Why the 2014 NFL draft could be the craziest ever


(Mary Altaffer / AP)

Finally, finally, NFL draft week has arrived after an interminable build-up that left even the nuttiest of draftniks grappling for things to write.

There’ve been rumors, whispers, whispers of rumors and mock drafts and all of it has resulted in … absolutely nothing. If possible, there’s even less clarity than ever about what will happen in the first round Thursday night. This much, at this very moment, is certain: The Houston Texans have the top pick. They will select a player with that pick. Unless they trade it. And every single general manager will, between now and Thursday, obfuscate about what his team’s plans will be.

The five best reasons to watch Thursday night:

1) No one knows what’s going to happen, as of Monday morning. This is unquestionably the most uncertain first round in years an that makes for compelling TV (remembering that the draft makes the White House Correspondents Dinner look as entertaining as seeing “Animal House” for the first time). This could be wild fun, especially if a team like the Atlanta Falcons makes a bold move all the way into the No. 1 pick.

2) Johnny Manziel, naturally. The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner watched his stock plunge and soar and now is regarded as having real NFL potential. But does that mean the Texans take him? He isn’t likely to sit waiting like Brady Quinn or Aaron Rodgers, but he may have to cool his jets for a pick or two. Unless the Cowboys make a bold move.

3) Jadeveon Clowney. He is most likely to be the No. 1 pick, but which team will take him? “Really at this point we don’t know and we really won’t know until right up at the time we have to make a decision because people are talking to us about the possibility of trading down and it’s a question of what people offer, whether their offer is such that it’s worthwhile to trade down,” Texans owner Bob McNair told Houston’s Fox affiliate.

4) Need a reason to watch beyond the first round? Missouri’s Michael Sam is bidding to be the first openly gay player drafted into the league.

5) No matter what happens, nothing will ever top Brett Favre’s 1991 draft-day photo. Nothing.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.

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Marissa Payne · May 5, 2014

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