Also, a new team that's a candidate to trade up in the draft, why Dave Gettleman may wait to draft a quarterback, two NFL veterans that teams are monitoring as potential trade targets and more.
Two days to go …
1. The Frank Clark trade, from a football perspective, makes plenty of sense for Kansas City. The Chiefs packaged the 29th and 92nd picks this year, and the lesser of their second-rounders next year (they got one from the Niners for Dee Ford), for Clark and the 84th pick. They gave him a deal very similar to DeMarcus Lawrence’s. And if he’s the player a lot of evaluators regard him to be—a top-five edge player in the league—then this represents a big upgrade over Ford for what amounts to, essentially, a first-round pick. But the other piece of this definitely warrants scrutiny, given Andy Reid’s long history for giving players second chances and the team’s recent issues with Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill. Clark was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence in 2014, alleged to have punched his girlfriend, and dismissed from the Michigan football as a result, before pleading guilty to disorderly conduct. It was some time ago, of course. And I’m the told the Chiefs did their research on this one. But there’s no question this takes on a different context because the team has been down this road before. They should be asked some tough questions on this one.
2. One leftover from the reporting on the Nick Bosa story I did for the magazine—I did ask ex-Ohio State coach Urban Meyer to compare him to his brother. Like most people who’ve been around the two, he said there are more similarities than differences here. “Joey’s a little longer, and I think Joey’s greatest strength was the ability to transition power into speed,” Meyer said. “Both of them start with their power, they’re such powerful guys. A lot of it is a gift, but they work so hard at it, too. They work so hard at their game. Joey, his ability to get skinny, just create so much power into an offensive lineman and then have that ability to get skinny on them. Nick had the same. Just not quite as long as Joe. To say that he’s maybe a little more powerful than Joe, I might agree with that. But I don’t know. It’s very close. It’s unbelievable, to the point where I’ve tried to convince John we need one more. We need another Bosa.” And what they missed when they didn’t have one, which was experienced this past campaign after Nick's injury cut his season short? That much was just as clear to Meyer. “When he was not there, every day you’d get a reminder that the best player in college football is no longer playing for you,” Meyer said. “And it took our team, our staff, myself, everyone went through a phase, where it was, I don’t want to say grieving, that might be a little tough, but it was awful. Here’s this guy, you see him rehabbing, and all of the sudden he’s not there, that was devastating.” We’ve got more on all that in the mag story. I’d expect his wait won’t be longer than 20 minutes on Thursday.
3. Here’s a new team that could be a candidate to trade up: Atlanta. Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff has never been shy in these spots, and fellow ex-Patriots exec Bob Quinn could be an interesting trade partner (the Lions, who pick eighth, are looking to deal down). Atlanta’s been nosing around offensive and defensive linemen ahead of the draft.
4. Teams keep pretty detailed accounting of which players are visiting which teams ahead of the draft, looking for trends. Here’s one that one team found: The Panthers used six of their 30 allotted in-house visits on offensive tackles, hosting Washington’s Kaleb McGary, Washington State’s Andre Dillard, Alabama State’s Tytus Howard, West Virginia’s Yodny Cajuste, Oklahoma’s Bobby Evans and Ole Miss’s Greg Little. On top of that, GM Marty Hurney was at the Pro Days of a bunch of the top tackles. So it’s not hard to see that Carolina’s serious about filling that need.
5. Want one more? The Vikings burned seven of their 30 in-house visits on offensive linemen. Which makes sense, give their need there, too.
6. Common sense says that if the Giants are going to take a quarterback in the first round, they should do it at No. 6, not No. 17. But what I’ve been reminded time and time again over the last couple weeks by execs who’ve heard the Giants will wait until 17 for a QB is how old school Dave Gettleman is. And when these guys call him old school, they’re saying he’ll stick to his board. And I was given an example of that—in 2015, Gettleman, then in Carolina, drafted linebacker Shaq Thompson, despite having Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis on the roster, which was a clear example of eschewing need to the guy he thought was the best player left.
7. LSU’s Greedy Williams, I’m told, completed the run up to the draft without taking one visit to a team facility, which is very strange for a player who’s carrying a bunch of red flags. The concerns link to his toughness, his work ethic and his personality. You’d think bringing him in would be a good step to dig into that. So that no did is notable. I could see Williams—seen by many as the draft’s most talented corner—slipping out of the first round.
8. Two more veteran names I know teams are monitoring as potential trade targets (and this is not saying they’re on the block … yet): Jaguars LB Telvin Smith and Broncos CB Chris Harris. The former was absent from the start of Jacksonville’s offseason program, and subsequently called out by EVP Tom Coughlin. The latter isn’t happy with his contract. He’s on the books for $7.9 million for the 2019-20 season, his walk year, a significantly lower rate than what his new teammate Kareem Jackson (3 years, $33 million) just got, something he’s said to have taken note of.
9. I think some teams think higher of Alabama RB Josh Jacobs than the public does. (I gave him to Oakland at 24 in my mock. I could see him going higher).
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