The Daily Briefing Thursday, March 30, 2017
AROUND THE NFL
Kevin Seifert of ESPN looks at the NFL’s new policy on “targeting.”
New rule: Stronger enforcement of penalties for “very egregious” hits
What it means: The competition committee identified a handful of plays from the 2016 season that included hits so violent and so counter to existing rules that it wanted them “out of our game,” according to chairman Rich McKay. Referees already were empowered to eject players who committed those acts, and they will be encouraged to use that authority. If they don’t, the committee is recommending that the player be suspended for his next game even if it is a first offense. No rules will change, but it will be a point of emphasis. The league believes the issue will only arise a few times per season. I’m not so sure. Points of emphasis usually bring heavy-handed enforcement, especially early in the season. This is one to keep an eye on in September.
Is Jerry Jones really going to string TONY ROMO out all the way to the start of training camp? Todd Archer of ESPN.com wants this thing over now:
So Jerry Jones has finally said that there is a timetable for a resolution to the Tony Romo saga: training camp.
Jerry Jones says deadline on Tony Romo decision is training camp. Says they’ve spoken in last couple days. He’s doing great, has options
If you think that sounds bizarre, you’re not alone. It is bizarre. Completely bizarre.
There was an expectation Romo would be released March 9, the first day of the league year. Now Jones is talking about mid-July.
When he spoke with local reporters at the owners’ meetings, Jones said there is no waiting game.
“This is the offseason,” Jones said. “We’re not missing doing anything. From the standpoint of the franchise and the Cowboys, nothing is being held up here at all.”
Here’s why that “deadline” does not make much sense.
While the offseason program, which starts April 17, and organized team activities are voluntary, there is nothing stopping Romo from showing up at The Star for workouts, which would put him at risk of injury. If he were to get hurt, the Dallas Cowboys would be on the hook for his $14 million base salary. Do you think the Cowboys would like to see Romo on the squat rack ready to lift some heavy weights?
We’ve heard Jones tell us over and over again that a player’s value is at its lowest before the draft. If you are, say, the Houston Texans, you would want to have Romo on the roster at the start of the offseason program so he can begin to learn the offense, so waiting until after the draft isn’t the best of options either.
The delay of the inevitable has folks conjuring up Jones and Romo in some sort of staring contest, waiting for the other to blink. Jones has said that there is no acrimony and that he has spoken to Romo recently.
“We’re on great terms,” Jones said. “But I certainly don’t want to represent anything as to how he feels. But I feel good about how we’re doing, we being the Cowboys, me and Tony. I feel very good about it.”
Romo has been mostly quiet on his future, except for a couple of forays into social media. As he thanked the Cowboys fans for their support over the years, Bob Dylan’s “The Times They are a Changin'” played in the background, which was not a coincidence.
If the delay of the inevitable is an attempt to drum up trade discussions, it’s not working. Reports out of Houston and Denver have said that the Texans and Broncos are not interested in trading for Romo. Likely there would be interest in Romo as a free agent. If that happens, then Jones might see his nightmare of Romo winning a Super Bowl somewhere else come true.
Romo’s $14 million base salary is not so out of whack that a team would not pull off a deal. Would they like to rework the deal considering Romo’s injury history? Perhaps. But the contract is not keeping a team from making a trade for Romo.
What is keeping a team from making a trade is they know the Cowboys can’t have Romo as their backup. Why give up anything when you don’t have to?
There is one odd way the delay in the inevitable has been a benefit to Romo. He is contemplating whether he wants to continue to play. He turns 37 next month. He has had collarbone and back injuries the last two seasons. He has a young family with a third child on the way.
The longer he remains in limbo, the more time he can take to decide on his playing career. It also gives him more time to mull the offers from FOX and CBS.
At the scouting combine in February, Jones came up with the do-right rule, in which he would do right by Romo and Romo would do right by the team. It turns out that was more of a quip than a rule. Now Jones has come up with a training camp deadline when it really isn’t a deadline.
This shouldn’t be this hard.
The DB thinks the Jones bluff is directed towards the Texans who would seem to have to be either in or out on Romo by the draft.
And we also wonder how long the networks would keep their offers open to Romo. All the way to July? Maybe.
Mike Florio on how Romo is passing the time:
As the Cowboys play chess, checkers, and/or chicken with the Texans and/or the Broncos regarding Tony Romo, Romo is back to playing a different game.
Via Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Romo will compete in the Azalea Invitational, Thursday through Sunday at the Country Club of Charleston, South Carolina.
Romo ditched competitive golf in 2013, due in part to his back surgeries and other injuries. The fact that he’s playing again suggests that he feels pretty good about his overall health.
It also suggests he’s not sitting around fretting about his football future, which has yet to be resolved and apparently may not be until July. More on where that all stands in a separate post.
It’s not a good sign when the head coach admits his QB has lost his mojo. Joseph Person in the Charlotte Observer:
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton will undergo surgery on Thursday to repair his throwing shoulder.
There’s nothing scheduled to fix Newton’s confidence, but that will have to be addressed this offseason as well.
After a Week 17 loss at Tampa Bay, Newton said he needed a sabbatical following his worst NFL season – one that started with a battering by the Denver Broncos and ended with him playing three games with a partially torn rotator cuff.
In between, there was a concussion at Atlanta, a first-series benching in a Sunday night game at Seattle, a conversation with Roger Goodell about repeated hits to Newton’s head and lower extremities and a whole lot of incomplete passes.
“He’s going to have to rebuild his confidence. It was shook. Let’s be honest, I’m not going to lie about that,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Wednesday at the owners meetings.
“The young man went through a tough time and we went through a tough time. Why? Because of the injuries that occurred on the offensive line. That was probably the biggest thing. I think it just shows even more the importance and significance of being able to protect your quarterback.”
The Panthers addressed that by signing left tackle Matt Kalil to the most lucrative deal they’ve ever given a free agent, and Rivera expects Michael Oher to play this season after his lengthy stint in the concussion protocol.
Rivera also did nothing Wednesday to quiet the speculation the Panthers will go after a running back high in next month’s draft. Related: Rivera will be in Baton Rouge next week for Leonard Fournette’s pro day.
If the Panthers really want to restore Newton’s mojo and keep defensive ends at bay, give him a 240-pound back with elite straight-line speed to share, say, 35 carries a game with Jonathan Stewart.
If Oher truly is healthy – and Rivera, like Dave Gettleman, sounded confident Wednesday – that answers the biggest question up front. But as has been mentioned in this space before, Newton needs another playmaker.
It’s going to be tougher for defenders to tee off on Newton when he keeps handing the ball off to two big backs, finding Greg Olsen in the play-action game and lobbing fade routes to Kelvin Benjamin in the red zone.
But the fortunes of the offense – and the entire franchise – still fall on Newton’s broad shoulders, one of which will be marked with fresh incisions following Thursday’s arthroscopic surgery.
Rivera defended the decision to keep playing Newton in three meaningless games while middle linebacker Luke Kuechly was shut down for those same three games despite being cleared from the concussion protocol.
“I don’t think I need to reconcile that as much because of the fact that they’re two different athletes, two different injuries,” Rivera said.
Rivera pointed out that a week after Newton injured his shoulder against San Diego, he went to Washington and hung 300 yards on Jay Gruden’s defense. But by the New Year’s Day finale in Tampa, Newton was floating very unCamlike passes and looked like a guy whose arm and psyche both needed a break.
Rivera said all the hits – legal or otherwise – took a toll on Newton. But so did the close losses – six by a field goal or less.
The effervescent, dabbing Cam from 2015 gave way to the brooding, frustrated Cam from Newton’s first two seasons.
“He’s human. He’s a tough-minded football player that does everything he can to win. It was a tough year last year,” Rivera said. “But I also think it was a great learning experience for all of us, a humbling experience. I think it’s something we can use and build on as we go forward.”
After pocketing a bunch of Philadelphia money for nothing, QB CHASE DANIEL heads back to New Orleans. Josh Katzenstein in the New Orleans Times-Picayune:
The New Orleans Saints are reuniting with their former backup quarterback.
Chase Daniel, who was with the Saints from 2009-12, has agreed to a one-year deal to return to New Orleans, according to an ESPN report.
#Saints are signing Chase Daniel to a one-year deal, source said.
Daniel served as the primary backup to Drew Brees from 2010-12 before joining the Kansas City Chiefs as the reserve option for Alex Smith from 2013-15. Daniel spent 2016 as a backup with the Philadelphia Eagles behind rookie pick Carson Wentz.
The Saints have discussed publicly the desire to find long-term help at quarterback with the 38-year-old Brees on the back end of his career. Daniel, 30, would seem to have untapped potential as he’s thrown just 78 career passes while playing behind established quarterbacks like Brees and Smith and a first-rounder in Wentz.
It’s unclear how the addition of Daniel will impact the Saints’ desire to seek quarterback help in the draft. Coach Sean Payton said Wednesday the team could select a quarterback if the value is right when they make their selections.
WR DeSEAN JACKSON struck up a relationship with QB JAMEIS WINSTON – and Jackson signed a free agent deal with Tampa Bay.
Now, Winston has a new friend. Darin Gantt at ProFootballTalk.com:
Adrian Peterson hasn’t found a team interested in signing him yet, but there may be another one with some degree of interest.
After a social media post appeared of the former Vikings running back working out with Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, Bucs coach Dirk Koeetter said he’s curious to hear a scouting report.
“I’ve seen Adrian Peterson many times playing and that guy is one of the best running backs to ever play,” Koetter said, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “I’m anxious to talk to Jameis and ask him how his workouts went. That caught me off guard. I didn’t know that. I’ll be honest with you, first thing I thought when I saw that was Jamies is just an amazing guy. The guy is everywhere.”
Of course, the Bucs have at least a three-week opening for a starting running back next season, if not more.
Doug Martin will serve the first three games for a suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing drugs, but the Bucs may make a move to sign or draft another one before the season, and the team has been hesitant to fully endorse him.
That could leave the door open for Peterson, as other teams including the Giants have been more willing to do lately.
LOS ANGELES RAMS
S T.J. McDONALD’s signability just went down. Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com:
Unrestricted free agent and former Los Angeles Rams safety T.J. McDonald has been suspended without pay for the first eight games of the 2017 regular season.
McDonald, 26, violated the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.
In an email to ESPN, his agent Andrew Kessler wrote: “It is very unfortunate that T.J. will miss the first eight games this season, but he and I are both looking forward to him returning to regular-season action when eligible.”
The discipline stems from a May arrest in Woodland Hills, California. McDonald, a former collegiate star at USC, was suspected of driving under the influence of prescription drugs and pleaded no contest in January to one charge of “wet reckless” from that incident.
Under that wet reckless charge — essentially a reduced form of DUI — McDonald was sentenced to 36 months’ probation. He also was ordered to serve 200 hours of community service, attend 18 Narcotics Anonymous classes, enroll in a one-month live-in residential drug program and pay a fine of about $1,900, as well as restitution to the owner of a parked car he struck during the incident.
The second-highest-ranked unsigned free agent in the ESPN 150, McDonald visited the Miami Dolphins — his first free-agent visit — on the same day he learned of his suspension, a source told ESPN’s Field Yates.
An aggressive, ball-hawking strong safety, McDonald started all 53 games he played for the Rams during his four-year career, compiling four interceptions, 18 pass deflections, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble, five sacks and 215 solo tackles. He was selected by the Rams in the third round of the 2013 NFL draft.
McDonald started every game in 2016 and was graded 58th among 89 qualified safeties by Pro Football Focus.
The Rams figured punishment from the NFL would eventually come down on McDonald but were going to move on anyway. Maurice Alexander is expected to transition to strong safety to replace McDonald, and slot corner Lamarcus Joyner has a strong chance of playing free safety when the Rams are in their base 3-4 set.
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News weighs in on Mark Davis – fulfilling the one empty spot of his father’s legacy:
This was always going to be Mark Davis’ lasting legacy as the Raiders’ owner and the one, ultimate crusade that his father left for him.
Get the stadium. Guarantee the fiscal health of this family franchise into the decades. Just do that. Get the stadium.
And Mark Davis just did it. However the Las Vegas move turns out for the Raiders, whatever problems arise… he got this deal, and got it through the NFL voting, when so many presumed he couldn’t.
Which is exactly what his father needed him to do.
Al Davis was a giant, a football immortal, and the first and last of his kind, but he could never quite crack the code to get his beloved franchise a new, state-of-the-art stadium that would lift the Raiders and the Davis family into the loftier end of the NFL financial hierarchy.
Al Davis didn’t accumulate extra millions–he would always pour most of it back into his roster.
Al Davis didn’t train his son in finance–Al just didn’t care enough about that.
But Al Davis knew the Raiders needed a stadium and all those exotic revenue streams.
Until the Raiders got that, no matter how many games and titles they won, the Raiders would always in some way look up at the Maras and the New York Giants, the Rooneys and the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Hunts and the Kansas Chiefs, and Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys.
And Al Davis did not want to look up to anybody, for any reason.
Al Davis tried in Oakland, then tried in Los Angeles, then tried in Oakland again, and never could get the formula right and never could diagram the political playbook the way he could see the football field.
There is something admirable about that blind spot, I think–Al Davis’ soul was too bound to the game for him to ever commit his mind and focus to the trite complications and frustrations of NFL high-finance and construction.
There were always players to scout or coaches to hire or schemes to devise.
Al Davis had the ruthlessness to move his team twice… but not the business sense to make sure the moves were worth it.
And neglecting the business side left a hole in this franchise that Al recognized and that Al knew had to be filled, at some point.
Al Davis could’ve joined as a full partner in the 49ers’ construction of Levi’s Stadium–and guaranteed some large portion of the hundreds of millions in profit that the 49ers are now taking in–but Al just wasn’t ready to make a deal like that.
He lost himself in the team, and pushed back the stadium decisions to another time, then another time, then another time… still, Al knew it had to be done.
Finally, in his later years, Al knew that it would have to be done by somebody other than him.
It had to be Al’s only child, who was given tacit authority to start looking around for stadium options about a decade ago, and then when Al died in 2011, Mark Davis was thrust into two emergency situations.
The first was the state of the football team, of course the football always had to come first for Al Davis’ franchise, and Mark Davis took a few years to straighten things out, but he stuck with Reggie McKenzie, who kept to it, and now the Raiders have this powerful playoff roster.
But the second crisis was the one Al kept putting off, and was the one Mark had been facing for years: How would the Raiders get a new stadium and remove themselves from the bottom-rung of the NFL revenue list?
There had been plans suggested, locations scouted, some dollars invested here or there… but when Mark Davis took over, there was nothing firm and no strong sense other than… they could not stay in the Coliseum for much longer.
I believed Mark Davis at the time and believe him now–he wanted to remain in Oakland, if that was possible. And if Oakland didn’t work, he wanted to build in Los Angeles, where he had spent those 13 years with his father when the Raiders had played there.
But he needed something. Relatively quickly.
And as the Oakland discussions continued to go nowhere, then Mark Davis made his play for LA with the Chargers, and that got blocked by the NFL….
I think Mark Davis continued to be simultaneously under-estimated (because he’s savvier than most give him credit for) and correctly-estimated (because he didn’t have the power to overwhelm anybody and never really tried).
He certainly isn’t a powerful owner. At some points, the NFL elite have wondered if they could get rid of him and install somebody else with the Raiders… but that never was possible, and Mark Davis wasn’t going anywhere.
To fulfill his father’s last incomplete mission, Mark Davis needed a solution. He needed an escape valve. He needed more money. And he needed a mentor.
All of those things came in one package, once LA was blocked by the NFL: Jerry Jones, who had guided the Rams and Chargers to LA, who turned the Cowboys and their new stadium into one of the great cash machines of the modern age, and who idolized Al Davis, to complete the family circle for Mark.
The Las Vegas effort wasn’t all Jones–Mark Davis partnered with casino magnate Sheldon Adelson to tap into the public money, Davis off-loaded Adelson when a segment of NFL owners were uncomfortable with Adelson, and then Jones brokered the Bank of America loan that replaced Adelson’s commitment.
Jerry Jones loved Al Davis, and he was helping Al’s son get that stadium, at last.
Mark Davis also, I believe, needed an enemy to drive him to be a little Machiavellian, and he found that in the Oakland political system, which can be confusing and condescending even when it is dealing with a power player, and the Oakland politicians never really believed that Mark Davis was a power player.
It was not up to the Oakland officials to bribe Mark Davis to keep the Raiders in town, but once Las Vegas started discussing a $750M offering… Mark Davis had a reason to thumb his nose at the Oakland officials.
These are the issues that blocked any Raiders/Oakland stadium project…
-Mark Davis didn’t have enough cash to do this himself in Oakland;
-He could’ve accessed more cash by taking in a major investor, but all such investors would’ve wanted eventual control of the franchise, and Mark wasn’t interested in that;
-He wasn’t going to cede a percentage of this deal to a third party developer, and the NFL absolutely backed him on this;
-He wasn’t going to bide his time at Levi’s Stadium until an East Bay deal could be put together, even though the NFL at times wished he would.
-The A’s were under lease for many more years and would have to be dealt with in any Raiders deal with the Coliseum.
-And finally, Mark Davis wasn’t too interested in going deep into debt, but if he was going to do it, it was going to be with the security of the NFL behind him.
Jones lined up the Bank of America loan in Las Vegas… and I would guess that Jones is the one who assured Mark Davis that even if he has trouble with the debt-service payments, the NFL isn’t going to move to take over the team.
We will see about that part, of course, but for now, Mark Davis has his deal.
If you want to ask, how did the Raiders end up leaving their ancestral home of Oakland (again) for a smaller city that the NFL has, until now, try to avoid in almost every way?
It happened because Al Davis couldn’t figure it out, then left it all to his son.
Las Vegas is not at all the perfect solution–it’s probably the wrong city, with too much debt, it harms Oakland yet again, and it possibly stretches out the Raiders’ far-flung fan base a bit too far.
But the deal is there, warts and all, and Mark Davis just assured his own legacy by finishing off what his father never quite could.
Owner Mike Brown comments on CB ADAM JONES antics/crimes that nearly led to felony charges. It is about as good as Jones could hope. Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com:
Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown is fully in Adam Jones’ corner.
“He knows full well what he has done to himself,” Brown told Bengals.com and the Cincinnati Enquirer at the NFL owners meetings Wednesday. “He regrets it. But it’s been made into a public issue, and maybe I am overly tolerant. If so, so be it.”
Jones tweeted his appreciation to Brown and the Bengals for their stance, writing that he won’t “take it for granted.”
Jones was arrested Jan. 3 on a felony charge of harassment with a bodily substance and misdemeanor charges of assault, disorderly conduct and obstructing official business. The Cincinnati prosecutor dropped the felony charge last week, and Jones’ lawyer said he will plead not guilty to the remaining charges.
Brown launched into an impassioned speech in defense of the cornerback, who has been with the Bengals since 2010. He said he doesn’t condone Jones’ actions, but he won’t condemn him, either.
“You are dealing with people’s lives here,” Brown said. “It’s easy to sit on high and say, ‘Oh, terrible, terrible. Let’s bring down the sword.’ I think that’s an overreaction. I’m not condoning his actions. They were, in all honesty, embarrassing. He was out of control. He misbehaved. He made a fool of himself. No one knows that more than he does. I don’t know that I have been perfect in my lifetime, either. I probably did some things I wish I hadn’t.”
The Bengals were one of the few teams to give Jones another chance after off-the-field issues early in his career almost got him permanently banned from the NFL.
Brown said he has seen Jones grow a lot in those years, particularly after the birth of Jones’ daughter, who was born more than two months premature but has grown into a healthy child. Brown said that story stuck with him, and Jones’ family factored into his decision to keep him.
“I hope it comes out right for him, for his family and for us,” Brown said. “I know there are critics. I understand. But that is a full answer. And that’s what I have to say about it.”
Nunzio Ingrassia of FoxSports.com notes that troubled WR JOSH GORDON could remain with the Browns:
The Cleveland Browns sound like they’re still open to the possibility of retaining former Pro Bowl wideout Josh Gordon despite his history of off-field indiscretions.
Browns executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said Tuesday night the franchise isn’t in a position at wideout to “turn down a guy like Josh.” But Brown said Gordon’s return is contingent on the 25-year-old keeping his head on straight.
“Josh, assuming that he’d play at the level we started to see glimpses of last preseason and certainly when he was in the league before, would be a talent I think no team in the NFL would turn down if he got back in,” Brown said during the NFL owners meetings, via the Akron Beacon Journal. “Our decision with Josh is just understanding where he is in his process and being able to add him.
“But we’re not in a position at wide receiver to turn down a guy like Josh if we feel like he’s settled himself. Now, that’s a separate question, but Josh is going to have an opportunity to reapply to the NFL, and at that time, we’ll make a decision when we know what’s going on.”
Gordon has missed 43 of the Browns’ past 48 games due to multiple suspensions for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Gordon is hoping the league will rule on his reinstatement by late April or early May.
With Tom Coughlin ruling the roost in Jacksonville, the NFLPA is alert for CBA violations. Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com:
From the moment the clocks in Jacksonville were set five minutes early, the NFL Players Association knew that the ticking had begun toward confrontations with new Jaguars executive V.P. of football operations Tom Coughlin.
Already, two have occurred. First came the mandate that players return in March for physicals, a requirement that has sparked an argument that the Jaguars have violated the terms of the labor deal. Per multiple sources, players actually did show up for the physicals — and those who came from out of town weren’t happy about it.
Next came the attempt to launch the offseason program earlier than allowed. The Jaguars claim that the hiring of a new coach (Doug Marrone) permits them to begin before April 17. The statement issued by the team reiterates this belief, glossing over the fact that (per a source with knowledge of the situation) the NFLPA filed on Monday a grievance challenging the proposed starting date and, by Tuesday night, the issue had been resolved with the Jaguars delaying the opening of the program until April 17, the earliest starting date for teams with returning coaches.
It’s not the first time the union has been keeping close tabs on Coughlin. When he became Giants coach in 2004, the late Gene Upshaw (who served for years as NFLPA executive director) put Coughlin “on notice” regarding the voluntary nature of the offseason program.
“We don’t care if they get a new coach,” Upshaw said in May 2004. “He has rules, we have rules. If he doesn’t want to live within our rules, we will get him.”
Current leadership of the NFLPA already has gotten him twice, and the offseason program hasn’t opened yet. If there’s any potential noncompliance by the Jaguars once players report for optional workouts on April 17, it’s safe to assume that there will be more grievances.
THIS AND THAT
Today’s Mock Draft is from Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com. He has a surprise pick for the Jets at #6:
1. Cleveland Browns
Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M:
What’s to think this will change? He will be their pick. And he should be if they don’t love the quarterbacks.
2. San Francisco 49ers
Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford:
He is a kid who scouts have loved for a long time. Now the media is catching up.
3. Chicago Bears
Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama:
He is a tough, physical player who can play end in their scheme. He is impressive on tape.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU:
I wouldn’t do this, but if the draft plays out this way they will be tempted. He would help take the pressure off the quarterback.
5. Tennessee Titans (from Los Angeles Rams)
Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State:
They have to get a No. 1 corner to go with Logan Ryan, who they signed in free agency.
6. New York Jets
Patrick Mahomes II, QB, Texas Tech:
I am not convinced they think they have their quarterback of the future on the roster. Are you?
7. Los Angeles Chargers
Jamal Adams, S, LSU:
They would love to get another play-maker in the middle of their defense. Adams can play up near the line and he is better in coverage than some think.
8. Carolina Panthers
Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee:
They need to get a young edge rusher with age becoming an issue with their pass rushers.
9. Cincinnati Bengals
Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama:
He is a fierce, nasty player who would bring much-needed speed to the defense.
10. Buffalo Bills
Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson:
I know they brought back Tyrod Taylor, but are they really sold on him? So why not get another young passer?
11. New Orleans Saints
Chidobe Awuzie, CB-S, Colorado:
He can play corner or safety, but in their defense he will be a corner.
12. Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia)
Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State:
An Ed Reed-like safety would be a nice addition to their young defense. There are concerns about his tackling.
13. Arizona Cardinals
John Ross, WR, Washington:
They have to get a big-play threat in their passing game. This kid can fly.
14. Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota)
Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State:
Their corner situation isn’t good right now. They have to get a starter in this draft.
15. Indianapolis Colts
Teez Tabor, CB, Florida:
They have to get help outside in their secondary. Tabor didn’t run great at the combine, but he plays faster.
16. Baltimore Ravens
Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan:
They need to get help outside for Joe Flacco with Steve Smith retiring.
17. Washington Redskins
Forrest Lamp, C-G, Western Kentucky:
They can still use help inside on their offensive line. I would expect them to address it in this draft.
18. Tennessee Titans
Mike Williams, WR, Clemson:
They have to get a play-maker outside for Marcus Mariota. Williams isn’t a burner, but he is a big, strong receiver.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Cam Robinson, T, Alabama:
They had major issues up front last season. This is a talented kid who can step in and start right away at either spot.
20. Denver Broncos
O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama:
Why not get a talented tight end to add another dimension to their arsenal of weapons?
21. Detroit Lions
Charles Harris, DE, Missouri:
They have to amp up their pass rush and Harris would help do that. They didn’t get a lot of pressure last season.
22. Miami Dolphins
Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan:
They have to get a young pass rusher with Cameron Wake getting up in years.
23. New York Giants
Garett Bolles, OT, Utah:
The offensive line was a major issue last season. They need help at both tackle spots.
24. Oakland Raiders
Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU:
They need to get Sean Smith some help on the other side. White is a talented player who just needs more consistency.
25. Houston Texans
Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina:
They have to get a young developmental quarterback and Trubisky is that guy.
26. Seattle Seahawks
Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin:
Did you see their line last season? It was awful. This kid could play tackle or guard.
27. Kansas City Chiefs
Haason Reddick, LB, Temple:
Their inside linebacker play is a major question and this kid can transition inside and be a force.
28. Dallas Cowboys
Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA:
He would play with his hand on the ground in their scheme, but I think he could do it.
28. Green Bay Packers
T.J. Watt, OLB, Wisconsin:
I will keep him in this spot. Their edge rush has to be better.
29. Pittsburgh Steelers
Kevin King, CB, Washington:
He is a long corner who would join Artie Burns to give them two young corners in their secondary.
31. Atlanta Falcons
Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn:
Lawson had an impressive combine, and he was a productive player in a good conference. The Falcons need to give Vic Beasley help.
32. New Orleans Saints (from New England)
Jordan Willis, DE, Kansas State:
Their pass rush needs help in the worst way. Willis is an impressive looking edge rusher.