Dion Dawkins

AFC Rumors: Osweiler, Flacco, Bills, Jaguars

Earlier this week, Joe Thomas was asked if he could name all 18 quarterbacks the Browns have started during his tenure. The perennial All-Pro left tackle passed the test, and with Cody Kessler having been demoted to third string for now, that number figures to expand to at least 19 this season. Thomas believes the other veteran in the clubhouse will be the Week 1 starter.

I might be going out on a limb here, but I think they’re grooming Brock (Osweiler) to be the starter in Week 1 based on what I’ve seen,” Thomas said, via the Associated Press’ Tom Withers. “It is a competition, but I would expect Brock to win because of his experience.”

Osweiler’s primary competition is now DeShone Kizer, the team’s second-round pick who fared well against Saints backups in the Browns’ preseason opener. Kizer remains in the mix due to a combination of physical skills and instincts for the position, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com notes.

Here’s the latest out of the AFC:

  • John Harbaugh, per Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com, said Joe Flacco won’t practice this coming week as the Ravens starting quarterback continues to recover from a back injury. This will mean four straight weeks without practice for the 10th-year passer, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport points out (via Twitter). The plan remains for Flacco to start in Week 1 against the Bengals, but if the 32-year-old signal-caller doesn’t practice during Week 3 of the preseason, the Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zreibec notes (on Twitter) Flacco will get two weeks at most of work before the Baltimore opener. And Zreibec is skeptical he will get that much work (Twitter link).
  • Reggie Ragland has yet to assimilate well into Sean McDermott‘s scheme, and Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News expects the Bills to attempt to trade the ex-Alabama stalwart. Carucci notes a trade to a team that uses a 3-4 defense would make sense. Buffalo has shifted to a 4-3, and the 2016 second-round pick’s current status — stationed on the third team — is not exactly acceptable for such a big recent investment. PFR’s Dallas Robinson put Ragland on his list of trade candidates.
  • Should Cordy Glenn‘s foot trouble linger much longer, Carucci expects the Bills to target outside tackle help. Specifying the waiver wire as the player-procurement practice of choice to add a tackle, Carucci notes second-round rookie Dion Dawkins would be the top in-house option to start there if Glenn is unable to man his post. After Austin Pasztor‘s Falcons agreement, the tackle market looks thin. McDermott said (via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com) he’s not quite ready to relocate Dawkins from the right tackle competition, where he’s battling incumbent Jordan Mills. However, Dawkins took left-edge reps Friday in practice, while Seantrel Henderson — suspended for the season’s first five games — lined up at right tackle.
  • Tom Coughlin‘s brought some old-school training techniques to Jaguars camp. Albert Breer of SI.com observed the Jags doing up-downs following their joint practice with the Patriots, and this didn’t sit well with some Jacksonville players. One told Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio the rarely utilized conditioning method will shorten his career “by at least two years.” While that may be an extreme estimate, Florio adds other Jaguars have grumbled about the throwback conditioning style. Florio notes Coughlin is believed to have pushed for a greater conditioning emphasis.

Draft Pick Signings: 5/19/17

The latest draft picks to sign their first NFL contracts:

  • The Colts have signed third-round defensive end Tarell Basham, the 80th overall pick, meaning all eight members of their draft class are now under contract. Basham starred the previous four years at Ohio, where he amassed 38.5 tackles and 27 sacks, and could help upgrade a Colts pass rush that finished a mediocre 19th in sacks last season.
  • The Bears have locked up second-round tight end Adam Shaheen, leaving first-round quarterback Mitch Trubisky as the only member of their five-pick class who hasn’t signed yet. Shaheen – formerly with Ashland – is one of three Bears picks who attended a small school, and plucking players from relatively anonymous institutions has led to criticism of general manager Ryan Pace. But Shaheen is a “special talent,” according to Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com.
  • A day after inking their top two picks to contracts, the Bills have signed their third selection, second-round offensive lineman Dion Dawkins (No. 63 overall). The former Temple Owl should be a factor on the right side of the Bills’ offensive line in 2017, perhaps as a Day 1 starter at tackle, after the team traded up to land him. The Bills’ veteran options at right tackle, Jordan Mills, Cyrus Kouandjio and Seantrel Henderson, have failed to impress on the field. Further, both Kouandjio and Henderson have dealt with off-field issues. Henderson will miss the first five games of the year on account of a suspension.
  • Former North Carolina State safety Josh Jones has signed his deal with the Packers. Jones, the 61st pick, was one of two second-rounders for Green Bay in this year’s draft. The higher selection of the two, ex-Washington cornerback Kevin King (No. 33 overall), signed last week. Jones, who wrapped up his college career in 2016 with a 109-tackle, three-interception season, joins a safety corps that also includes Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Morgan Burnett. With Burnett scheduled to become a free agent next offseason, Jones could be the Packers’ long-term answer at strong safety.
  • Seahawks third-rounder Nazair Jones, the 102nd pick, is now under contract. The former North Carolina defensive tackle, more of a run-stopping factor than a pass rusher, produced 22 tackles for loss and five sacks in three seasons with the Tar Heels. Jones is one of two interior D-linemen the Seahawks used a high pick on, as he followed second-rounder Malik McDowell.
  • The Cardinals have signed fourth-round guard Dorian Johnson, the 115th pick. Johnson was a dominant guard at Pittsburgh, starting in 39 straight games and capping off his Panthers career in 2016 with first-team All-America honors. Arizona already has an established starter at Johnson’s college position, left guard, in Mike Iupati, but it’s not nearly as well off on the right. As of now, 2016 fifth-rounder Cole Toner is penciled in as the starter.
  • One of Johnson’s college teammates at Pitt, offensive tackle Adam Bisnowaty, officially became a member of the Giants on Friday. The 200th overall pick started at left tackle in each of his four years at Pitt, where he earned a first-team all-ACC nod last season. Bisnowaty is likely to end up on the right side in the pros, per NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein, who notes that he has the ceiling of a low-end starter.

Bills Acquire Falcons’ No. 63 Pick

The Bills have traded up for the Falcons’ No. 63 pick, tweets Joe Buscaglia of WKBW. Buffalo will select Temple offensive lineman Dion Dawkins.

In order to move, the Bills gave up pick Nos. 75, 149, and 156, the Falcons announced. Dawkins, meanwhile, figures to act as insurance all along Buffalo’s offensive line, but will likely slot in at guard for the most part. He can also play right tackle to replace Cyrus Kouandjio if need be.

Draft Rumors: Fournette, Falcons, Broncos

There’s a belief that LSU running back Leonard Fournette is “driven by stardom” and may lack a commitment to football, sources tell Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com. Of course, the quickest way to achieving fame in the NFL is by producing results on the field, so concerns about Fournette’s makeup may be overblown. Recent reports indicate Fournette is still a candidate to go No. 1 overall, but that seems incredibly unlikely, and I sent Fournette to Baltimore in PFR’s first 2017 mock draft.

Here’s more on the 2017 draft: