- We have just a few hours before the NFL draft kicks off, so here are the final pieces of information and intel that are being passed around.
Tonight’s the night …
1. The Jets have had action over the last 24 hours on the third overall pick, and it now looks like it may not be the Redskins coming up to get it. The heat created by the link between the Raiders and Dwayne Haskins may just have been enough to smoke out a trade partner there.
2. If the Jets were to stay, or even trade down in the top 10, it’s worth watching the connection to Ed Oliver. As we said in the MMQB, the connection was to the coaching staff there—and DC Gregg Williams in particular. I had one scout, a former co-worker of Williams, say to me earlier today that Oliver has “got the flash, the juice, he’s the epitome of a Gregg Williams player. You draw one up, that’s who he is.”
3. The connection between the Broncos and Drew Lock isn’t dying out. Word is that he’s rising continuously in draft meetings there. Maybe they’d take him at 10. Maybe they’d be looking more at going up to get him if slides to the bottom of the first round. Either way, that connections been made. The interesting thing on Lock is the two teams linked to him most—the Packers and Broncos—are picking in the top 12 but don’t have a pressing need at position, making where he goes tough to peg.
4. The Vikings may wind up getting calls on veteran players—perception out there is they may try to move a bigger contract after paying the quintet of Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr and Danielle Hunter. Keep an eye on tight end Kyle Rudolph. I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if New England inquired on him over the next 48 hours, if they don’t wind up taking a tight end high and the Vikings do. The Patriots have done their homework on Rudolph in the past, and he’d bring a proven commodity with actual experience in a program like theirs (having played at Notre Dame under Charlie Weis a decade ago). Minnesota’s corners, Xavier Rhodes and Trey Waynes, elicited trade calls earlier in the offseason. And a team could probably get Laquon Treadwell at a pretty cheap rate, at this point.
5. Two players on fifth-year options that have been part of trade discussions—Philly’s Nelson Agholor and San Francisco’s Arik Armstead. Both players could be had for a price. But neither will be given away, since each would be part of their team’s comp-pick equation in 2020. As for the other defensive lineman in San Francisco, Solomon Thomas, there’s optimism he’ll be a better fit playing in a new scheme under first-year line coach Kris Kocurek, so I think it’s much less likely he’d be moved.
6. If Montez Sweat starts to slide tonight, and gets past the Redskins at 15 and the Panthers at 16, and the Seahawks at 21, who stops his fall? I’d pay attention to the Rams at the bottom of the first round, who’ve quietly done the homework on pass-rushers, as the assumption grown they’ll look for an interior lineman at 31. I’ve heard they’re O.K. with Sweat medically.
7. Duke’s Daniel Jones remains as polarizing as they come. I had two execs call him in the best quarterback in the class today. I’ve had others say he is nothing more than a backup. But word is he’s in play for both the Redskins and the Giants. I wouldn’t rule out Josh Rosen for the Giants either, if he becomes available.
8. We’ve discussed the Falcons potentially coming up to No. 8 for a defensive player (Oliver, Christian Wilkins, Devin Bush), with Detroit happy to trade down. I’d keep an eye on 13 as another hot spot for a trade down – if two of the three top tackles (Jonah Williams, Andre Dillard, Jawaan Taylor) are gone, Miami could have action on the pick, with the Panthers, Vikings and Texans carrying needs at the position. If those teams can’t get in position to get one of the top tackles, Carolina could pivot to a pass-rusher (Sweat and Brian Burns have been linked to them), Minnesota to an interior lineman (they’ve been connected of late to NC State center Garrett Bradbury), and Houston could either look for an interior lineman as well, or trade down to get in better position to pluck from the next tier of tackles (Kaleb McGary, Tytus Howard, Greg Little).
9. We’ve mentioned Devin White repeatedly as a potential cultural fit for what new Raiders GM Mike Mayock wants. Here’s another one that other teams have their eyes on for Oakland: Clemson DE Clelin Ferrell. I actually talked to Mayock about this a couple of months ago, and he confirmed that finding the right people, as well as players, was important to him. “I think the second, more difficult piece of the puzzle is what makes a kid tick,” Mayock says. “What are you looking for in an Oakland Raider? And I think the teams that consistently win are most consistent in that philosophy. Pick a team. You look at the way the Ravens have drafted over the years with Ozzie [Newsome], or Kevin Colbert and the Pittsburgh Steelers. You look at that, you go, ‘O.K., those guys know what a Pittsburgh Steeler looks like and smells like. Doesn't matter who the head coach is, the type of kid is very similar.’ And from draft to draft to draft, they get their kind of kid. And I think that’s what [Gruden] and I are striving for. He’s probably a little bit more aggressive and I’m probably more conservative. And I think we’re going to end up somewhere in the middle.”
10. And I’ve linked Vanderbilt’s Joejuan Williams to the Patriots for a while now. Two other names that came up today for them, as fits, maybe tonight, maybe on Day 2: South Carolina WR Deebo Samuel and Kansas State OL Dalton Risner.
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