Though Jim Harbaugh recently stated he intends to remain head coach of the San Francisco 49ers through the end of the 2015 season when his contract expires, league insiders don’t expect that will be the case. The team whose keeps popping as a potential landing spot are the Miami Dolphins.
The New York Jets are returning to a more run oriented offense in 2014 in an attempt to exploit their strengths and lessen the load on Geno Smith. I’m told the game plan is to try and keep Smith under 20 passes per game. Part of the plan is to keep continuity on the offensive line, which is why they’ve made resigning right tackle Austin Howard a priority. At the same time I’m told the team views re-signing veteran guard Willie Colon as a last resort and will look to sign a player at the position via free agency. Names that make the most sense include Zane Beadles of the Denver Broncos and Geoff Schwartz of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Aaron Donald continues his assault up draft boards. While most mock drafts have Timmy Jernigan pegged as the first round pick of the Chicago Bears, Donald’s name continues to be talked about amongst league insiders.
Full Podcast with more on Dez Southward, Sammy Watkins and the first two picks of the draft.
Speaking with those from Verrett’s camp this evening I found out most of the news from doctors re-examining his injured labrum was positive. Verrett was offered two options; 1) rehabilitate his injured labrum without surgery or 2) undergo surgery to repair the labrum.
While rehabilitation without the surgery sounded comforting I’m told Verrett was informed he would be dealing with a large degree of potential pain moving forward and there was no guarantee another knock to the shoulder would not further damage the labrum at which point surgery would be a necessity. That meant the possibility of missing a portion of the 2014 season.
Surgery before the draft would immediately repair the injury, lessen any pain experienced from the start of camp and severely reduce the potential of further damage moving forward.
Considering Verrett will have at least four months after the procedure to rehab his labrum, undergoing surgery was a no brainer.
I’m told Verrett’s schedule will closely follow what I originally reported from the combine on Saturday, February 22nd, though the date of surgery has yet to be confirmed.
Tomorrow Verrett will participate in pro-day at TCU and is expected to bench press and take part in position drills. League franchises will also be informed of the exact date of the surgery in the next day or so.
League sources told me tonight this will not effect Verrett’s draft stock. Dion Jordan and Dee Milliner had similar procedures a year ago and both ended up in the top ten selections in the 2013 NFL Draft.
- I can confirm Jimmie Ward/DB/Northern Illinois was not cleared to participate in Tuesday’s combine workout after being diagnosed with a Jones fracture in his foot. Its considered a mid/small fracture; in a nutshell I’m told it’s a less severe version of what Julio Jones worked out with several years ago. The injury will be resolved with a simple procedure after the NIU pro-day. I’m told Ward, who felt ready to go earlier this week despite being pulled from the workout by combine officials, plans on fully participating in the NIU pro-day next week.
- Jimmy Garoppolo/QB/Eastern Illinois, who solidified himself as a second rounder last week and already has five pre-draft visits with NFL teams on his schedule , will participate in Northwestern’s pro-day next week. I’m told Garoppolo’s favorite receiver, Erik Lora will also workout that day. EIU does not have a pro-day on the schedule.
- At last count at least 17 quarterback coaches polled at the combine rank Derek Carr over Johnny Manziel.
- Iowa linebacker Christian Kirksey did not run at the combine due to hamstring issues but is expected to fully participate at the Hawkeyes pro-day later next month.
- Oklahoma fullback Trey Millard won’t do any type of workout prior to the draft. There was a thought he could push something out the last week of April but the final choice was smartly made to hold him back.
- On Sunday I reported sources told me the Cincinnati Bengals may have to consider cutting Carlos Dunlap in order to create room to sign other highly considered players, mainly Michael Johnson who the Bengals really want to bring back. I was then referred to as brain dead, inbred and other sorts of complimentary adjectives. Hence I went back to my source for clarification and was told yes, the organization has in fact had conversations about potentially cutting Carlos Dunlap or at least attempting to restructure his contract. I’m told the way Dunlap’s contract is structured the team has until March 30th to make a decision.
-If you followed my Combine Risers/Sliders articles on Philadelphia Eagles.com last week you’ll notice I gave Joel Bitonio of Nevada high grades for his workout on Saturday. This should not come as a surprise as I spoke highly of Bitonio during Senior Bowl week on both the Eagles and Green Bay Packers official sites. I’ve learned two things about Bitonio since Saturday; 1) the feeling is he’s cemented himself as a second round pick and 2) he’s going to be drafted at offensive guard and not a tackle. The latter surprised me a bit. Though I initially graded Bitonio as a guard I thought his performance at the Senior Bowl, primarily the fact he was the only one able to stop Dee Ford, would’ve given him more consideration at left tackle.