Getty: Joe Robbins (5 combine photos) :: Scott Halleran (Clowney, Evans) :: Kevin C. Cox (Robinson) :: Andy Lyons (Bridgewater)
Getty: Joe Robbins (5 combine photos) :: Scott Halleran (Clowney, Evans) :: Kevin C. Cox (Robinson) :: Andy Lyons (Bridgewater)

It’s Draft Week … Finally

The uncertainty of the 2014 draft is only rivaled in magnitude by the walkup, which mercilessly comes to an end in three days. Whose name will Roger Goodell call first at Radio City? It's the Texans' secret, and they're not telling

My meandering T-minus-three-days draftapalooza column (attaway to sell the column, King!) includes an eye-opener from Mike Mayock, predictions from the cognoscenti, separating fiction from fiction [cq] on Johnny Manziel, a rundown of places I think I think I know something about, a way to make a four-day draft sound almost tolerable, and the hottest name in the draft.

My mock draft runs Tuesday on The MMQB. Until then, here’s what I know now:

Ten things, from 1 to 32.

From the top of the first round to the bottom, here’s what I’m hearing:

No. 1, Houston. 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.

Nos. 2 and 13, St. Louis. I sense the Rams like Greg Robinson at two—over Sammy Watkins and Jake Matthews. A St. Louis contingent went to Auburn on Thursday to work out Robinson; no negatives surfaced. More mystery about 13. The Rams really like Johnny Manziel, and if he were there at 13 (which is unlikely), they would consider picking him. His workout for the Rams on Friday in Texas, with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer running the show, was impressive, as was the 80-minute post-workout session in the meeting room with Schottenheimer and coach Jeff Fisher, among others. One other piece of knowledge I got confirmed Sunday: Rams GM Les Snead recently went to Texas Tech and met at length with coach Kliff Kingsbury—Manziel’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at A&M in 2012—and came away thinking Manziel could adjust to life well as an NFL passer. Does that mean the Rams will take Manziel if he’s there at 13? I am still dubious. But I can tell you the Rams like him a lot.

No. 3, Jacksonville. A peer of GM David Caldwell said Sunday he knows a big Jag priority will be to play it safe with this pick. Sammy Watkins or Jake Matthews … quite safe.

No. 8, Minnesota. The Vikings are more inclined than ever to get their quarterback out of a bottlenecked group of passers at No. 40 in the second round. Vikes want a front-seven disruptor—defensive tackle Aaron Donald comes to mind—more than anything else up here.

No. 11, Tennessee. Hadn’t heard quarterback and the Titans in round one until Sunday. Now I hear: corner one, quarterback two.

Odell Beckham's return skills, in addition to his ability at wide receiver, make him a first-round lock. (Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Odell Beckham’s return skills combined with his ability at wide receiver make him a first-round lock. (Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

No. 20, Arizona. We’ve been hearing a lot about quarterback here, and with the unpredictability of the QB market this year, it’s entirely possible the Cards could take a Derek Carr. On the other hand, Arizona’s not far away from competing in the NFC West, and is the best use of their draft currency to take a quarterback they’ll likely redshirt this year behind Carson Palmer?

No. 22, Philadelphia. Keep hearing they want in on the prime receiver action, and the receiver they want could be LSU’s Odell Beckham, who can play outside, inside in the slot and as a returner. But the Eagles would have to trade up, and GM Howie Roseman is doing his due diligence, talking to at least two teams in the mid-round neighborhood, when Beckham would likely go. But the cost could be too rich for the Eagles’ blood. They may have to settle for Marqise Lee, who would be some consolation prize.

No. 24, Cincinnati. Bengals like Teddy Bridgewater. They couldn’t. Could they? Well, if you’re Cincinnati, and you’re seriously thinking about making Andy Dalton the center of the franchise and paying him $17 million a year, you might be asking the question about whether Dalton’s worth it.

No. 26, Cleveland. Time to get a quarterback, right? Not so fast. GM Ray Farmer has asked at least one team low in the round about trading back into the first round from Cleveland’s second-round slot. That leads me to think Cleveland wants to get ahead of Houston, another obvious quarterback hotspot, and get a passer with a third first-round pick. That leads me to …

No. 32, Seattle. Think about the advantages of picking, saying, 35th instead of 32nd if you’re the Seahawks. Every dime is going to count going forward because of pricey vets like Russell Wilson and Richard Sherman who must be re-signed. Last year, the difference between the 32nd pick (safety Matt Elam) and 35th pick (tight end Zach Ertz) was $350,000 per year. Not a huge sum, but when you add a $1.4 million total difference between 32 and 35 to the fact that the Seahawks might be able to get a low-fourth-round pick for moving down three slots—and you remember how good Seattle’s been in the later rounds of drafts—you start to think John Schneider has to be thinking about this too. That’s if Cleveland would do a deal low in round one. But it’s intriguing. All Seattle would lose is the ability to add a fifth-year option by keeping its first-round pick. I think the advantages of saving $1.4 million and adding a mid-round prospect outweigh the edge of the fifth-year option.

* * *

Four men look into the crystal ball. 

I asked Mike Mayock, Todd McShay, Mel Kiper and Gil Brandt, “When round one is over Thursday night, tell me a story line or two that will surprise people.”

Mayock: “I’m going to give you this one: [Nebraska cornerback] Stanley John-Baptiste slips into the first round. He’s what today’s NFL is all about. He’s too long [6-3 and 213] and moves too well for this not to happen.”

“I think Johnny Manziel will go in the top five, but not number one,” Gil Brandt says. “And I think Khalil Mack gets picked ahead of Jadeveon Clowney.”

Kiper: “If I predict something that would shock me now, then it probably won’t be too shocking when it happens. But there could be as many as eight wide receivers in the first round—and no running backs. Although if this was 1988, [Ohio State running back] Carlos Hyde would have a top-15 grade. The real shock would be no quarterbacks going before 16, but I really don’t think that’ll happen.’’

McShay: “I’ve got [Ohio State linebacker] Ryan Shazier going ahead of [more noted Alabama linebacker] C.J. Mosley. I just updated my mock draft today. I’ve got Shazier going to Arizona at 20, Mosley to Green Bay at 21. Shazier is lean, but he can fly.’’

2014 Draft

For all of The MMQB’s draft stories, from Greg A. Bedard’s tape breakdowns of top prospects to Andrew Brandt’s front-office/agent insights and Peter King’s draft-related Monday and Tuesday columns, go to our 2014 NFL Draft hub. 

Brandt: “I don’t think Teddy Bridgewater falls to the second round. I think Johnny Manziel will go in the top five, but not number one. And I think Khalil Mack gets picked ahead of Jadeveon Clowney.”

* * *

Notre Dame offensive lineman Zack Martin is this week’s Hottest Guy in the Draft. 

Mayock surprised me the other day by saying he thought Martin will come off the board “between nine and 13 … He’s too good. He’s too safe. He’s about as safe a player as there is in this draft.” Mayock told me Sunday he saw a Notre Dame practice last summer in which Martin had to be shifted from his usual spot, left tackle, to guard because of an injury, and when he watched the tape of the practice, “It looked like he’d been playing guard for years.’’ I know one team in the top 10 seriously considering him.

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210 comments
Mr.MurderMurphy
Mr.MurderMurphy

It's still Rock n' Roll to me..... wooo!

The draft pushback seriously compresses player development time, this might be a year that B plan Free Agents bring the team along even faster.


If the Rams go QB whoever it is gets compared to RGIII forever. Do you pressure a kid that much or get sure safe pick or trade back and play it safer?

Anaximandar
Anaximandar

I do not like the draft being pushed back 2 week, and I don't think I'd be a fan of 4 days of drafting.  I was thinking that, as a fan, I wouldn't mind the draft being spread out a bit more.  What if they had Round 1 of the draft the 3rd week of April, Round 2/3 the 4th week, and the rest the first week of May?  I know I'm pretty up to speed on all the first/second round quality players.. but with a week of media coverage in between each draft day, the story would shift to start analyzing the later round players. I would greatly enjoy the story shifting to other players for a time and all the speculation that would go along with that.

RandallAllen
RandallAllen

"The [Redskins] story’s not going away"   That's because it's a media-created, media-driven story.  I'll keep saying this until it's old: my wife is Cherokee and she doesn't care about the name of the Washington NFL team.  Her mother--God rest her soul--became a fan of the team PRECISELY because of the name of the team.  Finally, when Red Mesa (AZ) High School--which is located in the heart of the Navajo Reservation--changes the name of its teams from the--you guessed it--Redskins, then we can talk about the Washington NFL team changing its nickname. Until then, it's not an issue!

daveg2011
daveg2011

Please no more on those red sox....enough already!!! Where were all these "fans" before they actually won a series???

RickHendrick
RickHendrick

 Thank you for the piece on Gary Smith. I recall with great fondness the Thursday arrival of my Sports Illustrated, circa 1964, when a twelve year-old sports nut could settle in and read several beautifully written long form stories. Each issue was solid gold to me, and I kept them neatly stacked on a shelf, where I could peruse them again and again.

  I met Frank Deford at his brother in law's house in Kennebunkport (interrupting him as he was banging away on a huge upright typewriter, but he couldn't have been more gracious) in the summer of '68, and for this sixteen year-old, it was better than meeting the president.

gary41
gary41

The Rams have the time and the position to look at everybody.  They are in the cat bird seat for this one.  The more time, the more speculation.  Drives analysts crazy.  

clt0002
clt0002

There was an article in Alabama about Fisher's connection with Robinson, his son has played on the same team with him at Auburn for the past few years. I couldn't be happier for the guy. His family had to flee their home during Katrina and he grew up very poor. There was an article about how his mother couldn't afford tickets to any of his games. I hope he does well and wish him the best. 

QuinBagwell
QuinBagwell

How could Houston not draft a player who gives them instant national attention and coverage, and brings with him a talent which many believe will make him an extraordinary success? Manziel offers Houston more to gain than any other team. With him will come hordes of jones sickened cowboy fans, and the ability to move the needle for Houston to overtake Dallas as the premier franchise in Texas. You gotta take that shot !

davewr58
davewr58

You said "I understand all the status-quo fans of the team, and Snyder, who think this is PC America run amok" … no you don't, because you continue to attack Synder. It IS PC run amok and you liberals need to give it a rest. It's interesting that the name has been okay for most of Washington's 82 years of existence, but once the white liberals decided that the name was offensive, it had to go. Who are you going after next … schools and pro teams who have animals as mascots? Might offend PETA, you never know. I hope Snyder sticks to his guns and keeps the name, just to upset you left-wingers.

JimBowski
JimBowski

Great job peter--two early season jock sniffs for peyton!

EdwardKirby
EdwardKirby

The biggest surprise of this year's draft will be the dearth of trades. There is simply too much talent, and everyone will be wanting to trade down (so as to accumulate more picks), and there will be few takers.

The exception might be the top five to seven picks.

gary7
gary7

Just like that idiot that writes for the Washington Post Sport Dept, you looked under a rock and found 2 scum balls to "Change The Name", McCain has screwed over Indian Tribes for years in Arizona and that traitor Reid is in a private land grab with his son and the Chinese.  Indian Drunks,Bad Comedians and crooked politicians you all have quoted in the last week or so saying the name should change, not to mention what Botox Bob will whine out next, stick to your fantasy of pretending you could be a GM in the National Football League or at least the next time you want to quote some nim-wit that you think is prevalent to spread your own personal narrative, take the time and see who and what they really are.

number18
number18

Idiot Reid and Idiot McCain are about to get Their names changed--senator will be dropped.

Frotoon
Frotoon

I thought King was never going to use the word Redskins again in an article.

bobbie johnson
bobbie johnson

I'm offended that a man who should be serving the back end of his prison sentence for accessory to murder (Ray Lewis) is a well respected host on ESPN. 

IdDoHannahStorm
IdDoHannahStorm

Washington should just change the logo to the Spanish 'redskin" nut to shut people up.  Peter would probably still be offended on behalf of the allergic.

bobbie johnson
bobbie johnson

"Redskins" is a name that mostly elite white liberals like King find offensive.  These people constantly need new causes to run to, and this is just the latest.  Save the Whales and Acid Rain are no longer chic. 

CobyPreimesberger
CobyPreimesberger

also what's ridiclous is guess what you know the nfl said they had to move the draft back to may because of the show at radio city music hall, well guess what the show was cancelled, and the nfl has known for a while, so they could've easily had the draft 2 weeks ago

DanBayliss
DanBayliss

I run a bunch of half and full marathons, Peter! Where can I geta MMQB shirt?? I'll run the next one in your shirt!!

Dan

ecp_unix
ecp_unix

So, was the group Kansas singing "The People Of The South Wind" offensive?

Mike26
Mike26

I am really sick of this whole Redskins thing - it's a non-event that some liberals are still insisting on trying to make a national issues.  It never has been, isn't now, and never will be.  Having our "top" Congress folks (which they're not) waste time on this is embarrassing to this country.  There's not ANY polls outside this minority group's (the group trying to make this an issue) small minds that say it needs to be changed.


Enough is enough.  Get back to football.

hayhowesq
hayhowesq

@RandallAllen  Oh come on. The media couldn't drive a story if no one was paying attention. And, as the stories have made clear not all minorities agree with your wife. The fact she thinks the way she does, is no reason to stop covering the story.

RickHendrick
RickHendrick

Hi Dave, Your inference that Red Sox fans are bandwagoners couldn't be further from the truth. All of New England suffered with each losing year, loving our Sox through the 86 year drought.

Many fans, including my father, lived a full life and died without seeing the Red Sox win a World Series, and when they finally did it in 2004, my tears flowed for him and for all lifelong Sox fans who couldn't be there.

   So to answer your question, that's where we fans were.


Mike26
Mike26

@QuinBagwell  You're correct.  Teams should ALWAYS listen to their fan bases...

dfgomaha
dfgomaha

@number18 senator Is for life if you watch the sunday news programs...

Enusmith1
Enusmith1

Can you back up your statement with proof?

YuSuk
YuSuk

Because there aren't any republicans who find the name offensive? Are you sure about that? Why do you have to blame liberals for everything? Redskins IS offensive to many people. Just because you don't think it is doesn't mean everyone feels that way. Why are your beliefs so much more important than people who do find it offensive? We are talking about tens of thousands of people, it's not like there are only a dozen people who are upset. Too bad the South couldn't just secede so all the republican bigots could live in harmony together while they ruin everything around them.

tmarlin1221
tmarlin1221

@Mike26  Or change the washington team's name to the Jewskins rather than Redskins.  Snyder shouldn't have a problem with it, since he's not offended by redskins at all.  

Mike26
Mike26

@RickHendrick  And now they've gone from nice fan base story to overindulgent greedy corporation with lazy players....it's another reason why people have left MLB.

Joe79
Joe79

@YuSuk  


 Learn the origin and original use of the word and then explain how and why it should be or is offensive to anyone!!!  The Native Americans were the first to use the the term to describe themselves in negotiations with white settlers so get over yourself drama queen!


Oklahoma means Land of the Red People in the Choctaw Nation and it is a term that was created by a full blooded Choctaw, Rev. Allen Wright, who is considered to be one of the most honest and integritous individuals to ever walk the planet.  

ecp_unix
ecp_unix

@YuSuk Uh, it was a bunch of Democrat bigots that seceded. Lincoln was a Republican.

Mike26
Mike26

@YuSuk  Even PK's best efforts at polling folks and researching anti-Redskin name groups rarely passes 30%.  That's a small amount of people - even with the name-dropping PK integrates into his writing it doesn't sway more people.  In fact, mentioning those two in particular is foolhardy because both are on their way out of significance = McCain is already there.

WadeNelson
WadeNelson

@YuSuk  I didn't know increasing everybody's standard of living, providing an abundant amount of jobs, and not being trillions of dollars in debt would be considered "ruining everything around them."

Mike26
Mike26

@tmarlin1221 @Mike26  You need to stop posting the same stupid comment over and over  - it doesn't make it any smarter.

Enusmith1
Enusmith1

Who are you referring to? Was everything lollipops and gum drops before Obama? Wow what a twisted mentality you have.

tmarlin1221
tmarlin1221

@Mike26 @tmarlin1221  You need to stop using other men's images as your avatar.  Lusting over men is not what this website is for.  

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