- The beginning of the second and third rounds of the NFL draft is rapidly approaching. Here's the last-minute news, rumors and buzz that we're hearing.
Ten things I’m hearing just before the second and third rounds of the NFL draft kick off...
1. With the No. 33 and 35 picks, look for the Browns to address the running back and offensive line spots they eschewed yesterday. Early in the round, keep an eye on Georgia’s Nick Chubb to be the running back pick. And as for offensive linemen, Nevada’s Austin Corbett (who the Browns could play at right tackle) or Texas’ Connor Williams could be in the mix.
2. I’d expect the Giants to go offensive line at the pick in between Cleveland’s two picks as well. UTEP G Will Hernandez fits the demeanor that Dave Gettleman wants in his linemen, and has been connected to New York through the Day 2 rumor mill. Some viewed Hernandez as a first-round type, and he’d be a nice add to a revamped group that’ll be anchored by Nate Solder.
3. The Patriots’ decision to tab Georgia guard/tackle Isaiah Wynn and running back Sony Michel signals the opening of another pipeline for Bill Belichick, with old Nick Saban lieutenant Kirby Smart in charge in Athens. Belichick, who was at UGA’s pro day, has done this in the past with programs led by Saban, Greg Schiano and Urban Meyer. The benefit is twofold. One, he gets good info on the player. And two, those are demanding programs, so Belichick knows the players are equipped for Foxboro’s work environment. Want another one? If the Patriots don’t go front seven or corner at 43, I’ve heard Stanford S Justin Reid is one to keep an eye on—and he’d be the third Cardinal player drafted over the last five years by Belichick.
4. Could Wynn replace Solder? My sense is the Patriots will give him a shot there, thinking that he has potential as a tackle and is relatively sure thing as a guard.
5. Two other sliders to keep an eye on: BC DE Harold Landry and Iowa G/C James Daniels. I’ve heard Landry would be seriously in play for the Colts’ picks at 36 and 37. Daniels, I’ve had a harder time placing. Landry’s fall is largely due to a subpar final collegiate season, while there were some questions about Daniels’s ability and edge to lead a line as a center.
6. Other teams are keeping an eye on Kansas City to come up the board—the Chiefs actually talked to the Eagles last night, I’m told, about acquiring the No. 32 pick. It’d be for a corner, which makes sense in the wake of the Marcus Peters trade, and given the players (like Iowa’s Josh Jackson and Colorado’s Isaiah Oliver) available.
7. Were the Cowboys blindsided by Jason Witten’s pending retirement? Not completely, but Witten was in the building for workouts the last two weeks, and so there was at least the impression that he was planning to keep playing, before the reported Monday Night Football offer came. Would it have changed what Dallas did on Thursday? I don’t think so. My belief is they’d have gone with Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch over Maryland WR D.J. Moore (who they liked) regardless. And while they liked South Dakota State TE Dallas Goedert and Penn State TE Mike Gesicki, they weren’t taking either at 19. Tonight, though? Maybe they make a move for one or the other.
8. Goedert was, at one point, in the first-round conversation—and I’ve heard the fact that he didn’t run a 40 did hurt him. Because of the level of competition he faced in college, there were some questions about his speed and explosiveness that could’ve been answered, at least to a reasonable degree, through the testing.
9. The idea that Guice could be the fifth or sixth back taken would’ve surprised some people a few days ago. The sense I get is that questions about his maturity were a bigger deal than I realized a few days ago—especially since Guice is at a position where there is a cluster of quality players.
10. I feel for Michigan’s Maurice Hurst, a quality player who may fall further tonight because a lot of teams, as I understand it, are concerned with his heart condition. A couple teams I talked to last night said they’d be surprised if he goes in the second round.