The intrigue of the 2015 NFL Draft in Thursday's first round begins with the No. 2 pick because it's all but a lock the Bucs will take Jameis Winston No. 1. Here are NFL odds on which player goes No. 2 as well as odds for where Marcus Mariota lands.
Duck, Duck Goose
It sounds more and more likely that Oregon's Marcus Mariota, the 2014 Heisman winner, will be the guy at No. 2 -- it's just not clear if it's Tennessee picking him in that spot or a team trading up with the Titans. Mariota is the heavy -500 favorite on NFL odds to go No. 2, followed by USC defensive tackle Leonard Williams (+300), Florida defensive end Dexter Fowler Jr. (+750), any other player (+900) or Winston (+1200).
ESPN's Mark Dominik, the former GM of the Bucs, is "certain" Winston and Mariota will go 1-2 in the draft. Tampa has spoken with more than 75 people to gauge Winston's character. The Titans are definitely listening to offers for that No. 2 pick. The Nashville Tennessean's Titans beat writer has said he doesn't expect the Titans to take Williams if they stay there but likely Alabama receiver Amari Cooper.
Let's look at odds for which team will take Mariota.
Titans (+150): Well-regarded NFL reporter Peter King of Sports Illustrated says he thinks that Tennessee will take Mariota if they don't trade the pick. I'd certainly find it hard to believe that Coach Ken Whisenhunt will be comfortably starting second-year QB Zach Mettenberger all of next season. That's a good way to get yourself fired. The Titans have many holes so if they could get the same sort of package that the Rams got from Washington for the No. 2 overall pick in 2012 then I don't know how Tennessee doesn't say yes.
Chargers (+200): The simplest trade to make might be this one with San Diego sending Philip Rivers, who grew up not too far from Nashville, the team's first-round pick and probably more for the No. 2 spot to use on Mariota. The Bolts have worked him out. The Titans almost surely would insist that Rivers sign a long-term extension before agree to any trade. Rivers remains an elite quarterback who threw for 31 touchdowns and nearly 4,300 yards last season. He is 33, meaning he should have 3-4 good years left.
Eagles (+200): No question that Chip Kelly would love to get his former college pupil in Mariota, but is he willing to sell the farm to move up from No. 20? It would take a ton. There reportedly have been three-team talks between the Eagles, Titans and Browns, with the key piece going from Philly being Sam Bradford to Cleveland.
Jets (+800): If by some miracle that Mariota doesn't go No. 2 then he could be there at No. 6 when the Jets pick. The Jaguars won't take Mariota at No. 3 and the Raiders won't at No. 4. The Redskins might at No. 5.
Browns (+1000): Cleveland has the No. 12 and No. 19 picks (the latter from Buffalo from last year's Sammy Watkins draft trade). Would that alone be enough to move up to No. 2? How about throwing in Johnny Manziel?
Buccaneers (+1200): You don't do all that homework in Winston if you aren't going to take him.
Bears (+2000): Jay Cutler, the No. 7 overall pick and perhaps a 2016 first-round pick to the Titans for the No. 2 pick? I doubt Tennessee would want Cutler's contract and he's not even as good as Rivers. The Bears generally don't make big draft trades like this. They are pretty conservative -- the Cutler trade from Denver aside.
Rams (+2500): They probably will give Nick Foles a season to prove whether he's the future under center after acquiring him in the Bradford deal with the Eagles, so keep this in mind when making your NFL picks.
Redskins (+3000): I see no way they give up a bunch more picks after just doing so for RGIII. The Redskins also have chosen to pick up Griffin III's contract option for the 2016 season. Would the Titans take him and the No. 5 pick for the No. 2?
Bills (+5000): Not a chance as they don't even have a first-round pick.
Texans (+5000): They have Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer and several other needs so Mariota wouldn't be a great fit with how much it would cost to relinquish.
NFL Free Pick: The Titans keep the pick and take Mariota.