Even though Jim Irsay has found time to compliment every quarterback in the upcoming 2012 NFL Draft besides the one he will inevitably end up taking, there is no doubt surrounding the Indianapolis Colts’ pick. The same goes for the Washington Redskins and Minnesota Vikings, who will select the second and third best players in the draft, respectively.
From there, things get a little murky.
Over the last week, folks have examined, re-examined and re-re-examined every possible option for the Cleveland Browns, and there is still no clear “right” course of action that everyone can agree on.
A very strong case could be made for Mike Holmgren and Co. picking up Justin Blackmon and finally giving Colt McCoy a legitimate wide receiver to throw to. Seeing as Blackmon was at one point considered worthy of the St. Louis Rams No. 2 pick, this wouldn’t be a reach in any sense. By the same token, picking up Trent Richardson, quite possibly the fourth best player available in this year’s proceedings, makes a lot of sense too.
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The uncertainty surrounding what Cleveland will do means that the rest of the top 10 is equally unstable. The Rams would love to pick up Blackmon if he’s still on the board by the time they’re up to bat, but if he’s not, what’s their Plan B? Similarly, in the unlikely event that Ryan Tannehill goes at No. 4, what do the Miami Dolphins end up doing?
The only team that’s largely unaffected by what the Browns will do is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, because the only other squad that needs a cornerback in the top four (Minnesota) has a bigger weakness that it will be addressing. Thus, the Bucs get their man no matter what.
Also worth keeping an eye on is what happens with the bevy of defensive stars that are going to be available in the first round of this draft. Will Quinton Coples go early, thereby starting a domino effect that leaves pretty much zero in the way of legitimate difference-makers for teams picking the late 20s? Or do GMs nab Michael Floyd, Kendall Wright and other offensive stars sooner than expected, and leave all the impactful defensive studs for the Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots and so and so forth?
What will hard-to-figure-out Philadelphia Eagles do? Do the Denver Broncos go offense or defense? How long will the San Francisco 49ers keep apologizing to Alex Smith for chasing Peyton Manning? Do the Houston Texans look for a wide receiver, or do they address the big Mario Williams-sized hold in their defense?
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We analyze all that and more in the picks below.
Note: Tune in on Tuesday to the Bottom Line Sports Show as they talk all things NFL and have one lucky NFL Draft prospect on to discuss what the future holds.