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Jameis Winston to Bucs to start NFL draft (The Associated Press)
NEW YORK (AP) -- The NFL draft heads to Chicago this year, with the top overall choice in our mock draft not planning to be on hand. No matter: Tampa Bay will already have let its selection know when the crowd in the Windy City gets, uh, wind of the pick.
NFL-National Football League roundup (Reuters)
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said presentations this week by two stadium groups affiliated with NFL teams were "very exciting" and offered a "great deal of potential to be successful". St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke is vying against a joint venture by the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders for the right to call Los Angeles home again. Kroenke is planning a $1.8 billion stadium in Inglewood, and the Chargers and Raiders are working on a $1.7 billion venue in Carson. The Carson City Council unanimously approved the project on Tuesday, and new designs were presented to Goodell and the league's relocation committee in New York.
Goodell: LA projects viable for bringing back team (The Associated Press)
Roger Goodell says the two stadium projects in the Los Angeles area look promising enough to lead to the return of the NFL to the nation's second-largest city. The NFL commissioner told the Associated Press Sports Editors group Friday that he thinks the projects in Inglewood and Carson are ''viable,'' and have a ''great deal of potential to be successful.'' ''We had presentations earlier this week that are very exciting,'' Goodell said. ''Not just for a return but to continue being successful going forward.'' St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke is involved in the Inglewood project, while the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders have combined to work on the Carson proposal.
St. Louis stadium task force members remain optimistic (The Associated Press)
Leaders of the effort to build a new NFL stadium in St. Louis said Friday they remain optimistic about a plan they say would retain a team and help redevelop a blighted part of the city. Members of the St. Louis stadium task force made their case directly to league officials in New York on Wednesday. Task force leaders David Peacock and Robert Blitz spoke Friday for the first time since then, though they declined to discuss specifics of the 40-minute presentation or the league's response to the effort to either keep the Rams or attract another team if owner Stan Kroenke moves the franchise to Los Angeles. ''There was nothing coming out of this meeting to make us change course.'' The St. Louis group showed the NFL officials revised renderings and video of plans for a stadium along the Mississippi River that would cost around $1 billion.
NFL Draft: Devalued running backs (The Associated Press)
A look at how the first round of the last 20 NFL drafts shaped up for running backs:
Running backs not facing demise, but still devalued in draft (The Associated Press)
The experience, potential and skills of Georgia's Todd Gurley and Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon ought to entice a couple of teams to end the unprecedented two-year absence of running backs from the first round. Elite running backs haven't stopped being developed by college programs, as evidenced by the depth of this class that could produce about a dozen picks by the end of the third round. So why doesn't this position measure up anymore to some of the others when NFL teams rank their prospects? Maybe they didn't feel the running backs the last couple of years were first-round talent.
Proposed Los Angeles-area NFL stadium boasts lightning bolts (The Associated Press)
New designs for a proposed NFL stadium in the Los Angeles area include simulated lightning bolts for the San Diego Chargers and a flame honoring late Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis. The thoroughly revamped plans for the $1.7 billion joint stadium proposal by the two teams were released Thursday, just two months after the project and an initial set of designs were announced and two days after it received approval from the Carson City Council. The designs were presented in New York this week to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league's committee on possibly relocating a team to greater Los Angeles. The flowing, metallic modern stadium design features a horseshoe-shaped seating arrangement that is open on one end.
Lawyer in NFL concussion deal says an appeal would be 'selfish' (Reuters)
By Steve Ginsburg WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A major architect of the landmark concussion settlement reached with the National Football League on behalf of 20,000 retired players said on Thursday it would be "selfish" for anyone to appeal the deal. Christopher Seeger, co-lead counsel for the retired NFL players, said if even one of the players involved in the settlement filed an appeal, benefits would probably be held up a year. U.S. District Judge Anita Brody on Wednesday approved the settlement of a lawsuit brought by the former players who accused the NFL of keeping secret the dangers of concussions. "Appeals, in my view, are just wasting the time of people who are very sick, like Kevin Turner," Seeger said of the former NFL fullback who suffers from ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease.
UPDATE 1-Lawyer in NFL concussion deal says an appeal would be 'selfish' (Reuters)
(Clarifies who can file appeal in second paragraph) By Steve Ginsburg WASHINGTON, April 23 (Reuters) - A major architect of the landmark concussion settlement reached with the National Football League on behalf of 20,000 retired players said on Thursday it would be "selfish" for anyone to appeal the deal. Christopher Seeger, co-lead counsel for the retired NFL players, said if even one of the players involved in the settlement filed an appeal, benefits would probably be held up a year. U.S. District Judge Anita Brody on Wednesday approved the settlement of a lawsuit brought by the former players who accused the NFL of keeping secret the dangers of concussions.
NFL Transactions Tracker (Rotoworld)
Nick Mensio keeps track of every offseason transaction for all 32 teams.
Sleek new plans released for Los Angeles-area NFL stadium (The Associated Press)
New designs released Thursday night for a proposed NFL stadium in the Los Angeles area include simulated lightning bolts for the San Diego Chargers and a flame honoring late Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis. The thoroughly revamped plans for the $1.7 billion joint stadium proposal by the two teams came just two months after the project and an initial set of designs were first announced and two days after it received approval from the Carson City Council. The designs were presented in New York this week to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league's committee on possibly relocating a team to greater Los Angeles. The flowing, metallic modern stadium design features a horseshoe-shaped seating arrangement that is open on one end.
The Mariota Sweepstakes (Rotoworld)
Jesse Pantuosco breaks down Marcus Mariota's potential destinations heading into the draft.
Jones-Drew to ceremonially retire with Jaguars next week (The Associated Press)
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Maurice Jones-Drew is returning to Jacksonville to retire as a member of the Jaguars.
Shaun King's 2015 NFL mock draft 3.0: Playing GM for a day (Yahoo Sports)
My philosophy: teams should utilize the draft primarily to upgrade their talent, factoring in need only when it properly meets skill.
NFL Draft Needs: Schedule (Rotoworld)
Josh Norris and Evan Silva break down every team�s needs and which players fit those needs. Check out the weekly schedule.
Invitation mix-up or divided loyalties for Raiders' Davis? (The Associated Press)
So which team is Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis playing for? The Raiders and San Diego Chargers are trying to build a $1.7 billion stadium in the city of Carson, just outside Los Angeles. Yet Davis was listed as a special guest this week at a speech by the mayor in nearby Inglewood, where a $1.9 billion stadium is planned that could become home for the St. Louis Rams. Davis' appearance in Inglewood would have amounted to a visit to enemy territory - the two projects are competing as the NFL considers bringing football back to the LA market.
Telesco says Rivers will be Bolts' QB 'well into the future' (The Associated Press)
Citing his Catholic faith, San Diego Chargers general manager Tom Telesco promised he wasn't going to lie during his pre-draft news conference. He then proceeded to speak effusively about quarterback Philip Rivers' future with the team. It's our plan and intent that he's our quarterback well into the future,'' Telesco said Wednesday. It's been rumored for weeks that Rivers, who doesn't want to move to Los Angeles if the team does, could be traded to Tennessee so the Chargers can draft Marcus Mariota with the second pick.
City Council approves plan for NFL stadium near Los Angeles (The Associated Press)
A local City Council on Tuesday night unanimously voted to clear the path for a proposed $1.7 billion stadium near Los Angeles that could become the shared home to the NFL's San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders. The 3-0 by the Carson City Council marks a significant step forward for plans to lure the NFL back to the Los Angeles area after two-decades without a team in the nation's second-largest media market. Mayor Albert Robles likened the absence of the NFL in greater Los Angeles to the state's deep drought.
Los Angeles suburb votes to approve NFL stadium plan (Reuters)
By Daina Beth Solomon LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Lawmakers in a Los Angeles suburb on Tuesday night voted to approve construction of a 70,000-seat National Football League stadium that could accommodate a proposed return of the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders. The three-member city council of Carson, about 17 miles (27 km) south of downtown Los Angeles, voted unanimously in favor of the plan to build the $1.7 billion arena, following a petition drive paid for by the two NFL teams, both of which previously played in Los Angeles. A few dozen people, many of whom were clad in Raiders and Chargers jerseys and waved team flags, packed the meeting, which was punctuated with chants of "Bring them back!" Nearly all of the roughly 20 people who spoke during the public comment portion of Tuesday's hearing expressed support for the project. A rival stadium project in the nearby city of Inglewood was unanimously approved by its city council in February.
Los Angeles suburb to vote on NFL stadium plan (Reuters)
By Daina Beth Solomon LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A Los Angeles suburb is expected to decide on Tuesday whether to approve plans to build a 70,000-seat National Football League stadium that could accommodate a proposed return of the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders, officials said. The city of Carson, about 17 miles (27 km) south of downtown Los Angeles, has collected 14,000 resident signatures in support of building a $1.7 billion stadium, following a petition drive paid for by the two NFL teams, both of which previously played in Los Angeles. While Carson's city council was expected to vote on the plan on Tuesday, it also has the option of putting it to voters this summer, city spokeswoman Margie Revilla-Garcia said. A rival stadium project in the nearby city of Inglewood was unanimously approved by its city council in February.
Report: 2 teams needed to make California stadium profitable (The Associated Press)
A financial analysis projects that a proposed $1.7 billion NFL stadium near Los Angeles would need two teams to call it home to be a steady money-maker for the city where it would be constructed. The San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders are planning the shared stadium on the site of a former landfill in Carson, on the edge of Los Angeles, if both teams fail to get new stadiums in their current hometowns. According to documents released by the city of Carson on Monday, consultant AECOM estimated that with two teams installed, the city budget would see a net fiscal gain in each of 40 years. The report was released in advance of a Carson meeting Tuesday, during which the City Council could endorse the plan and schedule an election for voters to consider it.
Chargers' Woodhead, Dunlap deflect talk of LA, Rivers trade (The Associated Press)
The Chargers are still in San Diego and Philip Rivers is still their quarterback. Woodhead said he's been tuning out talk of the Chargers possibly moving to Los Angeles, as well as rumors that Rivers, who's entering the final year of his contract, could be traded to Tennessee so the Chargers can draft Marcus Mariota.
Charles discusses range of topics as Chiefs get to work (The Associated Press)
As the Chiefs prepare to begin their offseason program Monday, most of the attention right now is on the upcoming NFL draft, even among some of the players. General manager John Dorsey and coach Andy Reid have no intention of asking their Pro Bowl running back whom he'd take with their first-round pick, No. 18 overall. He signed former Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman Paul Fanaika to provide some depth, then traded a fifth-round pick to the New Orleans Saints for former Pro Bowl offensive guard Ben Grubbs.
NFL mock draft, needs: Raiders (Rotoworld)
Josh Norris and Evan Silva look at the Raiders' biggest needs and project each of their 2015 NFL Draft selections.
Free agent center Wisniewski signs 1-year deal with Jaguars (The Associated Press)
The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed unrestricted free-agent center Stefan Wisniewski to a one-year contract, providing them with much-needed line depth. Wisniewski started 61 games - 46 at center and 15 at guard - over the past four seasons with the Oakland Raiders. A second-round draft pick in 2011, the 6-foot-3, 307-pound Wisniewski played under current Jaguars offensive coordinator Greg Olson the last two seasons in Oakland. The Jaguars went into the offseason wanting to add depth and competition to a line that allowed a franchise-record 71 sacks in 2014.
NFL draft positional rankings: Wide receivers a banner group once more (Shutdown Corner)
In 2014, we were blessed with one of the most gifted rookie receiver classes in recent league history — a draft class that could rival the incredible group from 1996 that will feature multiple Hall of Famers when it’s all said and done. Yes, it’s an incredibly tough act to follow. But the 2015 lot appears up to the challenge. No, it doesn’t appear to be the same transcendent level of talent, but there are starting-caliber receivers who could last well into the second — and perhaps into the third — day of the draft. Much like quarterback and running back, some have made wide receiver something of a two-horse race at the top, with Alabama’s Amari Cooper and West Virginia’s Kevin White (in some order) the two elite prospects available. We favor White slightly for his length and explosion, perhaps just a tick more dynamic than Cooper, but it’s beholder’s choice here. Both are beautiful NFL prospects who project to long, fruitful careers. But by no means is there a clear division to the next tier of talent. Don’t snooze on the talents of USC’s Nelson Agholor (our choice for most undervalued wideout this season), Louisville’s Devante Parker and ex-Missouri wideout Dorial Green-Beckham as being potential eventual No. 1 receivers in the league. If not for serious character concerns, DGB might be a slam-dunk top-10 selection. Later in the draft, teams also can find an array of vertical receivers, slot machines who can work the underneath and solid, chain-moving possession types as well. It’s a deep, talented lot, and even if it doesn’t stack up to the incredible collection from a year ago, that’s no knock at all. TOP 10   Ranking Player School Height Weight Notable statistic Scouting skinny 1 Kevin White West Virginia 6-2 215 Went from 507 receiving yards in '13 to 1,447 in '14 Physical specimen who broke out last season has speed, wingspan, work ethic to dominate 2 Amari Cooper Alabama 6-1 211 Set Bama and SEC single-season record for receptions (124) in '14 Silky smooth, deceptively fast, versatile receiver who should thrive in pros 3 Nelson Agholor USC 6-0 198 Averaged 14.4 yards per catch, 14.6 yards per punt return in career Super athletic, run-after-the-catch receiver with slot, return value 4 Devante Parker Louisville 6-2 209 Averaged at least 16 yards per catch each of his four college seasons Fluid, fast, well-built outside receiver with great hands and diva personality 5 Dorial Green-Beckham ex-Missouri 6-5 237 Scored 17 touchdowns in 25 career games at Mizzou Rare specimen who could dominate but must mature greatly and round out game 6 Jaelen Strong Arizona State 6-2 217 Had at least 1,100 yards receiving in one juco season, two at ASU Gifted big receiver who plays above the rim with great body control 7 Breshad Perriman Central Florida 6-2 212 Averaged 20.9 yards per catch combined in '13 and '14 Blinding speed, terrific build, NFL pedigree but drops are consistent issue 8 Devin Smith Ohio State 6-0 196 Only caught 33 passes in '14 but averaged 28.2 ypc, with 12 TDs Ideal deep threat to stretch safeties but bit of a one-trick pony 9 Phillip Dorsett Miami (Fla.) 5-9 185 Averaged 24.2 ypc, caught 10 on only 36 receptions in '14 Strong Senior Bowl raised profile as speed receiver whose game needs refinement 10 Tyler Lockett Kansas State 5-9 182 Set 17 KSU records, including receptions, yards, receiving TDs, 100-yard games Two-time captain looks like ideal shifty slot receiver, returner SLEEPER Tony Lippett, Michigan State Look past some marginal test numbers and you see a very productive football player who can compete and contribute in a number of ways. Lippett was the Spartans’ big-play receiving weapon in 2013 and 2014, taking a huge step last season in his route running (especially at the top of the stem) and his ability to separate despite lacking elite speed. He also took extensive snaps at cornerback last season (and as a freshman, when it was his primary position) and could be a rare double contributor. Lippett also projects to be a three- or four-unit special-teams player, making him a very valuable piece. Although he might never be more than a very good third receiver in the NFL, Lippett should have a home in the league — a la Jason Avant — for a decade or more. OVERRATED
Two-round NFL mock draft: Trade speculation heats up in top 10 picks (Shutdown Corner)
What has happened since our last NFL mock draft ? Not a ton outside of some wild rumors and baseless chatter — the fun stuff! — about Team X liking Player Y and the like. But we’ve been gathering information behind the scenes, double-checking our lists and circling back on prospects we missed the first time around. And with it comes another two-round mock draft, this one two weeks prior to liftoff on April 30: 1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers  — Florida State QB Jameis Winston Although the team has gone out of its way to point out that it is examining all avenues, and wild rumors tend to catch wind this time of year,. we believe this pick has been solid since head coach Lovie Smith essentially signed off on Winston’s character at the NFL scouting combine, even if some higher-ups are a little skittish. 2. Tennessee Titans — Oregon QB Marcus Mariota We don’t believe the Titans will be making this pick themselves, but rather another team — the San Diego Chargers have been our wild-card pick here for weeks, and the St. Louis Rams should not be ignored — trading up to pick in this spot. If the Titans stand pat, we think they’d select USC’s Leonard Williams, for what it’s worth. 3. Jacksonville Jaguars — Clemson OLB Vic Beasley Dante Fowler Jr.  said he’d be stunned if he wasn’t the third pick. Well, Dante, prepare your best “stunned” face. Yes, the Jaguars threw a changeup with Blake Bortles in this same slot a year ago, and we would not be shocked if it’s happening again. It’s either Beasley or Williams in our eyes, and Beasley is the bigger need in the Jaguars’ “Leo” pass rusher role. 4. Oakland Raiders — USC DE Leonard Williams If you’ve been following our mocks, we’ve etched in a receiver here consistently. But that was on the premise that Williams was gone. Given that Williams is the rare player who openly has campaigned for the Raiders to take him — and that he’d fill a need, too — we feel like it must happen. The Raiders can get their wideout(s) later. 5. Washington Redskins — Florida DE Dante Fowler Jr. New Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan fills a major hole opposite Ryan Kerrigan now that Brian Orakpo is gone. Trent Murphy is a nice player, but don’t be fooled; he’s nowhere near the all-around force Fowler is. This also is a strong trade-down slot if the right deal materializes. Otherwise, we also could see a safe pick such as Iowa’s Brandon Scherff. 6. New York Jets — Alabama WR Amari Cooper There’s no glaring need at receiver with Eric Decker, Brandon Marshall and Jeremy Kerley currently manning the top three slots. But what better way to boost Geno Smith (or Ryan Fitzpatrick) than with a front-line playmaker such as Cooper? He’s silky smooth, polished and a nice complement to the size of Decker and Marshall and the underneath ability of Kerley. Plus, Marshall currently is a one-year investment, and the Jets could walk away from either Decker or Kerley after this season without getting crushed on the salary cap. We could see this very safe, very smart maiden pick by new GM Mike Maccagnan. 7. Chicago Bears — West Virginia WR Kevin White The Bears would be in a win-win position, able to pick between the draft’s top two receivers and its best nose tackle in Danny Shelton. With new GM Ryan Pace spending most of his time this offseason sprucing up the defense, he shifts gears and gives Alshon Jeffery a running mate who could be a perfect replacement for Marshall — without the headaches. White’s character checks with NFL teams have been off-the-charts good, a total departure from the wideout he'd be replacing.
Stadium plan for Chargers, Raiders near Los Angeles advances (The Associated Press)
A proposed stadium that could become the home of the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders hit an early milestone Wednesday amid rising competition to bring football back to the Los Angeles market. The Chargers and Raiders are planning a shared, $1.7 billion stadium in the city of Carson, on the edge of Los Angeles, if both teams fail to get new stadiums in their current hometowns. The proposal will go to the City Council, which could vote as soon as Tuesday to schedule an election or consider the plan without sending it to local voters. ''It's just an ideal location for a football stadium.'' The Carson project is one of two prominent stadium proposals that have emerged in the Los Angeles area this year: St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke is part of a development group planning to build an 80,000-seat stadium in Inglewood, roughly 10 miles from downtown Los Angeles.
NFL exec warns San Diego that time is short on stadium front (The Associated Press)
With momentum building for an NFL team to move to Los Angeles, ''time could be quite short'' for San Diego to resolve the contentious issue of building the Chargers a new stadium, the NFL's point man on relocation said Tuesday. Afterward, Grubman said that while the advisory group seems enthusiastic about finding a solution, ''as of yet, there hasn't been any proposal that would get everybody on the same page.
Twenty-six players confirmed for NFL draft, but no Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota (Shutdown Corner)
The 2015 NFL draft in Chicago will be a quarterback-free environment. The league's first draft foray outside of New York will be lacking in star power for the first round on April 30, when 26 prospects are scheduled to attend — but there will be no Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota there. On the list of players the NFL confirmed have RSVPed to the event, there are zero quarterbacks who will stride across the stage to bro-hug Roger Goodell as of now. Mariota previously said he intends to be in his native Hawaii for cultural and familial reasons. Winston has yet to officially say he's not attending the draft but did say he wanted to stay home because his grandmother is too ill to travel. Also conspicuously absent from the list of invitees: Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper. The Biletnikoff Award winner is a candidate to go in the top 10, perhaps as high as No. 4 to the Oakland Raiders, and is in a battle with West Virginia's Kevin White to be the first wideout selected. So you could have Winston, Mariota and Cooper be three of the first four picks, and Goodell might only have one young man to embrace. Could make for a slow first hour of the draft as far as his face time is concerned. White is attending. So are other potential top-10 selections such as Clemson's Vic Beasley, Florida's Dante Fowler Jr. and USC's Leonard Williams. Draft Update: 26 players confirmed to attend 2015 @NFL Draft. Here's the list: pic.twitter.com/xH260qfLLz — Randall Liu (@RLiuNFL) April 14, 2015 Among the more interesting invitations is Nebraska's Randy Gregory. No one would have been surprised had he opted out of attending in light of his positive drug test at the NFL scouting combine, which could preclude a Draft Day slide and an awkward green-room experience. But Gregory will be in Chicago, along with some other players — such as Duke's Laken Tomlinson, a Chicago native — who might have to bring a second suit in case they're not selected on Thursday. Rounds 2 and 3 continue on Friday, and last year the New England Patriots freed Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo from falling farther by taking him with the penultimate pick of the second round — the final green roomer to be picked in 2014. Could Winston change his mind and attend? Sure. But right now, this is your starting 26. - - - - - - - Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm