Sheldon Day

Texans, Lions, Cardinals Liked Sheldon Day

On Monday, the 49ers used their high waiver priority to snag defensive tackle Sheldon Day. They weren’t the only team with interest in him, however. The Texans, Lions, and Cardinals also tried to claim him, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Sheldon Day (vertical)

It seems that several teams in the league have been keeping an eye on the former fourth-round pick out of Notre Dame. Day hasn’t done a whole lot in his one-and-a-half NFL seasons, notching just eleven tackles and two sacks. However, he led the Fighting Irish in quarterback pressures (13), tackles for a loss (15.5), and touchdown-saving tackles (9) in his final year on campus.

The Texans would have loved to get a good look at Day, particularly after losing defensive lineman J.J. Watt and backup Christian Covington for the season. Ditto for the Lions who are without defensive tackles Haloti Ngata and Jordan Hill plus defensive end Kerry Hyder. However, the 1-9 49ers beat them all to the punch in order to reunite Day with defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

By assuming his rookie contract, the 49ers have gained contractual control of Day through the 2019 season. However, if he gets cut at some point between now and then, the Texans, Lions, and Cardinals will be among the teams to keep an eye on.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Claim Sheldon Day From Jaguars

The 49ers claimed defensive lineman Sheldon Day off waivers from the Jaguars, the team announced on Monday.Sheldon Day

Day was waived on Saturday when the Jaguars activated rookie Dede Westbrook. A fourth-round selection in 2016 coming out of Notre Dame, Day has appeared in 22 games, logging 11 tackles, two sacks and one pass defensed. With the move, the second-year defender will be reunited with San Francisco defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, who spent three seasons in Jacksonville as a linebackers coach before heading west.

A Second Team All-American at Notre Dame, Day posted 15.5 tackles for loss as a senior in 2015, the most by a Fighting Irish player since Derek Landri in 2006.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars Activate WR Dede Westbrook

Wide receiver Dede Westbrook is finally set to make his NFL debut. The Jaguars activated the rookie wideout from the reserve/injured list this morning, the team announced. The organization also activated defensive back Calvin Pryor from the reserve/injured list and promoted receiver Larry Pinkard from the practice squad. To make room on the roster, the team placed wideout Arrelious Benn on the injured reserve and waived defensive tackle Sheldon Day and receive Jaelen Strong.

Dede Westbrook (vertical)We learned in late October that the Jaguars had designated Westbrook for return. The fourth-rounder was initially placed on the injured reserve with a core injury prior to the start of the regular season. A former Oklahoma standout, Westbrook collected 80 receptions for 1,524 yards and 17 touchdowns last season, making him a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. Considering the fact that Allen Robinson was already out for the season and the team let go of two wideouts today, Westbrook could easily slide behind Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns on the depth chart.

Pryor was claimed off waivers from the Browns in September, although he was placed on the injured reserve shortly thereafter. As our own Dallas Robinson noted, Pryor will be stuck in a reserve role behind Barry Church and Tashaun Gipson, who both rank among the NFL’s top defensive backs, according to Pro Football Focus. Of course, the 25-year-old still has plenty in the tank, as he finished the 2016 campaign with 62 tackles and six passes defended in 15 games for the Jets.

Benn, a 2010 second-round pick, has been stuck towards the bottom of the depth chart during his two-year tenure in Jacksonville. After having hauled in 55 receptions during his first two seasons in the league, Benn only has six receptions for 128 yards and one touchdown in two seasons with the Jaguars (24 games). The 29-year-old was productive on special teams, however, compiling eight tackles over the past two years. Strong, a 2015 third-round pick, joined the Jaguars in mid-September after being waived by the Texans. He ultimately didn’t see the field for the Jaguars. Pinkard, a former undrafted free agent out of Old Dominion, has yet to get in an NFL game. Day, a 2016 fourth-round pick, was buried on the depth chart for the Jaguars, as the 23-year-old had only compiled three tackles and one sack in six games this season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Impact Rookies: Jacksonville Jaguars

The old adage that defense wins championships may or may not be true, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a title-winning team that didn’t build heavily through the draft. Rookie classes, naturally, are evaluated on the perceived upside of the NFL newcomers, but which rookies are ready to contribute right out of the gate? And, how do they fit in with their new team schematically?

To help us forecast the immediate future of these NFL neophytes, we enlisted the help of draft guru Dave-Te Thomas who has served as a scouting personnel consultant to NFL teams for multiple decades.

Today, we continue PFR’s Impact Rookie series with his insight on the Jacksonville Jaguars’ draft class:

Patience and an unlimited bank account by team ownership might just be the tickets to get the Jaguars into the playoff picture in 2016. If not, heads are certain to roll, both in the front office and on the field. The maturation of quarterback Blake Bortles, along with the emergence of receivers Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, gives Jacksonville formidable aerial weapons. The addition of former Jets tailback Chris Ivory gives the team a solid 1-2 punch in the backfield, as the newcomer is expected to split time with T.J. Yeldon.

The defense received the bulk of the front office’s attention via the free agent market. Denver’s Malik Jackson was brought on board to join injured 2014 first-round talent Dante Fowler, drastically upgrading the team’s pass rush. Toss in free safety Tashaun Gipson leading a revamped secondary and you can see that coordinator Todd Wash had enough weapons on hand even before the cache of talent the team snatched during the draft.

Jacksonville failed to address their primary need – offensive line – spending six of their seven draft selections on defensive talent. Still, you can envision at least two future All-Pros (Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack) to hopefully emerge from this crop. The rest of the defensive selections were taken with one task in mind – attack the pocket and get to the quarterback.

First Round – Jalen Ramsey, DB (Florida State, No. 5 overall)

The Jags wasted little time running up to the podium with Ramsey’s name on the card handed to the commissioner. Many had figured Ramsey, the best athlete in the draft, would be taken by the Chargers at No. 3 to help ease the loss of Eric Weddle. Ramsey may have slipped past the Chargers and Cowboys due to some minor knee issues and, as it turns out, that injury did pop up during Jacksonville’s rookie campJalen Ramsey

Still, to find Ramsey on the board with the fifth pick was a blessing. The addition of Gipson via veteran free agency will see Ramsey remain a cornerback, at least at the start of his NFL career. He’s already listed as their starting right cornerback, leaving former starters Dwayne Gratz and Aaron Colvin as caddies for Ramsey and Davon House. Both former starters will also have to contend for a roster spot, as the team also inked former Giants first rounder, Prince Amukamara, to a one-year deal. Additionally, the team seems enamored with versatile Nick Marshall, a former college passer making the conversion to the secondary.

Second Round – Myles Jack, LB (UCLA, No. 36 overall)

If Jacksonville was fast to get to the podium with the Ramsey card, they were at warp speed when it came to Myles Jack. Medical reports are split on Jack as some say the injured star is 90% ready to contribute while others indicate that he could have a short-lived career due to his knee issues. Perhaps the Jags felt that Jack was just too good to pass up, even if it is for the short term.

If Jack’s knee is able to withstand the rigors of NFL life, he could be the team’s playmaker at strong-side linebacker. Recent off-field issues for current starter Dan Skuta put the veteran in a precarious situation, but even on his best day, he could not compare to Jack at his worst. Skuta ranked eighth on the team with 40 tackles in 2015 and his 1.5 sacks are easily replaced. Skuta’s roster spot could be in further peril, thanks to the drafting of Yannick Ngakoue and Tyrone Holmes (more on them in a bit). Outside of Telvin Smith, look for the linebacker unit to undergo a transformation this year, with middle linebacker Paul Posluszny possibly holding on to that spot one more year before Jack could be asked to shift inside in 2017.

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Draft Signings: Bengals, Broncos, Jags, Chiefs

We’ve compiled the latest draft pick signings below:

  • The Bengals have officially signed second-round pick Tyler Boyd, as Paul Dehner Jr. of The Enquirer tweets. The wideout is also a talented kick returner, having averaged 24.4 yards per return last season.
  • Broncos fifth-round pick Connor McGovern signed his rookie contract, as Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post tweets. Mike Klis of 9News in Denver tweets that the guard will receive a $263,900 signing bonus.
  • The Jaguars signed fourth-round defensive tackle Sheldon Day, as Wilson tweets.
  • The Chiefs have signed their fourth-round pick, cornerback Eric Murray, and fifth-round pick, wideout Ty Hill, tweets Terez A. Paylor of The Kansas City Star.