Finally, after what seems like 35 years, 23,000 pro days, and over 100 billion mocks, draft day is finally here. Tonight, the dreams of 32 young athletes will be realized, NFL teams will find their missing piece, and Bill Belichick will do his best to find a new and interesting way to tick off Patriots fans.
In preparation for this glorious of all football days, here are five bold predictions that just might come true in Chicago tonight. Then again, they probably won’t. However, it doesn’t really matter anyway. As MHH’s Brandon Perna mentioned in a recent video (see below), ESPN’s resident “draft experts” Mel Kiper, Jr. and Todd McShay will have about a 15% accuracy rating, and they somehow manage to keep their jobs. So, let’s throw these predictions up against the wall and see what sticks!
1. Marcus Mariota will be an Eagle Following a Blockbuster Trade
The Tennessee Titans have been desperately seeking a trade partner for the No. 2 overall pick for some time now, and I believe they’ll find one in Chip Kelly’s Philadelphia Eagles. ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio reported yesterday afternoon that Kelly had begun pushing to make a deal happen with the Titans to reunite with his ex-quarterback. This very well may have been Kelly’s plan since the beginning of what’s been a topsy-turvy offseason in Philadelphia.
However, the Eagles aren’t the only team making a move for Mariota. The Cleveland Browns reportedly offered both the twelfth and nineteenth overall picks to move up to No. 2, and the Titans declined. Cleveland will have to offer more, and they’ll ultimately come up short. The Eagles are reportedly offering Sam Bradford, Evan Mathis, Mychal Kendricks, the 20th pick, and additional future first round picks to move up to #2. Chip Kelly wants Marcus Mariota…bad. He’ll make this deal happen before the commissioner comes to the podium tonight.
2. Todd Gurley will be a Top Ten Pick
During last year’s draft I swore that Trent Richardson would be the last running back selected in the top-10 of the NFL Draft. Perhaps I should have said that Richardson “should” be the last running back selected in the top ten.
Thanks to the remarkable athleticism of NFL offensive lineman, quality running backs fall off trees nowadays. Yet, Georgia running back Todd Gurley has somehow managed to bamboozle his way up team’s draft boards.
The Miami Dolphins have reportedly made Gurley the top player on their draft board, so it’s highly unlikely he’ll slide past them at No. 14. Some team will be interested enough in Gurley to trade into the top ten and select him. Both the Giants at No. 9, and the Rams at No. 10 have offensive line needs. This draft is full of quality lineman in the middle of the first round, which makes trading back an option. Gurley will wind up being selected with one of those picks.
3. Garrett Grayson will be a Cleveland Brown
Covering Garrett Grayson’s Pro Day for MHH made two things clear to me about Colorado State University’s all-time leading passer. First, he’s the real deal. Grayson can make every throw you need him from him, he’s got experience in a pro-style system, and he has leadership skills out the wazoo.
Secondly, Grayson is the consensus No. 3 quarterback in this class. The interest in his pro day was staggering, and he’s been worked out by half a dozen teams including the Cowboys, Rams, and Browns. At the beginning of the draft process, Grayson was thought of as a late round selection at best. Instead, look for Cleveland to select him 43rd overall Friday evening.
4. La’el Collins will go Undrafted
In a move he should have made a week ago, LSU offensive lineman La’el Collins left Chicago yesterday afternoon to head west and speak with police about the murder of his pregnant ex-girlfriend. It’d be irresponsible to accuse Collins of committing such a heinous crime before any charges are filed against him, or the full extent of the evidence is known. However, the timing of this couldn’t be worse.
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Former Patriot’s tight end Aaron Hernandez’s recent murder conviction should have NFL teams on high alert for players with this kind of off-the-field issue. Having a little bit of dope in your car, like Nebraska’s Randy Gregory is one thing—potentially being charged with murder is another.
5. The Broncos Will Trade Up
For the last month I’ve been openly pounding the table for the Broncos to select University of Pittsburgh tackle T.J. Clemmings with the 28th overall pick. While my fervor for Clemmings hasn’t dissipated whatsoever, I have a sneaking suspicion GM John Elway wants to make some news during this draft.
At his pre-draft press conference, Elway talked about the difficulty of moving up and down in the draft. This year, Elway will make a move to pick up Washington nose tackle Danny Shelton between picks 15-19.
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