Welcome to another rousing rendition of NFL Draft Rumor Roundup. It merely took a weekend, but there are many new rumors to discuss out there as we get closer to April 26. Here is the latest batch:
One of the biggest conundrums of the first round is what the Cleveland Browns will do at 4th overall. Alabama running back Trent Richardson, Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon, LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne, USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil and Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill have all been suggested options for the Browns. Dennis Manoloff of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tries to make sense of it, saying the chances of the Browns taking Richardson are "entirely possible," for Blackmon they are "conceivable," while Tannehill got the "unlikely" tag, Claiborne was called "doubtful," and Kalil "won't happen."
After talking with a friend in the media in Cleveland over the weekend, it's tough to make headway of who they may actually take. Richardson seems to be the most likely by many and would fill a giant need. But hearing Tannehill coined as "unlikely" by Manoloff leads me to believe the visit of Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden to Cleveland recently has the Browns thinking they can get their guy at that position later on. You could conceivably see the Browns using 4th overall, 22nd overall and 37th overall on a trio of quarterback, running back and wide receiver -- a fantasy football player's dream.
The New York Jets are currently slotted at 16, but might they consider a jump up? According to Rich Cimini of ESPN New York, the Jets have "the hots" for South Carolina pass rusher Melvin Ingram, a player who has played a little bit of everywhere for the Gamecocks this past season.
The Jets would likely have to hope Jacksonville passes on Ingram at 7 and Miami does the same at 8, because the next team that could be interested in him would be Seattle at 12. That makes trading up for the Jets much more conceivable with those few extra picks passed by. If they like him enough, Seattle may be willing to do business. They are reportedly interested in trading back and picking up Dont'a Hightower, so this could be a win-win for both sides. I know what you're thinking, but I think the Bills trading within the division to help their rivals obtain a pass rusher to crush their quarterback twice a year are not that great. Not if the only thing you gain is a measly mid-round pick.
The Jaguars at 7 seem to be down to a pair of positions as you rifle through various mock drafts. It seems as though their selection will either be a defensive end or a wide receiver. According to Vito Stellino of The Florida Times-Union, the Jaguars are "likely" to select a receiver early in the draft.
With only Mike Thomas and Laurent Robinson as their top two options, the Jaguars are in a tough spot at that position. Whether Stellino was talking about their first or second round pick, that isn't determined just yet. But you'd have to believe that Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon would earn a good amount of consideration if he fell to them, as should Notre Dame's Michael Floyd. If they want Blaine Gabbert to succeed, a top target would be the best way.
With the way the Detroit Lions were torched on defense, most notably in their secondary, it isn't that much of a stretch to think a targeted position of theirs is cornerback at 23rd overall. But according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, a team source tells him the chances are slim that they use that selection on North Alabama cornerback Janoris Jenkins.
That's probably a good move for the Lions, with their top three picks from last season all having some red flags in terms of their personality. Combine that with news breaking this off-season within days of one another that 2011 first round pick Nick Fairley and 2011 second round pick Mikel Leshoure both having a marijuana-related arrest, it could explain the trepidation towards Jenkins. He was arrested three times in his first three seasons of college with Florida, and then got kicked off the team. The team could still go for a cornerback if Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick falls that far or recent mover Stephon Gilmore of South Carolina is on the board. If not, left tackle could be the play for the Lions with some good 2nd or 3rd round options at cornerback existing.
The Minnesota Vikings are trying desperately to get people interested enough in Ryan Tannehill to trade up to 3rd overall to get him, but it just doesn't seem to be working. With Matt Kalil likely their pick in the first round, Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press thinks about what the team may do at 35th overall. He alludes to GM Rick Spielman and how much he loves former Notre Dame players. With a need at safety, Walters reasons that Notre Dame's Harrison Smith would be a good fit for the Vikings, saying "If Smith is available, there is little doubt the Vikings will pounce on him."
With an overall lack of depth at safety in this draft class, the Vikings may not end up getting their guy if they are indeed targeting Smith. He's the consensus number two safety available, and he could sneak in to the end of the first round. Past the first few options at that position, the talent really drops off unless you're converting a stiff-hipped cornerback in to a safety.