The NFL draft is now just over a month away, and the rumors are still swirling about the rumors mill. Don't expect them to change until after the draft ends.
This year's crop of NFL prospects is sure to comprise one of the top classes in recent memory. There are a bevy of quarterbacks, defensive backs and wide receivers that all appear to be NFL-ready players. Of course, not all projections are accurate.
There are multiple players in the class that appear to be can't-miss prospects, however, and the rumors are circling wildly around them.
Not all rumors are true, and I'll do my best here to pick apart each rumor and predict the outcome of the situation.
Johnny Manziel Meets with Oakland
Johnny Manziel is scheduled to meet with the Oakland Raiders on Sunday and Monday, per ESPN's Adam Schefter:
Fresh off his appearance at Saturday's Final Four, Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel is flying to Oakland to spend tonight and Monday with Raiders— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 6, 2014
Manziel, one of the top quarterback prospects in the draft, is a near lock to go in the top 10 picks on draft day. The Raiders sit at No. 5, and Manziel could very well be there when the Raiders take their turn. Taking him would be a waste of a pick, however.
Taking a quarterback was the consensus choice for Oakland prior to bringing Matt Schaub aboard. But now that the veteran is in black and silver, the Raiders could better use the No. 5 pick on another area of need.
Wide receiver Sammy Watkins might still be available, and Jadeveon Clowney might be there as well. If he isn't, there are secondary options like Khalil Mack that will still be on the board.
Manziel might be a future star in the NFL, but Schaub is capable of leading this team right now. Bringing in a guy like Watkins or Mack would be the best pick for the franchise given its current situation.
Prediction: Oakland takes Mack at No. 5.
St. Louis Rams Eyeing Jadeveon Clowney?
The St. Louis Rams have multiple options with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. The team can trade down or do any number of things in terms of players. Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union says that taking Jadeveon Clowney is a legitimate possibility:
Fisher has a bigger need for an offensive lineman than a pass rusher and he has been expected to take Greg Robinson of Auburn or Jake Matthews of Texas A@M in the draft at the second spot. Matthews is the son of Hall of Fame offensive lineman Bruce Matthew, who once played for Fisher.
Still, Fisher has opened the door for Clowney and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch even has the Rams taking him in their mock draft.
Clowney is a possible once-in-a-lifetime talent, and as such, I'm not sure the Houston Texans would pass him up at No. 1. If he does get passed up, then I think the Rams would capitalize by trading back and allowing a team like the Atlanta Falcons to scoop him up.
If Clowney does go No. 1 to Houston, then St. Louis is will likely stick to Greg Robinson. The Rams have holes on the offensive line and he is the best in his class at the position.
Prediction: Clowney goes No. 1 overall. Rams draft Robinson at No. 2.
Teddy Bridgewater and the New England Patriots?
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that the New England Patriots met with Teddy Bridgewater on Sunday:
Fascinating day in New England. Both Johnny Manziel AND Teddy Bridgewater taking pre-draft visits to #Patriots. Never boring with Belichick— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 2, 2014
He also mentions that Manziel has also visited the team.
Bridgewater is widely regarded as the most NFL-ready quarterback in the draft, even if he doesn't have the ceiling of Manziel or Blake Bortles. That being said, it's highly unlikely that he slips that far to No. 29.
The Patriots are in need of a reserve quarterback. Ryan Mallett is currently the guy behind Tom Brady, but he doesn't have much of a future as a starter in the NFL. Bridgewater would be able to step in when Brady retires—whenever that may be.
"Teddy (Bridgewater) will be ready to play before any other QB in this Draft b/c of the way he was coached at Louisville." -@joelklatt— P. Schrager (@PSchrags) April 1, 2014
I think this is just a product of New England doing its due diligence, however. They won't be trading up to reach for Bridgewater and might be better suited taking a second-tier guy in the second or third round.
Bridgewater has the potential to straighten out a franchise in need—like the Jacksonville Jaguars, for instance.
Prediction: Bridgewater goes No. 3 to the Jaguars. The Patriots take tight end Jace Amaro at No. 29.