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Chargers Sign Third-Round Pick Trey Pipkins

The Chargers have officially wrapped up their draft class, as the team announced they’ve signed offensive tackle Trey Pipkins to his rookie contract. Pipkins, the 91st pick in April’s draft, was the last player in Los Angeles’ class to sign.

Pipkins played at D-II school Sioux Falls, so not a ton was known about him entering the draft. The first player in program history to be drafted into the NFL, Pipkins was a D-II All-American last season. The Chargers likely didn’t anticipate Pipkins playing much early on when they drafted him, but he could be forced into action. Left tackle Russell Okung is dealing with a mysterious injury, which could give Pipkins an opportunity sooner than expected.

NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein viewed him as a developmental prospect, and someone who would need a good amount of time to sit and learn. As such, it won’t be good news for the Chargers if he’s thrust into action due to Okung’s injury.

Third round picks are often among the last to sign, because the CBA language concerning them is very vague. As of Thursday, there were only 26 picks left unsigned. You can view the contract status of every draft pick at our tracker here.

Colts Sign Third-Round LB Bobby Okereke

The Colts have wrapped up their draft class. The team announced last night that they’ve signed third-round linebacker Bobby Okereke.

Indy selected the Stanford product with the 89th pick of the draft. The 6-foot-1, 239-pound linebacker had a standout collegiate career, compiling 240 tackles, 10.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles in 51 games. He earned an All-PAC-12 Honorable Mention nod in both 2017 and 2018, and he served as one of the team’s captains during his senior campaign.

We learned some discouraging news about the rookie linebacker earlier this month. Back in 2015, a Stanford student told school administrators that she was sexually assaulted by a player on the football team at a fraternity party, and the case went on to make national news. Colts GM Chris Ballard later told beat reporters that the player in question was Okereke, although the linebacker was not charged in connection with the alleged incident.

Okereke informed the Colts of the matter, and Ballard said the organization investigated the incident themselves. Because there were no charges filed or disciplinary action against the Stanford product, the Colts went ahead with the selection. Ballard also cited Okereke’s otherwise clean record as one of the reasons for drafting him.

The Colts had been hunting around for a three-down linebacker to pair with Darius Leonard, and the team was apparently encouraged by Okereke’s performance during voluntary workouts. The rookie will likely be competing with Anthony Walker for the club’s starting MIKE spot.

As we mentioned, the organization has now signed all of their 10 draft picks, which we’ve listed below:

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Minor NFL Transactions: 6/14/19

Today’s minor moves will be posted here:

Buffalo Bills

Towbridge originally signed with the Bills as an UDFA back in 2017, so this is a homecoming for him. He spent most of last season on Buffalo’s practice squad, then signed with the AAF. After playing for the Atlanta Legends, he signed with the Titans, who cut him earlier this week. Deane is an UDFA rookie out of Western Kentucky who signed with the Bills last month.

Packers Release RB Kapri Bibbs

Kapri Bibbs didn’t last very long with the Packers. The team released the veteran running back Friday, a source told Field Yates of ESPN.com.

Green Bay claimed Bibbs off waivers from the Redskins in December of last year, and he spent the end of the season with them. In two games with the Packers, Bibbs carried the ball one time for two yards and caught three passes for 13 yards. In 2016 with the Broncos and 2017 with the Redskins Bibbs occasionally flashed, but has never gotten consistent playing time.

In ten games with Washington last year before being cut, Bibbs had 20 carries for 101 yards and three touchdowns, with 13 receptions for 102 yards and another touchdown. The Packers didn’t announce a corresponding roster move, so they currently have one spot open on their 90-man roster. A move could come later this weekend or on Monday.

The Packers have Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams atop the depth chart, and just drafted Dexter Williams in the sixth round. Bibbs was no higher than fourth, so he was never going to make much of an impact. He’s a decent pass-catcher out of the backfield and has always played special teams, so he should resurface somewhere at some point.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys TE Rico Gathers Suspended One Game

Cowboys tight end Rico Gathers has been suspended for the first game of the 2019 season, per Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link).

The suspension was for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. As Ian Rapoport of NFL Network pointed out in a tweet, the suspension stems from his 2018 arrest for marijuana possession. Gathers is battling for a roster spot right now, and this certainly won’t help his cause. Machota writes that Gathers is “currently the No. 4 TE on Dallas’ depth chart,” so his spot on the 53 seems tenuous at best.

The Cowboys currently have Jason Witten, Blake Jarwin, and Dalton Schultz ahead of him in the pecking order. A sixth round pick in 2016, Gathers has received some offseason hype in the past, but hasn’t done much in the regular season. Gathers is heading into the final year of his rookie deal, and is scheduled to make a base salary of only $570K, which could end up saving him.

There was talk last offseason that Gathers could play a big role for the Cowboys in the wake of Witten’s retirement, but he ended up serving mostly as a blocker. He was listed as starting four games, but ended up catching only three passes for 45 yards. A Baylor product, Gathers missed the entire 2017 season due to injury. He might not be the only Cowboy suspended this summer, as the league is reportedly investigating Ezekiel Elliott‘s latest situation.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions, Patriots Call Off Michael Roberts Trade

Michael Roberts isn’t going to the Patriots, after all. On Friday, the Lions announced that Roberts reverted back to the team’s roster, “per trade conditions.” Subsequently, the Lions waived the tight end.

Earlier this week, the Lions agreed to ship Roberts to the Patriots in exchange for a conditional 7th-round pick in 2020. For one reason or another, the trade effectively fell through.

Roberts has yet to break through at the pro level, but he has flashed some ability over the past two seasons. He had his best showing in October of last year when he caught two touchdown passes against the Dolphins. Ultimately, however, injuries have prevented him from really making a dent in the NFL.

Now, the league’s 30 other teams will have an opportunity to add him to the roster. The Cardinals, who finished with the worst record in the NFL in 2018, have No. 1 waiver priority.

Giants Sign Dexter Lawrence, DeAndre Baker

On Friday, the Giants signed two of their three first-round picks. Defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence and cornerback DeAndre Baker are officially members of the team, leaving first-round quarterback Daniel Jones and third-round linebacker Oshane Ximines as the last remaining stragglers. 

Lawrence, the 17th overall selection, was one of the most dominant DTs in the country over the course of his three years at Clemson. He left school with 10.5 career sacks from the interior, 43 QB pressures, and two national championships.

Baker, the No. 30 overall pick, was the first cornerback to come off the board in April and the only one to be selected in the first round. As a senior at Georgia, he won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s best defensive back. After amassing 40 tackles, two interceptions, and ten pass breakups, Baker was regarded as one of the few corners deserving of first round consideration.

Lawrence seems likely to begin the season as the team’s starting nose tackle. Baker can also crack the starting lineup if he’s able to edge out Sam Beal this summer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Wrap Draft Class

The Bills’ draft class is in the books. On Friday, the Bills announced the signing of third-round tight end Dawson Knox to a four-year contract, putting a bow on their eight-man group. 

Knox skipped his senior year at Ole Miss to turn pro, with the belief that he would go in the second round. Knox slipped a bit further, but he still has a solid opportunity ahead of him. In the spring, Knox impressed with the first-teamers while Tyler Kroft and Jason Croom nursed injuries.

The tight end did not score a touchdown last year and was overshadowed somewhat by the presence of A.J. Brown and D.K. Metcalf. Still, he possesses high-end athleticism for the tight end position, as evidenced by his 18.9 yards per catch in 2018.

Here’s the full rundown of the Bills’ draft class, via PFR’s tracker:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears Sign Third-Round RB David Montgomery

The Bears have reached an agreement with third-round running back David Montgomery, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Chicago traded up to acquire Montgomery, sending three picks (including a 2020 fourth-rounder) to New England in exchange for the 73rd overall selection. The Bears didn’t have a first- or second-round pick in the 2019 draft as a result of the Khalil Mack trade and a 2018 draft-day swap with (again with the Patriots), so Montgomery represented the club’s first selection.

Having already shipped Jordan Howard to the Eagles, the Bears were searching for another back to team with free agent signee Mike Davis and holdover Tarik Cohen. Howard handled roughly 58% of Chicago’s running back snaps and 55% of the team’s rushing attempts a season ago, and head coach Matt Nagy will now be tasked with divvying up touches among three backs.

Montgomery (5’10”, 222 pounds) topped 1,100 yards rushing in each of his final two seasons at Iowa State. While he didn’t produce elite athletic testing results at the combine, Montgomery finished the 2018 campaign with the most missed tackles forced (99) of any collegiate running back, as Ben Cooper of Pro Football Focus writes.

Chiacgo’s lone unsigned 2019 draft pick is now sixth-round cornerback Duke Shelley. Here’s the club’s draft class in full:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 6/13/19

Today’s minor moves:

Chicago Bears

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

New York Jets

Tennessee Titans