Three days to go …
1. Here’s a fact to kick things off this week: There have been 18 trades into or up in the top 10 of NFL drafts this decade. Nine came in the first half (2010–14), and two of those were for quarterbacks (Blaine Gabbert in 2010 and Robert Griffin in ’12). Nine have come in the years since (2015-present), and seven have been for quarterbacks (Jared Goff and Carson Wentz in 2016; Mitchell Trubisky and Patrick Mahomes in ’17; Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen in ’18). The two outliers of those nine? The Titans going up for Jack Conklin in 2016, and the Bears moving up for Leonard Floyd a pick later. Could this year be different?
2. Two of the teams that I’ve heard most often as candidates open to trading up—Carolina (No. 16) and Houston (No. 23)—wouldn’t be going up for quarterbacks. In all likelihood, it’d be a move to get one of the top three tackles. Each has been very present in that market on the scouting trail over the last three months, and the dropoff from the first cluster (Alabama’s Jonah Williams, Florida’s Jawaan Taylor, Washington State’s Andre Dillard) to the second (Alabama State’s Tytus Howard, Ole Miss’ Greg Little) leaves both teams in a bit of a no man’s land, drafting too low for the former and too high for the latter. So both could move up or, failing that, move down.
3. We mentioned Detroit as a team that could surprise by taking a quarterback, and this was passed along to me today: GM Bob Quinn and college scouting director Lance Newmark traveled to Shreveport for the Independence Bowl in December to live scout Duke and Temple, and Daniel Jones threw for 423 yards and six touchdowns that day. Add that to the fact that the Lions sat down with Kyler Murray at the combine, and they’ve at least done their homework on the top guys. (I still think they’d most like to trade down, but this is all interesting.)
4. Speaking of the quarterbacks, of late, Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins has been linked to more teams than he was a couple weeks ago. You’ve heard on the Giants, Redskins, and Bengals. I’d also throw the Raiders in that mix, as a possibility.
5. For better or worse, the NFL has drama surrounding the first pick in the draft—which is exactly what the league wants. I know teams have been under orders in the past not to reveal their plans ahead of the broadcast, so what’s long seemed like a forgone conclusion has a little spice to it now, even if it’s pretty silly to think that the Cardinals haven’t decided whether they’ll take Kyler Murray or not at this point.
6. On the Kliff Kingsbury/Murray connection, I thought what Murray’s high school coach told ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss was really, really interesting. Relationships matter.
7. We mentioned it before, but it’s worth reiterating: I’m told the Giants, Redskins, Chargers and Dolphins all did touch base with the Cardinals on Josh Rosen, so Arizona has an idea on teams interested, if it does come to trading him. I imagine that would have to happen ahead of the first round, since after that, Jones, Haskins and Missouri’s Drew Lock will be on rosters, taking potential suitors out of the mix.
8. While we’re there, I’ve been told the Packers’ affection for Missouri’s Drew Lock, whom they had in for a ‘30’ visit, is real. Does that mean they’ll take him? It does not. But if he were to take a Rodgers-style slide to the bottom of the round, I suppose you can’t rule anything out.
9. Good to see Jaguars coach Doug Marrone quickly defusing the Jalen Ramsey situation in the team’s offseason program. I don’t think whether he’s there to lift weights or not is that big a deal—being at OTAs in May is a bit more important. What’s really important here, for Marrone, is keeping the environment in the building where it needs to be, and avoiding the potholes Jacksonville hit last year. (Which is why we gave the team Jonah Williams in the MMQB mock draft earlier today.)
10. To wrap up, I touched base with now former Saint Benjamin Watson, and he indicated that he is, indeed, open to playing again. My sense is he’s looking at some opportunities for post-football life, but will certainly listen to teams looking for veteran tight end help. And a lot of times, these sorts of things materialize post-draft, when the roster picture becomes close to complete for teams.
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