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2022 NFL Draft

2022 NFL Draft Buzz: Latest league news, rumors from Wednesday ahead of Thursday's Round 1

It's been a week since news broke that Deebo Samuel had requested a trade from the San Francisco 49ers, and it appears the field of potential landing spots for the wide receiver is still wide open, and could stay that way for a while.

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Wednesday on NFL Now that people close to 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch don't believe that they want to trade Samuel, and ultimately will choose not to.

Lynch previously said Monday during a pre-draft press conference that he "can't ever imagine wanting to move on from Deebo," backing up the idea that the 49ers would want to try to exhaust all other options for reconciliation before sending Samuel away. In addition, the San Francisco philosophy has traditionally been to not let players dictate terms through trade demands, so it will be interesting to see whether this will be possible in this case.

If San Francisco wants to make a trade for Samuel, it would make the most sense to do so before or during the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft to obtain a first-round pick. The Jets and the Lions have been discussed as teams that could be at the top of the list for a deal, but nothing has panned out yet. So whether the 49ers will go ahead with a move, or wait to see if they can fix things with Samuel, remains to be seen.

Deebo himself has tweeted about the widespread speculation over his possible next moves:

Here's what else we're monitoring Wednesday ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft, which kicks off Thursday night:

  • Florida State defensive end Jermaine Johnson could be moving up the draft boards into the top 10. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday that while many people have been predicting Johnson would be picked around the middle of the first-round, the latest talks have indicated that teams see something in him that makes him an even hotter commodity, meaning he could get selected just inside the top 10. Rapoport also said that he would not rule out the possibility of the New York Jets selecting Johnson with the No. 4 pick.
  • Another player who is making a last-minute move up the draft boards is Florida cornerback Kaiir Elam. Pelissero reported Wednesday that Elam could be the third or maybe fourth cornerback selected, much higher than the previous predictions which had Elam tabbed as a pick toward the bottom of the first round. Pelissero said one executive told him, "Tall guys that can run, they don't stay on the board for long."
  • The Detroit Lions are excited to build on their strong 2021 draft class, which immediately provided starters like offensive tackle Penei Sewell, wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown and defensive tackle Alim McNeill. With three picks in the 2022 NFL Draft's top 34 selections, the Lions have the ammo to do just that. NFL Network's Steve Wyche said on NFL Now that he expects Detroit to take one of the edge rushers -- Aidan Hutchinson or Travon Walker -- with the No. 2 overall pick. While Wyche conceded that Brad Holmes said the team is "looking" at the quarterback position, his takeaway from speaking with the general manager is that Detroit is intent on getting tougher along the lines of scrimmage before finding someone to sit behind incumbent Jared Goff. Other teams considering trading up for a quarterback will have to keep a watchful eye on the truth or fiction of that statement -- the Lions hold the final pick in the first round.
  • The Atlanta Falcons will have their pick of a deep wide receiver class if they choose to select from that position with the No. 8 overall pick, according to NFL Network's Cameron Wolfe. Wolfe reported that the top three wide receivers in the conversation are Alabama's Jameson Williams, USC's Drake London and Ohio State's Garrett Wilson. This receiving class has been compared to ice cream flavors due to its variety in skills, Wolfe said, as teams like each prospect for different reasons and there's no clear right answer about who's the best, so any of these players could still be in the mix to be that first receiver selected.
  • Drafts often come down to a game of percentages, and Houston Texans general manager Nick Caserio told NFL Network's Jim Trotter what kind of math problem he expects for his team come Thursday. According to Trotter's report on NFL Now, Caserio said, "There is a 99% chance we use the No. 3 pick and less than a 99% chance we use the 13th pick." When pushed further, Caserio admitted that there is a 50 to 60% chance the Texans use the No. 13 pick. Houston would be interested in moving up or moving down depending on its board and available compensation. That degree of flexibility exists thanks to what Trotter called an "embarrassment of riches." The Texans hold three of the draft's top 37 picks.
  • The New York Giants are one of two teams with multiple top-10 picks (No. 5 and No. 7 overall) in the draft. According to NFL Network's Judy Battista, the Giants are perfectly happy to hunker down and make a pick at both of those slots. However, it should be noted that general manager Joe Schoen reportedly has seven to 10 players he likes, which still allows for the possibility of making a small move back should the opportunity arise. There's been a narrow focus during mock draft season on the Giants' need at offensive tackle, but Battista also mentioned on NFL Now that the Giants would feel comfortable forgoing that position in the first round due to pressing needs elsewhere.
  • The Dallas Cowboys have never been shy about making a splash, but there's only a handful of players owner Jerry Jones and the rest of the team brass would feel compelled to trade up for this year. NFL Network's Jane Slater reported on Total Access that Cowboys fans hoping for a bold move should keep an eye on two offensive linemen, Mississippi State's Charles Cross and Northern Iowa's Trevor Penning, as well USC wide receiver Drake London. The Cowboys currently hold the No. 24 overall pick in the draft.
  • Always a candidate to pull off a trade, general manager John Schneider and the Seattle Seahawks are a team to watch for trades on Day 1 of the draft, Rapoport noted Wednesday on NFL Total Access. Schneider is known for his love of draft day moves, and Rapoport reported Wednesday he could see Seattle moving down from its current first-round spot and also moving up from its second-round standing into the end of the first round. If there's a run on quarterbacks in the later stages of the first round, Rapoport said Seattle could make an attempt to trade back into the first round to grab a signal-caller.
  • Intrigue abounds for the Carolina Panthers at No. 6 overall. NFL Network's Bridget Condon reported Monday that it was unlikely general manager Scott Fitterer and the Panthers would take a quarterback at six and that stands as of Thursday. However, while the Panthers might not go with a passer, they could pick a pass rusher. Condon is hearing there are two defensive players the Panthers could take if they're still available at No. 6. "You can never have enough pass rushers," Fitterer told Condon. The first round could potentially also play out with Carolina selecting an offensive lineman or trading back as "three or four teams" have called and had serious talks. Trading back would likely lead to acquiring Day 2 picks, which Carolina currently has none of. Rounds 2 and 3 could be where the Panthers pounce on a QB. North Carolina's Sam Howell, in particular, has impressed.

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