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NFL Mock Draft 5.0: Combine, free agency alters projections

NFL Mock Draft 5.0: Combine, free agency alters projections

We're just a handful of days removed from the NFL Combine and only beginning free agency, yet so much as changed when it comes to the 2017 NFL Draft. Some of those changes are reflected in my latest mock draft. On this page, let's take a look at why some of those changes occurred. 

* Jaguars get defensive: Jacksonville didn't mess around at the start of free agency, throwing big bucks at Calais Campbell, the best defensive lineman available. Never say never, but adding the interior pass rusher likely takes Alabama's Jonathan Allen and Stanford's Solomon Thomas off the table at 4 if they keep the pick. A.J. Bouye covers their need at cornerback and safety help came in the form of Barry Church. The agents for heralded defensive back prospects Jamal Adams, Malik Hookeer and Marshon Lattimore probably aren't thrilled. Add it all up and does this mean Jacksonville goes for offense with say LSU running back Leonard Fournette? End the Blake Bortles era by selecting Deshaun Watson?

* John Ross roars: There are speed receivers and then there is this guy. Ross set the Combine record with a staggering 4.22 40-time. The thing, this 5-foot-11 dynamo also wowed with other athletic feats in Indianapolis. Of course, Ross isn't just an athlete. He's a playmaker. Anyone who watched him dominate for Washington last season knows. USC cornerback Adoree Jackson also turned heads at the Combine. Just remember Ross torched Jackson and others with 154 yards and one touchdown on eight receptions last season against the Trojans. Mike Williams and Corey Davis might end up battling for first receiver selected honors, but Ross certainly threw his hat into the ring.


* Eagles receive help: Philadelphia clearly needed receiver help. Just look at what happened in free agency. Philadelphia, with Jordan Matthews already in the mix, agreed to terms with Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith on the first day of free agency. Somewhere, quarterback Carson Wentz is uncontrollably giddy. Elsewhere, mock drafters are eliminating receiver from the Eagles needs list, which means cornerback moves into the top slot. Good news: This draft is loaded those types with the likes of Sidney Jones, Teez Tabor and Tre'Davious White in the likely mix at 14.

* Risers and fallers: The Combine seemingly helped Temple LB Haason Reddick, Washington WR John Ross, USC CB Adoree Jackson, Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey, Tennessee RB Alvin Kamara and Connecticut S Obi Melifonwu. On the other side, those few days in Indy raised questions about Alabama ILB Reuben Foster, Florida CB Teez Tabor, Alabama OLB Tim Williams and Florida State RB Dalvin Cook.

* Kirk Cousins: We're just talking about the mock, not the potential implosion in Ashburn, and about future mocks at that. If you believe the Redskins, their two-year starting quarterback will remain in town and with a long-term. If you believe other reports, Cousins is begging for a trade. If the latter happens, then Cousins likely lands in San Francisco, which would mean no Deshaun Watson or Mitch Trubisky at No. 2 but perhaps DeShone Kizer or Pat Mahomes at 17? Then again, if the Redskins land that second overall pick, would they take a quarterback or a defensive line monster like Jonathan Allen? If the 49ers end up with 17, would they target tight end David Njoku or offensive tackle Garett Bolles? How are other quarterback situations and options (Jets, Browns, Cardinals, Jay Cutler) affected by this possible outcome? This is what you call a fluid situation.



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Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

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Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

The Baltimore Ravens have signed WR Michael Crabtree to a three-year deal on Friday according to general manager and executive vice president Ozzie Newsome.

The deal is apparently worth $21 million, according to Adam Shefter.

After being released by the Raiders Thursday following the signing of Jordy Nelson, Crabtree heads to the Ravens less than 24 hours later.


The 31-year-old is coming off a 2017 season when he recorded 58 receptions for 618 yards and eight touchdowns. In 2016 he posted 89 receptions for 1,003 yards and eight touchdowns.

Since 2015, the Texas Tech product has scored 25 receiving touchdowns, the fifth-most in the NFL. Crabtree and Steelers WR Antonio Brown are the only NFL players to post at least eight touchdown catches in each of the past three seasons.


In all, Crabtree has played nine NFL seasons – six of them with San Francisco (2009-14) and three with Oakland (2015-17). The former first-round draft pick (10th overall, Texas Tech) has registered 579 receptions for 6,870 yards (11.9 avg.) and 51 touchdowns in 125 career games (122 starts).

“Michael has played very well against the Ravens, so we know firsthand the attributes he brings to the game,” Newsome said in a team statement. “He is a smart, tough, physical receiver who battles for the ball. We like his temperament and believe he is a good fit for our football team, on and off the field.”

Since he entered the NFL in 2009, Crabtree’s 51 receiving scores rank 10th among active wide receivers, while his receptions (579) are seventh, and his receiving yards (6,870) are 12th.

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Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

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Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

The most obvious move in the NFL this offseason was the Ravens signing a new wide receiver (or three). It was less obvious why the team decided to commit so much money to former Redskins receiver Ryan Grant.

Grant has long been beloved by his coaches and teammates, but the results have never been there on game day. He has some potential to improve if given a larger role in a team's offense, which he likely would have had in Baltimore, but it never made much sense to offer him a 4-year contract worth nearly 30 million, with $14.5 million guaranteed.

Thankfully for fans who were uninspired by the reported agreement, Grant was unable to pass his physical and will not be joining the team.


At a press conference Friday morning, GM Ozzie Newsome called the void a "medical decision" that Newsome had no control over. 

NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported that Grant is recovering from a Grade 2 sprained ankle that would need two months rest.

You have to feel for Grant, who by all accounts has worked his tail off for many years just waiting for his chance. It's never easy missing out on nearly $15 million dollars guaranteed, but Grant should be able to find work with another team.

The timing of this news, coming so soon after former Raider Michael Crabtree became available, seemed fishy to some.

At Friday's press conference, Newsome also said the team would have still pursued Crabtree if they signed Grant. 

It's probably not fair to suggest that an NFL franchise would actually so publicly back out of a deal just because another option came along, as any team with that reputation would struggle to attract future free agents. That said, it could end up working out splendidly for the team.

Besides, if all else is equal, shouldn't a team located in Baltimore be going after a guy named CRABtree?