2014 NFL Draft: Rounding Up Latest Rumors, Buzz and Speculation
It's been four long months since the 2013 college football season, but the NFL draft is finally, nearly, mercifully here.
Over those months, we've had the scouting combine. Pro Days. Mock drafts by the hundreds. And more rumors and speculation than you can shake that thing living on Mel Kiper's head at.
With the draft now less than 48 hours away, the buzz surrounding it is more like a roar, and, with that in mind, here's some of the latest scuttlebutt surrounding college football's top prospects.
Manziel In, Glennon out in Tampa?
It's been a rough spring for Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon.
First, the Bucs signed free agent Josh McCown, all but certainly relegating Glennon to a role as the team's backup in 2014.
Now, reports are surfacing that indicate Glennon may be on his way out of Tampa altogether.
With speculation growing, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, that the Buccaneers could trade up to target a quarterback early in the draft, Glennon's possible departure is the latest news from Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.
Rapoport tweeted Tuesday that "If the can get a second rounder for Mike Glennon, expect them to make the move (if they draft a QB early this week)."
Clowney's Character Concerns, Chapter 3,762
After a disappointing junior season, the work ethic and motor of South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has been called into question approximately 3,761 times since January.
Make that 3,762, courtesy of Lance Zierlien of Sports Talk 790 in Houston:
Had conversation w/ friend for team inside top 10 abt Clowney late last night.He said his team got rough evals on football character from SC
— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) May 6, 2014
Of course, those character concerns also didn't stop 14 of 21 scouts polled by Bob McGinn of The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel from naming Clowney the top overall prospect in 2014.
For Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff, it's all about the talent:
He's a once-in-a-decade type pure talent. A lot of us, when we first started hearing that he was one of the best to come along in a long time or ever, were very skeptical. But then when you start watching him you're really back on your heels as far as how much pure talent he does possess.
Bills, Lions Looking for "Bargain"
Since the new collective bargaining agreement was signed in 2011, it's become a lot less expensive for NFL teams to move up in the first round of the NFL draft.
Of course, that doesn't mean teams won't still try to nickel and dime for all they're worth.
As Kevin Patra of NFL.com reports, Rapoport tweeted Tuesday that the Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions have both had discussions about moving into the top five in recent days.
According to Rapoport, the Bills and Lions may be targeting the Jacksonville Jaguars' third overall pick, perhaps to add an elite receiver such as Sammy Watkins of Clemson or Texas A&M's Mike Evans.
It may be a tough sell, though, in a deep draft class. As Rapoport said "As of now one exec said they want a bargain."
Chiefs Looking at a Quarterback?
After adding quarterback Alex Smith in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers last year, the Chiefs experienced a whirlwind turnaround, from two wins in 2012 to 11-5 and a Wild Card berth in 2013.
Now, however, with Smith entering a contract year and negotiations on an extension proving more problematic than expected, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, it appears the Chiefs may have a plan B in mind.
Such as drafting a quarterback at No. 23, at least according to Rapoport:
Team that will consider a 1st-round QB: The #Chiefs. Negotiations with Alex Smith aren’t progressing well. Must keep long-term options open
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 5, 2014
Odell Beckham's Moving Up
The New York Jets have been very active in free agency on offense this year, adding wide receiver Eric Decker, running back Chris Johnson and quarterback Michael Vick.
However, according to ESPN New York's Rich Cimini, if the Jets wish to pair Decker with a certain young LSU receiver, it's probably going to take some draft-day maneuvering:
If Jets want WR Odell Beckham Jr, they'll have to trade up. Hearing he won't make it to 18. At least 1 team above them loves him. #Jets
— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) May 6, 2014
Peter King of Sports Illustrated reported Monday that Beckham, who topped 1,100 receiving yards in 2013, has also caught the eye of the Philadelphia Eagles:
Keep hearing they want in on the prime receiver action, and the receiver they want could be LSU’s Odell Beckham, who can play outside, inside in the slot and as a returner. But the Eagles would have to trade up, and GM Howie Roseman is doing his due diligence, talking to at least two teams in the mid-round neighborhood, when Beckham would likely go. But the cost could be too rich for the Eagles’ blood. They may have to settle for Marqise Lee, who would be some consolation prize.
We may not know where exactly Beckham will be drafted, but the chances he falls from the top 20 appear to be dwindling quickly.
Cody Latimer Is Too
Speaking of fast-rising receivers.
As Chase Goodbread of NFL.com reports, a stellar showing at Indiana's April 25 pro day has sent wide receiver Cody Latimer shooting up draft boards, all the way into consideration toward the end of the first round.
Latimer was grateful for the opportunity, especially after missing the combine with an injured foot:
It's been a blessing, coming off the injuries and pretty much missing the combine and not being able to run and train during the foot injury. It's a little setback. Coaches didn't really get to see me in action, so I felt like on pro day, I had to prove what I can do. It helped me a lot, to shoot up the draft boards.
In fact, Latimer was such a fast riser over the past month that he was one of the 30 players invited to the festivities in New York by the NFL.
Granted, the odds may still lean against Latimer being a Day 1 pick, but Goodbread mentions the Baltimore Ravens (No. 17), Philadelphia Eagles (No. 22) and Carolina Panthers (No. 28) as potential first-round fits.
C.J. Mosley a Top 10 Pick?
The depth that exists at most positions in this year's NFL draft doesn't extend to inside linebacker, where it's an average class at best.
Still, the lack of depth available at that spot may actually prove a boon, at least to the player most consider this year's top prospect at the position.
Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley told Chase Goodbread of NFL.com that the Buffalo Bills (No. 9) and Baltimore Ravens (No. 17) were the two teams who showed the most interest in him during the pre-draft process:
I heard a lot from the Bills, and the Ravens. But I had a lot more visits. At the end of the day, guys don't know where they're going to go. The only people who really know are the teams. You have to sit it out and just wait. You might get picked by a team you didn't even talk to much, you might get traded for.
Both teams could use some help inside, but, of the two, Goodbread favors Mosley landing in Western New York, writing that "Buffalo figures to be in a far better position to draft Mosley than Baltimore, and not simply because they pick higher in the first round."
Eric Ebron Dropping?
Things don't appear to be going as well for North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron.
According to Joe Buscaglia of WGR-AM in Buffalo, Tony Pauline of Draft Insider indicated Thursday that the "me first" attitude of the 6'4", 250-pound Ebron may give way to a draft-day drop:
He's a high maintenance sort of personality. He's a me type of player and he always has been. He's a me type of person on the field and off the field, and I've known this since November. He's the kind of guy that was complaining when he didn't feel he was getting the ball enough. He's not well liked by all of his teammates. He's not a prima donna, but he's a bit self-centered. I don't know if it's just a maturity question, or that's the way it is. I hear it runs pretty deep.
Pauline did go on to say, however, that Ebron was also a "top notch" talent who fits the new prototype for field-stretching tight ends.
The New York Giants have been widely linked to Ebron with the 12th overall pick, but, according to Pauline, they're "backing off the idea of taking Ebron because of his personality."
Jets Looking at Quarterback Early?
The New York Jets invested a second-round pick in Geno Smith last year and acquired Michael Vick in free agency this year, so quarterback wouldn't appear to be a big priority for the team early in the 2014 draft.
That made this Tuesday tweet from Ian Rapoport of NFL.com all the more intriguing:
Interesting to hear #Jets keeping in regular contact with QBs slated to go in the first round. Maybe in case one falls. Maybe serious at 18
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 6, 2014
Granted, this could all be a smokescreen, but the Jets could find themselves with an interesting decision to make should one of those quarterbacks indeed drop, especially given the teams pondering a move up to get one.
Never mind how warm and fuzzy it must make Smith feel. After last year's drop, I'd wager he really doesn't much care for this time of year anyway.
Where Will Bortles Land?
There's been just a little speculation over the past couple of months where this year's top quarterbacks are concerned.
Whether's it's Johnny Manziel's landing spot or Teddy Bridgewater's pre-draft drop, more than a little, in fact.
Central Florida's Blake Bortles has received his share of press too, and, in a Tuesday tweet, Peter King of Sports Illustrated revealed he may have low-balled Bortles' draft stock just a touch:
Turns out I might be wrong about Blake Bortles (the horror!). Cleve, Az interested higher than I had him (26th, to Cleve).
— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) May 6, 2014
The Cardinals' interest at No. 20 isn't as surprising as Cleveland's higher than No. 26, although King didn't specify whether that meant the fourth overall pick.
Gary Davenport is an NFL Analyst at Bleacher Report and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Gary on Twitter @IDPManor.