The madness is upon us. After months of hype, degradation, anticipation and analysis, the 2014 NFL draft commences on Thursday evening from Radio City Music Hall in New York.
It's a star-studded affair with a record 30 draft hopefuls attending the event live. Some will be waiting longer than others, as it's doubtful all of the players in the green room are going to go in Thursday's first round.
Wherever these college stars end up going, you will be able to enjoy every second of the action. The NFL has gone to great lengths to make sure fans don't miss a moment of its most important event, as all 32 teams will build the foundation of what they hope will end in a championship.
We have all the information you need to watch the draft, either in the comfort of your own home on television or online, as well as a roundup of rumors floating around.
|2014 NFL Draft Start Times|
|Date||Round(s)||Start Time (ET)||Networks|
|Thursday, May 8||1||8 p.m.||NFL Network, ESPN|
|Friday, May 9||2-3||7 p.m.||NFL Network, ESPN (7-8); ESPN 2 (8-11)|
|Saturday, May 10||4-7||12 p.m.||NFL Network, ESPN|
Ravens Likely Have to Move up for Top Target
There are two holes the Baltimore Ravens can address in the first round with the 17th overall pick: offensive line and tight end.
The latter position seems to be Ozzie Newsome's focus, with North Carolina's Eric Ebron as the object of his desire. Draft Insider's Tony Pauline reports the Ravens have made him their No. 1 target on Thursday.
Several sources tell me the number one target for the Baltimore Ravens in round one is tight end Eric Ebron, a player they’ve coveted for quite some time. Could Ebron slide to the 17th pick? I was told earlier this evening the New York Giants maybe souring on Ebron due to many of the personality red flags we’ve reported on this site since November.
Pauline expanded on Ebron's personality in an interview with WGR 550 radio, calling him a "me type of player" who will make it known when he doesn't get the ball enough.
Considering how many receivers in the NFL today have that kind of attitude, it's hard to imagine a team like the Giants—desperate for a pass-catcher over the middle—passing on Ebron's upside for being like everyone else.
That would mean Baltimore has to move up six spots to get ahead of the Giants in the draft. The Ravens also have the luxury of sitting where they are and hoping that a tackle like Morgan Moses or Zack Martin falls into their lap.
Rams Serious About Johnny Manziel?
No team has more control over the first round than the St. Louis Rams, who own two of the top 13 picks, including No. 2 overall. They have a young, talented roster that has holes (offensive tackle, wide receiver) which can be filled later in the first round.
It's also important to remember that quarterback Sam Bradford is entering a pivotal season. He's going to get help in this draft, so the Rams are finally going to figure out if he's their future quarterback.
Of course, they certainly have no reason to be sold on Bradford right now. That's why it's no surprise to see Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reporting the Rams are linked to a quarterback, though it's the one with the widest gap between ceiling and floor.
Peter King of The MMQB supported Rapoport's report by writing that the Rams "really like" Manziel and would consider him at No. 13 if he's still there.
This just seems like typical draft chatter to drum up trade interest. The Rams aren't far away from being a playoff contender and, with two first-round picks in a loaded draft, can get a lot better in a short amount of time.
Manziel is a huge project who won't pay dividends for at least another year.
If the Rams can get Auburn's Greg Robinson at No. 2, then have a safety or wide receiver fall to them at No. 13, it will be a huge coup for Jeff Fisher's team.
What's Going on in Houston?
The great mystery of the draft rests at the top with the Houston Texans. It seemed like a foregone conclusion that Jadeveon Clowney was going to be the pick, but the longer things go on, the foggier the picture becomes.
Peter King of The MMQB wrote that Houston has kept an outstanding poker face in the days leading up to the draft:
The buzz about a trade-down or Khalil Mack to Houston instead of Jadeveon Clowney won’t die. The Texans are doing a good job of sending mixed signals to the GM community, that’s for sure. Mack’s in the dark, which is to be expected. I can’t see Atlanta mortgaging the farm on any player, so if the Texans want to trade down, the return likely won’t be a ransom.
Two weeks ago, citing a friend close to Texans general manager Rick Smith, King wrote that Mack was actually the preferred choice with the No. 1 pick. It makes sense because the Buffalo linebacker fits Houston's 3-4 scheme perfectly.
However, it's hard to imagine the Texans passing on a talent like Clowney, who has the speed and power to play on the edge in this defense and drop back into coverage when necessary.
Because of the value players like Clowney and Mack have, it's hard to envision a scenario where a team gives the Texans enough to move off the No. 1 pick.
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