NFL Hot Press: Around-the-League NFL Draft Rumor Tidbits

Around-the-League NFL Draft Rumor Tidbits

Updated April 26, 2017
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

On the eve of the 2017 NFL Draft. Here are some rumors that Walter Football has heard from team sources. 

  • One of the mysteries of the 2017 NFL Draft is how high Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon will go. Mixon’s off-the-field issues are well known at this point, so it is unnecessary to restate why this first-round talent might slide in the draft. Some team sources feel that Mixon is on a par with LSU’s Leonard Fournette as an elite back and one of the best players in the 2017 NFL Draft. A lot of teams have shown interest and hosted him on pre-draft visits. That group includes the Packers, Bengals, Broncos, Jaguars, Saints, Raiders, and Buccaneers. 

    In speaking with some sources at Green Bay, they say it is a strong possibility that the Packers will take Mixon. Because they can’t count on Mixon making it to their second-round pick, Green Bay could take Mixon in the first round. Another possibility would be trading up in the second round for Mixon. 

    Green Bay is generally a very secretive team, so you can never rule out that the Packers have something else completely different up their sleeve. Some sources say even a quarterback like Texas Tech’s Pat Mahomes is in play for Green Bay. He would be a good understudy to Aaron Rodgers. Similar to the Packers’ franchise quarterback, Mahomes has a strong arm with mobility, athleticism, and moxie. For the Packers to take Mahomes, the value would have to be right, but Ted Thompson selected Rodgers in the first round with having Brett Favre for years to come, so you can never rule out Thompson looking down the road with Rodgers turning 34 later this year. 
  • At the combine, had heard that the Tennessee Titans‘ plan with their pair of first-round picks was to address the defensive secondary first and then an offensive weapon with their second selection. After the Titans’ shopping spree in free agency that included two veteran defensive backs and meeting with coaches during the organizational draft meetings in April, sources tell me that the team flipped the order of the plan. Heading into the draft, sources now say the Titans are likely to take an offensive weapon with the fifth-overall pick. The two players who are being targeted are Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams and Alabama tight end O.J. Howard. It sounds like they are leaning towards Williams with the fifth-overall pick. 

    At pick 18, Tennessee could target a No. 1 cornerback for their defense. Alabama’s Marlon Humphrey and Colorado’s Chidobe Awuzie are in play. Ohio State’s Gareon Conley was also a candidate, but with the rape allegation against Conley, the Titans will likely to go with a different player. It sounds like Humphrey is the preferred corner over Awuzie, but the Titans also would consider trading down as they are without a second-round pick. This is a deep cornerback draft, so they could hope to move down and still land a good cornerback upgrade. With two third-round picks, the Titans could do a lot of work toward pushing their roster into playoff form in the 2017 draft. 

  • Staying in the AFC South, after speaking with sources, I think it is extremely likely that that Texans will move up to get either Texas Tech quarterback Pat Mahomes II or Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson. I think the slight preference between the two is Mahomes, but both quarterbacks have made a good impression around the league. The key will be if one or both getting past the Saints at pick 11, Browns at 12, and Cardinals at 13. If they do, I think Houston will explore a move up to get one of them. The Texans’ need at quarterback is so obvious around the league that teams picking at the top of the second round know they need to jump Houston to get one of those quarterbacks. I don’t think the Texans will give up their second-round pick. The third-rounder is probably less likely as well, but they do have two fourth-round selections, and they could look to move up 3-5 spots for one of those picks. Last year Houston moved up for Will Fuller and Nick Martin. The previous year they moved up for Bernardrick McKinney and Jaelen Strong, so the track record of being aggressive is clear.  

    The Texans are the only team in the NFL that has all of their first-round picks since 2008 still on the team and occupying starting spots. General manager Rick Smith and the scouting staff have done a masterful job of hitting on first-round picks. Now they have the challenge of keeping that streak alive at the most important position on the field and will probably trade up for that quarterback. 
  • The Los Angeles Chargers haven’t been mentioned very much as a team that could target Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen, but in speaking with sources, they say that Allen is definitely in play for Los Angeles. They hosted him on a visit, and he is a good fit in Gus Bradley’s defense. They could easily take Allen if he gets to their pick. Most believe that Allen won’t go in the top three, so if the Jaguars pass on him at 4, that could set up the Chargers to snatch him up with the seventh-overall pick.
  • Every year, some players have medical evaluations that end up hurting their draft stock. After the season, it was announced that Wisconsin left tackle Ryan Ramczyk would have hip surgery that would prevent him from working out before the combine. Aside from that issue, teams sources say that there were some other red flags in Ramczyk’s medical report and they are concerned about him sustaining lower body injuries in the NFL. If Ramczyk slides to the second round, the medical concerns will definitely be one of the primary reasons. 
  • In a weak tackle class, teams were hoping for clean reports on Ramczyk and Utah’s Garett Bolles, but that wasn’t the case. Bolles is healthy physically, but some teams are concerned with his mental health. They worry about how he will handle the stress of the NFL and if that will lead to Bolles having issues staying on the field or not playing well while on it. Other teams weren’t concerned and felt that Bolles was over his past issues, but that sentiment isn’t agreed upon across the league.