Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago
CHICAGO – As the draft picks slipped by Thursday night, it became apparent that no NFL team was going to step in and catch LSU offensive tackle La'el Collins. Instead he plummeted, right out of the first round, due to concerns over an investigation into the shooting death of a pregnant woman who may have been Collins' ex-girlfriend.
Collins has not been named a suspect, but there's no more doubt: the nightmare hanging over him is real and has become very damaging. The concern over an open case – and the fact that police want to speak to Collins about the woman – has already cost him millions of dollars. Considered by many to be a high-to-mid first-round pick, nobody is sure when or if Collins will be chosen in this draft. How far he falls was a non-stop conversation Thursday, as teams, agents, media and fans have all marveled at what could be the worst case of negative circumstance in the history of the draft.
Stick it out in 2015
Reapply in 2016
The proponents of reapplying suggest that if you can maintain Collins' high status, it makes no financial sense to allow him to play under a contract in 2015.
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago
A year ago, it was the rare quarterback stunner at the top of the draft – the Jacksonville Jaguars grabbed Blake Bortles with the No. 3 pick, completing one of the more impressive personnel concealments in recent memory, and leaving quarterback needy teams (like the Minnesota Vikings) scrambling for other options.
One AFC personnel man – whose team is selecting outside of the top 10 picks – claims he saw the Bortles ruse coming a year ago, and thinks the Jaguars are primed to stun the top of the draft again.
"I think the third spot could shock people [again]," the personnel man said, referring to Jacksonville. "I think they like [Amari] Cooper more than they are letting on. You hear things and they have been pretty good about what's getting out there. It's a lot like it was last year."
That radio silence seemingly threw off most NFL front offices. But the AFC personnel man said Caldwell tipped his hand late on Bortles in an unexpected way – with a comment to the media just days before the first round kicked off.
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 7 days ago
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Rarely has a veteran player dominated an NFL draft run-up the way Adrian Peterson has. While this is the portion of the offseason typically overrun with pro days, propaganda and draft subterfuge, Peterson has remained the veteran question mark curling around the month of April.
Who is in the running for a trade? Are the Minnesota Vikings listening to anyone? What's the price for Peterson? How many Valentine's Day cards did Jerry Jones send to his supposed favorite running back?
It's the story that has driven some NFL front offices nuts (we're looking at you, Cowboys) and made some head coaches uneasy about sharing opinions (hey there, Bruce Arians).
In hopes of burning off some of that vapor and bringing clarity to a still-undecided situation, Yahoo Sports spoke to six high-level NFL sources about what is going on with Peterson – including several among front offices who have discussed a pursuit of the Vikings' running back. Here is what we learned:
As of the start of draft week, the Dallas Cowboys have NOT gotten involved
There are two viewpoints in play here.
The Arizona Cardinals do not want to surrender their first-round pick
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 19 days ago
Jameis Winston's lofty draft status won't be the only similarity he'll share with future NFL Hall of Famer Peyton Manning. His Wonderlic test score rivals Manning's, too.
Multiple league sources told Yahoo Sports that Winston scored a 27 out of 50 on the league's general aptitude test that is administered at the annual NFL scouting combine prior to the draft. That's a respectable score for quarterbacks, and just one point shy of the 28 Manning scored prior to the 1998 draft. It also stacks up favorably with several recent Super Bowl winners, including the New Orleans Saints' Drew Brees (28), the Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson (28), the Baltimore Ravens' Joe Flacco (27) and the Pittsburgh Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger (25).
While Wonderlic scores are becoming less relevant in draft equations, they still carry weight at some decision-making positions such as quarterback, an AFC personnel source told Yahoo Sports.
But it certainly doesn't guarantee NFL success. For example, former first-round pick Blaine Gabbert scored a very impressive 42 on the test and has struggled mightily in the NFL.
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 25 days ago
A highly respected NFL personnel man was mentally thumbing through Marcus Mariota comparisons this week when he found what seemed to be an appropriate box for the Oregon star.
It sounded like a glowing comparison. But in what may be the only negative Rodgers analogy that still exits, this is what the personnel man said: "If [Mariota] doesn't go in the top six picks, he could do an Aaron Rodgers," he said.
This was a dark nod toward draft torture. Specifically, the 2005 first round, when Rodgers did a slow bake on national television as his draft position Plinko-ed from a potential No. 1 pick to the 24th selection.
Few believe this could happen to Mariota. Falling that hard?
"If he gets past the top six, it could be out of the top 10 to whatever point the Eagles trade up for him," the personnel man said.
The public picture is so muddled over Mariota he could be connected with half the teams in the draft by the time the selection process kicks off. He's this year's biggest draft domino – one of the players whose uncertain position could change boards, either with a high selection or a slide.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State's pro day was supposed to be one of the final boxes for NFL teams to check off in their ongoing assessment of quarterback Jameis Winston. And now we're starting to find out exactly how deep that evaluation has gone.
Shadowing Winston – in essence, spying on him – apparently has fit into at least one team's equation.
That revelation comes from Winston's quarterback guru, the highly respected George Whitfield Jr., who ran Winston's passing performance during Tuesday's pro day. According to Whitfield, teams have been very aggressive in their vetting process, including watching Winston when he's least likely to be looking.
"They've staged people," Whitfield said. "Yeah, there are teams that have staged people on different flights he had, just to kind of be in the midst – a fly on the wall. No [Jameis wasn't aware of it], but I had a team official tell me that. They were aware of another team that said they wanted to do that."
How could a team know Winston's flight plan?
"When you go to the [NFL scouting] combine, the league has a flight deal, a flight manifest," Whitfield said.
HOUSTON – When the supreme moment came Sunday night – the stuff of basketball fantasy – Duke's program experienced a sheepish pause. Right at the bottom of the ladder, with scissors in hand, it became clear that there was one thing all these acclaimed freshmen had yet to learn.
Basketball nets. How exactly did you cut one down? Like, in technical terms. Was there etiquette? Who got the last cut? Who got the first? How much nylon should you take? And, really, who goes that high on a ladder with scissors?
You could put that moment in a frame and hang it, because it tells you everything you need to know about how special this Duke run has become. The Blue Devils are not deep. They are not overly experienced. And this definitely is not the 10-deep McDonald's All-American assembly line that we've come to expect. This team is so young and so good. But really – it's sooo young.
Krzyzewski then said it one more time in case you hadn't gotten the picture: "And four freshmen."
That said, Krzyzewski is getting at a valid point. After the ugly dismissal of Rasheed Sulaimon, two things happened for Duke.
1 mth ago
HOUSTON – For a while now, Justise Winslow hasn't needed a lot of time to work. That's something coach Mike Krzyzewski likes to say about him. With some freshmen, you throw them a basketball and wind an egg timer. Winslow? Coach K's instruction – if needed – should be locked and loaded in advance.
And even then, Winslow has punched the time clock before the first syllable hit his ears.
This is how Winslow has risen – how he went from being oddly overshadowed by the freshman tandem of Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones, despite also being one of the best prep basketball players in the country. This is how his game has become more complete, more well-rounded – and more likely to deliver what Duke got in Friday's 63-57 victory over Utah.
"He's a high-powered guy," Utes coach Larry Krystkowiak said of Winslow. "…I thought him coming back to Houston a day after his birthday only juiced him up and [had him] ready to go. We didn't have an answer."
More NCAA tournament coverage:
PHOENIX – At one point Wednesday, someone asked Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly a question about scheme and talent, and how to fit the two together. This was standard brain-picking at the NFL owners' meetings. Kelly listened with a blank face, and then shot back, "That's the $64,000 question right there."
If you had listened to Kelly for even a few minutes – or a solid hour, as a few dozen reporters had – you would have come to realize this is a man who has never heard a question he can't answer. He exudes that confidence, that ego, that bring it on, I'm locked and loaded, and smarter than you. So when Kelly says, "That's the $64,000 question right there," two things come to mind.
First: He already has the $64,000 answer.
Second: You better have your checkbook because you never know with this guy.
Those stunning and aggressive roster moves defined this offseason, overshadowing the Ndamukong Suh signing, and dwarfing even the most assertive lineup tune-ups. Indeed, March has been equally divided into two parts: Asking what on earth Kelly was doing and listening as he brushed off doubters with titanium-plated confidence.
Belichick gives most Belichick response to losing Revis while Bills' Ryan touts regime change in AFC East
PHOENIX – Bill Belichick arrived late, took a few more minutes to sip his orange juice, and then sat down seemingly as far as he could from the microphones in front of him. This is customary of his lone session with the media at the annual owners' meetings.
If his recoiled body language was the only thing that spoke, it would say something like, "I'm just here so I won't get fined."
This is a guy who just won a Super Bowl ring, his fourth as head coach of the New England Patriots. Judging by his behavior Tuesday, you had to wonder if it arrived with a set of thorns, too.
Once Belichick spoke, his words were sparse and muted. He didn't want to talk about free agency. He didn't want to talk about deflate-gate. He didn't really want to talk about anything. And the subject of departed cornerback Darrelle Revis? Well, as Belichick put it, "That's not a big story."
"I don't know how wide open [the division] could be when you've got New England perched up there and they've won, what, [12 of the last 14 titles]," Ryan said. "They're clearly the team to beat, but we're coming after them."