Lions looking to trade up, eyeing Stephon Gilmore

The Lions are seriously pursuing options to trade up in Thursday’s NFL draft, and multiple team executives believe South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore would be a prime target.

Multiple team executives said Thursday that Detroit is one of a few teams looking to move up. The Lions, who currently hold the No. 23 pick in the draft, did a lot of work on cornerbacks and are very high on Gilmore.

There is no shortage of teams looking to drop down, including many in the low-to-mid teens, where Gilmore could be available.

Follow Jason La Canfora on Twitter @JasonLaCanfora.


Morris Claiborne could go to Minnesota Vikings

A source with knowledge of the situation reinforced that the Minnesota Vikings are leaning toward drafting LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne with the third overall pick on Thursday night.

Minnesota has Claiborne rated highest on their draft board and the team reportedly likes him more than USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil.



Patriots interested in trading up to Seahawks’ No. 12 pick

The New England Patriots have inquired with the Seattle Seahawks to see what it would take to move up to the No. 12 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, sources with direct knowledge of the situation said Thursday.

The Patriots have the No. 27 and No. 31 overall picks in the first round.

NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock has the Patriots addressing their defensive needs with USC defensive end Nick Perry and Notre Dame free safety Harrison Smith, respectively.

Mayock predicts the Seahawks will select North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples at No. 12, with Alabama strong safety Mark Barron and LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers being available around the time of Seattle’s current pick.

EDITOR UPDATE: NFL Network’s Stacey Dales reports that the Patriots have had no discussions with the Seahawks. With multiple high-level sources offering conflicting information, it appears we have what Gregg Rosenthal calls a classic case of draft-day misinformation.

— Albert Breer


Andrew Luck to run with Colts’ first team Day 1, OC says

After the Indianapolis Colts draft Andrew Luck with the No. 1 overall pick on Thursday evening, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians fully expects the Stanford quarterback to run with the first team from Day 1.

“Ain’t no doubt,” Arians said.

Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson recently confirmed the Colts would select Luck with the first pick of the 2012 NFL Draft on Tuesday.

“In fairness to him, in the whole process and the media gauntlet he’s going to be enduring over the next couple days, I thought it was the right thing to do to announce we’re going to take him,” Grigson said. “I didn’t see the point in prolonging what the world already knew. It’s about Andrew. We wanted to do the right thing by him.”

Luck will be at the Colts’ rookie minicamp in the first week of May, but he will not be able to participate in any other parts of the offseason program until after he completes the spring quarter at Stanford, because of NFL rules on underclassmen and graduation.

— Albert Breer


Irvin sees positives in Jenkins’ ‘instability’

NFL Network analyst Michael Irvin took up the cause of cornerback Janoris Jenkins as a high pick in comments to USA Today on Wednesday.

The former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver downplayed Jenkins’ off-the-field issues, including being kicked off the team at Florida amid multiple marijuana-related arrests and argued Jenkins should be a high pick in the first round of the NFL draft on Thursday night.

“A cornerback like that with that attitude and that skill set is a rare find in this league,” Irvin said. “It takes some kind of psychological instability to do what they do. Some guy just went 80 yards on you and you’ve got to turn right around and step up like you’re still the baddest man in the world. Him being crazy, I like. I just don’t want him being crazy and making bad decisions off the field.”

Irvin had his own bumps in the road during his Hall of Fame career, and he seems to think the gifted North Alabama prospect has the same potential for greatness.

“You can’t play a game like football with all choir boys. You need somebody that is a Janoris Jenkins,” Irvin said.

“You put him in a live city with a lot of things going on, that’s one issue. You put him in a boring city, with nothing going on, that’s another issue. Idle minds become the devil’s workshop. Whatever you do, you’ve got to put people with him. You can’t wait around for him to mess up, you have to get ahead of it.”


No Huddle: 2012 NFL Draft preview

Deion Sanders, Michael Irvin, Marshall Faulk and Steve Mariucci preview the 2012 NFL Draft. The guys debate Andrew Luck vs. RG3, take a look at other top players in the draft and give their take on the best player currently in the NFL.


2012 NFL Draft is a family affair

Several players in this year’s draft crop have family connections to the NFL, starting with Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.

The Colts have told Luck, the son of former NFL QB Oliver Luck — now the athletic director at West Virginia — he will be the first overall choice Thursday night.

He also apparently has a more obscure relationship, to a Pro Football Hall of Famer, William “Link” Lyman, a tackle for four pro teams, including the
Chicago Bears at the end of his career (1933-34). According to Ancestry.com, Luck is an eighth cousin to Lyman, who made the Hall of Fame in 1964 and died in 1972.

Northwestern running back Drake Dunsmore‘s father, Pat, played tight end for the Bears, and Maryland RB Davin Meggett‘s dad, Dave, won a Super Bowl with the New York Giants. Ohio State RB Dan Herron‘s brother, David, played for the Kansas City Chiefs last season and now is with the New Orleans Saints.

Jeff Fuller, the Texas A&M receiver, is son of Jeff Fuller, the former San Francisco 49ers safety who won two Super Bowls. Wisconsin wideout Nick Toon is the son of Al Toon, a first-round pick in 1985 and a star for the New York Jets before concussions cut short his career.

Southern California tackle Matt Kalil, projected to go in the top five on Thursday, is the younger brother of Ryan Kalil, a center for the Carolina Panthers.

Syracuse defensive lineman Chandler Jones is the younger brother of the Baltimore Ravens’ Arthur Jones. Texas LB Emmanuel Acho‘s brother Sam was taken in the fourth round of the 2011 draft by the Arizona Cardinals. Linebacker Jonathan Massaquoi of Troy has two cousins in the league: TE Visanthe Shiancoe of the Vikings and WR Mohamed Massaquoi of the Cleveland Browns.

Virginia CB Chase Minnifield‘s father, Frank, was a Pro Bowl cornerback for Cleveland.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press


Robert Griffin III is a quote machine

It’s been almost half a day since we ran into Robert Griffin III in the NFL office hallways after he learned the “deep, dark secrets” of the NFL.

Since then, Griffin has been doing what seems to come so naturally to him: charming the media. And fans. Make no mistake: it takes practice, writes NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal.


Bucky Brooks’ final draft big board

The draft is only hours away, so teams around the league are diligently putting the final touches on their respective draft boards. General managers and personnel directors are running through various trade scenarios and mock drafts to prepare for every conceivable situation they could encounter on draft day.

As teams around the league finalize their big boards, NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks reveals his final ranking of the top 50 prospects in the 2012 NFL Draft.


Dolphins unfazed by Tannehill hype

Maybe the Miami Dolphins will take Ryan Tannehill at No. 8 overall. Maybe they won’t. It seems fairly clear that they won’t trade up to get him, according to the Miami Herald.

“[The Dolphins] are willing to take him at No. 8,” Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald writes. “They are not going to trade up to get him because they don’t strongly believe anyone is going to get ahead of them to pick him.”


Mike Mayock unveils his only mock draft

Here it is: Mike Mayock‘s one and only mock draft for 2012.

For a complete breakdown of this mock draft event, be sure to check out Wednesday night’s one-hour special “Mayock’s 2012 Mock Draft,” which airs on NFL Network at 8 p.m. ET.


Browns could make aggressive move to get Weeden

Colt McCoy ranked 22nd in the league in passing yards as the Cleveland Browns ranked 30th in the league in points scored.

Clearly, something needs to be done about that offense. But, could that move be as dramatic as selecting a running back and wide receiver in the first round, and then use their 37th overall pick on a quarterback.

NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora sees Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden — despite concerns of his age — being in play for the Browns either during Thursday’s first round or Friday’s second round.

“Brandon Weeden is someone the Browns have done a lot of work on,” La Canfora said. “Ideally, they get that running back at some point in the first round, they get that wide receiver at some point in the first round, and then get Weeden at 37. Could you team up Weeden with (Justin) Blackmon?”

Blackmon was Weeden’s top target at OSU and a two-time Biletnikoff Award winner as college football’s top receiver.

La Canfora delves into a scenario in which the Browns don’t wait until that 37th overall draft pick in the second round to see if Weeden will still be available for selection. Perhaps, Cleveland finds a willing trade partner in New England (which owns picks No. 27 and 31 in the first round), trades back into the first round and uses a third Thursday night selection on a quarterback.


Will Jets trade up to get Richardson?

There’s a rumor floating around that the New York Jets could trade up to a spot where the team could select Alabama running back Trent Richardson.

(The Jets did respond to the draft buzz by saying, “It’s ridiculous.”)

This would be an incredibly bold, and costly (as far as draft picks are concerned), move for Gang Green. And NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock isn’t buying it.

“At this point of the draft season, there is so much misinformation out there that you have to separate what’s believable and what’s not,” Mayock said. “I have a hard time believing the Jets are coming up to (pick No.) 4, 5 or 6 for Trent Richardson.”

Mayock, however, does think there is some merit to Southern California offensive tackle Matt Kalil possibly sliding down a bit further than expected (Kalil had been a favorite to go to the Vikings with the No. 3 overall pick).


Will Luck wear No. 12 with Colts?

Andrew Luck will soon be wearing an Indianapolis Colts jersey.

The digits on it, though, have not yet been determined, writes NFL.com and NFL Network reporter Albert Breer.

Luck wore No. 12 as a prep at Stratford High near Houston, and as a collegian at Stanford. That number is currently being worn in Indianapolis by journeyman receiver Quan Cosby, who spent his first two pro seasons with the Bengals and last year with the Broncos before signing with the Colts in December.


These busts won’t be in Canton

With the 2012 NFL Draft only a day away, NFL.com’s Adam Rank cautions teams not to be taken in by predraft publicity as he presents the six most overhyped draft picks in NFL history.

Rank warns that the list will be extremely painful for Jets fans.

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