DA Draft Buzz April 17: What's Behind McCaffrey's Decision?

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Tony Pauline

Draft Analyst Writer

We have more on Christian McCaffrey’s decision not to participate in private workouts, plus one small-school offensive lineman who's having praise heaped on him by NFL teams.

There are always lots of rumors floating around this time of year; most are baseless but some you must take notice of depending on the source.

Yesterday Mike Florio reported that Stanford running back/receiver/return specialist Christian McCaffrey has declined all requests for private workouts by NFL teams. 

Whether this is the proper choice or not is a debate for someone else.

The story circulating from insiders is that McCaffrey has received a draft guarantee from a team presently selecting in the teens -- the team has guaranteed McCaffrey they will select him if he’s still available when they are called to the podium.

If this is true it's interesting from a number of angles.

Would a team actually guarantee McCaffrey that they would select him in the draft and follow through on it? Is this permissible under league rules? And is McCaffrey’s team making its decision based on the rumored promise?

A little history lesson.

In 1989 receiver Andre Rison of Michigan State was projected as a top-10 selection. He ended up dropping to the 22nd pick, where he was scooped up by the Atlanta Falcons. 

Soon after Rison dropped almost half a round further than expected, stories broke that he had refused to work out for teams in the middle section of the round -- he believed he would not make it out of the top 10.

Mike Hickey, then-general manager of the New York Jets, said as much when peppered with questions why the team passed on Rison and chose Jeff Lageman. Hickey said the Jets had interest in Rison but the receiver refused to work out for the team, as he expected to be long gone before they were called to the clock with the 14th selection.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

I continue to hear positive things on offensive lineman Julie’n Davenport of Bucknell.

Last Friday three staff members from the Atlanta Falcons worked the big offensive lineman out at Paulsboro High School, where Davenport hails from. Falcons offensive line coach Chris Morgan was one of the staff members in attendance. 

The workout included an hour of board work then an hour of on-field work, and from everything I’ve been told it went well. It’s interesting to note that the Falcons worked Davenport mainly though offensive tackle drills, though he also did some work as an offensive guard, the Falcons' big area of need.

Alabama offensive lineman Cam Robinson is the name most associated with the Falcons in Round 1. Robinson played left tackle for the Tide but also has possibilities at guard. Davenport could be one of the options the franchise looks at during the draft’s second day if they go in a different direction in Round 1.

It must be noted that last Friday, Draft Analyst reported that Justin Evans, the safety from Texas A&M, is a name that has recently surfaced as a first-round target for Atlanta.