|04-26-2006, 09:23 AM||#1|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: May 2003
Location: The Ville
Nfl Report Wed 4-26-06
The Jets' interest in Vanderbilt quarterback Jay Cutler remains high, so much so that they're in discussions with the Baltimore Ravens to try to obtain him with the 13th pick overall, according to a person who has been in contact with several NFL teams and has first-hand knowledge of strategy in the top portion of the NFL Draft.
The Packers are still in the running for free-agent cornerback Charles Woodson, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, but they are battling Woodson’s former Oakland coach, Jon Gruden, now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, for his services. Woodson would provide a boost to the Packers’ defense, but it wouldn’t do much for Favre on the offensive side.
The Seahawks would prefer to have a veteran starter at cornerback, so the most attractive option might be aging, over-priced free agent Ty Law.
The Giants are still interested in free-agent DT Brentson Buckner, but have put off any discussions with him until after the draft.
Greg Aiello said Ricky Williams, who tested positive for an unknown substance in December, can't apply for reinstatement until after the entire 2006 season is completed. That means the Dolphins' running back also is not eligible for the playoffs. ''There's no opportunity for him to play at all,'' Aiello said. That doesn't mean Williams, who returned last season after retiring in 2004, will not play again. He issued a statement through the team saying he planned another comeback. ''I'm disappointed with the decision but I respect it. I'm proud of my association with the National Football League and look forward to returning to the Dolphins in 2007,'' said Williams, who will be 30 when he can possibly return and will have missed two of three seasons.
Suspended Vikings running back Onterrio Smith has been notified by the NFL that he will not be reinstated in June, according to a source close to Smith. Last June, Smith was suspended one year for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, and he checked himself into a three-month, live-in rehabilitation facility in Massachusetts shortly thereafter. Smith, 25, couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday. The Vikings and the NFL declined comment. "That falls under the confidentiality provisions of the program," league spokesman Greg Aiello said. "His status is unchanged in that he continues to be under suspension." On April 21, 2005, Smith was stopped at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport possessing the "Original Whizzinator," a device designed to beat drug tests. In May, he failed or missed an NFL-mandated drug test, and he was suspended for one year June 7 for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said Tuesday the next few weeks will be "pivotal" in deciding whether the league, absent from the nation's No. 2 television market for more than a decade, makes a return to Los Angeles. With new television deals worth billions and the security of a labor agreement through 2011, Tagliabue, who will retire in July, said now is the time to meet what he called the "perennial challenge" of a return to the area. Two sites are in the running, the Coliseum and Anaheim. An 11-member owner committee is scheduled to meet next Tuesday in Dallas to hear from both — a prelude to a meeting later in May in Denver of all 32 owners at which, league officials have said, a decision is due. Acknowledging years of delays and uncertainties, Tagliabue said of a return to the Los Angeles area, "In some ways the stars are aligned."
There's a chance, although remote, that quarterback Jay Cutler could slide in Saturday's NFL draft. If that happens, it could be intriguing for the Vikings, who appear set to choose a linebacker with their No. 17 overall pick. If Cutler, a tough, strong-armed former Vanderbilt star, slips to No. 9, the Vikings might be inclined to offer their No. 17 selection and one of their two second-round picks to the Detroit Lions in order to draft him at that spot. That is because there's a decent chance that Dennis Green's Arizona Cardinals will take Cutler with their No. 10 pick.
Barring some veteran smoke-screen work by Mike Tannenbaum and Eric Mangini, it appears almost certain the Jets will not take a quarterback that high. It's widely believed they will draft a QB from the so-called second tier of available bodies, with hopes of finding a gem out of the first round. That pool includes Alabama's Brodie Croyle, Clemson's Charlie Whitehurst and Oregon's Kellen Clemens. According to their scouting system, the Jets believe none of the "big 3" QBs is worth the No. 4 pick.
Miami's Devin Hester and UCLA's Maurice Drew are the highest-profile returners who visited Rams Park. Over his college career with the Hurricanes, Hester returned four punts and two kickoffs for touchdowns. He has ranked as high as sixth nationally in both kickoff returns (in 2003) and punt returns (in 2004). The secret to his success? "It's really not any secret," Hester said. "It's just natural instinct. I'm a visual-type player who can see things before they happen." Other players with return experience who made pre-draft visits to Rams Park were Florida State cornerback Antonio Cromartie; Fresno State cornerback Richard Marshall; Abilene Christian defensive back Danieal Manning; and Lindenwood running back-defensive back DeDe Dorsey.
The agent for former Vikings running back Moe Williams said it is presumptuous to assume his client will retire. "It's not clear that he's retiring," agent Ethan Lock said Tuesday. "That's not accurate at all." Williams, charged in the wake of a team boat party on Lake Minnetonka last fall, was found guilty of disorderly conduct last week. Williams, a 31-year-old unrestricted free agent, has played 10 seasons in the NFL, nine with the Vikings.
Sportsbook.com has given Reggie Bush's USC team mate, Matt Leinart, the best odds of being the first quarterback drafted this summer. He is a 2-3 bet while Texas' Vince Young, the Longhorns' Rose Bowl hero, is at 3-2. Also making some noise of late is Vanderbilt's pivot, Jay Cutler who is listed at 15-1.
One man, season ticket-holder Holly Frost, spent thousands of dollars for a full-page ad in last Sunday's Chronicle to beseech the Texans to select Vince Young with the top pick in Saturday's NFL draft. He admonished them for "not taking calculated risks to get much better" and for taking "the easy way out" with Southern California running back Reggie Bush, whom conventional wisdom considers the best offensive prospect in this year's draft.
FSN NFL Insider Jay Glazer, appearing as a guest on FSN's BEST DAMN SPORTS SHOW PERIOD, on who he would take if he was a GM with the No. 1 pick: "I happen to like Vince Young. Vince Young - in essence - beat a pro football team on the biggest stage in the world by himself. You can't teach that."
Gil Brantd NFL Draft team-need chart for the 2006 draft
Dennis Green again downplayed the idea that the Cardinals wouldn’t take a first-round quarterback because he won’t help right away, saying “that instant impact, there are very few players that actually do that.” But it is interesting to note that for the second time in a few days, when someone mentioned the best three quarterbacks — Matt Leinart, Vince Young and Jay Cutler — being in the top 10, Green corrected that to the “top 15.” Leinart and Young are in the Cards’ top 10, so perhaps Cutler is not.
While the Cardinals will consider linebacker Ernie Sims as their first-round pick, there has been speculation teams could shy away from the Florida State star because of multiple concussions in college. Green said that won’t be a problem, although he did say Sims had suffered two concussions during his three seasons.
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis saved his best for last on Tuesday when he said the club is considering a move to the 3-4 defense. The revelation came at the end of a news conference previewing the NFL draft. His decision to move away from the 4-3 scheme could hinge on the players he'll draft this weekend, starting with the 24th overall pick. If the club takes Boston College defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka, it may stick with the 4-3. If it grabs N.C. State's Manny Lawson or Florida State's Kamerion Wimbley — undersized ends more suited for outside linebacker — the switch could be on.
For the first time in seven years, the Vikings appear almost certain to acquire a quarterback during this weekend's NFL draft. Whether they trade for Atlanta backup Matt Schaub, draft one of the blue-chip trio expected to go in the first round or identify a lesser-known prospect for development, the Vikings want their post-Daunte Culpepper era to begin now.
If the Jets don't get Jay Cutler, they're eyeing Alabama QB Brodie Croyle and Oregon's Kellen Clemens in the second or third round.
Browns second-year quarterback Charlie Frye has done amazing work building bonds with teammates - offensive and defensive alike - this off-season. Frye is rarely seen publicly these days without one or two teammates hanging out with him. Frye may already be the least-aloof and most-inclusive QB in the Browns locker room since Bernie Kosar - and that was decades ago.
In returning to Green Bay, Brett Favre stands to make $10 million, including a $3 million roster bonus that will be paid Dec. 1 if he’s on the roster as of July 27.
Michael Haynes appeared to be all but finished in Chicago last season after five Sundays on the inactive list. He was drafted into a defense using bigger defensive ends and was not a fit in the Lovie Smith-Ron Rivera scheme using smaller edge rushers. But the Bears have changed course with Haynes. Rather than try to shrink him to fit, the team is letting him find a "natural" weight under a program with strength and conditioning coordinator Rusty Jones. Haynes is in the 280-pound range and projected now as a pass-rushing tackle, which is an area of need.
Whether the Jaguars draft a tight end in the first round or not Saturday, they will have a roster spot for Kyle Brady next season. So said Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio at the team's pre-draft news conference Tuesday. "There aren't a lot of tight ends who can do that [block defensive ends the way Brady can]," Del Rio said. "He can't play forever, but he's going to play this year.'' The Jaguars might choose a tight end in the first round if UCLA's Marcedes Lewis or Georgia's Leonard Pope are on the board at No.28. But, as is the custom of every NFL team, the Jaguars were guarded in discussing who they might select.
Minnesota's Laurence Maroney, Memphis' DeAngelo Williams and Bush's USC teammate, LenDale White, are expected to be the next three running backs taken after the Trojans star. Could one of them wind up with the Jaguars at the 28th overall choice? Team officials aren't ruling it out, even though they have taken a running back in the first four rounds each of the past three years. "There are several guys who can be featured backs in this league," Jaguars vice president of personnel James Harris said. "It seems to be a good year for that position."
Most people expect the Titans to go after a quarterback in round one, considering they have only drafted one (Kevin Daft in 1999) since selecting Steve McNair 11 years ago. After that, the Titans have the need for depth at places like linebacker and safety and could use a third-down, pass-catching running back. But Floyd Reese says he has the luxury of going away from the need factor now, and can return to the blueprint of days gone by where the best player on the Titans’ board is selected regardless of positional need. “I think one of the luxuries this year is we don’t have to draft that way this year,” Reese said. “With the middle rounds, we are able to go ahead and take the best athlete, whatever he is.”
Andy Reid's last three drafts haven't been nearly as fruitful as his first four, which is cause for concern for a team that is trying to get its groove back after a disappointing 6-10 season in which it failed to win a single division game. The Eagles have had the fourth-most selections (27) in the league in the last three drafts. But those drafts have so far produced just five starters, sixth fewest in the league. Their percentage of starters from the last three drafts (.185) is the second lowest in the NFC and fifth lowest in the league.
The Ravens' offensive line is beginning to show its age, though. Left tackle Jonathan Ogden will be 32 in July, left guard Edwin Mulitalo will be 32 in September, and center Mike Flynn already is 32. The Ravens could wind up with one of the maulers projected for the middle rounds, among them 333-pound Taitusi Lutui of USC, 351-pound Charles Spencer of Pittsburgh or 320-pound Rob Sims of Ohio State.
The Pats should be in a position to trade up or if they stay at 21, have no shortage of choices at linebacker. One name that could top their list is Bobby Carpenter. A.J. Hawk’s partner at Ohio State has an NFL pedigree - his father, Rob, played for Belichick’s Giants - as well as NFL physical skills. Iowa’s Chad Greenway is another option. A high school safety from South Dakota, he excelled at linebacker for coach Kirk Ferentz. His coverage skills and special teams ability add dimensions to his well-rounded game.
Over the past decade, the receivers of '96 have been the class of football. Pro Bowl receivers were drafted in Rounds 1, 2, 3 -- even as late as Round 5. Keyshawn Johnson, Terry Glenn, Eddie Kennison, Marvin Harrison and Eric Moulds in Round 1. Amani Toomer, Muhsin Muhammad, Bobby Engram in Round 2. Terrell Owens in Round 3. Joe Horn in Round 5. And together, the top receivers from this class have combined for a staggering 5,295 catches, 73,614 yards, 502 touchdowns and 26 Pro Bowl selections. It might just be one of the best classes in NFL history, even rivaling the trumpeted quarterback Class of '83.
The Chiefs interviewed several potential first-round cornerbacks last week, including Florida State’s Antonio Cromartie, South Carolina’s Johnathan Joseph, Virginia Tech’s Jimmy Williams and Fresno State’s Richard Marshall. ... Pat Dennis in 2000 was the last rookie cornerback to be a regular starter for the Chiefs. Before that, they had to go back to Kevin Ross in 1984. Dennis didn’t last and was soon out of the league, while Ross eventually became among the best corners ever to play for the Chiefs. The Chiefs suffered through growing pains with both.
The plan to save Reuben Droughns' legs includes using change of pace running backs. Lee Suggs or Jason Wright, currently on the roster, could be that player, but the Browns spent a long time studying the backs in the draft that would fit that role. ''It's a solid group of running backs,'' director of player personnel Bill Rees said. Rees named Joseph Addai of Louisiana State, Brian Calhoun of Wisconsin, Maurice Drew of UCLA and Andre Hall of South Florida as backs that could fill the role of a third down back.
Many project Mario Williams to go to New Orleans, even though the Saints already have invested a lot in their defensive line. Even if the Saints trade out of that spot and Tennessee takes a quarterback at No. 3, Williams might not make it past the New York Jets at No. 4. If he does get to the Packers, though, Williams would be thrilled. He grew up idolizing legendary defensive end Reggie White and said at the combine he believed he was meant to end up in Green Bay.
With the Giants, LaVar Arrington will wear No. 55. He wore No. 56 with the Redskins, but that number was retired by the Giants in honor of Lawrence Taylor, one of Arrington's idols. Arrington, who joined the Giants in their off-season conditioning program, said he looked forward to playing for Coach Tom Coughlin. "I've played for Joe Paterno, I've played for Marty Schottenheimer, I've played for some strong-disciplinarian coaches," said Arrington.
Steelers offensive tackle Max Starks will be wearing his size 18-and-a-half bauble on the middle finger of his right hand. His left hand is out because he's married, and the ring finger on his right hand is unavailable because it's been broken. Starks doesn't have a problem with potentially having to extend the middle finger of his right hand in the event someone asks to see his Super Bowl ring.
Pittsburgh WR Sean Morey and his teammates were fitted Tuesday at the Steelers' South Side practice facility for the rings they'll receive prior to opening the 2006 season Sept. 7 at Heinz Field against Miami. Morey doesn't yet know what the rings will look like, "but that doesn't really matter," he added. "That's a formality. "It's going to be great to actually put it on my finger and show my pop, show my family." Morey's only concern is "one of the few errors ever made by the Rooneys, allowing Jerome (Bettis) to help design the ring."
In the past, Sinorice Moss' size might have been a major question mark in the minds of NFL talent evaluators. But Santana and the Carolina Panthers' diminutive Steve Smith were among the league's most productive receivers last season, so Sinorice's entry into the NFL comes at a good time for him.
Now, after watching Santana Moss become a star last season in his first year with the Washington Redskins after four sometimes frustrating seasons with the New York Jets, Sinorice is about to follow his brother into the NFL as one of the top prospects available in an unusually barren field of wideouts in this weekend's draft. "He's had a tremendous impact on my career, watching my brother while he was in college and now while he's in the NFL," Sinorice Moss said at the NFL scouting combine in late February in Indianapolis. "Guys ask me, 'Is there any pressure?' It doesn't bother me much being in my brother's shadow. He's Santana and I'm Sinorice."
Ravens coach Brian Billick began the day by telling stories about his brief stint in public relations. Billick, who has a degree in journalism, was an assistant director of public relations for the San Francisco 49ers in the late 1970s and recalled being asked to arrange a breakfast for coaches the morning of the annual college draft. The breakfast included everything imaginable except an essential for many a person trying to focus at 4 a.m. - coffee. "I went to Brigham Young University, and you couldn't have caffeine there, so it didn't even occur to me to get coffee," Billick said.
|04-26-2006, 09:28 AM||#2|
Over Jay Cutler
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Leucadia, CA
Brett Favre stands to make $10 million. The real reson he came back.
|04-26-2006, 09:32 AM||#3|
Billy=Semi Tough Big Guy
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: between 5,000 and 10,000 feet elevation
Thanks Heav - Lots of news this morning
|04-26-2006, 09:50 AM||#4|
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Twixt Hell & Highwater
It's shaping up like there's going to be some fireworks on Saturday caused by some teams trying to get out of the 5 to 14 range and some teams trying to get up into the top. I'd say the 15 spot is just about perfect for getting a great deal, going in either direction. This is going to be fun. (I hope)