Thursday, June 20, 2024

Patriots’ #3 pick could be for sale, Raiders split over draft choice, and latest on Kool-Aid McKinstry’s stock   

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T-minus four days and counting until Roger Goodell steps to the podium and officially announces the Chicago Bears on the clock to start the 2024 NFL Draft. Until then, expect plenty of news and rumors leading up to the moment. Here’s the latest.

2024 NFL Draft: Who will the Patriots target if they trade down?

This past Wednesday evening, the day before Eliot Wolf announced the team was open for business with the third pick during the Patriots predraft press conference, several people told me they thought the Patriots would trade down. One well-placed source told me he was convinced the team would move down.

The Patriots potentially moving down is something I initially mentioned in my first post-combine mock draft on March 7 stating:

“As mentioned in my article yesterday, word at the combine is that the Patriots covet Jayden Daniels. Further word was that the team would look to trade down from the third pick if Daniels is not available.”

In Indianapolis, the belief was that if the Patriots could not select Daniels, they would trade deep into Round 1 and select Michael Penix Jr. As of last week, the belief in the league is that, should the Patriots make a trade with a team such as the Vikings or Broncos, they would lean towards selecting Penix in the middle of Round 1.

My opinion? Another team will have to overpay for the Patriots to move out of the third pick and pass on a quarterback, which is the owner’s desire.

Which QB is Antonio Pierce eyeing for Vegas?

NFL: Denver Broncos at Las Vegas RaidersNFL: Denver Broncos at Las Vegas Raiders
NFL: Denver Broncos at Las Vegas Raiders

Despite receiving a blessing from owner Mark Davis to trade up for the purposes of acquiring one of the higher-rated signal callers, I am told again that general manager Tom Telesco is against trading away the draft capital required to make such a move, something I originally reported a week ago. People tell me that they believe Telesco would be willing to make moves throughout the draft, though no one thinks he’ll trade into the top four.

Pierce, on the other hand, is all for making a bold move, if the Raiders could trade up for the quarterback he desires, Jayden Daniels. I’m told Pierce, whose had an intimate relationship with Daniels’ family for a long time, feels that the Heisman Trophy winner will be a Day 1 starter and lead the franchise moving forward.

The feeling in league circles is that there’s a real possibility the Raiders could draft Penix Jr. with the 13th pick if they stand pat.

2024 NFL Draft: EDGE rusher ratings

There are four true edge rushers expected to be selected in the first round, including Dallas Turner, Jared Verse, Chop Robinson and Laiatu Latu. Turner will be the first one selected, and there’s a 99% chance he ends up in the top 10. The remaining three are all over boards.

While Verse is my No. 2 edge rusher, some have told me he could end up the last of this group to be drafted. Latu has received medical clearance from most teams, though I do know of at least two that failed him, but they don’t need an edge rusher. The belief just days before the draft is that the Los Angeles Rams will select Latu with the 19th selection.

The edge rusher who could be drafted much earlier than anyone expects is Chop Robinson.

Consistently graded as a top-15 player on my overall board, Robinson presently ranks as the 13th-best player in this draft for me. Some are concerned about the lack of production for Robinson, who has combined for 33 tackles, 15 TFLs and 8.5 sacks the past two seasons, but he only played in seven games last year after suffering a significant concussion against Ohio State and was consistently double-teamed by opponents. Teams speak highly of Robinson’s character and describe him as a phenomenal prospect who wants to do everything right.

Why Byron Murphy II is moving up the boards

With limited quality and quantity at defensive tackle, the top players at the position are bound to be selected earlier than most presently predict, and that’s exactly the word on Murphy in league circles. Often mocked in the bottom third of the first round, there’s a belief that while Murphy is a perfect fit for the Los Angeles Rams, most don’t think he’ll make it to the 19th pick.

I’m hearing the Seattle Seahawks could swipe Murphy off the board with the 16th selection. There’s even word that Murphy could break into the top 10; the Atlanta Falcons like him a lot, and the defensive tackle could be a surprise pick for the team with the eighth selection.

Latest on Kool-Aid McKinstry’s stock

Syndication: Tuscaloosa NewsSyndication: Tuscaloosa News
Syndication: Tuscaloosa News

Despite being highly considered entering the season and having a good campaign in 2023, Kool-Aid McKinstry has fallen slightly in the eyes of some. Many believe he will be the fifth cornerback selected in the late part of Round 1. I tend to disagree, as McKinstry is my third-rated corner and figures in the middle part of the first frame.

Combine medical exams revealed a Jones fracture in McKinstry’s right foot, and he was prevented from working out. He did run during Alabama’s pro day, timing as fast as 4.47 seconds in the 40 before undergoing surgery two days later to repair the fracture. Sources tell me that McKinstry will be 100% by the end of June and will be ready by the start of camp in July. This should ease the concern of many teams and help McKinstry’s stock.