Coach Mike Pettine indicated the Ben Tate-Terrance West running back battle "might ... be the best competition" of Browns training camp.
The Browns see Tate-West as a battle to start; not a situation where veteran Tate is being handed the job. "The best competition might be Ben Tate and our guy Terrance West from Towson, who I really like," were Pettine's words. With Browns camp under a week away, Tate's fantasy ADP stands at the mid to late fifth round, while West is often available early in round eight. With an up-in-the-air depth chart, we'd prefer to gamble on the cheaper of the two Cleveland backs.
49ers CB Chris Culliver (ACL) has been medically cleared for training camp.
Culliver tore his left ACL last August. The fourth-year corner is penciled in as the 49ers' starter opposite Tramaine Brock, with Jimmie Ward at nickel back.
Eli Manning had the highest average pass distance among NFL quarterbacks in 2013, at 9.49 yards from the line of scrimmage.
Combine ex-OC Kevin Gilbride's vertical scheme with the Giants' injury-ravaged, swinging-gate offensive line, and the result was Eli's career-worst season, with career highs in picks (27) and sacks taken (39). New OC Ben McAdoo is installing a shortened, quicker-hitting attack in an effort to rejuvenate Eli. The Giants likely hope Manning can have a Riversian bounce-back year.
Saints UDFA Je'Ron Hamm reportedly "stood out" during pre-training camp practices for his "athleticism and pass-catching skills."
Hamm, who just turned 22, goes 6'3/236 with 4.65 speed and a 37-inch vertical. He played college ball at Louisiana-Monroe, catching 62 passes for 915 yards (14.8 YPR) and six TDs as a 20-year-old junior before an injury-plagued senior season. Hamm could be a practice squad candidate in New Orleans.
Cowboys DT Henry Melton (ACL surgery) is expected to be cleared for the beginning of camp.
According to reporter David Moore, the Cowboys aren't expecting any "red flags" with Melton's Wednesday physical. That was expected all along, but is still much-needed news for the Cowboys' undermanned defensive line. Melton is now 10 months removed from tearing his left ACL.
Chargers first-round CB Jason Verrett (shoulder) isn't expected to practice before August.
The Union-Tribune San Diego's Tom Krasovic predicted earlier this month that Verrett would be ready for camp, but August was always his timeline. Verrett underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in March. He needs to return before the third preseason game, or he could be looking awfully green come Week 1.
Bills third-round pick Preston Brown opened camp as the second-team middle linebacker behind Brandon Spikes.
A pre-camp report stated Brown would be in the hunt to replace WLB Kiko Alonso (ACL), but Mike 'backer is his natural position. He figures to take over there in 2015, when Spikes hit free agency. Nigel Bradham is getting the first crack at Alonso's weak-side job, with Keith Rivers stationed on the strong side.
ESPN Chargers reporter Eric Williams believes walk-year RB Ryan Mathews could be headed into his final season in San Diego.
This is quite possible, but Williams' reasoning is based on the fact that the Chargers now have Danny Woodhead and Donald Brown locked up long term. While both are useful players, neither has the early-down talent Mathews' possesses. If Mathews can stay healthy for the second-consecutive year, there's a good chance he'll be back with the Bolts in 2015. Mathews turns 27 in October.