Brown and Danny Woodhead also give the team a pair of options to turn to if they feel Mathews’ play is not where they want it to be. That was sometimes an issue early in Mathews’ career because of fumbles and Thursday night’s preseason game provided a reminder of those days when Mathews coughed up the ball on his way into the end zone. Chargers coach Mike McCoy wasn’t thrilled with the turnover, but said he’s not turning to Brown or Woodhead the next time the Chargers are knocking on the door.
Fumble won’t change Ryan Mathews’ role with Chargers
The Cowboys finally drafted a quarterback yesterday in Dak Prescott, but owner Jerry Jones was still kicking himself for the deal he didn’t make two days prior.
Via Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Jones spent part of his post-draft wrap-up lamenting the fact he wasn’t able to seal the deal for quarterback Paxton Lynch during the first round. The Cowboys were trying to make the same trade with Seattle which Denver made to get to the 26th pick for, but didn’t get it done and had to watch the Memphis quarterback head to Colorado.
“When I look back on my life, I overpaid for my big successes every time,” Jones said. “And when I tried to get a bargain, get it a little cheaper or get a better deal on it, I ended up usually either getting it and not happy I got it. Or missing it.
“And I probably should have overpaid here.”
Jones said he wasn’t able to sleep Thursday night because of it, and over coffee, realized he wished he had pulled the trigger.
“I was still mad about it,” Jones said. “Actually thought we had it done.”
He missed another opportunity when the Raiders traded a spot in front of him in the fourth to take Connor Cook, but that one didn’t create the same kind of non-buyer’s remorse.
So as excited as he might be about Prescott, Lynch will remain the one who got away.
The Dolphins focused on adding “alpha players” in the draft.
Newly drafted Patriots G Ted Karras is the great nephew of Alex Karras.
Getting after the quarterback was a theme of the Ravens draft.
LB Scooby Wright jumped in pool after finding out he was drafted by the Browns.
This year’s rookie class may be well represented on the starting Steelers defense.
No defensive ends wound up in the Texans draft class.
The Colts focused on the offensive line in the draft.
There’s more talent on the Jaguars defense, now they need to develop chemistry.
Titans General Manager Jon Robinson will be watching the waiver wire in the coming days as teams make room for rookies.
The Chiefs defended drafting WR Tyreek Hill despite his history of domestic violence.
The Raiders draft by the numbers.
Big 10 players continued to have the eye of the Chargers.
DE Charles Tapper took an unusual route to the Cowboys.
There were no offensive or defensive linemen in the Giants draft class.
The Eagles closed the draft by focusing on defense.
Wrapping up a Redskins draft that didn’t prioritize areas of need.
The Packers added to the linebacker mix with Blake Martinez.
A questioning take on the Saints drafting DT David Onyemata.
Where will K Roberto Aguayo rank among Florida State players who wound up with the Buccaneers?
A quarterback wasn’t among the players added by the Cardinals in the draft.
The Rams invested in their offense on the final day of the draft.
Defense was the early focus of the 49ers draft.
Linemen and running backs were the order of the day for the Seahawks.
The NFL has had plenty of P.R. problems in recent years. Decades ago, however, the league laid the foundation for one of the great P.R. maneuvers of all time: Making new players believe it’s an honor to not be able to pick their first employer.
Great high-school players get to pick their colleges. Great college players don’t get to pick their first NFL teams. Their NFL teams pick them, as the final, well-hyped, three-day act of a four-month job interview during which the players jockey for the privilege of being chosen.
Players have become conditioned to regard being drafted in any round as an honor, even if many of the players taken in the final round on Saturday would have been much better off to not be drafted at all. Often, players selected in the seventh round find themselves facing an uphill climb to make the 53-man roster due to the stockpiling of players at one position; in those cases, it’s better for the player to pick (through undrafted free agency) a team, a roster, and a scheme that maximizes the player’s chance of making it.
The fact that plenty of fans and former players (including one very loyal company man) react so strongly when anyone tries to peck at the outermost layer of this particular onion confirms the impact of Big Shield’s long-term Jedi mind trick regarding the idea that there’s something good and honorable about a highly-skilled worker in a specific, narrow industry having no freedom of choice to select his first professional city, workplace, supervisor, or coworkers.
The system of allowing separately-owned sports teams to calls dibs one at a time on the incoming workforce would be regarded as unfair at best, illegal at worst in any other American industry. Every year, for example, thousands of law students emerge into the workforce, with the best of them landing jobs at major law firms in large cities throughout the country (you know, the same cities where NFL teams are located). The law firms don’t get together on a national (or even local) basis and decide which lawyer goes where; each lawyer decides where he or she will live and work.
Is it an honor to be regarded as good enough to work for a major law firm that pays out a very healthy starting salary? Absolutely. Would it be an honor to be subject to a system that compels the employee to work in a city in which the employee may have no relatives, no friends, and/or no desire to live or work? No.
The fact that some of you are getting a little upset while reading this proves that the NFL has successfully conditioned everyone (well, almost everyone) to think it’s good to be drafted. But it’s critical to separate being regarded as good enough to play in the NFL from being stripped of any choice as to where those football skills will be demonstrated.
Five years ago, the antitrust lawsuit filed after the NFL Player Association disbanded and the NFL locked out the players challenged all anti-competitive aspects of the league’s rules, including the draft. Once people realized that the end result of an NFL without a unionized workforce would be no draft at all, folks lost their minds a little bit. (Including me; I guess my opinion has evolved.)
Before assuming that the NFL without a draft would create chaos (and fewer opportunities for organized booing), consider what the alternative would be. Teams would compete with each other to sign the best players — and the ability of one team to corner the market on all the best young players would be constrained by a rookie salary cap, which would limit the total amount that could be given to new players. The broader salary cap also would limit the ability of teams to stockpile high-priced players.
Instead of three days of a draft, the NFL would have a second free-agency frenzy — one that could be even more compelling than the veteran version the NFL stages every March. (Remember, the NFL once resisted tooth-and-nail the notion that players should become eligible at any point in their careers to choose their teams.) A true rookie free agency process would be much different from Big Shield’s current preference for Schadenfreude TV, but letting the teams scramble for players could ultimately be better.
The fact that it would be different freaks out everyone who either likes/loves the draft or who directly or indirectly benefits from it financially. As a result, the fact that it would be the fair and just way to truly honor the best college football players in America gets overlooked.
Especially since the NFL (and everyone else) has managed to convince kids who have been exploited for the past three or four years in college that they aren’t being exploited one last time.
Quarterback Carson Wentz hit Philadelphia for the first time since being drafted No. 2 overall on Thursday night and got a couple of other firsts out of the way in short order.
There was the first time being booed, although it seems to be the work of just a couple of overheated adult autograph seekers, and the first time being asked about Sam Bradford, who the Eagles say he’ll be sharing a quarterback room with this season. Bradford isn’t talking to the team at the moment because of Wentz’s arrival and wants to be traded, something the Eagles say they won’t do, and Wentz kept his head down when asked by Reuben Frank and Derrick Gunn of CSN Philly about the situation.
Wentz noted that Bradford’s situation and his own spot on the depth chart are “out of my control entirely” and that he plans to just compete and learn in the weeks and months to come. He also said that he doesn’t know much about Bradford because his football watching habits tilted to more accomplished practitioners of the game.
“Yeah, I’ve seen him play a little bit,” Wentz said. “Obviously I know he was a top pick and everything, not too many years ago, and obviously I know he was with the Rams and everything, and now here. But you know, I haven’t watched a ton of film on him. I watched a lot of film on guys like Brady and Manning and Rodgers, those types of things. So I don’t know as much as some of the other guys.”
We shall see how his passes look on the field, but Wentz doesn’t seem to have any problem making the jump from the FCS to the NFL in terms of throwing shade.
The Seahawks went into the draft without a quarterback other than Russell Wilson on the roster and they came out of the draft without a quarterback other than Russell Wilson on the roster.
Wilson hasn’t missed a game in his four NFL seasons, but that was still something the team was going to have to remedy before getting to the busier on-field sections of their schedule. They started doing so after the end of the draft by signing one of the more recognizable names that went unpicked over the last three days.
Former TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin announced on Twitter than he’s signed with the Seahawks. Boykin put up big numbers over the last two seasons, topping 3,500 passing yards each year while also running for 18 touchdowns and landing a spot as a Heisman finalist in 2014. He’s shorter than the ideal quarterback, but so is the guy he’ll be trying to back up.
Boykin also got arrested before the team’s bowl game in San Antonio for punching a police officer during a bar fight, something that got him suspended for the game and led to apologies and explanations at the Scouting Combine.
The Seahawks also took TCU center Joey Hunt during the sixth round of the draft, so Boykin will be able to take snaps from a familiar set of hands at Seattle’s rookie minicamp.
There’s another Gronkowski in the AFC East.
Glenn is the youngest brother in the Gronkowski family, which includes Patriots All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski as well as Dan and Chris, both of whom had short NFL careers. The Gronkowskis now join the Fullers as families with four brothers in the NFL: On Friday Washington drafted Kendall Fuller, whose brothers Corey and Kyle play in the NFL and whose oldest brother Vincent previously played in the NFL.
The only other family since the AFL-NFL merger to have four brothers in the NFL was the Browner family, with Jim, Joey, Keith and Ross, who played in the 1970s and 1980s.
Dr. David Chao, former Chargers doctor who has created a moderate media presence since leaving the NFL, could eventually be losing his license to practice medicine for good.
According to 10News.com, the Medical Board of California is seeking a meeting to discuss revoking or permanently suspending Chao’s license as a result of his treatment of deceased Hall of Famer Junior Seau.
The complaint (which accuses Chao of gross negligence, repeated negligent acts, prescribing medication without a prior examination, failure to maintain accurate and adequate records, and unprofessional conduct) alleges that Chao prescribed the sleeping aid Ambien to Seau for years, despite warning signs including insomnia and depression. Chao allegedly continued to prescribe Ambien to Seau after an October 2010 car accident that following a domestic violence incident for which Seau was arrested.
Chao previously told investigators that Seau had no “depression or any other psychological issues” during the time period that included the week preceding his May 2012 suicide.
In 2014, Chao was placed on five years probation and had his medical license revoked after he was “convicted of a crime substantially related to the practice of medicine and engaged in dishonest and corrupt acts.” Via Brent Schrotenboer of USA Today, Chao “has been dogged by malpractice lawsuits and legal issues over the years, including a public reprimand by the board for failing to disclose a drunken-driving conviction on state forms as required.”
When quarterback Robert Griffin III signed with the Browns, the Browns made it clear that Griffin would be handed nothing. He won’t even be handed the edge over third-round rookie quarterback Cody Kessler.
In response to a suggestion during a Saturday press conference that Kessler won’t pose a threat to Griffin, Browns executive V.P. of football operations Sashi Brown advised caution: “I beg to differ with that,” Brown said, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I do think Cody is a guy that I would not want to sleep on at all if I wanted to be the starting quarterback of the Browns.
“[Kessler is] going to come in serious ready to work. Robert has four years of NFL experience, is tremendously athletic and serious about becoming a starting quarterback in this league. There’s no reason he can’t, but this is going to be a competition.”
Even if Griffin has the edge, it’s smart for the Browns to create the impression that Griffin will have to compete. He arrived in Washington with the presumption that he’d be “the guy.” Now, he’s just “a guy” — and he needs to regard himself that way.
“We truly believe in competition here,” Brown said. “We’re realistic about where our roster is at that slot and we want to find a long-term answer. It’s as critical for everything we’re going to do here. We’ll give them an opportunity to compete and the best quarterback is going to start for us period. We’ll roll the ball out and see who’s the best at throwing it.”
The candidates for the starting job are Griffin, Kessler, Josh McCown, and Connor Shaw. Which means that part of the competition will consist of determining which of the four won’t be on the team come September.
The completion of the draft sparks the commencement of the land rush for undrafted free agents, with teams aggressively pursuing players who weren’t among those on whom the 32 teams squatted in the seven rounds of the selection process. The Steelers are among the first to announce the signing of a group of undrafted free agents for 2016.
Joining the Steelers are Mars Hill defensive lineman Jonny Maxey, Miami (Fla.) linebacker Tyriq McCord, Duke punter Will Monday, Florida State defensive lineman Giorgio Newberry, Colorado running back Christian Powell, Georgia tight end Jay Rome, N.C. State offensive lineman Quinton Schooley, Virginia receiver Canaan Severin, and Jacksonville State defensive lineman Devaunte Sigler.
All teams can have up to 90 players on the roster during the offseason, through training camp, and into the preseason.
Vernon Butler was glad to be the Panthers’ first-round draft pick on Thursday night, but he was also disappointed to go 30th. Butler claims he was told by the Lions that they were going to take him with the 16th overall pick.
Butler was quoted before the draft as saying that the Lions had promised him that if he was still on the board at No. 16, he was going to Detroit. As it turned out, the Lions passed on Butler and chose Taylor Decker instead.
Asked after becoming a Panther about the Lions telling him they’d pick him, Butler said, “That’s what they said, but they say a lot of things.”
But Lions General Manager Bob Quinn says the Lions told Butler no such thing.
“No one from my staff, or the coaching staff, have ever promised a player that we were going to take them at any position,” Quinn said.
Perhaps the Lions told Butler they wanted him on the team, and Butler interpreted that as meaning they were definitely going to draft him. There was clearly a misunderstanding between the two sides, and it’s easy to see why Butler is disappointed: The difference between going 16th and going 30th is more than $2.5 million.
The best punter in the history of the Chargers franchise is out of a job.
Mike Scifres, who has punted in San Diego since the Chargers drafted him in 2003, will be released after the team drafted punter Drew Kaser today.
“He’s a true pro,” Chargers coach Mike McCoy said of Scifres today. “When people ask what it means to be a Charger, I’ll point to Mike Scifres. Thank you, Mike. We’re going to miss you.”
But while the Chargers will miss Scifres, who was chosen as the punter on the franchise’s 50th Anniversary Team, the decision to let him go wasn’t difficult. The 35-year-old Scifres did not punt well last year and was set to cost $4.2 million against the Chargers’ salary cap this year.
It was time for the Chargers to move on to someone younger and cheaper, and that’s exactly what they’ve done.
It’s way too early to start thinking about which players are available in next year’s NFL draft. But it’s not too late to declare that the Browns will be in good shape next year.
The Browns have two first-round picks and two second-round picks in the 2017 NFL draft, thanks to trades with the Eagles and Titans. Cleveland is also expected to get multiple compensatory picks next year, so the Browns should get a big haul of talent a year from now.
Despite trading away their second-round pick, the Titans are also in good shape for 2017, thanks to having the Rams’ first- and third-round picks. And the Vikings, who acquired the Dolphins’ third- and fourth-round picks, also have to like how the 2017 draft looks.
Here’s the full list of 2017 NFL draft picks that have already changed hands:
Cleveland has Philadelphia’s pick.
Tennessee has L.A.’s pick.
Cleveland has Tennessee’s pick.
Tennessee has L.A.’s pick.
Minnesota has Miami’s pick.
Chicago has Buffalo’s pick.
Minnesota has Miami’s pick.
Washington has the New York Jets’ pick.
New England has Seattle’s pick.
New England forfeited its pick as punishment for Deflategate.
Philadelphia will receive a fourth-round compensatory pick from Cleveland, unless Cleveland doesn’t get one, in which case Philadelphia will get Cleveland’s fifth-round pick.
Buffalo has Dallas’s pick.
San Francisco has Washington’s pick.
Washington has New Orleans’ pick.
Houston has Chicago’s pick.
San Francisco has Denver’s pick.
Washington has Houston’s pick.
Denver has Tennessee’s pick.
Kansas City forfeited its pick as punishment for tampering.
Dallas has Buffalo’s pick.
Seattle has Carolina’s pick.
San Francisco has Cleveland’s pick.
Los Angeles has Tennessee’s pick.
Philadelphia has Denver’s pick.
Cleveland has Indianapolis’s pick.
With a number of quarterback destinations going away via draft picks, the remaining veterans are going to be scrambling for a chair.
Brian Hoyer found his, signing with the Bears, according to multiple reports.
Hoyer had visited the Broncos (who never seemed all that interested) and the Jets (who seem destined to bring Ryan Fitzpatrick back at some point).
The Bears didn’t draft one, so Hoyer moved quickly to find a home.
There were 107 players who gave up remaining college football eligiblity to enter the 2016 NFL Draft.
Thirty of them went undrafted.
Among the notable players who went undrafted as early entries are Oklahoma’s Dominique Alexander, Auburn’s Peyton Barber, Tennessee’s Marquez North, Indiana’s Darius Latham, Bowling Green’s Roger Lewis and Ohio State’s Tyvis Powell and Jalin Marshall.
Ohio State had 12 players drafted after 11 of them went in the first 102 picks. Ohio State fell short of its own record of 14 players selected in single draft set in 2004.
NFL teams start working to sign undrafted players before the draft ends. Some will reach deals — or already have — soon, though some teams don’t announce such signings until Sunday or well into next week.
Marshall told Cleveland.com he heard from “half the league” but plans to sign with the Jets. Lewis tweeted that he’s headed to the Giants.
The 2016 NFL Draft had a little bit of everything.
It even included four punters and a long snapper.
Drew Kaser was the first punter to be drafted, early in the sixth round by the Chargers. Three more punters were drafted from there, most notably Riley Dixon by the Broncos. Veteran Broncos punter Britton Colquitt is due to make $3.25 million in 2016, so a potential camp battle that might be decided by more than just performance looms.
The Lions took long snapper Jimmy Landes in the sixth round, at pick No. 210. Landes went to Baylor to play baseball, but after hitting .048 he took up long snapping. He was the only long snapper invited to this year’s NFL Scouting Combine.
A long snapper getting drafted is rare, but the Lions picking Landes means it’s happened in back to back years. The Patriots picked Joe Cardona in the fifth round last year.
The only kicker selected was Roberto Aguayo, who went to the Buccaneers after they traded two picks to get him in the second round at No. 59.