Dwayne Haskins

Raiders To Work Out Kyler Murray

Jon Gruden reiterated Monday that Derek Carr will be the Raiders’ starting quarterback this season, after saying as much at the Combine. But the Raiders will still explore this year’s top passing prospects.

Raiders representatives will conduct a workout with Kyler Murray next week, according to Albert Breer of SI.com, who adds the team’s previously reported workout with Dwayne Haskins will take place next week as well.

Gruden has praised Murray throughout the offseason, but the noise at the Combine has not cooled down. The Cardinals are heavily linked to the 5-foot-10 quarterback. This may make the Haskins meetings more important. The Ohio State-developed prospect also has a Dolphins workout scheduled, along with meetings with the Giants, Broncos and Redskins. He is expected to be a top-10 pick. The past four drafts’ second quarterback selected has been no later than No. 10 overall.

Should the Raiders select Murray or Haskins, Carr’s run as the team’s starter will likely come to an end soon. He has four years and a non-guaranteed $78MM remaining on his contract.

Yeah, he’s going to be our quarterback,” Gruden told Jim Trotter of NFL.com. “I’m not going to address all the rumors. I could care less about the rumors, you know? He threw for 4,100 yards. Threw for almost 70 percent in a very dire, tough circumstance. So I’ve got a lot of confidence in Carr, what he can do with Antonio Brown, with Tyrell Williams, with Trent Brown coming in here to help our offensive line, with a better defense. I’m excited about Carr.”

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.

Dwayne Haskins To Meet With Five Teams

Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins will work out for the Raiders and Dolphins in the coming days, and also plans to meet with the Redskins, Broncos, and Giants, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Fully expected to become a top-10 pick in next month’s draft, Haskins will likely embark on a busy schedule over the next several weeks. Haskins performed at OSU’s Pro Day earlier today, giving NFL clubs an up-close look at his abilities, and he’ll surely meet with a number of other teams — in addition to those listed above — in the weeks leading up to the draft.

New York will meet with Haskins despite conflicting reports about its potential interest in the Buckeye signal-caller. While some reports have indicated Giants general manager Dave Gettleman is “all over” Haskins, others have said Haskins isn’t likely to be a target for Big Blue.

Washington is another logical candidate to land Haskins, as the Redskins need a cheap quarterback given that Alex Smith is expensive and unlikely to play any time soon. Given that need, Washington has already begun “sniffing around” about a possible trade up from No. 15 overall, reports Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. The Jets, who are looking to recoup draft capital after moving up for Sam Darnold in 2018, might be a trade partner for Washington at No. 3.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Draft Rumors: Murray, Haskins, Giants

Although Kyler Murray threw at Oklahoma’s pro day Wednesday, and fared well during that portion of his workout, he did not go through the full process. The 2018 Heisman Trophy winner did not add any more fuel to the fire regarding his height, not taking part in another measurement. Murray only weighed in, stepping on the scale at 205 pounds, according to NFL.com’s Andrew Groover, on Twitter). This is two pounds down from Murray’s Combine weight. Murray measured at 5-foot-10 in Indianapolis. Additionally, the tantalizing prospect did not run the 40-yard dash at today’s event, per NFL.com’s James Palmer, despite the school planning on him doing so (Twitter links via James Palmer and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). So, teams will not have that figure going into the draft. Murray remains expected to be a top-10 pick, with a No. 1 overall ceiling.

  • Tyree Jackson is holding his pro day at the Bills‘ facility, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Buffalo University product is viewed as a rising prospect, with Schefter adding that many believe the 6-foot-7 passer will be a higher-than-expected draft choice.
  • The Giants now have two of the 2019 draft’s first 17 selections, which could point to them taking a quarterback with one of them. They have been most closely tied to Dwayne Haskins, but the Ohio State product may not enamor the team to the point of being worth the No. 6 overall pick, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY notes. It’s widely anticipated either Haskins or Murray will be the first quarterback selected, and both are viewed as likely top-10 picks. The Giants have been doing extensive research on Haskins, who burst onto teams’ radars with a dominant 2018.

Extra Points: Tags, Haskins, Jets, Bucs

Both the Chiefs and Texans may be in for grievances. Both teams used their franchise tags on edge defenders — Dee Ford and Jadeveon Clowney, respectively — and each team officially classified its tag recipient as a linebacker. The linebacker tag comes at a $15.443MM price. Both players have cases to be tagged as defensive ends, with Clowney frequently lining up as a lineman for Houston and Ford set to play end in Kansas City’s new 4-3 scheme. The defensive end price: $17.128MM — the second-highest tag figure. Clowney already received just more than $1MM from the Texans to resolve a dispute about what position he was categorized as in regards to his fifth-year option. That may go toward preempting a grievance here, but it’s not certain. A Ford grievance seems likely. He spends more time rushing from the defensive end position in the Chiefs’ sub-packages. Terrell Suggs filed a grievance about a linebacker tag in 2008, and an arbitrator ruled the parties to split the difference between the linebacker and end tags. But this is a case-by-case process.

Here is the latest from the pre-free agency news cycle:

  • While Janoris Jenkins is set to avoid cap-casualty status, another member of the Giants‘ 2016 free agency defender splurge may not. Whether Olivier Vernon is traded or cut, the veteran edge rusher is a near-certainty to be jettisoned from the Giants’ defense, Tom Rock of Newsday notes. As is the case with Landon Collins‘ exit, a Vernon departure would create a massive need on a New York defense that has several need areas.
  • Dwayne Haskins has been a popular mock pick for the Giants, and Ralph Vacchiano of SNY notes Big Blue indeed has been “all over” the Ohio State-developed quarterback, researching his viability as Eli Manning‘s successor. Dave Gettleman does not plan to turn the keys over to a later-round pick, with Vacchiano adding the heir apparent will be a first-round choice. So if the Giants balk at a passer with another top-10 pick, they may be willing to roll the dice one more time and wait until 2020.
  • Mike Maccagnan has said the Jets will be aggressive in free agency, which would make sense given the team’s plethora of needs and $100MM-plus in cap space. Gang Green will attempt to find a center and a guard in free agency, per Vacchiano. This comes after the Jets cut 2018 center Spencer Long. There are some interesting center options, with Matt Paradis and Mitch Morse set to hit the market. At guard, there aren’t as many younger free agents; the top options are deeper into their careers.
  • Donovan Smith‘s 2019 cap figure will still be hefty, according to Jenna Laine of ESPN.com, who notes the Buccaneers‘ left tackle will carry a $12.5MM figure next season. Although it is not the $14.1MM figure Smith was briefly attached to via the franchise tag, that is still a large number for a team that does not have much cap space. Smith’s 2020 and ’21 base salaries will be $14.5MM and $14.25MM, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets.
  • Former Bears head coach Mark Trestman will return to coach in the States. He’s been hired as HC of the XFL’s Tampa Bay team. He joins Bob Stoops, Jim Zorn and Pep Hamilton as coaches to have signed on with the rebooting league. An acclaimed CFL coach prior to his two-season Bears stay, Trestman went back to Canada and was the Toronto Argonauts’ HC for the past two seasons.

Peter King On Riley, Murray, Haskins

Towards the end of the 2018 season, there was a lot of buzz surrounding Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley and a potential jump to the pros. Ultimately, Riley opted to stay put with the Sooners.

Recently, Peter King of NBC Sports had the opportunity to catch up with Riley and ask him about the possibility of moving to the NFL at some point down the line.

I certainly wasn’t tempted at all this year. I would say right now it wouldn’t surprise me at all if I am a college lifer,” Riley said. “I think it’ll be interesting how a lot of things go on from here … if there’s a lot of changes in both games. Football is evolving; there’s a lot of changes obviously at the NFL level right now. There’s a lot of changes with all the transfers and recruiting and all the different things going on at the college level. You never know how those games are going to evolve. I might’ve been tempted honestly had I not been at a place like Oklahoma. But this is one of the best jobs there is in football. Like I’ve said before, I’ll never say never. I never want to promise things that I can’t 1,000% guarantee. It’s not something that really tempts me at all right now.”

After coaching Heisman Trophy winners in back-to-back seasons, Riley is certainly in a great position at Oklahoma. He also recently inked a lucrative extension with OU, so his comfort in Norman, Oklahoma is certainly understandable.

Here’s more from King:

  • There has been a lot of talk about Kyler Murray and his lack of bulk, but King hears the quarterback has bulked up to 206 pounds, a significant jump from his playing weight of 190 pounds at Oklahoma.His added size may give teams confidence that he’s ready to withstand bigger hits at the next level.
  • Murray and Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins are solid top 10 picks, based on what King is hearing. Meanwhile, King doesn’t put a lot of stock into the will-they-won’t-they talk about whether the QBs will throw at the combine. In King’s experience, he’s never heard post-draft chatter of a team executive having downgraded a QB because he did not throw at Indianapolis.
  • King gets the sense that the Rams are hoping that left tackle Andrew Whitworth will come back for one more season, even though he’ll earn a substantial $10.7MM in the final year of his three-year pact. Right now, the 37-year-old is wrestling with the idea of retirement, but the Rams could use his skill and experience, especially since the Rams could lose free agent left guard Rodger Saffold in March. Rising sophomore Joseph Noteboom could take over for Saffold, but the 2018 third-rounder may be forced to fill even bigger shoes at left tackle if Whitworth hangs ’em up.

NFC Notes: Manning, Taylor, Falcons

Paul Schwartz of the New York Post examines some of the difficult decisions facing the Giants as the 2019 draft approaches. The Scouting Combine gets underway this week, and when New York GM Dave Gettleman speaks on Wednesday — which will mark the first time he speaks publicly since the end of the 2018 season — Schwartz expects he will formally commit to Eli Manning as the team’s starter for 2019.

After that, though, the picture gets a little fuzzy. Gettleman would of course love to find Manning’s successor in the draft, but he eschewed high-end collegiate QB talent last year, and the quarterbacks in this year’s class are not as heralded. Gettleman has long maintained that he will not grade quarterbacks on a curve just because there is pressure on him to pick one, and the Giants have plenty of other needs to fill, so they will be one of the more interesting teams to follow in the next couple of months.

Let’s take a look at a few more NFC items:

  • In a separate piece, Schwartz looks at three players the Giants will be monitoring closely at the Combine, all of which fill one of their above-referenced needs: QB Dwayne Haskins (Ohio State), LB Devin White (LSU), and OT Jonah Williams (Alabama). Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com says the team’s top priority this offseason should be adding defensive playmakers, and he takes a deeper dive into some of the collegiate prospects that Big Blue should thoroughly examine.
  • The 49ers will certainly add a receiver or two to the top of their depth chart this offseason (like Antonio Brown, for instance), but there should still be plenty of opportunities for third-year player Trent Taylor. Taylor underwent back surgery in June, and while he ended up playing 14 games last year — compiling 26 catches for 215 yards and a touchdown — he says he never felt fully healthy. But as Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports Bay Area writes, Taylor believes he is finally back to normal, and he thinks a regular offseason of work will prime him for a breakout campaign. He is also looking forward to working with his new position coach, Wes Welker, who certainly knows a thing or two about making hay as an undersized wideout.
  • The Falcons recently re-signed linebacker Bruce Carter and defensive end Steven Means to one-year pacts, and D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution passes along the contract details. Carter will earn $930K (making his contract a veteran minimum deal), while Means will earn $895K. The minimum salary for a player with Means’ service time is $805K, but Atlanta gave him a $90K signing bonus. He will carry a $735K cap hit, while Carter’s cap number is $645K.
  • It appears that Cardinals pass rusher Markus Golden will be allowed to hit the open market next month.

Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins Declares For Draft

The 2019 draft class got a big addition today when Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins announced in a tweet he would forego his senior season and enter the draft.

We heard last month that Haskins had received a first round grade from the draft’s advisory board, and this move had been widely expected for a while now. At this point Haskins seems like a lock for the first round, and unless something goes wrong, is a heavy favorite to be the first quarterback taken this April.

Haskins went from a relative unknown to one of the biggest players in college football during his lone season as the Buckeyes’ starter. He seamlessly took over for longtime quarterback J.T. Barrett with a sensational junior season, and ended up finishing third in the Heisman voting. His path to being the top signal caller selected in the draft got a lot easier a couple of weeks ago when Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert, long thought to be the class’ top quarterback, announced he would return to school next year. 

While Haskins is “probably top-ranked QB of this year’s NFL draft class”, the “early assessment is that he’s not necessarily a plug and play”, meaning he could use some time developing on an NFL bench, according to Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com (Twitter link). For the first time in a while, not a ton of teams picking at the very top of the draft will be in the market for a quarterback, with top picking teams like the Cardinals, 49ers, Jets, and Raiders already having young quarterbacks, so a surprise team could end up trading up and taking Haskins.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Wilks, Cardinals, Goodell, Haskins, Draft

As the season has gone on, it’s become clear that Steve Wilks faces increasingly long odds of being retained by the Cardinals for a second season. Wilks drew rave reviews during his one season as Panthers defensive coordinator, but Arizona’s season has been disastrous right from the get-go, and it was reported by Adam Schefter yesterday that the team was planning to move on. Larry Fitzgerald and other players have expressed support for the embattled coach, but it doesn’t look like it’ll be enough. In an interesting piece, Josh Weinfuss of ESPN recently took a look at the arguments both for and against firing Wilks.

Weinfuss lists the concerning lack of progress from Josh Rosen as one compelling reason to make him a one and done, as it doesn’t appear Wilks and his staff have done a good job developing him or putting him in position to succeed. As far as reasons for keeping him, Weinfuss lists some injuries, bad offensive coaching from the fired Mike McCoy, and the summer suspension of GM Steve Keim that kept the two from collaborating on the roster. Mike McCarthy is reportedly interested in the job, and it will be very interesting to see how this all plays out. We should know Wilks’ fate for certain by next Monday.

Here’s more from around the league on Christmas Eve:

  • It’s been rumored that Roger Goodell’s latest contract extension, signed in December of 2017, could be his last, and now we have news of a possible successor. The league recently “created a new title for rising executive Christopher Halpin”, and he’s considered “a frontrunner to take over as commissioner” once Goodell eventually steps down by many within the league, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. Goodell faced some rare public criticism from owners in the wake of the anthem controversy and other issues, but has always managed to maintain a tight grip on the league.
  • Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins has been one of the fastest rising NFL draft prospects this season, and he recently received a first round projection from the NFL’s college personnel advisory board, league sources told Chris Mortensen of ESPN (Twitter link). Haskins finished third in the Heisman voting after a sensational first year as a starter, and has a very good chance to be the first quarterback taken this April, if not the first overall pick. He hasn’t formally announced one way or the other, but Haskins is widely expected to declare for the draft following the Buckeyes’ bowl game.
  • Speaking of the draft, Wake Forest wide receiver Greg Dortch announced he was leaving school early and declaring for the draft via Twitter. Dortch caught 89 passes for 1,078 yards and eight touchdowns this year, and was one of the best players in the ACC. In addition to being a very talented receiver, he was also a first team All-American as a punt returner. While he’s a bit undersized at only 5’9, he should have a good shot to go early in the draft if he tests well in Indianapolis.

 

 

2019 NFL Draft Notes: Haskins, Jones, Patterson, Herbert

With college football season starting to wind down, scouting and draft talk is starting to ramp up. Opinions are being formed on the top draft-eligible prospects, and many teams are beginning to shape their evaluations of players. Rumors are also starting to swirl about which players will and won’t declare for the draft. One potentially surprising name is Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who is expected to leave school early for the draft after this season, sources told Matt Miller of Bleacher Report.

According to Miller, “barring injury or a massive drop-off in play down the stretch”, Haskins plans on entering the draft. Miller writes that he had previously heard Haskins was likely to return to Ohio State, but the player appears to have had a change of heart recently. Ohio State has been having a bit of a rough season, and there’s some reported dysfunction surrounding the team, so it wouldn’t be surprising if that’s what ended up pushing Haskins towards the draft.

Here are more notes from the 2019 NFL Draft:

  • Speaking of quarterbacks, Duke signal caller Daniel Jones is also likely to declare, according to Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com. Pauline says on his podcast that sources told him the “decision has already been made and he’s gone.” Pauline supports the decision, and doesn’t think he has much more to gain with another season. Jones wasn’t known by many coming into the season, but has quickly risen as a sleeper in this class. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweeted about him last month, calling him “one of the top QBs we’ll all be talking about in April” despite him being “under-the-radar.”
  • In addition to Haskins, another Big Ten quarterback could be leaving early. Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson is also likely to leave for the draft after this season, according to Miller. Miller writes that multiple sources expect Patterson to declare, and one told him Patterson thinks he can “benefit by not competing with the 2020 group that includes Jake Fromm and Tua Tagovailoa.” It’s an interesting strategy, and one that has paid off in the past. Quarterbacks that aren’t actually elite prospects often get taken much higher in the draft than they normally would if there isn’t a very strong class available.
  • We heard last month that Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert is likely to stay in school for another year, and Miller confirms that report. Herbert is widely seen as the quarterback with the highest ceiling and most potential, but Miller writes staying in school is seen as “the best thing for Herbert, as he’s often cited as not having the mental toughness right now to handle the NFL.” Many have declared Herbert a likely top overall selection in this year’s draft, but it doesn’t sound like he’ll be available.