NFL Rumors: Latest Post-Draft Buzz Surrounding Each Team
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The 2013 NFL draft is over, but you better believe the fun is just getting started thanks to teams fighting over undrafted free agents and offseason workouts looming.
It may seem like we are approaching a down period in regards to NFL news, but the reality is the league is now a 24/7 business and there is plenty to be talking about as we inch closer to the start of the 2013 season.
Whether it's a controversial new undrafted free agent joining a team, a juicy quarterback competition brewing or something as simple as how a high-profile rookie is going to be used, there is plenty of news still circling the league at a fast pace.
The following slideshow will attempt to sift through all of the latest rumors, news and buzz surrounding each team in the wake of the NFL draft's conclusion.
Let's take a look.
It was an emotional moment when the Cardinals made Tyrann Mathieu the No. 69 overall pick.
The Arizona Cardinals made a few splashes in the 2013 NFL draft, but none was bigger than drafting embattled LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu with the No. 69 overall pick.
Thanks to his stature at just 5'9", many wondered exactly where Mathieu would fit in the NFL. Would he be a slot corner? Maybe a safety?
We now have reportedly have an answer, courtesy of azcardinals.com's Darren Urban:
Tyrann Mathieu will start by playing free safety, Arians said.— Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) April 27, 2013
That's not the only rumor flying out of Arizona: Word on the street is the team is looking to trade third-string quarterback Bryan Hoyer because he's too expensive.
This report comes from NFL Network's Ian Rapoport (h/t Rotoworld), who says the team is now paying him too much money after landing both Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton.
The time may be now for Matt Ryan to get his new contract.
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The Atlanta Falcons were active in the 2013 NFL draft by putting together a class headlined by cornerback Desmond Trufant.
Now the team can turn its attention back to something even more important—keeping quarterback Matt Ryan around for a long time.
According to D. Orlando Ledbetter of ajc.com, Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff recently said the team was pulling out of Ryan extension talks until after the draft:
The situation is, as we’ve mentioned, both parties, we’re in a very comfortable situation. We are focused on the draft again. After the draft we’ll continue to discuss (Ryan’s contract) and I’m sure both parties, Matt and the Falcons are feeling good about making sure that this gets done at the right time.
With a class the Falcons seem happy with and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers inking his new extension to join guys like Tony Romo and Joe Flacco, the time is now for Dimitroff to get something done.
The Baltimore Ravens plan to use John Simon as they did Jarret Johnson.
With the No. 129 overall pick, the Baltimore Ravens selected Ohio State defensive end John Simon, which immediately caused fans to think of former Ravens linebacker Jarret Johnson.
As Ravens head coach John Harbaugh would later reveal, that comparison was a very good one.
According to Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun, Harbaugh used Johnson as a point of reference in his media address after the draft, saying:
Yes, toughness and style, work ethic, attention to detail, guys that love ball. He's our kind of guy. Jarret Johnson was a Raven, and he always will be. So, [John Simon is] probably a good comparison.
The Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year will have an opportunity to learn from Elvis Dumervil, and if he is anything like Johnson, he'll have a long and productive career once earning a starting spot.
The Buffalo Bills may have found a gem in Da'Rick Rogers.
The Buffalo Bills shocked NFL fans everywhere by making Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel the first quarterback off the board in the 2013 NFL draft.
Buffalo's front office shocked again right after the draft concluded.
This time, the Bills brass took a gamble on an undrafted free agent by the name of Da'Rick Rogers. USA Today's Mike Garafolo originally broke the news:
WR Da'Rick Rogers to the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) April 28, 2013
Rogers has a checkered past to say the least. According to Rotoworld, he was dismissed from Tennessee after 2011 for three failed marijuana drug tests and then went on to play for Tennessee Tech.
What's intriguing is, while at Tennessee, he may have been the best receiver in the SEC, meaning if he keeps his head on straight with the Bills, Manuel could have a new No. 1 target with whom to enter the league.
The Carolina Panthers have an exciting new one-two punch on the defensive line.
The Carolina Panthers may have the steal of the 2013 NFL draft after Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei fell to the team's pick at No. 14 overall.
Carolina followed this up in the next round by taking his new running mate, Kawann Short out of Purdue.
New Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman is excited about the combo, to say the least. Joseph Person of The Charlotte Observer says the Panthers plan on having a deep rotation along the defensive line:
Both Lotulelei and Short were criticized for taking plays off in college. But Rivera said that was a product of them being on the field too long.
That won’t be an issue if the Panthers stay healthy up front and employ the rotation Gettleman and Rivera envision.
“They’re throwing the ball 55 percent of the time now. You’re in your sub-package defense 55 percent of the time now,” Gettleman said. “And you need to be able to rotate these guys through so they can create the havoc that they’re capable of creating.”
With the new rotation firmly in place, Gettleman says Lotulelei will be used to stuff the run while Short can act as a pass-rusher.
Carolina's biggest weakness may have just become a strength.
Even after the draft, the Chicago Bears still want Israel Idonije back.
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Israel Idonije was a key rotational member of the Chicago Bears defensive line last season, but he has yet to sign back with the team after hitting free agency.
Despite a solid outing in the 2013 NFL draft, the Bears are making it very clear that Idonije is still a priority for the team this offseason.
Emery said there are still veteran players in the marketplace the team is interested in signing and defensive lineman Israel Idonije remains in that group. But there has been no movement toward that happening and the veteran could find interest elsewhere as teams assess their post-draft rosters.
Expect the Bears to now pick up talks again with Idonije with the draft in the rear-view mirror. He posted 7.5 sacks last year as a member of the rotation, and it's clear the team wants him back for another go.
The Cincinnati Bengals insist Jermaine Gresham is still the starter at tight end.
The Cincinnati Bengals threw a curveball at the NFL world in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft by selecting Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert despite already having a Pro Bowl tight end on the roster in Jermaine Gresham.
As it goes, some thought Gresham may be out of a starting job as a result.
Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden wants you to know that is most certainly not the case. Rather, Eifert's addition means the Bengals are prepping a two-tight end attack, similar to that of the New England Patriots.
As Gruden told the media, per Joe Reedy of The Cincinnati Enquirer:
I don’t think Jermaine has a lot to worry about; Jermaine’s our starting tight end. And Tyler’s going to come in here and add another element with the two tight end package or three tight end package. You know, everyone should be pushing themselves anyway. Jermaine should be working to get better whether we drafted Eifert or some slappy from New Haven. Jermaine should be pushing himself, and that’s the way our offense has been run and that’s the way our guys work in the room.
Cincinnati appears to be ready to field an offense featuring both Eifert and Gresham, not one or the other.
The Cleveland Browns are expecting big things from new receiver Davone Bess.
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The Cleveland Browns thought it best to not make many selections in the 2013 draft. Rather, the front office traded down and stockpiled picks for the 2014 draft.
However, one move the new regime decided to make was pulling the trigger on a trade for Miami Dolphins receiver Davone Bess.
Browns general manager Michael Lombardi made it clear the team is expecting big things from its new receiver after the trade, per Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer:
Bess is a really talented, productive receiver. I think he's the 14th-most-productive receiver in the NFL over the last four years. He's caught a lot of passes, converted a lot of third downs for the Dolphins. They signed a couple of other receivers this year, so it was a good opportunity for us to bring him in here and see what he can do. In terms of being inside the slot, play outside, he's done both. He'll certainly give us a chance.
As a show of good faith, the Browns inked Bess to a new three-year deal. He will take over the slot duties for the Browns unless second-year man Travis Benjamin can flash something in training camp.
The Dallas Cowboys are expecting more than ever before from QB Tony Romo.
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After inking Tony Romo to a contract worth well over $100 million and drafting talented players in the 2013 NFL draft such as tight end Gavin Escobar, the Dallas Cowboys are expecting a lot from their franchise quarterback.
Or, as owner Jerry Jones reportedly put it, "Peyton Manning-type time."
Jones told the press in his post-draft press conference that he expects Romo to be more like Manning in his preparation, as reported by NFL.com's Marc Sessler:
Tony is going to have more time, more presence. Not only ... in the offseason but when the season starts, beginning Mondays, assuming we played Sundays, he's going to have more time on the job. A part of what we agreed with, was extra time on the job, beyond the norm. That doesn't mean that he didn't have a lot of time on the job, but extra time on the job, Peyton Manning-type time on the job.
It sounds as if Romo has his work cut out for him as early as voluntary offseason workouts. Jones is now breathing down his neck (publicly) more than ever.
Shaun Phillips is in town to help mitigate the loss of Elvis Dumervil.
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Quietly lost in the chaos of the 2013 NFL draft was the fact the Denver Broncos had signed a long-time rival in former San Diego Chargers linebacker Shaun Phillips.
As always, ESPN's Adam Schefter was the first with the news:
Broncos are signing former Chargers LB Shaun Phillips.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 27, 2013
As ESPN's Bill Williamson points out, the 31-year-old with 69.5 sacks to his name jumped across the AFC West in order to help the Broncos forget about the fax-machine error that cost them Elvis Dumervil.
Phillips is certainly no Dumervil, but he could team with Robert Ayers in an attempt to give Denver similar production.
Watch how this plays out over the next few weeks, because it could have a major impact on big-name free agents such as Dwight Freeney.
Devin Taylor was a quiet addition for the Detroit Lions, but he could turn out to be huge.
The big news coming out of Detroit after the draft was the Lions' selection of talented pass-rusher Ezekiel Ansah with the No. 5 overall pick. It allowed another quality transaction to fly under the radar.
Said transaction was the Lions selecting defensive end Devin Taylor out of South Carolina with the No. 132 overall pick.
Taylor could have a massive rookie campaign while offenses focus on stopping guys like Ansah, Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley.
You better believe head coach Jim Schwartz knows that. As he told Anwar S. Richardson of mlive.com, he fully expects Taylor to make a major impact next year:
He can play both (left and right end). He's 6-foot-7, he's 270 pounds, runs real fast.
You know the way we play. We use a lot of those guys. We want starters on the field, but even backups there. It's not like offensive line or quarterback when you're playing in case of an injury. We get those guys a lot of time, and they'll be opportunity for those guys to get onto the field for us.
It seems like the Lions have high hopes for Taylor, and his journey to proving Schwartz and Co. right begins in a few weeks.
Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers have placed James Starks on the trade block after an exceptional draft at the position.
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The Green Bay Packers went into the 2013 NFL draft with an obvious need at the running back position, and boy, did they fix that in a hurry.
Green Bay landed Alabama's Eddie Lacy early and followed up a few rounds later with UCLA's Johnathan Franklin.
In other words, the team drafted an ideal one-two punch at the position: Lacy excels at short-yardage scenarios, Franklin at everything else.
Something has to give in the the now-crowded Packers backfield, and according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the odd man out is James Starks:
The #Packers have made it known James Starks is on the trading block. No surprise. They've already drafted 2 RBs.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 27, 2013
The report makes sense because Alex Green and DuJuan Harris have shown promise and should hold the roster spots behind Lacy and Franklin.
It's unknown if the Packers can get anything in exchange for Starks, but be sure to keep an eye on this one.
The Houston Texans think they have found an immediate starter in D.J. Swearinger.
The Houston Texans used the No. 57 overall pick on the big-hitting safety from South Carolina named D.J. Swearinger.
Many thought Swearinger would be stuck in a backup role next season thanks to the presence of the recently signed Ed Reed. But as a wise man once said, "Not so fast, my friend!"
He’s a big hitter. He’s a tough, physical player, but he has good range. He can play free safety – he’s got great range overlapping – or he can play strong safety and get in the box. He also fits in your sub package. That’s what G.Q. (Quin) played for us, when the sub-package is playing over the tight end and being able to play the running game too. He fits well in there. We played that at least 50 percent of the time, so it’s almost like adding a starter.
With the way Phillips plans on using Swearinger, the Texans got a great value now and into the future. The preseason will give you a good indicator as to how much time he will actually see in the regular season.
The Indianapolis Colts have a talented new pass-rusher in Bjoern Werner.
With so many perceived needs on the defensive side of the ball, it was hard to tell what the Indianapolis Colts' front office was going to do in the first round of this year's draft.
As it turns out, the coaching staff was not as confident in free-agent signing Erik Walden as some thought, so the team drafted Florida State's Bjoern Werner.
According to Phillip B. Wilson over at Indystar.com, the Colts plan on using Werner to blitz, while Walden will be in to set the edge against the run:
Colts coach Chuck Pagano says the 6-3, 266-pound Werner will play outside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme. That means Werner will be asked to blitz.
Grigson mentioned Werner’s length and how the defender displayed a knack for knocking down passes. The Colts’ boss mentioned how we’ve all seen Houston defensive end J.J. Watt disrupt games that way — the 11th overall pick in the 2011 draft set an NFL record for his position with 16 passes defended last season.
The shocking news isn't that Werner will be used in passing situations, but that the front office is admitting it overpaid for Walden, who may not see the field on every down.
Luke Joeckel is the man for Jacksonville at right tackle.
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The Jacksonville Jaguars made offensive tackle Luke Joeckel the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft. It was not a surprising move by any means.
How Jacksonville plans on using him is a different story.
According to Ryan O'Halloran over at Jacksonville.com, the Jaguars intend to use Joeckel as a right tackle for years to come.
Joeckel later confirmed he has been prepping to play right tackle (via O'Halloran):
I knew knowing right and left tackle would make me attractive to more teams. It’s going to be a little bit different at first. But I’m a technician and I’m not going to accept anything but being totally comfortable there by the first game.
It's a surprising move because many thought left tackle Eugene Monroe would be moving over to assume the duties at right tackle.
Even more surprising is the fact the organization is hinting at keeping Joeckel there long-term. It's not often you see a right tackle drafted this high, but it is beginning to sound like that is exactly what the Jaguars did.
Kansas City Chiefs
As you can see, there is plenty to like about the new Kansas City Chiefs' quarterback.
The Kansas City Chiefs put together a nice 2013 NFL draft class—headlined by Central Michigan tackle Eric Fisher—but the team appeared comfortable at the quarterback position after landing veteran Alex Smith beforehand.
That did not stop the Chiefs from taking a gamble on a promising player in Tyler Bray, who slipped into the realm of undrafted free agency.
Bray signed with the Chiefs, per ESPN's Adam Schefter:
ESPN's @fieldyates reports former Tennessee QB Tyler Bray will sign with the Kansas City Chiefs, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 28, 2013
It's an intriguing move for the Chiefs. Bray has everything you want in a quarterback, but there are some maturity issues. He also interviewed horribly at the NFL Scouting Combine, according to NFL.com's Chris Wesseling:
"This kid can rip it," NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said at the combine. "He's got a live arm, man."
Bray's accuracy was scattershot and his pocket presence suspect at Tennessee, but maturity issues apparently kept him from being drafted. Bray reportedly turned off NFL teams with his inability to correctly identify plays on the whiteboard during the interview process.
View Bray's presence in Kansas City as someone who can be groomed into taking over as a starter in a few years, but any nonsense and he'll be out of a job.
It sounds like the Miami Dolphins are still talking about bringing in Eric Winston.
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The Miami Dolphins have an obvious need at offensive tackle, and some expected them to trade for Branden Albert of the Kansas City Chiefs during the draft.
That didn't happen.
Instead, it sounds as if the Dolphins are going a different route, as Adam Beasley of The Miami Herald says the two sides are talking:
Source: Dolphins have maintained a steady dialogue with Eric Winston, and we should know in the near future if a deal is a real possibility.
— Adam Beasley (@AdamHBeasley) April 28, 2013
The Dolphins have a rookie in Dallas Thomas penciled in as the starter at left tackle, and second-year man Jonathan Martin is assumed to be handling the duties at right tackle.
It goes without saying that the Dolphins could use Winston's services.
The Minnesota Vikings may have found a steal in the seventh round.
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It's not often you find a seventh-round pick who goes on to earn a starting job in his rookie season, but new Minnesota Vikings linebacker Michael Mauti is not your typical late selection.
Mauti was a productive linebacker during his time at Penn State. The only problem? He suffered three ACL tears, which killed his draft stock.
As of now, Mauti is still rehabbing from his latest knee injury, but Vikings general manager Rick Spielman believes he can come in and compete for a starting job at middle linebacker (h/t Tom Pelissero, 1500ESPN.com):
We're going to start rehabbing him, but he should be ready to go by training camp. He was just too good of a football player, too good of a character, too good of a leader to pass up. ... He's very intense, and he'll be definitely a great competition at that mike linebacker position.
Mauti certainly has the talent on the field to win the starting job, especially with no defined starter on the roster already.
Keep an eye on this one. It could have a huge impact on big-name free agents still out there, such as Brian Urlacher.
New England Patriots
Aaron Dobson is expected to have a major impact in New England right away.
The New England Patriots entered the 2013 NFL draft with a big hole at the wide receiver position, but it sounds like head coach Bill Belichick and Co. are happy with how they plugged it.
At No. 59 overall, the Patriots made Marshall product Aaron Dobson the selection, and he figures to have a massive impact right away. As Belichick told the media, there is a lot to love about the Patriots' newest receiver (h/t Luke Hughes of NESN.com):
“He’s big, he’s fast, he’s got good hands, he’s a strong player; smart, very smart,” Belichick said on Friday night. “He has some position flexibility and versatility. Catches the ball very well.”
The combination of Dobson’s sure hands and obvious high football IQ may be a sign that the Patriots have finally learned their lesson about drafting receivers. Even Belichick couldn’t deny he was different than some of their past picks at the position. “I’d say he’s certainly in the upper group of that,” Belichick admitted.
It seems Dobson is destined to take over for Brandon Lloyd at the X receiver position, which saw 130 passes thrown its way from quarterback Tom Brady last season.
New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints are finding some potential gems in undrafted free agency.
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In case you haven't heard, the New Orleans Saints had a solid draft outing headlined by Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro, but what the team is doing in undrafted free agency may be making the most noise.
For starters, the Saints brought in Tulane quarterback Ryan Griffin, as ESPN.com detailed:
Tulane coach Curtis Johnson, a former Saints receivers coach, says the Saints made a good decision bringing in Griffin, who will be the club's third quarterback behind Drew Brees and Luke McCown.
Johnson implemented the Saints offense into what Tulane runs, so he's right in saying Griffin was a smart pickup.
New Orleans also reeled in two high-profile prospects in North Carolina linebacker Kevin Reddick and Stanford linebacker Chase Thomas to help with the transition to a 3-4 defense, which Larry Holder of NOLA.com detailed:
NFL.com graded Thomas as the 68th best prospect in the draft and Thomas was the highest graded player not drafted...NFL.com graded Reddick higher than other draft picks like Texas A&M's Christine Michael, LSU's Sam Montgomery and Mississippi State's Darius Slay.
All in all, the Saints are making some serious noise, so pay close attention to the suddenly deep battles at quarterback and linebacker in the coming weeks.
New York Giants
The New York Giants are looking to groom Ryan Nassib behind Eli Manning.
Perhaps the surprise of the 2013 NFL draft was the New York Giants trading up to select Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib despite having a 32-year-old franchise quarterback in Eli Manning.
Of course, Giants general manager Jerry Reese once again proved why he is one of the best in the business with the move. New York now has Manning's replacement, or a player who will develop and fetch quite the draft haul via trade in a few years.
Reese told the media the value was simply too much at that point in the draft, and he wanted to be comfortable in case Manning ever gets hurt (h/t Ralph Vacchiano, New York Daily News):
We’ve been thinking about developing a quarterback behind Eli for a while now. We think this is a perfect opportunity for us to get a young quarterback with a lot of talent. The value was too high for us.
Now, Nassib certainly is not going to push for a starting job, but do be on the lookout for other teams getting desperate with their own quarterback situation. They may be willing to give up a mega-load in return, and that's just what Reese wanted to get out of the move.
New York Jets
It appears rookie Geno Smith is not the man in New York—yet.
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The New York Jets did not exactly shock the world in the second round of the NFL draft by selecting West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith after he took a tumble out of the first round.
Smith joins a position already set at maximum capacity thanks to the likes of Mark Sanchez, David Garrard and Greg McElroy.
In other words, something is going to have to give—even after Tim Tebow was recently cut from the roster.
Many thought Sanchez would be on his way out this offseason after Smith was selected, which makes sense because he was horrific last season, throwing 13 touchdowns to 18 interceptions and racking a up a 66.9 quarterback rating.
As New York Jets head coach told NFL Network, Sanchez is the first player who will be seeing snaps in practice (h/t Chris Wesseling, NFL.com):
After selecting West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith with the No. 39 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan told NFL Network on Saturday that embattled incumbent Mark Sanchez will take the first snap when the second phase of the Jets' offseason program begins Monday.
Newsday's Bob Glauber later confirmed Sanchez is in New York to stay:
League source: #Jets expected to retain QB Mark Sanchez into preseason, let him compete for starting job. Sanchez to show up for work tomw.— Bob Glauber (@BobGlauber) April 28, 2013
Expect the quarterback battle to be a long, drawn-out process in New York.
-- UPDATE --
Now things have come full circle, with the Jets reportedly releasing Tim Tebow according to Brian Costello of The New York Post:
Source: The jets have released Tim Tebow #NYJ
— Brian Costello (@BrianCoz) April 29, 2013
New Oakland Raiders QB Tyler Wilson will have a chance to compete this preseason.
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Despite making the move for Matt Flynn and having an unknown commodity on the roster in the form of Terrelle Pryor, the Oakland Raiders were expected to use a draft selection this year on the quarterback position.
The front office did just that, selecting Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson in the fourth round.
After the draft, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie left the door open for Wilson to compete for the starting job (via Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk):
He’s a rookie. I want him to learn the playbook first. Get out here and make sure he gets behind the center, not behind the guard. You want these guys to come in and just show the coaches and their team, number one, that they belong. Then all the other stuff will come.
McKenzie sounds confident in Wilson, but Flynn is penciled in as the starter for now.
Keep an eye on this one, Flynn could be losing his job for the second year in a row to a rookie quarterback.
How does Matt Barkley fit with the Philadelphia Eagles?
In perhaps the most shocking move of the 2013 NFL draft, Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly elected to trade up and select USC quarterback Matt Barkley at No. 98 overall.
It was a confusing pick, largely because Kelly's offense has always used mobile quarterbacks, hence why he kept Michael Vick around and brought in Dennis Dixon. Barkley is as immobile as they come, and he took a major fall in the draft after staying for his senior year at USC.
However, according to Kelly himself, being mobile is only an added bonus at the quarterback position in his offense.
"Everything we do, our quarterback has to be able to throw," Kelly said (h/t Zach Berman of The Philadelphia Inquirer). "If the fact that they have the ability to run, I believe that's an added bonus."
In other words, there is about to be an open free-for-all between Barkley, Dixon, Vick and second-year man Nick Foles. All have struggled with accuracy at times, so what direction Kelly decides to go is something we'll be monitoring carefully.
The Pittsburgh Steeleers suddenly have a new-look backfield.
Lost in the chaos of the NFL draft was the fact that, in a matter of days, the Pittsburgh Steelers were able to revamp the running back position in a completely different direction.
During the draft, Pittsburgh signed former Arizona Cardinals speed back LaRod Stephens-Howling and used the No. 48 overall pick on Michigan State product Le'Veon Bell.
So where does that leave other backs on the roster? According to NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah, one of last year's major contributors in Jonathan Dwyer has been firmly planted on the trade block:
I'm told the Steelers are trying to trade one of their RB's…Jonathan Dwyer is the name I've heard. #Steelers— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) April 27, 2013
Dwyer does not have a lot of experience catching the ball out of the backfield, nor does he hold up well in pass protection.
Expect Dwyer to be on the move soon thanks to a renaissance at the position in Pittsburgh.
San Diego Chargers
It appears the new regime in San Diego wanted LaDainian Tomlinson back in powder blue.
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File this one under the "you can't be serious" category.
No, we're not talking about the San Diego Chargers trading up for Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, but we certainly could be.
Instead, we're talking about the new Chargers brass reaching out to former running back LaDainian Tomlinson and attempting to bring him out of retirement.
You can't make this stuff up.
Tomlinson broke the news to Yahoo!'s Michael Silver, saying:
I met [new general manager] Tom Telesco and [rookie head coach] Mike McCoy at the [NFL scouting] combine, and they asked me to come back and play. ... At first I thought they weren't really serious, but they kept talking about it, and I realized it was real. They said, "You can come back and carry it 10 or 12 times a game. We'd like to have you here."
When I made the decision to walk away, I wrestled with it long and hard, and I knew it was final. Once I retired, that was it. My mind is in a different place. Mentally, going back would have been too hard.
There must be something in the water in San Diego. At 33 years old, Tomlinson's mind is everywhere but returning to the game he loves.
San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers don't plan on using Marcus Lattimore for a while.
The San Francisco 49ers used one of their seemingly infinite picks in the 2013 NFL draft to take a chance on oft-injured South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore.
Lattimore is still recovering from a career-threatening knee injury, the second one he has faced in as many years.
Interestingly enough, the 49ers may not even use him in 2013, thanks to the depth at the running back position already on the roster with guys like Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter.
As NFL Network's Steve Cyphers reports, the 49ers plan to simply stash Lattimore on the roster until he is fully healthy.
If Lattimore can get fully healthy, he's an absolute steal for the 49ers at No. 131 overall. The rich get richer in San Francisco.
It sounds like Spencer Ware is going to undergo a bit of a position change at the next level.
Many were confused as to the Seattle Seahawks' 2013 draft strategy.
Seattle already has two very capable running backs in Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin. When the Seahawks waltzed to the podium at No. 62 overall, not many expected a running back to be the pick.
Alas, the Seahawks selected Texas A&M product Christine Michael.
Fine. Being three running backs deep is actually a great thing.
When Seattle walked to the podium at No. 194 overall, once again, no no expected the pick to be a back.
It was, this time LSU's Spencer Ware.
So that we don't all go crazy with confusion, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll was quick to announce Ware will play fullback for the team, replacing Michael Robinson (per John Boyle of The Everett Herald):
Pete Carroll said Spencer Ware will play FB. #Seahawks
— John Boyle (@johnpboyle) April 28, 2013
St. Louis Rams
The only concern with Tavon Austin at the next level is his health.
The St. Louis Rams traded up in the 2013 NFL draft to make West Virginia's Tavon Austin the No. 8 overall pick of the draft.
If you absolutely had to find one flaw in his game, you would point out his less-than-ideal size at 5'8" and 174 pounds, which could leave him susceptible to injury at the NFL level.
It's something Austin himself has been grilled on repeatedly since being selected. His response, courtesy of Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
I haven’t missed a game in eight years, and that’s high school and in college. I’m going to try to come into the league and take care of my body. Get down when I need to get down, and step out of bounds when I need to.
The other question surrounding Austin? How he'll be used in the Rams offense.
"I’m gonna come in and play well (whether) it’s special teams, running back, or slot receiver," Austin said. "I’m going to come in with the right mindset and hopefully put some points on the board.”
There is no doubt the Rams may use Austin as the Green Bay Packers use Randall Cobb—on special teams, all over the field as a receiver and even as a running back at times.
Austin sounds ready for the task.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
How will the Tampa Bay Buccaneers use explosive track athlete Jeff Demps?
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During the 2013 NFL draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers shipped running back LeGarrette Blount to the New England Patriots in exchange for a seventh-round pick and track athlete Jeff Demps.
Interestingly enough, it does not sound like the Bucs even wanted Demps.
According to Stephen Holder of the Tampa Bay Times, general manager Mark Dominik made it clear Demps was not necessary to pull off the trade:
The reason was not Jeff Demps. Jeff Demps was part of it, but not the reason. We were going to (trade) LeGarrette Blount for a seventh-round pick but we asked for the rights to Jeff Demps because we want to investigate that further. As an organization, we felt that it was in the best interest of our football team going forward.
In other words, the Buccaneers were willing to ship Blount away for next to nothing. Taking the rights to Demps on the chance he wants to play football was a gamble.
Monitor this one closely, because if Demps chooses to play both sports, the Buccaneers will have one of the most explosive return men in the NFL.
The Tennessee Titans see big things on the way from Brian Schwenke as early as this season.
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
The Tennessee Titans entered this year's draft with some major holes to fill along the offensive line. Alabama guard Chance Warmack was the big-name pick for the team in the first round, but a lesser-known player could have just as big of an impact next season.
That man would be center Brian Schwenke, the Titans' fourth-round selection. Schwenke is a versatile player who can play most of the interior positions along the offensive line.
If Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean is to be believed, the Titans coaching staff truly believes Schwenke can push for the starting job and potentially steal it from Fernando Velasco, last year's starter:
The Titans envision the 6-foot-3, 307-pound Schwenke competing at center with last season’s starter, Fernando Velasco, and veteran Rob Turner, a free agent.
Schwenke started 36 of 48 games at Cal — 20 at left guard, four at right guard and 12 at center. Titans coach Mike Munchak called him the best center in the draft.
Velasco did not have a great season last year by any means, but as sources tell Wyatt, the coaching staff sees Schwenke as talented enough to potentially take over.
Not bad for a fourth-round pick.
Jordan Reed may be the long-term answer for the Washington Redskins at tight end.
Much to the annoyance of the Washington Redskins fanbase, the team elected to go offense rather than defense with the No. 85 overall pick, selecting Florida tight end Jordan Reed.
With the way the coaching staff is talking, it may have been an amazing decision.
According to John Keim of The Washington Examiner, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan believes Reed is very similar to another recent Florida tight end product who now plays for the New England Patriots—Aaron Hernandez:
We feel [Reed] has those intangibles you’re looking for. He’s a lot like Hernandez. I’m not sure if Hernandez is that fast, but he has the ability to beat linebackers and defensive backs because he knows how to run routes. This guy is similar.
The way Shanahan and his coaching staff are talking, you wouldn't think Fred Davis is on the roster. It appears the team has major plans for Reed as early as this preseason.
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