- Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles is receiving high marks for his interviews at the combine. Several people I spoke with feel that’s only going to get better during pro-day and individual workouts when teams have the opportunity to sit down and challenge him on the chalk board. Remember, Bortles shouldered much of the decision making in the UCF offense.
- I’m told Texas A&M receiver Mike Evans is a real possibility for the New York Giants with the draft’s 12th selection if available. The team is expected to lose veteran wide out Hakeen Nicks to free agency and there’s not much production on the depth chart after Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle. I’m also told if one of the top offensive tackles (Greg Robinson or Taylor Lewan) happen to slip to the 12th pick the Giants would look in that direction. Otherwise expect the team to initially look for guards in free agency.
- Staying on the free agency theme, I was told this evening its unlikely the Oakland Raiders strike a deal with running back Darren McFadden before the deadline. That said, I was assured McFadden and the Raiders will continue to have a dialogue once free agency starts as the ball carrier speaks with different organizations.
- I’m told Branden Albert may not be the only veteran offensive lineman out the door in Kansas City. The way it looks now back-up Geoff Schwartz, who received heavy interest at the combine, will likely sign elsewhere.
Jimmie Ward will not be taking part in Tuesday’s defensive backs workout. Routine Combine medical evaluations revealed a foot issue. Ward is still awaiting more to the exact nature of the injury, and initial reports are the injury is considered relatively minor.
Combine medical procedures dictate that Ward not be allowed to participate even if he wanted to (similar to Austin Sefarian-Jenkins). Like Sefarian-Jenkins, the situation is surprising in that the player had been running and training without any discomfort, or indication of an injury. Ward came to Indianapolis planning to fully take part in Tuesday’s showcase. Ward had been working out at the same facility as Jadeveon Clowney and Jerick McKinnon, two players who’ve exceeded expectations the past two days in combine workouts.
As first reported Thursday, Ward was expected to perform extremely well in all areas of Tuesday’s on field workout. In fact, Ward has been consistently running 40 times in the 4.4s. Multiple teams have Ward behind only Calvin Pryor and HaHa Clinton-Dix among the safety population.
- I’m told the Arizona Cardinals will make a big run at Branden Albert if he hits free agency as expected. If they don’t come away with Albert sources say the Cardinals will look offensive tackle in round one.
- If the Seattle Seahawks had their choice of player with the last pick of round one it would likely be Odell Beckham Jr. Chances are Beckham won’t be available to the Seahawks at the end of the first frame. I’m told look for the Seahawks to go offensive line heavy in the draft.
- Word at the combine has the Dallas Cowboys going defensive front seven early and often in the draft. Word is Aaron Donald is a possibility for the team in round one.
- I’m told another team that looking for defensive line help during the early part of the draft are the San Diego Chargers. The only exception will be if a top rated secondary prospect is available to them.
- How impressive was Jerick McKinnon’s workout yesterday? Its likely to improve his draft stock anywhere from two-to-three rounds. This morning sources told me they feel McKinnon has cemented himself as a fourth round pick and could break into the third frame. A few teams now rate McKinnon as the fifth running back on their boards.
- In the last hour I’ve learned much more on the injury which kept Austin Seferian-Jenkins from working out yesterday. It was an injury medical examiners at the combine accidentally found. Doctors x-rayed Seferian-Jenkins left foot with the sole intention of examining the ankle which he sprained a year ago and kept him on the sidelines during a small portion of the 2012 season. In reviewing the x-rays doctors noticed what seemed to be a potential small fracture in the foot and ordered more tests. I’m told Seferian-Jenkins was getting ready to take the field for his workout when he was pulled from the line and told additional tests were needed. The big tight end was as surprised as anyone as he’d never experienced pain in his left foot to that point. Seferian-Jenkins combine weight of 262-pounds is a number significantly lower than his playing weight during the 2013 season. I’m told Seferian-Jenkins had been timing in the 4.6’s during recent training.
- Word around Indy is Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Jonathan Martin will eventually be traded but its a question of when. Someone close to the situation told me yesterday, “there are a lot of moving parts.” I get the idea everyone wants to make sure they are covering their you know what.
- Blake Bortles officially announced Monday he would throw at the combine but I was told the strong arm quarterback decided long ago he would participate in the entire combine workout. Throwing at the combine was never a question in Bortles’ mind.
- I’m told the Cincinnati Bengals may have to cut Carlos Dunlap in order to create the salary cap room necessary to sign a number of other highly considered players on their roster about to hit free agency.
- The feeling from the combine says the Atlanta Falcons have a 50/50 chance of re-signing starting center Joe Hawley.
- LaMarr Woodley’s contract s likely to make re-signing Jason Worilds very difficult if not impossible. I’m told at least at least a dozen teams here at the combine have expressed great interest in Worilds if he hits free agency.
- In conversations here in Indy its apparent the quarterbacks stack up 1) Bortles, 2) Bridgewater, 3) Carr, 4) Manziel on a number of team boards.
- Last night at dinner with a few scouts I learned that an FBI profiler was brought in to review the interview tapes of Aaron Hernandez from the 2010 combine. The profiler pointed out a number of signs during the interview which would’ve raised red flags had he seen it in 2010; body language, the way Hernandez answered questions, his body language answering questions. Bottom line is more teams will bring in profilers to review these interview tapes.