After his first practice at Browns training camp, during which Terrelle Pryor did not record a dropped pass and looked like a natural at a position he has not played competitively at any level, the idea of the freakishly talented Pryor making an almost unprecedented transition so late in his athletic career didn’t seem, well, so outlandish.
“I’ve never seen anybody make that transformation in person,” said cornerback Joe Haden. “It looks like it would work.”
Pryor, 6-4 and 223 pounds, with a reputed 40 speed of 4.38 seconds at his 2011 pro day workout, is the closest thing yet to Josh Gordon. “He’s bigger than J.G.,” Haden said.
The odds are stacked against Pryor, and it's probably going to take some time to learn the details of the position. But the Browns need playmakers at receiver, so it's not inconceivable that Pryor works his way into a receiving role in 2015.
Bill Belichick said WR Aaron Dobson came into spring in "great" shape. "Put himself in good position."
Dobson is finally healthy, which is a good thing, but he has to beat out Brandon LaFell, who played great in his first season with the Patriots, racking up 87-1072-9 in his last 16 games, including the postseason. LaFell isn't practicing at the moment, so it's Dobson's time to make a push.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports Seahawks QB Russell Wilson agreed to a four-year, $87.6 million extension, per a source involved in the negotiations. The deal includes a $31 million signing bonus and $60 million in guarantees.
By signing just a four-year extension, Wilson will enter the final year of his deal at just 30 years old, giving him an opportunity for another big payday. The shorter deal was a concession by the Seahawks.
Now that his contract negotiations are behind him, Wilson can once again focus fully on football. He has finished #9, #8 and #3 in his first three seasons, and the Seahawks are slowly letting him throw the ball more. They traded for tight end Jimmy Graham, who will serve as the best weapon that Wilson has had since he entered the NFL.
Offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo should know a little something about his soon-to-be newest receiver. McAdoo coached Jones in Green Bay.
The Giants already have a lot of depth at receiver, so this is a curious signing despite McAdoo's familiarity with Jones from their days together in Green Bay.
Aaron Dobson is healthy and getting extra opportunities with LaFell out. LaFell finished as the #22 WR in both standard and PPR formats, but didn’t catch a single pass in the first two games. He began to see starter-type snaps in Week 4, and was the #15 receiver in standard formats (#14 in PPR) over the final 13 games of the season. In fact, counting the postseason, LaFell racked up 87-1072-9 in his last 16 games. That would have been good enough for a #13 finish in both formats. We believe that it's his job to lose, as long as he's healthy.
Giants receivers Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham are not on PUP. Cruz passed the conditioning test less than 10 months after tearing the patellar tendon in his right knee. Beckham, who missed time with a hamstring injury this spring, did as well. Neither are going to start training camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. That's good news. Both are expected to be on the practice field with their teammates on Friday. They may have their snaps limited, but at least they're cleared.
Cruz tore his patellar tendon in mid-October, though recent reports have been unanimously positive. He's not going to get the same number of targets given Odell Beckham's emergence as a top-flight wideout. Cruz will likely play the Randall Cobb role in OC Ben McAdoo's offense, so there is some upside if he's fully healthy by Week 1. Hopefully the injury doesn’t rob him of the speed and quickness that makes him such a dangerous slot receiver.
Coach John Fox has made it clear he wants the Bears’ offense to become a more run-centric attack and will guide new offensive coordinator Adam Gase accordingly. So that means Matt Forte should see a spike in his 16.3-carries per game average from last season. Forte also takes only so much pride in the 102 catches he had last season, a single-season NFL record for a running back, but also a milestone he understands he achieved because of how constipated the Bears offense was.
“Catching 100 balls,” Forte said, “is not my goal as a running back.”
Said Forte: “If you’re running the ball and you can run it effectively you get to control the clock and keep other offenses off the field. Which is what we want to do. If we can control the game, control the pace of the game, and grind out tough yards and score, then that’s what we’re going to do.”
We currently project Forte for 16.2 carries per game, or 260 for the season. We're not so sure that the Bears will have the luxury of running the ball as much as they'd like. We do expect Forte's receptions to drop -- we currently project him for around 56-57 catches, which is much closer to his career average of 53.4 (in offenses run by someone other than Marc Trestman). New OC Adam Gase utilized C.J. Anderson at a 60-catch pace over the final eight games of last season.
With Jermaine Gresham out of the way, Eifert should be a nice late-round pick provided he can stay healthy. He has good size and speed, and showed pretty good hands as a rookie. He only played about 60 percent of the snaps in 2013, and averaged 0.14 FP (PPR) per snap. Extrapolate the same production to 90 percent of the snaps (which is typical for a starting tight end), and Eifert shouldn't have any problem posting top 15 numbers. With solid improvement, he could very well be this year's Jordan Cameron (2013) or Travis Kelce (2014).
Quick was posting solid WR3 numbers in both standard and PPR formats before his shoulder injury in Week 8. He's currently the 50th WR off the board at the end of the 10th round. The arrival of Nick Foles should be good for his prospects in 2015. The sooner he's practicing fully, the better, though he'll likely be eased in at the start of camp.
It’s hard to envision Eddie Royal starting over White this year, but given John Fox’s history of being anti-rookie and White’s absence from spring workouts due to a shin injury, it’s not unfathomable. He’s a player to monitor in August.
The search for DeMarco Murray’s replacement will go on without Darren McFadden practicing at the start of training camp. On Thursday, he was placed on the active/physically unable to perform list with a hamstring injury.
McFadden, 27, was dealing with the hamstring injury in organized team activities in June. He was limited then and doing rehab work on the side during competitive drills. McFadden can be removed from the active/PUP list once he is medically cleared. He can then practice immediately.
The soon-to-be 28-year-old McFadden hasn't cracked 3.5 YPC since the 2011 season, when he ran for 614 yards on 113 carries (5.4 YPC) in seven games. That's the rub with McFadden -- fantasy owners haven't been able to count on his durability. He has missed roughly a quarter of his team's games since entering the league. We believe he’ll serve as a change-of-pace/3rd-down back behind Joseph Randle.
Down to 221 pounds, roughly eight pounds lighter than last season with 4 percent less body fat, Ravens RB Lorenzo Taliaferro has transformed his body this offseason as he competes with rookie Javorious Allen to be the primary backup to starter Justin Forsett.
Taliaferro also appears to be more decisive in his cuts.
"I’ve been impressed with Lorenzo," offensive coordinator Marc Trestman said. "He’s fluid, he does everything right, he’s in the right places, he understands our protection package. I feel really confident when he’s behind Joe [Flacco] in the running game and in our pass protection scheme. He has been very consistent."
It sounds as if Taliaferro is well prepared for a camp battle with Allen. Forsett owners should pay close attention to see who will serve as his primary backup this season.
Perriman fell on his knee after making a sideline catch and walked off the field with a trainer with about 15 minutes left in practice. He seemed to favor his right leg, but he went into the team facility on his own power.
"It's not serious. It's all sound," coach John Harbaugh said. "He'll be back as soon as his knee feels a little bit better. It could be as early as tomorrow or a couple of days at the most."
Per Harbaugh, this is probably nothing to worry about. Hopefully Perriman will be back on the field within a few days. He needs all the practice reps he can get as he tries to win the starting job opposite Steve Smith.
Perriman has the physical tools (6’2, 4.24 40-yard dash), to replace Torrey Smith in the Ravens’ lineup from the start, but he has to learn Marc Trestman’s offense and prove that he can catch the ball consistently. His 8th round ADP seems about right given his upside in Trestman's offense.
Once the Browns were done with Ben Tate (Week 11), Crowell out-touched West 90 to 68 over the final seven games, but West had the last laugh, turning 20 touches into 106 yards and a TD against the Ravens in Week 17. (A seemingly healthy Crowell touched the ball five times for 22 yards.) The team drafted Duke Johnson and last season HC Mike Pettine was handing out touches based on practice performance, so Crowell's current 6th round ADP seems steep given his uncertain workload and Cleveland's projected offensive struggles.
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