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NFL Playoffs League - FFL: Preseason | NFL: Week 1

Loading up in the trenches a now thing for NFL teams

Fri Apr 26 3:03am ET
By BARRY WILNER
AP Pro Football Writer

Players: Matt Ryan, Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen, Kyler Murray, Josh Jacobs, Dwayne Haskins

In this Sept. 15, 2018, file photo, Clemson's Clelin Ferrell (99) rushes into the backfield during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Georgia Southern, in Clemson, S.C. Ferrell is a possible pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro, File)


In this Sept. 15, 2018, file photo, Clemson's Dexter Lawrence brings down Georgia Southern quarterback Shai Werts during the first half of an NCAA college football game, in Clemson, S.C. Lawrence is a possible pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro, File)


Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after the San Francisco 49ers selected Bosa in the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn.(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)


At left, in a Sept. 22, 2018, file photo, Boston College offensive lineman Chris Lindstrom (75) plays against Purdue during the second half of an NCAA college football game in West Lafayette, Ind. At right, in a March 1, 2019, file photo, Boston College offensive lineman Chris Lindstrom runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis. Lindstrom is a possible pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)


Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after the Arizona Cardinals selected Murray in the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)


In this March 1, 2019, file photo, Washington offensive lineman Kaleb McGary runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis. McGary is a possible pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) NFL teams showed some preference for quarterbacks, as always, and an infatuation with players who protect them and disrupt them during the first round of the draft.

Maybe for the next two rounds they will go after the speed demons and running backs who, in many cases, fell through the cracks as the trenches were filled with the behemoths who work there.

In all, 12 defensive linemen and five on offense were chosen Thursday night after Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray went to Arizona and became the second consecutive Heisman Trophy winner from his school taken atop the proceedings, following Baker Mayfield to Cleveland in 2018. Two more QBs went: Duke's Daniel Jones to the Giants at No. 6, a bit of a surprise, and Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins at 15, where the Redskins sat patiently and saw him fall into their arms.

Add in three linebackers and two tight ends and the theme of opening night becomes clear.

''We're building our team and we need building blocks,'' said Raiders coach Jon Gruden, who took one of those mammoth blocks in Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell at No. 4. ''We had some in place. But we needed these guys to come in and inherit that responsibility.''

There are two more blockers remaining, Oklahoma guard Cody Ford and Florida tackle Jawaan Taylor. They are among five players invited to the draft who didn't go yet but almost surely will Friday night.

Also remaining on the board after receiving much higher projections are Missouri quarterback Drew Lock, Mississippi wide receiver DK Metcalf, and LSU cornerback Greedy Williams.

Metcalf is fast, strong and powerfully built, with many evaluating him as the best wideout in this crop. At one point, Williams was regarded as the top cornerback available. Lock falling out of the opening round, given his position and the near-obsession with filling it with a high pick, was unexpected.

Ford and Taylor have starter potential for 2019 regardless of where they land.

Others still on the board who had first-round grades from some clubs include Washington cornerback Byron Murphy; Mississippi receiver A.J. Brown; Delaware safety Nasir Adderley; Ohio State WR Parris Campbell; Alabama TE Irv Smith; and Texas A&M center Erik McCoy.

Further emphasis on defense shouldn't be a stunner. This is one of the deepest drafts for that side of the ball in recent memory.

''Football is the ultimate team game, and we've got to build this roster to be as strong as we can at every area,'' Green Bay GM Brian Gutekunst said. ''We're going to try to take the best players available that we can (going forward). If there's more defensive players that fall our way, we certainly have room for them.''

Atlanta had room for two likely starters in front of QB Matt Ryan: Boston College guard Chris Lindstrom at 14 and, after dealing back into the opening round, Washington tackle Kaleb McGary at 31.

More hulks.

Ryan was sacked 42 times and took 108 hits, a career high.

''We were focused on offensive line,'' general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. ''We need to protect Matt.''

Speed and elusiveness wasn't ignored in Round 1, of course. Start at the top with Murray, who can run with anybody in this crop.

Arizona defied NFL custom and at least temporarily created a quarterback quandary by selecting Murray to start proceedings in a wet and wild selection show.

As thousands of fans withstood rain that began just about when Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke Murray's name, the Cardinals spent a second straight high pick on a signal caller. Arizona moved up from 15th overall to 10th in 2018 to grab Josh Rosen.

NFL teams simply don't do that, but with a new coach in college-trained Kliff Kingsbury, the Cardinals made the bold move. At least until they likely move Rosen elsewhere in a trade.

''I've known Josh since high school, so me and him are cool,'' said Murray, who turned down the Oakland A's to stick with football. ''We got along really well, so I've always been fond of him. But us being teammates now, I can't control anything but going in there and working hard.''

Murray was one of only three Big 12 players taken, along with teammate Marquis Brown, a wideout headed for Baltimore, and TCU defensive end - what did you expect from this draft? - L.J. Collier. The Pac-12 also had only three, while the SEC scored nine, the ACC had eight, and the Big 10 had seven.

Ohio State edge rusher Nick Bosa went second to San Francisco as expected. The 49ers have used a first-round selection on four defensive linemen in the past five drafts.

Bosa's older brother, Joey, plays for the Chargers and was the 2016 Defensive Rookie of the Year. Their father also played in the NFL.

''Good genes, man,'' Bosa said with a laugh. ''It was just excitement all around. My brother wanted me to go higher than he did (third overall), so just for my dream to come true and my family to be there to watch, it was pretty great.''

Across the Bay, Oakland had three selections: Ferrell, Alabama's Josh Jacobs, the lone running back to go Thursday, and Mississippi State safety Johnathan Abram.

The Giants also went three times, getting Jones, Clemson DT Dexter Lawrence and, after trading back in for the 30th spot, cornerback DeAndre Baker of Georgia.

Player Notes
Eli Manning Apr 26 11:50am ET

New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman called quarterback Eli Manning while the team drafted Duke QB Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick in the first round on Thursday night to reiterate that Manning is expected to remain the starter in 2019. "It's your job to win games and keep this guy off the field," head coach Pat Shurmur told Manning. Gettleman mentioned that Jones could sit on the sidelines for multiple years before he becomes the starter. There have been mixed reviews on Jones, as some scouts like him and others think he is a "pedestrian talent" and a "backup." Jones obviously won't have any redraft value in 2019 fantasy drafts, and Manning will be an uninspiring QB2.

From RotoBaller

Robbie Gould Apr 26 8:23am ET

San Francisco 49ers PK Robbie Gould won't be traded, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan.

Robbie Gould Apr 26 1:40am ET

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said that the team will not trade franchise-tagged kicker Robbie Gould. The veteran kicker isn't interested in a long-term extension with San Fran and has requested to be traded. If not, he has also threatened to hold out this summer. Gould was hoping to be on the free-agent market and wanted to return to Chicago, where his family resides. Despite his frustration, the 36-year-old booter made 97.1 percent of his 34 field-goal tries last year and is an 87.7 percent kicker in his lengthy career. He should remain on the map as a viable fantasy kicker for the 49ers despite his unhappiness.

From RotoBaller

Tyreek Hill Apr 26 1:30am ET

Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said that wide receiver Tyreek Hill "will not take part in any team activities" while he's being investigated for child abuse. A voice recording has surfaced that gives evidence towards Hill's mistreatment of his son while talking to his fiance. The boy suffered a broken arm, and the couple could lose custody of the child. Hill is likely to face a lengthy suspension from the NFL despite not being formally charged with any crime. The 25-year-old has become one of the most productive receivers in the NFL after recording 87 catches for 1,479 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2018. It might not matter, though, as he could be released by KC eventually. His absence would hurt quarterback Patrick Mahomes' overall upside, although tight end Travis Kelce and receiver Sammy Watkins could benefit with more targets.

From RotoBaller

Josh Rosen Apr 26 1:30am ET

The Arizona Cardinals are prepared to keep quarterback Josh Rosen if they don't receive a suitable trade offer for him. Rosen is firmly on the trading block after the team selected QB Kyler Murray with the first overall pick in the first round on Thursday night. The Giants, Dolphins and Chargers have discussed Rosen with the Cardinals, but he profiles as a backup, at best, for all three teams. If a trade happens, it'll probably come on Friday. However, no matter how it shakes out, it doesn't look like Rosen will be a starter for any team in 2019. The Cardinals traded up into the top 10 to take Rosen in last year's draft, but that was with Arizona's previous coaching regime.

From RotoBaller

Eli Manning Apr 26 1:23am ET

New York Giants QB Eli Manning is expected to be the team's starter entering the 2019 season, an arrangement that head coach Pat Shurmur indicated was the goal with Manning's job being to win enough games to keep rookie QB Daniel Jones off the field.

Fantasy Spin: If this sounds familiar it's because you heard it from every GM that drafted a QB last season, and yet all those rookies were starting sooner than later. Sure, Manning is almost guaranteed to start in Week 1, but with the G-Men likely to struggle it might not take long for the organization to decide it's time to look to the future. Whatever nominal value Manning might've had is all but gone with Jones' arrival.

Tyreek Hill Apr 26 1:03am ET

Kansas City Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill will not take part in any team activities for the 'foreseeable future,' according to GM Brett Veach, who added the team will gather more information before making the 'right decision.'

Fantasy Spin: This action is in direct response to an audio recording that came out earlier in the day that appears to feature Hill discussing events surrounding the injury suffered by his three-year-old son. Clearly the decision not to prosecute Hill is not the end of this story, and it's unclear what the final resolution will be regarding Hill's future in the NFL.

Jerry Tillery Apr 26 12:10am ET

The Los Angeles Chargers selected Notre Dame defensive tackle Jerry Tillery with the No. 28 overall pick of the 2019 NFL draft. Tillery has a high football IQ and is extremely athletic. The Chargers needed help on both lines, so Tillery fills a big need. There is evidence that he can be a dominant football player, but he'll need to be coached up at the next level. He has versatility and can play in either a 3-4 or 4-3 defensive scheme. The Bolts need Tillery's big body to clog up lanes and rush the passer.

From RotoBaller

Deandre Baker Apr 26 12:10am ET

The New York Giants traded up with the Seahawks and selected Georgia cornerback Deandre Baker with the No. 30 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft. Baker is a very consistent football player and is the first straight corner taken in the 2019 draft. He's good at breaking up passes and making tackles in the open field. Baker doesn't have elite speed, but he has great instincts and could become a lockdown corner in the NFL. He can play zone or man coverage and is physical on the outside.

From RotoBaller

Brian Burns Apr 26 12:00am ET

The Carolina Panthers selected Florida State edge rusher Brian Burns with the No. 16 overall pick of the 2019 NFL draft. Burns will bring the heat off the edge for the Panthers in his rookie season. He's an athletic freak and put on some weight without losing any speed before the NFL combine. Burns has quick-twitch speed and will help a Carolina D that really needs to rush the passer much better. He should make an immediate impact in 2019.

From RotoBaller

Jeffery Simmons Apr 26 12:00am ET

The Tennessee Titans selected Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons with the No. 19 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft. Simmons was found guilty of malicious mischief in 2016 in an incident that involved several women, which is why he fell in the first round this year. Off-field issues aside, Simmons is a good football player that should be able to produce on Tennessee's defensive line. A lot of teams took Simmons completely off their draft boards because of his background. He has top-five talent, so he could wind up being a steal if he can stay healthy. Because of a knee issue, Simmons is a candidate for the Physically Unable to Perform list to begin the 2019 season.

From RotoBaller

Darnell Savage Apr 26 12:00am ET

The Green Bay Packers traded up with the Seahawks and selected Maryland safety Darnell Savage with the No. 21 overall pick of the 2019 NFL draft. It's Green Bay's second pick of the first round on Thursday night. Savage is extremely versatile and had seven interceptions the last two years with excellent ball skills in the secondary. He's also a good tackler, has great range and can also cover receivers in the slot. Savage will be a Swiss Army knife for Green Bay's secondary in 2019 and beyond.

From RotoBaller

Matt Ryan Apr 26 12:00am ET

The Atlanta Falcons traded up with the Rams and selected Washington offensive tackle Kaleb Mcgary with the No. 31 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft. Mcgary doesn't have great length but is physical and is just a solid athlete overall. The Falcons really put an emphasis on their offensive line in the first round, which is great news for quarterback Matt Ryan and the team's running game. Mcgary could wind up playing right tackle in his rookie season in Atlanta.

From RotoBaller

Tom Brady Apr 26 12:00am ET

The New England Patriots selected Arizona State wide receiver N'keal Harry with the No. 32 pick overall in the 2019 NFL draft. It's no secret that the Patriots need wide receiver help with Josh Gordon suspended and tight end Rob Gronkowski retiring. Chris Hogan also left in free agency. Harry checks a lot of boxes and works hard at his craft. It's not easy to pick up New England's offense, so Harry will have his work cut out for him and will need to develop chemistry with quarterback Tom Brady, but he could be a sneaky late-round flier in redraft leagues.

From RotoBaller

Clelin Ferrell Apr 25 11:50pm ET

The Miami Dolphins selected Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins with the No. 13 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft. He becomes the second Clemson defensive lineman to go in the first round this evening behind Clelin Ferrell, who went to the Raiders at No. 4. Wilkins might've been Clemson's best defensive lineman, though, and he can do amazing things for his size. Wilkins can move laterally and has excellent speed and is versatile in different defensive schemes.

From RotoBaller

Frank Clark Apr 25 11:50pm ET

The Seattle Seahawks selected Texas Christian defensive end L.J. Collier with the No. 29 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft. The Seahawks acquired this pick by sending defensive end Frank Clark to the Chiefs this week. Collier doesn't have elite speed, but he has excellent technique off the edge and produced in college. After Seattle traded Clark, they'll hope that Collier can pick up the slack as an edge rusher pressuring the opposing quarterback.

From RotoBaller

Amari Cooper Apr 25 11:30pm ET

The Oakland Raiders selected Mississippi State safety Johnathan Abram with the No. 27 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft. This is the selection that Oakland gained from the Cowboys when they traded receiver Amari Cooper last season. Abram had some really good seasons in college and welcomes contact in the secondary. He's a very good hitter and blitzer. Abram has very good cover skills and can also play in the nickel package well. He can cover tight ends and slot receivers and won't shy away from making plays around the line of scrimmage. The Raiders need a quarterback in the secondary, and Abram can be that for them.

From RotoBaller

Preston Smith Apr 25 11:20pm ET

The Washington Redskins traded up with the Colts and selected Mississippi State edge rusher Montez Sweat with the No. 26 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft. Sweat's draft stock dropped significantly because of a heart issue that made many teams take him off their draft boards entirely. He showed excellent combine speed and has incredibly long arms. Sweat is a gifted athlete, so he could be an absolute steal in this draft if his health issues don't hamper him in his NFL career. Washington needs a pass rusher to replace Preston Smith, so Sweat should help them do that.

From RotoBaller

Antonio Brown Apr 25 11:10pm ET

The Baltimore Ravens selected Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise Brown with the No. 25 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft. Hollywood Brown is cousins with Antonio Brown and has blazing speed. However, he's dealing with a Lisfranc foot injury and it's unknown if he'll be ready for training camp. Brown is electric with the ball in his hand and fits a huge need for a Ravens team that desperately needs production from their receiving corps. But on a run-first team, how will Brown fare, especially in his rookie season? Brown has tantalizing upside in the long term, but we wouldn't expect a whole lot right away. He could get off to a slow start if his foot injury causes him to miss out on development this summer.

From RotoBaller

Deshaun Watson Apr 25 11:00pm ET

The Houston Texans selected Alabama State offensive tackle Tytus Howard with the No. 23 overall pick of the 2019 NFL draft. Quarterback Deshaun Watson was sacked the most in the NFL in 2018, so you could say they've had trouble protecting their signal-caller. He has the feet, balance and athleticism to play in the NFL. Howard has a lot of upside and will immediately improve Houston's weak offensive line, which is great news for both Watson and the team's rushing attack.

From RotoBaller