Marshawn Lynch feels he has achieved "something special" by becoming a minority investor in the Seattle Kraken alongside Macklemore.

Former NFL running back Lynch spent the best part of his career with the Seattle Seahawks.

He was part of the Seahawks team that won Super Bowl XLVIII, scoring a rushing touchdown in the title game as Seattle beat the Denver Broncos.

Lynch had led the NFL in rushing TDs (12) in the regular season and did so again the following year (13), again scoring in the Super Bowl but this time in a defeat to the New England Patriots.

The five-time Pro Bowler announced his retirement after the 2015 season but returned to the NFL and eventually the Seahawks, finishing his career in Seattle in 2019.

And now Lynch is again part of the sports scene in the city, with he and rapper Macklemore – a Seattle native – welcomed on board by Kraken owner Seattle Hockey Partners.

"I've been a part of a lot of things, but this is something I never would have imagined," Lynch wrote on his Twitter page.

"As a young hyena I always dreamed of playing on a professional team but owning one is something special.

"Thank you @SeattleKraken, shout out to @macklemore. Seattle, I'm here. Stand Up!!!"

The Kraken are in their inaugural season in the NHL but sit bottom of the Western Conference's Pacific Division with a 24-44-6 record.

Deebo Samuel will reportedly skip the San Francisco 49ers' on-field offseason program as he seeks a contract extension from the team.

A report from ESPN's Adam Schefter said that Samuel, A.J. Brown of the Tennessee Titans and the Washington Commanders' Terry McLaurin will not take part in on-field drills as teams return for voluntary workouts in the coming days.

All three wide receivers are entering the final year of their rookie contract having been selected on day two of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Samuel was named a first-team All-Pro in 2021 after racking up 1,405 receiving yards and six touchdowns while also thriving running the ball out of the backfield.

He averaged 6.2 yards per carry in finishing with 365 yards on 59 attempts, with his eight regular-season rushing touchdowns an NFL record for a wide receiver – two clear of Eric Metcalf's previous benchmark of six for the 1989 Cleveland Browns.

His unique role in the offense, with Samuel describing himself as a 'wide back', will undoubtedly have complicated negotiations, which have so far shown no sign of delivering a resolution.

Samuel is said to be looking for a contract in the region of $25million a year, having seen the wide receiver market explode this offseason amid a flurry of high-profile trades and lucrative free-agent contracts.

Injuries prevented Brown from recording a third successive 1,000-yard season in 2021, but his 24 receiving touchdowns are the eighth-most among wideouts since 2019.

McLaurin has 16 in that time, recording a second consecutive 1,000-yard campaign for Washington last season as they failed to repeat their NFC East triumph of 2020.

Deebo Samuel has claimed he has received death threats and been targeted with racial slurs from fans over his contract negotiations with the San Francisco 49ers.

Wide receiver Samuel is entering the final year of his contract with the 49ers having enjoyed a career year in 2021.

He was named a first-team All-Pro after racking up 1,405 receiving yards and six touchdowns while also thriving running the ball out of the backfield.

Samuel averaged 6.2 yards per carry in finishing with 365 yards on 59 attempts, with his eight regular-season rushing touchdowns an NFL record for a wide receiver – two clear of Eric Metcalf's previous benchmark of six for the 1989 Cleveland Browns.

His unique role in the offense, with Samuel describing himself as a 'wide back', will undoubtedly have complicated negotiations, which have so far shown no sign of delivering a resolution. Samuel recently deleted all references to the 49ers on his Instagram page.

The 2019 second-round pick is said to be looking for a contract in the region of $25million a year, having seen the wide receiver market explode this offseason amid a flurry of high-profile trades and lucrative free-agent contracts.

In a video on Instagram, Samuel made it clear the appalling messages he says he has received on social media have not affected him.

"For all y'all fans that's in the DM, sending death threats and racial stuff, that don't bother me," Samuel said.

"Y'all the same ones that was just hoo-rahing and 'go Deebo!', now y'all want to send death threats and all racial stuff, it don't bother me, I'm cool, I'm chilling, I'm happy."

 

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Kelvin Joseph was an "unarmed" passenger in the vehicle from which the fatal gunshot that killed a 20-year-old man was fired, according to his attorney.

Cameron Ray died on March 18 after being shot outside a Dallas area nightclub following an apparent altercation between two groups.

ESPN reported on Thursday that local police wanted to speak to Joseph, 22, in connection with the incident.

In a statement to the Dallas Morning News on Friday, Joseph's attorney Barry Sorrels said the Cowboys player was present but not involved in the violence.

"Kelvin Joseph did not shoot Cameron Ray," Sorrels said. "Mr. Ray's death is a tragedy, and Kelvin extends his deepest condolences for the family's loss. 

"On the night of March 17, Kelvin was unarmed and was not looking for violence. He found himself in a situation that escalated without his knowledge or consent. 

"Along with condolences to the Ray family, Kelvin apologises to the Dallas community for being anywhere near this type of incident. The investigation is ongoing, and we intend to respect the process."

The Cowboys also released a statement confirming their knowledge of the situation.

"The Dallas Cowboys are aware of the tragic incident that occurred in Dallas on March 18," it read.

"First and foremost, our hearts go out to Mr. Ray's family and loved ones. 

"The organisation is aware of Kelvin Joseph's possible connection to this incident. We are in contact with Dallas law enforcement and have alerted the NFL office."

Stephon Gilmore is on the move again and this time the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year is joining the Indianapolis Colts.

Cornerback Gilmore will receive a two-year contract worth $23million, of which $14million is guaranteed, ESPN and NFL.com reported on Friday.

It means his stay with the Carolina Panthers has proved short-lived, after he left the New England Patriots to move to Charlotte last October.

Gilmore visited the Colts on Wednesday, with the 31-year-old five-time Pro Bowl star leaving Carolina after playing just eight games for the franchise.

The 10th overall pick in 2012, when he was drafted by the Buffalo Bills, Gilmore moved to New England in March 2017 and helped the Patriots win the Super Bowl in his second season.

Gilmore was crucial in that Super Bowl success, with his interception clinching New England's 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII, a year after they were beaten in the championship game by the Philadelphia Eagles.

He took Defensive Player of the Year honours in 2019, and after playing 11 games in the following season he moved on to the Panthers.

Sidelined by a torn quad initially, Gilmore was activated in Week 8 and started three of the remaining games as Carolina finished the 2021 season with seven straight losses.

Police want to speak with Dallas Cowboys cornerback Kelvin Joseph regarding a shooting murder that took place in the Dallas area in March, according to reports.

Joseph, a 2020 second-round pick by the Cowboys, allegedly appeared to be part of a group that was involved in an altercation with another group containing 20-year-old victim Cameron Ray.

Footage shows gunshots being fired out of an SUV at Ray and his friends as they walked back to their car after the initial scuffle.

One of the people seen in the video was allegedly wearing a chain with the initials YKDV. Joseph goes by the name YKDV Bossman Fat in his aspiring rap career.

The Cowboys did not have an official comment, however ESPN is reporting that the team have spoken with Joseph and are encouraging him to cooperate with police and disclose what he knows about the case.

Detective Tonya McDaniel told KDFW that Ray's group was not responsible for the initial incident, which led to the shooting.

The $518,000 sale of Tom Brady's 'last' touchdown pass football has been mutually voided after the greatest quarterback in NFL history reneged on retirement.

In what seemed like an unbelievable stroke of misfortune for the buyer, Brady spectacularly announced his return to the game less than 24 hours after the purchase was finalised, although money was yet to exchange hands.

Brady's decision not to retire came 40 days after initially announcing his playing career was over in late-January, causing chaos in the sports collectible world.

But the anonymous buyer has been spared the devastating blow as Lelands Auctions – who facilitated the sale – announced on Thursday that the purchase had been voided by a mutual agreement.

"We wanted to do the right thing here," Mike Heffner, president and partner at Lelands, said.

"It's the most unique situation that we'll probably ever encounter in our lifetimes – at least when it comes to sports memorabilia. We're still not to the end of the book yet; we've written a chapter."

While the ball may not be Brady's last ever touchdown pass, it is for the time being, and Heffner said the owner still plans on selling it privately through Lelands.

"All parties were waiting to see how it played out," he said.

"Tom Brady, let's face it, is kind of unpredictable these days. Until he throws that first touchdown pass in September, this ball is still the record."

The NFL Draft is rarely dominated by teams in contention to lift the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the upcoming season.

Though trades regularly shuffle the pack, more often than not the draft headlines are made by teams who finished at the wrong end of the regular-season standings in the previous campaign, such is the nature of league's annual selection meeting.

While those franchises with rosters capable of contending to go all the way to the Super Bowl may not be as reliant on the draft as those rebuilding their teams, the selections they make can be critical in providing the potential final piece of what they hope will be a championship-winning puzzle.

Inevitably, not every team expected to contend in April will do so once the season gets under way in September.

Yet we can make educated guesses as to which teams will be in the mix to go deep into the postseason in each conference.

Here Stats Perform has identified four such teams from each conference, with the Cleveland Browns omitted from the list due to the threat of a possible suspension for new starting quarterback Deshaun Watson.

With help from some advanced metrics, we look at what each of these eight teams need to add in the draft to maximise their hopes of standing underneath the confetti in Arizona next February.

NFC

Los Angeles Rams

Identifying draft needs for the Rams is a difficult task not because they don't have any, but because they so often fill their holes by trading away their picks to land superstars.

This year, the Rams don't pick until 104 overall in the third round, not that the Super Bowl champions will mind skipping the first two rounds.

When it finally comes to their turn, the interior of the offensive line stands out as an area of weakness, while the Rams might also be eyeing an edge rusher to help fill the void left by Von Miller, whose stunt-adjusted pass rush win percentage of 43.4 was fifth among edge rushers with at least 100 one-on-one matchups last year.

San Francisco 49ers

The Niners are in a similar position to the Rams in that they don't have a lot of needs, though the urgency is greater for a team that let a fourth-quarter lead slip against Los Angeles in the NFC Championship Game.

Right guard has been a long-standing issue for San Francisco, and the Niners will also need to find a developmental center to replace Alex Mack when he eventually retires. Nebraska's Cam Jurgens is a name to watch there.

San Francisco do not pick until 61st overall in the second round, having traded this year's first-rounder in the package that landed Trey Lance. A defense that ranked first in pass rush win rate could be stacked further by another edge rusher to pair with Nick Bosa, and there is a clear need next to Jimmie Ward at safety.

Of course, what would really make it a successful draft for the Niners would be finally trading Jimmy Garoppolo to secure more picks.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

There's a theme here, and the theme is that trying to find needs for NFC contenders is tough, especially in the case of the Bucs, who brought back Tom Brady after he quickly got bored with retirement and re-signed a host of free agents many expected to depart.

With Todd Bowles assuming the head coaching reins from Bruce Arians, it's fair to anticipate a focus on the defense from the Bucs, who own the 27th pick in the first round as well as two other top-100 selections.

More beef on the interior of the defensive line is required with Ndamukong Suh as yet not re-signed and, though Logan Ryan and Keanu Neal have signed as safety help to atone for Jordan Whitehead's departure, a rookie who can make a difference down in the box and in coverage would be a welcome addition to the defense.

Green Bay Packers

Now this is more like it. The Packers have one glaring, obvious need and there's no way they can fail to address it, right?

Brian Gutekunst may have a history of eschewing first-round wide receivers but, after trading Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders, it would be an extremely bemusing move to risk Aaron Rodgers' wrath and do so again.

Chris Olave, Jameson Williams, Treylon Burks, Jahan Dotson... they all must be in the mix here and, with two selections in the first round, the Packers could even double up at the position.

There are other holes. The secondary could use some more quality depth, and an offensive line that ranked 28th in run-block win rate could also be improved, but the Packers' hopes of getting over the hump in 2022 likely rest on their ability to give Rodgers weapons that mitigate the impact of Adams' stunning departure.

AFC

Kansas City Chiefs

After Patrick Mahomes faced the most pressures in a Super Bowl since 2006 in consecutive years (28 in SB LIV, 34 in SB LV), the Chiefs overhauled their offensive line heading into 2021 and were confident they were on course for the title game once again – only for Mahomes' own stunning playoff collapse to end both the team's season and the career of Tyreek Hill in Kansas City.

Hill's departure in a trade to the Miami Dolphins leaves a gaping hole.

New signing Marquez Valdes-Scantling at least offers a downfield option, but that was his sole responsibility with the Packers in 2021, recording a league-high average depth of target of 17.6 yards but making just 26 catches. Valdes-Scantling and fellow recruit JuJu Smith-Schuster, who's coming off shoulder surgery, have just one 1,000-yard season between them; Hill has four.

Thankfully, the Hill deal means the Chiefs have plenty of draft picks – two in each of the first three rounds – and plenty of options at wide receiver, but safety Tyrann Mathieu and cornerback Charvarius Ward must also be replaced just to get Kansas City back to where they started.

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals are a year behind the Chiefs, beaten in the Super Bowl after leaving their quarterback horribly exposed. Joe Burrow faced 23 pressures against the Rams, tied for third-most since 2006.

Like the Chiefs, they quickly set about bolstering their O line in free agency, though there remains a pressing need at left guard. Ted Karras played there for the New England Patriots last year, but is set to move back into center after Trey Hopkins was cut.

That versatility at least gives the Bengals options at either position depending on how the draft plays out, with their first pick not until the end of the first round (31). In fact, given competition at cornerback, edge and/or tight end could also be sought, the Bengals may be flexible throughout.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills are the Super Bowl favourites, and with good reason. They were a coin flip away from beating the Chiefs and would have backed themselves against the Bengals, which might have quelled some of the optimism in Cincinnati channelled above. Buffalo have also added Super Bowl champion Miller to a defense that gave up a league-low 4.57 yards per play.

That's not to say there don't remain areas for improvement, with cornerback an obvious place to start. Tre'Davious White is returning from an ACL tear, and the Bills need a new man opposite him, given the loss of Levi Wallace.

The Bills might also be advised to ease the burden on all-action quarterback Josh Allen with the addition of a reliable running back. Allen ranked third among QBs for rushing yards in 2021 (763) but accounted for 34.5 per cent of his team's total – far and away the greatest share at his position.

Second on the list was former MVP Lamar Jackson (767 yards, 30.9 per cent), who's already showing signs of wear and tear having been tasked with running the Baltimore Ravens' offense.

Los Angeles Chargers

Outside the Packers, the Chargers perhaps have the most obvious positional need of any contender at right tackle – despite their own strong signings so far.

Left tackle Rashawn Slater was their first-round pick in 2021 and earned Pro Bowl recognition in his rookie season. Among offensive tackles with 200 or more pass protection snaps, Slater's stunt-adjusted win percentage of 90.5 ranked third. However, that stood in complete contrast to right tackle Storm Norton, whose 63.0 per cent ranked third-last.

Norton was brought in to play 15 games after a back injury put Bryan Bulaga on injured reserve. Bulaga has now been cut, and the Chargers surely cannot run it back with Norton.

The very best OTs in the draft are unlikely to still be available when the Chargers get to work in the middle of the first round, but it's no surprise to see them widely linked with Northern Iowa's Trevor Penning.

Baker Mayfield has said he feels "disrespected" by the Cleveland Browns, and insists he is "ready for the next step" in his career.

The number one draft pick from 2018 is under contract for 2022 at $18.9million – fully guaranteed – with Cleveland picking up his fifth-year option last year.

However, the Browns appeared to move on from Mayfield as their starter when trading a significant package of draft picks to the Houston Texans to acquire Deshaun Watson.

The franchise also picked up former Pittsburgh Steelers backup QB Josh Dobbs from free agency last week, leaving Mayfield's future in further doubt.

Speaking to the YNK podcast on Wednesday, Mayfield said: “I feel disrespected... I was told one thing and they completely did another."

Mayfield suggested that the Seattle Seahawks were "probably the most likely option" for him after they traded Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos, insisting: "I'm ready for the next chapter.

"I really, truly, honestly have no regrets of my time in Cleveland of what I tried to give to that place. True Clevelanders and true Browns fans know that."

Mayfield arrived in a Browns team that had gone 0-16 the year prior, improving them to 7-8-1 in his first campaign, and taking them to their first playoff victory in 26 years in his third.

However, a difficult 2021 season would follow, suffering a shoulder injury in Week 2 against the Houston Texans, before being booed during the home victory against the Detroit Lions in Week 11.

"I'd be lying to you if I didn't say that I got caught up in all the negativity and stuff during the year last year," he added. "I was trying to be tough and fight through [the injury], but then physically I wasn't as capable of doing what I would normally [do].

"When I wasn't performing on the field, that's when it really started to go downhill. Because I can tough it out, I don't care, I'm not going to complain about it, like everybody is banged up. But then when it started hindering my play and going downhill, that's when I was like, 'oh s***'.

"That's when I started losing my own self-confidence and losing myself. This past year was rough. It was. It was rough on me, my family. It sucked because I knew what I could be doing, but I physically wasn't in a state to do it."

Mayfield had just 17 passing touchdowns to his name (one rushing TD) in the 2021 campaign, his lowest during his four years in Cleveland, though he did end the season with a better pass completion percentage than in 2019 (60.5 to 59.4), as well as throwing fewer interceptions (13) than in either of his first two seasons (14 in 2018, 21 in 2019).  

"I know what I need to do for me to be the best version of me and be able to lead an organisation," he added. "I'm in a good place right now."

The Las Vegas Raiders have signed quarterback Derek Carr to a three-year contract extension worth $121.5million.

NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported the Raiders have agreed to a contract with Carr that will keep him with the team through the 2025 season.

It means Carr will earn $141.3m over four years, the deal coming in an offseason that has seen the Raiders make a big statement of their intent to build around him.

The Raiders hired Josh McDaniels, renowned as one of the league's best offensive minds, as their new head coach and then reunited Carr with college team-mate Davante Adams, acquiring the All-Pro wide receiver in a blockbuster trade with the Green Bay Packers.

Las Vegas also signed veteran edge rusher Chandler Jones in a significant boost to the defense, the Raiders stacking the deck around Carr as they look to secure a first playoff win since the 2002 season.

Carr led the Raiders to the playoffs last season, Las Vegas losing in the Wild Card round to the Cincinnati Bengals.

The 2021 campaign was arguably the finest of his career.

Among quarterbacks with at least 200 pass attempts, Carr finished third in well-thrown percentage. Trailing only Joe Burrow and Ryan Tannehill, he delivered an accurate, well-thrown ball on 81.6 per cent of his passes.

None of the eight quarterbacks to average more air yards per attempt than Carr's 8.29 had a superior well-thrown percentage, his ability to blend ball placement and downfield upside further illustrated by his 67 completions of 20 yards or more in 2021. Tom Brady (75) was the sole quarterback to end the season with more.

Carr will hope to build on those impressive numbers in 2022 and vindicate his lucrative new contract, which is reported to contain a no-trade clause, essentially meaning he would be able to pick his new team if the Raiders decide to part with him in the coming years.

But by signing Carr to such a high-income extension, the Raiders are banking on such a divorce never coming to pass.

Speed is a highly valued asset in the NFL and if you needed any reminder of the premium the league places on wide receivers who can create separation with raw acceleration, it arrived during perhaps the wildest offseason in history.

A frenzy of blockbuster trades was capped off last month by the Miami Dolphins parting with first and second-round picks in this year's draft, two fourth-round selections and a 2023 sixth-rounder to acquire Tyreek Hill from the Kansas City Chiefs.

Miami subsequently made Hill the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL by signing him to a four-year, $120million contract extension, including $72.2m guaranteed.

The price teams are prepared to pay for speed receivers of Hill's calibre is an extremely promising harbinger for wideouts in this month's draft who share his ability to take the top off of a defense. 

Among another uber-talented class of players at the receiver position, one man stands above the rest in possessing that specific trait, Alabama's Jameson Williams.

His hopes of going in the first round took a huge hit when Williams tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the National Championship Game in January, ending a sparkling sole season with the Crimson Tide after he transferred from Ohio State.

Yet between the significant advancements in ACL recovery - giving Williams a chance of making an impact in his rookie year - and how desperate NFL teams are for big-play receivers who can flip the field in an instant, it still appears likely he will hear his name called on night one in Las Vegas.

A first-round draft status would be the least Williams deserves, with the advanced metrics and his Alabama tape combining to paint a picture of a receiver who is not only the top deep threat in the draft, but also has an extremely compelling argument for being considered the best all-round receiver in this deep class.

Belated big-play impact

His injury meant Williams was unable to take part in any pre-draft athletic testing but, while teams have not had the chance to put a 40-yard dash time next to his name, the impact of his speed was obvious during a brief but ultra-productive stay with Alabama.

Having made only 15 catches in two seasons at Ohio State, where he played behind two receivers expected to go in the first round in Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, Williams took full advantage of his opportunity to shine down in Tuscaloosa.

Williams racked up 79 catches for a team-high 1,572 yards, with his 15 touchdown catches tied for third in the FBS.

Nine of Williams' 15 touchdown catches were for 40 or more yards, while no player in the FBS produced more than his nine receptions of at least 50 yards, four more than the wideout who stepped into his third receiver role at Ohio State, Jaxon Smith-Njigba.

Landing with college football's modern-day juggernaut undoubtedly helped his cause, but the 2021 season was one in which Williams' established himself as the premier downfield weapon in the FBS by separating more consistently and more dramatically than any of his peers near the top of this year's receiver draft board.

Feel the burn

Blending elite speed with lower-body flexibility that enables him to be a substantial threat on double moves, Williams thrived running post-corner and corner-post routes downfield during his time with Alabama, with his proficiency in creating substantial separation going deep reflected by his burn rate.

Burn rate measures how often a receiver wins his matchup with a defender on a play where he is targeted. Williams did so on 74.6 per cent of his targets in 2021.

Williams' burn rate was superior to that of Wilson (71.6 per cent), Olave (69.9), USC's Drake London (71.3) and Arkansas star Treylon Burks (64.8).

He comfortably led the way in burn yards per target, his average of 19.34 nearly five full yards better than that of his nearest challenger, Cincinnati's Alec Pierce (14.74), and was also the cream of the crop in burn yards per route (4.9).

In other words, none of the other receivers anticipated to be in the first-round conversation came close to generating as much separation as Williams, who was the class of this field when it came to defeating his defender's coverage.

Yet in the endless quest for mismatches that is the NFL in 2022, it is not just Williams' success in separating that makes him such an intriguing prospect, it is the varied nature of a skill set ideally suited to where modern passing games are going.

Slot machine

There has arguably never been a better time to enter the NFL as a receiver who can win because of that extra gear at their disposal.

Hill coalesced perfectly with Patrick Mahomes during their time together in Kansas City and, as quarterbacks blessed with Mahomes' extraordinary arm talent become the archetype in the league, there figures to be an increasing demand for receivers who can get behind the secondary along with wideouts with the size and catch radius to mitigate inaccurate throws.

Williams may not have an intimidating frame at 6ft 2in and 189 pounds, but he does possess outstanding ball tracking ability and the body control to turn off-target throws into completions.

Elite receivers of all moulds - from route-running aficionados Cooper Kupp and Davante Adams to yards after catch monsters like Deebo Samuel and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' physically imposing duo of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin - are spending an increasing amount of time playing, and thriving, from the slot.

Winning inside and out is a prerequisite for top-tier wideouts at the NFL level, and that is a box Williams checks emphatically.

Able to win with patient and intelligent footwork at the start of his route and through varying his route speeds, Williams' physical gifts have seen him develop into a substantial threat to pick up yardage after the catch on underneath routes that can be run from the slot, with his advanced metrics when lined up inside nothing short of astonishing.

Williams ran 132 routes from the slot in 2021 and was targeted 40 times. His burn rate from the slot was 77.5 per cent compared to 73 per cent when he lined up as an outside receiver.

He averaged 26.53 burn yards per target and 8.04 burn yards per route from the slot, while he produced a big play on 59.7 per cent of slot targets.

Those numbers dwarf his still impressive statistics as an outside receiver - 15.46 burn yards per target, 3.62 burn yards per route and a big play rate of 41.7 per cent - though that disparity is largely a product of Williams running a lot of his deeper routes from the slot.

Indeed, Williams' average depth of target from the slot was 19.3 yards, compared to 11.5 yards from the outside.

Such a gulf is unlikely to exist in the pros. In a league so heavily influenced by Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay and their offensive system, Williams should expect to see his speed utilised to stretch the field horizontally as much as vertically at the next level. The Dolphins' aggressiveness in trading for Hill despite Tua Tagovailoa's arm paling in comparison to that of Mahomes perhaps foreshadowed that teams whose quarterbacks cannot so easily access downfield throws may still be interested in pursuing a burner of Williams' talents.

But, with the Green Bay Packers - who traded Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders and lost their deep threat, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, to Kansas City - and the Chiefs both possessing two picks in the second half of the first round, Williams could yet find himself catching passes from either Aaron Rodgers or Mahomes and executing the best-laid gameplans of Matt LaFleur or Andy Reid. 

The college football world only got a fleeting glimpse of what Williams could do when given a featured role for a dominant program. More prolonged pain for NFL defenses will come if he ends up landing with a team that can claim to have one of the NFL's best arms and a sharp offensive mind in their employ.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Dwayne Haskins has died at the age of 24 after being struck by a car on Saturday.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the 2019 first-round pick was hit by a vehicle in South Florida, where he had been training with other Steelers quarterbacks, running backs and receivers.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin read: "I am devastated and at a loss for words with the unfortunate passing of Dwayne Haskins.

"He quickly became part of our Steelers family upon his arrival in Pittsburgh and was one of our hardest workers, both on the field and in our community. Dwayne was a great team-mate, but even more so a tremendous friend to so many. I am truly heartbroken.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Kalabrya, and his entire family during this difficult time."

Haskins signed with the Steelers in 2021 after being released by the Washington Commanders late in the 2020 season.

Washington selected Haskins with the 15th pick of the 2019 draft after his stellar 2018 season with Ohio State, throwing 50 touchdowns to eight interceptions in that campaign.

Commanders head coach Ron Rivera said in a statement: "I am absolutely heartbroken to hear of the news of the passing of Dwayne Haskins Jr. Dwayne was a talented young man who had a long life ahead of him.

"This is a very sad time and I am honestly at a loss for words. I know I speak for the rest of our team in saying he will be sorely missed. Our entire team is sending our heartfelt condolences and thoughts and prayers to the Haskins family at this time."

Washington co-owners Dan and Tara Snyder added: "We are devastated to hear the news of the tragic passing of Dwayne Haskins Jr. He was a young man with a tremendous amount of potential who had an infectious personality.

"To say we are heartbroken is an understatement. Our hearts and prayers are with the members of the Dwayne's family and all of those who knew him and loved him."

The Cleveland Browns have signed backup quarterback Josh Dobbs to a one-year deal as the situation with starter Baker Mayfield remains foggy.

Mayfield has requested a trade away from the Browns, but it is reported the franchise has no intention of dealing the former number one draft pick prior to this year's NFL Draft.

The franchise have moved on from Mayfield as their starter, trading a massive package of draft picks to the Houston Texans to acquire Deshaun Watson, and the signing of Dobbs – reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter – may indicate there is no intention to force Mayfield into a backup role.

It is understandable why the Browns would be hesitant to part ways with their primary signal-caller for a weak trade offer, as they went 0-16 in the season before he arrived, and have won no fewer than six games in the four seasons with Mayfield under center, including an 11-5 season and a trip to the playoffs in 2020.

After trading away three first round picks, plus two more later round picks, the Browns will be hoping a quarterback-hungry team comes calling on draft night as there is arguably no quarterback prospect in this year's class who profiles as a better prospect than Mayfield.

Dobbs has only attempted 17 passes in the NFL since being drafted in the fourth round in 2017, and has never started a professional game.

Sam Darnold has insisted he can still be a starting quarterback in the NFL, despite the Carolina Panthers' seeming distrust.

Darnold was traded to the Panthers from the New York Jets ahead of the 2021 season, yet Carolina are potentially eyeing a quarterback in the NFL Draft and have not ruled out another return for Cam Newton.

The 24-year-old Darnold played 12 times for Carolina last season (11 starts), recording 2,527 passing yards for nine touchdowns, along with five rushing scores.

Over the past two seasons, Darnold has thrown for only 18 touchdowns but 24 interceptions, while being sacked 70 times.

But despite the Panthers perhaps wanting to upgrade, Darnold is sure of his own ability.

He told the Bussin' with the Boys podcast: "It truly is like whatever happens happens, because at the end of the day, it's out of my control, and I know that.

"I have enough security in myself to where I can be like: 'I know I'm a good quarterback. I know I can be a good quarterback in this league. I've proved it.'

"I know there's a team, if something happens, that would want me."

Darnold was drafted by the Jets as the third overall pick in 2018 but struggled to live up to his billing in New York.

He completed just 57.7 per cent of his pass attempts in his rookie season before improving slightly in a 2019 campaign in which he threw 19 TD passes and 13 interceptions.

A tough final season with the Jets was followed by Darnold being traded to the Panthers for three draft picks, including a second-round selection in 2022.

Last year, form and fitness continued to evade Darnold, who has never played more than 13 games in a season. His passer rating of 71.9 represented a miserable career low.

He did at least beat out the returning Newton for the starting job, but the former MVP could yet sign for the Panthers again.

Xavien Howard leads the NFL in interceptions since 2017 and believes the addition of Tyreek Hill by the Miami Dolphins will allow him to make further strides after the cornerback signed a five-year extension.

Howard last week signed a $90million extension with the Dolphins, reflecting his status as one of the NFL's top corners.

He has amassed 27 interceptions over the past five seasons and is in no doubt that the Dolphins expect him to add to that tally under new head coach Mike McDaniel after coming to terms on a lucrative deal.

"To get the ball. That's what I've been doing since I've been here. I wouldn't say nothing different," Howard replied when asked at a media conference what the Dolphins want from him. 

"Continue being a leader in the locker room, help the younger guys out, help the new guys that come into the Miami Dolphins and just continue attacking the ball and making turnovers."

One such new guy is three-time All-Pro wide receiver Hill, who arrived in a blockbuster trade with the Kansas City Chiefs last month.

And Howard anticipates practicing against Hill will help him and the six-time Pro Bowler improve their respective games.

"I think we'll get each other better," Howard added of Hill. 

"I played against him in college and also in the league. I just want to focus on getting each other better. That's really it."

 

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