Thursday, March 5, 2015

Brian Hoyer: Best that he, Browns go separate ways

The day after the 2014 season ended Brian Hoyer took the nameplate from his Cleveland Browns locker. You never know what will happen, he reasoned, so he took the nameplate with the Browns helmet on it as a memento of the one season he started in his hometown. Now Hoyer knows he will be playing elsewhere in 2015. “Obviously them signing Josh [McCown] made it clear that I wasn’t going to be back, so it’s best to go our separate ways,” Hoyer said Thursday.

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Vic Beasley impressed by Dan Quinn, Falcons

CLEMSON, S.C. -- When Vic Beasley addressed the media during this year's NFL combine in Indianapolis, the Clemson pass-rusher couldn't hide his affection for his hometown Atlanta Falcons. After spending time talking to new Falcons coach Dan Quinn at the event, Beasley walked away even more impressed with his favorite team. "Coach Quinn, just his whole demeanor, he's a very influential coach," Beasley said during Clemson's pro day on Thursday. "He pushes his players.

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Colts tender a qualifying offer to Jerrell Freeman

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts tendered a qualifying offer to restricted free-agent linebacker Jerrell Freeman on Thursday. The Colts can match any offer Freeman receives from other teams. They will receive a second-round draft pick if another team signs Freeman, according to a source. Freeman has until April 24 to sign an offer sheet with another team. Freeman led the Colts in tackles during the 2012 and 2013 seasons and was second to D’Qwell Jackson in tackles with 94 last season.

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Randy Gregory, Ameer Abdullah star at Nebraska pro day

LINCOLN, Neb. – Nebraska’s three participants at the recent NFL combine headlined pro day at the school on Thursday as nine former Huskers worked out before representatives from 26 NFL teams. Randy Gregory, Ameer Abdullah and Kenny Bell, as expected, drew the most attention from scouts. In particular, Gregory, who pulled off his T-shirt for position drills to reveal a physique noticeably larger than last fall, attracted a crowd at every turn.

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Clemson's Vic Beasley has NFL's attention

CLEMSON, S.C. -- Former Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd is obviously a little biased when talking about his former teammates, but he sounded convincing when he made a bold claim about draft-bound pass-rusher Vic Beasley. "There's nobody that matches him in the country," Boyd said Thursday during Clemson's pro day. "I think that he's an instant-impact player in the NFL. People talk about [Florida's] Dante Fowler and how he could be the No. 1 defensive player taken.

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MJD deserves to be member of Pride of the Jaguars

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It wasn't long after Maurice Jones-Drew's retirement announcement on Thursday evening that questions about whether he belongs in the team's Pride of the Jaguars -- its ring of honor -- began to pop up. Of course he does. He isn't the best player in franchise history -- that's either Jimmy Smith or Tony Boselli -- and he's not the leading rusher, either. That's Fred Taylor, who leads Jones-Drew 11,271 yards to 8,071 yards and arguably belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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Chicago Bears are a better team with Brandon Marshall

The Chicago Bears' reported openness to trading receiver Brandon Marshall makes sense if the new regime believes it can replace his production and improve locker room chemistry by removing him. But the truth is the Bears are a better team with Marshall on the field than without him. The potential distractions can be mitigated by strong leadership from new head coach John Fox, general manager Ryan Pace, and the rest of the team. In nine years in the NFL, Marshall has put together 34 games in which he gained 100-plus yards receiving, and his teams are a total of 15-19 under such circumstances.

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Oddsmaker still favors Adrian Peterson returning to Vikings

MINNEAPOLIS -- While we wait for the resolution of the Adrian Peterson saga, some of you might find comfort in the fact that betting on the running back's return to the Minnesota Vikings is still a really bad way to make money. Online sports book Bovada released odds on Thursday for where Peterson will be for Week 1 of the 2015 NFL season, and the Vikings are still the favorite to have Peterson on their roster. Bovada gives them 5-6 odds of having Peterson, with the Dallas Cowboys in second at 9-4.

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Mel Kiper Jr.'s Texans mock draft pick unmoved by this week's news

This year's draft is deep in Collinses. In his third mock draft, and second since the offseason began, Mel Kiper mocks an SEC offensive lineman to the Houston Texans. That would be LSU's La'El Collins, who played tackle in college, but has been projected as an NFL guard by some. Kiper notes that the Texans' situation with Andre Johnson, who has asked to be released, won't change their philosophy of being a physical team hoping to win in the trenches.

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Mel Kiper Jr.'s latest mock: Jaguars take Florida defensive end Dante Fowler Jr.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. still believes the Jacksonville Jaguars are going to take a pass-rusher in the first round. He just changed his mind on which one they will select with the No. 3 pick. In his NFL Mock Draft 3.0 released on Thursday, Kiper has the Jaguars taking Florida defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. He had the Jaguars taking Missouri linebacker Shane Ray in his mock 2.0, and USC defensive end Leonard Williams in his first mock draft.

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Mel Kiper Jr.: Eagles to take cornerback

PHILADELPHIA -- Mel Kiper Jr. makes very clear at the top of his latest mock NFL draft that he doesn’t project trades or try to guess how free agency will affect teams’ draft strategy. So you can take Kiper’s third mock draft for what it is without wondering what it says about the Philadelphia Eagles' chances of trading up to get Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. And what it is, in this case, is noteworthy because it marks a change from Kiper’s first two mock drafts.

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Mel Kiper Jr. changes his DT for Lions in latest mock draft

The position remains the same -- and likely will, barring major moves in free agency or a draft shakeup -- but the defensive tackle ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has selected for the Detroit Lions has changed. After going with Texas tackle Malcom Brown in his previous mock draft, Kiper Jr. predicts Florida State defensive tackle Eddie Goldman to the Lions at pick No. 23 in his third mock draft . Goldman is a possibility to Detroit, as is almost any defensive tackle that could be taken in the first two rounds of the draft.

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If Bears look to deal Brandon Marshall, don't look for Titans to chase him

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Every time a big, productive name bubbles to the surface as potentially available, it prompts Tennessee Titans faithful to wonder if he will land here. It’s that way for most teams really. It’s especially that way for a team bereft of talent coming off a 2-14 season. The Titans need receiver help. Brandon Marshall is a top-flight target with great size at 6-foot-4 and 229 pounds. In Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey, Chicago has a great pair of big, physical receivers who are hard to defend on their own, better yet in tandem.

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Mel Kiper Jr. sticks with D, changes position for Cowboys

IRVING, Texas -- ESPN Insider Mel Kiper Jr. has offered up his third mock draft and he has moved away from the Dallas Cowboys selecting a defensive tackle. He doesn’t have them taking a running back either. Nor does he have them taking a defensive end. Kiper Jr.’s pick? Wake Forest cornerback Kevin Johnson. In Todd McShay’s first mock draft, he had Johnson as the Cowboys' pick. Based strictly on the need at the position, it makes a ton of sense.

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Mel Kiper Jr. Mock 3.0: A new offensive line name for the Giants

Mel Kiper Jr.'s third mock draft of the offseason is out, and once again he has an offensive lineman going to the New York Giants at No. 9. But this time it's Stanford's Andrus Peat instead of Iowa's Brandon Scherff, and I'm intrigued by the change because I think there's a big difference in the kind of pick that would be for the Giants. Scherff is the offensive lineman you take if you're the Giants and you want a guy who can start right away at guard or possibly right tackle (if you want to move Justin Pugh to guard).

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Byron Maxwell: 'Definitely consider' Eagles

PHILADELPHIA -- It is a trade Philadelphia Eagles fans would have made at any point during the 2014 season: Cary Williams to the Seattle Seahawks for fellow cornerback Byron Maxwell. Though it might have been hard to picture the Seahawks agreeing to such a deal, it might happen through free agency. Williams, who was released by the Eagles this week, was scheduled to visit the Seahawks. Because he was cut, Williams doesn’t have to wait for the new league year to begin on March 10 to sign with a new team.

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Darnell Dockett's signing with 49ers an endorsement for Jim Tomsula

Mike Nolan, the man who brought Jim Tomsula to the NFL, said his charge could command a room. Just give him a chance. Drew Henson, who knew Bo Schembechler and played for the likes of Joe Torre and Bill Parcells, said his coach in NFL Europe with the Rhein Fire had a similar presence and impact on his players. Timmy Chang, who set passing records at Hawaii before hanging loose halfway around the globe in Germany with Tomsula, spoke of how “real” his pro coach was, how genuine his persona was for any and all associated with the program.

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