Report: X-rays of Trevor Siemian’s shoulder negative


X-rays taken at the stadium of Trevor Siemian‘s injured left shoulder were negative, via Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post. Siemian will undergo an MRI in Denver on Friday.

Siemian injured the same shoulder early last season and missed the second half of the game against the Bucs and the next game. He played through the Grade 3 joint sprain the rest of the season but underwent surgery on the shoulder in January.

Siemian, who posted a 4-5 record in his first nine starts this season, started and completed 5 of 9 passes for 67 yards with an interception before being injured on a sack by Colts linebacker Barkevious Mingo.

The Broncos already were without Paxton Lynch, who is inactive with an ankle injury.

Brock Osweiler replaced Siemian.

Brandon Williams has head injury, movement in his limbs


Colts backup tight end Brandon Williams has movement in his limbs, the team reported. He does not have a neck injury.

Williams was strapped to the backboard and transported to a local hospital as a precaution.

He has a head injury.

Williams, a core special teams player, was blocking Broncos linebacker Deiontrez Mount on a punt when Williams and Mount hit helmets. Williams’ body appeared to go limp.

Williams was playing at the University of Oregon in 2011 when he gave up football for basketball after doctors discovered a spinal stenosis condition that was believed to be career ending. He later was cleared to return to football and has spent time with the Panthers, Dolphins, Seahawks and Colts.

Trevor Siemian carted off with left shoulder injury


Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian threw an interception on the first possession. He was carted off after the second.

Colts linebacker Barkevious Mingo sacked Siemian from behind. Siemian’s left elbow landed hard into the turf, jamming his shoulder.

Siemian immediately grabbed his left arm as he walked off the field.

The Broncos list him as questionable to return with a left shoulder injury.

To add insult to the injury, the Broncos took a delay of game penalty before Brandon McManus missed a 40-yard field goal. The Colts lead 7-0 after the first quarter.

Brock Osweiler has replaced Siemian with 14:01 remaining in the second quarter. Third-string quarterback Paxton Lynch is inactive with an ankle injury.

UPDATE 9:22 P.M.: The Broncos have ruled out Siemian. It is the same shoulder he had offseason surgery on.

Jim Irsay: Nothing ominous in Andrew Luck’s shoulder

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The Colts will play their 14th straight game without Andrew Luck on Thursday night, but Luck won’t be there because he’s still in Europe getting unspecified treatment on his surgically-repaired right shoulder.

That injury kept Luck from playing at all this season despite consistent claims from the Colts that he’d be back in the lineup and it’s still unclear where things stand in his recovery.

Speaking from this week’s league meetings, Colts owner Jim Irsay offered an update of sorts. Irsay told Ian Rapoport of NFL Media that Luck is expected to return to the U.S. soon and that there’s no surgery planned at this point. “He’s doing great,” Irsay told Rapoport.

“He’s doing well,” Irsay said. “[We’re] disappointed obviously it’s taken as long as it’s taken. You know, medicine and the way it goes. But there hasn’t been any unusual setback. We didn’t find out anything ominous, something we didn’t know about or anything like that. It’s just taken time for him to go through his whole aspect of rehabbing and progressing and working through the soreness.”

Given how off Irsay was when he promised that Luck would be back for the start of the regular season, his assurance that there’s nothing ominous about Luck’s shoulder comes across about as well as the desk clerk in a horror movie assuring the young couple checking into a motel that there’s nothing haunting Room 241. Luck’s presence on the field will be the only sign that matters when it comes to his recovery and everything else comes off as noise at this point.

Ryan Shazier has started physical rehabilitation

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Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier had spinal stabilization surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center a little more than a week ago and the hospital released an update about Shazier’s condition on Thursday.

As with the last update, this one doesn’t feature any word about an expected outcome for Shazier in terms of mobility and other physical activity. It does say that he has started rehabilitation work, however.

“Ryan Shazier remains hospitalized at UPMC recovering from the spinal stabilization surgery performed last week by UMPC neurosurgeons and Steelers team physicians Drs. David Okonkwo and Joseph Maroon. Mr. Shazier has started physical rehabilitation as part of his recovery process.”

The hospital also said that they will be the source of future updates about Shazier’s condition whenever they are warranted.

John Dorsey declines to declare categorically that Hue Jackson will be back

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Whether he intended to or not, new Browns G.M. John Dorsey made plenty of waves on Thursday with a radio appearance in Cleveland.

Headline No. 1: The prior regime didn’t get “real players.”

Headline No. 2: Coach Hue Jackson may not definitely be coming back next year.

In Dorsey’s interview with ESPN Cleveland, the new G.M. was asked to echo the comment twice made by his boss, Jimmy Haslam, that Jackson definitely will return next season. Dorsey didn’t say “of course” or any other version of that message.

Here’s the question from Aaron Goldhammer: “There’s some reports out, and I just want to be clear about this, John, about you potentially at the end of the year, if the Browns don’t win a game, pushing for a coaching change. Are you willing to categorically say today that Hue Jackson will be the coach of the Browns in 2018?”

“I’ve always said I live in the present, and I build for the future,” Dorsey told Goldhammer. “I live in the present. Right now the sun’s out, the tarps are coming off the field, we’re practicing outside, we’re getting ready to play the Baltimore Ravens, which is a divisional game. That’s my sole focus. And then it’s also getting familiar with the whole layout and the organizational structure in terms of creating my daily routine.”

The response serves only to bolster the existing belief that Dorsey will be (or perhaps already is) making the case privately to Haslam that, in order to truly turn things around, Dorsey needs to assemble his own team — of players, executives, and coaches.

How could his “we’ll see” answer be interpreted any differently? The owner twice says Jackson will be back, and the new G.M. opts not to paint himself into that same corner. While it doesn’t mean Jackson definitely won’t be back, it’s obvious that the notion that Jackson definitely will return isn’t nearly as clear as Haslam made it out to be.

John Dorsey: Previous regime didn’t get “real players”

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Browns General Manager John Dorsey has been on the job for less than a week, but that’s been enough time for him to draw some conclusions on the roster left behind by his predecessor at the top of the Browns personnel department.

Sashi Brown’s tenure was marked by moves that accumulated a lot of draft picks while the Browns kept losing games on the field, which led to criticism of the personnel department’s ability to evaluate players and a steady flow of reports about tension between Brown’s group and head coach Hue Jackson. During an appearance on WKNR 850 with Aaron Goldhammer on Thursday, Dorsey put himself squarely on the side of those who feel that Brown’s moves were the root of the problems the last two years.

Dorsey said he’ll do his “darnedest” to get Jackson the players he needs while making it clear he thinks such players are in short supply in Cleveland.

“You know what? You’ve got to get a guy like that players,” Dorsey said, via “And you know what? I’ll come straight out with it. The guys who were here before, that system, they didn’t get real players.”

That may not sit well with some of the current Browns players, but it’s hard to make a compelling alternative argument about an 0-13 team that won just one game last season. The bright side for Dorsey is that Brown left him with plenty of draft picks to use on real players and Dorsey will get a chance to start putting them to use in a few months.

PFT’s Week 15 picks

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Like Doug Jones, MDS has an insurmountable lead (seven games) with three weeks left. Like Roy Moore, I’m not conceding.

Although it’s going to require plenty of skill and luck. This week, we disagree on only three games. Which means I need a sweep in order to even have a remote chance to catch him.

For all of the Week 15 picks, do the mouse/finger thing.

Broncos at Colts

MDS’s take: The season’s last Thursday night game is not a good one. But the Broncos showed enough signs of life last week that I’ll pick them to win on the road.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 16, Colts 13.

Florio’s take: John Elway stuck it to the Colts decades ago, when he told them not to draft him. He’ll stick it to them again tonight.

Florio’s pick: Broncos 27, Colts 20.

Bears at Lions

MDS’s take: Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has been playing better football of late, and that makes me tempted to pick an upset. But with Jim Caldwell coaching for his job, I think the Lions will do just enough to win.

MDS’s pick: Lions 24, Bears 23.

Florio’s take: A team that had won three games in 13 weeks isn’t going to be winning twice in six days. #analysis.

Florio’s pick: Lions 30, Bears 14.

Chargers at Chiefs

MDS’s take: This is a huge game that may determine the winner of the AFC West, and I think the Chargers’ late-season surge is going to continue and push them toward a playoff game in their tiny stadium.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 34, Chiefs 31.

Florio’s take: One of the hottest teams in football gets a chance to show the Chiefs (and everyone else) how far they’ve come.

Florio’s pick: Chargers 31, Chiefs 21.

Texans at Jaguars

MDS’s take: The Jaguars’ pass defense is going to make life miserable for T.J. Yates.

MDS’s pick: Jaguars 20, Texans 3.

Florio’s take: If the Jaguars truly have matured, they’ll avoid stepping into a pothole against an overmatched Texans team.

Florio’s pick: Jaguars 30, Texans 13.

Ravens at Browns

MDS’s take: The Browns may have missed their best opportunity to eat a W on Sunday against the Packers. I can’t see them beating a Ravens team that is hungry to earn a wild card spot.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 28, Browns 13.

Florio’s take: Nearly 10 years to the day after the Ravens “helped” the Dolphins avoid an 0-16 season, the team that used to be the Browns gets a chance to assist the current Browns in the avoidance of the ultimate embarrassment. Don’t count on it happening; after blowing a 14-point lead against the Packers and bungling a chance to salvage victory in overtime, the Browns seem to be ready to accept their fate.

Florio’s pick: Ravens 27, Browns 10.

Packers at Panthers

MDS’s take: The return of Aaron Rodgers will be spoiled by a good Panthers defense that will hold a rusty Rodgers in check and pretty much end the Packers’ playoff hopes.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 20, Packers 17.

Florio’s take: If the Packers make the playoffs, they’ll make it to the Super Bowl. But if they lose to the Panthers, the Packers won’t make it to the playoffs. Ipso facto, don’t make reservations for Minnesota in late January, Cheeseheads.

Florio’s pick: Panthers 27, Packers 23.

Dolphins at Bills

MDS’s take: The Dolphins surprised me on Monday night, but I think the Jay Cutler-led offense is going to struggle on a cold day in Buffalo.

MDS’s pick: Bills 13, Dolphins 10.

Florio’s take: The Dolphins finally found the gas pedal. Is it too late?

Florio’s pick: Dolphins 24, Bills 21.

Bengals at Vikings

MDS’s take: The Vikings have a good shot at earning home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, and they’re not throwing away their shot against the Bengals.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 28, Bengals 10.

Florio’s take: Old friends Mike Zimmer and Marvin Lewis meet, with Marvin on the hot seat. If Zimmer blows this one, he should be, too.

Florio’s pick: Vikings 31, Bengals 17.

Cardinals at Washington

MDS’s take: Two teams that thought they were playoff contenders but now find themselves playing out the string. Kirk Cousins still has something to play for, and I think he’ll have a big game.

MDS’s pick: Washington 31, Cardinals 17.

Florio’s take: A pair of former NFC East rivals get together. And that’s the only thing interesting about this game.

Florio’s pick: Washington 23, Cardinals 20.

Eagles at Giants

MDS’s take: Nick Foles gets an easy opponent in his first start, and he’ll play well as the Eagles cruise to another win.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 24, Giants 14.

Florio’s take: It’s easy to exude confidence to the point of delusion about succeeding without Carson Wentz . . . before actually playing a game without Carson Wentz.

Florio’s pick: Giants 21, Eagles 20.

Jets at Saints

MDS’s take: Josh McCown played well this year, but now that he’s done the Jets are going to look like the team everyone thought they’d be back in September. The Saints will win this one easily.

MDS’s pick: Saints 30, Jets 7.

Florio’s take: Extra time to prepare plus a sense of urgency to get a win minus Josh McCown for the Jets equals an easy 10th win for the home team.

Florio’s pick: Saints 30, Jets 17.

Rams at Seahawks

MDS’s take: In a huge game for the NFC West race, I like the Seahawks to do just enough on defense to slow down the Rams’ high-scoring offense, and Russell Wilson to make a couple of big plays late to win a close game.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 28, Rams 27.

Florio’s take: The Rams got their nine wins, but they may not get their playoff berth.

Florio’s pick: Seahawks 27, Rams 24.

Titans at 49ers

MDS’s take: The 49ers are 2-0 since switching to Jimmy Garoppolo. Make it 3-0.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 28, Titans 21.

Florio’s take: The Titans could be in the process of squandering what once seemed like a sure-fire playoff berth. If they don’t get it right now, it could be over.

Florio’s pick: Titans 23, 49ers 16.

Patriots at Steelers

MDS’s take: The Patriots will bounce back from an ugly Monday night loss to win what is the biggest game of the regular season so far.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 27, Steelers 24.

Florio’s take: The Patriots lose so rarely that whenever they do some assume they’ll never win again. Ass. U. Me.

Florio’s pick: Patriots 30, Steelers 27.

Cowboys at Raiders

MDS’s take: Derek Carr has been a disappointment this season, and the Cowboys’ defense is going to have a good game against him on Sunday night.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 24, Raiders 16.

Florio’s take: Derek Carr was wise to take the $25 million per year; if he hadn’t, he’d be lucky to get half that now.

Florio’s pick: Cowboys 23, Raiders 14.

Falcons at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: The Falcons are still fighting for a playoff berth, and they’re doing it against the Buccaneers, who may be this year’s most disappointing team. Atlanta should get an important win on the road.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 21, Buccaneers 20.

Florio’s take: Jon Gruden will be joining the Ring of Honor. Dirk Koetter may soon be performing the walk of shame.

Florio’s pick: Falcons 34, Buccaneers 20.

Cam Newton runs for touchdowns like no other quarterback — or running back

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Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is one of the greatest rushing quarterbacks in NFL history. But when it comes specifically to running for touchdowns, Newton isn’t just great compared to other quarterbacks. He’s even great compared to running backs.

Newton has five rushing touchdowns so far this season. And he’s had at least five rushing touchdowns every season of his career, which began in 2011. How rare is that? Newton is the only player in the NFL with at least five rushing touchdowns in each of the last seven seasons. Not the only quarterback — the only player.

Only one running back, Mark Ingram, even has six seasons with five or more rushing touchdowns since 2011. Four running backs — LeGarrette Blount, Marshawn Lynch, LeSean McCoy and DeMarco Murray — have reached the end zone at least five times in five of the last seven seasons.

Newton has 53 rushing touchdowns in his NFL career. Only Lynch and McCoy have scored more rushing touchdowns than Newton since 2011. Newton’s 53 rushing touchdowns are the most for any quarterback in NFL history, 10 more than second-place Steve Young. He runs for touchdowns like no other quarterback ever has, and like few running backs have.

Robert Griffin III says he turned down offers from the Cardinals and Ravens

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Robert Griffin III hasn’t found a new NFL home since the Browns cut him in the offseason, but he says he could have played for the Cardinals and Ravens.

“I had an offer from Arizona, and also from Baltimore,” Griffin said on ESPN’s SC6.

So why did he turn down those offers? Griffin said the Cardinals had too many quarterbacks on the roster and he didn’t think he would get any practice time as a fourth-stringer. And he said Baltimore made him an offer right before its preseason opener against his original team, Washington, and wanted him to start in that game. Griffin said he didn’t think he would have adequate time to prepare in the Ravens’ offense, so he turned it down.

Griffin understood that he might have been turning down his only offers.

“I had interest in the offseason,” Griffin said. “It just wasn’t the right fit and I had to make that decision for myself to say, ‘Look, if I don’t accept this offer, there’s a chance I won’t play football this year.’ And I would talk to my family, and I was OK with that, OK with the fact that it might happen.”

Griffin did say, however, that he would love to sign with a team right now and hopes a playoff contender that needs a quarterback will consider him.

“I love football. I miss the game,” Griffin said. “I am ready. So I haven’t given up on 2017 yet. There are some teams that need help and may need help going into the playoffs.”

But it’s hard to understand why a team that needs help in the playoffs would call Griffin now, if he was telling the Ravens four months ago that he needs adequate practice time to be ready for a preseason game. If Griffin wanted to play in the NFL in 2017, his best bet was to accept one of those offers in the offseason and prove himself in training camp. And his best bet going forward will be not to turn down any offers in 2018.

Aaron Rodgers: I’m not coming back to save this team

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Aaron Rodgers is back, but that doesn’t mean the Packers need only to show up for the final three games.

The Packers star quarterback repeated the same theme Mike McCarthy did earlier in the day when the coach stressed to his team about not having “a bunch of false confidence.”

“Hopefully, it gives a lift to some of the guys, but I’m not coming back to save this team,” Rodgers said, via Rob Demovsky of ESPN. “I’m coming back to play quarterback the way I know how to play it. Hopefully, we all raise the level of our play collectively and find a way to win these three games.”

Rodgers’ broken right collarbone kept him out almost two months. The team’s medical staff cleared him to return to game action this week, and Rodgers wouldn’t address whether he lobbied team physician Dr. Pat McKenzie for clearance.

“I wouldn’t be standing here ready to play if I wasn’t confident I could go out there and play the way that I’ve always played,” Rodgers said. “There’s just no point in doing that. It’s a risky game; it’s a dangerous game. There’s risks every time you step on the field.

“With the concussions that have happened in this game, that, to me, is something to be more worried about than altering your play to take a shot and landing on your shoulder again. That’s something that we deal with and that’s why we love this game. I think [Steelers safety] Mike Mitchell had a lot of good points when he was talking about the nature of this game. It’s a physical game, and you have to go out and play as much as you can without fear. That’s why I’m here, that’s why we’re cleared, and that’s why I’m playing.”

Roger Goodell denies lying to Jerry Jones about Ezekiel Elliott

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell insists he did not lie to Jerry Jones about Ezekiel Elliott‘s suspension.

Jones feels Goodell led him to believe the Commissioner would not suspend the Cowboys star running back. That’s why the Cowboys owner insisted, even a day before his Aug. 5 induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, that Elliott was in the clear.

The league suspended Elliott on Aug. 11.

Goodell said Wednesday, with Jones standing a few feet away, that he never led Jones to believe Elliott would not face suspension.

“No,” Goodell said before repeating his answer.

Jones has stated publicly on several occasions that the league has a flawed internal disciplinary process borne out of an overreaction to the Ray Rice case. Jones repeated that Wednesday and hopes to change the Commissioner’s disciplinary power by tweaking the league’s constitution.

“We all know that we’ve had problematic aspects to our discipline, our investigation,” Jones said. “We all know that those have been there. What is a misnomer is that I’ve known Zeke the better part of two years. I’ve known Roger Goodell for 30. I’ve known the rest of the people in that room for 30 years. I know them a lot better than I do [Elliott], and we all know I wasn’t there. And you weren’t there. Nobody was there. Roger wasn’t there when that happened with Zeke.

“What I am about there, and I’m not going to say I didn’t rob the bank, but ironically that is very convenient to put up when the thing that I probably had the biggest issue was how we got to the point to where that kind of decision could be made. It’s how we got there and the circumstances were there that I want to talk about and we’re going to get to do that in that period of time when we’re talking about the commissioner’s responsibility and the constitution.”

Jerry Jones calls Commissioner’s power “antiquated”


In a show of unity, Roger Goodell and Jerry Jones entered the post-meetings press conference together. They exchanged a man-hug as the NFL Commissioner left the podium.

By appearances, all is well. The Cowboys owner insists he supports the contract extension for Goodell despite a four-month fight. At the same time, though, Jones made it clear he wants to take power back from the Commissioner by changing the league’s constitution.

‘This bunch [of owners] is the most qualified people I know to set the course . . . for the future of this league,” Jones said. “That’s going to take some constitutional changes. One of the things that we’ve agreed to, and this process did or didn’t influence it, but we’ve agreed to really address this league for some constitutional changes that is the real way to address not only the Commissioner and some of these issues, on all areas, that’s the real way to address it is right there on how you affect decisions.

“I’m very rewarded that this exercise of extending Roger has brought that about. That is the way that I see it, and it’s going to be. I want to emphasize, I didn’t do it. It took the will of 32 owners to get that done. I am rewarded. What is neat is that Roger, who always has the league in mind, Roger has agreed to be a leader in implementing those changes. And there’s nobody that doesn’t see the need for changes in the NFL in several areas. We’re doing a lot of things good. But there’s some areas we need to change. One of it, it’s an antiquated constitution, an antiquated situation as to the power of the commissioner, this will address that.”

Although Jones didn’t derail the deal, as he had hoped, he did declare victory (as Mike Florio predicted three weeks ago). Or maybe it was more like Jones didn’t concede defeat.

Goodell signed the five-year performance-based extension worth up to $200 million if owners approve all bonuses and incentives are met. Most owners will have oversight on the bonuses and incentives.

“I hope Roger earns every dime,” Jones said. “That means he’s doing a great job, and we’re doing good.”

Jones was one of the owners who voted 32-0 in May to grant the six-member Compensation Committee authority to execute the contract. Jones began fighting the deal after Goodell suspended Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott for six games, but Jones said Elliott’s suspension had nothing to do with it.

So, Jones was asked, what then changed between May and August?

“They have a term in business called a mac,” Jones said. “Material adverse circumstances happen between the time that you shook hands and the time you did the deal. It’s a very valid change of scenery. It’s called a mac. Anybody who says we haven’t had any changes since last spring would be an exaggeration. Certainly that was a part of it. But more importantly than anything, I really felt that something as sensitive as owners giving their vote to a group to make these decisions needed to have a clarity. It needed to have specificity and not three lines to get that ability to make that decision for all the owners. I really did think we had a complaint there. I agreed to drop that [threat of a lawsuit], and I did. I agreed not to have that decided by somebody other than us. So we didn’t do that. What we did was come up to where we are today, and I’ll go with what we’ve got today, because we’ve got more to come that I know will improve the National Football League.”

Roger Goodell: No determination that this will be my last contract


NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has a new contract extension in place and word was that it would be his final one, but Goodell sent a different message on Wednesday afternoon.

Speaking from the league meetings in Texas, NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said that Goodell “has been clear that he views this as his last contract” while outlining some of the details of his new pact with the league. Goodell took the podium for a press conference later in the day and was asked about that statement.

Goodell answered by saying that he has not “made any determination” about what will happen when the new deal concludes in 2024.

In response to another question, Goodell said that he thinks “there is a limit to how many years you should serve” in the Commissioner role. He did not give any indication of how long he believes that should be, but 2024 would mark 18 years in the job.

Goodell’s predecessor Paul Tagliabue served 17 years in the role and his predecessor Pete Rozelle’s 29-year term is the longest of any NFL Commissioner.

John Mara wants Eli Manning back in 2018

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The Giants plan to start interviewing General Manager candidates next week and one of the questions that is sure to come up is what candidates would do at the quarterback position.

Giants co-owner John Mara gave them a bit of a hint about an answer that would fit with his vision of the 2018 Giants. Mara was asked on Wednesday if he wants Eli Manning to return to the team in 2018.

“Yes,” Mara said, via Newsday. “But that’s a discussion that we’ll have.”

Mara repeated that the team would have “a discussion” if their chosen candidate had a different view of how to move forward at the position. One option would be to use their first-round pick — the Giants are currently slated for the No. 2 overall pick — on a quarterback, which would put Manning into a similar position to the one Kurt Warner had as a veteran placeholder during Manning’s rookie season.

Mara said the quarterback prospects he’s seen have been “impressive,” but called it premature to say any of them would rank at the top of the team’s draft board.