Jaguars TE Zach Potter questions team over punter draft pick

Those following the NFL Draft on Friday probably had to do a double take when they saw the Jaguars selected Cal punter Bryan Anger with the seventh pick in the third round. It was a pick for which the Jags came under fire — these days taking a punter that early is rarely seen. Even the team’s own players were critical of the selection. Here’s what tight end Zach Potter had to say:

Potter has since removed that tweet. That was probably when he finally realized he was actually going to be teammates with Anger.

In the Super Bowl era, only 19 punters have been drafted in the first three rounds. Todd Sauerbrun, the last punter selected higher than Anger, went to the Bears at the 24th pick of the second round in 1995. Ray Guy, of course, was a first-round pick by the Raiders in 1973, but then again, that’s the Raiders for you.

Anger certainly has some impressive credentials. He was an All-Pac-10/12 selection for the past three years. He also nailed 90 kicks inside opponents’ 20-yard line. But is that worthy of an early third-round pick?

Hey, this is what you have to do when your quarterbacks are Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne.

LaMichael James spent his draft day with Willie Lyles

The 49ers used the 61st pick of the NFL Draft on Friday to add Oregon’s LaMichael James to their crowded backfield. It was a big day (as evidenced by the logjam of messages on his phone) for James, and there to share the moment with him was none other than Willie Lyles, the very man at the center of the NCAA’s ongoing investigation into alleged recruiting violations by the Ducks football program.

Lyles has been a confidant to James even before he and the Ducks came into the NCAA’s crosshairs. Lyles accompanied LMJ to a college football awards show in 2010, calling himself a trainer and adviser. And on Friday, a story by The Register-Guard in Eugene about James being drafted used a photo showing the two together at LaMike’s draft party.

This shouldn’t be surprising to close followers of Oregon football. James has always said positive things about his relationship with Lyles, even while the media and Ducks fans were hammering the so-called “street agent.” “Him and me are really close,” the running back said last year. “I talk to him all the time. He has never steered me wrong or given me bad advice.” That tone didn’t change when James addressed fans who wondered about Lyles being at the party:

Somewhere Chip Kelly is cringing.

Photo credit: Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE

Patriots change draft approach, finally address pass rush needs

In his 12 years as head coach of the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick has traded up in the first round of the draft only twice. On Thursday night, he matched that number. Belichick and the Patriots traded up from No. 27 to No. 21 to acquire Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones. They then traded up again — this time from No. 31 to No. 25 — to acquire Alabama linebacker Dont’a Hightower.

Typically, draft day is met with a great deal of frustration across Patriot Nation. Whether the picks work out or not, Belichick tends to go for guys no one has heard of. Oftentimes it even seems that the names Todd McShay and Mel Kiper mention as potential Patriots are automatically eliminated on principle. That was not the case on Thursday night, and the response has been almost entirely positive.

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Cowboys drafted Morris Claiborne without ever meeting with him

The Cowboys pulled off a stunner when they traded up in the draft to select LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne sixth overall on Thursday. Not only was it a surprise because they traded two picks (No. 14 and 45 overall) to move up eight spots, but also because they had so little contact with Claiborne prior to the draft.

SI’s Peter King summed up how much of a shocker this was:

Because they had no contact, King says Claiborne thought it was a crank caller when Jerry Jones called to inform him the Cowboys were drafting him.

“I was shocked the Cowboys took me,” Claiborne said, per Gregg Rosenthal. “They didn’t even talk to me.”

The selection was a pleasant surprise for Claiborne who grew up in a family full of Cowboys fans.

Dallas has addressed its weak secondary by signing Brandon Carr in free agency and moving up to take Claiborne, whom they had second on their draft board. Their defense should be greatly improved next season, which will be crucial playing in a tough division full of good passing attacks.

Photo Credit: James Lang-US PRESSWIRE

Jim Brown is not impressed with Browns RB Trent Richardson

The Cleveland Browns clearly are not soliciting player analysis opinions from Jim Brown, because they traded up to select Trent Richardson No. 3 overall in the 2012 NFL Draft on Thursday. Earlier in the day, Brown, the best running back in Cleveland’s franchise history (and perhaps all time), expressed doubt about Richardson’s ability.

Asked about the Browns potentially drafting Richardson — which they did — Brown was unenthusiastic.

“I’m not overwhelmed with it. The problem is that he’s ordinary,” Brown told The Scott Van Pelt Show on ESPN Radio. “I think he’s ordinary.”

Asked what about him is ordinary, Brown said, “the size, the speed, his moves.”

Brown was not impressed by any of the running backs in the draft, saying “It’s not a good year.”

Brown believes the importance of running backs has become marginalized because the NFL is a passing league, and thinks a team should only draft one early if he’s great.

I agree with Brown’s analysis all the way around. The problem is Cleveland needs a quarterback and Washington beat them out by acquiring the No. 2 overall pick from the Rams. Instead, they moved up to take Richardson and settled on Brandon Weeden at No. 22. I still think their offense has a long way to go.

Helmet knock to Pro Football Talk

Melvin Ingram, Roger Goodell share secret handshake (GIF)

One of the most notable aspects of the NFL draft is the tight embraces commissioner Roger Goodell shares with the players upon their selection. As LBS writer Sawley Vickrey said, there’s a lot of irony to that moment. “Best part of the draft experience is hugging Roger Goodell, the guy you’ll soon be calling an a**hole.” Precisely. That’s why not only is it weird to see Goodell and the players share massive man hugs, but it was even weirder to see him bust out a secret handshake with one of them.

Yup, Goodell and former South Carolina defensive lineman Melvin Ingram did some serious handslapping after Ingram was selected by the Chargers 18th overall.

Does it get any weirder than that?

GIF via Guyism

Ryan Tannehill’s wife Lauren will be his real contribution to the Dolphins (Pictures)

The Miami Dolphins went ahead and reached for quarterback Ryan Tannehill with the eighth overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. About the only redeeming factor for the pick is that Tannehill has an attractive wife.

Lauren Tannehill attended the draft with her husband and even seemed to tip the pick via her Twitter account:

Lauren became well known among college football fans last year when ESPN showed her on TV during the Texas-Texas A&M game. Ryan was amused by all the attention she received.

“No, I think it’s funny. I think it’s great whenever people tweet her or say anything about it. It’s pretty funny,” Tannehill said. “She went into a restaurant a couple of days later and the waiter said, ‘I saw you on TV. You’re Ryan’s girlfriend.’ I thought the whole thing was great.”

According to Player Wives, the two met at Texas A&M in 2009, became engaged last May, and wed in January. Lauren graduated from Texas A&M in 2010 with a major in Communications and minor in Psychology. She’s also a model.

Here are more pictures of Lauren Tannehill:

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