NFL Rumors: Latest Post-Draft Buzz Surrounding Each Team
Just as quick as it began on Thursday evening, the 2012 NFL draft is a thing of the past. Months upon months of speculation and conjecture leading up to the event, and it is over in a blink of an eye.
Kinda reminds me of Christmas Eve as a child. So much hype in the lead up, only to be disappointed when it ends rather quickly.
Now we hit a lull in the action. Sure there will be rookie mini-camps, organized team activities and a few pedestrian signings along the way, but the NFL offseason is about to hit in full force, at least until June cuts, when things start getting back on track again.
Today I am going to focus on the late post-draft buzz surrounding all 32 National Football League teams.
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The former Oklahoma standout was one of the steals of the second day on Friday night. Matt Miller had him ranked as the 28th overall prospect in the draft. I had given Fleming an early second-round grade.
This seems to make a lot of sense. Fleming already has NFL-level technique on the outside and is extremely solid playing press coverage. His primary competition in Arizona during training camp will be the William Gay, A.J. Jefferson and Greg Toler, all of whom leave a lot to be desired.
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Despite not living up to that hefty $57 million contract signed two years ago, Robinson seems to be guaranteed to return to the Falcons.
According to Dan Parr of Pro Football Weekly, Atlanta is intent on keeping Robinson, who restructured his contract earlier in the offseason.
Their plan is to move him inside in certain nickel packages. As Parr pointed out, this makes a great deal of sense. Both Samuel and Brent Grimes, who signed his franchise tender, seem to be better on the outside.
Robinson plays physical at the line, which fits much better in the slot as a nickel corner.
The Baltimore Ravens might have lost Ben Grubbs in free agency, but they went all in during the draft to find replacement.
Baltimore selected former Iowa State standout Kelechi Osemele in the second round before turning their sights to Gino Gradkowski in the fourth round.
This gives the Ravens multiple options at the left guard position heading in the 2012 season. These two recent draftees will join 2011 third-round pick Jah Reid in competition to replace Grubbs.
According to The Baltimore Sun, head coach John Harbaugh seems to like the idea of a three man battle for the position during training camp.
"I think it goes back to this: All things are possible," he said Saturday at the team's Owings Mills headquarters. "…I'm not ruling anything out. You've got to fight in this league for your spot every single day, and that goes for all the guys on our offensive line as well."
I guess the Harbaugh brothers are on the same page in terms of training camp competition. This will only help whoever wins the starting job. Competition in August seems to lead to success in January.
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WKBW in Buffalo is reporting that Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson is scheduled to have "minor groin surgery" in the next couple of days.
The report indicates that there is no reason to believe that Johnson will miss any offseason activities, let alone Buffalo's training camp in late summer.
However, anything that deals with "groin surgery" is a scary proposition for someone that relies on his lower body to get off the line and acquire a second burst down the field.
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The Carolina Panthers made Luke Kuechly their surprise first-round pick on Thursday. Many "experts" had concluded that defensive tackle was the primary need for this struggling defense.
That being said, adding the talented Boston College product could make the Panthers linebacker group one of the scariest in the entire National Football League.
This is all predicated on both Jon Beason and Thomas Davis returning from devastating 2011 injuries. If all are healthy, the major decision will be where Kuechly is going to play.
Head coach Ron Rivera seemed to be open to all options during the introductory press conference.
Whether he’s playing the Sam, the Mike or the Will for us, this guy has an opportunity to make an impact for us. We’re going to put the best football players on the field and we’re going to play them.’
The possibility of lining that trio up at linebacker would make the Panthers' front four that much better because if their mere presence on the football field.
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When the Chicago Bears traded up in the second round to acquire Alshon Jeffery, they didn't only get a prospect that many experts thought would have gone in the first round, they got another major threat for Jay Cutler in the passing game.
Chicago now has the ability to utilize two imposing threats, Jeffery and Brandon Marshall, as wide receivers near the red zone. Both have the height and build to be dominant on corner fades. This adds an entirely new dimension to their passing offense.
New Bears general manager Phil Emery thinks so.
As a trickle-down effect, some came to the conclusion that Devin Hester would be pushed out at the wide receiver, becoming solely a special teams ace. Well, that isn't going to happen.
Emery hinted as much in recent get together with reporters in Chicago: "We see him as a guy that is going to help our receiving corps in a big way. I know that Coach (Mike) Tice has done a lot of planning."
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Apparently there was one team high on Vontaze Burfict during the 2012 NFL draft. Well, maybe not too high considering that the enigmatic linebacker was not among the 250-plus players selected during the three-day event.
However, the Cincinnati Bengals acted quickly to sign the Arizona State product shortly after the draft ended Saturday evening.
While Burfict still seems to overvalue his status in the National Football League, there is no question that he does possess some talent. I am not too sure how that translates to the next level, but it should be interesting moving into mini-camps and the real deal towards the end of the summer.
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So, where does this leave their current starter Colt McCoy?
There have been perplexing reports throughout the last few days in regards to the former third-round pick. My goal here is to breakdown some of the information that has been thrown out there.
Chris Mortensen, among others, reported on Friday that the Browns were looking into the possibility of trading McCoy. The Green Bay Packers were mentioned as possible suitors, but that was quickly repudiated by Ted Thompson.
The Browns then came out over the weekend and said that they were not looking to move McCoy in the first place.
Where does this leave us?
As I indicated before, the Browns appear to be set with Weeden as the starter in 2012. How else would you explain selecting a 28-year-old quarterback in the first round?
McCoy is probably on his way out of town.
On his way out of the Big D?
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The surprise addition of Morris Claiborne in the draft on Thursday by the Dallas Cowboys has put Mike Jenkins on the trade block.
Dallas was unable to workout a deal for Jenkins, a first-round pick in 2008, during the draft over the weekend. This doesn't mean that the talented corner is off the trade block.
According ESPN Dallas, the Cowboys are still planning on trading their starting corner this offseason. It doesn't appear that the market for Jenkins is too strong right now, which could force the Cowboys to either take a low-round pick in 2013 or release the South Florida product outright.
According to reports, there are concerns over his unwillingness to join voluntary offseason workout programs following various injuries last season. Either way, it is hard to imagine him being content on returning to Dallas as a nickel back.
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The Denver Post is reporting that the future Hall of Fame quarterback might not have had a direct impact on the Broncos drafting the Arizona State product, but his blessing sure helped.
Manning isn't a stupid guy and fully understands the situation he is in. The veteran quarterback is coming off of multiple neck surgeries and it just made sense for Denver to get some insurance.
Additionally, most people believed that Denver would indeed go after a young quarterback for Manning to help groom.
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Despite the fact that ESPN acted shocked that Kellen Moore wasn't selected late in the NFL draft Saturday, most "experts" fully expected that would be the case.
Moore became one of the first rookie free agents to sign a contract, immediately agreeing to terms with the Detroit Lions following the seventh round.
He will now presumably compete with Shaun Hill for the No. 2 spot behind franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford. Of course, the Lions can expect to bring in another player to compete with in training camp.
Despite not having the skill set to be a great NFL quarterback, Moore does bring leadership and intangibles to the table.
It should be interesting to see how this plays out during training camp and in the preseason. At the very least, Moore stands a strong chance to make the club as an emergency No. 3.
Green Bay Packers
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Despite losing backup quarterback Matt Flynn to the Seattle Seahawks in free agency, the Green Bay Packers are not planning on adding a veteran to the mix behind Aaron Rodgers prior to the start of camp in the summer.
According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Packers are content with Graham Harrell and recent draftee B.J. Coleman battling it out for the backup spot.
There had been rumors that Green Bay was talking to the Cleveland Browns about Colt McCoy, but nothing materialized on that front.
Graham Harrell, a record-setting quarterback at Texas Tech, was signed by the Packers in 2010. He has been fluctuating between the practice squad and active roster over the last two seasons. B.J. Coleman, from Tennessee-Chattanooga, was selected in the seventh round of the 2012 NFL draft on Saturday.
Aaron Rodgers has been a durable starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers over the last four seasons, only missing two games (neither due to injury).
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Adam Schefter reported over the weekend that the Houston Texans were looking to trade wide receiver Jacoby Jones. However, they were unwilling to find a deal to their liking and didn't move Jones during the draft.
Of course, this doesn't mean that the veteran receiver won't be traded. We do see these types of moves for future draft picks as the offseason progresses.
Rotoworld suggests that Jones could actually be released if the Texans don't find a willing trade partner. They cite the fact that Houston isn't in position to pay $3 million to a player that figures to play special teams in 2012 after the selection of DeVier Posey in the third round on Friday.
Are the Texans that high on the rookie receiver from Ohio State? That is the question right now.
Courtesy of ESPN
Whether it was Jim Harbaugh and David Shaw running Stanford's offense in college, they went to the tight end a great deal with Andrew Luck at the helm.
Don't expect this to change in the NFL after the Indianapolis Colts used their second- and third-rounders on tight ends. What could change is the fact that the Colts offense, unlike when Peyton Manning was quarterbacking, could line up multiple tight ends on the outside.
Both Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen have the build and speed to line up against nickel corners on the outside. This is something that Luck has been comfortable utilizing over the last few season at Stanford.
The Colts are also expecting three different players to compete for the starting cornerback position opposite Jerraud Powers.
Kevin Thomas, Terrance Johnson and Chris Rucker will all get looks during training camp. There has been no mention of the team adding a veteran presence, though that could change after June cuts.
Mike Chappell at The Indianapolis Star believes that the Colts targeted corners during the draft, but the prospects they liked at that position fell off the board before their selections.
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This selection sent shock waves through Radio City Music Hall on Friday evening, while drawing the ire of fans and experts alike.
Harris had just recently signed an extension with the Jaguars in March, so he had to be pretty surprised with the selection of the Cal product in the third round.
While the veteran kicker struggled in 2011, ranking 27th in net average, it is unclear why the Jaguars thought it to be a good choice to pick up Anger so early in the draft.
Kansas City Chiefs
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A lot of experts were perplexed with the Kansas City Chiefs draft strategy last week and into the weekend. Some have indicated that they reached a great deal, taking project prospects.
What these "experts" have not taken into account was the ceiling of some of these prospects and the fact that Kansas City didn't have a myriad of different holes to fill on either side of the ball.
Head coach Romeo Crennel indicated this in a comment Saturday after the draft: “We put ourselves into a situation where we could look for the best athlete available. In the later rounds, you can reach a little bit today and not feel as bad about it.”
Players such as second-round pick Jeff Allen, a versatile offensive lineman from Illinois, won't have to start immediately. They can sit back for a year and learn the nuances of the offense. Teams that have combined good free-agent strategy with solid drafts have the ability to do that.
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Any reports, no matter how unsubstantiated they are, regarding Jake Long's future in Miami can be thrown out the back door and not rehashed for another decade or so.
There were whispers that the Dolphins selected Jonathan Martin in the second round to replace Long at left tackle. The SF Sentinel reported that the Pro Bowl tackle might not fit into the Dolphins long-term plans.
I understand that Stephen Ross and Jeff Ireland are hard to read right now, but there is absolutely no way they would cut their franchise offensive tackle loose. Right?
Last night I saw an article about Jake Long. I have plans to keep Jake Long here for a long time. So, let’s don’t get ahead of ourselves. …We drafted Jonathan Martin to be a tackle on this football team, a right tackle on this football team.
So, fret not, Fins' fans.
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The Minnesota Vikings traded down just one spot to add their franchise offensive tackle Matt Kalil on Thursday. Immediately following the pick, general manager Rick Spielman indicated that current left tackle Charlie Johnson will be moving to guard.
This seems to make a lot of sense. Johnson was among the absolute worst pass-protecting tackles in the National Football League last season. In order for Christian Ponder to succeed as a quarterback, he needs to have a reliable blind-side protector, which Kalil is.
Johnson also seems capable of handling guard duties next to the USC product along the left side of the Vikings offensive line.
New England Patriots
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Many people were surprised that the New England Patriots didn't select a running back in the 2012 NFL draft. Considering that their primary focus was to rebuild a depleted defensive unit, this shouldn't have come as a shock.
The Patriots also spent a second-round pick (Shane Vereen) and third-round pick (Stevan Ridley) on running backs during the 2011 draft.
ESPN Boston believes that the Patriots could go with a "running back by committee" in 2012 with Vereen, Ridley and Danny Woodhead sharing carries.
New England will probably add a veteran free agent later this offseason as well. They have met with Joseph Addai and Ryan Grant, among others.
New Orleans Saints
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Drew Brees is yet to sign his franchise tender, but New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis remains optimistic that the two sides will come together on a long-term agreement at some point this offseason.
Talking about his franchise quarterback Thursday before the draft, Loomis had the following to say: "That's the No. 1 thing on my plate to handle. It will get handled. I'm confident that it will get resolved."
While the issue doesn't seem settled by any stretch of the imagination, it is hard to believe that Brees won't be around for mini-camps or the Saints training camp during the end of the summer.
Of course New Orleans has had other distractions as of late, which Loomis also touched on this Thursday. Now that Brees is their No.1 priority, it seems that something should get done in relatively short order.
New York Giants
Warm embrace just a facade?
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The contract situation between the New York Giants and their talented pass-rusher Osi Umenyiora has spanned a couple years now and it doesn't appear to be any closer to a conclusion.
There was talk over the draft that the Giants were looking to move Osi if the price was right. That never materialized, but indications are that the two sides are not close on an extension.
He had previously requested a trade if a long-term extension couldn't be worked out. The Giants did offer Umenyiora a contract, the specifics of which we do not know. He flatly turned down the offer, which brings us back to ground zero.
Tim Kavanagh over at ESPN suggests that the Giants weren't offered anything to their liking in regards to compensation for Umenyiora during the draft.
...it's unclear just how much interest there is around the league in him, at least to the extent that another team will trade away assets significant enough for the Giants as well as offering him a contract extension.
New York Jets
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One area of concern that the New York Jets did not address during the draft was the right tackle position. They had put Wayne Hunter on the trade block earlier in the offseason, but now believe that he can "hold down the fort at that position."
Of course, every need couldn't be addressed during the draft when you are in a position that the Jets are in. They did a great job getting a young receiver, which was a huge need, in the form of Stephen Hill.
I guess they might have to wait until June cuts come across or put their faith in internal competition for the right tackle position.
Time will tell.
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The bigger issue with this signing is what it does to 2011 supplemental pick Terrelle Pryor. Oakland exhausted a third-round pick in the 2012 NFL draft to select Pryor from Ohio State.
He is now pushed down to No. 3 on the depth chart. Bill Williamson over at ESPN had the following to say about Pryor's situation in Oakland:
I am not surprised at all that Leinart -- and not Terrelle Pryor -- will be the backup. Pryor is still very much a developmental quarterback. Plus, he wasn't taken by this regime. They must watch and work with Pryor before putting him one play from becoming a starter.
I am not going to be as kind with my opinion here. While it is important to let sleeping dogs lie, the Pryor selection last year taunted new general manager Reggie McKenzie a great deal during the recent draft. It is hard to imagine him becoming anything more than a No. 3 quarterback in the NFL.
Obviously the Raiders' new front office feels the same way.
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One of the most surprising drops of the 2012 NFL draft was running back Chris Polk from Washington. He was largely considered a second- or third-rounder as the draft approached, but failed to hear his name called throughout the entire three-day event.
The Philadelphia Eagles jumped all over the idea of signing the talented young running back immediately after the draft had concluded.
Various reported indicated that Polk wasn't drafted due to "chronic" and "degenerative" shoulder issues. The former Washington back has since denied these reports and received a clean bill of health from renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews.
It is still perplexing that Polk wasn't among the 250-plus players chosen in the draft. He should compete for a third-down role with the Eagles heading into training camp and could be a major find moving forward.
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They did just that over the course of the draft by selecting David DeCastro in the first round and Mike Adams in the second round. Both were considered top-25 talents, which means that Pittsburgh pretty much killed it.
This has turned a weakness into what could be a strength in the future. It has also sent some wondering what type of competition is going to take place during training camp this year.
Despite the fact that DeCastro was ranked among the top-10 prospects in the entire draft, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin indicated that he isn't guaranteed to start as a rookie.
This might be smoke and mirrors considering who the Steelers had lining up at this position during the 2011 season. It might be a little more tricky in regards to Mike Adams, who has more holes in his game right now than DeCastro.
San Diego Chargers
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Despite rumors to the contrary, the San Diego Chargers are not showing any interest in Dallas Cowboys cornerback Mike Jenkins.
Been asked about Cowboys CB Mike Jenkins. As of yesterday, #Chargers have not expressed interest in trading for him, per source.— Michael Gehlken (@UTgehlken) April 29, 2012
This doesn't mean that San Diego isn't looking for help in the secondary. They strayed away from this position in an otherwise successful draft. It is still a position of need for a team that remains incredibly thin at cornerback.
Antoine Cason and Quentin Jammer are entrenched as the starters, despite the fact that both had down years in 2011. Look for them to maybe rehash this situation if Jenkins is released by the Cowboys and hits the open market.
San Francisco 49ers
Courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers
The selection of LaMichael James by the San Francisco 49ers in the second round on Friday might have been surprising to many. After all, this is a team that appeared set at the running back position.
There are now questions as to what the 49ers are going to do both at running back and at receiver moving forward. They also added former Illinois wide receiver A.J. Jenkins in the first round.
The addition of James gives the 49ers a deep and extremely talented running back corps. The former Oregon standout teams up with Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, Brandon Jacobs, Rock Cartwright, Anthony Dixon and Bruce Miller in a crowded backfield.
One of those veteran players is probably on the way out.
The same goes for the wide receiver position. San Francisco has now added Mario Manningham and Randy Moss in addition to Jenkins this offseason.
Could this spell the end of Kyle Williams, famously known for two fumbles in the NFC Championship Game? Only time will tell.
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After selecting one of my favorite sleepers of the 2012 draft, Russell Wilson, in the fourth round on Saturday, the Seattle Seahawks are filled to the brim at the quarterback position.
This might not bode well for Tarvaris Jackson's future in the Pacific Northwest. He is set to make $4 million next season and is going to face stiff competition from newly-signed Matt Flynn for the starting job.
Complicating things further is the fact that Jackson might not be too thrilled about returning to Seattle as the backup to Flynn and with Wilson breathing down his neck as the possible quarterback of the future.
Despite all this speculation, Pete Carroll has continued to reiterate that there is going to be a "head-to-head" camp battle for the starting position.
Tarvaris Jackson was our starter last year and he’s coming in to compete head-to-head for the starting job. It’s my job now to make sure I create a competitive opportunity for both kids to show they can fit in and we’ll go with the best guy and it’s going to make our quarterback position better certainly.
Take that for what it is worth.
St. Louis Rams
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The St. Louis Rams have now selected four wide receivers in the first four rounds of the draft over the course of the last two seasons.
Last year, Austin Pettis and Greg Salas were the picks. They combined for just 54 receptions as the Rams' passing offense struggled a great deal during the two-win season.
This didn't deter St. Louis from going that route again in 2012. They selected Brian Quick form Appalachian State in the second round before picking up Chris Givens from Wake Forest just a couple rounds later.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting that the Rams are expecting these two rookies to play huge roles in 2012. In fact, there seems to be a scenario where Quick and Givens start from day one.
It might not be an ideal situation for the Rams, but at least they now have the talent and depth at a position considered a major weakness just over a year ago.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers waited until the sixth round to select a corner after being linked to Morris Claiborne in the lead up to the draft. This seems to indicate that Aqib Talib is indeed no longer on the trade block.
New Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano has repeatedly denied that the talented but troubled defensive standout was never on the block to begin with.
While that might have been smoke and mirrors, Tampa Bay's action during the 2012 NFL draft seems to indicate that that there is fire to that proverbial smoke.
Talib will have to stand trial next month on assault and battery charges, which might complicate things further.
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It appears that the Tennessee Titans selection of Zach Brown in the second round of the draft has put a couple veterans on notice.
General manager Ruston Wilson spoke about the situation following the draft on Saturday: "...Defensively, at all positions, it is such an athletically demanding side of the ball, it is important to be young actually."
As Jim Wyatt over at The Tennessean pointed out, both Will Witherspoon and Gerald McRath should be put on notice.
If the idea was to get faster and more athletic, then the Titans couldn't have done better with the selection of Brown. However, he is going to have to hone certain skills in order to be an immediate-impact rookie. I am pretty sure that both the North Carolina product and the Titans fully understand this.
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The Washington Redskins made an extremely surprising decision on Saturday by drafting former Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins in the fourth round of the 2012 draft. In the process, this caused many media outlets, including ESPN, to indicate that there was going to be a training camp battle between Cousins and fellow draftee Robert Griffin III.
This quickly drew the ire of fans and others around the football community. Why has ESPN come up with such a crazy conversation? After all, RGIII was the second overall pick in the draft.
Chris Mortensen over at ESPN reported on Saturday that the Redskins drafted Cousins with the sole purpose of "developing" and "trading" the young quarterback in the future.
What was the point? At the very least, Washington could have easily turned a fourth-round pick this year into a third-rounder in 2013. In reality, the San Francisco 49ers did the same thing when a myriad of different trades netted them a third-, fifth- and sixth-round pick next year in exchange for their third-round pick in this year's draft.
Still not getting this decision by Washington. However, they now have two young quarterbacks to groom. Sure the heck beats out the idea of going into a season with Rex Grossman and John Beck battling for the starting job.