Eddie Jackson

Extra Points: Patriots, McDaniels, Bears

Predicting when the Patriots’ dynasty will end has become a seemingly annual exercise, but this year there seems to be some very real cracks in the foundation. Ben Volin of the Boston Globe has a new piece examining all the possible explanations for the Patriots’ uncharacteristic issues this year, and the whole thing is worth a read. He quotes many former coaches and adversaries like Rex Ryan, and notes that the consensus seems to be that the “Patriots may have overestimated how much” the trio of Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and Julian Edelman had left in the tank.

Gronkowski has struggled with injuries all season long and hasn’t looked like himself, and Brady’s numbers aren’t of the eye-popping variety we’ve grown accustomed to seeing. Volin notes that the Patriots’ longtime “commandment” was to trade players before they got over the hill, but that the team opted not to deal Gronkowski after reportedly dangling him in trade talks this offseason. There’s still a couple of weeks plus the playoffs left, but it will be very interesting to see what type of changes come in New England this offseason if things don’t pick up.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Speaking of the Patriots, one change they might be facing is the potential departure of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. McDaniels famously spurned the Colts at the last second this offseason, but is likely to be a hot head coaching candidate again this year. A league source told Jeff Howe of The Athletic that McDaniels will be heavily sought after on the interview circuit in part because there’s a “shortage of impressive coaching candidates.” Howe notes that the Patriots made McDaniels the league’s highest paid coordinator to help keep him, but that he “recently hired a new agent and will be interested in interview opportunities.” McDaniels has been linked heavily to the Packers’ opening in particular.
  • The Bears just wrapped up the NFC North last week, but they’ll be without a pair of key defensive players this week as they take on the 49ers while pursuing a first round bye. Safety Eddie Jackson and linebacker Aaron Lynch have been ruled out for the game, according to James Palmer of NFL Network (Twitter link). Jackson has graded out as the top safety in the league according to Pro Football Focus, and his absence will be massive for the league’s best defense.
  • In case you missed it, Pat Bowlen’s wife is now weighing in on the ongoing legal saga surrounding ownership of the Broncos.

Draft Pick Signings: 5/15/17

Here are today’s draft pick signings, with teams continuing to work on their Day 3 additions.

  • The Bengals added five draft choices on Monday — including five of their final six picks in an 11-selection draft. Cincinnati reached agreements with fourth-round defensive tackle Ryan Glasgow (Michigan), fifth-round kicker Jake Elliott (Memphis), sixth-round linebacker Jordan Evans (Oklahoma), sixth-round safety Brandon Wilson (Houston) and seventh-round tight end Mason Schreck (Buffalo). This large draft contingent will bring about heavy roster competition, with 11 roster spots likely unavailable. Elliott was one of three kickers taken in the draft, but the other two came off the board in the seventh round. He and Randy Bullock figure to battle for a job.
  • Fourth-round safety Eddie Jackson signed his Bears deal. The Alabama product will step into a safety corps that includes recently signed Quintin Demps and two-year starter Adrian Amos.
  • Continuing the string of fourth-round signings, the Colts and tackle Zach Banner (USC) agreed to terms. Banner could provide depth or possibly compete for a starting spot on the right side of Indianapolis’ offensive line, which is less settled than the left side. The Colts did not use another pick on a blocker after having four offensive linemen from their 2016 draft class on the roster.

Bears Acquire No. 112 From Rams

The Bears have acquired pick No. 112 from the Rams, tweets Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune. Chicago will select Alabama safety Eddie Jackson.

Chicago sent pick Nos. 117 and 197 (sixth round) in order to move up. Jackson will add another presence in a rebuilt Bears secondary.

Draft Updates: Ramsey, Goff, Underclassmen

With five weeks remaining in the NFL regular season, not many teams are looking ahead to the draft yet, but the NCAA year is winding down and many underclassmen are determining whether or not to declare their intent to enter this year’s draft class. Here’s the latest on a few prospects:

  • Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey and his family have spent “meaningful time” vetting potential agents as he considers entering the draft, tweets Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports. That’s no surprise, considering Ramsey is a potential top-10 pick.
  • A pair of receivers, Florida’s Demarcus Robinson and Pitt’s Tyler Boyd, are strongly considering entering the draft, according to Getlin (Twitter links). Getlin adds that one of Boyd’s family members has been looking into possible representation.
  • Sources close to Cal quarterback Jared Goff indicate that there’s a 99% chance he’ll enter the draft, and wide receiver Kenny Lawler is expected to declare as well, writes Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net. Bengals receiver Marvin Jones has been a common point of comparison for Lawler, per Pauline.
  • Boise State edge defender Kamalei Correa, who has received second-day grades, has been interviewing agents and is very likely to enter the draft, says Pauline. Maryland defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson and San Diego State cornerback Damontae Kazee are also likely to enter the draft, according to Pauline.
  • Indiana guard Dan Feeney, Mississippi State defensive tackle Chris Jones, and Mississippi defensive back Tony Conner are waiting to hear back from the advisory committee before making a decision on the draft, per Pauline.
  • Ole Miss tackle Laremy Tunsil, defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche, and receiver Laquon Treadwell are all expected to enter the draft, says Pauline.
  • Other underclassmen considering making the jump to the NFL, according to Pauline:
    • Texas A&M defensive end Daeshon Hall
    • Alabama cornerback Eddie Jackson
    • Louisville safety Josh Harvey-Clemons
    • Mississippi tight end Evan Engram