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NFL Draft Rumors: Last-Minute Draft Whispers Around All 32 Teams

Russell S. BaxterContributor IMay 7, 2014

NFL Draft Rumors: Last-Minute Draft Whispers Around All 32 Teams

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    EJ Manuel was the one quarterback drafted in the first round in 2013. What does 2014 hold in store?
    EJ Manuel was the one quarterback drafted in the first round in 2013. What does 2014 hold in store?Al Bello/Getty Images

    We are down to the nitty-gritty when it comes to the 2014 NFL draft. The air is filled with smokescreens, and the scuttlebutt in terms of which teams want what players is growing by the minute.

    Whom are we to believe? That would be an impossible question to answer, and we won’t attempt it. But that won’t stop us from at least giving it the old college try (pun intended).

    So here’s your chance to get up to date on what is going on with your favorite team. We will do our best to find out the latest from the writers, reporters, bloggers and draftniks when it comes to the 32 clubs and the direction they could be headed in later this week.

    We are not only including the number of selections for each team in this draft, but also the overall number of those picks. All compensatory selections, highlighted by an asterisk, cannot be traded.

    So happy reading, but keep one thing in mind: The NFL brings new meaning to the word “fluid” when it comes to this annual event that has had our attention for the last four months. And it could be only a few minutes before some of this information becomes yesterday’s news on the same day.

Arizona Cardinals

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Selections in 2014 Draft: 6

    Round    Pick

    1              20

    2              52

    3              84

    4              120

    5              160

    6              196

    7              None

     

    Whispers: The last time the Arizona Cardinals invested a first-round pick in the quarterback position, they opted for Matt Leinart in 2006.

    This past season, veteran Carson Palmer gave the team something it didn’t have in 2012: stability. The first overall pick in the 2003 draft by the Cincinnati Bengals started all 16 games for Bruce Arians’ club. A year earlier, the club had gone through four different starters under center.

    Still, Palmer’s career is obviously winding down, and the franchise is likely looking at a successor. But will we see the team’s potential quarterback of the future in this year’s draft? Kyle Odegard of AZCardinals.com looks over the possibilities.

Atlanta Falcons

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Selections in 2014 Draft: 10

    Round    Pick

    1              6

    2              37

    3              68

    4              103, 139*

    5              147

    6              182

    7              220, 253*, 255*

     

    Whispers: About a year ago at this time, the Atlanta Falcons owned the 30th overall selection in the 2013 draft thanks to the best record in the NFC (13-3) in 2012.

    General manager Thomas Dimitroff would move up a few spots and grab cornerback Desmond Trufant with the 22nd selection. Unfortunately, Mike Smith’s club would wind up moving way down in the standings, plummeting to a 4-12 record in 2013.

    Now there is talk that the Falcons are getting ready to shake things up once again. They have 10 picks in this year’s draft, and when you consider the team’s recent history when it comes to making a move (2011, with the Cleveland Browns and the selection of wide receiver Julio Jones), Dimitroff may be getting ready to get busy on Thursday once again.

    But will the Falcons be moving up or down? Bryan Rose of SI.com reports the latter may be a distinct possibility. In any case, any help in terms of rushing the passer would be a big positive.

Baltimore Ravens

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Selections in 2014 Draft: 8

    Round    Pick

    1              17

    2              48

    3              79, 99*

    4              134*, 138*

    5              175*

    6              194

    7              None

     

    Whispers: This past season, the Baltimore Ravens missed the playoffs for the first time since 2007, the year before head coach John Harbaugh and quarterback Joe Flacco came aboard.

    Flacco also served up a career-high 22 interceptions in 2013, due in part to the fact that veteran wideout Anquan Boldin was dealt to the San Francisco 49ers and reliable tight end Dennis Pitta missed the first 12 games of the season with a hip injury.

    The team added veteran wide receiver Steve Smith this offseason. Now Tony Pauline of Draft Insider says that the Ravens have taken aim at North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron, who would add to a Baltimore tight end group that already includes Pitta and Owen Daniels, formerly of the Houston Texans.

Buffalo Bills

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Selections in 2014 Draft: 6

    Round    Pick

    1              9

    2              41

    3              73

    4              109

    5              149

    6              None

    7              224

     

    Whispers: Let’s talk about six, as in the exact number of wins by the Buffalo Bills in 2013. Six, as in the number of consecutive years the team has finished last in the AFC East.

    And six, as in the number of draft choices for the team in 2014, although it is somewhat ironic that the Bills don’t own a sixth-round selection due to the trade that brought wide receiver Mike Williams from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in April.

    So what will the Bills do in this draft? It obviously depends on what the teams above them decide on. However, Mark Gaughan of The Buffalo News tells us that the team’s switch to a 4-3 defense under new coordinator Jim Schwartz could have a huge bearing on their decision-making.

    Meanwhile, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (h/t NFL.com's Kevin Patra) notes that both the Bills and Detroit Lions could be looking to move up from the ninth and 10th spots, respectively. Is Buffalo looking at a wide receiver, or does it covet one of those top tackles?

    Wouldn’t it be ironic if general manager Doug Whaley opted to make a deal with the Atlanta Falcons, who pick sixth this Thursday evening?

Carolina Panthers

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Selections in 2014 Draft: 7

    Round    Pick

    1              28

    2              60

    3              92

    4              128

    5              168

    6              204

    7              225

     

    Whispers: The 2014 NFL draft has been lauded for having a deep crop of wide receivers.

    The Carolina Panthers would be happy to test that theory.

    The defending NFC South champions own the 28th overall selection and would like to add some youth to a position that was overhauled this offseason thanks to the release of veteran Steve Smith and the free-agent defections of Ted Ginn, Brandon LaFell and Domenik Hixon. Remember, it was tight end Greg Olsen who led the team in receiving in 2013.

    Still, Scott Fowler of The Charlotte Observer believes the team could also opt for an offensive tackle. Three-time Pro Bowler Jordan Gross announced his retirement this offseason after 11 NFL campaigns.

Chicago Bears

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Selections in 2014 Draft: 7

    Round    Pick

    1              14

    2              51

    3              82

    4              117

    5              156

    6              183, 191

    7              None

     

    Whispers: There were a lot of positives that came from Marc Trestman’s first season at the helm of the Chicago Bears.

    Defense was not one of them. Only two teams in the NFL gave up more total yards, no club allowed more rushing yards per game, and the team surrendered 478 points one season after giving up just 277.

    Back to that run defense, which allowed 197.1 yards per contest in its last 10 outings in 2013. Adam L. Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times speculates that general manager Phil Emery and the team would be very happy to see University of Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald still on the board when they pick at No. 14.

    While the team brought in plenty of help at defensive end via the free-agent additions of Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young, the interior of the line, now minus Henry Melton, is a major priority.

Cincinnati Bengals

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    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Selections in 2014 Draft: 9

    Round    Pick

    1              24

    2              55

    3              88

    4              123

    5              164

    6              199, 212*

    7              239, 252*

     

    Whispers: The Cincinnati Bengals in need of a quarterback?

    All Andy Dalton has done is guide his team to the playoffs for a franchise-record three straight years and counting. Of course, the former second-round draft choice’s performance in the postseason has left a lot to be desired.

    So is it possible that Marvin Lewis and his staff would opt for someone like University of Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, as suggested by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen? Paul Dehner Jr. of Cincinnati.com puts a fan to what may be a smokescreen.

    Meanwhile, conventional wisdom (in the form of the SI.com Mock Draft Tracker) suggests that the Bengals are looking to add some oomph to the league’s third-ranked defense from 2013. It’s a unit that could use some help at linebacker while also seeking a replacement for defensive end Michael Johnson, now a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Cleveland Browns

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    Mark Duncan/Associated Press

    Selections in 2014 Draft: 10

    Round    Pick

    1              4, 26

    2              35

    3              71, 83

    4              106, 127

    5              145

    6              180

    7              218

     

    Whispers: For a team that has made just one playoff appearance since returning to the league in 1999, there always seems to be lots of interest in the Cleveland Browns when it comes to the draft. Perhaps that’s due to the fact that the most consistent thing the franchise has done since 1999 is earn a top-10 pick.

    This year, new general manager Ray Farmer and new head coach Mike Pettine have 10 selections at their disposal, with seven of those in the first four rounds. And for possibly the third time in eight years, the team could use one of two first-round picks on a quarterback, where the franchise continues to swing and miss.

    In 2007, the Browns used the third overall pick to grab tackle Joe Thomas, a seven-time Pro Bowler in as many seasons. Later that day, they opted for quarterback Brady Quinn, who wasn’t long for Cleveland.

    Just two years ago, the team used first-round picks on running back Trent Richardson and quarterback Brandon Weeden, now in the employ of the Indianapolis Colts and Dallas Cowboys, respectively.

    Given that three of those players didn’t pan out, it’s little wonder that Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reports that the Browns are high on Auburn University tackle Greg Robinson and could opt for him with the fourth overall pick.

    As for their other first-round choice, will history repeat itself one more time?

Dallas Cowboys

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Selections in 2014 Draft: 11

    Round    Pick

    1              16

    2              47

    3              78

    4              119

    5              158

    6              None

    7              229, 231, 238, 248*, 251*, 254*

     

    Whispers: For numerous reasons, the Dallas Cowboys and Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel are a potential match made in heaven…or at least in the Lone Star State.

    However, Jerry Jones’ squad would have far more entertainment value if it could get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2009, as well as end its current streak of three straight 8-8 finishes.

    But if Manziel is going to go from Aggie to America’s Team, it’s not likely it will happen on Thursday night. Not when the Cowboys are looking to fix the league’s 32nd-ranked defense from 2013. And not when Dallas feels pretty secure about the quarterback position to begin with.

    “I will go as far as to say it is not our primary goal in the first round to be looking at a quarterback,” Jones said to Todd Archer of ESPN.com. “We've got a good one.”

    No doubt Tony Romo, recovering from back surgery this offseason, would tend to agree.

Denver Broncos

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Selections in 2014 Draft: 7

    Round    Pick

    1              31

    2              63

    3              95

    4              131

    5              171

    6              207

    7              246

     

    Whispers: The hardest thing the Denver Broncos may have to do this season is forget what happened to them in Super Bowl XLVIII. A 43-8 loss isn’t the easiest thing to get over.

    However, general manager John Elway has done his best, and as we know, the Hall of Fame quarterback had to deal with the very same matter on a few occasions as a player.

    This offseason, the Broncos added defensive end DeMarcus Ware, cornerback Aqib Talib and strong safety T.J. Ward.

    But who is going to play middle linebacker? Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post feels the defense would be dominant with University of Alabama defender C.J. Mosley roaming inside. And he thinks that a move up to get the linebacker could pay off big-time regardless of the cost.

Detroit Lions

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Selections in 2014 Draft: 8

    Round    Pick

    1              10

    2              45

    3              76

    4              111, 133*, 136*

    5              None

    6              189

    7              227

     

    Whispers: As we noted earlier in the Buffalo Bills slide, the Detroit Lions have certainly made it known that they are interested in moving up in the first round on Thursday evening.

    And it continues to appear that the team has a very specific target in mindliterally.

    That would be Clemson University wide receiver Sammy Watkins, regarded as the top player at his position by more than one draft analyst. And as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press points out, the former Tiger has had the Lions’ attention for quite a while.

    But do the Lions have the ammunition to make such a move? They own eight overall picks in this draft, including three fourth-round selections. But two of those picks are compensatory choices and cannot be dealt.

    Of course, if new head coach Jim Caldwell and co. are able to make their way up and add Watkins, think of what opponents will have to deal with this season.

Green Bay Packers

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Selections in 2014 Draft: 9

    Round    Pick

    1              21

    2              53

    3              85, 98*

    4              121

    5              161, 176*

    6              197

    7              236

     

    Whispers: You can always count on the Green Bay Packers to be active when it comes to the draft.

    The franchise has selected at least seven players each of the last nine years, picking at least 10 players five times over the span, including 11 choices in 2013.

    General manager Ted Thompson is armed with nine selections, including four of the first 98 picks in this draft. Late in April, Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk highlighted Green Bay’s biggest needs. Not surprisingly, safety and inside linebacker topped the list.

    Keep in mind that defensive coordinator Dom Capers’ unit ranked 25th in the NFL in both total yards and rushing yards allowed, as well as 24th in pass defense. Despite a third straight NFC North title, the 8-7-1 Packers allowed more points (428) than they scored (417) this past season.

Houston Texans

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    Mary Ann Chastain/Associated Press

    Selections in 2014 Draft: 11

    Round    Pick

    1              1

    2              33

    3              65

    4              101, 135*

    5              141

    6              177, 181, 211*

    7              216, 256*

     

    Whispers: Passing was a four-letter word when it came to the Houston Texans in 2013.

    The franchise enters 2014 riding a 14-game losing streak, and this past season, quarterbacks Matt Schaub, Case Keenum and T.J. Yates combined for 19 scores and 22 interceptions and had five of those thefts (in five straight games) returned for touchdowns.

    Now there’s speculation that the Texans, with new head coach Bill O’Brien at the helm, may be passing on South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and opting for University of Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack.

    Ian Rapoport of NFL.com has the latest on Houston’s decision and whether they will make Mack the first linebacker drafted first overall since the Atlanta Falcons tabbed Auburn’s Aundray Bruce No. 1 in 1988.

Indianapolis Colts

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Selections in 2014 Draft: 5

    Round    Pick

    1              None

    2              59

    3              90

    4              None

    5              166

    6              203

    7              232

     

    Whispers: Yes, it’s been quiet when it comes to draft talk and the Indianapolis Colts.

    And with good reason, considering general manager Ryan Grigson and the organization have just five selections as of now, the fewest in the league.

    Of course, their first-round pick in 2014 went to the Cleveland Browns for running back Trent Richardson last fall. To date, that hasn’t looked like much of a deal.

    So where are the Colts headed with their five selections? The team added defensive end Arthur Jones and inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson via free agency, hoping to aid a unit that ranked 20th in the league in total yards allowed and 26th in rushing defense.

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Selections in 2014 Draft: 11

    Round    Pick

    1              3

    2              39

    3              70

    4              105, 114

    5              144, 150, 159

    6              179, 205

    7              222

     

    Whispers: The Jacksonville Jaguars have been extremely quiet when it comes to their intentions regarding this week’s NFL draft.

    Unfortunately, it’s been quiet times for a franchise that hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2007 and has managed a combined 11 wins the last three seasons (the AFC South champion Indianapolis Colts finished 11-5 in 2013).

    The team’s needs are numerous, most notably at quarterback and wide receiver, and they should also hope to find a pass-rusher who can consistently harass opposing quarterbacks. Jacksonville has a combined 51 sacks in its last 32 regular-season games.

    Gus Bradley’s squad added veterans such as Chris Clemons, Red Bryant and Ziggy Hood this offseason, but an impact defender has to be on his wish list.

    That was certainly the case as far as Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com is concerned. He has at least one bold move in mind when it comes to the Jaguars and what they might do in the first round on Thursday.

Kansas City Chiefs

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Selections in 2014 Draft: 6

    Round    Pick

    1              23

    2              None

    3              87

    4              124

    5              163

    6              193, 200

    7              None

     

    Whispers: The Kansas City Chiefs are an awfully long way from that 9-0 start in 2013.

    Including the playoff disaster at Indianapolis, Andy Reid’s club dropped six of its final eight contests this past season.

    Now the team looks to not only bounce back from that late-season collapse, but to also fill in some holes left by a massive defection on the first day of free agency in March. Tackle Branden Albert, defensive end Tyson Jackson, guard Jon Asamoah and wide receiver Dexter McCluster are among those who left for greener pastures.

    Bleacher Report colleague Dan Pompei has some great information in his latest "Read Option" column. It includes the possibility of Chiefs' Pro Bowl cornerback Brandon Flowers being on the trading block.

    Teams looking for a starting cornerback in the draft may be hard pressed to find one if they don't strike early. But they may be able to acquire a veteran in a trade. The Chiefs are believed to be willing to deal Brandon Flowers in an attempt to acquire extra draft selections. The corner made the Pro Bowl in 2013 even though he did not have his best season. Pro scouts consider him a tough, scrappy player who is an above-average cover man. Flowers' contract could make a trade difficult. He is due to earn $5.25 million in base salary this year, and at this point of the offseason, not many teams have the type of cap flexibility to acquire a player with that big a number.

    As for the team’s selections this year, sending Flowers somewhere could wind up changing the landscape for Reid and the Chiefs, who own only six picks (for now) in this year’s draft.

Miami Dolphins

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Selections in 2014 Draft: 7

    Round    Pick

    1              19

    2              50

    3              81

    4              116

    5              155

    6              190

    7              234

     

    Whispers: Five years and counting.

    You have to go back to 2008 to find the last time the Miami Dolphins reached the playoffs, much less posted a winning record.

    This past season, Joe Philbin’s club owned an 8-6 record after 14 games but dropped its final two contests.

    Speaking of dropping, that was the story when it came to second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The Dolphins allowed a league-high 58 sacks in 2013 and have already used free agency to secure the services of tackle Branden Albert and guard Shelley Smith.

    And while tackle Jonathan Martin (now with the San Francisco 49ers) was one part of last year’s issues, Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald says that the Dolphins could be eyeing another Martin in the first round this year.

Minnesota Vikings

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Selections in 2014 Draft: 8

    Round    Pick

    1              8

    2              40

    3              72, 96

    4              108

    5              148

    6              184

    7              223

     

    Whispers: There has been a lot of pondering over the Minnesota Vikings' thought process when it comes to the eighth overall pick in this week’s draft.

    Will general manager Rick Spielman opt for a quarterback in the first round for the second time in four years? That would effectively close the door on the Christian Ponder era in the Twin Cities.

    However, the team’s new head coach is Mike Zimmer, most recently the defensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals. That club finished third in the NFL this past season in fewest yards allowed. Zimmer inherits a club that allowed the most points and the second-most yards in the league in 2013.

    The Vikings’ front four will have several new looks due mainly to the fact that veterans such as Jared Allen, Kevin Williams and Letroy Guion are no longer with the team. At defensive tackle, Minnesota added Linval Joseph via free agency and did use one of three first-round selections in 2013 on defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd. But could Spielman be looking defensive tackle once again early?

    Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press speaks about Floyd’s work in the offseason but also makes a reference, via CBSSports.com's Dane Brugler’s first-round mock draft, which has Minnesota opting for University of Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald. 

New England Patriots

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Selections in 2014 Draft: 8

    Round    Pick

    1              29

    2              62

    3              93

    4              130, 140*

    5              None

    6              198, 206

    7              244

     

    Whispers: The New England Patriots have made a habit of getting to the AFC title game the last three years. Now, they need to get back into the habit of winning it and closing the deal with another Super Bowl title.

    Last season, the team had its issues on both sides of the ball. But when the snow in Foxborough cleared, Bill Belichick’s club had won 12 games and another AFC East title and scored the third-most points in the NFL.

    However, it was a rash of injuries up the middle that proved to be the team’s undoing. New England ranked 26th in the NFL in total yards allowed, and only two teams in the league gave up more yards on the ground.

    Doug Keyd of NESN.com explains why the Pats need to add a little help to the defensive front, where the club was without Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly for far too long late in the season.

New Orleans Saints

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Selections in 2014 Draft: 7

    Round    Pick

    1              27

    2              58

    3              91

    4              126

    5              167, 169

    6              202

    7              None

     

    Whispers: Will the New Orleans Saints come marching up in the first round of the NFL draft and make a big splash?

    Sean Payton’s team reached the playoffs in 2013, the fourth time in five years that the franchise reached the postseason.

    Speaking of the number four—that was the team’s defensive ranking this past season. It was quite a turnaround for a club that allowed the most total yards in a season in NFL history in 2012.

    Brent St. Germain, sports editor of the Daily Comet, recently spoke to NFL draft analyst Mike Detillier about the options facing the Saints, who don’t make their first selection until late Thursday evening with the 27th pick. Detillier feels the team still needs help on defense, most notably at linebacker and at cornerback.

New York Giants

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Selections in 2014 Draft: 7

    Round    Pick

    1              12

    2              43

    3              74

    4              113

    5              152, 174*

    6              187

    7              None

     

    Whispers: Seven is becoming a familiar number when it comes to the New York Giants.

    A year ago, the team totaled that many victories. In each of the previous two seasons, Tom Coughlin’s club finished 9-7, winning a Super Bowl in 2011 and missing the playoffs in 2012.

    These days, the Giants are missing a top-notch tight end on their roster. The team signed free-agent Kellen Davis, who caught only three passes in 2013. That equaled the total by fellow Giants tight end Larry Donnell. Adrien Robinson, a possible starter as of now, has played in just one NFL game and has not caught a pass. Daniel Fells has 92 career receptions with three teams but didn’t play football in 2013.

    Paul Schwartz of the New York Post focuses on the tight end position and in particular North Carolina’s Eric Ebron, who could give quarterback Eli Manning quite the option down the middle of the field.

New York Jets

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Selections in 2014 Draft: 12

    Round    Pick

    1              18

    2              49

    3              80

    4              104, 115, 137*

    5              154

    6              195, 209*, 210*, 213*

    7              233

     

    Whispers: The 2014 season will mark the sixth for head coach Rex Ryan with the New York Jets.

    The confident sideline leader and general manager John Idzik will have a dozen draft picks at their disposal this week, tied with the St. Louis Rams for the most in the league.

    But how many of those choices could Idzik need to move up from the 18th spot on Thursday night. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that the Jets are looking to move up in the Top 10 to grab a wide receiver, specifically LSU’s Odell Beckham.

    It’s safe to say that quarterback Geno Smith could use all the help he can get. This past season, the Jets passing game accounted for just 13 touchdowns.

Oakland Raiders

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Selections in 2014 Draft: 7

    Round    Pick

    1              5

    2              36

    3              67

    4              107

    5              None

    6              None

    7              219, 235, 247

     

    Whispers: During the fabled Al Davis era, the Oakland Raiders roster usually featured at least one discarded No. 1 overall pick and/or a former Heisman Trophy winner.

    In recent years, the Silver and Black have simply been looking for anyone who can help the club snap out of its doldrums. The team is a combined 53-123 since reaching Super Bowl XXXVII in 2002.

    General manager Reggie McKenzie is hoping that his latest move to upgrade the quarterback position helps. The Raiders gave up a sixth-round pick this offseason to acquire Matt Schaub from the Houston Texans.

    But does that mean the team won’t address the position in the first round of the draft? Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle states that sources tell him that the Raiders aren’t looking at players like Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles at the fifth overall spot.

    However, never say never when it comes to the draft.

    “Because we traded for Schaub does that mean we're going to bypass a (quarterback) that we've got graded a certain way?”  McKenzie said prior to adding, “No…I am open to everything.”

Philadelphia Eagles

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    Michael Perez/Associated Press

    Selections in 2014 Draft: 6

    Round    Pick

    1              22

    2              54

    3              86

    4              122

    5              162

    6              None

    7              237

     

    Whispers: This offseason, the Philadelphia Eagles kept wide receivers Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin off the free-agent market by re-signing those players before March 11.

    Last month, the Birds broke ties with the electrifying DeSean Jackson, who led the club in receiving in 2013 and scored 41 total touchdowns three different ways in six seasons.

    So who are the Eagles targeting in the first round of this draft?

    “They are burning up the phones trying to get a top wide receiver,” said ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio on 97.5 The Fanatic on Tuesday afternoon.

    Meanwhile, Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com contemplates what it will take for Philadelphia to move up from the 22nd spot.

Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Selections in 2014 Draft: 9

    Round    Pick

    1              15

    2              46

    3              97*

    4              118

    5              157, 173*

    6              192, 215*

    7              230

     

    Whispers: After consecutive 8-8 seasons, the Pittsburgh Steelers are looking to turn the corner and get back to the playoffs after a two-year absence.

    And getting some help at cornerback may be the first of numerous solutions for Mike Tomlin’s team.

    Dustin Hockensmith of The Patriot-News reports that the team’s biggest needs are at defensive back, defensive line, wide receiver and offensive line.

    But it’s cornerback that appears to be the club’s biggest need, as veteran Ike Taylor enters his 12th season. Combine that with the fact that there is very little proven depth behind him and William Gay, and it stands to reason that general manager Kevin Colbert may be looking in this direction.

    Still, it’s worth pointing out that the Steelers have not used a first-round pick on a cornerback since taking Chad Scott with the 24th pick in the 1997 NFL draft.

St. Louis Rams

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Selections in 2014 Draft: 12

    Round    Pick

    1              2, 13

    2              44

    3              75

    4              110

    5              153

    6              188, 214*

    7              226, 241, 249*, 250*

     

    Whispers: There’s little doubt that the most intriguing team in the NFL draft in recent seasons has been the St. Louis Rams.

    Of course, it would be far more interesting for the team's fanbase if the club could get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

    Still, the Rams are tied with the New York Jets for the most selections in this draft (12). And St. Louis general manager Les Snead is more than happy to have the second overall pick at his disposal.

    “At two this year, it's a nice place to be,” Snead said on NFL Network's "NFL AM” telecast on Tuesday morning. “It's a high-class problem.”

    But who could the Rams be leaning toward?

    "Here's what I can tell you: If (the Houston Texans) take (Jadeveon) Clowney, we do have probably a couple players we can take and we will also weigh a little bit some trade possibilities,” Snead added.

    Keep in mind that the Rams have made their way moving up and down the first round in each of the previous two drafts.

San Diego Chargers

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Selections in 2014 Draft: 7

    Round    Pick

    1              25

    2              57

    3              89

    4              125

    5              165

    6              201        

    7              240

     

    Whispers: The San Diego Chargers come off their first playoff appearance since 2009 and their first postseason win since ’08.

    However, this season will mark 20 years since the franchise made its first and only Super Bowl appearance, a 49-26 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in 1994.

    Obviously, there will be no celebration. What there will be is an effort to upgrade a San Diego defense that ranked 23rd in the NFL in total yards allowed last season. The Bolts also managed a mere 17 takeaways in 16 regular-season games.

    As projected by SI.com, the Chargers appear to be leaning toward drafting a cornerback. That's not a bad option considering only three teams in the league allowed more passing yards than Mike McCoy’s squad in 2013.

San Francisco 49ers

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Selections in 2014 Draft: 11

    Round    Pick

    1              30

    2              56, 61

    3              77, 94, 100*

    4              129

    5              170

    6              None

    7              242, 243, 245

     

    Whispers: A number of years ago, a couple of Swingers taught us that when playing blackjack, you always double down on a certain figure (where’s Vegas Ferguson when you need him).

    One year after making 11 selections in the 2013 NFL draft, the San Francisco 49ers return with the same number of picks in 2014, including six of the top 100 spots.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean they will be keeping them all. And as we are reminded by Taylor Price of 49ers.com, general manager Trent Baalke hasn't been hesitant to go up and get who he wants and he could be of the mindset to do that once again.

    Armed with this many selections, it would be a surprise if Baalke and Co. didn’t make a major move up on Thursday evening.

Seattle Seahawks

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Selections in 2014 Draft: 6

    Round    Pick

    1              32

    2              64

    3              None

    4              132

    5              146, 172

    6              208

    7              None

     

    Whispers: When it comes to the NFL draft, the best part about picking last in the first round means that you finished first when it counted most.

    The defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks will pick last in both the first and second rounds and have just six selections overall. Recently, the team gave up a seventh-round pick in acquiring quarterback Terrelle Pryor from the Oakland Raiders.

    Speaking of quarterbacks, the Seahawks need to do a better job of protecting theirs. Russell Wilson was sacked 44 times in the regular season, up from 33 sacks in 2012.

    Dave Boling of The News Tribune discusses why Seahawks coach Pete Carroll could be looking to add some offensive line help sooner rather than later this week.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Selections in 2014 Draft: 6

    Round    Pick

    1              7

    2              38

    3              69

    4              None

    5              143

    6              185

    7              221

     

    Whispers: Tamp Bay made plenty of additions to its roster during the offseason. Yet, the latest buzz surrounding the team has to do with a possible departure.

    Busy Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that quarterback Mike Glennon, off a solid rookie season, could be on the move for the right price in terms of draft picks.

    General manager Jason Licht and head coach Lovie Smith brought in veteran Josh McCown and could opt for a different position prospect with the seventh overall pick. More importantly, the Bucs have only six selections to work with.

    At least for now…

Tennessee Titans

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    Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

    Selections in 2014 Draft: 6

    Round    Pick

    1              11

    2              42

    3              None

    4              112

    5              151

    6              186

    7              228        

     

    Whispers: Last week, Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean reported that the Tennessee Titans won’t exercise the fifth-year option on quarterback Jake Locker, the team’s first-round selection in 2011.

    On Tuesday, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen (on the network’s On the Clock series) stated that the Titans have “a pretty good grade” on University of Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles, according to league sources.

    If Bortles was indeed the pick, it would mark the third time in nine years that the franchise had utilized a first-round pick on a quarterback.

    Of course, it’s also worth noting that the Titans have not been to the playoffs since 2008.

Washington Redskins

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Selections in 2014 Draft: 6

    Round    Pick

    1              None

    2              34

    3              66

    4              102

    5              142

    6              178

    7              217

     

    Whispers: The Washington Redskins don’t have a selection in the first round of this year’s draft.

    So what else is new? Dating back to the start of the common draft in 1967, the franchise has made a pick in the first round only 25 times, by far the fewest of any team that dates back to that year.

    Still, the team isn’t that far removed from the first round considering their first selection comes at No. 34. In any case, general manager Bruce Allen knows that the organization must do a better job when it comes to adding talent via this process.

    “I don’t think you can say we’ve done well because of our record,” Allen told Mike Jones of The Washington Post. “I don’t really believe in grading drafts because we have a record.”

    As Jones reminds us, that record includes three last-place finishes in the NFC East the last four years. And as Allen states, his team will be looking to take the best player available when they make their first pick… On Friday.

    As far as discussions regarding a possible trade of quarterback Kirk Cousins, there’s nothing new to report on that front.

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