NEWS AND NEAR NEWS

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Senior Bowl leads star game draft tally … No big surprise here, but once again the Senior Bowl led all the all0-star games in having players selected at the 2019 draft. And it wasn’t really all that close. Indeed, of the three major all-star games, the Senior Bowl had 92 of the players on its rosters in Mobile this year selected during last month’s draft. That compared with just 32 from the East-West Shrine Classic and only 7 from the NFLPA game. GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette reports all the details here.

Broncos ink top pick … For those that missed it over the weekend, Denver came to terms with TE Noah Fant whom the Broncos selected with the 20th pick overall pick at the 2019 draft which they acquired from Pittsburgh in a draft day trade. With the Fant signing the number of first round picks who have formally signed is now up to 19.

Former FSU QB Francois to transfer to FAU … We didn’t report it earlier this week as the move has yet to be officially confirmed, but former Florida State QB Deondre Francois has reportedly decided to transfer to Florida Atlantic where he will be eligible for the 2019 season as a graduate transfer. Francois had an up-and-down career at FSU. A big-time recruit, Francois showed some early promise on the field, but never achieved to kind of consistency that the program was hoping for. Meanwhile, Francois had a troubled off-field career which included two separate accusations of domestic violence against him, including one this past year. In the end, no charges were ever laid in either domestic case, although one led to a charge of simple marijuana possession in 2017.

Falcons shuffle scout staff … May is the time of the year when NFL teams make changes to their personnel departments if they are going to so and Atlanta got in the game this week with what appears to be a major reorganization. The Falcons promoted Steve Sabo to the position of director of player personnel, Anthony Robinson was named director of college scouting. Sabo had been in the latter position, while Robinson had been a regional scout. At the same time, the Falcons moved scout Michael Ross to the Eastern region from the Southwest area with Richard Sanders moving up from scouting assistant to Southwest scout, while Peniel Jean has been promoted from scouting assistant to pro personnel scout. These changes come after the Falcons had named Shepley Heard director of pro personnel and Joel Collier a national scout earlier in May.

Jags, Titans sign top picks … Two more 2019 first-round picks came to terms yesterday as Jacksonville signed former Kentucky OLB Josh Allen, while Tennessee came to terms with former Mississippi State DT Jeffrey Simmons. Allen was the 7th player selected in last month’s draft, while Simmons was taken with the #19th pick. That brings the number of first round picks who have formally signed to 18.

Half of 2019 first rounders signed as Seahawks ink top pick … Unofficially, half of the players selected in the opening round of the 2019 draft are now under contract as Seattle has come to terms with former TCU DE L. J. Collier, who the Seahawks took with the 29th pick overall in last month’s draft. That brings the number of first round picks who have formally signed to 16.

Pigskin reviews Saints draft … As he does every year, GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette will be posting reviews of some of the key individual team drafts including a twofer today with profiles of the New Orleans Saints.

Future draft dates announced … The NFL has announced that the 2021 draft will be held in Cleveland, while the site will shift to Kansas City in 2023. No locale has been designated for the 2022 draft, although it is believed that Los Angeles is the likely site. Of course, the 2020 draft will be held next April in Las Vegas. Meanwhile, the league has confirmed that the annual scouting combine will remain in Indianapolis through 2021, although it too could be on the move in future years. The NFL though has indicated that starting next year some of the on-field physical testing and positional drills will be moving to prime time slots in the afternoon and evening.

Illini DE injured in swimming incident … Illinois junior DE Bobby Roundtree, a rising draft prospect, underwent surgery this week after being seriously injured in a swimming accident near his hometown of Largo, Florida over the weekend. The 6-5, 255-pound Roundtree was named to the All-Big Ten team as an honoable mention this past season after he led the team with 7.5 sacks, while finiashing third on the squad with 66 tackles.

Pigskin reviews Titans, Steelers drafts … As he does every year, GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette will be posting reviews of some of the key individual team drafts including a twofer today with profiles of both the Tennessee Titans and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Bengals, Falcons sign 1st round OL … Two more 2019 first-round picks came to terms earlier today as Cincinnati signed former Alabama LT Jonah Williams, while Atlanta came to terms with former Boston College OG Chris Lindstrom. Williams was the 11th player selected in last month’s draft, while Lindstrom was taken three picks later at #14. That brings the number of first round picks who have formally signed to 15.

Jets get late Chiefs pick for LB Lee … Just hours after head coach Adam Gase took over as the team’s interim general manager earlier today, the New York Jets agreed to send veteran LB Darron Lee to Kansas City for a 6th-round pick in 2020. Gase inherited personnel power earlier Wednesday after the Jets fired G.M. Mike Maccagnan. Lee was the Jets’ first round pick at the 2016 draft, but he became expendable when the team signed veteran MLB C.J. Mosley earlier this off-season.

Jets dump G.M.; search on for replacement … The New York Jets surprisingly fired G.M. Mike Maccagnan earlier this afternoon. Jets’ acting owner Chris Johnson said he did not want to fire Maccagnan after last season before taking a deeper look at the organization this off-season. However, after spending more time around the Jets this off-season, he decided Maccagnan had to go based partly on the relationship between Maccagnan and head coach Adam Gase. Gase now becomes the Jets’ interim general manager while the team looks for a full-time replacement for Maccagnan, although there is not yet a clear timetable for making a final decision.

Vikes, Pats sign top picks; baker’s dozen now signed … For those who missed it yesterday, two more 2019 first-round picks came to terms as Minnesota sined former NC State C Garrett Bradbury, while Super Bowl champion New England inked WR N’Keal Harry. Bradbury was the 18th player selected in last month’s draft, while Harry was taken with the final pick in the opening round. That brings the number of first round picks who have formally signed to 13. With the signing of Bradbury, the Vikings now have 11 of the 12 players they selected at this year’s draft under contract and ready to go. And the one unsigned Minnesota pick is former Air Force LS Austin Cutting whose availability is complicated by his military service commitment. Meanwhile, with Harry officially in the fold, just two members of the Patriots’ s rookie draft class — OLB Chase Winovich and RB Damien Harris — both of whom were selected in the 3rd round, remain unsigned.

Pigskin reviews Cards draft … Lets try that again!!! As he does every year, GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette will be posting reviews of some of the key individual team drafts including the Arizona Cardinals today.

Third of 2019 first rounders already under contract … It wasn’t that many years ago that one of annual summer stories in the NFL was how many first round picks ended up holding out once training camps opened in July. And even those first rounders that didn’t holdout, the vast majority often didn’t sign until literally hours before training camp doors opened. However, with rookie compensation now based on a formula spelled out in the league’s latest CBA there really isn’t much incentive for rookies to wait to sign. Indeed, we are still not half way through May and already 11 of the 32 players selected in this year’s opening round have agreed to terms with their respective clubs. The latest to sign was former Michigan LB Devin Bush, the 10th player selected this year, who came to terms with Pittsburgh over the weekend. Here is the updated list of this year’s opening round picks by their current signing status as compiled by GBN Investigative College Football Analyst Larry Parker.

Pigskin reviews 49ers draft … As he does every year, GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette will be posting reviews of some of the key individual team drafts including the San Francisco 49ers today.

Pats, ‘Hawks projected to lead 2020 comp pick race … A deadline of sorts passed on the NFL calendar yesterday as it was the final day on which veteran UFA signings were included in the calculation of 2020 compensatory picks. Any free agents signed today or later this off-season will not impact the comp pick formula. Compensatory picks are determined by the NFL based on an undisclosed formula which calculates the net number of free agents a team losses, as well as their salary figures. And while thye formula is still secret a number of entities have been able to make pretty good guesses as to which teams will be getting comp picks in which round based on what’s happened in the past. According to estimates projected by Over the Cap, for example, defending Super Bowl champion New England and Seattle are both projected to get 4 comp picks in the 2020 draft, while Baltimore, Houston and Denver are predicted to get three each. Meanwhile, Miami, Denver, Philadelphia, the NY Giants and the LA Rams ar5e projected to get a pair each.

Bills tweak scout staff … It is not uncommon for NFL teams to shakeup their personnel departments in the days immediately following the draft. That was the case in Buffalo where the Bills have named Dennis Hickey as a senior national scout; they also hired A.J. Highsmith and Mike Szabo as area scouts. Hickey, the one-time Miami G.M., had spent the past three years as a senior college scout with the Bills.

Pigskin reviews Raiders draft … As he does every year, GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette will be posting reviews of some of the key individual team drafts starting today with the Oakland Raiders and their three first rounders from last month’s draft.

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