Billy Price

AFC North Notes: Steelers, Price, Browns

Two key Steelers will be changing positions. Pittsburgh’s outside linebacker starters, Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt, will swap spots, with Dupree shifting to the right outside linebacker role and Watt moving to the left side, Tim Benz of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review notes. Dupree’s issues with being too far behind quarterbacks on outside rushes, in a league that features mostly right-handed passers, prompted Keith Butler to relocate him.

What Bud did too much of last year, in my opinion, was he got past the quarterback,” Butler said. “To me, you’re useless when you’re past the quarterback. Now, he won’t be as useless behind the quarterback because he can work back a little bit or he can go up and under where the quarterback won’t see him.”

Although the Steelers exercised Dupree’s fifth-year option, the 2015 first-round pick has not lived up to expectations just yet. The Kentucky product rated as a bottom-10 edge defender, per Pro Football Focus, last season, but the Steelers will try to give him another opportunity to make good on their investment. Butler said the relative inexperience of the players involved in this switch prompted him to wait until the offseason to make this move.

I think I’m more natural on the left side just because I’m more right-hand dominant,” Watt said, via Benz. “I can have a better dip and a better stab. I have more pitches I can throw on the left side.”

Here’s the latest out of the AFC North, shifting to the division’s most pressing issue — Le’Veon Bell‘s status in Pittsburgh.

  • As less than a month remains until the pivotal extension deadline for franchise-tagged players, Bell has not shown up at Steelers workouts. This was expected. But as of last week, the Steelers had yet to resume contract talks with their All-Pro running back. And Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette puts the odds at an extension occurring as longer than the sides continuing their present arrangement. Fittipaldo writes Bell not reaching a long-term agreement would again induce him to skip training camp and the preseason. Of course, Bell and the Steelers failing to come to terms this year could well mean the 26-year-old dynamo will be playing elsewhere in 2019, considering the prohibitive cost for tagging a player three times.
  • Tyrod Taylor will be a free agent at season’s end, but one AFC executive views him as a player who could make Baker Mayfield wait a long time before taking the Browns‘ reins. “Tyrod Taylor could keep Baker Mayfield on the bench for years,” the anonymous staffer said, via Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report. This seems unlikely given the investment the Browns made in Mayfield, and the fact full redshirts for first-round QBs rarely occur anymore. But Taylor does have three years’ experience as a starter and has maybe the best cast of wide receivers he’s enjoyed since ascending to a starting role. That said, the risk-averse passer will need to be re-signed for this to occur. It would likely take Mayfield’s development stalling considerably for Cleveland to bring back Taylor.
  • Prior to the Lions taking Arkansas interior lineman Frank Ragnow with their first-round pick, the Bengals had he and Billy Price ranked “pretty much evenly,” Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com notes. After watching the Ohio State product operate this offseason, one that didn’t feature him becoming fully cleared until Monday, the Bengals believe Price might be a better fit for their offense rather than the player who was selected one spot ahead of him. He’s expected to be Cincinnati’s starting center from Day 1.

Billy Price Fully Cleared After Chest Injury

The Bengals are set to have their preferred starting center available when they convene for training camp next month. First-round pick Billy Price tweeted Monday he’s been fully cleared for work.

An offseason injury defined Price’s first NFL offseason. The Ohio State standout tore a pectoral muscle while doing bench press in February, but it didn’t damage his stock much. The Bengals selected him with the No. 21 overall pick.

Price was expected to be ready by the time camp began, and a report last week placed the rookie blocker as being a month ahead of schedule. Being cleared on Monday, more than five weeks from the start of Bengals camp, lines up with that updated timeline.

The Bengals will shift to Price after deploying Russell Bodine as their starting center for the past 64 regular-season games. Bodine started every game as a Bengal in his four years in Cincinnati, but he’s now with the Bills battling for their starting job. Barring something unexpected, Price will join longtime Bills left tackle Cordy Glenn as new Bengals offensive line starters.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Rumors: Suggs, Price, Vikings, Lions

Terrell Suggs appears set to go after Ray Lewis‘ mark for most years in a Ravens uniform. Should the outside linebacker make it through all 16 games this season, he’ll surpass the Hall of Fame-bound Lewis’ games-played mark of 228. Suggs sits on 213, but this being his 16th season, he’ll need to play through the 2019 slate with the franchise to match Lewis’ 17 years of Ravens service. He doesn’t see that being a problem. Suggs said in May he envisions multiple additional seasons, despite entering his age-35 campaign, and ensured he wasn’t planning to make this one his last. At least, he won’t be making any announcements about 2018 being his final season beforehand. Per Jeff Zreibec of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link), Suggs is on a year-to-year setup at this point. But the Ravens’ all-time sack leader said “I really couldn’t picture myself doing anything else.” Suggs rated as Pro Football Focus’ No. 17 edge defender last season.

I’ll never do that. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to say that: Going in, this will be my [last],” Suggs said, via Zreibec. “Nah. It’ll probably be one day, I’ll just wake up. But I don’t think I’ll ever not love it. I didn’t choose this. I was born, and this is what I am.”

Here’s the latest from the North divisions, moving to some center situations.

  • Billy Price‘s rehab during his first NFL offseason is going well. The Bengals rookie is approximately a month ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation from a torn pectoral muscle, Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com reports. Price will remain in Cincinnati during the midsummer hiatus. He bench-pressed 315 pounds this week, although he currently needs to be supervised upon doing so at this juncture of the process. The Ohio State standout injured himself in February performing bench reps. Prior to the draft, Price was expected to be ready for training camp. So, that seems fairly easy to assume now given the timeline update.
  • Shifting to the Vikings‘ center spot, Pat Elflein did not participate in minicamp but is expected to be ready to return by Minnesota’s training camp, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press notes. Price’s former Buckeyes teammate underwent ankle surgery in January.
  • Lions training camp could feature an ascent at cornerback. Teez Tabor appears ready to mount a strong challenge for Detroit’s No. 2 cornerback spot, with Kyle Meinke of MLive.com predicting the 2017 second-round pick will be the favorite to win that job despite Nevin Lawson having started 31 games the past two seasons. Tabor played 190 snaps as a backup last season. The Lions also signed DeShawn Shead and have versatile Quandre Diggs entering a contract year. But Diggs, despite playing mostly corner during his three-year career, may be set to shift to safety full-time now.

Bengals Sign Rookie Billy Price

The Bengals have signed first-round draft pick Billy Price, according to a team announcement. Per the terms of his slot as the No. 21 overall pick, Price will earn $11.7MM over the course of his four-year deal. And, as a first-round pick, the Bengals will have the option to tack a fifth year on to his deal down the line. 

Price suffered a torn pectoral muscle while doing the bench press at the draft combine in February. Fortunately, he rebounded quickly from the injury and put himself squarely back into the first round conversation. The Bengals believe that he will be back to full health this summer, which should allow him to be the team’s starting center in 2018.

Last year, Pro Football Focus’ collegiate arm gave Price an 83.2 overall grade for his work at Ohio State, positioning him as the fifth-best center in college football. Clearly, Price transitioned well to the new position after spending his first two years at left guard and his third year at right guard.

As shown on Roster Resource, the Bengals project to start Cordy Glenn, Clint Boling, Price, Trey Hopkins, and Jake Fisher on the offensive line. The Bengals are hoping for significant improvement from last year when their O-Line was ranked near the bottom of the league by virtually every measure.

As of this writing, the Bengals have just two players left to sign in their 2018 draft class in third-round picks Sam Hubbard (DE, Ohio State) and Malik Jefferson (LB, Texas).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Draft Rumors: Browns, Price, Broncos

The Browns‘ No. 1 pick remains a mystery to everyone, including head coach Hue Jackson, according to Robert Klemko of The MMQB (on Twitter). He also adds that Dorsey has already made his determination, contrary to what has been leaked to the press.

On Wednesday morning, it was reported that the Browns are likely to select either Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen or Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield. Of course, that could just be a smokescreen as many still believe the Browns will take USC’s Sam Darnold.

Here’s the latest NFL Draft buzz:

 

NFL Draft Rumors: Sweat, Giants, Patriots

FSU pass rusher Josh Sweat is a player to keep an eye on as the NFL Draft approaches. Sweat, a five-star, top-10 overall recruit nationally coming out of high school, impressed at the draft combine and drew the attention of evaluators across the league. However, his history of knee issues including ACL, MCL, PCL injuries have teams concerned, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Interestingly, his 2016 knee surgery was performed by Giants team doctor Russ Warren, and that leads Rapoport to wonder aloud if that could make New York a potential landing spot for him. Sweat has been widely projected as a third round possibility, but it sounds like he could find his way into the second round based on his potential.

Here’s the latest NFL Draft buzz:

Latest On Ohio State C Billy Price

Good news for Ohio State center Billy Price. Price tells SiriusXM that he has regained full range of motion after suffering a partially torn pectoral muscle (via PFT).

[RELATED: Draft Notes: Giants, Eagles, Lamar Jackson]

Price hurt himself while doing the bench press at the combine in February. As one of the draft’s top offensive linemen, he was widely projected as a first-round pick prior to the injury. The torn pec is a definite setback, but based on the latest info, it sounds as though he could still be a top 32 pick. The belief is that Price will be ready in time for training camp, so any team drafting him will not have to worry about Price being behind the 8-ball.

There are rumblings of a potential late-round run on interior offensive linemen, which could involve Price, Arkansas center/guard Frank Ragnow, Iowa center James Daniels, and Georgia guard Isaiah Wynn. The Eagles, who count tackle among their top needs but aren’t hard up for a guard or center, could score a decent haul for their pick at No. 32 if that happens.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Draft Rumors: Bengals, Ragnow, Browns

It increasingly sounds like Arkansas center/guard Frank Ragnow has a good chance to be drafted in Round 1, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com hears. The Bengals got a last minute meeting in with Ragnow and it’s possible that they could consider him with the No. 21 overall pick. Pelissero wonders if we could be in for a run on interior linemen towards the back of the first round, with guys like Ragnow, Iowa center James Daniels, Georgia guard Isaiah Wynn and Ohio State center Billy Price (despite his partially torn pec) coming off of the board sooner than expected.

Those guys are just safe. They’re steady. The bust factor is very low on those guys,” an AFC executive said. “Maybe they’re not the sexiest picks, but worst-case scenario, you’re going to end up with a solid player who can step in and contribute pretty early.”

Here’s the latest NFL Draft buzz:

  • Most people believe the Browns are zeroed in on a quarterback, but GM John Dorsey isn’t publicly ruling out Penn State running back Saquon Barkley at No. 1 overall (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). Of course, draft season is full of smokescreens, so we shouldn’t necessarily take Dorsey’s comments at face value. In all likelihood, the Browns will be selecting their QB of the future with the top pick while considering other players at No. 4.
  • Draft visits are officially over, but the Seahawks are still doing their homework. On Thursday night, they’ll dine with Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea, Rapoport tweets. The Seahawks pick at No. 18, so they may have to trade up if they want him. It will be interesting to see if they go in that direction since they have opted to trade down in recent drafts.

NFC East Notes: Dez, Giants, Redskins, Eagles

Dez Bryant wants to sign with the Giants after being released by the division-rival Cowboys last week, but a current New York wideout isn’t on board with that idea. In a now-deleted Instagram story, Giants receiver Brandon Marshall said there was “no room” for Bryant on Big Blue’s roster, as Jaclyn Hendricks of the New York Post writes. Marshall, for his part, bombed during his first campaign in New York, as an ankle injury limited him to just five games and 18 receptions. Viewed as a possible cap casualty heading into the offseason, Marshall has surprisingly stuck on the Giants’ roster to this point. New York could still release Marshall at any point, however, and doing so would save the club in excess of $5MM in cap space.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

  • The Redskins were busy hosting draft prospects over the past two days, as Georgia running back Sony Michel, Ohio State center Billy Price, and Washington defensive lineman Vita Vea all visited the nation’s capital on Tuesday/Wednesday, according to John Keim of ESPN.com (all Twitter links). Michel would join a running back depth chart that already includes Chris Thompson, Samaje Perine, and Rob Kelley, while Price could start at either guard or center in lieu of Arie Kouandjio or Chase Roullier, respectively. Vea, meanwhile, would help fill a gap at defensive tackle that the Redskins have already attempted to fill this offseason by showing interest in free agents such as Johnathan Hankins and Bennie Logan.
  • Southern Methodist wideout Courtland Sutton met with the Cowboys on Wednesday, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Dallas has a gaping need at receiver after cutting Bryant, as their roster is currently littered by second- and third-tier pass-catchers. Allen Hurns, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Deonte Thompson, and Ryan Switzer front the Cowboys’ WR depth chart, but Sutton — who is viewed as either a first- or second-round selection — could give Dallas a potential No. 1 wideout. The 6’4″, 215-pound Sutton posted at least 1,000 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns in each of the past two seasons.
  • The Eagles hosted running backs Derrius Guice (LSU) and Rashaad Penny (San Diego State) on Tuesday, reports Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Guice is widely considered 2018’s second-best running back prospect behind Penn State’s Saquon Barkley, and there’s no guarantee he’ll still be on the board when Philadelphia picks at the end of round one. While the Eagles lost LeGarrette Blount to the Lions during the free agent period, they still have Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood, and Donnel Pumphrey on their roster.

NFL Draft Rumors: Cowboys, Key, Bills

Wednesday marks the final day for NFL draft visits, and we have some notable ones to pass along. Here’s the latest NFL Draft news:

  • LSU linebacker/defensive end Arden Key worked out with the Cowboys on Tuesday and met with the Saints on Wednesday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
  • Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans is visiting the Bills and Texas tackle Connor Williams is visiting the Packers, Rapoport tweets.
  • The Patriots are hosting Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley on a pre-draft visit, a source tells Rapoport (on Twitter). The Patriots aren’t known for taking receivers in the first round, but Ridley could be an exception as they look to rebuild that group. Ridley also visited the Bears on Tuesday.
  • Maryland wide receiver D.J. Moore seems to be a firm first round prospect, according to Rapoport (on Twitter). For a while, Moore appeared to be a fringe first/second round type, so his stock is improving as the draft draws near. Moore met with the Bills, who pick No. 12 and 22, on Wednesday.
  • Ohio State center Billy Price will meet with the Seahawks, Alex Marvez of SiriusXM tweets. Price is recovering from a torn pectoral muscle he suffered during the bench press at the combine. The good news is that Price is expected to be ready in time for training camp.