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New Handfuls of Smoke

What can we tell, with the draft now 44 hours away?

Risers These players seem to be rising, based on all the (dis)information being dispensed:

  • Braylon Edwards The Dolphins are trying to spark a bidding war over him and the Vikings and Redskins appear willing to play.

  • Carlos Rogers If the Redskins don't jump up for Edwards, Rogers could be their guy at nine.

  • Sliders? The draft is a zero-sum game; for every player who rises, one must fall. These players seem to be in danger of sliding:
  • Aaron Rogers could be player one or slip out of the top ten.

  • Ronnie Brown could be player two or slide to Houston at thirteen, depending on what mock you read.

  • Cedric Benson will either be a Bear, or slide to the Cardinals or, perhaps the Texans.
  • Head scratchers These guys are all over the mock draft map:

  • Demarcus Ware He could be a Cowboy at pick eleven, or fall to the Packers at 24, depending on your mock.

  • Thomas Davis Most mocks place him at fifteen with K.C., or sixteen with the Saints. One, however, didn't have him in the first round.

  • Mike Williams He could go as high as Tennessee, where he would play for former college OC Norm Chow, or, if you believe Rick Gosselin of the DMN, fall to the Vikings at pick eighteen.
  • Plot points These teams will shape the contour of round one:

  • Tennessee They could start the run on CBs, or take Aaron Rogers if he falls. Or, they could take a WR. Several teams behind them, most notably Minnesota, Arizona and Washington are watching the Titans pick closely.

  • Dallas The run on DE/OLB rushers will likely begin here. Unless there are some unexpected droppers, like a running back or LB Derrick Johnson, the teams from eleven to fifteen, Dallas, San Diego, Houston, Carolina and Kansas City, could all take pass rushers. If the run begins, teams in the 20 to 25 range could get itchy and either move up to get one of the rushers or try to move out of round one because the best options are gone.

  • Cincinnati The Bengals are assumed to take a defensive player at seventeen, but have started to suggest that they might take one of the offensive players who slide past pick fifteen. If they go for a TE or a wide receiver, teams like Dallas and Jacksonville, at picks 20 and 21, would be happy, because more defensive and OT options would remain.

  • St. Louis Everyone is gifting an offensive tackle to the Rams, and they need one. But Mike Martz loves offense and Isaac Bruce is entering his 12th season. If a guy described as a Bruce clone is on the board (Mark Clayton) can the Rams pass him up? Jacksonville and Baltimore, two teams interested in OTs, would be very pleased if the Rams went skill position at 19. The Steelers, who also want a RT, might be inspired to trade up into the 20 to 21 range to get one if St. Louis passes on guys like Jammal Brown and Khalif Barnes.
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