Let’s run down some bits and pieces from the league from Saturday.
- The Lions acquired Haloti Ngata via trade to plug one of their defensive tackle holes vacated by the departures of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, and CBSSports.com’s Jason La Canfora notes (on Twitter) Detroit could make a similar play to find more help on its defensive interior. Detroit picked Gabe Wright in Round 4 and signed Tyrunn Walker, he of one career start, from the Saints, so a need obviously remains.
- Blake Bortles‘ offseason development choice was working with the same motion analysis specialists Tom Brady has in the past, Gene Frenette of the Florida Times-Union writes. The columnist reports Bortles, who rushed for 345 yards as a rookie with the Jaguars, dropped from 250 pounds to 238.
- Jags remaining unsigned draft choices T.J. Yeldon and A.J. Cann should agree to terms this week during OTAs, Ryan O’Halloran of the Times-Union notes.
- The Texans are the favorites to be this year’s featured team on HBO’s Hard Knocks, reports ESPN.com’s Tania Ganguli (on Twitter).
- Johnthan Banks figures to present a tough challenge for veteran Mike Jenkins to reclaim his starting cornerback job alongside Alterraun Verner with the Buccaneers, writes ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinkas. Although Pro Football Focus doesn’t rate Banks, a starter for most of his two NFL slates, as a particularly good cover man (93rd among corners last year; subscription required), the third-year player did intercept four passes and deflect 10. A Pro Bowler with the Cowboys in 2009, Jenkins is entering his age-30 season. Although only on a one-year contract after not being tendered as a restricted free agent by Dallas, Sterling Moore should be in this conversation as well after his breakout 2014.
- Yasinkas also expects Charles Sims to give the suddenly mediocre Doug Martin a stiff challenge for the Bucs’ top ball-carrying job. Sims averaged just 2.8 yards per tote as a rookie in limited duty, while Martin averaged 3.7 per carry on 134 carries.
- Justin Smith‘s retirement didn’t exactly catch the 49ers in an experience sinkhole like Suh and Fairley’s did for the Lions, with Darnell Dockett and Glenn Dorsey (234 starts between them) fronting the competition. But other candidates loom in what could be more of a committee-type arrangement, writes the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch. First-round pick Arik Armstead and Tank Carradine are among those potentially able to supply depth after the loss of the unit’s leader. Dorsey rated ahead of the departed Ray McDonald — via PFF during his last healthy season in 2013, but both McDonald and Smith boasted top-flight marks last season.
- The Boston Globe’s Christopher L. Gasper argued Patriots owner Robert Kraft put his own legacy ahead of his team’s immediate future in withdrawing from a potential battle with commissioner Roger Goodell over the team’s Deflategate penalties. The Pats boss backed Goodell on the Saints’ Bountygate punishment and his initial ruling in the Ray Rice domestic-abuse incident before objecting to sanctions against his own team.