The Baltimore Ravens had additional positive tests for COVID-19 on Wednesday, a source told ESPN, marking the fourth day of a coronavirus outbreak among the team that led to the postponement of Thursday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
As of Wednesday, the Ravens had seven players who tested positive for COVID-19 or were identified as close contacts. Members of the Ravens’ coaching staff and support staff have also tested positive.
The team issued a statement Wednesday saying an unnamed staff member has been disciplined “for conduct surrounding the recent COVID-19 cases that have affected players and staff at the Ravens.”
The Ravens will now play at the Steelers on Sunday (1:15 p.m. ET, NBC), as the NFL decided to postpone the game to conduct more testing and contact tracing, a source told ESPN’s Dan Graziano on Wednesday.
Baltimore closed its facility Monday morning before reopening in the afternoon, when the team held a walk-through. A day later, the Ravens shut down the facility again after more positive tests and conducted all team activities virtually, which they are continuing to do Thursday.
The Ravens’ outbreak began hours after Sunday’s 30-24 overtime loss to the Tennessee Titans, when the team learned running backs J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram had tested positive. Nose tackle Brandon Williams was later identified as a high-risk close contact.
Fantasy football mock draft – 10-team, 1/2 PPR
We’re officially in the vacuum of space between OTAs and training camp. Seems like a good time for everyone to chill and enjoy summer, right?
Not if you’re aiming to win a championship.
You know the top NFL competitors are hard at work right now. So, too, are fantasy folks who want to own their drafts when they count. That means taking part in some mock drafts to get a feel for things and work out the kinks, which is exactly what our experts did with our latest mock.
Following our first one, a 10-team PPR format, we’re back with this 10-team 1/2-PPR mock. For the uninitiated, that means your players will score a half-point for each catch they make.
You can take a look at the results below to see where you may find good values, which positions are shallow or deep, and which draft strategies our experts tried at this point of the offseason.
The participants, in order of draft position, were: Marcel Louis-Jacques, Matt Bowen, Kyle Soppe, Eric Karabell, Tom Carpenter, Field Yates, Daniel Dopp, Tristan H. Cockcroft, Mike Clay and Mike Triplett.
1. Christian McCaffrey Car (RB1) — Louis-Jacques
2. Dalvin Cook Min (RB2) — Bowen
3. Derrick Henry Ten (RB3) — Soppe
4. Alvin Kamara NO (RB4) — Karabell
5. Saquon Barkley NYG (RB5) — Carpenter
6. Ezekiel Elliott Dal (RB6) — Yates
7. Jonathan Taylor Ind (RB7) — Dopp
8. Austin Ekeler LAC (RB8) — Cockcroft
9. Travis Kelce KC (TE1) — Clay
10. Nick Chubb Cle (RB9) — Triplett
11. Aaron Jones GB (RB10) — Triplett
12. Tyreek Hill KC (WR1) — Clay
13. Davante Adams GB (WR2) — Cockcroft
14. Cam Akers LAR (RB11) — Dopp
15. Joe Mixon Cin (RB12) — Yates
16. DK Metcalf Sea (WR3) — Carpenter
17. Stefon Diggs Buf (WR4) — Karabell
18. Antonio Gibson Wsh (RB13) — Soppe
19. Najee Harris Pit (RB14) — Bowen
20. Miles Sanders Phi (RB15) — Louis-Jacques
21. Calvin Ridley Atl (WR5) — Louis-Jacques
22. DeAndre Hopkins Ari (WR6) — Bowen
23. A.J. Brown Ten (WR7) — Soppe
24. D’Andre Swift Det (RB16) — Karabell
25. Clyde Edwards-Helaire KC (RB17) — Carpenter
26. Justin Jefferson Min (WR8) — Yates
27. Terry McLaurin Wsh (WR9) — Dopp
28. J.K. Dobbins Bal (RB18) — Cockcroft
29. Michael Thomas NO (WR10) — Clay
30. George Kittle SF (TE2) — Triplett
31. Josh Jacobs LV (RB19) — Triplett
32. Allen Robinson II Chi (WR11) — Clay
33. Mike Evans TB (WR12) — Cockcroft
34. Chris Carson Sea (RB20) — Dopp
35. David Montgomery Chi (RB21) — Yates
36. Darren Waller LV (TE3) — Carpenter
37. Keenan Allen LAC (WR13) — Karabell
38. Amari Cooper Dal (WR14) — Soppe
39. CeeDee Lamb Dal (WR15) — Bowen
40. Diontae Johnson Pit (WR16) — Louis-Jacques
41. Josh Allen Buf (QB1) — Louis-Jacques
42. Travis Etienne Jax (RB22) — Bowen
43. Chris Godwin TB (WR17) — Soppe
44. Adam Thielen Min (WR18) — Karabell
45. Patrick Mahomes KC (QB2) — Carpenter
46. Julio Jones Ten (WR19) — Yates
47. Robert Woods LAR (WR20) — Dopp
48. Myles Gaskin Mia (RB23) — Cockcroft
49. DJ Moore Car (WR21) — Clay
50. Cooper Kupp LAR (WR22) — Triplett
51. Kenny Golladay NYG (WR23) — Triplett
52. Chase Edmonds Ari (RB24) — Clay
53. Courtland Sutton Den (WR24) — Cockcroft
54. Mark Andrews Bal (TE4) — Dopp
55. Kyle Pitts Atl (TE5) — Yates
56. Kareem Hunt Cle (RB25) — Carpenter
57. Tyler Lockett Sea (WR25) — Karabell
58. Mike Davis Atl (RB26) — Soppe
59. Ja’Marr Chase Cin (WR26) — Bowen
60. DJ Chark Jr. Jax (WR27) — Louis-Jacques
61. Brandon Aiyuk SF (WR28) — Louis-Jacques
62. T.J. Hockenson Det (TE6) — Bowen
63. Odell Beckham Jr. Cle (WR29) — Soppe
64. James Robinson Jax (RB27) — Karabell
65. JuJu Smith-Schuster Pit (WR30) — Carpenter
66. Tee Higgins Cin (WR31) — Yates
67. Robby Anderson Car (WR32) — Dopp
68. Raheem Mostert SF (RB28) — Cockcroft
69. Javonte Williams Den (RB29) — Clay
70. Chase Claypool Pit (WR33) — Triplett
71. Lamar Jackson Bal (QB3) — Triplett
72. Kyler Murray Ari (QB4) — Clay
73. Dak Prescott Dal (QB5) — Cockcroft
74. Brandin Cooks Hou (WR34) — Dopp
75. Deebo Samuel SF (WR35) — Yates
76. Jerry Jeudy Den (WR36) — Carpenter
77. Logan Thomas Wsh (TE7) — Karabell
78. Tyler Boyd Cin (WR37) — Soppe
79. Curtis Samuel Wsh (WR38) — Bowen
80. Dallas Goedert Phi (TE8) — Louis-Jacques
81. David Johnson Hou (RB30) — Louis-Jacques
82. Russell Wilson Sea (QB6) — Bowen
83. Damien Harris NE (RB31) — Soppe
84. Leonard Fournette TB (RB32) — Karabell
85. Kenyan Drake LV (RB33) — Carpenter
86. Justin Herbert LAC (QB7) — Yates
87. DeVonta Smith Phi (WR39) — Dopp
88. Michael Gallup Dal (WR40) — Cockcroft
89. William Fuller V Mia (WR41) — Clay
90. Marquise Brown Bal (WR42) — Triplett
91. Laviska Shenault Jr. Jax (WR43) — Triplett
92. Melvin Gordon III Den (RB34) — Clay
93. Michael Carter NYJ (RB35) — Cockcroft
94. Noah Fant Den (TE9) — Dopp
95. James Conner Ari (RB36) — Yates
96. Jaylen Waddle Mia (WR44) — Carpenter
97. Ronald Jones II TB (RB37) — Karabell
98. Marvin Jones Jr. Jax (WR45) — Soppe
99. AJ Dillon GB (RB38) — Bowen
100. Zack Moss Buf (RB39) — Louis-Jacques
101. Henry Ruggs III LV (WR46) — Louis-Jacques
102. Nyheim Hines Ind (RB40) — Bowen
103. Tom Brady TB (QB8) — Soppe
104. Jarvis Landry Cle (WR47) — Karabell
105. Michael Pittman Jr. Ind (WR48) — Carpenter
106. Jamaal Williams Det (RB41) — Yates
107. Trey Sermon SF (RB42) — Dopp
108. Robert Tonyan GB (TE10) — Cockcroft
109. Antonio Brown TB (WR49) — Clay
110. Devin Singletary Buf (RB43) — Triplett
111. Gus Edwards Bal (RB44) — Triplett
112. Jalen Reagor Phi (WR50) — Clay
113. Aaron Rodgers GB (QB9) — Cockcroft
114. Jalen Hurts Phi (QB10) — Dopp
115. Nelson Agholor NE (WR51) — Yates
116. Rashod Bateman Bal (WR52) — Carpenter
117. Ryan Tannehill Ten (QB11) — Karabell
118. Tony Pollard Dal (RB45) — Soppe
119. Darnell Mooney Chi (WR53) — Bowen
120. Mike Williams LAC (WR54) — Louis-Jacques
121. J.D. McKissic Wsh (RB46) — Louis-Jacques
122. Corey Davis NYJ (WR55) — Bowen
123. Buccaneers D/ST TB (DST1) — Soppe
124. Matthew Stafford LAR (QB12) — Karabell
125. Alexander Mattison Min (RB47) — Carpenter
126. Russell Gage Atl (WR56) — Yates
127. Mecole Hardman KC (WR57) — Dopp
128. Kadarius Toney NYG (WR58) — Cockcroft
129. Elijah Moore NYJ (WR59) — Clay
130. Latavius Murray NO (RB48) — Triplett
131. Darrell Henderson Jr. LAR (RB49) — Triplett
132. Tarik Cohen Chi (RB50) — Clay
133. Irv Smith Jr. Min (TE11) — Cockcroft
134. Joe Burrow Cin (QB13) — Dopp
135. Rondale Moore Ari (WR60) — Yates
136. Ravens D/ST Bal (DST2) — Carpenter
137. Steelers D/ST Pit (DST3) — Karabell
138. Harrison Butker KC (K1) — Soppe
139. Rams D/ST LAR (DST4) — Bowen
140. Washington D/ST Wsh (DST5) — Louis-Jacques
141. Justin Tucker Bal (K2) — Louis-Jacques
142. Terrace Marshall Jr. Car (WR61) — Bowen
143. Mike Gesicki Mia (TE12) — Soppe
144. James White NE (RB51) — Karabell
145. Younghoe Koo Atl (K3) — Carpenter
146. Broncos D/ST Den (DST6) — Yates
147. Bills D/ST Buf (DST7) — Dopp
148. 49ers D/ST SF (DST8) — Cockcroft
149. Patriots D/ST NE (DST9) — Clay
150. Colts D/ST Ind (DST10) — Triplett
151. Wil Lutz NO (K4) — Triplett
152. Jason Myers Sea (K5) — Clay
153. Matt Gay LAR (K6) — Cockcroft
154. Matt Prater Ari (K7) — Dopp
155. Jason Sanders Mia (K8) — Yates
156. Amon-Ra St. Brown Det (WR62) — Carpenter
157. Brandon McManus Den (K9) — Karabell
158. Tyler Higbee LAR (TE13) — Soppe
159. Greg Zuerlein Dal (K10) — Bowen
160. T.Y. Hilton Ind (WR63) — Louis-Jacques
Buffalo Bills looking for Dawson Knox, tight ends to ‘elevate’ in 2021 – Buffalo Bills Blog
BUFFALO, N.Y. — While there was some room for debate about which position group deserved the most blame when GM Brandon Beane said the Buffalo Bills needed to run the ball better following the 2020 season, he didn’t mince words when it came to critiquing the tight ends.
The group struggled to make much of an impact statistically in 2020, combining for 442 yards and eight touchdowns on 40 catches between 2019 third-round pick Dawson Knox, Lee Smith and Tyler Kroft. Smith and Kroft are no longer on the team, and improved play from that position is a focal point for the 2021 season.
“I thought it was up and down, to be honest with you,” Beane said in January about the play of the tight ends. “At the end of the year, I thought we did a little bit, Dawson started to get his groove, but it was never where the opposing defense was like, ‘Man, we’ve got to stop their tight ends from going off.’ … We’d love to have a guy like what we just faced in Kansas City [All-Pro Travis Kelce] — they don’t come very often. But that’s what we want.
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“We’ve got some guys here we want to continue to develop and see what happens.”
Presumably replacing Smith and Kroft are 2019 seventh-round pick Tommy Sweeney, who missed the entire 2020 season with a foot injury and myocarditis stemming from COVID-19, and former Seattle Seahawks reserve Jacob Hollister.
Sweeney and Hollister are expected to contribute, but it’s Knox for whom the team has big expectations this coming season. After a promising rookie year, the Mississippi product had an underwhelming sophomore campaign while dealing with a handful of injuries and COVID-19 after the coronavirus pandemic thwarted his first full NFL offseason. With restrictions loosening, Knox has made the most of this offseason, notably spending time with Bills quarterback Josh Allen in California.
“It was great being with Josh … It was good hanging out off the field, but on the field was great, too,” Knox said. “We just did a bunch of routes and it was during our first phase of Zoom meetings. So if there was a new play or route concept Dabes [offensive coordinator Brian Daboll] was installing, we were able to take it straight to the field. [Allen] kind of would work through some of the points where he would tell me what he was looking for. When to give him eyes on certain routes and real little details that we were able to hammer down on some of the new stuff, which was nice.”
Knox, who dropped 10 passes (20% of his targets) as a rookie in 2019 and four (9.1%) in 2020, also worked with what he described as a “hand-eye trainer,” Ryan Anderson, to address the issue.
He said Anderson works with several professional athletes, using things like touchpad challenges and a machine that shoots pingpong balls, making them curve (and more difficult to catch).
“I was with him every day for about six weeks or so,” Knox said. “Some of the stuff was crazy. It would work your eyes in a way where you’d feel like you’re almost hypnotized. I felt like my progress from my first day with him to my last day was pretty great.”
Knox’s offseason work ethic was, in part, inspired by Beane’s desire to have a tight end like Kelce, who caught 18 passes for 183 yards and four touchdowns in two games against the Bills last season. Knox said he spoke with Kelce after Buffalo’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game and participated in the “Tight End University” summit hosted by Kelce, George Kittle (San Francisco 49ers) and retired former Pro Bowler Greg Olsen in Nashville this month.
His development goes beyond rubbing elbows with the best tight ends in the league. Knox has taken a more cerebral approach to the position he is still learning to play; he converted from a high school quarterback to fullback at Mississippi, and eventually to tight end.
“I want to get to the point where I am that weapon for our team and Travis is the best in the league right now at what he does,” Knox said. “But it just comes from watching film and getting on the field and starting to feel out some of the stuff that he can see pretty quickly. It’s really not just running your route and being in the right spot. It’s how well can you adjust on the fly? How well can you read coverages when the ball is snapped? Because defenses are so good at disguising coverages and safeties are moving around and linebackers are showing blitz and then they’re dropping out.
“So it’s just being able to catch on to some of those things, which I felt like I was able to do more and more as the year went on. … I definitely feel confident that I’ll be able to do that this year.”
Behind Knox, Bills coach Sean McDermott said Sweeney is “off to a good start” after fully recovering from the heart condition that ended his 2020 season. Sweeney has been in the Bills’ facility all offseason to train. Allen lauded the team’s decision to sign Hollister, whom he played with in college at Wyoming. Hollister ended spring practices doing mainly side work during the two-day minicamp, but he, Sweeney and Knox each turned in solid performances throughout OTAs and minicamp.
Still, with the Bills’ Super Bowl window as open as it has been since the early 1990s, there remains plenty of speculation as to whether the tight end position is up to a championship standard. If the Bills come to the conclusion it’s not, they could trade for Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz, whom the Eagles have received multiple offers for over the past few months.
Ertz, 30, is a three-time Pro Bowler and was a first-team All-Pro in 2018; he would give the Bills a former Super Bowl champion and someone who was a top-three player at the position before injuries derailed his 2020 season.
Knox was asked about the possibility of adding Ertz, because the Bills have been linked to him more than once this offseason. Knox likened it to his experience at Mississippi, where he earned a starting job despite his background as a walk-on.
“[At Ole Miss] I was learning behind Evan [Engram], who was an All-American,” Knox said of the current New York Giants starter. “He graduated and they brought in three four-star recruits that same year, and I feel like that elevated my level of play.
“Then I was able to come in as a rookie [with the Bills] and earn the starting spot. No matter who they bring in, whether it’s a rookie or All-Pro like Zach, I think it’ll be great just to elevate the competition. Iron sharpens iron and that’s a big philosophy that I have. It’s great having [Hollister] here, too, and we’re learning things from each other. We’re competing, but also building some good team chemistry to use multiple-tight end sets and stuff like that. It’s really not what can I do to be better than the guy next to me. It’s what can I do to make myself the best player I can.”
So far, so good: A healthy Jadeveon Clowney is key to Browns’ defensive success – Cleveland Browns Blog
BEREA, Ohio – On the first day of Browns minicamp last week, Jadeveon Clowney lined up with the other linemen for a series of sprinting conditioning drills.
Clowney, just six months removed from knee surgery, exploded off the line before nearly tracking down the pair of teammates in front of him who’d taken off several seconds earlier.
“I’ve been training extremely hard this offseason, so I kind of already have a feel of where I was coming here,” Clowney said following the second day of minicamp. “I felt great coming in, and I feel great now.”
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) June 15, 2021
Of the many moves the Browns made this offseason, signing Clowney to a one-year deal worth up to $10 million could prove to be the one that elevates Cleveland’s ceiling the most in 2021.
Due in large part to injuries, Clowney, 28, has yet to live up to the billing of being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft. But the talent and potential for Clowney to be a difference-maker off the edge remains. Especially considering that he’ll now be lining up opposite Myles Garrett, one of the preeminent pass-rushers in the league and a former No. 1 overall pick himself.
“Very athletic and very fast,” Browns defensive coordinator Joe Woods said of Clowney. “Offenses, they are going to have to make a choice of who they are going to chip and where they are going to slide the protection to. [Clowney] will be a great complement [to Garrett], and we’ll also be able to move those guys around just to try to create some favorable matchups.”
Coming off their first playoff appearance since 2002, the Browns prioritized upgrading the defense around Garrett and Pro Bowl cornerback Denzel Ward. Cleveland’s offense surged down the stretch last season, fueling the Browns to their first playoff victory in 26 years. The defense, however, lagged at times, and in the playoff loss in Kansas City, it was unable to come up with the game-changing play or stop even after quarterback Patrick Mahomes exited the game.
To counter, the Browns signed John Johnson III, arguably the top safety on the free-agent market this offseason. They also utilized their first two draft picks for cornerback Greg Newsome II and linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, bolstering their budding young core. Cleveland also landed several other veteran free agents, including defensive tackle Malik Jackson, nickelback Troy Hill and linebacker Anthony Walker, all of whom are projected to start.
The addition of Clowney, however, is what potentially gives this Browns defense the upside to become a top-five unit in the league after finishing just 19th in defensive efficiency last season.
Garrett, who was leading the league in sacks and forced fumbles in 2020 before contracting COVID-19 in late November, is a legitimate Defensive Player of the Year contender and will continue to see double-teams. As a result, Clowney — doubled-teamed more than any defender other than Michael Bennett and Za’Darius Smith since 2018, according to ESPN Stats & Information — should face the fewest double-teams of his career. And, as a tandem wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks, they could have the domino effect of making life easier on the rest of Cleveland’s revamped defense as well.
“I wouldn’t say it would be very fun to go up against them,” said quarterback Baker Mayfield. “That duo creates a lot of stuff for a lot of other people on the back end. Obviously, we have a lot of guys who are very talented, so it is not just those two, but they do add a special dynamic when it comes down to offensive scheming, that you have to worry about those two guys.”
Of course, for that to come to fruition, Clowney will have to stay healthy. His NFL career began with a microfracture surgery on his right knee. He missed half of last season for Tennessee with a torn meniscus in his left knee. He’s suffered various injuries in between.
But Clowney is already showing that he’s healthy again — and, in turn, that he could be the piece to take the Cleveland defense to another level.
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