The first seven picks of the 2012 NFL Draft will set the tone for the whole thing. The next eight, however, will probably be the ones that most significantly alter the way the league looks next season.
Starting with the Miami Dolphins at No. 8 and ending with the Dream Team Philadelphia Eagles at No. 15, this portion of the proceedings is filled with teams that are only one solid contributor away from being really, really legitimate. Maybe not contenders, per se, but definitely really legitimate. (Philly is the obvious exception, they could be contenders with just one more solid addition.)
Unless the Browns shock the world, it seems more or less inevitable that Ryan Tannehill will go to the Miami Dolphins at No. 8. Even though he is being vastly overrated at the moment, and even though the team would probably be better off going in another direction here, this pick is about as etched in stone as the first three are. If Tannehill is on the board when Miami gets its at bat – he’ll get the call.
From there things will get interesting, though. We know the Jacksonville Jaguars will go defense with their selection, but who specifically will they take? What role will Demetrius Bell play in the Buffalo Bills’ selection process? Do the Kansas City Chiefs go after best player available, or do they actually try to fill a need? And we know this question has been asked many times, but it’s still relevant: what will the impossible-to-figure-out Eagles do?
Besides whether or not Tannehill gets picked up by Miami, there are several other interesting player-related subplots to keep an eye on. Will Dontari Poe’s ridiculous Combine, now that we’ve had some time to mull it over, earn him a top 10 pick? Which team will feel like it needs Luke Kuechly? Who goes first between Jonathan Martin and David DeCastro?
We examine all that and more in our projections for picks No. 8-15 here.
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.