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Lovie Smith, Brandon Marshall support any decision Charles Tillman makes


Bears cornerback Charles Tillman is hoping that his wife doesn’t go into labor until Monday, but he said in a radio interview on Wednesday that he would miss the Bears’ Sunday night game against the Texans if he needed to be at the hospital with his wife.

Tillman said that family was his first priority, something driven home when one of his other daughters was born with a rare heart condition. Mike Florio of PFT and others have taken issue with Tillman’s stance, but that group does not include Tillman’s coach or one of his teammates.

“It’s family first,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said, via Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times. “If there is something you feel like you need to do for your family always do that. How we look at it is like an injury. If a player can’t go, it’s next guy up. We’ll keep going.”

“It’s take care of your family. We understand how things are run around here,” wide receiver Brandon Marshall said. “This is a special group. Coach Smith is a special guy, definitely in how he runs things, and … you take on the character of your leader. That’s what he preaches — family comes first.”

You can’t really preach the importance of family and then say that Sundays are a different story. If the Bears are okay with Tillman missing the game and Tillman is okay with missing the game, it’s hard to imagine there’s much more of a story here regardless of the decision that Tillman makes.

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Rams add Cooper Kupp

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The Rams are adding weapons for Jared Goff and Sean McVay.

After taking a tight end in round two, the Rams have added a receiver in the third round, nabbing Eastern Washington’s Cooper Kupp.

Primarily a slot receiver, Kupp’s arrival creates an intriguing situation as it relates to Tavon Austin, the eighth overall pick in the 2013 draft who received a second contract last year but who has still not really become what they hoped he’d be.

Kupp could transition to the outside at the next level, with Austin on the inside. However it plays out, the Rams are adding pass catchers and playmakers as they prepare to go head to head with the Chargers in Los Angeles.

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Saints continue to add to backfield with Alvin Kamara

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The Saints already had a 1,000-yard back, and then they went and signed a former MVP and future Hall-of-Famer.

So naturally, they drafted another running back.

The Saints traded up to the 67th overall pick in the third round to take Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara.

He didn’t get regular work in college, but he was a big-play threat, averaging 6.5 yards per carry last year. He’s also a solid pass-catcher, and gives them a different element than either Mark Ingram or Adrian Peterson.

The Saints like using multiple backs, and they’ve now reloaded significantly.

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Marvin Lewis: We felt we could move forward with Joe Mixon

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The Bengals brought one of the bigger storylines of the second round of the NFL draft to an end when they drafted Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon with the 48th overall pick.

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis acknowledged that the 2014 video of Mixon punching a woman is repellant — “I don’t know who isn’t disgusted at what they saw,” Lewis said at a press conference Friday night.” — but said that the team’s research into Mixon during the pre-draft process and the settlement he came to with the woman left them feeling comfortable about bringing him to Cincinnati.

“We’ve done such a lot of work regarding Joe Mixon, throughout the entire process this year and based on all the time, all the research, we felt that we can continue to move forward,” Lewis said, via the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Joe’s situation kind of came to a settlement in all ways this week, which also led us to feel better about the opportunity here to move forward. We have done all our due diligence we could do, time spent, interviewing people, everybody around him, everybody around his background, people that have coached at Oklahoma with insight regarding him and how he has carried himself since that day.”

Mixon will be scrutinized on and off the field in Cincinnati, something that he and the team should already be well aware of and something they’ll likely continue to deal with for some time given how big of a story Mixon’s assault became in the last few months.

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JuJu Smith-Schuster is a Steeler

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It’s time for virtual JuJu Smith-Schuster to change teams again.

The former USC receiver, an emotional and competitive player who will instantly fit with the mindset of Pittsburgh, has become the newest member of the Steelers.

He arrives via the 62nd pick, near the bottom of round two. And he could instantly boost a depth chart that consistently features plenty of impact players, especially with the conditional reinstatement of Martavis Bryant.

During a recent visit to PFT Live, Smith-Schuster said the Rams and Cowboys showed the most pre-draft interest in him. After creating a player based on himself in Madden, he joined the Bills before obtaining a release and signing with the Raiders.

The real Smith-Schuster is now a Steeler, and once upon a time the Steelers found a receiver from USC who did great things for the team, in Super Bowl X and elsewhere.

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Cowboys take CB Chidobe Awuzie in round two

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The Cowboys continue to address the exodus that damaged the defense in free agency.

After taking pass rusher Taco Charlton in round one, the Cowboys replaced Brandon Carr and/or Morris Claiborne by selecting Colorado cornerback Chidobe Awuzie in round two.

The Cowboys will need Awuzie to compete for playing time right away, along with pretty much every other defensive player they pick.

Nearly all of the pre-draft visits conducted by the Cowboys were defensive players. Look for more of the same over the rest of the draft.

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Mixon pick creates crowded backfield in Cincinnati

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Setting aside the biggest issues arising from the Bengals’ decision to draft running back Joe Mixon, the team has now added a third second-round tailback to the depth chart.

Gio Bernard arrived via the second round in 2013. The following year, the Bengals used a second-round pick on Jeremy Hill. With Mixon now on the team, who gets the short straw?

Bernard, who tore an ACL late last season, already has received a $1 million roster bonus for 2017. He has a cap charge of more than $3.6 million this year.

Hill enters the final year of his rookie contract. He has averaged fewer than four yards per carry in each of the two years since his rookie season that featured 5.1 yards per attempt. He could be vulnerable to a trade or, possibly, an outright release. Either move would entail a cap charge of only $262,000.

It makes more sense for Mixon to supplant Hill, given their comparable styles. Regardless, it’s hard to imagine the Bengals keeping all three guys in 2017.

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Browns get a quarterback, draft DeShone Kizer

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After passing on quarterbacks three times in the first round, the Browns drafted a quarterback in the second round.

Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer went to Cleveland with the 52nd overall pick.

The Browns had three first-round picks but eschewed quarterbacks with all three, but tonight they decided to grab Kizer, a physically impressive quarterback who still has a lot of work to do in developing as an NFL-caliber passer.

Kizer joins Cody Kessler, last year’s third-round pick, in the Browns’ quarterback room. Cleveland also has Brock Osweiler and Kevin Hogan under contract, and the Browns have said that Osweiler will get a chance to start, although he was acquired mostly because the Texans gave the Browns a second-round pick to take his contract off their hands.

Although Kizer probably won’t start over Kessler at first, he’ll surely be given an opportunity to win the starting job at some point during the season. Whether he’s the Browns’ quarterback of the future remains to be seen, but he’s probably the most talented player they have at the most important position in football.

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Ashland tight end Adam Shaheen goes to Bears at No. 45

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The Bears traded up and took a quarterback in the first round and followed that up by trading down to take a tight end in the second round.

Their choice comes with an unusual pedigree for a second-round pick. Adam Shaheen played at Division II Ashland after starting his college career as a basketball player and dominated over the last two seasons. He’s big at 6’6″ and 278 pounds, but ran well at the combine and drew a lot of interest during the pre-draft process.

He’ll now be making a big leap in competition and there will surely be some growing pains as he finds himself lined up against NFL players. Should he grow as a result, the Bears could have a very useful weapon to go with first-round pick Mitchell Trubisky and 2016 rookie running back Jordan Howard in their offense of the future.

There’s a flip side to that happy ending, of course, but Bears General Manager Ryan Pace is betting that his offensive picks will be part of the foundation of better results in Chicago.

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Bengals draft Joe Mixon

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The most controversial player in the 2017 NFL draft is off the board.

With the 48th overall pick, the Cincinnati Bengals selected Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon.

Although he had first-round talent, many teams took Mixon off their boards entirely because of the ugly incident in 2014 when he punched a fellow Oklahoma student, breaking bones in her face. When video of that punch was released late last year, some people thought Mixon wouldn’t be drafted at all.

But talent wins out in the NFL, and the Bengals have a reputation for looking past players’ off-field troubles when the players can help on the field. And there’s little doubt that Mixon can help on the field.

With John Ross yesterday and Mixon today, the Bengals have added a lot of playmaking talent to their offense. With Mixon, however, they’ve also added a potential source of controversy. This pick will be heavily scrutinized.

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Colts take cornerback Quincy Wilson with the 46th pick

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New Colts General Manager Chris Ballard had a big task in front on him when he took over this offseason, and he’s starting at the back of the defense and working forward.

The Colts took Florida safety Quincy Wilson with the 46th pick, adding to the rebuild of the secondary.

They took Ohio State safety Malik Hooker in the first round last night, a shot of talent to a unit that really needed it.

Wilson gives them a big, physical cornerback, which they needed back there with Vontae Davis.

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Rams finally pick, take tight end Gerald Everett

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The L.A. Rams didn’t have a first-round pick, and they traded pick No. 37 to the Bills. Now, with the 44th overall selection, the Rams have made a selection.

The selection is South Alabama tight end Gerald Everett.

He becomes the fourth tight end taken in the 2017 draft; the position is regarded as very deep this year.

Like many pass-catching tight ends, the knock on Everett is his blocking ability. But that’s why teams tend to have two tight ends.

Everett has drawn immediate comparisons to Washington tight end Jordan Reed, a guy new Rams coach Sean McVay helped develop before getting his own team.

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Eagles grab Sidney Jones to loud cheers

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Washington cornerback Sidney Jones might have gone in the first round of the draft if he hadn’t torn his Achilles tendon during his pro day workout this spring.

Jones did tear it, though, and had to wait to hear his name called until the 43rd overall pick. When he did, he got to hear it called by a Gold Star mom to the Philadelphia crowd that turned out on Friday night. The crowd then sang “Fly, Eagles, Fly,” so it was a memorable way for Jones to enter the league.

Jones is expected to be able to play at some point this season, but is a likely candidate for the PUP list to start the year. That would keep him out of action for at least six weeks, although Jones’ play at Washington provided plenty of reason to bet that the wait will be worth it when Jones does get on the field.

If it is, the Eagles will likely have one of the biggest steals in this year’s draft and a big upgrade in their cornerback group.

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Vikings trade up to take Dalvin Cook 41st overall

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The Vikings moved on from Adrian Peterson this offseason, and knew they needed a running back.

So they traded in front of the Eagles, and took Florida State running back Dalvin Cook with the 41st overall pick. They traded with the Bengals to get there.

Cook was tremendously productive in college, but his athletic testing numbers didn’t measure up to some of the other backs in the class, and there were concerns about his ball security and some off-field concerns.

But the Vikings added back who has made plenty of big plays, at a time when they desperately needed one.

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Bills now not expected to pick up Sammy Watkins option

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After giving up a bounty of picks to draft Sammy Watkins in 2014, the Bills are prepared to let him test free agency in 2018.

Buffalo is not expected to pick up the fifth-year option on Watkins’ rookie contract, Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News reports. That means Watkins becomes a free agent after the upcoming season.

Watkins is recovering from foot surgery, and fifth-year options are guaranteed for injury. So the decision not to pick up the option indicates that the Bills aren’t so sure Watkins will stay healthy, and they don’t want to give him the $13.3 million injury guarantee that comes with a fifth-year option.

It’s also worth noting that the news broke immediately after the Bills drafted receiver Zay Jones. Buffalo may think Jones makes Watkins expendable.

In any event, it’s a major disappointment for the Bills that they may get only four years out of Watkins after using two first-round picks and a fourth-round pick to move up and draft him three years ago. When you make a move like that, you think you’re going to draft a player who will change your franchise’s fortunes. Watkins, as talented as he is, hasn’t done that.

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Chargers love Lamp

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Yeah I said it.

The L.A. Chargers, whose helmets carry an electrical charge logo, have plugged in to guard Forrest Lamp in the second round of the draft.

Lamp, who already has a lamp deal, slid into round two after plenty of chatter about the possibility of being a first-round pick.

He helps fill a clear need for a team that hopes to get more out of its offense. To do that, the offensive line must be solid.

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