More than four months after Senior Bowl week concluded, draft season is nearly over. The intriguing, sometimes interminable speculation will end. We promise.
On Thursday night, we finally get answers. So let's go over some of the draft's biggest questions:
Where will Marcus Mariota land?
Marcus Mariota's future has been the central draft question for months, and it feels like we're no closer to knowing where he will land. Tennessee's brass has tried hard to sell the notion they could take Mariota, while also making it clear the pick is for sale. NFL Media's Jeff Darlington noted Wednesday that the Titans are making calls about potential trades, not just taking them. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports that the Browns are the most likely team to move up to No. 2. On Thursday, Rapoport reported that teams believe the Titanswant to take Mariota. And that's why they are driving such a hard bargain.
If the Titans were truly sold on Mariota as their next franchise quarterback, would any of this speculation occur? The top two picks are not quite preordained like Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III in 2012. The Titans have created a market that include many teams, including the New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles. (Mike Mayock suggested the possibility of the Jets trading up for Mariota. And the rumors surrounding Philadelphia's offers are wild.)
As we get closer to the draft, it is looking less likely that Mariota gets past No. 2. We're still not totally convinced the Titans will be the ones to get him.
Are the Philip Rivers and Adrian Peterson potential trades dead?
Rivers and Peterson have made varying cases to get dealt over the last few months, but they don't get to decide. Rivers won't talk contract with San Diego and doesn't want to potentially move to Los Angeles in 2016. But the Chargers have him under contract and little motivation to move him unless they truly love Mariota.
There are many things getting in the way of a Rivers trade. The Titans could want more than Rivers in exchange for the relatively inexpensive contract of the No. 2 overall pick. Rivers would also have to work out an extension in Tennessee and pass a physical. That's a lot of moving parts to happen when the Titans are on the clock. San Diego doesn't look willing to play ball.
Between the contract, trade compensation and uncertainty of Mariota, there are too many variables to expect a trade. This one looks all but dead.
The Minnesota Vikings want to make the playoffs in 2015, just like the Chargers. The Vikings know that trading Adrian Peterson makes them worse, and they appear willing to pay him more money than any other team. They have no intention of moving Peterson, and Rapoport reports that the Cowboys won't jump in the bidding. Perhaps Arizona could make a sweetheart offer, but that would be a big surprise at this stage. Peterson appears very unlikely to get his wish to leave Minnesota.
How high can Todd Gurley go?
He's a top 10 talent, and perhaps that's where he'll go. We are likely to see a devaluation of the tired narrative that "running backs have been devalued" in 2015.
Will Shane Ray, La'el Collins and Randy Gregory slide?
Each of the players above have been in the news this week for very different reasons. Ray was cited for marijuana possession and could require foot surgery. Once considered a likely top-10 pick, Mike Mayock now has Ray falling out of the first round. At some point, a team will decide his risk is worth the potential reward of a top player.
La'el Collins, an offensive lineman from LSU, left Chicago and the NFL Draft on Wednesday to meet with authorities for an investigation in Louisiana, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported, according to a source. Baton Rouge (Louisiana) Police told NFL Media on Tuesday that they have been in contact with Collins' agent to schedule a meeting concerning what he might know to help them concerning the death of Brittany Mills. But that meeting is not expected to happen during the draft.
Collins is not considered a suspect in Mills' shooting death, which occurred on Friday. On Tuesday, NFL general managers were informed about the situation according to Rapoport. Deryk Gilmore, the agent for LSU star offensive lineman La'el Collins, is attempting to pull his client from the draft in an effort to clear his name, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. In this scenario, Collins would enter the supplemental draft.
Randy Gregory, meanwhile, is facing concerns about about his ability to "handle the mental rigors" of the NFL according to more than a dozen coaches, scouts, personnel chiefs and GMs who spoke with Rapoport and NFL Media's Albert Breer. Gregory also failed a drug test at the NFL Scouting Combine. Gregory is viewed as a top-five talent who could fall out of the first round.
What veterans could be on the move?
Chicago tight end Martellus Bennett and Eagles defenders Mychal Kendricks, Fletcher Cox, and Brandon Boykins are among the names that could be available. Perhaps the Eagles would even be willing to part with quarterback Sam Bradford in order to get Mariota. The Browns, for one, believe they have a chance to acquire Bradford on Thursday. We got this far without wondering what Chip Kelly could be up to on Thursday night. After this offseason, that could be the ultimate wild card.
And we have just a few hours left before we get to find out all the answers.