Vander Esch, the reigning Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year, is expected to go at some point in the first round of this week’s draft. The linebacker climbed to No. 28 in the latest Top 50 prospect rankings from NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah.
Reports had come in earlier during the draft process that Vander Esch had been medically flunked by several teams due to a neck injury. The Steelers brought in Vander Esch, who’s drawn comparisons to Brian Urlacher, earlier this month. The Steelers have taken a linebacker in the first round of four of the last five drafts but only two (Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt) will be able to play for the team in 2018.
NFL Draft analyst Tony Pauline reported earlier this month that he doesn’t expect Vander Esch to get past the Steelers at No. 28 if he’s still on the board.
Here’s more from around the NFL:
- Raiders defensive backs Gareon Conley and Obi Melifonwu did not participate in individual drills during the portion of the team’s Tuesday practice that was open to the media, per Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area (on Twitter). Bair did note, though, that both players were out on the field with their helmets. Injuries limited the secondary duo, who were both selected in the first two rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft, to a combined seven games last season.
- The Colts announced that they’ve released running back George Winn with a failed physical designation.
- A source told Michael Lombardi of the Ringer (on Twitter) that the Browns are being considered for the upcoming season of “Hard Knocks.”
- Mark Richardson, son of Panthers owner Jerry Richardson — and part of the team’s current ownership group — told Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer that Charlotte businessman Ben Navarro is his favorite amongst the list of candidates to potentially take over as the team’s owner. Jerry Richardson, the only owner in the franchise’s history, announced in December that he would be selling the team after Sports Illustrated outlined sexual and racial misconduct throughout his tenure. Mark Richardson said he’d consider remaining on as a limited partner with the Panthers if Navarro won the bid.