The NFL Draft rumors start in Cleveland, where No. 1 General Pick is not certain

April 12, 2018


  • A trip around the draft rumor mill includes: where the Browns resist for two weeks; Denver observes a move down; the mystery of Lamar Jackson; and more
  • Other sections include: the great step taken by Odell Beckham; because Aaron Rodgers’ next contract may not be easy; the other Allen in the draft; and more

Today is an important day for Browns. Wyoming Josh Allen is in Berea, Ohio, the final of the draft Big Four quarterbacks to visit the team structure and make his case the number one choice in 14 days.

And the rumbles that increase in intensity in the scouting circles have led many to believe that Allen will cross those doors with an advantage.

My understanding, and I heard this from more people: Cleveland did not make a final call. The team’s scouts came back from the road on Tuesday, they started the project meetings on Wednesday and there are still discussions to be done. A person who knows about GM John Dorsey has explained it well: “I know John likes [Sam] Darnold, and I know he likes Allen’s talent.” “It will come to this: who do you trust the most?”

The edge of Darnold could be there. From declaring that he wanted to go to Cleveland, to the stories of his teammates appearing in the rain for his professional day, on the flight back to Los Angeles to launch for the USC tailback Ronald Jones at the second pro day of the Trojans, almost everything about Darnold shouts the franchise quarterback. It is the kind of force of nature on which a cultural change of the sea could be centered.

But is the tide changing?

The Jets, in third position, had nothing in the books with Darnold since April 1st. This has changed. Now he is ready for a visit with them – one of the two he will do in Jersey, with the Giants (runner-up) in the docket for the next week. Darnold also has plans to work for the Bills, an ideal candidate to tackle from the 12th in Los Angeles on Friday.

At the very least, all three are preparing for the possibility that Darnold will be on the board after the first choice, as they should be. So, where two weeks ago it was thought that this race was over, now these teams are proceeding as if it were back. And while there is support for both Darnold and Allen among Browns staff, I have heard that they are not the only two QBs that Dorsey intends to discuss during the meetings for the first place overall.

With two weeks to go, there is a lot on the line for everyone involved. So this week’s game plan will be heavy on the draft. We will dive a little deeper into Allen’s big question; know the less known Allen (who was a big problem) with whom Josh Allen is working; look at the comments made by the owner of the patriots Robert Kraft this week and what we can read in them; and explains the meaning of Odell Beckham present and represented for this week.

But let’s start with what I think you want to hear, and those are the rumblings that buzz through the rumor mill. Start with the intrigue with that first overall choice. And it will continue to overcome a first round which is lacking in talent compared to 2016 and ’17, but full of possibilities for exchanges, positions on positions and surprises.

Let’s talk about some …

• The Broncos could move … down. It was out there that the Colts would consider a second move down from no. 6 (after trading 3, with the Jets, in March), but may have a competition between sellers. I heard if Denver does not like the quarterback who is there at 5, whoever he is, so he will actively look to get more choices. Two names that have been linked to the Notre Dame Broncos G Quenton Nelson and Ohio State CB Denzel Ward may be available later. For what it’s worth, the same two names have been linked to the Bears at number 8.

• The late choices of the first round are lacking in value. The other day I was spitting on a potential Bills-Giants exchange with a team leader, who told me, “The problem is that the 22nd pick could also be in the third round.” He was exaggerating, but only a little. The consensus I have heard is that the difference between 22 and 52 is minimal this year, which is part of why the Colts did well to land a couple of seconds secondary in their trade with the Jets.

• The mystery of Lamar Jackson. The winner of the 2016 Heisman Trophy is in play to take part in the first round, or he may wait until Friday evening. I’m keeping an eye on the Ravens here. They will have Jackson in their structure next week, the penultimate day that in-house visits are allowed, and they have an offensive staff with the infrastructure to build for Jackson. Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg made an offense for Mike Vick in Philly. And senior assistant Greg Roman has put options packages for Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco. So Jackson could be an interesting measure. Remember, Joe Flacco has underperformed recently, he is 33 years old and has a balky return and has not left guaranteed money on his deal.

• Linebackers are increasing. I believe that if Bradley Chubb left at number 6 and Indy is there, Roquan Smith of Georgia and Tremaine Edmunds of Virginia Tech would be at stake. And I think everyone would be a consideration for San Francisco at 9, Oakland at 10, Miami at 11 and Buffalo at 12, if those teams do not move. And if Smith and Edmunds went ahead of schedule, this would help Rashaan Evans of Alabama and Leighton Vander Esch of Boise State.

• Will the dolphins take a quarterback? As you read this, Baker Mayfield will end his visit to Miami, with Allen arriving on Thursday. Ryan Tannehill is a little younger than Flacco (he turned 30 in July), but he entered 2018 in a similar place, coming out of an injured season with no guaranteed money. The problem for Miami is that to get one of the first four QBs, you may need to move up, so we’ll see if the rumors about Adam Gase that were hit by Mayfield are true.

• What the giants will impose will dictate much. I heard that GM giants Dave Gettleman really like Darnold. I’ve heard coaches like Allen. I’ve heard everyone likes the Penn State running behind Saquon Barkley. And I know that Gettleman has no previous trading record. But the rumors about the work done by the team on the University of Texas-San Antonio passport, Marcus Davenport, indicate that they are at least considering the thing here. In conclusion, what the giants do will help to paint the picture for the rest of the top 10. If they take a quarterback, then it would mean that the QB go 1-2-3 and could create a food frenzy for choosing Cleveland to 4. If someone else trades, then another team leaves the market for one. And if the Giants take Barkley, one of the QBs could slip a bit. Gettleman is holding papers.

• A good draw for grunt positions. Do you like internal offensive line men? How about nose tackles? Nickel corners? So this is the draft for you. We told you a couple of months ago that Barkley and Nelson would probably be the two best prospects in the class, and that a high ranked back and guard would have caused positional value debates in all the Top 10s. Well, those could continue along the line with tailbacks and really good guards / centers, and inside corners and big bodies for the defensive line available late in the first round and in Round 2.

1. Patriots QB Tom Brady is away in Qatar on Thursday to do a job for his charity organization, Best Buddies. I was told that the plan is for him to return to the United States last Monday, and I’m sure nobody will get angry if he’s not at the beginning of the Patriots offseason program that morning because of that. Right?

2. It will be interesting to see what will be the first deal for Rams DT Aaron Donald or Raiders DE Khalil Mack. Both should exceed Ndamukong Suh’s non-QB record of just under $ 19.1 million for. The question is who exceeds who, something that those of the community of agents are watching since Donald is beaten by CAA and Mack by his colleague Lagardere. “The agents are in the rush of an arm,” said another prominent agent. “And they’re supported by two of the biggest sports entertainment companies, so the money is not relevant to them.” They seem to have won. “The two direct agents, among others, are Todd France (Donald) and Joel Segal (Mack) ), both with rather impressive customer lists.

3. Part of the problem for Mack could be the willingness of the Raiders to deliver a large number in fully guaranteed money, since they are not rich in money like some other deductibles and those dollars must be fully financed. The 2015 Suh agreement still has the highest guarantee for a defensive player in the history of the NFL, at just under $ 60 million. Denver’s Von Miller is second at $ 44 million.

4. Patience can repay in a free agency. On the first day, the Bears paid $ 14 million for Allen Robinson. On the 29th day, the Saints paid $ 4.8 million to sign the limited free agent Cam Meredith away from the Bears. Both wideouts are coming out of violent ACLs, and Robinson has a higher roof, for security. But in 2016, Meredith had seven catches less (from 73 to 66), two less touchdowns (from 6 to 4) and five more (from 888 to 883) compared to Robinson.

5. Seattle overturns its defense and so here’s a name to keep an eye on: the Justin Coleman corner. The Seahawks traded a bet on the seventh round to get it back from New England last September and place a second race (which has since signed, at $ 2.9 million for 2018) on him after finishing 2017. It is considered a nice piece for a team that needs it now.

6. I would at least be a little worried about the fact that we are still talking about Cardinal QB Sam Bradford’s ability to enter a field of practice in May. At that point eight months have passed since he suffered from his last knee injury. Okay: It will be interesting to see how aggressive Arizona is in a couple of weeks trying to get up for a younger quarterback.

7. It’s not even ideal, if Andrew Luck can not launch “The Duke” in a few weeks when the Colts will open OTAs. But I would say that, in this case, Indy is right to be cautious as it may be in reporting Luck.

8. For all those who know the coaches and the players who attended Richie Incognito, Shady McCoy’s social media requests for the Pro Bowl guard to return to the Bills are no surprise. Even at the height of the Bullygate controversy, Dolphins staff and teammates privately supported Incognito. It was unanimous among those I spoke with. He was absolutely one of the most loved boys in every locker room I had seen him in, which would have surprised some people.

9. Seeing Mike Vrabel discuss his first off-season program the other day in Tennessee he showed what he brings to the table as a former player. He’s putting it on those guys to make sure they’re ready and trying to establish a level of trust along the way. “If they are professionals,” he said, “they will work somewhere”. Vrabel, one might recall, was part of the NFLPA executive committee which negotiated the current working rules in 2011.

10. Was everyone so enthusiastic about the preseason program coming out like me?

1. Do not minimize Beckham’s symbolism. We’ll see what the Giants do, but I know how at least other teams are taking Odell Beckham’s presence in Jersey this week as a tacit removal of the star receiver from the NFL block. My feeling was that April 9th ​​was always the key date. It was Monday, and Beckham reported. Then he came back to work on Tuesday, and I was told he was there again on Wednesday. What he did – normal offseason strength and conditioning work – was something he could have done anywhere. But he passed it with his teammates and down the hall from Gettleman and the new coach Pat Shurmur counts. If Beckham had decided to stay away, it would have been impossible for the team to make a long-term agreement with him at the pace he is looking for.

Think about everything that has happened in the last 16 months. The boat trip. The no-show in the playoff game Packers. The hole in the wall of Lambeau. The holdout in fact last spring, complete with Beckman waving his absence in the face to all, through social media. The celebration of the parrot, which was a precursor to other explosions in the dressing room of the Giants. And then what happened in Paris a couple of months ago. If the Giants were to make a deal with Beckham without the receiver doing anything in the new Shurmur program, they would implicitly sign everything that had happened before the new regime arrived. So Beckham did absolutely the right thing, both for himself and for the team. By presenting himself, he was given the opportunity to put some skins on the wall and show his teammates and bosses on board with the new coaches. And getting a good job now, the Giants who have an agreement with him in the coming months will find themselves in a different context within the locker room.

This was an opportunity for Beckham to turn the page. It was wise of him to take it.

2. The rise of Josh Allen. It is not difficult to understand why the teams are tempted by him. He is big, strong and athletic, and can put the ball practically anywhere he wants it on the field, which has been shown in living colors during his professional day. But the problems are equally obvious. His university career is as disconcerting as it is intriguing. Even considering Laramie’s talented exodus after 2016, Allen did not take the first steps in which the explorers hoped he would become a young redshirt, and as such arose on his footballing intelligence. I had heard those in the fall, and they were the first thing I thought of when I asked Wyoming coach Craig Bohl, who recruited Carson Wentz in the state of North Dakota, to compare the two prodigious talents.

“If I had a quarter of a dollar for every question, I’d be a rich kid,” Bohl said a few months ago, on the phone. “The physical dimension is very similar, they are both tall and strong guys who can run well, they are ultra competitive guys, they have strong arms and they are both guys who are students of the game.There are many more similarities with them than differences. .. I think Josh, last year, and again this year, has improvised a bit more than when I saw Carson when we had Carson Carson, at that time, was a bit more programmed, was ready and passed through all his progressions, where Josh could improvise more, they’re not drastically different, but they’re a bit different. ”

Corresponds to what you hear from scouts gathering quarterback information: Wentz was a wise exit, and Allen is not. So if you want to know how your title has grown (I heard Browns, Giants and Bills have all been impressed), it is logical that part of it is appeasing those concerns – which it did well when the teams put it on the board. To score a 37 on Wonderlic does not hurt anyone, even if he was prepared for it. “Everyone has the test now,” said an AFC GM the other night. “So you take it with a grain of salt … With Allen, I really think it’s going to bring it in, put it on the board and test it as much as possible to see how comfortable it is with him. Allen is talented, but those would be the things you would need to know. ”

And evidently, Allen has sold some people not necessarily on what it is, but on what it could be with a few years of NFL coaching.

3. Quarterback contracts will be interesting. Given the low season of Green Bay, it was interesting to read the comments of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers when he was asked this week on Milwaukee’s radio: “I think it’s pretty clear that players play and coaches and coaches staff make their decisions, this is the way they want it “. Rodgers’ most trusted goal during his decade, when Green Bay’s starter, Jordy Nelson, was asked to take a wage reduction, then released in March. And that was after the team let quarterback coach Alex Van Pelt go, a move in which Rodgers publicly expressed his frustration.

Will all of this affect Rodgers play? My hypothesis is that it will not. He is too competitive and was playing too well before being hurt last year. He still has a solid offensive group around him that will add Jimmy Graham to the mix. But I think that all this could affect the way he approaches his contractual situation, with so many in Green Bay who speculated that this would be when the Packers would redo their deal. There were rumors that Rodgers felt underpaid in the past, and his comments project a player with a greater understanding of how cool a team can do business, and perhaps the need for players to manage their business in the same way.

Rodgers also asks what Kirk Cousins ​​got: a short-term agreement, fully guaranteed? Can Packers also afford to do so, according to the funding rule? What if Matt Ryan had a facility in Atlanta similar to what Cousins ​​gets in Minnesota? Add it and my feeling is that this negotiation may not be as simple as many thought it would be.

4. Where are the patriots. Patriot owner Robert Kraft spoke to beat the man Jeff Howe, now with The Athletic, for a story he raced this week, and what was most interesting to me was the way he independently grew the age of his quarterback. When asked about Tom Brady’s contract situation, the boss replied in this way: “He will be 41 when the season starts, neither side has a problem with it.” If it becomes a problem, we will deal with it. “Everyone knows that Brady is 40 years old. Why bring the number?


The end of Brady’s documentary was remarkable in that: a) alluded to his dissatisfaction with the atmosphere of Foxboro and b) raised the possibility, for the first time, that Brady wanted to take things from year to year rather than shoot to keep playing until it is a distant age. So here’s my interpretation: if he’s doing an educated hypothesis or knows the date, Kraft can see the end of the Age of Brady / Belichick and he’s getting ready for it. Why should not the contract be a big problem? It would not be one if it were not so sure that the player will continue beyond 2019, the last year of Brady’s current affair.

Many people familiar with the situation told me that Kraft was the driving force behind keeping Josh McDaniels in Foxboro. Belichick and team president Jonathan Kraft made it out on Tuesday, but I realized it was the owner who made McDaniels not go anywhere. And he had a good reason. When he watched his team after Super Bowl LII, he saw a coach who would be 66 and a quarterback who would be 41 the next time the patriots came out. With that came the recognition that the patriots were beginning to look like the kind of annual operation that Kraft detested to run. It was the basis of Bill Parcells’ 1997 divorce. And so he moved to create some stability, and he was able to convince McDaniels to stay.

For me, Kraft’s comments to Howe are an extension of this. And there is still a lot of work to do in this regard. Which does not mean that Brady’s agreement is not a priority. At the moment it is not on the front burner.

Josh Allen and Sam Darnold spent about two months training, launching and living together in preparation for the April 26 draft. And here’s a really amazing fact – If you rewind three or four years, the other trio working with QB guru Jordan Palmer would have been considered far more likely to have arrived here.

Maybe you do not know who Kyle Allen is. But it was a big problem.

Allen was ranked as the quarterback’s best quarterback in America in 2014 by Rivals, Scout and ESPN. In October of that year, he had ripped off the starter work at Kenny Hill’s Texas A & M. Allen had the size, athleticism and arm to drool the NFL types.

So, everything has been canceled. A & M brought another recruited QB recruiter in 2015, Allen had a tumultuous year in the second year, moved to Houston, then he was put on the bench by the new Cougars technical staff. So he decided to declare for the draft of this year, even though 14 of his 17 collegial departures have occurred more than two seasons ago. And so he knew what questions would come and they arrived.

“It’s usually the main question,” Kyle Allen said Tuesday afternoon after completing a private training session with the Seahawks. “The teams just want me to show you what happened at the university, and everything that happened between high school and then … It’s a mystery to some teams that do not know a lot of details, which is probably what we talked about more. ”

So maybe the questions get a little old for Allen, but he knows the other side of the coin. The high status he held as eighteen is a piece of the puzzle, and not insignificant, in the reason why so many teams are interested in him. And that’s where we have this week’s lesson.

You will feel very much at this time of year that the boys never live where they were enrolled. And Allen is just one example that even the boys, for better or for worse, do not live as they are recruited.

Consider that 2014 class. Player n. 1, Da’Shawn Hand, will probably be the second of Day 2 despite having just started a season at Alabama. The next three boys on the list of rivals (Myles Garrett, Jabrill Peppers, Leonard Fournette) were the first to win last year. No. 5 Quin Blanding will probably go in the central rounds this year. Sixth is Adoree ‘Jackson, another first round of 2017. The seventh is Allen.

And Allen is getting a lot of attention. Tuesday he worked for the Seahawks and flew to Seattle for an internal visit with the team on Wednesday. He also had a private training with the Titans, with Mike Vrabel present; met the lions and the panthers; and threw to pro local days for the cardinals and the Texans.

So, how are you answering the big questions?

• On what happened to A & M: “There was some kind of lack of communication between people there … What came out for me, my goal was always to get to the NFL, and the way I look at my goals, I try to align everything I do every day, the situations I am in, my goals, and so at A & M, when I sat behind that season of the second year, and I thought about how things were going My goals, it did not really look like that was the right time for me at that time with how he was playing at the quarterback and where he was trying to go with it.I did not really understand or know where he was trying to go with the offense. .. (Kyler Murray) would come in, I’ll go in. They’d put him in if I was in trouble, and then if he fought, I’d come in. It was a volatile situation from a quarterback’s point of view. ”

• At the draft statement: “It was similar to the A & M situation. I had two options at the end, because the way he was going to Houston did not seem to want to go in a direction where I was best suited to the quarterback. they brought out after the third game and from there I was preparing our quarterbacks for me, it was a dice throw.I if I go to college somewhere else, I move again, this is a dice roll, I have to win that job and conquer that locker room and who knows what will happen there? And if I go to the league, it’s a dice roll if a team wants to bet on me and think I can come in and be a two or be a three my first two years and help the In any case, it’s a dice roll, I was ready to bet on myself and come here and try to impress some teams and force me to enter the championship. ”

• What he would have done differently: “I think the only thing I would have done differently is to change the way I prepared myself as a freshman.” That was the biggest downfall – I did not know what it meant to prepare for a college game, I did not know what it meant to be ready to play college football until probably my second year, and even then my routine, my preparation was not perfected … I grew up in Arizona playing football in high school, where I am I went out on the field on Friday night and threw the ball around, thrown for touchdown and a lot of yard, and then I went to college, and I did not go to a college where there was a guy playing in front of me, because I wanted play early, so I’m in an eternal competition and I’m just learning the preparation, learning the routine by myself.There were growing pains. ”

I talked to a coach who evaluated Allen, who put it like this: “He has talent and the tape is not bad, there is not much, and obviously it is not exceptional that it has been put in place”. And the explanation, of course, is not even horrible. Allen and Murray (who will start in Oklahoma in the fall) have both left A & M because of the communication problem, and Tom Herman’s decision to leave Houston happened before Allen could even make a shot in a game for the coach with whom he went to play.

At the very least, who was Allen first of all the drama teased the NFL’s curiosity. And where this goes from here will be quite interesting.

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