As the 2012 NFL Draft approaches more and more news is leaking out regarding the potential plans and strategies that teams across the NFL may employ come April 26. In the interest of keeping you up to date on all that is happening, here's a look at some of the latest draft rumors, news and updates from around the National Football League.
Trent Richardson to Be Top-10 Pick?
Although the first running back wasn't taken until the 28th pick in the first round last year and the free-agent market at the position this year has been ridiculously soft, some draft pundits are warming to the idea that Alabama running back Trent Richardson may buck that trend, as the NFL Network's Mike Mayock told Pro Football Talk that he's reversed course on Richardson's prospects and now expects the All-American to come off the board in the first 10 picks.
“Boy was I wrong,” Mayock said of suggesting Richardson might get out of the Top 10. “He’s going in the Top 10. Let’s face it, if the two quarterbacks [Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III] go 1-2, and the Vikings are not in the market for a tailback at No. 3 because of Adrian Peterson, this kid is going 4, 5 or 6. He’s the best tailback I’ve seen come out since the aforementioned Adrian Peterson. He brings toughness, he brings speed, he brings pass protection.”
“Trent Richardson might be the best position player in this draft,” Mayock said. “I watched 150 of his carries today. I watched every catch he made on tape today. . . . I watched every pass protection I could find in about a 10-game span, and he might be the best pass-protecting running back in this draft also. So when you talk about toughness and perhaps the best positional player in the entire draft, I think if he is available at No. 5, with that offensive line, they’ve got to pull the trigger.”
Richardson gained over 2,000 combined yards for the Crimson Tide last year, and while nothing is set in stone at this point it would appear that the 5'10" 228-pound bellcow's considerable talents are going to win out over the perception that running backs no longer merit high draft picks in today's pass-happy NFL.
Luck Not a Lock to Go First Overall
Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck has long been considered the presumptive favorite to be chosen first overall in the 2012 NFL draft by the Indianapolis Colts, and with the Colts set to bring in Luck for a private workout that perception has only gained momentum.
However, Colts owner Jim Irsay left the door open for the possibility that the team could instead select Baylor signal-caller and Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin with the first pick, telling USA Today that the Colts are keeping their options open.
"You have two outstanding athletes, two great pure passers, two guys from families that are incredible.''
Irsay said he, general manager Ryan Grigson and coach Chuck Pagano have yet to make a decision, but negotiations could be a factor.
"If we get to the point where we're going to negotiate early, get something done before the draft, you never rule that out,'' Irsay said. "We've talked to both agents. We haven't negotiated yet.''
It would still be a major upset if Indianapolis were to pass on Luck with the first overall pick, but if nothing else Irsay's comments add a bit of intrigue as to which direction the team may go when the clock starts ticking next month.
Rams Not Ruling Out Draft Day Trade with Browns
While the Cleveland Browns' failed pursuit of the St. Louis Rams' second overall pick in April's draft reportedly didn't sit very well with Cleveland team president Mike Holmgren Rams, head coach Jeff Fisher doesn't believe that rules out the Browns as a potential trade partner, and Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported Wednesday that St. Louis remains open to moving up in the first round, including to Cleveland's fourth overall slot.
Fisher said Browns President Mike Holmgren's comments about the Rams and Redskins pulling off the blockbuster deal for No. 2 because of their close relationships wouldn't preclude a draft day deal.
The Rams now have the No. 6 pick as the result of that deal.
"No, I didn't pay much attention to (Holmgren's) comments,'' said Fisher, speaking at the NFL owners' meetings in Palm Beach. "They were very fruitful discussions. They are a potential trade partner with us.''
The Rams are believed to have a considerable amount of interest in Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon, and while it's unknown what sort of price tag the Browns might put on the fourth pick in the first round, Cleveland general manager Tom Heckert stated earlier this week that the Browns could be willing to trade down if the right offer came along.