Less than three weeks before the NFL Draft kicks off and there’s plenty of news to catch up on. So lets get at it!
Sources close to the situation tell me the New York Jets made a serious offer to the Tennessee Titans for the initial pick of the draft. Those with knowledge of the situation tell me the team was close to getting the deal done.
I’m told it is believed veteran defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson was part of the deal.
And while many in the New York area dismissed my initial report earlier this week over the New York Jets being dark horses for trading to the top of the draft, it was revealed within 24 hours of the report that Jared Goff would be making an official visit to the franchise. Goff won’t make it past the fourth pick of the draft.
Will the Jets continue to attempt to move up into the early reaches of round one? Sources tell me they believe so but much depends on who the Los Angeles Rams ultimately select with the first pick in two weeks time.
Coaches and scouts from the Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots and Denver Broncos were on hand at Florida Atlantic for the workout of German receiver Moritz Boehringer and once again he impressed future employers.
Boehringer ran an unscripted positional workout where teams requested certain routes during the workout and Boehringer obliged. He not only caught the ball well but absorbed the requests and easily ran the route tree asked of him. Just like his initial pro-day on March 31st, Boehringer looked very natural. He had one-on-one interviews with all the teams in attendance beforehand.
Boehringer has five team visits starting this weekend and will be on the road starting tomorrow until April 20th.
Those on hand were also very complimentary of Jacoby Brissett, telling me the North Carolina State quarterback threw the ball well.
Back in February I reported Jalen Ramsey was atop the Dallas Cowboys draft board and can tell you nothing has changed as the Florida State defensive back is still number one with the organization. I’m told the team has Carson Wentz of North Dakota State as their highest rated quarterback and top three on their board.
Dallas has come off of Joey Bosa somewhat as I’m told Leon Lett is down on the Ohio State lineman. They continue to be very high on Buckeye running back Ezekiel Elliott. I spoke about both of those players being targets of the Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles.com two weeks ago.
The Cowboys are one of four teams that have inquired on moving up to the top spot of the draft. The other three teams are the Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers and the New York Jets, who are the dark horse. The overall belief around the league is the Jets don’t have the ammunition to move up. The question is would they be willing to move up a half dozen spots is Paxton Lynch falls to the middle of round one?
I’ll have more Jets news next week.
During combine week I mentioned on Walters Football the word around Indianapolis centered on the Baltimore Ravens dropping back into the bottom half of round one then selecting a safety. I was told last week the team loves Su’a Cravens, hence he could be the target if they trade down. I’m was also told Baltimore will consider cornerback Cyrus Jones in round three.
There’s a belief the Tennessee Titans would be best trading down for a variety of reasons. Besides the usual, “collect more draft selections,” some have told me trading down would take the pressure of new general manager Jon Robinson. Its no necessarily an opinion I share with the likes of Laremy Tunsil and Joey Bosa at the top of the draft but its an opinion floating around none the less.
Washington State offensive lineman Joe Dahl is building some momentum for himself and there’s a belief he could land in the second day of the draft. Teams like his athleticism and ability to adjust, something I spoke about during Senior Bowl week, and fee a bit more strength would complete his game. Dahl’s visit and workout schedule is loaded and includes the New York Jets, New England Patriots, Tampa Bay Bucs, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, San Diego Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, Carolina Panthers, Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts.
During pro-day at Texas A&M earlier this week I posted the visit list for Germain Ifedi at Walters Football. Absent from the teams on the list were the Seattle Seahawks yet most people I speak with feel Ifedi is a great fit for the team at the end of round one. The recurring comment is “Ifedi is a Seattle Seahawks type of lineman.”
German receiver Moritz Boehringer is participating in an open workout for all NFL teams at Florida Atlantic beginning 1PM today. Jacoby Brissett of North Carolina State is slated as the practice quarterback. I should have updates through the afternoon.
Speaking of updates…I apologize to all who have asked about my delinquent position ranking updates but the daily pro-day reports at Walter’s Football took enormous time. I should ranking updates by Monday, the initial posting of 700+ individual reports starting next weekend, the final rankings and updates through draft week.
Just a week left before the 2016 NFL Combine kicks off as the offensive linemen and running backs are set to take field next Friday. But before anyone runs a forty yard dash across the turf in Lucas Oil Stadium, here’s the latest news as team prepare to ascend on Indianapolis.
Eyebrows were raised when I reported from Shrine Game practice that a number of teams grade Kevin Dodd over his Clemson teammate Shaq Lawson and as time passes those rumblings continue to get louder. Much has to do with the fact team’s believe Dodd brings more upside and a higher ceiling compared to Lawson. Dodd is expected to measure 6-feet/5-inches and 275lbs at the combine and has a height advantage over Lawson. As of this posting Dodd has been informed he will only be asked to participate in defensive line work at the combine despite the fact there are a number of 3-4 teams considering him at outside linebacker. He has been working on linebacker techniques with former NFL defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell and will run through OLB position drills during Pro-day if asked. I’m told his forty goal at the combine is 4.8-seconds or faster.
Could the Arizona Cardinals be a landing spot for Dodd in round one? Yes, potentially, as I’m told the team will target defensive ends in the first round and also hope to add a safety in the early part of the draft.
If the Buffalo Bills don’t grab a quarterback in the first frame one player at the position they will consider later is Kevin Hogan of Stanford. I was informed the team came away from the Senior Bowl very impressed with his athleticism as well as his arm strength and really like his next level potential.
I graded tight end Jerell Adams as a 7th round pick prior to really digging into the South Carolina game film last week. Since finishing up there’s definitely a need to adjust my grade. I later spoke with people around the league who believe Adams made major strides in 2015 and went from being a basketball player on the football field in 2014 to becoming a tight end last season. Teams are not only awed by his athleticism (Adams is hoping to run in the low 4.6’s and vertical jump at least 37-inches at the combine after weighing in near 248-pounds) but the toughness he displayed as a blocker during the Senior Bowl. Given the overall weakness at the position its not unrealistic Adams becomes the fourth tight end off the board in April.
One non-combine tight end prospect that’s always intrigued me is Michigan’s A.J. Williams. The senior was not rated by teams entering the season but has garnered a lot of interest from both the New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys recently. Williams has offensive tackle size at 6-feet/5-inches and almost 270-pounds but moves well about the field and is a solid short range passing catching target. Expect him to time in the 4.8’s during Michigan pro-day and though Williams may not be selected in the draft, he’ll have an opportunity next season as a third tight end brought onto the field during short yardage situations or in the red zone.
In the lead up to the combine teams have been buzzing over Kamalei Correa of Boise State. The junior, who lined up at defensive end in college, is projected to outside linebacker by most though some teams feel he could play inside in a 3-4 alignment. The Broncos bowl game against Northern Illinois offered scouts a glimpse into the versatility and athleticism of Correa, intangibles more and more teams want at inside linebacker. I’m told Correa will measure 6-feet/3-inches and 245lbs at the combine, with his goal in the forty being the mid 4.7’s.
Prior to the season Boston College linebacker Steven Daniels received little notice from scouts despite productive junior and sophomore campaigns when he combined for 160 tackles. Although the Senior Bowl was stacked with terrific middle/inside linebacker prospects many thought Daniels was worthy of an invitation to Mobile and it was a travesty he was not asked to play at the Shrine Game. In the end it won’t matter as Daniels will be working out for teams next Sunday at the combine. He’ll likely measure a shade under 6-feet tall and should tip the scales in the mid-240’s. Expect Daniels forty time to be somewhere in the high 4.7’s to low 4.8’s. Presently I grade him as a sixth round prospect.
Workouts at the NFL combine start two weeks from Friday as the offensive linemen and tight ends take the field at Lucas Oil Stadium. In the run-up to the combine here is the latest word from insiders.
How early will Myles Jack of UCLA be draft? The word from NFL decision makers is very early. Some, including my buddy Josh Norris at Rotoworld, grade Jack as the top player in the draft. And though many would disagree, including myself, its not a far fetched opinion. NFL decision makers are referring to Jack as a “rare athlete”, a label not often thrown around. They love his athleticism, intensity and versatility to play three downs in a variety of schemes. They also point to the four touchdowns he scored when lined up at running back. When I mentioned my concern about his size the name of Shaq Thompson, the Panthers first round pick in 2015, was brought up. It was also pointed out Jack is head and shoulders a better prospect than Thompson.
How do NFL executives feel the initial five picks will fall? In recent conversations before the Super Bowl the order that gets the most votes at this early stage is 1) Laremy Tunsil, 2) Jalen Ramsey, 3) Jared Goff, 4) Myles Jack, 5) Joey Bosa.
I heard talk during the Senior Bowl that Tunsil could be the first pick of the draft. Goff at three is interesting for a variety of reasons, including a potential trade.
One team that would not be happy to see Jalen Ramsey going so early are the Dallas Cowboys as I’m told he’s presently graded as the top player on their board.
Someone drawing a lot of interest and intrigue from teams is former LSU cornerback Rashard Robinson. Personnel people from the Oakland Raiders and New York Giants believe Robinson would’ve competed for the top cornerback spot in this year’s draft had he played the past two seasons and built upon his impressive freshman campaign. I’m told he will measure over 6-feet/2-inches and is expected to run the forty in the 4.3’s at the combine. I’ve also been told Robinson has been invited to participate at LSU’s pro-day. As someone told me earlier today teams are willing to roll the dice on tall corners that can run fast as the demand far outstrips the supply. The point being Robinson could be selected much earlier than people project.
Trevone Boykin has received an invitation to the combine and will be working out with the quarterbacks two weeks from Saturday. I’m told Boykin has been doing receiver work during his combine preparation but presently there are no plans for him to run routes or catch passes in Indianapolis or during pro-day at TCU. Rather Boykin will workout at receiver as teams come to campus to individually test Josh Doctson and Kolby Listenbee.
People I’ve spoken with believe the out of the box office moves by the Cleveland Browns will pay off in the long run. The feeling among many is Paul DePodesta and Sashi Brown, both Harvard graduates, will install a system that should weed out the bad apples and finally end the run of draft busts that has plagued the franchise for years.
Recently the New York Jets were linked to quarterback Colin Kaepernick but no one I’ve spoken with, even from Kaepernick’s camp, feel there’s any legitimacy in this potential move. I can say without a doubt general manager Mike Maccagnan is not sitting around admiring the Executive of the Year Award recently handed to him by the PFWA. People I’ve spoken with laud Maccagnan and the Jets for leaving no stone unturned since the end of the season and the team has literally interviewed every player that attended each of January’s All Star games.
I’m told the Jets really like third year offensive tackle Brent Qvale, which could offer them some flexibility at the position. Many believe the team will try and renegotiate the contract of veteran left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson to give themselves more cap space.