This 2020 NFL season continues to move forward while the college football season will begin to look a little more familiar as the Big Ten returns this weekend. So let’s dive into the weekly mailbag to talk about the latest NFL Draft rumors and news from around the league.
This week’s questions include thoughts on the loaded 2021 wide receiver draft class and the quarterback who is quickly rising. Plus I share some insight into the situation at Mississippi State with running back Kylin Hill, and so much more. But first, we begin with a question about the New York Jets and potential head coach candidates.
Related | Hodgkinson’s 4-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft
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NFL Draft Rumors & News: The Tony Pauline Mailbag (10.21.20)
When the Jets finally fire Adam Gase, what coaches do you expect the Jets to show interest in? Any chance they look to pair Trevor Lawrence and Dabo Swinney?
It’s tough to predict which coaches they will be interested in at this point.
Besides the usual suspects, the name that keeps popping up from league sources — not Jets sources — is Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale. He’s exceptional at his job and has worked with Joe Douglas in the past, and the Jets previously had success with Ravens’ defensive coordinators.
I think Dabo Swinney is a great head coach and an even better person, I just don’t know how he translates to the NFL game. That said, if Christopher Johnson is making the choice for the Jets, I could see Swinney getting the job. Johnson is easily impressionable, and I expect Swinney to make a great impression.
If the Jets end up picking first overall, how confident are you that they pick a QB as opposed to taking Penei Sewell and then continue building around Darnold with a new head coach? Perhaps they see the success Ryan Tannehill has had away from Adam Gase and believe Darnold could have a similar fate.
I think there’s more risk keeping Darnold than drafting Trevor Lawrence with the first pick if, in fact, the Jets end up with that selection. Here is why:
- If Darnold and Lawrence were in the same draft, Lawrence would be graded a half-round higher than Darnold. That doesn’t mean he would be selected a half-round higher, but it means Lawrence is far more advanced than Darnold at equal points in their careers and will be getting a much higher grade.
- Given Darnold’s regression the past two years, the new coach would almost have to start all over again with him.
- Considering the Jets have so many needs and rookie tackle Mekhi Becton looked terrific before getting injured, I don’t see the Jets taking another left tackle early in Round 1.
How do you currently view the 2021 wide receiver class? Have you heard any NFL Draft rumors about how NFL teams view it? Is there an obvious WR1?
The receiver class looks like it’s going to be outstanding, and I dare say that 2021 will have better talent at the top than in 2020. Depending on what happens in the shortened season as well as what Justyn Ross decides, you could have 6-8 receivers heading towards the draft with first-round grades.
The obvious No. 1 receiver is Ja’Marr Chase of LSU. There’s a lot of top talent at the receiver position, but Chase is far and away the best of the group.
Mississippi State running back Kylin Hill was suspended for the Texas A&M game on Saturday due to “actions and reactions” in the locker room following the loss to Kentucky last week. Are you hearing anything on this?
I’m told Kylin Hill was very vocal and outspoken about the lack of work he’s been getting as a ball carrier. In three games this year, he has 15 total carries. Against Kentucky alone, he caught 15 passes. Word is circulating that Hill may not be back with the team this year and that his career at Mississippi State is over, although that has yet to be confirmed.
Beyond the big three quarterbacks (Lawrence, Fields and Lance), are there any NFL Draft rumors about who the quarterbacks are that could push into the back end of Round 1 or the top of Round 2?
First, Lance may be surpassed by Zach Wilson of BYU and end up as the fourth quarterback on boards next April, especially if Wilson continues his tear — a tear that has boosted his NFL Draft stock recently. After that, I don’t envision anyone sliding into the late part of Round 1.
Kyle Trask of Florida has played very well and should end up going on Day 2, but the top 32 may be a bit rich for his talents.
Should Justin Fields risk injury this season, or should he play a game or two to show off and then declare for the draft and sit out?
I think it would be a mistake for Fields not to play. He was sensational last year at Ohio State, and he was a good-looking passer rather than an athlete playing quarterback. Scouts want to see more film and a body of work on players, especially quarterbacks, which is why sitting out would do him more harm than good.
Should the Bengals trade A.J. Green now that he’s had a good week? Or should they let him ride out his tag year and go into free agency?
Green still has a lot of money left on his contract this year and most in the league believe his best days are behind him, so the market won’t be very big for Green.
Do you think the Bengals trade John Ross, and are the Eagles interested?
The Bengals will explore trading John Ross. The question they are asking themselves is if they would get a higher compensatory pick in 2022 if Ross leaves via free agency compared to the 2021 draft pick they would get in a trade.
I don’t know of any interest in Ross from the Eagles. They like speed, but they don’t want someone always nursing injuries.
Is Ole Miss WR Elijah Moore starting to gain some buzz after his strong start?
Absolutely. His big-play ability is appealing, as is the potential he brings as a return specialist. I haven’t heard whether he’s leaning towards entering the draft.