King’s Latest: Falcons, Manziel, Rams, Mack

With teams reluctant to reveal any of their plans, the weeks leading up to the draft are often filled with a mix of real and false information on teams’ preferences and players’ stocks. Peter King of points to a Johnny Manziel rumor as one example of potential misinformation, noting that he heard from one reliable source that the Eagles are considering moving up to draft the young quarterback. However, King goes on to say that a second source, who would know even better, insists it “absolutely won’t happen.”

While it seems there’s nothing to that Manziel rumor, King cites it as an instance where a team may be trying to make a “misdirection play” and passes along several more draft-related updates that he considers to be more reliable. Here are the highlights from the latest MMQB column:

  • “Momentum is gaining” for the Falcons to trade up to No. 1 to draft Jadeveon Clowney, according to King, who estimates the odds of a deal are about 40% at this point. Ian Rapoport of also reported today that the Falcons are exploring trade options, though he notes that the club hasn’t engaged in negotiations with the Texans for that first overall pick yet. In King’s view, it would take at least Atlanta’s 2015 first-rounder in addition to this year’s No. 6 overall pick to get Houston’s attention.
  • It’s a safe bet that Rams GM Les Snead will trade at least one of his two first-round picks, if not both, says King. The team currently holds the second and 13th overall selections.
  • An offensive coordinator whose team likely won’t be drafting a quarterback early, to King: “If I had the first pick in the draft, I’d take Manziel.”
  • King spoke to Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack, who is pushing to be the first player off the board and would love to play with J.J. Watt in Houston. Although Mack hasn’t yet gotten a sense of where he’ll be selected, King would be surprised if the linebacker lasted more than six picks.
  • King passes along the top 10 players on one team’s draft board, though he’s not sure of the order: Clowney, Mack, Manziel, Blake Bortles, Aaron Donald, Sammy Watkins, and four offensive tackles (Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews, Zack Martin, Taylor Lewan).
  • Nevada offensive lineman Joel Bitonio could be a top target for the Panthers in the second round if he’s still on the board at No. 60, says King.
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