NFL OTAs, Buzz Roundup: What Does Julian Edelman's Suspension Mean for Patriots?

Matt Miller@nfldraftscoutNFL Draft Lead WriterJune 8, 2018

NFL OTAs, Buzz Roundup: What Does Julian Edelman's Suspension Mean for Patriots?

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    Steven Senne/Associated Press

    You can curate a Twitter list, subscribe to all the news updates in the B/R app or watch the sports ticker nonstop and still miss the most relevant news coming out of NFL organized team activities. That's where we come in.

    Let's take a look around the league at the biggest stories, hottest buzz and the thoughts of the NFL decision-makers observing the workouts.

        

Edelman's Suspension Is Just a Drop in the Bucket for New England

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    Elise Amendola/Associated Press

    The New England Patriots can't catch a break this offseason—but I'm not sure many hearts broke outside of New England when ESPN's Adam Schefter and Field Yates reported that wide receiver Julian Edelman will be suspended four games for violating the league's performance-enhancing substance policy.

    Now what? 

    The Patriots don't have Brandin Cooks to fall back on now that he's been traded to the Los Angeles Rams. That leaves Chris Hogan, Kenny Britt, Phillip Dorsett, Jordan Matthews and Malcolm Mitchell to fill Edelman's role for four games.

    But let's be real: The Patriots lost Tom Brady to a four-game suspension in 2016 and still went 3-1. This is a team that might be impervious to bad news. Even without Edelman—against the Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions and Miami Dolphins—it's likely they'll still win out. That's what having the greatest head coach—Bill Belichick—and greatest quarterback of all time gets you.

    Losing Edelman hurts, but it's not the Patriot killer the rest of the NFL will hope it is. 

Spotlight Is on Watson and Mahomes, but Trubisky Is the One to Watch

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Many thought Deshaun Watson was an MVP candidate during his six starts for the Houston Texans last year. Patrick Mahomes has been the talk of OTAs, and the eyes of the Kansas City Chiefs fanbase are all on him in hopes he'll get them to the Super Bowl that Alex Smith couldn't deliver. But what about the quarterback drafted No. 2 overall in 2017?

    Mitch Trubisky has been a forgotten name nationwide as we head into the 2018 season, but after talking to folks with the Chicago Bears, it's clear they know he's poised for a breakout campaign.

    Not only is Trubisky heading into year two after learning both on the sidelines and on the field last season, but he's also gaining the expertise of new head coach Matt Nagy and offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich. That, plus the addition of wide receiver Allen Robinson and a healthy offensive line, have Bears personnel amped for what Trubisky can do this season. Sources are saying he could break out in a big way. 

    That's to take nothing away from Watson and Mahomes. League insiders can't contain the excitement that Watson might be a top-10 NFL quarterback at season's end. With Mahomes, as I wrote in the past few weeks, you can't talk to anyone in Kansas City without realizing they are giddy for his first season as a starter.

    With Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Eli Manning and Philip Rivers nearing the ends of their careers, maybe it'll be the three first-rounders from 2017 who rise up to take their places?

Should the Cowboys Bring Back Dez?

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    Chris Szagola/Associated Press

    Deion Sanders thinks the Dallas Cowboys should bring back Dez Bryant—a player the team recently released. But do the Cowboys think they should bring him back?

    "Would you get back with your ex-wife?" is how one Cowboys source answered my question regarding whether they'd consider bringing back Bryant. (I'll take that as a no.)

    Why wouldn't they consider it? Per the source, Bryant was "a headache" last season with his mood swings and poor work ethic. That's been Bryant's modus operandi since he entered the NFL in 2010, but in 2017 his play dropped off to a point where the team no longer wanted to deal with his behavior. That's all according to a source with Dallas' football operations department.

    Bryant is one of the NFL's best receivers over the last 10 years, but he hasn't had a 1,000-yard receiving season since 2014. He's also expected to command starter's money if and when he does sign. For the return on investment, Bryant isn't worth it.

What Does Shane Ray's Injury Mean to the Broncos?

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    In the last year, Denver Broncos pass-rusher Shane Ray has undergone four surgeries on his left wrist. His most recent one is expected to sideline him for at least three months, according to Schefter. With Ray in a contract year and with pass-rusher and No. 5 overall pick Bradley Chubb's arrival, what does all this mean?

    Ray was selected No. 23 overall in the 2015 NFL draft with the idea he could eventually replace DeMarcus Ware. Following an eight-sack season in 2016, Ray looked like he was breaking out. Then his wrist injury happened, and he had just one sack in 2017. 

    Unfortunately, because of injuries, Ray may never realize the potential he showed coming out of Missouri as a speedy edge-rusher who was ideal for the Denver defense. With Chubb in the fold and Von Miller locking down one side, Ray could be looking at a new location for 2019.

    How will this affect the Broncos? Miller is one of the best pass-rushers ever, so they're fine on that side. Chubb was widely considered to be the best defensive prospect in the 2018 draft and should slide right into a starting pass-rushing role.

Is Teddy Bridgewater This Year's Sleeper Quarterback?

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    Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    Rust Cohle would say the NFL is a flat circle. He would be right.

    Two years ago the Philadelphia Eagles traded presumed starter Sam Bradford to the Minnesota Vikings for a first- and fourth-round pick on Labor Day weekend, clearing the way for rookie Carson Wentz to be the starting quarterback. Minnesota made the move to replace an injured Teddy Bridgewater. Now, in 2018, it's Bridgewater who could be a late upgrade should a starter go down, clearing the way for rookie Sam Darnold.

    Observations from reporters at Jets workouts (via CBSSports.com's Jared Dubin) have all been positive regarding Bridgewater, leading to speculation that he could be moved in a preseason trade. If Bridgewater is recovered from the knee injury that cost him nearly two seasons, and by the looks of it he is, then the Jets have a fantastic asset.

    If Darnold is deemed ready to be a starter, New York can ship Bridgewater and keep Josh McCown as the backup. And if there are no suitors, the Jets have options with Bridgewater as an inexpensive backup they could franchise tag and trade next offseason. 

The ACL Epidemic Is Real

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    Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

    Hunter Henry. Nick Bawden. Hercules Mata'afa. 

    The ACL epidemic strikes again.

    The phrase coined by our friends at The Simms & Lefkoe Podcast comes up every summer as teams get together for workouts and the injuries start to add up. Henry, Bawden, Mata'afa. Who's next?

    Following ACL injuries to Watson and Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook last year after both looked like promising rookies, folks around the NFL have become resigned to the fact that ACL tears will happen. The good news, if you can call it that, is that players are often able to bounce back in the next season. 

    As the ACL epidemic grows this preseason, every team holds its collective breath and prepares for the potential replacements that will be needed.

Barkley, Guice Can Do It All as NFL RBs

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    Saquon Barkley's quads aren't the only thing making headlines this spring—his play for the New York Giants has also been turning heads.

    Barkley's ability to make plays as an inside or outside runner was well-known at Penn State, as were his receiving skills, but there's always the chance those skills won't translate to the NFL, where defenses are faster and bigger. The team has no worries, though, according to a source in the New York Giants' scouting staff. They're quite pleased with the No. 2 overall pick's abilities. 

    The same can be said for fellow rookie Derrius Guice. The Washington Redskins running back has impressed, according to team sources, not only as an inside runner with burst and vision, but also as a receiver out of the backfield. That's a skill set not often seen at LSU, but Guice has impressed his new employers with his three-down skills.

    Guice's addition to the passing game is huge. Look at the numbers of the running backs when Alex Smith—now the starter in Washington—was the quarterback in Kansas City. Jamaal Charles and Kareem Hunt were both major parts of the passing game. Smith isn't known for his strong arm and attacking downfield game, but he has a smart, conservative, short game that asks the running back to get involved as a receiver. If Guice can do that, he'll be in the Rookie of the Year conversation.

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