The pro-day schedule is just about complete, the visits and private workouts are getting underway and for the next three-plus weeks it will be a lot of downtime and speculation. We will help you pass through the time with all the buzz around the league and in scouting circles. Updated 4/5- 4:15PM: Detroit Lions looking OT? Gilmore & Green moving up boards….
– Stanford junior tackle Jonathan Martin is all over draft boards and receiving grades from the first round to the second day. We hear the Detroit Lions could be surprise suitors for the athletic blocker late in round one. Why? Several sources have told us the injury suffered in last years playoff game to aged veteran Jeff Backus is the primary reason. Another factor is the teams other tackle, Gosder Cherilus, will be a free agent after the 2012 season and the Lions have made no overtures to extend his contract to date.
– Word is Bobby Massie is the other junior offensive tackle that could slide into the late part of round one. Depending on whether or not they select Ryan Tannehill at the top of the draft we’ve been told the Cleveland Browns will consider Massie with their second round choice. The other two teams mentioned in the conversation were the New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers.
– South Carolina junior cornerback Stephon Gilmore is moving up draft boards. Word is he could be off the board in the top half of round one. We also continue to here the opinion that Gilmore, rather than Dre Kirkpatrick of Alabama, will be the second cornerback selected after Morris Claiborne.
– The consensus has Coby Fleener of Stanford as the top rated tight end in the draft. Most boards then have Dwayne Allen of Clemson. So who ranks third at the position? Our feeling is Ladarius Green of Louisiana Lafayette will be selected much earlier than people presently predict and its an opinion that’s shared by a number of teams. Green has visited the Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns, who don’t expect the big tight end to be around when they are called to the clock in round three.
April 4th: 11PM
– We heard today Marvin Lewis is hoping Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw is still available when the Cincinnati Bengals are on the clock with their second pick in round one, the 21st selection. The other player the team will consider in that slot is Peter Konz of Wisconsin.
– If the Green Bay Packers go offense in round one Konz is the player they are targeting if he’s still on the board. We’ve heard this rumbling since January and it was confirmed again today.
– What will the Seattle Seahawks do? Separate sources told me today the team hopes to move out of the 12th slot and trade into the later portion of round one, where they will then draft linebacker Donta Hightower. If they can’t move the pick they are seriously considering Hightower’s teammate, safety Mark Barron, at that slot and Kam Chancellor would then move to outside linebacker.
– Barron’s stock is on the rise as, amongst other things, head coach Nick Saban has given him rave reviews. He’s being talked about as someone with a passion for football and a prospect who’s skills have been underrated. We hear if Dontari Poe is gone by the 14th pick of the draft, and he’s likely to be, the Dallas Cowboys are likely to turn to Barron.
– The New York Jets are another team strongly considering Barron if he’s still available with the 16th pick. A source close to the situation said the pick of Barron is a “no brainer” for the Jets. One player we heard earlier today the Jets are not interested in selecting is Whitney Mercilus of Illinois. There is strong speculation amongst league insiders that the Jets will look hard at moving down in round one.
– While most have the New England Patriots selecting a pass rushing linebacker in round one we hear a smaller linebacker who can cover is just as great a need on their draft board. Could the team take a player such as Bobby Wagner at the end of round one? Its’ definitely not out of the question.
April 2nd: 11PM
– Vanderbilt defensive end/outside linebacker Tim Fugger, the fastest rising non-combine defensive prospect, will be visiting the Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans and Atlanta Falcons. We posted on Twitter from Fugger’s pro-day that the Falcons are very high on Fugger.
– Wisconsin center/guard Peter Konz has visits set up with the Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans.
April 2nd: 2PM
– On the Monday of the combine, when we reported the Dallas Cowboys were the favorites to sign free agent cornerback Brandon Carr, we also posted the team was looking heavily at offensive lineman Cordy Glenn. Several sources have told us in recent weeks the franchise has shifted its focus to the defensive line and as of today Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe is the apple of their eyes.
– There’s a lot of speculation in mock draft’s around the internet that the New York Jets will use the 16th pick to select Courtney Upshaw of Alabama. Sources tell me that while the Jets would consider it, the way it stands today the team is unlikely to pull the trigger and choose Upshaw. The word in the scouting world is the Jets will target a pass rushing linebacker in the later (5th) rounds, similar to the way they targeted wide receivers during the same part of last April’s draft.
– Looking for a super sleeper? Then write down the name of East Carolina offensive tackle Steven Baker. The former high school basket ball star moved into the starting line-up last season after spending the early part of his ECU career on the defensive line. Scouts said Baker, who’s looks “skinny” at 6-feet, 8-inches and 310-pounds, is a late bloomer and a prospect just getting his feet underneath him. Thus far the Indianapolis Colts and Oakland Raiders have been all over the undeveloped tackle.