AFC Notes: Raiders, Walford, Cook, Jaguars

Here’s a look at the AFC:

  • Raiders tight end Clive Walford suffered a knee injury in an ATV accident earlier this offseason, as Mike Garafolo and Peter Schrager of FOX Sports write. Walford will miss spring practices and is expected to be back during training camp. The 2015 third-round pick gave everyone in the Oakland front office a big scare at first, but the injury is not as bad as many believed at the outset, Adam Caplan of tweets. Over his last 12 games last season, Walford caught 27 passes for 329 yards and three touchdowns. Prior to that, Walford had a bit of a slow start thanks to a bothersome hamstring.
  • Two NFL general managers partially blamed Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio for Connor Cook‘s slide in the draft, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link). The MSU coach limits scouts’ access during practice which arguably made it more difficult for NFL teams to get a good sense of what the quarterback had to offer. Scouts particularly wanted to get a glance at how Cook interacts with his teammates and when they couldn’t see that in practice, they were forced to go off of hearsay. That slide probably benefitted the Raiders, who managed to draft Cook in the fourth round.
  • Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell says that this isn’t necessarily a make-or-break year for coach Gus Bradley, even though the team’s owner is expecting a winning season. “I think, for us, we’ve always targeted year four and year five in this building of this team,” Caldwell said on NFL Network (transcript from Mike DiRocco of “We wanted to make good, safe, sound decisions and build a foundation for the first three years, and then take a little bit of risk this year going into year four. You saw that with the Myles [Jack] pick and some of our free-agent acquisitions, and we’re making a push for it. Coach Bradley and his staff, they do a great job and I think we just have to show improvement, continue to show improvement. I don’t know what that looks like in the wins and loss columns, but I expect good things and our best football is ahead of us.”
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