Zach Ertz TE PHI 1 week ago
Ertz has diligently worked to improve his blocking and receiving skills this offseason, NJ.com reports.
Ertz has shown flashes of talent through his first two NFL seasons, but could be poised for a breakout in Year 3. Not only has the 2013 second-rounder focused on advancing his all-around ability this offseason, but he also improved his rookie totals by 18 catches, 30 targets and 233 yards last year.
Taylor Mays DB MIN 1 week ago
Mays has signed with the Lions, NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reports.
Mays, a former second-round pick who has started 10 games in five seasons, was released by the Vikings last week. He's one of the NFL's better athletes when it comes to measurables, but he'll likely just compete for a depth role on the Lions. Glover Quin and James Ihedigbo are expected to start at safety, with Isa Abdul-Quddus the likely top backup.
Tyler Eifert TE CIN 1 week ago
Although the Bengals took a cautious approach during OTAs and minicamp, Eifert appears to be fully recovered from last season's shoulder and elbow injuries, ESPN.com reports.
Eifert was somewhat limited during offseason practices, but he'll likely be a full participant in training camp. With Jermaine Gresham no longer around, the 2013 first-round pick is expected to take on a larger role in the offense, possibly even serving as Andy Dalton's No. 2 target. Eifert is one of the league's most physically-gifted tight ends, and he reportedly looked excellent in his limited work this offseason. Of course, he'll be playing in an offense that wants to focus on the running game, and WR Marvin Jones (ankle/foot) is also returning from a major injury to compete for targets.
Darqueze Dennard DB CIN 1 week ago
Dennard will likely open the season as a backup, despite standing out at OTAs and minicamp, ESPN.com's Coley Harvey reports.
The 24th overall pick in last year's draft, Dennard barely made it onto the field as a rookie. The Bengals still have a crowded cornerback group, and they've repeatedly shown deference to veterans at the position. Dre Kirkpatrick, a 2012 first-round pick, enters training camp as the favorite for a starting spot for the first time. Leon Hall and Adam Jones are also expected to handle significant roles, but both are on the downsides of their careers, and Dennard might prove too good to keep off the field. Although Dennard could step into a starting role, neither he nor the other Cincinnati corners warrant serious IDP consideration.
Dre Kirkpatrick DB CIN 1 week ago
Kirkpatrick is the favorite to start at left cornerback, ESPN.com's Coley Harvey reports.
The Bengals have a pretty deep cornerback group that also includes Leon Hall, Adam Jones and 2014 first-round pick Darqueze Dennard. Kirkpatrick, a former first-rounder (2012) himself, will probably need to perform well during training camp and the preseason to hold on to the starting job. Even if that happens, he's unlikely to emerge as a useful IDP.
Chris McCain LB MIA 1 week ago
McCain enters training camp as the favorite to start at outside linebacker, ESPN.com's James Walker reports.
McCain, a 2014 UDFA, took most of the first-team reps at outside linebacker during OTAs and minicamp, after mostly playing on special teams as a rookie. At 6-5, 250 pounds, he may also get some snaps as a defensive end on passing downs, which would give him more sack opportunities than the average 4-3 outside linebacker. McCain is the favorite to start alongside Jelani Jenkins and Koa Misi in the Miami linebacking corps, but Kelvin Sheppard, Spencer Paysinger and Jordan Tripp could also compete for snaps.
Devonta Freeman RB ATL 1 week ago27 Comments
At this stage, Freeman has a leg up on rookie Tevin Coleman for the Falcons' No. 1 running back slot, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Not surprisingly, coach Dan Quinn has yet declare a winner in that position battle, but in his second year as a pro, opportunity knocks for Freeman, with the Falcons re-tooling a backfield that bid adieu to both Steven Jackson and Jacquizz Rodgers since the end of the 2014 season. Aside from an advantage in terms of experience, Freeman's good hands and route-running help put him in a position to see added touches in 2015 after carrying just 65 times for 248 and catching 30 passes for 225 yards as a rookie.
Calvin Johnson WR DET 1 week ago8 Comments
Johnson, who missed three games last season, indicated that he's in good health in advance of training camp, the Detroit News reports. "I feel good, man, I'm in a good place right now," Johnson noted. "I had a whole offseason to heal up."
Johnson endured a high ankle sprain last season, but he appears well past that issue now and is looking forward to a statistical rebound in his second season working in coordinator Joe Lombardi's offense. In 13 games last year, Johnson recorded 71 catches for 1,077 yard and eight TDs, subpar numbers for him, but assuming continued good health, it's more than reasonable to predict an uptick in production for the talented wideout, who turns 30 in September.
Todd Gurley RB STL 1 week ago1 Comment
As he continues to rehab from Nov. 25 knee surgery, Gurley's training camp status remains unclear, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. "It's hard to say right now," coach Jeff Fisher noted recently, when asked if Gurley would be ready for the start of camp. "I can't predict that. I know he's doing well...He'll be around; he'll rehab with us during the break."
Per the report, there's a chance that Gurley could begin training camp on the Rams' preseason physically unable to perform list, and in such a scenario his chances of being ready to suit up early on this coming season would presumably lessen. According to Fisher though, if the rookie back "is not PUP-ed, then I think you could probably assume that he's going to play sooner than you think." In any case, we'd expect the Rams to proceed cautiously with Gurley, the No. 10 overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft, with fellow RB Tre Mason on hand to head the team's rushing attack until Gurley is up to the task.
Nick Foles QB STL 1 week ago
Frank Cignetti, the Rams' new offensive coordinator, has been impressed with Foles' work this offseason, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. "Nick Foles, first off, is an unbelievable person," Cignetti said. "High character. Great leadership. He does a great job in the classroom, great in the locker room. He's able to take the teaching from the classroom to the field. Every day you've seen that Nick has gotten better."
The report notes that Foles, who was acquired by the Rams in March, saw of plenty of reps during the team's on-field sessions in June. While the 26-year-old signal-caller is locked in as his new team's starter, now that he no longer helms coach Chip Kelly's offense, it remains to be seen how much of a bounce-back Foles experiences after a disappointing 2014 campaign in which he recorded a 13:10 TD:INT ratio in eight games for the Eagles, well off the impressive 27:2 mark he turned in during the 2013 season. Though a new deal does not appear imminent, ESPN.com replays that earlier this month the Rams began preliminary talks with Foles and his agent with an eye toward coming to terms on a long-term contract extension.