Lombardi be praised! The NFL Draft is finally here (almost) and all of the nonsense, arguments, and self-declared experts can finally be set aside for actual results. Not that the draft ever ends the debates. We spend three months going over what we will do only to spend another three months arguing about what we should have done. For the few out there that admit they don’t know how the draft will play out, I’m here for you. You’re welcome.
While I obviously know exactly what every team is thinking and will do, won’t do, and what all 32 plan to serve for dinner in the war room (Lutefisk is the top choice for the Vikings for the 43rd year in a row). That being said, there will be multiple trades, some in the top 10, that will drastically change the draft landscape and alter who many teams take. The Patriots, Bengals, and Browns each have two first round picks which could be valuable trade bait. The Falcons and Saints do not have first round picks and may look to move in. The Vikings and Jaguars have been actively shopping their picks for weeks. There is the strong possibility that deals unknown to this point could go through on Thursday night.
On the extreme off chance no deals go though, here’s how it will play out on Thurday night:
1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford – Locked up.
2. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor – See above.
3. Morris Claiborne, DB, LSU – If they cannot get a good deal for the pick, it would be nice to play some pass defense when they play Stafford, Rodgers, and Cutler twice a year.
4. Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State – Value-wise, a playmaking wide receiver trumps a playmaking running back every time.
5. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama – Their offense is one of the most improved this year and the only piece missing is a reliable running back.
6. Matt Kalil, OT, USC – Bradford can’t complete many passes from his back or the sidelines.
7. Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame – rocketing up big boards in recent weeks, Floyd has the size, skillset, and marketability worthy of Shad Khan’s first NFL draft pick.
8. Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M – Miami failed on several attempts to bring in a new QB and their offensive coordinator was Tannehill’s former coach.
9. Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina – Cam can’t score touchdowns AND rush the passer.
10. Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College – That Buffalo defense will be beautifully violent.
11. Michael Brockers, DT, LSU – He is a beast in the middle and a potential pro bowl talent
12. Quinton Coples, DE, UNC – “Beast Mode” of their defense
13. Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa – Sure up that offensive line so Fitz can carry my fantasy team to glory.
14. Mark Barron, S, Alabama – the quarterback of the Tide’s defense can play an invaluable role in stopping Vick, Eli, and RG3 twice a year.
15. Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State – Another guy that is shooting up a lot of value boards. Size, speed, and athleticism can’t be coached.
16. Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama – A solid Rex Ryan type of player that has valuable experience and great field vision
17. Dre Kirkpatrick, DB, Alabama – Man, that 2011 Alabama defense…
18. David DeCastro, G, Stanford – Great prospect. Rivers will certainly appreciate the help.
19. Whitney Mercilus, OLB, Illinois – It would be nice to not have to score 45 points to beat the Packers.
20. Stephon Gilmore, DB, South Carolina – Gilmore could fill the void left by the departed Finnegan.
21. Doug Martin, RB, Boise State – Quick, strong, and valuable despite being hidden by the shadow of Trent Richardson.
22. Cordy Glenn, G/T, Georgia – Protect Colt McCoy so he can play with his new weapon.
23. Jonathan Martin, G, Stanford – Stafford and all of their running backs are injury-prone.
24. Peter Konz, C/G, Wisconsin – Roethlisberger might blow up Heinz Field if they don’t help protect him.
25. Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State – Imagine what Peyton can do with a real NFL defense finally on his side.
26. Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor – It won’t be if they score, but who will score.
27. Nick Perry, DT, USC – If they can make it to the Super Bowl with the 32nd ranked defense, they will be a true force if it can improve.
28. Shea McClellin, OLB, Boise State – Clay Matthews can’t be everywhere at once.
29. Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama – It’s sad to say, but it’s time to find 52′s replacement.
30. Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech – All they need is a playmaker at wide receiver, and Randy Moss ain’t it.
31. Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse – See #27
32. Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford – Big with 4.4 speed and incredible hands. could be a steal at 32.
The Jaguars are reportedly eager to trade back and collect picks. Don’t be surprised if they decide to use the seventh pick to get two first round picks. Jaguars.com mentioned that we could trade back in the first round and pick up a second round pick, and then use the two second rounds picks that we would then have (our original one being the sixth pick in the second round) to trade back up into the first round. We would then have two first round picks instead of a first and second. This could be far from plausible, but ESPN is reporting that teams with picks three through sixteen are all actively shopping the picks to trade back. A team willing to be aggressive and creative could really take advantage of this unique situation. Typically that is the calling card of the Patriots, but it’s a new year, we have new ownership, and it’s time the sun shines on Jacksonville.
You’re welcome, America