Welcome to the final days leading up to the college player draft from the perspective of those in and around the National Football League, along with some much appreciated assistance of those representatives which live to keep their clients in the spotlight.
At this time it does not appear the San Francisco 49ers will have a partner in dealing the first-overall selection in the draft. The quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers (California) and Alex Smith (Utah) appear to be the priority in discussions regarding the 49ers and the first-selection. While wide receiver Braylon Edwards (Michigan) has been mentioned in the mix on the San Francisco draft-board, the ultimate decisions appears to be focusing on the two young signal-callers.
League sources has told Scout.com the negotiation process is underway with Rodgers and Smith and early indications are representatives for Rodgers are confident a deal will be completed to ensure the University of California quarterback would be the first-player selected in the draft.
Miami Dolphins have had some on again off again discussions with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the second-overall selection in the draft. While the feel is Miami will jump on Auburn running back Ronnie Brown, betting the farm on this at number-two may be questionable. The Dolphins have expressed in interest in dropping down a few positions, if this move would leave them in line to select one of the top running backs or the potential exists for Miami to hold-tight and select Alex Smith with the second-selection. The Dolphins desperately need to improve its poor rushing attack, but running back Lamar Gordon will return from injury and the organization isn't ready to give-up on the 2004 acquisition from the St. Louis Rams. Looking to add talent and youth to the roster, head coach Nick Saban is open to dealing if it results in adding early draft selections.
The Buccaneers, thought to be locked in on Auburn running back Carnell ‘Cadillac' Williams have entertained the notion of positioning themselves to make a run at U.S.C wide receiver Mike Williams or Utah quarterback Alex Smith. Tampa Bay has been in contact with the Cleveland Browns regarding the third-pick in the draft. If Smith is available at number-three, the Buccaneers and Browns could climax a deal which would involve Tampa Bay's first-round draft selection, the fifth overall and second-year quarterback Chris Simms for the Browns pick, the third overall in the first round.
Cleveland is in an interesting position. Holding the third-pick in the draft, the Browns are known to be in the market to deal down in the draft. Looking to obtain additional selections to revamp a questionable roster, Cleveland has talked with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys, and San Diego Chargers in recent days. If the Browns are unable to secure a trade on draft-day, with the third-selection Smith and Braylon Edwards appear to be the most logical choices. Interesting in trading down, the Browns are believed to have a serious interest in wide receiver Troy Williamson, defensive end/outside linebacker Shawne Merriman, and offensive tackle Alex Barron.
Just a few weeks back, the Minnesota Vikings were believed to have locked in on wide receiver Mike Williams. While the Vikings remain seriously interested in the standout from U.S.C., indications are Minnesota could pull a surprise on draft-day and select wide receiver Troy Williamson from South Carolina with the seventh-selection in the draft, even if Williams is available. Looking to solidify the wide receiver position after dealing Randy Moss to Oakland, the Vikings are enamored with Williamson's explosiveness, much like that of Moss, without the attitude and baggage, according to a team source, though passing on Williams may be too great a risk for the Vikings.
The Arizona Cardinals have quietly been working the phones in anticipation of the draft. Head coach Dennis Green is far from enamored, much less confident in his running game, defensive backfield, and future at the quarterback position. For the past two months, the Cardinals and Buffalo Bills have danced around a deal which would send running back Travis Henry to Arizona for offensive tackle L.J. Shelton. If a deal is completed for Henry, the Cardinals have been testing the waters to see if they could move up in the draft to select quarterback Alex Smith or stand-pat and elect to improve its questionable cornerback situation. With the eight-selection in the draft, the Cardinals could make a move on Antrel Rolle from Miami or PacMan Jones from West Virginia, but in recent days we are hearing Arizona has expressed an interest in outside linebacker Derrick Johnson from Texas.