“It’s not like there’s a huge pass-rush specialist that everybody is salivating over. They can be cornerstones of a franchise, but fans just don’t get fired up about the big boys.”
Because of the perceived lack of game-changing star power at the top, there has been very little chatter about teams attempting to trade up, like there was last year, when Luck and Griffin went 1-2, and any team with a need at quarterback was expected by their fan base to come up with creative trade proposals. If anything, teams are looking to trade down, since there is lower-round value to be found.
Across the board, it’s a weaker skill group. There might not be a running back taken in the first round; the highest-rated wide receiver, Tavon Austin of West Virginia, isn’t expected to go until the mid-teens, unless a team selecting higher feels it can’t pass up his penchant for big plays. But even that is a risk, Evans said.
“Most people have Tavon Austin as their No. 1 [wide receiver], and this guy is a 5-8, 174-pound football player. And this is the star of the wide receiver class?” Evans said. “Despite his big-play potential, give me one player in our business that at 5-8, 174, has done anything productive consistently.”
It’s clear what this draft doesn’t have. It’s also clear what it does. So get ready to hear a steady stream of linemen getting called to the podium Thursday night, and a whole bunch of pancake-block highlights being shown on the telecast.
“When you’re talking about offensive linemen, if they’re top-10 guys, they could have 10- or 15-year careers, and you still might not ever hear their names,” Kanell said. “They might make three or four Pro Bowls, but they’re offensive linemen, and you just don’t talk about them a lot.”
Michael Whitmer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.