2018 NFL Draft

Saints Looking To Trade Up In NFL Draft

The Saints have “made plenty of calls about making a big leap up” from their No. 27 pick, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. It’s not clear who the Saints are targeting, however. 

Rapoport wonders aloud if the Saints might be doing due diligence in case a certain player, perhaps a quarterback, falls on draft night. Usually, an aggressive move up the board is done to secure a QB, so the Saints could be eyeing one of this year’s top QBs as a successor to Drew Brees. In any event, they’ll be well-prepared to move up if their desired target slides.

The Saints don’t have a ton of ammo to make a trade since they sent this year’s second-round choice to the 49ers last year in order to select running back Alvin Kamara. The Saints’ next pick doesn’t come until the third round (No. 91), so they may have to dip into next year’s draft in order to make an aggressive move.

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Josh Allen Caught In Twitter Controversy

Two years ago, Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil slid down the draft board after a video of him smoking from a gas mask bong surfaced on Twitter. This year, it’s possible that another Twitter controversy could affect Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen. Multiple tweets from 2012 and 2013 have been unearthed in which Allen uses a variation on the n-word, as detailed by Ryan Young of Yahoo Sports

There’s also an offensive tweet from 2013 in which Allen responds to a question asked of him by AskFM. When asked “Why are you so white?,” Allen responds, “If it ain’t white, it ain’t right!”

Allen spoke with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith late Wednesday night to apologize for the tweets, saying that he was young and dumb. It remains to be seen how the tweets will affect Allen on draft night, but a team with a top-five draft pick told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that it knew nothing about the tweets and that it had “never heard anything but positives” about the QB.

Allen has been projected to go as high as No. 1 to the Browns in recent days and it was widely expected that he would be selected no later than No. 5. Now, everything appears to be in flux for the talented passer.

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Browns To Select Baker Mayfield No. 1?

With hours to go before the NFL Draft, the identity of the No. 1 pick remains unclear. There is increasing chatter from head coaches and GMs that the Browns will select Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. This comes after weeks of reports identifying USC’s Sam Darnold and Wyoming’s Josh Allen as the only real candidates for the selection. 

Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy in 2017 and led the Football Bowl Subdivision in completion rate by connecting on 70.5% of his throws. He also set a single-season record by averaging 11.5 yards per pass and threw for 43 touchdowns against six interceptions. Still, questions persist about his build and character. For his part, Browns GM John Dorsey has shrugged off questions about Mayfield’s height and his behavioral red flags.

Mayfield going No. 1 would be a surprise, but there is no real consensus on any of this year’s top quarterbacks. Darnold and Josh Rosen were long touted as the best QBs in this year’s crop, but both players are coming off of rocky seasons that potentially exposed their flaws. Allen, meanwhile, doesn’t have a great on-field track record to match the hype of his arm strength.

So far, Dorsey has kept the identity of the draft pick close to the vest. It’s possible that we won’t know the identity of the No. 1 overall pick until it is read by Roger Goodell on Thursday night, and that will make for some serious drama.

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Browns Shopping No. 4 Pick

Could the Browns use the No. 4 pick as ammunition to acquire even more selections? That might be the case, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter) reports that Cleveland has shopped the pick.

Cleveland would presumably have a number of suitors, as several teams are reportedly looking to move up in the first round, including the Packers and Cardinals. There were whispers that the Bills could pull off a deal for the Giants’ second-overall selection, but reports indicated that Buffalo wouldn’t “sell out” to acquire the pick. If the Bills were indeed interested in trading for that Giants pick, they could perhaps switch their focus to the Browns’ fourth-overall pick, although that’s merely speculation on my part.

What would it take for a team to acquire the Browns’ pick? We can somewhat refer to the trade that the Jets and Colts pulled off last month. Indy ended up sending No. 3 to New York in exchange for a first-rounder (No. 6), a pair of upcoming seconds (No. 37 and No. 49), and a 2019 second-round pick. It’s uncertain if the Browns could receive a similar package for the fourth pick, although suitors may have a bit of leverage. After all, we learned last week that the Broncos would move the No. 5 pick for the right price.

The Browns originally acquired the No. 4 pick from Houston in a draft-day deal that allowed the Texans to select quarterback Deshaun Watson. Cleveland currently has five selection in the first two rounds, including the top-overall pick.

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Packers Looking To Move Up In First Round

Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst may be looking to make a splash during his first draft. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that Green Bay is among a handful of teams that are “plotting a potential trade up…for a top-tier talent.” The team is currently armed with the No. 14 pick in the first round.

Recent reports have connected the organization with several notable defenders. We heard earlier this week that the Packers were eyeing Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, although the report indicated that the team would likely have to move up to select the versatile prospect. In Daniel Jeremiah’s recent top-50 list, Edmunds was ranked sixth overall.

The team has also been connected to Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith, another player who would likely necessitate a trade. Smith was listed eighth on Jeremiah’s new top-50 rankings. While the Packers have Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, Blake Martinez, and Jake Ryan slotted in as their starting linebackers, Smith and Edmunds’ versatility could make a trade worthwhile.

Of course, considering the Packers’ depth at linebacker, they might be looking at other positions. The team could presumably be targeting defensive end Bradley Chubb if he manages to fall a bit in the draft. The could also target the top cornerback prospects, a grouping that includes Denzel Ward, Mike Hughes, and Jaire Alexander.

Including the 14th selection, the Packers have 12 picks headed into this weekend’s draft. The team doesn’t have any extra first-, second-, or third-rounders, but they do have a pair of fourth-round picks and three fifth-rounders.

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NFL Draft Rumors: Browns, Price, Broncos

The Browns‘ No. 1 pick remains a mystery to everyone, including head coach Hue Jackson, according to Robert Klemko of The MMQB (on Twitter). He also adds that Dorsey has already made his determination, contrary to what has been leaked to the press.

On Wednesday morning, it was reported that the Browns are likely to select either Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen or Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield. Of course, that could just be a smokescreen as many still believe the Browns will take USC’s Sam Darnold.

Here’s the latest NFL Draft buzz:

 

Browns Consider Trading No. 4 Overall Pick

The Browns plan to keep the No. 1 pick, but they could trade their other first-round selection. The Browns have had a lot of conversations about the No. 4 selection, sources tell Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link). Those talks could be a part of due diligence, but the Browns may also be also considering a scenario in which they get a large haul for the No. 4 choice from a team desperate to take their desired quarterback. 

One decision-maker told Rapoport (Twitter link) that the No. 4 pick is the “pivotal point in the draft.” If the Browns were to keep both the No. 1 and No. 4 picks, the assumption is that a QB would be taken with the first pick and a non-QB would go at No. 4. If another team steps up and takes a QB at No. 4, it increases the likelihood that four QBs will be taken within the top 5. That would spell good news for teams that are already set under center and put other clubs in need of a passer in a precarious spot.

If the Giants select running back Saquon Barkley – as many believe they will – and pick Nos. 1, 3, 4, and 5 are all used on QBs, many of this year’s top overall talents will be available outside of the top five. The Colts, in particular, would be in a position to benefit. After already landing three second-round picks to trade down from No. 3 to No. 6, the Colts could command a serious haul if defensive end Bradley Chubb, Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith, Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson, Florida State safety Derwin James, and Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick are all on the board. The Colts could also stand pat and select one of this year’s best players available for themselves.

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Pats Met Twice With Lamar Jackson

It’s fair to wonder whether the Patriots’ reported interest in Lamar Jackson is a smokescreen, but the latest word indicates that they are legitimately considering the Louisville quarterback. In addition to their meeting at team headquarters, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels also conducted a private workout with Jackson in South Florida, Jenny Vrentas of The MMQB tweets

A few weeks ago, it seemed likely that Jackson would still be on the board for the Patriots’ initial first-round pick at No. 23. Now, with talk that four QBs could be taken inside of the first five picks, it’s far from a certainty that Jackson will be available. Assuming that Sam DarnoldJosh RosenJosh Allen, and Baker Mayfield are taken inside of the top 10, the Patriots would have to hope that the Dolphins (No. 11), Bills (Nos. 12 and 22), Cardinals (No. 15), Ravens (No. 16), and Chargers (No. 17) pass on the speedy signal caller.

Some evaluators still believe that Jackson would fare better as a wide receiver in the NFL, but he says that he is solely focused on playing quarterback. He didn’t help his case at the combine as he performed poorly in interviews and whiteboard exercises, but that apparently has not dissuaded Patriots brass.

The Patriots own two first-round picks and two second-round picks in this year’s draft thanks to the Brandin Cooks and Jimmy Garoppolo trades.

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Browns To Take Allen Or Mayfield?

For weeks, we have been hearing that the Browns will select either USC quarterback Sam Darnold or Wyoming QB Josh Allen with the top pick. Then, this week, it was reported that Oklahoma signal caller Baker Mayfield is also in the mix. Now, sources say the Browns appear to be down to either Allen or Mayfield as team executives have cooled on Darnold, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com writes.

Much has been made about Mayfield’s lack of height, but GM John Dorsey has made it clear that he is not concerned. Dorsey has also indicated that he would not rule out Mayfield over his red flags, which include a public intoxication arrest, grabbing his crotch against Kansas, and planting a flag on the Block O at Ohio State.

Every young man will make a mistake in his life, I bet you,” he said. “And I think he’s very remorseful of that mistake and I think he’s moved forward from that, and he’s trying to make himself a better person, going through the process.”

Allen, meanwhile, has been praised for his arm strength, but his low completion rate in college underscores his lack of accuracy. If the Browns believe that they can harness his raw skills, then he could be a real consideration for the top choice. However, some would argue that he has the most bust potential of this year’s top four quarterback prospects.

Have the Browns truly drifted away from Darnold? At this point, it is impossible to tell whether the Browns are actually deciding between Mayfield and Allen or if they are simply working to try and drum up a better trade offer. Still, it’s a situation worth monitoring as whispers about Darnold’s lack of polish continue to circulate.

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Browns GM: No Real Offers For Top Pick

Right now, it sounds like the Browns will be keeping the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Browns GM John Dorsey says he has not received any legitimate trade offers for the top choice (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Steve Wyche). Meanwhile, he claims that he is keeping the identity of the No. 1 pick under wraps

I haven’t even told my wife,” Dorsey said.

Since 1990, the No. 1 overall pick has been traded just six times before draft day. The most recent occurrence took place in 2016 when the Rams acquired the top choice in the draft in order to select quarterback Jared Goff. The Rams are happy with how things turned out, though the Titans did come away with four starters as a result of that deal in running back Derrick Henry, wide receiver Corey Davis, tight end Jonnu Smith, and offensive lineman Jack Conklin.

Teams have almost certainly engaged in trade talks with the Browns regarding the top pick, but it’s a tricky calculation for any club. The Browns are ostensibly asking for a lot and, so far, no one is willing to meet that sticker price.

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