2017 NFL Draft: Latest Buzz Surrounding Every Team

Brent Sobleski@@brentsobleskiNFL AnalystApril 12, 2017

2017 NFL Draft: Latest Buzz Surrounding Every Team

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    The majority of the preparation is complete, yet the NFL world is still buzzing with possibilities as the 2017 NFL draft nears. 

    The search for information never stops. Up until the very point when a team hands in the card with a player's name on it, an advantage can be gained from a single nugget of info. With 15 days remaining before the start of the 2017 NFL draft, a lot can be gained by noticing trends throughout the league. 

    Which prospects are visiting teams? What positions are others targeting? Could an individual come off the board earlier than expected? 

    Quarterbacks often dominate the conversation, and this year's draft is more unsettled than others, with numerous teams in search of current or franchise signal-callers. 

    Each organization approaches the draft with a different game plan in order to build a consistent winner. The entire plan won't reveal itself until a team is on the clock, but hints are given throughout the predraft process to better understand every franchise's goals. 

    A lot can change between now and the start of the first round on April 27, but it's important to keep track of the buzz surrounding all 32 teams because a useful tidbit may re-emerge in the future. 

Arizona Cardinals Ready to Make a Move for a Franchise Quarterback

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    Carson Palmer's time in the NFL is almost over, and the Arizona Cardinals are prepared to find his replacement. 

    When Palmer decided to return for the 2017 campaign, the organization was provided with an opportunity to address the game's most important position and not rush whatever young quarterback it selects into the lineup. 

    At this point, it's not a question if the Cardinals will select a quarterback in the upcoming NFL draft but when. 

    "The Cardinals are trying to gauge internally what it might take to move up from No. 13 to get a quarterbackI continue to hear a strong buzz about them and [Clemson's Deshaun] Watsonbut that price might be prohibitive," CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reported

    If Watson isn't available, other options exist with the 13th overall pick. 

    Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer made an official predraft visit with the organization, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Rapoport also reported head coach Bruce Arians and owner Michael Bidwill attended a workout for Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes II. 

    With this much interest in the top quarterback prospects, the possibility of adding one in the first round increases with each passing day. 

Atlanta Falcons Concentrate on Offensive Interior

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    While the sting of the loss in Super Bowl LI won't go away anytime soon, the Atlanta Falcons are positioned well for the 2017 campaign. The organization features one of the NFL's best rosters. However, one problem area exists.

    Chris Chester's retirement opened a hole at right guard. As a result, the Falcons are weighing all of their options to upgrade the offensive interior during the draft. 

    Western Kentucky's Forrest Lamp was scheduled for a workout with the team last week, according to ESPN.com's Vaughn McClure. Lamp is considered the top available guard prospect after playing left tackle for the Hilltoppers. His availability to the Falcons, who select 31st overall, is in question, though. 

    Lamp is arguably the best offensive line prospect in this year's class. His addition would be a boon for the Falcons, yet other options may be more likely. 

    According to Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline, the Falcons brass was in Utah two weeks ago to work out a trio of Utes blockers. Guard Isaac Asiata and offensive tackles Garett Bolles and Sam Tevi are projected to be selected by the end of the draft's second day. Each of them presents position flexibility. 

    Whoever is asked to replace Chester will walk into an ideal situation where a young player will develop in a positive atmosphere. 

    "I've never been a part of a team as close and as tight as this team in Atlanta," Chester told McClure.

Interest in Wide Receivers Grows for Baltimore Ravens

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    Breshad Perriman didn't work out as planned when the Baltimore Ravens spent a first-round pick on the wide receiver during the 2015 NFL draft. The organization still has high hopes for Perriman despite his injury history, but he and the team's leading receiver, Mike Wallace, need help. 

    Neither is considered a true No. 1 target. As a result, the Ravens are still searching for one. 

    According to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, the team hosted Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams on April 5. Washington's John Ross visited on the same day, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. 

    "Obviously, Mike Williams is a great player," Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said, per ESPN.com's Jamison Hensley. "... I think John Ross from Washington is an explosive playmaker. Those would be two guys who are very good players that probably warrant that sort of a draft grade [at No. 16 overall].

    Those two are counted among the top three wide receiver prospects alongside Western Michigan's Corey Davis.

    "Corey Davis from Western Michigan would be a guy that I think teams like," DeCosta admitted. 

    Each of these individuals are considered top-20 talentswhich puts them in play for the Ravens with the 16th overall pick.

Quarterback Remains a Top-10 Option for Buffalo Bills

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    Steve Helber/Associated Press

    The Buffalo Bills took the most logical course of action this offseason when the organization redid Tyrod Taylor's contract instead of releasing the quarterback. In doing so, quarterback became less of a pressing need. Although, the franchise is still considering all of its available options. 

    While the organization made Taylor's deal more manageable, there is still an opt-out clause after the 2017 campaign, per Spotrac.com. This means the Bills are still searching for a long-term solution. 

    With the 10th overall selection, Buffalo continues to vet the incoming signal-callers. 

    According to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, the Bills worked out North Carolina's Mitchell Trubisky Sunday. They did the same with Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer on Saturday, per USA Today's Tom Pelissero. Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes was in town Monday, per the Houston Chronicle's Aaron Wilson. 

    This can be defined as a team doing the proper legwork, but the fact owner Terry Pegula was in attendance for all three added a bit more weight to these particular meetings. Usually when a team is about to spend a valuable first-round pick on a quarterback, the owner needs to sign off on the decision. 

    Trubisky, Kizer and Mahomes aren't the only quarterbacks of interest. A scouting director told Bleacher Report's Matt Miller that Clemson's Deshaun Watson could be the first quarterback off the board if Bills general manager Doug Whaley is "as in love with Watson as we hear he is."

    None of these quarterback prospects are considered top-10 locks, yet multiple teams within the first 10 picks will strongly consider adding one. The Bills appear to be one of those teams. 

Carolina Panthers' Obvious Fondness for LSU's Leonard Fournette

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    The Carolina Panthers' fascination with LSU running back Leonard Fournette may be reaching untenable levels.

    The two parties have been linked for some time, because it's a natural fit. Fournette is the draft class' premier running back and a special talent. The Panthers rely on their run game as much or more than any other team, have a starting back who just turned 30 years old and own a top-10 pick.

    Fournette's availability with the ninth overall pick remains in question, though. As such, rumors began last month that Carolina is considering the possibility of trading up to the second overall pick, per the Sacramento Bee's Matt Barrows. 

    Panthers head coach Ron Rivera also mentioned there is no spot "too high" to select a running back, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. 

    As such, it came as a surprise when neither Rivera nor general manager Dave Gettleman attended LSU's pro day last week. This became a non-issue when MMQB's Albert Breer reported Fournette was in Charlotte Monday for an official visit. 

    The Panthers' interest in Fournette cannot denied. Will the organization be willing to do what it takes to acquire him?

Is Mike Glennon a Bridge Quarterback for Chicago Bears?

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    Jason Behnken/Associated Press

    The Chicago Bears signed former Tampa Bay Buccaneers backup quarterback Mike Glennon to a three-year, $45 million contract in free agency. His acquisition just might be the first step in a two-pronged plan. 

    Glennon has an opt-out clause in his contract after the 2017 campaign, according to Spotrac.com. This allows the Bears to play him for one season and not be saddled with a burdensome contract if he proves incapable of leading an offense over a full campaign. 

    Meanwhile, the team is quietly enamored with one of the draft class' top quarterback prospects. 

    "So, I've had a few different people I trust tell me the Bears have big interest in [Clemson's Deshaun] Watson and have indeed privately met with him," Bear Report's Aaron Leming reported

    However, the third overall pick may be too rich for the Bears to spend on another quarterback. A trade-down scenario is in the team's best interests if it is targeting the Clemson product.

    A combination of Glennon and Watson (or another quarterback later in the draft) secures Chicago's long-term future at the game's most important position.

Cincinnati Bengals Ready to Prioritize Running Back

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    Multiple areas of the Cincinnati Bengals roster need to be rebuilt.

    Running back should be settled with Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard on the roster, but it isn't. The Bengals tied for 20th overall last season when the team averaged 4.0 yards per carry. Neither Hill nor Bernard eclipsed 3.8 yards per carry. 

    Rex Burkhead proved to be the team's most effective back in limited opportunities, but he signed a free-agent deal with the New England Patriots. Hill is a free agent after the 2017 campaign, too. 

    In order to rebuild the team's ground game, the organization is looking at all of the available running back options. According to MMQB's Albert Breer, Cincinnati hosted three of the top four prospects in LSU's Leonard Fournette, Florida State's Dalvin Cook and Oklahoma's Joe Mixon. 

    Each of those talented young runners can be considered a potential feature back with the ability to shoulder a team's workload. Where those prospects are expected to land during the draft varies. For example, Fournette is a potential top-10 selection, whereas Mixon may be a better option in the second round.

    This shows the Bengals aren't just concentrating on a specific talent. Instead, the franchise appears interested in addressing the position with a top prospect at some point early in the draft.

Cleveland Browns 'Happy' to Select Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett No. 1 Overall

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    Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

    The NFL frowns upon predraft negotiations between the top overall prospect and the team with the No. 1 overall pick. However, the Cleveland Browns and Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett appear destined to be together.

    When Garrett was asked about the organization's intentions and the young man's meeting with Browns head coach Hue Jackson by ESPN the Magazine's Sam Alipour, the consensus top talent provided another clue regarding Cleveland's preference. 

    "He had dinner with me," Garrett told Alipour. "He wasn't guaranteeing anything, but he said he'd be happy to take me."

    If the Browns surprise almost everyone and decide not to select Garrett, he provided the team with a warning. 

    "And because if you don't draft me No. 1, I will punish your team for the next 10 to 12 years," the two-time All-American said. "I'll knock your QB out of the game every time we play you, and I'll have to kick the hell out of No. 1, whoever it is."

    Cleveland lacks a quarterback. The secondary, particularly safety, needs overhauled. Multiple other positions can and should be addressed at some point during the draft.

    But the Browns should be more than happy to open the 2017 NFL draft by selecting Garrett. In fact, the organization should be ecstatic to select the talented pass-rusher with the No. 1 overall pick even though the franchise might be split between him and North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. 

Dallas Cowboys Emphasize Secondary Help

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    The Dallas Cowboys secondary requires reinforcements. This comes as no surprise for those those who follow the team. 

    After all, Barry Church, Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne and J.J. Wilcox left during free agency. Meanwhile, the team didn't clear any cap space as it waited on Tony Romo's eventual decision to retire.  

    Any upgrades to the team's defensive backfield will come courtesy of the draft. 

    "The Cowboys spent time with pretty much every possible first-round defensive back you can think of last week," CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reported. "After getting their defensive backs plundered in free agency, there isn't much doubt where their focus is, and I can't help but think they may move up to land an impact guy if need be." 

    This year's class is loaded with talented cornerbacks and safeties. According to ESPN.com's Todd Archer, the Cowboys met with Clemson's Cordrea Tankersley, LSU's Tre'Davious White, UCLA's Fabian Moreau, Washington's Kenny King and Florida's Quincy Wilson and Teez Tabor last week. 

    All six cornerbacks are possibilities with the 28th overall pick. 

    With Anthony Brown, Orlando Scandrick, Byron Jones and Jeff Heath already on the roster along with the addition of cornerback Nolan Carroll, the selection of a top defensive back can help field a competent secondary despite the team's free-agent losses. 

Denver Broncos Want to Add 'More Juice' to Offense

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    Once upon a time, the Denver Broncos featured the NFL's most explosive offense. A lot happened since then.

    Peyton Manning retired. Knowshon Moreno and Julius Thomas haven't been a part of the team in years. Eric Decker signed with the New York Jets in 2014. Former offensive coordinator Adam Gase is now the head coach of the Miami Dolphins. Meanwhile, the reins to the offense were handed over to a pair of inexperienced quarterbacks in Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch. 

    The Broncos fell to 27th overall in total offense during the 2016 campaign. According to new head coach Vance Joseph, the skill positions lack explosiveness. 

    "Every good offense needs a guy who can take the ball from the [line of scrimmage] and go the distance with it," Joseph said, per Andrew Mason of the team's official site. "That's important to have." 

    The Broncos offense isn't devoid of talent. Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas is coming off his fifth straight 1,000-yard campaign. Emmanuel Sanders manged at least 1,032 receiving yards in three straight seasons. 

    But running back, tight end and a third receiver are lacking. Denver plans to place an emphasis on playmakers throughout the 2017 NFL draft. 

    "From the first round to the fifth or sixth round," Joseph said. "... You have to have an idea what it looks like and go find those guys, because they won't fall to you. You've got to go find those guys and draft them."

Wide Receiver, Not Defensive Line, Bigger Need Area for Detroit Lions

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    The majority of those who cover the NFL draft appear to have the Detroit Lions' need areas flipflopped. 

    Projection after projection has a pass-rusher slotted to the Lions with the 21st overall pick, whereas wide receiver is often considered a team strength with Golden Tate and Marvin Jones on the roster. 

    Apparently, the franchise feels differently. 

    "I think the strengths would probably be the offensive and defensive lines," general manager Bob Quinn said on the MMQB Podcast. "I think we got a lot of depth on both levels."

    Even though Tate and Jones combined for 146 receptions for 2,007 yards last season, the Lions have been quite active scouting wide receivers. 

    Penn State's Chris Godwin, Baylor's K.D. Cannon, Louisville's Jamari Staples, Michigan's Jehu Chesson and Northern Illinois' Kenny Golladay have all worked out at the Lions' Allen Park practice facility, per the Detroit Free Press' Dave Birkett. 

    None of the aforementioned prospects are considered first-round options, yet it's clear the Lions are interested in upgrading their wide receiver corps. Possible interest in top prospects like Clemson's Mike Williams and Washington's John Ross shouldn't be ruled out, either. 

    With Matthew Stafford behind center and a revamped offensive line, the Lions can be more explosive than they were a year ago, when the team finished 11th overall in pass offense.

Running Back Flexibility Important for Green Bay Packers

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    The Green Bay Packers are moving forward with wide receiver convert Ty Montgomery as the offense's featured back. The organization remains open to the idea of adding another talented presence to the backfield, too.

    In six starts last season, Montgomery rushed the ball 58 times for 383 yards and three touchdowns. The Packers should expect natural improvement from the Stanford product with him concentrating on one position. 

    "It's going to be great for him," former Packers running back Ahman Green said on April 4, per ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky. "He's going to have time now to get in the playbook and look at it differently, look at it from a running back standpoint and learn his responsibilities in the run game and the pass game and wherever else the team needs him."

    Two questions still linger regarding Montgomery's position switch. First, can he hold up when presented with an increased workload? Second, how much are the Packers willing to rely on the former receiver? 

    The first question can't be answered until the players return to the field. However, the team has been looking at all of their options. They mulled hosting Adrian Peterson for a free-agent visit and had an official draft visit with controversial Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, per ESPN's Jeremy Fowler and NFL Network's Mike Garafolo respectively. 

    Green Bay has also been suggested as a landing spot for Stanford's Christian McCaffrey. Mixon and McCaffrey bring similar skill sets. Like Montgomery, both are exceptional receivers out of the backfield. The difference being both of the collegiate backs have carried the ball more than 100 times in a season. 

    The Packers need help at cornerback, guard and with their pass rush, but running back remains a big question mark even with Montgomery's presence on the roster. 

All Quiet on the Houston Texans' Quarterback Search

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    The Houston Texans' entire offseason revolves around the franchise's ability to land a starting quarterback. After trading the albatross known as Brock Osweiler's contract, the team must find a replacement who provides long-term potential. 

    Even though the position dominates every conversation, the Texans' search has been relatively quiet.

    The Houston Chronicle's Aaron Wilson revealed the Texans attended Pitt quarterback Nathan Peterman's pro day. Houston also hosted Texas A&M's Trevor Knight during the team's local day, per Wilson. Neither of these prospects are considered first- or second-round options. 

    But the team has yet to be linked to the top prospects. 

    Some of this may be due to the fact the scouting department is doing a great job disguising the Texans' interests. Another factor is Houston's draft slot. It's hard to project exactly which young signal-caller will be available with the 25th overall pick. 

    The Texans are at the mercy of other quarterback-starved teams that select earlier in the draft, with Clemson's Deshaun Watson, North Carolina's Mitchell Trubisky, Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes II or Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer all drawing interest from those in the top 20. 

    Until then, the team must play up the possibility Tom Savage is its starter going into the 2017 campaign. 

    "It's big for him," veteran cornerback Jonathan Joseph said Tuesday, per the Chronicle's John McClain. He has all the physical talent, all the tools to be a starting quarterback in this league."

Indianapolis Colts' Growing Interest in Defensive Backs

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    Running back and offensive line are the biggest concern areas for the Indianapolis Colts, yet the composition of this year's draft class may ultimately dictate which direction the organization takes early in the process.

    "You look at the draft, this is a really deep draft when it comes to the secondary," head coach Chuck Pagano said, per ESPN.com's Mike Wells. "You're going to get a good player, maybe a couple of them. Then it'll be up to us how quick we can develop those guys and get them on the field." 

    While the secondary doesn't top the Colts' list of needs, the team's back line needs reinforcements. 

    Vontae Davis has served as Indianapolis' top cover corner for five seasons with very little consistency from other starting cornerbacks. With the team's plan to move Darius Butler to safety alongside T.J. Green, the position becomes even more of a priority. 

    In upwards of 22 defensive backs have the potential to be selected during the first two rounds of this year's draft. 

    At cornerback, Alabama's Marlon Humphrey, Florida's Quincy Wilson, Colorado's Chidobe Awuzie, LSU's Tre'Davious White and Ohio State's Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley are considered first-round possibilities the Colts may consider with the 15th overall pick. 

    If the team doesn't jump at an opportunity to select one that early in the process, the organization is clearly aware of the secondary's overall depth and plans to add a defensive back at some point during the draft.

Jacksonville Jaguars Eye Stanford's Solomon Thomas

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    Throughout the lead-up to the NFL draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars served as a wild card with the fourth overall pick. 

    Despite the team's disappointing 3-13 campaign, the team isn't lacking in talent. The organization added even more this offseason by acquiring defensive lineman Calais Campbell, cornerback A.J. Bouye, left tackle Branden Albert, guard Earl Watford and safety Barry Church. 

    These inclusions will allow the Jaguars to select the best available player near the top of the draft without the tug of filling a desperate need. 

    With Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett expected to be the No. 1 overall pick, Stanford's Solomon Thomas is the draft's next best talent. 

    "I continue to hear from scouts that the Jacksonville Jaguars really like him if he's there at pick No. 4," Bleacher Report's Matt Miller reported.

    Right now, the San Francisco 49ers are considered the favorite to land Thomas with the second overall pick. However, the team may decide to pursue a quarterback or another top defensive talent. The Bears have other available options with the third overall pick as well. 

    Thomas can play multiple roles in the Jaguars' defensive front while learning from longtime professionals like Campbell and Malik Jackson. His potential addition alongside those two veterans as well as Dante Fowler Jr., Yannick Ngakoue and Abry Jones can turn Jacksonville's defensive line into the NFL's best. 

Alex Smith's Future Has Kansas City Chiefs Scouting Quarterbacks

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    Ed Zurga/Associated Press

    The Kansas City Chiefs have been one of the most diligent organizations when searching for a quarterback in this year's draft class. 

    A few busy days occurred last week with multiple visits or workouts. According to ESPN's Josina Anderson, Clemson's Deshaun Watson visited on April 3. Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer visited last week as well, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. And Mitchell Trubisky stopped by Friday, per USA Today's Tom Pelissero. 

    The interest doesn't stop there.

    According to the Houston Chronicle's Aaron Wilson, the team has a workout scheduled with Pitt's Nathan Peterman. Tennessee's Joshua Dobbs has been on the docket as well, per ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. 

    "I'm big on trusting the process," head coach Andy Reid said about drafting a quarterback, per ESPN.com's Adam Teicher. "... Are you going to be right every time? No ... that's the human element. But you surely can't be passive or you're not going to get anywhere."

    Veteran Alex Smith turns 33 years old next month. While he remains a viable starting option, the Chiefs understand there is a potential opt-out clause in his contract after this season, according to Spotrac.com

    A quarterback selection with the 27th overall pick is a very real possibility as Kansas City contemplates its future with and without Smith. If the organization decides to take a leap of faith with a young signal-caller, it will be the first time the Chiefs chose a quarterback in the first round since Todd Blackledge in the 1983 draft. 

Los Angeles Chargers' Philip Rivers Understands Need for Heir Apparent

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    Count the Los Angeles Chargers among the teams searching for their next franchise quarterback. Philip Rivers turns 36 years old in December, and he's ready to take on a role as mentor. 

    "I'm not going to be here forever," Rivers said, per ESPN.com's Eric D. Williams. "And part of this business if you look around the leaguein New England they’ve drafted a handful of guys the last few years, and they’ve got one of the best to ever play. And it looks like he’s still got a lot left in the tank."

    Of course, Rivers isn't going to step aside if the organization does invest a high-round draft choice in the quarterback position. 

    "I certainly don't fear that day when that comes, whatsoever," he said. "... But at the same time, I enjoy sharing things I’ve learned and letting a young guy see how I’ve done things. And at the same time, shoot, I’m always going to compete."

    According to Williams, the Chargers held a private workout with Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes. Tennessee's Joshua Dobbs received the same treatment, per ESPN's Adam Caplan. 

    The Chargers spent three draft picks on quarterbacks since trading for Rivers during the 2004 NFL draft. It's time for the team to use another selection on a signal-caller.

Are the Los Angeles Rams 'Closer' to Competing Than They Appear?

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    The Rams' first season back in Los Angeles turned out to be disaster. The team finished 4-12, and the No. 1 overall pick, quarterback Jared Goff, didn't play like one. 

    But Goff believes the team is much closer to being a winner than last year showed. 

    "I think we're a lot closer to where we want to be than people may think," Goff said per ESPN.com's Alden Gonzalez. "We've got the players, we’ve got the talent. We've got all the pieces we need, really. It's just about putting it together now."

    The quarterback's development is key to the Rams' possible success. The Cal product struggled to adjust to the NFL game as a rookie. Goff completed only 54.6 percent of his passes and finished with a 5-to-7 touchdown-to-interception ratio. 

    What's important at this point is making the young quarterback more comfortable and placing him in a position to succeed. First and foremost, the hire of an offensive-minded head coach was a major step in the right direction. 

    "From what I know, and from what I've seen, it's obviously a great offense," Goff said of Sean McVay's system. "I've talked to quarterbacks around the league and coaches and whatnot, and I haven't heard a bad word about it. So I'm excited for it."

    The draft can provide pieces to complete the offense. Goff requires more help at wide receiver, tight end and along the offensive line. The Rams don't own a first-round pick due to the trade to acquire the quarterback, but this year's class is particularly deep at the skill positions. 

    An impact target or two will be available to the Rams on Day 2 of the draft. In order to prove Goff right, the organization must find those pieces to bolster a unit that finished 32nd overall in total offense last season. 

Miami Dolphins Ready to 'Kill the Draft' Process

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    The Miami Dolphins discovered an identity last season under the direction of new head coach Adam Gase. 

    "You can see how the team has developed," owner Stephen Ross said, per the Miami Herald's Armando Salguero. "The chemistry of the team is totally different. The chemistry of the organization is totally different."

    Previously, Ross showed a willingness to make big, splashy moves in an attempt to improve his roster. Instead, the Dolphins relied on building from within and developing the talent already on the team to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2008 campaign. 

    As such, those in the organization have told Salguero they want to "kill the draft." With the Dolphins' new approach, it's important the organization hits on multiple draft picks. 

    A year ago, Miami drafted a pair of starters in offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil and cornerback Xavien Howard during the first two rounds. Apparently, it wasn't enough. 

    General manager Chris Grier is now expected to find quality prospects throughout the upcoming draft. For the Dolphins, it's no longer just about hitting on their top pick. In order for Miami to take another step as a franchise and separate itself from the rest of the league, the ability to find talent beyond the early selections is vital.

    The only way to kill a draft is by acquiring multiple impact performers from one class. 

Minnesota Vikings Aim to Build a Balanced Offense

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    Without Adrian Peterson, the Minnesota Vikings offense lacked an identity during the 2016 campaign. Since Peterson remains a free agent, the organization must find a way to develop a running game without the Hall of Fame back. 

    "We were almost totally 100 percent one-dimensional, which made it extra tough for the quarterback," head coach Mike Zimmer said at the NFL owners meetings, per ESPN.com's Ben Goessling. "Teams were able to load up on us, rush the quarterback, play more coverage."

    Minnesota signed Latavius Murray to become the team's lead back, but the 27-year-old runner only has one career 1,000-yard campaign and recently required minor ankle surgery, per the St. Paul Pioneer Press' Chris Tomasson. 

    The Vikings can bolster their running back stable in another deep draft class. The franchise doesn't need to spend an early-round pick on the position, but a mid-round selection can provide a quality prospect. 

    Tennessee's Alvin Kamara and Toledo's Kareem Hunt visited the organization on April 4, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune's Andrew Krammer. Wisconsin's Dare Ogunbowale is scheduled to meet with the Vikings this week, per the Sporting News' Kristian R. Dyer. 

    Murray and Jerick McKinnon form a solid duo, but the Vikings need to build a running back stable incapable of finishing dead last in rushing offense for a second straight season.

    "I believe obviously we have to run the ball a lot better," Zimmer said, per Krammer.

Is Marshawn Lynch an Option for New England Patriots?

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    The New England Patriots already traded away first- and second-round picks in this year's draft to acquire wide receiver Brandin Cooks and defensive end Kony Ealy. The organization could spend even more draft capital in the pursuit of another veteran option. 

    Retired running back Marshawn Lynch expressed interest in joining the Patriots, according to the Boston Herald's Jeff Howe. 

    But the only way New England can potentially acquire Lynch is through a trade. The Seattle Seahawks still own the running back's rights. The Patriots may need to flip another draft pick if the interest is reciprocated. 

    With Dion Lewis, James White and Rex Burkhead already on the roster, Bill Belichick's squad lacks a true physical presence at running back. Lynch is an ideal option. 

    Although, the organization hasn't given up on re-signing LeGarrette Blount, who led the league in rushing touchdowns last season. Blount remains interested in returning but not for the amount the team offered, per Howe

    If Blount doesn't budge, Lynch could develop into a realistic option, which in turn affects the team's draft plans. 

New Orleans Saints Fancy Top Linebacker Prospect

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    The New Orleans Saints should walk away from a successful 2017 NFL draft just by adding as many quality defensive prospects as possible. 

    The potential addition of Temple's Haason Reddick in the first round is a great place to start. According to Bleacher Report's Matt Miller, the Saints are enamored with the edge defender-turned-linebacker. 

    Reddick's ascension to the top linebacker prospect was somewhat surprising yet steady during the predraft process. The Temple product converted to defensive end after being a defensive back. As a senior he registered 22.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. 

    His rise up draft boards continued with an outstanding performance at the Reese's Senior Bowl. This is where Reddick's transition to linebacker truly began, and he appeared extremely comfortable at the new position. 

    Finally, the New Jersey native posted an exceptional workout at the NFL combine. As questions regarding Alabama's Reuben Foster swirled, Reddick readily filled his spot at the top available linebacker. 

    With a pair of first-round picks, the Saints can add Reddick with the 11th overall selection and be well on their way to an improved defense. 

New York Giants Believe They're a Tight End from Super Bowl Contention

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    Alan Diaz/Associated Press

    The New York Giants lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Green Bay Packers, yet the team already has high hopes for the 2017 campaign as long as the organization makes the perfect addition during the draft. 

    "I was told if the Giants draft a tight end, they could make a run for the Super Bowl, and if that was me, it’d be really cool to go back home," Miami's David Njoku said, per the Record's Art Stapleton.  

    Njoku, a New Jersey native, is one of three tight ends with the potential to be selected in the first round. 

    Alabama's O.J. Howard is generally considered the top tight end prospect. Howard is a complete prospect as a receiving threat and blocker, even though he was never fully utilized in the Crimson Tide's offense. 

    "He should have had much more production here relative to his ability and what his strengths are," Alabama head coach Nick Saban told Bob Papa and Greg McElroy during an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio. "And, fortunately or unfortunately, we didn't have the complementary people around him to be able to make that happen, so it was no fault of his that he didn't have the production." 

    Howard is the Giants' optimal draft target, but the likelihood of him being available with the 23rd overall pick is slim to none. 

    Njoku is a legitimate option, though. So is Ole Miss' Evan Engram. Engram isn't the same well-rounded prospect as Howard, but his ability to create mismatches in the passing game has the potential to add another dimension to the Giants' passing attack. 

    All three of these tight ends have the ability to complete the Giants offense. Whether the team is a Super Bowl contender after that point is still up for debate.

Defensive Back as Much of a Problem for New York Jets as Quarterback

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    The New York Jets are in the midst of a major roster overhaul. Quarterback remains the primary talking point, yet the team is riddled with holes. 

    The secondary appears to be a prominent concern area for the team. 

    Washington cornerback Kevin King visited with the Jets on April 3, according to the New York Daily News' Manish Mehta. New York has another workout scheduled with San Diego State cornerback Damontae Kazee, per Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline. The team arranged a visit with Ohio State safety Malik Hooker as well, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. According to the Akron Beacon Journal's Nate Ulrich, another former Buckeye, cornerback Gareon Conley, was supposed to meet with the Jets this week, too. 

    Among those mentioned, only Hooker is a legit option with the sixth overall pick.

    But the organization's interest in multiple defensive backs shows a willingness to upgrade a pass defense that finished next to last with only eight interceptions during the 2016 campaign. 

    Darrelle Revis isn't returning to shut down an opponent's top receiver. He's well beyond the point of helping the Jets. Instead, the organization must rely on Buster Skrine, Marcus Williams and Morris Claiborne at cornerback. 

    With Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams' ability to dominate along the defensive front, New York needs ball hawks who can take advantage of an opponent's mistakes.

Marshawn Lynch Isn't the Oakland Raiders' Only Running Back Option

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    A week ago, retired running back Marshawn Lynch told the Oakland Raiders he plans to return and play again, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. 

    Despite a preference to play for his hometown team, Lynch must first file the proper paperwork, have the Seahawks either trade or release him and then consider his options. The running back expressed some interest in playing for the New England Patriots, too, according to the Boston Herald's Jeff Howe. 

    The Raiders can't rely solely on Lynch to fill the black hole the team currently has at running back. 

    "I don't know how this move will play out for them," an AFC director of player personnel said of the potential pairing, per NFL.com's Bucky Brooks. "He's had a bad back and hasn't played in over a year. They are taking a gamble on him, so I'm sure they will keep him on a snap count hoping to make it through the season and get a flashback of his abilities going into the playoffs."

    Oakland hosted Oklahoma's Joe Mixon on March 20, according to ESPN's Adam Caplan. Florida State's Dalvin Cook and Stanford's Christian McCaffrey are options, too, if either is available with the 24th overall pick. 

    Beast Mode may not return to form, and the Raiders would be smart to use him in a running back rotation if he's acquired. All three of the aforementioned prospects can be lead backs, but they're also perfect complements to Lynch as explosive third-down options.

Running Backs Aren't a First-Round Priority for Philadelphia Eagles

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    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    The Philadelphia Eagles don't have a true lead back. Darren Sproles and Ryan Mathews can be an effective duo, yet both will be at least 30 years old this season. 

    As such, the possibility the team considers a running back in the draft's first round seems to be a likely possibility. Instead, the organization may be leaning toward addressing other problem areas. 

    "From an 'inside info' perspective, while I wouldn't say I've heard directly that the Eagles are not drafting a running back in the first round, I have heard other things from credible people that wouldn't require a lot of dot-connecting to come to that conclusion," the Philly Voice's Jimmy Kempski wrote

    Stanford's Christian McCaffrey appears to be an ideal fit for Philadelphia based on how his skill set projects to Doug Pederson's offense. McCaffrey is a younger and bigger version of Sproles since he can impact the game as a runner, receiver or returner. 

    Even so, the franchise might not leap at the chance to select the Stanford product with the 14th overall pick. 

    "The Eagles need a [three-down] back," ESPN's Adam Caplan said during an interview on 97.5 The Fanatic. "I would be floored if the team used a first-round pick on a RB."

    Running back remains an option. The team can wait until later in the draft to address the position, though. 

Pittsburgh Steelers Fixate on Secondary Options

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    With the 30th overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select defensive back...

    Expect NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to say these words once Pittsburgh is ready to make its initial selection. 

    "The Steelers will take the best available player, be it a safety or cornerback, when it's their turn," NFL Network's Aditi Kinkhabwala reported

    The team has primarily concentrated on the safety position during the predraft process. According to Kinkhabwala, Pittsburgh already hosted private workouts for five safeties. One jumped to the top of the team's board. 

    "At that 30th pick, general manager Kevin Colbert loves Jabrill Peppers," Kinkhabwala added. 

    Peppers is an exceptional athlete and a versatile performer who is accustomed to playing at or near the line of scrimmage. 

    "I control the controllables," the Michigan product said at the NFL combine, per ESPN.com's Jeff Legwold. "I'm pretty much effective wherever I'm gonna be put. I don't have a lot of tape at safety, but I'm a pretty damn good safety."

    If Peppers isn't available, the Steelers will consider other options.

    UConn's Obi Melifonwu was scheduled to visit Pittsburgh, per the Houston Chronicle's Aaron Wilson. Washington's Budda Baker and North Carolina State's Josh Jones visited Thursday, according to the Washington Observer-Reporter's Dale Lolley. Michigan State's Montae Nicholson was a part of the team's workouts on April 4, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ray Fittipaldo. 

San Francisco 49ers Partake in Quarterback Travel Circuit

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    Ben Margot/Associated Press

    Anyone who thought the San Francisco 49ers were happy with veterans Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley as the team's quarterbacks was delusional.

    Head coach Kyle Shanahan is taking an active approach in the quarterback search, too. According to Bleacher Report's Matt Miller, the new coach orchestrated the team's workout Monday with North Carolina's Mitchell Trubisky. 

    What's interesting in Shanahan's proactive approach is he isn't looking for a certain scheme fit. 

    "I met with a number of them in Indy [at the combine]," he said, per ESPN.com's Nick Wagoner. "I've met with a number of them over the past few weeks, a number of them with phone calls. You do each guy differently. I don't take the same system with each person." 

    According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the 49ers hosted Clemson's Deshaun Watson Tuesday. 

    What isn't clear at this juncture is whether San Francisco is seriously considering these quarterback prospects with the second overall pick or scouting each for the possibility of a trade-down scenario or one sliding to the top of the second round. 

    "There's some guys you feel that you've got to meet, you've got to see something," Shanahan said. "Just maybe one little thing that you're looking for. So, there's lots of different things that go into each person."

Seattle Seahawks Ready for Life Without Richard Sherman

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    Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

    Richard Sherman's status ties directly into the Seattle Seahawks' draft plans. 

    First, the organization will set its board based on Sherman's potential departure. Second, the compensation Seattle receives can have a major impact on the team's approach. 

    The Seahawks' original asking price was quite steep, though. 

    "Potentially a first-round pick," NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported. "Potentially a very good player on a low contract and a pick as well."

    If Seattle plans to move the five-time Pro Bowl cornerback, the franchise may have to become more receptive to lesser offers. As of now, the price hasn't changed, according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. 

    Whether or not the team moves Sherman, general manager John Schneider and his scouting staff must be prepared to select a potential replacement. This year's secondary class is loaded with multiple cornerbacks who fit Seattle's position profile. 

    Washington's Kevin King, Clemson's Cordrea Tankersley, West Virginia's Rasul Douglas, UCF's Shaquill Griffin and Colorado's Chidobe Awuzie and Ahkello Witherspoon are early-round options. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Look for Cam Brate Upgrade

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    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate emerged during the 2016 campaign and finished second on the team with 57 receptions for 660 yards and eight touchdowns. But his time in Tampa might come to a close sooner than later. 

    Brate becomes a restricted free agent next offseason, and the organization is already looking for a potential replacement. Both Alabama's O.J. Howard and Miami's David Njoku are considered first-round tight ends, and the Buccaneers have spent ample time evaluating both. 

    According to NFL.com's Chase Goodbread, Howard had a visit lined up with the team. ESPN's Adam Caplan reported Njoku visited last month. 

    Both Howard and Njoku are tremendous athletes with near limitless potential. An addition of one or the other provides another weapon for quarterback Jameis Winston. However, the Buccaneers are looking at more tight ends than just the top two prospects. 

    Toledo's Michael Roberts also had a workout with the Buccaneers, per the Tampa Bay Times' Greg Auman. Meanwhile, Ole Miss' Evan Engram met with Tampa Bay tight ends coach Ben Steele, according to the Pewter Report's Scott Reynolds. 

    Brate's future isn't the organization's only issue at tight end; Luke Stocker is scheduled to enter free agency next offseason. Not only are the Bucs searching for possible replacements, the organization needs to build depth, too. 

Tennessee Titans Search to Find Marcus Mariota Some Help

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    Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

    Wide receiver Rishard Matthews and tight end Delanie Walker tied for the Tennessee Titans' team lead with 65 receptions last season. The duo also tied for the 45th-most catches in the league. 

    The fact a Titans target couldn't crack the league's top 40 pass-catchers should be a concern. The organization already built a wall along the offensive line and provided quarterback Marcus Mariota with a strong run game.

    The skill positions now require a similar investment. 

    Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams visited Tuesday, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The team also had a meeting lined up with Washington's John Ross, per NFL.com's Chase Goodbread. 

    Western Michigan's Corey Davis and Alabama tight end O.J. Howard represent other first-round possibilities. Since the Titans own the fifth and 18th overall picks, the organization has an opportunity to overhaul wide receiver and tight end. 

    Simply put, the Titans need playmakers who can create opportunities for the offense. 

    "Get open and catch the football," Titans general manager Jon Robinson said when asked about wide receivers at the NFL combine, per Jim Wyatt of the team's official site. 
    "And there's various ways of getting openit's strength, it's size, it's quickness, it's speed. If you get all that wrapped up and one big bow on it, then you probably have a pretty dang good player."

Galette, Murphy Issues Point Toward a Pass-Rusher for Washington Redskins

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    Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    Fool the team the once, shame on the organization. Fool the team twice, shame on Junior Galette. The only certainty at this point is the Washington Redskins can't rely on the pass-rusher.

    Galette was arrested Friday and charged with disorderly conduct and failure to comply, per ESPN.com's Mike Triplett. The New Orleans Saints already gave up on the talented edge-rusher due to off-field concenrs. Washington may consider a similar action. 

    In two seasons, he's never played a down for Washington due to a pair of Achilles tendon injuries. 

    With Galette's future up in the air and Trent Murphy set to serve a four-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs, according to Master Tesfatsion of the Washington Post, the team requires more depth among its pass-rushers. 

    Ryan Kerrigan is coming of another double-digit sack campaign and Preston Smith has flashed at times, but the rest of the defense provides very little presence when pressuring the quarterback. As such, Washington is exploring its options to improve its front seven.

    The draft's top linebacker, Temple's Haason Reddick, visited the organization, per NFL Total Access. The franchise hosted Michigan defensive end Taco Charlton, too, per the Detroit Free Press' Jake Lourim. Wisconsin's T.J. Watt was also counted among the team's official visits, per NFL.com's Jeremy Bergman. 

    Each of these are first-round talents with the possibility of being available to Washington with the 17th overall pick. 


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