The NFL Draft will officially kick off Thursday night with picks from Indianapolis and then Washington. Colts owner Jim Irsay already has Andrew Luck’s name printed on his draft card and the same goes for the Redskins and Robert Griffin III.
The uncertainty starts after that. Recent reports suggest that teams ranging from picks Nos. 3 to 16 are all potentially interested in trading back, but with so many teams willing to move, the price of playing poker will be cheaper and therefore less attractive for the team that holds the actual pick . . . simple supply and demand. Sure, there will likely be some real-time reshuffling of picks, but I wouldn’t anticipate there to be as much as some are suggesting.
It's also the time of year when disclaimers tend to surface for each pick. Griffin is a perfect example. For the past three months, we have heard nothing but characteristics such as intelligent, articulate, smart, charismatic, charitable, etc. Now, just a week before the draft, we hear how selfish he is.
Don’t buy any of it. This isn’t uncommon: A scout, coach, team executive, analyst or draft guru will throw out a last minute qualifier to cover their butt if that prospect never lives up to the hype. The “See, I told you so,” part of the scouting process.
Morris Claiborne is a possibility here but he isn’t ideal for the Cover 2 scheme. Kalil is easily the best tackle in the draft and potentially the best overall prospect. He's too attractive an option for the Vikings to trade back. | Watch highlights
The Bucs signed Eric Wright in the offseason but with Ronde Barber’s age and Aqib Talib’s legal issues, Claiborne makes perfect sense. He's a great addition for a team that faces Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Cam Newton twice each season. | Watch highlights
6. St. Louis Rams (from Wash): Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
Blackmon will give Sam Bradford the elite receiving target he has yet to have in the NFL. While defensive tackle will be a consideration here, the Patriots and Giants proved that having an explosive offense is more important than having a solid defense. | Watch highlights
Jacksonville will be intrigued with a pass rushing threat, but the NFL is an offensive league, and the Jaguars need to provide Blaine Gabbert with an elite wide wideout for him to stand a chance in his sophomore season. | Watch highlights
The Dolphins saw improvement late in the season from Matt Moore and then signed David Garrard this offseason. Adding Tannehill will make for an interesting three-way competition in training camp. | Watch highlights
Left tackle was a rotating door last season, and the loss of Demetress Bell via free agency just increases the need. Reiff is best on the right side, but nonetheless, he's the top available tackle on the board.
The Cardinals traded away Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie last year, then lost defensive MVP Richard Marshall via free agency this offseason. That leaves them very vulnerable at corner, and Gilmore can start right away opposite Patrick Peterson. | Watch highlights
The Eagles traded for linebacker DeMeco Ryans and will employ him in his more natural 4-3 scheme. They still have an additional need at the position, but Brockers' value is too high here. | Watch highlights
Wayne Hunter gave up 11 sacks and accounted for 11 holding penalties last season, so taking a hard look at Cordy Glenn or Jonathan Martin would be justified. Having said that, Ingram is still the pick here if he drops all the way to 16. | Watch highlights
The Bengals will be without Leon Hall for the majority of the season with an ACL tear. Kirkpatrick will fill in at corner while Hall is out and then moves to safety when the veteran returns. | Watch highlights
Coples has the frame and length to be a dominant 4-3 defensive end, but his skills project better as a 5 technique in a 3-4 defense. His value is better in the middle of the round rather than the top 10 as some project. | Watch highlights
Wright is a perfect complement opposite A.J. Green and with the loss of Andre Caldwell and probable loss of Jerome Simpson, the Bengals are thin at the position. | Watch highlights
22. Cleveland Browns (from ATL): Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
The popular choice here is wide receiver, but the depth of the position allows them to address that in later rounds. Mike Adams will bookend with Joe Thomas to provide the physical run blocking that will pave the way for Trent Richardson.
Pittsburgh could address a number of positions here, but Hightower will fill the void left by James Farrior, who was released as a cap casualty. Other considerations would be offensive line, nose tackle and cornerback. | Watch highlights
25. Denver Broncos: Jonathan Martin, OT, Mississippi State
The Broncos made a major investment in Peyton Manning this offseason and now must protect his blindside. Defensive tackle is a need here, but Manning’s health outweighs any defensive need. | Watch highlights
Green Bay could address its offensive line here, but the signing of Jeff Saturday buys them some time. Perry could replace Cullen Jenkins as a 5 technique or even play outside opposite Clay Matthews as a rush specialist. | Watch highlights