The endless stream of rumours and potential smokescreens percolating today builds excitement and anticipation, acting as a constant IV of draft adrenaline leading up to 8 p.m. ET. But most of the chatter should be sprinkled with at least a few grains of salt.
Unless it’s coming from multiple sources, in which case you write a blog post. Which brings us to this blog post.
We’re trained to expected the unpredictable in NFL drafts, a mantra that will particularly apply to tonight’s proceedings. The more the chatter builds around this draft, the more it seems that two positions in the first round could become hot spots for either trades and/or unexpected moves.
The first is the six hole, which is currently occupied by the Cleveland Browns. A wide array of top offensive and defensive talent has been projected to possibly land in Cleveland, including wide receiver Julio Jones and defensive end Robert Quinn. Those two names–along with Georgia wideout A.J. Green–are also reportedly high on the wishlist of the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots.
New England is notorious for trading down in drafts. But that trend could be bucked tonight, as both ESPN and Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe report that the Patriots have discussed a possible trade with the Browns, and have Quinn, Jones, and Patrick Peterson in their crosshairs. During a draft that will only see the trading of picks because of the still lingering lockout, New England has plenty of ammunition with three of the top 33 picks in their possession.
The Falcons are also courting Cleveland, according to Jay Glazer. If they stay at No. 27, it’s widely believed that Atlanta will select a defensive end as insurance behind the effective but injury prone John Abraham. However, Atlanta seems to covet an explosive offensive weapon like Green or Jones to run wild alongside Roddy White.
Glazer reported that Atlanta is trying to move into the top seven, with Cleveland as their main target. Of these two potential deals, New England has a far greater opportunity to sway the Browns with their stockpile of picks, while Atlanta’s chances of moving all the way up from No. 27 seem remote.
Meanwhile, what the Dolphins will do with their 15th overall pick started out as the easiest assumption of the draft. A month ago it was illegal not to have Mark Ingram going to South Beach, but then injury concerns and a general lack of confidence in his ability as a first round pick mounted, and Ryan Mallett started climbing. Mike Pouncey, the only centre likely to come off the board in the opening round, is also a popular target for Miami.
Now there’s a new, far more outlandish challenger: Kyle Rudolph.
Long ago, in the before time, Rudolph wasn’t given much of a chance to be a first-rounder. There’s always been the possibility that he could squeak in at the end with the Falcons (which is where I have him), but that feels like a stretch. Even if the odds remain unlikely, and even if it happens after the Dolphins trade down, the existence of any reliable report sending Rudolph to Miami is notable.
So entertain us, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald…
I’m hearing talk that Notre Dame TE Kyle Rudolph is on Miami’s board and a possibility at No. 15, but more likely as a player they like later in the first round as a fallback. Two people have actually told me this. These folks are NFL types, not media. Anyway, the thinking is Rudolph is a stretch the field type player even though he is not a WR. He would be a help to a QB needing a security blanket. The Patriots last year turned their rookie tight ends into very effective weapons.
Getcha popcorn ready. It’s only two hours until Mel Kiper Jr.’s mock draft starts to fall apart.