Nick's Middle of the Week Draft News & Discussion (3/27)
Since the school I'm teaching at is on spring break this week, I have the time to compile some recent draft-related news to share here. I've put my own thoughts about each item, but would love to see you guys add your own thoughts as well. Or, if there's a news item I've missed that hasn't been posted here at the Clan, feel free to toss it into this thread for us to talk about!
-Chargers have informed LT Jared Gaither that he will be released. Not entirely a shocker, but it just reemphasizes their need at the position. I would not be surprised to see them try to move up to secure one of the top three left tackles, because there are possible scenarios where all three could be off the board in the first 5-8 picks. Kansas City, Philadelphia, Detroit, Arizona, and Buffalo could all be in the market. If Lane Johnson is on the board when Cleveland picks, they could be getting a phone call.
-The Cowboys have signed safety Will Allen. Does this mean they're out of the Vaccaro sweepstakes? Probably not, as Vaccaro has a pre-draft visit with Dallas coming up in April. He's also scheduled to meet with the Titans and Dolphins, and NFL.com's Albert Breer believes the heavy Pittsburgh presence at Texas' pro day could have been to check Vaccaro out. National Football Post's Russ Lande believes Vaccaro is better than Mark Barron, drafted 7th overall last year.
-NFL Network's Ian Rapoport is reporting that the Chiefs scouts are "fascinated by" West Virginia QB Geno Smith. Sounds like a lot of smoke, considering what they traded to get Alex Smith. There does not appear to be anything new on the Braden Albert front, except that he's being shopped. Chiefs evaluators were at Central Michigan on Tuesday working out Eric Fisher, visited the Gator campus on Monday to see Sharrif Floyd, and spent last Friday doing the same with Luke Joeckel. I still think tackle makes the most sense for Kansas City, just depends on which they like. It's worth noting that Greg Cosell believes Floyd could be the Chiefs' pick "withou question" and compared him to J.J. Watt. I'm not sure Floyd is an ideal fit in that
-The Draft Insider's Tony Pauline confirmed that South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore will do a 15-20 minute workout to show his strength and agility on his knee. How he does in this workout will be something that's interesting to watch in regards to where he is drafted. I think Lattimore's best fit is with a team that's able to be patient with him as he recovers from what I'd qualify as one of if not the worst knee injuries I've ever seen in football. A team who already has an established running back but may need someone to replace him in the next year or two would be an ideal fit. A team like Denver could be a nice fit, in my opinion; Willis McGahee has two years left on his deal and Knowshon hasn't shown that he can be "the man."
-Manti Te'o... where do you begin? It was nice to see him improve on his forty time at his pro day, but that's only a small part of a very large picture. Yahoo Spots' Jason Cole spoke to a number of NFL teams at Notre Dame's pro day, and came away thinking Te'o will not be a first round pick. It's possbile those teams are blowing smoke, or it could be that he just isn't a first round kind of player. On Twitter, Evan Silva quoted ESPN's Eric Mangini as saying Te'o will need to be covered up to play at the highest level and utilize his strengths, and Silva later clarified that Mangini was saying Te'o would need to play behind big defensive tackles to keep guards from reaching him at the second level. Te'o is beginning to sound like a guy who could be a very solid pro but isn't going to be the kind of individual difference maker you look for in round one. As Barry Waller recently pointed out here at the Clan, there have been a number of good linebackers who have come out of the second round, so that status doesn't doom Te'o in the slightest.
-Breaking news: the Ravens have signed former Raiders safety Michael Huff to a three-year contract, presumably to replace the departing Ed Reed, who now finds himself in Houston. I was really big on Huff when he came out as a prospect, and while he certainly hasn't lived up to the billing of his draft status, I wouldn't say he's completely busted out either. It'll be interesting to see how he does as part of a much better organization. The good news for the Rams is the Ravens may have been in the market for a safety at the bottom of round one, but now that appears unlikely, meaning it's slightly more likely that a good one could be there when the Rams pick in the second round, if that's the direction they want to go.