Are you ready for some football?
You're in luck. Because this is the big one. The NFL draft, my peoples!
The NFL draft storms onto the field, so to speak, April 25-27 at New York's Radio City Music Hall, and will be televised on both ESPN and the NFL Network. It marks the first time the draft has been simulcast in its 78-year history.
While this year's draft probably won't have the electricity of elite talent, it does have a couple of fun story lines. We knew the first two picks in 2012; this year is not as predictable. "What I'm hearing repeatedly from some team personnel men, as the draft gets closer and the honesty increases, is that this draft is subpar. Extremely subpar," sports columnist Michael Freeman writes on CBSSports.com. "Few team personnel want to say anything publicly about the paucity of talent out of fear of hearing from the NFL."
Feel the excitement!
So pick up your mock drafts, nerds — it's time to separate the subpar from the extremely subpar. And if nothing else, it's always fun to talk about Manti Te'o and his fake girlfriend.
Here are five things you should know about this year's draft:
1. Who are the presumed front-runners? Well, of course we have the Kansas City Chiefs and Jacksonville Jaguars leading off — with a combined four wins and 28 losses between them last year, they need all the help they can get. Chiefs — if they don't trade down -- are looking for an offensive tackle, who will probably be Central Michigan's Eric Fisher or Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel. The Jags (also assuming they don't trade down) could look to shake up other teams with their pick by taking a quarterback. Look for Jacksonville to snag West Virginia's Geno Smith or USC's Matt Barkley. Oregon linebacker Dion Jordan is a top defensive player with versatility and athleticism — and is likely a first-round pick.
2. Manti Te'o. Even if you're not a football fan, chances are you've heard of this Notre Dame linebacker. Te'o is the poor dude who was a victim of an Internet hoax involving a fake, terminally ill girlfriend. To make matters worse, he lied about the experience to the media — saying that his girlfriend had died. Despite the red face, Te'o is still expected to go in the first round, probably to the Minnesota Vikings.
3. A weak quarterback class. No surefire stars. Everyone wonders where the aformentioned Smith and Barkley will go. A few teams need QBs, but no teams are particularly enthusiastic about those guys. So it's safe to bet that the top QBs will go pretty early.
4. Where will "the Honey Badger" go? Cornerback Tyrann D. Mathieu, aka the "Honey Badger," has been a controversial figure at Louisiana State. After finishing as a runner-up in 2011's Heisman Trophy race, LSU declared him persona non grata after a stack of drug violations. But someone's going to gamble on his talent. Mathieu has said his drug of choice is marijuana — perhaps the Seattle Seahawks or the Denver Broncos can give this mellow dude a home.
5. Who will the New York Jets pick? They go ninth. Just for fun. They will probably suck again this year.
Watch Round 1 Thursday at 8/7c, Rounds 2 and 3 on Friday at 6:30/5:30c, and Rounds 4 through 7 on Saturday at Noon/11c -- all simulcast on both ESPN and NFL Network.
Will you watch the NFL draft? The whole thing?