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Taylor Lewan stays at Michigan despite first-round draft grade

Taylor Lewan, Cameron Meredith, Ciante Evens AP

Michigan left tackle Taylor Lewan has made the surprising decision to return to school for his senior year and wait until 2014 to enter the NFL draft.

Lewan says he has been told he would be a first-round pick if he came out this year, but he has more he wants to accomplish in college before he’s ready to make the jump to the pros.

“When you say NFL and the first round, that sounds amazing,” Lewan said, via “But when you play at the University of Michigan, whether it’s basketball, hockey, football, there’s a tradition here and it’s something you want to be part of. If I do what I need to do, I’ll be able to play in the NFL for however long — but you only get one more year of college. Every kid grows up wanting to be a pro athlete — most want to be pro football players — and to know I had that opportunity was a great feeling. But like I said before, I have unfinished business here. Came in in 2009, and I want to finish with my class.”

Lewan said he talked to former Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long, who completed his NCAA eligibility and was the first overall pick in the 2008 NFL draft, and Long told him he has no regrets about staying at Michigan as long as he could.

“I asked him why he stayed, and it’s funny: Every single thing he said about staying at the University of Michigan went through my head countless times. It’s kind of interesting to think we had the same mind-set going into this thing,” Lewan said.

Although Lewan is risking injury by returning to school, it’s also possible that a good senior season could send his stock higher: If Lewan had entered this year’s draft he likely would have been the second offensive tackle off the board, following Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M. With another strong year at Michigan, Lewan could be the first offensive lineman drafted in 2014.

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Bradford could blow starting job if he stays away too long


Sam Bradford remains an Eagle. He also remains the team’s starting quarterback. One of those things could change in time — and not the one Bradford wants to change.

Comments from coach Doug Pederson make it clear that, at some point, Bradford’s absence will affect his status at the top of the depth chart.

“Anybody that’s not in any of the 32 offseason programs is losing valuable time at that club,” Pederson said, via Josh Paunil of “So anybody that’s not in the offseason program, yes, would lose the time.”

Bradford reportedly isn’t taking calls from Pederson, and Pederson told reporters on Saturday that he hasn’t spoken to Bradford since Bradford commenced his quest for a trade.

It’s unclear how much time Bradford would have to miss before he’d slide on the depth chart. At some point, however, that will happen.

“I think it depends on how and when he does come back and how fast we can catch him up and put him back in that situation and see where he’s at at that time,” Pederson said, via Paunil. “Again, no one makes the team in April. We’re not making any roster adjustments and letting people go. It’s all about evaluation, and he’s in that evaluation process. But as I’ve said in the past, he was one, Chase [Daniel] is two and we’re moving on from there.”

The Eagles have insisted that they won’t trade Bradford, who apparently isn’t willing to compete after having playing time handed to him since 2010, thanks to the last windfall No. 1 overall contract.

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Jaguars sign nine undrafted free agents

MADISON, WI - SEPTEMBER 26: Max Wittek #13 of the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors throws the football in warm ups before the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium on September 26, 2015 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Jaguars loaded up on defensive players in the draft by using six of their seven picks on that side of the ball.

They announced a group of undrafted free agent signings on Sunday that was more balanced. The team has signed nine undrafted rookies and five of them play on the offensive side of the ball.

One of those additions is quarterback Max Wittek of Hawaii, who signs with the team a day after they drafted Brandon Allen in the sixth round. With Chad Henne back for another year backing up Blake Bortles, there’s likely only going to be room for one of those two in Jacksonville once the summer comes to an end. Wittek spent one year in Hawaii after transferring from USC, where he was beaten out by Browns third-round pick Cody Kessler.

The Jaguars also signed South Alabama tight end Braedon Bowman, Southern Miss tackle Rashod Hill, Louisiana-Lafayette wide receiver Jamal Robinson and San Diego State tackle Pearce Slater on the offensive side of the ball. Minnesota cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Ole Miss cornerback Mike Hilton and Michigan safety Jarrod Wilson were added on defense and Texas kicker Jaden Oberkrom joins the specialists.

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Subscribe to the PFT Live podcast now, please (but now)


Every Sunday (when I remember), I point out to the audience that there are more ways to get PFT content. Specifically, the podcast for the PFT Live radio show can be downloaded for free.

The best way to download it is to subscribe to it. That way, you don’t have to remember to download it.

If you subscribe to the PFT Live podcast, you’ll have constant access to NFL news, analysis, debate, and interviews presented in a way intended to be humorous at times, and entertaining always. (Key word: Intended. Whether it’s actually humorous or entertaining is a different question.)

Judge for yourself whether there’s anything informative, humorous, and/or entertaining about the PFT Live podcast by checking it out at iTunes or audioBoom.

Last week’s shows featured visits from folks like Adam Gase, Howie Roseman, Joey Bosa, Ezekiel Elliott, Connor Cook, Laquon TreadwellMatt Forte, DeMaurice Smith. This week’s shows will pack in plenty of conversations with General Managers who just stocked their rosters via the draft.

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DeAndre Hopkins looking forward to fewer double teams in 2016

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 28:   DeAndre Hopkins #10 of the Houston Texans reacts to a call during the second half of their game against the Buffalo Bills at NRG Stadium on September 28, 2014 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) Getty Images

Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins played with four different starting quarterbacks and without a big threat at the other wideout spot, but still caught 111 passes for 1,521 yards and 11 touchdowns to help the Texans to the playoffs.

The Texans have worked to remedy both of those issues this offseason. Brock Osweiler is the new quarterback and Houston spent two of its first three draft picks on wide receivers. After the Texans added first-round pick Will Fuller and third-round pick Braxton Miller, Hopkins shared his excitement on Twitter.

“Ain’t no more double teams baby!” Hopkins wrote.

Fuller and Miller both have the speed to stretch defenses and open up other parts of the field for Hopkins. Fuller needs to be more consistent catching the ball and Miller is still new to the position, leading coach Bill O’Brien to point out that teams are going to make the rookies prove they can do it while discussing the motivation for the moves.

“Trying to get it where he could be more one-on-one and things like that,” O’Brien said, via the Houston Chronicle. “I think that’s what we’ve done with this offensive skill draft class. We’ve taken some guys that we think can really help us in space, help us at the receiver position and help us do a lot of different things, which in turn will help DeAndre and free him up a little bit more.”

Lamar Miller and fourth-round pick Tyler Ervin are new at running back, so there’s a lot of integration to be done before the season starts. If all comes together, everyone in Houston should be happier about the offensive situation than they were last year.

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Browns sign son of Bruce Matthews to UDFA deal

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 27:  Mike Matthews #56 of the Texas A&M Aggies celebrates with Josh Reynolds #11 of the Texas A&M Aggies after after Reynolds scored the game-tying touchdown against the Arkansas Razorbacks in the fourth quarter of the Southwest Classic at AT&T Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Browns signed former Texas AM center Mike Matthews after the conclusion of the draft. Matthews is the son of Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews.

The Houston Chronicle reported that the Browns gave Matthews a $7,500 signing bonus on a three-year contract and guaranteed $2,500 of his 2016 salary. Those are big numbers for an undrafted free agent, a sign that the Browns prioritized Matthews and knew they had competition for his services.

The Browns have an opening at center after Alex Mack signed with the Falcons. 2015 first-rounder Cameron Erving probably gets first crack at the job, but with a new staff and no one on the roster with significant NFL center experience, there could be a camp battle for the job.

Matthews was a three-year starter at Texas A&M like his brother, Jake, who now plays tackle for the Falcons. His uncle, Clay Matthews Jr., was a star linebacker with the Browns from 1978-93. His cousin, Clay Matthews III, is a star linebacker with the Packers.

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Vernon Adams to get tryout with Seahawks


Former Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams played well in the East-West Shrine Game. Not well enough to get drafted. And not well enough to be included in the land rush of undrafted players who sign immediately after the draft. But well enough to earn a chance to attend a rookie minicamp and show what he can do in the hopes of getting a spot on the 90-man roster.

According to multiple reports, Adams will participate in Seattle’s rookie minicamp on a tryout basis. Technically, it means he could be signed by another team before then. As a practical matter, it means that his agents already have determined that there’s no one that currently wants to sign him.

Last week, Adams declared himself to be better than the guy who ended up being the No. 1 overall pick.

“Honestly, if I’m not as good as him I am better than him,” Adams told Dan Patrick regarding Rams quarterback Jared Goff. “I’m not going to sit here and say he’s better than me because there’s nothing that he’s doing that I can’t do.”

And it’s not just blind optimism. Adams conceded in the same interview that Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, the No. 2 pick in the draft, is better than Adams.

“He’s the only quarterback in this draft that I can literally say he’s better than me,” Adams told Patrick regarding Wentz. “I’ve seen him at the Combine. . . . He made every single throw. I’ve been watching him since we were both freshmen. He’s a legit quarterback.”

Adams will get a chance to prove to the Seahawks soon that he’s at least good enough to be a camp arm. If/when Adams does that, he can prove that he’s good enough to be on the 53-man roster.

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Bengals’ line coach decries “witch hunt” against his center

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 22:  Center Russell Bodine #61 of the Cincinnati Bengals during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on November 22, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

Many in Cincinnati hoped the Bengals would draft a center to replace the current starter, Russell Bodine. The Bengals’ offensive line coach doesn’t appreciate that.

When reporters asked Bengals offensive line coach Paul Alexander whether fifth-round rookie guard Christian Westerman could move to center and earn the starting job, Alexander got angry.

“You guys are asking about the Bodine witch hunt, right?” Alexander said. “This is a young player who is playing in his third year with a bunch of veterans and very good offensive linemen and he’s the last one right now because he’s the youngest. But I don’t care what anyone else says I think Bodine is a hell of a player. That’s where I’m at on that.”

Alexander said a recent trip to the barbershop was ruined because all three barbers working there were complaining about Bodine.

“It pissed me off,” he said. “They got three Italian barbers there all yelling at each other, they are all brothers and they are getting on me about Bodine. I finally had to tell one to eff off. Jeez, I can’t even get my haircut in peace.”

It’s a shame that Gino and Enzo didn’t let Alexander get his hair cut in peace, but the questions aren’t going away. Especially if Westerman shows promise and Bodine continues to struggle.

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Family ties meant nothing to Belichick when picking Ted Karras

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As noted in the Sunday morning one-liners, the Patriots made Ted Karras one of their 2016 draft picks. Ted Karras is the great-nephew of former NFL great-turned-actor Alex Karras.

Did the family connection factor in to the decision? Said coach Bill Belichick when asked that question by reporters at a post-draft press conference: “No.” (Hey, at least Belichick uttered an actual word.)

As it turns out, the NFL connection to the Karras family extends well beyond Uncle Alex, who died in 2012.

“My whole family is football players and football coaches,” Ted Karras told reporters after becoming the 221st pick in the draft. “Every male in my family has played college football. I’ll be in the fifth in the NFL in my family and I’m very grateful to join that fraternity. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to play in the NFL.”

While the connection may not have attracted the Patriots to Karras, it helped Karras get ready for his chosen profession.

“A lot of them have been giving me advice my whole life,” Karras said. “We’re a tough family. We’ve all played and everyone’s an interior lineman. That’s kind of been our M.O. throughout me growing up. I knew I was going to be a lineman early and they’ve been giving me tips throughout each stage of my career and I’ve been able to deliver so far.”

In addition to Alex Karras, who played for the Lions from 1958 through 1970, Ted’s other great uncle, Lou Karras, played from 1950 through 1952. Ted’s father, also Ted, played one game as a replacement player during the 1987 strike and his grandfather, also Ted, played from 1958 through 1966.

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Terron Beckham, Odell’s cousin, lands tryout with Jets

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 06:  Odell Beckham #13 of the New York Giants misses the ball in overtime against the New York Jets during their game at MetLife Stadium on December 6, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. He then kicked the ball and got a penalty for delay of game.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) Getty Images

Terron Beckham didn’t play football in college, but the combination of an impressive physique, a strong workout and family ties to the Giants’ best wide receiver were enough to get him on the radar of NFL teams in the weeks leading up to the draft.

He wasn’t eligible to be drafted, but he will get a chance to earn a longer look from the team that shares a stadium with cousin Odell’s squad. Terron Beckham told the New York Daily News that he will attend the Jets’ rookie minicamp this week and that he’s excited about the chance to show off his skills.

“I’m shaking right now, boss,” Beckham said.

It’s a long shot that Beckham, who will be working as a running back, will wind up with a roster spot. He’s got a chance, though, and couldn’t have asked for much more given the route he’s trying to take to the NFL.

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Chargers announced undrafted free agent signings

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 17: Quarterback Mike Bercovici #2 of the Arizona State Sun Devils drops back to pass during the third quarter of their 34-18 loss to the Utah Utes at Rice-Eccles Stadium on October 17, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Chargers drafted eight players over the seven rounds of this year’s draft and they expanded their rookie class to 27 players by announcing they’ve reached agreement with 19 undrafted free agents.

Among the group is quarterback Mike Bercovici, who threw for 5,299 yards at Arizona State over the last two seasons. Kellen Clemens is the backup for Philip Rivers, which will likely leave Bercovici to battle with Bryn Renner for a developmental spot at the back of the depth chart or on the practice squad.

The Chargers also added a pair of teammates from Houston — running back Kenneth Farrow and safety Adrian McDonald — and a pair from West Virginia — cornerback Terrell Chestnut and linebacker Shaq Petteway — as they look for an undrafted player who can make their roster. The Chargers have had at least one in each of the last 18 seasons.

Jacksonville State linebacker Chris Landrum, Georgia Tech linebacker Tyler Marcordes, Oregon State cornerback Larry Scott, Penn State cornerback Trevor Williams, Duke defensive end Carlos Wray, Marshall guard Sebastian Johansson, Oregon tackle Tyler Johnstone, Montana wide receiver Jamaal Jones, Ohio guard Mike McQueen, Colorado Mesa tackle Zeth Ramsay, Marshall wide receiver Deandre Reaves, Vanderbilt center Spencer Pulley, Navy running back Chris Swain and Washington State wide receiver Dominique Williams round out the group.

UPDATE 12:46 p.m. ET: The Chargers announced Georgia tight end Jay Rome was part of the group as well, which conflicted with the Steelers announcing that Rome was part of their own crop of undrafted additions. Rome says he’s a Steeler, so we’ve removed him from the Chargers’ list.

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Panthers G.M. admits drafting to need, but says he didn’t reach

Dave Gettleman AP

Every General Manager in the NFL loves to talk about taking the best player available, and not falling victim to reaching for certain players to fill specific needs.

So it’s natural that Panthers G.M. Dave Gettleman felt he had to explain himself, after drafting three cornerbacks among his five picks this weekend.

After drafting to one of his team’s deepest positions with defensive tackle Vernon Butler in the first, the Panthers then chose Samford cornerback James Bradberry in the second round, traded up to take West Virginia cornerback Daryl Worley in the third round and then took Oklahoma cornerback Zack Sanchez in the fifth.

Gettleman was forced to admit that after taking the franchise tag off cornerback Josh Norman, the Panthers had to adapt their philosophy to make sure they had a depth chart.

“It did. It has to,” he said, via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review. “You have to prevent position disasters.”

With Norman gone and fellow starter Bene Benwikere still recovering from last year’s broken leg, the Panthers didn’t have much to work with. They did go get nickel Brandon Boykin this offseason, but needed to add corners in bulk.

Gettleman said that after a second-round run on corners — Xavien Howard, Mackensie Alexander, Sean Davis and Cyrus Jones — that Bradberry and Worley were the next two on their board.

“We are very pleased, to say the least. They’re both big, they’re both long, they both can run, they’re both physical and they both have really good ball skills,” Gettleman said. “The best part of this thing, I promise you, I’m not lying, we did not reach. . . .

“Very honestly, if you told me two nights ago we were going to come out with Vernon Butler and these two corners, I would’ve been very happy. Again, I don’t feel like we reached, I know we didn’t reach. We didn’t. And I’m excited about it.”

It’s hard to tell whether Gettleman’s trying to convince us or himself, but the Panthers added the needed reinforcements in the secondary. And with the luxury of walking into the draft with so few holes on a talented roster, it was something he could afford to do to fix a shallow position, much in the same way he doubled up on defensive tackles Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short in 2013.

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Taylor Lewan: I know that I’m a left tackle

NASHVILLE, TN - AUGUST 09:  Taylor Lewan #77 of the Tennessee Titans blocks against of the Green Bay Packers at LP Field on August 9, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) Getty Images

When the Titans owned the first overall pick in the draft, there was a lot of speculation that they’d use that pick on tackle Laremy Tunsil with designs on making him their left tackle of the future.

That didn’t happen as the Titans traded the pick to the Rams and then passed on Tunsil in favor of tackle Jack Conklin after moving back up to the eighth pick in the first round in another trade with the Browns. That decision may have been impacted by the infamous gas mask video that surfaced just before the start of the draft, but last year’s left tackle Taylor Lewan thinks it was because the team believes he’s the right man for the job.

“To me, honestly, I never thought anything of it because I know I’m not a right tackle,” Lewan said, via the Tennessean. “I’m a left tackle. I knew I was the left tackle for this team and I knew once I had the opportunity to talk to Mr. [Jon] Robinson and Coach [Mike] Mularkey that they would hear my piece and where I was from. And I respect them to the Nth degree. They’re unbelievable. An unbelievable G.M., an unbelievable coach, and I would do a lot for this team. But I know I came in here, I know my worth as a player, and I know that I’m a left tackle. So I think it’s my job now to prove that I can be more consistent this year and do those things. But as far as worrying about it and stuff like that, I never did, because I know the kind of player that I am.”

The Titans haven’t said how they’ll line up, but Conklin looks like a good fit right off the bat as the right tackle for Mularkey’s desired “exotic smashmouth” offense. The Titans picked up running back Derrick Henry and guard Sebastian Tretola to help on that front as well as they hope to build an offense that offers better support and protection for Marcus Mariota in his second season.

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Doug Baldwin: Seahawks shouldn’t give out Marshawn’s No. 24

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 23:  (L-R) Marshawn Lynch #24 and Doug Baldwin #89 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrate after Lynch scored a 9-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Qwest Field on December 23, 2012 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

As the Seahawks add a class of rookie players to this year’s team, receiver Doug Baldwin has a request: Don’t give anyone the No. 24, worn by running back Marshawn Lynch.

Baldwin took to Twitter on Saturday evening after the draft concluded with a tweet directed at coach Pete Carroll, saying Lynch’s number should remain his own.

“Dear @PeteCarroll,” Baldwin’s tweet began. “We are thrilled with the new teammates. One condition. Nobody wears #24 for years to come. Sincerely, The Players.”

It’s unclear whether Baldwin means he thinks the Seahawks should retire Lynch’s number, or whether he thinks Lynch — who still hasn’t officially retired — might change his mind and return to the Seahawks. Either way, 24 is a jersey that no rookie should wear in Seattle.

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Jerry Jones still regrets not being more aggressive for Lynch deal

Jerry Jones AP

The Cowboys finally drafted a quarterback yesterday in Dak Prescott, but owner Jerry Jones was still kicking himself for the deal he didn’t make two days prior.

Via Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Jones spent part of his post-draft wrap-up lamenting the fact he wasn’t able to seal the deal for quarterback Paxton Lynch during the first round. The Cowboys were trying to make the same trade with Seattle which Denver made to get to the 26th pick for, but didn’t get it done and had to watch the Memphis quarterback head to Colorado.

“When I look back on my life, I overpaid for my big successes every time,” Jones said. “And when I tried to get a bargain, get it a little cheaper or get a better deal on it, I ended up usually either getting it and not happy I got it. Or missing it.

“And I probably should have overpaid here.”

Jones said he wasn’t able to sleep Thursday night because of it, and over coffee, realized he wished he had pulled the trigger.

“I was still mad about it,” Jones said. “Actually thought we had it done.”

He missed another opportunity when the Raiders traded a spot in front of him in the fourth to take Connor Cook, but that one didn’t create the same kind of non-buyer’s remorse.

So as excited as he might be about Prescott, Lynch will remain the one who got away.

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Sunday morning one-liners

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What led the Bills to draft QB Cardale Jones?

The Dolphins focused on adding “alpha players” in the draft.

Newly drafted Patriots G Ted Karras is the great nephew of Alex Karras.

The Jets’ draft may be graded on how QB Christian Hackenberg works out.

Getting after the quarterback was a theme of the Ravens draft.

Getting drafted by the Bengals means a change of allegiances for WR Tyler Boyd.

LB Scooby Wright jumped in pool after finding out he was drafted by the Browns.

This year’s rookie class may be well represented on the starting Steelers defense.

No defensive ends wound up in the Texans draft class.

The Colts focused on the offensive line in the draft.

There’s more talent on the Jaguars defense, now they need to develop chemistry.

Titans General Manager Jon Robinson will be watching the waiver wire in the coming days as teams make room for rookies.

RB Devontae Booker could see early playing time for the Broncos.

The Chiefs defended drafting WR Tyreek Hill despite his history of domestic violence.

The Raiders draft by the numbers.

Big 10 players continued to have the eye of the Chargers.

DE Charles Tapper took an unusual route to the Cowboys.

There were no offensive or defensive linemen in the Giants draft class.

The Eagles closed the draft by focusing on defense.

Wrapping up a Redskins draft that didn’t prioritize areas of need.

Following Bears LB Leonard Floyd’s path to the NFL.

LB Stephen Tulloch’s status with the Lions remains up in the air after the draft.

The Packers added to the linebacker mix with Blake Martinez.

T.J. Clemmings is on the move after the Vikings added to the offensive line group by drafting Willie Beavers.

Devin Fuller could replace Devin Hester as the return man for the Falcons.

The Panthers added three cornerbacks after Josh Norman’s departure.

A questioning take on the Saints drafting DT David Onyemata.

Where will K Roberto Aguayo rank among Florida State players who wound up with the Buccaneers?

A quarterback wasn’t among the players added by the Cardinals in the draft.

The Rams invested in their offense on the final day of the draft.

Defense was the early focus of the 49ers draft.

Linemen and running backs were the order of the day for the Seahawks.

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