NEWS AND NEAR NEWS

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

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.

First round of cuts deadline looming … All 32 NFL teams have until 4 PM ET later this afternoon to get down to the league’s initial 75-man roster limit. In fact, most teams have already announced at least some of their cuts, while something close to a dozen are already down to the limit. Of course, the bigger cut – down to the opening day 53-man rosters – comes up almost immediately as all teams have to be down to that limit by Saturday afternoon.

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!

Still more Week II pre-season wraps … With the third full week of the NFL pre-season schedule just about ready to kick-off this evening, GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette continues to wrap up his reviews of last weekend’s games with a special eye on how this year’s draft picks are faring with reports on the Bears-Colts, Dolphins-Panthers and Raidesr-Vikings. Earlier in the day Pigskin posted reviews of another half dozen second week games including 49ers-Cowboys, Saints-Patriots, Ravens-Eagles, Giants-Jaguars, Steelers-Packers and Chargers-Cardinals games.

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.

LSU safety dinged … LSU safety Jalen Mills, a second-day prospect for the 2016 draft who had never missed a start in the three years with the program, fractured a fibula in practice yesterday and will be out 4-6 weeks. The Tigers are hopeful that the 6-1, 195 Mills, who doubles as their nickel corner in passing situations, will be back for their key showdown with Auburn on September 19th.

QB class previewed … With the start of the upcoming college football season now less than three weeks away – and with just 275 days to until the 2016 draft – we’ll be previewing each position with an eye toward the upcoming draft over the next few weeks starting with the quarterbacks today, including an initial ranking of the top guys at the position.

Husky OG retires with knee … Washington OG Dexter Charles, a 5th year senior who figured to be a mid-to-late round prospect for the 2016 draft, has announced that he is giving up the game because of a lingering knee issue. The 6-5, 315-pound Charles had started 30 games for the Huskies, but in addition to the knee problems had also reportedly had as many as three surgeries on a balky shoulder.

Bears top pick may be done for year … Chicago rookie WR Kevin White, the 7th player selected at the 2015 draft, has a stress fracture in his left shin that will require surgery. The Bears remain hopeful that White could play later in the season, but it is also possible he may not play at all this fall. As part of the procedure, White will have a rod inserted into his left leg to stabilize his tibia. Meanwhile. the Giants have reportedly lost safety Mykkele Thompson, their 5th round pick this year, for the season after he tore an achilles tendon while covering a kick in the team’s pre-season opening loss to Cincinnati. However, the Giants may have averted a total rookie safety disaster as an MRI on the knee of FS Landon Collins, whom the team traded up to take with the first pick in this second round, was negative after he too was helped off the field in Cincinnati. Collins will miss up to two weeks with a sprained MCL, but should be ready for the season opener in Dallas on September 13th.

Top rook QBs struggle in pro debuts … So you wanted to be a pro quarterback. Welcome to the bigs! Both Jameis Winston of Tampa Bay and Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota, the first two players selected at the 2015 draft, had their ups and downs in their respective teams pre-season openers this weekend. Winston, whom the Buccaneers selected with the first overall pick this past  spring, worked the entire first half in a 26-6 loss to Minnesota, did run for a TD, but completed nine of 19 passes for 131 yards; he also failed to throw a touchdown pass and was intercepted once while delivering several other balls that were well out of range of their intended target. Winston was also sacked a couple of times when he held onto the ball too long. Meanwhile, Mariota, whom Tennessee took with the second pick, turned the ball over on his first two possessions in the Titans’ 31-24 loss to Atlanta, but did bounce back to complete 7 of his next 8 pass attempts for 94 yards.

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