A.J. Brown

West Draft Rumors: Cardinals, Murray, 49ers, Broncos

On Saturday, Arizona State receiver and local product N’Keal Harry visited the Cardinals for a private visit, NFL Network’s Ian Rappoport tweets.

Possessing the size, strength and speed of a prototypical outside receiver, Harry could be an option for Arizona should he still be on the board when the team is on the clock at No. 33. Harry should fully be in play there, as the Cardinals reportedly like the value of going receiver with their second-round pick, Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller tweets.

Should the team go with Harry, it would pair him with another local standout in Christian Kirk, who impressed as a rookie before missing time with an injury down the stretch. The pair of young wideouts would join veteran and future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald in a potentially loaded receiver corps for either Josh Rosen or Kyler Murray, should the team go with the Oklahoma product as expected a week before the draft.

Here’s more draft talk from around the league:

  • Sticking with the Cardinals, though the team has been heavily linked to Murray, Kent Somer of the Arizona Republic believes the team should pass on the reigning Heisman Trophy winner. He thinks the team should stick with Rosen, attempt to trade down to pick up more picks, and, if that option is not possible, take either Quinnen Williams or Nick Bosa.
  • Speaking of Williams, many NFL executives reportedly prefer the Alabama defensive lineman to Ohio State’s Bosa as the draft’s top overall prospect, Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk writes. In a poll of 14 personnel members by Bob McGinn, six chose Williams as the top picks, twice as many as Bosa, who received the second most. Also receiving votes were Josh Allen, Kyler Murray, Dwayne Haskins and Jeffery Simmons.
  • The Broncos have been heavily tied to quarterback’s heading into this week’s draft. Helping pick that signal-caller, if they do indeed go that route, is new offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello, who learned how to pick the position from 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, the Denver Post’s Ryan O’Halloran writes“Kyle had a lot of success (evaluating quarterbacks) and (he) showed me some things that I use in the evaluation process,” Scangarello said. “It’s a tough position to evaluate. You just get them in (the meeting room) and you try and find out what you can about them.” Denver has been linked with Drew Lock, but Daniel Jones, Murray and Dwayne Haskins could all fit the bill at No. 10 if everything falls right.
  • The 49ers have been heavily tied to either Bosa or Williams with the No. 2 pick on Thursday, but the team is looking to the skill positions for their Round 2 pick, NBC Sports’ Matt Maiocco writes. At the top of the list is wide receiver, where they are looking to find a starter-level pass catcher to complement second-year wideout Dante Pettis and veteran Marquise Goodwin. Maiocco notes the receivers who have been in for a visit include Harry, A.J. Brown, Hakeem Butler, Jalen Hurd and Deebo Samuel.

 

 

Draft Notes: Jones, Brown, Bills, Raiders

Beyond Kyler Murray‘s long-rumored Cardinals fit, landing spots for this draft’s other top quarterbacks are difficult to determine. But Daniel Jones, despite not exactly having impressive college statistics, has gained more steam as a first-round pick. One team has the Duke prospect as the top quarterback on its board, according to Yahoo.com’s Charles Robinson (on Twitter). The Giants are believed to be high on him. So are the Patriots. While one scout wondered (via Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com) if the former Blue Devils signal-caller would slip to the third round had he not played under David Cutcliffe, who coached both Manning brothers when they were college passers, another scout and a former GM said (via NBC Sports Washington’s Ben Standig) they each would take Jones over Drew Lock. It certainly looks Jones will land in the first round next week.

Here is the latest from the 2019 draft talent pool:

  • Another first-round hopeful, Marquise Brown, also looks like a lock to hear his name called Thursday. The Oklahoma-honed speedster may be the only guaranteed wideout to go off the board in Round 1, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report notes, after speaking with NFL staffers. Said execs then place Ole Miss alums D.K. Metcalf and A.J. Brown as possible first-rounders, per Miller. That would stand to make the second round potentially filled with receiver investments. The 49ers have some names in mind.
  • On the subject of the 49ers, they visited with tight end Noah Fant recently, per Sirius XM Radio’s Alex Marvez (on Twitter). This profiles as an interesting use of a visit, with the 49ers closely connected to Nick Bosa at No. 2 and not needing a tight end. But San Francisco did do well with its past Iowa investment at this position, with George Kittle breaking out in a major way in 2018.
  • Despite Rashan Gary‘s past as a top-10 national recruit and his Combine performance, another report has indicated his stock has dipped a bit. After a Thursday report pointed to the Michigan defensive lineman dropping, Miller adds teams are concerned about how little his athleticism translated to production (9.5 sacks in three seasons). Additionally, Miller doubles down on the medical concerns surrounding Gary. Some scouts believe there will be issues on that front, potentially with Gary’s shoulder, which was a trouble spot during his Wolverines run.
  • Ed Oliver‘s stock has risen a bit in the days leading up to the draft, and the Bills are in play for the interior defender at No. 9, Miller writes, adding Buffalo wants to add a bona fide interior pass-rushing presence to complement the space-eating defensive tackles it currently employs.
  • The Raiders ditched their scouting staff going into the draft and are expected to overhaul the department under new GM Mike Mayock. On draft weekend, Oakland’s non-Mayock/Jon Gruden staffers involved in the three-day event will be assistant director of player personnel Trey Scott and director of football administration Tom Delaney, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Delaney has been with the Raiders dating back to the first Gruden era; Scott rose to his current position under Reggie McKenzie‘s watch two years ago.

NFL Draft Rumors: Brown, Samuel, Ford

The 49ers will host Ole Miss wide receiver A.J. Brown and South Carolina WR Deebo Samuel on Monday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Neither player is in the mix for the Niners at No. 2 overall, but both could be an option further down the line.

Right now, it seems likely that Brown will be a first rounder, making him unlikely to be available when the 49ers pick again at No. 36 overall. Still, crazier things have happened and the Niners could always trade up if they want Brown badly enough. Samuel, meanwhile, seems to be right in range for that pick. After watching Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham head elsewhere this offseason, the Niners are undoubtedly in the hunt for receiver help in the draft.

Here’s the latest draft buzz:

  • Oklahoma offensive lineman Cody Ford will meet with the Panthers on Tuesday, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. This marks Ford’s ninth and final visit, and five of those teams pick between No. 11 and 20. With that in mind, it’s fair to wonder whether Ford will be available for Carolina at No. 16 overall.
  • Washington safety Taylor Rapp – widely pegged as a late-first round or second round prospect, will also visit the Panthers on Tuesday, according to Rapoport. Rapp also recently met with the Seahawks.
  • West Virginia quarterback Will Grier and Ohio State wide receiver Parris Campbell are visiting the Redskins, Rapoport tweets. Grier figures to be available in the middle rounds, but the Redskins will probably have to pounce in the second round if they want Campbell.

Draft Rumors: Raiders, Texans, Broncos, Falcons

The Raiders were busy in the 2018 NFL Draft and it looks like that could be the case again in 2019, the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Michael Gehlken writes.

Holding three first-round picks and four in the first 35 selections, the Raiders have more than enough ammo needed to move up for a player they like or trade down to stockpile picks. Both scenarios seem like possibilities according to general manager Mike Mayock.

“Regardless of the scenario, we have to be ready to pick at four and be excited about a player,” Mayock said Thursday in a predraft news conference. “Right now, we might move up, and we might move back. Who knows? We won’t know until draft night. But if we’re ‘stuck’ at four, we have to be ready to go, and that’s a hell of a lot easier than worrying about all the permutations (of which players might be available) at 24, 27 and 35.”

In that same news conference, the first-year general manager noted that his preference would be to trade down and gather more picks to address the team’s deficiencies, NBC Sports’ Scott Bair writes.

Whether they move up or down, the Raiders will undoubtedly be one of the team’s to watch when the NFL Draft kicks off on April 25.

Here’s more draft news from around the league:

  • Ole Miss wide receiver A.J. Brown had a private workout with the Texans, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweets. The Texans is just one of the handful of teams the slot receiver plans to visit, with the Packers, Colts, Patriots, Eagles, Giants, Redskins and Bills also on the list, according to NFL Network’s James Palmer (Twitter link). Houston already has a deep receiver corps with DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller V and Keke Coutee, but the latter two have been repeatedly hampered with injuries.
  • The Broncos do not appear interested in Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen if he’s made available, Palmer tweets. He notes that things like asking price can change, but Denver appears more set with going with the newly acquired Joe Flacco or taking a quarterback in the upcoming draft.
  • The Falcons will be focusing on the line in the upcoming draft, ESPN’s Vaughn McClure writes. Owner Arthur Blank said as much, commenting they need to get younger on the offensive line and that defensive line is an area of need. Atlanta owns the 14th pick and have shown heavy interest in Oklahoma lineman Cody Ford. –

Draft Notes: Simmons, 49ers, Patriots, Jets

Linked to both Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr. this offseason, which involved extensive talks about a deal for the latter Pro Bowl wide receiver, the 49ers are shifting their focus to draft-eligible wideouts. They have been closely tied to Nick Bosa with their No. 2 overall pick, but at No. 36, wide receivers appear to be on San Francisco’s radar. Receiver prospects N’Keal Harry and Deebo Samuel intrigue the 49ers, with Matt Miller of Bleacher Report indicating on his Stick to Football podcast (via NBC Sports Bay Area) that the team is zeroing in on one of these two — with the Arizona State product perhaps grading slightly higher than the South Carolina alum — with their second-round pick. Both players have met with the 49ers, with Samuel working with Kyle Shanahan‘s staff at the Senior Bowl. The 49ers cut Pierre Garcon this offseason and have Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis sitting as the top wideouts on the roster. That may change by Day 2 of the draft.

Here is the latest from the draft world:

  • Jeffery Simmons‘ pre-draft tour continues to take shape. The Mississippi State-developed defensive lineman traveled to Indianapolis for his Combine recheck, due to the ACL tear he suffered while preparing for the draft, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets positive reviews emerged regarding Simmons’ recovery. Following the Indianapolis trip, Simmons has visits with the Cardinals and Dolphins lined up, Rapoport adds. Simmons’ Browns meeting has already occurred, according to Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. Simmons, who finished with 18 tackles for loss last season, is expected to miss the 2019 season but was viewed as a surefire first-round pick prior to his knee injury.
  • Three pass-catching prospects visited the Patriots on Thursday. Samuel joined wideout A.J. Brown and tight end Noah Fant on the visit, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). Having lost Rob Gronkowski and with Julian Edelman entering his age-33 season, the Patriots are in need of aerial weaponry aid. New England has added Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Bruce Ellington and Maurice Harris this offseason. There will certainly be more additions to Tom Brady‘s receiving corps, through the draft and/or trades.
  • Is D.K. Metcalf‘s stock slipping? The other Ole Miss wide receiver prospect wowed those in attendance at the Combine but never surpassed 650 yards in a season with the Rebels. While he has been mocked in the first round consistently, Albert Breer of SI.com surveyed some teams who would not use a first-round pick on the physical specimen. Metcalf ranks as the No. 19 overall prospect (and No. 2 wideout) on Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com’s big board. Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN’s latest mock (Insider link) has Metcalf going to the Packers at No. 12.
  • While pass rusher looks like the Jets‘ biggest need, the team appears to believe cornerback resides higher in its deficiency queue than the offensive line, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News notes. The Jets made a bigger splash on their offensive front this offseason, in acquiring Kelechi Osemele, but did not make big bids for UFA centers. The Jets graded as Football Outsiders’ worst line, per the adjusted line yards metric, last season. New York lost Buster Skrine and has not made an effort to bring back Morris Claiborne. And buyer’s remorse may be setting in on the Jets’ Trumaine Johnson signing, pointing to Gang Green being in on corners come draft weekend.
  • The 49ers will host defensive end prospect Brian Burns in the coming days, the Florida State-honed prospect said during an appearance on Chris Simms Unbuttoned (via NBC Sports Bay Area) the 49ers are on his visit list. It would appear Burns, projected as a first-rounder, would be a 49ers option only if they traded out of their No. 2 overall slot.

Draft Rumors: Redskins, Bills, Jets, Eagles

Duke quarterback Daniel Jones will meet with the Redskins today and tomorrow, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Washington will also sit down with Northwestern signal-caller Clayton Thorson on Wednesday, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL.com, adding that fellow quarterbacks Drew Lock (Missouri) and Jarrett Stidham (Auburn) have already visited with the Redskins. Washington is looking at nearly all the top QB prospects, which shouldn’t come as a surprise given the status of Alex Smith‘s knee injury. Smith isn’t expected to play in 2019, and while the Redskins have already acquired veteran Case Keenum, the club is searching for a long-term option to place under center.

Here’s more on the 2019 NFL draft:

  • The Bills are hosting Ole Miss wide receiver A.J. Brown Wednesday, while Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen‘s meeting with Buffalo will occur on Thursday, per Rapoport (Twitter link). Although the Bills invested in pass-catching help during free agency, adding both John Brown and Cole Beasley on multi-year deals to a depth chart that already included Zay Jones and Robert Foster, the team is still in need of receivers. Brown (6’1″, 225) posted at least 75 receptions, 1,250 yards, and six touchdowns in each of the past two seasons. Allen, meanwhile, isn’t likely to be available for Buffalo at No. 9 overall, but the club could potentially trade up given that it owns the sixth-most draft capital.
  • Alabama offensive tackle Jonah Williams is meeting with the Jets, reports Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. Gang Green ranked dead last in Football Outsiders‘ run-blocking metric in 2018 (and 18th in pass-blocking), but so far the club has only addressed its offensive line by acquiring guard Kelechi Osemele from the Raiders. New York’s tackle situation has remained unchanged, with Kelvin Beachum and Brandon Shell projected to start on the left and right sides, respectively. Williams is expected to come off the board early in Round 1.
  • The Bengals met with Florida edge rusher Jachai Polite last week, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. The pre-draft process has not been kind to Polite, who had been viewed as a potential first-round selection. Polite performed poorly during athletic testing, while his interviews with clubs were also widely panned. Additionally, Polite is battling currently battling through hamstring injuries. Cincinnati has edge depth with Carlos Dunlap, Carl Lawson, Sam Hubbard, and Kerry Wynn in tow, but Polite would give the team another option.
  • TCU defensive end L.J. Collier is meeting with the Lions, Eagles, and Seahawks, per Rapoport (Twitter link), who adds Collier is “quietly pushing” to become a first-round pick. Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com currently ranks Collier as the No. 45 prospect, noting that while he isn’t an “elite bender,” Collier has the ability to play both inside and on the edge. In his senior season with TCU, Collier posted six sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss in 11 games.
  • Penn State running back Miles Sanders has been vaulting up draft boards (he currently ranks one spot behind Collier at No. 46 on Jeremiah’s list), and he has a busy schedule ahead of him. Sanders is scheduled to work out for/meet with the Bears, Eagles, Steelers, Ravens, Bills, Cowboys, Falcons, Titans, Bengals, Panthers, Buccaneers, and Colts. In 2018, Sanders’ only season as a starter, he posted 1,274 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on 220 attempts.

Draft Notes: Bush, Oliver, Gary

Michigan linebacker Devin Bush is meeting with the Giants tonight, and the visit will last until Monday, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. New York, armed with the Nos. 6 and 17 overall picks, will be one of the most interesting clubs to watch in the draft given the uncertainty surrounding its QB position. Despite that uncertainty, Big Blue could very well use both first-round selections on defensive playmakers, and Bush, one of the best LBs in the draft, would be a good fit with the 17th-overall selection.

Now for more draft rumblings from around the league:

  • The Eagles have three picks in the first two rounds of the draft, and Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94WIP.com expects the club to be very aggressive in trying to trade up. That will be especially true if Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver starts to fall, as Shorr-Parks believes Philadelphia will want to move up the draft board to land him. The team either has hosted, or will host, Oliver on an official visit.
  • The Raiders recently met with Oliver and Penn State offensive lineman Connor McGovern, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). Rapoport adds that the Colts have met with Michigan defensive end Rashan Gary.
  • After losing out on Odell Beckham Jr., the 49ers still have a major need at the WR position. Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area believes there is a good chance the club uses its No. 36 overall pick on a wideout, and he names A.J. Brown and Deebo Samuel as legitimate possibilities. San Francisco either has hosted, or will host, both players.
  • We learned several weeks ago that Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins would meet with five teams, including the Broncos and Redskins, and Rapoport tweets that those visits will take place this week. Denver and Washington are among the clubs doing their homework on all of this year’s top passers.
  • The Bengals are reportedly considering using their No. 11 overall pick on a QB, and while Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com believes it is unlikely Cincinnati goes that route, she concedes it is a definite possibility (Twitter link).

East Notes: Pats, Redskins, Giants, Eagles

A third degree felony assault charge against Patriots defensive lineman Michael Bennett has been dismissed, reports David Barron of the Houston Chronicle. “After looking at all the evidence and applying the law, a crime could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” district attorney chief of staff Vivian King said in a statement. “There was probable cause to warrant a charge initially, but after a careful review of all the pre-charge and post-charge evidence, we cannot prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt.” Bennett was accused of injuring a 66-year-old paraplegic while attempting to gain field access during Super Bowl LI, but he wasn’t arrested at the scene and no video exists of the incident. A member of the Seahawks when the episode occurred, Bennett has since been traded twice, first to Philadelphia and then to New England.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • The Redskins plan to host Duke quarterback Daniel Jones for a pre-draft visit next week, according to JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington. Once viewed as more of a Day 2 selection, Jones could be pushed into Round 1, and the division-rival Giants are reportedly interested in taking Jones with the 17th overall pick. A three-year starter, Jones completed 60.5% of his passes for 2,674 yards, 22 touchdowns, and nine interceptions in 2018. Washington acquired Case Keenum earlier this year and still has Alex Smith on the books, but is in need of a long-term signal-caller given Smith’s health question marks.
  • Ole Miss wide receiver A.J. Brown met with the Giants today and will visit the Redskins on Thursday, tweets Rapoport. NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah pegs Brown as a fringe first-rounder, ranking him 36th on his most recent list of 2019’s top-50 prospects. Brown, who stands 6’1″, 225 pounds, managed at least 75 catches and 1,250 yards in each of the past two seasons. NFL clubs are reportedly pleased with Brown’s versatility, and many teams believe he can play both outside and in the slot, per James Palmer of NFL.com (Twitter link).
  • The Eagles will host Alabama running back Josh Jacobs next week, according to Adam Caplan of SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link). Viewed as the top running back on the board, Jacobs could be selected in the first round, but the low value placed on backs could force him into Day 2. Philadelphia recently acquired Jordan Howard from the Bears, and he figures to handle the majority of early down work in 2019. Jacobs, though, could add another dimension to a backfield that also includes Corey Clement, Josh Adams, and Wendell Smallwood.

NFC Notes: Rosen, Cardinals, Draft, 49ers, Street, Vikings, Kline

It’s been a rollercoaster of an offseason for Josh Rosen. His first head coach was fired, and his new coach Kliff Kingsbury initially re-committed to him. But ever since then momentum has shifted toward the Cardinals using the first overall pick on Kyler Murray, and looking to trade Rosen. Arizona hasn’t done much to tamp down speculation, and the current conventional wisdom is that the Cards will take Murray. The draft isn’t until April 25th, but current Cardinals players are due to report for offseason workouts on April 8th. When those workouts take place, don’t be surprised if Rosen isn’t there, argues Bob McManaman of The Arizona Republic.

McManaman writes that both Rosen and the team might not want him to report, for several reasons. McManaman notes that the Cardinals were eligible to start workouts this coming week, but pushed back the start of their offseason program by a week. Kingsbury said it was for scheduling purposes, but McManaman speculates that it could’ve been to give them more time to work out a Rosen trade. McManaman also argues that the team won’t want to have the free-speaking Rosen shoved in front of a gaggle of reporters right now, and that there’s always the risk of an injury. If Rosen does decide to no-show the workouts, it’ll add a whole lot of fuel to the rumors that he isn’t long for the desert.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • Arizona’s division rival, the 49ers, also have an important draft ahead of them. The 49ers pick second overall, and the last we heard they were targeting Ohio State pass-rusher Nick Bosa. But the 49ers are also looking to add pass-catchers, and will soon host a pair of wideouts for visits. San Francisco will bring in South Carolina receiver Deebo Samuel and Ole Miss receiver A.J. Brown, sources told Matt Barrows of The Athletic. It sounds like the 49ers are still leaning Bosa at number two, assuming the Cardinals pass on him, but are looking to bring in a new weapon for Jimmy Garoppolo with one of their next picks.
  • Speaking of the 49ers, we have an update on Kentavius Street. Street was a highly regarded prospect from NC State last year, but he tore his ACL at his pro day. San Francisco still thought highly enough of him to draft him in the fourth round, but he missed his entire rookie season. Street bulked up while he was sidelined with the injury, and coach Kyle Shanahan said from the owners meetings he’s been encouraged by his progress, according to Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports. Shanahan said he could see Street playing both inside and outside, and he’s a good bet to make an impact as a sophomore.
  • The Vikings signed guard Josh Kline last week to bolster their offensive line, and now we have details on the contract. The Vikings guaranteed Kline $7.25MM at signing, according to Ben Goessling of The Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Goessling reports that the Vikings now have less than $3MM in cap space, and will now need to make some maneuvers in order to be able to sign their draft class next month. The Vikings’ offensive line was a weak spot last year, and they’ll be counting on Kline to give them a boost. Kline received average marks from Pro Football Focus last year, grading out as their 50th-best guard.

Ole Miss WR A.J. Brown To Enter NFL Draft

A.J. Brown is going pro. On Tuesday, the Ole Miss wide receiver announced that he will forgo his senior season and enter the 2019 NFL Draft. 

[RELATED: Ole Miss WR D.K. Metcalf To Enter NFL Draft]

Brown, a 6’1″, 225-pound athlete, profiles as the top wide receiver in this year’s class. He’ll leave school on a high note after notching 85 catches for 1,320 yards and six touchdowns this season. It was a challenging season for Ole Miss on the whole, but Brown was nothing short of stellar on an individual level. He had 212 yards receiving against Vanderbilt just a few weeks ago and topped 100 yards receiving in six different games this year.

I just want to start off by saying thank you to the Ole Miss family,” Brown wrote in a tweet. “You have welcomed me with open arms. Ole Miss is a special place and has been since I took my first official visit. During my official visit, I knew that this was the place for me. The past three years I have created memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.”

In just three seasons at Ole Miss, Brown set new watermarks for the program in career receiving yards, most receiving yards in a single season, and several other categories.

NFL teams are salivating over Brown’s unique skillset. He’s not the tallest wide receiver prospect, but he is among the most powerful and his ability to break tackles after the catch sets him apart from many of his peers. His toughness reminds many of Steelers standout JuJu Smith-Schuster and he might even be a tick faster.

Brown’s teammate D.K. Metcalf is also entering the NFL Draft and has a chance at going in the first round despite his injury history.