PHILADELPHIA: Eagles emphasize speed, add Goodwin, draft fast receivers
The Philadelphia Eagles added speed, speed and more speed.
After selecting TCU wide receiver Jalen Reagor with the 21st overall pick in the NFL draft, the Eagles acquired wideout Marquise Goodwin from the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday and chose two other fast receivers.
The Eagles picked Boise State’s John Hightower in the fifth round and Southern Mississippi’s Quez Watkins in the sixth round.
Adding receivers was Philadelphia’s biggest priority. Last season, Carson Wentz became the first player to throw for more than 4,000 yards despite not having a wide receiver reach 500 yards, in part because of injuries. Wentz led the Eagles to four straight wins in December to secure an NFC East title with a group of castoffs at receiver.
Getting Reagor, Goodwin, Hightower and Watkins should help. They join veterans DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery, 2019 second-round pick J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Greg Ward and others.
“Can he run? Is he healthy? Does he love to play? That was going to be our offseason motto,” personnel boss Howie Roseman said.
Goodwin spent his first four seasons with Buffalo and past three in San Francisco. He has 140 receptions for 2,323 yards and 13 TDs in his career.
Goodwin has been plagued by injuries and played 16 games only once, in 2017, when he had career highs in receptions (56) and yards (962).
“Marquise is one of the fastest men in the world. I mean that,” Roseman said.
Hightower, 6-foot-1 and 189 pounds, led Boise State in yards (943) and TD receptions (eight), while finishing second in catches (51) as a senior. He ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash at the combine.
“I was running track before I started playing football, so the track background definitely helped me with my quickness, being able to outrun defenders,” he said.
Watkins, 6-foot and 185 pounds, had 159 receptions for 2,404 yards and 17 TDs in 35 college games. He ran a 4.35 in the 40 at the combine.
“A lot people may not know me now, but really by the end of the season people are going to know me,” Watkins said. “I’m really not somebody that’s going to try to stay off to the side. I’m going to show up to the competition and show everybody what I’m about, show them I’m ready to play and show them why I’m an Eagle.”
The Eagles started Day 3 by taking Clemson defensive back K’Von Wallace and Auburn offensive lineman Jack Driscoll in the fourth round.
Wallace was mentored by Pro Football Hall of Famer Brian Dawkins, a former Clemson star and Eagles legend, and Troy Vincent, a five-time Pro Bowl cornerback and current league executive.
Roseman then made several trades, flipping a fourth-rounder (No. 146) for picks Nos. 196, No. 200, No. 233 and a 2021 fifth-rounder.
Temple linebacker Shaun Bradley was picked at No. 196. Watkins went at No. 200. Stanford defensive end Casey Toohill was the team’s final selection at No. 233 in the seventh round.
The Eagles swapped sixth-round picks to get Goodwin, giving San Francisco No. 190 and taking No. 210. They used it on Auburn offensive lineman Prince Tega Wanogho.
HURTS SO GOOD
On Friday night, Philadelphia stunned everyone by drafting Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts with the 53rd overall pick in the second round even though they have Wentz.
“We’re always going to make a point of emphasis to look at the quarterback position and try the best we can to develop quarterbacks,” coach Doug Pederson said. “I think that’s just smart. It protects that position. We’re trying to develop depth and competition. I’ve always told you guys the quarterback position is never immune to that.
“I’ve been part of that personally in my career and obviously as a position coach and now as a head coach. When you have somebody like Jalen Hurts right there on your board, we understand that might not be a sexy pick, that might not be the glamorous pick but when we look at it as an organization, we’re doing the best thing in the interest of the Philadelphia Eagles and we have to take advantage of that.”
The Eagles chose Colorado hybrid safety-linebacker Davion Taylor in the third round.
-- By Rob Maaddi, AP
DALLAS: First Cowboys draft done, McCarthy set for unusual offseason
Now that his first draft with the Dallas Cowboys is finished, coach Mike McCarthy moves into an unusual offseason not knowing when Dak Prescott will be under contract.
Meantime, the Cowboys gave their quarterback a receiver they didn't think would be there in the middle of the first round in Oklahoma's CeeDee Lamb, and turned to arguably their biggest need at cornerback in the second round with Trevon Diggs of Alabama.
“It really starts tomorrow morning,” McCarthy said Saturday of his first full offseason. “We’ve kind of put on the side some of the planning and anticipation of what’s in front. Really already have two separate training camp schedules and plans that are completed.”
The coronavirus pandemic is keeping players away from facilities, forcing all meetings with coaches to be virtual, and might mean the Cowboys can't go to California for training camp as usual.
“There’s a set of rules and procedures that we’re operating in and we will use that process to get our team ready to win games,” McCarthy said.
The Cowboys used the final day of the draft to add another cornerback in Tulsa's Reggie Robinson II and a pass rusher with Utah career sacks leader Bradlee Anae.
Offensively, Dallas traded up for Wisconsin center Tyler Biadasz and added a Prescott understudy with James Madison quarterback Ben DiNucci. The Cowboys put the franchise tag on Prescott while they try to agree on a long-term deal.
McCarthy said he expected the draft to differ from his days in Green Bay, where he spent 12-plus seasons and won a Super Bowl. And it was.
“I think it’s like anything in life, it’s the communication between the individuals and just being on the same page,” McCarthy said. “We’ve had some good fortune with the players that were available when it was our opportunity to pick. We’re ecstatic about the class we put together.”
TRIED AND TRUE
It worked out well the last time the Cowboys drafted a center out of Wisconsin. So, after five-time Pro Bowler Travis Frederick surprisingly retired at age 29, Dallas traded with Philadelphia and took Biadasz with the final pick of the fourth round.
The Cowboys traded down to near the bottom of the first round for Frederick in 2013, and he was the starter from the beginning. He missed the 2018 season because of Guillain-Barre syndrome, a nerve disorder that was part of the reason he retired even though he returned last year.
“He’s an animal, and I try to mold my game just like that,” said Biadasz, who skipped his final season at Wisconsin after winning the Rimington Award as the nation's top center. "I think our body types are very similar, and I look forward to just keeping up what he’s placed in the Dallas organization.”
The Cowboys re-signed Joe Looney, who replaced Frederick when Dallas made the playoffs two years ago. Left guard Connor Williams and second-year man Connor McGovern could also get a look at center.
CORNERING THE MARKET
With Robinson and Diggs, it's the second time in four years the Cowboys drafted multiple cornerbacks.
Chidobe Awuzie, a second-round pick in 2017, was the starter last season alongside Byron Jones, who took a big contract from Miami in free agency. The other 2017 choice, Jourdan Lewis, still has a shot to be a contributor along with Anthony Brown, a 2016 sixth-rounder.
The Cowboys have 10 cornerbacks on the roster before adding undrafted free agents, which should make that position among the most competitive through training camp.
NO RUSH ON THE RUSH
Defensive end was arguably as big a need as cornerback going into the draft after 2019 sacks leader Robert Quinn went to Chicago in free agency. The Cowboys finally addressed it in the fifth round with Anae, who led the Utes in sacks for three straight seasons and finished with 30.
The pass rush is still led by DeMarcus Lawrence a year after he signed a $105 million contract, while Tyrone Crawford is coming off hip surgery. The next most proven players, Aldon Smith and Randy Gregory, are seeking reinstatement from substance-abuse suspensions. Smith hasn't played since 2015, and Gregory missed last season following his fourth suspension.
DiNucci said McCarthy's brother was his eighth-grade basketball coach in the Pittsburgh area. He introduced himself to the man who ended up being his new coach in January when they were in an elevator together at the hotel that's part of Cowboys headquarters.
James Madison lost to North Dakota State in the FCS championship game in Frisco.
“He was very familiar with our team," DiNucci said. “I was kind of surprised that he knew who I was. Now I’m going to be able to play under him, and it’s just crazy.”
-- By Schuyler Dixon, AP
NEW YORK: Giants help O-line in draft, all other picks on defense
After drafting Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas with the fourth overall pick in the NFL draft, New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman said he was going to fix the offensive line once and for all.
He wasn't kidding.
Gettleman used three of New York's first five picks on young men with a lot of starting experience in trying to build an offensive line to keep quarterback Daniel Jones upright and to make holes for halfback Saquon Barkley.
Beside Thomas, the Giants drafted tackle Matt Peart of Connecticut in the third round and guard Shane Lemieux of Oregon in the fifth.
Their other picks in this remote draft were all linebackers and defensive backs, to shore up a defense that was ranked 25th overall last season, giving up an average of 377.3 yards and 28.18 points.
“The theme of the day for defense was speed,” Gettleman said. “We really felt we had to improve our team speed.”
Coming into the draft, the big issue for the Giants was the offensive line. It allowed Jones to get hit too many times in his rookie season and it did not open enough holes for Barkley.
The big need was a tackle to play with left tackle Nate Solder, who was coming off a bad season. Mike Remmers, who started on the right side, signed with Kansas City as a free agent.
Getting Thomas with the fourth pick quickly solved the problem. Drafting Peart two rounds later gave New York a big raw talent, while Lemieux is a tough guard, who is going to be cross-trained as a center. Starter Jon Halapio went down with an Achilles tendon injury in the final game.
Guards Will Hernandez and Kevin Zeitler are returning along with Nick Gates, who can play center, guard and tackle.
“I feel real good about it,” Gettleman said about fixing the line once and for all. “Two tackles and a guard we feel that we feel real strong about. Adding them to what we have, we are very pleased with this.”
Alabama safety Xavier McKinney should make the biggest impact on defense as a second-round pick. He's versatile, can quarterback the defensive backs and can play in the box.
Most of the other draftees probably will fill roles. Fourth-round pick Darnay Holmes of UCLA is a smart, pressing cornerback who might play the slot and be important on special teams. He had eight interceptions in three seasons. He graduated in 2 1/2 years.
In the last two rounds, the Giants drafted four linebackers: Cam Brown of Penn State in the sixth and Carter Coughlin of Minnesota, TJ Brunson of South Carolina and Tae Crowder of Georgia in the seventh. They were the kind of guys new coach Joe Judge wanted. Productive, smart, versatile team players who can play in many schemes.
Crowder was the 255th and final pick of the draft, making him this year’s “Mr. Irrelevant.”
The selection was announced at the end of the draft by Melanie Salata Fitch, whose father, former NFL receiver Paul Salata, started the award in 1976. There is usually an Irrelevant week in Newport Beach, California, but she did not say whether the event would be held this year with the coronavirus pandemic forcing the cancellation of many events.
Crowder was a key player on Georgia teams that won 11 or more games three straight seasons, won three straight SEC East titles, and played in three straight New Year’s Six bowls. He was part of a senior class that won 44 games, tied for most in school history. The Bulldogs finished with the nation’s top-ranked scoring defense and were ranked No. 1 in rushing defense. Crowder had 122 career tackles and two interceptions.
The Giants had two other ‘Mr. Irrelevants’: running back John Tuggle in 1983 and quarterback Larry Wanke in 1991. Tuggle played for the Giants for a season. He died of cancer in 1986 at the age of 25.
Running back Jim Finn was drafted by the Chicago Bears with the last pick in 1999. He was on injured reserve when the Giants won the Super Bowl in the 2007 season.
-- By Tom Canavan, AP
WASHINGTON: Redskins add Young, trade Williams, pick successor at draft
WASHINGTON — Taking Chase Young was a no-brainer several months in the making. Trading Trent Williams was more of an ordeal that took even longer.
The Washington Redskins got each of those things accomplished during the NFL draft, adding a potential cornerstone player and parting ways with a longtime pillar of the organization. Less than 48 hours after taking the Ohio State pass-rusher second overall, on Saturday they traded their seven-time Pro Bowl starting left tackle to the San Francisco 49ers for two picks and selected his likely successor.
Drafting Young, LSU offensive tackle Saahdiq Charles and six other players and trading Williams made this the most important stretch of new coach Ron Rivera's tenure so far. Nothing was as important as landing Young, who has long been considered the best player in the draft.
“It’s important to put your own stamp on it so that guys understand, yeah, we have a certain way we want to do it,” Rivera said. "We’re going to ask you to do it the way that you’re coached, we’re going to ask you to play the way that we have mapped things out — to do it our way.”
Young and a former Ohio State teammate, quarterback Dwayne Haskins, could become franchise cornerstones. Each one has local roots, having played at private high schools in the D.C. suburbs.
Getting a fifth-round pick in this draft and a third-rounder in 2021 for Williams also ended a lengthy saga that included him missing all last season.
“Trent Williams is a first-round value," vice president of player personnel Kyle Smith said. “His circumstance and everything that has gone into this for two years or whatever it’s been, that’s what’s devalued him. So at the end of the day, for the Washington Redskins, what we got with a fifth and a third, we’re happy with what we got. And it’s time to move on and we’re ready to move forward.”
CHARLES IN CHARGE
The Williams trade went hand-in-hand with the selection of Charles 108th overall, the second pick in the fourth round. He said the series of events shows what the Redskins “might have in mind” for him.
Charles likely would've been a higher pick if not for a six-game suspension for a positive drug test. He said he learned from his “dumb, boneheaded type of mistakes" and was honest with team officials who asked about the situation.
“They believe in me," Charles said. "They gave me a chance. And for that, I feel like I’m going to give the Redskins organization everything I got.”
Washington became the first team since the AFL-NFL merger to pick a defensive lineman in the first round of the draft in four consecutive years. Young and 2019 selection Montez Sweat are the pass-rushers, while 2017 and 2018 picks Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne out of Alabama are the muscle for a D-line that could be among the best in the league.
“I feel like we’re definitely going to have a great group on the defensive line full of first-rounders," Young said. “I know those guys are already prepared to get after it.”
This draft wasn't as much about filling immediate needs as stocking up on talent. Rivera made no secret that he likes players who can move around, and his first draft with Washington fit that bill.
Third-rounder Antonio Gibson can be a receiver, running back and returner who could be like Christian McCaffrey, fifth-rounder Keith Ismael can play center and each guard position and fifth-rounder Khaleke Hudson is a hybrid safety/linebacker in the vein of longtime Rivera standout Thomas Davis.
“I’m comfortable making plays — I feel like that’s what I do,” said Hudson, who was the 162nd pick out of Michigan. “I feel like sometimes you get caught up in what a guy who doesn’t have a true position. Sometimes that really doesn’t matter because once he’s on the field he’s a playmaker and that’s how I see myself. I’m just a playmaker every time I’m out there, and I’m going to do whatever I can, put the team on my back if I’ve got to.”
A year after getting a third-round steal in Terry McLaurin, Washington took fellow wide receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden out of Liberty with its second fourth-round pick. His 64 catches of 15-plus yards the past two seasons were the most of all draft-eligible receivers, and an emphasis on ball security helped Gandy-Golden significantly reduce his number of drops.
Gandy-Golden and Gibson join a talented receiving corps that already included McLaurin, Steven Sims, Kelvin Harmon, Trey Quinn and Cody Latimer.
YOU GOT MOSSED
The Redskins are signing undrafted free agent tight end Thaddeus Moss, son of Hall of Famer Randy Moss, Smith said. Moss caught 47 passes and four touchdowns last season for national champion LSU, but his stock was hurt by repeated foot injuries that required surgery.
“Everything that we’ve gotten from our medical staff we feel comfortable with,” Smith said. "He’s got really good hands and ball skills. He’s a tough kid that competes in the run game. So, those two qualities when you’re signing (undrafted) free agents, you need to have two qualities that really stand out, and those are it.”
-- By Stephen Whyno, AP