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Eric Ebron believes the Lions and Bills are interested in drafting him

Dontae Johnson, Eric Ebron AP

In today’s column by Peter King at theMMQB.com, King relayed a note about North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron, who is one of the top tight end prospects of this year’s draft class.

King wrote that Ebron told a team he recently visited with that he expected the Detroit Lions to select him in next month’s NFL Draft.

In an interview with Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt on Sirius XM NFL Radio, Ebron was asked if that was an accurate statement that he expects to be drafted by the Lions.

“That was one of the teams,” Ebron said. “This is me quoting me. I said if I had my choice of the teams that are high upon me right now that I believe are high on me, it was the Buffalo Bills and the Detroit Lions. Those are the two teams that I believe are the highest upon me. Now are they telling the same things they are telling me to everybody else? I don’t know. But from my perspective and my point of view, those are the two teams that I believe if they could have signed me that day would have.”

Both the Bills and Lions have options at the tight end position. Detroit has Brandon Pettigrew and Joseph Fauria. Buffalo has Scott Chandler and Lee Smith in place. Neither team is in desperate need of help at tight end. With both teams holding top 10 selections – Buffalo with the 9th overall pick, Detroit at 10 – they would likely have to take Ebron with their top selection if they truly want him.

At this stage in the draft process, it’s still difficult to predict what the Houston Texans will do with the No. 1 overall pick. Trying to peg what Buffalo and Detroit will do at the back-end of the top 10 is that much more of a challenge. Maybe Ebron is right, but he’ll have to wait until May 8 to find out for sure.

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Browns continue getting acquainted with Derek Carr

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The Browns previously spent plenty of time with quarterback Derek Carr during an on-campus workout.  They’ll now be spending even more time with Carr in Cleveland.

As explained by David White of the Fresno Bee, Carr heads to Cleveland this week for his official visit with the Browns.

If they like him enough to draft him, the question becomes whether the Browns would take Carr at No. 4 or No. 26 in the first round.  But there’s another alternative.

They could trade down from No. 4 and draft Carr in the teens, like the Ravens did when acquiring Joe Flacco six years ago.  This would give the Browns an extra pick or two as the latest new coaching staff tries to put together a team that fits the new schemes and systems.

Trading down invites a risk of being leapfrogged.  If the Browns decide that Carr could be the franchise’s first franchise quarterback since Bernie Kosar, why screw around?  They should just take him at No. 4.

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Agent says Dustin Keller is “good to go” from serious knee injury

Miami Dolphins v Houston Texans Getty Images

Dustin Keller’s 2013 season came to an abrupt end before it was even able to get started.

Keller had his knee obliterated in a preseason game between the Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans last August. Texans safety D.J. Swearinger collided with Keller’s knee trying to make a tackle. The blow proved devastating to Keller’s knee. He suffered torn a torn ACL, MCL and PCL along with a dislocated knee due to the collision.

Keller missed the entire season due to the injury and was placed on injured reserve by the Dolphins. Eight months after the injury occurred, Keller is apparently ready to get back on the football field.

According to Jordan Raanan of The Star-Ledger, Keller’s agent, Eugene Parker, says Keller is “ready to go” right now.

Keller still remains a free agent looking for a team to take a chance on him. However, with just over two weeks to go until the draft, teams may see if they can find help at the position in the draft first before re-evaluating the free agent market.

Keller may have to wait a few more weeks to get the opportunity he seeks. In his last full season with the Jets in 2011, Keller caught 65 passed for 815 yards and five touchdowns.

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Dolphins make front-office hires in wake of Incognito-Martin mess

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The Dolphins hope to avoid a repeat of last year’s embarrassing episode involving former Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin and former Dolphins guard Richie Incognito.  To do so, they’ve added some key employees.

The Dolphins announced Monday that former Toys R Us and Target executive Dan Caspersen will run the human resources department, and that Joe Cicini will supervise the team’s security department.  Also, former Dolphins finance and legal affairs specialist Brandon Shore will be placed in the Dolphins’ training facility as a “dedicated resource” of the human resources department.

While Caspersen and Cicini drew more attention in the release announcing the changes, the shift in Shore’s responsibilities represents, in our view, the far more significant move.  By having someone constantly present in the training facility looking out for potential harassment or bullying or other improper conduct, employees who in the future may be experiencing difficulty in the workplace will have a much easier way to seek help.

And if/when someone ever publicly claims harassment or bullying or other improper conduct without previously making a report to Shore, it will be easier for the Dolphins to prove that the team didn’t know and had no reason to know about the situation.

Other teams would be wise to adopt a similar approach.  And the NFL would be wise to apply a more modern sensitivity to federal and state employment laws.

Given that the NFL-endorsed film Draft Day has a subplot involving the Browns G.M. learning that he has impregnated a subordinate employee, it’s safe to say the league still has a long way to go.

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Kyle Orton misses beginning of offseason workouts

Kyle Orton, Jason Garrett AP

The Cowboys’ offseason workout program commenced Monday, but the top backup to Tony Romo was not present.

Kyle Orton, who has reportedly contemplated not playing in 2014, did not attend the first day of Dallas’ voluntary offseason work, Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Monday.

According to Williams, the Cowboys are “hopeful” the 31-year-old Orton will play in 2014. The club expressed similar sentiments earlier in the offseason.

The Cowboys acquired Brandon Weeden from Cleveland in March, giving them some veteran QB depth if Orton, a ninth-year pro, decides to step away from the game.

With Romo ailing because of a back injury that required surgery, Orton started the 2013 season finale for Dallas, completing 30-of-46 passes for 358 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He has started 70 regular season games since entering the NFL with Chicago in 2005.

Orton is slated to make $3.5 million in salary in 2014, according to NFLPA data. According to Williams, were Orton to retire, he would have to give back $3 million of a $5 million signing bonus he received upon joining Dallas in 2012.

Previously, Orton played for the Bears, (2005-2008), Broncos (2009-2011) and Chiefs (2011).

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Seahawks “excited” by “incredibly explosive” Pryor

Pryor Getty Images

Both the Raiders and the Seahawks, one-time and long-time rivals in the AFC West, have announced the deal that sends quarterback Terrelle Pryor to Seattle. Both teams have disclosed the the Raiders will get Seattle’s seventh-round pick, the final non-compensatory selection in the draft.

The Seahawks were particularly effusive in their praise of Pryor.

“Terrelle is an incredibly explosive athlete and we’re excited for him to come in and compete,” G.M. John Schneider said in a team-issued release.

The release identifies Pryor as a quarterback, saying nothing about Pryor possibly filling other roles. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, he will indeed remain a quarterback.

Presumably, he’ll compete with Tarvaris Jackson as the No. 2 man behind Russell Wilson.

And, of course, if the Seahawks are serious about the commitment to competition, Pryor also would have a chance to supplant Wilson, in theory. But it would take a lot to overcome one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL.

Actually, Wilson isn’t just one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL. He’s already one of the best quarterbacks in the league regardless of age and experience.

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Pryor has shown potential, in limited opportunities

Pryor Getty Images

The jury remains out on whether new Seahawks quarterback Terrelle Pryor can become a productive NFL quarterback.  He has shown a high degree of potential in limited opportunities.

As one source with direct knowledge of Pryor’s career in Oakland told PFT on Monday night, the last draft pick ever made by Al Davis “had three different offensive systems and three different offensive coordinators — he’s a good kid with a great work ethic.”

Last year, Pryor had several strong performances in 11 appearances and nine starts. He gave the Colts all they could handle in Week One, leading the Raiders back from a 14-0 deficit to take a late 17-14 lead. The Colts eventually scored a touchdown to win the game, 21-17.

In the game, Pryor threw for 217 yards and rushed for 112.

He would later engineer wins over the Jaguars, Chargers (with a 135.7 passer rating), and Steelers (including a 93-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage).

The wheels came off for Pryor and the Raiders after that win over Pittsburgh. A knee injury opened the door for undrafted rookie Matt McGloin, with Pryor getting the Week 17 start amid some ugly allegations from his former agent.

Pryor remains a rare talent. Six-four and blazing fast, he provides at a minimum a potent insurance policy against serious injury to Russell Wilson. Pryor also could be used at times as a tight end/receiver who would create matchup nightmares for opposing defenses, if he’s willing to at least consider the possibility of playing another position on a part-time basis.

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Seahawks, 49ers both were pursuing Pryor

Pryor Getty Images

The Seahawks have secured yet another victory in their ongoing rivalry with the 49ers.

Per multiple sources, Seattle and San Francisco were both pursuing quarterback Terrelle Pryor from the Raiders.  In the end, Seattle won.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Seahawks gave up a seventh-round pick for Pryor.  The 49ers presumably offered less; possibly, a conditional low-round pick in 2015 based on Pryor making the 53-man roster in 2014.

It makes sense that the 49ers and Seahawks, both low on the waiver priority list, would pursue Pryor via trade.  They had little shot at him if he had been waived.

The Seahawks had no shot, absent a trade.  They are at the bottom of the waiver list throughout the offseason and into the first few weeks of the regular season.  If the 49ers were interested, they would have secured Pryor via waivers over Seattle.

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Raiders send Terrelle Pryor to Seattle

San Diego Chargers v Oakland Raiders Getty Images

The Seahawks have just acquired another intriguing weapon.

Per a league source, the Raiders have traded quarterback Terrelle Pryor to the defending Super Bowl champions.  Terms of the deal are not yet known.

A third-round pick in the 2011 supplemental draft, Pryor spent three seasons with the Raiders.  He has one year left on his rookie contract, at $705,000.

Pryor presumably will remain a quarterback, competing with Tarvaris Jackson for the opportunity to back up Russell Wilson.  Jackson’s one-year deal, however, is guaranteed.

From time to time, speculation has arisen than Pryor could play another position.  Though he fully intends to remain a quarterback, Pryor would likely be far more successful as a tight end or a receiver than Tebow ever could have been.

Plenty of questions will be answered in the coming hours and days, starting with the compensation the Seahawks gave to the Raiders for Pryor.  It’s likely a conditional pick in 2015 premised on Pryor making the 53-man roster.  If so, it makes it a low-risk proposition for a Seahawks team that is constantly committed to getting better.

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Colts sign Colt Anderson

San Diego Chargers v Philadelphia Eagles Getty Images

The Colts welcomed back many old faces at the start of the offseason workout program Monday and they also said hello to a new member of the team.

In one of the more perfect matches in memory, the Colts announced that they have signed safety Colt Anderson. No terms were announced.

Anderson signed with the Eagles while he was a member of the Vikings’ practice squad in 2010 and has played 48 games for the team over the last four seasons. Six of those appearances were starts, but Anderson generally saw more time on special teams than on defense during his time in Philadelphia.

While the Colts are in need of help at safety after Antoine Bethea departed for San Francisco as a free agent, Anderson is going to be ticketed for more of the same in Indianapolis unless the Colts strike out in their quest for more help in the draft.

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League to announce draft attendees on Tuesday

Draft Getty Images

In the clearest indication yet that the NFL won’t be announcing the 2014 regular-season schedule on Tuesday, the league has announced that it will be announcing something else.

At 7:00 p.m. ET, the NFL will unveil the players who’ll attend the draft at Radio City Music Hall.

Before the league moved the draft to prime time, only a handful of players were asked to attend.  Last year, 23 players initially were announced as attendees; cornerback Darius Slay was added later to make it 24.

Three years ago, a mini-controversy emerged when the NFLPA toyed with the idea of urging rookies to not attend the draft during the lockout.  Eventually, the union endorsed the decision of players to accept the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to receive a bear hug from the Commissioner and/or to languish in the green room.

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Mike Holmgren now says he should have coached the Browns

Mike Holmgren AP

Mike Holmgren made a lot of mistakes as president of the Cleveland Browns. One of his mistakes, Holmgren now says, is not hiring himself as head coach.

Holmgren told Peter King of TheMMQB.com that in hindsight, he should have pushed back against the team’s ownership, which wanted him to be the top executive but not the coach.

“I really just should have coached the team, but he [owner Randy Lerner] didn’t want me to.”

It’s easy to see why Holmgren feels that way, because he’s been a better coach than an executive throughout his career. Holmgren did his best work as the head coach of the Packers at a time when Ron Wolf was Green Bay’s general manager, and after a brief and unsuccessful stint as both head coach and G.M. of the Seahawks, Holmgren had more success after giving up the G.M. job. In Cleveland, Holmgren oversaw a front office that made many mistakes, including retaining head coach Eric Mangini when it was clearly time to move on, hiring Pat Shurmur after firing Mangini a year too late, and using first-round draft picks on Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden.

However, Holmgren has previously said that he was the one who decided not to coach again, so it’s surprising that he’s now saying it was Lerner who kept him from coaching the Browns. We’ll never know how things would have turned out if Holmgren had coached the Browns, but it’s safe to say this: He would have struggled if his roster was put together by General Manager Mike Holmgren.

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Chiefs bring back Kyle Williams

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The Chiefs got back to work on Monday and they spent part of the day securing the return of wide receiver Kyle Williams.

Williams was claimed off of waivers from the 49ers in November and played in one game for the Chiefs before tearing the ACL in his left knee. Williams didn’t have any catches for Kansas City and had 12 for 113 yards before being cut loose by the Niners.

It’s the second time in as many years that Williams has torn the same ACL, which has to create some concern about how much he will be able to contribute to the Chiefs in 2014. Kansas City needs help at wideout, but Williams was unlikely to be the answer to their needs even before the second knee injury.

Williams also has experience as a returner from his days in San Francisco, but even that comes with a caveat. He’s best known for fumbling a pair of punt returns in a NFC Championship Game loss to the Giants in January 2012.

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Orlando Franklin moves to left guard

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The Broncos spent a lot of time this offseason signing players to bolster their defense, but the offense is going to look different as well.

Orlando Franklin started 15 regular season games and all three postseason contests at right tackle, but he spent the first day of the team’s offseason workouts getting a handle on a different position. Franklin tweeted that he’s now at left guard and that he’s “excited to learn and improve” over the remainder of the offseason.

The Broncos had an opening at the spot with Zane Beadles‘ departure as a free agent and it seems likely that Chris Clark will take over at right tackle. Clark filled in for Ryan Clady at left tackle last season, but was without a position on the starting line with Clady back from last year’s foot injury.

More changes could come in the draft. The Broncos would probably like to see Franklin win the job rather than get it by default, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see them add an option or two at guard next month.

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LAPD Criminal Conspiracy Unit takes over Aldon Smith case

Aldon Smith AP

Charges have not yet been filed against 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith for his recent decision to tell TSA workers at LAX that he had a bomb.

If they do, the charges will come via the recommendation of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Criminal Conspiracy Unite.

Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area reports that the arm of the Major Crimes Division, charged with preventing significant disruptions of public order, will lead the investigation.  Police at LAX previously ran the investigation.

Eventually, the case will be forwarded to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office for possibility of formal charges.  Given the breadth of discretion that prosecutors possess, a decision ultimately could be made that Smith was making a very bad joke, and that LAX police overreacted.

Or, if the evidence of Smith making a false report of a bomb threat is as clear as it reportedly seems to be, prosecutors could decide to throw the book at Smith.

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