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ProFootballTalk: PFT’s divisional picks
As a second-round draft pick in 2014, Packers receiver Davante Adams has been a disappointment. And he may be running out of time to change that.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Adams is one of the receivers who will be “battling for their lives” in training camp. That report pegs Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb as locks to make the roster, with Adams, Ty Montgomery, Jeff Janis, Jared Abbrederis, Trevor Davis, Ed Williams and Jamel Johnson competing for the remaining three or four roster spots devoted to wide receivers.
Although Adams has started 23 games in his first two seasons, he hasn’t played well. Last year he averaged just 9.7 yards a catch and scored just one touchdown. Based on merit — rather than on draft position — it’s hard to see how he’d win a roster spot unless he shows dramatic improvement in the next four months.
With Nelson injured, the Packers’ most effective receiver last year was James Jones, but the team has told Jones it’s moving on to younger players. But despite his draft status, Adams may not be one of the younger receivers on the roster.
Two left tackles signed five-year extensions with their teams on Tuesday and the numbers for the two deals are in the same neighborhood.
As we reported on Tuesday evening, Bills tackle Cordy Glenn’s deal is worth up to $65 million with $26.5 million fully guaranteed. There’s another $9.5 million guaranteed against injury only for the 2012 second-round pick.
In terms of total possible value and full guarantees, it appears that deal puts Glenn just ahead of Saints tackle Terron Armstead. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that Armstead’s deal includes $25 million in fully guaranteed money and can be worth a total of $64.5 million. Armstead also has another $13 million guaranteed against injury only, leaving him a few ticks above Glenn in total guarantees.
Those numbers put Armstead behind Glenn and Trent Williams in terms of average annual salary and full guarantees while the two contracts in tandem help set the price for any left tackles who may be looking for new deals in the near future.
The Eagles haven’t lacked for personnel moves this spring.
But now that the draft is over, they’re ready to resume their search for a personnel man.
According to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, the Eagles have been granted permission to interview Bears college scouting director Joe Douglas.
He’ll be interviewing for a vice president-level position which would oversee the pro and college scouting departments.
Of course, both those departments are being overseen by de facto General Manager Howie Roseman, who has made plenty of moves as he tries to erase all vestiges of the Chip Kelly era, extend a raft of players and stockpile quarterbacks.
Douglas spent 15 years with the Ravens, and came to the Bears last year. The Bears could have blocked Douglas’s interview since it isn’t for a G.M. title, but they didn’t.
The Eagles interviewed a number of candidates earlier this year, but suspended the search to focus on preparing for this year’s draft.
With Andrew Luck on the sideline and a streak without a 100-yard game from a running back at 50 and counting, there wasn’t much doubt about the Colts’ need to improve their offensive line play this offseason.
The team signaled it would be a focus by hiring Joe Philbin to coach the unit and continued to address the area by drafting four offensive linemen last week. That’s the most the team has picked up in a single draft since 1983, when the draft lasted 12 rounds.
Now comes the time to put the new coach and those new players together with the holdovers from 2015 in order to build a stronger unit. Guard/tackle Joe Reitz said that Philbin has “been great to work with so far” and that he’s making playing faster a priority for a line that knows what needs to happen in 2016.
“We know we need to improve and we will be better this year,” Reitz said, via ESPN.com. “I think that’s what we’re building for now. We’re laying the foundation, fundamentals on the field and building together as an unit. It’s not always the best five out there. It’s five guys working together as an unit. I’m excited to see where it can take us in the future.”
It would be unusual for a player to say in May that he and his teammates will be worse than they were the previous season and the bar for the Colts line is low enough that some improvement should be expected. They’ll need more than just a minimal gain to create the changes needed, however, and any proof that they’ve found it won’t be coming for months.
Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli may not have gotten the kind of impact pass-rusher he was hoping for in the draft.
But he thinks the guy the Cowboys did draft first — running back Ezekiel Elliott — will make a huge difference for his side of the ball.
“I’m elated because I think you always look at the big picture,” Marinelli said on 105.3 The Fan. “We don’t play fantasy football. It’s not that. A 1-yard, 2-yard run there’s fight and physicalness. That’s good for your team. It develops toughness. We have to go against that offense every day. We play our offense more than anybody. It develops a hardness to your defense. You’ve got to play against a great line, a great back, now you’ve got to match up on an All-Pro receiver, great quarterback.
“It’s the physical nature of the game, which at times is being lost in today’s football. The physical nature of the game, I believe in that. This young man and the other backs are going to bring that.”
The Cowboys defense will certainly be tested in practice, as they have a collection of talent to rival anyone in the league. Whether they have enough bodies to stop it during the week or not, they’re going to have to be better on defense on Sundays for it to matter at all.
Texans offensive lineman David Quessenberry was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma nearly two years ago, forcing a halt to his football career while he received treatment for the illness.
That treatment helped Quessenberry go into remission last year, although his attempt to get back on the field wasn’t as successful. He spent the year on the non-football illness list while continuing to work out and regain strength in hopes of returning to the team this season.
Quessenberry is a bit under the 306 pounds he used to carry, but says he feels great and believes it is the right weight for him as he works to resume his playing career.
“I feel excellent,” Quessenberry said, via the Houston Chronicle. “I can’t wait. I feel strong. I feel fast. I feel explosive. It’s the best I’ve felt in a long time. I can’t wait to get out there. It will be a good year.”
It’s hard to know how good a chance Quessenberry has to make the team until the Texans’ offseason is further along, but it’s hard to imagine that his effort and determination won’t help him if it is a close call in a few months time.
As in most cases involving allegations of criminal misconduct, the defense lawyer has proclaimed his client’s innocence. Unlike most cases involving allegations of criminal misconduct, the defendant has now done so as well.
The declaration comes from former NFL defensive lineman Dana Stubblefield, who is accused of raping a “developmentally delayed” female in April 2015.
“I am here to state without any reservation that I am completely innocent of all these allegations,” Stubblefield said at a press conference on Tuesday, via the San Jose Mercury News. “I have worked my whole career to be a part of the Bay Area community. And I have worked in several communities and charities with the church. This is an issue that is very close to me. One of my primary charities is Special Olympics, something that is true and dear to my heart. This is why these allegations hurt me so badly.”
Stubblefield’s legal team also has disputed the suggestion that the alleged victim in the case is “developmentally delayed.”
“They described the alleged victim yesterday as disabled to sensationalize the case,” attorney Gary Winuk said.
The article from Robert Salonga, Tracey Kaplan, and Mark Gomez of the Mercury News includes some of the facts that will form the basis for the argument that the alleged victim is (and isn’t) “developmentally delayed.”
Defense lawyers provided reporters with materials showing the alleged victim’s social media profiles, her job history, and prior legal filings, in order to show that she had the capacity to consent to sexual activity with Stubblefield. His lawyers also provided the results of a lie-detector test and phone records revealing more than 20 text messages between Stubblefield and the alleged victim.
Per the article, “the materials show limited reading and language comprehension by whoever wrote them, but do not prove or disprove whether the author is mentally diminished.” By way of example, the article says that the alleged victim wrote this on her Sittercity profile: “I fuller feeling lose weight.”
Free on $250,000 bail, Stubblefield’s arraignment is set for June 3.
A former NFL defensive rookie of the year and NFL defensive player of the year, Stubblefield played for San Francisco, Washington, and Oakland.
The draft came and went without a trade sending quarterback Colin Kaepernick away from the 49ers and the Broncos said they’re no longer interested in one, which makes it pretty likely that Kaepernick will remain with the team for the 2016 season.
With that out of the way, the big question around Kaepernick switches from where he will be playing to whether he will be on the field for the 49ers once the season gets underway. Kaepernick will not be able to make his best pitch for the job until he’s cleared after offseason shoulder, knee and thumb surgeries. He took a step toward that last week when he got on the field during minicamp to shadow the team’s other quarterbacks and another one this week.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports that Kaepernick has resumed throwing a “bit” as he progresses toward a full return to action. Full clearance for Kaepernick isn’t expected until closer to the end of the month.
Said Dante Scarnecchia of returning to his job as the Patriots’ offensive line coach, “I do know I’m not changing. We’re going to do what we do. We’re going to do it the way we do it.”
The Steelers look for speed in the draft.
Ravens players photobombed fans at a team draft event.
The “football people” and the “analytics people” appear to be working well together in Cleveland.
Jaguars G.M. Dave Caldwell says this is the first offseason when he thinks they have a real shot.
The Texans have just under $5 million to pay their rookies this year.
The Titans are hiring Panthers scout Ryan Cowden as director of player personnel.
The Chiefs chose WR Tyreek Hill even though he had been convicted in a domestic violence case.
Said Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott of getting a 32 on the Wonderlic, “I am pretty proud of that Wonderlic score. That’s something that we practiced so much before the combine. It’s a really weird test. I don’t know how you relate that to football, but I’m glad I scored high on it.”
Giants G.M. Jerry Reese is admittedly nervous about the cornerbacks on his roster.
Lions rookie Anthony Zettel grew up a Lions fan, taken to games by his father, who died in September.
The Bears could lose their college scouting director to the Eagles.
The Packers expect to have great competition at the quarterback position.
Vikings WR Moritz Boehringer, the rookie from Germany, wore No. 84 in Germany because he loves Randy Moss.
Could Michael Thomas become the Saints’ No. 1 receiver?
Here’s a list of the Buccaneers’ tryout players.
Said Cardinals coach Bruce Arians of undrafted rookie QB Jake Coker, “We really can’t wait to get our hands on him this weekend and watch him grow with us. He’s got the size, he’s got the skill, he’s got a lot of moxie about him.”
The Rams will give a tryout to a rookie receiver who was kicked off the team at Auburn.
The 49ers are trying to keep Santa Clara from raising their rent at Levi’s Stadium.
Seahawks WR Kenny Lawler says playing in the NFL is his first job since he was 5 years old. He did not say what job he had when he was 5 years old.
When Panthers General Manager Dave Gettleman took over the Panthers front office in 2013, he didn’t fire anyone, rare for a guy coming into a new job without allies.
But he’s having to deal with some changes now, partly because of the success they’ve had.
Via Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, the Panthers will be without two scouts following the draft.
Assistant college scouting director Ryan Cowden is leaving for a promotion with the Titans, while veteran scout John Peterson is retiring.
The 38-year-old Cowden worked his way up the ladder with the Panthers, joining the team in 2000. He’s a former safety at Wofford, where the team holds training camp each summer. The 67-year-old Peterson has four decades in football, and has been with the Panthers since 2008.
Cowden’s promotion to director of player personnel under Titans G.M. Jon Robinson is the first real defection from the Panthers as they’ve grown successful the last few years, as keeping their coaching and personnel staff intact lends a big part to their stability 0n the field.
The latest Patriots quarterback project is already drawing some high praise from some of the biggest names in the business.
But while N.C. State’s Jacoby Brissett might not be a household name yet, the guys he’s getting compared to have to grab Patriots’ fans attention.
Former coach Bill Parcells first watched him play in high school in Florida, and nothing he saw in college dissuaded him from thinking Brissett would be successful.
“He’s a Curtis Martin, Willie McGinest, Troy Brown type player. That’s the kind of guy he is. That’s what New England is getting,” Parcells said, via Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald. “Those kinds, those Tedy Bruschi types, those players who’ve been successful — he’s very similar in his personal life to those kinds of guys.”
With the 91st pick in the draft, the Patriots added him to a long line of guys to develop behind Tom Brady, most of them moving on after a few years to develop elsewhere. In the short term, he’s cover for Jimmy Garoppolo (particularly if Tom Brady’s four-game suspension stands). But Parcells, who has become a mentor for Brissett thinks the ceiling is even higher.
“You never really know for sure until you see a player under the gun, so to speak, at the top level,” Parcells said. “But, that being said. I have a very high regard for this young man. He’s an awesome kid. He’s very bright. He has zero personal issues. He’s a very dedicated, committed guy and I think he’s going to the absolute perfect place for him. They’ve got a great coach, a great organization, and they’ve got a great role model playing that he’ll be able to observe and learn from. It just doesn’t get any better than that. Because of what I think he has, his career is going to develop well.”
Parcells said he was going to visit with Brissett soon, to give him the “rules of engagement” for playing for Bill Belichick. But if what he says about the rookie quarterback is true, Brissett is already off to a good start en route to a career there.
Another three-hour edition of PFT Live of NBC Sports Radio gets rolling at the top of the hour, and we’ll continue to process the moves made by the various NFL teams by talking to the guys responsible for making those moves.
Wednesday’s show features visits from Chargers G.M. Tom Telesco and Jaguars G.M. Dave Caldwell.
Both teams are hoping to parlay top-five draft picks into a return to the postseason, jockeying for position in a couple of challenging divisions in the AFC.
Shows from earlier in the week included discussions with Vikings G.M. Rick Spielman, Washington G.M. Scot McCloughan, and Browns executive V.P. of football operations Sashi Brown. To hear them, download the shows at iTunes or audioBoom.
Better yet, subscribe to the podcast. Or tune in to the live show at 6:00 a.m. ET at Sirius 213, XM 202, NBCSportsRadio.com, the NBC Sports Radio app, or any of the various NBC Sports Radio affiliates.
Per multiple reports , Hall is visiting the Atlanta Falcons.
Hall, 31, is recovering from back surgery after appearing in 14 games for the Cincinnati Bengals last season. Hall has spent his entire nine-year career in Cincinnati after being a first round pick in 2007.
Hall has also visited the Arizona Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys this offseason.
The Seattle Seahawks drafted three offensive linemen last weekend in hopes of infusing some young talent and depth into a unit that struggled to find its footing until midseason last year.
Texas A&M’s Germain Ifedi was the highlight of the class for Seattle. The Seahawks selected Ifedi with the 31st overall selection to conclude the first round on Thursday night.
The Seahawks see Ifedi as a player capable of playing both tackle and guard on the right side of the offseason line. When he gets to Seattle for their rookie mini-camp this weekend, general manager John Schneider said he’ll begin in NFL career at right guard for the Seahawks.
“As of right now he’s going to line up at right guard and (J’Marcus) Webb will be our right tackle,” Schneider said Wednesday, in an interview with Mitch Levy on Sports Radio 950 KJR in Seattle. “That’s a pretty big right side right there. We’re going to put him at right guard and if he needs to play some tackle, he’ll play some tackle.”
Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll had initially send after making the pick that Ifedi would begin at right tackle. Offensive line coach Tom Cable said he believes Ifedi can be an “outstanding tackle.” But for now, he’s going to be a guard.
“He’s a monster of a man. He’s a great kid. He’s got a ton of length, a ton of power,” Schneider said of their thoughts on Ifedi. “They’re playing in that spread offense (at Texas A&M) so there’s some things he needs to clean up from a technique standpoint, but he’s such a hard worker and such an intelligent guy that we think that there’s no question he’ll be able to do that. Just a really, really tough-minded individual.”
Seattle’s line will look significantly different from the group that finished last season. Garry Gilliam has been moved from right tackle to left tackle to replace the departed Russell Okung. Ifedi and Webb slot in on the right side of the line to replace J.R. Sweezy and Gilliam. Third-round pick Rees Odhiambo from Boise State will compete with Justin Britt at left guard, and sixth-round pick Joey Hunt will battle Patrick Lewis at center.
As Washington cornerback Josh Norman prepares to face guys like Odell Beckham Jr. and Dez Bryant twice per year, Norman explains in an item for The Players Tribune the mindset that often results in acrimony on the field.
It traces, for Norman, to having his bologna stolen by older brothers at a time when Norman was too young and small to do anything about it.
“Football isn’t unfair,” Norman says. “Life is what’s unfair. Getting your bologna taken is what’s unfair. Football is barbaric. It’s animalistic. It’s my will versus your will. It’s all those things. But it’s not unfair. That’s why I love it.”
He then used that mindset to explain the protracted, out-of-control, back and forth between Norman and Beckham from last December.
“When Odell and I went at one another last year, people got mad,” Norman said. “Imagine that. People who watch this sport every Sunday and say they love it actually pretended to be offended. They don’t see the beauty in it. They don’t see the truth.
“The guy lining up across from me, he knows the truth. There are a lot of people who watch this game, or who are paid to commentate on it, who might not understand the true reality. They might get offended. They might think we’re animals.”
That’s where Norman’s essay is inconsistent. He calls football “animalistic,” but then takes issue with those who thought Norman and Beckham were behaving like “animals.”
The broader flaw in Norman’s argument is that football routinely is played without over-the-top misbehavior from players who took their aggression well beyond the whistle or who engaged in clearly unnecessary acts during a play. If 99.5 percent of all players can do it, Norman and Beckham can, too.
“Odell and I, we know the truth,” Norman said. “Anybody who makes it to this level knows it. The truth is that on the football field, he’s trying to steal my bologna, and I’m trying to steal his.”
That’s fine, but the officials — and the league office — will be taking everyone’s bologna this season if folks can’t control their emotions and confine the exercise of ill will to actions necessary to the overriding objectives of the game. It’s clear that the NFL won’t stand for a repeat of last year’s outcome, and it’s likely that the officials and the powers-that-be at 345 Park Avenue will be paying close attention to everything that happens between Norman and Beckham in 2016, and beyond.