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Ed Reed’s status remains uncertain

Jacksonville Jaguars v Baltimore Ravens Getty Images

Most of the big-name 2013 free agents are getting ready to suit up for their new teams.  Texans safety Ed Reed, who made the jump from the Ravens after winning his first career Super Bowl, may not be suiting up any time soon.

As John McClain of the Houston Chronicle puts it, “Nobody has a clue when Reed (hip) is going to be healthy and ready to play.”

Although the Texans have chosen silence and the perception of being duped over confirming that they were duped, the widespread suspicion in league circles is that they were duped.  Specifically, that Reed knew he’d need hip surgery but didn’t say anything a condition that apparently isn’t normally detected during a physical.

So the Texans will have to wait and hope that Reed will be able to eventually make a contribution, while simultaneously biting their tongues regarding any possible internal belief that Reed failed to be as candid as he could have been about his hip before signing a contract.

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Tom Brady legal team adds Ted Olson for next round

ted-olson AP

Tom Brady and the NFL Players have not yet filed a further appeal of the recent ruling reinstating his four-game suspension. Clearly, however, it’s coming.

Via, Brady’s legal team has added former United States Solicitor General Ted Olson. The move definitely means that Brady and the NFL Players Association will be filing a petition for rehearing before the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Given Olson’s extensive U.S. Supreme Court experience, it also suggests that trying to persuade the Second Circuit to change its mind won’t be the last step in the litigation.

Before the litigation continues, Brady and the NFLPA must file a formal petition for rehearing within 14 days after the Second Circuit’s ruling. The NFLPA has requested a 14-day extension of that deadline, citing the need to confer with the union representatives from each team before making a final decision.

Frankly, there’s no need for any further consultation or deliberation. The NFLPA should go full speed ahead with any and all appeals. Otherwise, Commissioner Roger Goodell will emerge with more power and greater discretion to decide all future cases however the league wants them to be decided, based on business interests that may or may not cry out for the blind administration of justice and the fair implementation of procedures.

And if the bottom line is that Goodell has more power, it will be even harder to get the league to relinquish that power at the bargaining table.

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Seahawks got the other guy they were considering at No. 31


On Thursday night, the Seahawks were torn between taking Texas A&M guard Germain Ifedi and Alabama defensive lineman Jarran Reed with the 31st pick in the draft. They ended up with both.

Ifedi became the last pick of round one on Thursday. On Friday, the Seahawks traded up from No. 56 to No. 49 to pounce on Reed.

“Didn’t see him making it that long,” coach Pete Carroll told reporters regarding Reed. “Somebody asked me [Thursday] night if you had considered taking an offensive player, or an offensive lineman, or a defensive lineman, was it going to be an offensive lineman for sure? Quite honestly, it was between those two players. That’s why we made that move to go get [Reed].”

G.M. John Schneider called Reed “clearly the best run defender in this draft,” and Schneider expressed optimism that the coaching staff can help Reed improve as a pass rusher.

Carroll called Reed “the alpha dog” in the Alabama program (don’t tell Nick Saban that).

“They all talk about, ‘He is the guy,'” Carroll said. “Terrific leader in a great program, a very physical, tough program as well. He’s a guy that’s in the front of the line. We love all that about him. He brings a real mentality that we love. He has versatility to play both the one technique and the three technique, which is great. We’ll see how that works for us, in the matchups that we want to create. For us to continue to play like we’ve been playing, where we really build our defense from the inside out, this is a great spot for us to add a terrific player.”

The Seahawks have plenty of terrific players, so they don’t need to add many in order to continue to contend at a high level. While not glamorous picks, guys like Ifedi and Reed (who were among the 26 players on which the Seahawks applied first-round grades this year) will help the glamor players continue to bask in the spotlight.

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Robert Kraft: We will always have Tom Brady’s back

Robert Kraft, Tom Brady AP

Patriots owner Robert Kraft didn’t wear a Tom Brady jersey to the podium at the team’s draft party at Gillette Stadium on Friday night, but he did wear his heart on his sleeve while talking about the quarterback.

Brady had his suspension reinstated by an appeals court ruling last week, setting up another round of legal squabbling. While Kraft didn’t fight the penalties levied on his team as a result of Deflategate, he made it clear that the team will continue to support the quarterback’s fight to get his four-game suspension overturned.

“Number one, there is no finer ambassador for the game of football, and the New England Patriots, than Tom Brady,” Kraft said. “We always have had, and will continue to have, Tom’s back. Especially when he’s being treated unfairly. He knows that. All the decisions that this organization and I personally have made throughout this ordeal have been focused on putting Tom in the best possible position for success.”

“Number two, I have been in constant communication with Tom over the past 16 months and we’ve had numerous conversations this past week. We are both on the same page and he knows exactly where my allegiances, and the total team’s [allegiances] are, relative to the extremely unfair discipline that he has been subjected to.”

“I share in our fans’ anger and frustration with the penalties the league has levied, and the entire process and how it was conducted. But please trust that I am always trying to do what I believe is best for this franchise, and pledge that I will always continue to do that.”

While the Patriots support Brady, they also need to make sure they are prepared in the event they have to open the season without him. They took a step toward doing that by selecting Jacoby Brissett in the third round, assuring themselves of another quarterback behind Jimmy Garoppolo on the depth chart.

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Hue Jackson on Cody Kessler: You’ve got to trust me on this

SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 05:  Quarterback Cody Kessler #6 of the USC Trojans warms up before the Pac-12 Championship game against the Stanford Cardinal at Levi's Stadium on December 5, 2015 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images) Getty Images

Everyone expected the Browns to take a quarterback during the draft this year, but they still raised some eyebrows when they picked Cody Kessler at the end of the third round on Friday night.

Kessler was generally ranked below several quarterbacks still on the board and neither his physical tools nor his college performances left many people predicting life as an NFL starter in his future. The Browns hired coach Hue Jackson because of his success putting offenses together, however, and Jackson said he sees things differently.

“He almost completed 68 percent of his passes. The guy has had a tremendous career,” Jackson said. “I understand where everybody is coming from, but you’ve got to trust me on this one. This is a guy that we feel very comfortable with, and we think he’s going to have an opportunity to ascend.”

In addition to accuracy, Jackson pointed to Kessler’s experience in a pro-style offense and pocket presence as things to like. He also feels Kessler, who had an 88-19 touchdown-to-interception ratio, was negatively impacted by the constant coaching upheaval at USC.

That’s something Jackson is hoping to put an end to in Cleveland and hitting on the Kessler pick would certainly help on that front. In the short term, it probably helps Robert Griffin III’s chances of being the starter in Week One, but it’s clear Jackson thinks he’s found a player he can mold in the years to come.

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Todd Bowles: Right now, Geno Smith is our starter

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 12:  Geno Smith #7 of the New York Jets looks on from the sideline during the game against the Buffalo Bills on November 12, 2015 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Jets picked quarterback Christian Hackenberg in the second round of last night’s draft and the team says they still want to re-sign Ryan Fitzpatrick, but it is their 2013 second-round pick who currently sits atop the depth chart at the position.

As long as Fitzpatrick remains out of the picture, coach Todd Bowles said Friday that Geno Smith is will occupy the No. 1 spot in the pecking order.

“Without Fitz being on the team right now, Geno’s first-team and then we’ll go from there,” Bowles said. “Obviously we’re still working on a deal if we can get Fitzpatrick back. So until that’s addressed and we take care of that situation right now, Geno will go into OTAs as a starter.”

General Manager Mike Maccagnan confirmed that Hackenberg’s selection does nothing to change the team’s interest in bringing Fitzpatrick back. He also explained some of what the team saw in Hackenberg to make them pick him with the 51st overall selection despite two uninspiring years at Penn State.

“Obviously, Christian has a lot of physical ability in terms of arm strength, athletic ability, size — he’s sort of prototypical from that standpoint,” Maccagnan said. “We worked him out, had a private workout with him, we spent time with him, we had him in for a visit. We think he has a lot of potential, from a mental and aptitude standpoint. We think there’s a lot of ability to work with there.”

Hackenberg had a strong freshman year at Penn State under Bill O’Brien, but did not play well after James Franklin took over in Happy Valley. On Friday night, Hackenberg said he believes a player is defined by “how you react to not success but failure and adversity” and that his experiences in college have set him up to succeed in the NFL.

The Jets would seem to agree, although that does little to settle the situation under center at the moment.

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Cardinals aren’t tiptoeing around Robert Nkemdiche’s past

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 28:  Draftee Robert Nkemdiche of Mississippi arrives with mother Beverly and father Sunday at the 2016 NFL Draft on April 28, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Kena Krutsinger/Getty Images) Getty Images

Not every team was prepared to take a chance on Ole Miss defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche, no matter how talented.

But the Cardinals have a certain attitude about them which not only allows them to take Nkemdiche in the first round, but to embrace his, um, colorful backstory of defenestration and exotic pets.

“I made a kind of joke about it, you get a guy who falls out of a second-story building and walks away from it, that’s my kind of guy,” defensive line coach Brentson Buckner said, via Darren Urban of the team’s official website. “Because he’s not afraid of a double-team anymore, know what I mean?

Between that and coach Bruce Arians and owner Michael Bidwill making jokes about Nkemdiche’s dream to buy a pet panther, the eccentric Ole Miss defensive tackle may have found his perfect spiritual home.

Buckner, the longtime NFL defensive tackle, said he’s talked to plenty of people about Nkemdiche and not heard negative reviews of the player, and wasn’t worried about his reputation for taking plays off. Buckner said the fact college stars rarely come off the field instead of rotating through should solve most of the problem.

“You show me any player in the country, especially D-linemen, that plays every snap full speed, I’ll give you a million dollars,” Buckner said. “It depends on what your eyes see.. . . In the NFL you’re not going to play 90 plays. With our [roster], he’ll play 30 plays. You take that energy and condense it to 30 plays, you tell me who wouldn’t want that type of player?”

The Cardinals clearly do, and their experience with a player such as Darnell Dockett will make it an easier transition for Nkemdiche, as they’ve handled big personalties with big talent before.

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Panthers go beyond due diligence on third-round cornerback

ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 30:  Daryl Worley #7 of the West Virginia Mountaineers breaks up a touchdown reception intended for Amari Cooper #9 of the Alabama Crimson Tide at Georgia Dome on August 30, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) Getty Images

Not every team puts a potential third-round pick in front of the owner for a pre-draft interview. But not every team flushed $13.1 million down the drain on a player who didn’t play for a year because of a domestic violence arrest.

The Panthers went above and beyond the normal vetting with third-round cornerback Daryl Worley of West Virginia, specifically because he was involved in a battery charge involving a woman at a bar near campus in 2014.

That’s obviously a sensitive issue for the Panthers after enduring the fallout from franchise-tagged defensive end Greg Hardy, who only played one game in 2014 and was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list after an incident with his then-girlfriend.

“Do you guys think that for one moment, after what happened in 2014, I’m going to do something stupid? I mean, come on,” General Manager Dave Gettleman said, via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review. “We’re going to thoroughly investigate every kid that gets involved in situations like this. And again, I want to say for the 15th time, he was not charged with domestic violence. He was not.

“Obviously we don’t take it lightly. Listen, I’m married and I’ve got a daughter. Anybody lays a glove on them, they’re going to have one fat, cranky, old man running down the street.”

Worley was charged with misdemeanor battery in 2014, after a woman accused him of of grabbing her around the neck and pushing her to the ground. But he contended he was trying to protect his girlfriend from the woman who wanted to fight. He eventually pleaded no contest and received a six-month suspended sentence, and was suspended two games by the football team.

“It was a simple situation where it was wrong place at the wrong time. There were nothing malicious about the incident,” Worley said. “All 32 teams have seen the videotape. They have the official court documents which I gave to them where there was nothing malicious about it.

“I did my due diligence as far as the court required me, and honestly, it is just behind me in the past. It is expunged from my record, and I am looking to move forward. Nothing like that is ever going to be a problem heading forward.”

But because of their background with Hardy, the Panthers weren’t going to stop at taking his word for it. In addition to viewing the surveillance tape, they brought Worley in for a pre-draft visit and had him meet with owner Jerry Richardson.

If they were even going to take anything resembling a chance on a player who would stir those disturbing echoes, it wouldn’t be on a third-round pick. And if that third-rounder would have had any other kind of charges, they probably wouldn’t have bothered the owner with it.

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Washington drafts Kendall Fuller, fourth Fuller brother in the NFL

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - SEPTEMBER 19: Kendall Fuller #11 of the Virginia Tech Hokies makes the tackle on Austin Appleby #12 of the Purdue Boilermakers as he fumbles the football that would be returned for a touchdown at Ross-Ade Stadium on September 19, 2015 in West Lafayette, Indiana.  (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) Getty Images

When Washington drafted Virginia Tech cornerback Kendall Fuller in the third round of the draft on Friday night, he became the fourth member of his family to make it to the NFL.

Fuller’s brother Kyle Fuller is a cornerback for the Bears and his brother Corey Fuller is a receiver for the Lions. The oldest brother, Vincent Fuller, is a former NFL player.

All four brothers played for Virginia Tech, and when Kendall ended his career with the Hokies, coach Frank Beamer said, “Virginia Tech is better because the Fuller brothers were Hokies. Vinny, Corey, Kyle and Kendall were all different, but they were all the same in that they were smart, competitive, very athletic and great teammates, who possessed great character.”

Today Kansas State fullback Glenn Gronkowski could be drafted, and he would follow his brothers Chris, Dan and Rob Gronkowski in the NFL. The Fullers and the Gronkowskis would be the second and third families since the AFL-NFL merger to have four brothers in the NFL. The first was the Browner family, with Jim, Joey, Keith and Ross, who played in the 1970s and 1980s.

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Jerry Jones closes door on Hardy return to Cowboys

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 15: Greg Hardy #76 of the Dallas Cowboys looks on during a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on November 15, 2015 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Cowboys have closed the door on Greg Hardy returning to the team, owner Jerry Jones told reporters Friday night.

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.

Their pass-rush issue is compounded by the situations facing Randy Gregory and Demarcus Lawrence, who are facing four-game suspensions to start next season.

“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.

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Browns take Cody Kessler, as Connor Cook slide continues


The Connor Cook slide continues.

He wasn’t taken before Christian Hackenberg. He wasn’t taken before Jacoby Brissett. And he wasn’t taken before Cody Kessler.

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.

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Patriots grab QB Jacoby Brissett

TALLAHASSEE, FL - NOVEMEBER 14: Jacoby Brissett #12 looks over his line prior to a play against the Florida State Seminoles during the game at Doak Campbell Stadium on November 14, 2015 in Tallahassee, Florida. The Florida State Seminoles beat the North Carolina Wolfpack 34-17. (Photo by Jeff Gammons/Getty Images) Getty Images

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.

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Ohio State sets record for most players drafted through first three rounds

ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 28: Terry Richardson #13 of the Michigan Wolverines tackles Braxton Miller #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes during the second quarter at Michigan Stadium on November 28, 2015 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Getty Images

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.

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Jaylon Smith will receive insurance payment, Myles Jack won’t

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 19: Jaylon Smith #9 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish returns a fumble against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the third quarter at Notre Dame Stadium on September 19, 2015 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Georgia Tech 30-22. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Getty Images

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.

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Browns make another trade, still own nine more picks in this draft

Cleveland Browns v Tennessee Titans Getty Images

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.

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Kevin Faulk announces Patriots pick wearing Tom Brady jersey


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.

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