Shark Bites

The Cowboys had 8 picks in the 2015 NFL Draft and didn't use any of them on a RB.  Owner Jerry Jones suggested that the signing of Darren McFadden made the team comfortable passing on RBs.  “It might have been a little different story had we not had McFadden on our roster in this draft," Jones said.  HC Jason Garrett added that the Cowboys "feel good" about their current RB depth chart, which also includes Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar and Ryan Williams.  But Garrett added that, "the issue is never resolved.  We’re always trying to create competition. Competition with those four guys themselves but also competition where we can get running backs from other places."  McFadden is penciled in atop the depth chart, but he could lose that spot to Randle or someone not currently on Dallas' roster.

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The Jets confirmed that rookie QB Bryce Petty won't be in the mix to start this season.  "Time will tell what kind of player he'll become, but we do think he has all the physical attributes and parts to be a good quarterback in this league," GM Mike Maccagnan. "It's going to be a maturation process from where he is in college ... but we thought he had all the raw potential and ability, that if you're going to invest time in a quarterback, he had all those attributes that would be very good to work with."  Petty is coming from Baylor's uptempo, spread offense, so he has a significant adjustment to make to the pro game.  The good news is that OC Chan Gailey's offense includes lots of spread elements, so Petty seems like a good fit.  He's worth stashing in dynasty leagues.  Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith will duke it out this summer for the Jets' 2015 starting job.

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Cardinals HC Bruce Arians said RB Andre Ellington "will continue his same role," despite the arrival of rookie RB David Johnson.  “We’ll keep him healthy and let him continue to develop as a player, but the nice thing David can do is he can do everything Andre does, so you don’t have to change if there was an injury," Arians explained.  Ellington figures to stick as Arizona's starting RB but is a long shot to match last year's 22 touches per game.  The well-rounded Johnson could chip in with 8-12 touches and bring Ellington down into the 15 range.  He was much more effective with that type of workload back in 2013.  It could still be enough to make him a solid RB2 in PPR leagues.

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Redskins HC Jay Gruden said RB Alfred Morris' role "won't be affected" by the arrival of rookie RB Matt Jones.  "Alfred's still the running back here," Gruden added. "He's had three great seasons and that won't change. But to add another guy that can come in here and pound the rock a little bit doesn't hurt anything. It'll help Alfred in that regard, taking some carries off him. For the most part Alfred will be getting the bulk of the carries and Matt will get some too, obviously."  Morris has averaged 292 carries and 1,320 yards through 3 NFL seasons and should at least approach those marks in 2015.  Jones will compete with Chris Thompson and Silas Redd for the leftovers.  Jones caught just 19 passes in 3 college seasons, but Gruden views him as a "good all-around player."

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Panthers 2nd-round pick Devin Funchess was considered a WR/TE 'tweener by some scouts. Carolina will use him at WR.  "He makes catches in traffic. He presents a big target in traffic and takes a lot of big shots, similar to what Kelvin [Benjamin] does,” HC Ron Rivera said. “And then you watch him go vertical, which was surprising. I was like, ‘Wait a minute, I thought people talked about he was not a vertical threat.’ He was a vertical threat.”  Funchess posted an ugly 4.70-second 40 time at the Combine but improved to the mid-4.4s at his Pro Day.  He flashed downfield ability at Michigan, with 9 catches of 30+ yards over the past 2 seasons. The issues with Funchess are with his ability to create separation and inconsistent hands.  But he's extremely young, turning just 21 later this month, so there should be plenty of room for improvement.  Funchess has a good chance to win a Week 1 starting job in Carolina and be a 2015 fantasy factor.

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Undrafted free agent RB Zach Zenner latched on with the Lions.  Zenner hails from South Dakota St. but gained a cult following in the pre-draft process thanks to an impressive combination of production and measurables.  He posted 3 straight 2,000-yard rushing seasons with 58 TDs over that span.  He also caught 77 balls during that 3-year stretch.  Then Zenner checked into the Combine at 6'0, 223 pounds and ran a 4.60-second 40-yard dash with a 41-inch vertical and 121-inch broad.  That gave him the 2nd highest SPARQ score in this year's RB class -- behind new teammate Ameer Abdullah.  Detroit's backfield is currently a bit crowded with the 2 rookies, Joique Bell and Theo Riddick.  But Bell turns 29 in August and Riddick only looks like a pass-catcher.  Zenner is capable of emerging as a "big back" complement to Abdullah down the road.

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The Titans selected WR Tre McBride in the 7th round of the 2015 NFL Draft.  McBride faced inferior competition at William & Mary and never reached 900 yards in a season.  But he's a 6'0, 210-pounder with 4.4 speed and good short-area quickness.  McBride also flashes impressive ball skills.  He's drawn comparisons to Pierre Garcon and Brandon LaFell.  McBride was our 14th-ranked WR in the class and is a great value for Tennessee in the 7th.

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The Colts selected RB Josh Robinson in the 6th round of the draft.  Robinson doesn't look like much on a sheet of paper: 5'8, 217 pounds with 4.6 speed.  But flip on the tape and this guy is an absolute bowling ball, built low to the ground and extremely tough to tackle.  Robinson ripped off 1,203 rushing yards on a 6.3 per-carry average for Mississippi St. in the SEC last year.  He's unlikely to make a 2015 fantasy football impact, but Robinson could be in the running to eventually replace the soon-to-be 32-year-old Frank Gore.

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The Ravens selected WR Darren Waller in the 6th round of the 2015 NFL Draft.  Waller caught just 43 balls in Georgia Tech's triple-option offense over the past 2 seasons.  But he averaged 18.8 yards per catch with 9 TDs.  He's a monstrous 6'6, 238-pounder with 4.4 speed and a 37-inch vertical.  Waller is a raw receiver, but that size and athleticism gives him intriguing upside.  Baltimore has now added Waller, WR Breshad Perriman, TE Max Williams, RB Buck Allen and TE Nick Boyle over the past 3 days.

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The Jets acquired RB Zac Stacy from the Rams in exchange for a 7th-round pick.  Stacy was 4th on St. Louis' depth chart after Thursday night's selection of Todd Gurley.  In New York, he joins another crowded backfield that includes Chris Ivory, Stevan Ridley and Bilal Powell.  Stacy, Ivory and Ridley are all between-the-tackles power backs, so the Jets might not end up carrying all 3.  Stacy might be the best pass-catcher of the trio, compiling 44 catches across 2013 and 2014.  But can Stacy take that role from Powell, who has 64 grabs over the past 3 seasons.  Hopefully this backfield gains clarity in August.

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The Panthers selected RB Cameron Artis-Payne in the 5th round of the 2015 NFL Draft.  The Auburn product exploded for 1,608 yards and 13 scores on a 5.3 per-carry average this past season.  He's well-built at 5'10 and 212 pounds and ran a decent 4.53-second 40-yard dash at the Combine.  Artis-Payne isn't a homerun threat but gets upfield with nice burst.  He could immediately step in as a change-of-pace option behind Jonathan Stewart in Carolina.  His only competitors for that role are Fozzy Whittaker and Jordan Todman.  Artis-Payne more than likely lacks the upside to emerge as a lead back, though.

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The Bucs selected WR Kenny Bell in the 5th round of the 2015 NFL Draft.  A favorite of film junkie Matt Waldman, Bell has some Kenny Stills to his game as an explosive field stretcher.  He's 6'1, 197 pounds with 4.4 speed and a 41.5 vertical.  Tampa is a nice landing spot for Bell.  He has a chance to win the #3 WR job in 2015 and could eventually replace Vincent Jackson as the #2.

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