NFL Draft day is upon us—finally.
Hurry and finish your final mock, version 798.0.
The scouting reports have been written (hopefully in pencil), edited, re-written and re-edited. Over and over again.
And names on draft boards have bounced around and flip-flopped more than soccer players "selling a call" on the pitch.
So tonight, ready or not, teams must make their first-round selections.
As choices are narrowed, a lot of information is to be considered: height and weight, speed and strength, pros and cons, shoe size and favorite color. Yet what often sways the decision are off-the-field concerns, or lack thereof.
It's the never-ending battle of risk vs. safety.
Here are such battles likely to play out in tonight's first-round.
Janoris Jenkins vs. Stephon Gilmore
Jenkins—who glues himself to receivers—has been glued to trouble since his arrival in Gainesville.
Multiple arrests and a dismissal from Florida, four kids with three different women and a recently failed drug test are all reasons to shy away from this talented prospect.
But as far as pure cover corners go, Jenkins is the cream of the crop. He gets in shutdown mode each time he steps on the field, no matter the opponent. Just ask A.J. Green, Alshon Jeffery and Julio Jones.
When you're looking for an upgrade in your secondary, don't forget Gilmore, either. Also rated by many as the best corner in the draft, Gilmore does it all. He can play both man and zone, has great hands, and rarely misses a tackle.
Michael Floyd vs. Justin Blackmon
Ask yourself this because I know scouts have:
What would Floyd's numbers be like if he had consistent quarterback play—someone like, umm, Brandon Weeden? Floyd put up crazy numbers despite constant double teams and poor quarterback play. The kid makes inaccurate throws look perfect, as he twists and contorts his body to make the play.
Teams are well aware of this; they are also aware of his cloudy history. Floyd was arrested twice at Notre Dame for underage drinking and later charged with a DUI.
Meanwhile, Blackmon has been the model receiver for college football—winner of back-to-back Fred Biletnikoff Awards—both on and off the field. A true boy scout, Blackmon is always prepared for what defenses throw his way.
And whatever his quarterback throws his way.
Mike Adams vs. Jonathan Martin
Adams is the more intriguing of the two—by far. He's the best or bust tackle of the draft. At 6'7" and 323 pounds, Adams has an NFL-ready body and moves well for a man his size.
Red flags are aplenty, though. He recently made headlines for testing positive for marijuana at the combine and was involved in the infamous tattoo scandal at Ohio State, not to mention a suspension in 2009 for breaking team rules.
Makes Martin look like a saint. Plus, he's a really good football player. Martin protected Andrew Luck's blind side and was a major reason for Stanford's success running the ball.
Quinton Coples vs. Chandler Jones
It's the quintessential battle between production and potential. Jones produces, while Coples leaves a lot to be desired.
With Coples, talent has never been the issue; it's effort. Tape—and the fact he's such a physical specimen—shows a player capable of dominating but doesn't. He takes plays off, rarely plays through the whistle and lacks proper technique.
But if he gets it all together, we could be looking at a Julius Peppers-Mario Williams hybrid.
There are little ifs surrounding Jones' entry into the NFL. He's fast, strong and works his tail off every play. It's easy to see why his stock has soared during the pre-draft process.
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