CSN Bay Area's Matt Maiocco believes rookie running back Joe Williams could be the Niners' lead back this season.
The love head coach Kyle Shanahan had for Joe Williams was well-documented by MMQB's Peter King when he sat in on the 49ers' draft. Maiocco says 49ers running back coach Bobby Turner also remained in touch with Williams throughout the draft process, despite the fact that GM John Lynch had him off the team's draft board because he quit (then returned) at Utah last season. It's clear the Niners coaches are very high on Williams. As a hand-picked back by the new regime, Williams might actually start over Carlos Hyde this season, or at least steal a good amount of carries.
The Eagles are signing LeGarrette Blount to a one-year deal.
After not drafting an early-down runner in the draft, Philly signs their probable starter in the middle of May. Blount, now 30, rushed for an NFL-high 18 touchdowns in 2016 with the Patriots, but will obviously get fewer scoring opportunites with the Eagles than he did with Tom Brady orchestrating the offense in New England. Still, his biggest competition for early-down work seems to be undrafted rookie Corey Clement, so Blount will probably be a low-end, touchdown-dependant RB2.
Benjamin Watson says he's "very close" and is in the final stages of his recovery from a torn Achilles.
Watson signed with the Ravens last year, but missed the entire season with a torn Achilles. He said his Achilles recovery has been the hardest he's had to go through. Watson will return to a crowded tight end group that includes Dennis Pitta and 2015 second round pick Maxx Williams.
Keenan Allen is "full-go," but taking it slow at Chargers OTAs.
Allen tore his ACL Week 1 last season, so he's had plenty of time to rehab and get right. He's 100%, but the Chargers aren't having him do everything in OTAs. Allen should get a good amount of targets from Philip Rivers this season.
Cardinals receiver John Brown is "back to normal" and "zipping around" OTAs.
Brown dealt with health issues all season and was not close to normal, as he was low on energy and couldn't eat right—and as Brown has said, his body just wasn't right. Brown said now his confidence is "through the roof," and head coach Bruce Arians said Brown ran some routes in OTAs that he couldn't even run last season. Looking to be 100%, Brown is a good candidate to bounce back this season.
Devonta Freeman will not hold out.
Freeman has one year left on his deal, and he's very much outperformed his current salary, but he said he will not hold out. Freeman said "I'm a player. I love football." It's great to see someone with an attitude like Freeman, who said he received advice from ultimate non-diva receiver Julio Jones. Even with another very good back Tevin Coleman on the team, the Falcons will likely pay Freeman before the season. Freeman also said he wants to be more "disrespectful" when he rusn the ball this season. He should be a top ten running back for the third straight season.
Carson Palmer doesn't know if this is his last season.
Kyle Odegard reports that Palmer said he has "no idea" if he will retire after the season. Most people thought Palmer was coming back for just one more season, but he would certainly entertain coming back if he and the team have a good season. The Cardinals are limited Palmer's throws this season, hoping to keep him fresher for the season, so we'll see how that works out. Palmer has some weapons and could be a backend QB1 this year.
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