If it’s too early to think about the 2020 NFL Draft, then it’s definitely too early to think about the 2021 draft. Still, that’s not stopping those in the football world from daydreaming about Trevor Lawrence and his potential.
“There’s nothing he can’t do,” said former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer when asked about the Clemson quarterback (via The MMQB). “The only question is if he’ll continue to do it. It’s hard to temper your excitement, because he checks every single box. Confidence, intelligence, athleticism, smarts, twitch, arm strength, power—you go through all the boxes, he’s nines or 10s. It’s like Andrew Luck.”
Lawrence, who has been termed “perfect” by mechanics coach Jordan Palmer, likely would’ve been the first pick in either this year’s draft or the 2020 draft, if he were eligible. If he declares after his true junior season at Clemson, he’s expected to be the slam dunk No. 1 pick in 2021.
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Wide receiver Keith Mumphery received $725K from Michigan State in a lawsuit settlement, as Paula Lavigne of ESPN.com writes. Mumphery was cut by the Texans in 2017 after reports surfaced that he had been banned from campus following a sexual assault accusation. Mumphery always insisted he was falsely accused, and sued Michigan State for his lost wages. The settlement will help him recoup some of those potential earnings and may help his cause as he tries to mount an NFL comeback.
After a disappointing season and significant spending spree, the Packers‘ profits have dropped dramatically (via The Associated Press). The good news, however, is that the Packers still turned a profit after re-signing quarterback Aaron Rodgers and signing linebacker Za’Darius Smith, linebacker Preston Smith, safety Adrian Amos, and guard Billy Smith. Ultimately, it’s an indication that the Packers are in good fiscal standing despite being a small market team.
The NFL’s Supplemental Draft order does not go by the inverted win/loss records of clubs. Instead, the order is dictated by a weighted lottery that uses a team’s win percentage as just part of the equation. Here, via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link) is the complete order of the supplemental draft:
The supplemental draft is conducted via email. If multiple teams submit a pick for the same player in the same round, this order dictates which club gets the player. Of course, any team picking a player in the supplemental draft will sacrifice the corresponding pick in the 2020 draft.
The defensive back has impressed on both a football level and personal level, making him a strong candidate to be picked. Based on Pauline’s conversations over the last two days, teams seem to view him as a fourth or fifth-round talent who will likely be swiped off the board in the sixth or seventh round.
So far, the Packers, Texans, and Arizona have shown the most interest in Thompson, Pauline hears. As previously reported, the Packers watched Thompson work out and flew him to Green Bay afterwards. The Texans, meanwhile, could use some safety help after failing to address the need in April’s draft. The Cardinals could also use some reinforcements in that area, but it’s not clear if they’ll add another prospect after tapping Deionte Thompson in the fifth round.
For what it’s worth, some in Arizona’s front office see Jalen Thompson as a better prospect than Deionte Thompson, Pauline hears. If J. Thompson is on the board after the fifth round, Pauline expects the Cardinals to place a bid.
The supplemental draft will take place at 1pm ET/noon CT on Wednesday.
Former Washington State defensive back Jalen Thompson visited the Packers on Tuesday and took a physical, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. It’s yet another sign that the Packers’ reported interest in Thompson is serious ahead of Wednesday’s supplemental draft.
The results of Thompson’s physical will be shared with the league’s 31 other teams, agent Brad Cicala tells Pelissero. Assuming it all checks out, Thompson is likely to be the first – and possibly only – supplemental draft pick selected on Wednesday.
Thompson lost his final year of NCAA eligibility when he reportedly purchased an over-the-counter supplement at a local nutrition store. A source told Theo Lawson of The Spokesman-Review that the supplement in question was not a steroid, but it was enough to bring the defensive back’s collegiate career to an end.
Thompson attained freshman All-America status in 2016, was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection as a sophomore, and wrapped up his Cougars career with six INTs. In 2018, he picked off two passes, made 66 tackles and forced a fumble.
The supplemental draft allows NFL teams to select players who, for one reason or another, were barred from entering the regular draft in the spring. If a team selects Thompson, or another player, in the supplemental draft, they’ll forfeit the corresponding pick in the regular draft next year.
Washington State safety Jalen Thompson is the most-hyped player in this year’s supplemental class, and he held his workout today. According to Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com, 26 teams were on hand for Thompson’s exhibition, and the Texans sent their director of scouting. The Packers have also reportedly shown a great deal of interest in Thompson, who is expected to be taken in the later rounds of the draft.
Packers backup quarterback DeShone Kizer said he doesn’t view himself as a longtime backup quarterback, Packers News’ Jim Owczarski writes.
“I don’t see myself as Aaron Rodgers’ backup for the final era of his career. I see myself as a future Super Bowl MVP. That’s the goal that I want to head toward. That’s the level I want to play at. Therefore, if I’m competing and focused in on the backup competition, then once again, I’m limiting myself,” he said.
A second-round selection in 2017, Kizer was pegged as a high-upside but raw talent coming out of Notre Dame. Unfortunately, he was taken by the Browns, who proceeded to lose every game that season. At year’s end, he was shipped to Green Bay where he serves as a backup to Aaron Rodgers.
Though he is a long way from his goal, Kizer said he is playing the best football of his career and is learning the ropes of the NFL from Rodgers, one of the best in the business. That, along with working with quarterback instructor Adam Dedeaux, could help the Fighting Irish product salvage a career that has seemed to stall. If all goes well for Kizer, he could continue to grow under Rodgers in Green Bay before looking for a chance to compete to start in a new locale after his contract is up.
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Broncos third-round pick Dre’Mont Jones could quickly assume a large role as a versatile defender on the team’s defensive line, Kyle Fredrickson of the Denver Post writes. A bit undersized for a defensive lineman, Jones has impressed with his pass-rushing ability both up the middle and as a defensive end.
The Falcons haven’t had a punt return touchdown since 2014 and a kickoff return for a score since 2010. Looking to end those streaks are Kenjon Barner and Marcus Green, who are the frontrunners to return kicks for the Falcons in 2019, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. Barner was an accomplished returner in college at Oregon and has served in the role in the NFL. Green is a sixth-round selection in 2019 from Louisiana-Monroe who has turned heads with his speed.
Former West Virginia wide receiver Marcus Simms worked out for half of the NFL’s teams on Monday, according to Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com. The Jaguars, Saints, Seahawks, Colts, Jets, Redskins, Chiefs, Browns, Eagles, Lions, Packers, 49ers, Vikings, Ravens, Raiders, and Falcons.
The 49ers and Vikings both sent directors of scouting while the Ravens had their personnel director on hand. The Raiders, meanwhile, had general manager Mike Mayock on hand, which may be an indicator of strong interest.
Simms’ 40-yard-dash times of 4.49, 4.45 and 4.40 seconds were strong, while his 36 inch vertical showed decent hops for the position. While he’s not considered to be as strong of a pro prospect as Washington State safety Jalen Thompson, Simms has a chance at being selected when the NFL Supplemental Draft takes place later this month.
Unlike the AFC, where the same team has been the annual favorite for a few years now, the NFC has featured different Patriots opponents over the past three seasons. Since the Packers’ back-to-back Super Bowl appearances in 1996-97, only the 2013-14 Seahawks have repeated as conference champions.
When determining who should be considered the 2019 NFC favorite, we should first look at conference’s two best 2018 teams. While the Saints have one of NFL history’s greatest arguments for being the team that should have gone to a Super Bowl, the Rams did. Both teams bring back most of their core players.
Lagging just behind the Rams in Super Bowl LIV odds, the Saints lost Mark Ingram but added Latavius Murray. Max Unger retired, but New Orleans added both free agent Nick Easton and second-round pick Erik McCoy. The 2018 trades the Saints made left them without first-, third- and fourth-round picks this year, limiting their ability to enhance their roster cheaply. Drew Brees heads into his age-40 season, and while his arm strength may not be what it once was, he broke his own completion percentage record and was Pro Football Focus’ top-graded QB last season. The cogs chiefly responsible for the Saints’ No. 6 weighted DVOA defensive ranking also return.
The next tier, per Vegas, features the double-doink game’s participants. The Eagles were again active this year, bringing back DeSean Jackson and replacing Michael Bennett with Malik Jackson. Zach Brown also headed to eastern Pennsylvania on a low-cost deal. Philadelphia brought back Brandon Graham and Ronald Darby and extended Jason Kelce. Carson Wentz‘s extension will hit future Eagles caps harder, but his 2019 number ($8.393MM) helps Howie Roseman‘s ability to fortify the roster. After a busy 2018 free agency, the Bears had a quiet offseason. They lost DC Vic Fangio, the NFL’s assistant coach of the year, and may be in line for changes under replacement Chuck Pagano. Scrutinized quarterback Mitch Trubisky (No. 3 in 2018 QBR, No. 18 in Football Outsiders’ DYAR metric) obviously has the biggest say in where the Bears go.
Two out of the past three NFC champions missed the playoffs the year prior, and Vegas places the Packers as the top such candidate for 2019. Aaron Rodgers and Matt LaFleur have expressed a difference of opinion about Green Bay’s offensive structure, but the Packers enjoyed their most active offseason in years. Brian Gutekunst spent wildly on edge rushers, with both Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith now each a top-five highest-paid 3-4 outside linebacker, and brought in Adrian Amos for $9MM annually. Did they do enough to get back in the Super Bowl mix?
While the Cowboys re-routed their season after their Amari Cooper trade, Las Vegas is not bullish on their chances. Dallas sits at 25-to-1 Super Bowl odds, the same as Seattle, Minnesota and San Francisco. Despite their NFC East title, the Cowboys ended last season as the No. 21 DVOA team.
The Seahawks lost one of the top receivers in franchise history, with Doug Baldwin retiring at age 30, and traded their best pass rusher. Ziggy Ansah and first-round pick L.J. Collier represent the team’s top edge options. Minnesota is all-in on this nucleus, with the Anthony Barr deal furthering Rick Spielman‘s massive financial commitments to the core he built. Do the Vikings (ninth in weighted DVOA last season) have enough talent to justify these expenses?
Will a team emerge unexpectedly? The 49ers have Jimmy Garoppolo set to suit up again and, after acquiring Dee Ford and Nick Bosa, boast their best edge corps in years. Are the Falcons (40-1) being undervalued? Vote in PFR’s latest poll (link for app users) and weigh in with your NFC assessments in the comments section.
Randall Cobb, who signed with the Cowboys as a free agent in March after a long run with the Packers, appears to be feeling a bit resentful towards his old team. Cobb recently said during an interview with ESPN Wisconsin (h/t Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal), “It’s like the ex-girlfriend that broke up with you. When you see her five years later, you hope you’re in a better situation than you were before — married, with kids, and you’re able to say, ‘Yeah, I did better without you.'”
Despite a Green Bay tenure that saw him catch 517 passes for 6,120 yards and 46 touchdowns in 116 career games (including playoffs), and despite being a key figure in a number of memorable moments during that time, Cobb says the fact that the club never advanced to the Super Bowl while he was on the roster was a major disappointment, especially given how talented some of those rosters were. And he apparently wanted to come back to the Packers for another shot at helping to bring a championship to Title Town, but the interest was not mutual.
Cobb said the Packers never extended him an offer in free agency, and he even waited to see if Green Bay would change its mind after he started receiving offers from other teams, but that did not happen. So he ultimately accepted a one-year, $5MM pact to become the primary slot receiver for the Cowboys, who have lofty ambitions of their own in 2019.
The fact that Green Bay did not attempt to bring Cobb back is not terribly surprising, as he has dealt with a number of injuries since signing a four-year, $40MM contract with the club in March 2015, and he is clearly not the same player he was at the height of his career. He can still be serviceable, and the fact that the Packers are going into the season with Davante Adams and a host of mostly unproven talent at wide receiver may be irritating to him, but from an outsider’s perspective, it seems like the Packers may have made the right call.
Green Bay travels to Dallas on October 6, a date that Cobb surely has circled on his calendar.
Hundley’s only extended stint as a starter came in 2017, when he started nine of his 11 appearances for the Packers. That season, Hundley completed 60.8-percent of his passes for 1,836 yards, nine touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. He also added another 270 rushing yards and two scores on 36 carries.
With Aaron Rodgers apparently tuning out Mike McCarthy‘s play calls, many pundits wondered how the Packers quarterback would handle a brand-new head coach. Well, Albert Breer of SI.com says the franchise quarterback is working with MattLaFleur on a compromise. LaFleur’s system is intended to take decision-making off the quarterback’s list of responsibilities, all while allowing the offense to run quickly and more efficiently. The team is planning on using the “double call” method that was made popular by Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan, although they’ll also provide Rodgers with the freedom to adjust from there. As Breer writes, the ideal scenario is “giving Rodgers the option, but not the obligation, to make changes on the fly.”