There is some interesting news on risers and fallers in reports found at the Great Blue North the last two days that could have an impact on the Jets. One aspect concerns the QBs where as many as 5 QBs could get taken in the first round, even if only 2 are rated as worthy of 1st round picks. If that happens, other players will drop, and there will likely be trade ups/trade downs which could shake things up quite a bit. A couple of big name players expected to go early could be dropping as well. If so, how far will they drop and how will that affect players taken before the Jets? The articles follow after the jump.
It appears that the stock of Auburn DT Nick Fairley could be dropping as reports circulate that he was blew off at least one meeting with a team without notice, has been late for several other meetings and even was late for his original flight to the combine in Indianapolis in February. Add those to concerns that Fairley has a tendency to take plays off and was a one-year wonder in 2010 at Auburn and there is a late buzz that he could actually slip out of the top 10, although Fairley remains a very talented player who can be a dominant force when the motor is turned on. In fact, Fairley may actually have been in a modest free fall over the past couple of months. Recall that in the first weeks of the draft process Fairley received considerable attention to be the first player picked, but more recently has been consistently slotted into the 8th pick held by Tennessee. And some developments in Tennessee could further induce the Titans to think another direction. On the one hand, the Titans’ have had more than their share of draft characters in Vince Young and Pacman Jones and may want to take just a normal guy for a change. At the same time, though, Titans’ WR Kenny Britt, another former first rounder and the team’s leading receiver and only real threat at the position, has been arrested in his home town for the second time this off-season. And while the charges aren’t overly serious - he was charged with eluding a police officer, lying to an officer hindering apprehension and obstructing governmental function following a stop following a car chase - Britt still could face some kind of supplementary discipline from the NFL. Given that WR was already an area that the Titans were expected to address at this year’s draft, could have Tennessee giving additional consideration to someone like Alabama WR Julio Jones with the 8th pick. At the same time, though, there is a real possibility that Jones himself might not make it to the 8th pick. There is a growing impression that both Buffalo and Cincinnati will pass on Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert with the Bills reportedly leaning toward taking Texas A&M LB Von Miller, while the Bengals are thought to be leaning toward Georgia WR A.J. Green. With Green off the board, there is a strong possibility that Cleveland, which reportedly fancies Green, would then take Jones with the 6th pick. However, if indeed Gabbert gets past Cincinnati all kinds of trade possibilities will likely open up for teams like Arizona at #5 and Cleveland with teams like Washington and Minnesota likely at least explore their options … One gets the impression that USC OT Tyron Smith could also be slipping. There had been speculation that Smith may have vaulted himself into the top 10 with an outstanding pro day where he weighed in at 307 pounds, but still ran close to 4.9 seconds over 40 yards. Indeed, there has been speculation that Smith could be headed to Dallas with the 9th pick when Cowboys’ head coach Jason Garrett made his only pro day visit at Smith’s workout. Like just about every top prospect in this year’s draft, though, Smith has a few warts. He played at barely 280 pounds in college and there are concerns whether he’ll be able to maintain his current weight over a long, grueling NFL schedule; Smith also played only RT in college but is being considered as a top 10 prospect as a LT; plus Smith is still very young - he won’t turn 21 until late in his rookie season and there have been questions about his maturity and off-field work ethic. Whether those concerns are enough to drop Smith remains to be seen, but he has four late on-site visits scheduled next week and three of them are with teams picking in the second half of the opening round. Smith, who has already visited with Cleveland, Dallas, Minnesota and Indianapolis, will be in Washington in next to visit with the Redskins who have the 10th pick, but will also be at New England, the Giants and Tampa Bay, which pick 17th, 19th and 20th respectively. Again, on-sites are an imperfect measure of where a player stands, but its also true that teams don’t like to waste their time in the days before the draft so Smith’s status may be something to watch over the next couple of weeks….
Rumors continue to swirl around the NFL about the condition of Clemson DE Da’Quan Bowers’ knee. Bowers, of course, led the nation with 15.5 sacks in 2010, but wan’t able to workout at either the combine or Clemson pro day after undergoing surgery to repair a torn MCL after the season. Bowers’ stock took another hit when he ran poorly at a private workout earlier this month. Of greater concern though are reports that Bowers could require additional surgery, including possibly a micro fracture procedure. At the same time, sources from at least a couple of teams indicate that Bowers checked out fine at last weekend’s combine follow-up medical testing in Indianapolis and his agent took the unusual step of circulating a lengthy denial of the rumors. Still, they are an accumulation of red flags that threaten to push Bowers out of the top 10 on the 28th especially with so many other quality prospects on the board this year. That said, though, teams with top 10 picks are still dong due diligence on Bowers. He was in Cleveland this week for two days of visits with the Browns who have the 6th pick overall and need help at DE. The Browns, though, also need a big-time receiver and also had both of top WRs A.J. Green of Georgia and Alabama’s Julio Jones in for visits this week. In fact, Cleveland might have a tough time passing on Green if he were still on the board at #6 even though the defensive line is probably the Browns’ most critical need area. And Green could be there for the Browns if divisional rival Cincinnati passes on the former Bulldogs at the #4 pick. Interestingly, while in the end it may not mean all that much, the Bengals reportedly will not have Green in as one of their 30-pre-draft visits although they did meet with hi privately after his pro day last month…. One other story making the rounds that just won’t go away is that Denver, and in particular, new head of football operations John Elway would really like to take a QB with the second pick overall despite the fact that the Broncos 1) traded up to take former Florida QB Tim Tebow in last year’s opening round and 2) have the maybe NFL’s worst defense which needs help right across the board. In fact, the Broncos will have both of this year’s top-rated QBs in Cam Newton of Auburn and Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert in for visits next week with less than 10 days to go before the draft. As has been reported earlier Elway has serious doubts as to whether Tebow is ever going to develop into an elite level NFL passer, however Broncos ownership appears to want to give the former Florida star an opportunity to develop if for no other reason than he may be the NFL’s most marketable commodity right now. Ironically, Newton, who likely is the apple in Elway’s eye, also has the great marketability and the sense here is that if Carolina somehow passes on Newton then Denver just might go that route. On the other hand, the chances are probably slim to none that the Broncos take a flyer on Blaine Gabbert this year’s other top-rated passer if, as expected, Newton is selected by Carolina. In that case, Denver would have its choice of defensive prospects. To that end, the Broncos had both LSU CB Pat Peterson and Alabama DT Marcel Dareus in for visits this week… One other intriguing visit on the horizon comes up this weekend when Arkansas CB Ryan Mallett goes to Miami for a 2-day stopover with the Dolphins. There are rumblings out of Miami that the Dolphins, who pick 15th overall and hence likely will have no shot at either Newton or Gabbert, have opted to target Mallett at this year’s draft. Mallett, of course, has been all over the board in recent months - he may have the best pure arm in the entire draft, but has been dogged by questions about his character and leadership not to mention total lack of mobility - and likely would be something of a reach at #15 meaning the Dolphins could conceivably entertain offers to drop down 5-10 spots and still get Mallett if that indeed is there goal… There is a similar story in Minnesota where it is believed that the Vikings are leaning toward Washington QB Jake Locker as their best option to replace Brett Favre. Like the Dolphins, though, the Vikings could probably afford to drop down from the 12th spot in the draft and still acquire Locker. At the same time, though, Minnesota continues to be mentioned as the most likely landing place for veteran Washington QB Donovan McNabb once trades are allowed when the league and players finally settle on a new CBA … With two weeks to go before the draft, players who appear to be on the rise include Villanova OT Ben Ijalana, Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick, Troy WR Jerrel Jernigan, Virginia CB Ras-I Dowling, Washington OLB Mason Foster, Lehigh G/T Will Rackley, Nevada TE Virgil Green, Clemson DB Marcus Gilchrest and LSU MLB Kelvin Sheppard, while guys who could be slipping include Texas DB Aaron Williams and Pittsburgh WR Jonathan Baldwin, but always beware of smoke and mirrors… Have a great day!!
The following link is to a draft chat from Scout.com. It is NFL Scouting's Dave Te Thomas with Vikings fans. Some interesting comments in there.