Jeremy Hill

Injury Notes: Winston, Freeman, Fuller, Hurns

We heard yesterday that Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston could miss “an extended period” of time as he recovered from a shoulder injury. However, head coach Dirk Koetter was still adamant that the franchise signal-caller would take the field again this season.

“Again, (the plan we adopted) was for Jameis to rest for two weeks and then we’re going to see where he’s at,” Koetter said (via Roy Cummings of Florida Football Insiders). “We’ve talked to multiple doctors (about it) and that’s what the plan is.

 “And I know that Jameis plans on playing again (this year). And there’s been no discussion between Jason and myself of him not playing again so that would all be something that would have to come up in the future.’’

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

  • Falcons running back Devonta Freeman is unlikely to suit up for next Monday’s game against the Seahawks, reports ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). Freeman suffered his second concussion of the season this past weekend, although Schefter notes that the player isn’t expected to miss multiple games. The 25-year-old has compiled 515 rushing yards and five touchdowns this season.
  • Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee may be forced to shut it down for several weeks. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the defender is unlikely to play this week or during the team’s Thanksgiving contest against the Chargers. Head coach Jason Garrett confirmed that Lee may miss several games, noting that “it might be some time” before he returns (via Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com).
  • Texans wideout Will Fuller suffered a cracked rib during his team’s loss to the Rams this weekend, according to Rapoport (via Twitter). Fortunately, the second-year player didn’t experience extensive damage and may only miss a single game. The 23-year-old has been a touchdown machine this season, hauling in seven scores.
  • We learned last week that Bengals running back Jeremy Hill‘s season was over, and it sounds like it was the player’s decision to be placed on the injured reserve. Head coach Marvin Lewis said it was Hill who ultimately opted for the ankle surgery, which resulted in him landing on the injured reserve (via Rapoport on Twitter). The former second-rounder has compiled only 116 rushing yards on 37 carries this season, a far cry from his 1,124-yard performance in 2014.
  • Jaguars wideout Allen Hurns suffered a right ankle injury against the Chargers on Sunday, and coach Doug Marrone doesn’t see him taking the field this weekend. “Yeah, I don’t anticipate him playing this week,’’ Marrone said (via Cummings). “I would say yes (in terms of him missing this week), but I wouldn’t know (about his availability) after that.’’ As Cummings points out, Hurns absence could force the team to finally play wideout Dede Westbrook, who is eligible to be activated off of the injured reserve.

Bengals Place RB Jeremy Hill On IR

The Bengals have been busy this morning, making a series of roster moves. The team announced on Twitter that they’ve placed running back Jeremy Hill on the injured reserve and waived kicker Marshall Koehn. To take their place on the roster, the team has promoted safety Brandon Wilson and defensive tackle Josh Tupou.

Jeremy HillHill has been battling an ankle injury recently, forcing him to miss last weekend’s game against the Jaguars. Despite starting all seven games this season, the 25-year-old was on pace to set career-lows in several statistic categories. The former second-rounder has compiled only 116 rushing yards on 37 carries, a far cry from his 1,124-yard performance in 2014. The impending free agent running back had also hauled in only four receptions for 16 yards. With Hill done for the season, the team will presumably turn to Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard to handle the majority of the carries.

Marshall Koehn filled in for Randy Bullock during last weekend’s game, converting his lone extra point attempt. With the team waiving the rookie out of Iowa, it’s a clear indication that Bullock should be ready to go this weekend against the Titans.

Wilson, a sixth-round pick in this past year’s draft, had spent the entire season on the Bengals’ practice squad. The Houston product will presumably slide in behind Shawn Williams, George Iloka, and Clayton Fejedelem on the Bengals’ depth chart. Meanwhile, Tupou is expected to fill in for defensive lineman Pat Sims, who is dealing with a calf injury.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Broncos, Murray, Steelers, Hill

The Broncos are under .500 for the first time since October 2012 and have seen their aerial attack sputter this month. They are considering benching Trevor Siemian for Brock Osweiler, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). Osweiler was once ahead of Siemian in Denver’s pecking order prior to departing as a free agent, starting seven games in relief of Peyton Manning in 2015, but has seen his stock plummet considerably in between Broncos stays. Siemian, though, threw three interceptions against the Chiefs and has now thrown 10 this season — as many as he did in 14 games in 2016. Paxton Lynch would be the more logical choice for a longer-term change but has only practiced three times thus far. Still, if the Broncos’ losing streak continues — and games against the Eagles and Patriots loom the next two weeks — it would stand to reason Lynch could see the field soon for the lengthy audition he’s yet to receive.

Here’s the latest from the AFC on trade deadline day.

  • DeMarco Murray has heard “rumblings” he could be traded, Ed Werder tweets. This would be an obviously interesting move given the Titans‘ placement in the AFC South and wild-card races and their affinity for ground success under Mike Mularkey. Murray has no guaranteed money left on his through-2019 deal. The Cowboys are reportedly calling about running backs after Ezekiel Elliott‘s suspension was restored, and Werder notes Murray makes sense due to his All-Pro season for Dallas in 2014.
  • Martavis Bryant has been informed he’s going to be part of the Steelers‘ Week 10 game plan, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reports, continuing to squelch the notion the mercurial pass-catcher could be traded today. The Steelers have said they are not trading the fourth-year wide receiver, one who has another season remaining on his rookie contract since it tolled while he was suspended. Fowler notes Pittsburgh could get blown away by an offer but doesn’t see a trade coming.
  • Steelers rookie cornerback Cameron Sutton returned to practice on Tuesday, the team announced. He remains on IR, and the Steelers have 21 days to activate the third-round pick. Pittsburgh has six cornerbacks on its active roster presently.
  • Jeremy Hill‘s contract year is not going especially well, and the Bengals running back made an agency switch, Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports (on Twitter). Hill will now be represented by Joel Segal and Greg Barnett, per Owczarski. The fourth-year ball-carrier has just 113 rushing yards on 37 carries. He profiles as a possible trade candidate due to Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard being signed long-term. Hill rushed for at least 790 yards in each of his first three NFL seasons, which would seemingly make him an intriguing free agent despite the role reduction this season.

Extra Points: Bills, Redskins, Bengals, 49ers

Bills general manager Doug Whaley might be content to go into 2017 with Cardale Jones at quarterback, but the team is only going to release Tyrod Taylor if rookie head coach Sean McDermott signs off on it, according to Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News. Whaley and McDermott have equal say in how the Bills assemble their roster, per Carucci, who notes the coach hired an offensive coordinator, Rick Dennison, who might be able to get more out of Taylor. Dennison is a Taylor fan, having previously coached him in Baltimore, and Albert Breer of The MMQB senses that the coordinator would like for Buffalo to continue with Taylor under center.

More from around the NFL:

  • The Redskins haven’t engaged in negotiations with any of their impending free agents yet, but talks will take place at next week’s combine, reports Mike Jones of Washington Post. John Keim of ESPN.com passed along slightly different information earlier this month, writing that the Redskins had held discussions with unsigned tight end Vernon Davis. Regardless, no deal has materialized for Davis, who’s on a list of UFAs that also includes quarterback Kirk Cousins, wide receivers Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson, and defensive lineman Chris Baker.
  • The torn ACL Giovani Bernard suffered in November could help spur the Bengals to select a running back as early as Round 1 of the draft, writes Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com. Neither Bernard nor Jeremy Hill reached the 4.0 yards-per-carry mark last year, though the former posted strong pass-catching numbers and the latter scored nine touchdowns. Hill is set to enter the last year of his contract in 2017, while Rex Burkhead is on track to hit free agency next month after putting up a lofty 4.6 YPC on 74 tries in 2016. Head coach Marvin Lewis spoke on both Hill and Burkhead on Friday, telling Geoff Hobson of the team’s website: “We have to coach [Hill] better. We bet on him. We have no other choice. We bet on Jeremy to continue to progress and move forward. Our job is to try and re-sign Rex. That doesn’t affect Jeremy.”
  • After spending 12 years with the 49ers, including the past four as their director of college scouting, Matt Malaspina took a job as a college scout with the Packers on Friday, per Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. In doing so, Malaspina became the second front office member to leave the San Francisco organization this week. The 49ers and assistant general manager Tom Gamble parted ways Wednesday.
  • In other 49ers news, defensive tackle Earl Mitchell‘s four-year, $16MM agreement with the club includes $6.5MM in guarantees, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN.

AFC Mailbags: Bengals, Steelers, Colts, Jags

ESPN’s NFL writers answered questions from their readers this weekend. Let’s take a look at some interesting notes from the AFC…

Bengals Sign Second-Rounder Jeremy Hill

Former LSU running back Jeremy Hill announced via Twitter that he has officially signed with the Bengals.

The second-round pick will join Giovani Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis in the Cincinnati backfield. Hill had over 1,400 yards and 16 touchdowns last year for LSU.

Hill’s signing leaves only two members of the Bengals’ rookie class left to be signed, in first-round pick Darqueze Dennard and third-rounder Will Clarke.

AFC Draft Notes: Steelers, Carr, Bengals, West

The Steelers first three picks — linebacker Ryan Shazier, defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt and receiver/running back/returner Dri Archer (he of the sub-4.3 speed) — have instant impact ability, writes Scott Brown of ESPN.com.

Here’s a handful more AFC draft-related notes as we settle in for the completion of the draft:

  • The Raiders landed Derek Carr in the second round, and Bleacher Report draft analyst Matt Miller (video) calls the Fresno St. gunslinger a “nicer Jay Cutler.”
  • In the wake of the Bengals’ second-round selection of LSU running back Jeremy Hill, veteran BenJarvus Green-Ellis‘ days with the Bengals are officially numbered,” says ESPN.com’s Coley Harvey.
  • Did the Browns trade up to make sure they got Towson running back Terrance West, a Baltimore native, before the Ravens could? Tom Reed of Cleveland.com seems to think so.
  • The Jets have nine picks today, writes ESPNNewYork.com’s Rich Cimini, who says the team could tab a quarterback in the fourth round. He also points out GM John Idzik’s “next in-draft trade (for picks) will be his first. Ever.”
  • Of the Bills‘ predraft visitors, eight players — includuing Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk and Clemson cornerback Bashaud Breeland — remain undrafted, according to Joe Buscaglia of WGR 550.

Draft Notes: RBs, WRs, Team Tendencies

For those who like to hear what scouts have to say, there’s nobody more connected than Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. In his latest “Rating the NFL draft prospects” series, McGinn looks at the running back position and ranks his top-10, based on what he’s seen and what he’s heard from scouts.

At the top is Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde. “Complete player,” one scout told McGinn. “Stud. He’s powerful. Great athlete. Great run feel. Catches the ball very well. He’ll block. Picks up all the protections, even calls some protections. He’s a good-hearted kid but he needs mentoring.”

Behind Hyde are LSU’s Jeremy Hill and Washington’s Bishop Sankey, the latter drawing comparisons to Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith. Rounding out his top-five are Tre Mason of Auburn and Andre Williams of Boston College.

In a complement to his running bank rankings, McGinn examines how the position has become devalued over the years. NFL teams, on average, draft 1.8 runners in the first round this decade compared to 4.9 in the ’80s, a precipitous drop.

More draft notes from around the league…

  • The Charlotte Observer takes a look at the 79 wide receivers taken in the first and second rounds of the past 10 drafts. According to the Observer’s 2013 rankings, about one in four — 21 of 79 — rank among the Top 40.
  • If you’re curious of a certain general manager’s drafting habits, National Football Post’s Tony Villioti dug through 10 seasons worth of results for some gleaning insight. A few notable items, of which there are many: The Jets drafted just one receiver in the first three rounds (the fewest), the Ravens and Bengals drafted 17 and 16 receivers, respectively, and only four teams — Bears, Cowboys, Saints, Texans — did not draft a quarterback in rounds 1-3 in the 10-year study.
  • In defense of the NFL combine, Peter Keating of ESPN The Magazine (subscription required) writes that the bench press and 40-yard dash can predict the future success of players in the league.
  • Citing the player’s postseason draft success and his collegiate résumé, ESPN Insider Louis Riddick (subscription required) names Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald as the best defensive prospect in the 2014 draft class.
  • With picks made by beat writers of each of the 32 teams, Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times passes along this mock draft with only two quarterbacks going in the first round. Also of note is the Dolphins‘ first-round pick, Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles.

Extra Points: Options, Rice, Keller, Visits

As our fifth-year option tracker shows, we’re still waiting on many teams to make their official decisions on 2015 options for players who were drafted in the first round in 2011. The deadline arrives on May 3, so we still have nearly two more weeks before all those contract situations are resolved, but Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com has decided to take his best guess at the upcoming decisions. In La Canfora’s view, 17 options are “no-brainers” to be exercised, while 10 are virtually certain to be declined — the remaining five, including Aldon Smith‘s and Mark Ingram‘s, among others, are still up in the air.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • The Jets offered Sidney Rice a larger contract than the Seahawks did, but the receiver wanted to return to the Super Bowl champs, he said today on 710 ESPN in Seattle (Twitter link).
  • Tight end Dustin Keller remains unsigned, but the agent for Keller says his client is “good to go” after missing the 2013 season with a serious knee injury, tweets Jordan Raanan of NJ.com.
  • After visiting the Jets today, TCU cornerback Jason Verrett will move on to the Rams on Tuesday and the Texans on Wednesday, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter).
  • Rapoport passes along a couple more draft updates on Twitter, writing that LSU running back Jeremy Hill is visiting the Bengals today and previously visited the Titans. Rapoport adds that Florida offensive lineman Jon Halapio has worked out for the Dolphins, Buccaneers, Browns, and Colts.
  • Boston College defensive end Kaleb Ramsey will work out for NFL scouts on campus this Wednesday, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.
  • According to reports from Wilson, Gil Brandt of NFL.com, and Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com, Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley is visiting the Rams, Patriots, Browns, and Cowboys this week.
  • We heard last week that Nebraska guard Spencer Long has visits lined up with the Eagles, Chargers, Dolphins, and Falcons, and Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net says (via Twitter) Long will also visit three other clubs.

South Notes: Jaguars, Texans, Falcons

The Jaguars have been at the center of a number of NFL stories this week, with the team reportedly on the verge of signing Alex Mack to a five-year offer sheet and hosting some of 2014’s biggest prospects on pre-draft visits this week. Jacksonville continues to pop up in the news cycle, with the team playing a part in a couple of our late-afternoon updates out of the NFL’s South divisions. Let’s dive in….

  • Offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger, who re-signed with the Chargers today, drew interest from the Jaguars before he agreed to return to San Diego, tweets Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune. It’s not likely that the Jags viewed Ohrnberger and Mack as equal commodities, but perhaps missing out on the former prompted the team to push harder to finalize an offer sheet with the latter.
  • Add LSU running back Jeremy Hill to the list of prospects visiting the Jaguars tomorrow, says Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union (via Twitter).
  • Notre Dame defensive end Stephon Tuitt, who met with the Jags today, will visit the Texans tomorrow, according to Gil Brandt of NFL.com (via Twitter).
  • The Falcons have a visit lined up for next Wednesday with BYU outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy, tweets Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com.