NFL Notes: Draft, Bengals, Cowboys

Draft

  • Tony Pauline of Draft Analyst mentions three linebackers who have stood out above other prospects, including Virginia Tech’s Tremaine Edmunds, Georgia’s Roquan Smith, and Boise State’s Leighton Vander Esch.
  • Pauline writes that Edmunds is the “clear favorite” of the group based on his size, athleticism, and ability to disrupt plays.
  • As for Smith, teams are split about whether he will line up as an inside or outside linebacker at the NFL level, while teams are concerned about his deficiencies in man-coverage and inability to cover tight ends and running backs on passing downs.
  • Teams appear to view Vander Esch as a three-down linebacker with enough versatility to play in multiple schemes.
  • According to Pauline, Alabama LB Rashaan Evans has been graded as a second-round prospect, with some teams believing he could make his way into the first round.
  • As for other linebackers graded with second-round grades, Pauline mentions Iowa’s Josey Jewell, Georgia’s Lorenzo Carter, and South Carolina State’s Darius Leonard.
  • Pauline “stands firm” on his belief that Carter will end up as a first-round pick.

Bengals

Bengals WR John Ross is trying to put his Combine record 4.22 40-yard dash behind him and focus on what’s to come this summer.

“I’m looking forward to August. I don’t really care what the combine is talking about,” Ross said, via Bengals.com. “I’ve been drafted. I’ve been in the organization for a year. I know what to expect, what it takes to get on the field. I’ve watched the film of myself. I know what I’ve done wrong. So now its correction and growth.”

Ross’ rookie season was a big disappointment and he explained that his body just didn’t hold up how he was hoping.

“That was the problem,” Ross said. “My body didn’t respond the way I wanted it to. Coming in late, I didn’t get to train. I was out of shape. That was pretty tough on my body. Rushing into it. Being out of shape. My body couldn’t take the physical aspects of the game we do every day. I thought I could. I think it kind of wore me out faster than I thought. I really didn’t catch up until the end of the year when I started to have better practices. It all started to click together. It was already kind of too late. It was best to rest, get my body right.

Cowboys

  • Cowboys executive Stephen Jones said the team is unsure about whether DB Byron Jones will play cornerback or safety next season: “That will be a work-in-progress.” (Drew Davison)
  • Davison mentions that Jones spent the last two seasons exclusively at safety and has also shown “elite ability” to cover tight ends and larger receivers.