Josh Allen (OLB)

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Draft Rumors: Allen, Sweat, Lawrence, Oliver

Lions general manager Bob Quinn is a Bill Belichick disciple, so it’s perhaps no surprise that he’s open to trading down from No. 8 in the first round of the 2019 draft. “I always like draft picks, so if we could move back a little bit, a couple spots, and pick up another pick, I think this is a really good, the depth of this draft from the late first to the third, there’s a lot of really good players in there,” Quinn told Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). “If I could ever move back a few spots, get a really good player in the first round and add another pick, I think that’s something that would be great. People out there listening, I’m open for business.” Detroit owns nine total picks but possesses only the 15th-most overall draft capital.

Here’s more on the upcoming draft:

  • Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen is a busy man. In addition to planned visits with the 49ers, Jets, Raiders, Giants and Lions, Allen will also meet with the Bengals, Buccaneers, Jaguars, and Bills, tweets Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Allen spent four years with the Wildcats, totaling 31.5 sacks in the process (17 of which came during his senior season). Viewed as the 2019 draft’s second-best pass rusher behind Ohio State’s Nick Bosa, Allen has been popularly mocked to New York at No. 3 and Oakland at No. 4.
  • The Buccaneers are looking for help along their defensive line while holding the No. 5 overall selection in this month’s draft, and they’ve met with several top-end prospects this week. Mississippi State pass rusher Montez Sweat met with Tampa on Monday, while defensive tackles Ed Oliver (Houston) and Dexter Lawrence (Clemson) are sitting down with the Bucs today, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter links). Sweat and Oliver are in legitimate consideration to come off the board at No. 5, while Lawrence could be in play for Tampa Bay’s second-round pick (although he’d be a curious fit given the Buccaneers drafted fellow nose tackle Vita Vea 12th overall in 2018). Auburn cornerback prospect Jamel Dean also visited with Tampa Bay this week, per Rapoport.
  • Sweat also met with the Jaguars this week, adds Rapoport, as did Florida offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor, reports Schefter (Twitter link). Both players could be available for Jacksonville at No. 7 in the first round, although Taylor would probably fill more of a need area. The Jaguars released starting right tackle Jermey Parnell earlier this offseason, so Taylor could immediately step opposite blindside protector Cam Robinson.
  • Buffalo quarterback Tyree Jackson recently met with both the Lions and Dolphins, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL.com. Teams are interested in Jackson primarily due to his “rare physical traits,” per Pelissero, and the three-year starter certainly offers intriguing size at 6’7″, 245 pounds. Detroit could be searching for a developmental passer to play behind Matthew Stafford, while Miami simply needs warm bodies under center.

OLB Josh Allen To Visit 5 Teams

One of the top prospects in a draft pool chock full of front-seven talent, Josh Allen has much of his pre-draft itinerary scheduled.

The Kentucky linebacker has five visits on tap. He will meet with the 49ers, Jets, Raiders, Giants and Lions, according to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. While more visits could be scheduled, this quintet represents what Allen confirmed he has lined up so far. Teams can host up to 30 non-local prospects before the draft.

At this point, Allen sits behind Nick Bosa among edge rushers. But it might be difficult for a team drafting outside the top three to land the four-year Kentucky contributor.

Many evaluators at Allen’s pro day believe the Jets will draft him at No. 3 overall, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com tweets. The Jets, as expected, have been active in free agency. They authorized a massive deal for C.J. Mosley, became the Le’Veon Bell destination and added Jamison Crowder. But New York did not address its edge-rushing need, seeing potential edge convert Anthony Barr back out of an agreement to stay with the Vikings.

Allen benefited from staying in school, registering 17 sacks as a senior. He finished his Wildcats career with 31.5 sacks, improving his draft stock.

The 49ers have been linked to Bosa, in the event the Cardinals leave him on the board at No. 1 overall. While other up-front presences — like Quinnen Williams, Montez Sweat, Rashan Gary and Ed Oliver — are expected to go early in Round 1, Allen figures to be off draft boards within the event’s first few picks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.