NFL Notes: Pederson pleased with Wentz’s rehab

The Sports Xchange

May 11, 2018 at 7:43 pm.

Dec 10, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) is tackled by Los Angeles Rams inside linebacker Bryce Hager (54) and Los Angeles Rams linebacker Samson Ebukam (50) during the third quarter at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Photo Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 10, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) is tackled by Los Angeles Rams inside linebacker Bryce Hager (54) and Los Angeles Rams linebacker Samson Ebukam (50) during the third quarter at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Photo Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Coach Doug Pederson of the Philadelphia Eagles said on Friday that he is encouraged by the progress of quarterback Carson Wentz in his rehab from torn ligaments in his left knee.

Although pictures have shown Wentz throwing to teammates on the practice field, he has not been medically cleared to do more.

“He’s making progress each day, and we just continue that process, and he continues to throw and get stronger,” Pederson said as the Eagles began their rookie minicamp on Friday.

“It’s a fine line, too, this time of year, of maybe trying to do too much, too soon. But our guys are on top of it, he’s on top of it, he’s managing it extremely well and I’m encouraged with where he’s at.”

Wentz sustained a torn ACL and LCL against the Los Angeles Rams on Dec. 10 and missed the Eagles’ run to Super Bowl LII, where backup quarterback Nick Foles led Philadelphia to a 41-33 victory.

Even though Foles took over when Wentz went down and guided the Eagles the rest of the way, Wentz is considered the starter and plans to be ready for the start of the season.

“My goal is to not miss a game,” Wentz said in a recent interview with ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio. “I feel I missed plenty last year. I want to be out there with the guys. It’s a fluid process. We’ll see what happens, but I’m confident I’ll be back Week 1 and ready to play against Atlanta.”

Despite his optimism, Pederson emphasized that he will not put Wentz out there until he is ready.

–Quarterback Blake Bortles of the Jacksonville Jaguars helped police arrest a teenager who tried to steal Bortles’ wallet and truck during a party at the home of teammate Brandon Linder in Jacksonville Beach, Fla.

Surveillance video showed 18-year-old Joseph Horton going through several vehicles at the party, including Bortles’ Ford F-150, which was unlocked with the keys inside.

According to a Jacksonville Beach police report, a copy of which was obtained by News4Jax, the video showed Horton take Bortles’ wallet, which was later found on the ground.

Witnesses said Horton tried to drive away in the truck, but was blocked by other vehicles parked outside the party, and he later entered Linder’s home.

Police were called and when they arrived, they found Horton being held by Bortles and two of his friends.

Online records showed that Horton was arrested on charges of burglary, trespassing and grand theft.

–Free agent defensive tackle Terrell McClain signed with the Atlanta Falcons, the team announced, after he also visited the Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins recently.

Terms of the deal were not announced.

The 6-foot-2, 302-pound McClain is expected to provide depth and experience along the interior of Atlanta’s defensive line, joining Grady Jarrett, rookie Deadrin Senat, Garrison Smith and other defensive tackles on the Falcons’ roster.

The 29-year-old McClain signed a four-year, $21 million contract with the Washington Redskins last season, but made only 17 tackles and two sacks in 12 games last season. He missed four consecutive games late in the season because of a toe injury. The Redskins released him on April 30.

–Defensive tackle Maliek Collins sustained a broken foot on Thursday during the Dallas Cowboys’ offseason conditioning program and will miss the start of training camp for the second time in three years.

The injury to third-year pro was reported by several media outlets and confirmed by Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones in a meeting with season ticket holders.

In the spring of 2016, Collins broke his right foot.

Collins started 30 of the 32 games he has played for the Cowboys in the last two seasons, making 7.5 sacks, including five as a rookie.

–Washington Redskins guard Arie Kouandjio’s 2018 season is in jeopardy after he suffered a quadriceps injury.

Kouandjio, who started six games in 2017 for Washington, reportedly suffered a torn quad, according to NBC Sports Washington, which cited sources with knowledge of the situation.

The injury is expected to sideline Kouandjio for eight months. He was expected to compete for a starting job with Shaun Lauvao and Ty Nsekhe.

Kouandjio, a fourth-round pick by the Redskins in 2015 out of Alabama, was among the final cuts by the team prior to the start of last season.

–The New England Patriots released offensive tackle Antonio Garcia with a non-football injury designation, according to multiple media outlets.

Garcia, a third-round selection in 2017, never played a down for New England. He was placed on the non-football illness list before last season due to blood clots in his lungs.

A third-round draft pick out of Troy, Garcia was placed on blood thinners and lost at least 40 pounds, according to media reports in Boston.

Although Garcia had been expected to compete for playing time this season, the Patriots beefed up their offensive line by acquiring tackle Trent Brown from the San Francisco 49ers.

New England also used the first of its two first-round draft picks, No. 23 overall, to select Georgia lineman Isaiah Wynn.

–The Carolina Panthers fortified their backfield by signing free-agent running back Kenjon Barner to a one-year contract, the team announced.

Carolina also signed two draft picks, third-round selection Rashaan Gaulden and seventh-round pick Andre Smith.

The signing of Barner came one day after the Panthers placed running back Fozzy Whittaker on injured reserve with a torn ACL in his right knee.

Barner, a sixth-round draft pick of Carolina in 2013, was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles before the 2014 season. He appeared in 36 games with Philadelphia, totaling 310 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns on 71 carries.

In the Eagles’ run to the Super Bowl last season, Barner appeared in 13 games (one start), rushing for 57 yards on 16 attempts with one touchdown.

Barner finished his college career ranked second in Oregon history with 3,623 rushing yards and tied for second with 41 rushing touchdowns.

Gaulden, a third-round pick, played safety at Tennessee and had team-leading totals of three fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles last season. He started 19 of 36 games for the Volunteers and registered 140 tackles, 10 pass breakups, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and one interception.

Smith, taken in the seventh round, was limited to two games at North Carolina last season due to injury, leading the team in tackles in each contest. During his sophomore season in 2016, Smith finished second on the Tar Heels with 113 tackles.

–Indianapolis Colts offensive guard Quenton Nelson became the highest first-round pick to sign.

Nelson, taken No. 6 overall by the Colts, was among nine draft picks signed by Indianapolis, the team announced Friday.

The 6-foot-5, 325-pound Nelson, called the “draft’s best football player” by senior analyst Dane Brugler, signed a four-year contract.

Indianapolis also signed defensive ends Kemoko Turay and Tyquan Lewis, running back Nyheim Hines, wide receiver Daurice Fountain, running back Jordan Wilkins, wide receiver Deon Cain and linebackers Matthew Adams and Zaire Franklin.

Nelson was a unanimous All-American at Notre Dame and started 36 of 37 games in his career. Colts general manager Chris Ballard called the Outland Trophy finalist “the easiest pick I’ve ever been a part of.”

“God made him a little bit different than He made everybody else,” Ballard told the Indianapolis Star last week.

Indianapolis also locked up two of their second-round selections in defensive ends Turay and Lewis.

The 6-5, 253-pound Turay registered 20.5 tackles for loss, 15.5 sacks, four passes defensed, one forced fumble, three fumble recoveries and three blocked kicks while starting 10 of 44 games at Rutgers.

Lewis started 36 of 53 games at Ohio State. The 6-3, 269-pounder notched 36.5 tackles for loss, 23.5 sacks, five passes defensed and five forced fumbles.

Fourth-round pick Hines amassed 4,638 all-purpose yards at North Carolina State. He rushed for 1,112 yards and 12 touchdowns and added 26 receptions for 152 yards in 2017.

Fountain, a fifth-round selection out of Northern Iowa, started all 13 games last season and finished with 66 receptions for 943 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Wilkins, another fifth-round pick, started 14 of 38 games at Mississippi and racked up 1,751 yards and 14 touchdowns for his career. He also had 32 catches.

Cain, a sixth-round choice and a member of Clemson’s national championship team in 2016, posted career numbers of 130 receptions for 2,040 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Adams and Franklin were each seventh-round selections. Adams had 7.5 sacks while starting 26 of 48 games at Houston, while Franklin had 8.5 sacks and 31.5 tackles for loss in four seasons at Syracuse.

–The New Orleans Saints signed first-round pick Marcus Davenport and five other players selected in the 2018 NFL Draft, the team announced.

Davenport, a defensive end who was the 14th overall selection from Texas-San Antonio, signed a four-year contract with a fifth-year option.

Tackle Rick Leonard, free safety Natrell Jamerson, cornerback Kamrin Moore, running back Boston Scott and center Will Clapp signed four-year deals.

Wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith, the Saints’ third-round choice, is the only draft pick who has not signed.

The 6-foot-6, 265-pound Davenport totaled 186 tackles, 22 sacks, 38 tackles for loss, six forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and eight passes defensed during 43 games in college. He was named the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year in 2017 after logging 55 tackles, including 17.5 for loss, 8.5 sacks and eight quarterback hurries.

Leonard, selected in the fourth round (127th overall) out of Florida State, started all 13 games last year after moving from defensive end. Jamerson, the Saints’ fifth-round pick (164th overall) out of Wisconsin, had 88 career tackles, 16 passes defensed and two interceptions in 47 career games.

Moore, one of two sixth-round selections, was a three-year starter at Boston College who totaled 140 tackles and two interceptions. Scott, also picked in the sixth round, ran for 1,840 yards and 14 touchdowns in 39 career games, including 1,047 yards and eight touchdowns last year, for Louisiana Tech.

Clapp, a seventh-round choice, started for three years at LSU and was first-team All-Southeastern Conference at guard and center.

–The Cincinnati Bengals signed four of their 11 draft picks, the team announced.

Cincinnati signed a pair of fifth-round selections in defensive back Davontae Harris of Illinois State and defensive tackle Andrew Brown of Virginia, as well as seventh-rounders Logan Woodside and Rod Taylor.

Harris appeared in 49 games at Illinois State and recorded four interceptions, 38 passes defensed, three sacks and 10 tackles for losses. The Redbirds reached the FCS playoffs in three of his four seasons.

Brown posted three sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss as a senior last season for the Cavaliers. He finished his career with 10.5 sacks and 26.5 tackles for loss in 41 games.

Woodside was 29-9 as a three-year starter at quarterback for Toledo. He established school records in passing yards (10,514), passing TDs (93) and 300-yard passing games (17).

Taylor, an offensive lineman, played in 44 games at Mississippi. He started 19 games at both tackle spots and made four starts at right guard.

–The New York Giants signed second-round draft pick Will Hernandez, the team announced.

The Giants also signed quarterback Kyle Lauletta, giving them three signed picks. Third-round selection Lorenzo Carter became the first of the team’s draft class to sign on Thursday.

The 6-foot-2, 327-pound Hernandez was among the top guards in the draft class and will be looked upon to help boost a running game that was among the worst in the NFL last season.

Hernandez started all 49 games at UTEP and continued to open eyes after his senior season. He had a terrific showing at the Senior Bowl and followed that up by lifting the 225-pound bar a staggering 37 times at the NFL Combine.

Lauletta, a fourth-round choice out of Richmond, is expected to compete for the backup job. He was named the MVP of the Senior Bowl after finishing 8 of 12 for 198 yards and three touchdowns.

The 6-foot-3, 217-pounder threw for more than 3,000 yards in each of the past three seasons, including 3,737, with 28 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, as a senior. He was 24-12 as a starter.

–The Los Angeles Chargers signed five draft picks, the team announced.

While first-round selection Derwin James has yet to come to terms, Los Angeles signed linebackers Uchenna Nwosu and Kyzir White, offensive lineman Scott Quessenberry, wide receiver Dylan Cantrell and running back Justin Jackson to four-year deals.

Nwosu, a second-round pick out of USC, posted 20.5 tackles for loss, 20 passes defensed and 12.5 sacks in 53 career games with the Trojans.

White played both safety and linebacker at West Virginia. The fourth-round selection notched 94 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions and two forced fumbles in 2017.

Quessenberry was taken in the fifth round out of nearby UCLA. He started all 13 games at center last season, earning Pac-12 honorable mention honors.

Cantrell, a 6-foot-3, 226-pounder who was selected in the sixth round, had a big season in 2017 with 71 receptions for 816 yards and seven touchdowns.

Seventh-round pick Jackson was the leading rusher in school history at Northwestern, piling up 5,440 career yards. He was only the ninth player in NCAA history to eclipse 1,000 yards rushing in each of his four seasons.

–The Indianapolis Colts signed wide receiver Kasen Williams to a one-year contract and released fellow wideout DeAndre Smelter.

Williams has seen sparse action since he was signed by the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent in 2015 out of Washington.

The 6-foot-1, 219-pound Williams appeared in a career-high seven games (two starts) last season with the Cleveland Browns and had nine receptions for 84 yards.

Smelter spent the previous three seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. A fourth-round draft pick out of Georgia Tech in 2015, Smelton caught one pass for 23 yards in two games. He had signed a reserve/future contract with the Colts in January.

–The San Francisco 49ers announced that they have signed cornerback D.J. Reed Jr., their fifth-round pick (142nd overall) out of Kansas State, to a four-year deal.

The 21-year-old Reed started 23 of the 24 games he played for the Wildcats the last two seasons after transferring from Cerritos (Junior) College in Norwalk, Calif.

Reed had 122 tackles, five tackles for loss, seven interceptions, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 32 passes defensed in his two Division I seasons.

In addition, he made 26 kickoff returns for 837 yards (a 32.2 average) and one touchdown, plus 17 punt returns for 253 yards (14.9) and one touchdown.

Reed was a first-team All-Big 12 Conference selection last season as both a defensive back and kick returner/punt returner.

–The Detroit Lions announced the signing of center Frank Ragnow, their first-round draft choice, and four other picks as they opened rookie minicamp.

Ragnow, the 20th overall selection out of Arkansas, signed a four-year deal expected to be worth about $11.8 million.

Ragnow projects as an opening day starter, but there remains a chance it might be at guard.

The Lions also signed running back Kerryon Johnson (second round, Auburn), defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand (fourth round, Alabama), offensive lineman Tyrell Crosby (fifth round, Oregon) and fullback Nick Bawden (seventh round, San Diego State).