With all the general managers, coaches and scouts in attendance for the Senior Bowl, there is a lot of chatter going around. Here are some of the highlights from the rumor mill on Day 3.
The consensus top wide receiver prospect for the 2017 NFL Draft is Clemson's Mike Williams. Other wideouts like Western Michigan's Corey Davis and Washington's John Ross could factor into the discussion, but Williams is the favorite to be the first wide receiver selected. In speaking with sources at multiple teams, they do feel that Williams is worthy of a top-20 pick based on his play in 2016. They feel that Williams is a Mike Evans-type receiver who is going to be a third-down and red zone weapon. While they don't expect him to be a big separation wide receiver, they love how good he is at winning 50-50 passes, making catches for his quarterback when nobody is open.
Sources say that Williams didn't grade out as high as the Buccaneers' Mike Evans who went with the seventh-overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, but they say he graded higher than Michael Floyd who was selected with the 13th-overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Thus, Williams could be on the bubble of the top 10, and he looks safe as a top-20 pick.
Two teams to keep an eye on for Williams are the Titans and the Buccaneers. In speaking to sources at each team, they both are intrigued with Williams and what he would bring to their offense. Clearly, the Titans need a true No. 1 receiver for Marcus Mariota. With their smash-mouth rushing attack, Williams would help Mariota in the red zone and on third down. Tennessee general manager Jon Robinson was with the Buccaneers as the Director of Player Personnel when they drafted Evans, so Williams fits the mold of Robinson's track record as well.
The Buccaneers, meanwhile, could use another wideout to pair with Mike Evans for Jameis Winston. After drafting Evans, general manager Jason Licht could target Williams to give Tampa Bay some twin towers on the outside. That kind of tandem is what Licht had in mind when the Buccaneers took Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins with his first two selections as general manager. Obviously, the latter didn't work out, but Williams could be a tough coverage assignment being paired with another big threat like Evans. If Williams gets to the Titans' pick at 18, or the Buccaneers' selection at 19, he could easily hear his name called by one of these up-and-coming South teams.
After Williams goes off the board, Washington wide receiver John Ross could be the next receiver to be selected. In speaking to teams, they feel that Ross is worthy of a pick in the 20s. Teams like the speed and play-making ability of Ross with the ability to stretch the field. There are a few landing spots among the playoff teams that could use help at receiver and for a pure speed receiver, Ross could provide a nice impact for a late first-round pick.
One of the combine weigh-ins that will be very important is USC cornerback Adoree' Jackson. Sources say that Jackson was weighing in the 170s at times for the Trojans, but part of that very low weight was because Jackson is also a track competitor. In the NFL, he will have to gain weight, but in contacts at multiple teams really love Jackson's ability to run the route and prevent separation. Sources have compared him to successful undersized corners in Jason Verrett and Janoris Jenkins.
The Falcons might not be targeting a cornerback in the first round, but sources with Atlanta really like Adoree Jackson. They are very impressed with his coverage skills and think he is just a natural football player. If Atlanta does decide to upgrade its pass coverage, Jackson could be in the mix for their selection at the end of the first round.