Mike Florio take calls and tweets from PFT Planet. Then, Florio gives the New York Jets and Tennessee Titans their offseason to do list.
Mike Florio take calls and tweets from PFT Planet. Then, Florio gives the New York Jets and Tennessee Titans their offseason to do list.
The Ravens started their offseason workout program last week, which marked the first time that newly promoted director of performance Steve Saunders has overseen the team’s spring work.
Saunders has instituted smaller workout groups than in past years and doing more to personalize each player’s workouts, something that has been met with an immediate and positive reaction from veteran players. Cornerback Jimmy Smith scrapped plans to work with another trainer after spending time with Saunders and safety Eric Weddle made a big prediction about the results the team will get.
“I can guarantee you this: We will be the strongest, most in-shape Ravens team that this team has ever had,” Weddle said, via ESPN.com.
The Ravens have placed 69 players on injured reserve since March 2014, which ESPN reports is tied for second-most in the NFL. After two straight years finishing out of the playoffs, anything Saunders can do to drop their place on that list would be much appreciated in Baltimore.
Defensive help should be coming the Dolphins’ way during the draft.
Would Michigan TE Jake Butt fit with the Patriots?
Five defensive backs who could wind up being drafted by the Jets.
A look at defensive line prospects that may interest the Ravens.
A preview of the Bengals’ draft strategy at linebacker.
Former Steelers QB Kordell Stewart reminisced about his draft day.
Texans G.M. Rick Smith thinks some of last year’s moves will pay off this year.
The Colts will have some former players involved with their draft events.
Titans G.M. Jon Robinson had some jokes about mock drafts.
Drafting Terrell Davis was one of the better moves in Broncos history.
A deep cornerback group in the draft is good for the Chiefs.
Some fans are still deciding if they’re moving on from the Chargers.
Possible targets for the Giants if they trade up in the draft.
Wide receiver and tight end are areas the Eagles may address in the draft.
Making the case for the Redskins drafting edge rushers.
The history of the third pick in the draft offers some cautionary tales for the Bears.
Will the Packers trade down in the first round?
Michigan State DT Malik McDowell might fit in with the Vikings.
Said Falcons G.M. Thomas Dimitroff, “Of course, I’ve said this time and again: We aren’t looking for angels. We are looking for guys who are real. We are looking for guys who ultimately will fit into the brotherhood.”
A negative take on the start to the Saints’ 2017 schedule.
Downfield receiving threats could be on the Buccaneers’ shopping list.
The Cardinals have had success in the third round of recent drafts.
The Rams may take a dip in the defensive back pool during the draft.
49ers legends Joe Montana and Jerry Rice are getting streets named after them.
The Seahawks might not be looking far for draft help.
When Seahawks wide receiver went down last year after breaking both bones in his lower right leg, teammates were quick to huddle around and offer their support and prayers.
But Lockett himself was fairly calm, despite the traumatic injury.
Lockett told Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times he was always very matter-of-fact about the broken fibula and tibia suffered on Christmas Eve.
“People took it worse than me,’’ Lockett said. “I didn’t care. It didn’t bother me. I mean I’ve had worse than that and I’ve always been taken care of. It’s always worked out for me.
“It didn’t hurt, it didn’t really bother me. It probably bothered other people. I didn’t feel anything. People felt pain more than I did. I was at a good place, like even when they carried me off it never bothered me at all.’’
As a result of that calm (or maybe it was shock), Lockett’s equally positive about his chances for a comeback. He said he expects to be ready for the regular season, even if he’s not sure when he’ll practice again.
“I mean I’m sure I’ll be ready,’’ Lockett said “If I don’t it will be news to me like it’s news to you.’’
Lockett’s still not sure whether he’ll participate in OTAs or whether his return will be pushed back to training camp, but he’s clearly not stressing about it — the same as when he was hurt in the first place.
The draft boards are set, the visits are all completed.
This is the week for making phone calls, and it appears many teams are willing to make a deal.
According to Peter King of TheMMQB.com, each of the non-Cleveland teams picking in the top seven of this year’s draft are “interested” in trading down.
If the 49ers (second), Bears (third), Jaguars (fourth), Titans (fifth), Jets (sixth) and Chargers (seventh) are all open for business, it could make for a fascinating night, with the potential for a lot of movement.
And with a number of teams looking for quarterbacks (including the Browns, who could come back up from their 12th pick), the potential for deals is heightened.
But there’s also some willingness to move deeper in the draft order.
King mentioned the Giants (23rd) and Texans (25th) as candidates to move up into the teens, with the Ravens (16th) and Titans (18th) willing to move back.
Giants G.M. Jerry Reese has already said he’s looking to move up, and if they believe they can find the correct tackle he may make a deal. The Texans are squarely in the quarterback market, and are probably picking too late in the process to get to the top three passers.
A consensus has existed for months that Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett will be the first overall pick in the draft. On Sunday, Hall of Famer Warren Sapp came out strong against that idea.
So what do you think? That’s the PFT Live question of the day on the first day of draft week. And draft week will be a big week for PFT Live.
Monday’s guests include Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly and Cal quarterback Davis Webb. Last in the week, we’ll have LSU running back Leonard Fournette, North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer, Washington receiver John Ross, Alabama tight end O.J. Howard, and LSU safety Jamal Adams.
For now, though, the question is whether you think Garrett should be No. 1. Answer below and then tune in for Monday’s edition of PFT Live, which begins at 6:00 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Radio. The simulcast begins at 7:00 a.m. ET on NBCSN.
Most personnel executives think Texas A&M pass rusher Myles Garrett is the best player in the draft. But that’s not a unanimous opinion, and one executive thinks the best player in the draft is a player who probably won’t even go in the first round: Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon.
Mixon will probably be a second-day pick because he was caught on tape punching a woman in 2014. But Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel asked 16 personnel executives to name the best player in the draft regardless of position, and one of them said it was Mixon.
Garrett was chosen by 11 of the 16 executives, while two named LSU safety Jamal Adams and one each named Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster, Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas and Mixon.
Foster might not go in the first round, either, after a terrible Scouting Combine that saw him sent home early for an altercation with a health-care worker at the hospital, followed by a drug test in which he turned in a diluted urine sample, which the NFL considers to be the same as a positive test.
So teams that are willing to take character risks could strike gold in the draft by taking Foster or Mixon, players whose off-field incidents will result in them being available far later than they otherwise would be.
Several years ago, the NFL began telling broadcast partners to instruct their employees not to spoil the contrived drama of the NFL draft by disclosing the picks before they officially are announced. ESPN has reiterated its intention not to tip picks, without mentioning that the NFL doesn’t want them to do it.
“We will allow our staffers to tweet any behind the scenes conversations teams are having, trade talks, debates, etc., but what we won’t allow is for them to flat out give away draft picks before the Commissioner announces them,” ESPN senior coordinator producer Seth Markman told Richard Deitsch of SI.com. “As I have said in the past, our viewers have overwhelmingly told us that they do not want us to spoil the drama of the draft in any way. This goes for Twitter, too.
“I realize that there are those who disagree with this approach, but we are not in the business of angering our loyal viewers and I personally like the unspoiled nature of this event. Fans love sitting on the edge of their seats to hear what the Commissioner says. Trust me, Adam Schefter could easily report who each team is going to pick minutes before the commissioner announces it. That would be terrible TV and he has no interest in proving that he could do this anyway.”
That’s fair and it’s fine (even though they used to be in the business of angering their loyal viewers by letting Chris Berman drop strong hints as the Commissioner approached the microphone). However, omitting the fact that the NFL has told them not to do it makes the explanation more than a bit hollow. At PFT, we decided to stop tipping picks before the NFL issued its decree, and from time to time over the past couple of years I’ve been tempted to tip the picks via a non-PFT Twitter account as a mild act of rebellion.
Maybe we will this year. It’s very easy to get the information, given the lag between when the pick is made, when it’s communicated to the league, when it’s shared with the other 31 teams, and when the Commissioner finally walks to the podium and announces the pick, after the booing subsides.
So, yes, Schefter can get it and Glazer can get it and Rapoport can get it and anyone with even the slimmest connection to only one of 32 teams or the league office can get it. And while it’s honorable not to spoil the experience for viewers who want to hear the pick called fresh, there’s no way ESPN made the decision without considering what the entity that bullied it into dropping the Playmakers series wants.
Per Schefter, a Garoppolo trade is “not happening.”
This doesn’t mean the Patriots would have never traded Garoppolo under any set of circumstances. It means that none of the potentially interested teams (like the Browns, or maybe the Browns) will be making the Patriots an offer they can’t refuse.
As PFT understands it, Patriots coach Bill Belichick has decided that, for 2017, he wants Garoppolo to serve as Tom Brady’s No. 2, and that Belichick will worry about 2018 when 2018 comes. As a practical matter, however, Belichick would have to at least consider whether to depart from that plan if offered enough to get him to stop and think. Appearing last week on PFT Live, Tom Curran of CSN New England said that it would take multiple first-round picks to get Belichick to change his plans.
So if none the potentially interested teams (like the Browns, or maybe the Browns) are willing to put multiple first-round picks on the table, a trade isn’t happening. Which means that, come next year, Belichick will have to decide whether to let Garoppolo walk via free agency, whether to try to sign him to a bridge deal pending Brady’s retirement, or whether to use the franchise tag, either to keep Garoppolo for 2018 or to set up a Matt Cassel-style trade.
These decisions are all being made against the backdrop of the possibility that Father Time will at some point in the next 12 months whack Tom Brady over the head with Father Time’s weapon of choice (I can never remember what it is — sickle, scythe, big-ass hourglass, chainsaw, and/or nunchucks).
Florida defensive tackle Caleb Brantley was expecting to be drafted this week, with some projections having him going in the first round. But things have just changed dramatically.
Brantley was arrested in Gainesville for allegedly punching a woman, knocking her unconscious and knocking out a tooth. He is facing a misdemeanor count of simple battery.
The police report says the 307-pound Brantley punched the 120-pound victim in the face. Although the report says the victim pushed Brantley first, it says that the “use of force was clearly out of retaliation and not self defense” and that Brantley’s force “far exceeded what was reasonable or necessary.” Two witnesses saw Brantley punch the woman, police say.
The incident sounds similar to the arrest of Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon. That incident has surely affected Mixon’s draft stock, but Brantley’s stock is likely to drop even further. Mixon has spent the last three months meeting with NFL coaches and personnel executives and promising them that he is a changed man. Brantley simply doesn’t have the time to do that, with only days to go before the draft. Teams may also question whether they can ever trust Brantley to stay out of trouble if he can’t restrain himself from punching a woman when he knows the draft is approaching.
We’ll see this week whether any team is willing to draft Brantley at all, and if so how that team explains why it would take a chance on such a player.
Former Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett has emerged as the consensus No. 1 overall pick. That consensus does not include Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp.
“I don’t see it from this kid,” Sapp told Adam Schefter of ESPN. “I see the splash plays; everybody gets those. Where’s the game he took over? Where? Any defensive lineman who’s the No. 1 pick, you turn up and you say, ‘There it is!’ This kid, no, I don’t. I’m a pretty plain and frank guy, and I watch the tape and he disappears. I watch the tape, and he absolutely disappears.”
So why does pretty much everyone but Sapp have Garrett at No. 1?
“It’s all about measurable,” Sapp said. “Once you hit the measurable, it’s tough to get them old scout people off the numbers, and that’s what [Garrett] has. He’s big, and he’s fast. Now some defensive line coach is thinking, ‘I can turn him into something.’ How? I’m trying to figure this out. Really? Are we lowering the bar? . . .
“I see a lazy kid that makes four plays a game. This is the No. 1 guy? No, no, no. This ain’t even close.”
So that’s the news: Sapp doesn’t think Garrett should be the No. 1 overall pick. Fine. That’s his prerogative to disagree with the manner in which the wind has been consistently blowing — although some have indeed raised the point that Garrett doesn’t dominate often enough on tape to justify the belief that he’ll dominate at the next level.
Next comes the more intriguing part, from our perspective: How did this story come to be?
Schefter, who primarily tweets and talks, has taken the time to write up an article with strong, opinionated quotes from someone who currently isn’t the in NFL in a coaching, scouting, playing, or media capacity. It’s fair to ask why.
This doesn’t fit with Schefter’s usual role of generating information, mainly transactional, on a neverending basis. (And he does that better than anyone at this point.) It’s a hard right turn for him, and it’s hard not to wonder whether this is Schefter’s way of showcasing an opinion contrary to the “Garrett is No. 1” viewpoint as a favor to someone in the Cleveland front office who is trying to push back against Garrett being Cleveland’s first overall pick.
Consider this portion of the article: “Still, Garrett is considered the favorite to go No. 1 to the Cleveland Browns, who used the No. 1 overall pick in the 2000 draft on Penn State defensive end Courtney Brown. ‘I don’t think this kid is as good as Courtney Brown either,’ Sapp said.” That feels like a stern warning to whoever will be breaking the tie in Cleveland regarding the potential pitfall of using the No. 1 overall pick on Garrett.
As the draft approaches, we’ve talked to more than a few NCAA coaches. Friday’s PFT Live include a visit from Miami coach Mark Richt, who has a couple of intriguing prospects in the 2017 draft.
I asked specifically about tight end David Njoku and quarterback Brad Kaaya.
“The big thing for him is he does have a rare athleticism at that tight end position,” Richt said of Njoku. “The length, the speed, and the quickness. Sometimes when guys are longer and they weigh 245, 250 [pounds] they don’t have the quicks. But he’s got great quick twitch. He’s got great body control. He can catch a ball in kind of any position you can ask for. He’s a much tougher online blocker than people want to give him credit for.”
The guy who threw the ball to Njoku isn’t rated as highly, but he has potential at the next level.
“I think Brad’s going to be be a guy that’s going to come into a program and they’re going to say, ‘This guy can function in this league,'” Richt said of Kaaya. “He’s going to know what to do. He loves the game of football, he’ll study, he’ll learn, he’ll know what to do and how to do it. He’ll be a guy that I think everybody would feel very comfortable in a backup role, and then I think one day he’s going to get his moment, he’s going to get his shot. And I’m sure he’ll be ready for it when the time comes. . . . If developed properly, he could have a great and long NFL career.”
Richt also provided a candid, and sensible, answer regarding how he determines what to tell scouts about his players as the draft approaches. Ultimately, it’s a report card on their football ability and effort, and Richt tells his players in advance that if they want him to say good things to the NFL scouts and coaches, the players need to do good things while playing college football.
The relevance of the Wonderlic test to a player’s football ability remains uncertain at best, and the inability of the NFL to secure the results justifies the refusal by players to take the test. (None have, yet.) Ideally, the league would get rid of the Wonderlic entirely, given the extent to which low scores often result in the shaming of players who take the 12-minute, 50-question test as part of a high-stress, little-sleep excursion to Indianapolis. (I’ve been guilty of that in the past, but I’ve since sworn off the practice of either trying to get the numbers or making light of those who didn’t ace it.)
Until the league scraps the test, someone will be reporting on the numbers, and certain aspects of the scores will be newsworthy.
Each year, Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel obtains and discloses the scores. This year, each of the 12 incoming quarterbacks ranked by McGinn secured at least a 20 on the test.
Leading the way was Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya (pictured) with a 34. Here are the rest: Nathan Peterman, 33; Trevor Knight, 30; Josh Dobbs, 29; DeShone Kizer, 28; C.J. Beathard, 26; Mitchell Trubisky, 25; Davis Webb, 25; Patrick Mahomes, 24; Chad Kelly, 22; Jerod Evans, 21; Deshaun Watson, 20.
So what does it mean? No one really knows, which is all the more reason to get rid of the test. In past years, Hall of Famers like Terry Bradshaw (16) and Dan Marino (15) struggled. Jeff George had a 10.
On the other end of the spectrum, Blaine Gabbert racked up a 42, Alex Smith scored a 40, Eli Manning got a 39, Colin Kaepernick, Andrew Luck and Tony Romo managed 37s, Aaron Rodgers scored a 35, Tom Brady scored a 33, and Johnny Football arguably was, at least for a day, Johnny Wonderlic, with 32 correct answers.
Again, it’s impossible to make any sense of the scores as it relates to eventual football skill. So if the league is looking for ways to better “respect” the incoming players, a gesture that would be easy, clear, and strong would be to eliminate the Wonderlic test from the Scouting Combine — and to instruct all teams not to conduct their own versions of it.
As the final touches were being placed on the outdoor stage to be used during the draft in Philadelphia, a worker accidentally fell while working on the roof of the structure.
Via NBC 10 in Philadelphia, a 27-year-old man plunged 30 feet on Saturday. He was in stable condition.
The man, who fell from scaffolding, is expected to fully recover.
The draft starts Thursday night in Philadelphia, the location for the event after two years in Chicago and, before that, decades in New York.
The Buccaneers aren’t nearly as zealous about their turn on Hard Knocks as other teams have been in the past. In addition to coach Dirk Koetter’s candor about his wish that the Bucs hadn’t drawn the short straw, G.M. Jason Licht has made it clear that, if Tampa had its druthers, the league would have picked another for the assignment.
“We definitely don’t feel like we won some sort of a prize,’’ Licht said on an ESPN podcast, via Roy Cummings of FloridaFootballInsiders.com. “We got to the point where we were all on the same page and we were . . . OK with it,’’ Licht said. “I mean, we know that they have a very professional outfit. And it may not look like it from the perception of the fans, but at some point, early on the process, I was told that it’s not as intrusive as it looks.”
It’s still incredibly intrusive. And potentially disruptive. Only two good arguments support opening the team to the constant cameras and microphones: (1) players may try harder when being filmed by outsiders (Vince Lombardi apparently used to instruct NFL Films cameramen to pretend to shoot practice even when they had no film); and (2) the extra exposure prepares players and coaches for the enhanced attention that comes from a successful season.
Plenty of other arguments can be made against it, from the potential for having secrets disclosed to competitors to players overdoing it for the cameras (especially during joint practices) to players being embarrassed (like when Antonio Cromartie couldn’t remember the names of his children) to making public the various terminations of players than happen as rosters are trimmed.
Few teams really want to do it. As long as the league at large chooses to do it, the NFL will have to find someone every year to volunteer or, ultimately, to relent.
When the Packers decided not to out-bid the Lions for veteran guard T.J. Lang last month, it was business as usual: The Packers don’t overspend in free agency, and when a soon-to-be 30-year-old guard with a hip injury hits free agency, that’s the type of player you’d expect to leave in Green Bay.
Nonetheless, it apparently didn’t sit well with Green Bay’s coaching staff.
According to Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Packers’ coaches were incensed that G.M. Ted Thompson let Lang get away in free agency. McGinn suggests that longtime Packers offensive line coach James Campen was working hard to keep Lang and was particularly upset when the Packers didn’t keep him.
If that’s true, it’s not unusual: Coaches are loyal to the guys who have worked hard for them. Lang has worked hard for Campen for eight years. They had a good relationship. No coach wants to see a favorite player leave.
McGinn, however, drops that nugget into a larger piece suggesting the Packers are cheap, and Thompson’s frugal approach is hurting the team on the field. McGinn notes that the Packers carried over nearly $8 million in cap space from 2016 to 2017 as apparent evidence of Thompson’s excessive frugality, but in reality that’s nothing out of the ordinary. According to NFLPA records, the Packers carried over $7.98 million in cap space, while the average NFL team carried over $9.18 million in cap space. In other words, not only was Thompson overly frugal in his handling of the salary cap last year, but he was actually less frugal than average.
McGinn also notes that over the last six years, the Packers have always ranked somewhere between seventh and 18th in the NFL in the amount of cap space they carried over from one year to the next. So the Packers are actually closer to the middle of the league in terms of carrying over cap space than they are extremely frugal.
And, of course, the Packers have made the playoffs eight years in a row. Thompson’s cautious approach to cap management is designed to keep the team in contention year after year, rather than having some boom years when they spend big on free agency, followed by some bust years when they have to cut key players just to get under the cap. It’s hard to deny that it’s working as planned.
It’s possible that Lang will play great for the Lions, that the Packers’ offensive line will decline without him, and that a year from now we’ll all be saying that Thompson made a mistake not spending the money it would have taken to keep Lang. But even if it turns out that the coaches are right to be incensed about Lang, that doesn’t mean Thompson’s thinking was flawed.