Alvin Kamara

Alvin Kamara Suffers Concussion

One of the top drivers of the Saints’ resurgence, Alvin Kamara will not return to his team’s pivotal game Thursday night. The rookie running back suffered a concussion, Joel Erickson of The Advocate tweets.

Kamara left the game in the first quarter after a hit from Deion Jones and went to the locker room. He’s in concussion protocol and will now begin taking the steps to return to the field in time for New Orleans’ Week 15 game.

The frontrunner for offensive rookie of the year, Kamara has been a revelation for the Saints. The third-round pick, once Adrian Peterson was removed from the mix, has teamed with Mark Ingram to revitalize the Saints’ ground game. Kamara already had 1,220 yards from scrimmage coming into the game in Atlanta, pairing that with 11 touchdowns.

The Saints also have Trey Edmunds and Jonathan Williams on their 53-man roster, but Williams was inactive for Thursday’s game. The Jets will face the Saints in New Orleans in Week 15. That game is set for Sunday, December 17, giving Kamara a 10-day window to potentially recover in time.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Pursued Saints RB Alvin Kamara

Heading into this year’s draft, the Jets were high Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara. However, GM Mike Maccagnan was unwilling to pay the price to move up and draft him, sources tell Manish Mehta of the Daily News. “Important people” within the organization badly wanted to make a big play to get him and some of those people are still annoyed at the GM’s passiveness, Mehta hears. Alvin Kamara (vertical)

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Ultimately, the Saints grabbed Kamara in the third round via an aggressive deal with the 49ers, shipping their 2018 second-round pick and 2017 seventh-round pick out west for the No. 67 choice. Kamara may not have top billing in New Orleans with Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson ahead of him on the depth chart, but he is in the midst of an excellent preseason and the Jets are among the teams wishing they could get a re-do on the draft (To play devil’s advocate: the Jets’ 2018 second-round pick could very well be in the No. 33-35 range, and that’s a steep price for a current year third rounder.)

The Jets, meanwhile, have the league’s most lackluster roster and an offense that is painfully short on playmakers. Matt Forte and Bilal Powell will be the top options in the backfield and while they could be a serviceable pair, neither player has guaranteed money beyond this season. It’s too early to anoint Kamara as a star, but he would have given the Jets something to build off of for the future.

I wouldn’t say we (don’t) have any difference makers,” said coach Todd Bowles earlier this month as he tried to combat criticism. “We just have to play together. If we block the quarterback we’ll have a chance.”

If Kamara turns out to be a starting caliber player, Maccagnan won’t be the only GM kicking himself over a missed opportunity. However, it seems that others at One Jets Drive are growing frustrated with Maccagnan’s passiveness and emphasis on stockpiling draft picks, and that could be a bigger issue for the team down the road.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints Sign Rookie CB Marshon Lattimore

The Saints have officially signed first round pick Marshon Lattimore, according to a team announcement. Second round safety Marcus Williams and third round running back Alvin Kamara have also put pen to paper. Marshon Lattimore (Vertical)

There was tons of trade speculation surrounding the Saints on draft night, but they stood pat at No. 11 and drafted a player who many see as the best cornerback in this year’s class. Lattimore, an Ohio State product, finished his collegiate career with 46 tackles (34 solo), one stop for a loss, four interceptions and 16 passes defensed. In his final year on campus, Lattimore was a first-team All-Big Ten selection and proved to scouts everywhere that he can succeed at the next level.

I’ve studied the top cornerbacks coming out and he’s the best I’ve seen,” one pro personnel director for an AFC team told NFL.com before the draft. “He’s so athletic that he can just post up under the receiver’s chin and shadow him all over the field. And he’s tough, too. He’ll be one of the top cornerbacks pretty quickly.”

The 5-foot-10, 215-pound Kamara was a dual threat as a member of the Volunteers, with whom he averaged 6.2 yards per rush, caught 74 passes, and combined for 23 touchdowns over two seasons. Now, he’ll be learning from the best as he backs up both Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson. Kamara split carries with Jalen Hurd at Tennessee, so he’s no stranger to a timeshare.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints Acquire 67th Pick From 49ers

The Saints have acquired the 67th overall pick from the 49ers, tweets Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. New Orleans will give up a second-round pick in 2018 and a seventh-rounder this year, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).

The Saints had been working to move back into the second round in order to draft a pass rusher. But the second ended without a trade for the club, which will instead settle for an early third-rounder. Surprisingly, the Saints will select Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara with the newly acquired pick.

The 5-foot-10, 215-pound Kamara was a dual threat as a member of the Volunteers, with whom he averaged 6.2 yards per rush, caught 74 passes and combined for 23 touchdowns over two seasons. It’s unclear how many touches he’ll receive during the early part of his pro career, though, as the Saints already have Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson as their top two backfield options. Of course, a timeshare won’t be anything new for Kamara, who coexisted with Jalen Hurd at Tennessee.

Draft Rumors: Bears, Kizer, Kamara, Bolles

The Bears worked out Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer today, tweets Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com. Chicago has already met with Kizer on at least one other occasion, but today’s visit was deemed a local workout given Notre Dame’s proximity to the Windy City. Although the Bears signed veteran Mike Glennon to a three-year contract last month, that’s not expected to preclude them from drafting a quarterback this year. Kizer won’t be in play at pick No. 3, but Chicago could consider him if he falls to the top of the second round.

Here’s more on the 2017 draft:

  • The Eagles, Bears, and Panthers will all host Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Kamara, who recently fired his agent, could sneak into Round 1 despite being viewed as a Day 2 prospect for most of last year. A committee back with the Volunteers, Kamara managed less than 1,300 yards rushing during two years in Tennessee, but also averaged more than six yards per carry during that time. He’s also been linked to New Orleans and Minnesota.
  • North Carolina State safety Josh Jones recently completed a visit with the Dolphins, and will next meet with the Panthers, Jets, and Redskins, reports Alex Marvez of the Sporting News (Twitter link). Jones is considered a Round 2 prospect, but he’s been hosted by a significant number of NFL clubs during the predraft process, and there’s a chance he could sneak into Day 1. In 2016, Jones put up 109 tackles, three interceptions, and one sack.
  • USC cornerback Adoree’ Jackson has met with the Titans and Browns, and has visits scheduled with the Eagles and Texans, as he tells SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link). Jackson could help a club on the defensive side of the ball, but he’d also add immediate value as a dynamic special teams maven. In 2016, Jackson averaged 29.5 yards on kick returns and scored two touchdowns, and posted 15.8 yards per punt return (and scored twice more).
  • The Bills are hosting Utah offensive tackle Garett Bolles today, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link). One of the fastest rising players in the draft, Bolles is now considered the top offensive lineman available, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he gets pushed into the top-10 based on the dearth of tackles in the 2017 class. Buffalo, though, already has a long-term option on the left side in Cordy Glenn, while right tackle is spoken for by Cyrus Kouandjio.
  • Wisconsin tackle Ryan Ramczyk met with the Giants earlier this week, per Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Despite drafting Ereck Flowers ninth overall just two years ago, New York has made no promises that Flowers is their left tackle of the future. New York didn’t add any tackles during the free agent period, however, so if the club wants to upgrade its line, it will have to do so during the draft. Ramczyk was named a first-team All-American in 2016.

North Notes: Ravens, Fournette, Vikes, Lions

The Ravens “love” LSU running back Leonard Fournette, according to Jeff Zriebec of the Baltimore Sun. Of course, given that Fournette is considered the top back in the 2017 class, a number of teams probably have similar feelings, but Baltimore could conceivably consider a trade up in order to land Fournette. Currently, the Ravens sit at pick No. 16, so they’d probably have to jump 10 spots (at a minimum) to get a shot at Fournette, who is likely the only running back Baltimore would select in the first round.

Let’s take a look at the latest from the NFL’s two North divisions:

  • While the Ravens are open to a reunion with receiver Anquan Boldin, the veteran pass-catcher may want to sign with a club that plays closer to his home in Florida, as Zriebec writes in a separate piece. Earlier this week, Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh said he’d “obviously” be amenable to signing Boldin, and the fit makes sense given the team’s lack of depth at wideout. Boldin is reportedly taking his time finding a landing spot, perhaps an eye towards skipping spring workouts.
  • Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara will meet with the Vikings next week, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweets. Originally viewed as a Day 2 pick due to his working in a committee for the Volunteers, Kamara is now being bandied about as a potential Round 1 selection. Minnesota recently signed free agent Latavius Murray to help compensate for the loss of Adrian Peterson, but Murray can opt out of his contract after 2017. Kamara, meanwhile, has also taken a visit with the Saints.
  • Having swapped out DeAndre Levy for Paul Worrilow this offseason, the Lions still feel linebacker is a need area, as Kyle Meinke of MLive.com writes. “We’re going to throw (Worrilow) in the mix, and see how it kind of works out with the guys that we have and any guys we might add,” Detroit general manager Bob Quinn said. “He’s not the total answer to everything we want, but we think he’s a really good signing that we kind of targeted early on.” Worrilow joins Tahir Whitehead, Antwione Williams, and Thurston Armbrister as the Lions’ current linebackers, while the club could use the No. 21 overall selection to bring in another second-level player.

NFC South Notes: Njoku, Bucs, Saints, Te’o

The Buccaneers met with Miami tight end David Njoku earlier this week, per Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Njoku, who registered 43 receptions and eight touchdowns last season, is expected to be one of two first-round picks at tight end, joining Alabama’s O.J. Howard. The Giants, who sit at pick No. 23 (four spots behind Tampa Bay) are also said to be “very high” on Njoku.

Here’s more from the NFC South:

  • Prior to re-signing with the Saints, defensive back Sterling Moore came close to joining another — as yet unidentified — club, as he detailed to SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link). A career journeyman prior to 2016, Moore started 12 games for New Orleans last season. As Moore explains, the Saints circled back to him with an offer after he’d been negotiating with another team, allowing him the return he’d always preferred. Moore, 27, earned $760K last year.
  • Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara is expected to meet with the Saints on Wednesday, tweets Sean Fazende of WVUE FOX 8. Kamara, who recently fired his agent, could sneak into Round 1 despite being viewed as a Day 2 prospect for most of last year. A committee back with the Volunteers, Kamara managed less than 1,300 yards rushing during two years in Tennessee, but also averaged more than six yards per carry during that time.
  • The second year of Buccaneers center Joe Hawley‘s two-year deal is an option year, Caplan tweets. As previously reported, the full two-year pact is worth $5.5MM with $1MM fully guaranteed. If Tampa Bay opts to pick up his 2018 option, Hawley will receive a $250K option bonus, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).
  • Manti Te’o‘s two-year deal with the Saints is worth $5MM with $600K guaranteed, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Te’o can earn $500K annually in per-game roster bonuses, according to Rapoport, and can rake in another $1MM per year in incentives, tweets Wilson.

Extra Points: Garoppolo, Belichick, Williams

Three executives tell Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report that they believe several teams will be making blockbuster offers for Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Ultimately, they think that will result in an offer the Pats cannot refuse.

Freeman also hears from Patriots sources that Bill Belichick likely plans to stay on as coach for at least five more years. Those same sources believe that Belichick wants to continue coaching after Brady retires to show that he can win without the best quarterback of all time.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Arrelious Benn‘s new contract with the Jaguars is a two-year, $1.765MM deal that contains $100K guaranteed, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN.com. Although he didn’t contribute much to the Jacksonville offense (just five receptions for 116 yards), Benn was a regular on special teams duty, as he saw action on 63% of the Jaguars’ ST plays.
  • Cornerback K’Waun Williams‘ grievance against the Browns will be heard on May 16, reports Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. Williams, who played for Cleveland from 2014-15, contends the Browns waived him while he was still dealing with an injured ankle. As such, Williams is seeking the entirety of his 2016 base salary ($600K), plus the cost of his surgery.
  • Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara has fired VaynerSports and hired Damarius Bilbo of Revolution Sports Group as his new representation , according to Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal (Twitter links). Kamara, a committee back with the Volunteers, managed less than 1,300 yards rushing during two years in Tennessee, but also averaged more than six yards per carry during that time. Largely viewed as a Day 2 prospect, recent buzz has indicated Kamara could sneak into Round 1.

Dallas Robinson contributed to this post.