How unpredictable is this year’s NFL draft? We’re just two days away from the start of the first round, and we still don’t have a firm grasp on which of the two elite offensive tackles the Kansas City Chiefs are leaning toward with the No. 1 overall pick — Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher or Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel.
And if there’s that kind of uncertainty at the top, imagine how difficult it is to forecast what the Indianapolis Colts will do some three hours later Thursday night when they go on the clock at No. 24.
There are several factors complicating this draft. Chief among them, the fact so many players are graded so closely together while there appears to be few, if any, franchise cornerstones available.
The class is strongest along the offensive and defensive lines, but there’s little consensus about the order. Fisher, Joeckel and Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson widely are considered the three best offensive tackles in the draft, but analysts have flip-flopped between Fisher and Joeckel at the top throughout the spring.
Behind them come guards Chance Warmack of Alabama and Jonathan Cooper of North Carolina, with the better player again in the eye of the beholder.
On the defensive line, Florida State end Bjoern Werner has been projected anywhere from No. 2 overall to out of the first round altogether — which illustrates the lack of consensus in this draft as well as anything.
There’s even disagreement as to whether Werner can transition to outside linebacker in a 3-4 defensive front, further muddying the picture of which teams might have interest.
Is Werner the draft’s best pass rusher? Or is it Georgia’s Jarvis Jones? Perhaps Oregon’s Dion Jordan? LSU’s Barkevious Mingo? Or maybe raw BYU prospect Ziggy Ansah?
Any one of them could go somewhere in the top 10 or fall to the Colts and even beyond.
This draft appears to be ready to break all the rules. For the first time in 50 years, the first round could go off without a single running back selected — unless, of course, the Cincinnati Bengals really love Alabama’s Eddie Lacy.
There could be two offensive guards taken in the first 15 picks, which also hasn’t happened in a half-century, and the first wide receiver off the board could be 5-foot-8, 173-pound slot speedster Tavon Austin of West Virginia.
The man who threw Austin the football with the Mountaineers, Geno Smith, might be the only quarterback selected in the first round. Or he might not even be the first signal-caller taken. Depends on who you ask.
Colts general manger Ryan Grigson says he’s sifted through some 12,000 possibilities and come up with about 300 names on his draft board. He could call one of them at No. 24 Thursday or trade down into the second round and extend the suspense into Friday evening.
Uncertainty is the order of the day.
In this draft, in this year, anything is possible.