The 2019 NFL Draft is right around the corner, which means rumors are starting to ramp up.
To make better sense of them, we put together a BS detector for some of the hottest rumors floating around the league. Sometimes, there’s enough information to piece together what’s true, and what doesn’t pass the smell test, for teams picking early in the draft.
Here’s how we’re judging the biggest rumors leading up to the NFL Draft.
Kyler Murray might not be the No. 1 pick
Cardinals GM Steve Keim:— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) April 16, 2019
"We are not done with this process. We have not made a decision on the number one overall pick."
April 1st confidence meter:— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) April 15, 2019
Kyler Murray will be 1st overall pick
April 15th confidence meter:
Kyler Murray will be 1st overall pick (60%)
Mike Silver of NFL.com perpetuated those rumors with a tweet on Thursday morning that “people could be surprised” by the Cardinals’ pick, although that sounds more like a movie trailer and less like a report.
It’s all a little hard to believe, considering the Cardinals have had months to think about their decision and there’s been too much steam on the Murray-to-Arizona train to back off now. Let’s connect some dots.
- When Kliff Kingsbury was still the head coach at Texas Tech, he said he would draft Murray first overall if he had the chance. He has that chance now. Murray and Kingsbury also have the same agent, Erik Burkhardt.
- Murray had a meeting with the Cardinals at the NFL Combine.
- Kingsbury gave Murray a ton of praise at the annual league meetings in March.
- Murray visited the Cardinals on April 9, the same day the Cardinals were holding offseason workouts. Current starting quarterback Josh Rosen did not address the media that day.
- Trade rumors have been picking up in recent weeks for Rosen. Chris Mortensen reported that Washington is doing its homework on Rosen. Shawne Merriman said it’s a “big possibility” the Chargers wind up trading for Rosen. The Giants also have some interest in Rosen, according to Ralph Vacchiano.
If the Cardinals don’t end up picking Murray first overall, this entire draft process would be one HELL of a smokescreen. Usually, where there’s smoke there’s fire — all signals point to Murray being the No. 1 pick.
BS Detector: High
The Arizona Cardinals will not draft Kyler Murray
Rumor: Pete Prisco proclaimed that the Cardinals will not draft Kyler Murray in the NFL Draft.
Here’s what Prisco has to say about the Cardinals going in a different direction with the first pick in the 2019 NFL Draft:
“Initially, the ownership pushed for Kyler Murray. That much I know, I was told that. The reason they did it, they were having a hard time selling tickets. They put it out there, Arizona was lukewarm to it, so now all of a sudden, they’re pulling back, from what I’ve been told, they’re going to go in a different direction. They’re not going to draft Kyler Murray.”
Based on everything that was listed in the previous Kyler Murray rumor, this seems unlikely. We should very much expect Murray to be the first pick in next week’s draft. Cardinals general manager Steve Keim says that Arizona hasn’t decided yet, but with the draft just a few days away, that’s not likely either.
BS Detector: High
Dwayne Haskins could be the fourth quarterback off the board
The latest: Peter King said that Dwayne Haskins is “sinking” and he might be the fourth quarterback taken in the 2019 NFL Draft. On the other hand, Ian Rapoport says the Raiders have bumped Haskins up their board recently.
With all the Murray smoke, it’s safe to say Haskins won’t be the first quarterback off the board. That’s not a surprise to anyone.
After Murray, there are three quarterbacks who have first-round potential. Haskins, Drew Lock, and Daniel Jones could all end up getting drafted on Day 1. It’s conceivable Lock could be drafted before Haskins — he has the size and arm strength that teams fall in love with, even if his overall game isn’t that polished yet.
Jones getting drafted before Haskins seems like a bit of a stretch, even for NFL teams. Jones wasn’t a productive player in college and he never really brought Duke football into the spotlight. Sure, Duke is never going to be a football juggernaut with its middling recruiting classes, but a first-round quarterback should be able to overcome that to a degree.
The Giants have brought Haskins in for a visit recently. Head coach Pat Shurmur, VP of player personnel Chris Mara, and assistant general manager and VP of football operations Kevin Abrams were on hand for his pro day. It appears that the Giants do have legitimate interest in Haskins, so they could be eyeing him with the sixth overall pick or with a move up from 17th overall — the pick they acquired from Cleveland in the Odell Beckham trade.
Haskins is a safe bet to be the second or third quarterback off the board. Him falling behind Jones would be a draft-day stunner.
For what it’s worth, King recently noted that he wouldn’t be surprised if the Broncos selected Dwayne Haskins with the 10th pick in the draft, which likely means he wouldn’t be the fourth quarterback selected like King had also speculated.
BS Detector: High
Quinnen Williams should be off the board before the third pick
The latest: Ian Rapoport recently reported that while Quinnen Williams could be available at the third pick in the draft, he’d be surprised if the Alabama defensive lineman was still on the board. That’d lead you believe that the 49ers would select him second overall — assuming that the Cardinals draft Murray first overall.
Nick Bosa should be favorite for the 49ers considering their roster construction. They traded for Dee Ford this offseason, which gives them one bonafide edge rusher, but they could use another across from him. Bosa only played in three games last year due to injury, but he’s still such an impressive prospect at a position of need for the 49ers.
Also, the 49ers have a logjam of interior defenders right now. DeForest Buckner has developed into an absolute menace at defensive tackle. Arik Armstead is a good player when he’s healthy and Solomon Thomas is a more effective player on the interior as well. All three of those players are first-round picks still on their rookie contracts — adding a fourth might be overkill.
With the way the 49ers’ defense has been built, Bosa or another edge rusher probably makes more sense than Williams. No one should be surprised if the 49ers pass on Williams with the second pick in the draft — even though he should be a monster in the NFL.
BS Detector: High
The Dolphins will draft a quarterback early in the draft
The latest: Miami has done its homework on all of the highly touted quarterbacks in this year’s class. The Dolphins worked out Duke quarterback Daniel Jones, Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins, and met with Missouri quarterback Drew Lock at his pro day.
All three of those players could be in contention for Miami. But that doesn’t lock the team in to selecting one with the 13th pick.
The Dolphins are in full rebuilding mode under new head coach Brian Flores — at some point they’re going to pick a quarterback during the 2019 NFL Draft. Where they draft that quarterback remains to be seen, but they do seemed determined on adding one according to Armando Salguero.
Salguero noted that, at the very least, the Dolphins want to upgrade their backup quarterback situation. Ryan Fitzpatrick is entrenched as the starter, but the other quarterbacks on the roster are Luke Falk and Jake Rudock — two former late-round picks on their second teams.
Adding someone who has starter potential at some point in the draft makes sense, and there are a handful of options for them beyond the players expected to go in the first round. Brett Rypien, Tyree Jackson, Will Grier, and Ryan Finley are a few names to watch for the Dolphins.
Since this is going to be multiyear rebuild for the Dolphins, they don’t necessarily need to take a quarterback in the first round. They have a lot of holes on their roster and if they’re treating 2019 as an evaluation year, forcing a rookie quarterback into a bad situation might not be the best idea for them. Especially if they can look to the 2020 draft and get their pick of the litter.
BS Detector: Medium
Tytus Howard is a potential first-round pick
Rumor: NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero said that he’s hearing that Alabama State offensive tackle Tytus Howard could wind up in the first round.
Howard is a hot name leading up to the NFL Draft, but he faces an uphill battle to be a first-round pick. Howard is coming from Alabama State, a Division 1-AA school that didn’t face a high level of competition on a weekly basis. He did test well at the combine, but there are so many highly touted offensive tackles from bigger schools that he might not find a spot in Round 1.
Jonah Williams (Alabama), Andre Dillard (Washington State), Jawaan Taylor (Florida), Dalton Risner (Kansas State), and Cody Ford (Oklahoma) all have a chance to hear their name called in the first round.
That will likely make it difficult for Howard, who may have to wait until the second day of the draft for that phone call.
If he does end up in the second round, he likely won’t last long. Still, the first round is a bit of a stretch.
BS Detector: High
The Jets are “determined” to trade down from No. 3
Finally, a rumor that sounds realistic.
Citing multiple sources, Ralph Vacchiano says the Jets are “determined” to trade back from their lofty draft position.
“They seem to really, really want to move down,” said one NFL executive. “Maybe they’re just keeping their options open, but it sure seems like that No. 3 pick is for sale.”
It makes perfect sense, and has been more or less confirmed by Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan — although he played his cards a little bit tighter to the vest.
“We’re very open to potentially moving back from three,” Maccagnan told the New York Post in March. “I wouldn’t envision us moving up in the draft. I think you can rule that one out. If we end up staying at three and taking a player, we think there are some very good players at three. But we’d definitely be interested if another team came with an offer that we felt was worthy of moving out of the spot. We would definitely consider that. Not to say we’re committed to doing it, but we’d definitely be very intrigued by that.”
Last year, the Jets gave up three second-round picks to the Colts to trade up and secure the chance to eventually draft Sam Darnold. It’s not at all surprising that they want to recoup some value.
BS Detector: Low
Will Grier could get drafted late in the first round
Rumor: Tony Pauline of Draft Analyst floated out the rumor that West Virginia quarterback Will Grier could be selected in the back half of first round.
Here’s what Pauline had to say about Grier’s chances of getting picked late on Thursday:
So where could Grier land? As early as the late part of Round 1 and no later than the middle portion of the second frame. Who could draft the Mountaineers quarterback? The New England Patriots have shown a ton of interest in Grier and could draft him as the first round closes out. The New York Giants also like Grier, and he could be their fallback plan if they don’t take a signal caller in Round 1. The Carolina Panthers also have an infatuation with Grier and will consider him in the second round. As we mentioned last week during The Draft Analysts podcast, Carolina is looking to add a quarterback during the second day of the draft.
Grier getting picked in the first round wouldn’t be that shocking. Even though he’s a bit of an older quarterback prospect at 24 years old, Grier still has a promising statistical profile that bodes well for future success. Grier threw for 71 touchdowns to just 20 interceptions during his time at West Virginia.
It does seem more likely that Grier will end up in the second round of the draft instead of the first round. The teams picking at the bottom of the first round don’t really need quarterbacks, so unless the Patriots pick him with the 32nd pick, he’ll likely fall into round two.
It’s possible that a team could trade up into the first round for his services, but it’s hard to predict that in advance of the draft. Expect to see Grier’s name called early on the second day of the draft.
BS Detector: Medium
Ed Oliver is a possibility for the Jets
Rumor: Peter King mocked Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver to the Jets in his latest mock draft.
The Jets need more juice on their defensive line, so it hasn’t been too surprising to see guys like Josh Allen and Quinnen Williams mocked to them, but Ed Oliver is gaining some steam recently. King noted that the Jets aren’t exactly in love with the idea of drafting Josh Allen that high:
“For a long time, I’d penciled in Josh Allen here because of the Jets’ edge-rusher need, but when you do a mock, you go by your gut. And someone I trust told me the Jets don’t love Allen.”
The fit between Oliver and new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams makes a lot of sense. Williams loves to blitz and runs an aggressive scheme that could use an athlete of Oliver’s caliber. Oliver was a disruptive force in college, racking up 53 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks in his three years at Houston.
Seeing him go ahead of Quinnen Williams — assuming Williams isn’t the second pick in the draft — would be a bit of a surprise, but Oliver definitely fits what Gregg Williams looks for in an impact defensive lineman.
BS Detector: Low
Washington plans to trade WAY up for a quarterback
Alex Smith’s broken leg is probably going to keep him out of action in 2019, and may even be a career ender. Washington traded for Case Keenum to fill the void, but he’s a 31-year-old journeyman who isn’t the team’s quarterback of the future either.
So it wouldn’t be surprising if Washington went after a passer in the first round this year. The team has been linked to several quarterbacks with the No. 15 pick in mock drafts.
But there are rumors bubbling that Washington isn’t interested in sitting tight and waiting for a passer in the middle of the first round. The team may about to dive face-first into the quarterback class with a blockbuster trade.
The Jets have been a team interested in trading down, and The Athletic’s Connor Hughes says New York has spoken with Washington about acquiring the No. 3 pick.
Pro Football Talk says that it’s just a case of “Bruce Allen being Bruce Allen” and Washington is stirring things up without any real intention of making a deal.
Barring a serious turn of events, Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray would probably already be off the board by then anyway. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah has already heard a couple rumors that Duke’s Daniel Jones or Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins could be Washington’s target instead.
But figuring out which of those guys they’d pick is reportedly still up in the air too.
The Redskins are not only in disagreement about whether to go quarterback with their top pick but which quarterback to select. While we know by now that Bruce Allen and Dan Snyder are fixated on Dwayne Haskins, there is a case being pled for Duke QB Daniel Jones per sources— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) April 25, 2019
Moving far up the order for either prospect would be bold, to say the least. But Daniel Snyder might be the one calling the shots, and he doesn’t hold back.
Just talked to a Redskins source who told me Dan Snyder has "taken over the first round of the draft."— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) April 24, 2019
The last time that happened the Redskins traded two future No. 1's and a No. 2 to move up for Robert Griffin.
It’d presumably be enormously expensive for Washington to trade into the top five, so it’s probably not a rumor that you should assume it’s destined to become reality. But Dan Snyder being overzealous and a little unreasonable? Yep, that’s pretty believable.
BS Detector: Medium