Another day and more reports and speculation about the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft to be held in North Texas, and specifically, about what is a talented quarterback class. This time, it involves the Heisman winning QB from Oklahoma, Baker Mayfield, and his continued momentum towards being an early pick.
The bad news for everyone not holding at least a 10 if not sooner pick in round one? It looks like someone will take him or make a trade with a team who wants to “jump into” a top 10 spot to take Mayfield.
And that would include a team very interested in Mayfield, that sits just outside of that top 10, the Miami Dolphins.
First the latest news and info on the interest/pursuit of Mayfield came from Sports Illustrated’s Robert Klemko:
The Baker Mayfield series rolls on:
— What some NFL greats and not-so-greats have to say about Baker's mindset
— Baker's cross-country visit tour: CLE ✈️ BUF ✈️ Giants ? Jets ✈️ MIA ✈️ DEN ✈️ ARI
— John Dorsey with another food truck zingerhttps://t.co/EtshGusfVq
— Robert Klemko (@RobertKlemko) March 29, 2018
As Klemko lays out, there are not only suitors like the Browns (who have the first and the fourth picks), the Giants (#2) and the Jets (#3) who will be meeting at their facility with Mayfield in coming days, but there is also a team name in his story that is very interesting, but doesn’t currently have a top 10 pick.
That team is the Fins AFC East rival, the Buffalo Bills.
Are they just doing diligence and being prepared for all scenarios?
Then again, with having the 12th pick, the 22nd pick, and having stock piled other second and third rounders in previous trade, are the Bills preparing to vault up? One of those trades was dealing their 2017 starter Tyrod Taylor to Cleveland in March.
A source close to the Bills management and their thinking told F.F.I. after Mayfield’s pro day, they are very much going to be a “buyer” and try to trade into the top five. And maybe even, trade to the Giants second spot.
The source telling us, what others already know and can forecast, that Giants new GM Dave Gettleman used to be the Bills GM Brandon Beane’s boss. Therefore, there is great possibility for some kind of deal if Buffalo wants to be aggressive.
Of course, the Giants need a successor to QB Eli Manning too, and most of their fans are poised to riot, if they don’t take a quarterback themselves with that second pick.
And now, back to the Dolphins.
As we have written, they also have met repeatedly with Mayfield, as it’s more likely that he would last out of the top five, if not that top 10 than USC’s Sam Darnold, Wyoming’s Josh Allen or UCLA’s Josh Rosen would.
And, Klemko has the Dolphins listed as one of the teams that will bring Mayfield to their facility soon for yet another interview.
We further know that the Miami has Ryan Tannehill coming of ACL surgery and just signed veteran Brock Osweiler to a one year deal, too. So, they don’t have to have a quarterback at all costs in the first round.
Still, if you really want the Sooners signal caller, and it’s now apparent that someone, including the Bills (whom you will see twice a year) are after him, you have to strongly consider a trade up, yourselves.
The pursuit of Mayfiled is obviously one of the big topics in South Floirda, and the news cycle will only ramp up in the coming days and weeks.
Gameday- Dolphins host Raiders looking to remain unbeaten
Who: Dolphins (2-0) vs. Raiders (0-2)
Where: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens
When: Sunday 1 p.m.
Spread: Dolphins by 3 (Courtesy Vegasinsider.com)
Miami has opened by winning the first two games for the first time since 2013 and now has a golden opportunity to get to 3 – 0 today. Here’s what we’re watching
Progression of Ryan Tannehill
Coming off a solid start by spreading the ball around to numerous receivers, Ryan Tannehill will look to keep it up. The Raiders defense is obviously reeling after the trading of Khalil Mack on the eve of the season, and Tannehill may be able to take advantage of the Oakland secondary.
Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson as the deep threats could do significant damage later today. Look for coach Adam Gase and coordinator Dowell Loggains to test them early.
Does Derek Carr follow up last week’s performance?
Oakland’s 5th Year quarterback was tremendous for much of the Denver game a week ago, completing 23 of his first 24 passes. With the Raiders getting acclimated to Jon Gruden’s new offense and terminology, it’s still obvious they want to get the ball out of Carr’s hand quickly with short throws.
Another part of Oakland’s offensive success is the early running of Marshawn Lynch, who is questionable for this game with an injured shoulder. They would like to set up play action with Lynch or backup running back Jalen Richard. If Miami can stuff the run, it will help greatly in stopping the Raiders attack.
Dolphins defense continues its optimistic play?
Whether it was surviving the two lengthy weather delays two weeks ago against the Titans with key sacks and takeaways, or last week in New York with frustrating rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, Miami has been able to make plays at times.
That needs to continue on Sunday. Safety Reshad Jones will be a game-time decision with his injured shoulder and that could affect their defensive scheme for coordinator Matt Burke.
If Miami’s pass rushers, Robert Quinn, Cameron Wake, Charles Harris, Etc can get to Carr it will make life easier at Hard Rock Stadium.
Jon Gruden’s returns to Florida already in coaching turmoil
It may be premature to say that the “second honeymoon” for Jon Gruden with the Oakland Raiders is already over, but another defeat Sunday, and it likely is.
The Raiders are clearly struggling after dropping their second straight game last week in heartbreaking fashion against the Broncos in Denver. Oakland controlled most of the game and Derek Carr was outstanding, completing 23 of his first 24 passes on the day.
However, in the end Case Keenum rallied the Broncos and when Brandon McManus’ last-second field goal went through, the smirking critics of “Chucky” were already “sticking their chests out” about his NFL return.
Without question, some of this is self-inflicted, as Gruden clearly did not want to pay and therefore keep, linebacker Khalil Mack for the Raiders. And yes, they got a bounty of draft picks in return, but Mack has been nothing short of sensational as a pass rusher in two games in Chicago, and the Raiders defense is again mediocre-at-best.
So, that brings us to Sunday. And even though Gruden has been living in the Tampa Bay area while doing Monday Night Football for ESPN, this is the first time that he’s back coaching a game in the state since the final regular-season game of 2008. That day, ironically his Buccaneers lost to the Raiders completing a four-game losing collapse and costing his team a playoff spot-ultimately Gruden his job with the Bucs.
Now, the Raiders have come all the way East to Miami to play the 2 – 0 Dolphins. And while Gruden is in absolutely no jeopardy of losing his job, at least not until year 3 or 4 if it’s not working, owner Mark Davis didn’t make this shockwave multimillion-dollar hire to have the Raiders be one of the worst teams in the NFL.
Clearly, there was going to be some learning curve for Gruden with his new staff and new players. However, with a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback like Carr the belief was the Raiders would be solid, if not a wild card playoff contender.
It hasn’t shaped up that way as of yet.
The good news for Raider fans is: no one is going to outwork Gruden at trying to get it right.
The bad news is: the Raiders may not have enough overall talent to overcome that above-mentioned learning curve and digging themselves an 0-3 hole start 2018.
And the Fins, may be about to deal “Raider Nation” their latest lost Sunday.
Dolphins got contributions everywhere in Sunday win
There were a lot of questions and plenty of reasons to doubt the Dolphins roster makeup, as 2018 was getting underway.
However, two games in, the Fins have been impressive, and earned their way to an unbeaten start. Their latest effort Sunday at The Meadowlands against AFC East rival Jets saw numerous players new and old step up.
Whether it was TJ McDonald’s early interception of New York rookie QB Sam Darnold, or Kenyan Drake weaving through the Jets front seven for the early score a short time later, Miami set the tone.
And then, when Kiko Alonso knocked the ball free from Jets receiver Robby Anderson and Raekwon McMillan recovered it, it was new free agent receiver Albert Wilson capitalizing here:
Can't catch @iThinkIsee12
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) September 16, 2018
It went for a 29-yard touchdown from QB Ryan Tannehill and Miami had command at that point at 14-0.
Tannehill spread the ball around to seven different receivers, and even found reserve A.J. Derby for a 19 yard touchdown, as the lead ballooned to 20-0 nothing.
Darnold ended with some decent yardage and a couple of second-half touchdowns, but the Dolphins registered four sacks and had three total takeaways to help put this one away.
Even ageless veteran Frank Gore got into the act. This as, the 35 year old moved into fourth place on NFL all-time rushing list trailing only Hall of Famers Barry Sanders Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith.
And late in the game caught a dump off pass from Tannehill and weaved through the Jet defense to pick up 3rd and 19, move the chains and allow Miami to run the clock out.
So the 2018 Dolphins don’t have Jay Cutler, Jarvis Landry, Ndamukong Suh and some of the others from a team that struggled last year.
However, their new faces stepped in and stepped up Sunday on the road.
And Miami is now 2 – 0 for the first time since 2013, and in sole possession of first place in the AFC East.
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