Damontae Kazee

NFC Notes: Seahawks, Cardinals, Falcons, Cowboys

A growing rift in the Seahawks’ locker room over the team’s treatment of Russell Wilson was the catalyst for the trade or release of many Seahawks veterans this offseason, according to an explosive report from Robert Klemko of SI.com. The story, which is well worth a read, details how Richard Sherman and other Seahawks defenders objected to coach Pete Carrol’s alleged preferential treatment of Wilson.

The story also describes how many former Seahawks players think the rift was responsible for the team getting rid of veterans like Sherman, Michael Bennett, Jeremy Lane etc., and rebuilding the team around Wilson. It’s an unwelcome distraction for Seattle just days before their season opener, and it will be very interesting to see how Carrol and Wilson respond.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • 2016 first round pick Corey Coleman never fit in with the Browns. Released after just two injury plagued seasons, the young speedy receiver is now looking for a new home and visited with the Cardinals today a source told Field Yates of ESPN (Twitter link). The Cardinals are a bit thin at receiver behind Larry Fitzgerald, so this could be a good landing spot for both sides.
  • The Falcons lost starting safety Keanu Neal for the season during last night’s opener with a torn ACL, but his absence might not be as devastating as some had thought. Even before last night’s game, rookie fifth round safety Damontae Kazee had “emerged as the versatile swing safety type that’s incredibly valuable in today’s NFL” during training camp according to Albert Breer of SI.com. The coaching staff apparently loves Kazee, so the loss of Neal isn’t as disastrous as it might’ve seemed.
  • Cowboys guard Travis Frederick hasn’t been placed on injured reserve “but he continues to have some numbness in both arms” according to Todd Archer of ESPN. It’s a situation far more important than football, and Frederick acknowledged to Archer he has no idea when he’ll be back on the field.

Injury Notes: Berry, Giants, Titans, Falcons

Some teams will be opening their seasons without key defenders. Here’s the latest from the Week 1 injury front:

  • The nagging heel issue Eric Berry‘s been dealing with will likely keep him out of Week 1. Andy Reid (via Adam Teicher of ESPN.com, on Twitter) does not expect his All-Pro safety to be available when the Chiefs play arguably their toughest AFC West game of the season — a road tilt against the Chargers. Berry’s been held out of practice this week. He missed the Chiefs’ final 15 games of last season with an Achilles tear, his second severe NFL injury. Berry’s right heel’s plagued him in recent weeks, and was also an issue in Kansas City’s 2017 training camp; the ninth-year safety tore his left Achilles’ tendon in Week 1 of last season. He hasn’t practice since August 11. Eric Murray and the recently reacquired Ron Parker are K.C.’s likely safety starters, per Teicher.
  • Suffering a high ankle sprain in practice late last month, Olivier Vernon will not be available for the Giants on Sunday. Vernon will miss New York’s Week 1 game against Jacksonville, Pat Shurmur said (via SNY.tv’s Ralph Vacchiano). This will pose a problem for the Giants’ pass rush, which is now without Jason Pierre-Paul. This could push rookie Lorenzo Carter into Big Blue’s lineup Sunday, per Matt Lombardo of NJ.com, who adds the Georgia-developed edge defender may play plenty regardless of his first-string status.
  • The Titans will be missing some key players but may also have one back sooner than expected. Derrick Morgan‘s meniscus issue hasn’t stopped him from practicing this week, and the ninth-year edge player practiced fully on Thursday to put him in line to start Sunday. However, the Titans will begin their season without Jack Conklin, Rashaan Evans and Harold Landry, Jim Wyatt of Titansonline.com tweets. Evans and Landry were Tennessee’s top two 2018 draft picks.
  • Keanu Neal‘s Week 1 injury (an ACL tear) proved to be the biggest health news thus far on Friday, and the Falcons may not seek an outside replacement. Damontae Kazee is likely the next man up for the Falcons, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets, rather than Atlanta going after former Dan Quinn charge Earl Thomas or UFA Eric Reid.
  • Joey Bosa may miss Week 1 as well, and the Chargers‘ dynamic pass rusher was spotted in a walking boot on Friday, Jack Wang of the Los Angeles Times tweets. Bosa will be out for Sunday’s game, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Bosa missed the preseason with a foot injury, but Wang notes (on Twitter) that ailment healed and that the third-year defensive end is week-to-week because of a different malady on that same foot. While the Bolts have maybe the NFL’s best edge-rushing tandem in Bosa and Melvin Ingram, they aren’t especially deep at that position.
  • Jesse James will start at tight end for the Steelers on Sunday against the Browns. Vance McDonald will miss Pittsburgh’s opener, per Steelers.com’s Missi Matthews (Twitter link). A foot injury shelved McDonald during the preseason, halting the tight end’s offseason momentum as he prepares for his second Steelers season.

Falcons Sign Two Draft Picks

Today’s draft pick signings:

  • The Falcons have agreed to terms with fourth-round guard Sean Harlow and fifth-round safety Damontae Kazee, the club announced today. Harlow, an Oregon State product, started 37 games at offensive tackle during his career with the Beavers. He’ll move to guard in the NFL, however, and he could conceivably have a shot to take Atlanta’s starting right guard job, especially after veteran Hugh Thornton announced his retirement earlier today. Kazee, meanwhile, holds the San Diego State record for career interceptions with 17, and will compete for time at nickelback with 2016 undrafted free agent Brian Poole.

Draft Notes: Latest Declarations

A quick look at the latest college players who will head for the 2016 NFL Draft:

  • Indiana defensive tackle Darius Latham has declared, according to Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman (Twitter link).
  • Auburn defensive lineman Carl Lawson will enter the draft, per Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net (Twitter link).
  • UCLA running back Paul Perkins announced his draft intentions via Twitter.
  • Fellow Baylor teammates expect defensive tackle Andrew Billings and cornerback Xavien Howard to depart school in favor of the draft, Pauline tweets.
  • Marshall defensive back Corey Tindal also tweeted that he will enter the draft.
  • San Diego State cornerback Damontae Kazee announced that he’s headed for the pros, Kirk Kenney of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes.
  • San Jose State defensive back Cleveland Wallace III joined International Sports Agency (Twitter link).

Draft Updates: Ramsey, Goff, Underclassmen

With five weeks remaining in the NFL regular season, not many teams are looking ahead to the draft yet, but the NCAA year is winding down and many underclassmen are determining whether or not to declare their intent to enter this year’s draft class. Here’s the latest on a few prospects:

  • Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey and his family have spent “meaningful time” vetting potential agents as he considers entering the draft, tweets Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports. That’s no surprise, considering Ramsey is a potential top-10 pick.
  • A pair of receivers, Florida’s Demarcus Robinson and Pitt’s Tyler Boyd, are strongly considering entering the draft, according to Getlin (Twitter links). Getlin adds that one of Boyd’s family members has been looking into possible representation.
  • Sources close to Cal quarterback Jared Goff indicate that there’s a 99% chance he’ll enter the draft, and wide receiver Kenny Lawler is expected to declare as well, writes Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net. Bengals receiver Marvin Jones has been a common point of comparison for Lawler, per Pauline.
  • Boise State edge defender Kamalei Correa, who has received second-day grades, has been interviewing agents and is very likely to enter the draft, says Pauline. Maryland defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson and San Diego State cornerback Damontae Kazee are also likely to enter the draft, according to Pauline.
  • Indiana guard Dan Feeney, Mississippi State defensive tackle Chris Jones, and Mississippi defensive back Tony Conner are waiting to hear back from the advisory committee before making a decision on the draft, per Pauline.
  • Ole Miss tackle Laremy Tunsil, defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche, and receiver Laquon Treadwell are all expected to enter the draft, says Pauline.
  • Other underclassmen considering making the jump to the NFL, according to Pauline:
    • Texas A&M defensive end Daeshon Hall
    • Alabama cornerback Eddie Jackson
    • Louisville safety Josh Harvey-Clemons
    • Mississippi tight end Evan Engram