Chargers Rumors

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.

Chargers Discussing Trade For No. 5 Pick

As draft preparation enters its final week, dialogue between teams will increase with respect to trades in the first-round order. In the case of the Chargers, that could see the No. 5 selection changing hands.

First-year general manager Joe Hortiz made it clear last month he is open to making a deal with teams interested in moving up the order, presumably to acquire a quarterback. The top three teams on the board – Bears, Commanders, Patriots – are each positioned to remain in place and add a passer in lieu of moving down. That leaves the Cardinals as a key player, as they own the fourth overall pick and have stated a willingness to trade back.

[RELATED: Chargers Interested In T Joe Alt]

That does not mean Arizona is locked into a trade-down scenario, of course, but a team like the Giants, Vikings, Raiders or Broncos moving into the that spot would lead to QBs coming off the board with each of the first four selections. Multiple general managers around the league believe that will indeed be the case, ESPN’s Jordan Raanan reports. In that event, the Chargers’ pick would represent the top of the order for all other positions.

“If four quarterbacks go, we believe strongly we have the first pick,” Hortiz said (via the team’s website). “So, what are teams willing to give us? Now, we know it’s the fifth pick and teams are going to be trading on that scope, but it’s got to be a value for us. Do we have to be blown away? What is blown away? I don’t know the answer to that.”

Los Angeles could certainly command a considerable haul for the fifth selection, although the value would of course decrease considerably if a team moving up the order would be doing so after the top four passers already came off the board. Even if the Cardinals were to remain in place (and, quite possibly, select Marvin Harrison Jr.), the Bolts would also be in position to add a high-profile receiver such as Malik Nabers or Rome Odunze. Doing so would fill a notable roster hole, and as such a premium offer would be required to convince the team to trade back.

“There’s certainly, ‘It’s too good of a deal’, in terms of what you’re getting back,” Hortiz added. “They have to make it attractive to us for us to move away from those players [available at No. 5]. The whole, ‘It’s a fair trade, it’s a wash’. I don’t think that’s a trade we’re interested in.”

To little surprise, Hortiz also confirmed trade talks have taken place with teams interested in moving up, though those conversations have been preliminary to date. Interest will heat up in the coming days over negotiations with not only the Chargers, but also the Patriots and Giants. Their decisions – and those of the Cardinals – will be key factors in determining whether or not Los Angeles remains in place or adds notable draft capital for 2024.

Chargers Interested In T Joe Alt

Joe Alt‘s father spent his entire career in the AFC West. The Chiefs drafted John Alt in the 1984 first round and used him as a 149-game starter, with his 13-year career lasting long enough to cover most of Marty Schottenheimer‘s tenure. Forty years after Kansas City’s investment, it is looking quite possible the younger Alt will be facing the Chiefs twice a year.

Previously mentioned as a team interested in Joe Alt, the Chargers continue to be tied to such a move. The Bolts hold the No. 5 overall pick, and they continue to be connected to moving down in Jim Harbaugh‘s first offseason in charge. The ex-Chargers quarterback has not been one to overinvest at wide receiver, and despite the team moving on from Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, mocking one of this draft class’ top three wideouts to Los Angeles may not reflect reality.

[RELATED: Chargers Discussing Trades For No. 5 Pick]

Alt is “Harbaugh’s guy,” one anonymous NFL exec told the Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora, who adds the Bolts should be expected to draft the All-American tackle if they stay at 5. This move would amplify the Chargers’ wide receiver need exiting Round 1 while giving the team perhaps the top tackle in a stacked class at a position that is not the easiest to find in the modern game.

The run game will clearly be a higher priority for the Bolts this season, with the team hiring Greg Roman and reuniting the well-traveled OC with Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins. With the Chargers rostering Justin Herbert, they stand to benefit from the QB run expected to take place atop the draft board. Depending on the Cardinals, the top non-QB could be waiting at 5. It would be a risk for the Chargers, in that case, to draft Alt over Marvin Harrison Jr. But signs continue to point to it.

The Chargers brought Alt to L.A. for a visit, joining the Titans and Jets in that regard. While Alt lasting to No. 10 may not be in the cards for the Jets, the Titans have been regularly tied to making a plug-and-play pick at 7. Alt being off the board by No. 5 would lead Tennessee in another direction, though a number of other tackle options would be available to Ran Carthon‘s team if the Chargers brought Alt to California.

A two-time first-team All-American, the 6-foot-8 Alt played left tackle for the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame LTs have been coveted prospects and moved to other spots in the pros. Zack Martin operated as a left tackle for the Division I-FBS independent; so did Mike McGlinchey. Though, the latter had regular RT experience in college. Alt would presumably be kicked to right tackle with the Chargers, as Rashawn Slater has been the Bolts’ LT since being a 2021 first-round pick. Slater earned second-team All-Pro honors as a rookie, and the Chargers will almost definitely pick up his fifth-year option before the May 2 deadline.

An Alt investment would stand to displace Trey Pipkins, the Bolts’ RT regular for the past two seasons. Pro Football Focus ranked Pipkins 64th among tackles in 2022 and 50th last year. During Tom Telesco‘s final offseason as GM, the Bolts re-signed Pipkins to a three-year, $21.75MM deal ($13.25MM guaranteed at signing). An Alt selection would also be the Bolts’ third O-line first-round pick in four years. The team has 2022 first-round guard Zion Johnson going into Year 3.

Brock Bowers Books Bears, Chargers Visits; TE Not Expected To Fall Out Of Top 10?

APRIL 19: During a Friday press conference, Jets general manager Joe Douglas spoke highly of Bowers and added he views the “right” tight end prospect of being worth a Day 1 selection (h/t ESPN’s Rich Cimini). If New York’s final draft board reflects that sentiment, the team could very well represent Bowers’ floor come draft night.

APRIL 17: Brock Bowers hovers as this draft’s clear-cut top tight end, as a gulf exists between the Georgia-developed prospect and the field this year. Although this draft has a few wide receivers that could go in front of Bowers, he might not last too much longer.

The teams interested in Bowers point to him not being available beyond No. 10, Sportskeeda.com’s Tony Pauline notes. After the Jets hosted the standout pass catcher, Pauline adds he scheduled visits with the Bears and Chargers. Prospects have until today to go through official “30” visits with teams; Bowers met with the Bears on Tuesday and is Los Angeles-bound today.

The Bolts (No. 5) and Bears (No. 9) join the Titans (No. 7) and Jets (No. 10) as teams to have shown interest in Bowers during the pre-draft process. The Jets sent their tight ends coach (Ron Middleton) to Bowers’ delayed pro day last week. Bowers underwent surgery to address a high ankle sprain. He would deliver an instant upgrade to the Jets, who have certainly pushed their chips in for the 2024 season. With Gang Green signing Mike Williams, a tight end upgrade would complement the Williams-Garrett Wilson tandem. Of course, the team could also be interested in one of this class’ top three wideouts — should one be available at 10.

A Bears decision could determine the Jets’ move. They have met with Marvin Harrison Jr., Rome Odunze and Malik Nabers. An Odunze-or-Bowers call could be on the table for Chicago at 9, Pauline adds. The Bears added ex-Shane Waldron pupil Gerald Everett to go with Cole Kmet this offseason. A Bowers pickup would crowd this depth chart, profiling as a best-player-available-type move for a team widely expected to draft Caleb Williams first overall. A WR move would stand to make more sense for Chicago, which lost Darnell Mooney and has trade pickup Keenan Allen going into his age-32 season. Allen is not signed beyond 2024.

The Titans also spent heavily to give their QB (Will Levis) a higher-end target, authorizing a monster guarantee to win the Calvin Ridley sweepstakes. Tennessee has not made a move at tight end this offseason. Chig Okonkwo totaled 528 receiving yards last year, though his per-catch average dropped from 14.1 as a rookie to 9.8. The Titans, however, have been closely linked to using their No. 7 slot to upgrade at left tackle — a dire need for the team.

Though the suddenly run-focused Chargers have also been tied to a tackle move, they can render this moot by choosing Bowers at 5. Los Angeles used Everett as its TE1 over the past two seasons, and the team added two free agents (Hayden Hurst, Will Dissly) this offseason. Bowers obviously brings a much higher pass-catching ceiling, racking up 2,538 yards and 26 touchdowns during his three-year tenure with the Bulldogs. The 6-foot-3 target played a key role in the team winning the national title in 2021 and ’22, and in the latter campaign he earned first-team All-American honors.

Georgia’s top aerial weapon throughout his college career, Bowers took home the John Mackey award as the nation’s top tight end in each of the past two seasons, making him the only multi-time winner. He profiles as an immediate upgrade at a position that is harder to find compared to wide receiver, and it will be interesting to see which team signs off on this investment.

Chargers Host WR DJ Chark

The Chargers could be positioned to add one of the top receiver prospects in next week’s draft, especially if they elect to retain the No. 5 pick. While a decision on that front is yet to be made, veteran options are also being considered.

Los Angeles hosted DJ Chark on a free agent visit yesterday, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. Chark is one of several veteran wideouts still on the market, and that will likely remain the case until after the draft. The former Jaguars Pro Bowler is coming off his second consecutive one-year tenure, having spent the 2023 season in Carolina.

Chark joined the Panthers on a $5MM deal last offseason, aiming to give the team a deep threat following his Lions stint. While ankle surgery aimed at preventing a repeat of the lingering ankle and foot issues he has dealt with did not produce a full campaign last year, Chark did manage to play 15 games with Carolina. He posted 525 receiving yards – the third-highest total of his career – and five touchdowns. The 27-year-old remained a field-stretching option, averaging 15 yards per reception.

The Chargers have also been linked to Marquez Valdes-Scantlinganother veteran wideout known to be able to operate as a vertical option in the passing game. Los Angeles has a need at the WR spot with Mike Williams having been released and Keenan Allen being traded. Both Chark and Valdes-Scantling have experience as a starter which could help the team transition to the likes of Quentin Johnston and Josh Palmer in a larger role moving forward.

The latter two are in place as key figures in the Chargers’ passing game as things stand. Johnston had an underwhelming rookie campaign after being selected in the first round last year, though, and Palmer is entering the final year of his rookie contract. Another Day 1 investment at the receiver position would thus come as little surprise, but any rookies added in the near future could be accompanied by Chark or Valdes-Scantling next season.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/18/24

Today’s minor moves:

Houston Texans

  • Placed on exempt/international list: OT Kilian Zierer

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Placed on exempt/international list: DL Basil Okoye

Minnesota Vikings

San Francisco 49ers

  • Placed on exempt/international list: OT Isaac Alarcon

Each team is allowed an extra practice squad spot in 2024 if they carry an international player. By placing a player on the exempt/international list, these teams are all but declaring which international player they’re choosing to roster next season.

More Bill Belichick Fallout: Kraft, Falcons, Eagles, Cowboys, Giants, Commanders

Plenty has emerged in the wake of Bill Belichick going from eight-time Super Bowl champion to unemployed, but as the legendary coach regroups, some additional information about what went down in Atlanta — along with other teams’ coaching searches — has come to light.

Connecting some dots based on what has previously come out this offseason, ESPN.com’s Don Van Natta, Seth Wickersham and Jeremy Fowler report in an expansive piece that Falcons execs dissuaded Arthur Blank from hiring Belichick and Robert Kraft played a major role in the process that ended up veering away from an overqualified candidate who had initially appeared the favorite for the job Raheem Morris now has.

On the morning of the day Morris became the pick, Belichick still viewed himself as likely to land the job. Blank confirmed the 24-year Patriots HC did not ask him for personnel control, but power brokering — given Belichick’s outsized influence and experience — is believed to have still gone down in Atlanta’s front office. As a result, Belichick felt “blindsided” by the Morris hire.

CEO Rich McKay and GM Terry Fontenot did not want to work with Belichick, according to ESPN, which adds the six-time Super Bowl-winning HC was willing to work with the fourth-year GM (while confirming he and McKay’s less-than-stellar relationship). A previous report pointed to Belichick’s concern with Fontenot and the Falcons’ overall power structure. Fontenot, McKay and Falcons president Greg Beadles were part of the Falcons’ second Belichick interview.

Going so far as to reveal Falcons brass’ final rankings for the HC job, Fowler, Van Natta and Wickersham indicate Belichick did not finish in the top three for the Atlanta position. Beyond unanimous top choice Morris, Mike Macdonald and Texans OC Bobby Slowik respectively slotted second and third in this process.

Kraft is believed to have played a role in Blank backing off his initial hope to hire Belichick. A conversation between Blank and his longtime friend came after the Jan. 15 Blank-Belichick yacht meeting, and ESPN reports the Patriots owner warned the Falcons boss not to trust the accomplished HC.

Seeing as this comes during an offseason that has seen more information come out — via the much-discussed The Dynasty series — about Kraft’s issues with Belichick, it is hardly surprising the longtime Pats owner would provide such a warning. Robert Kraft, who considered ousting Belichick after 2022 (before son Jonathan Kraft advised against), referred to Belichick as “very, very, very arrogant, per ESPN. A Robert Kraft spokesman denied the owner, who was naturally complimentary of the game’s second-winningest HC upon the January separation, disparaged Belichick to Blank.

Belichick had already assembled a coaching staff, with some familiar names indeed believed to be part of it. Beyond plans to bring Josh McDaniels, Matt Patricia and Joe Judge aboard, former Texans VP (and Patriots staffer) Jack Easterby was on the radar to be part of a Belichick Atlanta staff. Falcons execs expressed reservations about this staff, with ESPN adding Blank also questioned why this group failed elsewhere. Belichick reportedly responded by saying this group was comprised of “better soldiers than generals.” Judge has since joined Lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss staff. The Texans moved on from Easterby in 2022.

New Commanders GM Adam Peters, a Patriots scout in the 2000s, discussed the HC position with Belichick. Minority owner Magic Johnson pushed for Washington to hire the Maryland native, but Josh Harris — who spoke to Kraft about Belichick in December — had decided he would not make that move. We had heard previously the NBA and NHL owner wanted a more collaborative approach, which many current NFL owners prefer, rather than handing the keys to one person. With Harris wanting a front office-oriented leadership structure, Peters has final say on Commanders football matters. Belichick was not interested in the Chargers.

The three other NFC East HC jobs may well be open in 2025, and ESPN notes Belichick would be interested in the Cowboys, Eagles and Giants positions — should they open up. The Eagles did work on Belichick before determining Nick Sirianni would stay, with Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman viewed as fans of the future Hall of Famer, and the former has been close with Jerry Jones for many years. Lurie looks to have joined the Falcons in expressing hesitancy in greenlighting a Belichick move that would bring major changes while qualifying as a short-term fix.

Belichick, who turned 72 on Tuesday, is now six years older than the oldest HC ever hired (Bruce Arians). Any team that considers a 2025 hire would be adding someone who will turn 73 before coaching his next NFL game.

A Belichick confidant also expressed doubt the former Giants DC would earn another HC job unless Jones signs off on a Cowboys hire. Mike McCarthy‘s lame-duck status will keep Belichick rumors going, it would seem, but for now, a TV gig appears in the works. Belichick is expected to join Peyton Manning‘s Omaha Productions for analysis-based work. ESPN’s Pat McAfee also announced Belichick will be part of his show’s draft coverage (video link).

Fifteen wins shy of Don Shula‘s career record, Belichick is believed to have informed allies he expects to land at least one interview next year. While the NFC East jobs are worth monitoring, the bumps the Patriot Way has taken — coupled with Belichick’s age and implied threat to organizations’ status quos — leave it far from certain he will have a third opportunity to lead an NFL team.

RB J.K. Dobbins To Sign With Chargers

It’s a full Baltimore reunion in Los Angeles this offseason. After former Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman brought in a familiar face at running back in former Raven Gus Edwards, the Chargers will now be adding Edwards’ former backfield teammate J.K. Dobbins, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Dobbins joins the Chargers on a one-year deal.

Dobbins, a former second-round pick for the Ravens out of Ohio State, will likely be one of the bigger cases of “what if” in Baltimore’s recent history. Dobbins came to Baltimore following quarterback Lamar Jackson‘s unanimous MVP season in which the team went 14-2. With veteran Mark Ingram getting into his 30’s, Dobbins was brought in to add an exciting, young kick to the run game.

In his rookie season, Dobbins gave a small taste of the production he was capable of. Splitting the backfield with Edwards nearly 50-50, Dobbins led the team in rushing touchdowns (9) and led the running backs room in rushing yards (805) while averaging an impressive 6.0 yards per carry. A promising follow-up sophomore campaign was put to an end before it could even begin when Dobbins suffered a torn ACL in the team’s final preseason game, taking him out for the entire 2021 season.

Injuries continued to dog Dobbins into the 2022 season. He came back from his torn ACL in Week 3 of that year but saw limited use and production as the Ravens played it a bit safe early. After feeling some knee tightness in Week 6, though, Dobbins returned to injured reserve in order to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery. Dobbins made his second return of the season in Week 14 and announced his reemergence with a bang, eclipsing 120 rushing yards in each of his first two games back. A Tyler Huntley-led version of the offense rode Dobbins to a first half lead in their Wild Card game before seemingly abandoning that gameplan in the loss.

The Ravens were excited to finally field an offense with a healthy backfield featuring Jackson, Dobbins, and Edwards in 2023. An extension for Dobbins was even very much on the table for the Ravens. Unfortunately, the worst-case scenario occurred in the team’s season opener when Dobbins suffered a torn Achilles tendon, his second season-ending injury in three years.

Now, after a tough going over his rookie contract, Dobbins will hope to turn a new corner with a new team. He had visited Los Angeles and Kansas City and was thought to be a favorite to sign with the Chiefs before they opted to re-sign Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Talent has never been the issue when considering Dobbins as a free agent. The corny saying applies here: his biggest ability moving forward will be his availability.

The Chargers are well set up to accommodate any setbacks for Dobbins. With Edwards on the roster, Los Angeles can function in quite the same way as Baltimore did with the two. They will be able to utilize Dobbins as much as they desire while relying on the much sturdier Edwards to produce regardless. Dobbins should be getting the best of both worlds here: a second chance with a change of scenery while still be supported by familiar faces that he knows he works well with. If he doesn’t fit in LA, it’s only a one-year audition before he returns to free agency.

WR Notes: Allen, Bolts, Colts, Bills, Browns, Falcons, Jets, Panthers, Saints, Bears

Nearly dealt to the Texans, Keenan Allen will soon team with D.J. Moore on the Bears. Only Malcom Floyd enjoyed a longer WR tenure with the Chargers, who surprised Allen (per ESPN.com’s Kris Rhim) by requesting a pay cut after a 1,243-yard season (career-high 95.1 per game). The process that ended with Allen shipped to Chicago for a fourth-round pick stunned the 11-year veteran, whose camp presented the Bolts with a counteroffer that would have made the 31-year-old talent one of the NFL’s highest-paid wideouts. The team quickly rejected that proposal, Rhim adds.

Cutting Mike Williams to move under the cap, the Chargers had already restructured the deals of Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack. The team asking Allen for a pay cut despite moving well under the salary ceiling surprised the wideout’s camp, per Rhim, though the Bolts wanted more room to work in free agency. Because of a 2023 restructure, Allen was due to count more than $34MM on Los Angeles’ cap. The Bears, who paid Allen’s $5MM roster bonus shortly after acquiring him, have the six-time Pro Bowler on the books at $23.1MM. As of now, Allen is due for free agency in 2025.

Shifting to the draft, here is the latest wide receiver news:

  • The Bills and Colts are taking a close look at this draft’s fastest player. Xavier Worthy recently visited Buffalo and is now in Indianapolis for a meeting, Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz tweets. Blazing to a Combine-record 4.21-second 40-yard dash, Worthy is coming off a 75-catch, 1,014-yard season. The ex-Texas speedster added 12 touchdowns as a true freshman in 2021. Buffalo certainly needs receiving help, after losing Gabe Davis in free agency and trading Stefon Diggs to Houston, while Indianapolis has been Michael Pittman Jr.-dependent for a while. The Colts did see intriguing rookie-year work from Josh Downs (771 yards), but the 5-foot-8 wideout profiles as a slot player.
  • Georgia wideout Ladd McConkey has now met with the Browns and Falcons, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport. McConkey has spoken with at least 14 teams, Rapoport adds. Several teams have placed a first-round grade on McConkey, who also fared well in his Combine 40 (4.39). The 5-foot-11 target took a backseat to Brock Bowers at Georgia, never eclipsing 800 yards in a season. While McConkey totaled 762 in 2022, that number came in 15 games. Debuting late because of a back injury last season, McConkey finished with just 30 catches for 478 yards. Viewed as a strong route runner with untapped potential, McConkey could be an outside or inside option for his NFL team.
  • The Jets, Panthers and Browns are among the teams to have hosted Oregon wideout Troy Franklin on a “30” visit, NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo tweets. Franklin had previously met with the Bills and Patriots. Franklin broke through for a 1,383-yard season alongside Bo Nix last year; the 6-3 target should be on the radar as a second-round pick in this deep WR class.
  • The Saints are the latest team connected to Western Kentucky target Malachi Corley, Rapoport adds. Corley will make a Saturday trip to New Orleans for a “30” visit. The Saints made an effort to trade up in last year’s first round but did not make a major investment at receiver in the draft. They have since signed Stanley Morgan and Equanimeous St. Brown, but considering the Michael Thomas release, it would not surprise to see New Orleans make a bigger move in the draft. Corley is expected to be a second-round pick.
  • Bears GM Ryan Poles has broken the front office and coaching staff into pods debating the merits of choosing a wide receiver, tackle or defensive end at No. 9, ESPN.com’s Courtney Cronin notes. This makes for an interesting behind-the-curtain look for a team that has done some work on wideouts pre-draft. Worthy, Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze appeared on Chicago’s docket of “30” visits. Odunze or Nabers being available at 9 would certainly be tempting for the Bears, though the Allen trade provides the team some flexibility following Darnell Mooney‘s free agency exit.

Draft Notes: Titans, Alt, Chargers, Jags, Hawks, Cardinals, Bucs, Pats, Latu, Rams

Cutting Andre Dillard and not replacing him to this point, the Titans have a clear left tackle need going into a draft loaded with high-end prospects at the position. The Titans are “definitely” interested in Joe Alt, ESPN.com’s Matt Miller writes, noting the team’s recent visit and Combine meeting with the two-time All-American. But the Chargers should be considered a team to watch for the Notre Dame alum. The Bolts, whose first-round slot (No. 5) is two in front of the Titans’, have a clear wide receiver need but have hired a coach (Jim Harbaugh) who has not emphasized that position.

Alt continues to come up in connection to the Chargers at 5, ESPN’s Jordan Reid adds, and SI.com’s Albert Breer is not sure the Titans will have a chance at the decorated blocker due to the Bolts staying drafting Alt at 5. Alt would replace Trey Pipkins at right tackle in this scenario. Alt was a left tackle for the Fighting Irish and would step in there immediately if he lasted until the Titans at 7. One avenue for Tennessee to have a shot here would be if the Bolts trade down — a move they have made it known they are willing to make. Other quality tackles like Alabama’s JC Latham and Oregon State’s Taliese Fuaga could be options for the Bolts if they move down, Reid adds.

Here is the latest from the draft:

  • Personnel around the NFL are tying the Jaguars to a cornerback investment at No. 17, Reid adds in the above-referenced ESPN piece. Jacksonville has hosted both Alabama CBsTerrion Arnold, Kool-Aid McKinstry — and has a need at the position due to the Darious Williams cut. The Jags signed Ronald Darby, but the 30-year-old CB is signed to a two-year deal that can be shed easily in 2025. A young corner to pair with Tyson Campbell would make sense. With Josh Allen signed long term and Trevor Lawrence perhaps on deck this year, the Jags finding quality starters on rookie contracts will be paramount.
  • The Cardinals and Seahawks have hosted Penn State edge rusher Chop Robinson on visits this week, NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero notes. The ex-Nittany Lions sack artist has been busy during the draft run-up, having already met with the Eagles, Ravens, Saints, Giants and Jets. Robinson would come into play for the Cardinals if they moved down from No. 4, but Arizona — which certainly needs help on the edge — also holds the No. 27 choice courtesy of its Texans trade early in last year’s draft. The Seahawks hold the No. 16 selection. Mel Kiper Jr.’s ESPN.com mock draft sends Robinson to the Buccaneers at 26.
  • Speaking of the Bucs, they recently brought in Western Kentucky wide receiver Malachi Corley for a pre-draft meeting, Pelissero tweets. The Bucs have plenty of money allocated to the receiver position, with both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin on deals north of the $20MM-AAV mark. Corley profiles as a second-round option in a deep receiver draft, with teams who pass on filling a WR need in Round 1 likely paying attention to the ex-Hilltoppers standout’s status entering Day 2. The Browns, Ravens, Seahawks and 49ers have also scheduled Corley visits.
  • Moving to another Day 2-level wideout, Troy Franklin is believed to have scheduled a Patriots meeting, ProFootballNetwork.com’s Adam Caplan tweets. The Patriots not landing Calvin Ridley places them on the radar for a wideout in Round 2, assuming they fill their QB need at No. 3 overall. The Pats did sign K.J. Osborn and kept Kendrick Bourne off the market, but the team’s rookie QB will need more help.
  • Most teams to meet with UCLA edge rusher Laiatu Latu have cleared him medically, per Sportskeeda.com’s Tony Pauline, who indicates the Rams are one of them. A neck issue forced a Latu medical retirement in 2020, and the ex-Washington recruit missed the 2021 season. He re-emerged to post back-to-back double-digit sack seasons in L.A., and ESPN.com’s Sarah Barshop notes edge rusher is a priority for the Rams. With Aaron Donald gone and the team not making any additions here in free agency, that adds up. The reigning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year has already met with the Eagles, Bears, Broncos, Vikings and Cardinals.