The NFL Draft is just days away and the chatter is getting louder. I expect this page to be updated several times throughout the week and possibly several times a day from now until next Sunday. Updated Day Two
– The question as to who’ll be the third quarterback drafted should be answered some time tonight. I’m told the team representing Sean Mannion is pretty confident he’ll be quickly swiped up once the second round begins. Insiders have told me there’s a chance Garrett Grayson lands in the third round. The New York Jets and Buffalo Bills, two quarterback needy teams, are looking hard at Grayson. St Louis, Washington and Denver are teams also in the mix for Grayson. I’ve heard Grayson’s name associated with the Bronco’s since March.
– A number of people believe there’s a definite possibility cornerback D’Joun Smith is drafted somewhere in the second round tonight, much earlier than most expect.
– Another defensive back that could come off the board earlier than expected is safety James Sample who’s drawing interest from the Seattle Seahawks and Baltimore Ravens late in round two.
– Offensive lineman AJ Cann should come off the board quickly tonight. The Miami Dolphins would love a chance to select Cann but don’t expect him to be available at pick 47. I’m told the New York Jets, who select ten slots earlier at 37, have Cann graded highly.
– For the past two months I’ve stated during radio interviews, live stream videos and television appearances that Randy Gregory would fall out of the first round and hinted it was more than just the marijuana issue reported several weeks back. I even stamped Gregory as a 2nd/3rd round prospect in my updated rankings at the beginning of the month. Other such stories on Gregory are beginning to pop up from seasoned NFL reporters. Earlier today sources told me they believe Gregory could still land in the late part of round one to a team such as the New Orleans Saints at pick 31 or the New England Patriots one selection later. I still remain skeptical and don’t expect his name to be called tomorrow evening.
– There are a lot of people around the league who tell me they are unconvinced Jameis Winston is a slam dunk as the first pick of the draft tomorrow night. I’m told Tampa Bay will work the phones to see if they can deal the first pick, something they admitted not long ago, and Marcus Mariota is still in the mix.
– The belief is the Tennessee Titans will draft Marcus Mariota for themselves if they cannot deal the second pick. The arrival of the Oregon quarterback could help buy additional time for general manager Ruston Webster and head coach Ken Whisenhut despite reports both will be gone if the team does not quickly turn it around this season.
– While the stories of Jacksonville taking Amari Cooper have built momentum I’m told ultimately the Jaguars would like to move the pick.
– The Atlanta Falcons are the team most associated in a trade with the Jaguars with the names of Leonard Williams and Dante Fowler Jr as the targeted players. Atlanta is also very interested in Vic Beasley, something to keep in mind if they cannot pull off a trade and acquire either of the two.
– I’m told if Dante Fowler Jr does not fall to the sixth pick the Jets will work the phones hard to move down. During a television appearance on SNY this past Sunday, I floated the idea of New Orleans as a trading partner as I was told weeks ago the Saints have broached the idea of moving up for Vic Beasley. I’ve honestly not heard anything concrete about a trade between the two teams but have further confirmed the Saints desire for Beasley.
– Who will the Jets select if they move down? The team has been very tight lipped but league sources tell me offensive line is a priority.
– I’m told one player the Chicago Bears are very interested in with the seventh pick is Bud Dupree of Kentucky.
– League insiders tell me right now it looks as though the first round selection for the New York Giants will be Andrus Peat of Stanford. The game plan would be to line up Peat at right tackle then push 2013 first round pick Justin Pugh into guard.
– Back on April 6th I reported that Damarious Randall of Arizona State could sneak into the late part of round one, which surprised many. Randall has since been stamped as the top safety on a number of boards outside war rooms though in my final safety rankings I still list him behind Landon Collins. In that report I mentioned the Arizona Cardinals as a team very high on Randal and in conversations earlier today I was told there’s a high percentage chance the Indianapolis Colts will select Randall if he’s still on the board at 29.
– There’s a good possibility Ifo Ekpre-Olomu is still available when the third round begins. While teams like his film and cover skills the knee he injured last December has sent up serious red flags.
– After the most recent off the field incident the belief is Shane Ray will fall out of the first round, an opinion shared by many in his camp.
– There are a number of running back needy teams who my wait until the fourth round before drafting at the position as a result of the quality and depth available this year. David Cobb and Buck Allen have been brought to my attention as fourth round ball carriers teams believe will contribute as rookies. The other back who NFL decision makers feel will contribute right away as a late second/early third day pick is Duke Johnson. Presently I grade the Miami junior as a second round pick and feel he’ll immediately produce in the right system.
– One team that hopes Todd Gurley does not end up in the draft’s initial ten picks are the Miami Dolphins, who will quickly swipe up the ball carrier if he’s still available when they are called to the clock in round one.
– Interesting note. Yesterday a source told me linebacker Benardrick McKinney spent an extensive amount of time the past few days talking with the Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys. I previously reported on the Bronocs interest in McKinney and late last week tweeted the Cowboys were able to get in a last minute workout with the junior. Today I’m told if Kevin Johnson is unavailable when the Cowboys are on the clock in round one they will strongly consider either McKinney or Eric Kendricks. I’ve heard so much chatter connecting the Cowboys and McKinney the past three weeks I’ve got to believe where there’s smoke there’s fire.
– Staying on the topic of linebackers I’m told Alonzo Highsmith, senior personal director for the Green Bay Packers, is pushing hard for Denzel Perryman at the bottom of round one. The team would then push Clay Matthews to the outside. The belief is Green Bay still values a cornerback with that first pick and I hear Eric Rowe continues to be in the mix, but don’t dismiss Perryman.
– Don’t be surprised if tight end Wes Saxton is drafted much earlier than presently predicted. Teams love his speed and athleticism and feel the fourth round is not too early for his services.
– Another tight end I’m told is moving North on boards is Ben Koyack. Teams feel he was misused at Notre Dame and feel its just a matter of getting Koyack to play to his size/speed numbers.