Massachusetts corner Randall Jette making his bid for NFL

Growing up on Martha’s Vineyard, Randall Jette emerged as a fast, strong cornerback.
“It was really all sports,” Jette said. “Me and my friends and cousins, all we did was play sports all year. That’s where I get my athleticism.”
He thrived at the University of Massachusetts, intercepting two passes and deflecting eight passes last season and was on the Jim Thorpe award watch list. He had 18 pass deflections as a junior, tying him for third in the nation.
Jette finished with 210 career tackles, 43 passes defended, 34 pass breakups, nine interceptions and four fumble recoveries. He was a second-team all-conference selection.
Jette has been preparing for the NFL draft at Parabolic, working under veteran trainer Brian Martin in New Jersey. Jette played in the College Gridiron Showcase and has drawn interest from several NFL teams due to his athleticism and football skills.
“I’m definitely confident in my work,” said Jette, who’s represented by former Northeastern football player Kristian Yangas and Jonathan Howard. “I’m confident in how I prepare and my energy. I’m definitely prepared to blow it out of the water at my Pro Day. I’m ready to put on a show.”
Jette is 5-11, 191 pounds.
“I’m trying to get to 195,” Jette said. “It’s a good spot working with Brian and Parabolic. I’m working on my technique with Aaron Beasley. I can’t go wrong with the guys I’m working with right now.”
At the College Gridiron Showcase, Jette drew the most interest from the New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams.
“My goal is to get drafted,” Jette said. “I think after my Pro Day I’ll put myself in position to do that. I just want to get my foot in the door. As long as I continue to do my training and board work and film work, I’ll be all set. Everything will play itself out.
“There’s no doubt in my mind I can do it. It’s just where and when I get the opportunity. I’ll be ready wherever I go. I just have to make sure I’m ready and at my best when it happens.”
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Aaron Wilson covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle.

Lions hire Randy Esdall as director of football research

The Detroit Lions hired former Maryland and Connecticut coach Randy Edsall as director of football research-special projects.
Edsall was fired in a 2-4 season last year.
He went 7-6 in 2013 and 2014.

Edsall has worked previously at Syracuse and with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Lions general manager Bob Quinn was a graduate assistant at Connecticut when Edsall was the head coach.
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Aaron Wilson covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle.

Police investigating allegation that Giants DT Jay Bromley attempted to rape a woman

New York police are investigating New York Giants defensive tackle Jay Bromley for allegedly raping a woman at a New York hotel.
The woman consented to performing oral sex on Bromley, but didn’t want to go further, police told the New York Daily News.
“At that point, something took place that she didn’t want to take place,” a police source told the newspaper.
The woman claimed that Bromley tried to rape her.
When the two parted ways she demanded the football star drive her home but he refused, the sources said.
She jumped on top of the hood of his car to stop him from leaving but he kept rolling down the street.
The woman fell off the hood a few moments later, injuring her knees and legs, police sources said.
The woman called police about 4 a.m. and was taken to Bellevue Hospital where a rape kit test was performed.
Bromley hasn’t been charged or arrested.
“We have notified the league office per the league’s protocol,” a Giants spokesman said in a statement. “We will have no further comment as we understand this is an ongoing investigation.”
Follow me on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL
Aaron Wilson covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle.

Rams hire Skip Peete as running backs coach

The Los Angeles Rams hired former Chicago Bears running backs coach Skip Peete as their new running backs coach.
“Skip’s success in the NFL is well documented and I think our young backs will benefit from his knowledge and experience,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. “He’s ready to get to work and we’re excited to have him here.”
Peete joins the Rams after spending the previous three seasons with the Chicago Bears (2013-2015). In his first year with Chicago, running back Matt Forte was named to his second-career Pro Bowl after finishing second in the NFL with 1,339 rushing yards and third with 1,933 yards from scrimmage. Both were career-bests for Forte ranking ninth and fifth, respectively, in single-season franchise history and most among players other than Hall of Famer Walter Payton.
Prior to coaching with the Bears, Peete spent six seasons with the Dallas Cowboys (2007-12). Under his watch, the Cowboys rushing attack set a franchise single-season record in 2009 with a 4.8 yards per carry average (2,103 yards on 436 attempts), which ranked second in the NFL that season. Dallas’ 131.4 rushing yards per game was seventh in the league in 2009.
From 1998-2006, he oversaw the Oakland Raiders’ running backs.
His father, Willie, is a longtime collegiate and NFL coach and his brother, Rodney, is a former NFL quarterback, who played 16 seasons.
Follow me on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL
Aaron Wilson covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle.

Police investigate altercation between Johnny Manziel, girlfriend, he wasn't arrested

Police in Fort Worth, Texas were called to investigate an altercation between Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel and his girlfriend, Colleen Crowley.
Manziel wasn’t arrested.
Here is a statement from the Fort Worth Police Department:
“At approximately 2 a.m. on January 30, 2016, patrol officers were dispatched to 2101 Park Hill Drive (The Berkeley Apartments) in reference to a report of a possible assault.
“Upon arrival, officers did not locate the caller, but did make contact with a 23 year old female who stated that she was involved in a disturbance with her ex-boyfriend (23 year old male suspect) earlier in the evening in Dallas. The preliminary investigation determined that a possible assault had occurred in that jurisdiction or multiple jurisdictions. The complainant was uncooperative with officers on scene, and they were unable to locate a crime scene within the Fort Worth jurisdiction, however, our officers prepared a report nonetheless, and that information was forwarded to detectives for further investigation.
“The Dallas Police Department was notified of a possible disturbance, so any questions regarding their jurisdiction should be submitted to DPD.
“The complainant also advised our officers of concerns that she had regarding the well-being of her ex-boyfriend. In an effort to follow-up on this, Fort Worth officers attempted to locate him, by calling cell phone numbers associated with him, checking locations within our jurisdiction, and searching the area with the assistance of our Air One Unit.  It was later determined by officers that the ex-boyfriend was safe and in no danger. The Fort Worth Police Department is actively working with Dallas PD to determine if a criminal offense occurred.”
The NFL is aware of the incident and investigating under the personal conduct policy.
Manziel was questioned by Ohio police on Oct. 13 for a roadway incident in which Colleen Crowley stated that Manziel beat her. Neither Manziel nor Crowley, who was intoxicated, were arrested.
After a thorough investigation, the NFL cleared Manziel of domestic violence in the incident.
“I appreciate the NFL’s  diligence and discretion in reviewing a situation that was both personal and embarrassing,” Manziel said. “Colleen and I cooperated fully with the NFL’s process and completely support their goals of making sure that every family under their umbrella is safer and more secure.
“I’m grateful that the review was so thorough and fair that there should be no question left in the public mind about what actually happened. I’m looking forward to focusing my energies on our start against the Ravens and bringing in a win for our fans in Cleveland.”
Follow me on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL
Aaron Wilson covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle.

Ohio State wide receiver Braxton Miller wows NFL teams at Senior Bowl

MOBILE, Ala. – Bolting into his pattern during a Senior Bowl all-star game practice, Braxton Miller completely spun around Northern Iowa cornerback Deiondre’ Hall.
Hall had neglected to apply press coverage against the converted Ohio State quarterback, a costly mistake.
Miller displayed a physical nature and lightning-quick feet and change of direction skills during red-zone drills where he won several matchups with feisty Minnesota cornerback Eric Murray. He beat Murray for a touchdown on a quick slant, getting out of his break quickly. Murray lost his temper at that point and ripped off Miller’s helmet.
“My man from Minnesota is really aggressive,” Miller said. “I asked him how many flags he got this year. We’re cool out there, though. It’s competitive, so it’s fun.”
Miller impressed NFL scouts and coaches with his burgeoning ability as a wide receiver after starting his career as the Buckeyes’ starting quarterback. Miller is more advanced in his game as a receiver than NFL scouts thought he’d be at this stage, displaying an understanding of leverage, route-running, body control and eye-popping, rare athleticism.
“I’m here to show you guys what I’m capable of in terms of playing inside receiver or outside receiver going against the best defensive backs,” Miller said. “I knew I wanted to come here and check a lot of things off after leaving the Senior Bowl.
“From now on, I’m a receiver. That’s how I think now and all I want to do now is be the best I can possibly be. I’m still working on my craft everyday. Some of the stuff comes naturally, but I still got to work on the technique.”
The 6-1, 204-pound Ohio native provided a boost to his draft stock this week after catching 26 passes for 341 yards and three touchdowns as a senior and rushing for 260 yards and a touchdown last season.
“The transition from quarterback to receiver, he clearly is a great athlete,” Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “He has to learn a lot of the skills that the receiver position requires. But if you watch his arc, he’s made great strides in three practices. It’s a real tribute to his ability, but maybe more than that, just the approach he takes.
“It can be challenging. There’s no question about it. You see the game differently. He’s an awfully good football player. He demonstrated that at Ohio State and to me the strides he’s made has been significant. Clearly a great athlete and a productive football player and someone that has a lot of upside.”
Miller rushed for 3,655 career yards and 36 touchdowns, passing for 5,295 career yards, 52 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.
He could fit into an NFL roster as a slot receiver or outside, see spot action as a running back and return kicks.
“I feel like every team needs playmakers and they’ve mentioned that I can do it all whether it’s being a punt returner, in the backfield as a decoy and playing on the outside,” Miller said. “It’s a great feeling being able to do all that stuff and still learn so much at the same time.
Miller will still face questions about his durability and how long it will take for him to become a complete wide receiver. The NFL scouting combine in February should be a showcase for Miller, who says he’s hoping to run under 4.3 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
“It’s going to be a low 4.3, but I want to run 4.28 seconds,” said Miller, who “I feel like I’m capable because I ran 4.36 when I was 215 pounds and I had bad eating habits, too. Now I’m on a strict diet, working out and training hard.”
Follow me on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL
Aaron Wilson covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle.

Wake Forest punter Alex Kinal making his mark at Senior Bowl

MOBILE, Ala. – A native of South Australia who grew up playing Aussie Rules football, Wake Forest punter Alex Kinal has taken well to the style of American football.
The All-Atlantic Coast Conference punter is at the Senior Bowl all-star game along with Syracuse punter Riley Dixon.
“I grew up in South Australia, basically saw a couple Aussie guys playing football in the NFL,”Kinal said. “I started really watching it and thought I’d give it a go. I put some film together. By Signing Day in 2011, I had a full ride to Wake It was a little bit of a shot in the dark, but thought I’d give it a go.”
Kinal ranked ninth nationally last season with a 41.3 net punting average.
“Honestly, I think what kind of might stick out with my story is the fact I can deal with the unpredictable,” Kinal said. “I enjoy exploring and seeing new things. I don’t mind a challenge.”
Kinal had 32 punts inside opponents’ 20-yard line to lead the ACC. His three touchbacks tied for the lowest in the conference. Kinal’s selection marks the fifth consecutive year Wake Forest has had a player invited to the Senior Bowl, following Joe Looney, Tommy Bohanon, Michael Campanaro and Kevin Johnson.
Johnson was the Houston Texans’ first-round draft pick and started as a rookie.
“Kevin’s good,” Kinal said. “I saw him a play a little bit, start at corner. He was one my gunners on the punt team, very reliable, great guy, very speedy, very shifty.”
“I met with the Texans briefly. I had a good meeting. It’s informal, just a little bit of a chat. I talked to them a little bit about KJ. The teams want to know that I’m a football player.”
Follow me on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL
Aaron Wilson covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle.

Breaking Down Linebackers Terrance Smith and Nick Kwiatkoski

Terrance Smith – ILB – Florida State
Size –
6026 – 237 – 4.65 (All Estimates)
Strong Points –
Very good athlete with adequate size, long arms and the frame to get to 240+. Has excellent speed and range to go along with quick reactions and good instincts. Plays the run well but better in pursuit than at the line of scrimmage. Can shed bocks and stack at the point. Very good in coverage, can play man on backs and tight ends.
Weak Points –
Needs to get a little bigger and stronger and become more of an inside presence against the run. Has missed time for injuries in two of his college seasons.
Summation –
Smith is a good fit to play as a Will linebacker in a one gap 4-3. If he can get to 245+ and learn to play a bit more physical game he should also be able to play inside in a 3-4. He has great speed and athleticism to go along with good instincts. Is effective when used to blitz. Won’t be a rookie starter but will be very good on specials while he learns
Nick Kwiatkoski – ILB – West Virginia
Size –
6017 – 241v –  4.78 (Est)
Strong Points –
Big, tough, aggressive and instinctive. Good player versus the run. Can shed, stack and fill at the line of scrimmage. Strong. Good ability to take on blocks. Is able to get depth with his pass drops and plays the underneath zones well. Very good tackler. Can hit and wrap.
Weak Points –
Average range, doubt he will run much better than the high 4.7’s.
He won’t be a premium round draft choice, but he is the kind of players the coaches will love. Has great football character and though limited he wants to be great. Is best versus the indie run and can be reliable in pass coverage. Has a chance to be a down the road starter in the right situation. Has great special teams mentality. An overachiever with upside because of his desire to be a great player.
Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe

NFL Draft All-Underclassmen Team (Defense)

The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the 2016 NFL Draft passed a few days ago, and the NFL has released the list of players who declared.
In all, 96 players were “granted special eligibility for the 2016 NFL Draft,” which is two short of the record of 98, set in 2014. To be eligible for the NFL Draft, a player must be at least three years removed from high school. In terms of college eligibility, the players must be at least a junior or a redshirt sophomore.
Another 11 players “fulfilled their degree requirements with college football eligibility remaining.” What this means is the player earned their degree, but still had another year of eligibility. Basically, they are redshirt juniors with a college degree.
This is part two of a two-part series that will look at the best underclassmen in the 2016 NFL Draft. You can find part one, offensive players, here. Special teams players (kicker and punter) were split between the offensive and defensive articles.
Edge Defender: Joey Bosa, Ohio State
Considered one of the front-runners to be selected No. 1 overall since the completion of the 2015 draft, Bosa’s best fit would be as a 4-3 defensive end, but he could play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. After recording 13.5 sacks and 21 tackles for loss as a sophomore, his statistics fell to five sacks and 16 tackles for loss in 2015, as offenses focused their attention on him. Just because he didn’t record many sacks this year doesn’t mean he wasn’t producing pressure. Per CFB Film Room, he recorded 24 quarterback hits (which led their charting by seven) and another 24 hurries.
Edge Defender: Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky
If Spence wasn’t ruled permanently ineligible by the Big Ten Conference for multiple positive drug tests, him and Bosa would have wrecked havoc together the past two years (they played together as freshmen). The former five-star recruit spent the 2015 season with Eastern Kentucky, where he dominated the lower competition for 11.5 sacks and 22.5 tackles for loss. Teams will have to do their homework on Spence, but his speed off the edge is sure to entice teams, especially ones that run a 3-4 defense. He is the most talented 3-4 outside linebacker in the draft.
Defensive Tackle: Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
Like Spence, Nkemdiche comes with immense talent, but off-the-field issues. Nkemdiche has great athletic ability for an interior defensive lineman. He can dominate offensive linemen, but was inconsistent in his time at Ole Miss, only recording seven sacks and 19 tackles for loss in three seasons. If a team can even out his performance, they will produce one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL. How early he gets drafted will depend on how comfortable teams are with him off the field.
Defensive Tackle: A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama
Defensive tackle was the hardest position to choose, as defensive line is probably the deepest position in the draft, and multiple underclassmen will go in the first round. Robinson gets the nod after anchoring the Alabama defense in two seasons as a starter. The Crimson Tide won the National Championship this year with the strongest front seven in college football. Robinson’s statistics, 46 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks, won’t blow you away, but what makes him special are the things that don’t show up on the stat line.
Linebacker: Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame
Before suffering a major knee injury in the Fiesta Bowl, Smith seemed like a lock for the top 10. Now, his draft status is unknown, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see him stay in the first round––he is just too talented. In three seasons in South Bend, he filled the stat sheet, recording 292 tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and one interception. He is at his best when in pass coverage, but don’t underestimate his ability to stop the run. Where Smith gets drafted will depend a lot on the results of his medial exam.
Linebacker: Myles Jack, UCLA
Jack is the definition of the new bread of linebackers, as he will be one of the most athletic players on any field he steps on. At UCLA, he wasn’t used in a typical linebacker role, as he was asked to cover slot receivers a lot. Unfortunately, his junior season was cut short by a meniscus tear. It was recently announced that he is expected to be healthy for the NFL Combine. Jack should be one of the stars at the Underwear Olympics and lock in his spot as a top 15 selection.
Linebacker: Darron Lee, Ohio State
Along with the defensive line, linebackers have the potential to dominate the headlines early in the draft. Smith, Jack, Lee, Reggie Ragland and Su’a Cravens all will be selected early. Lee is still new to the linebacker position, having switched before the 2014 season. With 147 tackles, 27.5 tackles for loss, 12 sacks and three interceptions, he was instrumental to Ohio State’s success. The Buckeyes’ strongside linebacker can do a bit of everything, and this gives him a chance to go in the first round.
Cornerback: Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida
Since Hargreaves joined the Gators as a five-star recruit, he has been known as a shutdown cornerback. Listed at 5-foot-11, he doesn’t have the size that some top cornerbacks have. He makes up for this with great fundamentals and technique. In his three seasons in Gainesville he intercepted 10 passes. Hargreaves is in the running to be the first cornerback off the board in April. One thing to follow will be how tall he is at the Combine. If he comes in under his listed height, and there are rumors he will, he could fall down draft boards a bit.
Cornerback: Mackensie Alexander, Clemson
If Hargreaves isn’t the first cornerback off the board, then it will likely be Alexander (depending on how teams view Jalen Ramsey, but more on him later). Alexander owns one of the most impressive statistics in all of college football. In his past 23 games, he has allowed a total of zero touchdowns. In his career, he has only allowed two. Prior to the National Championship Game, which he didn’t finish due to a hamstring injury, he was allowing only 32.7 percent of passes thrown his way to be completed, per CFB Film Room. A negative with Alexander is he failed to record an interception in his collegiate career.
Safety: Jalen Ramsey, Florida State
Depending on what team Ramsey is drafted by, he will play either safety or cornerback. In 2014, he lined up at safety for the Seminoles, but moved to cornerback in 2015. Personally, I prefer him at safety, where he makes plays all over the field (9.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles in 2014). Simply put, he is a playmaker. His tape against Miami in 2014 is one of the most impressive performances from a player in this draft class. Impressively, he started all 41 games in his career. Off the football field, he is an All-American and ACC Champion in Track and Field.
Safety: Vonn Bell, Ohio State
It was a tough choice between Bell and teammate Tyvis Powell for the final safety spot. Bell is a two-year starter who earned a start in the Orange Bowl as a freshman. Ever since that game, he has been making impact plays for the Buckeyes. He intercepted nine passes in his career, including six in 2014, the year Ohio State won the title. If all goes well for Bell in the draft process, he will go on Day Two.
Punter: Eric Enderson, Delaware
Already owning his degree, Enderson decided to forgo his final year of eligibly. A FCS All-American in 2014, he averaged 43.6 yards per punt in his career. Each year his average declined, going from 45 to 44.9 to 41.1 yards per punt.
Matt Pearce is a graduate of National Football Post’s Introduction to Scouting and Scouting Boot Camp and is a journalism student at the University of Nebraska. Follow him on Twitter@Matt_Pearce13

Pro Bowl Returns To Hawaii For Final Game Before Monumental Super Bowl 50

After a brief hiatus holding the National Football League’s annual All-Star game at the site of the Super Bowl, the Pro Bowl is back in Honolulu, Hawaii at Aloha Stadium, celebrating the best players of the 2015 NFL season. And it’s literally the most star-packed in the history of the event, featuring 133 players that were either voted into the Pro Bowl or selected as an alternate.
Of course, not all 133 players will be participating in the event, as many turned down the event either due to injury or lack of interest. Plus, there’s also that stipulation that players from teams who will be in the Super Bowl one week later cannot participate in the game. The Carolina Panthers had an NFL-high 10 players tabbed to play in the event, while the Denver Broncos had four, so those individuals are ineligible for this special All-Star contest.
In turn, it’s a chance to see some of the sport’s brightest and most promising up-and-coming players that otherwise wouldn’t be sharing this stage with the league’s most established stars. Quarterbacks like Jameis Winston, Derek Carr, and Teddy Bridgewater — three youngsters with high potential to be franchise quarterbacks in the years to come — will now be lacing up the cleats alongside the likes of proven winners Eli Manning and Russell Wilson.
It’s reasons like this excitement surrounding Pro Bowl tickets has increased. For those looking to celebrate the 2015 NFL season one last time before Super Bowl 50 kicks off in San Francisco, has everything for fans to make the trip and create the perfect football getaway. They have cheap Honolulu flights from a variety of different airlines, while also featuring affordable hotel rooms in Honolulu within close proximity of Aloha Stadium that start at just $79.
It’s not just the quarterback position that will implement an infusion of talented youth. At running back, there is Latavius Murray and Todd Gurley, a pair of young players who could very well be the class of their position in the near-future, getting the chance to team up with established studs like Adrian Peterson and Doug Martin. At receiver, you have young studs like Amari Cooper and Allen Robinson who have blossomed so early on, now being able to share the primetime stage with elite wide receivers like Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr., and DeAndre Hopkins.
Of course, it’s not just about the offense, as you get the same unique blend of talent on the defensive side of the ball as well. There’s Clay Matthews, Richard Sherman, Charles Woodson, and NaVorro Bowman representing the old guard, while newcomers like Everson Griffen, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and Lavonte David get the chance to participate thanks to late openings.
The format of the game will continue in the fashion that debuted back in the 2014 Pro Bowl, with each team being selected and captained by two NFL Hall-of-Famers. That would be Jerry Rice and Michael Irvin, two of the top receivers of all-time, while Darren Woodson and Eric Davis garner the honors of being co-captains.
When the two teams take the field on Jan. 31, one thing will be for certain: there will be plenty of star-power on hand participating in one of the most fun football bouts of the entire year. As is always the case, there should be plenty of offense on display, which is just one of the many reasons people tune into the Pro Bowl annually.