“Nothing gold can stay,” Pony Boy once said, or Robert Frost once penned, and so, neither can your golden memories of an NFL Draft on the weekend — two glorious days and a cloud of dust.
Sure, you might be able to fit seven rounds — or more — in two days, but that doesn’t leave much time for commercials. Television dollars dictate that three days are greater than two. They also tell us that it makes no sense to start the draft in the morning, before the west coasters have even had their morning coffee. No way. It wouldn’t be fair for the fans in L.A. to miss the pick that the team they don’t have won’t be picking. Not at all.
And so, gold subsides to green.
Tonight, in prime time, the 2013 NFL Draft begins. However, before you head off to that big draft party, keep in mind that Thursday’s salvo includes only the first round of the draft. That means it is entirely conceivable the Green Bay Packers could trade down, out of the round, and leave you with a big fat zero to celebrate. It would be a good idea to have a contingency plan to fall back on — like booze, women or a really good bean dip.
Fortunately, trading out of the round is a possibility, but not the most likely one. Instead, here is a quick rundown of the latest word…
1. Best defensive lineman available — The rumor from OTAs is that B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly all showed up fat and out of shape, meaning more than usual. Even though, I believe all three of these guys would say they are completely in shape, and that shape is ROUND. With Pickett needing a replacement anyway (he’s 33), the belief here is that the defensive line is the Packers’ greatest need. Sylvester Williams and Datone Jones are popular picks, but I am going to lean towards the more worldly Margus Hunt.
2. Tyler Eifert — It might be hard to believe the Packers would take a tight end in the first round, but in Eifert, they would have a true best player available, or at least, the best player at his position in this draft. He would make the Packers better immediately and allow them to clear $8 million in cap space next season when aloha means goodbye for Jermichael Finley.
3. Eddie Lacy — Most national pundits are moving away from the Packers taking a running back in the first round. However, the local guys continue to embrace it. I think Lacy is a much less likely option than the top two, but I would still rank him as the third most likely pick. The Packers talking with Cedric Benson could mean that they don’t like what they see from Alex Green and James Starks. If those guys are still bothered by their injuries, then DuJuan Harris is currently the only healthy halfback on the roster. The power back, Lacy would be a great change of pace from Harris.
4. Eric Reid — I am not backing off from the belief that a big-time safety like Reid would be great for the Packers. However, there is depth at this position in the draft and on the Packers’ roster.
5. Trade down — It is alleged that rounds two and three are the strength of this draft. With that being the case, it is quite possible that Ted Thompson may look to amass multiple picks in those rounds. One of Thompson’s core beliefs is that drafting quantity best leads to quality. In 2008, Thompson traded out of the first round with the 29th pick and ended up with three second-round picks.
Some still maintain that the Packers might take an offensive tackle with the 26th pick, but with four offensive tackles already on the roster, including two first-round picks, I find that hard to believe. I think it is more likely that the Packers would take a guard or center in the middle rounds. If Evan Dietrich-Smith struggles as a starter, or T.J. Lang has a season like last year, then it would be nice to have a developing player behind them.
Regardless, let’s hope for an impact pick in round one… and good bean dip.