White_proThe Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings hoped to fill holes with top prospects in this year’s draft while the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions looked to add the final pieces. Here are our draft grades of the NFC North.

 

 

 

 

 

Chicago Bears

In many ways the Chicago Bears hosted the 2015 NFL Draft so the excitement was understandable when they were called to the clock. Most of the teams needs could be found on the defensive side of the ball but receiver Kevin White was to good to pass up with the seventh pick. White and veteran Alshon Jeffery will be a formidable tandem, though I could see a few bumps in the road for the Bears rookie wide out as he acclimates to an NFL offense. Nose tackle was a need entering the draft and the Bears got value in round two with Eddie Goldman. The Florida State junior is a big bodied lineman who occupies the gaps and moves well. He has the ability to develop into a play maker but needs to improve his entire game. Chicago had needs all over the offensive line and filled one at center with Hroniss Grasu in round three. The senior offers potential in a variety of blocking schemes and should quickly break into a starting line-up. Jeremy Langford was great value in the fourth round as he’s a versatile three down back who grinds it out on the inside, can turn the corner or catch the ball out of the backfield. He’ll be able to spell Matt Forte as a rotational back and offers insurance for the future. Adrian Amos was an interesting selection in the fifth round and offers potential as a dime back/special teams player. Final pick Tayo Fabuluje was worth a roll of the dice. He’s a big bodied tackle who flashed greatness in 2012 manning the left side of TCU’s high powered offense but was not inconsistent last season after sitting out all of 2013. At the very least Fabuluje is practice squad material with potential as a back-up swing tackle. One UDFA of note is Rice cornerback Bryce Callahan, who plays smart, athletic football. I could see Callahan making the roster should he play well on special teams.

Grade B+: On paper there’s a lot to like about this draft. The first three picks should all see starting action during their rookie campaign and Lanford was a fine addition. Its possible all of Chicago’s picks make the final roster.

Detroit Lions

The Lions entered the draft with needs on both sides of the line of scrimmage and answered the offensive side of things in round one with Laken Tomlinson. Though I was slightly surprised the Duke senior was selected in the first round he’s a big bodied blocker efficient in both pass protection and as a run blocker. I would expect him to be a starter from day one. Second round choice Ameer Abdullah is another draft pick that should get every opportunity to play as a rookie. What’s most exciting about Abdullah is he’s unlike any back on the Lions roster. Third round pick Alex Carter is another who could end up as a starter in 2015. The junior cornerback offers size, toughness and solid ball skills. He needs polish on his game but has an upside. Needs on the defensive line were finally answered in the fourth round when the team tabbed Auburn senior Gabe Wright, whose style parallels former first round pick Nick Fairley. Wright had a solid career and was very impressive during the Senior Bowl. Fullback Michael Burton was a surprise fifth round pick but could win the starting position this season by default. He’s a terrific blocker and also effective catching the ball out of the backfield but a very average athlete. Quandre Diggs was worth a roll of the dice in round six and could play in dime packages and on special teams this season. If he gets his game back on track Corey Robinson will be a steal in the seventh round. The former defensive lineman looked spectacular at left tackle as a junior in 2013 but watched his game fall off last season. He has the necessary tools to line-up as a right tackle on Sunday. Offensive lineman Al Bond, tight end Casey Pierce and safety Isaiah Johnson led an impressive class of undrafted free agents the team signed.

Grade: B+ I thought Tomlinson was a slight reach but an understandable choice. I count four potential starters from this class with a fifth waiting in the wings. Factor in two rotational players and several UDFA’s who could make the roster and this was an impressive effort by the Lions.

Green Bay Packers

Defensive back seven players were a priority for the Packers and there were several directions I thought the team could go. They flirted with taking an inside linebacker in round one and the name of Eric Rowe was often spoken about. They ultimately settled on Damarious Randall, the college safety Green Bay will move to cornerback. Back on April 6th I noted that Randall was not only being considered as a late first round choice but was listed as a corner on a number of boards. The team stayed with cornerbacks in round two selecting Quinten Rollins, the former basketball player who made the smooth transition to the gridiron last season. While Rollins still needs to polish he’s more NFL ready than most believe. Ty Montgomery was a surprise third round pick and while he was drafted primarily as a return specialist, he’s a bit of an enigma and not nearly as productive as he should be. While I like Jake Ryan I feel the fourth round was a bit early for his services. Ryan is a terrific football player and an underrated athlete but never truly developed at one position and is coming off a disappointing senior season. Conversely Brett Hundley could be a steal in the fifth round. I’m not a big believer in Hundley rather confident in the talents of head coach Mike McCarthy to develop quarterbacks and transition Hundley’s physical ability into signal caller skills. Just prior to the draft I broke the news the Packers brought Aaron Ripkowski in for a visit, a player who is a perfect fit for their offense. I’m sure the Packers will find a way to maximize Ripowki’s talents as he was often under utilized at Oklahoma. Christian Ringo was a head scratcher. The senior was very productive (11.5 sacks in 2014) but has poor size, limited upside and no true position in the NFL. If Ringo was a head scratcher Kennard Backman could be a steal. A dynamic pass catcher, it was Backman and not the highly touted JJ Nelson who led UAB in receptions last year. He’s a big, fluid athlete who gets down the seam and creates mismatches. The Packers signed three terrific receivers after the draft including Larry Pinkard, Jimmie Hunt and Ricky Collins (who I believe will be playing for the team on Sunday’s).

Grade B-: Ty Montgomery and to a lesser extent Jake Ryan pulls this grade down a bit. Randall will see significant playing time next season and Backman could be a steal.

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings had a bunch of holes to fill entering the draft and ten selections to find players to plug those holes. Speculation ran high as to which direction they would go with their first pick, the eleventh overall. In the end they went with cornerback Trae Waynes. Moving towards the draft I felt Waynes was slightly overrated but there’s no denying he was one of the best press cornerbacks available and is a perfect hit for Mike Zimmer. Late in March I reported the feeling was Minnesota would select a linebacker in the early rounds and they did exactly that choosing Eric Kendricks in the second frame. The senior should quickly slide into the starting role at middle linebacker and should complete what is a terrific unit with Anthony Barr and veteran Chad Greenway. I firmly believe Danielle Hunter was a major bargain with the 88th pick and his skills and upside were more top 40 worthy. Hunter is a physical beast with the ability to disrupt the action and will only get better as he physically matures and receives more playing experience. Fourth round pick T.J. Clemmings was another steal. The athletic lineman offers starting potential at a number of positions on the line. Why did he fall so far? Immediately after the draft sources told me the stress fracture in Clemmings foot is one that could be catastrophic to his career if it breaks again. Still, he was worth a roll of the dice in round four. The team went with a pair of pass catchers in round five. Tight end/H-back MyCole Pruitt offers variety when the team lines-up two tight ends while receiver Stefon Diggs is a vertical threat with potential as a return specialist. Sixth round selection Tyrus Thompson was another value pick. I stamped the Oklahoma senior as fourth round value and he could offer the team flexibility at left tackle in the future. Their final three choices, B.J. Dubose, Austin Shepard and Edmond Robinson, may struggle to make it off the practice roster. Keep an eye on receiver Jordan Leslie, who the team signed as a UDFA. He has the size and speed to play at the next level and really developed his game in 2014.

Grade A-: I’m not a big Trae Waynes guy but understand the importance of the position he plays and also realize his upside. They selected three more potential starters through the fourth round and a pair of players who should make the two deep in the fifth frame. I was not overly impressed with their late round picks but I see a lot of production coming from this draft.

ClemmingsBest Player Available after the completion of day two of the NFL Draft.

Rnd

Full Name

School

Pos

Yr

1st

La’el Collins

LSU

G

4Sr

2nd

T.J.Clemmings

Pittsburgh

T

5Sr

2nd

Michael Bennett

OhioState

DT

4Sr

2-3

Ifo Ekpre-Olomu

Oregon

CB

4Sr

2-3

James Sample

Louisville

S

3Jr

3rd

Cody Prewitt

Mississippi

S

4Sr

3rd

Daryl Williams

Oklahoma

T

5Sr

3rd

Tre’ Jackson

FloridaState

G

4Sr

3rd

Cameron Artis-Payne

Auburn

RB

4Sr

3rd

Charles Tull

Tenn-Chattanooga

OLB

5Sr

3rd

Grady Jarrett

Clemson

DT

4Sr

3rd

Jeremy Langford

Michigan State

RB

5Sr

3rd

Brett Hundley

UCLA

QB

4Jr

3rd

Jay Ajayi

BoiseState

RB

4Jr

3rd

Rashad Greene

FloridaState

WR

4Sr

4th

David Cobb

Minnesota

RB

4Sr

3-4

Justin Hardy

East Carolina

WR

5Sr

3-4

Za’Darius Smith

Kentucky

DE

4Sr

4th

Trey Flowers

Arkansas

DE

4Sr

3rd

Ben Heeney

Kansas

ILB

4Sr

3-4

Bryce Petty

Baylor

QB

5Sr

3-4

Angelo Blackson

Auburn

DT

4Sr

3-4

Taiwan Jones

Michigan State

ILB

4Sr

3-4

Jesse James

Penn State

TE

3Jr

3-4

Stefon Diggs

Maryland

WR

3Jr

4th

David Parry

Stanford

DT

5Sr

4th

Max Garcia

Florida

C

5Sr

4th

Xzavier Dickson

Alabama

OLB

4Sr

4th

Marcus Hardison

ArizonaState

DT

4Sr

4th


Ibraheim Campbell


Northwestern

S

5Sr

4th

Kwon Alexander

LSU

OLB

3Jr

4th

Joshua Harper

Fresno State

WR

5Sr

4th

Chris Hackett

TCU

S

4Jr

4th

Derron Smith

Fresno State

S

5Sr

4th

Javorius Allen

USC

RB

4Jr

4th

Jacoby Glenn

Central Florida

CB

3So

4th

Tyrus Thompson

Oklahoma

T

5Sr

4th

Kyle Emanuel

North Dakota State

DE

5Sr

4-5

Dres Anderson

Utah

WR

5Sr

4th

Gabe Wright

Auburn

DT

4Sr

4-5

Tony Lippett

Michigan State

WR

5Sr

4th

Mycole Pruitt

Southern Illinois

TE

5Sr

4-5

Ben Koyack

Notre Dame

TE

4Sr

4-5

Mike Davis

South Carolina

RB

3Jr

4-5

Doran Grant

Ohio State

CB

4Sr

4-5

Rakeem Nunez-Roches

Souhtern Mississippi

DT

5Sr

4-5

Kenny Bell

Nebraska

WR

5Sr

4-5

Corey Robinson

South Carolina

T

5Sr

5th

Andrew Gallik

Boston College

C

5Sr

5th

Troy Hill

Oregon

CB

5Sr

5th

Wes Saxton

South Alabama

TE

4Sr

5th

Jamison Crowder

Duke

WR

5Sr

5th

Cedric Reed

Texas

DE

4Sr

5th

Joey Mbu

Houston

DT

4Sr

5th

Arie Kouandjio

Alabama

G

5Sr

5th

Amarlo Herrera

Georgia

ILB

4Sr

5th

B.J. Finney

Kansas State

C

5Sr

5th

Charles Gaines


Louisville

CB

4Jr

5th

Jamil Douglas

Arizona State

G

5Sr

5th

Lynden Trail

Norfolk State

DE

5Sr

5th

Blake Bell

Oklahoma

TE

5Sr

5th

Malcolm Brown

Texas

RB

4Sr

5th

Tyler Varga

Yale

FB

4Sr

5th

Darius Philon

Arkansas

DT

3So

5th

Clayton Geathers

Central Florida

S

5Sr

5th

Damien Wilson

Minnesota

ILB

4Sr

5th

Martrell Spaight

Arkansas

OLB

4Sr

5th

Robert Myers

Tennessee State

G

5Sr

5th

Mario Alford

West Virginia

WR

4Sr

5th

Durell Eskridge

Syracuse

S

4Jr

5th

Vince Mayle

Washington State

WR

5Sr

5th

Josh Shaw

USC

CB

5Sr

5-6

Aaron Ripkowski

Oklahoma

FB

4Sr

5th

Darrian Miller

Kentucky

G

4Sr

5-6

Kurtis Drummond

Michigan State

S

5Sr

5th

J.J. Nelson

Alabama-Birmingham

WR

5Sr

5-6

Ramik Wilson

Georgia

ILB

4Sr

5-6

Anthony Chickillo

Miami-Fl

DE

4Sr

5-6

Deiontrez Mount

Louisville

OLB

4Sr

5-6

Antwan Goodley

Baylor

WR

5Sr

5-6

Tray Walker

Texas Southern

CB

4Sr

6th

Nick Boyle

Delaware

TE

4Sr

5-6

Adrian Amos

Penn State

S

4Sr

6th

Deontay Greenberry

Houston

WR

3Jr

6th

Bobby McCain

Memphis

CB

4Sr

6th

Mark Nzeocha

Wyoming

OLB

4Sr

6th

Josh Watson

Clemson

DT

5Sr

6th

Kyle Loomis

Portland State

P

4Sr

6th

LaDarius Gunter

Miami-Fl

CB

5Sr

6th

Mike Hull

Penn State

ILB

5Sr

6th

Darren Waller

Georgia Tech

WR

4Sr

6th

Jarvis Harrison

Texas A&M

G

5Sr

6th

Jalston Fowler

Alabama

FB

5Sr

6th

Christian Covington

Rice

DT

4Jr

6th

Tony Washington

Oregon

OLB

5Sr

6th

E.J. Bibbs

Iowa State

TE

4Sr

6th

Karlos Williams

Florida State

RB

4Sr

6th

Bryce Hager

Baylor

ILB

5Sr

6th

Erick Dargan

Oregon

S

5Sr

6th

Darryl Roberts

 Marshall

CB

5Sr

6th

Cody Fajardo

Nevada

QB

5Sr

6th

Nick Marshall

Auburn

CB

4Sr

6th

Marcus Rush

Michigan State

OLB

5Sr

6th

Austin Shepherd

Alabama

T

5Sr

6th

Ryan Delaire

Towson

DE

4Sr

6th

 Jonathan Feliciano

Miami-Fl

G

5Sr

6th

Jaxon Shipley

Texas

WR

4Sr

6th

Tayo Fabuluje

TCU

T

5Sr

6th

Julian Wilson

Oklahoma

CB

5Sr

6th

Gerod Holliman

Louisville

S

4Jr

6th

Terrence Magee

LSU

RB

4Sr

6th

Jake Ryan

Michigan

ILB

5Sr

6th

Bobby Hart

Florida State

G

4Sr

6th

Zack Wagenmann

Montana

DE

5Sr

6th

Casey Pierce

Kent State

TE

5Sr

6th

Deandrew White

Alabama

WR

5Sr

6-7

Shaquille Riddick

West Virginia

DE

4Sr

6-7

Fritz Etienne

Memphis

S

5Sr

6-7

Tre McBride

William & Mary

WR

4Sr

6-7

Wil Baumann

North Carolina State

P

4Sr

6-7

Terrell Watson

Azusa Pacific

RB

4Sr

6-7

Derrick Lott

Tenn-Chattanooga

DT

6Sr

6th

Sean Hickey

Syracuse

T

5Sr

6-7

Neiron Ball

Florida

OLB

5Sr

6-7

Donald Celiscar

Western Michigan

CB

4Sr

6-7

Reeses Dismukes

Auburn

C

4Sr

6-7

Quandre Diggs

Texas

CB

4Sr

6-7

Obum Gwacham

Oregon State

DE

5Sr

6-7

Chad Hamilton

Coastal Carolina

G

5Sr

6-7

Michael Dyer

Louisville

RB

5Sr

6-7

Terry Poole

San Diego State

T

4Sr

6-7

Anthony Harris

 Virginia

S

4Sr

7th

Deon Simon

Northwestern State

DT

4Sr

6-7

Max Valles

Virginia

OLB

2So

7th

Brandon Bridge

South Alabama

QB

5Sr

6th

Jean Sifrin

Massachusetts

TE

4Jr

6-7

Austin Hill

Arizona

WR

5Sr

7th

Shaquille Mason

Georgia Tech

G

4Sr

6-7

Trey Depriest

Alabama

ILB

4Sr

7th

Corey Grant

Auburn

RB

5Sr

6-7

Deshazor Everett

Texas A&M

CB

4Sr

6-7

Ronald Martin

LSU

S

4Sr

7th

Ryan Russell

Purdue

DE

5Sr

7th

Andrew Donnal

Iowa

G

5Sr

7th

Lorenzo Doss

Tulane

CB

3Jr

7th

Laurence Gibson

Virginia Tech

T

6Sr

7th

Eric Tomlinson

UTEP

TE

5Sr

7th

Mark Glowinski

West Virginia

G

5Sr

7th

Hayes Pullard

USC

OLB

5Sr

7th

Kaleb Eulls

 Mississippi State

DT

5Sr

7th

Ricky Collins

Texas A&M Commerce

WR

5Sr

7th

Steve Edmond

Texas

ILB

4Sr

7th

Kyshoen Jarrett

Virginia Tech

S

4Sr

7th

Deon Long

Maryland

WR

5Sr

7th

Conner Neighbors

LSU

FB

5Sr

7th

Jermaine Whitehead

Auburn

S

4Sr

7th

Leterrius Walton

Central Michigan

DT

5Sr

7th

Adam Shead

Oklahoma

G

5Sr

7th

Jacorey Shepherd

Kansas

CB

4Sr

7th

A.J. Derby

Arkansas

TE

4Sr

7-FA

Melvin Meggs

South Alabama

G

4Jr

7th

Chris Bonner

CSU-Pueblo

QB

4Sr

7th

Zach Hodges

Harvard

OLB

4Sr

7th

Tye Smith

Towson

CB

4Sr

7-FA

Gregory Mancz

Toledo

G

5Sr

7-FA

Evan Spencer

Ohio State

WR

4Sr

7-FA

Akeem Hunt

Purdue

RB

4Sr

7-FA

Bryan Bennett

Southeastern Louisiana

QB

5Sr

7th

Devante Davis

UNLV

WR

4Sr

7-FA

Trenton Brown

Florida

T

4Sr

7-FA

Alani Fua

BYU

OLB

5Sr

7th

Rory Anderson

South Carolina

TE

4Sr

7-FA

Leon Orr

Florida

DT

5Sr

7-FA

Tavaris Barnes

Clemson

DE

5Sr

7th

Dezmin Lewis

Central Arkansas

WR

4Sr

7th

Justin Manton


Louisiana-Monroe

PK

4Sr

7-FA

Beau Gardner

Northern Arizona

TE

5Sr

FA

John Tavai

USC

OLB

4Sr

FA

J T Surratt

South Carolina

DT

5Sr

7-FA

Jake Smith

Louisville

C

5Sr

7-FA

Shane McDermott

Miami-Fl

C

5Sr

7-FA

Josue Matias

Florida State

G

4Sr

7-FA

Arthur Miley

Southern

DE

4Sr

FA

Xavier Williams

Northern Iowa

DT

5Sr

FA

Bobby Richardson

Indiana

DT

4Sr

7-FA

Al Bond

Memphis

G

5Sr

7th

Cam Thomas

Western Kentucky

CB

5Sr

FA

Da’Ron Brown

Northern Illinois

WR

5Sr

FA

Kaelin Clay

Utah

WR

4Sr

7th

Tevin McDonald

Eastern Washington

S

5Sr

7-FA

Brett Boyko

UNLV

T

4Sr

7th

Bryce Callahan

Rice

CB

5Sr

FA

Cole Farrand

Maryland

ILB

4Sr

FA

Jordan Taylor

Rice

WR

5Sr

FA

Titus Davis

Central Michigan

WR

4Sr

FA

Mickey Baucus

Arizona

T

5Sr

7-FA

Kenny Hilliard

LSU

RB

4Sr

FA

Vernon Johnson

Texas A&M Commerce

WR

4Sr

7-FA

B. J. Dubose

Louisville

DE

5Sr

7th

Isaiah Johnson

Georgia Tech

S

5Sr

FA

Keith Mumphery


Michigan State

WR

5Sr

7-FA

Jahwan Edwards

Ball State

RB

4Sr

FA

Justin Cox

Mississippi State

CB

4Sr

FA

ShaneWynn

Indiana

WR

4Sr

FA

Devin Gardner

Michigan

WR

5Sr

FA

Kennard Backman

Alabama-Birmingham

TE

4Sr

FA

Hunter Joyer

Florida

FB

4Sr

FA

Darryl Baldwin

Ohio State

T

5Sr

FA

Cameron Clear

Texas A&M

TE

5Sr

FA

Curtis Grant

Ohio State

ILB

4Sr

FA

Darius Kilgo

Maryland

DT

5Sr

FA

Levi Norwood

Baylor

WR

5Sr

FA

Marcus Murphy

Missouri

RB

5Sr

FA

Geremy Davis

Connecticut

WR

5Sr

FA

Nick O’Leary

Florida State

TE

4Sr

FA

Ezell Ruffin

San Diego State

WR

5Sr

FA

Leon Brown

Alabama

G

4Sr

FA

Garry Peters

Clemson

CB

5Sr

FA

Thomas Rawls

Central Michigan

RB

4Sr

7-FA

Dean Marlowe

James Madison

S

5Sr

FA

Cameron Clemmons

Western Kentucky

T

5Sr

FA

Mark Weisman

Iowa

FB

5Sr

FA

Rannell Hall

Central Florida

WR

4Sr

FA

Jake Kumerow

Wisconsin Whitewater

WR

5Sr

FA

Louis Trinca-Pasat

Iowa

DT

5Sr

FA

Dominique Brown

Louisville

RB

5Sr

FA

Deandre Smelter

Georgia Tech

WR

4Sr

FA

Jermauria Rasco

LSU

DE

4Sr

FA

Justin Coleman

Tennessee

CB

4Sr

FA

Martin Ifedi

Memphis

DE

5Sr

FA

DaVaris Daniels

Notre Dame

WR

4Jr

FA

Michael Reynolds

Kansas

OLB

4Sr

FA

Malcolm Bunche

UCLA

T

5Sr

FA

Kaleb Johnson

Rutgers

G

4Sr

FA

Tyeler Davison

Fresno
State

DT

5Sr

FA

Quayshawne Buckley

Idaho

DT

4Sr

FA

Detrick Bonner

Virginia Tech

S

5Sr

FA

Neal Sterling

Monmouth

TE

5Sr

FA

AJ Tarpley

Stanford

ILB

5Sr

FA

Deion Barnes

Penn State

DE

4Jr

FA

Matt Robinson

Maryland

OLB

5Sr

FA

Darious Cummings

Florida

DT

4Sr

FA

Josh Robinson

Mississippi State

RB

4Jr

FA

Imoan Claiborne

Northwestern State

CB

5Sr

FA

Harold Spears

New Hampshire

TE

5Sr

FA

Damian Swann

Georgia

CB

4Sr

FA

Dylan Thompson

South Carolina

QB

5Sr

FA

Takoby Cofield

Duke

T

5Sr

FA

Bradley Pinion

Clemson

P

4Sr

FA

B.J. Catalon

TCU

RB

3Jr

FA

Tony Jones

Northwestern

WR

5Sr

FA

Braylon Webb

Missouri

S

5Sr

DraftThe NFL Draft is just days away and the chatter is getting louder. I expect this page to be updated several times throughout the week and possibly several times a day from now until next Sunday. Updated Day Two

 

 Day Two

– The question as to who’ll be the third quarterback drafted should be answered some time tonight. I’m told the team representing Sean Mannion is pretty confident he’ll be quickly swiped up once the second round begins. Insiders have told me there’s a chance Garrett Grayson lands in the third round. The New York Jets and Buffalo Bills, two quarterback needy teams, are looking hard at Grayson. St Louis, Washington and Denver are teams also in the mix for Grayson. I’ve heard Grayson’s name associated with the Bronco’s since March.

– A number of people believe there’s a definite possibility cornerback D’Joun Smith is drafted somewhere in the second round tonight, much earlier than most expect.

– Another defensive back that could come off the board earlier than expected is safety James Sample who’s drawing interest from the Seattle Seahawks and Baltimore Ravens late in round two.

– Offensive lineman AJ Cann should come off the board quickly tonight. The Miami Dolphins would love a chance to select Cann but don’t expect him to be available at pick 47. I’m told the New York Jets, who select ten slots earlier at 37, have Cann graded highly.

April 29th

– For the past two months I’ve stated during radio interviews, live stream videos and television appearances that Randy Gregory would fall out of the first round and hinted it was more than just the marijuana issue reported several weeks back. I even stamped Gregory as a 2nd/3rd round prospect in my updated rankings at the beginning of the month. Other such stories on Gregory are beginning to pop up from seasoned NFL reporters. Earlier today sources told me they believe Gregory could still land in the late part of round one to a team such as the New Orleans Saints at pick 31 or the New England Patriots one selection later. I still remain skeptical and don’t expect his name to be called tomorrow evening.

– There are a lot of people around the league who tell me they are unconvinced Jameis Winston is a slam dunk as the first pick of the draft tomorrow night. I’m told Tampa Bay will work the phones to see if they can deal the first pick, something they admitted not long ago, and Marcus Mariota is still in the mix.

– The belief is the Tennessee Titans will draft Marcus Mariota for themselves if they cannot deal the second pick. The arrival of the Oregon quarterback could help buy additional time for general manager Ruston Webster and head coach Ken Whisenhut despite reports both will be gone if the team does not quickly turn it around this season.

– While the stories of Jacksonville taking Amari Cooper have built momentum I’m told ultimately the Jaguars would like to move the pick.

– The Atlanta Falcons are the team most associated in a trade with the Jaguars with the names of Leonard Williams and Dante Fowler Jr as the targeted players. Atlanta is also very interested in Vic Beasley, something to keep in mind if they cannot pull off a trade and acquire either of the two.

– I’m told if Dante Fowler Jr does not fall to the sixth pick the Jets will work the phones hard to move down. During a television appearance on SNY this past Sunday, I floated the idea of New Orleans as a trading partner as I was told weeks ago the Saints have broached the idea of moving up for Vic Beasley. I’ve honestly not heard anything concrete about a trade between the two teams but have further confirmed the Saints desire for Beasley.

– Who will the Jets select if they move down? The team has been very tight lipped but league sources tell me offensive line is a priority.

– I’m told one player the Chicago Bears are very interested in with the seventh pick is Bud Dupree of Kentucky.

April 28th

6:45PM

– League insiders tell me right now it looks as though the first round selection for the New York Giants will be Andrus Peat of Stanford. The game plan would be to line up Peat at right tackle then push 2013 first round pick Justin Pugh into guard.

– Back on April 6th I reported that Damarious Randall of Arizona State could sneak into the late part of round one, which surprised many. Randall has since been stamped as the top safety on a number of boards outside war rooms though in my final safety rankings I still list him behind Landon Collins. In that report I mentioned the Arizona Cardinals as a team very high on Randal and in conversations earlier today I was told there’s a high percentage chance the Indianapolis Colts will select Randall if he’s still on the board at 29.

12:30

– There’s a good possibility Ifo Ekpre-Olomu is still available when the third round begins. While teams like his film and cover skills the knee he injured last December has sent up serious red flags.

– After the most recent off the field incident the belief is Shane Ray will fall out of the first round, an opinion shared by many in his camp.

– There are a number of running back needy teams who my wait until the fourth round before drafting at the position as a result of the quality and depth available this year. David Cobb and Buck Allen have been brought to my attention as fourth round ball carriers teams believe will contribute as rookies. The other back who NFL decision makers feel will contribute right away as a late second/early third day pick is Duke Johnson. Presently I grade the Miami junior as a second round pick and feel he’ll immediately produce in the right system.

– One team that hopes Todd Gurley does not end up in the draft’s initial ten picks are the Miami Dolphins, who will quickly swipe up the ball carrier if he’s still available when they are called to the clock in round one.

– As of now there’s a very good chance the Cincinnati Bengals take an offensive tackle in round one. Word is the tackles they are debating for that pick include Jake Fisher and Cedric Ogbuehi.

– Interesting note. Yesterday a source told me linebacker Benardrick McKinney spent an extensive amount of time the past few days talking with the Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys. I previously reported on the Bronocs interest in McKinney and late last week tweeted the Cowboys were able to get in a last minute workout with the junior. Today I’m told if Kevin Johnson is unavailable when the Cowboys are on the clock in round one they will strongly consider either McKinney or Eric Kendricks. I’ve heard so much chatter connecting the Cowboys and McKinney the past three weeks I’ve got to believe where there’s smoke there’s fire.

– Staying on the topic of linebackers I’m told Alonzo Highsmith, senior personal director for the Green Bay Packers, is pushing hard for Denzel Perryman at the bottom of round one. The team would then push Clay Matthews to the outside. The belief is Green Bay still values a cornerback with that first pick and I hear Eric Rowe continues to be in the mix, but don’t dismiss Perryman.

– Don’t be surprised if tight end Wes Saxton is drafted much earlier than presently predicted. Teams love his speed and athleticism and feel the fourth round is not too early for his services.

– Another tight end I’m told is moving North on boards is Ben Koyack. Teams feel he was misused at Notre Dame and feel its just a matter of getting Koyack to play to his size/speed numbers.

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