Loading scores...
Weekly Update

Behold the Hurricane

by Mark Lindquist
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

NFL Draft News:


  • The Titans traded the No. 1 overall pick to the Rams, simultaneously causing the draft universe to melt. In a press conference addressing the deal, Los Angeles GM Les Snead indicated that he and Tennessee GM Jon Robinson had been talking on and off about a possible trade marriage since the NFL Scouting Combine in February. The Rams are surrendering pick No. 15, two second-round picks (43 and 45) and a third-rounder at pick No. 76. Plus a first-rounder and third-rounder in 2017. The Titans did throw in fourth and sixth-rounders along with that T-bone steak of the No. 1, but barring another trade, the Rams will not be making a selection on Day 2. Let’s dive further into the murky waters of this mid-April haymaker before moving onto the rest of the week’s news and notes.

  • In a bizarre piece of cross-sport something-or-other, the Rams and Titans opted to wait until Thursday morning to announce the world-shaking deal out of respect for Kobe Bryant in his final game. They didn’t want to overshadow him. It’s cute that the Rams were afraid of overshadowing Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles. You aren’t there quite yet, kids. Kobe, perhaps sensing that the Rams might actually start somebody other than Case Keenum, Sean Mannion or Nick Foles in 2016, went out and scored 60 points.

  • While there is a 99% chance the Rams draft a quarterback, nobody seems to know who, exactly, that quarterback will be. ESPN’s Adam Schefter hears a lean toward Cal gunslinger Jared Goff, though Schefter also said that the team will debate their options over the next two weeks. The Los Angeles Times Sam Farmer falls on the other side of the fence, saying that the Rams were targeting North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz when they made the trade. Anecdotally, during his press conference, Jeff Fisher actually talked about the idea of a high floor being just as important as a high ceiling. That would tend to favor Goff, at least if the general consensus is to be believed.

  • The official Redskins Twitter account responded to the mega-deal with a googly-eye emoji.

  • The Titans could still move back into the top-10. GM Jon Robinson is just standing on top of a mountain hurling boulders at this point. No draft is a slam dunk, of course, but there are options galore available to them. Said Robinson, “We now have the ammunition to work the draft and acquire players that are going to be good for this football team.” His squad currently holds six of the first 76 picks. Prior to the trade, Michigan State T Jack Conklin and Notre Dame T Ronnie Stanley had been linked as possible mid-first round options for the team if they decided to trade back. Conklin and Stanley could both be off the board by that freshly minted No. 15 pick, giving Robinson logical reason to consider trading back into the top-10.

  • In non-trade news, we’ll get the week’s two most depressing stories out of the way and then we can move on to sunnier skies. But first, depression. On Sunday morning, it was alleged that Baylor edge rusher Shawn Oakman sexually assaulted a female student. He was subsequently arrested. Oakman claimed their encounter to be consensual. This story breaking as close as it did to the draft might be enough to wipe the already-heavily-scrutinized Oakman off the NFL map altogether.

  • Also depressing. Western Kentucky TE Tyler Higbee was arrested on Sunday morning and charged with second-degree assault, alcohol intoxication in a public place and second-degree fleeing or evading of police. He plans to plead not guilty to the above charges. Higbee attorney Brian Lowder explained the motivation behind that when he said, “Our defense is that he was justified in using force based on the aggressive and physical actions of the alleged victim [Nawaf Alsaleh]. [Alsaleh] started the altercation, escalated it, shoved Mr. Higbee's girlfriend, and at that point, Mr. Higbee utilized force to neutralize the situation. Mr. Higbee struck the individual one time and unfortunately, he hit his head, which caused the injuries.” According to police, Alsaleh suffered a concussion and brain hemorrhage during the altercation. Court records indicate that he has two previous DUIs to his name and has been booked at the Warren County Regional Jail five times.

  • Let us rise from the dark clouds of those last two stories to fall into the comfortable natural rhythms of the NFL Draft. To wit, we will now examine how things could implode horribly for the Browns on April 28. Per CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora, the team views Jared Goff as their preferred quarterback candidate -- OC Pep Hamilton apparently loves Goff and the front office is with him, though there is some push from scouts within the organization that Wentz is the man they should be gunning for here. Should the Rams select Goff at No. 1, that would leave the Browns with few options at signal caller: They could either trade back in a quarterback class low on elite talent, or draft Wentz, a player the organization might not even be backing. They do have Robert Griffin III in the fold, now, but what once looked like a cushy slot for the Browns now looks more like a game of Russian Roulette.

  • The NFL released the names of the 25 prospects who will attend the 2016 NFL Draft in Chicago on April 28. Five players from Ohio State made the cut in DE Joey Bosa, RB Ezekiel Elliott, LB Darron Lee, T Taylor Decker and CB Eli Apple. That quintet of young men ties the 2012 Alabama team for the most players from one school to descend upon the draft floor.

  • Utah RB Devontae Booker (knee) drew the RB coaches from the Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks to his  personal Pro Day workout on Tuesday. Booker did not take part in testing drills, as he is only at around 70% health (per the running back himself) as he recovers from a torn meniscus suffered in November, but he did run a few routes at diminished speed.

  • Walter Football's Charlie Campbell reports that two playoff teams will consider Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith (knee) with their first-round pick if they like what they see in Friday’s medical recheck in Indianapolis. Among the teams that Campbell specifically cited as having interest in the skilled-but-injured linebacker, the Packers, Texans, Chiefs, Bengals and Vikings. If you’re asking whether the Texans really made the playoffs this past season, Wikipedia indicates this as truth. It was a troubling year for the AFC South.

  • MMQB polled 10 evaluators and seven looked into their crystal balls and predicted North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz would be the first quarterback drafted in Chicago. Unfortunately, this prediction happened prior to Thursday’s big trade, so take the time capsule opinion for what it is in context.




Quotable:

  • Mike Mayock continued to pound Wentz’ drum. About as loudly as a drum can be pounded. “You don't make trade like [the Rams did] unless you think you're getting guy like Brady or Luck. Wentz has upside to be 1 of those guys.”

  • CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora spoke with trusted scouts about who might be overrated this draft class. As he describes it, “I asked three scouts I know well to name a player or two they believe are being highly overrated by media mock drafts -- all said [Alabama DL A’Shawn] Robinson fairly quickly and without much hesitation. And two of the three noted [Ohio State] corner Eli Apple as well.”

  • Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith spoke to Bleacher Report’s Brent Sobleski and offered several pieces of interesting information. For one, he still doesn’t know when he will be able to return to the field of play, telling Sobleski, “At this point, the doctors still don't have a timetable. I could be ready to start the season, or I could miss the entire season. Anything more definitive is just speculation. What I do know is this: Once I'm 100 percent healthy and feeling comfortable, I'll be back on the field and dominating.” He also believes he will be the best player in this draft class once he is returned to health. It is heartwarming to hear Smith’s positive, upbeat attitude in the face of such a devastating knee injury.

  • Walter Football's Charlie Campbell reports that there is some degree of concern that UCLA LB Myles Jack could have career-hampering knee issues. Campbell wrote that “[t]eams are stuck with a tough decision of whether Jack should undergo more surgery to correct issues with his knee, or wait until he can't play because of the injury. It sounds like the latter is the most likely avenue they will pursue.”

  • An NFC Southeast area consultant offered a singular anecdote to define Western Kentucky QB Brandon Doughty: "I liked him a lot better this year and he really knows how to run that offense but there was a play against North Texas where he scrambled out of the pocket and had a chance to dive in for a touchdown but slid at the 1 yard line rather than take the hit and make the play. That's not good enough." Of course, if Doughty did that in an NFL game, announcers ‘round the globe would be praising him for his smarts in avoiding the collision. “Take the hit and make the play.” Yeeks.

  • Former Steelers CB and current NFL Media analyst Ike Taylor declared that if Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott is drafted by the Cowboys at No. 4 and stays healthy, you can expect him to be giving a Hall of Fame speech in Canton down the road: "If their offensive line can stay healthy for Dallas, [Elliott]'s going to be a Hall of Famer, if this guy can stay healthy,” He again cited the Cowboy offensive line as a potential Hall of Fame rocket booster magic dragon for Elliott, saying, “This guy is built for speed, he's built (low) to the ground. ... Dallas, running behind that big offensive line, it's going to be scary when gets to that second level."

  • An executive on a team that has Michigan State QB Connor Cook ranked as their second-best quarterback in this class told CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora: “We have him right up there with the other two or three (quarterbacks), actually even higher than a few of them. We like the kid a lot. We don't think there is a whole lot separating some of these quarterbacks and Cook is the most ready to play. Goff, look at his tape against Utah, it's not pretty. And Wentz, there is a lot to like there, but he needs to go somewhere and sit for a year or two and develop. If Cleveland takes him at two that is going to be a disaster. There aren't any sure things at this position -- really at most of the skill positions in this draft -- and Cook is definitely high up in that quarterback mix for us.” See, people just intrinsically take shots at the Browns. Sorry, Cleveland.

  • Navy RB Keenan Reynolds said he understood the reality of his positional situation. "I certainly do believe I can be an NFL quarterback. But it's a matter of, who wants to see me at that position? And whatever they want to see me as, that's what I am going to be doing, Whatever I can do to be a successful member of a team, to help them win, it's OK with me."

  • Cal QB Jared Goff said that the prospect of the 49ers drafting him at No. 7 would be “great," adding, "It would be a really cool thing. Growing up a fan of them, it would be awesome." Oh, you might be staying in California, Mr. Goff, but you could well be starting against your childhood team when the Rams and 49ers help kickoff the 2016 NFL slate in a Monday Night affair.

Visits, meetings and workouts oh my:

 

  • Cal QB Jared Goff’s schedule this week included visits to the Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers and New York Jets. Those teams were passed along to the Internet by Michael Silver on Monday, before the Titans and Rams completed their beautiful trading dance.

  • Florida WR Demarcus Robinson visited the Raiders.

  • The Steelers played  host to a batch of visits on Monday. Among those on hand, West Virginia S Karl Joseph, Maryland DB Sean Davis, Ole Miss DL Robert Nkemdiche, South Carolina WR Pharoh Cooper, Alabama CB Cyrus Jones, Virginia Tech DE Dadi Nicolas and Colorado CB Ken Crawley.

  • Indiana T Jason Spriggs visited the Jets.

  • Eastern Kentucky edge rusher Noah Spence visited the Texans.

  • German WR Moritz Boehringer took part in a positional workout at Florida Atlantic last weekend. According to TFY Draft Insider’s Tony Pauline, the Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots and Denver Broncos all sent representatives.

  • Arkansas TE Hunter Henry is lonely and needs a friend. On Sirius XM NFL Radio, he indicated that the only team that has hosted him for an official visit was the Bears. He also said that he had worked out for five-to-six teams.

  • Ole Miss T Laremy Tunsil visited the Titans and Chargers on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. While the Titans have priced themselves out on him barring another trade, the Chargers are well within Tunsil’s down-shifted draft projection.

  • FSU DB Jalen Ramsey likewise paid visit to Tennessee on Monday. He is also likewise priced out of their current No. 15 pick. All those visits, blown to the wind.

College Football News:


  • The NCAA ended Iowa DL Drew Ott's collegiate career by denying his request for a medical hardship waiver. His whole saga is saddening. Despite suffering a torn ACL all the way back in early October, the NCAA still dragged its heels on Otts’ waiver request. Not only does that prevent him from playing another year in Iowa City, it could legitimately impact his professional future in the NFL.  He will be entering the draft pool now, but his has been a bit role through much of the process. He is on-hand for medical rechecks in Indianapolis this weekend.


  • Iowa HC Kirk Ferentz reacted as you might expect to the Ott news, issuing a scalding to the NCAA when he said, “Really disappointed for Drew. Disappointed in the decision and disappointed with the process. He also spoke glowingly of Ott as a human being. “I can't say enough about him and the kind of player he was," Ferentz said, "the kind of leader he was. That really was illustrated last year when he was injured. His level of leadership even increased at that point.”

  • USC named Lynn Swann its new athletic director. Current AD Pat Haden is retiring on June 30. He played wideout with the Trojans as a younger man and won four Super Bowls with the Steelers.

  • Drama abounds around Colorado graduate QB Davis Webb, who signed a non-binding financial aid agreement with the Buffaloes earlier this offseason. The Texas Tech transferee took a visit to Cal over the weekend and has also been reportedly eyeing a future visit to Auburn. Colorado HC Mike MacIntyre cares not for any of this, as he does not believe it means anything. "[Webb]’s told me he’s coming time after time, so I just trust what he says," MacIntyre explained. All three schools could allow Webb a chance to start at quarterback in 2016 depending on how he performed in their respective camps this summer.

  • Oregon DC Brady Hoke is apparently passing out playbooks the size of War and Peace. A sampling of size comments from players to describe the leviathan: “Harry Potter,” “Merriam Webster Dictionary,” “probably heavier than my textbooks I have this term.” Props to sophomore DL Canton Kaumatule for his reference to the dictionary.  

  • Indiana junior WR Camion Patrick underwent knee surgery on Wednesday. We’re still waiting on word as to a recovery timetable.

  • Michigan HC Jim Harbaugh also dislikes the NCAA. In his case, it’s for their ban of satellite camps, which will prevent coaches from heading off-campus to take part in high school summer camps. Previously, these had been recruiting hotspots. “The image that comes to my mind is guys in a back room smoking cigars,” Harbaugh said, “doing what they perceive is best for them. It certainly isn't the best thing for the youngsters. It's not the best thing for the student-athletes." He also referred to their “incompetence.”

  • Boise State junior QB Ryan Finley will transfer. That shouldn’t count as a huge surprise. Finley broke his foot in the third game of the season. Freshman QB Brett Rypien came on in relief and promptly took the starting reigns.

  • Clemson HC Dabo Swinney has a new excuse to dance, as the university awarded him a six-year extension. Louisville HC Bobby Petrino one-upped that later in the week with a seven-year extension of his own.
    .

  • Texas Tech HC Kliff Kingsbury went all hyperbolic in describing junior QB Patrick Mahomes, saying, "[He] can extend plays as well as I've ever seen. And his accuracy when plays break down, as far as a thrower, moving around, throwing from different angles. He calls Mahomes the best he has ever been around. The junior gunslinger sparkled last season in throwing for 4,653 yards with a stellar 36/15 TD/INT ratio. After the season, he announced that he would be quitting baseball to focus solely on football.

  • Texas A&M graduate QB Trevor Knight was named the starter for the 2016 season. He triumphed over junior Jake Hubenak for starting rights. HC Kevin Sumlin explained that among other things, Knight “operated from the pocket, and he was also able to extend some plays, which helps our protection.” In his best season with Oklahoma (2014), he accumulated 2,300 passing yards (56.6% completions) with a 14/12 TD/INT ratio. His transition to play against SEC defenses could be a  rough one.

  • Sophomore QB Seth Collins will return to Oregon State rather than transfer to Northern Illinois. Like the aforementioned Davis Webb, Collins had signed a non-binding financial aid agreement in anticipation of a transfer. He will transition over to wide receiver for the 2016 season after starting six games at quarterback in 2015. "I'm very humbled that my teammates and coaches have provided me the opportunity to rejoin the team,” Collins said in a statement released by the university. “Coach Andersen did not always agree with the direction that I was headed during this process, but was always there to talk and support me as a person first."

  • Ohio State HC Urban Meyer wants 100,000 people to show up for the Buckeye spring game. Last year, they drew 99,391 patrons.

  • Mississippi State HC Dan Mullen will run the Boston Marathon to raise funds for the Mullen Family Foundation. This will be Mullen’s first marathon ever, so that should be an experience for him. He will run it on April 18.

  • Auburn's White and Blue teams combined to go 1-for-22 on third downs during Saturday’s A-Game. Poor, poor Auburn. If news breaks that Davis Webb is seriously considering a transfer to the Tigers, I shall help lead the intervention. Don’t do it, Davis! It’s a trap!

  • We close out on happier spring-game joy, as Florida redshirt junior QB Luke Del Rio looked “pretty good [during Saturday’s spring game]” according to HC Jim McElwain. He completed 10-of-11 passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday's spring game. Del Rio is considered the frontrunner to land the starting gig down in Gainesville.

  • Actually, one more spring note: Clemson junior QB Deshaun Watson played for both the Orange and White teams during the Tiger spring game on Saturday. Pitting Deshaun Watson against Deshaun Watson in a game of football is the most brilliant idea in the history of mankind and should probably be made into a movie.
Mark Lindquist
Mark Lindquist holds a master's degree from the University of Iowa and writes baseball and college football for Rotoworld.com. He's currently working on a memoir about life, death, rock 'n' roll and his year teaching at a Chinese university. You can reach him on Twitter @markrlindquist.