Jets add Leonard Williams to a loaded defensive line

AP

With the first pick of the Mike Maccagnan-Todd Bowles era, the Jets went with defense, selecting USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams with the No. 6 overall pick.

Widely regarded as one of the top prospects in the draft, Williams (6-4, 302) notched 74 tackles and six sacks for Southern Cal in 2014. He can play inside or outside, which will add to the Jets’ schematic flexibility under new head coach Bowles, the former Cardinals’ defensive coordinator.

Williams joins a Jets defensive line already regarded as one of the NFL’s best, with Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson standouts and Damon Harrison a big, productive presence in the middle.

According to an NFL Media report, Williams had a shoulder ailment regarded as problematic by some clubs, which might have caused him to last a little longer than expected.

The Jets have just five more picks — one in Rounds Two, Three and Four and two in Round Seven. This would seem to make the Jets a potential trade-down candidate later in the draft as Maccagnan, their new General Manger, tries to fix a club that went 4-12 a season ago.

Report: Saints see Bryce Petty as draft’s “best pure passer”

AP

With nine picks in the 2015 draft, including five in the first three rounds, the Saints are well-positioned to add some young talent at positions of need.

One position that isn’t a pressing need is quarterback; after all, Drew Brees is under contract for two more seasons. However, with no heir apparent to Brees, it wouldn’t be a surprise if New Orleans drafted a young passer.

And according to a published report, there is one quarterback in the Class of 2015 with whom the Saints could be especially fond.

In his first-round mock draft, well-connected Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Bob McGinn has New Orleans taking Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty with the No. 31 pick.

According to McGinn, the Saints believe Petty is “the best pure passer in the draft.”

Per multiple reports, the Saints put Petty through a private workout earlier this month.

The No. 31 pick was acquired in the deal that sent tight end Jimmy Graham to Seattle. The Saints also have their own first-round selection (No. 13). In addition, the Saints have one second-round choice (No. 44) and two third-round picks (Nos. 75 and 78).

The Bills have also been linked to Petty after meeting with him on Tuesday. However, the Bills don’t have a first-rounder and don’t pick until 50th overall.

Indeed, the QB intrigue in the 2015 draft doesn’t end with where Marcus Mariota lands.

PFT Draft Prop No. 5: Over-Under on first pick traded: 3.5

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Leading up to Thursday’s NFL draft, we’ll put on our oddsmaking hats, Ace Rothstein glasses and Terry Benedict suits and set one proposition “bet” per day for PFT Planet to ponder. At the conclusion of the draft, we’ll see how PFT Planet did on the wagers, which are for entertainment purposes only.

Here’s today’s prop:

PFT Draft Prop No. 5: Number of pick first traded in Round One: Over-Under 3.5.

In each of the last three years, at least one club selecting in the top five has dealt its pick:

— In 2012, the Browns traded up from No. 4 to No. 3 with Minnesota for running back Trent Richardson.

— In 2013, the Dolphins moved up from No. 12 to No. 3 with Oakland for defensive end Dion Jordan.

— In 2014, the Bills traded from No. 9 to No. 4 with Cleveland to select wide receiver Sammy Watkins.

Entering the 2015 draft, a good deal of trade intrigue surrounds the top five. Will Tennessee (No. 2) hold onto its pick? And what about Jacksonville, Oakland and Washington at picks Nos. 3-5? According to Jason La Canfora of CBS, the Jaguars, Raiders and Washington are not opposed to moving down from their spots.

Hence, we’ve set the Over-Under on the highest pick traded in Round One at 3.5. Pick a side in the poll, and give your trade takes in the comments.

La’el Collins will not attend draft

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On Tuesday came news Baton Rouge, La. police wanted to speak with former LSU offensive tackle La’el Collins to see if he could assist them in the unsolved murder of his 29-year-old ex-girlfriend — a case in which authorities have said he is not a suspect.

Now, Collins is going to meet with police.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Collins, a potential first-round selection, is leaving the 2015 NFL Draft in Chicago to meet with Baton Rouge police to aid in the investigation.

In a story published Tuesday, Collins’ lawyer, Jim Boren, told ESPN that he has “tried to rule [Collins] out as a suspect” and has hired a private investigative firm to aid in the efforts of establishing where he was when the crime occurred.

Said Boren, according to ESPN: “We have identified where La’el was the day the lady was murdered to establish he was nowhere around. We have offered to give names, witnesses who can vouch for his whereabouts that day until after the woman’s body was discovered. We believe that when [police] have verified that information, that they will rule him out as a suspect in the homicide, just as I believe he should be.”

The deceased woman, Brittany Mills, gave birth to a baby. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, who also reported Collins would be heading to Louisiana to talk authorities, the offensive tackle had intended to take a paternity test next week.

Report: Lions exploring prospect of trading down

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A playoff team from a season ago reportedly has some interest in dealing out of its spot in the final 10 picks of Round One.

The Lions have reached out to clubs about potentially trading back from the No. 23 overall pick, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reports.

Detroit has six draft choices. The club lacks a selection in Round Four after dealing it to Baltimore for defensive tackle Haloti Ngata.

Supply and demand could tell the tale on whether Detroit can make a move backwards in the draft order. The No. 23 spot could be attractive to clubs worried about teams picking from Nos. 24-32 snapping up a prospect who has slid unexpectedly.

The Lions made a pair of trades in the 2014 draft, trading up for linebacker Kyle Van Noy in Round Two and trading back in Round Five, picking up defensive tackle Caraun Reid (fifth round) and kicker Nate Freese (seventh round).

Sports book’s odds imply Winston has 93.8 percent chance of being top pick

AP

In the lead-up to the 2015 NFL Draft, we’ve set a handful of for-entertainment-only proposition bets on a variety of things that could happen in Round One.

However, one subject we’ve stayed away from is the No. 1 overall pick, what with Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston a clear favorite to be Tampa Bay’s choice atop the draft.

Well, online sports book Bovada has set actual, available-to-be-bet odds on whom will be selected first. And as expected, the odds reflect the perception that anyone but Winston being taken No. 1 would be a major surprise.

At the moment, Bovada lists Winston as a 1-to-15 favorite to be selected first overall. That implies Winston has a 93.75 percent chance of being taken atop the draft.

Bovada lists two other choices for the No. 1 pick. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is 15-to-2, while the field — all other players — is 9-to-1.

Finally, we can’t end here without putting up a poll asking for your take on who will be the No. 1 overall selection. We’re interested how Winston’s vote count measures up with his implied odds.

PFT Draft Prop No. 4: Over-Under on when first cornerback is selected: Pick 12.5

AP

Leading up to Thursday’s NFL draft, we’ll put on our oddsmaking hats, Ace Rothstein glasses and Terry Benedict suits and set one proposition “bet” per day for PFT Planet to ponder. At the conclusion of the draft, we’ll see how PFT Planet did on the wagers, which are for entertainment purposes only.

PFT Draft Prop No. 4: Over-Under on when first cornerback is selected: Pick 12.5.

In each of the last five drafts, at least one cornerback has been selected in the top 10 picks. Such is the value of the position. Teams can never have enough skilled secondary performers.

However, could runs at other positions cause the first corner to come off the board a little later this year?

Think of it this way: at least two quarterbacks will go early. The edge-rusher/OLB class is strong and deep. There are a handful of offensive linemen who could be early picks. Among defensive linemen, USC’s Leonard Williams is king; when he comes off the board, could other clubs start looking to fill needs along the front four, lest they get lost in the shuffle?

That’s the thinking on this Over-Under: other positions might get the limelight in the early stages of the draft.

On the other hand, could a team be blamed for going and getting the first cornerback in the top 10 — perhaps someone like Michigan State’s Trae Waynes?

The Over-Under is on the board. The poll is up, and the comments are open. Have at it, draft experts.

Previous draft props

PFT Draft Prop No. 1: Over-Under on first-round RBs: 2.5.

PFT Draft Prop No. 2: Amari Cooper’s draft position: 4.5.

PFT Draft Prop No. 3: Over-Under on Marcus Mariota’s draft position: 2.5.

Possible first-rounder Shane Ray cited for marijuana possession

AP

An edge-rushing prospect thought to have a good shot at being selected in Round One has encountered an unwanted off-field issue three days before the draft.

Defensive end Shane Ray, a former University of Missouri standout, was cited Monday morning on a marijuana possession charge, Corporal Scott White of the Missouri State Highway Patrol confirmed to PFT on Monday night.

According to White, Ray was pulled over for speeding on Monday morning in Cooper County, Missouri. Upon the traffic stop, a highway trooper smelled what was believed to be fresh, unsmoked marijuana. The vehicle was searched, and marijuana was found, White said. Ray was cited for possession of 35 grams or less of marijuana, a misdemeanor, and released on his recognizance, White said. He was also cited for a lane violation.

Ray did not appear impaired and was cooperative, White said. He faces a June 30 court date.

As a potential late first-round pick, the pot citation is a less-than-desirable development for Ray, to say the least. Moreover, the health of Ray’s foot has also been a storyline in the lead-up to the draft, though NFL Media has reported Ray does not need surgery.

Albert Breer of NFL Media reports Ray flunked a drug test in college, citing information from five unnamed NFL teams.

Rotoworld draft expert Josh Norris has the Cardinals selecting Ray 24th overall in his latest mock draft.

PFT Draft Prop No. 3: Marcus Mariota’s draft position: 2.5

AP

Leading up to Thursday’s NFL draft, we’ll put on our oddsmaking hats, Ace Rothstein glasses and Terry Benedict suits and set one proposition “bet” per day for PFT Planet to ponder. At the conclusion of the draft, we’ll see how PFT Planet did on the wagers, which are for entertainment purposes only.

PFT Draft Prop No. 3: Over-Under on Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota’s draft position: 2.5.

As our draft props go, this is the most straight-forward of them all. It’s this simple: Do you see Mariota being taken No. 1 or No. 2 overall, or do you see him sliding beyond those first two picks?

The uncertainty of how the Titans will proceed with the second overall selection adds to the intrigue regarding Mariota. If the Titans want to move the pick to a club seeking a quarterback, they can surely trade down for an attractive package of picks and/or players.

So let’s get right to it. Let us know when you believe Mariota hears his name called via the poll and in the comments.

Previous draft props

PFT Draft Prop No. 1: Over-Under on first-round RBs: 2.5.

PFT Draft Prop No. 2: Amari Cooper’s draft position: 4.5.

Report: Jets believed to “have an affinity for” Andrus Peat

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With a new head coach (Todd Bowles) and General Manager (Mike Maccagnan) in the fold, and with a host of roster needs, the Jets could go numerous ways with the No. 6 overall pick in Thursday’s draft.

However, a few other clubs reportedly think they have an inkling of a prospect New York especially likes.

According to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, “several” NFL personnel directors suspect the Jets are fond of Stanford offensive tackle Andrus Peat.

Offensive line would be a logical area for the Jets to address early in the draft. Three of their starters are at least 31 years old, and right tackle Breno Giacomini turns 30 in November. Left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson, who enters his 10th season as a starter, will turn 32 in December.

As the Daily News notes, Peat took a pre-draft visit to the Jets, who have six draft selections in 2015. Given their lack of picks, the Jets would seem a logical trade-down candidate.

Unnamed personnel executive: Class of 2015 has “no draftable kickers”

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There have been multiple kickers selected in each of the last three drafts.

However, there’s some feeling that not a single kicker merits being selected in the upcoming draft, which starts Thursday in Chicago.

In a story published Sunday by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, an unnamed personnel executive panned the kickers in the Class of 2015.

“There’s no draftable kickers,” the executive said, according to the Journal Sentinel‘s Bob McGinn. “The combine was probably the worst display of kicking talent I’ve ever seen. It was, like, ‘Are you kidding me? You can’t develop a kicker?’ ”

In his 2015 NFL Draft Preview, personnel analyst Nolan Nawrocki gave six kickers draftable grades, with Louisiana-Monroe’s Justin Manton getting the highest mark. However, only Manton received a grade equating to a “fair chance to earn a roster spot,” with the other five kickers graded as “capable of battling for a roster spot.”

It’s uncommon to have a draft without a kicker selected. The last was in 2010, which snapped an 11-year streak of at least one kicker drafted per spring.

PFT Draft Prop No. 2: Amari Cooper’s draft position: 4.5

AP

Leading up to Thursday’s NFL draft, we’ll put on our oddsmaking hats and Ace Rothstein glasses and set one proposition “bet” per day for PFT Planet to ponder. At the conclusion of the draft, we’ll see how PFT Planet did on the wagers, which are for entertainment purposes only.

Here’s the second in our series of five draft-related props:

PFT Draft Prop No. 2: Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper’s draft position in Round One: 4.5.

Cooper is certain to be one of the top receivers taken on Thursday. Though quite unlikely to be the No. 1 overall pick, Cooper could seemingly appeal to a variety of other clubs selecting early, including Tennessee at No. 2 or Oakland at No. 4. In fact, Rotoworld draft expert Josh Norris has the Raiders taking Cooper in his latest mock.

However, Cooper could also fit with teams after Oakland in the draft order, with Washington (No. 5), the Jets (No. 6) and Bears (No. 7) all logical landing spots.

So where does Amari Cooper land in Round One? The poll is open, as are the comments.

Previous draft props

PFT Draft Prop No. 1: Over-Under on first-round RBs: 2.5

PFT Draft Prop No. 1: Over-Under on first-round RBs: 2.5

AP

After two consecutive years without a running back being selected in Round One, it’s likely the 2015 NFL Draft will have at least one first-round tailback, with Georgia’s Todd Gurley seemingly the favorite to be the first back off the board some time Thursday.

The question is, what other backs will be selected in Round One? Will Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon hear his name called among the first 32 picks? Rotoworld draft expert Josh Norris sees Gurley, then Gordon, getting picked in the first round next week.

And if Gordon goes second, who will be the third back off the board? Could a back like Boise State’s Jay Ajayi be a late first-rounder? How about Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah or Indiana’s Tevin Coleman? Will some team trade back into Round One to secure the runner of its choice before Thursday ends, a la Detroit five years ago for Jahvid Best?

The first-round running back question, then, is a perfect way to start PFT’s Draft Props series. Here’s the idea: We set a number and the odds on each side of the props, and we put it to PFT Planet to vote on which side they would prefer. Each vote will count as one unit of measure. When the draft ends, we’ll tally the results.

With this in mind, here is our Over-Under on first-round tailbacks: 2.5.

And here are the odds we’ve set:

PFT Draft Prop No. 1: How many running backs will be selected in Round One of the 2015 NFL Draft?

OVER 2.5 running backs — +200

UNDER 2.5 running backs — -240

As always, go ahead and give us your take in the comments and via the poll below.

UPDATE: After 131 of the first 138 votes were for UNDER, we’ve adjusted the odds to OVER +150 and UNDER -170. We’ll score the first votes under the old odds (+125/-145) accordingly.

UPDATE No. 2: With 1,229-of-1,323 votes for UNDER, we’ll move to +200/-240.

Unnamed scout on Kevin White: “He’s like Larry Fitzgerald”

AP

West Virginia wide receiver Kevin White is just about a lock to hear his name called in the first round of next week’s draft, with all but the matter of whether he’ll be the first player at his position to be taken to be decided.

In his latest mock draft, Rotoworld’s Josh Norris projected the Mountaineers star to come off the board at No. 7 to Chicago, calling White one of “a handful of foundation pieces in this draft.”

As a senior at West Virginia, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound White hauled in 109 passes for 1,447 yards and 10 touchdowns. He then proceeded to run an impressive 4.35 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine.

White also received some high praise in Nolan Nawrocki’s 2015 NFL Draft Preview. In White’s scouting report, Nawrocki quoted an unnamed scout who called the West Virginia receiver “the top player in the East hands down.”

Said the unnamed scout: “He is the reason they are in every game. He’s like Larry Fitzgerald.”

On PFT Live in March, White said Fitzgerald, the Cardinals’ star receiver, had given him good advice about competing in the NFL.

“He’s kind of like my mentor, somebody that I look up to that’s in the NFL,” White said.

The No. 3 overall pick 11 years ago, Fitzgerald has had a stellar career, one that figures to garner him serious Hall of Fame consideration. If White is in the same ballpark as Fitzgerald in terms of impact, some club is going to be very happy to have turned in a card with his name on it next Thursday in Chicago.

Report: Montana DE-OLB Zack Wagenmann breaks foot in pre-draft workout

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A defensive end/outside linebacker prospect who’s thought to have a shot at being selected in the later rounds of the draft has reportedly suffered a broken foot in a workout with an NFL club.

Montana’s Zack Wagenmann is expected to miss eight weeks or more with the injury but is likely to be ready for training camp, ESPN’s Adam Caplan reported Thursday. It wasn’t immediately known with which club Wagenmann was working when he suffered the injury.

Wagenmann (6-3, 247) notched 37.5 sacks in four seasons with Montana, including 17.5 as a senior. His 37.5-inch vertical jump was third among defensive ends at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine.