Admit it. You’ll feeling a bit like a kid on Christmas morning. In approximately 26 hours from this post, the lights will shine brightly on New York City and all eyes will descend on the pageantry of the 2012 NFL Draft. And, though we already know that Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III will be the first two players selected, that won’t stop the Colts and Redskins from running down the clock.
Make no mistake about it. Those picks are done. However, the “made-for-television” aspect of the ceremonies dictates that there be time for talking and rumor, conjecture and speculation paired with a countdown clock. That element is heightened in 2012 with the new rules in place for the broadcast partners, forcing the action to be unveiled on the big stage by Roger Goodell. Of course, you’ll need to turn off your Twitter feeds, Facebook pages and hide from the radio to make the league’s plan work.
(You should be listening to Petros Papadakis and Lincoln Kennedy break it down on FOX Sports Radio during the NFL Draft.)
The intrigue begins at the No. 3 slot with Minnesota.
- Do they add a protector for Christian Ponder in Matt Kalil?
- Do they try to slow the downfield threats of Brandon Marshall, Calvin Johnson and Greg Jennings by selecting Morris Claiborne from LSU?
- Do they snag Ponder help in the receiving corps with Justin Blackmon out of Oklahoma State?
It’s hard not to grab a lineman that you can set in at tackle and leave there for a decade. There have been whispers down the stretch about run-blocking and the lack of a “mean” streak, but Kalil proved his ability at USC. Given the selection point of Ponder last season (12th overall pick), the big investment has been made at the QB position. To truly determine whether Ponder can become a consistent option under center, they’ve got to protect him. Ponder absorbed 30 sacks in 11 appearances last season and the Minnesota tackles were charted last in the NFL.
That second point among the bullets above remains the mystery point. Six games against Cutler, Stafford and Rodgers leave defensive coordinators nervous.