Pre-draft rumors and rumblings

What we’re hearing less than a week before the NFL Draft cranks up:

• The one thing that keeps coming up every time I ask anyone inside the NFL about Texas QB Colt McCoy is how small he is up close.

• Speaking of the Texas Longhorns, I spoke to a scout this week who said his team has McCoy’s buddy, WR Jordan Shipley, graded as a priority free agent.

• Everyone I’ve talked to in the league loves Clemson RB C.J. Spiller as a return man, but a lot of people have questions about his ability to run between the tackles. Most think his tendency to bounce the ball outside is something he won’t be able to get away with at the next level. That’s why I have California’s Jahvid Best ranked ahead of him.

• Notre Dame wideout Golden Tate also isn’t getting the kind of love from many NFL teams that he’s getting from most mainstream media sources. One scout I spoke to this week said he had Tate graded out as a mid-round prospect.

• One guy to keep an eye on as a possible first-round pick that no one is talking about is Virginia cornerback Chris Cook. Cook possesses an elite combination of size and speed for the position and is said to be getting a lot of interest from teams in the back end of round one.

• Most people in the league I’ve talked to feel Idaho offensive lineman Mike Iupati is one of the most talented guard prospects in years, but they view him only as a guard and not a potential tackle.

• There isn’t much separating the draftable middle linebackers in this year’s class. I’ve heard from a number of sources that their teams have Iowa’s Pat Angerer, South Florida’s Kion Wilson, Washington’s Donald Butler, Mississippi State’s Jamar Chaney, Penn State’s Josh Hull, Miami’s Darryl Sharpton and Florida’s Ryan Stamper all graded out as late-round picks.

• Two pass rushers who have done nothing but hurt their causes this postseason are LSU’s Rahim Alem and Connecticut’s Lindsey Witten. My sources say both have potential free-agent grades.

• Finally, every source I’ve spoken to has said his team is willing to take a long, hard look at Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant – even if it means taking him over one of their outlined needs -- if he falls into the teens on draft day.

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