ProFootballTalk: Is Gronk indispensable?
Said CB Tre’Davious White of being picked by the Bills, “I knew that they needed a corner, but I didn’t know they were going to pick me. But I didn’t know they pretty much had that much interest in me at all.”
What sold the Dolphins on drafting DE Charles Harris?
Thursday night was a quiet one for the Patriots.
New Jets S Jamal Adams’ father played for the Giants.
T.J. Onwuanibe, the young man who announced the Ravens’ first-round pick, felt CB Marlon Humphrey’s addition was worthy of a fist pump.
The Browns were the first team to make three first-round picks since 2013.
Will the Steelers be adding a defensive back next?
The Titans addressed both sides of the ball in the first round.
The Broncos feel they have solved their left tackle spot with Garrett Bolles.
Trading up for QB Patrick Mahomes is the kind of move that could shake up the Chiefs franchise.
Said Raiders coach Jack Del Rio of CB Gareon Conley, “We expect him to come in and compete. We think he’s a highly-skilled player and he’s got the potential to become one of our better corners.”
The Chargers helped make the top of the draft heavy on offensive players.
The Cowboys expect DE Taco Charlton to contribute immediately.
Versatility was the buzzword about Lions LB Jarrad Davis on Thursday night.
Will the Packers trade down again on Friday?
The Vikings will get their chance to join the draft on Friday.
DE Takkarist McKinley was emotional about his late grandmother after being picked in the first round.
CB Marshon Lattimore will be reunited with college teammates on the Saints.
The Buccaneers feel they got a big-game standout in TE O.J. Howard.
Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians was the head coach at Temple long before LB Haason Reddick played there and built a resume that made him a first-round pick in Arizona.
The Rams are ready to get into this year’s draft.
49ers G.M. John Lynch earned high marks for his work on Thursday night.
The Seahawks traded down twice and ended the night without making any picks.
The Saints have been contemplating making big moves at cornerback all offseason.
They almost did again Thursday night, but didn’t even have to, as the defensive upgrade they needed came passively.
Via Josh Katzenstein of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Saints coach Sean Payton said they discussed trading up, but sat tight through a run of skill-position talent and saw cornerback Marshon Lattimore fall into their laps with the 11th pick in the draft.
“Just through a lot of the different scenarios, he was one of the players that we felt would be difficult maybe to anticipate him being there, but things happen,” Payton said.
Really, once Lattimore cleared the sixth pick (when the Jets took LSU safety Jamal Adams) they were fine, as the next four teams in the order were locked in on running backs (Christian McCaffrey to the Panthers), wide receivers (Mike Williams to the Chargers and John Ross to the Bengals), and a quarterback (Patrick Mahomes to the Texans).
That was certainly OK with Payton, as he didn’t have to give up any more draft capital to get the guy they had a top-four grade on.
Their stroke of good fortune may also save them a pile of money, as having Lattimore fall unexpectedly might make them reconsider previous offers for Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler, who visited the Saints before re-signing his RFA tender with New England. They could still trade for him, and could still make a case for it since neither Lattimore nor cornerback Delvin Breaux have been what you’d call durable players.
But they entered the offseason looking for a big-ticket answer at the position, and now have one.
Among the many storylines heading into Thursday night’s first round of the NFL Draft was the one involving sexual assault allegations made against former Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley.
Conley strongly denied the accusation and reportedly passed a polygraph test, but there was some doubt that he’d remain a first-round pick with the cloud hanging overhead. Conley did wind up going before the night was out when the Raiders selected him at No. 24.
After the pick was made, General Manager Reggie McKenzie said he spoke to owner Mark Davis about picking Conley after doing work that convinced him that picking the corner wasn’t an undue risk.
“We did our due diligence throughout this whole process, and we trust our research, reports, everything we have on Mr. Conley,” McKenzie said, via the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “We feel really good about having him join the Raiders, and having him be a great teammate. The research was done. It wasn’t just a gut [feeling]. It was based on research, and we are very confident in all the information we got. I don’t want to get into all the details about who we talked to. The bottom line is, we’ve done miles and miles of research to make sure we were totally comfortable with our decision, which we were. We feel really good about the pick and where it’s going.”
It’s a move that comes with obvious risks for McKenzie, Davis and the Raiders if things should play out differently than they expect on the legal front, but the team headed for Vegas obviously felt comfortable rolling the dice anyway.
The 49ers were involved in the first big twist of the 2017 draft when they were able to obtain two third-round picks and a fourth-round pick for moving down one spot from No. 2 to No. 3 in a trade with the Bears.
General Manager John Lynch earned a lot of praise for pulling off that move while running his first draft since taking the job and he remained busy. After taking defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, who was the expected pick at No. 2, Lynch traded back into the first round by sending the newly acquired fourth-round pick and the No. 34 pick to Seattle to take linebacker Reuben Foster with the 31st overall selection.
That ended a major drop for Foster, who was generally expected to come off the board far earlier in the round, and gave the 49ers a player that Lynch said they rated right alongside Thomas on their board.
“I can tell you right off the bat that what we had on the board was just under 200 players, and in terms of how we rated them, we got two of our top three players,” Lynch said, via ESPN.com. “We were able to do that, and we’re thrilled. We’re ecstatic. We think these guys have a lot of traits of what we want to be about as a football organization.”
Both players should be playing early for the Niners and Lynch will be back at work trying to turn the team around on Friday night.
Is Broncos General Manager John Elway conducting his last draft in Denver?
Elway, whose contract expires after the upcoming season, declined to answer when asked following the first round of the draft what his own contract status is.
“We’re not going to talk about that now. We’re in the middle of this. We’re trying to get better as a football team. We’ll talk about that later. We’re going to be fine. I’m not worried about that,” Elway said.
Elway took no further questions after that. According to USA Today, the Broncos originally left that portion of the press conference off the video and transcript that the team posted online, although it was later added.
From all indications the 56-year-old Elway is happy in Denver and eager to build another Super Bowl winner, but until a new contract is in place, it’s an open question just how long a future he has with the Broncos.
It wasn’t hard to find draft projections that had the Chiefs landing quarterback Patrick Mahomes in the first round, but they typically didn’t have that pick happening with the 10th overall pick.
There was word before the start of the draft that Kansas City might be coming up, however, and they wound up dealing next year’s first-round pick to Buffalo as part of a package that netted them the chance to draft Mahomes. Coach Andy Reid said they like Mahomes’ energy and intensity as well as his ability to make plays under pressure and that they feel comfortable with his ability to handle a pro-style offense after putting him through his paces.
Reid doesn’t think Mahomes will be ready to handle such an offense right off the bat, which leaves Alex Smith as the starter and Reid said he’s not concerned that paying a big price for Smith’s heir apparent will lead to any unease inside the team.
“I don’t worry about Alex on this,” Reid said, via the Kansas City Star. “Alex knows we trust him. Alex is the starting quarterback. Nothing is going to change there. The kid is going to take some time. He understands that. But there’s gonna be a day Alex isn’t playing anymore and we’ll need someone to step in and play.”
Smith has some familiarity with the scenario after seeing Colin Kaepernick come to the 49ers and make his way from the bench to the starting lineup. That started out well for the 49ers as the Niners went to the Super Bowl after Kaepernick took over in his second season and the Chiefs would love a similar taste of success, although they’d surely prefer it come without the quick fizzle that followed for the 49ers.
Three quarterbacks went in the first 12 selections on Thursday night. So which of those three landed in the best spot?
That’s the Friday PFT Live question of the day.
Cast a ballot below, drop a comment or two (or five), and then join us on NBCSN at 7:00 a.m. ET. And stay with us all day long for comprehensive reaction to a crazy night in Philly.
In a pre-draft season that saw few things go unnoticed, the Bears’ interest in quarterback Mitchell Trubisky slipped through the cracks.
Trubisky seemed to indicate the same after the pick, but General Manager Ryan Pace admitted to having a private workout with Trubisky that the team was able to keep under wraps. That visit, conversations with Trubisky and scouting his play at North Carolina were enough to leave Pace and the team convinced that he was the right man for them.
During a press conference after the trade and pick, Pace was asked if he felt the 49ers may have been bluffing about other teams coming up to get Trubisky. Pace said he knew other teams were making calls about a trade and “maybe you call the bluff and you miss out on the player.”
“If we want to be great, you just can’t sit on your hands,” Pace said, via the Chicago Tribune. “There are times when you’ve got to be aggressive, and when you have conviction on a guy, you can’t sit on your hands. I just don’t want to be average around here; I want to be great. And these are the moves you have to make.”
Pace said Mike Glennon is the starter and that there’s no timeline for Trubisky to change that, although moving up to take a quarterback with the second overall pick starts an unofficial one because Pace set a course for the future of the franchise and his future with the franchise on Thursday night.
The Browns sort of gave their current quarterbacks a vote of confidence by not using one of three first-round picks on Thursday night on a rookie signal-caller. And then their executive V.P. of football operations did anything but give their current quarterbacks a vote of confidence.
“We won’t rest until we solidify that position,” Sashi Brown said, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “It’s not solidified right now, so we know we need the guys here to work their tails off and Hue [Jackson] is going to develop them as much as possible and push them to be their best and we also know that until we get it solidified, we’re going to continue looking for players all over the league and in college.”
Brown cast a wide net regarding where the Browns may go to solidify the position.
“That may be in next year’s draft, it may be in free agency, it may be via trade,” Brown said. “But again, Brock [Osweiler], Cody [Kessler], and Kevin [Hogan] are here working hard and we’re going to support them as best we can.”
They’ll support them until they find the guy who supplants them. Per Brown, the effort to “solidify” (i.e., find someone better) will continue indefinitely.
“Every day until we solidify the position we leave this building thinking about what opportunities might be out there, so absolutely,” Brown said.
At some point, the solidification effort needs to commence. Maybe they would have gotten Mitchell Trubisky last night at some point after taking defensive end Myles Garrett, if the Bears hadn’t moved to No. 2 to get him. Maybe they would have taken Patrick Mahomes at No. 12, if the Chiefs hadn’t moved up. They could have taken Deshaun Watson at No. 12, but opted to trade down — and to take a future first-round pick from the Texans to do it.
Earlier this year, Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com said on PFT Live that the current brain trust in Cleveland won’t be on the clock for termination until they have their quarterback. It’s hard not to wonder whether they’re paralyzed by that reality, waiting for the best possible quarterback before pulling the trigger. A cynic also could wonder whether they’re deliberately delaying getting a quarterback to maximize job security.
That would be a risky move, because another horrible season to follow last year’s 1-15 disaster may be enough to get ownership to decide to pull the plug on the analytics-and-old-school hybrid that has been great at stockpiling draft picks but, so far, not much else.
In Week 13, the Bears beat the 49ers in a game that seemed utterly meaningless: Chicago entered the game 2-9, San Francisco entered the game 1-10, and neither team had anything to play for.
But it turned out to be a very meaningful game: The 49ers finished the season 2-14 and had the second overall pick in the draft, while the Bears finished the season 3-13 and had the third overall pick. If the 49ers had beaten the Bears, those records and draft orders would be reversed. And the Bears’ trade up from No. 3 to No. 2 for quarterback Mitchell Trubisky never would have happened.
As it turned out, the Bears sent their third-round pick this year, their fourth-round pick this year and their third-round pick next year to San Francisco just to move up to a draft spot that would have belonged to the Bears if only the Bears hadn’t beaten the 49ers in Week 13.
NFL teams keep playing hard even if the season is lost. Even the Browns, last year’s worst team, won in Week 16 and took the Steelers to overtime in Week 17 in a season finale that could have cost Cleveland the first overall pick with a win. But sometimes teams would be better off losing. The Bears would undoubtedly be better off today if they had lost that meaningless game in December.
The Texans made a big move up the draft board on Thursday night when they sent their 2018 first-round pick to the Browns for the chance to use the 12th overall pick on quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Houston had already sent their 2018 second-round pick to Cleveland as a way to erase Brock Osweiler from their roster, so one might think that mortgaging the future in that manner would give Watson the inside track on a starting job this year. Both Texans coach Bill O’Brien and General Manager Rick Smith say that isn’t the case.
O’Brien called Savage the starter after the Watson pick was announced and Smith said he was “comfortable” with Savage as the starter, whcih was what he said in his pre-draft press conference as well. Watson didn’t upset the apple cart when discussing his immediate future.
“All I need to do is put my head down, don’t say anything, learn from all the veterans, learn from Tom Savage, learn from Brandon Weeden and just play my role,” Watson said, via the Houston Chronicle. “Whatever my role is help the team win.”
It’s April, which means there’s a lot of time for Watson to learn the offense and make people with the team less comfortable with leaving him on the bench. Until and unless that happens, it will be Savage at the helm in Houston.
By the end of the night, one-sixteenth of the network’s ownership had denied it, with both teams poo-poohing it.
Via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Browns executive Sashi Brown dismissed it, calling it “bad reporting.”
Meanwhile in Washington, via John Keim of ESPN.com, coach Jay Gruden said they didn’t “receive one call” about Cousins.
And until Cousins has a long-term deal somewhere, the speculation about him will continue, in Cleveland and elsewhere. But the time being, both teams are shooting this one down.
The NFL announced earlier this month that 22 players would be attending this year’s draft in Philadelphia, although that number dropped by one when cornerback Gareon Conley changed his plans this week.
Conley wound up going in the first round despite the sexual assault allegations that led him to pass on the trip, but a few of the other invitees remained on the board through all 32 picks. Michigan State defensive lineman Malik McDowell, Alabama tackle Cam Robinson, Washington cornerback Kevin King and Colorado cornerback Chidobe Awuzie all remain available heading into Round Two on Friday night.
They have company among recognizable names from outside of Philadelphia. Florida State running back Dalvin Cook didn’t join Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey as a first-round pick and joins Tennessee’s Alvin Kamara and Oklahoma’s Joe Mixon at the top of the list of available backs.
Western Kentucky offensive lineman Forrest Lamp, Washington safety Budda Baker and Vanderbilt linebacker Zach Cunningham are others that sometimes appeared as first-round picks in mock drafts before going unselected on Thursday. Quarterbacks Davis Webb and DeShone Kizer also figure to be among the names coming off the board when the draft resumes with the Packers on the clock at No. 33.
Reuben Foster’s loss was San Francisco’s gain.
The Alabama linebacker, one of the top talents in the draft, slid after being sent home from the Scouting Combine and, more recently, generating a positive drug test via a dilute sample.
It caused him to plunge, but the 49ers decided to trade up to get him, doing a deal with the Seahawks for the 31st pick in the draft.
The 49ers gave up their second-round pick and a fourth-round pick to make the move up and grab Foster, who possibly would have been nabbed by the Saints.
The first round of the 2017 NFL Draft is in the books.
The Saints closed out the night’s activities in Philadelphia by taking Wisconsin tackle Ryan Ramczyk with the 32nd overall pick. The pick was one they acquired from the Patriots in the trade that sent wide receiver Brandin Cooks to the Patriots.
Ramczyk is the latest of many strong blockers to come out of Madison in recent years and was widely projected to be a first-round pick this season. He had hip surgery after the end of the Badgers’ season, which may have pushed him down a bit but he ended the night making good on those projections.
They had previously taken cornerback Marshon Lattimore with the 11th pick of the round, so they were able to address both sides of the ball before the night was out.