Deandre Baker

NFC East Notes: Williams, Cowboys, Giants

Trent Williams continues to hold out from Redskins camp, but the team is standing firm on the trade front. Despite acquiring Donald Penn, the Redskins have told teams they have no plans to trade Williams, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Teams continue to inquire about the 10th-year left tackle’s availability, but thus far, Washington has resisted. Williams, 31, is upset with the organization because of his contract and its handling of a health scare of his. Some around the league believe the Patriots will make a play for the seven-time Pro Bowler, but nothing is moving on this front yet. This may be an attempt for Washington to drive up the price, but for now, Williams remains a Redskins employee.

As for Washington’s left tackle situation, Penn and 2018 third-rounder Geron Christian are battling for the spot, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets. Ereck Flowers is back at guard but may be behind fourth-round rookie Wes Martin.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • Deandre Baker will miss time for the Giants because of a knee sprain, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com notes (video link). However, the first-round pick’s ACL did not sustain damage, and the Giants appear to expect him back soon. Baker will likely be asked to start in his first season, with Big Blue’s cornerback corps rather thin.
  • The Cowboys gave fourth-round pick Tony Pollard just four carries in their preseason opener, but Jerry Jones may be using that to send a message to holdout Ezekiel Elliott. “He looks confident out there. We know he’s inordinately understanding what it is he does and what he can do,” Jones said, via ESPN.com’s Todd Archer. “We’ve seen him do it. We know he’s capable, if he really needs to, carry the whole load.” Pollard gained 16 yards against the 49ers. While Dak Prescott‘s negotiations have been talking points in the past two days, not much has emerged on the Elliott front. Jones said (via Jon Machota of The Athletic, on Twitter) nothing has changed regarding Dallas’ extension candidates.
  • Third-year Cowboys defensive end Taco Charlton addressed his current situation, which may not involve a full-time starting role. The 2017 first-round pick has just four career sacks and said he was not asked to rush quarterbacks as much as he did as a rookie. He mentioned discussing his NFL future with his agent recently (via Machota, subscription required). “We know my value and everything like that, so everything is good,” Charlton said. “I’m here right now working hard with this team. I will show up every day to work hard, healthy, hurt, whatever may be. Shoulder hurt, I still show up every day to work hard.” The Cowboys have DeMarcus Lawrence recovering from surgery, Robert Quinn out two games with a suspension and Randy Gregory once again banned. The defending NFC East champs will need Charlton, especially early.
  • On another NFC East defensive line, the Eagles saw their 2017 first-round pick return to 11-on-11 drills. Derek Barnett participated in team work for the first time in camp, Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia notes. Barnett spent the offseason recovering from a shoulder injury that sent him to IR in October. The Eagles traded Michael Bennett and lost Chris Long to retirement, pointing to a big role for Barnett.
  • The Giants lost another wide receiver for the season. Recent addition Amba Etta-Tawo tore one of his Achilles’ tendons, per NJ.com’s Matt Lombardo. In his second camp with the Giants, the Syracuse alum has yet to play in a regular-season game. Big Blue is down Sterling Shepard and Corey Coleman and will be without Golden Tate for the season’s first four games.

NFC East Notes: Eagles, McCoy, Giants

With Brandon Brooks going down with a torn Achilles in the second round of the playoffs, the Eagles face an issue regarding how their starting offensive line will look come Week 1. But five months later, Brooks revealed a bit about where his recovery process stands. The veteran guard shared a brief workout video (Twitter link) that shows him doing agility drills again. The fourth-year Eagle will almost certainly begin training camp on the active/PUP list, and it can’t be considered a lock he will be ready for the start of the season. But this represents an encouraging sign from the mammoth offensive lineman.

In the event Brooks is not ready to go in September, a contingency plan might involve a position switch. Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who replaced Jason Peters at left tackle as a rookie in 2017, has worked at guard at times this offseason. The Eagles appear to be preparing Vaitai to be their Brooks stopgap, in the event he needs more time, Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia writes. The Eagles drafted Andre Dillard in Round 1 and have rugby convert Jordan Mailata at tackle as well, so Vaitai working at guard may be a way to stay on the roster. This is interesting given that Stefen Wisniewski (24 Eagles left guard starts from 2016-18) re-signed in May. It would stand to reason the experienced interior lineman would be the Brooks fill-in, but Doug Pederson mentioned a possible Vaitai-Lane Johnson right side recently.

Shifting to more NFC East position battles, here is the latest out of the division:

  • The Eagles’ Zach Brown addition figures to clear up uncertainty about their three-down linebacker sets, with Brown joining Nigel Bradham. And despite the return of Paul Worrilow and arrival of L.J. Fort, Zangaro notes Kamu Grugier-Hill remains the third linebacker in base sets and adds it would not be a surprise to see him gut into Brown’s work in nickel sets. Grugier-Hill played 32% of the Eagles’ 2018 defensive snaps. Brown, however, posted a top-10 Pro Football Focus coverage grade last season. Grugier-Hill did not grade nearly as well.
  • Colt McCoy‘s final surgery total from the fractured fibula he suffered late last season: three. The veteran Redskins quarterback is expected to be cleared for training camp, but J.P. Finlay of NBC Sports Washington notes McCoy indeed underwent three procedures since December — the most recent coming in April. McCoy’s knowledge of Jay Gruden‘s offense will help him in Washington’s QB battle and possibly as a mentor type once Dwayne Haskins inevitably takes over this season.
  • Once Janoris Jenkins returned to work this offseason, Deandre Baker remained a Giants first-stringer over Sam Beal this offseason. And UDFA Grant Haley resides as the favorite to replace B.W. Webb as the team’s slot corner, Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com writes. While including Beal as a possible challenger for the slot job, along with fourth-round rookie Julian Love, Dunleavy notes the 2018 supplemental draft pick does not have slot experience. This would stand to make the Western Michigan product Big Blue’s CB4 to start the season.
  • Alec Ogletree has one Giants inside linebacker job locked up, and as of now, fourth-year man B.J. Goodson is the team’s base-set starter. Tae Davis remains the nickel replacement for Goodson, per Dunleavy, but rookie fifth-round pick Ryan Connelly is in the mix for this role. The fifth-rounder out of Wisconsin was viewed as one of this draft’s top coverage linebackers.

Giants Sign Dexter Lawrence, DeAndre Baker

On Friday, the Giants signed two of their three first-round picks. Defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence and cornerback DeAndre Baker are officially members of the team, leaving first-round quarterback Daniel Jones and third-round linebacker Oshane Ximines as the last remaining stragglers. 

Lawrence, the 17th overall selection, was one of the most dominant DTs in the country over the course of his three years at Clemson. He left school with 10.5 career sacks from the interior, 43 QB pressures, and two national championships.

Baker, the No. 30 overall pick, was the first cornerback to come off the board in April and the only one to be selected in the first round. As a senior at Georgia, he won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s best defensive back. After amassing 40 tackles, two interceptions, and ten pass breakups, Baker was regarded as one of the few corners deserving of first round consideration.

Lawrence seems likely to begin the season as the team’s starting nose tackle. Baker can also crack the starting lineup if he’s able to edge out Sam Beal this summer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks Trade No. 30 To Giants

The Seahawks have made their second trade of the night. The team is sending the No. 30 pick to the Giants, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). In exchange, Seattle will receive No. 37, No. 132, and No. 142 (via ESPN’s Field Yates on Twitter).

So, if you’re counting at home, that means the Seahawks turned the 21st pick into five separate selections. Seattle previously dealt No. 21 to the Packers for No. 30, No. 114, and No. 118.

The Giants have used the pick on Georgia cornerback Deandre Baker. The 2018 Jim Thorpe Award winner was generally regarded as the top cornerback in the class. The 5-foot-11 defensive back had a standout 2018 season with the Bulldogs, compiling 40 tackles, two sacks, nine passes defended, and two picks.

The Giants have added already added a pair of defensive backs this offseason. They acquired safety Jabrill Peppers in the Odell Beckham trade, and they also signed veteran safety Antoine Bethea. Baker will likely slide into one of the starting cornerback spots across from Janoris Jenkins.

This pick marks the Giants’ third selection of the night. The team selected quarterback Daniel Jones with the sixth pick, and they later added defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence with the 17th pick.

Draft Notes: Steelers, Raiders, Eagles

The Steelers could be eyeing a cornerback with one of their top-two picks. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports (via Twitter) that the team will be hosting a pair defensive back prospects this week: Georgia’s Deandre Baker and Washington’s Byron Murphy.

Along with Temple’s Rock Ya-Sin and LSU’s Greedy Williams, both Baker and Murphy are expected to be taken at some point during the first two rounds. Baker won the Jim Thorpe Award for best collegiate cornerback in 2018 after he compiled 31 tackles, two sacks, nine passes defended, and a pair of interceptions in 12 games. Murphy earned a spot on the first-team All-Pac-12 list after putting up 37 tackles, four picks, and 13 interceptions.

As Fowler points out, this isn’t necessarily an ideal scenario for the Steelers. After all, the organization selected five cornerbacks between the 2015 and 2017 draft. Furthermore, their projected starters (Joe Haden and Steven Nelson) were both acquired via free agency.

Let’s check out some more draft notes from around the NFL…

  • Michigan linebacker Devin Bush is set to visit with the Raiders, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com (via Twitter). 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. It’s unlikely Bush will be selected with the Raiders’ fourth-overall selection, but they could target him with either the 24th or 27th pick.
  • Michigan defensive lineman Rashan Gary visited with the Bengals today and will visit the Giants later this week, reports NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter). Gary is a consensus top-10 pick, and he could fall right into the Giants lap at No. 6. The Bengals currently have the 11th-overall pick, although we heard that the team could be interested in moving up. The lineman earned first-team All-Big 10 honors the past two seasons, and he finished his junior campaign with 3.5 sacks.
  • The Eagles hosted a pair of prospects today, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo (on Twitter). Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver and Ohio State wideout Parris Campbell both visited Denver. Oliver is generally expected to be selected in the first half of the first round, so it’s unlikely he’ll be around for the Eagles’ 25th-overall pick. On the flip side, Campbell should be readily available, although Philly should also have a chance on him with either of their second-rounders.

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.