Tyus Bowser

Shane Ray On Ravens’ Roster Bubble?

Brought in along with Pernell McPhee after the draft, Shane Ray does not have a comfortable path to the Ravens’ 53-man roster. The former first-round pick is squarely on Baltimore’s bubble.

Ray is behind five other Raven edge defenders at present, with Jeff Zreibec of The Athletic noting (subscription required) the four-year Broncos cog will need a strong preseason to make the team.

The fifth-year pass rusher has flashed in practice, but Zreibec notes McPhee is ahead of him among the veteran contingent. So are 2017 second- and third-round picks Tyus Bowser and Tim Williams With the Ravens unlikely to keep six edge defenders, Ray has his work cut out for him entering the team’s preseason slate.

The Ravens added Ray shortly after May’s compensatory deadline and gave him a $1.2MM deal with $200K guaranteed. But vying with McPhee and recent Ravens Day 2 picks, with Matt Judon and rookie Jaylon Ferguson locks to make the team, made this an uncertain proposition from the start.

While he was a rotational presence on Denver’s Super Bowl champion team and registered eight sacks in 2016, Ray has not lived up to his first-round billing yet. He finished his Broncos tenure on a shaky note, being a healthy scratch at the conclusion of last season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Jaguars, Ramsey, Jets, Decker

The Jaguars suspended cornerback Jalen Ramsey for a week of preseason action, but the ban won’t void his guarantees, according to Mike Florio of PFT (on Twitter). That’s because the Jags suspended Ramsey for “violating team rules and conduct unbecoming of a Jaguars football player,” rather than “conduct detrimental.” The small difference in language made a huge difference in the outcome for Ramsey, and probably kept the team on good terms with one of its defensive stars.

Unfortunately, there’s no loophole to help defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. Thanks to a previous suspension under the personal conduct policy, Fowler’s future guarantees have already been eliminated.

Here’s more from the AFC:

Ravens Sign Rookie CB Marlon Humphrey

The Ravens announced that they have signed first-round cornerback Marlon Humphrey. In addition to the Alabama product, linebacker Tyus Bowser (second round), guard Nico Siragusa (fourth round), offensive tackle Jermaine Eluemunor (fifth round), and safety Chuck Carr (sixth round) have also inked their deals. Marlon Humphrey (vertical)

Humphrey was widely ranked as one of the top three cornerbacks available in what was a very deep class for the position. Depending on who you asked, some talent evaluators had him as the second-best corner on the board, behind Marshon Lattimore but ahead of Gareon Conley and Adoree’ Jackson. Humphrey wound up becoming the second cornerback drafted when the Ravens selected him at No. 16, though Conley’s draft week incident might have had something to do with that.

Humphrey, a 6’1″, 196-pound athlete, had 36 total tackles, two interceptions, and five passes defensed in his final year at Alabama. One of those interceptions was a pick six in the season opener against USC.

With those five under contract, only two Ravens draft picks remain unsigned. Baltimore will look to finalize things with third-round defensive end Chris Wormley and third-round linebacker Tim Williams in the coming days.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

McShay’s Latest: Mahomes, Foster, Cook

Three quarterbacks are expected to be selected in the first round: Mitch Trubisky (North Carolina), Deshaun Watson (Clemson), and Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech), according to Todd McShay of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required). Cal’s Davis Webb is also reportedly a contender for a first-round slot, says McShay, though he could fall to the middle of Round 2. Watson, interestingly, has been more lauded by NFL clubs that aren’t in the market for a quarterback, per McShay, as those teams have praised Watson’s leadership ability and other intangibles. Trubisky and Mahomes, meanwhile, are seemingly more attractive to clubs that do need a signal-caller.

Let’s take a look at a few more highlight’s from McShay’s column, which is certainly worth a full read:

  • Mahomes, specifically, has been consistently linked to the Chiefs and Cardinals, says McShay. Both clubs are on the hunt for long-term options under center, as Alex Smith has shown a limited ceiling while Carson Palmer is entering the final stages of his career. The Texans have also been mentioned as a destination for Mahomes, as Houston head coach Bill O’Brien reportedly “loves” the Red Raider quarterback. If Kansas City is hoping to land Mahomes, it may have to trade up, as McShay doesn’t believe Mahomes will be available when the Chiefs pick at No. 27.
  • Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster and Florida State linebacker Dalvin Cook are both dealing with off-field concerns, but Cook could end up falling further down the board than Foster, reports McShay. At least one source tells McShay the Colts at pick No. 15 could be the eventual landing spot for Foster. Indianapolis is attempting a complete remake of its defense, so the club may be willing to overlook Foster’s issues in order to secure a top-notch ‘backer. If the Colts pass, the Redskins (pick No. 17) could also be interested in Foster, per McShay. Meanwhile, Cook will be “strongly considered” by the Buccaneers at No. 19.
  • The Saints could consider Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett, Temple linebacker Haason Reddick, or Ohio State safety Malik Hooker with the 11th overall pick, according to McShay. New Orleans has fielded one of the league’s worst defensive units for several years, so any sort of upgrade on that side of the ball shouldn’t be ruled out. Hooker isn’t expected to come off the board in the top five picks, but should be drafted between No. 6 and No. 13, per McShay. Reddick, meanwhile, is expected to be a top-15 selection and could even sneak into the top 10.
  • Houston pass rusher Tyus Bowser is expected to be a late first-round pick, sources tell McShay. Bowser, who managed 8.5 sacks last season, could conceivably appeal to a number of teams picking in the 20s or 30s. Speculatively, the Lions, Dolphins, Cowboys, Packers, Steelers, Falcons, and Saints could all use an edge defender late on Day 1.

NFC Draft Visits: 49ers, Panthers, Cowboys, Redskins

Some of Wednesday’s notable pre-draft visits from the NFC:

  • Florida cornerback Teez Tabor and Michigan defensive back/linebacker Jabrill Peppers were among the 49ers’ visitors, writes Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. Neither will be in play for the 49ers’ first-round pick (even if they trade down from No. 2), but could still be on the board when the club’s second-rounder comes up at No. 34.
  • Kansas State edge rusher Jordan Willis visited the Panthers, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Willis seems like a more realistic fit for the Panthers in the second round (No. 40 overall) than in the first (No. 8). Regardless, with Julius Peppers, Charles Johnson and Mario Addison each on the wrong side of 30, Carolina could use a young pass rusher like Willis, who totaled 20 sacks from 2015-16.
  • Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey met with the Cowboys, reports Todd Archer of ESPN.com. Humphrey may well be off the board by the time the Cowboys are on the clock at No. 28, though it’s possible he’ll drop amid unwanted comparisons to another ex-Alabama corner, recent first-round bust Dee Milliner.
  • The Redskins, owners of the 17th pick, hosted Houston edge defender Tyus Bowser, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports (Twitter link). Washington amassed the ninth-most sacks in the league last year, though nine of their 38 came from outside linebacker Trent Murphy, who will serve a four-game suspension to open the season. He’s also due to hit free agency next spring. Adding another pass rusher early in the draft this year could make sense, then. Bowser racked up 22.5 sacks during his four-year college career, including a personal-best 8.5 in 2016.

Draft Rumors: Mahomes, Texans, Humphrey

Texans head coach Bill O’Brien “absolutely loves” Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes, according to one report, but Houston’s interest could be a smokescreen, writes Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com. Pauline spoke to sources close to the organization who pointed out that the Texans are in win-now mode, meaning they’re more likely to use their first-round pick (No. 25) on a player who can make an immediate impact than select a project like Mahomes. There’s also a sense that current starting signal-caller Tom Savage‘s familiarity with O’Brien’s system will enable him to successfully transition from a backup to a No. 1. As such, there’s a stronger probability of the Texans taking an offensive tackle or a cornerback than a QB with their initial pick, per the sources.

More draft-related news and rumblings:

  • “Several” clubs have concerns regarding Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey, notes Pauline. Specifically, they fear that Humphrey is too much of a straight-line defender and someone who’s only capable of playing in limited schemes. Those teams liken him to ex-Crimson Tide corner Dee Milliner, who, despite going ninth overall to the Jets in 2013, is no longer in the NFL.
  • Kansas State edge defender Jordan Willis was among the Ravens’ pre-draft visitors Tuesday, and Houston’s Tyus Bowser will meet with the team Wednesday, relays Albert Breer of The MMQB (Twitter links). Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com ranks Willis as the 49th-best prospect in the 2017 class – right in the vicinity of the Ravens’ second-rounder (No. 47) – and rates Bowser an even better 36th.
  • Missouri defensive end Charles Harris stock has risen so much that he could come off the board before Tennessee DE Derek Barnett, per Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Jeremiah places Harris 21st in his rankings and Barnett 13th, and PFR’s Dallas Robinson currently has the former going 26th overall and the latter ninth. Harris recently worked out for the Falcons, as he tells Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com.
  • Indiana offensive lineman Dan Feeney could be a late first-rounder or an early second-rounder, according to Pauline, who reports he has visited the Vikings, Bears and Colts. Feeney also has meetings with the 49ers and Rams on tap. The Dolphins have also worked out Feeney, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, who adds Miami has also spent “considerable time” with Western Kentucky guard Forrest Lamp.

AFC Notes: Raiders, Dolphins, Jaguars

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr isn’t signed beyond next season, but it doesn’t appear he’ll go into 2017 without long-term security. Carr’s agent, Tim Younger, and Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie have been discussing an extension “for months,” Carr told reporters Monday. Those talks have been “super positive,” added Carr, who hopes a deal comes together by training camp (Twitter links via Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com). Carr, who tossed 28 touchdowns and six interceptions last season to help the Raiders break their 14-year playoff drought, is in line to become one of the NFL’s highest-paid signal-callers.

More from Oakland and two other AFC cities:

  • The fact that wide receiver Jarvis Landry was on hand for the start of the Dolphins’ voluntary program Monday bodes well for his chances of receiving an extension because it shows that he’s committed to the team, writes Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. The Dolphins entered the offseason planning to extend Landry, and Salguero relays that his agent and the club have since spoken “at least a dozen times on the matter.” A new deal would make the 24-year-old Landry the Dolphins’ richest wideout – surpassing Kenny Stills‘ four-year, $32MM contract ($20MM guaranteed) – and could materialize by June, per Salguero.
  • Newly acquired Jaguars left tackle Branden Albert is holding out of team activities in hopes of landing a new contract, but Joel Corry of CBS Sports doubts he’ll stay away for much longer. Albert would lose $40K for each day of training camp missed, and the Jaguars will have the ability to recoup his signing bonus if his holdout lasts long enough. Should Jacksonville trade Albert, the acquiring team would receive those recoupment rights (Twitter links).
  • Houston edge rusher Tyus Bowser is currently visiting the Raiders, according to ESPN’s Adam Caplan (Twitter link). Bowser, who racked up 22.5 sacks during his 43-game college career, could pique the Raiders’ interest in the first round, in which they’re slated to pick 24th.
  • The Jaguars hosted Temple edge defender Haason Reddick on Monday, tweets NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, who wonders if Reddick’s stock has risen enough that he could be a top five pick. Jacksonville’s set to select fourth overall, though it could simply be doing its due diligence on Reddick and hoping he falls to No. 35 (the Jags’ second-rounder).

AFC Notes: Colts, Browns, Steelers, Fins

It took over a month for defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins to land a contract in free agency, but the newest member of the Colts told reporters Friday that he “knew something good would eventually come through.” It did Thursday, in the form of a three-year, $30MM deal featuring $15.9MM in guarantees. While there’s a belief around the NFL that the former Giant is only a two-down player, he insists being “a three-down guy” hasn’t been a problem. The 25-year-old added that he’ll go forth as a nose tackle and 3-technique, which will give him an opportunity to rush the passer (Twitter links via Paul Schwartz of the New York Post and Mike Chappell of FOX59. Hankins posted a career-high seven sacks in 2014, but he has combined for just three since.

More from around the AFC:

  • Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams is currently visiting the Browns, reports Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (Twitter link). Williams won’t be in play for the No. 1 pick in the draft, but he could be available for the Browns’ second first-rounder, the 12th overall selection. The club did take a first-round receiver last year in Corey Coleman, though, and it signed Kenny Britt to a sizable contract in free agency a month ago.
  • Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey and Connecticut safety Obi Melifonwu met with the Steelers on Thursday, according to Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Both Humphrey and Melifonwu are prospective first-rounders, and the Steelers are reportedly likely to take a defensive back with their top pick, No. 30 overall.
  • The Dolphins hosted Houston edge rusher Tyus Bowser on Thursday, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Bowser figures to go somewhere in the first two rounds, making him a possibility for the Dolphins at either No. 22 or 54 overall. Miami would likely use Bowser as an outside linebacker in its 4-3 alignment, per Jackson. Kiko Alonso is entrenched in one of the club’s top two OLB spots, but it could stand to upgrade the other.
  • Another note on the Dolphins: They’ve hired longtime coach Joe Vitt as a consultant, per Alex Marvez of Sporting News. Vitt, the father-in-law of Dolphins head coach Adam Gase, most recently served as an assistant in New Orleans from 2006 until his firing in January.

NFC South Notes: Panthers, Falcons, Saints

Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey visited the Panthers last week, and one NFL general manager tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link) that it “wouldn’t be shocking or surprising” if Carolina tabs McCaffrey at No. 8. Many mock drafts have sent LSU’s Leonard Fournette or Florida State’s Dalvin Cook going to the Panthers in the first round, and as Rapoport notes, McCaffrey isn’t exactly a scheme fit for Carolina. But McCaffrey is now expected to be selected within the top 10 picks, and Panthers head coach Ron Rivera recently indicated no slot is “too high” to draft a running back. Carolina recently inked incumbent back Jonathan Stewart to an extension through 2018, but that deal won’t preclude them from adding another runner.

Here’s more from the NFC South:

  • The Falcons hosted Houston edge rusher Tyus Bowser on Tuesday, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN.com. In his senior season with the Cougars, Bowser registered 8.5 sacks, 12 tackles for loss, and four passes defensed. He ranks as the 36th overall prospect in the draft, in the estimation of Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com, who lauds Bowser’s “tremendous play speed” and ability to match up against opposing tight ends. Atlanta’s current pass-rushing group consists of Vic Beasley and an amalgamation of average to below-average players: Adrian Clayborn, Brooks Reed, Courtney Upshaw, Derrick Shelby, and Jack Crawford.
  • UCLA edge rusher Takkarist McKinley met with two NFC South clubs — the Panthers and Falcons — this week, per Rapoport (Twitter link), who adds McKinley will visit with four more unidentified teams next week. Both Carolina and Atlanta could use youthful reinforcements on the edge, and McKinley stock has vacillated enough that he could conceivably be selected at No. 8 (Panthers) or No. 31 (Falcons). For what it’s worth, I sent McKinley to Atlanta in PFR’s first mock draft of 2017. Following shoulder surgery, McKinley may miss part or all of an NFL training camp and preseason.
  • The Saints hosted Vanderbilt linebacker Zach Cunningham today, and have been showing “a lot of interest” in the Commodore defender during the predraft process, according to Nick Underhill of the Advocate (Twitter link). New Orleans already added veteran off-ball linebackers A.J. Klein and Manti Te’o to a second-level group that also includes Craig Robertson, Dannell Ellerbe, and Stephone Anthony. Earlier this year, a scout told Matt Miller of Bleacher Report that Cunningham “needs to gain strength” and “make more tackles.”