NFL Draft News and Rumors Mailbag: Updates on Kayshon Boutte, Eli Ricks, and a Quinn Ewers Quick Evaluation

In this week's NFL Draft News and Rumors Mailbag, we talk about Kayshon Boutte and Eli Ricks' struggles as well as Texas QB Quinn Ewers' next-level potential.

As the college football and NFL seasons move right along, preseason narratives are squashed, and on-field performances take center stage. With that comes plenty of NFL draft news and rumors, discussion about NFL team needs coming into focus, and prospects moving up and down draft boards.

2023 NFL Draft News and Rumors Mailbag

In this mailbag, we look ahead to Quinn Ewers’ potential draft stock, what’s going on with LSU WR Kayshon Boutte, as well as the Washington Commanders and their quarterback situation.

If you have a question that you want to be answered in next week’s NFL Draft News and Rumors Mailbag, be sure to email me here.

Tony, did you get to watch Texas vs. Oklahoma game, and if so, what were your impressions of Quinn Ewers at quarterback?

I tweeted the following in the CFB live blog on Saturday:

“I try to remain conservative in my QB assessments, especially before a player is draft-eligible but Quinn Ewers is one of the most exciting redshirt freshman QB next-level prospects I’ve seen since Peyton Manning was at Tennessee.”

And while I understand there is a lot more football to be played, Ewers looks like he’s everything he was cracked up to be.

All summer long, people talked about Alabama CB Eli Ricks as the potential top guy at the position, but he’s hardly seen the field. Any insight into Ricks’ absence in the ‘Bama lineup?

I think the better question is, why was everyone on the outside of the scouting community talking about a guy who played six games last season and totaled just 11 tackles and one interception as the top guy at the cornerback spot? It was never warranted, not even with four interceptions the prior season.

How high do you value center in the draft? And how do you stack up this year’s class at the top?

I always believe if you can get a stalwart at center, you take him in the first round. Ranking my priorities on the offensive line, center would be second after left tackle. While there have been busts at the position, guys like Ryan Kelly, Nick Mangold, Alex Mack, and a host of others have been stalwarts and difference-makers up front for teams that selected them.

Matt Rhule is out, Baker Mayfield is hurt, and there isn’t much to like about the Carolina Panthers right now. What do they need to do in the draft in order to bring hope to their franchise?

Be patient, which is in short supply in the NFL these days. The owner is involved and wants to win ASAP, but that’s not going to happen. They brought in a general manager (Scott Fitterer) one year into Rhule’s tenure. Rhule was never an easy guy to get along with, and he never meshed with Fitterer.

Fitterer now has the reigns and should be allowed to take control: Hire his own coach, select his own signal-caller, and not have the owner looking over his shoulder.

Washington fan here, Carson Wentz isn’t it. Which quarterback should we Commanders fans have on our radar given we’re projected to pick in the top five selections this year?

The obvious candidates are C.J. Stroud of Ohio State or Bryce Young of Alabama. The sleeper could be Will Levis of Kentucky, but we are far away from that. They also need to get a great QB coach in-house.

Washington’s big mistake was not having the courage to take Davis Mills in the second round during the 2021 NFL Draft. Marty Hurney loved Mills in the lead-up to that draft. Hurney was at a very private workout Mills had in Mobile that year, also attended by myself and Ian Cummings of PFN, as well as a handful of Washington scouts. We were the only ones on hand for the workout and Mills looked terrific — but Washington never pulled the trigger on the Stanford product.

What red flags are there for Kayshon Boutte as to why he hasn’t been a big factor for LSU this year?

Boutte has dropped way too many catchable throws, his route running has been sloppy, and at times, he looks like he’d rather be playing hoops in a pick-up game rather than be on the football field.

Can you give us two names of players flying up draft boards no one else is talking
about?

The first would be Arizona left tackle Jordan Morgan who entered the season graded as a late-round pick but is now viewed as a middle-round prospect and could move into Day 2. Some teams project Morgan as a guard in the NFL.

The other is Louisiana Tech cornerback Myles Brooks, a transfer from Stephen F. Austin. He was on no one’s radar entering the season, but teams are now talking about Brooks being a top-60 prospect.

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