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Volume 19, #21 -- Saturday Night, May 13th, 2017

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Hi Folks,

Good Sunday to you and Happy Mother's Day. If you're fortunate to have your Mom around, I hope you're able to let her know she's loved today. To all you Moms and Women out there, we say Thanks from Footballguys. We wouldn't be here without y'all. Now let's get to the News and Notes.

J


1. CHI - WR Kevin White 'looks very healthy'

Source: ESPN.com - Jeff Dickerson

Chicago Bears WR Kevin White has been limited to four games in his first two years due to injuries, but head coach John Fox appears to like how his third season is starting.

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White had amazing ability two years ago, but have these injuries robbed him of his speed and playmaking skills? We'll have to wait and see. We still have stock in White in dynasty formats as it's tough to let go of a former first-round pick (and we're just stubborn sometimes). Fantasy owners in redraft leagues should look at him as a late-round flier. He's WR59 (12.07) in 12-team PPR leagues at this time.

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2. LAR - QB Jared Goff impressing new staff

Source: ESPN.com - Alden Gonzalez

Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff has been exceedingly present this spring and picked up the new playbook at a 'surprisingly quick pace,' according to new offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur.

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The Rams have to get Goff on the right track. They made him the no.1 overall pick last year for a reason, but the Cal QB looked lost as a rookie in 2016. LaFleur's offense should have a Washington/Atlanta feel to it, and it could be a system that makes Goff more comfortable than whatever Jeff Fisher was trying to do with him last year.

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3. JAX - QB Blake Bortles' mechanics 'improved'

Source: FirstCoastNews.com - Mike Kaye

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone believes there is 'no doubt' the way QB Blake Bortles is throwing the ball this offseason 'has improved'.

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Bortles mechanics were quite wonky last year, and it caused his play to slip. The Jaguars haven't written him off (yet), but Bortles certainly needs to start playing better if he wants to stay as the starting quarterback. He's in line for a bounce-back season in 2017.

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4. IND - Big leap coming from TE Erik Swoope?

Source: Colts.com - Kevin Bowen

Indianapolis Colts TE Erik Swoope said he believes the coaching staff is expecting a lot from him this season, and Kevin Bowen of Colts.com believes the decision not to draft a tight end indicates the Colts are comfortable with Swoope as their No. 2 tight end.

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Swoope didn't play college football, but he was picked up by the Colts on a flier and he's been developing at the tight end position. A basketball star at Miami, Swoope is your classic "hoops to football" convert and plays with great athleticism. He'll compete for targets behind 2016 breakout player Jack Doyle.

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5. NO - Max Unger to play in preseason?

Source: NewOrleansSaints.com

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton said the goal is to have C Max Unger (foot) ready for the third preseason game.

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Unger's foot injury is not as serious as originally feared. At this time, having him ready for Week 1 of the regular season seems plausible.

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6. DET - TE Eric Ebron progressing nicely

Source: ESPN.com - Michael Rothstein

Detroit Lions TE Eric Ebron has yet to play 16 games in a season for the Lions, but he set career-highs last year in receptions (61) and yards (711) last season. He has also improved as a blocker, while his drop rate went from 10.1 percent in 2015 to 5.8 percent in 2016 even as he was targeted 17 more times and had a higher percentage of targets per route run and receptions per route run, according to ESPN's Michael Rothstein.

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Ebron has been improving each year as a pro. The selection of noted TD-hog Mike Roberts (Toledo) in the 2017 NFL draft could keep Ebron from top fantasy status. We like him as a high-end TE2 this year.

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7. NYG - Wayne Gallman to see important carries

Source: New York Daily News - Pat Leonard

New York Giants RB Wayne Gallman will likely serve as the primary backup to RB Paul Perkins and could see carries at the goal line, according to Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News.

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Gallman is the big back in this situation, so he may play a larger role than some think. We love Perkins' ability, but as a smaller back he's likely to have his touches monitored. We could see Perkins as the lead back, the pass-catching back but Gallman the powerback, short-yardage back and goal-line back in 2017. Let's see how things unfold in training camp and the preseason.

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8. DAL - RB Alfred Morris on the bubble?

Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram - Charean Williams

Dallas Cowboys RB Alfred Morris' inability to play special teams likely places him on the roster bubble. 'You'd love for your third back, in a perfect world, to be a contributor on special teams,' Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said.

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The Cowboys have great insurance behind Ezekiel Elliot with Morris, but that doesn't guarantee him a spot on the 53-man roster. Morris would likely be scooped up quickly if he gets to the open market.

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9. DAL - TE Rico Gathers tough to defend

Source: The Dallas Morning News - Jon Machota

Dallas Cowboys TE Rico Gathers is 'always an option' in the passing game because of his big catch radius, according to offensive coordinator Scott Linehan.

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Jason Witten can't play forever, so Gathers is a deep dynasty prospect we're adding feverishly or hanging onto tightly. The former basketball star at Baylor has the size (6'6") and strength to be a factor...and a fantasy asset...for the Cowboys in the future.

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10. ARI - Big things expected from Chad Williams

Source: AZCardinals.com - Kyle Odegard

Arizona Cardinals WR Chad Williams is considered someone who can 'carry the torch' once WR Larry Fitzgerald decides to retire, according to offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin.

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Williams is not a burner, but he plays larger than his size (6'1") and can make dynamic catches seem routine. He needs work as a route runner and needs to add more strength to his frame, but Williams is a dynasty prospect we have eyes for.

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11. NYG - Evan Engram a complete tight end?

Source: SNY - Ralph Vacchiano

New York Giants TE Evan Engram is 'not just a big receiver,' offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said Friday, May 12. 'We do feel comfortable about the things we want him to do when he has his hand in the ground,' Sullivan said.

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Yeah...we'll agree to disagree here. We love Engram's ability as a receiver. He impressed on film and at the Senior Bowl...but it was as a receiver only. Engram is a work in progress as a blocker. The team needed a pass-catching weapon at tight end, and that's why they selected Engram in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft.

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12. TEN - QB Marcus Mariota will not be rushed back

Source: TitansOnline.com - Jim Wyatt

Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota's status for off-season work remains in the 'to be determined' department, according to TitansOnline's Jim Wyatt.

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We doubt Mariota practices much if at all this offseason. The goal is to have him ready for Week 1 of the regular season, so he might even be limited to start training camp. We'll know more about his status as August draws near. He was the no.13 fantasy QB in 2016 (standard scoring leagues) and could crack into the top 10 this year with the added weapons around him in the passing game.

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13. CLE - RB Isaiah Crowell may skip voluntary OTAs

Source: ESPNCleveland.com - Tony Grossi

Cleveland Browns RB Isaiah Crowell recently signed his restricted free-agent contract tender, but he was absent from the team's voluntary offseason program prior to the signing and may not return until mandatory minicamp in June.

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This is not really a big deal as the offense will remain the same as Hue Jackson continues as head coach in 2017. Crowell didn't get the extension he wanted, but when it comes to mandatory attendance later this year we'd expect him to show up.

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14. JAX - Leonard Fournette must earn starting job

Source: ESPN.com - Mike DiRocco

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette will need to earn the starting running back job during offseason workouts and training camp even though he was the team's first-round pick, according to head coach Doug Marrone.

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The Jaguars aren't going to hand him the starting job, and just like every team out there we'll see rookies 'earn' their playing time. That being said....Fournette is incredibly talented and should have no problem winning the starting job over guys like Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon. He's got RB1 potential for sure, but Fournette is currently going off the board at RB21 (5.04) in 12-team PPR leagues.

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15. CLE - DeShone Kizer to see plenty of work

Source: The Cleveland Plain Dealer - Mary Kay Cabot

Cleveland Browns QB DeShone Kizer will receive a lot of snaps during offseason workouts because he needs the work, according to head coach Hue Jackson.

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Kizer is far from a finished product. Think of a super raw Daunte Culpepper when considering Kizer's current skill set as an NFL passer. The Browns could develop him into a starting quarterback...perhaps even franchise quarterback level...but it's going to take time.

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16. CLE - QB Cody Kessler to get first snaps

Source: The Cleveland Plain Dealer - Mary Kay Cabot

Cleveland Browns QB Cody Kessler will receive the first snaps during drills this offseason because he has earned the right, according to head coach Hue Jackson.

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Zero surprise here. Kessler should be considered the favorite to start for the Browns...at least at the beginning of the regular season. He'll compete with Brock Osweiler, while the Browns keep Osweiler that is. DeShone Kizer was drafted in the second round of the 2017 NFL draft, and he could be the team's future at the position. The speed of his development will likely determine how long Kessler has as 'the man' under center.

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17. ARI - Arizona signs three more picks

Source: AZCardinals.com - Darren Urban

Arizona Cardinals fifth-round draft choice OT Will Holden, fifth-round draft choice RB T.J. Logan and sixth-round draft choice CB Johnathan Ford signed four-year contracts Saturday, May 13. Financial terms were not disclosed.

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Logan could be everything the team wanted WR Andre Ellington to be as a running back. The North Carolina back is compactly built and can change direction smoothly with the rock in his hands. He's not a banger between the tackles, but Logan is dangerous in space. Logan should compete for the backup/change-of-pace role behind superstar David Johnson in 2017.

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18. NO - Ryan Ramczyk should be ready for camp

Source: NewOrleansSaints.com - John DeShazier

New Orleans Saints OT Ryan Ramczyk (hip) said he is ahead of schedule in his recovery from hip surgery and should be ready for the start of training camp.

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His hip surgery likely caused Ramczyk's draft stock to fall to the end of the first round. Once healthy, Ramczyk will compete for playing time and likely serve as a backup for LT Terron Armstead in 2017.

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19. BAL - Nick Mangold may still be option for BAL

Source: ESPN.com - Jamison Hensley

The Baltimore Ravens are believed to still have interest in free-agent C Nick Mangold (Jets), but the two sides have not been able to reach an agreement yet.

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No hurries, no worries here. Mangold could wait until the start of training camp before signing with another team. During now and then more opportunities, and more competition for his services, could open up.

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20. JAX - No contact between Jags, Branden Albert

Source: The Florida Times-Union - Ryan O'Halloran

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said he still has not had any contact with OT Branden Albert.

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Under contract through 2018, the Jaguars have no intentions of getting Albert a new deal. He's missed voluntary workouts, but we'll see if he's still absent when mandatory minicamp begins later this year. Second-round pick Cam Robinson will push Albert for the starting left tackle spot in 2017.

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21. NO - Several veterans trying out for Saints

Source: The New Orleans Advocate - Nick Underhill

Free-agent QB Matt Simms (Falcons), OT Khalif Barnes (Saints), TE Clay Harbor (Lions) and OT Bryce Harris (Dolphins) are participating in the New Orleans Saints rookie minicamp this weekend on a tryout basis.

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Harbor would be the only player of interest here...if he gets to stay as more than a tryout player. Anybody catching passes from QB Drew Brees will always get out attention.

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22. JAX - Cam Robinson working at LT

Source: The Florida Times-Union - Ryan O'Halloran

Jacksonville Jaguars OT Cam Robinson has only worked at left tackle during the team's rookie minicamp this weekend.

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Robinson is a big mauler who struggles with balance issues as a pass blocker. The second-round pick from Alabama will compete with Branden Albert for the starting job in 2017...that is, he'll compete with him when Albert actually shows up. During voluntary workouts, Albert has been a no show.

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23. CLE - Jabrill Peppers will be on the field

Source: The Cleveland Plain Dealer - Mary Kay Cabot

Cleveland Browns SS Jabrill Peppers has signed his injury waiver and will participate in practice Saturday, May 13.

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Peppers can line up all over the field on defense....and offense too if the team wants to use him that way. The most versatile player in the 2017 NFL draft, Peppers is rangy and aggressive playing in the secondary. He's also got the ability to play some running back or wide receiver as a gadget player due to his incredible athleticism.

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24. DEN - Chad Kelly should be ready for camp

Source: Denver7 Sports - Troy Renck

Denver Broncos seventh-round QB Chad Kelly (wrist) should be 'totally cleared' for training camp in August, according to head coach Vance Joseph.

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Kelly is coming back from wrist surgery, a major knee injury suffered last year and a lingering hernia problem. He's the most talented "Mr. Irrelevant" ever selected in the NFL draft, but Kelly is not likely to be much of a factor this year. Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian will compete for the starting job in training camp. Kelly could get in the mix in 2018 if neither Lynch or Siemian show enough future potential this season.

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25. PHI - Donnel Pumphrey seeing time in slot

Source: Philadelphia Daily News - Paul Domowitch

Philadelphia Eagles RB Donnel Pumphrey said he is seeing reps as a slot receiver, and head coach Doug Pederson said Pumphrey reminds him of RB Darren Sproles because of his versatility.

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Pumphrey is tiny, measuring in around 170 pounds, but he's elusive and dangerous in open space. The Eagles should groom him as an eventual replacement to Darren Sproles.

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26. LAR - Coach high on Cooper Kupp

Source: Los Angeles Times - Gary Klein

Los Angeles Rams WR Cooper Kupp displayed the knowledge of an NFL receivers coach during interviews at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine, according to head coacg Sean McVay. 'He is one of the more polished college receivers that I've evaluated coming out in a while,' McVay said.

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Kupp is basically a rookie version of Eric Decker (Jets). He's not going to run by defenders, but he's going to get open with great route-running ability and Kupp will catch everything thrown his way.

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27. LAR - Gerald Everett to have a role?

Source: Los Angeles Times - Gary Klein

Los Angeles Rams TE Gerald Everett could be used in three-tight-end packages with TE Tyler Higbee and TE Temarrick Hemingway, according to head coach Sean McVay. 'So we feel very good about adding Gerald to that mix, and I think it will help us overall offensively in the way that we'll be able to attack people,' McVay said.

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That would make a lot of sense. Everett is super athletic and a former basketball star who took to the gridiron to play football only a handful of years ago. The South Alabama prospect is not a refined route runner, but his athleticism and leaping ability make him difficult to match up with.

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28. OAK - Elijah Hood turns heads

Source: MMQB - Albert Breer

Oakland Raiders RB Elijah Hood turned the heads of the offensive staff during rookie minicamp.

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Hood was the power back for the Tar Heels last year. He runs well behind his pads and has better than expected burst when he gets to and through the hole. The Raiders have Marshawn Lynch as the starter, but we have dynasty interest in Hood.

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That'll do it for today, Folks. Thanks for reading and thanks for being part of Footballguys. We'll see you tomorrow with the Update.

Peace,

J