Merry Christmas, draftniks!
The opening round of the 2019 NFL draft takes place tonight in Nashville. With that in mind, here are five burning questions regarding one of the most highly anticipated nights on the annual NFL calendar.
1. Who will the Arizona Cardinals take first overall?
We don’t know and nothing has leaked definitively, so this has to lead. A lot of signs point to Oklahoma Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray, but those reports have cooled off lately and the Cardinals suggested this week they were yet to make a decision. The Cards, who already have 2018 No. 10 overall pick Josh Rosen on the roster, could pass on Murray and take a blue-chip defensive lineman like Nick Bosa or Quinnen Williams, or they could trade the pick to a team like Oakland.
2. What do Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock have up their sleeve?
And why do they share a sleeve? NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport says they’re planning a potential surprise in the No. 4 spot, and they’ve sent all of their scouts home so who knows what they’re up to. Gruden has been unpredictable since returning to the job last year, while this is Mayock’s first rodeo. Oakland has three first-round picks, which should result in drama.
3. Will the New York Giants finally draft Eli Manning’s successor?
Manning is 38, and no longer a good professional football player. But the Giants still seem to love him. Still, they’re also apparently enamored by Duke’s Daniel Jones, who was coached in college by the same dude who coached Manning (and his big bro) at Mississippi. Don’t be surprised if they use one of their two top-20 picks on Jones or one of the other potential first-rounders in this draft class (Murray, Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock).
4. Which veterans will be traded?
Now that stud pass-rusher Frank Clark has been sent from Seattle to the Kansas City Chiefs, star cornerback Chris Harris is the top veteran to watch. He wants to be dealt if he doesn’t get a new deal, but the Broncos signed two starting-caliber free agents at his position last month. And there’s even a possibility the Raiders wind up with Murray or Lock or Haskins and ship Derek Carr off. Plus, don’t rule out a Tyreek Hill deal in light of his messy situation, but teams might not be interested in wading into those waters right now.
5. How many quarterbacks will go in Round 1, and where will they land?
Murray is likely a top-five pick, while Haskins, Lock and Jones have widely been projected as top-20 selections. But any of those three could slide considering current quarterback supply-and-demand dynamics. There’s also a chance intriguing West Virginia product Will Grier slips into the bottom of the first round.