2018 NFL Draft: BS Meter on Latest Buzz, Rumors
This is prime-time for smokescreens and misdirection in the 2018 NFL draft.
With the first pick less than 24 hours away, teams may try to use information as a way to gain one last advantage before the event kicks off Thursday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. A draft with so much unpredictability at the top, especially among the quarterbacks, is primed for media misdirection.
Below, we'll attempt to sift through the smoke and discover the truth behind many of the recent reports and rumors circulating, with a 1 on the B.S. Meter representing actual truth and a 10 representing nothing but a smokescreen.
Rumor: Baker Mayfield in Play for Browns at No. 1
Much of the predraft hype regarding the Cleveland Browns' No. 1 pick has revolved around USC's Sam Darnold and Wyoming's Josh Allen, but Adam Schefter of ESPN reported Tuesday that Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield is "definitely" in consideration to be the top pick.
More than likely, the Browns have already decided on their selection. And it's possible they are floating the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner's name now to entice a team—such as the New York Jets—to move up and get him.
But this is a believable rumor given Mayfield's overall skill set as a passer and the Browns' obvious need to finally get it right at quarterback. Pro Football Focus has long touted Mayfield as the top signal-caller and the best overall player in the class. Maybe general manager John Dorsey and the Browns agree.
BS Meter: 2
Rumor: Cardinals to Make a Big Move Up for a QB
Here's a rumor that makes plenty of sense: The Arizona Cardinals will trade up to get a quarterback.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Cardinals have been researching ways to land one of the top quarterbacks. They could move up as high as No. 5 or 6.
Arizona is holding the 15th pick in the first round. It lacks the draft capital to move up 10 spots without major sacrifice, but giving up future high draft picks is always an option.
There's no reason to doubt the Cardinals' aggressiveness here. The franchise needs a quarterback of the future, especially after Carson Palmer retired in January, and there's no guarantee one of the top passers will last until No. 15. If Arizona likes a quarterback, it should go get him. Expect it to be moving up Thursday night.
BS Meter: 1
Buzz: Packers Want to Trade Up from No. 14
Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst didn't rule out trading up from the No. 14 spot during his predraft press conference Monday, and ESPN reporter Rob Demovsky predicted it'll happen Thursday night if the top defensive backs start going off the board.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network confirmed Wednesday that the Packers are "plotting" a move up from 14.
The premise here is simple: The Packers rarely pick this high, and they want to make sure they get a difference-maker. If that means moving up and sacrificing a few of their NFL-high 12 picks, then so be it.
Potential targets include North Carolina State edge-rusher Bradley Chubb, Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward, Florida State safety Derwin James, Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick. Several teams, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins, could take the player the Packers want before they come on the clock.
It's possible Green Bay will stay put and still land a really good player at No. 14, but the roster needs a game-changer on defense. In his first-ever draft as GM, Gutekunst has the draft capital to move up. It wouldn't be surprising if the Packers did just that to get a defender they covet.
BS Meter: 3
Buzz: Roquan Smith Coveted Early
Don't expect Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Roquan Smith to drop below the first 10 selections.
Several teams picking early in the round, including the Indianapolis Colts (No. 6 via the Jets), San Francisco 49ers (No. 9) and Oakland Raiders (No. 10), have been connected with the 2017 Butkus Award winner.
Smith appears to be in growing demand as the draft nears. According to Rapoport, Smith's stock is "higher than expected."
If a team is attempting to use Smith as bait to get another franchise to trade up, the buzz could be smoke. The Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins or Baltimore Ravens could be tempted to move higher to get the top inside linebacker.
But the interest in Smith seems genuine. He's the perfect modern NFL linebacker and one of the safer bets in the draft. It'd be a surprise if he got past the Raiders.
BS Meter: 2
Rumor: Josh Rosen to Fall
Josh Rosen has been getting some recent buzz, with several people—including NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah and Sporting News' Eric Galko—believing the UCLA quarterback is about to tumble down the board in the first round.
We're calling B.S. No quarterback in this draft is without warts, but it sounds like several teams picking later in the first round want a crack at Rosen and will do whatever is necessary to help the cause.
Rosen is a polished passer with good size (6'4", 226 lbs), accuracy, pocket presence, anticipation and intelligence. Too many teams still need their quarterback of the future. Even if he falls out of the top five, it's hard to envision he'll suffer an Aaron Rodgers-like drop.
BS Meter: 8
Rumor: Josh Allen Might Fall
Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen is the enigma of the draft. He has the prototype physical abilities, but there's something to be desired about the product he put on the field in college (56.2 completion percentage).
So there's a chance he'll fall, possibly further than most think.
A source told Peter King of The MMQB that Allen will not be the Browns' pick at No. 1. King's mock draft has Allen falling out of the top five, with the Buffalo Bills grabbing him at No. 6 after moving up via a trade with the Colts.
That seems like a reasonable scenario if other quarterback-needy teams such as the New York Giants, New York Jets and Denver Broncos go in other directions. Will the Bills or Cardinals want to give up a bunch of draft capital to get him? We'll see.
Allen will still probably go early. In fact, a general manager told Schefter he believes there's a "50 percent chance" four quarterbacks will go in the first five picks.
BS Meter: 4
Buzz: Patriots Want Lamar Jackson
The New England Patriots will be one of the most interesting teams to watch in the first round. With two picks Thursday night (Nos. 23 and 31) and growing retirement buzz surrounding Tom Brady, who turns 41 years old in August, the Pats have a chance to make a big splash.
How does a trade up for Lamar Jackson sound?
According to Rapoport, the Patriots' interest in the Louisville Cardinals quarterback is "legit," making it possible head coach Bill Belichick will want to move up to grab his quarterback of the future.
It could be a dream fit. Jackson would learn behind one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, and Belichick and the Patriots would secure five years of one of the most exciting quarterback prospects in recent memory.
The predraft contact between the two sides suggests the Patriots are serious about acquiring Jackson, and if they want the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner, they have the firepower to get him.
BS Meter: 2
Buzz: Browns Looking to Trade No. 4
The Browns could throw the draft for a loop by making a deal shortly after their first selection.
According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, they have fielded plenty of calls about the fourth overall pick—which could be a valuable spot for teams wanting a quarterback.
Taking a signal-caller at No. 1 and then trading down a few spots from No. 4 could make for a strong start, especially if Dorsey is considering a number of players there. He could still get his impact player further down the board with a good trade.
Of course, all this depends on another team's interest. Plenty of franchises will likely be attempting to get ahead of the Broncos at No. 5, so Cleveland should have several attractive trade-down scenarios available. Dorsey might not take one of them, but there's no reason to believe he won't have the opportunity. Expect him to move down the board if the right team with the right offer comes calling.
BS Meter: 2
Buzz: Offensive Tackle to Go Earlier Than Expected?
Rare is the mock draft with an offensive tackle going in the top 10. The class is perceived to be weak at the position, and most prognosticators haven't predicted teams to reach for one.
Not so fast, says Lance Zierlein of NFL.com. He believes one particular offensive tackle could go higher than expected.
"Notre Dame OT Mike McGlinchey is the player I expect to be picked earlier than I'm seeing him projected to go in most mock draft," Zierlein wrote. "Everyone concedes that this is a poor class of offensive tackles, but unlike last year, I don't see teams sitting still and waiting to take one later in the first round."
Teams that could target an offensive tackle early on include the Cleveland Browns (in a potential trade down?), Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers.
No team should reach for a player early in the first round, even at a need position. McGlinchey could be a good pro, but it's not even certain that he'll be able to hold up on the left side. Maybe teams picking in the middle of the round want a team to panic and reach on an offensive tackle.
BS Meter: 6