5 NFL Draft Nuggets
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • April 28, 2011 @ 10:01am
If you’re here to learn Von Miller’s hand size (9.2” width from thumb to pinky) or his favorite slushy flavor (blue raspberry), you’ve visited the wrong place. Smokescreens and posturing dominate the weeks leading up to the draft, making it remarkably difficult to figure out this whole NFL Draft science. So, before knuckles start to crack, brows start to furrow and intense whisper-y conversations begin in war rooms, here are a couple juicy nuggets:
1) Carolina will take Cam Newton. Jimmy Clausen was humiliating, and Newton is the best player at the draft’s most coveted position. Today’s talk is that Carolina GM Marty Hurney has narrowed his options to four players—Newton, Dareus, Peterson and Green, but let’s be honest, drafting an “entertainer and icon” like the Auburn QB is a dynamic PR move. None of the other three choices will generate the buzz, and the Panthers badly need to stimulate their fan-base.
2) Denver just can’t stop blowing smoke (must be hard on their lungs!). Less than a month before the draft, Broncos’ GM Brian Xanders and Executive VP John Elway were said to covet a quarterback despite trading up for Tim Tebow last year. Yesterday, NFL Network’s Kara Henderson reported that Von Miller may have passed Marcell Dareus, long the Broncs’ #1, on Denver’s draft board. Now McShay and Mayock agree with Henderson.
3) We definitely call this bluff, as the Broncos are smartly mysterious in order to attract trade suitors. ESPN’s Adam Schefter and NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, two of the most respected draftniks, believe the first round will hold a record number of trades. This gives you incentive to watch beyond the third pick, right? We still think Denver takes Dareus at 2.
4) Even the Bills are capable of snorting smoke out of their charging nostrils (I know, their nostrils probably aren’t charging, but it just sounds so aggressive!). Schefter appeared on Mike & Mike today and suggested that the Bills would take a serious look at Blaine Gabbert, assuming Newton is already gone. While Gabbert’s a possibility, it would behoove (hoof joke!) Buddy Nix to address the pass rush, which has been ungodly futile since Aaron Schobel got hurt/retired. Plus, Von Miller sounds a lot like Van Miller, and look what Van did for the Bills.
5) Over/under on fights between ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay tonight in the draft’s first round (8 p.m.): 4. These two dudes are colleagues yet competitors in a field that’s awfully tough to predict (but oddly forgivable when they’re wrong). They’re both really weird, too—Kiper is well-gelled and stubborn, while McShay is firm, blunt and occasionally snippy. Such drama! The Office has nothing on the NFL Draft.
**6) Bonus! Buffalo sits in a great position for Day 2 (Friday, 6 p.m.). The Bills hold the 34th overall pick—the second of the second round—and will have ample time between the conclusion of Thursday’s first round and Friday’s start time to consider two players—at least one of which will be available. The Patriots, who pick 33rd, can’t spoil the Bills’ party too much. In 2009, when the first three rounds were held on the same day, teams picking at the top of the second round didn’t have the luxury of time.