Craig: Variables cloud view of draft choices

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 25, 2013 - 12:31 AM

Questions over potential first-rounders and where the quarterbacks go will shape picks.

Hang on, folks. The first round of the NFL draft is about to get even more unpredictable.

“I think this is going to be one of the most intriguing drafts that I’m going to be associated with,” said Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman, now in his 23rd season as an NFL executive.

Whether Thursday night’s action tops the record 19 trades that marked the first round of last year’s draft remains to be seen. But a deep draft lacking in superstar power does have several teams wishing to move down for more picks and better value later on.

The Vikings have the 23rd and 25th picks and don’t want to trade up. But they’re in prime position and more than willing to trade down with teams that will want to move back into the first round for a quarterback. Of course, that’s assuming the top players in a lackluster quarterback class aren’t prematurely gobbled up by desperate teams trying to generate at least some sort of hope in a quarterback-driven league.

“A lot of what happens on who comes down to us, I think, is predicated on what happens with the quarterbacks,” Spielman said. “We’ve prepared ourselves in case there are no quarterbacks taken by the time we pick and what kind of scenario we will be facing [if there are].”

Spielman joked that there are 8,000 different scenarios that could unfold in this particular first round. Whatever the actual number is, the Vikings’ scouting department and coaching staff probably have discussed them all while tucked in their Winter Park draft bunker in recent weeks.

“Just looking at their faces right now, you can tell everybody is just tired of me,” Spielman said. “Tired of me asking questions, not for the first time but probably for the 500th time. ‘What are we doing on this? Are we sure about this?’ ”

Even without all the trade possibilities, this first round seems to have an inordinate amount of variables. Such as:

• Medical concerns about several players, including Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei (heart condition), Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones (spinal condition), Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden (near-fatal torn blood vessel in his chest), Cal receiver Keenan Allen (knee) and Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner (shoulder).

• Character concerns about Georgia middle linebacker Alec Ogletree, who was suspended twice, failed a drug test and, to top it off, was charged with drunken driving in February.

• The Bills’ interest in Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib. Yeah, Bills coach Doug Marrone and his offensive coordinator, Nathaniel Hackett, coached Nassib at Syracuse last year. But would they really reach for the guy at No. 8?

• The level of the Jets’ desire to replace Mark Sanchez. Is it enough to reach for West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith at No. 9 or No. 13?

• The on-field speed questions and off-the-field attention that comes with taking Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o. Some say he’s not fast enough to be a three-down playmaker. And if he’s not, is taking on his Internet girlfriend hoax story worth the distraction?

These are only a smattering of questions facing Spielman and the league’s other 31 decisionmakers as they prepare for Round 1.

“It’s kind of like putting a Rubik’s Cube together,” Spielman said.

Mark Craig • mcraig@startribune.com

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Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 4
Houston - WP: T. Sipp 5 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Allen 1
San Francisco - WP: T. Hudson 10 FINAL
Washington - LP: D. Fister 3
St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 4 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 5
Chicago WSox - LP: D. Webb 3 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 4
Tampa Bay - WP: D. Smyly 8 FINAL
Toronto - LP: M. Stroman 0
Atlanta - WP: D. Hale 3 FINAL
Cincinnati - LP: M. Parra 1
Seattle - WP: D. Leone 5 FINAL
Boston - LP: K. Uehara 3
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 6 FINAL
Texas - LP: C. Lewis 3
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Locke 8 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: Y. Gallardo 3
Detroit - LP: R. Ray 6 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: R. Pressly 20
Miami - WP: H. Alvarez 13 FINAL
Colorado - LP: F. Morales 5
San Diego - LP: O. Despaigne 1 FINAL
Arizona - WP: J. Collmenter 5
LA Angels - LP: J. Grilli 3 FINAL
Oakland - WP: S. Gray 5
NY Mets - LP: J. Niese 2 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: D. Haren 6
Carolina 7 FINAL
New England 30
NY Giants 35 FINAL
NY Jets 24
Jacksonville 12 FINAL
Detroit 13
Oakland 21 FINAL
Green Bay 31
Chicago 6 FINAL
Seattle 34
Tampa Bay 8/23/14 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 8/23/14 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8/23/14 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Penn State
Real Salt Lake 1 FINAL
FC Dallas 2
Montreal 16 FINAL
Winnipeg 24
Toronto 8/23/14 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Chicago 80 FINAL
Atlanta 77
Los Angeles 72 FINAL
Phoenix 75
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