Drew Lock

Draft Rumors: QBs, Gary, Pats, Giants, Lions

Kyler Murray-to-Arizona still looks to be in the cards (no pun intended), but the Nos. 2-4 quarterback landing spots — and the order in which they will be drafted — remain murky. While Dwayne Haskins‘ reported slide has led to some predicting Drew Lock would benefit, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes the Missouri product has a “very real chance” of being the fourth quarterback selected and/or falling out of the first round. Connected to Lock prior to their Joe Flacco trade, the Broncos would be intrigued by the prospect of nabbing Lock in Round 2, per JLC, who tabs Denver as more likely to address a bigger immediate need in the first round. The Broncos visited with Lock during the process, as did several other teams with some degree of a need at quarterback.

Here is the latest from the draft world, continuing with some of this year’s passing prospects:

  • If Lock’s floor may be more open-ended, La Canfora tabs the Redskins being Haskins’. Washington has done work on the Ohio State alum, along with the other high-profile QBs in this draft. The Raiders have also been “super impressed” by the 2018 breakout star, but they have been reported as being unlikely to use one of their three first-round picks on a quarterback.
  • The other quarterback mentioned as a first-round possibility, Daniel Jones has intrigued the Patriots, per JLC. New England holds pick No. 32 but has a draft-high 12 picks (including six in the first three rounds) and has plenty of ammo to move up. The Pats hosted Jones on a visit last week. New England has not taken a first-round quarterback since Drew Bledsoe 26 years ago, but NFL.com’s Gil Brandt would not be surprised if this happened (Twitter link).
  • Both the Giants and Panthers have done plenty of work on Will Grier, La Canfora adds. The West Virginia passer profiles as someone who could be available in Round 2. New York holds pick No. 37, Carolina No. 47. This is the latest we’ve heard on the Panthers’ interest in Grier. Although Carolina brass has reportedly not done more research than usual on quarterbacks in preparing for this draft, Cam Newton has not resumed throwing and is going through extensive shoulder rehab in a second offseason in three years.
  • Linked to safeties for two offseasons now, the Cowboys brought in six for pre-draft visits. Stephen Jones mentioned (via Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams) the position as having the least amount of resources put into it of any on the Cowboys’ roster. After bypassing this need in last year’s draft, Dallas will be a team to monitor on this front.
  • It does not appear the Lions will be making a move up in the first round. Bob Quinn could foresee his team trading down but does not believe (via the Detroit News’ Justin Rogers) he has enough draft capital — one pick in each of the first five rounds — to vault up from No. 8. Detroit has been mentioned as a stealth quarterback seeker, but trading up for one does not appear to be in the cards.
  • Lastly, another member of this year’s stellar defensive line class may not check out medically. Some teams have red flags on Rashan Gary, La Canfora notes. While the Michigan lineman is still expected to go in the first round, he may be available a bit later than expected. Should this report of health concerns related to Gary be accurate, he would join Mississippi State products Montez Sweat (who had a heart issue at the Combine) and Jeffery Simmons (pre-Combine ACL tear) as standout pass rushers who have encountered medical issues.

Draft Notes: Packers, Dillard, White, Fins

Midway through a rather notable offseason, given the recent behind-the-curtain look at their previous power structure, the Packers are investigating some high-end quarterback prospects. They are obviously set at sports’ marquee position, but with Aaron Rodgers set to turn 36 by season’s end, Green Bay is at a similar point compared to when it last made a major quarterback investment. The Packers will host Drew Lock on a visit Tuesday, Terez Paylor of Yahoo.com reports (on Twitter). They also tried to set up a summit with Daniel Jones, but the parties’ schedules did not line up, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com adds (via Twitter). The Packers took Rodgers when Brett Favre was 36 and sat him for three years. While Green Bay pulling the trigger on a passer would be rather surprising, especially given Rodgers’ contract status, the team does have two first-round picks this year.

Here is the latest from the draft world, staying on the subject of quarterbacks:

  • Lock will also meet with the Chargers, per Charles Robinson of Yahoo.com (on Twitter). Teams have ramped up their signal-caller-related preparation, in the event Kyler Murray does not go No. 1, according to Robinson, who notes some teams believe this year’s passers could slide a bit should Murray not be the Cardinals’ choice atop the draft. Some modest steam picked up on this notion earlier Monday.
  • The Dolphins, who already met with Jones, will head to the Duke campus to work out the former Blue Devil starter, Rapoport reports (on Twitter). Teams only have a few more days to host prospects on “30” visits but can still work them out after that deadline passes. Miami will also host Michigan linebacker Devin Bush and Florida tackle Jawaan Taylor, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.
  • Devin White‘s stock has risen during the pre-draft process, to the point he may be the rare off-ball linebacker to be picked in the top five. One of the teams holding such a selection, the Raiders, brought in White for a visit, Rapoport tweets. The Buccaneers, who hold pick No. 5, have been closely connected to the LSU ‘backer. The Raiders have the No. 4 overall pick. Oakland, which also holds the Nos. 24 and 27 selections, will meet with tight end Noah Fant, on Monday as well, Rapoport tweets. The Raiders lost their starting tight end of the past two seasons, Jared Cook, in free agency.
  • For weeks, the Jets have been viewed as a team that would love to trade down. They are meeting with a prospect Tuesday that would support the fact this is a consideration. Ed Oliver will visit the Jets, per Schefter (on Twitter). While the defensive tackle is a surefire first-round talent, he has not been mocked as a player who would be a consideration at No. 3 overall.
  • The Titans are visiting with defensive tackle Jerry Tillery, per Rapoport (on Twitter). This is the Notre Dame-developed defender’s second known visit, the first having come with the Saints recently. Tillery remains in rehab after surgery to repair a torn shoulder labrum.
  • Not much has surfaced about which teams are researching an Andre Dillard pick. That has changed. The Washington State tackle prospect is visiting the Falcons on Monday and will meet with the Chargers later this week, Schefter tweets. Additionally, Schefter adds the first-round offensive line hopeful has already visited or worked out for a host of teams — the Giants, Jets, Dolphins, Ravens, Titans, Panthers, Vikings, Jaguars, Bills, Texans, Bengals, Packers, Redskins.

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.

Extra Points: AAF, Dundon, Lock, Broncos

The AAF decided to cease operations almost a week ago now, and we still don’t have much clarity on exactly why. All we know right now is that Tom Dundon, the owner of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes who became the controlling owner of the AAF with his massive investment after the first couple weeks of the season, made the decision on his own. Dundon reportedly made the call to shut things down over the objections of co-founders Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian. At the time, we heard that many within the league suspected Dundon had just bought a majority stake in the league in order to obtain the technology behind the AAF’s gambling app.

That isn’t the case, a source told Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. Dundon “doesn’t own that technology, and his investment in the AAF doesn’t give him the ability to abscond with it,” Florio writes. While the gambling app theory appears to be a bust, it’s still a mystery as to why Dundon would invest tens of millions of dollars into the league, and then unilaterally decide to shut it all down just weeks later. One source attempted to explain to Florio that Dundon made the investment just to “kick the tires.” “Once he realized how expensive it was to own and operate a sports league, he initially tried to cut costs. But that resulted in a cutting of functionality,” he added. If that’s true that raises a whole new round of questions, as it’s hard to understand how Dundon couldn’t have realized how expensive it is to operate a league before actually making the investment. Dundon presumably had access to all of the league’s financial information prior to pulling the trigger.

Here’s more from around the football universe:

  • Speaking of the AAF, the league finally broke its silence yesterday. In a statement posted to Twitter, the league apologized for the abruptness of the decision. It read in part: “We understand the difficulty that this decision has caused for many people and for that we are very sorry. This is not the way we wanted it to end, but we are also committed to working on solutions for all outstanding issues to the best of our ability. Due to ongoing legal processes, we are unable to comment further or share details about the decision. We are grateful to our players, who delivered quality football and may now exercise their NFL-out clauses in our contract. We encourage them to continue pursuing their dreams and wish them the best.” The league has caught a lot of flak in recent days for how they handled the closure. Many players were left more or less stranded and forced to pay their own way home, and some were left with charges from hotel rooms and other expenses.
  • Drew Lock could be headed to the AFC West soon. He’s been heavily linked to John Elway and the Broncos with the tenth pick, and Lock will meet with Denver today, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). According to Pelissero, Lock will then head to Los Angeles and meet with the Chargers tomorrow. The Chargers sniffed around the top quarterbacks in last year’s class and are doing the same thing with this class, even though Philip Rivers just had his best season in years. If you believe the current reporting, the Chargers would likely have to trade up in the draft if they wanted to get Luck. Denver is slated to roll with Joe Flacco in 2019, but the Broncos are widely expected to draft a young quarterback who can be the future.
  • In case you missed it the other pro football spring league, the XFL, could be looking to target high profile college players for their upstart league, as they aren’t bound by the NFL’s draft eligibility rules.

West Notes: 49ers, Draft, Bosa, Broncos

The 49ers are in the midst of a pivotal offseason. They dealt with a mountain of injuries last year which excused their poor record, but with Jimmy Garoppolo back healthy next season expectations will be very high. Fortunately for San Francisco, they have the second overall pick at their disposal. For a long time, Ohio State pass-rusher Nick Bosa was the favorite to go first overall to the Cardinals. But with many now expecting Arizona to take Kyler Murray, Bosa could fall into San Francisco’s lap.

To that end, the “consensus opinion at this stage appears to be that Bosa will end up with the 49ers,” writes Matt Maioccio of NBC Sports. One NFL front office member told Maioccio at a recent pro day that the 49ers were going to take Bosa. The 49ers are in desperate need of outside pass-rush, so Bosa makes a lot of sense if he’s available. He would provide a massive boost to Kyle Shanahan’s defense.

Here’s more from the league’s western divisions:

  • The 49ers were expected to be players for Earl Thomas, but ultimately didn’t end up signing any of the big name safeties available. Safety was seemingly a position of need, but the 49ers opted not to make any splashes there. In a recent interview, 49ers GM John Lynch elaborated on the decision to more or less stay pat. “We feel good about our free safety depth. We feel we’re pretty well stocked there,” Lynch said, per Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports. Lynch did leave the door open for a future acquisition, saying “it’s not to say, if an opportunity presents itself, that we won’t go there, but we feel pretty good at our free safety spot.”
  • The Broncos may have traded for Joe Flacco, but that isn’t going to preclude them from looking for a quarterback of the future in the draft. Denver will host Kyler Murray, Drew Lock, Dwayne Haskins, and Daniel Jones on visits before next month’s draft, according to Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic (Twitter link). The Broncos have the tenth pick in the draft and seem to be seriously considering taking a signal-caller then, although Murray and Haskins are likely to be off the board by the time they’re scheduled to pick.
  • The Broncos didn’t pick up their option on linebacker Brandon Marshall, and as such might need to add an inside linebacker to replace him. New head coach Vic Fangio said earlier today that “we like the guys we have but we’re always looking to add guys to all the personnel positions. … I do like Josey and Todd, but we’re always looking to get better” referring to second-year UDFA Josey Jewell and veteran Todd Davis, per Mike Klis of Denver 9News (Twitter link). The Broncos’ run defense has been very inconsistent the past couple of years, so it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see them add a run-stuffing linebacker either in free agency or through the draft.

Broncos Notes: Flacco, Draft, Marshall

The Broncos may have acquired veteran signal-caller Joe Flacco earlier this week, but that doesn’t mean the organization won’t draft a quarterback in this year’s draft. A Broncos source told Matt Miller of Bleacher Report that the team wouldn’t balk at taking one of the top quarterback prospects.

“We’re going to take the best player on our board when the pick comes up,” the source said. “Period.”

Of course, that quote indicates that the team won’t specifically target a quarterback, but it also shows that the team will be flexible heading into the draft. As Miller notes, the Broncos have been connected to Missouri quarterback Drew Lock, although the prospect isn’t projected to be a top-10 pick (Denver’s slotted in at the 10th-overall pick).

Let’s check out some more notes out of Denver…

  • The Broncos will be searching for some help at cornerback this offseason, according to ESPN’s Jeff LegwoldBradley RobyTramaine Brock and Jamar Taylor are all set to hit free agency, meaning the team will need to search for someone to play opposite Chris Harris. The veteran defensive back recognizes that his team will be seeking reinforcement in the secondary, and he’s confident that new head coach Vic Fangio will help to revitalize the entire unit. “It’s like I’ve said, I think we just haven’t evolved here,” Harris said. “You know, after the Super Bowl [in 2016], it’s like we kind of just got stagnant. We haven’t evolved. We’ve got to evolve with everything … get better as players, all of us. I just think this past year we were kind of behind.”
  • We learned yesterday that the Broncos weren’t going to be picking up linebacker Brandon Marshall‘s option, making him a free agent. The 29-year-old emerged as a starting-caliber player during his tenure in Denver, and he’s been productive in both a 4-3 and 3-4 scheme. Marshall believes that versatility will help him as he searches for his next gig. “I think that’s going to help me a lot (in free agency),” he told Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post. “I was in a 4-3 my first year starting in Denver and playing a 3-4 will let teams know I can do it all.”
  • Back to Flacco, we heard earlier this week that the team doesn’t intend to re-work the veteran’s contract. The 34-year-old is under contract in each of the next three seasons at base salaries of $18.5MM, $20.25MM, and $24.25MM, although none of that money is guaranteed.

AFC Notes: Broncos, Lock, Texans, Colts, Vinatieri, Assistant Coaches

The 2019 NFL Draft is less than three months away, with the combine right around the corner. Draft buzz is starting to heat up, and one team in a particularly interesting situation is the Broncos. Denver has the tenth overall pick, and has been looking for a new franchise quarterback ever since Peyton Manning retired. While the team has Case Keenum under contract for one more year, it seems like there’s a very good chance the Broncos take a quarterback early yet again.

Adding fuel to that fire, Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post hears that Broncos GM John Elway is “smitten” with Missouri signal caller Drew Lock, and that Elway’s infatuation with the quarterback was “the worst-kept secret at the Senior Bowl.” Lock seems like a real possibility to go to the Broncos at ten, and could be the first quarterback taken if Dwayne Haskins slips a little bit. If the Broncos do draft a quarterback, they could get out of Keenum’s contract relatively easily, or choose to keep him on for one year as a bridge quarterback/mentor.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • The Texans made a front office move today, bringing in former Jets executive Clay Hampton to be their new director of football operations, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). McClain notes that Hampton was in the Jets’ front office for 17 years, working his way up from being a ball boy to become their director of football operations. McClain also writes that Hampton will report directly to GM Brian Gaine who worked for the Jets at the same time as Hampton.
  • Adam Vinatieri officially signed on for a 24th season a few days ago, and now we have the details on his new contract with the Colts. Vinatieri signed a one-year $3.875MM deal, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Vinatieri turned 46 in December but showed no signs of slowing down this season, even though he did miss two kicks in Indianapolis’ divisional round playoff loss to the Chiefs.
  • Speaking of the Colts, the team made a couple of new additions to Frank Reich’s staff today. They hired Jason Michael as their tight ends coach and Chris Strausser as their offensive line coach, the team announced in a tweet. The Colts’ offensive line had an amazing turn around in 2018, but they fired Dave DeGuglielmo after the season so Reich could bring in one of his own guys, and he apparently settled on Strausser, who was with the Broncos last season. Strausser reportedly was also drawing interest from the Browns.

 

Extra Points: 2019 NFL Draft, Stidham, Lock, Redskins, Phillips, Seahawks, Fluker, Sweezy

The NFL combine is right around the corner, and the draft isn’t too far away. With that in mind, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report spoke to some league talent evaluators, and had a few interesting nuggets on the quarterbacks in this year’s class. A “lead AFC personnel man” told Miller that Missouri quarterback Drew Lock “really helped himself” during this week’s Senior Bowl practices, and could be the top quarterback selected this April.

The same personnel guy told Miller that Duke quarterback Daniel Jones helped himself as well, and that his mechanics looked good in practice. Miller writes that Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham also boosted his stock this week, and that three scouts told him Stidham could even climb into the end of the first round. Stidham has been projected as a Day 2 guy in most mock drafts, so that would be a pretty significant leap for him.

Here’s more from around the league this Friday night:

  • The Redskins made a coaching move this evening, and it could end up impacting the Rams. Washington hired Brian Angelichio to be their tight ends coach, the team announced in a tweet, and he’ll be replacing Wes Phillips on Jay Gruden’s staff. Phillips is the son of NFL-lifer and current Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets that Phillips is a “potential fit” in Los Angeles. Rapsheet notes that the Rams will be in need of a quarterbacks coach when Zac Taylor officially departs to become the Bengals’ new head coach, and notes that Phillips will be “one to watch.” Wade has become one of the funniest and most personable coordinators in the league the past couple of years, and a Phillips family reunion would be a lot of fun.
  • The Seahawks’ offensive line was a big part of their success this year, as they helped pave the way for their first productive ground game in years. Now Seattle will have to make some decisions on whether they want to keep last year’s line intact. Starting guards D.J. Fluker and J.R Sweezy are both scheduled to be unrestricted free agents this spring, and Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times writes that the team “would like to keep both and will work to get that done.” Both players received below average grades from Pro Football Focus, but Seattle was apparently happy enough with their play.
  • In case you missed it, an update on the latest assistant coaching moves.

Draft Rumors: QBs, Tackles, Contracts

The 2019 group of draft-eligible quarterbacks is beginning to endure some scrutiny in advance of a pivotal stretch. One view of this collection of passers makes it look rather bleak, a crew featuring no clear frontrunner and possibly no prospects worthy of a surefire first-round pick. Another, via Matt Miller of Bleacher Report, indicates there’s some potential promise here. Oregon’s Justin Herbert rates as Miller’s top quarterback, and Drew Lock of Missouri has generated Josh Allen comparisons from scouts because of his arm strength and debatable accuracy. Miller writes, however, that with 13 teams having spent first-round picks on QBs over the past four years — with Dak Prescott essentially upping that number to 14, since he’s entrenched as the Cowboys’ starter — fewer teams will need quarterbacks in 2019 than they did in 2018. At least, fewer franchises will be willing to invest in one in the first round, which could create a scenario where a better group of prospects (which is possible for the ’19 contingent, per Miller) but fewer Round 1 investments.

Here’s more from the draft world:

  • Herbert also generated praise from NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks, who referred to the Ducks’ current starter as a player with franchise QB-level talent whose mobility, accuracy and abundance of pro throws already on film make him a prototype player NFL OCs are looking to install as offensive centerpieces. Regarding Lock, Brooks writes his 54.5 percent career completion rate shouldn’t be as alarming as Allen’s accuracy issues became for teams. Brooks calls the senior-to-be a pinpoint passer who could well be the 2019 draft’s QB1.
  • In general, evaluators are excited about next year’s draft. One AFC team’s college scouting director told Miller the prospects likely to be eligible for 2019 draft picks collectively comprise a talent pool that’s “10 times better than” 2018’s. With teams less than enamored by the past two tackle classes, Miller notes the next one has scouts labeling three players as possible top-10 picks. The top player in the minds of many scouts is Alabama’s Jonah Williams, per Miller. Ole Miss’ Greg Little and Washington’s Trey Adams are the other two currently classified as possible top-10 choices next year.
  • The 2018 class has seen many of its draft choices sign, but offset language and bonus structure may well delay deals for this year’s top five, Mike Klis of 9News writes. Players’ signing bonus values are already locked in, but when the money is paid is a sticking point for some teams. Half of the rookies’ bonuses must be paid within 30 days, with Klis noting teams like to delay the rest of the cash in installments within a year of the signing date. With agents trying to accelerate the pay schedule, Klis expects some of this draft’s top players to wait until camps near to sign due to this largely minor issue.

Draft Notes: 2019 QBs, Browns, Jackson

A possible dearth of quarterback talent in the 2019 draft class may have contributed the first-round aggressiveness of teams in recent years. The Bears, Chiefs, Texans, Jets, Bills and Cardinals traded up to land their hopeful quarterbacks of the future the past two drafts, and Albert Breer of SI.com notes some of the impetus behind these moves may be coming from issues teams have with the crop of passers likely set to populate 2019 big boards.

Not right now, there isn’t one (that would go in the first round as it stands),” an AFC college scouting director told Breer. “The kids at Auburn (Jarrett Stidham), Missouri (Drew Lock) and N.C. State (Ryan Finley), by the end of it, could work their way into the conversation. But on the surface, based on current performance, it’d be a no. Now, if they ascend, which they should, those three guys have a chance to get there.”

Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN.com (Insider link) has both Lock (No. 16) and Oregon’s Justin Herbert (No. 18) in his early top 25 for 2019. Issues with Lock’s completion percentage (57.8 percent is the senior-to-be’s career high) and Herbert’s toughness, per Breer, are early concerns for respective first-round hopefuls. While events of recent years show it’s a good bet a quarterback will be taken in the 2019 first round, Breer compares this crop — at this early juncture — to the 2013 group that saw only E.J. Manuel chosen in Round 1 instead of other recent classes that saw the likes of Jared Goff, Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston emerge as obvious down-the-line high draft choices in advance of their final college campaigns.

Here’s more on this year’s draft, courtesy of Breer:

  • Breer reports the Browns “loved both” of the Denzel Ward/Bradley Chubb duo, but the team felt the Ohio State cornerback possessed upside potential the N.C. State defensive end didn’t. Ward started just for one season but sat behind Buckeyes cornerbacks that are now in the NFL. Cleveland brass also didn’t view Chubb as a Myles Garrett– or Jadeveon Clowney-like athletic specimen. Plus, Gregg Williams said the team’s need at corner was greater than the one opposite Garrett. Also noting Ward, who went to Nordonia High School in the Cleveland area, pitched his local ties and desire to help a Browns resurgence, Breer writes the Browns did their homework on this difficult decision and did not make an impulse call on draft night.
  • If the Eagles did not trade their first-round pick to the Ravens, they were going to consider eventual Broncos wideout Courtland Sutton at No. 32, per Breer. Sutton visited the Eagles in early April. Philly has Alshon Jeffery, a player to whom Sutton’s been compared, signed long-term and has Nelson Agholor controlled through 2019. However, the defending Super Bowl champions still signed Mike Wallace and Markus Wheaton, the latter a post-draft addition.
  • Ravens brass needed to hear from John Harbaugh the coaching staff was confident the team could win with Lamar Jackson before trading up to take him, and Breer reports Harbaugh, OC Marty Morhinweg, senior offensive assistant Greg Roman and QBs coach James Urban all developed a plan for the rookie before Ozzie Newsome made the trade with the Eagles. Both Mornhinweg and Urban were in their same positions under Andy Reid on the 2010 Eagles, when Michael Vick resurfaced as a top-flight weapon after previously working intermittently in certain packages. Roman’s work adjusting the 2012 49ers’ offense for Colin Kaepernick also played a role here, Breer writes. The Ravens look to be preparing Jackson sets already.
  • The first four rookies to sign their deals all had offset language built into the contracts, Breer tweets. Da’Ron Payne, Josh Rosen, Marcus Davenport and Quenton Nelson saw their teams include offsets in their deals. Offset language provided one of the sticky points in Joey Bosa‘s 2016 holdout, and the Chargers won out. So far, teams are doing the same with their 2018 top picks.