Little more than 24 hours before the 2010 NFL Draft begins. Today we’ll update you on players getting late interest and a few prospects that are falling. We’ve got the skinny on Al Davis as well as two of the hottest SEC prospects moving up boards. This as well as some breaking news on Kevin Thomas.
– The draft stock of Major Wright has been heading north for a few weeks now. Wright has always been a favorite of ours and as far back as September we wrote glowingly about him in our prospect preview piece at SI.com. That being the case there’s no denying his disappointing play last season. So what’s led to the rise? Sources have told us UF coaches have passed on glowing recommendations to NFL teams on behalf of Wright. They’ve explained to anyone in the league who’ll listen Wright was forced to share playing time last season after promises were made to incoming recruits. Wright has drawn tremendous interest since the combine. He’s had a lot of interest from the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears. His visit list includes the Cincinnati Bengals, San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Bucs, Tennessee Titans and New York Jets. Wright has also had private workouts with the New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns, New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins. He’s expected to be selected in round three though the late part of round two is not out of the question for Wright.
– Another safety rising up draft boards is Robert Johnson of Utah. You may remember Johnson was a combine snub and many thought he well deserved an invitation to Indianapolis. Both the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins have shown a lot of interest lately with both teams considering Johnson in round four.
– Where will Devin McCourty end up? There are a string of teams starting with the Baltimore Ravens at pick #25 through the Minnesota Vikings at selection 30 who have shown intense interest in the Rutgers senior.
– We’ve received further confirmation that Al Davis’ man in this draft is Rolando McClain. Sources have not only confirmed interest in the Alabama junior from the Raiders organization but also told us the team would not mind parting ways with Kirk Morrison one bit. If they don’t pull the trigger on McClain in the first round the Raiders may look to another SEC linebacker, Jamar Chaney, in round three. Yet Chaney may not be around as by all accounts he’s rising up boards. Teams love his tenacity as a middle linebacker yet also realize Chaney possesses the speed and athleticism to handle responsibilities at outside linebacker.
– One defender heading in the other direction is Arthur Jones. The Syracuse defensive lineman did not have a good pro-day workout on April 6th and poor testing plus injury factors is pushing him down draft boards. Several teams, including the Minnesota Vikings, have told us on film Jones grades as a late first, early second round choice yet will fall into the third frame, where he will be terrific value.
– We spoke at length about cornerback Kevin Thomas last night and today we have two important notes on him. The Green Bay Packers are looking heavily at Thomas and Virginia cornerback Chris Cook in round two. Then again a number of teams have removed Thomas from their draft board. Thomas has a major medical issue which has thrown up a lot of red flags. We know of at least a half dozen teams that have removed his name from draft consideration. We reported two weeks ago the Packers are also looking at Alterraun Verner in round two.
– Defensive back Akwasi Owusu-Ansah of Indiana-Pa. is running ahead of schedule as he recovers from the shoulder surgery which took place in mid-March. The rehabilitation process is four months and when Owusu-Ansah returned to Indianapolis for the combine recheck at the start of this month, doctors confirmed he will be ready for full contact by August 1st, the start of training camp. Still, his injured should will knock him down draft boards at least a half-round. Most of the teams who have shown interest in Owusu-Ansah project him to free safety at the next level.
– Several people feel Taylor Price of Ohio will be the first receiver taken in the draft, as early as the middle of round two.
– Rutgers offensive lineman Kevin Haslam is drawing a lot of interest lately and owes some thanks to Anthony Davis. Haslam has been able to piggyback off of the on campus workouts Davis has recently completed, giving him more exposure to NFL teams and position coaches. Haslam recently visited with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Danny Batten/DE-OLB/South Dakota St: Visits with the Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, Green Bay Packers and Cincinnati Benglas. Workouts with the Detroit Lions, At. Louis Rams, New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders. Lots of interest from the New Orleans Saints.
Matt Nichols/QB/Eastern Washington: Visits with the New York Giants and San Diego Chargers. Workouts with the Chargers, New Orleans Saints, Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns, St Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers.
Levi Horn/OL/Montana: Visit with the Chicago Bears.
Deji Karim/RB/Southern Illinois: Visits with the Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers, Detroit Lions and Jacksonville Jaguars.
Terrell Hudgins/WR/Elon: Workouts with the Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts and New York Giants.
Marc Mariani/WR/Montana: Visits with the Atlanta Falcons, Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts.
David Howard/DL/Brown: Visit with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens. Workouts with the Oakland Raiders. Lot of interest from the Carolina Panthers.
Mickey Schuler/TE/Penn State: Visits with the New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints and Cincinnati Benglas.