We are three days away from the 2013 NFL Draft and teams are making their final preparations, a lot of rumors are leaking out on who teams are targeting, so we here at decided to sort them out. We have sources, we talk to scouts, this is what we are hearing three days away from the 2013 NFL Draft for every team:
– Do not be surprised if the Kansas City Chiefs select Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher with the first overall pick of the 2013 NFL Draft. Sources close to the team report that the Chiefs have a higher grade on Fisher than they do on Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel. I have said all along, Joeckel is a much safer pick and is the better player right now, but Fisher has the higher ceiling and may be the better players in three years. The Chiefs have not contacted either players agent yet, and are still trying to trade out of that spot, but are not finding any takers. As of today, it sounds like Fisher will be the pick.
– The other rumor out of Kansas City is that the team is close to trading franchised left tackle Branden Albert to the Miami Dolphins for their second round draft pick. Albert would then sign a lucrative long term extension with the Dolphins, and Miami would be free to use their first round pick to fill another need, and would not have to trade up to acquire a tackle.
– It is looking like the Jacksonville Jaguars will be selecting an offensive tackle, either Luke Joeckel or Eric Fisher whoever the Chiefs do not take, with the second overall pick in the NFL Draft. There was some thinking that this was a smokescreen, and the Jags were trying to entice a team with a need at offensive tackle (Eagles, Lions, Cardinals Chargers, Dolphins) into paying a great sum to trade up to the second pick and securing a tackle, but now it seems the Jaguars are legitimately favoring selecting a tackle with the second overall pick. I have had Oregon DE/OLB Dion Jordan as a lock to Jacksonville for a few months now, but I am now hearing that I should expect a tackle to be the pick, and it is not a smokescreen.
– The Oakland Raiders are a mystery. Many people have had Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd or West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith in this slot, but I am hearing that these two players are unlikely for Oakland. The Raiders are trying desperately to trade down and regain the second round pick that they lost in the Carson Palmer trade. If they are unable to do so, word is the Raiders will pick the best player on their board regardless of position because they have so many needs, and that their top three players are Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher and Dion Jordan. Expect one of those three player to be the pick, and if this is the case, Floyd and Smith could be in for a long slide.
– I have been told that, with the fourth pick, the Eagles have their choice narrowed down to four players. Joeckel, Fisher, Jordan and Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei. I have heard that head coach Chip Kelly has actively campaigned for drafting Jordan, who played for him at Oregon, and who Kelly thinks would be an excellent fit on the outside of his 3-4 defense. I have also heard the coach is enamored with massive Star Lotulelei, who he thinks can play multiple positions in his three man defensive front. I also hear that the Eagles brass feels a lot more comfortable about their offensive line than some expect, because they are getting Jason Peters and Todd Herremans back from injuries. The Eagles seem content to sit back and select whichever of these four players is available.
– There is some concern over Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner’s injured shoulder which required surgery following the Crimson Tide’s National Championship win over Notre Dame. Milliner is still rehabbing the injury, and teams are worried that Milliner will not be ready for the start of training camp, or even the start of the 2013 season. This injury could cause Milliner to slide on draft day.
– I hear that the Detroit Lions draft board is 1) Luke Joeckel/Eric Fisher 2) Trade down 3) BYU defensive end Ziggy Ansah. I have heard that they have a much higher grade on Joeckel and Fisher than they do on Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson. It sounds like you can count the Lions among the teams who are concerned with Milliner’s shoulder injury if this is the case. When it comes to pass rushers, the Lions have Ansah graded ahead of LSU’s Barkevious Mingo.
– The Cleveland Browns are an interesting team and you need to keep an eye on them on draft day. The new regime is trying desperately to trade down, and regain the second round pick that the old regime gave up when they selected wide receiver Josh Gordon in the supplemental draft last season, in a deep draft class the Browns are scrambling to get back into round two. Two trade up candidates are the San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins, both of who are desperate to draft an offensive tackle, and may want to get ahead of the Arizona Cardinals at seven to secure Lane Johnson. As I said, the Dolphins are working on a deal with the Chiefs to get veteran tackle Branden Albert, but the Chargers are very much in play. Will the Chargers surrender their second round pick in a deep draft to select a tackle? I have been told that, if the Browns stay put and draft at six, their pick will be pass rusher Barkevious Mingo or cornerback Dee Milliner.
– The Arizona Cardinals are content that, with the seventh pick in the draft, a player that they like will fall into their laps. They are known to be high on Eric Fisher, but that seems highly unlikely. They are rumored to like Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson, Utah defensive lineman Star Lotulelei, Oregon DE/OLV Dion Jordan, and Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker and would feel comfortable selecting any of them here. They are rumored to feel better about the offensive tackles currently on their roster than most assume, and think that they can go in another direction here, and keep new quarterback Carson Palmer upright. They are very comfortable, not panicking, and seem happy that a player they like will be available.
– Still hearing that Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker will not get out of the top ten picks of the draft, a mystery team in the top ten loves him, and I find myself thinking it could be the Arizona Cardinals.
– The Buffalo Bills are making some noise where they are currently sitting with the eighth pick. There is a rumor that the Bills have a deal worked out with the Atlanta Falcons, and if the player the Falcons have targeted is on the board when the Bills are on the clock, the trade will be made. This deal would have the Falcons and Bills swapping first round picks, while the Bills would acquire additional picks from the Falcons in the process. At first I heard the rumored target of the Atlanta Falcons was Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner, but now I am hearing no, the player is in fact Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. The Falcons are apparently extremely high on the Missouri defensive tackle, and are willing to part with their second round pick, in order to acquire him at eight. The Bills then could select the quarterback they like (Ryan Nassib or Matt Barkley) with the 30th pick of the first round and gain additional picks (likely the Falcons second rounder) in the process. I have heard that, if the Bills stay put, the likely pick is North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper, who they like more than Alabama guard Chance Warmack.
– The Jets traded star cornerback Darrelle Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers yesterday, and now hold the ninth and thirteenth selections in the first round. I have heard that head coach Rex Ryan is enamored with pass rusher Barkevious Mingo, and if he is available at nine, he is the pick. With their two first round picks, the Jets are also interested in West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin, Alabama right tackle D.J. Fluker, a guard (either Cooper or Warmack), and Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro. They are also interested in trading down and acquiring more picks in the middle rounds.
– A few weeks ago I heard Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei could slide in the draft, but now I am hearing that is unlikely, and he will be a top ten pick. Too many teams in the early portion of the draft like him, and odds of a slide are slim, since he has been given a clean bill of health. The latest he slides is to the Panthers at #14, but he could go as early to the Eagles at #4.
– West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith could be in for a long slide on draft day. I am being told that he could slide into the 20’s or even the second round. There is a chance, albeit a small one, that Smith is not the first quarterback selected.
– With the tenth pick overall, I hear that the Titans love North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper, and he is in the mix here. They would also look at defensive tackles Star Lotueleli, Sharrif Floyd, Sheldon Richardson or defensive ends Ziggy Ansah or Barkevious Mingo. If Cooper is gone, I’m sure Chance Warmack would be in the mix.
– The Chargers know they need to protect Philip Rivers, so they are trying hard to acquire an offensive lineman, including investigating trade up possibilities for a top tackle prospect. If they are unable to do so, they will still look to upgrade the offensive line, and options include Warmack, Cooper or Fluker.
– The Miami Dolphins know they need a tackle, and are trying to trade for Branden Albert from the Chiefs as mentioned above, but if they are unable to do so they could still attempt to trade up and grab a tackle. If not, they can sit here and possibly grab D.J. Fluker to play right tackle and slide Jonathan Martin to the left side, but banking on Fluker sliding this far seems unlikely. I have heard the Dolphins are very high on Note Dame tight end Tyler Eifert who could be the pick here, as could a cornerback (Desmond Trufant, Xavier Rhodes, rising prospect Jamar Taylor) or safety Kenny Vaccaro. The Dolphins also absolutely love Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner, and he is sliding due to a shoulder injury, if he somehow slides this far the Dolphins will rush to the podium to draft him.
– Hearing that several of the corners once thought to be second tier, including Boise State’s Jamar Taylor and D.J. Hayden from Houston, are gaining steam over the past few days and each could be selected before Xavier Rhodes or Desmond Trufant.
– The Carolina Panthers have been quiet. We know they are interested in defensive tackles, so if Sharrif Floyd, Star Lotulelei or Sheldon Richardson are still available they could be the pick. They have also kept a close eye on the wide receivers, and have some interest in Tavon Austin, and could also look to the secondary.
– The New Orleans Saints are very worried about their offensive tackles, especially after letting Jermon Bushrod leave for the Chicago Bears in free agency, and head coach Sean Payton has admitted that protecting Drew Brees keeps him up at night. If D.J. Fluker is on the board, and I don’t think he will be, he won’t slide past the Saints. New Orleans does not have a lot of assets to trade up, as they are being punished by the “Bountygate” scandal, so expect them to stand pat. They are switching to a 3-4 defense, so a true pass rusher like Mingo or Georgia linebackers Jarvis Jones or Alec Ogletree could be a fit. They could also look to the secondary and grab safety Kenny Vaccaro or a corner like Desmond Trufant or Xavier Rhodes.
– The St. Louis Rams have two first round picks, and I am hearing that if he is one the board, Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro will be the pick here. We also know that the Rams are very interested in Clemson wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, they worked him out twice in the past four days, so a Vaccaro/Hopkins combination seems like the dream scenario for the Rams. We also know that they love Rutgers linebacker Khaseem Greene, who could be their target in round two. It sounds like the Rams would be very happy if they had Vaccaro/Hopkins/Greene on the roster at the end of round two.
– The Pittsburgh Steelers seem very high on Vaccaro, but with the Rams picking right ahead of them, it is unlikely that he will be available at seventeen. Luckily for the Steelers, this is a very deep safety draft, and they can find good players in the later rounds. I keep hearing that Pittsburgh wants to upgrade inside linebacker, so Ogletree or teammate Jarvis Jones are a safe bets here, but they could also look at wide receivers.
– The Dallas Cowboys seem to want to upgrade safety and guard badly, and if the top guards (Warmack and Cooper) and the top safety (Vaccaro) are not available, they will try to trade out of this pick. Would the Cowboys reach for another player at one of these positions? They are known to be very high on LSU safety Eric Reid, but he should be an option in the second round. Would they reach for a rising guard prospect like Oregon’s Kyle Long? They are also rumored to be in the market for another defensive tackle, since they are transitioning to a 4-3 defense, so that could be a fallback option at pick eighteen.
– I am a New York Giants fan, and I know for a fact that they love Alabama guard Chance Warmack, and they would consider trading up to get him if he was to slide. I find this an unlikely option for the Giants, many teams love Warmack, and I doubt the Giants will want to give up what it takes to get in his range. If the Giants do not find a way to draft Warmack, I hear the likely pick is fast-rising prospect, FSU defensive end Tank Carradine. He would immediately jump into the Giants defensive line rotation, and they think he could develop into a star, their next great pass rusher. Other options include Ogletree or a cornerback, including Houston’s D.J. Hayden.
– I also know for a fact that the Giants love Colorado tight end Nick Kasa, a block first tight end who has been working out with their tight ends coach Mike Pope during the draft process, look for the Giants to target Kasa in the middle rounds of the draft. They have been looking for a blocking tight end and Kasa could be a good one, who could also help in the red zone as a big target.
– The Chicago Bears seem to be looking for a linebacker, so this is the latest I can see Alec Ogletree getting drafted, and the earliest I can see Manti Te’o coming off of the board. Many scouts have the Bears selecting a tight end, but since they signed Martellus Bennett as a free agent, this is not an immediate need. A young pass rusher to join their rotation could be another option if they are unable to land a linebacker at #20.
– We know the Cincinnati Bengals really like Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden, so do not be surprised if he is the pick at #21, if he is available. The Bengals will also be interested in Alec Ogletree, as they could use some speed in their linebacking corps, or Alabama running back Eddie Lacy.
– The Minnesota Vikings have two picks in the same range, and they are definitely targeting the best defensive tackle on the board with one of these picks, a position where they need to get younger. North Carolina’s Sylvester Williams has drawn interest. We are hearing mixed messages on the other pick, I have heard that the Vikings want an inside linebacker, and Notre Dame’s Heisman runner up Manti Te’o could be the pick here. I have also heard that the Vikings could draft another quarterback, one who has a bigger arm than Christian Ponder, to bring in to compete with Ponder and Matt Cassel for the starting job. It is easy to play quarterback with Adrian Peterson in the backfield and they want a quarterback that can take advantage of this and throw the ball downfield to new free agent acquisition wide receiver Greg Jennings, which is not Christain Ponder’s strength. If they draft a quarterback in round one, it could be Geno Smith (on a major slide), Matt Barkley or Ryan Nassib. Later in the draft keep an eye on Mike Glennon or Tyler Bray.
– I keep hearing that the Colts are targeting a cornerback, so keep an eye on D.J. Hayden, Desmond Trufant, Xavier Rhodes or Jamar Taylor. It sounds like they may look at the offensive line at some point in the draft, but early all signs point to a cornerback.
– For the Green Bay Packers, I am just hearing offensive line or running back, so look for this pick to come down to a versatile lineman (Kyle Long, Justin Pugh) or Alabama’s Eddie Lacy.
– The Houston Texans seem focused on finally drafting a wide receiver, so this could be the slot for DeAndre Hopkins, Cordarrelle Patterson or Robert Woods, whoever the team feels best complements Andre Johnson. Offensive line will also be a consideration, but the Texans often feel they can find players for their zone blocking scheme later in the draft.
– The Denver Broncos want to find a running back at some point during this draft, but I hear that a pass rusher to replace Elvis Dumervil and a cornerback priorities. FSU pass rusher Tank Carradine is in the mix here.
– The Patriots love Boise State cornerback Jamar Taylor, and if he is available, I have a feeling he will be heading to New England. They could also look at a young safety or a versatile defensive lineman, like UCLA’s Datone Jones. The pick will be defense by most accounts.
– As I mentioned below, the Atlanta Falcons seem to be focused on moving down in the draft, and grabbing Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. As I mentioned above, there have been rumors swirling about a potential trade with the Buffalo Bills.
– The 49ers seem to be looking at a defensive lineman to take over for aging star Justin Smith in the coming years, so look for Datone Jones or Jonathan Jenkins here. Also hearing safeties are getting a look.
– The Ravens may need to seriously look for an inside linebacker following another arrest for talented but troubled free agent signee Rolando McClain over the weekend. Also hearing safeties are getting a long look.
SportSmasher.com 2013 NFL Draft Content:
2013 NFL Draft Rumors: 72 Hours Until Round One (04.22.2013)
2013 NFL Draft: All-Sleeper Team – Defense (04.19.2013)
2013 NFL Draft: All-Sleeper Team – Offense (04.18.2013)
2013 NFL Mock Draft (Version 6.0) Rounds 1 & 2 (04.17.2013)
2013 NFL Draft Rumors: Ten Days Away From Draft Day (04.15.2013)
2013 NFL Draft Big Board (Version 2.0) (04.03.2013)
2013 NFL Combine: Winners & Losers (02.25.2013)
2013 NFL Draft: Ranking The Pass Rushers (02.14.2013)
2013 NFL Mock Draft: Version 4.0 (02.14.2013)
2013 NFL Draft Big Board (Version 1.0) (02.08.2013)
2013 NFL Mock Draft (Version 3.0) (01.24.2013)
Geno Smith: Dispelling The NFL Draft Myths (01.17.2013)
2013 NFL Mock Draft (Version 2.0) (11.30.2012)
2013 NFL Mock Draft (Version 1.0) (10.19.2012)
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