Men acquitted who were accused of stabbing Steelers' Mike Adams

Three men were acquitted on charges of stabbing and attempting to rob Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Mike Adams last summer in downtown Pittsburgh.

They were accused of trying to steal Adams' pickup truck last summer.

According to defense attorneys, there was a fight with Adams, who was allegedly the instigator.

Adams claimed the men stabbed him in an attempted carjacking. He had a high blood-alcohol level, a 0.185.

One defendant was convicted of escape and the other man was convicted of flight to avoid apprehension.

Follow me on Twitter: @RavensInsider

Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun

Jason Witten: Tomo Romo throwing the ball well

The Dallas Cowboys aren't going to let Tony Romo participate in offseason activities if he wasn't ready to play.

And based on what tight end Jason Witten has seen from his quarterback, Romo is in good shape to be out there during Phase One of the offseason program. Speaking to the Dallas Morning News, Witten said that Romo looks like the same quarterback he's become accustomed to catching passes from.

"He is throwing good," Witten told the newspaper. "I have caught a lot of balls over the years and it's the same zip, same as always. He looks good."

Witten said he admires Romo's toughness, given he had back surgery this past December that forced him to miss the end of the regular season. Romo also had a back procedure performed on him last offseason.

"I think just the will that guy has – it's at the top of the list of the players I've seen," Witten said. "Like I said, we know what people are going to say. But I think for us and for him it's just go out there and get better and kind of perfect that craft so when you get to the chance, you take advantage of those opportunities. He looks good."

Follow me on twitter: @JasonHButt

Major college football powers and the NFL draft

In “Which Colleges Produce the Most NFL Talent”, I identified 37 colleges whose players combined to start at least 100 games during the 2013 season, accounting for 57% of all starts. The 37 colleges are Alabama, Auburn, Boston College, California, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana State, Maryland, Miami (FL), Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Penn State, Purdue, Rutgers, South Carolina, Southern Cal, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas, UCLA, Utah, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Washington and Wisconsin. The composition may change somewhat from year-to-year but it it is a pretty representative list.

In this article, I will compare data for the major college football powers (“the Major Powers”) to that of other colleges. The other colleges are divided into two groups. The first is the 32 teams from the six BCS Automatic Qualifying Conferences (“the AQS”) that are not included in the Major Powers. The BCS Automatic Qualifying Conferences are the Atlantic Coast, Big 12, Big East, Big 10, PAC 12 and Southeastern Conferences. The second group includes any colleges not included in the first two groups (“the Others”).

I compared the groups from three perspectives:
-Number of Players Drafted
-Success of Players Drafted
-Comparison by Playing Position

For simplicity’s sake, the only metric used to measure success was the number of five-year starters from players selected in the 1994 through 2008 drafts. The comparisons were made individually for each of the seven Draft Choice Ranges previously established as being most meaningful. To refresh your memory these ranges were selections 1-13, 14-24, 25-46, 47-73, 74-114, 115-187 and 188 and after.

Number of Players Drafted
During the 15-year study period, the Major Powers were the dominant suppliers of players selected early in the draft, with the percentages decreasing as the draft progressed. 78% of the players selected with the first 13 picks in the draft during the 15-year study period were from the Major Powers, with that percentage dropping to 42% for selections after the 187th pick. The AQS selections ran second to the Major Powers for the first 114 picks but then fell behind the Others in the final two Draft Choice Ranges.

Overall, about 53% of draftees are from the Major Powers. The following table shows the percentage of draftees by Draft Choice Range for each of the three groups.

Success of Players Drafted
The success of drafted players was measured by the percentage of players who turned out to be five-year starters. Because of the limited number of early round data points for players from the AQS and the Others, I combined selections 1-46 into one group for the purpose of this analysis. The analysis showed the following:

-The players from the Major Powers have been somewhat more successful than players from the Others and significantly more successful than players from the AQS

-The Major Powers and the Others have about the same yield of five-year starters for the first 46 draft selections
-This is somewhat misleading because of the large disparity in data points, with the Major Powers having 472 data points and the Others having 76 in the 15-year period
-The AQS is about 10% lower than the other two groups

-The Major Powers have a slightly higher success rate thereafter except for the 74-114 range of selections, where the Others have been more successful

-The success rate for the AQS is the lowest in each Draft Choice Range

The following table shows the percentage of draftees that become five-year starters for each group:

Comparison by Playing Position

As was stated above, players from Major Powers account for about 53% of all draftees. This varies to a limited degree by individual playing position. The percentages of players drafted from the Major Powers range from 47% (Quarterbacks) to 57% (Running Backs). Other positions at the low end of the range are Wide Receivers and Corners. Linebackers and Tight Ends join Running Backs at the top end of the range.

The primary focus of this article is whether there is any advantage to selecting a player from a Major Power at any of the playing positions. The analysis is made more difficult, though, by the widely varying number of data points across the three groups.

The highlights for each playing position, and accompanying data, follow below.

-5 of 6 QBs drafted from the Others in the first 13 picks became five-year starters, highest of the groups
-QBs from the Major Powers are more successful after the first 13 selections

Running Backs
-Running backs from the Major Powers tend to be more successful in the earlier rounds
-From the 115th pick on, the groups are equally successful (or, more accurately, unsuccessful)

Wide Receivers
-All three groups tend to be about equally successful through the 114th pick
-After that point there has been a much greater chance of drafting five-year starters from Others

-7 out of 97 for Others; 1 out of 98 for Major Powers; 1 out of 62 for AQS

Tight Ends
-65% of the tight ends selected with picks 1-114 were from the Major Powers

-The limited number of data points and the “spikiness” of the results make it difficult to compare the three groups
-Players from the Major Powers and the AQS tend to be more successful in later rounds

Offensive Linemen
-Players from the Major Powers tend to be more successful than those from the other groups
-The only exception to this are offensive linemen from the Others that are selected with selections 115-187
-Relatively few linemen from the Others are selected before that

Defensive Linemen
-While the sample sizes make it somewhat difficult to detect trends, players from the Major Powers are at least as successful as the other groups through the 114th pick
-Defensive linemen from the Others are the most successful with picks 115-187

-Interestingly, there is a very significant dropoff in success after the 187th selection for players from the Others
-Players from the Major Powers are only moderately successful after the 114th pick, placing second in both of the last two Draft Choice Ranges

-In a reversal of form from the other playing positions, linebackers from the Others tend to be more successful with picks 1-114
-Linebackers from the Major Powers are t
he most successful after the 114th selection

-Linebackers from the AQS, while comparable to the other groups in the early rounds, had a poor success rate after the 114th pick

-Corners from the Others had a much higher success rate than those from the Major Powers after the 73rd selection of the draft
-There were five-year starters out of 115 Major Power draftees versus eight five-year starters out of 77 draftees from the Others
-Corners from the Major Powers are the most successful group through the 73rd selection then drop off drastically thereafter

-Safeties from the Major Powers are no more successful than the other groups
-Draftees from the Major Powers are the least successful group with selections after the 187th

Follow Tony on Twitter @draftmetrics

Giants are high on Zack Martin

Notre Dame offensive lineman Zack Martin is a versatile player that projects to either a tackle or guard in the NFL.

A great run blocker, Martin has generated some buzz as a mid-first round pick in the upcoming draft. But it's quite possible that Martin winds up going as high as No. 12 to the New York Giants if he's available at that pick.

According to the Newark Star-Ledger, the Giants are believers in Martin and could potentially take him at that pick. The report states that the Giants prefer Martin to Michigan's Taylor Lewan, though trading up for Jake Matthews if he falls during the top 10 picks could be a likely scenario.

Of course, opinions change and a lot of information floated to the media may be partial truths. With all of the scenarios and mocks that have been published during this delayed draft season, May 8 can't come soon enough.

Follow me on twitter: @JasonHButt

Dustin Keller visiting the Patriots

With Rob Gronkowski limited a year ago, the Patriots could use some depth at the tight end position.

And it looks like they're covering their bases ont hat front. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, New England will meet with tight end Dustin Keller, a free agent who was last with the Dolphins.

Keller is recovering from a knee injury, where he tore all three ligaments and dislocated it. If brought on, it would mean New England's top two tight ends would be coming off major knee injuries.

The Patriots are familiar with Keller, being that he was with the Jets before the Dolphins. In five career seasons, Keller has 2,876 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Follow me on twitter: @JasonHButt

Draft flashback: 2011

For the last few weeks, we all have been watching draft analysts on the NFL Network and ESPN go over every top player in next week’s draft. They tell us how they will be difference-makers or All Pros for the club that drafts them. The reality is, very few become All Pros or difference makers. Most turn out to become rank and file NFL players or even busts.

Immediately after the draft, we will see many of the analysts put grades on clubs' drafts. This will be good reading for the fans, but in actuality, it’s ludicrous. It takes a good two to three years to see if a draft turned out as well as advertised. With that in mind, let’s take a look back at the 2011 first round and see how each player actually turned out. I’ll give you a hint…it was a very strong first round!

1 – Cam Newton – Carolina – The Auburn quarterback had a record setting rookie year. He struggled some his second year, but with a new offensive coordinator (Mike Shula), he came back to have a strong third year. The Panthers won their division and Newton went to the Pro Bowl. Excellent pick.

2 – Von Miller – Denver – On the field, Miller has been a dominant player who was very worthy of being the second overall pick. His off field issues say the pick was a bit risky.

3 – Marcell Dareus – Buffalo – Dareus has been the anchor of the Bills defensive line and has already been to a Pro Bowl . An excellent choice.

4 – A.J. Green – Cincinnati – Green turned out to be as advertised. He is one of the best receivers in the NFL and a Pro Bowler. Another excellent choice.

5 – Patrick Peterson – Arizona – Peterson is one of the most gifted corners in the league. He is big, physical, and a top press cover guy. Add to that, his rare return skills. Another Pro Bowler and a great choice for Arizona.

6 – Julio Jones – Atlanta – The Falcons traded up to draft Julio, hoping he would be the final piece to the puzzle in getting them to a Super Bowl. The Super Bowl hasn’t happened, but Jones is one of the top receivers in the NFL. Great pick!

7 – Aldon Smith – San Francisco – This story is similar to Von Miller. On the field, Smith can be a dominating force. Off the field, he is a nightmare. He was selected to play in the 2013 Pro Bowl but didn’t play in the game because the 49ers were in the Super Bowl.

8 – Jake Locker – Tennessee – Locker has been inconsistent at best. He struggled with accuracy in college and that has carried over to the NFL. Being a top 10 pick, much was expected, and he has disappointed!

9 – Tyron Smith – Dallas – Like many rookie offensive tackles, Smith played on the right side as a rookie and was moved over to left tackle in 2012. In a short time, he has become one of the better left tackles in the NFL and a Pro Bowl selection. An excellent choice for the Cowboys.

10 – Blaine Gabbert – Jacksonville – Many analysts thought Gabbert was going to be a future Pro Bowler. I said he was the most over rated player in the draft, and he was! He is the first player to be considered a total bust from the 2011 Draft.

11 – J.J. Watt – Houston – In three seasons, he has become one of the most feared defensive linemen in the NFL. I don’t think there is anything else we need to say.

12 – Christian Ponder – Minnesota – The Vikings go into the 2014 Draft looking for a quarterback. That tells you the Ponder selection has not worked out.

13 – Nick Fairley – Detroit – Fairley has had his moments in the league, but overall, his play has been inconsistent. When he wants to turn it loose, he is very difficult to block. He has also had some off field issues. It’s fair to say he hasn’t quite lived up to being picked at 13.

14 – Robert Quinn – St. Louis – No one ever doubted Quinn’s talent, but he had some medical issues that caused him to drop to number 14. He has improved every year and is now one of the best edge pass rushers in the NFL. Another Pro Bowler.

15 – Mike Pouncey – Miami – Pouncey is the eleventh player in the first 15 selections that has been voted to a Pro Bowl roster. He has been a starter since his rookie year and anchors the Dolphins offensive line.

16 – Ryan Kerrigan – Washington – Kerrigan was a down defensive end at Purdue. Washington moved him to outside linebacker in their 3-4 scheme. He has been a very steady, if not dominant player at times. Great pick!

17 – Nate Solder – New England – Another tackle who played on the right side as a rookie and then moved over to the left side. He has been a very steady and consistent player for the Patriots. An excellent pick!

18 – Corey Liuget – San Diego – Liuget has been the anchor of the San Diego defensive line. He is a very steady player who can defend the run and rush the passer. An excellent pick at the 18 slot.

19 – Prince Amukamara – New York Giants – Amukamara broke his foot early in training camp during his rookie year. That caused him to miss half the season. He has been a starter the last two seasons with solid, but unspectacular results. At this point in his career, he has to be labeled a bit of a disappointment. This season will be very important for him.

20 – Adrian Clayborn – Tampa Bay – Like Amukamara, Clayborn has been steady, yet unspectacular. The Bucs have decided not to pick up the fifth year option on his contract. Recently, new head coach Lovie Smith said that Clayborn has to prove he is a good NFL player. This year will be big for Clayborn.

21 – Phil Taylor – Cleveland – Taylor’s play has been very solid for the Browns. He has been a starter since his rookie year. While he may not be a Pro Bowler yet, it could very well happen in the future. Good pick.

22 – Anthony Castonzo – Indianapolis – The Boston College product has been the Colts' starter at left tackle since training camp of his rookie year. He’s a very steady and consistent player who keeps getting better. An excellent selection for the Colts.

23 – Dan Watkins – Philadelphia – Drafting an overaged player (26 year old rookie) in the first round is never good business. Watkins was only a part time starter while in Philly and was cut earlier this offseason. A bust!

24 – Cam Jordan – New Orleans – Jordan has been a great player since his rookie year. A top football character guy who always goes all out. Another Pro Bowler from this class.

25 – James Carpenter – Seattle – He hasn’t been a total disappointment but hasn’t lived up to expectations either. He was drafted to play tackle but is now playing guard. He started 10 of 16 games played in 2013.

26 – Jonathan Baldwin – Kansas City – When a first round pick gets traded after only two seasons, you know something is wrong. He has only 44 career receptions in 3 seasons. Bust!

27 – Jimmy Smith – Baltimore – He played as the Ravens third corner during his first two seasons. He became the starter in 2013. He is a very steady and sometimes physical corner. Good pick.

28 – Mark Ingra
m – New Orleans –
 He has to be labeled a disappointment. He has run for only 1462 yards in three seasons. They were looking for a lot more when they made the selection.

29 – Gabe Carimi – Chicago – He played well the first part of his rookie year, injured a knee, and has struggled ever since. The Bears traded him to Tampa Bay last year and the Bucs have since cut him. A bust.

30 – Muhammad Wilkerson – New York Jets – The pre-draft book on Wilkerson was that he was raw but talented with upside. That has proved to be correct. He is a very solid performer for the Jets and a very good pick at number 30.

31 – Cam Heyward – Pittsburgh – Heyward started slowly but came on in 2013. Had 59 total tackles and five sacks in 2013. His overall play is not what they had hoped for, but the way he played last year may be a sign of things to come. The jury is still out.

32 – Derek Sherrod – Green Bay – He was drafted to become the starter at left tackle. He hasn’t started a game in three years. Huge disappointment.

With twelve players from the first round already being voted into the Pro Bowl, the first round of the 2011 draft has to be considered excellent. On the negative side, four quarterbacks were drafted in the top 12 selections and three of them have been disappointments. In the top part of the second round, two quarterbacks were taken (Colin Kaepernick and Andy Dalton) and both have led their teams to multiple playoff appearances.

Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe

Are the Bills looking to trade up?

The Buffalo Bills could be looking to make an upward move in the NFL draft.

According to ESPN, the Bills want to trade up.

If they're able to do so, it would be to try to acquire South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson or Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins.

Per the report, which cited three league sources, the Bills are exploring the possibilities.

Out of that group, Watkins would seem to make the most sense.

The Bills can still obtain a good offensive tackle with the ninth overall pick. Acquiring Clowney would be extremely costly in terms of draft pick compensation, and the Bills already have an excellent defensive line headlined by Mario Williams.

Follow me on Twitter: @RavensInsider

Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun

Report: Jameis Winston cited for stealing crab legs

SECOND UPDATE: While The Tallahassee Police Department stated that there has been no contact between them and Jameis Winston, the Leon County Sheriff's Department has been in contact with the Heisman winner, according to Tallahassee TV station WTXL. There will be a news conference at 2 p.m. as a result.

UPDATE: The Tallahassee Police Department posted a statement on twitter claiming there has been no recent contact with Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston.

"In response to recent requests: TPD has NOT had any contact with Jameis Winston regarding an alleged recent citation," the police department wrote.

2013 Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston was caught red handed … stealing crab legs.

Yes, the Florida State redshirt sophomore was recently issued a citation for swiping some crab legs at a local Publix grocery store, according to a report from SB Nation. Winston was not arrested but issued a citation for the alleged theft.

Winston enjoyed a great deal of public relations hype entering his redshirt freshman season with the Seminoles, and he didn't disappoint on the field. But allegations that he was linked to a sexual assualt put a stain on his Heisman campaign, though he was never charged with a crime. In the end, he was still voted college football's best player in 2013. 

A State Attorney in Florida decided not to pursue charges for the alleged sexual assault, though he noted the Tallahassee Police Department could have done a better job of investigating the incident when it actually occurred.

The SB Nation report states that this is an adult civil citation, which will never appear on Winston's record if he completes what's required from local law enforcement.

Follow me on twitter: @JasonHButt

CFP selection committee not too worried about league schedules

With the Bowl Championship Series no longer a part of college football's postseason, details of the new College Football Playoff continued to get worked out on Tuesday in Irving, TX, with CFP executive director Bill Hancock stating that there is no magic number needed for a conference in regards to league games.

Bill HancockBill Hancock is overseeing the formation of the new College Football Playoff.

Of course, much has been made in recent days of the SEC's decision to remain at eight conference games moving forward (with the requirement that teams play at least one nonconference game annually against an opponent from a "Big Five" conference).

Hancock stated that it is "inconsequential" whether a conference plays eight or nine games, noting that it is more important to look at each team's schedule as a whole. That stance, however, leads to the question of how the 13-person committee will stack up the teams vying for one of the four playoff berths in 2014 and beyond.

There is a very good possibility that the committee will have to compare and contrast teams that played as many as 10 games versus Big Five opponents against teams that played just nine. And, of course, the Big 12 does not hold a league championship game, which may not help a team's chances of making the CFP.

Schedule strength is just one of the criteria that the committee will use when selecting teams for the new postseason system along with conference titles, common opponents and head-to-head results.

Also on the agenda during these meetings is the management committee deciding when and how often the CFP's Top 25 rankings will be released. According to ESPN's Brett McMurphy, the CFP Top 25 rankings will be released weekly on Tuesdays, and not on Sundays, with the first one of seven slated to be unveiled on October 28. It is still yet to be determined if the final rankings, which will determine which four teams will be in the CFP semifinals, will be released right after the conference championship games late on Saturday night or the following day. Of course, the weekly BCS rankings were always announced on Sunday nights.

Dave Miller, the college football editor and writer for the National Football Post, is on Twitter @Miller_Dave.

Bernie Kosar pleads no contest to reckless operation in DUI case

Former Cleveland Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar plead no contest to reckless operation to resolve a driving under the influence case, according to the Associated Press.

He got a fine and a suspended jail sentence.

Kosar was charged with drunk driving last year and declined to perform a field sobriety test, saying knee and ankle surgeries prevented him from doing so.

According to police, though, Kosar has a strong odor of alcohol.

Kosar recently lost his job as an analyst for Browns preseason games.

Kosar blamed the situation on having slurred speech due to head injuries sustained during his NFL career.

Follow me on Twitter: @RavensInsider

Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun