We are one day short of being down to two weeks before the NFL Draft, April 28th. With no clear cut #1 choice to sit atop every team's draft boards, there figures to be plenty of movement as teams maneuver to get the player they covet. Movement in the top 10 obviously affects the Cowboys and the draft board they are working feverishly to put together.
Where there is potential movement, there also exists some room for rumors. And today those rumors are truly flying, courtesy of a guy named Shawn Zobel. Before we get into the details of those rumors, here's a little background on Zobel.
Shawn Zobel created the website Draft Headquarters three years ago, and seems to have been gaining a strong reputation for accuracy ever since. The website even has a testimonial from Adam Schefter validating his forecasting and fact gathering. Say what you want about the ESPN draft team, but Schefter has some of the best sources in the game. If he has confidence in Zobel, I at least think his reports warrant examination.
The obvious caveat is that even if Zobel's information is coming directly from sources that should be 'in the know', it doesn't mean that the information is accurate. Teams are well known to use the media to send out smoke-screens covering their true intentions, and Zobel's growing reputation would give said rumors some legs. Follow the jump for a myriad of predictions and some analysis on Cowboys impact.
Huge hat tip to SB Nation's Cat Scratch Reader's James Dator. He summarized Zobel's twitter feed that went ballistic last night. Zobel has since posted his tweets into a blog entry, here are some highlights.
1. Carolina – I’ve been told that Cam Newton will be the pick unless the Panthers receive a big enough package to move down. I was told by one source that it’s 50-50 as to whether they’d get a good enough package to entice them to move down. At this point, I’m completely assuming that Newton will be the pick until I hear otherwise.
2. Denver – I am 100% sure that Denver has been in talks to move down from the No. 2 overall pick. They have been in talks with Cincinnati, Arizona, and Washington. Minnesota has also been considered a darkhorse to move up. All of these teams are looking at specific quarterbacks. More to come there. Denver is looking to upgrade their defense and are under the impression that they could move from No. 2 to No. 5 (for example), and still get the guy they were targeting at No. 2, while also adding valuable picks. Marcell Dareus is still the favorite here, but it’s an extremely fluid situation with the trade talks.
4. Cincinnati – The Bengals have Blaine Gabbert at the top of their board and also have Cam Newton on the radar. At this point, I’m convinced either Gabbert or Georgia’s A.J. Green will be the pick here on draft day. They have been talking to Denver about moving up two spots to land Gabbert, but it’s unclear how close they are to completing a deal. Both Cincinnati and Arizona know that each team wants to land Gabbert, making this an interesting situation to see who would be willing to give up more to acquire him at No. 2 overall.
9. Dallas – I’ve been told that Tyron Smith is their guy. Some have speculated that pass rusher, defensive end, or corner could all be options. But from everything I’m hearing, Smith will be the pick here.
10. Washington – This is where it gets extremely interesting. The Redskins have their eye on Blaine Gabbert and Jake Locker as opposed to Cam Newton and Ryan Mallett. With that said, they are candidates to swing a deal and trade up for Gabbert as well as take Locker at No. 10 overall. I’ve been told that Mark Ingram’s camp is trying to convince people that Washington is looking to take him with the 10th pick, but that’s not going to happen. The Redskins are COMMITTED to landing a quarterback in the first two rounds this spring.
Here are some of the tweets that didn't make it into the blog entry:
-- I'd count on Tyron Smith, but going up to get Peterson wouldn't surprise me (when asked "have you heard anything about the Cowboys trading up to grab Peterson or does it sound like they'll just take Smith?")
-- Don't be surprised if New England "swings big" and trades up to take A.J. Green or Julio Jones
-- Washington is the darkhorse to trade up as well. They WANT and NEED a QB. They are COMMITTED to taking a QB in Round One
-- Minnesota is targeting Donovan McNabb. WASH is asking for a 3rd RD pick. Minnesota scrambling trying to come up w/ 1 without trade down
-- That's where it gets interesting. Teams could make trades that are lopsided with veterans attached when CBA is signed(in response to question about not being able to trade vets)
-- I can't tell you the source, other than to say, he's as reliable as I've come by.(in response to SB Nation's Hog's Haven question about the Locker rumor)
-- I posted my first round mock April 1st, you can find that here. This is how I predicted the top ten:
|1||Carolina||QB Cam Newton|
|2||Denver||DT Marcel Dareus|
|3||Buffalo||DT Nick Fairley|
|4||Cincinnati||QB Blaine Gabbert|
|5||Arizona||LB Von Miller|
|6||Cleveland||WR AJ Green|
|7||San Francisco||LB Robert Quinn|
|8||Tennessee||CB Patrick Peterson|
|9||Dallas||OT Tyron Smith|
|10||Washington||QB Jake Locker|
Zobel confirms the Panthers heavy interest in Newton, Denver in Dareus over Peterson, that Cincy is the highest team that ranks Gabbert the #1 quarterback and that Washington is a strong possibility to make Locker a first round pick. And yes, I'm patting myself on the back while typing. :)
-- What's a little worrisome is that there doesn't seem to be any reason for a team to trade up to Dallas' spot, the prerequisite for a trade down by the Cowboys. Let's say the rumors happen and Carolina and Arizona take Newton-Gabbert. Buffalo takes Dareus, Cincy takes AJ Green. Denver or New England takes Von Miller. Cleveland takes Julio Jones, San Fran takes Peterson and Tennessee takes Nick Fairley. The Cowboys are still penciled in to take Tyron Smith. Who is someone trading up for? Robert Quinn? Da'Quan Bowers? Those scenarios don't seem that likely to me.