- Shalise Manza Young at Shutdown Corner17 hrs ago
The Chicago Bears did not draft a quarterback over the seven rounds of this year's selection meeting, but not long after it ended, they signed a veteran to backup Jay Cutler.
Chicago has signed Brian Hoyer to a one-year deal, general manager Ryan Pace confirmed to reporters on Saturday evening. There was no immediate word on financials.
Hoyer, who spent last year with the Houston Texans, had visited with both the New York Jets and Denver Broncos. But the Broncos drafted Paxton Lynch in the first round on Thursday night, ending their pursuit of any other quarterbacks (they had also discussed trading for Colin Kaepernick and Sam Bradford), and the Jets took Christian Hackenberg in the second round.
"When he's played, he's been productive," Pace said of Hoyer.
With inexperienced second-year quarterbacks Matt Blanchard and David Fales also on the roster, Hoyer becomes the clear No. 2 in Chicago behind Cutler.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner19 hrs ago
Southern Miss cornerback Kalan Reed waited a long time to be selected in the NFL draft. Now he gets a parade.
Reed was Mr. Irrelevant, the 253rd and final pick of the 2016 draft. He went to the Tennessee Titans, who traded for that pick at the end of the seventh round earlier in the draft.
Many draft observers were surprised at Reed's fall to the end of the seventh round. Reed was a bit undersized, at 5-foot-11 and 192 pounds, but he played well as a senior. He broke up 19 passes, intercepted four and returned two of those for touchdowns. He also ran an impressive 4.38 40-yard dash at his pro day.
The Broncos were so excited to make the final pick of the draft, they had a special "Mr. Irrelevant" jersey made up.
But the defending champions never ended up making the pick because they traded it to Tennessee. Kind of a waste of a jersey, though the folks announcing the pick in Chicago still unfurled it anyway when Reed's name was called.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner20 hrs ago
Rico Gathers was a heck of a player at Baylor. It was in basketball, but that was good enough for the Dallas Cowboys.
In the sixth round of the NFL draft the Cowboys took a power forward who they hope can become a tight end, selecting Gathers. It's an intriguing pick, considering Gathers hasn't played football since middle school.
There are a couple things working in Gathers' favor. First, he's a great athlete. He's 6-foot-8, 275 pounds, and his strength and agility is one reason he was a tremendous rebounder and inside player for Baylor's basketball team. Gathers averaged 8.6 points and 8 rebounds per game in college.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner21 hrs ago
In late 2012, Dak Prescott likely wasn't thinking about an NFL future. He was just a Dallas Cowboys fan with some angst and a Twitter account.
Who knew that on Dec. 30, 2012, he wasn't just ripping Tony Romo on Twitter, he was ripping future Cowboys teammate Tony Romo? The Cowboys picked Prescott late in the fourth round on Saturday, presumably to possibly be Romo's successor someday.
Here are the tweets, which Prescott hadn't deleted as of Saturday afternoon but probably will soon:
I'm DONE Taking up for Romo. #hadenough
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner21 hrs ago
One of the greatest service academy players in many, many years — really, in the storied history of service academy football — will get a shot in the NFL.
Navy's Keenan Reynolds, who set an NCAA career record with 88 touchdowns and an FBS record with 4,559 rushing yards, was taken in the sixth round by the Baltimore Ravens. That's not far from Annapolis, where Reynolds became a big-time college football player. He finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting last year.
Reynolds' position has been debated, though it seems his best fit might be as a slot receiver.
The transition to the NFL is not as easy for service-academy players as it is for everyone else. Everyone else gets a phone call, puts on a hat and makes football their full-time job. If you graduate from a service academy like Navy, you have a five-year service commitment.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner21 hrs ago
The Minnesota Vikings made history on Saturday.
Moritz Boehringer became the first straight-from-Europe draft pick in NFL history when the Vikings used a sixth-round selection on him.
Boehringer quickly is becoming a folk hero here. His story is incredible. He played — get this — for the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns of the German Football League and put up monster numbers in 2015: 59 receptions, 1,232 yards, 13 TDs.
At his pro day, held at Florida Atlantic, the 6-foot-4, 227-pound Boehringer put on a show — a 4.43-second 40-yard dash, a vertical of 39 inches, a 10-foot-11 broad jump, 17 reps on the bench press, a 4.10-second short shuttle, 11.15-second 60-yard shuttle, and a 6.65-second three-cone. Those are elite testing numbers for any receiver, much less one with his terrific size.
Teams started digging immediately. Who was this guy? Several teams really did work on him, and the Vikings were among them. NFL Network's Mike Mayock took to Boehringer and promoted his cause, and it turned out that the Vikings were listening.
- Shalise Manza Young at Shutdown Corner23 hrs ago
The Dallas Cowboys wanted a quarterback in this year's draft, and after getting beat out for the first two they had targeted, they finally grabbed one at the end of the fourth round, taking Mississippi State's Dak Prescott at No. 135.
While other teams who have a starter in place regularly draft quarterbacks – the New England Patriots drafted Jacoby Brissett on Friday night, two years after taking Jimmy Garroppolo in the second round, and earlier Saturday the Oakland Raiders drafted Connor Cook – Prescott is, remarkably, the first quarterback the Cowboys have drafted since 2009.
That year, they took the largely forgettable Stephen McGee in the fourth round. You have to go all the way back to 2001 to find the only other quarterback Dallas drafted this millenium, when they took Quincy Carter in the second round.
Prescott is certainly a project, but the Cowboys were a disaster at quarterback after Tony Romo got hurt not once but twice last season. Prescott's draft stock took a hit when he was arrested for suspicion of DUI in March, two days after his pro day.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner23 hrs ago
Cardale Jones watched eight quarterbacks get selected in the NFL draft before he finally heard his name called.
Ohio State's hero from the 2014 season finally went off the board with the last pick of the fourth round, to the Buffalo Bills with a compensatory pick. Jones was taken 139th overall on Saturday.
Jones' decision to go back to school for one more season has been debated many times, though Jones himself never has seemed too stressed about it.
Jones was in a unique situation after the 2014 season. He started just three games, and they were a win in the Big Ten championship game and two wins in the College Football Playoff. He could have left Ohio State with a national title and a pristine reputation. NFL teams would have had to have made a tough decision based on incomplete data, but practically everything Jones put on film for them was very good. Jones had the arm strength, great size, and good athleticism. ESPN’s Mel Kiper said he thought Jones would have been a second-round pick had he declared last year, though we've seen plenty of quarterbacks slip in the draft once NFL teams start to pick apart their flaws. Ask Matt Barkley. Or Connor Cook.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner1 day ago
The New Orleans Saints traded up in Round 4 for a fascinating but very raw prospect from an unusual location: The University of Manitoba. They took 6-foot-3, 300-pound DT David Onyemata, a very raw prospect but one who could pay off in time, with the 120th pick in the draft.
Yes, that's Canada, folks. The NFL will dip its toes in the northern waters occasionally, and the Saints are more willing to do so than other teams it appears. The last Canadian prospect taken this high in the NFL draft was third-rounder Akiem Hicks by New Orleans in 2012 via Regina. And the only other player drafted from Manitoba? Israel Idonije, who had a nice career in the NFL.
Hicks didn't work out in New Orleans, but he found success with the New England Patriots last season after he was traded there and parlayed that into a big free-agent deal this offseason with the Chicago Bears.
- Shalise Manza Young at Shutdown Corner1 day ago
Though Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie drafted his team's quarterback of the foreseeable future a couple of years ago in Derek Carr, McKenzie clearly learned a thing or two from his time in Green Bay. In this case: there's no harm in having extra quarterbacks.
So on Saturday, as the final four rounds of the draft began and Michigan State QB Connor Cook was still available, McKenzie swung a trade with the Cleveland Browns to move up 14 spots and take Cook at No. 100.
By moving into that spot, the Raiders jumped over the Dallas Cowboys; on the NFL Network broadcast, Ian Rapoport said teams in the top of the fourth round believedthe Cowboys were targeting Cook at No. 101 as a backup to (and possible replacement to?) the aging Tony Romo.