Raekwon McMillan

Extra Points: Redskins, Bears, Fins, Packers

If rookie Derrius Guice isn’t the Redskins‘ starting running back in Week 1, consider Washington’s backfield a surprise, per John Keim of ESPN.com. Guice was expected to be selected in the first round of the 2018 draft, but off-field concerns ultimately forced him into Day 2. While he’s never been involved in any legal trouble, Guice has been labeled as “immature,” and his pre-draft visit with the Eagles was reportedly the worst such meeting Philadelphia had ever taken with a prospect. All that aside, Guice has landed in an intriguing spot, and should easily be able to beat out the likes of Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine for early-down work in the nation’s capital. Passing downs still belongs to Chris Thompson, who registered 54 catches in 2017 before going down with fractured fibula.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Bears running back Tarik Cohen managed 53 receptions during his rookie season in 2017, and his role could grow even larger during his sophomore NFL campaign, as Cohen told The Jim Rome Show that Chicago’s new offensive staff has been lining him up all over the field. “It’s similar to some of the stuff I did in college,” Cohen said, according to Madeline Kinney of the Chicago Sun-Times. “I feel like like if I can take the football, he (new head coach Matt Nagy) also wants me to take the football, too. So how many plays he has me at — I’ve been everywhere. It’s been crazy.” For what it’s worth, Nagy has reportedly already indicated Jordan Howard will be the Bears’ “main guy” in the backfield, as he well should be after posting 1,000+ yard rushing seasons in each of his first two NFL seasons. But Nagy and new offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich will likely deploy Cohen as a satellite back, as he’s far more capable in the passing game than is Howard.
  • 2017 second-round pick Raekwon McMillan was pegged to become the Dolphins‘ starting middle linebacker in his rookie campaign, but a torn ACL ended his first NFL season before it began. Still, Miami brass — including defensive coordinator Matt Burke — still views McMillan as an important part of the club’s defense going forward, as Hal Habib of the Palm Beach Post writes. “We had high hopes for him last year,” Burke said. “Nothing he’s done since then has discouraged that. … He’s been really in-tune, been really sharp. He’s got all the leadership skills and things that we look for, especially at that position. He’s worked his ass off to get better. He’s rehabbed. He’s in here every day. He hasn’t shown any limitations so far, which has been encouraging. Hopefully he’s a big piece for us.” The Dolphins cut veteran ‘backer Lawrence Timmons earlier this year, so McMillan appears set to play as an every-down linebacker alongside Kiko Alonso. McMillan, an Ohio State product, participated in Miami’s organized team activity sessions in May, a good sign of his progress.
  • Approximately six teams were vying to sign undrafted running back Akrum Wadley earlier this year, but the Iowa product ultimately landed with the Titans, where he now could land a spot on the club’s opening 53-man roster, writes Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com. Tennessee only made four selections in the 2018 draft, necessitating its large — 22-man — undrafted free agent class. Wadley was part of that crop, and now he’s one of only five backs on the team, joining Dion Lewis, Derrick Henry, David Fluellen, and fellow UDFA Dalyn Dawkins. As such, it’s entirely possible Wadley could beat out Fluellen for the Titans’ third running back job, although he’ll likely need to flash on special teams to do so. Wadley topped 1,000 yards rushing in each of his two final collegiate seasons, and totaled 64 receptions during those years.
  • Offensive tackle Kyle Murphy showed well in three games as a Packers‘ starter in 2017, but he’s now attempting to come back from a foot injury that cost him the remainder of the season, as Mike Spofford of Packers.com details. Murphy, a 2016 sixth-round pick, was fully cleared for minicamp, and now could have a legitimate chance to start on the right side of Green Bay’s front five. Bryan Bulaga, the Packers’ nominal right tackle, is once again dealing with injuries of his own, and if he’s not medically cleared, right tackle will turn into a competition between Murphy, former second-rounder Jason Spriggs, and veteran addition Byron Bell. As a unit, Green Bay’s offensive line ranked fifth in run-blocking but just 28th in pass-blocking, per Football Outsiders.

East Rumors: Collins, Fins, Bills, Lauvao

Landon Collins has yet to practice with the Giants this offseason. He underwent a second surgery on the forearm he broke late last season. The latest operation delayed the fourth-year safety’s timetable, but he’s hoping to be back on the field in time for Giants minicamp next month, Tom Rock of Newsday notes. Collins expects to be cleared in a few weeks, per Rock. It’s possible the Giants could hold him out until training camp, with the standout defender having essentially nothing to prove in June workouts, but the holdover Giant defenders are adjusting to James Bettcher‘s new scheme. That makes OTAs and minicamp more important than they were a year ago. However, Collins said he’s running currently and will push the new coaching staff to let him work with his teammates in a few weeks.

Here’s the latest from the East divisions:

  • Raekwon McMillan‘s 2017 injury came at a worse time than Collins’ and was far more severe. But the Dolphins linebacker is back in action. McMillan is participating in Miami’s OTAs, per Shandel Richardson of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. The former Ohio State ‘backer and Ryan Tannehill underwent surgeries for ACL tears on the same date last summer and are each progressing accordingly. Both are working with their teammates at OTAs. McMillan was slated to be the Dolphins’ starting middle linebacker prior to his preseason setback.
  • The Redskins opted to bring back veteran guard Shawn Lauvao for what will be a fifth season with the team, doing so possibly because of Arie Kouandjio‘s significant injury. Lauvao’s deal will be a one-year pact worth up to $2.39MM, John Keim of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). The 30-year-old lineman will earn $950K in base salary, per Keim, who adds this agreement includes a $300K signing bonus and a $200K roster bonus. While only $300K is guaranteed, Keim categorizes the $1MM incentive package as “likely to be earned.”
  • After being benched early last season, John Miller is back working as the Bills‘ first-unit right guard, Joe Buscaglia of WKBW notes. Departures of Richie Incognito, Eric Wood and Cordy Glenn have the Bills’ line in an interesting place, but Miller has started all 32 games in which he’s played since Buffalo used a third-round pick on him in 2015. Vlad Ducasse usurped him after the guards’ offseason competition, which Miller won, continued into the regular season. Miller did not see action after this post-Week 4 demotion, but Buffalo is giving him another chance entering his contract year. If Miller sticks at right guard, Ducasse would be in line to fill Incognito’s left guard position.

Dolphins Reach 53-Man Max

The Dolphins reached the 53-man roster maximum. Here’s how:

Waived:

Waived/injured:

Released:

Placed on IR:

PUP List:

Williams played in ten games between the Chiefs and Dolphins last season, finishing with eight tackles. He restructured his deal in March, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot in Miami.

Young was slated to make $1.2MM in 2017 per the terms of the extension he signed in the winter.

Dolphins’ Raekwon McMillan Tears ACL

The Dolphins believe that linebacker Raekwon McMillan has torn the ACL in his right knee, Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald tweets. MRI results on Friday morning confirmed the injury. Raekwon McMillan (vertical)

[RELATED: Latest On Potential Jarvis Landry Extension]

The Dolphins had big hopes for McMillan after he topped 100 tackles in each of his last two seasons. After Koa Misi landed on IR, Miami planned to use McMillan as its starting middle linebacker with Lawrence Timmons and Kiko Alonso at the outside spots.

Of course, the full-on ACL tear automatically rules out McMillan for the entire season. If that’s the case, the Dolphins can be expected to look into signing a free agent linebacker or two.

Notable inside linebackers on the market include Perry Riley, Rey Maualuga, and Daryl Washington. Meanwhile, Arthur Brown and O’Brien Schofield are among the 4-3 outside linebackers without teams. If the Dolphins aren’t crazy about the current crop of options, they could wait until the 53-man deadline approaches to see who else may come available.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Sign Five Draft Picks

The Dolphins have locked up the majority of their seven-player draft class, announcing deals with second-round linebacker Raekwon McMillan (Ohio State), third-round cornerback Cordrea Tankersley (Clemson), fifth-round offensive lineman Isaac Asiata (Utah), sixth-round defensive tackle Vincent Taylor (Oklahoma State) and seventh-round wide receiver Isaiah Ford (Virginia Tech).

Raekwon McMillan

The most significant signing of the group is clearly McMillan, who was a three-year standout at Ohio State. As the 54th overall pick, McMillan is in line for a four-year contract worth $4,697,532, including a $1,556,388 signing bonus, per Over the Cap. After starring as an inside linebacker as a member of the Buckeyes, with whom he eclipsed the 100-tackle mark in each of the two previous seasons, it’s unclear where McMillan will line up as an NFL rookie. The Dolphins already have a veteran middle man in free agent pickup Lawrence Timmons, so McMillan could join Kiko Alonso on the outside of a remade linebacker corps in 2017.

McMillan represents one of five defensive draft picks by Miami, whose ‘D’ finished last season a below-average 19th in DVOA. The team’s most notable rookie is Missouri defensive end Charles Harris, the 22nd overall selection. He and fifth-round defensive tackle Davon Godchaux are the only Dolphins draftees without contracts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Draft Notes: Chargers, Buccaneers, Jets

The Chargers have been connected to a number of quarterback prospects, including DeShone KizerPatrick Mahomes and Josh Dobbs. Current signal-caller, veteran Philip Rivers, understands why his team would start looking for an heir apparent. However, the 35-year-old was also adamant that he’s not looking to give up his role anytime soon.

“I think it’s to be expected they’re going to get a young guy in the room to try and develop him and groom him,” Rivers said (via ESPN.com’s Eric D. Williams). “It doesn’t by any means really affect me. I think it’s healthy for me. … This thing doesn’t last forever. I have to get to playing better and keep this thing going as long as you can.

“As long as I do that, then whoever it is they bring in here, they’re going to sit for a while.”

Rivers finished this past season with 4,386 yards, 33 touchdowns, and a career-high 21 interceptions.

Let’s take a look at some other draft notes…

  • The Buccaneers have shown interest in a pair of safeties, according to ESPN.com’s Jenna LaineObi Melifonwu (Connecticut) and Budda Baker (Washington). The organization is also eyeing wide receivers Chris Godwin (Penn State) and Rodney Adams (South Florida), offensive tackle Julien Davenport (Bucknell), running back Kareem Hunt (Toledo), and tight end Michael Roberts (Toledo).
  • According to Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com, Ohio State linebacker Raekwon McMillan didn’t show a whole lot of speed during his school’s Pro Day, but he looked solid in positional drills. The defender previously met with the Saints, and he had dinner with the Jets on Thursday night.
  • There were a number of offensive line coaches at Utah’s Pro Day, including staff from the Jets, Browns, Jaguars, and Lions. Offensive tackle Sam Tevi was impressive during the workouts, and the big man has drawn particular interest from both the Saints and Patriots.
  • Eastern Washington doesn’t have their Pro Day until early next week, but that didn’t stop some coaches from visiting their top prospects. The Cardinals and Buccaneers reportedly visited campus to work out defensive lineman Samson Ebukam. 

Extra Points: Bears, Colts, Dolphins

As we await the start of playoff football, let’s check out some assorted notes from around the NFL…

  • Bears coach John Fox has another hole to fill on his coaching staff. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports that outside linebackers coach Clint Hurtt recently declined a contract extension. The former Louisville coach is leaving the organization to pursue opportunities elsewhere. Hurtt previously coached the Bears’ defensive line during Marc Trestman‘s tenure in Chicago.
  • 35-year-old Trent Cole recently indicated on Twitter that he wants to play in 2017. The veteran was solid in his seven games with the Colts this season, compiling 17 tackles and two sacks. The long-time Eagles standout is set to be a free agent this winter, and Kevin Bowen of Colts.com says the team’s desire to get younger may prevent Cole from returning to Indy.
  • Ohio State LB Raekwon McMillan announced that he is declaring for the NFL Draft, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). The junior finished the 2016 campaign with 102 tackles, two sacks, and five passes defended. A recent mock draft by Yahoo’s Eric Edholm had McMillan going 56th overall to the Raiders.
  • Players who are signed to reserve/future contracts rarely get any guaranteed money, but Deon Lacey is apparently an exception. ESPN’s Field Yates tweets that the Dolphins linebacker received a $200K signing bonus when inking his contract.