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Bills curious to hear what Te’o has to say for himself

Manti Te'o Workout at IMG Academy Getty Images

Each team at the Combine gets to schedule 60 college players for formal interviews this week.

The Bills, like most, want to hear exactly what Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o was thinking.

Bills assistant general manager Doug Whaley told Tim Graham of the Buffalo News that Te’o would be one of their 60 interviews, and that the drama about his fake dead girlfriend will probably come up during the course of the conversation.

Everybody’s going to ask him about that drama, but it’s just going to be a piece of the puzzle,” Whaley said. “We’ll treat it independently, just like we’ll treat the other 59 guys who might have issues or might not have issues.

“This is one of the things we’re here for, to fact-find about all that stuff. . . . We’ll try to get as much information as possible out of it.”

The Bills certainly have a need for help at linebacker, after releasing leading tackler Nick Barnett. But while the eighth overall pick won’t be the neighborhood Te’o hears his name called, the Bills will likely have to think about it beginning with the 41st overall pick.

While the whole fake dead girlfriend story is salacious (also lewd, lascivious and outrageous), the greater concern to NFL teams is the way he played in the BCS title game.

Whether the off-field drama caused him to play like just a guy, or whether he’s just a guy is something teams will try to determine through their research this week and beyond.

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Ronnie Stanley takes issue with Schefter’s Tunsil report

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Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley, the sixth pick in the 2016 draft, has faced some criticism for the perception he won’t always roll up his sleeves and rumble. On Saturday afternoon, Stanley has done just that, albeit on Twitter.

In the wake of a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the Ravens would have taken Laremy Tunsil over Stanley but for the gas-mask-and-bong video that surfaced right before the draft began, Stanley said this: “Hey Adam, you’re wrong.”

Stanley obviously cares about the report because it creates the impression that he was viewed as a fallback to Tunsil, propelled to the sixth pick only by Tunsil’s bizarre misfortune. Which suggests that the Ravens have told Stanley that he was their guy, regardless of the video.

Even if Tunsil really would have been the pick.

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Broncos land Devontae Booker in fourth round

SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 07:  Running back Devontae Booker #23 of the Utah Utes rushes against the Washington Huskies on November 7, 2015 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Broncos brought back C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman in free agency, which means their top two running backs from last season will be back in 2016.

They added a new face to the mix in the fourth round on Saturday afternoon when they drafted Devontae Booker with the 136th overall pick.

Booker thrived as both a runner and receiver at Utah over the last two seasons and it wasn’t hard to find rankings that put him above several of the six backs that went ahead of him in the draft. Booker did tear his meniscus late last season and he’ll turn 24 next month, which might account for why he was still around late in the fourth round.

The Broncos are obviously comfortable with Anderson and Hillman, but a healthy Booker could work himself into the rotation by September if that versatility carries over to the professional ranks.

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Carl Nassib goes from walk-on to round three

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Three years ago, Ryan Nassib entered the NFL as one of the top quarterback prospects in the draft. He surprisingly slid to round four. At the same time, defensive end Carl Nassib was an unknown walk-on at Penn State.

On Friday, the younger Nassib ended up being drafted a round higher than his older brother.

The decision of the Browns to make Carl Nassib the 65th overall pick represents the culmination of an amazing journey from a kid who never gave up on his NFL dream. Perhaps no one is more amazed than his former college coach, Bill O’Brien.

“I can remember one story where he came and basically . . . I questioned how important football was to him,” O’Brien said last November, when Nassib was having a breakout season with the Nittany Lions. “He said to me, ‘Football is really important to me. I’m going to play pro football,’ and I said to him, ‘Are you kidding me?’ You need to be concerned about playing at Penn State. Forget about pro football.'”

Nassib reflected on O’Brien’s advice after being selected by Cleveland.

“I always had dreams of playing in the NFL since as long as I can remember,” Nassib said. “A lot of people did not agree with that and that never deterred me from my dream. Bill O’Brien told me what he thought so I just kept working my hardest and never let that phase me.”

As Nassib’s hard work has led to success, he has apparently worked even harder. Which means he could be working harder still now that he’s in the NFL.

“Earning a scholarship was incredible,” Nassib told reporters on Friday. “When I earned my scholarship, it really motivated me to let everybody that I was the real deal. It was a great experience at Penn State. I could not have asked for anything more from Penn State.”

The Browns will be asking for plenty from Nassib, a draft pick that the front office opted to use instead of trade.

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Cowboys draft QB Dak Prescott

STARKVILLE, MS - NOVEMBER 14:  Dak Prescott #15 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs looks to pass against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Davis Wade Stadium on November 14, 2015 in Starkville, Mississippi.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Cowboys selected Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott at No. 135 in the fourth round, a compensatory selection.

The Cowboys didn’t hide their interest in taking a quarterback during this draft and tried to trade back into the first round Thursday night to select Paxton Lynch. In Prescott, they get a 6-foot-2, 226-pound developmental prospect who was a two-time All-SEC pick but may have hurt his draft standing when he was arrested for DUI in March.

Prescott was MVP of the Senior Bowl in January while playing for the South team. The Cowboys coached Carson Wentz and Cody Kessler on the North team at the Senior Bowl.

Cowboys starting quarterback Tony Romo is 36, and when he was hurt last season the Cowboys discovered they had no viable backup option.

The Cowboys hadn’t drafted a quarterback since taking Stephen McGee in the fourth round in 2009.

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Bills end the fourth round with Cardale Jones

Playoff Championship Ohio St Oregon Football AP

The Bills finally have their rookie quarterback, and Cardale Jones has finally heard his name called.

Jones, who led Ohio State to the national championship after the 2014 season, was drafted by the Bills with the final pick in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL draft.

That Jones was selected at pick No. 139 represents a significant fall from where many thought he would have been drafted if he had turned pro a year ago. After the way he played in his three games as a starter — the Big Ten Championship Game and the two college football playoff games — some saw him as a potential first round pick in 2015. But Jones was benched in 2015 and showed off some of his flaws as a pocket passer, and NFL teams soured on him.

Now Jones heads to Buffalo, where this year he’ll likely be the third stringer behind Tyrod Taylor and EJ Manuel. Jones may get a chance to prove himself and become a starter in the future, however, and the Bills like him as a project with upside.

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Jets G.M. says they’re not trying to trade for a quarterback

Maccagnan Getty Images

The fascinating part of the Jets’ dance with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is that nothing seems to be happening to make the process move any faster.

And it doesn’t seem they’re in a hurry for resolution either.

When the Jets braintrust came out to talk about their fourth-round choice, they gave the latest update on the negotiation that will not die, by saying they weren’t interested in trading for one.

We’re not in discussions with any other teams with any of the QBs,” General Manager Mike Maccagnan said, via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. “I can put that to bed.”

Coach Todd Bowles said he was in no rush either, telling reporters he wasn’t worried about getting Fitzpatrick back until it was “mandatory,” then clarifying that he meant training camp rather than minicamp.

“If he comes back, he comes back,” Bowles said. “When he comes back and he comes back, we’ll be happy to have him back.”

So it appears for the moment, they’ll just continue with Geno Smith and Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg, and wait for what seems like Fitzpatrick’s inevitable return.

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Bears don’t rule out moving Kyle Long to left tackle

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After the Bears signed right tackle Bobby Massie in free agency, many (including Kyle Long) thought that Kyle Long would be moving back to right guard. That move may be temporary.

Addressing the media after the second day of the 2016 draft, Bears G.M. Ryan Pace didn’t rule out flipping Long to the left side — and keeping him at tackle.

“He’s so athletic and you guys know he could play any position,” Pace said on whether Long could be moved to left tackle. “So I wouldn’t rule anything out for Kyle, but he can play anywhere.”

Playing left tackle could be good for Long when it comes to his second contract, since that position pays more than any other along the offensive line.

Wherever Long ends up for 2016, that could be where he stays. Said Pace in February: “The main thing with Kyle is we need to make this decision after the player acquisition period is over with and try to leave him at a certain spot. I think it’s easy for him to go back to guard. It would be harder if we put him at guard and then put him back out at tackle. We’ve just got to go through this player acquisition period and see how the chips fall and then put him in a spot and let him grow there.”

While left tackle traditionally is regarded as the most important position of the five, the concerted effort to find and develop pass rushers from every spot in the defensive front seven makes every piece of an offensive line critical. The challenge for every team is to find a way to get their best blockers on the field at the same time, and to parlay limited offseason and training-camp reps into getting the quintet to gel as a unit as early as possible in the regular season.

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Report: Ravens would have taken Laremy Tunsil, but for gas-mask video

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A team that knows a thing or two about the problems that video can cause  reportedly decided that a video suddenly emerging before the draft was the deciding factor in choosing between a pair of tackles.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Ravens would have taken tackle Laremy Tunsil with the sixth overall pick, but for the video that surfaced of Tunsil smoking marijuana with a gas-mask-and-bong device.

The report isn’t that the Ravens may have or could have or might have picked Tunsil. The report is as clear as it can be. Without the video, the Ravens would have taken Tunsil. With the video, the Ravens took Ronnie Stanley instead.

Apart from the mild case of ESPN-on-ESPN crime that the report spawned, the disclosure could be entertaining for an entirely different reason. If/when the hacking of Tunsil’s account leads to criminal prosecution or civil litigation, Ravens G.M. Ozzie Newsome may be the key witness to show the harm suffered by Tunsil, since sliding from No. 6 to No. 13 cost Tunsil plenty of money.

How many moneys? Last year, the No. 6 pick (Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams) received a four-year, $18.6 million deal. The No. 13 selection (Saints tackle Andrus Peat) signed a four-year, $11.4 million contract. That’s a $7.2 million difference for four years. Given that Tunsil fell past No. 10, the gap will be even bigger under the fifth-year option.

An article from the team’s official website details the team’s real-time reaction to the Tunsil video, but doesn’t plainly state that Tunsil would have been the pick but for one of the strangest pre-draft developments that ever has occurred.

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Rams take tight end facing assault charges

HUNTINGTON, WV - NOVEMBER 28: Tyler Higbee #82 of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers makes an 11-yard touchdown reception in the first half of the game against the Marshall Thundering Herd at Joan C. Edwards Stadium on November 28, 2014 in Huntington, West Virginia. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Rams got quarterback Jared Goff a tight end early in the fourth round, and the Rams apparently don’t mind that Tyler Higbee is facing assault charges.

Higbee was arrested earlier this month near the Western Kentucky campus and charged with second degree assault, second degree evading police and alcohol intoxication in a public place. His lawyer contends that Higbee acted in self defense and has said he will plead not guilty.

On NFL Network’s draft coverage, analyst Daniel Jeremiah said he believes Higbee is more explosive than Hunter Henry, the first tight end taken in this draft early in the second round, but Jeremiah said he thought Higbee would be drafted in the sixth or seventh round.

Higbee caught 48 passes for 563 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior at Western Kentucky despite missing five games due to injury.

The Rams cut veteran tight end Jared Cook before the start of free agency.

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Raiders jump Cowboys to take quarterback Connor Cook

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 31:  Connor Cook #18 of the Michigan State Spartans warms up prior to the Goodyear Cotton Bowl against the Alabama Crimson Tide at AT&T Stadium on December 31, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Raiders didn’t really need another quarterback, but they made an aggressive move to get one Saturday.

Oakland traded in front of Dallas to take Michigan State’s Connor Cook with the 100th overall pick.

The Cowboys obviously wanted to find a guy this weekend, after a deal to acquire Paxton Lynch in the late first round fell through. Whether they’d have taken Cook or not at 101 is unclear (though we’re sure they’ll say they weren’t), but the Raiders prevented it.

The Raiders are solid with starter Derek Carr and put a second-round tender on backup Matt McGloin to hang onto him. Adding Cook gives them someone to replace McGloin a year from now or someone to flip for future picks.

General Manager Reggie McKenzie comes from a tradition in Green Bay of stockpiling quarterbacks, and he is beginning to get his Raiders roster to the point where he can afford such a luxury.

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Report: Sean Lee had a “minor” knee scope

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 29:  Middle linebacker Sean Lee #50 of the Dallas Cowboys looks on against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on September 29, 2013 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Cowboys made one of the most notable picks on the second day of the draft when they picked linebacker Jaylon Smith with the 34th overall selection despite a knee injury that most believe will keep him out for the 2016 season.

One of the people in that group is Dr. Dan Cooper, who performed surgery on Smith’s knee after he injured it in the Fiesta Bowl. Cooper is also the Cowboys’ head team physician, something Smith said Friday “definitely helped” get him to Dallas. It may have also helped that the Cowboys have some recent experience dealing with a talented linebacker who has dealt with injuries.

That would be Sean Lee and Saturday brings another reminder of his injury history. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports Lee had a knee scope on Friday. It was termed a “minor” procedure and is only expected to keep Lee out for a couple of weeks, so it shouldn’t have bearing on his availability for the coming season.

Rolando McClain has also had injury issues during his career, so the Cowboys have no shortage of things for Cooper and the rest of the medical staff to stay on top of in hopes of giving the team a full crew at the position in the coming years.

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Day 3 of the NFL draft starts with Joe Schobert

MADISON, WI - SEPTEMBER 19:  Linebacker Joe Schobert #58 of the Wisconsin Badgers during the college football game against the Troy Trojans at Camp Randall Stadium on September 19, 2015 in Madison, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

It’s Day 3 of the 2016 NFL draft, the draft for hard-core football fans and people without anything better to do on a spring Saturday. And the first player off the board is Joe Schobert, a linebacker from Wisconsin

The Browns took Schobert with the 99th overall pick, keeping the pick even though they surely had trade offers. Although the Browns’ first-day strategy was to trade back and accumulate picks for the future, today they’ve got a bounty of picks that they’re likely to use to build roster depth.

Schobert was a good every-down linebacker at Wisconsin and probably translates fairly well to the Browns’ defense under coordinator Ray Horton.

Cleveland still has three more fourth-round picks, four fifth-round picks and a seventh-round pick, so we’re far from done hearing about the Browns today.

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Goodell to crowd booing him at draft: “C’mon, bring it on”

Sevilla-vs-Manchester-City-Champions-League-group-stage Getty Images

Fans attending the draft in Chicago have been continuously exercising their First Amendment right to boo the face of Big Shield, pretty much every time he goes to the podium.

On Saturday, Commissioner Roger Goodell returned to the podium at the start of the fourth round of the draft. Once again, he was greeted with boos. This time, Goodell supplied his most conspicuous reaction yet.

“C’mon, bring it on,” Goodell said, using the universally-recognized “bring it on” gesture with both hands. “There you go, there you go.”

It’s confounding that Goodell willingly subjects himself to this treatment, and it’s confusing that the owners would choose to allow such open hostility to tarnish the crown jewel of the offseason.

Then again, maybe the owners think that’s all part of what makes the draft so exciting.

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Dave Caldwell on Myles Jack: We have to take risks to be great

SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 08:  Linebacker  Myles Jack #30 of the UCLA Bruins defends as James Atoe #70 of the Washington Huskies blocks on November 8, 2014 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

There were plenty of people that thought linebacker Myles Jack would hear his name called early on Thursday night, but uncertainty about the health of his knee and Jack’s own admission that microfracture surgery might be in his future conspired to keep him on the board into the second round.

The Jaguars ended Jack’s slide after trading the 38th and 146th picks to the Ravens for the 36th overall pick in a move that General Manager Dave Caldwell knows carries a lot of risk. Caldwell also knows that the Jaguars need to take the occasional risk in order to get where they want to go.

“We want to be great, and we have to take chances,” Caldwell said. “We’ve been pretty conservative in our time here with our philosophy in the draft and some of our free-agent acquisitions. There comes a point in time where we have to close the talent gap. You’re not going to do that without taking risks. This is a calculated risk. … Hopefully he’s here for 10-to-12 years.”

Jacksonville is trying to take the same kind of strides on defense that they made on offense last season and they went a safer route with the fifth overall pick by drafting cornerback Jalen Ramsey. They added pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue in the third round and will get 2015 first-rounder Dante Fowler back from a knee injury to go with free agent acquisitions Malik Jackson, Tashaun Gipson and Prince Amukamara.

Jack’s own knee issue creates uncertainty about how long he’ll be able to play, but there’s less doubt in the short term and that should help the Jaguars’ overall effort to move up in the standings right away.

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Pats knew they’d add a third quarterback, opted for a third-round rookie

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For the second time in three years, the Patriots have added a rookie quarterback through one of the first 100 picks in the draft. And yet Tom Brady has not yet demanded to be traded.

The latest rookie comes via round three, pick 91. Jacoby Brissett, from N.C. State. After Friday night’s session, V.P. of player personnel Nick Caserio explained the reasoning.

“The whole quarterback position, we only had two on the team, so we were definitely going to add a third quarterback, no question about it at some point, whether it was in the draft or however we did it,” Caserio said. “Jacoby was a guy we spent a lot of time with. We brought him in, kind of went through exercises with him. He started his career at Florida then transferred to North Carolina State. Two-year starter in the ACC, big guy, good size, athletic, strong, did a better job of taking care of the football this year, decent touchdown to interception ratio. He played in a couple quality programs.”

Asked whether and to what extent Brady’s four-game suspension factored into the decision, Caserio tiptoed.

“Like I said, we have two quarterbacks on our roster so we knew we were going to add a third quarterback, regardless of whatever the situation was,” Caserio said. “So very rarely have we gone through a spring with two quarterbacks. Sometimes we’ve had three, sometimes we’ve had four. So we knew we were going to have a third quarterback on the team regardless. That’s always an important position on your team. We felt that it was important for us to have a player that we felt comfortable with. So that’s why we picked Brissett.”

A reporter tried a different approach to the ady-Bra uspension-say, asking Caserio how comfortable he is with the quarterback depth chart for the first four games.

“Well, we’ll go through the spring,” Caserio said. “We’ll kind of go through the process and see what happens. The only thing we can control really is tomorrow and the draft and then we’ll go through OTAs. The rest of it is really out of our hands. We’ll control the things that we can control and go through and try to prepare our team the best we can.”

Even with Brissett, it’s hard to imagine the Patriots embarking on Brady’s four-game suspension without a veteran presence behind 2014 second-rounder Jimmy Garoppolo. If anything, Brissett is poised to become the next potential in-house successor to Brady, if/when the Patriots trade Garoppolo before he becomes a free agent, like they did with Ryan Mallett.

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