We are just two days away from the NFL Draft. It’s a time of hope for fans (even Raiders fans), that their team will draft that one player who will change the course of the franchise for years to come. Hopefully, it’s an Aaron Rodgers type of change, and not a JaMarcus Russell type of change.
Here are a few storylines to follow for this year’s draft.
One of the features of the new collective bargaining agreement is the implementation of a rookie wage scale. In past years, teams were hesitant to trade up not only because it meant giving up draft picks, but also because signing those players was additionally expensive. Now with the wage scale in place, it is less costly to trade up to get a player. This could mean many more trades, especially in the early part of the draft.
It is almost carved in stone that Andrew Luck will be selected first overall, and Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III will be selected right after Luck. Beyond those two, figuring out where the rest of the quarterbacks will go is anyone’s guess.
Besides Luck and Griffin, the two most compelling passers are Boise State’s Kellen Moore and Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson. Both quarterbacks were extremely successful in college, but concerns with their height (Wilson at 5-foot-11, Moore at 6-foot) have dropped their draft stock. Some teams will pass on both players, but some could take a chance hoping either could be successful despite their size.
Where will Trent Richardson go?
Richardson is the best running back since Adrian Peterson in 2007. He has amazing strength, and can play all three downs thanks in part to his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and pass protect.
Some have suggested that Richardson will go as high as No. 4 to the Browns. However, with so much emphasis away from the running game, Richardson could end up being drafted in the teens.
In recent years, both ESPN and NFL Network have tried to “announce” the pick before the commissioner. Before the pick was read, cameras would cut to a player talking on his cell phone, presumably to the team about to select him.
This tip-off allowed viewers to know the pick a few moments before it was announced, and for the most part totally killed the drama of the actual announcement from the commissioner.
However, reports this year suggest that both channels are trying to prevent revealing the top picks before they are announced, thus adding to the drama of the selection process.
Picking pass rushers
This year’s draft class is loaded with players who can get to the opposing quarterback. Leading the group is South Carolina’s Melvin Ingram, who has one of the best motors in this year’s class. Just behind Ingram is Courtney Upshaw, the former leader of the Alabama defense.
Others like Whitney Mercilus, Nick Perry, Quinton Coples and Shea McClellin all have a chance to be selected in the first round.