Eric Ebron, Bill O'Brien, Jared Allen
In their preparation for the NFL Draft earlier this month, the Baltimore Ravens liked their chances of landing former North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron with the 17th overall pick.
That is, until the Detroit Lions, who weren’t viewed as having a major need at tight end, grabbed him at No. 10.
Since then, the Ravens have lamented not having the chance to select a tight end that Eric DeCosta, their assistant general manager, thinks has a chance to be a “difference-maker” and considers a “Pro Bowl-type guy.”
The Ravens ended up using the 17th choice on former Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley. They selected a tight end, former Colorado State standout Crockett Gilmore, with the second of their two third-round picks.
But they clearly were focused on Ebron.
“I really thought, if he had gotten out of the top 10, he would have fallen to us,” DeCosta was quoted as saying in the Russell Street Report. “Looking at the other teams and, this time, there was a really good chance we were going to get him. Didn’t really think Detroit would take him.
“I thought we had a chance to really get (Ebron, and) that was kind of frustrating for us. I thought he was an elite player.”
TEXANS STAGING WIDE-OPEN COMPETITION WITH FOUR QUARTERBACKS
We all tend to look a bit skeptically upon the term “quarterback competition,” because we assume that one player has the inside track and everyone else is, well, everyone else. And, inevitably, the quarterback thought to have had the inside track ends up getting the job.
Not so with the Houston Texans.
By all accounts, they are genuinely staging a wide-open battle between Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum, T.J. Yates, and rookie Tom Savage. How wide open? Bill O’Brien, the Texans’ coach, said the plan through the rest of offseason workouts is to allow each of the four to have an equal number of snaps with the first team.
“I think, initially, you have to, in this part of the year … make sure the reps are equal,” O’Brien was quoted as saying in the Houston Chronicle. “Then, you got to make sure that each guy gets a chance to rep with the starters, or the guys that are running with the first team. I think that’s important, too. So we try to do that, try to make sure we get equal reps. Then, at some point, whether it’s two weeks from now, three weeks from now, two months from now when we get to training camp, we’ll make a determination on who gets the most reps to get them ready for the game.
“But we are not there right now. We got to continue to give these guys equal amount of reps and give them a shot.”
JARED ALLEN LOOKS TO BLEND IN WITH THE CHICAGO BEARS
Although Jared Allen has spent most of his career attracting considerable attention as one of the NFL’s top pass-rushers with a penchant for speaking his mind, the defensive end is happy to be less noticeable with his new team, the Chicago Bears.
Allen, 32, insists he is perfectly fine with the spotlight belonging to two of the Bears’ established defensive leaders, linebacker Lance Briggs and cornerback Charles Tillman.
“I try to lead by example,” Allen was quoted as saying in the Chicago Sun-Times. “I know I have a reputation for being outspoken, but I’m really not. I’m really not a rah-rah guy. I’m not afraid to call a guy to the carpet because I expect accountability. I think as pros we all should expect accountability from each other.
“But I didn’t come here to take over leadership. I didn’t come here because I thought they needed a figurehead on the defense. I came here to be a part of something. Guys like Lance, who have been here, guys like Peanut (Tillman), they’re leading by example, and that’s what I want to do.”
COWBOYS START IN-HOUSE FOR REPLACEMENT FOR SEAN LEE
How do the Dallas Cowboys fill the massive void created by the season-ending torn ACL that standout middle linebacker Sean Lee suffered in an OTA practice on Wednesday?
They could look outside for veteran help, although the starting point of their search appears to be from the existing roster. The leading candidates already on the team, according to Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com, are Anthony Hitchens, a former Iowa standout whom the Cowboys drafted on the fourth round earlier this month, and second-year pro DeVonte Holloman.
“I think all positions have their challenges, no question about that,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett told reporters covering the Cowboys. “There’s a mental and intellectual challenge that comes with certain positions. Quarterback would be one of them. Center would be one of them. Mike linebacker would be one of them.
“But we feel good about the linebacker options that we have. We drafted Hitchens for a reason and we feel like he’s a good football player and has some position flex. We’ll see how he responds to the opportunity he gets.”
JAY GRUDEN TRYING TO ‘HAVE SOME FUN’ AS REDSKINS’ COACH
So far, new Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden is running things with a decidedly softer hand than his predecessor, Mike Shanahan.
“There’s a lot of coaching going on in there,” Gruden was quoted as saying in the Washington Post. “Doesn’t mean I have to be a hard-ass on every snap and yelling at people. I like to have fun, keep things loose and just coach the game of football that we all love to play and coach. I want them to have fun when they come out here, but also want to be very competitive and do their work.
“I don’t know what my approach is; I just try to be myself out there. I try to have some fun. I want to make sure the energy level is high out there and guys are enjoying what they’re doing. But in the meantime, we have got to stay on them and make sure they’re disciplined and not jumping offside and running to the ball on defense and offensively finishing blocks and finishing runs and running the routes at the right depth.”>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET, for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford” on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com. We take your questions at 216-578-0850 and via Twitter @Browns_Daily.