Sat Jun 16 6:05pm ET
By TERRIN WAACK
AP Sports Writer
SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (AP) Sam Darnold and Josh Allen are spending their weekend watching greatness, and for once it's not other football players.
They're at Shinnecock Hills for the U.S. Open.
Selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft - Darnold to the New York Jets, Allen to the Buffalo Bills - the two quarterbacks are headed to the pros, but are far from done learning.
''We talk about it all the time in the quarterback room: Whenever we get a chance to watch greatness, whatever it is, we want to do it and learn from it,'' Darnold said. ''Even last weekend with Justify winning the Triple Crown, you appreciate that as a quarterback and someone who's striving to be great. .
''Then to see what guys like Dustin Johnson are able to do, it's just so cool to watch.''
That's who Darnold and Allen are rooting for, too. Johnson entered Saturday on top of the leaderboard, 4 over par, but was struggling in the third round.
Darnold and Allen checked out all 18 holes, spending a long chuck of time by the green of No. 8, just watching everyone putt. Each golfer's ability to pinpoint a shot never ceased to amaze them. But it's what comes before the swing that they really admire and respect.
The preparation before the action.
''It's like what me and Sam would do as quarterbacks, evaluating the defense before we snap the ball and trying to get understanding of what they're doing,'' Allen said. ''And that's what they're doing on the course. Before every shot, they're trying to gauge the wind, trying to gauge the distance, and ultimately trying to have the right swing to put the ball where they want.''
That also includes zoning in on the task and blocking out distractions.
Darnold, who has played maybe a half-dozen times, actually ended up being the cause of such a distraction.
A fan recognized Darnold in the crowd and shouted, `J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets!' The outburst came in the middle of a player's backswing. Darnold couldn't recall whose swing, but it was his second shot on a par 3.
''He was just laser focused,'' Darnold said. ''Still hit a really good shot, and it's just really cool to watch these guys do what they do. Even with all the hecklers, everything that's going on, they're still able to just focus.''
That's a standard Darnold and Allen can take back to the football field.
Darnold completed 63.1 percent of his passes and averaged 295.9 yards per game in his last season at Southern California. He was picked third overall.
Allen, who brought his dad - his frequent golfing partner - to Shinnecock Hills, hit 56.3 percent of his passes for 1,812 yards and averaged 164.7 yards per game at Wyoming last year. He went seventh overall.
"I love football, so there's nothing that's going to replace that,'' Allen said. ''But golf, it's a second.''
According to FOX 59 Indianapolis, the Indianapolis Colts held wide receiver Chester Rogers (hamstring) out of the entirety of minicamp. Rogers had much of his 2017 campaign derailed by a hamstring issue and the recurring nature of the injury should be concerning, but many expect him to be fine for training camp. After T.Y. Hilton, Rogers will have to compete with Ryan Grant, Deon Cain and Daurius Fountain to get No. 2 wideout duties. Unless quarterback Andrew Luck is back, fantasy owners should be cautious about spending anything more than a late round pick on Rogers.
Indianapolis Colts free safety Malik Hooker (knee) and strong safety Clayton Geathers are both coming off of injuries for the team's training camp. Hooker has a chance to be cleared for training camp, while Geathers is questionable to attend. Hooker is eight months removed from ACL surgery and did some off-field work at offseason team activities but has been without a concrete timetable. Geathers hasn't practiced this offseason with an undisclosed injury, though he missed 11 games with a neck issue last year. Both will be critical for the Colts defense to rebound from a bottom-10 unit.
Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard hopes to have tight end Erik Swoope (knee) back in time for training camp. Swoope has been sidelined since last August after undergoing numerous procedures to his knee. Even if he can participate in training camp without finding his name on the PUP list, Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle are clearly ahead of him on the depth chart. For fantasy purposes, Swoope's snaps will clearly be limited to three-tight end sets barring injury and won't be conducive to fantasy success.
Denver Broncos tight end Jake Butt (knee) lost 2017 to injury but hopes to make a big mark in 2018. Butt has torn his ACL in the same knee twice, and the second one cost him his rookie season. Day 2 of mini-camp was a major step forward in his quest as he caught two touchdowns within minutes of each other during red-zone drills. Butt was considered a major prospect and second-round talent before injuring himself in his final college game. He has a chance to assert himself, as his competition at the position with Denver is fairly inexperienced. Butt has the talent and the situation to become fantasy relevant in 2018 and the reports saying he felt 100% afterward Wednesday. Head coach Vance Joseph said he was excited about Butt's progress and that he is a playmaker.
Following this week's minicamp, Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star believes it's "clear" the Indianapolis Colts have "big designs" for rookie running back Nyheim Hines in offense. From his hands to his kick return skills, Hines' name seems to keep popping up. Keefer added Hines was "among the most active players on offense" in spring practices, lining up at multiple positions, including the backfield, slot, out wide, and running the ball as well as catching it deep. For fantasy owners looking for pure talent in late rounds of their draft, Hines could fit in the sleeper category.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph has performed well in offseason team practices. According to reports, the rookie has performed better than any Pittsburgh rookie quarterback since Ben Roethlisberger. So well, in fact, that many associated with the team believe he could make a serious push to become the team's backup quarterback behind Roethlisberger. Landry Jones has been the Steelers' backup quarterback for several years but he has shown to be below-average as an NFL talent. Rudolph doesn't have much of a chance to start for the team until Big Ben retires but he is a name to keep an eye on in deep, two-quarterback dynasty formats.
New Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Todd Haley did not hold back when asked about wide receiver Corey Coleman on Thursday. Haley stated, "He understands this is a big, big year in his career. Year three is usually the make-or-break year of what kind of you're going to be. I've made that clear to him. He understands it, and he's working hard accordingly to try to be the best that he can be." Coleman, the team's first-round pick in 2016, has shown flashes but he has had two straight seasons cut short by a broken hand. In offseason practices, Coleman has operated as the team's third receiver after Josh Gordon and Jarvis Landry. Rookie Antonio Callaway was expected to push Coleman for the No. 3 job but he's been sidelined by a groin issue. There have been plenty of rumors that the Browns might trade Coleman, but no deals appear imminent.
Carolina Panthers rookie wide receiver D.J. Moore looks ready to contribute in his first season and has been smooth during offseason practices. Moore has speed and has a knack for making defenders miss. Carolina really needed another receiver to help Devin Funchess out, and Moore is that guy. He'll give the Panthers offense and quarterback Cam Newton another weapon in the passing game, and Moore could be the No. 2 option ahead of deep threat Torrey Smith. Be careful not to overvalue Moore in his first season, but he could become a fine WR3 for fantasy owners in offensive coordinator Norv Turner's system.
Houston Texans linebacker Benardrick McKinney signed a five-year, $50 million extension on Thursday. The deal includes $21 million in guarantees. A former second-round pick, McKinney has done nothing but produce in his three years in the NFL and has 287 tackles and nine sacks, including 129 tackles in 2016. He's a bit overshadowed on his own team next to the likes of J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus, but McKinney is an IDP beast in his own right. Houston's defense is full of talent.
Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson is expected to stop just shadowing No. 1 wide receivers in games under the new scheme of head coach Steve Wilks. Peterson wants to make more impact plays for the team and believes that moving around the field will allow him to do just that. This raises the upside for the Cardinals defense in fantasy leagues. However, they should still not be considered a top-10 unit due to the rest of their defense's fragilities. Peterson becomes a better IDP option as a result, but he already was a top-tier talent before the scheme change.
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said he was impressed with how quarterback Patrick Mahomes handled himself when facing complicated blitz pickups during offseason workouts. "We wanted to come in and make sure we challenged him," Reid explained of Mahomes. "I thought he handled that very well. One of the big things for young kids is just the blitz game, so we put a big emphasis on that and tried to give him a lot of different looks there." Mahomes has great athleticism and a very strong arm with plenty of offensive talent around him. It's why they felt it was OK to let Alex Smith go. Mahomes has big-time upside but is still raw. He's an intriguing QB2 with QB1 upside based on matchups.
The Arizona Cardinals have signed free agent wide receiver Greg Little after two tryouts with the team. Little is a former Browns second round pick, as well as a Bengals and Bills player. Since recording 709 yards as a rookie in 2011, Little has struggled to perform on the field and spent the last year and a half out of the NFL. However, he looks to have a chance at a comeback with the signing. Even if Little makes the team roster, he is a long-shot to have any fantasy relevance in the majority of formats.
According to the Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis Colts running back Robert Turbin will have an "important place" in the Colts' offense for 2018. "I think [Turbin] brings an element of size and power and strength to the mix," head coach Frank Reich said. Turbin appeared in only six games last season, eventually being placed on injured reserve due to a left arm injury. While Turbin has shown promise in limited work as a third down specialist, the bevy of rushers in the Colts backfield are all likely due some form of work in a true committee situation.
Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins is expected to play a big role in the offense this year. He drew praise from the coaching staff through organized team activities and minicamp for his work ethic and approach and looked to be in sync with quarterback Blake Bortles. "He's been awesome," Bortles said. "From the first day he showed up, we immediately started working together and doing things." Having good chemistry with the QB is important, especially settling in with a new team. Seferian-Jenkins has turned his life around off the field, and his production increased with the Jets last season. He has the skills to make an impact with the Jags and post low-end TE1 numbers, but you should draft him as a TE2 with upside.
Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim has stated that running back David Johnson is expected to receive a contract extension in the near future. This comes in after Johnson sat out of the three-day mandatory mini-camp. Because of the positive outlook for these contract talks, it is safe to say that Johnson will be involved as a Cardinals player this season and in the future, making his redraft and dynasty value the same: a member of the elite tier of running backs.
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles said the quarterback depth chart to start training camp will be Josh McCown first, then Teddy Bridgewater and rookie Sam Darnold. However, Bowles left it open for things to change depending on how camp goes. This has been the expectation all along, and it will certainly be a battle to watch next month. Darnold is young for a rookie but has a ton of upside and could easily beat out both the veteran McCown and Bridgewater, who is coming back from a serious knee injury. None of the Jets QBs are great redraft options, but Darnold is obviously a great dynasty selection.
Updating a previous report, New York Giants left tackle Nate Solder (leg) was checked out after injuring his leg in practice Thursday, and he is fine. The Giants and their fans can let out a collective sigh of relief after that injury scare. Solder was their high-priced free-agent acquisition, and his presence on the line should help keep quarterback Eli Manning upright.
Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman David Irving said he weighs 303 pounds right now, but wants to drop to around 285 pounds before the season starts. Irving went on to say he wants to get back to how he looked when he "was doing that underwear modeling and stuff. Got to get those abs back." Irving will be entering a contract year and will be trying to set himself up for a big contract extension.
Oakland Raiders wide receiver Seth Roberts has been inconsistent as a slot receiver and hasn't impressed in new head coach Jon Gruden's system this offseason. Roberts has been a touchdown-dependant fantasy option in the past, but at best he'd be the fourth receiver behind Amari Cooper, Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant in 2018. Gruden also likes to utilize tight ends in his offense. Roberts can be ignored for fantasy purposes right now. Roberts will be battling Ryan Switzer, Johnny Holton, Marcel Ateman and Dwayne Harris.
Free-agent WR Greg Little (Bengals) is expected to sign with the Arizona Cardinals after minicamp. Little would have signed after his tryout but he suffered a hamstring injury.