Samson Ebukam

NFC Notes: Carson, Falcons, Barr, Rams

The Seahawks have struggled not just to replace offensive linemen from the Marshawn Lynch era but to replace Lynch himself. Last season, they went through several running backs but saw none emerge as a surefire answer. Five backs — Eddie Lacy, Mike Davis, Thomas Rawls, Chris Carson, J.D. McKissic — received more than 45 carries, but none surpassed 70 in a strange season. Now, the team is hoping one of these players in particular will be the leader in 2018. Carson’s been the clear No. 1 back throughout the offseason, and Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times expects him to be the starter in Week 1, should he stay healthy. Carson averaged 4.2 yards per carry prior to breaking his ankle early in the season. The Seahawks also added Rashaad Penny in the draft, but at this point, Carson is running ahead of the San Diego State alumnus few expected to be a first-round pick. Condotta also expects Prosise and McKissic to vie for the third-down back role, mentioning Prosise — should he stay healthy after an injury-prone career thus far — as a threat to factor into the starter conversation.

Here’s the latest from the NFC, pivoting to one of the Seahawks’ top rivals.

  • Although the Rams drafted three linebackers and have emerging backup Matt Longacre due back from injury, the team that devoted substantial offseason resources to restocking its defensive line and secondary doesn’t have much in the way of certainty on its second level. The Rams traded Robert Quinn and Alec Ogletree, shedding salary but creating lineup vacancies. The team is counting on Longacre, 2017 fourth-rounder Samson Ebukam and third-year UDFA Cory Littleton to be first-string presences, Joe Curley of USA Today notes. Los Angeles drafted edges Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and Trevon Young in the fifth and sixth rounds, respectively, and brought in ILB Micah Kiser with a fifth-round pick. However, Curley adds that ex-Chief inside ‘backer Ramik Wilson could be called upon as a possible starter as well in this still-muddled situation.
  • Desmond Trufant may have a new sidekick at some point this season. The Falcons used second-round pick Isaiah Oliver at right cornerback throughout the offseason, and D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution notes Dan Quinn would like to have a bigger presence at that position (Robert Alford is 5-foot-10; Oliver is 6-1). While predicting Oliver will begin his career as a special-teamer, Ledbetter writes that Alford would be an option as the Falcons’ slot corner if Oliver moves into the starting lineup. The Falcons extended Alford in 2016 and are set to pay him over $9MM in each of the next three seasons, though they can get out of that contract relatively easily after 2018.
  • Anthony Barr‘s effort level may be one of the factors involved in the Vikings‘ line of thinking regarding an extension for the fifth-year linebacker, Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes. A Barr extension would probably require for him to either top or come quite close to exceeding Jamie Collins‘ OLB-high $12.5MM-AAV contract, and the Vikings already have a host of recently constructed extensions on their books. Barr’s been one of the best 4-3 outside ‘backers in the game for several years, but Mike Zimmer has questioned his effort in the past. The Vikings, who have already extended Eric Kendricks and Danielle Hunter this year, have begun re-up conversations with Barr.

Rams Sign Five Rookies, Wrap Up Draft Class

The Rams have become the latest club to lock up their 2017 draft class, as the team announced they’ve agreed to terms with fourth-round wide receiver Josh Reynolds, fourth-round linebacker Samson Ebukam, sixth-round defensive tackle Tanzel Smart, sixth-round fullback Sam Rogers, and seventh-round linebacker Ejuan Price.Josh Reynolds (Vertical)

Reynolds, who posted 1,039 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns during his final season at Texas A&M, figures to see the most playing time of the rookies signed today. The 6’3″, 195-pounder — whom Lance Zierlein of NFL.com compares to NFLer Marvin Jones — will compete with fellow rookie Cooper Kupp for playing time behind Robert Woods and Tavon Austin.

Here’s a complete overview of the Rams’ 2017 rookie crop:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Trade #125 To Rams

The Jets are no longer on the clock at #125, reports SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano (via Twitter). The Rams have taken their place, implying that the two teams have made a trade. That is indeed the case, as Vacchiano tweets that New York has acquired pick #141 from Los Angeles. The Jets also added a sixth-rounder (#197) in order to move down 16 spots.

The Rams used the pick to select linebacker Samson Ebukam. The Washington product was named to the First Team All-Big Sky Conference this past season after being named to the second team in 2014 and 2015. In 38 career NCAA games, Ebukam compiled 188 tackles, 44 tackles for loss, and 24 sacks.

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.