Austin Hooper

Falcons Sign Entire Draft Class

The Falcons have now signed their entire draft class, as Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com writes. Strong safety Keanu Neal (whose signing was completed days ago), linebacker Deion Jones (second round), tight end Austin Hooper (third round), linebacker De’Vondre Campbell (fourth round), guard Wes Schweitzer (sixth round), and wide receiver Devin Fuller (seventh round) have all put pen to paper. Deion Jones (vertical)

Jones, an LSU product, finished out his college career in style with 88 total tackles, 12.5 tackles for a loss, two interceptions, one forced fumble, and three passes defensed. Jones started only one game through his first three years in Baton Rouge, but he exploded when given the opportunity in his senior season. Jones impressed scouts with a 4.38 second 40-yard-dash at his Pro Day and despite concerns about being undersized, he drew interest from a host of teams looking for a tough linebacker.

In other Falcons news, linebacker O’Brien Schofield is lobbying hard for a reunion. Meanwhile, free agent cornerback Leon Hall remains on the open market after his visit with Atlanta.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Draft Rumors: Robinson, Panthers, Jets

Alabama defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson will visit the Lions, Panthers, and Jets in the coming days, Eddie Borsilli of SiriusXM tweets. 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. After helping his team win a National Championship this past season, Robinson seems poised to enter the league as a first-round draft pick.

The latest draft rumors:

  • Multiple teams have taken Bowling Green wide receiver Roger Lewis and Arizona wide receiver Cayleb Jones off their boards due to off-field issues, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report tweets.
  • UCLA offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch is set to visit the Titans and Texans, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The athletic offensive lineman is widely viewed as a second-round prospect.
  • Stanford tight end Austin Hooper visited the Titans and Bears earlier this week, Rand Getlin of NFL.com tweets. The 6’4″, 254-pound athlete is a likely top-50 pick, Getlin adds.
  • So far, Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds has had workouts with the Ravens, Patriots, and Titans, according to freelance reporter Jenna Laine (via Twitter).
  • Ohio State safety Vonn Bell has (or has had) meetings, workouts and/or visits with the Falcons, Steelers, and Titans, Rand Getlin of NFL.com tweets.
  • Houston corner William Jackson III visited the Ravens last week and will meet with the Raiders on Tuesday, Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle tweets.
  • Norfolk State linebacker Deon King has worked out privately for the Broncos, Raiders, 49ers, Colts, and Washington and will visit with the Cowboys, according to Wilson. King finished his collegiate career with 372 tackles, 52.5 tackles for losses, 22 sacks, five fumble recoveries, four forced fumbles and three interceptions. King was an All-American selection and a three-time all-conference selection.

NFC Draft Rumors: Eagles, Lynch, Washington

The Eagles will work out Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch and it’s not just for kicks, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Despite having Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel under contract, Rapoport says they’re serious about Lynch and they’re taking owner Jeffrey Lurie on each trip.

While we wait to see if the Eagles’ QB situation could get even weirder, here’s a look at some more draft news from the NFC:

  • Boston College linebacker Steven Daniels worked out for the Eagles on Wednesday, according to Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net (for WalterFootball.com). Daniels has also auditioned for New Orleans.
  • Coach Jay Gruden says he wants Washington to draft a developmental quarterback, as Tarik El-Bashir of CSNMidAtlantic.com writes. “You have your starter. You got your quality backup. And you’ve got to have [another] one in the [quarterback meeting] room—whether it’s your third on the active roster or a practice squad guy—that you can develop,” Gruden said last week. Of course, Kirk Cousins will be the team’s starter with Colt McCoy as his primary understudy. However, Gruden would like to add a young QB who can be groomed without an immediate timeline.
  • The Buccaneers worked out UTSA tight end David Morgan on Tuesday, according to Jenna Laine of Sports Talk 1040 (on Twitter). Morgan also worked out for Philadelphia recently.
  • The Falcons were at Stanford on Wednesday to work out tight end Austin Hooper and linebacker Blake Martinez, according to Tony Pauline for Walter Football. On Tuesday, Atlanta coaches were at Washington State to scope out Washington State offensive lineman Joseph Dahl, receiver Dominique Williams, and defensive lineman Destiny Vaeao.

Extra Points: Draft, Titans, Gabbert, Manning

While none of this year’s crop of collegiate quarterbacks are projected to be as successful as Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota, NFL personnel men do see four QBs — Memphis’ Paxton Lynch, Cal’s Jared Goff, Michigan State’s Connor Cook, and North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz — as being worthy of a first-round pick, according to Charlie Campbell of WalterFootball.com.

Elsewhere in draft-land, Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net reports that Penn State signal-caller Christian Hackenberg, once projected as potential first-rounder himself, is likely to enter the draft, and will probably announce as such in the near future. Two other collegiate players — Boise State edge rusher Kamalei Correa and Stanford tight end Austin Hooper — are intent on entering the draft, as well, says Pauline.

  • Free agent corner Cary Williams, who visited with the Titans yesterday, is still drawing the attention of the club, tweets Terry McCormick of TitansInsider.com. Tennessee management will reportedly make a decision on whether or not to sign Williams at some point early next week. Williams, who was cut by the Seahawks on Monday, has also garnered interest from the Rams.
  • In other Tennessee news, Titans linebacker Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil suffered torn patellar tendon in practice on Thursday and will require surgery, meaning he’ll miss the rest of the season, reports McCormick (Twitter link). Practice squad ‘backer J.R. Tavai is a candidate to be promoted to the active roster, adds McCormick.
  • Veteran receiver Anquan Boldin believes Blaine Gabbert can be the 49ers‘ quarterback of the future, writes Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. Gabbert has led San Francisco to a 2-2 record in his four starts, averaging 240 yards per game while throwing five touchdowns and three interceptions. For what it’s worth, he’s only signed through next season, with a 2016 cap charge of $2.25MM.
  • Peyton Manning has $4MM riding on whether or not he gets to start in the playoffs — as Mike Klis of 9 News writes, Manning could earn $2MM for winning the AFC Championship Game, and another $2MM for winning the Super Bowl. Manning must start those games, adds Klis, meaning he can’t earn the bonuses by coming on in relief. At this point, though, it’s hard to see how the Broncos can turn back to Manning given how Brock Osweiler has played.