Rich Gannon, Rob Gronkowski, A.J. McCarron
If it were up to Rich Gannon, the Minnesota Vikings wouldn't use the eighth overall pick of the NFL Draft on a quarterback, the position multiple analysts see them addressing at that spot.
Gannon's perspective is worth noting because he's a former NFL quarterback and is known for his thorough insights about the position, which he regularly demonstrates in his work as a broadcaster for CBS Sports and SiriusXM NFL Radio. And one of the four NFL teams for which he played was the Vikings.
Gannon doesn't see a valid pick at that point from among the quarterbacks conventionally viewed as the best of the college crop (Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, Derek Carr, and Teddy Bridgewater) or any others, for that matter.
How adamant is Gannon's stance that the Vikings should avoid selecting a quarterback No. 8?
"Based off my knowledge of these players that are coming out and the Vikings' situation, I think they'd be foolish to take a quarterback at No. 8," Gannon told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "That's just my personal opinion. They'd be foolish. I don't really have a first-round grade on any of (the quarterbacks)."
A.J. MCCARRON LIKING HIS DRAFT STOCK
There is a widely perceived dividing line between the so-called elite quarterbacks in the draft and the "other guys."
Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, Derek Carr, and Teddy Bridgewater fall into the "elite" category, and, according to multiple prognosticators, have at least a reasonable chance of being selected in the first round.
The "other guys" are Jimmy Garappolo, Aaron Murray, and – or so it has seemed – A.J. McCarron, who a while back seemed to have "elite" written all over him.
But if you ask the former Alabama star, and ESPN did, he will tell you that he still resides in the "elite" neighborhood.
McCarron said that he has pretty much visited all NFL teams, and said he was told by them that he could be chosen "anywhere from 16-35," which would mean that most clubs give him a first-round grade.
"I believe that, too," McCarron said. "At the same time, I don't have my hopes set on anything. Whatever happens, happens. It's a blessing for me to even be in this situation."
He is the first to acknowledge that the draft generally amounts to one giant guessing game, and that might be even more pronounced this year, with so many varied opinions on top-end projections.
"It's not like the GMs are calling these guys and telling them, 'Hey, we're going to draft this guy at this number so go ahead and put that out there,'" McCarron said. "One thing I've learned about this whole process, it's nothing but a big secret. A lot of times teams will bring in a guy just to bluff another team and make it seem like toward the media that they like this guy and really they have no interest at all in drafting him."
ROB GRONKOWSKI NOT READY TO DECLARE HE'LL PLAY IN OPENER
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who suffered a torn ACL on a hit by former Cleveland Browns safety T.J. Ward on Dec. 8, said he wasn't ready to deem himself healthy enough to play in the regular-season opener.
"Oh man," Gronkowski told Boston radio station WAAF. "That's too far away, man. I'm just improving every day right now."
FOR DENVER BRONCOS, MOTIVATION COMES FROM 'THIRTY-FIVE'
When things start to get a little tedious during the Denver Broncos' offseason workouts, if the session starts losing its pop, the players know what to do.
They just say, "Thirty-five."
That was the margin of the Broncos' embarrassing, 43-8 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl.
"Whenever someone gets tired, you just say 'thirty-five,' and they just start picking it up again," defensive end Malik Jackson told denverbroncos.com. "We know we have to come back strong this year. We had a disappointing loss. But that's last season.
"We're ready to move on."
Unless, that is, something needs to be done to pick up the pace in practice.
BERNARD POLLARD OFFERS HARSH CRITICISM ABOUT '13 TITANS
Tennessee Titans safety Bernard Pollard didn't pull any punches when talking about the 2013 version of team with which he re-signed after it hired Ken Whisenhunt as its new coach.
"We have been a team where we have sucked butt," Pollard said told TitanInsider. "And I'm just being perfectly honest with you. We have sucked butt, and it's time for us to turn that corner.
"Like I said last year and this year, we're going to knock the (heck) out of you. It's going to be fair. It's going to be within the lines. I may get one outside the lines or whatever, but that's just who I am and that's just who we are. It's going to be a lot of fun doing it.
"It's time for guys to get on board. We can't waste another year. I don't have that time. Other guys in here, we don't have that time. The Super Bowl is where we want to be. Competing and winning 10-plus games is what we want to do. So we need to get it done."
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