NFL Notes: Draft, Tight Ends, Rule Changes


  • ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports USC QB Sam Darnold will not participate in throwing drills at the Combine.
  • According to Charles Robinson, several evaluators are “itching” to get another look at Fort Hays DT Nathan Shepherd after he suffered an injury at the Senior Bowl. Robinson adds that a few teams that have consistently drafted good defensive line talent like him and could end up being a riser.
  • Robinson mentions that a few teams looking to develop a future starting quarterback Richmond’ Kyle Lauletta and Washington State’s Luke Falk. According to Robinson, Redskins president Bruce Allen is a Richmond guy and is said to be very familiar with Lauletta.
  • Robinson has spoken to quite a few evaluators who are “geeked” to see Georgia RB Sony Michel at the Combine. Although, Robinson says that a few wouldn’t be sad if he had a disappointing workout and dropped down boards.
  • A few NFL defensive line evaluators have told Robinson that they didn’t think UTSA DE Marcus Davenport dominated a lackluster offensive line group consistently at the Senior Bowl and while he could still end up being a top-15 pick, opinions are apparently mixed on him.
  • Jeremy Fowler reports that the Steelers have already started doing their draft due diligence on Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch.

Tight Ends

Rule Changes

  • Adam Schefter reports that NFL’s competition committee is meeting Monday in Indianapolis to try to simplify the catch rule.
  • Schefter’s sources are “expecting some kind of change with added clarity” to the rule before or during March owner’s meetings.
  • NFL competition committee is discussing the possibility of eliminating the part of the catch rule that requires a receiver to maintain possession of the football while on the ground. (Mark Maske)
  • The NFL competition committee could re-emphasize enforcement of illegal contact rules in order to increase scoring. (Mark Maske)
  • Another change being discussed is a college-style targeting rule that would involve instant replay. However, there’s no guarantee a proposal will be submitted and the NFL could instead propose more ejections for illegal hits. (Mark Maske)
  • Interestingly enough, the NFL competition committee is discussing the possibility of limiting defensive pass interference penalties to at most 15 yards. (Mark Maske)

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