The draft is just days away and the media would have you believe that front offices are leaking like the Titanic. Over the past few days, the rumor mill has gone into overdrive, and the number and nature of the rumors seems like… well any other draft year, really.
The unfortunate truth is that we can guarantee some rumors to be true, we just don’t know which ones. In the past few days alone, I’ve catalogued something like 60 rumors, many from sources around the web (like Tony Pauline, Walter Football, ESPN, NFLTradeRumors, etc.) and some from speaking to colleagues with “sources,” whom they trust as much as you can this time of year (not much). Let’s go down the list in generic draft order (that means Washington 2nd, Cleveland 4th, St. Louis 13th, Indianapolis 26th) and see what we can find.
UPDATE THE FINALTH: Jay Glazer isn’t ruling out Manziel to the Jaguars. People like the fit with Gus Bradley. This would mean that owner intervention was very UNLIKELY, as Shad Khan isn’t really known for that kind of thing.
There are rumors heating up about the Jaguars trading for Sam Bradford. I don’t buy it.
John Schneider is confident he won’t be picking at 32, instead trading down.
Chris Mortensen says “don’t expect Marqise Lee to fall past 21 to the Packers”—if it means a trade down to a WR-needy team, I buy it. I don’t expect Lee to be high on the list of Green Bay priorities for that pick.
Adam Caplan is hearing first-round buzz for Nevada OL Joel Bitonio, UCLA OL Xavier Su’a-Filo, Boise State ER Demarcus Lawrence and Louisville ER Marcus Smith
On NFLN, Ian still thinks the Texans could deal, though I don’t know to who now that the Falcons seem to be out of the running.
The Vikings genuinely do like Johnny Manziel, per Breer—they love his confidence and playmaking.
TWELVE ANGRY UPDATES: eDraft sees a strong possibility of New England drafting Teddy Bridgewater.
Tony Pauline thinks the Steelers also love Eric Ebron.
There’s talk of Mike Glennon to New England for whatever freaking reason, but Florio reports that those reports aren’t true.
ESPN’s Bob Holtzman thinks that Jimmy Garoppolo to the Vikings is a sure possibility. According to Mike Loyko, two teams with top ten picks are targeting him at the top of the second round. Eric Galko is confirming, kind of.
Ian Rapaport thinks the Falcons are now more likely than ever to trade for the Browns’ spot at four, for Khalil Mack. Rich Hollenberg thinks the deal is basically falling apart.
Per the previous Florio report, the trade sending Mallett away may soon be done. Albert Breer is implying that we won’t see the trade executed until the draft, maybe even after the first round.
The Lions may be interested in sending a second-round pick to the Chiefs for Brandon Flowers, per Eric Galko. Former Chiefs head coach and DC is the DC at the Houston Texans and may also be interested as well. Ray Farmer with the Browns was on the FO that drafted him. The Chiefs really want those second-round picks.
There were not 12 updates, and I apologize for their relative lack of ire.
OCEAN’S ELEVENTH UPDATE: There are “reports” of a trade in progress from Houston for Ryan Mallett. If you recall, Mallett worked closely with current Houston head coach Bill O’Brien and there were a lot of rumors of this happening earlier in the offseason. It’s fairly fluid and sources have contradicted each other. But the buzz is real!
Seahawks want to trade down from 32. They have six picks (ha!) and want more. Perfect for a falling quarterback and a team with a high second-round pick that wants to get a QB on a fifth-year option…
When previous reports indicated that the Jaguars wanted Sammy Watkins, Jeff Darlington thinks it is in fact Mike Evans they want.
TEN THINGS I HATE ABOUT SOURCES (UPDATE): Per Albert Breer, Detroit and Buffalo are focused on “getting help to their quarterbacks” in this draft.
Adam Schefter says that the Houston Texans are “locked in” on a player and is not expected a trade. THIS SEEMS KIND OF LATE FOR THIS SORT OF THING, SO I ASSUME IT’S A CALL FOR FINAL OFFERS FOR A TRADE.
Ian Rapaport thinks that Zygi Wilf flying in means a meeting about Johnny Manziel. I doubt it, because the owners fly in every year for the draft to sit in the war room. Still, he’s very definitive that the call will be made there in the meeting. I hope this isn’t the case because a) I don’t want owners interfering with general managers and their decisions b) the day of the draft is TOO LATE for these kind of decisions, as I mentioned with the Texans story.
DRAFT DAY ISN’T A DOCUMENTARY.
Breer’s read on the situation is that the Vikings are high on Manziel and like Bridgewater, but do not want Bridgewater at eight, preferring to take him later.
Multiple people are arguing that two receivers WILL go in the top five, by hook or crook (trade). Given the focus on Buffalo and Detroit on building offensive playmakers, this is perfect.
Tony Pauline argues that the contradictory reports on Johnny Manziel and the Browns are both true, because they do love Manziel, just not at #4. They would like a receiver at that pick (probably Evans) and then trade back into the top ten should Manziel slide, with their other pick (#26). Blake Bortles is the dark horse at pick four.
Speaking of ownership meddling, Pauline further reports the Glazers (no relation to Jay) of Tampa Bay want Johnny Football. Lovie Smith, predictably doesn’t and reportedly wants Aaron Donald.
Joel Bitonio is a prime candidate for the Panthers. Even though Cam doesn’t have weapons, it IS a receiver-rich draft, and they may be able to grab some underrated playmakers later. GMs are mocking Bitonio to the Panthers at that pick.
The 49ers really like Odell Beckham and have a lot of ammo to trade up to get him. I still don’t think they’ll be able to.
UPDATE NINE FROM OUTER SPACE: Per Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Rams and the Falcons have a deal in place if Clowney is still there, presumably so that a) the Falcons have leverage against the Texans to lower the price, b) in case the Texans DO balk at a trade c) if the Texans balking also means they pick Khalil Mack when they could probably have him a little later by trading down a smidgen. Eric Galko has been reporting such a deal between the Falcons and Rams since the combine.
The Ravens and the 49ers have talked trade (brotherly connection?) per Ian Rapaport. Also per him, the Jets have spoken of moving up, specifically with the Titans but also other teams in order to draft a receiver (I assume Odell Beckham, Jr.). I don’t think the Titans want to give up a shot at Barr.
Per Tony Pauline at Draft Insider, GMs’ own mock drafts have the following:
2. Rams – Jake Matthews (if the Rams keep the pick)
3. Jaguars – Sammy Watkins
15. Steelers – Kyle Fuller (they love Eric Ebron, too—odd considering how much Kevin Colbert commented on the immaturity of the class, and that’s Ebron’s knock)
18. Jets – (If they don’t trade up) Brandin Cooks
21. Packers – C.J. Mosley or Ryan Shazier (Barr if he drops—and if they trade back, Weston Richburg)
22. Eagles – Marqise Lee and Brandin Cooks
24. Bengals – Bradley Roby
31. Broncos – Weston Richburg
Jason La Canfora is confident that the Cleveland Browns will select Bridgewater at pick 26.
Also, more and more reports are coming in from people I generally trust (and whom they trust) that Manziel is not the top of the quarterbacks board for Dallas, he’s second to Bortles.
But that is a lot of people who have just recently begun mocking Manziel to Dallas. Albert Breer and Gil Brandt—Brandt used to work for the Cowboys, remember—thinks the Cowboys like Shazier at Pick 16.
UPDATE EIGHT (NO FATE BUT WHAT WE MAKE): Per Albert Breer, Spielman had identified nine quarterbacks the Vikings would be comfortable taking. Those nine quarterbacks have been put into “buckets” designating when they’d be comfortable taking them.
So, the first bucket would be QBs they’d feel comfortable taking at eight, the second at forty and so on.
Those QBs are Manziel, Bridgewater, Bortles, McCarron, Mettenberger, Garoppolo, Carr, Savage and Fales.
UPDATE SEVEN (ELECTRIC BOOGALOO): New news on Cleveland—word is Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans to Cleveland, and the Raiders want the other of the two. If for whatever reason, Watkins or Evans are both gone before the Raiders pick, then the Raiders want Aaron Donald.
BUT WAIT—someone I trust equally says that there is no interest for Donald from Oakland, and they’d rather have Khalil Mack or trade down. For what it’s worth, Galko of Optimum Scouting is of the mind that Oakland does like Donald.
The two people differ on Jacksonville—one thinks Jaguars will select Mack, the other Watkins. If they select Watkins, then Oakland has a clear shot at Mack.
The Browns have discussed swapping picks for Atlanta. If Atlanta cannot get a deal done for Houston to grab Clowney, then they may move up to the Browns spot to grab Mack.
Same source (Sal Paolantonio) believes that the Buffalo Bills are serious about moving up into the top five (based on what I know, below, that would be for Mike Evans).
Houston, St. Louis, Oakland, Tampa Bay and Minnesota have all had discussions on dealing down out of their spots in the Top 10.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) May 8, 2014
Which isn’t to say some of those teams will move out of the top ten, more that they are moving out of the spot in the top ten that they have (the distinction is important for St. Louis, who has multiple picks). The Rams and Houston may want to trade down but still have a top ten pick.
The Texans have been shopping a generic deal, per Jay Glazer, of three firsts and a second for their #1 pick. He mentioned that it would naturally be a sliding scale based on where the team was in the order. This means the Texans are willing to settle for less.
And as I typed that, I found John McClain’s tweet that they did in fact drop their price to a swap in the first, a second, a third and a future first. Quite the drop.
As you might suspect, the Cowboys really like Aaron Donald, per Ed Werder. Not huge news there.
Kiper and McShay agree on the top five in their mock, which is probably indicative of something:
1. Houston: Clowney
2. St. Louis: Robinson
3. Jacksonville: Mack
4. Cleveland: Watkins
5. Oakland: Evans
McShay, Galko AND Mayock have Manziel to Dallas. So I guess mark it Donald or Manziel, depending on whether or not a trade occurs. Ian Rapaport among others disagree and think Bortles is at the top of their QB board. WE WILL PROBABLY ACTUALLY FIND OUT, KNOWING DALLAS.
Everyone has Bortles to the Cardinals (Dan Brugler, McShay, Galko, Draft Twitter, etc.).
RETURN OF THE UPDATE EPISODE SIX: All of these updates are courtesy Eric Galko at Optimum Scouting. Marcus Martin is a target for the Saints, but it would surprise me if they selected him in the first round. The vast majority of these rumors concern first-round targets, so it is more likely than not that that is the case even with my doubts.
Deone Bucannon should be expected to go in the first round—you should watch for the Packers, Chiefs and Patriots to eye him. They all have their favorites besides him, so he’s not a lock (Shazier, Easley, etc).
The potential Eric Berry trade could include the Falcons as the suitor. This seems to be a likely plan only if the Falcons do not succeed in trading up. The Chiefs really want to get into the second round.
Louis Nix has character concerns aside from his impressive social media presence. He needed handlers at Notre Dame and suffered from weight fluctuations. He connects Nix to the Chargers at #25 (corner be damned) and Texans at #33.
There are evidently “serious medical concerns” surrounding Darqueze Dennard and Jason Verrett. Verrett is known to need labrum surgery in his shoulder, but I hadn’t heard of Dennard. The issue is a double hernia surgery. Kyle Fuller had a sports hernia that he played through but is supposed to have fully recovered.
C.J. Mosley is now off more than just the Vikings’ board for medical concerns and may not even be drafted at all on Thursday.
Ryan Shazier should go in the top half of the first round of the draft, according to Galko.
Both Galko and Mayock are on board the Manziel-to-Dallas train, not that either agree it’s a good idea. Eric sees seven locks for the seven spots, in no particular order: Jadeveon Clowney, Greg Robinson, Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Aaron Donald, Jake Matthews, Khalil Mack.
The specific picks he likes: Zack Martin to the Bills (high character player may vault himself above Taylor Lewan on a few boards), Anthony Barr to the Titans, Morgan Moses to the Ravens, Brandin Cooks to the Jets and Ja’Wuan James to the Dolphins.
UPDATE V: Mike Mayock is really sold on Manziel to the Cowboys, and they’re willing to package together picks to move up and grab him.
UPDATE TO THE FOURTH: Pen the first-round pick for Carolina as Joel Bitonio, per the same source (Pauline).
UPDATE x3: Tony Pauline reports the non-shocking news that the Cardinals are attempting to come away with a QB in the first three rounds.
More from Pauline indicates that an owner at some point will force a Manziel pick, and that the Buccaneers are definitely a team where that could happen.
The Cleveland Browns, however, like Mike Evans and not Manziel—at least as far as their front office goes.
ALSO UPDATE: Lots of folks love Kyle Fuller. Namely, the Steelers and the Eagles.
UPDATE: The most recent Manziel rumor is now “Manziel to the Jaguars,” per John McClain, a Texans insider.
The Houston Texans‘ consistently most mocked pick is Jadeveon Clowney, but the rumors that they’re willing to trade down are strong—in fact they’re not so much as rumors as they are confirmed by the Texans themselves. They’ve also indicated that they’re willing to trade pick #33, likely down.
They also seem to be interested in Maine Outside Linebacker (edge rusher) Michael Cole, proving that Kendall James (CB) isn’t the only Maine prospect worth tracking.
Every single 2-3 round mock draft I’ve catalogued, save for one of the fifty, has the Texans taking a quarterback with pick #33. The other mock has them taking Tom Savage at #65.
The Clowney pick, if they don’t trade down, is not a certainty. Aside from Gil Brandt’s report that Mack is going before Clowney as well as Peter King’s mock of Mack to Houston, NFLTR seems to think there’s a lot of doubt about it in general.
There isn’t much word on the Washington Redskins. Despite consistently hearing that they should trade Kirk Cousins, they’ve said more than a few times that they aren’t willing to trade him. The word is that they’d get a third-round, maximum, for him.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are in a pretty good spot, and figure to take whoever between Teddy Bridgewater, Khalil Mack and Jadeveon Clowney will fall to them and are high on all three of them. That said, the more recent slew of mock drafts put Sammy Watkins to them, and they’ve indicated that they’re not counting on Justin Blackmon playing for them next season.
There’s also an indication that they may in fact be targeting Jake Matthews.
As it stands, the most surprising but likely indication may end up being Sammy Watkins, with a quarterback at pick #39. Again and again, GM David Caldwell has been linked to “safe” picks, and HC Gus Bradley even mentioned at the Combine that they are not “arrogant enough” to think they can “fix” any players coming out.
The Cleveland Browns are evidently high on both Johnny Manziel and Derek Carr, and using the 26th pick on either figures to be the strategy by most analysts. According to Ian Rapaport, you could add Teddy Bridgewater to that list.
There has also been a contradictory rumor that they’re willing to pick Manziel at #4 overall. This stems from the fact that the owner, Jimmy Haslem, reportedly “loves” Manziel. As Bud Adams proved with Vince Young, the guy who signs the checks usually gets his way.
Ray Farmer, Browns GM, is very high on Sammy Watkins, but that doesn’t mean he’s a draft target. Same with quarterback Blake Bortles, though more as a target later on than with the fourth pick.
One of the most reliable insiders in sports, Jay Glazer, disagrees. A rational person would back off, but I still think it’s very likely. Given how rarely he’s wrong, I’m sure I’ll be caught with egg on my face.
Should they choose against Watkins or Manziel, they could be a trade partner with the Dolphins or any other number of teams in the 18-22 range.
The Oakland Raiders have two theoretical targets from what I hear (Sammy Watkins and Khalil Mack), but are also candidates to trade down. They specifically do not seem interested in the quarterbacks with the fifth overall pick, but are intrigued by both Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater. They are also high on Mike Evans.
I’m hearing the most likely scenario at this point is the following:
- Houston Texans – Jadeveon Clowney
- St. Louis Rams – Greg Robinson
- Jacksonville Jaguars – Sammy Watkins
- Cleveland Browns – Johnny Manziel
- Oakland Raiders – Trade
The Atlanta Falcons have been a prime target for trading up, and have been mocked in trades up to #2 consistently for Khalil Mack or Jadeveon Clowney, depending on what the Texans do. With the Texans selling the #1 overall pick and Thomas Dimitroff’s propensity for trading, they could make even more of a splash.
If the Falcons still have a third-round pick after all the drama passes, they may look at LSU running back Jeremy Hill.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have almost universally been mocked Mike Evans, but there’s more than a rumor that they’re interested in Derek Carr at #7 overall, especially with Jeff Tedford—a close friend of the Carr family—as the offensive coordinator. The small data we have on the decisionmaking process in war rooms (books like Michael Holley’s “War Room,” Nicholas Dawidoff’s “Collision Low Crossers,” Tom Callahan’s “The GM,” and John Feinstein’s “Next Man Up”) suggests that these connections can be very meaningful.
Of course, Buffalo passing on former Syracus QB Ryan Nassib when former Syracus head coach took over the Bills job may mean we look to far into it.
All that said, someone reassures me that Bortles to Tampa Bay is a big possibility. There is a good indication that they do not really want Mike Evans, which means any potential trade partners will have an easier time of it.
With Gerald McCoy’s injury history and the fact that he’s in the last year of his contract, Aaron Donald is a real possibility. Otherwise, an offensive tackle if they’re rated highly enough.
The final rumor I’ve found is from PFT—a trade up to #2 with the Rams for Johnny Manziel. This could be the “draft day trade that could blow the top off the draft” that Louis Riddick was referring to.
I naturally have more rumors regarding the Minnesota Vikings than any other team because 1) this is a Vikings website and 2) the Vikings may have the most awkward spot in the draft.
The rumor mill indicates that the Vikings are high on quarterback Johnny Manziel, quarterback Blake Bortles, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, linebacker Khalil Mack, cornerback Darqueze Dennard, receiver Mike Evans and linebacker C.J. Mosley. Those same rumor-mongers also like the Vikings to target Zach Mettenberger or Derek Carr with the 40th pick.
The rumor mill also indicates that the Vikings are low on Blake Bortles and have C.J. Mosley and Zach Mettenberger off their boards entirely—Mosley for medical reasons an Mettenberger for off-field reasons. Good to know that the Vikings can be simulataneously high and low on the same players.
Those off-field reasons for Mettenberger may have been confirmed with Mettenberger’s “positive test” at the combine—a positive not because any illegal substances were detected in his urine (there were no trace of them) but because his sample was too diluted. This is of particular importance given his history of “recrational drug use” when he was at Georgia.
Over-drinking water before a drug test is a pretty common method of avoiding detection, but in this case Mettenberger’s agent quickly produced paperwork from his trainer indicated that the muscle cramps Mettenberger took during his ACL recovery demanded additional hydration. That paperwork was rejected by Dr. Lawrence Brown, the NFL’s advisor for drugs of abuse, alcohol and HIV.
Other players recovering from ACL surgery did not get flagged for diluted urine, and some masking agents can actually cause muscle cramping, but it also is something that is really easy to believe on face, too—water is the most common response to muscle cramps, and muscle cramps are really common in rehabilitation.
C.J. Mosley’s medical red flag may be unique to Minnesota, but imply a problem beyond just his knees.
The things I’ve heard from the people I trust the most say the following: the Vikings are not sold on Blake Bortles with the eighth pick, and that the Aaron Donald interest is both real and contrived—they like him as a player, but are not planning on taking him with the eighth pick, instead using him as bait for a trade down in the teens to get Teddy Bridgewater.
Otherwise, the folks I’ve talked to indicate that the Vikings are also very much interested in Johnny Manziel, but there is a strong feeling he’ll be gone by pick four anyway. If they do trade up, it will be to pick #5 with the Oakland Raiders, and it will probably be for Khalil Mack.
If that doesn’t happen and the Vikings also cannot swing a trade down, they may be more interested in Darqueze Dennard than Aaron Donald.
Should Mike Evans fall, he’ll be a serious consideration but ultimately may be trade bait (like I believe Donald to be).
The Vikings have been linked to Sam Bradford by Jason La Canfora via trade, but others like Ian Rapaport have indicated that the Rams and the Vikings have not talked at all. Mike Florio also says that the Rams are committed to Bradford, even though they will likely draft one sometime in the draft this year. Rick Spielman further denied these claims when speaking to reporters today. For what it’s worth, La Canfora says the Rams denied those claims, but personnel men outside of both organizations believe these discussions have happened. Norv Turner was a big fan of Bradford coming out of Oklahoma and this would pair him back up with Adrian Peterson.
The Buffalo Bills have been linked to a trade up into the top five for the past week or so, and ESPN basically confirmed the strength of this rumor on Sportscenter. In particular, they like Texas A&M receiver Mike Evans, who would round out a strong receiving corps featuring Robert Woods, Stevie Johnson and Marquise Goodwin.
With how things are currently projected, they could be aiming for pick #5, where the Oakland Raiders are selling.
Otherwise, there are rumors that the Bills are interested in offensive lineman Zack Martin. It’s a little higher than he’s been generally projected, but he’s a good all-around lineman that can get their run-game going again.
The Detroit Lions, plagued with discipline issues as they are, seem not to be interested in offensive tackle Taylor Lewan. Further, they also are evidently low on Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
The Tennessee Titans may really like UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr—their linebackers coach, Lou Spanos, was his defensive coordinator at UCLA the past two years, and one of the people that suggested Barr switch from RB to LB.
They need help in more than one place and now have a running back to replace. To that end, they are high on LSU RB Jeremy Hill, probably in the third round.
The New York Giants have been linked to two players as far as I can tell: Zack Martin and Aaron Donald. The Giants are known for loving defensive linemen and may consider Damontre Moore/Johnathan Hankins/Aaron Donald/Jason Pierre-Paul the starting defensive line of the future.
That said, they need a lot of help on the offensive line, and Martin has played everywhere on the line with skill and poise. For what it’s worth, Peter King really likes the idea and has heard it was a big possibility.
Despite that need on the offensive line, the general manager stressed taking the “cleanest guy possible” in round one, and Taylor Lewan is not that guy. There is also some indication that Ryan Nassib is on the trading block.
Given their need at tight end, some have connected the Giants to Eric Ebron, but potential character flags have had them back off (immaturity). They are not particularly enamored with him.
Aside from that, Odell Beckham is a favorite of theirs as well.
The St. Louis Rams are very interested in trading down, and a lot of talk has been about their ability to do that from the #2 spot. They are supposedly high on Johnny Manziel, and that interest is supposed to be genuine.
In the final two rounds, they may also be interested in South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw.
The Chicago Bears are also big fans of Aaron Donald, but it’s looking less and less like that is a possibility for them. They are also considering Kony Ealy, and the fact that many teams see him as a potential defensive tackle convert from the DE position he played at Missouri may make him a very viable first-round target. Aside from that, I have not heard much about them.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are high on Greg Robinson, but it is extremely unlikely they’ll be able to get him even by trade. Instead, they are more likely to grab Ra’Shede Hageman at #15 to shore up their weak defensive end depth. They currently do not have Brett Keisel on the roster but have not ruled it out.
If they don’t draft Hageman, look for an edge rusher. Even though they drafted Jarvis Jones, they could still find ways to generate pressure.
The Steelers are open to trading down, but not up.
The Dallas Cowboys are high on a lot of guys that they probably won’t get. They like Johnny Manziel (despite Jerry Jones’ probably accurate reassurances that they will not use a quarterback on their first overall pick). They also like Kony Ealy, Zack Martin and Aaron Donald a lot.
Ian Rapaport argues that the Dallas Cowboys will ultimately target a receiver like USC’s Marqise Lee or LSU’s Odell Backham, Jr.
Anthony Barr is a name connected to them as well.
The Baltimore Ravens have had some ink spilled in their name as the draft approaches, and the most consistent rumor I’ve heard is that Virginia’s Morgan Moses is high on the Ravens’ board which would be a surprise given the nature of the talent boards around the NFL. That doesn’t mean he’s the target at their pick, but if they trade back it could be for him.
That said, Tony Pauline has heard differently, and Eric Ebron is their “number one target.” I haven’t confirmed the Moses-Ravens stuff, so Pauline could very well be correct. The Ravens are one of many teams connected to Ebron.
The two running backs that have been mentioned with the Ravens are LSU’s Jeremy Hill and Towson’s Terrance West, and may even grab Hill in the second round. Towson’s location in Baltimore may make him a fan favorite.
The New York Jets are extremely high on Odell Beckham, Jr. The fact that he’s projected as a stellar kick returner and that their current special teams coach worked closely with Beckham at LSU when he was their special teams coach for the last three years only helps.
It sounds more and more like the Jets would need to trade up to get him, and it sounds a little like they’re willing to do that. A separate rumor has indicated that they want to trade up for a receiver, and my guess is that Beckham is it.
They also seem to be interested in Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd as a late-round pick.
The Miami Dolphins are expected to target an offensive lineman at pick #19, but it sounds like their target (specifically Zack Martin) will be off the board by then. As it stands, I’ve heard that Alabama right tackle Cyrus Kouandjio is off their board for medical reasons. Jason La Canfora disagrees, and sees Kouandjio as their target.
A player not on the offensive line, linebacker Ryan Shazier from Ohio State, is a favorite of Miami, even if they don’t draft him for positional reasons. He scores extremely high for them as having extraordinarily good character. His crazy athleticism should only help.
The Arizona Cardinals also like Kony Ealy, and interestingly USC pass-rusher Morgan Breslin—who was touted highly before the season, but has dropped significantly. Maine OLB Michael Cole could also be a target for them later on.
They are also reportedly interested in quarterback Blake Bortles and he could fall this far, especially as the word may be that many teams do not in fact have him in the first round.
The Cardinals are also one of the teams projected to trade up, per Dan Pompei, for Eric Ebron should he fall out of the top ten.
The next team, the Green Bay Packers, are also potentially interested in Eric Ebron per the same report, but that feels less likely than some of the other teams given how the Packers draft and who they need—even though they lost Jermichael Finley and have limited TE depth, they aren’t really in need of pass-catchers.
Another option for them could be Ryan Shazier, especially if the generally projected pick, C.J. Mosley, isn’t around or is not their flavor.
While Packers’ draftniks have generally not been a fan of the Calvin Pryor projection, Jason La Canfora thinks the pick is instead Washington State safety Deone Bucannon.
The Philadelphia Eagles like Odell Beckham, Jr as much as anyone else it seems, and really do want to get a receiver at some point in the draft. Beckham is certainly a system fit and the fact that GM Howie Roseman has been in contact with two other teams could be an indication that he’ll go fairly high and that the Eagles may want to trade up for him.
If not, Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks would fit in perfectly with the Eagles.
The Kansas City Chiefs are rumored to be shopping safety Eric Berry, which would be extremely interesting. They may even be willing to only grab a second-rounder for the top-tier safety. They might also want to trade pro bowl cornerback Brandon Flowers, per Dan Pompei.
I’ve also heard that the Chiefs are a low-key candidate for a quarterback should one fall. For what it’s worth, I did mock them Johnny Manziel. The issue is that contract talks with Alex Smith haven’t been progressing well and that he wasn’t the one to make their offense go.
Without a second-round pick, they may be missing out on a talent-rich draft. If they don’t trade Berry or Flowers (which really seems like a stretch), they could trade back into the second for a team that’s interested in Derek Carr.
There’s some talk that Teddy Bridgewater is an option for the Cincinnati Bengals. Most people have been mocking them a cornerback, which makes sense, but seems kind of odd.
The San Diego Chargers are high on Ohio State center Corey Linsley, but I doubt he’s worth a first-round pick to them. A late round prospect they could be interested in is Morgan State cornerback Joe Rankin. The Chargers are one of many teams that Eastern Washington’s edge rusher Anthony Larry has drawn interest from.
The Indianapolis Colts are one team that hasn’t hit my radar at all. Haven’t heard anything about them, and that could be because they don’t have a first-r0und pick. One thing I have heard is about Maine tight end Justin Perillo, further proof that the Maine squad has multiple draft-worthy players I hadn’t heard of.
The New Orleans Saints want to pair Kenny Vaccaro with another safety, and it sounds like Western Kentucky’s Jonathan Dowling is their man, even though they have a top safety in Jairus Byrd.
They are evidently high on interior offensive lineman Marcus Martin, who may now go in the first round.
The Carolina Panthers have been connected with all sorts of receivers in the draft, and despite a need on the offensive line, it’s pretty clear that it’s their biggest need. They are reportedly high on Marqise Lee and Brandin Cooks. Look for receivers who were especially productive in college, per Peter King.
If they do go for an offensive lineman, look for Nevada’s Joel Bitonio or Virginia’s Morgan Moses, whom they seem to like.
The New England Patriots are consistently mocked Ra’Shede Hageman from Minnesota—more so than any other player with any other team in the bottom half of the draft—but the reports are that they’re actually low on Hageman, and MMQB is skeptical of the Hageman-to-Patriots connection.
Instead, they’ve been connected to injury concern, but preternaturally talented Dominique Easley, and occasionally Notre Dame 5T Stephon Tuitt.
Aside from the defensive line, they also seem to be interested in Odell Beckham, Jr. but I doubt they trade up for him, or that he’ll fall. Instead, King thinks they will once again trade out of the 29th pick.
They are also very interested in Pitt quarterback Tom Savage, especially as his former coach at Rutgers, Greg Schiano, still seems to love him.
The San Francisco 49ers seem desperate to trade up for a receiver, and they have all the ammo in the world to do so. It still seems unlikely that they’ll get Odell Beckham, but he’s a guy they like.
If Zach Mettenberger is still not drafted by Day Three, the 49ers could go after him.
The Denver Broncos like Ra’Shede Hageman quite a bit. That’s all I have, but the interest is real.
The Seattle Seahawks are looking to trade down even more, and may do so if a “special” player isn’t there. They value some form of measureable uniqueness, whether that’s length or speed and a prospect who fits that bill may not be there at #32.
As for individual players, there’s a chance that Stanford LB Shayne Skov will go completely undrafted because of slow recovery and a bad Pro Day.
Both Auburn defensive end Dee Ford and Boise State defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence are expected to go in the second round, and there’s a lot of talk about Cody Latimer going late in the first round.
Gil Brandt is of the mind that Khalil Mack will go ahead of Jadeveon Clowney.
Jason La Canfora seems to think that A.J. McCarron will be the fourth or fifth quarterback picked in the draft, and that evaluators have been gushing about him.
Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois safety, is considered to be talented enough for a late-first round pick.
Kony Ealy seems to be a defensive tackle prospect, which would increase his value to teams. Kevin Williams was a defensive end before being converted to a defensive tackle by the Vikings.