The NFL Draft is upon us, which means the surprises will be peppered throughout the eventful first night.
There are a slew of questions that fans and teams alike will have to wait for until the draft kicks off, but there are some predictions, while outlandish, could very well happen.
Here are five first-round surprises that could occur Thursday as the event kicks off:
Kyler Murray doesn’t go No. 1
Many think because of his ties with new Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury, combined with current quarterback Josh Rosen’s rookie season woes, former Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray will be selected by Arizona with the top pick. However, Murray’s size, the fact that Rosen only has one year under his belt (which was with fired coach Steve Wilks) and the team’s need for a stronger defensive line makes it plausible that they don’t go for a quarterback. Don’t be surprised if defensive end Nick Bosa or even tackle Quinnen Williams end up being selected with the top pick.
Speaking of quarterbacks…
Let’s talk about the other three quarterbacks who have received a lot of hype heading into the draft. Ohio State’s Dwyane Haskins, Missouri’s Drew Lock and Duke’s Daniel Jones all are predicted to be taken sometime in the first round, but do they all have the clout that NFL teams are looking for? Despite the hype that Haskins and Lock have received, Jones has quietly moved up the draft board in several mock projection. This could become a reality, especially with some team (cough, Giants, cough) in high need for a young, versatile quarterback. Jones fits that bill, and has developed a relationship with current Giants QB Eli Manning, who trains at Duke during the offseason. Since the Giants are hanging on to Manning for 2019, it makes sense that they draft a quarterback who has built a rapport with him and can transition easily into that starting role.
DE Montez Sweat falls out of the top 10
Many have former Mississippi State defensive end Montez Sweat being selected No. 8 overall by the Lions, but his previously unknown heart condition has complicated matters a bit. While the condition is considered minor, it still will give teams a pause before selecting him. It’s believed that several teams have decided to pass on Sweat altogether, likely causing him to tumble down the draft board a bit. His size and talent (Sweat registered 22 tackles in two seasons at Mississippi State) still make him a first-round pick, but many teams don’t want to have to worry about any cardiac issues or disciplinary issues (he was dismissed from Michigan State’s team for undisclosed reasons).
Remember Quinnen Williams?
The former Alabama tackle was mentioned earlier as being a possible No. 1 pick. While that might be a stretch, Williams will be a top-5 pick for sure. He is giant, freakishly fast and was nothing but dominant with the Crimson Tide. At 6-3, 303 pounds, he ran the 40 at the NFL combine in 4.83 seconds and registered 18.5 tackles for loss in additio to seven sacks last season. No matter how good an NFL team’s defense is, adding Williams wouldn’t be a waste. If anything, the Raiders should be licking their chops at Williams, especially after they traded Khalil Mack away and were left hurting on defense all of last season. For the record, the Raiders currently have the No. 4 pick.
D.K. Metcalf falls out of the top 20
Yes, the former Ole Miss receiver who went viral over his super ripped physique and miniscule amount of body fat won’t be taken in the first 20 picks. Why? Lack of experience and injuries. While there is no doubt Metcalf is talented and fit, he played in just two games in 2016 and seven last season due to various injuries. Those injuries mean he had one good season, and is that enough for NFL teams to invest in? There is also the issue of Metcalf’s drop issues and his lackluster shuttle and 3-cone times at the combine. While he has been projected to go reasonably high in the draft, there are too many iffy points that make him a questionable choice for many NFL teams. He will still go in the first round, but not as high as many people think.