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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

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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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Kyle Fuller lines up a slew of pre-draft visits

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Cornerback Kyle Fuller won’t be the first member of his immediate family to get drafted by the NFL, but he’s got a chance to be the first Fuller brother selected in the first round.

Corey Fuller went in the sixth round to the Lions last year and Vincent Fuller was a fourth-round pick in 2005, leaving Kyle Fuller with a chance to take the family crown when the draft gets underway next month. The Virginia Tech product is ranked below Darqueze Dennard of Michigan State and Justin Gilbert of Oklahoma State by many pundits, but there’s always a need for good corners in the league and Fuller is motivated to go where no one in his family has gone before.

“I would love to go in the first round — that’s definitely something I’ve set a goal for,” Fuller said, via the Baltimore Sun. “I’m excited about how everything is going. I just want to continue to be successful. I’m staying focused and working hard. It means a lot to be able to do this and to have my family share the experience with me. I’m very competitive, especially with my brothers. That’s helped me to get to where I am now. We always want to be better than the next guy, no matter how fast we are or how many plays we make. All the way back to when I was eight years old, we always loved football, going in the backyard and always wanting to play.”

Fuller won’t be lacking for possible landing spots. He has had private workouts with the Colts and Panthers already and has lined up a visit with the Colts in Indianapolis. The Bears, Bengals, Raiders, Jets and Broncos are also on his list of visits and every team on that list could benefit from the addition of a talented young corner.

Should that come in the first round, Fuller will have some familial bragging rights. He may not have them for long, though. Kendall Fuller had six interceptions as a freshman at Virginia Tech last season.

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Texans schedule visits with Bortles, Manziel

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John McClain of the Houston Chronicle has posted two mock drafts this offseason and he has the Texans taking a quarterback in each of them.

The first time around, McClain projected the Texans would take Blake Bortles of Central Florida. He switched things up the second time and now has the Texans staying in state and taking 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M.

Mock drafts must always be taken with a grain of salt, even from a reporter who has covered the Texans as closely as McClain has throughout their entire existence, but it would appear that both quarterbacks are under consideration for the team in the first round. McClain reports that the Texans have scheduled visits with each of the quarterbacks later this month.

Bortles is slated to visit Houston on April 15 and 16 while Manziel is expected to meet with the team on April 21 and 22. We’re not likely to glean much information about which of those players the team prefers or if they’ll be taking a quarterback at all as it is to their advantage to keep as many options open as possible before they actually commit to what they’re doing with the first overall pick.

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Zach Mettenberger will do all quarterback drills at LSU’s pro day

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Quarterback Zach Mettenberger isn’t expected to be a first round pick in May’s draft, in part because the LSU product tore his ACL in November.

Before the injury, Mettenberger was starting to generate some buzz as a player who could develop into an NFL starter after being drafted on the second or third day. He’ll get a chance to show teams that he’s still worthy of that consideration this week.

Adam Caplan of ESPN reports that Mettenberger will participate in all drills at LSU’s pro day on Wednesday. That’s not long after January knee surgery and Mettenberger isn’t going to be all the way back, but it can only help his cause if he shows he’s able to make all his throws and handle the drills before getting all the way through his rehab.

LSU offensive coordinator and former Dolphins head coach Cam Cameron will run the quarterback drills for Mettenberger. In February, Cameron said he thought Mettenberger was “a first-round quarterback.” That remains unlikely, but Wednesday’s workout should help determine how close he comes to that status.

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PFT Live: Marqise Lee, PFT Planet calls and tweets

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USC wide receiver Marqise Lee wasn’t able to duplicate his spectacular 2012 season for the Trojans last year, but he’s still expected to be chosen early in next month’s draft.

On Friday’s edition of PFT Live, Mike Florio will speak to Lee about where he sees himself going once the league’s 32 teams gather in New York to make their selections. We’ll also find out why Lee’s production dropped off during the 2013 season and what he thinks he brings to the table that separates him from some his peers in this year’s draft class.

And then you’ll be the ones asking the questions. Florio will answer queries via Twitter — @ProFootballTalk — or on the phone — 888-237-5269 — during the show about any topics that interest PFT Planet.

Whether you have a question or not, you can watch it all live at noon ET by clicking right here.

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Report: Jets “very intrigued” by Kelvin Benjamin

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The Jets signed wide receivers Eric Decker and Jacoby Ford as free agents, but their arrivals won’t fix one of the league’s least impressive receiving groups all by itself.

May’s draft is expected to bring more help on that front and the Jets figure to be linked with some of the top receiving and tight end prospects over the next month as a result. One player who qualifies is Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, who had 54 catches for 1,011 yards and 15 touchdowns to help the Seminoles win a national title and quarterback Jameis Winston win the Heisman Trophy.

Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports that the Jets are “very intrigued” by Benjamin, who brings great size to the position at 6-5 and 240 pounds. That size seems to be at the heart of the Jets’ interest as Mehta quotes a team source as saying that you “can’t teach 6-5.”

You can’t teach 6-4 either, but the Jets have learned with 2012 second-round pick Stephen Hill that all the size in the world doesn’t matter if you can’t catch the ball. Had Hill worked out, the Jets wouldn’t be so needy of help at receiver so any move for Benjamin needs to be based on more than just how big he is compared to other prospects at the position.

Benjamin is expected to visit with the Jets, who own the 18th pick in the first round.

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