Merry Draftsmas Eve! We are almost here, finally. After a jillion stupid mock drafts (and yes, I contributed none stupid ones) that will maybe be 3-4% accurate, the real one is here. And no matter who does a mock draft, no one has ever been able to predict what is always one of the most surprising and unpredictable nights in sports—the first round of the NFL Draft.
With that in mind, I’m still going to throw out some predictions as to what will happen tomorrow night, both with the Vikings and the rest of the NFL. This won’t be a first round mock, and I’m not going to cover every team, but let me put on my Nostradamus hat and see if any of these things come to fruition:
The Cardinals will draft Kyler Murray. I don’t know that this is a ‘WHOA’ prediction, but it’s still a weird pick for them after picking Josh Rosen last year. In a way, though, I get it. Kliff Kingsbury is going to run an offense that really fits Murray’s skillset a lot better than Rosen’s, so if Murray is your guy, get him. Still, picking a QB in the top 10 two years in a row, and firing your coach after one year puts the Cardinals on the brink of becoming a clown franchise. But I’m willing to give Kingsbury the benefit of the doubt here.
Josh Rosen will not be traded tomorrow. I think the Cards hold on to him, and wait to see if they can get more in a trade when a QB goes down and gets hurt. Everyone still remembers the Vikings giving up a first round pick for Sam Bradford in 2016, and I think the Cardinals hedge their bet for a couple months, and see how things play out.
Let’s talk about the Raiders. I think Derek Carr will be traded tomorrow night, because I believe the reason Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock sent all their scouts home is because they want to draft Dwayne Haskins and don’t want to be talked out of it. They have three first round picks, will use number four on Haskins, and can use one or both of picks 24 and 27 to move back up later to grab a defensive pass rusher to ‘replace’ Khalil Mack.
The Giants will panic. When the Raiders pick Haskins, the Giants will have no idea what to do, because I think they’ve been planning on taking him for awhile. They might take Drew Lock, but if the Broncos really want him and the Raiders take Haskins, I can see the Broncos trying to get to five and make a trade with Tampa Bay. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Giants take a WR like DK Metcalf or one of the Iowa tight ends. Do you have any confidence in GM Dave Gettleman if you’re a Giants fan right now?
The Vikings. I really expect the Vikings to try and trade back, possibly with the Raiders and get pick 24. If they can do that, and maybe get an extra fourth or fifth round pick (they currently have no fifth rounders), I think they take G Chris Lindstrom.
If they can’t trade back and pick at 18, I believe they take Dalton Risner or Garrett Bradbury. If they think that Pat Elflein substantially improves this year, they take Risner. If they think they need to have a backup plan in case Elflein’s third year is like his first two, then they take Bradbury. For as much talk as there has been about defensive guys slipping and the VIkings taking one of them, they aren’t. Offensive line is the overriding need here, and everyone knows it. If there’s an Ed Oliver type guy on the board, I think the Vikes will trade back.
HOWEVAH, let’s talk about a top defensive player slipping, as GM Rick Spielman hinted at yesterday in his press conference. And just for the sake of argument, let’s say it’s Ed Oliver, or another top 10 defensive line prospect and can’t find a trade partner to move down. If the VIkings take that guy, then I believe they make a trade to get back into the end of the first round to take Lindstrom. To get there, a player will be involved, to get some cap relief, and the Vikes will end up with two first round picks when it’s all said and done. The reason they do this is because there will start to be a run on offensive linemen, and if the Vikings don’t make a trade up, by the time they come on the clock in the second round that first tier of offensive linemen, guys that they can anticipate starting right away, will be gone.
Are the Packers really interested in Drew Lock? I don’t think so. It seems Aaron Rodgers is unhappy, or at least was. There’s also a new coach (Cramhole LaFleur) that has to try and work with him and get him to buy into the new offense he wants to run, and establish a relationship. I think if you add a late first round draft pick on top of that potentially combustible situation, it could descend into chaos. That’s why I would love for it to happen, but ultimately why it won’t.
Trades: I’m setting the over/under for first round trades at 4, and will take the over. One will involve the top five. I think tomorrow night is going to be crazy, and I can’t wait.
Okay, those are some of my predictions. Let’s hear yours in the comments below.