Dolphins defensive back Will Allen has vowed to be in the starting lineup when the 2010 season begins.
Will Allen willing to move to free safety
Many in Cincinnati hoped the Bengals would draft a center to replace the current starter, Russell Bodine. The Bengals’ offensive line coach doesn’t appreciate that.
When reporters asked Bengals offensive line coach Paul Alexander whether fifth-round rookie guard Christian Westerman could move to center and earn the starting job, Alexander got angry.
“You guys are asking about the Bodine witch hunt, right?” Alexander said. “This is a young player who is playing in his third year with a bunch of veterans and very good offensive linemen and he’s the last one right now because he’s the youngest. But I don’t care what anyone else says I think Bodine is a hell of a player. That’s where I’m at on that.”
Alexander said a recent trip to the barbershop was ruined because all three barbers working there were complaining about Bodine.
“It pissed me off,” he said. “They got three Italian barbers there all yelling at each other, they are all brothers and they are getting on me about Bodine. I finally had to tell one to eff off. Jeez, I can’t even get my haircut in peace.”
It’s a shame that Gino and Enzo didn’t let Alexander get his hair cut in peace, but the questions aren’t going away. Especially if Westerman shows promise and Bodine continues to struggle.
As noted in the Sunday morning one-liners, the Patriots made Ted Karras one of their 2016 draft picks. Ted Karras is the great-nephew of former NFL great-turned-actor Alex Karras.
Did the family connection factor in to the decision? Said coach Bill Belichick when asked that question by reporters at a post-draft press conference: “No.” (Hey, at least Belichick uttered an actual word.)
As it turns out, the NFL connection to the Karras family extends well beyond Uncle Alex, who died in 2012.
“My whole family is football players and football coaches,” Ted Karras told reporters after becoming the 221st pick in the draft. “Every male in my family has played college football. I’ll be in the fifth in the NFL in my family and I’m very grateful to join that fraternity. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to play in the NFL.”
While the connection may not have attracted the Patriots to Karras, it helped Karras get ready for his chosen profession.
“A lot of them have been giving me advice my whole life,” Karras said. “We’re a tough family. We’ve all played and everyone’s an interior lineman. That’s kind of been our M.O. throughout me growing up. I knew I was going to be a lineman early and they’ve been giving me tips throughout each stage of my career and I’ve been able to deliver so far.”
In addition to Alex Karras, who played for the Lions from 1958 through 1970, Ted’s other great uncle, Lou Karras, played from 1950 through 1952. Ted’s father, also Ted, played one game as a replacement player during the 1987 strike and his grandfather, also Ted, played from 1958 through 1966.
Terron Beckham didn’t play football in college, but the combination of an impressive physique, a strong workout and family ties to the Giants’ best wide receiver were enough to get him on the radar of NFL teams in the weeks leading up to the draft.
He wasn’t eligible to be drafted, but he will get a chance to earn a longer look from the team that shares a stadium with cousin Odell’s squad. Terron Beckham told the New York Daily News that he will attend the Jets’ rookie minicamp this week and that he’s excited about the chance to show off his skills.
“I’m shaking right now, boss,” Beckham said.
It’s a long shot that Beckham, who will be working as a running back, will wind up with a roster spot. He’s got a chance, though, and couldn’t have asked for much more given the route he’s trying to take to the NFL.
The Chargers drafted eight players over the seven rounds of this year’s draft and they expanded their rookie class to 27 players by announcing they’ve reached agreement with 19 undrafted free agents.
Among the group is quarterback Mike Bercovici, who threw for 5,299 yards at Arizona State over the last two seasons. Kellen Clemens is the backup for Philip Rivers, which will likely leave Bercovici to battle with Bryn Renner for a developmental spot at the back of the depth chart or on the practice squad.
The Chargers also added a pair of teammates from Houston — running back Kenneth Farrow and safety Adrian McDonald — and a pair from West Virginia — cornerback Terrell Chestnut and linebacker Shaq Petteway — as they look for an undrafted player who can make their roster. The Chargers have had at least one in each of the last 18 seasons.
Every General Manager in the NFL loves to talk about taking the best player available, and not falling victim to reaching for certain players to fill specific needs.
So it’s natural that Panthers G.M. Dave Gettleman felt he had to explain himself, after drafting three cornerbacks among his five picks this weekend.
After drafting to one of his team’s deepest positions with defensive tackle Vernon Butler in the first, the Panthers then chose Samford cornerback James Bradberry in the second round, traded up to take West Virginia cornerback Daryl Worley in the third round and then took Oklahoma cornerback Zack Sanchez in the fifth.
Gettleman was forced to admit that after taking the franchise tag off cornerback Josh Norman, the Panthers had to adapt their philosophy to make sure they had a depth chart.
“It did. It has to,” he said, via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review. “You have to prevent position disasters.”
With Norman gone and fellow starter Bene Benwikere still recovering from last year’s broken leg, the Panthers didn’t have much to work with. They did go get nickel Brandon Boykin this offseason, but needed to add corners in bulk.
“We are very pleased, to say the least. They’re both big, they’re both long, they both can run, they’re both physical and they both have really good ball skills,” Gettleman said. “The best part of this thing, I promise you, I’m not lying, we did not reach. . . .
“Very honestly, if you told me two nights ago we were going to come out with Vernon Butler and these two corners, I would’ve been very happy. Again, I don’t feel like we reached, I know we didn’t reach. We didn’t. And I’m excited about it.”
It’s hard to tell whether Gettleman’s trying to convince us or himself, but the Panthers added the needed reinforcements in the secondary. And with the luxury of walking into the draft with so few holes on a talented roster, it was something he could afford to do to fix a shallow position, much in the same way he doubled up on defensive tackles Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short in 2013.
When the Titans owned the first overall pick in the draft, there was a lot of speculation that they’d use that pick on tackle Laremy Tunsil with designs on making him their left tackle of the future.
That didn’t happen as the Titans traded the pick to the Rams and then passed on Tunsil in favor of tackle Jack Conklin after moving back up to the eighth pick in the first round in another trade with the Browns. That decision may have been impacted by the infamous gas mask video that surfaced just before the start of the draft, but last year’s left tackle Taylor Lewan thinks it was because the team believes he’s the right man for the job.
“To me, honestly, I never thought anything of it because I know I’m not a right tackle,” Lewan said, via the Tennessean. “I’m a left tackle. I knew I was the left tackle for this team and I knew once I had the opportunity to talk to Mr. [Jon] Robinson and Coach [Mike] Mularkey that they would hear my piece and where I was from. And I respect them to the Nth degree. They’re unbelievable. An unbelievable G.M., an unbelievable coach, and I would do a lot for this team. But I know I came in here, I know my worth as a player, and I know that I’m a left tackle. So I think it’s my job now to prove that I can be more consistent this year and do those things. But as far as worrying about it and stuff like that, I never did, because I know the kind of player that I am.”
The Titans haven’t said how they’ll line up, but Conklin looks like a good fit right off the bat as the right tackle for Mularkey’s desired “exotic smashmouth” offense. The Titans picked up running back Derrick Henry and guard Sebastian Tretola to help on that front as well as they hope to build an offense that offers better support and protection for Marcus Mariota in his second season.
As the Seahawks add a class of rookie players to this year’s team, receiver Doug Baldwin has a request: Don’t give anyone the No. 24, worn by running back Marshawn Lynch.
Baldwin took to Twitter on Saturday evening after the draft concluded with a tweet directed at coach Pete Carroll, saying Lynch’s number should remain his own.
“Dear @PeteCarroll,” Baldwin’s tweet began. “We are thrilled with the new teammates. One condition. Nobody wears #24 for years to come. Sincerely, The Players.”
Dear @PeteCarroll, We are thrilled with the new teammates. One condition. Nobody wears #24 for years to come. Sincerely, The Players—
Doug Baldwin Jr (@DougBaldwinJr) April 30, 2016
It’s unclear whether Baldwin means he thinks the Seahawks should retire Lynch’s number, or whether he thinks Lynch — who still hasn’t officially retired — might change his mind and return to the Seahawks. Either way, 24 is a jersey that no rookie should wear in Seattle.
The Cowboys finally drafted a quarterback yesterday in Dak Prescott, but owner Jerry Jones was still kicking himself for the deal he didn’t make two days prior.
Via Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Jones spent part of his post-draft wrap-up lamenting the fact he wasn’t able to seal the deal for quarterback Paxton Lynch during the first round. The Cowboys were trying to make the same trade with Seattle which Denver made to get to the 26th pick for, but didn’t get it done and had to watch the Memphis quarterback head to Colorado.
“When I look back on my life, I overpaid for my big successes every time,” Jones said. “And when I tried to get a bargain, get it a little cheaper or get a better deal on it, I ended up usually either getting it and not happy I got it. Or missing it.
“And I probably should have overpaid here.”
Jones said he wasn’t able to sleep Thursday night because of it, and over coffee, realized he wished he had pulled the trigger.
“I was still mad about it,” Jones said. “Actually thought we had it done.”
He missed another opportunity when the Raiders traded a spot in front of him in the fourth to take Connor Cook, but that one didn’t create the same kind of non-buyer’s remorse.
So as excited as he might be about Prescott, Lynch will remain the one who got away.
The Dolphins focused on adding “alpha players” in the draft.
Newly drafted Patriots G Ted Karras is the great nephew of Alex Karras.
Getting after the quarterback was a theme of the Ravens draft.
LB Scooby Wright jumped in pool after finding out he was drafted by the Browns.
This year’s rookie class may be well represented on the starting Steelers defense.
No defensive ends wound up in the Texans draft class.
The Colts focused on the offensive line in the draft.
There’s more talent on the Jaguars defense, now they need to develop chemistry.
Titans General Manager Jon Robinson will be watching the waiver wire in the coming days as teams make room for rookies.
The Chiefs defended drafting WR Tyreek Hill despite his history of domestic violence.
The Raiders draft by the numbers.
Big 10 players continued to have the eye of the Chargers.
DE Charles Tapper took an unusual route to the Cowboys.
There were no offensive or defensive linemen in the Giants draft class.
The Eagles closed the draft by focusing on defense.
Wrapping up a Redskins draft that didn’t prioritize areas of need.
The Packers added to the linebacker mix with Blake Martinez.
A questioning take on the Saints drafting DT David Onyemata.
Where will K Roberto Aguayo rank among Florida State players who wound up with the Buccaneers?
A quarterback wasn’t among the players added by the Cardinals in the draft.
The Rams invested in their offense on the final day of the draft.
Defense was the early focus of the 49ers draft.
Linemen and running backs were the order of the day for the Seahawks.
The NFL has had plenty of P.R. problems in recent years. Decades ago, however, the league laid the foundation for one of the great P.R. maneuvers of all time: Making new players believe it’s an honor to not be able to pick their first employer.
Great high-school players get to pick their colleges. Great college players don’t get to pick their first NFL teams. Their NFL teams pick them, as the final, well-hyped, three-day act of a four-month job interview during which the players jockey for the privilege of being chosen.
Players have become conditioned to regard being drafted in any round as an honor, even if many of the players taken in the final round on Saturday would have been much better off to not be drafted at all. Often, players selected in the seventh round find themselves facing an uphill climb to make the 53-man roster due to the stockpiling of players at one position; in those cases, it’s better for the player to pick (through undrafted free agency) a team, a roster, and a scheme that maximizes the player’s chance of making it.
The fact that plenty of fans and former players (including one very loyal company man) react so strongly when anyone tries to peck at the outermost layer of this particular onion confirms the impact of Big Shield’s long-term Jedi mind trick regarding the idea that there’s something good and honorable about a highly-skilled worker in a specific, narrow industry having no freedom of choice to select his first professional city, workplace, supervisor, or coworkers.
The system of allowing separately-owned sports teams to calls dibs one at a time on the incoming workforce would be regarded as unfair at best, illegal at worst in any other American industry. Every year, for example, thousands of law students emerge into the workforce, with the best of them landing jobs at major law firms in large cities throughout the country (you know, the same cities where NFL teams are located). The law firms don’t get together on a national (or even local) basis and decide which lawyer goes where; each lawyer decides where he or she will live and work.
Is it an honor to be regarded as good enough to work for a major law firm that pays out a very healthy starting salary? Absolutely. Would it be an honor to be subject to a system that compels the employee to work in a city in which the employee may have no relatives, no friends, and/or no desire to live or work? No.
The fact that some of you are getting a little upset while reading this proves that the NFL has successfully conditioned everyone (well, almost everyone) to think it’s good to be drafted. But it’s critical to separate being regarded as good enough to play in the NFL from being stripped of any choice as to where those football skills will be demonstrated.
Five years ago, the antitrust lawsuit filed after the NFL Player Association disbanded and the NFL locked out the players challenged all anti-competitive aspects of the league’s rules, including the draft. Once people realized that the end result of an NFL without a unionized workforce would be no draft at all, folks lost their minds a little bit. (Including me; I guess my opinion has evolved.)
Before assuming that the NFL without a draft would create chaos (and fewer opportunities for organized booing), consider what the alternative would be. Teams would compete with each other to sign the best players — and the ability of one team to corner the market on all the best young players would be constrained by a rookie salary cap, which would limit the total amount that could be given to new players. The broader salary cap also would limit the ability of teams to stockpile high-priced players.
Instead of three days of a draft, the NFL would have a second free-agency frenzy — one that could be even more compelling than the veteran version the NFL stages every March. (Remember, the NFL once resisted tooth-and-nail the notion that players should become eligible at any point in their careers to choose their teams.) A true rookie free agency process would be much different from Big Shield’s current preference for Schadenfreude TV, but letting the teams scramble for players could ultimately be better.
The fact that it would be different freaks out everyone who either likes/loves the draft or who directly or indirectly benefits from it financially. As a result, the fact that it would be the fair and just way to truly honor the best college football players in America gets overlooked.
Especially since the NFL (and everyone else) has managed to convince kids who have been exploited for the past three or four years in college that they aren’t being exploited one last time.
Quarterback Carson Wentz hit Philadelphia for the first time since being drafted No. 2 overall on Thursday night and got a couple of other firsts out of the way in short order.
There was the first time being booed, although it seems to be the work of just a couple of overheated adult autograph seekers, and the first time being asked about Sam Bradford, who the Eagles say he’ll be sharing a quarterback room with this season. Bradford isn’t talking to the team at the moment because of Wentz’s arrival and wants to be traded, something the Eagles say they won’t do, and Wentz kept his head down when asked by Reuben Frank and Derrick Gunn of CSN Philly about the situation.
Wentz noted that Bradford’s situation and his own spot on the depth chart are “out of my control entirely” and that he plans to just compete and learn in the weeks and months to come. He also said that he doesn’t know much about Bradford because his football watching habits tilted to more accomplished practitioners of the game.
“Yeah, I’ve seen him play a little bit,” Wentz said. “Obviously I know he was a top pick and everything, not too many years ago, and obviously I know he was with the Rams and everything, and now here. But you know, I haven’t watched a ton of film on him. I watched a lot of film on guys like Brady and Manning and Rodgers, those types of things. So I don’t know as much as some of the other guys.”
We shall see how his passes look on the field, but Wentz doesn’t seem to have any problem making the jump from the FCS to the NFL in terms of throwing shade.
The Seahawks went into the draft without a quarterback other than Russell Wilson on the roster and they came out of the draft without a quarterback other than Russell Wilson on the roster.
Wilson hasn’t missed a game in his four NFL seasons, but that was still something the team was going to have to remedy before getting to the busier on-field sections of their schedule. They started doing so after the end of the draft by signing one of the more recognizable names that went unpicked over the last three days.
Former TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin announced on Twitter than he’s signed with the Seahawks. Boykin put up big numbers over the last two seasons, topping 3,500 passing yards each year while also running for 18 touchdowns and landing a spot as a Heisman finalist in 2014. He’s shorter than the ideal quarterback, but so is the guy he’ll be trying to back up.
Boykin also got arrested before the team’s bowl game in San Antonio for punching a police officer during a bar fight, something that got him suspended for the game and led to apologies and explanations at the Scouting Combine.
The Seahawks also took TCU center Joey Hunt during the sixth round of the draft, so Boykin will be able to take snaps from a familiar set of hands at Seattle’s rookie minicamp.
There’s another Gronkowski in the AFC East.
Glenn is the youngest brother in the Gronkowski family, which includes Patriots All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski as well as Dan and Chris, both of whom had short NFL careers. The Gronkowskis now join the Fullers as families with four brothers in the NFL: On Friday Washington drafted Kendall Fuller, whose brothers Corey and Kyle play in the NFL and whose oldest brother Vincent previously played in the NFL.
The only other family since the AFL-NFL merger to have four brothers in the NFL was the Browner family, with Jim, Joey, Keith and Ross, who played in the 1970s and 1980s.
Dr. David Chao, former Chargers doctor who has created a moderate media presence since leaving the NFL, could eventually be losing his license to practice medicine for good.
According to 10News.com, the Medical Board of California is seeking a meeting to discuss revoking or permanently suspending Chao’s license as a result of his treatment of deceased Hall of Famer Junior Seau.
The complaint (which accuses Chao of gross negligence, repeated negligent acts, prescribing medication without a prior examination, failure to maintain accurate and adequate records, and unprofessional conduct) alleges that Chao prescribed the sleeping aid Ambien to Seau for years, despite warning signs including insomnia and depression. Chao allegedly continued to prescribe Ambien to Seau after an October 2010 car accident that following a domestic violence incident for which Seau was arrested.
Chao previously told investigators that Seau had no “depression or any other psychological issues” during the time period that included the week preceding his May 2012 suicide.
In 2014, Chao was placed on five years probation and had his medical license revoked after he was “convicted of a crime substantially related to the practice of medicine and engaged in dishonest and corrupt acts.” Via Brent Schrotenboer of USA Today, Chao “has been dogged by malpractice lawsuits and legal issues over the years, including a public reprimand by the board for failing to disclose a drunken-driving conviction on state forms as required.”
When quarterback Robert Griffin III signed with the Browns, the Browns made it clear that Griffin would be handed nothing. He won’t even be handed the edge over third-round rookie quarterback Cody Kessler.
In response to a suggestion during a Saturday press conference that Kessler won’t pose a threat to Griffin, Browns executive V.P. of football operations Sashi Brown advised caution: “I beg to differ with that,” Brown said, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I do think Cody is a guy that I would not want to sleep on at all if I wanted to be the starting quarterback of the Browns.
“[Kessler is] going to come in serious ready to work. Robert has four years of NFL experience, is tremendously athletic and serious about becoming a starting quarterback in this league. There’s no reason he can’t, but this is going to be a competition.”
Even if Griffin has the edge, it’s smart for the Browns to create the impression that Griffin will have to compete. He arrived in Washington with the presumption that he’d be “the guy.” Now, he’s just “a guy” — and he needs to regard himself that way.
“We truly believe in competition here,” Brown said. “We’re realistic about where our roster is at that slot and we want to find a long-term answer. It’s as critical for everything we’re going to do here. We’ll give them an opportunity to compete and the best quarterback is going to start for us period. We’ll roll the ball out and see who’s the best at throwing it.”
The candidates for the starting job are Griffin, Kessler, Josh McCown, and Connor Shaw. Which means that part of the competition will consist of determining which of the four won’t be on the team come September.