Force could not control me now."
Heidi-ho neighbor! Well the draft is finally here. This truly is the greatest thing ever...I think the only problem I have is that it's not a two-day marathon on Saturday and Sunday like it used to be. Sure it meant you had no life if you watched >75% of the whole thing (which I would have done every year had it not been for work, which they say I'll hopefully not have to do at some point in my life...those will be good times). Anyway, it's one of those things that I hold close to me...much like Patriots' Day (I would be remissed if I didn't mention the Marathon, given the wicked Boston guy that I am...we showed our resolve as a community, and has been showed in the past/present/and most definitely the future, we ain't nuthin' to F with).
Trends That Have Happened Since Two Months Ago:
So what I have figured out is that over-analysis is the devil. Really trying to narrow down the truth versus complete vagaries, which are eevvveerrryyywwwhheerrreee, is the sweet science of mock drafts. Basically Step #1 is to just introduce team needs and the prospects that could make a significant impact on the first few rounds (which let's face it, is basically what most of the people will be tuning into see). Then Step #2 is putting one out like the night before or the day of (hopefully I can get this done by Thursday night...actually I have Thursday off so, and I'm putting this in print (or ink if you still for some reason print articles), I promise we'll be good. Okay...rambling...
Trend #1: Dion Jordan Has Gone From A Late First Rounder To Lawrence Taylor: Okay so there was never any question about Jordan's athleticism, but after the combine and just understanding how gigantic this guy and how quick he moves, he could absolutely be electric this coming year and for many more to come.
Trend #2: A Left Tackle Will Go #1 Overall: Most likely this is Luke Joeckel, who has been the consensus top tackle from the jump. There has been some rumblings about Eric Fisher though, which has solidified his stock in the top 5. Update: In an interesting turn of events, it looks like it will be Eric Fisher going #1 tonight.
Trend #3: QBs Will Control The Late First Round/Early Second: Probably the most fascinating dynamic in all of the draft is the complex QB picture that has surfaced this year. Geno Smith will likely be the first QB off the board, but there is really no spot that he has been tied down to. He could go as early as #4 to Philly, and as late as the end of the first round to a team that traded back in (like Jacksonville). What is known is that there will be a lot of signal callers available then, with the possible exception being Ryan Nassib, whom Buffalo has been linked with at #8 because his old Syracuse coach, Doug Marrone, is now the head man with the Bills.
I would keep an eye on E.J. Manuel. He has tested off the charts, and after his hype-fulfilling senior season, he is probably the best QB in this draft. I'm thinking that he doesn't get out of the first round, as one of those "hot" teams (i.e. teams that aren't set at QB...Jags, Raiders, Bills, Browns, Jets) could be looking to get back into the first (dear Oakland, pleeeeaassssseeee trade with the Pats...I want a chance at Jadeveon Clowney next year).
Trend #4: There May Not Be A Running Back Taken In The First Round For The First Time In Awhile: 1963 to be exact, so that's...that's a lot of years right there. While Eddie Lacy is by far the #1 RB prospect, there hasn't been enough juice behind his hype machine to make him a surefire lock to go on Thursday.
Trend #5: Tyler Eifert's Stock Is Going Wayyyyy Up: I really thought I had too much to drink at Flanigan's last night when I saw Todd McShay mock Eifert in the top 10 (to the Jets at #9). For a fairly deep tight end class, and the way defense is dominating the shape of the first round, it's kind of a shock to see Eifert that high up. He has the tools to be a dynamic playmaker, so you can't hate on that. I'm pretty sure Vernon Davis was the last tight end to go in the top 10 (2006), so it's been some time.
Trend #6: Dee Milliner's Stock Is Falling Fast: I stand by my thoughts that Milliner is a top 5 pick despite his medical past. The fact remains that despite him not being of the likes of Patrick Peterson, Milliner is an above average prospect at arguably the toughest position in football. It seems like he'll be ready for training camp (although will likely miss OTAs), but despite that, Milliner will likely slip into the middle of the first and not towards the top like what was originally thought.
Trend #7: Star Lotulelei's Stock Is Falling Even Faster: If you had told me two months ago that Manti Te'o had a chance to get taken over Star, it would have been laughable...now?...not so much. Health issues and the post-combine aftermath have pushed his stock further down than just about anyone's in the draft.
So with those bits out of the way, here's how things might go...
- Kansas City: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan: Choosing between Fisher and Joeckel is basically like Coke and Pepsi. They're both on the same level, and essentially, it comes down to personal preference. While we had thought all along Joeckel was the man (and hey, he still might), the word is that the Chiefs are leaning more towards Fisher.
- Jacksonville: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M: I was always under the impression that Joeckel would go 1, leaving the Jags to choose between Fisher and Dion Jordan. Now with this recent development, it opens up some possibilities. First off, the Jags will have first dibs on the consensus #1 player in this draft. Second, in having said dibs, they also control a major bargaining chip. There are plenty of teams that would love a franchise left tackle, and they will likely be out of luck unless they get into the top 4.
- Oakland: Shariff Floyd, DT, Florida: Raiders should be looking to get out of this pick, as there will be a number of teams looking to leap-frog Philly to get Lane Johnson.
- Philadelphia: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma: If he's still there...
- Detroit: Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah, OLB, BYU
- Cleveland: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia: Nothing like drafting QBs in the first round in back to back years.
- Arizona: Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon: If ever there was a steal at #7.
- Buffalo: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia: Austin or Ryan Nassib...and if Buffalo has their way and can get back into the end of the first round, maybe both.
- New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
- Tennessee: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama: This is assuming that they are absolutely sure he can go from Day 1 of camp.
- San Diego: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama: I just got done watching McShay go through his draft scenarios, and I have to agree that the Chargers will want to move up to #2 or #3 to take one of the stud tackles if the price is right (and even if it is right, it will be pricey). If they don't, they have their choice of the best interior linemen in the draft class, with Warmack being regarded as one of the great guard prospects of all-time.
- Miami: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame: The offensive overhaul continues in the Gardens.
- New York Jets: Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina: The Jets make two logical picks...BOOOOOOOO!!!
- Carolina: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
- New Orleans: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
- St. Louis: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson: He went to Clemson...strike one...but he's a beast...it's the C.J. Spiller effect (you're nasty but you had to go there?).
- Pittsburgh: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia: The Steelers get a value pick in the first round...it's like clockwork at this point.
- Dallas: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
- New York Giants: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
- Chicago: Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame: It seems like everyone on Jah's green Earth has Te'o here, which means that there's zero chance this actually plays out.
- Cincinnati: Matt Elam, S, Florida
- St. Louis: Alec Ogeltree, ILB, Georgia: Off the field issues are the only issue here.
- Minnesota: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee: At one point, Patterson was the hands-down #1 receiver.
- Indianapolis: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
- Minnesota: Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina: Do yourself a favor and just plug in a QB here and probably the next four or five picks.
- Green Bay: Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
- Houston: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
- Denver: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State: Huuugggggeeeee value.
- The Fahkin Pats: Keenan Allen, WR, California: The thing about being nasty every year is that more often than not, you're waiting until forever for the Pats to make a pick, and again, more often than not, they trade out. I don't think this year will be any exception. I mean it's almost like the stars are aligning. Here we are with only five picks in the whole draft, with two coming in the seventh round, and a bunch of teams jockeying to move into the first round to get a QB...couldn't get any better. The key is for Bill and his staff to correctly prognosticate who's going to suck the most in 2013. If I had to guess of all the teams looking to climb back, I would say Buffalo. Rookie head coach, probably a rookie QB starting (or Kevin Kolb, which would be even better...for us, not them)...I could see 4-12 or 5-11 coming from that.
- Atlanta: D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston: Quite the story. Life-threatening injury to the first round in New York. Good stuff.
- San Francisco: Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
- Baltimore: Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International