Combine Notes - Thursday

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Tony Pauline

Draft Analyst Writer

With combine workouts set to begin Friday, the word filling the halls in the Indiana Convention Center is all about free agency as teams meet and talk about potential players they have an interest in. Here’s the latest.

The word in Indianapolis is that the Miami Dolphins are the front runners for top-rated pass rusher Trey Flowers at this point. The former fourth-round pick is generally considered the top available player in this year’s free-agent market.

Strong speculation is that the Oakland Raiders will be in the mix for Antonio Brown when talks on trading the receiver are narrowed down. The Raiders need a receiver -- we had the team selecting D.K. Metcalf in our most recent mock draft -- and they have a boatload of picks in April’s draft to use as ammunition.

During a November podcast, I mentioned that the tight ends will be overdrafted this April due to the need around the league. It looks like free-agent tight ends will also be cashing in, as formers Ravens fifth-round pick Nick Boyle, who has turned into one of the best blocking tight ends in the league, has almost 20 teams interested in his services.

With Morris Claiborne and Buster Skrine set for free agency, the New York Jets may need a starting cornerback and a nickel corner. On the free-agent front, one player high on their list of potential signees is Bryce Callahan of the Chicago Bears.

The Jets continued to show interest in several free-agent pass rushers through yesterday’s meetings. The belief is that the franchise will explore options with all the first and second-tier pass rushers on the market. This makes complete sense, as they have money to burn and a big need.

If they do sign a top-rated pass rusher, look for the Jets to attempt to move down from the third pick of the draft to collect extra selections and fill holes. The Jets are without a second-round choice this year due to the trade with the Colts one year ago that landed them quarterback Sam Darnold.

It’s a great strategy if they can pull it off.

Offensive line and cornerback would be two positions of interest, depending how far they are able to trade down. The comment passed to me several times yesterday was that Greedy Williams would be the perfect cornerback for Gregg Williams’ defense.

As I tweeted yesterday, I’ve known the New York Giants to have an interest in free agent Nick Foles for weeks now. There was a lot of hope in many camps that the Eagles would not place the franchise tag on the signal caller, which Philadelphia announced they would not do yesterday.

Last night, a source close to the organization said head coach Pat Shurmur loves Foles, and it makes sense. Shurmur is a terrific quarterbacks coach who did wonders for Case Keenum in 2017 with the Minnesota Vikings.