NEWS AND NEAR NEWS

Roster cuts               2016 draft positional previews                  Pigskin’s pre-season game reviews

Are you ready for some football (that matters)?  While the NFL dawdles away another perfectly good early fall weekend with yet another round of essentially meaningless pre-season exhibition games this week, college football gets underway in earnest gets underway later tonight with a slew of games, perhaps the most interesting of which has #2 Texas Christian playing at Minnesota on ESPN at 9 PM ET. In addition to giving folks a chance to get an early look at the guy who should be the consensus favorite to win the Heisman, this game also features the potential for some intriguing one-on-one match-ups in the secondary that pro scouts will be watching carefully. More

OSU QB Jones hosipitalized … There are unconfirmed reports that Ohio State junior QB Cardale Jones spent the night in a local hospital with severe head pain. According to the reports, Jones was diagnosed with a bad migraine. No word yet, though, on whether Jones will miss any time on the field; Jones, who is considered to be a potential opening round pick at the 2016 draft, is in a heated competition with with sophomore J.T. Barrett for the Buckeyes’ starting quarterback job. The defending national champions play at Virginia Tech on Monday night.

More Week III pre-season wraps … The third week of the NFL pre-season schedule is generally considered to be the most important week of the pre-season as most teams use is as a dress rehearsal for their season openers now just over a week or so away. And that’s one of the things GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette will be focusing on as he continues his series of reviews of pre-season game reviews with write-ups on thw Seahawks-Chargers, Cowboys-Vikings, Eagles- Packers and Ravens-DCThings. Earlier today Pigskin had reviews of the Browns-Bucs, Dolphins-Falcons and Titans-Chiefs.

Texans get pick from Bears for TE ... Houston has reportedly acquired a 6th round pick at the 2016 draft from Chicago in exchange for TE Khari Lee. Not a bad return on 2014 undrafted rookie free agent who did not catch a pass last fall.

Former star Big XII KR finds home in DII … Former star Oklahoma State WR/RB/KR Tyreek Hill has transferred to DII West Alabama where he will be eligible immediately.  Hill, who had 3 returns for TDs last fall including a 92-yard punt return in the Cowboys’ dramatic win over Oklahoma, was named an all-conference special teamer after transferring in from a junior college last fall, but was kicked out of the program following a December arrest on a domestic violence charge in which he was alleged to have choked his girlfriend. Hill had been thought to have transferred to Akron this spring, but that never materialized and ended up at West Alabama after he entered a plea deal for three years of probation and a deferred sentence last week to resolve his case. The domestic issue will obviously have a significant impact on Hill’s NFL hopes, but the 5-9, 185-pounder also has world class track speed – he’s run under 10-flat in the 100M – which may get him a second chance at some point.

Saints get really future pick from Pats for WR … New Orleans has acquired a conditional future pick from New England in exchange for WR/KR Jalen Saunders.  However, the pick is being reported as only for the 2018 draft.

Cuts posted … It took awhile, but all the cuts from today’s 75-man roster limit have been posted.  And so far, the 2015 draft class has fared reasonably well; indeed, only one draft pick – Tampa Bay 7th round FB Joey Iosefa – was released this weekend, although a baker’s dozen have been placed on either injured reserve, PUP or the non-football injury list including first rounders Kevin White of Chicago who was placed on PUP and Cincinnati OT Cedric Ogbuehi who went on the NFI list..

DE class previewed … With the start of the upcoming college football season now just days away we continue our series of positional previews for the 2016 draft by looking at the defensive ends today, which looks like it could be one of the dominant positions in the early going at the upcoming draft. Also note our initial ranking of the top DE prospects for the 2016 draft has also been posted.

Seahawks get future Panthers’ pick for WR … Seattle has acquired an undisclosed pick from Carolina for WR Kevin Norwood, a 4th round pick in 2014, who did not play much last fall because of a foot injury.

Jags-Steelers, Broncs-Texans make pre-roster date deals … There have been a couple of trades on this morning’s transaction wire as Jacksonville sent veteran PK Josh Scobee, the team’s all-time leading scorer, to Pittsburgh for what is being reported as a late-round draft pick. With the Steelers, Scobee will replace Shawn Suisam who tore an ACL earlier this month. Meanwhile, Denver has acquired a 7th round pick in 2016 from Houston in exchange for veteran OT Chris Clark. With these deals the GBN trade mart has been updated.

Bucs cut late rounder … Tampa Bay released FB Joey Isoefa, a 7th round pick at the 2015 draft, among moves the team made to get down to this week’s 75-man roster limit. All teams have to be down to that limit by 4 PM ET on Tuesday.

Jags IR top pick … Jacksonville became the first team to officially get down to Tuesday’s 75-man roster limit. included in the Jaguars’ first set of roster moves was DE Dante Fowler, the 3rd player selected overall at the 2015 draft who was placed on inured reserve with a knee injury suffered earlier this summer.

The Turk is on the prowl … The NFL’s first major cut-down deadline is looming as all teams must be down to 75 players by 4 PM ET on Tuesday following the completion of the third full week of pre-season games which got underway last evening. In fact, one can expect the cuts to begin to be announced just about any time as many teams tend not to want to keep players around who know they are going to be released. As usual, we will be tracking all the cuts, especially those involving this year’s draft picks and undrafted free agents. Otherwise have a great early fall weekend!

Pack RB; Vols WR pinched for early games … North Carolina State RB Shad Thornton and Tennessee WR/KR Pig Howard, both of whom are considered to be second-tier prospects for the 2016 draft, will miss early games this fall for internal disciplinary issues. Thornton, UNC’s leading rusher last season, will not play in the Wolfpack’s first two games against Troy and Eastern Kentucky for violating athletic department policy. It’s the second time Thornton will miss at least one game because of a suspension and the third time during his career he has been suspended. Thornton missed the 2013 opener after a misdemeanor assault of a female arrest in June 2013. He received deferred prosecution in that case, which involved a dispute with his then-girlfriend at the campus library. He was also charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession in December 2013, but he did not miss any game time after the charge was dropped. Meanwhile, Tennessee’s Howard, who led the Vols with 54 receptions in 2014, will be suspended for team’s season opener against Bowling Green for an undisclosed violation of team rules.

Injured Hog RB likely headed for draft … Arkansas RB Jonathan Williams, who is expected to miss the entire regular season this fall after undergoing surgery to repair a foot issue that occurred during a scrimmage earlier this month, has told local reporters that if his rehab goes as expected, he’ll enter the 2016 draft rather than return to the Razorbacks next season. The 5-11, 225-pound Williams, who ran for 1,200 yards and a dozen scores last fall, had been considered to be a solid second-day prospect for the 2016 draft and still hopes to play if as expected Arkansas plays in a bowl later this season.

Irish DE waiver appeal denied; must sit or transfer … Notre Dame has announced that the NCAA has denied DE Ishaq Williams’ request to be allowed to play this season, his final year of eligibility. Williams was suspended all last year because of academic irregularities and had re-enrolled in school earlier this summer, but was not granted a waiver to continue his FBS career. Williams, who is considered to be a late round 5T DE prospect for the upcoming draft, now has the option of sitting out the year and entering the 2016 draft or transferring to a lower level where he likely would be eligible to play this fall.

Lions get real future pick from Pats for OT/TE … Detroit has shipped OT Michael Williams to New England for what is being reported as a 7th round pick in 2017. The Lions chose Williams as a TE in the seventh round of the 2013 draft, but moved him to offensive line last spring.

Knights’ WR to miss half of season opener … Rutgers WR Leonte Carroo, one of the top senior prospects at the position for the upcoming draft, is one of 5 Scarlet Knghts to be suspended for the first half of the team’s season opener next month. The players reportedly broke curfew during fall camp. The suspended group also includes sophomore QB Chris Laviano, Rutgers staring QB, along with senior P Tim Gleeson.

ACC Tiger DT steps away from football … Thanks to long-time GBN friend Larry P for the heads up as Clemson DT D.J. Reader, a projected this fall who figured to be a late-round or free agent candidate for the 2016 draft, has decided to step away from the game reportedly to deal with some unspecified personal issues. The 6-2, 325-pound Reader has played in 38 games in his career to date with one start and 1.5 sacks.

What NFL scouts are up to these days … For those that have not seen it, Greg Gabriel over at the National Football Post has an interesting post on some of the early scouting being done on prospects for the 2016 draft.

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