Commentary

Tip Sheet notes: Added draft intrigue

New format means Rams' second-round pick will likely generate trade interest

Originally Published: April 16, 2010
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com
Only once in the past 10 years -- when Oakland swapped spots with Arizona -- has a franchise holding the top overall pick in the second round traded out of that slot.

But with the league's new format next Thursday -- and teams having an entire night to not only think about the first round, but also evaluate who is still on the board for Friday's second go-round -- that is likely to change. Given that every club will have extra time to reconfigure its draft board, and the names remaining, the St. Louis Rams and general manager Billy Devaney figure to be very popular people.

The Rams, who possess the top selection in the second round, almost certainly will attract plenty of trade proposals from teams that have watched some coveted prospects slip past the first round. The price tag for a second-round pick is significantly less, too, than a first-round choice, and clubs might jump at the chance to grab a player they had rated higher but at a more palatable price.

The question: Does St. Louis, whose many needs require quantity almost as much as quality, bite on any of the offers?

St. Louis figures, because of the new format, to have opportunities to squirrel away extra picks in exchange for allowing a club to move into the No. 33 overall spot, at the top of the second round. The extra time is clearly part of the intrigue this year.

"It could make a difference for the teams at the top of the round, with other teams trying to move up," Denver coach Josh McDaniels told The Boston Globe earlier this week. "From the first day to the second, ultimately, you're going to have a lot of time, and there are going to be better players sitting there. … I think it will make the second day a lot more interesting."

Noted New England coach Bill Belichick, who acknowledged it will be "interesting" to assess the inner-workings of the new, three-day draft: "I kind of think the second round will now be like the first round. … In the past, you kind of rolled into that [second] round. Now you actually have the whole night to sit there and think about it."

Although the top of the second round hasn't particularly been a hot spot for wheeling and dealing in the past decade, the initial choice of the second day has been. Each of the past two years -- Detroit swapping the pick to the New York Jets (who picked tailback Shonn Greene) in 2009 and Miami dealing the pick to Detroit (who picked tailback Kevin Smith) in '08 -- the franchise picking first on the second day dealt those selections. In those years, the top pick of the second day was a third-rounder; this year, though, it will be a second-round choice.

And that's going to make a difference.

"Teams are going to go back into their bunkers, re-study their boards overnight, and decide there is a guy they really want badly [at the top of the second round], rather than hope that he just falls to them," said Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher.

If the draft is as deep as experts suggest, the Rams will elicit interest in the 99th overall pick, the first selection in the fourth round, as well. That's the first pick of Saturday, the final day of the three-day lottery, and there should be some solid prospects remaining on draft boards around the league.