2020 NFL Draft News and Rumors: Friday, April 17
With less than a week to go before the 2020 NFL Draft, here’s the latest news and rumors as we close in on the event.
Why did Zack Baun test positive for a diluted test at the NFL Scouting Combine?
Zack Baun made headlines this week as it was publicly announced that he tested positive for a diluted test at the NFL Scouting Combine. This is no surprise, though for reasons other than what most believe.
NFL.com reported that Baun sent a letter to NFL teams stating, “Zack was genuinely confused, upset and embarrassed by the results given the fact that the ‘dilute’ was the result of him drinking significant amounts of water before his weigh-in (the urine test occurred immediately thereafter). Zack would welcome the opportunity to speak with any of you about this directly at your convenience … in fact, he’d be excited to do so.”
Several weeks ago, multiple sources told me that there were an inordinate number of positive diluted test results from this year’s Combine. The overwhelming reason for the large number of diluted tests parallels Baun’s letter – players were chugging as much water as possible before weigh-ins in order to gain as much last-minute weight as they could before stepping on the scale.
Baun wasn’t the only one who tested positive for a diluted test
I confirmed that urine tests were completed immediately after weigh-ins, as Baun stated in his letter, and I am aware of numerous players who received letters informing them of positive diluted test results.
The Combine later tried to get prospects to weigh in a second time, just prior to their field workouts, in an attempt to get a true measure of their actual weight. Some players voluntarily stepped on the scale while others refused, primarily at the recommendation of their agents.
I was told that in one case, a highly rated tight end — whose name I will withhold — was 12 pounds lighter the second time he stepped on the scale just prior to his workout.
The bottom line from what I was told two weeks ago is that Baun is just one of many whose diluted sample was the result of an attempted last-minute weight gain rather than an attempt to hide a substance in their urine.
I’m told that pressure is being applied to the NFLPA to fight the league on this matter with the hopes of getting the diluted test results reversed or exonerated. I’m also told that weigh-ins could be moved to the same day as on-field workouts at next year’s Combine.
What I’m hearing about Jordan Love and the Dolphins
Heading into this past weekend, PFN learned that the Dolphins, like most other teams around the NFL, were holding their final draft meetings this week. During these meetings, they would start to finalize their board and close in on numerous decisions, including which quarterback they would target. And while no decision has been made, we have been able to gather pieces of information that can help shed some light on the Dolphins thought process as they search for their next franchise quarterback.
After speaking with several sources close to the situation, they re-iterated that the Dolphins do like the Utah State QB and have liked him for a while, which I have reported now for almost two years. Remember, the Dolphins were scouting Love even before he was draft-eligible. At the same time, they were also heavily scouting Oregon Ducks QB Justin Herbert.
If Love is their guy, would the Dolphins select him with their fifth pick?
However, if the Dolphins were to decide that Love could be their franchise quarterback over the likes of Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert, this may not necessarily equate to them taking him with the fifth overall pick. According to those who I spoke with, they would be “absolutely shocked” if they took Love that high.
They speculate that it would either be with the 18th selection or a trade up from that spot to secure their future franchise quarterback. Of course, if the Dolphins take a position player with their fifth pick on Thursday night, their plans will become a bit more clear.
Finally, sources told me that the Dolphins have been quiet on Herbert and have given no indication that he is their target. While that can be read numerous ways and is par for the course at this time, it is something worth noting since multiple media reports and mock drafts have linked Herbert to the Dolphins.
Keep an eye on CBs Amik Robertson and L’Jarius Sneed from Louisiana Tech
When thinking of college secondaries that will impact the draft, most turn their attention to Ohio State — which will have as many as three defensive backs selected next week — and LSU — which will have a pair of top-45 choices and has two more highly rated defensive backs waiting in the wings for future drafts.
Don’t forget to keep an eye on Louisiana Tech next week. While the program won’t have the impact of Ohio State or LSU, it will have a pair of defensive backs selected in the draft and two more signed as free agents.
Many are well-acquainted with junior cornerback Amik Robertson, who’s presently graded as a third-round pick by teams, but keep an eye on teammate L’Jarius Sneed.
Sneed, who looked fantastic at corner in 2018 before he moved inside to safety as a senior, is graded as a potential early-mid fourth-round pick by teams and has had more than a dozen teleconference interviews in the lead-up to the draft, even though he participated in the combine.
Sneed has been interviewed by coaches from the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers, with the latter interviewing him twice. The Chicago Bears, Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons are also interested in Sneed.
Michael Sam and Aaron Roberson drawing interest
Cornerback Michael Sam, who is presently graded as a UDFA on my board, has had a half-dozen teleconference interviews and is drawing interest from the Houston Texans, Oakland Raiders and Carolina Panthers. Aaron Roberson, another corner who is expected to be signed after the draft, is drawing interest from the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions.
Previous updates from Tony Pauline
April 20 (Page 3)
Terrell Lewis, Dolphins QB plans, Saints WR targets, Giants/Herbert
April 17 (Page 4)
Zack Baun’s failed test, Jordan Love and the Dolphins, and more
April 13 (Page 7)
Giants draft plans, James Morgan, and other quarterback news