NFL executives widely believe that if Johnny Manziel is selected in the first eight picks tomorrow, it will be by decree of the owner rather than the scouting department or GM, writes Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net. One source told Pauline that it feels like a lot of GMs are hoping Manziel is off the board before it’s their turn to pick so that there’s no discussion or distraction of selecting the signal caller. This is especially the case in Tampa Bay where Buccaneers owners are pushing for Manziel but coach Lovie Smith is after defensive tackle Aaron Donald. Here’s more from Pauline’s column..
- Consistent with what we’ve already heard, the Browns like Manziel but not enough to use the No. 4 pick on him. The name that Pauline hears often connected to Cleveland is receiver Mike Evans and Blake Bortles is a dark horse possibility.
- If Bortles slides past the Vikings at No. 8, look for the Cardinals to try and move up for him.
- The Raiders are shopping their first round pick and while there’s been interest, no team has matched their asking price. Right now Oakland would like Khalil Mack, Mike Evans, or Sammy Watkins at No. 5. If they are able to trade down the pick is likely to be quarterback Derek Carr.
- The Panthers have been known to like Joel Bitonio at No. 28 and Pauline hears the Chargers will also consider him at No. 25.
- There’s a feeling the Panthers could attempt to trade up for a receiver or offensive tackle and the Dolphins are the obvious trade partner. Miami, Pauline hears, will entertain offers for the 19th pick if Zack Martin is unavailable. By doing that, the Panthers would assure themselves receiver Brandin Cooks or Marqise Lee, whichever is available. If that’s the case, Bitonio could then land with the Seahawks as the first round closes out.
- The 49ers have let it be known they plan to be aggressive on draft day and use their arsenal of top 100 picks to move up. Right now, sources say SF has their eye on receiver Odell Beckham. The price to move up for Evans is a little steep and Beckham fills a need for them. Another plus to Beckham is that they’d provide a safeguard if Michael Crabtree‘s price tag in free agency next year is too high.