News

Our apologies for the somewhat irregular posting over the past couple of days, but we are on the road – no problem in itself – and our new travel notebook froze up a couple of times earlier in the week and then we were hit with a really nasty allergic reaction to something and haven’t been able to even get out of the bed the past couple of days. Here’s hoping the worst is over … ed

Bills get vet QB Cassel … As a result of yesterday’s announced trade in which Buffalo acquired veteran QB Matt Cassel and a 6th round pick from Minnesota in exchange for a 5th round pick this year and a 7th in 2016, the trade mart and picks by team files for the upcoming draft have been updated. With the Bills, Cassel is expected to compete with E.J. Manuel for the starting job, although Buffalo could also still look to add another developmental QB at the 2015 draft. Cassel joins RB Shady McCoy, who will be traded to the Bills by Philadelphia for LB Kiki Alonso when the new NFL year starts at 4 PM next Tuesday, and bad-boy QB Richie Incognito who was signed as a free agent this winter on what could be something of a new look Bills’ offense.

Lions host top RB … Detroit, which has a vacancy at RB after releasing RB Reggie Bush earlier this year, had Indiana RB Tevin Coleman in for a pre-draft visit earlier this week. Coleman ran for over 2,000 yards last fall and led the country in big-play runs, but is something of a draft wild-card as he was unable to workout at the combine after he underwent surgery to remove a sesamoid bone and reattach a tendon in December. Coleman is scheduled to work out on April 15. In fact, Coleman is one of four prospects the Lions have had in already for their 30 allotted predraft visits as Florida State DE Mario Edwards, Washington State DE Xavier Cooper and McNeese State OT Antoine Everett to their facilities.

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 analyst Pigskin Paul Guillemette, host Eric Lamb and special guest Dan Shonko of Ourlads for some final thoughts on the scouting combine as well as the latest from the pro day circuit on Blog Talk Radio. Fans can also call the show with questions or comments at 1-347-826-7213.

Top QB visits Bucs … In a somewhat unprecedented move, Florida State QB Jameis Winston is in Tampa Bay today for a series of interviews with top Buccaneers’ execs.The scheduling is unusual because prospects don’t generally visit team facilities until after the pro days are over in April. Winston, of course, is generally considered to be the top QB prospect for the 2015 draft, but he comes with some off-field baggage that Tampa Bay clearly wants to get checked out.  The Buccaneers also indicated that they will also be looking long and hard at Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, although it does not appear that a visit with him has been scheduled. Stay tuned!

Still more from the combine … GBN Associate editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette took advantage of the long weekend to re-run (and re-run and re-run) the tapes from last week´s scouting combine and weighs in with some thoughts on players that stood out and others that didn´t.

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, Kansas City OLB Justin Houston, Giants DE Jason Pierre-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 Bay 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.

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.

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