2019 NFL Draft

Nick Bosa To Focus On Draft

Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa will not try to return to his team after rehabbing from a core muscle injury, the school announced on Tuesday. It’s a smart business decision from Bosa, who is widely projected as the top prospect in the 2019 NFL Draft. 

I was hopeful that Nick would be able to return to play again for us,” head coach Urban Meyer said in a statement released by the school. “I know this was an extremely difficult and emotional decision for Nick and his family, and I wish him well as he moves on to get himself 100 percent healthy and ready for his next chapter. I want to thank Nick for the remarkable efforts he gave for this program. He is a first-class young man who we have been honored to coach.”

Bosa suffered the injury on Sept. 15 and had surgery less than a week later. In three games this year, Bosa had four sacks, six tackles for a loss, and was leading the Buckeyes in tackles overall.

Older brother Joey Bosa took a business-first stand with the Chargers as a rookie and wound up missing nearly all of the club’s offseason activities in the process. With that in mind, it’s not a surprise to hear that Nick playing it safe when it comes to his future prospects.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

WR Prospect Ahmmon Richards Suffers Career-Ending Injury

Viewed as a possible first-round pick or a player with Day 2 draft potential, Miami junior wide receiver Ahmmon Richards will not be able to follow through on those aspirations because of what is believed to be a career-ending injury.

Richards has been sidelined since the Hurricanes’ season opener, and the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson and Susan Miller Degnan report it’s a neck injury that will end the wideout’s career. The severity of this injury was revealed Saturday, although the university has not confirmed it.

Not much is known about this malady, besides the aforementioned report about it causing the 6-foot-1 wideout to stop playing football, because Richards’ status has been “day-to-day” since the Week 1 setback. It’s unclear how Richards suffered the injury, but the Miami product was likely going to be in the mix for an early-rounds pick had he entered the 2019 draft pool.

Richards’ best season came as a freshman in 2016, when he caught 49 passes for 934 yards.

Extra Points: Mahomes, Chiefs, Chargers, Bosa, Lions, Snead, NFL Draft

Patrick Mahomes is the talk of the NFL. He’s led the Chiefs to a 3-0 record and has been nearly flawless, tossing 13 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Now, more details are coming out about how Mahomes landed in Kansas City, and Terez Paylor of Yahoo Sports has an insightful piece about the Chiefs’ process.

 Chiefs GM Brett Veach, at the time the team’s assistant GM, reportedly became infatuated with Mahomes in the months leading up to the draft. As a scout with the Eagles, he had banged the table for Andy Reid to draft Fletcher Cox, DeSean Jackon, and LeSean McCoy, so Reid trusted his judgment. Veach hounded Reid for months about his love for Mahomes and eventually won the coach over. The whole story is well worth a read and is full of interesting nuggets. It sounds like the Chiefs have the right leadership in place to be a force in the league for years to come.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Chargers star pass-rusher Joey Bosa will get the cast taken off his foot later today according to Adam Schefter of ESPN (Twitter link). While it’s a positive development for Los Angeles, Schefter cautions he still isn’t expected back until “sometime next month.”
  • Earlier this week the Lions re-signed veteran cornerback DeShawn Snead, and now the details are in. The contract is for just the veteran’s minimum, but will cost the Lions $2.3MM this season due to the dead money that came from cutting him the first time according to Chris Burke of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • Virginia Tech has dismissed defensive lineman Trevon Hill from the team, an item of note for NFL draftniks. It’s “major draft news” according to Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com (Twitter link), who writes that Hill was “one of the better edge rushing prospects in the nation.”

AFC West Notes: Raiders, Mack, Broncos

The Raiders’ situation with Khalil Mack continues to feature no movement. There is no end in sight, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets, adding the 2016 defensive player of the year will not report in time for Oakland’s second preseason game. Reggie McKenzie previously said he does not expect the superstar defensive end to show up without an extension, so this isn’t unexpected. Mack will incur a fine of $814K by not being with the Raiders for their second preseason tilt, bringing his fine total up to $1.628MM, per Schefter.

Jon Gruden, meanwhile, insists the Raiders are trying to bring Mack back as soon as possible and called the fifth-year Raider “the best player coming off the edge in football.”

We’re going to try to get him here as soon as we can,” Gruden said during a Sirius XM Radio interview (via NBC Sports Bay Area). “In the time being, you got to move on. You’ve got to get up and go to work. That’s one thing I’m very proud of what we’ve done here. This is a negotiation. Joel Segal is Khalil’s agent. They’ve got their plan. General manager Reggie McKenzie and the people negotiating on our end have a plan. I’m coaching the team. At this time, he’s not here, and we have to focus on what we can control, and that’s just working.”

Here’s the latest from the West divisions.

  • John Elway shot down a Colin Kaepernick route to Denver, indicating the former 49ers quarterback turned down an offer in 2016. (Although, Brock Osweiler also turned down a 2016 offer only to return a year later.) But the Broncos GM did not rule out bringing in another veteran backup, Mike Klis of 9News notes. The Broncos demoted Paxton Lynch this week, and new second-stringer Chad Kelly has never thrown a regular-season pass. Matt Moore may be the top non-Kaepernick QB available.
  • The 2016 summit between Kaepernick, Elway, Gary Kubiak and Broncos exec Matt Russell at Elway’s house was a “positive meet and greet,” according to Charles Robinson of Yahoo.com. The Broncos liked Kaepernick coming out of Nevada in 2011, and after the 2016 meeting, Kaepernick believed he was en route to becoming Denver’s next starter. However, he balked at taking a pay cut (one that would have reduced his salary to $7MM). Citing the double-standard for Osweiler — whom Robinson believes stirred up some hard feelings among Broncos execs by spurning them for the Texans — receiving a second chance in Denver and Kaepernick not being considered, the NFL reporter points to this being another checkmark in the Kaepernick-being-blackballed column.
  • In his first 2019 mock draft, Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller has the Broncos selecting a cornerback in Round 1. Although All-Pro Chris Harris remains well-regarded as a Broncos cornerstone, Miller notes some in Denver’s front office aren’t sold on Bradley Roby as a long-term cog. Roby’s entering his contract year. Harris has two seasons left on his team-friendly deal. The Broncos selected Brendan Langley in the 2017 third round, but 2018 third-rounder Isaac Yiadom was the nickelback in Denver’s first preseason game in place of the injured Tramaine Brock.
  • Whatever the Rams end up paying Aaron Donald, Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com feels that gives the Raiders a price point. But he expects a Mack extension to come in slightly below what Donald ends up earning. With edge rushers on average earning more than their inside counterparts, it remains to be seen if Mack would accept a deal that doesn’t make him the NFL’s highest-paid defender.

Alabama LB Terrell Lewis Suffers Torn ACL

One of the top prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft has suffered a serious injury. Alabama linebacker Terrell Lewis has bene diagnosed with a torn right ACL, according to an announcement from the school. Although “a timeframe for his return is unknown at this time,” it’s unlikely that he’ll be able to take the field this season. 

Early projections had Lewis (f.k.a. Terrell Hall) in the mix to be a first-round pick in the 2019 draft. That is now very much in jeopardy, though he might be able to recover in time for team workouts in the winter.

Unfortunately, injuries have plagued Lewis throughout his collegiate career. In 2017, he suffered an injury in the season opener which cost him the bulk of the year. Hopes were high after he excelled in spring football practices, but scouts will have to wait a while before seeing the 6’5″, 247-pound linebacker on the field again.

In the wake of this news, it’s quite possible that Lewis will stay in school for 2019 rather than going pro. He’ll have ample time to assess his decision, however, and the counsel of the College Advisory Committee (CAC) may play a role in his determination next year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Scouts Not High On 2019 QB Class

Early reviews of the projected 2019 quarterback class continue to paint a grim picture for the immediate future of sports’ marquee position. The four trades teams made to land first-round passers this year could be a reflection of what’s to come.

That’s why you see so many teams giving up the farm to get a quarterback this year. You’d rather trade up for an Allen or Rosen than bet on one of these guys,” a scout told Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller about the players expected to comprise the 2019 draft-eligible quarterback group.

Every scout with whom Miller has discussed the ’19 class said each member of the Baker Mayfield/Sam Darnold/Josh Allen/Josh Rosen/Lamar Jackson 2018 first-round quintet would have entered next year’s draft as the top-rated passer. With Darnold, Allen, Rosen and Jackson declaring for the this year’s draft early, Miller notes that’s depleted next year’s talent pool.

In the past two years, the Bears, Chiefs, Texans, Jets, Bills, Cardinals and Ravens all sacrificed draft capital to move up and select their long-term hopeful solutions. Teams like the Patriots, Jaguars, Giants or Chargers and select others may be waiting for the 2020 draft, per Miller, who has previously discussed the interesting predicament QB-needy franchises could be in next year. That could be dicey for some teams. Save for 2013, every draft since 2002 has seen at least two signal-callers be chosen in the first round.

While recent drafts have produced late risers like Mayfield or Carson Wentz, this one’s immediate top tier — as of now consisting of players like Missouri’s Drew Lock, Oregon’s Justin Herbert and Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham — has scouts “terrified”, per Miller.

There’s maybe three — Herbert, Drew Lock and the Auburn kid —who look like dudes. But there are a lot — a lot — of issues here,” another scout told Miller. “I’m terrified of this class. I hope everyone got their guy last year.”

However, a silver lining may be coming via the 2020 class, with a scout mentioning Georgia’s former duo of Jake Fromm and since-transferred Jacob Eason (now at Washington) as much better bets. Fromm could enter the draft in 2020, while Eason could do so in 2019. But the 2016 Bulldogs’ starter is not eligible to play for his new program, Washington, until the 2019 season because of NCAA transfer rules. It’s fairly early to project that far ahead, but scouts were doing that with Rosen and Darnold back in 2016. And considering the stakes associated with Round 1 quarterback picks, it’s probably not too soon to assess possibilities.

That kid at Georgia and the one that left are legit dudes,’ this scout said of Fromm and Eason. “They could go 1-2 and they were at the same school! Those are the ones to watch.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: XFL, 2019 draft, Beal, Seahawks, Carroll

For draftniks and hardcore fans of the NFL, it’s never too early to start looking at next year’s draft. That’s why Matt Miller of Bleacher Report recently broke down who NFL scouts see as the best prospects in 2019. Miller noted scouts are busy “building profiles, researching backgrounds and character and talking to college coaches about top players” before he gave an “early look” at the consensus top 10.

Defensive end Nick Bosa, younger brother of Chargers pass-rusher Joey Bosa, unsurprisingly checks in at number one. Bosa has dominated for Ohio State the past two seasons and is almost a lock to turn pro after his upcoming junior season. A scout told Miller, “I love Nick Bosa. I wasn’t 100 percent sure on Joey coming out (stupid me), but I won’t make that mistake twice. He’s the real deal. Excellent instincts and feel for the quarterback as a young rusher.”

It wouldn’t be at all surprising to hear Roger Goodell call Bosa’s name as the number one overall pick in 2019. After you’ve finished checking out the rest of the list, here’s more from around the football world:

  • Many wondered why Oliver Luck would leave his cushy job as an executive with the NCAA for a seemingly risky position as CEO and Commissioner of the upstart XFL. That question has apparently been answered now that it’s been reported Luck was offered a guaranteed $20MM from the XFL over a period of a few years that has a chance to grow to $30MM depending on the success of the league (Twitter link via the Wall Street Journal’s Rachel Bachman).
  • Western Michigan cornerback Sam Beal, who recently announced his intention to enter the NFL’s 2018 Supplemental Draft, will have his Pro Day on June 28th (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network). Rapoport notes that the event “should be well-attended” by scouts. Adam Schefter of ESPN recently tweeted that Beal could be the highest player selected in the Supplemental Draft since the Browns used a second round pick on Josh Gordon in 2012.
  • In a recent column, Albert Breer of SI.com writes that Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is taking a positive view on the departure of a slew of veteran players from his roster saying Carroll views it as “a chance, at age 66, to sell the bedrock of his program—competition—all over again. It got a little hard, as the above core came to prominence, to keep selling the idea that every spot was up for grabs. It’s not so difficult to sell anymore.”