Hey Guys, my scouting connections seem to be doing the Santa Claus-checking lists twice event. From talking with them while they made their reports requests, here is some of the scout chatter I was filled in on.
Of course, it will be the GM and head coach making draft decisions, but those out in the field have equally important views. Whether I agree with the chatter or not, "don't shoot the piano player" here, cool? Still, I've been doing this since 1968 & I know when a scout is pulling my chain or not (hey, got ten grand kids under age eight - hard to fool this old dog).
So, after deciphering the talk from yesterday & recognizing the reports they have requested (for the NFL teams, my reports on each player average over 100 pages each), I could be under the Abe Lincoln effect (fool me once, shame on...) but do value my sources as being legit when they say the following;
Got a crazy one from the Broncos themselves that the Packers did a lot of homework on Jordan Willis & Dion Dawkins the last week. Dawkins told them that it was as a guard, while the Broncos still consider him a tackle. Falcons are making calls trying to get into the 15-20 range, thinking the Giants want Willis & the Birds want to team him with Beasley. While Dawkins could be a nice fit for Green Bay's woes at guard, I keep seeing them out West, where Utah's Isaac Asiata is getting lots of Day Two attention from the Cheeseheads.
I still say Cincinnati or Carolina will pull the early trigger to entice the Jets if Fournette is on board at #6. Jets really want Conley & feel they can move down into the teens & snatch him. The drawback there is that Jacksonville has interest in Fournette. The Jets continue to feed rumors of a possible Trubisky pick-up, if he's there, but word I have inside is that defense is a priority first and that the team thinks it could trade down once or twice and still find Patrick Mahomes available. Logic says, tank the season and get your franchise QB in 2018's draft.
The San Francisco talks of trading the #2 pick to Cleveland for three choices in the first 100 won't subside either, with the Browns giving up #12 in the package with a second and another pick. That way, Garrett-Trubisky go 1-2 to the dog pound.
The Chargers look like they will rectify passing on Jalen Ramsey last year and take my top-rated player, Jamal Adams, to lead their secondary for the next decade.They will have to hold their breath on draft day, as both Chicago and Tennessee are both strongly considering Adams for future employment.The recent cutting of Jason McCourty also has the Titans considering a trio of Buckeyes for their secondary - Conley, Malik Hooker and Marshon Lattimore.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals continue to examine the benefits that Clemson's Mike Williams offers at 4.6 speed to those that currently injured Western Michigan star, Corey Davis, has to offer. With John Brown dealing with a sickle cell issue and Larry Fitzgerald having more great days behind him than ahead, the Cards need to determine if they go for an immediate band aid for the receiving corps or bank on the future by taking a quarterback in Round One (Mahomes).
Johnny-come-latelys in the coaching industry have seen a lot of running back coaches put off by Christian McCaffrey's decision to refuse private workouts. Hey coaches, even Ray Charles can see what he does, if you pop a tape into your VCR! Look for the Broncos to make every effort to slip past the Eagles in an attempt to snatch the team legacy. Word is, if the Browns keep the #12 pick, that is the one Elway is targeting to move up to. It could expand into a mega-deal, as the old QB has spent the last few years trying to entice the Browns to "free Willey" and package Joe Thomas into the mix.
One player the Giants have shown strong interest in is Houston's Tyus Bowser, miscast in a 3-4 scheme with the Cougars. Many feel he has Jamie Collins qualities, especially the Dolphins, making him the prime target for the team in South Beach before the Big Blue can get around to picking. It could lead to a nice consolation prize though, as many scouts feel that Florida's Jarrad Davis is making a strong push to get with a linebacker-needy team in the bottom third of the opening round.
Seattle's "invites" the last week (Lattimore and Conley, Humphrey, etc.) of cornerbacks is either the team trying to bluff Richard Sherman that they are serious about trading him, or in reality, they have tired of his antics. The bet here is, whether he stays or not, Sherman could see a local kid, Kevin King, get a call from Pete Carroll at the end of Round One. Seattle is also doing lots of homework on my most underrated corner, Utah's Brian Allen, but more so for late Day Two activity.
The Chiefs are determined to build for the future and have been equally busy as San Francisco in delving into the good, bad, ugly of the quarterback class. If they go Round One, DeShaun Watson is their flavor of the month. Some think the Cards will jump on Watson first, but Bruce Arians has lots of tapes on Cal's Davis Webb in his office.
Some former first round projections are seeing their top rung spots drop, as talk is Alabama's Cam Robinson and Marlon Humphrey could slip into Day Two affairs. Taco Charlton is being eye-balled by Detroit, but his sudden "desire" to play last year have others wondering if he's worth first round money. The second round stud should be Mississippi's Evan Engram, a player I would not hesitate to snatch in the opening round, if I was the New York Giants.
The consensus is that O.J. Howard and David Njoku will be long gone before Engram hears his name called, but if you look at what he brings to the table as a receiver, there is no finer fit for Big Blue, unless the future falls into their laps and Patrick Mahomes is still waiting for an opening round call. Bowser and Jarrad Davis are also in play for the Giants, if they slide, but word is they don't place Vanderbilt's Zack Cunningham into that same opening phase pecking order.
The Giants also feel they can get their future edge rusher in the second round, with the favorite name being bandied about as Florida State's DeMarcus Walker, who some teams feel could also handle a few snaps each week as an under tackle in addition to coming off the flank. Youngstown State's Derek Rivers has also drawn considerable attention in East Rutherford, but some on the staff seem to prefer local product Tanoh Kpassagnon emerging late in the second round as a viable option if Walker has already been selected.
If the team waits until the third round to get another pass rusher, Alabama's Ryan Anderson could fill that need, either on the edge or at strong-side linebacker.They have also shown similar interest in oft-injured Florida product - Alex Anzalone, but those medical reports are the only reason the Gator will still be there late on Day Three.
Houston is on the quarterback market, but Bill O'Brien could pull a Day Two surprise, as he's spent a lot of time putting Pittsburgh's Nate Peterman under the microscope. Pittsburgh could also be the place where the first Division II player will be drafted this year, as Ben Roethlisberger is pushing for Ashland tight end Adam Shaheen to come on board in the second round.The Steelers could change their minds in that round, if Florida's Quincy Wilson slides, but if they do not get a corner in the first two rounds, West Virginia's Rasul Douglas has emerged as a viable third round pick in Round Three, where Utah's Brian Allen also comes into play.
San Francisco GM John Lynch says he's "open for business" with the #2 pick, but he could be throwing caution to the wind. Word is that the team has targeted troubled Joe Mixon in Round Two and hope injured cornerback Sidney Jones is waiting for them early in the third round. With the draft absent of any franchise types to secure with the second pick, analysts still predict he will take Stanford's Solomon Thomas, but the former safety has done an "only have eyes for you" view when watching tapes of LSU's Jamal Adams.
All the talk about the Bills going for a quarterback in Round One appear to be a smokescreen, especially after Tyrod Taylor re-did his deal. But, that does not mean they will not add to that unit before Day Two ends. If Jon Gruden is right, the "best mind" in this QB class is Miami's Brad Kaaya and despite an early run in the draft on mediocre passers, Round Three is the place where this Hurricane could be a great value pick-up, so much so, my scouts are calling him this year's Dak Prescott.
While most think the Patriots will further address cornerback needs during the Malcolm Butler situation, Coach Bill B. likes to rattle cages. Do not be surprised if fast-rising strong safety Justin Evans all of a sudden hears his name called at the end of Round One. Jarrad Davis is another name the Pats are strongly considering with their current first pick.