Quarterback a Likely Selection Early For
Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Mike Martz had plenty of success with lesser known quarterbacks over the years. In fact, he had tremendous success with QB Kurt Warner who wasn't even drafted. With that said, league sources indicate the team will pass on drafting a quarterback with their first-round selection or even if they trade down in the round.
The type of quarterback Martz prefers is one who can get rid of the ball with timing and anticipation in his scheme. That quarterback doesn't necessarily have to have a gun, he needs to be able to get the ball out of his hands as the receiver is in the middle of his route. The signal caller Martz likes, according to league sources, is BYU's John Beck. He doesn't have nearly the arm as Warner or former Martz success story Marc Bulger, but he has the accuracy. Beck is seen as an early second-round selection by most teams as is with the case with Stanford University QB Trent Edwards who is very well liked by teams picking early to mid second round.
If Detroit decides to take a quarterback early as some believe will be the case on Saturday's first day of the draft, look for veteran QB Josh McCown to be on his way out.
As noted in the Insider Mock Draft Version 1.0 from earlier this week, look for the team to select Clemson University DE Gaines Adams with the second overall selection. If they trade down a few spots, University of Wisconsin OLT Joe Thomas is a possibility as is University of Mississippi LB Patrick Willis.
Cleveland Going For Need or Best Player?
While local speculation has the Cleveland Browns going with Notre Dame University QB Brady Quinn as the club's first selection, league sources have indicated for several weeks to scout.com that the signal caller they want is LSU's JaMarcus Russell.
Russell has the arm strength that is necessary in offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski's vertical stretch passing game.
Should Russell and Georgia Tech University WR Calvin Johnson be off the board (very likely) when it comes time for Cleveland to pick, the decision comes down to University of Oklahoma RB Adrian Peterson or University of Wisconsin OLT Joe Thomas.
League sources indicate Thomas has a short lead because he would give them a franchise left tackle of the next 10-12 years one they haven't had in a long time.
While nothing is ever certain, we know this, Cleveland is in a good position to get a player they covet where they are currently selecting in the first round or they can trade down a little to get one of the top players on their draft board.
General manager/senior vice president Phil Savage did a solid job in free agency so far this year so their needs aren't as vast as last year at this time.
Nelson Still High on Jacksonville's Draft Board?
The Jacksonville Jaguars still figure to pick Reggie Nelson in round one if the University of Florida safety is still around at No. 17.
The team's list of other players they would consider at this point include University of Pittsburgh CB Darrelle Revis, University of Mississippi LB Patrick Willis, University DE Jamaal Anderson, and Penn St. University OT Levi Brown.
Why Brown? Sources have told us the team is concerned about the off the field conduct of LT Khalif Barnes. But people from the Barnes camp have told us last year's run-in with the law was an exception to the rule and the big tackle is ready for a big season.
Defensive Back Likely an Early Target For Philadelphia
While the Philadelphia Eagles are coming off a solid season, it's not a secret that their secondary needs some depth and possibly an upgrade or two.
Last year at this time, scout.com correctly noted they intended to address the interior of their defensive line, which was a need then, and they would do so with former Florida St. University DT Brodrick Bunkley.
Look for them to address another need this time around at safety. With only three on their roster and veteran FS Brian Dawkins nearing the end of a splendid playing career, University of Texas S Michael Griffin and University of Miami S Brandon Meriweather are the two that make the most sense for the Eagles where they're selecting at No. 26.
But while Griffin is a solid special teams player, he doesn't have the cover skills of Meriweather who makes the most sense for the team with the scheme they run.
As noted in his scout.com player profile, Meriweather has potential at safety and cornerback. He can be placed over the slot receiver and shows great ball skills.
The issue for the Eagles is whether or not they are willing overlook Meriweather's perceived character flaws but league sources believe they're comfortable with him.
Another defensive back the team likes is Kent St. University CB Usama Young, who they'd like to grab in the third round. The team still doesn't have a nickel back on their roster and they also could use a developmental cornerback like Young.
Faneca Wants Out?
The already contentious relationship between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Alan Faneca is likely to get much worse.
League sources told scout.com this week the Steelers decided in an organizational meeting late last week they don't want to trade Faneca. But the All-Pro left guard may force the team's hand. Faneca has confided in people he is unhappy in Pittsburgh and wants out in a big way.
Several factors led to the bad blood on the part of Faneca. The former first-round pick was livid that neither former offensive line coach Russ Grimm nor former offensive Ken Whisenhut, two coaches he is close with, were given the head post after Bill Cowher stepped down.
Faneca also considered the Steelers initial contract offer insulting, considering the money handed to other free agents offensive linemen such as Leonard Davis and Derrick Dockery who haven't ever been named to a Pro Bowl--Faneca has been named to six.
There are no plans in Faneca's future to participate in any upcoming camps.
While some around the NFL feel the Arizona Cardinals might have some interest in Faneca because of his relationship with Grimm and Whisenhunt, league sources indicate the team feels very good about veteran OL Reggie Wells at LG.
Carriker High on Carolina's List?
The Carolina Panthers, who could be moving veteran DT Kris Jenkins in a trade before or during the NFL draft, are looking hard at what it would take to acquire University of Nebraska DL Adam Carriker.
They may not need to move up that far as sources have told us the San Francisco 49ers surprisingly have University of Arkansas DE Jamaal Anderson rated ahead of Carriker.
Sources believe Anderson has the ability to put even more weight on his large frame and he's a better fit for their 3-4 defensive scheme at the five-technique end spot.
Denver Likely to Make Deal?
Rumors continue to swirl that the Denver Broncos want to trade up to get some badly needed help at defensive tackle or safety.
Denver also badly needs to help their lackluster pass rush which only mustered up an average of 29.5 sacks over the last two seasons.
They also need to address their lack of talent on the interior of their defensive line where former first-round disappointment Gerard Warren still resides.
Players who could be on their target list are DTs Alan Branch (University of Michigan) and Amobi Okoye (University of Louisville). It's not out of the question that Branch could still be around when they pick at No. 21 but Okoye would be long gone necessitating a move up.
At end, it's unlikely they would be able to move
up enough to select Clemson University's Gaines Adams but University of
Arkansas's Jamaal Anderson or University of Nebraska's Adam Carriker would be
less costly and also make some sense.
In the secondary, it's believed they're looking for an upgrade over veteran SS Nick Ferguson and an eventual successor to FS John Lynch turns 36 years old in September.
Possibilities are University of Florida S Reggie Nelson if they trade up a little or University of Texas S Michael Griffin who fits their revamped defensive scheme well.