There is a growing drumbeat around the league that Cleveland is seriously considering taking Wyoming QB Josh Allen with the #1 pick overall at this month’s draft instead of USC’s Sam Darnold, who has been the consensus favorite to be the pick pretty much since the draft process started. Is it smoke or is it real? Mark Kay Cabot, the Browns beat write for Ohio.com, summarizes the debate here, while Dan Kadar of the Akron Beacon Journal has a piece on Allen being the popular choice to be the #1 pick overall on major mock drafts around the draft community. By the way, the Browns will get a final chance to check out Allen when he makes one of their 30 allowed on-site visits on Thursday. Of course, the Browns have already had the other top QB prospects, including Darnold, UCLA’s Josh Rosen and Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma in for visits last week.
At the same time, there was an interesting interview with legendary former Cowboys’ G.M. and current NFL.com draft analyst Gil Brandt in this week’s MMQB column at SI.com in which Brandt stated that he felt UCLA’s Josh Rosen was the clear top prospect at the position in this year’s draft. According to Brandt: “You want to be the surest that you won’t be laughed at five years down the line with one of these quarterbacks? Pick Rosen. He’s a player.” There other nugget that kind of jumps out of Brandt’s interview is that he thinks that Notre Dame OT Mike McGlinchey will be a top ten pick. That kind of runs counter to the conventional wisdom out there these days which sees the former Irish LT as more of a 20-30 type prospect.
Meanwhile, Bucky Brooks of NFL.com also rates Rosen as the top QB prospect in his mind. And while others have criticized Rosen for reportedly sometimes not being that easy to coach, Brooks sees it as a strength as the former Bruins star has an inquisitive mind and wants to know why things are done the way they are done. Of course, there are plenty of counter opinions out there. “It’s Sam Darnold” said an NFL offensive coordinator, for example, in response to a question from NJ Advance Media asking who he believes is the top QB prospect in this year’s class.
One reason so many teams are pushing hard to get one of this year’s top QB prospects is that it appears that there likely will be a major drop-off at the position in 2019. Right now, the top QB prospects for next year’s draft will come from a group that includes Michigan’s Shea Patterson, Jarrett Stidham of Auurn, Nick Fitzgerald of Mississippi State, West Virginia’s Will Grier, Drew Lock of Missouri, and NC State’s Ryan Finley but none looks to be even a top ten lock at this time.
- Adam Schefter of ESPN is reporting that teams around the NFL no longer think that star Giants WR Odell Beckham will be available in a trade. The Giants had indicated at the NFL meetings earlier this month that it would listen to offers for Beckham who becomes a free agent after the upcoming season and who’s off-field antics have worn thin in the Big Apple. Several teams reportedly did inquire about his services, but the Giants were asking for at least two first-round picks in return for Beckham. Meanwhile, Beckham, who had threatened to hold out this year if he didn’t get a contract extension, was a surprise show at the Giants off-season workouts that got underway this week.
- Carolina reportedly will hosts pre-draft visits from the top WRs in this year’s draft class including Alabama’s Calvin Ridley, D.J. Moore of Maryland and Christian Kirk of Texas A&M suggesting that the Panthers will target a receiver with their #1 pick; the Panthers have the 24th pick right around where the three are projected to go. The Panthers, though, could also target a TE early in this year’s draft, but may wait until the second round to address that position.
- Seattle has signed former 49ers’ CB Dontae Johnson who will fill a big hole in their secondary. Ironically, Johnson will be replacing former Seahawks’ star Richard Sherman who signed with the 49ers early this off-season after being released by Seattle. The Seahawks could still address the secondary with their opening round pick on the 26th, but may now be freed up to address another position such as OT or DE.