Originally posted on This Given Sunday  |  Last updated 1/6/12



Twelve teams are alive for the NFL Playoffs. While fans of the also-ran and never-were teams look forward to the sports entertainment value of the NFL holiday season, do you think they will be engaged? Um, no.

Those fans will stress over how the home team can get better in a hurry. That means they will focus on the 2012 NFL Draft this April. Draft Day is the third most anticipated day in the NFL year, after the Super Bowl and the opening day game. For quarterback-needy teams, hype about miracle-working super quarterbacks make Draft Day more important than the opening game.

I'm looking at you, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Miami, Cleveland, Washington, Seattle, Denver, Oakland and Minnesota. And don't think I am overlooking you, New York Jets.

This year's NFL Draft will be the most anticipated, most over-hyped event since, well since the 2011 NFL Draft involving Mr. Cam Newton because two quarterbacks dominate the landscape.

Three white-knuckle scenarios could ruin the Draft Day the narrative for nine teams and alter the strategies of all the others. Hold on to your seat.

1. Robert Griffin III decides to stay in school.
Word is that RG3, a NCAA junior, will declare for the NFL Draft. Those reports are by unnamed sources close to Griffin 3rd. None are the real Robert Griffin III. Until he makes the declarative statement, we cannot be certain. RG3 may be Baylor's last Shot at a Big 12 title this century. Perhaps the thought of completing graduate school on a scholarship in a calendar year appeals to him. Griffin could do it. He entered and graduated from Baylor early. do not overlook the allure of this.

2. Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III are selected No. One and Two in the Draft by the Colts and the Rams who rebuff all trade offers for them.
Indianapolis is a lock to take Luck no matter who runs the front office. The Rams are searching for a new head coach, thus, their direction is a mystery. The new man will be less committed than Steve Spagnuolo to players already on the team. Now suppose that Jeff Fisher, just to name someone, is named coach and he finds in RG3 a prospect with all of Vince Young's skill set and none of the drama.

The prospect that the Colts and Rams would get their needy hands on Luck and Griffin and keep them blows up all the trade-up scenarios floating around one-quarter of the league. It could put Peyton Manning and Sam Bradford in play for more reasonable trade offers.  

3. Andrew Luck chooses not to play for the team that sucked most for him.
Especially if that team has someone named "Peyton" on the roster  There are other things in life than to join the pro league with a rookie pay scale. The Bay area is cool. Indiana is cold. Staying with Stanford offers another shot at the Pac-12 title and the Heisman Trophy.

Don't think that the appeal of rookie pay scale millions will sway him if Luck chooses to stay. The Lucks don't think that way. Dad Oliver, the Athletic Director of West Virginia University, is leading the Mountaineers to the Big 12 early in spite of costly lawsuits and financial risks. Who can blame him? When your team lays a 70-point whupin' on Clemson in a Bowl game, you need fastpath to get to the Big 12 regardless of cost. Big 12? West Virginia would fit in with the SEC.

The point is that money is not stopping Oliver. Like father, like son. It's how the Lucks roll.

A decision by Luck or RG3 to bypass the 2012 Draft would trigger more trade activity by teams because everyone else in the first round and early second round would move up a spot or two. That means that teams who saw a prospect falling to them naturally may lose them to the team ahead of them by one or two spots.  Some of those roadblock teams would be open to trading their position down for more picks. Thus, Draft Day would feature less costly trade deals, but more of them.

Will these scenarios happen? it's unlikely, but it only takes one  to ruin your Draft Day.

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This article first appeared on This Given Sunday and was syndicated with permission.

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