Briggs Won't be a Jaguar
There have been rumors swirling that the Jacksonville Jaguars are interested in
acquiring Chicago Bear WLB Lance Briggs.
According to sources from within the organization, these rumors are unfounded. When we asked a pointed question about the Jacksonville's interest in Briggs, we were pointedly told the team does not have a problem at linebacker. Daryl Smith, who signed a contract extension through the 2012 season, will play in the middle. Mike Peterson will move back to his natural position of weakside linebacker and Clint Ingram, who the team absolutely loves and feels was the second best pick in last year's draft, will play on the strong side. The team will look for depth at the position in the middle rounds.
Nelson Attracting Much Interest; Olsen Not on Carolina's Radar?
University of Florida S Reggie Nelson has been a well traveled man recently as
he has visited with more than a dozen teams over the past three weeks. Several
teams have seemingly separated themselves from the rest of the pack in the hopes
of acquiring Nelson. They include the Tennessee Titans, Cincinnati Bengals,
Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons, and New England Patriots.
Nelson had exclusive workouts and dinner meetings with the Jaguars and Patriots, while the Falcons recent interest stems from their desire to trade down. The wild card team in all of this is the Carolina Panthers.
While Nelson has not visited with the Panthers, they have shown a great amount of interest in him and sent several coaches to his pro day to watch him. Though conventional wisdom has the Panthers choosing University of Miami TE Greg Olsen with the 14th selection, sources have told us the team is not enamored with the Hurricane product. They view Olsen as a solid pass catcher yet a mediocre blocker and feel he is definitely not in the mold of his predecessors at the tight end position who came from the "U".
Weddle an Option in Round Two?
Expect teams who lose out on a safety in round one to turn their attention to University of Utah's Eric Weddle in the second frame.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, Carolina Panthers, San Diego Chargers, and San Francisco 49ers have all shown a lot of interest in Weddle either working him out or interviewing him. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have also shown heavy interest in Weddle and could surprise everyone by taking him at the top of round two. This is assuming they don't use that selection as trade bait in their bid to acquire Georgia Tech WR Calvin Johnson.
Jacksonville's interest stems from getting some competition or an upgrade over third-year FS Gerald Sensabaugh.
Carolina needs a replacement for veteran FS Mike Minter who is expected to retire after this season.
San Francisco could use a young defender to challenge veteran FS Mark Roman.
First Day Center Drawing Attention
North Carolina St. C Leroy Harris has drawn a lot of interest recently from the Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts. This makes sense on both fronts. We've reported several times the Browns would consider moving up from their second-round selection (#4 in the second round#36 overall) to up into the late part of round one in order to acquire USC C Ryan Kalil. More teams are becoming interested in Kalil and the asking price for moving up may be a little steep for Cleveland.
Harris, who also can play guard, would be an excellent contingency plan for the team. The Colts desire for Harris is also understandable. Since the start of the college season we have reported from almost every game we've scouted live that the Colts are looking hard at interior blockers. Veteran C Jeff Saturday turns 32 in June and the team could use another young interior lineman to rush starting Gs Jake Scott and Ryan Lilja.
Henry Continues to Make the Rounds
As we've been chronicling in this space for several weeks, University of Arizona RB Chris Henry has been crisscrossing the nation, visiting NFL franchises. Add the Chicago Bears to that list as Henry will be in the windy city late this week. Henry, if drafted, would give the team a young back with size in back of third-year RB Cedric Benson who will enter the 2007 season in his first as a full-time starter.
The St. Louis Rams, who have been very active scouting running backs the past two months, also have a taking a liking to Henry.
The reasoning for the Rams interest is they don't have a quality backup for starting RB Steven Jackson, whose contract expires after the '08 season.
Late Round Sleepers Update
Two late round sleepers have been gaining notice lately from personnel evaluators scout.com has talked to in recent weeks.
One is Montana St. WR Mike Jefferson who is a large pass catcher we've scouted and have had positive reviews for since his days at the University of Arizona. The New York Jets recently had a private workout with Jefferson. After measuring in at 6-feet-1.5-inches and 212 pounds, Jefferson ran clocked 4.48 seconds in both forties.
Another sleeper to keep an eye on in rounds 6-7
is Central Connecticut St. RB Justise Hairston.
He had a private workout for the Indianapolis Colts on Monday and is set to have a private workout for the New England Patriots on Wednesday.
Hairston also had private workout last month in which the Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants, Cincinnati Bengals, and Green Bay Packers all attended.
The former Rutgers University back was in a logjam at the position with the Scarlet Knights so he transferred to CCSU where he was second in the nation in rushing (Division 1-AA) with 1847 yards and 20 TDs.