For me, the NFL Draft is a little bit of a holiday in its own right. The anticipation that I build up for it over the course of almost four full months is like a mini-Christmas.
After the Tony Gonzalez trade, some of you may feel the draft itself loses some of its luster. I couldn't disagree more. Watching and openly mocking other teams while waiting for the Falcons to make a potentially franchise-altering pick is good clean fun, and I never get tired of watching it. This year, my wife is fleeing the house and leaving my brother and I to soak in hours upon hours of draft coverage with the help of gallons and gallons of beer. I'll be blogging through the entire thing for your reading pleasure, but I'm not going to promise it'll be coherent.
Basically, I'll be updating on this post throughout the day, mingling with you guys in the comments and writing up separate posts for each draft pick the Falcons make. Day two will be a little more dicey because I have to work, so anyone who wants to volunteer to put up FanPosts and perhaps live blog a little around our picks should shoot me an e-mail post haste.
Be sure to check out the following list of SBN blogs joining me for the draft, which I will update throughout the day. The action is after the jump:
Mocking The Draft
Bolts From The Blue
Mile High Report
Music City Miracles
Pride of Detroit
8:03 p.m.: The Jaguars pick is OT Eben Britton, meaning the Jaguars have now revamped both of their tackle spots. That's pretty damn epic, especially because Maurice Jones-Drew is now going to have the opportunity to eat the league alive. In a related story, he is my only decent fantasy running back.
8:01 p.m.: The Bengals pick Rey Malugglafuggla, causing MentallyMIA to break down completely. Lock your doors.
8:00 p.m.: This is the dead zone of the draft. There's still a long ways to go until the Falcons pick again, and I'm up to my ass in worries about who is going to be there. Solution?
7:52 p.m.: CB Alphonso Smith is off the board. Denver takes him. Like an old guy on a whiskey bender, I just can't raise any excitement.
7:42 p.m.: James Laurinaitis goes to the Rams. I really like the kid and think he could've made the move to the outside for us, but alas. I now fear that Sintim will soon be off the board.
7:37 p.m.: Umm, okay. We might have to wait until later to get that safety. Patrick Chung is also off the board, courtesy of the Patriots.
7:36 p.m.: Man, Louis Delmas is gone. I was thinking he might be a real option for us at the end of the second, but I misjudged that badly. Damn you, brain!
7:32 p.m.: The Steelers go with DT Evander Hood, who some of us would have really liked. No use in looking back now, but he'll likely be very good for Pittsburgh.
7:29 p.m.: Chris Wells goes to Arizona. With the offensive weapons they already have and Tim Hightower to complement him, Arizona is going love this pick in the months ahead.
7:18 p.m.: Kenny Britt is a solid receiver, but this feels like Tennessee taking the need based thing a little too far. Still, I criticized them for Chris Johnson last year and was completely wrong, so benefit of the doubt applies again.
7:12 p.m.: Hakeem Nicks is solid pick for the Giants. They did a lot to fix their defensive problems in free agency, so it's time to hit it from the offensive side.
7:08 p.m.: Here's how I'm hoping this will go. The Falcons will get a quality linebacker in the second or third round, fill a need at safety, pick up a tackle in the fourth or fifth and then hit defensive end, cornerback or linebacker once again. There's a lot of quality defensive options, and as long as we stick to that philosophy, I'm firmly on board.
7:05 p.m.: As I continue to try to catch up, Indy picked up running back Donald Brown (great weapon) and the Bills pick C Eric Wood, who is a terrific option for them. The draft is getting better as it goes on.
6:55 p.m.: The Dolphins went with CB Vontae Davis, while the Packers go with LB Clay Matthews. Both very solid picks, and the Packers are having a very good draft.
6:42 p.m.: OH MY LORD! The Falcons take Peria Jerry, a penetrating defensive tackle. He's not the huge, run-clogging guy we wanted, but defensive tackle was a need and he's a hell of a player. I'm a little stunned.
6:36 p.m.: Patriots trade down to the Baltimore Ravens, who select OT Michael Oher. There goes the dream, man. Still, stone cold solid pick for the Ravens, and the Patriots get to move down. I hope the Falcons are moving downward, as well.
6:32 p.m.: If the rumors are to be believed, the Patriots are desperately trying to move this pick. If one more offensive player goes off the board, the Falcons will have a truly epic number of choices. My head is spinning like crazy.
6:30 p.m.: The Vikings pick WR Percy Harvin, he of the herb lovin'. This is a tough call, because Harvin is definitely talented, but I don't really understand making this pick. He'll be a weapon in Minnesota, but it'd be nice if they had a good QB to throw to him.
6:26 p.m.: The Browns finally make a pick. Center Alex Mack is a guy I like quite a bit, and he should be excellent value for Cleveland. They've done a great job today.
6:20 p.m.: The Detroit Lions pick TE Brandon Pettigrew, which is one of the biggest surprises of the draft so far. Stafford has his safety valve now, but they need to get him some offensive line help or here's going to be Hamburger Helper.
6:13 p.m.: ESPN ruins yet another pick for us. Jeremy Maclin is going to the Eagles, who are improving their offense yet again.
6:12 p.m.: Insanely, the Browns have traded yet again. The Eagles are on the clock.
6:10 p.m.: Great argument from the ESPN guys (what?!) about letting Jay Cutler go. Sure, he was whiny. Sure, he looks dopey. He's also a very good quarterback. Wasn't smart to let him go.
6:07 p.m.: Denver's second pick finally addresses their defensive needs. The Broncos go with DE Robert Ayers, who just trucks through people. Good call.
6:02 p.m.: Josh Freeman, I think, is a very high quality pick. It's going to take a year or two for that to pay dividends, though.
6:01 p.m.: Brian Cushing is off the board. Looks like the Bucs are going for QB Josh Freeman. Sorry for the delay.
5:40 p.m.: The Saints address glaring needs in their secondary with CB/S Malcolm Jenkins. I can't argue with this pick in any way. Tough kid.
5:36 p.m.: Cushing, Matthews or Malcolm Jenkins are the likely picks for our hated rival here. Cross your fingers that that linebackers stay on the board.
5:33 p.m.: The Redskins practically fire their pick at Goodell. Brian Orakpo was probably the best player on the board at this point, so this is amazing value. For once, the Redskins make an excellent pick.
5:31 p.m.: Running back Knowshon Moreno goes to the Denver Broncos, which is a mildly surprising pick. If anybody needed help at running back, though, it was Denver. Solid pick.
5:28 p.m.: I love the unpredictability of the draft, you know? This is what makes it worth watching. If the Broncos pick Sintim here, I will cry like Jesse28's new baby boy.
5:26 p.m.: The Bills pick up Aaron Maybin, who is very solid value here. I don't know why everyone's booing. Maybe they're sick of ESPN tipping the goddamn picks!
5:21 p.m.: The 49ers pick up WR Michael Crabtree, adding what you might call "an awesome wide receiver" to their team. Can't quibble with this one.
5:16 p.m.: Amazed that Michael Crabtree and Brian Orakpo are still hanging around. They'll be off the board soon.
5:13 p.m.: I love B.J. Raji, so I think this is a great pick. The Green Bay Packers just immediately updated their line, concerns about him fitting in the 3-4 aside.
5:05 p.m.: Jaguars pick tackle Eugene Monroe, immediately upgrading their line. Great pick for a team that had an offensive line only in the loosest sense of the word last year.
5:03 p.m.: This draft has already been full of surprises. I'd no longer be surprised if somebody like Brian Cushing fell all the way to 24.
5:00 p.m.: Todd McShay looks livid about this pick. As an intelligent human being, I'm not surprised.
4:56 p.m.: Darrius Heyward-Bey goes to the Oakland Raiders ahead of Michael Crabtree. The Raiders make the newspaper industry look well-run and ahead of the curve.
4:54 p.m.: Last two overhyped quarterbacks: Matt Leinart and Brady Quinn. I'm not drawing a connection, I'm just saying that ESPN can't talk about the goddamn pick that just happened because of Sanchez. For the love of Vishnu, talk about ANDRE SMITH!
4:51 p.m.: The Bengals pick offensive tackle Andre Smith, whose character concerns actually make him the best human being on the Bengals. If he's not the headcase they think he is, fantastic value at six. I like that pick.
4:47 p.m.: Andre Smith has an enormous family. And is enormous. And enormous value here. Just enormous.
4:45 p.m.: Pack Man just launched "No One Knows" by the Queens of the Stone Age. Another great song to rock out to. In less important news, the Browns get a first round pick, a second round pick and three players. Holy hell!
4:43 p.m.: ESPN is practically making love to Mark Sanchez. At least buy him dinner first, you devils!
4:39 p.m.: The Browns are trading to the Jets. And the Jets have taken Mark Sanchez. Great landing spot for him, really, and a smart move for the Browns. Nicely done.
4:35 p.m.: Seriously, he just exudes this nice guy aura. I'll stop now.
4:32 p.m.: Despite the ESPN man crush on Mark Sanchez, Aaron Curry goes to the Seattle Seahawks. The poor guy is crying and hugging friends and family. If there was one player in this draft that I want to see succeed, it's Curry. I hope he does great things in Seattle, and I think this is an excellent pick.
4:31 p.m.: Having a laptop on my lap on an 85 degree is not a lot of fun. Makes me think of this horrible scenario.
4:25 p.m.: And the Chiefs go with Tyson Jackson, who I must admit I didn't think was the best defensive end in this draft. He may well be a surprise because he's got all the tools to succeed, but I don't understand how Curry is falling so quickly.
4:22 p.m.: Hey, you know why Tyson Jackson is being hyped for the third slot? Because Mel Kiper suddenly decided he should be, and everyone else followed suit. If the Chiefs are smart, they'll get Aaron Curry and create a franchise cornerstone here. Basically, never listen to Kiper.
4:18 p.m.: A Matt Ryan commercial! My heart, it is a-fluttering!
4:16 p.m.: Mel Kiper jabbers about picking Mark Sanchez being a better pick. Okay...you're a team with an incredible number of weaknesses and an extremely expensive quarterback they can't trade. Let's go get another QB! Sanchez could be a very good quarterback, but this wasn't the team he needed to go to. Kiper is full of shit.
4:15 p.m.: The Rams pick up Jason Smith, the class of this year's tackle...well, class. Very solid pick and should fill a major need created when Orlando Pace moved out. Picking Sanchez here would've been idiotic.
4:13 p.m.: It's unbelievable how inane the chatter is between picks. Pretty soon they're going to start talking about suits.
4:10 p.m.: The Rams lack leadership, according to Steve Young. They also lack competence at about half the positions on their roster. But you're right, Steve. It's the leadership.
4:06 p.m.: Erin Andrews calls Calvin Johnson a freak. It's not his fault he has electromagnetism! Leave him alone!
4:05 p.m.: HOLY CRAP! They announced the Stafford pick immediately! I'm in shock here! I can't stop using exclamation points! And Stafford is getting booed like Mario at a haunted house.
4:02 p.m.: Keyshawn caught 800 balls? Teehee.
4:00 p.m.: I'm going to watch the ESPN telecast, because I hate myself with a fiery passion.
3:57 p.m.: And we're almost ready to start. The Falcoholic brother and I have taken up our positions and after an afternoon spent munching on chips, cheese and salsa, there's a very real chance we're going to achieve lift off.
3:00 p.m.: Everyone's got a song that helps them get ridiculously pumped for games, so why not one for the draft? The Falcoholic strongly recommends "Hit 'Em Up" by 2pac or "Reptilia" by The Strokes.