NEWS AND NEAR NEWS

Media outlets wishing to interview Colin Lindsay or Pigskin Paul Guillemette about the draft or other football topics should email the editor or call 613-692-1088

Top prospects for 2020 … One of the continuing story lines of the 2019 draft process is whether any of this year’s QB-needy teams are in fact looking ahead to the 2020 draft to address that situation, in what is being touted as a QB-rich year. There have been rumors, for example, that that is the plan in Miami where the Dolphins need a long-term replacement for Ryan Tannehill, who was released earlier this off-season. Only time will tell how all that plays out, but there is no question that at least as of today, 2020 looks like it is going to be a really good draft for QBs. We had our Larry Parker put together a preliminary list of the top 50 prospects for the 2020 draft, and QBs make up three of the top 4 prospects – Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama, Georgia’s Jake Fromm and Jacob Eason of Washington – as well as 5 of the top 13 with Oregon’s Justin Herbert and K.J. Costello of Stanford coming in at #s 10 and 13. Meanwhile, it should also be a pretty good year along the offensive line with 3 PAC-12 OT’s making the first 14 spots, including Walker Little of Stanford, Washington’s Trey Adams and Oregon’s Calvin Throckmorton. Here is the full list of preliminary top prospects for the 2020 draft.

Parker posts March mock … GBN Investigative College Football Analyst Larry Parker has updated his 2019 first-round draft projection based on the data from the combine and pro days.

After scare, UK TE Conrad able to work out at pro day … OLB Josh Allen, who is considered to be a top 3-4 prospect for this year’s draft, did not participate at all at today’s pro day at Kentucky, but TE C.J. Conrad was at least able to do positional drills. Conrad, who had been considered to be a decent second-tier candidate for the upcoming draft, had feared that his football playing days might be done when he was sent home from the combine with a heart condition, but he got clearance to resume his career last week and was able to participate at least on a partial basis. However, there still may be a ways to go before NFL teams feels comfortable about having a player with a major health risk on the field. At the same time, a couple of former Wildcats who were not invited to the combine posted eye-catching numbers that at least might get their college tapes a second look. RT George Asafo-Adjei was credited with a sub-4.95 40 clocking, that even if a deflated hand-held time would still be very good, while he also cranked out 31 reps on the bench press, a mark that would have put him tied for 10th at the combine among all players and tied for fifth at his position. Meanwhile, CB Chris Westry created a buzz at the finish of the 40 when he clocked in at under 4.35 seconds and then posted a very competitive 38 inches in the vertical jump.

Rising FS Adderley has strong pro day; local teams interested … Delaware had its biggest pro day crowd ever as over 70 NFL personnel people from all 32 teams were at the Blue Hens workout earlier today. And most were there to see rising FS Nasir Adderley, who was unable to workout at the combine because of an ankle injury. Adderley, though, didn’t disappoint at his pro day as he ran a 4.54 40 despite tweaking a hammy late in the run, while posting very athletic leaps of 38-inches in the vertical and 10-9 in the standing long jump. However, because of the hamstring, Adderley wasn’t able to participate in positional drills. Adderley is now considered to be one of the top 2-3 safeties in this year’s draft with some potential to sneak into the latter part of the opening round. Interestingly, the two teams who spent the most time with Adderley today were the Eagles and Giants, both of whom are from just down the road. It was the Giants who reportedly got the dinner date with Adderley for this evening.

Guess who’s coming to dinner!! … This week’s round of pro day workouts by several of the top QB prospects for the upcoming draft is over for now, but the actual throwing routines are only part of the equation. The other part of the story is which teams are going above and beyond in the due diligence on these guys by meeting privately in one way or another with these guys. At least 6 teams, for example, either met, or will meet privately with Drew Lock of Missouri after his pro day yesterday including the Giants, Washington, Miami, Denver, Detroit and the LA Chargers. Meanwhile, the Giants and Washington also both met with West Virginia’s Will Grier after his pro day workout yesterday, along with Carolina. For the record, most reports on Grier’s workout yesterday were very positive, although the workout itself didn’t get the national exposure of those of Lock, Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State, although it would seem that Grier is regarded more as a fall-back second-day type option at the position rather than as a potential first-rounder.

Pigksin seers Seahawks draft … As he has done in the past, GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette will be posting mock drafts for specific teams over the final few weeks of the pre-draft process starting today with the Seattle Seahawks.

Top LBs in pro day focus … The busiest week on the annual pro day circuit wraps up today with another dozen or so workouts scheduled across the country including stops at LSU and Kentucky. And one can figure there will be good turnouts at both workouts as both the Tigers and Wildcats feature LBs with top 5 potential for the upcoming draft in Devin White of LSU and Kentucky’s Josh Allen. There should also be an unusually big crowd at Delaware pro day later today where the Blue Hens have one of their prospects ever in rising FS Nasir Adderley who is starting to generate some late first round buzz.

Solid workout for Missou QB Lock … Missouri QB Drew Lock just completed the throwing portion of his pro day workout. And by all accounts it was a solid workout, although not as complete as those of Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins earlier this month. Lock showed plenty of arm strength, although the ball seems to come out at a 3/4 angle. He also moves well and appeared to be a little more consistent with his footwork than sometimes was evident during the season. On the other hand, the accuracy wasn’t there on a consistent basis today and the ball placement wasn’t what would like to see for someone throwing against air.

Another day; another QB pro day … It will be the turn of Missouri QB Drew Lock to workout for pro personnel people later this morning as the annual pro day schedule churns on. The NFL Network will have full coverage beginning at 11 AM ET. Lock is generally considered to be the #3 QB prospect in this year’s draft behind Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State, both of whom had strong workouts at their respective pro days earlier this month. However, while both Murray and Haskins are considered to be legit top 10 prospects, there is greater debate among NFL people where Lock fits after a somewhat inconsistent 2018 season. In fact, there’s a two-fer today as West Virginia’s Will Grier will also be working out today at the Mountaineers’ pro day, while there are other pro days at South Carolina, California, Louisville, Tulane, UMass, and Western Michigan on another very busy day on the pro day schedule.

Solid pro day showing for OSU QB Haskins … Whether Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins added to his overall final draft grade with his performance at today’s pro day at the school is open to debate, but its hard to see where he would have lost any ground. Haskins completed 58 of 64 passes during a scripted throwing session which included a couple of drops. Along the way, Haskins showed the arm strength to make all the throws at the next level; he also demonstrated an easy, compact release, good route anticipation and nice touch. Haskins also included some movement skills in his workout regime in which he looked very light on his feet, although its always tough to judge when players are moving against air. And while almost anything could happen between now and draft day, the team showing Haskins to most love these days remain the Giants. Indeed, after taking Haskins to dinner last night prior to the pro day, Giants’ head coach Pat Shurmur was the first to talk with him at the end of the workout. Later Shurmur described the workout as as ‘excellent’, while praising Haskins as an ‘accomplished and impressive young man’. ’’ In fact, despite reports in the past week that the Giants were not all that interested in Haskins, they had a 10-man party in Columbus today which also included Senior Vice President of player personnel Chris Mara, Kevin Abrams, vice president of football operations and assistant general manager; and Chris Pettit, director of college scouting. However, the Giants aren’t the only team with at least some interest in Haskins as he set up at least 4 other private visits including those with Oakland, Miami, Denver and Washington, each of whom has a top 15 pick this coming April.

Pro day updates … Just a couple of updates from yesterday’s pro day action. At Alabama, OLB Christian Miller, who didn’t run at the combine because of a hamstring injury, was again unable to do the 40. Same for FS Deionte Thompson who remains sidelined after recently undergoing wrist surgery. Both are hoping to run at a second Alabama pro day on April 2nd, although neither appears to guaranteed to be available. One former Alabama player who did run after passing on the 40 at the combine was CB Saivion Smith, but he reportedly might have been better to have stood in bed as he was reportedly clocked as low as the 4.7 range. One former Alabama player who scouts wanted to see who was not at the combine was WR Derek Kief who had a decent pro day. Kief measured in at a rangy 6-4, 204, had a 35-inch vertical and a 10.5-inch standing long jump, while he clocked in the low 4.6 range for the 40. Meanwhile, Hawaii WR John Ursua, who led the country with 16 receiving TDs last fall, drew some interest when his team worked out at the UCLA pro day yesterday. Ursua isn’t all that big at barely 5-9, 178, while his 40 time of 4.56 and 37-inch vertical were about about average for the position. Where Ursua stood out, though were in the agility drills in which his 3-cone time would have tied for first at the position at the combine, while his short shuttle time of 4.08 seconds would have been 4th.

Giants wine and dine OSU QB Haskins prior to pro day … One of the interesting elements to the pro day experience, particualrly as it relates to the very top prospects, is which team or teams get to spend extra time with the player prior to or after the actual workout. In the case of Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins, it was the Giants who got to take Haskins out to dinner last night prior to today’s formal pro day. The fact that it was the Giants is a bit surprising because it was just a few days ago that there were numerous media reports (which make actually have been started by us) that the Giants, while they were intrigued by the upside of Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray, had no interest in Haskins, in large part because of his lack of mobility. However, because it appears that the Giants have no chance to get Murray who seems destined to go to Arizona which has the #1 pick overall, Haskins is their next best option to find a replacement for Eli Manning at least this year.

Buckeyes hilite busy day on pro day schedule … Today may be the busiest day on the annual pro day schedule with on-campus workouts scheduled at Ohio State, Notre Dame, Southern Cal, Georgia, Pittsbrugh, Boston College and Baylor among other schools. Most of today’s focus, though, will be on the Ohio State workout where QB Dwayne Haskins will throw in front of what is expected to be one of the largest groups of NFL personnel people this year. Haskins, of course, is one of the top 2 QB prospects for this year’s draft, but has kind of been steamrolled by the Kyler Murray Express the past few weeks. For the record, the NFL Netowrk will have live coverage of the Ohio State pro day beginning at 1 PM ET this afternoon.

‘Bubblish’ pro day for LaTech DE Ferguson … With all the excitement at today’s Alabama it wasn’t all that hard to overlook the figure that maybe the day’s most relevant on-campus workout was actually at Louisiana Tech where DE Jaylon Ferguson finally got to do his stuff. Ferguson, the NCAA’s all-time career sack leader, was originally invited, but then disinvited to the combine because of a past criminal record involving violence. All 32 teams, including a number of defensive line coaches, had reps in Ruston today for the Bulldogs’ pro day where like some of the top Alabama prospects, Ferguson put up decent, though, not exactly earth-shattering numbers. Ferguson, for example, managed 24 reps in the bench press and had a 32-inch vertical leap, both of which were somewhere in the middle of the pack among DEs and ERs. Unfortunately, no official 40-time for Ferguson was released, but people around the place were saying it was in the 4.75 range. Given that ‘people around the place’ tend to exaggerate some of the numbers, figure that Ferguason’s actual time was probably closer to the low 4.8s which was pretty much was expected by most scouts. Again, not a bad time for a guy known more for his strength, bend and ability to change direction than his foot speed, but it is also hard to see that lack of pure athleticism translating into a late first round selection, but is is also hard to argue with the productivity over a full career. Certainly, NFL teams seems to be interested as Ferguson either met with, or has meetings planned with several teams including Detroit, Miami, Kansas City, Buffalo and the NY Giants, who met with him the day before his pro day.

Bubble times for Tide stars at pro day … Needless to say there was a packed house in Tuscaloosa earlier today for the Alabama pro day. All 32 teams were represented at the workout with most sending multiple personnel. Indeed, 8 G.M.s were in town along with several head coaches including Bill Belichek of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. However, the big crowd had to be a little disappointed with the 40 times posted by RB Josh Jacobs and MLB Mack Wilson, both of whom are considered to have at least some late first-round potential for next month’s draft. In fact, nobody expected RB Jacobs, a very physical, almost violent back, to make like a track star, but most analysts were expected him to run somewhere in the mid-4.5 range. Instead, he was almost a full tenth slower with a final unofficial clocking in the 4.65 range. Whether that will be enough to keep Jacobs in the opening round discussion remains to be seen, but it is also likely that it wouldn’t for a back from any other program than Alabama. Meanwhile, MLB Wilson was generally credited with a 40-time around 4.75 seconds. Again, that’s not terrible, but kind of pales in comparison to the low-4.4 times posted by LSU’s Devin White and Devin Bush of Michigan at the combine. That time likely won’t cost Wilson any spots in the draft, but it also may not be enough to move him up very much either.

Cardinals meet with Sooners’ QB Murray … According to a story first reported by the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson earlier today, former Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray is meeting privately with senior Arizona people including G.M. Steve Keim and head coach Kliff Kingsbury in Norman today. Interesting that it appears to be an on-campus visit where the Cardinals would be permitted to also work out Murray, but there doesn’t seem to be any indication from the various news reports that it is in fact anything more than an interview. The Cardinals of course are widely believed around the NFL to be strongly considering selecting Murray, this year’s Heisman Trophy winner with the first overall pick at next month’s draft, while trying to trade QB Josh Rosen whom they selected with the 10th pick last year. More on that front as there are rumblings that New England, which is passively looking for a potential future replacement for the seemingly ageless Tom Brady and have plenty of draft ammo to make a move for a player like Rosen and then let him sit and develop behind Brady for a year or two.

Tide workout highlights pro day sched … The path to the draft continues today when Alabama, which again figures to be one of the top programs at the 2019 draft, holds its pro day this afternoon. And no doubt there will be pretty close to a full house at the on-campus workout in Tuscaloosa with pro scouts hoping to see a number of former Alabama players do their stuff after not running at the combine including RB Josh Jacobs, ILB Mack Wilson, OLB Christian Miller and CB Savion Smith. They’d also like to see FS Deionte Thomson run but he won’t be working out at all because of a wrist injury. The NFL Network will be providing coverage of the Alabama pro day beginning at 12:30 PM ET. In fact, this will be one of the busiest day on the pro schedule with workouts also scheduled at Penn State, UCLA and Louisiana Tech. Indeed, that Tech workout will be watched almost as closely as the Alabama affair as star DE Jaylon Ferguson, who led the country in sacks in 2018, will finally get to work out after not being allowed to participate in on-field drills at the combine because of a past incident involving violence. Then things get even a little busier tomorrow with pro days at Ohio State, Southern Cal, Boston College, Baylor and Wake Forest among other schools, while LSU will go on Friday. Of course, there’ll be a big crowd at the Ohio State workout tomorrow primarily to see QB Dwayne Haskins throw.

Heart condition could impact ER Sweat’s draft prospects … Ian Rapoport of NFL.com is reporting today, that medical tests at last month’s combine discovered that rising Mississippi State DE/OLB Montez Sweat has a pre-existing heart condition that was apparently not previously known to teams. The fact that combine doctors then allowed Sweat to go through the full combine workout, where he was one of the outstanding performers, suggests that medical staff weren’t overly concerned as in the past they prevented players from participating because of health concerns. What isn’t clear at this tiem is whether the issue will have any impact on Sweat’s final draft grade, although expect teams looking at him with picks in the 5-15 range to do a lot of additional investigative work before the draft.

GBN projection updated … Okay, so we finally broke down and updated the 2019 GBN mock, which for the record has been expanded to three rounds, after a hiatus of almost 3 and a half months. As we noted earlier on the reason we were reluctant to update was that we simply had no idea how the QB situation in the early going of the 2019 draft was going to play out.  We still don’t know for sure where the QBs will come off the board on April 25th, but we do currently have a much better idea where they stand such that we feel like we can at least make reasonably well-educated guesses rather than simply throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping something sticks. Please note too, though, that however well-educated our guesses are they are just that. In fact, we don’t have a clue which specific teams are going to select which specific player. However, we do have a better idea where players are likely to go and that’s the actual value of a mock is to give folks some idea as to the quality of player that is likely to be on the board at different junctures of the draft.

ECU ER Harvey denied 5th year; to enter draft … The NCAA has denied East Carolina DE/ER Nate Harvey a 5th season of eligibility, meaning that he will be entered in the 2019 draft field. Harvey had applied for the extra eligibility because he barely played in his freshman season at Georgia Military College, however, he did appear in more than 4 games and that’s the basis of the ruling. Harvey is an interesting prospect who was named the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year this past season, which was his first playing on the defensive side of the ball, where he had 14.5 sacks, the 4th highest total in the entire FBS. Prior to this season, Harvey was a reserve RB and special teamer. He’s not all that big at barely 6-0, 225, but he’s a former high school track star who has some hops and could very well get some serious 3rd day interest from NFL teams this coming April.

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