Ten things to watch in Round 1 of NFL draft: Trades, QBs galore, boos and more

Will Chargers draft OT or safety? (1:21)

Todd McShay breaks down the Chargers' needs in the draft and says San Diego could draft offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley (1:21)

We've made it! Our yearlong obsession with the distribution of 253 NFL prospects is about to be realized. The first round of the 2016 draft, mercifully enough, is on for Thursday night.

I know. We've spent the past 12 months predicting what might happen. So what's one more day? Here's what to expect in the seconds, minutes and hours after commissioner Roger Goodell takes the podium at 8 p.m. ET.

1. More trades than last year

To be fair, that's a pretty low bar. There were only two draft-day trades during the first round in 2015, the lowest since the NFL moved to the three-day format in 2010. (For context: There have been an average of 5.3 draft-day trades in the first round since 2010, with a high of eight on two occasions.)

But teams already have pulled off two blockbusters: the Los Angeles Rams traded up for No. 1 and the Philadelphia Eagles rose to No. 2. There are plenty of possibilities for more. The San Francisco 49ers and Cleveland Browns each have 12 draft picks to use as trade capital. The New England Patriots have 11, and the Detroit Lions and Denver Broncos have 10 apiece.

The Tennessee Titans have nine, in part after swapping positions with the Rams, and are candidates to move back up a few spots to acquire an offensive tackle.

The Browns could continue moving back, even after giving up the No. 2 spot to the Eagles, and the possibility of trading into the bottom of the round exists for a half-dozen teams in the market for quarterbacks. Which brings us to ...

2. Quarterbacks galore

There should be at least three and up to five quarterbacks drafted in the first round. That's in contrast with 2015 -- when quarterbacks went No. 1 (Jameis Winston) and No. 2 (Marcus Mariota) and then not again until No. 75 (Garrett Grayson).

Cal's Jared Goff and North Dakota State's Carson Wentz will be the first two picks this year, probably in that order to the Rams and Eagles, respectively. Then, the half-dozen other quarterback-needy teams will jockey for Memphis' Paxton Lynch, Michigan State's Connor Cook, Penn State's Christian Hackenberg and others.

Cook and Hackenberg haven't seen much first-round action in media mock drafts. They aren't among the 31 best players in the draft. And incredibly, a Big Ten quarterback hasn't been drafted in the first round since Kerry Collins (Penn State) in 1995.

But competition is fierce, quarterback play is key and taking one in the first round means an extra year of contract protection via the fifth-year option. If nothing else, there will be a delicious possibility of a quarterback selection throughout the round.

In the modern era, dating to 1967, there have been only two drafts with more than four quarterbacks taken in the first round: 1983 and 1999.

3. Green room intrigue

Which top prospect will find himself stuck in the green room, sweating under the camera lights while other players head to the stage? Who is this year's Johnny Manziel?

The easiest answer is Ole Miss pass-rusher Robert Nkemdiche, a top-five talent whose college career ended after an incident before the Senior Bowl. He was charged with marijuana possession after he fell 15 feet from a window and suffered mild injuries. Nkemdiche also made a poor impression on some teams at both the combine and his pro day for, among other reasons, refusing to run a shuttle drill.

But not all teams have pushed him out of the first round on their boards, and it's not out of the question he could be a midround pick. In that event, other possibilities for long green room waits include Clemson defensive tackle Kevin Dodd, Florida safety Keanu Neal and Mississippi State defensive tackle Chris Jones.

4. Knees, knees, knees

You're going to hear and learn more about knees than you ever imagined possible.

Two of the best defenders available, linebackers Jaylon Smith (Notre Dame) and Myles Jack (UCLA), are entering the draft after having serious knee injuries in their final college seasons.

Jack tore the meniscus in his right knee last September and missed the rest of the season. He still could be a top-five selection -- he went No. 5 to the Jacksonville Jaguars in ESPN's NFL Nation mock draft -- but every team will have its own level of caution on his medical report.

Smith tore the ACL and LCL, suffered nerve damage in his left knee in the Fiesta Bowl and isn't expected to play in 2016. Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, though, he figures to be drafted by the end of the third round.

The 2015 success of the Rams and running back Todd Gurley, who tore his ACL at Georgia in November 2014 and was still drafted at No. 10 overall, will be part of this year's discussion. (And so should the devastating 2012 injury to South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore, who fell to the fourth round in 2013 and never played in the NFL.)

5. The Ohio State!

There is a real chance that six Ohio State players could be first-round draft picks. It happened in the NFL Nation mock draft, and if it takes place for real, it'll tie the common era record set by Miami in 2004. (NFL teams drafted six Hurricanes among the top 21 picks that year.)

Defensive end Joey Bosa, running back Ezekiel Elliott, offensive lineman Taylor Decker, linebacker Darron Lee, cornerback Eli Apple and safety Vonn Bell all would make sense at various points of the round. Whether it plays out exactly that way, the Buckeyes' talent renaissance will be a major theme of this draft.

As recently as 2006, Ohio State had five players picked in the first round. But since 2008, through eight drafts, it has had a total of six first-round choices.

6. Jets fans will boo

Oh, they most definitely will boo -- even though the draft once again will be held in Chicago, not New York City.

Everyone loves quarterbacks, and the Jets have been paired with Lynch in many media mock drafts. But the match isn't as obvious as it might seem. Most NFL teams consider Lynch a talented but raw prospect who will need multiple years to transition from a spread to a pro-style offense. In other words, he's a lot like the other two quarterbacks on the Jets' roster: Geno Smith and Bryce Petty.

Anything can happen, but the guess here is that the Jets won't take Lynch. Maybe they'll dip into the quarterback pool later in the draft, but Jets fans won't know for sure when they let loose after the first round.

7. Slowwwww receivers

Other than quarterbacks, nothing gets a fan base more excited than drafting a speedy wide receiver. But as it turns out, the top receivers in this draft haven't lit up many stopwatches. If your team wants an elite deep threat Thursday night, its options are limited.

Ole Miss' Laquon Treadwell ran a 4.63 in the 40-yard dash. TCU's Josh Doctson hit 4.5. Overall, the average 40 time for receivers who ran at the combine was 4.56 -- the slowest in 11 years of combine data.

The top 40 time went to Notre Dame's Will Fuller, who ran a 4.32. Baylor's Corey Coleman ran 4.37. For the most part, though, this draft doesn't have many burners with pro-ready receiving skills.

8. Odds of the Bills-Clemson match

When an NFL coaching staff works the Senior Bowl, you can often count on its team drafting a player or two from the game. So when an NFL coach has a son on a talented college roster, and the coach is known to have snuck away and watched a game or two, can we assume his team will dip into that talent pool?

It wouldn't at all be surprising if the Buffalo Bills drafted a player from Clemson, at least at some point during the next three days. Coach Rex Ryan's son Seth is a receiver for the Tigers, but more important, the school placed eight players among Mel Kiper's top 209 players. Two of them are defensive ends Shaq Lawson and Dodd, both of whom play a position of need for the Bills. Lawson might be gone if they sit tight at No. 19, but Dodd should be available.

9. It all comes back to Tunsil

In the past week or so, a debate has erupted on whether Ole Miss left tackle Laremy Tunsil is truly the best offensive lineman in the draft. In media reports, at least, Notre Dame's Ronnie Stanley has gained momentum, as has Michigan State's Jack Conklin.

Let's slam on the brakes right there. Tunsil is imperfect, like the rest of us, but a team would really have to outthink itself to believe he's inferior to any of the other left tackle prospects. Stanley will be a high pick as well, but the strong odds are that he'll go after Tunsil.

10. First time Goodell is booed

The moment he walks on stage at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago. Duh.

I'm not aware of any new gripe against the commissioner, and there won't be any reason for his nemesis of the moment -- Patriots fans -- to even watch. (The Patriots lost their first-round pick as part of their Deflategate punishment and have told reporters not to bother showing up at their facility for the possibility of a trade.)

But it is has long been tradition for draft fans to shower Goodell with boos, and I'll renew my annual questions: Why not send out a less divisive figure to make the announcements? Why force a downer on such a fun night? Maybe it's just all part of the entertainment. Every narrative needs good guys and bad guys, I guess.

Numbers and research courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information unless otherwise noted.