Vaughn McClure ESPN Staff Writer
Didn't cover the NFL Combine but was in Indy for a few days bumping into folks. Here are some items I came across:
1. The Falcons have a strong interest in Oklahoma offensive lineman Cody Ford (6-4, 329) and had a formal meeting with him. They love his toughness. Ford started at right tackle in 14 games last season and started at left guard for seven games in 2016 and 2017.
2. The preference would be for defensive tackle Grady Jarrett to hit the open market and land a lucrative deal, but that's unlikely to happen with the Falcons bound to use the franchise tag ($15.2 million) by Tuesday's 4 p.m. deadline. The two sides are a ``long ways away'' from a long-term deal. And there was word at the combine among executives that Jarrett is looking for Aaron Donald money ($22.5 million per year). That Donald reference, however, didn't come from Jarrett's camp.
3. As the Falcons look to add bodies along the offensive line, keep an eye on Kevin Pamphile (6-5, 315). The offensive tackle started 31 games in Dirk Koetter's system in Tampa, and there are whispers about the Falcons being interested in reuniting him with Koetter in Atlanta. Pamphile is set to become a free agent after spending last season in Tennessee with former Falcons QB coach Matt LaFleur. Pamphile had just two starts with Titans and went on IR due to an undisclosed injury. Ryan Schraeder's status remains in limbo, and coaches and executives around the league view Ty Sambrailo as a backup, at best.
4. This might be a longshot but an intriguing option to replace Tevin Coleman, who is expected to leave in free agency, might be Duke Johnson from the Browns. Johnson could be the odd guy out with Kareem Hunt joining Georgia's Nick Chubb in Cleveland. But Johnson's status no doubt depends on what type of suspension Hunt receives from the league. Johnson has three years and $11.6 million left on his contract so it would have to be a trade scenario. Johnson and Devonta Freeman both are former Liberty City Warriors out of Miami under Luther 'Uncle Luke'' Campbell.
5. One of the reasons the Falcons were happy to receive two compensatory picks in the fourth and fifth rounds is because it gives them a chance to address two position of needs via the draft: return specialist and blocking tight end. The staff dissected both spots extensively earlier in the week during the combine.
6. Don't be surprised if two Falcons end up retiring.