NFL Draft News & Notes: April 18

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Tony Pauline

Draft Analyst Writer

We have the latest word on what the Green Bay Packers and Miami Dolphins may do and what the Dallas Cowboys won’t do.

People familiar with the situation believe the Green Bay Packers are likely to select either Minkah Fitzpatrick or Josh Jackson with their first-round selection. And while the team needs a pass rusher, they are desperate for help in the secondary.

The point was made that Fitzpatrick and Jackson both fit the cornerback/safety hybrid mold which the team prefers. I’m told Denzel Ward of Ohio State is the player the Packers truly covet, but short of trading up, the team won’t have a shot at drafting him.

If the Miami Dolphins don’t move up for a quarterback, sources tell me the player they really want is Roquan Smith. But will Smith be available when the team is called to the clock? In our recent mock draft, we have the Oakland Raiders selecting Smith with the pick immediately preceding the Dolphins’ selection.

If that happens, I’m told linebacker Leighton Vander Esch will be a consideration for the Dolphins if they can’t get a quarterback and both Smith and Tremaine Edmunds are off the board. 

Director of college scouting Adam Engroff, a resident of Boise, Idaho, has been raving about Vander Esch since last summer and rates the junior on a par with Edmunds. Vander Esch would definitely help the run defense and has the athleticism the team needs to cover running backs and tight ends.

Despite needing a wide receiver, I’m told the Dallas Cowboys do not consider Courtland Sutton of SMU a first-round talent. They would consider him in Round 2 if they don’t address the position in Round 1 and Sutton falls that far.

Two weeks ago, we reported that league insiders believe the New York Jets will select quarterback Baker Mayfield with the third selection. And while Josh Rosen is still in consideration for the pick, those representing the top quarterbacks in this draft tell me they also believe Mayfield ends up with the Jets.  One source, who has dealt with quarterbacks at the top of the draft the past five years, believes Mayfield to the Jets is a “done deal.”