The NFL community shook on Monday when news broke that Judge Susan Nelson had sided with the players and lifted the league's lockout just days before the 2011 NFL Draft. While the NFL's lawyers are readying their legal documentation for a potential stay of the ruling, teams were left scrambling to prepare for a scenario they hadn't envisioned.
The opportunity to wheel and deal for the draft's most coveted player, WSU punter Reid Forrest.
While it's true that teams were still able to swap draft picks even under lockout conditions, Nelson's ruling means that teams could now potentially be allowed to move players currently under contract in any deal, adding to teams' ammunition in the race to land the dynamic Forrest, who is expected to go early in the first round.
One scout told CougCenter that the San Diego Chargers, by far the worst punting team in the NFL last season, secretly covet Forrest's services and see him as the answer to their problems:
"(San Diego Chargers General Manager)usually plays things pretty close to the vest, but he just can't stop running his mouth about Forrest," the scout said. "Smith has shown in the past that he's willing to pay a premium for players he views as game-changers, and Forrest falls into that category."
Of course, it seems unlikely that Forrest would fall past the Washington Redskins at No. 10, meaning the Chargers will have to figure out a way to jump up at least nine spots from their current No. 18 position, or convince the Redskins to trade down.
"You know Daniel Snyder," the scout said. "He's been looking for a quarterback for years, and if Smith wants to make a serious run at Forrest, draft picks might not be enough -- he just might have to put Phillip Rivers on the table."
While that seems like a steep price for the Chargers to pay, another scout told CougCenter that Smith would likely pull the trigger if given the opportunity.
"The guy drafted Philip Rivers to replace Drew Brees - he's got balls of steel," the scout said. "He sees Forrest not just as a punter, but as a multi-threat quarterback. I mean, did you see that fake punt against Washington in the 2008 Apple Cup? The kid can do it all."
Stick with CougCenter for all the latest Reid Forrest draft news as we head toward the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, which starts at 5 p.m. (PDT) on Thursday, April 28. SB Nation has everything you need to prepare: NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft schedule and more. Check it out at SB Nation's NFL Draft page and our NFL Draft blog, Mocking the Draft.