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Three picks for Ryan

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Matty Ice is living up to his nickname.

As Jean Paul Jean-Paul would say, “That son of a bitch is ice cold.”

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has thrown three first-quarter interceptions against the Cardinals.  The most recent has given Arizona the ball in the red zone, but the Falcons held and the Cardinals added another field goal.

The Cards now lead 13-0.

Ryan also had three picks in Week Six against the Raiders, but the Falcons found a way to win it.  They’ll need to find a way again, or that 8-0 start will be 8-2.

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Look for Jarrad Davis to be gone by pick No. 22

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If linebacker Jarrad Davis is still on the board when the Dolphins go on the clock, chances are Davis won’t be on the board much longer. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the floor for Davis is believed to be pick No. 22, Miami.

The ceiling isn’t quite clear. The 2017 PFT Worst Mock Draft Ever has Davis going to Washington at No. 17. The Lions at No. 21 also are a possibility.

Davis, who played at Florida, is expected to compete immediately for the starting job as an outside linebacker in a 4-3 scheme.

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Deshaun Watson: Mitchell Trubisky over me would be a slap in the face

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Former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson will not be happy if he’s not the first quarterback drafted tonight.

Watson says that if North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky is the first quarterback off the board, he’ll take it as a personal affront.

“It’s like a slap in the face, to be honest,” Watson told Josina Anderson of ESPN. “You see all the things I’ve accomplished, it’s a long list, and they want to talk about the little negatives I have and bring somebody else up? It’s a little disrespectful.”

No one would dispute that Watson had the superior college career to Trubisky, but some would argue that Trubisky has more of the tools that NFL teams look for in pro-style passers. That’s not necessarily a knock on Watson, but if he takes it that way, it’s hard to blame him.

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Cowboys make sense for Gareon Conley, for one specific reason

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The sudden cloud that emerged over cornerback Gareon Conley’s draft stock earlier this week seemed to instantly knock him out of round one. As the hours have passed, however, teams have had time to learn more about the situation. Most have the resources to talk to the witnesses and/or to have off-the-record conversations with law enforcement in Cleveland to find out what’s really going on.

Still, the risk for any team that considers Conley in round one, where he definitely would have been drafted but for this incident, flows from the possibility that he’ll eventually be charged with rape. If that happens, the G.M. that made the recommendation to ownership would instantly have a major, major problem.

Except in Dallas, where the G.M. and the owner are the same person.

It should surprise no one if the Cowboys put Conley’s name on a draft card tonight. Jerry Jones is riding a wave of acclimations and influence, a Hall of Famer and a relocation dealmaker who has been dubbed the “shadow commissioner” by ESPN The Magazine. The dice have been fairly hot for him lately, starting with the chance he took two years ago on La’El Collins as an undrafted free agent.

OK, it hasn’t been an unblemished run. Greg Hardy was a mistake, as was Randy Gregory. But Jones has the urgency to get back to the Super Bowl and win it with a team he can claim credit for building (even if others in the building and/or family deserve a lot of the credit, too), and if Jones can get a guy who would have been gone by the middle of the round at No. 28, that’s a major bonus.

Given that the team had two key cornerbacks leave during free agency (along with other defensive defections), the need is there. And the fear of repercussions won’t be, because Jones the owner ain’t firing Jones the G.M., no matter what.

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Gareon Conley to give DNA sample, interview with police Monday

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Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley will speak to Cleveland police about the sexual assault allegations made against him on Monday.

That was the word from Conley’s attorney Kevin Spellacy on Thursday, a few hours ahead of the start of the first round of the NFL Draft. Conley, who has not been charged with any crime, was considered to be a likely pick during that round before the allegations surfaced, but the uncertainty could leave him on the board until Friday.

Spellacy also told Cleveland.com that his client will provide a DNA sample to authorities and that he is trying to get video footage from the hotel where the alleged incident took place. Conley called the allegations “untrue, wrongful and malicious” in a statement released on Wednesday.

Conley was initially scheduled to attend the draft in Philadelphia, but changed those plans after the allegations went public earlier this week.

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Report: Browns will pick Myles Garrett first overall

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With the first overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns will select Myles Garrett, defensive end from Texas A&M.

That’s the word from Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, who reports that the Browns’ decision makers had one last meeting this afternoon and solidified the decision to draft Garrett.

Garrett has been the favorite to be the first overall pick for months, but in the last couple of days a slew of reports have suggested that the Browns could go with North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky instead.

It’s still possible that Trubisky could land in Cleveland, as the Browns also own the 12th overall pick and might move up to get the quarterback they want. But with the first pick, they’re going with Garrett, just as everyone thought they would all along.

And with that, the San Francisco 49ers are on the clock at No. 2.

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Cowboys waive suspended wideout Shaquelle Evans

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Wide receiver Shaquelle Evans will serve a four-game suspension to start the 2017 season, but he won’t have a chance to show the Cowboys he’s worth keeping around until he’s eligible to play.

The Cowboys announced Thursday that they have waived Evans off of their 90-man roster. The league announced Evans was suspended for violating the substance-abuse policy last Friday.

Evans was drafted by the Jets in the fourth round of the 2014 draft, but spent his rookie year on injured reserve and was waived coming out of the preseason in 2015. He spent time on the Jaguars and Patriots practice squads before landing with the Cowboys and has never seen any regular season action.

The Cowboys already had enough space on their roster to fit in all of their draft picks, but Evans’ departure opens up a spot they can fill with an undrafted free agent when that signing frenzy takes place after the end of the seventh round on Saturday.

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Cowboys still showing interest in Gareon Conley

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Two years ago, the Cowboys signed La’El Collins after he fell all the way from the first round to undrafted when he was falsely suspected of being involved in the murder of his ex-girlfriend. Now the Cowboys may think they can get another bargain on a prospect who is under criminal investigation.

The Cowboys are still showing interest in Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley and called him yesterday, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today. Conley previously took a pre-draft visit to Dallas.

Conley, the Ohio State cornerback who was expected to be drafted in the first round, was named this week as a suspect in a rape investigation. He has professed his innocence and has not been charged.

Unlike Collins, Conley is still expected to be drafted, and there is still an outside chance he could be drafted tonight.

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Report: Falcons could trade up in first round

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We’ve heard a lot this week about teams drafting early that would like to trade down in the first round and the lack of interest from buyers, but there are some teams that are reportedly open to such a move.

The Broncos are reportedly looking to move up from No. 20 and the 2016 NFC champions may be joining them in that pursuit. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the Falcons are “plotting a potential move” during the first round on Thursday.

Any move up wouldn’t be done just for the sake of picking earlier in the process, so any deal will almost certainly be contingent on a player the Falcons want being available at the right spot. It’s not clear who that player would be, but pass rusher and guard would be two spots where an addition would make sense.

Unless they are planning something similar to the trade that netted them the pick they used to select Julio Jones, that would seem likely to be somewhere near the end of the round as moving way up from No. 31 would cost Atlanta a lot.

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Report: Broncos looking to trade up

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At a time when plenty of teams in the first round would like to trade down, there’s not an overabundance looking to trade up. One franchise exploring it, according to Adam “Stella Liebeck” Schefter of ESPN is the Broncos.

Denver currently sits at No. 20. If they’re looking to move up, it’s not because they generally want a higher position; it’s because they have a specific player or two in mind.

One could be local product Christian McCaffrey, the son of former Broncos receiver Ed. Earlier this week, Broncos G.M. John Elway laughed off the team’s pre-draft meeting with McCaffrey.

“He was close and it was free,” Elway said, laughing. “And we wanted to meet with him. He’s a great kid. We like Christian a lot and we wanted to bring him in. It was one of those [where] he was in the area, so we wanted to take advantage of that to get to see him again. He’s a great kid.”

With McCaffrey expected to go between No. 5 and No. 15, the Broncos could possibly get him without having to go up very far.

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Carson Wentz had laser eye surgery

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Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz should be able to see downfield better this season.

Wentz revealed that he had laser eye surgery this offseason after playing with contact lenses during his rookie year.

“I had PRK done, so it was very helpful,” Wentz said on WIP. “It’s pretty cool to wake up in the morning and not have to throw contacts in. It’s been very beneficial.”

Wentz isn’t the only NFC East quarterback who’s had laser eye surgery. Washington’s Kirk Cousins said the surgery left him with vision that was better than 20/20.

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Morgan Moses signs five-year contract extension

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Morgan Moses had to wait until the third round of the 2014 draft before he heard his name called, but he won’t have to wait for the expiration of his rookie contract before he signs another one.

According to multiple reports, Moses has signed a five-year extension with the Redskins. Full financial details haven’t been reported, but Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the deal will leave Moses as the second highest-paid right tackle in the league. Lane Johnson of the Eagles is currently at the top of that list with a deal that averages $11.25 million a year.

Moses, who wound up as the 66th pick of that draft, has started every game for Washington over the last two seasons. He has shown steady improvement over that span and it’s a good bet that the Redskins see more of that in his future to lock him up at this point.

Left tackle Trent Williams is signed through the 2020 season, so the team has their tackles under contract for a good long time as a result of Moses’ agreement.

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Why does the Commissioner keep calling out player names at the draft?

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Here’s a question that usually emerges during or after the first night of the draft: Why does Commissioner Roger Goodell continue to subject himself to this?

He’ll be booed tonight. Relentlessly. And not just because the draft is being held in Philadelphia. (He’d get booed in Fargo, too. Albeit politely.)

It’s become a given for Goodell. Loud boos. Long boos. Boos that last well beyond the first day of the draft. So why do it? From Goodell’s perspective, he can view it as a cost of doing business. And the business includes getting paid a lot of money to be a gigantic pin cushion for the owners.

But the owners surely don’t like having the scene undermined by open displays of derision. At what point do they intervene and say, “Look, we need to hire Morgan Freeman or Sam Elliott or someone else with a distinctive voice, a commanding presence, and no other connection to the league to call out these names”?

It doesn’t have to be the Commissioner. And, really, it shouldn’t be the Commissioner. Unless the goal is to keep as much reality as possible in the ultimate reality show, the NFL should realize that the event has grown to the point where the guy in charge doesn’t have to be the guy who saunters to the microphone and calls out the pick.

Of course, change could be viewed as capitulation to the masses. Goodell likely isn’t interested in doing that. Which means he’ll continue to bite his lip, fill his ears with cotton (if he isn’t doing that he should), and get through it.

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McCaffrey’s likely window: No. 5 to No. 15

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As the draft has approached, a popular theory has emerged linking running back Christian McCaffrey to the Panthers at No. 8. (Indeed, that’s where he resides in the 2017 PFT Worst Mock Draft Ever.)

A source with knowledge of the dynamics believes the McCaffrey chatter is likely a smokescreen, one of the many that are wafting through the air like whatever Phil Simms pushed in the direction of Jim Nantz. Regardless of whether Carolina pulls the trigger, the expected range for McCaffrey currently is No. 5 through No. 15.

This means that if a team picking between No. 9 and No. 15 believes the Panthers chatter, that team could trade up to jump the Panthers.

If McCaffrey indeed goes in the top 15, the team that takes him needs to be ready to embrace him, fully and completely and not as a member of a three-man rotation. Picks that high should be reserved only to players who will be on the field all the time; if the team that takes him isn’t prepared to do that, the team shouldn’t take him.

McCaffrey’s ability to play tailback and slot receiver makes him conducive to a team that will use the no-huddle offense from time to time, allowing McCaffrey to be deployed in various ways in the hopes of creating mismatches. If McCaffrey plays at the next level like he played in college, he could instantly be a difference-maker. The current indications are that at least one team picking in the first half of round one will feel that way.

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Report: Scot McCloughan has advised teams on draft since being fired

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Earlier this offseason, Scot McCloughan was relieved of his duties as the General Manager of the Redskins in a move that came after the team had already started work on this year’s draft board.

Director of college scouting Scott Campbell confirmed this week that McCloughan’s influence could be seen on that draft board although he added that there have been adjustments made to any work that McCloughan was familiar with before his departure. They might not be the only team to have McCloughan’s influence on their pre-draft work.

Mike Garafolo of NFL Media reports that McCloughan has returned to run the scouting service he operated between jobs with the 49ers and Redskins and has worked as an advisor with other teams on this year’s draft since being fired. Per Garafolo, McCloughan is “not giving up” Washington’s information although it seems likely that some of the thoughts he shared with other teams will be similar to what he did before being let go.

There’s no reason to think that his former team has stuck with what McCloughan gave them before he was ousted, but if they remain high on any players McCloughan was pushing they should likely be prepared for other teams to have strong recommendations about some of the same names.

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How many quarterbacks will go in round one?

Every year, it’s one of the biggest questions entering the first night of the draft. And every year we seem to be surprised in some way by the outcome.

This year, it’s still unclear how many quarterbacks will go in round one. Three is the safest guess. Four accounts for a team like the Chiefs or Steelers taking Davis Webb, or some other team trading back in to the first round to get him. Five is even possible, if someone decides to grab DeShone Kizer before teams at the top of round two get a crack at him.

And then there’s Nathan Peterman, who most likely won’t have a shot at going in round one, but who could end up being a second-day bargain — a guy who develops more quietly and without the expectations that come from being a first-round pick.

This year, I’ve interviewed each of the top six quarterbacks, some more than once: Mitchell Trubisky, Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes, Webb, Kizer, and Peterman. They each came off as smart and engaging, as guys who could capably lead an NFL offense.

Trubisky has a demeanor that seems confident, humble, and even-keeled. Watson has a quiet fire that he seems to know how to harness — and how to unleash on the biggest stages. Mahomes exudes a more youthful vibe, and he seems to be unfazed by the prospect of taking his game to the next level.

Webb comes off as earnest but sincere, a kid who loves football and can’t get enough of it, with a clear plan to coach once his playing career ends. Kizer seems like anything but a diva; he’s fully self-aware and eager to embrace the challenge of playing pro football. And Peterman has a relaxed demeanor that will allow a player to get the most out of his skills.

Of course, the biggest factors that will allow these quarterbacks to get the most out of their skills relate not to them but to their situations — coaches, systems, teammates, front offices, owners, etc. Also, the higher a guy goes, the greater the weight on his shoulders. (Conversely, the lower he goes the bigger the chip.)

Any of them could be successful, if they land in the right spot. The nature of the draft takes that completely out of their hands, putting each at the mercy of which teams pick them and whether those teams can make them successful. It’s one more reason why the players should be picking the teams and not vice-versa, but that unpopular, player-friendly view is never less popular than it will be today.

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