– Last week we reported it looked very unlikely DJ Fluker/Alabama would make it out of the top half of round one. That was further confirmed today after sources told me the Tennessee Titans and San Diego Chargers, who own the 10th and 11th picks respectively, are both considering Fluker. At first glance Fluker-to-Tennessee seems a bit odd as their offensive line is in need of a guard. But sources tell me the Titans view Fluker as a day one starter at the guard position.
– Despite recent reports I am told the Arizona Cardinals still look to Lane Johnson/Oklahoma as their round one target. The team was high on Johnson before the season began and view him as the short and long term answer at left tackle. Sources tell me the Cardinals like Levi Brown better on the right side and prefer Bobby Massie, their fourth round pick from 2012, inside at guard. While they would consider a guard if Johnson’s not available, I am told defensive end would take precedent.
– I hear several teams considering a cornerback late in round one, as well as early in the second frame, will not consider taking any prospect at the position unless they are at least 6-feet tall. In the past 5-feet, 10-inches was the benchmark.
– As reported by several sources, Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer privately worked out safety Jonathan Cyprien of Florida International today. More than a few people I spoke with this afternoon would not be surprised if the Bengals select Cyrprien in the first round.
– The Oakland Raiders have been well known for massive surprises in the draft’s first round. That’s likely to change on Thursday. One source familiar with the situation told me expect the Raiders to select the “surest of the sure” with the third pick. Right now it looks like the pick will be one of the offensive tackles, if available, or Shariff Floyd of Florida. Other sources mentioned Star Lotulelei of Utah is also in the mix.
– Word is more than a few teams presently rank Jonathan Franklin of UCLA as the top ball carrier on their draft board. Franklin’s stock has been soaring for weeks now and we previously been mentioned him as a potential late first round pick. Why the late momentum and climb over Eddie Lacy on a few boards? In a word- versatility. Franklin offers the ability to be used in an offense which runs around the perimeter and is a much better pass catcher compared to Lacy.
– Colorado’s Nick Kasa has developed into the contingency plan for teams looking to draft a tight end outside the initial three rounds of the draft. Unlike the higher rated players at the position, Kasa does not offer immediate starting possibilities but is a sensational developmental prospect expected to be plucked off the board in round four. The New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins have displayed heavy interest in Kasa.
– Chance Warmack/Alabama and Jonathan Cooper/North Carolina stand head and shoulders atop the guard class. Larry Warford/Kentucky tops the second tier of players at the position. Who comes next? Overall I’m told the next group of guards consists of Brian Winters/Kent State, David Quessenberry/San Jose State, David Bakhtiari/Colorado and Alvin Bailey/Arkansas. This group should start to come off the board late in round two. I would include Dallas Thomas/Tennessee in this group but most teams have Thomas on their tackle board.
– Word on where Kyle Long of Oregon may land in the draft has become conspicuously quiet. I’ve not heard his name mentioned in conversations about guards or tackles who may be selected during the second tier of either position.
– One lineman who has come up in recent conversations is Vinston Painter of Virginia Tech. The athletic college tackle projects to guard in the NFL but comes with limited playing experience. For purposes of comparison, he’s the offensive line version of Nick Kasa. I was told the Chicago Bears, who snuck Painter into town for an official visit, like his athleticism and upside. He could be their pick in round three or four.