The Vikings selected Ohio State center Pat Elflein in the third round of this year’s draft as part of the team’s offseason push to revamp its offensive line (Elflein’s selection marked the first time since 2012 that Minnesota used a pick in the top three rounds on an offensive lineman). Elflein has an excellent pedigree and certainly has the talent to become a top center in the league, but as Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune writes, Nick Easton served as the starting center during the later spring practices this year, including the three-day minicamp. However, Vensel says Elflein will get his chance in training camp, and he will need to make an early impact if the Vikings’ O-line is to become a strength this season.
Now for more notes from around the league:
- D.J. Fluker has been lining up exclusively at right guard this offseason for the Giants, but James Kratch of NJ.com does not see any chance that the former Charger will unseat John Jerry at the position. There is always the possibility that Fluker moves back to right tackle, where he played during his first two seasons with the Bolts, but Kratch says Big Blue is very optimistic about Bobby Hart and will give him every opportunity to earn the right tackle job. In fact, Kratch does not foresee a true competition shaping up at right tackle this summer, and there is a good chance the Giants simply cut Fluker and save $1.5MM in the process.
- In the same piece, Kratch says he does not expect the Giants to add a veteran cornerback at this point, and he also observes that, as much as everyone is rooting for UDFA Travis Rudolph because of his personal story, it’s going to be difficult for him to crack a loaded WR corps. Rudolph, Roger Lewis, and Darius Powe will likely be competing for, at most, one receiver spot, and that’s only if New York elects to keep six wideouts.
- The Jaguars have spent over $800MM on free agents since 2011, but they only have 22 wins to show for it, as Roy Cummings of Florida Football Insiders writes. One of the problems, according to Cummings, is that all of that spending and the turnover it engenders creates uncertain leadership, and even leadership voids, in the locker room. This year, Jacksonville parted ways with a number of defensive veterans, and Roy Miller, who was a part of that purge, believes the departure of those players could mean that the Jags will once again be lacking leadership. Indeed, defense was not the team’s problem last year, and Cumming seems to think there may be something to Miller’s admittedly biased theory.
- Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer says Browns head coach Hue Jackson would like to name a starting QB prior to the August 10 preseason opener, but that he may need to see some live action first, especially now that rookie DeShone Kizer has narrowed the gap between himself and Cody Kessler.
- Tight end Phazahn Odom and linebacker Matt Galambos were the only two prospects to receive a contract from the Steelers after Pittsburgh’s tryout camp in May, and while their odds of cracking the roster may be slim, Jerry DiPaola of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review makes the case for Odom. After all, the Steelers’ TE depth chart is pretty thin after the team cut Ladarius Green earlier this year, and while Jesse James will serve as the starter, his backups, Xavier Grimble and David Johnson, are hardly world-beaters. As such, the door might be open just a hair for Odom, who is an intimidating physical presence at 6-8, 251 pounds, but who is still a bit raw.