NFL Rumors: Latest 2012 NFL Draft Buzz for Every Team
With the 2012 NFL draft only a handful over hours away, there are rumors swirling around like crazy right now.
Some of those rumors are completely ridiculous and have no weight whatsoever. Others, however, come from the top journalists in the country for their specific teams, and one would be wise to heed what they say.
Today we'll look at the latest NFL draft buzz from around the league regarding the 2012 NFL draft.
Now they only need to fill a bunch of other holes on their roster with their remaining picks. According to Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star, the Colts will be looking for a wide receiver to pair with Luck early in the draft.
A few names that Chappell throws out are Stephen Hill, Alshon Jeffery and Rueben Randle. To be honest, if any of those players fall to Indianapolis in the second round, the Colts would be foolish to pass them up.
Getting Luck some weapons should absolutely be top priority for the Colts this year.
While the Texans already boast one of the best offenses in the league, they desperately need to find a second receiving option to pair with Andre Johnson. Even though a receiver like Kendall Wright would be the ideal fit for Houston, if no receivers are worth this high of a pick, Fleener makes perfect sense.
Fleener is the most NFL-ready tight end in a weak class and should provide an instant boost on offense for the Texans.
Even though the Jacksonville Jaguars have numerous holes to fill on both sides of the ball, that likely won't stop them from looking to trade down come draft day, according to Vito Stellino of The Florida Times-Union.
This would make sense if the Jaguars were only needing to improve one or two positions on their roster. However, with so many holes and the likelihood of some rather talented players still available to them with the seventh pick, it doesn't make much sense.
While Stellino does bring up a good point about Jacksonville needing to add more picks to truly improve its team, passing on a player like Melvin Ingram or Michael Floyd who would be a true game-changer would simply be foolish.
Even though this report is a few weeks old, it is the only relevant draft buzz regarding the Tennessee Titans. They generally aren't a team to do much movement or trading during the draft, and 2012 appears to be no different.
The big talk for weeks coming out of Tennessee is whether the Titans could make a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles for cornerback Asante Samuel. While it would seem like a perfect fit, especially with the loss of Cortland Finnegan in the offseason, Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean doesn't see it happening.
Wyatt states that the Titans would have to pay too much to keep Samuel on their roster, and if they wouldn't pay that to Finnegan, then they won't be paying it to Samuel. Bringing in Samuel would be a huge boost in the secondary for Tennessee, but it just doesn't look like it'll happen.
The Carolina Panthers look to be poised to have a breakout season, and with a high draft pick to work with, they could improve their chances of success during the 2012 NFL season with a great pick.
Joseph Person of The Charlotte Observer goes through a few possible draft picks that the Panthers are looking at with the eighth pick. Surprisingly, the only name on that list that isn't a defensive player is wide receiver Kendall Wright.
Adding Wright to Cam Newton's arsenal seems like an ideal move, but drafting him this high would be quite the reach. Instead, the Panthers would be wise to look at the rest of Person's list that includes defense standouts like Luke Kuechly, Fletcher Cox and Quinton Coples.
Any of those players would provide the necessary boost on defense to give the Panthers an outside shot at contending for the NFC South.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
One name that has been involved in trade talks on and off for the past two seasons is Aqib Talib of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The troubled cornerback was on the trading block last year and seemed like he might find himself on it again this year.
However, new coach Greg Schiano has no intention of letting his best cornerback get traded. Roy Cummings of The Tampa Tribune gives a detailed account of how Schiano doesn't want to trade Talib.
Despite Talib's off-field issues, he appears to be a huge part of the Buccaneers' future. The big question that needs to be asked now is will Tampa Bay still draft Morris Claiborne with the fifth pick?
The logical answer is yes. Claiborne is easily one of the best players in the draft, and Tampa Bay needs an impact player who can start from Day 1.
New Orleans Saints
With a bevy of off-field issues screwing up the New Orleans Saints' offseason, the NFL draft will hopefully be something to stabilize the franchise.
Unfortunately, the Saints don't have a pick until the third round of the draft thanks to trades and punishment. James Varney of The Times-Picayune reports that the Saints aren't likely to attempt to trade up but would definitely consider trading down in order to bring in some more draft picks in the later rounds.
Whatever the Saints end up doing, they need to make sure they have a solid draft. If they don't, this team could be in major trouble for 2012.
The Atlanta Falcons aren't afraid to do what is necessary to get the player they desire the most in the draft. That was extremely clear when they traded way up for the rights to draft Julio Jones last year.
Well, without much firepower left for this year, it doesn't seem like the Falcons will be able to make that big of a splash in the upcoming draft. However, D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says that GM Thomas Dimitroff certainly isn't afraid to do everything in his power to attempt to get the player he wants.
This includes moving up or down during the draft. While the Falcons may not have many draft picks to work with, Dimitroff can never be overlooked for making a gigantic move to give his team the best chance to win the following season.
Look for Atlanta to be very active during this draft.
Let me first say this: If the Browns trade this pick and Trent Richardson is still on the board, the franchise has absolutely no hope whatsoever to succeed. In fact, if they do that, they don't even belong in the NFL.
With that said, if Richardson is already drafted, then trading their pick may be in their best interest. They could move back a few spots, still draft a talented wide receiver and gain a few more picks.
The Browns need to win this draft in the worst way. There is simply no room for a mistake.
With seven rounds in the NFL draft, it wouldn't seem like teams would have much need to look for players who didn't get drafted.
However, that hasn't been the case in recent years, and as Jason La Canfora of NFL.com reports, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh has been attempting to woo possible undrafted free agents over the past week.
The Ravens are one of the best teams at finding talent that has been overlooked, so it isn't too surprising that they've gotten a little head start this year.
Even with the Cincinnati Bengals signing BenJarvus Green-Ellis in the offseason, the team still has a big need at running back.
One player whose name has been thrown around by Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer is Chris Polk of the University of Washington. Polk's all-around game would be a great fit for the Bengals and their offense.
Polk could hear his name called anywhere between the late first round and the middle second round. He's certainly got the talent to make an impact early in his career, but the decreased role of an "every down" running back in the NFL could make him fall on draft day.
If the Bengals do end up drafting Polk, they will certainly get an extremely talented player who can start from Day 1.
Few players have moved up and down draft boards like Dontari Poe. His incredible athleticism makes teams drool, but his lack of production on the field is rather frightening to teams.
However, as Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported, the Pittsburgh Steelers could pull the trigger on Poe if he is available at their pick. The Steelers recently met with Poe and apparently liked what they saw out of the potential nose tackle.
If Poe puts the game together and reaches his enormously high ceiling, this would end up being the biggest steal of the 2012 NFL draft.
As Jensen points out, if the Bears do decide to go this way with their pick, they should have plenty of options to choose from. Both Stephon Gilmore and Dre Kirkpatrick would be fantastic choices, but there is a chance that neither of those players will be available with the 19th pick.
One name that Jensen doesn't list, but that the Bears should definitely consider, is Janoris Jenkins. While there are questions about his character, Jenkins is one of the best straight cover cornerbacks available.
Green Bay Packers
Few teams work the NFL draft like Ted Thompson's Green Bay Packers. They always seem to be one step ahead of the rest of the league and consistently improve their team year after year.
Well, this year the Packers may be going out of the country to improve their roster. Akiem Nicks, a defensive lineman playing in Canada, is one prospect that Green Bay is fairly interested in, according to Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Nicks traveled a unique path to get to the NFL draft, and a team like the Packers that excels at developing prospects could use a late-round pick on him.
This actually makes perfect sense, especially if players like Stephon Gilmore or Dre Kirkpatrick are still available with this pick like Reynolds suggests. Even though cornerback is one of the deepest positions in the draft, the Lions simply can't pass on a talent like Gilmore or Kirkpatrick.
If neither of those players is available, the Lions could address their need on the offensive line with their first pick. A few names to keep an eye on are Cordy Glenn, Jonathan Martin and Peter Konz.
As long as the Lions draft for one of these two positions, their first round will be considered a success.
Those three names are Matt Kalil, Morris Claiborne and Justin Blackmon. The only pick I'm not a huge fan of is Blackmon, who simply isn't worth that high of a pick.
The Vikings could really dictate the rest of the draft with their pick. For example, if they do draft Claiborne, then the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would be in an interesting position with the fifth overall pick. The same goes for Blackmon, who has been highly sought-after by the St. Louis Rams.
The smart pick for Minnesota would be Kalil, who will be a franchise left tackle for the next decade.
Kansas City Chiefs
As Teicher points out, Scott Pioli tends to do what he feels is best for his team, regardless of what his coach might think. Now, what does this exactly mean for Kansas City's first-round pick?
Well, it means that the Chiefs could really go a number of ways with their pick. They could address their offensive line, defensive line or linebacker corps. They'll most likely pick whoever Pioli feels is the best player available.
While I'm sure Crennel would have liked some say in his first draft as the team's head coach, it doesn't appear like that will be happening.
With the signing of Peyton Manning, the Denver Broncos now need to be considered a legitimate Super Bowl contender. And what do Super Bowl contenders do during the NFL draft? They draft for impact and not position, of course.
That's what Mike Chambers at The Denver Post says John Elway will be doing with their first-round pick come Thursday. Instead of looking for a specific position to draft, Elway and the Broncos will look at every prospect available and draft whichever player they feel will make the biggest impact.
A few names to look for are Coby Fleener of Stanford and Michael Brockers of LSU. Each player has a high ceiling with the ability to step in from day one and make an impact on the game.
If the Broncos pick the right impact player, they could enter the 2012 season as one of the best teams in the entire NFL.
The Oakland Raiders are another team that doesn't have a pick until the third round, and Vittorio Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle discusses potential prospects the Raiders could look at with their first pick of the 2012 NFL draft.
Personally, I love the idea of Oakland bringing in defensive tackle Josh Chapman from Alabama. Chapman was extremely successful for the Crimson Tide and is being undervalued by many teams because of a recent knee injury.
While defensive tackle may not be the biggest need for the Raiders, a player like Chapman would be a steal and make an instant impact on defense for Oakland.
San Diego Chargers
Some teams are willing to do anything on draft day, and the San Diego Chargers are one of those teams. As Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego points out, A.J. Smith has always been wide open to whatever it takes to improve his team on draft day.
This includes trading up, trading down or simply trading for players that he feels he needs to have. Smith is one of the best general managers in the business, and few doubt the moves he makes on draft day.
Should Smith decide to stay put on Thursday, we could see the Chargers go after Courtney Upshaw from Alabama to shore up their outside linebacker problems. Whatever San Diego does, you can almost guarantee that it will be a solid move.
San Francisco 49ers
This is rather surprising news considering that the 49ers already have Vernon Davis on their roster. Spending another first-round draft pick on a tight end seems like a waste, especially when you consider the 49ers need some major help on their offensive line.
One scenario that I like for the 49ers is to trade back out of the first round if Fleener is still available. They would still be able to get a solid offensive lineman and pick up some extra picks in the process.
Those are the types of moves that get teams to the Super Bowl.
St. Louis Rams
The St. Louis Rams will be shopping Steven Jackson during the NFL draft, according to Evan Silva of NBC Sports and Rotoworld.
While this is certainly surprising considering the offensive impact that Jackson has made for the Rams since he entered the league, their willingness to trade him could point to something else.
If the Rams trade Jackson, they may have enough picks to convince the Minnesota Vikings to trade their third overall pick so St. Louis can draft Trent Richardson before the Cleveland Browns. Minnesota would still be able to get one of the top players on its draft board with the sixth pick, so it would be a definite win-win situation for both teams.
If the Rams don't trade Jackson by their sixth pick, look for them to draft either Justin Blackmon or Fletcher Cox.
Well, according to Peter King of Sports Illustrated (via NFL.com), Fitzgerald is hoping that the Cardinals draft Michael Floyd of Notre Dame and address one of his missing pieces. Clearly, Fitzgerald won't have the final say, but if the Cardinals want to keep their best player happy, they should at least consider his words.
Pairing Floyd with Fitzgerald would be an extremely dangerous combination and would likely help Kevin Kolb feel much more comfortable since he'd have two incredible receivers to choose from on every passing play.
There is no doubt that the Seattle Seahawks will draft a middle linebacker sometime during the 2012 NFL draft. The only question is when will it happen.
Danny O'Neil of The Seattle Times takes an in-depth look at whom the Seahawks might draft. While Luke Kuechly is hands down the best middle linebacker available this year, O'Neil feels that drafting Kuechly wouldn't be the best move for Seattle.
There are plenty of talented linebackers who would be available later in the draft, and Seattle could even potentially trade back into the first round to take a player like Dont'a Hightower, Mychal Kendricks or Bobby Wagner.
All three of those players have legitimate starting potential, and Seattle could then use its first pick to address a different need.
Personally, passing on Kuechly if he's available would be crazy. A player like Kuechly doesn't come along very often, and if he is still on the board, the Seahawks could improve their team greatly by drafting him.
New England Patriots
Of all the stories and rumors out there leading up to the draft, this story by Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe is certainly one of the most intriguing.
Young looks at the past history of the New England Patriots and their willingness to take chances of players whose stock has been hurt because of drugs. Much like Ryan Mallett of the 2011 NFL draft, Janoris Jenkins has seen his stock plummet because of drug use.
However, the Patriots need to desperately improve their secondary, and some experts believe that Jenkins is the best cornerback in the draft. If New England could draft Jenkins without too high of a pick, much like Mallett in the third round, it would be the ideal situation for the team.
New England knows how to deal with troubled players, and it might be the perfect franchise for Jenkins to succeed in.
The Miami Dolphins are a complete and utter mess. No team in the entire draft has more questions surrounding its pick than Miami.
While Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk says that owner Stephen Ross wants the team to draft Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, another report from The Miami Herald's Armando Salguero says that Ross isn't pushing for the team to draft anyone.
Either the Dolphins are playing the greatest mind trick in NFL draft history, or the team's front office is completely lost. I'm leaning pretty heavily toward the latter.
Mike Mayock is one of the most respected voices of the NFL draft, and according to Mark Gaughan of The Buffalo News, Mayock thinks the Buffalo Bills will take a hard look at Luke Kuechly when it's time for them to pick.
While many believe the Bills will address offensive line with their first pick, Mayock likes Kuechly because he feels he is one of the best defensive players in the draft. Yes, Buffalo did improve its defense greatly in the offseason by signing Mario Williams and Mark Anderson, but the Bills still need help at linebacker.
It's certainly hard to argue with Mayock, so look for Buffalo to take a long look at Kuechly if he is still available at their pick.
New York Jets
The New York Jets are likely to attempt to improve their defense with their first pick in the 2012 NFL draft. Once again, Tony Pauline lets us know that Mark Barron is a player they are seriously considering with the 16th pick.
Even with New York signing LaRon Landry in the offseason, the Jets will still need to improve their overall safety position. Barron is the top safety prospect this year and a player who can start from day one for New York.
Another name to watch for later in the draft if the Jets miss out on Barron is Harrison Smith from Notre Dame. Smith is an underrated player who could become quite the steal in the second round.
While the Jets would love to get Barron, I'm sure they wouldn't be overly disappointed if they had to settle for a player like Smith.
New York Giants
Robbins states that Smith's overall character and ability would be the ideal fit for the Giants. While New York certainly has some need in its secondary, it doesn't seem to be as big of an issue as tight end or offensive line for the Giants.
With that said, if Smith is the best player available, the Giants are certainly in a position as a team to take the best player over a positional need. If they do land Smith, he has the ability to start from day one and would instantly improve one of the best defenses in the league.
Considering the lack of depth at safety in this year's draft, it's no surprise that many teams are looking at the position's top three or four guys early in the draft.
The team that might have the best chance at landing the best safety, Mark Barron, is the Dallas Cowboys. As Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram points out, Barron is an extremely safe pick, and the Cowboys could use a safe pick this year.
When you also factor in that Dallas has some major needs in its secondary still, this pick makes all the more sense. In fact, I'm pretty sure that 99 percent of mock drafts have the Cowboys taking Barron in the first round.
While the Washington Redskins' first pick of their draft will be Robert Griffin III, the rest of their draft strategy is still a mystery. However, one position that we know the Redskins will go after is safety.
According to Mike Jones of The Washington Post, the Redskins have been looking hard at using a mid-round pick on a safety to improve their secondary. One player that Jones says the Redskins have been in contact with is Phillip Thomas of Syracuse.
Thomas isn't a name you hear very often, but one thing that Thomas excels at is causing turnovers.
If Washington doesn't draft Thomas, another player they might look at is Aaron Henry from Wisconsin. While he is still raw, Henry has a huge upside and should be able to contribute sooner than later.
I'm sure the Redskins would love to get Griffin some weapons during the draft, but they'll likely address their defense, and specifically cornerback, before they do that.
According to Jason La Canfora of NFL.com, the Philadelphia Eagles are hoping to get an Asante Samuel deal done before the NFL draft starts. Basically, that means they want a deal done today.
USA Today believes that the Atlanta Falcons might be the team that is making the biggest push to acquire Samuel. If that is the case, Atlanta would have two solid cornerbacks in Samuel and Brent Grimes to compete against the pass-happy NFC South.
The Eagles have been shopping Samuel for a long time, and it appears as if they've finally come to realize that they won't be able to get much for the once-dominant cornerback. For a fourth- or fifth-round pick, it almost doesn't seem worth getting rid of a former Pro Bowl player.
This will be a deal to watch closely throughout the day, especially if the Eagles can't get a deal done. If that happens, they could have some real difficulty getting rid of him during the draft.
Update: The Eagles have reportedly traded Samuel to the Falcons. Nothing is final, but the report is out there.
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