NFL Draft Rumor Mill



Sources: Connor Cook Has High First-Round Potential

Updated Oct. 25, 2014
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.



Florida State's Jameis Winston and Oregon's Marcus Mariota have received all the attention and headlines as the top quarterback prospects for the 2015 NFL Draft, however NFL teams believe that there could be a third signal-caller who ends up being a high first-round pick. League sources we spoke to, including one general manager, feel that Michigan State junior quarterback Connor Cook could possibly be a high first-round pick.

Sources say that Cook has a good skill set to be an NFL starter. The 6-foot-4, 218-pound Cook plays in a pro-style system and has shown improvement with his ability to function in the pocket while working through his progressions. He has a quality arm and can make all the throws necessary at the next level. He also has underrated mobility. In many games, Cook will make some amazingly accurate throws into extremely tight windows for completions downfield, but also has some inconsistency with his accuracy on the routine passes.

Sources say that Cook needs to improve his footwork, accuracy, passing while under pressure, and overall consistency in order to be a high first-round pick. He has completed 61 percent of his passes for 1,868 yards with 17 touchdowns and five interceptions this season.

If Cook finishes the season strong and enters the draft, he could be part of an interesting discussion at the top of the draft. Cook has a clean off-the-field profile unlike Winston, and Cook has shown more skills as a pocket passer than Mariota. Some teams could end up preferring Cook to those quarterbacks. Sources say that Cook has the potential to be a high first-rounder, but he hasn't proven it definitively yet.

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2015 Tight End Class Doesn't Impress

Updated Oct. 18, 2014
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.



Every draft class has some positions that are weak on talent. Back in 2013, quarterbacks were especially weak, while guard was very strong. Last year tight end was strong, while center wasn't as talented. League sources have told us that they are very unimpressed with the tight end prospects who are eligible for the 2015 NFL Draft.

Tight end is so weak that currently the favorite player for the position is a conversion, tweener prospect in Michigan's Devin Funchess, who was the Big 10 Tight End of the Year but has since moved to wide receiver. Sources said they are excited about Funchess as a tight end, but that's if he can move back to the position. The 6-foot-5, 230-pounder would have to gain some weight to serve as a blocker in the NFL, and his blocking would need a lot of development. It will be interesting to see if Funchess is willing to go back to tight end, or if he wants to remain at receiver.

After Funchess, sources say that Florida State's Nick O'Leary will probably be drafted next. The reliable O'Leary has been a solid receiver for the Seminoles the past few years. League contacts say that O'Leary is a solid player, but not special. They think he's going to be over drafted by a team that has a big need at tight end.

Another tight end who could go on the second day of the draft is Miami's Clive Walford. Sources say they like the size of the 6-foot-4, 258-pounder Walford and feel that he catches the ball well. However, they don't think Walford is all that athletic.

Last year, the tight end class was strong, as five were selected in the top 65 picks and two more went in the third round, including Eric Ebron, who was chosen in the top 10. Sources think the 2015 class probably won't come close to those numbers and are hoping that there are some breakout players in the second half of the college football season.

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Sources: Todd Gurley's Suspension Won't Hurt Him at All

Updated Oct. 10, 2014
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.



It was a surprise to see Georgia running back Todd Gurley suspended indefinitely, and it appears his suspension is for an NCAA rules violation related to autographing memorabilia. Gurley has a good reputation off the field, so this suspension came out of nowhere. Sources from multiple NFL teams adamantly told me that this suspension won't hurt Gurley's draft stock.

Sources say that Gurley is just too talented and too good of a kid for teams to hold this suspension against him. They say that off the field, Gurley is a good worker and teammate who loves football. Last year, Texas A&M and future Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel was basically suspended half a game for the same thing. NFL teams view this as more NCAA nonsense and a non-issue for Gurley's pro prospects.

The past three years, the 6-foot-1 232-pound back has been destroying teams with his combination of size and speed. Gurley has averaged 8.2 yards for 773 yards with eight touchdowns in 2014. He has 11 receptions for 53 yards. Gurley had huge games against Clemson, Troy, South Carolina and Vanderbilt.

After his consistent play over the past three seasons with some dominant games against elite competition, Gurley looks poised to break the mold of teams passing on running backs in the first round. In the 2012 NFL Draft, three running backs were taken on Thursday night, and none were taken in the top 32 in 2013 or 2014. No draft prospect wants a suspension to answer questions about, but sources told us that they don't envision Gurley's suspension impacting his draft stock negatively.

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Sources: Ameer Abdullah Round 2 Possibility

Updated Oct. 2, 2014
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.



It isn't easy for undersized running backs to go early in the NFL Draft, but one running back who has the potential to change that is Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah. We heard from NFL sources, including one general manager, who feels that Abdullah could end up being a second-round pick. Abdullah became Nebraska's all-time leading rusher this season and has impressed NFL evaluators.

Sources say they like Abdullah's versatile skill set. The slashing runner is tough for his size with excellent vision, fast feet, balance, and third-down potential for the NFL. This season, Abdullah (5-9, 195) has averaged 7.3 yards per carry for 833 yards and eight touchdowns. Even though he only has five receptions, Abdullah has shown enough where evaluators feel he'll be a good contributor in the passing offense.

Abdullah could use see his stock continue to rise if he keeps playing well and impresses at the Senior Bowl in the blitz-protection drills. It would be wise for Abdullah to go to Mobile, as his stock could continue to rise with a strong showing there. With his athleticism and speed, Abdullah should perform well at the Combine.

Throughout his collegiate career, Abdullah has stayed durable, and it will be important for him to maintain that this year.

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