The Last Leg

21 04 2012

Well everyone, we are finally on the home-stretch of the marathon that is the NFL off season. Since early February, draftniks and regular NFL fans have scoured message boards and newspaper articles to get the latest information about their team and specific players. This is makes the draft so interesting: the uncertainty. I have watched countless players from high profile programs like Alabama, to small school prospects from Presbyterian.

The draft official commences this Thursday, April 26 at 8:00 eastern. ESPN and NFL Network will broadcast live from Radio City Music Hall in New York the entire weekend, but Thursday is just round one of the draft. The draft resumes Friday at 7:00 and includes rounds two and three. Finally, rounds four through seven begin Saturday at noon.

I believe this draft will be so different than any other draft because, unlike last year when there was a lockout and free agency took place after the draft, free agency preceded the draft like normal. However, this is the first year where the salary slotting is in place. Essentially, teams don’t have to pay a massive sum of money in the top ten, therefore teams can be more risky without being burdened by selecting a player who didn’t pan out. Basically, there is less risk because of the amount of money you have to guarantee players, therefore it gives teams more leeway to trade and maneuver the draft, which makes the draft more unpredictable and exciting to watch.

Some teams to look for who might move:

Jacksonville Jaguars:

A report from ProFootballTalk stated that the Jaguars aren’t as excited about selecting Melvin Ingram and could try to trade back and select Michael Floyd or Kendall Wright. The Jaguars sit right outside the top-tier of talent and unless a player like Justin Blackmon or Morris Claiborne fall to the Jaguars, I could see them practically begging to move back and select Floyd or another defensive lineman.

New England Patriots:

This one is a softball for most people who know the draft. The Patriots are always trading back and accumulating picks for future years. If a quarterback is sitting at the bottom of the first round and a team with a high pick in the second round believes someone could select them before they select, a team will probably move up and trade to the 31st pick (Patriots own the 27th and 31st selections) to grab a quarterback or another player they covet.

Baltimore Ravens:

As a Ravens fan, (O, you didn’t know? Surprise!) I have a good knowledge about what the Ravens are trying to do in this draft. Unless a high level player like Floyd, Courtney Upshaw, Stephen Hill or Dont’a Hightower falls to the Ravens, I believe they will try to trade back and gain more picks. The Ravens lost a number of starters, but also a good amount of depth, in free agency and General Manager Ozzie Newsome is known for constantly navigating the draft to gain more picks. Call it a gut instinct, but I feel the Ravens will move back to the early second round and gain additional picks.

I’ll have a video of my top ten later in the week, so check back for updates and enjoy the final calm days before the storm.

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