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#pounditThursday, April 22, 2021

Football

NFL planning to crack down on taunting in 2021 season

Roger Goodell

The NFL thinks taunting has gotten out of hand, and the league is apparently planning to do something about it.

NFL Competition Committee chair Rich McKay said Wednesday that the league has let things like standing over other players and pointing fingers go unpenalized for too long, and will be a point of emphasis for the 2021 season.

Few in the NFL is going to like this, and viewers will probably be upset by it too. It’s easy to see a pivotal flag being thrown after a play in which some mild taunting occurs. It sounds like players won’t be able to say they weren’t warned, though.

It sounds like something like this gesture, which was not flagged last season, will be policed more tightly going forward. Fans love that sort of thing, but the NFL clearly does not.

Jimmy Johnson explains why pro days are so important before draft

Jimmy Johnson

With how much technology and film is available now for NFL teams ahead of the draft, many fans have wondered if pro days are more of a tradition than a necessity. In theory, there is probably nothing NFL scouts or coaches would see at a pro day that they can’t see on game film or highlight tapes. But Jimmy Johnson insists the workouts are extremely important.

Johnson was asked about pro days during an appearance on “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” on Monday. The Hall of Fame coach said he always wanted to interact with players at events like that to learn about their personalities rather than just see what they can do on the field.

“The most important thing for me on pro days or even the Combine was getting to know these players personally,” Johnson said. “I didn’t want to draft anyone with a high pick unless I knew them personally and had been around them.”

Johnson said watching players go through drills is important, but the two-time Super Bowl champion was more interested in getting a feel for a player’s ceiling.

“The very first thing is, ‘can he play?’ But then you’ve got to be able to predict, ‘Is he gonna get better? Is he gonna improve?'” Johnson added.

You can hear Johnson’s full comments below:

A lot has been made about the pro days of this year’s quarterback class. The fact that there will not be an NFL Scouting Combine is one of the main reasons for that. While we have seen some eye-popping plays at the workouts, Johnson’s remarks are another reminder of the emphasis NFL teams place on intangibles.

Bills GM shares where team’s running backs are lacking

Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills have used third-round draft picks on running backs the past two years, but neither player has emerged as a clear-cut starter. That is likely one of the reasons the team is not ruling out taking another back in the draft next week.

The Bills currently hold the 30th overall pick in the draft. General manager Brandon Beane was asked on Tuesday about potentially using that on a running back, and he did not dismiss the idea. He said it depends if there is a player they feel can provide the team with something Devin Singletary and Zack Moss can’t.

“What does his skill set have in comparison to what we have on the roster?” Beane said, per Matt Parrino of NewYorkUpstate.com. “Is this player going to do something … I don’t think either one of our backs are home run hitters, so is there an elite trait that this guy has and says, ‘Man, he’s got something we don’t have.’ That’s probably the conversation, versus, ‘OK, are we going to take the same type of back as Devin, are we gonna take the same type of back as Zack? Because even those two guys have different skill sets.”

Singletary averaged 4.4 yards per carry last season. Moss averaged 4.3. Those are solid numbers, but Buffalo ranked near the middle of NFL last year in rushing yards even with Josh Allen racking up 421 yards on the ground. The Bills have become more pass-heavy as Allen has improved, but an explosive back would make their offense that much more dangerous.

Former Clemson star Travis Etienne is one player to watch for Buffalo. He averaged 7.2 yards per carry during his college career and is certainly a home run threat.

Antonio Brown could still face NFL discipline over sexual assault allegation

Antonio brown

While legal proceedings relating to a sexual assault allegation against Antonio Brown are over, he could still face further punishment from the NFL.

The NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy applies to players even when they are not ultimately charged or facing legal jeopardy. In other words, the league can continue to investigate Brown even though Britney Taylor’s case against him was settled on Wednesday.

An NFL spokesperson told Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk the case “remains under review” by the league. That review commenced in 2019, when the sexual assault lawsuit was originally filed against Brown.

Brown served an eight-game suspension last year under the same policy. However, that related to several other off-field issues. At the time, the investigation into Taylor’s allegations was left open, with the possibility of further punishment depending on that outcome. Now that the two sides have settled, the NFL should be able to progress toward a resolution there.

Report: Dolphins receiving trade interest in No. 6 pick

miami dolphins logo

The Miami Dolphins have already moved down once in the NFL Draft, and they may be poised do to so again.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Dolphins have received multiple calls from teams interested in moving up for the No. 6 overall pick. The Dolphins are said to be “considering” the possibility, but nothing is clear yet.

There are multiple reasons that a team might want to jump up for the sixth pick. Much has been made of the top four quarterbacks in the draft, and there is an outside chance one could still be on the board there. While quarterbacks are set to go in picks 1-3, the Atlanta Falcons are no guarantee to select one, though a trade is possible there as well. The Cincinnati Bengals, set to pick at No. 5, are set with Joe Burrow, so a quarterback could be sitting there at No. 6 if the Falcons don’t trade out or pick one themselves. That would likely be an ideal scenario for Miami, who could then demand a pretty sizable package for the pick.

Of course, some other teams might have non-quarterback targets at No. 6. It all makes for a very interesting scenario ahead of the draft.