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Where do Chargers go at QB after turning page on Philip Rivers? – Los Angeles Chargers Blog



COSTA MESA, Calif. — After a mutual parting of ways earlier this month, life after Philip Rivers begins in earnest for the Los Angeles Chargers at this week’s NFL scouting combine.

For the first time since 2006, the Chargers will evaluate this year’s crop of quarterbacks without durable No. 17 at the top of the depth chart. Tyrod Taylor tentatively holds down that spot, with last year’s fifth-round selection, Easton Stick, slotted as his backup.

If Chargers general manager Tom Telesco chooses to look to free agency for a quick solution, bringing in someone like Tom Brady would certainly help sell tickets and boost the Chargers’ fledgling footprint in L.A. since relocating three years ago.

The Bolts have legitimate interest in Brady, but it’s fair to question if the franchise is willing to pay $30 million annually for a 42-year-old quarterback after letting a 38-year-old one go who would have been in a similar price range.

A more likely scenario is the Chargers look to add someone like Marcus Mariota in free agency. He fits Lynn’s desire for a mobile quarterback. The Chargers held a private workout for Mariota in Eugene just before the 2015 draft, when speculation had them potentially trading Rivers to Tennessee for the chance to select the University of Oregon product. Mariota would come at a much-reduced price tag, giving the Bolts an option should Taylor struggle.

Both of those options might be short-term fixes, so the Chargers will certainly take a long look at drafting a young signal-caller early to develop as the team’s franchise quarterback.

“Our draft process won’t change at all from previous years,” Telesco said. “We probably haven’t done a lot in free agency in years past because we had a starter here for a long time that we were very happy with. We used free agency a little bit in a backup role, like we did with Tyrod Taylor and some others. So we’ll probably do a little bit more work in free agency there, but I would say draft-wise there really wouldn’t be any changes with Philip not being here.”

With Rivers in the rearview mirror, the Chargers finally can start to implement a succession plan for the franchise’s all-time leading passer. Since taking over as the team’s general manager in 2013, Telesco has selected just two quarterbacks in the draft — Stick last year and Brad Sorensen in the seventh round of the 2013 draft.

Who could blame him? Telesco had the most durable quarterback in the NFL as his security blanket.

But earlier this month, Telesco, owner Dean Spanos, president of football operations John Spanos and head coach Anthony Lynn had a difficult decision to make, which ultimately resulted in the franchise moving on from Rivers.

“We were very lucky to have Philip for as long as we did, and I know for me I never took it for granted — ever,” Telesco said. “Despite the fact that you knew every week he was going to be out there playing, like he said in his words, he gave everything that he had, every single week and every single practice. And when you get that from your quarterback, everybody else tends to fall in line, with the accountability, toughness and leadership that he has. … He’s been here for such a long time. It’s never easy in those situations, but everyone does what they think is best for the team.”

The Chargers will attempt to find someone in this year’s draft to fill the huge leadership void left by Rivers’ absence and to compete for the starting job with Taylor.

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa certainly checks a lot of boxes with his accuracy, athleticism and magnetic personality. However, the Chargers would have to clear a major hurdle with Tagovailoa’s medical history, and that starts in Indy.

“The medical experts in that field, with three lower-extremity injuries, both ankles and the hip, are going to determine everything,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said about Tagovailoa. “Whether he’s the third or fourth pick in the draft with somebody trading up, or he goes to Miami at five, the Chargers at six or he drops down to Indianapolis at 13 is going to be determined by the medical. I think he goes in the top five.”

Lynn isn’t a fan of players with injury histories. So if the Chargers have major heartburn over Tagovailoa’s medical concerns, they could look to someone like Oregon’s Justin Herbert. I detailed the reasons Herbert would be a fit for the Chargers here.

“We know he has the athletic, physical talent — the arm talent, the athleticism and mobility,” Kiper said about Herbert. “We know how intelligent he is. We know what a great kid he is. But is he instinctive enough as a quarterback and does he have that ‘it’ factor to be that incredible, off-the-charts competitor that a lot of times separates the good ones from the average ones, the great ones from the good ones? … What level of competitor are you? I think that’s what teams want to find out here.”

Along with quarterback, evaluating the top offensive line prospects in this year’s draft will be a priority for the Bolts. Kiper has the Chargers selecting Alabama tackle Jedrick Wills at No. 6 in his latest mock draft.

The Chargers used five different offensive line combinations for a group that ranked No. 20 in pass block win rate last season, according to ESPN Analytics’ new metric.

The team’s most consistent linemen was right guard Michael Schofield III, the only offensive lineman to start every game for the Chargers last season. Schofield will be a free agent in March. Aging Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung already expressed uncertainty with the team’s direction moving forward and his role in it, according to ESPN’s Josina Anderson.

Okung has one year left on his deal and is scheduled to make $13.5 million of non-guaranteed total compensation in 2020.

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Seahawks add WR Phillip Dorsett on 1-year deal



The Seattle Seahawks have added more speed to their wide receiver corps by agreeing to a one-year deal with Phillip Dorsett, he told ESPN’s Josina Anderson.

“Seattle felt like the best opportunity to be the player I know I can be as a wide receiver,” he told Anderson. “I spoke to Russell Wilson on FaceTime while he was working out. Shows you his work ethic. That got me extra excited. I think overall it’s just the right fit for me.”

The 27-year-old Dorsett gives the Seahawks a veteran option for the No. 3 wide receiver role behind Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. David Moore, who was given an original-round (seventh) tender as a restricted free agent, is also in that mix. Wilson will have no shortage of speed at that position. Dorsett ran a 4.33 40-yard dash at the 2015 combine, before the Indianapolis Colts chose him 29th overall.

John Ursua and Malik Turner are two of the Seahawks’ returning wide receivers behind Lockett, Metcalf and Moore. Jaron Brown is an unrestricted free agent.

Dorsett, who re-signed with the New England Patriots last offseason on a one-year, $2.6 million deal, saw his role diminish as the 2019 season progressed. He finished with 29 receptions for 397 yards and five touchdowns.

Dorsett, who turned 27 in January, came to the Patriots in the September 2017 trade that sent quarterback Jacoby Brissett to the Indianapolis Colts. The 5-foot-10, 192-pound receiver had 12 catches for 194 yards in his first season with the Patriots, then followed it up in 2018 with 32 receptions for 290 yards and three touchdowns.

The Patriots relied on Dorsett more early in the 2018 season, when Julian Edelman was serving a four-game NFL suspension. Once Edelman returned and receiver Josh Gordon was acquired in a mid-September trade and eased into the team’s system, Dorsett’s playing time diminished, but he still showed a knack for catching most everything thrown in his direction.

In six playoff games with the Patriots, he totaled eight catches for 126 yards and two touchdowns.

The 29th overall pick in the 2015 draft has 124 receptions for 1,634 yards and 11 touchdowns in 71 career games.

ESPN’s Brady Henderson and Mike Reiss contributed to this report.

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CB Rashaan Melvin signs 1-year deal with Jaguars



Former Detroit Lions cornerback Rashaan Melvin has signed a one-year, $2.25 million deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars, agent Drew Rosenhaus told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Tuesday.

This will be the sixth team in eight seasons for Melvin, who provides depth for the Jaguars in the defensive backfield and will compete on the outside with Tre Herndon and Darqueze Dennard.

The 30-year-old Melvin signed a one-year contract with Detroit last March and won the starting job opposite Darius Slay by the start of the season. He defended 11 passes but had no interceptions in 12 starts for Detroit, making a career-high 68 tackles.

Melvin has bounced around the NFL since signing as an undrafted free agent with Tampa Bay in 2013. He spent two seasons with the Colts in 2016 and ’17, starting 19 games and having a career-high three interceptions and 13 passes defended in 2017.

He signed with Oakland in 2018, starting seven games and intercepting one pass before signing with the Lions last offseason.

ESPN’s Michael Rothstein and Michael DiRocco contributed to this report.

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Why Malcolm Jenkins has always meant so much to Saints – New Orleans Saints Blog



METAIRIE, La. — Sean Payton has made a number of glowing comments about Malcolm Jenkins over the years that made it clear just how much he missed his former safety after the New Orleans Saints let him go in 2014.

Like when the coach said in 2018, “That was probably as big a personnel mistake as we’ve made in my 13 years here.” And when he said, “Should have never let him leave to begin with,” when he confirmed that Jenkins was coming back last week.

But one comment that was especially telling came in 2018, when NBC Sports’ Peter King got an inside look at the Saints devising game plans before they faced Jenkins and the Philadelphia Eagles.

When Payton explained the thinking behind a unique formation the Saints had drawn up, he told King, “Part of it, really, is thinking of something that they haven’t seen. … You want eight heads to turn to Malcolm Jenkins and be like, ‘What do we do?'”

Payton is one of the NFL’s all-time best offensive strategists, and that’s how he views Jenkins. As a worthy chess opponent.

It’s one of many intangible qualities that Jenkins will bring back to the Saints — and one that helps explain why the Saints were willing to part with their promising 25-year-old safety Vonn Bell in free agency while signing Jenkins instead.

To some, this might look like the Saints are making the same mistake that they made in 2014 when they let Jenkins go and tried to “upgrade” to free-agent safety Jairus Byrd. That move turned out to be a flop — in part because Byrd suffered a major knee injury just four games into that first season. But in hindsight, the Saints also gave up too early on Jenkins, who never quite delivered on his full potential during his five years in New Orleans before he hit his stride in Philadelphia. He made three Pro Bowls in six seasons with the Eagles and helped them win a Super Bowl.

The difference this time, however, is that the Saints know firsthand how well Jenkins, 32, will fit into their defense and their locker room.

Defensive coordinator Dennis Allen was Jenkins’ position coach when the Saints drafted him in the first round out of Ohio State in 2009. Allen knows multiple ways he can use the versatile 6-foot, 204-pounder, who is listed as a “free safety” but spends a lot of time inside in nickel and dime formations.

And coaches know how valuable Jenkins will be as a leader for a secondary that is loaded with young talent, such as cornerback Marshon Lattimore and safeties Marcus Williams and C.J. Gardner-Johnson.

Nobody has accused that group of lacking leadership or accountability. But they have certainly battled their share of inconsistency and occasional breakdowns in coverage. A dose of veteran expertise can’t hurt.

Jenkins was twice elected as a defensive captain by teammates during his first stint in New Orleans. He filled the same role in Philadelphia.

He was the one breaking down his teammates in the Eagles’ pregame huddle with a passionate speech before they beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI. He also broke down the team after games – as you can see in this clip from his speech after Philadelphia lost quarterback Carson Wentz to a torn ACL during that Super Bowl run.

Former Saints safety Roman Harper compared Jenkins to another fiery Saints leader, linebacker Demario Davis.

“[Jenkins] is not one of those guys that’s just gonna talk the talk. He likes to walk the walk as well,” Harper said. “A great example of that is he’s always gonna be at the front of the line. … He’s gonna be the first person to give an example to do something. When it’s one-on-ones, he’s gonna be right there trying to go against Michael Thomas or the best receiver. That’s just who he is. He loves to compete.

“And I think his competitiveness is infectious. If you see somebody going that hard, it only makes you want to go hard as well.”

Harper said Jenkins will also bring “more of a vocal aspect when they’re out there playing.”

“I think that can really help complete that secondary and really bring some things that they probably have not always had,” Harper said. “Maybe even help bring some confidence to Marcus Williams and adding that to his game, because he’ll be playing alongside him and just confirming [what he sees]. ‘All right, we know you’re smart Marcus, but let me take some of the thinking off of you with some of the old veteran presence I have.'”

Former Saints cornerback Jabari Greer agreed, saying they are “getting a player that can help their secondary avoid costly mistakes in crucial situations.”

“On the field and in the meeting room, Malcolm seemed to be extremely focused. The results that were seen on Sunday were often an occurrence in practice with him,” said Greer, who pointed to one of the most memorable plays of Jenkins’ career — when he chased Dallas Cowboys receiver Roy Williams all the way down the field to force a fumble inside the 10-yard line late in the fourth quarter and spark a come-from-behind win in 2010.

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