The Schein Nine  

 

2013 NFL Draft: Nine predictions for how first round will unfold

NEW YORK -- I am an idiot. I know nothing. Or at least it feels that way.

This is the most wide open and subjective draft in NFL history. But that won't stop me from making nine bold predictions about how things will unfold tonight at Radio City Music Hall.

1) Geno Smith is going in the top 10

I already made my case why I think Smith is a franchise quarterback. Where will he go? I asked four general managers this week, and to my surprise, all four said Cleveland. There's legit buzz on Geno and the Browns. The old regime drafted Brandon Weeden. The Browns still need a quarterback. There's a growing sense that Oakland, Jacksonville and Philadelphia all like Geno, too. I think the Raiders are very much in play.

2) Ryan Nassib is going to Buffalo

I wrote this in January. I'm not going to change my mind. I think there's a very strong chance Nassib goes to Buffalo and reunites with his old Syracuse coach Doug Marrone. Now, there's a possibility Buffalo trades back from the No. 8 spot and still gets Nassib. Nassib told me Wednesday on SiriusXM he believes he'll be drafted in the first round, with the Bills, Jets, Jaguars, Cardinals and Browns showing the most interest. While anything is possible, I think the Jets' interest is a smokescreen. I think Nassib becomes the leader at quarterback Buddy Nix has desired for years.

3) Three QBs will be drafted in Round 1

I'm in the minority on this one, and I don't care. I'm going on recent precedent and the flow of the draft this year. We now have slotted salaries, so a neophyte quarterback won't bust your salary cap. Jake Locker, Christian Ponder and Weeden all went much higher than expected in the past two drafts. Many teams in the first 10 picks of Round 2 need a quarterback. Look for one or more of these teams to get another pick late in Round 1 via trade and take the quarterback they crave. Two names to keep in mind are Mike Glennon and EJ Manuel. I know some NFL executives -- as well as former NFL quarterbacks (and my colleagues) Phil Simms, Rich Gannon and Steve Beuerlein -- think Glennon is the second-best quarterback in the draft.

4) No RBs are going in the first round

Eddie Lacy to Green Bay? Last I checked, the offense still goes through Aaron Rodgers, so I would be stunned if Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson went against their DNA and tabbed a runner. Pittsburgh is currently a .500 team with a plethora of needs. There will be players at other positions rated higher. And the Steelers brass likes Jonathan Dwyer. Cincy could be in the running back business, but I think Round 2 is more likely. There's no Doug Martin in this draft. Lacy already has some wear and tear that will worry some teams.


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5) Eric Fisher goes No. 1 overall

Mike Mayock dropped this gigantic nugget on the NFL world Wednesday night. Interesting tidbit: Joe Staley has been telling his good friend Alex Smith that Eric Fisher is the elite tackle in the draft. Smith is sold. I think Andy Reid and John Dorsey are, too.

6) Six of the first 13 picks are offensive linemen

Fisher, Luke Joeckel, Lane Johnson, D.J. Fluker, Chance Warmack and Jonathan Cooper are some of the highest-rated players in the draft. Many of the teams drafting early have major needs on the offensive line. And early props to the teams that pluck Warmack and Cooper. They are two of the best players in the draft.

7) Niners trade up

One mole whispered this to me Wednesday: "Jim Harbaugh has his guy and he won't be denied." San Francisco has a whopping 13 picks. The team is loaded with talent. It wouldn't shock me to see the 49ers make a big move Thursday night, perhaps for a cornerback.

8) Jets trade down -- at least once

The Jets now own pick Nos. 9 and 13 after their fantastic deal with the Buccaneers that sent Darrelle Revis to Tampa Bay. John Idzik inherited a mess. The Jets need players. They need bodies at almost every position. Gang Green could be in prime position to trade down if a quarterback falls or someone craves Tavon Austin or a corner. San Francisco, Minnesota and Atlanta are realistic trading partners.

9) Tampa Bay gets back into Round 1

The Jets made a great deal, netting Tampa Bay's 2013 first-rounder and a conditional pick in 2014. So did the Bucs, picking up the best corner in the NFL. Mark Dominik badly wanted to hold onto the rest of his picks this year, and he did. If a player he and Greg Schiano covet falls late into the first round, they will pounce. Remember, they traded back into Round 1 for Martin last year. And don't rule out a quarterback for Tampa.

Follow Adam Schein on Twitter @AdamSchein

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