The Latest: Cowboys acquire Jihad Ward from Oakland
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The Latest on the NFL draft Saturday (all times local):
The Dallas Cowboys have acquired defensive lineman Jihad Ward from Oakland for receiver and kick returner Ryan Switzer.
It’s the second trade of the day for the Cowboys involving a receiver, this time with one leaving instead of coming in. Dallas got Tavon Austin, the eighth overall pick in 2013, from the Los Angeles Rams for a sixth-round pick.
Ward was a healthy scratch most of last season, playing five games despite being a second-round pick in 2016. He had his only career sack in 2017. Ward has played both end and tackle on the defensive line.
Switzer was a fourth-round pick last year with the idea that he would become the primary kick returner. The highlight of his rookie season was an 83-yard punt return for a touchdown in a win over Washington.
The trade reunites Switzer with special teams coach Rich Bisaccia, who left the Cowboys for the same job on new Raiders coach Jon Gruden’s staff.
The Eagles traded up in the seventh round to select Australian rugby player Jordan Mailata with pick No. 233. Mailata, 6-foot-7, 346 pounds, is projected as an offensive tackle. He visited eight teams, including Philadelphia, and spent a lot of time with offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland.
The Eagles gave the New England Patriots pick No. 250 and a seventh-rounder next year to move up 17 spots.
— Rob Maaddi reporting from Philadelphia.
Alabama center Bradley Bozeman was selected with the 215th overall pick, a sixth-rounder, by the Baltimore Ravens. He was the 10th Alabama player drafted, tying a school record with one round to go.
Running back Bo Scarbrough later went to the Cowboys in the seventh round to set the school record.
The Chiefs should have been quite familiar with their final selection in this year’s NFL draft.
His dad calls the shots for their biggest rival.
The Chiefs traded up in the sixth round Saturday to select defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie out of Tennessee. His father is longtime NFL linebacker and current Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie, whose team has become one of the Chiefs’ biggest obstacles in the AFC West.
Chiefs area scout Pat Perduto laughed when asked whether he spent much time talking to the prospect’s pop, then conceded there was a chuckle in the draft room when the call was made.
The Chiefs actually view the 330-pound youngster as a potential guard.
Luke Falk patterns not just his game but the way he lives his life after Tom Brady.
Same diet and recovery habits. The Washington State quarterback now has another thing in common with the Patriots quarterback: Falk was also taken with the 199th pick of the draft.
Falk put up huge numbers in Washington State’s spread offense under coach Mike Leach and left school as the Pac-12 record holder in total offense, passing touchdowns, passing yards, completions, and attempts.
The Dallas Cowboys had five Super Bowl championship trophies to show off while hosting the NFL draft. They were all on display in a corner at the NFL Draft Experience outside of AT&T Stadium.
Maybe that location off the beaten path was appropriate since it has been a long time since their most recent one.
The Cowboys won the Lombardi Trophy during the 1995 season, which was their third in four years with the Hall of Fame trio of quarterback Troy Aikman, running back Emmitt Smith and receiver Michael Irvin.
The New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers are also five-time champions. The Patriots have won all of their Super Bowl titles since 2001, long after the last of the championships by the Cowboys.
Only the Pittsburgh Steelers have more Super Bowl titles. They won their sixth Lombardi Trophy during the 2008 season, two years before going back to the Super Bowl and losing to the Green Bay Packers at AT&T Stadium, the home of the Cowboys.
No punting away these picks.
Three punters were selected in the fifth round of the NFL draft, including consecutive picks late in the round. It is the first time since 1988 that three punters were taken in the first five rounds.
On Saturday, Michael Dickson, the Australian from the University of Texas, was picked 149th overall by Seattle. Alabama punter JK Scott was drafted 172nd overall by Green Bay, a pick before Oakland took Johnny Townsend from Florida. Townsend was the NCAA leader last season with a 47.5-yard average on his 64 punts.
In 1988, there were three punters selected in the first 102 picks. Tom Tupa, who also went 4-9 as a starting quarterback during his 16 NFL seasons, and Greg Montgomery were both taken in the third round and became All-Pro punters. Barry Helton was a fourth-round pick.
Tupa was the 68th overall pick out of Ohio State by the Phoenix Cardinals. Montgomery was taken 72nd out of Michigan by the Houston Oilers.
The Dallas Cowboys have acquired receiver Tavon Austin from the Los Angeles Rams for a sixth-round pick in this year’s draft.
It’s the second receiver-related move during the draft after the Cowboys dumped franchise touchdown catch leader Dez Bryant in a cost-cutting decision this month. Dallas drafted Michael Gallup in the third round Friday.
Austin had 1,689 career yards receiving in five disappointing seasons with the Rams after getting drafted eighth overall in 2013. The first three years were in St. Louis before the move to LA. Austin had a career-high five touchdowns in 2015 and his most yards with 509 a year later.
When the Rams surged to the NFC West title last year after 10 straight losing seasons, Austin didn’t play much of a part. He had just 13 catches for 47 yards while playing in all 16 games.
The Rams are getting the 192nd pick in the sixth round. The Cowboys have two other sixth-round choices.
On a sunny day with temperatures in the low 80s, there was a steady but not overwhelming flow of people at the NFL Draft Experience outside AT&T Stadium.
With most of the picks for the fourth through seventh rounds being made remotely, there wasn’t as much activity on the main draft stage inside as there had been the previous two days.
The 1,600 inner circle seats closest to the stage —50 for each of the league’s 32 teams— were far from full, and fans from different teams mingled together.
Outside, the lines weren’t too long to take part in activities such as the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and throwing passes. It was a bit crowded in a tent where Cowboys fans tried to get an autograph from Dallas receiver Cole Beasley.
Cheerleaders from local universities TCU and North Texas were seen milling around, as were the Yell Leaders from Texas A&M.
Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson traded up for the third straight day as he continues to push for quality over quantity in this draft.
The Titans sent the 162nd and 215th picks to the Baltimore Ravens to acquire Arizona defensive back Dane Cruikshank with the 152nd selection. This marked the Titans’ first pick since their second-round selection of Boston College outside linebacker Harold Landry, taken 41st overall.
The Titans traded their fourth-round pick to Baltimore on Thursday to move up three spots in the first round for Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans. They sent their third-round pick to the Oakland Raiders in the Landry deal.
The Titans’ only remaining pick is in the sixth round at No. 199, which means they could end up with only four selections in the draft.
The Oakland Raiders traded up in the fifth round to select talented Michigan defensive lineman Maurice Hurst despite a heart condition that knocked him far down draft boards.
The Raiders traded the 159th and 185th picks to Indianapolis for the 140th pick and used it to take a player who might have gone in the first round had he not had health concerns.
Hurst was an All-American and one of the most productive defensive players in the country last season. He had 5½ sacks as an interior rusher and led all nose tackles and defensive tackles with 49 total quarterback pressures, according to Pro Football Focus.
The Dolphins’ draft picks Saturday were announced by seven members of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School team, along with relatives of assistant coach Aaron Feis, one of the 17 people killed in the school shooting in February.
Johanna Feis, Aaron’s sister, announced the Dolphins’ first of two fourth-round picks. She was flanked by Aaron’s young daughter and by Eagles players, all seniors.
“It’s an honor,” she said. “It’s for not-so-great reasons, but it’s nice the community has really come together. My brother always says you have to do the best with what you’ve been given, no matter what the situation.”
The Stoneman Douglas group took a tour of the Dolphins complex and met Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino.
“It meant a lot to all of us,” said Lucas Taylor, a center and long snapper for the Eagles. “We’ve been doing a lot as a community to help try and grieve over this loss. It has been rough, but this has definitely helped us.”
Falcons fourth-round pick Ito Smith, a running back from Southern Mississippi, has an unusual connection to O.J. Simpson.
Nobody has said the undersized Smith (5-9, 195) runs like the “Juice” — but a family member said Smith as a baby looked like the judge at Simpson’s famous trial.
Smith, from Mobile, Alabama, was born on Sept. 11, 1995 — when the Simpson murder case captivated the nation. Smith, whose real name is Romarious, says a family member suggested he looked like Simpson’s judge, Lance Ito. Incredibly, Ito stuck as Smith’s new name.
Smith is expected to provide depth behind Falcons running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman.
The Seahawks reached across Lake Washington for their first pick of the final day by selecting Washington tight end Will Dissly in the fourth round.
Dissly followed Chris Petersen to Washington after originally committing to Boise State. He arrived as a defensive end but transitioned to tight end after catching passes in a drill prior to the Heart of Dallas Bowl in 2015. Dissly is one of the premier blocking tight ends in the draft and is another sign the Seahawks plan to commit even more to being a run-first team in 2018.
Dissly is the first Washington player drafted by the Seahawks since another tight end, Jerramy Stevens, was selected in the first round in 2002.
Another day, another trade between the Detroit Lions and New England Patriots.
Detroit has made six deals with New England since hiring general manager Bob Quinn after the 2015 season. Quinn had served in a variety of roles in the player personnel department for the Patriots.
On Saturday, the Lions traded a 2019 third-round draft pick to the Patriots for a fourth-rounder this year. Then Detroit took defensive end Da’Shawn Hand of Alabama.
On Friday, the Lions traded up eight spots in the second round in a deal with New England.
“It’s really easy to work with people you know, right?” Quinn said Friday night. “You call some teams and it would take like 30 minutes to do a trade because they can’t make a decision. I’m just telling you how it is. Some teams you can call and you can get it done in like 30 seconds.”
No. 2 overall pick Saquon Barkley says New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has taken him under his wing.
The two worked out in Los Angeles before the NFL draft and hit it off.
Before anyone gets worried, Barkley has a handle on the relationship.
“He’s been great to me,” the former Penn State running back said. “Kind of like a bigger brother to me, actually. He kept telling me he wishes he knew the things he knew now at my age, and I’m going to learn from the great things he did and the mistakes that he made and try to improve on myself to make myself a better person and a better player for this franchise.”
When asked about the distractions that might come with his new fame in New York, Barkley has plans to handle them.
“Keep your circle small and keep your circle tight and realize the people that were with you along the way that got you to this point. And right now, that’s my family.”
UCF star Shaquem Griffin could not have been drafted into a better situation. Griffin was selected with pick No. 141, early in the fifth round, to the Seattle Seahawks — where he will play with his twin brother Shaquill Griffin.
Shaquem has his left hand amputated when he was a child and it has not stopped him from playing at a dominant level.
He was the American Athletic Conference defensive player of the year in 2016 and the MVP of UCF’s Peach Bowl victory against Auburn last season when UCF went 13-0.
He played with Shaquill at UCF. Shaquill passed on offers from other colleges because he only wanted to play with his brother.
Michigan State extended its streak of having at least one player selected in the NFL draft to 78 years when Brian Allen was selected by the Los Angeles Rams early in the fourth round.
Only Michigan and USC have longer streaks, both extended to 80 years during the first two days of the draft.
Allen could end up being the only Michigan State player to go, but that’s not necessarily terrible news. The Spartans had one of the most inexperienced teams in the country last season and still went 10-3.
The New York Giants selected the first quarterback of the third day of the NFL draft, selecting Richmond’s Kyle Lauletta early in the fourth round with pick No. 109.
The Giants passed on trying to get their quarterback of the future to replace Eli Manning in the first round, taking running back Saquon Barkley at No. 2 overall. Lauletta doesn’t have a big arm, but he showed good athleticism and accuracy playing at the FCS school.
The Cleveland Browns used a fourth-round pick, No. 105 overall, to take one of the draft’s most talented but troubled wide receivers.
Florida’s Antonio Callaway had multiple suspensions while playing with the Gators, missing all of last season because of his part in a credit card fraud scheme.
When Callaway plays he is a deep threat receiver and dangerous return man, but he could be the next Josh Gordon.
The Carolina Panthers began the third and final day of the NFL draft by taking Indiana tight end Ian Thomas in the fourth round.
Thomas was raised by his siblings after both of his parents passed away when he was young. He is a former junior college standout before attending Indiana.
He goes 6-4, 258 and had five touchdown catches while averaging 15 yards per reception last season.
NFL teams are announcing their third-day draft picks from a variety of locales. Perhaps the most unusual is what the Arizona Cardinals are doing Saturday.
The Cardinals will do so from Route 66 in Winslow, Arizona. Rejoice Eagles fans — no, not of the Super Bowl champions but of the Hall of Fame rock band — Standin’ on the Corner Park in historic downtown Winslow will be the site. The public park opened in 1999 to commemorate the song “Take It Easy,” which was written by Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey and made into a megahit by the Eagles.
Former Cardinals wide receiver Frank Sanders and kicker Neil Rackers will join team mascot Big Red and Cardinals cheerleaders to announce the fourth-round selection (134th overall) from the corner. Cardinals picks in the fifth (152nd overall) and sixth round (182nd overall) will be announced by Winslow Mayor Robin Boyd and the Winslow High School football team.