D’Onta Foreman

AFC Notes: Texans, Patriots, Jets

After Texans running back D’Onta Foreman‘s arrest on charges of marijuana and unlawful gun possession last Sunday, his attorney, Chip Lewis, claimed that the rookie didn’t “use or possess” the drug. To help clear himself of wrongdoing, Foreman was voluntarily tested for marijuana, and the results came back negative, according to Lewis (via Mark Berman of FOX 26). “It makes it clear that he was telling the truth,” Lewis said of the outcome. “He was not using marijuana.” Foreman has a July 31 court date, though there’s reportedly a strong likelihood of a postponement because the Texans will be at training camp in West Virginia then.

  • Patriots running back Dion Lewis may have to fight for a roster spot this summer, Mike Giardi of CSNNE.com points out, but colleague Tom Curran says it would be a mistake for the team to cut him if he’s healthy (video link). Fellow back Brandon Bolden should be in greater jeopardy, as he offers little offensively, opines Curran. Lewis has provided solid production as both a runner and pass catcher when on the field during his two-year New England stint, having averaged 4.6 yards per carry on 113 attempts and totaled 53 receptions, but he hasn’t appeared much. A torn ACL in 2015 and the subsequent recovery process kept Lewis out of action for nine games in each of the previous two regular seasons. Releasing Lewis would save the Pats all but $200K of his $1.49MM cap hit, and they’d still have a capable group of backs with Mike Gillislee, James White and Rex Burkhead leading the way.
  • Having moved on from a cavalcade of veterans in recent months, it may look as though the Jets are tanking, but it’s just a full-scale rebuild, contends Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. Tanking is “almost impossible” to pull off in the NFL, argues Vacchiano, who writes that a top 10 to 15 selection in next year’s draft may be the best-case scenario for the club. Picking that late could mean the Jets found an answer at quarterback in Christian Hackenberg, a second-rounder in 2016 who didn’t take the field as a rookie, and saw a slew of other young players emerge as legitimate building blocks. It’s more likely, though, that they’ll end up with a top five pick, potentially putting them in position to find a franchise QB, observes Vacchiano.
  • More on the Jets, whose deal with first-round pick Jamal Adams contains offsets, according to Albert Breer of The MMQB (on Twitter).

Zach Links contributed to this post.

AFC Notes: Steelers, Jets, Cousins, Texans

Having not yet signed his exclusive rights free agent tender, Steelers left tackle Alejandro Villanueva training camp status is in question, writes Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Villanueva signed a waiver that enabled him to participate in voluntary practices during the spring, but he indicated at the time that he’ll follow his agent’s advice regarding camp. With that in mind, the former Army Ranger captain could sit out if his representative, Jason Bernstein, suggests it. As Fittipaldo points out, though, Villanueva doesn’t have much leverage and will have no recourse but to play for the ERFA tender amount ($615K) if the Steelers don’t take it upon themselves to award him a raise. Unfortunately for the O-line stalwart, he won’t be eligible to cash in as an unrestricted free agent until after the 2018 season, when he’ll already be 30 years old.

More from the AFC:

  • “It’s hard to argue with” the idea that the Jets are tanking “when everybody else sees all the stuff that’s going on,” wide receiver Quincy Enunwa admitted on Sunday (via Zach Braziller of the New York Post). Whether the Jets actually are tanking is debatable, but it’s clear they’re rebuilding. The team has released a slew of veterans, including receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, since last season. When healthy, those two were above Enunwa on the team’s depth chart. Enunwa is now the Jets’ clear-cut No. 1 option, having broken out as a third-year man in 2016 with 58 receptions, 814 yards and four touchdowns.
  • With Josh McCown, Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty as the Jets’ choices under center, Enunwa seems unlikely to benefit from high-end quarterback play this year. But with the Redskins unable to lock up Kirk Cousins beyond the upcoming season, that could change in 2018. The Jets will have upward of $80MM in cap space next offseason, which could make them a suitor for Cousins if he becomes a free agent, notes Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. However, considering Cousins will be entering his age-30 season in 2018, Cimini doesn’t see him as a fit for the young Jets.
  • Texans running back D’Onta Foreman has a July 31 court date in Texas stemming from his arrest this past weekend on misdemeanor drug and gun charges, but a postponement is likely, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Foreman will be out of state then with the Texans, who begin training camp in West Virginia on July 25.

Texans RB D’Onta Foreman Arrested

Texans rookie running back D’Onta Foreman was arrested early this morning and charged with marijuana possession of two ounces or less and unlawful carrying of a weapon, per Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman. The weapon in question was a firearm.

Foreman’s lawyer, Chip Lewis, released a statement (Twitter link, via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com) that indicates the handgun was purchased legally and registered in Foreman’s name, and Lewis notes the running back alerted police he had a gun in his vehicle before police searched it. The statement also says Foreman did not “use or possess” the marijuana found.

D'Onta Foreman (vertical)

Needless to say, this is a disappointing start to Foreman’s career. Houston selected Foreman, a Texas product, in the third round (No. 89 overall) of this year’s draft, and they signed him to his rookie contract just two days after minicamp ended last month. During his final season with the Longhorns (his only season as a starter), Foreman put on a show, rushing for 2,028 yards and 15 touchdowns. He was the eighth running back selected in the draft.

Foreman is expected to compete with Alfred Blue and 2016 fourth-round pick Tyler Ervin for carries behind starter Lamar Miller. Foreman’s upside and draft status, though, suggest that he could carve out a significant role sooner rather than later.

But his arrest could delay the start of his professional career, as the league could suspend Foreman even if the criminal charges are favorably resolved. As Davis writes, the arresting agency was the University of Texas police department, which released the following statement:

“[Officers] responded to a report of the smell of marijuana coming from three occupied vehicles near the southwest side of San Jacinto residence hall on campus. Officers arrived on the scene discovered marijuana in each vehicle and also discovered a firearm in one of them. The owner of the firearm, D’Onta Foreman, was arrested for Unlawful Carrying of Weapons and Possession of Marijuana and booked into Travis County Jail. Six other male suspects were cited and released for Possession of Marijuana.”

Foreman was released on bond around noon today. The Texans, meanwhile, issued a statement of their own indicating that they are aware of the situation, are gathering information, and will have no further comment at this time (Twitter link via Mark Berman of Fox 26).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans Sign D’Onta Foreman

Two days after their minicamp wrapped up, the Texans signed D’Onta Foreman, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports. The team and the third-round running back agreeing to terms completes the negotiating process with the 2017 draft class.

The Texans drafted seven players, and all are under contract. Foreman arrived via pick No. 89 and signed for the customary four years. The deal is worth $3.259MM and comes with a $759K signing bonus, McClain reports.

Foreman participated in Houston’s minicamp this week and will vie for time behind Lamar Miller come training camp. During his only season as a college starter, the Texas product rushed for 2,028 yards and 15 touchdowns. He was the eighth running back selected, following third-rounders Alvin Kamara (Saints) and Kareem Hunt (Chiefs).

The Texans also have Alfred Blue and 2016 fourth-round pick Tyler Ervin as candidates to fill the backup job behind Miller.

The third round having the murkiest language regarding rookie contracts, there are still four unsigned players chosen in that round. Cowboys cornerback Jourdan Lewis, Lions wideout Kenny Golladay, Packers defensive tackle Montravius Adams and Raiders defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes remain unsigned.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Draft Notes: Mixon, Raiders, Dolphins

Some assorted draft notes from around the AFC…

  • Half the league didn’t have embattled running back Joe Mixon on their draft board, tweets NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport. Meanwhile, other evaluators believe he was the best overall running back if they were only evaluating on-field skills. ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter adds that only four teams said they would consider drafting Mixon. We can assume that one of those four organizations was the Bengals, who selected the running back in the second round.
  • The Raiders selected UConn safety Obi Melifonwu in the second round, although Rapoport tweets that the organization was close to selecting the defensive back in the first.
  • The Dolphins ultimately selected defensive end Charles Harris with the 22nd pick on Thursday night. However, if the Missouri product hadn’t been available, the Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero says (via Twitter) that the team would have selected Michigan defensive end Taco Charlton.
  • The Broncos were rather committed to selecting Florida State defensive end DeMarcus Walker. In fact, general manager John Elway revealed that he was willing to trade up if he needed to. “We made a lot of attempts to get up in (second round) to trade for Walker,” Elway told Troy Renck of Denver7 (Twitter link). “Things worked out.” Walker was selected by the Broncos with the 51st overall pick.
  • Good news out of Houston: Rapoport tweets that the Texans don’t believe running back D’Onta Foreman needs surgery on the stress fracture in his foot. The team found “no progressions in the injury at rechecks,” which apparently made them comfortable enough to select him in the third round.

Draft Notes: Fournette, Cook, Peppers

Here’s the latest from the NFL combine:

  • LSU running back Leonard Fournette had a lackluster 28 1/2″ vertical leap today the fifth-worst vertical for a running back since 1999. However, moments later, he wowed scouts with a 4.5 second 40-yard-dash time. The posting was roughly the same as Florida State’s Dalvin Cook, but Fournette is 30 pounds heavier than him at 240 lbs. Speaking of Cook, his 30 1/2″ inch vertical wasn’t much better than Fournette’s.
  • Fournette had the fastest 40-time at the combine among all running backs weighing 240 lbs or more, dating back to 2003 (Twitter link via NFL Media).
  • Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers will working out with linebackers on Sunday and defensive backs on Monday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. As Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (on Twitter) notes, it’s an uncommon move. Some guys have worked out with both defensive linemen and linebackers, but not linebackers and defensive backs.
  • Former Texas running back D’Onta Foreman was held out of today’s Combine workout due to a small stress fracture in his foot, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets. He’ll wait until UT’s Pro Day to audition for clubs. Foreman is considered to be one of the best RBs in this year’s class.

NFL Draft Rumors: Guards, Foreman, Griffin

Here’s a look at some interesting NFL Draft buzz, via DraftAnalyst.com’s Tony Pauline:

  • The general belief is that this year’s offensive line crop is weak, and that will lead to some of the better prospects in this year’s class to be overdrafted. Right now, it seems like as many as three guards could be taken in the first round. Dorian Johnson of Pittsburgh is generally regarded as this year’s best guard with Indiana’s Dan Feeney behind him. If a third guard sneaks into the first round, it’ll be Forrest Lamp of Western Kentucky, multiple insiders tell Pauline. Lamp played left tackle for the Hilltoppers but he is commonly projected to guard or possibly center.
  • Texas running back D’Onta Foreman of Texas has been running in the low-to-mid 4.5s in the 40-yard-dash, a solid time for a 235-pound RB. Pauline believes that he is an underrated pass-catcher and can offer more than just his powerful downhill running skills.
  • Central Florida cornerback Shaquill Griffin is ready to run “an elite time,” trainers tell Pauline, which means clocking in under 4.35 seconds in the 40-yard-dash. At 6’1″, Griffin also has the height to succeed as an NFL cornerback.
  • In other draft news, Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes II has received a second-round grade from the league’s advisory committee. This comes on the heels of talk that he could be in the mix as a top three overall pick.
  • Last week, we learned that Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly will not be among the players invited to the combine.

Texas RB D’Onta Foreman To Enter NFL Draft

D’Onta Foreman is going pro. The University of Texas running back announced today that he’s declaring for the NFL draft. D'Onta Foreman (vertical)

The addition of Foreman makes this year’s crop of running backs even stronger. Tailbacks like Foreman, Leonard Fournette of LSU, Dalvin Cook of Florida State, and Christian McCaffrey of Stanford are all projected to go in the early rounds. As of this writing, many projections have Foreman pegged as a Day 2 prospect, but he could find his way into the first round.

Foreman stands as the nation’s leading rusher with 2,028 yards and he also has 15 touchdowns on the year. He carried the ball 323 times, making him just one of three tailbacks in the country to crack 300 attempts. Foreman averaged an eye-popping 29.36 carries per contest in the team’s eleven-game season. For reference, DeMarco Murray averaged 24.5 carries per game in 2014 for the Cowboys. Foreman’s per game average of carries even eclipses Larry Johnson in 2006 (416 carries, 26 attempts per game), which stands as the NFL’s all-time single-season rushing attempt record.

With size and a workhorse reputation, Foreman is a prospect to watch this spring.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Running Back Notes: Martin, Elliott, Lacy, Bell

Buccaneers running back Doug Martin hasn’t seen the field since the second week of the season, but the 27-year-old may finally have a definitive return date. Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter told SiriusXM NFL Radio that the team is optimistic that Martin will return for next week’s contest against the Bears.

“We’re hopeful that after these three days off that maybe he has a shot at Chicago,” Koetter said (via Alex Marvez of Sporting News). “But hamstrings seem to linger a little bit. We’ll have to wait and see.

“These hamstrings are just delicate. He was 90-plus percent back and doing his rehab run one day and he tweaked it again. (Bucs trainers) kind of had to go back and start over.”

Martin rushed for 1,402 yards and six touchdowns last season, and the organization rewarded him with a five-year, $36MM extension. The former first-round pick collected 85 yards on 25 carries in 2016 before being sidelined with the hamstring injury.

Let’s take a look at some other notes pertaining to the NFL’s running backs…

  • Domestic violence accusations have surrounded Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott this season, and an incident report from the Aventura (Fla.) Police Department (obtained by USA Today’s Tom Pelissero and A.J. Perez) said the player’s ex-girlfriend/accuser also accused the athlete of abusing her back in February. The police said there were no visible signs of injury, and Elliott was not arrested. The writers say it’s unclear whether the NFL knew about these previous allegations.
  • There are several big-name running back prospects in this year’s NFL draft, but one scout believes the depth is overrated. “This was billed as some elite running back class—it’s not,” the scout told Matt Miller of Bleacher Report. [Leonard] Fournette is a freak, but everyone knows that. Dalvin Cook is exciting, but he’s not close to last year’s first-rounder [Ezekiel Elliott]. [Nick] Chubb is a third[-rounder] from what I’ve heard in our group. The big kid at Texas [D’Onta Foreman] is the one to watch if he comes out. I like him better than Derrick Henry.”
  • ESPN.com’s Field Yates previews the “biggest upcoming roster decisions” for each NFL team, and the writer points to two team’s running situations. With Eddie Lacy set to become a free agent, the Packers will have to decided whether they want to invest in the veteran or go a different route. If the team does look to replace the 26-year-old, Yates believes they’ll do so via the draft.
  • Meanwhile, Yates also looks at the situation in Pittsburgh between the Steelers and Le’Veon Bell. As the 24-year-old slowly creeps towards unrestricted free agency, the writer wonders whether the team will spend to keep one of their homegrown talents.