NFL Draft News & Notes: April 11

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Tony Pauline

Draft Analyst Writer

With a little more than two weeks before the NFL Draft kicks off, you can expect a surge of news and rumors to hit the airwaves. Here’s the latest on what we’ve been told.

The top 10 players on many boards around the league right now are the four quarterbacks, Saquon Barkley, Bradley Chubb, Quenton Nelson, Tremaine Edmunds, Denzel Ward and Roquan Smith.

Minkah Fitzpatrick and Derwin James do not crack the top 10 on many boards, and most in the league believe they will be selected somewhere between picks 11 and 20.

Boards at the tight end position are all over the place, and we’ll explore that tomorrow, while the receivers could be in for a surprise on draft day as many will slide further than expected.

The belief is that the Chicago Bears will be in prime position to trade down from the eighth spot regardless of whether the top four quarterbacks are off the board. The Bears would like to recoup some of the selections they gave away one year ago after moving up to select quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

The offer will have to be significant if either Nelson or Ward is available when the Bears are called to the clock, as the team is very high on both players.

Depending how far the Bears trade down, assuming they do, expect Isaiah Oliver to be one player they consider selecting. I’m told the team is picking the brain of University of Oregon defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt, who held the same position at Colorado, about Oliver’s next-level potential. 

Leavitt is a close friend of Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and has been relied on in the past for information on players he coached at Colorado such as Chidobe Awuzie and Ahkello Witherspoon. Word is that he’s giving the Bears rave reviews on Oliver.

Several people I’ve spoken with speculated that the New York Giants and Buffalo Bills likely have a blueprint in place for a trade that would allow the Bills to move up to the second spot in the draft. They also believe that the trade won’t happen until very late in the process, if it happens at all, as the Giants want to field further offers.

Several people have confided in me that additional and new red flags have popped up on former Florida receiver Antonio Callaway since the combine.

The talented receiver and return specialist turned in a terrific combine last month after sitting on the sidelines in 2017. Callaway, along with six other players, was suspended by the Gators last August for a violation of team rules. Josh Norris of Rotoworld reported earlier this week that the New York Jets brought Callaway in for an official visit.