Latest posts by Ben Wilson (see all)
- 2017 MLB Season Preview - April 1, 2017
- It’s Time To End All Professional All-Star Games For Once - May 3, 2016
- NFL Draft 2016: Way Too Early Reaction to Round 1 - April 29, 2016
So called “experts” analyze and breakdown every aspect of the NFL draft and combine each year. They attempt to be unique in their insight in the weeks, days and hours that lead up to the selection of the first overall pick. They offer us an endless stream of mock drafts, which fans flock to in an attempt to see who their favorite team(s) might select. In the end, it’s all for naught, as everyone is wrong!
Even though no one gets it right, it’s fun to read through the analysis because it helps us get through the time that leads up to draft night. Just like what happens post draft, when the same so-called “experts” grade the draft. How can one grade something that quick? How can we grade players who haven’t even gotten on a plane yet and arrived at their new professional home? Because we are creatures of instant reaction and want to know how our team drafted, that’s how… Even though the true answer is at least two years out, if not even more.
So with that in mind, here are my instant reaction thoughts, as news broke of trades in the days that lead up to the draft, as well as what happened throughout the draft. Please feel free to comment. These are in no particular order and this isn’t intended to be a traditional “winner”/”loser” article, as you so commonly see by said “experts”.
Welp! They got their QB’s! Or did they?
The Los Angeles Rams and the Philadelphia Eagles both broke the NFL mock drafts in the days leading up to the draft, by trading into the #1 and #2 draft spots respectively. As expected, the Rams selected Jared Goff, and the Eagles, Carson Wentz. Without going into depth about the percentage of second QB selected success rates, I will say this… A month ago, Goff was slated to go to the 49ers at #7, Wentz somewhere in the mid-to-late first round. Consider this, if that is where most scouts and experts assumed they would go, their talent level probably dictated that. They aren’t in the same category as Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota, who went 1-2 respectively last year. These two QBs were a stretch to go that high and it reeks of desperation. I wouldn’t be shocked if both were busts.
Joey Bosa broke the draft!
As the last few weeks transpired, it was obvious Bosa was slipping. At one point, it was hard to find a mock draft in which he wasn’t a top-4 pick. Over the past week, most experts had him slotted at #9 to Tampa Bay. When the Chargers grabbed him at #3, it left a few teams scrambling, as it meant there would be a ton of players potentially sliding down a bit, that previously weren’t expected to be available where these teams were on the clock.
Dallas and Jacksonville got their guys.
In light of the Bosa pick, the Cowboys got the running back the coveted (Ezekiel Elliott) and the Jaguars got their top target (Jalen Ramsey). For a team looking to rebuild their defense, the Jaguars couldn’t have gotten a better player and I can only imagine what their draft room looked like when Elliott’s name was read by the Commissioner, one pick in front of them. (Note: Remember, that the Jaguars will also get last year’s first round pick Dante Fowler Jr. back this year from injury, so it’s almost like having 2 first round picks.)
The Laremy Tunsil effect.
For anyone unfamiliar with Tunsil’s off the field issues, please google him. It broke right before the draft, 13 minutes to be exact, that Tunsil posted a picture on Twitter of him smoking marijuana through a gas mask. He claims his account was hacked and blackmail may even have been involved. With the questions already surrounding him, his slide began. Just a month ago, you’d find him going to the Titans with the top selection. As we saw, the Ravens and Titans grabbed offensive tackles, Tunsil’s position, with the #6 and #8 picks respectively. Tunsil slid to #13, where the Dolphins got an extremely talented player, at a very reduced price. I will follow up on this later in this article, but the slide definitely played a significant role in how the first round played out.
Woe is me: The New York Giants edition.
Most experts had the Giants selecting Ezekiel Elliott (Cowboys, #4), Ronnie Stanley (Ravens, #6) or Jack Conklin (Titans, #8) with their #10 overall selection. With all 3 players off of the board, it seems like the Giants were ill prepared for this scenario and overreacted, selecting CB, Eli Apple, far ahead of where he was expected to go. With Vernon Hargreaves (Buccaneers, #11) still on the board, Apple was a surprise pick. Did they have a need to have two players named “Eli”? Did they love his last name “Apple” for the city of New York? I think GM, Jerry Reece is in over his head and this pick will inevitably be his pink slip.
Laremy Tunsil 2.0.
I am all for second chances. This kid has made his fair share of dumb mistakes. With the right guidance, he can be a Pro-Bowl player. He deserves the opportunity to succeed and the value at pick #13 was too high for the Dolphins to pass on. He should be on a short leash moving forward, much like Dez Bryant was for the first few seasons of his career in Dallas. Tunsil can succeed, but the choice is his. He has the world at his finger tips. What he chooses to do from here, is on his shoulders.
The Browns… Actually did okay!
Initially sitting at the #2 pick, they traded with the Eagles to move down to #8 and got a lion’s share of draft capital for the pick. During the draft, they traded down to #15 with the Titans, in order to pick up even more picks. They drafted WR, Corey Coleman at #15, a solid pick and one that can be lauded as a high-grade draft pick. I don’t know if he was their guy, but they’ve added a ton of draft capital and added a play maker to replace the void left by Josh Gordon. They are also in position to add a QB (Connor Cook or Christian Hackenberg) with the top pick of the 2nd round, or trade down again and collect even more picks.
The Jets passed on their “franchise” QB.
With the #20 pick in the draft, most experts slotted QB, Paxton Lynch, a raw project, but a QB with enough upside, that when all is said and done, he could be the best QB in the draft. They went with LB, Darron Lee instead, a solid pick for what they need. Most assume that their tiff with Ryan Fitzpatrick will work itself out, they’ll resign him and go about 2016, as if none of this happened. Bringing back Fitzpatrick really will determine whether or not this was a good pick of not. Not everyone is sold on Lynch’s future, but the Jets don’t have their future on this roster, with Geno Smith and Bryce Petty being the only two QB’s signed, as of this writing.
The WR run was real.
For the first time in NFL draft history, 3 WRs went back to back to back. Everyone knew the Texans would take a WR at #22. They traded up a pick, to #21, with the Redskins to draft Will Fuller. Most slotted Corey Coleman here to the Texans, but he was gone to the Browns at #15. If you followed any of the mock drafts, then the assumption was the Redskins would draft a front-7 player (Jarran Reed? A’Shawn Robinson?), the Vikings would grab Laquon Treadwell (which they did at #23) and the Bengals would select Josh Doctson at #24. The Redskins surprised most grabbing Doctson at #22. Knowing that their best 2 WR’s (Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson) are both FA’s at the end of the 2016 season, we should have seen this coming.
Woe is me: The Cincinnati Bengals edition.
Seeing Fuller, #21, Doctson, #22 and Treadwell, #23 go 1-2-3, right before your selection at #24 had to be a blow to the gut. The Bengals lost their 2 of their top 3 WR’s (Mohamed Sanu, Falcons; Marvin Jones, Lions) in free agency. They were desperate for a WR, to play opposite All-Pro AJ Green, but when they found themselves on the clock, the top four were all gone. I expect them to make sure they get one of the top WR’s left on the board in round 2, but this was definitely a K.O. shot to the chin.
Welp! The Broncos may have gotten their man.
The Broncos traded up five picks to grab QB, Paxton Lynch. Is he a franchise QB? Heck, is he their franchise QB (insert Brock Osweiler joke here!)? He will have a great coaching staff around him, but most expect him to sit for the first 2-3 seasons of his career. Considering how depleted the Broncos roster is, due to a heavy hit in free agency, I would have figured they’d have traded for Colin Kaepernick or Sam Bradford and selected a more 2016-ready player in an attempt to get back to the Super Bowl. As a Raiders fan, I hope this pick implodes on them!
The 49ers are a bigger mess than I thought!
Just a few days ago, I tweeted the worst five front offices in the NFL:
32. Eagles, 31. Browns, 30. 49ers, 29. Jets, 28. Colts
Now it is hard not to drop the 49ers down to the worst… Because you can’t go any lower than that. There are rumors that the Seahawks, in need of OL help themselves, might have selected G, Joshua Garnett, at #31, so the 49ers leap-frogged them to take him at #29. (The Seahawks did select an OT at #31, a much bigger position of need than OG). A few problems here. I consistently saw Garnett in the 60’s as far as overall talent based on scouts and experts analysis. The 49ers were sitting at #37, where they should have been able to select him. He wasn’t considered the best guard in the draft this year by most experts (Cody Whitehair, Kansas State), so one, if not both, should have been sitting at #37. Generally teams don’t trade up, especially this early, to select a guard! And the 49ers gave up the #37 overall pick, along with a 4th round pick and a 6th round pick. That seems like a lot of draft capital to surrender for a player who they could have waited on and who may not have been the best player available at his position.
Woe is me: The New England Patriots edition.
Well they lost their first round pick in the Deflategate Scandal. They don’t pick until #60 overall, but are loaded with day 2 and 3 picks. I wouldn’t feel too bad about this development. It’s the Patriots after all! You expect them to make the most of what they have and they will win the division… again.
Poor Myles Jack.
I can understand Laremy Tunsil slipping. I can understand teams wanting to avoid the head case that is Robert Nkemdiche (Cardinals, #29). However, Myles Jack wasn’t slipping because of his off the field issues. His knee, apparently much worse than previously known, kept him out of the 1st round. If not for the knee injury, he’d have most likely been a top-5 pick, possibly top-3. Instead he sits. He waits until, at least day 2, where his future is uncertain. Now that round 1 is done, I’m sure he won’t be waiting long, as his potential value is far too high to fall much further. Some team will snag him early, most likely trading up to do so. He reminds me of DeJuan Blair, who fell in the 2009 NBA draft due to knee injuries. Blair, once expected to be a mid-teens pick, fell into the 2nd round, where he was selected by the San Antonio Spurs, and he subsequently went on to win a championship a few years later (Spurs, 2012-2013). I hope the story ends just as well for Jack. Hopefully he finds his career home in the 2nd round and ends up hoisting the trophy someday as a result.
Forget Jack, what about Jaylon Smith?
Smith suffered a horrible knee injury during the Fiesta Bowl, the final game of his collegiate career. He was probably the highest rated LB on most boards, prior to the injury. So the question is, knowing that he will miss all of the 2016 NFL season, who is willing to draft him and hope he returns to form? Smith’s doctor said there is a 80% chance he will return to form, so at what point do you gamble on the doctor’s diagnosis? I expect him to be a late 3rd round pick, most likely finding himself a member of the Patriots.
The 2nd round should be just as exciting as there is plenty of talent remaining on the board. It will be interesting to see where everyone goes, and I do expect a lot of trades and positioning. Here’s a brief list of remaining players as we head into day 2 of the 2016 NFL draft:
Myles Jack, LB
Emmanuel Ogbah, DE
Kevin Dodd, DE
A’Shawn Robinson, DT
Reggie Ragland, LB
Jarran Reed, DT
Derrick Henry, RB
Hunter Henry, TE
Connor Cook, QB
Christian Hackenberg, QB