Giants may surprise with offensive pick

Posted April 11, 2010 @ 10:38 a.m.
Posted By PFW staff

• The common belief is that the Giants will take a middle linebacker in Round One — with Alabama's Rolando McClain the popular name — to replace Antonio Pierce. Although it's certainly possible they could go that route, we hear the Giants have been doing a lot of draft work on offensive players, with offensive linemen and tight ends getting a lot of attention. Idaho OG Mike Iupati and Oklahoma TE Jermaine Gresham are two players the Giants are said to like very much, and both might be available when the Giants select in the 15th spot in the first round.

• Redskins QB Donovan McNabb — it's still strange to write that — has been an instant hit with his new teammates, especially the offensive skill-position guys. McNabb has come in and almost immediately impressed the team with his attitude.

• There are rumblings out of Green Bay that either OG-C Jason Spitz, who recently signed his second-round tender as a restricted free agent, or fellow RFA Daryn Colledge, who has not yet signed his second-round tender, could be traded before next season.

• Most league observers would agree that the most logical landing spot for recently released QB Marc Bulger is Chicago, where he could serve as a veteran backup to Jay Cutler and be reunited with Mike Martz, his former head coach in St. Louis. But what will probably keep Bulger from coming to the Windy City, we hear, is his preference to hook up with a team where he can seriously compete for a starting job.

• We hear the Lions could be active on draft weekend. In addition to being willing to listen to offers for the No. 2 pick, we also hear they are exploring options with the No. 34 choice near the top of Round Two. The Lions have seven picks currently but would be interested in adding more.

• It looks like the Panthers will wait to address their need for a backup quarterback until draft weekend, at the earliest. Matt Moore and Hunter Cantwell, who went undrafted last year, were the only quarterbacks left on the roster after Jake Delhomme was released. Moore, who is heading into his first full season as a starter, might benefit from having a veteran presence around in a clearly defined backup role.

• With the Rams looking pretty committed to drafting QB Sam Bradford rather than DT Ndamukong Suh or DT Gerald McCoy with the first overall pick in the draft, it has been rumored that they may be interested in DT Albert Haynesworth if Washington is indeed seriously considering peddling the high-priced defensive tackle. But the way we hear it, although a trade isn't out of the question, it's a lot more likely the Rams will try to get by with DTs Fred Robbins, Clifton Ryan and Darell Scott in the middle, in addition to tabbing another defensive tackle or two in the draft.

• With Seahawks OLB Leroy Hill recently pleading guilty to misdemeanor marijuana possession — he was arrested in Georgia in January 2009 — the best guess among team sources is that, even though Hill is a first-time offender, the league will probably hit him with a one-game suspension. That is the same penalty that was imposed on the Jets' Shaun Ellis after he was arrested for marijuana possession in November '08.

• While it's quite likely the Niners will use their first pick in the draft on a badly needed right offensive tackle, we hear the formerly very out-of-shape Alex Boone, who was on the practice squad last year, is considered an intriguing long shot at the position. The Ohio State product earned praise last year for steadily losing weight after coming to camp weighing a very flabby 340 pounds. This year, we hear Boone reported to the team's OTAs weighing 280 pounds and looked flat-out chiseled after adding considerable muscle. "It's like a different guy," one team insider said of Boone. "If he can recapture the form he showed in his junior year at Ohio State, he definitely could be a factor at right tackle."

• Cardinals unrestricted free-agent QB Brian St. Pierre recently told team insiders that he plans on re-signing with the team early next week. St. Pierre also said his back, which bothered him all of last season, feels a lot better because of a new exercise and strength program. We hear that while the team feels comfortable at the QB position with Matt Leinart, newly acquired Derek Anderson and St. Pierre on the depth chart, there is still a good chance the team will add another QB via the draft or free agency.

• Sources don't expect the Dolphins to head into the regular season with four quarterbacks on the roster, and with Chad Henne firmly entrenched as the starter, Tyler Thigpen, Chad Pennington and Pat White are the candidates to be moved. It's been said that Thigpen is the signalcaller most likely to be traded, and we're told Miami would like to move him before the draft. However, teams in need of a backup could wait until closer to training camp to make a swap to fill that hole, and there's a good chance the Dolphins will have to wait a bit longer to find a suitor for Thigpen.

• The Bills' recent re-signing of RFA LB Keith Ellison was a move that surprised some daily observers of the club. Although Ellison has started a majority of the games he's played in since being drafted by Buffalo in 2006, he's been very injury-prone and isn't seen as a good fit for the team's new 3-4 defensive scheme. At just 6-0, 229 pounds, he's too small to play inside and doesn't have the pass-rush ability to be an effective outside 'backer. He might not see the field a whole lot in 2010.

• In a recent interview with PFW, Titans P Brett Kern praised the work of CBs Jason McCourty and Ryan Mouton, the Titans' gunners on the punt-coverage team. "They did a great job," said Kern, who posted a 41.4-yard net average on 37 punts with Tennessee last season. McCourty (12 special-teams tackles) and Mouton (nine special-teams tackles, two fumble recoveries) will vie for more playing time on defense this season, too. Kern also praised S Donnie Nickey, who had a team-high 17 special-teams tackles in 2009.

• McCourty and Mouton are two of four corners seemingly in the mix to start at left cornerback, with 2006 Rams first-round pick Tye Hill and returning veteran Rod Hood also likely to have chances. Mouton logged one start at nickel cornerback and one start at right cornerback last season, and McCourty started three games in place of injured RCB Cortland Finnegan during October. At the least, the Titans appear to have bolstered their options at cornerback should injuries strike again in 2010.

• Our Colts insiders are telling us not to rule out the return of either Tyjuan Hagler or Freddie Keiaho by any means, despite the fact neither of the restricted free-agent outside linebackers received tenders. "It's the same deal as last year with them," one team source told PFW. "If they can't find better deals elsewhere, it's quite possible the Colts will bring them back."

• The Broncos tried to tempt teams to send an offer sheet to RFA WR Brandon Marshall by tendering him at the first-round level rather than issuing him the highest tender, which would have required first- and third-round picks as compensation. However, it doesn't look as though any team is willing to bite. The deadline for another team to sign Marshall to an offer sheet is April 15.

 

For the most authoritative NFL draft news and free-agency analysis, visit ProFootballWeekly.com.