2014 NFL Draft: Updated Draft-Day Buzz and Speculation

Kenny DeJohnAnalyst IIIMay 8, 2014

Auburn's Tre Mason heads into the end zone for a touchdown run during the second half of the NCAA BCS National Championship college football game against Florida State Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

After months of speculation, the 2014 NFL draft is finally here. That hasn't stopped the speculation or buzz, even here on draft day, however.

Most of the news we've all been hearing recently has to do with teams trading picks in an effort to either stockpile and move back or get better talent by moving up. Not today's hits.

The latest draft-day buzz is interesting, to say the least. One team's big board seems to differ a bit from a majority of the league, while another team might make a bit of a stretch to grab their guy in Round 2. Adversely, another team plans on possibly being patient in their pursuit of a quarterback.

It'll be to interesting to see how the following rumors play out.


Tennessee Wants Tre

Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Since letting go of Chris Johnson this offseason, it's clear that the Tennessee Titans are in the market for a running back. Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean tweeted that Auburn's Tre Mason is the team's likely target:

Mason was dynamic for the Tigers last season. He racked up 1,816 yards and 23 touchdowns on 317 attempts and was a major reason why Auburn made its way to the BCS title game.

The crop of running backs in this year's class is pretty weak, though, so Tennessee could feasibly wait until the later rounds to get someone of similar talent. LSU's Jeremy Hill, West Virginia's Charles Sims and Towson's Terrance West could presumably be had a bit later on.

There's nothing wrong with reaching for a guy that you like, but Mason's NFL outlook is up in the air. He's very small (5'10", 205 lbs), and he didn't really burst onto the scene until last season.

By taking him in the second round, the Titans would essentially be committing themselves to using Mason in a pretty big role right from the start.


Oakland Has Evans Higher than Watkins?

Patric Schneider/Associated Press

Clemson's Sammy Watkins has pretty much been the consensus No. 1 wide receiver leading up to the draft, but the Oakland Raiders apparently think differently. Mike Florio of NBC Sports reports that the team values Texas A&M's Mike Evans higher:

As one league source who is as connected on matters of the draft as anyone explained it to PFT, the Raiders are believed to prefer Evans to Watkins.  The question becomes whether both are still on the board at No. 5, and whether the Raiders choose to pick a receiver.

It's an interesting ranking, but if the Raiders really like Evans that much, they'll probably have the opportunity to take him at No. 5.

Watkins could very well go off the board starting at No. 2—the Cleveland Browns at No. 4 make the most sense, in my opinion—meaning that Oakland could use their No. 5 pick to take Evans. Upgrading the offense is important for Oakland, but if a guy like Buffalo's Khalil Mack is still there at No. 5, they shouldn't pass that talent up.

The most logical scenario would have Oakland trade back a few spots to take Evans around No. 7 or No. 8. In doing so, they could acquire a Day 3 pick to go along with either selection. Oakland would have to play the first couple of picks by ear in order to make the decision to do this, but Evans will probably still be available at that time.


Arizona Will Have a QB After Round 3

Jonathan Bachman/Associated Press

The Arizona Cardinals are one of the teams in the market for a quarterback, and Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net tweets that the team will likely find their man in the first three rounds:

Carson Palmer is under contract until after the 2015 season, but the Cardinals have no insurance behind him. Drew Stanton and Ryan Lindley have little experience and won't be the face of the franchise after 2015, if Palmer decides to walk.

At No. 20 in Round 1, the Cardinals will have several options—quarterback and otherwise. Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater and Fresno State's Derek Carr should be available at that point, but the team could instead draft for another area of need—perhaps Missouri's Kony Ealy (defensive end)—and wait until Round 2 or 3.

In either round, guys like LSU's Zach Mettenberger, Georgia's Aaron Murray, Pittsburgh's Tom Savage and Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas will be available.

There might even be quality options past Round 3. Northern Illinois' Jordan Lynch and South Carolina's Connor Shaw appear to be Round 4 talents at this point.

Needless to say, Arizona has options at the position.