The 2023 NFL Draft is just over two weeks away. Although pro day season is in the books, NFL teams are never done investigating prospects. Each club is allotted 30 in-house visits to host prospects in advance of the draft, and the news and rumors surrounding these meetings can often indicate which players are high on respective teams’ boards.
NFL News and Rumors
The New York Giants meet with receiver prospects. A potential first-round tight end heads to Detroit. And the Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers host running backs. Let’s dive into the latest NFL news and rumors as the draft approaches.
Giants Hosting Jordan Addison, Bryan Bresee
The Giants have augmented their pass-catching crew this offseason by acquiring tight end Darren Waller and signing wideout Parris Campbell, but it doesn’t appear the team is through adding receivers.
The Giants are meeting with USC’s Jordan Addison and Oklahoma’s Marvin Mims on Tuesday, according to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Addison, the 2021 Fred Biletnikoff Award winner, will likely come off the board in Round 1, while Mims may be a Day 2 selection.
Meanwhile, FOX Sports’ Ralph Vacchiano believes Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba may be the “Giants’ favorite in this class.” However, JSN might not be available by the time New York is on the clock at pick 25, so they may have to trade up to land the ex-Buckeye.
The Giants are also meeting with prospects at other potential positions of need. Per Breer, Clemson DL Bryan Bresee and TCU RB Kendre Miller were in town Tuesday, while Iowa State EDGE Will McDonald IV and Sacramento State S Marte Mapu met with New York on Monday.
Darnell Washington Visiting Lions
The Detroit Lions are in need of a tight end after trading T.J. Hockenson to the Minnesota Vikings last season, and they could pursue a first-round option. One potential target — Georgia’s Darnell Washington — will meet with the Lions after taking a visit with the Buffalo Bills, per Aaron Wilson of KPRC2.
“I’m glad that the T.J. Hockenson trade is being called a trade now because it was kind of (viewed as) a wave of the white flag kind of deal at the time when it happened,” Lions general manager Brad Holmes said at the Scouting Combine. “But yeah, again, we’re always looking to add. We’re always looking to add. We’ll not leave a stone unturned.”
Washington, a mammoth of a man at 6’7”, 270 pounds, is increasingly viewed as a first-round product. Detroit has a second first-round pick at No. 18. Buffalo, which could be looking for a TE partner for Dawson Knox, selects at No. 27.
Titans Hosting Keion White
Georgia Tech pass rusher Keion White will meet with the Tennessee Titans on Wednesday, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. White, who began his career at Old Dominion before earning third-team All-ACC honors for the Yellow Jackets last season, could sneak into Round 1 after posting 7.5 sacks in 2022.
The Titans will see the return of Harold Landry from a torn ACL in 2023, while they also signed former Jaguar Arden Key. But with Bud Dupree out of the picture, Tennessee could afford to add another edge rusher to its rotation. White would likely be a candidate for the Titans’ second-round pick at No. 41 overall.
RBs Tank Bigsby, Zach Evans Take Meetings
Auburn running back Tank Bigsby will visit with the Cardinals on Wednesday, per Pelissero. James Conner is signed through 2024, but Arizona could potentially move on from him after the upcoming season without adding much dead money to their salary cap. As Arizona aims to get younger, they could consider a running back like Bigsby, who rushed for 20 touchdowns and more than 2,000 yards over his final two collegiate seasons.
Meanwhile, Pelissero also reports that the Panthers will host Ole Miss RB Zach Evans on Wednesday. The Panthers signed Miles Sanders to a four-year deal this offseason and still have Chuba Hubbard on the roster, but they could still add another contributor to their RB room. Evans, an explosive player who might fit best in a committee, should come off the board early on Day 3.
Hendon Hooker Visiting 3 Teams
Hendon Hooker has been a popular name on the pre-draft circuit. As teams meet with the Tennessee product and check in on his recovery from a torn ACL, Hooker seems to be rising up draft boards as a potential first-round option for clubs that miss out on the draft’s top four quarterbacks.
Hooker will meet with the Lions on Wednesday before huddling with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Las Vegas Raiders later this week, according to Rapoport. Detroit could be looking for a developmental QB behind Jared Goff, while the Bucs need another option besides Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask. Tampa Bay picks at No. 19, while the Lions’ second first-rounder is at 18.
Dalton Kincaid Medically Cleared
“Dalton Kincaid sustained a back injury while playing football on 11/26/2022,” Dr. Robert Watkins said in an email. “Subsequent MRIs have shown appropriating healing and he has been asymptomatic with no pain and no limitation of function for at least 3 months. He is cleared to play football with no restrictions.”
Kincaid, who posted 890 yards and eight touchdowns, could be the first tight end off the board in what is considered an extremely deep class. Per Schefter, Kincaid is meeting with the Cincinnati Bengals on Wednesday before visiting the New England Patriots Thursday and the Green Bay Packers next week.
Bills Host DT Mazi Smith
Michigan defensive tackle Mazi Smith is meeting with the Buffalo Bills today, per Rapoport. An incredibly strong player who profiles as a nose tackle, Smith would give the Bills a long-term option in the middle of their defensive line. Almost all of Buffalo’s interior defenders — Ed Oliver, DaQuan Jones, Tim Settle, Jordan Phillips — are projected to reach free agency in 2024, so Smith would act as a reinforcement.
Meanwhile, both the Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers met with Smith on Michigan’s campus. The Steelers pick at No. 17, which might be a tad high for Smith, but he’d make more sense for the Chiefs at No. 31.
Raiders Meeting With Deonte Banks
The Raiders brought in Maryland cornerback Deonte Banks for a visit on Wednesday, Wilson reports. Banks, a physical, 6’2″ corner who can play in man or zone, is viewed as a mid-to-late first-rounder, so he may not be a fit for Vegas at No. 7. But Banks could become an option if he falls to Day 2 or if the Raiders trade down.
Las Vegas certainly needs all the corner help it can find. The Raiders ranked 31st in pass defense DVOA a season ago. They’ve made modest additions like Duke Shelley, David Long Jr., and Brandon Facyson, but they don’t have a legitimate CB1 or even a corner who projects as a long-term starter.
Jahmyr Gibbs Visting Buccaneers
The Buccaneers are meeting with Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs on Wednesday, per Rapoport. Tampa Bay released Leonard Fournette this offseason, and while they still have Rachaad White on the roster, the third-round pick wasn’t very effective in his rookie season. The Bucs also signed Chase Edmonds this offseason, but he won’t prevent the cub from adding another back.
Gibbs looks like a late first or early second-round selection, so the Bucs — at No. 19 — will be in range to grab him. While he may never be a workhorse, Gibbs is a dynamic receiver. That skill set could play well in Tampa Bay, although it might overlap with White.
Commanders Hosting Devon Witherspoon
The Commanders haven’t fielded a true CB1 in years, but that could change if they’re able to land Devon Witherspoon in the NFL Draft. Washington is visiting with the Illinois cornerback on Wednesday, according to Rapoport.
Witherspoon could potentially come off the board inside the top 10 picks, so the Commanders might not be able to land him at No. 16. But he’d become an instant starter for Washington and allow the team to move Benjamin St. Juste to the slot. Kendall Fuller is an underrated corner, but Witherspoon might be the Commanders’ best CB from Day 1.