Breeland Speaks

Extra Points: Giants, Eli, Chiefs, Cowboys

To the dismay of many analysts, the Giants didn’t use the second overall pick on a franchise quarterback, instead opting to select running back Saquon Barkley, who figures to make a more immediate impact. Incumbent signal-caller Eli Manning, however, was — perhaps obviously — pleased with New York’s decision not to draft his successor. “It was kind of a vote of confidence in that they trusted in me that I can play at a high level, can win games, take us deep in playoffs and win championships and win championships still,” Manning said, per SiriusXM NFL Radio. “And you know what? I want to prove them right and I want to make them look smart and make them to have made the right decision in doing that.” The Giants are going all-in with Manning under center, and are hoping new head coach Pat Shurmur can do for Manning what he did for journeyman Case Keenum in Minnesota in 2017. Last year, the 37-year-old Manning finished just 23rd in both adjusted net yards per attempt and passer rating.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Chiefs second-round defensive end Breeland Speaks had been on Kansas City’s radar for awhile, as general manager Brett Veach explained (link via Josh Norris of Rotoworld). After initially grading Speaks as a third-round pick, the Chiefs quickly realized that not only would Speaks likely be off the board by the time their third-rounder came up, but he might not even be available when Kansas City selected at No. 54 in the second round. Therefore, the Chiefs sent a third-round pick to the Bengals for the right to move up to No. 46, and took Speaks — an Ole Miss product — there instead. Speaks, whom Veach characterized as a “high-motor, intense player,” will vie for rotational snaps in Kansas City’s 3-4 scheme behind starters Chris Jones and Allen Bailey.
  • Defensive tackle Maliek Collins isn’t a lock to return for the Cowboys‘ Week 1 contest after breaking his foot in May, and if the third-year interior defender doesn’t recover quickly, he could lose his starting job to trade acquisition Jihad Ward, according to Jori Epstein of the Dallas Morning News. Collins underwent a similar foot operation in January and underwent a foot procedure in the 2016 offseason as well, so he’s no stranger to lower extremity issues. Collins, who was selected in the third round of the 2016 draft, is even more critical given that fellow defensive tackle David Irving is suspended for the first four games of the season. Ward, meanwhile, managed to play in only five games a season ago before being shipped to Dallas in exchange for wideout Ryan Switzer.
  • The Alliance of American Football will offer players non-guaranteed three-year, $225K contracts, which puts them in line with the XFL’s pay scale, writes Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. Additionally, AAF players will be allowed to leave their contracts in order to join the NFL, indicating a policy which differs from that of the Canadian Football League. The AAF will allocate players to rosters based on where they attended college, which should help draw fans. “If the Birmingham teams has [former Alabama running back] Trent Richardson, we think that will be something that would be a significant gate attraction,” league co-founder Bill Polian said.

Draft Pick Signings: 5/24/18

Here are today’s second-tier draft signings:

  • The Buccaneers signed their second-round pick, cornerback Carlton Davis from Auburn. Davis was a three-year starter for the Tigers, earning a first-team All-SEC selection as a senior. An average athlete with good size, Davis will slide in behind Brent Grimes, Ryan Smith, and Vernon Hargreaves on the depth chart. The Bucs likely see Davis as the eventual successor to the now 34-year old Grimes.
  • Second-round linebacker Breeland Speaks signed his rookie deal with the Chiefs. Left without a first-round pick in the 2018 draft due to last year’s Patrick Mahomes trade, Speaks was the team’s first selection. Speaks played defensive tackle and defensive end in college, but the Chiefs plan to line him up at outside linebacker. Playing at Mississippi last year, Speaks generated seven sacks. He’ll initially be competing for playing time behind veterans Justin Houston and Dee Ford.
  • The Jaguars agreed to terms with third-round safety Ronnie Harrison on his rookie deal. Harrison was one of a slew of Alabama players selected in last year’s draft, and is looking to be the latest in a long line of Crimson Tide defenders to become stars in the NFL. Harrison was always a great player in college, but underwhelmed athletically with his testing at the combine. Harrison will play strong safety for the Jaguars, and is yet another piece added to their already dominant defense.