Once the intrigue surrounding who the Cleveland Browns end up taking with pick No. 4 wraps up, the really interesting portion of the 2012 NFL Draft will undoubtedly be picks Nos. 8-15. This is where we get to the nitty gritty of what this league is all about – the value of quarterbacks, talent vs. character and risk vs. reward.
The most interesting team-related storyline to keep an eye on is what direction the Miami Dolphins ultimately decide to go in. While it seems like more or less a foregone conclusion that they will take the passer they have been pining for since the beginning of the offseason (but haven’t actually been able to get), there is still time for them to go in another direction.
Maybe -- before it's too late -- Miami management realizes that the talent currently on the roster at the quarterback position, although it may not be Pro Bowl-caliber, is just as good as Ryan Tannehill. It is Miami management, though, so maybe not.
Other interesting team-related storylines: do the Panthers shore up some defensive holes like we know Ron Rivera wants to, or do they try to give Cam Newton some legitimate weapons? Now that they’ve dropped so much dough on Mario Williams, will the Buffalo Bills shift their focus to the other side of the ball? Ditto for the Seattle Seahawks, only in reverse – now that they got their legitimate starting quarterback, do they shift the focus onto the defensive end? And of course, everyone has given up even trying to figure out what Andy Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles will do in the draft, so now it’s just a matter of waiting and seeing.
In terms of individual player storylines: will Tannehill ultimately get scooped up earlier than he should by some team who bought into the hype, and then have to deal with the consequences of that in the form of unfair expectations? How will the Bills signing Williams impact the stock of the quality pass rushers on the board, namely Quinton Coples and Melvin Ingram? Will Dontari Poe’s ridiculous Combine showing really earn him a top 10 selection? And will Dre Kirkpatrick’s non-charge charge actually hurt his draft stock despite the fact that he is clearly the second best cornerback available?
(Note: Tune in today 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.)