Rand Getlin at Yahoo Sports 6 hrs ago
Florida State junior Eddie Goldman is leaning heavily toward entering the 2015 NFL draft, according to multiple sources familiar with the underclassman's thinking.
Goldman's parents have begun holding meetings with agents in an effort to vet potential representatives for their son, sources said.
Goldman, projected as a first-round talent at defensive tackle, has helped lead the Seminoles' run of two straight undefeated regular seasons. This season he has 35 tackles, eight for a loss, and leads Florida State with four sacks.
He is expected to play on Jan. 1 in the College Football Playoff semifinal game at the Rose Bowl against Oregon after suffering an ankle injury against Georgia Tech in the ACC championship game on Dec. 6.
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Rand Getlin at Yahoo Sports 9 hrs ago
Michigan State defensive back Trae Waynes is considered to be a lock to enter the 2015 NFL draft, according to multiple sources familiar with the underclassman's thinking.
Waynes, a junior, hasn't made any official declarations, but he has met with agents in an effort to vet potential representatives. He is collectively projected by draftniks as either a first-round or early second-round pick.
Waynes had three interceptions this season as Michigan State's top cornerback. Last season, teamed opposite first-round pick Darqueze Dennard, Waynes also notched three interceptions.
The underclassmen deadline to declare for the NFL draft is Jan. 15. Seventh-ranked Michigan State will play its final game of the season on Jan. 1, in the Cotton Bowl, against fourth-ranked Baylor.
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Rand Getlin at Yahoo Sports 9 hrs ago
Oregon cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu suffered a serious knee injury in practice on Tuesday and his status is uncertain for the Ducks' upcoming playoff game, sources told Yahoo Sports.
If the injury is as serious as believed, it would force Ekpre-Olomu out of the Ducks' College Football Playoff semifinal game against Florida State on Jan. 1, 2015.
Ekpre-Olumu is in his senior season at Oregon and was considered a top-tier cornerback in the 2015 NFL draft. The Chino Hills, Calif., native has 63 tackles, two interceptions and 11 pass deflections this year.
Ekpre-Olumu had a standout season in 2013, finishing second in the country in forced fumbles (6) and seventh nationally in passes defended (20).
The Ducks have built their reputation on offense, but their defense has improved markedly during their run to the College Football Playoff, allowing just 22.5 points per game.
Ekpre-Olumu's injury is a significant blow as Oregon prepares to face 2013 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston and the No. 3-ranked Seminoles, who are averaging 34.8 points per game.
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Rand Getlin at Yahoo Sports 11 hrs ago
Mississippi State linebacker Benardrick McKinney is considered a lock to enter the 2015 NFL draft, according to multiple sources familiar with the underclassman's thinking.
McKinney's camp has begun taking meetings with agents in an effort to vet potential representatives, sources said. The redshirt junior requested a draft grade from the NFL draft advisory board last week, the Clarion Ledger (Miss.) reported.
If media draftnik projections are correct, that grade is likely a first-round one. As 6-foot-5, 245-pound inside linebacker lauded for his speed, McKinney led the No. 8 Bulldogs with 61 total tackles, eight of them for a loss. He also had 3.5 sacks.
An AFC college scout told NFL.com's Albert Breer in November that McKinney projected as "Rolando McClain or poor man's Brian Urlacher." They were each top-10 picks in their respective draft years.
McKinney's final game as a Bulldog could come Dec. 31 against Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl.
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Baylor defensive lineman Shawn Oakman is strongly considering entering the 2015 NFL draft, according to multiple sources familiar with the underclassman's process.
Oakman, a redshirt junior, hasn’t made any official declarations about his intentions, but he has begun conducting interviews with agents and other professional service providers, according to sources.
Oakman (6-foot-8, 275 pounds) and his athleticism have intrigued some NFL talent evaluators. He led Baylor with 10 sacks and notched 18.5 tackles for loss in 12 games this season, which concludes in the Cotton Bowl against Michigan State on Jan. 1.
His production was an improvement from his first season at Baylor in 2013, when he played as a reserve after he was kicked off the Penn State team.
Missouri's Shane Ray, this season's SEC sack leader, is strongly considering entering the 2015 NFL draft, according to multiple sources familiar with the underclassman's thinking.
Sources indicate his mother, Sebrina Johnson, is in the process of setting up and conducting meetings with agents and vetting potential representatives.
Ray hasn't made any official declarations. Early projections have tabbed him as at least a top-10 pick for the draft in April.
The redshirt junior defensive lineman had a tremendous season for the Tigers, racking up 14 sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss. He was voted first-team All-American and SEC defensive player of the year by the Associated Press.
Ray is expected to command the most eyes from NFL scouts at the Citrus Bowl, where the Tigers will face Minnesota on Jan. 1. The defensive star hopes for a better outing than his previous one, the SEC championship game, in which he was ejected for targeting with a hit on Alabama quarterback Blake Sims.
Oregon defensive lineman Arik Armstead is strongly leaning toward entering the 2015 NFL draft, according to multiple sources familiar with the underclassman's thinking.
Armstead hasn't made any official declarations yet, but his father, Guss Armstead, has already held a number of meetings with agents in an effort to analyze his son's options for representation should he declare.
Included in the information Arik Armstead has gathered about his draft prospects are statements made by some NFL general managers who have stated that Armstead has rare athleticism that makes him a likely first-round pick.
"Can see him go very, very high," one AFC West GM said, according to information presented to the Armsteads. "Has everything you want out of a [defensive lineman]. Height, length, power, pass rush ability. Needs to show more consistency, but raw potential is very intriguing. First round."
San Francisco 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman received clearance to practice next week, a league source told Yahoo Sports on Saturday.
Bowman was sidelined since tearing his ACL and MCL in his knee during January's NFC championship game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Bowman told ESPN last Sunday that he was suffering pain in his surgically repaired knee, however, the source attributed that to standard aches and pains of rehab.
A potential in-season return for Bowman would give the 49ers (5-4) a welcomed boost to their linebacking corps, which took a hit when Patrick Willis was ruled out for the season on Tuesday with a toe injury. The 49ers also got back pass rusher Aldon Smith after he served a nine-game suspension.
Dallas Cowboys management has significant concerns about giving star wideout Dez Bryant a massive guarantee in a long-term contract based, in part, on off-field concerns with Bryant, multiple league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The Cowboys have assisted Bryant in dealing with anger management and related issues, including setting up sessions with behavioral specialists and therapists, according to sources familiar with the team's efforts and thinking. According to multiple sources, the Cowboys have made a number of contract offers to the wide receiver that provided him with meaningful financial guarantees, while providing protections for themselves if any off-field issues came to affect his ability to perform on the field.
For his part, Bryant has pushed for the Cowboys to give him a deal that is in line with the market for the game's elite wide receivers. In guaranteed money, Detroit's Calvin Johnson leads the pack with $48.75 million.
Though the Kansas City Chiefs and two-time Pro Bowl linebacker Justin Houston have engaged in discussions on a long-term deal for nearly a year, the two sides remain "worlds apart," multiple sources familiar with the negotiations told Yahoo Sports.
It appears likely that Houston, who is in the final year of his contract, will either enter free agency or be given the franchise tag, according to multiple sources.
Houston, 25, has cemented himself as one of the league's premier outside linebackers. He has 36 1/2 career sacks, 21 in his last 18 regular-season games. Since his rookie year in 2011, he has missed only five games (dislocated elbow). His salary this season is about $1.59 million.
At 6-foot-3, 258 pounds, Houston is far from one-dimensional. His athleticism and motor allow him to play the run very well and he has proven his ability to drop back and contribute in pass coverage.
In 2011, the Chiefs gave linebacker Tamba Hali a five-year deal through 2016 that pays him an average annual salary of $11.5 million. Since the start of the 2013 season, Hali has had fewer sacks and fewer tackles than Houston despite playing in four more games.