Emmitt Smith’s 2013 NFL Mock Draft


Emmitt Smith has finally completed his 2014 NFL Mock Draft. He apparently put “blood, sweat and cry” into this.

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Dallas NFL Prep 100: Top performers


Three-star Prentice McKinney showed off his talent at the Dallas NFL Prep 100. See who else made top performers from the event.

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Five-star DB picks Alabama


Five-star DB Minkah Fitzpatrick committed to Alabama during his visit for Saturday’s spring game, reports Adam Friedman.

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Six takeaways from Saturday’s three spring games


Alabama, Auburn and Missouri played their spring games today, and let’s review the two main takeaways from each game:

RELATED: SEC’s best returning players for 2014

Alabama

Offense has major questions: Yes, it’s just a spring game, but Alabama’s offense looked shaky. The Tide are stacked at the skill positions — running back and wide receiver, but many questions remain at quarterback and offensive line. The quarterbacks struggled. Blake Sims finished just 13 of 30 for 178 yards and threw two INTs, and neither Cooper Bateman nor Alec Morris looked like they were ready. Jacob Coker is coming this summer, and he could be the single piece that makes the offense click. All spring we heard about how Sims had played so well, but we just didn’t see that today.

Special teams aren’t special: The Tide missed a field goal and had another blocked in the first half. Backup QB Alec Morris also had punting duties. Incoming kicker JK Scott could be one of the most important freshman in 2014, because he could handle the kicking duties immediately. Alabama has been great on special teams during the Saban era, but they are a question mark right now.

Auburn

Marshall is more consistent: Auburn’s first-team offense played against the second-team defense, but it was noticeable that Nick Marshall has made an improvement this spring. Marshall missed a couple sideline throws early in the game, but overall, the shorter to intermediate passes looked crisper and sharper. He’s not a finished product — far from it, but that’s great news for Malzahn and Auburn. Marshall finished 13 of 22 (59.1 percent) for 236 yards and four touchdowns.

New playmakers: Running back Cameron Artis-Payne should be the guy to replace Tre Mason. The former JUCO No. 1 running back flashed speed and vision. He reminds me much of former AU running back Ben Tate. CAP is tough and physical and should be an every-down back for the Tigers, and Corey Grant can be an offensive changeup. We knew about Artis-Payne last season, but he’ll play such a bigger role in 2014. One newby you will know come fall is JUCO transfer D’haquille Williams. Williams has nice hands, and he’s a big, physical receiver who uses his body well, especially on the touchdown reception from Marshall on a fade route. With Sammie Coates and Williams on the outside, how could the passing game not improve and be more explosive?

Missouri

Mauktober is now: Maty Mauk concluded a sharp spring Saturday. In three major scrimmages, Mauk finished 41 of 64 (64 percent) for 446 yards and one touchdown. Mauk connected with Darius White right down the seam for a 38-yard completion, and Mauk scored the first-team offense’s only touchdown on a three-yard keeper. Although the first-team offense struggled in the red zone, the offense will be fine, headlined by Mauk, a deep backfield and veteran offensive line.

Mr. Golden: Missouri is the SEC’s Defensive Line U right now, and even though Kony Ealy and Michael Sam are both gone, the unit shouldn’t skip a beat. Markus Golden reminded us why he was such a force last year. He recorded two tackles for loss and one sack on Corbin Berkstresser. His counterpart Shane Ray also recorded a sack, and Missouri will be dangerous off the edge once more.

Photo Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

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Browns Mailbag: On the draft, and the draft


First, apologies to those who sent questions a week ago. Technical difficulties prevented the MailBag from appearing (read: I got busy and ran out of time). I tried to go back and find the questions, but evidently messed something else up. Clearly it was a tough technological week.

On to the Mailbag:
 

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NFL investigating Manning, Broncos offensive coordinator’s visit to Alabama


According to the Denver Post, an NFL league spokesman said the league is investigating Peyton Manning’s and Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase’s visit to Alabama.

Nick Saban hosted both Manning and Gase this week in what he called a “mutually beneficial meeting” to discuss no-huddle offenses. Manning and Nick Saban have ties thanks to Archie Manning, and Gase coached under Saban at Michigan State and LSU.

RELATED: Previewing Alabama’s A-Day spring game

However, this could have violated the NFL collective bargaining agreement, which does not allow NFL players to meet with their coaches prior to teams beginning offseason workout programs. For Denver, those begin on Monday.

Saban talked about Manning and Gase visiting Alabama Thursday.

“To be honest with you, he was just trying to learn so he could be a better player,” Saban said. “I think a lot of people would say, ‘Wow, the guy is one of the best, if not the best, and certainly from a career standpoint probably about as good as anybody’s been in the history of the league. After all the experience and knowledge that he has, he’s going out and trying to seek more knowledge and understanding of the game of football so he can play better.’

“It’s a great example for a lot of young people, whether they’re playing high school, college, Pop Warner or whatever, and it’s something that I have tremendous respect for. I really enjoyed visiting with him.”

The NCAA has no interest in this matter because Alabama violated no rules.

Photo Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

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VTO Atlanta: Linemen shine


ATLANTAMechane Slade was one of dozens of prospects to brave inclement weather and show out at the VTO Elite Combine.

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The Harbaugh family summer retreat


Nothing breaks up the monotony of training camp like a Harbaugh hoedown.

As expected, the Baltimore Ravens announced they will host the San Francisco 49ers for some scrimmages during training camp. The workouts between the former Super Bowl opponents appeared likely once the NFL announced earlier this month that the 49ers would open the preseason at Baltimore Aug. 7.

It is the first time the 49ers are playing on the East Coast in the preseason in nearly 20 years.

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Previewing Saturday’s three SEC spring games


Alabama, Auburn and Missouri all hold their annual spring games today.

We previewed all three games, as well as different areas and concerns we’re going to watch, and you can read all three of those previews below by clicking on the yellow link in the ‘what to watch for’ section.

Alabama

What to watch during Alabama’s A-Day
Time/TV: 2:00 PM ET, ESPNU
Buzz: Alabama leads the nation in spring attendance over the last seven years with a total of 594,851 fans, averaging 84,978 during that span. How many Alabama fans will attend today? The largest came in 2007 in Nick Saban’s first year, and the stadium was at full capacity with 92,138.

Auburn

What to watch during Auburn’s A-Day
Time/TV: 3:00 PM ET, ESPN
Buzz: It was Auburn, not Alabama, who led last year’s spring game attendance. The Tigers had 83,401 fans show up, compared to Alabama’s 78,315. Auburn AD Jay Jacobs recently penned a letter to fans asking them for a ‘packed house’ today.

Missouri

What to watch during Missouri’s Black and Gold Game 
Time: 2:00 PM ET
Buzz: How’s life after Dorial Green-Beckham? Missouri’s first step toward answering that question happens today. The keys to Gary Pinkel’s offense have been turned over to Maty Mauk. Last year, the Tigers saw 18,384 fans show up for the spring game. You have to think more will show up this year.

Photo Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

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Broncos face first big decision on Miller


This has always been a critical year in the relationship between Pro Bowl linebacker Von Miller and the Denver Broncos.

With Miller still recovering from ACL surgery and slated to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2014 season, team officials face their first major decision about Miller’s contract. The team has until May 3 to exercise an option year in Miller’s rookie deal that would put him under contract for 2015. With 15 days before the deadline, the Broncos had not yet reached a decision as Friday’s business day drew to a close.

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