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PFT’s Week 12 picks

Atlanta Falcons v New Orleans Saints Getty Images

The good news is that I went 10-4 last week, thanks to every overtime game falling the way I’d pick them.  The bad news is that MDS went 13-1, chopping my seven-game lead down to four.

The worst news, potentially, is that we disagree on four games this week.  Which means that MDS can catch me.

Along the way, MDS pulled off the first-ever hole-in-one in the PFT picks battle, correctly guessing the score of the Saints-Raiders game, 38-17.

So, yeah, MDS had a pretty good week, relegating me to muttering, “Son of a bitch.”

But, hey, I still have the better season record, at 103-56-1.  MDS is 99-60-1.

For now.

Texans at Lions

MDS’s take: The Texans looked very vulnerable on Sunday, needing to rally in the fourth quarter just to force overtime before beating the Jaguars. So a Lions win wouldn’t shock me here. But Detroit’s loss to Green Bay on Sunday likely ended the Lions’ playoff hopes, and I see them coming out flat on Thanksgiving.

MDS’s pick: Texans 20, Lions 10.

Florio’s take:  The Lions have lost 11 of 12 Thanksgiving games.  Make it 12 of 13 when the one-loss Texans come to town, four days after getting a wakeup call against the one-win Jags.

Florio’s pick:  Texans 27, Lions 17.

Redskins at Cowboys

MDS’s take: The Cowboys are surprisingly back in the NFC East hunt, less because they’re playing better than because an easy stretch in their schedule has coincided with the Giants’ annual November swoon. They should keep it going against an inconsistent Redskins team.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 24, Redskins 20.

Florio’s take:  The Cowboys are 6-0 all time against the Redskins on Thanksgiving.  Though Washington never has rolled in to Dallas with a quarterback as good as Robert Griffin III on the roster, the Cowboys are too close to the top of the division to stumble now.

Florio’s pick:  Cowboys 24, Redskins 20.

Patriots at Jets

MDS’s take: I give Rex Ryan a lot of credit for having his team playing hard in the face of adversity last week, and I think Rex will put together a good game plan to stop a Gronkowski-less Patriots offense. But the problems with the Jets’ own offense are real, and not getting any better. The Patriots will win a low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 17, Jets 10.

Florio’s take:  A possible classic is in the offing, the first-ever nationally-broadcast Thanksgiving night NFL game on a major network.  The fact that the Jets won on Sunday makes it more interesting.  The fact that the Pats have been pounding teams lately makes it potentially less interesting — except to see which players get hurt on the PAT team in the fourth quarter.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 38, Jets 24.

Vikings at Bears

MDS’s take: If Jay Cutler is back, this is a game the Bears should win handily. If Cutler is out, all bets are off. But it’s looking like Cutler will be cleared to return, and the Bears should turn things around with a convincing win.

MDS’s pick: Bears 24, Vikings 13.

Florio’s take:  The Vikings emerge from their bye week with a six-game stretch that doesn’t look quite as challenging given the Bears’ two-game losing streak.  But the Bears know they need to reverse the slide now, and the Vikings’ second-year quarterback simply isn’t as good as the second-year quarterback who picked the Bears apart on Monday night.

Florio’s pick:  Bears 30, Vikings 17.

Raiders at Bengals

MDS’s take: The Raiders look like they’re ready to give up on the season, and the Bengals look like they’re ready to go on a run. This one won’t be close.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 34, Raiders 10.

Florio’s takeCarson Palmer returns to Cincinnati, with a team far worse than the one for which he notoriously refused to keep playing.  He’ll tell himself he doesn’t feel regret.  And if he tells himself enough, maybe he’ll believe it.

Florio’s pick:  Bengals 28, Raiders 13.

Steelers at Browns

MDS’s take: Given the uncertainty surrounding the Steelers’ quarterback situation, it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Browns take this one. But I think Charlie Batch will surprise some people by running the offense competently and putting points on the board, and the Steelers’ defense will give Brandon Weeden trouble.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 24, Browns 7.

Florio’s take:  Whether it’s Charlie Batch or Brian Hoyer or Ben Roethlisberger or Kordell Stewart or Terry Hanratty under center, the Steelers will find a way to get things back on track against a Browns team that isn’t nearly as bad as their record would suggest.

Florio’s pick:  Steelers 17, Browns 13.

Bills at Colts

MDS’s take: After getting demolished by the Patriots, the Colts need this one. I like Andrew Luck to have a big game against a suspect Buffalo defense, and the Colts to get a win that allows them to keep pace with the Steelers and a game ahead of the Bengals in the AFC wild card race.

MDS’s pick: Colts 28, Bills 20.

Florio’s take:  A potential playoff knockout game, with the winner in pretty good shape to make it to January and the loser, well, not.  The Colts aren’t as bad as their loss to the Pats would indicate, and the Bills aren’t as good as their win over the Fins would suggest.

Florio’s pick:  Colts 24, Bills 17.

Titans at Jaguars

MDS’s take: I give the Jaguars a lot of credit for coming out and playing hard against the Texans on Sunday, but the reality is they’re just a bad football team in all phases of the game. The Titans aren’t great either, but they should beat Jacksonville comfortably.

MDS’s pick: Titans 34, Jaguars 17.

Florio’s take:  Giving the Texans their best shot and losing in heartbreaking fashion will either help a bad team find its groove or grease the skids for an epic collapse.  I’m guessing the latter, especially with the Titans still in position to bogart a wild-card berth.

Florio’s pick:  Titans 27, Jaguars 10.

Broncos at Chiefs

MDS’s take: The Broncos have all but clinched the AFC West. No way they lose to the worst team in the division, and maybe the worst team in the league.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 38, Chiefs 10.

Florio’s take:  The Chiefs wanted Peyton Manning, but he didn’t want them.  He’ll get a chance to prove why he made the right choice on Sunday.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 34, Chiefs 10.

Seahawks at Dolphins

MDS’s take: In Seattle, this game would be a blowout. In Miami, I’m tempted to pick the Dolphins, because the Seahawks have struggled so much on the road. But the Dolphins have been finding ways to lose recently, and I suspect they’ll do that again on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 20, Dolphins 17.

Florio’s take:  The next step for the Seahawks is to find a way to consistently win away from home.  And they can’t get much farther away from home than Miami.  So why not start there?

Florio’s pick:  Seahawks 24, Dolphins 9.

Falcons at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: This is a huge opportunity for Greg Schiano’s Buccaneers to show they’re legitimate NFC playoff contenders, but I don’t think they’re ready to take that step. The Falcons will stay ahead of the NFC pack with a win in Tampa.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 21, Buccaneers 20.

Florio’s take:  The Falcons have looked shaky in the past few weeks, and the Bucs have had a solid four games.  The Bucs have the run defense and the running game to give Atlanta a glimpse of the flaws they need to fix before the postseason.

Florio’s pick:  Buccaneers 27, Falcons 24.

Ravens at Chargers

MDS’s take: I don’t believe the Ravens are as good as their 8-2 record suggests, and they’re bound to come back to the pack in the AFC eventually. But after the Chargers’ loss to the Broncos on Sunday, San Diego isn’t going anywhere. The Chargers will come out flat and the Ravens will win.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 20, Chargers 16.

Florio’s take:  The Ravens are getting closer to a fifth straight postseason, and Norv Turner is getting closer to a third coaching postmortem.

Florio’s pick:  Ravens 24, Chargers 20.

Rams at Cardinals

MDS’s take: The Cardinals’ offense will be a mess until they can get their quarterback situation straightened out, but Arizona’s defense is good enough that the Rams will lose a low-scoring game in the desert.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 10, Rams 7.

Florio’s take:  The Cardinals have no one to play quarterback and, more importantly, no one to cover Danny Amendola.

Florio’s pick:  Rams 20, Cardinals 10.

49ers at Saints

MDS’s take: This is a fascinating game, with the Saints making a furious run toward the playoffs after a disastrous start to the season, and the 49ers coming off a Monday night when they looked unstoppable. If there’s any defense that can slow Drew Brees and Co. down, it’s the 49ers’ defense. I like San Francisco to get a big road win.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 28, Saints 27.

Florio’s take:  By the end of Thanksgiving weekend, we’ll be giving thanks for one of the great games of the 2012 season.  The Saints may not be able to keep it going, but they’re not ready to stop now.

Florio’s pick:  Saints 34, 49ers 31.

Packers at Giants

MDS’s take: With the Cowboys closing in on them in the NFC East, the Giants can’t afford to lay an egg like they did two weeks ago against the Bengals. I believe the bye week will help Tom Coughlin’s crew right the ship, and the Packers will be handed a tough conference loss.

MDS’s pick: Giants 24, Packers 17.

Florio’s take:  The Giants annual theme song is Wake Me Up When November Ends.  November is ending.  The Giants are waking up.

Florio’s pick:  Giants 38, Packers 35.

Panthers at Eagles

MDS’s take: A lousy Monday night game ends the week on a down note. Neither of these teams is any good, but at least the Panthers don’t look like they’ve completely quit on the season.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 21, Eagles 20.

Florio’s take:  Yep, this one sure looked a lot more interesting when the schedule came out in April.  The only question is whether the cries of “Fire Andy” will be drowned out by the chants of “We Want Gruden.”  In the background, the Eagles will prove to be the slightly better of two bad teams.

Florio’s pick:  Eagles 24, Panthers 14.

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Eagles exercise option on fifth year of Fletcher Cox’s contract

Dallas Cowboys v Philadelphia Eagles Getty Images

When the Chiefs took Dontari Pow with the 11th pick of the 2012 draft, they kicked off a run that saw two more defensive linemen come off the board in the next three picks.

Now it looks like all three of those players will have their options for the 2016 season exercised. We’ve heard previous reports that the Chiefs will exercise Poe’s option, that the Rams will do the same with 14th pick Michael Brockers and now the Eagles have announced that they will do the same with 12th overall pick Fletcher Cox.

None of the moves comes as a surprise. All three have become starters and key players on their respective defensive lines with Poe and Cox ranking among the top players to come out of that draft at any position.

Cox’s name has popped up in some of the trade rumors that have surfaced around the Eagles this offseason and it’s probably best not to rule out anything given the moves Chip Kelly has already pulled off with players who arrived in Philly before he got there in 2013. It would be a blow to their defensive line, although dealing Cox should bring back a handsome return given how well he’s played in his first three seasons.

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NFL tweaks the rules to speed up the draft

2012 NFL Draft - First Round Getty Images

This year’s NFL draft should wrap up a little faster.

The NFL has quietly tweaked the rules to reduce the amount of time between picks, allowing only four minutes between selections in the seventh round, as well as four minutes between selections for all compensatory picks. The league informed PFT today that the speeding up of the draft was discussed at the competition committee meetings and communicated to the teams at the league meeting in March. The change was made at the league office level and did not necessitate a vote of the 32 teams.

The new rule makes a lot of sense: The seventh round is when the draft begins to feel like it has dragged on interminably, and even Mel Kiper and Mike Mayock are running out of things to say. And compensatory picks can’t be traded, so teams need less time to make those picks.

The time between picks will remain the same for other rounds: Ten minutes between picks for the first round, seven minutes for the second round and five minutes for the third through sixth rounds, other than compensatory picks.

For the NFL, the draft is the signature event of the offseason, and it has become increasingly important to the league to make it a made-for-TV extravaganza. Sometimes the late rounds of the draft go from “extravaganza” to “excruciatingly dull,” so it’s no surprise that the league has decided to speed things up.

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Rivers trade looks to be dead, assuming it ever was alive

philiprivers AP

With three days to go until the 2015 NFL draft commences, it’s probably time to end speculation about the Chargers trading Philip Rivers.

Peter King of TheMMQB.com explains that he doesn’t believe a trade will happen, calling it a “gut feeling” based on spending “lots of time calling around” the league.  King nevertheless believes the Titans and Chargers will talk, but he doesn’t see a match.

King thinks the Titans would want more than Rivers in exchange for the second overall pick in the draft.  And that’s likely enough to kill the deal on its own, given that the Chargers should want more than the second overall pick in the draft for a proven franchise quarterback — especially if that proven franchise quarterback will also be extending his contract as part of the trade.

So the possibility of a trade seems to be dead, assuming it was ever alive in the first place.  It’s possible, if not likely, that the issue arose from the looming expiration of the quarterback’s contract.  Indeed, Rivers first addressed the situation only four days after fellow 2004 first-round pick Ben Roethlisberger signed a gigantic new contract.  And Rivers has never said he won’t do a new deal with the Chargers; he has said only that he’s not inclined to until after the season.

Which makes sense, since the Chargers will need him more than ever if/when (when) they head to Los Angeles.  If they don’t have Rivers, they need another franchise quarterback.  And the only one they have a shot at getting is Marucs Mariota via a trade with the Titans.

If a trade is going to happen, the wheels need to be put in motion quickly, given that the Titans surely will want to conduct a physical and negotiate a new contract.  As to the latter, discretion will be easier to achieve because Jimmy Sexton represents Rivers, Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt, and Titans G.M. Ruston Webster.

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Report: Rams to exercise Michael Brockers’s 2016 contract option

New York Giants v St. Louis Rams Getty Images

It looks like the Rams will join the group of teams exercising their fifth-year options on members of the 2012 draft class.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the team will pick up the option on defensive tackle Michael Brockers before the May 3 deadline to do so. The move will cost them just over $6.1 million and is guaranteed against injury only, so the Rams could rescind the option before the start of the next league year.

Brockers was the 14th pick of the draft and moved right into St. Louis’s starting lineup during his rookie season. He missed three games that year, but has started every game in the last two seasons and has recorded 11.5 career sacks.

Brockers is part of a talented defensive line in St. Louis that also features Robert Quinn and Chris Long flanking Brockers, Aaron Donald and Nick Fairley at defensive tackle. Fairley is only signed for 2015, however, and Long’s future in St. Louis is already the subject of speculation thanks to his plus-sized cap hits.

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Bills waive Jonte Green

Cleveland Browns v Detroit Lions Getty Images

The Bills signed former Lions cornerback Jonte Green in January, but they’ve apparently already seen enough to know that he wasn’t going to be part of the team come September.

The team announced that they have waived Green, a 2012 sixth-round pick, on Monday. With Green’s departure, Buffalo’s roster stands at 70 players with the draft starting on Thursday.

Green last played in a regular season game in 2013 and appeared in 24 games for the Lions during his first two NFL seasons. He had 38 tackles and an interception in those appearances.

Green’s departure opens up a spot on the depth chart at corner for a rookie, but it’s probably not a top priority for the Bills heading into the draft. With Stephon Gilmore, Leodis McKelvin, Corey Graham, Nickell Robey, Ron Brooks and 2014 fourth-round pick Ross Cockrell on the roster, the Bills have depth at the position and more immediate needs elsewhere on the roster.

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Giants waive RB Michael Cox

Michael Cox AP

The Giants have parted ways with one of their reserve running backs.

New York has waived third-year pro Michael Cox, the club said Monday.

A seventh-round pick of the Giants in 2013, the 26-year-old Cox appeared in 18 games for the Giants over the last two seasons, rushing for 76 yards on 26 carries. His 2014 campaign ended after he suffered a broken leg in a loss to Seattle in November.

Rashad Jennings, Shane Vereen and Andre Williams are the Giants’ top three backs. The club has five tailbacks on the roster.

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Washington hasn’t received any trade proposals for Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins AP

At various points in his three-year NFL career, Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins’s name has come up in trade chatter.

However, to hear it from Washington General Manager Scot McCloughan, it’s all quiet on that front for the time being.

At a pre-draft press conference Monday, McCloughan indicated Washington had not been approached with offers for Cousins, who has started nine regular season games for the club, including five in 2014.

Cousins is in the final year of his contract, and Washington would certainly have to listen on offers involving draft compensation for the former Michigan State quarterback. However, starting quarterback Robert Griffin III and backup passer Colt McCoy both dealt with injuries a season ago, so Cousins’ value might be greatest to Washington as it is.

Finally, Cousins has been up-and-down as a starter, especially a season ago, when third-stringer McCoy eventually relieved him as Washington waited for Griffin to return to the lineup.

In short, it’s not a real surprise Cousins hasn’t apparently generated significant interest this offseason.

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Packers confirm Brett Favre will be honored on Thanksgiving

File photo of Brett Favre in New Orleans Reuters

Just before the NFL schedule was unveiled last week, reports out of Green Bay indicated that the Packers would host the Bears on Thanksgiving and that they would retire former quarterback Brett Favre’s jersey at a ceremony during that contest.

The release of the schedule confirmed that the Packers and Bears would be spending the holiday together and the team confirmed the rest of the news on Monday. Favre, who faced the Bears 32 times during his playing career, will be the sixth player in Packers history to be honored in that fashion.

“It will be an incredible honor to be in Lambeau Field on Thanksgiving night with Packers fans and have my name and number placed among the greatest players in Packers history,” Favre said in a release from the team. “With the great history and tradition of the Packers-Bears rivalry, and remembering the great matchups we had during my career, it seems only fitting to have Chicago as the opponent.”

The Packers also announced that they’ll be honoring the man who brought Favre to Green Bay. Wolf will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer and will be presented with his Hall of Fame ring at the team’s November 15 game against the Lions.

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Authorities won’t pursue DUI charges against P.J. Williams

University of Florida v Florida State Getty Images

Florida State cornerback P.J. Williams said recently that the teams he’s visited with have told him that his April 3 DUI arrest shouldn’t affect his draft status all that much.

On Monday, teams considering adding Williams to their roster later this week learned that there won’t be any charges for him to deal with during his rookie season. Williams’s attorney Jonathan Simon passed along word that authorities have decided not to pursue charges against Williams.

Williams admitted to having a few drinks at some point in the evening before he was arrested early on the morning of April 3, but he and his attorney disputed the version of events originally presented by police. Per Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, paperwork filed in Florida about the decision not pursue charges indicated that video evidence in the case didn’t corroborate the charge.

Before the arrest, Williams was expected to be drafted late in the first round or early on the second day. Having the charges against him dropped probably won’t raise his draft stock, but the dismissal could keep him from sliding out of that expected range once the draft gets underway.

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ESPN, NFLN simply giving audience what it wants

Kid AP

Every year at this time, a debate has emerged regarding whether ESPN and NFL Network would tip draft picks before Commissioner Roger Goodell walks to the podium and announces the pick.

As explained by Richard Deitsch of SI.com, ESPN and NFL Network have agreed once again that they won’t report on draft picks before the picks are officially disclosed.

We want to keep the suspense of the draft,” ESPN senior coordinating producer Seth Markman tells Deitsch.  “This is purely listening to the viewers and what they want.  It was overwhelming that our consumers, our viewers, our fans do not want us to spoil the draft experience.  I know some of our competitors will tweet picks, but they are not telecasting the draft.  I am sure there is a segment of the population that wants it as soon as possible, but our responsibility is to our viewers.  It’s not some big journalism discussion in my mind.  It’s ‘I don’t like angering our viewers.'”

Markman is right.  It’s not, as Deadspin has suggested, an effort by ESPN to shill for the NFL.  It’s an effort to give the audience what it wants.  And the audience, many of whom will be following the draft on Twitter, don’t want the suspense — real or fabricated — to be spoiled.

In 2013, the first year ESPN and NFL Network decided not to tip picks, a whopping 85.37 percent of those responding said they don’t want to know the picks in advance.

So we’ll put up another poll, and you can chime in again with what you want.  And if/when the needle moves the other way the NFL and ESPN can reassess their position in 2016.

Until then, the audience gets what it wants — including an oversized face mask on which to gnaw regardless of all of the filthy hands that have touched it.  Even when the audience isn’t being smart, smart media companies give the audience what it wants.

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Steelers like outside linebacker group in this year’s draft

Vic Beasley AP

The Steelers head into the draft with no shortage of needs on the defensive side of the ball with outside linebacker among the places they could attempt to address in the early rounds.

If they do go that way, it sounds like General Manager Kevin Colbert likes their chances of getting a good player. During a pre-draft meeting with the media on Monday, Colbert said, via Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that this year’s crop of players at the position is as deep as he’s seen in the last 10-15 years.

Colbert called them “real impact-type players” and coach Mike Tomlin added that he thought an increase in the number of players playing the position in college schemes similar to the one the Steelers run is a positive for the team.

The issue for the Steelers in the first round may be the number of other teams looking at edge rushers. Dante Fowler, Vic Beasley, Bud Dupree, Shane Ray and Randy Gregory are all potential picks in the first half of the first round, which could leave the Steelers short on options at the spot with the 22nd pick.

Given Colbert’s feelings about the overall quality of the group and the team’s need for help at corner and elsewhere, that may not be a major problem for Pittsburgh as they try to improve their roster this week.

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Draft may have a dozen receivers good enough to go in the first round

amari-cooper-denzel-nkemdiche-c45874a4ca78fc7e AP

As college football becomes more and more of a pass-first game, more and more wide receivers are entering the NFL ready to contribute immediately. We saw that in the 2014 draft, which produced five first-round picks in Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Odell Beckham, Brandin Cooks and Kelvin Benjamin. And we may see that to an even greater extent in this year’s draft.

In fact, NBC’s Cris Collinsworth said on PFT Live that the wide receiver class this year features “up to 11 or 12, quality wise, who in any other year you would say, ‘That’s a first-round talent’.”

Collinsworth isn’t saying there will actually be 11 or 12 first-round wide receivers. There may not even be half of that. But Collinsworth thinks this year’s receiver class is so good that several first-round talents will be available on the second day.

“There will still be quality left in the second round,” Collinsworth said. “I think you’ll see some teams that really want one of these receivers, say, ‘I’m going to wait until the second round.’ But second-round receivers will be first-round players in this draft.”

Collinsworth has been scouting the draft in conjunction with Pro Football Focus and will give more of his thoughts on a PFF NFL Draft special today at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. PFF graded the top receivers from 2014 as Alabama’s Amari Cooper, Louisville’s DeVante Parker, West Virginia’s Kevin White, USC’s Nelson Agholoran and Arizona State’s Jaelen Strong. PFF also sees promise in Washington State’s Vince Mayle, Miami’s Philip Dorsett, Kansas State’s Tyler Lockett, Michigan State’s Tony Lippett and Stanford’s Ty Montgomery. (Dorial Green-Beckham wasn’t graded because PFF evaluated tape from the 2014 season only, and Green-Beckham didn’t play in 2014.)

A wealth of talent at wide receiver is heading to the NFL this year. Just like last year.

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McCloughan thinks a trade could happen if Leonard Williams falls to 5

leonardwilliams AP

We noted this morning that USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams is viewed by many as the best player in this year’s draft, but might still be available when Washington is on the clock at No. 5. If that happens, Washington General Manager Scot McCloughan will feel like he’s in the catbird seat.

McCloughan said at his pre-draft press conference today that if Williams is available at No. 5, he expects his phone to be ringing from teams that would like to trade up and get him. After signing a couple of big defensive linemen in free agency in Terrance Knighton and Stephen Paea, McCloughan doesn’t necessarily think he needs to draft another big defensive lineman at No. 5.

“It might bring a trade more into play,” he said. “We do feel good about our defensive front.”

McCloughan indicated that an edge pass rusher may be a more important priority for Washington than a 300-pounder like Williams.

“A pass rusher, that’s the most important thing,” he said. “They’re hard to find. We’re very lucky to have Ryan [Kerrigan] on the team, he’s one of those players, and hopefully not just in the first but throughout this draft we’ll add more pass rushers.”

The best-case scenario for Washington could be to trade the fifth overall pick to a team that wants to get Williams, then to pick up a pass rusher later in the first round. Then again, if Williams is as good as the draft experts think he is, maybe the best-case scenario for Washington would be to stay put and draft him.

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PFT Draft Prop No. 3: Marcus Mariota’s draft position: 2.5

Marcus Mariota AP

Leading up to Thursday’s NFL draft, we’ll put on our oddsmaking hats, Ace Rothstein glasses and Terry Benedict suits and set one proposition “bet” per day for PFT Planet to ponder. At the conclusion of the draft, we’ll see how PFT Planet did on the wagers, which are for entertainment purposes only.

PFT Draft Prop No. 3: Over-Under on Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota’s draft position: 2.5.

As our draft props go, this is the most straight-forward of them all. It’s this simple: Do you see Mariota being taken No. 1 or No. 2 overall, or do you see him sliding beyond those first two picks?

The uncertainty of how the Titans will proceed with the second overall selection adds to the intrigue regarding Mariota. If the Titans want to move the pick to a club seeking a quarterback, they can surely trade down for an attractive package of picks and/or players.

So let’s get right to it. Let us know when you believe Mariota hears his name called via the poll and in the comments.

Previous draft props

PFT Draft Prop No. 1: Over-Under on first-round RBs: 2.5.

PFT Draft Prop No. 2: Amari Cooper’s draft position: 4.5.

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Washington picks up 2016 option on Robert Griffin III’s contract

Argentina Training Session Getty Images

Word on Monday morning was that the Redskins were likely to pick up the 2016 option on quarterback Robert Griffin III’s option and it moved to a done deal in the middle of the day.

Redskins General Manager Scot McCloughan announced that the team is exercising their option on Griffin’s pick ahead of the May 3 deadline to do so. The move puts Griffin in position to earn just over $16 million in 2016, which the Redskins can rescind if Griffin is healthy but the option is guaranteed against injury.

That’s not a small concern for a player who has dealt with serious injuries in his three-year NFL career, although Griffin insisted this month that the option question wasn’t a big concern for him. Instead, Griffin said that he’s focused on improving his performance after two rough seasons.

“It’s not about talking about it; It’s about being about it,” Griffin said. “That’s what my goal is this entire offseason. You got to talk small, play big, take care of the little things for the big things and everything will fall into place.”

Given the price they paid to acquire Griffin and their willingness to exercise the option, the team surely hopes that everything does fall into place. Despite that, McCloughan said Monday that the decision doesn’t change the team’s draft strategy and that they’d still pick a quarterback with the fifth pick if that’s the best available player.

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