Yes, I was cleaning out an old bookshelf and found my wife’s book “What To Expect When You’re Expecting”. I thought, that’s funny right now I’m expecting a Ryan Tannehill draft in round one for the Miami Dolphins, but, beyond that, I’m not so sure. Then I realized I’m not 100% certain that I should be expecting Ryan Tannehill at number eight either. I almost flipped open the book to find answers.
That got me thinking. What are we expecting? What can we expect in this years draft? We as fans have already learned that Andrew Luck will officially be the number 1 overall pick as yesterday the Colts informed Luck of their decision to draft him. We already know that Robert Griffin, III will be the number 2 overall pick to the Redskins who made the first trade of the draft season.
The second trade of the draft season was Miami’s move to sent Brandon Marshall to Chicago for two third round picks. What else is on the horizon six days from now?
For starters, expect more trades. The NFL has finally figured out a way to make the draft more interesting by tagging a rookie wage pool to the last CBA. This pool takes away some of the question marks surrounding how much a team will have to pay for a player they move up from. In previous years, the rising costs of rookie salaries coupled with the draft pick compensation made trading almost prohibitive. Not any more.
Last years draft was the final draft without knowing what a player would cost. While teams were pretty certain there would be a rookie cap, no one knew exactly how it would be structured. We do now. In past seasons talks of teams moving up and down were very common but the yield of those talks rarely produced the trades being talked about. This year, the Vikings, Browns, Jaguars, Dolphins, Chiefs, Seahawks, Eagles, and Dallas have all been mentioned as possibly being interested in moving up or down. In the case of the Vikings and Jaguars, both teams are desperately wanting to move out of their respective slots and gain more selections in the process. The question is will someone put enough value on a player to make that jump?
Only the Vikings have the best chance of swinging a deal prior to the draft as they sit at the third spot and everyone knows as mentioned who the top two picks will be. No surprises there. So come draft day, what can you expect first? A lot of trade talk, probably more than a couple of day one trades, plenty more day two trades, and more than a handful of trades in rounds 3, 4, and 5. In other words, expect teams to spend their allotted times fully.
Of course that is never enough to expect one thing and one thing only. So what else can you expect? For starters this years draft according to the media who follow this thing religiously, there are six elite blue-chip players in this years draft. Luck, RGIII, OT Matt Kalil, CB Morris Claiborne, RB Trent Richardson, and WR Justin Blackmon. After that, the players become muddled together in groups of five or six at varying positions. Consider that one of the best prospects in this years draft, David DeCastro, a player many believe will possibly have a Hall of Fame career isn’t slotted in the top 15 in many drafts.
Of course for the Dolphins this means that they are saddled with making a decision on a player outside the elite six. Over the past few weeks if not months, the predictions for what the Dolphins may do at number eight are incredible. Go defense with a pass rushing OLB/DE, go offensive line with a RT or maybe DeCastro, go with a QB named Tannehill, or possibly wide-receiver? The options for Miami are wide open.
Jeff Ireland said yesterday in a lengthy interview that he knows what he wants to do at pick 8 and that he will not be pressured into taking a player (Tannehill) if that is not who he wants. Of course Ireland has been involved in trades in 4 of his 5 drafts with Miami and already has one under his belt this season with the Marshall deal. Will he move out of 8 and let one of those other non-QB positions fall to him? We will find out.
The NFL is also looking at a crackdown on letting the golden goose out of the bag too early. In previous drafts, by the time the NFL Commissioner made it to the podium the hosts of ESPN and NFL Network had already reported who the pick is by televising the player on the telephone grinning wildly as he spoke to his new team. The NFL doesn’t want their thunder stolen anymore and at least through the first round want to keep the excitement built up. There is talk that the league will try and implement a cease on showing players in the green room or talking on the phones and that the hosts will be asked not to reveal the players names on air until the Commissioner has made the announcement.
The big problem is that someone undeniably will have “Tweeted” it before anyone else get’s wind of it at all.
So to close this little book of what you can expect while you are expecting, you can expect anything. There is no guarantees this year not consensus from someone in the know, nothing reported from a high-ranking source that you can take to the bank. As much as Ryan Tannehill being drafted would be a non-surprise in many ways he is exactly that, a surprise. The Dolphins this year could go in many different directions, which direction they decide to move in will be the surprise in and of itself.