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Volume 22, #11 -- Tuesday Night, April 28th, 2020
Green Bay's Love For QB Jordan Love - And More

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Howdy Folks,

Good Wednesday to you.

I hope you're staying safe out there. Settle in for a few NFL stories as we've got what you need to stay on top of things.

Let's get to it.

J


1. GB - Green Bay wasn't going to let Jordan Love slip

Source: NFL.com - Nick Shook

Green Bay Packers QB Jordan Love was highly coveted by the team before the Packers traded up to the 26th overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft to select him. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network said Monday, April 27, the Packers were 'adamant' about acquiring the QB.

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The Packers made the move for the quarterback they can groom as an heir apparent to Aaron Rodgers. People talk about this motivating Rodgers, but is he really the type of guy who needs that? Rodgers is plenty motivated on his own! Now Green Bay has lit a fire they didn't need to. Love is a fine developmental quarterback but he'll need some time to be ready to start. Rodgers needed help...how about a wide receiver or two in the GREATEST wide receiver class in NFL history?!? Instead, the Packers failed to help their passing game in this draft. Sigh. We'll see how this works out.

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2. ARI - QB Kyler Murray set for next step?

Source: ProFootballTalk.com - Charean Williams

Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray is expected to take another big step in 2020 after being named the 2019 Offensive Rookie of the Year, according to general manager Steve Keim Tuesday, April 28. 'I think he's even a better pure passer than people have anticipated, but the thing that's gonna separate him is the ability to process, to see things, to make good decisions, get the ball out of his hands, don't take so many sacks,' Keim said.

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Murray has more weapons around him, and certainly trading for DeAndre Hopkins earlier this year will be a huge boost for the passing game. Fantasy GMs already know that Murray has QB1 upside on a week-to-week basis. As a rookie in 2019, Murray finished as the No.9 fantasy quarterback in standard-scoring leagues. He could push for top-5 status this year.

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3. TB - QB Tom Brady didn't violate offseason rules

Source: NFL Network - Tom Pelissero

The NFL looked into Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady recently visiting with offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich at Leftwich's house.

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There was some concern that Brady was in violation of league rule but that now doesn't seem to be the case. The league determined Brady and Leftwich didn't violate any offseason work rules, as Brady was there for a brief personal visit to pick up his new team playbook. It occurred during the dead period before the virtual period of the offseason began.

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4. DEN - Jerry Jeudy expected to start in Denver

Source: Fox News - Daniel Canova

Denver Broncos rookie WR Jerry Jeudy is expected to immediately step into a starting role with Denver. Jeudy isn't lacking confidence as he takes the step from the college ranks to the NFL. 'I feel like I'm the best wide receiver because I've got the ability to separate. You need to find a way to get open and I feel like that's what I can do. I feel like if I'm getting open and creating 5, 6 yards of separation every time, that means more yards and yards after the catch,' Jeudy said. He believes he is one of the top route-runners in this year's class of rookie wideouts. Jeudy added that he can play inside, outside or whereever the team puts him to make a play on the ball. 'I don't feel like I'm a better inside receiver than an outside receiver. I'm a receiver overall. I know how to get open -- against press, against off, against whoever guards me. I know how to get open. That's it,' Jeudy added.

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Jeudy was the best receiver in the best wide receiver draft class in NFL history. He's a great route runner and has the big-play ability to be an impact player from day one. Jeudy will line up opposite of Courtland Sutton and should become a favorite target of QB Drew Lock. The Broncos have a more high-powered offense with all the additions they've made this offseason, so Jeudy has WR3 with upside written all over him as a rookie in 2020.

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5. PIT - Chase Claypool expected to play outside

Source: ESPN - Brooke Pryor

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Chase Claypool is expected to primarily line up outside, according to offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner, but the 6-foot-4 receiver can also play in the slot.

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Claypool reminds some in the scouting community of a cross between Darren Waller (Raiders) and Devin Funchess (Packers). Last year in 726 snaps, Claypool played a majority of those snaps outside with 614. He's got build-up speed but Claypool can dominate in the red zone. We'll see how he makes the jump to the pros with the Steelers, a team famous for finding WR talent via the draft.

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6. HOU - QB Deshaun Watson's option officially picked up

Source: NFL.com

Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson had his fifth-year contract option exercised Tuesday, April 28.

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The Texans were always going to make this move. It leaves Watson under their control for the next two seasons while they work on a long-term extension. Watson should be one of the highest paid quarterbacks in the league in the near future. We'll see if they get something worked out before the Chiefs hand Patrick Mahomes a well-deserved monster contract.

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7. CLE - WR Rashard Higgins returning to Cleveland

Source: Akron Beacon Journal - Nate Ulrich

Free-agent WR Rashard Higgins (Browns) reached agreement on a one-year contract with the Cleveland Browns Tuesday, April 28, according to a league source. Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

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Higgins was out there on the open market for about two months and generated little interest. The veteran has never played up to his full potential and will once again be buried on the Browns depth chart behind Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. He'll have more competition for a reserve role since the Browns drafted Donovan Peoples-Jones (Michigan) in the sixth round of the 2020 NFL draft.

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8. GB - RB Aaron Jones entering contract year in Green Bay

Source: Packers.com - Mike Spofford

Green Bay Packers RB Aaron Jones is entering the final year of his rookie contract. Coming off a 20-plus touchdown season, Jones will be pricey to re-sign, per Packers.com's Mike Spofford.

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Jones is one of the best backs in the league, but who knows whether or not the Packers intend on keeping him around with a long-term deal. They did select running back A.J. Dillon (Boston College) in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft. Dillon is not as versatile as Jones since he's a two-down banger who thrives with power between the tackles. Hopefully, the Packers don't see Dillon as a replacement for Jones. Stay tuned.

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9. KC - Clyde Edwards-Helaire excites K.C. brass

Source: ESPN.com - Adam Teicher

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid believes rookie RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, the team's first-round draft choice, has a strong ability to run the zone scheme and gap scheme, like he did at LSU. 'He has a unique ability to push the line of scrimmage in the run game and make his lateral cut and then accelerate up the field,' Reid said. Edwards-Helaire's use in the passing game also brings advantages, per Reid. '... as many times as you get single coverage with linebackers on that backside, it gives you some nice matchups potentially. His ability to run routes and catch the football. I thinks those are all pluses,' Reid added. 'You get a guy like Clyde Edwards-Helaire and second-and-8s now become second-and-2s and 3s,' general manager Brett Veach added. As the team's pick was coming up in the NFL Draft, Veach texted QB Patrick Mahomes about which player he wanted. Mahomes one-word text back was 'Clyde.' Veach and Reid have continued to keep Mahomes' offensive weapons well stocked.

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Edwards-Helaire should excite Fantasy GMs as well. He is one of the most well-rounded backs to come into the league this year via the draft. Edwards-Helaire reminds some in the scouting community of Ray Rice when he came out of Rutgers years ago. The rookie from LSU has a three-down skill set and can shine as a runner or receiver out of the backfield. He doesn't need to come off the field and could win the starting job in training camp.

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10. JAX - Laviska Shenault Jr. will move around

Source: Jaguars.com - John Oehser

Jacksonville Jaguars rookie WR Laviska Shenault Jr., a second-round draft choice, is expected to play an immediate role within the Jacksonville offense. Jaguars director of college scouting Mark Ellenz said Shenault is 'very athletic and he can run really well -- especially for his size.' Ellenz added Shenault is strong, has a lot of ability in running after the catch and is highly competitive. Jaguars receivers coach Keenan McCardell called his new weapon a 'Swiss Army knife' as Shenault is able to play all over the field. 'I like the fact that he's been moved around and he has a really good football IQ,' McCardell said.

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Shenault should move around! First, he's great at multiple positions. Second, that's how he was used in college. Finally, defenses are going to have a hard time matching up with him due to his versatility. Shenault reminds some in the scouting community of A.J. Brown (Titans) because of his strength after the catch. The rookie from Colorado can line up wide, in the slot or even as a receiver out of the backfield.

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11. GB - RB Jamaal Williams entering contract year

Source: Packers.com - Mike Spofford

Green Bay Packers RB Jamaal Williams is entering the final year of his rookie contract. Packers.com's Mike Spofford speculates keeping Williams long term could be difficult if Williams seeks a larger role offensively.

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Williams is not going to get more playing time than Aaron Jones, so he's likely to move on. We'll see if the Packers can get a long-term deal done with Jones as he's in the final year of his rookie contract as well. They did select A.J. Dillon out of Boston College in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft, and he's a two-down banger who could take over for Williams if he does move on.

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12. GB - AJ Dillon could push Packers' running game to next level

Source: Packers.com - Mike Spofford

Green Bay Packers rookie RB AJ Dillon had 845 carries during his college career, but the team isn't concerned. 'His structure, he's built to last,' said Green Bay's Northeast region scout Mike Owen. 'I'm good to go, as healthy as can be. I've had a lot of carries but it goes to show how I can handle the workload. I can be the workhorse. Everybody can know the ball is coming to me and I'll crank out the yards,' Dillon said. While Dillon had just 21 receptions over his past two seasons, he showed route-running and pass-catching ability at the NFL combine. Dillon wasn't just a pick for the future, per Owen. 'His body type and running style differ from both (Aaron) Jones' and (Jamaal) Williams', and his size could pay dividends in the cold or other bad-weather games ... I think he'll be a great complement to Aaron Jones and Jamaal. He can take this running game to the next level,' Owen added.

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Dillon runs with power and intent on the football field. He is tough to bring down when he builds a head of steam, and the rookie from Boston College is a no-nonsense runner who can thrive between the tackles. He's a two-down banger right now but we'll see if he can round his game into form as a pass-catcher out of the backfield as well.

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13. DET - D'Andre Swift adds versatility to Detroit backfield

Source: The Detroit News - John Niyo

The Detroit Lions were a bit surprised Georgia RB D'Andre Swift was still available 35th overall; the two had consistent conversations during the pre-draft process. Swift said he talked with the Lions more than most other NFL teams. His selection was the second time in the past three years Detroit invested a second-round pick in the running back position. RB Kerryon Johnson, the incumbent starter, has been on Injured Reserve twice in his first two years, missing 14 total games. With that in mind, Detroit general manager Bob Quinn is a fan of having multiple backs on roster. 'I think you always want a stable of backs. I've said that for a long time ... we always need multiple backs,' Quinn said. Quinn is also a big fan of Swift. 'This guy's really good in the open field. Makes guys miss in space. Big-play ability. Catches the ball well out of the backfield. Good route runner,' Quinn said. Having Swift on board allows Detroit offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell flexibility in ways to diversify the offense.

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Swift is the best running back on the Lions roster and should be the lead back. He's a good runner, naturally picking and choosing which rushing lanes to go through. Swift is also a good receiver out of the backfield, so there's no need for him to come off the field. Fantasy GMs should know that he's got RB2 upside (at least) if he wins the starting job.

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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 with the Update tomorrow.

Peace,

J