Rome Odunze

Jets Notes: Wilson, OL, Odunze, Hardman

The Jets brought an end to Zach Wilson‘s disappointing New York tenure when they traded their former No. 2 overall selection for a mere pick swap on Day 3 of last month’s draft. According to ESPN’s Rich Cimini, Wilson’s camp was, in the run-up to the 2021 draft, deeply worried about Gang Green’s history of failure to develop young quarterbacks and how that would impact Wilson’s own career, but the BYU product was convinced he would be the player to buck that trend.

Of course, that was not the case, and Wilson will now try to resurrect his career in Denver. Per Cimini, one of the lessons that the Jets learned from the Wilson experience is that, regardless of the round in which they draft a QB in the future, they will want to give that player legitimate competition for his role and, preferably, the opportunity to learn on the sidelines (benefits that were not afforded to Wilson).

GM Joe Douglas also said prior to the 2024 draft that, “I’d love to be a quarterback factory,” referencing the 1990s Packers that selected QBs in the later rounds of a draft, developed them, and flipped them for new draft capital down the road. To that end, the Jets selected Florida State passer Jordan Travis in the fifth round of the 2024 draft. Travis sustained an ankle injury in November that prematurely ended his final collegiate season, though he is expected to be healed by the start of training camp.

Travis will be learning behind newly-signed backup Tyrod Taylor and QB1 Aaron Rodgers, whose success will drive the Jets’ fortunes in 2024. Blocking for that group of passers will be rookie OT Olu Fashanu, whom New York selected with the No. 11 overall pick of the draft. As Cimini details in a separate piece, Fashanu is not expected to start right away thanks to the recent additions of Tyron Smith and Morgan Moses, but since both veterans will be on modified offseason programs, Fashanu will get plenty of reps at both left and right tackle during the spring and summer (Douglas suggested that Fashanu could even get looks on the interior, as Cimini relays).

The Jets did have the No. 10 pick in the 2024 draft, but they traded down one spot and selected Fashanu once Washington wide receiver Rome Odunze went off the board to the Bears, who held the No. 9 selection. That suggests that Odunze was New York’s preferred target, and though Douglas would not confirm as much, Cimini says that the Jets did try to trade up for the former Huskies pass catcher.

The club did eventually land a receiver when it nabbed Western Kentucky talent Malachi Corley in the third round. As Adam Caplan of Pro Football Network writes, some teams viewed Corley as a slot-only option, though the Jets plan to get him some reps outside the numbers as well. The club is clearly high on his ability, with Cimini reporting that Douglas started making calls about a possible trade-up to take Corley when the Packers were on the clock with the No. 45 selection. Ultimately, Douglas got his man with the No. 65 pick. Head coach Robert Saleh concedes that Corley will need to refine his route-running, but he is excited to find creative ways to use him (via Cimini).

Speaking of wide receivers, the Jets never levied tampering charges against the Chiefs for Kansas City’s pursuit of Mecole Hardman, as Cimini reported back in March. Hardman, a second-round pick of the Chiefs in 2019, signed with the Jets in the 2023 offseason. But after Rodgers was lost for the season four snaps into the 2023 opener, the Jets’ offense was in shambles, and Hardman later acknowledged during an appearance on Ryan Clark‘s The Pivot podcast that he begged Chiefs brass to “come get me” (via Cimini).

The Jets traded Hardman back to KC in October, and Douglas admitted that Hardman’s comments to Clark “resonated with us” (meaning, presumably, that the Jets may have considered tampering charges at some point).

Bears Select WR Rome Odunze At No. 9

The Bears have not traded out of the No. 9 slot, after all. Chicago has used its other top-10 selection by drafting Washington receiver Rome Odunze.

There was speculation that the Bears could look to collect even more assets and deal the No. 9 pick. Instead, they’ve decided to continue surrounding No. 1 pick Caleb Williams with weapons.

Odunze starred at Washington for the past two seasons, posting two 1,100-yard campaigns while elevating his stock. He also clocked a 4.45-second 40-yard dash at the Combine, a tenth slower than fellow rookie WR Malik Nabers ran at LSU’s pro day. Odunze led Division I-FBS last season, racking up 1,640 yards to play a central role in the Huskies’ voyage to the CFP national championship game.

While Marvin Harrison Jr. and Nabers seemed destined to be the first two receivers off the board, Odunze seemed to be emerging as the draft’s clear-cut WR3. The 6-foot-3, 212-pound talent ripped off 10 100-yard games last season, including five straight to help the Huskies into the national title game.

Both the Bears and Jets were linked to adding Odunze, and Chicago made the move one pick earlier. The Jets proceeded to trade out of No. 10, and the Bears will equip its No. 1 overall pick with a high-end weapon to complement a now-veteran-heavy receiving corps.

After years of passing attacks dependent on one receiver — be it Allen Robinson, Darnell Mooney or Moore — Chicago has what should be one of the deepest WR cadres in franchise history. As Mooney defected to the Falcons in free agency — following two down seasons in since-fired OC Luke Getsy‘s offense — the Bears have brought in Keenan Allen this offseason. Joining the team via trade (for a fourth-round pick), the elite veteran arrives in a receivers room that already includes D.J. Moore. Odunze should slide right alongside those two veterans, providing Williams with another dynamic receiving threat.

Colts Interested In Trading Up For Top WR, TE Brock Bowers?

APRIL 25: The Colts may try to take a big swing in Round 1, with SI.com’s Albert Breer mentioning Indianapolis will probably attempt to make a move for one of the top three wideouts or Brock Bowers. Sitting at No. 15, the Colts may only need to move up a few spots to secure draft real estate good enough to nab Bowers or Rome Odunze. It will probably take a more substantial trade package for Indy to land Harrison or Malik Nabers.

The Bowers element here is interesting, as the Colts have seven tight ends on their offseason roster. Top option Jelani Woods arrived during Frank Reich‘s tenure, as did Mo Alie-Cox and Kylen Granson. Bowers is viewed as this draft’s top tight end by a wide margin; the Georgia product may not make it out of the top 10, setting a potential target for the Colts if they are serious about moving up.

APRIL 24: Most of the trade-up reporting and speculation related to the upcoming draft has centered on quarterbacks, to no surprise. Teams not in need of a rookie passer could still be active in seeking a move up the board, though, and the Colts could be one of them.

Indianapolis is currently set to select 15th overall, but a trade could be in consideration. The Colts are viewed as being interested in a trade-up aimed at securing a receiver, per Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports. Likewise, ESPN’s Matt Miller reports the team has frequently been mentioned as a potential suitor for Texas wideout Xavier Worthy. Miller’s final mock draft sends the speedster to Indianapolis, albeit with no trade being involved. Owner Jim Irsay noted the team’s “great interest” in Marvin Harrison Jr. (via FOX59’s Mike Chappel), but he will no doubt be out of range.

Worthy earned plenty of acclaim by breaking the all-time 40-yard dash record at the NFL Combine, showcasing his ability as a vertical threat at the NFL level. The Colts have Michael Pittman Jr. in place for years to come atop the WR depth chart, having worked out a three-year deal this offseason which takes the place of his franchise tag. Worthy is also on the radar of the Dolphins, owners of the No. 21 selection.

Indianapolis will have plenty of non-QB options to consider on Day 1, of course, regardless of if the team moves up or down the board. General manager Chris Ballard spoke about the team’s situation during a pre-draft press conference, during which he noted all options are being considered. All teams provide smokescreens this time of year, but Ballard noted the Colts have a track record of moving both up and down the board.

“History, I just go off history,” Ballard said (via NFL.com). “And you know, the more picks you have, the better chance you have to hit. Now, of course, you’re not going to hit on all of them, but it gives you more of a chance to hit. Look, we’ve moved up, we moved up for Jonathan Taylor. When we see one that’s in striking distance that we think we can go get, we’ll do it. But it’s got to work out. And then you’ve got to have… somebody that wants to make the trade.”

The Colts own seven total picks in the 2024 draft, one in each round. The team will thus have the capital required to move up the board slightly in round one, but the possibility of adding later selections could entice Ballard. This year’s class is known to be deep at the receiver spot, and plenty of notable options will be available on Friday and Saturday. Still, Indianapolis will be a team to watch with respect to wideout interest.

NFC Draft Rumors: Nabers, Giants, Falcons, Bears, Cowboys, Barton, Murphy, Seahawks

As the Giants continue to be tied to a potential trade into the top four for a quarterback, they have the likely option of staying at No. 6 and filling a years-long wide receiver need in their back pocket. Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze visited the team in March. Of this trio, Nabers may the likeliest to end up a Giant. They are interested in the LSU speedster, SNY’s Connor Hughes notes, adding many in the league expect this match to come to fruition at No. 6. A wideout in Round 1 would stand to give Daniel Jones new life, whereas his Giants tenure would be on borrowed time if a QB trade-up happens.

The Giants are also high on Harrison, as should be expected, and SI.com’s Albert Breer views 6 as the floor for the two-year Ohio State standout. Breer also offers Odunze as being a cleaner prospect, character-wise, compared to Nabers, who has developed a bit of a reputation as being tougher to coach. Some teams have the Washington prospect higher on their boards. If the Giants stand down at QB, they are virtually guaranteed one of these three WRs. That presents a big opportunity to fortify a position that has not employed an impact player since Odell Beckham Jr.

Here is the latest from the draft scene:

  • Breer also ties the Falcons to Nabers, noting some teams have this match on their radar. Atlanta, which holds No. 8 overall, has a greater need on defense; the team has been linked to pass rushers throughout the pre-draft process. Nabers would stand to represent value, and the Falcons could plug him in alongside Drake London and Darnell Mooney at receiver. Though, Atlanta having gone TE-WR-RB in the top 10 over the past three years would invite a Matt Millen-era Lions vibe if this happens again. It would be interesting to see if GM Terry Fontenot would truly use a fourth straight top-10 pick on a skill-position player. The Falcons have also been connected to trading down, per the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs.
  • How the Falcons proceed will be of interest to the Bears, who have also been tied to pass-catching aid with their No. 9 choice. Chicago is poised to go either pass catcher or pass rusher at 9, CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones notes, with Breer adding wideout may be the more likely play — if one of the top three remains available. Both Jones and Biggs mock Odunze to Chicago at 9. The Bears hosted the Washington standout on a “30” visit; Keenan Allen‘s contract expires after the 2024 season. Brock Bowers is not expected to make it out of the top 10, and the Bears also hosted the Georgia tight end recently. Holding only four picks, the Bears could also opt to trade down.
  • The Cowboys are believed to be interested in Duke’s Graham Barton, per Breer, who notes the O-lineman has been the player most closely connected to the team during the pre-draft process. While Barton started the past three seasons at left tackle, he is viewed as a better fit inside in the NFL. The Cowboys hosted Barton, among a number of other O-linemen, on a “30” visit recently. Dallas lost Tyler Biadasz and also must replace Tyron Smith. Tyler Smith‘s success at left tackle and left guard give Dallas options. While the team adding one of this draft’s many tackle prospects would stand to keep Tyler Smith inside, Barton would allow him to move back to LT.
  • The Seahawks passed on Jalen Carter last year, but they may be readier to pull the trigger on a D-tackle this week. The prospect of Seattle snagging Texas DT Byron Murphy at 16 has come up, with Sportskeeda.com’s Tony Pauline noting the former Big 12 standout — who logged a Hawks “30” visit — also has an outside chance of moving into the top 10. The Falcons, who have been tied to edge rushers, are high on Murphy as well. Yahoo.com’s Charles Robinson confirms some interest inside the top 10 indeed exists here. This year’s crop is light on DTs, potentially driving Murphy up the board.

Latest On Teams Targeting WRs In First Round

We know that the Steelers have been identified as a team that could be likely to trade for a veteran wide receiver this offseason, but what about teams looking for wide receivers in the first round? A lot of focus has been placed on teams looking to draft quarterbacks, per usual, but Jason La Canfora of The Washington Post provided us with the names of a few teams targeting pass-catchers on Day 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft. La Canfora identifies the Cardinals, Bears, Colts, Bills, 49ers, and Chiefs as the likely suspects.

Some of these, we’ve heard plenty about already. At No. 4 overall, the Cardinals sit in the line of picks that are all expected to be quarterbacks, according to most mock drafts, meaning they are expected to trade down from the position. Many see them trading back to No. 6, allowing the Giants to select Daniel Jones‘ potential replacement. This would leave them in line to draft the class’s top receiver prospect, Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr. This could provide Arizona with a new top receiver after the departure of Marquise Brown to Kansas City.

This would require the Chargers to pass on wide receiver, a huge position of need after watching both Keenan Allen and Mike Williams depart this offseason. While it wouldn’t be much of a surprise to see Los Angeles select Harrison, new general manager Joe Hortiz (from Baltimore) has shown an affinity for Notre Dame prospects like Ronnie Stanley and Kyle Hamilton. Combine that with the addition of new offensive coordinator Greg Roman, and connections to Notre Dame offensive tackle Joe Alt make all the sense in the world. Roman’s run-heavy offensive mentality makes tackle a bigger priority than receiver in the first round.

Wide receiver has been seen as less of a priority for the Bears after they acquired Allen in a trade from the Chargers. Still, drafting a top receiver prospect like LSU’s Malik Nabers or Washington’s Rome Odunze could give projected new quarterback Caleb Williams a strong trio of targets with Allen and D.J. Moore. Chicago could pair the draft’s QB1 with a potential WR1 as ESPN’s Matt Miller tells us that there are some teams in the NFL who see Nabers and Odunze as better prospects than Harrison. The three receivers are closer than people may think on most draft boards and their order of preference could come down to scheme and fit.

In Indianapolis, the Colts would love to bring in a first-round receiver for second-year quarterback Anthony Richardson. Josh Downs and Alec Pierce were decent options behind Michael Pittman Jr., but having a true weapon across the field could really help both Richardson and Pittman. If Harrison, Nabers, and Odunze find their way off the board by the time the Colts select at No. 15, LSU’s Brian Thomas Jr. could fall into their lap, though Odunze could still be available if nobody takes a flyer on him as the best player available regardless of position.

At the back end of the first round, wide receiver has become a big need for the Bills after they watched Gabriel Davis depart in free agency and traded away Stefon Diggs to the Texans. Khalil Shakir now leads the position room, and though the top four receivers aren’t expected to be available by the 28th pick, pairing Shakir with Texas’ Adonai Mitchell, FSU’s Keon Coleman, or Florida’s Ricky Pearsall could be productive.

As for the 49ers and Chiefs in the last two picks of the draft, San Francisco is a bit of surprise inclusion after recently paying Deebo Samuel and still currently denying that Brandon Aiyuk is available via trade. Still, if Aiyuk is potentially on the way out, taking flyer on Mitchell, Coleman, or Pearsall could work out.

As for Kansas City, they’ve tried their fair share of veteran free agent additions for Patrick Mahomes, and will do so again with the addition of Brown this offseason, as well as some draft picks in the second round or later. We’ve seen the Chiefs have success with smaller wide receivers with speed, so bringing in Georgia’s Ladd McConkey, Michigan’s Roman Wilson, or Texas’ Xavier Worthy could make a lot of sense.

Whoever doesn’t hear their name called on the first night of the draft shouldn’t have to wait too long. Dane Brugler of The Athletic’s latest mock draft showed the Panthers selecting McConkey with their first pick of the draft, which will be the first pick of the second round. If McConkey is already off the board, Wilson and Worthy offer similar skill sets.

It’s a deep class for wide receivers this year. Top prospects like Harrison, Nabers, Odunze, and Thomas are considered no-brainers as first-round picks. An early run on those four could see many of the pass-catchers behind them find their way into the first round, as well. Even so, there are nearly 20 wideouts with a projected third-round grade or better. Not only is this a wide receiver class with lots of talent up top, but talent throughout will benefit teams who need receivers but will have to target other positions of need first.

Latest On Cardinals’ Draft Plans

During last year’s draft, the Cardinals traded out of the No. 3 spot before jumping back up to No. 6. Could they be eyeing similar moves in 2024?

Some people around the NFL believe GM Monti Ossenfort could be considering that route, although one of the trades would be contingent on the other. As ESPN’s Field Yates writes, the Cardinals would “want to ensure” they they’ll be capable of trading up the board before they move on from their fourth-overall selection.

While trading back would seem to be the more significant move, the organization is focused on moving up from their hypothetical pick acquisition. That’s because the team is especially determined to leave the first round with one of the draft’s elite receivers. If the organization trades No. 4 for a pick that takes them out of the top-10, there’s a good chance they miss out on the likes of Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr., LSU’s Malik Nabers, and Washington’s Rome Odunze.

Of course, the Cardinals could just stay put at No. 4 and have their pick of the draft’s top receiver prospects. We heard earlier this week that Harrison, the consensus top player at his position, was a “wheelhouse pick” for Arizona. Amid an unusually structured pre-draft program, Harrison visited the Cardinals recently. However, if the Cardinals believe there isn’t a significant gap between Harrison and the Nabers/Odunze duo, a series of trades could still land them a WR plus extra assets.

After moving back from No. 3 to No. 12 during last year’s draft, the Cardinals ended up moving back up to No. 6 in order to acquire Ohio State offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr.. The trade machinations ended up netting the Cardinals a future first-round pick, a selection that resulted in the No. 27 pick in this year’s draft.

Draft Notes: Odunze, DeJean, Nabers, Chargers, Lions, Bucs, Jags, Steelers

While reports have indicated some teams prefer Malik Nabers to Marvin Harrison Jr., Sportskeeda.com’s Tony Pauline offers a stance that could further muddy the waters among the draft’s top wide receivers. Several teams have Rome Odunze slotted higher than Nabers on their big boards. Although transfers have populated the QB ranks in this class, the top three receivers only played at one school. Odunze starred at Washington for the past two seasons, posting two 1,100-yard campaigns and elevating his stock further last year. He clocked a 4.45-second 40-yard dash at the Combine, a tenth slower than Nabers ran at LSU’s pro day. Odunze, who booked visits with the Cardinals, Bears and Jets, did not run at his pro day.

The 6-foot-3, 212-pound talent ripped off 10 100-yard games last season, including five straight to help the Huskies into the CFP national championship game. Mel Kiper Jr.’s ESPN.com big board slots Odunze fifth overall — one spot behind Nabers — while Daniel Jeremiah agrees with the teams that have Odunze higher, ranking the Washington prospect third overall — between Harrison and Nabers. All three could be gone in the top seven or eight choices. This certainly raises the stakes for the Cardinals, who have a glaring WR need and have been linked to a trade-down move from No. 4.

Here is the latest coming out of the draft:

  • In addition to Nabers’ Cardinals visit this week, NFL.com’s Cameron Wolfe notes he made a trip to Los Angeles to meet with the new Chargers staff. The Chargers having jettisoned Keenan Allen and Mike Williams makes them an obvious team to monitor for one of the top receivers. If the Cardinals trade out of No. 4, L.A. would be positioned to land the draft’s top WR prospect at 5. Of course, the Chargers have also been linked to moving down. And Jim Harbaugh‘s past and some recent comments have made it worth monitoring if the Bolts value a receiver this high.
  • After suffering a broken fibula in November, Iowa cornerback Cooper DeJean is ready for football work. The highly touted cover man sent a letter to all 32 teams informing them he is cleared for all football actitives, ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter tweets. DeJean will hold a workout April 8 in Iowa City. Jeremiah ranks the ex-Hawkeyes standout 25th on his big board; Kiper has the 6-1 defender 21st. DeJean, who notched five INTs and three pick-sixes as a sophomore in 2022, left school early despite the injury.
  • The Jaguars are spending some time on other corners in this draft, specifically those from Alabama. They used “30” visits on both Terrion Arnold and Kool-Aid McKinstry, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport and Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz. The Buccaneers and Lions also met with McKinstry, according to Schultz and the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett. The Jags cut two-year starter Darious Williams but replaced him with Ronald Darby, though the latter is 30 and tied to a two-year deal that features a fairly easy out in 2025. Cameron Sutton‘s arrest and ensuing release leaves the Lions in need at corner, despite Detroit having signed Amik Robertson and traded for Carlton Davis. The Bucs trading Davis frees up a spot at corner in Tampa opposite Jamel Dean. Arnold rates higher than McKinstry, who came into last season as a better prospect. Jeremiah ranks McKinstry 36th overall. More visits are likely, considering McKinstry sat out the Combine with a toe fracture but still clocked a 4.47-second 40 time (at Alabama’s pro day) despite not yet undergoing surgery.
  • Nate Wiggins clocked a blazing 4.28 time at the Combine, elevating his stock. The Clemson product visited the Steelers on Thursday, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Chris Adamski. A first-team All-ACC choice who posted two pick-sixes with the ACC program, Wiggins played all three of his college seasons at Clemson. The Steelers releasing Patrick Peterson but added Donte Jackson. The trade pickup’s contract expires after 2024, however, and the 6-foot-1 Wiggins is among those the team is looking into as a longer-term option opposite Joey Porter Jr.

Cardinals, Bears, Jets To Host Rome Odunze

Last year’s wide receiver class did not produce prospects on the level of the drafts from 2020-22, but this year’s crop is poised to supply a few teams with cornerstone talent.

Marvin Harrison Jr. and Malik Nabers lead the way, but Rome Odunze also qualifies as a wideout with a clear path to becoming a top-10 pick. Odunze has already visited the Giants; the Washington product has more meetings lined up. This includes a return to the Big Apple for a Jets summit, with ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson adding the Cardinals and Bears are also set to host Odunze.

[RELATED: Jets, Cardinals Meet With Malik Nabers]

Mel Kiper Jr.’s ESPN.com big board places Harrison, Nabers and Odunze at Nos. 3-5, illustrating the talent available for WR-needy clubs. Evaluators are high on this year’s WR class, per ESPN’s Jordan Reid, who floats the possibility of a seven-wideout first round. That would eclipse the 2020 class’ six first-round receivers. Quarterback value has long been expected to prevent any of these players from becoming a top-three selection, barring something unexpected, which would leave the door open for some teams that have the QB box checked to exit Round 1 with some pass-catching value.

The Cardinals and Jets qualify, with the Bears on the doorstep of doing so due to their imminent Caleb Williams partnership. Arizona had negotiated an extension with Marquise Brown, but months after cutting DeAndre Hopkins, the Cardinals lost Brown in free agency. They did not make a major addition, setting the stage for a receiver investment likely early in this draft. The Bears and Jets did make veteran moves, courtesy of the Chargers, with Chicago adding Keenan Allen and the Jets signing Mike Williams. Drafting a first-round wide receiver would create formidable depth charts for either team.

Arizona holds the No. 4 overall pick (though, the team has been connected to moving down once again), while Chicago’s own selection sits at No. 9 (eight spots after the Panthers-obtained pick set to go to Williams). The Jets are stationed at No. 10. New York chose a wideout 10th overall two years ago, taking Garrett Wilson. The Cardinals have 2023 third-rounder Michael Wilson, but of these teams, their depth chart is weakest at the position.

Kiper viewed Odunze’s final season as the difference between him being a Day 2 pick and having the chance to go in this year’s top 10. After an 1,145-yard 2022 slate, the 6-foot-3, 212-pound pass catcher broke through for a 1,640-yard, 13-touchdown showing to help Washington to the national championship game. Odunze produced 10 100-yard games last season, including five straight to lift the Huskies into the national title game.

Bringing size and plus run-after-catch ability to the equation, Odunze has not been mentioned as a player capable of leapfrogging Harrison — as Nabers has — but the recent Michael Penix Jr. target should be expected to be chosen early.

Giants Meet With Drake Maye, J.J. McCarthy; Team Conducts Three WR Visits

Facing a pivotal decision with their latest top-10 draft choice, the Giants are beginning the next phase of their intelligence-gathering process. It is that time of year; “30” visits are underway. And the Giants have two clear paths they could take.

The big-picture approach points to the team staying in the mix to trade up for a quarterback. On that note, the team began its face-to-face meetings last week. Drake Maye and J.J. McCarthy visited the Giants, according to SI.com’s Albert Breer.

While it would bring a borderline-radical about-face for the Giants to move up for a passer a year after giving Daniel Jones a four-year, $160MM extension, the contract’s structure and the team’s managerial setup point to the scenario being live. The Giants can escape the Jones contract with barely $10MM in dead money — in the event of a post-June 1 release — next year, and while this regime paid Jones, it did not draft him. Rumblings about the Giants being interested in a passer have persisted this offseason, with McCarthy emerging as a potential target.

Yes, we are entering prime smokescreen season, but McCarthy’s stock has undeniably climbed since his low-octane but hyper-efficient Michigan season wrapped. The Vikings have been linked to the Michigan product, with Daniel Jeremiah’s latest NFL.com mock draft sending Minnesota to No. 4 for McCarthy, which would be that franchise’s first top-10 quarterback pick ever. The Giants, who have been around considerably longer, have made five such investments. In the common draft era (1967-present), New York has chosen three QBs in the top 10 — Phil Simms, Eli Manning, Jones — and faces a more action-packed market thanks to Minnesota’s recent trade with Houston.

Even prior to the Vikings acquiring a second first-round pick from the Texans, Jeremiah mentioned a “strong” expectation within the NFL points to four QBs going off the board in the top six. Seeing as the Giants hold the No. 6 pick, that rumor would stand to tie closely to the team’s interest in grabbing a Jones successor with this draft real estate. While GM Joe Schoen attended Caleb Williams‘ USC pro day Wednesday, the Bears are widely expected to begin the draft with the 2022 Heisman winner.

Maye has held his spot as a passer likely to land in the top three, with Jeremiah mocking Sam Howell‘s North Carolina successor to Washington at No. 2. More buzz has connected the Commanders to Jayden Daniels, with Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest ESPN mock keeping Maye on track for New England. The Patriots may have some internal doubts about the ex-Tar Heels starter, inviting intrigue about another team moving up in the event Daniels does go second overall. The Giants would stand to be one of the teams monitoring the Pats’ decision, as the Commanders will be unlikely to trade their No. 2 pick to a division rival when a QB investment is involved.

McCarthy has rocketed up into a likely top-10 investment, participating in the Combine while the draft’s top three passing prospects did not. While the recent national championship-winning QB would be a surprise top-six pick — based on where his stock appeared to be at season’s end — the likes of Carson Wentz, Baker Mayfield and Zach Wilson have brought late QB climbs near the top of the board in recent years. The Giants are certainly investigating Jim Harbaugh‘s final Wolverines starter.

If the dominoes do not fall the Giants’ way regarding a Jones successor, the team is doing work on that end as well. The team brought in Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze for visits earlier this month, The Athletic’s Dan Duggan tweets.

Harrison has generated attention for his pre-draft plan — one not consisting of workouts at the Combine or his pro day, which was held today — but the Ohio State prospect is widely viewed as the best receiver available. Jeremiah and Kiper’s big boards list Harrison as the No. 2 overall prospect, but the former adds it is likely some teams will have Nabers positioned above the second-generation WR talent on draft boards. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler adds Nabers is viewed by some clubs as the draft’s top wideout.

Harrison, Nabers (LSU) and Odunze (Washington) are each mortal locks to be chosen early in the first round. Nabers posted a 1,000-yard season in 2022 but unlocked another level to his game last season, totaling 89 receptions for 1,569 yards and 14 touchdowns to help Daniels win the Heisman. Nabers’ speed has generated intrigue among teams, though the three-year LSU receiver did not run the 40-yard dash at the Combine.

The QB interest would benefit the Giants on the wideout front, as two of these players could be on the board if a trade-up into the top five occurs. The Giants used a third-round pick on Jalin Hyatt last year and have Darius Slayton and Wan’Dale Robinson under contract. But the team has struggled at this position for years, lacking a WR1-level talent since injuries started to impact Odell Beckham Jr. The Giants will have a chance at one of these impact receivers soon, but the QB matter will likely loom until draft night.