Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 14 hrs ago
HOUSTON – A little over four years into his NFL career, Brock Osweiler is encountering an offseason he has never known. He's richer. He's more experienced. And most important, he's finally the centerpiece of an NFL franchise.
But Osweiler hasn't just arrived into the spotlight. For the Houston Texans, he is the spotlight.
"He operates like a pro's pro," Texans wideout DeAndre Hopkins said of Osweiler. "He comes out and he demands the best out of everybody – offensive line, fullbacks, even the guys that aren't even in the huddle. He's a natural leader."
That's sizable offseason praise in May, with the Texans beginning their third phase of organized team activities and Oswelier still absorbing the offense. But it speaks to the anticipation building in Houston. An offense that was hammered flat by the Kansas City Chiefs in the postseason has retooled the skill positions with an emphasis on speed and quickness, notably adding free-agent running back Lamar Miller and drafting wideouts Will Fuller and Braxton Miller.
More on NFL
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago
One day of practice – one torn ACL – and it was over for Dante Fowler Jr. His rookie season was wiped off the books before it ever began.
A little over one year later, the Jacksonville Jaguars' defensive end is starting over again, effectively giving the franchise two first-round picks to fold into the defense. But it can't be considered a reboot since Fowler wasn't on the field or in practice enough to show what he will bring to the table.
That's not the case for many of the other presumed defensive stars from Fowler's rookie class, several of whom struggled through uneven first seasons, failing to crack rotations or flunking drug tests. With some of those disappointments in mind, a handful of defensive rookies from the 2015 draft are looking for sophomore reboots.
Among the 10 most intriguing heading into next season …
Podcast: Redskins name change, 80s wrestling, OJ & more:
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago
By all accounts, wide receiver was supposed to be the position that defined the 2015 NFL draft. That group that was deemed to be so talented, some believed it could rival the 2014 class, which produced stars like Odell Beckham, Mike Evans, Jarvis Landry, Kelvin Benjamin and Martavis Bryant.
Looking back a year later, the 2015 wideouts were a flop. Either through injury, lack of performance or fumbled opportunity, no position group on offense is in more need of a sophomore reboot.
As for the other wideouts, several others never came around despite opportunity, and that landed five of them on the list of 10 offensive players in need of a sophomore reboot in 2016.
Among the coveted rookies who are looking for a reset …
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 9 days ago
PHILADELPHIA – When players arrived for Philadelphia Eagles rookie camp last week, Sam Bradford's No. 7 jersey was waiting in a locker. Not for Bradford, mind you. Instead, it dangled in the stall of former Angelo State quarterback Kyle Washington, who was auditioning at wideout for the Eagles.
It's not something you see everyday, a tryout wide receiver being gifted the number of the $18 million per-season starting quarterback. Washington didn't request the number, either. When he showed up, it was waiting for him.
Is it a stretch to suggest this was a poke from management? Maybe. But nothing with the Sam Bradford situation is garden variety anymore. Not after he turned his nose up at $22 million in guaranteed money from the Eagles – more than any other team would have offered – and tried to force a trade to the Denver Broncos. In that one maneuver, Bradford erased his margin for error in Philadelphia. He made it clear he'd rather be somewhere else. That's what will resonate about Bradford from this point forward, accentuated by every miscue or loss. He conjured his own little hurricane, destined to envelop him until he's no longer a member of the Eagles.
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 11 days ago
PHILADELPHIA – It isn't part of Carson Wentz's new playbook, but the Sam Bradford-themed news conference looks like something the Philadelphia Eagles rookie quarterback has already mastered. That's good because nothing Wentz will do in this weekend's minicamp will matter as much as what he said about Bradford on Friday.
So he defused. He pivoted. He directed the conversation to team competition. Wentz had said all the right things – striking the right balance between confidence and deference – when he was done. If Bradford vs. Wentz is bound to be a controversy in Philadelphia, the rookie is doing his best to keep from adding anything flammable.
"Personally, I don't think there will be a lot of tension," Wentz said of his relationship with Bradford. "… It is what it is. Honestly, like I've been saying all along, it's out of my control. People want to make it a big situation, but I think we'll have a really good working relationship. I think it will benefit the team, because we're going to compete."
"I'm very antsy," Wentz said. "The draft process was a long waiting game."
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 16 days ago
IRVING, Texas – The stalking Emmitt Smith comparison came for Ezekiel Elliott on Day One. Inevitably. Predictably. As it will for a long, long time.
Enveloped by cameras and microphones on his first day of rookie minicamp, a visitor lobbed the question to Elliott, asking whether he considered wearing Emmitt Smith's No. 22 jersey. Those are arguably the most sacred digits in Dallas, right along with Troy Aikman's No. 8 and the PIN to owner Jerry Jones' American Express Black Card.
"That's just something you don't do," Elliott said. "That's a guy who worked so hard and accomplished so much in this organization. It would've been kind of disrespectful just to try to wear his number."
That's what the 2016 offseason has become for Dallas. First came the detonating of all avenues back to defensive end Greg Hardy. Then came a muted push in free agency. And finally, a draft that changed the long-term construct, one that maximizes the Romo window while simultaneously pivoting out of it during his descending years.
That means finding the next offensive centerpiece. And that player is Elliott.
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 22 days ago
Last January, a prominent NFL agent visited with a handful of clients at a sunbathed workout facility, in hopes of making a plea. One of the soon-to-be NFL draft picks had posted (and then deleted) a less-than-savory remark on one of his social media accounts, and the agent hoped to use the moment to his advantage. So he gathered the group together for a talk.
"[The post] was really late and it didn't catch on, and I wanted them to know this is [an example of] why it's better to stay off Twitter and Facebook and that stuff," the agent said. "… I went through it and asked them if they would either shut down their accounts or stop updating them until the draft was over."
Did any of the players listen?
"Not one," the agent said. "It's their decision. I can only ask so much. But after this draft – if they had seen what happened in this draft, it would have hit home. It definitely will next year."
Another adviser said he's considering some training that is a little more jarring – like shaping a coaching regimen around social media and cell phones that treat them like weapons.
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 26 days ago
LOS ANGELES – There was never one pivotal moment that illuminated the path between Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams. He didn't have some magical answer in an interview that separated him from Carson Wentz. There was no epiphany on film that left everything else falling away. It wasn't some scientific discovery, with a coach or personnel man poking his head into a hallway to shout "eureka!"
No, Jared Goff's arrival as the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft was accomplished at an intersection of philosophies. One about talent, another about opportunity.
To have witnessed the talent analysis, you had to be in the film room with Rams head coach Jeff Fisher for the past three years, grinding over college tape that always began as a showcase for someone else. Maybe Fisher was supposed to be looking at a running back. Or an offensive lineman. Maybe multiple defensive players facing Cal. Whatever the assignment, Fisher would turn on the film and begin watching someone else, only to have his eye drawn away.
"Price is what you pay. Value is what you get."
"Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago."
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 27 days ago
So many months have passed for the Dallas Cowboys and so many NFL draft options still remain. Many imagine that team owner Jerry Jones is sitting somewhere grinning, knowing the rest of the league has no certain idea what his franchise will do with the No. 4 overall pick on Thursday, the first night of the NFL draft.
The Cowboys are hostages to the draft board. They don't have absolute certainty what the San Diego Chargers will do with the No. 3 overall pick – or if they'll even stay there. That pick is expected to be available into the selection process Thursday night, although two NFL team personnel executives told Yahoo Sports the No. 3 spot isn't valuable enough to expect another seismic trade similar to the deals the Tennessee Titans-Los Angeles Rams and Cleveland Browns-Philadelphia Eagles pulled off involving the Nos. 1 and 2 picks. It's looking more likely the Chargers stay put, leaving the Cowboys to adjust to their selection.
All those scenarios are in play right now, and nobody is certain what is the most likely outcome. But need versus greed is on the clock in Dallas, and it's going to shape a large part of the top of the first round.
More on NFL draft
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 28 days ago
LOS ANGELES – To get the last clues into the next foundational piece of the new Los Angeles Rams, you had to spiral up a gleaming staircase, past two security guards worthy of Secret Service duty, before sliding into a curtained, dimly lit room that looked like the VIP area in a nightclub.
At the front, the chairmen of the Rams' brain trust – coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead – sat on a dais and scanned a room of cameras and reporters. Hanging in front of them, a starburst chandelier illuminated the center of the room and left each man squinting into the crowd.
"Sorry," Fisher said at one point Tuesday, holding a hand toward the light. "We can't see you out there."
"Probably going to take an offensive player," Fisher said, drawing some laughter. "That's about all we can say right now."
That's a big deal considering that Thursday's first round of the draft is the second-most anticipated night on the NFL calendar. If it weren't for the pop-culture frenzy surrounding the Super Bowl, it could be argued that the draft is the most awaited event of the year among NFL fans.
More on NFL draft