The Daily Briefing Tuesday, April 10, 2018

AROUND THE NFL 

This from Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com:

 

Former Falcons cornerback Jalen Collins is not currently on an NFL roster, and today’s news makes it less likely he ever will be.

 

Collins has been suspended for the first 10 games of the 2018 NFL season, according to Field Yates of ESPN.

 

That marks Collins’ fourth suspension. He was suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season, then suspended for the first 10 games of the 2017 season, then suspended four more games in 2017. Collins has been suspended for violating both the league’s substance-abuse policy and the league’s performance-enhancing substance policy.

 

Realistically, it’s unlikely that a player with Collins’ checkered history will get another chance in the NFL, but he would be eligible to sign with a team now and play during the regular season after sitting out 10 games.

 

Collins is a talented player who was the Falcons’ second-round draft pick in 2015 and has eight career starts. His inability to pass drug tests may result in him failing to realize his talent.

 

Presumably, he serves the suspension first and then signs in December when teams need help due to injuries.

– – –

Ricky Doyle of NESN.com on the stories that NFL execs really do like JOHNNY MANZIEL:

 

Johnny Manziel’s lackluster performance Saturday in his Spring League debut evidently did little to deter NFL teams from keeping tabs on the free agent quarterback. Manziel, a former first-round pick who hasn’t played in an NFL game since the 2015 season, was just OK on Saturday, completing 9 of 15 passes for 82 yards with a touchdown. But according to Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman, some NFL executives still are enamored of Manziel’s “potential,” perhaps envisioning the days of him thriving at Texas A&M en route to the 2012 Heisman Trophy. Manziel, who appeared in 15 games (eight starts) over two seasons with the Cleveland Browns after being selected 22nd overall in 2014, finally seems to have gotten his life back on track after persistent partying and several off-the-field issues derailed his NFL career. It’s still hard to imagine him returning to the league and making an impact, though, especially since there already were questions to begin with about how his playing style would translate to the NFL. Nevertheless, Manziel continues to make headlines, for better or worse. Maybe an NFL team at some point will look to catch lightning in a bottle despite the obvious red flags.

 

NFC NORTH

 

GREEN BAY

This will be the 100th season of Packers football, one year ahead of 100 years of NFL football.  Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com:

 

The Green Bay Packers will play their 100th season of pro football in 2018, and they’ll commemorate that on their jerseys.

 

The Packers unveiled a “100 Seasons” patch that they will wear on their jerseys throughout the season. The Packers’ motto in 2018 is, “You only turn 100 once.”

 

Founded in 1919 by Earl “Curly” Lambeau and George Whitney Calhoun, the Packers are older than the NFL: They played as an independent team in 1919 and 1920. In 1921 the Packers joined the year-old American Professional Football Association, which changed its name to the National Football League a year later.

 

The Packers will be celebrating for more than a year, with events throughout this year and up until August 11, 2019, which the team is calling its 100th birthday.

 

A year from now the NFL will celebrate its 100th season.

– – –

Don’t try to be funny at an airline counter as Packers WR TREVOR DAVIS learned:

 

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Trevor Davis was arrested Sunday and charged with making “criminal threats” after joking about a bomb at the Los Angeles International Airport, according to LAX police.

 

Public information officer Rob Pedregon told ESPN on Monday that Davis was taken into custody and released on his own recognizance pending a May 3 court appearance.

 

“Yesterday, Trevor Davis checked in at the Hawaiian Airlines ticket counter and was asked the usual questions about whether he was carrying any aerosol cans, knives, weapons or explosives,” Pedregon said. “Davis turned to his female companion and asked if she remembered to pack the explosives. He was then taken into custody and booked.”

 

NFC EAST

 

NEW YORK GIANTS

Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com still believes that WR ODELL BECKHAM, Jr. will end up signing a big money deal with the Jets:

 

It was less than a year ago that New York Giants co-owner John Mara stood on the patio outside the team’s facility and declared Odell Beckham Jr. “deserves to get paid; we’re going to pay him.” Seven months later, Mara couldn’t guarantee Beckham would be on their roster come Week 1.

 

The situation with the Giants’ top playmaker is as volatile as the receiver himself. Even the team’s brass conceded that after going 3-13, nobody is safe, and anything can happen after Beckham’s leg shattered last October.

 

The Giants have a new regime with coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Dave Gettleman. Beckham wants a new contract. They must decide if — and when — they are willing to hand him a lucrative deal that probably would make him the highest-paid wide receiver in the league despite Mara saying recently he was tired of being asked about Beckham’s behavior.

 

The Giants’ rhetoric in recent weeks sparked trade discussions. That has died down some over the past few weeks, and Beckham showed up Monday for the start of the team’s offseason workout program. Finally, things seem headed in the right direction.

 

But where will the saga end? Here are some scenarios in order from most likely to least likely.

 

1. Signs with Giants

The Giants don’t want to trade Beckham. He’s a transcendent talent. It would take a Herschel Walker-like haul to pry him from their vise grip. As long as Beckham does the right things — showing up for the start of offseason workouts is a start — the Giants will commit to him. But there can’t be another troubling video or incident that provides further doubt that he can be trusted. Beckham won’t be the highest-paid player in the league with his new contract from the Giants. That was always a pipe dream. But he will get rewarded as the NFL’s top-paid wide receiver, and surpass the $17 million per season of Antonio Brown and $55 million guaranteed that Mike Evans recently received from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Giants have had enough trouble drafting difference-making players. It would take extraordinary circumstance for Beckham not to eventually get a second contract with the team that selected him in the first round (12th overall) of the 2014 NFL draft. He’s their best player.

 

2. Trade

The Giants opened the window and screamed for the other 31 teams to submit their best offer with their actions at the NFL’s annual meeting several weeks back. They made it clear Beckham is not necessarily on the trading block, but they’re willing to listen to offers. “There is nothing on the horizon right now, but you never know,” co-owner John Mara said at one point. If there is an offer that blows the Giants away, they would consider pulling the trigger. It would have to be a monster package. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported it would start with two first-round picks. And what kind of first-round picks are we talking about? It’s unlikely given concerns about whether Beckham can be trusted to do the right things and the amount it would cost to re-sign him that anybody will present an offer that really attracts the Giants. A trade is possible but unlikely. I recently put his chances of staying at 80 percent, and thus his chances of being traded at 20 percent.

 

3. Play out deal

This would be a non-optimal option because it would create tension between the parties and a circus around Shurmur’s first season. The Giants essentially need to decide whether they want to sign or trade Beckham by April 26, the first day of the NFL draft. Otherwise, it will eventually turn ugly. Beckham does not want to get on the field and put his financial future at risk after what happened last year, when he twice watched his career flash in front of his eyes while playing for $1.8 million. He’s set to earn $8.5 million this year, but sitting in his sights is the $60 million or more guaranteed that probably awaits him in a long-term deal. Is it worth his while to risk $60 million for $8.5 million? That’s a bad business decision, especially in training camp and the preseason. Beckham would stay away or be held out of those workouts and games. He would be unhappy. It would create a lot of drama. This wouldn’t be good for the Giants or Beckham.

 

4. Cut him

The Giants cutting Beckham would seem foolish, especially at this point. Why get rid of such a talented and special player without getting anything in return? The only way this happens is if Beckham gets himself in trouble. Otherwise, there is no way the Giants are cutting their top playmaker and losing him without receiving anything in return. But things happen in the NFL. Nobody could have predicted DeSean Jackson getting cut by the Eagles in 2014, Josh Norman having the franchise tag pulled out from under him by the Carolina Panthers in 2016, or Aldon Smith needing to be released by the San Francisco 49ers in 2015, just two years after an All-Pro season. Anything can happen, but this is a highly unlikely scenario for a player who has never been in trouble with the law and is extremely popular in the locker room and among his teammates.

 

5. Sit out

Not playing for the full year isn’t a realistic option for NFL players, even one who possesses the ability to earn outside income like Beckham. Aaron Donald held out last year and he eventually reported to the Rams prior to Week 1. If he held out past a November deadline, his contract would have tolled, meaning he would have been back in the same place this year. The threat of sitting out a season always sounds nice, but it doesn’t happen. It won’t happen in this case either, even if threats are made at some point.

 

AFC NORTH

 

CINCINNATI

S ERIC REID gets a visit with the Bengals.  Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com:

 

 

A month into free agency, Eric Reid is finally drawing some interest.

 

Reid, the safety whose lack of offers has led some to suggest he’s being blackballed for kneeling during the national anthem, will visit the Bengals, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

 

The 26-year-old Reid has played his entire five-year NFL career with the 49ers. He became a free agent this offseason and there were no reports of any teams showing interest, even though he’s been a starter throughout his career.

 

But the Bengals have been looking for an upgrade in the secondary, and they may be the team to give Reid an offer. If they do, it may quell the talk that he’s been blackballed, although questions about why it took so long for him to get an offer will persist.

 

Reid was the first player to join then-teammate Colin Kaepernick‘s protest in 2016.

 

AFC EAST

 

NEW ENGLAND

Patriots fans can rest easy – Giselle says she is not pressuring husband QB TOM BRADY to retire.  Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com:

 

At a time when many believe that the wife of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will have significant influence over his decision to retire from football, Gisele Bundchen insists that it will be his call.

 

““It’s not my decision to make,” Bundchen recently told the Wall Street Journal. “It’s his decision, and he knows it. It wouldn’t be fair any other way. He’s so focused right now. He has a laser focus on just winning and being the best, and I said, ‘You know what? This is what you’re doing right now in your life, and you need to feel complete in it, because if I’m the one who comes and says something and then you make a decision based on something that I said –”

 

The thought was then completed for her: “He’d resent it?”

 

“Yeah, and I would never in my life, ever,” she said. “I want him to be happy. Believe me, I’ve been with him when he’s losing. Try to be with him after you have lost [Super Bowls]. I mean, I had my fair share, OK? As long as he’s happy, he’s going to be a better father, he’s going to be a better husband, and I just want him to be happy. I do have my concerns, like anyone would.”

 

Bundchen first publicly articulated those concerns last May, when she spontaneously disclosed that Brady has suffered previously-undisclosed concussions.

 

“I’m entitled to have my concerns because my husband is the father of my children,” Bundchen told the Wall Street Journal. “If you don’t have your health, what do you have?”

 

Then notion that Bundchen may be pushing Brady to retire first emerged after the Patriots’ stunning comeback in Super Bowl LI, with Brady jokingly saying Bundchen told him that he should walk away. It became much less of a joke once she revealed that he has had concussions. And that let to speculation that she’ll either push him to retire or, at a minimum, she’ll continue to raise questions until he decides to do what she arguably has wanted him to do for at least a year, if not longer.

 

 

THIS AND THAT

 

 

MOCK TRADES

R.J. White of CBSSports.com concocts a whole bunch of mock trades:

 

It’s April, which means it’s NFL Draft season, when front-office smokescreens and an IV drip of mock drafts are the name of the game. We’ve already seen several trades this offseason that affect the first round, with two draft-pick swaps (Jets-Colts, Bills-Bengals) and the Patriots recently picking up another first-rounder by trading Brandin Cooks to the Rams.

 

Don’t think for a second that those deals will be the end of the wheeling and dealing. With six potential first-round passers on the board and many teams needing a new franchise quarterback either now (Browns, Jets, Bills, Cardinals) or in the next 1-2 years (Giants, Broncos, Dolphins, Ravens, Chargers, Patriots, Saints, Steelers, Jaguars), the first half of the draft should see much more shakeup before the first round is over. And a run on quarterbacks would push other premier prospects further down than expected, allowing a team in the 20s that probably didn’t imagine having access to the perfect prospect the ability to nab him with a relatively minor trade up.

 

There are also big-name NFL talents who could be dealt before, during or just after the draft. Odell Beckham’s name has popped up in trade rumors. Earl Thomas has as well. Would you be that shocked if the Steelers shipped away Le’Veon Bell if they still haven’t come to terms on a long-term deal by the deadline?

 

While it’s impossible to say for certain what trades are going to go down between now and the end of the draft, we know for a fact that some trades will happen, some involving draft-pick swaps and some involving players. They always do. We’re not going to be able to predict them all here, but what we will do is run through some trade scenarios that make some sense on both sides.

 

Hat tip to Rich Hill of Pats Pulpit for his legwork building a new trade value chart based off recent actual deals made by NFL teams.

 

QB trades in the top five

 

Giants No. 2 pick

To Broncos for No. 5, No. 71 and 2019 first-rounder

The Broncos are loaded in this draft, with two picks each in the third, fourth and fifth rounds. If they’re looking to move up for a specific quarterback and if they’re willing to part with next year’s first-rounder to do it, they can certainly find the right sweetener among their cache of 2018 picks to entice the Giants to take their offer. The Giants might not want to move too far down if they have their eye on a top non-QB prospect, so this trade would strike the perfect balance for them to still pick up a Saquon Barkley or Bradley Chubb.

 

To Bills for No. 12, No. 22 and 2019 first-rounder

If the Bills are going to make the jump all the way to No. 2, I think it’s going to take three first-rounders. The Giants would be taking themselves out of range for the blue-chip prospects, and it’s on Buffalo to make it worth their while. And you can see that type of deal appealing to the Bills, even at that high price; they land a top-two QB to build their franchise around and still have three more picks in the top 65 to put together an immediate playoff contender.

 

Browns No. 4 pick

To Broncos for No. 5, No. 99 and No. 149

The Broncos know that other teams will be looking to trade up into the four-spot to draft a QB, so if they have their eye on a particular signal-caller, they’re going to have to explore a trade similar to the one the Bears made to move up one spot for Mitch Trubisky. That took two threes and a four, and while this deal wouldn’t be as steep, I still think it’ll take three picks to get done. The Browns have no picks between No. 64 and No. 150 after their offseason moves; the Broncos have five picks during that stretch. If the Browns are angling to trade back into the first round from the early second, or to acquire future picks, having this package would give them more flexibility.

 

To Bills for No. 12, No. 96 and 2019 first-rounder

This obviously wouldn’t be as big of a price as the one to move to No. 2, but you’d have to assume the Browns would insist on picking up an extra first-rounder next year to move out of the top 10. They have five picks in the first two rounds this year, and adding assets in next year’s draft would help spread the wealth. Since the late third-round pick in both these offers is the same, these two offers boil down to the difference between getting No. 149 for a negligible move to No. 5 or a 2019 first for a move down to No. 12. I think I’d prefer the latter, but if the Browns become locked in to Chubb or Barkley at No. 4, the Broncos deal could work too.

 

Broncos No. 5 pick

To Bills along with No. 99 for No. 12 and No. 22 

Of course, if the Broncos aren’t actually committed to taking a quarterback with their pick, or they aren’t happy with who is left over after three are off the board, they could conceivably look to move down with a team that does want that quarterback still available. Getting both the Bills’ first-round picks would be a big ask, but if the Broncos kick in one of their many mid-round picks, the Bills should be willing to jump up for the right guy. With the Bills’ two first-rounders, the Broncos would be in great position to add two of the following: a quality guard (Isaiah Wynn, Will Hernandez), a starting linebacker (Tremaine Edmunds, Leighton Vander Esch, Rashaan Evans), a second-tier QB (Lamar Jackson, Mason Rudolph) or a receiver (Calvin Ridley, Courtland Sutton, D.J. Moore).

 

To Cardinals for No. 15 and 2019 first-rounder

The Cardinals don’t have quite the cache of the Bills, but if they’re willing to put their 2019 first on the table to move up for a QB and if the Broncos aren’t taking the QB that’s available, the Cardinals might be able to pull off a move like this. Of course, the Cardinals have plenty of issues outside of quarterback to address as well, and in a tough division it might not be worth trading what could be a top-10 pick next year to select the guy three other QB-needy teams passed on. I think the Cardinals are more likely to trade down than up.

 

What’s the deal?

Right now I’m leaning toward the Giants taking the Bills’ offer of three first-round picks if the Browns take Sam Darnold No. 1. The Jason Pierre-Paul trade to me is a sign they’re in rebuild mode, and an Odell Beckham trade would be the same. The Giants certainly need an heir for Eli Manning, but if it’s not Darnold, I don’t know that they’d be satisfied with someone else. Getting three first-rounders is huge, and they’d be in position next year to move up for a QB if they have two first-round picks at their disposal.

 

Stars on the move

Odell Beckham

To Browns for No. 33 and No. 35

The Browns of course have the most cap room in the league as well as three second-round picks. I doubt they’d move either of their first-rounders in a Beckham trade, but what about two near-firsts and a potential Beckham replacement for the Giants? If that’s not enough, Josh Gordon is an X-factor who could be out of the league forever with another slip-up, but he at least gives the Giants a talented starter on a cheap salary. The Giants would also have the first three picks of the second round, giving them the ammo to move back into the first round if they want, or the ability to snag three potential Day 1 starters back-to-back-to-back for a playoff push while Eli Manning is still under center.

 

To Colts for No. 36 and No. 37

The Colts have extra ammo after their tradedown with the Jets; why not use some of it to go get one of the best receivers in the game? The Giants want two firsts for Beckham, but this might be as close as they’re going to get, considering the acquiring team will then have to sign him to an enormous extension. That won’t be a problem for the Colts, who have the second-most cap space in the league and plenty of ways to make more to accommodate a big Beckham deal in 2019 and beyond (five players are scheduled to make between $4M and $8M in 2019 yet would have no dead cap number if cut). If the Colts pair Beckham with T.Y. Hilton and a healthy Andrew Luck, and they can boost the defense with Bradley Chubb at No. 6, this is suddenly an interesting team. If this isn’t enough, the Colts could think about bumping one of the picks up to a 2019 first-rounder, or throwing in another pick. One final point: the Colts acquired three second-rounders in the move from No. 3 to No. 6, a move that looked like a steal at that time. Even if the Colts had to pay three seconds to get Beckham, wouldn’t you love them essentially turning No. 3 into No. 6 and a star receiver?

 

To Panthers for No. 24, 2019 second-rounder and DT Vernon Butler

The Panthers still have a major need at receiver, and even though a new Cam Newton contract is on the horizon, there should be plenty of room to pay top dollar for Beckham as well. The Giants don’t get two firsts here, but they do land a recent first-round pick who could be developed as an eventual successor to Damon Harrison, along with one first and another quality pick in 2019. Would the Panthers be open to this type of franchise-altering move in an offseason where ownership is in flux? Probably a long shot, but with Gettleman’s Carolina ties, one I’m not ruling out.

 

What’s the deal?

I’d make Beckham a slight favorite to be dealt by the time the draft is over. While I’m not sure the Browns would pull the trigger on the above deal, the Colts put themselves in a great position to land the game-changing receiver if two early seconds (plus maybe one other pick if needed) is enough. Beckham to the Colts, mark it down.

 

More possible first-round trades

 

Bucs jump for Barkley

No. 7, No. 102 and No. 202 to Broncos for No. 5

The Bucs are the team in Barkley range that probably needs him the most, but it’s unlikely he makes it to No. 7. And the Jason Pierre-Paul trade leaves them a little light on mid-round picks to pull off a move up. But if the Broncos aren’t committed to a QB at No. 5, maybe they’d be willing to take a couple picks for a small move down.

 

What’s the deal?

I don’t think it’s happening. With the Bucs missing their third-rounder, I’d peg them more a move-down candidate than someone to move up. And they might get that chance, if four QBs go in the top six and leave one of Barkley, Bradley Chubb or Quenton Nelson available.

 

Bears go get Nelson

No. 8 and No. 39 to Broncos for No. 5 and No. 71

The Bears showed last year they’ll move up for the right guy, and Nelson figures to be the perfect target for them this year. However, he’d make sense for all three teams picking fifth through seventh. With no third-round pick in hand, the Bears might need to get a little creative to make something work, and here it involves a big drop back on Day 2.

 

No. 8 and No. 39 to Colts for No. 6 and No. 49

A similar deal to the one above, though not involving quite the drop. The Colts might be interested in a trade back if Barkley and Chubb are off the board along with three QBs, but in that case, they might want to auction their pick to the QB-needy teams and move down a little bit more.

 

No. 8 and No. 115 to the Buccaneers for No. 7

If Nelson gets to No. 7, the Bears should feel pretty good about landing him. But if they get nervous, the Bucs might be able to get a fourth-rounder out of them to swap picks. Considering Tampa Bay no longer has a third-round pick, that extra fourth could come in handy.

 

What’s the deal?

None here. If the Bears are moving, it’s probably down, taking a nice package from a QB chaser angling to get one of the top four arms if he slips out of the top five.

 

Dolphins chase a QB

No. 11 and No. 73 to Buccaneers for No. 7

If the teams in the top six are unwilling to trade down and miss out on a blue-chip prospect, it’s possible we see a QB fall to No. 7 or beyond. Picture the top six going QB, QB, QB, Barkley, Nelson, Chubb. That leaves none of the big-three non-QBs on the board, but one of the four top-tier QBs available. The Bucs would be wise to trade their pick to the highest bidder. I ultimately think that would be the Bills, since they’d have been unable to move up before this point, but the Dolphins would also be in play for a QB. This is the highest I think they can get.

 

What’s the deal?

This one is a little too far-fetched for me. If anyone is moving up from the teens for a QB, it’s the Bills.

 

Bills get it done

No. 12 and No. 53 to Colts for No. 6

We looked earlier at what it would take the Bills to get to No. 2, No. 4 or No. 5. But if those teams balk at moving down, the Bills could still get lucky and see their preferred QB target slip out of the top five. If that happens, there’s a good chance the Colts struck out on their preferred options, as the two non-QBs off the board would most likely be Bradley Chubb and Saquon Barkley. The Colts could then examine another trade down — it’s not like they don’t need starting-caliber players up and down the depth chart. Outside of the top five, a deal becomes easier for the Bills to make from a matching value standpoint. If they also have to kick in a Day 3 pick this year or next to outbid another team, so be it.

 

No. 12 and No. 65 to Buccaneers for No. 7

A similar deal to the one above, but instead trading the Tyrod Taylor pick to move up for their guy.

 

No. 12 and No. 65 to Bears for No. 8 and No. 145

The Bears don’t have a third-round pick, so getting one hear could have some appeal if their preferred target isn’t on the board.

 

No. 12 and No. 96 to 49ers for No. 9

The 49ers showed last year they’re willing to move back, and adding No. 96 gives them ammo to move up in the second round as well. Using the pick in a trade could get them from No. 59 to around their original second-round pick of No. 43 (traded for Jimmy Garoppolo). If they use one of their earlier thirds instead, they might be able to move up to the top of the second round.

 

What’s the deal?

I had the Bills trading up to No. 2 earlier, so these deals are moot in that scenario.

 

Ravens land a QB

No. 16 and No. 83 to Redskins for No. 13 and No. 142

CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora has reported the Ravens could be in the QB market this year, and they could be targeting Mason Rudolph at No. 16. But if four QBs go in the top five and none are the result of a trade up, it’s possible the QB well will dry up before the Ravens are on the clock. If the Browns, Giants, Jets and Broncos all draft a QB early, the Bills and Cardinals could snap up Rudolph and Lamar Jackson in some order, shutting the Ravens out. If they see that scenario developing, they may look to get aggressive to get in front of the Cardinals, and it would take a deal like this to make it happen.

 

 

2018 DRAFT

It seems to the DB that Oklahoma State QB MASON RUDOLPH is showing up in the first round of more Mock Drafts.  BangTheBook.com offers this assessment:

 

During the athletic portion of the 2017 NFL Combine, Mason Rudolph did not mesmerize scouts. He ran the 40 yard dash in 4.9 seconds. He leaped 26 inches in the vertical jump. Rudolph also threw the ball at the combine. Therefore, he had an opportunity to impress the 32 NFL teams with his long ball. However, you didn’t need Rudolph in shorts and a shirt to display his ability to throw the ball deep.

 

During his four seasons, with the Oklahoma State Cowboys, Rudolph threw 92 touchdown passes and 26 interceptions. His touchdown passes increased every year. As a freshman, Rudolph threw six touchdown passes. Once he became the official starting quarterback in 2015, Rudolph really blossomed. He accounted for 21 touchdowns and 9 interceptions in his sophomore season. He returned for his junior season to throw 28 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Instead of leaving for the NFL, Rudolph stayed for a stellar senior season with 37 touchdown passes and 9 interceptions.

 

Moreover, Rudolph increased his completion percentage each season. During limited time as a freshman, Rudolph was at 57 percent. He completed 65 percent of his pass attempts last season and finished with a 63.2 completion percentage rate for his college career. If NFL teams want an accurate quarterback, Rudolph has all the tools to be that guy. Yet, he has never been considered as the top prospect in the 2018 draft.

 

Rudolph is not just a dinker and dunker. Although he takes care of the ball, Rudolph is accustomed to making big plays in the passing game. For example, wide receiver James Washington averaged 20.9 yards per reception last season. Keep in mind, Washington caught 74 passes. Meanwhile, Marcell Ateman averaged 19.6 yards per catch on 59 receptions. Both players breezed beyond the 1,000-yard mark. What’s more remarkable is that Washington and Ateman are two different types of receivers. Therefore, Rudolph should be able to connect with speed guys as well as big time possession receivers.

 

But where will Rudolph go? After visiting with the New England Patriots in recent days, there’s a chance that Rudolph will be selected in the first round. However, plenty of teams are interested in Rudolph, including the Buffalo Bills. More importantly, if the Bills don’t trade up to get their quarterback, they will have two picks in the first round. Therefore, Rudolph could be snatched up with the No. 12 or No. 22 pick. The Patriots own the No. 23 pick. They also have the No. 31 pick. Meaning, if these two organizations are serious about drafting a quarterback, Rudolph will be selected in the first round.

 

However, there’s no guarantee where Rudolph will leave the draft board. Rudolph will not be 1 of the 22 players attending the NFL Draft. Baker Mayfield won’t be present at the event either. As a result, we can’t look into whether or not Rudolph knows exactly which organization is serious about taking him. Still, it’s more important to find the right fit than be a higher pick for developing quarterbacks. Yet, it’s starting to look like he is going to fall into the first round.

– – –

Chris Trapasso of CBSSports.com offers a Mock Draft that puts QB BAKER MAYFIELD in the top three.

 

1. Cleveland Browns

Sam Darnold, QB, USC. For once, it’d be cool if we didn’t know what the team with the No. 1 pick would do with the selection on draft night, but it’s trending toward Darnold to Cleveland being a lock by then.

 

2. New York Giants

Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State. I’ll be shocked if Dave Gettleman picks a running back over a defensive end here or if he takes less than a king’s ransom to move out of this selection.

 

3. New York Jets (from Indianapolis)

Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma. Mayfield is ready to play as a rookie, and his charisma will be on full display as a member of the Jets. Learning from Josh McCown will be very beneficial for him.

 

4. Cleveland Browns

Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State. I’ve come around to the idea that Ward can go this high despite his smaller stature. Dorsey drafted Marcus Peters in the first round of 2015 with amazing return on investment, and the Browns have a gigantic hole at corner.

 

5. Arizona Cardinals (via mock trade)

Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming. The Cardinals make this move with the thinking that Allen will not start in 2018 and learn the intricacies of playing quarterback from Sam Bradford.

 

6. Buffalo Bills (via mock trade)

Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA. With the price to move up considerably lowered at this point and Rosen still on the board, the Bills can’t hold back. They move up to get their franchise quarterback.

 

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State. The Buccaneers take what some believe will be a luxury selection in the top 10, but Barkley will take pressure off Tampa Bay’s pass game to help Jameis Winston.

 

8. Chicago Bears

Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame. The Bears need a guard and have Nelson’s college coach on staff. Don’t overthink it, Chicago.

 

9. San Francisco 49ers

Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU. This may be higher than most have Sutton going, but I can’t see the 49ers going defense in Round 1 for the sixth consecutive year with Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy G as the current organizational cornerstones.

 

10. Oakland Raiders

Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia. Smith is a Jon Gruden type of player with many athletic similarities to Derrick Brooks.

 

11. Miami Dolphins

Derwin James, S, Florida State. After considering a quarterback, Miami is still happy to land James here, a defensive playmaker capable of thriving at multiple positions.

 

12. Indianapolis Colts (via mock trade)

Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA. Davenport’s film and athletic profile are top-10 worthy, and the Colts love the idea of landing him after trading back. They get pick No. 56 overall (Round 2) and No. 121 (Round 4) from Buffalo in this swap.

 

13. Washington Redskins

Derrius Guice, RB, LSU. The Redskins like Samaje Perine, but he and Guice could create a power duo that’d wear down defenses in the NFC East.

 

14. Green Bay Packers

Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame. Protecting Aaron Rodgers is of the utmost importance for the Packers, and cornerback can be addressed after Round 1.

 

15. Denver Broncos (via mock trade)

Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP. The second guard in the top 15 — yes, it’s becoming a premium position — has the coaching connection too. Sean Kugler, who was Hernandez’s head coach at UTEP, is coaching the Broncos’ offensive line now. They net No. 47 (Round 2) and No. 97 (Round 3) by moving back.

 

16. Baltimore Ravens

Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech. While Ridley is enticing, Edmunds’ upside is more appealing. He and C.J. Mosley would be a tremendous pairing at linebacker.

 

17. Los Angeles Chargers

Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State. The Chargers love how their roster has taken shape so they get Rivers’ future replacement in Rudolph, another big pocket passer.

 

18. Tennessee Titans (via mock trade with Seahawks)

Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State. I love this mock trade. Seattle needs more picks, and the Titans must replace the run-stopping prowess of Avery Williamson.

 

19. Dallas Cowboys

Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama. Even with Allen Hurns in the mix, the Cowboys want to give Dak Prescott as many quality receiving options as possible, and Dez Bryant has an uncertain future.

 

20. Detroit Lions

Harold Landry, OLB, Boston College. This pick can be viewed as insurance for the Lions if they can’t extend Ziggy Ansah, and Landry doesn’t have to be the team’s alpha pass-rusher in his rookie campaign.

 

21. Cincinnati Bengals (from Buffalo)

James Daniels, C, Iowa. Daniels’ athleticism coupled with Cincinnati’s glaring need at center makes for a perfect pairing here.

 

22. Buffalo Bills

Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan. The Bills add the best penetrating defensive tackle in the class to be the heir apparent to Kyle Williams. GM Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott see a lot of Kawann Short in Hurst.

 

23. New England Patriots (from Los Angeles Rams)

Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama. The Patriots get someone who comes with a high recommendation from Bill Belichick’s friend Nick Saban to be a versatile member of the the secondary.

 

24. Carolina Panthers

James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State. Cam Newton is at his best when his big arm is accentuated with a variety of vertical shots each game. No receiver is a better deep-ball specalist than Washington. He’ll fit wonderfully in Norv Turner’s offense.

 

25. Seattle Seahawks (via mock trade with Titans)

Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa. Jackson is tall and somewhat long with ridiculous ball skills. He’ll be an exquisite fit in Seattle.

 

26. Atlanta Falcons

Vita Vea, DT, Washington. Dan Quinn needs a block-eater on his defensive line next to Grady Jarrett, and Vea can be that type of player and provide some pass rush.

 

27. New Orleans Saints

Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville. The Saints store Jackson behind Brees for one or even two seasons before unleashing him on the rest of the NFL.

 

28. Pittsburgh Steelers

Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama. While not as explosive as Ryan Shazier, Evans is drafted to be the playmaker on the second level of Pittsburgh’s defense.

 

29. Jacksonville Jaguars

Connor Williams, OT/OG, Texas. The Jaguars love the tenacity Williams shows on a routine basis and would love him at right tackle to start his career.

 

30. Minnesota Vikings

Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia. Thanks to plus athleticism, underrated strength and outstanding fundamentals, Wynn simply blocks whoever is in front of him. He can play either tackle spot or open up massive running lanes at guard.

 

31. New England Patriots

Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA. Miller is the ideal prospect to immediately step into the vacancy left by Nate Solder, who signed with the Giants in free agency.

 

32. Philadelphia Eagles

Tyrell Crosby, OT, Oregon. The run on offensive linemen continues with Crosby, a compact, athletic left tackle to ultimately replace Jason Peters.