Clelin Ferrell

AFC Notes: Raiders, Broncos, Colts, Titans

When Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen was still on the board at No. 4 in the NFL Draft, the Raiders seemed like a solid landing spot after the team finished with just 13 sacks in 2018. Oakland, however, never viewed the pass rusher in play, The Athletic’s Vic Tafur writes.

“I heard that the Raiders weren’t that impressed. I reported pretty early on he wasn’t in play for them at No. 4. I would never question a player’s toughness but there were concerns that he got pushed around a little on some plays at Kentucky and he may not have had enough dog in him for Gruden and Guenther’s liking.”

Oakland, of course, decided to go another way with the pick, surprising many when they tabbed Clemson’s defensive end Clelin Ferrell. Allen, the reigning Bednarik and Nagurski Award winner projected by many to go as high as No. 3, fell a little further and wound up with Jacksonville at No. 7.

While Allen joins a loaded defense in the Jaguars, Ferrell will be looking to fill the void left by All-Pro defensive end Khalil Mack, who recorded just a half-sack fewer than the entire Oakland squad in 2018.

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • The Broncos and Chris Harris have made progress on a potential short-term deal. Though they could give Harris another year, one possibility is to just increase his salary this season with money, not incentives, and let him leave in free agency and the end of the year, ABC 7’s Troy Renck tweets. Harris, of course, is entering the final year of his deal and, in April, requested to either get a new deal or be traded.
  • Colts wide receiver Deon Cain is expected to be a full-go for training camp, the Indianapolis Star’s Zak Keefer tweets. A sixth-round selection in 2018, Cain tore his ACL in the preseason opener and was sidelined for the entire season. Cain generated plenty of buzz before the injury and could add another weapon to an already steady Indy attack.
  • Back to the Raiders, the team has added several noted scouts to its organization, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer writes. Among those to make the trek to the Bay Area include the Patriots’ Dujuan Daniels, the Eagles’ Dwayne Joseph, and the Cowboys’ Walt Juliff and Jim Abrams.
  • The Titans also made some staff changes, Paul Kuharsky tweets. Brandon Taylor moved from national scout to pro scout, Mike Boni was elevated from college scout to national scout, and Casey Callahan moved from pro scout to college scout. He also notes that scouting coordinator Tosi Kazeem no long appears to be with the franchise.

West Notes: Raiders, 49ers, Seahawks

After signing several lower-key free agents last year, the Raiders operated aggressively in March. After adding Antonio Brown, the team signed Trent Brown, Lamarcus Joyner, Tyrell Williams, Brandon Marshall and Vontaze Burfict. All are in line to start. But the Raiders’ most deficient area was not fully addressed until the draft. Mike Mayock did not view this year’s class of edge rushers as good fits for the Raiders, who then took three defensive ends in the draft. This perhaps affected the Raiders’ ability to sign UDFA defensive ends.

We didn’t think that free agency was going to be the answer for that,” Mayock said (via NBC Sports Bay Area’s Scott Bair) of addressing the team’s need for edge help. “I thought we did a really nice job here over the weekend to the extent that we couldn’t even sign any (undrafted) free agent defensive ends because they saw we drafted three. They’re all staying away from us.”

Most thought the Raiders reached at No. 4 to draft Clelin Ferrell, whom one league executive said (via Mike Sando of ESPN.com, ESPN+ link) was slower than an NFL quarterback of average speed. The Raiders also drafted Eastern Michigan’s Maxx Crosby in the fourth round and Prairie View A&M’s Quinton Bell in the seventh. While the Raiders did sign Benson Mayowa in free agency, they may still need assistance at this position after their 2018 pass rush recorded the fewest sacks (13) of any NFL team in 10 seasons.

Here is the latest from the West divisions, continuing with a possible Raiders need area:

  • Jon Gruden said Kolton Miller will stay at left tackle, with Trent Brown lining up on the right side and Brandon Parker now a swing player. Gabe Jackson will remain at right guard, but after the Raiders traded All-Pro Kelechi Osemele for a Day 3 pick, the team has a hole at left guard. Gruden said (via Bair) the team will still monitor outside help at that spot. As of now, 2018 waiver claim Denzelle Good is stationed with the first unit there. While Good made 20 starts with the Colts from 2015-17, the free agent market — which includes Andy Levitre, Stefen Wisniewski, Chance Warmack and Shawn Lauvao, among others — may be able to produce a better starter.
  • The 49ers will proceed cautiously with Nick Bosa. Despite the No. 2 overall pick participating fully at the Combine, the 49ers held him out of team drills at rookie minicamp this week. After Bosa missed most of his junior season at Ohio State due to a core muscle injury, the 49ers plan work him in slowly, a team official told Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area.
  • The first punter went off the board in the fourth round this year, with the 49ers making Mitch Wishnowsky being the highest-drafted punter since the Jaguars took Bryan Anger in the 2012 third round. However, the 49ers did not expect to need a punter, per Maiocco, who notes they viewed 2015 fifth-round pick Bradley Pinion as a player likely to be re-signed. Instead, the Buccaneers swooped in and landed the free agent specialist on a four-year, $11MM deal.
  • It looks like the Seahawks‘ search for backup-quarterback candidates may continue. Paxton Lynch resides on Seattle’s roster, but considering his career thus far, it’s no lock the former first-rounder will be Russell Wilson‘s primary backup. The three players who took part in the Seahawks’ rookie camp this weekend — UDFA Taryn Christion (South Dakota State) and tryout arms Troy Williams (Utah) and Michael O’Connor (University of British Columbia) — did not fare well. “I thought the quarterbacks had a hard time,” Pete Carroll said (via ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson, on Twitter). “I thought they struggled with the system and play-calling.”

AFC Notes: Jets, Raiders, Broncos, Hardman

During the hours leading up to the draft’s second night, the Jets were calling teams — the Seahawks, Colts and others — about trading way up into the second round. That did not end up happening. The Jets, who traded their Round 2 pick to the Colts last year for the right to move up to draft Sam Darnold, made the calls because of a desire to add one of the high-end cornerbacks available to start Day 2, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports. Gang Green sought to jump into the top five of the second round, per Mehta, but they could not come to terms on a deal. Such a jump — from No. 68 into the 30s — would have required a significant draft capital subtraction. The Jets also had a deal with the Eagles to make a less costly move — up to No. 57 — to draft Mecole Hardman, but the Chiefs beat them to it. Corners Byron Murphy, Rock Ya-Sin, Sean Bunting and Trayvon Mullen all went off the board in the first eight picks Friday.

At corner, the Jets have 2018 free agent signing Trumaine Johnson and 2019 addition Brian Poole. As of now, they may be asking Darryl Roberts to be a starter. With no draft picks spent on the position, the Jets may still be on the lookout for help here.

Here is the latest post-draft news from the AFC:

  • The Raiders hoped to trade down from their No. 4 slot, but no calls came, Peter King of NBC Sports notes. Just about every high-end prospect was connected to the Raiders during the pre-draft process, but the team instead went with what most perceived as a bit of a reach in Clelin Ferrell. However, taking the Clemson talent at No. 4 was the team’s backup plan.
  • Joe Flacco‘s work in the early days of the Broncos‘ offseason program dissuaded John Elway from selecting a quarterback at No. 10 overall, something many mock drafts had the Broncos doing. “What made that decision is, Joe is fitting really well with what we want to do offensively, and he looked great in our minicamp last week,” Elway said Thursday, via King. “He really put on a throwing exhibition last week in camp. I truly think we’ve got a guy coming into his prime.” Of course, less than 24 hours later, Drew Lock was a Bronco. Both King and SI.com’s Albert Breer report the Mizzou prospect was the top passer on Denver’s board, with Breer adding that Elway continually brought up Lock in pre-draft meetings, pointing further to the potential value investment at No. 42.
  • As for what would have happened if the Broncos did not receive a strong Steelers offer for No. 10? Denver would have a new starting inside linebacker, with King writing the Broncos would have taken Devin Bush and addressed their offensive needs later.
  • While the Chiefs‘ Hardman pick looks like a Tyreek Hill emergency replacement, and was chosen three rounds ahead of when the polarizing star was taken three years ago, the team views the Georgia speedster as a cross between Hill and gadget-type weapon De’Anthony Thomas — both in terms of role and talent, Breer writes.
  • Of their six 2019 picks, the Jets used one on an offensive lineman — third-round tackle Chuma Edoga. Gang Green entered free agency with plenty of needs up front. While All-Pro Kelechi Osemele is now slotted in as one of the Jets’ first-string guards, Tom Compton represented the team’s only other veteran addition. Although, Jonotthan Harrison re-signed and appears to be a firm option to start, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY notes. The Jets were eyeing interior lineman Connor McGovern in Round 3, per Vacchiano, but the Cowboys beat them to him. As of now, Harrison — a career part-time starter with the Colts who ended last season as the Jets’ top center — is first in line to snap.

AFC West Notes: Chargers, Stick, Broncos

On Saturday, the Chargers drafted their first quarterback since 2013 when they tapped North Dakota State University quarterback Easton Stick. Stick, who rushed for 2,523 yards and 41 TDs, was pegged by some as a Taysom Hill type who could be deployed more as a trick play type than a traditional QB, but the Bolts say that’s not how they plan on using him.

He’s going to play quarterback for us. We have running backs,” head coach Anthony Lynn said (via the Associated Press). “We don’t a need a quarterback that can run all over the place, but he can certainly create when he has to.”

Of course, as a fifth-round pick, nothing is guaranteed for the mobile signal caller. Stick will look to stick on the Chargers’ roster by proving himself between now and the start of the season in September.

Here’s more from the AFC West:

  • Giants GM Dave Gettleman raised eyebrows everywhere when he selected Duke quarterback Daniel Jones No. 6 overall. After the draft, he defended the pick by saying that two teams were prepared to select Jones before the Giants’ next pick at No. 17. So far, it has been hard to identify who these two teams might be, and Mike Klis of 9News (on Twitter) confirms that the Broncos were not one of them. The Broncos, he hears, ruled out taking any QB at No. 10 overall and, furthermore, had Drew Lock as their top-ranked QB – not Jones.
  • The Raiders provided the draft’s other major first round surprise when they tapped Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell at No. 4 overall. Many feel that the Raiders reached for the defensive end, but that’s not how defensive coordinator Paul Guenther sees it. “It wasn’t about his 40-time or his three-cone drill or any of that [BS], it was about the whole package,” the DC said (via The Athletic). “There just aren’t a lot of guys like this. Some guys are great standing up, but you have to get down and dirty in the NFL. They are not just going to let you run up the field all day, you know what I am saying? Then you hear him talk and you’re like, ‘Damn, this guy is a pro.’
  • Over the weekend, longtime Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski announced his retirement from the NFL.

NFL Draft Rumors: Ravens, Bush, Titans

Here’s a look at the latest NFL Draft buzz as players take their final visits:

  • Michigan linebacker Devin Bush will visit the Ravens on Wednesday, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Baltimore holds the No. 22 overall pick, but they may have to trade up if they want to land him. The Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year is a surefire first-rounder after putting up 85 tackles, 10 sacks, and 18.5 tackles for loss over the past two years.
  • Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise Brown and Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell will take their last pre-draft visits to the Titans on Wednesday, according to Rapoport (on Twitter). Both players could be on the radar for Tennessee’s No. 19 overall selection.
  • Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver will meet with the Bills, Rapoport hears. They’re far from the only team interested in Oliver, however, and the rival Jets are apparently among the clubs keen on him. The Jets would be reaching if they took Oliver at No. 3 overall, but they’ve been vocal about their desire to trade down. Meanwhile, the Bills could conceivably entertain the Houston product at No. 9 overall.

Extra Points: Clark, Cox, Rivers, Lions, XFL

In extending Russell Wilson, the Seahawks took care of their signature piece of offseason business on Tuesday. But more key contract negotiations loom, with Bobby Wagner entering a contract year and Frank Clark having yet to sign his franchise tender. It appears the trade talk surrounding Clark has not totally died down. This week has produced some chatter around the league about a Clark swap, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk tweets. This comes shortly after a report indicated the Seahawks rebuffed outside interest in Clark at the outset of free agency and would only trade the impact defensive end if they were overwhelmed by an offer. Clark has said he will not report to Seahawks training camp without a long-term deal, so this obviously qualifies as a situation worth monitoring.

Shifting first to another NFC team’s defensive line, here is the latest from around the American football universe:

  • Fletcher Cox confirmed (via Philly.com’s Les Bowen) he underwent an offseason surgery to repair a foot injury sustained during the Eagles‘ divisional-round loss in New Orleans. The procedure appears to have been done several weeks ago, and while Cox is out of a walking boot, the veteran defensive tackle looks set to miss Philadelphia’s offseason program. His goal is to return by training camp. Cox is coming off his best NFL season, which featured a career-high 10.5 sacks and his first appearance on the All-Pro first team.
  • Also in the NFC East: Ezekiel Elliott did show up for the first day of the Cowboys‘ offseason program, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. So far, so good on the prospects of the Cowboys avoiding a contract-related holdout with their star running back. An Elliott holdout has been rumored, but for now, the fourth-year back is working out with his teammates.
  • Conversely, Philip Rivers did not show up for Day 1 of the Chargers‘ offseason work, Eric Williams of ESPN.com notes (on Twitter). The 16th-year quarterback is entering a contract year, but the Bolts view him as an obvious extension candidate. Though, it is not certain if re-up talks have begun. Nevertheless, this does not appear to be a contentious situation.
  • As the deadline for teams to wrap up pre-draft visits approaches, the Lions squeezed in a meeting with Clelin Ferrell, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes (via Twitter). Detroit’s biggest offseason investment went toward its defensive end corps, in Trey Flowers‘ deal, but the Lions have met with other edge prospects as well. Both Brian Burns and L.J. Collier visited the Lions this month. Like Burns, Ferrell grades as a first-round-level prospect.
  • Former Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride will resurface in the XFL. The 67-year-old coach will become HC for the XFL’s New York franchise, Jay Glazer of The Athletic tweets. Gilbride has been a head coach twice in his four-decade coaching career, leading the Chargers for 22 games between the 1997-98 seasons and overseeing the Southern Connecticut State program from 1980-84. Gilbride’s most recent NFL role was a seven-year stint as Giants OC, which ended in 2013.

NFL Draft Rumors: Brown, Harry, Cardinals

This week’s combine re-checks produced very positive news for Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Brown, who has been out of a boot for weeks, was given the thumbs up on his surgically-repaired foot.

Despite the injury, the 5’9″ receiver is widely projected as a first round pick. Last year, Brown put himself on the NFL radar with 75 catches for 1,318 yards and ten touchdowns.

Here’s the latest NFL Draft buzz:

  • Arizona State wide receiver N’Keal Harry will work out for the Cardinals on April 20 at ASU, according to a source who spoke with ESPN.com’s Josh Weinfuss (on Twitter). Head coach Kliff Kingsbury, GM Steve Keim, and president Michael Bidwill will be among those on hand for Harry’s only private NFL workout. Harry isn’t a contender for the No. 1 overall pick, but he could be a candidate for the Cardinals’ first pick of the second round (No. 33 overall)
  • The Rams are meeting with Clemson defensive linemen Dexter Lawrence and Clelin Ferrell on campus, Rapoport tweets. Both players are expected to go in the first round, but the Rams may be out of range at No. 31 overall.
  • Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams will visit the Jaguars on Thursday, a source tells ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link).
  • Houston cornerback Isaiah Johnson will work out for the Falcons on Thursday, Rapoport tweets. The converted wide receiver came away with two interceptions in each of the last two seasons and could go as high as the second round.

NFL Draft Rumors: Metcalf, Bills, Bucs

Ole Miss wide receiver D.K. Metcalf will take a Top 30 visit with the Bills on Monday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Metcalf, who boasts the most impressive physical tools of any wide receiver in this year’s class, could be an option for Buffalo with the No. 9 overall pick.

Some have knocked Metcalf for his lack of natural catching ability, but he had no trouble reeling in the ball in 2017 when he averaged 16.6 yards per catch and scored seven touchdowns for Ole Miss. There’s also some concern about Metcalf’s health, but he was cleared for all football activities in January following his October neck surgery.

Here’s a look at the latest NFL Draft buzz:

  • Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown will visit the Buccaneers on Monday, a source tells Rapoport (on Twitter). The Bucs could use another wide receiver after losing DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries, but it’s not clear whether they’d be willing to use the No. 5 overall pick at that position.
  • Iowa tight end Noah Fant will visit with the Lions on Monday, Rapoport reports. Fant registered 518 receiving yards and a team-high seven touchdowns in his final campaign with the Hawkeyes. The Lions could use a player like Fant after Levine Toilolo, Luke Willson, and Michael Roberts underwhelmed last year. Recently, the Lions strengthened the TE group by adding Jesse James, but there’s still room for improvement.
  • Georgia cornerback Deandre Baker will get together with the Steelers, per RapSheet. Last year, Baker captured the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s best defensive back. But, at 5’11 and 193 pounds, Baker doesn’t offer ideal size for the position.
  • Washington tackle Kaleb McGary will visit with the Patriots on Monday and the Packers on Tuesday, Rapoport hears. There has been some speculation that McGary could be employed as a guard at the pro level.
  • The Giants are hosting Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell and Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver, Rapoport hears. The Giants are armed with picks at No. 6 and 17, though one of those selections may be spent on drafting Eli Manning‘s successor.
  • Charlotte guard Nate Davis will take a Top 30 visit with the Bills, Rapoport hears.

Dolphins Eyeing Defensive Ends Via Draft?

The Dolphins have moved on from Robert Quinn, Cameron Wake, and Andre Branch this offseason, so the team is predictably in the market for defensive ends. It sounds like the organization may try to fill those holes via the draft, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes that the Dolphins have scheduled workouts with a number of prospects.

Jackson writes that Dolphins defensive line coach Marion Hobby recently gave a private workout to Louisiana Tech lineman Jaylon Ferguson, who has been graded as a second-round pick. The Dolphins have also scheduled visits with TCU’s L.J. Collier and Old Dominion’s Oshane Ximines, a pair of players who are also expected to be selected in the second or third round. Miami is currently armed with one second-rounder and one third-rounder: the 48th-overall pick and 78th-overall pick, respectively.

It sounds like the Dolphins may even consider opting for a defensive end in the first round, where they’re currently holding the 13th pick. Jackson notes that the team has also shown interest in Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell, FSU’s Brian Burns, and Mississippi State defensive end Montez Sweat. If the Dolphins want Sweat, it might require a trade, as the lineman is currently projected to go in the top-10.

The Dolphins are currently only rostering four defensive ends with any NFL experience. That grouping includes Charles Harris, Tank CarradineJonathan Woodard, and Jeremiah Valoaga.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Tomlin, Bengals, Dolphins

Michael Lombardi of The Athletic takes a deep dive into the Antonio Brown saga, and he is pretty straightforward with his thoughts on the entire situation. He certainly puts much of the blame for the acrimonious relationship between Brown and the Steelers on Brown himself, saying that the talented wideout has a tremendous combination of selfishness, all-about-me attitude, and hostility towards the only team he has ever known. As one GM recently said, Brown is a a “[g]reat talent, but a huge pain in the ass.”

However, Lombardi also says that while Brown’s behavior has driven down his price on the trade market, interested teams are doing their homework to get to the true essence of the problem. Lombardi believes the Steelers’ culture is lost, and that head coach Mike Tomlin, despite his impressive 57-29-1 record over the last five seasons, loses critical games because he and his teams fail to handle small details and do not exhibit the physical and mental toughness they need in key situations. The Rooney family does not overreact, but Lombardi suggests the imminent departures of Brown and Le’Veon Bell will lead to a thorough evaluation of Tomlin, who will need to fix his team’s culture in order to secure his future in Pittsburgh.

Now for more out of the AFC:

  • Linebacker Jon Bostic would like to return to the Steelers, but Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the club has no interest in re-signing Bostic. The Steelers could look to the draft to fortify their inside linebacker position, but this year’s collegiate crop of ILBs is a bit thin. Pittsburgh also needs to address its cornerback depth chart, but Dulac suggests the free agent market could be a better option in that regard given the club’s poor history of drafting CBs under Tomlin. Of course, the Steelers will use much of their time at this week’s Scouting Combine to explore the trade market for Brown.
  • The Bengals have historically been pretty conservative on the free agent market under owner Mike Brown, and Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com does not believe that will change going forward, even though Cincinnati has a new head coach for the first time in 16 years (Twitter link). That is in keeping with a piece that the Cincinnati Enquirer published several days ago.
  • The Dolphins have plenty of holes to fill during this year’s draft, and as Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald writes, Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell could be a perfect fit for the team’s pass rush if the Fins do not use their first-round pick on a QB. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, citing the NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, says Miami should be able to build its O-line throughout the draft, and that the team was not particularly impressed by West Virginia signal-caller Will Grier. Jackson also explores the Dolphins’ other options for their No. 13 overall pick, including trade-back scenarios.
  • Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com expects the Titans to sign a wideout and an interior lineman in free agency and to address those positions in the draft as well. The team may be getting Delanie Walker back in time for OTAs, but Wyatt also believes the Titans will add at least one TE to the mix, and he expects Tennessee will try to re-sign Luke Stocker.