Sanchez feels like the pivot point. After Stafford goes one to Detroit and a tackle (Jason Smith or Eugene Monroe) two to the Rams, it's anyone's guess, starting with Kansas City. Seattle likes Sanchez and Michael Crabtree (and a tackle, maybe) at four. I've heard Cleveland (picking fifth) and Washington have already discussed a deal if Sanchez is still on the board at five. I don't expect Sanchez to be there at five.
Sanchez described his experience as "surreal, awesome. Every team seems like you're their guy. So in that way, the picture is really as clear as mud. It's an intense poker game, and no one's showing their hand.''
That's why this draft season is so much fun. It's going to be an interesting week.
What I want to do now is try to tell you a few things I've learned on the phone and via text messages in the last week or so, in no particular order:
Detroit, as of midnight Sunday, wasn't tipping its hand or negotiating with anyone for the first pick. Tom Condon, the agent for both Stafford and Jason Smith, was in Detroit Thursday, and the agents for Aaron Curry were at the Lions on Saturday. No significance to either visit because the Lions didn't tell either side who they were picking.
I don't believe Detroit has to have a deal with a player before picking him No. 1. I believe the Lions want to have a deal done, surely, but if management is virtually certain the player won't hold out, it's likely not to be a deal-breaker.
St. Louis, at two, is divided on tackles Jason Smith and Monroe. Smith has an edge, but it's a little one.
I think it's going to come down to tackle Andre Smith and defensive tackle B.J. Raji for Cincinnati at No. 6.
New England loves UConn cornerback Darius Butler. New England is smoke-screening by letting on that it loves UConn cornerback Darius Butler.
Kenny Britt is flaky. Darrius Heyward-Bey's hands and route-running are suspect. Hakeem Nicks was overweight and not in great shape when the Ravens worked him out Friday. In other words, the receivers are a suspect group, and a few of them we thought would be picked in the first round are going in the second.
San Francisco won't pick Josh Freeman.
Denver won't pick Josh Freeman.
New Orleans is going defense with its only pick, at 14, in the first three rounds.
Some teams are scared off by a sesmoid bone problem in one of big back Beanie Wells' feet.
Two teams I spoke with failed Monroe on their physical exams because of his knee history; one said Monroe would likely be fine for three or four years, minimum, but the team would be worried about relying on Monroe for a 10-year career. I hear this, but I think it's overly cautious. Anthony Munoz had 14 teams fail him on their team physicals in 1980, and he went on to be a durable Hall of Famer, maybe the best tackle of all time.
Enjoy the week. I'll be in St. Louis on Wednesday and Thursday, then moving on to Kansas City on Thursday night through the draft. I'm hoping the needy Missouri franchises, picking at two and three, will give me enough news to write about over the weekend.
NFL Truth & Rumors