Lorenzo Carter

Injury Notes: Berry, Giants, Titans, Falcons

Some teams will be opening their seasons without key defenders. Here’s the latest from the Week 1 injury front:

  • The nagging heel issue Eric Berry‘s been dealing with will likely keep him out of Week 1. Andy Reid (via Adam Teicher of ESPN.com, on Twitter) does not expect his All-Pro safety to be available when the Chiefs play arguably their toughest AFC West game of the season — a road tilt against the Chargers. Berry’s been held out of practice this week. He missed the Chiefs’ final 15 games of last season with an Achilles tear, his second severe NFL injury. Berry’s right heel’s plagued him in recent weeks, and was also an issue in Kansas City’s 2017 training camp; the ninth-year safety tore his left Achilles’ tendon in Week 1 of last season. He hasn’t practice since August 11. Eric Murray and the recently reacquired Ron Parker are K.C.’s likely safety starters, per Teicher.
  • Suffering a high ankle sprain in practice late last month, Olivier Vernon will not be available for the Giants on Sunday. Vernon will miss New York’s Week 1 game against Jacksonville, Pat Shurmur said (via SNY.tv’s Ralph Vacchiano). This will pose a problem for the Giants’ pass rush, which is now without Jason Pierre-Paul. This could push rookie Lorenzo Carter into Big Blue’s lineup Sunday, per Matt Lombardo of NJ.com, who adds the Georgia-developed edge defender may play plenty regardless of his first-string status.
  • The Titans will be missing some key players but may also have one back sooner than expected. Derrick Morgan‘s meniscus issue hasn’t stopped him from practicing this week, and the ninth-year edge player practiced fully on Thursday to put him in line to start Sunday. However, the Titans will begin their season without Jack Conklin, Rashaan Evans and Harold Landry, Jim Wyatt of Titansonline.com tweets. Evans and Landry were Tennessee’s top two 2018 draft picks.
  • Keanu Neal‘s Week 1 injury (an ACL tear) proved to be the biggest health news thus far on Friday, and the Falcons may not seek an outside replacement. Damontae Kazee is likely the next man up for the Falcons, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets, rather than Atlanta going after former Dan Quinn charge Earl Thomas or UFA Eric Reid.
  • Joey Bosa may miss Week 1 as well, and the Chargers‘ dynamic pass rusher was spotted in a walking boot on Friday, Jack Wang of the Los Angeles Times tweets. Bosa will be out for Sunday’s game, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Bosa missed the preseason with a foot injury, but Wang notes (on Twitter) that ailment healed and that the third-year defensive end is week-to-week because of a different malady on that same foot. While the Bolts have maybe the NFL’s best edge-rushing tandem in Bosa and Melvin Ingram, they aren’t especially deep at that position.
  • Jesse James will start at tight end for the Steelers on Sunday against the Browns. Vance McDonald will miss Pittsburgh’s opener, per Steelers.com’s Missi Matthews (Twitter link). A foot injury shelved McDonald during the preseason, halting the tight end’s offseason momentum as he prepares for his second Steelers season.

Draft Pick Signings: 5/11/2018

Here are the rest of Friday’s draft-pick signings:

  • In addition to signing Marcus Davenport, the Saints also inked Florida State offensive tackle Rick Leonard (Round 4, pick 127), Wisconsin safety Natrell Jamerson (Round 5, pick 164), Boston College cornerback Karmin Moore (Round 6, pick 189), Louisiana Tech running back Boston Scott (Round 6, pick 201), and LSU center Will Clapp (Round 7, pick 245), The Advocate’s Nick Underhill tweets.
  • The Cardinals continued to ink their draft picks to deals, signing Fordham running back Chase Edmonds (Round 4, pick 134), cornerback Christian Campbell (Round 6, pick 182), and offensive tackle Korey Cunningham (Round 7, pick 254).
  • The Giants followed suit, signing UTEP guard Will Hernandez (Round 2, pick 34), Georgia linebacker Lorenzo Carter (Round 3, pick 66) and Richmond quarterback Kyle Lauletta (Round 4, pick 108).
  • The Panthers also inked cornerback Rashaan Gaulden (Round 3, pick 85) and linebacker Andre Smith (Round 7, pick 234).
  • The Bills added another signing in Weber State cornerback Taron Johnson (Round 4, pick 121).
  • The Bengals were also busy, tabbing cornerback Davontae Harris (Round 5, pick 151), defensive end Andrew Brown (Round 5, pick 158), quarterback Logan Woodside (Round 7, pick 249) and guard Rod Taylor (Round 7, pick 252).
  • The 49ers signed their fifth pick so far in the offseason, inking Kansas State defensive back D.J. Reed (Round 5, pick 142).
  • The Patriots added a slew of draft picks to the ranks, signing linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley (Round 5, pick 143), linebacker Christian Sam (Round 6, pick 178), wide receiver Braxton Berrios (Round 6, pick 210), quarterback Danny Etling (Round 7, pick 219), cornerback Keiron Crossen (Round 7, pick 243), and tight end Ryan Izzo (Round 7, pick 250).

Giants Did Not Have Consensus On Draft’s Top QB

The Giants were enamored with Saquon Barkley to the point they didn’t waste much time turning in their card. And the team is now prepared to enter the season without a surefire heir apparent behind Eli Manning.

It turns out, Big Blue’s brass didn’t appear to have a consensus among which of the quarterbacks they would take, with Paul Schwartz of the New York Post reporting different sects of the Giants’ decision-makers preferred three separate signal-callers. And they didn’t feel strongly enough about one of them to pull the trigger at No. 2.

Mostly, the Giants were down to Sam Darnold or Josh Allen, with some Josh Rosen support in the building as well. Schwartz reports there wasn’t much love for Baker Mayfield among the new-look Giants power structure.

If it were up to Pat Shurmur, Allen would have been the quarterback pick — had the franchise been leaning in that direction. Upside drew Shurmur to Allen. However, the Giants would have selected Bradley Chubb if Barkley wasn’t available, per Schwartz.

The Giants placed the same grade on Barkley and Chubb, but the Penn State running back was listed atop Chubb’s name on Big Blue’s board. They proceeded accordingly, and are “ecstatic,” Schwartz writes.

Additionally, Schwartz lists second-round pick Will Hernandez as a near-surefire starter at guard. Hernandez caught the Giants’ eye at the Senior Bowl, and one staffer told Schwartz the the team’s consensus was the UTEP lineman’s Combine performance would not have him available by the time New York’s second-round window opened. The Giants signed Patrick Omameh in free agency and still have returning starter John Jerry on the roster. And Schwartz adds that Lorenzo Carter could well get a strong push to start ahead of free agency addition Kareem Martin, the latter’s knowledge of James Bettcher’s system notwithstanding.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Jets, Giants, Eagles, Broncos, Chiefs, Vikings

With the selection of Sam Darnold at No. 3 in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Jets brought their quarterback room to five. The USC product joined Josh McCown, Teddy Bridgewater, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg. Newsday’s Calvin Watkins, however, notes that number is expected to shrink by the time the team heads to training camp in July.

The two obvious candidates to be moved or released are Petty and Hackenberg. The former has failed to impress in seven starts, and the latter, despite having a cannon for an arm, has yet to make an appearance in his first two seasons.

Even if one of the two make it to training camp, another move is likely to come as keeping four quarterbacks would handicap the team at other positions. In addition to Darnold, it would be hard to see the veteran McCown not making the squad. The journeyman is viewed as invaluable in the locker room and is the perfect candidate to help the young Darnold learn the ropes of the NFL.

Bridgewater, however, is no lock to make the roster. As Watkins notes, the former Vikings signal-caller receives a $5MM base salary if he makes the team. If not, the Jets are only out the $500,000 signing bonus. If he proves he is back to his pre-injury form, New York will have a steal. If not, the team can cut bait with minimal salary implications.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Broncos did not endure a turnover in the scouting department following this weekend’s draft, 9 News’ Mike Klis tweets. In the wake of the annual draft, it is not uncommon for teams to part ways with scouts and personnel department. Team president John Elway, however, decided to bring everyone back.
  • The Chiefs hired Eagles assistant director of college scouting Michael Bradway to an undisclosed position, Geoff Mosher of 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia tweets. Mosher notes Bradway, who was with the Eagles for seven seasons, joins back up with Chiefs general manager Brett Veach, who also spent time in Philadelphia.
  • The Giants attempted to trade into the back end of the second round to select Georgia linebacker Lorenzo Carter, the New York Post’s Paul Schwartz writes. Though a deal did not form, New York was still able to pluck the speedy edge rusher when he fell to their third-round pick (No. 66). “What you have to appreciate is his unseen production. If he is flying off the edge, he is creating pressure. Sometimes you are looking at guys that create plays for others.,” general manager Dave Gettleman said.
  • The Eagles drafted their fewest players since 1989 when it emerged from the draft with only five selections. That is not a spot the team wants to be in again, general manager Howie Roseman told The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Les Bowen. “I think it’s a hard first couple of days for people who put a lot of time and effort into the process, and you see that,” Roseman said. “The last two days, it’s hard. A lot of guys get off the board, so we don’t want to do that again. I think that’s the first takeaway.”
  • Vikings center Pat Elflein is doing “part work” in spring drills but is not going to be ready for OTAs, the player told Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter link). Elflein suffered a fractured left ankle in the NFC Championship game on Jan. 21 and underwent surgery the following week. “We’re just not rushing it. I’m just trying to get myself back in shape and get strong and be ready to go.,” Elflein said.

AFC East Notes: Dolphins, Bills, Jets, Patriots

Speaking to the media earlier today, Dolphins executives Mike Tannenbaum and Chris Grier indicated their belief that Miami has enough draft capital to move from pick No. 11 into the top-six, as Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald tweets. The Dolphins have been heavily linked to quarterbacks this spring, and they could potentially seek a long-term upgrade over Ryan Tannehill. Trading up into the top-six would likely require Miami to sacrifice its 2019 first-rounder, but the price tag could be worth it if head coach Adam Gase wants to work with someone like UCLA’s Josh Rosen or Wyoming’s Josh Allen.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • The Bills are hosting Boston College edge rusher Harold Landry, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Almost assuredly a first-round pick, Landry is viewed a notch below the draft’s consensus best defensive end, North Carolina State’s Bradley Chubb. Landry, who notched 48 sacks during his collegiate career, isn’t expected to last until pick No. 23 (Patriots), per Rapoport. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, as he’s drawn plenty of interest during the pre-draft process. Landry has also recently met with the 49ers and Falcons, report Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (Twitter link). In a draft that lacks depth at the pass rusher position, Landry should be highly coveted on Day 1.
  • Speaking of edge defenders, Georgia linebacker Lorenzo Carter spent Wednesday with the Jets, tweets Rapoport. Perhaps no club needs more help at getting after opposing quarterbacks than New York, as its depth chart at outside linebacker currently is comprised by Lorenzo Mauldin, Jordan Jenkins, Josh Martin, and Kevin Pierre-Louis, among others. Indeed, Pro Football Focus today listed the Jets as possessing the single-worst edge rushing group in the NFL. Carter, who posted 14 career sacks for the Bulldogs, is a “long and rangy” athlete with the “ability to cover ground quickly,” writes Lance Zierlein of NFL.com.
  • The Patriots met with Maryland wideout D.J. Moore this week, reports Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.net (Twitter link). Rapoport indicated earlier today that Moore is likely to become a first-round pick, and that’s entirely possible given that a clear No. 1 wide receiver prospect hasn’t really emerged. Alabama’s Calvin Ridley, who has also visited New England, had been viewed as the top pass-catcher early in the draft process, but he’s not a lock to be the first receiver off the board. The Patriots are on the hunt for another offensive weapon after trading Brandin Cooks to the Rams, and Moore — who posted 80 catches and 1,033 yards in 2017 — could fit that bill.

NFL Draft Rumors: Bucs, Packers, James

Florida State safety Derwin James spent Wednesday meeting with the Buccaneers and will sit down with the Packers on Thursday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). James, the No. 9 ranked safety in the draft per NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah, offers versatility with experience at both safety spots, nickel cornerback, and even outside linebacker. He arguably performs better when playing closer to the line, so the team that drafts him will likely look to continue using him in multiple roles.

Here’s more NFL Draft news:

  • NC State defensive end Bradley Chubb met with the Buccaneers on Wednesday and is visiting the Giants on Thursday, Rapoport tweets. Chubb has another top 5 team visit next week, Rapoport notes, but he did not specify the club.
  • Wisconsin linebacker Jack Cichy was with the Vikings on Wednesday, Rapoport tweets. Cichy suffered an ACL tear in the summer that prevented him from seeing the field in 2017. Before the injury, he was considered a first-round prospect and he could still come off the board in Day 2 if he demonstrates that he is healthy.
  • Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward is visiting the 49ers on Thursday, according to Rapoport (on Twitter). The Niners pick No. 9 overall and he could be a possibility for San Francisco there. SF will also meet with Georgia linebacker Lorenzo Carter.
  • The Bears met with a pair of top defensive backs in Ward and Minkah Fitzpatrick (Alabama), Rapoport tweets. Fitzpatrick previously visited the Buccaneers. The Bears own the No. 8 pick in the draft, so they could be in range for both players.
  • The Vikings met with University of Texas offensive tackle Connor Williams and Notre Dame tackle Mike McGlinchey, Rapoport tweets. Jeremiah has Williams ranked as the No. 21 prospect in this year’s draft while McGlinchey is at No. 35.
  • Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans visited the Dolphins (No. 11) this week, Rapoport tweets. Evans, who played all over in Bama’s front seven, offers strong coverage against both tight ends and running backs.
  • Alabama defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne is meeting with the Falcons, according to Rapoport.
  • The Buccaneers, who own the No. 7 pick in the first round, had former Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson in for a visit on Wednesday, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets.