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.

More final Week II pre-season wraps … With the third full week of the NFL pre-season schedule ready to kick-off, 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 49ers-Cowboys, Saints-Patriots and Ravens-Eagles. Earlier in the day he had posted his thoughts on the Giants-Jaguars, Steelers-Packers and Chargers-Cardinals games.

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.

TE class previewed … With the start of the upcoming college football season now less than two weeks away we’ll be previewing each position with an eye toward the upcoming draft over the next few weeks including the tight ends today, including an initial ranking of the top guys at the position.

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.

The Duke, UGA edge rusher and Duck QB all back in college football update … Auburn WR Duke Williams has been re-instated to the team after he was for all intents and purposes suspended for 6 days for what Tigers’ head coach Gus Malzahn described as a ‘discipline issue.’ The 6-2, 225-pound Williams, who emerged as a big-play threat last fall when he caught 45 passes for 730 yards and 5 TDs after transferring in from a junior college last fall, is considered to be a potential late first round pick this coming April based on his size and physical skills, but pro scouts will be paying very close attention to the other stuff as he has had off-field issues before. Williams was suspended from the team’s bowl game and then this spring went on a tirade about the fact that he wasn’t happy at the school. Stay tuned! Meanwhile, Georgia junior OLB Leonard Floyd, an edge rusher with top 50 potential missed some practice time earlier this week after undergoing an MRI earlier on the same shoulder he had surgery on earlier this year. And if twitter is to be believed, Oregon QB Vernon Adams passed that exam earlier today and will be able to start working out with the ducks with whom he hopes to replace Marcus Mariota behind center. Adams, who starred for three years at FCS Eastern Washington, needed to complete his course work at EWU before he could be eligible immediately as a graduate student at Oregon.

Spartans lose rising OLB to ACL … Michigan State OLB Ed Davis tore an ACL during Wednesday’s practice and will miss the entire 2015 season. The unheralded 6-2, 235-pound Davis had been considered to be a mid-round prospect after he posted 58 tackles including 7 sacks last fall. As a 5th year senior Davis would at least be eligible to apply for an extra year of eligibility, however, his redshirt year was not for an injury so that options remains a long-shot.

OT okay in daily Duck update … Updating yesterday’s post from Oregon, according to Ryan Thorburn of the Eugene Register-Guard, rising OT Tyler Johnstone was not seriously injured on Monday and returned to practice yesterday; Johnstone, who tore an ACL late last season said “I’m good” on his way to treatment after Tuesday’s practice session. Meanwhile, QB Vernon Adams has to pass an exam tomorrow to complete his degree requirements at Eastern Washington in order to be eligible to play for the Ducks this fall. Meanwhile the father of junior RB Thomas Tyner, who is out for the year after undergoing surgery to remove a bone chip from his shoulder last week, is being quoted as saying that contrary to some rumors, Tyner is still enrolled at Oregon and plans to return to the Ducks next fall. And one other injury situation to watch at Oregon: TE Pharoah Brown, one of the top prospects at the position if healthy, has been practicing with the team on a very limited basis as he continues to rehab from a gruesome leg injury suffered late last season and and has not ruled out taking a redshirt year.

College football updates … There appears to be plenty going on up in Oregon other than the fact that the Ducks could be sporting unis that glow in the dark at some this fall. For starters, emerging OT Tyler Johnstone,  a potential second day pick this coming spring, was carted off the field during the team’s practice session yesterday with an apparent lower leg problem. The good news for Johnstone is that the injury is not believed to be to the knee on which he suffered a season-ending ACL tear last fall. At the same time, junior RB Thomas Tyner will miss the season after undergoing surgery to repair a shoulder injury that was originally hurt late last fall. And the fact that Tyner was deleted from the Ducks’ published roster has led to some speculation that he might never return to the program. With Tyner out for the year, it is likely that star WR Byron Marshall, the team’s starting RB a couple of years back, will get some additional snaps in the backfield, behind emerging sophomore RB Royce Freeman. Perhaps most importantly for the Ducks, they are still waiting for QB Vernon Adams to be able to practice. Adams, an FCS All-American at Eastern Washington, is trying to transfer to Oregon where he will be eligible immediately once he enrols in a graduate program not offered at EWU. Small detail though in that before one gets into graduate school one actually has to be a graduate first and Adams is scrambling to finish some coursework to complete his EWU degree. Meanwhile, Tennessee OG Marcus Jackson, a fifth-year senior, will reportedly miss the entire 2015 season because of what is believed to be a torn biceps which will require surgery to repair. Jackson could petition the NCAA for an additional year of eligibility, but those usually are only granted when a player loses two seasons to injury and Jackson took a straight redshirt earlier in his career. The 6-2, 310-pound Jackson is considered to be a late-round or free-agent prospect for the upcoming draft.

Draft to stay put in 2016 … The NFL has scheduled a news conference this afternoon at which time the league will announce that the 2016 draft will stay in Chicago for at least another year. There had been some speculation that the draft could move from city to city with Los Angeles a possible destination for the upcoming draft, but for now it will stay in Chicago where the city turned the draft into a huge event, with tens of thousands of people visiting the so-called “Draft Town” in Grant Park. The 2016 draft is scheduled for the weekend of April 28-30.

Pats trade rookie pick for vet OL … In a bit of an unusual move New England has traded OLB Matthew Wells, a 6th round pick at the 2015 draft, to Chicgao for G/T Ryan Groy. The trade won’t become official until Groy passes a physical later today. Groy signed with the Bears as an undrafted rookie from Wisconsin after the 2014 draft and played in four games last season after spending most of the year on the practice squad.

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