DE Fields case to go to trial … When he arrived at Louisville, earlier this year, DE Devonte Fields had hoped that he could put the domestic violence case that got him dismissed from TCU behind him very quickly. However, it now appears the case will go trial in June after a deal between the involved parties to drop the charges fell through. Fields is facing a misdemeanor charge of assault causing bodily injury to a family member after he allegedly hit his ex-girlfriend last summer. If convicted, Fields faces up to one year in prison and a $4,000 fine. Prior to the incident, the 6-4, 250 Fields had been a rising edge rushing star who had been named the preseason Big XII defensive player of the year before the dismissal.
Former Tide QB heads north … Another undrafted rookie QB is heading north of the border as former Alabama star Blake Sims has reportedly signed with Toronto of the CFL. Following the 2015 draft where he was not selected, Sims had minicamp tryouts with Green Bay and Washington, but was not signed by either. In fact, Sims worked out with Washington as a RB; with the CFL’s Argos Sims will work as a QB. CFL camps open later this week.
DII DE to enter supp draft … Pro Football Talk is reporting that former Illinois DE/OLB Darrius Caldwell is applying for this summer’s supplemental draft. Caldwell, who looks the part at 6-4, 245 with projected 4.75 speed, had 12 sacks at DII West Georgia last fall. Caldwell was originally a 4-star recruit at Illinois, but was ultimately dismissed from the program after two years for an unspecified violation of team rules. Caldwell then spent a season at Pearl River Community College before attempting to transfer to Arizona State last summer, but couldn’t qualify academically and ended up at West Georgia.
Irish OL, UM CB find new homes … Former Notre Dame C/G Matt Hegarty has confirmed that he will be transferring to Oregon for his final year of eligibility. Meanwhile, former Michigan CB Blake Countess is transferring to Auburn for his senior campaign. Both Hegarty and countess have graduated so will be eligible in 2015 with their new teams. Countess is considered to be a potential mid-round prospect for the 2015 draft, while Hegarty has some late-round potential.
Go north young man … Montreal of the Canadian league has signed a couple of rookie QBs who were not selected at the 2015 NFL draft. No surprise here but Montreal signed former South Alabama QB Brandon Bridge to a two-year deal. Bridge, a Canadian who was considered by some draft analysts to have the strongest arm in this year’s NFL draft class, was the 33rd highest rated undrafted player left on the GBN Big Board after the draft; he had a tryout after the draft with Dallas but was not signed by the Cowboys. With the Alouettes, Bridge will be competing for a roster spot with former Marshall QB Rakeem Cato, another rookie who was passed over at the NFL draft. Cato had a tryout with Cleveland, but like Bridge was not signed.
More post-draft musings … The 2015 draft is now almost three weeks in the rear-view mirror, but our Pigskin Paul Guillemette is still poring over his notes trying to make sense of everything that took place earlier this month and weighs in with some more post-draft analysis starting with his thoughts on Dallas’ signing of former LSU G/T La’el Collins after the draft.
Irish QB Golson now a Seminole … What’s the old saying if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em? Former Notre Dame QB Everett Golson, who led the Irish to the 2013 national title game where they lost to Florida State, has decided to transfer to FSU for his final year of eligibility. As he has graduated Golson will be eligible for the upcoming season and heads to Tallahasse as the favorite to replace Jameis Winston, the first player chosen at the 2015 draft, as the Seminoles’ starting QB next fall, although Golson is more a mid-to-late round prospect.
DCThings make UDFA moves … After completing their rookie minicamp this past weekend, Washington made a number of roster moves including undrafted rookie free agents. Washington released 5 players including undrafted rookie QB Connor Halliday, who had announced he was retiring from football just before the start of minicamp. Washington also released UDFA OT Brey Cook and WR Tyler Rutenbeck. At the same time, Washington signed 5 rookie free agents who had been in camp on a tryout basis including former Georgia QB Hutson Mason, OLB Houston Bates of Louisiana Tech, Southern Miss LB Dasman McCallum, Alabama State OT Tovar Allen and Canadian DT Daryl Waud of Western Ontario. It also does not appear that Washington signed former Alabama QB Blake Sims who was at their minicamp trying out as a RB.
Suspect ID’d in Husker truck caper … These are relatively quiet times in college football, but one story that did catch our attention involved Nebraska DE Jack Gangwish , who will be competing to replace Randy Gregory once the Huskers open training camp in August. Gangwish drew the ire of animal lovers this past December after he ended up killing a raccoon he had spotted on the side of a road. This past weekend, Gangwish had his truck stolen. Local police are reportedly on the lookout for a perp who has been described as short with a mask, whiskers and a ringtail.
Bears tweak scout staff … Chicago has revamped its scouting staff by hiring former Baltimore national scout Joe Douglas to be the team’s new director of college scouting director. Douglas replaces Marty Barrett in the position after the latter’s contract was not renewed earlier this month. Meanwhile, Anthony Kelly has been named the Bears’ new director of pro scouting, while Christopher Prescott, a former Jets’ scout, as an area scout.
Undrafted DCThing QB retires … Washington has announced that undrafted rookie free agent QB Connor Halliday has opted to retire from football on the eve of the team’s rookie minicamp this weekend. The former Washngton State gunslinger had been leading the NCAA in passing when he suffered a broken leg early last November. Ironically, Halliday was injured when USC DE Leonard Washington rolled on his leg; of course, Washington raised some eyebrows at the 2015 draft when they passed on Williams, the consensus top non-QB prospect overall this year to select Iowa G/T Brandon Scherff with the 5th pick.
‘Hawks release noted UDFA … Seattle has reportedly released with an injury rookie DT Tory Slater who was one of the more talked about lower level prospects prior to the 2015 draft. The former West Georgia DT was #114 on the GBN list of top-rated undrafted players following this month’s draft. However, the bigger story in Seattle may be the growing rift between the Seahawks and veteran OLB Bruce Irvin. Irvin, who is reportedly upset because the Seahawks did not pick up an option for the 2016 season that would have paid him almost $7.8 million this fall, was quoted in his home town of Atlanta that he will be playing for the Falcons next year. Sort of a case of reverse tampering if there is such a thing!
Lions shuffle personnel department deck … Detroit has announced that longtime scout Lance Newmark will be taking over from Sean McEwen as the team’s director of college scouting. McEwen has been promoted to senior personnel executive with duties as a national scout and adviser to G.M. Matthew Mayhew. The Lions also promoted Cedric Saunders to senior vice president of football operations.
Lose one, win for UM defensive backfield … Just days after Michigan gained a quality veteran defensive back when Wayne Lyons officially transferred in from Stanford, the Wolverines learned that two-time all Bg 10 CB Blake countess will transfer elsewhere. Countess has graduated and will be eligible this fall if he transfers to a school with a graduate program that Michigan does not offer. Countess is considered to be a mid-round prospect for the upcoming draft.
Broncs, ‘Hawks, Lions lead comp pick race … Yesterday was the last day that that unrestricted veteran free agent signings counted in the calculation of compensatory picks for the 2016 draft. The NFL uses a mystic formula to calculate what teams get what compensatory picks which factors in the net losses of free agents a team suffers as well as some measure of the fiscal remuneration involved. And by our unofficial count, Denver, Detroit and Seattle appear to be in line to get a nice package of comp picks at next year’s draft. Denver leads the way with a net loss of 6 veteran free agents as the Broncos signed only one free agent from another team, while having 7 of their own UFAs sign elsewhere. At the same time, both Seattle and Detroit had a net loss of 5 unrestricted free agents, although the Lions will get the advantage as one of their losses – star DT Ndamukong suh who signed with Miami – was the highest priced free agent this year. Meanwhile, New England, Baltimore and Cleveland are each down a net -4 free agents, while Dallas, Green Bay, Kansas City and San Francisco were down a total of three and Buffalo and San Diego were down two. Here is the full list of free-agent signings to date. In the meantime, if we have missed any signings, we’d appreciate a heads-up.
CFL draft wrap … The CFL draft wrapped up late last evening when Calgary made University of Calgary QB Andrew Buckley the equivalent of the NFL draft’s ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ by selecting him with the 62nd and final pick in the league’s annual draft of Canadian-born players. And in the sometimes wacky world of the the CFL, its ‘Mr Irrelevant’ was actually the winner of last year’s Hec Crichton Award, Canadian college football’s equivalent to the Heisman Trophy! But that’s Canadian college sports which are played on a whole different level that their counterparts in the U.S. What makes the CFL draft somewhat unusual is that because many of the best Canadian prospects end up in the NFL in one or another, BPA tends to get trumped by availability. This year’s top overall prospect for the CFL draft according the league’s own central scouting team, former Rice DT Chris Covington, wasn’t selected until the 5th round by British Columbia after he was a 6th round pick at the 2015 NFL draft by Houston. There is a similar story for former UNLV OT Brett Boyko, the CFL’s second rated prospect who is an undrafted rookie free agent with Philadelphia, wasn’t selected until the CFL draft’s second round (again by B.C.). At the same time, South Alabama QB Brandon Bridge, arguably the best Canadian QB prospect in a long while who had a free agent tryout with Dallas, was only taken in the 4th round by Montreal, while Harvard RB Tyler Varga, an undrafted free agent rookie with Indianapolis, was the first player selected in the 3rd round by Calgary. The first player taken in this year’s CFL draft was former UConn C Alex Mateas, who will play with his hometown Ottawa Redblacks. A pair of Calgary offensive linemen – OT Sukh Chung and OG Sean McEwan – were selected 2nd and 3rd overall by Winnipeg and Toronto respectively, while Montreal chose Wilfred Laurier S Chris Ackie with the 4th pick. Ironically, each of the latter three players had tryouts at the Giants’ rookie minicamp last weekend. Here are all the picks from the CFL draft.
Pack roster projection … With the draft in the books and the start of the regular season 4 months away, GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette takes a shot at predicting the opening day roster of the Green Bay Packers who year-in and year-out usually have more home grown talent than any other organization in the NFL.
UConn C top pick in CFL draft … Ottawa selected former UConn C Alex Mateas with the first pick in the 2015 CFL draft. Winnipeg is next up in the Canadian league draft which is being covered live in Canada on TSN, while all 7 rounds will available on the CFL draft tracker.
Jags, DCThings sign top picks … Jacksonville has announced coming to terms with OLB Dante Fowler, the 3rd player selected at the 2015 draft. Fowler will miss the upcoming season after tearing an ACL on the first day of the team’s rookie mini-camp. Meanwhile, Washington has signed G/T Brandon Scherff, the 5th player taken this year.
X-Card DB confirms UM transfer … Michigan has officially announced that former Stanford CB Wayne Lyons has transferred to the Big Ten program. Lyons will be a 5th year senior who will be immediately eligible as he has graduated from Stanford and will be enrolling in a graduate program at Michigan not offered by Stanford. The 6-0, 195-pound Lyons appeared in 43 games for Stanford where he posted 128 career tackles, along with three interceptions, three forced fumbles and three pass breakups; he is considered to be a mid-to-late round prospect for the 2016 draft where he could be viewed as something of a tweener.