Shark Bites

Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie considers 5th-round rookie DeAndre Washington a "complete back."  The Texas Tech product is on the smaller side at 5'8 and 204 pounds, but that's a similar size to recent RB1s such as Jamaal Charles (5'11, 199), LeSean McCoy (5'11, 208) and Justin Forsett (5'8, 195).  “DeAndre, he’s more than just a third-down back,” McKenzie said.  “He can pound it up in there. The Raider Nation will find out fast just how physical he is ... He can catch the ball, but he can run between the tackles as well as well as bouncing it outside. We think he’s the total package as a runner. We really like him.”  Washington racked up 124 catches over 4 college seasons.  But he also carried 188 and 233 times, respectively, in the final 2 years and averaged 6.2 yards per carry.  There's opportunity in Oakland's backfield after Latavius Murray mustered just 4.0 yards per carry and 5.7 yards per catch last year.  Washington's progress will be worth monitoring closely this summer.

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49ers insider Matt Barrows confirms that QB Colin Kaepernick is all but assured of sticking in San Francisco this season.  A draft-week trade never materialized, and the Niners didn't add another QB until taking project Jeff Driskel in the 6th round.  That leaves Kaep to duke it out with Blaine Gabbert for the starting job.  It's a battle Kaepernick should win as long as he's healthy.  He had surgeries on his thumb, knee and shoulder this offseason.  The shoulder issue was the most serious, but Kaep has reportedly resumed throwing "a bit," per Barrows, and expects to receive full clearance by the end of May.

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Raiders TE Clive Walford injured his knee in an ATV crash earlier this offseason, according to Fox Sports.  We don't have any details on the injury, but Walford reportedly underwent surgery and will miss spring workouts.  He's expected back sometime during training camp, possibly for the start of it.  "May not be as bad as originally thought," a source says.  We'll keep an eye on Walford's status over the next few months.  The 2015 3rd-rounder had a promising finish to his rookie campaign, hauling in 15 balls for 178 yards over his final 5 games.

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The Jets would prefer rookie QB Christian Hackenberg to spend 2016 learning from the sideline but won't rule out him getting on the field.  "With any player coming into the league, there's definitely a maturation process. And it doesn't matter what position you play. I think quarterbacks are probably one of the harder positions to transition to the NFL," GM Mike Maccagnan said. "The reality of it is, though, is it's going to be determined by how he does."  Hackenberg's chance to play this season will grow if the Jets aren't able to bring back QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.  Inaccurate throughout his college career (56.1% completion rate), Hackenberg would be bad news for WRs Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker.

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The Panthers signed former Duke S Jeremy Cash as a priority free agent after the draft and promptly listed him at LB. The ACC defensive player of the year for 2015 carried a "tweener" label into the NFL Draft and might have ultimately gone unpicked because of a rash of injuries from Duke's bowl game through workout season. But Cash delivered 335 tackles over 3 seasons after transferring from Ohio State, plus 38 tackles for loss, 8 sacks, 9 forced fumbles and 5 INTs. According to the Charlotte Observer, Carolina plans to use him as a situational player in a LB-S hybrid role that's growing in popularity around the league. We'll see what kind of playing time that ultimately produces, but Cash's college production and solid NFL landing spot makes him worth a look near the end of IDP dynasty rookie drafts.

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Devontae Booker was the #2 RB on the Broncos' board, GM John Elway revealed.  Denver was able to snag Booker in the 4th round as the 7th RB selected.  “He’s a guy that has got great ball skills,” Elway said. “He runs very tough. [He’s] a very tough runner and really does a nice job after contact."  Booker dropped largely because of a torn meniscus that ended his 2015 season, but he says he's currently back to 90%.  "Greek [Head Athletic Trainer Steve Antonopulos] felt good about where that was and the situation where we were [at]," Elway added.  Booker joins C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman in the Broncos backfield.  It shouldn't take the rookie long to dispatch Hillman, and he could quickly put heat on Anderson.  It'll be a situation to monitor closely in HC Gary Kubiak's RB-friendly offense.

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Washington has announced that 2nd-round pick Su'a Cravens will play safety, according to the team site. Cravens played safety primarily in college, but many had assumed that he would move to more of a LB role in the NFL, perhaps something similar to Arizona's Deone Bucannon. He'll battle DeAngelo Hall, David Bruton and Duke Ihenacho for starting duty in 2016.

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3 days ago

The Bears have signed QB Brian Hoyer to a 1-year, $2 million deal.  Hoyer completed 57.7% of his passes with 31 TDs and 20 INTs in 25 appearances for the Browns and Texans over the last 2 years.  He's a backup-caliber talent, which is what he'll be in Chicago.  It's worth noting, though, that QB Jay Cutler has missed at least 1 game in 6 straight seasons.

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3 days ago

The Colts signed undrafted free-agent RB Josh Ferguson.  Despite struggling with injuries in 5 seasons at Illinois, Ferguson averaged a solid 5.1 yards per carry and totaled 168 catches.  That includes 137 grabs over the last 3 years.  Ferguson is undersized at 5'9, 198 pounds but is capable of earning a change-of-pace role.  Indy is a nice landing spot with soon-to-be 33-year-old Frank Gore and not much else in the RB group.

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The 49ers added WR Devon Cajuste as an undrafted free agent.  At 6'4, 234 pounds, Cajuste might be a WR/TE tweener at the next level.  But he was uber-impressive at the Combine, earning a SPARQ score in the 94th percentile among WRs.  Landing with a creative offensive mind in Niners HC Chip Kelly makes Cajuste a guy to keep an eye on.

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3 days ago

The Giants added WR Roger Lewis as an undrafted free agent.  The Bowling Green product racked up 158 catches, 2,638 yards and 23 TDs over the past 2 seasons.  His draft stock was marred by a felony rape charge back in 2012 and underwhelming measurables that landed him in the 15th percentile among WRs in SPARQ score.  But that college production makes him worth monitoring on a Giants squad with opportunity behind #1 WR Odell Beckham.

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3 days ago

The Rams scooped up WR Marquez North as an undrafted free agent.  A highly touted recruit out of high school, North turned in a promising freshman season.  But injuries and inconsistency hampered him over the past 2 years.  North flashed at the Combine, though, with a 4.48-second 40-yard dash and 35-inch vertical at 6'2, 223 pounds.  That size and athleticism gives him a shot to carve out a role in an underwhelming Rams WR corps.

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Colorado WR Nelson Spruce signed with Los Angeles as an undrafted free agent. It's a decent landing spot, as the Rams lack veteran WR depth. They did, however, add Pharoh Cooper (Round 4) and Mike Thomas (Round 6) over the past 2 days. Spruce is a reliable target standing 6’1, 206 pounds. He exits college with a jaw-dropping 189-2142-15 line over the last 2 years. Spruce isn’t exactly a burner, so we’ll see if he can separate from NFL DBs. At best, he looks like a long-term #3 WR.

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Tulsa WR Keyarris Garrett signed with the Panthers as an undrafted free agent. Garrett stands 6’3, packs on 220 pounds and boasts an impressive catch radius. He also led the nation in receiving yards (1,588) last year, so it’s a bit of a surprise he wasn’t drafted. Garrett did suffer a compound leg fracture during the 2013 season, but he's clearly rebounded nicely. There’s a real chance he sticks on Carolina’s roster.

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The Redskins nabbed RB Keith Marshall in the 7th round of the 2016 draft.  A highly touted recruit out of high school, Marshall averaged more yards per carry than Todd Gurley when both guys were freshmen at Georgia in 2012.  He tore his ACL the following year, though, and never got back on track.  But Marshall looked plenty healthy at the Combine when he blazed a 4.31-second 40-yard dash.  There's upside here if he can recapture that pre-injury form.  Despite being a 7th-round pick, Marshall could put heat on RB Matt Jones in Washington.

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The Jets added WR Charone Peake in the 7th round of the 2016 draft.  Peake was limited by injuries and a loaded Clemson WR corps through his first 4 seasons but broke out for a 50-716-5 line this past year.  He goes 6'2, 209 pounds and clocked a 4.45-second 40 time at the Combine.  Peake joins a Jets WR corps led by Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, but OC Chan Gailey runs a bunch of 3- and 4-WR sets.  Peake will compete for snaps with Devin Smith and Quincy Enunwa.

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