Joe Dahl

NFC Notes: Fairley, Packers, Lane, Lions

Nick Fairley‘s heart issue has stalled his career to the point the Saints are preparing for this season as if the recently re-signed defensive tackle won’t play, Larry Holder of NOLA.com reports. Last we heard, the 29-year-old defender was getting a third opinion on the condition. Fairley signed a four-year, $28MM deal to stay in New Orleans in March. But if he’s not going to play this season, Holder notes the Saints are going to be at a loss. They used 2016 fourth-rounder David Onyemata alongside Sheldon Rankins on the first-string defense during minicamp, but Holder notes the starting nose tackle will probably be Tyeler Davison, a 2015 fifth-rounder who started 15 games last season. Davison is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.

Here’s the latest from around the NFC.

  • Davante Adams has shot to the top of the Packers‘ 2018 UFA contingent after a breakout 2016 season, one that also includes Morgan Burnett, center Corey Linsley and guard Lane Taylor, Rob Reischel writes for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. This could mean Randall Cobb faces a pivotal season, with Reischel noting the Packers could elect to prioritize an Adams deal and move on from Cobb despite his young age. The slot target will only be 27 this season, but Cobb recorded a modest (for him) 60-catch, 610-yard season. He’s signed through 2018 and has cap numbers of $12.6MM and $12.7MM this season and next, respectively.
  • The Seahawks have a pair of cornerbacks that have suffered severe injuries in recent years, but while DeShawn Shead rehabs, Jeremy Lane looks like the starter opposite Richard Sherman. Pete Carroll said Shead is recovering well from the ACL and meniscus tears sustained in January, but with the re-signed player unlikely to be ready for Week 1, the team may be turning to Lane. “He’s physically as fit as he’s been in a long time,” Carroll said, via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. “Remember, he had a really difficult offseason a couple years back (following knee and arm injuries in Super Bowl XLIX) and it’s taken him almost a couple years to overcome all of that, and he’s back to full form.” The Seahawks drafted Shaquil Griffin in the third round and moved rookie sixth-rounder Mike Tyson from safety to corner, but those first-year talents look to enter camp as depth pieces behind Lane.
  • Once Taylor Decker suffered a shoulder injury that will keep him out up to six months, the Lions gave first-team left tackle reps to Joe Dahl. The second-year player worked as a guard in six games last season. But after the additions of Greg Robinson and Cyrus Kouandjio, Dahl seems on his way back to guard, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes. Neither Robinson nor Kouandjio participated in Detroit’s minicamp, but Jim Caldwell confirmed they will compete for the now-vacant left tackle job come training camp. A fifth-round pick last year, Dahl would then be in line to compete for a guard spot with Graham Glasgow and Laken Tomlinson opposite T.J. Lang.

NFC North Notes: Cutler, Kalil, Lions

After Monday night’s ugly loss to Philadelphia, Rich Campbell of The Chicago Tribune writes that the end of Jay Cutler‘s tenure with the Bears felt as real as it ever has. Each year since former head coach Lovie Smith was fired at the end of the 2012 season, the Bears have asked themselves whether they prefer Cutler to an alternative, and each year, the answer has been yes.

However, after looking at the success that rookie Carson Wentz had against them last week, and as they prepare for rookie signal-caller Dak Prescott this week, the Bears’ quarterback calculus could change sooner rather than later. After all, it could be tough for GM Ryan Pace and head coach John Fox to continue with a 33-year-old quarterback who has a 50-49 record and only one playoff victory in seven-plus seasons in Chicago, particularly a quarterback they inherited who has no more guaranteed money left on his deal as of 2017.

The problem is that a quarterback has not been the best player on the board when the Bears have been on the clock in the past two seasons, and it would not have made sense for the team to reach for a signal-caller when they had a solid quarterback on the roster with guaranteed money still to be paid. But with no succession plan in place, the Bears may have no choice but to grab a QB in the 2017 draft and hope they can find someone to lift them out of their cycle of mediocrity.

Now let’s take a look at a few more notes from the NFC North:

  • With Matt Kalil on IR, many have wondered if the Vikings–who demonstrated they were “all in” on the 2016 season with the Sam Bradford trade–could deal for a replacement left tackle, like Cleveland’s Joe Thomas. However, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that Minnesota will not make such a trade.
  • Earlier today, we learned there is a good chance that Adrian Peterson could return to the Vikings next year, despite much speculation to the contrary.
  • Lions DE Ziggy Ansah is expected to be out through at least next week as he continues to battle a high ankle sprain, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). Ansah will get a second opinion on that injury later this week.
  • Lions LG Laken Tomlinson has had a very disappointing start to the season, but Kyle Meinke of MLive.com believes Detroit has no other choice but to continue relying on last year’s No. 28 overall selection, as 2016 fifth-rounder Joe Dahl does not appear ready to step into the starting lineup.

Draft Signings: Bucs, Seahawks, Lions

A rundown of the latest draft signings:

  • The Buccaneers have agreed to terms with fourth-round pick Ryan Smith and fifth-round pick Caleb Benenoch, as freelance reporter Jenna Laine tweets. Smith, a defensive back out of North Carolina Central, left college as the program’s all-time leader in solo tackles (168) and kickoff return average (28.1). Even though he played cornerback during his final year at UNCC, the Bucs plan to use him as a safety. Benenoch, an offensive linemen from UCLA, has experience both at tackle and on the interior line and that versatility helped his stock heading into the draft.
  • The Seahawks signed fifth-round running back Alex Collins, as Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle tweets. As his slot mandates, it’s a four-year, $2.566MM deal with a $184K signing bonus.
  • The Lions signed sixth-round defensive lineman Anthony Zettel, as Wilson tweets.
  • The Dolphins have signed seventh-round quarterback Brandon Doughty, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (on Twitter). The former Western Kentucky signal caller drew interest from scouts in large part because of his pinpoint accuracy.
  • The Lions signed fifth-round offensive lineman Joe Dahl, per Rand Getlin of NFL.com (on Twitter).
  • The Jets announced the signings of cornerback Juston Burris (fourth round) and tackle Brandon Shell (fifth), as Rich Cimini of ESPN.com writes. Shell, a 6-foot-6, 328-pound tackle, started for four seasons for the South Carolina Gamecocks and is the great nephew of Raiders Hall of Fame tackle and ensuing coach Art Shell.

Draft Updates: Dahl, Ogbah, C. Jones, DeBord

As Greg Gabriel of 670 The Score tweets, Wednesday is the last day NFL teams can bring prospects in for official visits. Beginning on Thursday, clubs can still meet or work out players, but it has to happen at the player’s school or home, rather than the team’s facility.

Still, there’s no shortage of updates today on workouts and/or visits conducted recently by prospects and teams. Here are several of those updates:

  • Rand Getlin of the NFL Network (Twitter link) adds the Falcons, Lions, and Titans to the long list of teams that either worked out Washington State offensive lineman Joe Dahl or hosted him for a visit. Earlier this month, a report indicated that 10 other teams had interest in Dahl, with many of those clubs planning visits or workouts.
  • Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post writes that the Titans and Bengals were among the teams that hosted Oklahoma State defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah for pre-draft visits.
  • The Bengals, Ravens, and Seahawks are among the clubs that have hosted Mississippi State defensive lineman Chris Jones for pre-draft visits, tweets Rand Getlin.
  • The list of clubs that Eastern Washington offensive lineman Clay DeBord has worked out for or visited includes the 49ers, Lions, Jets, Falcons, Buccaneers, Titans, and Cardinals, tweets Rand Getlin.
  • Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press provides a couple updates on local prospects, tweeting that Michigan State defensive lineman Lawrence Thomas has worked out for the Lions, Patriots, Falcons, and Titans, and adding (via Twitter) that Central Michigan tight end Ben McCord has previously visited the Dolphins. McCord is participating in the Lions’ local workout day, while Thomas isn’t.
  • North Carolina Central defensive back Ryan Smith is making his last pre-draft visit today to Los Angeles to meet with the Rams, a source tells Aaron Wilson.
  • Florida wide receiver Demarcus Robinson visited the Jets today, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (Twitter link), who suggests keeping an eye on Robinson late in the draft.

Draft Rumors: 49ers, Jets, Patriots, Panthers

Earlier this evening, PFR’s Rob DiRe published his first mock draft of 2016. It’s a must-read for anyone interested in this year’s NFL draft. Click here to check it out.

Here are the latest draft rumors:

  • The Cowboys, 49ers, Eagles and, surprisingly, the Jets have all inquired about moving up to the No. 1 pick in the draft, Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.Net reports. The Jets have the 20th selection, so it’s difficult to envision them jumping 19 spots and Tennessee dropping the same amount of places. The Cowboys, 49ers and Eagles, meanwhile, are scheduled to pick in the top eight.
  • UCLA linebacker Myles Jack is paying a visit to the 49ers this weekend, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). Matt Miller of Bleacher Report tweeted earlier today Jack is a lock to be a top-seven pick.
  • The Ravens think highly of USC safety Su’a Cravens and could pick him if they trade down from sixth overall to the back half of the first round, per Pauline. Cravens will visit both the Colts and Lions next week, Pauline tweets.
  • German receiver Moritz Boehringer “impressed” with his sure-handedness and route-running skills at his workout Friday, Pauline reports. Representatives from the Bengals, Bills, Patriots, Broncos, Jets, Bears, Falcons, Saints and Panthers were in attendance.
  • Washington State offensive lineman Joe Dahl, a possible second-day pick, has a heavy workout/visit schedule forthcoming, Pauline writes. The Jets, Patriots, Buccaneers, Eagles, 49ers, Chargers, Panthers, Ravens, Vikings and Colts are all interested in Dahl.
  • The 49ers plan to visit with Georgia receiver Malcolm Mitchell, as do the Patriots and Eagles, a league source told Aaron Wilson of NFPost.com.
  • Oklahoma wideout Sterling Shepard has worked out for the Panthers and Texans, he told SiriusXM NFL Radio, and added that he’ll work out for the Rams next week (Twitter link).
  • Akron linebacker Jatavis Brown didn’t get an invitation to February’s combine, but he’s drawing plenty of pre-draft interest. Brown has visited with 10 teams, including the Steelers (previously reported), Rams and Chargers, per Rand Getlin of NFL.com (Twitter link). The Chiefs are also among those clubs, as Terez A. Paylor of The Kansas City Star reported earlier this week.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.