The rumor mill for the 2013 NFL Draft is busy churning just one day before the Kansas City Chiefs' first selection is announced. Soon, the constant chatter about draft risers and fallers, potential trades and prospect visits and trades will be over. For now, however, there is still plenty for draftniks to chew on.
Wednesday has provided an unending stream of speculation, from where Ryan Nassib will fall (anywhere) to what the Oakland Raiders could do at No. 3 (anything). One thing is clear: Things are just as uncertain as they were four months ago.
Nassib has picked up steam as a favorite to land with the Buffalo Bills at No. 8 overall in the last week-or-so. If he slips past Buffalo, however, it's impossible to tell just exactly where he will land. Some teams have Nassib as a fourth round prospect on their draft boards, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Nassib's future is perhaps as uncertain as any player's in the draft.
Luke Joeckel has been the favorite to land with the Chiefs at No. 1 overall for some time. However, that may no longer be the case, according to Jason La Canfora. The Chiefs are trying to trade left tackle Branden Albert, but if a deal can't get done, they may draft Fisher instead. The team reportedly considers Fisher a stronger right tackle prospect who could start on the opposite end of the line from Albert, whereas Joeckel is more of a pure pass protector who would need to play at left tackle.
The Bucs may be mulling over a trade up from the No. 43 overall selection in the second round of the draft. The team gave up its first-round selection to the New York Jets in exchange for Darrelle Revis, but it has seven total picks between the second and seventh rounds to potentially to use to move back into the first. Last year, general manager Mark Dominik executed a trade to move from No. 36 to No. 31 to select Doug Martin.
In what would probably be a massive coup, the Baltimore Ravens are considering moving up from the No. 32 overall pick into the top 10 for a shot at Oklahoma left tackle Lane Johnson. The Ravens would have to give up a bounty to move up the likely two dozen-plus spots needed to snag Johnson. The team needs a fresh face at left tackle, however. Bryant McKinnie played well late last season, but he is aging and probably isn't worth the yearly headache at this point.
Bad news for Slay: Just one day before the start of the draft, Pro Football Talk revealed that the cornerback has a torn meniscus in his knee. NFL teams have likely known about the injury for a while now, but it still doesn't bode well for Slay's draft status. The Mississippi State prospect appears to be a Day 2 selection, but he could slip to Day 3 if teams are really worried about any recurring knee problems.
The Raiders have several glaring needs, particularly on defense. General manager Reggie McKenzie won't let those needs dictate his draft strategy, however. He told the Contra Costa Times that he will look to draft the best player available with the No. 3 overall selection. Luckily, the team's needs also align with some of the strengths in the draft. A defensive tackle makes a lot of sense, whether it's Utah's Star Lotulelei, Missouri's Sheldon Richardson or Florida's Sharrif Floyd. The Raiders may also target a pass rush like Oregon's Dion Jordan, LSU's Barkevious Mingo or BYU's Ezekiel Ansah.
The Atlanta Falcons have "intense interest" in Boise State cornerback Jamar Taylor, according to Draft Insider. In fact, Draft Insider says "pencil him in" at No. 30 overall if the Falcons don't make a trade or a gifted pass rusher doesn't fall. Taylor is rated as the No. 6 cornerback in this year's draft class by SB Nation's Dan Kadar.
Milliner has been considered the draft's best corner prospect since the end of the college football season, but news that he would have to miss offseason training activities due to multiple surgeries for different injuries may have put some doubt in the minds of NFL teams. Or, you know, maybe not. According to Draft Insider, 22 of 32 NFL teams still consider Milliner to be the best player at his position in this year's draft class. It's hard to know whether that ratio has shrunk in recent weeks, but Xavier Rhodes, Desmond Trufant and D.J. Hayden certainly have their backers.
While many might dispute the claims of this particular general manager, it's hard to argue that this year's draft class isn't deficient in a few key areas. Most prominently, there does not appear to be a surefire franchise quarterback, unlike in 2012 when Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III were the obvious top-two draft picks. This GM believes there is a dearth of impact players, as well. Make of that what you will.