by Mario Granata
Alright, stop reading. Look up. What day is it? Yes, it is April Fools. However, in thinking of all the ways that I could bring these ideas before you, I could only imagine that releasing them on April 1st would be the only way that people would read them and say, "Oh, I get it." However, like many things in life, there is a truth behind the madness that you are about to read, and the NFL Draft is one of the most unpredictable animals in the world of sport, so without any further adieu, here are 10 Insane Draft Day Scenarios....that might hold some water.
1. Cleveland Browns don't take a Quarterback
Now, this IS insane. For a franchise that has been starving for a consistent signal caller to take lead in Cleveland, holding the first and fourth overall picks in a quarterback-heavy draft, it would be silly for them not to take one. So who would the Browns take with those picks: Saquon Barkley and Bradley Chubb. I know, I know, Insane right? However, a lot of buzz has surrounded Barkley and his combine numbers, as well as Chubb, being the best defensive player on the board, this could actually work for the Browns.
The Browns have new offensive coordinator Todd Haley, who recently came from Pittsburgh, who has...Le'Veon Bell. Haley would know how to use Barkley like Bell, and with the receivers that Cleveland acquired in free agency, he could enjoy the same success. On the other side of the ball, putting Chubb across from Garrett would give offensive coordinators in the AFC North (and around the league) nightmares every week.
2. Barkley Falls Out of the First Round.
This completely contradicts the first Insane Scenario, but due to the recent success of running backs that were selected in the 2nd round or later, talent can be found to fit various systems around the league. Also, the comparison to Bell. Bell is in a contract dispute because he feels he is the best back in the league and wants to be paid accordingly. Don't you think that Barkley will have that type of feeling in 4 (or 5) years from now? Look at the top ground gainers from last season: 2 of the Top 5 were first-round picks. Even more shocking is that only 9 running backs amassed 1,000 yards rushing. Insane.
3. Quenton Nelson is 5th Guard Taken Before a Tackle since 1980.
Okay, okay. This isn't that farfetched when you look at the caliber of the player. The dynamic that goes in the NFL as of late is to draft a tackle, play him at tackle for 12-13 seasons, and then move him to guard for his final years. It doesn't work well with moving a guard to tackle, however, Nelson is one of those rare players who could play for 15 years in the NFL and make double-digit All-Pro teams in the process. Seeing as he would be the 5th guard in 38 years to be taken before a tackle is saying something, but, as we have seen in the 2017 Draft, the Broncos took a tackle with the 20th overall pick...the latest that a tackle has been taken, it doesn't seem like that much of a reach.
4. Four Quarterbacks taken in the Top 5 Picks.
Barring trades, if the picks stay where they are, it is possible that four quarterbacks are selected in the first 5 picks of the 2018 NFL Draft (and that would only be because Cleveland has 2 picks). Conceivably, it could go: Sam Darnold to Cleveland, Josh Rosen to the Giants, Josh Allen to the Jets and Baker Mayfield to the Broncos. Now, the Giants already have Eli Manning, but they have a completely new front office and coaching staff and might want to have 'their' guy in the fold to start their program. The Jets gave up 4 picks to move up 3 spots in the draft, and an impact offensive player usually follows in that scenario, and John Elway might not be able to contain himself if Baker Mayfield is on the board even though he is throwing 18 million at Case Keenum over the next two seasons.
5. No Quarterback Taken until the Fourth Pick.
On the flipside of the number 4 Insane Scenario, the opposite can happen. What if the Browns go with Barkley, the Giants take Nelson and the Jets take Chubb? That would leave the first quarterback to be taken at #4 by the Browns. What an embarrassment of riches that would be? Allow me to explain. The Browns could be infatuated with Barkley (like we all were) and think he is the player to push them over the hump. Working with Haley and having Tyrod Taylor (whose most notable attribute is not turning the ball over) could be a recipe for success for the Browns playing a little throwback style. Nelson makes sense if the Giants want to keep their 37-year old quarterback upright and the Jets, with GM Mike Maccagnan (who spent time in Houston), take a DE from NC State. (Google Mario Williams). This would leave the Browns to take whomever they please or auction the pick to the highest bidder (who will be plenty at that point) and set their team up for the next 2-3 years with picks.
6. Kansas City Trades for the #2 Pick.
Not having a first-round pick doesn't discount you from being a major player in the NFL Draft. Also, connections in the league are all the rage as we have seen with the trade that Kansas City made with Buffalo last year: a trade that anyone can see was made due to the relationship that Andy Reid had with Sean McDermott from their time in Philadelphia. Well, another relationship from Philly was that of Reid and Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur. They worked together for a decade in Philadelphia and if connections mean anything in the NFL, it doesn't get much stronger than that of Reid and Shurmur. The Chiefs don't need a quarterback so this seems like the biggest stretch here, but, hey, its the NFL Draft.
7. Jets Take Bradley Chubb #3.
As mentioned earlier, only impactful 'offensive' players are taken when a trade of that magnitude is orchestrated, however, looking at the background of Jets GM Mike Maccagnan suggests otherwise. He was a college scout for a number of years with the Houston Texans: a Texans team, who, when they had the first overall pick, signed Mario Williams a week before the draft. And here's the kicker: they needed a quarterback that year as well. After spending 25 million dollars on quarterbacks this seasons and drafting the likes of Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg, perhaps the Jets were done with quarterbacks via free agency and want an edge rusher to create havoc in the AFC East. It would fit with Maccagnan (who saw Houston draft Williams, Clowney and Watt in the first round). It would be a very Jet thing to do provided the Giants pass on him at #2.
8. Lamar Jackson goes to the Jets.
What is that you say? Are you kidding me? You're crazy. Yes, a little bit of crazy goes into that process, however, the Jets currently have another Louisville Cardinal by the name of Teddy Bridgewater on the roster who could serve as a mentor to Lamar Jackson over the period of one year. Although Bridgewater isn't at that point in his career yet, the fact that he only signed a one-year deal means that the Jets are going to be in the market for a quarterback next season as well. What better than have a quarterback on the roster who speaks the same language as Jackson showing him how to be a pro in the NFL? Now the fact that Bridgewater puts the playbook into Madden to learn it better and Jackson scored a 13 on his Wonderlic is completely ignored in this scenario, but crazier things have happened.
9. Houston Trades with Buffalo for the 22nd Overall Pick
Last season, Brian Gaine was the Vice President of Player Personnel for the Buffalo Bills and left to be the General Manager of the Houston Texans this year. However, he has spent time in Houston and Miami during his time in the NFL. If the Bills are able to make a move while only dealing their 12th overall pick to get a quarterback, they might be willing to part with their other first-round pick. That connection, albeit a short one, with the Bills could be where Houston could target if they want to get a first-round pick in the 2018 Draft. Seeing as the Bills have a number of picks that they have to give up in order to get into the Top-10 for their quarterback, they could get some of those picks back by trading with Houston.
10. Andrew Luck Traded on Draft Day/OBJ Suspended.
Alright, if you take umbrage with this scenario, you obviously were able to read the title of the article, right? Yes, the Colts have a wealth of cap money as well as draft capital and have Luck locked up until 2022. However, the Colts organization isn't shy about parting with a franchise quarterback if they feel something better is out there. By selecting Luck while Manning was still on the roster was proof of that. Also, the Colts traded back to 6, which means they could still be a player in the quarterback sweepstakes for a team who is looking for a franchise player and have the picks or players to get there. They have the ability to take any contract that is offered to them and can still get a franchise quarterback in the process. The question will be where.
Also, there is always one story that breaks either just before draft day or on draft day. Remember Laremy Tunsil? A 'mysterious' video came out on draft day of Tunsil and he fell down the board. We have seen the video of OBJ but no 'official' ruling has come out on what is going to happen to him. This could make for an interesting draft day trade if the Giants are looking to get rid of him but need a team that has a solid foundation and the cap space to pay him.
Well, if you sat through and read this article, I salute you. There are plenty of things you could be doing at this moment (like finishing up plans for that perfect April Fools prank) but you decided to read through these Insane Draft Day Scenarios and for that I thank you. If any of these come to fruition, believe me, you will be just as shocked as I am. Enjoy your April Fools.