In the lead up to Thursday night's draft, the New Orleans Saints are doing their due diligence on moving up.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported the Saints have made plenty of calls about making a big leap up from the No. 27 overall pick, per sources informed of the situation.
Rapoport notes that the exploration could be simple due diligence in case a certain player begins to tumble in the draft, likely a quarterback to become the heir apparent to Drew Brees. In general, NFL teams only make big moves forward -- paying steep prices -- to swipe a future signal-caller.
We know the Saints would have pulled the trigger on Patrick Mahomes last season had the Kansas City Chiefs not leaped them on draft day. Could Sean Payton be targeting a quarterback like Lamar Jackson, Josh Rosen or Josh Allen if one of the signal-callers falls into the middle of the round?
The Saints don't own a second-round selection, having traded that pick last draft to the San Francisco 49ers to select Offensive Rookie of the Year Alvin Kamara. Sans a second-rounder, New Orleans might need to part with future high picks if they indeed move up Thursday night. The Saints currently own one third-round selection (91), one fourth (217), two fifth-rounders (147, 164), two sixths (189, 201) and one seventh-round pick (245).
Around The NFL is tracking all of the latest buzz for the 83rd NFL draft, which opens today at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Check back each day for updated nuggets as we pass along whispers from around the league. Here's what we're hearing Thursday:
John Dorsey played his hand close to the vest. At times there have been rumors that Sam Darnold would go first, then Josh Allen, now Mayfield. The Browns GM told NFL Network's Steve Wyche yesterday he hasn't even told his wife which player he plans to take No. 1.
Rapoport reported, however, this could all be a big smokescreen, saying on NFL Draft Kickoff, "I just talked to another GM who's known John Dorsey well, and he said, 'He's not taking Mayfield. I know that's false.'"
2. NFL Network's Kimberly Jones said on Path to the Draft that all signs are pointing to the New York Giants selecting former Penn State running back Saquon Barkley with the No. 2 overall pick. Jones noted no player on the current Giants team has been assigned No. 26 -- Barkley's old college number.
Rapoport added there hasn't been much interest in teams seeking a trade for the Giants' first-round pick, though New York appears to want to make the pick regardless.
3. NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported the Dolphins do not seem likely to pick Lousiville quarterback Lamar Jackson, despite the QB leaving a "lasting, positive impression" on them during their local prospect day.
Pelissero added that the Dolphins have done their homework on other top QB prospects Josh Allen (hosted on a visit), Josh Rosen (sent two reps to UCLA pro day) and Baker Mayfield (did a private workout and hosted on a visit). The 'Fins, however, did not spend extra time on USC's Sam Darnold, assuming he wouldn't slide to pick No. 11, Pelissero reported.
4. NFL Network's Michael Silver reported the Oakland Raiders would ideally like to trade down from pick No. 10, though if former N.C. State pass rusher Bradley Chubb were to slide, they would be "tempted" to trade up for the elite prospect.
5. The Arizona Cardinals appear to be in the market for a quarterback, though NFL Network's Tiffany Blackmon reported they are "lukewarm" on the idea of trading up for one, given the hefty price tag it would take to facilitate the move.