Gerald Everett

Rams Sign Top Three Picks

The Rams have finally begun to lock up their draft class. The club signed its top three picks – tight end Gerald Everett, wide receiver Cooper Kupp and defensive back Josh Johnson – on Friday, tweets Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com.

Gerald Everett

Trading up to No. 1 overall in 2016 for quarterback Jared Goff left the Rams without a first-rounder this year, meaning they didn’t pick until No. 44. That’s where they landed Everett, who transferred from UAB to South Alabama after the 2014 season and ended his college career with back-to-back 40-catch seasons. With the Rams having released their previous No. 1 tight end, Lance Kendricks, earlier this offseason, the 6-foot-3, 239-pound Everett is in line to open his NFL career as a starter. Lance Zierlein of NFL.com likens Everett to the Titans’ Delanie Walker, a pass-catching machine who has racked up 282 receptions and 23 touchdowns since 2013.

Kupp, the 69th pick and the first of two third-rounders for the Rams, thrived at Eastern Washington, where he combined for FCS-record-setting numbers (428 catches, 6,464 yards and 73 TDs) over four seasons. Along with free agent pickup Robert Woods, the 6-2, 204-pound Kupp is one of two prominent newcomers in LA’s receiving corps, which was among the league’s worst last year.

Johnson was the Rams’ second choice in Round 3 (No. 91), and is coming off back-to-back three-interception seasons at Boston College. The 6-0, 208-pounder has the coverage skills necessary to start right away, per Zierlein, and is capable of playing both safety and cornerback.

“I think I fit best as a safety, although I think I have a corner body type,” Johnson said in April (via Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times). “I came into Boston College as a corner, and I like covering man to man. I like covering the intermediate zone … but I think I would fit best as a safety.”

The Rams still have five more picks to sign, including two fourth-rounders.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Draft Notes: Mixon, Tight Ends, Giants

A pair of notable college players will not be showcasing their talents at the NFL scouting combine. ESPN.com’s Adam Caplan reports that Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon and Baylor wide receiver Ishmael Zamora were not invited to the event.

Both players have had their share of issues. Mixon was suspended for the entire 2014 season after having punched a woman, while Zamora was suspended three games this past season after videos emerged of him beating his dog. The ESPN report indicates that it’s uncertain whether these “off-the-field troubles were factors in their omission” from the combine.

The Sooners running back finished the 2016 campaign with 1,274 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns on only 187 carries. ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. believes Mixon is among the top-five most-talented running backs in this year’s class (behind Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook, D’Onta Foreman and Christian McCaffrey). Meanwhile, Zamora appeared in 10 games this past season, compiling 63 catches for 809 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Let’s take a look at some more draft notes…

  • A trio of University of Washington defensive backs are garnering plenty of interest from NFL teams. Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com writes that Budda Baker, Sidney Jones and Kevin King have been intriguing front offices. Jones is generally regarded to be one of the top cornerbacks in the draft, while Baker is projected to be taken outside of the first round.
  • USC wideout Adoree Jackson is a “lock” to be a first-round pick, writes Pauline. His teammate, offensive tackle Zach Banner, is projected to be drafted in the fourth round.
  • While many scouts believe Alabama’s O.J. Howard is the best tight end in the class, Pauline writes that South Alabama’s Gerald Everett isn’t far behind. The talented playmaker impressed coaches at the Senior Bowl, and Pauline notes that he’s currently the top tight end on the Giants‘ draft board.
  • One prospect who didn’t look good during the Senior Bowl was Troy offensive tackle Antonio Garcia, with one scout comparing him to “a deer in headlights.” Pauline notes that the lineman looked unsure of himself during team practices.

Extra Points: Romo, Gase, House

Let’s round up a few notes from around the league as the early Week 11 rage on:

  • We heard earlier today that retirement was a real possibility for Tony Romo at the end of the season, but Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News reports that the Cowboys‘ newest backup quarterback fully plans to play in 2017 (Twitter link). If Romo did retire, Dallas could recoup $19.6MM from him, according to former NFL agent Joel Corry (via Twitter), which further supports the belief that Romo will not hang it up just yet.
  • The Dolphins have turned their season around in a big way, and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports observes that first-year head coach Adam Gase is getting a great deal of credit both inside and outside the locker room. The players have responded to Gase’s no-nonsense, meritocratic approach, highlighted by his decision to release starting offensive linemen Billy Turner and Dallas Thomas, and his decision to leave Jay Ajayi home during the team’s Week 1 trip to Seattle (Ajayi’s subsequent breakout performance, of course, has been a big reason for Miami’s success). Gase has also stood steadfastly by quarterback Ryan Tannehill, which has done wonders for Tannehill’s confidence.
  • The Jaguars‘ signing of Davon House in 2015 was widely regarded as a shrewd move that added a young and ascending player to Jacksonville’s secondary. During the first half of this season, though, opponents were 16-of-19 passing for 204 yards and three touchdowns against House in man coverage, and as Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union observes, House has been fully phased out of the team’s game plan. It seems likely that the Jags will part ways with House in the offseason, as they could save $6MM against the cap without absorbing any dead money.
  • 49ers wideout Torrey Smith is unlikely to play today, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). If Smith does not suit up, his streak of 89 consecutive regular season games played, which dates back to the first game of his rookie year in Baltimore, would come to an end.
  • Bucky Brooks of NFL.com takes a look at two collegiate prospects who are generating a great deal of buzz: USC’s Adoree’ Jackson and South Alabama’s Gerald Everett. Brooks writes that Jackson could be one of the top prospects in the 2017 or 2018 class, and Everett could become the best tight end in the 2017 class, which is especially impressive considering that this year’s crop of tight ends is quite strong.