Falcons Rumors

NFL Draft Rumors: Taylor, Ford, Sweat

Florida offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor met with the Bengals on Tuesday, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Taylor, who stands 6’5″ and 328 pounds, certainly has the size requirements favored by new Cincinnati offensive line coach Jim Turner, but it’s unclear if the ex-Gator will be available when the Bengals make their first-round selection at No. 11. Along with Jonah Williams (Alabama), Andre Dillard (Washington State), and Cody Ford (Oklahoma), Taylor is considered one of the best tackle prospects available in the 2019 draft. If selected by the Bengals, Taylor could immediately take over at right tackle, displacing the recently re-signed Bobby Hart, and would be a long-term option to replace Cordy Glenn on the blindside.

Here’s more on the 2019 NFL draft:

  • Speaking of Ford, the Oklahoma offensive lineman has been extremely busy during the pre-draft season. Per Aaron Wilson the Houston Chronicle, Ford has met with and/or worked out for the Patriots, Eagles, Buccaneers, Vikings, Texans, Cardinals, and Falcons. That’s in addition to his previously-reported stops with the Bengals and Panthers. Ford was a first-team All-Big 12 selection in 2018 and helped Oklahoma win the Joe Moore Award, given to the country’s best offensive line. A left guard in both 2016 and 2017, Ford shifted to right tackle for the 2018 campaign.
  • The Texans are meeting with Mississippi State edge rusher Montez Sweat on Wednesday, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Sweat is considered of the best defensive ends in the draft (especially after blowing up the combine), so Houston would likely need to trade up from No. 23 overall in order to land him. After starting his collegiate career at Michigan State, Sweat spent two years with the Bulldogs, racking up 22.5 sacks and 30 tackles for loss during that time.
  • Washington cornerback Byron Murphy has met with the Panthers, Chiefs, and Cardinals in addition to his visit with the Steelers, tweets Wilson. In 2018, Murphy earned a spot on the first-team All-Pac-12 list after putting up 37 tackles, four interceptions, and 13 interceptions. Regarded as a first-round pick by most observers, Murphy is the No. 6 overall player on Pro Football Focus’ draft board after allowing only a 47.7% completion percentage against and forcing 17 incompletions.
  • The Rams hosted Mississippi State safety Johnathan Abram on Tuesday, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link). Abram, who has also met with the Cowboys and Cardinals, is part of a closely-clustered safety class that could start coming off the board at the end of the first round. Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com, notably, ranks Abram as the No. 1 safety prospect of 2019. Arbam posted two interceptions, three sacks, and nine tackles for loss last year.

NFL Draft Notes: Giants, Haskins, Metcalf

The Giants will host Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins on a top 30 visit on Monday and Tuesday, a source tells NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). After the G-Men brought out the big guns for Haskins’ Pro Day, chatter is building about the Giants possibly targeting the signal caller with the No. 6 overall pick.

Fully expected to become a top-10 pick, Haskins also met with the Broncos (No. 10) and the Redskins (No. 15) last week. The Giants appear to be well in range, but teams tend to move up and reach for stud QBs. The Giants also have the firepower necessary to move up for Oklahoma star Kyler Murray, but they may prefer to spread the wealth and address other areas instead, including the pass rush.

Here’s the latest NFL Draft buzz:

  • Ole Miss wide receiver D.K. Metcalf visited the Ravens on Monday, Rapoport tweets. Metcalf could give them a much-needed shot in the arm at WR, but it’s not a given that he’ll be available when they’re called to the podium at No. 22. For now, their WR consists of new addition Seth Roberts, Willie Snead, Chris Moore, and 2018 draft picks Jordan Lasley and Jaleel Scott.
  • Speaking of the Ravens‘ WR need, they’ll host Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise Brown on Monday, according to NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo (on Twitter). This year, the Ravens are set to pick at No. 22 overall with no picks in the second round due to last year’s Lamar Jackson trade.
  • More from Rapoport, who notes that Ohio State wide receiver Parris Campbell is visiting with the Bengals. Campbell is a very unlikely target for Cincinnati at No. 11 overall, but he could be a candidate for their second-round choice at No. 42. Last year, Campbell broke out with 90 catches for 1,063 yards and 12 touchdowns.
  • Michigan defensive lineman Rashan Gary will huddle up with the Seahawks and Raiders this week, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears.
  • Arizona State wide receiver will meet with the N’Keal Harry 49ers on Monday before traveling to the Seahawks, Pelissero hears. Projections for Harry are all over the board, but he appears to be a late-first to early-second round type.
  • Washington tackle Kaleb McGary will visit the Seahawks on Monday and the Falcons on Tuesday, Schefter hears (Twitter link). The Falcons’ No. 14 pick would probably be a bit high for McGary, who projects as a right tackle at the next level, but a trade-down scenario could bring him to Atlanta.
  • The Patriots have done “extra pre-draft” work on Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham and Northwestern QB Clayton Thorson, both of whom visited recently (Twitter link via Pelissero).
  • Versatile Oklahoma offensive lineman Cody Ford spent Friday visiting with the Bengals, who pick No. 11 (Twitter link via Rapoport). Ford was a first-team All-Big 12 selection in 2018 and helped Oklahoma win Joe Moore Award, given to the country’s best offensive line.

Draft Notes: Packers, Dillard, White, Fins

Midway through a rather notable offseason, given the recent behind-the-curtain look at their previous power structure, the Packers are investigating some high-end quarterback prospects. They are obviously set at sports’ marquee position, but with Aaron Rodgers set to turn 36 by season’s end, Green Bay is at a similar point compared to when it last made a major quarterback investment. The Packers will host Drew Lock on a visit Tuesday, Terez Paylor of Yahoo.com reports (on Twitter). They also tried to set up a summit with Daniel Jones, but the parties’ schedules did not line up, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com adds (via Twitter). The Packers took Rodgers when Brett Favre was 36 and sat him for three years. While Green Bay pulling the trigger on a passer would be rather surprising, especially given Rodgers’ contract status, the team does have two first-round picks this year.

Here is the latest from the draft world, staying on the subject of quarterbacks:

  • Lock will also meet with the Chargers, per Charles Robinson of Yahoo.com (on Twitter). Teams have ramped up their signal-caller-related preparation, in the event Kyler Murray does not go No. 1, according to Robinson, who notes some teams believe this year’s passers could slide a bit should Murray not be the Cardinals’ choice atop the draft. Some modest steam picked up on this notion earlier Monday.
  • The Dolphins, who already met with Jones, will head to the Duke campus to work out the former Blue Devil starter, Rapoport reports (on Twitter). Teams only have a few more days to host prospects on “30” visits but can still work them out after that deadline passes. Miami will also host Michigan linebacker Devin Bush and Florida tackle Jawaan Taylor, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.
  • Devin White‘s stock has risen during the pre-draft process, to the point he may be the rare off-ball linebacker to be picked in the top five. One of the teams holding such a selection, the Raiders, brought in White for a visit, Rapoport tweets. The Buccaneers, who hold pick No. 5, have been closely connected to the LSU ‘backer. The Raiders have the No. 4 overall pick. Oakland, which also holds the Nos. 24 and 27 selections, will meet with tight end Noah Fant, on Monday as well, Rapoport tweets. The Raiders lost their starting tight end of the past two seasons, Jared Cook, in free agency.
  • For weeks, the Jets have been viewed as a team that would love to trade down. They are meeting with a prospect Tuesday that would support the fact this is a consideration. Ed Oliver will visit the Jets, per Schefter (on Twitter). While the defensive tackle is a surefire first-round talent, he has not been mocked as a player who would be a consideration at No. 3 overall.
  • The Titans are visiting with defensive tackle Jerry Tillery, per Rapoport (on Twitter). This is the Notre Dame-developed defender’s second known visit, the first having come with the Saints recently. Tillery remains in rehab after surgery to repair a torn shoulder labrum.
  • Not much has surfaced about which teams are researching an Andre Dillard pick. That has changed. The Washington State tackle prospect is visiting the Falcons on Monday and will meet with the Chargers later this week, Schefter tweets. Additionally, Schefter adds the first-round offensive line hopeful has already visited or worked out for a host of teams — the Giants, Jets, Dolphins, Ravens, Titans, Panthers, Vikings, Jaguars, Bills, Texans, Bengals, Packers, Redskins.

Julio Jones Not At Falcons Workouts

Wide receiver Julio Jones is not in attendance for the beginning of the Falcons’ offseason workouts, according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com.

Workouts at this stage of the offseason are not mandatory, so Jones isn’t at risk of being fined for not being present. The star pass-catcher is pushing for a new contract, so it’s possible he’s sending a message to Atlanta by sitting out. Per McClure, Jones doesn’t have a “set time” when he plans to report.

Jones, 30, didn’t attend workouts last offseason, either, but didn’t get a new contract as a result. Instead, the Falcons converted $2MM of Jones’ 2019 base salary into a signing bonus, affording him more money up front but not changing the overall terms of his deal. Reports last month suggested Jones was nearing an extension with the Falcons, but there’s no been no more news on that front since.

When Jones signed a five-year extension in 2015, his $14.25MM annual salary made him the NFL’s second-highest-paid wide receiver behind Calvin Johnson. Four years later, Jones is only the 11th-highest-paid wideout, as fellow pass-catchers such as Odell Beckam Jr., Mike Evans, and DeAndre Hopkins have increased the positional market.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons To Send 2020 Seventh-Rounder To Patriots For Jordan Richards Trade

  • Last August, the Patriots traded safety Jordan Richards to the Falcons for a conditional 2020 seventh-round pick. In the same piece linked above, Reiss reports that Richards was on Atlanta’s game-day roster enough times to satisfy the conditions of the swap — indeed, he ended up starting 12 games for the Falcons — so New England will get a 2020 seventh-rounder from the Falcons.

Falcons To Host OT Ulrick John On Visit

The first couple of waves of free agency are over, and most teams are now waiting until after the draft has passed to continue digging around the market. But the Falcons are staying active, signing defensive tackle Tyeler Davison earlier today.

They’re also apparently looking for some offensive line help, as the team will host tackle Ulrick John on a visit Monday, a source told Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). John signed with the Patriots last April, but ended up spending the entire season on injured reserve, although he did win a Super Bowl with the team. Before that he spent most of the 2017 season with the Packers, appearing in five games.

He saw the most significant action of his career in 2016 with the Cardinals, when he started three games at right tackle. The Georgia State product entered the league as a seventh round pick of the Colts back in 2014. He also spent parts of the 2015 season with the Dolphins. John has reached full journeyman status, but evaluators keep seeing enough in him to have him stick around.

Ryan Schraeder started most of last season at right tackle for the Falcons, but the team doesn’t seem like they’re planning on re-signing him. Atlanta could start Ty Sambrailo next year, or they could seek to address the position in the draft. If they sign John, it’ll almost certainly be as depth and not to start.

Falcons To Sign Tyeler Davison

One of the top remaining defenders is off the market. The Falcons are signing defensive tackle Tyeler Davison, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

It’ll be a one-year deal, Rapoport notes. The Falcons’ run defense struggled mightily last season, and they’re clearly hoping Davison will help with that. The Falcons already have one of the league’s best defensive tackles in Grady Jarrett, so anything Davison provides will be a bonus. Davison comes from the division rival Saints after spending the first four years of his career in New Orleans.

Davison started 43 games for the Saints the past three seasons, so this is a significant move. Last season, Davison had 23 tackle, two sacks, and one forced fumble in 14 games. He played about 41 percent of the defensive snaps. A Fresno State product, Davison was drafted in the fifth round back in 2015. He received average marks from Pro Football Focus, grading out as their 83rd-best defensive lineman. The Saints signed defensive tackle Malcom Brown away from the Patriots at the beginning of free agency, so the writing was on the wall that they’d be moving on from Davison.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons To Address Line In Draft

  • The Falcons will be focusing on the line in the upcoming draft, ESPN’s Vaughn McClure writes. Owner Arthur Blank said as much, commenting they need to get younger on the offensive line and that defensive line is an area of need. Atlanta owns the 14th pick and have shown heavy interest in Oklahoma lineman Cody Ford. –