Dwayne Joseph

AFC Notes: Raiders, Broncos, Colts, Titans

When Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen was still on the board at No. 4 in the NFL Draft, the Raiders seemed like a solid landing spot after the team finished with just 13 sacks in 2018. Oakland, however, never viewed the pass rusher in play, The Athletic’s Vic Tafur writes.

“I heard that the Raiders weren’t that impressed. I reported pretty early on he wasn’t in play for them at No. 4. I would never question a player’s toughness but there were concerns that he got pushed around a little on some plays at Kentucky and he may not have had enough dog in him for Gruden and Guenther’s liking.”

Oakland, of course, decided to go another way with the pick, surprising many when they tabbed Clemson’s defensive end Clelin Ferrell. Allen, the reigning Bednarik and Nagurski Award winner projected by many to go as high as No. 3, fell a little further and wound up with Jacksonville at No. 7.

While Allen joins a loaded defense in the Jaguars, Ferrell will be looking to fill the void left by All-Pro defensive end Khalil Mack, who recorded just a half-sack fewer than the entire Oakland squad in 2018.

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • The Broncos and Chris Harris have made progress on a potential short-term deal. Though they could give Harris another year, one possibility is to just increase his salary this season with money, not incentives, and let him leave in free agency and the end of the year, ABC 7’s Troy Renck tweets. Harris, of course, is entering the final year of his deal and, in April, requested to either get a new deal or be traded.
  • Colts wide receiver Deon Cain is expected to be a full-go for training camp, the Indianapolis Star’s Zak Keefer tweets. A sixth-round selection in 2018, Cain tore his ACL in the preseason opener and was sidelined for the entire season. Cain generated plenty of buzz before the injury and could add another weapon to an already steady Indy attack.
  • Back to the Raiders, the team has added several noted scouts to its organization, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer writes. Among those to make the trek to the Bay Area include the Patriots’ Dujuan Daniels, the Eagles’ Dwayne Joseph, and the Cowboys’ Walt Juliff and Jim Abrams.
  • The Titans also made some staff changes, Paul Kuharsky tweets. Brandon Taylor moved from national scout to pro scout, Mike Boni was elevated from college scout to national scout, and Casey Callahan moved from pro scout to college scout. He also notes that scouting coordinator Tosi Kazeem no long appears to be with the franchise.

Extra Points: Collins, Peppers, Raiders

Dealing with several young talents’ contract situations, the Cowboys certainly may have to let a couple of their contract-year starters walk. One of those the team may be ready to stomach departing: La’el Collins. Dallas’ starting right tackle is already on his second NFL contract, and it expires after the season. The Cowboys are expected to let Collins depart after 2019, Calvin Watkins of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Joining Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Jaylon Smith and Byron Jones as key Cowboys in walk years, Collins would stand to be a key presence on the 2020 free agent market. While Cowboys executive VP Stephen Jones mentioned him as a player the team would like to retain, Watkins adds the team does not want to shell out a big contract to keep him — which obviously means not going near the prices Trent Brown and Ja’Wuan James received in March. This would make sense, with the Cowboys already having three well-paid offensive linemen — Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and Travis Frederick — on their roster.

The Cowboys drafted Connor McGovern in the third round and have 2018 second-rounder Connor Williams set to compete with him and Xavier Su’a-Filo for the left guard position this season. Williams may be in the mix to take over at right tackle next season, should McGovern or Su’a-Filo win this year’s left guard job, per Watkins.

Here is the latest from around the NFL:

  • Julius Peppers wrapped up one of the most successful careers in edge rusher history but will not be leaving the Panthers. The recently retired defensive end will take a job with the Panthers, his title being “special assistant, business operations,” the team announced. It does not sound like the 39-year-old future Hall of Famer will be contributing to the front office’s efforts, but perhaps that type of role could be in his future.
  • Speaking of former players landing on staffs, former Redskins safety Kyshoen Jarrett will break into full-time coaching. Jarrett is now a Redskins defensive quality control coach, per NBC Sports Washington. Suffering a career-ending injury as a rookie, Jarrett worked as a Washington coaching intern last season.
  • In addition to hiring former Cowboys scout Jim Abrams as their new college scouting director, the Raiders added Dwayne Joseph as their pro scouting director, Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. Joseph spent the past four years in the same role with the Eagles and was a Bears staffer prior to that. With Mike Mayock retooling Oakland’s scouting department, more hires are on the way.
  • The Broncos will no longer have a Kubiak on their staff. After Gary and Klint Kubiak left for the Vikings, one of Gary’s other sons — Klein Kubiak — will not be part of the Broncos’ staff going forward. Klein Kubiak worked as the team’s southeast area scout, but his contract was not renewed, per Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic (on Twitter). Frantzy Jourdain will fill the position. Jordan spent the past three years with Houston, serving as first an area scout and then a national scout, and the previous 13 in New England. The Texans parted ways with Jourdain last month.

East Rumors: Wentz, Eagles, Giants

The Bills were the team North Dakota State quarterbacks coach Randy Hedberg recalled being the most enamored with Carson Wentz, staging several visits to the Fargo, N.D.-based Division I-FCS school to gauge the first-round prospect, Tyler Dunne of the Buffalo News reports.

Bills representatives attended several Bison practices and were a constant in North Dakota State’s football facility, Hedberg told Dunne, to look at the rare non-FBS first-round quarterback prospect. Dunne notes, however, that at this rate the fast-rising Wentz won’t be available when the Bills select at No. 19, as the 6’5″ signal-caller has impressed this week in Senior Bowl workouts.

Buffalo still has Tyrod Taylor and EJ Manuel under contract for 2016.

Here is the latest on the most unlikely top-tier quarterback prospect in a while and other news from around the Eastern divisions.

  • Even though the Jets are set to negotiate an extension with Ryan Fitzpatrick, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News notes they are pondering first-round quarterbacks, with Wentz being the most intriguing. “Every NFL team probably goes into the draft — with maybe a few exceptions of people who have really well-established quarterbacks — looking at that position as a position of interest,” Jets GM Mike Maccagnan said. “We’ll be no different than them.” The Jets pick at No. 20.
  • The Eagles will meet with Steelers executive Brandon Hunt for a second interview Friday for their director of player personnel position, Philly.com’s Jeff McLane tweets. Steelers owner Art Rooney II gave the 35-year-old Hunt permission to interview with the eastern-Pennsylvania franchise. He’s already met with Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman.
  • Although Hunt is their only confirmed candidate, McLane reports former Browns VP of player personnel Morocco Brown is on the Eagles’ radar for this job. Eagles director of pro scouting Dwayne Joseph looms as an internal candidate, per McLane.
  • The Giants are planning to add Patriots linebackers coach Patrick Graham as their defensive line coach, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). The 37-year-old Graham’s been with the Patriots since 2009 and prior to taking over the Pats’ linebackers in 2014, he supervised their defensive linemen in 2012-13.

Extra Points: Bowers, Cowboys, Eagles

A second-round pick just four years ago, Da’Quan Bowers hasn’t generated much interest on the free agent market this offseason — or at least not much that has been reported. However, with veteran free agents no longer tied to draft pick compensation after May 12, the former Buccaneers defensive end may soon find a home.

According to Jayson Braddock of ESPN 97.5 Houston (Twitter link), Bowers is paying a visit to New Orleans to meet with the Saints this week. Previously, Braddock reported (via Twitter) that the 25-year-old had narrowed his options down to the Lions and Dolphins, so it’s not clear whether those teams remain in the mix, or if they’ve moved on.

As we wait for an update on Bowers, let’s round up a few more items from around the NFL….

  • Cowboys owner Jerry Jones confirmed today that restructuring Brandon Carr‘s contract is a priority for the team this offseason, but no work has been completed yet on that front (Twitter link via David Moore of the Dallas Morning News). Meanwhile, Jerry’s son Stephen Jones said that the Cowboys’ meeting with Orlando Scandrick and agent Ron Slavin was productive, but he wouldn’t say whether the two sides will reach a new contract agreement (link via Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com).
  • The Eagles have announced in a press release that former Bears executive Dwayne Joseph has been hired as the team’s director of pro scouting, while Louis Clark has been promoted to senior director of pro personnel. Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter links), who reported Joseph’s hiring earlier today, notes that the Bears tried hard to keep their associate director of pro personnel, but he chose to seek a better opportunity in Philadelphia.
  • Offensive lineman Austin Wentworth, who joined the Vikings as an undrafted free agent in 2014 and was cut earlier this month, must end his playing career because of blood clots in his leg, as he tells Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. While the 25-year-old is currently walking with a limp, and will have to wear a brace for the rest of his life, he’s expected to walk normally eventually, according to Tomasson. Wentworth is currently on Minnesota’s reserve/non-football illness list.
  • Former Iowa State defensive end Cory Morrissey had agreed to terms on a three-year rookie contract with the Ravens as a UDFA, but ultimately decided to walk away from football instead, as Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun details.
  • Elsewhere at the Baltimore Sun, Jeff Zrebiec takes a closer look at what this week’s roster moves and decisions mean for the Ravens.

Extra Points: Bears, Saints, Titans, Lions

After firing their college scouting director and a top scout last week, the Bears have also parted ways with associate director of player personnel Dwayne Joseph, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Joseph was actually offered a promotion (to director of player personnel), per Biggs, but turned it down to explore other opportunities.

Here’s more from around the league…

  • The Saints’ selection of tackle Andrus Peat in the first round and quarterback Garrett Grayson in the third show that GM Mickey Loomis and head coach Sean Payton aren’t simply in win-now mode, writes Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. The Grayson pick, specifically, conveys that the club’s decision-makers are planning for the long haul (and the eventual exit of Drew Brees) instead of going all-in on 2015.
  • Zack Moore of Over the Cap singles out some of the biggest cap sins in the NFL in 2014, pointing to Ndamukong Suh (who took up 16.85% of the Lions’ cap) on the individual player side, and to the Falcons, Cowboys, and Saints as clubs who were unrestrained with their caps.
  • Running back Shonn Greene will head to camp with the Titans, but he probably won’t make the 53-man roster, opines Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com in his latest mailbag.
  • Lions head coach Jim Caldwell is both open-minded and excited about what undrafted free agents have to offer, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press explains.
  • Former Alabama quarterback Blake Sims attended the Packers recent minicamp on a tryout basis, but Green Bay won’t be signing him, according to Rob Demovksky of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Instead, Sims will attend Washington‘s rookie camp, albeit as a running back.