Keith McGill

West Notes: Raiders, Garnett, Broncos

Donald Penn appears to be dug in on his holdout from Raiders camp. The Pro Bowl left tackle has scheduled some workouts in St. Louis with Hall of Fame tackle Orlando Pace, Steve Wyche of reports, perhaps an indication Penn doesn’t expect to report to Napa, Calif., anytime soon. Penn spent recent time working out with another Rams Hall of Fame tackle in Jackie Slater but did so in southern California. The 34-year-old left tackle wants to be paid top-10 money at his position and has been absent from Raiders camp for over a week. Reggie McKenzie refused to address his left tackle’s contract publicly, but Oakland is now working with two new tackle starters — Marshall Newhouse and Vadal Alexander — after cutting Austin Howard and observing Penn hold out. The 11th-year player has never missed a regular-season game but will continue to push for more money. Penn signed a two-year, $14MM deal — one that will pay him $5.8MM in base salary this season — last year.

Here’s more from Oakland and other Western-division camps.

  • Malcolm Smith‘s pectoral injury dealt a significant blow to the 49ers defense, but their offense won’t have the services of Joshua Garnett for a while. The second-year guard is expected to miss a “period of time” because of a knee injury Kyle Shanahan said could require surgery. Matt Maiocco of reports the 2016 first-round guard is not believed to have damaged his ACL, but his chances of competing for a starting job appear to be over during camp. Brandon Fusco and Zane Beadles are now working as San Francisco’s first-team guards. Shanahan described the uncertainty around Garnett by saying he “hoped” the interior lineman could help the team this season, via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter).
  • Raiders backup safety Keith McGill suffered a Jones fracture in his right foot Saturday and will have surgery, Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. McGill’s status for Week 1 is uncertain, but he will miss the rest of training camp, Gehlken writes. A former cornerback, McGill is entering his fourth season and is a consistent special teams presence for Oakland. He and Obi Melifonwu are expected to be the second-string safeties.
  • Broncos camp still has a ways to go, but Vance Joseph has identified his punt returner already. Five-foot-7 Isaiah McKenzie won the job, the first-year coach said, via Jeff Legwold of Although Joseph views McKenzie as too small for kick-return responsibilities, the Broncos drafted him with a punt-return role in mind. They remain hopeful he can have an impact on offense as well. McKenzie returned five punts for touchdowns during three seasons at Georgia.
  • The Cardinals lost running back and return man T.J. Logan to a dislocated wrist. The rookie will be placed on IR.

Raiders Rumors: Vegas, Jackson, CBs

Mark Davis would need 24 votes from his fellow owners to green-light a Las Vegas move, but Vincent Bonsignore of the Orange County Register notes motivation exists within the NFL to agree to this move thanks to myriad circumstances.

The Rams preferring to keep the Los Angeles market for themselves and this week’s California State Supreme Court ruling making a Chargers’ long-term stadium hopes much less likely provide clarity on multiple fronts for a Raiders-to-Vegas venture. It would give the Chargers, who loom as a fringe Vegas option, a clear choice between San Diego or Los Angeles and allow for precise negotiations between the team and its current city without the Raiders complicating their push for L.A. by remaining in that mix. Although Vegas is now Davis’ front-burner option, his team still sits behind the Chargers in the Los Angeles pecking order.

Sources also informed Bonsignore the prospect of a second Los Angeles franchise remains preferable to the league, if only for the purposes of it forcing action on other cities to build stadiums, mentioning the Bills, Jaguars and Saints as those who could use Los Angeles as leverage.

Here’s more on Las Vegas, as well as the latest from around the league.

  • While the Raiders and the prospective developers did not like what came out of the Southern Nevada Tourism and Infrastructure Committee’s meeting last week — one that calls for $550MM in public funds to be raised for the proposed $1.45 billion stadium — all parties are optimistic a deal will be reached by the time a financing plan needs to be submitted to Nevada governor Brian Sandoval later this month, Bonsignore reports. “We are nearing the end of this process, but we certainly have [four] more weeks in order to resolve any differences we have,” said SNTIC chairman Steve Hill, via Bonsignore. “And it’s my sense, and most will agree, that everyone involved in this conversation is trying to work to make [the stadium project] happen.” The SNTIC will meet again on July 11 and later on July 28 to attempt to wrap up this plan.
  • Kelechi Osemele‘s arrival will slide Gabe Jackson from left to right guard, a position the promising third-year performer hasn’t played since college, Eddie Paskal of notes. On the strength of his pass-blocking, Jackson rated as Pro Football Focus’ No. 13 overall guard last season.
  • D.J. Hayden and T.J. Carrie are the primary competitors for Oakland’s slot cornerback job, Scott Bair of writes. Sean Smith and David Amerson are expected to start. Hayden spent the most time working there during offseason workouts, but the Raiders did not pick up the 2013 first-rounder’s fifth-year option after a thus-far-underwhelming career. Carrie, who started 14 games last season, possesses more physicality for the role in Bair’s mind, however. After the team moved Keith McGill to safety, Neiko Thorpe resides as the most experienced challenger for slot duty.
  • Raiders third-round rookie Shilique Calhoun is also learning a new position.

AFC Notes: Raiders, Revis, Amendola

The Raiders announced the signings of fourth-round picks Justin Ellis and Keith McGill, the sixth and seventh members of the team’s eight-man draft class to ink rookie contracts. Ellis is a 6-2, 334-pound nose tackle out of Louisiana Tech who profiles as a run stuffer, though he will have to improve his conditioning. McGill is a rare-sized, highly athletic, overaged, unrefined cornerback (6-3, 211) out of Utah whom the Raiders hope can develop into a coverman in the mold of the big, physical, rangy secondary defenders thriving and trendsetting in Seattle.

Here’s a handful more AFC news and notes:

  • Patriots big-ticket acquisition Darrelle Revis spoke with the local media for the first time, saying, “I’m on my career and my journey, and right now, I’m a New England Patriot. And that’s that.” Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post took notice of Revis’ word choice: “The words “right now” were telling, because logic — and the salary cap — dictates the $20 million team option for 2015 in Revis’ deal means this will be the All-Pro cornerback’s lone season in a Patriots uniform.”
  • One of Revis’ new teammates, receiver Danny Amendola, managed just 54 receptions for 633 yards (11.7 YPC) and two touchdowns in his first season in New England after signing a five-year $28.5MM ($10MM guaranteed) deal. He was affected by a groin injury that kept him out of four games and hampered him in others, but Amendola — who opted against off-season surgery — tells the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe that he’s 100 percent.
  • Despite making a run at Alex Mack, the Jaguars believe in third-year center Mike Brewster, who has 10 career starts under his belt, said ESPN’s Michael DiRocco in a chat: “They went after Mack because he is by far the best center in the game and they felt they could take a shot. But notice they didn’t go after any other centers in free agency and only drafted one in the sixth round [Luke Bowanko]. That means they felt confident Brewster could do the job and they didn’t view it as a need position.”
  • ESPN’s Paul Kuharsky wonders if the Titans are better off with a veteran (Charlie Whitehurst) or a young, developmental (Zach Mettenberger) quarterback behind starter Jake Locker.

AFC West Notes: Chiefs, Raiders, Broncos

With only six draft choices after the trade for quarterback Alex Smith, the Chiefs had limited resources with which to augment the roster. But, general manager John Dorsey felt fortunate to grab the players available, writes Terez A. Paylor of The Kansas City Star.

“That board, it falls in unique ways if you have a degree of patience,” Dorsey said. “I thought today we were very lucky because each one of these guys fell in their respective rounds, and each time they fell and each time we selected them, the more we got excited.” 

One of those players was Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, whom the team selected in the fifth round, No. 163 overall. It’s an interesting selection, especially with incumbent starter Smith in contract negotiations with the team, and rumors that the talks aren’t going so well.

“This time, you’re excited about all the guys we’ve got, all the additions to the team,” Smith said, per Randy Covitz of The Kansas City Star. “Time will only tell, It’s time to get to work and get those guys in and see.”

More from the AFC West below…

  • Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie strayed from his usual ways and took players with character risks, writes Scott Bair of Utah cornerback Keith McGill, a fourth-round selection, was arrested in 2012 on suspicion of DUI and possession of stolen property. Seventh-round pick Shelby Harris has been dismissed from two schools and hasn’t played a game since 2012. “It’s twofold,” McKenzie said of the reasoning for drafting players with questionable backgrounds. “One, the selection is always a chance for a player to redeem himself. When we get a situation where you give a player an opportunity, a second chance, especially when, as of late, the issues have not been like it was in the past for them.” 
  • In a separate article, Bair writes that the McKenzie and the Raiders hoped to trade down throughout the draft but were unable to find willing partners.
  • Not wanting to reach for need, the Raiders didn’t take a receiver in the draft, Bair notes. “The receivers at that time (No. 5 and 36 overall) were not high on the board,” McKenzie said. “We’re not going to reach down and take a receiver. I would have liked to (draft) a receiver. I would have. It just didn’t fall that way.”
  • All five picks on day 3 of the draft for the Raiders were defensive players, Associated Press writer Josh Dubow scribed.
  • New Broncos wide receiver Cody Latimer is among the best blocking receivers the team has ever evaluated, Denver GM John Elway said via Troy E. Renck of The Denver Post.
  • First-round pick Bradley Roby should expect to play a key role in the Broncos‘ efforts to return to the Super Bowl, Mike Klis of The Denver Post writes.
  • The Chargers finally drafted a receiver, Baylor’s Tevin Reese, with the team’s final pick in the draft, No. 240 overall, per the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Tom Krasovic.

Draft Updates: Cowboys, Watkins, Ealy, Pryor

As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk pointed out last month, since Jerry Jones have overseen Cowboys drafts, the team has traded up or down in the first round in 20 of 25 instances, or 80% of the time. That would suggest there’s a good chance Dallas won’t stand pat on Thursday, but it doesn’t sound like the club is too engaged in trade talks yet.

“We haven’t heard a lot from other clubs,” Jones said today, according to Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News. “We haven’t found that to be particularly productive. That’s day-of-draft type dynamics. I’d be surprised if there are not trade opportunities by the time you get to where we’re going to be picking or certainly afterwards.”

Here’s more on the 2014 NFL draft, which is now just a little over 50 hours away:

  • The Lions have frequently been linked to wide receiver Sammy Watkins, and Watkins confirmed today to Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post (Twitter links) that Detroit was the only team to meet with him more than once. “That sounds like they really want me, but you never know,” said the Clemson wideout.
  • If two meetings are a signal of legit interest, count the Cowboys, Falcons, and Bears among the potential landing spots for defensive lineman Kony Ealy. As Hubbuch tweets, all three clubs met with Ealy multiple times.
  • The Jets‘ interview of Calvin Pryor was extensive, the Louisville safety told Hubbuch (Twitter link). “They really seemed interested,” according to Pryor.
  • Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post passes along updates on Florida State running back Devonta Freeman and Utah cornerback Keith McGill. According to Wilson, Freeman met with the Steelers and worked out for the Falcons, Patriots, and Dolphins, while McGill either visited or worked out for the Cowboys, Buccaneers, Redskins, and Raiders, among other teams.

Draft Notes: Ebron, Ford, McGill, Bridgewater

North Carolina’s Eric Ebron took to Twitter to announce that he’ll be traveling to New York, Florida, and Tennessee this week. The Jets would be a logical destination for the athletic tight end, though he may not last until pick No. 18. Of course, he could also pay the Giants a visit he’s in town and Florida could mean stops with the Buccaneers, Dolphins, or Jaguars. Ebron could certainly be in play for the Titans at No. 11 and they’ve been said to have interest in recent weeks. A look at tonight’s draft news..

  • Auburn standout Dee Ford, who visited the Falcons today, has already paid a visit to the Texans, writes Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post. Ford is a classic hybrid pass rusher as a 3-4 outside linebacker who could potentially play defensive end in a 4-3 scheme if he bulks up.
  • Utah cornerback Keith McGill is visiting the Jets today, a source tells Seth Walder of the New York Daily News (on Twitter).
  • Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald (on Twitter) hears that the Dolphins like Tennessee right tackle Ju’Wuan James. The 6’6″ 312 pound lineman is likely a second round type.
  • When all is said and done, the talk about Teddy Bridgewater plummeting in the draft might be much ado about nothing, tweets Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle.

AFC Draft Notes: Jets, Texans, Ravens

April is typically draft month for the NFL, but that’s not the case in 2014 — we’ve still got another five-plus weeks until this year’s three-day event gets underway on May 8. Still, that doesn’t mean there aren’t several rumors and reports floating around about teams’ potential draft plans. Here are a few of the latest items on AFC clubs:

  • The Jets are intrigued by Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro, a team source tells Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. Amaro is scheduled to visit the Jets in the coming weeks, and Mehta suggests the tight end could be on the board when the club picks in the second round.
  • It’s no surprise that the Texans‘ signing of Ryan Fitzpatrick wouldn’t affect the possibility of the team drafting a quarterback next month. However, it’s a little surprising that, even with Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum, and T.J. Yates on board, head coach Bill O’Brien suggested the Texans could add multiple QBs in the draft (Twitter link via official Texans account).
  • Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, Florida State wideout Kelvin Benjamin, Utah cornerback Keith McGill, and Cal linebacker Khairi Fortt are making official pre-draft visits with the Ravens today, league sources tells Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.
  • Despite the fact that the Dolphins signed Knowshon Moreno and like Lamar Miller, the club has interest in adding another running back in the draft, according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, who says it could happen in the fourth or fifth round.
  • A pair of teams announced pre-draft visits, as the Bills host Indiana wide receiver Cody Latimer and Notre Dame tight end Troy Niklas, while Ole Miss receiver Donte Moncrief and Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk visit the Steelers (Twitter link).