April 23, 2013
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Is there a better sporting event in the world that doesn't actually involve the sport being played than the NFL draft?
Of course not!
The NFL draft is some of the best television around, as folks around the country rip up their mock drafts while young men finally see their dream of reaching the NFL come true.
For a few nights in April, we take time to celebrate what might be.
This year's draft features more uncertainty in the first round than I remember in some time, meaning a slew of trades and surprise picks should keep everyone entertained well into the second round. You won't want to miss a thing, so check out the draft schedule and my preview of the event below.
|Round||When (All Times Eastern)||Watch||Streaming|
|Round 1||Thursday, April 25, 8 p.m.||ESPN; NFL Network||NFL.com|
|Rounds 2-3||Friday, April 26, 6:30 p.m.||ESPN; NFL Network||NFL.com|
|Rounds 4-7||Saturday, April 27, 12 p.m.||ESPN; NFL Network||NFL.com|
Oh, what a wild and unpredictable draft we should have on our hands.
Last year, we knew Andrew Luck would be the first player selected and it became obvious Robert Griffin III would be the second player taken once the Washington Redskins traded to the No. 2 spot.
We pretty much knew the Minnesota Vikings were going to take Matt Kalil and that Trent Richardson, Justin Blackmon and Morris Claiborne would be top-six picks.
This year, uncertainty reigns.
The Kansas City Chiefs are likely to go with offensive tackle Luke Joeckel at No. 1 or perhaps tackle Eric Fisher, but after that, things get murkier.
Recent talk suggests the Jacksonville Jaguars could go after either Oregon outside linebacker Dion Jordan or one of the two top offensive tackles, but the latter seems more likely a smokescreen designed to garner interest from other teams to trade for the pick.
You should probably be prepared for plenty of trades. With no superstars in this draft, many teams in the top 10 will likely look to move back and stockpile picks.
There is a lot of depth, namely at the end of the first round and into the second round.
Along with the Jags, look for the Philadelphia Eagles or Cleveland Browns to trade out of the No. 4 and No. 6 picks, respectively, with teams interested in either cornerback Dee Milliner or one of the top three offensive tackles to move into those slots.
Another reason uncertainty reigns is that a number of teams picking in the top-10 have completely new coaches and front offices. It's hard to predict what a team like the Eagles will do, for instance, since we haven't seen a Chip Kelly draft yet.
What about the quarterbacks? With no elite options at the position, it's hard to say where players like Geno Smith, Ryan Nassib, E.J. Manuel or Matt Barkley might be drafted.
A player like Smith could possibly go No. 2 to the Jags, No. 3 to the Oakland Raiders, No. 4 to the Eagles, No. 6 to the Cleveland Browns, No. 7 to the Arizona Cardinals, No. 8 to the Buffalo Bills or Nos. 9 or 13 to the New York Jets.
Or, like any of the quarterbacks this year, he could drop right out of the first round.
This draft is generally lacking in the "sexy offensive-skill position player" category. Most of the top wide receivers carry question marks.
Is Tavon Austin too small?
Will Cordarrelle Patterson's limited experience stunt his development?
Those questions are magnified by the fact that there are no Richardsons or Doug Martins at running back this year.
If you need help on the offensive line or defensive side of the ball, this draft is for you.
We could see seven or eight offensive linemen taken in the first round, while the top of the draft is rife with exciting rush-linebackers and deep in the secondary throughout.
On Thursday and even Friday night, there will be plenty of surprises, a slew of trades and, as always, a whole lot of second-guessing.
Come for the uncertainty and stay for the post-draft grades. Last year's star power is missing, but this draft will be compelling television nonetheless.
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