The next three days are among the biggest of the year for football fans as the NFL draft will commence on Thursday night and last through Saturday. Every team has a golden opportunity to get significantly better, so there is hope for each and every fan as well.
While the diehard fans like to sit through the entire draft from start to finish, others like to pick and choose which parts they watch. The three-day span of the draft makes that easy to do as fans can pop in any time on Thursday night, Friday night and essentially all day on Sunday.
Regardless of how committed you are to watching the draft, here is all the information you need to know about when and where to catch each round of the 2013 NFL draft.
Where: Radio City Music Hall in New York City
When: Thursday, April 25 through Saturday, April 28
Complete Day-By-Day Schedule
Round 1: Thursday, April 25 at 8 p.m. ET (ESPN and NFL Network)
Rounds 2-3: Friday, April 26 at 6:30 p.m. ET (ESPN and NFL Network)
Rounds 4-7: Saturday, April 27 at 12 p.m. ET (ESPN and NFL Network)
Prospects to Watch on Each Day
Manti Te'o (Day 1)
There are a lot of controversial prospects in this year's draft, but perhaps nobody can top Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o in that regard. It seemed like Te'o was poised to be a top 10 selection after a 2012 campaign that saw him lead the Fighting Irish to the National Championship Game and finish as a Heisman Trophy finalist. Things came crashing down after that, however, as Te'o struggled both on and off the field.
Perhaps the most disconcerting thing that happened was his poor performance against Alabama in the title game. Te'o had made huge plays all season long, but the Crimson Tide manhandled him and ran the ball right down his throat for much of the game. That showing definitely made scouts question his ability to translate to the NFL level.
Despite all of that, Te'o is still considered one of the top inside linebackers in the draft, and there are plenty of teams with a need at that position. The Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Ravens are among the teams who could very well pounce on Te'o in the latter half of the first round. It's possible that Te'o will tumble into the second, but it seems like the girlfriend hoax is behind him, so some franchise is likely to give him a chance.
Tyrann Mathieu (Day 2)
Just two years ago it seemed like LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu was a lock to be selected in the first round of the NFL draft whenever he decided to declare. The Honey Badger, as he is affectionately known, had a monster campaign for the Tigers in 2011, leading them to the National Championship Game and earned plenty of accolades along the way. He won the Chuck Bednarik Award, which affirmed his status as the best defensive player in college football, and he was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy as well.
Things went haywire for Mathieu prior to his junior season in 2012, however, as he was dismissed from the LSU football team for failing a drug test. Mathieu did not play for the Tigers in 2012 and he hasn't played football since 2011, so there is an inherent risk involved with selecting him in the draft. At the same time, he once proved that he was among the premier players in the country, so there is a huge potential reward involved as well.
The most likely draft scenario for Mathieu is a second- or third-round selection. He cost himself a lot of money with his antics at LSU, but he'll still have an opportunity to step in and contribute right away if he's taken in the first three rounds. Essentially every team needs a corner in today's passing-heavy NFL, so Mathieu could literally end up anywhere. Whoever takes him will be getting an incredible talent, but a lot of baggage as well.
Marcus Lattimore (Day 3)
Which day of the draft are you most interested in watching?
South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore was among the best rushers in all of college football over the past three seasons, and he definitely had first-round potential. Lattimore suffered significant leg injuries in each of the past two seasons, however, so he is a huge injury risk. He has shown a great deal of perseverance in coming back from those injuries, though, so there are definitely some teams out there that are willing to roll the dice by taking him.
Lattimore is no longer a first-round prospect and he may not go in the second or third either, but he is a prime target on the third day of the draft. The running back position in general isn't as coveted as it once was since teams routinely find quality starters late in the draft or sign them as undrafted free agents. That news actually bodes well for Lattimore as he could potentially become a key player right away if he lands in the right situation.
Based purely on the fact that Lattimore has refused to quit, there are probably plenty of teams that would love to have him on their roster. It remains to be seen if he will be able to stay healthy at the next level, but nobody questions his desire. Lattimore could be the feel-good story of this draft, so hopefully he ends up with a team that will give him a chance.
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