NFL Draft Insider Blog

Which position are the Green Bay Packers looking at with one of their two second-round picks?...Which position are the New England Patriots looking at the hardest?...We have an update on a projected first day selection who is visiting the Raiders this week...We're breaking down pre-draft indications, visits, workouts and much more inside....


Despite not having a glaring need at the position, the Denver Broncos had pre-draft visits with Reshard Mendendall (Illinois) and Justin Forsett (California).

Mendenhall is seen a sure-fire first-round selection while Forsett is projected to go off the board in rounds 3-4.


The Cincinnati Bengals, bracing themselves for a possibly ugly situation with WR Chad Johnson, have begun to address the receiver position.

They had a private workouts with Jordy Nelson (Kansas St.) and Arman Shields (Richmond) and had a pre-draft visit with James Hardy (Indiana).

The team released No. 3 WR Chris Henry recently and have no viable candidates to replace him.


Free agent OL Wade Smith (New York Jets), who visited the Baltimore Ravens on Monday and Tuesday, visited the Kansas City Chiefs on Wednesday, has confirmed.

The versatile lineman can play center or guard and has extensive starting experience.


League sources indicate the Green Bay Packers are seriously considering spending one of their second-round picks on a quarterback. Green Bay is trying to gauge which signal callers will be on the board when they pick at No. 25 (56th overall) and No. 29 (60th overall) in the second round.


Out of the allowed 30 pre-draft visitors, a league source at least 10 cornerbacks have visited the New England Patriots. The team also has had at least three private workouts with cornerbacks.

Most of the cornerbacks that have visited are projected to go off the board in rounds 1-4.  


The Atlanta Falcons, the owners of seven selections in the first four rounds of the draft, are eyeing University of Louisville WR Harry Douglas in the middle rounds, a league source told

The wiry but speedy wideout also has good return game ability which gives him added extra value.

Douglas had a pre-draft visit with Atlanta and had a good showing during Senior Bowl practices.


It has been reported elsewhere that Philadelphia Eagles DE Jerome McDougle is an unrestricted free agent. A league source notes that's false and he's still on the roster.

The oft-injured former first-round pick missed out on the ability to void the final year of his contract based on minimum playing time incentives so he's still under contract through 2008. He spent the entire 2007 on season-ending injured reserve

His cap number, according to a league source, is about $1.46 million.


University of Houston WR Donnie Avery is still drawing a lot of attention after a stellar workout for NFL teams last month. has confirmed the speedy wideout is scheduled to visit the Oakland Raiders on Friday and the Indianapolis Colts wanted to bring him in for a visit but Friday is the last day for pre-draft visitors. Indianapolis may fly to Houston to meet with him.


Despite having five running backs on their roster, including former first-round pick Chris Perry and former second-round pick Kenny Irons, the Cincinnati Bengals had at least two backs in for pre-draft visits (Reshard Mendenhall-Illinois, Tim Hightower-Richmond). Cincinnati also had at least one private workout (Matt Forte-Tulane) with a back.

Cincinnati's running game slumped mightily last season as starter Rudi Johnson ran for a career low 2.9 yards per carry. Perry hasn't played since the sixth game of the 2006 season and he could be on his way out due to injury problems. Irons missed his entire rookie season due to a torn ACL.

UPDATE WEDNESDAY 10:43 AM EST has confirmed Clemson University DE Phillip Merling will have an on campus workout for NFL teams next Thursday (April 24). Merling underwent surgery for a sports hernia earlier this year and was unable to work out for teams last month at his school's pro day.

Some league sources say Merling could go off the board as early as No. 15 (Detroit Lions) should his workout go well next week.

According to a league source, at least 15 teams should be at Merling's workout.


Free agent P Mitch Berger had tryouts with the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens recently, has confirmed.

Berger spent five games with the Arizona Cardinals last season and was out of football in 2006.

New England currently has only veteran P Chris Hanson on the roster and they could be looking for someone to compete against him.

Denver has two young undrafted punters on their roster and are in need of a veteran at the position.


Despite having QB Marc Bulger signed through 2013, the St. Louis Rams are having University of Delaware QB Joe Flacco in for a pre-draft visit this week, has confirmed. Flacco already had a private workout for the team. Flacco visited the Baltimore Ravens and Minnesota Vikings last week. St. Louis also had University of Michigan QB Chad Henne in for a pre-draft visit.

A league source notes there were some within the front office that preferred selecting QB Jay Cutler with their first-round pick in the 2006 (No.11 overall) but that faction got overruled and the team wound up trading down with the Denver Broncos. St. Louis wound up selecting CB Tye Hill.  


University of Oklahoma LB Curtis Lofton has visited the Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, and St. Louis Rams, has confirmed.

Lofton played mostly on the strong-side until the final quarter of the last season when he moved to the middle. That position versatility should give him added value on draft day. The key for him is to keep his weight up. Scouts question whether he can play in the middle at less than 240 pounds but he moves quite well.

Lofton is projected go off off the boards in rounds 2-3.


Amid speculation that the New Orleans Saints are trying to acquire TE Jeremy Shockey from the New York Giants, has confirmed TE Craig Stevens (California) has visited the Giants.

Stevens is seen as an athletic tight end with good upside. He's slated to go off the board in rounds 3-4.

Stevens also has visited with the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, Seattle Seahawks, and St. Louis Rams.


Despite signing free agent RB Chris Brown and drafting Chris Henry in the second round of last year's draft, a team source believes the Tennessee Titans will spend a first day selection on a running back.

Henry's biggest supporter was former running backs coach Sherman Smith who moved on to become the offensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins. has confirmed 28 out of Tennessee's 30 pre-draft visitors and the only back on the list is East Carolina's Chris Johnson. The speedy back would be a perfect complement to starter LenDale White.


The San Diego Chargers, looking for help at running back, have had at least five five backs scheduled for pre-draft visits.

With No. 2 RB Michael Turner signing with the Atlanta Falcons, a glaring need has emerged at the position in back of starter LaDainian Tomlinson.

Marcus Thomas (UTEP), Tim Hightower (Richmond), Matt Forte (Tulane), Tashard Choice (Georgia Tech), and Tim Hightower (Richmond) were all scheduled to visit by Friday.


Out of their 30 allowed pre-draft visits, the Tennessee Titans had in seven receivers, has confirmed.

Mario Manningham (Michigan), Donnie Avery (Houston), Earl Bennett (Vanderbilt), Keenan Burton (Kentucky), Eddie Royal (Virginia Tech), Devin Thomas (Michigan St.), Limas Sweed (Texas) all visited the team.

Tennessee is believed to be looking for a receiver who can get down field well and stretch defenses vertically-a trait offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger covets in players from that position.


League sources believe the Philadelphia Eagles will wind up selecting either an offensive left tackle or wide receiver with their first-round pick (No. 19 overall).

LT Tra Thomas turns 34 in November and there are questions in regard to how much longer he'll hold up physically. Thomas has played through back and kidney problems for the last few seasons. A league source notes that the team isn't sold on third-year LT Winston Justice as Thomas' long-term replacement.

The team had several offensive linemen in for pre-draft visits including Oniel Cousins (UTEP), Duane Brown (Virginia Tech), Brandon Albert (Virginia), Ryan Clady (Boise St.), Brandon Keith (Northern Iowa), and King Dunlap (Auburn).

As for the receiver position, the team tried to sign Randy Moss who ultimately decided to re-sign with the New England Patriots. They also looked into trading for WR Larry Fitzgerald.

The team had several highly rated receivers in for visits including Limas Sweed (Texas), DeSean Jackson (California), Devin Thomas (Michigan St.), James Hardy (Indiana), and Dexter Jackson Appalachian St.)

Updates 4/7-4/13


The Oakland Raiders still haven't released RB LaMont Jordan as many have speculated will happen. Jordan has two years left on his contract and is due $9.7 million in base salary ($4.7 million in 2008) through 2009. Jordan's cap number for 2008 is $6.1 million ($1.4 million is left on his prorated portion of his signing bonus).

This situation is interesting since the team traded for CB DeAngelo Hall and signed him to a seven-year, $70 million deal and they haven't at least restructured Jordan's deal in order to take Hall's money under the cap.  


Despite the signing of Michael Turner, the Atlanta Falcons are still visiting many running backs before the NFL draft.

Ray Rice (Rutgers), Tashard Choice (Georgia Tech), and Jamaal Charles (Texans) have all visited the team. The coaches had private workouts with Matt Forte (Tulane) and Jamar Brittingham (Bloomsburg).


With the obvious need to find more youth at the receiver position, the Dallas Cowboys have had pre-draft visits with Limas Sweed (Texas), Malcolm Kelly (Oklahoma), Devin Thomas (Michigan St.), and Keenan Burton (Kentucky).

Dallas holds picks 22 and 28 in the first round. Sweed, Kelly, and Thomas are seen as going off in the board anywhere from the third quarter of the first round (Sweed and Thomas) to early in the second round (Kelly).


It's not a secret that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are looking for receiver help opposite Joey Galloway.

The team has had private workouts or visited with at least eight receivers including DeSean Jackson (California), Limas Sweed (Texas), and Donnie Avery (Houston)  


A player to keep an eye on as we get closer to the draft is University of Houston WR Donnie Avery.

Prior to his pro day workout on March 31, he was seen as a late second-round or early third-round pick. But after completing a scintillating workout for receiver coaches from 11 teams, a league executive believes he'll go off the board in the early portion of round two. Avery also offers special teams return ability.

Avery is easily one of the fastest receivers in this year's draft and while he had an outstanding week of Senior Bowl practices, various NFL sources talked to this week feel he has to improve his route running and hands. Those factors will likely keep him out of the first round but his upside is big.

Avery had a private workout for the Chicago Bears recently who are in dire need of receiver help. He also has pre-draft visits with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans.

UPDATE WEDNESDAY 5:36 PM EST revealed details of Cleveland Browns QB Derek Anderson's new contract a few weeks ago in the NFL Draft/Free Agency Insider Blog.

A league source notes more interesting details inside the three-year deal which he signed back on March 1.

While Anderson doesn't have a roster bonus for the 2008 season, he does have one due on around March 15, 2009 ($5 million bonus is paid he if he's on the 80-man roster on the 15th day of the league year which is around 3/15).

So we would look at the deal this way, if he plays well this season, the team will likely pick up the bonus which would trigger his deal for the 2009 season. If he plays poorly, they'll likely look to deal him before the bonus is due or just decide not to pick it up which make him an unrestricted free agent on the 15th day of the league year (our guess that date is on or around March 15).

Anderson also has a roster bonus due for the 2010 season (final year of the deal). The details are virtually the same in that he'll earn the bonus if he's on the 80-man roster on the 15th day of the league year. The only difference is this bonus is for $2 million. So again, if he plays well in year two, they'll likely pay him the bonus. If he stumbles, they'll look to deal him before the bonus is due or they'll decline to pick it up making him an unrestricted free agent.

Anderson also has workout bonuses of $50,000 in each year he completes at least 40 workouts. He also has Pro Bowl bonuses of $500,000 for each time that he's selected to play. He would not get the bonus as an injury replacement or as an alternate. He also has playing time incentives which could yield him an extra $500,000 if he takes 75 percent of the snaps in 2008 or 2009 and the team makes the playoffs in either year (he would get the bonus money in the final year of the deal).

We'll take a look a deeper look at Brady Quinn's deal as we get closer to the draft and whether or not it would be wise to keep him on the roster.


Free agent LB Mario Haggan (Buffalo Bills) has been suspended by the NFL for the first four games of the 2008 season, has confirmed. He is eligible to sign and participate in all offseason and preseason activities, including games. His suspension will take effect as of the final roster reduction.

A team source notes Haggan was taking a diet supplement which had an ingredient in it that can act like a masking agent. It's believed the masking agent was the cause of the failed test.


University of Delaware QB Joe Flacco will make his pre-draft visit with the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday and Monday, has confirmed.

Flacco already had a private workout with Baltimore last month.

Flacco is expected to have a pre-draft visit with the Minnesota Vikings Wednesday or Thursday and with the St. Louis Rams next week.


The Cleveland Browns, looking for depth at the receiver position, have scheduled Kansas St.'s Jordy Nelson for a pre-draft visit.

The tall receiver is coming off of a solid set of practices during Senior Bowl week and a stellar NFL combine performance. His success in both venues might have elevated him to go off the board in rounds 2-3.

Some NFL talent evaluators compare him to veteran WR Joe Jurevicius but Nelson plays to a faster game speed.  


Free agent DT Ethan Kelley (Cleveland Browns) visited the New York Giants recently, has confirmed.

Kelley, who is coming back from microfracture knee surgery, also visited the Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals last month.

When asked Cleveland head coach Romeo Crennel last week at the NFL's annual meeting if the team would be re-signing Kelley, Crennel said there was an outside chance. And if they were interested in re-signing him, it probably wouldn't happen until closer to training camp.


Mark down the New England Patriots as another team that's looking hard at the cornerback position.

League sources have them working out or visiting with at least six cornerbacks including Tracy Porter (Indiana), Leodis McKelvin (Troy St.), Antoine Cason (Arizona), Charles Godfrey (Iowa), Zack Bowman (Nebraska), and Orlando Scandrick (Boise St.)

New England, who lost top CB Asante Samuel in free agency, signed three veteran cornerbacks to replace him (Lewis Sanders, Fernando Bryant, and Jason Webster).

The team owns four picks in the first three rounds including the seventh pick overall in the first round.


If recent private workouts and pre-draft visits are any indication of their draft plans, the Cleveland Browns are targeting a cornerback with their first pick in this month's draft. Cleveland's first selection isn't until round four (23rd in round, 122 overall).

Cleveland has a major need for cornerback help had scheduled visits with CBs Charles Godfrey (Iowa), Zack Bowman (Nebraska) and workouts with Orlando Scandrick (Boise St.) and Antwaun Molden (Eastern Kentucky). And there's a possibility that other cornerbacks are scheduled to visit.

Scandrick was given a fourth round grade by the committee that evaluates underclassmen but recent solid workouts could push him into the third round.

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