The first round of the 2015 NFL Draft is tonight, and the rumor mill is absolutely insane right now, and we here at SportSmasher.com have been following the whispers closely as the draft finally and mercifully approaches. Here are the latest rumors that we have been hearing.
– Earlier this week, we reported that the majority of the teams were trying to trade down in the NFL Draft to acquire extra picks, because while there is not a lot of star power at the top of this draft there is plenty of depth. While that is still the case, several teams are aggressively trying to trade up, which means that there will be plenty of trades tonight. The Teams that are trying to trade up include the Browns, Chargers, Eagles, Falcons, Dolphins, Saints, 49ers. With that many teams trying to move up, and everyone else trying to move down, expect the trade market to be very active.
– The Atlanta Falcons have been desperately trying to trade up to add a difference maker on the defensive side of the ball, and they are in discussion with the Jacksonville Jaguars, who hold the third pick in the draft. The Falcons would select Dante Fowler (possibly Leonard Williams) third overall, and with the eighth overall pick the Jaguars would take Todd Gurley, Vic Beasley or Bud Dupree. If the Jaguars cannot draft Todd Gurley, look for head coach and former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator to look for his “Marshawn Lynch” early in round two, and select Alabama running back TJ Yeldon.
– The San Francisco 49ers are in discussions with their brothers across the bay, the Oakland Raiders, in an attempt to move up to the fourth overall pick if a “certain player” is available. The rumor is that player is Leonard Williams, and the Raiders would get a nice haul of additional picks sliding back to the fifteenth pick, and still grabbing a wide receiver of their liking.
– One report stated that the most active team on the phones is, not surprisingly based on the rest of their offseason, is the New York Jets. The Jets are involved in both trade up and trade down scenarios, and are a true wildcard in round one, if they were to trade down we hear their target could be Stanford offensive tackle Andrus Peat.
– Georgia running back Todd Gurley went from a question mark as he rehabbed a torn ACL to the hottest name in the draft, we know for a fact that one team has him ranked as the number one player available, and the chances of a team stealing him in the middle to late first round are gone. Todd Gurley will be a top ten pick tonight, and maybe top five, when all is said and done. The laundry list of teams interested in Gurley is a long one, one scout described him as a hybrid of Marshawn Lynch and Adrian Peterson, and while his absolute floor is the Miami Dolphins at number fourteen he will not last that long tonight.
– The Tennessee Titans are still expected to select Marcus Mariota with the second overall pick, but they are trying to squeeze three first round picks of the Cleveland Browns, in order to complete a trade that would allow the Browns to draft Mariota. For the Browns to trade up to the second overall pick to select Marcus Mariota it would take them both of their first round picks this in the 2015 NFL Draft (#12, #19) and their first rounder in the 2016 NFL Draft. The Browns are still considering this trade, but it seems to be a no-win situation for Mariota, as the Browns need talent around their quarterback and there is not much on their roster. If I’m the Browns, I select two talented players in the first round of this draft, and see what I have in Johnny Manziel during the 2015 season. If Manziel struggles and the Browns bottom out, draft Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg or another talented quarterback in the 2016 NFL Draft, and move forward with that player under center on a more talented roster. That’s for a different article though.
– The Philadelphia Eagles are not done attempting to trade up for Marcus Mariota yet, and to acquire the assets it will take to land Mariota, they have made several of their key defensive players available in trades including defensive lineman Fletcher Cox, linebacker Mychal Kendricks and defensive back Brandon Boykin. All three players are available in trades, and can be had for the right price, as the mad scientist Chip Kelly is still figuring out a way to draft Marcus Mariota. If Chip Kelly is somehow able to trade up an select Marcus Mariota, expect him to trade Sam Bradford to the Browns, and if the Browns trade up and select Mariota expect the Eagles to call shortly afterwards with a strong offer of players (including Bradford) and picks for Chip Kelly’s former quarterback.
– Another player who is available in a trade is Seattle Seahawks pass rusher Bruce Irvin, who is from Atlanta, and has effectively told the Seahawks that he will join his former defensive coordinator and new Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn in Atlanta next year as a free agent. Both the Seahawks and the Falcons are working on a trade that can make that happen sooner, so do not be surprised if Irvin is an Atlanta Falcon by the end of the weekend.
– Stanford offensive tackle Andrus Peat has been a hot name over the last few days, and many teams are interested in him, including the Washington Redskins, New York Jets, Chicago Bears, New York Giants, St. Louis Rams and others. I have been told that Peat’s floor is the Rams at pick number ten, but do not be surprised if his name is called before then, he will probably be drafted ahead of Brandon Schreff tonight and will likely be the first offensive lineman off the board.
– The wide receivers are very intriguing, as the position is the deepest in the 2015 NFL Draft, and several late risers will cause very talented players to drop into the early stages of the second round. I have been told that a whopping NINE wide receivers cold be selected in the first round, including (The Top Two) Amari Cooper and Kevin White (Number Three) DeVante Parker (The Speed Merchant) Phillip Dorsett (The Late Riser) Breshad Perriman (Ultra Talented With Red Flags) Dorial Green-Beckham (Late First-Early Second Rounders) Jalen Strong, Nelson Agholor, Devin Smith.
– The New Orleans Saints really like Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, and think he is the best pure passer in the draft, which is something to keep in mind for Day Two. They think he could be their heir-apparent for Drew Brees, and would love to select him, and give him a few years to study under Brees. UPDATE: I was told to not be surprised if he was the 31st pick in the first round, the pick that the Saints acquired from the Seahawks in the Jimmy Graham trade.
– It sounds like the Miami Dolphins want an offensive playmaker with the fourteenth pick, and the two names I keep hearing are Todd Gurley and DeVante Parker, however if both are gone do not rule out Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes.
– DeVante Parker is another hot name at this time, I have heard that the Rams, Vikings, Dolphins, 49ers, Texans, Chiefs are all interested and I hear that some teams have him ranked ahead of Amari Cooper and Kevin White. I expect his name to be called in the early-to-mid teens at the latest.
– I’m hearing that the Green Bay Packers want an inside linebacker in the first round, and if Denzel Perryman is available, he will be their pick.
– Another hot name this week is Florida State offensive lineman Cameron Erving, who started at center, guard and left tackle during his college career, but will likely play center in the NFL. Erving is tough, versatile and experienced. The Texans, Chiefs, Cardinals and Broncos are all very interested.
– I feel badly for LSU offensive lineman La’el Collins, who’s pregnant ex-girlfriend was murdered in Baton Rouge last week, not only because of what happened but because several teams have removed Collins from their draft boards even though he is not considered a suspect in the murder. The woman’s unborn child survived her murder, so instead of attending the NFL Draft, Collins will be in Louisiana taking a paternity test. Teams are not concerned that Collins is a bad guy, but they are concerned that this situation in Louisiana will hang over him during the early portion of his NFL career, which is scaring them off. Collins has gone from a mid-first round pick to a second rounder at best due to a horrible situation that he had no part in.
– Due to off field concerns, pass rushers Randy Gregory and Shane Ray are expected to slip during the 2015 NFL Draft, but I have heard that Gregory will not get out of the first round because the Dallas Cowboys will not pass on him. The same cannot be said for Ray, teams are also concerned about a foot injury, and he will likely slide into the second round.
– Another rising prospect in the 2015 NFL Draft is UConn cornerback Byron Jones, who’s ascent began after his jaw-dropping combine, but who’s stock continues to rise. The Chiefs and Eagles are two teams who are interested, as are the Steelers and Patriots.