Cowboys RB coach Gary Brown broke down the team's backfield:
“I just admired him from afar, watching him on tape. I think he’s big, strong, incredibly fast, tough guy. He’s buying into our system. He wants to be here. He’s doing everything I ask him to do. I’m looking forward to seeing him in pads. … I’ve been out here watching him run. He looks very fast. We’re just looking forward to seeing him in pads in our system.”
“I think Joe really has to make sure he takes care of everything on and off the field. We want to trust Joe, we like Joe, but we want to make sure he’s going to be with us at all times. I think he’s maturing up and he’s getting better and he understands the opportunity he has in front of him and I think he’ll take full advantage. I think those days are behind him and we’re looking forward to working with Joe. … Just being around him these last few weeks, he seems to be more mature to me. He and I have sat down and had one-on-one conversations about his future and I think he wants to go in the right direction.”
“I envision [him getting more opportunities]. I think he’s a hell of a football player, we’ve got to try and get him more involved and I think coach Linehan is going to do a great job doing that. … [He didn’t get more carries last season] because I think the run game was so explosive and DeMarco was running so well. It’s just like anything in life, you’ve got a guy who is hot, you want to ride that guy and make sure he gets his touches and I think we did the right thing by getting him his touches. Obviously with, what was it, 1,800 yards and 13, 14 touchdowns, whatever it was, I think we made the right decision.”
Brown later said he might have been premature not also mentioning Ryan Williams with that group.
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. Randle averaged 6.7 YPC behind the Dallas offensive line last season, but has had a host of off-the-field issues. Dunbar is more of a third down back, while Williams is a former second round pick who has been unable to stay healthy. The team has insinuated that it still may trade for a running back or sign a free agent (like Chris Johnson or perhaps Ray Rice), so the backfield is far from settled. McFadden is currently the first Dallas running back off the board in the 7th round.
Saturday, May 9, 2015, 10:13am
“Did a lot of movement today,” Bears WR Kevin White said. “Left side and in the slot on the right side. Slot in the left. So a lot different than college. Just trying to get adjusted. First day. So it wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be. But I’m learning the system and trying to get better each and every day.
“There’s a lot of information to take for day one. Everything gets thrown at you at one time. So you’ve got to kind of relax and try to take it all in and just learn.”
One of White’s biggest supporters is Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase, who endorsed White after the wide receiver’s April pre-draft visit to Halas Hall.
“He was outstanding,” Gase said. “He could tell you exactly what the checks were, what him and the quarterback, what page they were on. It was pretty impressive when he came in the building. We really like what he brought to the table, and we look for specific routes, and when we see one or two things, we know they can do the entire tree, so his speed, his body control, the way that he bursts off the ball, all those things we really liked.”
White replaces Brandon Marshall, who was traded to the Jets. He has a capable quarterback in Jay Cutler, though he comes in as the clear #2 option to the already established Alshon Jeffery. Marshall averaged 8.2 targets per game last season, but that was with Marc Trestman calling the plays. Gase figures to call a more balanced offense. White is a great talent and should be a fantasy factor as a rookie — just don’t expect WR1-type targets with Jeffery in the mix.
Dolphins GM Dennins Hickey said “we were very excited” that running back Jay Ajayi “was still there in the fifth round. He brings the ability to play all three downs. He’s a power back but yet still has elusiveness.”
Ajayi dropped in the draft because of concerns his knee, but he’s a first or second round talent and an all-around back that will complement Lamar Miller well in Miami. It’s a good spot for Ajayi, and the physical player from Boise State will be considered a prime sleeper candidate this year as a tandem back if his knee holds up. Miller is still an attractive RB2, but it's clear that the Dolphins haven't fully committed to him.
Friday, May 8, 2015, 10:17am
“We’ve been throwing for the past three weeks and I can honestly say I’ve thrown with [Andrew Luck], [Nick Foles] and other guys, and I don’t think I’ve thrown with a guy who has a stronger arm than Sam Bradford,” Ertz said.
“He hasn’t been able to really truly get his full legs underneath him. But the ball still comes out effortlessly, and it’s a lot of fun to run routes with him.”
The Raiders signed veteran Michael Crabtree from San Francisco on April 13 and then used the No. 4 overall pick on Alabama receiver Amari Cooper in the first round of the draft last Thursday night. Cooper and Crabtree are both expected to start.
Crabtree hasn't been himself since his Achilles injury, but there is opportunity in the Raider receiving corps. The problem is that he's not markedly better than Andre Holmes or Rod Streater, so Crabtree could end up anywhere from second to fourth in the pecking order by the time preseason rolls around.
Thursday, May 7, 2015, 1:17pm
Former Washington tight end Fred Davis, suspended indefinitely by the NFL in February 2014 under the substance-abuse policy, has been reinstated, PFT’s Mike Florio reports.
Adam Schefter guesses that Patriots QB Tom Brady will face 'some sort of suspension' for DeflateGateThursday, May 7, 2015, 1:15pm
So what comes next for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots?
That's up for the NFL to determine. The Wells Report didn't find absolute evidence that the Patriots tampered with footballs. It found reason to believe they did.
ESPN's Adam Schefter appeared on WEEI Thursday morning to offer his take.
"If I had to guess, and I want to emphasize this is a guess, my guess is that Tom Brady is going to get some sort of suspension, a short suspension," Schefter said, via WEEI.com. "He's going to appeal it. He's going to have grounds to appeal it. He may even waive the appeal and this whole thing about air pressure in footballs continues to go on and detract from a sport and a defending world champion in a completely unnecessary way."
“Really just talking with Coach Kelly and knowing I’m coming with the opportunity to compete for the starting job,” Sanchez said, via CSN Philly. “That was important to me. There were some other opportunities out there, but I didn’t want to switch systems again. On a one-year deal, it’s different for maybe a defensive player then for an offensive player, especially a quarterback. You’ve got to learn a whole new language again. I started to feel real comfortable and I felt like to be honest, personally, there’s some unfinished business we left out there. I know I can play a little bit better than that. I know we can get this team in the playoffs. I think we have the talent to do that.”
We believe that it's Bradford's job to lose. Over the last two seasons, Philadelphia quarterbacks have averaged 16.7 passing game-only fantasy points. Bradford isn’t much of a runner, but he adds about 0.7 FP per game as a rusher. That adds up to 17.4 FP, or about what Eli Manning averaged as the #13 QB in 2014. The Eagles’ offense has lost their top receiver – DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin – in each of the last two seasons, but Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz are emerging and the team added Nelson Agholor in the draft. If Bradford ends up starting for the Eagles, we wouldn’t expect anything more than high-end QB2 numbers, but this is a definite system upgrade due to the overall effectiveness of Chip Kelly’s offense.
Dallas Cowboys site writer David Helman on how the team will use OTAs to evaluate the RB corps:
"Ever since the draft ended, we’ve heard the Cowboys say that they aren’t ruling out the possibility of adding another running back before the season. If I had to take an educated guess, I’d say they’re going to use OTAs and minicamp to take a hard look at the guys on the roster. Those practices should give them a better idea of how well they can handle it. If they aren’t confident in those four by the end of OTAs, I bet they’ll go add another guy this summer."
WR Dorial Green-Beckham gives the Titans a high-upside target, but his off-the-field issues at Missouri led one NFC personnel man to tell NFL Media's Lance Zierlein that the wideout "couldn't keep himself out of trouble, had no structure growing up and didn't take coaching at Missouri," adding: "He's tall and fast and has good hands, but he can't be trusted."
From another AFC coordinator: "We had him in for a visit and put him on the board and he was completely lost. Whoever takes him better have a plan for him because it could be rough early on."
The Titans added Green-Beckham to shore up the receiving corps for their new quarterback, Marcus Mariota. The pick certainly is a long-term boost for Mariota, who now has a dangerous downfield threat with which to work. If he picks up things quickly (which is a big "if," considering the above comments) and proves he’s not as raw as his detractors say, Green-Beckham could certainly start early in the season opposite Kendall Wright, since it seems that Justin Hunter is on the outs with the current coaching staff.
With Dirk Koetter running the offense in 2015, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers finally will be able to unleash their pace plan.
"A guy that just, you know, he loves, loves fast tempo, loves to get the ball up field," offensive tackle Demar Dotson said of Koetter, via JoeBucsFan.com. "He loves to go a lot of no-huddle. That's going to be something that's more different than what we're used to. So it's going to be a lot of up-tempo stuff. You know, so that's something he loves doing. It's got its ups and downs, but I'm looking forward to being a part of it."
Last season with the Atlanta Falcons, Koetter ran the sixth-fastest offense in the NFL, per Football Outsiders' pace stats.
While both Koetter and Smith want to play fast in 2015, their ability to perform with pace will be dictated by how quickly Jameis Winston picks up the system.
If the team is successful in running an up-tempo offense, it should further boost Winston's fantasy value as a rookie. Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson and Austin Seferian-Jenkins would also benefit, along with whoever is running the ball in Tampa. But it's one thing to want to play fast and another to successfully do so.
Las Vegas oddsmakers have made running back Melvin Gordon the favorite to with the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.
The sportsbook Bovada.com lists Gordon's odds at 13 to 2.
All six players were first round picks. We agree that Gordon has the best chance to shine among the running backs, especially since Gurley is coming off of an ACL tear.
Carlson, who was going into his eighth year, wasn’t in training camp, but he had been a daily attendee of the Cardinals’ strength and conditioning program and was on the field Monday when the team opened up Phase 2 on-field workouts. In a statement released by the team, Carlson did not indicate a specific reason for his decision.
"After much thought and consideration, my wife Danielle and I know that this is the best decision for us," Carlson said.
The last time we checked in with Victor Cruz before the draft, he said he had "zero doubts" that he would be ready for the season opener in Dallas. Giants GM Jerry Reese said there is no reason to believe that won't happen, but that they are taking a cautious approach with Cruz's rehab.
"We feel really good about Victor, he's working hard every day," Reese said. "I was down there watching him work out a couple of days before the draft. He's excited, he's jumping up on boxes as tall as he is, almost, so he must be doing pretty good for me. We think he's probably 85, close to 90 percent right now, but they're taking him at a snail's pace just so he won't have any setbacks."
It's important to note that Reese is not a medical professional, so he might have gotten a little over-excited with the "85-90%" comment. Cruz said before the draft that he had only been running in a straight line so far, and that he hoped to progress to cutting soon.
But the fact that Cruz has not had any setbacks so far is encouraging, and the box drills that Reese referred to are an indication that he's trying to regain some of the fast-twitch explosion that he would have lost from the injury.
Cruz tore his patellar tendon in mid-October, so while these reports are encouraging, it's no sure thing that he'll be back for the start of the season. Even if he's fully healthy, he's not going to get the same number of targets given Odell Beckham's emergence as a top-flight wideout. Cruz is currently going in the later rounds.
Raiders beat writer Jerry McDonald on expectations for WR Amari Cooper: "Anything less than 70 receptions and 1,000 yards receiving from Cooper will be a disappointment, considering his skill set, experience as a route-runner and status as the fourth pick in the draft."
Adding five touchdowns to the mix would give Cooper about 200 fantasy points in PPR formats, or about what Eric Decker scored as 2014's #26 receiver. Cooper is currently going #22 in early best ball PPR drafts.