Cam Newton QB CAR 2 weeks ago
Newton will continue to be a strong component in the Panthers' rushing attack, the Charlotte Observer reports.
Newton has emerged as arguably the NFL's best dual-threat quarterback through his first four seasons, but that ability has also caused Newton to take a considerable amount of hits since entering the league. Additionally, a number of injuries last season resulted in further concern over Newton's long-term durability. Nonetheless, Panthers' GM David Gettleman revealed in a recent interview that Carolina does not plan on restricting Newton's running opportunities, as such action could inhibit their best playmaker.
Jerricho Cotchery WR CAR 2 weeks ago
Cotchery could have his role reduced somewhat this season, ESPN.com reports.
Cotchery embodied an underwhelming No. 2 wideout for the Panthers last season, but could slide back on the depth chart this term. Along with Carolina drafting Devin Funchess in the second round and signing veteran Ted Ginn, Corey Brown's late-season development gives the Panthers another decent receiving option. As a result, the aging Cotchery could be relegated to a more appropriate reserve role this season.
Jerod Mayo LB NE 2 weeks ago
Mayo -- who tore his patellar tendon last October -- is not yet 100 percent, ESPN.com reports.
Mayo, who recorded 53 tackles in six games for the Patriots last season, has yet to see the field through the team's OTAs and minicamp and it's unclear how much work he'll be able to see once training camp starts. Once Mayo reestablishes his health, however, the 29-year-old is in line start at linebacker for the Pats, along with Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins.
Vincent Jackson WR TB 2 weeks ago2 Comments
Jackson could see more time as a slot receiver this season, The Tampa Times reports.
Jackson and fellow 6-5 wideout Mike Evans will provide rookie quarterback Jameis Winston with a towering pair of targets, but new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter could experiment with Jackson as a slot receiver as well this season. In that scenario, Jackson's blend of size and speed would figure to overwhelm most nickel cornerbacks, creating a unique mismatch for Winston to capitalize on.
Zach Ertz TE PHI 2 weeks 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 2 weeks 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 2 weeks 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 2 weeks 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 2 weeks 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 2 weeks 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.