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Post-free agency mock draft

Clowney AP

Before free agency, we posted a mock draft.  Because when in Rome.

Now that free agency is nearly four weeks old, which has resulted in needs being filled and new needs being created, we’ve put together a new mock draft.

Because when in Rome.

So here’s how we see things, 31 days before it’ll be time to say, “When in New York City.”

1. Texans: Jadeveon Clowney, defensive end, South Carolina.

Yeah, Bortles.  Yeah, Manziel.  But the Texans lucked into J.J. Watt when a pair of teams from their own division took Jake Locker and Blaine Gabbert three years ago.  That lesson should not be lost on the Texans.  Especially with Jacksonville on the clock two picks later.

2. Rams: Sammy Watkins, receiver, Clemson.

If they’re going to stick with Sam Bradford at quarterback, they need to give him another weapon.  The fact that they seem to be downplaying it serves only to make it more likely.

3. Jaguars:  Johnny Manziel, quarterback, Texas A&M.

The flirtation with center Alex Mack suggests that the Jags are willing to take chances.  Manziel fits with Jedd Fisch’s creative offensive approach and, more importantly, Manziel will make the Jaguars into a marquee team.  If he’s successful.  If he’s not, they’ll get another crack at another quarterback soon enough.

4. Browns:  Derek Carr, quarterback, Fresno State.

Should Carr go that high?  No.  Should the Browns screw around if they think they’ve found the guy who can run Kyle Shanahan’s offense the way Shanahan wants?  Hell no.

5. Raiders: Greg Robinson, tackle, Auburn.

Yes, they signed Donald Penn to presumably play left tackle.  But they’ll find a spot for both guys as they try to open running lanes and keep Matt Schaub in one piece.

6. Falcons: Khalil Mack, linebacker, Buffalo.

The pass rush remains an area of need after free agency.  It would be a surprise if the Falcons use the No. 6 pick on any other position.

7. Buccaneers: Mike Evans, receiver Texas A&M.

Dumping Mike Williams makes receiver an obvious need.  Maybe too obvious; they could get leapfrogged for Evans.

8. Vikings: Blake Bortles, quarterback, Central Florida.

With Matt Cassel in place for two years, Bortles gets eased in to the job, possibly becoming offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s next star pupil.

9. Bills: Jake Matthews, tackle, Texas A&M.

Regarded a year ago to be better than Luke Joeckel, he’ll help beef up an offensive line that has underperformed in recent years.

10. Lions: Aaron Donald, defensive tackle, Pitt.

Receiver becomes less of a need with Golden Tate in the fold.  With the Lions not exercising the fifth-year option on Nick Fairley as a motivational tool and with Ndamukong Suh still carrying a $22 million-plus cap number, they need a fresh face at the position.

11. Titans: Teddy Bridgewater, quarterback, Louisville.

The Titans have done a good job of keeping their cards close to the vest regarding the need for a quarterback.  As May approaches, it’s becoming more obvious that they need to take a chance on someone, three years after they took a chance on Jake Locker.

12. Giants: Timmy Jernigan, defensive tackle, Florida State.

Given the departures of Justin Tuck and Linval Joseph, the Giants need to restore some bite to a defensive line that didn’t necessarily carry them to a pair of Super Bowl appearances, but helped deliver victory once they got there.

13. Rams: Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, safety, Alabama.

Keeping Rodger Saffold allows the Rams to address the last line of defense.

14. Bears: Bears:  C.J. Mosley, linebacker, Alabama.

Veteran D.J. Williams got the first chance to assume the middle linebacker mantle in Chicago.  The Bears should now turn to a rookie.

15. Steelers: Marqise Lee, receiver, USC.

With Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders, and Jerricho Cotchery all gone, the Steelers provide Antonio Brown a young partner and Big Ben another target.

16. Cowboys: Dee Ford, defensive end, Auburn.

With Anthony Spencer likely gone and DeMarcus Ware definitely gone, it’s time to stock up on pass rushers.

17. Ravens: Taylor Lewan, tackle, Michigan.

Eugene Monroe stayed, Michael Oher didn’t. They need a right tackle, and Lewan could be the guy to take over there.

18. Jets: Eric Ebron, tight end, North Carolina.

And here’s why the Jets ultimately didn’t pursue DeSean Jackson.  Ebron could become a game-changer in the slot — and he has the charisma to take over the nation’s top media market.

19. Dolphins: Xavier Su’a-Filo, guard, UCLA.

Or they could re-sign Richie Incognito.

20. Cardinals: Anthony Barr, linebacker, UCLA.

If the Cards are going to keep up with the 49ers, Seahawks, and Rams, the Cards need pass rushers.

21. Packers: Jason Verrett, cornerback, TCU.

The cornerback slide stops in Green Bay, where the defense needs plenty of impact players.

22. Eagles: Justin Gilbert, cornerback, Oklahoma State.

And it’s suddenly a run on corners, with the Eagles beefing up a potential weak spot.

23. Chiefs: Bradley Roby, cornerback, Ohio State.

Let’s make it three corners in a row, with Roby joining a team that has to deal with Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers.

24. Bengals: Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State.

Shazier ran a blazing 4.36-second 40-yard dash with a bad hamstring. Adding him would require some shuffling of the linebackers, since Shazier is suited to the weak side. Given his talents and Vontaze Burfict’s versatility, that’s a good problem to have.

25. Chargers: Brandin Cooks, receiver, Oregon State.

He says he’s better than DeSean Jackson.  The weapons-challenged Philip Rivers will settle for just as good.

26. Browns (from Colts): Trai Turner, guard, LSU.

A surprisingly meat-and-potatoes offseason continues for a team that has lost guard Shawn Lauvao and could lose center Alex Mack, this year or maybe next year.

27. Saints: Odell Beckham, receiver, LSU.

The stable of weapons gets replenished, partially. Jimmy Graham still needs an explanation.  And a contract.

28. Panthers: Darqueze Dennard, cornerback, Michigan State.

They can get competent receivers later, in rounds where top-shelf corners aren’t likely lurking.

29. Patriots: Zack Martin, tackle, Notre Dame.

It’s not a glaring area of need but it’s good value for the slot.  Plus, it never hurts to have enough guys to keep Tom Brady healthy in the final years of his career.

30. 49ers: Kyle Fuller, cornerback, Virginia Tech.

The lone area of weakness on the team gets addressed.  As it should.

31. Broncos: Cyrus Kouandjio, tackle, Alabama.

All those additions on defense won’t help Peyton Manning score more than eight points if he faces the Seahawks again in the Super Bowl.

32. Seahawks: Kony Ealy, defensive end, Missouri.

With Chris Clemons and Red Bryant gone and Jared Allen picking the Bears, the Seahawks need to feed the unit that was critical to the team’s success in 2013.

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Russell Wilson attending funeral with Jimmy Graham

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v New Orleans Saints Getty Images

The news that Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is absent from today’s Organized Team Activities was met by some with speculation that he’s unhappy with the status of contract talks. But that’s not the reason for Wilson’s absence.

Instead, a league source tells PFT that Wilson decided to travel to Miami to be with new teammate Jimmy Graham at the funeral of Graham’s longtime manager and mentor, Tamara Meyerson.

Meyerson died on Friday at the age of 45. Her obituary names her three children and Graham as the most important people in her life.

“Tammy loved and mentored Jimmy Graham as a son. They were all always the number one priority in her life,” the obituary says.

Our condolences go out to Graham and to the Meyerson family.

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Dolphins wideout Rishard Matthews shows up at OTAs

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 14:  Rishard Matthews #18 of the Miami Dolphins drops a pass during the fourth quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on December 14, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) Getty Images

Ndamukong Suh isn’t the only perhaps-unexpected participant in Dolphins OTAs.

Per Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post, wide receiver Rishard Matthews is also on the field and working out with the team today.

Matthews previously wasn’t happy about his spot on the depth chart and was hoping to be traded or released.

That obviously hasn’t happened now, so he may be ready to come back in and fight for a spot.

The Dolphins traded for Kenny Stills, signed veteran free agent Greg Jennings and used a first-rounder on wide receiver DeVante Parker to go with last year’s breakout rookie Jarvis Landry.

That’s going to make it hard for Matthews to see much of the field in Miami, but it’s also possible that he has a higher value on his worth than others do. He caught 41 passes in 2013, and looked like he’d become a steady contributor.

But since he’s young and cheap, there’s no real reason for the Dolphins to move him, if only for injury insurance. And it appears he’s come to the realization that staying away from OTAs (after skipping voluntary workouts) isn’t helping his cause.

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Giants, Bengals to practice together in August

New York Giants v Cincinnati Bengals Getty Images

The Bengals and Giants will reportedly practice together for two days in Cincinnati before the Saturday, August 14 preseason opener for both clubs.

According to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post, the joint workouts will occur on Wednesday, August 11 and Thursday, August 12.

The Bengals and Giants do not play in the regular season, making them logical practice partners.

The workouts will pit clubs led by two of the NFL’s longest-tenured head coaches, with Marvin Lewis (Cincinnati) and Tom Coughlin (New York) both taking their current jobs 12 years ago. At 15 years, New England’s Bill Belichick has the longest current service time of any head coach.

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Report: Russell Wilson to miss start of OTAs with personal matter

Russell Wilson AP

Quarterback Russell Wilson is entering the final year of his rookie contract and hasn’t been able to agree to terms with the Seahawks on a new deal, but that won’t be the reason why Wilson misses the start of the team’s organized team activities on Tuesday.

Danny O’Neil of 710 ESPN in Seattle reports that Wilson will be absent from the team’s first workout of the third phase of the offseason program because of a personal matter. Because Wilson’s absence from a voluntary practice isn’t contract related, it’s not going to move the needle closer to an agreement although a day of watching B.J. Daniels and R.J. Archer running the offense may push Seattle closer to bringing in a veteran backup for Wilson.

Wilson won’t be the only Seahawk veteran missing on Tuesday. Tight end Jimmy Graham and defensive end Cliff Avril will also be away from the team while dealing with their own personal matters.

Defensive end Michael Bennett makes it four absences, although his issue continues to be one of dissatisfaction with his contract a year after signing it.

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Cowboys signing former first-round flop A.J. Jenkins

ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 9: A.J. Jenkins #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs warms up before the start of NFL game action against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on November 9, 2014 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) Getty Images

If you were ever deemed worthy of a first-round pick — even if wrongly so — you’re going to get more chances than other players will.

That’s playing out yet again in Dallas.

According to Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Cowboys are signing wide receiver A.J. Jenkins, after his tryout with the team last week.

The 49ers took Jenkins 30th overall in 2012, and quickly realized he couldn’t play, and was only active for three games his rookie year.

He was then traded to the Chiefs the following year for Jon Baldwin, the teams swapping mistakes hoping the change of scenery would work out. It didn’t.

The Chiefs cut him in February, after 17 catches in two seasons.

He’s still just 25, but to this point, has given little indication he’s going to perform up to his draft status. But teams keep giving him chances, figuring they might tap into some reservoir of potential.

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PFT Live: Matt Ryan, Bears talk with John Mullin

Bears release Ray McDonald after arrest on domestic violence charge Getty Images

The Bears’ decision to sign defensive lineman Ray McDonald despite allegations of domestic violence and sexual assault last season blew up in their face on Monday when McDonald was arrested for assaulting a woman who was holding a baby.

On Tuesday’s edition of PFT Live, Mike Florio will talk to John Mullin of CSN Chicago about the Bears’ move to release McDonald, what kind of vetting they really did when pursuing McDonald as a free agent and whether the team will avoid players in the future when they have red flags as easy to see as McDonald’s were this offseason.

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan will also drop by the show to give us an update on how coach Dan Quinn’s first offseason in Atlanta is going for the team. John McClain of the Houston Chronicle will also take a moment to join us for an update on the flooding in Houston and when the Texans might be able to get back to work.

We also want to hear what PFT Planet thinks. Email questions at any time via the O’Reilly Auto Parts Ask the Pros inbox or get in touch on Twitter at @ProFootballTalk to let us know what’s on your mind.

It all gets started at noon ET and you can listen to all three hours live via the various NBC Sports Radio affiliates, through the links at PFT, or with the NBC Sports Radio app. You can also watch a simulcast of the first hour of the show by clicking right here.

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Tashaun Gipson not expected at Browns OTAs

Cleveland Browns v Atlanta Falcons Getty Images

James Ihedigbo may have decided that the start of OTAs was a good time for him to start attending Lions offseason workouts, but another veteran safety is expected to remain absent from the Browns as their own organized team activities get underway this week.

Tashaun Gipson has not signed his restricted free agent tender with the team nor has he attended any of the team’s offseason work this year and Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that won’t change on Tuesday. His push to get a long-term contract for the Browns will continue with an absence from the first on-field team work of the offseason.

Gipson’s push for a deal is complicated by the fact that he needs to play the 2015 season in order to become an unrestricted free agent in 2016 and that the Browns can cut the amount of their tender offer to Gipson if he hasn’t signed it by June 15. That would explain why Browns corner Joe Haden said earlier this month that he thinks Gipson will be back for training camp “for sure.”

It looks like no one should be holding their breath for anything before that, though.

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James Ihedigbo is a go for Lions OTAs after skipping workouts

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 04:  James Ihedigbo #32 of the Detroit Lions reacts after sacking Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys during the first half of their NFC Wild Card Playoff game at AT&T Stadium on January 4, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) Getty Images

Lifting weights is one thing. But when teams return to the field, guys change their minds sometimes.

That’s apparently what’s happening in Detroit, as James Ihedigbo is ending his absence and reporting to OTAs this week, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.

The veteran safety hasn’t taken part in any of the Lions workouts to this point because he wants a new deal.

He’s set to make $1.1 million this year, which is on the cheap side for a player who performed the way he did last year. But he’s also 31, and doesn’t have a terrible amount of leverage.

So whether it’s a show of good faith or just buckling, he’s going to be there for voluntary OTAs and mandatory minicamp. He’s already forfeited a $25,000 workout bonus, but at least this way he won’t rack up any fines for missing the mandatory work.

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Texans cancel Tuesday’s OTA due to rain, flooding

Houston Getty Images

Torrential rains have created chaos in Texas and Oklahoma over the weekend, with at least five deaths due to flash flooding. In Houston, the downpours shut down roadways on Tuesday, prompting the Texans to pull the plug on today’s OTA session.

Via KHOU-TV, “[m]ost of Houston’s major roadways are flooded or filled with stalled vehicles, forcing the shutdown of highways and streets.”

Per the Houston Chronicle, no injuries have been reported as a result of Tuesday’s floods. More than 50,000 customers of the local power company did not have electricity as of 9:15 a.m. ET.

Based on the forecast for Wednesday, the Texans should be able to get back to work.

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Dane Fletcher back to Patriots on one-year deal

New England Patriots Practice Getty Images

The Patriots recently brought back Brandon Spikes to provide some depth behind inside linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Jerod Mayo and Spikes won’t be the only linebacker making his return to New England after playing elsewhere in 2014.

Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com reports that Fletcher is in Foxboro for the start of the Patriots’ organized team activities on Tuesday and Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that he’ll sign a one-year deal to kick off his second stint with the team.

Fletcher made the Pats as an undrafted free agent in 2010 on the back of his special teams work and remained an integral member of those units for the team through the 2013 season. Fletcher also made six starts on defense in New England and made four more with the Buccaneers in 2014 after joining the team as a free agent last offseason.

Hightower is coming off shoulder surgery and Mayo tore his patellar tendon last season, so the Patriots are wise to give themselves some options in the event of further medical concerns. Doing it by bringing on players familiar to the coaching staff should make it a little less worrisome to turn to Spikes and Fletcher if the need arises.

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Mick Jagger panders to San Diego

Stones Getty Images

It’s great to be in [insert name of city]!

How about them [insert name of local sports team]!

For politicians and rock stars, pandering to the local customers is a tradition as old as the world’s oldest profession. And it works, routinely drawing loud cheers from the people who live in the city that gets named and who root for the local sports team that gets gratuitously praised.

Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones took that tradition to the next level over the weekend. Via USA Today, the seventy-something Jagger had this to say on the opening night of the Zip Code Tour on Sunday night: “We are having such a great time in San Diego. It’s so beautiful here. Why would anyone want to leave? Especially the Chargers.”

Of course, the Rolling Stones had a business decision to make when booking a venue in San Diego. And they opted for Petco Park and its 42,000-person capacity for the concert. They could have squeezed a lot more bodies in — and sucked a lot more money out of — Qualcomm Stadium, where the Chargers play. But Qualcomm Stadium is a craphole, and that’s probably one of the reasons why the Rolling Stones opted not to use the structure that has gathered plenty of moss. (Yeah, I said it.)

And one of these days, when Mick Jagger is in his 80s and still prancing around the stage like a cat walking on its hind legs, the Rolling Stones may be back in Southern California, and Jagger will say, “It’s great to be in Carson! How about them Chargers! Screw San Diego!”

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Not everyone is thrilled about the idea of a game in Mexico

San Francisco 49ers vs Arizona Cardinals - October 2, 2005 Getty Images

Steelers president Art Rooney II might be advocating games in Mexico, but his team apparently wasn’t such a fan.

Via Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, some Steelers feared for their families when they played there in 2000.

Running back Jerome Bettis said the only two games his parents missed were a preseason in Tokyo in 1996 and the game in Mexico City.

It wasn’t the distance (they made the 1997 preseason game Ireland), rather because “the players were told it was best to keep their families at home because of the danger in Mexico City.”

Naturally no one ever said that out loud at the time, which you’d expect while they were promoting a game there. And the league played a regular season game in Mexico City in 2005 between the Cardinals and 49ers, drawing over 100,000 fans.

Of course, the Steelers don’t have to worry about heading south of the border or anywhere else now, since their lease with Heinz Field requires them to play 10 games per year there.
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Tuesday morning one-liners

San Francisco 49ers v Dallas Cowboys Getty Images

Taking stock of the Bills’ special teams.

Previewing some position battles that will play out at Dolphins practices.

Those who want to Free Tom Brady can show their support by buying a beer.

Taking a swing at predicting the Jets depth chart.

Ravens CB Rashaan Melvin is mourning his father’s death while preparing for the 2015 season.

This week’s OTAs will give some insight into the status of Bengals players rehabbing injuries.

The Browns will work to establish an offensive identity during OTAs.

Defensive questions remain the big ones for the Steelers.

Texans G Brandon Brooks shares his new workout routine.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano and QB Andrew Luck reminisced about a shared USO tour.

More than a third of the Jaguars roster has joined the team since January.

Where might the Titans look for additions to the roster?

Broncos G Ben Garland is happy he made the move from defense to offense.

How will the starting Chiefs offensive line look at OTA’s?

Breaking down the best case scenario for Raiders DE Max Valles’s rookie season.

A look at some undrafted additions to the Chargers linebacking corps.

Checking in with the Cowboys running backs as OTAs get underway.

Giants rookie T Ereck Flowers’s technique hasn’t won over every observer.

DE Brian Mihalik is hopeful that his large frame has a place on the Eagles roster.

Redskins QB Robert Griffin III commemorated Memorial Day on social media.

Ray McDonald’s arrest leaves egg on faces in the Bears front office.

Lions P Sam Martin is trying to put a poor playoff punt behind him.

Rookie Ty Montgomery could be just the thing for the Packers return game.

Eight questions about Vikings OTAs that are mostly about things other than Adrian Peterson’s plans.

Falcons FB and Army vet Colin Mooney shared some Memorial Day thoughts on ESPN.com.

Panthers LB Thomas Davis has developed a taste for auto racing.

Max Unger is settling into his new role as the Saints’ starting center.

A positive take on QB Jameis Winston’s fit with the Buccaneers.

Where do things stand with Cardinals LB Daryl Washington’s reinstatement from suspension?

Crunching numbers comes up with some good news for the Rams.

49ers TE Vernon Davis is working to rebound in 2015.

Five Seahawks to watch as OTAs get going this week.

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Broncos have call to make on Antonio Smith this week

Antonio Smith, Derek Wolfe AP

The arrest and release of former Bears defensive end Ray McDonald became the big story in the NFL on Monday, but McDonald wasn’t the only defensive lineman to land in the news for the wrong reasons recently.

Last week, word broke of a child abuse investigation concerning Broncos defensive lineman Antonio Smith in Texas. The complaint against Smith was made last November and is reportedly “sexual in nature,” but no arrest has been made and no charges have been filed since the police sent the results of their investigation to the Fort Bend County district attorney in February.

The lack of charges or an arrest make Smith’s situation a different one from the one that led to McDonald’s departure from Chicago, but the Broncos still face a decision about Smith’s status. The team says it learned of the investigation last week and they’ll have to decide if they want to have Smith at this week’s organized team activities in light of the information they didn’t have when they signed Smith to a one-year, $2 million deal this offseason.

Denver could excuse Smith from the practices as they gather information about the allegations against Smith, something that would probably have already happened via a trip to the Commissioner Exempt list if Smith had been arrested or charged with a crime.

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Report: Ndamukong Suh to take part in Dolphins OTAs

Miami Dolphins defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh at a news conference on Wednesday, March 11, 2015, in Davie, Fla. (Patrick Farrell/Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images)

Typically when a team signs a guy to a $114 million contract, they expect him to show up for work.

But given Ndamukong Suh’s track record in Detroit, nothing’s given.

So the Dolphins have to be pleased that Suh is in South Florida to take part in OTAs which begin today, according to Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post.

Suh routinely skipped OTAs with the Lions, so he could work out on his own. But after the Dolphins paid him this offseason, they’re doubtless glad he’s showing up.

Suh came into town for the first day of offseason conditioning, long enough to get his picture taken anyway. But he hasn’t been an every day participant, such that he has to be.

Again, all these workouts are voluntary, and Suh’s sometimes attendance in Detroit didn’t keep him from becoming a top player. But it is nice to know that your money is buying something other than 16 Sundays.

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