Hassan Ridgeway

AFC Notes: Condo, Colts, Jets, Kendricks

Long snapper Jon Condo spent 12 years with the Raiders, earning a pair of Pro Bowl nods along the way. However, the organization moved on from the 36-year-old this offseason, opting to roll with a younger alternative in Andrew DePaola.

While Condo may have 176 games under his belt, he isn’t planning on hanging up his cleats any time soon.

“I’m a free agent right now,” Condo told Mike Boytim of the Altoona Mirror“My first year was 2005, so I’ve been in the league for 13 years. I’m happy with where I’m at, but I’m also hungry to get back out on the field. If a team comes calling, I’m definitely staying available and keeping in shape. I want to make myself ready for the opportunity.”

While Condo had a visit with the Texans earlier this offseason, he understands that his opportunities have essentially dried up. However, he’s still optimistic that a job could open up during the preseason.

“There’s definitely teams interested,” Condo said. “But with me being 36 years old, they want to give the reps to the younger guys. They know what I can do. If they want to see me, they can put on 12 years of film. I’ve spoken with my agent, and he told me a lot of teams are interested in me, but right now it’s a matter of someone getting hurt or a team losing confidence in their guy.”

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the AFC…

  • While Titans undrafted rookie wideout Deontay Burnett is talented, Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com believes fellow undrafted receivers Jordan Veasy and Devin Ross were more impressive during OTAs. When asked which other undrafted rookies could crack Tennessee’s 53-man roster, Wyatt pointed to running back Akrum Wadley and linebacker Sharif Finch.
  • The Colts have a number of talented offensive and defensive linemen on their roster, and Kevin Bowen of 1070TheFan.com writes that the team will have to cut bait with some notable names. For instance, offensive lineman Le’Raven Clark and Jeremy Vujnovich could end up being on the chopping block, while defensive linemen Margus Hunt, Chris McCain, Hassan Ridgeway, and Rakeem Nunez-Roches are all fighting for limited roster spots.
  • The Jets signed linebacker Avery Williamson to a three-year, $22.5MM contract back in March, but Brian Costello of the New York Post writes that there’s no certainty he’ll be a three-down player. His former team, the Titans, would take Williamson out of the game during passing downs, but Jets head coach Todd Bowles has expressed optimism that the linebacker will remain on the field in all scenarios. While Costello doesn’t sound all too bullish on that sentiment, he does believe Williamson will end up being a primary pass rusher for his new team.
  • Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com lists Mychal Kendricks as the Browns‘ “key linebacker.” The 27-year-old sat out minicamp as he recovered from offseason ankle surgery, but it shouldn’t take long for him to fit in with his new team, as he has the versatility to play any of the linebacker spots. Cabot writes that Kendricks will initially contribute as the “Will” linebacker, although that means he’s behind Christian Kirksey on the depth chart. “Being more in the box, run front, blitzing, covering backs and tight ends from the Will is what he’s done,” said linebackers coach Blake Williams“That’s where he’ll definitely start out from the get-go to make sure that it’s as seamless a transition as possible. As he can take more, we can move him around more, but we want him to have confidence and success to start out with.”

Colts Sign Four Draft Picks

After signing first-round pick Ryan Kelly on Wednesday night, the Colts have agreed to terms with four more players from their 2016 draft class. The team has announced deals with fourth-round defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway, fifth-round offensive tackle Joe Haeg, seventh-round linebacker Trevor Bates, and seventh-round center Austin Blythe.

Ridgeway, an early-entry player from Texas, broke out in his sophomore year with 47 total tackles, 6 sacks, and 10 tackles for a loss. In his junior year, he had 45 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss, and 3.5 sacks. Those numbers weren’t quite as gaudy as 2014, but they were enough to draw the interest of the Colts around the middle of the draft.

Those rookies will join a Colts team that has now welcomed 21 undrafted free agents. To help make room for their new additions, the Colts waived offensive lineman Khaled Holmes and three other players.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Draft Notes: Broncos, Jaguars, Patriots, Jets

The Broncos have pitched a bid to host the 2019 NFL draft. Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post writes that team president and CEO Joe Ellis met with commissioner Roger Goodell and league officials to discuss the proposal.

“The NFL sent out some requests to a lot of cities and we expressed our interest. They reciprocated in saying that they, of course, like Denver as a city,” said Matthew Payne, the executive director of Denver Sports Commission. “And now it’s just really a chance for us to invite them to our city within the year to kind of do a site inspection and talk further about how we can make it work.”

The organization would be open to hosting the draft in 2017 or 2018, although Jhabvala writes that 2019 “fits better.” The draft would presumably be held at Bellco Theatre inside the Colorado Convention Center.

Let’s check out some more draft notes from around the AFC…

  • Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley traveled to Los Angeles today to meet with UCLA linebacker Myles Jack, tweets Jeff Darlington of the NFL Network. Ian Rapoport later tweeted that Jack is “under consideration” for the fifth overall pick.
  • Considering the defensive tackle depth in this year’s draft, ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss believes it’d be best if the Patriots improved their defensive line depth with rookies. After having selected Malcom Brown last year, the writer wonders if they could pursue his former teammate, Texas defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway.
  • Jets coach Todd Bowles and defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers flew to Georgia to work out Bulldogs linebackers Leonard Floyd and Jordan Jenkins, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (via Twitter).

Draft Notes: Collins, Clark, Howard

Defensive tackle Maliek Collins announced that he is entering the NFL Draft and foregoing his senior season at Nebraska, as Sam McKewon of the World-Herald writes.

It’s always been a dream of mine, and I got a good grade back (from the NFL’s draft advisory board),” Collins said when asked why he’s headed to the NFL one year early. “I talked it over with my teammates and I talked it over with Coach (Mike) Riley and it seems like the best decision for me.”

Collins, a team captain in 2015, racked up 29 total tackles with 2.5 sacks this season. Many have projected that Collins will go in the first round of the NFL Draft this season and his grade from the NFL draft advisory board likely supported that forecast.

Here’s the latest NFL Draft news:

  • UCLA Bruins junior defensive tackle Kenny Clark announced on Twitter that he will skip his senior year to declare for the draft. NFL talent evaluators are high on the 6’3″, 310-pound junior and he could wind up being a late first-round pick. Clark recorded a sack and season-high eight solo tackles in UCLA’s bowl loss to Nebraska on Dec. 26. For the season, he had 47 tackles and six sacks.
  • Indiana junior running back Jordan Howard announced that he will forego his senior season and enter the 2016 Draft. A first team All-Big Ten selection, Howard entered the bowl season second in the Big Ten with 134.8 rushing yards per game (9th nationally) and 146.6 all-purpose yards per game (15th). Injuries have been an issue for Howard in the past, but he is considered by some to be one of the five best tailbacks in this year’s class. One has to imagine that his medical exams will play a big factor in where he lands.
  • University of Miami junior cornerback Artie Burns announced that he has elected to forgo his final year of college eligibility and declare for the draft. “After considering all the options, and looking into my future, I feel it is in my best interest to forego my senior year and declare for the NFL Draft,” Burns said in a statement. “I can’t put into words what these past three years have meant to me in my development as a football player but even more importantly as a man.” Burns could wind up as a consensus top five corner in this year’s class depending on what others at his position do.
  • Arizona Wildcats wide receiver Cayleb Jones took to Twitter to announce that he is going pro. The 6’3″ athlete is rated as the No. 23 junior wide receiver prospect by NFLDraftScout.com and he appears to be taking a risk by jumping to the NFL. Jones originally committed to the Texas and played in 10 games as a frosh before transferring to Arizona and sitting out for one year. While at Texas, Jones picked up a felony assault charge that was ultimately reduced to a misdemeanor.
  • The Texas Longhorns announced that junior defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway has decided to go pro. An honorable mention All-Big 12 selection in 2015, Ridgeway played in 36 career games with 18 starts. In that time, he recorded 92 tackles with 9.5 sacks, 18.5 tackles for loss and two fumble recoveries. Ridgeway is rated as the No. 5 nose tackle by WalterFootball.com and his stock could rise if any of the three underclassmen ranked ahead of him opt to stay in school.
  • Washington junior running back Dwayne Washington will forgo his senior season and enter the NFL Draft, as Adam Jude of the Seattle Times writes. Washington did not play in UW’s final four games because of a knee injury, an issue which required minor surgery. The tailback started six games for UW this season and finished as UW’s second-leading rusher with 282 yards. His seven total touchdowns were also second-most on the team. Washington garnered attention in 2014 when he converted from wide receiver to running back, though his frame still looks like that of a receiver.