Updated Jan. 24, 2019
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.
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 around the league on the fourth day of the 2019 Senior Bowl week.
In speaking with some team sources after Tuesday's practices, they said that the most impressive prospects to them from the first day of practice were three edge rushers. They went on that the best of the group on Tuesday was Mississippi State's Montez Sweat. A little bit behind him was Louisiana Tech's Jaylon Ferguson, and a bit behind Ferguson was Wyoming's Carl Granderson. All three of them showed speed, functional strength, and natural feel as pass-rushers.
Sweat (6-6, 252) entered the Senior Bowl as a prospect who some sources saw as a late first-round or early second-round candidate. Back at the East-West Shrine, other sources asked me if I thought Sweat would get to Round 2, and I said no. If he continues this caliber of play throughout the week of practice in Mobile, there will be no doubt that he ends up being a first-round pick.
Ferguson (6-4, 256) has some fans and skeptics in the scouting community, but a big week in Mobile could put him in the first-round conversation. Granderson (6-4, 246) is more of a second-day prospect but he could be helping himself to move up in Day 2.
Each member of this trio needs to add weight and strength for run defense in the NFL. All of them also would probably fit best in a 3-4 defense as outside linebackers. Opinions will vary, and some sources will prefer other players, but after the first day of practice, those were the three who some team sources believed had performed the best.
Earlier this week, we reported that some underclassmen prospects like Greedy Williams, Jerry Tillery and Jachai Polite have makeup concerns. Of course, that list is going to expand greatly in the weeks and months to come as teams start to remove players from their draft boards because of character issues. Another early-round prospect who WalterFootball.com has heard has some concerns about his makeup is Iowa tight end Noah Fant.
Sources say the issues with Fant are more along the lines of maturity. "There is some knuckle-headed-ness to him," said one source. They also feel that Fant really needs to improve his blocking and hands. However, they feel that Fant can run well for his position, so despite those concerns, they think he could go in the No. 40-60 range of the second round.
There could be some significant changes for the New York Giants this year as their roster gets rebuilt by second-year general manager Dave Gettleman. Of course, they are in the quarterback market and are considering all options in the draft and in free agency. While that plan has yet to be decided, sources with the Giants say they think there is a real possibility that the team will move on from veteran edge rusher Olivier Vernon. Vernon has a big contract, and his production is not what it needs to be to justify paying him that, according to some personnel.
The other veteran with an uncertain future with the Giants is Pro Bowl safety Landon Collins. Thet want him back, but at a price that they are comfortable with. Collins is expected to draw a lot of interest as a free agent and see big-money offers. Thus, the Giants aren't sure that he will be back, as the bidding could surpass their comfort zone. Of course the team could use the franchise tag on him to ensure that he returns to New York next season. Right now, it sounds like Vernon could easily be let go and that Collins' future with the Giants is up in the air.
Obviously, the Raiders are firmly in rebuilding mode after their trades of Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper. After those trades, there were some rumors that Oakland could be interested in moving quarterback Derek Carr. Once the trade deadline passed, those rumors were laid to rest for a while, but don't be surprised if they start up again. By the sound of it, the Oakland organization really likes Carr and believes in his potential. At the same time, the team is looking to get better in any way possible, so if a another team offered a massive trade package for Carr, it would be considered. The Raiders are looking to improved in any way possible, and are not closed to anything at this point. From speaking with sources, it sounded like a trade of Carr was very unlikely, although not impossible.