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The best punter in the history of the Chargers franchise is out of a job.
Mike Scifres, who has punted in San Diego since the Chargers drafted him in 2003, will be released after the team drafted punter Drew Kaser today.
“He’s a true pro,” Chargers coach Mike McCoy said of Scifres today. “When people ask what it means to be a Charger, I’ll point to Mike Scifres. Thank you, Mike. We’re going to miss you.”
But while the Chargers will miss Scifres, who was chosen as the punter on the franchise’s 50th Anniversary Team, the decision to let him go wasn’t difficult. The 35-year-old Scifres did not punt well last year and was set to cost $4.2 million against the Chargers’ salary cap this year.
It was time for the Chargers to move on to someone younger and cheaper, and that’s exactly what they’ve done.
It’s way too early to start thinking about which players are available in next year’s NFL draft. But it’s not too late to declare that the Browns will be in good shape next year.
The Browns have two first-round picks and two second-round picks in the 2017 NFL draft, thanks to trades with the Eagles and Titans. Cleveland is also expected to get multiple compensatory picks next year, so the Browns should get a big haul of talent a year from now.
Despite trading away their second-round pick, the Titans are also in good shape for 2017, thanks to having the Rams’ first- and third-round picks. And the Vikings, who acquired the Dolphins’ third- and fourth-round picks, also have to like how the 2017 draft looks.
Here’s the full list of 2017 NFL draft picks that have already changed hands:
Cleveland has Philadelphia’s pick.
Tennessee has L.A.’s pick.
Cleveland has Tennessee’s pick.
Tennessee has L.A.’s pick.
Minnesota has Miami’s pick.
Chicago has Buffalo’s pick.
Minnesota has Miami’s pick.
Washington has the New York Jets’ pick.
New England has Seattle’s pick.
New England forfeited its pick as punishment for Deflategate.
Philadelphia will receive a fourth-round compensatory pick from Cleveland, unless Cleveland doesn’t get one, in which case Philadelphia will get Cleveland’s fifth-round pick.
Buffalo has Dallas’s pick.
San Francisco has Washington’s pick.
Washington has New Orleans’ pick.
Houston has Chicago’s pick.
San Francisco has Denver’s pick.
Washington has Houston’s pick.
Denver has Tennessee’s pick.
Kansas City forfeited its pick as punishment for tampering.
Dallas has Buffalo’s pick.
Seattle has Carolina’s pick.
San Francisco has Cleveland’s pick.
Los Angeles has Tennessee’s pick.
Philadelphia has Denver’s pick.
Cleveland has Indianapolis’s pick.
With a number of quarterback destinations going away via draft picks, the remaining veterans are going to be scrambling for a chair.
Brian Hoyer found his, signing with the Bears, according to multiple reports.
Hoyer had visited the Broncos (who never seemed all that interested) and the Jets (who seem destined to bring Ryan Fitzpatrick back at some point).
The Bears didn’t draft one, so Hoyer moved quickly to find a home.
There were 107 players who gave up remaining college football eligiblity to enter the 2016 NFL Draft.
Thirty of them went undrafted.
Among the notable players who went undrafted as early entries are Oklahoma’s Dominique Alexander, Auburn’s Peyton Barber, Tennessee’s Marquez North, Indiana’s Darius Latham, Bowling Green’s Roger Lewis and Ohio State’s Tyvis Powell and Jalin Marshall.
Ohio State had 12 players drafted after 11 of them went in the first 102 picks. Ohio State fell short of its own record of 14 players selected in single draft set in 2004.
NFL teams start working to sign undrafted players before the draft ends. Some will reach deals — or already have — soon, though some teams don’t announce such signings until Sunday or well into next week.
Marshall told Cleveland.com he heard from “half the league” but plans to sign with the Jets. Lewis tweeted that he’s headed to the Giants.
The 2016 NFL Draft had a little bit of everything.
It even included four punters and a long snapper.
Drew Kaser was the first punter to be drafted, early in the sixth round by the Chargers. Three more punters were drafted from there, most notably Riley Dixon by the Broncos. Veteran Broncos punter Britton Colquitt is due to make $3.25 million in 2016, so a potential camp battle that might be decided by more than just performance looms.
The Lions took long snapper Jimmy Landes in the sixth round, at pick No. 210. Landes went to Baylor to play baseball, but after hitting .048 he took up long snapping. He was the only long snapper invited to this year’s NFL Scouting Combine.
A long snapper getting drafted is rare, but the Lions picking Landes means it’s happened in back to back years. The Patriots picked Joe Cardona in the fifth round last year.
The only kicker selected was Roberto Aguayo, who went to the Buccaneers after they traded two picks to get him in the second round at No. 59.
The Eagles have devoted a fifth-round pick to a running back who brings plenty of baggage to the NFL.
As explained by Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com, the Eagles aren’t concerned.
Wendell Smallwood, a former West Virginia tailback, faced an allegation of witness intimidation in a second-degree murder case two years ago. His friend pleaded guilty, and the charge that Smallwood tried to convince a witness to change testimony was dropped.
Smallwood also has a history of posting social-media messages containing racial and homophobic slurs.
“I don’t believe anything I said. I’ve grown,” Smallwood told reporters after his selection, via Josh Paunil of PhillyMag.com. “I’m sorry if I offended anyone.”
“We are aware of the social media statements Smallwood made. We don’t condone them,” Eagles executive V.P. of football operations Howie Roseman said, per Shorr-Parks. “We have no doubt or concern about what kind of person Smallwood is.”
Roseman explained that the team’s research led to the conclusion that there would be no issues in the future with Smallwood. If there are, somebody is going to be saying, “I told you so.” Here’s hoping no one ever has a reason to say that about Smallwood.
Colts owner Jim Irsay said late last month that he’d like to have a new contract for quarterback Andrew Luck wrapped up before the fireworks went off to celebrate July 4, but he’s backing off that date as a milestone to watch in talks for a new deal.
Irsay discussed the status of contract talks while talking to the media on the final day of the draft and said that there’s been progress toward an agreement. Irsay expects the deal to get done, but said that he’d be happy getting it done during camp or the preseason if that’s how long it takes.
“Talks are progressing well. We have made progress,” Irsay said, via ESPN.com. “I mentioned Fourth of July before. I don’t think that marker is something that needs to be watched as an indicator. We should be able to come to a deal. Until you do, we still have ground to cover. There’s no question about that. It’s a complicated contract. It’s one that has to work both ways to make sure we’re able to field a great football team. … There are times when you get to camp, you’re into the preseason, you can still get something done.”
Luck is in the final year of his rookie contract and has a $16.155 million salary. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco currently has the highest annual average for quarterbacks at a bit more than $22 million and one of the complications is surely where Luck will rank on that front as well as in guaranteed money in relation to his peers.
No college football experience? No problem for the Cowboys on Day 3 of the draft.
In the sixth round, the Cowboys pulled the trigger on a high-risk, high-reward prospect: Rico Gathers of Baylor, who didn’t play college football but played on Baylor’s basketball team. The 6-foot-8, 275-pound Gathers wasn’t viewed as an NBA prospect, but he has the kind of natural athleticism NFL teams look for in tight ends, and he says he’s committed to putting in the hard work necessary to make the transition to football. In Dallas, he’ll learn from one of the best in the business in Jason Witten.
Cowboys owner and General Manager Jerry Jones hasn’t been afraid to take chances in this year’s draft. He used the fourth overall pick on Ezekiel Elliott, a very good running back who plays a position that some people think just doesn’t carry Top 5 value in today’s NFL. He then used his second-round pick on Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith, who was a phenomenal college player but is recovering from a very serious knee injury. And now he’s taken Gathers with a late pick.
Gathers was an excellent rebounder at Baylor, and now the Cowboys are hoping he can go up and get some footballs, too.
We have our first trade involving a veteran player in this year’s draft.
Cornerback Jamar Taylor has been traded from the Dolphins to the Browns, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. The deal was for an exchange of seventh-round picks, with the Dolphins moving up in the last round.
There had been no previous reports that the Dolphins were looking to move Taylor or that the Browns were looking to acquire him, but apparently the Cleveland regime thinks there’s a place for him on the Browns’ defense, and the Dolphins weren’t sure he’d make their roster this year.
Taylor was a second-round pick of the Dolphins in the 2013 NFL draft who played in 12 games for the Dolphins last year, starting six.
The 2016 draft is rolling toward its conclusion and one of the names to come off the board in the sixth round carries with it the prospect of an interfamily collision in Week 12.
That’s when the Texans host the Chargers and we could see the Watt brothers butt heads during the game. You’re likely familiar with the work of Texans defensive end J.J. Watt and he was been joined as an NFL draft pick by his brother Derek on Saturday afternoon.
The Chargers took Derek Watt with the 198th overall pick. He followed his brother to Wisconsin, but landed on the other side of the ball as a fullback that lined up as a tight end/H-back at times as well. Watt caught 15 passes during the 2015 season and also saw a lot of time on special teams.
He’ll probably need to keep doing that to stick around the NFL long enough to set up the chance to block his brother while trying to open running room for former college teammate Melvin Gordon.
New Bills rookie Kolby Listenbee isn’t lacking for speed. Or confidence.
Listenbee, a wide receiver from TCU whom the Bills chose in the sixth round of the NFL draft, declared in his first talk with Buffalo media that he believes he’s the fastest player in the NFL.
That might be a bit of an overstatement. Listenbee ran well at the Combine, clocking a 4.39-second 40-yard dash, but that was tied for the eighth-fastest this year, certainly not the fastest time of any current NFL player.
Listenbee, however, says he was running at the Combine while recovering from a sports hernia. And he was a good runner on the TCU track team, so he certainly has the speed to back up his confidence.
As a senior last year, Listenbee caught 30 passes for 597 yards, an outstanding 19.9-yard average, and scored five touchdowns. He also saw occasional action as a kickoff returner. The Bills hope he’ll keep using that speed in the NFL.
The Lions have drafted a quarterback for the first time since taking Matthew Stafford first overall in 2009 and they didn’t have to look far to find him.
Detroit ended the longest current drought without picking a quarterback by selecting Jake Rudock with the 191st pick in the draft. Rudock played a few miles down I-94 from the Lions in 2015 while quarterbacking Jim Harbaugh’s first Michigan team to a 9-3 regular season record and a 41-7 Citrus Bowl romp over Florida.
Rudock was mentioned as a possible target for the Lions in the pre-draft process when General Manager Bob Quinn talked about it being “good football business” to bring in a young quarterback. That’s a deviation from recent years in Detroit, where Dan Orlovsky is back for another year behind Stafford.
Rudock only spent one year in Ann Arbor, but gained a lot of experience in the Big 10 during two years as a starter at Iowa. He showed steady improvement during his year under Harbaugh and the Lions will hope that a dose of Jim Bob Cooter can keep the needle moving in the right direction.
The Browns drafted wide receiver Corey Coleman in the first round Thursday night.
Saturday, the Browns drafted a bunch more wide receivers. They started in the fourth round with Ricardo Louis of Auburn and continued in the fifth with Jordan Payton of UCLA and Rashard Higgins of Colorado State.
Also in the fourth, they selected Seth Devalve of Princeton, who’s listed by some as a wide receiver but is 245 pounds and is probably a tight end. This newest new Browns regime has a completely different strategy from past regimes, and it will make for a crowded receiver room when the rookies report for minicamp in two weeks.
Ray Farmer drafted one wide receiver in his two years as Browns general manager: Vince Mayle in the fourth round last year. Mayle was cut at the end of the preseason.
Prior to Mayle, the Browns had not selected a wide receiver in the regular draft since 2012. The Browns drafted currently suspended wide receiver Josh Gordon in the supplemental draft in 2012.
With Gordon suspended for all but five games over the past two seasons, the Browns haven’t had a No. 1 receiver. Travis Benjamin had a big year in 2015 but left for the Chargers in free agency. So, Coleman and Company will try to find snaps alongside veterans Brian Hartline and Andrew Hawkins, ongoing project Terrelle Pryor, holdover (for now) slot receiver Taylor Gabriel and Darius Jennings, who got some snaps late last season.
Moritz Boehringer got his first exposure to the NFL in Germany by watching a video of Adrian Peterson online when he was 17.
Now they’re going to be teammates with the Vikings.
Boehringer started playing the sport and became a wide receiver in the German league, impressed scouts and then landed on the draft radar with an impressive pro day workout at Florida Atlantic University earlier this year. The Vikings made Boehringer the first player drafted directly from Europe with the 181st pick.
The selection came shortly after Boehringer appeared on NFL Network and talked about the Vikings being his favorite team. Mike Mayock said that Vikings coach Mike Zimmer should call him so he could talk up Boehringer and Zimmer did give Mayock a buxz a short time later.
One imagines the Vikings were already considering Boehringer, who makes for a big target at 6’4″ and 225 pounds. He ran well at the pro day workout, so there’s a lot of raw material to work with. With four years of football experience in Europe, raw might not be a strong enough word so it’s up in the air where things will go from here.
That doesn’t make the story any less enjoyable on a Saturday afternoon.
[Photo credit: Vikings on Twitter]
After a great college career at Navy, Keenan Reynolds is getting his chance in the NFL. And he won’t even have to leave Maryland.
The Ravens chose Reynolds, the former Navy quarterback, in the sixth round at Pick 182. He was announced as a wide receiver, and that’s where he’s expected to play in the NFL.
It’s unclear at the moment whether Reynolds will be able to commit himself fully to football right away. His obligations to the Naval Academy mean he could be pressed into full-time military service for as long as five years, although last year the Pentagon allowed another football player, Patriots long snapper Joe Cardona, to play a full NFL season while doing work for the Navy in the offseason.
Reynolds is the NCAA’s all-time record holder in touchdowns, so his college football pedigree is great. It’s unclear how well he’ll be able to transition from a run-first quarterback in Navy’s option offense into a slot receiver, punt returner or anything else the Ravens want him to do. But he has earned a chance in the NFL.