The 2014 NFL draft kicks off Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall in New York City with the first round. May 8 is the day that many of the best players in the world find out where they will start their NFL careers.
With teams trying to get the best possible prospect while still filling a vital need, the rumors about possible trades and which players organizations are most interested in has football fans trying to decipher smokescreens from truths.
Here are the latest rumors surrounding the first round of the 2014 NFL draft.
Buffalo Bills Trying to Trade up for No. 1 Pick?
The Buffalo Bills currently hold the No. 9 overall pick in Thursday’s first round, but the organization is reportedly not happy staying where it is. Buffalo is looking to make a blockbuster deal to move up.
According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the Bills are frantically trying to get a trade done before the event starts Thursday evening:
The Bills, we’re told, have been burning up the phone lines in an effort to work out a deal that would vault them from No. 9 to No. 1 or No. 2. The targets are believed to be defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and tackle Greg Robinson.
There will be legitimate talent on the board if Buffalo can’t find the right deal with the Houston Texans (No. 1 pick) or the St. Louis Rams (No. 2 pick), but prospects like Clowney and Robinson are locks at the next level.
The Bills want a game changer.
With the Buffalo defense being run by Jim Schwartz, acquiring a top-tier pass rusher is one of the top priorities for the franchise. If the Bills do not trade up, look for the team to grab outside linebacker Anthony Barr from UCLA with the No. 9 pick.
Johnny Manziel Going No. 3 Overall?
Johnny Manziel is one of the most polarizing players in the entire draft, but his raw on-field talent is undeniable. While there are still concerns about his ability to translate college success to the NFL, his charisma and personality would make him a star at the next level.
A team looking for a viable quarterback of the future and a face it can build a franchise around is the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 3 overall. According to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, the belief is that Jacksonville will select Manziel with their first-round pick:
This would be a blockbuster move.
There is no doubt that questions surrounding his size, off-field demeanor and ability to translate his mobile style to the NFL are legitimate, but he has the raw talent to transcend those issues and become an upper-echelon player.
Not only would Manziel offer the Jaguars an instant upgrade at the quarterback position, but the team would also have the polarizing player on its roster that it can build marketing campaigns around.
Whether Manziel blossoms into a star or not is a major risk for the franchise from an on-field point of view, but there is no doubt that Johnny Football would put people in the seats of EverBank Field in Jacksonville.
Denver and San Francisco Looking to Trade Up?
One of the best parts of watching the NFL draft every year is the huge trades that happen on the fly. There are several teams with a legitimate chance to win the Super Bowl this season, and the focus is on which of those organizations want to get even closer with a high draft pick.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport shares two elite teams looking to make a move on draft day:
The Denver Broncos and the San Francisco 49ers are two of the most talented teams in the NFL, and each is on the cusp of fighting for another Super Bowl. Adding a top player in the draft by trading up may not be a good move for the future, but these teams are in win-now mode.
While San Francisco has dealt with off-the-field issues this offseason, it was Denver that made huge upgrades on the defensive side of the ball. By signing free agents DeMarcus Ware, T.J. Ward and Aqib Talib, the Broncos have made it clear that they are serious contenders again.
Add in another top draft pick, and Denver will be the 2015 Super Bowl favorites.
*Stats and combine results via NFL.com.