Nick Vannett

Steelers To Acquire TE Nick Vannett From Seahawks

Vance McDonald‘s injury has prompted the Steelers to act quickly. Pittsburgh has agreed to acquire tight end Nick Vannett from Seattle, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. The Steelers will send a 2020 fifth-round pick to the Seahawks for Vannett, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. That pick came from Jacksonville in this month’s Joshua Dobbs trade, as Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times tweets, so the Steelers effectively traded Dobbs for Vannett.

This marks the second straight week the Steelers have made a trade, this lower-profile move coming after Pittsburgh sent its 2020 first-round pick for Minkah Fitzpatrick.

A former third-round pick out of Ohio State, Vannett is in a contract year. He caught 29 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns with Seattle in 2018, which was by far his most productive statistical year. Vannett, 26, has four catches for 38 yards this season. He will join a Steelers roster that houses McDonald, blocking tight end Xavier Grimble and rookie fifth-round pick Zach Gentry.

McDonald is battling a sprained shoulder, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. He was spotted with the shoulder in a sling Tuesday, though RapSheet adds this is not expected to sideline Pittsburgh’s starter for long. But it’s clear the Steelers are serious about having an experienced tight end to pair with Grimble, and thus adding more help for Mason Rudolph, while McDonald is out.

Interestingly, this leaves the Seahawks with one tight end on their active roster, Will Dissly. While the second-year player has flashed in limited work, he missed 12 games as a rookie due to a severe knee injury. Seattle will certainly address this new roster need in the coming days.

The Steelers have now dealt their 2020 first-, third- and fifth-round picks, while the Seahawks have extra ’20 selections in the second and fifth rounds.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks, Germain Ifedi Agree To Terms

The Seahawks have reached agreements with two more draft picks, most notably striking a deal with first-round offensive lineman Germain Ifedi, a source tells Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Caplan also reports that the team has agreed to terms with third-round tight end Nick Vannett.Germain Ifedi

Seattle locked up a pair of Day 2 picks earlier this week, agreeing to deals with second-round defensive tackle Jarran Reed and third-round offensive lineman Rees Odhiambo. After securing those four players, the Seahawks still have to sign six more players from this year’s 10-man draft class, but none of those contracts should be particularly difficult to negotiate.

Ifedi, who was selected with the 31st overall pick after the Seahawks traded down from No. 26, figures to compete for a spot on Seattle’s offensive line immediately, either at guard or right tackle. Because the Patriots didn’t have a first-round pick this year, the former Texas A&M tackle represented the final pick of the 31-player first round, and will therefore be the last 2016 draftee eligible for a fifth-year option on his rookie contract.

According to Over the Cap’s data, Ifedi’s four-year rookie deal should be worth about $8.265MM, with a $4.211MM signing bonus. The value of his fifth-year option for 2020 won’t be determined until 2019, when the Seahawks will have to make a decision on whether to exercise or decline it.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Draft Rumors: Dolphins, Steelers, Ravens

After trading down a few weeks ago, could the Dolphins trade back up? Miami will consider moving up from No. 13 in order to grab either Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott or UCLA linebacker Myles Jack, multiple sources tell Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald. Moving up from No. 13 to the top ten can be pricey, but top exec Mike Tannenbaum has said that he would be open to such a move for the right player.

Here’s are the latest NFL Draft rumors out of the AFC:

  • The Steelers, currently slated to pick 25th overall in this year’s draft, are unlikely to trade up, but moving down remains on the table, general manager Kevin Colbert said today (Twitter link via Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).
  • In the wake of the two major trades at the top of the draft, there’s a chance that Ole Miss tackle Laremy Tunsil will still be on the board at No. 6 for the Ravens. Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun explores that scenario, examining whether it would make sense for the club to pass up a top defensive prospect to fortify the left tackle spot.
  • The Chargers are expected to select a tight end at some point during this week’s draft — it’s just a matter of when. We heard last week that the team is considering Ohio State’s Nick Vannett, and Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune takes a closer look at the young tight end as a potential target for the Bolts.
  • Clemson linebacker B.J. Goodson met with 15 teams in total, via either a pre-draft visit or private workout, and the Texans were one of those teams, writes Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.
  • The Dolphins and Jets are among the teams that have shown interest in University of Minnesota cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link), who suggests that Boddy-Calhoun will likely either be a day three pick or an undrafted free agent.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Extra Points: Nkemdiche, Fins, Spence, CBs

Perhaps the most polarizing player in 2016’s prospect pool, Robert Nkemdiche drew the tag of the defensive lineman most likely to be a bust among scouts surveyed by Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Although one scout referred to the former Ole Miss standout as a “flash player … with disaster written all over him,” in a statement relating to the former No. 1 overall recruit’s on-field abilities, it’s an old-school sentiment among scouts and executives that has decision-makers concerned.

Of the scouts interviewed, 11 of the 18 singled out Nkemdiche as the biggest bust candidate and some offered the lineman’s wider range of interests and his background as reasons why football won’t matter as much to him. Nkemdiche’s mother is a diplomat who often works in Nigeria and his father works as a cardiologist.

He’s like a lot of kids from this generation. He’s grown up in some privilege, and that family is involved with so many different endeavors. You’re not going to get rid of that,” a scout told McGinn. “He doesn’t just think football, football, football 24/7. That’s not always the most attractive guy from a football standpoint. Coaches like them a little bit better if it’s football 24/7.”

Here’s the latest from around the league.

  • Among the scouts surveyed in the Journal Sentinel piece, they were more bullish on the overall crop of defensive linemen than the pass-rushers in the draft. “It’s a tremendous draft for defensive linemen,” an NFC executive told McGinn. “But it’s probably average for pass-rushers.” Among the scouts’ preferences for certain schemes, Joey Bosa ranked as the best defensive end in a 4-3, with DeForest Buckner earning that tag for 3-4 ends. Jarran Reed ranked as the anonymous scout coalition’s best projected 4-3 tackle, and Kenny Clark topped the list for who’d thrive most as a 3-4 nose.
  • The Dolphins have spent a lot of time with Nkemdiche through the draft process, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. Miami holds the No. 13 pick, which is higher than Nkemdiche’s been slated to go by most outlets during the pre-draft process.
  • Maryland defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson also recently met with Dolphins DC Vance Joseph, while Arizona guard/tackle Lene Maiava, former BYU defensive end Bronson Kaufusi and Ohio State tight end Nick Vannett are also potential Fins targets, Jackson reports. Dolphins coaches have observed Koufasi and Vannett’s workouts.
  • Former LSU TE/OL Dillon Gordon has hired Rosenhaus Sports for representation, according to Rand Getlin of NFL.com (Twitter links). Gordon was recently denied an injury hardship waiver that would have allowed him to return to the collegiate ranks, meaning he’ll instead head to the NFL draft.
  • Interest in the Chargers‘ No. 3 overall pick has dissipated considerably after the Eagles made the move to acquire the Browns’ No. 2 overall selection, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets.
  • Noah Spence‘s trajectory points up as draft week nears, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report tweets. Spence seems to have a wide variance between his landing spots. ESPN.com’s Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay project the Eastern Kentucky pass-rusher to go off the board midway through the second round, yet several mock drafts have put the former Ohio State performer as a first-round pick.
  • Josh Norman signing a cornerback-record $75MM deal will have other top-tier corners seeking raises, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. Citing Chris Harris‘ assessment that left Norman out of the Broncos corner’s top five at the position for consistency reasons, Florio notes that if other notable corners view themselves as superior to Norman they’ll want this kind of money.

Dallas Robinson contributed to this report

Draft Rumors: Treadwell, Ragland, Correa, Jets

The Jets have been eyeing linebackers Reggie Ragland (Alabama) and Kamalei Correa (Boise State) in recent days, according to Tony Pauline of WalterFootball.com. Ragland, specifically, would act as a future replacement for veteran David Harris, but he could be in play as high as pick No. 13 to the Dolphins. However, Washington and the Packers are seen as the most likely landing spots for Ragland, per Pauline.

Let’s take a look at some more draft rumors, all courtesy of Pauline…

  • The Giants have been linked to wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, but Pauline speculates that New York could trade down from the No. 10 pick before selecting him. The Titans (pick No. 15) would make for an ideal trade partner, and they could move up with their sights set on offensive tackle Jack Conklin.
  • Conklin is a popular name in the top half of Round 1, as Pauline reports that the Browns are interested in the Michigan State product with the eighth pick. Conklin would act as a replacement for Mitchell Schwartz, who departed via free agency, at right tackle.
  • The Panthers lost Josh Norman after rescinding his franchise tag, but they have their eye on another corner in the draft, as Pauline says Carolina could select Southeastern Louisiana defensive back Harlan Miller at the end of the third round. Miller had a private workout with the Panthers earlier this month.
  • Some general managers think Ohio State’s Nick Vannett is the only true three-down tight end available in the draft, which could help his stock. The Chargers and Falcons will consider taking Vannett in Round 2 or 3, per Pauline.

Draft Rumors: Jack, No. 3 Overall, Spence, Conklin

The notion that Myles Jack‘s surgically repaired knee is a “time bomb” is greatly exaggerated, sources tell CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, who writes that the torn meniscus the UCLA linebacker suffered last year should not meaningfully alter his draft stock. “This kid is a great player. His change of direction is awesome. This is getting totally blown out of proportion,” said an executive. All the teams La Canfora spoke with indicated that Jack won’t last beyond the top 15. The Jaguars, who hold the fifth selection, “seem locked into” Jack, says ESPN’s Mel Kiper (Twitter link via Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union).

More of the latest draft rumors:

  • The Chargers are generating plenty of interest in regards to the third overall selection, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). On the possibility of trading the pick, Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said last month, “It’s certainly an option. We’ll just follow it through and see where it goes.”
  • Eastern Kentucky defensive end Noah Spence is arguably the best pass rusher in this year’s draft class, but he’s likely to last until the second round because of off-field issues in college, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report offers (video link). Teams view Spence as a good kid, but there’s concern that the drug problems which got him dismissed from Ohio State will resurface in the NFL, per Cole.
  • Michigan State offensive tackle and prospective first-rounder Jack Conklin has met with or worked out for the Titans, Bills, Chargers, Steelers, Falcons, Jets, Colts, Buccaneers and Lions, he told SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link).
  • Ohio State tight end Nick Vannett worked out for and/or visited the Panthers, Titans, Falcons, Patriots, Chargers, Packers and previously reported Jets, according to Rand Getlin of NFL.com (on Twitter).
  • Arizona State receiver Devin Lucien visited the Bengals on Tuesday, per Getlin, who notes that he has also visited with/and or worked out for the Cardinals, Patriots and Rams (via Twitter).
  • Bowling Green receiver Roger Lewis has visited with or worked out for the Bengals, Cowboys, Patriots, Seahawks, Vikings and Chargers, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN. Lewis is a potential third- or fourth-round pick, notes Caplan.
  • Auburn cornerback Blake Countess has drawn interest from 13 teams, including Washington, the Ravens and Giants, writes Aaron Wilson of NFPost.com.

Draft Rumors: 4/10/16

Let’s take a look at some of today’s draft rumors. We will update this page as necessary throughout the day:

  • Memphis QB Paxton Lynch will meet with the Jets on Thursday, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (via Twitter). The Jets, of course, are still looking to bring back free agent signal-caller Ryan Fitzpatrick, but the two sides remain far apart on contract terms. Lynch is widely-regarded as one of the top three quarterback prospects in this year’s draft. Mehta confirms that Gang Green will also visit with Ohio State TE Nick Vannett tomorrow.
  • Alcorn State QB John Gibbs, Jr. worked out for the Texans at their local prospect workout yesterday, according to Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle. As we learned yesterday, prospects like Oklahoma State DE Emmanuel Ogbah and UCLA OT Caleb Benenoch were also in attendance.
  • According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (via Twitter), there are several themes emerging with regards to the top CB prospects in this year’s draft. Some evaluators prefer Ohio State’s Eli Apple to Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves III–Hargreaves has been ranked almost universally as the best corner in the draft outside of Jalen Ramsey–and some prefer Miami’s Artie Burns to Clemson’s Mackensie Alexander and Houston’s William Jackson III.
  • Western Michigan WR Daniel Braverman–who was not even invited to this year’s Scouting Combine–has already visited the Vikings, Saints, and Dolphins, and is set to visit with the Raiders, Seahawks, and Bengals this week, according to NFL Network’s Rand Getlin. (Twitter links). Braverman had a whopping 109 receptions for 1,367 yards last season.

 

AFC Notes: Titans, Conklin, Broncos, Raiders

Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil is the odds-on favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft, but he’s not the only standout tackle the Titans are eyeing. A source tells Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com that the team is expected to host Michigan State tackle Jack Conklin for a visit soon. Conklin isn’t a candidate to come off the board first, but if Tennessee ends up moving down in the first round, he could be in play for the Titans.

Here’s more from across the AFC:

  • Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott was hosted for a pre-draft visit by the Broncos today, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Prescott is unlikely to go in the first round, so the Broncos could look to target him in the second or third round of the draft.
  • Central Arkansas defensive end Jonathan Woodard had a visit scheduled with the Raiders on Monday and will meet with the Titans on Friday, as Tyler Dunne of The Buffalo News tweets.
  • Oklahoma State defensive lineman Emmanuel Ogbah recently paid a visit to the Bills and will soon visit the Texans, tweets Rand Getlin of the NFL Network.
  • Seth Walder of the New York Daily News provides some details on Brandon Marshall‘s civil trial stemming from an altercation outside a Manhattan nightclub in 2012. As Walder notes, Marshall didn’t face criminal charges at the time, but it’s unclear if the NFL might still consider discipline, should the Jets wideout lose the civil trial.
  • Appearing on SiriusXM NFL Radio today, Ohio State tight end Nick Vannett said he has a visit on Sunday with the Jets (Twitter link via Alex Marvez of FOX Sports). Vannett has frequently been linked to Gang Green in recent weeks, having already privately worked out for and met with the team.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Draft Rumors: Bosa, Powell, Chargers, Browns

The latest draft buzz:

  • Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa will be dining with the Chargers on Friday evening, Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net tweets.
  • Safety Tyvis Powell had one-on-one interviews with the Browns, Lions, Titans, and Saints, per Pauline (via WalterFootball.com). The Titans are looking to grab a safety on day two of the draft while the Lions are hoping to grab a safety early after whiffing on George Iloka in free agency.
  • Tight end Nick Vannett met with the Eagles, 49ers, Broncos, Seahawks, Falcons, and Jets. The Ohio State tight end was said to have had a strong showing at the 2016 Senior Bowl. At 6’6″ and 257 pounds, he has the size to compete as an NFL tight end. The Jets met with Vannett previously, so they could have a heightened level of interest in him.
  • Fast-rising Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee interviewed with the Browns and Saints on Thursday, per Pauline.
  • Mississippi State defensive back Taveze Calhoun met “extensively” with the 49ers and he has had private meetings with the Dolphins, Giants, and Rams. It sounds like Calhoun could be rising up draft boards.
  • Ohio State receiver Michael Thomas looked impressive at the program’s Pro Day and Pauline added that he met with the Saints on Thursday. He also had an “outstanding” meeting with the Browns and he’ll meet with the Patriots next week.

Extra Points: TNF, Randle, Wentz, Draft

The NFL announced today that it has reached an agreement with CBS and NBC to expand its Thursday Night Football package for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. While all of the Thursday night games will continue to be either aired or simulcast on the NFL Network, CBS will now show five of the games, while NBC will show another five.

According to a CNBC report (via Twitter), the fees for the Thursday night rights will be approximately $450MM. Although CNBC doesn’t specify, it’s probably safe to assume that each network will be paying that amount for the right to air a total of 10 games each – five per season – in 2016 and 2017. In 2015, CBS paid $300MM for eight games, so a bump up to $450MM for 10 apiece makes sense.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the league:

  • Former Cowboys running back Joseph Randle has run into more trouble off the field, according to Matt Peterson of the Dallas Morning News, who reports that Randle was arrested early Monday morning in Irving and booked on a speeding charge. Randle’s off-field behavior was a factor in the Cowboys’ decision to release him in the fall, and it’s hard to imagine him getting a chance from another team if those legal issues persist.
  • In a piece for PhiladelphiaEagles.com, Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net focuses on the top quarterbacks available in this year’s draft, writing that Carson Wentz‘s stock is on the rise, and he and Jared Goff could both be top-five picks this spring. NFL decision-makers are also bullish on Christian Hackenberg‘s upside, and he’s expected to come off the board in the top 75 picks.
  • Within that same piece, Pauline also suggests that Ohio State’s Nick Vannett could be the first tight end selected in the draft, and says Boise State safety Darian Thompson saw his stock rise at the Senior Bowl.
  • In a memo, the NFL Players Association has indicated that agents are now required to contact the union at the “beginning of substantive discussions” on veteran re-negotiations worth at least $2MM per year, tweets Rand Getlin of the NFL Network. While the exact reason for this change is unclear, Getlin – citing “smart folks behind the scene” – suggests it may be a reaction to players signing extensions that didn’t thrill the NFLPA (Twitter link).