News

LSU OL Collins to sign when cleared … After being passed over in this weekend’s draft, former LSU G/T La’el Collins has said he will in fact sign with a team once he’s cleared by local police in the shooting death last week of a pregnant ex-girlfriend and her child. Collins is not considered to be a suspect, but want to speak to Collins – reportedly as early as Monday – as someone who may know something about the victim. Collins, though, may also be asked to take a paternity test for the child who doctors were able to save originally, but who also passed away over the weekend. Collins, who had been considered t be a mid-first round prospect before the draft, had threatened to sit out the 2015 season and re-enter the 2016 draft if he wasn’t selected in the first three rounds, but it turns out once a player is in one draft that’s it.

8th round well underway … It may take several days for all teams to announce their undrafted free agent signing classes following the 2015 draft, however, the race to get the top undrafted rookies signed is well underway. Indeed, teams were calling prospective targets even before the final picks came off the board last evening. To date, the only team that has officially announced its rookie free agent signing class is Seattle, whose rookie free agents include Arizona State WR Austin Hill and LSU SS Ronald Hill. The Seahawks also signed former Texas LS Nate Boyer, the 34-year-old former Green Beret who was one of the 2015 draft’s better stories. At the same time, though, the names of many other top free agent signings have leaked out, although it should be noted that many of these are unofficial. Among the top undrafted rookies to have reportedly signed include QBs Shane Carden (Chicago), Anthony Boone (Duke), Cody Fajardo (Oakland), and Connor Halliday (Washington). Meanwhile, former college QBs Nick Marshall of Auburn and Michigan’s Devin Gardner, who will gets shots at CB and WR respectively in the NFL, have signed with Jacksonville and New England respectively. Among other top rookie free agents who have reportedly signed include former Ole Miss SS Cody Prewitt who agreed to terms with Tennessee, TCU FS Chris Hackett, who will try out with Tampa Bay, Syracuse FS Durell Eskridge who signed with the Jets, and former Michigan State FS Kurt Drummond who reportedly came to terms withHouston, which also signed former Norfolk State edge-rusher Lynden Trail. At the same time, Pittsburgh appeared to corner the market on undrafted rookie free agent Cs signing both Reese Dismukes of Auburn and Kansas State’s B.J. Finney, while Indianapolis, at least got way smarter, signing former Ivy Leaguers Zach Hodges, an edge rusher from Harvard and Yale RB Tyler Varga.

Only 364 days to go … until the 2016 draft!! Hang in there guys! And it is never too early to be looking ahead to next year’s draft so here is a very preliminary first-round projection for 2016. However, readers are gently reminded that with this preliminary a mock comments along the lines of “what the heck are you guys smoking up there! The Buckeroos will never take a … ” could result in severe sanctions. See you next year!

Mixed bag for underclassmen in draft … Underclassmen dominated the top of the board at the 2015 draft as 7 of the top 10 picks and 20 of the 32 first-round picks still had college eligibility left. In fact, the first four picks this year, including former Florida State QB Jameis Winston who was chosen first overall by Tampa Bay, were underclassmen. At the same time, there were a number of underclassmen that probab;ly would have been well-served to stay in school. Indeed, UCLA DT Ellis McCarthy, safeties Durell Eskridge of Syracuse and Virginia’s Chris Hackett, Houston WR Deontay Greeneberry and UCF CB Jacoby Glenn weren’t selected at all while UCLA QB Brett Hundley, Louisville FS Gerod Hollimon, Boise State RB Jay Ajayi, and WRs Sammie Coates of Auburn and Arizona State’s Jaelen strong all lasted considerably longer than they likely ever thought possible when applying for the draft. Same story, sort of, for Alabama safety Landon Collins, Florida State DT Eddie Goldman, and WR Dorial Green-Beckham who were each considered almost a lock to be taken in the opening round, but had to wait until the second day. In the end, roughly 1/4 of the 85 juniors and sophomores who originally entered the draft were not selected, although of course a number of the total were never expected to be drafted in the first place.

SEC still rules draft; FSU top school … The SEC was shut out of college football’s national championship game this past year for the first time in what seemed like forever; however, the conference got some consolation this past weekend when its members schools once again had the most players selected in the 2015 draft. Indeed, once all the picks were in, 54 players from the SEC had been selected by an NFL team, while the ACC had 47 , the Pac-12 39, the Big Ten 35 and the Big XII 26. In fact, the draft remains largely the preserve of the major conferences as almost 80% of all players selected this weekend were from one of the power 5 conferences. At the same time, the American Athletic Conference had 11 players selected, while the figures were 10 from the Mountain West, 6 for the CUSA, 4 from the MAC and 3 from the Sun Belt. In contrast, only 20 players from outside the ranks of the FBS (DIA) schools were selected this year, although the lower levels did not have to wait all that long for one of their players to be selected as Samford S Jaquiski Tartt was chosen in the 2nd round by San Francisco with the 46th pick. However, while the SEC had more players selected than the other conferences, Florida State led all schools with 11 players selected including QB Jameis Winston who was the first player chosen for the first time in school history. Florida State edged out Louisville, which celebrated Derby weekend by having 10 players taken, while Florida had 8 and Alabama, Miami, and Oklahoma had 7 each. On the other hand, Tennessee did not have a player selected at all ending a 50-year streak in which at least one former Vol was drafted. And just to pour a little salt in the wound, two lower level schools from the state – Tennessee State (with 2) and Tennessee-Chattanooga did have a player chosen.

2015 draft wraps; 8th round underway!! ... With Arizona’s selection of former Louisville TE Gerald Christian with the 256th selection, all the picks are now in the books for the 2015 draft. However, there won’t be any rest for weary NFL personnel people as the chase to sign the top undrafted rookie free agents is already underway. And there are still a lot of quality undrafted prospects still out there including LSU OT La’el Collins who in the end went undrafted and now becomes an unrestricted free agent. Meanwhile, other top prospects on the updated GBN Big Board include QBs Shane Carden, Blake Sims, Cody Fajardo and Brandon Bridge; RBs Malcolm Brown, Terrance Magee, Dominique Brown and Michael Dyer; WRs Josh Harper, Antwan Goodley and Austin Hill; OT Sean Hickey; OG Josue Matias; Cs BJ Finney and Reese Dismukes, edge rushers Cedric Reed, Lynden Trail, Zach Hodges and Deion Barnes; ILBs Taiwan Jones and Trey DePriest; CBs Kevin White and Jacoby Glenn; safeties Cody Prewitt, Anthony Harris, Kurt Drummond, Durrell Eskridge, and Chris Hackett; and kickers Spencer Roth, Kyle Christy, Justin Manton and Kyle Brindza.

The Titans are on the clock … Have a great afternoon everyone!!

Pats, Niners, Skins have busy days … Expect the pace of picks to really pick up later today when the 2015 draft concludes with the final four rounds set to get underway at Noon ET with Tennessee on the clock with pick #100 to start the 4th round. Barring trades, New England, San Francisco and Washington have the busiest days today as each still have 7 picks on their dockets. At the same time, another 9 teams have a half dozen picks each. On the other hand, San Diego, with just two picks today, will have a relatively quiet day, while Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis and the Giants have just three selections each. Meanwhile, it looks like someone from Miami may have a horse running in today’s Kentucky Derby as the Dolphins, who have four picks total today, will be done by the middle of the 5th round. for now, here is the unofficial remaining picks by team chart.

Undrafted LSU G/T Collins still available, threatens to boycott season … LSU G/T La’el Collins remains the top remaining undrafted player as the 2015 draft heads into its third and final day. And through his agent, Collins has reportedly threatened to sit out the upcoming season if he had not been selected within the first three rounds of the week’s draft and re-enter the draft next year. Problem is that while a player can refuse to sign and sit out the year, once a player goes undrafted they are not eligible to re-enter the draft. If Collins is drafted later today, he could sit out the year and would become a free agent. Collins, of course, was projected to be a mid first round prospect this year, but was put on hold when police in Baton Rouge wanted to speak with him about the murder of an ex-girlfriend late last week. According to police Collins is not a suspect, but won’t get to talk with them until at least next week. In fact, there are no suspects in the case and police also want to establish paternity of the child. And the whole bizarre story took another sad turn late yesterday when the infant, whom doctors had been able to save originally passed away.

That’s a wrap; part deux ... The second and third rounds of the 2015 draft are now in the books and NFL personnel people will get a chance to maybe get a couple of hours of shut-eye and recalibrate their draft strategies before the 4th round kicks off tomorrow at Noon ET. And there are still a lot of really good prospects left to be selected on the third day of the draft as reflected in the top guys left on updated GBN Big Board including QBs Brett Hundley and Bryce, who had been considered to be the 3-4 prospects at the position in this year’s draft; along with RBs Jay Ajayi, David Cobb, Jeremy Langford, Buck Allen and Mike Davis; WRs Rashad Greene, Tre McBride and Justin Hardy; OTs T.J. Clemmings and Daryl Williams; OG Tre Jackson; DEs Trey Flowers, Zadarius Smith, and Tony Chickillo; DTs Grady Jarrett and Michael Bennett; CBs Josh Shaw and Doran Grant; and safeties Cody Prewitt and Derron Smith.

That didn’t take long; #1 pick signs … Less than a day after selecting him with the first overall pick at the 2015 draft, Tampa Bay has announced that former Florida Strate QB Jameis Winston has agreed to terms on a standard rookie contract. For the record, Winston will wear #3 with the Buccaneers. The early signing is a little surprising in that Tampa Bay reportedly never discussed contract with Winston prior to the draft, although with the new rookie salary scale neither side had much wiggle room.

Random thoughts from the first round … The first round of this year’s draft is in the books and after chewing on things over night, GBN Associate editor Paul Guillemette has posted some thoughts on what transpired in last night’s opening round.

First impressions … We are always hesitant to comment on the value of players NFL teams take in the draft. After all, those teams put in literally thousands of man hours in evaluating college football players across the country in preparing for the draft and just have that much more information  than we do. It also takes time to see how the players actually turn out. Still, its not hard to have some preliminary guy reactions on who the winners and losers might have been in yesterday’s first round of the 2015 draft.

They’re back … The story that simply would not die during this entire draft process is that Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles would try and move up in the draft to get Oregon QB Marcus Mariota. And that story appears to have new life today as we move to under 10 hours to go before the event actually gets underway. This morning’s Draft Buzz file has some of the latest gossip on that and several other possible trades, although its unlikely anything actually takes place until team’s actually get on the clock.

Pigskin, significant others post top 100s … Several top draft analysts historically wait until the final days before the draft to post their overall rankings. That’s the case for our own Pigskin Paul Guillemette who has his ranking of the top 100 prospects for today’s draft. Meanwhile, Mike Mayock, NFL.com’s lead draft analyst posted his only top 100 earlier this week as did Bob McGinn of the Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel, whose top 100 annually is among the leaders of the most accurate top 100 rankings.

ITS DRAFT DAY!!! … Where the heck is everyone.Of course, the picks don’t actually start coming off the board for another 11 hours or so, but stay with us during the day for all the latest breaking news and rumors. And we’ll also be here right from gavel to gavel tracking all the picks and trades; as usual, we’ll also be keeping the GBN Big Board updated showing the top players still on the board right through the draft and into the free agent signing frenzy, while GBN crony Pigskin Paul Guillemette will be blogging right through the weekend with analysis and commentary on all the picks. Should be fun!

GBN pre-draft special coming up  …  ‘The’ Great Blue North special 2-hour draft preview show gets underway within the hour at 8 PM ET tonight on blog radio. Join host Eric Lamb and GBN analysts Colin Lindsay and  Pigskin Paul Guillemette for the latest drafted related buzz and a walk-through mock of all the first round picks on Blog Talk Radio. Folks can also follow the blog mock picks online.Fans can also call the show with questions or comments at 1-347-826-7213.

Have Browns offered #1s to Titans for #2 pick? … According to a report over at ESPN, Cleveland has made an offer to Tennessee for the 2nd overall pick in tomorrow’s that, according to ‘sources familiar with the discussions’, includes the 12th and 19th picks in this year’s opening round. Interesting to note that the actual quote regarding the conditions includes the word ‘includes’ which implies that the Browns may actually be offering more. In fact, according to the standard NFL trade value chart, the combined value of the 12th and 19th picks is only about 65-70% of the value of the #1 pick overall. and going by the chart value, it would probably also cost the Browns something approaching their #1 pick in 2016 to get the deal done. At the same time, though, there is a conflicting story at ESPN which reports that the Browns have not made an offer to Tennessee for the #2 pick, while another source close to the Browns says there have been no substantive talks with the Titans. With these kinds of reports, though, one always has to read the fine print and the words ‘offer’ and ‘substantive’ might be key.

Draft buzz update … With the draft now just over 32 hours away, most NFL teams are locked away in their respective war rooms across the country putting final touches on their 2015 draft plans, however, there is still enough buzz out there to justify an update to the Draft Buzz file including a Jameis Winston sighting in Tampa and lots of who’s looking up and/or down stuff.

Final 3-round mock posted … Usually around this time of the year the GBN becomes something of a ‘mock free zone!’ Not that we have anything against mock drafts, but by this point in the process it becomes pretty obvious that trades – and likely multiple trades – once the actual picks start coming off the board making even the best projection pretty much irrelevant and a waste of time. However, mocks do also appear to be something of an occupational requirement so we have posted a final 3-round mock for everyone’s amusement. And for those unhappy with their particular team’s picks we recommend chilling for a day or so until the actual picks actually do start coming off the board.

Pigskin mocks the Pats … GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette wraps up his series of selected team mock drafts with the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.

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