As the NFL draft nears, the rumor mill only gets louder.
The draft has teams notoriously loose-lipped about their plans as the date nears. Sometimes its just noise meant to muddy the waters, sometimes it's purposeful in inflating the stock of prospects they aren't even interested in and sometimes it's legitimate.
Either way, it's all interesting.
After dozens of mock drafts and predictions about who will rise and fall in the draft, it's interesting to see what grumblings come about from league sources across the NFL's front offices.
The Giants, Raiders and Patriots are all three teams who have been the focus of much conjecture this offseason. The Giants hold the No. 4 pick and could go a variety of ways with it, the Patriots could potentially be looking for a Tom Brady replacement and the Raiders own two picks in the first round.
So it doesn't come as a surprise that the latest buzz focuses on those three teams.
Derrick Brown in Play for the Giants
The first three picks of the draft figure to be straightforward if most mock drafts are to be believed. We are going to get Joe Burrow to the Bengals, Chase Young to the Redskins and either Jeff Okudah to the Lions or a trade up for a team to get Tua Tagovailoa.
The Giants are the first wildcard.
Many mocks have them taking Isaiah Simmons. He's an extremely versatile defensive weapon with a rare set of skills. Or they have them taking an offensive tackle. In a draft class full of good prospects at the position they could have their pick of the loaded class.
However, another name could be in play for the Giants. Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News reported that Derrick Brown is among the options "on the table" for Big Blue.
Brown is the most well-rounded defensive tackle prospect on the board and widely considered to be a top 10 prospect, but the Auburn product going fourth overall would be the first curveball of the draft.
He's currently slotted in at No. 7 to the Carolina Panthers in Matt Miller's latest mock draft.
Leonard also mentions the possibility of trading back, which would make the Brown pick more logical. Should any team want to trade up ahead of the Dolphins who are presumably interested in drafting a quarterback the Giants would be the ideal trade partner.
If the Giants could trade back and acquire picks its easier to see them taking Brown and fortifying their defensive front.
Patriots Will Go Quarterback at Some Point
The New England Patriots are one of the most fascinating teams in the draft. Moving on from the Tom Brady era leaves all kinds of questions about the direction of the franchise.
The team seems content to let Jarrett Stidham be the lead candidate to take over for Tom Brady as of right now, but that could change quickly come draft time.
At No. 23 in the first round, the Pats aren't in a position to add one of the premier passers in this draft. That doesn't mean they won't add a quarterback with one of their selections, though.
Mike Reiss of ESPN.com reported the Pats "almost certainly will add a rookie quarterback" at some point In the draft after releasing Cody Kessler and clearing a roster spot.
One target that Reiss highlights is Florida International's James Morgan. The quarterback isn't just generating buzz with the Patriots. Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle also noted Morgan recently, linking the quarterback to the Packers, Bears, Colts, Raiders, Giants, Bills, Jets and Dolphins.
Morgan's buzz really started to grow earlier than this week. He was a standout at the Shrine Game and reportedly talked to a vast majority of the teams while he was preparing for the game in January.
How early the Patriots choose a quarterback will show how much belief they have in Stidham. However, they may have to take Morgan earlier than expected if that's their guy given how many teams have shown a level of interest in him.
Raiders Could Be Targeting Cornerback Early
The Las Vegas Raider enter the draft with two first-round picks and a commitment to rebuilding the defense. Thay made key free agency signings on that side of the ball with the addition of Nick Kwiatkoski and Cory Littleton among others, but they likely aren't done investing in the unit.
While most mock drafts have the team taking one of the many talented wide receivers there's a possibility they throw a wrench into things by taking a cornerback.
Scott Bair of NBC Sports reported the Raiders "there’s a strong belief cornerback is a high priority in the NFL draft," adding that it "seems likely the Raiders add a cornerback at No. 12 or 19 overall."
This is interesting because of the many ways the 11 picks could go before the Raiders are on the clock at 12. If no receiver is taken they could start the run on the three top receivers available which in CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III.
There's also a chance that two of the three or all three are gone and the Raiders would be faced with taking from the second tier of receivers or starting the run on corners at No. 12.
CJ Henderson is usually the second cornerback off the board in most mocks. He's currently the No. 16 selection in Miller's mock to the Atlanta Falcons.
It seems more likely the Raiders would go receiver first and take a corner at No. 19 given the general consensus on the prospects. But NFL scouting departments don't work off the consensus of media big boards. They may have Henderson or another corner rated highly enough to surprise everyone and take one at No. 12.