Greg Little (OT)

NFC Notes: Packers, Clark, Lynch, Giants

The Packers made the surprising decision to cut Mike Daniels earlier today, and GM Brian Gutekunst confirmed that the club did try to trade Daniels first (via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com). It sounds as if Green Bay made some headway in trade talks, but the talks broke down over the last couple of weeks. Gutekunst also mentioned Daniels’ foot injury as a factor in the decision.

Now for more from the NFC:

  • The decision to cut Daniels has opened the door for the Packers to sign NT Kenny Clark to a lucrative extension, as Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets. Silverstein suggests (via Twitter) that such a deal could happen at the end of the season.
  • Matt Barrows of The Athletic suggests that, although John Lynch is the 49ers‘ GM, he is primarily in charge of the defense, while head coach Kyle Shanahan picks the offensive talent. And Lynch has missed on a few major decisions on the defensive side of the ball, so if that unit should struggle again, not only will defensive coordinator Robert Saleh be in danger of losing his job, but Lynch could be as well.
  • The Giants worked out free agent safeties Johnathan Cyprien and Tre Boston several days ago, but Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com does not believe Big Blue is going to pay for a starting-caliber safety at this point (Twitter link). He thinks the club was simply doing its due diligence.
  • The Panthers will give Daryl Williams some reps at left tackle and left guard in training camp, per GM Marty Hurney (via Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic on Twitter). Williams signed a one-year deal in March to remain with Carolina, but Hurney is said to prefer Taylor Moton at right tackle — where Williams has spent most of his time as a pro — and the club drafted LT Greg Little in the second round this year. So if Williams is to earn the big FA contract that he missed out on this year, he may have to do so at an unfamiliar spot.
  • The Buccaneers have placed Jason Pierre-Paul on the active/non-football injury list, as James Palmer of the NFL Network tweets. Although a player on the active/NFI list can be activated from that list at any time before the start of the season, that will almost certainly not happen with JPP, who is expected to miss at least a chunk of the regular season.

Panthers Sign Second-Rounder Greg Little

The Panthers have signed second-round pick Greg Little, according to a team announcement. With that, the Panthers have just one unsigned draft pick remaining in first-round defensive end Brian Burns

The Panthers traded up in the second round of the NFL Draft to land the Ole Miss product and he may be on track for the starting left tackle job in 2019. The Panthers used Taylor Moton on the blindside last season, but GM Marty Hurney‘s preference is to have Moton play right tackle. Daryl Williams is still in the mix for a spot on the right side of the line, but the club appears prepared to pencil in Little as its starting LT.

The 6’5″, 310-pound lineman started in all 12 games last year at left tackle and was named a Second-Team All-American by multiple outlets. Thanks in large part to Little, Ole Miss had the best offense in the SEC and finished fifth in the nation in passing offense with 346.4 yards per game.

With prototypical size for the tackle position, Little could be one of the league’s most successful rookies this season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC South Notes: Little, Falcons, Grayson

The Panthers traded up in the second round of the 2019 draft to land Ole Miss offensive tackle Greg Little, and as Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk writes, Carolina’s left tackle job is seemingly Little’s to lose. The Panthers deployed Taylor Moton on the blindside last season, but GM Marty Hurney‘s preference is to have Moton play right tackle. Daryl Williams is still in the mix for a spot on the right side of the line, but the club appears prepared to pencil in Little as its starting LT, which would make the rookie a key figure in the Panthers’ 2019 fortunes.

Now for more from the NFC South:

  • The Falcons have until July 15 to work out a long-term extension with franchise-tagged defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, but GM Thomas Dimitroff recently conceded that Jarrett may play out the 2019 campaign under the tag, which suggests that the two sides still aren’t particularly close on a new contract. Dimitroff said (via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution), “I’m confident that something will get done one way or the other. If it doesn’t, we have a year to continue to talk about it.”
  • The Falcons‘ starting safety tandem of Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen, who are recovering from major injuries that ended their 2018 seasons prematurely, are both expected to be at full strength by the time training camp begins in July, as Ledbetter notes in a separate piece.
  • The Saints tried out former LSU track star Cyril Grayson yesterday, as Josh Katzenstein of the Times-Picayune tweets. Grayson has spent time with the Seahawks, Colts, and Bears, but he has yet to see regular season action.

Seahawks Send No. 37 Pick To Panthers

John Schneider gave notice he was on the lookout for additional picks, with the Seahawks entering the draft with a league-low four. He is achieving this goal.

The Seahawks again traded down, giving the Panthers the No. 37 pick. Carolina used it on tackle Greg Little. In return for moving down to No. 47, the Seahawks will add an extra third-rounder — No. 77.

Little adds to the Panthers’ key offensive line transactions this offseason. They re-signed Daryl Williams and added Matt Paradis. Little profiles as a possible left tackle starter. Former second-round pick Taylor Moton held that job down last season.

This marks the third time the Seahawks have moved down thus far in this draft, having made multiple deals on Thursday night.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Notes: Packers, Steelers, Vikings

The Packers will bring back veteran tight ends Jimmy Graham and Marcedes Lewis in 2019, but that given that both players are over the age of 30, tight end must be a priority for Green Bay in next weekend’s draft, opines Jim Owczarski of PackersNews.com. Given that they own 10 picks and possess the fourth-most draft capital, the Packers will certainly have an opportunity to find a youthful tight end. With the 12th overall selection, Green Bay could theoretically target Iowa’s T.J. Hockenson, while fellow Hawkeye Noah Fant or Alabama’s Irv Smith Jr. could be in play with pick No. 30. The 2019 draft class is exceptionally deep at tight end, so the Packers should have plenty of chances to add to the position throughout the weekend.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two North divisions:

  • Speaking of the Packers‘ draft, Green Bay recently hosted Ole Miss offensive tackle Greg Little, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link). Not to be confused with the former Browns receiver of the same name, this Little is anything but at 6’6″, 325 pounds. Viewed as a potential Day 2 selection, Little could help reinforce a Packers offensive line that took a step back in 2018. While left tackle should be manned by David Bakhtiari for the foreseeable future, right tackle Bryan Bulaga is entering the final year of his contract.
  • While other quarterbacks like Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers have recently campaign for new deals, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has not taken the same tack, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. Roethlisberger, 37, is entering the final year of his contract: he’s due a $12MM base salary and will count for $23.2MM on Pittsburgh’s salary cap. He’s still engaged in ongoing negotiations with the Steelers, and as Florio notes, Roethlisberger would be due more than $60MM over the next two years if the franchise tag was deployed, so that could be a starting point in talks.
  • Free agent defensive end Geneo Grissom worked out for the Lions today, reports Howard Balzer (Twitter link). A former third-round pick of the Patriots, Grissom should be familiar with current Detroit head coach/former New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia‘s scheme. Grissom, 26, never lived up to his draft billing and played in fewer than 200 defensive snaps for the Patriots before being cut last November.
  • New Vikings backup quarterback Sean Mannion‘s one-year deal is a minimum salary benefit pact, tweets Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune. As such, Mannion will only carry the salary cap charge of a second-year player despite having four years of NFL experience under his belt. The former Rams signal-caller received a $90K signing bonus to become Kirk Cousins‘ understudy.

Ole Miss OL Greg Little Declares For Draft

One of a few Ole Miss products who may well end up as first-round picks, offensive lineman Greg Little announced (on Twitter) he will forgo his senior season and declare for the 2019 draft.

Little is expected to go high in next year’s draft. He has started every game since the start of last season and has appeared in every Ole Miss contest since debuting for the Rebels in 2016.

The 6-foot-6, 325-pound tackle joins wide receivers A.J. Brown and D.K. Metcalf in declaring for the ’19 draft. Grading as the best offensive line prospect exiting his junior season and No. 8 overall 2019 prospect, per ESPN.com’s Todd McShay (ESPN+ link), Little is making an understandable decision to leave school early. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. called Little the best true tackle in this year’s class, noting Alabama’s Jonah Williams may well slide to guard.

Little was a five-star recruit who became a first-team All-SEC player and an All-American. With tackles increasingly difficult to develop, he will be a coveted commodity in April. Little would be the second top-15 Ole Miss-produced tackle in four years, with Laremy Tunsil going to the Dolphins at No. 13 in 2016.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Draft Rumors: QBs, Tackles, Contracts

The 2019 group of draft-eligible quarterbacks is beginning to endure some scrutiny in advance of a pivotal stretch. One view of this collection of passers makes it look rather bleak, a crew featuring no clear frontrunner and possibly no prospects worthy of a surefire first-round pick. Another, via Matt Miller of Bleacher Report, indicates there’s some potential promise here. Oregon’s Justin Herbert rates as Miller’s top quarterback, and Drew Lock of Missouri has generated Josh Allen comparisons from scouts because of his arm strength and debatable accuracy. Miller writes, however, that with 13 teams having spent first-round picks on QBs over the past four years — with Dak Prescott essentially upping that number to 14, since he’s entrenched as the Cowboys’ starter — fewer teams will need quarterbacks in 2019 than they did in 2018. At least, fewer franchises will be willing to invest in one in the first round, which could create a scenario where a better group of prospects (which is possible for the ’19 contingent, per Miller) but fewer Round 1 investments.

Here’s more from the draft world:

  • Herbert also generated praise from NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks, who referred to the Ducks’ current starter as a player with franchise QB-level talent whose mobility, accuracy and abundance of pro throws already on film make him a prototype player NFL OCs are looking to install as offensive centerpieces. Regarding Lock, Brooks writes his 54.5 percent career completion rate shouldn’t be as alarming as Allen’s accuracy issues became for teams. Brooks calls the senior-to-be a pinpoint passer who could well be the 2019 draft’s QB1.
  • In general, evaluators are excited about next year’s draft. One AFC team’s college scouting director told Miller the prospects likely to be eligible for 2019 draft picks collectively comprise a talent pool that’s “10 times better than” 2018’s. With teams less than enamored by the past two tackle classes, Miller notes the next one has scouts labeling three players as possible top-10 picks. The top player in the minds of many scouts is Alabama’s Jonah Williams, per Miller. Ole Miss’ Greg Little and Washington’s Trey Adams are the other two currently classified as possible top-10 choices next year.
  • The 2018 class has seen many of its draft choices sign, but offset language and bonus structure may well delay deals for this year’s top five, Mike Klis of 9News writes. Players’ signing bonus values are already locked in, but when the money is paid is a sticking point for some teams. Half of the rookies’ bonuses must be paid within 30 days, with Klis noting teams like to delay the rest of the cash in installments within a year of the signing date. With agents trying to accelerate the pay schedule, Klis expects some of this draft’s top players to wait until camps near to sign due to this largely minor issue.