OSU QB to make position switch … There has been no official confirmation quite yet, but it appears that Ohio State QB Braxton Miller will be playing a hybrid WR-HB role this fall, at least to start the season, instead of his usual position under centre. Miller entered the 2014 season as a legitimate Heisman candidate, but was lost for the year when he injured his throwing shoulder in the second week of the schedule and it appears that the shoulder is still not 100%. As a result, Miller, who already has over 3,000 career rushing yards, will start the 2015 season playing a hybrid slot receiver role. And that actually should make pro scouts happy as there is something of a consensus that while Miller is a great college QB, he lacks the arm strength to be more than a fringe prospect at the position and that his best position at the next level will be either as a RB or receiver. Of course, it also means that the starting job for the Buckeyes is down to sophomore T.J. Barrett and junior Cardale Jones. Stay tuned.
Rest of NFC West previewed … With NFL training camps now opening across the country, GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette takes a look at the rest of the always interesting NFC West in the latest edition in his series of NFL divisional previews.
Steelers extend GM … Pittsburgh has signed general manager Kevin Colbert to a 2-year contract extension Saturday that will keep him with the team through at least through the 2018 draft. The move comes just days after the Steelers signed head coach Mike Tomlin to a similar extension.
Cards rook WR wounded in shooting … Arizona rookie WR Damond Powell, an undrafted free agent from Iowa, was wounded by gunfire outside his home in Toledo on Friday evening. Powell was reportedly shot in the face, but a police spokesperson said the injuries did not appear to be life threatening. No word, though, on how long Powell will be sidelined.
Star Pitt WR gets DUI probation; re-instated to team … Pittsburgh junior WR Tyler Boyd, a potential top 5-10 prospect for the 2016 draft, has been re-instated to the team after being sentenced to 12 months of probation for a driving under the influence charge. As a first-time, non-violent offender, Boyd will be required to take a safe driving class and had his licence suspended for 90 days. After the incident Boyd was suspended from all team activities, but has rejoined the team, but still could face some additional disciplinary action from the team. Pitt opens the season with a September 5th date with FCS Youngstown State.
Ex-Frog DE cleared to play for Cards … Former TCU DE Devonte Fields has reportedly been cleared academically to enroll and play for Louisville this fall. Fields was named the Big 12 freshman of the year in 2012 when he racked up 10 sacks, but played little in 2013 because of a suspension and broken foot and then was dismissed from the program last summer after he alleged assaulted his girlfriend. Those charges have been dropped after Fields completed an anger management course after he spent the 2014 season at a junior college in Texas.
Final first-round pick signs … Tennessee has finally come to terms with former Oregon QB Marcus Mariota, the 2nd player picked at the 2015 draft. Mariota is the last player selected in this year’s opening round to be signed. In fact, with the opening of training camps barely over a week away, there are only two unsigned players taken at last spring’s draft: CB D’Joun Smith and DE Henry Anderson, both of whom were third-round selections by Indianapolis.
Missou DE out for the year … Missouri junior DT Harold Brantley, who had been considered to be a possible early entrant at the 2016 draft after he posted 5 sacks last fall, will not plat at all this fall as he continues to rehab from injuries suffered in an automobile crash earlier thi summer. Brantley has already undergone surgery for a broken leg and will need further surgery on his left knee in the coming weeks, while he also broke several ribs and has a crack in his shoulder.
Draft dates set for 2016 … Mark your calendars. The NFL has announced that the 2016 draft will be held April 28-30 this coming spring, although the site for the upcoming lottery is still to be determined. Courtesy of the NFL, here is the full schedule of league events running through next year’s draft.
Tag day, part deux in the NFL … NFL players designated with franchise tags have until 4 PM ET later this afternoon to reach a long-term deal with their respective club or play the year under the tag or sit out. Right now there are 4 franchise players who have yet to sign their tag including WRs Dez Bryant of Dallas and Denver’s Demaryius Thomas, Kansas City OLB Justin Houston and Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul, while New England PK Steven Gostkowski has signed his franchise tender.
MAC DB booted after kidnap arrest … Central Michigan CB Brandon Greer, who had been considered to be a second-tier prospect for the 2016 draft, has been kicked off the team after he was arrested pending charges of assault when he allegedly attempted to abduct a woman late last week. Greer, who has good size for a corner at 6-0, 200, had started the past 25 straight games for CMU where he had 47 tackles and three interceptions in 2014.
Rams grab OT in supp draft 5th round … St. Louis has selected former Clemson OT Isaiah Battle with a 5th round pick in today’s supplemental draft. As a result, the Rams will forfeit their fifth-round pick in the 2016 draft. In fact, Battle was the only one of 7 players available who was selected. The other 6 now become free agents eligible to sign with any team.
Supp draft today … Its draft day lite in the NFL as the league holds its annual summer supplemental draft later today. A total of 7 players will be available for today’s draft including Clemson OT Isaiah Battle, DT Dalvon Stuckey and DE Darrius Caldwell, both of West Georgia, North Carolina Central WR/KR Adrian Wilkins, Houston DE Eric Eiland, UConn TE Sean McQuillan, and Kansas CB Kevin Short. However, the only one of the 7 likely to be selected is Battle, who had been considered to be a potential second day pick for the 2016 draft. Unlike the regular draft, to choose a player in the supplemental draft teams submit a ‘bid’ indicating the round they would take the player and the player is awarded to the team bidding the earliest round. If more than one team bids in the same round then that player is awarded to the team with the earliest pick in that round. The selection for the supplemental draft is also different from the regular draft in that it is set by a weighted lottery among three groups of teams: those with 6 or fewer wins in 2014; the other non-playoff teams; and playoff teams. If a team is awarded a player in the supp draft then they forfeit their pick in the same round in the regular draft. Players not selected in the supp draft then become free agents eligible to sign with any team.
WR/KR to work out … NC Central WR/KR Adrian Wilkins, who will be available in tomorrow’s supplemental draft, will work out for pro scouts later today. Wilkins is not expected to be drafted, but could get some free agent offers.
Fourth ACL ends career of Duke LB … Duke LB Kelby Brown suffered yet another torn ACL during an off-season workout. It was the 4th torn ACL in the past five years for Brown and likely ends his football career. Brown was named an All-ACC LB in 2013 when he had over 100 tackles, but didn’t play last fall after tearing an ACL in pre-season workouts.
Early prospects list for 2016 … College football training camps will start opening in less than a month which means the start of the season can’t be that far off either. With that in mind, GBN Associate Editor Pigkin Paul Guillemette has posted an early alphabetical shout-out list of prospects could be talking a lot as next April/May approach.
Clemson OT has disappointing pro day … As many as 26 NFL – some reports had the number at 25 – were in attendance earlier today for the pro day workout of Clemson OT Isaiah Battle, the top-rated prospect for this week’s supplemental draft. And Battle certainly looked the part as he measured in at just over 6-6 and 312 pounds with 35.5 inch arms and a 85-inch plus wingspan. So far, so good, but Battle, who was expected to show all kinds of athleticism, didn’t test at all well on the field. Battle, for example, reportedly clocked 40 times of 5.21 and 5.29, which would have put him somewhere in the middle of the pack at last February’s combine workout for offensive linemen. However, there were reports prior to his pro day that Battle could run in the 5-flat area which would have really boosted his stock. At the same time, Battle had a 24.5-inch vertical, while posting a 8.5-inch standing long jump, both of which would have been among the lowest totals at the combine. Worse, Battle only managed 12 reps in the bench press which would have been dead last at the position in Indianapolis, although Battle may have had to cut his BP short because of a muscle strain. The supplemental draft will be held on Thursday.
Supp draft OT to work out … Clemson OT Isaiah Battle, who announced last week that he has entered this week’s supplemental draft, will work out for pro scouts later today at a private pro day at the school. Battle had been considered to be a potential first or second day pick for the 2016 draft, but indicated that he had decided to turn pro because he had just become a father; however, there have also been unconfirmed reports out of Clemson that he had also been found to be in possession of marijuana by police after he was stopped for speeding earlier this month, although no charges were ever filed. The supplemental draft is scheduled to be held on Thursday.
NFC North previewed … After previewing divisional Green Bay late last week, GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette takes a look at the prospects for the other NFC North teams in the latest edition in his series of NFL divisional previews.
NCAA to investigate Ole Miss OT … The NCAA will reportedly interview the stepfather of Mississippi junior LT Laremy Tunsil, a top 5-10 prospect for the 2016 draft. For those that have not been following the family soap opera, Tunsil was charged with assault after interceding into some kind of dispute between the stepfather and his mother and allegedly punched the stepfather. Tunsil and his mother have subsequently filed a lawsuit against the stepfather who counterclaimed that Tunsil has been ‘riding around’ with agents and that, in fact, was the reason for the original dispute with the mother. Certainly makes sense to us because that’s the kind of thing our families always fought tooth and nail about. It would also be pretty clear to anyone who regularly watched ‘Entourage’ that that ‘riding around’ with their clients is the way big-time sports agents operate. Truth is that Tunsil is allowed to talk with agents as long as he doesn’t accept any benefits (although its not clear if ‘riding around’ with one would qualify as an improper benefit). However, the stepfather could open a can of worms if he were to accuse Tunsil of having accepted cash or other benefits. In the meantime, if nothing else the stepfather has proven that two parents maybe aren’t always better than one! Stay tuned!