April 27, 2007
Predicting what will happen in the NFL Draft is like trying to predict the next stupid thing to come out of Rosie O'Donnell's mouth.
But here are 10 things I think will happen during this weekend's draft:
1. Adrian Peterson will still go in the top 10, probably top five. Despite a report that said some teams are concerned about Peterson re-injuring his collarbone in the Fiesta Bowl, an injury that could require surgery, Peterson will still be high draft pick. The Cleveland Browns, picking third, will strongly consider him. They can play Jamal Lewis for a year, and then have Peterson completely healthy the next season if he does need surgery. It's the same for the Arizona Cardinals. They can play Edgerrin James for a year, and then come back with Peterson in 2008. Plus, word is the injury isn't definitely going to require surgery. Peterson is a rare talent. He won't fall that far -- if at all.
2. The New England Patriots will get two really good players with their two first-round picks. Why? They know how to draft. And I'm not talking about taking Tom Brady in the sixth round. They got lucky with that one in 2000, otherwise they would have drafted him higher. I'm talking about getting players like tight end Ben Watson ('04) and guard Logan Mankins ('05) at the end of the first round. The two players the Patriots draft Saturday will both be contributors as rookies. Wait and see.
3. There will be a run on corners. The value of the corner has escalated because so many teams now play nickel more than they do their base defense. The top two corners, Leon Hall and Darrelle Revis, will be off the board by the first 17 picks, and then there will be a rush on the two or three others, including Aaron Ross of Texas and Chris Houston of Arkansas. Cover safeties like Reggie Nelson will get picked up quickly as well; Nelson can also play inside in the nickel if he's forced to do so.
4. Watch for a ton of receivers to go in the first, second and third rounds. This is a deep draft at receiver, and teams will grab plenty of them in those rounds. You could see 20 receivers off the board by the end of the first day. You may have five or six in the first round, with Calvin Johnson clearly the elite of the group.
5. Look for Purdue defensive end Anthony Spencer and Michigan linebacker David Harris to make a push to be taken in the 20s of the first round. Both players are late-comers who are now considered first-round picks.
6. Tennessee defensive tackle Justin Harrell will make his way into the middle of the first round. Harrell missed part of last season with a torn biceps tendon, but he actually played a game with the injury before having surgery. He's a force in the middle.
7. Character issues will drive players down even more. Players like Florida defensive tackle Marcus Thomas, Texas corner Tarell Brown and Miami safety Brandon Meriweather all will be hurt by off-the-field issues.
8. There will be three or four quarterbacks taken in the second and third rounds. Among them will be Stanford's Trent Edwards, BYU's John Beck, Houston's Kevin Kolb and possibly Drew Stanton of Michigan State.
9. USC receiver Dwayne Jarrett will go in the first round. Despite all the talk that he ran slower than expected, Jarrett plays faster than his 40 time. So did a guy named Jerry Rice. The Cowboys, picking 22nd, will consider Jarrett. Did he ever look slow while playing for USC?
10. Florida quarterback Chris Leak will spend the two days waiting and waiting. He won a national championship, but he lacks arm strength, is shorter than 6-feet tall and he isn't tough. That's a bad combination. "I watched one game of his and left," said an NFC scout. "He didn't play tough at all." It might be time to dial up the Arena League.
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