WATCH: Chase Ford makes behind-the-back catch in OTAs

ChaseFordVikings
Minnesota Vikings tight end Chase Ford did an admirable job filling in for the injured Kyle Rudolph in 2014.

He joined the team as an undrafted free agent and punched above his weight class on the year, but now things have changed. Rudolph is healthy, he's already competing with Rhett Ellison and the Vikings spent a fifth-round pick on tight end MyCole Pruitt.

The position is crowded, but that just might mean competition will bring the best out in the players competing for snaps. Ford appears to have a bit of a head start in the "wow factor" category at the first OTA sessions of the year.

10s across the board for Chase Ford's behind-the-back catch.

A video posted by Minnesota Vikings (@minnesotavikings) on




Ford finished his rookie season with Minnesota with 23 catches on 35 targets for 258 yards and a touchdown. He'll have a chance to compete for the No. 2 tight end spot with Pruitt and Ellison, likely behind Rudolph.


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Anthony Chickillo Progress Report

AnthonyChickilloCanes
Sixth-round draft pick Anthony Chickillo also has a transition to make from college football to the NFL. He will be learning the craft of the 3-4 outside linebacker with the Steelers this year, a big switch from the defensive end position he played in college. But linebackers coach Joey Porter appears confident that Chickillo will develop into a crucial player for the team.

After the team drafted Chickillo earlier in May, Porter said, "You can never have enough pass-rushers in the way the game is being played now from the outside linebacker position. I think he's going to add a lot of depth to us. He gives us some switch-up opportunities to move us around."

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac said last week that Chickillo "looks like one of those guys you just can't cut."

Chickillo is certainly a hard worker. But as Dani Bostick of Beyond the Steel Curtain notes, Chickillo's odds to make the roster hinge on his ability to drop into coverage, something the Steelers ask of their outside linebackers. The better he gets at this skill the greater the odds he makes the 53-man roster.


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(bleacherreport.com)
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Chuck Pagano: Erik Swoope "becoming a football player right before our eyes"

ErikSwoopeColts
Last offseason, the Indianapolis Colts signed a player who hadn't played a single down of collegiate football but a player who, instead, had been a basketball player at Miami.

The team knew that it would be an adjustment for Erik Swoope and that it would certainly not be immediate, but throughout the offseason and training camp last year, Swoope showed the potential that caused the Colts to continue to work with him, as he stuck around on the team's practice squad last year.  Now, Swoope is looking to make a push for a roster spot, and he's off to a good start.

He was one of the stars of Wednesday's OTA session, the second such session open to the media and the fifth held by the team overall.  He's turning heads of both media and coaches alike, and he's showing a lot of development from last year.  Colts head coach Chuck Pagano mentioned today how Swoope is becoming a football player after playing collegiate basketball.








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(stampedeblue.com)
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Phillip Dorsett signs contract, runs past Vontae Davis in OTAs

PhillipDorsettCanes
In the football field, defenses couldn't catch him. On the track, opponents couldn't keep up. It's all Phillip Dorsett has done since the moment he slipped into a pair of cleats as a youngster: Stand out.

History has a way of repeating itself. He has done the same thing since he became a member of the Indianapolis Colts.

He's the new guy around here, the team's latest first-round pick, the wide receiver swimming in so much upside that the Colts couldn't pass on him with the 29th selection in last month's draft despite glaring needs at other position groups (see: defensive line).

The early returns on Dorsett? They're good. Possibly great. Sure, it's just organized team activities. Players aren't even in pads yet. Training camp won't start for two months, the regular season three.

But Dorsett is turning heads in his first on-field workouts with his new team. He has attributes coaches can't coach. He's a 5-10 lightning bolt, 185 pounds of nightmare if you're a defensive coordinator in the AFC South.

"Rare, rare speed," Colts coach Chuck Pagano called it Wednesday. "He's so smooth. He doesn't look like he's running until he's five yards past you."

It's easy to gauge talent when you see it. Dorsett has it. Plenty of it. With every leaping grab, with every burst of his did-you-see-that speed, with every stutter and slip and slash through the teeth of the defense, he validates the Colts' first-round gamble.

Vontae Davis can tell you all about it. The Colts' Pro Bowl cornerback was burned deep down the field by Dorsett during Wednesday's workout, a highlight in a morning in which Dorsett was one of the more prominently featured offensive weapons.

To be sure: Davis won't be the last defensive back Dorsett gets the better of in this league.

"I live off perfection," Dorsett said. "I want to be a perfectionist out there."

It's always a good day when you snare a deep pass from Andrew Luck over the outstretched arms of the team's best corner. Dorsett did that, then his day got better an hour later: He signed his first professional contract.

The four-year deal, set by the parameters of the rookie wage scale, comes in the neighborhood of $7.3 million guaranteed. (The club will have an option for a fifth year.) Asked what it was like to become a millionaire Wednesday, Dorsett smiled.

"Honestly, I can't tell you," he said. "Because I don't play football for the money."

It's a veteran response from a rookie who hasn't yet played a regular-season snap. For now, Dorsett simply wants to earn his keep. That means winning the trust of his coaches and the respect of his teammates.

It's what he has done since he was a football and track star growing up outside of Miami. And it's what got him his fat new contract Wednesday.

"I did earn it," Dorsett said. "When you think about all that work that I put in, it's crazy. I came a long way from high school to college to where I'm at right now. I did earn it."

While there's plenty of time left to mix and match and experiment, Dorsett has been used mainly out of the slot receiver position in early workouts. It makes sense. A player of his speed and swiftness could be the perfect complement to the veterans the Colts will line up on the outside: T.Y. Hilton and Andre Johnson.

Still, Dorsett is in the process of being immersed in coordinator Pep Hamilton's complex offensive scheme. He is by no means a master of it. The rookie learning curve, his coach will tell you, is a very real thing. "You've got different alignment rules, assignment rules," Pagano said. "You've got to be able to read coverage in the back end. Is it single high? Is the middle closed? Is the middle open? Do I block the corner? Do I come back and crack the safety? In the run game, he's got to learn to play without the ball as well.

"There's a lot on a young receiver's plate, especially when you're moving him around." Which seems to be what the Colts are doing with Dorsett early on. So far he's passed the eye test.

Doing so in September, when the real games start, will be the surest way to prove his worth.


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(indystar.com)
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Ereck Flowers thrown into the fire at left tackle for first OTA

EreckFlowersCanes
When Victor Cruz was injured last season and Odell Beckham Jr. had to step into the starting lineup, the Giants coaches had a message for Beckham. Because he was needed, there was no longer any time to nurse him along.

"Congratulations," they told him, "you're no longer a rookie."

By that measure, Ereck Flowers' rookie year was even shorter; maybe just a few weeks.

The first-round pick has been inserted as the starting left tackle on the offensive line with Will Beatty requiring surgery to repair a torn pectoral suffered last week. Flowers was at that position during Wednesday's first OTA of the offseason, anchoring a realigned line that didn't have one player returning to a starting position.

Flowers figured to start his career at right tackle, a somewhat less strenuous position than protecting a quarterback's blind side, but the Beatty injury scrapped that plan. The Giants get to see what they have in Flowers right away, and Eli Manning said it is good that Flowers is thrust into such a high-profile position now rather than later in the season. But they are still bracing for the pitfalls that always seem to bother first-year linemen.

"He's a rookie and he's been here three weeks," Manning said. "He'll have some mistakes, and that's just part of it. You have to get them out now and be out with the first team and learn from it all and it'll make him better down the road."

"Sure, there are going to be things that happen to him that haven't happened before," Tom Coughlin said. "We knew there were a couple of things we need to clarify and work on him, but he will work."

The rest of the offensive line in the first OTA: former right tackle Justin Pugh at left guard, former guard Weston Richburg at center, Geoff Schwartz, coming off an injury-riddled 2014, at right guard, and newcomer Marshall Newhouse at right tackle. John Jerry split first-team reps with Schwartz at right guard. Coughlin said the Giants will continue to experiment with various permutations on the line.

"Our plans are to continue to try to figure out how this line is going to fall out, who is going to be where," he said.

Flowers was selected with the ninth pick in the draft, and no one can argue that he isn't built like a premier offensive lineman (6-6, 329). But since he was drafted, several reports have quoted unnamed scouts and coaches criticizing Flowers' technique and coachability. Coughlin came to Flowers' defense.

"I don't subscribe to that, what people say," Coughlin said. "He's our kid. He's an outstanding young player. He's going to do nothing but get better."


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(newsday.com)
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Seantrel Henderson: Bills open RT job to competition

SeantrelHendersonBills
The Bills have opened their right tackle position to competition between Seantrel Henderson and Cyrus Kouandjio.

Although Henderson earned the distinction of starting 16 games as a seventh-round rookie last season, his on-field performance was abysmal. He graded out as Pro Football Focus' No. 82 tackle among 84 qualifiers, and was 83rd in run blocking. Still, Kouandjio is such a deficient athlete that the Bills' best option would likely be to stick with Henderson and simply hope he improves.


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(rotoworld.com)
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Orlando Franklin calls Philip Rivers 'more approachable' than Peyton Manning

OrlandoFranklin
Orlando Franklin, the newly acquired San Diego Chargers offensive tackle is far more pleased with his first impression of quarterback Philip Rivers than he was with Peyton Manning.

"One thing I noticed immediately when I got here is that Philip Rivers is definitely more approachable than Peyton," Franklin told ProFootballTalk on Wednesday. "I don't know if it was because I was a lot younger being that I met Peyton in my second season and now meeting Philip going into my fifth season but definitely I will say Philip is more approachable than Peyton."

Franklin spent the first four years of his career with the Denver Broncos (three with Manning) and signed a lucrative five-year contract with the Chargers in the offseason.

Franklin's impression does not jive with the national perception of Manning as a gregarious, self aware, chuckler, slinging piping hot Papa John's pizza's when he's not studying game film. But the jab is likely just something players say in the immediate aftermath of a move to a new team. It's not the first time this has happened.


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(thescore.com)
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Is there really something wrong with the technique of Ereck Flowers?

EreckFlowersCanes
They talk almost as if Giants first-round pick Ereck Flowers just learned to play offensive line. His technique is raw and flawed, the critics say. It's the easy, common and maybe even obvious assessment about Battleship Flowers.

MMQB's Greg Bedard brought the criticism to the surface again this week (almost a month after the 2015 NFL Draft) when he quoted a veteran NFL offensive line coach describing Flowers as having "some of the worst technique I've ever seen in a player drafted that high." Flowers was the ninth-overall selection by the Giants.
The anonymous offensive line coach's criticism is one the Giants likely brush off with a scoff.

"You read that [his weakness is his technique]. The guy is 20. They all have technique flaws," vice president of player evaluation Marc Ross said with a wide smile after the selection. "Nobody is ready-made to play in the NFL. Even fourth- or fifth-year seniors. They all can improve. He is just learning to play, but even with technique flaws, the guy was a productive and dominant player at times."

The rare moments when Flowers did have struggles is what has come to the surface pre- and post-draft. There was the one play matched against Nebraska's Randy Gregory. There were a few bad snaps against Virginia's Eli Harold.

Considering Flowers is believed to have not allowed a single sack last season (and his father claims there were none over the past two years), it's clearly nitpicking. Here's a player who was a first-round pick, no matter who you asked, and eventually settled in the Top 10. Does he have flaws? No doubt. But some of the worst technique ever? Sounds like hyperbole.

So what are these alleged technique flaws that everybody speaks of?

"Like a lot of offensive linemen in college, in college you can get away with clutching and grabbing," former Giants lineman and current FOX analyst David Diehl said. "In the pros, you have to be a puncher from Day 1. The biggest thing you have to do, whether you are at left tackle or right tackle, is re-direct the defensive end's rush.

"That is one thing he definitely has to work on is timing his hands and feet together so he is punching and he gets his hands inside the framework. Outside of those two things, he's a more athletic Kareem McKenzie."

The inefficiency with his movement leads to sloppy technique. It leaves Flowers overexposed and sapped of his power.

This makes him susceptible to both speed and power pass rushers. At the University of Miami, Flowers was able to compensate with his natural strength and athleticism.

On a play against Virginia, he held off a defender with one bent arm. That's won't work against the size and speed of NFL defensive linemen. Flowers will need to clean it all up to be successful at a difficult position.

"Instead of kicking and getting to a spot, exploding and getting engaged, upper body in sync with the lower body, being able to punch and make a stand, a lot of times he's all over the place in moving sections," said Duke Manyweather, a performance consultant with emphasis on offensive line. Manyweather works with the Giants' Geoff Schwartz and Weston Richburg in the offseason.

"That leads to [Flowers] not being in top position with his feet and effectively use his hands. That is one of the big issues."

Former Giants lineman Chris Snee, who analyzed three games of Flowers for line coach Pat Flaherty, can relate. He struggled with some of the same issues Flowers has entering the NFL.

"The hand placement issue I was talking about with Flowers was similar to what I had [coming out of B.C.]," Snee said. "I'd either have one hand inside and the other outside and wouldn't really trust my punch."

These are all issues that must be addressed. The Giants desperately need Flowers to play (and play well) with starting left tackle Will Beatty likely out until November.

There are three months to work on these flaws. It's far from a lost cause. Flowers was the ninth pick for a reason, and seems to have the right mindset and work ethic.

"[Flowers] said one of the best things he could have possibly said to me that already struck me the right way and gave me a good impression of him," Diehl said recently. "We're sitting there talking about coming [to the Giants] and everything. Before I walked away he said, 'I know you're around a lot. [The team] said you were.
Do you mind if at any time if I have any questions about technique or footwork or different types of stuff if I can ask you?'"

Sounds like someone willing to fix what many consider badly flawed technique.


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(nj.com)
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Who Remembers How Much Clinton Portis Paid For No. 26

clintonportis
Clinton Portis' $40,000 promise: Many people don't remember this, but Portis and Ifeanyi Ohalete ended up in court over the matter. Portis purchased the rights for $40,000 but ended up skipping out on a large portion before legal action was taken. Ohalete was also challenged to a boxing match by Portis, which sadly never happened. Ah, America.

Just one day shy of going to court to settle their digital dispute, the numbers nuttiness between former Washington Redskins teammates has been resolved.
Redskins tailback Clinton Portis on Monday agreed to pay former Washington safety Ifeanyi Ohalete $18,000 of the $20,000 that the latter claimed he was owed for giving uniform No. 26 to Portis a year ago. The settlement brought the tab in the case, not including attorneys fees, to $38,000.

"I really wasn't looking for vindication. I just wanted to get this thing over with," Ohalete told The Associated Press. "I did my half and I just wanted what was mine in return.

"It worked out better for me. I didn't want to miss practice," he said.

According to the agreement between the players, Portis had agreed to pay Ohalete $40,000 for the uniform number and had already shelled out $20,000. The remaining $20,000 was in question until Monday, with the players scheduled for a Tuesday session in a Maryland courtroom.


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(espn.com)
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Nate Washington on Andre Johnson: ‘ No. 80 will forever be the best receiver in this organization’s history’

AndreJohnson2
In his 10 seasons with Pittsburgh and Tennessee, receiver Nate Washington became a big fan of Andre Johnson.

Washington is among the veteran and rookie receivers trying to earn playing time opposite DeAndre Hopkins – the position owned by Johnson until he was released in March.

“None of us is here to fill his shoes,” Washington said after the first day of OTAs. “The guys they brought in, we’re not here to try to fill his shoes. We’re here to do what we do best.

“No. 80 will forever be the best receiver in this organization’s history. Collectively, we’ll do our jobs and do whatever’s ask of us and move forward. Respectfully, we can’t fill his shoes.”

Having spent so much time on sidelines opposite Johnson, Washington knows his impact on the Texans and the NFL.

“He’s been a great guy in this community and a great guy in this organization, well-respected in the city and the NFL,” Washington said. “I’ve been close to Andre even though I wasn’t in a Houston Texans jersey, and I have much respect and admiration.


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(chron.com)

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Eli Manning fan of joint practice — now that Shockey’s gone

JeremyShockey
Eli Manning was asked if he remembered the last time the Giants worked with another team in a joint training camp practice.

Manning did not immediately come up with the year, but he did instantly recall what happened a decade ago.

“That was [Jeremy] Shockey getting in a big fight, right?’’ Manning said.

Yes indeed, the last time the Giants engaged in a joint training camp practice was back in 2005, when they invited the Jets up to the University at Albany. The first day devolved into a controversial mess when a series of altercations broke out, with tight end Jeremy Shockey at the center of the very first fight.

This summer, for the first time in 10 years, the Giants will take part in a joint practice, as they will work out with the Bengals Aug. 11 and 12 in Cincinnati in advance of their preseason opener August 14 at Paul Brown Stadium.

“Shockey’s not here anymore ,’’ Manning said, “so I think we’ll have a shot to keep it civilized. Giants and Jets, the whole deal. With the Bengals I think we’ll be able to keep it civilized. The two coaches that are conducting this both want to get something out of it and keep it productive.’’

Manning took part Wednesday in the Giants’ first organized team activity practice and he said he’s always in favor of breaking the monotony of the offseason routine.

“I think it’s good in training camp to mix it up and get some new blood in there and get some different looks,’’ Manning said. “It will be good for breaking up what can be a tedious deal. This will make is fun.’’


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(nypost.com)
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James Jones first player to play in five straight NBA Finals since '60s

JamesJonesHeat
LeBron James — and James Jones — will become the first players since Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics of the 1960s to make five straight NBA Finals appearances.

After LeBron joined Jones in Miami, they went to four straight NBA Finals — winning two. When King James returned to Cleveland, Jones accompanied him and they are now headed to their first Finals together as members of the Cavaliers.

Of course, LeBron has a little more to do with his teams’ success than James Jones, but Jones is a part of history nonetheless.

The 2015 NBA Finals will be LeBron’s sixth chance at the championship.


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(suntimes.com)
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Yonder Alonso plays first rehab assignment game Wednesday

YonderAlonsoPadres
Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso went 1 for 3 at the plate in his first rehab game for Class A Elsinore on Wednesday. Alonso, who is currently on the 15-day DL with a shoulder injury, also drew a walk.

Alonso hasn't played since May 8 when he suffered the injury and is hitting .333 with 10 RBI in 87 at-bats this season.


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(cbssports.com)
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Jon Jay sends literally every fan home happy after minor league rehab start

ST. LOUIS -- Jon Jay went 0 for 4 in his first rehab game with the Class A Peoria Chiefs on Tuesday, but that certainly wasn't enough for fans to leave disappointed. 
According to the Peoria Journal Star, the St. Louis Cardinals outfielder spent a good amount of time signing autographs for every single fan who stuck around after the game. 



The selflessness is certainly not uncharacteristic of Jay, who takes part in several charity events throughout the year, including his annual Celebrity Bowling Challenge that raises money for the Boys & Girls Clubs in his hometown of Miami.  

Jay has spent the last two weeks getting strength back in his left wrist, which was surgically repaired in the offseason, and rediscovering his swing. The center fielder is expected back with the Cardinals on Friday, and was pleased with his first dose of live action since going on the disabled list May 14. 

JonJayCards
"I was able to play nine innings and I feel great right now, got the chance to run around a little bit in the outfield," Jay told the Peoria Journal Star. "Ran a couple times to the wall, so that was good.

"I saw some breaking balls, some fastballs, was able to foul some balls off with no pain. I'm just going to day to day, I was happy with how today went and I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

Jay is hitting .248 in 30 games this season for the Cardinals with 11 runs and six RBIs. 


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(foxsports.com)
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D-Backs' Hale on Peter O'Brien: 'Another guy pushing the envelope'

PeterObrienCanes
Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale indicated Wednesday that prospect Peter O'Brien is getting closer to joining the major-league roster, per MLB Network Radio.

"He's catching and doing a nice job," Hale said. "He looks good back there. His at-bats have been great and he is another guy pushing the envelope."

O'Brien has a .346/.383/.660/1.043 slash line in 41 games with Triple-A Reno this season. He also has two triples, 11 home runs, 13 doubles and 45 RBI.

O'Brien has moved all around the diamond this season. He has played 13 games in left field, 11 games in right field, nine games at catcher, four at DH and three at first base.


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(cbssports.com)
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Veteran NFL line coach slams technique of Giants Ereck Flowers

EreckFlowersCanes
There are reasons many mock drafts had Ereck Flowers being taken in the middle of the first round or later. Opinions around the league varied greatly on the Miami offensive tackle, who was selected ninth overall by the Giants in the NFL Draft.

The common knock is that Flowers' technique is flawed. He's raw, critics say. He has massive amounts of work to become a finished product.
That was reiterated in this week's Monday Morning Quarterback, where Greg Bedard pinch-hit for Peter King. This was the first item in the "Ten Things I Think I Think" section:

1. I think the Giants are fooling themselves if they think the pectoral muscle injury suffered by left tackle Will Beatty, which reportedly could keep him out until at least October, won't have huge ramifications. Beatty had developed himself into a very capable left tackle, and now the Giants are left with either Justin Pugh (who underwhelmed so much at right tackle he had been penciled in at guard) or Ereck Flowers, the ninth overall pick out of Miami earlier this month. I recently spent the weekend at the Coaches of Offensive Line (COOL) Clinic in Cincinnati, and the reviews on Flowers were not good. "Some of the worst technique I've ever seen in a player drafted that high," said one veteran NFL line coach. "He played for one of the best coaches, Art Kehoe, and his technique was terrible," said another coach. "That tells me he doesn't take coaching well. That's a big problem because all of the recent tackles have struggled making the transition. It now takes them until Year 3. You can thank the spread and the [collective bargaining agreement] for that."

Let's address this point by point, beginning with the premise that the Giants are going to suffer without Beatty. This is an assertion that is hard to argue. Plug-and-play left tackles don't grow on trees. They don't grow in college anymore, either.

As the veteran line coach who slammed Flowers explained, it's become more and more difficult for rookie tackles to enter the NFL and enjoy instant success. It's going to be difficult for Flowers to succeed, especially if forced to protect quarterback Eli Manning's blindside in Week 1. And yes, the Giants preferred to move Pugh to guard.

As for the comment about being "the worst technique I've ever seen in a player drafted that high," that is somewhat eye-opening. Lots of linemen enter the league with serious technique flaws. The NFL is a completely different game. Linemen are generally drafted based on their natural size, strength and ability.

If Flowers really is that far behind the rest of the highly-picked linemen, it's worrisome. What was said by the veteran line coach is not the kind of comment you expect to see often about the ninth-overall pick.

There is obviously an offensive line coach out there who doesn't think very highly of Flowers. In fact, he's probably not alone. There are most certainly others out there like him.

There are others who share the Giants perspective (all rookie linemen are raw and have technique flaws) as well. The Rams reportedly were very interested in Flowers at No. 10 and another executive and scout with NFC teams weren't the least bit taken aback when I suggested Flowers as the Giants ninth pick a month before the draft.

It just goes to show the variance in opinions on the Giants' first-round pick. Only time will tell who was right on their evaluation.

The final point that was addressed by Bedard was that Flowers didn't take coaching well. To be honest, it's an interesting philosophy. One is left to wonder why Flowers' technique is considered raw when his coach is well respected in NFL circles.

Having met and talked with Flowers, I'm not sure that it's a matter of not taking coaching well. He seems to be a humble kid interested in learning. One theory could be that he came to Miami so incredibly raw that what he is now is already a massive improvement from when he arrived in Coral Gables.

Again, only time will tell. In the meantime, file this report away for three years. Then we'll see which camp had it pegged right.


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(nj.com)
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Phillip Dorsett already impressing Colts

PhillipDorsettCanes
The Indianapolis Colts' selection of University of Miami wide receiver Phillip Dorsett at No. 29 overall in the 2015 NFL Draft was widely panned as a head-scratching luxury pick.

After rookie minicamp and a round of OTAs, the Colts couldn't be happier with their speedy first-round choice.

"He looks really good," coach Chuck Pagano said of his initial impressions, via The Herald Bulletin. "He's really fast. He's got really good hands. He's really smart. He's picked things up. He looks really good."

As Donte Moncrief pointed out last season, young Colts receivers are at a slight disadvantage compared to other rookies because they must learn the X, Z, slot and the inside (F) spot in Pep Hamilton's offense rather than concentrating on one position.

"I've been all over the place," Dorsett said. "Basically, playing receiver here, you can't just learn one position. You've got to learn them all."

So far, so good. Dorsett believes he's picking up Hamilton's scheme quickly.

After dialing up a few deep throws to his new weapon, Andrew Luck noted that "it's definitely not too big for him. ... He fits in very, very well."

With Andre Johnson and T.Y. Hilton locked in as Luck's top two receivers, Dorsett is battling Moncrief, former CFL star Duron Carter and ex-Chargers draft pick Vincent Brown for the third spot.

Former Colts running back Edgerrin James, who counseled Dorsett at Miami, believes his protégé will be among the NFL's impact rookies.

"I tell him once he gets in that real good offense and he gets to playing, man, he's going to be unbelievable," James recently told Mike Chappel of WXIN in Indianapolis. "He works hard. He does it the right way. He's a good kid. He has a love for the game. You're not going to have to worry about him. Trust me on that. And Andre is going to mentor him."

If James' assessment is correct, Hamilton's offense might reach "Greatest 'Shoe on Earth" heights after all.


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(nfl.com)
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Daniel Snyder has already talked to Santana Moss about a future role with the Redskins

SantanaMoss2
By the end of last season, Santana Moss wasn’t just the longest tenured Redskins player; he was among the longest-tenured pro athletes in D.C. sports. Near as I can tell, Moss — who debuted with Washington in September of 2005 — had been here longer than anyone other than Brooks Laich (who made his debut in 2004) and Ryan Zimmerman, who beat Moss to D.C. by 10 days.

Coach Jay Gruden has said he would still be open to bringing the 35-year old Moss back if circumstances demand it, but the longtime wide receiver has recently spoken as if his time in Washington is over. He also said last week that he’s already talked to owner Daniel Snyder about returning in a different capacity one day.

“I went up there and met with Dan a little before the draft, and we just talked basically about life, football, everything,” Moss told 106.7 The Fan’s Chad Dukes. “Dan has always been special to me from Day One when I became a Redskin, and he knows how much I love him and I appreciate him. So we sat down and talked for hours, and he just told me, ‘I know that you want to play so I’m not sure how things are gonna go, but if you’re not a ‘Skin, whenever you’re done, I want you back here to retire and everything. And when you’re done with that, if you want to do something with the team, give me a holler.’

“And I appreciate that, because I feel like my life has been around football for so long that it’s hard to just walk away, even when it’s time for me to walk away,” Moss said. “So I’m gonna sit out here and continue to grind and do what I know best. I still feel like I have something left in my legs. If someone needs that, they can give me a holler. If not, I’ll be the first one to let you know that I’m gonna go ahead and put them up and then move forward to whatever else I have planned for myself.”
Moss said he knows he wants to be a coach some day, and said he feels “like I invested so much into the Redskins, [a future in Washington is] only right for when I’m done and I want to move on.”

Snyder “just let me know that those doors would be open if I ever want to do that,” he said. “So I told him I appreciate that, just hearing it from him, letting me know that now, so whenever I do decide to take that path, I can always call him and let him know I’m ready for that.”

Moss said the Redskins drafting two wide receivers last month was a sign that the team is heading in another direction, and that he had no bad feelings toward the team or its front office. When your career is nearing its end, he said, “you have to slide to the side and let someone else have their chance.”

Moss would leave Washington third in team history in receptions, and with the single-season yardage mark. And while he seemed open to retirement, Moss also said he would wait and see if anyone needs a veteran receiver.

“I’ve never been in this water, so I’m treading it right now, and just staying afloat, letting them know that I’m ready for whatever if they need me,” he said. “But like I said before to a couple of my other friends, I’ll know when it’s over. When no one gives you that holler and it gets down that line to where there’s games being played and it’s too late, then I’ll be the first to say, ‘Hey, it was good while it lasted’ and I’ll move on without even looking back. Like I said before, I’ll have no regrets. Everything I did, I did with my heart, I went out there and played my heart.”


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(washingtonpost.com)
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Russell Wilson attending funeral with Jimmy Graham

JimmyGraham
The news that Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is absent from today’s Organized Team Activities was met by some with speculation that he’s unhappy with the status of contract talks. But that’s not the reason for Wilson’s absence.

Instead, a league source tells PFT that Wilson decided to travel to Miami to be with new teammate Jimmy Graham at the funeral of Graham’s longtime manager and mentor, Tamara Meyerson.

Meyerson, who died on Friday at the age of 45, became a mother figure for Graham, whose biological mother abandoned him when he was 11. Meyerson’s obituary names her three children and Graham as the most important people in her life.

“Tammy loved and mentored Jimmy Graham as a son. They were all always the number one priority in her life,” the obituary says.

Our condolences go out to Graham and to the Meyerson family.


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(profootballtalk.com)
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Indy mayor to present Reggie Wayne with key to city

ReggieWayne
After 14 standout seasons filled with accolades, former Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne is poised for one more honor: The key to the city.

Wayne, who was released by the Colts in March, will be presented with the key by Indianapolis mayor Greg Ballard. The Associated Press says Wayne will be recognized as part of Indiana University's Pacers Sports and Entertainment luncheon on July 17.

The six-time Pro Bowler, who was the Colts' first-round pick in 2001, had more than 14,000 yards receiving during his career with Indianapolis. Wayne helped lead to the Colts to a victory in Super Bowl XLI.

Ballard reportedly cited Wayne's contributions to the community and status as a role model as reasons for the honor.


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(foxsports.com)
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Colts rookie Phillip Dorsett making a fast first impression

PhillipDorsettCanes
The Colts definitely had bigger needs than another wide receiver in the first round of the draft.

But after their first look at him, they don’t think Phillip Dorsett is just another wide receiver.

“It’s definitely not too big for him,” quarterback Andrew Luck said, via Mike Wells of ESPN.com. “He fits in very, very well.”

Of course, the fit has been the biggest question. The Colts are well-stocked at the position with T.Y. Hilton and Andre Johnson starting, and Donte Moncrief, Duron Carter and Vincent Brown in reserve.

But Dorsett could separate himself the same way he separates from cornerbacks, with his speed. He averaged more than 24 yards per reception last year at Miami, and is falling into a system with a star quarterback who can throw a deep ball.

“All of his balls are catchable and he’s so smart,” Dorsett said of Luck. “He knows what to do. He knows where to put the ball.”

Luck can only put it in one set of hands at once, however, so Dorsett’s role this year might be unclear, as he works on returns and working his way into the starting lineup down the road.


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(profootballtalk.com)
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Orlando Franklin: "I Definitely Made the Right Decision"

OrlandoFranklin
Orlando Franklin was a hot commodity in March as one of the premier offensive line free agents available.

He had his pick of the litter, and was confident the San Diego Chargers were the best fit. Still, he called his good friend Brandon Flowers just to make sure before making his final decision.

“Brandon and I are always going to be good,” he explained.  “We played against each other in college and we went to the same high school.  We played each other when I was in Denver and he was in Kansas City and here.  Now it so happens that we are going to be on the same team. Right before I signed with San Diego I asked him what it was like here and he told me, ‘You’ve got the right attitude and you’re a dog, so come on!  That is what we’ll need out here.  We are going to win a lot of football games together.’”

Now that he’s spent a month in the team’s offseason program, his belief he made the right choice has transitioned to fact.  Looking around the locker room at all his teammates, especially those he’ll take the field with on offense, reassures him of that.

“I feel like I definitely made the right decision,” he said.  “A couple weeks ago we went out and drafted Melvin Gordon, and then you look at the big five (up front). We have Philip Rivers back there who will do everything in his power to put us in the best possible situation and run the right plays. From what I see this offense is definitely on the up and up. We are taking the right steps forward to being a successful offense and being one of those top five or 10 offenses in the league. It is definitely an exciting time to be a San Diego Charger. They really wanted me and I’m glad I’m here.”

Franklin spoke at length about Rivers after inking his contract in March, but he’s even more impressed by number 17 after spending significant time with him.

“He’s such an intelligent guy, and he’s a guy who welcomes you.  He talks to you and understand that I am not going to know everything like the back of my hand right now, so he will slow some things down for me and ask if I’m good on certain plays.  You get that sense how badly he wants to win.  He desperately wants to win. When you have a quarterback that wants to win that badly, the sky’s the limit.”

While Franklin can’t wait to protect for his star quarterback, he’s equally eager to open up holes for the Bolts’ talented stable of running backs.

“Any time you come into a system and know you’ll have the opportunity to run the ball, it’s definitely an exciting time,” he said. “We went out and got a home run hitting back like Melvin Gordon.  Obviously college doesn’t mean anything, but he definitely possesses a lot of the right tools to be a successful back in this league.  Then you have a guy like Danny Woodhead, who’s been doing what he’s done in this league for a very long time.  And then you have a guy like Branden Oliver, who also has potential home run ability because you can barely see that guy running through those holes.  And to have a guy like Donald Brown too, it’s really exciting to have all those guys.”

As for the guys he’ll be blocking with, Franklin takes one look to his right at Chris Watt and another glance to his left at King Dunlap and already feels right at home.

“These guys are really intelligent guys who know this system. Chris Watt is penciled in at center, and you’ve definitely got to be an intelligent person to be the starting center of an offensive line.  That is the second quarterback on the team as far as getting the offensive line together and getting the right calls and points for everyone.  So it is exciting to play with a young player like that, and King has been out here for a while now.  He thinks like me and understands me.  For us to only have been here only a month and know each other (like this), it’s definitely a positive step in the right direction.”

While he admittedly knows his offensive teammates better than those on defense at the moment, the left guard has paid special attention to one of the newest Bolts on the other side of the ball.  Second-round pick Denzel Perryman hails from his alma mater at Miami, so he knows what the young inside linebacker brings to the table.

“It’s all about the U!  And you always need more guys like Perryman around.  He did a lot of great things, and as a second round pick he obviously understands the expectations that are on him.   He realizes that there is only one way to play this game – physical.  And he definitely brings physicality to us. He is a sideline to sideline player who brings the hammer when he gets there.”


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(chargers.com)
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Santana Moss Ready to Move On If Career is Over

SantanaMoss2
WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – Former Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss confirmed on Friday he still wants to play in the NFL this season, but that his time with the Redskins is over.

Moss, 36, was the longest-tenured member of the organization. He played with Washington from 2005 until last season when he became a little-used reserve. Moss — appearing on Chad Dukes Vs. the World Friday — that even during NFL free agency in March, his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told him that the Redskins might not bring him back.

“I had my mind already based on that,” Moss said. “I really didn’t have no bad feelings about it.”

And while Redskins coach Jay Gruden and general manager Scot McCloughan left the possibility open for a return depending on training camp injuries to the wide receiver corps, Moss said he was told if Washington drafted another wide receiver that would be the sign to move on.

The Redskins selected two: Jamison Crowder (Duke) in the fourth round and Evan Spencer (Ohio State) in the sixth.

“I know this game,” Moss said. “I know that when it’s your time, take advantage of it and dwell in the moment and when it’s not you have to slide to the side and let someone else have their chance.”

Moss met with Redskins owner Dan Snyder shortly before the April 30 draft and was told if things didn’t work out with an NFL team that he’d be welcomed to return to Washington and retire as a Redskin and could work in some capacity in the organization, too.

“I invested so much into the Redskins,” Moss said. “It’s only right for when I’m done and I want to move on. I want be part of football in some fashion, whether it’s in the front office or being a coach…[Snyder] just let me know that those doors would be open if I ever wanted to do that.”

For now, Moss continues working out in his hometown of Miami hoping another team is interested either now or during training camp. He gave no preference to a destination, but said Rosenhaus and other friends and associates in the league have told him NFL coaches and executives have asked about his availability. But Moss says he’ll know when it’s time to stop waiting.

“I never been in this water. I’m treading it right now, just staying afloat, letting them know I’m ready for whatever if they need me,” Moss said. “But like I’ve said before to a couple of my other friends – I’ll know when it’s over. When no one gives you that holler and it gets down that line to where there’s games being played or it’s too late, I’ll be the first to say it was good while it lasted and I’ll move on without looking back.”


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(washington.cbslocal.com)
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Jon Jay heads for rehab assignment

JonJayCards
When Jon Jay returns from a rehab assignment that begins Tuesday, there is no guarantee his position or planned spot in the lineup will be the same as when he left it.p:BC body copy 1st graph

After two weeks spent strengthening his left wrist and rediscovering his swing, Jay will report to Class A Peoria on Tuesday and begin an official rehab assignment. He is expected to return to the majors Friday, when the Cardinals will add him to the active roster.

In his absence, however, individuals like Kolten Wong and Peter Bourjos have taken advantage of added playing time at two of Jay’s roles: leadoff and center field, respectively. Rookie Randal Grichuk has also earned playing time in center.

“Finding a balance for all these guys is going to be something we have to work through,” general manager John Mozeliak said. “The other thing to think about is the hot hand and trying to take advantage of that is what we’ll do. Mike (Matheny) will try to go with matchups and try to go with hot hands.”

Wong had three hits from the leadoff spot in Monday’s 3-2 victory. Since Jay went on the disabled list with a bruised thumb and sore left wrist, the Cardinals’ leadoff spot has hit 17 for 63 (.270) with nine runs and three RBIs. Nine of those hits, however, have come in Wong’s past six games at leadoff. He’s hit .375 with five runs scored in the Cardinals’ past six games.

At center, the Cardinals have received a .196 average (11 for 56) with three RBIs and 10 runs scored. Bourjos had two hits Monday — the third two-hit game from the center fielder in the Cardinals’ past seven games.

Jay, the only Cardinals regular to hit better than .300 last season, will return to a .248 average and an ongoing stretch with few extra-base hits. He played through a wrist injury during the second half of 2014 and explained Monday how once the adrenaline of October wore off, “I was pretty sore and in pretty bad shape.” He had surgery to repair the wrist – and recognized the recovery might linger into the season.

Before going on the DL, Jay modified his swing to guard against that weakness and that exposed his thumb to a deep bruise.

“When you’re weak it causes a little bit of pain,” Jay said. “I knew I was going to have to deal with it during the year. It got to a point where it was tough to deal with, so we took a step back. We had a setback, now I’m looking forward.”


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(stltoday.com)
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Yonder Alonso: (Shoulder) Will Begin Rehab Assignment Wednesday

YonderAlonsoPadres
NEWS UPDATE
Alonso (shoulder) will join High-A Lake Elsinore for a rehab assignment beginning Wednesday, MLB.com's Corey Brock reports.

ROTOWIRE FANTASY ANALYSIS
Alonso is scheduled to hit on the field Monday in Anaheim, and will then start his rehab assignment. It's unclear how many rehab games he'll require, but he could be back on the field for the Padres by next week.


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(rotowire.com)
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Dodgers place C Yasmani Grandal on 7-day concussion DL

YasmaniGrandalDodgers
LOS ANGELES -- Yasmani Grandal will not have to spend any more time on the disabled list than what is required.

Grandal went on the seven-day concussion DL this past Saturday after he was hit on the side of his face with a backswing and then took a foul ball off his mask Friday night. Grandal has since passed all of the training staff's tests and will start his rehab assignment Tuesday with Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Other than some trouble sleeping the night after it happened, Grandal has felt fine he told the team's cable network, SportsNet LA, in a pregame interview.

As long as everything goes well in his three minor league games as a designated hitter, he should be activated for Saturday's game against the St. Louis Cardinals. Grandal will not catch in the rehab games in order to minimize the risk of another blow to the head or face.

"Last I heard he was not going to catch any of those games. Just doing a little drill work," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "I don't think the [medical staff] wants to take any chances. He had a concussion. The longer he can go without any kind of jolt, the better chances he has of it not reoccurring."

Grandal was the team's hottest hitter when he suffered the concussion. He leads the Dodgers in May with a .400/.492/.660 slash line, a 1.152 OPS and 15 RBIs in 61 plate appearances.


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(espn.com)
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Ryan Braun wins NL Player of Week

RyanBraun
After a strong week at the plate, Milwaukee Brewers right fielder Ryan Braun was named co-National League Player of the Week alongside the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen.

"He's swung the bat incredibly well," Brewers manager Craig Counsell told Brewers.com. "He's talked about seeing the ball longer, seeing the ball better, letting the ball get deeper. The big thing it's resulted in for me is there's less chase out of the zone. With his swing, when he's in the strike zone, he's going to produce with that swing."

Braun had three home runs and 11 RBIs last week.

This was the fourth time Braun has won the award in his career and if the Brewers are going to get back into the race for the National League Central, Braun – or his teammates – may need to win a couple more of these this season.


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(foxsports.com)
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Phillip Dorset Fitting In

PhillipDorsettCanes
His status as the Colts' first-round pick makes it unsurprising Phillip Dorsett is already flashing in practices.

But it was hard not to be impressed by the rookie out of Miami who, in his first week working with veterans, seamlessly worked his way into the lineup — and then some.

"It's definitely not too big for him," said quarterback Andrew Luck, who found Dorsett on a series of deep throws.

Dorsett displaying his speed at the college level is one thing, but it's already obvious that his speed also translates to the pros. Dorsett also has displayed impressive hands. He had a drop early in Wednesday's practice, but he responded with some notable catches, including a diving grab on a skinny post route.

He's also acclimating well in the classroom, where rookies often are most challenged. The Colts have Dorsett playing every receiver spot — both outside positions as well as in the slot. And he's handled the volume well for a kid who was drafted just three weeks ago.

"I'm definitely picking up the scheme," Dorsett said. "They have me playing all over the place. Concept-wise, I'm definitely getting there."


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(indystar.com)
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Andre Johnson set for big role on Colts?

AndreJohnson2
The Indianapolis Colts stockpiled offensive weapons for Andrew Luck this offseason.

General manager Ryan Grigson added Andre Johnson, Frank Gore and rookie speedster Phillip Dorsett to an arsenal that already featured T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener.

While the Houston Texans wanted to reduce Johnson's role in the offense -- precipitating his release -- the Colts appear poised to give the veteran a big part in their play.

According to ESPN beat reporter Mike Wells, who was on hand for Colts OTAs on Wednesday, it was "pretty obvious" that the veteran will have a "significant part" in Indy's offense.

Even if we normally can't glean a whole lot from OTAs, the note from Wells indicates that Johnson should clearly be considered the No. 2 receiving target behind T.Y. Hilton as we inch toward the summer months.

Coach Chuck Pagano boasted that the transition of Johnson and Gore to the offense has been "pretty seamless," so the receiver's significant role in the starting offense shouldn't be seen merely a way to immerse the veteran in a new system.

Earlier this offseason, colleague Chris Wesseling declared Johnson a "lead-pipe lock for 90 receptions and 1,000 yards if he stays healthy." Given what we've heard coming out of the Colts' camp already, there is no reason to backtrack from that forecast.


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(nfl.com)
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History with Shields, Williams led CB Gunter to sign with Packers despite logjam

LadariusGunterCanes
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Some undrafted players don't have much of a choice when it comes to where they sign. Those are the players who are just happy to get an opportunity anywhere. For priority undrafted free agents, however, the decision that follows the disappointment of not being selected is the most important one of their young football careers.

The Green Bay Packers boast -- at least through their own independent study -- the NFL's best opportunity for undrafted players to make the 53-man active roster. It's a significant part of their sales pitch to the best of the best players who don't hear their names called.

Aside from the raw research data of success rate, undrafted players also need to have a strong grasp on the depth chart of each team that's interested in them, especially at their position. It's for that reason that some might question why cornerback Ladarius Gunter would decide to join the Packers.

Gunter watched as Green Bay picked Damarious Randall in the first round, with the team quickly making it clear that it viewed the Arizona State defensive back as a cornerback rather than a safety. Then, Gunter saw the Packers go with another cornerback in the second round, Quinten Rollins. That's in addition to Green Bay already having Sam Shields, Casey Hayward, Micah Hyde and Demetri Goodson under contract at that spot.

Gunter, projected by NFLDraftScout.com as a sixth-round pick, didn't let any of that deter him from signing with the Packers.

"I'm a competitor," Gunter said frankly.

It was obvious that Gunter did not care who he'd have to beat out for a job. The three-year starter at the University of Miami was determined to find a way to make it in Green Bay.

But it's not like Gunter blindly went with the Packers. He shares an alma mater with Shields, who signed with Green Bay as an undrafted cornerback in 2010 and is now working under a $39 million contract. The Packers also helped turn Tramon Williams from a 2006 undrafted cornerback into a player now entering his 10th NFL season.

"I had watched those guys and watched where they came from, and see how Green Bay had worked with them and put them in good situations," Gunter said.
Gunter added that the development of Shields and Williams "played a big part in it."

Gunter didn't specify how many contract offers he received following the draft, saying only that it was "a lot of teams." Still, it didn't take him much thought before agreeing to terms with Green Bay.

"I felt it was the best fit for me," Gunter said. "I knew that if I came in and competed that it would give me a chance."

Cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt had that exact message midway through draft weekend after the Packers had selected Randall and Rollins. Draft position means nothing to Whitt when deciding who should be on the field and who should be on the bench.

"If it's a first-rounder or a free agent, if you play well, you'll play," Whitt said. "If you don't, you'll sit there and watch. I hope both of these guys (Randall and Rollins) don't think they're going to come in just because of their pedigree that they're going to necessarily play in front of anybody else. That's not how it works in our room. The best guys play."

That bodes well for Gunter if he comes out strong in training camp.

Whitt's work since being promoted to his current position in 2009 is also beginning to enter the equation for undrafted cornerbacks.

"Joe Whitt is excellent," head coach Mike McCarthy said. "His reputation of what we've done here in the past with our young corners speaks for itself. So, the culture is set, there's a blueprint there of taking young guys and getting them ready."

Standing nearly 6-foot-2 and weighing 202 pounds, Gunter finds himself as the biggest player in Green Bay's cornerback room. Randall, Rollins, Hayward, Shields and Goodson are all 5-11.

"With faster guys I can get my hands on them and slow them down," Gunter said. "Bigger guys, I can use my body to jump and play with those guys. (Size) plays a role in both situations."

Gunter's size led to 50 percent of the NFL teams he spoke with during the draft process to view him as a safety. The Packers weren't one of those teams, but it doesn't mean they couldn't give that a shot at some point in an attempt to make Gunter more versatile -- and therefore, valuable -- to the defense.

Gunter doesn't have the speed of Randall and Rollins. Gunter ran a 4.69 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine, slower than both Randall (4.46) and Rollins (4.57). Gunter insisted that he plays faster than his timed speed, though.

"Some people are fast in a straight line," he said. "I feel I'm just a football player. I'm not a track star. I play fast on the football field."

It remains to be seen whether there's enough room on the Packers defense for Gunter to join fellow rookies Randall and Rollins on the active roster. But if there's one NFL team on which it might be possible, it's Green Bay.

"The best players play, the next guys watch," Whitt said.


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(foxsports.com)
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No time to wait on Ereck Flowers following Will Beatty's injury

EreckFlowersCanes
There will likely be no developmental period for New York Giants rookie offensive lineman Ereck Flowers. Following a torn pec injury to incumbent starting left tackle Will Beatty, the Giants will be forced to fast-track the No. 9 overall pick from the 2015 NFL Draft. The Giants will be forced to shuffle the offensive line, and their new goal will likely involve getting the five best offensive linemen on the field even if that means moving some players out of their natural positions.

Take a quick peak around the rest of what the Giants have to offer along the offensive line, and it won't take long to realize that Flowers is already one of the team's best five. If we assume Justin Pugh, Geoff Schwartz an Weston Richburg are locked in to starting spots, that leaves us with two positions to fll out. Flowers' challengers present a weak case to play over him. John Jerry started all 16 games for the Giants in 2014, but he finished as Pro Football Focus' 66th-ranked guard out of 78 qualifiers. The Giants singed swing tackle Marshall Newhouse who allowed 16 quarterback pressures, hits and sacks in just 373 snaps in 2014. He has performed poorly at every stop along the way in his NFL career so far. Fellow rookies Brett Jones an Bobby Hart can't claim to possess the natural talent and athleticism that Flowers has, and they certainly don't have his size.

Giants general manager Jerry Reese has mentioned in the past that he expects first-round draft picks in the top half of the draft to make an impact right away. That's what those picks are there for. The Giants selected Flowers with the highest pick they've spent on an offensive lineman since 1974. At 6-foot-6 and 329 pounds, Flowers has the prototypical size to play offensive tackle in the NFL. He was also a very productive player at the collegiate level. In 2014, he was a plus pass protector at the University of Miami. According to Pro Football Focus, Flowers allowed zero sacks and 10 total pressures. Only two tackles in the 2015 draft allowed less pressures.

Former Giants offensive lineman David Diehl said that Flowers reminds him of another great offensive lineman of their past--Kareem McKenzie. 

"He's a more athletic Kareem McKenzie," said Diehl to Jordan Raanan of True Jersey. "Have you seen him? You're talking about a 21-year-old monster. He is huge."

Diehl is excited about what Flowers can become once Giants offensive line coach Pat Flaherty gets his hands on him.

"He's tough and nasty, gets after people," Diehl said to John Schmeelk of Giants.com. "He's a fighter. He brings the intangible stuff that meeting room needs and also brings competition amongst the offensive line. The five best players will be on the field, and they will all have to fight and earn that job. Granted, there are technique things he needs to work on, but all of us needed to work on those things when we were that young.  I have the utmost confidence and respect in Pat Flaherty, and I know he will be all over him and make him the best player he can be."

Flowers is doing all of the right things so far in Diehl's mind. The rookie has made an excellent first impression on Diehl.

"[Flowers] said one of the best things he could have possibly said to me that already struck me the right way and gave me a good impression of him," Diehl said to Jordan Raanan of True Jersey. "We're sitting there talking about coming [to the Giants] and everything. Before I walked away he said, 'I know you're around a lot. [The team] said you were. Do you mind if at any time if I have any questions about technique or footwork or different types of stuff if I can ask you?'"

Diehl is not the only former Giants lineman who has taken note of Flowers' upside. Chris Snee broke game tape on two of Flowers' games in 2014 and offered up the following evaluation:

"Technically, he's got work to do, which a lot of these college kids do,'' Snee said. "With hand placement, his hands are often outside. I remember distinctly writing I was impressed with how he could anchor and hold his own with his hand placement being so poor. Physically, he's strong up top because he was able to get away with the technical errors. I read an article where he said he knows he has work to do, too. That's half the battle, he knows he's got to clean that up because you're not going to be able to get away with technique errors at this level, the defensive line will eat you apart.

"This is one thing I definitely noticed, he was a different player at the end of the year than he was in the beginning, in a good way. The Nebraska game, he didn't have a good game, to be honest with you. At the end of the year, the false steps that I saw early on were eliminated, which was good. Hand placement had improved.

"There were a couple of times where one of the South Carolina guys tried to cheap-shot his teammate and he ran over. As a lineman, you want to know your teammates have your back. I'm not asking a guy to get in a fight, but there are times when your buddy's in need, you want to see the guy run over there, as opposed to him just standing there, watching. That part was nice to see.''

Former Giants center Shaun O'Hara also took note of Flowers' nasty streak and willingness to finish plays.

"A couple things that jump out at you when you see him on tape, for how big he is, he has pretty good feet, he's pretty athletic and he finishes plays," O'Hara said about Flowers to John Schmeelk of Giants.com. "To me, playing offensive line it has always been it's the size of the fight in the dog not the size of the dog in the fight. I think he has a little nasty streak in him, and it's all about effort when it comes to offensive line play, so I like that aspect of it."

Current Giants offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz is impressed with Flowers' strength and physique, but he doesn't see Flowers winning the a starting job as an offensive guard. According to Schwartz, Flowers will have to compete to prove he is one of the team's best two remaining options at offensive tackle.

"I definitely think Eric is a tackle, I don't see him as a guard," Schwartz told Armen and Levack, on 104.5 The Team. "He is very athletic. You have to be a certain type of athlete to play tackle and he fits that mold of long arms, strong and powerful. I'm excited to see him get after it."

One thing we can be sure of is that Flowers will get every opportunity to win a starting tackle job this summer. During the Giants' rookie minicamp, he lined up primarily at left tackle, but the Giants may feel more comfortable preparing him to play on the right side now that Beatty is out. As a raw tactician, Flowers will certainly take his lumps, but he has the upside to hold down an offensive tackle spot for the Giants during the 2015 season. Given the current state of their offensive line, they are going to need him to realize that upside sooner than later.


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(foxsports.com)
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Phillip Dorsett Quickly Impressing the Colts

PhillipDorsettCanes
First round pick Phillip Dorsett hasn't taken long to impress his new team.  The Colts' wide receiver is just two days in to OTAs with the team, but already he's catching the attention of coaches, players, and media.

"He looks really good," head coach Chuck Pagano told the media after Wednesday's practice.  "He's really fast.  He's got really good hands.  He's really smart.  He's picked things up.  He looks really good."

That was a theme echoed by Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.  Dorsett said that there's "no question" that playing with Luck makes the receiver better and that, "it definitely makes a difference.  All of his balls are catchable and he's so smart.  He knows what to do.  He knows where to put the ball."  Luck laughed when told of that statement and said that, "he has to be nice to me in the public.  You have to say those things."

The star quarterback is already impressed with the new receiver, however, and not just with his compliments off the field.  "It's definitely not too big for him," Luck said of Dorsett adjusting to the NFL game.  "He fits in very, very well.  That being said, it goes for all the rookies on the offensive side of the ball.  It's a bunch of guys doing some really, really good things and not missing a stride, not missing a beat.  So it's fun to get those guys in the fold and work with them."

Wednesday's OTA practice was open to the media, and Dorsett's play (and his speed) caught the attention of many in attendance.









When the Colts initially made the pick to draft Dorsett, it was greeted with near universal disdain by fans, but that feeling has softened over the past few weeks as fans have realized that the receiver is certainly a good player.  He was the top available guy on the Colts' board at pick number 29 and therefore they took him, and they really like him a lot.  After just a few workouts and two OTA sessions, he's already receiving praise from his coaches, his teammates, and the media alike.

For Dorsett, it's simply a dream come true.  "It's your dream," he said.  "It's been your dream your whole life and now that you're here it's unbelievable.  But now you have to take the next step and just go out there and do everything that you can to help this team win."  If the early reports out of Indianapolis are any indication, Phillip Dorsett will do just that.


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(stampedeblue.com)
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Frank Gore, Andre Johnson have made smooth transition to Indy

FrankGore2
INDIANAPOLIS -- There wasn’t expected to be any significant rough stretches for newcomers Andre Johnson and Frank Gore as they transitioned to Indianapolis after spending their entire careers in Houston and San Francisco, respectively.

"Relatively smooth" is probably a better way to describe the transition for the two veterans. So smooth, in fact, that Chuck Pagano went as far as to say it’s like the two have been part of the organization for years.

“Pretty seamless,” the Colts coach said. “They don’t miss a beat as far as the playbook goes, knowing what to do. Every time I see them in the huddle, break a huddle, to me it looks like they’re going the right direction. They’re lining up right. They’re very talented, talented guys. They fit right into the locker room. They’re professionals. Again, the résumé speaks for itself. They’re not talkers. They’re workers, they’re doers.”

Gore's and Johnson's transitions are the most important of the new additions the Colts made in the offseason because of the roles they're expected to play next season. The Colts hope Gore will take some of the pressure off of quarterback Andrew Luck by being the team's first 1,000-yard rusher since 2007 when Joseph Addai did it. Luck, who watched Gore pound defenses with the 49ers while he was at Stanford, noted that the running back has underrated blocking skills.

While the Texans wanted to reduce Johnson’s role in their offense, it was pretty obvious during Wednesday’s OTA session that the veteran will have a significant part in Indianapolis’ offense as he took his snaps with the starters.

“There is a learning adjustment and we’ll continue to learn,” Luck said. “I’d like to think you get better and build that repertoire every week through the offseason, training camp and during the season. But they understand football, you can tell that. They know how to play and certain things they know how to do and certain things that coaches are asking them might be a little different. They work at it just like everybody else. But it’s been very good and it’s incredibly valuable to get these days with them.”




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(espn.com)
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Could Duke Johnson be the Browns best draft choice?

NFLU2009
Will he be the next Clinton Portis or the next James Jackson?

Of the 12 players the Browns recently drafted, could running back Duke Johnson turn out to be the most productive of all the draft picks?

In just three seasons at Miami (Fla.) Johnson accounted for 5,526 all-purpose yards. His 3,519 rushing yards is the most of any former Hurricane running backs, eclipsing Ottis Anderson's all-time record. The Hurricane's list of former NFL running backs is a who's who listed of backs including the likes of Anderson, Portis, Frank Gore, Willis McGahee, Alonzo Highsmith, Lamar Miller and Edgerrin James.

"I'm surprised," Johnson said after the Browns recent rookie minicamp. "I never had the idea of going to college and leaving the all-time leading rusher. My goals were the same as they are now and that is to win, but I think it is a great accomplishment knowing the guys that came before me.

"I felt it was a good accomplishment," he said. "It is something and a legacy I can leave at the University of Miami. Hopefully, I can take that same mindset and same attitude to the next level."

Johnson said it really hasn't set in for him what he's accomplished.

"I'm still waiting because it really hasn't hit me yet," Johnson said. "I don't know what it's going to take, but it really hasn't hit me yet."

Johnson hopes to have the same type of success that the others have.

"I'm really hoping, especially with the majority of those guys going to the next level and having the careers they did," he said. "I'm really hoping that I can have the type of careers those guys had."

Johnson said he's talked with the former 'Canes who've gone to the NFL before him and they've offered some tips to him.

"I've talked with Edgerrin and Willis and they just told me to take care of my body to be healthy and being able to take coaching and to be on time."

Johnson isn't satisfied with what he's accomplished so far and is ready to start contributing with the Browns.

"I think I can show what I can do out of the backfield," Johnson said. "I think that's something we're trying to do in the offense and that is utilizing me in the passing game. Putting me out wide, giving (the defense) different looks and getting the ball in different ways besides running it and returning it."

Jackson was a third-round draft choice of the Browns in 2001 (65th overall), who followed Butch Davis from Miami to the Browns, but didn't materialize at the NFL level. He is still fourth on the all-time Hurricanes rushing list, but had his best year as a rookie with the Browns with just 554 yards and two touchdowns.

Similar to Jackson, Johnson is smaller in stature and likely wasn't drafted until the third-round because of his size (5-9, 206). Despite his height, Ray Farmer said Johnson is "not small". Johnson is confident he will be able to be successful at the NFL level.

"I never doubt my skills," he said. "This is something that I've worked hard on since I was a kid to master my craft as we like to say it.

"I never would get to the ultimate level doubting myself," he said. "I'm a little too far ahead in my life to start doubting myself now."

Johnson said he thinks he can carry the load at the NFL level.

"I'm going to do whatever they ask of me," he said "I'm a three-down back, third down do whatever I can to help this team win."

Johnson describes himself this way.

"I think I am unpredictable," he said. "I'm a one-cut kind of guy, hit a hole and see it. I can make things happen, very versatile out of the backfield. I can line up at receiver and create mismatches out of the backfield."

Johnson said although he has left the University of Miami, he carries "The U" attitude when he steps on the field.

"I bring the same attitude," he said. "There's a swagger."

If he can prove to be as successful as he was in college, Duke Johnson might prove to be one of the Browns best picks of this year's draft class.


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(foxsports.com)
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Ladarius Gunter Could Push Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins For Playing Time

NFLU2009
Green Bay Packers cornerback Ladarius Gunter may have been passed over 256 times during the 2015 NFL Draft, but now that the annual rookie selection process is over, that means little for his NFL future.

Gunter, 6-foot-1, 202-pounds, has prototypical size for the corner spot in the NFL and performed very well at the Senior Bowl. He finished 2014 at Miami with 28 tackles, six pass break ups and two interceptions.

Despite his physical talents and quality production, a 4.69 40-yard dash at the NFL rookie scouting combine likely helped push Gunter down and completely off most draft boards.

Now a Packer, Gunter seems to enter a crowded secondary field after Green Bay GM Ted Thompson spent the team's first two picks on safety/cornerback Damarious Randall and safety/cornerback Quinten Rollins.

While Gunter seems unlikely to crack the active lineup his first season, with the Pack planning to have Randall and Rollins start their NFL careers at corner - they played mostly safety in college - should either player stumble, Gunter may actually have the inside track on one of the Packers 53 roster spots.

"Given both players' potential issues at converting to new positions, Gunter could have the opportunity to stand out during training camp and the preseason to earn a roster spot. It won't be easy, but Gunter has a shot at winning the final corner spot on the Packers' roster," writes Charlie Campbell of Walter Football.

With Davon House and Tramon Williams defecting to new NFL homes in free agency, Thompson and the Packers focused their draft efforts on the secondary in order to plug the holes left by their veteran departures.

While Randall and Rollins will get the first few shots at securing starting jobs, if Gunter can show the same kind of playmaking ability he did at Miami, he has a better shot at playing right away than his undrafted status would suggest.

Still, as Campbell notes, the knock against Gunter has and will continue to be his speed.

"Teams aren't confident that Gunter can run with receivers and will be limited to only being a press-man corner against bigger, slower receivers. There were doubts that Gunter would be able to run with NFL receivers and prevent separation," writes Campbell.

Despite concerns over his quicks, some, like NFL.com's Lance Zierlein pegged Gunter as a likely fourth or fifth-round pick.

"Has the desired size, length and playmaking qualities to be a starting cornerback but his perceived lack of play speed and inconsistency in man coverage could cause teams to peg him as a zone corner, which might drop him by a round."

Thompson and the Packers are consistently lauded for their ability to mine gems from the latter portion of the draft - if Gunter develops, he could prove the latest success story in Green Bay and, more importantly, potentially find himself making an impact on the team from Day One, perhaps in place of his more heralded new Packers teammates.


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(hngn.com)
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Geoff Schwartz impressed by Rookie OL Ereck Flowers

NFLU2009
It’s one thing for an average person to call someone a “big dude.”

It’s another for a 6-foot-6, 340-pounder to say it.

But things are different in the land of Giants. After spending some time with the new draft class, Geoff Schwartz, one of the largest humans on the roster, came away with that impression -- and others -- of ninth overall pick and fellow offensive lineman Ereck Flowers.

“Ereck Flowers is a big dude,” Schwartz said of the 6-foot-6, 329-pound rookie during an interview on ESPN Radio 104.5 FM The Team. “He is strong. We lifted together. He is a strong kid that I look forward to seeing.

“He’s a quiet guy kind of feeling his way in. I get it, I remember being a rookie. It’s tough, especially since I was a seventh-round pick, he’s the ninth pick overall. But it’s nice to have those guys in and start working with them and try to get them acclimated to the group. I’m excited to kind of see them in camp with the pads on.” 

Last week Flowers put on the Giants uniform for the first time at rookie minicamp, which included his fellow draft picks, undrafted rookie free agents and dozens of tryout players. The camp got his feet wet before organized team activities start Wednesday, May 27.

That’s when all eyes will be on where he lines up.

Coach Tom Coughlin hasn’t committed to anything yet, but Flowers is a tackle and is expected to work on the right side initially.

Flowers’ stature has drawn comparisons to Kareem McKenzie, the Giants’ former starting right tackle in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI.

“I’ve seen Kareem a couple times, I don’t know if [Ereck] is that big,” Schwartz said. “Kareem has a big chest, big shoulders. [Ereck is] 330. He’s a big man, but he’s very proportionate. Like you wouldn’t think he’s 330. That’s what makes him impressive, a guy who looks that lean and is that strong and big.

I definitely think that they hope that he comes in and plays like Kareem did and kind of holds down a tackle spot for a long time and kind of brings that nastiness, that run-blocking style that we need to get back to.”


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(giants.com)mai
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Pete Carroll says Jimmy Graham is 'determined to be great'

JimmyGraham
When the Seattle Seahawks acquired All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham from the New Orleans Saints for a first-round pick and center Max Unger, they knew they were getting a great talent. What they didn't know is how well Graham would acclimate to his teammates.

Head coach Pete Carroll was asked about Graham by reporters at the end of the Seahawks three-day rookie minicamp.

"Right from the first time I sat down with him in my office I was just blown away by what a great kid he is and how squared away he is," Carroll said. "We know he has great ability and athleticism, so we were really curious to see if he could assimilate, and he did it like instantly."

Carroll loves the attitude and team-first mentality Graham has brought with him to Seattle.

"He got along really well with the players," Carroll said. "The players really took to him and they didn’t know if he was a hotshot, or all full of himself. He was none of that. He was a great kid."

Carroll knows the knock on Graham is his blocking abilities, but doesn't seem too worried.

"He was very determined to be great," Carroll said. "Wants to learn everything. Wants to be a complete player."


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(foxsports.com)
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Ray Lewis to release memoir in October

RayLewisRavens2
Ray Lewis is releasing a memoir about his childhood, his 17-year football career and the murder charges that threatened to lock him up.

The retired Super Bowl champion Ravens linebacker and ESPN analyst announced Monday that he will release the book, titled "I Feel Like Going On: Life, Game, and Glory," in October. It is co-written by Daniel Paisner and will be published by Simon & Schuster Publishing.

The memoir is billed as a "player's point of view" of Lewis' career and also promises new insight on "his father abandoning him, his best friend's murder and his own wrongful incarceration."

Lewis and two friends were implicated in the killings of two men in Atlanta after the 2000 Super Bowl in Atlanta. Murder charges against him were dropped in exchange for testimony against his co-defendants, and he was found guilty of one charge of obstruction of justice.

"Newly retired, Lewis reveals his controversial opinions on the business of football and offers insights about the torturous aspects of the sport that you don't see on television," the announcement said. "From a rookie player accused of murder to arguably the best defensive player in the history of the NFL, Lewis' story is one of triumph and tragedy, tenacity and strength."

Lewis retired in 2013 as the Ravens' all-time career leader in tackles and fumble recoveries. The 13-time Pro Bowler and three-time AFC Defensive Player of the Year runs an eponymous foundation that supports disadvantaged youths in the city.


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(carrollcountytimes.com)
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Rob Chudzinski Discusses His Role

RobChudzinski
INDIANAPOLIS --- Colts Associate Head Coach Rob Chudzinski is the mystery man on Chuck Pagano’s coaching staff. Pagano has praised the work done by “Coach Chud”, as he’s known around the building, but still the fascination has lingered as to what the role of this coach is, almost like an ace in the hole to go with Pagano’s coordinators and position coaches.

“It’s a little bit different role than I’m used to,” Chudzinski admitted to Colts.com last week, after being the head Coach in Cleveland in 2013 and working as an offensive coordinator or assistant head coach for the Browns, Chargers, and Panthers before that. “I’m usually out front of everything, but again, whatever I can do to help in any way. Support, be a resource for, do work for, whatever it is around the building, I can do. That’s what I want to do to help us win.”

Associate Head Coach is his true title in Indianapolis, but perhaps “Master Consultant” would be another appropriate title for Rob Chudzinski’s contributions to Chuck Pagano’s staff.

“There’s a lot that goes into it, and a lot of different things I do around the building,” said Chudzinski with a smile, when that alternate title was suggested. “It’s the type of role that if everybody doesn’t know what you do, then you’re probably doing a good job.”

Internally though, the Colts definitely know what Chudzinski does and how good he is at it, evidenced by the fact that Indianapolis wanted and was able to retain him, after multiple teams were reportedly interested in making him their offensive coordinator. It’s easy to imagine that feeling of being wanted was probably not lost on a man who was only given one year with his previous team.

“It meant a lot. It says a lot. Just being here and having the opportunity to be here, I’m excited about it,” Chudzinski said. “I’m excited about this team. I’m excited about the people I get to come to work with every single day, and the coaches and players and interactions with that. I’m excited about the opportunity to succeed to win and win a Super Bowl. Ultimately, that’s our goal.”

Chudzinski said being a part of a Super Bowl winning team is what drives him every single day, that it’s absolutely one of his individual goals in his career, after he made the jump to the NFL in 2004 from the University of Miami. He was on the Hurricanes staff with Pagano from 1995 to 2000.

But if winning the Super Bowl is the ultimate goal, then reaching it must include achieving countless smaller goals along the way, including right now in the offseason. That’s what Chudzinski’s role entails right now.

“We segment everything. So, this time of year, it’s about individuals getting better at individual techniques. It’s about us looking at areas that we maybe struggled at last year as a team and how we can practice and prepare and what we can adjust to really focus on those things.”

But when the season came around in 2014, Chudzinski’s role as Special Assistant to the Head Coach shifted, and this year as Associate Head Coach, it will shift again.

“As you get into the season, it’s more about the gameplan and more about the individual teams that you are playing,” Chudzinski explained. “But again, anything that I can do. I’ve been fortunate. I’ve been around some great coaches.”

For Chudzinski, that now includes Chuck Pagano, just the second head coach in NFL history to win at least 11 games in his first four seasons.

“Chuck’s done a great job of really drilling it down to those guys of what this time of year is for and what we need to do in order to improve as a team,” said Chudzinski. “It starts with the individual...it will filter up to the team as time goes on.”

So it may be a different role than what Chudzinski has been used to in the past, but for him, there’s definitely one big perk to the job in Indianapolis.

“You look around and there’s definitely a feeling in the locker room, in the building, of purpose,” said Chudzinski. “That’s what the purpose is, to win.”


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(colts.com)
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DH Ryan Braun smacks home run for second straight day

RyanBraun
Brewers designated hitter Ryan Braun went 1 for 2 at the plate in Milwaukee's 5-2 loss to the Tigers on Wednesday.

Braun did his damage in the fourth inning when he blasted a solo shot off of Shane Greene, his 10th of the season and second straight day with a home run. Braun, who also walked twice, is now hitting .263 with 28 RBI in 137 at-bats this season.


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(cbssports.com)
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Jon Jay could return when eligible

JonJayCards
The Cardinals are optimistic that Jon Jay (wrist) will be ready for activation from the disabled list when first eligible on May 26.

Jay has resumed taking swings in the batting cage and has also done some throwing. The throwing had been the bigger issue prior to him landing on the disabled list, so that he completed that step with no issues is obviously a good sign. Peter Bourjos and Randal Grichuk will continue to handle center field until Jay returns.


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(rotoworld.com)
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Yonder Alonso 'still a ways away' from return to baseball

YonderAlonsoPadres
Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso is "still a ways away" from return to baseball activities, manager Bud Black said per Bleacher Report.

Alonso, who is currently on the 15-day DL with a shoulder injury, has a rotator cuff issue that is keeping him away from the field. Alonso has been out of action since May 8 and is hitting .333 with 10 RBI in 87 at-bats this season.


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(rotoworld.com)
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49ers Sign OL Justin Renfrow

NFLU2009
The San Francisco 49ers announced they have signed CB Mylan Hicks to a three-year deal and OL Justin Renfrow to a two-year deal.

Renfrow (6-6, 310) originally signed with the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent on May 12, 2014. He was waived by the Cardinals on August 25, 2014, and later added to the Green Bay Packers practice squad on November 24, 2014, before being released on December 29, 2014. He was then added to the Seattle Seahawks practice squad on January 1, 2015, where he spent the remainder of the season. Renfrow was signed to a Reserve/Future contract with the Seahawks on February 4, 2015, and was later released on May 5, 2015.

A 25-year-old native of Morrisville, PA, Renfrow transferred to the University of Miami for his senior season following four years at the University of Virginia (redshirted as a freshman in 2009). As a senior in 2013, he recorded a career-high 36 tackles, two passes defensed and one forced fumble in 13 games played (four starts) along the defensive line. Renfrow appeared in 22 games at Virginia and registered 18 tackles and one pass defensed. He prepped at William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia, PA.


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(49ers.com)
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Warren Sapp cuts plea deal to resolve prostitution case

WarrenSappBucs
Warren Sapp used to make his money by collecting sacks.

Now, he’s saving some money after allegedly throwing a couple of working girls out of the sack.

According to TMZ, the former Buccaneers/Hall of Fame defensive tackle has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, resolving his arrest on prostitution and assault charges in Phoenix during Super Bowl week.

The report says that Sapp will plead guilty to one count of solicitation and one count of assault. To resolve the charges, he has to complete a pair of counseling programs, the “Prostitution Solicitation Diversion Program” as well as an anger management course.

He has apparently already completed the prostitution course (which would lead to the charge being dropped), and is working on completing the other counseling program now.

Sapp has also been ordered to pay restitution to each of the two prostitutes, $150 to one and $1,171.24 to the other.

Considering the fight broke out after Sapp thought he had agreed to terms for $300 for each of them — before everybody got naked — and then an argument erupted, that’s a stiff fine.

But considering he has already lost his job over the sordid affair, cutting this deal might allow him to clear his name soon.

Such that anyone’s ever going to forget this one.


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(profootballtalk.com)
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Denzel Perryman imported from Miami

NFLU2009
Denzel Perryman was born in Miami. He was raised in Miami.

He attended Coral Gables Senior High, its campus four minutes from his college alma mater, the University of Miami.

The NFL veterans he speaks to regularly — Jonathan Vilma, D.J. Williams, Jon Beason, Sean Spence — all were former college linebackers, like him, at Miami. The same goes for his favorite childhood player, Ray Lewis, whose No. 52 he wore in college and will again in San Diego.

San Diego.

The wrench to it all.

He knew next to nothing about the Chargers when they drafted him May 1, surprised they even had his number. But they'd been watching him. At a game last year, General Manager Tom Telesco heard him.

Perryman wants to show San Diego it was right — and Miami, in this case, was wrong.

The 21-year-old seemed destined never to leave South Florida. The Dolphins intimated as much, he said, expressing intent to draft him. But they let a chance pass with the No. 47 overall pick, trading back to the Eagles instead. The Chargers selected him at 48. He's now acclimating to a new town while awaiting a reunion with his old one.

San Diego will host Miami this year.

He knows.

"I can't wait to play the Dolphins," Perryman said. "December 20. I've already got it circled on my schedule. It's the hometown team, and it's one of the teams that passed me up. ... They were talking to me, telling me all this good stuff. We're all grown. You can tell me you're going to take me or not. Don't sugar coat with me. It is what it is.

"But Dec. 20, it's on and popping. Every other week, too."

Perryman must first transition to NFL life in San Diego.

It began later than planned.

Typically, a Chargers draft choice taken in the first three rounds will be flown to San Diego the next morning. Once there, he can shake hands, meet coaches and the front office, and be introduced in a formal press conference that is held in the team meeting room.

First-round pick Melvin Gordon did it this year.

Third-round pick Craig Mager did it.

Perryman, go figure, couldn't get out of Florida. His flight was canceled and other ones were full, so he stayed in Miami a bit longer. He eventually made it to San Diego on May 10 and has been gaining comfort since, inside linebacker Manti Te'o and defensive end Corey Liuget among the teammates taking him under their wing.

"I've been going asleep at like 9 or 10 o'clock over here," Perryman said. "Back home, it's like 12 or 1. I'm just trying to get adjusted to the time change. I hear San Diego is just like Miami. Beautiful but no humidity. I love it."

As general manager, Telesco can't spend as much time on the road as he did early in his scouting career.

But when he can, he makes the time.

The Chargers predominantly play on Sundays, allowing him to scout a Saturday game that is relatively close to where the team is playing. Last year, it played the Dolphins on Nov. 2 in Miami Gardens. The day before, he and JoJo Wooden, team director of player personnel, watched North Carolina at Miami.

The Hurricanes had the game in hand, up 47-13 in the fourth quarter.

The Tar Heels were at the goal line, more than 100 yards from where Telesco was positioned in the press box. That is when he heard, not saw, Perryman smother running back T.J. Logan for no gain. The sound filled Sun Life Stadium.

Telesco asked Wooden if that was No. 52.

It was.

On May 1, teams approached the Chargers to trade down in the second round. They chose to take their thumper instead, born, raised and imported from Miami.

"I just like contact," Perryman said. "I'm one of those aggressive players. ... When I get to the ball, you'll know. Whether you hear it or you see it, I'm getting there with bad intentions."


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(utsandiego.com)
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Denzel Perryman gets 'an adrenaline rush' from big hits

NFLU2009
The Chargers got what they wanted when Denzel Perryman slipped to them in the second round of the NFL Draft.

But it'll be a couple months before Perryman gets what he wants -- to slam full-force into an opposing player and bring them down.

"I just get an adrenaline rush out of it," Perryman told ESPN. "I wouldn't say it's a stress reliever, because I can deliver a couple blows during the game. I don't know, I just like contact man. I'm just one of those aggressive players."

So aggressive that the rookie could revive his school's sterling reputation for all-everything inside linebackers. Miami alums like Jon Beason, Ray Lewis, Jonathan Vilma, and D.J. Williams have paved the way for Perryman.

Now, he just wants to do what they did and hit somebody for a living.

"When I get to the ball, you'll know," Perryman said. "Whether you hear it or you see it, I'm getting there with bad intentions. You got to look out for me."


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(foxsports.com)
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Raiders Sign Fourth-Round Pick G/C Jon Feliciano

NFLU2009
The Raiders have signed fourth-round draft pick G/C Jon Feliciano, the club announced Friday

Feliciano is the fifth of the team’s 10 draft picks from the 2015 NFL Draft to sign his rookie contract, along with WR Amari Cooper, DE Max Valles, T Anthony Morris and WR Andre Debose.

The 6-foot-4, 323-pounder was selected 128th overall by the Raiders in the 2015 NFL Draft. He played four seasons at Miami (Fla.), appearing in 48 games with 46 starts. Feliciano made starts at left tackle, left guard, right tackle and right guard over his collegiate career, earning All-ACC honorable mentions each year from 2012-14.

The Davie, Fla., native started all 13 games as a senior, rotating between left tackle, left guard and right tackle, helping the Hurricanes to the Duck Commander Independence Bowl.


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(raiders.com)
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Santana Moss not ready to retire

SantanaMoss2
Add Santana Moss to the growing list of aging veterans unwilling to call it quits.

The 35-year-old wideout remains confident that he will find an NFL team before training camp kicks off.

"I'm a free agent right now, you know how they do us old guys," Moss said, per 247sports.com. "I'm going on my 15th year. Right now my agent is talking with some teams to see what's going to be my best scenario. Right now I'm just chilling, just enjoying life, and enjoying this off time."

Turning 36 in June, the former Jets and Redskins wideout is coming off a season that saw him catch just 10 passes for 116 yards off 133 snaps in Washington. While Michael Vick's campaign for another gig is bound to draw interest, Moss will struggle to make a roster.

Before the draft, the Redskins reportedly were open to re-signing Moss, but after using a fourth-round pick on Duke's Jamison Crowder and a sixth-rounder on Ohio State's Evan Spencer, there's no need to reunite with a late-30s pass-catcher beyond his prime.


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(nfl.com)
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Pete Carroll, Seahawks Share Initial Impressions Of Tight End Jimmy Graham

JimmyGrahamSaints
Seattle's rookie minicamp wrapped up last weekend, and while the workouts gave the Seahawks coaching staff a good first-look at the team's 2015 draftees, it failed to offer the club an on-field glimpse of its "first-round pick" - Jimmy Graham.

The Seahawks acquired the three-time Pro Bowl tight end in a trade with the New Orleans Saints this past March. Seattle sent this year's first-round pick (No. 31 overall) and center Max Unger to the Saints in exchange for Graham and New Orleans' 2015 fourth-round pick.

At the conclusion of the three-day rookie workouts, head coach Pete Carroll was asked about his initial impressions of the 28-year-old veteran Graham, a 6-foot-7, 265-pound pass catcher who's averaged 89 grabs for 1,099 yards and 11.5 touchdowns the past four seasons.

"Right from the first time I sat down with him in my office I was just blown away by what a great kid he is and how squared away he is," Carroll said. "We know he has great ability and athleticism, so we were really curious to see if he could assimilate, and he did it like instantly."

Graham was one of several Seattle players who joined quarterback Russell Wilson for player-organized workouts in the Hawaiian Islands last month. Graham used it as an opportunity to start building rapport with Wilson, but more importantly, as a chance to get to know his new Seahawks teammates.

"I'm like that cousin they didn't know about," Graham said with a smile at the time. "I've just got to come in and just be me. I work hard and I'm a team guy. I've always been like that. I love to win no matter what.

"I'm going to do whatever it takes to win and really to be a part of this, because they've got something special going on here."

From what Carroll's seen so far, Graham's team-first attitude is paying dividends at team headquarters.

"He got along really well with the players," Carroll said. "The players really took to him and they didn’t know if he was a hotshot, or all full of himself. He was none of that. He was a great kid."

The Saints threw the ball 659 times in 2014, the second-most attempts in the League (Indianapolis Colts, 661). Graham found himself on the receiving end of 85 of those passes - a team-high.

The Seahawks, meanwhile, tossed the ball a League-low 454 times this past year. They opted to run the ball more than any other club instead, riding the legs of 'Beast Mode' back Marshawn Lynch.

While Graham is expected to be one of the team's top receiving targets in Seattle, he will inevitably be asked to block more than he did in New Orleans given the Seahawks' run-first mentality. It's a change assistant head coach/offensive line coach Tom Cable thinks Graham will have no problem adjusting to.

"He is so athletic that once he learns how to, he’s going to be fine," Cable said of Graham in an interview with 710 ESPN Seattle this week. "And he more than wants to. If you want to, and you have the ability athletically to do it, there’s no question you can do it.”

Cable's "want to" assessment of Graham was something Carroll picked up on during his first sit-down with the Seahawks' "first-round pick."

"He was very determined to be great," Carroll said. "Wants to learn everything. Wants to be a complete player."


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(seahawks.com)
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First look at Vince Wilfork in his Texans uniform

VinceWilforkCanes
The Houston Texans website published a video last week, showing their players as they filmed in-stadium game-day videos to be used during the 2015 season. 

At certain points, it looked like a Patriots reunion. 

Among the players featured in the video were former New England backup quarterbacks Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer. Defensive lineman Vince Wilfork also featured prominently in the brief clip.

Here's a link to the video and a first look at Wilfork in his Houston Texans uniform. 

Of course, the Patriots influence in Houston isn't limited to the players on the roster. Former New England offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien is running the show as Texans head coach. Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel had a long run on the Patriots sidelines, and linebackers coach Mike Vrabel has three Super Bowl rings with the Flying Elvis design.

Unfortunately -- as of now, at least -- there is no video on the Texans site of those three mean-mugging for cameras, trying to get their hometown fans pumped up.


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(csnne.com)
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Tyrann Mathieu on Jimmy Graham: Our division’s physical, he has to block

JimmyGrahamSaints
Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu isn’t worried about the departure of defensive coordinator Todd Bowles this offseason.

Bowles and cornerback Antonio Cromartie are now with the Jets, but Mathieu said during an appearance on NFL Total Access that the team’s “core players” are still around on defense. That gives him confidence that the team will be able to remain strong on defense in 2015 as they try to replace the Seahawks as NFC West champions.

One difference in that task this season will be the presence of tight end Jimmy Graham in Seattle. When asked about facing the former Saint, Mathieu jumped on a maligned part of Graham’s game that’s been mentioned frequently since March’s trade sent him to Seattle.

“I think Seattle as a team, it’s tough to beat those guys. You still have to beat No. 3 [Russell Wilson] and No. 24 [Marshawn Lynch],” Mathieu said. “That’s a full task in itself. But I’m looking forward to Jimmy Graham, obviously. It’s kind of exciting that he came to our division. It’s physical. He’s gonna have to block.”

Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable said this month that Graham is committed to learning what the Seahawks want him to do as a blocker and wide receiver Doug Baldwin pointed out that Graham’s presence alone can help in the running game, but there’s little doubt that Graham’s progression as a blocker in Seattle will be closely watched as the NFC West race unfolds later this year.


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(profootballtalk.com)
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Riquana Williams back from injury

RiquanaWilliams
One player who was on the court at Edison High School in front of about 200 cheering fans was guard Riquna Williams, who missed all but 11 games last season with a knee injury. She was happy to be back and felt good on the floor.

“It feels amazing, I’ve been waiting on this day for like five months now,” said Riquna Williams, who, unlike most of her teammates, did not play elsewhere over the winter, opting instead to rest the knee. “No knee brace, no knee sleeves, no pain, no aches.”

Fred Williams noted Riquna Williams wasn’t 100 percent, but he was happy to have her back on the court and looked forward to seeing what she could accomplish when she finally was.

“She’s still I think about 95 percent for us,” coach Williams said. “She’s going to have to still work her way into getting that shooting touch going, but she showed some good things today for us, penetrating to the basket. Her outside jumper was really on, and I think once she gets her first step back like she used to, she’s going to be a dynamite player for us.”

Riquna Williams, who set the WNBA record with 51 points in one game in 2013, averaged 15.6 points per game in 2013 and formed a potent backcourt early on last year alongside Odyssey Sims and Skylar Diggins. She’s looking forward to duplicating that same chemistry this season.

“My presence was missed,” Riquna Williams said of last year, when the Shock ended up finishing 12-22 and missing the playoffs. “We all knew that, we all understood it, but now everyone is back, we’re all good to go, everyone is healthy.”

Riquna believes this is the year everything comes together for Tulsa, which has yet to make the playoffs in its five WNBA seasons.

“I think this is the year, the playoff push,” she said. “We just have to keep pushing, one day at a time, one practice at a time, one game at a time.”


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(tulsaworld.com)
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Yasmani Grandal's single drives in only run in win

YasmaniGrandal
Yasmani Grandal's run-scoring single in the fourth inning would be the only run scored in a 1-0 Dodger win over the Rockies on Sunday.

Grandal finished the game 1-for-2 with a walk. The two-out RBI single off of Kyle Kendrick gave Grandal 17 RBI for the season. He's also hit four homers and scored 17 runs. The catcher's been in a groove offensively and has a season-slash of .301/.421/.484 while helping to lead the 24-13 Dodgers.


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(rotoworld.com)
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Rod Woodson Says Ed Reed Better Than Polamalu

EdReed3
NFL Hall of Famer, Raider Asst. DB Coach and Former Steeler & Raven Rod Woodson joined The Norris & Davis Show to talk about “Deflate-Gate” and Ed Reed’s career and retirement.

No career Safety has  been inducted into the NFL Hall Of Fame in 35 years. Rod talked about whether Ed Reed will change that & compared him to recently retired Steelers Safety Troy Polamalu:

“I think Ed will end that. A lot of people talk about Troy Polamalu but, I tell them to hold their brakes with the Troy Polamalu talk…he wasn’t a play-maker like Ed.” “…doesn’t mean he (Polamalu) doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame, I just think Ed Reed, to me, is a sure first ballot Hall Of Famer.

“I thought I did a lot of studying and I thought I jumped a lot of routes, but Ed Reed took it to another level. If it wasn’t for the injuries for Ed, I thought he had an opportunity to break the all time interception record.




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(cbslocal.baltimore.com)
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Washington Comes To Decision On Santana Moss

SantanaMoss2
Will they add Santana Moss? No. After the draft a key member of the organization said drafting two wideouts did not mean the end for Moss in Washington. However, that was directly after the draft. Things have changed and now, according to a source, he will not return. Could those plans change down the road if someone got hurt? Perhaps. But, as of now, Moss’ time in Washington has ended. The problem with keeping Moss is that who would you leave off? You’d need to keep seven receivers if he were around and then he’d be inactive every game. There’s no room for him among the top six. But, whether it's Moss or someone else, if anything happened to one of the top five or six receivers they'd need to find someone. The roster is thin on options beyond this group. (Rashad Ross is another holdover.)


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(espn.com)
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Thurston Arbrister Getting His Shot

NFLU2009
The Jaguars signed nine rookie free agents the day after the draft and three are linebackers: Miami’s Thurston Armbrister, Pittsburgh’s Todd Thomas and Maryland’s Matt Robinson.

During last week’s rookie mini-camp, Armbrister played the middle (Mike), while Thomas lined up on the weakside (Will) and Robinson manned the strong-side spot (Otto).

The Jaguars’ starters are set with Paul Posluszny (Mike), Telvin Smith (Will) and Dan Skuta (Otto). However, there isn’t much proven depth behind them.

The enormous opportunity to make the Jaguars roster was something the trio noticed.

Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley reached out to Armbrister shortly after the draft ended. He received a $12,500 signing bonus on his three-year, $1,587,000 contract.

“I felt this was the best situation for me,” Armbrister said. “It made me feel welcomed and wanted that the two of them called. The other teams that called me were scouts. That didn’t make me feel as comfortable.

“This is a great opportunity to make the team.”

Thomas and Robinson did not receive a signing bonus in their contracts (three years, $1,575,000). Still, the opportunity to see game checks in the fall was obvious.
“The Jaguars were the team from the start for me for a lot of reasons,” Thomas said. “But, you look at things like that [depth chart].”

Robinson echoed Thomas’ comments.

“It appealed to me,” Robinson said. “When you’re undrafted, it’s even less of a guarantee and nothing is guaranteed in this league. You’ve got to show what you can do and find a way to contribute to the team so they’ll keep you around. That played a part in coming here.”

The 6-foot-3, 241-pound Armbrister has been in this situation before. He was the rare no-star recruit to sign with a major program like the Hurricanes. His only other offer came from Northern Colorado. He started his career at safety before moving to linebacker.

Armbrister finished his career with 129 tackles (15 for loss) with seven sacks in 38 games (23 starts). Last season, he notched 56 tackles with five sacks and two forced fumbles.

Armbrister impressed Bradley with his agility in rookie camp.

“He’s very fast for a linebacker skill set,” Bradley said. “I think what shocked us a little bit about him was his lateral movement was maybe a little bit better than we thought.”


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(jacksonville.com)
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Clive Walford has strong Miami legacy in his favor

NFLU2009
The Oakland Raiders hope their third-round pick, tight end Clive Walford, can make an immediate impact as a rookie.

Walford, taken No. 68 overall, will have a chance to be a contributor right away. With a strong training camp and preseason, I wouldn't be shocked if Walford had a chance to unseat third-year starter Mychal Rivera. Rivera has 96 catches in two seasons, but Walford has a chance to be more dynamic.

Walford is the all-time reception record holder at Miami, a school that has been a tight end factory. Five tight ends have been drafted since 2000 from the school who have made an impact in the NFL. Let's take a look at each of their rookie seasons to guage perhaps what to expect from Walford in 2015 (see chart).

Summary: Most of these players took off in their second or third years. I could see Walford getting in the 40-50 catch range this season. If he develops quickly, he could thrive in the fast-pace offensive scheme of new coordinator Bill Musgrave. Walford can stretch the field and quarterback Derek Carr has the arm to find him. It is too soon to say Walford will have the NFL career impact that his recent Hurricane brethren has had, but I can easily see him rival the rookie season all but perhaps the one Shockey delivered.

Impact Miami Tes In Their First Season

YEAR

PLAYER
ROUND
CATCHES
YARDS
2000
Bubba Franks
1
34
363
2002
Jeremy Shockey
1
74
894
2004
Kellen Winslow
1
5
50
2007
Greg Olsen
1
39
391
2010
Jimmy Graham
3
31
356


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(espn.com)

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Pep Hamilton: Phillip Dorsett can play right away

NFLU2009
Colts OC Pep Hamilton said first-round WR Phillip Dorsett can "absolutely" have an immediate impact.

Hamilton added that as soon as the surprising Dorsett pick was made, he went downstairs and "ripped up" some of his 3-TE and 2-WR packages. The suggestion is that the Colts will creatively use Dorsett and Donte Moncrief behind the top-two of T.Y. Hilton and Andre Johnson. We'd have an easier time believing in Hamilton's optimism if his preferred sets didn't involve having both Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener on the field.


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(rotoworld.com)
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Clive Walford will 'get his chance early'

NFLU2009
ESPN Raiders reporter Bill Williamson says third-round TE Clive Walford will "get his chance early."

Williamson projects Walford as the Week 1 starter ahead of Mychal Rivera. Ultimately, we'll likely see a lot of two-TE sets featuring Walford in-line and Rivera in the "move" role. It's hard to get excited about either one from a fantasy perspective given Derek Carr's limitations and the team's desire to be run-heavy.


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(rotoworld.com)
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Doug Baldwin: We can just plug Jimmy Graham into our offense

JimmyGraham
The Seahawks’ acquisition of tight end Jimmy Graham this offseason meant some players had to smooth feathers ruffled in past altercations from Graham’s days with the Saints, but it won’t require any major adjustments for the team’s offense.

That was the message from wide receiver Doug Baldwin this week during an appearance on 710 ESPN in Seattle. Baldwin said that installing Graham into their offense was going to be easy because of how many things Graham can do.

“The beautiful thing about Jimmy is that we can just plug him in and play him into our offense,” Baldwin said. “We don’t have to necessarily design things around for him because he’s such a talented player he can just fit into the role of tight end in our offense as it is. He can be an offense completely amongst himself. His ability to be a big target in the red zone, his athleticism is really strange for a guy his size,” Baldwin said. “The way he moves it’s unbelievable. He’s gonna be able to do a lot of things for us offensively.”

One thing Graham’s never been known for is his blocking prowess, but Baldwin thinks his presence will still be a boon for running back Marshawn Lynch. He believes Graham’s presence will spread out opposing defenses and that Lynch’s production is “going to be devastating,” which is pretty much the result the Seahawks wanted when they swung the deal for Graham.


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(profootballtalk.com)
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