Amarius Mims

AFC North Rumors: Ravens, Steelers, Hines

After losing both of 2023’s starting guards, Kevin Zeitler and John Simpson, to free agency, the Ravens have been tasked with replacing both starters on either side of center Tyler Linderbaum. Though Baltimore had thoughts to address those holes in the 2024 NFL Draft, The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec reports that a third-round run on guards led the team’s draft room to shy away from the position.

Starting with the seventh pick of the third round, the Ravens watched Isaiah Adams, Cooper Beebe, Christian Haynes, Zak Zinter, and Dominick Puni all come off the board. Similarly, in the fourth round, a run that included running backs Jaylen Wright, Bucky Irving, Will Shipley, Ray Davis, and Isaac Guerendo (the last four making up four of the five picks before Baltimore’s) led the team to go in another direction (though Wisconsin’s Braelon Allen was available and selected four picks later).

These runs, especially the four running backs selected in the five picks before the Ravens’ selection, seemed strategic, given the team’s obvious desire to add to both positions in the draft. Faced with this challenge general manager Eric DeCosta pivoted, and instead of drafting a player at those positions far above their distinguished value, Baltimore addressed other needs, selecting Penn State pass rusher Adisa Isaac and Iowa State cornerback T.J. Tampa.

Unrelated, rookie safety Beau Brade, one of the Ravens’ top undrafted free agent signings out of Maryland, is set to be sidelined for a few weeks after injuring his ankle in the team’s rookie minicamp. Considered one of the most likely undrafted players to make a roster spot (the Ravens historically have at least one per year), Brade is expected to be back before the team adjourns for the final break before training camp.

Here are a few other rumors coming out of the NFL’s toughest division:

  • The Steelers utilized three of their seven draft picks in an attempt to make improvements to their offensive line, including taking Washington offensive lineman Troy Fautanu 20th overall. While the team was happy to see Fautanu fall to them, considering they predicted he could go as high as No. 10, the team also had their eye on Georgia offensive tackle Amarius Mims. With all the recon the team dedicated to offensive linemen, Pittsburgh likely figured out that Mims was headed to Cincinnati two picks before them, so it speaks to the team’s feelings on Fautanu that they opted not to make a trade up. As soon as they put in the pick in the first round, they went back to work, targeting West Virginia center Zach Frazier to determine whether or not he would still be around at No. 51 (he was).
  • New Browns running back Nyheim Hines missed the entire 2023 season on injured reserve after tearing his ACL in a freak jet skiing accident last summer. Known for his abilities receiving out of the backfield and returning kicks, Hines lines up as a perfect complement to recovering lead back Nick Chubb on paper. In order to do that, though, Hines has to come all the way back from the season-ending injury. On the Up & Adams show on FanDuel TV, Hines explained that he’s made progress on his rehabilitation and is on schedule for his recovery.

Bengals Draft T Amarius Mims At No. 18

A run on defensive players has come to an end. The Bengals have become the latest team to select an offensive lineman, drafting Georgia tackle Amarius Mims.

The Bengals bid farewell to four-year starter (and 2023 right tackle) Jonah Williams this offseason, and while they used free agency to bring in a stopgap, Mims profiles as a long-term solution opposite left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. Mims’ frame only adds to the Bengals’ historic dimensions at this position. While Orlando Brown goes 6-foot-8, 345 pounds, presumptive bridge RT option Trent Brown is listed at 6-8, 370. Mims checks in at 6-7, 340.

Mims served as a backup to begin his collegiate career, but he was inserted into the lineup late in the 2022 campaign, starting in a College Football Playoff game and the team’s second straight national championship game victory. He finally had a chance to start full time in 2023, but after three starts, Mims suffered a high ankle sprain and was forced to undergo tightrope surgery. It would take nine weeks for Mims to finally get back on the field. Following his return, Mims end up exiting his team’s loss in the SEC championship game.

Considering Mims’ lack of starting experience and eventual injury concerns, he profiled as one of the bigger question marks heading into tonight’s draft. There aren’t many examples of offensive tackles with so little starting experience being drafted so highly, but that obviously wasn’t enough to stop a team like the Bengals from gambling on his upside.

Mims certainly has the physical attributes to succeed in the NFL. The Bengals did bring in Trent Brown this offseason to line up on the opposite side of the line from 2023 LT signee Orlando Brown, so the Bengals may not need to lean on their first-round rookie right away. However, considering the frequency of NFL injuries, it shouldn’t be long before Mims gets his number called.

Teams Viewing Steelers As Most Likely To Trade For WR?

Known more for drafting and developing wide receivers — often from Day 2 — than trading for them, the Steelers have produced an impressive track record on this front. Over the past 15 years, Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders, Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson and George Pickens have enjoyed varying levels of success with the team despite coming off the board after Round 1.

It is arguable no team has strung together a run of homegrown WR talent like this in the modern game, but rumblings continue to emerge about the Steelers being ready to pull the trigger on a trade. A report earlier this week indicated the team had inquired about Brandon Aiyuk and was interested in trading for a wideout, and the Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora submits another offering in this direction.

Rival execs view the Steelers as the team potentially the most motivated to acquire a receiver via trade. While a Tee Higgins move will not happen — unlikely to be moved, Higgins definitely would not be dealt within the division — teams certainly are monitoring the 49ers regarding an Aiyuk swap.

Although Sean Payton and Broncos GM George Paton said (via the Denver Gazette’s Chris Tomasson) he has spoken with Courtland Sutton recently, the 6-foot-4 wideout showed by far the most chemistry with Russell Wilson last season. The team currently employing Wilson may be interested in reuniting the two, as Sutton is staying away from Broncos workouts in hopes of a new contract.

The Broncos nearly traded Sutton to the Ravens last year, and after their Jerry Jeudy asking price dropped drastically (from a first-rounder to accepting fifth- and sixth-rounders from the Browns), Sutton probably will not cost a second-round pick — Denver’s hope in 2023 — entering his age-29 season. Aiyuk will be more difficult to acquire, and it is worth wondering if the Steelers would pull the trigger, given the fifth-year wideout’s extension price and the AFC North franchise’s success finding receivers in the draft.

This draft is set to produce yet another deep receiver crop, which stands to lower prices in trades. But the Steelers may need more than one starter. Dealing Johnson to Carolina in a deal that brought back cornerback Donte Jackson, Pittsburgh has little surrounding Pickens presently. A slot player and a second boundary option would stand to be in play for the Steelers. The 6-foot-4 Sutton (signed through 2025 on a $15MM-per-year deal) made some of last season’s best catches, working as a deep threat and red zone target (10 2023 TDs) for Wilson. The 6-foot Aiyuk, who is tied to a fifth-year option worth $14.1MM, has displayed a bit more versatility in Kyle Shanahan‘s system.

If the Steelers are to execute a trade, they could devote more draft resources to other positions. Pittsburgh is targeting help at center and tackle, with The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly indicating a right tackle addition is on the team’s radar (subscription required). They hosted 11 O-linemen on “30” visits, including Georgia’s Amarius Mims, Oklahoma’s Tyler Guyton, Oregon State’s Taliese Fuaga along with interior O-lineman Graham Barton (Duke), Jackson Powers-Johnson (Oregon) and Zach Frazier (West Virginia), Kaboly adds. They also met with Washington O-lineman Troy Fautanu. Daniel Jeremiah’s big board lists each of these players as top-30 talents; the Steelers pick at No. 20.

The Steelers, who cut two-year center starter Mason Cole, look to be considering moving 2023 first-rounder Broderick Jones — their primary right tackle to close the season — to the left side, where he primarily played in college. That would leave three-year LT starter Dan Moore Jr. in limbo. Pro Football Focus has not been a Moore fan, but the former fourth-round pick — who is going into a contract year — has started 49 career games. After the team drafted Jones to step in for Chukwuma Okorafor, the latter is now with the Patriots. A tackle move — one that may be definitively in the Steelers’ Round 1 plans, as this is a deep class — would stand to give Jones a long-term bookend.

Pittsburgh’s Jackson trade aside, a cornerback will also be targeted — just likely not in Round 1 — according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac. Jackson is in a contract year, while the team cut Patrick Peterson. Mike Tomlin said a Peterson reunion will be considered, but the likely Hall of Famer is going into his age-34 season.

Dulac adds the Steelers also like Missouri defensive lineman Darius Robinson, whom the Tigers used across the formation. Ranked 39th on Jeremiah’s big board, the 285-pound defender might not be available for Pittsburgh without a second-round trade-up. The Steelers hold the No. 51 overall pick. In fact, ProFootballNetwork.com’s Adam Caplan notes Robinson is expected to be off the board at some point late in the first round. The Steelers have Cameron Heyward under contract for one more season, his age-35 campaign.

NFL Draft Rumors: Bowers, Giants, McKinstry

Two Georgia Bulldogs expected to be first-round picks later this month were unable to perform in their school’s pro day last month. Tight end Brock Bowers and offensive tackle Amarius Mims both hosted a private workout that saw a few teams in attendance, per Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated. Neither player really performed usual pro day activities, forgoing the 40-yard dash or any jumping or agility testing. Mims didn’t even weigh in. In reality, the day saw the two go through a few position drills with Bowers running routes and Mims attempting some line drills.

Both players had tightrope surgeries during the college season to repair high-ankle sprains. They should be able to heal in time for their rookie seasons, but the recovery has kept them from participating in pre-draft activities. It doesn’t appear that the work outs did much to affect either player’s draft stock.

Tight ends coaches for the Giants, Jets, and Broncos were reportedly on hand to watch Bowers, according to Breer and Tony Pauline of Sportskeeda.com. ESPN’s Matt Miller tells us that the Colts are reportedly very interested in Bowers, as well. One of his sources claims that Indianapolis would “run the card in” if Bowers is still available by the 15th pick of the draft.

Here are a few other rumors surrounding the 2024 NFL Draft:

  • One of the teams on hand to view Bowers, the Giants could be viewing the tight end as a backup plan. Many have pegged New York as a team that could potentially attempt to move up from their No. 6 overall pick to draft a quarterback in the top four picks. As we move closer to the decisive day, though, it’s looking less and less likely. According to Miller at ESPN, the Giants are expected to stay at sixth overall (a perfect place to find Bowers) and attempt to draft a passer with their No. 47 overall pick in the second round. At that point of the draft, they expect that options like Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. and Oregon’s Bo Nix may still be available. The team still claims to be committed to starting quarterback Daniel Jones, but the veteran’s inability to stay on the field has led New York to explore options to replace him, according to Ralph Vacchiano of FOX Sports.
  • Alabama cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry, born Ga’Quincy, has had a busy spring full of pre-draft visits. Since earlier reported visits with the Jaguars, Buccaneers, Lions, and Packers, we’ve seen reported visits with four more teams. Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com tells us that McKinstry visited the Titans on Tuesday, and Jordan Schultz of Bleacher Report informs us of visits with the Eagles, Giants, and Falcons, as well. McKinstry and his teammate, Terrion Arnold, have been extremely popular with the several teams who view cornerback as a position of need in 2024. McKinstry’s recovery from surgery on a foot fracture continues to heal nicely as he stays on track to return in time for his rookie season, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Draft Notes: Sweat, Seahawks, Titans, Bears, Patriots, Packers, Mims, Eagles, Broncos

Ranked as the No. 3 defensive tackle on Mel Kiper Jr.’s ESPN.com big board, T’Vondre Sweat has an off-field issue to navigate ahead of the draft. The Texas alum was arrested on a DWI charge over the weekend. Sweat was involved a two-car accident, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Rittenberg, who indicates the DT’s SUV collided with a sedan shortly before 5am on Sunday. The Seahawks and Titans are among the teams performing some due diligence on Sweat, with NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero indicating the ex-Longhorns D-lineman met with the Titans on Monday and will fly to Seattle for a “30” visit later this week. Sweat posted a $3K bond following his arrest.

Here is the latest from the draft ranks:

  • Widely expected to begin the draft by taking Caleb Williams first overall, the Bears still hold another top-10 pick. Pertaining to the latter draft slot, the team is hosting Alabama tackle JC Latham on a two-day visit that runs through Tuesday, ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter tweets. Latham has already met with the Cardinals and Titans. One of this draft’s supply of intriguing tackle prospects, Latham is on track to be a first-round pick. Daniel Jeremiah’s NFL.com big board ranks the first-team All-SEC blocker 18th overall, while ESPN slots him 12th. The Bears have Braxton Jones and Darnell Wright, their 2023 first-round pick, as their starting tackles. A recent report indicated Chicago is unlikely to trade its No. 9 pick.
  • Another of the Round 1-level tackle prospects in this draft pool, Tyler Guyton visited the Patriots recently, ESPN’s Mike Reiss notes. Ranked 23rd on Jeremiah’s big board, Guyton stands 6-foot-8 and is more projection than proven talent. Only garnering honorable mention All-Big 12 acclaim last season, Guyton made just 15 college starts. Five of those came at TCU in 2022 before transferring. The Patriots re-signed Michael Onwenu with the intention of keeping him at right tackle, but with Trent Brown leaving for Cincinnati, New England still has a need at left tackle. Barring a trade out of No. 3 — certainly a possibility — the Pats would need to address this issue after the first round.
  • This draft class features another raw tackle talent drawing first-round consideration. Amarius Mims has Guyton beat, starting eight games in three Georgia seasons. Six of Mims’ starts came at right tackle last season. The 6-foot-8, 340-pound tackle missed time at Georgia, requiring ankle surgery early last season, and suffered a hamstring injury while running at the Combine. Viewed as high-ceiling talent, Mims has drawn understandable concerns about his durability, per ESPN.com’s Jordan Reid.
  • The Eagles and Broncos are two teams to monitor with regards to an early-round tackle investment, ESPN.com’s Matt Miller writes. Although Philadelphia just extended left tackle Jordan Mailata, stalwart RT Lane Johnson is heading into his age-34 season. The Eagles are typically proactive on their O-line. The Broncos have two high-priced tackles (and a rather glaring QB need) in Garett Bolles and Mike McGlinchey, but Bolles is going into a contract year. The second pick going to the Saints in the Sean Payton trade is the Broncos’ 2024 second-rounder, leaving Denver with only a third after its No. 12 overall slot.
  • Add the Packers to the list of teams to meet with cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry. The Alabama product visited Green Bay on Monday, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein. This will follow McKinstry meetings with the Jaguars, Buccaneers and Lions. Regarded as a more highly touted prospect going into last season, McKinstry has seen teammate Terrion Arnold leapfrog him. The latter ranks higher now, though McKinstry should still hear his name called early. Save for the Jordan Love pick, the Packers have used a defense-focused approach in Round 1 for more than a decade. Beyond Love, Green Bay’s last offensive player chosen in Round 1 was tackle Derrick Sherrod in 2011.

NFL Draft Rumors: Tackles, Senior Bowl, Rakestraw

The 2024 NFL Draft class may feel relatively light at certain positions like quarterback and running back, but there’s one position that has scouts and coaches excited. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, this year’s offensive tackles group has the potential to match 2020’s class, which saw six tackles selected in the first round.

Four names have been regarded as likely first-rounders for about a year now, so the projections of Notre Dame’s Joe Alt (ranks 6th overall in Dane Brugler of The Athletic’s top 100 prospects), Penn State’s Olu Fashanu (9th), Alabama’s JC Latham (13th), and Georgia’s Amarius Mims (17th) come as no surprise. After some impressive performances in Mobile, Oregon State’s Taliese Fuaga (16th) and Oklahoma’s Tyler Guyton (18th) have joined those four in the range of the first round.

The top-end depth doesn’t end there, either. There are several other prospects that sit just outside that first-round range in Brugler’s rankings that still find themselves in consideration to be Day 1 picks because of strong Senior Bowl performances and a general interest in the position. Arizona’s Jordan Morgan (32nd), Houston’s Patrick Paul (55th), and Texas’ Christian Jones (NR) all sit on that fringe, according to Fowler.

With these nine guys and still more others pushing for Day 1 money, we’re bound to see a change in recent trends of five or fewer tackles taken in the first round. Even if this year’s class fails to match 2020’s six first-round picks, which seems unlikely as of now, the depth in the first two rounds of this class have a lot of teams excited about what’s available.

Here are a couple of other draft rumors from around the country, starting with more updates out of Mobile:

  • In a mailbag Q&A this week, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer gave his take on some prospects who improved their standing after this year’s Senior Bowl. Breer sees Fuaga and Toledo cornerback Quinyon Mitchell (11th in Brugler’s rankings) as big risers coming out of Mobile. While both players were already expected to be Day 1 picks, Breer believes that they’ve played their way into the top half of the first round. He also touts Michigan wide receiver Roman Wilson (45th) as a recent riser. While Wilson may not hear his name called in the first round, Breer thinks he may have pushed his way up to the second.
  • One player who wasn’t able to improve his stock at the Senior Bowl was Missouri cornerback Ennis Rakestraw (48th). Rakestraw had been dealing with a core muscle injury for much of his redshirt junior year before opting to undergo surgery at the close of the season in December, according to Matt Miller of ESPN. After missing out on the college all-star game due to the surgery, Rakestraw, who has been considered a fringe first-rounder, was unable to secure his potential Day 1 status. The young corner has shown a resiliency in coming back from an ACL tear his sophomore year, but his injury history may be enough to push him into the second round.

Georgia T Amarius Mims Declares For 2024 NFL Draft

The Georgia Bulldogs continue to churn out top-tier NFL talent. Following the team’s blowout 63-3 victory over Florida State in the Orange Bowl, giant human and Georgia offensive tackle Amarius Mims has officially declared for the 2024 NFL Draft, per ESPN’s Pete Thamel, forgoing his senior year of eligibility. Widely considered a top-five tackle prospect, Mims is expected to be a Day 1 pick come April.

Mims came out of Bleckley County HS (GA) as a five-star offensive tackle, enrolling in Athens a semester early in order to get a head start on his development. Mims failed to crack the starting lineup as a freshman, sitting behind future NFL draft picks Warren McClendon and Jamaree Salyer. With future first-round draft pick Broderick Jones set to replace Salyer at tackle in 2022, Mims made the decision to explore his options in the transfer portal. He would visit FSU before ultimately deciding to withdraw his name from the portal and remain at UGA, knowing that he would once again be serving in a reserve role.

After an injury to McClendon late in the year, though, Mims was asked to step up to start in a College Football Playoff game and the team’s victorious National Championship game. McClendon would be drafted in the fifth round this past April, opening the door for Mims to finally enter the season as the Bulldogs’ starter. After three starts, Mims suffered a high ankle sprain and was forced to undergo tightrope surgery. It would take nine weeks for Mims to finally get back on the field. Following his return, Mims would exit the team’s loss in the SEC Championship Game early and was not dressed yesterday against the Seminoles.

While in limited time Mims has graded out well, with Pro Football Focus (subscription required) ranking him as college football’s 52nd best offensive tackle, most of his first-round hype is based on projection. In three years at Georgia, Mims started only eight contests. Still, listed at 6-foot-7 and 340 pounds on the Bulldogs’ roster, Mims is an absolute, physical specimen, serving as a potential development prospect with incredible upside. The Athletic slotted Mims in as the 19th-best overall prospect (and the fourth-best offensive tackle) in Dane Brugler’s midseason rankings. ESPN’s Mel Kiper put Mims at 23rd overall, ranking him as the draft’s fifth-best offensive tackle.

There aren’t many examples of offensive tackles with so little starting experience being drafted so highly, but that likely won’t stop a team with desperate offensive line needs from taking a chance on the big-bodied 21-year-old. Interested teams will likely be paying close attention in interviews, the Scouting Combine, and Georgia’s pro day. While his lack of experience and recent injury history will pose a hurdle on his road to the NFL, his freakish size and immense potential should overshadow any doubts.