Based on what Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com was hearing during and after the draft, he believes the Browns traded down from No. 4 to No. 9 in the first round in the hopes that Texas A&M receiver Mike Evans would still be on the board. When Evans was snapped up by the Buccaneers seventh overall, Cleveland went another direction and never did address the receiver position in the draft. Here’s more from La Canfora, with a focus on draft-related what-ifs:
- The Jaguars “resisted several opportunities” to move out of the No. 3 overall slot and trade down with teams who were hoping to land Khalil Mack or Sammy Watkins, says La Canfora. We heard this morning that Jacksonville also considered trading with the Falcons, who were targeting Jake Matthews.
- Before they traded up to No. 22, the Browns were close to making deals with the Titans at No. 11 and the Cowboys at No. 16.
- If the Patriots hadn’t selected Florida’s Dominique Easley with their first-round pick, the Seahawks likely would have kept their first-rounder and used it on Easley rather than moving down. Similarly, the Cardinals would have selected Ryan Shazier if he was there at No. 20, but began attempts to trade down once he came off the board, ultimately swinging a deal with the Saints.
- Offensive tackle Ju’Wuan James likely would’ve been selected by the Panthers at No. 28 if the Dolphins hadn’t drafted him 19th overall.
- La Canfora continues to hear from sources that at this point rumors of a Ryan Mallett trade between the Patriots and Texans are just that — rumors.
- Defensive tackle Ego Ferguson, who was selected by the Bears in the second round, has been frequently identified by evaluators as one of the draft’s biggest reaches, says La Canfora.