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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.

<<CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE FULL NFL MOCK DRAFT 5.0>>

* 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.

<<CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE FULL NFL MOCK DRAFT 5.0>>

 

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The Ravens appear to have their entire coaching staff returning for the 2020 season

The Ravens appear to have their entire coaching staff returning for the 2020 season

While the Ravens roster will likely remain mostly together for the 2020 regular season, it appears the coaching staff will stay entirely intact, too. 

After both coordinators, Greg Roman and Don “Wink” Martindale, had interviews with the Browns and Giants, respectively, those jobs were filled by Kevin Stefanski and Joe Judge. 

And more recently, quarterbacks coach James Urban and tight ends coach Bobby Engram were requested for interviews by the Eagles. Harbaugh said both Engram and Urban pulled out of the running and weren’t interested.

“It looks like our staff is going to stay together,” coach John Harbaugh said. “I can tell you that. I’m not saying anything couldn’t happen; there are always things brewing for a certain period of time.”

The Ravens have every offensive starter from the divisional playoff game under contract for next season, and now appear to have the offensive coordinator and all of the position coaches back on-board for another run too. The Ravens set a franchise record with 531 points, led by Lamar Jackson.

Things are still fluid, as a job opportunity for anyone on the staff can pop up out of the blue. But for now, the Ravens look like they’ll run the entire operation back for another go at a Super Bowl.

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John Harbaugh defends Lamar Jackson's playoff performance

John Harbaugh defends Lamar Jackson's playoff performance

Coach John Harbaugh, just six days after his team’s disappointing 28-12 loss to the Titans in the AFC playoffs, has already had to defend his quarterback.

Faced with some criticism after Jackson finished 31-of-59 passing, and three total turnovers, Harbaugh mentioned how far Jackson has come in the last year — which also ended in an early playoff loss at home.

“It’s really interesting to look at Lamar Jackson, because look at the progress he made in the last year,” Harbaugh said Friday. “Because the same question, I think you might have asked it last year, how is he going to get better going forward? And he did a good job, right? He’s 23 years old. He’s younger than Joe Burrow. So, he has a pretty good head start right now.”

Jackson is now 0-2 in the playoffs with a 19-3 regular season record. 



He’s likely the MVP this season after he passed for more than 3,000 yards and rushed for 1,000 yards, setting the single-season rushing record for a quarterback along the way. He led the NFL in passing touchdowns and carried the most prolific offense in the league to a league-best 14-2. 

Harbaugh isn’t worried that his quarterback, who is just 23-years-old, hasn’t found his playoff success yet.

“The Manning brothers combined to, they had five losses in their first five playoff games before they won one,” Harbaugh explained. (Joe) Montana, (Steve) Young and (Brett) Favre didn’t start a playoff game until their third season, (Drew) Brees and (Troy) Aikman, until their fourth season, and (Aaron) Rodgers until his fifth season.”

After the season ended, Harbaugh added that Jackson went to his office to discuss the offseason and what he needed to do to improve. 

While Harbaugh and the offensive coaching staff had a plan for Jackson to improve, Jackson “nailed” each and every single critique that the coaches had laid out for him.

“I’m really confident in Lamar and his understanding the things he needs to do to get better, and that he’s going to work really hard to keep building himself up as a player,” Harbaugh said.

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