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There were plenty of players left undrafted when the seventh round ended on Saturday night and nine of them are now on the Steelers roster.
The team announced the signings on Sunday. The group includes Pittsburgh tight end Scott Orndoff, who will stay in town along with college teammate James Conner after the running back was selected in the third round. The Steelers did not draft a tight end during the draft.
Two other members of their undrafted group also spent time at Pitt in college. Running back Rushel Shell, who went to high school in Hopewell, Pennsylvania, played at Pitt for a year before transferring and ending his college career at West Virginia. They also signed Pitt defensive back Terrish Webb.
Mississippi State defensive tackle Nelson Adams, West Virginia defensive tackle Christian Brown, Indiana-Pennsylvania guard Ethan Cooper, Georgia Tech defensive end Francis Kallon, Louisville linebacker Keith Kelsey and Clemson quarterback Nick Schuessler, who backed up Texans first-round pick Deshaun Watson, round out the group.
There were reports that the Jets were trying to trade defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson and safety Calvin Pryor at points during the draft, but both players remain on the roster with all seven rounds in the books.
Richardson trade talks were no surprise as the Jets also discussed moving the 2013 first-round pick before the trade deadline last season. Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports that a deal is still possible this offseason, but that his $8.1 million salary is a “sticking point” in talks with other teams.
General Manager Mike Maccagnan didn’t rule anything out when discussing Richardson on Saturday.
“Sheldon’s under contract,” Maccagnan said. “He’s part of our organization going forward. And we’ll see how things develop over time. But again, he’s under contract. Going forward that’s where we are with Sheldon. … There’s a whole offseason ahead of us here. We’ll see how it unfolds going forward.”
Maccagnan gave a similar answer about Pryor, who saw the Jets draft safeties in each of the first two rounds. Maccagnan said the team “will let this thing play itself out,” but he doesn’t see any reason they couldn’t hold onto Pryor and coach Todd Bowles used three safeties together when he was with Arizona.
“We have a bunch of packages where we play three safeties at one time,” Bowles said, via NJ.com. “We like to do that. We didn’t have the luxury last year, but we have that in our packages.”
The Jets have until Wednesday to pick up the 2018 option on Pryor’s contract, but it seems likely they’ll pass given the way the draft played out.
For a sure thing high draft pick like Myles Garrett, the decision to turn pro after three years of college football is an easy choice. For others, there are no sure things.
Of the 103 players who decided to enter the draft even though they had some NCAA eligibility remaining, 28 of them were undrafted and will now hope to catch on somewhere as undrafted free agents.
Those include some fairly well-known names from the college football world including Virginia Tech quarterback Jerod Evans, Florida State receiver Travis Rudolph, Ole Miss receiver Damore’ea Stringellow and Clemson receiver Artavis Scott.
Here’s the full list via the Associated Press:
KD Cannon, WR, Baylor
Devin Childress, WR, North Park
Jerod Evans, QB, Virginia Tech
Jeremy Faulk, DT, Garden City CC
Tarean Folston, RB, Notre Dame
Isaiah Golden, DT, McNeese State
Jermaine Grace, LB, Miami
Derrick Griffin, WR, Texas Southern
Titus Howard, DB, Slippery Rock
Tim Kimbrough, LB, Georgia
Jerome Lane, WR, Akron
Keevan Lucas, WR, Tulsa
Damien Mama, OL, USC
Deon-Tay McManus, WR, Marshall
Speedy Noil, WR, Texas A&M
Marcus Oliver, LB, Indiana
Aaron Peak, DB, Butler County CC
Devine Redding, RB, Indiana
Travis Rudolph, WR, Florida State
Artavis Scott, WR, Clemson
Ricky Seals-Jones, WR, Texas A&M
Garrett Sickels, DE, Penn State
Damore’ea Stringfellow, WR, Ole Miss
Charles Walker, DL, Oklahoma
Khari Waithe-Alexander, DE, Southern Illinois
Stanley Williams, RB, Kentucky
Joe Yearby, RB, Miami
Ishmael Zamora, WR, Baylor
As the Packers added new players during the draft, they also looked to unload one of their current players.
Green Bay was shopping backup quarterback Brett Hundley and came close to making a deal on the second day of the draft, ESPN reports. There’s no word on which teams the Packers talked to or what kinds of offers they got, but the report says the Packers still believe they can get “much more” than a fifth-round pick for the quarterback they drafted in the fifth round in 2015.
Hundley has talent but hasn’t been able to show it off much while sitting behind Aaron Rodgers. His career stat line is 2-for-10 for 17 yards, with no touchdowns and one interception. Given that he hasn’t shown much of anything, it’s unclear why the Packers think teams would be higher on him in the trade market now than they were in the draft two years ago.
Hundley has two more years remaining on his rookie contract. Joe Callahan is the only other quarterback under contract to the Packers, although they have reportedly agreed to terms with undrafted free agent Taysom Hill.
The haul of players the Browns have acquired with picks they got from Philadelphia in last year’s Carson Wentz trade is extraordinary, and it hasn’t even ended yet.
Cleveland sent the second overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft (along with a 2017 fourth-round pick) to the Eagles in exchange for Philadelphia’s first-round, third-round, and fourth-round picks in last year’s draft, Philadelphia’s first-round pick in this year’s Draft and Philadelphia’s second-round pick in next year’s NFL Draft.
With Philadelphia’s 2016 first-round pick, Cleveland traded down again and got Tennessee’s first-round pick and third-round pick, as well as Tennessee’s 2017 second-round pick. With Tennessee’s first-round pick, Cleveland chose receiver Corey Coleman. With Tennessee’s third-round pick, Cleveland chose offensive tackle Shon Coleman. With Tennessee’s 2017 second-round pick, Cleveland chose quarterback DeShone Kizer.
Cleveland packaged Philadelphia’s 2016 third-round pick and a fifth-round pick and traded them to Carolina for the Panthers’ 2016 third-, fourth- and fifth-round picks. With the third-round pick, Cleveland chose quarterback Cody Kessler. With the fourth-round pick, Cleveland chose safety Derrick Kindred. With the fifth-round pick, Cleveland chose offensive tackle Spencer Drango.
Cleveland sent Philadelphia’s 2016 fourth-round pick to Oakland for the Raiders’ fourth- and fifth-round picks. With the fourth-round pick, the Browns chose receiver Ricardo Louis. With the fifth-round pick, the Browns chose receiver Jordan Payton.
Cleveland sent Philadelphia’s 2017 first-round pick to Houston for the Texans’ first-round picks this year and next year. With the Texans’ first-round pick, the Browns selected safety Jabrill Peppers.
So the Browns now have nine players — Corey Coleman, Shon Coleman, DeShone Kizer, Cody Kessler, Derrick Kindred, Spencer Drango, Ricardo Louis, Jordan Payton, Jabrill Peppers — as well as the Texans’ first-round pick next year and the Eagles’ second-round pick next year, all for trading the opportunity to choose Wentz.
That’s an incredible haul. Also incredible is the possibility that Wentz will turn into a franchise quarterback, the Browns won’t find one, and Cleveland fans will be left wishing the Browns hadn’t made that trade.
The Bills announced that General Manager Doug Whaley has been fired early on Sunday and they confirmed more departures later in the day.
Owner Terry Pegula said that the team has also cleared out their pro and amateur scouting departments as they shift directions on the personnel side of the organization. That housecleaning includes personnel heads Jim Monos and Kelvin Fisher, but Pegula says that a decision on vice president of football administration Jim Overdorf, who has a big role in contracts, will rest with the next General Manager.
Pegula said that the team made the decision to fire Whaley and the others after he and wife Kim “ran our process” and they made the moves now because the scouting year came to an end with the draft. He also said that Whaley ran the draft, which runs counter to the perception of many that coach Sean McDermott was pulling the strings and is a bit odd given the decision they made about Whaley’s future with the organization.
Whaley took over as Buffalo’s G.M. in 2013 before the Pegulas bought the team so this will be their first hire for the position.
Jabrill Peppers became the first Michigan player drafted this year when the Browns made him the 25th overall pick on Thursday night. He’d have plenty of company by the time the seventh round came to an end.
Michigan had 11 players selected in the draft, which was more than any other school and a record for Michigan in a single draft. Alabama had 10 players taken and had four first-round picks to two (Taco Charlton went to Dallas) for Michigan. The University of Miami was third with nine players while Florida, LSU and Utah all had eight players selected.
The Wolverines have seen their fortunes on the field change for the better since Jim Harbaugh returned to his alma mater as head coach before the 2015 season, something that obviously caught the eye of NFL talent evaluators.
The Seahawks took two of the Michigan players in the third round — safety Delano Hill and wide receiver Amara Darboh — and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll praised the job Harbaugh’s done in Ann Arbor, leading to laughs from reporters and General Manager John Schneider to ask the coach “What’s your deal?” in reference to past bad blood with the former 49ers coach.
Harbaugh’s coaching certainly helped these players, but he’s not the only coach who had a hand in developing the group. They were recruited by Brady Hoke before Harbaugh arrived and their success is one of the few parts of Hoke’s tenure that will be remembered fondly.
John Elway and Jim Kelly were both first-round picks in the 1983 NFL Draft and they reconnected during this year’s draft, although it was much later in the process.
Elway called Kelly as part of his role as the Broncos General Manager in order to ask Kelly about his nephew Chad, who dealt with off-field issues and injuries during a college career that also featured some strong quarterback play at Ole Miss. The younger Kelly got a plug from his uncle that helped Elway decide to use the final pick of the 2017 draft on the quarterback.
“I called his uncle, and he said, ‘He’s a good kid,'” Elway said, via ESPN.com. “I said, ‘OK, that’s all I need.’ I trust Jim with that. Obviously, there’s been some history there, but we felt comfortable. Chad understands what he’s been through and is ready to take this step and realizes the step that he’s taken is different than when he was in college. We’re full of confidence that Chad’s going to be able to come up here and understand the situation he’s in.”
Elway said the vetting process went beyond talking to Uncle Jim and coach Vance Joseph said he’s confident that Kelly has learned from past “childish mistakes.”
A different review may have pushed the Broncos in a different direction, which would have left Kelly to weigh offers to sign as an undrafted free agent. That could have led to better odds of making a 53-man roster, although Joseph also said Kelly was his favorite quarterback in this year’s draft so Denver might have been the best spot under any circumstances.
The Lions had one of the NFL’s worst rushing attacks last season, and it was a surprise to some that they didn’t try to upgrade by drafting a running back. But General Manager Bob Quinn says he’s confident in the top running back he has.
Quinn confirmed after the draft that Ameer Abdullah is the Lions’ starter. Abdullah was off to a promising start last season before he was lost for the year with a foot injury in Week Two, and the Lions think the key is getting Abdullah back and healthy, not getting someone else to replace him.
Between Abdullah and Theo Riddick the Lions think they have a good 1-2 punch, with Zach Zenner and Dwayne Washington likely the other two running backs to make the 53-man roster and Mike Burton at fullback. Quinn doesn’t think they need much more than that.
“There were a couple running backs we looked at in the middle part of the draft but no one that we felt was really going to come in and really unseat any of the guys we have on our roster,” Quinn said. “It’s a tough balance, but I think Ameer’s injury last year was sort of a fluke thing. He’s back 100 percent. Theo’s dealing with a few things, but we think he’s ready to go, too. You can’t carry 10 running backs. You’ve got 90 guys on the roster, and you’ve got to split them up as best as you see fit.”
What Quinn sees is a roster that already has enough players at a position that has been increasingly devalued in the NFL in recent years. He’s not interested in expending any more draft capital there.
Linebacker Ben Boulware played college football at Clemson, which isn’t too far from where he’ll get his chance to make it in the NFL.
The Panthers announced that they have signed Boulware, who was not selected over the three days of the draft despite being named the Jack Lambert Award winner as the nation’s top linebacker. Boulware had 113 tackles for the national champions last season.
“He’s instinctive. He’s tough. He will tag your fanny,” General Manager Dave Gettleman said. “He’s smart. He’s all the stuff we’re looking for.”
The Panthers also announced the addition of wide receiver Fred Ross. Ross caught 12 touchdowns for Mississippi State last season and finished his college career as the school’s leader in catches and receiving yards.
Draft weekend made it clear how much power coach Sean McDermott has with the Bills.
The Dolphins draft had more steadiness than sizzle.
The Patriots drafted another defensive lineman from Arkansas.
Trading down was the theme of the final two days of the draft for the Jets.
The Ravens passed on drafting a wide receiver.
Browns DT Larry Ogunjobi is the first player drafted from UNC-Charlotte.
LS Colin Holba was surprised to learn the Steelers drafted him in the sixth round.
Said Texans G.M. Rick Smith, “I think our football team is better. If there’s a theme about this group, there is a leadership and production throughout the class along with some accomplishment throughout the class.”
Is Marlon Mack a future starter at running back for the Colts?
A fast combine time didn’t help CB Jalen Myrick get drafted until the Jaguars called late on Saturday.
The Titans made three trades on the final day of the draft.
The Broncos made three picks they think will add speed to their offense in 2017.
Having a professional athlete for a father helped mold Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes.
Raiders T David Sharpe denied reports that he’s legally blind in one eye.L
Channing Tatum gets Cowboys WR Ryan Switzer in the mood to play football.
Giants DE Avery Moss was arrested for public indecency while playing for Nebraska in 2014.
The Eagles expect WR Mack Hollins to make an immediate impact on special teams.
Robert Davis is the third tall wide receiver the Redskins have added this offseason.
Bears RB Tarik Cohen was nicknamed “The Human Joystick” while at North Carolina A&T.
The Lions stayed local by drafting DE Pat O’Connor out of Eastern Michigan with their final pick.
LB Vince Biegel went from Packers fan to Packers player this weekend.
Said RB Brian Hill after being drafted in the fifth round by the Falcons, “We know they had two good running backs and didn’t think they were shopping for a running back, but I’m grateful that they were.”
Will the Saints be shopping for a veteran corner?
DT Stevie Tu’ikolovatu is the oldest draft pick in Buccaneers history.
There was a lot of talk about quarterbacks before the draft, but the Cardinals didn’t pick one.
The Rams didn’t draft any offensive linemen.
Colts defensive tackle David Parry reached a plea deal in Arizona to resolve some of the charges he faced as a result of stealing a golf cart after hitting the driver earlier this year.
The Indianapolis Star reports Parry pleaded guilty to attempted unlawful means of transportation, a low-level felony charge, and disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor, last week. He will avoid jail time and find out how long he’ll be on probation in late May. He still faces a DUI charge — the golf cart was legal for street use — in a different court.
Parry is also eligible for league discipline and players with DUI charges generally face two-game suspensions absent extenuating circumstances.
Parry has started every game for the Colts the last two seasons, but the additions of Johnathan Hankins, Margus Hunt and fourth-round pick Grover Stewart could mean a different direction on the defensive line in Indianapolis.
Doug Whaley is done.
Whaley, the Bills G.M. who had reportedly been on thin ice all offseason, was officially fired early Sunday morning.
“After a thorough review of our football operations over the past several months, Kim and I informed Doug this morning that we will be moving in a new direction,” Bills owner Terry Pegula said in a statement. “We have enjoyed working with Doug. He is a good person and we want to thank him for his work and commitment to our football team. This was my decision. It was not an easy decision but I believe it’s the right one for the future of the Buffalo Bills. Our search for a new general manager will begin immediately.”
Almost immediately after the Bills hired head coach Sean McDermott, there was talk coming out of Buffalo that McDermott and Whaley didn’t see eye to eye, and that Pegula sided with McDermott when the two disagreed. Pegula reportedly gave McDermott control of the draft, and now that the draft is over, Whaley is out.
The Packers went into the third day of the draft with three running backs on the 90-man roster.
They ended it with twice as many after drafting three running backs in the final four rounds. They took BYU’s Jamaal Williams in the fourth round, Texas-El Paso’s Aaron Jones in the fifth and Utah State’s Devante Mays in the seventh to increase their backfield options for the 2017 season.
For now, though, those players are only options for the No. 2 job on the depth chart. Packers coach Mike McCarthy said on Saturday that Ty Montgomery remains the starter after making the permanent move from wide receiver last season.
“Absolutely, [Montgomery] is our starting running back,” McCarthy said, via the Wisconsin State Journal. “The goal is to have the most competitive 90-man roster as you possibly can and you want that competition as high as it possibly can be in each position room. We obviously had some positions where numbers were not very high, and now after these three days, I think we have a competitive roster — a very competitive roster.”
Montgomery only carried the ball more than 10 times in a game three times last season and while that will likely change now that he’s working exclusively out of the backfield, he’s unlikely to turn into a one-man band in the backfield. That will leave room for the newcomers to contribute if they prove to be more intriguing options than Christine Michael or Don Jackson.
The Bears started the draft weekend with a major surprise, but wrapped up business Sunday with something that was clearly #asexpected.
The Bears didn’t seem thrilled with Fuller’s efforts to come back last year, when the window was open for him to be activated from IR. Now, it’s reasonable to wonder how long he hangs around at all.