Bears HC Matt Nagy isn't giving anything to 1st-round pick Justin Fields before he earns it. "Andy is the starter," Nagy reiterated this week, according to NFL.com. "Andy's going to get the one reps." It's no shock that Dalton will open full-team workouts as the starter. What will be worth watching is how soon Fields claims some of those reps. Nagy said Fields needs to speed up his pre-snap recognition and improve at reading defenses. "He's going to get a great opportunity to do that against our defense," Nagy said. "I think that's where we're going to have to see, are there a lot of mistakes being made? Or are there a lot of good plays that are being made? And is it natural and is it easy for him? That's what what we'll evaluate." History says Fields will take over this offense at some point before the 2021 season ends, but Nagy was the OC in Kansas City when Patrick Mahomes sat for a year behind Alex Smith. We'll certainly be watching this situation throughout summer.
Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times reports that Seahawks 2nd-year LB Jordyn Brooks is "set to become the full-time weakside linebacker" this season. That's not surprising, given that Seattle drafted him in Round 1 last year and has yet to re-sign veteran OLB K.J. Wright. The Seahawks also reportedly have 2020 second-round DE Darrell Taylor working out at strong-side LB. Taylor also got reps at rush end in recent workouts, but he's down 20 pounds from the 267 at which he entered the league. It sounds like Seattle is eyeing him in a role similar to what Bruce Irvin used to play: early-down LB, edge rusher in passing situations. He'll compete with Cody Barton for playing time at SLB. We'll see about that situation. Brooks, though, looks headed for a 3-down role -- next to Bobby Wagner -- and IDP sleeper status in 2021.
Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star believes 4th-round TE Kylen Granson could quickly impact the Colts offense. Beat writers can get caught up in hype at times, but Erickson's article provides some interesting quotes from Colts decision makers. "When you watch the tape, you see that he has explosive speed," HC Frank Reich said of Granson. "He has quickness, foot and body quickness. He's also dynamic with the football in his hand. That can be a great element for our offense." Assistant director of college scouting Matt Terpening added: "He's a total mismatch tight end. This kid has big-time sped, he can get down the seam. He makes really big plays. He's got excellent hands, and he's got route instincts and route feel." Granson will be worth watching through the offseason and summer. Indy has elected not to re-sign Trey Burton so far, leaving Jack Doyle (23 catches in 2020) and Mo Alie-Cox (31) atop the TE depth chart.
Broncos HC Vic Fangio said earlier this month that he expects TE Albert Okwuegbunam to be limited at the start of training camp. "Probably not right off the bat full speed," he said, referring to Okwuegbunam and CB Essang Bassey, both coming off ACL tears. "They'll have to be managed, but the both are doing very well." We'll see about Okwuegbunam's participation as camp gets going, but being active at any level seems like a positive coming off a November ACL tear. Of course, any limitations for him can only be good news for Noah Fant's target opportunity.
Steelers RB Najee Harris played some 'X' receiver and slot receiver at rookie minicamp over the weekend, according to The Athletic's Mark Kaboly. "It appears that Harris will be used in the passing game as well and as more than just a checkdown option out of the backfield," Kaboly wrote. Harris racked up 70 catches over his final 2 seasons at Alabama and put some impressive receiving ability on tape. We're expecting him to immediately handle the majority of the ball-carrying and pass-catching work in Pittsburgh's backfield this season. The rookie has easy RB1 upside.
Bengals HC Zac Taylor praised 6th-round rookie RB Chris Evans' pass-catching ability. "He’s a very natural route runner out of the backfield,” Taylor said. “He can split out. That’s one of the things that really jumped out to us at the Senior Bowl, just how dominant he was in those one-on-ones. How natural and easy it looked for him." Cincinnati released pass-catching RB Gio Bernard this offseason, although we're expecting RB Joe Mixon to soak up most of that work this year. Evans remains just a dynasty stash for now but is worth monitoring this summer.
Eagles TE Zach Ertz didn't report for voluntary workouts on Monday and isn't expected to take part in the offseason program, according to insider Jeff McLane. He knows he's not part of the team's 2021 plans and is waiting until he's traded or released. The Eagles have seemingly been looking to trade him for a few months but haven't found any takers. Ertz is still just 30 but is coming off an ugly 2020 season that saw him rank 31st in yards per route run and 30th in Pro Football Focus receiving grade among 34 TEs with 40+ targets. We'll see where he ends up, but Ertz isn't an attractive draft target right now. Meanwhile, we've already projected Eagles TE Dallas Goedert as if Ertz is gone.
Bucs TE O.J. Howard remains on track in his recovery from October's torn Achilles. “Yeah, he’s really close now,” HC Bruce Arians said. “He looks fantastic working out every day.” Howard is tentatively expected to be able to get some work in during June minicamp and sure seems to be trending toward being ready for Week 1. Anything QB Tom Brady and the Bucs get from him this year will be a bonus. Note that Howard out-targeted Rob Gronkowski 19 to 14 over the first 4 games of last season.
Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy said Saturday that QB Dak Prescott (ankle) is on track to be a full-go when training camp opens in late July. Prescott has had "excellent workouts" the past couple of weeks and is expected to do "most things" at OTAs, McCarthy added. Prescott, by all indications, has had a smooth rehab from October's fractured and dislocated ankle. We're not expecting it to be an issue this season.
The Giants have signed former WR Kelvin Benjamin as a TE. The 2014 1st-rounder topped 1,000 yards with 9 TDs as a rookie, missed 2015 with a torn ACL and then rebounded for a 63-941-7 line in 2016. But he bounced around to 3 different teams the next 2 seasons, totaling 73 catches and 4 TDs. And he's been out of the league the past 2 years. Benjamin is now 30. He has TE size at 6'5, 245 pounds and would be a catch-first player if he makes it. But Benjamin isn't even a lock to make the Giants' final roster and is a long shot to find meaningful playing time.