Peter Skoronski

Titans Considered Firing Mike Vrabel In 2023; HC Sought Full Roster Control

Mike Vrabel interview requests have not come in yet, but they almost certainly will soon. The well-regarded HC is done after six Titans seasons, with Tennessee’s 2023 offseason laying the groundwork for Tuesday’s firing.

Confirming a previous report of Vrabel preferring Titans interim GM Ryan Cowden over Ran Carthon for the full-time post, The Athletic’s Dianna Russini and Jon Rexrode report Vrabel suggested to Amy Adams Strunk the team make Carthon the assistant GM due to not viewing former the ex-49ers No. 3 exec — behind John Lynch and Adam Peters — as ready for the GM role (subscription required). With Strunk not taking kindly to that suggestion, it does not appear she and Vrabel’s relationship bounced back.

Despite the report of a rift between Vrabel and Carthon, the latter was not involved in the firing, according to Russini and Rexrode. Carthon came to Tennessee after six years in San Francisco, being hired Jan. 17, 2023, and the former 49ers director of pro personnel interviewed for the Cardinals’ GM vacancy last year. Peters declined both Arizona and Tennessee’s requests; he is now a finalist for Washington’s director of football operations post.

The Titans began to tear down their previous power structure by firing Jon Robinson in December 2022, doing so 10 months after extending the GM through 2027. While Vrabel is not connected to pushing Robinson out, the six-year HC subsequently made his case for full roster control, according to The Athletic, believing he had done enough to earn it. Strunk did not want to give a head coach such power, citing issues with Jeff Fisher having control during the latter part of his Tennessee tenure.

This request and Vrabel’s stance on Carthon appears to have damaged his relationship with ownership, with Russini and Rexrode adding Strunk did not view the head coach as showing sufficient faith in her. This did not lead to Vrabel wanting out, however, with ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler noting the defense-oriented HC wanted to give the Titans another year — trade rumors notwithstanding — and that Strunk orchestrated this decision.

Strunk considered firing Vrabel last year, Russini and Rexrode note, but still believed in him as a head coach. Her goal was to start fresh at that point, though she had previously authorized a through-2025 extension for the former linebacker. Additionally, the Titans’ next draft will be the first one Carthon runs. Cowden is believed to have managed the Titans’ 2023 draft board for continuity purposes. Teams often move on from scouts and executives after the draft in order to not shake up things before big-picture investments are made, but it is a bit unusual another strong candidate for GM to wield such control. The Titans fired Cowden soon after the draft; he is now with the Giants.

The Titans’ 2023 draft looms large regarding their long-term future. The team was involved in trade talks with the Cardinals in Round 1, with the pre-draft target being C.J. Stroud, and did move up for Will Levis the following night. Carthon said Tuesday the team will hire a head coach that is interested in developing Levis and also alluded to first-round pick Peter Skoronski being an option (via Titans.com’s Jim Wyatt) to become the team’s long-term left tackle. The Titans kept Skoronski at guard during his rookie season, though the Northwestern standout played only tackle in college.

Fall developments also played a role in Vrabel’s ouster. Strunk had planned to keep Vrabel as recently as November, but it appears the last straw was the Titans’ 19-16 overtime loss to the Texans in Week 15. That is viewed as the point Strunk was ready to move on, Vrabel’s three straight playoff appearances (from 2019-21) notwithstanding. Strunk was also not thrilled about Vrabel’s trip to Foxborough during the Titans’ bye week, according to The Athletic. The Patriots inducted Vrabel into their Hall of Fame that week, and he was seen sitting with Robert Kraft during the ensuing Buffalo-New England game in October.

Strunk’s firing record, which includes canning Mike Mularkey after a divisional-round appearance, has led to an impulsive reputation. The Vrabel move, despite the Titans’ sub-.500 record over the past two years, will not help on that front. A number of teams are likely interested in Vrabel as a head coach option, and Bill Belichick‘s exit would put the Patriots — who have viewed Vrabel as a potential “home run” hire — atop that list. The Commanders, Chargers and Raiders could also have interest, Russini and Rexrode add. It will be interesting to see if Vrabel seeks major personnel input with his next team.

Titans To Move Nicholas Petit-Frere To Left Tackle, Demote Andre Dillard

The Titans completed an offensive line revamp this offseason, jettisoning fixtures Taylor Lewan and Ben Jones to create cap space and then letting four-year right guard Nate Davis leave in free agency. Nicholas Petit-Frere‘s gambling suspension meant Tennessee started four new blockers in Week 1.

Although Peter Skoronski represented the biggest offseason investment up front, the Titans gave Andre Dillard a three-year, $29MM deal to replace Lewan. Drafted to take over for Jason Peters in Philadelphia, Dillard was never able to do so and ended up a swing tackle. While Dillard still drew interest at past trade deadlines and created a decent market for himself in free agency, the Titans are preparing to demote him in Week 8.

Tennessee is set to move Petit-Frere from right to left tackle, Mike Vrabel said (via ESPN.com’s Turron Davenport). While Dillard has experience as a right tackle, playing the position at points in Philly, Vrabel confirmed he will slide to a swing role. The Titans signed Chris Hubbard this summer, and despite the former Steelers and Browns starter settling in as a backup during his final years in Cleveland, he has manned the right tackle job throughout the season.

The NFL reinstated Petit-Frere earlier than expected, updating its gambling policy in-season. The Titans did not activate the second-year blocker when first eligible, waiting a week, and still started Hubbard at RT in Week 6. Petit-Frere played 32 snaps off the bench. This will be a big step for Petit-Frere, who finished his Ohio State career as the team’s right tackle starter. He beat out Dillon Radunz for the Titans’ RT gig before the 2022 season and started 16 games at the position for the injury-battered team last season, but with Will Levis (feat. Malik Willis) likely to start Sunday, it will be Petit-Frere guard his blind side.

Dillard’s demotion represents an obvious step back for the former first-round pick. Pro Football Focus ranks Dillard outside the top 60 among tackles and has charged him with a whopping seven sacks allowed through six games. Despite Hubbard’s 2020s inactivity coming into this season, PFF ranks him 24th overall among tackles this season. The Titans guaranteed Dillard $10MM. While this demotion would put the four-year Eagle on the 2024 cut radar, the Titans would eat at least $4MM in dead money next year even in a post-June 1 release scenario.

Another intriguing option for Tennessee would be to relocate Skoronski to left tackle, where he starred at Northwestern. Skoronski did some tackle work during the Titans’ offseason program, but Vrabel squashed the notion he would move off guard. The college tackle whom most scouts projected as an NFL guard has been the Titans’ left guard this season.

AFC South Notes: Skoronski, Colts, Hughes

The Titans’ offensive line was shorthanded for their Week 2 contest against the Chargers due to Peter Skoronski‘s absence. The first-round rookie was declared out in advance of Sunday’s game, but the reason why has since been revealed.

Skoronski underwent an appendectomy, as noted by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. That will lead to an absence of at least one week given his recovery including the team’s game today, though further missed games could ensue as well. The 22-year-old served as the Titans’ left guard starter in Week 1, confirming the team’s plans of using him on the inside to begin his NFL career. The No. 11 pick worked as a tackle in college, and his play at Northwestern has led to high expectations in the short- and long-term future for him on a Titans O-line which saw a number of changes this offseason.

Here are some other notes from around the AFC South:

  • The Colts made an early commitment to Anthony Richardson as their starter during his rookie season, naming him the No. 1 after a single preseason game. That move came as little surprise given owner Jim Irsay‘s remarks hinting he would see the field early and often, along with the work the team’s new coaching staff put in during the spring and summer to tailor the offense to his skillset. As SI’s Albert Breer notes, head coach Shane Steichen and offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter quickly moved on from the split first-team reps approach in training camp to give full attention to Richardson (the No. 4 pick in the draft) as the focal point of the offense in part due to the limited amount of reps modern camps give teams in developing young players compared to years past.
  • Indianapolis saw Zack Moss return to the backfield on Sunday, but the team’s run game was still shorthanded with Jonathan Taylor on the PUP list and Evan Hull on injured reserve. The latter is sidelined until at least Week 6, but a lengthier absence could be in store. In spite of that, the Colts do expect Hull to be back in the fold at some point in 2023, as noted by Joel A Erickson of the Indianapolis Star. With Taylor’s future still up in the air, a return to at least a depth role would be a welcomed sight in Hull’s case.
  • In need of some in-season financial wiggle room, the Texans recently restructured the contract of defensive end Jerry Hughes, ESPN’s Field Yates notes. The 35-year-old is in the final season of his two-year Houston deal, and the move created $2.14MM in cap space. Hughes’ 2023 cap hit now sits at just over $4.1MM, though the team is also scheduled to have a cap charge of over $2MM next season due to the void years present on his pact. The Texans currently have just under $4MM in cap space to work with.

AFC South Notes: Titans, Colts, Ryans, Jags

The max-value figure in DeAndre HopkinsTitans deal emerged when he committed to the team, but guarantee numbers had been elusive. No longer, as the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin details Tennessee’s true commitment to its new WR1. The two-year, $26MM pact contains $10.98MM guaranteed at signing (Twitter link). The Chiefs and Patriots preferred incentive-laden contracts that did not come especially close to the guarantee figure the Titans authorized.

The contract also includes three void years. The void numbers allowed the Titans to keep Hopkins’ 2023 cap number low ($3.67MM), and the team can move on — via a post-June 1 cut designation — in 2024 fairly easily. Tennessee could create $14MM in 2024 cap space by using the June 1 mechanism, as it did with Julio Jones last year, should this fit not work out. This decision will likely come in March, as OverTheCap notes Hopkins is due a $4.06MM bonus if on the Titans’ roster by Day 5 of the 2024 league year. That setup stands to prevent Hopkins from another summer free agency stay.

Here is the latest from the AFC South:

  • Careful not to divulge too much about the Colts’ QB plan, Shane Steichen confirmed Gardner Minshew and Anthony Richardson would rotate with the first team during training camp. Minshew began that rotation as the first-teamer to start camp, Mike Chappell of Fox 59 notes. Although Richardson did not gain much seasoning as a Florida starter and is considered a rawer prospect than Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud, his draft slot points to extensive rookie-year work. Jim Irsay confirmed as much earlier this month, indicating Richardson needs to play early. Minshew, who worked with Steichen in Philadelphia, signed a one-year, $3.5MM deal in March.
  • DeMeco Ryans will not work as a CEO-type coach with the Texans, with NFL.com’s James Palmer noting he will call the team’s defensive plays this season (Twitter link). The former Houston linebacker called San Francisco’s defensive plays from 2021-22, becoming a hot HC candidate after the 49ers’ defense ranked first across the board last season. Matt Burke will serve as a non-play-calling Texans DC.
  • Both Joey Porter Jr. and Will Levis were in the mix for fully guaranteed rookie contracts, but neither received such terms. Levis did fare better than last year’s No. 33 overall pick, however, with KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson noting the Titans QB’s four-year deal is 91.5% guaranteed. That is up from the $80.4% guarantee last year’s No. 33 choice (Buccaneers D-lineman Logan Hall) received on his rookie deal. Levis also secured training camp roster bonuses totaling $1.76MM from 2023-26. Those figures are fully guaranteed through 2025, Pro Football Focus’ Brad Spielberger tweets.
  • The Titans’ first-rounder, Peter Skoronski, spent time at guard and tackle during the team’s offseason program. But Mike Vrabel provided some clarity about the No. 11 overall pick’s NFL path. The college tackle is working as a guard right now. Considering the Titans brought in tackles George Fant and Chris Hubbard on visits last week and have Nicholas Petit-Frere set to return to his right tackle post once his six-game gambling suspension ends, it makes sense the Titans would keep Skoronski at guard. Neither Fant nor Hubbard have signed with the team.
  • Evan Engram‘s three-year, $41.25MM Jaguars extension includes three void years, with Wilson noting (via Twitter) the deal will void 23 days before the 2026 league year. Pro Bowl incentives — worth $250K per year — are also present in the tight end’s contract.
  • Veteran tight end Luke Stocker‘s playing career wrapped after 11 seasons (2011-21), and Vrabel said during a recent appearance on Taylor Lewan and Will Compton‘s Bussin’ With the Boys podcast that he is part of the Titans’ coaching staff. Stocker, 35, was with the Titans from 2017-18, overlapping with Vrabel during the latter season. He also played with the Bucs, Falcons and Vikings.

Latest On Peter Skoronski, Titans’ O-Line

Entering Week 1, the Titans will have four new offensive line starters. The team’s plan was only to make three changes up front, but Nicholas Petit-Frere‘s six-game gambling suspension will force a temporary change at right tackle.

Andre Dillard is expected to start at left tackle, seeing as the ex-Eagles first-round pick signed a three-year, $29MM deal. Tennessee will also return 17-game guard starter Aaron Brewer, but the fourth-year blocker — who received a second-round RFA tender — confirmed earlier this offseason the team is planning to slide him to center. This will leave three spots open, with two likely starters’ positions to be determined.

UFA addition Daniel Brunskill has experience at both guard and tackle, and TennesseeTitans.com’s Jim Wyatt notes the ex-49er starter/swingman will be an option to start the season at right tackle. First-round pick Peter Skoronski also fits this profile, though he has less experience at guard. But the acclaimed Northwestern tackle is also in the mix to fill in for Petit-Frere to start the season.

The plan for Skoronski appeared to be a shift to guard. The No. 11 overall pick spent most of his offseason working at guard, per Wyatt, though the Titans have also gave him tackle reps during their offseason program. A number of NFL evaluators viewed Skoronski as a clear-cut guard candidate, but the former Big Ten blocker did not play guard in college.

It would be an interesting assignment for Skoronski to start the season at right tackle before kicking inside. Tennessee might aim to simplify the top prospect’s rookie-year workload by stationing him at guard only during training camp, but for now, an O-line configuration with Dillard and Skoronski as the bookends remains in play. Regardless of where Skoronski lines up, the team expects him to start immediately.

Jamarco Jones, sixth-round pick Jaelyn Duncan and 2022 UDFA Andrew Rupcich as other options to fill in for the suspended Petit-Frere, per Wyatt. A former Seahawk, Jones has made seven NFL starts over his three-year career. He spent time at tackle in Seattle but did not play last season. After Jones lost the Titans’ left guard competition to Brewer, he spent most of last season on IR. Duncan spent most of his time in College Park at the Terrapins’ left tackle, while Rupcich would be a long shot here, as he joined Jones in not seeing any game action last season.

Tennessee has struggled to fill its right tackle post over the past few seasons. After not picking up Jack Conklin‘s fifth-year option and then letting him walk in 2020, the team has used three different primary starters there over the past three years. Isaiah Wilson became one of this era’s biggest draft busts, playing all of four career snaps, while 2021 second-round pick Dillon Radunz was unable to win the job during the 2021 or ’22 offseasons. (Dennis Kelly and David Quessenberry, respectively, were the Titans’ right tackle starters in 2020 and ’21.) Radunz, who has also spent time at guard with the Titans, would have seemingly been an option to step in for Petit-Frere. But the North Dakota State alum is still rehabbing the ACL tear he suffered in December. Radunz did not participate in the team’s offseason workouts, Wyatt adds.

The Titans released cornerstones Taylor Lewan and Ben Jones this offseason, doing so a year after cutting Rodger Saffold. Tennessee let four-year guard starter Nate Davis walk in free agency in March. Skoronski will be the linchpin of GM Ran Carthon‘s overhaul effort, though the team will not have a chance to see the unit at full strength until Petit-Frere’s October return.

Titans Sign Round 1 OL Peter Skoronski

The Titans now have their top 2023 draft choice under contract. No. 11 overall pick Peter Skoronski signed his four-year rookie pact (feat. the fifth-year option) Tuesday.

Skoronski is the 18th first-round pick from this year’s class to sign. The Titans will can keep the Northwestern product under contract through 2027 by extending it via the option in May 2026, but we are obviously a ways away from that decision. For now, the Titans will need to determine where Skoronski will play.

Viewed by most NFL evaluators as a guard, Skoronski nevertheless went off the board ahead of tackle Broderick Jones. The Bears passed on the Chicago-area product by taking Tennessee tackle Darnell Wright at No. 10, however. Skoronski suited up as a Northwestern tackle but drew pre-draft scrutiny due to his arm length. Ex-Wildcats teammate Rashawn Slater fell victim to criticism that his 33-inch arms were too short for him to be a successful NFL tackle. Lo and behold, Skoronski’s arm length is reportedly almost an inch shorter.

Still, Skoronski only played tackle at Northwestern, starting all three seasons before declaring for the draft after his junior year. He earned first-team All-Big Ten acclaim as a sophomore and junior, after landing on the conference’s second team in 2020. While Skoronski and Slater were technically teammates, Slater opting out of the 2020 season provided a clear runway for Skoronski to become the top Wildcats tackle.

The Titans’ offseason moves would point to Skoronski playing guard. They gave ex-Eagles first-rounder-turned-backup Andre Dillard a three-year, $29MM deal. Dillard stands to team with 2022 right tackle starter Nicholas Petit-Frere. The Titans signed ex-49ers guard Daniel Brunskill and retained 2022 guard starter Aaron Brewer, but the latter is on track to replace Ben Jones at center. This opens the door for Skoronski to work opposite Brunskill at guard.

The Titans have been using Peter Skoronski — the grandson of 1960s Packers left tackle Bob Skoronskiat both guard and tackle early in his offseason run. Where he lines up in training camp will obviously be a better indicator of the organization’s plans. Skoronski’s agreement leaves only second-rounder Will Levis as the only unsigned Titans draftee.

AFC South Rumors: Titans, Anderson, Jags

While we are more than two months away from offensive linemen working in pads, the Titans are in the process of determining first-rounder Peter Skoronski‘s position. They are cross-training the No. 11 overall pick at tackle and guard. Skoronski only played tackle at Northwestern, but plenty of pre-draft buzz pointed to a future at guard in the NFL. Arm measurements affected Skoronski’s pre-draft perception, and the Tennesseean’s Nick Suss notes the Titans were alternating possessions of the rookie at tackle and guard during their rookie minicamp.

In Nicholas Petit-Frere and free agent signing Andre Dillard, the team looks to have its two starting tackles in place. The Titans gave the ex-Eagles first-rounder a three-year, $29MM deal, despite Dillard having never commandeered an Eagles starting job, that includes $10MM fully guaranteed. For 2023, at least, this setup points to Skoronski at guard alongside Daniel Brunskill and Aaron Brewer on a new-look Titans line.

Here is the latest from the AFC South:

  • Veering back toward C.J. Stroud after weeks of pre-draft reports indicated they were drifting in another direction, the Texans ended up with their coveted edge rusher (Will Anderson Jr.) via a monster trade-up with the Cardinals as well. They became the first team to make two top-three picks in a draft since Washington in 2000. The Texans held pre-draft meetings about how to obtain a quarterback and a pass rusher with their Nos. 2 and 12 picks, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. Texans ownership was believed to be more involved this year, though Cal McNair denied influencing GM Nick Caserio to select a quarterback. The trade cost Houston what may well be a top-five pick in 2024, giving Cardinals fans a reason to follow this Texans season, so the AFC South team will bank on Anderson having an All-Pro future.
  • Regarding Anderson, DeMeco Ryans said his top pass rusher will operate primarily out of a three-point stance on the edge. The Texans have used a 3-4 base defense for years, dating back to J.J. Watt‘s heyday, but Ryans played in a 4-3 look in Houston and used it as his base alignment in San Francisco. Anderson worked primarily as a linebacker at Alabama. “It’s not a huge position change for Will,” Ryans said, via HoustonTexans.com’s Deepi Sidhu. “Will will be an edge defender for us, and that’s what he did at Alabama. Mostly at Alabama he was standing up. We’ll have him down in a three-point stance.” As sub-packages now rule the NFL, the line between a 3-4 outside linebacker and a 4-3 defensive end has blurred over the past several years, making this a standard switch for the prized edge prospect.
  • Ryan Cowden finished last season as the Titans‘ interim general manager. The veteran executive is no longer listed on the team’s website as part of the front office (h/t Titans reporter Paul Kuharsky). This marks a quiet exit for Cowden, who worked alongside Mike Vrabel atop the Titans’ decision-making structure after GM Jon Robinson‘s firing. Ran Carthon has since taken over in Tennessee. Cowden had been with the Titans since Robinson’s 2016 hire. Prior to that, he spent 16 years in the Panthers’ scouting department. Having interviewed for several GM jobs over the past few years — including the Tennessee vacancy — Cowden should have an opportunity to catch on elsewhere soon.
  • The Texans have bumped Tom Hayden to their college scouting director post, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 notes. Previously the team’s college scouting coordinator, Hayden remains with the team despite arriving during the short-lived Brian Gaine GM tenure.
  • Jaguars cornerback Chris Claybrooks was hit with two misdemeanor charges — domestic assault with bodily injury and vandalism under $1,000 — last month stemming from an incident in Nashville. Authorities have dropped each charge due a settlement being reached, Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com notes. Claybrooks allegedly grabbed his ex-girlfriend’s arm and threw her cellphone to the ground.

Titans Take OL Peter Skoronski At No. 11

The Titans were rumored to be one of the team’s in hot pursuit of a quarterback. Despite Kentucky QB Will Levis still remaining on the board, the team isn’t pivoting to another position. The Titans have used pick No. 11 on Northwestern offensive lineman Peter Skoronski.

Skoronski was considered by some pundits to be the draft’s top offensive line prospect, but the Big Ten product was ultimately the third OL off the board. Skoronski was college football’s most dominant pass blocker this year, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), allowing only five pressures on 383 snaps in pass protection.

The lineman found himself susceptible to much of the same criticism as his former teammate — 2021 first-round Chargers pick Rashawn Slater. Slater fell victim to criticism that his 33-inch arms were too short for him to be a successful NFL tackle. Lo and behold, Skoronski’s arm length is reportedly almost an inch shorter. He may end up playing guard in the NFL, but it would not be shocking if the Titans at least give him a shot at offensive tackle.

Tennessee is close to starting over up front. The team cut its longtime starters at left tackle (Taylor Lewan) and center (Ben Jones) and let four-year right guard Nate Davis walk in free agency. The Titans signed former Eagles first-rounder Andre Dillard, giving him decent money despite Jordan Mailata having instead become Philly’s Jason Peters heir apparent. The Titans kept RFA guard Aaron Brewer, however, and used 2022 third-rounder Nicholas Petit-Frere at right tackle.

Skoronski — the grandson of former 1960s Packers starting left tackle Bob Skoronski — figures to be ticketed for one of the team’s starting guard spots come September.

Bijan Robinson On Eagles’ Radar At No. 10

The Eagles are one of the teams to enter tonight’s draft with a running back need. They can either add a back to work in a committee of sorts with Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott or make an early-round move to replace Miles Sanders.

While the team has been connected to offensive and defensive line prospects, James Palmer of NFL.com notes Bijan Robinson is in play for the defending NFC champions at No. 10 overall (video link). Only the Eagles and Buccaneers, who hold the No. 19 overall pick, met with Robinson during the pre-draft visit window. But the Texas prospect is viewed as one of this draft’s safest options; he would be expected to be a plug-and-play starter.

This would be an against-the-grain pick for the Eagles, who have valued O-line investments over running back payments under Howie Roseman. The veteran GM traded DeMarco Murray, signed during Chip Kelly‘s 2015 in power, quickly after being given the front office keys back and has not devoted much in the way of expenses toward the lower-value position. But the Eagles did use a second-round pick on Sanders four years ago. Robinson could be kept on a rookie deal through 2027, via the fifth-year option.

ESPN’s Scouts Inc. grades Robinson as this draft’s second-best prospect; NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah slots him third overall. Positional value makes Robinson’s landing spot harder to peg. The Falcons, at No. 8, have been tied to the ex-Texas standout. The Ravens, who have dealt with frequent injury trouble at the position, have also been connected to making a move here. Though, Baltimore holds the No. 22 overall pick.

Additionally, the Eagles continue to look into this draft’s top O-linemen. After Wednesday’s Paris Johnson connection, Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski may be in play as well. The Eagles, who let Isaac Seumalo walk in free agency, see both players as being able to begin their career at right guard and eventually transition to tackle to take over for Lane Johnson. Both players’ positional flexibility is important, per Palmer. Several teams see Skoronski as a guard. Neither Johnson nor Skoronski, however, is a lock to be on the board at No. 10. The Cardinals and Bears are interested in O-linemen, though if the Titans are the team that makes a trade for the No. 3 choice, the Cards would be sitting behind the Eagles at No. 11.

The Eagles used a second-round pick on potential Jason Kelce heir apparent Cam Jurgens, who could also factor into the team’s plans at guard. That probably depends on how the Eagles proceed tonight. While no NFL date features more misdirection than Day 1 of the draft, the Eagles — thanks to their April 2022 trade with the Saints — stand to be a major factor in tonight’s first round, given their Nos. 10 and 30 selections.

Draft Rumors: Commanders, Chargers, Giants, Bengals, Bears

It’s the eve of the 2023 NFL Draft, and connections are being made left and right. Every team has hosted several prospects and done their fair share of homework. Here’s a few things we’re hearing in the hours leading up to the draft:

  • The Commanders can go in a lot of directions at the exact midpoint of the first round. They’ve been connected to offensive tackle and cornerback prospects in most situations. According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, though, Washington’s executive vice president of football/player personnel Marty Hurney is a big advocate for Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson. The team has committed to last year’s fifth-round pick Sam Howell as their starting quarterback for 2023, as well as bringing in Jacoby Brissett as an experienced backup. Drafting Richardson would likely be a sit-and-learn situation while either Howell or Brissett man the starting spot under center.
  • The Chargers have been rumored to be looking ahead in this year’s draft towards next year’s needs, according to Breer. Even though wide receiver is clearly not a need with Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Josh Palmer, Williams may end up as a cap casualty after this season with a pending $32.46MM cap hit in 2024. This could lead to Los Angeles getting ahead of that hole and drafting a wideout in the first round this year. Breer hears the team really likes Boston College receiver Zay Flowers.
  • Another team who could possibly be looking to cover a future contract situation, the Giants are reportedly fairly high on Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs, according to Breer. With contract negotiations with veteran Saquon Barkley being reported as tenuous, it’s hard to imagine general manager Joe Schoen further stirring the pot with another first-round running back. It would provide the team with a backup option if negotiations with Barkley turn sour, though.
  • The Bengals ranked 29th in 2022 for team sacks and are reportedly looking for more pass rushing help on the interior defensive line, according to Breer. At the end of the first round, there’s only so many options. Georgia’s Jalen Carter surely won’t still be around at No. 28 overall. Clemson’s Bryan Bresee has some strong tools but is expected to need to improve his pass rushing arsenal. Pittsburgh’s Calijah Kancey is the only real answer here. With 14.5 sacks and 27.5 tackles for loss over the last two years, the diminutive tackle projects as a discount Aaron Donald. If Kancey isn’t available or not what the Bengals are looking for, they could trade back or just wait for someone like Auburn’s Colby Wooden in the third or fourth round.
  • Lastly, the Bears have been frequently tied to offensive line prospect Peter Skoronski out of Northwestern. It’s unclear whether they like Skoronski as an improvement at tackle or a new starter on the inside, but if he’s available by the time the tenth pick rolls around, it’s hard to imagine Chicago passing up the nearby offensive lineman.