AROUND THE NFL

QB JOHNNY MANZIEL is a man without a country, if that country is Canada.  The CFL orders him cut by the Montreal Allouettes.

 

The Montreal Alouettes released quarterback Johnny Manziel on Wednesday, saying he “contravened the agreement which made him eligible to play” in the Canadian Football League.

 

The CFL effectively said the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner is terminated. The league informed the eight other teams that it wouldn’t register a contract for Manziel if any tried to sign him. Montreal had his full rights for two seasons.

 

“We advised Montreal that Johnny had violated one of the conditions we had set for him to be in our league. And Montreal announced his release today,” CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said in Vancouver. “We didn’t release the terms of those conditions then and we’re not going to do that now.

 

“We’re trying to do what we believe is in the best interests of the entire league. The conditions we set, we thought were the right ones. Those conditions have been violated and we feel it’s best, and Montreal feels its best, to let Johnny move on. And we think it’s best for our league that he do the same. And we wish him well.”

 

Alouettes general manager Kavis Reed told reporters that Montreal would not have released Manziel if the CFL did not mandate the move.

 

“No, sir. Mr. Manziel’s performance on the field showed that he had a very good upside, but Mr. Manziel violated the terms and we all understood those terms and we have to be compliant with them,” Reed said.

 

Reed wouldn’t give specifics about how Manziel violated the conditions of his agreement with the league.

 

Here’s the spin from Deadspin.

 

The Alouettes said they were “disappointed” by the CFL’s decision, also noting, “We worked with the league and presented alternatives to Johnny, who was unwilling to proceed.” He had two years left on his contract when he was cut.

 

All of which is to say that the circumstances around Manziel’s sudden release are quite mysterious. Neither the club nor the league will say what Manziel did, or even what he was not allowed to do when he signed. For his part, Manziel seems like he is now going to try to play in the United States, and he recently expressed interest in the Alliance of American Football. However, it would seem overly harsh to cut Manziel and ban him from the league simply for exploring other employment opportunities.

 

We’ve reached out to Manziel’s agent for clarification, and we’ll update this post when he responds.

 

NFC EAST

 

PHILADELPHIA

The Eagles have abandoned their tag and trade scheme for QB NICK FOLES.  Jeremy Bergman of NFL.com:

 

Nick Foles is free.

 

Philadelphia Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman told reporters Wednesday that the team will not place the franchise tag on Foles. The Super Bowl LII MVP is a free agent.

 

“We’ve spent a lot of time discussing this internally and with him,” Roseman said, “and we’ve decided to let Nick [Foles] become a free agent.”

 

Roseman said the organization did not make the decision lightly.

 

“It’s hard when you have someone who’s incredibly available to your organization at the most important position in sports,” Roseman told reporters. “And at the same time, we’ve had incredible success with him when he’s had to play. Four playoff wins over the last two years. Great teammate. Huge resource for Carson [Wentz] and Nate Sudfeld, as well.

 

“But at the same time, he deserves an opportunity to lead a team. It’s a goal of his to lead another team and lead another locker room.”

 

“Nick and I got a lot of history together. All the way back to when we drafted him when I was on coach [Andy] Reid’s staff here in Philly,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said of Foles. “We had conversations obviously at the end of the season and he knew where I stood and how I felt about him. But at the same time he was a tremendous, obviously, a huge part of our success these last two years. But again, a lot like Carson’s case, he was one piece of the puzzle. It’s an opportunity now as Howie mentioned to become a starter in this league. And he’s very capable of doing that. I’m excited for his future.”

 

Roseman did not go into trade discussions he had with other teams over Foles.

 

This comes after Philadelphia picked up Foles’ $20 million option earlier this month, an option the QB promptly voided to become a free agent. The Eagles had the choice to place the franchise tag on Foles and attempt to trade him to a desired suitor, but the organization clearly chose against that tactic.

 

The 30-year-old quarterback will be the highest-profile free-agent QB on the market when the new league year begins on March 13. Foles will be free to sign with any team, including Philadelphia’s division rivals in New York and Washington, both of whom have an uncertain future at the QB position.

 

Other potential landing spots for Foles include the Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins. Jacksonville is moving on from Blake Bortles and just hired Foles’ former quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo as its offensive coordinator. Miami is similarly expected to part ways with Ryan Tannehill this offseason and undergo a rebuild. The Denver Broncos were an option until the team executed a trade with the Baltimore Ravens for Joe Flacco.

 

AFC WEST

 

DENVER

The Broncos are exercising options on WR EMANUEL SANDERS and DE DEREK WOLFE.  Herbie Teope of NFL.com:

 

The Denver Broncos are taking steps to keep two productive players on the roster.

 

General manager John Elway said Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine that the Broncos would exercise the 2019 contract options on wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and defensive end Derek Wolfe.

 

“They’re good football players, so that’s why we’re planning on exercising,” Elway said. “It’s different situations, but, yeah, we’re planning on exercising both of those.”

 

Sanders’ situation doesn’t come as a surprise, as NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero previously reported on Feb. 20 that the Broncos were expected to keep the wide receiver in 2019.

 

Sanders, who led the Broncos in receiving last year with 71 catches for 868 yards, will join Courtland Sutton, DaeSean Hamilton and Tim Patrick as the Broncos’ projected top wide receivers for soon-to-be starting quarterback Joe Flacco.

 

The Broncos can’t publicly comment on the pending trade to acquire Flacco from the Baltimore Ravens until the start of the NFL’s new calendar year on March 13. Flacco’s arrival shakes up the quarterback room, of course, and Elway was uncertain if Case Keenum, who signed a two-year deal in 2018, would be in Denver.

 

“We don’t know yet,” Elway said. “As I told Case when I talked to him, different options and that we’re going to work with him, and give him time to think about it. So, we’ll circle back with Case and see where he is, and go from there.”

 

Meanwhile, the Broncos committing to keeping Wolfe certainly provides stability and a boost to the defense.

 

Wolfe, who has spent seven seasons in Denver, started all 16 games last year and totaled 43 tackles, 1.5 sacks, an interception and six passes defensed. On his career with the Broncos, he has 26 sacks.

 

 

KANSAS CITY

It looks as if S ERIC BERRY has avoided surgery on his heel.  Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com:

 

After the Chiefs lost to the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, there was a report that safety Eric Berry was likely to have surgery to repair the heel injury that kept him out of the lineup for most of the year.

 

Berry missed all but three games for the Chiefs a year after tearing his Achilles in the season opener, but head coach Andy Reid said on Wednesday that the veteran “went and got it looked at” by doctors who determined that Berry does not need to have an operation.

 

“I think it’s all positive,” Reid said, via the Kansas City Star. “He didn’t have surgery. That’s not what he did. Or have to have surgery. That’s kind of where it’s at.”

 

A return to health and form for Berry would be a step in the right direction for the Chiefs defense, but neither is something they’re going to be able to count on given the way the last two years have played out.

– – –

The Chiefs want you to make an offer on LB JUSTIN HOUSTON per NFL.com:

 

Justin Houston could be on the move.

 

The Kansas City Chiefs have engaged in trade talks involving their former All-Pro outside linebacker, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.

 

Teams have been calling with real interest in acquiring Houston, Rapoport added. And with a $21.1 million cap hit, the Chiefs are likely motivated to swap him as they’re expected to place the franchise tag on Dee Ford.

 

But striking an actual deal for Houston might prove to be trickier. The 30-year-old is set to earn $15.25 million in base salary in 2019. The four-time Pro Bowler has also missed 21 games over the past four seasons.

 

Still, he’s regarded as one of the league’s top pass rushers and has remained productive when on the field. Houston recorded nine sacks in 2018, missing four games while dealing with a hamstring injury.

 

 

 

THE RAIDERS

GM Mike Mayock, who joins Jon Gruden in controlling the draft, meets the media.  Kevin Patra of NFL.com:

 

The Oakland Raiders finished dead last in the AFC West with a 4-12 record in 2018. Since the Raiders last won the division in 2002, the franchise has finished fourth seven of 16 seasons, and better than third one single time.

 

Speaking at the NFL Scouting Combine, new Raiders general manager Mike Mayock knows his team has a steep hill to climb to pass the Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Chargers, and Kansas City Chiefs.

 

Mayock pointed out the dynamic playmakers within the division the Raiders must face twice a year. The first-time GM said moving up in the division is the first step in making the Raiders relevant in 2019.

 

“I think our division from a playmaker perspective, might put more pressure on the defense than any other division in football,” Mayock said. “To the point where in my office, the first thing I did when I went in is I had them take all the blinds down and everything else, and I’ve got an entire wall just of the AFC West. Their rosters, their practice (squads), everything, depth charts, all up on one wall, magnetic names, just to reinforce to me every day the challenges we have.”

 

The Chiefs sport Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill on offense, and playmakers like Dee Ford on defense. The Chargers boast perennial Pro Bowl QB Philip Rivers, Keenan Allen and Melvin Gordon on offense and Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram and Derwin James, et al. on D. The Broncos have Von Miller and Bradley Chubb on D and young playmakers like Phillip Lindsay on offense.

 

Mayock believes the talent the Raiders will face in the division is the best in the entire NFL.

 

“You start talking about Mahomes and Kelce and Tyreek Hill. Just the entire division, when you look at the depth charts on both sides of the ball, with their rosters,” Mayock said. “We’ve got a huge challenge ahead of us. I think we probably face some of the best edge rushers in football, on the other side of the ball. You talk about what Kansas City has had. You talk about what the Chargers have. You talk about that monster in Denver. We are very aware of the challenges in our division. We think it might be the most significant in the league.”

 

From a talent perspective, the Raiders are well behind their division rivals. Mayock knows he must help close the gap this offseason if Oakland is going get out of the AFC West cellar.

 

And this:

 

Derek Carr has the new general manager in his corner.

 

Mike Mayock took the podium at the NFL Scouting Combine for the first time as the Oakland Raiders’ new GM on Wednesday and emphatically backed up Carr.

 

“We’ve got a young quarterback that we think is a franchise quarterback that’s going to be 28 in March, so we’re pretty happy with where we are,” Mayock said when asked about the QB position. “Especially with our backup, who we signed last year, McCarron. We feel like we’re pretty good at the quarterback position.”

 

Pressed later about whether he thinks the Raiders need to upgrade the position, Mayock again stumped for Carr.

 

“I think Derek Carr is a franchise quarterback,” Mayock said. “I truly believe that. Now, do I also believe that it’s a general manager and head coach’s job to keep their job open to improve any position on a football team? Sure. But I think it’s really difficult to try to improve over a franchise quarterback like the one we have in our building right now.”

 

AFC NORTH

 

PITTSBURGH

No tag for RB Le’VEON BELL as he heads to free agency unencumbered.  Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com:

 

The Steelers considered using the transition tag on running back Le’Veon Bell. Until they learned what it would cost.

 

Steelers G.M. Kevin Colbert told PFT Live on Wednesday afternoon that the team decided not to use the transition tag on Bell after the NFL Management Council informed the Steelers that Bell would be entitled to a one-year transition tender of $14.54 million. The Steelers apparently had hoped that, by virtue of sitting out all of 2018, they would be able to apply the base running back transition tag on Bell, which will be less than $10 million for 2019.

 

The language of the Collective Bargaining Agreement seemed to make it clear that the Steelers would be required to use the higher tender. The Management Council agreed, and according to Colbert that was the key factor in prompting the Steelers to decide to give Le’Veon Bell full and unfettered freedom.

 

AFC SOUTH

 

INDIANAPOLIS

Surgery for Colts TE JACK DOYLE.  Adam Maya of NFL.com:

 

Jack Doyle and the Indianapolis Colts hope the worst is behind him.

 

Colts general manager Chris Ballard confirmed Wednesday while speaking to reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine that his Pro Bowl tight end recently underwent hip surgery but is expected to return by training camp.

 

“Surgery was good, he’s rehabbing good,” Ballard said, via the team’s website. “My guess is [he] probably will not do anything through OTAs. “I mean, look: Jack’s a vet player. I trust him; trust that he’s going to do everything that he can to get back. And we’re shooting for the start of training camp for him to be back.”

 

It’s a promising prognosis given how Doyle’s 2018 played out. Coming off an 80-catch campaign the previous season, Doyle suffered a hip injury in Week 2 last year versus the Redskins that sidelined him for five games. A few weeks into his return, Doyle took a bad hit to the kidney against the Dolphins and needed surgery before missing the remainder of the season.

 

He finished the year with 26 receptions for 245 yards and two touchdowns in just six games. It was the first time in his six-year career that he didn’t play in at least 15 games.

 

“It’s tough to be hurt, tough to be out,” Doyle told reporters at the end of the regular season. “[It was] just one of those years. I’ve been fairly lucky in the health department. Just another challenge ahead. I’m trying to get stronger and better and back out there.”

 

AFC EAST

 

MIAMI

The Dolphins fired Coach Adam Gase because he wanted to win too much right now, something the team’s ownership, by inference, is not interested in. First, Darin Gantt of ProFootballTalk.com:

 

Even though the owner effectively declared a willingness to be bad for multiple years if it meant getting good, the Dolphins insist there are no plans to actively pursue bad.

 

At least on purpose.

 

Via Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, Dolphins General Manager Chris Grier took exception with the idea the team didn’t plan to be competitive.

 

For the sake of context, owner Stephen Ross said on Dec. 31 that the team was taking “a different approach,” even if it “takes a year or so – two years, three years – we’re going to be there.”

 

“I think everyone kind of took Steve’s words the press conference out of context because you’ve been around Steve. He is a volatile, very competitive person,” Grier said. “So we’re not trying to lose games. We’re going to do what’s best. We’re going to build like we’ve talked about building right, going through the process to do what’s best for the Dolphins.

 

“But, no, we’re not trying to tank or lose every game. But we’re going to build it right and see how it plays out.”

 

Of course, that’s the kind of thing you have to say, and none of the competitive people who get these kinds of jobs does it so they can stink. But the Dolphins also don’t have an answer at quarterback (though they’re also unwilling to say out loud they’re done with Ryan Tannehill) and they’re expected to shed a number of high-priced veterans soon. But Grier said there’s a difference between — for lack of a better word — a “process” and a large armored and tracked vehicle that George Patton used to command.

 

“Steve kind of clarified that when we introduced Brian [Flores],” Grier said. “We’ve talked the type of players we want, tough guys, competitive guys. It’s kind of hard to say you want that and say hey, reign it back for a year and just go lay down. So we’ll see how it goes.”

 

Of course, you can still want those guys. Acquiring them would help prove their intentions.

 

And this on the reaction of Gase:

 

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has said he thinks it could be a long process to get back to being a stable, winning team (even if that’s not tanking).

 

And apparently he thought former coach Adam Gase wasn’t ready to take on such a project.

 

Via Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald, the now-Jets coach kept to the high road when discussing his time in Miami, but he did dispute owner Stephen Ross’s assertion that Gase “wants to win and win now” — which is hard to pull off when you’re about to jump into your Sherman M4.

 

Gase said he and Ross “didn’t have that kind of conversation,” saying his firing came in a 20-minute meeting with Ross, after which he went and told his players.

 

Gase latched onto a much simpler reason — his 23-25 record in three seasons.

 

“We didn’t win enough games,” Gase said. “I think there was a lot of good stuff. We had some opportunities at the end of the season these last two years and we didn’t win a game after beat New England in both of those years. That probably didn’t help us. We didn’t take advantage of the opportunities we had.”

 

Asked if there was anything he’d have changed, Gase shook it off.

 

“I don’t know if there’s just one thing,” he said. “I think there’s some situations that I look back on and maybe if we would have handled a little different and went a different direction something works out different. But it doesn’t matter now.”

 

Their mistakes at quarterback (not adequately replacing Ryan Tannehill, and putting too much faith in Tannehill after his injury) largely doomed them in his time there, though the way his team seemed to bail on him last year (losing their last three) suggests other things about their relationship. Either way, he doesn’t have to hang around for a process that could be a long one, which could make the Jets’ perpetual rebuild seem like a vacation.

 

 

NEW YORK JETS

With QB SAM DARNOLD in the fold, the Jets think they can spin the 3rd overall pick into a draft haul.  Rich Cimini of ESPN.com:

 

One year after making a blockbuster trade to move up in the draft, the New York Jets are willing to go in reverse if the price is right.

 

General manager Mike Maccagnan, speaking to reporters Wednesday at the NFL scouting combine, put a “For Sale” sign on the Jets’ pick, third overall.

 

“Right now, we feel good at No. 3, but I’d definitely say if there’s an opportunity to trade down, we would absolutely look at it,” he said.

 

Of course they would.

 

The Jets, with many holes on their roster, would love to recoup the draft capital they spent last March. To jump from sixth to third, where they selected quarterback Sam Darnold, they sent three second-round picks to the Indianapolis Colts.

 

This time, they hope a quarterback-hungry team is eager to jump up the way they did a year ago. One of those teams could be the New York Giants, who, coincidentally, own the sixth pick.

 

The local rivals haven’t made a trade since 1983 — and that was only a minor transaction — but Maccagnan said he wouldn’t rule out any team.

 

“Yeah, I think I would be open to any team that would,” he said, when asked specifically about the Giants. “As long as the trade made sense to us, there’s nothing that would stop us from doing that.”

 

The Jets called the Giants during the 2016 draft about a potential trade-up, but their offer fell short of the Giants’ asking price. A year ago, they never contacted the Giants, who picked second and chose running back Saquon Barkley. The Jets assumed the Giants would have demanded their 2019 first-round pick, and they didn’t want to part with it.

 

If they stay at three, the Jets would have their choice of defensive end Nick Bosa, defensive tackle Quinnen Williams or outside linebacker Josh Allen, the consensus top non-quarterbacks in the draft.

 

Maccagnan acknowledged the Jets might be better off with multiple picks instead of one high pick.

 

“If we end up picking a player at three, we’ll feel really good,” he said. “If there’s an opportunity for us to move back and acquire more picks, that’s something we’d definitely be potentially interested in. It would have to be the right kind of deal, but I definitely wouldn’t rule anything out at this point in time.”

 

Unfortunately for the Jets, there aren’t as many quarterback-needy teams and top quarterback prospects as a year ago, so the market might not be robust. Dwayne Haskins and Kyler Murray are considered the only potential top-10 picks at the position. Still, Maccagnan is hopeful.

 

Above the Jets, the Cardinals and 49ers could also be candidates to trade down.  And there only are two QBs worth trading up for.  Still the Jets could end up with NICK BOSA if that happened.

 

 

THIS AND THAT

 

 

BROADCAST NEWS

Andrew Marchand of the New York Post says that TE GREG OLSEN can follow another TE, Jason Witten, into a prominent broadcast role.

 

NFL Pro Bowler Greg Olsen has a multimillion-dollar TV decision facing him, The Post has learned.

 

Olsen, the Carolina Panthers tight end, is deciding if he should continue to play or begin a career in broadcasting. Both Fox and ESPN have made offers to him, sources have told The Post, in an effort to lure him off the field as an analyst.

 

Sources said Fox is prepared to put Olsen in the booth but would likely need to put him on the No. 2 team or perhaps No. 3 to give itself a chance of convincing him not to play.

 

Though Olsen would not receive close to the at least $3.4 million he would bank if he continued playing this season, he would get in the door, with Troy Aikman potentially doing only the Thursday night-Sunday afternoon double-duty combo for one more season. Aikman could possibly opt out of Thursdays after this year and just do Sundays.

 

With ESPN, the potential role is not as clearly defined, though the executive now in charge of the network’s NFL coverage, Lee Fitting, has been in favor of a football analyst who could work both pro and college.

 

The big job that ESPN has available is one vacated by Charles Woodson, whom ESPN let go, on “Sunday NFL Countdown.” Internally, Tedy Bruschi, whom The Big Lead first mentioned, is one candidate to replace Woodson.

 

CBS met with Olsen but is not pursuing him.

 

Two sources who have spoken to Olsen, 33, believe he favors playing unless the TV offers come close to the money and/or there is a clear path to even more opportunities.

 

Olsen’s decision should come shortly. Last April, after tryouts for ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” and Fox’s “Thursday Night Football,” he signed a two-year, $17.1 million extension with the Panthers. He received an $11.1 million signing bonus, according to OverTheCap.com. He is due a base salary of $1.9 million with a $1 million roster bonus and a half-million roster bonus. That means he has $3.4 million coming to him, but if he retires, he may have to give back some of his $11.1 million signing bonus.

 

 

2019 DRAFT

Today’s Mock Draft comes from Bucky Brooks of NFL.com. It ends with the Patriots saying “We will Rock Ya.”

 

1  – ARIZONA

Quinnen Williams – DT

School: Alabama | Year: Sophomore (RS)

Taking an edge rusher is always an option, but adding a disruptive interior defender would balance out the defensive front. Williams is a game changer at the point of attack with a non-stop motor and nasty demeanor.

 

2 – SAN FRANCISCO

Nick Bosa – Edge

School: Ohio State | Year: Junior

The 49ers desperately need an explosive technician with a knack for getting to the quarterback off the edge.

 

3 – N.Y. JETS

Josh Allen – Edge

School: Kentucky | Year: Senior

Gregg Williams would unleash Allen as an energetic playmaker off the edge with the capacity to harass quarterbacks or blanket tight ends.

 

4 – OAKLAND

Rashan Gary – Edge

School: Michigan | Year: Junior

Despite being a better athlete than playmaker at this point, Gary’s arrival should boost a pass rush that only netted 13 sacks in 2018.

 

5 – TAMPA BAY

Devin White – LB

School: LSU | Year: Junior

White’s speed, athleticism and playmaking ability would add a dimension to a Bucs defense that should become more aggressive under Todd Bowles’ direction.

 

6 – NY GIANTS

Dwayne Haskins – QB

School: Ohio State | Year: Sophomore (RS)

Adding a classic drop back passer with A-plus arm talent to the lineup would certainly help Pat Shurmur maximize the Giants’ talent on the perimeter.

 

7 – JACKSONVILLE

Kyler Murray – QB

School: Oklahoma | Year: Junior (RS)

The Heisman Trophy winner would add some sizzle to an offense that prefers to bludgeon opponents with a rugged running game. Murray’s dynamic skills also suit the team’s potential RPO-heavy offense under John DeFilippo.

 

8 – DETROIT

Clelin Ferrell – Edge

School: Clemson | Year: Junior (RS)

The Lions need a dynamic pass rusher to wreak havoc off the edges in a division loaded with premier quarterbacks. With or without Ziggy Ansah, the team has to get a pass rusher to solidify a leaky defense.

 

9 – BUFFALO

Jawaan Taylor – OT

School: Florida | Year: Junior

Head coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane must upgrade the supporting cast around Josh Allen to help their young franchise quarterback thrive.

 

10 – DENVER

Drew Lock – QB

School: Missouri | Year: Senior

John Elway could fall in love with Lock’s upside and arm talent when he sees him up close and personal at the NFL Scouting Combine.

 

11 – CINCINNATI

T.J. Hockenson – TE

School: Iowa | Year: Sophomore (RS)

If Zac Taylor wants to quickly revive the Bengals’ offense, he needs to find a weapon to exploit the middle of the field. Hockenson is a standout run blocker with a crafty set of receiving skills that could make him a Pro Bowl-caliber tight end early in his career.

 

12 – GREEN BAY

Jachai Polite – Edge

School: Florida | Year: Junior

With the soon-to-be 33-year-old Clay Matthews set to hit free agency, the Packers may be prompted to add an explosive athlete to their defense. Polite isn’t a polished rusher at this point, but his first-step quickness and closing burst could make him a difference maker as a rookie.

 

13 – MIAMI

Jonah Williams – OL

School: Alabama | Year: Junior

The impending release of Josh Sitton and the free agent status of Ja’Wuan James could make Williams the ideal selection at this pick. The Alabama standout is a rock-solid player with the potential to play at guard or tackle as a pro.

 

14 – ATLANTA

Ed Oliver – DT

School: Houston | Year: Junior

The Houston standout is the “urgent” athlete Dan Quinn covets on his defense. Despite missing parts of his final season, Oliver’s disruptive potential makes him a worthy possibility at this pick.

 

15 – WASHINGTON

Daniel Jones – QB

School: Duke | Year: Junior (RS)

The uncertainty surrounding Alex Smith and his return could force the Redskins to jump into the quarterback market on draft day. Jones is a Smith clone as an athletic playmaker with enough arm strength and mobility to make plays inside and outside of the pocket.

 

16 – CAROLINA

Montez Sweat – Edge

School: Mississippi State | Year: Senior

The Panthers have to find someone to replace Julius Peppers on the edge. Sweat is an explosive athlete with the speed and quickness to be a consistent 10-plus sack guy in the NFL.

 

17 – CLEVELAND

Andre Dillard – OT

School: Washington State | Year: Senior (RS)

John Dorsey is committed to building a fortress around Baker Mayfield to let him thrive as a playmaker from the pocket. Dillard might be the best pass protector in the 2019 class.

 

18 – MINNESOTA

Greg Little – OT

School: Mississippi | Year: Junior

The Vikings have to beef up the offensive line to help Kirk Cousins improve his play from the pocket. Little is a rock-solid edge blocker with Day 1-starter potential.

 

19 – TENNESSEE

Christian Wilkins – DT

School: Clemson | Year: Senior

Mike Vrabel needs another playmaker on the frontline to help the Titans generate more sacks and pressures.

 

20 – PITTSBURGH

Byron Murphy – CB

School: Washington | Year: Sophomore (RS)

The Steelers need to find a young CB1 with playmaking skills. Murphy is a five-star player with outstanding skills on the island.

 

21 – SEATTLE

Jaylon Ferguson – Edge

School: Louisiana Tech | Year: Senior (RS)

Whether or not the Seahawks keep impending free agent Frank Clark, they could still use another dominant pass rusher off the edge.

 

22 – BALTIMORE

D.K. Metcalf – WR

School: Mississippi | Year: Sophomore (RS)

The Ravens are remaking their WR corps with tough guys on the perimeter who boast a combination of size, speed and playmaking ability. Metcalf would be a natural WR1 in an offense that features a vertical passing game to complement a forceful rushing attack.

 

23 – HOUSTON

Noah Fant – TE

School: Iowa | Year: Junior

The Texans need to add more weapons around Deshaun Watson to help him maximize his potential as a QB1. Adding an offensive lineman is a priority, but Fant’s prowess in the passing game could be tough to bypass at this pick.

 

24 – RAIDERS (from Chicago)

Josh Jacobs – RB

School: Alabama | Year: Junior

Jon Gruden wants to build his offense around a high level quarterback and a rock-solid running game. Jacobs would give the Raiders an electric runner to feature in the game plan, which would alleviate some of the pressure on Derek Carr’s shoulders.

 

25 – PHILADELPHIA

Dexter Lawrence – DT

School: Clemson | Year: Junior

Lawrence is a rugged nose tackle with the size and strength to erase runs between the guards while also collapsing the pocket with bull rushes on passing downs.

 

26 – INDIANAPOLIS

Deandre Baker – CB

School: Georgia | Year: Senior

The Jim Thorpe award winner would immediately upgrade the Colts’ secondary. Speed is a question, but his instincts, awareness and takeaway skills make him a nice fit in the Colts’ scheme.

 

27 – OAKLAND (from Dallas)

Riley Ridley – WR

School: Georgia | Year: Junior

Gruden loves skilled route runners at receiver. Ridley is a crafty technician with a knack for getting open and making tough catches in traffic.

 

28 – LA CHARGERS

Devin Bush – LB

School: Michigan | Year: Junior

Despite playing well with their seven-DB package, the Chargers need to find a sideline-to-sideline linebacker to fortify the front seven. Bush is an instinctive playmaker with range and solid tackling skills.

 

29 – KANSAS CITY

Joejuan Williams – CB

School: Vanderbilt | Year: Junior

A long, rangy corner with outstanding bump-and-run skills would upgrade the Chiefs’ secondary.

 

30 – GREEN BAY (from New Orleans)

Irv Smith Jr. – TE

School: Alabama | Year: Junior

New head coach Matt LaFleur needs to stockpile weapons around Aaron Rodgers to jump start the Packers’ sagging offense. Smith has the size, speed and athleticism to create mismatches on the perimeter.

 

31 – LA RAMS

Garrett Bradbury – OL

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

The Rams need more athleticism and toughness along their frontline. Bradbury is a versatile interior blocker with the IQ and movement skills to shine at guard or center.

 

32 – NEW ENGLAND

Rock Ya-Sin – CB

School: Temple | Year: Senior

Belichick loves hard-nosed players with versatile skills. Ya-Sin is a natural cover corner with the speed, quickness and instincts to slide inside as a nickel corner in sub-packages.