Terp Star D.J. Moore's Draft Stock Explodes After Scouting Combine
How was your weekend?
Probably not as good as Maryland Terrapins wide receiver D.J. Moore's.
He earned a bigger payday after an outstanding NFL Scouting Combine performance, putting the proverbial icing on his game tape cake. If NFL scouts were as impressed as NFL Network analyst and former 30-year Dallas Cowboys Vice President of Player Personnel Gil Brandt, then Moore will move up draft boards.
For Brandt, Moore explodes to the top.
Moore has been viewed by many as a solid second-round pick, but he's creeping into first-round consideration, which wouldn't bode well for the Ravens' chances of snagging him if they're interested. But if he makes it to pick No. 52, Baltimore could pounce. Moore said he and the Ravens met in Indianapolis.
Prior to the Combine, Moore's NFL potential was questioned because of his height and speed.
He eased concerns in both categories.
His official 4.42-second 40-yard dash time is what prompted Brandt's tweet. And during the NFL Network's live coverage of Moore's head-turning 40, analyst Mike Mayock said, "I've got big letters at the top of my chart on this kid: 'Alert: This kid can play' in orange letters."
Moore's stock was also boosted by measuring in at 6-foot-0, one inch taller than his listed height at Maryland.
Moore's Combine reaffirms what scouts have already seen on tape during his three-year Terps career, in which he posted 146 receptions for 2,027 yards and 17 touchdowns. He capped off that prolific career by being named the 2017 Big Ten Receiver of the Year despite a revolving door at quarterback, proving his production was no fluke.
The question on many Ravens fans' minds now is whether Moore will stay in Maryland come April.
"Torrey Smith was the [Terp] who delivered," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec. "Stefon Diggs was the one who was ignored. DJ Moore could be the one who changes the narrative.
"Smith, a second-round draft pick in 2011, was the most productive of the 25 receivers the Ravens have ever drafted. … The Ravens had six chances to select Diggs in 2015 before the Minnesota Vikings took him in the fifth round, and he's since become one of the NFL's best young receivers. Ravens fans are hoping Moore doesn't slip through the team's grasp."
If the stars don't align and the Ravens don't land Moore, there will still be plenty of other receivers to choose from, many of which also had strong Combine outings.
LSU's D.J. Chark
As good as Moore's Combine was, Chark may have had the best weekend among all wide receivers, keeping momentum going after a strong Senior Bowl in January. Chark's blazing 4.34 40 was the fastest at the position and his 40-inch vertical jump was the best mark too. He put up those numbers with a 6-foot-3, 199-pound frame.
Alabama's Calvin Ridley
Ridley didn't do anything to hurt his stock as the draft class's top receiver. Mayock said his 4.43 time was "plenty fast enough" and compared him to past Alabama receiver talent. "Obviously, Julio Jones is the first big wide receiver coming out of there in the [Nick] Saban era and then it was Amari Cooper and now it's this guy, Calvin Ridley," Mayock said.
Texas A&M's Christian KirkSome wondered whether Kirk would run a sub-4.5 time, and he accomplished that with a 4.47, the sixth-fastest time among receivers. Mayock compared Kirk to former Green Bay Packers wideout Greg Jennings because of their toughness, strong hands and route-running ability.
Ravens Among Five Teams Talking With Jarvis Landry's Agent About Potential Trade
We've moved from the "speculation" category about the Ravens being interested in trading for Miami Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry, to the stronger "reports" category about them actually pursuing him.
According to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, the Ravens are among several teams in talks with Landry's agent, but at this point, nobody is on the verge of closing a deal.
Several outlets reported over the weekend that Landry informed the Dolphins that he will sign the $16 million franchise tag they placed upon him last month. Once it's officially inked, which will reportedly take place early this week, a trade can be facilitated.
Landry logged a monster 400 catches in his first four NFL seasons, totaling 4,038 receiving yards and 22 receiving touchdowns. He's a three-time Pro Bowl player.
Based on trade talks currently going on with several interested teams, Landry's being viewed as a No. 1 receiver, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, which puts him in a similar pay scale as the Houston Texans'* *DeAndre Hopkins and Pittsburgh Steelers' Antonio Brown at $16 million-plus per year.
The Ravens couldn't take that type of cap hit this year, but could offer enough guaranteed money up front to entice Landry, then spread his cap hits out over the length of the contract.
"The question remains, is Landry worth such a lucrative deal?" asked Baltimore Beatdown's Logan Levy. "Not to mention, the 2018 NFL Draft class appears to be rather loaded with talented wide receivers."
Landry explains in the 10-minute "Juice" video below that his top priority is a long-term deal.
"The team decides to exercise the franchise tag. I'm considering not playing on it," the wide receiver said. "The franchise tag is not a good deal for me. In my case I've played four years. Then you get another year of basically not signing me to a long-term deal. In that year anything can happen. Look at guys like Ryan Shazier, who may not have an opportunity to play again.
"He's fighting a battle to just walk again. I'm at the point where taking care of my family is the most important thing for me. I put my body on the line for years. I've sacrificed my time and my life to make sure that I have this opportunity."
One-Handed Shaquem Griffin Turns Heads After Crashing Combine
I am obsessed with UCF outside linebacker Shaquem Griffin, along with the rest of the football world.
The one-handed outside linebacker blew away coaches and scouts with a goose-bump inducing performance at the Combine. And to think he didn't get an invite until after the Senior Bowl.
Griffin had his left hand amputated at age 4 because of a congenital condition, amniotic band syndrome. Despite it, Griffin put on a show at the bench press by putting up 20 reps while using a prosthetic on his left arm. His previous best was 11.
"I didn't know I had it in me," Griffin told ESPN.
The crowd cheering him was electric.
The electricity didn't stop there.
Griffin caused jaws to drop the next day with his official 4.38-second 40-yard dash, which was the fastest among linebackers this year and beyond.
Prior to the Combine, many didn't even have Griffin on their draft boards, viewing as an undrafted free agent candidate. His draft stock has improved, with the consensus from Indianapolis that he'll now certainly be drafted and one NFL coach telling Rapoport that he's a fourth-rounder now.
Pro Football Focus' Sam Monson says the biggest concern for Griffin isn't his missing hand; it's that he's very undersized for rushing the passer, his greatest attribute. Some of the smaller outside linebackers in the league weigh in at the lower 240s. Griffin is 6-foot-0, 223 pounds.
"Griffin is an intriguing prospect, and a player who creates some challenges for NFL teams in terms of how best to use him at the next level, but none of that intrigue or those challenges are because he plays with just one hand," Monson wrote. "This is a legitimate NFL football player and the fact he has overcome that impediment just makes his story all the more interesting."
Court Dismisses Robbery Charges Against Marlon HumphreyJudge Joanne Jannik dismissed the third-degree robbery charges against cornerback Marlon Humphrey a day after a preliminary hearing that presented evidence surrounding an Uber driver's accusation that Humphrey stole his cellphone charger.
In the court order, which can be read in the tweet below, an investigative officer said the Uber driver called him 10 to 15 times to press charges for what he estimated to be a $3 value of property, which was returned after a misunderstanding. Meanwhile, an eyewitness testified that the Uber driver, not Humphrey, was the aggressor in the situation.
"We are happy for Marlon and the entire Humphrey family," Humphrey's attorney, Paul Patterson, told ESPN. "The evidence was overwhelming that the Uber driver was the aggressor and escalated a situation that could have been resolved without wasting the time and resources of our local law enforcement. Marlon can now continue on the path of success in the NFL. As I stated in the beginning, Marlon has 11 million reasons why not to steal a three-dollar phone charger."
Humphrey signed a four-year, $11.8 million deal after being drafted at No. 16 last year.