A week from today, Matt Ryan will be property of an NFL team. But which one? It’s all a big game of poker right now. Everyone is bluffing. I’m not much of a card shark, but I’ll use each team's tells to guess where Matt is headed.
Team: Miami Dolphins
What they're holding: the first overall pick
What’s their angle: They want a lineman and they want him cheap. New boss Bill Parcells wants to sign a player for less than last season’s No. 1, so he is negotiating with multiple players in hopes of driving the costs down.
Do they take Matt: Unlikely. Matt’s agent is notorious for having his guys hold out for max dollars. Also, I haven’t seen or heard many rumors about the Dolphins talking to Ryan lately. If he goes to Miami, Parcells will go down as the best bluffer around.
Team: Atlanta Falcons
What they're holding: the third overall pick
What’s their angle: They need a lot of help, including a squeaky clean QB who can be the face of the franchise. Like Miami, they also have a new GM. Unlike Miami’s GM, this guy -- Thomas Dimitroff – comes in relatively unknown and with a lot to prove. Indications are that he wants to go with a defensive lineman and get a QB later in the draft.
Do they take Matt: Maybe. It depends on what happens in front of them. If Dorsey is there when they pick, they’ll take the DT from LSU. If Miami takes Jake Long and St. Louis is forced to take Dorsey, then the Falcons will select Ryan.
Team: Kansas City Chiefs
What they're holding: the fifth overall pick
What’s their angle: The Chiefs have been the most candid in their interest in Ryan. But because they have another young QB on the roster, they don’t have the same need as some of the other pursuers.
Do they take Matt: I don’t think so. They will probably be in perfect position to take him, and their new Offensive Coordinator Chan Gailey knows what Matt can do, but I give credence to the speculation that the Chiefs are going with offensive line in this slot.
Team: New York Jets
What they're holding: the sixth overall pick.
What’s their angle: The Jets situation is very similar to the Chiefs in that they have interest in Ryan but already have a young QB on their roster and more pressing needs.
Do they take Matt: I don’t think so. If Ryan is still available at 6, I see the Jets trying to trade the pick to one of the teams that does have interest in Ryan.
Team: Baltimore Ravens.
What they're holding: the eighth overall pick
What’s their angle: They just lost their QB and love Ryan. Every single mock draft out there says that if Ryan is available, the Ravens will take him… and be ecstatic!
Do they take Matt: I think so. As much as I want Matt in Atlanta, I think he’ll end up a Raven. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Baltimore move up a slot or two just to make sure they get him.
Team: Carolina Panthers
What they're holding: the thirteenth overall pick
What’s their angle: They like Ryan and need to groom their next QB.
Do they take Matt: I don’t think so. I think they like him and might be willing to move up. I just don’t think they’ll get the chance to move up. The two most likely trading partners -- the Jets and Pats -- are going to be holding those slots for ransom, especially if someone like Darren McFadden is still on the board.
Team: Minnesota Vikings
What they're holding: the seventeenth overall pick
What’s their angle: Like many teams, they have interest and a need for Ryan, but may not be willing to pay the price to move up.
Do they take Matt: I don’t think so. Like the Panthers, they might not be able to get up high enough to get Ryan.
Teams: Everyone else
What’s their angle: The majority of NFL teams attended BC’s Pro Day. There is wide interest in Ryan, however, most of those teams have other needs. Could a team that has a QB in place take Ryan and let him sit on the bench for a year or two like the Packers did with Aaron Rodgers? Sure. But doing that with a top 10 pick becomes very expensive and could create an immediate QB controversy. If a team were to roll the dice and say what the heck, they’d have to have a pretty savvy front office and a pretty secure QB (Seattle, Indy, New England). I don’t see it, but won’t rule out the possibility.
Ultimately, I think Ryan ends up in Baltimore and it is probably the best spot for him. He’d play near his family, for stable organization with a good GM, and their D should keep them competitive while Ryan adjusts to the next level.