Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

Could Lennay Kekua’s boyfriend could drop to round two?

Manti Te’o draft stock dropping after he runs poor 40-yard dash

If it were possible to trade NFL Draft stocks you would short shell that of one Notre Dame inside linebacker. Manti Te’o draft stock suffered yet another price decrease today when ran a very poor 40 yard dash at the NFL scouting combine.

It came just a couple of weeks after Manti Te’o draft stock suffered a major correction with Alabama’s thrashing of Notre Dame in the National Championship Game and the real beginning of 2013 NFL Draft speculation season. There was a major Manti Te’o draft stock sell off as Crimson Tide (and future NFL) running backs ran all over him, and the future NFL OL of ‘Bama pushed him around.

Te’o clocked unofficial times of 4.81 and 4.80 in the 40. There are 12 defensive linemen listed by that ran at least a 4.81 in the 40. LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery, a 262-pound defensive end, ran a 4.81. Two 300-pound offensive linemen ran a shade better than 4.7 at the combine. Maybe even Lennay Kakua could run a faster 40; and she doesn’t even exist.

Prior to Deadspin’s mind-blowing story, one of ESPN’s draft experts, Mel Kiper Jr. published his first NFL Mock Draft. Kiper doesn’t always know what he’s talking about, but he’s usually pretty close. Kiper had the Notre Dame linebacker with “elite athleticism” and “elite intangibles” going 8th overall to the Buffalo Bills in the upcoming draft.

Is Te'o still the linebacker Mel Kiper Jr. envisioned? 

No, far from it.  Far from it.  

Peyton to Barkley: Be a dick

Meet the strangers that top this year's draft; more from combine

One of the last things we discussed is Barkley’s trip to the Manning Passing Academy last July, his first trip to see into Peyton’s and Eli’s worlds. “I learned a valuable lesson from Peyton, about sometimes you have to be a d—-,’’ he said. In other words, if players don’t want to work out in the offseason, you tell them there’s no option; you tell them when and where to be somewhere. Now, maybe that doesn’t happen in the first year. But a quarterback has to have the respect and authority to make sure players do what’s necessary, particularly in these days of less intense offseason programs. NFL players are off until mid-April now. Next year, wherever he is, Barkley’s going to have to get his guys in gear to work out somewhere before that.

“Doing what is asked is not enough to win in the NFL, I know that,’’ he said. “You’ve got to do more. And I intend to.’‘

Matt, first you'll have to see about actually becoming a starting QB somewhere. Good luck with that one.

I'll admit I was a little too smitten by Barkley's game during his junior year, in part because the Broncos were trotting out a quarterback who couldn't throw, at all. But last year, as a senior? Barkley was all kinds of terrible, as far as top QB prospects go.

Is Alex Smith about to become the new quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs?

Reports: Trade that will take Alex Smith out of San Francisco is ‘all but done’

According to multiple reports, the San Francisco 49ers have wrapped up a trade that will put quarterback Alex Smith in a new city. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported via Twitter that the 49ers have sewed up negotiations with a willing trade partner. The interested team is not yet known, though Gregg Rosenthal of says that from everything he’s heard around the scouting combine this week, the Kansas City Chiefs have a deal for Smith that is “all but done.”

Since the Broncos would almost have to run the table to improve on last year's 13-3 season, the Kansas City Chiefs have nowhere to go but up.

While Andy Reid and Alex Smith won't exactly strike fear in the heart of Jack Del Rio, the Chiefs are going to be a much tougher out in 2013.

After four pass attempts by Osweiler, Elway takes a victory lap

Elway: Osweiler would be top QB in 2013

“From what I’ve seen from this class and what I’ve seen from Brock in the past year, I’d put him first,” Elway said. “Would he be a top-10 pick? I’m not sure, but he’d definitely be a first-round pick .... Now, I’m biased. But I really like what I’ve seen from him. And he is getting great training playing behind Peyton .... We’re really lucky to have Brock. We’re excited.”

Count me as someone consistently puzzled by criticism of the Osweiler pick, given the Broncos' mindset after signing Manning.  Peyton would be around for a few years, allowing the youngster time to develop; further, the Broncos wanted to avoid the 2011 disaster that befell the Colts, who never bothered to develop more than a clipboard holder for Peyton.

It doesn't so much matter what Osweiler was a year ago, or even what he is today. Let's judge him by what he does during his NFL career, which we'll hope doesn't begin in earnest for another two or three years.

Until then, I guess Elway & Co. will consider themselves free to say whatever they want about Brock and his value.

Kacsmar: Fox’s use of Peyton Manning on 4th down absurd

NFL Plagued By Epidemic Of Gutless Coaches

John Fox was bashed for being conservative in Denver’s epic playoff loss, but consider the fact that with Peyton Manning as the quarterback, the Broncos only went for it a league-low five times on fourth down in 2012. Every time it was with 1-2 yards to go. Three times they did it while trailing, and three times they converted. Willis McGahee let a fourth conversion slip through his hands in New England. A fifth play was actually a fake field goal against the Raiders, so Fox only had Manning actually go for it four times, which is absurd…

...While I can learn from my mistakes and believe in the data, NFL coaches have shown they are increasingly more afraid to even be in a situation that makes them look wrong on fourth down.  With a quarter of the league changing head coaches, six of which are first-time NFL head coaches (seven counting interim-only Bruce Arians), it will be interesting to see if 2013 continues the gutless approach, or if this new breed will start to turn the tables and roll the dice a bit more.

Trust the numbers. Double check them too just to be safe. But trust that going for it on fourth down is going to be worth it more often than not.

John Fox: Manning will be stronger and better next year

Broncos' John Fox looking forward to healthier Peyton Manning

“A lot was made of the neck and the surgeries. But in reality, it’s a nerve situation, and it takes a while for nerves to grow,” Fox said at the NFL scouting combine. “He’s getting better every day. I think he’ll be, health-wise, he’ll be even better this year.”

The rehab process isn’t over — and might never be for the 36-year-old quarterback — but Fox said he thinks this spring and summer should be markedly different for the four-time MVP.

“He’ll have a full offseason for his whole body to get ready, not just the arm, the neck and some of those rehab things,” Fox said. “He can actually work out now. I think he’ll just get stronger and better.”

Okay, Fox, we'll buy it: Manning will be stronger and better in 2013.

Does this mean you'll let him throw with 30 seconds remaining in the half or at the end of a game?

Will John Fox get stronger and better?

McCoy shocked Chargers offered head job so quickly

Mike McCoy: Philip Rivers is a “Great Guy to Have as the Face of Your Franchise”

On being surprised that the Chargers told him they were ready to hire him during the interview:
“To be perfectly honest, it kind of caught me off guard a little bit because I had not been here very long. By the time the interview process started, after I came out here Monday morning … when the job was offered to me I said, ‘Listen, I can’t say yes or no right now,’ because I have to go talk to my family. I had no idea where they were in the process. We had not talked to them before that point in time, so it all happened extremely fast and then I went home and made the decision to come down here.”

On the importance of having a franchise quarterback in this league:
“In this league you’ve gotta have a franchise quarterback to have a good opportunity to do great things. So it’s gonna start there.”

Let's imagine how this conversation went, shall we?

McCoy: Hey, Honey, you want to live in San Diego and make more money?

Family: Cool.  Do you like Philip Rivers?

McCoy: It doesn't matter.  If we lose, he's the first-year scapegoat.  After all, he's moving a little slower these days.

Benoit: Considering Denver’s free-agent options at DT

Four Downs: AFC West

The interior rotation of Justin Bannan, Kevin Vickerson, Mitch Unrein, and Derek Wolfe was sensational at holding ground and drawing double-teams in 2012. But the 34-year-old Bannan is set to become a free agent. So is the more explosive (and wildly underrated) 30-year-old Vickerson. The losses of those players would impact whoever is at middle linebacker.
Elway could re-sign all three interior defensive starters and still have a little money left over. Or, he could trust his existing linebacker depth to fill Brooking’s void, lowball Vickerson, say goodbye to Bannan, and try to upgrade by luring a second-tier free agent defensive tackle -– say a Randy Starks, Terrance Knighton, or Alan Branch-type –- to Mile High.

FWIW, Starks just turned 29 in December, graded out at +3.5 over 826 snaps for Miami according to PFF, and drew $3.85M in compensation last season. Knighton saw 666 snaps with the Jaguars, graded out at +4.2, made $1.26M in the final year of his rookie deal, and will turn 27 on Independence Day. Branch recently turned 28, netted a +1.8 grade over 645 snaps with Seattle, and was paid $4.3M.

All three were second- or third-round picks and figure to draw heftier deals than either Bannan or Vickerson.

Eagles, Vick pare contract to one year

Michael Vick signs with Eagles for '13

The Philadelphia Eagles re-signed Michael Vick on Monday to a one-year deal for the 2013 season, league sources said.

This contract replaces the one Vick had signed and he now is scheduled to be a free agent after next season.

Vick was reportedly paid a $3M roster bonus last week, and had been due to draw a $15.5M salary for 2013, in a deal that ran through 2015.

Instead, the former number-one overall pick has taken a hefty pay cut, with a one-year deal that has the potential of topping out at around $10M.

Broncos likely to play SNF opener at Giants, visit Cowboys on Thanksgiving

Broncos most likely to open on SNF, play on Turkey Day

Broncos @ Giants – Peyton Manning versus Eli Manning. The huge New York television market. According to sources, it will be a “major upset” if this is not the SNF opener.

If Denver opens at home on Monday Night Football, the logical match-ups would be the Chargers, with former Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy now at the helm in San Diego, and the Chiefs, with Andy Reid making his regular-season debut as the head coach in Kansas City.

While the plan for opening weekend is still being finalized, one game on the Broncos schedule is all but set in stone. Denver will be playing on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 28) in Dallas. “It’s a lock,” said a league source.

As you might recall, the Broncos' last trip to Dallas was also on Thanksgiving, and ended on a Jason Elam chip shot that followed a 55-yard OT run (video) by Ron Dayne in 2005.