Weekly Update

Silence of the Rams

Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Midweek Roundup 

Welcome to a special, abbreviated version of our usual Friday news and notes column. After months and months and months of speculation and strangeness, we have reached Draft Eve. So, a last batch of rumors to carry us through the night. May none of our teams draft Christian Hackenberg in the first round. And now, the news.

  • Los Angeles Rams HC Jeff Fisher played some sort of weird head game with the media and humanity in general, where he said that he would not be telling the player he’s drafting that they’re being drafted until the Rams are actually on the clock. He also said “maybe” when asked if the team had decided between Cal QB Jared Goff and North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz. Presumably he did this while twirling his mustache, but no word on that.

  • TFY Draft Insider’s Tony Pauline’s sources are of the opinion that the NFL is pressuring the Rams to stay silent regarding the No. 1 pick, in order to build suspense. Guys, I’m sorry. It’s not working. We know. Everybody knows.

  • Vikings GM Rick Spielman offered vagaries about the team’s intent to draft or not draft a wide receiver on Day 1, saying that they weren’t “honed in on a receiver in the first round.” Things could get wonky at the end of the first round if Minnesota heads in a different direction. One direction they could head, according to TFY Draft Insider's Tony Pauline, is Ole Miss DL Robert Nkemdiche.

  • The Lions have placed their equivalent of a draft red flag on Nkemdiche, though GM Bob Quinn indicated that that would not necessarily scrub the Ole Miss enigma from their board completely. 

  • The Browns are ready to get this thing done. They’re apparently already set on their player at No. 8, at least according to head of football operations Sashi Brown, who said, “We’re set, locked in, know who we’ll be taking," Brown said. "And if that player’s not there or if we get another offer that just blows our socks off, we’ll know how to react to that.” Per MMQB’s Peter King, there is buzz that Browns OC Pep Hamilton is fighting for Memphis QB Paxton Lynch.

  • According to FOX Sports’ Alex Marvez, should the Browns trade out from the No. 8 pick, they might target Michigan State QB Connor Cook. Both TFY Draft Insider’s Tony Pauline and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport relay that Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott could conceivably be the prize for any team trading upwards with the Browns.

  • Like the Browns, the Chargers also apparently want to just get this thing done, with GM Tom Telesco saying that his squad has had a specific player in their targets for “a while.”

  • Per NFL Network’s Mike Silver, the Chargers could select Notre Dame T Ronnie Stanley at No. 3. It would be quite the rise for Stanley if he is able to leap over Ole Miss T Laremy Tunsil..

  • An NFL personnel executive predicted that Myles Jack would fall out of the top-10 due to concerns about his knee. His landing spot is one of the more interesting storylines of the draft. If he slips and the worries about his knee prove unfounded, a team drafting in the middle of the first round could end up with the best player in the draft.

  • More on Jack and his knee, NFL Network’s Albert Breer dug around on the issue and came back to write that he heard Jack had a “chondral defect” in his right knee, which involves damage to the cartilage. This is not necessarily related to his September torn meniscus and it is something he can play with, though it could effect him down the road if Breer’s sources are accurate.  

  • ESPN’s Adam Schefter’s little birdies believe that Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith will be drafted by the end of round three. And possibly even earlier than that. We have heard a range of grades for Smith, with Schefter’s third-round prognostication about as optimistic as they come.

  • Per ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, the Ravens are taking a long, hard look at Ohio State DE Joey Bosa and similar edge rushers. Along with Bosa, Clemson’s Shaq Lawson and Georgia’s Leonard Floyd are names who could reap the benefits at No. 6.

  • Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott says the Bears love him. Whether Elliott will even be around when the Bears pick at No. 11 is debatable.

  • And even if Elliott is available, the Bears might not actually love him as much as Zeke thinks. MMQB’s Peter King is hearing that the Bears will use pick No. 11 on the defensive side of the ball.

  • USC S/LB S’ua Cravens could be in the mix as a late first-rounder, according to the National Football’s Post’s Aaron Wilson.

  • 24 team reps came out to see Baylor TE Rico Gathers’ personal Pro Day on Monday. He ran the 40 in the neighborhood of 4.75 to 4.85 seconds with a broad jump of 9-foot-7. A former basketball player, the 6-foot-6, 273-pounder probably won’t be drafted, but should find a camp home somewhere. The size is there, but it comes with predictable rawness given Gathers’ lack of experience.

  • NBC Sports’ Mike Florio heard that West Virginia S Karl Joseph is “currently expected” to be drafted in the first round. The Steelers, Broncos, Bengals, Vikings, Colts and Texans all hold mid-to-late first-round picks and have hosted Joseph for visits.

  • Cowboys HC Jason Garrett called FSU DB Jalen Ramsey “an impact player at the highest level,” while Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said that Ezekiel Elliott was worth a top-10 pick. Eventually, the Cowboys will be forced to choose between their beloveds in Elliott, Ramsey and Bosa. This isn’t Utah. They can’t have all three.

  • Not everybody is keen on Clemson DE Shaq Lawson’s shoulder. His wing was cleared during medical rechecks in Indianapolis earlier this month, but TFY Draft Insider’s Tony Pauline hears that “more than a few franchises” are weary of the shoulder and believe there is a degenerative condition that could hamper him in the future.

  • Oregon QB Vernon Adams said that he is better than Jared Goff. “I'm not going to sit here and say he's better than me because there's nothing that he's doing that I can't do. ... So, yeah." So, yeah. The brashness is admirable given that Adams could well go undrafted this weekend. Interestingly, Adams said that the only quarterback better than him was Carson Wentz. FCS boys stick together.

  • MMQB’s Peter King passes along word that Illinois DL Jihad Ward could be a Cardinals target at No. 29.

  • TFY Draft Insider’s Tony Pauline hears that Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg might be drafted before Paxton Lynch. Hackeberg is giving the shark from Jaws a run for its money in his ability to lurk.  

  • And who might draft him in the first round? MMQB’s Peter King relays that “some in the NFL are convinced” that the Bills could be the franchise to break Day 1. Poor, poor Sammy Watkins is staring into the darkness right now. Tyrod Taylor. Christian Hackenberg. Tyrod Taylor. Christian Hackenberg. Poor, poor Sammy Watkins.

  • Memphis QB Paxton Lynch’s family has rented a bowling alley in Florida. If he is drafted in the first round, it will occur while he is in a bowling alley. If nothing else, that makes for a nice story.

  • Bowling aside, Lynch’s reported score of 18 on the Wonderlic could ding him on some boards, according to TFY Draft Insider’s Tony Pauline.

  • According to ESPN’s Mike Triplett, the Saints never considered trading for the No. 1 pick. Which they can’t do now, anyway, because it is held by somebody who could literally be twirling his mustache at this very moment, presumably while cackling with glee.

  • LSU TE Dillon Gordon declared for the 2016 NFL Draft on Friday. No, you aren’t in some horrible Groundhog Day scenario where it’s January and cold and stuff. Gordon’s late late late late late declaration comes because the NCAA denied his medical hardship waiver request.

  • Rutgers WR Leonte Carroo would love to play for the Patriots. That would be a scary-good fit if Carroo can stay healthy and out of trouble.

  • ESPN’s Adam Shefter reported that no player failed a drug test at the NFL Scouting Combine. Yay! 

Final Quote Roundup 

Many of these are sourced from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s fantastic scouting reports courtesy of reporter Bob McGinn.

  • A scout threw scout-like shade at Robert Nkemdiche, saying, “He’s a different breed. He marches to his own drummer. When he had the (drunken) fall at the hotel it confirmed a lot of suspicions that people had. Last week, he talked about having a panther as a pet. It’s strictly personality. You wonder, ‘Is he a true football player? Is he dedicated to his craft? Or is he just out in la-la land somewhere?”
  • Apparently, Ezekiel Elliot is like the football playing version of Albert Einstein. At least according to one scout. “Football intelligence might be the best thing he has. He goes to the sidelines and tells the coaches the block protections. The coaches tell me he tells them what to do. To me, your intelligence is your blocking.” 


  • A scout who went on to speak poorly of Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith’s intelligence opened with an unimpressive mixed metaphor. “Not the brightest cookie in the room. Probably have to line him up. I don't know if he's a natural player but once he sees it he can find it and go get it. Now he's got the knee and he's not a very bright kid. I wouldn't touch a kid like that. I have no idea where he goes. He's off my board. He's a run and hit 'will' linebacker.”

  • An evaluator on UCLA LB Myles Jack. “Just a freak athlete. He is Von Miller freakish. He moves around like a DB in coverage. He has burst to close. Plays heavy. His character doesn't read as clean as Clay Matthews' but he's more physically talented than Clay. The heart, the desire, he has that. ... He's not a leader. He wants to be one of the guys. There were some things he could have done differently in regards to how he treated people.”

  • Another one on Kansas State G Cody Whitehair. “Very steady, technically sound. Always in great position. Great balance, great feet. Plays with really good leverage. Doesn't have ideal arm length but knows how to play.”

  • One scout went in an unintentionally weird direction regarding Joey Bosa. “I [scouted] his father and he was kind of a stiff, straight-line guy. This guy [Joey Bosa] must have got the mom’s flexibility or something. Justin Smith is a pretty good comparison. He was so technique-oriented, too. He uses his hands like a third-year pro.”

  • In a poll of 17 scouts by the MJS, Michigan State QB Connor Cook was voted most likely to be a bust. An AFC scout said, “Like to have a better work ethic out of a quarterback. He liked to hit the streets and chase.” So much veiled innuendo, so little time.

  • One scout said that Texas Tech T Le’Raven Clark “doesn’t know anything about run-blocking and he ain’t very strong.”

  • An AFC personnel director on Eastern Kentucky edge rusher Noah Spence. “He’'s going to have a long career in this league. I would say that he's got more natural ability than Joey Bosa.”

  • All of the swooning for Ohio State T Taylor Decker, who one scout referred to as a “just a man’s man,” with another saying, “Wins you over with his leadership. You could see this guy running for Congress some day. He's like Jon Runyan”

  • NFL Media’s Lance Zierlein compared Myles Jack to a bottle of Sriracha sauce. “Both are explosive and are much more versatile than you ever expected them to be. The more you use both, the more you want to find new ways to incorporate them into your life.” He also compared Notre Dame WR Will Fuller’s drops to burning the roof of your mouth on a piece of pizza.

Source URL: https://www.nbcsports.com/edge/article/weekly-update/silence-rams