Bears optimistic Roquan Smith will be in camp soon

The Bears became the second team to open training camp when veterans reported to work on Thursday, but the team’s top draft choice remains absent.

Linebacker Roquan Smith did not report with the rest of the team’s rookies on Tuesday and remains away from the team because he has yet to sign a contract. At a press conference on Thursday, General Manager Ryan Pace said a lot of details go into these things and that he’s optimistic that the deal will be done soon.

There’s a process and meanwhile we’re moving forward, Pace said.

The top 10 players in the country include the only 2017 Heisman Trophy finalist back for another season in college, a quarterback who spent last September on the bench and three defensive linemen from the same school. The group comprises former No. 1 overall recruits but also a few late bloomers, and with the exception of one sophomore, most of the names below could be called early on in the 2019 NFL draft. When the 2018 season begins in earnest on Labor Day weekend, they all will be expected to deliver dominant, productive seasons that lift their teams to their full potential.

The 32-year-old pass-catcher missed the entire 2017 season after tearing his ACL during a preseason contest. If the NFL were to uphold its reported punishment, Edelman would miss games against the Texans, Jaguars, Lions and Dolphins.

I think if I had to bet on a rookie quarterback starting Week 1 right now, and a lot can happen between now and then, I’d put my money on it being Sam Darnold. The third overall pick has been a quick study through the spring, showing he can absorb and apply the information thrown at him. And the fact that he showed great ability to take hits and compartmentalize mistakes last year at USC mitigates the risk the Jets would take throwing him out there. I’d say there’s a better than 50-50 chance he wins the job outright in camp.

Speaking of rookie quarterbacks, worth paying attention to this quote from Ravens LB CJ Mosley on Lamar Jackson: Once he gets out of the pocket, it’s like watching a young Michael Vick. It’s amazing to watch. When you’re defending him, you just have to act like you’re tagging off—you don’t want to be on the highlight reel. That’s not some slappy saying that. It’s a team captain. Someone brought it up to me the other day, and said it’s over for Joe Flacco. I wouldn’t go that far. But to hear respected members of the team talk about the rookie that way does put another level of pressure on the 11th-year vet.

Brent Musburger will take over as Raiders radio announcer

The Raiders are reportedly bringing in a famous voice to call their games on radio in Oakland this year and in Las Vegas down the road.

Gilbert Manzano of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that Brent Musburger has agreed to a three-year deal to be the radio play-by-play announcer for the team’s games. Musburger has been working in Vegas as a columnist for that paper and as a broadcaster for the Vegas Sports and Information Network since leaving his job with ABC/ESPN in January 2017.

The consensus No. 1 recruit three cycles ago would be even higher in these rankings if he wasn’t joined by a once-in-a-decade crop of defensive line talent set to dominate college football this year. (Just imagine if he had committed to Clemson, the other finalist in his recruitment, over the Wolverines.) The 6’5, 281-pound rising junior has the quickness to finish plays that stretch near the numbers just as often as he wreaks havoc in the backfield, and the other studs within Michigan’s defense like linebacker Khaleke Hudson and end Chase Winovich benefit from the attention paid to him. Defensive coordinator Don Brown has to hope that Gary’s two sacks in the regular season finale against Ohio State (followed up by a sack in the Outback Bowl loss to South Carolina) are a sign of what’s to come as Michigan braces for a brutal schedule.

Now the question becomes when he shows up. Training camp seems unlikely, and some are already suggesting that he might skip regular season games (though that would cost him $852,000 a week).

If these two new rules result in a flurry of flags, coaches will adjust. And the game will change, up to and including minimal or no use of the three-point stance. If these two new rules result in a flurry of fines, the game probably won’t change much? The coaches don’t pay the fines, the coaches want to win, and the coaches will continue to expect the game to be played a certain way, even if it hits the players in their bank accounts.

We have had zero resistance from the coaches, Riveron told King. That’s possibly happening because the coaches still don’t fully appreciate how aggressively these new rules will be enforced, and because they’re simply choosing to believe those who privately claim it won’t be a big deal.

Given the breadth of the new rules and the clear motivation to take the head out of the pro game so that mom and dad will let Jimmy play football at the youth level, I won’t believe it won’t be a big deal until it’s not a big deal.

And I have a nagging feeling it will indeed be a big deal.

I think Jackson will see some work in packages, and even as a slash-type of weapon on offense.

He’s too explosive a player to keep off the field. And generally guys like that might see five or 10 snaps a game.

If your question is when we’ll see him as the starting quarterback, I think that’s tied largely to the team’s fortunes. If the Ravens are in contention all year—like the Chiefs were last year after drafting Patrick Mahomes—Jackson almost certainly won’t crack the lineup. If they fall out of contention late, then the door would open for Jackson to play.

(Let’s wrap it up here.) Yes, I believe improvement is possible. If you look at Flowers’s draft class, you’ll see two players who were left tackles in college—Washington’s Brandon Schreff and New Orleans’ Andrus Peat—who have become very good NFL guards. And we’ve seen other first-round left tackle prospects in the past, Robert Gallery and Andre Smith to name two, find long-term homes elsewhere.

Do I think it’s likely? I wouldn’t say that, just because we haven’t seen a ton of promise from Flowers. But there’s talent there. He wouldn’t have gone high in the first round otherwise, and so there’s reason to believe he’s got a shot at pulling off.

Why do you keep calling that? Bortles asked, after that series. It’s not there.

Blake, you were brilliant, Hackett responded. They all dropped down and you got it to the running backs.

This, in a nutshell, is where Bortles got better last year, and it’s a piece—and not an insignificant one—of how the Jaguars broke through in 201It’s also why Hackett has optimism where others might not, that Bortles can still become the franchise quarterback GM Dave Caldwell and the team envisioned him to be four years ago, when the Jags drafted him third overall.

It might sound weird, but as Hackett saw it, the biggest thing Bortles had to learn was to play quarterback rather than just play football. The knock on him back in 2014, that he was raw, plays right into that notion. That checkdown was a response to it.

Shazier is making incredible progress after a terrifying spinal injury he suffered in December against the Bengals.

Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier suffered a spinal injury in December and has been making slow progress in a quest that stretches far beyond the gridiron.

Shazier has made numerous public appearances since his injury, but his most powerful came during the 2018 NFL Draft, when he walked onto the stage with some help from his fiancee, Michelle. Shazier will not play in 2018, and though he has said that his goal is to return to the football field, it’s possible he may never be able to play again.

Here’s everything that happened since Shazier was injured on Dec. 4, 2017.

Authorizing a single study, and then burying it through a confidentiality agreement and shelving its recommendations does not constitute meaningful reform, Epstein wrote. Because I care deeply about violence against women in the NFL and beyond, I can no longer continue to be part of a commission that is essentially a fig leaf.

What a great night.

The fourth-best: Fail to get the bunt down, have the bunt sign removed, and get a base hit swinging. Harvey, who is hitting .098 (14-for-143) since his Tommy John surgery, has done this zero times.

The fifth-best: A successful sacrifice bunt. High-fives in the dugout, attaboy. You’re a pitcher holding a bat, and while it’d be swell if you were Madison Bumgarner out there, more realistically this is all anybody asks of you. You did a job. Harvey has six of these. On three of them, he even did the job on the first strike he saw.

So that’s six out of 27, or 22 percent of jobs done. I think this ends the part of the list that includes job done outcomes, though we’ll debate that point in a minute.

The sixth-best: Fail to get the bunt down, have the bunt sign removed, and make an out. Not exactly a job done but, at least theoretically, this might still advance a runner, on a ground ball or a fly out. Harvey has done this one time, though he lined out and did not advance the runner.

The 76ers reportedly are trying to move acquire a top-five pick in Thursday’s NBA draft by offering a package deal of their other picks.

According to Sports Illustrated, other teams have asked to include Robert Covington or Dario Saric in the mix, but the Sixers have shut those trade packages down.

The teams that currently hold the top five spots are the Suns, Kings, Hawks, Grizzlies and Mavericks. It’s a guessing game as to who the 76ers are going for and which player would fit in with their current starting roster.

It’s been speculated Deandre Ayton and Marvin Bagley III will likely go 1-2 to the Suns and Kings, respectively. However, ESPN notes if the Kings pass on Bagley, that could change who Atlanta picks No.

It has also been reported if Doncic doesn’t go to the Hawks, the Mavericks have targeted him with the fifth pick.

Doncic, 19, is coming off a Spanish league championship win and is expected to travel to New York to be one of 20 players sitting in the green room at Barclays Center, ESPN reported.

The 6-8 guard became the youngest to win a EuroLeague MVP last season as he averaged 14.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists over 61 total games.

A lot of guys were doing solo workouts, but I wanted to do group workouts, Knox said. I kind of wanted to compete. I wanted to show guys my competitive spirit. I did a lot of one-on-ones, a lot of two-on-twos. That’s the mindset I had going in, to try to go at people and try to dominate. So I decided not to do solo workouts and I did more workouts than people expected.

Like the Kings’ pick, Atlanta’s selection here is a difficult one to peg. This pick realistically shouldn’t be that difficult.

Sporting News’ Sean Deveney reported new Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce likes the potential Doncic has to elevate an entire roster with his playmaking ability. The 19-year-old Slovenian has the most accomplished resume of any prospect in the draft. He’s a high-floor player with tremendous upside should he improve athletically.

Don’t be surprised if Oklahoma’s Trae Young is in the conversation for Atlanta either here or in a trade scenario. General manager Travis Schlenk, previously of the Warriors, has experience seeing how valuable off-dribble shooting can be for an offense.

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