Between mock drafts, smokescreens, TV analyst debates and social media reports, there is now so much 2019 NFL Draft information out there that it can be hard to decipher just how the event might play out. We already know that every draft has its fair share of surprises, but here's my attempt to cut through some of the fog so we can determine what to expect once teams are officially on the clock Thursday night.
Here are 10 believable things amid so much chatter:
1) Kyler Murray will be a Cardinal: Where there is smoke, there is fire, right? Well, in the case of Murray, are we talking about the smoke surrounding the long-held conventional wisdom that he'll go to the Cardinals or the recent scuttlebutt that Murray might not be the guy for Arizona? Teams around the league believe the uncertainty at No. 1 stoked by the Cardinals is nothing more than Arizona trying to manipulate a trade offer for either the top pick or Josh Rosen. Despite all the chirping, I believe the Cards will make Murray the first overall pick on Thursday night.
2) Ed Oliver won't wait long to hear his name called: Yes, Oliver lacks the size of defensive tackles that have gone inside the top 10 in recent history. With that said, Oliver's ability to get to 287 pounds for the NFL Scouting Combine combined with his ridiculous explosiveness off the snap has him in play to be a top-five pick. Team sources believe his floor is to the Bills at No. 9.
3) Don't expect a run on quarterbacks: QBs are always the sexy picks that get the most attention, and they often get pushed up the draft board with teams desperate for help under center, but many of the clubs I've spoken with simply don't believe that the supply or demand adds up to a run at the position in Round 1. With plenty of noise about the Broncos (No. 10) and Dolphins (No. 13) planning to pass on the top quarterbacks and whispers that the Giants are leaning toward a defender with the sixth overall pick, the Bengals (No. 11) and Redskins (No. 15) may be the only two teams in the top 15 that could keep some of the highest-rated quarterbacks from dropping into the second half of the first round.
4) D.K. Metcalf will fall into the 20s and might not be the first WR drafted: Despite his incredible combination of height (6-foot-3), weight (228 pounds), speed (4.33 40) and abs, Metcalf may be falling. He was considered a prospect who could be pushed up the board due to traits, but the concerns over his limitations as a route runner coupled with the depth of talent that could be available at the position in Round 2 could lead to a tumble for Metcalf, clearing the way for Marquise Brown to be the first receiver selected.
5) Jeffery Simmons will go in the first round: Despite suffering an ACL tear in February and his highly publicized 2016 arrest, which stemmed from a video of him getting into a physical altercation with a woman, I expect the former Mississippi State DT to be picked in Round 1. Teams understand that Simmons will probably need a redshirt year in 2019 as he recovers from his injury, but the ability to land a disruptive interior D-lineman who could end up being one of the top players to come from this draft will be too much for a team to pass up in the back end of the first round.
6) Montez Sweat may drop, but he won't plummet: Teams seem to vacillate on whether or not the Mississippi State edge rusher, long projected to be a top-10 pick, will fall in the draft. There may be teams who have him off their board due to concerns about his heart condition that came to light at the NFL Scouting Combine, which brings to mind the situation that unfolded with former Michigan DT Maurice Hurst last year. A heart condition diagnosed at the 2018 combine helped push Hurst into the fifth round before the Raiders picked him, but I don't expect anywhere near that kind of fall for Sweat. While Hurst was not cleared to work out at the combine, Sweat was and crushed it. He could drop out of the top 10, but it's highly unlikely he falls deep into the second half of Round 1.
7) The first safety picked could be a surprise: We've seen players like Deionte Thompson, Taylor Rapp, Nasir Adderley and Johnathan Abram listed in first-round mock drafts at various times from January to April, but Maryland's Darnell Savage seems to be making a late push to be the first safety off the board thanks to his speed, instincts, ball skills and ability to handle man coverage.
8) Running backs are shaping up to have a long wait: A popular notion has been that we should see at least three and maybe four running backs taken in the top two rounds, with Alabama's Josh Jacobs coming off the board first and possibly in the first round. Teams seem much less excited about any running back not named Josh Jacobs, though, and that may limit the number of RBs in the first two rounds to two.
9) The Texans won't be trading up in Round 1: The Texans have two picks in the second round (Nos. 54 and 55 overall) and four total selections inside the first 86 picks, which has led some to speculate that the organization could use some of that capital to trade up for Washington State's Andre Dillard to fill its massive hole at left tackle. Not happening. With only one year left on the contracts for three of their top four cornerbacks and needs along the offensive line, the Texans simply can't afford to part with those valuable picks for a tackle who isn't considered a top-five talent in the draft.
10) There will be surprises early on Day 3, too: Notable prospects like Jamel Dean, Kahale Warring, Jalen Hurd and Justice Hill could find themselves on the outside looking in once we get through the draft's first 100 picks, while Drue Tranquill, Cody Barton and Will Harris could go earlier than many expect.