Ralph Vacchiano discusses the Giants' backfield:
Rashad Jennings, who I like a lot more than most fans (and media) seem to like, will be the likely workhorse and get the majority of carries. (By the way, hard as it is to believe, he got 48.3% of the carries last year, though I'd expect that to tick up.) Shane Vereen will again be the third-down back and primary receiver-out-of-the-backfield weapon. Maybe they get a little more creative with him. Maybe he just plays better. But I see him being more of a factor.
And then? Good question. I don't think Paul Perkins, their fifth-round pick, will have much of an impact in the offense this year. I think Andre Williams will likely get the first shot to be the short-yardage back, and the guy who spells Jennings for a series or two. How long that lasts depends on him. And I think Orleans Darkwa and Bobby Rainey have an uphill battle to make the roster.
Vacchiano also mentioned that the RB breakdown may depend on which coach came up with the "stupid" four-running back rotation the team used last year. If it was the now-departed Tom Coughlin, then the Giants will primarily use two or three running backs. If it was former OC/new HC Ben McAdoo, then all bets are off.
According to ESPN, citing a source, Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman recently had surgery on his left foot. This relates to the injury that sidelined the slot receiver for seven games to close out last regular season before he returned to play in each of New England’s playoff games.
Though he’s going to reportedly “return for training camp,” it will be interesting to see what Edelman’s participation is as the OTA program transitions to mini-camp and then the start of training camp.
In 28 games over the past two seasons (including the playoffs), Edelman has averaged 7.0 catches for 75 yards and 0.43 TD on 10.3 targets per game. That works out to low-end WR1 numbers in PPR formats, so as long as he's healthy, he should provide good value in the 3rd round of fantasy drafts.
Second-round wide receiver Sterling Shepard is in the best position to make a significant impact. The Giants targeted him early in the draft process as a wideout they liked, and coach Ben McAdoo sees him as a player he can use all over the formation in a variety of roles as a complement to star Odell Beckham Jr. With Rueben Randle gone and Victor Cruz still a major question mark as he attempts his comeback from knee and calf injuries, there's an opening for a No. 2 wide receiver in New York. Shepard will get every opportunity to lock down the role for the short and long term, and he has the skill set to do it.
The only thing standing in the way of a major role for Shepard is Cruz and his balky knee and calf. If Cruz looks like his old self, then the Giants will probably let Shepard grow into a larger role, but if Cruz doesn't have a great offseason then Shepard will be thrust into a major role immediately. He could fill the Randall Cobb role in Ben McAdoo's offense.
Melvin Gordon is ready to move on from his rookie season.
There is just one aspect he must put behind him first.
The Chargers running back participated in on-field drills Monday. Afterward, he acknowledged he is not yet 100 percent, still working back from a January knee procedure. Sources said that Gordon underwent microfracture surgery and was given a recovery timetable of four to six months.
That phrase, microfracture surgery, carries an ominous connotation.
While some past cases warrant the association, a high concern level about Gordon’s short- and long-term recovery is not sensed here. He expects to practice without limitation well before the start of training camp in late July.
The article says that Gordon should be ready to practice before training camp, but the surgery is worrisome nonetheless. Gordon is coming off of a very disappointing rookie season (3.5 YPC) and surgery is not the way to start your offseason.
Broncos G.M. John Elway moved up in the first round of the draft to select quarterback Paxton Lynch, a developmental project who seems very unlikely to beat out Mark Sanchez for the starting job this season. But Lynch may not take as long to become the Broncos’ starter as most observers are expecting.
Elway said on Denver Sports 760 that Lynch may just prove himself ready to be an NFL starter this year.
“Is that going to happen tomorrow? Probably not, but you never know when it can happen,” Elway said. “We think he’s going to be ready quicker than a lot of people think.”
With only Mark Sanchez to beat, Lynch could start Week 1 if he shows poise and an understanding of the offense in training camp. However, the Broncos could ask Sanchez to hold down the fort and be a 'game-manager' with a great defense and a strong running game. It's clear that Sanchez is just a placeholder.
Besides the quarterback, the player on offense under the most pressure to perform this year will be Matt Jones. The team let Alfred Morris walk in free agency and they waited until the seventh round to draft his replacement. And at this point the often injured, lightly used Keith Marshall isn’t even a sure bet to make the team. Jones will need to stay healthy while averaging 15-20 carries per game, add about a yard to the 3.4 per carry average he posted last year, and make fumbles very rare occurrences.
Jones had a few moments as a rookie, but they were mostly in the passing game, where he averaged 16.0 yards per catch on 19 receptions. As a runner, he averaged 3.4 YPC on 144 totes. It appears that he'll be the primary running back, though Chris Thompson led the Washington running backs with 35 receptions last season and may form a committee by taking over most of the third-down work.
In between discussing the rookies, Carroll made sure to let everyone know where he stands on second-year player Thomas Rawls.
"Thomas gives us a great element in his style of play," Carroll said. "We love the way he is physical and aggressive and tough. So, you see C.J. come off because he really has special qualities that he can add to the third-down aspect to our offense. We’re hoping that the other guys can complement what we’re already getting from Thomas. Each guy has his stuff. We think we can fit that together.
"We’ll come to appreciate that even more, but I think the message of who we are and what we’re about has been Thomas. We’re really excited to continue to see that, and we’ll see if we can fit it together in a really special fashion. They are unique. These guys are not from the same mold, which we really appreciate."
Who we are and what we're about. Carroll's message was clear: Assuming health, Rawls is the Seahawks' primary ball-carrier.
With Marshawn Lynch out of the way, Rawls is first in line for workhorse back duties given his performance in 2015. In the six games in which Rawls played and Lynch did not, the rookie averaged 20.5 touches for 120 yards and 0.84 touchdowns (on a stellar 5.6 YPC). That doesn't even include Week 3, when he turned 16 carries into 104 yards while Lynch was limited to five carries. A fractured ankle ended his season, but it didn't require surgery and he should be ready to for training camp. If he's fully healthy, Rawls' ADP should climb into the 3rd round (or higher). The only real concern here is the status of his ankle.
The Redskins’ intentions with Jones became clear by the end of the draft. They want him to be the lead back and are confident he’ll jump into the starting role and be just fine.
OC Sean McVay believes with a full offseason under his belt Jones will be able to right the fumbling issues, though.
“We know that he had some growing pains, but I think, when you look at the things that he was able to do both in the run game, and in the pass game, he’s got the skills and the traits that you’re looking for in that every down [running] back, where he can put his foot in the ground,” McVay said. “He’s a violent finisher. I think he’s a little bit more sudden than people give him credit for.”
Jones started his rookie season with a bang, posting 146 yards and two touchdowns against the Rams in Week 2, but ultimately generated just 3.40 yards per carry on 144 totes. He made a number of big plays in the passing game (16.0 yards per catch), finishing with 794 yards and four touchdowns. With Alfred Morris gone, Jones has a great opportunity to seize the RB1 job.
Offensive coordinator Sean McVay not only believes Doctson can do so, he's confident the Redskins will get the most out of the 6-foot-2, 202 pounder early on in his career.
“The great thing about it is we got a bunch of great players, and he’ll start out as an outside receiver, where he’ll play behind both Pierre and DeSean, and we’ll be able to groom him,” McVay said Wednesday on ESPN980. “And however well he does, he’ll earn that playing time if his play dictates that. He’s a guy that we’re very excited about.”
McVay went on to compare Doctson to A.J. Green and did say that he could earn more playing time if his play dictates it. We're assuming both DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon will be back, and don't envision Doctson beating out either player in training camp. Garcon is probably the most vulnerable, so if Doctson has a great summer and earns a larger role, it will probably come at Garcon's expense. Jackson is also known to be somewhat injury-prone, so Doctson could see more snaps due to simple attrition.
"Those 2 guys are as good as I've seen in a while,'' Jackson said on the Browns draft review show Tuesday night that aired on 92.3 The Fan. "Their talent is extreme."
"I've been getting so much mail or phones calls with people saying, 'Well wait a minute, why don't you guys have a running back?''' he said. "I really think Isaiah Crowell is a really good running back. I think he's going to have a sensational season, I really do."
In Johnson, Jackson sees an elusive runner and dynamic receiver in the mold of Cincinnati's Gio Bernard, who rushed for 730 yards (4.7-yard average) and two TDs, and caught 49 passes for 472 yards and no TDs.
"I think he's going to have a great year as well," Jackson said. "Duke has suddenness and quickness and he can go catch the ball with anybody. He does so many different things that gives your offense a boost.''
Crowell outscored Johnson in standard formats, but Johnson (61 catches) had the edge in PPR, finishing #24 on the year. We can glean Jackson's playcalling tendencies from his usage of Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill last year in Cincinnati. When the Bengals were trailing by a field goal or more, Bernard saw 33 touches to Hill's 32. When the Bengals were trailing by two points or less, tied or leading, Hill saw 206 touches to 170 for Bernard. Since the 2016 Browns are likely to be trailing far more often than the 2015 Bengals, Johnson has a chance at an even larger share than Bernard, who finished #17 in PPR formats last season. Given Johnson's 6th-round ADP in early PPR drafts, he looks like a nice target for the "wait on RB" crowd.
Base value of Jordan Reed extension is 5 years, just under $50M. $22M guaranteed. Amount fully guaranteed at signing not yet known.
Thanks to a relatively healthy season (14 games), Reed finished #3 in standard formats and #2 in PPR. He caught 87 passes for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns, registering a higher PPG in PPR formats than Rob Gronkowski. He was second only to Delanie Walker in targets per game. He's extremely talented and is a near-lock to be a top five tight end as long as he stays healthy, but given his history and his price (4th round ADP), there's some risk here.
From multiple sources: Walford will be fine, well ahead of schedule, gave everyone a scare when it first happened.
This sounds like a non-issue, but it's something to file away in case he misses offseason activities.
It's strange that Hoyer didn't sign with a team that's more QB-needy than the Bears, but clearly he didn't have much of a market for his services if he's willing to sign a one-year deal worth "only" $2 million.
The recoveries from season-ending injuries for Seahawks players Thomas Rawls and Jimmy Graham have gone as planned but it remains too early to establish a set timeline for their return, coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday.
“Everything’s going well, yeah,” Carroll said during the team’s annual pre-draft press conference. “Everything’s really in good shape. It’s just when they push to get back we are going to have to see what the timeline is, you know, so we can tell. It’s going good.”
Rawls suffered a broken ankle during a win at Baltimore on Dec. 13 while Graham suffered a torn patellar tendon in the win over Pittsburgh on Nov. 29.
While Carroll was vague about a timeline Tuesday, the team general feeling is that each could be ready for the beginning of the season — particularly Rawls, whose injury has a shorter timeframe for recovery — but that each might not participate much in the pre-season.
Our injury expert, Russell Manalastas, is fairly confident about Rawls being ready at some point in training camp, but predicts that Graham will be limited (at best) in Week 1 since it takes a while to recover from a torn patellar tendon. The tight end position is deep this year, so there is no reason to reach for Graham when there are plenty of good options available.
Graham caught 49 passes for 545 yards and five touchdowns in 13 games playing for HC Gary Kubiak in 2013. That works out to 10.3 PPG (in PPR formats), which equates to low-end TE1 numbers. He'll compete with Virgil Green for targets.