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Still lots of intrigue at the top of the draft

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With two days left before the NFL Draft, it's still anybody's guess what will happen with the first few selections.

Oakland desperately needs a quarterback, and the Raiders are expected to take LSU's JaMarcus Russell with the top pick.

But speculation continues to swirl that Al Davis will pass on the QB for Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson, widely considered the best player in the draft.

If Davis does that, it likely changes everybody's thinking in the top 8-10 picks.

If Davis sticks with the quarterback, who gets Johnson?

The assumption has been that Johnson would either fall to Tampa Bay at No. 4, or that the Bucs would trade with Detroit and move to the second slot to grab him.

According to, however, the Atlanta Falcons are now a major player in the Johnson Sweepstakes.

Says SI:

While everyone has focused on No. 4 Tampa Bay as the most likely trading partner for No. 2 Detroit in the Calvin Johnson Sweepstakes, it's the No. 8 Falcons who might truly be in the driver's seat. Sources say Falcons owner Arthur Blank has pretty much ordered Atlanta general manager Rich McKay to do everything he can to put the team into position to land Johnson at No. 2.

Blank wants Johnson for a couple of reasons. First, Johnson played at Georgia Tech and would help sell tickets to disillusioned Falcons fans who have endured two non-playoff seasons after Atlanta went to the NFC title game in 2004. Second, the Falcons still have their long-standing need of a reliable big-play receiver for quarterback Michael Vick to play pitch and catch with.

With seven picks in the first four rounds (including two second-rounders and three in the fourth), Atlanta definitely has the ammo to make the deal with Detroit. The Falcons could send the Lions their picks at 8, 39 and 44 for the No. 2 spot, and still have a third-rounder and three fourth-rounders to fill other needs.

This is the kind of intrigue that makes the draft great. Only two more days until we find out what will really happen.