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Pi Network

Draft King Analysis
April 1, 2015
Lou Pickney,

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It's somewhat fitting that April Fools' Day falls in the heart of NFL Draft season. You don't need someone trying to pull a prank to run across misleading or inaccurate information being intentionally passed off as the truth. It's misinformation season in the NFL. And that's part of the challenge of draft prognostication -- separating fiction from reality.

There was nothing phony about what happened to two NFL teams earlier this week. On Monday, the league announced that the Atlanta Falcons would be penalized for piping in crowd noise (against NFL rules) during home games at the Georgia Dome by, in part, losing a fifth-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.

That stings (and there's more to it than just that), but I was thinking they could be losing a day two selection (rounds two and three) as punishment. So, while they will lose a pick, it's not as bad as it could have been. And while the accompanying $350,000 fine is no fun, it's not exactly a crippling penalty.

Meanwhile, the Browns were penalized but not forced to forfeit any picks for illegal texting being done mid-game by team GM Ray Farmer last season. But they also lost offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan in the process, and while Farmer denies that is part of why Shanahan parted ways from the team, there is still a public perception that it did.

Speaking of speculation, there's plenty of talk about the possibility of a team trading up to nab Oregon QB Marcus Mariota at #2 overall, and for the right price the Titans likely would move down from that spot. At this point I still think it's more likely that he'll fall to the Jets at #6, if not further.

I also suspect that Washington is more likely to deal the #5 pick to a team wanting Mariota than it is to use the pick to draft him themselves. Perhaps the Redskins will prove me wrong, but I suspect it's all bluster out of DC about Mariota in the hopes of finding a trade partner.

The latest update to the 2015 NFL Mock Draft on here only had a slight alteration, moving down Randy Gregory to Miami at #14. There will be more adjustments to come, since as always this is a gigantic puzzle with an ever-shifting image. The challenge is to figure out which clues are real, which isn't exactly an easy task. And even legitimate leaks can turn into dead ends as teams re-evaluate, sign free agents in the days leading up to the draft, or find through unfortunate incidents involving a given player that they now have new needs.

Of course, if it were easy, it wouldn't be as much fun or be anywhere near as compelling of a process.

As if it weren't bad enough that the Jaguars have intentionally put themselves at a competitive disadvantage every year since 2013 by voluntarily playing a home game in London, now they're trolling their Jacksonville fans extra-hard by having two picks be announced this year from England. I'm guessing they're doubling up in the event that circumstances lead them to trade one of those selections.

It makes zero sense to me why a team would agree to play a home game in London without receiving anything in return, unless the underlying goal is more sinister. If you're a team pondering relocation, it's a sure way to agitate your fan base. It sure looked that way with the Rams before they backed off from their London ambitions, though not before they lost a once-in-eight-years home game against the Patriots.

In some ways, it feels like the desperation moves that low-level Division I-A/FBS college football games are forced to make to land major conference opponents on their schedule. Notice how it's never a large market team that has to relinquish a precious home game to the NFL's quixotic British Experience tour.


Jameis Winston: Did Pro Day Impact Winston's Stock?
Comparing Winston's Pro Day workout with his NFL Combine performance.

Quarterbacks: Other QBs in the NFL Draft
The best quarterback prospects in the draft not named Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota.

NFL Discipline: Does the Punishment Fit the Crime?
Analysis of the punishments levied on the Browns and Falcons.

Cleveland Browns: Are the Browns Done at QB?
Evaluating Cleveland's long-term prognosis at quarterback.


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