Archive for the ‘NFL Combine’ Category

Is Tannehill a top ten prospect?

Is Tannehill a top ten prospect?

The 2012 NFL Combine is almost upon us all. The anticipation of 40-times and cone drills is nearly unbearable. Thus, it is time for the mock which is dubbed uncanny — a pre-Combine edition.

TFY contributor Brent Sobleski stepped up to the plate and predicted the first two rounds of the NFL draft.

Round 1

# Team Selection Position/College
1 Indianapolis Andrew Luck QB/Stanford
Analysis: Despite all of the posturing by Colts’ owner Jim Irsay and his current quarterback, Peyton Manning, it’s hard to imagine Indianapolis going in a different direction even at this juncture. It’s been Andrew Luck all along.
2 St. Louis Matt Kalil OT/USC
Analysis: The slot has already been discussed as a likely trade spot for a team to leap up and grab quarterback Robert Griffin III. Matt Kalil isn’t a consolation prize. He’s a franchise left tackle to protect Sam Bradford’s blindside. Roger Saffold can simply slide inside to guard or move to right tackle if Jason Smith is eventually cut.
3 Minnesota Morris Claiborne CB/LSU
Analysis: Minnesota will sit at No. 3 and wait to see which top talent slides to it. Age and inconsistency have plagued a secondary the Vikings have already invested heavily, but Mo Claiborne is hard to surpass to replace Antoine Winfield
4 Cleveland Robert Griffin III QB/Baylor
Analysis: Colt McCoy proved he wasn’t the answer at quarterback last year in the Cleveland, and the Browns need a tremendous talent boost among their annually awful offense. It all starts with the quarterback, and Cleveland hopes RGIII will be there without having to trade up to acquire his services.
5 Tampa Bay Riley Reiff OT/Iowa
Analysis: Greg Schiano was a surprise hire by Tampa Bay, but there is nothing surprising in how he built the Rutgers program. Defense and toughness in the trenches is where Schiano will start, and Riley Reiff fits the bill perfectly.
6 Washington Michael Floyd WR/Notre Dame
Analysis: Michael Floyd may not be the top rated WR in this class by many, but he is an ideal fit in a west coast offense. His physicality, route running and size make him a better option for the Redskins’ offense than his peer, Justin Blackmon.
7 Jacksonville Justin Blackmon WR/Oklahoma State
Analysis: Jacksonville, now under the supervision of the offensive minded Mike Mularkey, should jump at the opportunity to finally acquire a legitimate top target (something the team has lacked since Jimmy Smith). Blackmon will certainly help in Blaine Gabbert’s maturation under center.
8 Carolina Quinton Coples DE/North Carolina
Analysis: Coples, simply put, is an enigma. He has all the tools to be a dominant end, yet he never put it all together at North Carolina. His overall talent and positional value keep him hovering around the top ten, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him slide on draft day.
9 Miami Ryan Tannehill QB/Texas A&M
Analysis: Miami desperately wants to upgrade its quarterback position. The team hired Mike Sherman to be its offensive coordinator. Sherman coached Ryan Tannehill in college and recently compared him to Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre. It could all be a massive smokescreen, but the possibility is just too logical.
10 Buffalo Jonathan Martin OT/Stanford
Analysis: Demetrius Bell, the Bills’ starting left tackle, is looking for a big payday. Bell may not receive the compensation he’s searching for in Buffalo. His replacement last year, Chris Hairston, was severely outmatched. Jonathan Martin is a strong run blocker with enough athleticism to play the blindside at the next level.
11 Kansas City Trent Richardson RB/Alabama
Analysis: Over the past two seasons, new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll rode Peyton Hillis and Reggie Bush as both posted career numbers. Jammal Charles is expected to return, but it’s hard to pass on a talent like Trent Richardson at this point if there is even some uncertainty at the RB position.
12 Seattle Courtney Upshaw OLB/Alabama
Analysis: The Seahawks shall be searching for an QB, but they’re slotting isn’t favorable. Instead, the team can take the next step with an unit which already ranked ninth overall in total defense. Courtney Upshaw would bring toughness, pass rush ability and versatility to Pete Carroll’s front seven. 
13 Arizona Mike Adams OT/Ohio State
Analysis: Both of Arizona’s starting offensive tackles from last year’s squad are free agents. Neither may be retained by the Cardinals. Mike Adams is a bruising tackle with all the natural gifts to immediately start at left tackle.
14 Dallas
Dre Kirkpatrick CB/Alabama
Analysis: Dallas is in dire need of an upgrade within its secondary. The Cowboys lost multiple leads throughout the season, in part, to their 23rd ranked passing defense. Kirkpatrick is a tremendously talented cornerback who will have to answer multiple questions about potential off-the-field concerns.
15 Philadelphia Michael Brockers DT/LSU
Analysis: Michael Brockers is a raw prospect, but he has the length and ability to stuff the run which will help solidify a Philadelphia interior that played soft at times. The Eagles also have the opportunity to develop Brockers behind the likes of Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson. Derek Landri and Trevor Laws are both free agents.
16 NY Jets Nick Perry DE/USC
Analysis: Since NYJ head coach Rex Ryan implemented his attacking defense, the Jets have not had a constant edge rushing presence in their version of the 34. The team’s last attempt to address the problem in the draft was Vernon Gholston. Obviously, the team is still looking for the answer.
17 Cincinnati (from Oakland) Peter Konz OC/Wisconsin
Analysis: Both starting guards are free agents in Cincinnati. Peter Konz can play both guard and center at a high level. Kyle Cook has been consistent at center, but he also could be upgraded.  Konz is the physical type of lineman Cincinnati usually covets.
18 San Diego
David DeCastro OG/Stanford
Analysis: David DeCastro is very highly rated, but he does possess some holes in his game. The Chargers won’t complain since the team’s entire offensive line is in question. DeCastro immediately upgrades one of the guard positions.
19 Chicago Kendall Wright WR/Baylor
Analysis: Chicago has been searching for a large target to compliment the wide receivers already on the roster. Kendall Wright doesn’t fit that mold, but his explosive ability is hard to deny for a team which doesn’t possess a legitimate top target of any size or shape.
20 Tennessee Janoris Jenkins CB/North Alabama
Analysis: The uncertain fate of Cortland Finnegan helps make this selection. Janoris Jenkins has top ten ability, but he developed a few bad habits against inferior competition. The former Florida Gator would help build one of the better young secondaries in the NFL alongside Jason McCourty and Alterraun Verner.
21 Cincinnati Lamar Miller RB/Miami
Analysis: The Bengals and running back Cedric Benson have yet to sit down and negotiate a possible return. Benson, a free agent,  is already on the wrong side of 30 years. Lamar Miller could provide added insurance or start out of the gates.
22 Cleveland (from Atlanta) Dwayne Allen TE/Clemson
Analysis: Cleveland lacks offensive play makers, period. The team is in need of wide receivers, but tight ends are currently en vogue around the league. Dwayne Allen can provide match-up problems for opposing defenses while rotating among the Browns’ numerous two-tight sets.
23 Detroit Stephon Gilmore CB/South Carolina
Analysis: Ndamukong Suh and Detroit’s defensive line gets all of the attention, but the Lions’ secondary has been woeful in recent years. A defense is built from front to back, but cornerbacks still need to cover at least a little bit. Stephon Gilmore would be a step in the right direction. Gilmore has all the physical ability to be a No. 1 cornerback in the league, but he’s struggled with inconsistency.
24 Pittsburgh Brandon Washington OG/Miami
Analysis: Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin already decided to move Marcus Gilbert from right to left tackle. Willie Colon restructured his contract. Maurkice Pouncey is the rock in the middle. Brandon Washington is a massive yet athletically gifted guard/tackle who should fit in nicely with the Steelers revamped offensive line.
25 Denver Devon Still DT/Penn State
Analysis: Broderick Bunkley was a nice surprise for Denver in 2011, but he is a free agent. The Denver defensive interior was very thin on the depth chart past Bunkley. Devon Still is arguably the most well rounded defensive tackle in the class and should start immediately.
26 Houston Alshon Jeffrey WR/South Carolina
Analysis: It was easy to see the difference in Houston’s offense when Andre Johnson wasn’t available. Johnson has been a workhorse, but he needs a running mate. Kevin Walter has never proven to be that guy. Alshon Jeffrey should pair with Johnson to become a scary combination.
27 New England (from New Orleans) Melvin Ingram DE/South Carolina
Analysis: Is there a more perfect prospect for Bill Belichick to mold? Ingram has the ability to play defensive tackle, defensive end, outside linebacker and inside linebacker. The South Carolina product should add a consistent pass rush, something New England lacked over the past few seasons.
28 Green Bay Whitney Mercilus DE/Illinois
Analysis: Whitney Mercilus led the nation in sacks last year with 16. Clay Matthews III had a down season, in part, due to Green Bay’s lack of a true bookend. Mercilus may be better with his hand in the dirt at the moment, but some scouts believe he can be an outside linebacker in the Packers’ version of the 34.
29 Baltimore Dont’a Hightower LB/Alabama
Analysis: Ray Lewis can’t play forever. He just can’t. Eventually time will catch up with the future Hall of Fame linebacker. Dont’a Hightower is ideal replacement as a thumping mack linebacker in the middle of Baltimore’s imposing 34 defense.
30 San Francisco
Rueben Randle WR/LSU
Analysis: Too much of the blame fell on Alex Smith’s shoulders after the NFC championship game. The quarterback didn’t necessarily cost the 49ers a trip to the Super Bowl, but a lack of play makers on the outside surely did. Rueben Randle quietly went about his business this year at LSU. He has the size and surprising initial burst off the line to become a top target in the NFL.
31 New England Fletcher Cox DT/Mississippi State
Analysis: Brandon Deaderick, Kyle Love, Shaun Ellis and Gerard Warren surrounded Vince Wilfork in Super Bowl XLVI. Those names don’t exactly invoke Richard Seymour. Or even Ty Warren. Fletcher Cox has the length and versatility to mold into a top 34 DE.
32 NY Giants
Luke Kuechly LB/Boston College
Analysis: A former Boston College assistant coach once described Luke Kuechly’s instincts for the football as “Ed Reed-like.” Despite the Giants tremendous run to another championship, a gaping hole exists at MLB (sorry, Chase Blackburn). Kuechly is smart, productive and a Boston College product — everything Tom Coughlin loves.

Round 2

# Team Selection Position/College
33 St. Louis Mohamed Sanu WR/Rutgers
34 Indianapolis Dontario Poe NT/Memphis
35 Minnesota Zach Brown LB/North Carolina
36 Tampa Bay Alfonzo Dennard CB/Nebraska
37 Cleveland Vinny Curry DE/Marshall
38 Jacksonville Mark Barron S/Alabama
39 Washington Brandon Weeden QB/Oklahoma State
40 Carolina Brandon Thompson DT/Clemson
41 Buffalo Chandler Jones DE/Syracuse
42 Miami Coby Fleener TE/Stanford
43 Seattle Nick Foles QB/Arizona
44 Kansas City Josh Norman CB/Coastal Carolina
45 Dallas Cordy Glenn OG/Georgia
46 Philadelphia Vontaze Burfict LB/Arizona State
47 NY Jets Alameda Ta’amu DT/Washington
48 New England (from Oakland) Kelechi Osemele OG/Iowa State
49 San Diego Joe Adams WR/Arkansas
50 Chicago Mike Brewster C/Ohio State
51 Philadelphia (from Arizona) David Wilson RB/Virginia Tech
52 Tennessee Lavonte David LB/Nebraska
53 Cincinnati Bobby Wagner LB/Utah State
54 Detroit Bobby Massie OT/Mississippi
55 Atlanta Cam Johnson DE/Virginia
56 Pittsburgh Josh Chapman NT/Alabama
57 Denver Brock Osweiler QB/Arizona State
58 Houston Jerel Worthy DT/Michigan State
59 New Orleans Kevin Zeitler OG/Wisconsin
60 Green Bay
Jayron Hosley CB/Virginia Tech
61 Baltimore Stephen Hill WR/Georgia Tech
62 San Francisco Andre Branch DE/Clemson
63 New England Leonard Johnson CB/Iowa State
64 NY Giants Orson Charles TE/Georgia

Our heavy lifting is done as 710-scouting reports are complete and have been delivered to SI.com, besides the bulk of our pro-day coverage being complete.  Now the fun starts- nothing but insider news and notes for the next four weeks!!!  We’ll be updating this column three-to-four times a week or as information breaks.  So take a load off and be the first to know!!!  April 26th:  Updates on the UNC prospects…UF’s Jenkins already looking at supplemental draft

April 26th

- Florida Gator cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who was dismissed from the team on Tuesday after a second drug related arrest in three months, is already sending out feelers looking for representation for July’s supplemental draft. Sources have told us soon after the news publically broke of Jenkins dismissal from the program phone calls were received by potential agents from those representing Jenkins. This is a clear sign that the junior cornerback, who surprised many when he decided to bypass this week’s draft in large part due to a shoulder injury, will enter the supplemental draft.

- Over the past couple of weeks we’ve been following and harvesting a story on Tar Heel senior Quan Sturdivant.  Formerly rated as our top inside/middle linebacker prospect, Sturdivant has been dropping down a number of boards recently.  Scouts were initially disappointed when Sturdivant did not play at the Senior Bowl.  During the linebacker workout at the combine Sturdivant was initially announced to run the forty but a second announcement later stated he had hurt his hamstring warming up and Sturdivant chose not to run.  He later participated in linebacker drills with the rest of the invitees.  Sources close to the situation told us after the combine there were no plans for Sturdivant to run.  During the UNC pro-day Sturdivant ran 4.69-seconds, which many were disappointed with, then looked shaky in the drill session. Separate sources on hand told us his body language was awful and he had to be prodded by coaches to pick up the tempo.  In further research we found that several of his former teammates admitted Sturdivant rarely showed up at the teams workout facility after the combine ended, though he was constantly seen in Chapel Hill.  We’ve not found out whether he was at another facility training.  Last night came word that the linebacker was out of shape during a workout for the Atlanta Falcons, who traveled to Chapel Hill to workout the teams top defensive prospects.  Where does Sturdivant end up in the draft?  On film he’s a top 75 pick but numerous sources expect him to land in the draft’s final day.

- On the other hand several sources have told us defensive tackle Marvin Austin may just slide into the late part of round one- an improvement from where he was projected two months ago.

- This brings us to Greg Little.  We’ve had several different reports on the talented receiver but today a league source summed it up best calling Little, “this years version of Mike Williams” the physically gifted wide out that fell into the fourth round in the 2010 draft due to off the field concerns then went on to have a terrific rookie season for the Tampa Bay Bucs.

- One player that’s getting good reviews of late in Kenrick Ellis of Hampton.  We’ve been critical of his effort in the past but during conversations with opposing coaches from the MEAC the opinion was Ellis pulled it together in 2010 and was consistent on the field.

April 25th

-  During our previous two podcasts we spoke about the possibility of the federal judge lifting the lockout before the draft, which is what transpired today.  As of this moment the 2011 NFL season will be played under the 2010 uncapped rules.  Teams are now allowed to speak with players and trade veteran players. Sources have told us players and their reps will be on the lookout for any potential collusion by the owners.  And while the owners are expected to appeal the ruling numerous sources have told us they (owners) would be happy to play under last years contract and are in no rush to negotiate a settlement.  On the other hand as time passes the lockout is becoming an ugly situation from the players point of view.  Several people close to the situation offered numerous reasons, including the following:

  • Second tier free agents will not be in line for the big payday they expected as the rich crop of potential veteran free agents will be reduced as, once again, unrestricted free agency begins after the sixth year and not the fourth.  We’ve heard from several fifth year veterans that signed one year deals or tenders for the 2010 expecting to be free agents in 2011 and they are furious.
  • The rank and file are not getting updated on the situation or finding out about the ins and outs of the lockout.  One player admitted he gets most of his information and updates from the media rather than relying on the union or his team representative.
  • Players are wondering why the union started handing out lockout payments now rather than withholding the money in case the situation continues through September.  Players have done without checks at this time of year and rely on an income stream come September.  Players with 3-plus years of service in the league receive lockout payments of $10,000 monthly with a maximum payout of $60,000.  As one league insider close to the players told us, once the payments stop there will “be a bloodbath” of players against NFLPA if the lockout has not ended.

-   Will the Carolina Panthers select Cam Newton with the first selection?  Many we’ve spoken with feel it won’t happen.  Those who say yes think it only happens if owner Jerry Richardson signs off on the decision.  If they don’t take Newton we hear Marcel Dareus and AJ Green are the front runners to be the first pick of the draft.

-  The topic of the New England Patriots drafting a quarterback of the future has been broached several times and surrounds the visits of several high profile signal callers to their facility recently.  We hear the Patriots will draft a signal caller though it will be somewhere between rounds 4-through-7.  We’ve been told the team is targeting Mike Coughlin of Boise State, who’s been compared to Matt Cassel as well as Taylor Potts of Texas Tech.

Taiwan Jones is gaining a lot of momentum based off his personal workout from April 14th.  We hear he could go as early as the Pittsburgh Steelers late in round two.  We’ve also been told there are a number of teams that have removed Jones from draft boards due to a litany of injuries which include issues with his foot, groin and hernia problems, that date back to his high school years.

-  Speaking of players being removed from draft boards, our story about Jimmy Smith being removed from boards holds true- yet another fact we wrote about seems to have gone by the wayside.  The teams that have kept Smith on the draft board still rate him highly.  We hear the Baltimore Ravens will grab him at 26 if he’s available.

-   Where will Illinois junior Corey Liguet end up?  Right now we hear if he’s available the defensive lineman is the target of the Chicago Bears at 29 as he’d be a replacement for Tommie Harris.

-    Greg Romeus is getting healthier by the day and has been given clearance to do a few drills for teams at this point if it is requested.  His back has been given full clearance by doctors  who are targeting the second week in May to give the senior clearance on his knee.  When will Romeus be selected in the draft?  We hear as early as the late part of round three.  Teams are looking at the talented pass rusher as both a 4-3 defensive end as well as a rush linebacker in a 3-4 alignment.  Many feel the former basketball player has the movement skills and hip flexibility to flip his hips then drop in coverage.  We’ll have more on the teams interested in Romeus later this week.

April 19th

- The Dallas Cowboys may deviate from taking Tyron Smith with the 9th pick if they can’t trade down.  We hear the recent knee issues which have surfaced on the junior tackle from USC have not scared the team but they are also considering picking up a veteran free agent tackle, once free agency begins, then taking a defensive lineman with their first choice.  The thinking is a veteran free agent tackle could break into the starting line-up sooner than Smith, especially since the lockout will reduce every rookies time spent in mini-camp, OTA’s, etc. Sources have said the defensive lineman they are targeting is Cameron Jordan- in our minds the most underrated player in this draft.  Ultimately they’d still prefer to trade down, collect some extra picks and then select an offensive tackle later in the first frame.  The other team very high on Cameron Jordan at this point are the Washington Redskins.

-  Several sources have told us Nick Fairley has not made rehabbing his slightly separated shoulder a priority the past month.  Part of the problem has been the many trips Fairly has taken to visit NFL franchises, a justifiable reason- yet the times Fairley has not been actively visiting teams he’s not been diligent in his rehabilitation of the joint. Fairley has slid down draft boards for a variety of reasons and we’ve been told since the combine the shoulder has been a factor in the drop.

- How far will Da’Quan Bowers fall?  Not as far as many are predicting.  Sources have told us if they can’t come away with either Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert look for the Minnesota Vikings to grab the junior defensive end with the 12th pick of the draft.

- Idaho safety Shiloh Keo looked terrific in combine drills and ran some solid shuttle and three cone times during his workout only after turning in a poor forty time.  So what’s a team to do?  We hear a few squads have moved Keo to their linebacker board and project the college safety to weak-side OLB in a 4-3 alignment.

- Another quasi-projection is former defensive tackle Ladi Ajiboye of South Carolina.  We understand the Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins are looking hard at Ajiboye and project him as a two-gap end in their 3-4 systems.

April 11th

- Travel the world wide web and you’ll find mock draft after mock draft, including  several posted on this site by our own Brent Sobleski.  But what do NFL teams think of how the first round may shake out?  We asked yesterday and found the answer incredibly interesting. Without getting into specific names one team shared their breakdown of round one will shake out and it looked like this:

10 Defensive Linemen

6   Defensive Ends/3-4 Outside Linebackers

2   Quarterbacks

2   Wide Receivers

4   Cornerbacks

8   Offensive Linemen

——————

32

At first glance there is no running back on the list, which means a number of teams have Mark Ingram graded as a second round choice.  The qualification was made that teams in the bottom third of round one will select need over best player available, hence such a large number of offensive linemen entering the top 32 picks.  Obviously with so many college defensive ends projecting as 3-4 outside linebackers at the next level they DE/OLB’s were lumped together.

After speaking with a number of people we tried to break it down and this is what we came up with:

10-Defensive Linemen: Marcell Dareus, Nick Fairley, Da’Quann Bowers, Cameron Jordan, JJ Watt, Cameron Heyward, Muhammad Wilkerson, Phil Taylor, Adrian Clayborn, Corey Liuget

6- Defensive Ends/3-4 OLB: Von Miller, Robert Quinn, Aldon Smith, Ryan Kerrigan, Justin Houston, Akeem Ayers

2- Quarterbacks: Blaine Gabbert, Cam Newton

2- Wide Receivers: A.J. Green, Julio Jones

4- Cornerbacks: Patrick Peterson, Prince Amukamara, Jimmy Smith, Aaron Williams/Brandon Harris

8- Offensive Linemen: Tyron Smith, Anthony Castonzo, Gabe Carimi, Nate Solder, Michael Pouncey, Derek Sherrod, Danny Watkins (7)

That makes seven offensive linemen- so who is the eight?  In conversations the eight player could be Marcus Cannon of TCU, who’s drawing rave reviews.  The trainers from API in Arizona where Cannon worked out before the combine have raved about his skills to position coaches that have inquired.  The likely spot would be the Pittsburgh Steelers, though sources have said the Steelers have not worked out Cannon or brought him in for a visit.

We posted on Twitter mentioning the recent story on Cannon having cancer is untrue.  In conversation with sources several facts were pointed out.  Cannon did have a benign tumor back in 2006 but was medically cleared and the issue is known to all 32 teams.  He was not asked to return to the combine for the medical re-check last weekend.  TCU is expected to release a statement some time today, once they have the doctors report in hand.  There are also false rumors spreading around the internet that Cannon has had no visits/workouts.  We can confirm he’s combined for almost a dozen workouts/visits.  We’ll have more on this as it breaks and are expecting word from the workout of Taiwan Jones momentarily.

Update on Cannon- 2:30PM: In conversations with officials from TCU they have confirmed that Cannon does not have testicular cancer.  They are not planning to release any statement today, as we previously reported, but are willing to verbally  confirm  Cannon has not been diagnosed with cancer.  We asked about the 2006 diagnoses posted earlier today and, while the school we not directly confirm our information verbatim, they did say there were issues that were quickly cleared up.

Update on Taiwan Jones: 27 teams in attendance including 8 running back coaches.  forty times between 4.28-4.35.  Forty inch vertical jump and 11-inch broad jump.  Measured 6-feet, 198-pounds.  Work out handled by Richie Anderson and Tom Rathman.  Improved his draft grade almost a full round.

April 8th

- Much has been written about Cam Newton is the past week; about his smile, sincerity and other extra-curricula intangibles.  We’ll be the first to tell you we don’t feel qualified to speak of those things considering our relationship with Newton does not extend to more then a handful of press conferences and a lot of film watching.  We can tell you this; there are a number of teams that hope Newton does not fall into their laps in round one.  As one insider told us earlier today, “Newton is the type of player teams hope another team selects.”  The reference being Newton is such a boom or bust prospect there are a number of quarterback needy teams that don’t want him as an option when they are called to the clock.  As far as “boom or bust” we’ve stated in TV and radio interviews all along we not only think Newton fits into this category but so does Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker and Ryan Mallett.

- Despite the strong recommendation by Judge Susan Richard Nelson to seek out mediation and end the current labor conflict, most we’ve spoken with feel the judge will eventually hand down some sort of ruling before the draft.  If her ruling ends the lockout it will have a profound effect on the value of a few positions in the draft, offensive tackle leading the way.  The free agent landscape presently looks strong at the offensive tackle position.  Yet if the lockout is lifted and the ruling states the league must play under the 2010 agreement with no cap, the pool of talented edge blockers will quickly diminish as a number of highly rated FA’s will be restricted since they’ve been in the league less than six years.  Many have told us this will automatically increase the value of the top offensive tackles in April’s draft.

- We understand earlier this week Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers had a great meeting with the Buffalo Bills and the team doctor cleared his surgically repaired knee.

- Its getting tougher to get information from teams as employees are under lockdown, in large part because of the lockout.  A number of teams are openly saying they must document all phone calls that come into their facility.  Some have told us messages that were left for specific front office personnel had their calls returned by secretary’s in the organization.

- Stanford junior defensive end Tom Keiser is hoping to piggy-back off the workout of another junior, Taiwan Jones.  The Eastern Washington running back is working out for scouts on Thursday.  Keiser was not invited to the combine and was unable to perform the shuttle run, three-cone or participate in position drills at the Stanford pro-day after tweaking his hamstring on his first attempt at the forty.  It will be a last opportunity for Keiser to workout in front of scouts, assuming they show up.

-  Julius Thomas continues to build a buzz around himself as well as momentum up draft boards.  He’s been working with former USC and NFL pass catcher Billy Miller on improving his game.  Scouts not only love his athleticism but his smarts as well.  Thomas has already graduated from Portland State.  He has a workout scheduled with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

April 3rd

- SI.com picked up a story this weekend we’ve been holding for ten days.  Sources have told us a while ago they expect the Denver Broncos to draft a quarterback this year and it could be early.  Many familiar with the situation told us Tim Tebow is not the quarterback for John Elway- and with the future Hall of Fame passer calling many of the shots for the franchise a signal caller is a priority.  Colin Kaepernick of Nevada at the top of round two makes the most sense.  The team has already worked out Kaepernick and will bring him in for a visit next week.  Sources have also said the team will draft a playmaking tight end at some point in the draft. Julius Thomas is one of the players they seem to be targeting.  Teams have been impressed with his football smarts and love his upside.

-  Two players that are rising up draft boards to keep an eye on include tight end Lance Kendricks of Wisconsin and safety Jeron Johnson from Boise State.  We hear this as much a result of the poor crop of players at each position as it is the talent of Kendricks and Johnson.

- We continue to hear the Dallas Cowboys are looking to do to things in the draft with their first pick 1) trade down and 2) grab an NFL ready right tackle.  If they cannot move the ninth pick we understand Tyron Smith presently sits atop their draft board.  As we reported last week head coach Jason Garrett and line coach Hudson Houck were in Los Angeles for the USC pro-day and the team is scheduled to bring Smith in for a visit.

- At present time defensive lineman Cameron Jordan of Cal is set to visit the Buffalo Bills, Tampa Bay Bucs, Pittsburgh Steelers and Atlanta Falcons.  We hear New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum were scheduled to fly out west for a private workout with Jordan but were held-up at the owners meetings and had to cancel the trip.

- Combine invitee Andre Holmes/WR/Hillsdale will be visiting the Dallas Cowboys and workout for the New England Patriots.

Big news on tap for tonight, especially from the quarterback position where players are swiftly moving up draft boards and dropping down.  What are the Dallas Cowboys thinking?  And what will the Jacksonville Jaguars do in round two?  We’ve got it all tonight.

- Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett is taking a big tumble down draft boards.  The reasons are simple; the issues which surround his character and more to the point, Mallett’s personality, are worrisome.  One source called Mallett “this year’s Dez Bryant.”  The reference was that Bryant was close to tumbling out of round one last April but was saved by the Dallas Cowboys.  Mallett may not be so lucky next month.  The issues at hand date back to his time in Michigan, something we’ve spoken about time and time again in radio interviews.

- The beneficiary of Mallett’s tumble is likely to be Andy Dalton of TCU.  The quarterback is being compared by many to Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers.  It’s not an opinion we share yet it is one that’s gathering momentum.  The belief from insiders is Dalton will be off the board by the 40th pick of the draft.

- One team that would love a chance to select Dalton in round two are the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he’s unlikely to be available when the team is on the board with the 49th selection.  So which way do they go?  Sources have told us they will look for a bigger, possession receiver to pair with Mike Thomas, who they think can be their version of former All Pro Steve Smith.

- On the other hand Washington’s Jake Locker is all over the boards from our conversations.  Some prefer Locker over Cam Newton based on his body of work while others say they have not given him a first round grade.

- Where will the Dallas Cowboys go in round one?  Evidently the team is not in love with Prince Amukamara and won’t use the 9th selection on him.  This on the heels of sources telling us the team will cut veteran Terence Newman.  All signs continue to point to an offensive tackle, specifically one that can play the right side.  Sources told us the team will cut Marc Columbo and Leonard Davis.  They hope to bring Davis back at a smaller salary.  At the same time they hope to resign Doug Free and Kyle Kosier.  Dallas then plans to shop the 9th pick and trade down to grab their right tackle.  Sources have told us their is already a plan in place with a team that holds a mid-first round pick if either Blaine Gabbert or Cam Newton are still on the board when Dallas is called to the clock.  Right now sources have told us Gabe Carimi sits atop their wish list as they feel he is the only player they feel can quickly move into the starting line-up.  Tyron Smith can’t be far behind as the Cowboys are bringing the USC junior in for a visit.

- Tyron Smith is set for a big performance at USC pro-day this week.  We heard he tipped the scale at 315-pounds last week and ran 1.70s in a ten yard split.  The only offensive lineman to match that time at the combine was Jason Kelce of Cincinnati.

- We understand the San Diego Chargers will be looking at OLB/RT/WR/CB with their early selections.  If that holds true this is not good news for former first round pick Larry English, who was on the sidelines with a foot injury part of ‘10.  Sources told us Ryan Kerrigan is high on the team’s wish list.  San Diego will also bring Danny Watkins/OL/Baylor in for a visit.

- Add the Washington Redskins to the list of teams that are bringing Watkins in for an official visit.

- The Miami Dolphins hope to come out of the draft with a playmaking tight end.  They are interested in DJ Williams and are bringing in Julius Thomas for a visit.  Thomas will also be visiting with the Minnesota Vikings and Denver Broncos.

- As we have posted on twitter the past few days; Matt Murphy/OL/UNLV was worked out on campus by the Miami Dolphins, Indianapolis Colts and Buffalo Bills.  Receiver Andre Holmes of Hillsdale has a visit scheduled with the Dallas Cowboys and workout with the New England Patriots.

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