One week from tomorrow evening and the NFL commissioner will walk to the podium then announce the St Louis Rams on the clock. But until then we’ve got plenty of news and information on player visits and workouts.
Who is benefiting the most from Jimmy Clausen’s recent workouts? It could well be Fighting Irish receiver Robby Parris. As we reported on SI.com three weeks ago, Clausen requested Parris be flown to California to help him prepare for his April 9th pro-day. Parris, who was barely noticed by NFL scouts moving towards the draft, has since been on official visits to see the Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins.
The same holds true for Colgate receiver Patrick Simonds. The big pass catcher has been the workout receiver for Fordham quarterback John Skelton and Simonds has impressed teams with his pass catching skills.
Skelton has been drawing a lot of interest from NFL franchises. He’s been on official visits with the Washington Redskins and Buffalo Bills besides working out with the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals. The Minnesota Vikings have also shown great interest in Skelton.
Another receiver that’s been busy lately is UConn’s Marcus Easley. Easley has had private workouts with the Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, San Francisco 49ers, besides taking an official visit to see the New York Jets.
One receiver continuing to tumble down draft boards is Oklahoma State’s Dez Bryant.
On April 7th we alerted viewers that many league insiders told us Bryant would take a big tumble in round one and at least two teams had removed Bryant’s name from their draft board. Reports now say that number is closer to a dozen teams. Sources have told us Bryant continues to turn people off. He’s shown up to interviews natty attired rather than showing up for a multi-million dollar job interview.
Defensive tackle Nate Collins has been on visits to see the Chicago Bears and Jacksonville Jaguars.
Despite resigning veteran Ben Hartsock to a two-year deal last month, the New York Jets are giving the impression they are still in the market for a tight end in this year’s draft. The team has worked out Steve Maneri of Temple and Pittsburgh’s Nate Byham, two of the better blocking tight ends available.
Byham has also worked out for the Baltimore Ravens. The Chicago Bears, San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins have shown a great amount of interest in Byham.
Staying with the New York Jets, sources have told us right now it looks as though the team will target a defensive tackle in round one. They like Jared Odrick of Penn State, who would fit their scheme as a two gap end. If the team wants Odrick they will likely have to move up to acquire him as sources have told us Odrick could be this year’s version of Tyson Jackson; a defensive lineman selected much earlier than his talents warrant because of the position he plays.
Sources have said the Jets are more likely to move up in round one rather than the opposite direction as the organization feels they are only a player or two from being a Super Bowl team. They are moving towards the draft looking for a few quality players rather than sitting on a quantity of draft picks.
Could the team be interested in Tyson Aluala if they stand pat at pick 29? Sources have told us they have not overtly shown interest as far as visits or individual workouts but they have made calls about the Cal defensive lineman.
Aluala is one of the fastest rising players heading towards the draft and could slide into the late part of round one. Aluala has visited with the New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys, Tampa Bay Bucs and Denver Broncos. He’s also had private workouts with the Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens.
The recent buzz we alerted readers about last week on O’Brien Schofield continues to build. The mending pass rusher has had visits with the New York Giants, Baltimore Ravens, Green bay Packers and New England Patriots.
Linebacker Micah Johnson of Kentucky worked out for the Cincinnati Bengals last week.
Offensive lineman Zane Beadles, whose been hampered with a hamstring injury throughout the pre-draft process, is hoping to run for scouts either this Friday the 16th or Saturday the 17th. Beadles has visited with the Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos. He’s also had private workouts with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals.