NFL

NFL AM: Eagles Can’t Move Up, Titans Keep Mariota

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Eagles, Titans stand pat in Round 1

Plenty of rumors swirled around the future of Marcus Mariota in the months leading up to the draft. (Or as Roger Goodell calls him, Marcus Mariato). As it turns out, there was no fire to go along with the smoke.

For all the talk of Philadelphia making a bold deal to move up and draft Mariota – and to a lesser extent Chicago and San Diego – at the end of the night the Oregon quarterback was a Tennessee Titan.

The Eagles reportedly offered everything but the kitchen sink for Mariota, with well-connected reporters like NFL Network’s Ian Rappaport and Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer indicating Philly was dangling its 2015 and 2016 first-round picks, a third-round pick and a handful of current players.

That still was not enough to entice the Titans to budge despite their many holes. And thus the Eagles, who were the most active team this offseason, ended up staying with the 20th overall pick, where they selected USC wideout Nelson Agholor.

Only one active player ended up getting traded Thursday night – center Manny Ramirez, who was shipped from Denver to Detroit as the Broncos moved up six spots to take defensive end Shane Ray.

Lions are big winners on Day 1

Laken Tomlinson may not end up being the biggest star produced in this year’s first round, but he certainly was the star of the first round.

The hometown product – he graduated from Chicago’s Lane Tech High School before attending Duke – wowed the crowd in post-pick interviews by relating his dream of attending med school when his career is over and improving the quality of healthcare in his native Jamaica.

Combined with the acquisition of Ramirez, he represents a coup for Lions GM Martin Mayhew. Detroit’s interior offensive line was a mess in 2014, and now the Lions have a pair of players to bolster that position to go alongside a talented right guard in Larry Warford. Mayhew also got fifth-round picks from the Broncos this year and next.

Detroit ranked 28th in the run last year – running back strikes as a need in the next couple rounds – and allowed Matthew Stafford to be sacked 45 times, but still made the playoffs.

After so many years of failing to get it right when they had a pick in the Top 10, Lions fans have to be elated to see their team making competent draft picks even when they moved backwards.

Gregory, Collins in free-fall

Two of the biggest prospects heading into the draft saw new questions about their character derail their stock all the way out of the first round.

Nebraska edge pass rusher Randy Gregory slipped all the way out of the first round – he’s been busted with marijuana, but so too has the actually-drafted Shane Ray. Gregory was seen as a surefire Top 10 pick before failing a drug test at the Combine, but has reportedly been taken off several teams’ draft boards due to questions about his “ability to handle the mental rigors of pro football.”

LSU offensive tackle La’el Collins finds himself in a similarly murky place.

After going to Chicago for the first round, Collins had to return to Baton Rouge to answer questions from the police regarding the murder of his ex-girlfriend, who may also be the mother of his child. Police have said Collins isn’t a suspect – they seem to think he might know of any mutual acquaintances who might fit that bill – but at this point it seems no one wants to touch him with a 10-foot pole. The ghost of Rae Carruth looms large over the NFL.

Collins’ agent filed to have him removed from the draft and placed into the supplemental draft, but the league rejected that request. Now it’s looking possible that his only way onto a roster will be as an undrafted free agent, not unlike the fate suffered by Vontaze Burfict a few years back.


About Alex Hickey

Alex Hickey

Alex Hickey can vividly recall most significant NFL events going back to Walter Payton's final game in 1987, including the ones that didn't make him cry. Since 2008, his full-time job has been covering college football, specifically McNeese State, for the Lake Charles (La.) American Press. Free time is spent informing, amusing or annoying you for Football Insiders.