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.