There is no shortage of rumors surrounding the NFL draft, with many of them concerning potential moves by a variety of franchises looking to jockey for better position this week.
Some teams are looking to move up and nab a coveted prospect, while others feel they will not get a great fit in their current spot and are hoping to move down a few pegs and pick up some value later in the event.
Let’s take a look at some of the hottest buzz leading up to the draft in Tuesday’s rumor roundup.
Lions Hoping to Move Up?
The Detroit Lions are in a tough position when it comes to the 2014 draft, as they hold the No. 10 pick and may be looking at some second-tier prospects when it comes their turn to select.
With a handful of bona fide stars set to come off the board in the early going, Detroit may have to settle for a player with less upside or proven production than desired, but that is only if the franchise decides to stand pat.
It seems that may not be the case, as general manager Martin Mayhew is reportedly working the phones and looking to slide up a few spots ahead of Thursday’s opening round.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that Detroit has recently held discussions about moving into the top five:
According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, the club would love to jump up and land a star such as Clemson’s Sammy Watkins, Buffalo’s Khalil Mack or even Texas A&M’s Mike Evans:
There's no doubt #Lions would move up if the price is right to get Watkins or Mack, maybe even Evans. Just a matter of what's right price?— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) May 6, 2014
Mayhew spoke with Birkett about the prospects his franchise would be targeting this week and the executive specifically mentioned that he was enamored with the talent that Watkins possesses:
We like him as a football player, so we did our due diligence on him, as we’ve done on (Jadeveon) Clowney and other guys…Sammy’s a very talented guy. He would fit us; he can make plays. His track record speaks for itself, I think.
There figures to be some heavy competition for Watkins, as he’s the premier player in a class absolutely loaded with contributors at the wideout position. The Lions will undoubtedly need to move up a few pegs in order to even get a crack at him, as the elite receiver could come off the board as early as No. 2 overall to the St. Louis Rams.
Eagles Looking to Nab Manziel?
The Philadelphia Eagles are coming off a successful season in which they won the NFC East crown and made the playoffs with young star Nick Foles under center, but there is some talk that the club may be looking to cast aside the third-year signal-caller in favor of a more glamorous prospect.
According to ESPN’s Field Yates, there is talk amongst insiders that the Eagles have a real interest in the Texas A&M signal-caller and could try to get him on Thursday:
ESPN's Field Yates on NFL Insiders: "There has been some buzz in league circles about the #Eagles interest in Johnny Manziel."— Evan Silva (@evansilva) May 5, 2014
Peter King of MMQB also reported that he had heard rumors from a reliable source concerning the Eagles and Johnny Football, but he dismissed them as faulty.
ESPN’s NFL insider Chris Mortensen isn’t a believer on this front, tweeting that Foles’ presence should make Manziel a firm pass for Eagles head coach Chip Kelly:
Would Chip Kelly would take Johnny Manziel if available? Mark me down for a "no" on that, not just because Eagles already have Nick Foles— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) May 5, 2014
It makes sense that these would be nothing more than rumors, especially considering Foles threw for 2,891 yards and 27 touchdowns with a mere two interceptions on the year.
Who will be remembered for having a better career in the NFL?
The Arizona product participated in just 13 games and came into the 2013 campaign as a backup holding a clipboard for Michael Vick, so there is a decent chance he improves upon these numbers with a full offseason as a starter under his belt.
Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com did note, however, that Kelly has set precedent in regards to replacing a productive player, highlighting the DeSean Jackson fiasco that followed the wideout’s 82-catch, 1,332-yard, nine-touchdown season:
Foles had a great yr. But so did DeSean Jackson, and Chip did away with him. Lesson? If Chip wants Manziel, the #Eagles will get Manziel— Eliot Shorr-Parks (@EliotShorrParks) May 5, 2014
That controversial decision leaves the door open for just about anything to happen, and it wouldn’t be a total shock if the Eagles make a bold move to land Manziel in the first round:
THIS JUST IN: Chris Mortensen reports he expects Browns to draft QB Johnny Manziel at No. 4 if he's still there. pic.twitter.com/iQNNfNDg2H— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) May 5, 2014
The team would likely need to trade up to accomplish that, as Philadelphia is first on the clock with the No. 22 overall selection. Mortensen recently reported that Manziel would not fall past the Cleveland Browns at No. 4, so expect a bold trade to take place if the Eagles are landing the former Heisman Award winner.