While Josh Rosen made headlines with his comments about a preference to land with a better team that held a lower pick rather than a bad one holding a high draft choice, Sam Darnold took the more diplomatic route. The USC quarterback — who has not yet made a decision about forgoing his final two years of eligibility to enter the 2018 draft — said Wednesday (via ESPN) he’d be “honored to play for any team.” This could be key regarding the top of the draft, where both Darnold and Rosen are expected to come off the board if they declare. A report that emerged Sunday revealed Rosen is higher on the Giants than the Browns, who will hold the No. 1 pick, and may reconsider staying in school if the Browns are to pick him. Of course, a similar report surfaced about Darnold last month. Darnold denied that rumor today, however. This interesting leverage game remains in a holding pattern with both passers having yet to announce they’re going to enter the draft.
Here’s more 2018 draft buzz.
- Lamar Jackson is not expected to threaten Rosen or Darnold’s spots atop the draft, and the former Heisman Trophy winner may be put through an interesting process by some interested teams if/when he declares. Various scouts told ESPN.com’s Mel Kiper Jr. they believe some teams will ask the Louisville phenom to work out as both a quarterback and wide receiver, with the goal being to see if Jackson could transition if he didn’t work as a passer. This is not the first time this has come up regarding Jackson, who has rushed for a staggering 3,974 yards and 49 touchdowns in three Cardinals seasons, nor is it the first time a run-heavy quarterback has been mentioned as a wideout at the next level.
- Quenton Nelson‘s stock appears to be rising, and SI.com’s Albert Breer spoke with an NFL exec who said the Notre Dame guard is a better prospect than Zack Martin was when he came out of South Bend three years ago. Breer tabs Nelson as a top-three overall prospect. Martin went 16th to the Cowboys in 2014 and became the first rookie offensive lineman to land on the top All-Pro team in 57 years. No pure guard has gone in the top 10 since Jonathan Cooper in 2013, but the Redskins moved 2015’s No. 5 overall pick (Brandon Scherff) to guard immediately.
- The sense in the scouting community is Josh Allen will fall toward the middle of the first round while the two Pac-12 passers go off the board at the draft’s outset, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com notes. Allen remains viewed as a less pro-ready prospect than the other two despite possessing possibly greater physical upside. However, smaller-program passers have done well for themselves in recent drafts. Carson Wentz rocketed up the 2016 board to No. 2, and Blake Bortles (Central Florida) went No. 3 in 2014. The Jets have done extensive homework on Allen, and the Broncos are getting to work on the Wyoming talent as well.