NFL player ticker
--- WR Jimmy Smith has decided to retire. Smith, 37, is a five-time Pro Bowl player who led the Jaguars with 70 receptions for 1,023 yards and six touchdowns last season. Smith played 12 seasons, overcoming injuries and drug addiction to catch 862 passes for 12,287 yards and 67 touchdowns. He informed coach Jack Del Rio of his intent to retire this offseason, but Del Rio asked that Smith take his time to make the decision. Smith's announcement comes the day before the Jaguars are to open a three-day minicamp. --- WR Javon Walker received a five-year contract extension from Denver. The deal is worth more than $40 million and includes a total of $15 million in roster bonuses in 2007 and 2008. --- S Sean Taylor's criminal trial was continued again, this time from May 8 until July 10 in Miami. Judge Leonard E. Glick, who took over the Redskins safety's case when Judge Mary Barzee was transferred to the civil division last month, granted the request for continuance from the state's attorney office, which recently changed prosecutors. The defense agreed to the continuance. The 23-year-old Taylor, Washington's first-round pick in the 2004 draft and a two-year starter, could be sentenced to up to 46 years in prison on three felony assault charges and a misdemeanor battery charge stemming from an incident last June 1 in Miami. The trial was first scheduled for Sept. 12 and had since been continued to Oct. 24, Jan. 17, Mar. 20, April 10, April 17 and then to May 8. Glick is due to move to another division on July 1 so Taylor might end up with a third judge before finally going to trial. --- QB Joey Harrington was traded to the Miami Dolphins on Friday. The deal was completed Friday, giving the Dolphins time to get Harrington into camp for the start of their organized team activities, which begin next week. The Lions reportedly received a sixth-round pick in the 2006 NFL draft, with the possibility that it could become a fifth-round pick, depending on how much Harrington plays for the Dolphins in the upcoming season. The deal has been pending for weeks. Harrington asked the Lions to trade or release him after attending an early quarterback school with coach Rod Marinelli and offensive coordinator Mike Martz. --- RB Thomas Jones, involved in a contract dispute, continues to stay away from the Bears' off-season workout program. He signed a $10 million, four-year deal as a free agent after the 2003 season, but based on his 1,335 rushing yards last season, Jones believes he's underpaid. A trade would likely result in a new, more lucrative contract. But the Bears might be hesitant to let Jones get away, since it would deprive them of the depth they value at running back. Jones was the key to the Bears' offense last season. He was fifth in the NFC in rushing yards and third on the Bears with 26 receptions. --- RB Ahman Green, a four-time Pro Bowler, said during the team's first minicamp that the medical staff won't clear him to return to the field until the latter part of training camp in August. Green missed the final 10 games of 2005 because of a torn right quadriceps tendon. Green said he resumed running six weeks ago and has been able to go about 80 percent of full speed. --- QB Brett Favre have been excused by coach Mike McCarthy from attending the Packers' next minicamp, May 19-21. The 36-year-old Favre had limited participation in the first three-day minicamp, May 5-7, less than two weeks after he informed the team that he would return for at least one more season. Favre backed off from a statement he made earlier in the off-season that if he were to play next season, it would be his last. --- WR Donald Driver's contract with the Packers was extended by two years through the 2009 season. The total value of the reworked deal is $17 million. Driver reportedly will receive $4 million in bonuses this year, including a signing bonus of $2 million. Driver, 31, has produced three 1,000-yard seasons in the last four years and earned a Pro Bowl invitation in 2002. --- WR Troy Williamson will miss this weekend's minicamp after having an abscess removed from his left hip this week. Coach Brad Childress said Williamson had an infection where he had a skin graft after being severely burned in an accident when he was 10. --- LB Eddie Moore was acquired by New Orleans from Miami in exchange for LB Courtney Watson. Moore has played three injury-plagued seasons. Watson started eight games as a rookie in 2004, but hadn't progressed as the Saints hoped and played in just nine games last season. --- LB Bobby Carpenter, the Cowboys' top draft choice, might not be available because an NFL rule prohibits players from returning until school is out. Ohio State is on the quarter system, and the spring quarter began in late March and ends in mid-June. Parcells is hoping something can be worked out once Carpenter, who is taking one class, finishes his finals, scheduled for June 5-8. --- S J.R. Reed, who missed all of last season after suffering severe damage to the peroneal nerve above his knee in a freak accident 14 months ago, will take part in this weekend's minicamp. As recently as four months ago, it seemed doubtful Reed would ever be able to play football again. But the nerve has begun to heal and Reed's ability to lift his foot has improved greatly over the past couple of months. Reed excelled as a kick returner and special teams demon as a rookie in 2004. It remains uncertain whether he'll be able to play this season. --- C Hank Fraley, who has been the team's starter for the last five years until he went down with a torn rotator cuff in the middle of last season, faces an uphill battle to hold on to his starting job. Jamaal Jackson, who replaced him after he got hurt last season and played pretty well, will go into training camp as the favorite to win the job. --- S Chris Harris of the Bears was removed from his seat at the United Center and relocated after arguing with Miami Heat center Alonzo Mourning during the Chicago Bulls' Game 6 loss last Thursday night in the opening round of the NBA playoffs. The argument began when Harris reportedly asked Mourning why he wasn't playing. --- RB Tony Hollings signed a two-year contract with the Bears on Friday as a hedge against the possible trade of disgruntled starter Thomas Jones. Hollings, a 5-foot-10, 219-pound second-round choice in the 2003 NFL supplemental draft out of Georgia Tech, has totaled a modest 149 career rushing yards on 49 carries and caught seven passes for 71 yards. He appeared in just two games with the Texans in 2005, with no statistics. But in just four career starts at Georgia Tech, he rushed for 633 yards. --- RB Samkon Gado, the out-of-nowhere rookie sensation the second half of last season, has the inside track to remain as the Packers' featured back for the start of next season. That's because Ahman Green, a four-time Pro Bowler, said during the team's first minicamp that the medical staff won't clear him to return to the field until the latter part of training camp in August. Green missed the final 10 games of 2005 because of a torn right quadriceps tendon. Green said he resumed running six weeks ago and has been able to go about 80 percent of full speed. --- RB Najeh Davenport is on the mend from a broken right ankle. Davenport said he's "in negotiations" with team doctor Pat McKenzie to gain clearance for the team's organized team activities, which start May 31. Davenport, though, isn't likely to return until training camp. --- S Mark Roman said at the conclusion of the post-draft minicamp that "it's up in the air" about whether he'll be in attendance for the Packers' upcoming non-mandatory camp. Roman acknowledged that he asked Packers general manager Ted Thompson to release him after the Packers signed Seattle free agent Marquand Manuel in March. Manuel received a five-year, $10 million deal with a $1.5 million signing bonus. Roman said the team never informed him about its intentions to sign Manuel and he learned of the acquisition through the media. He wasn't contacted by anyone from the organization until a week later. --- LB A.J. Hawk, the No. 5 overall pick in the draft, will be missing from Green Bay's next mini-camp, May 19-21. Hawk is finishing his undergraduate degree at Ohio State, where the academic year doesn't end until June 9. A league rule forbids rookies whose school still is in session from taking part in more than a post-draft minicamp until classes are done. Hawk not only will be absent from the upcoming minicamp, but the projected starter at weakside linebacker will miss a good chunk of the organized team activities, which start May 31. --- RB Michael Bennett could be headed for the Texans, the houston Chronicle reported.The Chronicle said the Texans are seeking more depth for their backfield and are talking to the Saints about Bennett, a five-year veteran who was signed by the team as an unrestricted free agent on March 17. Bennett was signed to back up two-time Pro Bowl running back Deuce McAllister, but he could be available because the Saints selected Reggie Bush with the second overall pick in the draft. --- TE Shad Meier was released by the Saints. He became expendable when the Saints added ex-Buffalo Bills tight end Mark Campbell to the roster during free agency. Meier was signed as an unrestricted free agent from the Tennessee Titans in 2005, but he played in only one game after injuring a knee in training camp. The five-year NFL veteran underwent arthroscopic knee surgery, but had trouble with the knee throughout the season. --- LB/S Jon Alston sat out the Rams' mini-camp because final exams have not yet occurred yet at Stanford. The third-round drsaft choice is expected to contribute at both linebacker and safety, depending on how fast he learns the defense. --- SF Ken Hamlin made it through his first minicamp since suffering severe head injuries during a nightclub brawl last season. The Seahawks think Hamlin has a good chance of returning to the lineup this season. --- RB Leon Washington doesn't project as an every-down running back because of his lack of size. The positives are that he is well-built for his size and does have breakaway potential. --- TE Jason Pociask could turn out to be a steal. He certainly isn't a game-breaking type of tight end, with only 12 receptions as a collegian, but scouts believe he has good hands and thus has upside as a receiver. He also is a very good run-blocker, but needs to be more aggressive when running with the ball himself. --- CB Drew Coleman has excellent speed and also possesses the physicality of a much bigger player, but needs to work on his tackling. Also needs work on his coverage technique. He only played two seasons at TCU after transferring from a junior college, and also has had two knee injuries, so is more of a project at this point. Could help immediately on special teams, however. --- DT Titus Adams started in both his junior and senior seasons for the Cornhuskers, and was good as a run-stopper, both inside and outside, and excellent in pursuit. However, he is not a consistent pass rusher, with only 3 1/2 sacks in his four-year Nebraska career, so Titus will need to improve in that area as he likely would project as a defensive end in the Jets' 3-4 scheme. --- DT Haloti Ngata is the only pick in the Ravens' draft with the chance to have an immediate impact. He can anchor the defensive front for years. He is in the same mold as Tony Siragusa, a massive force in the middle who can't be moved. Ngata likely makes the Ravens a top-five run defense. --- WR Demetrius Williams fills the immediate need for a No. 3 receiver but he should be a starter within a couple of years. Considered a second-round talent, he fell to the Ravens in the fourth round. He's a smooth athlete who can pluck balls out of the air deep downfield. He adds size to a receiving corps whose starters -- Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton -- are both about 6 feet. --- C Chris Chester would have been the Ravens' pick in the second round, even if they hadn't traded back, according to Ravens officials. A converted tight end, Chester switched to the offensive line as a senior. He had five touchdown-resulting blocks in 2005. Chester is expected to be the primary reserve in the interior line and push for a starting job in his second season. --- CB David Pittman was the last cornerback available that the Ravens felt could fill their void at nickel back. With four career touchdown returns, Pittman was known as a playmaker with good hands and ball skills. But the question mark is whether Pittman can hold up against top-notch receivers after playing at Division I-AA. --- RB P.J. Daniels was a walk-on at Georgia Tech, Daniels has been compared to former Ravens backup Chester Taylor. He has good vision and can cut back to find holes. He might have the chance to be the team's third-down back this season and become the primary backup in the future. Daniels doesn't have the prototypical speed to pull away from defenders. --- S Dawan Landry is a smart, tough player who started three seasons for Georgia Tech. Landry is a liability in pass coverage because he has average instincts. --- TE Quinn Sypniewski became a favorite of general manager Ozzie Newsome for his toughness. He is a capable blocker who fills the void left by Darnell Dinkins. His biggest problem was staying healthy in college. --- P Sam Koch will have the opportunity to compete for the job against veteran Leo Araguz. He was a two-year punter who averaged 46.5 yards in his senior season. He is the second punter to be drafted by the Ravens, joining Dave Zastudil (fourth round in 2002). --- CB Derrick Martin has speed but lacks size. He is aggressive and can make plays on the ball. He's not very physical in run support. Martin could make the team as a special teams player. --- DE/LB Ryan LaCasse projects to be a situational pass rusher. He could develop into more because has great work ethic and has passion for the game. But he lacks natural athleticism and lacks strength at the point of attack. He definitely needs work to make it at this level. --- CB Johnanthan Joseph played only 14 Division I games with 13 starts at South Carolina, but he displayed big-play ability and has excellent speed. Coaches compare his natural ability of that possessed by Bengals Pro Bowl cornerback Deltha O'Neal, who has played well since regaining his confidence in Cincinnati. Don't be surprised if Joseph is the starter opposite O'Neal in 2007, supplanting Tory James. --- QB/WR Reggie McNeal was the Bengals' sixth-round choice and the 193rd overall. At 6-2, 198 pounds, he will be worked first as a wide receiver with the Bengals, who would like to use him as a multiple-threat on offense, similar to how the Steelers used Antwaan Randle El, before he left as a free agent for Washington. --- T Andrew Whitworth started 52 consecutive games, most on the left side, in college. The Bengals like his versatility to play guard, as well, and he could be groomed to be a future starting right tackle in the pros. He is part of improved young depth on the offensive line. --- DE Frostee Rucker ended up finishing second with 56 tackles and had 6 1/2 sacks in 2005, and he will add needed depth at end. Look for the Bengals to stay with the 4-3 defense. --- DT Domata Peko is best known for his 74-yard fumble return for a touchdown against Michigan last season. Peko has a big body and should be able to hold his ground in the NFL. Still, with only two years of Division I experience, he is a typical kind of project drafted in the middle of the fourth round. --- LB A.J. Nicholson had first-day talent but dropped to the second day because of serious character issues, including an alleged rape during the Orange Bowl that caused his suspension. The Bengals said those matters are cleared up and that Nicholson has a chance to be on the field as a rookie. --- S Ethan Kilmer is a former walk-on safety who ended up playing wide receiver in college. Kilmer is expected to compete for starting roles on the Bengals' special teams. --- WR Bennie Brazell was eighth in the 400-meter hurdles in the 2004 Olympics, and will get a shot to compete for a job as a kick returner. The Bengals placed a premium on speed and athleticism in the draft. --- ILB D'Qwell Jackson the Browns drafted Jackson in the second round to plug the biggest hole on the team. He led the Atlantic Coast Conference in tackles each of the last two years and was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2005. A major reason the Browns were 30th against the run last season was they were weak inside next to Andra Davis. Jackson should be an immediate starter. --- RB Jerome Harrison from Washington State was drafted as a 'change-of-pace' back. He will be worth watching, because the Browns have not had that player since returning to the NFL in 1999. Harrison rushed for 1,900 yards last season and caught 34 passes. If he can take some of the load from Droughns, Droughns should have fresh legs in December. --- DE Kamerion Wimbley can be an edge rusher immediately, but the Browns think he might need some time to make the transition from defensive end to outside linebacker for first and second down. --- WR Travis Wilson caught 50 passes as a junior but fell off a little last year in part because of a sprained ankle and sprained foot. He could start as a rookie. --- LB Leon Williams will get the chance to challenge for a starting job. He adds depth inside, where the Browns' only legitimate starter before the draft was Andra Davis. Williams is weak on pass coverage, but he could help on short-yardage and goal line plus special teams. --- DL Isaac Sowells is the first tackle drafted by the Browns as high as the fourth round since their return to the NFL in 1999. He will back up left tackle Kevin Shaffer. The Browns need depth on the offensive line. Drafting him could mean there is no room for Kirk Chambers, a tackle drafted in the seventh round in 2004. --- CB DeMario Minter adds depth to a unit that is seeking a fourth cornerback behind Gary Baxter, Daylon McCutcheon and Leigh Bodden. He will compete with Antonio Perkins, a fourth-round draft choice last year. The knock on Minter is he drops potential interceptions. He had only two picks for his career. --- FB Lawrence Vickers, plus starting fullback Terrelle Smith, gives coach Romeo Crennel two lead blockers. Vickers rushed for nine touchdowns as a senior at Colorado. He could be used as a short-yardage runner. --- DT Babatunde Oshinowo is strong enough to line up directly over the center and take on two blockers. There is no need to rush him with Ted Washington signed for two years. --- S Justin Hamilton is big, but he runs a 4.55 40-yard dash. His best chance to make the final roster is on special teams. Hamilton was an offensive player until being shifted to defense in 2005. --- WR Willie Reid might be everything Santonio Holmes is only at a bargain price. He's an outstanding punt returner and if he had played the position earlier instead of tailback he probably would have gone higher. He runs a sub-4.4 and averaged 17.5 yards per punt last season. With only the jobs of Hines Ward and Cedrick Wilson secured ahead of them, there's plenty of room for both Reid and Holmes to thrive. --- DL Orien Harris started three years for the Miami Hurricanes and is versatile enough to play inside or out in the Steelers' 3-4 defense. They don't ask their linemen to sack the quarterback but to hold the line and push the pocket and Harris can do that. --- FS Anthony Smith was rated fourth among safeties in the draft by the Steelers, and they needed one. He will compete for the starting free safety job with Ryan Clark, signed as a free agent from the Redskins. The Steelers had a faster time on him than the 4.71 40 he ran at the combine. "He plays much faster than his 40 time indicates," secondary coach Darren Perry said. Perry also compared him to Chris Hope, their former starting free safety who signed with the Titans. --- T Willie Colon will get a shot at replacing veteran tackle/guard Barrett Brooks as versatile lineman who can play either tackle or guard. He's a native of the Bronx, and Steelers like his mean streak. With Trai Essex backing up at left tackle, Colon would serve as RT backup to Max Starks. --- QB Omar Jacobs left the Mid-American Conference school with one year of eligibility remaining. He set a Division 1-A record when he threw 41 touchdown passes and just four interceptions. After an injury, he slipped somewhat last season but not much, completing 60.7 percent of his passes for 2,590 yards, 26 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He played mostly from the shotgun but Steelers don't think that will be a problem. They like his size and his arm. --- TE Charles Davis is not the kind of third TE the Steelers normally employ. Also played basketball at Purdue and is more a finesse, receiver-type than a brute blocker. Started as a freshman. He caught 26 passes for 311 yards last season. --- C Marvin Phillip was a finalist two straight years for the Rimington Trophy, given to the nation's premier center. Last year, he was first-team Associated Press All-America and Cal's MVP. Before going on a two-year mission for the Mormon church, Phillip started several games as a true freshman in 2000. When he returned in 2003, he eventually became the starter and stayed there through 2005. He will compete against Chukky Okobi behind Pro Bowl center Jeff Hartings. --- RB Cedric Humes was one of a few big backs in the draft. His 4.68 speed held him back but he'll get a chance to become a short-yardage back for the Steelers. He rushed for 752 yards last season with a 4.6-yard average. Steelers also like his power. --- DE Mario Williams is an instant playmaker for the Houston defense. He brings instant credibility to a defense that had major question marks as it was being transformed from a 3-4 to a 4-3. He is a phenomenal athlete, who will take over the starting job at right end. Coupled with Anthony Weaver at left end and veterans Robaire Smith and Seth Payne at tackle, the Texans have a formidable defensive line. --- RB Wali Lundy has an opportunity with a strong off-season to play as a rookie. After three impressive seasons in college, he struggled as a senior because of an ankle injury. That contributed to his drop to the sixth round, but Lundy landed on a team that needs a third running back. With Domanick Davis' injury issues, only an inexperienced Vernand Morency is between Lundy and playing time. The Texans will use more than one running back this year and Lundy could have his opportunity to prove he belongs. --- LB DeMeco Ryans is a versatile linebacker who can play all three positions. He will likely start at SAM or WILL. A hard-hitter, who can stay on the field even in nickel situations. He will be competing with Morlon Greenwood and Shantee Orr for one of the starting jobs. He is quick and aggressive -- exactly the characteristics the Texans want in their entire defense. --- T Charles Spencer is a big, solid but lineman who will compete with Seth Wand for the starting job at left tackle. He has only one year of experience at tackle, but the Texans were blown away with his play at the Senior Bowl. He has already dropped his weight to 330, and could be a project as they try to convert him into a quick lineman for the zone blocking scheme. --- T Eric Winston is a finesse type of lineman, who is perfect for the new zone blocking scheme. He will compete for the starting job at right tackle, but it may take awhile for him to break in. He will be competing with veterans Zach Wiegert and Todd Wade. Winston is still just a season off knee surgery, but that's the reason the Texans were able to snag him in the third round. He was projected to go in the top of the second. The Texans aren't worried about his health. They just want to get him more experience out the outside, so he can eventually step in. --- TE Owen Daniels is a former QB/WR that has the speed and size to be a blocking and receiving TE. Will compete for a spot on the depth chart. He could also play a role on special teams. The Texans are very deep at tight end and Daniels is somewhat of a project. He has little experience at tight end and he's had two knee surgeries. The Texans see a lot of potential in him down the road, though. --- David Anderson is unheralded, but never drops a pass. He can make an immediate impact on special teams and add youth the receiving corps. Kubiak knows Anderson personally since one of Kubiak's sons goes to Colorado State. Anderson has the ability to get open and is reliable when the ball is within his reach. --- RB Joseph Addai will enter his rookie year with the Colts sharing the workload with veteran Dominic Rhodes. Indianapolis officials have strongly suggested that they will not throw the former LSU standout into a full-time starting role right off the bat. They hope to gradually work him in as he splits time with Rhodes through the early and middle portions of the season. --- S Antoine Bethea will get a shot at safety to begin his NFL career but could also end up seeing some time as a cornerback. An aggressive hitter who has shown good sideline-to-sideline coverage skills while in college, he may end up being the Robert Mathis of this year's draft for the Colts. --- CB Tim Jennings is a smallish cornerback who was compared to Colts S Bob Sanders in terms of body type and playing style. Indianapolis coaches were not discouraged by his short frame pointing to success with other "smallish" players like Sanders, DE Robert Mathis and DE Dwight Freeney. --- LB Freddie Keiaho is an athletic linebacker who has experience both in the middle and outside. Considered a hitter, Keiaho will probably see action initially on special teams before being worked into the depth chart at linebacker. Team won't make a decision on where he will play defensively until he gets through rookie camp. --- T Michael Toudouze is a very athletic offensive lineman with long arms and quick feet. Position coach in college also coached Colts center Jeff Saturday at North Carolina. Should help provide addtional depth at offensive tackle. --- T Charlie Johnson is a former tight end who moved inside to tackle as a senior. Another offensive tackle who has shown good athletic skills with quick feet and good foot work. Has also proved to be a good technician. Is expected to get a look at right tackle but will get work on both sides. --- S Antoine Bethea is an aggressive hitter who can play cornerback or safety. Will get a first look at safety. Played in a similar defensive system in college which may quicken his learning curve with the Colts. Has impressive speed (4.41). --- CB T.J. Rushing was an unexpected selection since the Colts had previously dealt away the pick in exchange for linebacker Rocky Calmus. Rushing, however, could provide Indianapolis with addition depth in the secondary and was one of the better kickoff and punt returners in the Pac 10. --- RB Maurice Drew fell to the second round because he's not quite 5-7. But he was productive in college as a running back, wide receiver and punt returner. The Jaguars think he could become another Joe Morris who can play on every down and also be a dangerous punt returner. --- LB Clint Ingram fell to the fifth round because he played at Illinois State after transferring from Purdue and spending a year at a junior college. But he was productive in his senior year with 17 sacks and seven sacks and two forced fumbles. The Jaguars will switch him from defensive end to linebacker and hope he can develop as a pass rush specialist. --- TE Marcedes Lewis was the highest rated player left on the Jaguars' board when they made their pick. He also fits a need because Kyle Brady, noted more as a blocker than a receiver, is 34 and near the end of his career. --- OLB Brent Hawkins transferred from Purdue, went to a junior college and then finished his career at Illinois State the last two seasons. He'll make the switch from defensive end to outside linebacker for the Jaguars. He had 17 sacks last year with seven forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He has 4.6 speed. They have an opening at outside linebacker because of the departure of Akin Ayodele and the Jaguars are targeting that position because they traded up to take Clint Ingram on the third round. --- DE James Wyche, a four-year starter, ranked fifth on Syracuse's all-time tackle list by down linemen with 203. He also had 30 tackles for a loss, tied for sixth on the school's all-time list. He was named Most Valuable Player at the 2006 East-West Shrine game, but didn't play as well in his senior year as he did in his junior year. --- DE Dee Webb is a hometown player who is a native of Jacksonville. Webb started 16 of 24 games at Florida and decided to skip his senior season even though he wasn't as productive as a junior as he was as a sophomore. His stock also dropped after a Feb. 12 gun incident in which an assault weapon he owned discharged while he was showing it to three teammates. It went through the walls to an apartment shared by three women, two of whom were home at the time. Nobody was injured and no charges were filed and Webb, who said he used to own four guns and shoot them at a range, said he's gotten rid of the guns. --- RB Lendale White was 16th on the Titans' draft board and widely regarded as a top 15 pick after his performance for the Trojans in the Rose Bowl. If the character assessments of Jeff Fisher and Norm Chow are correct, the Titans could be basking in a steal that got them White at No. 45 in the second round. --- LB Stephen Tulloch had the benefit of playing behind a defensive line that included three first round picks -- Mario Williams, Manny Lawson and John McCargo. But to the Titans, it was Tulloch who made things go for the Wolfpack, and they believe he could be their starter at middle linebacker and a special teams force right from the season opener. --- QB Vince Young is the future at quarterback for the Titans. Tennessee is giddy to get him and believes he'll redefine the position when he's ready to take over in a year or two. --- S Calvin Lowry will probablymake his initial impact on special teams. The Titans like the way he diagnoses things and his tackling ability. --- LB Terna Nande was called him a missile by Jeff Fisher. Nande can have an immediate impact on special teams and grow as a linebacker. --- DT Jesse Mahelona is not the massive, Albert Haynesworth, brand of interior defensive lineman but a guy who can be an effective part of the rotation. --- WR Jonathan Orr is big and fast, though he admits he doesn't fare so well after the catch. Maybe he can be what Tyrone Calico was supposed to be. --- CB Cortland Finnegan put up a 4.33 or 4.34 at his pro day, making him an attractive pick well after the Titans missed several streaks of CBs. --- LB Spencer Toone is another fast linebacker who could provide some depth and fill spots on special teams. --- RB Quinton Ganther is a strong running back who may have some limitations. General manager Floyd Reese thinks he can be an effective pace changer. --- DE Elvis Dumervil didn't slip because he wasn't productive. He had 20 sacks and won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy given to the top defensive player in the nation. But he is short at 5-11, which scared teams off. The Broncos could have done worse in the fourth round than pick someone who was so successful rushing the passer in college. If Dumervil has a good training camp, he could have a big role as a rookie. --- QB Jay Cutler is a perfect fit for the Broncos. Denver traded the 15th and 68th overall picks to move up four spots and take Cutler. Cutler will sit this year behind Jake Plummer, who is only 31 years old. But Cutler has a strong arm and fits in Denver's scheme because he is mobile and highly intelligent, and the Broncos think he can be their quarterback of the future. --- TE Tony Scheffler has good hands and very good speed for his size, and because Denver is thin at tight end he could see a lot of playing time right away. The knock on Scheffler is his blocking, but he said he can improve in that area. He better, because one of the reasons the team gave up on Jeb Putzier is he never developed into an adequate blocker. --- WR Brandon Marshall is a big receiver who has some good speed. He split time between receiver and safety his junior year because the team was short in the secondary, and then moved back to receiver during his senior year and had a very productive season. Marshall could end up playing tight end in the pros. --- G Chris Kuper is a good athlete and can play guard or tackle. He will probably play guard for the Broncos and his athleticism fits what the Broncos like to do with their zone-blocking scheme. --- C Greg Eslinger isn't big, and despite a great college career fell to the sixth round. But he was in the same zone-blocking scheme in college that Denver uses. Former Gophers center Ben Hamilton was a fourth-round pick in 2001 and he has become a solid starter for the Broncos. --- DE Tamba Hali could give KC the left edge rush they need to complement the right-side push of Jared Allen, their leading sacker of his two NFL seasons. --- CB Marcus Maxey, who started only one year at Miami, has the raw tools to develop into a player -- especially with a former corner as a head coach. Maxey has the mental approach Edwards likes in a corner, and if he'll listen and learn, he could have a real chance here. --- SS Bernard Pollard is a strong run-support safety who flashed the athleticism to block five kicks while playing on special teams even as a starter. A workhorse, he started 35 of 36 games in three seasons before electing to come out early. --- QB Brodie Croyle overcame ACL injury to one knee in 2001 and another to his other knee in 2004 to become Alabama's career leader in pass completions, yards (6,107) and TD passes (40). Ranks second in total offense. Durability issues are a concern after his history of injuries. Will compete initially for No. 3 job with recently signed CFL QB Casey Printers. --- T Tre Stallings was a four-year starter who played in all 48 games, mostly at left tackle. Played final eight games in '04 after injuring an ankle. --- WR Jeff Webb is a vertical threat who was the three-year leader in receptions during his four-year career, with a career-high 79 catches in 2005. Has ability to go over defenders for the ball. Ranks second on Aztecs' all-time career receiving list with 221 catches. --- S Jarred Page is a durable strong safety who started 10 games for the Bruins as a freshman. Last Bruin to do that was Kenny Easley in 1977. Started 45 of 49 games in four-year career, but didn't participate in spring while playing college baseball. Taken in baseball draft by Brewers in 2002 and Colorado in 2005. Had nine interceptions and 15 tackles for losses over career. --- S Michael Huff is expected to provide an instant upgrade to a secondary desperately in need of his playmaking and tackling skills. Huff, a big fan of departed Raider Charles Woodson, has many of the same attributes of the Heisman Trophy winner with the added advantage of being younger, healthier and a much more serious student of the game in terms of practice habits and work in the film room. --- LB Thomas Howard's speed and ability to cover running backs out of the backfield, as well as tight ends, was appealing to a team which has had trouble doing both -- in a division full of excellent all-around running backs and dangerous tight ends. Considered a raw talent, Howard is not considered to have great instinct for the game and will need to be developed. He will be of immediate value on special teams. --- T Paul McQuistan is a physical, aggressive mauler who relies more on brute force than technique -- a quality that appeals to a Raiders team which is desperate to revive a running game that has been doormant for the past two years. A tackle in college, many scouts believe he is better suited to guard. He'll get a look at both positions in Oakland and at worst should be a frontline backup. --- LB Darnell Bing is a hit-or-miss pick -- much like the tackling skills of Bing, who can level an opposing reciever on one play and whiff on the next. There could be some value here, because some mock drafts even had him listed as a first round selection. Bing enters the mix at safety along with Huff, incumbent free safety Stuart Schweigert and returnee Derrick Gibson. Jarrod Cooper, pressed into action as a starter last season, should be able to resume his roll as a fulltime special teams player. Shell believes Bing can add 10 pounds and retain his speed. --- G Kevin Boothe is an intriguing prospect who has never maximized his ability. A left tackle at Cornell, the Raiders plan to play him at guard. Tough enough to have played with casts on both hands, and dedicated enough to have dropped 60 pounds since arriving as a 370-pound freshman. Dominates at times in the running game but was pushed back as a pass blocker against Ivy League competition. Scouting reports say he struggled against top competition in the East-West Shrine Game, but Shell said Raiders were impressed with his play in practices that week. --- C Chris Morris is the kind of player teams like to fill out a roster -- a hard-working over-achiever who is limited athletically but will do whatever it takes to contribute. He helps his cause with long-snapping skill. Graded out well in terms of executing assignments but was not gifted enough to dominate. Was not invited to scouting combine. --- Kevin McMahan caught 59 passes for 893 yards for a 15.1 average and 13 touchdowns, leading the Black Bears in scoring. Mr. Irrelevant has 4.44 speed and was particularly impressive in a 25-7 loss to Nebraska, catching a 52-yard touchdown pass. He was fielding phone calls as a prospective free agent when he received a phone call from the Raiders. --- LT Marcus McNeill could be asked to contribute early as returning starter Roman Oben is still mending from two foot surgeries and the Chargers aren't enamored with Oben's backup, Leander Jordan. --- ILB Tim Dobbins will get quite an education this year playing behind Randall Godfrey and Donnie Edwards, while absorbing just what it takes to earn the NFL's top ranking -- as the Chargers did last year -- against the run. --- S Antonio Cromartie is talented and athletic, but doesn't have much of a resume. Cromartie started only one game his entire, injury-riddled, college career. --- QB Charlie Whitehurst is a classic drop-back quarterback, but many recall his junior season when he threw seven touchdowns and 17 interceptions. --- T Jeromey Clary isn't expected to add much early on as he needs to get bigger and stronger to wrestle with the NFL's defensive ends. --- K Kurt Smith is a bit of a mystery pick here with the Chargers pleased with the kicking of third-year pro Nate Kaeding. But Smith could be brought aboard exclusively as a kickoff specialist -- an area where Kaeding has struggled. --- DT Chase Page could challenge for a roster spot. With Jamal Williams, Jacques Cesaire, and Ryon Bingham ahead of Page, don't look for much here. --- C Jimmy Martin was a depth pick, although the Chargers are hoping he pushes starter Nick Hardwick. Look for a lengthy learning curve as Martin played left tackle at Va. Tech. He could also get a look at guard. --- WR Jerome Pathon has signed with Atlanta. Pathon, 6-0, 195 pounds, caught one pass for 18 yards last year for the Falcons in eight games played. He primarily saw action on special teams, returning three kickoffs for 54 yards for Atlanta in 2005. In his eight-year career, he has tallied 260 catches for 3,350 yards (12.9 avg.) and 15 touchdowns. Pathon spent four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts (1998-2001) and three seasons with the New Orleans Saints (2002-04), seeing action in a total of 91 games with 62 starts. Originally a second-round (32nd overall selection) pick by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1998 NFL Draft, Pathon caught 34 passes for 581 yards and one score in 2004 for the Saints. --- LB Courtney Watson was acquired by Miami in exchange for LB Eddie Moore. Moore has played three injury-plagued seasons. Watson started eight games as a rookie in 2004, but hadn't progressed as the Saints hoped and played in just nine games last season. --- C Dominic Furio was released by Philadelphia. A seventh-round draft choice of the Eagles in 2004, he spent his entire rookie season on the Injured Reserve list and the latter half of the 2005 campaign on the Eagles practice squad. --- DE Jason Hatcher, the Cowboys' third-round draft choice, is the most intriquing of the team's prospects because he came from Grambling State University and not many people knew about him in college. But the Cowboys feel he has the potential to be a big-time performer. They compare him former Cowboys defensive tackle Leon Lett, who came from obscure Emporia State but grew into an NFL star. Because he has only played defensive end for two years and didn't get the best of coaching at Grambling, there is a belief that Hatcher could be more dominant in the pros than he was in college. One thing that isn't in question is his athletic ability. He is 6-6, 290 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.7 seconds. --- OLB John Saldi is living out a dream trying to make the Cowboys. The former Texas Tech player is the son of former Cowboys tight end Jay Saldi, an undrafted free agent out of South Carolina who played for the Cowboys from 1976-82. --- CB Quincy Butler and LB J.J. Horne, two players who tried out during the rookie mini-camp, have signed with the Cowboys. --- LB J.J. Horne and CB Quincy Butler, two players who tried out during the rookie mini-camp, have signed with the Cowboys. --- C Dominic Furio was released by the Eagles this week. Furio was a seventh-round pick in the '04 draft. He spent his rookie season on injured reserve and last season on the practice squad. --- DT Anthony Montgomery, Washington's fifth-round pick, sat out the last two days of rookie minicamp after pulling a hamstring on Friday. --- CB Chris Hawkins, one of eight rookie fre agents signed the day after the draft, strained a shoulder during special teams work on Saturday and didn't practice on Sunday. --- WR Mike Espy, a tryout receiver from Mississippi who had some of the Redskins camp's nicest catches, is the son of former Clinton Administration Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy. --- DE Val Barnaby from Rutgers, S Marcus Demps from San Diego State and WR Devale Ellis from Hofstra signed one-year contracts after trying out at the Lions' rookie mini-camp. --- S Marcus Demps from San Diego State, DE Val Barnaby from Rutgers and WR Devale Ellis from Hofstra signed one-year contracts after trying out at the Lions' rookie mini-camp. --- WR Devale Ellis from Hofstra, S Marcus Demps from San Diego State and DE Val Barnaby from Rutgers signed one-year contracts after trying out at the Lions' rookie mini-camp. --- DT Donnell Washington, who hasn't played a down after two years in the league, is running out of time to stay with the Packers. Washington, a third-round draft pick in 2004, was banished to the sideline during the first minicamp because he arrived out of shape after not taking part in the off-season workout program. The 6-foot-6 Washington, who's listed at 328 pounds, was on injured reserve his entire rookie season in 2004 because of a foot injury and was activated only once last season but didn't see the field. --- LB E.J. Henderson, who moved from middle linebacker to the weak side last season, was expected to work some in the middle in the minicamp. It would not be surprising to see Henderson anchoring the middle when the Vikings open the season on Sept. 11 in Washington. The outside linebackers likely will be first-round pick Chad Greenway on the weak side and free-agent pick up Ben Leber on the strong side. --- RB Onterrio Smith, suspended by the NFL last season because of a fourth violation of the league's substance abuse policy, signed with Winnipeg of the Canadian Football League last Friday. Smith will be eligible to be reinstated in October, his agent, Doug Hendrickson, said. Smith's deal, reportedly worth about $65,000 with incentives that could make it worth around $85,000, is for one year with an option year that could enable him to return to the NFL in 2007. --- SS Donte Whitner, the Bills' first-round draft choice out of Ohio State, is confident he'll be in the starting lineup sooner than later. "I'm always going to be confident even if I'm wrong. But if I learn this defense, do my job, do what they expect, I will be able to become a starter," he said. "Maybe it's opening day, mid-season, maybe it's next year. But if I do what I'm supposed to, I will be a starter here." --- LB Eddie Moore's trade to the Saints was nullified when he failed a physical. The Dolphins and New Orleans had agreed to a linebacker-for-linebacker swap, with Moore heading to the Saints and Miami acquiring 2004 second-round pick Courtney Watson. But the deal was nullified last Thursday when Moore failed a Saints physical because of a problematic right knee. --- QB Craig Nall received equal time with QB J.P Losman and QB Kelly Holcomb during Bills mini-camp. There are two more sessions planned for May and June before training camp starts in late July. There won't be a clear-cut starter by then, setting the stage for an intense competition through the pre-season. "That's been our plan and we'll stick to it right into training camp," Jauron said. "Then we'll see where it goes from that point on." --- TE Kevin Everett got through his first mini-camp without incident. A year ago, he tore an ACL and last month in his first live workout since surgery, he tweaked a hamstring and had to sit. During last week's drills, Everett twisted his ankle after stepping on a teammate's foot, but was able to bounce right back up and keep going, an encouraging sign for him and the coaching staff. --- LB Takeo Spikes (Achilles') remains on schedule to be ready for summer camp. He's doing light jogging and lifting. --- LB Eddie Moore, who was obtained by New Orleans from Miami in a trade for third-year pro Courtney Watson, failed his physical after reporting to the Saints. Moore apparently had not recovered from a knee injury that has plagued him for more than a year. The Saints and Dolphins were discussing whether to amend or cancel the deal altogether. --- LB Courtney Watson was traded to Miami from New Orleans for LB Eddie Moore, but the trade was halted when Moore failed his physical after reporting to the Saints. Moore apparently had not recovered from a knee injury that has plagued him for more than a year. The Saints and Dolphins were discussing whether to amend or cancel the deal altogether. --- TE Kyle Turley does not have a future as a tight end, at least with the Dolphins. Though Turley, a converted tackle looked better than expected at tight end during a tryout at last weekend's rookie mini-camp, it wasn't enough to land a roster spot. The Dolphins instead agreed to terms with TE Keith Heinrich, a three-year NFL veteran who spent last season on injured reserve with Cleveland because of a knee injury. --- TE Keith Heinrich signed with the Dolphins to be their third tight end. Heinrich is a three-year NFL veteran who spent last season on injured reserve with Cleveland because of a knee injury. Heinrich is expected to compete for a roster spot as a third tight end behind starter Randy McMichael and backup Justin Peelle. The third tight-end spot recently opened when the Dolphins waived Alex Holmes. --- WR Frank Murphy landed a roster spot after his tryout at the rookie mini-camp. He signed a one-year deal for $585,000. --- RB Roger Robinson continues to tear up NFL Europe with Frankfurt. He posted his fifth 100-yard game in a win over Rhein, becoming only the third back to have five or more 100-yard games in the league. He is one short of the record. --- DT Rodrique Wright underwent surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff. A 2006 seventh-round draft choice, Wright is expected to start the preseason on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. --- LB Barry Gardner signed with the Patriots. Gardner (6-1, 245) is entering his eighth NFL season after playing for Philadelphia (1999-02), Cleveland (2003-04) and spending last season with the Jets. Drafted by the Eagles in the second round in 1999 out of Northwestern, Gardner has played in 110 career games with 24 starts, and has recorded 186 tackles, two sacks, one interception, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. --- LB Jeremy Loyd signed with the Patriots. Loyd enters his third NFL season, having played in 14 career games with the Rams, with the bulk of his action coming on special teams. He has 10 career special teams tackles and no defensive statistics. --- LT Matt Light continues to rehab from the broken leg that cost him all but three games last season. Light suffered the injury in Week 3 at Pittsburgh but didn't go on injured reserve until Dec. 22, as he and the team hoped he'd be able to recover in time to help down the stretch and in the playoffs. That never materialized. The sixth-year veteran had to have multiple surgical procedures to overcome setbacks in his recovery. --- QB Chad Pennington expressed confidence in his rehab at a Jets charity event, saying, "Everything's going great. I'm full-go. I'm throwing every pass we have in the playbook." He said he expects to participate in team drills both in a late-May passing camp and at the team's veteran mini-camp in June. --- RT Zach Wiegert signed a contract extension with the Texans. Wiegert will be 34 years old when the season starts and has dealt with injuries each of the past four seasons. When healthy, he has been a consistent and solid starter on the Texans' offensive line. "I'm glad I got it done," said Wiegert. "You get down to the end of a contract and you never know what might happen. To get an extension done means they want you around for at least a couple of more years." --- MLB Keyon Whiteside has been cleared to return to practice. The former Tennessee standout has not played since he suffered massive knee damage in an Oct. 31, 2004 game with the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. --- OT Ian Allen signed with the Chiefs. Terms were undisclosed. Allen is a player they initially signed as a rookie free agent in 2001, to a one-year contract. Allen has played in 25 games with the Giants (2002-03), Eagles (2004) and Arizona (2005). --- QB Aaron Brooks has the early lead for the starting QB job in Oakland. As the Raiders concluded their mandatory three-day mini-camp following the NFL draft, Brooks appeared to have a clear edge over veteran Marques Tuiasosopo and second-year player Andrew Walter. Brooks, signed as a free agent after being cut by the New Orleans Saints, got the majority of the work with the first-team offensive line, followed by Tuiasosopo and Walter. --- OL Langston Walker is moving back to tackle. Walker was drafted in the second round as a tackle out of Cal in 2002 and moved to guard last season. Walker opened the 2004 season at right tackle, only to have a difficult game in pass protection in the season opener against Pittsburgh. He was benched in favor of top draft pick Robert Gallery. --- DE Tyler Brayton is exclusively a down lineman, according to coach Art Shell. Running backs flaring out of the backfield in search of swing passes will be sorry to here it, but Tyler Brayton's days of being a stand-up guy are over. Not only was Brayton back at end, but he worked extensively with the first time from the right side during the Raiders' three-day mini-camp. "He's a defensive end," Shell said in officially ending a two-year experiment of using the 6-foot-6, 275-pound Colorado product at outside linebacker. "When we told him, he was excited about it. Get back down and get after the passer from that three-point stance." --- DT Warren Sapp, recovering from rotator cuff surgery, participated in a few drills but was held out of team sessions at the Raiders' mini-camp. Sapp said he expects to be ready to go by the mid-June mini-camp and should be ready for training camp with no restrictions. --- WR Ronald Curry, who has had two Achilles' tendon surgeries in the past two years, was with his teammates at mini-camp but did not participate. Coach Art Shell said Curry is healing nicely and eager to play, but gave no timetable as to when he would be ready to go. --- C Jake Grove, who had knee surgery last season, worked as the starter at all three morning sessions but gave way to Adam Treu in the afternoon. The afternoons off were a scheduled part of Grove's recovery, Shell said. --- QB Andrew Walter, who had hernia surgery following the regular season, played with no restrictions. --- RB LaMont Jordan, who missed the last two games of 2005 with turf toe, reported some lingering pain but said it was not serious as he took all his reps as the No. 1 running back. --- S Derrick Gibson, who had a dislocated wrist last season, practiced with no restrictions. --- WR Randy Moss, hampered much of last season with rib, groin and pelvis injuries, appeared to be at full strength.
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