Saints inquire about Albert Haynesworth

Even though the Lions and Titans have dropped out of the running, the Redskins remain open to trading Albert Haynesworth and according to Jason Reid of the Washington Post, the Saints have inquired about the defensive tackle.

The Saints have the No. 64 overall pick and it would take at least that selection and possibly one more to acquire Haynesworth from Washington. That said, he has already voiced his displeasure over playing nose tackle in the Redskins’ new 3-4 alignment and the team recently acquired Adam Carriker from the Rams. Thus, maybe the Skins would be willing to take less value for Haynesworth, even though they just forked over $21 million in bonuses earlier this month.

While neither played poorly, the Saints didn’t get a lot of production out of either Tony Hargrove or Sedrick Ellis last season. Ellis is the better pass-rusher while Hargrove is sounder against the run, but neither is the player Haynesworth is. He would instantly upgrade the interior of the Saints’ defensive line and would cause panic for contenders in the NFC that already have a hard enough time keeping up with New Orleans’ potent offense.

The second round will certainly be intriguing.

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Rams hold immense value with No. 33 pick

In no other year has the No. 33 pick held so much value than it does in the 2010 NFL Draft. That’s because general managers will have nearly 24 hours to think about how the player they covet is still on the board and there for the taking.

In the NFL’s new draft format, the second round will take place tonight at 6:30PM ET. Normally, the first and second rounds are back-to-back, leaving teams little time to wheel and deal at the top of the second round. But thanks to the lapse in between the first two rounds, the Rams have probably been fielding calls for the past two days about the No. 33 overall pick.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Bills and Browns have contacted the Rams about trading up to the top spot in the second round. Buffalo has its eyes set on Jimmy Clausen, while Cleveland wants Colt McCoy. Both teams are probably desperate, seeing as how they want to get ahead of Kansas City at No. 36. That’s great news for St. Louis, which can leverage their pick, pit the Browns and Bills against each other and not fall back too far in the second round. (Cleveland has the No. 38 pick, while Buffalo has No. 41.)

Of course, if the Rams don’t trade the pick, they’ll have some pressure on their shoulders to nab an eventual starter. After all, somebody wants that pick and if St. Louis doesn’t parlay it into extra selections, then it better land a damn good player.

Update: The Cleveland Plain Dealer disputes the report that the Browns have contacted the Rams about the No. 33 pick.

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Taylor Mays: Second round sleeper or bust in the making?

Imagine you’re USC safety Taylor Mays on Thursday night, sitting patiently by the phone waiting for a team to call to tell you that you’re headed to the NFL.

But the phone never rings. Then you watch as two safeties (Eric Berry and Earl Thomas) are selected in the top 15, one of which (Thomas) by your former coach at USC, Pete Carroll.

Granted, Thomas was a better prospect than Mays and would have gone ahead of him in most scenarios. Plus, had Seattle taken Mays at 14 it would have been viewed as a major reach. But it nevertheless must be unsettling that the man that scouted Mays at SC decided to go with a Longhorn when it came time to address his needs in the secondary.

A year ago, Mays was considered a top-10 prospect. But scouts knocked him for not making big plays last season and then flat out ignored the fact that he ran a sub-4.4 40 at the Combine. He’s tough as nails, durable and has a ton of experience versus elite completion.

So what’s the problem then?

The problem is that teams don’t know whether or not he’s a safety or a linebacker. He’s brutal in coverage, doesn’t play the ball well and takes bad angles. Those aren’t exactly great qualities to have in a safety – even a strong safety that would likely play close to the line of scrimmage. Plus, he’s not the most reliable tackler, so even as a linebacker he has some major question marks as well.

That said, Mays is an all-around solid football player and as previously mentioned, he was once viewed as a top 10 pick. He knows how to play the game and if he gets in the right system (Chicago, Minnesota, San Francisco, Cleveland), then he might wind up being a steal in the second round. (Although the Bears would have to trade up for him or hope he falls to the third because they don’t have a second rounder.)

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Chiefs to take Clausen in Round 2?

The buzz heading into Round 2 of the NFL draft seems to be centered around the Chiefs possibly moving up to take Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen. Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, offensive coordinator Charlie Weis will spend tonight trying to convince the rest of Kansas City’s staff to take his former QB when the draft resumes at 6:30PM ET.

This news might be surprising to some, seeing as how the Chiefs committed a six-year, $63 million contract to Matt Cassel last season. But the feeling in Kansas City is that 2010 will be a make or break season for the 27-year-old Cassel, who struggled running Todd Haley’s offense last year.

Weis had a fair amount of success (at least statistically) with Clausen at Notre Dame, as the QB racked up 3,722 yards, 28 touchdowns and just four interceptions last season. If anything, Clausen could provide insurance in case Cassel struggles again.

The problem, however, is that GM Scott Pioli has already stated that the Chiefs aren’t in the market for a quarterback. And when the team is on the clock in the second round, it’ll be Pioli and not Weis that makes the final decision. Plus, let’s not forget that it was Pioli that orchestrated the trade to acquire Cassel from New England, so he’s going to give the former Patriot every opportunity to succeed before throwing another quarterback into the mix.

Schefter is always reliable with his information, so we’ll see what transpires tonight when Kansas City is on the clock.

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The Scores Report’s 2010 NFL Mock Draft

This is it – this one is for all the marbles. The two previous mock drafts I put together mean nothing, unless of course one of those is better than the one below. In that case, please consider that to be my final mock so I can save some face.

We’re just days away from the 2010 NFL Draft and as usual, the uncertainty surrounding which player will be drafted by which team is at an all-time high. Teams are sending out smokescreens, it’s hard to figure out which GM is telling the truth (probably roughly around none of them) and all the while, the media is trying to keep up with all the rumors.

But here it is – my final crack at predicting the first round. Feel free to share your opinions in the comments section, but remember that they’re only valid when you make predictions before the draft. Don’t be the tool that comes back here a week from now boasting that you knew that Team A would take Player X, or else you will be made fun of mercilessly by your peers.

Let the games begin and once again, Happy NFL Draft time fellow draftnits.

Originally posted: Monday, April 19

1. St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
Ndamukong Suh is the best player in the 2010 draft and if teams only drafted based on talent, then the Nebraska defensive tackle would be the first player selected in round one. But Suh plays a position that most teams can’t justify investing a truckload of guaranteed money in. That’s why Bradford will be the No. 1 pick, along with the fact that the Rams desperately need a quarterback to help revitalize their morbid franchise. I’ve never wavered with this pick – I’ve believed that Bradford was going to be the Rams’ selection at No. 1 all along. If they believe that he’s a franchise quarterback, then Suh and every other prospect in this draft becomes inconsequential in the Rams’ eyes. There’s no more important position on a football field than the one that lines up under center every week. Is taking a quarterback this high a risk? Absolutely. But at the end of the day, a franchise can’t function without a good QB. That’s why St. Louis won’t hesitate to take Bradford here.

2. Detroit Lions: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
The Lions want everyone to believe that they’ll take an offensive tackle like Oklahoma State’s Russell Okung with this pick and they may very well might. But if Suh is still on the board when the Lions are on the clock in the first round, then they’d be nuts to pass on him. Suh is the best player in the draft on either side of the ball and could be the player current Lions (and former Titans’ DC) head coach Jim Schwartz builds his defense around, a la Albert Haynesworth in Tennessee.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
McCoy has kind of become the forgotten top 5 prospect in this draft because he’s overshadowed by Suh. But he’s a difference maker and a force against the run. If the Rams take Bradford at No. 1, one of the two defensive tackles will fall to Tampa here, which is exactly what it wants. The Bucs need an interior presence in the middle of their line that can be effective both against the run and pass. McCoy can potentially be that player.

4. Washington Redskins: Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
As long as Mike Shanahan’s claims that the Redskins will take a quarterback with this pick are untrue, then Williams could very well be the third Sooner to come off the board in the first four picks this year. Okung is regarded as the best offensive tackle in the draft, but Williams is a better fit for Washington’s new zone-blocking scheme, making him the choice here. He’s an excellent all-around blocker and has the potential to immediately fill the void left by Chris Samuels on the Redskins’ O-line.

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