A'Shawn Robinson

Draft Pick Signings: Lions, Panthers, Bengals

More than 100 of the 253 draftees from this year’s class have already signed their rookie contracts, and several more are making it official with their respective teams today. Here are the latest draft pick signings from around the NFL:

  • The Lions formally announced today that they’ve signed second-round defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson, who was the 46th overall pick. Detroit had previously locked up its other nine draftees, so the team has now secured its entire 10-man draft class, becoming the third club to do so — Atlanta and Seattle have also finished signing their draft picks.
  • The Panthers have signed their third draftee, confirming today that they’ve got third-round cornerback Daryl Worley under contract. Worley’s four-year deal figures to be worth $3.123MM, with a $783K signing bonus, per Over the Cap. Carolina now needs to sign just two more draft picks, including first-round defensive tackle Vernon Butler.
  • Linebacker Nick Vigil, selected 87th overall, has formally signed his rookie contract with the Bengals, according to the team (Twitter link). Third-round picks like Vigil can sometimes take a little longer to sign, as agents and teams discuss cash flow and guaranteed money, but the Utah State product becomes the third Bengals draftee to finalize his rookie deal.

La Canfora’s Latest: Browns, Goff, Titans, Eagles

Earlier this week, we learned that a high-ranking official told Peter King of TheMMQB.com that he believes the Browns have their sights set on Jared Goff at the No. 2 overall pick, rather than fellow quarterback Carson Wentz. Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com thinks the same thing, writing today that Cleveland offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton favors Goff.

According to La Canfora, many Browns scouts prefer Wentz to Goff, so the Browns’ front office and personnel department isn’t unanimous when it comes to a QB preference. But there’s some concern about Wentz’s lack of experience against high-level opposition, and a belief that the analytics favor Goff. So if the Browns do select a signal-caller with the second overall pick, which isn’t guaranteed, La Canfora believes it will be Goff.

La Canfora’s latest piece at CBSSports.com includes plenty of other noteworthy tidbits, so let’s dive in and round them up….

  • The Titans have at least two trade offers on the table for the No. 1 overall pick that they consider “worthy starting points toward an eventual deal,” and La Canfora says rival teams expect GM Jon Robinson to eventually deal the pick. “They’ll market it up to the draft to get the best ransom they can, but they’ll move it,” said one executive for a team that has explored moving up. If the Titans do keep the first overall pick, La Canfora expects Ole Miss tackle Laremy Tunsil to be the choice.
  • The Eagles are “in love” with Ezekiel Elliott, and there’s a chance he’ll be Philadelphia’s pick at No. 8. La Canfora continues to believe the team’s interest in quarterbacks is a smokescreen, but notes that some executives think GM Howie Roseman is set on making a big splash on draft day, which could mean nabbing a QB.
  • Scouts who have talked to La Canfora uniformly prefer Clemson’s Kevin Dodd to his teammate Shaq Lawson, and like Alabama’s Jarran Reed more than A’Shawn Robinson. “I really hope there are people in this league who like Robinson more than Reed,” one top evaluator said of the Crimson Tide duo. “That just makes it easier for us.” Robinson is viewed as a player whose stock is being overstated by mock drafts, as is Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple.
  • Several teams, including the Chiefs, are very high on Louisiana Tech defensive lineman Vernon Butler, who is expected to be a first-round pick, per La Canfora.
  • La Canfora expects TCU’s Josh Doctson to be the first wide receiver to come off the board.
  • The Steelers are doing a lot of homework on cornerbacks, leading La Canfora to believe they’ll probably go in that direction in the first round.

Draft Rumors: J. Smith, Washington, Pats, Saints

If Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith gets good news on his medical re-check later this month, his chances of going in the first round of the draft will increase significantly, writes Charlie Campbell of WalterFootball.com. Campbell lists the Bengals, Chiefs, Packers, Texans and Vikings as potential landing spots for Smith, who is on the mend from a torn ACL and MCL that he suffered on New Year’s Day during the Fiesta Bowl. Prior to that catastrophic end to his college career, Smith was seen as a surefire first-rounder – and a high one at that – but his status has been in question since. February’s combine didn’t help matters for Smith, who reportedly failed multiple teams’ physicals.

More of the latest draft news:

  • Washington is bearish on a pair of prospective first-round defensive linemen from Alabama, A’Shawn Robinson and Jarran Reed, team sources told Campbell.
  • While Washington may be down on Robinson and Reed, it has a high opinion of Ohio State receiver Michael Thomas, reportedly the top wideout on its board. In addition to Washington, Thomas is drawing interest from the Cowboys, Rams and Saints, per Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (Twitter link).
  • Patriots head coach Bill Belichick worked out Maryland defensive back Sean Davis and then watched film with him Friday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).
  • Alabama cornerback Cyrus Jones joined Davis in working out for the Patriots on Friday, a league source told Aaron Wilson of NFPost.com. The Steelers will host Jones this weekend, and he also has visits scheduled with the Bills, Ravens and Saints. He visited the Eagles earlier this week.
  • Boise State defensive end/outside linebacker Kamalei Correa will visit the 49ers and Saints in the coming days, Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.Net tweets.
  • Earlier this evening, PFR published its first mock draft of the year. Click here to read Rob DiRe’s current first-round predictions and – as a bonus – his take on New England’s back-to-back second-rounders.

AFC North Notes: Harrison, Steelers, Ravens

Veteran outside linebacker James Harrison remains under contract with the Steelers for another season, and is due a $1.25MM base salary for 2016. However, it remains to be seen whether Harrison, who would be the NFL’s oldest defensive player, will return for one more year. Among those interested in Harrison’s decision on his future? His teammates in Pittsburgh.

Steelers guard Ramon Foster tweeted to Harrison today, asking whether he’s coming back for 2016, to which Harrison replied, “I can’t say for sure but it’s looking good for the home team!” Agent Bill Parise tells Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Twitter link) that his client has yet to make a final decision, suggesting that may not happen until camp, but it sounds like Harrison may not be ready for retirement quite yet.

Here are a few more items from out of the AFC North:

  • Alabama defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson is visiting Pittsburgh and meeting with the Steelers today, per Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Twitter link). Even in a strong draft class for interior defensive linemen, Robinson projects as a probable first-round pick.
  • Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome says wide receiver Breshad Perriman and left tackle Eugene Monroe making good progress from their respective injuries, as Garrett Downing of BaltimoreRavens.com writes. Perriman, a 2015 first-round pick, has resumed running but is still working to get back to full strength.
  • Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta says the team has talked extensively with Eastern Kentucky outside linebacker Noah Spence, as Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com writes. “We’ve studied him at length and we’ll make the best decision for the team,” DeCosta said.
  • As we detailed earlier, free agent wideouts Hakeem Nicks and Mike Williams worked out today for the Bengals.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Miller’s Latest: Glennon, Hackenberg, Doctson

While the Buccaneers have floated the idea of acquiring a first-round pick for quarterback Mike Glennon, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report hears the Tampa Bay would accept a third-rounder if it were from a team picking relatively high. That conflicts with a recent report by Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com which said the Bucs turned down a second-round pick for its backup quarterback. Of course, La Canfora’s report didn’t given any sense of a timetable, so Tampa’s view of Glennon’s market could have changed since it rejected a second-rounder. Glennon is generating the most trade interest of any signal-caller outside of Colin Kaepernick, per Miller.

Here’s more from Miller’s latest column, with a heavy focus on the NFL draft…

  • Some around the NFL don’t expect Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg to have any chance at being a first-round pick now that the Texans have signed Brock Osweiler, according to Miller. Houston head coach Bill O’Brien tutored Hackenberg at Penn State, but now Hackenberg looks to be a second- or third-round pick.
  • Instead of focusing on quarterback, the Texans could now look to find help at either wide receiver or defensive tackle early in the draft, the clubs’ scouts told Miller.
  • Ole Miss defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche‘s character concerns have caused some teams to take him off their draft boards, and one NFC West general manager sounds like he’s employed by one of them. “Take Nkemdiche out of your mock drafts,” the GM said, per Miller. “No one is that stupid.”
  • After releasing Mike Wallace earlier this week, the Vikings are expected to target receivers early in the draft, and one player to keep an eye on could be Josh Doctson of TCU, per Miller, as a team source tells the Bleacher Report scribe that Minnesota has a high grade on Horned Frog pass-catcher.
  • Linebacker Reggie Ragland struggled during his Pro Day, and could now possibly fall to the second round. One scout told Miller that the Alabama product looked “slow, sluggish, and heavy” during his workout.
  • Another Alabama defender — defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson — is viewed as a two-down run-stopper, and therefore might fall out of the first round.
  • Oklahoma cornerback Zack Sanchez is earning good reports from NFL scouts, says Miller, and he’s moved up enough draft boards that he could now be a late first-round pick.
  • Some teams are wary of running back Devontae Booker because the Utah product has undergone two surgeries to clean up a torn meniscus.

Alabama DL A’Shawn Robinson To Enter Draft

Four days after winning the national championship as a member of the Crimson Tide, Alabama defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson has announced his decision to leave school early and enter the 2016 NFL draft (Twitter link). Robinson joined running back Derrick Henry as Alabama prospects officially declaring their intent today.A'Shawn Robinson

[RELATED: Derrick Henry to enter 2016 draft]

Robinson, who likely projects as a defensive tackle for a team running a 4-3 scheme or a defensive end for a 3-4 defense, is considered one of the top defensive linemen available this spring. A Consensus All-American in his junior year, Robinson recorded 46 tackles (7.5 for a loss) to go along with his 3.5 sacks.

Recently, ESPN’s Todd McShay (Insider link) projected Robinson to go 19th overall in this year’s draft. McShay’s ESPN colleague, Mel Kiper Jr., was even more bullish on the defensive lineman’s prospects, suggesting in his first mock draft of 2016 that Robinson will come off the board at No. 12 overall, to the Saints (Insider link).

Kiper suggests the 6’3″, 313-pound lineman is “an immediate starter who combines great awareness and strength to make plays and hold the point in the run game, as well as the ability to push the pocket.”

Alabama RB Derrick Henry To Enter Draft

Alabama running back and Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry has decided to enter the 2016 NFL draft, according to Joe Schad of ESPN.com. By entering this year’s draft, Henry will forgo his final year of college eligibility.Derrick Henry

Henry, a Consensus All-American, led the nation with 395 carries for 2,219 yards and 28 touchdowns in his junior year at Alabama. He capped his incredible year by rushing for 158 yards and three touchdowns on 36 carries in the Crimson Tide’s championship win earlier this week.

Henry’s staggering workload may be of some concern to teams, since only six running backs in NFL history have ever racked up 395 or more rushing attempts in a regular season. Still, he is viewed as one of the top backs in this year’s draft class, trailing only Ezekiel Elliott in the estimation of CBSSports.com and ESPN’s Todd McShay. Matt Miller of Bleacher Report currently places Henry fourth among running backs on his big board.

While Henry doesn’t currently project as a first-round pick, he looks like a good bet to come off the board on day two of this year’s draft. He could also be joined by several of his Alabama teammates in the 2016 draft class. Schad reports that defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson has seriously considered entering the draft, while defensive end Jonathan Allen and tight end O.J. Howard have also weighed the possibility.

The deadline for NCAA underclassmen to declare their intent is next Monday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Draft Notes: Cravens, Ayers, Benenoch, Saints

USC safety Su’a Cravens has officially signed an agent, guaranteeing his status for the 2016 NFL Draft, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). Cravens was an All-American, and looks to be a first-round pick at outside linebacker in the draft.

Here are some other notes concerning the 2016 Draft class:

  • UCLA right tackle Caleb Benenoch announced on his Twitter account that he will forego his senior season and enter the 2016 NFL Draft (via Twitter).
  • Houston wide receiver Demarcus Ayers has also decided to leave school early to enter the NFL Draft, writes Mark Berman of Fox 26 KRIV (via Twitter).
  • With Alabama’s front seven putting on a dominant display in the Cotton Bowl last night, Jeff Duncan of NOLA.com gave Saints fans a tip about watching defensive linemen A’Shawn Robinson and Jarran Reed very closely, as both players should be in the mix for the Saints in the first round (via Twitter).
  • Duncan also writes that the Sugar Bowl will feature another one of the Saints’ targets, with Oklahoma State’s pass rusher Emmanuel Ogbah (via Twitter).