News

Cap, tag days in NFL … The NFL announced that the salary cap for the 2015 football year is $143.3M, up a full $10M from last season. All teams have to under that figure when the new football year starts next Wednesday. Today was also the deadline for teams to  apply the franchise or transition tags to veteran free agents. Players who were designated as franchise players to day were Dallas WR Dez Bryant, Houston OLB Lamar Houston, Giants DE Jason Poerre-Paul, Denver WR Demaryius Thomas and New England PK Stephen Gostkowski.  On the other hand, prime free agents who were not tagged include Detroit DT Ndukamong Suh, Green Bsy WR Randall Cobb and Buffalo DE Jerry Hughes who now become full unrestricted free agents next week, although, of course that can still resign with their current team.

IT IS OVER!!!  …. February that is; the coldest month this old Canadian geezer can ever remember. Onward and upward!!!

Pro days coming up … The next phase of the draft evaluation process are the pro days which get underway on Monday. Here is the pro day  schedule as we have it to date. Anybody aware of other on-campus workouts please let us know. Meanwhile, we’ll be reporting on the key workout numbers, as well as their draft implications, as usual the information becomes available. And while NFL personnel people will be crisscrossing the country almsot non-stop over the course of the month, the pro days are probably not as important to the process as the combine in large past because a relatively large proportion of combine participants stand on their numbers from Indianapolis and often only participate in positional drills. However, for guys who either chose not to workout at the combine, or who couldn’t because of injury, their pro day takes on critical importance. Same, of course, for prospects who weren’t invited to the combine at all. And courtesy of NFL.com, here’s a piece listing some of the players under the most pressure at their respective pro days.

Big Board updated … The GBN positional rankings and the overall Big Board ranking of the top 225 or so prospects for the 2015 draft has been updated based on information from last week’s scouting combine. Please note that we are still having some problems figuring out the best way to update big tables like these with our new system and would appreciate any heads ups if anyone notices any dupes or omissions etc. Thanks … ed

Browns ink vet QB McCown … Cleveland has agreed to terms with veteran QB Josh McCown on a three-year deal. The Browns beat out Buffalo in a bidding war for McCown, who was released by Tampa Bay at the end of the season. In signing McCown the Browns are now  unlikely to sign QB Brian Hoyer, last year’s starter who becomes a free agent next month. And while they have signed McCown, who also becomes something of a mentor to Johnny Manziel, the Browns’ #1 pick last year who is now in rehab battling substance abuse, it remains likely that Cleveland will still be in the market for another top young QB at the 2015 draft where they have two first round picks to work with. Indeed, there has been speculation that the Browns have considered the possibility of packaging their two #1 picks this year, the 12th and 19th picks, in order to move up to get former Oregon QB Marcus Mariota.

Wrist surgery for Frog QB … Texas Christian junior QB Trevone Boykin will miss part of spring practice this year as he will undergo surgery on the wrist on his non-throwing arm. Boykin actually suffered the injury way back in October, but never missed a snap. While he will miss the final weeks of the Frogs spring workouts, Boykin is expected to be 100% in time for voluntary summer workouts later this year. Boykin emerged as one of the best young QBs in the country last fall and will enter the upcoming season as a legit Heisman candidate and an interesting prospect for the 2016 or 2017 drafts.

GBN on the air …  The Great Blue North ‘Blog Radio’ Draft Report Show will be on the air later this evening on blog radio at 8 PM ET. Join GBN analysts Colin Lindsay and Pigskin Paul Guillemette, along with host Eric Lamb for a full report on last week’s scouting combine and what it all means for the 2015 draft on Blog Talk Radio. Fans can also call the show with questions or comments at 1-347-826-7213.

Is Rams’ QB on the market? … There’s a real question around the post-combine NFL whether St. Louis is shopping veteran QB Sam Bradford. The last couple of days there have been rumors that Buffalo and Cleveland have some interest, however, the Rams have denied that Bradford is even on the market. What is sort of known is that at worst, St. Louis would like Bradford to take a pay cut and have allowed his agent to contact other teams to gauge his value. It is also believed that if the Rams were to move Bradford, they are asking for a second-round pick as compensation, which may be a tad high for a guy who who missed the majority of the past two seasons with an injury including the 2014 campaign with a torn ACL and never really played all that well when healthy anyway. However, if the Rams were able to move Bradford once the new NFL year begins next month, it could radically change the immediate needs of at least a couple of teams. Meanwhile, veteran journeyman QB Josh McCown, a somewhat surprising cut by Tampa Bay earlier this month, will be in Cleveland this week to meet with the Browns. McCown who represents what could be one of the best options in what looks like a very soft free-agent market at the position had previously visited Buffalo and Chicago.

More combine impressions … With at least a few hours to have reflected on all that went on at last week’s scouting combine, GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette has had a chance to watch the tapes (several times over) and has some a number of impressions of what in Indianapolis as they affect each positional group heading toward the 2015 draft. And everything else being equal Pigskin plans to be back later in the week with some observations of individual players who stood out at the combine and some who didn’t.

How To Keep Up With GBN: – Hi everyone. This is Gary, the GBN web guy.

With the Combine over and draft season in full swing, I just wanted to remind everyone of all the various ways you can get your Great Blue North news and updates.

Also, don’t forget to stop by our Great Blue North Forum and get involved in the conversation. We’ll be doing more live chats and other special events as we get closer to draft day.

We are here !!! The 2015 scouting combine is now on the books and while the combine is in fact only a small, albeit significant, part of the draft process there were a number of things learned in Indianapolis last week. That and where we stand as we head forward are the theme’s of this week’s scout’s notebook which also includes the first few levels of a hypothetical value board for this year’s draft.

Combine winners and losers: The turned the lights off in Indianapolis as the final group at this year’s scouting combine packed up their gear and headed for the exits. If nothing else it was an interesting week with arguably at least as many hits as misses. Here’s a quick rundown of the week’s big winners and losers in the combine blog.

Combine wraps with DB workout … What’s the old saying: Time flies when you’ve got good duty! Seems like barely a week when the first players were arriving in Indianapolis for the scouting combine and now it wraps up later today after the defensive backs have done their thing on the field. And while there aren’t many, if any, real elite DBs in this year’s draft class, there is a fair number of good ones with at least some second-day potential, especially among the corners, who will be looking to lock up a top 100 grade with a solid workout today. Guys that NFL teams are really interested to see run today include Miami of Ohio PG turned CB Quentin Rollins, Jalen Collins of LSU, and Alex Carter of Stanford. As usual, the NFL Network will be carrying the ‘action’ live, while as usual we’ll be trying to hit the highs and lows in the combine blog. Meanwhile, for those stuck at their desks today, the NFL.com keeps a running count of the 40 times. Have a great day,

Combine defensive line/LBs review … With all due respects to Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota who put to bed many doubts with solid performances at the QB workout at the scouting combine, the ‘real’ big story out of Indianapolis was just how well the entire cadre of tweener DE/OLBs performed on Sunday. That’s one of the themes of tonight’s review of the highlights – and yes a few low lights – from today’s combine workouts in Indianapolis in the Combine Blog.

Combine offensive line review … It took a day or so to pour over all the data, but here’s a quick review of the highlights and lowlights from the offensive line at this week’s combine which in the end may not have answered many questions heading toward the draft.

Passing the test … No player came into the scouting combine in Indianapolis facing more scrutiny than Florida State QB Jameis Winston. And with his combine now done it appears that Winston at least checked off all the boxes. He was upbeat and charismatic, albeit a tad inarticulate, when he met with media late last week. When asked about those past off-field transgressions, Winston stayed positive stressing that he was starting to learn what it was going to take to be the face of a franchise. Winston also helped himself simply by taking part in today’s on-field passing drills where he threw the ball with good touch and zip. The issue with Winston remains whether he is going to be able to keep his nose clean down the road, but for now he appears to have certainly helped his case at the combine. And for those who wanted to see a little more of Winston, the NFL Network is airing an interview with Steve Mariucci at 7 PM ET this evening. Mariucci reportedly described Winston as “the most astute Xs and Os guy’ that the former NFL head coach has ever queried about his football acumen.

Gurley injury controversy … While the healthy backs did their on-field stuff, one of the bigger stories – and maybe a non-story – was that Georgia RB Todd Gurley did not allow team doctors in Indianapolis to examine his surgically reconstructed knee. According to Dr. James Andrews, the specialist who did the surgery, though, Gurley’s medical team did not to risk any further damage if multiple team doctors started poking and prodding the knee. According to Johnson, Gurley is ‘six weeks ahead of schedule’ in his recovery, although he did not put a timetable on when he will be ready to go later this year. Gurley, who had been considered to be pound-for-pound the best player in college football last fall and a virtual lock to be the first back taken at the 2015 draft, tore an ACL in October which ended his season. Teams will get the chance to check Gurley out in April when injured players come back to Indianapolis for a final check.

Combine back on … The QBs are on the field for their on-field physical testing and positional drills at the scouting combine in Indianapolis. The WRs and RBs will also be on the field later today. Meanwhile, the defensive linemen and linebackers are getting weighed and measured, while the defensive backs have arrived in town and will go through orientation and preliminary medical tests today. As usual we’ll be commenting on the highs and lows from Indianapolis in the Combine Blog.

DL weigh-in highs and lows … While the offensive linemen were grabbing most of today’s combine headlines as they went through their on-field testing, their counterparts on the defensive line were being weighed and measured. We’ve got some of the highlights from today’s DL weigh-in at the Combine Blog.

Jags put for sale sign on #3 pick … At Jacksonville’s combine presser, G.M. David Caldwell indicated that the Jaguars would be open to moving down from the third pick overall at the upcoming draft especially after getting QB Blake Bortles with the 3rd pick last year. In fact, Jacksonville’s biggest needs this coming off-season are probably along an offensive line that allowed a league-high 71 sacks last year; however, its unlikely there will be any offensive lineman worth the #3 pick so it would behoove the Jags to move down several spots where on OL would make more sense while also adding another pick or two. And the Jags are likely to get plenty of calls for the pick. That would especially be the case if either or both of QBs Marcus Mariota and/or Jameis Winston were still on the board when the Jags got on the clock with the third pick. However, even if the QBs go 1-2, there still could be some demand for USC DE/DT Leonard Williams, arguably the best player in the draft who the Jags could actually take themselves if he were still there when they picked, but there are a number of 3-4 teams picking behind Jacksonville that would have to be very interested in mving up to get the former Trojans’ star.

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