NFL Draft Rumor Mill



League Sources: Bryce Petty More of a Day-Three Prospect

Updated Aug. 30, 2014
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.



The Baylor Bears have become one of the best programs in the Big 12 and have been led by a prolific point machine for an offense. Senior quarterback Bryce Petty enters the 2014 season with a lot of hype as a Heisman Trophy candidate.

However, after speaking with one NFL general manager and some other league sources, they are all down on Petty and don't believe he looks like a potential early-round pick.

One league source said that Petty has received a lot of hype but he isn't very good and doesn't translate well to the NFL. Another league source was more blunt, saying he did not think Petty was good at all. The feedback from league contacts had Petty as a college system quarterback and more of a day-three prospect.

Petty (6-3, 230) is a dual-threat quarterback who completed 62 percent of his passes for 4,200 yards with 32 touchdowns and three interceptions. He ran for 339 yards and 14 touchdowns as well.

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NFL GM: Mariota, "Overrated;" Winston, "the Real Deal"

Updated Aug. 26, 2014
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.



Over the next few months, there will be many comparisons between Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston and Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. Both are draft eligible, and most project them as the top two signal-caller prospects for the NFL. Entering the season, the consensus view has them pretty even as top-10 picks.

We recently talked to an NFL general manager of a team who has a franchise quarterback, so he wouldn't draft either Mariota or Winston. That general manager said that Mariota is vastly overrated, and he doesn't view him as an elite quarterback prospect. Winston however, is the "real deal," according to this general manager.

The NFL prizes pocket passing ability above everything else with a quarterback, and that gives Winston an edge over Mariota. Winston is a rare athlete who is a natural passer. His field vision and decision-making were phenomenal in 2013, and that helped him win a national championship and a Heisman. Mariota, meanwhile, is part of a college up-tempo spread offense. He uses his legs to make more plays that won't translate to the NFL. Mariota needs to show improved pocket passing potential according to that general manager.

Of course, the general manger acknowledged that there is a lot that can change in the months to come, as Mariota looks to improve as a junior. Winston will have the challenge of repeating his 2014 success while staying out of trouble. Other sources have expressed they have off-the-field concerns with Winston, and they want to see him show more maturity.

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Funchess Moving to Receiver is a Mistake

Updated Aug. 7, 2014
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.



Michigan's Devin Funchess was awarded the Big Ten's tight end of the year award in 2013 after he totaled 49 receptions for 748 yards and six touchdowns. Funchess was a dynamic weapon who presented lots of mismatch problems for defenses. Surprisingly, Michigan decided to move Funchess to wide receiver full-time in 2014.

Physically, the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Funchess is a tweener between a tight end and wide receiver. For the NFL, the smart move would have been for Funchess to add weight and fill out his frame to help his blocking ability. At his size, Funchess has an advantage over many NFL defensive backs, but he could struggle to gain separation from cornerbacks. It's much easier for a player like Funchess to get separation running against linebackers and safeties compared to the fastest players on the field.

Receiving tight ends are a rage in the NFL, as they present so many mismatch opportunities. Funchess could have been a potential first-round pick if he stayed at tight end while gaining some weight and improving his blocking. Eric Ebron was a top-10 pick this year, while Tyler Eifert went in the top 25 the year before. Every team wants to find a Jimmy Graham weapon for their offense. Both Ebron and Eifert needed work as blockers when they entered the draft, thus Funchess could easily have received that same high-round consideration. Now, he looks like just another big receiver who may lack the speed to separate in the NFL. Those players are a dime a dozen and typically get selected in the mid to late rounds. Funchess was more special as a tight end. Don't be surprised if NFL teams move him back to that position in a year or two.

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Devonte Fields: First Round to Undrafted?

Updated Aug. 5, 2014
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.



Two years ago, TCU defensive end/outside linebacker Devonte Fields took college football by storm and was one of the best pass-rushers in the nation. We spoke with Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson at the Senior Bowl, and he said that Fields was the best pass-rusher he went against in college. That matchup came when Fields was just a freshman, so there was plenty to get excited about what Fields could evolve into once he gained experience.

Since that freshman season, Fields has gone off the rails. TCU head coach Gary Patterson criticized Fields' performance in spring practice after that season, and Fields was suspended for the 2013 season opener against LSU. He played two games before a season-ending foot injury. The off-the-field issues continued to be a problem for him, as he was arrested for a domestic disturbance with his ex-girlfriend. TCU moved quickly and said that Fields was removed from the team while the legal process played out. In reports, school officials have said if Fields was found guilty, there is no chance they would take him back.

Unsurprisingly, Fields' ex-girlfriend is backing off her story. That opens up the possibility that the charges will be dropped and that Fields will return to football for TCU. The Horned Frogs would certainly like to have the player who broke out with 10 sacks, 53 tackles, 18.5 tackles for a loss, four passes batted, two forced fumbles and an interception in 2012.

While Fields may not be done with college football, he continues to do damage to his NFL stock. Sources say the character issues with Fields are huge and mounting. One team told us that stemming from their ownership, they won't consider drafting players that have had assault issues with women. That was before the controversy surrounding Ravens' running back Ray Rice.

Like Vontaze Burfict from Arizona State a few years ago, the damage from off-the-field issues could cause a first-round talent like Fields to ultimately go undrafted.

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