Daniel Jones

Draft Notes: Jones, Brown, Bills, Raiders

Beyond Kyler Murray‘s long-rumored Cardinals fit, landing spots for this draft’s other top quarterbacks are difficult to determine. But Daniel Jones, despite not exactly having impressive college statistics, has gained more steam as a first-round pick. One team has the Duke prospect as the top quarterback on its board, according to Yahoo.com’s Charles Robinson (on Twitter). The Giants are believed to be high on him. So are the Patriots. While one scout wondered (via Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com) if the former Blue Devils signal-caller would slip to the third round had he not played under David Cutcliffe, who coached both Manning brothers when they were college passers, another scout and a former GM said (via NBC Sports Washington’s Ben Standig) they each would take Jones over Drew Lock. It certainly looks Jones will land in the first round next week.

Here is the latest from the 2019 draft talent pool:

  • Another first-round hopeful, Marquise Brown, also looks like a lock to hear his name called Thursday. The Oklahoma-honed speedster may be the only guaranteed wideout to go off the board in Round 1, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report notes, after speaking with NFL staffers. Said execs then place Ole Miss alums D.K. Metcalf and A.J. Brown as possible first-rounders, per Miller. That would stand to make the second round potentially filled with receiver investments. The 49ers have some names in mind.
  • On the subject of the 49ers, they visited with tight end Noah Fant recently, per Sirius XM Radio’s Alex Marvez (on Twitter). This profiles as an interesting use of a visit, with the 49ers closely connected to Nick Bosa at No. 2 and not needing a tight end. But San Francisco did do well with its past Iowa investment at this position, with George Kittle breaking out in a major way in 2018.
  • Despite Rashan Gary‘s past as a top-10 national recruit and his Combine performance, another report has indicated his stock has dipped a bit. After a Thursday report pointed to the Michigan defensive lineman dropping, Miller adds teams are concerned about how little his athleticism translated to production (9.5 sacks in three seasons). Additionally, Miller doubles down on the medical concerns surrounding Gary. Some scouts believe there will be issues on that front, potentially with Gary’s shoulder, which was a trouble spot during his Wolverines run.
  • Ed Oliver‘s stock has risen a bit in the days leading up to the draft, and the Bills are in play for the interior defender at No. 9, Miller writes, adding Buffalo wants to add a bona fide interior pass-rushing presence to complement the space-eating defensive tackles it currently employs.
  • The Raiders ditched their scouting staff going into the draft and are expected to overhaul the department under new GM Mike Mayock. On draft weekend, Oakland’s non-Mayock/Jon Gruden staffers involved in the three-day event will be assistant director of player personnel Trey Scott and director of football administration Tom Delaney, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Delaney has been with the Raiders dating back to the first Gruden era; Scott rose to his current position under Reggie McKenzie‘s watch two years ago.

Draft Rumors: QBs, Gary, Pats, Giants, Lions

Kyler Murray-to-Arizona still looks to be in the cards (no pun intended), but the Nos. 2-4 quarterback landing spots — and the order in which they will be drafted — remain murky. While Dwayne Haskins‘ reported slide has led to some predicting Drew Lock would benefit, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes the Missouri product has a “very real chance” of being the fourth quarterback selected and/or falling out of the first round. Connected to Lock prior to their Joe Flacco trade, the Broncos would be intrigued by the prospect of nabbing Lock in Round 2, per JLC, who tabs Denver as more likely to address a bigger immediate need in the first round. The Broncos visited with Lock during the process, as did several other teams with some degree of a need at quarterback.

Here is the latest from the draft world, continuing with some of this year’s passing prospects:

  • If Lock’s floor may be more open-ended, La Canfora tabs the Redskins being Haskins’. Washington has done work on the Ohio State alum, along with the other high-profile QBs in this draft. The Raiders have also been “super impressed” by the 2018 breakout star, but they have been reported as being unlikely to use one of their three first-round picks on a quarterback.
  • The other quarterback mentioned as a first-round possibility, Daniel Jones has intrigued the Patriots, per JLC. New England holds pick No. 32 but has a draft-high 12 picks (including six in the first three rounds) and has plenty of ammo to move up. The Pats hosted Jones on a visit last week. New England has not taken a first-round quarterback since Drew Bledsoe 26 years ago, but NFL.com’s Gil Brandt would not be surprised if this happened (Twitter link).
  • Both the Giants and Panthers have done plenty of work on Will Grier, La Canfora adds. The West Virginia passer profiles as someone who could be available in Round 2. New York holds pick No. 37, Carolina No. 47. This is the latest we’ve heard on the Panthers’ interest in Grier. Although Carolina brass has reportedly not done more research than usual on quarterbacks in preparing for this draft, Cam Newton has not resumed throwing and is going through extensive shoulder rehab in a second offseason in three years.
  • Linked to safeties for two offseasons now, the Cowboys brought in six for pre-draft visits. Stephen Jones mentioned (via Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams) the position as having the least amount of resources put into it of any on the Cowboys’ roster. After bypassing this need in last year’s draft, Dallas will be a team to monitor on this front.
  • It does not appear the Lions will be making a move up in the first round. Bob Quinn could foresee his team trading down but does not believe (via the Detroit News’ Justin Rogers) he has enough draft capital — one pick in each of the first five rounds — to vault up from No. 8. Detroit has been mentioned as a stealth quarterback seeker, but trading up for one does not appear to be in the cards.
  • Lastly, another member of this year’s stellar defensive line class may not check out medically. Some teams have red flags on Rashan Gary, La Canfora notes. While the Michigan lineman is still expected to go in the first round, he may be available a bit later than expected. Should this report of health concerns related to Gary be accurate, he would join Mississippi State products Montez Sweat (who had a heart issue at the Combine) and Jeffery Simmons (pre-Combine ACL tear) as standout pass rushers who have encountered medical issues.

Draft Notes: Packers, Dillard, White, Fins

Midway through a rather notable offseason, given the recent behind-the-curtain look at their previous power structure, the Packers are investigating some high-end quarterback prospects. They are obviously set at sports’ marquee position, but with Aaron Rodgers set to turn 36 by season’s end, Green Bay is at a similar point compared to when it last made a major quarterback investment. The Packers will host Drew Lock on a visit Tuesday, Terez Paylor of Yahoo.com reports (on Twitter). They also tried to set up a summit with Daniel Jones, but the parties’ schedules did not line up, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com adds (via Twitter). The Packers took Rodgers when Brett Favre was 36 and sat him for three years. While Green Bay pulling the trigger on a passer would be rather surprising, especially given Rodgers’ contract status, the team does have two first-round picks this year.

Here is the latest from the draft world, staying on the subject of quarterbacks:

  • Lock will also meet with the Chargers, per Charles Robinson of Yahoo.com (on Twitter). Teams have ramped up their signal-caller-related preparation, in the event Kyler Murray does not go No. 1, according to Robinson, who notes some teams believe this year’s passers could slide a bit should Murray not be the Cardinals’ choice atop the draft. Some modest steam picked up on this notion earlier Monday.
  • The Dolphins, who already met with Jones, will head to the Duke campus to work out the former Blue Devil starter, Rapoport reports (on Twitter). Teams only have a few more days to host prospects on “30” visits but can still work them out after that deadline passes. Miami will also host Michigan linebacker Devin Bush and Florida tackle Jawaan Taylor, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.
  • Devin White‘s stock has risen during the pre-draft process, to the point he may be the rare off-ball linebacker to be picked in the top five. One of the teams holding such a selection, the Raiders, brought in White for a visit, Rapoport tweets. The Buccaneers, who hold pick No. 5, have been closely connected to the LSU ‘backer. The Raiders have the No. 4 overall pick. Oakland, which also holds the Nos. 24 and 27 selections, will meet with tight end Noah Fant, on Monday as well, Rapoport tweets. The Raiders lost their starting tight end of the past two seasons, Jared Cook, in free agency.
  • For weeks, the Jets have been viewed as a team that would love to trade down. They are meeting with a prospect Tuesday that would support the fact this is a consideration. Ed Oliver will visit the Jets, per Schefter (on Twitter). While the defensive tackle is a surefire first-round talent, he has not been mocked as a player who would be a consideration at No. 3 overall.
  • The Titans are visiting with defensive tackle Jerry Tillery, per Rapoport (on Twitter). This is the Notre Dame-developed defender’s second known visit, the first having come with the Saints recently. Tillery remains in rehab after surgery to repair a torn shoulder labrum.
  • Not much has surfaced about which teams are researching an Andre Dillard pick. That has changed. The Washington State tackle prospect is visiting the Falcons on Monday and will meet with the Chargers later this week, Schefter tweets. Additionally, Schefter adds the first-round offensive line hopeful has already visited or worked out for a host of teams — the Giants, Jets, Dolphins, Ravens, Titans, Panthers, Vikings, Jaguars, Bills, Texans, Bengals, Packers, Redskins.

AFC East Notes: Dolphins, Patriots, Draft

Here’s a look at the AFC East:

  • The Dolphins are looking to add multiple edge rushers over the next three months, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald hears. The Dolphins took one step in that direction this week when they signed Jayrone Elliott, one of the best pass rushers from the defunct AAF, but it sounds like they’ll also scour the later waves of free agency and the draft to find defensive ends and outside linebackers.
  • Duke quarterback Daniel Jones visited with the Patriots on Wednesday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. At No. 32, they’d probably have to move for him, though they have the firepower to advance up the board if they want to. The Patriots have 12 picks in this year’s draft, tied with the Giants for the most in the league. After No. 32, they own two second round picks at Nos. 56 and 64 overall.
  • The Patriots also met with West Virginia quarterback Will Grier, Rapoport tweets. Unlike Jones, Grier figures to be available in the middle rounds due to his age (24) and iffy mechanics. However, he put up monster numbers at WVU, including 3,864 yards and 37 touchdowns against eight interceptions in his final season on campus. Lauded for his leadership, Grier could be groomed to take over for 42-year-old Tom Brady while sitting behind backup Brian Hoyer.

Draft Rumors: Redskins, Bills, Jets, Eagles

Duke quarterback Daniel Jones will meet with the Redskins today and tomorrow, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Washington will also sit down with Northwestern signal-caller Clayton Thorson on Wednesday, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL.com, adding that fellow quarterbacks Drew Lock (Missouri) and Jarrett Stidham (Auburn) have already visited with the Redskins. Washington is looking at nearly all the top QB prospects, which shouldn’t come as a surprise given the status of Alex Smith‘s knee injury. Smith isn’t expected to play in 2019, and while the Redskins have already acquired veteran Case Keenum, the club is searching for a long-term option to place under center.

Here’s more on the 2019 NFL draft:

  • The Bills are hosting Ole Miss wide receiver A.J. Brown Wednesday, while Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen‘s meeting with Buffalo will occur on Thursday, per Rapoport (Twitter link). Although the Bills invested in pass-catching help during free agency, adding both John Brown and Cole Beasley on multi-year deals to a depth chart that already included Zay Jones and Robert Foster, the team is still in need of receivers. Brown (6’1″, 225) posted at least 75 receptions, 1,250 yards, and six touchdowns in each of the past two seasons. Allen, meanwhile, isn’t likely to be available for Buffalo at No. 9 overall, but the club could potentially trade up given that it owns the sixth-most draft capital.
  • Alabama offensive tackle Jonah Williams is meeting with the Jets, reports Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. Gang Green ranked dead last in Football Outsiders‘ run-blocking metric in 2018 (and 18th in pass-blocking), but so far the club has only addressed its offensive line by acquiring guard Kelechi Osemele from the Raiders. New York’s tackle situation has remained unchanged, with Kelvin Beachum and Brandon Shell projected to start on the left and right sides, respectively. Williams is expected to come off the board early in Round 1.
  • The Bengals met with Florida edge rusher Jachai Polite last week, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. The pre-draft process has not been kind to Polite, who had been viewed as a potential first-round selection. Polite performed poorly during athletic testing, while his interviews with clubs were also widely panned. Additionally, Polite is battling currently battling through hamstring injuries. Cincinnati has edge depth with Carlos Dunlap, Carl Lawson, Sam Hubbard, and Kerry Wynn in tow, but Polite would give the team another option.
  • TCU defensive end L.J. Collier is meeting with the Lions, Eagles, and Seahawks, per Rapoport (Twitter link), who adds Collier is “quietly pushing” to become a first-round pick. Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com currently ranks Collier as the No. 45 prospect, noting that while he isn’t an “elite bender,” Collier has the ability to play both inside and on the edge. In his senior season with TCU, Collier posted six sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss in 11 games.
  • Penn State running back Miles Sanders has been vaulting up draft boards (he currently ranks one spot behind Collier at No. 46 on Jeremiah’s list), and he has a busy schedule ahead of him. Sanders is scheduled to work out for/meet with the Bears, Eagles, Steelers, Ravens, Bills, Cowboys, Falcons, Titans, Bengals, Panthers, Buccaneers, and Colts. In 2018, Sanders’ only season as a starter, he posted 1,274 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on 220 attempts.

Duke QB Daniel Jones Met With Four Teams

Daniel Jones is generating interest from several NFL teams. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that the Duke quarterback recently had “private meetings and workouts” with the Giants, Broncos, Dolphins, and Chargers. Schefter also echoes previous reports that Jones is set to meet with the Redskins next week.

Jones, a three-year starter at Duke, is generally considered to be the fourth-best quarterback in this year’s draft, with mock drafts pegging him on a tier below Kyler Murray, Dwayne Haskins, and Drew Lock. However, there’s still a good chance that the signal-caller hears his name called during the first round, especially considering the lack of quarterback depth behind him (West Virginia quarterback Will Grier is the only other player at the position who’s generally being mentioned as a first- or second-rounder). Jones completed 60.5% of his passes for 2,674 yards, 22 touchdowns, and nine interceptions in 2018.

The Giants interest in Jones isn’t all that surprising, as we heard in late March that the organization could be eyeing the prospect with the 17th-overall pick. The Dolphins and Redskins are also a pair of QB-needy teams that have a pick in the teens, so their inclusions also make plenty of sense. The Dolphins moved on from Ryan Tannehill earlier this offseason, leaving them with no clear-cut starter. The Redskins acquired Case Keenum to fill in for the injured Alex Smith, although neither player should be seen as a long-term option for the organization.

The Broncos are in a unique position, as they acquired veteran Joe Flacco earlier this offseason. Their new signal-caller is only 34-years-old, although he has shown signs of decline in recent years. The Broncos are also armed with the 10th-overall pick; if the team is focused on acquiring their quarterback of the future, they should have a shot at both Haskins and/or Lock. If Denver is particularly interested in Jones, perhaps they could explore a trade to move back (although this is merely my speculation).

The Chargers may simply be doing their due diligence on the Duke quarterback, or maybe they’re hoping that the rookie will slide down to the 28th pick. Philip Rivers is 37-years-old, but he did have one of the best seasons of his career in 2018. The Chargers also finished with 12 wins before bowing to the Patriots in Divisional Round; if they want to build off last season’s success, it might make more sense to use their first-rounder on a player who could contribute right away.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Pats, Redskins, Giants, Eagles

A third degree felony assault charge against Patriots defensive lineman Michael Bennett has been dismissed, reports David Barron of the Houston Chronicle. “After looking at all the evidence and applying the law, a crime could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” district attorney chief of staff Vivian King said in a statement. “There was probable cause to warrant a charge initially, but after a careful review of all the pre-charge and post-charge evidence, we cannot prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt.” Bennett was accused of injuring a 66-year-old paraplegic while attempting to gain field access during Super Bowl LI, but he wasn’t arrested at the scene and no video exists of the incident. A member of the Seahawks when the episode occurred, Bennett has since been traded twice, first to Philadelphia and then to New England.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • The Redskins plan to host Duke quarterback Daniel Jones for a pre-draft visit next week, according to JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington. Once viewed as more of a Day 2 selection, Jones could be pushed into Round 1, and the division-rival Giants are reportedly interested in taking Jones with the 17th overall pick. A three-year starter, Jones completed 60.5% of his passes for 2,674 yards, 22 touchdowns, and nine interceptions in 2018. Washington acquired Case Keenum earlier this year and still has Alex Smith on the books, but is in need of a long-term signal-caller given Smith’s health question marks.
  • Ole Miss wide receiver A.J. Brown met with the Giants today and will visit the Redskins on Thursday, tweets Rapoport. NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah pegs Brown as a fringe first-rounder, ranking him 36th on his most recent list of 2019’s top-50 prospects. Brown, who stands 6’1″, 225 pounds, managed at least 75 catches and 1,250 yards in each of the past two seasons. NFL clubs are reportedly pleased with Brown’s versatility, and many teams believe he can play both outside and in the slot, per James Palmer of NFL.com (Twitter link).
  • The Eagles will host Alabama running back Josh Jacobs next week, according to Adam Caplan of SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link). Viewed as the top running back on the board, Jacobs could be selected in the first round, but the low value placed on backs could force him into Day 2. Philadelphia recently acquired Jordan Howard from the Bears, and he figures to handle the majority of early down work in 2019. Jacobs, though, could add another dimension to a backfield that also includes Corey Clement, Josh Adams, and Wendell Smallwood.

Giants Interested In Duke QB Daniel Jones With No. 17 Pick?

Most of the speculation concerning the Giants’ quarterback of the future this offseason has centered around Ohio State signal-caller Dwayne Haskins and current Cardinals QB Josh Rosen. However, Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com says that there is an increasing amount of buzz that the team will use its No. 17 overall pick on Duke quarterback Daniel Jones.

New York, of course, is now armed with two picks in the first round, No. 6 and No. 17, and GM Dave Gettleman has indicated that the successor to Eli Manning will need to be a first-round choice. But Giants brass is reportedly not enamored with Haskins, and it is not yet clear whether Arizona will make Rosen available. The Giants could obviously choose to not select a quarterback at all in the first round and put off acquiring Manning’s replacement for another year, but after Gettleman eschewed taking one of the top signal-callers in last year’s QB-rich draft, that could create a lot of unease in the Big Apple.

Dunleavy goes on to explore Jones’ potential upside, and his sources say that Jones is more fundamentally sound than he is flashy, which seems to suggest that while he may have a high floor, his ceiling may also be relatively low. The mental aspect of his game is pro-ready, but his ability to move around in the pocket and make throws beyond the intermediate range is in question. He also does not have much of a track record against top-level defenses.

He does, though, have a relationship with the Manning brothers, and he played under former Peyton Manning mentor David Cutcliffe with the Blue Devils. He threw for a career-high 22 touchdown passes in 2018, and he threw for between 2,650 and 2,850 yards in each of his three seasons as Duke’s starter. He was the Blue Devils’ first-stringer throughout his career.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: 49ers, Draft, Bosa, Broncos

The 49ers are in the midst of a pivotal offseason. They dealt with a mountain of injuries last year which excused their poor record, but with Jimmy Garoppolo back healthy next season expectations will be very high. Fortunately for San Francisco, they have the second overall pick at their disposal. For a long time, Ohio State pass-rusher Nick Bosa was the favorite to go first overall to the Cardinals. But with many now expecting Arizona to take Kyler Murray, Bosa could fall into San Francisco’s lap.

To that end, the “consensus opinion at this stage appears to be that Bosa will end up with the 49ers,” writes Matt Maioccio of NBC Sports. One NFL front office member told Maioccio at a recent pro day that the 49ers were going to take Bosa. The 49ers are in desperate need of outside pass-rush, so Bosa makes a lot of sense if he’s available. He would provide a massive boost to Kyle Shanahan’s defense.

Here’s more from the league’s western divisions:

  • The 49ers were expected to be players for Earl Thomas, but ultimately didn’t end up signing any of the big name safeties available. Safety was seemingly a position of need, but the 49ers opted not to make any splashes there. In a recent interview, 49ers GM John Lynch elaborated on the decision to more or less stay pat. “We feel good about our free safety depth. We feel we’re pretty well stocked there,” Lynch said, per Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports. Lynch did leave the door open for a future acquisition, saying “it’s not to say, if an opportunity presents itself, that we won’t go there, but we feel pretty good at our free safety spot.”
  • The Broncos may have traded for Joe Flacco, but that isn’t going to preclude them from looking for a quarterback of the future in the draft. Denver will host Kyler Murray, Drew Lock, Dwayne Haskins, and Daniel Jones on visits before next month’s draft, according to Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic (Twitter link). The Broncos have the tenth pick in the draft and seem to be seriously considering taking a signal-caller then, although Murray and Haskins are likely to be off the board by the time they’re scheduled to pick.
  • The Broncos didn’t pick up their option on linebacker Brandon Marshall, and as such might need to add an inside linebacker to replace him. New head coach Vic Fangio said earlier today that “we like the guys we have but we’re always looking to add guys to all the personnel positions. … I do like Josey and Todd, but we’re always looking to get better” referring to second-year UDFA Josey Jewell and veteran Todd Davis, per Mike Klis of Denver 9News (Twitter link). The Broncos’ run defense has been very inconsistent the past couple of years, so it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see them add a run-stuffing linebacker either in free agency or through the draft.

Extra Points: 2019 NFL Draft, Stidham, Lock, Redskins, Phillips, Seahawks, Fluker, Sweezy

The NFL combine is right around the corner, and the draft isn’t too far away. With that in mind, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report spoke to some league talent evaluators, and had a few interesting nuggets on the quarterbacks in this year’s class. A “lead AFC personnel man” told Miller that Missouri quarterback Drew Lock “really helped himself” during this week’s Senior Bowl practices, and could be the top quarterback selected this April.

The same personnel guy told Miller that Duke quarterback Daniel Jones helped himself as well, and that his mechanics looked good in practice. Miller writes that Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham also boosted his stock this week, and that three scouts told him Stidham could even climb into the end of the first round. Stidham has been projected as a Day 2 guy in most mock drafts, so that would be a pretty significant leap for him.

Here’s more from around the league this Friday night:

  • The Redskins made a coaching move this evening, and it could end up impacting the Rams. Washington hired Brian Angelichio to be their tight ends coach, the team announced in a tweet, and he’ll be replacing Wes Phillips on Jay Gruden’s staff. Phillips is the son of NFL-lifer and current Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets that Phillips is a “potential fit” in Los Angeles. Rapsheet notes that the Rams will be in need of a quarterbacks coach when Zac Taylor officially departs to become the Bengals’ new head coach, and notes that Phillips will be “one to watch.” Wade has become one of the funniest and most personable coordinators in the league the past couple of years, and a Phillips family reunion would be a lot of fun.
  • The Seahawks’ offensive line was a big part of their success this year, as they helped pave the way for their first productive ground game in years. Now Seattle will have to make some decisions on whether they want to keep last year’s line intact. Starting guards D.J. Fluker and J.R Sweezy are both scheduled to be unrestricted free agents this spring, and Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times writes that the team “would like to keep both and will work to get that done.” Both players received below average grades from Pro Football Focus, but Seattle was apparently happy enough with their play.
  • In case you missed it, an update on the latest assistant coaching moves.