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  • 2017 NFL Draft Grades: AFC West
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, April 30, 2017

    Grading an NFL Draft immediately after it occurs is akin to giving your compliments to the chef based on the menu.

    • It will take at least three years before we can truly assess how the 32 NFL teams fared over the weekend.

      But waiting is no fun. As such, let's take a take at which teams appear to have done the best job of filling needs and building for the future via the seven rounds of the 2017 draft.

      AFC West

      Denver Broncos

      Few know better than John Elway that a quarterback's best friends are his left tackle and a security blanket at tight end. In Garett Bolles in the first round and the sure-handed Jake Butt in the fifth, the Broncos provided those for young passers Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch. Given that Bolles remains quite raw and that Butt is still recovering from a torn ACL, ultra-quick slot receivers Carlos Henderson and Isaiah McKenzie (who'll double as a returner) may actually wind up making the most immediate impact on offense for Denver. Florida State's DeMarcus Walker did not generate as much pre-draft hype as his production warranted but expect that to change in Denver when he feasts upon the one-on-one blocks he'll see with opponents focusing on edge rushers Von Miller and Shane Ray. Brendan Langley remains quite raw but the Georgia-transfer is very athletic and physical. Chad Kelly lacks the intangibles scouts would prefer but he possesses undeniable talent, something that cannot always be said for Mr. Irrelevant.

      Grade: B

      Kansas City Chiefs

      A natural gunslinger with a wow arm and a knack for improvisation, Patrick Mahomes II is a fascinating selection for the Kansas City Chiefs as he is the polar opposite of incumbent starter Alex Smith, one of the smarter and more patient (but ultimately, risk-adverse) quarterbacks in the league. Few coaches are better suited to harnessing Mahomes' raw talent than Andy Reid, who, of course, helped mold a similarly unrefined Donovan McNabb into a heckuva quarterback in Philadelphia. The big trade up from No. 27 to 10 to land Mahomes cost Kansas City plenty of draft picks but some intriguing talent was added on Day Two, including imposing Villanova defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon and Toledo's Kareem Hunt -- my favorite of the so-called second-tier runners. With Jamaal Charles gone, don't be surprised if Hunt's ability to remain to keep his feet through contact and protect the ball helps him earn significant carries as a rookie. One small quibble with Kansas City's draft is that the club could have used some help at inside linebacker with veteran Derrick Johnson recovering from his second torn Achilles.

      Grade: B+

      Los Angeles Chargers

      After 13 years, the Chargers finally seem to be serious about protecting quarterback Philip Rivers, using their first-round pick (No. 7 overall) on big-bodied split end Mike Williams and investing Day Two picks on pro-ready linemen Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney. While never exactly fleet of foot, Rivers is one of the more courageous and durable quarterbacks in the league, often stepping up into the pocket to extend plays, making the play of his guards arguably just as important in pass protection as the tackles. Though they likely wouldn't admit it, the Chargers missed the big plays Eric Weddle used to deliver at safety a year ago but found two interesting (but very different) candidates to adequately replace him in hard-hitting Rayshawn Jenkins in the fourth round and 2015 Thorpe Award winner Desmond King in the fifth. King starred at corner for Iowa and may remain there in Gus Bradley's scheme. He possesses the instincts and reliable tackling skills to handle safety duties, if asked.

      Grade: B

      Oakland Raiders

      Late owner Al Davis popularized the expression "Just win, baby" and the Raiders seemed to take that mentality into the 2017 draft, gambling that disturbing allegations levied against first-round cornerback Gareon Conley would never result in an arrest and on the raw upside of several subsequent picks. No one was more impressive at the Combine that Connecticut safety Obi Melifonwu and UCLA defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes flashed (when not overweight or injured) after signing with the Bruins as one of the more highly regarded preps in the country. David Sharpe offers similarly intriguing upside, boasting the sheer size to project as a possible replacement at right tackle for free agent departure Menelik Watson. Of Oakland's later picks, watch out for Washington State's Shalom Luani.

      Grade: C

      --Rob Rang is a Senior Analyst for www.NFLDraftScout.com, a property of The Sports Xchange distributed in partnership with CBSSports.com.

  • 2017 NFL Draft Grades: AFC South
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, April 30, 2017

    Grading an NFL Draft immediately after it occurs is akin to giving your compliments to the chef based on the menu.

    • It will take at least three years before we can truly assess how the 32 NFL teams fared over the weekend.

      But waiting is no fun. As such, let's take a take at which teams appear to have done the best job of filling needs and building for the future via the seven rounds of the 2017 draft.

      AFC South

      Houston Texans

      The bold trade for national champion quarterback Deshaun Watson will determine whether this is winning or losing draft for the Texans. Watson's intangibles and clutch play in big moments earned most of the attention but it was the surprisingly impressive mechanics he showed in pre-draft workouts that perhaps most intrigued head coach Bill O'Brien, suggesting that he could challenge Tom Savage for the starting role even as a rookie. Zach Cunningham lacks the imposing build that most prefer at linebacker, which is why he was available at No. 57 overall despite two First Team All-SEC campaigns at Vanderbilt. I wasn't as high on D'Onta Foreman as some, believing that his monstrous 2016 campaign was as much a reflection about the quality of defense being played in the Big 12 as it was the Longhorn's raw talent but he should prove a quality handcuff to Lamar Miller in this scheme. Don't be surprised if trash-talking young corner Treston DeCoud surprises among Houston's Day Three picks.

      Grade: B-

      Indianapolis Colts

      Throughout most of his time in the NFL, Andrew Luck has had little choice but to attempt to outscore opponents as the Colts' defense was unable to slow down anyone. Addressing the defense was clearly the top priority for first-year general manager Chris Ballard, who found a falling star in Malik Hooker to give the Colts a potentially dominant center fielder and a highly physical press cornerback in Quincy Wilson in the second round to complement Vontae Davis. MAC Defensive Player of the Year and Senior Bowl standout Tarell Basham will outplay his selection at No. 80 overall and an offensive line known more for its passivity will get a jolt of size, power and exuberance with the massive Zach Banner, a future starter. Marlon Mack adds juice to the backfield still reliant upon Frank Gore and the Colts nabbed one of the more intriguing sleepers in big man Grover Stewart. Hooker must clean up his aggressive pursuit angles but this is one of the year's best draft classes on paper.

      Grade: A

      Jacksonville Jaguars

      Like Ballard in Indianapolis, Tom Coughlin has brought a renewed focus on toughness and accountability to Jacksonville, which makes his selection of LSU running back Leonard Fournette, Alabama left tackle Cam Robinson and Oklahoma wideout Dede Westbrook all the more interesting, as each of them come with questions about focus. If these three players commit to maximizing their naturally born talent, the Jaguars' offense could return to form in 2017. Dawuane Smoot has some natural pass rush ability but is joining a squad already gifted in that area. Blair Brown is an instinctive linebacker and Jalen Myrick offers intriguing upside.

      Grade: B-

      Tennessee Titans

      The Titans' offense was so reliant upon its running game in 2016 that it was clear that the club would focus on adding weapons for Marcus Mariota -- though it was a bit of a upset to see Corey Davis go fifth overall given that he was coming off ankle surgery that kept him from working out prior to the draft. Few will quibble with how high was selected, however, when the polished Davis quickly emerges as Mariota's favorite target. Conversely, Adoree' Jackson is raw despite the fact that he won the Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back (giving up seven touchdowns in 2016, alone) but his elite athleticism and ball skills make him a possible difference-maker in the secondary and he certainly an immediate impact returner. Third rounder Taywan Taylor should be able to feast in the slot with Jonnu Smith a nice complement (and eventual replacement) for the similarly-built Delanie Walker. Of Tennessee's Day Three selections, I'm most intrigued by the local product, guard Corey Levin, who some scouts characterized as a poor man's Forrest Lamp.

      Grade: B+

      --Rob Rang is a Senior Analyst for www.NFLDraftScout.com, a property of The Sports Xchange distributed in partnership with CBSSports.com.

  • Jets WR Smith to miss season with knee injury
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, April 30, 2017

    New York Jets wide receiver Devin Smith suffered a second major knee injury in less than two years that will force him to miss the 2017 season.

    • The Jets' 2015 second-round draft pick has a torn ACL that was discovered on April 17 just as the team's offseason program begin.s The team announced Saturday that he will not be available during the coming season.

      Smith had torn the ACL during his rookie season in 2015 after starting his career with fractured ribs on the second day of training camp. He didn't return from the first knee injury until midway through the 2016 season.

      The injuries have limited the former Ohio State standout to 14 games the past two years. He has 10 receptions for 135 yards and one touchdown.

      "It's bad luck and bad timing because the kid worked so hard to get back," Jets coach Todd Bowles said.

      An MRI confirmed the latest ACL tear, which might have occurred before the team's first official workout this month.

      "He had been around, working and training, but at the first (team workout) he experienced a situation with his knee," general manager Mike Maccagnan said. "We actually examined him before he went out."

      The Jets addressed the wide receiver position in the 2017 NFL Draft this weekend by taking Alabama's ArDarius Stewart in the third round and Cal's Chad Hansen in the fourth.

  • 2017 NFL Draft Grades: AFC North
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, April 30, 2017

    Grading an NFL Draft immediately after it occurs is akin to giving your compliments to the chef based on the menu.

    • It will take at least three years before we can truly assess how the 32 NFL teams fared over the weekend.

      But waiting is no fun. As such, let's take a take at which teams appear to have done the best job of filling needs and building for the future via the seven rounds of the 2017 draft.

      AFC North

      Baltimore Ravens

      The Ravens' draft will be panned by some hoping for the club to add some skill-position talent, but this is another solid class by Ozzie Newsome and Eric DeCosta. At just 20 years old, first-round pick Marlon Humphrey should continue to improve, as should second-round pick Tyus Bowser, who spent half of his career at Houston playing basketball as well as football. Chris Wormley has surprising juice as a pass rusher given his big frame. If the Ravens can get Tim Williams to play with the same attention to detail as Wormley, he could wind up being one of this year's biggest steals. Williams has excellent snap anticipation and bend off the edge, offering immediate impact ability as a pass rusher. Nico Siragusa is a future starter at guard.

      Grade: B-

      Cincinnati Bengals

      The Bengals' draft is boom-or-bust personified with speedy (but injury prone) wideout and returner John Ross in the first round and talented but troubled running back Joe Mixon in the second. The two potentially dynamic weapons will dominate the reviews of Cincinnati's draft (and for good reason), but the Bengals covered their bases with quality linemen throughout the rest of the draft - nabbing Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Jordan Willis in the third, explosive (but short-armed) bull rusher Carl Lawson in the fourth, as well as one of the more underrated defensive linemen in this draft in Michigan's Ryan Glasgow later in the round. Speaking of underrated, had J.J. Dielman been healthy in 2016, he likely would have been off the board at least a round earlier. Josh Malone is a nice vertical threat to complement A.J. Green and Ross, as well. The durability concerns for Ross (and character red-flags on Mixon) are very real but this is a class that could finally push Cincinnati into legitimate Super Bowl contention with a little luck.

      Grade: B

      Cleveland Browns

      It is hard to argue that the Browns had one of the better draft hauls this year, though certainly things are easier with a roster relatively barren of talent and the number of selections Cleveland had at its disposal. Myles Garrett is a freakish talent who should prove an immediate difference-maker in Gregg Williams' hyper-aggressive scheme. Unlike some, I like the selection of Jabrill Peppers, as he is a terrific open-field tackler with the agility and speed to make an impact as an occasional toy on offense and in the return game. Tight end David Njoku has the speed to be a real weapon down the seam, though he is very raw -- something that could be made especially obvious with Cleveland's lack of polish at quarterback. The fact that Cleveland is lacking in consistency among its veteran signal-callers should have fans excited about DeShone Kizer and his skill set does fit well in Hue Jackson's scheme. The Browns should be careful about rushing Kizer onto the field too soon, as he remains quite unpolished like Njoku and fifth-round tackle Rod Johnson, despite their press clippings. Cleveland obviously felt comfortable with Caleb Brantley's off-field concerns but he relatively unheralded third-round pick Larry Ogunjobi is the more consistent player, at this point.

      Grade: A-

      Pittsburgh Steelers

      The Steelers' draft class reads like an All-American team with some of the more recognizable names in all of college football. T.J. Watt may always struggle living up to his older, bigger brother's reputation, but his quickness, passion and surprisingly polished hand-play should make him an immediate quality complement to Bud Dupree as an edge rusher. JuJu Smith-Schuster is a perfect intermediate target and blocker on an offense obviously built around Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell, who gets a tough-minded thumper cancer survivor (and legitimately talented) power back James Conner. Cameron Sutton has the quickness and route awareness to handle nickel duties or slide back to safety. Joshua Dobbs is certainly erratic as a passer but he has the raw traits to develop and possesses the knack of making the big play in critical moments that current backup quarterback Landry Jones never showed during his college years.

      Grade: B

      --Rob Rang is a Senior Analyst for www.NFLDraftScout.com, a property of The Sports Xchange distributed in partnership with CBSSports.com.

  • 2017 NFL Draft Grades: AFC East
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, April 30, 2017

    Grading an NFL Draft immediately after it occurs is akin to giving your compliments to the chef based on the menu.

    • It will take at least three years before we can truly assess how the 32 NFL teams fared over the weekend.

      But waiting is no fun. As such, let's take a take at which teams appear to have done the best job of filling needs and building for the future via the seven rounds of the 2017 draft.

      AFC East

      Buffalo Bills

      After weeks of speculation that the Bills would invest in a quarterback to push incumbent starter Tyrod Taylor, general manager Doug Whaley instead took the blue-collar approach with ultra-productive selections at bigger positions of need, including All-SEC corner Tre'Davious White at No. 27 and the most productive receiver in the country a year ago in Zay Jones. Each stood out at the Senior Bowl, as did tough guy Dion Dawkins, a future starter selected at No. 63 who I thought warranted consideration 20 picks earlier. Pitt quarterback Nathan Peterman has the intangibles to carve out a niche in the NFL, but he may not possess the arm strength to cut through the cold and wind in Buffalo.

      Grade: B-

      Miami Dolphins

      Defense was clearly the top priority for the Dolphins in this draft and first-year general manager Chris Grier did a nice job of stacking his board, getting terrific value with his seven selections. Top pick Charles Harris' best football lies ahead of him after only joining the sport five years ago. The Dolphins added a classic glass-eating, run-stuffing inside linebacker in Raekwon McMillan and a lanky press corner with excellent ball skills in Clemson's Cordrea Tankersley on Day Two, both of whom project as starters early in their respective careers. Isaac Asiata, the reigning Morris Trophy Award winner as the top blocker in the Pac-12, will outplay his fifth-round grade. Fellow Day Three strongmen Davon Godchaux and Vincent Taylor are similarly built run-stuffers, but may be too alike to both make the final roster.

      Grade: B

      New England Patriots

      After trading away three picks for quality veterans Brandin Cooks, Kony Ealy and Mike Gillislee, the defending champs had to wait until No. 83 overall to make their first selection. Youngstown State edge rusher Derek Rivers certainly was productive at the lower level -- recording 41 sacks over his career -- but only three forced fumbles over that time, which speaks to his lack of polish. Similarly, former Troy left tackle Antonio Garcia has good feet but didn't face top-notch competition. Both are developmental prospects who need to get stronger but have starter-caliber traits, otherwise, if they commit to their craft. Day Three picks Deatrich Wise and Conor McDermott are big names from solid programs but are lacking in ideal length and balance, respectively. The veterans will provide an immediate impact for the Patriots, but otherwise this is a class that may require a redshirt year.

      Grade: B

      New York Jets

      The Jets added some very intriguing individual talents but the group as a whole may struggle to help the club build upon last year's 5-11 last-place finish in the AFC East. SEC standout safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye are similar highly physical prospects whose presence may lead to a trade of former first-round pick Calvin Pryor. Similarly, the Jets replaced Brandon Marshall with another physically imposing receiver in ArDarius Stewart in Round Three and added polished pass-catchers Chad Hansen and Jordan Leggett a day later. None of them, however, possess the game-breaking ability necessary to make up for the Jets' below average talent at quarterback.

      Grade: C-

      --Rob Rang is a Senior Analyst for www.NFLDraftScout.com, a property of The Sports Xchange distributed in partnership with CBSSports.com.

  • 2017 NFL Draft: Top-5 draft winners
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, April 30, 2017

    Every team improved during the last three days, but when factoring in value and quality of player, several teams stand out as true winners of the 2017 NFL Draft that concluded Saturday.

    • It was tough leaving several other teams off this list, but narrowing it down to five, these are the teams who impressed me with their hauls:

      5. Dallas Cowboys

      1 (28) Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan

      2 (60) Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado

      3 (92) Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan

      4 (133) Ryan Switzer, WR, North Carolina

      6 (191) Xavier Woods, FS, Louisiana Tech

      6 (216) Marquez White, CB, Florida State

      7 (228) Joey Ivie, DT, Florida

      7 (239) Noah Brown, WR, Ohio State

      7 (246) Jordan Carrell, DL, Colorado

      While the first-round pick was solid -- not great, not bad -- it was the value on the second and third days that qualifies the Cowboys for this list. Dallas revamped the secondary with Awuzie and Lewis on day two, adding White later in the sixth round. But the best value was landing Woods in the sixth. The Cowboys traded a future fifth-round pick to get back into this draft and get the former Louisiana Tech safety as they try to re-create last year's outstanding value when they grabbed corner Anthony Brown in the sixth round.

      The Cowboys only drafted two offensive players with their nine picks, but both receivers that Dallas added have a good chance to be a part of this team's offensive blueprint. Switzer is a quicker than fast underneath target and could be Lucky Whitehead's replacement as the gadget player on offense and starting punt returner. And then Brown, who is a physical, good-sized athlete, could eventually beat out Brice Butler for the other receiver spot on the roster.

      4. Detroit Lions

      1 (21) Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida

      2 (53) Teez Tabor, CB, Florida

      3 (96) Kenny Golladay, WR, Northern Illinois

      4 (124) Jalen Reeves-Maybin, LB, Tennessee

      4 (127) Michael Roberts, TE, Toledo

      5 (165) Jamal Agnew, CB, San Diego

      6 (205) Jeremiah Ledbetter, DE, Arkansas

      6 (215) Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami (Fla.)

      The Lions entered the 2017 NFL Draft with the hopes of adding impact players on defense and that is exactly what they did, starting with two players from Gainesville. If Davis can stay healthy, he will push for Pro Bowls, either as a SAM or MIKE linebacker. Tabor has first-round tape, but poor speed numbers and some personality concerns dropped him to the second round, giving Detroit excellent value outside the top-50 picks. The Lions also added Jalen Reeves-Maybin at linebacker, who also has injury concerns but can contribute if he stays healthy.

      On offense, Detroit added two big targets for Matthew Stafford. An FCS transfer, Golladay provides a large strike zone for the quarterback and is a capable catch-and-run target. At tight end, Roberts is a traditional "Y" who can line up in-line and flex out to block, doing his best work in the red zone to body up defenders and attack the football with his massive hands. With the final pick of the draft for Detroit, the Lions added Kaaya, who was solid value late on day three -- another lottery ticket who could develop into something.

      3. Washington Redskins

      1 (17) Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama

      2 (49) Ryan Anderson, LB, Alabama

      3 (81) Fabian Moreau, CB, UCLA

      4 (114) Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma

      4 (123) Montae Nicholson, S, Michigan State

      5 (154) Jeremy Sprinkle, TE, Arkansas

      6 (199) Chase Roullier, OG/OC, Wyoming

      6 (209) Robert Davis, WR, Georgia State

      7 (230) Josh Harvey-Clemons, LB/S, Georgia

      Starting with a gift in the first round, the Redskins cleaned up on draft weekend. Presumably due to his shoulder issues, Allen fell to Washington at 17th overall, giving the organization an impact player in the front seven. The Redskins returned to Tuscaloosa and nabbed Anderson in round two, one of the most intense players in this class and an ideal fit as a stand-up edge rusher. Moreau was a borderline first-round pick but fell due to a recent pectoral injury, again giving Washington a discounted player.

      On day three, Washington continued to add solid pieces, starting with Perine at 114th overall. Sprinkle is one of the few well-rounded tight ends in this class who can block and catch passes. Roullier has played guard and center during his career and has the toughness and intelligence to see NFL snaps. Davis rewrote the receiving record books at Georgia State and then blew up the Combine with his testing numbers at 6 feet 2 and 222 pounds.

      2. Cleveland Browns

      1 (1) Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M

      1 (25) Jabrill Peppers, SS, Michigan

      1 (29) David Njoku, TE, Miami (Fla.)

      2 (52) DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame

      3 (65) Larry Ogunjobi, DT, Charlotte

      4 (126) Howard Wilson, CB, Houston

      5 (160) Roderick Johnson, OT, Florida State

      6 (185) Caleb Brantley, DT, Florida

      6 (224) Zane Gonzalez, PK, Arizona State

      7 (252) Matthew Dayes, RB, NC State

      The moment the Cleveland Browns made Garrett the No. 1 overall pick, they were winners in my book. The franchise has been searching for a quarterback since 1999, but the Browns have been searching for the impact pass rusher even longer. I would have rather seen the Browns stick at No. 12 and take safety Malik Hooker, but plan B still netted them Peppers and a 2018 first-round pick. No tight end prospect in this class has the high ceiling of Njoku, who is a specimen at the position.

      Pick No. 52 might be my favorite of the draft, landing Kizer, who needs a lot of work, but he is a lottery ticket and outside the top-50 picks. Outstanding value. Ogunjobi is the three-technique tackle that Cleveland targeted for the new 4-3 scheme; they also added Brantley on day three. The former Florida lineman was recently arrested for striking a woman, which is why he was available in the sixth round, and he presumably enters the NFL on a short leash. The Browns traded up for Johnson in the fifth round, who will be a developmental tackle behind Joe Thomas on the left side. He isn't ready for NFL snaps, but has a future if he fine-tunes his technique.

      1. Cincinnati Bengals

      1 (9) John Ross, WR, Washington

      2 (48) Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma

      3 (73) Jordan Willis, DE, Kansas State

      4 (116) Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn

      4 (128) Josh Malone, WR, Tennessee

      4 (138) Ryan Glasgow, DT, Michigan

      5 (153) Jake Elliott, PK, Memphis

      5 (176) J.J. Dielman, OC, Utah

      6 (193) Jordan Evans, LB, Oklahoma

      6 (207) Brandon Wilson, RB/CB, Houston

      7 (251) Mason Schreck, TE, Buffalo

      Quarterback Andy Dalton was one of the biggest winners of this draft with the additions of Ross and Mixon with the Bengals' first two selections. Ross has the explosive speed to stretch the field but also the polished routes to create for himself. Mixon hasn't taken a snap in the NFL, but it might not take long for him to be the second-best running back in the AFC North behind Le'Veon Bell, which also happens to be his closest NFL comparison.

      Willis in the third round was excellent value and then Lawson was even better in the fourth, which is a round the Bengals have found success before with defensive linemen (Geno Atkins, Andrew Billings, Domata Peko). Dielman missed most of his senior season due to injury, but if he stays healthy, he could be the future starting center in Cincinnati. Evans is a good-sized athlete who can do a little bit of everything on the football field and was one of the most notable Combine snubs.

  • Best of the rest: Top undrafted players
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, April 30, 2017

    With all 253 picks in the books, the 2017 NFL Draft is complete. But there are still several quality players available, who will be signed quickly by teams. Below are the top 10 undrafted free agents:

    • 1. Tyler Orlosky, C, West Virginia

      Although not a rangy mover, Orlosky competes with physical hands and the tenacious mentality to tie up defenders at the line of scrimmage. If he can improve his sink and mirror skills in space, Orlosky has the brute power and protection awareness to win a starting role and make all the line calls in the NFL.

      2. Joe Mathis, DE, Washington

      Mathis is a flexible edge rusher with the heavy hands and tough, competitive on-field attitude to put pressure on the pocket, but he lacks twitch and needs to improve his efficiency and discipline in all facets. He has raw pass rush skills that can be developed, but a foot injury is why he went undrafted.

      3. Jeremy Cutrer, CB, Middle Tennessee

      At 6 feet 1 and only 167 pounds, there are some question marks regarding his physicality and coverage skills vs. shifty receivers, but Cutrer has intriguing measureables, competitive drive and ball production that will appeal to NFL teams who covet long, press corners. He is still at the basement level of his development and should improve once he receives NFL coaching and fills out his frame.

      4. Jadar Johnson, S, Clemson

      Johnson is a good-sized athlete with length and explosive traits that show near the box and in the deep half of the field. He has discipline issues that lead to negative plays, but he has NFL speed and trusts his instincts, which should continue and develop with added reps/experience.

      5. Cole Hikutini, TE, Louisville

      Hikutini has the athletic gifts to be a mismatch for defenses, using his speed and fluid routes to gain separation and give his quarterback a downfield target. But his focus issues at the catch point and strength limitations in coverage and as a blocker also stand out. Overall, Hikutini projects as a "F" joker tight end at the next level and his playing time will depend on his reliability as a finisher.

      6. Ishmael Zamora, WR, Baylor

      Coming from Baylor's scheme, Zamora relied on a simple route plan and lacks refinement, but he also showed promise with his various releases and weight transition in/out of his breaks. There is a limited sample size for NFL teams to evaluate and he requires time to develop, but the main issue with Zamora is the maturity concerns.

      7. Connor Harris, LB, Lindenwood

      The NCAA all-division record-holder in tackles (633), Harris is one of the most accomplished defensive players in NCAA history. His production is off the charts but faces an obvious jump in competition from Division II to the NFL. Although his lack of ideal physical traits could limit his NFL ceiling, Harris is an instinctive hustler who should be at worst a reliable depth player.

      8. KD Cannon, WR, Baylor

      Cannon wasn't asked to run a full route tree in Waco and the wide-open Baylor offense is mostly half-field reads and unchallenged routes, making it tough to compare his college film to what he'll face at the next level. The raw traits are intriguing, but Cannon needs to improve his ball skills and underneath routes before he is ready for NFL snaps.

      9. Collin Buchanan, OT, Miami (Ohio)

      Buchanan sports the thick trunk and wide base desired for the next level with the square-blocking athleticism to mirror in his kick slide and keep rushers busy. He has NFL tools that can be cultivated at either tackle or guard, but he needs to find consistency to survive roster cuts -- project lineman with the skill set to develop into a spot starter down the road.

      10. Chad Wheeler, OT, USC

      With 45 starts at left tackle, Wheeler has an impressive collegiate resume, including first-team All-Pac 12 honors as a senior, but his checkered medical and off-field history are both red flags. Overall, Wheeler has the natural athleticism and talent to compete for starting reps in the NFL, which will also depend on his reliability.

      Others by position:

      QB: Jerod Evans, Virginia Tech; Alek Torgersen, Penn; Sefo Liufau, Colorado

      RB: Corey Clement, Wisconsin; Joseph Yearby, Miami (Fla.); De'Veon Smith, Michigan; Dare Ogunbowale, Wisconsin; Justin Davis, USC; Devine Redding, Indiana; Taquan Mizzell, Virginia

      WR: Jalen Robinette, Air Force; Travis Rudolph, Florida State; Amba Etta-Tawo, Syracuse; Travin Dural, LSU; Fred Ross, Mississippi State; Damore'ea Stringfellow, Ole Miss; Austin Carr, Northwestern; Jamari Staples, Louisville; Artavis Scott, Clemson; Ricky Seals-Jones, Texas A&M

      TE: Blake Jarwin, Oklahoma State; Hayden Plinke, UTEP; Cethan Carter, Nebraska; Scott Orndoff, Pittsburgh; Pharaoh Brown, Oregon

      OT: Avery Gennesy, Texas A&M; Erik Magnuson, Michigan; Jerry Ugokwe, William & Mary; Aviante Collins, TCU; Dieugot Joseph, Florida International; Jonathan McLaughlin, Virginia Tech

      G: Damien Mama, USC; Jessamen Dunker, Tennessee State; Nate Theaker, Wayne State; Tyler Catalina, Georgia; Andrew Eide, BYU

      C: Jon Toth, Kentucky; Erik Austell, Charleston Southern; Michael Coe, North Dakota; Cameron Tom, Southern Miss

      DE: Carroll Phillips, Illinois; Bryan Cox, Florida; Garrett Sickels, Penn State; Hunter Dimick, Utah; Noble Nwachukwu, West Virginia; Devonte Fields, Louisville; Keionta Davis, UT-Chattanooga; Darius English, South Carolina

      DT: Charles Walker, Oklahoma; Josh Tupou, Colorado; DeAngelo Brown, Louisville; Jarron Jones, Notre Dame; Chunky Clements, Illinois; Dylan Bradley, Southern Miss; Roderick Henderson, Alabama State

      LB: Dylan Cole, Missouri State; Calvin Munson, San Diego State; Ben Boulware, Clemson; Keith Kelsey, Louisville; Tau Lotulelei, UNLV; Johnny Ragin, Oregon

      CB: Channing Stribling, Michigan; William Likely, Maryland; Des Lawrence, North Carolina; Ashton Lampkin, Oklahoma State; Aarion Penton, Missouri; Ezra Robinson, Tennessee State; Arthur Maulet, Memphis; Xavier Coleman, Portland State; Najee Murray, Kent State

      S: Lorenzo Jerome, Saint Francis (Pa.); Damarius Travis, Minnesota; Fish Smithson, Kansas; David Jones, Richmond; Jordan Sterns, Oklahoma State; Jamal Carter, Miami (Fla.)

  • QB Kelly nets 'Mr. Irrelevant' tag as last pick by Broncos
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, April 29, 2017

    The final pick in the NFL Draft each year is called Mr. Irrelevant, but the name of the player who went last to the Denver Broncos on Saturday is far from obscure.

    • With the 253rd and final pick in 2017, the Broncos selected quarterback Chad Kelly from the University of Mississippi.

      Kelly, ranked the 10th-best quarterback prospect by NFLDraftScout.com, is no stranger to college football fans, particularly in the SEC. The nephew of Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly was in the news during his career at Ole Miss for his exploits on and off the field.

      On the field, Kelly passed for 6,800 yards and 50 touchdowns in two seasons for the Rebels. In 2016 before suffering the knee injury in November, Kelly threw for 2,758 yards, 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

      In 2015, Kelly led the SEC with 4,042 passing yards and 31 touchdowns.

      Off the field, there is some baggage accompanying Kelly.

      In 2014, he was dismissed from the team at Clemson for "detrimental conduct." In 2015, he was involved in fight outside a Buffalo nightclub and pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. Last year, Kelly went onto the field at his brother's high school football game in upstate New York when a fight broke out.

      The 6-foot-2, 228-pound Kelly also has some injuries with which to deal -- including wrist surgery earlier this month and a torn ACL in November. The wrist injury will prevent him from being able to throw until training camp in July.

      With the Broncos, Kelly will compete with Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch at quarterback for a shot to follow his uncle into the NFL.

  • Only four QBs drafted in final four rounds
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, April 29, 2017

    The Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions and Denver Broncos added quarterbacks Saturday on the third and final day of the 2017 NFL Draft.

    • The Steelers picked Tennessee signal-caller Joshua Dobbs with the 29th pick of the fourth round to join a position group that includes Ben Roethlisberger and Landry Jones. Dobbs, who will graduate in May with an aerospace engineering degree, passed for 27 touchdowns and 2,946 yards in the SEC last season.

      The Bills turned to Nathan Peterman with the 28th pick of the fifth round. Peterman transferred from Tennessee to Pitt two seasons ago after losing out to Dobbs on the Volunteers' depth chart.

      In Buffalo, Peterman could compete with quarterbacks Cardale Jones and T.J. Yates for backup jobs behind starter Tyrod Taylor. Peterman threw 47 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in two years at Pitt.

      The Lions added Brad Kaaya of Miami with the 32nd pick of the sixth round. Kaaya passed for more than 3,000 yards in each of his three seasons with the Hurricanes before renouncing his final year of eligibility.

      Chad Kelly of Mississippi was the final quarterback -- and the final player, also known as Mr. Irrelevant -- selected in the draft. The Broncos picked up Kelly with the 253rd pick. Kelly is the nephew of Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, who shined in 11 seasons with Buffalo.

      On a day when only four quarterbacks were selected, teams scrambled to stack their roster with other skill positions. A total of 14 running backs and wide receivers were selected in the fourth round alone.

      The Washington Redskins made Oklahoma's Samaje Perine the first running back selected Saturday. Perine topped 1,000 yards in each of his three seasons with the Sooners, where he played alongside fellow draft pick Joe Mixon (second round, Cincinnati Bengals) in 2016.

      Another notable running back to hear his name called on the final day was Clemson's Wayne Gallman (fourth round, New York Giants). Gallman rushed for 17 touchdowns last year as the Tigers won the national championship.

      The top two wide receivers to go off the board Saturday were Dede Westbrook of Oklahoma (fourth round, Jacksonville Jaguars) and Josh Reynolds of Texas A&M (fourth round, Los Angeles Rams). The Dallas Cowboys selected North Carolina slot receiver Ryan Switzer later in the round on the heels of a 1,112-yard campaign.

      Westbrook could deliver both intrigue and controversy to Jaguars training camp this summer. He was named as a Heisman Trophy finalist after racking up 1,524 passing yards and 17 touchdowns in 2016. However, he has been arrested twice amid allegations of domestic violence.

      On the opposite side of the ball, Auburn outside linebacker Carl Lawson finally heard his name called. The Bengals added the edge rusher with the ninth pick of the fourth round. The 6-foot-2, 255-pounder racked up nine sacks last season and was projected by some experts as a possible second-round choice.

      Safety Eddie Jackson was the 10th player from Alabama selected when the Bears made him a fourth-round pick.

      Utah set a school record with eight players drafted, including five players on the final day. Guard Isaac Asiata (fifth round, Miami Dolphins), center J.J. Dielman (fifth round, Bengals) and offensive tackle Sam Tevi (sixth round, Los Angeles Chargers) joined Broncos first-rounder Garett Bolles as Utes linemen to be picked.

      The draft's final hours included a bit of monkey business. The Indianapolis Colts hosted their Saturday draft party at the Indianapolis Zoo, where orangutans Azy and Rocky hit a touch screen that announced the team's fourth-round selections.

      Take note, trivia buffs: Who was the first player in history to learn his NFL fate from a hairy ape? That would be Zach Banner, an offensive tackle from USC who stands 6 feet 8 and weighs 353 pounds.

  • NFL notebook: 49ers get Broncos RB Bibbs in draft-day trade
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, April 29, 2017

    The San Francisco 49ers acquired running back Kapri Bibbs from the Denver Broncos on Saturday for a 2018 draft pick.

    • The 49ers received Bibbs and Denver's 2017 fifth-round (177th overall) draft choice for San Francisco's fourth-round draft choice next year.

      The 5-foot-11, 203-pound Bibbs signed with the Broncos as an undrafted free agent in May 2014.

      After spending the majority of his rookie season on the Broncos' practice squad, Bibbs appeared in 13 games over the last two seasons, recording 29 rushes for 129 yards with two receptions for 75 yards and one touchdown.

      The 49ers added the 24-year-old Bibbs to a backfield headlined by Carlos Hyde and newly signed veteran backup Tim Hightower.

      --Air Force wide receiver Jalen Robinette's dream of playing in the NFL this season may be impacted by a change in the academy's policy requiring cadets to serve two years of active duty.

      The Air Force Academy said in a statement obtained by the Denver Post that it will no longer defer the two years of active duty for cadet athletes to play professional sports upon graduation, a departure from a 2016 policy change by the Department of Defense.

      That means Robinette could not start his playing career until the 2019 season at the earliest.

      According to USA TODAY, Robinette is hoping there is a way to lobby the Pentagon to allow him to be grandfathered into the NFL under the 2016 policy because an official order has not been signed by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis.

      Robinette is on track to graduate May 24 -- taking six courses to finish his degree in management at the Air Force Academy -- while he prepared this spring for the draft believing he would be able to join an NFL team immediately.

      The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Robinette, who led college football in yards per catch (27.4) in 2016, was invited to the NFL Scouting Combine and was expecting to be picked on Saturday's final day of the draft. He finished his senior season with 35 receptions for 959 yards and six touchdowns for the Falcons.

      --Defensive end Randy Gregory of the Dallas Cowboys, already on suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, tested positive for the seventh time, according to media reports.

      Gregory was tested on Feb. 21 and on March 2 and was reportedly informed that he had tested positive for marijuana. He has since been uncooperative with NFL officials trying to discuss the situation.

      Gregory, 24, was suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season, suspended for 10 more games last September, and in January was suspended for at least a year following additional positive tests.

      --Running back Marshawn Lynch is sending a thank you to his former team before resuming his career with the Oakland Raiders.

      Lynch took out a full-page ad in Sunday's Seattle Times to thank the Seattle Seahawks' fans and owner Paul Allen for their support during his tenure in the Pacific Northwest.

      The 31-year-old Lynch, who is coming out of retirement to play with his hometown Raiders following a trade with the Seahawks, paid tribute to the Seattle organization and its fans in the ad, which was tweeted by Seattle Times publisher Frank Blethen on Saturday.

      "What a class act," Blethen wrote on the posting featuring two large photos and Lynch's nickname -- "Beast Mode" -- emblazoned in capital letters.

      One photo was accompanied by a "Thank you Paul Allen" while the other was topped by "Thank you 12s" -- a reference to the raucous fans at CenturyLink Field who gave rise to the "12th Man" moniker.

  • Lynch says thanks to Seattle in full-page ad
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, April 29, 2017

    Running back Marshawn Lynch is sending a thank you to his former team before resuming his career with the Oakland Raiders.

    • Lynch took out a full-page ad in Sunday's Seattle Times to thank the Seattle Seahawks' fans and owner Paul Allen for their support during his tenure in the Pacific Northwest.

      The 31-year-old Lynch, who is coming out of retirement to play with his hometown Raiders following a trade with the Seahawks, paid tribute to the Seattle organization and its fans in the ad, which was tweeted by Seattle Times publisher Frank Blethen on Saturday.

      "What a class act," Blethen wrote on the posting featuring two large photos and Lynch's nickname -- "Beast Mode" -- emblazoned in capital letters.

      One photo was accompanied by a "Thank you Paul Allen" while the other was topped by "Thank you 12s" -- a reference to the raucous fans at CenturyLink Field who gave rise to the "12th Man" moniker.

      Reports surfaced several weeks ago that Lynch was seeking reinstatement to the NFL and that he and his representatives were in negotiations with the Raiders.

      The Seahawks owned Lynch's rights, so the two sides needed to work out a deal before Lynch could become a member of the Raiders.

      Lynch retired from the NFL and Seahawks after the 2015 season. He had been on the reserve/retired list since May 2016.

      The five-time Pro Bowl selection racked up six 1,000-yard seasons in his career and rushed for 9,112 yards and 74 touchdowns in nine seasons with the Buffalo Bills and Seahawks.

      Lynch topped 1,200 yards in four consecutive seasons for Seattle from 2011-14 before being hindered by injuries in 2015. He played in only seven games and recorded 417 yards and three touchdowns in his last season.

      After attending Oakland Technical High School, Lynch played three seasons at California (2004-06), leaving ranked second in school history with 3,230 rushing yards in 35 games.

      In 2005 and 2006, he posted consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons and was named the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year in 2006.

  • Cowboys DE Gregory reportedly fails seventh drug test
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, April 29, 2017

    Defensive end Randy Gregory of the Dallas Cowboys, already on suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, tested positive for the seventh time, according to media reports.

    • Gregory was tested on Feb. 21 and on March 2 and was reportedly informed that he had tested positive for marijuana. He has since been uncooperative with NFL officials trying to discuss the situation.

      "This is a disappointment," Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said when Gregory was suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season.

      "We have been clear with Randy about what his responsibilities are and what is expected of him. This is something that he is going to have to work through and correct."

      However, Gregory was suspended for 10 more games last September, and in January was suspended for at least a year following additional positive tests.

      Gregory, 24, was considered one of the best players in the 2015 NFL Draft out of Nebraska but was not selected until the 60th pick because of off-the-field concerns and he was hampered by injuries as a rookie.

      Now the speculation is that his career is over before it ever really began.

  • 49ers get RB Bibbs from Broncos
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, April 29, 2017

    The San Francisco 49ers acquired running back Kapri Bibbs from the Denver Broncos on Saturday for a 2018 draft pick.

    • The 49ers received Bibbs and Denver's 2017 fifth-round (177th overall) draft choice for San Francisco's fourth-round draft choice next year.

      The 5-foot-11, 203-pound Bibbs signed with the Broncos as an undrafted free agent in May 2014.

      After spending the majority of his rookie season on the Broncos' practice squad, Bibbs appeared in 13 games over the last two seasons, recording 29 rushes for 129 yards with two receptions for 75 yards and one touchdown.

      The 49ers added the 24-year-old Bibbs to a backfield headlined by Carlos Hyde and newly signed veteran backup Tim Hightower.

      Bibbs attended Colorado State, where he played in 14 games and rushed for 1,741 yards and 31 touchdowns in his only season with the school in 2013.

      In addition, the 49ers traded up in the fourth round on Saturday to draft Utah running back Joe Williams.

  • Dizzy day nets Seahawks six players
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, April 29, 2017

    After trading out of the first round on Thursday, the Seattle Seahawks added six total players to their roster during a frenzied day two of the NFL Draft.

    • Seattle drafted four defensive players and two offensive pieces during the second and third rounds of the draft. The class is headlined by Michigan State defensive tackle Malik McDowell, who Seattle selected with the 35th overall pick of the draft.

      "He's too unique," Seahawks general manager John Schneider said of the decision to draft McDowell. "We've been looking for a pass rushing 3-technique since we've been here together."

      Added head coach Pete Carroll: "He's so young (20 years old) that we can develop the things that aren't quite right yet. We think we can mold him into a really good role player for us and fit him into a number of different spots."

      McDowell's consistency and his effort was a question during his time at Michigan State. He would occasionally throttle down on certain plays and show a less than ideal motor. However, Schneider said that was one of the areas they addressed during his visit to the team's headquarters.

      "He knows he needs to keep going and those are part of the discussions we had with him when he visited," Schneider said.

      The Seahawks traded down twice on Thursday to move out of the first round and once more on Friday before making McDowell their first pick. It was the fourth time in five seasons that the Seahawks have not made a first-round selection. In fact, Seattle hasn't made a selection with its original first-round pick since selecting James Carpenter in 2011.

      McDowell appears to be the player they were targeting all along, but Schneider noted they had a cluster of players they would have been comfortable taking each time they elected to trade further back.

      The three trades netted Seattle additional third-, fourth-, sixth- and seventh-round picks to bring their total allotment of selections to 11 after beginning the draft with just seven. Ultimately, by moving down just nine total spots, the Seahawks added four total picks to their slate.

      The rest of Seattle's day was kept stationary as the Seahawks added five more picks before the night was complete.

      LSU offensive lineman Ethan Pocic was selected with the 58th overall pick in the second round. While Pocic was a center in college, he has also played guard and tackle. The Seahawks saw him as the most versatile lineman in the class.

      "He was the one guy that, quite frankly, we were really sweating out because we felt like you're drafting maybe two-and-a-half players with one guy," Schneider said. "We debated whether to go up and get him or just wait and sweat it out."

      In the third round, Seattle added Central Florida cornerback Shaquill Griffin (90th), Michigan safety Delano Hill (95th), North Carolina defensive tackle Nazair Jones (102nd) and Michigan wide receiver Amara Darboh (106th).

      While none of Seattle's picks can be penciled in as probable starters from day one, all of them have a chance to contribute significantly on a rotational basis this season.

      The Seahawks have five picks remaining on Saturday with a fourth-round pick -- the fourth selection of the day -- two sixth-round picks and two seventh-round picks.

  • Texans add value picks on draft's second day
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, April 29, 2017

    HOUSTON -- The Houston Texans addressed both sides of the football during the second day of the NFL draft.

    • They drafted Vanderbilt linebacker Zach Cunningham in the second round and University of Texas running back D'Onta Foreman.

      "We feel like we added two good players," general manager Rick Smith said. "It was a productive night. Zach is athletic and rangy with cover skills. Very productive in a big conference. A good character guy and highly decorated. Foreman adds balance to the offense. A powerful runner who has good feet, vision and quickness."

      Foreman won the Doak Walker Award as the nation's top running back, declaring early for the NFL draft.

      "He came to our local pro day and worked out," Smith said. "A lot of times, some of the higher-projected prospects shy away from the local workout. He wanted to compete, got into the drills and showed us he was ready, willing and excited to be a Texan."

      Texans head coach Bill O'Brien likes to run the ball. Only Seattle has more rushing attempts than the Texans in O'Brien's first three seasons.

      "He was a very productive inside runner that broke a lot of tackles," O'Brien said of Foreman. "He ran to the perimeter, too. He was a productive runner on first and second down, tackle to tackle runner. That was impressive.

      "He was the guy we had ranked the highest at that point. Rick made the decision to do it, and I was all for it."

      The Texans have a 1,000-yard runner in Lamar Miller.

      "Being able to spell Lamar when Lamar needs that," O'Brien said about the role he envisions for Foreman. "All running backs need a little rest every now and then."

      O'Brien was impressed with Cunningham's versatility and the way he led the Southeastern Conference in tackles. Cunningham was an All-America. He could play inside or outside linebacker.

      "He's a versatile guy who can do both," O'Brien said. "Versatility is key for us. Zach was a very productive tackler at Vanderbilt. He can help us in a number of different ways. Starting out, I know he can help us on special teams.

      "He can play in our base defense. He can play on third down. He's a versatile player and a tough kid. He's got to get bigger and stronger. He's a rangy guy that's athletic."

  • Patriots finally active on draft's second day
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, April 29, 2017

    FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Despite holding two of the seemingly more enticing trade chips heading into the draft in the form of budding backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and Pro Bowl cornerback Malcolm Butler, the New England Patriots stood pat and essentially sat out what was an otherwise active-packed first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday night.

    • The Patriots had previously shipped their first-round selection, No. 32 overall, as part of a March trade with the Saints for speedy young wide receiver Brandin Cooks. Meanwhile, the Browns reportedly once again inquired about dealing for Garoppolo who impressed in a pair of starts to open last season.

      Set to finally pick at No. 72 overall in the third round - New England used its second-round pick in a deal with the Panthers for defensive end Kony Ealy – head coach Bill Belichick made fans wait even longer by dealing down with the Titans.

      But, the defending Super Bowl champions finally actually turned in a pick card at No. 83 overall, laying claim to Youngstown State defensive end/outside linebacker Derek Rivers. The 6-foot-4, 248-pounder fits the mold of a New England edge player with a 4.6 40. Rivers had 36 sacks over the last three years.

      A pass rusher was considered New England's biggest need in the draft, with Rivers joining a defensive end group that includes aging, fading veteran Rob Ninkovich, third-year rising star Trey Flowers, Ealy and little else.

      Two spots after making their first pick of the weekend with Rivers, the Patriots actually traded back up to No. 85 to take Troy tackle Antonio Garcia. The 6-foot-6, 302-pounder is a lean, athletic left tackle who plays with a mean streak. Like Rivers, he'll be making a big jump in competition at the NFL level and will have to adjust after spending much of his college career in a two-point stance, but offers insurance for New England with veteran left tackle Nate Solder heading into the final year of his contract in 2017.

      But the late, somewhat developmental third-round picks certainly won't make or break the 2017 season in New England.

      "Obviously, we've been watching a lot of picks go by, but I feel like overall our opportunity in this draft started a couple of months ago," Belichick said when he addressed the media at the end of the third round. "The four players that we acquired already are also part of the draft process. Hopefully we've been able to improve our team, become more competitive. That's the ultimate goal."

      That's not to say Belichick doesn't have high hopes for his two newest players, with the Patriots set to add three more young players in the final four rounds of the draft.

      "Today we were able to move around a little bit. We ended up taking two players, one on each side of the ball," Belichick noted. "We took Antonio Garcia here in the last pick, a tackle from Troy. He was here last week. (We) had a good visit with him. We'll see how that goes, but I think he'll be competitive. He's done a good job for them down there.

      "Derek Rivers - who we took a couple of picks before that - a defensive end. (He) played competitively in the all-star games and in a good program there with coach (Bo) Pelini who we know very well. Bo does a great job with his players and his team. Derek's been in a good system, has been well-coached. Even though he's from a smaller school we'll see what he can do for himself here, as well, when all is said and done."

      Both players said they were "super excited" to join the Super Bowl champions and emphasize that they were willing to do whatever their new coaches asked of them. Now, they'll fall in line with one of the most talented teams in football.

      Beyond talking about his picks, Belichick concluded the second night of the draft in his usual defensive mode with the media. Garoppolo and Butler remained in New England and the coach had little to say about it.

      "I'm happy to talk about the guys we picked. I'm not going to get into any of that," Belichick concluded regarding the trade possibilities and rumors. "We're going to go forward with the team that we have. We've added two players today. We'll add some more tomorrow. However many it is, however it goes, and we'll go out there and compete and put the best team we can on the field."

      After an aggressive offseason and a relatively quiet draft, that team is not only the defending champion but clearly one of if not the most talented squad heading into yet another Super Bowl-hopeful season in New England.

  • Rams see fit for TE Everett in McVay offense
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, April 29, 2017

    THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- It was never a secret the Los Angeles Rams were open for business if someone wanted to lure them out of the 37th pick in the NFL Draft - their first selection overall - with a tempting offer.

    • So it was no shock when the Rams happily moved back seven slots to pick No. 44 while picking up an extra third-round pick in the process. All courtesy of the Buffalo Bills, who had their eye on East Carolina wide receiver Zay Jones who, incidentally, the Rams were routinely tied to leading up to the draft.

      What is a surprise is who the Rams ultimately chose when their turn finally came around, although doing some sleuth work into the background of new head coach Sean McVay maybe it isn't any big surprise at all.

      The Rams decided on South Alabama tight end Gerald Everett, who projects as a move-around weapon that McVay can utilize in his tight end-centric West Coast passing attack.

      Green was a semifinalist for the John Mackey Award presented to the top tight end in college football and was a first-team All-Sun Belt Conference selection after finishing with 49 catches for 717 yards.

      The 6-foot-4, 239-pounder only played one season of high school football - as a senior - before playing two years in junior college. He played one season at Alabama-Birmingham, but when the Jaguars canceled their football program he ended up at South Alabama.

      And blossomed.

      The Rams obviously noticed, inviting him to Los Angeles as one of the 30 players teams are allowed to bring to their facility.

      And while their primary need coming into the draft was wide receiver, in Green they get a weapon that projects as an ideal fit in McVay's offense.

      McVay spent the last three years as the Washington Redskins offensive coordinator and helped groom Jordan Reed into a Pro Bowl tight end. Over the last three years, Reed has 203 catches for 2,103 yards and 17 touchdowns.

      Everett is hopeful he can help deliver that kind of production.

      And then some.

      "I think I bring the complete package of a tight end," he said. "Definitely a vertical threat first, but also being a willing blocker in the run game - just being able to create that mismatch at any point of time in the game."

      He is looking forward to making the move west.

      I'm happy, I'm excited right now. I just can't wait to get out to Los Angeles," he said. "And help the Rams win games and do whatever is asked of me to do - whether it be special teams, or receiver, or tight end, it doesn't matter. I just want to contribute to the organization and help them win games."

      The Rams added another piece to McVay's offense early in the third round by selecting highly productive Eastern Washington wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who finished his college career with 428 catches for 6,464 yards and 73 touchdowns.

      "I've played against some very good football players and I have played against some very good teams, as well, and I've been able to produce in both situations," Kupp said. "I believe I prepared to be the best when I step on the field and that's not going to change moving up to the NFL. I pride myself on that preparation and what it takes to be great. If people want to question that, that's fine. I'm just going to go and do what I do and I believe that that opinion will change soon."

      The Rams concluded their first day by selecting Boston College safety John Johnson.

  • Vikings confident in RB Cook
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, April 29, 2017

    EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Trader Rick Spielman, who entered this draft with 16 draft-day trades in five years as Minnesota Vikings general manager, sat patiently for as long as he could before swinging a deal with Cincinnati to go after free-falling Florida State running back Dalvin Cook with the ninth pick of the second round.

    • "We started making calls (Thursday night) once we knew he was going to slide to the second day," said Spielman, who traded one of his two fourth-round picks (128th overall) to the Bengals to move up seven spots to take Cook 41st overall. "As he kept coming down the board, we felt we had to get aggressive because he wasn't going to last, and was too talented of a player not to take a swing on. We got great value where we got him."

      The Vikings went into the draft without a first-round pick because of last year's Sam Bradford trade. They needed a right guard and, of course, another running back after releasing 32-year-old Adrian Peterson and allowing Matt Asiata to leave via free agency. The Vikings signed former Raider Latavius Murray in free agency, but wanted another playmaker to share the load and take over as the lead back in a few years.

      With his backfield set, Spielman turned his attention to the offensive line in the third round. He traded a fifth-round pick to the Jets to move from 79th overall to 70th. He passed on Indiana guard Dan Feeney, considered a possibility for the Vikings in the second round, to take Ohio State center Pat Elflein. Elflein won the Rimington Award as the nation's best center last season, but played more games at guard in his career as a Buckeye.

      Elflein will either join the wide-open competition at right guard, where his top competition would be Jeremiah Sirles, or stay at center as versatile veteran Joe Berger moves to right guard.

      Later in the third round, Spielman traded down from the 86th pick, getting Kansas City's compensatory third-round pick (104th) and picks in the fourth and seventh rounds. Then he traded out of the third round, getting a fourth-rounder (109) and a seventh-rounder from San Francisco.

      The Cook pick also improved the offensive line, which was injury-riddled and awful last season as the Vikings finished last in the league in average yards rushing per game (75.3) and per carry (3.17). He's a three-down back who compiled 4,464 yards rushing, a 6.5-yard average and 46 touchdowns in three years at Florida State.

      He was a consensus first-round pick who tumbled mainly because of concerns about the group of friends he associates with off the field in South Florida. Cook reportedly assured teams that he won't be running with the questionable crowd now that he's in the NFL.

      The Vikings vetted Cook thoroughly during the draft process. Friday, just to be sure, Spielman said he spoke with Cook for another 45 minutes on the phone before the second round began.

      "I think this kid has really, really matured over the last couple of years, and we have no concerns at all about him being a Minnesota Viking," Spielman said.

      Asked how the Vikings could be convinced that Cook will leave all those bad influences behind him as he heads for Minnesota, Spielman said, "He told me, and I believed him. I think he has probably woken up a little bit about how important football is, and I truly believe that he is on a mission coming up here and is going to be a great football player for us. And I do believe, honestly, that we do trust him and that he will do all the right things as well."

  • Trade back still gets Packers player they wanted
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, April 29, 2017

    GREEN BAY -- The Green Bay Packers took an additional 20 hours to make their first selection in this year's NFL Draft, but the shared sentiment in the Lambeau Field draft room Friday night was the long wait was worth it.

    • Green Bay's decision-makers still landed the player they coveted, taking Washington cornerback Kevin King to start the second day of the draft with an eye on fixing an atrocious pass defense.

      "He was the guy that we really like," said Eliot Wolf, the team's director of football operations.

      So much that general manager Ted Thompson kept the first choice in Round 2 (No. 33 overall) after taking several inquiries from other teams about trading back one more time. Toward the end of the first round late Thursday night, the Packers moved out of the 29th spot in a trade with the Cleveland Browns.

      Green Bay acquired Cleveland's leadoff spot in the second round and also a fourth-round selection.

      "No one really came and gave us (in a trade offer) what we felt was good value, and it might have cost us a player," Wolf said. "And, Kevin was the guy that we didn't want to lose."

      The addition of the 6-foot-3, 200-pound King, whom the team considered picking at No. 29, was more than just taking the best player available. The Packers addressed what many considered to be their biggest offseason need, doubling up in the process later in the second round with hybrid defensive back Josh Jones from North Carolina State.

      "There's high expectations for these two guys, no doubt about it," said Brian Gutekunst, Green Bay's director of player personnel.

      King is expected to start right away on a Green Bay defense that ranked second from the bottom in the league against the pass in 2016. After allowing more than 4,600 passing yards in the regular season, the Packers imploded one last time by giving up 392 yards and four touchdowns to quarterback Matt Ryan in the Atlanta Falcons' 44-21 NFC Championship rout three months ago.

      All-Pro receiver Julio Jones' domination of a helpless group of defensive backs with nine receptions for 180 yards and two touchdowns in that game surely played a part in the Packers' preference for King.

      As the tallest cornerback among a deep cast of top prospects at the position in this year's draft, King already is looking forward to matching up with the 6-foot-3 Jones when the Packers return to Atlanta in Week 2 next season.

      "I'm definitely up to it," King said.

      His uncanny combination of size, length (32-inch arms), speed (4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine) and playmaking exploits (five interceptions and 23 pass breakups the last two seasons after moving from safety) could make King the Packers' top shutdown corner from the get-go.

      They are unsettled at the top of the depth chart after releasing oft-injured No. 1 cornerback Sam Shields in February, allowing the versatile Micah Hyde to sign with the Buffalo Bills in free agency and still waiting on the development of a young group of returnees. Among those are Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins, the team's underachieving first- and second-round draft picks in 2015.

      The re-signing of Davon House, a part-time starter in Green Bay from 2011-14 before he moved on to the Jacksonville Jaguars the last two seasons, had been the team's only notable acquisition for the secondary.

      That all changed in less than three hours Friday night with the alluring additions of King and Jones, who was taken at No. 61. The latter is a 6-foot-1, 220-pound safety with as much quickness (4.41 seconds in the 40) as the former.

      "Definitely taller ... and maybe a little faster," Gutekunst said about the upgrades made to the back end of the defense.

      "I think you're always trying to get faster," Thompson echoed. "I don't think it's a negative thing. Football is about explosiveness, speed, athletic ability. This is not our grandfathers' football that we're playing at this day and age. Everybody's fast, everybody's explosive, and I think that's what we're trying to get at."

      A productive and no-less-confident Jones just might make Packers fans easily forget about Hyde, who was defensive coordinator Dom Capers' designated rover for much of the last four seasons.

      "I'm very versatile," Jones said. "I have great size to play in the box, great speed to play back deep."

      Jones had eight interceptions in three years with North Carolina State and led the Wolfpack with 109 tackles last season.

      The double-up in the second round as well as the selection of Auburn defensive tackle Montravius Adams in the third round (No. 93) after sitting out the first night was just the start Thompson wanted for Green Bay's draft.

      "We had talked about it (Thursday), we wanted to add a little meat to shoring up the roster and that sort of thing," said Thompson, explaining what went into the decision to part with the first-round pick. "We felt like it was important to get a little more oomph out of it."

      Thompson traded out of the first round for only the second time in his 13 years of leading the Green Bay draft room. The swap with the Browns came with little drop-off and an additional pick.

      "The (draft) board held up pretty strong, so, yeah, we felt pretty good about it," Thompson said.

      Green Bay merely had to move back four spots to No. 33, where King was waiting to be taken while still on site at the draft in Philadelphia on Friday.

      The Packers also picked up the Browns' fourth-round spot at No. 108, which incidentally will be the first selection of the draft Saturday. Green Bay is slated to have six picks on the final day.

      The only other time the Packers dropped out of the first round on Thompson's watch came in 2008. They moved back six spots from No. 30 and selected wide receiver Jordy Nelson early in the second round in a trade with the New York Jets.

      "I think it's very good strategy wise," Thompson said Thursday about moving into a coveted position at the outset of Round 2 this year. "We know where we're at and what we're going to do."

  • Bengals roll dice on RB Mixon
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, April 28, 2017

    Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon waited 47 picks in the 2017 draft before the Cincinnati Bengals called to offer him a fulltime job.

    • Mixon was the 48th overall pick in the draft, a spot that doesn't match his talent.

      But drafting Mixon is much more than a football decision.

      Mixon punched a female student at Oklahoma and knocked her unconscious, breaking bones in her face. The incident was captured on video and released publicly.

      Because of off-field transgressions, including the physical assault and berating a parking meter employee in Norman, Okla., Mixon was not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in February.

      Mixon, who was second in the FBS in yards from scrimmage per game in 2016 with 193, could be groomed to replace Jeremy Hill. The Bengals' current starting running back was drafted out of LSU despite off-field concerns. Hill is a free agent after the 2017 season.

      Mixon was impressive at his pro day and settled out of court with the victim in the video, Amelia Molitor, an Oklahoma student.

      Molitor had accused Mixon of intentional infliction of emotional stress.

      "I am happy we were able to bring the lawsuit to an end. Joe and I were able to meet privately, without any attorneys, and talk about our experiences since that night. I am encouraged that we will both be able to move forward from here with our lives," Molitor's statement read. "From our private discussions, I am satisfied that we are going to put this behind us and work toward helping others who may have found themselves in similar circumstances.

      "I greatly appreciate his apology and I think the feelings he expressed were sincere. We both could have handled things differently. I believe if we had a chance to go back to that moment in time, the situation would not have ended the way it did."

  • 2017 NFL Draft: Browns get their QB on Day 2
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, April 28, 2017

    Thirty-three picks into the 2017 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers finally made their first selection, tapping Washington cornerback Kevin King on Friday night in Philadelphia.

    • At No. 52, the Cleveland Browns ended the long wait for Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer. A gifted athlete with the size and arm to be special, Kizer's consistency was an issue and one anonymous scout labeled him a "pure millennial" in the days before the draft. The Browns are planning an open competition at quarterback involving Cody Kessler, Kevin Hogan and Brock Osweiler.

      Joining Kizer in Cleveland: Charlotte defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi, the first pick of the third round (65).

      Jacksonville traded up one spot to select Alabama junior offensive tackle Cam Robinson 34th, followed by the Seattle Seahawks making Michigan State defensive tackle Malik McDowell their initial pick in this draft. Seattle moved down twice in the first round Thursday and stockpiled six total picks in the second and third rounds.

      With the 41st overall pick, the Minnesota Vikings found a potential replacement for Adrian Peterson in Florida State running back Dalvin Cook. Cook faced scrutiny for his medical (shoulder, hamstring) and character issues. But the three-down back had 4,464 rushing yards for the Seminoles and draws comparisons to former Indianapolis Colts running back Edgerrin James. Minnesota previously signed Latavius Murray in free agency to offset Peterson's loss.

      Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, downgraded because of a video showing him knocking out a female student and breaking bones in her face, was picked 48th by the Cincinnati Bengals. Mixon set a school record with 2,331 all-purpose yards in 2016.

      King's secondary teammate with the Huskies, safety Budda Baker, joined Packers division rival Arizona. The Cardinals traded with the Chicago Bears to acquire the 36th pick to ensure landing the speedy Baker, who some have compared to Ronde Barber because of his flexibility as a cornerback/safety/nickelback option. Injured UW cornerback Sidney Jones, recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon, was selected 43rd by the Philadelphia Eagles. Jones, a junior, started 27 games the past two seasons but was injured at his pro day workout.

      Florida safety Marcus Maye, a physical safety who ran 4.51 at his pro day, gave the New York Jets a pair of missiles on the back end of their defense. The Jets drafted LSU's Jamal Adams sixth overall on Thursday. Maye's teammate with the Gators, Quincy Wilson, was the 46th pick, joining the Indianapolis Colts.

      Carolina doubled down on playmakers in the second round following the selection of Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey (eighth overall). Ohio State wide receiver-running back Curtis Samuel (40th overall) ran a 4.31 40-yard dash and has dynamic playmaking skills. The Panthers ended the second round adding offensive tackle Taylor Moton (64th) from Western Michigan.

      Offensive guard Forrest Lamp (Western Kentucky), who had 51 career starts, went to the Los Angeles Chargers at No. 38 one pick after wide receiver Zay Jones (East Carolina) was selected by the Buffalo Bills.

      Continuing a defensive overhaul, Utah safety Marcus Williams (11 career interceptions) could start instantly for the New Orleans Saints.

      South Alabama tight end Gerald Everett (44th, Los Angeles Rams) and Ashland tight end Adam Shaheen (Bears) were selected in succession. Shaheen had 16 touchdowns, a Division II record for tight ends, in 2016 and is an impressive physical specimen at 6-foot-6, 278 pounds, earning the nickname "Baby Gronk," an homage to Patriots All-Pro Rob Gronkowski.

      Super Bowl champion New England made its first selection at No. 83, adding Youngstown State pass rusher Derek Rivers, who set the school record with 41 career sacks. The Patriots moved up in a deal with the Lions and with the 85th pick selected Troy offensive tackle Antonio Garcia.

      The New York Giants, who attempted to move up to select Patrick Mahomes II in the first round, waited until the third round to snag Cal quarterback Davis Webb (87th overall), who transferred from Lubbock after losing the Texas Tech job to Mahomes.

      Four Michigan players, including cornerback Jourdan Lewis, were drafted Friday. Lewis went to the Cowboys 92nd and Wolverines safety Delano Hill was chosen by the Seahawks 95th to establish a new record for total defensive backs drafted in the first three rounds. Seattle took cornerback Shaquill Griffin (UCF) 90th.

  • Packers take CB King with first selection of second round
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, April 28, 2017

    Thirty-three picks into the 2017 NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers finally made their first selection, tapping Washington cornerback Kevin King on Friday night in Philadelphia.

    • The only player remaining in the draft green room, King said, "I came here to walk the stage, get my hat, have my mom and dad with me on the red carpet."

      King is a massive cornerback at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, and ran the 40-yard dash in the 4.3 range at the scouting combine.

      Green Bay was 31st in pass defense last season and received high interest in the No. 33 pick. General manager Ted Thompson opted to stay put this time and add King to a depth-deprived secondary.

      The Packers received the first pick of the second round in a trade with the Cleveland Browns, who moved up to No. 29 to select Miami (Fla.) tight end David Njoku on Thursday.

  • NFL notebook: Goodell says marijuana addictive, unsafe for players
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, April 28, 2017

    NFL commissioner Roger Goodell may be willing to consider allowing players to use marijuana for medical reasons, but he remains strongly against the banned drug for recreational use.

    • Goodell said Friday morning on ESPN's "Mike & Mike" radio show that he continues to believe marijuana has an "addictive nature" and likely won't be cleared by the NFL anytime soon as a pain-relief alternative.

      "I think you still have to look at a lot of aspects of marijuana use," Goodell said. "Is it something that can be negative to the health of our players? Listen, you're ingesting smoke, so that's not usually a very positive thing that people would say.

      "It does have addictive nature. There are a lot of compounds in marijuana that may not be healthy for the players long-term. All of those things have to be considered. And it's not as simple as someone just wants to feel better after a game. We really want to help our players in that circumstance but I want to make sure that the negative consequences aren't something that is something that we'll be held accountable for some years down the road."

      Goodell acknowledged the league will continue to evaluate whether marijuana can be used at some point for medical reasons.

      --The New England Patriots turned down another inquiry from the Cleveland Browns about a trade involving backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

      The Browns inquired Thursday night during the NFL Draft about acquiring the 25-year-old Garoppolo and were told once again the Patriots were not interested, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

      As the opening of draft night wore on, the Browns watched three top quarterback prospects go off the board in the first 12 picks as three teams traded up for a quarterback in the first round.

      The Chicago Bears (No. 2, Mitch Trubisky), Kansas City Chiefs (No. 10, Patrick Mahomes II) and Houston Texans (No. 12, Deshaun Watson) took quarterbacks, leaving the Browns still searching for one.

      --Tight end Gary Barnidge was informed by the Browns he will be released.

      Barnidge, 31, signed a three-year extension worth more than $12 million prior to last season but became expendable Thursday when the Browns landed Miami (Fla.) tight end David Njoku.

      "I want to thank the Cleveland Browns for giving me my opportunity and looking forward to seeing the change. Time for the next step," Barnidge said via Twitter.

      Njoku was the 29th pick in the first round on Thursday. Barnidge had a 1,000-yard season with nine touchdowns and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2015.

      -- From one NFL star to another, Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt is asking Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown to treat his little brother, first-round pick T.J. Watt, like any other rookie.

      T.J. Watt, an outside linebacker out of Wisconsin, was taken by the Steelers with the 30th overall pick in Thursday night's NFL Draft, joining older brothers J.J. and Derek in the NFL.

      The 22-year-old Watt is the first Wisconsin defender selected in the first round since J.J. went 11th overall to Houston in 2011.

      The Texans' All-Pro defensive end said he texted Brown -- they were teammates at Central Michigan before Watt transferred to Wisconsin -- and offered some ideas.

      --The Bears pulled off the most stunning move of Thursday night's first round of the NFL Draft by trading up for Trubisky.

      Apparently, the plan to target the North Carolina quarterback was news to coach John Fox as well.

      According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, Bears general manager Ryan Pace kept his intentions to himself and didn't notify Fox until shortly before the draft began.

      Pace put forth a different spin when meeting with reporters shortly after the Bears traded two 2017 picks (a third and a fourth) and a 2018 third-rounder to the San Francisco 49ers to move up just one spot.

      "John and I are arm-and-arm in all these decisions. So we talked about this thoroughly, and we're connected on this," Pace told reporters. "John is just as excited as I am. So when you have an opportunity to get a quarterback of this caliber, you can't pass on it. So we're good."

  • Fox reportedly unaware of Bears' plan to draft Trubisky
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, April 28, 2017

    The Chicago Bears pulled off the most stunning move of Thursday night's first round of the NFL Draft by trading up for the No. 2 overall pick to select Mitchell Trubisky.

    • Apparently, the plan to target the North Carolina quarterback was news to coach John Fox as well.

      According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, Bears general manager Ryan Pace kept his intentions to himself and didn't notify Fox until shortly before the draft began.

      Pace put forth a different spin when meeting with reporters shortly after the Bears traded two 2017 picks (a third and a fourth) and a 2018 third-rounder to the San Francisco 49ers to move up just one spot.

      "John and I are arm-and-arm in all these decisions. So we talked about this thoroughly, and we're connected on this," Pace told reporters. "John is just as excited as I am. So when you have an opportunity to get a quarterback of this caliber, you can't pass on it. So we're good."

      In fact, Trubisky also had no clue the Bears were interested in his services. He said he met with the team at the NFL Combine and again at North Carolina's Pro Day. Otherwise, there was no contact.

      "It was just pretty much silence," Trubisky said. "That's why I'm surprised to hear my name called because we didn't have a lot of contact. I just think they ... were impressed with me at the combine and my workout.

      "But yeah, I haven't had a whole lot of contact with them so that makes it so much more exciting."

      Trubisky started just one season at North Carolina but set school single-season records for passing yardage (3,748) and touchdown passes (30) last season. He also completed 68 percent of his passes and was intercepted just six times.

      Still, the Bears didn't seem to be a possible landing spot after free agent Mike Glennon received a three-year, $45 million deal to replace Jay Cutler as the franchise's quarterback.

      Pace's view was that adding a talent like Trubisky was too good to pass up.

      "If we want to be great, you just can't sit on your hands," Pace said. "There are times when you've got to be aggressive, and when you have conviction on a guy, you can't sit on your hands.

      "I just don't want to be average around here -- I want to be great. And these are the moves you have to make."

  • Browns turned out by Patriots in pursuit of Garoppolo
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, April 28, 2017

    The New England Patriots turned down another inquiry from the Cleveland Browns about a trade involving backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

    • The Browns inquired Thursday night during the NFL Draft about acquiring the 25-year-old Garoppolo and were told once again the Patriots were not interested, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

      As the opening of draft night wore on, the Browns watched three top quarterback prospects go off the board in the first 12 picks as three teams traded up for a quarterback in the first round.

      The Chicago Bears (No. 2, Mitch Trubisky), Kansas City Chiefs (No. 10, Patrick Mahomes II) and Houston Texans (No. 12, Deshaun Watson) took quarterbacks, leaving the Browns still searching for one.

      "Obviously, it didn't happen (Thursday), but it's not like we didn't try, I can guarantee you that," Browns coach Hue Jackson said Thursday night.

      The Browns will get another chance to draft one of the remaining quarterback prospects at No. 52 on Friday night.

      Garoppolo started the Patriots' first two games of 2016 as Tom Brady served a four-game suspension as part of the Deflategate penalties.

      In those two games, Garoppolo completed over 71 percent of his passes for 496 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. He injured his right throwing shoulder late in the second quarter of his second start, and then missed the team's next two games before returning to his backup role for the rest of the season.

      Garoppolo, a 2014 second-round pick out of Eastern Illinois, is entering the final year of his rookie contract with a base salary of $820,077.

      Cody Kessler, a 2016 third-round pick out of USC, is currently projected as the Browns' starting quarterback.

      In March, the Browns acquired Brock Osweiler in a surprise trade with the Houston Texans, but the quarterback's status with the team remains in limbo.

      The Browns acquired Osweiler and draft picks by taking Osweiler's $16 million guaranteed contract off the Texans' books. Houston signed Osweiler to a four-year contract worth $72 million with $37 million guaranteed last year.

      After the trade, all signs indicated Osweiler would either be traded again or released before the 2017 season.