Josh Allen (DE)

Giants Tried To Trade Up For DE Josh Allen

Giants GM Dave Gettleman‘s oft-scrutinized decision to select Duke QB Daniel Jones with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2019 draft is about to be put to the test, as Jones will make his first career start when Big Blue takes on the Buccaneers this afternoon. Although Jones’ performance in camp and the preseason helped to quiet the criticism a bit, it’s probably not an overstatement to say that Gettleman’s career with the Giants is riding on Jones’ right arm.

Many pundits expected the Giants to select Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen with the No. 6 pick, and when Gettleman went with Jones, the Jaguars scooped Allen up one pick later. Several days after the draft, Gettleman described the decision to bypass Allen as “agonizing.” He said, “I agonized over that. I agonized. Before the draft, we discussed that thoroughly as a group — first last Friday, then again Wednesday. Obviously we had great regard for Josh Allen. But the one thing I have learned is you don’t fool around with a quarterback. If he’s your guy, you take him.”

In fact, Gettleman was so enamored with Allen that he tried to trade back up with the Jaguars to get him, as Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports (video link). The Giants were also armed with the No. 17 overall pick, so they may have had enough ammo to pull off such a deal, but Jacksonville wasn’t interested in passing up a talent like Allen.

Gettleman indicated post-draft that he knew of at least two teams that would have taken Jones before New York was back on the clock with the No. 17 selection, and Rapoport confirms that was the case (Twitter link). We heard earlier that the Giants also tried to trade up with Denver for the No. 10 overall selection, but they ultimately held onto the No. 17 pick and drafted DT Dexter Lawrence. Gettleman finally achieved a trade-up when he dealt pick nos. 37, 132, and 142 to Seattle in exchange for the No. 30 pick, which he used to draft CB Deandre Baker.

If Jones becomes a franchise signal-caller, this will all become little more than an interesting footnote. Allen, though, is living up to the hype thus far, having posted two sacks and seven pressures in the first two games of his career.

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AFC South Notes: Jaguars, Colts, Luck, Allen

Jaguars rookie linebacker Quincy Williams is expected to miss four-to-six weeks after suffering a slight tear in his meniscus, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Williams, a third-round pick in the 2019 draft, will need to undergo surgery, but given his recovery timeline, he shouldn’t be expected to miss more than a few regular season games. Per Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com, Williams was the “leading candidate” to take over for the retired Telvin Smith as Jacksonville’s weakside linebacker. Williams, the older brother of third overall pick Quinnen Williams, will now likely be replaced by either D.J. Alexander or Ramik Wilson.

Here’s more from the AFC South:

  • Andrew Luck‘s calf strain is still affecting his ability to practice. The Colts quarterback didn’t participate in practice sessions at all this week and will be re-evaluated on Saturday, per Mike Chappell of CBS 4 Indy, who notes Luck has appeared hesitant while throwing. “Just opening up a little bit,’’ Luck said. “It’s like, ‘I feel like something is going to yank, something is going to pull trying to change direction aggressively.’ That is something that you need to do to play football, you know? And I am not there yet.’’ Luck doesn’t believe his calf injury could lead to an Achilles issue.
  • Only one NFL rookie received a contract with no offset language in 2019: Jaguars first-round edge rusher Josh Allen, reports Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Without offset language, Jacksonville won’t receive a cap credit if Allen is cut midway through his rookie contract and signs elsewhere. If such language were included, the Jaguars would be off the hook for whatever salary Allen was able to earn on the open market.
  • In case you missed it, the Texans gave veteran cornerback Johnathan Joseph a raise.

Jaguars Sign Josh Allen

The Jaguars have officially signed first-round pick Josh Allen. With the outside linebacker in the fold, the Jaguars now have all but one player in their 2019 draft class wrapped up. 

It feels good to focus on football now, and just worry about football – and not worry about anything off the field,” the No. 7 overall pick said. “I know everything’s settled in now. I’m ready for my family to get down here, and be a Jacksonville Jaguar for life. I’m just ready to make a name for myself in the National Football League. It’s official. I’m officially a Jaguar. It feels great.”

The Kentucky product was widely projected to be off the board before Jacksonville took the podium, but the Jags got a couple of lucky breaks, including the Giants’ surprising decision to take Duke quarterback Daniel Jones at No. 6 overall.

Allen joins right tackle Jawaan Taylor (Round 2, No. 35 overall), tight end Josh Oliver (Round 3, No. 69), running back Ryquell Armstead (Round 5, No. 140), quarterback Gardner Minshew (Round 6, No. 178), and defensive tackle Dontavius Russell (Round 7, No. 235) as the Jags’ draft picks under contract. Third-round linebacker Quincy Williams stands as the last remaining straggler.

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Dave Gettleman On Josh Allen, Daniel Jones, Eli Manning

Roger Goodell uttering the name “Daniel Jones” served as perhaps the most shocking moment of the draft, and the decision that led to the commissioner reading that card did not come easy for the Giants.

Dave Gettleman had another name in mind, in the event the Giants felt their short-term need at defensive end was too great to ignore at No. 6. The second-year Giants GM said (via NBC Sports’ Peter King) the decision to bypass Josh Allen for Jones was “agonizing.”

I agonized over that,” Gettleman said. “I agonized. Before the draft, we discussed that thoroughly as a group — first last Friday, then again Wednesday. Obviously we had great regard for Josh Allen. But the one thing I have learned is you don’t fool around with a quarterback. If he’s your guy, you take him.”

Gettleman said post-draft he knew of two teams that would have taken Jones before the Giants’ No. 17 pick. The Jaguars snapped up Allen at No. 7, doing so despite not expecting the Kentucky edge rusher to be there. Jacksonville was expecting to make a decision between T.J. Hockenson and Jonah Williams, with Albert Breer of SI.com noting Hockenson was the Jags’ likely pick had the Giants gone with Allen as many expected. After the Jags’ Allen pivot, the Lions took Hockenson at No. 8.

The Giants have possessed three top-six picks since 2004, the first of those leading to Eli Manning and the second producing Saquon Barkley. Gettleman did not indicate last year he had any kind of debate between choosing Barkley or Sam Darnold. A year later, the Giants GM said his team might not have another near-future chance to grab a top quarterback prospect without sacrificing plenty in a trade, helping lead the Giants to Jones this year.

There are no guarantees. So the bottom line is, if you believe this kid can get you to the promised land, why wait?” Gettleman said, via Breer. “You have to have confidence in what you’re doing. You’re drafting players. The team will be better. Now, what happens next year? What if you don’t take him this year, and next year you’re picking 22? You’re going to have to move heaven and earth. This is the closest we’re going to get. It made the most sense.”

The Giants did not leave Manning in the dark about the Jones decision. He called the Giants’ 16th-year quarterback while on the clock at No. 6. Gettleman said Manning could potentially be Big Blue’s starter for multiple additional seasons.

I was on the phone with Eli. I told him, ‘You’re our quarterback, let’s go,'” Gettleman said, via Breer. “And by the way, we’re drafting the Jones kid, and your job is to be the best quarterback you can be and help us win. It’s his responsibility to crawl up your fanny and learn.”

New York attempted to trade up to land Denver’s pick at No. 10, but the Broncos went with the Steelers’ proposal instead, King reports. It’s possible the Giants wanted to trade up to land Rashan Gary or Brian Burns, whom the Packers and Panthers respectively selected. The Giants selected defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence at No. 17.

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Latest On Jets’ No. 3 Overall Pick

Kyler Murray and Joey Bosa have been predicted to head to the NFC West for weeks. If that does not happen, the draft will become captivating from the start. But the Jets are not viewed as likely to have a shot at Bosa.

The pass rusher-seeking team, though, may be ready to make a surprise pick at No. 3. Linked to Josh Allen and Quinnen Williams, the Jets instead are believed to be high on Ed Oliver. Jets coaches have been pushing for Oliver, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. This would cap a resurgence for the Houston-honed prospect.

This coincides with NBC Sports’ Peter King indicating the Jets are not enamored with Allen, the player viewed as the next-best edge rusher to Bosa in this draft. Allen improved his stock by coming back for his senior season at Kentucky, and Brian Costello of the New York Post writes the Jets are a bit concerned about the edge prospect being a one-year wonder. He posted 17 sacks as a senior after registering seven apiece in his sophomore and junior seasons.

Oliver announced before his junior season he would turn pro at its conclusion. He only played in eight games in 2018 and finished with Cougars career lows in sacks (three) and tackles for loss (14.5). The 6-foot-2 interior rusher would seemingly be a better fit in a 4-3 scheme, but despite the Jets sticking with their 3-4 look, Gregg Williams obviously has extensive experience using a 4-3.

Of course, this late Oliver rise may be a smokescreen. Those do peak in April. An NFL executive, per SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano, believes this Oliver-Jets buzz is centered around coaxing the Raiders to trade up a spot to nab him. The Raiders — who use a 4-3 scheme — are believed to “love” Oliver, per Costello. However, Vacchiano adds Gregg Williams is indeed pro-Oliver.

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AFC East Notes: Brady, Bosa, Bills, Dolphins

The Patriots began their their sixth offseason program as a defending Super Bowl champion team on Monday, but the player most associated with those titles was not with them. Tom Brady was not present when the Patriots opened their 2019 workouts, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. This is not a surprise, with the 41-year-old quarterback’s plan of staying away until the Pats’ June minicamp again appearing to be in place. Brady set his schedule this way last year. However, Brady might have made one tweak to his offseason regimen. He may report to the Patriots a bit bigger than he did a year ago, with Rapoport adding the 20th-year veteran might be planning to put on some weight this offseason. Brady’s weight has rarely come up during his legendary run. The well-known fitness buff is listed at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds.

Here is the latest from the AFC East, moving to some teams’ potential draft strategies:

  • If the Cardinals and 49ers pass on Nick Bosa, the Jets are going to take him, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News offers. If both Bosa and Josh Allen remained on the board at No. 3, Mehta writes the Jets will take the Ohio State product. Although the Jets have been linked to trade-down scenarios, entering the draft without a second-round pick, Bosa would be the kind of impact pass rusher the team may not be able to pass up. The Jets are not believed to have used one of their 30 pre-draft visits on Bosa, but it’s not like a team that tried to spend $15MM per year to convert an off-ball linebacker into a pass rusher would not have interest in a player viewed by many as the best prospect in the draft.
  • In going with Ryan Fitzpatrick and two backups (Jake Rudock and Luke Falk) who have combined to throw five NFL passes, the Dolphins probably have the thinnest quarterback depth chart in football. They plan to augment the group soon, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald notes. Miami is targeting a quarterback in this draft, but it’s not known if the team wants a first-round passer. The Dolphins have met with Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock and Daniel Jones. However, if the team most linked to a wait-until-2020 strategy regarding a starting quarterback passes on one in this draft, it is “definitely” eyeing one who could be a backup, Salguero adds. So, Miami could be a mid-round player for one of this draft’s second-tier passers.
  • Eli Harold will line up as a defensive end in Buffalo, Bills GM Brandon Beane said (Twitter link). Harold has worked as an outside linebacker in 3-4 and 4-3 schemes, doing so in San Francisco and Detroit, while also used on the line at times. The Bills have Jerry Hughes and Trent Murphy aligned as their starting ends, with perpetual trade candidate Shaq Lawson residing there as well.

Jets Host LB Josh Allen, TE Noah Fant

With the NFL draft less than two weeks away, the Jets are ramping up their draft efforts. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that the team is hosting Kentucky pass-rusher Josh Allen today. The team also had Iowa tight end Noah Fant in for a visit yesterday.

The interest in Allen isn’t much of a surprise, as the Jets were listed among the five teams that the linebacker would be visiting (along with the 49ers, Raiders, Giants and Lions). There were even some whispers during the defender’s pro day that he would ultimately be selected third-overall by the Jets. Allen clearly benefited from staying in school for his season year, registering 17 sacks this past season. He also finished the 2018 campaign with 56 tackles, five forced fumbles, and 21.5 tackles for loss.

Assuming Kyler Murray and Nick Bosa are off the board by the Jets’ third-overall pick, you could make an argument that Allen would be the best player available. The edge defender has generally been ranked alongside Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams in mock drafts and prospect rankings.

The interest in Fant is a bit surprising. While the tight end is generally considered to be one of the best prospects at his position (along with teammate T.J. Hockenson), there’s little chance the organization selects him with the third pick. Plus, while Fant’s draft stock is varied, it’s expected that if he’s not selected in the first round, he’d be an early-second-rounder. The Jets sent their second-rounder to the Colts in last year’s blockbuster, although they are armed with a pair of third-rounders. In other words, the Jets could easily make a trade to move up in the draft.

Fant was a touchdown machine at Iowa, hauling in 18 touchdowns between the 2017 and 2018 season. In New York, he’d provide Sam Darnold with another red zone target, and he’d team up with All-Rookie member Chris Herndon to form a formidable tight end duo.

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Draft Rumors: Giants, Gary, Allen, Bills

The Giants‘ meeting with Kyler Murray got all of the headlines, but the Oklahoma quarterback wasn’t the only big-name prospect to get face time with the club on Thursday. The Giants also hosted Michigan defensive lineman Rashan Gary and Kentucky pass-rusher Josh Allen, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears.

At this rate, it would be a surprise if Murray is available for either of the Giants’ first-round picks at No. 6 and No. 17. However, Gary and Allen could be in range for a team that is said to be prioritizing pass-rushing. Allen would represent the safer bet based on his college production, but that also means that he could be gone by the time the Giants take the podium. Gary, who boasts serious raw skills, should last a bit longer after tallying just 3.5 sacks last season.

Here’s the latest NFL Draft buzz:

  • Florida offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor will visit the Panthers on Friday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Taylor, a 6’5″ lineman, could project as either a right tackle or guard at the next level, which could be helpful for a team that has overhauled its O-Line this offseason.
  • The Bills are set to meet with Alabama defensive lineman Quinnen Williams, as Josina Anderson of ESPN.com tweets. Unfortunately for Buffalo, Williams is unlikely to be around at No. 9 overall, so they’ll probably have to trade up in order to land him. Recently, Williams met with New York’s other two teams.
  • The Bears will huddle up with Alabama running back Josh Jacobs, the team announced. Jacobs is widely rated as the best three-down back in this year’s class, but he does not offer the same kind of upside as last year’s top-drafted RB Saquon Barkley. Still, the Bears will have to get creative if they want to land Jacobs – Thanks to the Khalil Mack trade and last year’s move up for wide receiver Anthony Miller, the Bears won’t be on the board until the third round (No. 87 overall).
  • The Bills hosted an interesting mid-round prospect in Buffalo QB Tyree Jackson (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero). Jackson could be a natural fit for the Bills as his size and athleticism mirrors that of QB Josh Allen.

Draft Rumors: Redskins, Bills, Jets, Eagles

Duke quarterback Daniel Jones will meet with the Redskins today and tomorrow, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Washington will also sit down with Northwestern signal-caller Clayton Thorson on Wednesday, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL.com, adding that fellow quarterbacks Drew Lock (Missouri) and Jarrett Stidham (Auburn) have already visited with the Redskins. Washington is looking at nearly all the top QB prospects, which shouldn’t come as a surprise given the status of Alex Smith‘s knee injury. Smith isn’t expected to play in 2019, and while the Redskins have already acquired veteran Case Keenum, the club is searching for a long-term option to place under center.

Here’s more on the 2019 NFL draft:

  • The Bills are hosting Ole Miss wide receiver A.J. Brown Wednesday, while Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen‘s meeting with Buffalo will occur on Thursday, per Rapoport (Twitter link). Although the Bills invested in pass-catching help during free agency, adding both John Brown and Cole Beasley on multi-year deals to a depth chart that already included Zay Jones and Robert Foster, the team is still in need of receivers. Brown (6’1″, 225) posted at least 75 receptions, 1,250 yards, and six touchdowns in each of the past two seasons. Allen, meanwhile, isn’t likely to be available for Buffalo at No. 9 overall, but the club could potentially trade up given that it owns the sixth-most draft capital.
  • Alabama offensive tackle Jonah Williams is meeting with the Jets, reports Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. Gang Green ranked dead last in Football Outsiders‘ run-blocking metric in 2018 (and 18th in pass-blocking), but so far the club has only addressed its offensive line by acquiring guard Kelechi Osemele from the Raiders. New York’s tackle situation has remained unchanged, with Kelvin Beachum and Brandon Shell projected to start on the left and right sides, respectively. Williams is expected to come off the board early in Round 1.
  • The Bengals met with Florida edge rusher Jachai Polite last week, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. The pre-draft process has not been kind to Polite, who had been viewed as a potential first-round selection. Polite performed poorly during athletic testing, while his interviews with clubs were also widely panned. Additionally, Polite is battling currently battling through hamstring injuries. Cincinnati has edge depth with Carlos Dunlap, Carl Lawson, Sam Hubbard, and Kerry Wynn in tow, but Polite would give the team another option.
  • TCU defensive end L.J. Collier is meeting with the Lions, Eagles, and Seahawks, per Rapoport (Twitter link), who adds Collier is “quietly pushing” to become a first-round pick. Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com currently ranks Collier as the No. 45 prospect, noting that while he isn’t an “elite bender,” Collier has the ability to play both inside and on the edge. In his senior season with TCU, Collier posted six sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss in 11 games.
  • Penn State running back Miles Sanders has been vaulting up draft boards (he currently ranks one spot behind Collier at No. 46 on Jeremiah’s list), and he has a busy schedule ahead of him. Sanders is scheduled to work out for/meet with the Bears, Eagles, Steelers, Ravens, Bills, Cowboys, Falcons, Titans, Bengals, Panthers, Buccaneers, and Colts. In 2018, Sanders’ only season as a starter, he posted 1,274 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on 220 attempts.

Bengals To Meet With LB Josh Allen

While many draft pundits have expected Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen to land on a team with a top-five pick, it sounds like another organization may be looking to enter the picture. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that Allen is set to meet with the Bengals today.

As Rapoport notes, the Bengals currently have the 11th-overall pick, meaning the front office would presumably have to trade up for the edge rusher. We previously heard that Allen was set to meet with five teams, including the 49ers, Jets, Raiders, Giants and Lions. Each of those five teams are currently armed with a higher first-rounder than Cincy.

During Allen’s pro day, there were some whispers that the linebacker would ultimately be selected third-overall by the Jets. This would predictably limit the Bengals’ options. With Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa, and Allen generally regarded as the consensus top-three picks, Cincinnati would need some luck if they’re going to get their hands on the Kentucky linebacker.

Allen benefited from staying in school for his season year, registering 17 sacks this past season. He also finished the 2018 campaign with 56 tackles, five forced fumbles, and 21.5 tackles for loss.

The Bengals haven’t done a whole lot to improve their front-seven this offseason. Their lone move was signing free agent Kerry Wynn, who projects to be a backup defensive end. Allen’s versatility means he should eventually be able to play in multiple formations, and he could contribute immediately to the Bengals as either their strongside or weakside linebacker.

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