In the final “State of the Draft” of the year, I’ve collected all I’ve heard on how the draft may play out on Thursday. Thankfully, I’m not an effective person to send “smokescreens” to, so hopefully most, if not all, of these notes and rumors come to fruition.
I’ll be updating this now until the draft, and before Day 2 as well.
5/7 at 3:00 pm EST
-The quarterbacks seem destined to fall. That’s been heavily reported. But I think it’s realistic to not expect a single passer in the top 15 of the draft. Despite what I’ve heard, along with most in the media, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports made it very clear the Browns won’t be taking Manziel. I’ve heard the Vikings won’t be taking Blake Bortles at #8 overall. And I’d be shocked if the Rams or Bucs take a passer in the top 10.
-Manziel to Dallas if he’s on the board. I don’t agree with it personally, and hopefully Dallas changes their mind if he does fall to them.
-Bridgewater potential suitors in first round: Jaguars, Bengals, Patriots, Texans. I think he’ll end up in round one.
-The battle for the first round between Bortles and Carr should be fun. The Cardinals and trade-up Texans lean Bortles. The Browns and trade-up Bucs prefer Carr. And the trade-up Vikings are a mystery. I’m leaning Carr in Cleveland, Bortles in Minnesota. The Browns, Jaguars also really like Jimmy Garoppolo.
-Here’s my top-seven picks, as of this posting (unlikely to change): Clowney-Robinson-Watkins-Evans-Donald-Mack-Matthews. Potential trade swap between the Jaguars and Falcons is possible, still netting Watkins and Mack, respectively.
-Aaron Donald isn’t leaving the top-8 picks. The Bucs and Vikings won’t pass on him.
-Some of my personal favorite/confident picks (assuming the players don’t go surprisingly earlier): Zach Martin to the Bills, Anthony Barr to the Titans, Ra’Shede Hageman to the Steelers, Morgan Moses to the Ravens, Brandin Cooks to the Jets and Ja’Wuan James to the Dolphins.
-Yes, Ja’Wuan James to the Dolphins. Played right tackle for Tennessee the last four years, never missed a start, high character and can plug-and-play at their biggest need. It’s a fit.
-Ryan Shazier is most likely going in the top 16 picks. Giants, Rams and Cowboys all in the mix. Green Bay would love if he sank to 21, but seems unlikely.
-Marcus Martin to the Saints. It’s been said plenty of times on social media (@JoshNorris and @JuMosq get the credit), but it seems like a near lock now.
-Deone Bucannon has a very good chance of being a first rounder. The Packers, Chiefs and Patriots are the most likely suitors.
-Jordan Matthews is going to be a first rounder as well. The Eagles, Packers, Panthers, 49ers and Seahawks are all interested. On the other hand, Marqise Lee will likely slip out of the first round. Injury concerns about. The Eagles, Panthers and Seahawks have interest, but odds are Lee will be hoping his old coach Pete Carroll saves him at 32.
-The Vikings top targets seem to be Khalil Mack, Mike Evans and Aaron Donald, in that order. However, it’s likely all three are gone. I’d expect them to move back. They could move to the teens for a team looking for a tackle (Giants, Rams, Dolphins) or even further down for a team coveting Odell Beckham Jr (Eagles, 49ers). Darqueze Dennard may be their pick.
-Louis Nix’s character concerns have been brought up, and teams wonder what kind of locker room guy he’ll be. He’s active on social media, but also needed a lot of attention from people at Notre Dame. Combine that with weight fluctuations, and he’s not going to be a Top 20 pick. Two teams that are most linked: the Chargers at 25 and the Texans at 33.
-There’s a real possibility that Eric Berry is traded on draft day, with the Falcons being most likely. The price tag is something around a second-round pick.
-I know of two teams who have Zack Martin above Taylor Lewan on their draft boards. Don’t be surprised if he goes higher on draft day.
-Darqueze Dennard and Jason Verrett have the most serious medical concerns of the cornerbacks. Justin Gilbert has been raved about as the top cornerback, but I know of one team that has Bradley Roby as their top cornerback, some that still have Darqueze Dennard at #1, and Kyle Fuller has his teams as well.
-CJ Mosley is off of more than a couple team’s boards, and others have knocked him down a round because of his medical concerns. Don’t be surprised if he’s not picked on Thursday.
-Possible trade to watch: Philadelphia trades to 9 (Buffalo) or 10 (Lions) for Anthony Barr. 49ers trade to 11 for Odell Beckham Jr.