Deep draft could lead to flurry of trades after Luck, Griffin III

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 25, 2012 - 11:52 PM
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Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck will go No. 1 in Thursday's draft, followed by Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III. Things could get interesting after that.

Photo: Paul Sakuma, Associated Press

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Months of smokescreens, planted rumors, half-truths and bald-faced lies ends Thursday night when 32 teams finally show the hands they hope will lead them past the pitfalls of the 77th NFL draft and onto the right path toward a Super Bowl victory.

The first two teams -- Indianapolis and Washington -- will take quarterbacks Andrew Luck of Stanford and Robert Griffin III of Baylor, respectively. Luck replaces Peyton Manning, while RG3 has to live up to the Redskins' decision to trade three first-round picks and two second-rounders to move up four spots.

No pressure there.

The fun could start at No. 3, where Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman has done his poker-faced best to paint four equal options: trading down or selecting Southern California left tackle Matt Kalil, Louisiana State cornerback Morris Claiborne or Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon.

This is the sixth draft that Spielman has directed for the Vikings, but his first with final say.

"I'm very excited, not to be in this position [coming off a 3-13 season], but to be in this position at No. 3 because you're going to have to make a decision that's going to kind of set the cornerstone of our future," Spielman said. "So whether we stay at No. 3 or not, that first pick, we're hoping, is going to have a huge impact on our organization."

A flurry of activity could ensue after the third pick as several other teams look to trade down and collect more picks in what's widely considered a deep draft, particularly at receiver, cornerback and defensive tackle -- all positions of need for the Vikings.

The three-day event begins with the first round Thursday night. So sit back and pace your beverage intake while we toss out four draft-related questions to ponder.

1. Which QB will have the better rookie year?

The bar for rookie quarterback play continued to be raised last year when No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton threw for 4,051 yards and ran for 14 touchdowns, an NFL record for quarterbacks.

Many experts consider Luck to be the best quarterback prospect since John Elway came out of Stanford in 1983. But it's RG3 who's expected to have the better NFL start because the Redskins have a better team and invested more in free agency.

"The Colts have so many holes, it almost on paper looks like an expansion team," said ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. "It wouldn't surprise me if they're picking No. 1 again next year. Andrew Luck, you just hope he can survive with this personnel around him."

Kiper said the Colts' real pressure this week is using the nine other picks they have to make Luck's supporting cast better.

"If Andrew Luck doesn't look great, it's not his fault," Kiper Jr. said.

Answer: RG3.

2.Who is the No. 1 boom-or-bust player?

This is the first time since 1999 that quarterbacks will be taken 1-2. But neither one of them is considered a boom-or-bust prospect. Right or wrong, they're both widely considered future booms.

But that's not to say there isn't a quarterback competing for the top of that list.

No player has been discussed more in recent weeks than Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill. We'll find out soon enough whether he's truly a hot prospect worthy of trading up for or the subject of considerable pre-draft gamesmanship.

"A boom-or-bust kind of guy is Tannehill," said NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock. "He's a franchise guy, but you've only seen 19 [college] starts."

Others on that list, according to Mayock: offensive tackles Mike Adams (Ohio State) and Jonathan Martin (Stanford), as well as defensive linemen Dontari Poe (Memphis) and Quinton Coples (North Carolina).

"Coples could be an All-Pro," Mayock said. "But he has bust potential written all over him."

Answer: Tannehill.

3. Will Hill fall to No. 35?

Georgia Tech receiver Stephen Hill is an intriguing possibility for the Vikings at No. 35. If he makes it past the bottom of the first round, which is looking less likely.

The 6-4, 215-pounder became the fastest riser in this year's draft when he ran a 4.36 40-yard dash at the scouting combine. But he's also raw, having played in an offense that ran the ball 77 percent of the time.

"You're betting a lot on his athletic ability and not a whole lot on college production if you take him high," Mayock said.

Answer: No.

4. Who's the team to watch?

A big deal is made of free agency, but Super Bowl teams are built primarily with consistently shrewd selections throughout the draft and unearthed rookie free agents that eventually shock the league.

No team does this better than the Steelers, which makes it only fitting that they've won a record six of the eight Super Bowls they've played.

In the past 10 drafts, Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert has ignored free agency while plucking starters from all seven rounds and the pool of undrafted rookies. Twelve of those homegrown players have become Pro Bowl players, which ties the Cowboys and Patriots for the second-highest total in the league over that period. Only the Chargers (16) have had more.

Colbert has found a franchise QB at No. 11 (Ben Roethlisberger). He has found four Pro Bowl players with mid-to-late first-round picks. He has found LaMarr Woodley in the second round, Chris Hope and receiver Mike Wallace in the third round, Antonio Brown in the sixth round and Brett Keisel in the seventh round. He has also signed Willie Parker and James Harrison, the 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, as undrafted rookies.

"The Packers, Patriots and Steelers, those are the teams that build through the draft, don't overpay in free agency, and ... tend to stay true to certain things that they believe in," said ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay. "And their scouts all know what they're looking for in positions and the players that fit what they're doing."

The Giants and Ravens have had similar success. In the past 10 drafts, they've each had 11 draft picks become Pro Bowl players. The defending champion Giants also have won two of the past five Super Bowls.

Answer: The Steelers. Pittsburgh has 10 picks this year. That's tied with the Colts, Vikings and Jets for third-most behind the Browns (13) and Packers (12).

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Philadelphia 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Utah 101 FINAL
Orlando 94
Charlotte 109 FINAL
Philadelphia 91
Brooklyn 91 FINAL
Cleveland 95
Washington 105 FINAL
Miami 103
Minnesota 98 FINAL
Boston 114
Toronto 110 FINAL
Detroit 100
Chicago 103 FINAL
Memphis 97
Portland 129 FINAL
San Antonio 119
LA Clippers 106 FINAL
Denver 109
Oklahoma City 104 FINAL
LA Lakers 103
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 3
Anaheim 2 FINAL
Ottawa 6
NY Islanders 2 FINAL
Detroit 1
Boston 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Dallas 2 FINAL
Calgary 1
Wilberforce 71 FINAL
Youngstown St 92
Jackson State 49 FINAL
Tulane 56
Siena 66 FINAL
Radford 76
Stillman 49 FINAL
Alabama 69
Case Western Reserve 65 FINAL
Bucknell 88
Niagara 62 FINAL
Buffalo 88
SD Christian 46 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 69
Concordia (MI) 60 FINAL
Central Mich 97
Northern Ill 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 58
North Florida 83 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Hiwassee 71 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 91
Tennessee St 54 FINAL
Hampton 66
NC A&T 57 FINAL
Kent State 71
Central Penn College 65 FINAL
Liberty 94
Eastern Ky 72 FINAL
Miami-Florida 44
Northern Ky 83 FINAL
Morehead State 60
Northern Ariz 62 FINAL
Norfolk State 81
MD-Eastern Shore 43 FINAL
Old Dominion 60
St Marys-CA 47 FINAL
St Johns 53
Clemson 45 FINAL
South Carolina 68
Tenn Tech 58 FINAL
Tennessee 61
Washington-MD 46 FINAL
William & Mary 86
Bethune-Cookman 46 FINAL
Mercer 67
Furman 78 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 83
South Dakota St 53 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 49
Milligan 53 FINAL
Lamar 80
LSU-Alexandria 71 FINAL
ULM 76
Southern Utah 57 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 73
Chattanooga 58 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 68
Seattle 57 FINAL
Minnesota 92
Lipscomb 55 FINAL
Princeton 77
Winthrop 71 FINAL
SE Louisiana 81
Dickinson State 48 FINAL
North Dakota 78
New Orleans 56 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
TX-Pan American 60 FINAL
Creighton 75
Colorado State 85 FINAL
Denver 84
Alabama A&M 49 FINAL
Marquette 83
Ark-Pine Bluff 51 FINAL
Texas Tech 72
Eastern Wash 67 FINAL
California 78
Idaho State 56 FINAL
Utah State 69
Arizona 60 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 55
Hawaii 94 FINAL
Chaminade 63
Nevada 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Ohio Valley 33 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
East Tenn St 48 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 61
Cal-Irvine 44 FINAL
Purdue 69
Campbell 63 FINAL
Stetson 76
Jacksonville St 70 FINAL
Charleston Southern 43
Louisiana 64 FINAL
Alcorn State 57
Denver 63 FINAL
Wright State 72
Blue Mountain 30 FINAL
Central Arkansas 71
Texas State 51 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 40
Albany 62 FINAL
Pepperdine 36
TX-San Antonio 53 FINAL
Houston 56
Yale 66 FINAL
Bucknell 73
Northern Colorado 56 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 69
Belmont 86 FINAL
Mercer 83
Massachusetts 66 FINAL
Georgia State 71
George Mason 69 FINAL
Winthrop 57
Portland State 33 FINAL
Princeton 104
UCLA 71 FINAL
Samford 52
Mobile 30 FINAL
Alabama State 66
Nicholls 49 FINAL
Texas Tech 76
Toledo 65 FINAL
Nevada 56
UMass Lowell 48 FINAL
(13) Duke 95
St Marys-CA 49 FINAL
Virginia 62
McNeese State 55 FINAL
Rice 57
McMurry 49 FINAL
Houston Baptist 69
NJIT 62 FINAL
Seton Hall 74
(6) North Carolina 65 FINAL
Maine 36
Lafayette 58 FINAL
Stony Brook 60
Siena 62 FINAL
Binghamton 53
Longwood 56 FINAL
Clemson 72
Savannah State 51 FINAL
Florida State 97
(19) Syracuse 72 FINAL
(9) Baylor 74
Buffalo 68 FINAL
Manhattan 58
Canisius 43 FINAL
Michigan 79
Davidson 66 FINAL
NC State 82
Northern Ky 63 FINAL
Delaware 58
Saint Louis 81 FINAL
Austin Peay 86
(25) DePaul 64 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 98
Ohio U 74 FINAL
La Salle 63
Florida Atlantic 60 FINAL
Long Beach St 85
Miami-Florida 65 FINAL
Tulane 70
Miss Valley St 39 FINAL
Memphis 62
Ark-Pine Bluff 56 FINAL
UAB 65
Bowling Green 58 FINAL
Illinois State 54
Arkansas State 78 FINAL
Missouri State 62
ULM 42 FINAL
Wichita State 57
(16) Oregon State 71 FINAL
Southern Ill 55
Pacific 67 FINAL
New Mexico St 62
No Dakota State 79 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 86
Utah State 92 FINAL
Sacramento St 102
Bethesda (CA) 61 FINAL
Fresno State 83
Utah Valley U 44 FINAL
Montana 68
LSU 78 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 45
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