Happy Wide-spread Disinformation Day, everyone! After months of waiting and rampant, feverish speculation, the NFL Draft is (depending on when you read this) merely hours away. After reviewing countless mock drafts and listening to all the experts and reviewing game tape, I've come to the conclusion that...Andrew Luck will be picked #1, and Robert Griffen III will be picked #2. Thank you General Managers, Head coaches, scouts, anonymous team sources and NFL draftniks; enough gossip, double-speak, innuendo and outright lies have flooded the airways and internet tubes -- if you still go to newspapers for your draft coverage, I feel sorry for you -- that I have cause to question every pick from #3 down to #253.
But you know what? If you can put all the draft chatter into its proper context, filter out all the obvious BS and break all these draft possibilities down to their most logical conclusions, there are a couple of certainties you can count on in this draft. Only a couple, because the Jaguars and Bills are still allowed to participate. Ugh.
Certainty #1: The Vikings will draft Matt Kalil. Minnesota would really love to trade down for a package not unlike what the Rams got from the Redskins a few months ago for the #2 pick. So would everyone else. At this point the only team that would even remotely desire to move up this high are the Jets, to get Trent Richardson, but I just don't see them Ricky Williams-ing or Julio Jones-ing their way to this pick. Not when Mark Sanchez is your QB, and you could be facing a coaching overhaul after the season. I like Trent a lot, but he's not worth THAT much. At the end of the day, the Vikes desperately need a new Left Tackle, and Kalil is leaps and bounds better than any other Left Tackle in this draft.
Certainty #2: The Browns will draft Trent Richardson. The last time Mike Holmgren drafted a running back from Alabama, it worked out pretty well, didn't it? At this point it's safe to consider all the Tannehill rumors for this pick to be D.O.A. The Browns should realize that Colt McCoy won't last as a starting QB, but do you take a less-than-stellar prospect like Ryan Tannehill now, or do you wait until next season and see if you can strike it rich? There are solid arguments for both sides, but in this case I just don't see the Browns taking Tannehill over Richardson. Better to go with the offensive stud you can count on.
Certainty #3: The Bucs will draft Morris Claiborne. On paper, Tampa seems to have a really good team, especially after signing Vincent Jackson and a few other notables, and it wasn't like they weren't completely bereft of talent before free agency began, anyway. They had a lot of injuries last season, and maybe enough guys will be back to get this team back into playoff contention. In any case, I don't see the Bucs trading down for more picks, and if they stay at #5 they'll take Claiborne, because he's the best player available and fits a need.
Certainty #4: The Dolphins will draft Ryan Tannehill. The #1 need for this team right now is Respect. Unfortunately for them, Aretha Franklin isn't draft-eligible this year. After whiffing on Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn, drafting a QB seems like the best way to save face, not to mention that the other QBs on the team are Matt Moore and David Garrard. Would it be smarter to draft Michael Floyd, to replace the departed Brandon Marshall, or trade back and get a nearly-as-good QB in the 2nd round? Eh.....maybe. Not enough a good QB a lot of people like (including your new Offensive Coordinator, former Tannehill coach Mike Sherman), and a pick that'll probably save Jeff Ireland's job for another season, at least.
Certainty #5: The Seahawks will use a 1st round pick on a pass rusher. I'm a Seahawks fan, and for the past 2 seasons I've watched Chris Clemons sprint and spin past left tackles for 22 sacks. I'm super proud of him, and for Pete Carroll and John Schneider for getting him for practically nothing. He's played much better than expected....but Clemons by himself does not a pass rush make. The Seahawks have signed Jason Jones this year, who'll mostly play 3-tech DT and provide some pass rush there (and maybe move over to 5-tech occasionally), but I'm not convinced that he solidifies our pass rush, either (or else we might not have only signed him to a 1-year deal). The need for another pass rusher opposite Clemons -- perhaps one versatile enough to also take snaps on the d-line -- is apparent, especially when defenses like the Giants' and Niners' are dominating with their multiple-pass rushers. And if they do believe a 2nd pass rush can come from the 3-tech, then maybe we'll see Fletcfher Cox or Quinten Colpes wearing our new Nike-riddled unis.
Certainty #6: Chris Berman will still tip picks. He might not be so blatant about it, but he'll still do it. Because Berman is the worst.
Certainty #7: The Patriots will trade at least one of their two 1st round picks. What's the point of looking smarter than everyone else if you have to actually go out and use all those draft picks that you've hoarded over the past few seasons, and turn them into actual players? Players who might not be Tom Brady? Perish the thought.
Certainty #8: We'll all have a good time watching the draft! Because if it wasn't for the Jags and Bills and other teams that have the absolute GALL to pick players that we didn't choose for them months ago....then what would be the fun in watching it all unfold? First and foremost, I want the Seahawks to do well, and it wouldn't hurt to be the toast of the sportswriting universe due to our superior drafting acumen....but watching the events unfold and getting that twinge of curious nervousness before every pick is made is a joy in of itself. Sure, it might all get a little tedious by the 3rd or 4th round, but it'll all be worth it when, after the next few days, there will be 6 (or more) new Seahawks to add to the family. And when those players are holding the Lombardi Trophy one day, you can say that you were there with them from the very beginning.