Sun May 12 5:04pm ET
By JOE REEDY
AP Sports Writer
COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) Easton Stick has drawn comparisons to Carson Wentz and Taysom Hill since being drafted by the Los Angeles Chargers in the fifth round two weeks ago. There's nothing wrong with comparisons, but the first task for the fifth-round pick is learning the playbook.
He's also taking a key piece of advice that Wentz gave him to heart, which is to continue doing what got him drafted. That process started over the weekend when the Chargers held their rookie minicamp.
''You can't come out and try to reinvent yourself or be somebody that you're not. People see through that stuff and it won't allow you to be successful,'' Stick said.
Stick succeeded Wentz at North Dakota State after Wentz was the second overall pick by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2016. All Stick did was become the winningest quarterback in FCS history (49-3) while leading the Bison to three national championships.
Wentz has continued to mentor Stick throughout his career as the two continue to be in regular contact with each other.
Stick displayed plenty of athleticism at North Dakota State. He passed for 8,693 yards and 88 touchdowns butt also rushed for 2,523 yards and 41 TDs. Offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt said the Bison's offense was more conventional compared to other colleges and that his presence in the pocket along with throwing on the run stood out. Whisenhunt and coach Anthony Lynn also noted that Stick lined up under center more compared to other college quarterbacks, which should also put him slightly ahead.
What also stood out was Stick's ability to retain information. Whisenhunt said they quizzed Stick on three plays they sent him and that the level of recall was above average compared to other college players.
''It's still on the board in there (the quarterback room),'' Whisenhunt said. ''For a college football player having to learn something that's a little bit different than what he's done, put the time in and come back without any notice and be able to put it back up on the board was really impressive.''
It is the fourth time since 2006 that the Chargers have drafted a quarterback with the hope that he would develop into a solid backup to Philip Rivers. The only time though that has been the case was in 2006, when they selected Charlie Whitehurst in the third round. Whitehurst spent six seasons with the Chargers in two stints (2006-09 and 2012-13).
The plans for this season though are that Stick will vie with Cardale Jones for the third quarterback spot after the Chargers signed Tyrod Taylor to be Rivers' backup. Stick said that Rivers has texted him but that the two have not met yet.
There is the possibility that Stick could see the field if the Chargers use him like the Saints have done with Hill. New Orleans' third-string quarterback lined up as a running back, tight end, wide receiver and was used on special teams last season. At 6-foot-1, 224-pounds, Stick has the bulk and has shown the durability to take hard hits.
Whisenhunt said Hill's first task though is learning how to play quarterback in their system.
''It's hard to think that you're just going to plug somebody into that role and think he can do it without really learning the basics of having to play quarterback,'' Whisenhunt said. ''He's an athlete. He does a lot of good things athletically on the field, which you can see him do, but we are excited to see him play the quarterback position and see how he can develop at that.''
While Stick was taking snaps on the practice field, first-round pick Jerry Tillery continues to rehab from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. The defensive tackle remains on track to be cleared for contact by the start of training camp in late July.
August 5th: ADP Value
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins was selected in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft and has a high ceiling without a doubt, especially since he will be catching passes from No. 1 overall selection Joe Burrow. Both rookies have built a rapport already as the duo conducted workouts together during the offseason. Higgins finished his final season at Clemson with 59 catches and 13 touchdowns off of 1,167 yards. While he is a risky selection in redraft leagues this season due to his potential limited playing time, he is surely worth a first-round pick in dynasty formats as he will likely rack up plenty of receptions from Burrow for years to come.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd has begun catching passes from rookie signal-caller Joe Burrow as the team kicks off training camp. The 25-year-old has plenty of hype heading into the 2020 season after racking up over 1,000 yards in his previous two seasons. With A.J. Green seemingly healthy along with the addition of Clemson wideout Tee Higgins, Boyd could see things open up more on the offensive end, while also remaining the team's top pass-catcher.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green went through his first walkthrough under second-year head coach Zac Taylor on Tuesday. The veteran, who recently signed a one-year tender a few weeks ago, missed all of 2019 after injuring his ankle during training camp. While consistent ailments have been the theme for the 32-year-old over the past seasons, there is no denying his ability when healthy. He is no longer considered an elite wideout, however, he is worth a mid-round pick for those looking for an option with an enormous upside.
Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon is still without a new deal as the team heads toward the 2020 season. However, according to director of player personnel, Duke Tobin, the organization views the 24-year-old as a "cornerstone piece of the franchise." Mixon is looking for a contract that would pay him north of $8 million per year, a significant increase from the $1.2 million that he is expected to earn in the final year of his rookie deal. The former Sooner is coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons and is projected by many to be a fantasy breakout by year's end.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was quick to respond to Ed Werder's Twitter post regarding a potentially reduced role for the former rushing champ, quipping "we all gonna eat." Though Elliott is a shoo-in, first-round pick in fantasy drafts for the 2020 campaign, many still wonder how he will co-exist on an offense that has plenty of mouths to feed, notably Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and 17th overall pick, CeeDee Lamb. Elliott finished 2019 as a top-five back in the majority of formats. Under new head coach Mike McCarthy, who has overseen some productive runners throughout his career, the 25-year-old could be in store for another productive year.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas broke the single-season receptions record last year by racking up 149 catches, surpassing Marvin Harrison's 2002 mark of 143. While that accomplishment would be good enough for most throughout the league, the 27-year-old is aiming to exceed his 2019 total heading into the 2020 campaign. Thomas convincingly dominated the fantasy picture last season, and in addition to his catch total, he also accumulated over 1,700 yards while finishing fifth in yards after the catch. He is expected to finish as the top fantasy wideout this season, and will likely get snagged off the draft board within the top three picks, especially in PPR formats.
Updating a previous story, San Francisco 49ers WR Travis Benjamin was officially placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday, Aug. 5.
Updating a previous story, Miami Dolphins WR Albert Wilson was officially placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday, Aug. 5.
Miami Dolphins DT Davon Godchaux was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday, Aug. 5.
Atlanta Falcons DT Tyeler Davison was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday, Aug. 5. LB Ahmad Thomas was released.
Cleveland Browns TE Austin Hooper lived part of the summer with QB Baker Mayfield while the two worked out together.
Fantasy Spin: It certainly could help Hooper to at least be somewhat familiar with his new QB despite all the lost reps from canceled offseason programs following his signing as a free agent. Hooper is expected to be the No. 1 tight end over David Njoku and should be drafted as a top-tier option at his thin position.
Tennessee Titans LB Jayon Brown (undisclosed) passed his physical Wednesday, Aug. 5, and was activated from the Physically Unable to Perform list.
Buffalo Bills WR Stefon Diggs restructured his contract Tuesday, Aug. 4, according to a source. He'll receive an extra $3.3 million in 2020, an extra $7.7 million in guaranteed money but a decrease of $300,000 cash in 2021 and a drop from $25.55 million to $22.67 million in 2022-23 cash.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB LeSean McCoy probably will have a role in the passing game this season, according to head coach Bruce Arians.
Fantasy Spin: It appears like McCoy may be in line for the third down back job, but fantasy players should keep an eye on the situation. McCoy probably would see a handful of touches each games if he makes the roster but may only be a depth option in fantasy leagues.
Free-agent S Kentrell Brice (Bears) signed with the Arizona Cardinals Wednesday, Aug. 5. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.
New York Jets LB Avery Williamson (knee) said he expects to be ready for the start of the regular season.
Las Vegas Raiders RB Jeremy Hill was released Wednesday, Aug. 5.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones II was called "the main guy" in the running back room by his coach Bruce Arians. Arians said he is confident in Jones II and that the other guys are fighting for roles. The other guys include third-round draft pick Ke'Shawn Vaughn, who will lose valuable practice time after he hit the COVID-19 list, and veteran running back LeSean McCoy, who won't challenge for a lead back role at this point in his career. Jones II looks the part after an offseason spent bulking up and catching hundreds of passes to address a weakness in his game. The 23-year-old has RB2 upside in the 7th round but it's likely that Vaughn and McCoy cut into his ceiling in 2020, despite what Arians said.
Free-agent S Kentrell Brice (Bears) is expected to sign with the Arizona Cardinals as long as he passes a physical and tests negative for COVID-19, according to a source.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones will be the main ball carrier for the Buccaneers this season, according to head coach Bruce Arians.
Fantasy Spin: Jones rushed for 724 yards and six touchdowns last season and should improve those stats with more playing time and touches. He will be a part of one of the better offenses in the NFL and can be considered a No. 2 running back in fantasy leagues.