32 predictions for the 2013 NFL Draft: Part Two
AJ and Tom make 32 predictions for the 2013 NFL Draft
Part One: Predictions 1-16
17) Draftnik Sportsyak (AJ)
Regardless of the network you watch, you will hear the following from whichever draftnik is in the studio; “natural bender”, “4.4 forty”, “quick/slow out of his breaks”, “opens his hips”, “uses his hands well”, “prototypical size”, “strong arm”, “good length”, “a bit of a tweener”, “catches the ball away from his body”, “runs behind his pads”, “gets yards after contact”, “can make all the pro throws”, “explosive off the snap”, “good lateral movement”, “is a leader”, “smooth route runner”, “physical at the line of scrimmage” and so on, so forth. In fact, you might even hear all of those in one sentence (a prize is available for the best tweet sent my way that includes as much draft jargon as possible). There’s definitely a drinking game to be had out of the amount of draftnik sportyak that’ll be thrown your way Thursday night.
18) Jerry Jones officially becomes the new Al Davis (Tom)
It’s hard to understand how the ‘just win baby’ Raiders and the team that took JaMarcus Russell with the first overall pick were led by the same man: Al Davis. It’s similarly confusing how the unstoppable early 90’s Cowboys are led by the same guy who thought Roy Williams was worth a first, third and sixth round pick in 2008. The Cowboys love to move up in the draft to get ‘their guy’ and whilst this hasn’t been a disaster – their last two selections, Dez Bryant and Morris Claiborne – being productive members of the team (in Bryant’s case, productive when he wants to be), the Cowboys have still found themselves in a perennial funk. There are two problems here. Firstly, Jerry thinks the Cowboys are one player away from a championship winning team every year. They’re not. Secondly, Jerry needs to figure out what he wants more – whether it’s to be the decision maker for the Cowboys, or whether he wants to win a Super Bowl. It’s Jerry’s money that’s being spent, so if he wants to make personnel decisions he can. If he wants to destabilize his coaches with mid-season ultimatums and his frustrated, game-time sideline-strolling, he can. But as long as he keeps doing this, the Cowboys will keep missing the playoffs. If he wants to win a championship though – the best decision he can make is to stop making decisions. Take a step back. Let someone else make draft picks and hire coaches. Will he? No.
Just win baby? Just stop, Jerry.
19) 50% of America will cringe and say “whose jersey is THAT?” when Jacksonville’s pick holds up his shiny new Nike Jaguars jersey for photographers (AJ)
For those of you who aren’t aware, the Jacksonville Jaguars unveiled their new uniforms on Tuesday ahead of Thursday evening’s draft. Great news if you’re that one person in the Florida area that is a fan of brown colored gold because the new helmet was designed just for you. The saving grace about Jacksonville’s latest terrible uniform is that it’ll likely be retired in two years when the Jaguars move to London or Los Angeles. Nevertheless, there’s only so much you can do with teal but you can fully expect at least one Jets fan to heckle from the rafters something along the lines of “hey ***hole, nice ****in’ joy-zee, you look like you were drafted by an arena football team”. Speaking of which…
20) Drunken Jets fans will boo (Tom)
Predicting that there will be upset Jets fans at the draft is a bit like predicting the sun will rise tomorrow. Jets fans have a lot to be upset/angry/disappointed with (delete/add as appropriate) at the moment. On top of this, they’ve just lost their best player for the 13th overall pick. Here’s the problem – whoever the Jets take with that pick is going to be directly compared to Revis. There’s no one on the board at 13 (in fact, there’s no one in this draft class, period) who compares to Revis. Andrew Luck or RG3 last year would have assuaged Jets fans at Radio City Music Hall (though no one else in that draft class would). But even someone like Star Lotulelei, who Jon has going at 13 in his mock draft, isn’t going to pacify them. And that’s fair enough. All the Jets front office can do is weather the storm and make a smart pick. At least this guy will actually turn up to training camp and won’t be able to ask for a new contract for at least 3 years. 3 WHOLE years. Revis could fit at least 200 new contract negotiations into that timeframe and bend the space/time continuum to allow him to miss over 9000 hours of voluntary workouts. You deserve to boo, Jets fans. But at least a little bit of the drama will have departed from New York. That can only be a good thing. Speaking of drama departing New York…
21) Tim Tebow will feature in a draft day trade (AJ)
This prediction falls under the header of “outrageous predictions that I’m not sure I entirely believe in (and may have written in an attempt to shock you)”. Our Christian side-hugging friend and alumnus of the University of Florida has remained somewhat under the radar this offseason considering his usual propensity to make headlines for ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Either the Mayans were a couple of months out with their whole end-of-civilization-as-we-know-it prediction or this is merely the calm before the storm. I’m going for the
former latter. I don’t know who, I don’t know where, and I don’t know for what (I promise I’m not completely groping in the dark) but Tebow will be off the Jets roster and out of Mark Sanchez’s hair before the end of the draft. Book it.
22) Awkward hugs will happen (Tom)
One of the weirdest parts of the draft is where recent college graduates/dropouts embrace the commissioner of a multi-billion dollar industry. Imagine going to a job interview and being told that you’d got the job. "Thanks, HR Director", you’d say, "Where can I find the CEO so I can hug him"? This would not happen because it would be uncomfortable and then you would be quickly fired. It’s not even a brief, pat on the back or one of those handshakes where you put your other hand on the guys shoulder in a congratulatory manner either. This is the sort of hug you give someone when they’ve just beaten cancer. Or returned from war. It’s strange and it’s artificial – yes, you’ve just realized you’re going to become a multi-millionaire. But that doesn’t mean Roger Goodell is now your long-lost father. And Roger, let’s be honest – you’re still going to try very hard to screw a lot of these guys over at the next set of NFL/NFLPA negotiations. Shake their hands. Pat them on the back. Congratulate them. But no more hugging.
23) The Chiefs will blow us all away by not drafting Luke Joeckel (AJ)
I’ll say from the outset, I don’t really believe in this prediction and I may have written it in an attempt to shock you. I’m hedging my bets here massively and covering my backside just in case KC does the unexpected. The last time that a team shocked us all with the first pick was when Houston snubbed Reggie Bush and Vince Young for Mario Williams in 2006. I’m over 95% sure that Joeckel is a lock at number one but I’d like to put it on the record, if Shariff Floyd is drafted first overall, I will not be floored in shock. If they draft anyone other than Joeckel or Floyd, I could miss the rest of the draft staring into the abyss with my jaw wide open.
24) Drinking games involving a drink every time the phrase "missing piece of the puzzle" is used when the 49ers are picking results in dozens of liver failures across the US (Tom)
Despite going to the NFC Championship game in 2011 and the Super Bowl in 2012, despite having a young, super-talented franchise quarterback, despite having a ton of draft picks in this year’s draft and a complete roster… the 49ers are still in an unenviable position. Seriously. There’s something missing from the 49ers. But no one’s sure what it is. They should have beaten the Giants in 2011. They were the favorites in February to win the big one. They didn’t. Every time the 49ers make a selection in this draft, every analyst who’s squeezed onto the live broadcast will ponder whether this is ‘the missing piece of the puzzle’ for San Francisco. "Is this the pick that takes San Francisco to the Super Bowl", they’ll say for each of the 74 picks the Niners have. "Is this time I mute my television", we’ll say.
Yes, yes it will be.
25) A prospect outside of the top 25 on our draft board will be drafted in the top 10 (AJ)
And that won’t be because our draft board is wrong goshdarnit. Let’s look back at the last four drafts; Ryan Tannehill (’12), Jake Locker (’11), Tyson Alualu (’10), Darrius Heyward-Bey (’09). None of these players were necessarily top 25 talents yet all found themselves being drafted in the top 10. On a yearly basis there’s always one player who finds himself on the stage before draftniks and fans expect and as a result, expect someone to horrifically reach in the top ten. And anyway, Oakland, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Arizona, Buffalo and New York are all picking in the top ten – and you’re telling me somebody won’t horribly reach for a player? Players outside our top 25 that could be overdrafted; Damontre Moore, Kawann Short, Tyler Wilson, Matt Barkley. If either of the last two are drafted in the top ten, expect Twitter to explode.
26) Someone will slide, but it won’t be a slide, but we’ll say it was a slide anyway (Tom)
Geno Smith is ranked as the 15th best player on our draft board – a common position for him on many draft boards. Yet, if he actually went with the 15th overall pick, he will have "tumbled out of the top ten". If Chance Warmack or Jonathan Cooper go around the same place as David De Castro did last year, this will be viewed as a slide. "But… guards hardly ever go in the top ten picks", you’ll say, smart, intelligent reader of Down at the One that you are. "QUIET YOU", they’ll shout back. "THIS IS A SHOCKING, DRAMATIC SLIDE". Because the draft IS FULL OF DRAMA.
27) A team with a future Hall of Fame quarterback will draft a passer in the first two rounds (AJ)
I’m looking at you Denver, New England, New York Giants, Pittsburgh,
San Diego (lol), New Orleans and maybe Green Bay. When I sent Tyler Wilson to the Broncos in our recent mock draft, Tom said that I “broke the draft” but I think a case could be made for each of the aforementioned teams to spend a top 64 pick on the quarterback position. Peyton Manning is 37 and Brock Osweiler should have stuck to basketball; he’s not a capable NFL quarterback. Tom Brady is 35 and the jury is out on Ryan Mallett. Drew Brees in 34 and with Chase Daniels now in Kansas City, Sean Payton would likely rather develop a passer than stick with Luke McCown and Seneca Wallace at backup. Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning are only 31 and 32 respectively but Big Ben is almost certain to miss time after taking a hit due to over pump-faking and Bruce Gradkowski represents about as much value at back up as David Carr and Curtis Painter do for Eli. Finally, Graham Harrell might have thrown for endless yards at Texas Tech but should Aaron Rodgers miss any time, Green Bay would drop off unfathomably on offense. I appreciate that a top backup quarterback is more than a luxury and most of these teams will likely try to fill roster holes to make a Super Bowl run but don’t be shocked if the likes of Ryan Nassib, EJ Manuel, Tyler Bray or Landry Jones find a home behind a Canton-bound future Hall of Famer.
28) Chip Kelly SNUBS Dion Jordan (Tom)
Dion Jordan may be the best pass rusher in the draft and that’s certainly a position of need for the Eagles. But there’s every chance that they take a cornerback, or an offensive tackle with the fourth pick in the draft. If this happens though, expect a truckload of analysis that states how Chip Kelly has deliberately avoided his former player. Speculation will fly as to why Chip has forsaken Dion – did the coach catch the player calling him silly names one training session? Is Dion not as good as we think he is? Or are the Eagles just making an objective, rational personnel decision? The correct answer is the last one, but don’t expect to hear a lot of that on April 25.
29) At least one draft pick won’t be able to contain his disappointment about where he’s been drafted (AJ)
“I’ve got to go live in BUFFALO? – how long are these rookie contracts again?”. It’s been a fair few years since we saw Warren Sapp visibly disappointed at the fact that he’d been drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I’ve searched long and hard for an image of Sapp holding up his jersey on draft day but I’ve come up empty handed; take it from me, he wasn’t happy that he fell to the 12th pick and he was even less happy that he was drafted by one of the least successful franchises of all time – powder orange jerseys and all. These days, prospects do quite a good job of hiding their emotions should they not fancy living in, say Cleveland. Nevertheless, there’s always one player that doesn’t look over the moon that he’s about to become a multi-millionaire; usual signs are teeth gritting, the fact that the Raiders drafted them or if they’re off the stage within three minutes of hearing their name called, chances are they didn’t really want to leave school early if they had known Arizona was going to draft them.
30) The Atlanta Falcons will move up (Tom)
In 2011 the Falcons rocketed up the draft board from their 27th overall position to the 6th overall slot and selected Julio Jones. "What idiots", we all said, "they’ve got Roddy White already, and Tony Gonzalez, what do they need Jones for?!". Then White and Jones became one of the deadliest receiver pairings in the league and have made Atlanta perennial championship contenders. So we all stopped laughing. "Well, they still had to trade the farm for Jones, they’ll have bad drafts for the next few years!". Yeah, we all said that too. So how many picks have Atlanta got this year? 11. Yep. Thomas Dimitroff is a crazy-genius. Grapevine rumors abound that he wants to move up again. He will. We’ll all laugh. Then they’ll win a whole bunch of games again whilst the rest of us plead with him to give us the book of "draft cheat codes" which he obviously has.
31) Mel Kiper Jr. will look visibly flustered and uncomfortable on ESPN’s coverage when only three of his mock draft picks land where he said they would (AJ)
HD TV has done wonders for some people. Mel Kiper is not one of them. Few things are more satisfying than watching an overly-covered-in-makeup Mel Kiper sweat on live TV, clamor through his notes before spluttering out haphazard analysis on a pick he never foresaw. I respect Mel, I think he’s an outstanding scout and has a borderline unparalleled grasp of college football. However when it comes to the NFL and matching talent with team’s needs, I think he’s borderline clueless. Mel spends the entire fall immersed in college football, watching tape on prospects and compiling his big board. From the looks of his mocks, he has Sunday’s off and sleeps in a fridge; he’s certainly not watching the NFL. His recent gem was sending Geno Smith to the Eagles. There’s more chance of Mel ditching the 80’s hairdo than Geno heading to Philly. (It is now officially a lock that Geno Smith will be drafted by the Eagles and I'm going to eat a giant slice of humble pie)
32) Pundits are party-poopers (Tom)
Thankfully, the idiocy of showing pictures of guys on the phone, smiling and crying before the commissioner announced the next pick is a thing of the past. Unfortunately, analysts continue to rush to tweet the names of the next draft pick before anyone else can. This always strikes me as the analyst equivalent of writing “FIRST COMMENT” on a YouTube video. You can almost imagine the giant, smug grin on the tweeters face as he posts, almost ineligibly, “RAIDRES SLECT FISHER, OT 3rd OVRALL” slightly faster than his compatriots do. It’s annoying and unless your life depends on knowing who the Raiders are taking 30 seconds before everyone else does, I fail to see the point of it. It ultimately comes down to who has the fastest, nimblest thumbs and the best internet connection on their cell phone. Stop it, analysts, or we’ll confiscate your phones and make you sit outside the green room.AJ Young
is the editor of Down at the One. Tom Benjamin
is a writer for Down at the One. If you have any comments or questions regarding this article, feel free to e-mail him at Tom@downattheone.com