Shutdown Corner

  • (AP)

    With the 2012 NFL season in the books, and the scouting combine in the rear-view, it's time to take a closer look at the 50 players we think will be the biggest difference-makers at the next level from this draft class. To that end, we're happy to continue this year's Shutdown 50 scouting reports (Hint: There may actually be more than 50). You can read last year's group here. The final 50 players were chosen and ranked based on game tape, combine and Pro Day results, overall positional value, and attributes and liabilities on and off the field.

    #39: Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame

    We continue this year's series with Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o ... and we'll assume that no official introduction is necessary, since this young man has been in the news quite a bit of late. If you're not quite up to date on the "catfishing" scandal, feel free to head to your favorite search engine, and you're in for a treat.

    From a football perspective, Te'o was one of the country's big-time high school recruits coming out of the Punahou School in Hawaii -- the same high school Barack Obama attended. The former Eagle Scout, who always involved himself in charitable endeavors, was thought to be full of intangibles, which probably inflated his draft grade until things started crashing down a few months ago.

    However, he did start 10 games as a true freshman for Notre Dame in 2009, and he amassed well over 100 tackles in the 2010-2012 seasons. 2012 was a bit of a different story for Te'o -- though he improved as a pass defender, racking up seven interceptions after having none in his first three collegiate seasons, he was also exposed as an inside linebacker against more powerful offenses -- especially Stanford, and most definitely Alabama in the most recent BCS championship game.

    Even before the scandal broke, the narrative on Te'o changed from "sure high first-round pick" to "high-character guy with some ugly game tape." With nothing but the tape and a host of personal questions left to answer, NFL teams have to wonder what they're getting if they select Manti Te'o -- especially after a slow 40 at the scouting combine. That performance in Indianapolis also left people wondering how Te'o, who had reduced about 15 pounds from his formerly 6-foot-2, 255-pound frame, could effectively match up with the speed of the modern NFL.

    [Also: Giants DT has nearly $500K in jewelry stolen in Miami]

    The 40 time at home was one step in the right direction. In a month, give or take a day, "I think what I bring to the table is a lot of heart, a lot of energy and somebody that works hard," Te'o said at the combine, when one reporter screwed up and asked him an actual football question. "Somebody who hates to lose. I always say, ‘I hate losing more than I love to win.’ The reason why I love to win is because I don’t have to go through that feeling of losing. It’s those times where I lose that feeling that will stick with me. For teams, I tell them, ‘You’ll always get somebody who’s humble, works hard, doesn’t say much and will do everything it takes to win.'"

    Again, intangibles. What does the tape show? Though Te'o is one of the most decorated football players in NCAA history (Walter Camp, Bednarik, Lombardi, and Nagurski awards) and a near Heisman Trophy winner, graduation to the NFL is going to be tough.

    Pros: Key shot-caller in one of college football's best defenses. Te'o is a quality player in space when he gets a step-quick head start from his pre-snap reads. Runs well with in-line and flex tight ends up the seam, and defends slants in transition reasonably well. Reads gaps fairly well. Plays well as an underneath defender against four-and five-wide sets -- generally has a very good feel for bodies around him. Shows good lateral agility and ability to sift through trash when chasing backs on outside runs. Noted for his on-field awareness, and this shows up in a few ways -- he doesn't bite hard on play action (no, for all the jokes, he doesn't always bite on the fake, at least on the field), and his 2012 interception total, though inflated by deflections and missed picks by other Notre Dame defenders, does show a "right place/right time" sense that NFL teams will value.

    Read More »from The Shutdown 50: Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o
  • All right, this is great. Anthony Adams is a nine-year veteran of the league, a defensive tackle first for the 49ers and, most recently, for the Bears. He's decided to step away from the game, and after a slow pan of his achievements, we see him in his home office, making preparations for what will surely be a lavish retirement ceremony at the high-end "Whit Cassell" restaurant. What follows is ... well, you'll have to watch, but it's fun stuff.

    Good on ya, Anthony. Walking away from the game you've known your whole life has to be rough, but you found a way to do it with class (and paper

    Read More »from Anthony Adams announces his retirement in sad-yet-hysterical fashion
  • Baltimore Ravens agree to terms with Elvis Dumervil

    Elvis Dumervil has agreed to terms with the Ravens (USA Today Sports Images)

    Free-agent pass rusher Elvis Dumervil has agreed to terms on a multi-year contract with the Baltimore Ravens, reports Mike Klis of The Denver Post.

    According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Dumervil will receive a five-year contract worth up to $35 million from the Ravens. Dumervil will receive $8.5 million in the first year of the contract.

    Dumervil was scheduled to earn $12 million from the Denver Broncos this season before agreeing to take a $4 million pay cut to remain with the team. However, the three-time Pro Bowl unexpectedly hit the free-agent market after his former agent, Martin Magid, failed to fax the paperwork back to the Broncos in time for them to submit the restructured contract to the league office by a 4 p.m. ET deadline on March 15, at which time Dumervil's entire $12 million base salary would have become guaranteed.

    [ Related: Ed Reed takes out full-page ad to thank Ravens fans ]

    Dumervil has since parted ways with Magid and hired Tom Condon of CAA Sports. Condon has handled negotiations with the Broncos, who wanted Dumervil back at a reduced rate, and the Ravens, who were in need of an established pass rusher after Paul Kruger and his nine sacks signed with the Cleveland Browns this offseason.

    Broncos executive vice president of football operations John Elway released the following statement on Sunday:

    “As we have from the start of this process, we worked diligently over the last week to find a way for Elvis Dumervil to remain a Denver Bronco. Although we made multiple contract offers to Elvis after being forced to release him, we were unable to reach an agreement and are now moving forward without him," said Elway.

    "Elvis was a team captain and a talented player who made a great impact during his seven seasons in Denver. I appreciate all of his effort on the field and the work he did in the community.

    "I wish Elvis all the best as he continues his NFL career."

    Read More »from Baltimore Ravens agree to terms with Elvis Dumervil
  • Sebastian Vollmer is staying with the Patriots (USA Today Sports Images)

    One of the top right tackles in the National Football League is staying put, as Field Yates of ESPN Boston reports that Sebastian Vollmer has agreed to terms with the New England Patriots.

    Terms of the new contract were not disclosed.

    Vollmer has started 44 of 51 regular season games and all five game postseason games he's been active for the Patriots, who selected the Dusseldorf, Germany native in the second round (No. 58 overall) of the 2009 NFL draft out of the University of Houston.

    The 6-foot-8, 314-pound Vollmer started eight games as a rookie before earning second-team All-Pro honors as a 16-game starter in 2010. Vollmer was limited to just seven regular and posteason games in the 2011 regular season by a back injury, but did start 15 regular season games and both of New England's playoff games in 2012.

    Health may have been one factor in why Vollmer remained on the free agent market for nearly two weeks.

    Read More »from New England Patriots, Sebastian Vollmer agree to terms on new contract
  • Who's the big, fast kid? (@calbearsonline)We're sure the sight brought tears of fond remembrance to the eyes of Yahoo! Sports colleague Mike Silver, a proud (and VERY vocal) Cal alum. During the Golden Bears' spring practice on Saturday, one fast and powerful halfback impressed by hitting the edge and scoring a 22-yard touchdown.

    Turns out it was Marshawn Lynch, who racked up 3.230 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns for Cal from 2004 through 2006 before the Buffalo Bills took him in the first round of the 2007 NFL draft. Traded to the Seattle Seahawks in October 2010, Lynch is a three-time Pro Bowler who put up his best season in 2012. He amassed 1,590 rushing yards, ranking third in the NFL and defining Seattle's physical style.

    But on Saturday, Lynch was just one of the guys in the program.

    “It was a little mix," he told Mike Yam of the Pac-12 Network when asked if it was his idea to get back into his No. 10 Cal jersey. "My boy KP [longtime Cal assistant director of player personnel Kevin Parker] asked me if I would do it, and I got his back."

    "We told the guys if anybody tackled him, it was going to be a $25 million fine," new Cal head coach Dykes said of Lynch's play. "I didn't want to be getting a call from Pete."

    [Also: RG3 'superhuman' in recovery from knee surgery, surgeon says]

    "Pete," of course, is Pete Carroll, Lynch's head coach in Seattle. Carroll got quite enough of Lynch (the collegiate version) back in the day -- he was USC's head coach from 2001 through 2009.

    Read More »from Marshawn Lynch scores touchdown at Cal’s spring game
  • Osi Umenyiora is expected to sign with the Falcons (USA Today Sports Images)

    With the next few days, fee agent defensive end Osi Umenyiora is expected to agree to terms with the Atlanta Falcons, reports Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com.

    According to Florio, the deal is expected by Monday "at the latest".

    The Falcons were looking for pass-rush help after releasing veteran John Abraham this offseason. Abraham led the Falcons with 10 sacks and had six forced fumbles in 2012, accounting for over one-third of the team's sack production last season. Abraham, who turns 35 in May, had triggered a $1 million escalator to his base salary, which may have been what triggered his release on March 1..

    Umenyiora tweaked his contract prior to the 2012 season, receiving a pay increase and, more importantly, the opportunity to become a free agent this offseason. The 31-year-old lives in Atlanta and has not his desire to play for the Falcons.

    "There was nothing better than being able to win there [in New York]," Umenyiora said during a Friday appearance on 92.9 The Game in Atlanta, according to ESPN New York. "The only thing I can think of, for myself personally, [better] than being able to win in New York would be if I was able to win here at home in Atlanta. So we’ll see how that plays out. Hopefully, it will work out in a positive direction."

    Umenyiora, 31, has spent his entire 10-year career with the New York Giants, who selected the Troy product in the second round of the 2003 NFL Draft. In 129 career games with the Giants, Umenyiora has 75 sacks and 32 forced fumbles, posting double-digit sacks in 2005, 2007 and 2010. Umenyiora was named to the Pro Bowl after the 2005 and 2007 seasons, and was a second-team All-Pro in 2010.

    Read More »from Report: Osi Umenyiora expected to join the Atlanta Falcons by Monday
  • Dr. James Andrews and Robert Griffin III leave the field in the fourth quarter in the Redskins' Jan. 6 playoff loss. (Getty Images)Reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Robert Griffin III is still recovering from a couple fairly serious knee injuries -- the PCL sprain he suffered in Week 14 of the 2012 season against the Baltimore Ravens, and the ACL and PCL tears he had in a wild-card playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan was widely criticized for playing Griffin against the Seahawks when his quarterback was obviously physically failing near the end of the game, but if the recent testimony of renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews is any indication, Shanahan may be off the hook -- and with a truly healthy starting quarteback sooner than later.

    "I've been real mum on talking too much about RG 3," Andrews recently told ESPN while working on a feature about South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore, who is also under Andrews' care. "He wants his recovery to be fairly private, but I can tell you he's way ahead of schedule. His recovery has been unbelievable so far. RG3 is one those superhumans. First patient I ever had like that was Bo Jackson. And recently I, of course, had Adrian Peterson, who is also superhuman. They have an unbelievable ability to recover, where as a normal human being may not be able to recover."

    [Also: Jim Harbaugh worried Colin Kaepernick is putting on too much muscle]

    Peterson, of course, won the NFL Most Valuable Player award after rushing for 2,097 yards in the regular season, and another 99 against the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs, less than a year after his own major knee surgery. His recovery is now seen as an encouraging test case for every player trying to get back in the game after such injuries (like Lattimore), but as Andrews said, athletes like Adrian Peterson and Robert Griffin III aren't your average human beings.

    Andrews wasn't always so positive about the process, insisting that Shanahan was not telling the truth about Shanahan's assertion that Andrews gave Griffin a clean bill of health to return to the Ravens game after he was first hurt.

    Read More »from RG3′s knee surgeon: Griffin is ‘superhuman’ in recovery
  • (AP)

    Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson, the third pick in the 2012 NFL draft, has been named in a civil lawsuit (a complaint with jury demand) filed in the Common Pleas court of Cuyahoga County, Ohio. The suit, brought by Krystal Jones and Kathleen Hunter, is against Richardson and his girlfriend, Severina Fatu. The suit also names Richardson's brother, Terrell, a former Louisiana-Lafayette defensive end, and two women identified only as "Jane Doe 1" and "Jane Doe 2."

    According the document filed Friday afternoon, Jones and Hunter claim that they were verbally and physically abused at Richardson's Ohio home on Dec. 9, 2012. The Plaintiffs' attorney, Leif B. Christman, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that Jones and Hunter were in Richardson's house, continuing a postgame celebration at the Rumors nightclub, when Jones asked about the whereabouts of Terrell Richardson. Trent Richardson told Jones that his brother did not want to speak to her, and asked her to leave. As Jones and Hunter were leaving, Richardson allegedly "became enraged" when the two women slammed a door and "disrespected his house." Then, according to the complaint, Trent Richardson slammed his fist onto the hood of Jones' car, causing $1,500 worth of damage.

    [Also:Orioles win scheduling conflict battle with NFL]

    Then, per the complaint, Trent Richardson stood in the way of Jones' car and called for Fatu and the two Jane Does to come out and attack the two women in the car. The complaint alleges that Fatu opened the front passenger door of the car and began "pummeling" Hunter while Jones sat in the driver's seat. It is alleged that Fatu did so "acting on Trent Richardson's urging and obeying his commands."

    Fatu then allegedly pulled Hunter from the car, and Fatu and the two Jane Does continued to beat Hunter -- again, allegedly at Richardson's urging. At this point in the complaint, Terrell Richardson re-enters, as the complaint states that "by their physical presence, their actions and their verbal urgings," Trent and Terrell Richardson led support and encouragement to the defendants, and allegedly gave the impression that "these two large, and formidable men would injure her as well."

    Read More »from Browns RB Trent Richardson named in lawsuit claiming assault of two women by his girlfriend
  • Sharrif Floyd's determination comes from an unusual source. (USAT Sports Images)

    Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd has blown analysts away all the way through the pre-draft process. He didn't participate in Florida's recent pro day due to a slight ankle injury he suffered at the combine, but Floyd got on the field on Friday, and confirmed everything we already knew, based on the tape. When he's told to go get after his goal, Floyd is a impressive force.

    At 6-foot-3 and 297 pounds, Floyd is a surprisingly advanced player for his experience level (just one full season as a starter), and after starting the final 11 games of the 2011 season at defensive end, he anchored inside in 2012 and dominated nearly every opponent he faced. He put together 46 tackles, 13.0 tackles for loss, one sack in the regular season, and two in the Sugar Bowl against Louisville. The third-ranked Gators lost that game in a 33-23 upset, but Floyd had made his mark. Stack all that on top of a combine performance in which he clocked a 4.92 in the 40-yard dash, and it's easy to see why he's at the top of the list at his position.

    [Also: NFL evaluators have guidelines for prospect questioning]

    Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Floyd's game, and this is more important than ever in an NFL that has multiple fronts and wants its linemen to move around, is the fact that he can move all around the defensive line. From end to nose tackle, he can do it all.

    "I feel great, knowing that the hard part is done," Floyd told Charles Davis of the NFL Network after his workout was done. "A lot of teams like what I do, and that's a good thing. Now, it's just time to sit back, focus in the draft, and let them do what they've got to do."

    As he did throughout his collegiate career, Floyd was relentless on the field, doing rep after rep in position drills. He was in great shape, and didn't seem to flag at all.

    "He was fast, he was strong, and he was agile," Davis said of Floyd on the NFL Network's Path to the Draft show. "You name it, he was ready to go today."

    "I wasn't going to stop until he told me to stop," Floyd said of the position drills. "I wasn't going to say, 'I'm done.'"

    Read More »from With his pro day in the books, Sharrif Floyd impresses on and off the field
  • Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens will open on the road in 2013

    Joe Flacco and the Ravens will open on the road in 2013 (USA Today Sports Images)

    The 2013 Major League Baseball season begins in a few weeks, but the Baltimore Orioles are already 1-0 after scoring a win over the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens and the NFL, who announced on Friday that the Ravens will open their 2013 season on the road.

    Since 2002, the winner of the Super Bowl has opened up the following regular season hosting a prime-time game on Thursday or, in the case of 2012, Wednesday night. The Ravens' ability to defend their title in similar fashion was in jeopardy as on Sept. 5, the Orioles are scheduled to host the Chicago White Sox at 7:05 p.m. ET in Camden Yards, which shares a parking lot with nearby M&T Bank Stadium.

    [Also: NFL evaluators have guidelines for prospect questioning]

    The league previously ruled out playing another Wednesday night game, which was done last season to avoid a conflict with President Barack Obama's speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, as Sept. 4 is the start of Rosh Hashanah. The league had explored having the Orioles move the start time of their game that night up, with the NFL pushing the start of the Ravens game to later in the evening, but ultimately the decision was made to have the Ravens open on the road.

    "After thorough discussions among the Orioles, the NFL and the Ravens, it became clear that holding both an Orioles' game and the Ravens' regular season opener on the same day would create logistical situations that would cause serious issues for the city of Baltimore, and fans for both teams," Ravens president Dick Cass said in a statement.

    Read More »from Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens will open on the road in 2013