It's the biggest day in professional sports that does not involve a playing field, rink or court.

The NFL Draft gets underway Thursday evening in Chicago. I'm not one to pay a lot of attention to the various mock drafts and it's been a couple decades since I actually did one. In doing the mock draft, I assumed no trades. We'll start with this area's teams--in draft order.

The Chicago Bears hold the 7th overall pick. The Bears defense, once the trademark of the franchise, is a disaster. Old and slow is a polite description. They need help everywhere. The Bears start with Washington NT Danny Shelton. You build solid football teams starting at the line of scrimmage. This is a big guy. Ties up blockers. An excellent building block. Nothing good happens on either side of the ball if the 300 pounders aren't good.

The St. Louis Rams draft at #10.  Protecting the QB has been an ongoing problem since Orlando Pace and his associates from the Greatest Show On Turf days moved on. The pick here is LSU offensive tackle La’el Collins. Keeping the QB healthy would be a refreshing change for the Rams. A linebacker or defensive back wouldn't be a bad idea either.

The Kansas City Chiefs draft 18th overall in the first round. Adding Jeremy Maclin lessens the needs at wide receiver. Some offensive line help also arrived via free agency. This is a tough one to figure since John Dorsey and the Chiefs may be in “best football player on the board” mode. That best football player at this point here is Stanford OT Andrus Peat.  With this, the Chiefs offensive line finally moves back toward the high quality units of the 90’s and 00’s. However, lots of things could happen here. OLB Bud Dupree of Kentucky wouldn’t be a surprise. CB Jalen Collins of LSU wouldn’t be a stunner either if he’s available. DT Eddie Goldman of Florida State. also makes some sense if he’s there.

My entire first round mock draft/wild guess…..
1- TAMPA BAY-- Jameis Winston QB  Florida State. QB’s with off field issues have a notoriously high failure rate. 18 interceptions last year is a huge red flag here too, but the Bucs will take their chances. They’ll be regretting this one by Thanksgiving of 2017.

WInston is also a solid bet for to be the Brady Quinn/Johnny Manziel plummeting pick of the year.

2-TENNESSEE- Marcus Mariotta. A pick for the future, but Mariotta’s work ethic is solid. Don’t expect much from him this season though.

3-JACKSONVILLE—Leonard Williams DE, USC.

4-OAKLAND—Vic Beasley DE/OLB Clemson. Note: The Raiders are still the Raiders. Anything can happen here. Shane Ray? Amari Cooper?

5-WASHINGTON- Amari Cooper, WR Alabama.

6-NY JETS –Kevin White  WR  West Virginia

7-CHICAGO—Danny Shelton NT Washington

8-ATLANTA—Randy Gregory OLB Nebraska.  Has off field problems. This is a also pick where something really strange might happen. I’m not enthralled with the Falcon’s front office.

9-NY GIANTS—Arik Armstead  DE Oregon.

10-ST LOUIS La’el Collins LSU  OT.

11-MINNESOTA  Trae Waynes CB Michigan State.

12- CLEVELAND  Eddie Goldman DT Florida State.

13-NEW ORLEANS  Brandon Scherff  OT Iowa

14-MIAMI  Marcus Peters CB Washington

15-SAN FRANCISCO  Melvin Gordon RB Wisconsin

16—HOUSTON  Landon Collins S  Alabama

17—SAN DIEGO  Todd Gurley RB Georgia

18—KANSAS CITY—Andrus Peat OT Stanford.

19—CLEVELAND   DeVante Parker WR Louisville.  Watch for Dorial Green-Beckham here.

20—PHILADELPHIA—Dorial Greene Beckham  WR Missouri.  The off field foolishness probably kept him out of the first 10 slots.

21—CINCINNATI—Kevin Johnson  CB  Wake Forest

22—PITTSBURGH—Dante Fowler DE Florida

23—DETROIT—DJ Humprhies OT  Florida

24—ARIZONA Shane Ray  DE Missouri. I’m anticipating a slide of several slots here following Ray’s legal issues earlier this week.

25—CAROLINA  Erick Flowers OT Miami FL

26—BALTIMORE  Jalen Collins CB LSU.

27—DALLAS Bud Dupree  LB Kentucky

28—DENVER  Cameron Erving  C  Florida State

29—INDIANAPOLIS  TJ Clemmings  OT  Pittsburgh

30—GREEN BAY  Malcolm Brown DT Texas

31—NEW ORLEANS  Devin Smith  WR Ohio State

32—NEW ENGLAND  Denzel Perryman ILB Miami FL

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