In less than a week there’s a very good chance we’ll see two cornerbacks selected in the top 10 picks of this year’s draft. One is no surprise, with Morris Claiborne possibly even a top three pick, but the other could be Stephon Gilmore, who’s risen significantly throughout the draft season.
That tells us a few things. Firstly, that Claiborne and Gilmore may be talented football players. But more importantly, at the height of a passing era that saw three quarterbacks pass for more than 5,000 yards in 2011 and another come within 70 yards of that mark, putting an emphasis on defending the pass is probably a good idea.
That explains the Broncos’ reported interest in Asante Samuel, despite the presence of Champ Bailey and the recently signed Tracy Porter. Late last night Mike Klis of the Denver Post reported that the Broncos had hotly pursued Samuel, the Eagles CB who’s on the trading block.
But although trade talks advanced, they’ve since faded.
The Broncos no longer believe they can strike a deal, even though trade talks advanced to the stage where the team presented two proposals — one for a late-round draft pick and the other involving a player.
Earlier this week ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Eagles GM Howie Roseman would like to have a deal done to send Samuel out of town before the draft. Philadelphia has a surplus of top end corners after last summer’s acquisitions (Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie). Combine that with Samuel’s somewhat advanced age (he’s 31), and the veteran has become expendable.
The same surplus would be created in Denver if another proposal is passed across the table and this deal is salvaged, but as Klis notes, there’s a reason why the Broncos clearly don’t view that as a negative. In Philly Samuel’s presence is a problem because Rodgers-Cromartie was asked to be the nickel cornerback, something he had little experience with, and it showed.
But both Porter and Bailey have played on the inside with success, meaning on passing downs the Broncos would have three elite cornerbacks on the field if Samule is acquired. That could become a necessity in a division with Philip Rivers, and the Texans, Steelers, Saints, and Patriots also on Denver’s schedule.
In fact, back loading high end cornerbacks could soon become an even greater need throughout the NFL, instead of merely a luxury.
And now you want to know the rest of the story…
- The Browns are still suffering from the curse of Paul Warfield at wide receiver, which dates back to 1964, the last time Cleveland drafted a superstar wideout. [Tony Grossi]
- Cameron Wake won’t be holding out, even though he probably should. [Gregg Rosenthal]
- Victor Cruz says he won’t be holding out either. [New York Daily News]
- The Vikings stadium debacle continues to get messier, and today Roger Goodell and Steelers owner Art Rooney II–who’s also the chairman of the stadium committee–will meet with legislative leaders in Minnesota. Meanwhile, Zygi Wilf’s plane has been spotted in Los Angeles, which should surprise absolutely no one. If the Vikings don’t receive political support for their Metrodome renovation plans, then relocation talk will pick up quickly, and become very serious for the 2013 season. Goodell also had a meeting with Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. [Los Angeles Daily News]
- A small sample of the madness in Minnesota: journalists are ripping politicians for asking important questions. [Minnesota Post]
- Great inside look at how the NFL schedule is made each year. [Judy Battista]
- A scout thinks teams could get “snookered” on Kendall Wright, and says that Randall Cobb, Green Bay’s second-round pick last year, is better. [Pro Football Weekly]
- It’s widely assumed that if he’s available, there’s no way the Rams will pass on Justin Blackmon at No. 6. Evan Silva disagrees, and his reasoning is difficult to argue with. [Rotoworld]
- If a GM is undecided on who to draft, a study by an economics professor says he should probably just take the player who’s had the most arrests and legal run-ins. [Salon.com]