Soliai Moving Up?
The word in scouting circles has DT Paul Soliai making a move up draft boards. Sources have told us they feel the University of Utah product could be drafted in the late part of round two. Considering the poor crop of talent available at defensive tackle this year, that may just be possible. Soliai has visits set up this week with the Denver Broncos and Cleveland Browns.
Denver and Cleveland both have needs for a young, developmental type of tackle yet they use different defensive schemes (Denver 4-3 and Cleveland 3-4).
Safety Drawing Interest From AFC East Team; McCareins a Goner?
Safety Leonard Peters is a player attracting a lot of attention from the New York Jets. Peters was the fourth member of the Hawaii football team to join head coach Eric Mangini, general manager Mike Tannebaum as well as four of his Hawaii teammates at dinner the night before the school's pro day at the Home Depot Center. The Jets also had Peters do extra drills at the workout, but the team doesn't have a glaring need at either safety spot.
Sources have told us they expect Justin McCareins to be traded on draft day. Both the team and his agent are actively shopping the veteran wideout around the league. While the team wants a third-round pick for his services, the more likely scenario has the Tennessee Titans, who drafted him originally, giving the Jets a fifth- or possibly fourth-round pick for McCareins.
The Jets soured on the former Northern Illinois star prior to last season, especially after WR Jericho Cotchery beat him out for a starting job, and the Titans have a major need for a receiver.
It was prior to the 2004 season that the team traded a second-round pick to acquire McCareins, and sources also indicate that the Philadelphia Eagles had serious interest in him before acquiring WR Terrell Owens. In fact, McCareins may have been Philadelphia's second option at the position heading into free agency that year.
Running Back Position Drawing Attention
While the running back position seems to be top heavy this year, there are several who are attracting interest before this month's draft.
- University of Arizona RB Chris Henry had several pre-draft workouts for teams recently and he's making the rounds for pre-draft visits.
Henry has already visited the New York Jets. The St. Louis Rams, who may still be looking for a backup for starting RB Steven Jackson, had Henry in for a visit early this week. Henry is scheduled to visit the Minnesota Vikings, Tennessee Titans (who worked him out recently), and New Orleans Saints later this week.
As scout.com first reported back in early March, Minnesota made a late run at free agent RB Sammy Morris so it's clear they're looking for a backup for starting RB Chester Taylor.
Tennessee, as scout.com first reported recently, worked out Henry on campus and they currently only have one back on the roster who could challenge for a starting job.
- While he has not had any visits, Marshall University RB Ahmad Bradshaw spent a significant amount of time at his pro day and interviewing on the phone with the Atlanta Falcons and Indianapolis Colts.
- A different running back garnering a lot of interest is Ohio State University's Antonio Pittman. After flying to see the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys last week for visits, Pittman will be visiting the New York Giants this week and will also be meeting with the St. Louis Rams. The New England Patriots will be flying to Columbus to once again meet with Pittman. The team has heavily interviewed him already and is expected to sit down with him this week for a film session.
The Giants, who are said to be looking for a young back with speed, will also have Auburn University RB Kenny Irons for a visit this week. Irons is projected as an early second-round pick.
- Finally, many are beginning to wonder aloud if some of these player visits are a little too much. Take University of California's Marshawn Lynch for instance. He has been a busy man recently, visiting with the Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, and Green Bay Packers. He also visited with the Tennessee Titans, who then went out to Berkley to privately work him out. The Baltimore Ravens, who own a pick late in round one and recently acquired Willis McGahee in a trade, had Lynch make the six-hour flight from California to the teams facilities. While there, Lynch spent five minutes with head coach Brian Billick, which has many people questioning why this trip was necessary. Agents and players feel compelled to honor a team's request for the interview, yet some are starting to voice opposition to unnecessary trips.
Posluszny Making the Rounds
We reported last week that Paul Posluszny met with the San Diego Chargers. The Penn State linebacker also has a visit set up with the Buffalo Bills.
San Diego has a need for an inside linebacker based on their situation, but Buffalo has a greater need for a linebacker due to departures of Takeo Spikes and London Fletcher.
Staley Continues to Draw Interest
We reported recently that Central Michigan University OT Joe Staley was moving up draft boards and now he could be moving up inside the top half of the first round.
The Houston Texans have scheduled a visit with Staley and are enamored with the athletic tackle. They have an issue at LT because of the uncertain status of Charles Spencer, (leg) who head coach Gary Kubiak told us at the NFL owners meetings only had a better than 50-50 shot to play this season.