2019 NFL Draft

Peter King On Brown, Clowney, Murray

Antonio Brown has scared off at least one interested team with his tweets, Peter King of NBC Sports hears. The Steelers star hasn’t been shy about airing his dirty laundry over social media and King suspects that other potential suitors are also viewing his outspokenness as a red flag.

Brown’s latest Twitter outburst included shots at coach Mike Tomlin and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, which jibes with reports of serious friction between Brown and key team figures in recent months.

No conflict just a matter of respect! Mutual respect!” Brown said, on Twitter. “He has a owner mentality like he can call out anybody including coaches. Players know but they can’t say anything about it otherwise they meal ticket gone. It’s a dirty game within a game. #truth.”

Over the past 40-plus days, Brown has requested a trade and been involved in a domestic dispute. Meanwhile, he’s denied any wrongdoing in connection with the incident.

Here’s more from King’s column:

  • King is skeptical of the Texans reaching a long-term deal with Jadeveon Clowney this offseason because he’s “not as hard of worker bee some others on that defense are.” However, that could change if Clowney receives the franchise tag and proves himself in 2019. Clowney recently earned a payment of $1.005MM to resolve a dispute over the position designation for his fifth-year option, so he’d earn roughly $17.3MM under the terms of the tag.
  • The Raiders have three first-round picks and there has been speculation that they could target a quarterback early in the draft, despite the presence Derek Carr. The Raiders, King hears, are fascinated with Murray. If that’s the case, he wonders whether Oakland might flip Carr to to the Jaguars, Dolphins, or Redskins and select the Oklahoma star. If that happens, Murray could wind up playing his first home games on the field of the Oakland A’s.

Poll: Where Will Kyler Murray Be Drafted?

The long-awaited speculation surrounding Kyler Murray‘s future was answered on Monday when the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from Oklahoma announced his plans to commit to football and enter the NFL Draft. 

This is big news, of course, because Murray was drafted by the Oakland A’s in the first round of the 2018 MLB amateur draft. The team agreed to let Murray play quarterback at Oklahoma with the expectation he would join the club for spring training in February. That plan backfired, as Murray took home college football’s top honor after throwing for 4,361 yards and 42 touchdowns, and adding 1,001 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground in his first season as a starter in Norman.

The success propelled the dual-threat passer into a potential first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft and led to his decision to forego his deal with the A’s to pursue the NFL.

The upside is obvious with Murray, who possess Michael Vick-like quickness with a much more honed passing arm. Unlike Vick, Murray has been in pass-happy offense all the way back to his days with Texas high school powerhouse Allen, where he never lost a game in the highest classification in the Lone Star State. His ability as a passer and a runner makes him much more like Super Bowl champion Russell Wilson. Any team looking for a quarterback in the NFL Draft would be foolish not to give the Sooners star a look.

The drawback is also obvious. At an estimated 5-foot-9, Murray would easily be the shortest quarterback in the league. It’s not just the height that gives team pause, however, as he also possesses a slight build that is unlikely to add more bulk. While the height issue might be a little overblown following the success of Wilson, Drew Brees and Baker Mayfield, the slight profile is much more concerning and could make him much more susceptible to injury.

Those factors make trying to pick a landing spot for Murray a difficult task. Early in the process, many mock drafts had the Oklahoma quarterback as a late-first-round pick or a Day Two selection. Now, many of those same prognostications have him going in the top 10 or 15 picks. New Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury also drew headlines when a video surfaced of him saying he would take Murray No. 1 overall when he was coach at Texas Tech. He has since committed to Josh Rosen as his quarterback.

So, where in the 2019 NFL Draft does Murray go. Is he the top quarterback taken? Does he slip to the teens or the end of the first round? Or does the size question push him all the way to a Day Two or Three selection? Let us know your pick in the poll and give us your thoughts in the comments.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL To Let Players Banned From Combine To Attend Some Parts

The NFL is softening its stance toward the college players they initially barred from the combine. “The NFL sent a memo to GMs and coaches informing them LA Tech DE Jaylon Ferguson, MSU DT Jeffery Simmons, and CSU WR Preston Williams will be permitted to travel to Indy to undergo the same comprehensive medical evaluations given to invited prospects at the NFL Scouting Combine”, tweeted Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Rapoport noted in a followup tweet that “These players will get transportation to Indy, along with meals and a hotel if they are required to stay overnight. These prospects will not be permitted to participate in any other Combine evals or events.” The players had previously been banned from attending the combine at all. They’ll be evaluated by doctors in Indianapolis so that teams can have full confidence in their medicals, but they won’t be participating in the televised on-field drills.

All the players will do most of the drills they would’ve done at the combine at their pro days anyway, so it likely won’t have too much of an impact on their draft stock. Simmons’ draft stock already tanked earlier this week when he tore his ACL while training for the draft. He had been projected to go in the top-half of the first round, but will now likely fall out of the first day entirely.

Simmons and Williams had their bans announced weeks ago, but Ferguson’s was a much more recent development. Just two days ago, he surprisingly had his invitation rescinded. All three players were being disciplined under the league’s recently instituted policy that any player found to have been convicted of a felony, or of a misdemeanor that involved violence, wouldn’t be admitted to the combine. Ferguson’s incident is viewed to have been minor, and Rapoport tweeted at the time that teams see it as “certainly not disqualifying.”

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NFL Rescinds Jaylon Ferguson’s Combine Invite

Louisiana Tech edge rusher Jaylon Ferguson broke the NCAA’s all-time sack record last December and is draft-eligible, but he won’t be attending the NFL’s scouting combine later this month. The league rescinded Ferguson’s combine invitation after a background check revealed he was convicted of simple battery during his freshman year, according to Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com.

Ferguson becomes the third 2019 prospect to be barred from the combine, joining Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons and Colorado State wide receiver Preston Williams. The NFL previously announced that any player found to have been convicted of a felony, or of a misdemeanor that involved violence, wouldn’t be admitted to the combine. Unlike Simmons and Williams, Ferguson’s case had not been made public.

While NFL teams won’t be able to observe Ferguson at the combine, they’ll still line up pre-draft visits with the pass rusher. In fact, Rapoport and Pelissero report Ferguson will likely take more club meetings now that he’s been banned from the combine, as teams surely want to have a face-to-face sit-down with Ferguson prior to the draft. Teams had been aware of the incident involving Ferguson and don’t seem to view it as “disqualifying,” tweets Rapoport.

Ferguson, a potential first-round pick, put up 45 sacks and 67.5 tackles for loss during his four-year run with Louisiana Tech. 17.5 of those sacks came in 2018, when Ferguson was named the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jeffery Simmons Suffers Torn ACL

Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, projected to be a top 15-pick in the NFL Draft, suffered a torn ACL while going through position drills last weekend, according to Simmons himself. Simmons posted a statement on his Twitter account indicating that he will have surgery early next week. Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com (on Twitter) first reported that Simmons sustained a knee injury, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweeted that the injury is a torn ACL and that a surgery is forthcoming.

Of course, Simmons’ status as a top draft choice is now very much in flux, as he will probably be sidelined for his entire rookie year.

Simmons, who stands 6’4″, 300 pounds, appeared in 37 total games in his three-year career with the Bulldogs, managing 159 tackles (30.5 for loss), six sacks, and five forced fumbles during that time. He was named first-team All-SEC in both 2017 and 2018, and this season won the Conerly Trophy as the top college football player in the state of Mississippi.

Even before the injury, Simmons had some red flags. He was arrested for simple assault in 2016 after repeatedly striking a woman, though, for his part, Simmons says he was attempting to stop said woman from assaulting his sister. The incident occurred just before Simmons began his collegiate career and he was allowed to enter MSU while completing counseling programs. Williams was later arrested in 2017 for an altercation involving a woman.

As a result of those issues, Simmons was barred from participating in the draft combine.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Kyler Murray

Kyler Murray previously hired Scott Boras to represent his MLB interests, but now that the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner has announced intentions to pursue an NFL path, he made a decision on that front.

Entering the week without an NFL agent, Murray hired Select Sports Group’s Erik Burkhardt, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports (on Twitter). Select Sports was believed to be the favorites for Murray, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Clarence Hill (Twitter link).

The Oklahoma-developed quarterback will enter the pre-draft process as one of the most unusual prospects in memory. A 5-foot-10 (with most expecting him to measure up at 5-8 or 5-9 at the Combine) dual-threat passer with one year of full-time college gridiron work, Murray was a top-10 MLB draft pick. He will now force quarterback-needy teams to do extensive homework in advance of the NFL draft.

NFL executives are coming around on the diminutive signal-caller. Of the 10 GMs or higher-ranking execs NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport surveyed, nearly all of them believe Murray will be a first-round pick, rising significantly from a small sample Rapoport took in December (video link). Some of these execs said Murray will be a mid-first-round selection. Conversely, Albert Breer of SI.com has not heard personnel people quite as bullish on Murray’s NFL fit, tabbing him as a second- or third-round prospect but a player who, because of positional scarcity, will likely end up as a first-rounder.

The first round has several teams in need of immediate quarterback answers — the Giants, Jaguars, Broncos, Dolphins and Redskins — and some potentially in need of future solutions (the Buccaneers, Bengals, Chargers and Patriots). The Saints also fit into the latter category but do not hold a first-round selection. The Raiders have three, and while they employ Derek Carr, his job security is not nearly as rock-solid as it was under the Reggie McKenzie regime. The Giants also may be leaning against being a player in the Murray sweepstakes.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Kyler Murray To Participate In Combine

Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray will be among the prospects auditioning at the 2019 NFL Draft Combine, according to a press release from the NFL. There are 338 participants in total, but Murray’s name stands out due to the intrigue surrounding him and his ongoing dilemma of deciding between football and baseball. 

The Oakland A’s (and, by extension, Major League Baseball) are in a tug-of-war against the NFL to secure Murray’s services. Murray, the No. 9 overall pick in last year’s MLB draft, profiles as a promising outfielder in the baseball world. He also has serious potential as an NFL QB and he stands to earn more than double the $4.66MM signing bonus that the A’s gave him if he winds up being a first-round pick.

On the baseball side, Murray is represented by super agent Scott Boras. However, he has yet to retain an agent for the NFL. That has let some NFL execs to question his commitment to football, though today’s news may convince the doubters otherwise.

In his first season as a starter, Murray threw for 4,361 yards and 42 touchdowns and ran for another 1,001 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Sooners. Oklahoma reached the College Football Playoff semifinals with Murray at the helm but fell to Alabama 45-34.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Kyler Murray

Kyler Murray has entered his name in the 2019 NFL Draft and league executives are intrigued by his talent. They’re also concerned about the Oklahoma quarterback’s situation and his true intentions, according to sources who spoke with Matt Miller of Bleacher Report

On the baseball side, Murray is represented by super agent Scott Boras. However, he has yet to retain an agent for the NFL.

He’s still going in the first [round], but he needs to get an [expletive] agent and do it the right way,” one person told Miller.

Another source expressed concern that Murray may be making a leverage play to get more money from the Oakland A’s. This jibes with other recent reports – even though Murray says he wants to play football, he is said to be very much undecided about which sport to pick. The A’s are still negotiating to potentially sweeten his deal and Major League Baseball is also working to bring the two-sport star to the diamond.

If Murray can convince NFL execs that he is serious about playing football, it’s possible that he could be a top 10 pick.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2019 NFL Draft Order

The Super Bowl is in the books, which means the order for the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft is in the books. The Patriots, of course, will have the final pick in the first round while the Rams will approach the podium at No. 31.

[RELATED: 2019 NFL Draft Rumors]

Here’s the complete rundown of the first round:

  1. Cardinals
  2. 49ers
  3. Jets
  4. Raiders
  5. Buccaneers
  6. Giants
  7. Jaguars
  8. Lions
  9. Bills
  10. Broncos
  11. Bengals
  12. Packers
  13. Dolphins
  14. Falcons
  15. Redskins
  16. Panthers
  17. Browns
  18. Vikings
  19. Titans
  20. Steelers
  21. Seahawks
  22. Ravens
  23. Texans
  24. Raiders (via Bears)
  25. Eagles
  26. Colts
  27. Raiders (via Cowboys)
  28. Chargers
  29. Chiefs
  30. Packers (via Saints)
  31. Rams
  32. Patriots

Jeffery Simmons Barred From Combine

The NFL Draft scouting combine is weeks away, but one of this year’s top prospects will not be taking part in the event. Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, a potential top 10 pick, will not be invited because he does not meet the criteria for the NFL’s policy regarding past issues involving violence, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com hears (Twitter link). The same goes for Colorado State wide receiver Preston Williams

Simmons was arrested for simple assault in 2016 after repeatedly striking a woman. For his part, Simmons says he was attempting to stop said woman from assaulting his sister. The incident occurred just before Simmons began his collegiate career and he was allowed to enter MSU while completing counseling programs. Williams, meanwhile, was arrested in 2017 for an altercation involving a woman.

So far, these are the only two known players to be barred from the combine for this year, sources tell Pelissero. However, invitations have been pulled in past after failed background checks.

Simmons, who stands 6’4″, 300 pounds, appeared in 37 total games in his three-year career with the Bulldogs, managing 159 tackles (30.5 for loss), six sacks, and five forced fumbles during that time. He was named first-team All-SEC in both 2017 and 2018, and this season won the Conerly Trophy as the top college football player in the state of Mississippi.

Despite the red flags, Simmons is widely expected to be an early first-round selection. CBSSports.com ranks him as the draft’s No. 7 overall prospect.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.