Skip to content

Rueben Randle had a first-round grade on the Giants’ board

Rueben Randle AP

When LSU receiver Rueben Randle sat in the green room through the final pick of the second round at the NFL draft, it would have been easy to suggest that the NFL screwed up by inviting Randle to the draft at all: Why was the 63rd player taken one of the 26 players brought to Radio City Music Hall?

But the Giants, who finally drafted Randle, don’t see it that way. They say they had a first-round grade on Randle and considered taking him with the 32nd overall pick.

I really didn’t think there was a chance we were going to get him,” Giants director of college scouting Marc Ross said. “He was one of those where, at the end of the night [Thursday], you said, ‘He’s going to be one of the first few guys taken at the top of the [second] round.’ It’s very surprising that he was still there.”

Ross labeled Randle “an NFL-ready receiver” and expects Randle to contribute to the Giants’ offense as a rookie. Combined with first-round running back David Wilson, the Giants drafted two guys who will make plays with the ball in their hands as rookies.

And the Giants’ draft looks solid from top to bottom: After Wilson and Randle, the picks of Virginia Tech cornerback Jayron Hosley, Cincinnati tight end Adrien Robinson, Auburn tackle Brandon Mosley, Alabama-Birmingham tackle Matt McCants and North Carolina State defensive lineman Markus Kuhn all appear to be good value where they were selected. The best team in the NFL got better over the last three days.

Permalink 68 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: New York Giants, Rumor Mill, Top Stories

Arizona sheriff releases mugshot of Donovan McNabb

McNabb

It’s unclear why a mugshot has been taken of former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb.  But a mugshot of McNabb has indeed been taken.

The mugshot also has been released publicly by the Maricopa (Arizona) County Sheriff’s Office, with no explanation of the purpose or reason for the mugshot.

It’s rare for a law enforcement agency to release a mugshot without explaining why the mugshot was taken.  But that’s precisely what has occurred.

AZFamily.com, which has posted the mugshot on its website, says that more details are coming.  The details, frankly, already should have arrived.

Permalink 1 Comment Feed for comments Back to top

Dominique Easley says he’ll be ready for OTAs

Toledo v Florida Getty Images

After his workout for NFL teams Thursday, Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley said his knee was “about 80 percent” and that he’d be ready to minicamp practices this spring.

His coach is 100 percent sure he’ll make some team very happy.

According to Jeff Barlis of ESPN.com, Easley worked out for 17 teams Thursday, showing them he was largely recovered from his second ACL tear from last September.

The fact he’s torn both ACLs will drop his draft stock, but he could still be a second-rounder. Many think his ability to rush from inside could push him even higher.

He said he’ll start seven straight days of visits to teams starting Sunday.

I felt real good out there,” Easley said. “I wanted to show them that I can move, that I still have the quickness, I still have my get-off and my tenacity in everything that I do.”

Easley has plenty of experience rehabbing, after tearing his left ACL in 2011 and then the right one last fall.

“He was very impressive,” Florida coach Will Muschamp said. “The [NFL scouts] all commented you could see what he does on tape in the workout. His competitive edge is one of his greatest talents.

“I think he’s got a great ceiling. . . .He would have been [a sure first-round pick]. It’s unfortunate, but his best football is ahead of him. I know one thing: Nobody is going to work harder than him to get it done. He’s got a great work ethic. He’s got a great competitive edge. All the intangibles are there.”

Imagine that. An SEC coach saying one of his star players has a good work ethic. Interesting concept.

Permalink 3 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Johnson’s knee nothing unusual for six-year running back

Johnson AP

An intriguing slow-day skirmish has emerged regarding the status of the knee of Jets running back Chris Johnson.  Adam Schefter of ESPN has reported that the Jets have “some concerns” about the knee, and that it contains arthritis.  Johnson has said there’s no arthritis.

Here’s what we know, from a source close to the situation.

His knee is normal, for a player who has six years in the NFL at running back.  It would look no different under close scrutiny than the knee of any other running back who has spent six years in the NFL with significant use.  He has 2,014 regular-season offensive touches, an average of 335.6 per year.

Does his knee show wear and tear?  Of course it does.  Can he play on it?  Of course he can.

If the Jets had concerns, why would they have signed him?  G.M. John Idzik is conservative, thoughtful, and deliberate.  He’s not going to roll the dice with $3 million of owner Woody Johnson’s money.

“It flies in the face of common sense,” the source said.

There were, we’re told, no alarms or red flags.  While either or both knees could keep him from spending another decade in the NFL, the NFL is a year-to-year proposition.  For the coming year, the knee is good enough for Johnson to play at a high level.  Eventually, it won’t be.

But that’s no different than any other NFL running back.

Permalink 4 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Montreal Alouettes sign Chad Johnson

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Miami Dolphins Getty Images

Chad Johnson will resume his football career in Canada.

The Montreal Alouettes said Thursday that Johnson had signed with their club, the CFL’s website reported. The Alouettes also tweeted a picture of Johnson ostensibly signing a contract with the team.

The 36-year-old Johnson participated in the Alouettes’ minicamp in Vero Beach, Florida before officially joining the CFL team. Johnson was out of football in 2013 after a summer stint with the Miami Dolphins in 2012.

Johnson spent more than a decade in the NFL, reaching stardom with Cincinnati (2001-2010). He also had a one-season run with New England (2011) before signing with Miami. The Dolphins released him after his arrest in connection with an altercation with his wife.

Johnson joins an Alouettes receiving corps which includes Duron Carter, the son of NFL Hall of Famer Cris Carter. Ex-Jets wideout David Clowney is also on the Montreal roster.

Permalink 17 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Chris Johnson disputes report of arthritis in knee

Knee Getty Images

Jets running back Chris Johnson had knee surgery earlier this year, but he nevertheless passed a physical on his way out the door in Tennessee and on his way in the door in New York.

Despite being healthy enough to play professional football, that could change in time.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Jets have “some concerns” about Johnson’s knee.  Schefter specifically reports that the knee has arthritis.  Which means that cartilage is either gone or disappearing.  Which means that Johnson could have chronic issues with the knee as his career continues.

Johnson disputed the report during his introductory conference call with the Jets.  Johnson said there’s no arthritis in his knee.

Either way, it hasn’t stopped the Jets from reportedly paying Johnson $3 million to sign.  Or from paying him another $1 million in salary this year.  But it could put a cap on the number of years that Johnson will be able to play, for the Jets or anyone.

Permalink 25 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Brian Cushing sends out word that he’s cleared

Brian Cushing AP

The Texans got some good news this week that had nothing to do with the draft.

Via Dave Zangaro of CSNHouston.com, Texans linebacker Brian Cushing tweeted out word that he’s been cleared by his doctors after his latest knee injury.

Cushing’s been limited to 12 games the last two years because of knee injuries, from his 2012 ACL team to a broken fibula and torn LCL in the same knee last year.

“I’m just looking forward to playing football again,” Cushing said on SiriusXM radio. “Getting back, playing the game I love and putting forward a full 16 games.”

Losing Cushing was just one of the things that made last season leave the rails for the Texans. But after giving him a six-year $55.6 million deal with $21 million guaranteed, they need to get some return on that investment.

 

Permalink 7 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

49ers meet with another running back

Jim Harbaugh AP

The 49ers are reportedly shopping running back LaMichael James for a trade, which seems fine with James while also opening up a spot on the roster that could possibly be filled by another back selected in the draft.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports that the 49ers met with a prospect for that spot this week when University of the Cumberlands running back Terrance Cobb was in for a visit. Cobb joins Towson’s Terrance West and Central Florida’s Storm Johnson as backs that have popped up on the 49ers’ radar recently.

Cobb struggled with injuries during his senior season at the NAIA school, but the 49ers should be able to get some extra insight into his abilities. His older brother Reggie, an ex-NFL running back, is a regional scout for the team and should have some, perhaps biased, thoughts on what his little brother will be able to do at the next level.

Frank Gore is heading into the final year of his contract, so the 49ers may be looking for another back to add to Kendall Hunter, Marcus Lattimore and Jewel Hampton as they try to figure out what their backfield will look like in 2015 and beyond.

Permalink 11 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Aaron Hernandez investigation leads to an arrest in Florida

Aaron Hernandez AP

Two of Aaron Hernandez’s alleged accomplices have been indicted in connection to Odin Lloyd’s murder in Massachusetts last year and now an arrest connected to the case has been made in Florida as well.

Oscar Hernandez Jr., who is not related to Aaron Hernandez, has been arrested on federal charges of lying to a grand jury, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering. The U.S. attorney’s office in Boston released a statement saying that the arrest was related to gun trafficking between Florida and Massachusetts and that the case is “related” to a June 17, 2013 murder in North Attleboro, Massachusetts. 

The Boston Globe reports that a source briefed on the investigation confirms that Lloyd was the victim of that murder and that the case against Hernandez Jr. is part of the ongoing effort to find the murder weapon. Hernandez Jr. is accused of lying to a grand jury and obstructing justice when he said he didn’t have anything to do with purchasing and shipping a Toyota Camry to Hernandez’s North Attleboro home. A gun was found inside the Camry, which was parked in Hernandez’s garage, when police searched the former Patriots tight end’s home.

Hernandez Jr. is also accused of trying to influence the testimony of the person he allegedly bought the Camry from in Florida and will be brought to Massachusetts to face the charges at a later date.

Permalink 12 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

LaMichael James hints that he sees a trade coming

LaMichael James AP

When news broke that the 49ers are shopping running back LaMichael James, it may have come as a surprise to some. But not to James.

Shortly after the reports surfaced of the 49ers trying to trade him, James hinted in a series of messages on Twitter that he saw it coming. His first tweet after the news broke was, “When old news become new news.” He then retweeted a series of tweets from fans saying that James would benefit from a fresh start.

So it sure sounds like James will spend 2014 somewhere other than San Francisco. That’s not a big surprise, as the 49ers gave James just 12 carries last year behind Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter, and this year they’re adding Marcus Lattimore to the mix.

The only question is where James will end up. Philadelphia is an obvious connection because Chip Kelly was James’s college coach at Oregon, but the Eagles don’t much need James, considering that they already have LeSean McCoy, Darren Sproles and Bryce Brown at running back.

Perhaps some team will like James enough as a return man to give up a late-round pick for him, but it’s also possible that the 49ers won’t be able to find anyone willing to give up anything for James.

Permalink 48 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

PFT Live: Patriots talk with Tom Curran, PFT Planet calls and tweets

Bill Belichick AP

We’re inching ever closer to the draft, which kicks off three weeks from today with the first round from New York City.

The Patriots won’t be selecting until late in the first round, assuming, of course, that they don’t trade out of the 29th spot. Tom Curran of CSN New England will join Mike Florio on Thursday’s edition of PFT Live to discuss the possibility of Bill Belichick doing that and what the Patriots might do if they wind up staying put in the spot they earned with their latest AFC East title.

Florio will ask the questions during that segment, but he’ll also be answering questions about the Patriots, the draft or anything else on your mind right now. PFT Planet can send their questions in via Twitter — @ProFootballTalk — or by giving a call to 888-237-5269 during the show. 

It all gets started at noon ET and you can watch it all live by clicking right here.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Stephen Ross likely to be once again shutout by Florida legislature

Ross Getty Images

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has been having a hard time in the Florida legislature.

Last year, his effort to procure legislation that would allow Miami-Dade County residents to vote on a potential tax increase for stadium renovations died in the Sunshine State’s lawmaking body.  This year, Ross submitted an anti-bullying bill.  As explained by Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald, it’s headed for the same fate.

The Dolphins don’t seem to be as upset about this year’s developments as they were last year, when the team claimed that Speaker of the House Will Weatherford reneged on a promise to bring the stadium proposal to the floor for a vote.

“There were some concerns that were raised to us about some aspects of the implementation,” Dolphins lobbyist Ron Book said.  “By the time we reworked it, time had just really run out.  With all the meaningful changes in law, it sometimes takes more than one year to get there. In this case, it was exactly that situation.”

The bill incorporated suggestions from researchers at NYU aimed at stopping bullying.  Ross championed the cause in the wake of the 2013 bullying scandal that rocked the franchise and the rest of the NFL.

As to the stadium situation, Ross has decided to proceed on his own.  As to the bullying proposal, there’s no viable alternative to patience.

Permalink 7 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Falcons bringing Anthony Barr in for a visit

Anthony Barr AP

Depending on who drafts him, Anthony Barr figures to play multiple roles.

So it makes sense that a defense that won’t commit to any one style is looking closely at the UCLA linebacker.

According to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Barr will visit the Falcons next Tuesday.

Barr’s most natural fit is as a 3-4 outside linebacker, and he’s shown enough in his two-year conversion from running back (23.5 sacks) to suggest he’ll be good at it as a pro. But on a recent trip to Dallas, he said they viewed him as a 4-3 defensive end.

Either way, the moves the Falcons have made this offseason suggest a lean toward more 3-4 looks under defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, with the early additions of Paul Soliai and Tyson Jackson the strongest hints. But they insist they aren’t necessarily a 3-4 defense, for whatever reason.

Barr’s ability to rush the passer will suit him wherever he lands, and the Falcons clearly need someone who can do that from any angle.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

T.J. Ward: We’re trying to be one of the best defenses in the world

T.J. Ward AP

On Wednesday, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning said that the team needed to reestablish its identity for the 2014 season after shuffling their roster in the wake of their Super Bowl loss against the Seahawks.

One of those new arrivals has a suggestion of what that new identity should look like. Safety T.J. Ward said that everybody on the defensive side of the ball is looking to “make a statement from point go, from the first preseason game” so that opponents no longer go into games against Denver worried only about the Manning-led offense.

“As good as the Broncos offense was last year, you see what happens when you get put up against a stout defense and an offense that can pretty much manage and make some plays here and there,” Ward said, via Tom Pelissero of USA Today. “We’re sending a message right now that we’re coming in not only trying to be one of the top offenses in the league, but one of the top defenses in the world and get that Super Bowl ring.”

The additions of Ward, defensive end DeMarcus Ware and cornerback Aqib Talib were designed to make the Broncos defense a more formidable unit in the coming season and a healthy return for linebacker Von Miller is another reason to think that better days are ahead on that side of the ball. Whether that changes the identity of the team from the offense-centric one of 2013 remains to be seen, but it should make the Broncos a more balanced team when they next take the field.

Permalink 14 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Jairus Byrd looks forward to getting inside Rob Ryan’s head

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots Getty Images

Jairus Byrd joined the Saints for several reasons, including the fact they paid him a lot of money.

But the former Bills safety said he was looking forward to bringing his ability to create turnovers to the creative defenses of coordinator Rob Ryan.

“To have that ability with an offense that’s gonna put up points and a stingy defense like that and exotic in the way Coach Ryan calls things, it’s unorthodox, it’s gonna keep people guessing,” Byrd said, via Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. “That combination right there was enough.”

His conversations with Ryan have been limited about his role so far, but Byrd said he could tell it’s going to be exciting.

“Yeah, definitely,” Byrd said. “Look, he has some stuff in his head that he’s gonna get out one way or the other.”

Putting Byrd next to last year’s first-round pick Kenny Vaccaro should allow Ryan to get even more creative, as he has two established playmakers in the back of his defense.

Along with a unit that outperformed every expectation a year ago, that gives Byrd plenty to look forward to.

Permalink 6 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Dominique Easley will work out today at Florida

Tennessee v Florida Getty Images

One of the more intriguing players in this year’s draft will be in the spotlight this morning, trying to convince NFL scouts he deserves a shot.

According to Jeff Barlis of ESPN.com, Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley will work out this morning, hoping to prove himself recovered from last year’s torn ACL.

Easley tore his right ACL in practice last September, giving him a matching set after tearing the left one in 2011.

While the medical issues will force him well down draft boards, he’s been a productive and explosive player in the past.

A three-year starter at Florida, the 6-foot-2, 288-pounder can be a disruptive pass-rusher, and teams will take a chance on his recovery based in part on how he looks today.

Permalink 3 Comments Feed for comments Back to top