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Draft King Analysis
April 25, 2013
Lou Pickney, DraftKing.com

Reader feedback is always welcomed here on Draft King. Sound off with your thoughts on Twitter (@LouPickney) or via email at LouPickney@gmail.com.


Running Commentary on the 2013 NFL Draft

Lou (7:24 a.m. EDT): I just got home from work a few minutes ago. When you produce morning television news, your a.m. and p.m. gets flipped around, or at least that's the easiest way for me to explain it to other people. I locked my mock last night, so at this point I'm going to lay back and watch like everyone else.

Last year the line to get into Radio City Music Hall stretched out in a seemingly endless line, stretching from one block after another after another. But this year, with pat-downs and metal detectors slowing up the process, I could only imagine how much of a hassle it's going to be for fans attending. I'm glad I went last year as opposed to this year.

Tonight's the night! More later, but in the meantime check out my recent NFL Draft running commentaries: 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.

Lou (4:26 p.m. EDT): I woke up about noon after ~4 hours of sleep. As much as I would like to chalk it up to being hyped for the draft tonight, this sort of thing happens all the time for me on this shift. I'm going to try to get a few more hours of sleep now before the start of the draft.

Lou (5:24 p.m. EDT): No sleep -- I'll be lucky to get a nap at this point before the draft and then work overnight. Multiple sources are reporting that the Chiefs will draft Central Michigan OT Eric Fisher at #1 overall. That seems somewhat fitting considering how wildly unpredictable this draft has been shaping up to be.

Lou (7:51 p.m. EDT): No sleep, no nap... no problem. It's draft night. My main concern: that they get the 32 picks finished in time for me to make it to work by 11 p.m.

I'm going to be switching back-and-forth from ESPN and NFL Network. On NFLN, Alex Flanigan said from Hawaii that the family of Manti Te'o said he was the victim of the catfish hoax. Well, you might buy into that if you decide to overlook him selling the dead girlfriend angle in multiple interviews after he found out about the deception. He helped sell the lie, and now he has to deal with the consequences.

Lou (7:55 p.m. EDT): Five minutes out from the start of the draft and things are still as unclear as ever. My guess at this point is Fisher at #1 to Kansas City, as has been reported will happen by several media sources, and then Joeckel at #2 to Jacksonville, but the fact that I'm still guessing five minutes out about this is not surprising. Really, it's quite fitting.

Lou (7:57 p.m. EDT): I love the background music that ESPN has for its highlight vignettes. It's stayed mostly unchanged for years -- and rightfully so. When you have something great, there's no reason to change for the sake of change.

Lou (7:59 p.m. EDT): Oh look, there's Russell Wilson on ESPN. That reminds me of my favorite moment from the 2012 NFL Draft: "The highlight of things for me in round three came when Jacksonville drafted Cal punter Bryan Anger at #70 overall, which caused the crowd (including me) to break out in an uproarious round of laughter in mockery of the Jaguars." Five picks later, Seattle drafted Wilson. There's a reason Jacksonville has a new general manager.

Lou (8:05 p.m. EDT): It looks like the Jets are well represented in the crowd. I really enjoyed talking with several Jets fans last year, who were not shy about sharing their opinions with the team. And speaking of the Jets, check it out: NFL Hall of Famer Joe Namath and a live microphone on two networks? It's go time!

Lou (8:07 p.m. EDT): I like that they have full-sized helmets on the various team tables. Just wait until people see the awful two-tone helmet that the Jaguars have when they go on the clock. It looks like someone started to paint it but then quit midway through.

Lou (8:11 p.m. EDT): Kansas City is stalling with their pick, hoping that they will receive a huge last-minute offer. They have the right to do it, but it someone was going to make them a blockbuster offer for the top selection it would have already happened. Later in the draft it makes sense in an "if/then" situation if a certain player falls. But when you know you'll have the pick of the litter, it's highly unlikely that an 11th hour offer is going to come in, particularly in a draft like this one that isn't exactly top-heavy.

Lou (8:16 p.m. EDT): And the leaked reports from earlier this afternoon are true, with Eric Fisher going #1 overall to the Chiefs. @HustleBelt on Twitter approves, no doubt, as the MAC has a player selected at the top spot for the first time ever. Keep in mind that, in contrast, it's entirely possible that the Big Ten could be shut out of the first round of the NFL Draft for the first time in 60 years tonight.

Lou (8:19 p.m. EDT): Interesting that ESPN had the first crack at interviewing Fisher. It has to be awkward with ESPN and NFLN people trying to do their jobs without interfering with each other too much. Deion Sanders just referred to Central Michigan University as a "small school", which is an odd way to describe a school with 28,000+ students.

Lou (8:22 p.m. EDT): Both ESPN and NFLN are in commercial, which makes this a good time to point out how much of a blatantly made-for-TV event the draft is. Until I was there in person last year I didn't truly appreciate the level of stalling/waiting that takes place, but it's not unlike all the TV timeouts during NFL broadcasts where the live crowd is left waiting. When you have a strong product, people will put up with some delays to be part of it.

Lou (8:24 p.m. EDT): And there we go... Joeckel to Jacksonville. On ESPN they showed Joeckel with a giant monitor broadcasting NFLN right behind him. Oops. The NFL stage display for the draft is great, though it appears there is still a notable lack of a continuous display for the live crowd of who has already been drafted.

Lou (8:29 p.m. EDT): I'm not particularly fond of NFLN having five guys on the set. ESPN seems less cluttered with three. Then again, I'm a firm believe that in broadcasting, more often than not the reality is that less is more.

Lou (8:33 p.m. EDT): NFLN showed the Raiders desk and the guy on the phone clearly saying "trade". And it's the Dolphins moving up, and Mel Kiper is saying it's likely to get Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson. Could it be tackle, tackle, tackle as the top three picks?

Lou (8:34 p.m. EDT): Swerve! It's not Johnson but instead Oregon DE/OLB Dion Jordan selected by Miami. Interesting. I feel like I'm playing Mastermind with my top projected guys and have three white pegs: the right combo but the wrong order.

Lou (8:39 p.m. EDT): Miami gives up the #12 and #42 picks to Oakland for the #3 selection. Remember that the Raiders gave up their 2013 second-rounder as part of the awful trade that Hue Jackson made with Cincinnati for Carson Palmer right after Al Davis died. It will be interesting to see if Florida DT Sharrif Floyd and/or Utah DT Star Lotulelei will still be on the board by the time the #12 pick rolls around.

Lou (8:45 p.m. EDT): With the Eagles taking Johnson at #4, it's three offensive tackles off the board in the top four. Oh, and I'm 0-for-4 at this point, yet I'm not surprised by that at all. I wonder if Bovada took a bath on their +550 prop bet listing for "anyone but Floyd" with the #3 pick? I'm not sure if it had the caveat that it only had action if the Raiders kept the pick.

Lou (8:50 p.m. EDT): The cold streak is over, with the Lions taking freakishly talented DE Ziggy Ansah at #5 overall as I projected. If Detroit isn't able to bring the heat with their front four this year between Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, free agent signee Jason Jones *and* Ansah, it will be very surprising.

Lou (8:55 p.m. EDT): It looks like predictions that Alabama CB Dee Milliner falling are holding true, with Cleveland keeping the #6 pick and selecting LSU DE/OLB Barkevious "Kiki" Mingo. I like the pick since Mingo is a great fit for a 3-4 defense and with how the Browns have had such a need for a bona fide pass rush threat for so long. Between drafting Mingo and making moves in free agency like signing Paul Kruger, the new regime in Cleveland is doing what it can to put some legit top-level pass-rushing talent on the field this fall.

Lou (9:02 p.m. EDT): Arizona, with the top three offensive tackle prospects on the board, went with the next best option by selecting North Carolina offensive guard Jonathan Cooper. Shortly after that pick was made, the announcement came that the Rams had traded with Buffalo for the #8 pick, presumably to draft West Virginia WR Tavon Austin. Remember that last year the Rams were leapfrogged by Jacksonville and missed out on WR Justin Blackmon. It appears that won't happen again in 2013.

Lou (9:06 p.m. EDT): The crowd reaction was loud when the Rams/Bills trade was announced at Radio City Music Hall. Over on ESPN, Jon Gruden stated that he thought Sam Bradford was under a lot of pressure this year in St. Louis. I think that's putting it mildly for the $50 million man as he goes into year four with the Rams.

Lou (9:08 p.m. EDT): ESPN is filling time while NFLN is in commercials. The behind-the-scenes coordinating that goes on with the draft broadcast has to be crazy. This would be a good time to mention that the broadcasts have been much more fun/suspenseful to watch without every pick being tipped before the commissioner announces them.

Lou (9:11 p.m. EDT): And it is Austin to the Rams at #8, which presumably foils what many believed the Jets had in mind with the #9 pick. This can't come as a surprise though with Buffalo as such an obvious trade-back partner. The reaction by Jets fans to whomever is selected here will be interesting. They've had to endure some questionable decisions by past management regimes, to put it mildly.

Lou (9:18 p.m. EDT): Jets fans seem pleased by the move to take Alabama CB Dee Milliner at #9 overall. With Darrelle Revis having been traded to Tampa Bay, Milliner fills a need at a key spot by a guy as the near-consensus top cornerback prospect in this draft. Waiting for Milliner at #13 would have been dangerous with the Titans having such a strong need at cornerback lurking at #10.

Lou (9:26 p.m. EDT): I hit on only my second pick out of the top ten with Tennessee drafting Alabama OG Chance Warmack. This means that either Floyd or Lotulelei will be on the board when Oakland comes up at #12, though there have been plenty of whispers that the Raiders could quite possibly be targeting University of Houston CB D.J. Hayden and you can't count out the possibility of West Virginia QB Geno Smith being their choice. Whatever the case, props to Oakland GM Reggie McKenzie for making a savvy move as he tries to fix a Raiders roster that needed more than some slight tweaking when he came on board last year.

Lou (9:31 p.m. EDT): It might have been a bit of a stretch, but San Diego going with Alabama OT D.J. Fluker at #11 makes sense with offensive tackle being such a huge need. That makes three consecutive Crimson Tide players to be drafted, which isn't a surprise since they were all key parts of back-to-back BCS Champion teams at Alabama. It also means that Oakland could get Sharrif Floyd at #12 when they passed on him at #3 to instead trade down.

Lou (9:38 p.m. EDT): So the rumors about Hayden going to Oakland proves to be true, with the Raiders opting for a cornerback as opposed to a defensive tackle. The recovery that Hayden has made after severing his inferior vena cava (vein in his heart) has been nothing short of remarkable, and time will tell if he will prove to be the top-tier cornerback the Raiders believe he can be.

Lou (9:42 p.m. EDT): Jon Gruden just said: "I think Geno Smith has a lot of friends at ESPN" -- that's a shoot! Though, to be fair, Gruden already cast his lot saying that he liked Nassib better as a pro prospect over Geno.

Lou (9:47 p.m. EDT): So much for the Jets going with an offensive player at 9/13, as they opted to draft Missouri DT Sheldon Richardson at the #13 spot. Gruden is now laying into Richardson a bit, referring to him as a one-hit wonder. Note that the real Gruden is on display tonight, not the character in the Monday Night Football booth who seems to like everyone on the field at all times.

Lou (9:52 p.m. EDT): I nailed it! Carolina took Lotulelei at #14 overall. On a draft night where things have gone in a whole bunch of different directions, the sensible pairing of a top-level talent at a position that the previous administration in Carolina ignored to an almost comical level is great news for Panthers fans.

Lou (9:55 p.m. EDT): It took some time, but I finally had a pick spoiled for me on Twitter with the Saints going with Texas free safety Kenny Vaccaro. Through 15 picks, it's one wide receiver and 14 guys that are either linemen or defensive backs off the board. He fills a need and makes sense for New Orleans as the top safety prospect on most draft lists.

Lou (10:03 p.m. EDT): The Twitter tip-offs are starting to come a bit quicker, with reports now that Buffalo is taking Florida State QB E.J. Manuel at #16. I'm personally a big fan of Manuel, who is a patient passer with great skills. So much for the nonsense talk about Buffalo going with Nassib here. While I'm a believer in Geno, I like Manuel just below him in this year's quarterback class, and he should give the Bills as good of a chance to win in 2013 as anyone. Manuel's 68% completion rate, while not as high as Geno's, is still impressive and a sign of potentially good things to come. I strongly suspect he won't be inclined to force things, which is a key trait for any NFL QB prospect.

Lou (10:12 p.m. EDT): Jon Grden suggested that he would like to see Pittsburgh possibly take the Honey Badger and Chris Berman's stunned belief in his response was great. Instead the Steelers made a great selection with Georgia DE/OLB Jarvis Jones, who was a dominant pass-rushing monster against top-level competition in the NFL. I had mocked Jones to New Orleans, but had I gone in another direction there I would have definitely mocked him to Pittsburgh. Great pick.

Lou (10:21 p.m. EDT): There were audible gasps in the audience with the 49ers trading up with Dallas to take LSU safety Eric Reid. Either 80s/early 90s fans were shocked at the idea of the 49ers and Cowboys doing business or... well, I don't have a good explanation for the reaction. But Reid fills a need spot for San Francisco. Then at #19, the Giants picked Syracuse OT Justin Pugh. Hilariously, NFLN showed a nonplussed Giants fan in attendance, but the Giants needed an offensive tackle and with such a run on them hitting early, Pugh makes sense at that spot despite it being perhaps a bit of a stretch.

Lou (10:26 p.m. EDT): My time is running out -- gotta get ready for work. I'll see what Chicago does and then wrap this up. I flipped to ESPN as the Manti Te'o infomercial on NFLN was starting to get to be a bit much for my liking.

Lou (10:30 p.m. EDT): Chicago selected Oregon guard Kyle Long, son of NFL Hall of Famer Howie Long and brother of current St. Louis Rams DE Chris Long. And, with that, I've gotta get ready for work... and as ESPN went to break they showed a bump shot of Geno Smith who looked like he had a migraine hitting. Since I work for a television station in the Huntington/Charleston, WV market, I know I'll have coverage of him on my newscast tomorrow morning, good or bad...


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