AROUND THE NFL

NFC NORTH

 

DETROIT

Best wishes to Kelly Stafford, wife of Lions QB MATTHEW STAFFORD, who is resting at home after 12 hours of brain surgery.

 

Kelly Stafford has shared new insights into her difficult recovery from brain surgery.

 

Stafford, the wife of Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, underwent surgery on Wednesday to remove a tumor that was sitting on her cranial nerves. The tumor — a benign growth called an acoustic neuroma — was discovered after she underwent an MRI due to bouts of dizziness and vertigo.

 

Five days after surgery, she’s resting at home but in pain and separated from her three children.

 

“Sitting in this dark room in pain, but trying to hold off on meds because I want to see my kids,” Stafford said in an Instagram post. “I want to be coherent and in the moment. Tomorrow, it’ll have been a whole week that I haven’t seen them and my heart aches. Balancing, in general, is incredibly hard right now … balancing kids and brain surgery is nearly impossible.”

 

Stafford said in a separate social media post that her surgery was only supposed to last six hours, but went 12 hours after doctors found an abnormal vein during the procedure.

 

“This Easter is the beginning of a new life for me,” Stafford wrote on Sunday. “I wanna take a second to thank all of you for all the prayers. They have worked. I know they have. When they opened me up, I had an abnormal vein.. maybe abnormal for other neurosurgeons, but not the one We (sic) chose. He had seen it before and written a paper on it. That’s truly God’s work. The prayers for my family, I’m beyond thankful for.

 

“A six hour surgery went to 12 hours and although they were anxious and scared, your prayers got them through. Thank you. Thank you so much. Now I am home and learning my new norm. It’ll take some time, but I really just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for all your support, thoughts and prayers. It means more than y’all will ever know.”

 

The Staffords met when Matthew was the quarterback of the Georgia football team, and Kelly a cheerleader. They wed in 2015 and have three children: twin girls Sawyer and Chandler, born in 2017, and daughter Hunter, born during training camp last August.

 

We haven’t seen it mentioned in most stories, but Kelly knows her way around medical procedures, holding a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

 

NFC EAST

 

PHILADELPHIA

Even if Donovan McNabb has a point – and we’re not saying he does – he should have known about the negative reaction he would get for throwing a verbal brick at QB CARSON WENTZ.  Shalise Manza Young of YahooSports.com:

 

On Saturday, former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb appeared on CBS Radio and made a comment about current Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.

 

We’re not even sure you can call it a criticism, really — McNabb said Wentz hasn’t proven anything yet after not being able to finish the 2017 and 2018 seasons due to injury, and that if the 2016 draft pick can’t get Philadelphia out of the first round of the playoffs in the next two years, the team should move on.

 

Is it in the spirit of Brotherly Love? Not exactly. Wentz has been hurt, though neither injury — a torn ACL and a stress fracture in his back — was Wentz’s fault. They’re simply what can happen on a football field.

 

Either way, at least one of Wentz’s teammates wasn’t having it.

 

Offensive tackle Lane Johnson, who was drafted by the Eagles in 2013, tweeted to McNabb after getting wind of the latter’s comments.

 

After a series of snake emojis, Johnson wrote, “and you wonder why nobody respects respects you when you come back!!!!”

 

Lane Johnson

@LaneJohnson65

 @donovanjmcnabb 🐍 🐍 🐍 🐍 🐍 🐍…and you wonder why nobody respects you when you come back!!!!

 

The No. 2 overall pick in 1999, McNabb and Coach Andy Reid led Philadelphia to a decade of success: Beginning in 2000, when McNabb was the full-time starter, the Eagles went to the playoffs eight times, made five appearances in the NFC championship and went to Super Bowl XXXIX, where they lost to the New England Patriots.

 

Despite McNabb’s on-field success with Philadelphia, he does not seem to have endeared himself to the current convocation of Eagles.

 

On Sunday, Johnson appeared on 94WIP in the city and expounded on his tweet:

 

“This is what I meant — every training camp we have all of these ex-players come and shake our hands, wish us good luck,” Johnson said. “Then, they just go out and just talk hate. I feel there is a lot of envy, jealously, and I see a lot of fakery.

 

“It isn’t just me — a lot of other teammates see it too. You would think the best quarterback in franchise history would try to build up a young man that looks up to him instead of always criticizing him, critiquing him and wishing he would fail so he could be the missing link and feel better himself. That is what I don’t like.”

 

UPDATE (2:30 p.m. ET): McNabb clarified his comments on Twitter on Monday, writing in a series of posts, “For those of you who misread, didn’t understand, were confused or just didn’t like my comments let me clarify it for you. Let me start by saying there’s no beef, riff or ill-will toward [Wentz] or the Eagles. My comments were strictly based off of experience and understanding of how The Business (sic) of football works. You are consistently evaluated everyday, every game, and if you are reliable and or (sic) healthy enough to play. I know at times as players and fans it can be confusing to move on from a beloved player but due to the business of health and trust tough decisions are usually made. Maybe people didn’t like it because it’s coming from me or I answered a question from one of the talents on the radio the way you didn’t agree with. If that’s how you feel I’m sorry you feel that way. It’s the nature of the game.”

 

NFC WEST

 

ARIZONA

Peter King on what the Cardinals should do with a miffed QB JOSH ROSEN:

 

So I believe the Cardinals, should they—as I suspect—choose Kyler Murray number one overall, will be inclined to make the best deal they can for the quarterback they picked last year 10th overall, Josh Rosen. It’s easy to say Rosen’s a big boy and he’s going to have to get over the biggest snub job in recent NFL history. But he heard Kliff Kingsbury take the job and say on several occasions, Josh is our quarterback, or words to that effect. Now you draft a guy number one overall and asked Rosen to be a good soldier and carry the clipboard and help Kyler Murray win games for the team that misled him about being the quarterback under the new coach? Awkward.

 

I don’t know how the draft is going to fall, but if Miami or Washington or the Giants do not draft a quarterback high in the draft, what seems fair to me is offering a third-rounder (78th overall by Miami, 95th overall by the Giants, 96th overall by Washington) to Arizona for Rosen. And Arizona, I’m assuming, would strongly consider doing the best deal it could at that point.

 

I’d be really interested if I were Miami. Imagine trading the 78th pick and having a year to see if Rosen has a chance to be the long-term guy. If the Dolphins are unconvinced at the end of 2019, they could use a first-round pick (plus other draft capital if need be) to draft the quarterback of the long-term future in a year when the quarterback crop is better than this year.

 

There’s also this matter: In the last four-and-a-half years, Rosen has been coached by six offensive architects. At UCLA beginning in the fall of 2015, Rosen had Noel Mazzone, Kennedy Polamalu and Jedd Fisch, followed in Arizona by Mike McCoy and Byron Leftwich last year and Kingsbury this year. Imagine Rosen having the same system and coach for two or three years in a row. It hasn’t happened to him since high school. Seems worth a shot to me.

 

This is going to be a very interesting week in the history of the Arizona Cardinals, but also in the personal history of Josh Rosen.

 

 

SAN FRANCISCO

Sad day in the scouting community with the passing of 49ers scout Reggie Cobb.  Jeremy Bergman of NFL.com:

 

Reggie Cobb, a longtime area scout for the San Francisco 49ers and former NFL running back, died on Saturday at the age of 50, the Niners announced.

 

“We are devastated by the sudden loss of a tremendous teammate and loyal friend, Reggie Cobb,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said in a statement. “Reggie was an enthusiastic and passionate person who had a special ability to brighten up a room with his personality and infectious smile. For 10 years, the 49ers were better because of Reggie and these unique qualities that he possessed. He was a top-notch scout and an exemplary man whose years of service to this organization and the National Football League will not be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends in this time of mourning.”

 

Cobb was entering his 11th season with the organization. He previously spent six seasons scouting for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and two seasons scouting for the Washington Redskins. Cobb was named NFC Scout of the Year by the Fritz Pollard Alliance in 2011 when he was with San Francisco.

 

Before he was a scout, Cobb played seven seasons of professional football. Drafted by the Buccaneers in the second round of the 1990 draft, he played four seasons there, starting 47 of 60 games played. Cobb’s best season came in 1992 when he rushed for a career-high 1,171 yards and nine touchdowns.

 

Cobb also played for the Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets.

 

He finished his career with 1,065 carries for 3,743 rushing yards and 25 rushing touchdowns.

 

@LanceZierlein

 Very saddened by the news of Reggie Cobb’s passing this morning. He was a Great guy and always so much fun to be around.  His friends will miss him.

 

AFC WEST

 

THE RAIDERS

Peter King explains why the Raiders have such a long road run in early/mid season as the NFL was too cautious about the Athletics intruding on football:

 

The factoid that, upon further review, is a blight on the 2019 schedule:

 

Raider games in Oakland in the 48 days between Sept. 16 and Nov. 2: zero.

Raider games in Oakland in the 15 days between Nov. 3 and Nov. 17: three.

 

I could say almost the same thing for the Bucs, except Tampa Bay follows the road nightmare with only two home games. Kudos to NFL VP of broadcasting Michael North for admitting to USA Today, “I’d love a re-do on that one.” In six consecutive weeks, each franchise goes road-road-London game-bye-road-road. And judging by the feedback—from the two teams and from some in the public—you can be sure that the NFL will no longer schedule a team to be away from its home stadium, even with a London game added in, for six full weeks. The five-person NFL scheduling team combed through 64,713 possible schedules; the slate the league will play is by no means an abomination. But no team should go 48 days between games on its home field.

 

I’m going to try to interpret why the NFL did what it did to Oakland. First, the Raiders and the A’s are the only football and baseball teams sharing one stadium. The Raiders are not keen on playing many games on the field when it is set up for baseball, with the skin infield and pitcher’s mound. In this case, the NFL had the Raiders home for the first two weeks, then this happened:

 

Week 3: A’s at home on the last Sunday of the baseball regular season Sept. 22. Raiders had to be on the road, and the NFL put them at Minnesota.

 

Week 4: Most West Coast teams either prefer or accept playing on the road, somewhere east of the Mississippi, on the Sunday before going to London. That makes the trip to England shorter. So the NFL put the Raiders at Indianapolis on Sept. 29.

 

Week 5: All teams in temporary stadium situations—the Raiders move to Las Vegas next year—are eligible to be scheduled for a game in London or Mexico. The NFL scheduled the Raiders versus the Bears in London on Oct. 6.

 

Week 6: Most teams who play overseas want their bye on the week after the Europe game. There’s a bye here for Oakland.

 

Week 7: Here’s where the NFL should have directed its high-tech schedule process to put the Raiders back in Oakland. Though there’s a chance that game seven of the American League Championship Series could be played in Oakland on Sunday, Oct. 20, that is exceedingly unlikely. The NFL should have scheduled the Raiders home on this date instead of at Green Bay.

 

Week 8: World Series Game five is scheduled for Oct. 27. Again, how likely are the A’s to play in that game? Anyway, it’s Raiders at Houston here. As North said, lesson learned. The NFL won’t do this again. And it shouldn’t have happened this time.

 

Imagine if Al Davis saw this schedule. The Raiders play five straight games between Sept. 22 and Oct. 27, at mid-morning on their bodyclocks. Five games in a row, all at 10 a.m. PT.

– – –

 

Is there going to be a surprise at #4 from the combined minds of Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock?

 

The Oakland Raiders sent home their scouting department before the draft for fear of leaks.

 

Could that anxiety stem from an expectation that new Raiders general manager Mike Mayock and coach Jon Gruden are planning a bombshell maneuver on Thursday during Round 1 of the 2019 NFL Draft and want to ensure a report doesn’t scuttle the plot?

 

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport said on Up To The Minute Live that his understanding is what that the “Raiders are looking at is some sort of surprise pick at No. 4 that would necessitate absolute secrecy.”

 

Rapoport expounded:

 

“That is what I understand. A pick at No. 4 that we are not expecting,” he said. “So what that actually is, I do not know. I have some thoughts. Maybe that’s Devin White. Maybe it’s a quarterback like Dwayne Haskins or Kyler Murray if he’s there. Maybe it’s an offensive lineman. No one has mocked them there — a tackle perhaps. But from what I understand it is a pick that should surprise us at 4.”

 

With the Cardinals fielding calls on the No. 1 pick, could Gruden and Mayock be angling to trade up and snag Murray? Could Haskins be the pick at No. 4? Given that most of the scouting staff was part of the regime that brought in Derek Carr, a move to target a QB could warrant a certain level of secrecy.

 

White is an interesting name at No. 4. The playmaking LSU product is widely considered the top linebacker and would fill a huge hole on the Raiders’ defense. Is an LB worth a top-4 pick? Would the Raiders draft a tackle the year after just investing in a first-round pick and spending huge free-agency money on the position?

 

As the intrigue builds towards Thursday’s first round, speculation surrounding what the Raiders and others might do later this week is surely just starting.

 

AFC SOUTH

 

HOUSTON

 

1          Mon, Sep 9           @ New Orleans             7:10 PM        ESPN   

2          Sun, Sep 15          Jacksonville                   1:00 PM        CBS

3          Sun, Sep 22          @ LA Chargers              4:25 PM        CBS

4          Sun, Sep 29          Carolina                         1:00 PM         FOX

5          Sun, Oct 6             Atlanta                           1:00 PM        FOX

6          Sun, Oct 13           @ Kansas City               1:00 PM        CBS

7          Sun, Oct 20           @ Indianapolis              1:00 PM         CBS

8          Sun, Oct 27           Oakland                         1:00 PM        CBS

9          Sun, Nov 3            Jacksonville (London)    9:30 AM        NFLN

10        BYE WEEK          

11        Sun, Nov 17          @ Baltimore                   1:00 PM        CBS

12        Thu, Nov 21          Indianapolis                    8:20 PM        FOX/NFL

13        Sun, Dec 1            New England                 8:20 PM        NBC

14        Sun, Dec 8            Denver                           1:00 PM        CBS

15        Sun, Dec 15          @ Tennessee                1:00 PM         CBS

16                                      @ Tampa Bay               TBD                                 

17        Sun, Dec 29          Tennessee                     1:00 PM        CBS

 

We don’t like to see the Texans and Titans with their first meeting all the way back in Week 15, three weeks after they complete their series with both Indy and JAX…After four of five on the road (including a trip to London), the Texans get three in a row at home, including back-to-back primetime games…The Week 6-7 at KC/at IND road trip is plenty tough…Three primetime games for the Texans starting with the Monday night opener at New Orleans.

 

 

INDIANAPOLIS

 

 

1          Sun, Sep 8            @ LA Chargers              4:05 PM         CBS

2          Sun, Sep 15          @ Tennessee                1:00 PM         CBS

3          Sun, Sep 22          Atlanta                            1:00 PM         CBS

4          Sun, Sep 29          Oakland                         1:00 PM          CBS

5          Sun, Oct 6             @ Kansas City               8:20 PM         NBC

6          BYE WEEK

7          Sun, Oct 20            Houston                        1:00 PM         CBS

8          Sun, Oct 27           Denver                          4:25 PM         CBS

9          Sun, Nov 3            @ Pittsburgh                 1:00 PM         CBS

10        Sun, Nov 10          Miami                            4:05 PM         CBS

11        Sun, Nov 17          Jacksonville                  1:00 PM         CBS

12        Thu, Nov 21          @ Houston                    8:20 PM        FOX/NFL

13        Sun, Dec 1            Tennessee                    1:00 PM        CBS

14        Sun, Dec 8             @ Tampa Bay              1:00 PM         CBS

15        Mon, Dec 16          @ New Orleans            8:15 PM        ESPN

16        Sun, Dec 22           Carolina                        1:00 PM         FOX

17        Sun, Dec 29           @ Jacksonville             1:00 PM         CBS

 

The Colts have a stretch of four of five at home after their bye week, i.e. they only leave Indy once between October 6 and November 21…But from that point on, four of the last six are on the road…They have three straight division games in Weeks 11-13…Three primetime games for the Colts, but CBS doesn’t seem very interested…Their one 4:25 game, in Week 8 at Denver, is up against Browns at Patriots which we would think would be the home of Romo that week.

 

 

JACKSONVILLE

 

1          Sun, Sep 8            Kansas City                  1:00 PM             CBS

2          Sun, Sep 15          @ Houston                   1:00 PM             CBS

3          Thu, Sep 19          Tennessee                    8:20 PM             NFL

4          Sun, Sep 29         @ Denver                      4:25 PM             CBS

5          Sun, Oct 6            @ Carolina                    1:00 PM             CBS

6          Sun, Oct 13          New Orleans                  1:00 PM           CBS

7          Sun, Oct 20          @ Cincinnati                  1:00 PM           CBS

8          Sun, Oct 27          NY Jets                         1:00 PM            CBS

9          Sun, Nov 3           Houston (London)         9:30 AM             NFL

10        BYE WEEK         

11        Sun, Nov 17          @ Indianapolis             1:00 PM            CBS

12        Sun, Nov 24          @ Tennessee              4:05 PM            CBS

13        Sun, Dec 1            Tampa Bay                  1:00 PM            FOX

14        Sun, Dec 8            LA Chargers                4:05 PM             FOX

15        Sun, Dec 15          @ Oakland                  4:05 PM             CBS

16        Sun, Dec 22          @ Atlanta                    1:00 PM             FOX

17        Sun, Dec 29          Indianapolis                 1:00 PM            CBS

 

An AFC Championship Game participant are recently as 16 months ago, the Jaguars are relegated to NFL Network for their only two national appearances – the one at home in Week 3 on Thursday night and a Sunday a.m. game from London…They have a three-game road trip with their “home” game in London with Houston…Only one AFC South foe in the last six games.

 

 

TENNESSEE

 

1          Sun, Sep 8            @ Cleveland               1:00 PM             CBS     

2          Sun, Sep 15          Indianapolis                1:00 PM             CBS

3          Thu, Sep 19          @ Jacksonville           8:20 PM              NFLN

4          Sun, Sep 29         @ Atlanta                    1:00 PM              CBS

5          Sun, Oct 6             Buffalo                        1:00 PM             CBS

6          Sun, Oct 13           @ Denver                   4:25 PM             CBS

7          Sun, Oct 20           LA Chargers               4:05 PM             CBS

8          Sun, Oct 27          Tampa Bay                 1:00 PM             FOX

9          Sun, Nov 3           @ Carolina                  1:00 PM             CBS

10        Sun, Nov 10         Kansas City                 1:00 PM            CBS

11        BYE WEEK

12        Sun, Nov 24         Jacksonville                 4:05 PM            CBS

13        Sun, Dec 1           @ Indianapolis            1:00 PM            CBS

14        Sun, Dec 8           @ Oakland                  4:25 PM            CBS

15        Sun, Dec 15         Houston                      1:00 PM             CBS

16        Sun, Dec 22         New Orleans               1:00 PM            FOX

17        Sun, Dec 29         @ Houston                  1:00 PM            CBS

 

Kind of bland for a team that is 18-14 the last two seasons…The only primetime is a non-FOX Thursday game at Jacksonville…Every other game is on Sunday, 13 of them on CBS…Neither of the two 4:25 games – Week 6 at Denver, Week 14 at Oakland are scheduled to be Romo worthy…Wouldn’t be a shock though if Houston at Tennessee in Week 15 is a Flex candidate if NBC tries to bail on Vikings at Chargers…That, strangely enough, is the first meeting with the Texans coming in Week 15.

 

AFC EAST

 

BUFFALO

The Bills have signed RB T.J. YELDON, formerly of the Jaguars.

– – –

 

1          Sun, Sep 8            @ NY Jets               1:00 PM             CBS

2          Sun, Sep 15          @ NY Giants           1:00 PM             CBS

3          Sun, Sep 22          Cincinnati                1:00 PM              CBS

4          Sun, Sep 29          New England           1:00 PM             CBS

5          Sun, Oct 6             @ Tennessee         1:00 PM             CBS

6          BYE WEEK

7          Sun, Oct 20           Miami                      1:00 PM             CBS

8          Sun, Oct 27           Philadelphia             1:00 PM            FOX

9          Sun, Nov 3            Washington              1:00 PM           FOX

10        Sun, Nov 10          @ Cleveland            1:00 PM           CBS

11        Sun, Nov 17          @ Miami                  1:00 PM           CBS

12        Sun, Nov 24          Denver                     1:00 PM           CBS

13        Thu, Nov 28          @ Dallas                  4:30 PM           CBS

14        Sun, Dec 8            Baltimore                 1:00 PM           CBS

15        Sun, Dec 15          @ Pittsburgh           1:00 PM           CBS

16                                      @ New England      TBD             

17        Sun, Dec 29          NY Jets                    1:00 PM           CBS

 

Wow – no primetime night games with only the late afternoon Thanksgiving visit to Dallas altering the 1:00 p.m. Sunday run…That and Week 16 where the Bills at New England could get kicked to NFL Network on Saturday…Every game on the same network it would have been five years ago before Flexing became a thing…Three straight home games after the Bye, then 5 of 8 on the road to finish the year…The Bills will play two game at the Meadowlands before they play a single game in Orchard Park.

 

 

MIAMI

 

1          Sun, Sep 8              Baltimore               1:00 PM           CBS

2          Sun, Sep 15            New England         1:00 PM           CBS

3          Sun, Sep 22            @ Dallas                1:00 PM            FOX

4          Sun, Sep 29            LA Chargers          1:00 PM           CBS

5          BYE WEEK

6          Sun, Oct 13             Washington            1:00 PM          FOX

7          Sun, Oct 20             @ Buffalo               1:00 PM          CBS

8          Mon, Oct 28            @ Pittsburgh          8:15 PM          ESPN

9          Sun, Nov 3              NY Jets                  1:00 PM          CBS

10        Sun, Nov 10            @ Indianapolis       4:05 PM         CBS

11        Sun, Nov 17            Buffalo                   1:00 PM          CBS

12        Sun, Nov 24            @ Cleveland          1:00 PM          CBS

13        Sun, Dec 1              Philadelphia           1:00 PM          FOX

14        Sun, Dec 8              @ NY Jets             1:00 PM          CBS

15        Sun, Dec 15            @ NY Giants          1:00 PM         CBS

16        Sun, Dec 22            Cincinnati               1:00 PM          CBS

17        Sun, Dec 29            @ New England      1:00 PM        CBS

 

No Thursday game for the Dolphins, but they do get a rogue Monday night game at Pittsburgh during the World Series (presuming the Pirates are not NL champs in an AL All-Star Game win year)…Trying to remember the last team to open with only one road game in the first six weeks…Three of the last four on the road, all at “New”, back-to-back weeks at the Meadowlands…An extra game for the Dolphins on FOX when they go to Dallas in Week 3.

 

 

NEW ENGLAND

Peter King thinks Bill Belichick would like to become the winningest coach of all-time:

 

Bill Belichick turned 67 the other day, which is about the time most normal human beings are seriously pondering retirement. There’s no indication Belichick is. With 56 more coaching victories (regular season and postseason), Belichick would become the NFL’s all-time winningest coach. Top three in wins now: Don Shula 347, George Halas 324, Belichick 292. Shula coached 33 seasons and Halas 40; Belichick has coached 24, and in fairness to the leaders, Shula coached half of his career in 14-game seasons, and the majority of Halas’ years were 12-game regular seasons.

 

What’s interesting to me is how few of the best coaches ever coached this late in their lives. In fact, 12 of the 15 winningest coaches have not coached, or did not coach, at age 67 or older. Belichick will make that 11 of 15 this fall.

 

Looking at the top 15, and how many seasons they coached after turning 67:

 

1. Don Shula: 0. Coached last game at 65.

2. George Halas: 6. Went 47-33-5 and won one NFL title after turning 67.

3. Belichick.

4. Tom Landry: 0. Coached last game at 64.

5. Curly Lambeau: 0. Coached last game at 55.

6. Chuck Noll: 0. Coached last game at 59.

7. Andy Reid: 0. He is 61.

8. Marty Schottenheimer: 0. Coached last game at 63.

9. Dan Reeves: 0. Coached last game at 59.

10. Chuck Knox: 0. Coached last game at 62.

11. Bill Parcells: 0. Coached last game at 65.

12. Tom Coughlin: 3. Went 19-29 after turning 67.

13. Mike Shanahan: 0. Coached last game at 61.

14. Jeff Fisher: 0. Coached last game at 58.

15. Paul Brown: 1. Went 11-4 after turning 67.

 

Belichick doesn’t talk about how long he’ll coach—surprise!—but those who know him say they think he’s not close to walking away from football. My take: Halas coached his last game at 72. I would not be shocked if Belichick matches that; nor would I be shocked if he coaches two or three more years and ends it. I never sensed the record mattered to him … but if it does, that means he’ll coach six more years. Seems like a stretch, but those who have been around him say he never shows the signs of stress even during big moments of big games that have made some great coaches walk away. Does he look or sound like a 67-year-old man? Not to me.

 

– – –

 

1          Sun, Sep 8               Pittsburgh                8:20 PM          NBC

2          Sun, Sep 15             @ Miami                  1:00 PM         CBS

3          Sun, Sep 22              NY Jets                   1:00 PM         CBS

4          Sun, Sep 29              @ Buffalo                1:00 PM         CBS

5          Sun, Oct 6                 @ Washington        1:00 PM           CBS

6          Thu, Oct 10               NY Giants               8:20 PM           FOX/NFLN

7          Mon, Oct 21              @NY Jets               8:15 PM          ESPN         

8          Sun, Oct 27               Cleveland               4:25 PM           CBS

9          Sun, Nov 3                @ Baltimore            8:20 PM          NBC

10        BYE WEEK

11        Sun, Nov 17              @ Philadelphia        4:25 PM          CBS

12        Sun, Nov 24              Dallas                       4:25 PM         FOX

13        Sun, Dec 1                @ Houston               8:20 PM         NBC

14        Sun, Dec 8                Kansas City             4:25 PM          CBS

15        Sun, Dec 15              @ Cincinnati            1:00 PM         CBS

16                                          Buffalo                     TBD                     

17        Sun, Dec 29              Miami                       1:00 PM         CBS

 

The maximum five national games, plus four more games moved late on Sunday even though played in the East (counting KC) for Romo/Aikman exposure…The Buffalo game in Week 16 could also find its way to Saturday…So just six early starts on Sunday…Pretty much home-away for much of the year, although last two are at home…Lots of good games with NFC East, Steelers and Chiefs…Three of the first seven games are against “New York.”

 

 

 

NEW YORK JETS

 

1          Sun, Sep 8                 Buffalo                      1:00 PM         CBS

2          Mon, Sep 16              Cleveland                 8:15 PM         ESPN

3          Sun, Sep 22               @ New England       1:00 PM         CBS

4          BYE WEEK

5          Sun, Oct 6                  @ Philadelphia         1:00 PM         CBS

6          Sun, Oct 13                Dallas                       4:25 PM         CBS

7          Mon, Oct 21               New England            8:15 PM        ESPN

8          Sun, Oct 27                @ Jacksonville         1:00 PM         CBS

9          Sun, Nov 3                 @ Miami                   1:00 PM        CBS

10        Sun, Nov 10               New York Giants      1:00 PM         FOX

11        Sun, Nov 17               @ Washington         1:00 PM          CBS

12        Sun, Nov 24               Oakland                   1:00 PM         CBS

13        Sun, Dec 1                 @ Cincinnati            1:00 PM         CBS

14        Sun, Dec 8                Miami                         1:00 PM          CBS

15        Thu, Dec 12              @ Baltimore               8:20 PM           FOX/NFL

16        Sun, Dec 22              Pittsburgh                  1:00 PM            CBS

17        Sun, Dec 29              @ Buffalo                   1:00 PM           CBS

 

The Jets get some NFL love with three primetime games…It should be noted that the Monday night tilts with the Browns and Patriots in Weeks 2 and 7 allow the Giants to play on Sunday afternoon at home on the same weekend…After the first two are at home, it is pretty much home-away, home-away for Gang Green the rest of the was except for a two week trip to Florida in the middle…Those two games in Florida are the closest thing the Jets have to a long road trip all season…The Jets host the Giants in Week 10…Just one FOX Sunday game all year for NYJ as CBS gets their visit to Dallas in Week 6…There was a time that the NFL avoided having New York’s two teams play at the same time, but in 2019 they both are slated for early Sunday games five times (Weeks 5, 8, 12, 13 and 16), plus 17 where the listed times are really just placeholders.

 

 

THIS AND THAT

 

 

CHAD REUTER’S MOCK DRAFT

We like Mock’s with trades – and he has a doozy with Jon Gruden/Mike Mayock moving up two spots to get Drew Lock:

 

In my final mock of 2019, I’ve projected some selections that may be off the beaten path, as well as five first-round trades.

As always this time of year, keep in mind that there might be developments over the next several days leading up to the draft — be it a trade or some other information about a prospect — that changes the outlook for how things could play out.

 

I root for surprises during the draft to make things interesting, but here’s one 254-pick road map of how the 2019 NFL Draft (April 25-27) may play out.

 

1 – ARIZONA

Kyler Murray – QB

School: Oklahoma | Year: Junior (RS)

Murray’s the pick at No. 1 whether Kliff Kingsbury enacts a self-fulfilling prophecy or the Cardinals trade out for a bevy of selections.

 

2 – OAKLAND   PROJECTED TRADE WITH 49ERS

Drew Lock – QB

School: Missouri | Year: Senior

Jon Gruden gets his quarterback by moving up two spots. Gruden coached Lock at the Senior Bowl, and it’s easy to see him appreciating the former Missouri quarterback’s demeanor and physical tools. If he doesn’t move up to get him, Miami or Denver could makes a deal with the Jets to land the Mizzou QB.

 

3  – NEW YORK JETS

Nick Bosa – Edge

School: Ohio State | Year: Junior

Bosa’s the base end new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will want in his front four.

 

4 – SAN FRANCISCO   PROJECTED TRADE WITH RAIDERS.

Quinnen Williams – DT

School: Alabama | Year: Sophomore (RS)

Williams adds yet another elite talent to the 49ers’ defensive front. The Niners get the Raiders’ second-round pick this year and one of their first-round picks next year (they have an extra one from the Khalil Mack trade) in the move. As for that compensation, remember, the Colts did receive three second-round picks so the Jets could move up three spots in the top 10 last year. Anything can happen!

 

5 – NEW YORK GIANTS PROJECTED TRADE WITH BUCCANEERS.

Daniel Jones – QB

School: Duke | Year: Junior (RS)

Remember when the Bears traded up one spot to get Mitch Trubisky in 2017? The Giants may do the same to ensure Cincinnati, Denver, Miami, or Washington don’t leapfrog them.

 

6 – TAMPA BAY       PROJECTED TRADE WITH GIANTS.

Josh Allen – Edge

School: Kentucky | Year: Senior

The Bucs get their man and extra picks from the Giants — probably a third- and fourth-rounder in 2019 and future middle-round pick, a similar haul to what the 49ers took from Chicago in this type of swap in 2017.

 

7 – JACKSONVILLE

Ed Oliver – Edge

School: Houston | Year: Junior

Oliver is an interior disruptor who can help replace Malik Jackson, who was released in March.

 

8 – DETROIT

Montez Sweat – Edge

School: Mississippi State | Year: Senior

Signing Trey Flowers was a smart move but adding Sweat gives the team a dynamic duo on the outside.

 

9 – MIAMI        PROJECTED TRADE WITH BILLS

Dwayne Haskins – QB

School: Ohio State | Year: Sophomore (RS)

The Dolphins move ahead of Cincinnati, Denver, and Washington to get their future starter while bridge quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick runs things in 2019 (or until the team thinks Haskins is ready).

 

10 – DENVER

T.J. Hockenson – TE

School: Iowa | Year: Sophomore (RS)

With the top four quarterbacks off the board, Denver picks an elite tight end prospect for Joe Flacco and whomever takes over the Flacco in the future.

 

11 – CINCINNATI

Devin White – LB

School: LSU | Year: Junior

White takes over Vontaze Burfict’s role in the Bengals’ defense.

 

12 – GREEN BAY

Jonah Williams – OT

School: Alabama | Year: Junior

Williams can start at right tackle or guard for the Packers, depending on the health of veteran Bryan Bulaga.

 

13 – BUFFALO     PROJECTED TRADE WITH DOLPHINS

Jawaan Taylor – OT

School: Florida | Year: Junior

Josh Allen will love having Taylor protecting him off the edge. The Bills get Miami’s third- and fifth-round picks in the trade.

 

14 – ATLANTA

Christian Wilkins – DT

School: Clemson | Year: Senior

Wilkins and Grady Jarrett make an excellent pair in the middle of the Falcons’ defense.

 

15 – WASHINGTON

D.K. Metcalf – WR

School: Mississippi | Year: Sophomore (RS)

If Washington does not grab one of the top quarterbacks in the first round, it should bolster the receiving corps with Metcalf.

 

16 – CAROLINA

Andre Dillard – OT

School: Washington State | Year: Senior (RS)

Dillard to slides into the left tackle spot, where he will excel in pass protection.

 

17 – NEW YORK GIANTS (from Cleveland)

Rashan Gary – Edge

School: Michigan | Year: Junior

It seems like every year a defender falls unexpectedly into the mid-first round. Tremaine Edmunds last year, Jonathan Allen two years ago — it could be Gary’s turn this year given the disparity between his athleticism and production while at Michigan.

 

18 – MINNESOTA

Chris Lindstrom – OG

School: Boston College | Year: Senior

Josh Kline will secure one starting guard spot and Lindstrom can win the other in 2019.

 

19 – TENNESSEE

Brian Burns – Edge

School: Florida State | Year: Junior

Signing Cameron Wake was good for this year but Burns’ skills will be valued in 2020 and beyond.

 

20 – PITTSBURGH

Devin Bush – LB

School: Michigan | Year: Junior

Sometimes inside linebackers become available later in the first round than their talent would indicate. The Steelers pinch themselves that a talent like Bush is still on the board.

 

21 – LOS ANGELES RAMS  PROJECTED TRADE WITH SEAHAWKS

Jaylon Ferguson – Edge

School: Louisiana Tech | Year: Senior (RS)

Re-signing Dante Fowler to a one-year deal does not close the loop on the Rams’ need for pass rushers. Ferguson’s ability to reach the quarterback will be coveted in the second half of the first round.

 

22 – BALTIMORE

Erik McCoy – C

School: Texas A&M | Year: Junior (RS)

Baltimore gets physical up front with McCoy, who can play multiple positions.

 

23 – HOUSTON

Deandre Baker – CB

School: Georgia | Year: Senior

The Texans were looking under every rock at the NFL Scouting Combine for a new cornerback to replace Kareem Jackson. Baker’s a tough, heady player who will contribute immediately.

 

24 – OAKLAND (from Chicago)

Clelin Ferrell – Edge

School: Clemson | Year: Junior (RS)

Jon Gruden hopes Ferrell can bring back the pass rush the team missed after trading Khalil Mack.

 

25 – PHILADELPHIA

Josh Jacobs – RB

School: Alabama | Year: Junior

Yes, the Eagles traded for Jordan Howard, but he has only one year left on his deal and giving up a 2020 sixth-round pick (conditions could allow it to flex to a fifth) is not exactly the price one would pay for a top difference-maker. Jacobs is a beast of a runner and could take pressure off of Carson Wentz.

 

26 – INDIANAPOLIS

Dexter Lawrence – DT

School: Clemson | Year: Junior

GM Chris Ballard is always looking to upgrade his team’s defensive line. Wilkins is a great value at this point of the round.

 

27 – OAKLAND (from Dallas)

Byron Murphy – CB

School: Washington | Year: Sophomore (RS)

Gareon Conley gets a strong partner in Murphy, who possesses the best ballhawking skills in the class.

 

28 – LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

Cody Ford – OT

School: Oklahoma | Year: Junior (RS)

The right side of the Chargers’ offensive line was exposed in the playoffs. Ford will tighten things up over there in a hurry.

 

29 – KANSAS CITY

Garrett Bradbury – C

School: N.C. State | Year: Senior (RS)

Replacing Mitch Morse won’t be easy, but Bradbury is an experienced and agile lineman worthy of the challenge.

 

30 – GREEN BAY (from New Orleans)

Noah Fant- TE

School: Iowa | Year: Junior

Matt LaFleur leaned heavily on three-tight end sets in Tennessee last year, so it won’t be a surprise if he wants to add an athletic receiver to play alongside Jimmy Graham and Marcedes Lewis.

 

31 – SEATTLE PROJECTED TRADE WITH RAMS.

Jeffery Simmons – DT

School: Mississippi State | Year: Junior

 

Simmons’ talent is too overwhelming for the Seahawks to pass up. Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider will pick up much-needed middle-round picks in this deal: one of the Rams’ third-round selections and a fifth-rounder.

 

32 – SAN FRANCISCO PROJECTED TRADE WITH PATRIOTS.

A.J. Brown – WR

School: Mississippi | Year: Junior

The Niners desperately need a talent like Brown at receiver if Jimmy G. is to have a successful return from injury in 2019. There’s going to be a run on receivers and safeties early in Round 2, so it’s a safe bet that teams are already starting to call the Pats to find the price for an upward move.

 

 

PETER KING’S MOCK DRAFT

 

In Chad Reuter’s Mock (above), he sees teams trading up like crazy to get QBs with four going in the first nine picks.  Peter King (who does allow trades in his Mock) doesn’t have the second QB going until #15.

 

1. Arizona: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

We live in a society (I sound like Costanza) that screams “Fake News!” when something seems just too obvious. We need to face reality, folks. When Cards GM Steve Keim walks into a meeting with club president Michael Bidwill today in Tempe to discuss the fate of the first overall pick, they could do a couple of things. They could decide to take Murray, the choice of head coach Kliff Kinsgbury. They could decide to take the best edge-rusher (Nick Bosa)—who I hear is the choice of many in the building—or the best player (Quinnen Williams) in the draft. I’ll be surprised, as will America, if the choice is anyone but Murray, particularly because the Raiders, at four, are not likely to want to trade up for what it would cost. I do want to give you one cautionary tale on Kyler Murray, assuming he is picked here. Over the last seven years of football—three years of varsity high school football, a short one-year stint at Texans A&M, sitting a year at Oklahoma after transferring, mostly sitting in 2017 behind Baker Mayfield, and starting last year at Oklahoma—Murray has started 60 games. He is 57-3. Who knows if he starts right away in the NFL? But in the NFL, he could lose more starts in a month than he lost in the previous seven years. It’ll be interesting to see how Murray adjusts to adversity. Not sure he’s ever had much of it, at least in football.

 

2. San Francisco: Nick Bosa, edge rusher, Ohio State

Niners have loved him since the Cotton Bowl in 2017, when Bosa’s 1.5 sacks led the marauding Ohio State defense in a 24-7 pummeling of USC’s Sam Darnold in the last game of the star QB’s college career. I hear the Cardinals think of Bosa as a “generational player,” which just speaks to their love of Murray if they’re willing to pass on Bosa and leave him to the Niners. Edge-rusher is the element San Francisco hasn’t gotten right. To fortify the defensive front, the 49ers chose Arik Armstead 17th in 2015, DeForest Buckner seventh in 2016, and Solomon Thomas third in 2017 … and still their biggest team need is pressuring the quarterback. Four picks in the top 20 in the span of five drafts along the defensive line—if Bosa doesn’t put the defensive front over the top, this is some bad drafting.

 

3. New York Jets: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

Imagine Josh McDaniels, Chad O’Shea and Brian Daboll—the offensive brains of the AFC East—designing protections to keep Leonard Williams and Oliver from wrecking games over the next three or four years. I realize that with new coordinator Gregg Williams staying with a 3-4 defense that this isn’t the perfect fit for Oliver, but Williams once bragged about being able to play 42 different defenses with his scheme, and he’d figure out how to make Oliver work. For a long time, I’d penciled in Josh Allen here because of the Jets’ edge-rusher need, but when you do a mock, you go by your gut. And someone I trust told me the Jets don’t love Allen. So those are the kinds of scale-tippers that change the board—and, most often, make me look like a dope Thursday night about 8:45 ET. We shall see. Oh, and the Jets would like to trade down too, if they can get a ransom. I don’t see it.

 

4. Oakland: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

My guess after talking to multiple teams is that Williams is at the top of more boards than any player. One of the smartest guys in our business, ESPN’s Jeff Legwold, has Williams atop his Top 100 list that dropped Saturday. Since the Raiders have a crying need at tackle—their top-rated DT was not in the top 50 of the 2018 Pro Football Focus DT rankings—Jon Gruden, who has ultimate say in Oakland, will greenlight this pick, and GM Mike Mayock gladly will take Williams here as the first pick of his NFL GM career.

 

5. Tampa Bay: Devin White, LB, LSU

Lots of people love White, a tackling machine who, at 237, tackles with the force of a 260-pounder. I’m taking my best guess of what GM Jason Licht would do if he was staring at White and Josh Allen here … because the Bucs need a pass-rusher too. Jason Pierre-Paul is 30, and other than possibly the precocious Carl Nassib, I don’t think there’s an eight-sack guy on the roster. But White can step in for the departed Kwon Alexander and be the sideline-to-sideline presence coordinator Todd Bowles would love. Plus, White might be the best defensive leader in this draft.

 

6. New York Giants: Josh Allen, edge rusher, Kentucky

A veteran personnel man who knows Dave Gettleman said the other day, “Dave wants a pass-rusher in the worst way. He won’t reach for one, but he’ll get one with one his first three picks.” Giants pick 6-17-37, and if they have their heart set on one of the young quarterbacks—Gettleman, as usual, has been a good poker-player here, because even those who know him do not know which quarterback he likes—they should be able to get him at 17. Or, perhaps, if they play their cards right, to trade back up into the low first round with that fifth pick in the second round as bait. (The Rams would love to dump out of the 31st pick.) One other thing Gettleman would figure to love in Allen: No top-prospect rusher is more experienced: He played in 51 college games.

 

7. Jacksonville: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

Daniel Jeremiah said the other day he thinks Hockenson could be the reincarnation of Jason Witten. He’s the best blocking/receiving tight end to come out in several years, and he’ll need to be good so the Jags don’t regret passing on a desperately needed long-term tackle like Jawaan Taylor. My feeling is the Tom Coughlin/Dave Caldwell decision comes down to Hockenson or Taylor, and they go with the best tight end to come out in years—to support their new quarterback, Nick Foles, who had a great tight end in Zach Ertz in Philadelphia.

 

8. Detroit: Jawaan Taylor, T, Florida

I will be surprised if the Lions pick Taylor here. The Lions want to trade out, and this is the area for the first offensive lineman—Taylor or Jonah Williams or, in what may be a stretch, Andre Dillard—to be picked. Could be Jacksonville, could be Buffalo, or it could be whoever picks at eight. (Man, I’m really selling Taylor to the Lions!) I just can’t figure out which team will jump up here. For a while I thought it was Atlanta, but the Falcons seem inclined to use all their picks, not trade a fairly high one to move from 14 to eight.

 

9. Buffalo: Jonah Williams, T-G, Alabama

Bills love Quinnen Williams, but I can’t see the Raiders parting with him if he’s there at four. Bills could also trade up for Josh Allen, or pick T.J. Hockenson if he falls to them. But if they stay, Jonah Williams could be an upgrade to Spencer Long at right guard or possibly, eventually, Ty Nsekhe, at right tackle. Lots of differing opinions in the scouting community on Williams. I would ask Bills Nation to look up “quixotic” in the dictionary. This is a good player, a better-than-Cordy Glenn player, but Williams is not Walter Jones. Having said that, it’s a smart choice by Bills GM Brandon Beane, who is trying to build a playoff team one solid player at a time.

 

10. Denver: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

There’s not a perfect player on the board for Vic Fangio’s defense, but so many teams need a rangy sideline-to-sideline linebacker (Pittsburgh would love for him to drop to 20, but I don’t see it), and many think Bush would be a great compliment to edge-rushers Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. Four or five teams between 10 and 20 would have serious interest in Bush if he falls past 10.

 

11. Cincinnati: Brian Burns, edge rusher, Florida State

In the last week, Burns has gotten very hot … because he runs in the low 4.5s and there aren’t enough edge-rushers for this voracious market. He has some weaknesses, like his size (he’ll probably play around 248), but I think he’ll be gone by pick 20. I think his floor is Tennessee at 19.  

 

12. Green Bay: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

Scouts who went into Iowa City over the past few months told me the staff there raved about T.J. Hockenson and were nice but not Hockenson-like about Fant. Might be unfair, because Hockenson is so pro-ready. Over his last two seasons at Iowa, Fant average 14.7 yards per catch and had 18 receiving touchdowns. Contrast that to teammate Hockenson’s 14.8-yard average over the last two years, with nine touchdowns. Very interesting. And Fant runs better, in the 4.5-second 40- range. This is probably 10 picks too high for Fant, and it wouldn’t surprise me if GM Brian Gutekunst picks long-term offensive tackle Andre Dillard here instead. But in any case, I can’t see Fant making it out of the first round.

 

13. Miami: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

Falcons, on deck here, cry. Wilkins slipping to 13 would be a gift for rookie Dolphins coach Brian Flores, who learned under Bill Belichick that quick 315-pound people-movers in the defensive interior are to be collected and valued. Dolphins have so many needs, and if an offensive tackle they like falls here, that could be the pick too. Regarding QB? No team in the league—from what I’ve heard—has spent more time researching Josh Rosen in recent weeks than Miami. Suppose my mock is correct, and Washington and the Giants use the draft to take young quarterbacks, and Miami and the Chargers are the only teams with even some interest in Rosen, and GM Chris Grier tells Arizona GM Steve Keim on draft night: “We’ll give you our third-round pick—78 overall—for Rosen. That’s it.” Tough call for Keim, but knowing Rosen would be an unhappy camper behind Kyler Murray, and figuring this is a good depth draft in the first three rounds … well, that’s a lot to think about right there.

 

14. Atlanta: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

Four players from Clemson and ‘Bama in the first 14 picks … with more on the way. Atlanta needs size and power, and at 6-4 and 342, with a 5.05 40-yard time, Lawrence is exceedingly rare. He seems to have convinced NFL teams that he did not knowingly take a banned substance that caused a positive PED test, disqualifying him from Clemson’s two playoff games. This is another spot to watch the best-available offensive lineman fall too. 

 

15. Washington: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

Dan Snyder gets to pick the quarterback of the future from his backyard in Maryland. Haskins’ family moved to Maryland from New Jersey at the start of his high school years, and Snyder’s son and Haskins both went to high school at the Bullis School in Potomac, Md. Picking Haskins could give Snyder the local-guy-makes-good story the franchise obviously would love. I found this piece of footage from for NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky quite helpful and revealing about Haskins.

 

16. Carolina: Montez Sweat, edge rusher, Mississippi State

“Don’t put him in the first round,” one smart guy told me Sunday afternoon. “So many teams are afraid of him.” Some teams are worried about a heart condition discovered in Sweat after the season, and NFL Network reported Sweat has been taken off some teams’ draft boards. One GM told me Saturday: “We think it’s an issue, but we’ve been told if we keep a close eye on it, he can play. This is the kind of thing that different teams will have different opinions on.” Another GM told me he thought Sweat’s upside, if healthy, is better than Nick Bosa’s. With the retirement of Julius Peppers, Sweat would be a perfect addition to an edge-rush-needy team—if GM Marty Hurney can get past the worry over Sweat’s ticker.

 

17. Houston: Andre Dillard, T, Washington State

PROJECTED TRADE: Houston sends 23rd and 55th picks to Giants for this choice.

No team in the NFL needs a radical upgrade at tackle as much as the Texans. Per Pro Football Focus, the starting Houston tackles last year, Julie’n Davenport and Kendall Lamm, allowed 101 quarterback disruptions (sacks, hits, hurries) on Deshaun Watson, which is downright abominable considering Watson’s one of the most mobile quarterbacks in the league. Think how many pressures he avoided just by being Deshaun Watson. Dillard’s the top tackle on Houston’s board, from what I hear, and teams think he’s got a chance to be a good left tackle.

 

18. Minnesota: Garrett Bradbury, C, North Carolina State

Speaking of PFF, the lowest-rated NFL center in the league by far last year was Minnesota’s Pat Elflein. The Vikings pick at 18, 50 and 81, and the perception on the scouting trail is that two of those three picks will be offensive linemen. They’d better be. Bradbury’s a pugnacious guy, a Jason Kelce type, with more quickness than most centers in the league now. He could start day one. No, let me amend that. With Elflein still in-house, Bradbury had better start day one.

 

19. Tennessee: Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan

Here’s what funny about mock drafts. Sometimes, I hear from a smart GM who says something like: Drew Lock is way too low! Okay, I text back. Who should I give him to? Tennessee. No way, I text. You can’t draft Mariota’s successor yet. So I thought and thought and made one extra call, and some said, of all the players I had left on the board, “Rashan Gary is Mike Vrabel’s kind of player. Give them Gary.” See the science I use here?

 

20. Pittsburgh: Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Temple

Imagine the first cornerback off the board being a guy who played one year at Temple after transferring from the Presbyterian (S.C.) College Blue Hose, and who will have one of the great names in the history of whatever team drafts him. Word on the scouting street is that Mike Tomlin loves Ya-Sin, and with White and Bush off the board at a position of great Steeler need (linebacker), Pittsburgh opts for a physical 5-11 3/4 corner who made tremendous plays in his one season of (fairly) big-time football.

 

21. Oakland: Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

PROJECTED TRADE: Oakland sends 24th and 106th picks to Seattle for this choice.

So, the best running back in this draft will probably be picked somewhere in the twenties, and three teams—Philly at 25, Indy at 26 and Oakland at 24 and 27—are quite interested. The Raiders would have to move only three spots ahead to make it happen, and probably wouldn’t have to denude its mid-round picks to do so. I could see Seattle at 21 or Baltimore at 22 do this kind of deal, because Schneider and rookie Ravens GM Eric DeCosta love dealing. I met with Jacobs last week, by the way. Delightful fellow. Hungry to be a great NFL player, and he’s a versatile back too. Jon Gruden could turn him into a 1,700-total-yard back as a rookie.

 

22. Baltimore: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

New England hopes Ferrell falls 10 more spots, but he won’t. The Ravens also could trade—rookie GM Eric DeCosta would love to accumulate more picks. But Ferrell is an ideal building block on a defensive front that needs a new star. I won’t be shocked if Ferrell is gone if the Ravens take a 10-year center like Erik McCoy of Texas A&M; 38 career starts at a very high level, and the Ravens value the offensive line as much as any franchise in football.

 

23. New York Giants: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

PROJECTED TRADE: New York gets this pick and No. 55 from Houston for No. 17 overall.

The Giants could just sit at 17 and pick Jones, or Drew Lock, too. In my scenario, the Giants get their QB for 2020 and beyond after trading down with Houston … and they pick up a late second-round pick to go after a long-term safety to pair with Jabrill Peppers, or maybe take a shot on the right tackle Gettleman knows he needs. As for Jones the player, there’s a wide disparity in opinion in the man who went 17-19 as a college starter. Very smart, but he doesn’t have the deep arm of the three other first-round candidates. In Bob McGinn’s annual deep dive into the top draft prospects, the veteran scribe quotes a NFL scout saying of Jones: “He reminds me of Ryan Tannehill. There’s just something missing with him.” Damning, but the four first-rounders seem to all have zits this year.

 

24. Seattle: Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State

PROJECTED TRADE: Seattle gets this pick and No. 106 from Oakland for No. 21 overall.

This is GM John Schneider’s 10th draft with Seattle, and he has traded his first-round pick seven straight years. No question he wants to again this year, and so I have him moving from 21 to 24 and getting an early day-three pick in return. At 24, he needs to pick a player who can be a tone-setter right away. Abram’s that kind of player. More about Frank Clark later, but the pressure will be on Schneider if he moves Clark to find another edge-rusher with the production of Clark. Look for the Seahawks to pick a rusher either low in the round here or with their third and fourth-round loot.

 

25. Philadelphia: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

Some love him. Some think he’s too wispy at 166, and they’re worried that he enters the NFL nursing a foot injury, and he might be prone to injury in the big-boy league. But he is one big threat. Instinctive and fearless too. Could be that DeSean Jackson gives the Eagles one last season, and then Brown steps in as the deep threat Carson Wentz can grow with into middle-age. Two cautions: GM Howie Roseman struck out on the free-agent he wanted, running back Tevin Coleman, and he could steal his RB1, Josh Jacobs, from the Raiders and Colts in trade. And Roseman is not fearful of drafting a guy (Sidney Jones, round two, 2017) who has to sit most or all of his rookie year with an injury. So I’d watch Jeffery Simmons here too.

 

26. Indianapolis: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

He’s 6-2 and runs a 4.37 time in the 40-yard dash. What’s not to like? Tackling, perhaps. But the Colts need two things badly: an edge-rusher and a shutdown cornerback. Williams is better at corner than the remaining edge guys are at sacking the quarterback. However, keep one thing in mind with Colts GM Chris Ballard: He’s not going to change his board to fit his needs. If there’s a significantly higher-rated player here, Ballard will take him.

 

27. Oakland: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

Touchdowns allowed in coverage over his last two college seasons: zero. He might drive defensive coordinator Paul Guenther crazy with his practice habits, but his game production, at least in college, made up for that. If the Raiders can come out of this first round with the best defensive tackle in the draft, the best running back in the draft, and a corner who should push for playing time immediately, it’s going to be a successful first draft for the rookie GM Mayock.

 

28. Los Angeles Chargers: Cody Ford, T, Oklahoma

Could be a strange change for Ford. He protected for the fleet Kyler Murray at Oklahoma last year, and, if this happens, he’d be protecting for the statue-esque Philip Rivers in L.A. The Chargers have to start planning for the future up front; Russell Okung enters his 10th season and turns 31 this year. Ford’s a good building block for GM Tom Telesco.

 

29. Seattle: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

PROJECTED TRADE: Seattle sends DE Frank Clark to Kansas City for this pick and the 63rd choice.

The run on corners continues. Murphy’s an interesting prospect. Very savvy, but he played just 20 college games, and his speed is in the barely acceptable range (4.55) for corners. The Seahawks continue the quest in this draft for Legion of Boom II. (More on Clark after the 32nd pick.)

 

30. Green Bay: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Mississippi

This would be very anti-Packer. Last wideout taken in the first round: 17 years ago, Javon Walker. They haven’t taken a receiver in the top 50 in 11 years (Jordy Nelson, 2008, 36th overall). I could see Andre Dillard here too, but Brian Gutekunst is trying to stock up for one last multi-year run with Aaron Rodgers, giving him the kind of weapons that will allow him to be Aaron Rodgers again. I might go Marquise Brown here if I were Green Bay, but I realize a 166-pound burner may not have the shelf life of a Sterling Sharpe-big-bodied player like Metcalf.

 

31. Denver: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

PROJECTED TRADE: Denver sends the 41st pick and a 2020 second-rounder to the Los Angeles Rams for this choice.

Feel bad about predicting this. Sometimes in mock drafts, you want to get a player in the first round because you think he’s going to be a first-round pick, and you wedge him in and make the logic fit after that. I do not think the Rams want to pick at 31, and feel they can use a trade-down to get a two or three back after dealing fourth and second-round picks to Kansas City in 2018 for cornerback Marcus Peters. Denver likes Lock, and might be able to snag him as a two-year learner behind Joe Flacco while retaining the ability to use the 71st pick this year on a potential starter at a need position, like Texas A&M tight end Jace Sternberger. A move like this wouldn’t surprise me, but I also think the way Denver GM John Elway’s talking, he could punt on a young quarterback until the richer QB draft of 2020.

 

32. New England: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State

I don’t think this is the likely Patriots pick, but I don’t know who is, and I wanted to get this great player in the first round. The second-best best DT in the draft (behind Quinnen Williams) till tearing his ACL earlier this year won’t be available to play until 2020, and he’s also got some personal rehab to do after a past physical altercation with a woman. Simmons could have the kind of impact Jaylon Smith had for the Cowboys after a serious knee injury in his last college game—and the team that picks him will have to wait only one year for Simmons, not the two seasons Dallas afforded Smith to get physically right. Smith was the 34th pick overall in 2016. We’ll see if a team near the bottom of round one or top of round two takes a shot on Simmons.

 

In the end, I struggled mightily with the Frank Clark trade from Seattle to Kansas City. I had the trade in my first draft of the mock on Friday, then took it out for 48 hours, and just put it back in Sunday night. The waffling came before I sent Clark to the Chiefs because of the Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill incidents. And I will not be surprised at all if the Chiefs don’t do it. But I’m taking the gamble, because the Kansas City need for edge-rush is so pronounced. Hunt was cut by the Chiefs last year after video surfaced of him kicking a woman in a Cleveland hotel last offseason. The league and local authorities are now investigating whether Hill may have been involved in a child abuse case with his three-year-old son. Clark was cited in police reports in 2014 for a domestic abuse case against his then-girlfriend. It could be the Chiefs (or Colts or Jets) have done a lot of due diligence and believe such accusations are in Clark’s past. But it was tough for me to predict that and it came down to a gut feeling Sunday night.