Ryan Ramczyk

NFC Notes: Saints, Cards, Bears, Packers

With left tackle Terron Armstead is set to miss a portion of the 2017 season after undergoing labrum surgery, the Saints would prefer to place Ryan Ramczyk or Khalif Barnes on the blindside instead of shifting Andrus Peat from left guard, according to Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com. Barnes is the far more experienced option, as the 35-year-old has appeared in 151 games (117) starts during 11-year NFL career. Ramczyk, on the other hand, was just selected with the final pick of the first round in the 2017 draft. Peat, meanwhile, played left tackle at Stanford and has split time between tackle and guard with New Orleans.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • Although cornerback Brandon Flowers is scheduled to meet with the Cardinals on Wednesday, head coach Bruce Arians says the club isn’t necessarily looking at the veteran defender as a starting-caliber player, according to Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com. As such, Arizona’s interest in Flowers shouldn’t be viewed as a comment on Justin Bethel, who is currently projected to start opposite Patrick Peterson. The Cardinals recently lost two backup defensive backs — Jumal Rolle and Elie Bouka — to minor injuries, so a Flowers addition would be a solid depth addition as the team heads to training camp.
  • Bears defensive lineman Jaye Howard has hired David Canter as his new representation, tweets Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Howard signed a one-year deal worth the veteran’s minimum earlier this offseason, but the pact could be worth as much as $4MM through incentives. Given that he’s still relatively young (28) and has been productive in the past, Howard could be in line for a lengthier contract next spring if he plays well in 2017.
  • Entering his third season as the Bears‘ general manager, Ryan Pace is building the Chicago roster in the mold of the Saints, the club with which Pace spent most of his career prior to heading to the Windy City, as Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. Pace and the rest of the Chicago front office is clearly hoping No. 2 overall selection Mitch Trubisky turns into the next Drew Brees, but other points of comparison are apt, as well. Second-round tight end Adam Shaheen could have the game-breaking ability of a Jimmy Graham, while fourth-round running back Tarik Cohen may prove to be a passing game weapon like Darren Sproles.
  • The Packers announced a series of personnel changes on Tuesday, with the most notable being college scout John Wojciechowski‘s promotion to director of pro personnel. Wojciechowski, who has also worked for the Cowboys, Jaguars, and Steelers, has been with Green Bay since 2012. The rest of the Packers’ front office changes, all of which include promotions or hirings in the scouting department, can be found at the link.

Saints Sign First-Round OT Ryan Ramczyk

The Saints have agreed to terms with the last of their unsigned draft picks, as they’ve inked first-round tackle Ryan Ramczyk to a four-year deal, the club announced today.Ryan Ramczyk (Vertical)

Ramczyk, who had been one of only a dozen unsigned picks league-wide, had been battling a hip issue, leading to a delay in contract negotiation. Although the Saints drafted the Wisconsin product at No. 32 overall with an eye towards the future, Ramczyk may instead be called on to play immediately. Incumbent left tackle Terron Armstead recently suffered a labrum injury and will be sidelined 4-6 months, meaning Ramcyzk could start at left tackle from day one.

Like all first-round selections, Ramczyk will sign a four-year contract that comes with a fifth-year option (for the 2021 campaign) attached. In total, Ramczyk’s deal will be worth approximately $8.892MM, including a signing bonus of $4.607MM and 2017 cap charge of $1.617MM.

Here’s a complete overview of the Saints’ 2017 draft class:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Giants, Saints, Bears, Vikings

Veteran signal-caller Josh Johnson is likely to emerge as the Giants‘ backup quarterback in 2017, which means free agent signee Geno Smith is in danger of being released, according to Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com. Johnson spent the entire 2016 campaign with Big Blue, and though he was only for two games, he earned the trust of Giants’ coaches. New York, meanwhile, would only incur $325K in dead money by parting ways with Smith. Third-round pick Davis Webb, of course, is slated to open the season as the Giants’ third-string quarterback.

  • The Saints have now signed every member of their 2017 draft class aside from first-round offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk, and the Wisconsin product’s deal is on hold until he can pass a physical, reports Nick Underhill of the Advocate (Twitter links). Ramczyk, the 32nd overall selection, is dealing with a hip issue. New Orleans had been one of two clubs (along with the Rams) that hadn’t signed a draft pick before yesterday, and the reason for that delay was fiscal. The Saints picked up $7.8MM in cap space Thursday when Jairus Byrd‘s post-June 1 release was officially processed, giving the team a bit more breathing room to sign its rookies.
  • While the Bears “would like nothing more” than to extend left tackle Charles Leno, it’s unclear if Chicago plans to open contract talks before the season gets underway, as Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes. Leno, 25, is certainly a success story, as the former seventh-round pick has started 32 games for the Bears over the past two seasons. He’s steadily improved, as well, and last year graded as the No. 41 tackle among 78 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus. Chicago will get a relative bargain on Leno in 2017, as he’s due a base salary of only $1.797MM. A long-term deal could easily take Leno over the $10MM per year barrier, if not higher.
  • Michael Floyd‘s one-year deal with the Vikings doesn’t contain any guaranteed money, but the veteran wideout can earn a pay bump through several incentives, as Ben Goessling of ESPN.com details. If Floyd maxes out his incentive-based by reaching 70 catches, 1,000 yards, or 12 touchdowns, he’ll bring in an extra $4.6MM. The bonuses start at $1.5MM, which Floyd can earn by hitting 40 receptions, 500 yards, or six touchdowns. None of that incentive money is on Minnesota’s salary cap for now, as it’s all considered “not likely to be earned” because Floyd didn’t reach even the lowest thresholds in 2016. Additionally, Floyd could struggle to hit the top rung of his incentive ladder given that he’s expected to face a suspension in 2017.

Saints Rumors: Butler, Lattimore, Foster

Last night, Saints coach Sean Payton had a candid chat with reporters and shared some interesting info. Here’s a look at the highlights:

  • The coach said all of the trade possibilities the team previously considered for veteran cornerbacks “still remain open” depending on how the rest of the draft falls (Twitter link via Mike Triplett of ESPN.com). Payton, ostensibly, is referring to the Saints’ trade talks with the Patriots regarding Malcolm Butler. When New Orleans drafted Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore with the No. 11 pick, many assumed that the team would back off of its pursuit. Personally, I don’t believe that the Saints will be willing to give up significant compensation for Butler now that they have Lattimore, particularly since locking him down will require a hefty contract.
  • Payton said the Saints even had talks about possibly trading up to land Lattimore. They also listened to offers to trade down, but ultimately stood pat (Twitter link via Triplett). He added that Lattimore was the team’s third or fourth ranked player on the board heading into the draft (Twitter link via Nick Underhill of The Advocate).
  • The Saints were considering Reuben Foster and Takkarist McKinley at No. 32 before they came off the board, Payton told reporters (Twitter link via Triplett). With both players gone, the Saints selected offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk.
  • Payton views Ramczyk, who played left tackle at Wisconsin, as a right tackle (Twitter link via Herbie Teope of the Times-Picayune).

Albert Breer On Foster, Trubisky, Watson

Here’s the latest NFL Draft buzz from Albert Breer of The MMQB. All links go to Twitter:

  • Teams were aware of some drug history for linebacker Reuben Foster at Alabama and that wasn’t considered a big deal until his watered down combine test (link). Now, however, that history has taken on a different context. Depending on who you ask, Foster could be in for a draft day slide similar to Myles Jack in 2016.
  • Breer envisions a run on offensive linemen Ryan Ramczyk, Cam Robinson, Forrest Lamp, and Garett Bolles, and that may trigger some teams to trade up into the late teens (link). This year’s draft is thin on OL help and those four players are considered to be the best available.
  • Though it’s not a likelihood, there’s a chance that quarterbacks Mitch Trubisky, Deshaun Watson, and Patrick Mahomes go in the Top 15 (link).
  • The NFL at large likes Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey and USC cornerback Adoree’ Jackson more than the public realizes (link). To date, most prognostications have them going late in the first round or early in the second. In yesterday’s dueling mock draft, I took Humphrey at No. 13 overall on behalf of the Cardinals.

PFR’s 2017 Live NFL Mock Draft

The 2017 NFL Draft begins on Thursday night, and Pro Football Rumors is back with its second mock draft of the year. While our initial mock attempted to project what will happen in Round 1, we’ve taken a different approach for mock draft 2.0.

PFR editor Zach Links and I conducted this live mock draft on Tuesday morning, rotating picks and breaking down what we would do were we in charge of these selections. We posted each pick on Twitter, followed by a short explanation of our thought process on this page.

Here’s the complete mock:

1. Cleveland Browns (Zach) – Myles Garrett, LB, Texas A&M

I suspect this is the easiest pick either one of us will make all day. Garrett is the best pure talent in this year’s draft and the Browns would be foolish to go in any other direction at the top of the draft.

2. San Francisco 49ers (Dallas) – Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State

Reports that the 49ers are considering a quarterback with the second overall selection stand out as a potential smokescreen, and instead San Francisco uses the No. 2 pick to bolster its defense. Hooker, who recently earned a full medical clearance following combine rechecks, has been commonly linked to the Chargers as a perfect fit for Los Angeles defensive coordinator Gus Bradley‘s scheme. But the 49ers are running the same defensive look as the Chargers under new DC Robert Saleh, and Hooker would give the team a centerfielder with the upside of an Earl Thomas. San Francisco’s plan to convert nickel cornerback Jimmie Ward to safety won’t stop it from adding Hooker, who is possibly the draft’s No. 2 overall prospect.

3. Chicago Bears (Zach) – Solomon Thomas, DL, Stanford 

Dallas’ bold pick left my Bears with a golden opportunity. The Bears could go safety or cornerback in this scenario, but the talent of Thomas is too good to pass up. Thomas can be used on both the inside and outside of the Bears’ defensive line and I see him as one of the safest talents on the board.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars (Dallas) – Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State

No, we didn’t forget the Jaguars used a top-five pick on Jalen Ramsey in 2016 and then handed a $67.5MM contract to A.J. Bouye in free agency last month. But one of Ramsey’s key selling points last year was his versatility: while he’s a shutdown corner at his best, Ramsey can man the slot, cover tight ends, and dabble at safety. As such, adding Conley doesn’t mean Jacksonville is facing cornerback overload, especially given that NFL clubs are in the nickel more than two-thirds of the time. Conley is viewed as a safer prospect than his Ohio State teammate Marshon Lattimore, and he’d give the Jaguars a Broncos-like secondary.

5. Tennessee Titans (Zach) – Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State

The Titans, arguably, get the best cornerback available in the draft even though they are the second team to address the position. No, we don’t have a ton of film to go on for Lattimore, but his combine numbers indicate that he could be a megastar. Few teams in the NFL would have a young cornerback duo like the Titans if they can pair Logan Ryan with Lattimore.Mitch Trubisky Instagram

6. Cleveland Browns (projected trade with Jets) (Dallas) – Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina

In need of a franchise quarterback, the Browns send the No. 12 and No. 52 pick to the Jets in exchange for No. 6 with the intention of drafting Trubisky. It’s a slight overpay for Cleveland (at least, based on Chase Stuart of Football Perspective‘s draft value chart, which is likely what the Browns front offices uses), but it does the deal anyway to land a long-term option under center. Given that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is reportedly pressing the club to select a quarterback early — and the fact the Cleveland may still be considering Trubisky with the first overall selection — landing the UNC signal-caller at No. 5 for the cost of a mid-second-round pick is a move the Browns can’t pass up.

7. Los Angeles Chargers (Zach) – Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama

In this scenario, it seems like Allen’s subpar workouts have led to a bit of a drop. His size (6’3″) is a bit of a concern, but he has the ability to be an effective defensive end while spending some time on the inside as well. Allen would look great lining up on the opposite end of Joey Bosa.

8. Carolina Panthers (Dallas) – Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan

Sitting at pick No. 8, the Panthers certainly have options. General manager Dave Gettleman & Co. could go after a running back like Leonard Fournette or Christian McCaffrey, bring in a young edge rusher to play alongside veterans like Charles Johnson and Julius Peppers, or even reach for an offensive tackle given Michael Oher‘s health questions. With Ted Ginn Jr. and Corey Brown having defected via free agency, the Panthers need another wideout to pair with Kelvin Benjamin. Enter Davis, who topped 1,400 yards and 12 touchdowns in each of the past three seasons.

9. Cincinnati Bengals (Zach) – Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama

Foster’s stock, by all accounts, is slipping after he turned in a diluted urine sample and got into an argument with a hospital worker at the combine. However, with other teams in the market for an inside linebacker (like the Jets at No. 12, for example), it would be somewhat risky to trade down into the teens and expect Foster to still be there. The Bengals have been willing to overlook character concerns in the past, so I see no reason why they can’t do the same here and land the Alabama star.

10. Buffalo Bills (Dallas) – Jamal Adams, S, LSU

While the Bills gave Jordan Poyer a four-year deal with $6MM in guarantees earlier this offseason, I’m still not convinced Buffalo views him as a definite starter. Those questions come to the forefront with Adams still on the board, and the Bills don’t hesitate to take the LSU defensive back. With ex-Packer Micah Hyde also in the fold, Buffalo can field one of the more diverse and flexible safety tandems in the league. Adams is viewed as a leader in the locker room, and has been favorably compared to former Cowboys All Pro Darren Woodson by Lance Zierlein of NFL.com.

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Latest On Giants’ Round 1 Draft Plans

The Giants are “wide open” when it comes to who they’ll pick with the No. 23 pick on Thursday night, a source tells Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. Still, Big Blue does have some idea on what they plan to do during Round 1.Cam Robinson (vertical)

New York is widely expected to target offensive line help early in the draft, but it may not come on Day 1, per Vacchiano, as the Giants aren’t high on the top prospects at tackle. Alabama’s Cam Robinson, Utah’s Garett Bolles, and Wisconsin’s Ryan Ramczyk all have issues in the eyes of New York, and the club doesn’t necessarily believe any of the three would represent marked improvement over incumbent left tackle Ereck Flowers.

If offensive line isn’t in the works for the Giants in Round 1, tight end could be, although the Giants don’t expect Alabama TE O.J. Howard to reach them. David Njoku (Miami) could be an option, although Vacchiano reports “mixed signals” from New York on the idea of drafting Njoku. Linebacker, too, could be a consideration, although the Giants famously haven’t selected a first-round ‘backer since 1984.

Finally, the Giants aren’t expected to use their first-round pick on an Eli Manning successor, although the team could add a quarterback in the second round, per Vacchiano. Although New York is open to drafting a signal-caller this year, the club “isn’t sold” on the draft’s top passers, reports Vacchiano, so it may look to Day 2 to find a long-term option under center.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Pats, Ravens, Lockett, Dansby

If a Malcolm Butler trade is going to occur, it will likely take place this week and come down to whether the Saints are ready to surrender their No. 32 overall pick or submit a proposal of a package involving their second-rounder (No. 42), Mike Reiss of ESPN.com notes. Butler signed his $3.91MM RFA tender earlier this week to pave the way for a trade and Saints/Patriots talks continue, but it’s uncertain if the Saints want to unload a high draft pick and pay the 27-year-old Butler like a top-tier cornerback. Reiss gets the feeling the Patriots won’t have an issue with Butler playing on the RFA tender this season, as they would be able to fetch a compensatory pick after the season if/when Butler departs as a UFA in that scenario.

Here’s the latest from New England and the rest of the league as we enter draft week.

  • Aaron Hernandez‘s death closed all cases against him and could open the door to more issues between the NFL and NFLPA regarding the former Patriots tight end’s salary. The league and NFLPA agreed to table any grievance-related discussions until all criminal prosecution of Hernandez concluded, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. That having happened reopens those unresolved issues. Hernandez’s side was demanding $3.25MM in unpaid money from his 2012 signing bonus, and the NFLPA filed a grievance for the former tight end’s 2013 and 2014 guaranteed salaries (in addition to a 2014 guaranteed workout bonus). The NFL and the Patriots’ grievance sought repayment of all money given to Hernandez prior to the 2012 contract extension.
  • While initial reports indicated Ravens offensive lineman James Hurst had signed his restricted free agent tender, that doesn’t appear to be the case, tweets salary cap guru Ian Whetstone. Instead, Hurst looks to have agreed to a reduced one-year contract, similar to Baltimore RFA wide receiver Michael Campanaro. Under the terms of his original-round RFA tender, Hurst would have earned $1.797MM in 2017. But he will now will presumably take in a lesser total. Hurst, 25, started three games for the Ravens last season and played on roughly a quarter of the club’s offensive snaps.
  • Tyler Lockett expects to be ready for training camp, but the rehabbing Seahawks wideout has an uncertain timetable until then, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times reports. Lockett broke the tibia and fibula in his right leg in Week 16 of last year and had surgery on Christmas Eve. Lockett told media, including Condotta, he’s aiming to be ready by camp but is viewing any earlier participation as a bonus.
  • The Cardinals did not view Karlos Dansby as a backup plan despite his age, contacting the 14th-year linebacker in the opening minutes of free agency, Kent Somers of AZCentral.com reports. Signed to a one-year, $2MM deal, the 35-year-old Dansby is expected to take Kevin Minter‘s place alongside Deone Bucannon at inside linebacker. The Cards allowed Minter to walk, and he signed a one-year, $4MM deal with the Bengals.
  • Two personnel men surveyed by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Bob McGinn regarding the 2017 draft said Ryan Ramczyk would profile as a second-round pick if this were a more traditional year for offensive line prospects. But with the prognosis grim for this year’s class, the Wisconsin blocker likely will vault into the first round. An AFC team’s staffer said this class of linemen was the worst he’s seen in 10 years.

Dallas Robinson contributed to this report.

AFC East Rumors: Pats, Ramczyk, Bills, Fins

James White‘s three-year extension with the Patriots is worth $12MM, but can max out at $15MM, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. White, 25, picks up $4.69MM in guaranteed money, which likely means his $690K base salary for 2017 is now fully guaranteed. A hero of New England’s Super Bowl LI victory, White rushed only 16 times is 2016 and did most of his work through the air. On 86 targets, White managed 60 receptions for 551 yards and five touchdowns.

Here’s more from New England and the rest of the AFC East:

  • The Patriots hosted Wisconsin offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk on Tuesday, according to Rapoport (Twitter link). Offensive line is something of an underrated long-term need area for New England, especially given that incumbent left tackle Nate Solder is entering the final year of his contract. As such, the Patriots could look to secure a successor on the left side, although Ramczyk probably won’t be an option for New England unless it trades up (the Pats currently don’t have a pick until the third round). Ramczyk is viewed as one of the draft’s best tackle prospects along with Utah’s Garett Bolles and Alabama’s Cam Robinson.
  • Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly visited the Bills on Monday, reports Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News. Kelly, the nephew of Bills legend Jim Kelly, is considered a Day 3 prospect thanks a multitude of injury concerns and off-field issues. After recovering quickly from a ACL tear, Kelly underwent wrist surgery in early April and won’t be able to throw for three months. Buffalo may be looking for a developmental quarterback in this year’s draft, as Tyrod Taylor‘s new contract doesn’t tie him to Buffalo for long.
  • The Dolphins visited with Clemson cornerback Cordrea Tankersley and Florida safety Marcus Maye this week, tweets Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com. Tankersley is expected to come off the board on Day 2, and Lance Zierlein of NFL.com compares him to Cincinnati’s Dre Kirkpatrick. Maye, too, is thought to be a Round 2 or 3 selection, but Eric Galko of the Sporting News, for one, calls Maye a darkhorse first-rounder.

Draft Rumors: Fournette, Foster, Robinson

LSU running back Leonard Fournette will visit the 49ers prior to the draft, reports Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. While the 49ers would reportedly like to trade down in Round 1, Fournette could be a possibility for them if they keep the second overall pick. San Francisco already has a productive No. 1 back in Carlos Hyde, whom general manager John Lynch spoke highly of last week, but there are whispers that the rookie executive wants to make change in the backfield.

More on the upcoming draft:

  • The Jets hosted Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster on Monday, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. As is the case with the 49ers, the Jets’ goal is to move down from their current first-round slot (No. 6). If a deal doesn’t come to fruition, though, they’ll likely be in the neighborhood of where Foster will come off the board.
  • Offensive tackle Cam Robinson, who was teammates with Foster at Alabama, is drawing significant interest from the Texans. Houston worked out Robinson earlier this month, and he’s now in town for a two-day visit that will include another workout, according to Rapoport (Twitter link). The tackle-needy Texans are in line to pick 25th overall, but Robinson could be gone by then. The Bengals, owners of the ninth overall selection, met with Robinson over the weekend, Rapoport adds. In the event Robinson falls to the end of the first round, the Falcons (No. 31) will be a team to keep an eye on, writes Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com.
  • Colorado cornerback Chidobe Awuzie is gaining momentum as a potential first-round pick, per Rob Rang of CBSSports.com. The fact that Awuzie has experience inside and at nickel makes him a candidate to step into the league and make an impact from the get-go, notes Rang, who lauds the 6-foot, 202-pounder’s “above-average size,” “impressive athleticism” and coverage “savvy.” Awuzie is on the radars of the Titans and Raiders, either of whom could grab him in the second half of the opening round.
  • Eastern Washington wide receiver Cooper Kupp will come off the board “very high” in the second round, according to CBS Sports’ Jason Canfora, who has heard comparisons between Kupp and the Patriots’ Julian Edelman.
  • In advance of their meeting with Utah offensive tackle Garret Bolles on Tuesday, the Broncos hosted Wisconsin bookend Ryan Ramczyk on Monday, tweets Mike Klis of 9News. Both players are first-round possibilities for Denver at No. 20 overall.