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RoanokeFan
04-26-2012, 04:54 PM
A LAST-MINUTE LOOK AT STORYLINES TO WATCH IN DRAFT'S FIRST ROUND (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/peter_king/04/26/nfl.draft/index.html?xid=cnnbin)

"The two-month NFL Draft season, which seems to get longer and more ridiculous
every year, mercifully peaks tonight in midtown Manhattan, when commissioner
Roger Goodell will step to the podium at Radio City Music Hall shortly after 8
Eastern to announce Andrew Luck as the first pick in the 77th league draft.<div style="BORDER-BOTTOM: medium none; TEXT-ALIGN: left; BORDER-LEFT: medium none; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff; COLOR: #000000; OVERFLOW: hidden; BORDER-TOP: medium none; BORDER-RIGHT: medium none; TEXT-DECORATION: none">


"I'm really ready for this to happen," Ryan Tannehill said over breakfast in
Manhattan this morning. "I'm ready for the media hoopla to be over, all the
debate, all the arguing you see on TV. We're football players. This whole
experience has been fun, but I can't wait to get this over and play the
game."</p>


There will be drama; we just don't know what it is yet. But it figures to
center around these draft positions, teams or players:</p>


The Vikings, at 3. Minnesota has more holes to fill than a potholed
St. Paul street after a brutal winter. GM Rick Spielman has been trying to drum
up interest in the pick so he can get multiple choices in the first two rounds,
but most teams below him have the same feeling he does: This draft is 75 picks
deep with potential year-one rookie starters, and I'm hearing no strong evidence
that any team is inclined to climb this high to blow it all on one player. </p>


The one exception here, at No. 4 with Cleveland, could be Alabama running
back Trent Richardson. But I look for Minnesota to stay put, ignore the
bleatings of people like me who say the Vikes should take a corner here, and
draft USC tackle Matt Kalil. Then the Vikes could pick a big corner like
Montana's Trumaine Johnson with the 35th overall pick, to match up with the
Calvin Johnsons and Jordy Nelsons of the NFC North.</p>


Trent Richardson. He might be the best back to come out since Adrian
Peterson, which is why you hear teams like the Jets frothing all over him.
Barring a great offer, look for Cleveland to stay put and take Richardson or
Oklahoma State wideout Justin Blackmon. I love Mike Mayock's Wednesday-night
scenario for the pick-heavy Browns (league-high 13 choices in all): Blackmon at
No. 4, Boise State running back Doug Martin at 22. As tempting as it would be
for the Browns to trade out of the pick and gather more nuggets, they'll either
go Richardson or Blackmon here ... which could leave the Bucs with a
Richardson-or-Morris Claiborne dilemma at No. 5.</p>


The Rams, at 6. All drafts have shelves, and many NFL people think
this is the end of the top shelf. It's six players deep. St. Louis would be
happy if a team would come up and deal for the last of the six top guys
(Blackmon or Claiborne, most likely), if it would net them one more one pick in
the second round. The Rams have the 33rd and 39th overall picks right now. If
they stay, look for them to go Blackmon. If he's gone, it'll be a tussle between
Fletcher Cox and Claiborne.</p>


The desperate-to-deal Jags, at 7. "We'll definitely have more trades
this year than last year because of the fixed costs of rookies now,'' one GM
said this week. Well, that wouldn't be hard. Last year, there were four
first-round trades made, the ninth consecutive year the league saw fewer than 10
trades in the first round. In the 10 years between 1993 and 2002, the NFL
averaged 11.7 trades per first round. </p>


There's no question teams will be more comfortable moving around because of
price certainty, and because trading up doesn't mean you're necessarily taking
on millions more in a risky, unproved player. Normally, I'd say this would help
Jacksonville -- and it could, if a desperate team like Dallas decides Alabama
safety Mark Barron is worth its second-round pick (45th overall) to move up
eight spots in the first round to acquire him.</p>


Ryan Tannehill. It's likely Tannehill goes to Miami at No. 8,
obviously. If he doesn't, I don't see how he gets past the 11th pick. Not that
Kansas City will take Tannehill; I don't believe the Chiefs will. But GM Scott
Pioli will have interest in dealing down from 11 (he moved from 21 to 26 last
year for a third-round pick), and if Tannehill or Barron is here, I guarantee
he'll get a taker for the pick.</p>


Players who could move. The player trade market wasn't helped by the
Eagles taking a seventh-round pick for a quality cover corner, Asante Samuel, on
Wednesday. (It was a money deal. Philadelphia owed Samuel $21.3 million over the
next two years, and figuring he'd be cut if he didn't get sane about his
contract, the 31-year-old Samuel accepted a three-year, $18.5 million deal with
Atlanta.) That's not good for the Colts, who'd love to get a good pick for
32-year-old Dwight Freeney. So consider the player trade market officially
depressed.</p>


The Colts and the 3-4. Consider GM Ryan Grigson's first draft a
success, obviously, because of drafting Andrew Luck. But for weeks the Colts
have mentally moved on to other priorities. Their roster is terribly suited to
play coach Chuck Pagano's 3-4 defense. In an ideal world, they'd be able to
trade back from No. 34 (their second-round pick) to get two picks in the top 80,
because they need quantity to play the 3-4. They need a nose tackle, a versatile
inside linebacker who can stop the run, and a big defensive end. That's not too
much to ask, is it?</p>


Janoris Jenkins. I spoke with one team Wednesday interested in taking
Jenkins, the troubled cornerback, in the top half of the second round. "But I
don't think he gets out of the first round,'' the club official said. Could
Jenkins slip into the bottom of the first round? I don't see it, but so many
teams in the lower third of the first round -- Pittsburgh, Detroit, Denver,
Houston -- have a cornerback need. </p>


He's going to have major financial problems, having to care for four children
by three different mothers already, and the team that drafts him has to make
sure he can put his past marijuana problems in the rear-view mirror. I can't see
anyone taking him in the first, but I'm told a few teams have gotten comfortable
with Jenkins in the last couple of weeks. Look for New England, Carolina, St.
Louis, Buffalo and Dallas to be tempted.</p>


Those are a few of the storylines that will develop tonight. More are sure to
come, which is why ESPN and NFL Network will have game-like ratings for the
draft.</p>


Teams will have 10 minutes per pick in round one. On Friday (7 p.m. ET),
teams get seven minutes per pick in round two and five minutes per choice in
round three. The final four rounds kick off Saturday at noon, with five minutes
per pick again."</p></div>