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Falcons taking pre-draft visits with pass rushers

Demarcus Lawrence, Cody Fajardo AP

The Falcons came into the offseason with the plan to improve on both the offensive line and the defensive front seven, something that is expected to continue in the draft.

With the sixth overall pick, the Falcons will be in good position to add help at one spot or the other although the likelihood that South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney and Buffalo’s Khalil Mack will be off the board makes it more likely that they’ll look for an offensive tackle if they stay put in the first round. Atlanta is dealing with that reality by familiarizing themselves with pass rushers who may be on the board in the second half.

Vaughn McClure of reports that the team has already met with Boise State’s Demarcus Lawrence and that BYU’s Kyle Van Noy is scheduled for a visit with the team on Wednesday. There’s also a visit scheduled with UCLA’s Anthony Barr, although there are some who expect him to go well before the Falcons are up with the 37th overall pick.

McClure also reports that Auburn’s Dee Ford “seems likely” to visit or work out for the Falcons before the draft and that would add another name to the list of possible additions if it happens. Osi Umenyiora returns after leading the Falcons with 7.5 sacks last season, but Atlanta’s 32 overall sacks were tied for the second-fewest in the league.

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Report: Falcons work out Terrance West, Jordan Love

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A group of key Falcons decision makers reportedly took a closer look at a pair of Towson University products.

According to Jason La Canfora of CBS, head coach Mike Smith, G.M. Thomas Dimitroff and assistant G.M. Scott Pioli were among team officials attending an on-campus workout for Towson running back Terrance West and cornerback Jordan Love.

It’s unclear when the workout was held. (A hat tip to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who had mentioned La Canfora’s report on his blog.)

West rushed for 2,509 yards and 41 touchdowns on 413 carries in 2013 for Towson, which lost in the FCS title game. With postseason play, Towson played a 16-game slate, which helps explain West’s workload. West (5-9, 225) attended the NFL Scouting Combine and is expected to be drafted.

A Georgia transfer, Love defended 10 passes for Towson in 2013. According to La Canfora, Love showed well at Towson’s Pro Day after not being invited to the Combine.

Running back and cornerback are positions where the Falcons could use reinforcements. While a club’s willingness to work out players isn’t exactly a surefire predictor of future employment with the club, the Falcons’ presence at Towson is noteworthy.

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49ers set to host Martavis Bryant on Monday

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Sammy Watkins may be expected to be among the first names called by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on May 8, which is going to put him out of reach of many teams looking for help at receiver next month.

One of those teams is likely going to turn toward Watkins’ Clemson teammate Martavis Bryant at a later point in the draft. It could be the 49ers, who are scheduled to meet with Bryant on Monday.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports that Bryant, who is projected to be a second day pick, will be one of several players visiting with the teamGeorgia State wide receiver Albert Wilson, Central Florida running back Storm Johnson and Boston College offensive lineman Matt Patchan are also scheduled to meet with the team, while Oklahoma cornerback Aaron Colvin is scheduled to come in later in the week.

Bryant is 6-4 and ran a 4.42 40 at the combine in February, a combo he put to work as a big play artist across from Watkins last season. Bryant averaged 19.7 yards per catch on the year and a deep threat would fit nicely into a receiving corps headlined by Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin. Per Barrows, Bryant has booked a total of 12 visits and will also meet with the Ravens, who could use the same kind of addition to their offense, this week.

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Publicist for A.J. McCarron and Katherine Webb says no reality show “as of yet”

AJ McCarron AP

On Wednesday, we passed along some comments made by Katherine Webb’s sister about a reality show being filmed that would cover her sister’s wedding to Alabama quarterback and NFL hopeful A.J. McCarron.

McCarron reacted quickly to say that he’s only interested in playing football and that what “my future wife does is her business,” perhaps in order to stave off any criticism about his priorities heading into the NFL draft. On Friday, a publicist for the couple pulled things back even further by telling CBS Houston that talk of a show is premature although she indicated McCarron is in on the decision-making process.

“There is not actually a reality tv show as of yet. The initial article that came out yesterday was very premature as AJ and Katherine are listening to pitches from a number of production companies and networks about a potential show but there is not actually a “show” to talk about yet.”

That means we’ll all have to wait and see if we’ll get a chance to peek in on the McCarron/Webb nuptials. While we do, there’s always the reality show built around Jets wide receiver Eric Decker and his wife, singer Jessie James, to keep us occupied.

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Carlos Hyde, Austin Sefarian-Jenkins visit Bills on Friday

Carlos Hyde AP

The Bills were reportedly one of the teams contacted by the Titans about a trade for running back Chris Johnson before Johnson was released, but the Bills weren’t interested in pulling the trigger.

That doesn’t rule out adding a different running back to the mix, however. The Bills announced that they met with Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde on Friday, giving them a chance to find out more about one of the highest rated backs in this year’s draft. Neither Hyde nor any other back is seen as a surefire first-round pick, but he could be available when the Bills pick in the second round and would give them a different sort of runner than they have in C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson.

The Bills also met with Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who is also expected to be a second-round selection next month. Seferian-Jenkins wasn’t able to work out at his pro day or the combine because of a foot injury, but Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free-Press reports that he went through a private workout with the Lions. The Bills re-signed tight end Scott Chandler this offseason, but there’s a place in the offense for a target like Seferian-Jenkins.

Both players had some off-field trouble in college and that will likely be one of the topics of conversation during their meetings with Bills brass. The Bills also met with Liberty cornerback Walt Aikens on Friday.

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Report: Falcons to host Jake Matthews

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A club in need of offensive line help selecting early in May’s draft will reportedly host one of the top offensive tackle prospects on a visit.

According to Vaughn McClure of, the Falcons will meet with Texas A&M tackle Jake Matthews during the week of April 21.

The son of Hall of Fame offensive lineman Bruce Matthews, Jake Matthews played both right and left tackle for the Aggies. The 22-year-old Matthews earned a variety of first-team All-American honors both as a junior and as a senior.

The Falcons hold the No. 6 overall pick in the 2014 draft. Were the Falcons to take Matthews, he could first be tried at right tackle. The Falcons have an experienced left tackle in Sam Baker, a 2008 first-round pick.

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Jimmy Garoppolo working out for Vikings on Friday

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The Vikings are expected to come away from the draft with a new quarterback and they’ll be taking a look at a candidate for the job on Friday.

Adam Schefter of reports that the team is taking in a private workout by Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. The Vikings, like all teams looking for a starting quarterback and a few teams already set at that position, have been busy in recent weeks looking at the top prospects at the position while Garoppolo has also been making the rounds.

Garoppolo probably isn’t in the mix for the Vikings’ eighth overall pick as he is widely considered to be a prospect who will come off the board on the second day of the draft. The same is true of LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who the Vikings met with this week, and targeting one of those players would allow the Vikings to fill another hole early before turning their attention to their need at quarterback.

There are several other options available and, with seven teams selecting before them on May 8, the Vikings will be considering all of them as they try to find the right person for offensive coordinator Norv Turner to mold into a starter.

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Tom Savage to visit Raiders

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The Raiders met with Johnny Manziel earlier this week and they’ll close the week by meeting a quarterback who is expected to go a bit later in the draft.

Pittsburgh quarterback Tom Savage will be visiting with the Raiders on Friday, according to a report from Paul Gutierrez of Savage is seen as a mid-round pick after throwing for for 2,958 yards with 21 touchdowns and nine interceptions during his only year at Pitt, although some draft watchers have opined that he could develop into an NFL starter.

That would seem to fit with the Raiders’ plans at the position after trading for Matt Schaub this offseason, but Savage will have to explain during his visit why his college career took him from Rutgers to Arizona before winding up at Pittsburgh.

“You see someone transfer twice, your immediate thought is probably a red flag, there is something wrong,” Savage said. “Obviously, my journey has been a little different. It’s helped me mature as a person and I wouldn’t want to do it any other way.”

The Raiders also have Matt McGloin and Terrelle Pryor at quarterback, although there doesn’t seem to be much chance of Pryor remaining on the roster for the 2014 season.

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Jadeveon Clowney visiting with Rams on Friday

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The Rams are in good shape at defensive end with Chris Long and Robert Quinn, but that’s not stopping them from talking to the top defensive end in this year’s draft class.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that the Rams will meet with Jadeveon Clowney of South Carolina on Friday. The Rams own the second overall pick in May’s draft and it’s hard to find anyone who believes Clowney will be on the board much longer than that.

Given the presence of Long and Quinn, the Rams would clearly be drafting the best available player rather than filling their most pressing need if they wound up with Clowney on May 8. There would certainly be ways to make such an arrangement work, but it also bears mentioning that the Rams need to sell the idea that they’d take Clowney if they want to keep open the possibility of making a trade if Clowney makes it past the Texans with the first pick.

The Rams haven’t been shy about broadcasting their willingness to deal the pick for the right offer and General Manager Les Snead has made particular note of the possibility that a team could trade up for Clowney or another non-quarterback.

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Darqueze Dennard set to visit Rams, Jets and Bengals

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Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard got a pretty good lesson from his cousin about what not to do before the draft when he was arrested for assaulting a police officer just before the 2012 draft.

Projected to be a second or third round pick by many, Alfonzo Dennard wound up dropping to the Patriots in the seventh round. He’s serving as a sounding board for his cousin this offseason and the first, second and third lesson should focus on avoiding such sinkholes because Darqueze might have even more to lose if he takes a swing at a law enforcement officer.

The Spartan standout is ranked alongside Justin Gilbert and Kyle Fuller at the top of the position group and is expected to go in the first round on May 8. He’ll be visiting some of the teams that could select him in the coming days. Gil Brandt of NFL Network reports that Dennard is meeting with the Rams on Thursday with visits with the Jets and Bengals lined up for next week.

The Jets and Bengals are also on the list of teams visiting with Fuller, and both of them would benefit from landing a blue-chipper in the secondary during the draft.

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Broncos work out University of Miami basketball player Erik Swoope

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The Broncos were rewarded for taking a chance on a former college basketball player when Julius Thomas blossomed into one of the most productive tight ends in the league last season and it seems they’re trying to see if lightning will strike twice. was the first to report that Erik Swoope went through a workout with the Broncos on Thursday and Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald snapped a photo of the session while it was going on. He averaged five points and 2.7 rebounds for the Hurricanes as a senior forward and never played football for Miami coach Al Golden’s squad.

Swoope is listed at 6-5 and 220 pounds, which would make tight end or wide receiver seem like the spots he might be able to fill on a football field.

Should Swoope make it to the NFL, he wouldn’t be the first former Hurricane hoopster to transition to the gridiron. Saints tight end Jimmy Graham made the same switch, although Graham played a year of football at the U before heading to the NFL. Expecting the same would be foolish, but NFL teams have been intrigued by athletic basketball players since Antonio Gates hit the league and strong workouts could position Swoope to be the next to benefit from that interest.

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Ravens reportedly met with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

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When it comes to Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix’s place in this year’s draft class, two things are clear.

The first is that he’s got the most memorable name of this year’s prospects and the second is that he’s almost certain to hear that memorable name announced as a first-round pick by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on May 8. It’s less clear which team will be making that selection, although Clinton-Dix’s list of visits gives us some idea of who is interested in his services.

Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Ravens recently met with Clinton-Dix and Baltimore appears to be a good fit for the safety. There’s been talk of moving Matt Elam, last year’s first-round pick, to strong safety and Clinton-Dix projects as a free safety that would allow them to make that move.

Clinton-Dix has also met with the Lions and Titans, both of whom select before the Ravens will be on the board with the 17th overall pick. With the Rams and Bears also picking before Baltimore and potentially looking for safeties, Clinton-Dix could wind up going too early to be Elam’s running mate unless Baltimore decides to move up the board.

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PFT Live: Lions talk with Dave Birkett, PFT Planet calls and tweets

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The draft gets underway in a month and that means the gears are starting to churn on the rumor mill for all 32 teams.

One of the things churned out recently is word that the Lions may be interested in trading up to snag Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins at the top of the first round. Mike Florio will talk to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press on Wednesday’s PFT Live about that possibility and other things that Birkett’s heard about the team’s plans for the draft. We’ll also get any updates from the first few days of the team’s offseason workouts during Birkett’s visit to the show.

From there, it is up to PFT Planet to tell us what you want to know. Send your questions for Florio via Twitter — @ProFootballTalk — or give a call to 888-237-5269 during the show.

It all gets started at noon ET and you can watch it all live by clicking right here.

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Sammy Watkins set to visit with Jaguars

Sammy Watkins AP

The Jaguars aren’t leaving many stones unturned as they set up their board ahead of next month’s draft.

As reported by various outlets over the last couple of days, they are meeting with several of the top prospects in this year’s class this week. Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack, Auburn tackle Greg Robinson, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr, Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles, Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr were included in those reports, but the list doesn’t end there.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins is also headed to Jacksonville for a visit on Thursday. There are a couple of projected early picks not on that list, although Jaguars coach Gus Bradley has already praised South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney’s work at his recent pro day.

That’s a lot of names playing all over the field, which is likely just the way the Jaguars want it with a month to go until Roger Goodell starts calling names from New York City. For a team that needs a little bit of everything, it makes sense to cast a wide net in terms your own research as well as keeping other teams from feeling comfortable that their desired player will make it past the third pick of the draft.

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Jimmy Garoppolo visits with Bucs

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Mike Glennon said Tuesday that he still thinks he has a shot at winning the starting quarterback job in Tampa this season despite the addition of Josh McCown in free agency.

The Buccaneers, meanwhile, continue to meet with some of the top quarterback prospects in this year’s draft. Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater visited with the team on Monday and Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune reports that Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo met with the team on Tuesday.

At this point, it’s impossible for anyone but the Bucs to know if they’re meeting with the quarterbacks to keep other teams guessing or if they’re planning to pick a quarterback to move ahead of Glennon as a potential future starter. Garoppolo is likely to come off the board on the second day of the draft while Bridgewater is expected to go in the first round, so the Bucs could go in just about any direction. That will keep other teams on their toes and, potentially, lead someone to jump ahead of the Bucs if they feel there’s a chance of their desired player landing in Tampa.

Both Bridgewater and Garoppolo, who has also visited with the Browns, are slated to visit with the Jaguars on Wednesday.

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