the right word) in that game a stunning statistic — six passed balls allowed in eight innings.
It tied a post-1900 major-league record (with Harry Vickers in 1902 and Geno Petralli in 1987) that never has been met since. Goff also never played in the bigs again, sent back to AAA Tucson soon afterward and out of professional baseball the following year.
He clearly hopes that Jared's career is longer and more prosperous than his own, and the opportunity with the Rams appears to be tremendous. Especially now that the Browns suffered their own passed ball, if you will, watching another team trade in front of them to take a quarterback they apparently really liked. The Goff seem quite happy with how it all unfolded in the end.
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It's a good week to be a left tackle.
On the heels of Tuesday's news that the Buffalo Bills made Cordy Glenn the highest-paid left tackle in the NFL comes news Wednesday morning that the New Orleans Saints made their own young left tackle, Terron Armstead, the third-highest paid.
Armstead doesn't have the name recognition of others at the position, like Glenn or Cleveland's Joe Thomas, and he doesn't yet have a Pro Bowl or All-Pro honor on his resume. But the 2013 third-round pick out of Arkansas-Pine Bluff has quietly been playing at a very high level for New Orleans.
And the Saints have rewarded him with a reported five-year, $64.5 million deal that includes $38 million guaranteed for injury and $25 million fully guaranteed.
According to the New Orleans Advocate, Armstead did not give up a sack all season in 2015, allowing 23 pressures on more than 500 pass-blocking snaps (he played 929 snaps overall) over 13 games.
And he played at that level while playing in pain: Armstead injured his left knee against the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth game of the season, underwent arthroscopic surgery after the game, and missed the next two contests. But even when he returned he was not 100 percent.
Even for professional athletes, one of the benefits to being on vacation is to be able to indulge. Dinner lasts a little longer and may include one or two extra courses, the dessert menu is a requirement, an extra drink or two are consumed at the resort bar.
But for Houston Texans left tackle Duane Brown, an indulgent getaway almost led to a lost season.
On Tuesday, ESPN.com reported that the 30-year old veteran was facing a 10-game suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs but won his appeal when the NFL Players' Association was able to prove that Brown's positive test came from Mexican beef.
The cliche has long been not to drink the water in Mexico, but now you can't eat the beef either? Apparently not if you don't want to test positive for the anabolic substance clenbuterol.
Brown traveled to Mexico last year during the bye week, and not long after received a letter from the NFL telling him he was in violation of the PED policy. Because of a 2010 PED suspension, Brown is tested numerous times during the season, and he failed one administered shortly after he and his wife returned from holiday.
According to ESPN sources, NFLPA associate general counsel Heather McPhee researched clenbuterol and discovered certain meats can be tainted with the steroid. A source said Brown had 10 burgers and two steaks during his trip, and receipts for those meals were entered as evidence in his appeal hearing.
After Brown's months-long ordeal (he was cleared in April, more than five months after his positive test), the NFLPA sent a letter to players warning them of the dangers of contaminated meat.
Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson posted the letter on his Twitter feed with the comment, "This can't be real life! #SMH #GottaGoVeganOnVacation".
Clenbuterol's legal use is to help those suffering with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), though it is not approved for medical use in the United States. It is often used as a fat loss drug, particularly in bodybuilding. It is banned by the NFL and many other sporting bodies.
“Dancing with the Stars” welcomed many an NFL player over its first 21 seasons, but Season 22, which premiered on Monday, March 21, features three: newly-minted Super Bowl MVP Von Miller from the Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro Antonio Brown and former Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie, a Canadian Football League legend who also spent 13 years in the NFL. We’ll be posting recaps each Tuesday morning until all three are eliminated – or one wins.
Music icons week, with songs from some of the biggest acts in history, saw another NFL player sent home, though not the one we expected to see.
Antonio Brown and his pro partner Sharna Burgess trained to dance a tango to the Rolling Stones’ “Paint it Black.”
Burgess tells us that the pair stayed in Los Angeles for the week, not traveling to Pittsburgh as they’d done previously, and it was a plus that they did since they had two dances to learn (in addition to their couple’s dance, the two were part of a group number).
The Stones’ song they’ve been given “is a real dark song; so far in the show, I’ve been the guy with the smile. I think this will be a different side,” Brown says. “Sharna is a great coach, she’s harping on those details and making sure she makes me look good so we can have a great dance.”
When they take the stage, dressed in black, of course, and begin their dance, Brown is trying to look intense, but his scowl is more like a pout. His huge smile has been a trademark, but he was trying to keep it from creeping out during a dramatic dance.
Turns out, his facial expression wasn’t Brown’s only issue: all of the judges noted that his steps were off.
“Tango is a balance between attack and purpose, and style and finesse,” Len Goodman said. “This had plenty of attitude (but) there were a few mistakes going on through it.”
Goodman was booed by the audience, as was Carrie Ann Inaba, who notes, “On the football field, speed is a weapon, and last week it served you so well [Brown did a jive from the movie “Footloose”], but this week it worked against you. It was your enemy in this dance.”
Hearing the crowd’s displeasure, Inaba tells them, “Hold on, this is important feedback for him because he’s got magic. He’s electrifying. But you have to get these moves down.”
Bruno Tonioli says it was “like a tango in the temple of doom,” but also tells Brown he has to get his footwork right.
Brown gets an 8 from each judge, and his total of 24 is tied for lowest of the night.
Von Miller gets a dance that’s more fun, Elvis’ “A little less conversation”, and he and partner Witney Carson work up a salsa to the tune.
The two traveled during the week, though they don’t say where. It wasn’t to Denver, as Miller is not attending offseason workouts in protest of his contract status.
Miller was in the bottom three last week, though former NFL and CFL star Doug Flutie was the celebrity eliminated. The current Super Bowl MVP says of being in jeopardy, “it’s really not a fun place to be.”
What was fun was their dance. Miller was wearing a bedazzled white pantsuit, had faux muttonchops, and began the dance with one of Elvis’ signature capes. Taking advantage of Miller’s strength and size, there were a lot of lifts and spins, with Carson going in every direction.
The high-energy performance looked to us like Miller’s best dance to this point.
Goodman said the dance was “like a pizza: a bit crusty on the base but tasty up top. And the lifts were spectacular.”
Tonioli quipped that Carson will need a chiropractor after being tossed and twisted – “I thought she was going to die!”
Inaba said, “It was a bit rough around the edges but what I love about you, Von, is this is a side of you I never thought I would have ever seen. I kind of feel so honored to see you having such a great time. You were playing along 100 percent, it’s campy, it’s fun, I love that you go there.”
But it wasn’t enough for Miller to see better scores, and he also gets three 8s, tied with Brown for lowest of the night.
After the group dances, which saw Miller and Brown join male stars Wanya Morris and Nyle DiMarco and the quartet’s female pros on “Team James Brown,” it was time for eliminations, and this week saw two stars sent home.
Miller, Morris and “Facts of Life” star Kim Fields were the bottom three, and Miller and Fields were sent home. Though Miller clearly was into the experience and appeared to be having fun, with only eight stars left when the night began, there aren’t any more terrible dancers left.
Upon getting the news he was out, Miller said, “It’s been so much fun. It’s all great dancers here, the competition is very, very tough. I had so much fun, me and Witney have special relationship. It’s been great.”
Cordy Glenn should thank the people in the Buffalo Bills organization who saw him as a left tackle, and not the guard some viewed him as coming out of the University of Georgia.
Glenn is not only making left tackle money, he's making more money than all the left tackles. He signed a five-year extension on Tuesday worth $65 million, including $36 million guaranteed and $30 million in the first two seasons according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. According to Spotrac, the $13.6 million annually makes Glenn the highest paid left tackle in football, based on average per year. Although Glenn hasn't made a Pro Bowl, he is considered one of the best tackles in the NFL. He has the paycheck to match now.
Glenn had already been given the franchise tag this offseason. The Bills didn't have a ton of cap room going into free agency, so tying up a large chunk of it to retain Glenn showed how the organization valued him. The Bills said all along that the ultimate goal was to sign him to a long-term deal. Glenn is an athletic and huge tackle (345 pounds), and he fits well with the Buffalo offense, which wants to run the ball.
Along the line, left tackle is still viewed as the most valuable position, and the contracts given to some top left tackles reflect that. Glenn cashed in, and probably reset the market for the position in the NFL.
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Junior Seau died almost four years ago to the day, but his spirit lives on in the NFL — as well as his name.
Ian Seau, Junior's nephew, signed with the Los Angeles Rams as an undrafted free agent on Tuesday, according to NFL.com. The 6-foot-3, 250-pound Nevada defensive end, who was named first- and second-team All-Mountain West the past two seasons, capped off his career with 10 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss.
He's nowhere close to the prospect his uncle was when he came out of USC in 1990, but Ian has risen up noticeably since transferring from Grossmont College. According to a scouting report from NFL.com, the younger Seau "plays with a motor his uncle would be proud of and has a history of making impactful plays" but might have a tough time making the Rams' deep defense as an undersized pass rusher.
Still, a football-playing Seau is doing work now in Southern California, and it's a great story worth following.
The younger Seau enters a league that is far more aware of the dangers of head trauma and CTE, which Junior Seau suffered from when he took his own life. Here's hoping he honors himself and his family as impressively and beautifully as Junior's daughter, Sydney, did recently by honoring her late father on the anniversary of his death.
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And that's not all.
Because the infamous video showed Tunsil taking a bong hit, it has drawn the attention of the NFL. There was a report that said Tunsil would start his career with a clean slate in the NFL's substance abuse program, but the league told USA Today on Tuesday that isn't necessarily the case. Tunsil will have to be evaluated by clinical professionals before any determination on his inclusion in the drug program is made, USA Today's Tom Pelissero reported.
Tunsil, who was considered a possibility for the first overall pick early in the offseason, slipped to No. 13. The Miami Dolphins selected him there. Tunsil met with the media after the draft at Dolphins headquarters and refused to talk about what happened to him on draft day.
Here's what NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email to USA Today:
“Any incoming player with behavior or conduct involving a substance of abuse will be evaluated by the program's advisors. Those clinical professionals – not the club, league or union – will determine whether based on that evaluation the player should be entered into the program. Neither the club nor the league has a role in that process, and are not notified of their decision.”
If Tunsil is put in Stage 1 of the substance abuse program after that evaluation, it won't mean a suspension. Players in Stage 1 of the program are given a treatment plan and subject to additional testing. A failed test or failure to comply in Stage 1 could lead to being moved to Stage 2, in which a positive test could result in a suspension.
Even if Tunsil is cleared after being evaluated by clinical professionals, it's yet another reminder that the entire crazy episode with Tunsil didn't just go away once he was picked.
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An ATV accident will knock Oakland Raiders tight end Clive Walford out of the team's offseason work, which he could have used as an up-and-coming second-year player.
Walford injured his knee in an accident, Fox Sports first reported. The team is hopeful Walford will be back for training camp, perhaps for the beginning of it, the story said.
According to Adam Caplan of ESPN, the injury happened "a while ago" and involved a "big gash" on one of his knees. It's still just speculation on what exactly the injury is, though it's severe enough that it's keeping him out of action for at least three months.
Although there are plenty of ways to get hurt and you can't always anticipate injury doing recreational things, it's curious why Walford would apparently be on an ATV during such an important offseason for him. As a third-round pick last year he showed a lot of promise and was in line to take a big step in playing time this year. The team even reportedly was considering trading tight end Mychal Rivera earlier this offseason. That never happened, and probably won't now because the Raiders can't be sure when and if Walford will be healthy again this season.
Instead of preparing to take on on a prominent role with a Raiders team that might be on the verge of a breakout, Walford is recuperating from an ATV accident. Doesn't really seem worth it.
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Peyton Manning suiting up for a team other than the Denver Broncos in 2016? It was closer than you might think to happening, according to Manning's agent.
"I really like to play," Manning told Tom Condon, as Condon related on The Business of Sports with Andrew Brandt (via PFT). Not only that, Condon said, there were teams who would have wanted Manning to play for them. (The teams leading the speculation at the time were the Texans and the Rams.)
So why isn't some team rolling out an entire Peyton Manning-themed campaign for this fall? Probably because of the obvious reasons: Manning was a shell of his former self by the end of 2015, and won the Super Bowl largely because he was a decent caretaker rather than a game-changing playmaker.
Look at it from the team's perspective. Would you be willing to risk tens of millions, and a starting job, for a quarterback who could be reduced to crumbs by the kinds of rushes and linebackers that dominate the NFL these days? Would you be willing to press pause on a team's forward movement, or pass up a quarterback for the future (see: the Rams and Jared Goff) for a one- or two-year Hail Mary on Manning? The sad truth is that Manning wasn't fit any longer for a full-time starting QB gig, and teams weren't willing to commit that job to him. Hence, Manning took the calmer, less lucrative, but more health-conscious route of retirement.
Manning announced on Tuesday that he would not be appearing as a commentator on any NFL broadcasts this fall, but other than that (and, well, playing), the road opens wide before Manning. Coaching, business, even just kicking back and watching as a fan ... it's all open to him. Nice position to be in.
"Legacy" is a game that the media and fans play, a game that really doesn't mean much of anything in the grand analysis of a player's arc. If Manning played for the Texans this year, the Browns next, and the Chargers the year after that, would that have any impact on his legacy? Only in the narrow-minded. Manning has secured his place in the game, the way Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods did in theirs, and no on-field missteps would have changed that. For the sake of his neck, and for the sake of ardent fanbases expecting he would vault them to a Super Bowl, though, it's probably better that he's staying in the bleachers.
Before the draft, we talked a lot about scheme fits for many of the prospects, and now we get to see how the draftees fit with their new teams.
In the latest episode of our podcast, “The Shutdown,” we discussed many of the players and how they fit in with their new teams. We talked about why Joey Bosa fits well in the San Diego Chargers’ 3-4 defense, how the Jacksonville Jaguars defense will change with all their offseason acquisitions including Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack, and the new-look Houston Texans’ offense. Here’s the podcast:
The most interesting discussions are how the highly drafted quarterbacks fit with their new teams. We talked about many quarterbacks in the podcast, and here’s some of the discussion on the three quarterbacks who were taken in the first round:
Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
I thought Carson Wentz was the best quarterback prospect in this draft, and I thought he was a better fit for the Rams’ run-first offense than Goff. We talked about that before the draft, and you can find that discussion here.
That’s not to say I think Goff was a bad pick. The Rams obviously preferred him to Wentz and really liked him to trade multiple picks to move up to first overall to take him. There’s no right or wrong here until we see how it plays out. But I think, with what the Rams want to do offensively in a run-first attack, it demands a quarterback play under center, demands a quarterback be good in the drop-back pass game and the play-action pass game. Also, when you’re a running team, your quarterback has to make run checks at the line or scrimmage based on the strength of the defense. You saw all that with Wentz. Goff could do these things over time, but there are layers of learning for him because he was mostly a shotgun quarterback at Cal.
Clearly, Goff has positive traits as a quarterback. He’s good in the pocket, he’s accurate, he’s got a compact delivery and he has a live arm (not a great arm, but a live arm). He's smart and the Rams clearly feel over time he’ll learn the things he'll need to do in the offense and be efficient. And when you start with the run game as a foundation, your reads are defined and that helps a quarterback. The run game sets up a lot, because the defense often has eight defenders in the box and uses coverages that aren’t as difficult to decipher in normal down-and-distance situations.
There’s a lot to like about Goff, and obviously the Rams liked him more than Wentz.
Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
I think the transition for Wentz will be comfortable. Eagles coach Doug Pederson will want to incorporate the quarterback in the run game. We saw him do that in Kansas City when he was the Chiefs' offensive coordinator with Alex Smith, and that’s something Wentz gives you. Goff doesn’t give you that.
I think they see Wentz as a better fit in how they want to run their offense, with the quarterback involved in the run game. Also, one thing Wentz theoretically gives you is that even in the play-action pass game you have to be much more concerned about the back side with Wentz, because he can move. His ability to run affects a defense.
I said before the draft that you can build a multiple run game with Wentz involved, like the Carolina Panthers do with Cam Newton. I think the Eagles will design runs for Wentz. I think that will be clearly part of the Eagles’ offense, because of Wentz’s strength as a runner.
Paxton Lynch, Denver Broncos
I really like the way Lynch fits in the Broncos’ offense. It makes a lot of sense and could help him early in his career.
Gary Kubiak’s offense is very straightforward. It’s schemed. It’s built off the run game, it’s built off play action and it’s built off defined reads. When you have a young quarterback, that’s exactly what you want to have him do until he learns.
I think the style and design of that offense for Lynch, because it’s A-to-B-to-C without the quarterback having a lot of options, I think that works for a young quarterback, and Lynch in particular because he was in a spread offense at Memphis.
The Broncos will start with the run game and have a great defense, and that reminds me of Joe Flacco when he started as a rookie with the Baltimore Ravens. We don't know when Lynch will play, but you don’t want him dropping back 40 times a game as a rookie. And a major part of the Kubiak offense is designed movement by the quarterback, which Lynch does well. It also defines the reads, because it cuts the field in half. That helps a young quarterback as well. Lynch landed in a good spot.
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NFL analyst and NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell watches as much NFL game film as anyone. Throughout the season, Cosell will join Shutdown Corner to share his observations on the teams, schemes and personnel from around the league.
The Philadelphia Eagles and Sam Bradford appear to be digging in their heels over his status, but one area chef isn't taking this whole deal sitting down. He's digging out his utensils and quietly protesting — by making a sandwich in Bradford's (dis)honor.
Hey, whatever works.
Per the Philly Voice, chef Drew Abbruzzese of Big Q BBQ restaurant in Levittown has created a sandwich that's just dripping with symbolism and one that expresses his annoyance over the Eagles' well-paid QB saying he wants out. On Wednesday, Abbruzzese will give away 150 of these meaty Bradford creations.
The ingredients say it all:
• On the bottom is a piece of fried chicken, whose symbolism, he said, was obvious.
• That's topped by pulled pork, which represents Bradford getting pulled from a long-term starting job with the drafting of Carson Wentz. (See how this is going here?)
• For a subtle garnish, some deep-fried jalapenos. That would be Bradford being on the hot seat.
• The spicy cream cheese, a Philly staple, is show of support for the city, and the potato roll on which it sits represents Bradfors "going down like a sack of potatoes."
So this is all a bit heavy-handed — both metaphorically and culinarily — but we're not making judgments or taking sides. We just want a bite or two of this bad boy.
We assume Bradford won't be one of the lucky 150 to show up early for his free victuals, but then again he doesn't need anymore handouts in that city. The guy has received a ton of cheese there no matter what.
Not sure if this cholesterol bomb will catch on, or if this is just a clever beef in the form of a hoagie aimed at driving a little new business. But it involves some of out favorite gut-busting foods, so that's something we can support.
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The New England Patriots made all of their assistant coaches available to local media on Monday, and that meant the in-front-of-cameras debut of the team's new safeties coach: Steve Belichick.
The middle of head coach Bill Belichick's three children and the older of his two sons, Steve, 29, served as a defensive coaching assistant for four years before getting his first chance to run a position when there was a shakeup in the team's coaching staff.
A defensive assistant is pretty much a gopher for all of the other coaches on that side of the ball, and it's likely Steve Belichick also spent a lot of time breaking down film. He also listened.
“Just kept my mouth shut and learned,” he said when asked what he'd done to prepare himself for his new position. “Everybody in this building is smarter than I am. I’ve got a lot to learn from everybody. These guys have been through it, and I haven’t.”
Bill Belichick grew up working with his late father, a Navy football assistant also named Steve, whenever he could, watching film and going on scouting trips. Bill wanted to be just like his father, and Steve grew up wanting to be just like his father.
“I’ve followed every single thing that he’s done,” the younger Belichick said. “Obviously, I love my dad. He’s my role model, he’s my idol. I’ve wanted to be just like him since I knew what an idol was.”
Coaching is the family business now; the oldest Belichick child, Amanda, is the head women's lacrosse coach at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts.
While Steve Belichick certainly favors his father, he has long, dark blond hair and a full beard, the opposite of Bill's dark hair, which he wears in a short cut. Bill is always clean-shaven.
Steve played football and lacrosse in high school and prep school, and then spent five years at Rutgers, the first four as a member of the Scarlet Knights' lacrosse team and the fifth as a long-snapper on the football team (it was his grandfather that taught him how to snap). Every summer, though, he was at Patriots' training camp, working as a ball boy and building his knowledge as he watched his father, New England's assistants, and the players.
In a profile of Steve by the Providence Journal last year, former Rutgers football players and current Patriots defensive backs Duron Harmon and Logan Ryan said though Steve was a teammate, he was also a pseudo-assistant, studying opponents and helping players get ready for their upcoming game.
Steve Belichick will now be coaching players he went to school with, Harmon and Devin McCourty, and said on Monday that there is joking back and forth between himself and the players.
He obviously didn't exactly have to apply for a job on the staff or connect to Bill Belichick through a friend of a friend, but Steve Belichick doesn't sound like someone happy to rest on his last name.
“Hopefully, I’m just like him. That’s what I try to be like,” Steve said of his father. “Been around football my whole life, so just to have the support of the rest of the coaches and everybody else behind me to step up to a bigger role in this organization, I’m excited about.”
Last week, after the conclusion of the Jacksonville Jaguars' offseason conditioning program, linebacker Telvin Smith called a players-only meeting to remind his teammates not to settle for losing.
What is going on here? An 8-24 team the past two seasons. A players-only meeting in late April. No, this is not the sound of panic; it's one of optimism, but also one of demand. No more sitting around and taking the losing.
"I think the not wanting to settle for what’s been happening sparked it, and just me being a competitor and wanting to win," Smith told ESPN. "Losing ... I’ve always said I’m not a loser, and I refuse to be a loser. So you cannot do this on your own and you have to make sure everybody’s on the same mindset. And that’s the biggest thing, making sure everybody’s on the same mindset."
Following a draft that was roundly praised by pundits, and piggybacking a free-agency period that saw them upgrade on defense (DT Malik Jackson, S Tashaun Gipson, CB Prince Amukamara), offense (RB Chris Ivory, OT Kelvin Beachum) and special teams (P Brad Nortman), the Jaguars are suddenly relevant.
But are they good? Like good good.
We believe so. This is an offense that showed some point-scoring potential in 2015 but one that started slowly and fizzled late. Two noticeable issues: running the football consistently and giving Blake Bortles time to throw. Beachum should help both, as he battles Luke Joeckel (whose fifth-year option was just declined) for the left tackle job. Ivory gives the Jaguars a 1-2 masher duo with T.J. Yeldon with which to thump defenses.
But it's that Jaguars defense everyone is really excited to see. Jackson is an instant upgrade. Health willing, 2014 first-rounder Dante Fowler Jr. and 2015 second-rounder Myles Jack are two exciting athletes who can be impact players this season. Jalen Ramsey has a chance to be the best Jaguars DB in franchise history, though let's temper that a tad for now.
Smith, Jack and Paul Posluszny are at linebacker, with Dan Skuta a good fourth option is Jack takes time returning to the field. It's not as deep as you'd like, but the talent is good.
Yet there's incredible depth up front. If Sen'Derrick Marks returns to form, they have holdovers Jared Odrick, Roy Miller, Tyson Alualu, Mike Bennett, Chris Smith, Ryan Davis (given a high second-round tender) and others. Plus, you throw in Jackson, Fowler, third-rounder Yannick Ngakoue, fourth-rounder Sheldon Day, sixth-rounder Tyrone Holmes and seventh-rounder Jonathan Woodard.
Can you say "Sacksonville?"
The biggest issue really has been creating turnovers — only 18 forced (only five teams had fewer) a year ago. That, along with a sloppy offense (28 turnovers, tied for eighth-most), put the Jaguars in a compromising position. Throw in an uneven kicking game, and you clearly can see where they lost ground in a 1-5 start last season. Going 5-11 was bad enough, but it's even more telling when they lose by double digits in their four games against playoff teams. That's, um, not so good.
This season's schedule has a similar feel to the 2015 slate: a tough opener and only a handful of home games before late October. They begin with the Green Bay Packers in Jacksonville — oh, you think you're good? Go stop Aaron Rodgers. The now-traditional London trip is even earlier this year, Week 4 against the Indianapolis Colts, and it's a big proving-grounds game. Get through that slate at 2-2 or 3-1, and the softer middle portion can be where the Jaguars really step out. The closing quintet (vs. Denver Broncos, vs. Minnesota Vikings, at Houston Texans, vs. Tennessee Titans, at Indianapolis Colts) could define the season.
Blake Bortles looks like a budding star, though one with much to prove. He has a better line we think, a beefier run game, two 1,000-yard receivers (Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns), a potentially good No. 3 in Rashad Greene and a healthy Julius Thomas.
We're not saying they're this year's Carolina Panthers, but a major jump in the standings would not be shocking. Owner Shad Khan believes this team will have a winning season. Head coach Gus Bradley probably needs it, frankly, to save his job. There's still a lot of work to do, and first-year coordinator Todd Wash has to bring all this new, young talent together.
But one thing's for sure: There's more optimism in Jacksonville now than there has been in almost a decade, and following an exciting offseason it's really warranted. The hype, we believe, is legit.
And if now, we have some excellent conspiracy theories to fall back on for why the franchise appears to be plagued.
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Before and after Peyton Manning's retirement, pretty much everyone speculated on what the all-time great quarterback would do in retirement. Because he seemingly had so many different options available to him, it was fun to guess.
The most popular choice was moving into broadcasting, where he'd be a natural and likely an instant superstar calling games or offering analysis in studio. But networks have been told he won't be pursuing that option, at least this year.
The New York Daily News said Manning's representatives told the NFL's network television partners he will not be part of any of their broadcast teams this year.
Maybe Manning wants a year off, or maybe he has something different in mind for his post-playing days. If television is in Manning's future plans, networks would be in a bidding war for him the moment he decides to enter that field, whether it's a week, a year or five years from now. But we haven't heard much from Manning, other than him singing that insurance jingle in many, many advertisements lately. So it's still unclear what he wants to do.
Manning could end up in a front office. He could get into coaching, although that seems unlikely given the hours coaches put in. He could go in a number of different directions, he just hasn't taken any yet.
Television makes sense, but he doesn't seem to be in a rush to get into a booth on Sundays. That's too bad, because there are a few color commentators he could replace right now.
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Here's some real talk for you, post-draft: Not all the first-round picks made last week are going to be NFL stars.
We're reminded of this now every year around this time when NFL teams must make decisions on the first-round picks they made a mere three years ago. Optimism was high then, even for what looks like a putrid draft now, but in many cases it's back down to earth with news trickling in for which teams are picking up those players' fifth-year options.
In short: The 2013 draft was pretty awful. And right now, it's really sinking in as teams are now having to admit to a lot of their mistakes.
The 2011 CBA allowed NFL teams to sign first-rounders to four-year contracts with a fifth year at the team's discretion (to be decided before the start of the fourth season). That salary is based off an average of the top players at their positions, with top-10 picks making a higher average.
On Monday, the deadline to exercise fifth-year options for 2013 first-rounders, we found out that options were declined on several big-name players from that draft class, including Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Luke Joeckel (No. 2 overall), Cleveland Browns pass rusher Barkevious Mingo (No. 6), Tennessee Titans guard Chance Warmack (No. 10), Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel (No. 16) and Minnesota Vikings receiver-returner Cordarrelle Patterson (No. 29).
Other options declined: Oakland Raiders CB D.J. Hayden and Devner Broncos nose tackle Sylvester Williams, although you get the idea that both could still end up staying with their respective teams at less money.
The Kansas City Chiefs picked up No. 1 pick Eric Fisher's option, which was in some doubt. The San Diego Chargers picked up the fifth year for OG D.J. Fluker, the 11th pick that year.
Typically, although not in all cases, a team declining a player's option means it's disappointed in their performance, and it's giving him a one-year, make-or-break deal to prove themselves. Likewise, most teams that do pick up the option are happy with the player, and it can be a case of getting an extra year cheap out of a star player and preventing him from hitting the open market.
Of course, there are always exceptions — Robert Griffin III being an excellent one. The Washington Redskins elected to pick up RG3's fifth year and then ended up not even playing him this past season, likely for fear of him getting hurt, which would fully guarantee his 2017 money. Instead, they released him this offseason, and Griffin is now a Brown.
Another fifth-year option that was exercised was that of the New York Jets' Quinton Coples, but the team released him less than seven months later. On the flip side, Doug Martin was declined by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and he turned it into a franchise tag and some new money from the team. Also declined: Melvin Ingram by the San Diego Chargers, who later signed him to an extension.
So it's not a hard-and-fast statement of hatred when the fifth-year option is declined, nor is it love when it's picked up, but it's clear that Mingo, Warmack and Patterson are heading into prove-it years. For Warmack, who has played well of late, it might be more of a case of a top-10 guard who would earn $12 million in 2017, so perhaps an extension can be worked out with him. But unless injuries change the landscape, Manuel doesn't appear to be getting much of a chance in Buffalo.
The 2013 draft, of course, wasn't a total wash. First-rounders Ziggy Ansah, Sheldon Richardson, Lane Johnson, Kyle Long and Star Lotulelei have become very good players, and there are a handful of other serviceable ones. After that, there were a handful of gems: Le'Veon Bell, Eddie Lacy and Jamie Collins in Round 2, Keenan Allen in Round 3 and a few more.
But by and large, this is the worst of the draft classes in recent years. Let's hope that the 2016 crop, less than 48 hours in the books, has a far brighter future than this one.
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Many NFL fans remember - or perhaps more accrately, would like to forget - May 2, 2012, the day legendary linebacker Junior Seau took his own life in his San Diego-area home. No one was more impacted by Seau's death than his family, including his four children.
His only daughter, Sydney, posted a remembrance to her father on Twitter on Monday:
Four years later and I still can't help but hope you'll walk through the door one last time. I love you, always. pic.twitter.com/uf8ozDyfrx— Sydney Seau (@SydneySeau) May 2, 2016
"Four years later and I still can't help but hope you'll walk through the door one last time. I love you, always," Seau wrote, along with an adorable photo of herself with her father at the beach.
According to her bio on Twitter, Seau is a senior at the University of Southern California, so she will be graduating within the coming weeks.
The Seattle Seahawks aren't officially retiring Marshawn Lynch's number yet, but nobody will wear it for at least this season.
You want to know how much the Seahawks respect what Lynch has meant to the franchise through the years? Look at Doug Baldwin's plea to coach Pete Carroll via Twitter:
Dear @PeteCarroll,— Doug Baldwin Jr (@DougBaldwinJr) April 30, 2016
We are thrilled with the new teammates. One condition. Nobody wears #24 for years to come.
Lynch, who announced his retirement on Twitter during the Super Bowl a few months ago, took a break from riding camels or whatever else he's up to this offseason to endorse that idea.
It sounds like that was the Seahawks' plan all along.
"One of my last conversations with Marshawn was that nobody was going to wear No. 24 this year in the regular season," Seahawks general manager John Schneider said Monday during an appearance on 710 ESPN Seattle's Brock and Salk show, via ESPN.com's Sheil Kapadia.
Lynch hasn't officially filed retirement papers, which has led to some comeback theories, but according to that ESPN story Carroll has said Lynch is committed to retirement and the Seahawks aren't concerned Lynch hasn't filed papers yet.
That's quite an honor, something you don't see for most players outside of the ones who are obviously going to get their number retired permanently down the road (think Brett Favre's No. 4 with the Green Bay Packers). But Lynch is probably the one player who stands out most during the Seahawks' rise to being a champion, although Seattle has had plenty of superstars. Lynch's "Beast Mode" runs are defining moments in the Seahawks' run. His quirky personality has been endearing as well.
Lynch has been one of the most entertaining players in the NFL this era, and he's going to be a legend forever in Seattle as a big part of the franchise's first Super Bowl champion. There will be plenty of No. 24 jerseys worn at Seahawks games this year, but none by the players. You'll still see fans showing respect to one of their favorite players though.
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Former New England Patriots running back Kevin Faulk made a silent - but loud - statement on Friday night as he read the Patriots' third-round draft picks from the NFL Draft in Chicago wearing a No. 12 Tom Brady jersey in support of his friend and former teammate, who remains embroiled in a legal battle with the NFL over Deflate-gate.
While Patriots fans all over loved Faulk's move, standing there proudly as the NFL's Troy Vincent introduced him, they weren't the only ones.
On Saturday night, after the conclusion of the draft, New England coach Bill Belichick was asked about Faulk's choice of attire.
"He always makes good decisions," Belichick said with a big smile. "He looked sharp out there."
De-facto general manager Nick Caserio said something similar about Faulk, who is one of three finalists for the franchise's Hall of Fame this year: "That's why Kevin Faulk is a potential member of the Patriots Hall of Fame. We all love Kevin Faulk."
Faulk appeared on Boston radio station WEEI on Sunday morning and told the story of how he came to be standing on stage at the Auditorium Theater, hands on hips, chest puffed out like a rooster to show off that navy blue jersey (interview starts at 12:50 mark).
"It was about showing the love and respect for a teammae, a friend, a brother who I've known for a long time," Faulk said. "Someone gave me a call and was like, 'hey, do you think you can do this?', I was like, 'I'm not sure. I don't have a Tom Brady jersey.' He said, 'We think we can make that happen for you.'
"They got the jersey to me and it went from there. The only thing was, I was nervous about how far they would let me get before somebody would say something about it."
No one said anything, and Faulk was able to make his statement.
And Brady either saw it live or heard about it, because he quickly sent Faulk a text to say "thank you for showing the support, thank you for showing the love," Faulk said.
Oh, you thought it was too early to grade the 2016 NFL draft class?
What about giving you some top draft names for 2017? Yes, we’re a bit sick in the head. But we know you’re already — somewhere deep in the backs of your minds — thinking about next year.
So here is a rough list of the top prospect for next year’s draft class. Spoiler alert: It will change between now and then. Just a bit, we suspect. Also: Not every good college football player is listed here. We know that.
1. Clemson QB Deshaun Watson — Watson is an athletic wonder with deep-ball accuracy who had a tremendous game in the playoffs against Oklahoma and Alabama, and that could carry him into a Heisman-winning season and the No. 1 pick in the draft. There are some things to iron out as a passer, and he’s not the biggest guy around, but Watson is a special young man.
2. LSU RB Leonard Fournette — Each year the past few seasons, with Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott, we’ve seen a special runner test the NFL’s hardening belief that running backs don’t belong in this portion of the draft. But physical specimens such as Fournette don’t come around but once a generation.
3. Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett — Is he the next superstar pass rusher? At 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds with room to add a little bulk, Garrett has terrific dimensions and laid waste to SEC left tackles with 12.5 sacks and five forced fumbles as a sophomore. Look out.
4. USC WR JuJu Smith-Schuster — The next star Trojans wideout, Smith-Schuster could be the best they’ve had there in some time. He routinely bailed out Cody Kessler with off-target throws down the field and has game-breaking ability and fine size at 6-2 and 218 pounds.
5. Florida State RB Dalvin Cook — Don’t forget Cook in the discussion of the special backs in this class, which is quite deep. But there might be no bigger game breaker in college football than Cook, who has incredible burst and surprising pop to his game.
6. Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly — The nephew of Hall of Famer Jim Kelly really had some
fine moments last season during the Rebels’ hot run, such as in winning at Bama, but he cooled off a bit down the stretch and will need to have his character full scrutinized another year after being dismissed from Clemson and taking a rocky road through junior college to get to Oxford.
7. Alabama LB Tim Williams — Few players were as productive on a per-snap basis at rushing the passer, and we could see a major breakout in 2016 for the player who started really displaying his talent by season’s end. Williams could be a candidate to lead the NCAA in sacks as a junior.
8. Ohio State LB Raekwon McMillan — Watching film of Darron Lee, Joshua Perry and others on the talented Buckeyes defense, it was impossible not to notice McMillan who could be a three-down star next season, even with the mass exodus of talent on that side of the ball. He’s special.
9. Clemson WR Mike Williams — Twelve snaps into his 2015 season, Williams suffered a broken bone in his neck and missed the entire year. But the 6-4, 221-pound Williams is expected to make a full recovery. Besides, his roller-coaster ride fits the pattern set by DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins there: brilliant freshman year, setback as a sophomore, stardom regained as a junior. Williams won’t last long.
10. Auburn DE Carl Lawson — Watch the Ole Miss game against Laremy Tunsil and you see Lawson giving him some fits that few players did last season. Lawson is a strong, well built rusher who has NFL strength and explosiveness and could really break out with a healthy 2016.
11. Miami (Fla.) Brad Kaaya — Kaaya took care of the football (five INTs) last season and did well weathering the storm around him with the tumultuous program despite suffering a concussion in a humiliating 58-0 loss to Clemson. We expect things to settle down under new head coach Mark Richt, who has overseen the progress several NFL quarterbacks at Florida State and Georgia and could turn his newest protégé into a top-10 pick.
12. Alabama OT Cam Robinson — A star since the day he set foot in Tuscaloosa, Robinson actually was not quite as dominant last season as many expected him to be. But there are flashes of greatness in his game with a great mixture of light feet and a powerful punch.
13. Iowa CB Desmond King — The Thorpe Award winner surprised many when he announced he’s return to school. He has the look of a mature player and a well-built one, despite average height at 5-11. King had eight interceptions in his first nine games before teams got wise and stopped throwing his way. He also has plus return ability.
14. Alabama DE Jonathan Allen — Another player we expected to leave early, Allen got a bit lost in the shuffle with all the incredible DL talent the Tide rolls out, but he saved his best for last with dominant performances in the two playoff games and has not been worn down there. Allen had 12 sacks in just more than 400 snaps in 2015, which is incredible.
15. Stanford RB Christian McCaffery — The Heisman runner-up is a special player in space who can fill a variety of roles. McCaffery reminds us most of Reggie Bush, who was never an elite player and not worth the No. 2 overall selection but a very good player for a long time who impacted all four downs with his game-changing ability with the ball in his hands.
16. Florida State DE DeMarcus Walker — He looked like a completely different player in 2015 from the year before and has a frame (6-3, 277 pounds) that is NFL-ready. Walker should get better against the run this season but we like his upside to be a first-round pick if he keeps developing.
17. Missouri DE Charles Harris — Just beginning to scratch the surface, Harris could have declared after a seven-sack redshirt sophomore year and might still have been a top-50 selection this year. Harris looks like he’s shot out of a cannon, and he stepped up when the Tigers needed him most as the best player on a good Mizzou front. Expect double-digit sacks and dozens of pressures this season.
18. Alabama TE O.J. Howard — It’s funny. We thought he was highly underrated most of last season, but after his playoff breakout we almost feel he’s a bit overrated. The name Jimmy Graham has been spouted a bit with Howard, and that’s not a terrible comp, but we do think Howard has a chance to be a better blocker. He needs to be a more consistent pass catcher, and the Tide will be on their fourth starting quarterback in four years this fall.
19. LSU CB Tre’Davious White — We were glad he came back to school, because even though he is an impressive player there still were things in his game he needed to clean up. He might not have been a clear-cut first-rounder had he come out, but White has a very good chance to be the second corner taken behind King as things stand now.
20. USC WR-CB-RS Adoreé Jackson — This year’s multi-tool star could be the next multi-position star to be drafted high after Shaq Thompson was a first-round pick in 2014 and Myles Jack landed in the high second. Jackson is a rare athlete who projects to corner but could be a special weapon in a few spots.
21. Michigan S-CB Jabrill Peppers — The elite prep prospect finally arrived on the college football scene last season as a terrific safety prospect who also can cover the slot and has the potential to moonlight as a returner or offensive weapon. He has a terrific frame, and those early Charles Woodson comps are not looking so far off now.
22. USC OT Zach Banner — You don’t find athletic specimens as big (6-foot-8, 355 pounds) as Banner who are as athletic as he is. Some teams might actually ding him for being so tall, and pad level might always be an issue. But it worked out fine for Tony Boselli, and Banner’s unique skill set already has gotten him big attention.
23. Clemson TE Jordan Leggett — Lost a bit nationally in the Tigers’ shuffle, Leggett is a big, strong and athletic pass catcher and blocker who might not be truly special but is a very trusted option in their passing game whom Watson looks to in key situations.
24. Florida CB Jalen Tabor — Frequently tested opposite Vernon Hargreaves, Tabor sent a message to opponents that he can hold his own and could be the next star in the Gators’ secondary. Tabor struggled a bit down the stretch but has the build, talent and thick skin to handle the position.
25. Michigan TE Jake Butt — It was fun to watch him break out under Jim Harbaugh, even if Butt’s run blocking has to come a long way. The 6-6, 250-pound Butt seemed to turn the corner in the second half of last season, and even with a QB change he’ll have a chance to emerge as one of the better tight ends in what looks to be a far more exciting crop of talent at the position than in the 2015 draft.
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Though he didn't sound 100 percent convinced, the lawyer for new Miami Dolphins tackle Laremy Tunsil says he does not believe Tunsil's estranged stepfather was behind the draft-night hacking of his client's social media accounts.
"Initially, that would be the low-hanging fruit," attorney Steve Farese told SiriusXM. "But it's so counter-intuitive that if that were the case it didn't make any sense. Now I've drifted away from those thoughts and don't believe he had anything to do with this."
So it doesn't sound like they have proof that Lindsay Miller, Tunsil's stepfather, wasn't involved, but as he continued talking to host Lance Meadow, it didn't sound like Farese had many answers at this point, and isn't pursuing the truth very aggressively.
If it wasn't Miller, Meadow asked Farese, then who was it?
"Well, certainly someone who is very vindictive," Farese said. "There's rumors out there about some financial agent, but that's only something I read. Until we get to the facts of the situation, who can say?"
Farese went on to say, "I think in the next week or so, we'll probably figure out who the culprit is."
Setting aside the fact that Farese seems disinterested in getting to the bottom of a scandal that cost his client millions of dollars (serious, listen to the audio), if Miller didn't do it and the scorned financial advisor didn't do it, who would have done it? And how many enemies does Laremy Tunsil have?
The strangest story in recent NFL draft history isn't clearing up anytime soon, apparently.
Football coaches crave practice time. If you read anything claiming this or that problem with the game is because training camp practices have been restricted a bit, odds are it's coming from an angry coach who feels the need to be on a practice field every waking moment.
That's why new Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase's approach to rookie minicamp is really interesting. There won't be any practice.
Instead of getting on the field, as all other teams do, the new Dolphins will be in a classroom setting learning everything from schemes to nutrition, Miami Herald columnist Armando Salguero reported. They won't go out on the field to practice any plays, which must give some coaches the shakes.
Instead, Salguero writes, the Dolphins will do "life labs" to teach players about things like nutrition, financial planning, sports science, and dealing with the media. They'll also learn football stuff too, they just won't be putting on helmets and practicing it on the field.
The reason seems to be that Gase understands that rookies who have been training for the draft and traveling to meet teams are already a bit worn down, so perhaps this will save them from from wearing out late in the season.
It's a smart idea, and it's surprising he and the Dolphins are going to do it. The NFL is a very conservative league that generally rejects any new ideas. The notion that less practice could be better will get mocked in some circles. But Gase's idea makes sense, and the rookies will probably appreciate the rest.
We'll see if the idea catches on outside Miami. Probably not. Coaches love practice too much for that.
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Conspiracies unravel in the most unlikely of ways. Watergate exploded when a security guard noticed tape on doors. Deflate-gate began when a Colts equipment manager happened to test a ball's pressure on the sidelines during the 2014 season's AFC Championship. And now, in the space of 28 seconds, a random Jacksonville Jaguars fan has just blown the lid off the Greatest Conspiracy In NFL History:
Whoa. Those are some explosive allegations in that News4JAX report. Let's break them down here:
1. The Jacksonville Jaguars had the best draft of anyone this year. Our Frank Schwab concurs, picking the Jaguars as this year's bandwagon team. And our Eric Edholm gave the Jaguars one of the few A's he handed out for this year's draft performance. So far, the theory checks out.
2. "The first year we took it to the limit." Technically, their first year (1995) Jacksonville went 4-12. The next year, though, the Jags reached the AFC Championship, losing to the Patriots 20-6. We're not sure two field goals in a conference championship qualifies as "taking it to the limit," but hey, two decades is a long time to keep memories accurate. We're still on firm footing.
3. "I was in Miami with my new beach house ... well, it was a couple minutes from the beach ... " Let's not quibble with our anonymous tipster over details. If you stretch the definition enough, isn't any property beach property? ("Hey, it's just a plane flight and a two-hour drive to the water ... you can almost hear the surf!") Also, the whole idea of conspiracies and Miami and limits and whatnot demands a little musical accompaniment. Play this for the rest of the article:
4. "We haven't been too strong in the last few years." The Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville's fellow expansion team in the mid-1990s, won 15 games last year. Jacksonville has won 15 games over the last four seasons. "We haven't been too strong" is probably overly generous.
5. "Oh, we've been strong, we've just been playing by the rules." WHOA. This is it. This is it right here, friends. This is where our mystery tipster, who will have to hole up in her Miami beach house that's a couple minutes from the beach for her own safety, blows the lid off this whole fetid, stinking, cheat-ridden enterprise that is the NFL. Other teams get 10 points for every touchdown, but Jacksonville? They take their requisite seven. Other teams only have to go five yards for every first down, but Jacksonville says, "No sir. Ten yards is the rule, 10 yards it will be." Other teams suit up actual grizzly bears on their defensive line, but Jacksonville sticks with its usual cast of terrified human beings. That's what people around Duval County, Florida call integrity, son.
6. "You can't have a newcomer come in and steal the show." Oh my God. She's on to something. Look at the last few Super Bowl winners. Denver: in the NFL since 1970. New England: in the NFL since 1970. Seattle: in the NFL since 1976. Baltimore: in the NFL since 20- wait, no, that's perfect, you want to have one newcomer in there to throw people off the trail. Plus, the NFL rigged that game with the blown-out lights too! And look what happened to fellow sort-of-newcomer Carolina this year! You expect me to believe the Cam Newton that dominated the league all year long is the same Cam Newton who was scared to even dive on a fumble in the Super Bowl? They replaced the real Cam with a far less competent duplicate! No wonder Newton was so upset postgame, he didn't even get a chance to play! It all makes sense!
Our eyes are wide open now, NFL. We know the truth. Anything less than a Jacksonville Jaguars championship this season, and you may as well tell the world you're as rigged as the presidential electio - wait, I wasn't supposed to say that yet, was I?
We've capped the proverbial red pen for another year's worth of final draft exams. The good news: Some teams did really well. The bad: Others, not so much.
The grades are in for the 2016 NFL draft, and we fully admit how incomplete it is to stamp a judgment on every team's draft a day or two after it's complete.
Talk to us in a year or three. Or better yet, bookmark this page, revisit in in that time and have a good laugh or two. Today's "underachiever" is likely tomorrow's Pro Bowler, and anyone we labeled a "good value" is sure to be out of the league before their 25th birthday.
It's just the nature of the beast. But we do have strong opinions on this stuff, and we've done our homework diligently. Now let's find out how well these teams did.
The Chicago Bears did not draft a quarterback over the seven rounds of this year's selection meeting, but not long after it ended, they signed a veteran to backup Jay Cutler.
Chicago has signed Brian Hoyer to a one-year deal, general manager Ryan Pace confirmed to reporters on Saturday evening. There was no immediate word on financials.
Hoyer, who spent last year with the Houston Texans, had visited with both the New York Jets and Denver Broncos. But the Broncos drafted Paxton Lynch in the first round on Thursday night, ending their pursuit of any other quarterbacks (they had also discussed trading for Colin Kaepernick and Sam Bradford), and the Jets took Christian Hackenberg in the second round.
"When he's played, he's been productive," Pace said of Hoyer.
With inexperienced second-year quarterbacks Matt Blanchard and David Fales also on the roster, Hoyer becomes the clear No. 2 in Chicago behind Cutler.
Though Hoyer's postseason start with Houston against the Kansas City Chiefs in January was terrible, he was quite good in the regular season, completing 60.7 percent of his passes with 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions in nine starts.
The 30-year old was undrafted out of Michigan State in 2009, signing with the New England Patriots, where he spent three seasons; Hoyer has also started games for the Ariziona Cardinals and his hometown Cleveland Browns in addition to the Texans.
Southern Miss cornerback Kalan Reed waited a long time to be selected in the NFL draft. Now he gets a parade.
Reed was Mr. Irrelevant, the 253rd and final pick of the 2016 draft. He went to the Tennessee Titans, who traded for that pick at the end of the seventh round earlier in the draft.
Many draft observers were surprised at Reed's fall to the end of the seventh round. Reed was a bit undersized, at 5-foot-11 and 192 pounds, but he played well as a senior. He broke up 19 passes, intercepted four and returned two of those for touchdowns. He also ran an impressive 4.38 40-yard dash at his pro day.
The Broncos were so excited to make the final pick of the draft, they had a special "Mr. Irrelevant" jersey made up.
But the defending champions never ended up making the pick because they traded it to Tennessee. Kind of a waste of a jersey, though the folks announcing the pick in Chicago still unfurled it anyway when Reed's name was called.
The Broncos moved out of the last pick of the seventh round in a trade with the Titans, trading it and a fifth-round pick for two sixth-round picks, one of which will be next year. So Mr. Irrelevant changed hands long before he was ever picked.
Every year there is a celebration in Newport Beach, Calif. for Mr. Irrelevant. The celebration includes a parade. Last year was the 40th anniversary of the Mr. Irrelevant festivities.
Last year Mr. Irrelevant was Gerald Christian, a tight end from Louisville. He was picked by the Arizona Cardinals. Christian hurt his knee at the end of preseason and was put on injured reserve.
The Mr. Irrelevant who went on to have the best NFL career is probably kicker Ryan Succop. Succop was the last pick of the 2009 draft, and has hit 82.2 percent of his field-goal attempts. He's currently the Tennessee Titans' kicker. Last year he made 14-of-16 field-goal attempts for the Titans.
Reed probably wanted to be drafted long before pick No. 253. But at least he'll be part of a cool tradition now.
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Rico Gathers was a heck of a player at Baylor. It was in basketball, but that was good enough for the Dallas Cowboys.
In the sixth round of the NFL draft the Cowboys took a power forward who they hope can become a tight end, selecting Gathers. It's an intriguing pick, considering Gathers hasn't played football since middle school.
There are a couple things working in Gathers' favor. First, he's a great athlete. He's 6-foot-8, 275 pounds, and his strength and agility is one reason he was a tremendous rebounder and inside player for Baylor's basketball team. Gathers averaged 8.6 points and 8 rebounds per game in college.
Second, others have paved the way for him. Antonio Gates never played college football, and he's probably going to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Jimmy Graham played one season of football at Miami and has become an NFL star. Julius Thomas became a red-zone force with the Denver Broncos and signed a huge contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars after just one season of college football. All of them played college basketball.
This year's tight end class isn't great, so why not spend a sixth-round compensatory pick on a great athlete who might end up hitting big? Dallas won't be expecting Gathers to play right away, so they can work with him and teach him football. You can't teach 6-8, 275 pounds with great athletic ability. He's a fun developmental pick.
And if he doesn't work out with the Cowboys, they can call the Dallas Mavericks and see if they could use any rebounding help.
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In late 2012, Dak Prescott likely wasn't thinking about an NFL future. He was just a Dallas Cowboys fan with some angst and a Twitter account.
Who knew that on Dec. 30, 2012, he wasn't just ripping Tony Romo on Twitter, he was ripping future Cowboys teammate Tony Romo? The Cowboys picked Prescott late in the fourth round on Saturday, presumably to possibly be Romo's successor someday.
Here are the tweets, which Prescott hadn't deleted as of Saturday afternoon but probably will soon:
I'm DONE Taking up for Romo. #hadenough— Dak Prescott (@15_DakP) December 31, 2012
And the 2016 draft has yet another embarrassing social media issue.
It's really not that big of a deal. Prescott was 19 years old and at that point had 29 career college passes. There's no way he could have known that day, as Romo threw three interceptions in a Week 17 game at Washington with a playoff spot on the line, that he'd work with Romo someday. And it's definitely not as inflammatory as another similar issue, when Larry Nance was drafted by the Lakers in 2015 and people found a tweet in which he called Kobe Bryant a rapist.
Prescott's tweets are pretty funny, really. Hopefully Romo has a sense of humor and has some fun with his new teammate over it.
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Navy's Keenan Reynolds, who set an NCAA career record with 88 touchdowns and an FBS record with 4,559 rushing yards, was taken in the sixth round by the Baltimore Ravens. That's not far from Annapolis, where Reynolds became a big-time college football player. He finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting last year.
Reynolds' position has been debated, though it seems his best fit might be as a slot receiver.
The transition to the NFL is not as easy for service-academy players as it is for everyone else. Everyone else gets a phone call, puts on a hat and makes football their full-time job. If you graduate from a service academy like Navy, you have a five-year service commitment.
That has been an issue for Army, Navy and Air Force players with NFL dreams through the years. However, last year Navy long snapper Joe Cardona was selected by the New England Patriots and played with them all season. Cardona was allowed to work one day a week at Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, R.I., and serve full time in the offseason. The academies take the service commitment seriously, as they should considering taxpayer money is used to put every man and woman in a service academy through that school. But there are ways for players to live their NFL dreams and also serve.
"Newly commissioned ensigns who do not proceed directly to entry-level training are assigned temporary duties while awaiting assignment in the Navy," said Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen, spokesman for the Chief of Naval Personnel, in an email to the Capital Gazette. "This is done routinely for newly assessed officers."
Reynolds could also have to serve active duty and then do reserve duty for the remainder of his commitment, as others have.
We'll see how Reynolds is allowed to juggle both, though landing with Maryland's NFL team probably can't hurt. But for now the Ravens are taking a shot on an officer and a tremendously talented football player.
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The Minnesota Vikings made history on Saturday.
Moritz Boehringer became the first straight-from-Europe draft pick in NFL history when the Vikings used a sixth-round selection on him.
Boehringer quickly is becoming a folk hero here. His story is incredible. He played — get this — for the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns of the German Football League and put up monster numbers in 2015: 59 receptions, 1,232 yards, 13 TDs.
At his pro day, held at Florida Atlantic, the 6-foot-4, 227-pound Boehringer put on a show — a 4.43-second 40-yard dash, a vertical of 39 inches, a 10-foot-11 broad jump, 17 reps on the bench press, a 4.10-second short shuttle, 11.15-second 60-yard shuttle, and a 6.65-second three-cone. Those are elite testing numbers for any receiver, much less one with his terrific size.
Teams started digging immediately. Who was this guy? Several teams really did work on him, and the Vikings were among them. NFL Network's Mike Mayock took to Boehringer and promoted his cause, and it turned out that the Vikings were listening.
Oh, and it just so happened that a 17-year-old Boehringer watched an Adrian Peterson video and was inspired to give football a try and remained a Vikings fan since. Now he's in the NFL, playing for his favorite team.
You can't make this stuff up. A unicorn indeed.
So how good is the German Football League? One college scouting director who watched Boehriger's tape said "D-III or lower," so that gives you an idea of the competition he has faced. Now he'll go against Xavier Rhodes in camp. It will be a system shock for sure.
But this story is just too good. That same scout also recycled a joke that has made the rounds in NFL circles: that Boehringer is the German Jeff Janis, the Packers receiver who had an incredible playoff game against the Cardinals after seemingly coming from nowhere.
It will be fascinating to see if Boehringer can make it in what would be a unique path to the NFL.
More on 2016 NFL draft
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The Dallas Cowboys wanted a quarterback in this year's draft, and after getting beat out for the first two they had targeted, they finally grabbed one at the end of the fourth round, taking Mississippi State's Dak Prescott at No. 135.
While other teams who have a starter in place regularly draft quarterbacks – the New England Patriots drafted Jacoby Brissett on Friday night, two years after taking Jimmy Garroppolo in the second round, and earlier Saturday the Oakland Raiders drafted Connor Cook – Prescott is, remarkably, the first quarterback the Cowboys have drafted since 2009.
That year, they took the largely forgettable Stephen McGee in the fourth round. You have to go all the way back to 2001 to find the only other quarterback Dallas drafted this millenium, when they took Quincy Carter in the second round.
Prescott is certainly a project, but the Cowboys were a disaster at quarterback after Tony Romo got hurt not once but twice last season. Prescott's draft stock took a hit when he was arrested for suspicion of DUI in March, two days after his pro day.
Dallas owner Jerry Jones told reporters on Thursday night that his team was trying to move back into the first round to get Paxton Lynch, but the Denver Broncos nabbed the Memphis QB first, and on Saturday, the Raiders jumped ahead of Dallas in the fourth round to take Connor Cook.
More on NFL draft
Cardale Jones watched eight quarterbacks get selected in the NFL draft before he finally heard his name called.
Ohio State's hero from the 2014 season finally went off the board with the last pick of the fourth round, to the Buffalo Bills with a compensatory pick. Jones was taken 139th overall on Saturday.
Jones' decision to go back to school for one more season has been debated many times, though Jones himself never has seemed too stressed about it.
Jones was in a unique situation after the 2014 season. He started just three games, and they were a win in the Big Ten championship game and two wins in the College Football Playoff. He could have left Ohio State with a national title and a pristine reputation. NFL teams would have had to have made a tough decision based on incomplete data, but practically everything Jones put on film for them was very good. Jones had the arm strength, great size, and good athleticism. ESPN’s Mel Kiper said he thought Jones would have been a second-round pick had he declared last year, though we've seen plenty of quarterbacks slip in the draft once NFL teams start to pick apart their flaws. Ask Matt Barkley. Or Connor Cook.
Jones didn't think he was ready, so he went back to school. He won a battle to be Ohio State's starter, but didn't play great. He was eventually benched for J.T. Barrett.
It's easy to second-guess Jones now, because it's likely he cost himself some money by coming back. But Jones has maintained all along that he has no regrets, and that's understandable. Life is about more than money and NFL draft status, and Jones enjoyed his final year at Ohio State. He says he's comfortable with how it all went down.
“I definitely wouldn’t trade my time and that season for anything in the world,” he told the Columbus Dispatch. “I wish 2015 had gone differently, not just for me but for our team overall. But it’s definitely made not just me but my teammates better, that adversity we had to handle."
The landing spot is interesting. Tyrod Taylor is coming off a good year, but there are some contract issues the Bills will have to work through. And Taylor has played well for only one season. It's possible Taylor will be the Bills' starter for many years to come, but it's no sure thing.
Jones couldn't start right now. A lot of his flaws were exposed the more he played last season. But he has some skills and he'll have time to develop as a quarterback. Perhaps he'll be ready when and if the Bills need him.
Jones likely would have gone higher in the draft had he come out last season. But he doesn't seem to have any concerns about what happened. Now he gets a chance to make his NFL name with the Bills.
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The New Orleans Saints traded up in Round 4 for a fascinating but very raw prospect from an unusual location: The University of Manitoba. They took 6-foot-3, 300-pound DT David Onyemata, a very raw prospect but one who could pay off in time, with the 120th pick in the draft.
Yes, that's Canada, folks. The NFL will dip its toes in the northern waters occasionally, and the Saints are more willing to do so than other teams it appears. The last Canadian prospect taken this high in the NFL draft was third-rounder Akiem Hicks by New Orleans in 2012 via Regina. And the only other player drafted from Manitoba? Israel Idonije, who had a nice career in the NFL.
Hicks didn't work out in New Orleans, but he found success with the New England Patriots last season after he was traded there and parlayed that into a big free-agent deal this offseason with the Chicago Bears.
Might Onyemata, who was invited to the East-West Shrine Game, pay off down the road? He only has played football for four years now and is in need of more seasoning and refinement. One CFL scout we spoke with noted Onyemata's incredible wingspan (82 inches) and strong short-area quickness (7.25 three-cone drill). He also bench pressed 225 pounds 33 times and had a great 10-yard split on his 40-yard dash: 1.66 seconds.
But he's raw, too, and the Saints need help now defensively. Still, the promise could be really good down the road.
From the scouting report:
"In my four years evaluating Canadian college players, he was by far the most productive defensive linemen as he dominated nearly every game. ... He was very impressive in the three games I evaluated and three practices [at the East West]. I have no doubt he can be a high-end starting [defensive tackle] in the CFL ... but I think he'll be a starter in time in the NFL. ... I think he is best suited to play [defensive end] in a [3-4 defense] but can be productive in that role or as a [4-3 defensive tackle]."
The Saints are not afraid to gamble, clearly, and Sean Payton and Co. just took another dice roll on a raw talent.
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Though Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie drafted his team's quarterback of the foreseeable future a couple of years ago in Derek Carr, McKenzie clearly learned a thing or two from his time in Green Bay. In this case: there's no harm in having extra quarterbacks.
So on Saturday, as the final four rounds of the draft began and Michigan State QB Connor Cook was still available, McKenzie swung a trade with the Cleveland Browns to move up 14 spots and take Cook at No. 100.
By moving into that spot, the Raiders jumped over the Dallas Cowboys; on the NFL Network broadcast, Ian Rapoport said teams in the top of the fourth round believed the Cowboys were targeting Cook at No. 101 as a backup to (and possible replacement to?) the aging Tony Romo.
It's a credit to McKenzie and the team he's building in Oakland that they are at a point where they can make luxury picks like Cook, who has the makings of a solid NFL quarterback on the field but who raised eyebrows last year when he wasn't picked as a team captain, an oddity for a senior starting quarterback.
An experienced pocket passer, Cook will likely serve as Carr's backup for a couple of years, but if he develops, the Raiders could flip him to another team in the future.
More on NFL draft
Watch every round of the NFL draft here on Yahoo Sports as we present the live stream of NFL Network draft coverage. Also check out live analysis from our stable of Yahoo Sports draft experts including Eric Edholm, Charles Robinson, Frank Schwab and Shalise Manza Young.
Shutdown Corner draft coverage
Grading each team for their first round picks
Grading each pick from rounds two and three
Round 1 winners and losers: Did the Cowboys really need a RB?
Round 2-3 winners and losers: The Jaguars' bandwagon is filling up
The Patriots take a quarterback
Laremy Tunsil doesn't want to talk about slide in draft
One player hugged Roger Goodell for an uncomfortable amount of time
The Jacksonville Jaguars have displayed a lot of patience with coach Gus Bradley. It has been a prudent, long-term approach.
One would imagine Bradley won’t be given that kind of patience if the Jaguars lose again this year, not after the fine offseason they’ve had.
At the end of last season, a lot of people had already glommed onto the Jaguars as a 2016 sleeper. The bandwagon is really rolling now. The Jaguars made the best pick of the first round, somehow taking cornerback Jalen Ramsey, the best player in the draft, fifth overall. They might have made the best pick of the second round too.
We don’t know what linebacker Myles Jack’s career will end up being, and that’s the reason he was still available for the Jaguars in the second round. Jack’s career could be cut short because of a knee issue. Dr. James Andrews told Jack he doesn’t need microfracture surgery, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, although that seems impossible to predict. Maybe he’ll have a great 10-year career. Or be fantastic for three or four years. Nobody knows for sure.
But if Jack is good for just the length of his first rookie deal, the Jaguars have added some big-time talent this offseason. Don’t forget that pass rusher Dante Fowler, last year’s third overall pick, is returning from a knee injury. With a little bit of injury luck, the Jaguars will be adding three first-year defenders with top-five talent.
And the free agents? Defensive end Malik Jackson might have been the No. 1 free agent this offseason. Kelvin Beachum can play left tackle. Tashaun Gipson gives the Jaguars a playmaking free safety. Chris Ivory should help at running back. The roster will be a lot better than it was at the end of last season.
It’s worth pumping the brakes a bit, and pointing out that the Jaguars were just 5-11 last year. They were outscored by 72 points, and were 18th in yards gained and 24th in yards allowed. That came in a weak AFC South, too. They still have a long way to go.
But the Jaguars have a quarterback in Blake Bortles who might break through in his third season. Allen Robinson is a star receiver. They should be able to run the ball too, and it would be a shock if the defense isn’t much improved.
The Jaguars haven’t had a winning record or made the playoffs since 2007. There’s a chance that streak ends this season. After the offseason they’ve had, that should be the expectation in Jacksonville. The Jaguars are the official sleeper of the 2016 NFL season.
Here are the rest of the winners and losers from day two of the NFL draft:
Baltimore Ravens: Ozzie Newsome said before the draft that his last few drafts weren’t up to the standard he and the Ravens have set. This year looks like your typical Ravens draft.
Offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley was a solid pick at No. 6. The Ravens moved back in the second round and still got Boise State pass rusher Kamalei Correa, another good pick. Then in the third round their pick was BYU defensive end Bronson Kaufusi, a versatile athletic player who can help up front.
That’s a future left tackle and two intriguing players for the front seven. Just what we’d usually expect from the Ravens.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes had a draft for the ages.
They had five players taken in the top 20. Ohio State saw seven players taken in the first two rounds, which tied an NFL record for the common draft, which dates back to 1967. The 10 players they had selected in the first three rounds is an NFL record. They shattered the record too, because the old record was eight. It was an impressive collection of talent the Buckeyes had last season (how exactly did they not go to the College Football Playoff or even win the Big Ten?).
The most interesting pick of the lot might be Braxton Miller, who went in the third round to the Houston Texans. The prolific quarterback-turned-receiver gives the Texans another weapon for new quarterback Brock Osweiler. Houston added receiver Will Fuller in the first round. Bill O’Brien should get creative with Miller.
It was a pretty big day for Ohio State. The NFL has never seen a run like that before from one school.
Ted Thompson: Thompson, the Green Bay Packers general manager, doesn’t often trade up in drafts. He did trade up to get Clay Matthews years ago, and that worked out. Packers fans hope his move up in the second round on Friday works out as well.
If nothing else, it seemed to foil the plans of the rival Chicago Bears.
The Packers moved up in the second round to take Indiana offensive tackle Jason Spriggs, a first-round-level talent who gives the Packers depth now and a high-level starter for the future. The trade was probably necessary. The Packers moved right ahead of the Bears, who presumably would have been interested in Spriggs too. Right after the Packers traded up, the Bears traded down. The Bears ended up taking Kansas State offensive lineman Cody Whitehair.
Thompson isn’t the most aggressive general manager in the league. But between signing tight end Jared Cook and moving up in the draft to take Spriggs, he’s showing a little more urgency than usual.
Connor Cook: A few folks mocked Cook in the first round, usually with the last pick of the round to the Denver Broncos. Maybe he wouldn’t be a first-round pick, but the second round seemed like a good bet for Cook. Nope. Not the third round either.
When the third day of the draft starts, Cook will be the biggest name still on the board. The Michigan State quarterback, a player who was once considered a possible a top-10 pick, probably won’t be a top-100 pick. There were 98 picks in the first two days and Cook wasn’t one of them. Six quarterbacks did go in the first two days.
Cook could still have a good career (ask fellow Spartan and fourth-round pick Kirk Cousins), but the less a team invests in a quarterback the more willing they are to move on quickly. Ask 2015 fourth-round pick Bryce Petty, who is already an afterthought of the New York Jets after they took Christian Hackenberg on Friday. It was a rough couple days for Cook.
DeMarco Murray, and the Titans' DeMarco Murray trade: I didn’t get the Murray trade when it happened. What sense did it make for the Tennessee Titans to invest in an expensive running back who looked to be fading last year, who was unlikely to be useful by the time the rebuilding Titans became good?
Now it’s even more confusing.
Murray, who is scheduled to get at least $6 million each of the next four seasons, was basically usurped when the Titans picked Alabama running back Derrick Henry in the second round. You don’t take a back 45th overall for him to sit long. So now Murray really doesn’t fit with the Titans’ plans.
We’ll see how Tennessee plans to use its backfield this season. But a few months after trading for Murray, the Titans didn’t seems to show a lot of confidence in him by picking Henry.
Jerry Jones: The Cowboys should feel they have a shot this season to win the NFC East, and maybe more. Two years ago, when Tony Romo was healthy, they were Super Bowl contenders. They had a rare opportunity as a hopeful contender who, as a result of a down season, had two picks in the top 34 to add immediate help. Almost everybody else in the top 10 is in full rebuild mode, but that's not the case in Dallas.
And the Cowboys turned their draft into a Jerry Jones production, grabbing headlines instead of adding two final pieces to a pretty good 2016 roster.
The Cowboys took Ezekiel Elliott fourth overall, passing on Jalen Ramsey. I didn’t get that move .And while Jaylon Smith is a fantastic story, and the emotional moment he was picked was one of the best of this draft, it’s a risky pick that likely doesn’t help this year. The Cowboys won’t rule Smith out of 2016, but it’s hard to see him making an impact this season. He has a massive upside, but it's a huge risk after a devastating knee injury he suffered in Notre Dame's bowl game.
The Cowboys could have played it safe. Jack was a better option to help right away. Reggie Ragland doesn’t have Smith’s upside, but he has two good knees and can help right now. A defensive lineman might have helped too. But Smith was a splashy pick, so you knew the Cowboys were going to do it.
Then the Cowboys made another odd pick in the third round, taking Nebraska defensive tackle Maliek Collins. College production isn’t everything, but you’d like to see a player get more than eight career sacks against college offensive linemen, like Collins did.
The Cowboys might end up looking brilliant, if Elliott looks like 2014 DeMarco Murray and Smith comes back 100 percent. However, there was an easy path Dallas could have taken to help themselves right away. But what fun would that be?
More NFL draft coverage from Yahoo Sports:
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CHICAGO – The Jags look scary. Jerry Jones gambled, as only he can. And there was a surprise at what quarterbacks heard their names called on Friday night. Oh, and someone traded UP to get a kicker.
Here are knee-jerk reactions and grades for Day 2 of the NFL draft, which featured Rounds 2 and 3.
1. Cleveland Browns: DE Emmanuel Ogbah – A big, talented rush end who might stand up in the Browns’ 3-4 defense or bulk up and play the end spot. A bit of a curious pick given that uncertainty, but Ogbah is athletic and has a track record of getting to the QB. Grade: C+
2. Tennessee Titans: DE Kevin Dodd – Pass rusher run! Dodd was one of our favorites, Shutdown Corner’s No. 14 overall player, and he has a chance to be a very good pro after breaking out last season and residing in the shadow of Shaq Lawson until the national title game. Dodd can play on his feet, has great length and is ascending. The Titans needed front-seven help. A nice start to their second day. Grade: A-
3. Dallas Cowboys: LB Jaylon Smith – Giddy up! Smith is a clear top-10 talent whose questionable knee caused forced him off some teams’ boards. But the Cowboys were willing to gamble on potential greatness here, and their team doctor performed the surgery on Smith after his Fiesta Bowl injury, so there’s a level of comfort there. Smith could be a star in this defense, either as a weakside or a middle linebacker. Figure on 2016 being a wash. This risk is significant; the payoff could be huge. Grade: C+.
4. San Diego Chargers: TE Hunter Henry – This was about as easy a pick to mock in Round 2 as there might have been. The Chargers liked what they saw in the good receiving tight end, who reminds some of Greg Olsen and could be a natural replacement for Ladarius Green this year and Antonio Gates in 2017. Henry is not a great blocker but he can stretch the seam. Grade: B-
5. Jacksonville Jaguars: LB Myles Jack – What a coup. We mocked Jack to the Jaguars for months before the injury news on his knee seemed to worsen by the day. But to trade up and score Shutdown Corner's fifth-rated player here — in addition to landing our best talent, Jalen Ramsey, on Day 1 — could be an incredible, once-a-decade type of coup. Even if Jack plays only five good years, it’s worth it. Grade: A
6. Kansas City Chiefs: DT Chris Jones – Jones has great potential, but he’s young and raw, and has some bust qualities to his game. Some weeks he looks great, others less so. But he could play almost any spot on the Chiefs’ front and could help immediately replace Mike DeVito up front. Grade: B-
7. Miami Dolphiins: CB Xavien Howard – A later riser in the draft process who has the big frame the Dolphins are seeking at such a big need of a position. Howard was sneaky good last season and might be a good fit if he’s used correctly. He’s a very physical, grabby corner, which can work against him. Grade: C+
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DL Noah Spence – The Bucs wanted to come out of this draft with a pass rusher, and they got one. Spence has bent over backward for teams to show he does not have a problem after his multiple failed drug tests at Ohio State before he was kicked out of the Big Ten. Spence lacks bulk and can be run at, but he has great pass-rush feel and talent. Grade: A-
9. New York Giants: WR Sterling Shepard – We suspected the Giants would take a receiver here, and it makes sense that they grabbed one with great potential in the slot given Victor Cruz’s unknown status. Shepard is a joy to watch, and he could be a great complement to Odell Beckham Jr. Shepard is not big, and he might never be a true game-breaker, but he’s similar to the Seahawks’ Tyler Lockett, who was an instant contributor as a rookie in 2015. Grade: B+
10. Buffalo Bills: LB Reggie Ragland – The Bills traded up aggressively (giving up a fourth-rounder this year and next year) to land a Rex Ryan-type of throwback middle linebacker. They did a lot of work on him and likely were surprised to see him still on the board. Ragland has limitations in coverage but is a superior run defender and has underrated athleticism and blitz potential. Grade: A-
11, Baltimore Ravens: DE Kamalei Correa – A classic Ravens pick of a tweener pass rusher with A+ intangibles and a hot motor. This fits in line with the type of defender GM Ozzie Newsome has found in this range in the past, and we like the fit given the talent and the need. Grade: B
12. Tennessee Titans: DT Austin Johnson – The Titans had a big need at nose tackle, and they might have found their blue-collar starter there for the next several years. He’s not flashy but is a stout run defender and has a blue-collar approach that will fit well on this unit. The linebackers behind him will be happy with how well he absorbs blocks. Like the Jack Conklin Round 1 pick, it lacks sexiness but looks effective. Grade: B-
13. Oakland Raiders: DE Jihad Ward – Wait, Al Davis is not with us, right? A classic Davis pick — just like Oakland's first-rounder, Karl Joseph — that is a gamble with equal parts upside and risk. Ward is a late bloomer with surprising athleticism who could play a number of techniques up front. Are the Raiders worried about the neck injury of Mario Edwards Jr.? We shall see. Grade: B-
14: Tennessee Titans: RB Derrick Henry – The Titans will have the past two Heisman winners on the field together in Marcus Mariota and Derrick Henry, all part of their "exotic smashmouth” offense they’re building with some intriguing pieces. DeMarco Murray is another hammer of a back, so the formula is becoming clear in Nashville: they’re going to pound the rock. You have been forewarned, AFC South. Was it a luxury pick? Perhaps, but the Titans have the extra ammo to do it. Grade: B
15. Detroit Lions: DT A'Shawn Robinson – The Lions get a force up front and a player they probably entertained as a possibility in Round 1 at some point during the pre-draft process. Some evaluators believe Robinson has a lot of work to do, but he has much tread left on his tires, has heavy hands and can battle inside. Is he ever going to be special? Tough to say. But he’ll contribute right away. Grade: B
16: New Orleans Saints: WR Michael Thomas – The need for a bigger receiver was high, so from that perspective this was a solid pick. Thomas’ arrow is pointing up, and if he’s never a true No. 1 receiver he appears to be a good fit as a complement opposite Brandin Cooks. But Thomas needs work on his blocking and his route running, two things that head coach Sean Payton harps on. Grade: B-
17. Green Bay Packers: OT Jason Spriggs – We’ll discuss the pick in a minute. Ted Thompson traded up! Stop the presses. You almost never see it, certainly not this high in the draft. He must really like the athleticism of Spriggs, who is tough and used to playing in a high-tempo passing offense. Did Thompson want to get ahead of the Bears for this pick? Another page in the rivalry. (The Bears traded the following pick to the Seahawks) Grade: A-
18. Seattle Seahawks: DT Jarran Reed – Watching a top talent tumble deep into Round 2, the Seahawks pounce, trading up into the Bears’ old spot for Reed. He’s a perfect Seahawk: powerful, mean and a bit flaky. He committed to three schools, via junior college, before landing at Alabama. The coaches there felt he needed to mature, and he did, turning into a force against the run. A good pick at a need spot for the Seahawks. Grade: A-
19. Houston Texans: G Nick Martin – Once more, the Texans slide up a short distance for a low cost to ensure they get a good fit with their pick. Expect Martin to play center, which was his primary position, although he could factor in as a guard if need be. A few other teams were monitoring Martin in this range, so the trade appears prudent. A solid, unspectacular pick, but Martin could start Day 1. Grade: B-
20. New York Jets: QB Christian Hackenberg – Wow. Our fourth QB off the board — and before Connor Cook — is a stunner, although it shouldn't be surprising the Jets took one. Still, the depth chart as it sits now is Geno Smith, Bryce Petty and Hackenberg. With Ryan Fitzpatrick very much in limbo. Hack hopefully won’t play now, but the promise might be there down the road. Wonder if Jets GM Mike Maccagnan, who came from the Texans two years ago, ever had a conversation about Hackenberg? Grade: C-
21. Atlanta Falcons: OLB Deion Jones – The Falcons wanted to add attitude and speed to their defense. They got the former with first-rounder Keanu “Kiki” Neal; they got the latter in Jones. One of the faster linebackers in the draft, Jones is extremely lean at 222 pounds (only 11 fewer than Neal, a safety) and was a one-year starter. But he can cover tight ends and backs. Grade: C+
22. Washington Redskins: OLB Su'a Cravens – It's understandable why GM Scot McCloughan would be attracted to Cravens, who is a far better football player than a tester athletically. But is he quick enough to be a strong safety? The Redskins don’t have a clear option otherwise right now, and no matter what Cravens will spend a lot of time in the box, where he’s most effective. Grade: B
23. Minnesota Vikings: CB Mackensie Alexander – Seeing him fall out of Round 1 was not stunning, but this is a bit farther than imagined. This is interesting because the Vikings have two big corners on the outside, and Alexander hasn’t played a lot in the slot. Another thing: ball skills. The next interception he gets will be his first since high school. But he’s a highly confident, physical corner who will support the run and get in receivers’ faces, no matter the size. Mike Zimmer could get the best out of him. Grade: B+
24. Cincinnati Bengals: WR Tyler Boyd – Having lost Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu in free agency, depth certainly was an issue behind A.J. Green and Brandon LaFell. But Boyd is not a burner, and speed is what this unit appears to need. Still, Boyd is a very capable chain mover and a versatile player who became a part-time running back when James Connor got hurt. Solid but not sexy. Grade: B-
25. Chicago Bears: G Cody Whitehair – Bears fans should love this blue-collar, meat-and-potatoes blocker who played left tackle last season out of need but likely has his best home inside in the NFL. Is he a right tackle, their biggest need? No. A center? A guard? It's unclear. But we love Whitehair’s durability and professionalism, even if his short arms likely will limit him against top pass rushers. Grade: B+
26. Indianapolis Colts: FS T.J. Green – Green is not universally loved by NFL scouts, and he picked a bad time to have a horrible game in the national championship, but his stock rose lately because of his size and upside. Both are very good, and this ex-WR has good ball skills that could develop in the NFL. Grade: C+
27. Pittsburgh Steelers: CB Sean Davis – This pick was better than their first-round selection of Artie Burns. Davis is a hybrid player who was great at safety in 2014 and less so at corner last season. But he’s big and athletic, and has plus hitting ability. He also could be a great special-teamer. Grade: B
28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: K Roberto Aguayo – Oh, come on. The Buccaneers traded up, giving up third- and fourth-rounders, to get a kicker — the highest one has been picked in 11 years (Mike Nugent, Jets, No. 47 in 2005). This is bad value here. Tampa has plenty of needs on offense and defense, and it did this? Awful, even if Aguayo could be very effective in the warm weather. This has the feel of the Jaguars passing up Russell Wilson in 2011 for punter Bryan Anger. Grade: D
29. New England Patriots: CB Cyrus Jones – Welcome to the draft, New England. Jones was a player often pegged to the Patriots, and he fits the mold of undersized, quick, smart, opportunistic cornerback they often seek. He doubles as a potentially excellent special teams player. Jones was one of Nick Saban’s favorite players at Bama and is likely to be one Bill Belichick likes, perhaps as a nickel back right away. Grade: B
30. New Orleans Saints: FS Von Bell – They moved up 17 picks, giving up their third- and fourth-rounders, to nab Bell in a good spot here. The Saints have big money committed to safety but also big questions about the long-term viability of Jairus Byrd and the uneven play of Kenny Vaccaro. The highly athletic Bell might be really good in two years, but he’s unrefined. Grade: C+
31. Carolina Panthers: CB James Bradberry – He can be a press corner or a safety in the NFL, and he looked great at the former at the Senior Bowl practices, where his physicality stood out. The small-school thing might worry some, but Bradberry and Jaquiski Tartt were a tremendous pair in 2014. Tough, durable player with sneaky upside, Bradberry fits the Panthers’ defense nicely. Grade: B-
32. Denver Broncos: DT Adam Gotsis – A poor man’s Derek Wolfe? Gotsis is a big, raw, physical 5-technique who grew up overseas playing Australian Rules Football. Although the game is new to him, it’s also very important to him. He was a team captain and the coaches called him the hardest worker on the roster. The Broncos helped replace their hole at end to replace Malik Jackson, but that’s a big dropoff right now. Grade: C+
1. Tennessee Titans: SS Kevin Byard – Round 3 kicks off with the first non-combine invite but a player who flashed a few times at the Senior Bowl and has good production in college. This selection feels a bit high. Byard is well put together but might not be great when asked to cover in space. The Titans have made a lot of safe picks, but this feels like a risk. Grade: C-
2. Cleveland Browns: DE Carl Nassib – A "Moneyball" pick? We doubt it. This might have been one the coaches fought hard for. Nassib has great size and very good production, and he checks every box in the character department. He will outwork almost everyone on the field. However, we feel he’s very limited athletically and will not be the stat-sheet stuffer he was in college, when he beat up on lesser competition. Grade: C
3. San Diego Chargers: C Max Tuerk – Before suffering a torn ACL last season, Tuerk was emerging as one of the nation’s better centers. But he's tall and skinny (he was at 269 last season at one point) for the position, and some scouts say he could be a tackle in the NFL. This could be a bit of a redshirt season. He’s up to almost 300 pounds now. A fascinating prospect. Grade: B
4. Dallas Cowboys: DT Maliek Collins – We like this one a lot. Collins got a bit lost in the shuffle in a deep DT class, but he is super quick and could be a terrific fit in Rod Marinelli’s system. The Cowboys didn’t just need ends; the interior has been a bit overlooked, so this could work out nicely. He’ll turn 21 this year and could have been a first-rounder had he stayed in school, but Collins has high potential. Grade: A-
5. San Francisco 49ers: CB Will Redmond -– Redmond is on the mend from a torn ACL that cut his final season in half, and he might never be a top-shelf outside corner. But he has good nickel potential and special teams value once he returns to health. A solid player who would have gone higher had he not gotten hurt. Grade: B-
6. Jacksonville Jaguars: DE Yannick Ngakoue -– The Jags are wrecking the draft. We were a little late to pick up on the hard-charging rusher who stood up as a 3-4 linebacker in 2014 and rushed from an end spot in 2015. Ngakoue has great strength and quickness but is undersized. Still, he can be a very nice nickel rusher who maximizes his snaps on third downs. Grade: B+
7. Baltimore Ravens: Bronson Kaufusi -– One of our favorite players to scout, Kaufusi is the son of the Cougars’ DL coach and holds himself to a high standard. He works hard to get into the backfield and has intriguing athleticism for a player who stands almost 6-7 and 285 pounds. He’s a 5-technique in the Ravens defense and makes a good group better. Grade: B+
8. New York Giants: FS Darian Thompson – A steal at this point, Thompson could be the Day 1 starter across from Landon Collins — and perhaps clean up some of his coverage mistakes. There is no rangier safety in the draft, and he would have gone higher had Thompson not tested so poorly at the scouting combine after food poisoning caused him to lose 8 pounds. His pro day workout was much better. The Giants like what they see. Grade: A-
9. Chicago Bears: DT Jonathan Bullard – Nice value here, getting a very good run-stopping 5-technique at this stage of the draft. Bullard can slide inside and has good pop but should not be counted on for any real pass-rush value. He could battle for a starting job with a host of incumbents who appear to be lesser fits in their scheme. Grade: B
10. Miami Dolphins: RB Kenyan Drake – Derrick Henry’s backup, whom some believe might have a better NFL career, goes to a team that needs backs. Drake has NFL speed and can catch the ball, but injuries derailed his college career. He also could be a very good kickoff returner too, taking one back in the national title game to help finish off Clemson late. Risky but interesting pick. Grade: C+
11. Kansas City Chiefs: CB KeiVarae Russell – Few teams did more work on Russell than the Chiefs, who need help with Sean Smith gone to Oakland. Russell played the 2015 season through a leg fracture, which gives you an idea how tough he is. He's confident and loquacious and could be a future starter, but his ball skills are suspect despite converting from offense in high school. Grade: B-
12. Oakland Raiders: DE Shilique Calhoun – The athletic, inconsistent Calhoun can get after the passer — but it’s too often hot and cold with him. His ability to bend the edge is admirable and he will put in the time to be great. But he could use some coaching before he's ready for a full-time role. That Raiders front, though, could be something special. Grade: B
13. Cleveland Browns: OT Shon Coleman – Coleman is an inspiring story, having beaten leukemia, and he has some talent. But he turn 25 as a rookie, lacks finesse in his game and has a knee injury that could keep him limited for the offseason program. The Browns got a physical masher and help at tackle, but he too often seeks to bury players. Grade: C+
14. Carolina Panthers: CB Daryl Worley – The Panthers grab another big, physical DB with Worley, who has some character concerns after a few run-ins in school. Against Baylor, Corey Coleman gutted Worley. But in the Panthers’ heavy zone-based scheme, he could be very good at rerouting receivers and supporting the run. Grade: C+
15. New England Patriots: G Joe Thuney – A five-position player in college with uncommon intelligence, Thuney has handled some of the best pass rushers in the country as a senior at left tackle but might be best inside. He’s an ideal fit in the Patriots’ zone-blocking scheme. One way or another, they’ll find a home for this sound blocker. Grade: B+
16. Philadelphia Eagles: G Isaac Seumalo – Two position player with decent athleticism to fit in a zone scheme, but he feels like a reach here. There were better options at both guard and center. He might develop but the underclassman tends to be a little out of control. Grade: D+
17. Buffalo Bills: DT Adolphus Washington – Rex Ryan’s fingerprints are all over this draft as that’s 3-for-3 on defense. Washington could be a multiple-technique player for the Bills, and he is light on his feet. But he also has underachieving traits and might not be fully conditioned to be much more than a rotational player at first. Grade: C+
18. Atlanta Falcons: TE Austin Hooper – The Falcons have stumbled with their picks up to this point, but they get a decent player here. Hooper is a multi-position work in progress as a blocker but has good size to be a seam receiver. He came out as a third-year sophomore, which surprised some, so he unrefined. Grade: B-
19. Indianapolis Colts: OT Le'Raven Clark – We liked Clark more than others, but the inconsistent tape doesn’t lie. He’ll have a chance to be special if he can learn better technique to handle speed. Clark has rare wingspan (36-inch arms), massive hands and could be special. He’s not close to starting, this is a good pick for down the road if he’s coached up properly. Grade: B+
20. New York Jets: OLB Jordan Jenkins – There wasn’t much separating Jenkins and No. 9 overall pick Leonard Floyd, according to a good amount of Georgia defensive tape. They’re different players, and roles had a lot to do with the production. Jenkins is a power rusher in the Jets’ system and has great length, intelligence and the ability to be a three-down player in time. Grade: A-
21. Washington Redskins: CB Kendall Fuller – His meniscus injury and microfracture surgery could keep him on the mend for a bit, and it likely caused his fall, much like it did for UCLA’s Myles Jack. But Fuller has a chance to be the best of in family, which includes three NFL brothers. His instincts and ball skills are very good, and he has a great football temperament and pedigree. Grade: B
22. Houston Texans: WR Braxton Miller – The Texans have added playmakers and speed on offense with Miller, Will Fuller and Lamar Miller, which is music to the ears of Brock Osweiler and Deandre Hopkins. Hopkins no longer must see constant tricked-up coverages, and Miller’s playmaking ability can be used sparingly until Bill O’Brien’s staff is convinced he has made enough growth as a wide receiver. Grade: B
23. Miami Dolphins: WR Leonte Carroo – The competitive, productive Carroo is attractive, but how fast will he get on the field on offense? Maybe the Kenny Stills experiment won’t work out, but DeVante Parker figures to get more run and Jarvis Landry dominates the slot, which is where some figured Carroo might be best. One way he can contribute immediately: on special teams, where he’s blocked punts. But his character risks are worrisome, especially after the Laremy Tunsil pick. Grade: C
24. Cincinnati Bengals: LB Nick Vigil – Athletic middle linebacker with incredible college production whose role in the NFL might be as a core special-teamer, and fourth or nickel linebacker. Not a pass rusher and not elite in coverage either, Vigil could be a good player but don’t expect greatness. Grade: C
25. Green Bay Packers: LB Kyler Fackrell – He’ll turn 25 as a rookie and lacks base strength. But this is a fascinating player to watch, and if he can learn to play better on his feet as he’ll have to in the Packers’ 3-4 system (assuming he’s be an outside rusher) he could be a good rotational player with his length, intensity and instincts. Grade: B-
26. Pittsburgh Steelers: DT Javon Hargrave – With short arms and a 6-1 frame, where will he fit best in the Steelers’ defense. Maybe as an end, but perhaps best as a stout, quick nose tackle. Hargrave is a fascinating study, as he dominated lower competition and once had a six-sack game against Bethune-Cookman that he didn’t even start. There might be a wake-up call when he plays against NFL linemen, but there's potential upside. Grade: B
27. Seattle Seahawks: RB C.J. Prosise – An interesting pick for a run-heavy team that just lost Marshawn Lynch to retirement. Thomas Rawls is coming off a nice rookie season, but he finished it on injured reserve, and the Seahawks like to invest mid-round picks in running back depth. With Prosise the Seahawks get a solid 220-pound back who has some room to grow. Prosise was a receiver at Notre Dame before moving to running back last season, when he averaged 6.6 yards per carry. Grade: B
28. New England Patriots: QB Jacoby Brissett – Brissett is a big, strong-armed and athletic quarterback. He needs some coaching, which makes him a fine pick for the late third round. But here's the rub: Why are the Patriots taking another quarterback? Yes, Tom Brady is getting older, and Jimmy Garoppolo will be at the end of his rookie deal before we know it, but using a top-100 pick on a player who likely won't play for a few years is odd for a team that's among this season's Super Bowl favorites. Grade: C-
29. Arizona Cardinals: CB Brandon Williams – Once upon a time, Williams was a big-time recruit at running back for Oklahoma. But he transferred schools, then positions. He moved to cornerback for the 2015 season and showed enough that he moved into the third round despite a lack of experience there. But the Cardinals will go against conventional wisdom at times, and they like having good depth at corner. Grade: C
30. Cleveland Browns: QB Cody Kessler – A bit of a surprise, partially because the Kessler pick ensured that Connor Cook was going to fall out of the second day of the draft. It's an interesting pick for a team that stocked up on picks with trades and is still looking for a quarterback of the future. Kessler isn't too impressive, considering he doesn't have an obvious strength, isn't that big and was never great at USC. Apparently the Browns see something in him though, although it's a stretch to say Kessler is the one to break through the Browns' long, tortured quarterback history and become a star. Grade: D+
31. Seattle Seahawks: TE Nick Vannett – The Seahawks need a quality blocker at the position, so this was a smart play. He has good athleticism, red zone and special teams value, and is a team-first player who got lost in the shuffle with all the talent in Columbus but never said a word about it. A nice player who will contribute in some way. Grade: B
32. Detroit Lions: C Graham Glasgow – The local product has a chance to be a scrappy, competitive pro, but some scouts felt he’s not best at center but rather guard. So that makes him a bit like Travis Swanson, the player the Lions wouldn’t mind upgrading over. And with the Lions’ recent focus on clean-sheet players, this pick is a bit out of line given Glasgow's past probation violation involving alcohol. Grade: C
33. New England Patriots: DT Vincent Valentine – An uninspiring pick. Valentine has shown flashes in college but has not dominated and passed up another year of eligibility despite an incomplete career for the Huskers that was marred by injury. He’s not laterally quick and doesn’t always maximize his power, but he has good mass that the Patriots seek inside. Grade: C-
34. Seattle Seahawks: OG Rees Odhiambo – Odhiambo might have been a top-50 pick had injuries not derailed his career. If you stack up the best tape of him and Germain Ifedi, you won’t notice a ton of variation. Odhiambo is smart, tough and powerful and can play at a number of spots — just like the Seahawks like them. They’ve had a nice little draft. Grade: B+
35. Denver Broncos: FS Justin Simmons – With some great testing numbers at the scouting combine and a great frame, Simmons is a fascinating prospect. Think former Broncos S Rahim Moore, who has started games in the NFL but also bounced around and never played at a high level. Simmons might project similarly. Grade: C
When the New England Patriots make an unusual pick, you shrug and assume Bill Belichick knows what he's doing, and Patriots fans hope it's not just another Dominique Easley reach.
But the Jacoby Brissett pick was pretty unusual.
Brissett is a talented quarterback from N.C. State. He makes sense as a third-round developmental pick, because he has good physical skills and needs some work at the NFL level. The player isn't the issue, but the team that picked him is worth noting. It's not like the Patriots aren't set at quarterback already.
That's not to say there isn't a plan, and it probably has more to do with Jimmy Garoppolo than Tom Brady. Garoppolo will be entering his third season, and he can become a free agent after the 2017 season. Although it looked like Garoppolo might be Brady's successor when the Patriots took him in the second round, it doesn't seem now like Brady will be out of gas by the 2018 season. Brady will be 39 next season but he's still among the best in the NFL.
That leads to a conundrum with Garoppolo. The Patriots might not be ready to sign him to a Brock Osweiler-type extension, so maybe they'll trade him after the 2016 season. With Brady facing a four-game suspension, the first four games could end up being a showcase for Garoppolo and potential trade partners. Then if Garoppolo gets shipped off, Brissett would presumably become the next in line for the Patriots.
For a team that should feel it's one of the few Super Bowl favorites, it's not a move that will help this season. Or maybe even next season or the season after that, for that matter. But the Patriots had a plan in mind for the pick, even if it might not materialize right away.
There's a method to the Patriots' moves, even though this one seemed like a bit of a surprise.
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Players who aren't invited to the green room at the NFL Draft decide to wait for their moment in a lot of different ways, though most of them involve friends and family and a party of some sort.
Newly-minted Carolina Panthers cornerback James Bradberry was with family, but he wasn't exactly partying when the call came in from Panthers' brass that they were making him the 62nd overall pick:
Newest Panthers CB James Bradberry was fixing his mom's toilet when he got the call from Carolina. Seriously— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) April 30, 2016
Bradberry didn't have time to fix the toilet. "It may not get fixed" now— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) April 30, 2016
Hopefully there's another, functioning, toilet in his mama's house while she waits for him to finish the job.
During his playing days, retired New England Patriots running back Kevin Faulk was renowned for his pass protection, his ability to keep defensive players away from quarterback Tom Brady.
Faulk's days of protecting Brady on the field are done, but clearly he is still protecting his friend and former teammate off the field.
On Friday night, Faulk was at the draft to announce the Patriots' third-round draft pick (all of the picks in the round were announced by franchise Walter Payton Man of the Year nominees, and Faulk was New England's in 2009), and as NFL vice president of football operations Troy Vincent introduced him, Faulk stood to Vincent's left, hands on hips, his chest puffed out.
The stance was to highlight that under his unbuttoned purple blazer Faulk was wearing a navy blue No. 12 jersey, Tom Brady's jersey, over his button-down shirt and tie. As we all well know by now, Brady has been locked in a battle with the NFL over deflate-gate, and earlier this week a federal appeals court decided to re-instate Brady's four-game suspension.
As if his choice of clothing weren't enough, Faulk took things a step further as he read the card with New England's pick printed on it.
"With the 78th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots AND Tom Brady select Joe Thuney, North Carolina State," he said.
Faulk, a second-round draft pick out of Louisiana State in 1999, the year before Bill Belichick arrived, retired after the 2011 season. He is one of three finalists for the Patriots' Hall of Fame this year.
Roberto Aguayo better be a really, really good kicker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Buccaneers have won 4, 7, 4, 2 and 6 games the past five years. There are still a lot of holes on the roster, of course. And Tampa Bay traded a third- and a fourth-round pick to acquire a second-round pick from the Kansas City Chiefs, which it used to take a kicker. Wow.
Aguayo is the fourth kicker to be drafted in the second round or higher in the past 25 drafts, according to NFL Network. Jason Hanson was a second-round pick in 1992, Sebastian Janikowski was a first-round pick in 2000, Mike Nugent was a second-round pick in 2005, and 11 years after Nugent, Aguayo joins that list. He went 59th overall. And the Buccaneers traded two picks to get it done.
Aguayo is talented. He's one of the best kicker prospects in years. He made 69-of-78 field goals at Florida State, a cool 88.5 percentage. He made all 198 extra-point attempts. He left the Seminoles as the most accurate kicker in NCAA history. He's really good. But a second-round pick could have been used on someone to protect Jameis Winston or rush the quarterback or improve the secondary. And this is a draft that's pretty deep in the second and third rounds. Aguayo would need to play at an All-Pro level for a long career to justify that pick. Perhaps he can.
The Buccaneers have a few needs, and taking a kicker so high is pretty rare. It was certainly an unexpected and interesting pick late in the second round.
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At about 8:45 p.m. ET on Friday, everyone wished the NFL draft still took place in New York City.
Oh, to see the mass reaction of New York Jets fans when their team took Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg with the 51st overall pick.
The Jets keep collecting quarterbacks, apparently hoping one of their flawed picks hits. Geno Smith didn't work out. Apparently the Jets have already given up on Bryce Petty, who was a fourth-round pick just last year. Now they have Hackenberg, one of the most polarizing prospects in the draft.
Hackenberg was promising as a freshman. That seems long ago. After that he was incredibly inaccurate and not very productive. It's amazing that Hackenberg was drafted ahead of Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook. The Jets have a lot of work to do with Hackenberg — who does have a good arm and did have that freshman success long, long ago — and they'll try to bring him along in a quarterback-starved market with an impatient fan base. Should be fun.
The pick also might affect Ryan Fitzpatrick's future. A long-term deal with Fitzpatrick would seem strange now. Would Fitzpatrick take a short deal? The two sides don't appear close on money, and maybe this will be another stumbling block.
The Jets have become adept at wasting picks on quarterbacks they discard shortly after. We'll see if Hackenberg is any different. If not the Jets fans will let the team know about it, and it won't take long before they voice their displeasure.
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No truth to the rumor, after picking Derrick Henry, that the Tennessee Titans will be trying to add Johnny Manziel, Troy Smith and Tim Tebow too.
The Titans are collecting Heisman winners, grabbing 2015 Heisman Trophy recipient Derrick Henry one year after picking 2014 Heisman winner Marcus Mariota. Henry went to the Titans in the second round, with the 45th overall pick in Friday's second round.
It seemed like the Titans had found their running back earlier this offseason. They traded for DeMarco Murray in a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles. But instead of riding the highly paid Murray, they doubled down at running back and took Henry with one of the picks they gained in the blockbuster trade with the Los Angeles Rams, when the Rams obtained the first overall pick.
Henry is an interesting prospect. He was incredibly productive against SEC competition at Alabama. He is huge, at 247 pounds, but can run the 40-yard dash in less than 4.6 seconds. But there's a reason Henry was available in the second round. His agility has been questioned, and he often goes down too easily on first contact. Many aren't sold on Henry as an NFL star. (Our Greg Cosell pointed out Henry's strengths and weaknesses here.)
So in many ways it's an interesting pick for the Titans, who need a lot of help at just about every position. it makes you wonder about Murray, who is slated to make $6 million in salary each of the next four seasons. But the Titans obviously see the positives in Henry and thought he was too good to pass up in the second round.
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Is Jerry Jones back in charge of his team's draft board? It appears he might be.
The Dallas Cowboys took Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott at No. 4 overall in Thursday's first round, a luxury pick especially when Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey, who could immediately help a weak secondary, was there for the taking.
Then on Friday night, with his team picking early in the second round, Jones and the Cowboys selected a player who won't even be in uniform in 2016, and it's unknown if he'll be available in 2017.
Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith was the team's pick at No. 34; Smith suffered a devastating injury on New Year's Day in the Fiesta Bowl, tearing his ACL and MCL and reportedly suffering damage to his peroneal nerve as well, which leads to a condition known as "drop foot". Not all players return from "drop foot."
Smith weighed in at 223 pounds at the combine. That was down 20 pounds since his surgery, according to NFL Network's Mike Mayock. Mayock also said that Smith could be a Luke Kuechly-type impact player at his best.
While it remains to be seen if Smith will return to his pre-injury level of play, his path will be managed by a very familiar face: Dr. Dan Cooper, the Cowboys' team physician, performed Smith's surgery in January, and has been overseeing his recovery ever since.
Smith, at a bowling alley with family and friends in his hometown of Ft. Wayne, Ind., was clearly emotional as he was on the phone with Dallas brass, and broke down as he embraced a woman we assume is his mother.
At least Myles Jack didn't have to wait long on Friday before he heard his name called.
The Jacksonville Jaguars ended Jack's long slide in the draft. They took the talented linebacker with the 36th overall pick.
Jack wasn't at the draft in Chicago, opting to skip it in person after sitting in the green room through the whole first round Thursday. So we don't know his reaction to the pick. It had to be an interesting one.
On one hand, Jack presumably just wanted to be selected. On the other, he had an insurance policy that would have kicked in at the 45th pick, earning him $60,000 for every pick after that according to ESPN. So Jack lost a ton of money because of his slide out of the first round, after medical reports indicated knee issues that might cause microfracture surgery, but didn't fall enough to cash in on an insurance policy.
That's all done at this point, and Jack is going to the Jaguars. What a coup for Jacksonville, which also nailed its first round pick with Florida State cornerback Jalen Ramsey at No. 5. Jack was considered by some to be a top-five talent, before the medical issues caused his fall. Who knows how long Jack's knee will hold up, but he'll be an impact player for as long as he's healthy. Jack was a supremely athletic linebacker at UCLA, and was even a productive running back when the Bruins asked him to do that. He'll be a heck of a player in Jaguars coach Gus Bradley's defense. It could turn out to be a memorable pick for an improving team.
It took a long time but Jack finally found an NFL home. He won't get first-round money, which seemed like a lock not long ago, but at least his heartbreaking draft slide is done.
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Johnny Manziel sent out a tweet just before the start of the second round of the NFL draft on Friday night.
And in a way, it rang true.
You guys act like what I'm doing is something new. I've been the same person, doing the same things since it all started.— Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) April 29, 2016
Honestly, it's hard to argue. Manziel is still the same person he was long before Cleveland drafted him.
He was constantly seen out having a good time in college, while putting together an all-time great college career at Texas A&M, and he still is. The problem now is that he's unemployed, having been cut by the Browns two years after they drafted him in the first round, with practically no hope at the moment of reviving his NFL career. Manziel has said he still wants to play, though nothing this offseason really indicates he's willing to make any changes to facilitate that.
He has rarely tweeted this year, but sent out a follow-up message to the one he sent right before the NFL draft restarted Friday (he also congratulated Texas A&M offensive lineman Germain Ifedi, who was picked in the first round Thursday).
Made plenty of mistakes along the way, and have a lot I'd do differently. To all my family and real friends who have stuck by me...THANK YOU— Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) April 29, 2016
One of the mistakes could be a domestic violence assault case that he has been indicted for. Even that didn't really change his habits though. There were photos of him watching the NFL draft in a Columbus bar on Thursday night before a Justin Bieber concert. On Twitter, Manziel challenged the manhood of a Cleveland radio/TV personality who he thought was at the bar tweeting out the photos. TMZ published a video of what it said was Manziel ordering 300 shots of Fireball whiskey for everyone at the bar.
It's a little surreal that all this is happening with Manziel this week while the NFL draft is going on. Two years ago Manziel was the most interesting figure in the NFL draft. Now he's nowhere near an NFL career.
But if you're waiting for Manziel to change, it doesn't seem that's imminent.
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While the rest of the NFL world was still in shock over Laremy Tunsil's draft-day drama, the Miami Dolphins were smiling at their good fortune.
If there was any concern over Tunsil's bong video or the Instagram hack that led to the release of text messages that appear to show Tunsil asking an Ole Miss coach for money, the Dolphins never showed it during a news conference Friday. Tunsil didn't either, because he wouldn't talk about it.
In yet another episode of Tunsil's crazy 24 hours, the Dolphins said he had an allergic reaction after spending a few hours at their facility. So Tunsil wasn't at his introductory news conference at the scheduled time on Friday. Given all the drama Tunsil has been through over the draft, it led to a lot of cynicism about the reason given for his absence.
But Tunsil showed up a little later, looking healthy, and refused to talk about the events of draft day.
"I don’t know nothing about that," Tunsil said to a question about who might have hacked his accounts. "I’m here to talk about the Miami Dolphins."
He continued that refrain when asked if the text messages were real, repeating "I'm here to talk about the Miami Dolphins." He repeated that a couple more times. He did say at one point he has "no character issues at all." A question about how crazy the previous night was met with a positive response.
"It’s been good to me, man," Tunsil said. "I’m drafted, I’m in the NFL, so I’m happy."
The Dolphins brass isn't expressing the same shock everyone else was about Tunsil's draft drama. They couldn't believe a player like Tunsil, once speculated to be a possibility for the first pick of the draft, was there for them to take at 13th overall.
"This is a guy we felt like was one of the better players in this draft class, if not the best guy," Dolphins coach Adam Gase said. "For him to fall to us at 13, it was a no-brainer."
Sometimes the amount of preparation teams put into the draft seems a little silly, but it paid off for Miami. Even though it had to seem like a long shot that Tunsil would be available to the Dolphins at No. 13, they had done their homework, including talking to former coaches about his character. And they said they knew about the now infamous video. They kept using the word "comfortable" to explain how they felt about taking Tunsil despite some red flags.
"We talked to everyone from his high school coaches, his college coaches, we met with him," Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said. "We had all the information on this player, from February on."
Grier said Thursday night that Tunsil was the second-ranked player on their board. Gase said there was no hesitation to make the pick when the Dolphins went on the clock. After the Tennessee Titans traded up to the eighth pick and passed Tunsil, Gase said, "That’s when a couple of us sat up, got a little interested." All of the preparation ultimately paid off. Dolphins executive vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum said the entire organization was on board with the pick, all the way up to owner Stephen Ross.
"When he’s there and it’s our turn, we were ready to go," Tannenbaum said.
Everyone was still talking about Tunsil and his social media problems on Friday, but none of that seemed to matter at Dolphins headquarters. Whatever has happened in Tunsil's past, the Dolphins don't think it will impact his NFL career in the future. And it might not; think back to how much time was wasted wondering if Manti Te'o would ever be accepted in an NFL locker room after his fake girlfriend madness.
The Dolphins just feel like they got a steal with the 13th pick of the draft. Maybe they did.
"There are things out there, look, I’m sure he’s going to learn from and obviously mistakes were made, but our decision was based on the player and a big body of work," Tannenbaum said. "We fell back on a great process. We felt like it was a great opportunity for us, and what he does moving forward is most important."
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We get it: you hear "NFL draft prospect" and "Twitter video" and you think the worst. But here's a case of good news captured on video.
UCLA linebacker Myles Jack slid out of the first round of the NFL draft on Thursday night, a victim of his own knee injury and skittish teams. It marked a stunning fall for a player projected as a top-10 pick or better earlier in the draft process. But the state of Jack's knee, plus his own remark earlier in the week that he could require microfracture surgery down the line, were enough to scare off every team picking in the first round.
Jack took the disappointment in stride, posting video of himself dunking on Twitter. Impressive enough on its own, but a tweet that hit a few minutes later was even more welcome, even if IT WOULD HAVE BEEN WELCOME YESTERDAY:
Dr. James Andrews, who examined Myles Jack in December, told the UCLA LB today that he does not need micro-fracture surgery.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 29, 2016
That's good news, taking the potentially devastating microfracture avenue off the table at least for the moment. It means that teams selecting Jack could end up with a steal in the second round.
Regardless, Jack has decided, according to Schefter, to skip the possibility of another lonely green room stint and will watch the proceedings from a Chicago hotel. He's also reportedly in line to cash a $5 million insurance policy for falling out of the first round due to injury, a sum that could help offset some of the millions lost by plummeting in the draft.
The teams with the first picks in the second round of the draft are, at the moment, Cleveland, Tennessee, Dallas, and San Diego, all of whom could benefit from a player of Jack's stature. His story will be one to watch, both on Friday night and for seasons to come.
Podcast: Breaking down the wildest NFL Draft day in history:
It's become tradition for recently-drafted NFL players to embrace Roger Goodell while celebrating their new fortune. Whether or not they know (or care) that the commissioner will soon become their adversary is unclear; what matters is that their NFL dreams have come true so everyone looks like a friend.
Of course, not every player hugs the same way. Some opt for a handshake that turns into a simple chest bump, others go for a rocking hug that looks like the awkward end of a middle-school dance.
Then there was Florida safety Keanu Neal, who was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night. While some might say it looks like he was waltzing with Goodell, I think it looks an awful lot like he's stopped the commissioner and is waiting for officials to deem forward progress has been halted.
Seriously, watch again as Goodell finally starts to worry about being deflated — insert Tom Brady joke! — and taps out after about 15 seconds of hugging.
Nineteen players crossed the Auditorium Theater stage in Chicago on Thursday night and all offered Goodell a hug. Neal's embrace was the longest since Deadspin started tracking the celebrations in 2012.
On the other side of the spectrum, we clocked North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz hugging Goodell for just 0.78 seconds in our unscientific study.
All in all, Goodell spent 79.18 seconds hugging players during the first round. That's one moving minute.
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So you watched Laremy Tunsil's life unfold in real time on social media, on TV and in the green room (hack, wheeze) on Thursday night, and the NFL won because of it.
It was the most exciting, bonkers and confusing first round in recent memory. Tunsil's social media disaster was a big reason for it.
What did Roger Goodell think of all this, watching the draft unfold from his holy chambers in Draft Heights? Here's an interesting quote, via ESPN, from Goodell on Friday morning:
"I think it's all part of what makes the draft so exciting. Clubs make decisions. Sometimes they take risks. Sometimes they do the right things. Sometimes they don't, and we'll see. Hopefully he is going to turn our to be a great young player."
The thing is, he's not wrong. We live for the unexpected moments, the big slides and the WTF moments. It does make the draft exciting. Tunstil was all anyone wanted to talk about on social media.
Even still, we're not sure Goodell should be saying this here. Where's the empathy for a 20-year-old kid who was digitally ambushed by someone will sinister motives?
Others, like ESPN's Jim Trotter, agree with us.
I shouldn't be, but I am amazed that the face of the NFL could be so cavalier about a low-life attempt to shame and destroy a kid.— Jim Trotter (@JimTrotter_NFL) April 29, 2016
There's no doubt about it: Tunsil was sloppy. He smoked pot in a World War II-like gas mask and recorded it to video. And he didn't erase it. For that misstep, whether it happened two years ago or earlier on draft day, he deserves to be called out for clear and unenviable stupidity.
But Goodell almost seems to be rooting for players' stupidity here. It feels very strange for the commissioner to be saying, in essence, "the NFL wins again!" but also that verbal finger wag that Goodell has become so good at unleashing.
Tunsil stands to lose as much as $10 million for his fall. Of course, to Goodell that was his post-tax quarterly income for last winter. Not a huge deal.
Podcast: Breaking down the wildest NFL draft day in history:
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Holy heaven, that was a wild NFL draft Day 1, and we're here to try to make sense of it all for you. We begin with the obvious: Laremy Tunsil, he of the gas-mask bong and the scorched-earth Instagram. What the hell happened, and what comes next? We also talk, in no particular order: Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys' big gamble, John Elway's latest lucky break, Joey Bosa and the Chargers' risk, excessive Roger Goodell bro-hugs, and oh so much more. Join us, won't you? We promise not to leak any incriminating video of you if you do.
Thanks for listening to the Grandstanding podcast with Jay Busbee and Kevin Kaduk. Hit us up on Twitter (@kevinkaduk and @jaybusbee) Facebook (Kaduk here, Busbee here) or via the hashtag #grandstanding. See you next ep!
[Music by Chris Salmon and Tobin Summerfield]