While every NFL fan anticipates the beginning of the regular season, it can be argued that the NFL draft is just as big or even bigger. Everyone is technically on equal footing entering the draft, and every fan has high hopes that his or her team will take a step toward future greatness.
That won't be the case for everyone, but countless fans will be watching anyway. The draft kicks off Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET and continues on Friday and Saturday as well, so it truly is a marquee event. If you're an NFL fan, there is no question that you'll be in your glory over the next few days.
Here is a full television schedule for the entire NFL draft as well as analysis on which teams you'll want to watch closely during the draft's first round.
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)
First-Round Teams to Watch
Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs hold the No. 1 overall selection in the 2013 NFL draft, but it is still unclear who they'll select, so anything can happen at this point. The general consensus seems to be that they'll go with an offensive tackle, but it could be either Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M or Eric Fisher of Central Michigan. In fact, the Chiefs could even trade down if they don't believe there is a satisfactory prospect in this draft.
For the past several years, it has been well known who the No. 1 pick would be heading into the draft, but the Chiefs are creating quite a bit of drama in 2013. Kansas City really holds all the cards in this draft, and regardless of what move it decides to make, it can easily shake up everything. With that in mind, it wouldn't be a very good idea to tune into the draft late.
There is going to be action from start to finish this year because of the lack of a consensus No. 1 selection. It wouldn't be a big surprise to see the Chiefs trade out of the top spot if at all possible. There has to be a reason why they haven't declared a preferred pick yet, and it may very well stem from a desire to trade. If that happens, then all bets are off.
New York Jets
Rowdy New York Jets fans will have plenty to cheer or jeer about on Thursday night as their team picks at both No. 9 and No. 13. The ninth selection is the Jets' own pick, while the 13th pick came their way when they traded All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Jets have a ton of holes to fill, so those two picks could come in handy, but it remains to be seen how they'll utilize them.
If the Jets decide to keep their picks as they are, some names to look out for are LSU linebacker Barkevious Mingo, West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin, Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert and perhaps even a quarterback such as Geno Smith of West Virginia or Ryan Nassib of Syracuse. At the same time, the Jets could package their picks and move up or perhaps even move down and stockpile more picks in other rounds.
While the Jets obviously have a lot of work to do, they're actually in a pretty advantageous position as far as the draft goes. The class is light on elite talent, but heavy on overall depth, so the Jets could potentially pick up quite a few starters over the first couple of rounds if they play their cards right. Regardless of what they do, though, their fans are sure to make plenty of noise one way or another.
The Buffalo Bills have been an absolute joke for a very long time as they haven't made the playoffs since 1999, but they have a chance to position themselves for a very bright future in this draft. The Bills hold the No. 8 selection, and there has been a ton of speculation regarding who they might take.
Buffalo has needs on both sides of the ball and can probably go with the best player available if it so chooses, but there are a few prospects who have been linked to the Bills a lot lately.
According to Albert Breer of NFL.com, the Bills have interest in USC quarterback Matt Barkley, although Nassib is a strong possibility as well due to his ties to head coach Doug Marrone. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network is reporting that Austin is the No. 1 overall player on the Bills' board, however, so Buffalo could really change the course of the draft at No. 8.
Ian Rapoport @RapSheet
The No. 1 overall player on the #Bills board? Tavon Austin. So... Would they trade that? Intrigue #NFLDraft2013-4-25 15:04:23
It wouldn't be surprising to see the Bills go with Austin at No. 8 and then trade back into the latter half of the first round to nab Barkley or Nassib. Buffalo could wait for a quarterback to fall in the second round, but there are a lot of teams picking early in the second who could use a signal-caller. With that in mind, the Bills are a prime candidate to make at least one trade during Thursday night's first round.
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