We’ve made it! The NFL Draft is less than half of an Earth’s rotation away, and there is no shortage of NFL news and rumors to discuss. Before Roger Goodell begins naming names up at the podium, we must discuss the latest breaking news and the juiciest scuttlebutt we’ve caught recently.
NFL News and Rumors
A valued member of the Jacksonville Jaguars offense will miss the beginning of the season. Despite the smoke, C.J. Stroud might still be the most likely QB candidate to go off the board. And while Joe Douglas likes his roster, business is business.
Jalen Carter Says He’s an Eagle if He’s There at 10
Jalen Carter was asked by NBC Sports Philidelphia’s John Clark whether he’d gotten a promise from the Eagles that he’d be the pick at No. 10 if he was there.
“I believe so, it might have been something like that,” Carter said
After being prodded further about whether or not he’d be the selection at No., he replied with a “yes sir.” Drew Rosenhaus has already been on record about the topic, and Carter didn’t visit teams picking outside of the top 10.
Cam Robinson Suspended for Season’s Start
After missing the final five games of the 2022 NFL season, Jacksonville Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson will miss an undisclosed amount of time to start 2023 after violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy.
While it’s peculiar not to know the exact amount of games Robinson will miss as of now, that’s likely due to a lack of transparency surrounding the league’s findings. According to an NFL-NFLPA joint statement about the updated policy in 2014, a suspension can last anywhere from two to six games, depending on the offense.
“Use of a diuretic or masking agent will result in a suspension without pay of two games,” the statement said. “Use of a steroid, stimulant, HGH or other banned substance will result in a suspension without pay of four games. Evidence of an attempt to manipulate a test will result in a suspension without pay of six games.”
The Jaguars’ offensive line was already playing musical chairs after losing Jawaan Taylor in free agency. The position was already a need, so losing Robinson for up to one-third of the season shouldn’t drastically change the team’s plans on Thursday or Friday, but they could show a bit more urgency there.
C.J. Stroud Is the ‘Safest’ Option for the Colts
In Adam Caplan’s latest mock draft, Stroud was the second QB off the board, going to Indianapolis with the fourth pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. But it’s what he said that triggered a thought in my brain.
“While there’s some steam for Will Levis here from some personnel sources I spoke to this week, C.J. Stroud is the safest of the two, and it’s hard to find a legit knock on him, from talking to various coaches and executives,” Caplan wrote.
“Safest” got the wheels turning. Chris Ballard has been the Colts’ GM since 2017. Since taking over for Ryan Grigson, Ballard has never once seen one of his Week 1 starters do the same for his team the following season.
2017 – Jacoby Brissett
2018 – Andrew Luck
2019 – Jacoby Brissett
2020 – Philip Rivers
2021 – Carson Wentz
2022 – Matt Ryan
Ballard is in a sticky situation. Playing things “safe” by adding veteran QB after veteran QB is what got him in this spot. In the AFC, the Colts will compete against Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, and Trevor Lawrence.
Trying to hit a double into the gap instead of finishing a swing on your heels and getting the ball into the parking lot seems like cutting off your nose to spite your face.
But on the flip side, if Will Levis were to need legitimate development at the NFL level, Ballard might not make it to the end of that journey as his team wins 6-9 games in 2023.
Stroud may not ever be on the level of those five above, but if Ballard can hit on some free agents and draft picks while Stroud is cheap, he may still be employed by the time he needs to think about extending him or not.
The Texans’ Mystery
It will be absolutely fascinating to see how Houston attacks the first round. They currently hold picks No. 2 and 12. According to Caplan, “While Texans GM Nick Caserio keeps a strong lid on his intentions, some high-ranking personnel executives say they keep hearing how much this team likes Will Levis.”
If that’s the case, the safest option would be to draft the QB at No. 2. But we must also consider that the Texans might be able to game the system here. Caplan had Levis falling to 12 in his mock draft, but Houston has 12 picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, including five inside the top 75.
We’ve been looking for what team could possibly move up inside the top 10 for a while now, when the answer may have been staring us in the face all along. If Houston likes but doesn’t love Levis, they may feel comfortable letting him dangle for a few picks while they try to find a trade partner inside the top 10.
While there’s no guarantee that Seattle or Detroit won’t take him, Levis hasn’t been linked to those franchises the way he has been to the Colts.
But in the end, nobody knows what the Texans will do, and that’s exciting.
Corey Davis ‘Is a Great Teammate’ but the NFL Is a Business
During Tuesday’s pre-draft press conference introducing Aaron Rodgers, Joe Douglas did what savvy communicators do to make sure nobody gets their feelings hurt. He gave us a compliment sandwich.
“When we talk about great teammates, Corey [Davis] is a great teammate,” Douglas told reporters. “Corey is selfless, Corey is an unbelievable worker, he’s a great professional for some of our young guys to look up to and model their approach, their work ethic to this game. And look, we all know that there’s a business aspect to football, but Corey is a valued member of this team and this franchise.”
- Great teammate
- NFL is a business
- Davis is a valued member of the franchise
All that was missing was an ellipse and a “for now” to finish things up. The Jets’ depth chart at wide receiver is packed to the gills. Davis is a veteran costing the Jets $11.2 million against the cap while commanding a dead cap hit of under $1 million were he to be cut. His role as a starter has been snatched by Allen Lazard, who already has a relationship with the Jets’ new QB.
Josh Downs Before Jordan Addison and Zay Flowers?
Downs is an outstanding slot receiver, and although it would be a surprise to see him drafted in Round 1, the Seahawks are a team that would actually make sense. They make no qualms about rostering small receivers. Tyler Lockett is not big, and the team drafted Dee Eskridge in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Downs’ playmaking ability, particularly his ability to play above the rim despite his diminutive stature and downfield tracking, is something that Seattle probably covets, looking at Lockett’s game.