Merry Christmas to all in NFL World.
It's draft day, and I'm trying to wade through the smoke to figure out what happens later tonight. Here's what I think I know…
First two are locks
The top two picks are set and have been set since the combine. The Bengals aren't willing to trade the rights to No. 1, knowing it could be a Sam Bowie-like scarlet letter. Equally, Washington has entertained calls for the No. 2 slot, but it was always going to take a mega-deal with a team picking in or near the top 10 for the team to make that deal. Chase Young, welcome back to the DMV.
Falcons-Browns trade in play
By the way, the talk of the Falcons wanting into the top 5 is very real. They love the defenders in this year's draft, but teams so far aren't loving falling back to 16 to make a deal with Atlanta. The Falcons could make a deal with the Cardinals at No. 8, but sources around the league tell me Cleveland could be the move at No. 10. That may not be high enough for Atlanta to get C.J. Henderson, but K'Lavon Chaisson could be the pick if they get there.
Lions' GM, coach differ on who to take
The draft begins with Detroit. Teams are having a tough time figuring out if the Lions are going with Jeff Okudah or Derrick Brown. A league source indicated to me GM Bob Quinn favors Okudah while head coach Matt Patricia wants Brown. If the Lions do trade back, it's believed they won't go past the Chargers' pick at No. 6.
The NFL Draft is finally here! So what should you expect? Will Brinson and the Pick Six Podcast Superfriends make their final predictions before the first pick and much more; listen below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness.
Chargers a real wild card
Speaking of, it's usually hard to tell what the Chargers are doing because GM Tom Telesco plays things close to the vest. If the Chargers don't go with a quarterback, they may go after Louisville OT Mekhi Becton.
Gettleman unlikely to trade out of No. 4
As much as Giants GM Dave Gettleman wants everyone to believe he's open to trading back, league sources are dubious Gettleman has it in him. Especially where he will have his pick of offensive tackle at a very obvious position of need. I've had Alabama OT Jedrick Wills Jr. mocked there and I'm sticking with that, but Georgia OT Andrew Thomas could also be the pick at No. 4.
More of Jones' NFL Draft notes
- The Panthers are going defense at No. 7. No question about it. I believe the pick is Brown if he's there because of the need for more interior disruption in an NFC South with Matt Ryan, Drew Brees and Tom Brady. If Brown has been scooped up, Carolina still feels comfortable with Okudah, Isaiah Simmons or C.J. Henderson. I believe the Panthers might be willing to trade back with a team like the Browns at 10 or Jets at 11 but not much further.
- I can see Jacksonville also trading down, but a trade-up seems improbable for the Jags at No. 9. If Jacksonville makes a move up, that would indicate 1) it's a move for a quarterback and 2) it's owner-driven.
- Washington has wanted a second-round pick for Trent Williams and it looks like that won't materialize. A third-round pick would get the job done, I believe, and the team may have to settle on a fourth with the impending contract extension and physical. Washington is posturing as though it doesn't have to deal Williams this weekend, but the team has to be careful of overplaying its hand. If the Browns, Jets and Vikings (who seem to be out of the running anyway) all get tackles tonight, they may not have a trade partner.
- It would make all the sense in the world if Washington traded Williams straight-up for O.J. Howard and let Tampa Bay figure out how to massage their cap to fit a Williams extension in. The Bucs would keep their draft capital and trade an asset that lost part of its value as soon as the Rob Gronkowski deal went through.
- Howard, by the way, should be traded by Friday night while the Bucs still can get value. A desperate team in a bad tight end draft could give Tampa Bay a third rounder but Howard's value is closer to the fourth.
- I'm uncomfortable making any bold proclamations about Tua Tagovailoa. All it takes is one team to be willing to take the chance on the lefty, but there's no question his medicals are a concern. If he passes the Dolphins and Chargers at 5-6, he very well could fall to the teens, as I mocked earlier this week. One league source pointed out that it's not his injury history alone, but also how his style of play opens him up to take more hits that's cause for concern. It becomes easier to a team to take him once you get out of the Gold Jacket picks in the top 5.
- Both of San Francisco's first-round picks (13 and 31) are on the table, as has been reported just about everywhere. The 49ers don't pick again until No. 156 and want more picks. If a team wants to slide (back) into the first round, the 31st pick can be had.
- I highly doubt one of those teams will be the Bills or the Steelers. I'm told they're happy to start their draft Friday night.
- I believe CeeDee Lamb can absolutely go in the top 10 of this draft.
- LSU S Grant Delpit could sneak into the late first round, especially considering Xavier McKinney's stock seems to be falling the closer we get to the draft.
- I could see OT Ezra Cleveland enjoying himself in Minnesota with one of the Vikings' two first-round picks.
- My colleague Jason La Canfora is on it when he has S Jeremy Chinn getting into the first round. I, too, am hearing buzz on him.
- I won't be surprised if the night comes and goes without us hearing OT Josh Jones, WR Brandon Aiyuk or WR Laviska Shenault Jr.'s names called.