Dallas Goedert

Spring Practice Notes: Jets, Darby, Ebron

Now that mandatory minicamps have wrapped up around the league and players have returned home for a few weeks, the NFL will experience something of a lull until we get closer to the start of training camp in July. In the past couple of days, however, beat writers have shared some lessons learned during spring practices, offered some insight as to what OTAs and minicamp revealed about the upcoming season, and discussed some questions that remain unanswered. So let’s dive right in:

  • Terrelle Pryor‘s injury concerns have been well-documented, but as Darryl Slater of NJ.com observes, the Jets are also dealing with injuries to CB Morris Claiborne and OLB Jordan Jenkins. Both Claiborne and Jenkins are expected to be ready for the start of training camp, while the status of Pryor and starting free safety Marcus Maye is still up in the air. Slater also wonders who will start at OLB alongside Jenkins. David Bass and Josh Martin are candidates, as is Lorenzo Mauldin, though Slater suggests Mauldin is on the roster bubble.
  • Slater also indicates that Henry Anderson may have the leg up in the battle for the Jets‘ starting defensive end position opposite Leonard Williams — New York desperately needs someone to take double teams away from Williams — and that Andre Roberts appears to be leading the competition for Gang Green’s punt returner job. He adds that wideout Chad Hansen has impressed this spring after being a non-factor in his rookie campaign last year.
  • Rich Cimini of ESPN.com also likes what he sees from Hansen, and he says TE Neal Sterling and RB Elijah McGuire are other under-the-radar players to impress for the Jets this spring. Sam Darnold, meanwhile, is very much on the radar, and Cimini says Darnold has done nothing to suggest he cannot be a quality starter in the NFL.
  • The most important lesson learned during the Eagles‘ spring practices, per Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer, is that Carson Wentz is progressing in his recovery from an ACL tear and could be ready to go in Week 1. However, as Berman points out, the defending champs have plenty of injury concerns outside of Wentz, though no key players appear at risk of missing any regular season time at this point.
  • Berman also writes that Jay Ajayi is the Eagles’ unquestioned No. 1 running back — in stark contrast to the summer of 2017, when the team was emphasizing a committee approach to the offensive backfield — and he names De’vante Bausby, Nate Gerry, and Dallas Goedert as young talents who have stood out in the spring. Gerry, a 2017 fifth-rounder who converted from collegiate safety to professional linebacker, could compete for a starting LB job this year, Berman says.
  • Speaking of Bausby, Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com is also impressed with the 25-year-old’s work this spring, which may be enough to allow the Eagles to trade Ronald Darby.
  • Seahawks‘ 2018 seventh-round pick Alex McGough stood out this spring and has a legitimate chance to be Russell Wilson‘s backup this year, per Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. Condotta also notes that Seattle’s first-round choice, Rashaad Penny, has looked the part and has also shown improvement in his pass-blocking technique, which will help him see more of the field this year.
  • TE Eric Ebron has been perhaps the most impressive newcomer for the Colts this spring, per Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star, who also says 2018 fourth-rounder Nyheim Hines was the most exciting rookie to watch. Hines, a running back from NC State, has the explosiveness and versatility to thrive in new head coach Frank Reich‘s scheme.
  • Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com says Harold Landry, the Titans‘ second-round draft choice this year, is living up to his draft pedigree and that, while he may have a hard time unseating veterans Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo as a starting OLB, he should see plenty of action as a situational pass rusher to begin his career. Wyatt also says Tennessee’s cornerbacks have been the most impressive position group of the spring.

Eagles Sign Entire Draft Class

The Eagles have wrapped up their entire draft class, the team announced. The following rookies are now officially under contract with the defending champs: 

  • 2-49: Dallas Goedert, TE (South Dakota State)
  • 4-125: Avonte Maddox, CB (Pittsburgh)
  • 4-130: Josh Sweat, DE (Florida State)
  • 6-206: Matt Pryor, T (TCU)
  • 7-233: Jordan Mailata, T (Australia)

Goedert was the Eagles’ top pick in this year’s class after they shipped their No. 32 overall pick and a fourth-round choice (No. 132) to the Ravens for a second-rounder (No. 52), fourth-rounder (No. 125) and a second-round pick in 2019. The Ravens used the final pick in the first round on Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson. The Eagles, meanwhile, moved up from No. 52 to No 49 in a deal with the Cowboys to land Goedert.

Goedert was regarded by some as the best tight end in this year’s class, but South Carolina’s Hayden Hurst (No. 25, Ravens) and Penn State’s Mike Gesicki (No. 42, Dolphins), both went ahead of him. The South Dakota State star is now out to prove that he can dominate at a much higher level of competition. Last year, he tallied 92 receptions for 1,293 yards and eleven touchdowns.

Maddox may have a chance to contribute right off the bat following the departure of cornerback Patrick Robinson. Although he is undersized at 5’9″, evaluators say that he plays with the toughness necessary to succeed in the NFL.

Sweat, meanwhile, offers serious potential with a 4.53 second 40-yard-dash time and a track record of serious pass rushing ability. Although he tallied 12.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks last year, some teams were warded off by the injuries that sidelined him in high school and in the 2016 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Trade Up, Acquire Colts’ No. 49 Pick

The Eagles will make their first pick in this year’s draft, moving up into the Colts’ No. 49 slot to do so, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

With this newfound draft real estate, the defending Super Bowl champions will add to their tight end mix by drafting Dallas Goedert. They may well have made this move to slide in front of the Cowboys, who pick at No. 50, with Jason Witten likely to retire.

Brett Bensley of Fox 59 tweets the Eagles will send the Colts the No. 169 selection in order to move up three spots and select the South Dakota State pass-catcher. Goedert will join an Eagles team that released Brent Celek last month.

As for the Cowboys, they were mentioned as being interested in Courtland Sutton — who went at No. 40 to the Broncos — and are likely set to see their franchise’s all-time great tight end go into broadcasting.

NFL Draft Rumors: Broncos, Jones, Jaguars

The Broncos hosted USC running back Ronald Jones on a pre-draft visit on Thursday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Jones, a likely first or second round pick, is coming off of a Monday visit with the Redskins.

It’s very unlikely that Jones is in play at No. 5 overall, but the Broncos also hold the eighth pick in the second round (No. 40 overall), so Jones could be a consideration there.

Here’s the latest round of NFL Draft news:

  • South Dakota State tight end Dallas Goedert visited with the Jaguars, Alex Marvez of The Sporting News tweets. All in all, Goedert says he has worked out for or visited with “15 to 20 teams.”
  • Pittsburgh tackle Brian O’Neill met with the 49ers, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets. As a former tight end, O’Neill has tremendous athleticism for the left tackle position.
  • NC State defensive end Bradley Chubb says that he he does not have a visit lined up with the Browns and the same goes for Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, Albert Breer of The MMQB tweets. However, that doesn’t mean that either player is out of consideration for Cleveland. The Browns are apparently comfortable with the medicals and character of both players.
  • The Patriots are hosting Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans now that his White House trip is over, Rapoport tweets.

NFL Draft Rumors: Patriots, Key, 49ers

After losing Nate Solder in free agency, the Patriots are on the lookout for offensive tackle help. With that in mind, the Patriots hosted Texas tackle Connor Williams on a visit on Wednesday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Thanks to the Brandin Cooks trade earlier this offseason, the Pats are armed with two picks late in the first round. Williams could be available when the Pats are called to the podium at No. 23, though the league-wide need for tackles could result in the 6’6″ lineman going higher.

Here’s the latest batch of NFL draft news:

  • LSU outside linebacker/defensive end Arden Key worked out for the 49ers on Wednesday and will move on to the Raiders on Thursday, Rapoport tweets.
  • South Dakota State tight end Dallas Goedert, who could be the first tight end to come off of the board, visited the Dolphins on Wednesday, Rapoport tweets. Miami is reportedly high on him, but he has also met with the Seahawks, Chargers, and Lions, according to Rapoport. As previously reported, the Vikings met with Goedert last week.
  • Cornerback Isaiah Oliver has had workouts/visits with the Eagles, Falcons, Bears, Texans, 49ers, Cardinals, Panthers, Patriots, Saints, Broncos, and Cowboys, sources tell Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). Miller personally believes that he would be a great fit for Arizona. NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah has Oliver ranked as the 36th best prospect in this year’s draft and it would be no surprise to see him go in the first round.
  • Georgia running back Nick Chubb will visit with the Buccaneers on Wednesday, according to Josh Norris of NBC Sports (on Twitter). Chubb has been lauded for his power and ability to run on the inside and figures to be a second round pick.
  • The Lions hosted Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson for a visit on Tuesday, Rapoport tweets. Johnson was recently bumped from Jeremiah’s top 50 but should still garner consideration in the second round.

East Notes: Bills, Dolphins, Cowboys, Ealy

Here’s that latest from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • Guard Richie Incognito‘s sudden retirement could theoretically force the Bills to wrestle with using their draft picks on finding a franchise quarterback, or instead deploying the selections to restock their roster as a whole, as Mike Rodak of ESPN.com writes. Buffalo owns nine picks and possesses the third-most overall draft capital in the league, but would likely need to sacrifice several early selections — including both its 2018 first-rounders — in order to trade up for a signal-caller. However, the Bills are now fielding arguably the NFL’s worst offensive line after trading tackle Cordy Glenn and seeing Incognito and center Eric Wood retire, and needs at receiver and linebacker should be addressed via the draft. After surprising earning a postseason berth a season ago, Buffalo now must decide whether to finds it quarterback of the future or revamp its depth.
  • The Dolphins have their sights set on a defensive player with pick No. 11, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports that club is hoping to select Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith, Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, or Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea in the first round. Defensive backs Derwin James (Florida State), Minkah Fitzpatrick (Alabama), and Denzel Ward (Ohio State) could also be in consideration, per Jackson, while the Dolphins also like South Dakota State tight end Dallas Goedert, according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald (although Miami almost surely wouldn’t use a top-15 pick on a tight end). The Dolphins would prefer to select a quarterback at No. 11, but don’t expect any of the draft’s top four QB prospects to be available.
  • Defensive end Kony Ealy‘s one-year deal with the Cowboys is worth up to $2MM, tweets Todd Archer of ESPN.com. Ealy, 26, will collect an $800K base salary and a $200K signing bonus, while he can also earn as much as $250K in per-game roster bonuses. In order for Ealy to max out his contract, he’ll need to post at least 12 sacks and play in 75% of Dallas’ defensive snaps next season, both of which seem like lofty goals. Because Ealy didn’t reach either of those thresholds with the Jets in 2018, both incentives will be considered “not-likely-to-be-earned,” meaning they won’t appear on the Cowboys’ salary cap immediately.

East Notes: Giants, Jets, Gronk, Maclin

The Giants are doing their due diligence with the top quarterbacks in the draft, and that included a Josh Rosen summit on Monday, per Peter King of SI.com. However, they may not be that interested in the UCLA alum. An NFL scout continued the building Sam Darnold/Giants buzz by indicating he’s the Los Angeles-based quarterback the team wants, rather than Rosen.

If Darnold is available, they’re taking Darnold,” the anonymous evaluator said, via Matt Lombardo of NJ.com. “They don’t like Rosen.”

This follows DraftAnalyst.com reporter Tony Pauline’s assessment of the Giants only being particularly interested in Darnold, among the quarterbacks, and more anonymous execs saying Darnold would be the Giants’ choice at No. 2 if he slipped past the Browns. If Darnold is unavailable, a Bradley ChubbSaquon Barkley debate will transpire, the evaluator said, via Lombardo.

Seven teams have appeared on Rosen’s itinerary, and he will be on the east coast for much of this week. His Jets summit is set for Tuesday, with the Bills powwow occurring Wednesday, King reports. He’ll meet with the Chargers in a non-30 visit later this week. Longtime NFL exec-turned-analyst Gil Brandt rated the UCLA passer as his No. 1 quarterback in the draft, but it now looks like both the Browns — connected mostly to Darnold and Josh Allen — and the Giants will pass on him.

Here’s more from the Eastern divisions:

  • Jeremy Maclin is without a team for the second time in two years. One of the wide receiver’s former employers did some work on him recently, however. The Eagles inquired on the nine-year veteran, per Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter), adding the Cowboys did the same. However, both have signed other wideouts. The Eagles added Mike Wallace, and the Cowboys signed both Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson. Maclin played for the Eagles from 2009-14 before signing with the Chiefs. The Chiefs and Ravens cut him in consecutive offseasons. He will turn 30 next month. Anderson adds Maclin is currently training in Baltimore and Philadelphia.
  • Bill Belichick may have an issue with Rob Gronkowski being a TB12 client. Early last season, the Patriots coach chastised Gronk in front of other players for working out at the Alex Guererro-headed facility, Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald reports. Nevertheless, Gronkowski remains a TB12 client and is now below his ideal playing weight, coming in at around 260 pounds presently, per Guregian.
  • More for the burgeoning Jets/Baker Mayfield file: team CEO Christopher Johnson was part of the contingent that met with the reigning Heisman winner on Monday, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes. Johnson was part of the Jets‘ contingent that spoke with the top four quarterbacks at the Combine, but Cimini writes he didn’t ask any questions. He was believed to have been more involved today.
  • In the pros-and-cons debate surrounding Josh Allen, the Jets have done perhaps the most research. Cimini writes team brass loves the Wyoming prodigy’s arm strength but has “legitimate concerns” about his accuracy.
  • South Dakota State-developed tight end Dallas Goedert will have spent plenty of time with the Dolphins by the time draft weekend arrives. He’s already worked out for Dolphins brass in South Dakota and will visit Miami this week, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. One of the top tight ends in the draft, Goedert has also visited the Vikings. The Dolphins are in need of a tight end, having cut Julius Thomas and submitted an unsuccessful waiver claim for Clive Walford.

Draft Rumors: Mayfield, Jets, Vea, TEs, Bears

A number of NFL insiders anticipate, in the event Sam Darnold is off the board, the Jets will use their No. 3 overall pick on Baker Mayfield, Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com reports. The Jets have already conducted a private workout with the 2017 Heisman Trophy recipient and are scheduled to meet with him next week. And plenty of Mayfield-to-New York buzz has emerged already. They’re among the seven teams that will do so, but Gang Green could have the inside track on Mayfield if the Browns turn to Darnold or Josh Allen. And several league execs and scouts expect the Giants to take Darnold if Allen goes to Cleveland. Pauline adds that if Rosen is on the board and the Jets draft Mayfield, they would be making a “colossal mistake.”

Here’s the latest from a busy Monday in the draft world. A lot of flights are being scheduled for top prospects.

  • Arguably the top linebacker in this draft, Roquan Smith has visits scheduled with the Colts and Bears, Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets. Hill adds the Cowboys are not tabbed to meet with the Georgia linebacker. The Colts and Bears hold picks 6 and 8, respectively, and Smith has been mocked to teams either in that range or shortly after.
  • The tight end contingent has begun making key trips recently. Hayden Hurst is visiting the Jaguars on Tuesday, and the Saints have already put the South Carolina pass-catcher through a workout, Nick Underhill of The Advocate tweets. Meanwhile, the Vikings will host South Dakota State’s Dallas Goedert on a visit beginning Tuesday night, per Darren Wolfson of KSTP.com (on Twitter).
  • Iowa cornerback Josh Jackson will visit the Bears and Dolphins, with the Chicago trip coming first, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. An expected first-round pick, Jackson will meet with the Bears today.
  • Three more teams intend to visit with Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter) the Packers and Buccaneers will host the mammoth lineman. The Cowboys are already scheduled to meet with Vea, and Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal notes Vea will visit the Browns as well. The four-year Huskies cog rates as the top interior defender in the draft, per Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com.
  • The Browns are also meeting with Michigan defensive lineman Maurice Hurst. In line to be a second-generation NFLer, Hurst said during a Sirius XM Radio appearance (via Ulrich) he will meet with the Browns. Hurst was discovered to have a heart condition at the Combine but has since been cleared. The Michigan talent could be an option for the Browns in the second round, with the team holding picks 33 and 35.
  • San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny is meeting with the Broncos today, Mike Klis of 9News reports (on Twitter). Denver has yet to make a decision on C.J. Anderson, who has a nonguaranteed $4.4MM salary this season. Devontae Booker and De’Angelo Henderson represent depth behind Anderson, although Booker frequently saw action upon returning from injury last season.