*One of the reasons the Chiefs have not let on as to who they will select with the first overall pick is they would prefer not to make the first overall pick. We hear their first choice is to trade down and pick up extra selections, and they still are hoping to create a late market by remaining mum on who their choice would be. Their second option is to stay put and take either Eric Fisher or Luke Joeckel.
*Even veteran NFL front office men say they are having a difficult time coming up with mock drafts they feel confident in this year. “This is the worst draft ever for that,” one general manager said. One reason: four potential top 10 picks have medical issues that could force them to fall. They are cornerback Dee Milliner (shoulder, ankle, knee, hernia), defensive end Dion Jordan (shoulder), defensive end Ziggy Ansah (knee) and defensive tackle Star Lotulelei (heart). It’s also possible that none of them will fall.
*Not every team sees Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden the same way medically. Many have passed him and consider him a first round possibility. But he has failed a handful of teams’ physical exams and is not a high round consideration for them. One exec pointed out that even if a team is OK with the vein in Hayden’s heart that ruptured, you still have to get over the fact that his chest is wired together.
*The Seahawks already have used their first round pick to acquire Percy Harvin this offseason, but the feeling inside team headquarters is they are still one elite wide receiver away from being a complete team. The Seahawks’ first pick is the 56th overall, but they still have 10 selections so they could do some maneuvering in order to put themselves in position to select one of the draft’s better receivers. Trading into the first round would be a long shot, however.
*One player who is making a late run up draft boards is LSU safety Eric Reid. Teams do not have a consensus on how the safeties should fall, but there are some teams who rate Reid the top safety, ahead of Texas’ Kenny Vaccaro. There is a chance Reid could be off the board by the middle of the first round.
*The Cowboys are expected to take an offensive lineman in the first few rounds, and that might not be good news for Doug Free. The right tackle has refused the team’s request to take a pay cut, and he could regret it. Free is a candidate to be cut even if the Cowboys don’t land a potential replacement in the draft. Why? The coaching staff likes Jermey Parnell, who stepped in for him last year and played well. In fact, Parnell might even replace Free in the starting lineup.
*If you want to get a sense of what the Jets will do in the draft, take a look at what the old Bucs did under former general manager Rich McKay. New Jets GM John Idzik was the cap manager of those teams and worked for McKay alongside future GMs Jerry Angelo, Tim Ruskell, Ruston Webster and Mark Dominik. He also sat in on all the draft and scouting meetings. People close to him say his style is similar to McKay’s. If that’s the case, look for the Jets to invest heavily on defense (remember Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, John Lynch, Ronde Barber?). McKay was a proponent of drafting defensive linemen and wide receivers early, and believed offensive linemen could be had in the middle rounds.
*One of the mystery teams in the draft is the San Diego Chargers. They haven't given any hints or clues as to which direction they might go. As one former GM put it, “The Chargers may be one of the five least talented teams in the league. They need help everywhere. They have a young GM and nobody knows what his blue print may be.” This draft will quickly define the future of the Chargers.
*One GM who seems to never get enough credit for how he handles his draft process is Rick Smith of the Texans. When the Texans had two years to prepare for their inaugural draft, they whiffed badly, and they drafted poorly in subsequent drafts. That sunk the team for the next five-plus seasons. When he arrived in Houston Smith had to get rid of a lot of dead weight. Now he is finally drafting from a position of strength because the team is talent rich. This could be the draft that gets the Texans over the top.
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