NFL Pre-Draft Insider

Scout.com's NFL insider, Adam Caplan, is breaking down what various teams might possibly be looking to do in this weekend's NFL draft. You'll find insider information on seven teams, plus individual player notes on various players as we're now just two days from the annual selection weekend.

Arizona Cardinals - Sources continue to tell Scout.com that no teams have offered a first-round pick for WR Anquan Boldin and the only way he'll be traded is if the team is willing to take a player and a second-round pick. Arizona is said to be looking at selecting a running back, defensive end/outside linebacker, or offensive tackle with their first-round selection. Players believed to be high on their board are Knowshon Moreno, Donald Brown, Larry English, and Eben Britton. OLT Mike Gandy's contract is up after this season and it's believed the team isn't considering signing him to an extension at this point. Arizona, according to a league source, has been doing extra work on DE/OLB Everette Brown recently and would consider trading up in the first round if he drops.


Carolina Panthers - It's expected that the team looks to use one of their mid-to-late round picks on a quarterback and the one signal caller sources said they continue to show interest in is Brian Hoyer. While the team remains high on Matt Moore, the coaches are looking for another quarterback who could compete for the starting job down the road.


Dallas Cowboys - It's not a secret that the team is looking for a safety who is good in coverage and a source said the scouts and coaches spent extra time recently evaluating S Darcel McBath, who had a pre-draft visit with Dallas recently. McBath is known as one of the best cover safeties available for the draft. He's expected to go off the boards in rounds 3-4.


Minnesota Vikings - According to team sources, the front office has zeroed in on selecting a right tackle in the second round, not the first round. While many have pegged the team to select Eben Britton with their first-round pick, the team has given a higher grade than expected for Phil Loadholt, who sources said the team would likely trade up for in the second. Loadholt's draft stock has risen in the last few months after Minnesota's coaching staff has gotten involved in their pre-draft evaluations of players. It's believed the coaches feel Loadholt could come in and start right away. Other positions the team is looking at early are receiver and cornerback.

Should the team go with a receiver with their first-round pick, the selection is likely to come down to Hakeem Nicks, Kenny Britt, or Darrius Heyward-Bey. It's believed the listed order is how they are ranked on the team's draft board. The team is looking for a physical presence at the receiver opposite Bernard Berrian and they could look to Brian Robiskie in round two should they select a right tackle in the first round. One receiver that the team is very high on is Percy Harvin. However, because of a series of off-the-field issues over his high school and collegiate playing career, it's believed he's been pulled off of their draft board.

Because of starting CB Antoine Winfield's age and the fact that the team lacks a solid nickel back, it's believed some consideration will be given to selecting a cornerback in the first two rounds. It's believed the cornerback that the team is very high on is Darius Butler. What they also like about Butler besides his speed and ability, is his versatility to return punts or kicks.


New Orleans Saints - Various sources said this team will look to trade down to acquire more picks since they don't own selections in rounds two or three. A trading partner could be Philadelphia, who is looking hard at Knowshon Moreno.


Philadelphia Eagles - According to league sources, only one other team made a trade offer to the Buffalo Bills last week for OLT Jason Peters. However, Philadelphia's offer was the only one Buffalo took seriously which is why they wound up making the deal. Buffalo didn't believe anything was going to change closer to the draft.

While many believe Philadelphia wants to select Knowshon Moreno with their first-round selection, a league source said the team could still trade down if he's on the board when it's their time to select if they believe no other teams behind them in the round would select him. Arizona is believed to be the only team picking 22-32 that is seriously considering selecting a running back. The scouting staff, according to a team source, has Moreno as their top rated back for the draft. Others that the team carries in high regard are LeSean McCoy, Donald Brown, and Rashad Jennings. Philadelphia has given first-round grades to only Moreno and Brown, but a source said they would probably trade down if they wanted to select Brown.

Because he was demoted for much of the second half of last season, veteran WR Reggie Brown could be traded on draft weekend. The team is believed to be interested in University of Florida WR Louis Murphy, who had a pre-draft visit with the team. Murphy, who has good size, surprised scouts with a great NFL combine workout and 40-yard dash time.

Philadelphia, as expected, brought in TE Brandon Pettigrew for a visit last week. While many believe they won't select him with at No. 21 in the first round, they could choose to trade back in order to select him. The coaching staff is looking for a tight end who can block and Pettigrew is the highest rated tight end on Philadelphia's draft board.

Two positions that a source said to look out for early with this team are defensive end and cornerback. Philadelphia has six defensive ends on their roster and the coaches are high on all of them. One could be dealt in order to acquire TE Tony Gonzalez. A source said Philadelphia would have raised their offer for him before last year's October trading deadline, but they weren't given a chance to do so by former Kansas City general manager Carl Peterson.


Washington Redskins - If the team plans to select USC QB Mark Sanchez or wants to trade up for him, sources said that they'll likely look to arrange a trade of Jason Campbell. The veteran signal caller, who is on the final year of his rookie contract, is not expected to have his contract extended by the team if he remains on the roster after the draft.
 

Various Player Notes

Here's what Scouts and personnel evaluators across the league are saying about the following players as we get closer to the draft:

Mike Reilly/QB/Central Washington - Reilly didn't perform well in January's East-West Shrine week practices, but according to a league source, Reilly had his mechanics adjusted by former NFL QB Erik Kramer, who had been hired to work the young quarterback to get him ready for the draft. Reilly was in the midst of working through an adjustment with his throwing delivery which caused several throws to go off the mark. Teams have been imformed of this and it's believed Reilly shouldn't be selected any later than round five.

Mohamed Massaquoi/WR/Georgia - The polished receiver was once thought to be a potential solid third-round pick, but after solid private workouts, Massaquoi may make it into round two. Massaquoi has impressed scouts with his route running and solid hands.

Josh Freeman/QB/Kansas St. - The strong-armed passer worked with former NFL assistant coach Terry Shea for about a month earlier this year. According to a source who talked with Shea, Freeman's mechanics have drastically improved. However, various league sources believe Freeman would be best served holding a clip board in this rookie season while he continues to improve his footwork and mechanics.

Pat Brown/OL/Central Florida - According to a veteran college/NFL personnel evaluator, after watching Brown on tape, the offensive lineman should get strong interest late in the draft. Brown was thought to be a priority free agent, but after NFL coaches around the league got involved watching Central Florida's offense from last season, he's getting noticed for having decent feet and better than anticipated athleticism.

Robert Ayers/DE-OLB/Tennessee - The Senior pass rusher is seen by scouts and general managers as this year's high riser as we get closer to draft day. Scouts point to his excellent showing during Senior Bowl week practices and the game itself. Much like his former teammate Jerod Mayo, who Scout.com noted last year at this time was moving up draft boards prior to the draft, could be picked as high as No. 9 (Green Bay Packers).

Brian Orakpo/DE-OLB/Texas - While he'll still likely be selected in the top-10, scouts believe he's not as fluid in the hips as Robert Ayers and some wonder if he's best suited to only play in a 4-3 defensive scheme with his hand on the ground.


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