Our analysts and writers are constantly talking to NFL and college sources about draft prospects. Lance Zierlein share some of what NFL folks are discussing in draft rooms throughout the league.
Note:NFL Network will have live coverage of Cal's pro day, where QB Jared Goff will be the main attraction, beginning at 12 p.m. ET on Friday, March 18.
The scoop: "I wish somebody would start some rumor to get (Jared) Goff to fall in the draft. Let's get that small-hand talk going! We would take him tomorrow. He's the best quarterback in this draft and it's not as close as the media is making it sound." -- NFC executive on the Cal QB
The skinny: While this executive was clearly joking about starting a rumor (wasn't he??), he was very strong in his affinity for the Cal signal-caller. Goff's hand size (9 inches) was the talk of the NFL Scouting Combine because it's on the small side for an NFL starter, but I've had Goff at the top of the QB pack from the outset because of the entirety of his skill set. While the general consensus in media circles is that Carson Wentz has taken over as the top QB prospect in this draft, that might not be the case in NFL circles.
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The scoop: "He's a good football player. I like him, but he's not tall and he has average speed. It's pretty rare to see cornerbacks who don't have great size and speed get taken early. If we were looking for a cornerback with a top-10 pick, I don't know if our GM would be willing to take him that early." -- AFC personnel executive on Florida CB Vernon Hargreaves III
The skinny: This is the prevailing mindset in NFL circles and we certainly understand the logic behind it. However, once a player is chosen and suits up for the first time, his draft position no longer matters. His talent does, though. Hargreaves is a very good football player. Did I mention my player comparison for him is Joe Haden, who has similar physical and athletic measurements? Yeah, Haden (a two-time Pro Bowler) went seventh overall in the 2010 draft and is doing just fine.
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The scoop: "It's hard to get worked up about him because he's not a classic edge rusher and his tape won't knock your socks off. Good combine, but I don't see that same explosion on tape. He's very strong and very productive. I just don't know what to do with him." -- NFL general manager on Oklahoma State edge rusher Emmanuel Ogbah
The skinny: Ogbah posted terrific numbers in the 40-yard dash (4.63 seconds), vertical jump (35.5 inches) and broad jump (10-1), which forced some NFL evaluators to reassess what Ogbah is vs. what he could be based on his measurements. While Ogbah doesn't appear to be beloved in scouting circles, he was ultra-productive for two consecutive seasons and will bring NFL power and hand strength to the table as soon as he sets foot on a practice field. The question is whether NFL teams will buy into the production and athletic numbers or rely on their expectations of what a pass rusher should look and play like.