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NFL Mock Draft 5.0: Combine, free agency alters projections

NFL Mock Draft 5.0: Combine, free agency alters projections

We're just a handful of days removed from the NFL Combine and only beginning free agency, yet so much as changed when it comes to the 2017 NFL Draft. Some of those changes are reflected in my latest mock draft. On this page, let's take a look at why some of those changes occurred. 

* Jaguars get defensive: Jacksonville didn't mess around at the start of free agency, throwing big bucks at Calais Campbell, the best defensive lineman available. Never say never, but adding the interior pass rusher likely takes Alabama's Jonathan Allen and Stanford's Solomon Thomas off the table at 4 if they keep the pick. A.J. Bouye covers their need at cornerback and safety help came in the form of Barry Church. The agents for heralded defensive back prospects Jamal Adams, Malik Hookeer and Marshon Lattimore probably aren't thrilled. Add it all up and does this mean Jacksonville goes for offense with say LSU running back Leonard Fournette? End the Blake Bortles era by selecting Deshaun Watson?

* John Ross roars: There are speed receivers and then there is this guy. Ross set the Combine record with a staggering 4.22 40-time. The thing, this 5-foot-11 dynamo also wowed with other athletic feats in Indianapolis. Of course, Ross isn't just an athlete. He's a playmaker. Anyone who watched him dominate for Washington last season knows. USC cornerback Adoree Jackson also turned heads at the Combine. Just remember Ross torched Jackson and others with 154 yards and one touchdown on eight receptions last season against the Trojans. Mike Williams and Corey Davis might end up battling for first receiver selected honors, but Ross certainly threw his hat into the ring.

<<CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE FULL NFL MOCK DRAFT 5.0>>

* Eagles receive help: Philadelphia clearly needed receiver help. Just look at what happened in free agency. Philadelphia, with Jordan Matthews already in the mix, agreed to terms with Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith on the first day of free agency. Somewhere, quarterback Carson Wentz is uncontrollably giddy. Elsewhere, mock drafters are eliminating receiver from the Eagles needs list, which means cornerback moves into the top slot. Good news: This draft is loaded those types with the likes of Sidney Jones, Teez Tabor and Tre'Davious White in the likely mix at 14.

* Risers and fallers: The Combine seemingly helped Temple LB Haason Reddick, Washington WR John Ross, USC CB Adoree Jackson, Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey, Tennessee RB Alvin Kamara and Connecticut S Obi Melifonwu. On the other side, those few days in Indy raised questions about Alabama ILB Reuben Foster, Florida CB Teez Tabor, Alabama OLB Tim Williams and Florida State RB Dalvin Cook.

* Kirk Cousins: We're just talking about the mock, not the potential implosion in Ashburn, and about future mocks at that. If you believe the Redskins, their two-year starting quarterback will remain in town and with a long-term. If you believe other reports, Cousins is begging for a trade. If the latter happens, then Cousins likely lands in San Francisco, which would mean no Deshaun Watson or Mitch Trubisky at No. 2 but perhaps DeShone Kizer or Pat Mahomes at 17? Then again, if the Redskins land that second overall pick, would they take a quarterback or a defensive line monster like Jonathan Allen? If the 49ers end up with 17, would they target tight end David Njoku or offensive tackle Garett Bolles? How are other quarterback situations and options (Jets, Browns, Cardinals, Jay Cutler) affected by this possible outcome? This is what you call a fluid situation.

<<CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE FULL NFL MOCK DRAFT 5.0>>

 

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Proposed NFL rule change would eliminate Ravens' intentional holding strategy

Proposed NFL rule change would eliminate Ravens' intentional holding strategy

BY TYLER BYRUM, @theTylerByrum

It made everyone do a double-take, then it made perfect sense to non-Cincinnati and non-Pittsburgh fans.

Back in Week 12 when the Baltimore Ravens held off the Cincinnati Bengals 19-14, it wasn't a single touchdown that made national headlines. Rather it was a game ending safety that cut a seven-point deficit to only five. 

On the final play, numerous Ravens players held the opposing Bengals, who were setting up to receive punt, with 11 seconds left on the clock. Punter Sam Koch, just sat back, draining the clock before finally running out the back of the end zone with the clock at zero. 

SEE LINK FOR FULL RULE EXPLANATION

Thursday it was proposed to the NFL's Competition Committee to make plays like this illegal. 

While it may be considered unfair to some, making this new rule would simply add to an already expanding rule book and only be used for a select handful of plays a year, maybe. 

Eliminating cleverness of coaches that are well versed in the NFL rule book, should not be the approach of the of rule adaptations. There is no impact on player safety nor does it make the game 'more watchable' (like the extra-point rule).

Not only that, but the new proposed rule just leaves another set of loopholes for coaches to take advantage of at the end of a game. What if team trying to score on the last play commits two offensive penalties just to get another shot at the endzone?

But before making a massive overhaul to fix all of the loopholes in the NFL rule book, can we establish what a catch is first?

MORE RAVENS: Tony Jefferson used Madden to make free agency decision

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Ravens mock draft roundup: Mike Williams continues to pop up

Ravens mock draft roundup: Mike Williams continues to pop up

Just over a month away from the NFL Draft, mock drafts across sport media sites are beginning to narrow in on players that fit specifically into blaring holes on a team's roster.

As the first wave of free agency has come through, a majority of the top names at each position has been snatched up. While the Baltimore Ravens can still sign a handful of free agents on the open market, getting backup or a young star in a key position can be a the primary goal. 

Here's a look at who some of the various analysts have the Ravens taking with their No. 16 pick in the first round. The general consensus is help in the defensive secondary and at the wide receiver position.

DE Taco Charlton, Michigan, Ben Standig, CSN-Mid Atlantic

Standing: At some point the Ravens must find an edge pass rushing replacement for Terrell Suggs. Charlton might be better stopping the run than rushing the passer right now and yet he had nine sacks in 10 regular season games.  

SEE STANDIG'S FULL 2017 MOCK DRAFT

SS Jabrill Peppers, Michigan, Rob Rang, CBS Sports

Rang: With starting safety Matt Elam a pending free agent and Eric Weddle poised to enter his 11th NFL season, the Ravens may very well be looking for help in the secondary in the 2017 draft. Peppers starred as a linebacker in 2016 but possesses the agility and speed to handle coverage.

WR Mike Williams, Clemson, Dane Brugler, CBS Sports

Brugler: The Ravens have plenty of speed at receiver, but only average size. Williams has only average speed, but his body control, catch radius and overall size are where he shines.

WR John Ross, Washington, Bucky Brooks, NFL.com

Brooks: An electric playmaker with speed to burn would be a welcome addition to an offense that wants to play long ball with Joe Flacco at quarterback.

DE Charles Harris, Missouri, Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com

Jeremiah: Harris is a very productive edge rusher who is plenty athletic enough to drop in coverage if needed.

WR Mike Williams, Clemson, Chris Burke, SI.com

Burke: Baltimore has two receivers, Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman, who can scorch defenses deep. They need a physical, intermediate threat. Check.

CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama, Peter Schragers, FOX Sports

Schragers: I seem to be a lot higher on Humphrey than other mock draft pundits. Oh well. I’ll ride with the star of the Alabama defensive backfield from last season. The son of NFL running back Bobby Humphrey, he was a stud at the well-known Hoover High and a prime recruit of Nick Saban’s. An opportunistic player who started for two seasons in Tuscaloosa, Humphrey forced three fumbles and intercepted two passes in 2016. Baltimore already has added Brandon Carr and Tony Jefferson to its defensive backfield but might not be done.

RELATED: REDSKINS MOCK DRAFT ROUNDUP