One month from today, the NFL draft commences in Chicago. It’ll be the first time since 1965 that the draft has occurred in a city other than New York.
When the draft begins in the 125-year-old Auditorium Theatre, not much is known about how it will play out. The Buccaneers seem to be poised to pick quarterback Jameis Winston, who won’t be in the building for draft. Although they could make it official with Winston at any time, there’s no reason not to wait, given the many things that can happen over the next 30 days — especially with his pro day workout set for Tuesday.
Not that a bad performance would scare the Bucs away, but a fluke injury while essentially playing catch with his former Florida State teammates could. Likewise, anything can happen off the field in the next 31 days; there’s no reason for the Bucs to assume the risk of another embarrassing episode before they absolutely have to.
The next question becomes whether the Titans or someone else will select quarterback Marcus Mariota with the second pick. While there’s a chance that Tennessee will opt to draft someone else, casting their lot at quarterback with 2014 sixth-rounder Zach Mettenberger, the most practical scenario at this point remains Winston to the Bucs and Mariota to someone.
Sure, many of the mock drafts have the Titans taking USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams at No. 2, but with so few franchise quarterbacks and so many NFL owners intent on getting one, the Titans or someone else will be sorely tempted to get that which typically only can be gotten at the top of the draft.
The rest of the names quickly become a blur after the quarterbacks, with the Kevin White/Amari Cooper showdown at receiver becoming the most intriguing one-or-the-other decision after Winston vs. Mariota. Defensively, the biggest this-guy-or-that-guy centers on the Vic Beasley/Dante Fowler Jr. race at pass rusher.
Over the next 30 days, plenty of news and rumors and speculation will emerge, and we’ll be tracking everything right here, all day every day.
I didn’t start this blurb with the goal of it becoming a commercial for PFT. If that makes it any better. Which it probably doesn’t.