AROUND THE NFL

The NFL needs three new referees in 2019 to replace Tony Corrente, Pete Morelli and John Parry.  The third one was just named.  Cameron Felipe at FootballZebras.com has the tale on Texan Brad Rodgers:

 

Field judge Brad Rogers, who will be entering his third season as an NFL official, has been promoted to the referee position, to replace retiree and three-time Super Bowl official John Parry, who retired on April 1. He will be the third rookie white hat for the 2019 season, joining Adrian Hill and Scott Novak, who were promoted in late February.

 

Rogers completed his second season as a field judge in 2018, as a member of Shawn Smith’s crew; Smith was a first-year crew chief that year. He was the field judge on Pete Morelli’s crew during his rookie season. He worked the Divisional Playoff game in New England between the Chargers and Patriots this postseason, his first year eligible.

 

Previously he worked in the Southeastern Conference and Conference USA as a referee. Rogers got his start officiating in high school football in Texas in 1991, and one of his high school crews featured officials who all eventually worked Division I college football.

 

Rogers worked at the referee position in a preseason tryout this past season, pictured above, following his first year in the NFL. This means he was on the officiating department’s radar very early, and has now assumed his new role as a white hat.

 

Outside of the NFL, Rogers is an educator in the business department at Lubbock Christian University in Lubbock, Texas.

 

There are now seven new white hats over the past two seasons, the most since the AFL-NFL merger. However, with still some time before May 15, the end of the “dark period” for officials, there may be some more turnover in the roster — not only at the referee position — to keep an eye out for.

 

Leaving the field

                         Yrs      Retired                                         College                       Occupation

Jeff Triplette      22         2018, to ESPN                            Wake Forest   restructuring consultant

Terry McAulay   20         2018, to NBC                               LSU                   college officiating coord.

Ed Hochuli        28         2018, to officiating consultant     Texas-El Paso   attorney

Gene Steratore  15         2018, to CBS                               Kent State       owner, supply company

Walt Coleman    30         2019                                            Arkansas       dairy processor mgr

John Parry        19         2019, to ESPN                            Purdue                         financial advisor

Pete Morelli       22         2019                                           St. Mary’s       retired h.s. principal

 

Promoted to referee

                                    Yrs*      Replaces                         College           Occupation

Alex Kemp        6          2018, Triplette                              Cent Mich      insurance agent

Shawn Hochuli   6          2018, Ed Hochuli                        Claremont        financial advisor

Shawn Smith     5          2018, McAulay                            Ferris State     internal auditor

Clay Martin        5          2018, Steratore                           Okla Baptist     h.s. basketball coach

Adrian Hill        10         2019, Coleman/Morelli                 Buffalo              software engineer

Scott Novak      6          2019, Coleman/Morelli                 Phoenix           sales manager

Brad Rogers     3          2019, Parry                            Lubbock Christian college professor

 

Here is info on Hill and Novak whose promotions in late February we have not noted until today:

 

Adrian Hill

 

Adrian Hill entered the NFL in 2010 as a line judge from Conference USA where he worked at the referee position. In 2007, Hill worked in the now-defunct NFL Europe league. He worked on Craig Wrolstad’s crew this season.

 

Hill has worked as a line judge, field judge, and side judge in the NFL. He didn’t receive any playoff games as a line judge but has worked three playoff games since his move to a deep wing, including a wild card round this past season.

 

Hill has taken part in preseason referee tryouts in 2013, 2017, and 2018. He has been on the league’s radar for years and now has finally received the call to lead an officiating crew in the NFL.

 

Scott Novak

 

Scott Novak joined the NFL in 2014, and had worked as both a side judge and field judge. He worked on Brad Allen’s crew this season.

 

He had a decorated career as a college referee in the Big 12 Conference, calling many high profile games including, the Rose Bowl, the Sugar Bowl and the 2012 BCS Championship Game.

 

Novak did not work a playoff game in the 2018 postseason, as an on-field official nor as an alternate. His last postseason assignment was in the 2017 Divisional Round.

 

Similar to Hill, Novak participated in the referee tryouts in the 2015 and 2018 preseasons.

 

NFC NORTH

 

GREEN BAY

The Green Bay Packers intend to exercise their fifth-year option, expected to be worth about $8 million, on defensive tackle Kenny Clark for the 2020 season. General manager Brian Gutekunst confirmed that plan to reporters, although the team has until a May 3 deadline to make the move official.

 

NFC EAST

 

WASHINGTON

With GM Doug Williams, the Redskins should have some affinity for QB DWAYNE HASKINS.  Grant Gordon of NFL.com:

 

Perhaps Dwayne Haskins might well be a perfect fit for just about anyone.

 

The 6-foot-3, 230-pound prospective first-round selection out of Ohio State has seemingly made the most of his visits leading up to Thursday’s NFL Draft.

 

He drew headlines when he wore a John Elway jersey to meet with the Denver Broncos. He had lunch with Eli Manning and dinner with the New York Giants brass.

 

And now, the quarterback who broke records as a Buckeye seems to have built mutual interest with the Washington Redskins, who pick at No. 15 in the opening round.

 

“There’s definitely something there,” Haskins said Monday on NFL Network’s Up to the Minute. “I feel like there’s a great relationship with the Redskins. My mentor Shawn Springs played for the Redskins. Great relationship with [owner] Mr. [Daniel] Snyder and the rest of the Redskins ownership. Whatever team picks me, I’ll be excited to be a part of, but there’s definitely something there in D.C.”

 

Before his days at Ohio State, where as a senior he threw for a program- and Big 10-record 50 touchdowns along with 4,831 yards, Haskins went to high school in Maryland. So, geographically, playing for Washington makes plenty of sense.

 

“For me to be able to go back in D.C., somewhere where I also grew up at, went to high school at,” Haskins said, “is definitely a lot of fun for me to be able to spend time with [Doug Williams], coach Gruden and the rest of the offensive staff. I think the Redskins are a great place to be.”

 

With his time and tribulations at Ohio State, the Cincinnati Bengals would also seem to be a fit, but Haskins said he had not talked to them since the combine.

 

So perhaps Washington would be a great place to be for Haskins, as Alex Smith is on the comeback trail from a gruesome leg injury and Case Keenum looks to only be a temporary starter.

 

“We needed a quarterback and we were able to trade for Case, but that does not put us out of the realm of picking a quarterback if there is one there that we like at 15,” Williams said on Monday. “We don’t know who is going to be there at 15.”

 

Of course, becoming the heir apparent to Manning is also a possible scenario with Big Blue drafting at No. 6, so the Redskins could have to move up via trade if Haskins is indeed their signal-caller of the future.

 

“I don’t know. I told ’em to [come get me], but we’ll see what happens,” Haskins said of encouraging Washington to work a trade for him.

 

Haskins later walked that back a bit.

 

“I didn’t tell them to, Shawn did,” he said. “So, that’s another conversation.”

 

Alas, on Monday, Williams told the media that trading up was unlikely.

 

“Well, I’ve said all along, the chance of trading up is a lot slimmer than trading back,” Williams said. “I’m going to go on the record and say that’s a possibility that we won’t trade up, but there’s a great possibility we’ll trade back if that opportunity came.”

 

Either way, Haskins is having lots of conversations these days, but at least three days ahead of the first round, there’s “definitely something there” with the Redskins.

 

NFC SOUTH

 

ATLANTA

DT GRADY JARRETT signs his franchise tag – and becomes $15.2 million richer.  There could be more to come.  Adam Maya of NFL.com:

 

Grady Jarrett has a new baseline for his 2019 pay.

 

The Atlanta Falcons announced Monday that defensive tackle Grady Jarrett has signed his franchise tag tender.

 

If the two sides don’t agree to a long-term deal, the fifth-year lineman will play the upcoming season on a one-year deal for $15,209,000 million. The Falcons still have until July 15 to sign Jarrett to a multi-year contract.

 

“As we have said since the end of the season, getting a deal done with Grady is our priority,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said in March. “Applying the franchise tag to him does not change that in any way. Our aim is for Grady to be an integral part of our plan for many years to come and this allows us to extend our negotiating window.”

 

The Falcons placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jarrett in March, just a few days before the 2015 fifth-round pick would have hit free agency for the first time in his career.

 

He was one of few bright spots last year for a Falcons defense that was ravaged by injuries and ranked in the 20s in several major categories. Jarrett registered career highs in sacks (6), QB hits (16) and forced fumbles (3).

 

Jarrett’s been one of the league’s most productive defensive tackles since becoming a full-time starter in 2016, a season he capped off by tying a Super Bowl record with three sacks. Jarrett has increased his sack total in each of his four seasons. He has recorded 179 tackles, 40 quarterback hits, 31 tackles for loss and 14 sacks in his career.

 

The Falcons have also signed journeyman S J.J. WILCOX to a one-year contract.

 

NFC WEST

 

ARIZONA

An Arizona draft update at YahooSports.com:

 

The Arizona Cardinals still haven’t tipped their hand as to how they’ll use the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft on Thursday, and teams continue to inquire about a trade, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Monday.

 

He also said general manager Steve Keim, coach Kliff Kingsbury and owner Michael Bidwill have a final meeting scheduled to make a decision.

 

The assumption is Cardinals will draft Kyler Murray, who won the Heisman Trophy and led Oklahoma to the College Football Playoff in 2018. Reports over the weekend surfaced that the Cardinals plan to keep Josh Rosen at quarterback and draft a difference-maker on defense.

 

CBS Sports columnist Pete Prisco reported that Bidwill wanted the team to take Murray, but that has changed. “Now all of a sudden they’re pulling back and, from what I have been told, they’re going to go in a different direction,” Prisco said. “They’re not going to draft Kyler Murray.”

 

And this from Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com:

 

Former NFL receiver Antonio Bryant has been banging the drum over the past day regarding the first overall pick in the draft. Specifically, Bryant insists that the Cardinals won’t take quarterback Kyler Murray, but that they’ll instead select defensive end Nick Bosa.

 

On Monday, Bryant said that he’s “hearing from people in the Cardinals organization” that Bosa sits at No. 1 on the Arizona board, and that the team will stick with Rosen at quarterback. Tuesday morning, Bryant doubled down.

 

“I’m telling you I trust my source,” Bryant said. “This ain’t no smokescreen. . . . The Cardinals are going to draft Nick Bosa 1st overall. . . . Just wait on it.”

 

Bryant may have made a potentially telling slip in his second tweet, narrowing his sourcing from “people in the Cardinals organization” to one specific person: “I trust my source.”

 

So who’s his source? There’s speculation that Bryant is getting his info from fellow former Pitt receiver (and Cardinals cornerstone) Larry Fitzgerald, even though their playing careers at Pittsburgh didn’t overlap. Whoever it is, Bryant presumably is pushing this information with the approval of his source, even though the Cardinals may not want this information to be disclosed — if it’s even accurate.

 

If it is accurate, look for more reports (from, you know, reporters) to soon emerge confirming what Bryant is claiming, unless reporters from ESPN and/or NFL Network truly are on lock down when it comes to tipping Arizona’s plans before Thursday night, when ABC, ESPN, and NFL Network will be televising the draft.

 

 

LOS ANGELES RAMS

Darin Gantt of ProFootballTalk.com on the Rams’ draft position:

 

The Rams are in uncharted waters — for the time being.

 

For the first time since taking quarterback Jared Goff first overall in 2016, they’re back in the first round. Unless they aren’t.

 

Via Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times, Rams coach Sean McVay played it coy when asked if they might trade out of the 31st overall spot this year.

 

“You never know,” McVay said.

 

It might be because he just doesn’t know what to do with one. He arrived the year after the deal to move up to take Jared Goff, which cost them their 2017 first-rounder. Last year, they sent the first to the Patriots in the wide receiver Brandin Cooks deal. This year’s second went to the Chiefs for cornerback Marcus Peters.

 

“Ever since we had that No. 1 overall pick, we’ve been kind of in this type of preparation,” General Manager Les Snead said. “So it feels the same.”

 

They’ve drafted well in the middle rounds to fill in some blanks, and will have to continue to with a top-heavy roster, which may lead them to consider moving out of the first round.

 

 

SEATTLE

QB RUSSELL WILSON shared some of his wealth.  YahooSports.com:

 

A week after Russell Wilson agreed to his four-year, $140 million deal with the Seahawks, he reportedly decided to share the wealth with the Seattle offensive linemen, gifting them each $12,000 in Amazon stock.

 

Each of Wilson’s 13 linemen reportedly received a letter with the gift, expressing his gratitude and hopes that the gift would help them “prepare for life after football.”

 

“You sacrifice your physical and mental well-being to protect me, which in turn allows me to provide and care for my family. This does not go unnoticed and it is never forgotten,” he wrote in a letter first published by TMZ.

 

Presumably $12,000 because 12 is the mystic number for the Seahawks and their fans.

 

AFC WEST

 

THE RAIDERS

Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com with a theory on the extraordinary lengths being taken by the Raiders to maintain secrecy:

 

On Friday, the Raiders took the highly unusual step of clearing the building of most scouts, telling them to stay home until after the draft. On Monday, the Raiders floated an excuse for sending employees home with pay.

 

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, the Raiders may be planning a”surprise” pick with the fourth overall selection, necessitating complete and total secrecy.

– – –

And here’s a fair question, given the manner in which a football operation should normally operate: Are the Raiders protecting coach Jon Gruden from himself? Specifically, is Gruden so impulsive and insecure that he can’t be trusted to refrain from bouncing his ideas about potential first-round picks off of scouts who in turn can’t be trusted to keep their own mouths shut?

 

Trust. It’s amazing to think that the Raiders suddenly can’t trust scouts that they necessarily have trusted for months. Trusted to do good work. Trusted to be discreet regarding anything they hear regarding the team’s plans. Trusted to show full loyalty to the entity who pays their salaries.

 

Either the Raiders suddenly decided that they can’t trust the scouts or they never trusted them in the first place, but did nothing about it until now. Neither explanation is satisfactory, and both make the Raiders look bad.

 

Indeed, the Raiders are hardly the first football operation to have a secret that they didn’t want to be compromised. But they are the first (at least in recent years) to pay people to not show up for work due to fears that someone who doesn’t need to know the secret may find out about it, and may blab.

 

It’s up to the leaders of the organization to ensure that people who aren’t trustworthy not be trusted with sensitive information. Which brings me back to the notion that the Raiders are essentially protecting Gruden from himself, by ensuring that Gruden doesn’t disclose the plans that Gruden and G.M. Mike Mayock are putting together for their three first-round picks, in an effort to feel more confident as Gruden embarks on a draft that will be critical to the manner in which his second stint with the Raiders ultimately goes.

 

 

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

EDGE JOEY BOSA has already played three seasons.  Seems like just yesterday that he was drafted.  Kevin Patra of NFL.com:

 

This week the Bosa family will find out where Nick will play the next five years. First, we’ve got some Joey Bosa news to get out of the way.

 

The Los Angeles Chargers exercised the fifth-year option on Joey Bosa, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a source informed of the situation. The move keeps the pass rusher in Powder Blue through the 2020 season.

 

ESPN first reported the news.

 

Picking up a fifth year of the 2016 No. 3 overall pick was about as no-brainer as it can get. The first non-QB drafted that year has become a signal-caller menace during his first three seasons and the pivot point in the Chargers defense.

 

Injuries slowed his rookie campaign after a contract holdout, but Bosa’s combination of speed, power and relentlessness makes him a handful for any offense when he’s healthy. He’s compiled double-digit sacks the past two seasons.

 

Ensuring Bosa will be in L.A. for at least two more years is about an easy a decision GM Tom Telesco will have this week.

 

AFC NORTH

 

BALTIMORE

The Ravens have picked up the 5th year option of T RONNIE STALEY.

 

 

CLEVELAND

Is there such a thing as a good cancer on a football team?  That seems to be the contention of WR ODELL BECKHAM, Jr. vis a vis himself.  Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com:

 

Odell Beckham would like you to know that if he was a problem on the Giants, it’s because he had a problem with the Giants’ complacency about going 6-10 or worse in four of his five seasons there.

 

In a series of tweets, Beckham responded to a comment from Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman in which Gettleman was asked if the Giants had a culture problem and answered, “Not anymore.” Some saw Gettleman’s statement as saying the Giants got rid of their culture problem when they traded Beckham to the Browns, and Beckham didn’t appreciate that suggestion.

 

“Ask any one of my teammates of who I was as a teammates and a man and a person,” Beckham wrote. “Yes I’m cancer to a place that’s ok wit losing because I want to win that BADDD. Ur absolutely correct!”

 

Beckham said he’s happier in Cleveland.

 

“I’ve never been in a place so happy in my life, my soul, my spirit, is at an all time high!” Beckham wrote.

 

Beckham and Gettleman may both agree that the trade was for the best.

 

Of course, Beckham’s happiness is not currently on display “in” Cleveland.  ProFootballTalk.com:

 

Odell Beckham Jr. is not attending the Browns’ voluntary minicamp this week, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reports. The three-day camp, which is an extra one given to new head coaches, began Tuesday.

 

The star receiver showed up for the first day of the voluntary offseason program April 1 but has worked out on his own in Los Angeles since. That is his typical offseason routine.

 

The Browns are not concerned about Beckham’s absence, with coach Freddie Kitchens having acknowledged Beckham would not regularly attend the voluntary portion of the offseason. The mandatory minicamp is June 4-6.

 

“This is all voluntary,” Kitchens said earlier this month. “I didn’t encourage anything. Odell knows what’s at stake. He knows what he needs to be here for. This is strictly voluntary. If we wanted to critique people for not coming and coming, then we should make it mandatory as a league. It’s not mandatory. Would I hold a grudge if he’s not going to come? No, I wouldn’t.’’

 

 

THIS AND THAT

 

 

ROB RANG’S MOCK DRAFT

Rob, of NFLDraftScout.com, is usually pretty good at this.

 

With one more week to press my best sources – they helped me project all five QBs to the correct teams last year – here is how I see things shaking out in the first round.

 

1. Arizona Cardinals – Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

Murray has some bust factor to him but he is the most dynamic player in this draft and an ideal fit in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense. Expect Josh Rosen to get peddled with the Giants (which have 12 draft selections to play with) a particularly intriguing fit.

 

2. San Francisco – Nick Bosa, OLB, Ohio State

Sure, the 49ers already boast a pretty fearsome front with DeForest Buckner, Solomon Thomas and shiny new edge rusher Dee Ford but Bosa could turn a team strength into one of the better units in the league.

 

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

Like the 49ers a pick earlier, the Jets need merely to pick their favorite flavor of the dominant front seven defenders available to them. Oliver’s quickness would seem a terrific fit in new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ ultra-aggressive scheme.

 

4. Oakland Raiders – Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

Arguably the best player in the draft falling in your lap? Mike Mayock the analyst would have to give the Raiders and their new GM an A for this selection, despite Oakland already possessing a lot of young talent up front.

 

5. Tampa Bay – Devin White, ILB, LSU

Count me among those who believe that the Bucs are going to take big, big strides in Year One under Bruce Arians – mostly because of how he will corral Jameis Winston. Hitting an immediate impact star as the QB of the Bucs’ defense would go a long way in correcting last year’s under-achieving defense, as well.

 

6. New York Giants – Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan

Could a quarterback go here? Sure, but all Dave Gettleman has ever done so far is be honest about his affinity for hog mollies and running the ball. Gary is a Jersey native with the size, strength and athleticism to one day be viewed as the best player in this draft.

 

7. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida

Like Gettleman, Tom Coughlin is a straight-shooter. He believes in size and physicality in the trenches. Taylor might rank second or third among tackles for some but he’s a perfect fit for the Jaguars’ offense.

 

8. Detroit Lions – Josh Allen, OLB, Kentucky

Dynamic off the edge, better dropping into coverage than most assume and team leader, Allen checks off too many of the boxes Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn appear to be using to let slip any further.

 

9. Buffalo Bills – D.K. Metcalf, WR, Mississippi

The Bills are another run-first (and second) team but what is the point of adding a quarterback with as strong of an arm as Josh Allen if he can’t unleash it every now and again. Metcalf has the speed and size to make play-action a legitimate threat.

 

10. Denver Broncos – Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

I love the fit of Lock in Denver, though adding a speedy linebacker like Michigan’s Devin Bush is another exciting option. Lock’s arm, mobility and swagger could remind John Elway of himself and the Broncos would have time to make Lock earn the starting role, learning behind a consummate pro in Joe Flacco.

 

11. Cincinnati Bengals – Devin Bush, ILB, Michigan

Much of the focus nationally has centered on the Bengals replacing Andy Dalton but don’t be surprised if it is instead a changing of the guard at the QB on defense that occurs instead. Bush is faster (and plays smarter) than former starter Vontaze Burfict but offers similar physicality and intensity.

 

12. Green Bay Packers – T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

There likely is no truth to the rumor that the Packers were offering tryouts to Lambeau stadium vendors as reliable pass-catchers to complement Davante Adams but the tight ends and receivers on the roster weren’t offering much help. Hockenson can be the safety blanket (and so much more) that Aaron Rodgers has been missing.

 

13. Miami Dolphins – Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

The Dolphins current QB depth chart consists of Ryan Fitzpatrick, Luke Falk and Jake Rudock. If they do not select a QB here (or trade for Rosen), at least they’ll make projecting which team and position is likely to go No. 1 in 2020 easy for draft analysts. Haskins is no Tom Brady but he is a gutty, rhythm passer with good accuracy to the short and intermediate levels, which new head coach Brian Flores should appreciate.

 

14. Atlanta Falcons –Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State

Sweat’s medical red-flags could scare off some but I have a hard time envisioning him getting out of the top 15 – and can you imagine his speed off the edge across from Vic Beasley with Grady Jarrett attacking up the middle? Yeah, so can Dan Quinn.

 

15. Washington Redskins – Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

Quite frankly, I’m not as high on Jones as most. I do not have a first round grade on him due to his average arm strength. He clearly possesses the size, mobility and I.Q. to be successful, however, and is a clean schematic fit in Jay Gruden’s offense. With Alex Smith ailing, the Redskins are as desperate for QB help as anyone.

 

16. Carolina Panthers – Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

The Panthers’ top brass traveled the country to see all of the top OTs work out this spring. They are taking a tackle and if Williams – the best offensive lineman in this draft – is still available, GM Marty Hurney (not to mention Cam Newton) should be dancing.

 

17. New York Giants – Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

How does one replace a dynamic talent like OBJ? Draft a pass-catcher who is even faster. Hollywood meets Broadway.

 

18. Minnesota Vikings – Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State

A bit passive, Dillard isn’t a fit for everyone but he possesses the best feet of any tackle in this draft class, which is exactly what Kirk Cousins needs to begin living up to his massive contract.

 

19. Tennessee Titans – Brian Burns, OLB, Florida State

Like the Falcons with Sweat, the idea of pairing the bendy Burns with Harold Landry and Jurrell Casey has to be an exciting thought for Titans’ fans.

 

20. Pittsburgh Steelers – Andraez “Greedy” Williams, CB, LSU

The Steelers have historically prioritized physicality and technique over speed and raw athleticism at cornerback but that has not translated into success in the defensive backfield in recent years. Williams needs to show more commitment in run support but his height, speed and balls-kills are Pro Bowl caliber.

 

21. Seattle Seahawks – Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State

Projecting the Seahawks to pick here may be a waste of time as the club has traded its first pick (either to move down or for a veteran) the past seven years. What’s more, the team currently has just four selections this year. Abrams possesses the speed and physicality this club prioritizes, however, and safety is a position of concern.

 

22. Baltimore Ravens – Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

Ferrell may lack the quick-twitch of some of this year’s other top edge rushers but his physicality, length and production makes him exactly the type of player former Ravens’ GM Ozzie Newsome would have loved. It will be fun to see if Eric DeCosta takes a similar approach on draft day.

 

23. Houston Texans – Kaleb McGary, OT, Washington

The Texans’ offensive line was a mess last season and given that young star Deshaun Watson has already missed half of one season due to injury, improving up front should be a top priority. McGary is as pro-ready as this class gets at offensive tackle with the size, athleticism and toughness to project as a plug and play starter at right tackle.

 

24. Oakland Raiders – Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

Given how productive Jared Cook was last year for the Raiders, it seems obvious that the club will be looking to add reinforcements to the position now that he’s in New Orleans. Fant is an even better athlete and provides terrific value here.

 

25. Philadelphia Eagles – Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware

Not every club has the guts to invest a first round pick in an FCS player like Adderley but taken a proven commodity like him at 25 is much tamer than investing the No. 2 overall selection in Carson Wentz or letting a Super Bowl MVP like Nick Foles walk away. Adderley possesses an ideal blend of size, range, tackling ability and ball-skills.

 

26. Indianapolis Colts – Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

In most drafts, Wilkins would probably go in the top 10-15 but he could slide a bit this year as teams foolishly give too much credit to the other dominant players on Clemson’s defensive line and overlook his polished game. Chris Ballard and his Colts staff were big winners a year ago in the draft and would be starting off beautifully this time, as well, if Wilkins fell into their lap.

 

27. Oakland Raiders – Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma

After the way Dalton Risner competed his tail off for Jon Gruden and the Raiders at the Senior Bowl, I wanted to place him here. Ford is the better athlete, however. Each possesses the positional versatility to pay immediate dividends.

 

28. Los Angeles Chargers – Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State

Finding a more dynamic weapon to pair with Keenan Allen (and Hunter Henry) as pass-catchers could provide the jolt the Chargers need to spark a predictable offense and disinterested LA fanbase. Campbell, a two-time team captain with electric speed would be a fun fit.

 

29. Kansas City Chiefs – Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

Baker isn’t the biggest or fastest of this year’s defensive backs but he is as battle-tested and tenacious as it gets. For a club destined to be playing in lots of shoot-outs, the reigning Thorpe Award winner would seem to make a lot of sense – especially with the top pass rushers off the board.

 

30. Green Bay Packers – Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

Along with Hockenson, Jacobs would provide the Packers – and more specifically Aaron Rodgers – plenty of reason to be rejuvenated. Jacobs lacks elite breakaway speed but has everything else needed to be a true franchise back, including soft hands, physicality as a blocker and toughness.

 

31. Los Angeles Rams – Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

Too talented to fall out of the first round, Murphy would provide the Rams with terrific depth at cornerback behind the gifted (but not exactly reliable) Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib. Like the Chiefs, the Rams would be wise to keep adding to their defense.

 

32. New England Patriots –Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

Like Murphy one pick earlier, Lawrence is just too talented to slip out of the top 32 and no one would fill a bigger hole in the middle for the Patriots.

 

 

CHRIS TRAPASSO’s MOCK DRAFT

This from Chris Trapasso of CBSSports.com:

 

Seeing clearly through the smoke on draft week is impossible. And, right now, the smoke is as ubiquitous as at a Phish concert.

 

Of course by smoke I mean agenda-pushing. Let’s call them falsehoods pertaining to seemingly every potential first-round prospect.

 

Oh, and it’s only Tuesday. The smoke will intensify the closer we get to the draft. Are the Raiders really going to surprise with the No. 4 overall pick after sending their scouts home to protect the secrecy of their finalized draft board? Which quarterback will fall? Is Daniel Jones really going in the top half of Round 1?

 

Who will surprisingly sneak into back of the first round? In regards to the real draft, join us on draft day by streaming our live coverage right here on CBS Sports HQ (or download the CBS Sports app for free on any mobile or connected TV device). You’ll get analysis and grades for every pick as it’s made and plenty more you’ll want to know during the weekend.

 

1. ARIZONA CARDINALS

Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma: Yes, I do think there’s been some discussion this week about whether or not the Cardinals should pick Murray. But this is still the most likely scenario and, on paper, a great fit with new head coach Kliff Kingsbury.

 

2. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State: This is really the only slam dunk pairing in the top 10. Even though he’d be the fourth defensive lineman the 49ers have taken in the last five Round 1s, he rounds out the group up front opposite newly acquired Dee Ford.

 

3. NEW YORK JETS

Ed Oliver, DL, Houston: Edge is a greater need for the Jets, and they’d love to trade out. In this scenario, they can’t get a good enough deal to move out, so they instead go with Oliver to pair with Leonard Williams inside.

 

4. OAKLAND RAIDERS

Devin White, LB, LSU: Would this be considered enough of a “surprise” at No. 4? White would be the immediate quarterback of Oakland’s defense, and you better believe Jon Gruden would love his speed at the second level.

 

5. CINCINNATI BENGALS (MOCK TRADE WITH TAMPA BAY)

Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State: The Bengals get aggressive in finding a future franchis QB with their new head coach Zac Taylor. The Bucs would seriously consider Quinnen Williams or Josh Allen here but instead pick up more early picks.

 

6. NEW YORK GIANTS

Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky: The Giants need to address the edge spot after trading Olivier Vernon this offseason. In this scenario, they’re ecstatic he’s still available at No. 6 overall.

 

7. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama: Doug Marrone, Tom Coughlin, and Dave Caldwell remember how vital their defensive line when the team was a few minutes away from playing in the Super Bowl. Williams, to some, is the best prospect in this class.

 

8. DETROIT LIONS

Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan: Gary, like splash free-agent signee Trey Flowers, can disrupt from anywhere on the defensive line in Detroit.

 

9. BUFFALO BILLS

Jonah Williams, OL, Alabama: Williams has ties to current Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, who had the same position with the Crimson Tide in 2017. The Alabama blocker is the type of prepared, high character guy Sean McDermott likes.

 

10. DENVER BRONCOS

T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa: Joe Flacco often relied on his tight ends in Baltimore and the Broncos have to get better at that position. Hockenson would fit awesomely in Denver and provide a boost to the run game thanks to his blocking prowess.

 

11. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (MOCK TRADE WITH CINCINNATI)

Devin Bush, LB, Michigan: Amazing draft-board maneuvering from the Buccaneers here. They move out of No. 5 overall and still get Bush, another blisteringly fast linebackers to man the middle of their defense.

 

12. GREEN BAY PACKERS

Noah Fant, TE, Iowa: Fant is a dangerous seam-stretcher who can win in contested-catch situations with relative ease. He’d be an instant-impact player with Aaron Rodgers.

 

13. NEW YORK GIANTS (MOCK TRADE WITH MIAMI)

Daniel Jones, QB, Duke: At the start of their rebuild, the Dolphins would love to accumulate future draft picks. As for the Giants, they’d land a top defensive prospect and Dave Gettleman’s guy in Jones.

 

14. ATLANTA FALCONS

Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson: The Falcons must get more stout on the inside of their defensive line, and Wilkins would be the perfect complement to Grady Jarrett.

 

15. WASHINGTON REDSKINS

Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma: Brown would add a much-needed speed/deep threat to the receiver group in Washington. He be useful out of the slot too, a position that needs a serious weapon after Jamison Crowder signed with the Jets in free agency.

 

16. CAROLINA PANTHERS

Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State: Burns needs to continue to add weight, but he has the natural pass-rushing talent to be a superstar. The Panthers address one of their most glaring needs here.

 

17. MIAMI DOLPHINS (MOCK TRADE WITH NEW YORK)

Andre Dillard, OL, Washington State: Yes, the Dolphins just picked up the fifth-year option on 2016 first-round Laremy Tunsil. But that doesn’t mean he’ll be around past 2020. They simply can’t pass on Dillard to protect their eventual franchise QB.

 

18. MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Garrett Bradbury, OL, NC State: The Vikings are another team in need of a talent infusion up front, and Bradbury is an ultra-athletic center capable of carrying out difficult blocks on the move and across gaps.

 

19. TENNESSEE TITANS

Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson: Ferrell is a long, heavy, and athletic edge rusher with an improving collection of pass-rushing moves. He’s what the doctor ordered for the Titans.

 

20. PITTSBURGH STEELERS

D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss: HELLO. Arguably the most polarizing offensive non-quarterback in this class lands to help replace Antonio Brown. Awesome fit with Ben Roethlisberger’s downfield prowess.

 

21. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

Juan Thornhill, S, Virginia: Thornhill is a rangy center fielder with impressive size and serious range. His tremendous combine is likely to have piqued the interest of GM John Schneider.

 

22. BALTIMORE RAVENS

Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma: The Ravens wants to overwhelm teams with an old-school running attack in a new-school passing area. Ford would add more power to an already solid offensive line.

 

23. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

Greedy Williams, CB, LSU: Williams could go earlier than this, yet his combine measurements were a little disappointing, and there’s always a stunning draft-day slide for a perceived top prospect.

 

24. OAKLAND RAIDERS

Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State: Last year, Jon Gruden took Maurice Hurst despite some teams’ concerns over his heart condition. Sweat could slide because of a heart condition too. The Raiders seem like a team willing to stop that slide.

 

25. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

Erik McCoy, OL, Texas A&M: The Eagles have long had one of the league’s best offensive lines. Infusing it with some talented youth would be a shrewd decision from GM Howie Roseman.

 

26. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

Jeffery Simmons, DL, Mississippi State: Simmons is too talented to fall out of Round 1, and for a playoff-caliber club like the Colts, they’d be fine if he’s not ready to step onto the field at 100 percent until November.

 

27. OAKLAND RAIDERS

Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama: The Raiders seem like the only team willing to draft Jacobs in Round 1, and they do have a big need at the position.

 

28. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

Dexter Lawrence, DL, Clemson: A gigantic defensive tackle with some pass-rushing ability between Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa should sound good to all Chargers fans.

 

29. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State: Campbell is dynamic wideout with 4.31 speed who flourished after catching the football on short passes at Ohio State. Andy Reid will love him.

 

30. GREEN BAY PACKERS

Drew Lock, QB, Missouri: Lock as the big faller of the quarterback group? It could happen. And Packers fans would be scratching their heads with this pick. But it’d be a decently prudent one for new GM Brian Gutekunst.

 

31. LOS ANGELES RAMS

Chris Lindstrom, OL, Boston College: The Rams have to reconstruct the offensive line after losing Rodger Saffold. Lindstrom proved his worth as a tackle at Boston College before kicking inside as a senior and proving to be an athletic, mauling guard.

 

32. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

Jerry Tillery, DL, Notre Dame: After losing Trey Flowers on the free-agent market, the Patriots could be interested in adding a position versatile defensive lineman with active hands. They’d get that here with Tillery.

 

 

2019 DRAFT

Would you be scared to know that Oklahoma WR MARQUISE BROWN is the cousin of Steelers/Raiders WR ANTONIO BROWN – and that the two talk every day?  This from the OUDaily in October:

 

The two are related — cousins to be exact.

 

“It’s very nice, I learn a lot from him,” Marquise said. “He just keeps me motivated every time I see him out there on the field.”

 

Marquise said he and Antonio talk every day, with Antonio sharing advice and giving pointers to the young receiver. Marquise even mentioned Antonio is hoping to make an appearance at one of Oklahoma’s upcoming games — the Steelers bye week just so happens to be this week.

 

Marquise has been working out with Antonio since a young age and continued to do so throughout his high school and JUCO careers. Even this past summer, he and redshirt junior quarterback Kyler Murray trained with Antonio. Marquise’s biggest takeaway from those training sessions with Antionio was simple. 

 

“Just work ethic,” Marquise said. “He plays with an edge. He doesn’t have anything not figured out, and that’s why he’s the best in the game, in my opinion. He has an attitude that makes him great.”

 

Marquise’s hard work in the offseason has definitely shown this season for the Sooners, catching 33 passes for 675 yards and seven touchdowns — which is already tied for how many touchdowns he caught all last season. He’s also receiving national attention, being considered one of the front runners for the Biletnikoff award and quickly moving up NFL draft boards.

 

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“I don’t get excited, but I do take it as a blessing,” Marquise said about receiving recognition. “It’s always a blessing to be recognized, but the main goal is still ahead.”

 

Marquise isn’t worried about the outside noise, and he really doesn’t care much for talking about his cousin, either.

 

So while he may have royal wide receiver blood, he still wants to make a name for himself at Oklahoma.

 

“I’m with Oklahoma right now,” Marquise said. “That’s all I’m focused on.”

 

Interesting to note that KYLER MURRAY has a history with ANTONIO BROWN as well

– – –

Michigan man EDGE RASHAN GARY is talented, but he’s got a bum shoulder.  Kevin Patra of NFL.com:

 

The pre-draft process remains muddled for Rashan Gary.

 

The Michigan defensive lineman has a shoulder that was flagged, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per sources informed of the situation. The injury issue is a labral tear from college, and most believe he can play this season, then possibly have surgery afterwards, per Rapoport. The injury would likely have to be managed or harnessed though.

 

Gary blew away the NFL Scouting Combine confirming the athletic traits that once made him the top high school recruit in the nation. His production at Michigan, however, didn’t match the immense physical talent, leading to many pre-draft questions about the Michigan pass rusher at the NFL level.

 

Gary’s health entering the NFL was also in question. He dealt with a shoulder issues that kept him out of several games last season. It appears that issue might not be fully in the past.

 

The chatter surrounding the 21-year-old edge rusher has vacillated greatly depending on the pundit. NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah settled on Gary as the No. 10 overall player in his latest Top 100 Prospects of the 2019 NFL Draft released this week. The edge rusher began the process as the No. 4 overall player on Jeremiah’s list. Pro Football Focus has been down on Gary throughout the process, leaving him entirely out of most of their first-round projections.

 

The shoulder issue is the latest question to pop up for Gary. It conjures shades of Shaq Lawson in 2016, who fell to 19th in the draft with a shoulder injury teams thought he might be able to play through. After the Bills made him a mid-round pick, Lawson eventually had surgery in mid-May and missed the first six games of his rookie campaign.

– – –

Todd McShay shares what he is hearing as he works the pre-draft phones:

 

THE TOP 10 PICKS

 

Arizona Cardinals (Pick No. 1)

There is a handful of people starting to question whether Kyler Murray is still the No. 1 pick, including a general manager I spoke to in the past 72 hours. But I’m sticking with this pick until there’s more concrete information otherwise. Kliff Kingsbury and his staff seem to like the Oklahoma quarterback as the new driver of their offense. So what happens with Josh Rosen? The two teams I hear most in trade discussions are the Giants and Dolphins.

 

San Francisco 49ers (Pick No. 2)

There are basically three options here: The Niners either draft Ohio State DE Nick Bosa, draft Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen or move back and take advantage of the depth of this draft class. Edge is a glaring need for San Francisco, and there’s a good chance the best pass-rusher — and player overall — in Bosa will be on the board at No. 2.

 

New York Jets (Pick No. 3)

Ideally, the Jets finally get a legit pass-rusher at No. 3. They’ve needed an edge guy forever, and either Bosa or Allen is likely to still be on the board. Alabama’s Quinnen Williams and Houston’s Ed Oliver, both interior game wreckers, also could be options.

 

Even though new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams says he is sticking with a 3-4, it’s really more of a hybrid base front. That’s why Williams and Oliver make sense here, despite conventional thinking. The Alabama DT is still apparently ahead on the team’s big board, but there is growing Oliver-to-New York buzz. And I’ve also heard New York is open to trading out if it gets a respectable package.

 

Oakland Raiders (Pick Nos. 4, 24 and 27)

Sources I have talked to think Oakland stays home at No. 4 and takes an impact defensive lineman such as Williams or Oliver, or perhaps Allen if he’s still on the board. But I’ve also heard LSU linebacker Devin White’s name mentioned. If Oakland stays put, it will get a top player for its defense.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Pick No. 5)

Which team wants to get ahead of the QB-needy franchises? Tampa Bay would move back if it gets a worthwhile deal. The Bucs are in a good spot with this pick; they don’t need a quarterback, and other teams that do could be willing to trade up. Also, if the Bucs decide to keep the pick, they will likely end up with Allen or White. I see White as the best off-the-ball linebacker in the entire class and a player who can be the leader of a defense for many years.

 

New York Giants (Pick Nos. 6 and 17)

As mentioned, I’ve heard that New York is in the mix for Rosen, which would help explain the talk of the Giants not wanting a quarterback with their top-10 pick. All the chatter is defensive line here, assuming this isn’t all a smokescreen. That’s possible, but all I’m hearing with this pick is that GM Dave Gettleman is “pass-rusher crazed.”

 

Oliver and Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins are the two names I’ve heard as real possibilities. If Big Blue opts to address the defensive line at 6, it becomes a game of chicken with Washington — the owner of the 15th pick — to potentially trade up from 17 for a QB.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars (Pick No. 7)

Word is the Jags want to address the offensive line later in the draft. So whom do they like at No. 7 then? Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson is one name to watch, but there are also plenty of rumblings regarding the defensive line. Basically, the thought is that whichever of Oliver and Wilkins the Giants don’t take could ultimately land here.

 

Detroit Lions (Pick No. 8)

The Lions want to trade back. There are plenty of tight ends and defensive linemen available later in the draft, and after the top six or seven guys are off the board, it makes sense for a team like Detroit to move out of this pick. But the Lions will need a trade partner, and Washington is a team worth keeping an eye on.

 

Buffalo Bills (Pick No. 9)

Buffalo added six offensive linemen in free agency, so I’m told it wants to focus on the defensive line with this pick. Oliver and Wilkins are again the two names I’ve heard most here, but the question becomes: Will either still be out there?

 

Denver Broncos (Pick No. 10)

I’m hearing that the Broncos will not be taking a quarterback in the first round. Instead, they are more likely to roll the dice with Joe Flacco and attend to other needs. If Denver doesn’t go defense here, which is a possibility, it could go with Hockenson. But I’m also told Michigan ILB Devin Bush is in play.

 

OTHER INTRIGUING TEAMS WITH FIRST-ROUND PICKS

 

Cincinnati Bengals (Pick No. 11)

After talking to people across the league, there is a real possibility the Bengals make a splash with a quarterback in the first round. With Baker Mayfield in the division and a new coach for the Bengals, Cincinnati might opt for a pick that would sell some tickets. The Browns have all the AFC North buzz right now, and going QB here would help Cincinnati keep pace. If not, Bush is the name to remember. He would immediately fill a need.

 

Washington Redskins (Pick No. 15)

I have heard rumblings that Washington is most interested in Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins, but I’ve also heard Missouri’s Drew Lock thrown out there. The Redskins are a trade-up candidate, but how far? They could jump into the top five to make sure they get their quarterback, or they could sit tight and wait until No. 8 or No. 9 to hop past Denver, Cincinnati and Miami.

 

New England Patriots (Pick No. 32)

The talk has been tight end and quarterback all along for the defending champs with Rob Gronkowski in retirement and Tom Brady running out of time. But defensive line and secondary are bigger areas of focus than people might think. The Pats need impact players on the line, and Bill Belichick has had tons of success identifying draft talent at defensive tackle and defensive end in the past. But that No. 32 pick also falls right in the middle of what is expected to be a flurry of defensive back selections.

 

– – –

Terez Paylor of YahooSports.com has an All-Juice team with prospects he loves from all levels of the draft.  We are only listing his offensive skill players, you can see the whole team here

 

We edited his comments on some of them:

 

We’re only a few days away from the NFL draft — also known as Football Nerd Christmas — which means it’s time for my annual All-Juice Team, where I recognize 22 prospects I like because of their effort, attitude or performance.

 

I dubbed this the “All-Juice” team five years ago because juice is a phrase that, in football terms, means having the goods.

 

In general, my track record has been OK. Like any well-meaning prognosticator, I’ve had some home runs (like MVP Patrick Mahomes) in 2017 and some huge whiffs (Paxton Lynch in 2016).

– – –

I’ve picked players I’ve heard good things about during the pre-draft process. Just to be clear, I took no more than two players from each of the following tiers of prospects (who have been assigned grades based on where I think they’ll be taken in the draft):

 

7.5-7.1: Top 10 pick

 

7.0: 11-20

 

6.9: 21-32

 

6.8: Top half of the second round

 

6.7: Bottom half of the second

 

6.6: Top half of the third

 

6.5: Bottom half of the third

 

6.4: Fourth-round pick

 

6.3: Fifth-round pick

 

6.2: Sixth-round pick

 

6.1: Seventh-round pick

 

6.0: Priority free agent

 

There are some painful omissions since the strategy was to build the team the way I think a smart NFL franchise would: by picking the best combination of players I could find at quarterback, receiver/tight end, left tackle, edge rusher, defensive tackle and cornerback, and surrounding them with alphas, athletes and edgy players who love football.

 

OFFENSE

 

QB KYLER MURRAY, Oklahoma

Murray, one of two All-Juice offensive co-captains, is the most explosive dual-threat quarterback to come along since Cam Newton in 2011, and he’s a more accurate passer. Throw in his rare “second-reaction” ability — a coveted trait after Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes crushed the league with it last season — and Murray is the personification of “juice” at quarterback in today’s NFL, small stature and all. Grade: 7.5

 

RB DARRELL HENDERSON, Memphis

The 5-foot-8, 208-pounder is the most explosive running back in this class. He showed it in college, rushing for an absurd 1,909 yards and 22 touchdowns on only 214 carries last season. His vision can be spotty, but athletically he has rare breakaway ability. If he’s behind a good offensive line, it’s Pro Bowl time. Grade: 6.7

 

WR MARQUISE BROWN, Oklahoma

I’ll happily tap the man nicknamed “Hollywood” to be my feature receiver, and reunite this DeSean Jackson clone with his college quarterback. Brown is only 5-9 and 166 pounds, but he’s always the fastest player on the field, and a superb vertical threat and route-runner. For the quantity of short passes from Murray, Brown’s elite run-after the catch ability is a boon. Grade: 6.9

 

WR ANTOINE WESLEY, Texas Tech

Wesley is a massive 6-4, 203-pound target with huge (and reliable) 10-inch mitts and impressive route-running ability. He tests below the NFL mean as an overall athlete at the position, but his contested catch ability and 4.45 speed give him a chance to overcome that. He’s only a one-year starter, but after tallying 88 catches for 1,410 yards and nine touchdowns in 2018, he reminds me of a less-explosive Mike Evans. Grade: 6.2

 

WR SCOTT MILLER, Bowling Green

Yeah, it’s another small guy at 5-9, 166. But what Scott lacks in bulk, he makes up for with playmaking ability. He’s a slightly above average NFL athlete for the position — he ran a 4.39 at his pro day — and I liked his route-running and vertical ability in 2018, when he tallied over 1,100 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. Grade: 6.1

 

TE T.J. HOCKENSON, Iowa

The 6-5, 251-pound Hockenson has good ball skills, and he uses his elite athleticism to either win downfield or regularly leap over defenders after the catch (if he doesn’t run by them first). Plus he blocks, something most tight ends aren’t good at anymore. He’s the best tight end prospect in years. Grade: 7.1