Caleb Benenoch

South Notes: Jaguars, Breaux, Buccaneers

Formerly a Dolphins second-rounder given the chance to start for multiple seasons with two teams, Chad Henne is in position to reclaim the Jaguars‘ starting job after Doug Marrone‘s postgame announcement. By opening the competition, Marrone is giving it to Henne, Ryan O’Halloran of jacksonville.com notes. Regarding Henne’s competitor in this renewed competition, O’Halloran notes the Jags should be ready to cut Blake Bortles soon rather than risk an injury in a game or practice that could potentially put them on the hook for the $19MM fifth-year option come 2018. Bortles’ 2017 money ($6.571MM) is guaranteed at this point, so the Jags would carry that amount on their cap regardless of the fourth-year quarterback’s employment, but the team could afford it in carrying more than $44MM in cap space currently. This would be an even more aggressive move than the 2015 Redskins used with Robert Griffin III. Washington benched Griffin for the season and cut him after an injury-free campaign of practices.

Here’s more from Jacksonville and some other southern-headquartered franchises.

  • While O’Halloran categorizes the Jags’ decision to pick up Bortles’ option as careless, Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com argues the team should have drafted or signed competition to join Bortles and Henne. O’Halloran suggests the Jags should have drafted a quarterback, while DiRocco points to players like Brian Hoyer, Jay Cutler or Nick Foles as UFA options that could have pushed Bortles.
  • The handling of Bortles and Branden Albert have not looked good for Tom Coughlin, Gene Frenette of jacksonville.com writes. Cutting Bortles now and bringing in a third passer would put that quarterback too far behind, and Frenette looks at the decision not to add an outside arm to learn Nathaniel Hackett‘s offense looks bad now that Bortles could be on the way to a demotion or out of Jacksonville.
  • Delvin Breaux underwent successful surgery to repair a broken fibula that was initially misdiagnosed, Joel Erickson of the New Orleans Advocate reports. The Saints cornerback went to Green Bay for the surgery — one that removed the old plate in the his leg and replaced it with a longer one. Sean Payton tentatively put the timetable at six weeks, which Erickson estimates will shelve the third-year corner for four games and place him on course to return after New Orleans’ Week 5 bye. “He’ll be back in New Orleans, and when we get back, we’ll have a chance to sit down,” Payton said. “I don’t want to call him up over the phone; I know it went well.”
  • Demar Dotson will undergo an MRI on his injured groin Saturday, and Dirk Koetter said (via Jenna Laine of ESPN.com) Caleb Benenoch and Kevin Pamphile would be the next men up. Both are fifth-round picks, Pamphile in 2014, Benenoch in ’16. Koetter added he’s more content with the Bucs’ guard depth than he is at tackle presently.

Draft Signings: Bucs, Seahawks, Lions

A rundown of the latest draft signings:

  • The Buccaneers have agreed to terms with fourth-round pick Ryan Smith and fifth-round pick Caleb Benenoch, as freelance reporter Jenna Laine tweets. Smith, a defensive back out of North Carolina Central, left college as the program’s all-time leader in solo tackles (168) and kickoff return average (28.1). Even though he played cornerback during his final year at UNCC, the Bucs plan to use him as a safety. Benenoch, an offensive linemen from UCLA, has experience both at tackle and on the interior line and that versatility helped his stock heading into the draft.
  • The Seahawks signed fifth-round running back Alex Collins, as Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle tweets. As his slot mandates, it’s a four-year, $2.566MM deal with a $184K signing bonus.
  • The Lions signed sixth-round defensive lineman Anthony Zettel, as Wilson tweets.
  • The Dolphins have signed seventh-round quarterback Brandon Doughty, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (on Twitter). The former Western Kentucky signal caller drew interest from scouts in large part because of his pinpoint accuracy.
  • The Lions signed fifth-round offensive lineman Joe Dahl, per Rand Getlin of NFL.com (on Twitter).
  • The Jets announced the signings of cornerback Juston Burris (fourth round) and tackle Brandon Shell (fifth), as Rich Cimini of ESPN.com writes. Shell, a 6-foot-6, 328-pound tackle, started for four seasons for the South Carolina Gamecocks and is the great nephew of Raiders Hall of Fame tackle and ensuing coach Art Shell.

NFC Draft Rumors: Falcons, Bucs, 49ers

The Falcons are on the lookout for an upgrade at right guard, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com writes. Last year’s starter, Chris Chester, would like to return to Atlanta, so he could be one option. Other than that, the Falcons have Mike Person, but they’re not terribly high on him. Atlanta could find their right guard solution in the draft and multiple sources tell McClure that they like UCLA offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch as an interior lineman. The Bruins right tackle recently worked out for Atlanta brass and made a solid impression. Benenoch, a likely later-round pick, has drawn attention for teams because of his ability to play four of the five spots on the offensive line.

  • Ohio State safety Vonn Bell told SiriusXM NFL Radio (on Twitter) that all of his visits and workouts are in the books. In addition to previously reported teams, Bell noted that he has visited the Buccaneers.
  • Cal wide receiver Darius Powe looked sharp in a recent workout for the 49ers, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com tweets. Next up for Powe is a Saturday workout with the Cowboys.
  • Missouri Western offensive tackle Leonard Wester worked out for the Cardinals on Wednesday, Rand Getlin of NFL.com tweets.
  • Stanford guard Joshua Garnett says that he has only visited the Bears thus far, though he has had many private workouts, as Eric Branch as the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. Garnett could wind up as a second-round pick.
  • Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland is scheduled to visit the Falcons on Sunday and Monday, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com writes.

Draft Rumors: 4/10/16

Let’s take a look at some of today’s draft rumors. We will update this page as necessary throughout the day:

  • Memphis QB Paxton Lynch will meet with the Jets on Thursday, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (via Twitter). The Jets, of course, are still looking to bring back free agent signal-caller Ryan Fitzpatrick, but the two sides remain far apart on contract terms. Lynch is widely-regarded as one of the top three quarterback prospects in this year’s draft. Mehta confirms that Gang Green will also visit with Ohio State TE Nick Vannett tomorrow.
  • Alcorn State QB John Gibbs, Jr. worked out for the Texans at their local prospect workout yesterday, according to Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle. As we learned yesterday, prospects like Oklahoma State DE Emmanuel Ogbah and UCLA OT Caleb Benenoch were also in attendance.
  • According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (via Twitter), there are several themes emerging with regards to the top CB prospects in this year’s draft. Some evaluators prefer Ohio State’s Eli Apple to Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves III–Hargreaves has been ranked almost universally as the best corner in the draft outside of Jalen Ramsey–and some prefer Miami’s Artie Burns to Clemson’s Mackensie Alexander and Houston’s William Jackson III.
  • Western Michigan WR Daniel Braverman–who was not even invited to this year’s Scouting Combine–has already visited the Vikings, Saints, and Dolphins, and is set to visit with the Raiders, Seahawks, and Bengals this week, according to NFL Network’s Rand Getlin. (Twitter links). Braverman had a whopping 109 receptions for 1,367 yards last season.

 

South Rumors: Titans, Ramsey, Jack

The Titans will meet with Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey on Monday, as John Glennon of The Tennessean writes. Ramsey, who can play both corner and safety, is widely considered to be one of the top talents in this year’s class and the Titans are giving real thought to taking him first overall. The Titans’ secondary could certainly use the help after a rough showing last season.

Here’s more from the AFC and NFC South:

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.

AFC Draft Updates: Bills, Lynch, Jags, Broncos

Most NFL teams have at least one representative in attendance at the pro day for Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch on Wednesday, but the Bills got a closer look at the young signal-caller on Tuesday night, according to Sal Paolantonio of ESPN, who reports that Buffalo took Lynch out for dinner (Twitter link via Mike Rodak).

The Bills have a quarterback they like in Tyrod Taylor, but Taylor has just one year remaining on his contract with the team, and an extension is not believed to be close, so it will be interesting to see if Buffalo nabs a QB early in this year’s draft. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman is in Memphis to check out Lynch.

Let’s round up a few more draft updates from across the AFC…

NFC Rumors: Cowboys, Giants, Lions

The latest out of the NFC:

  • Defensive end Jason Jones is still in play for the Cowboys, a source tells David Moore of the Dallas Morning News (on Twitter). However, the deal would have to be similar to the one-year, $1.1MM deal that Jack Crawford agreed to with Dallas on Monday.
  • Former Dolphins linebacker Kelvin Sheppard visited the Giants on Monday, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • The Giants brought in offensive linemen Ben Ijalana and Byron Stingily for a visit on Monday, as Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports tweets.
  • The Lions‘ pre-draft visits are underway, and the team looked at offensive line prospects on Monday, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, who tweets that tackles Jerald Hawkins (LSU), Shon Coleman (Auburn), Caleb Benenoch (UCLA), and Jason Spriggs (Indiana) are meeting with the Lions.
  • Bowling Green center-guard Alex Huettel worked out for the Lions, a source tells Wilson (on Twitter).
  • Ohio State safety Vonn Bell has (or has had) meetings, workouts, or visits with the Cardinals and Vikings as well as the Jaguars, as Rand Getlin of NFL.com tweets.
  • The Saints conducted private workout for Cal wide receiver Darius Powe on Monday, a source tells Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). Powe didn’t have any drops, according to a source, and drew praise from New Orleans brass.
  • The Eagles are hosting Florida wide receiver DeMarcus Robinson on a visit, a source tells Geoff Mosher of 97.5 The Fanatic (on Twitter).

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Extra Points: Richardson, RG3, Beachum, Cowboys

Free agent running back Trent Richardson expects to sign with the Ravens before the start of their voluntary conditioning program on April 18, he told Matt Zenitz of AL.com as part of a highly interesting, recommended piece. Richardson looked on the verge of signing with the team in late February, which obviously didn’t happen, but head coach John Harbaugh said earlier this week that he thinks a deal will get done. The delay is thanks in part to Richardson’s conditioning.

When he visited the Ravens in February, Richardson didn’t expect to work out with the team. The Ravens had other ideas, though, and after eating heavily both the night before and the morning of the meeting, Richardson weighed in at 238 pounds. General manager Ozzie Newsome told Richardson that “we really want you here,” but with the caveat that the four-year veteran would first have to get his weight down to 225 pounds. Richardson is now at 218, his lightest weight since high school, and is hoping to play more like the Alabama back who went third in the 2012 draft than the disappointing pro version who couldn’t even crack anyone’s roster last season.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • The Browns’ Robert Griffin III will head to Los Angeles to conduct offseason workouts with quarterback guru Tom House, reports Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. House, an ex-Major League Baseball pitcher who’s close with Browns head coach Hue Jackson, has worked with Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Andy Dalton, Carson Palmer, Terrelle Pryor, A.J. McCarron, Alex Smith and Tim Tebow in the past. He spent a large portion of last offseason with Dalton, who went on to have a career year.
  • Recently signed Jaguars offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum, who’s recovering from a torn ACL, told Tom Pelissero of SiriusXM NFL that he will put on a knee brace next week and begin football movements. “I’ll be starting Week 1,” Beachum added (Twitter link). In order to do that, Beachum will have to beat out incumbent No. 1 left tackle Luke Joeckel.
  • The Cowboys are the latest of seven teams that have ventured to UCLA to work out offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch, reports Gil Brandt of NFL.com (on Twitter). Benenoch is regarded as a potential top-75 draft choice.
  • Saints head coach Sean Payton isn’t a fan of today’s football helmets, saying, “[W]e’re way behind where should be right now with what we’re putting on the players.” However, he expects the safety of helmets to improve at “warp speed” over the next couple years, per Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. “If you took the analogy of an automobile in the ’60s and ’70s and how much of the impact passengers received in a collision and fast-forward to where we are now … I think the same thing is happening and needs to happen with the helmet that we’re wearing,” Payton stated.

Draft Rumors: Cowboys, Ramsey, Bosa

The Cowboys want Jalen Ramsey, but they fear that he’ll be gone by No. 4, Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net writes (via PhiladelphiaEagles.com). With that in mind, Dallas is eyeing Ohio State standouts Joey Bosa and Ezekiel Elliott. Bosa would help bolster the team at defensive end while DeMarcus Lawrence recovers from surgery and Randy Gregory serves his first month suspension. Elliott, meanwhile, would give the team help at running back.

Here are the latest rumors on the 2016 NFL Draft (all of which come from Pauline, unless otherwise indicated):

  • Insiders believe that we could se three offensive tackles – Laremy Tunsil, Ronnie Stanley, and Jack Conklin – go in the first top 12 picks of the draft. That could start a run and Pauline writes that we could see six tackles taken in the first round.
  • The Cowboys would consider trading down, Pauline hears, but they want to stay ahead of the Giants at No. 10.
  • Observers at the UCLA pro day described Myles Jack as a “remarkable athlete.” One source told Pauline (in his running log for Walter Football) that “he looked like a defensive back doing linebacker drills.”
  • Aaron Wallace, the Bruins’ other notable linebacker, is gaining a lot of momentum in the scouting community, Pauline hears. Wallace currently has official visits set up with the Buccaneers, Browns, and Raiders with more likely on the way.
  • UCLA offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch has been graded as a top-75 selection, according to Pauline. Many believe that Benenoch can play tackle and guard in addition to center.
  • Georgia linebacker Jordan Jenkins says that he’ll have private workouts with the Raiders, Patriots, and Saints, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com tweets.
  • Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (on Twitter) reports that Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook has private workouts scheduled with the Cowboys and Dolphins.
  • All 32 NFL teams were in attendance at MSU’s pro day, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. At the event, Cook met with the 49ers and Rams before the workout and met with the Browns‘ staff after.
  • Michigan State defensive tackle Joel Heath says that he will have a private workout with the Patriots this week, Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com tweets. In addition to that, he’ll meet with the Titans later this month. Heath previously met with the Colts and Buccaneers.
  • Pittsburgh wide receiver Tyler Boyd looked great at his Pro Day and the slowest unofficial 40-year-dash time that has been reported was in the low 4.5s.
  • Pittsburgh corner Lafayette Pitts recorded 40-yard-dash times under 4.4 seconds, with some watches marking him at 4.35.
  • There’s no definitive word on whether Virginia Tech cornerback Kendall Fuller will work out before the draft.
  • Youngstown State linebacker Terrell Williams is drawing interest from clubs. The Jets and Eagles, in particular, see him as a quality backup linebacker/core special teams guy.
  • The Lions have a private workouts set up with Michigan State offensive linemen Jack Conklin, Jack Allen, and Donavon Clark later this month, Birkett tweets.