C.J. Mosley: The next DeMeco Ryans?


C.J. Mosley: The next DeMeco Ryans?

DeMeco Ryans is the catalyst of the Eagles’ defense. The heart and soul. The glue that holds it together. He played the most snaps on defense last year -- in the NFL -- so you can easily argue that Ryans is the defense’s most important player.

But he also turns 30 this summer, is slated to make nearly $14 million over the next two seasons and doesn’t have the range in pass coverage that he once had.

If the Eagles are looking in the first round of May’s draft to find Ryans’ successor, they could feasibly pounce at the opportunity to take C.J. Mosley, an inside linebacker who played at Alabama, the same school that produced Ryans.

Daniel Jeremiah, a former Eagles scout who now serves as an analyst for the NFL Network, expects Mosley to be off the board when the Eagles pick at 22. But if he’s there, or if the Eagles trade up to land him, Mosley would fit snugly into the team’s scheme, Jeremiah said.

“C.J. Mosley is somebody who doesn’t get talked about enough,” Jeremiah said during a draft conference call hosted by the NFL Network. “We talk about guys being clean players on tape. I don’t have a lot of negatives when I watch him. I think he’s very good in coverage. I think he’s an excellent blitzer.

“But the most impressive aspect of his game is his instincts. I remember scouting DeMeco Ryans at Alabama, and that’s what set him apart was his instincts. I personally think he’s a better player than DeMeco was coming out, and DeMeco has had a nice career.”

The book on Mosley reads just like Ryans’. He’s considered a film junkie and natural leader, a defensive quarterback with an exceptional football IQ and humble. Mosley is excellent in coverage against both tight ends and pass-catching running backs.

This past season, he won the Butkus Award given to the nation’s top linebacker and shared the Southeastern Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year award with Missouri linebacker Michael Sam.

With his athletic prowess and high character, Mosley sounds exactly like the kind of guy Chip Kelly wants leading his defense.

But let’s hold off on sending out “Save the Dates” for this potential marriage.

First, several analysts -- including Jeremiah -- believe Mosley will be drafted in the top 15 picks. Some see Mosley as an ideal middle linebacker for a 4-3 defense even though Alabama’s front more resembles the Eagles’ 3-4 scheme.

Second, and more significantly, the Eagles have a known allergy to drafting linebackers in the first round. A familiar refrain every April is the team’s 1979 selection of Jerry Robinson in the first round out of UCLA. Robinson remains the last linebacker drafted by Eagles in the first round.

Thirty four years … and counting.

Third, for whatever reason, although Alabama’s defense is annually among the nation’s best and the foundation of coach Nick Saban’s three championships with the Crimson Tide, several of its players picked in the first round lately haven’t dominated at the NFL level.

Another former Tide linebacker, Rolando McClain, went eighth overall to the Raiders in 2010. Then considered one of the best overall prospects in the entire draft, McClain managed just three seasons with Oakland before getting released.

He tried to latch on with Baltimore last year but retired abruptly after his arrest for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

“I know there’s been recent Alabama big linebackers that haven’t played up to capability perhaps,” said NFL Network draft analyst Charles Davis, who joined Jeremiah on the call. “But I don’t think that C.J. Mosley is one of those guys. I really like him a bunch.”

NFL Notes: League to review domestic violence allegations against Ezekiel Elliott

NFL Notes: League to review domestic violence allegations against Ezekiel Elliott

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The NFL says it is reviewing domestic violence allegations against Dallas Cowboys rookie Ezekiel Elliott.

A police report says Elliott denied allegations that he assaulted his girlfriend early Friday in Columbus, Ohio, causing bruises and abrasions. The report says he wasn't arrested because of conflicting versions of what happened.

Three witnesses told police they didn't see Elliott assault the 20-year-old woman. Elliott says the woman got the bruises and abrasions in a bar fight.

The player's father, Stacy Elliott, said in a statement Friday that the claims are "completely false" and that his son has cooperated with the investigation.

Ezekiel Elliott is a running back who played at Ohio State. He turned 21 Friday.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy says the allegations will be reviewed under the league's personal conduct policy (see full story).

Colts: NFL suspends Art Jones for 4 games
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts defensive lineman Arthur Jones has been suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Jones has struggled to stay on the field since signing a five-year, $33 million contract in 2014. He missed seven games in his first season with Indy with an injured right ankle. He missed all of last season with an injured left ankle he sustained during the preseason.

Jones won't be eligible to return to the team until Oct. 3 but will be allowed to participate in training camp and preseason games.

His brother, Jon, a UFC fighter, also has run afoul of that league's anti-drug policies.

Vikings: Ribbon cut at new $1.1 billion stadium
MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph spent his first three seasons playing in the Metrodome, a cramped, dingy noise box that tested the patience of fans and players alike.

The home locker room only had five bathroom stalls for 53 players and dozens of coaches and support staff. So when he walked around U.S. Bank Stadium, the Vikings' new $1.1 billion stadium that is set to open this season, he said comparing the two was like "ground chuck and filet mignon."

The Vikings held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday to mark the official beginning of life in their new home. The celebration featured current coach Mike Zimmer blowing the gjallahorn -- a huge horn used in Viking lore -- with coaching legend Bud Grant by his side and fireworks after a host of speakers praised the new stadium.

With a cutting-edge design that includes a translucent roof to allow in the daylight, a wall of glass with 100-foot doors that open to let the autumn breeze in and a locker room that is twice the size of their former home in the Metrodome, U.S. Bank Stadium has thrust the franchise into the 21st century (see full story).

Bears: Charles Tillman retires with Chicago
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Charles Tillman is officially retiring as a member of the Chicago Bears.

The two-time Pro Bowl cornerback signed a one-day contract and called it a career with the team that drafted him in 2003 on Friday.

He had announced Monday on Twitter that he was retiring. The 35-year-old Tillman, known for his "peanut punch" after forcing 44 career fumbles, spent his first 12 seasons with the Bears and went to two Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl with them.

He started 12 games last season with the Carolina Panthers before suffering a season-ending knee injury and missed the team's run to the Super Bowl.

Chicago also terminated defensive back Omar Bolden's contract on Friday.

Sam Bradford's and Carson Wentz's NFL MVP odds

Sam Bradford's and Carson Wentz's NFL MVP odds

If you were a big fan of Sam Bradford's magical last seven games in 2015, boy, have we got a deal for you. 

According to Bovada, Bradford's odds to win the NFL MVP award are 150/1, significantly better than No. 2 overall pick and Eagles No. 3 quarterback Carson Wentz, who comes in at 300/1. 

Chase Daniel's name does not appear on the list of 63 players. 

At 4/1, Aaron Rodgers is the favorite to win the MVP, followed by Ben Roethlisberger (7/1), Cam Newton (15/2), Russell Wilson (8/1) and Tom Brady (9/1). 

If you're wondering about the company Bradford is keeping, the following players are also going off at 150/1: Le'Veon Bell, Kirk Cousins, Alshon Jeffrey, David Johnson, Mark Sanchez, Ryan Tannehil, Tyrod Taylor. 

And Wentz's company at 300/1: Jared Goff, Jimmy Graham, Larry Fitzgerald, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jerey Maclin, Doug Martin, LeSean McCoy, Thomas Rawls. 

Here's the full list: 

Aaron Rodgers                          4/1
Ben Roethlisberger                   7/1
Cam Newton                            15/2
Russell Wilson                          8/1
Tom Brady                                9/1 
Andrew Luck                           12/1 
Carson Palmer                          12/1 
Eli Manning                              25/1 
J.J. Watt                                     25/1 
Drew Brees                               33/1 
Adrian Peterson                        33/1 
Todd Gurley                              40/1 
Tony Romo                               40/1 
Derek Carr                                50/1 
Andy Dalton                             50/1 
Blake Bortles                            66/1 
Antonio Brown                         66/1 
Rob Gronkowski                       66/1 
Brock Osweiler                         66/1 
Matt Ryan                                 66/1 
Philip Rivers                             75/1
Odell Beckham                        100/1 
Teddy Bridgewater                  100/1
Jamaal Charles                         100/1 
Jay Cutler                                 100/1 
Ezekiel Elliot                            100/1
Joe Flacco                                100/1 
Julio Jones                               100/1 
Khalil Mack                             100/1 
Marcus Mariota                       100/1 
Alex Smith                               100/1 
Matthew Stafford                     100/1 
Jameis Winston                         100/1
Sam Bradford                           150/1 
LeVeon Bell                              150/1 
Kirk Cousins                             150/1 
Alshon Jeffery                          150/1 
David Johnson                          150/1 
Mark Sanchez                           150/1
Ryan Tannehill                          150/1
Tyrod Taylor                             150/1 
Dez Bryant                                200/1 
Amari Cooper                           200/1 
A.J. Green                                 200/1 
DeAndre Hopkins                     200/1
Von Miller                                 200/1 
Robert Griffin lll                       250/1 
T.Y. Hilton                                 250/1 
Colin Kaepernick                      250/1 
DeMarco Murra                        250/1 
Jordy Nelson                             250/1 
Allen Robinson                         250/1
Jonathan Stewart                       250/1
Demaryius Thomas                   250/1 
Devonta Freeman                      300/1
Jared Goff                                 300/1
Jimmy Graham                          300/1
Larry Fitzgerald                         300/1 
Ryan Fitzpatrick                        300/1 
Jeremy Maclin                           300/1
Doug Martin                              300/1 
LeSean McCoy                          300/1
Thomas Rawls                           300/1
Carson Wentz                            300/1

Eagles release wideout Jonathan Krause, have 87 on roster

Eagles release wideout Jonathan Krause, have 87 on roster

Just a few days before training camp kicks off, the Eagles have released wide receiver Jonathan Krause. 

With the release, the team has 87 players on its 90-man roster. 

In 2015, Krause, 24, joined the Eagles' practice squad after Week 2 and remained there until he was called up to the 53-man roster for Week 12. Krause, Jordan Matthews' former teammate at Vanderbilt, caught two passes for 11 yards for the Eagles last season. 

Before joining the Eagles, Krause had stints with the Browns and Patriots. 

Training camp officially starts on Monday, when quarterbacks, rookies and select veterans report. The rest of the team must report by Wednesday and the first team practice will take place on Thursday.