Draft Rumors: Commanders, Texans, Bears, Titans, Panthers, Raiders, Falcons

Reported as a team not interested in Lamar Jackson, the Commanders are indeed going in another direction at quarterback. Ron Rivera confirmed Tuesday his team will not pursue the dual-threat superstar and, via the Washington Post’s Nicki Jhabvala, never considered doing so (Twitter link).

It was something we feel didn’t suit what we want to do,” Rivera said. “We know he’s a tremendous player. I just didn’t think that was the direction we wanted to go.

Washington, however, will likely be hosting other quarterbacks during the pre-draft process. The team will not rule out taking a QB in Round 1, Rivera said Tuesday (Twitter link). The Commanders hold the No. 16 overall pick; they will almost definitely need to complete a vault up the draft board to land one of the top four QBs. The Panthers will take a quarterback first overall, while the Texans, Colts, Seahawks, Raiders, Falcons and Titans — each a QB suitor or a team that would make sense as such — sit ahead of them. The Commanders passed on trading up for Justin Fields or Mac Jones two years ago and had Carson Wentz in place in 2022, tabling draft matters at the position.

Here is the latest from the draft circuit:

  • The Texans have already brought in Will Levis and Anthony Richardson for pre-draft visits, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Houston will also host Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud on “30” visits soon. On track to draft a first-round quarterback for the first time since Deshaun Watson in 2017, the Texans should be expected to consider the top four options. Their Week 18 win in Indianapolis, however, allowed the Bears to leapfrog them for the draft’s top slot. The Panthers now hold that pick and will have first dibs on this year’s QB crop.
  • Before making their trade with the Panthers, the Bears discussed trading back with the Texans — as part of a multi-trade effort to accumulate picks — Ryan Poles said recently (via NBC Sports’ Peter King). That scenario would have had the Bears trading from No. 1 to 2 to 9, putting the Texans at first overall and the Panthers at No. 2, but SI.com’s Albert Breer notes negotiations with the Texans dragged while Panthers talks accelerated. Poles said his relationship with Panthers GM Scott Fitterer, dating back to duo’s days as scouts, helped the process. Giving Fields a chance to grow with a new regime, the Bears now hold the No. 9 overall pick this year.
  • At least five teams will meet with Richardson before the draft. The Panthers, Colts, Raiders, Falcons and Titans will get together with the Florida-developed passer, Cameron Wolfe of NFL.com tweets. Each team holds a top-11 pick, and it can be considered a lock reps from each will be on-hand at Richardson’s pro day Thursday in Gainesville.
  • Titans GM Ran Carthon, HC Mike Vrabel and assistant GM Chad Brinker were among the seven Tennessee staffers at Stroud’s pro day last week, The Athletic’s John Rexrode notes (subscription required). The Panthers topped that, sending a whopping 14 staffers to Columbus for Stroud’s throwing event. Stroud met with the Panthers, Raiders, Seahawks and Titans, Breer adds. Carthon and Vrabel, however, were also at Levis’ pro day last week, Breer tweets. Pete Carroll and John Schneider went to Kentucky to represent the Seahawks for that event, too. Carthon also attended Young’s pro day. While the new Tennessee GM gave some support for four-year Titans starter Ryan Tannehill, it was far from a full-fledged endorsement.
  • Josh McDaniels said the Raiders are open to taking a QB at No. 7 overall, despite signing Jimmy Garoppolo, and The Athletic’s Vic Tafur notes he and GM Dave Ziegler observed Stroud and Young’s pro days. In addition to the Raiders meeting with Levis before his pro day, Tafur adds the Kentucky QB will visit Las Vegas soon. McDaniels did not rule out the Raiders adding a veteran backup as well; Jarrett Stidham left for a two-year, $10MM Broncos deal. The team’s presence at pro days also could serve as a way to drive up trade interest in the No. 7 pick.
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