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    NFL Draft News and Rumors: Anthony Richardson Won’t Dine With Panthers, Hendon Hooker Makes Surprise Appearance, and More

    The NFL draft is just four weeks away, and we have the latest news and rumors, including Hendon Hooker's surprise appearance in one analyst's mock draft.

    We’re just 28 days away from April 27, and NFL draft news and rumors are starting to swirl at an unprecedented rate. New mock drafts are flying off the shelves every day. As each day passes, we must become more cognizant of who the mock draft is coming from and what the point of said mock draft is. When we see things out of the ordinary, is it because a mocker believes the player is better than the masses do, or is it because they are hearing from sources that the NFL likes that player more?

    All information in April must be worked through by brush first and then by fine-toothed comb. But it’s always fun to see and hear the rumors swirling around, while also reacting to new developments.

    NFL Draft News and Rumors

    Anthony Richardson partakes in Florida’s Pro Day today but was the only top QB prospect not to dine with the Carolina Panthers’ top brass beforehand. Meanwhile, Hendon Hooker finally found his way into the first round of a big-time mock draft. And Jalen Carter’s draft stock continues to remain a mystery. As for the Pittsburgh Steelers, are their draft crushes well-known by this point?

    Anthony Richardson Won’t Have Pre-Pro Day Dinner With Carolina Panthers

    The pro day schedule is a tough detail for colleges to navigate. How do they maximize the eyeballs on their players without also overlapping with other top schools boasting immense NFL talent? It’s a tricky string to balance on.

    But with C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young, and Will Levis all getting the chance to bask in a free meal with the Panthers brass, it’s unfortunate for Richardson that he won’t have the same opportunity to meet the organization in that manner.

    MORE: PFN’s FREE Mock Draft Simulator With Trades

    Owner David Tepper, GM Scott Fitterer, and HC Frank Reich were all in Arizona for the NFL’s Annual League Meeting that ran through March 29. With the way time zones work, getting to a dinner in Gainesville at a decent time of day would have been impossible for the group. Reich discussed Richardson at length during a media session in Arizona.

    “There are plays and throws all over the tape that scream top pick, top of the draft pick,” Reich said to reporters. “That’s a credit to him. I think he has upper body mechanics that are really solid. Obviously, his completion percentage is lower than you want at this level, but I don’t get too discouraged [about] things like that. I see a lot of upside.

    “Talking to him a little bit at the Combine, you could tell how smart of a guy he is. A guy like that, without totally getting into it, the more experience he gets, he’s a guy that you feel like he’s going to get better fast.”

    The team will have plenty of time to speak with Richardson in person during and after his pro day. And there’s always a chance that Richardson and the Panthers’ date simply gets pushed to Thursday evening instead.

    Hendon Hooker Goes Fifth in Mike Tannenbaum’s Mock Draft

    If one were to tell me that Hooker went 20th overall to the Seattle Seahawks as the fifth quarterback off the board, I’d simply shrug. In fact, I quite like the Tennessee QB. He’s a naturally accurate passer with the athletic ability necessary for creativity at the next level. He’s explosive and intelligent when navigating and escaping pressure. There’s a lot to like.

    “He led the nation in yards per attempt (9.5), threw two interceptions over 11 starts, and was a top-10 passer in terms of completion percentage (69.6%),” Tannenbaum wrote for ESPN. “I see a potential franchise quarterback and someone who can lead an offense. Go watch his performance against Alabama if you disagree.

    But Hooker’s also already 25 and coming off a torn ACL. Now that in and of itself isn’t a deal-breaker. It is his left knee that sustained the injury, which while still crucial for quarterback play, is not as important for a right-handed QB as is the right leg. The bigger issue is all those things combined with the Tennessee offense and the potential learning curve Hooker faces at the next level.

    Going to Seattle is a fantastic spot for the Tennessee QB. It would allow him to sit for at least one full season as he gets his legs underneath him. And if Seattle valued Hooker as one of the top guys, going fifth overall makes sense. You don’t wait to draft a quarterback you love. But the consensus big board has Hooker ranked as the No. 5 QB and 55th overall player.

    Dan Campbell’s Curious Comments About Jalen Carter

    During Tuesday’s iteration of the annual league meeting, Dan Campbell had some interesting comments regarding Jalen Carter while meeting with the media.

    “We talked to a teammate of his the other day, and, man, he told us some things we didn’t know,” Campbell told reporters. “That nobody probably would’ve known. It was like, ‘Oh, that’s interesting.'”

    When he was asked whether what he’d heard was good or bad, he simply reiterated that it was interesting. The news could have been that he used NIL money to buy a kidney for a friend in need, or the exact opposite.

    MORE: Jalen Carter Falls Outside Top 5 in Latest NFL Mock Draft

    Wording it the way he did was purposeful. The Detroit Lions pick sixth in the NFL draft, and it would not be the first time a team leaked information or played coy about a situation so a prospect they love falls into their lap.

    After all, the Lions added three difference-makers to the secondary this offseason. A defensive line group consisting of Aidan Hutchinson, Carter, Alim McNeill, and John Cominsky, and a host of other solid contributors would be incredibly dangerous to opposing passers. And while the No. 2 CB spot could use an upgrade, Detroit has consistently used capital on offensive and defensive playmakers to build the trenches since Brad Holmes and Campbell arrived.

    Do the Pittsburgh Steelers Have Their Draft Crushes Set in Stone?

    The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac interestingly answered quite a few questions in his recent mailbag. And there were a few interesting trends throughout the answer session.

    Chief: Who is your top CB, OT, and DL that you think have potential to be available at 17?

    Gerry Dulac: CB Kelee Ringo. T Darnell Wright. DL Bryan Bresee. I can tell you they love two of those guys.

    It doesn’t get more Pittsburgh Steelers than potentially drafting Kelee Ringo at 17, considering their history of drafting the position early. If I’m a Steelers fan, I’m really hoping that the two players the brass loves are Darnell Wright and Bryan Bresee.

    There’s no denying the need for reinforcements on the offensive line. Bresee is also an interesting candidate for Pittsburgh. He was the best player on Clemson’s defense as a redshirt freshman, but between injury and tragedy, was unable to produce at the same rate as a redshirt sophomore.

    Still, Bresee is a perfect mold for the modern defensive linemen who must be able to play as an under tackle in even fronts and as a 4i or 5-technique in odd front looks, which Pittsburgh often uses to field both outside linebackers and three “interior” linemen.

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