With the countdown to the National Football League Draft nearing its final days, teams are ramping up the rumors and reports to the media.
With that in mind, it is time to hedge through the smokescreens of NFL teams and their personnel departments.
Dammit, Koffing. *cough* *cough*
Here are some of the more notable rumors going around the league:
Buffalo Bills favoring Memphis quarterback, Paxton Lynch
The Buffalo Bills are required to do all due diligence in their pursuit of a long-term starter at quarterback. While Tyrod Taylor was good last season, he still needs to prove that he can be the guys to take the reigns, which he still seems far away from being.
Paxton Lynch is a guy that could sit and wait behind Taylor, which allows Buffalo to continue messing with the salary cap and sign players like cornerback Stephon Gilmore and offensive tackle Cordy Glenn to long-term contracts.
But that is where the logic ends.
Buffalo cannot be looking at Lynch first with such and abysmal group at linebacker, and the need for extra help along the defensive line. Also, there is little chance that Lynch falls to Buffalo all the way at the 19th overall pick.
What Buffalo is likely doing is ramping up the draft stock of Lynch, so that one of three things happens:
- Influence a team like the Chicago Bears or New Orleans Saints, teams with quarterbacks who are getting close to departure, to select Lynch based on competition for the big passer.
- Cause the New York Jets, who currently have Geno Smith and Bryce Petty on their roster, to give up picks to move up and leapfrog Buffalo to select Lynch.
- Make some team like the Arizona Cardinals or Kansas City Chiefs, talented teams with aging quarterbacks, trade up to the 19th pick and leap-frog the Jets, allowing the Bills to collect more picks in a draft that is deep in pass rushers and interior defensive line help.
The Bills’ interest in Lynch may be genuine, but the hype is just not worth buying in to.
Clemson cornerback MacKenzie Alexander falling out of the first round
It seems that some scouts are down on MacKenzie Alexander based on the fact that Alexander, a press-man cornerback, had no interceptions in the two years he was at Clemson. He does not have great ball skills.
However, Alexander is too good at remaining at the hip of his opposing receiver to be ignored in the first round. He is too talented at blanketing receivers to be passed up by 31 teams for lesser caliber players.
Alexander is too talented as a press-man cornerback to leave Day One without a jersey.
Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith being drafted after Day Two
Jaylon Smith, who has had a debilitating knee injury, will not play in the 2016 season. However, if Smith can return healthy from this knee injury, he is a top-10 talent in this draft class. Naturally, he will fall out of the first round and probably the second round due to a lack of availability and the severity of his injury.
However, there will be a team who is willing to take a chance in the third round on Smith, and allow him the opportunity to sit and recover. There are several examples of this: cornerback Aaron Colvin in 2014, guard Brandon Thomas in 2014 and running back Marcus Lattimore in 2013.
So look at a team like the New England Patriots, Arizona or Kansas City to stash Smith with a third round pick and let Smith sit on injured reserve. All it takes is one team to believe in Smith being able to return in order to select him.
However, it is no guarantee for Smith. There are teams around the NFL that believe Smith will not get the chance to play a down in the NFL, which may make him a late-round pick instead.
Smith’s injury looks serious, so he will likely be taken on day three of the draft in the fourth round.
Denver Broncos’ continued interest to trade for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick
If the season started today, the Denver Broncos would be trotting out Mark Sanchez as their starting quarterback. Butt Fumble aside, Sanchez is a bridge quarterback at best. If Denver is serious about this team making another run at the Super Bowl, they need to have a starting-caliber quarterback. The Broncos also dealt tackle Ryan Clady to unload a ton of cap space.
For the San Francisco 49ers, they want to dump off quarterback Colin Kaepernick, a player who has fallen out of grace with the staff. It is easy to connect the dots, as Denver was in negotiation with San Francisco, but the reason the deal was not done was Kaepernick is not willing to restructure his contract. That road block remains, despite Denver freeing up more cap space.
At this point in time, this trade is merely lazy speculation.
Keep coming back to Better Live Than Dead Sports for more on the NFL Draft in the coming days!