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Report: If Chicago hosts draft, Chicago Theatre is expected to host it

Dale Earnhardt Jr. AP

Though it’s not known yet whether Chicago will host the 2015 NFL Draft, we do appear to have some clarity on where the draft would be staged were it to be held in the home city of the Bears.

The Chicago Theatre, located downtown, is the favorite to host the draft if the NFL moves the event to Chicago, Danny Ecker of Crain’s Chicago Business reported Monday.

The theater can seat 3,600 people, according to its website.

According to Crain’s, NFL officials visited Chicago in June and met with city and theater personnel regarding the draft. Other Chicago locations could be used for draft-related events, including Soldier Field, the publication reported.

Chicago is one of the primary cities under consideration to host the 2015 draft, with New York and Los Angeles also in the hunt.

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Monday marks 25th anniversary of action-packed 1989 supplemental draft

Phoenix Cardinals v Washington Redskins Getty Images

There has never been an NFL supplemental draft like the one held 25 years ago Monday.

Three players — Miami (Fla.) quarterback Steve Walsh, Washington State quarterback Timm Rosenbach and Alabama running back Bobby Humphrey — were selected with first-round picks. Never before had multiple players been taken in Round One of the supplemental draft. Overall, five players were chosen with supplemental picks, the most in league history.

The Cowboys’ selection of Walsh was especially intriguing, given the club had taken Troy Aikman a few months earlier in the regular 1989 draft. However, Walsh’s collegiate coach, Jimmy Johnson, had become the Cowboys’ head coach and key personnel decision-maker. In the end, Aikman would capture the starting job, and the next year, the Cowboys dealt Walsh to New Orleans for three draft picks, including a first-rounder.

However, by taking Walsh, the Cowboys forfeited their No. 1 pick in 1990, which ended up being the top overall selection. Walsh’s greatest success would come later in his career with the Bears, whom he led to a playoff win in 1994.

Rosenbach, meanwhile, would play just 26 games for the Phoenix Cardinals before stepping away from the game in 1993. He returned in 1994 but never appeared again in NFL contest. The Cardinals, who were 5-11 in 1989, gave up what would have been a top-five pick in the 1990 draft for Rosenbach.

Humphrey, chosen by the Broncos, had the greatest instant impact of the three first-rounders, exceeding 1,000 yards rushing in his first two seasons with Denver, which made the Super Bowl in his rookie season. However, he held out for most of 1991, was traded to Miami after the season and would play just one season with the Dolphins.

For the record, no club has used a first-round pick in the supplemental draft since the Giants took Duke quarterback Dave Brown in 1992.

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Dorial Green-Beckham enrolling at Oklahoma

Dorial Green-Beckham AP

One of the top amateur wide receiver prospects has a new home.

Dorial Green-Beckham, dismissed from Missouri in the spring, will join Oklahoma’s football team, the Sooners’ athletic department said Thursday.

Green-Beckham will be eligible to return to play in 2015, the school said. However, Oklahoma will seek NCAA clearance to get him eligible in 2014, Fox’s Bruce Feldman reported.

As a true sophomore in 2013, Green-Beckham hauled in 59 passes for 883 yards and 12 touchdowns for Missouri. He was suspended three times by the Tigers before being dismissed in April.

“I’ve disappointed myself and others in the past. I know that I have a lot of work to do and I’m ready to get started,” Green-Beckham said in a statement issued by Oklahoma. “OU is a great program and I feel privileged to be part of it. The university has made the expectations clear and I want to live up to them and be a positive part of the campus and team.”

A celebrated high school prospect, the 6-foot-6, 225-pound Green-Beckham is just 21 years old. He would be eligible for the 2015 NFL Draft next spring, but that timetable could be pushed back to 2016 if he has to take the NCAA redshirt year before taking the field with the Sooners.

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Former NFL G.M. in favor of moving back the early-entry date

2014 NFL Draft Getty Images

As long as there are only seven rounds in the draft and just 32 NFL teams, it seems a good bet that multiple underclassmen will go unselected in any given year. The competition for jobs in pro football’s premier league is just too strong.

As The Associated Press noted in a story published this weekend, 39-of-102 early entrants for the 2014 NFL Draft were not selected. Former Browns G.M. Phil Savage, who is now the executive director of the Senior Bowl, suggested to the AP that moving back the early-entry deadline from January 15 to February 1 would give players a chance to get more information about their draft positioning.

“If it’s not high enough, the player would still have the chance to go back to school for spring practices,” Savage told the AP.

This would be a logical move, especially with the draft no earlier than late April and also with college bowl season stretching farther and farther into January. Giving underclassmen more time to make a major career decision seems appropriate for all parties.

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Lane Kiffin: Alabama’s top three RBs rival NFL backfields from a talent perspective

Lane Kiffin AP

As former Oakland Raiders, Tennessee and USC head coach Lane Kiffin enters his first season as Alabama’s offensive coordinator, he has the luxury of working with a talented and experienced backfield.

Alabama’s top three rushers from a season ago — T.J. Yeldon, Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake — are back for 2014. And Kiffin, for his part, reportedly believes the trio can be special, as he told an audience at a college football preview banquet in Mobile, Alabama on Thursday.

“There probably aren’t three more talented tailbacks in the NFL on a roster than we’re fortunate to be able to work with at Alabama,” Kiffin said at the Dex Imaging L’Arche Football Preview on Thursday, according to Mike Herndon of

Kiffin’s high regard for Yeldon, Henry and Drake’s skill is notable, and it is flattering, given his work with high-level collegiate talent and his NFL experience. Should all three backs make the NFL and succeed, Kiffin’s words will have held up well — and he, along with Alabama’s other staff and the players themselves — will have put the work needed to develop those gifts. For now, though, it is just preseason praise, words that figure to please Alabama fans.

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2014 NFL Draft trades: Day Three

Brock Vereen, Devante Davis AP

Here are the trades executed on the third day of the 2014 NFL Draft. Unless otherwise noted, all picks mentioned are 2014 selections:

The Bills acquired running back Bryce Brown and a seventh-round pick (No. 237) from Philadelphia. In exchange, the Eagles received a 2015 or 2016 conditional draft pick and a seventh-round pick in 2014 (No. 224). At No. 224, the Eagles took Wisconsin defensive tackle Beau Allen. With the 237th pick, the Bills took Miami (Fla.) offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson.

The Bengals acquired a fourth-round pick (No. 111) from the Seahawks. In exchange, Seattle received fourth- and sixth-round picks (Nos. 123, 199). The Bengals took North Carolina center Russell Bodine at No. 111. The Seahawks selected Alabama wide receiver Kevin Norwood at No. 123 and Marshall offensive tackle Garrett Scott at No. 199.

The Bears acquired a fourth-round pick (No. 131) and a seventh-round selection (No. 246) from Denver. The Broncos, in return, received the Bears’ 2015 fifth-round selection and a 2014 fifth-round selection (No. 156). The Bears took Minnesota safety Brock Vereen at No. 131. The Broncos selected LSU linebacker Lamin Barrow at No. 156. At No. 246, the Bears selected Boise State offensive tackle Charles Leno.

The Cowboys acquired a fifth-round pick from Detroit (No. 146). The Lions, in return, received a fifth-round selection (No. 158) and seventh-round pick (No. 229). The Cowboys took Pittsburgh wide receiver Devin Street at No. 146. The Lions selected Princeton defensive tackle Caraun Reid at No. 158 and Boston College placekicker Nate Freese at No. 229.

The Panthers acquired a fifth-round pick from Minnesota (No. 148). To complete the deal, the Vikings received a fifth-round pick from Carolina (No. 168) and a seventh-round pick (No. 225). The Panthers selected San Jose State cornerback Bene Benwikere at No. 148. The Vikings took North Carolina cornerback Jabari Price at No. 225 and traded pick No. 168 to Atlanta.

The Buccaneers acquired a fifth-round pick from the Bills (No. 149). In return, Buffalo received a seventh-round pick (No. 221) and a 2015 fifth-round pick from Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers took Purdue offensive tackle Kevin Pamphile at No. 149. The Bills selected Florida Atlantic outside linebacker Randell Johnson at No. 221.

The Falcons acquired a fifth-round pick from the Vikings (No. 168). In return, the Vikings received a sixth-round pick (No. 182) and a seventh-round selection (No. 220). With the No. 168 selection, the Falcons took Syracuse linebacker Marquis Sprull. At No. 182, the Vikings selected Virginia Tech cornerback Antone Exum. At No. 220, the Vikings took Connecticut defensive tackle Shamar Stephen.

The Titans acquired a sixth-round pick from the Redskins (No. 178 overall). In exchange, the Redskins received a sixth-round selection (No. 186) and a seventh-round pick (No. 228). At No. 178, the Titans drafted LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger. Washington drafted Baylor tailback Lache Seastrunk 186th and Arkansas placekicker Zach Hocker 228th.

The Ravens acquired a seventh-round pick from the Browns (No. 218). In return, the Browns received the Ravens’ 2015 sixth-round pick. At No. 218, the Ravens took Wake Forest wide receiver Mike Campanaro.


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Report: Buccaneers won’t select Johnny Manziel at No. 7

Johnny Manziel AP

One of the teams most often linked to Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel in pre-draft speculation reportedly will not take him at its current spot in the top 10 on Thursday night.

According to Jay Glazer of Fox, the Buccaneers “won’t” pick Manziel with the No. 7 overall selection.

The Buccaneers signed Josh McCown in free agency and have tabbed him as their starter. Mike Glennon, whom the Buccaneers selected in Round Three in the 2013 draft, is also on the depth chart.

Glazer’s report only specifies that Manziel isn’t at play at No. 7 for Tampa Bay. It’s another piece of intelligence in trying to solve one of the draft’s riddles — the matter of where Manziel takes his talents next.

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Steelers scout Bill Nunn passes away at age 89

Bill Nunn

Bill Nunn, a key scout for the Steelers as they constructed their four Super Bowl-winning teams of the 1970s, passed away on Tuesday at age 89 after a recent stroke, the club said.

The former managing editor of the Pittsburgh Courier, Nunn is renowned for his work finding and recommending pro football talent at historically African-American colleges. Nunn, who oversaw the Courier‘s Black College All-American Team, parlayed his knowledge into a part-time scouting role with the Steelers, then became a full-time staffer, working 46 years with the team.

At the time of his passing, Nunn was a senior assistant in player personnel with the Steelers.

“We have lost a great friend and a great person who did so much for the Steelers organization with the passing of Bill Nunn,” Steelers chairman Dan Rooney said in a statement on the club’s website. “Bill was a special person who did everything in his career, from playing sports to being an excellent journalist all of which led to his outstanding career in scouting for the Steelers.

“Bill had extraordinary instinct in identifying talent throughout his career, including the legendary 1974 NFL Draft for us. He put us ahead of so many other teams in the NFL by leading the efforts of drafting African-American football players at traditional black colleges. Very few people had a bigger impact in the history of our franchise, and his positive attitude and contributions will truly be missed.”

As a Steelers evaluator, Nunn is widely credited for his work scouting Alabama A&M wide receiver John Stallworth. According to the club’s website, Nunn put Stallworth through a private workout after the prospect had run poorly the previous day. Nunn also procured film on Stallworth, who was one of four future Hall of Famers drafted by Pittsburgh in 1974.

“Someone said Bill Nunn got a film of John, and we were supposed to send it to the other teams, but it got lost, or it kind of got delayed going to the other places,” former Steelers running backs coach Dick Hoak recalled in a feature recently published on

One of the charter members of the Black College Football Hall of Fame, Nunn is survived by his wife and two children.

[Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Steelers.]

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Report: NFL weighing conducting the draft “a week or two later” in 2015

2013 NFL Draft Getty Images

Well, here comes a report that may not sit well with some members of PFT Planet.

According to Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who cited three unnamed league sources, the NFL is giving thought to holding the draft 1-2 weeks “later” next year. The idea, McGinn said, is receiving “serious consideration.”

In this potential scenario, the draft could begin on either the second or third full week of May, the latter of which could put the draft’s end date on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend in 2015.

In a recent poll of PFT readers, more than 96 percent of respondents preferred the draft being conducted in late April, as had been customary in recent years.

The NFL has tinkered with the draft format in recent years, first spreading the event over three days, then moving it to May this year. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has also said the prospect of holding the draft somewhere other than New York is on the table.

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Report: Carlos Hyde “on the radar” for Browns in second round

Carlos Hyde AP

The Browns addressed a need in free agency with the signing of tailback Ben Tate.

However, they could still stand to bolster their options in the backfield. And, according to a published report, they could be considering adding a tailback with in-state collegiate ties in Round Two.

Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde is “on the radar” for Cleveland in the second round. The Browns hold the third pick in Round Two (No. 35 overall).

Hyde (6-0, 230) is regarded as one of the top backs in the Class of 2014. He rushed for 3,198 yards and 37 touchdowns on 523 carries in four seasons with the Buckeyes. He also caught 34 passes for 271 yards and four touchdowns.

The Browns have not drafted a back since taking Trent Richardson third overall two years ago. They have not selected a running back in Round Two since drafting Montario Hardesty in 2010. Neither are still with the club.

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Scout: Jimmy Garoppolo’s fade passes could be “the best I’ve ever seen”

Jimmy Garoppolo AP

For draftniks who like wonky things, we’ve got something for you.

In Bob McGinn’s breakdown of the 2014 quarterback class in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, an unnamed scout gave Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo high praise for his passing inside the 20.

Garoppolo, the scout told McGinn, was “(maybe) the best I’ve ever seen throwing fades,” calling Garoppolo “lethal in the red zone.”

Passing near the goal line is only but a small part of a quarterback’s job. However, with bigger receivers in vogue around the NFL, an ability to give pass catchers optimal opportunities to go up and get the ball is a good skill to have.

Regarded as a prospect with a chance to be taken in the first two days of the draft, Garoppolo will get a chance to show that his best red zone work in the Ohio Valley Conference translates to football’s major leagues.

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Is quarterback a draft need for the Bengals?

Andy Dalton AP

The Bengals haven’t drafted a quarterback since taking Andy Dalton in Round Two three years ago, and they probably could get by without drafting one this year. The club has a durable starter in Dalton, an experienced backup in Jason Campbell and two viable candidates for the third quarterback role in Josh Johnson and Zac Robinson.

However, there’s a case for Cincinnati to add a passer, as we noted in our look at the club’s draft needs. Dalton can test the market after this season if he so chooses. The club has reportedly talked contract with Dalton, but owner Mike Brown has indicated striking a deal for a quarterback has its challenges.

So now, the floor is yours. Should the Bengals draft a quarterback next week, or are they set at the position for now? Let us know via the poll and in the comments.

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Draft needs: Cincinnati Bengals

Leon Hall AP

The Bengals have one pick in each round in next week’s draft, plus compensatory selections in the final two rounds. The Bengals have mostly stayed put in recent drafts, exercising their picks and not moving around the board. In the last 10 years, they have made just two deals during the draft, moving back in Round One in 2004 and again in 2012.

Here’s a look at the Bengals’ top areas of need entering the 2014 draft:

Cornerback: The Bengals need reinforcements here. Their top corner, Leon Hall, is coming back from his second ruptured left Achilles tendon in the last three seasons. Also, key corners Terence Newman (36 in September) and Adam Jones (31 in September) are closer to the end than the beginning of their pro careers. Ideally, the Bengals will draft at least one cornerback capable of contributing in “sub” packages in 2014 and pushing for a bigger role in years to come.

Offensive line: The Bengals could go in a number of directions at this position. With starting left guard Clint Boling in the final year of his contract and recovering from a December ACL tear, bolstering the depth chart at guard could be in the cards. On the other hand, if the Bengals drafted a left tackle capable of starting right off the bat, they could conceivably move Andrew Whitworth inside. Also, the Bengals will need a new starting center after releasing Kyle Cook.

Defensive end: Michael Johnson’s departure leaves the Bengals to replace a key member of their defensive line. In addition to being one of the club’s top pass rushers, Johnson was dependable and durable, missing just one game in five seasons. Robert Geathers, who missed most of last season with an elbow injury, will return to pick up some of the slack, but the club could use one more pass rusher in their defensive line rotation.

Quarterback: Starter Andy Dalton has yet to miss a game in three NFL seasons and has thrown 80 touchdowns compared to 49 interceptions. However, he has struggled in all three of his playoff starts, all Cincinnati defeats. Also, he enters the final year of his contract. The Bengals’ new top backup, Jason Campbell, has familiarity with offensive coordinator Hue Jackson’s scheme and can get a team through a few games, but he’s not going to push Dalton. If the Bengals want to give Dalton some competition, it’s going to come via the draft.

Wide receiver: Is this a pressing need? No. However, with wide receiver one of the stronger positions in the 2014 draft, it would not be illogical for the Bengals to add a young pass catcher. When clubs can take away top receiver A.J. Green, the Bengals’ passing game can be vulnerable.

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Should Chiefs address offense or defense with their first pick?

Kansas City Chiefs v Oakland Raiders Getty Images

In our exploration of the Chiefs’ draft needs, we noted the club has only two picks in the first three rounds. The second-rounder, as you probably recall, was dealt to San Francisco for quarterback Alex Smith.

Considering Smith’s 2013 play and the value of his position, it’s hard to have many qualms with giving up an early second-day pick for a starting quarterback in his prime. Nevertheless, the Chiefs enter the 2014 NFL Draft with a 64-selection gap from when they pick in Round One (No. 23) to when they are slated to be on the clock in Round Three (No. 87).

It’s quite possible the Chiefs could look to add picks; this seems a tailor-made situation for such an approach, frankly. For now, though, let’s assume they stand pat at No. 23 and No. 87. In that case — with all that time between Rounds One and Three — should they draft an offensive or defensive player first? Cast your vote and share your thoughts in the comments.

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When the NFL Draft finally made it into the TV listings

New Orleans Saints v Cincinnati Bengals Getty Images

As with any other draft years removed, a look back at the 1980 NFL Draft is a trip through the memory bank.

And for draftniks of all ages, the 1980 draft, which kicked off 34 years ago Tuesday, is of particular historical importance, for it was the first draft televised, according to the league. ESPN, which had been on-air for less than a year, broadcast the event, as it does now.

The Lions began the 1980 draft by selecting Oklahoma running back Billy Sims, who made the Pro Bowl three times in his first four seasons before a knee injury in the midst of an outstanding 1984 season ended his career.

Two picks later, the first future Hall of Famer of the Class of 1980 was taken, with the Bengals selecting USC offensive tackle Anthony Munoz, an 11-time All-Pro. In the latter stages of the round, another Hall of Famer came off the board, as Syracuse wideout Art Monk landed with Washington at No. 18. Monk would go on to play for three Super Bowl-winning teams for Washington.

Then, in Round Two, the Dolphins selected one of the great centers of all-time, taking Alabama’s Dwight Stephenson 48 picks into the draft. Like Monk and Munoz, Stephenson is in Canton, and all three players made the NFL’s 1980s All-Decade Team.

It was, glancing now at the picks, a lot like other drafts — some standouts, some busts. But it was the first you could glance on TV, provided you had the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network.

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