Out of the many years I’ve been watching and scouting the NFL draft, this is truly the first year where I have no idea what will happen. In previous years, it would already be out by now on who certain teams would be taking and the suspense would only lie in the possibility of a team trading out of a pick for someone else. This year though, we have the intrigue of teams not knowing just what route to go this year. Below I’ll take a look at the top five storylines of the first round.
This has been the big debate over the course of an off-season, and rightfully so. For a while it was obvious that the top QB was Teddy Bridgewater, then came all of the ludicrous rumors that wanted to drop him down boards. Then came the hot name of Blake Bortles who was the destined #1 pick because of the mold he fits in the Bill O’Brien scheme. How could we forget Johnny Football though right? Could he be the top guy to come off the board? After listening to the rumors(both smoke and truth) it seems as if the likely top QB to come off the board will be Johnny Manziel and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him come off the board at #3 to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Johnny fits exactly what they are looking to do in their rebuild and would provide the fire and excitement into a team that is not far away from making some noise
While not as important a storyline as the QB’s, The OT class has a drastic impact on how much of the draft will play out. Greg Robinson is the likely #2 pick to the St.Louis Rams unless they trade out of the pick, but who is the one to go after him. For a long time it seemed to be Jake Matthews, but for some reason now Taylor Lewan is picking up a lot of steam and could go as high as #5 to the Oakland Raiders. Look though for a team to possibly move up for Jake Matthews and solidify their OL for years to come with one of the most pro ready prospects I’ve seen in a while at the OT position.
This has to be one of the biggest storylines right? Jadeveon Clowney is the best player in the draft class, but may not end up being the first overall pick because of the dreaded phrase “scheme fit.” If that is to happen then the question will come to where does Clowney end up going? One possibility is to the St.Louis Rams at #2 in the hopes they can continue to create the most dominant DL in the NFL. Jacksonville is also a possibility for him, but the most likely scenario is one involving the Atlanta Falcons and a trade up from the #6 spot to land Clowney. Look for Clowney to still come off the board in the top 5 picks, but the question comes to where he will land.
While the first QB debate is always one that is interesting to watch, the question really will come down to which team will come back into the first round and nab a QB if one of them were to fall. One team to keep an eye on would be someone like a Jacksonville if they pass up Manziel and #3 and look to add someone such as Teddy Bridgewater if he were to fall into the late 1st round range. Another team to watch is Houston who holds the 33rd pick in the draft. They could look to take someone such as Khalil Mack at #1 and then move back into the 1st round and land a QB who can help with the rebuild that will need to take place. The QB class truly is the wild card this year compared to most years
Oh come on, you know it will happen. There’s always that one pick where everyone will sit there, scratch their heads, and then proceed to rant about how bad a pick it was. A few years ago it was Tyson Alualu, then came Bruce Irvin, who will it be this year? One name to watch is Stanley Jean-Baptiste from Nebraska. While rated on my board as a 4th rounder, Baptiste is a long physical CB who fits the new age mold of lanky CB’s who can run and cover. Look for someone to take him earlier than expected and according to some reports he could very well go in the late 1st round range.