Later we’ll be launching a live chat session, half an hour before the draft running through until the end of the first round. It’ll feature on this blog and also on Field Gulls, with analysis from myself, Danny Kelly and hopefully Kip will be there too. You’ll also be able to join in. It was a great success last year and I hope you’ll join us again.
A few final thoughts…
Albert Breer is reporting that the Seahawks are negotiating with Cincinatti and New England about trading down. It’s not surprising news, if true. Seattle could realistically drop to #21 and maybe even to #27 and still draft a pass rusher. A deal which includes a 2013 first rounder to drop to either of those picks would probably appeal. However, wise man says don’t trade with Bill Belichick and the Bengals haven’t traditionally been the kind of team that throws away future picks. I doubt either team would pair their first round picks this year to get up to #12, but they’d have that option. Can you really see New England making that move though? And why #12?
The Seahawks are going to draft a pass rusher if they stay put. Hey, if they move down they’ll probably still draft a pass rusher. I understand that has been the team’s ambition all along. There’s been some classic misdirection over the last few weeks, and it’s got a lot of people talking about guys like Ryan Tannehill. Yet it’s always been about the pass rush. The big question is – who will they take? I’ve never been as confident about that question as I have knowing Seattle will take a pass rusher in round one. I’m sticking to my guns and saying it’ll be one of Courtney Upshaw or Melvin Ingram. I could be wrong. Maybe it’ll be Quinton Coples? Maybe it’ll be Whitney Mercilus? Maybe it’ll be another pass rusher? We’ll found out shortly.
Chandler Jones from Syracuse is the big riser the night before, at least according to the media. I asked Tony Pauline from SI.com and Draft Insider for his thoughts on Jones’ meteoric rise so late in the day:
“Rob – I’m baffled. Jones is a solid prospect yet not the spectacular talent many are making him out to be…. he’s a solid athlete with a lot of natural pass rushing skills, which teams always look for in the draft. That said, I’m a film guy and not a stats guy- but just ten sacks in 32 college games in the Big East, which has had just one offensive lineman drafted in the initial four rounds the past two years? These were not Big Ten or SEC tackles he was playing against. I also have my concerns about Jones playing OLB in a 3-4. Things like this, players making huge rises the weeks before the draft, often take on a life of their own and the perception is greater than the reality.”
It’s food for thought as we get closer to the start of the draft. I tend to agree with Pauline. Jones has some potential, no doubt about it. But to hear Mike Mayock suggest he’ll be the best defensive player from this draft in three years, 24 hours before the event, is staggering. There are some people who don’t work for NFL front offices that know what they’re talking about. Nobody has made that kind of statement about Jones. I wouldn’t want to bank on Mayock’s premonition coming true.
If the Seahawks did end up moving down, I think that would be with a nod to 2013. They’d love to get some extra stock to take into next year’s draft, knowing full well there will be at least two highly rated quarterbacks available. Regulars will know I’m not one who ever buys into the ‘next year’ theory regarding quarterbacks. In fact, I’ve argued against the banality of the annual “next year’s group are better” debates you see before each draft. There won’t be a quarterback with the grade of Andrew Luck. Indeed, this year’s twosome of Luck/Griffin III have much more hype than any of the 2013 class will gain by next year. However – not being rated quite as highly as that pair could make certain quarterbacks more attainable. Matt Barkley and Logan Thomas are the most intriguing college quarterbacks I’ll be watching in 2012. Tyler Bray and Tyler Wilson could also work into the equation.
And there’s no getting away from the fact Pete Carroll and Matt Barkley are tight. If the Matt Flynn-project doesn’t work out too well in 2012, it could be the precursor to a big move up for Barkley. So getting stock in the bag for next year while also being able to improve key areas like the pass rush and running back would be seen as a positive.
If Seattle does a deal – unexpectedly I would say – for either Cincy’s two picks or New England’s, then I would imagine they’d address the pass rush and one of the offensive skill positions – depending on value.
Names to keep an eye on: Courtney Upshaw, Melvin Ingram, Zach Brown, Quinton Coples, Vinny Curry, Dont’a Hightower.