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The news comes as no real surprise — Hardy has been a free agent for seven weeks — but Jones going the no-comment route is the most definitive statement of disinterest to date. The Cowboys have gone three rounds into the draft without adding an edge rusher, but the team doesn’t see Hardy as a solution.
Stephen Jones, Jerry’s son, has said the the team is looking for pass rushers, and that search will continue into the final day of the draft and apparently beyond. Hardy had six sacks for the Cowboys last year.
“Ultimately we want to find a dominant type of pass rusher,” Stephen Jones said earlier this month. “Obviously that’s easier said than done.”
The Cowboys-Hardy experiment simply didn’t work out, and the Cowboys figure having to get creative to address their pass rush is better than dealing with Hardy-related headaches.
The Connor Cook slide continues.
The Browns took Kessler in round three. Which means Cook is still on the board, as the compensatory phase of round three begins.
The slide by Cook is stunning. He told PFT Live earlier this week he’d get nervous if not taken after round two. He may be undrafted after round three.
The good news (if there is any) is that former Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins was a fourth-round pick. Things worked out pretty well for him.
Thanks to this week’s ruling in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the Patriots face the prospect of playing the first four weeks of the season without quarterback Tom Brady.
That left them in need of a quarterback to go with Jimmy Garoppolo on the roster. They addressed that need in the third round on Friday night.
The Patriots drafted Jacoby Brissett of North Carolina State with the 91st overall pick. Brissett is a big quarterback at 6’4″ and 231 pounds and had some big games against good opponents over the course of his ACC career, but there’s definitely work to be done if he’s going to be an NFL starter.
New England can afford to give him that time with Brady and Garoppolo on hand now and he could follow Garoppolo into the No. 2 job if he continues to develop.
The Patriots made their first pick of the year in the second round when they took Alabama cornerback Cyrus Jones with the 60th overall pick. Jones also excelled as a returner in college. They traded the 61st pick to the Saints, receiving third- and fourth-round picks in return. They used the third rounder on offensive lineman Joe Thuney, who was a college teammate of Brissett.
Ohio State set the record for the most players drafted from a school in a single year when they had 14 players selected in the 2004 draft.
They may not match that record this year, but the NFL announced that they have more players selected through the first three rounds than any school in history. There are 10 players from Columbus off the board.
When the Bills selected defensive tackle Adolphus Washington with the 80th overall pick, it meant that 10 percent of the players selected to that point were Buckeyes. The percentage swung even further in the direction of Urban Meyer’s talent pipeline when the Texans made wide receiver Braxton Miller the 85th overall pick and ninth Ohio State player selected, and then the Seahawks took tight end Nick Vannett with the 94th pick.
Five Buckeyes went on Thursday night and two more went to the Saints in the second round. New Orleans took wide receiver Michael Thomas with the 47th pick and then traded up with the Patriots to No. 61 to pick safety Vonn Bell.
With quarterback Cardale Jones, linebacker Joshua Perry and other Buckeyes still available, the number of Ohio State products is likely to grow before Saturday’s festivities come to an end.
Jaylon Smith and Myles Jack were the two best linebackers in college football last year. They both suffered serious knee injuries that caused them to drop in the draft. They both had insurance policies designed to protect them in case of an injury. But only Smith will collect on that policy.
That’s because Smith bought a policy that came with a significant payout if he dropped into the second round of the draft, while Jack bought a policy that would only pay out if he fell past the 45th pick.
Smith’s policy will pay $900,000 because he fell all the way to the 34th overall pick in the draft, Darren Rovell of ESPN reports. That doesn’t make up for the money Smith lost with his injury: If he’d been the third overall pick he would have signed a contract with a total value of about $26 million, but as the 34th overall pick he’ll get about $6.5 million on his rookie deal. Still, a $900,000 payout takes a little of the sting off his injury.
But Jack won’t get any insurance money. His policy would only pay if he dropped below the 45th overall pick, and the Jaguars drafted Jack at pick No. 36. Jack will make about $6.3 million on his rookie contract, but nothing from insurance.
The Browns traded pick No. 77 in the third round to the Panthers, who selected West Virginia cornerback Daryl Worley.
The Browns have made four picks in this draft and made two trades. They netted a third-round pick and a 2017 second-rounder in their first round trade with the Titans, then gave up Nos. 77 and 141 to the Panthers for pick Nos. 93, 129 and 168 in this draft.
That gives the Browns five picks between Nos. 93-138, then Nos. 168, 172, 173 and 223.
No. 93 is a late third-round pick to be made later Friday night, then the Browns will have eight picks tomorrow.
Before trading with the Panthers the Browns used pick No. 76 on offensive tackle Shon Coleman, a left tackle at Auburn who will compete for the right tackle job with the Browns.
The #FreeBrady movement has made its way to Chicago.
Announcing New England’s third-round pick, former Patriots running back Kevin Faulk had a Tom Brady jersey under his jacket and over his dress shirt. Faulk unbuttoned the jacket, pulled it open, stood at the front of the stage with his hands on his hips while being introduced by NFL executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent.
“With the 78th pick of the 2016 NFL draft, the New England Patriots and Tom Brady select Joe Thuney, linebacker, North Carolina State,” Faulk declared.
The guys handling NFL Network’s coverage chuckled briefly but didn’t mention Faulk’s gesture. Which probably was smart.
On Monday, a federal appeals court reinstated Brady’s four-game #Deflategate suspension.
Dolphins coach Adam Gase said during the team’s minicamp this week that it was “very impressive” to see running back Jay Ajayi on the field, continuing a recent trend of confident notes about the backfield from Miami.
Early in free agency it looked like they weren’t so comfortable as they made an unsuccessful bid for C.J. Anderson as a restricted free agent and the team used a third-round pick to add another player to the mix. They selected Alabama running back Kenyan Drake at No. 73 overall on Friday night.
Drake has plenty of experience in backfield committees after sharing time with 2015 second-round pick T.J. Yeldon and 2016 second-round pick Derrick Henry at Alabama over the last two seasons. Drake, who broke his leg in 2014 and his arm in 2015, will bring speed out of the backfield and could be a pass receiving option as a complement to Ajayi.
Drake also returned a kickoff for a touchdown in the NCAA title game last season and made several other big plays on special teams at Alabama, which should ensure him early playing time even if the running back rotation works out differently come September.
It seems the Ravens had a plan on Friday night, to add picks and to add pass rushers.
After making two trades and selecting Kamalei Correa in the second round, the Ravens in the third round picked defensive end Bronson Kaufusi at No. 70.
Kaufusi, who’s 6-foot-6 and 285 pounds, had 11 sacks last season at BYU. He’ll play as a defensive end as the Ravens groom him, while Correa while likely play as a linebacker and then as a defensive end in nickel packages.
Kaufusi also played basketball at BYU and played both as a defensive end and as a stand-up pass rusher during his college career.
The Cowboys balanced their win-now selection of running back Ezekiel Elliott in round one with a play-later option in second-round linebacker Jaylon Smith. But don’t tell Smith that he won’t be playing in 2016.
Asked by reporters after getting picked Friday night whether there’s a chance he’ll play this year, Smith said, “Absolutely. Never doubt God.”
Smith suffered a serious knee injury during his final game with Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. Concerns regarding nerve damage caused him to fall, but he ended up being drafted earlier than expected — even earlier than linebacker Myles Jack.
“I get different sensations everyday with the nerve, but it’s just a timing thing,” Smith said. “I’m only three-and-a-half months out, so time will definitely tell, but the knee is fine. That was cleared at the medical recheck that the knee won’t have any issues. But it’s just a timing thing for the nerve. It’s too early in the process to tell. . . .
“There’s no recovery time because this is a process where we’re relying on God to do his work. We have to be patient and you know the nerve can come back tomorrow. It’s just a timing thing. Whenever it wants to come back, it’ll come back.”
The fact that the Cowboys made Smith such a high pick suggests that they’re hopeful the nerve will come back sooner than later. If it does, the Cowboys could have yet another great player as they continue to search for glory.
The Panthers were flush with salary cap room after taking the franchise tag off Josh Norman, but they were left with a leaky secondary.
So they drafted a guy who will have to help fix that problem.
With the 62nd overall pick, the Panthers drafted Samford cornerback James Bradberry, who will get a crack at replacing the departed Norman.
Of course, Bradberry wasn’t necessarily expecting the call, as he was busy fixing his mother’s toilet at the time the Panthers took him, via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review.
While he’s a small-school player, that’s the kind of life skill that eclipses being able to cook like Eli Apple.
He’s a big, physical player with little name recognition, but that’s what Norman was before he developed into an All-Pro, but the Panthers are hoping he develops more quickly, since they have little to no depth at the position.
The Raiders took Illinois defensive tackle Jihad Ward with the 44th overall pick of the draft on Friday night, adding to a defense that they’ve been building up over the last few years through free agency and the draft.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, some teams were concerned about the health of Ward’s knee and believe that he needs to have arthroscopic surgery that would keep him off the field for six weeks.
The Raiders are not one of those teams, however, and he’ll presumably be taking part in the team’s rookie minicamp before finishing out the rest of the offseason program. Ward only played two years at Illinois after starting his college career at the junior college level, but played with a lot of energy and has a build that could make him a fit at various positions across the defensive line in Oakland.
Oakland drafted Khalil Mack in the first round and added defensive tackle Justin Ellis in the fourth round of the 2014 draft before picking defensive end Mario Edwards in the second round last year. Edwards suffered a neck injury that has created some doubt about his availability in 2016.
One of the more intriguing prospects in the draft has landed with his first NFL team, even though he thought it would be another one.
Washington made former USC linebacker Su’a Cravens the 53rd pick in the draft.
Via Tarik El-Bashir of CSN Mid-Atlantic, Cravens said he was surprised by the selection. He thought he would be picked by the Patriots.
Cravens can play safety and linebacker. He told reporters that Washington plans to use him as a linebacker in the dime defense, for now.
Not only did the Buccaneers take a kicker in the second round, they traded up to get him.
The Bucs moved up to take Florida State kicker Roberto Aguayo with the 59th overall pick, an aggressive move considering the teams immediately in front of them (New England and Carolina) weren’t really a danger to take one.
Aguayo left school a year early, but he already earned his degree and was the most accurate kicker in college football, so there wasn’t a lot left to prove.
He’s the highest-drafted kicker since Mike Nugent went in the second round (47th overall) in 2005.
Even after adding former Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg in round two of the draft, giving the Jets three quarterbacks under contract, they still want to bring back last year’s unexpected starter, Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the Jets still want to bring back Fitzpatrick, but possibly only on a one-year deal.
That actually may help get the deal done. A league source recently told PFT that one of the sticking points between player and team relates to the fact that the Jets have been offering a three-year deal with a solid payout ($10 million or $11 million) in 2016 but much lower salaries in 2017 and 2018.
If Fitzpatrick returns, it means that either Geno Smith (a second-round pick in 2013) or Bryce Petty (a fourth-round pick in 2015) will be the odd man out. If Fitzpatrick doesn’t return, it’s hard to envision a new team that would pay him the kind of money he’s reportedly looking for.