NEWS AND NEAR NEWS

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Browns sign pair of top 10 UDFAs; legacy C … Cleveland continued to add to its haul of quality prospects from the 2016 draft class as the team announced the signings of former Florida State DT Nile Lawrence-Stample and former MLB Dominique Alexander, two of the top rated undrafted rookie free agents this year. Larwence-Stample was the 7th highest rated player on the GBN list of top undrafted players from this year’s draft, while Alexander was rated 9th. The two were among 11 undrafted rookie free agents signed by the Browns today, including former Texas A&M C Mike Matthews, who continues the family tradition in Cleveland. Matthews is the son of Bruce Matthews, a Hall of Fame OT for Cleveland, and the nephew of Clay Matthews, a former star LB with the Browns.

Colts sign top pick … Indianapolis became the second team to come to term with their 2016 first round pick as they have signed former Alabama C Ryan Kelly to a 4-year deal. The Colts selected Kelly, last year’s Rimington Trophy winner as the nation’s top collegiate center, with the 18th pick last Thursday. He joins Atlanta FS Keanu Neal, who signed yesterday, as the only two first round picks to have signed to date.

A big thanks … Thanks to all those who so kindly forwarded copies of the final GBN Big Board.

Pigskin reviews Pack draft … We at the GBN don’t really believe in immediate post-draft draft grades that currently are proliferating in the media and on the internet. What we are inclined to do, though, is to try and analyze a draft by assessing which picks we like and those we don’t and then trying to understand what a particular team might have been trying to accomplish with those picks, especially those that maybe we don’t like quite so much. That’s what GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette has done with the Green Bay Packers’ draft, a team which always seem to draft well.

CFL draft adds round … With less than a week to be before the CFL draft, the league threw its 9 teams for a bit with a loop with the announcement that this year’s draft would have 8 rounds instead of 7. The CFL draft is scheduled for next Tuesday with Saskatchewan currently holding the first pick overall.

Titans add to front office … Tennessee has reportedly hired Ryan Cowden as the team’s new director of player personnel. Cowden, who will report to G.M. Jon Robinson, had been Carolina’s assistant director of college scouting.

Falcons first to sign top pick … Atlanta has signed FS Keanu Neal, their first-round pick at the 2016 draft. Neal, the 17th player selected this year, signed a 4-year deal with a club option; he’s the first first pick to come to terms this year.

Star game draft report … Every year, GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette goes to as many college all-star games as he can and then follows it up with an overview of how each games players did at the draft. Here’s this year’s report.

Browns, Titans, Vikes in good shape for 2017 … Finally got a chance to catch our breath and do a little housekeeping. In particular, with a little help from reader Ray H., the future trades table has been updated with trades from last weekend’s draft.  Not surprising, after all their major deals this past weekend, Cleveland is well positioned to have a major impact on the early going at the 2017 draft with extra selections in both the first (from Philadelphia) and second (from Tennessee) rounds next year; for good measure, the Browns also have an extra second round pick in 2018 from Philadelphia. And while Tennessee won’t have that second round pick traded to Cleveland next year, the Titans will have two picks in both the first and third rounds from the LA Rams. At the same time, Minnesota will have extra picks in both the 3rd and 4th rounds in 2017 acquired from Miami, (updated) while San Francisco currently has 10 picks with extra picks in the 5th (Washington), 6th (Denver) and 7th (Cleveland) rounds. Only 360 days to go!

German import first to sign … Minnesota WR Moritz Boerhringer is the first player selected at the 2016 draft to sign. Boehringer, of course, is the German whom the Vikings selected in the 6th round of last weekend’s draft despite the fact he has never played football in the U.S. after some amazing workouts prior to the draft.

How the Giants ended up with a 2nd Eli and other notes from their 2016 draft … We’re still not sure of all the details because we never got the full story from one trusted source, but this is our best take on how the 10th pick went last Thursday based on nuggets of information we have been able to piece together from several different sources in our post-draft Giants Report.

Mother of all upsets in the ‘other’ football … For those who do not follow British football, Leicester City, the minnows of all minnows, just won the English Premier League title when Chelsea rallied to tie Tottenham Hotspurs 2-2. That leaves Leicester 7 up on Spurs with just two games to play. Just how surprising is it. Prior to the season, British bookies were giving Leicester the same odds to win the title as to finding Elvis alive. If nothing else it gives hope to every underdog everywhere. Its why we play the games!!

More draft thoughts … Contrary to what many millennials think being 2-4 days old does not make the draft ancient history to be stored in an archives section.In fact, it will actually take several years before the final story on the 2016 draft is written. That said, GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette has some preliminary thoughts on the proceedings in Chicago last weekend.

Cane DE dinged … Miami junior DE Al-Quadin Muhammad, a rising prospect for the 2017 or 2018 drafts, will reportedly miss at least a couple of weeks of football activity after he had minor arthroscopic knee surgery late last week. The 6-3, 260-pound Muhammad led Miami with 5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss last season and is expected to be one of the ACC’s top DEs this season.

Mixed bag for underclassmen in draft … Every year, one of the enduring questions revolving around the draft is whether too many underclassmen are leaving for the NFL with eligibility remaining. No question, though, that underclassmen tend to dominate the top of the board. At the 2016 draft, for example, 8 of the top 10 picks and 21 of the 31 first-round selections still had college eligibility left. In the end 77 of the 107 juniors and redshirt freshman in this weekend’s draft class were ultimately selected. On the other hand, though, 30 declared underclassmen were not selected at all in this weekend’s draft. Of course, many of those never actually expected to be drafted, but many did. Indeed, even Ohio State, which led all schools with 12 players selected this past weekend, wasn’t immune as neither of junior FS Tyvis Powell and sophomore WR Jalin Marshall were chosen through the seven rounds. Indeed, it was a tough weekend for junior receivers as along with Marshall fellow WRs Rogers Lewis of Bowling Green, De’Runnya Wilson of Mississippi State, Bralon Addison and Byron Marshall of Oregon, Cayleb Jones of Arizona and Tennessee’s Marquez North all were disappointed when they weren’t selected Meanwhile, other underclassmen who had to be devastated when they weren’t drafted included Arkansas G/T Denver Kirkland, Oklahoma MLB Dominique Alexander, and Indiana DT Darius Latham. At the same time, a number of other underclassmen went substantially later than they had expected when the filed paperwork with the NFL back in January including CB Mackensie Alexander of Clemson, Alabama DT A’Shawn Robinson, Baylor Dt Andrew Billings, Clemson SS Jayron Kearse and Arizona MLB Scooby Wright.

Bucks rule draft; B1G makes b1g gains; 2016 draft by the numbers, Part I … Ohio State left little doubt which was the top school at the 2016 draft as the Buckeyes had a record 10 players taken in the first three rounds and twelve overall to lead all schools. However, despite the Buckeyes’ dominance on the board, the SEC still had the most players taken, although the Big Ten made it close. more

Just 364 days until the 2017 draft … Hang in there guys!!! To help wile away the time, here’s our very first, very, very preliminary projection for the first round of next year’s draft. However, everyone is reminded of one the very few GBN house rules in that anyone even thinking of sending a missive along the lines of “What the heck are you guys smoking up there! The Buckeroos will never take a …. ” gets a 6-month suspension from the site!

Preliminary observations from the draft’s final round … GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette has some early thoughts on the proceedings of the final day of the 2016 draft.

Draft wraps; 8th round underway … With the Tennessee Titans making x the final pick of this year’s 7th round, not to mention Mr. Irrelevant, the 2016 draft is in the books. However, there won’t be any rest for weary NFL personnel departments as all teams are now frantically trying to sign the best undrafted free agents. And there are some good ones still out. Undrafted players from the updated GBN Big Board include including QBs Vernon Adams and Jake Coker; RBs Josh Ferguson and Tre Madden;  FB Glenn Gronkowski; WRs Roger Lewis, Devon Cajuste, Bralon Addison, and Keyarris Garrett; OTs Tyler Johstone, Tyler Marz and Avery Young; OGs Landon Turner, Denver Kirkland and Alex Redmond; C Jack Allen; DEs Jason Fanaika, James Cowser, Romeo Okwara, DJ Pettway, Drew Ott, and Ron Thompson; DTs Nile Lawrence-Stample, Greg Milhouse and Luther Maddy; ILBs Dominique Alexander, and Jared Norris; OLBs Eric Striker, Victor Ochi, and Terrence Smith; CBs Jonathan Jones, Morgan Burns, and Briean Boddy-Calhoun; safeties Jeremy Cash and Jordan Lomax; P Tom Hackett; and PK Ka’Imi Fairbairn.

Pigskin punks second day picks … GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette was the first one in the GBN War Room yesterday and the last one out this morning and he weighs in with his views on the hits, misses and surprises from the second day’s picks of this weekend’s draft.

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