Draft King Analysis|
April 22, 2013
Lou Pickney, DraftKing.com
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Less than 72 hours before the start of the NFL Draft, some thoughts:
-Jimmy Shapiro sent me some info early today on some of the NFL Draft prop bets that Bovada is offering, and what jumped out at me right away was Eric Fisher being a 1/2 favorite to go to Jacksonville at #2 overall (now down to even money as of this writing). Close behind was Oakland with Sharrif Floyd at -1000 versus field at +550, which is now off the board. I strongly suspect that the betting public jumped on the +550 number, though I also wonder if somebody knew something with that line tempting people so hard to bet on the field.
Betting on the NFL Draft is great fun, so naturally it's illegal in the United States outside of the few places where you can legally bet on sports in this country. Land of the free is just a lyric in a song, not a statement of fact. But however you might personally feel about gambling, ultimately the Vegas/offshore lines are a great source of accurate information about how a given event is expected to turn out, and that's as true for the NFL Draft as anything.
Part of me is wondering if Jaguars GM David Caldwell is a modern-day Kaiser Soze and I'm like Agent Kujan dropping his coffee mug at the end of The Usual Suspects as the bits of information that had been right in front of him the whole time began to hit one after another. If it turns out that the two guys that Caldwell was sold on were Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher, both offensive tackles (which would make sense) and I never gave that the due consideration it deserved before now... well, then, I'll tip my cap to the Jaguars organization.
-This has easily been the most challenging mock draft process that I've been through since I started doing them, going back to the first the one I did for the 2003 NFL Draft on LouPickney.com that generated such a ridiculous volume of traffic that I was inspired to create this website in the summer of that year.
Just as I have for the past several years, I will be participating in the Huddle Report NFL mock draft competition this year. Last year I finished in the top ten, though with the aforementioned difficulty in this year's group and with trades likely to impact things near the top after the deadline, there will be some elements of luck involved. I haven't involved projected trades on here (even in alternates) in years and I'm not about to jump on that train, since that is the mock draft equivalent of a Rubik's Cube since you have to hit on a double spin: the trade *and* the selection(s). No thanks.
Sadly I won't be able to attend the draft in person this year, though as I noted last year, it's really more of a made-for-TV event than anything. By chance, this Thursday is when the May 2013 TV sweeps period begins, and even if I had time available to take off (and I don't), the bosses don't let you take vacation time during sweeps. It will be interesting to see what does and doesn't leak out early as far as picks go, which has become a horribly annoying trend in recent years. Supposedly the deal to keep tipped picks off ESPN and the NFL Network will also apply to reporters and Twitter, but good luck with that, since news will leak out on Twitter no matter what. It always does.
-The vast majority of opinions that I've read on the Jets/Buccaneers trade for CB Darrelle Revis give the nod to the Bucs. In 2009 I had an exchange with Trey Wingo on Twitter where he asserted that Revis was the best corner in the NFL... and he was right. Revis remained right at the top until last season when he suffered a torn ACL in his left knee. Can he recover? Odds are that he can given the incredible advancements that have been made in the past ~20 years in ACL surgery. He'll turn 28 this summer, and while he's slated to make $16 million a year with the new deal he signed with Tampa Bay, none of it is guaranteed.
Tampa Bay gave up the #13 pick in this year's draft and a conditional 2014 pick that will be either a third-or-fourth rounder. But there was certainly no prospect in this year's draft with the ability to come in and make an immediate impact like Revis will, and with the Bucs in desperate need of a top-notch cornerback, Revis certainly will fill a huge need for them. Plus, if for some reason Revis isn't able to regain his old form, it's not like they'll be stuck with a cap-killer contract.
As for the Jets? The thought at this point is that they'll quite possibly go with WVU WR Tavon Austin and a 3-4 OLB at #9 and #13, though some think they would be inclined to go with LSU DE/OLB Barkevious "Kiki" Mingo if he's on the board at #9 and roll the dice on Austin falling to #13. I tend to think it would be the other way around -- there is only one Austin, but there are multiple capable 3-4 OLB prospects, plus there is always the possibility of trading back if the OLB prospects they want are off the board.
Whatever the case, we'll find out how this will all play out very soon.