That was the oddest 1st round in NFL Draft history. Outside of the first 2 picks, nearly every pick was a surprise. The remaining 6 rounds were just as unpredictable and that made for some entertaining TV and some fascinating analysis of how these guys will fit on their respective teams. Some of you goofed, some of you became contenders, and some of you know it doesn’t matter (Cleveland).
Dallas Cowboys: A-
You better hope Jalen Ramsay doesn’t turn into the GOAT he’s expected to be. You just don’t take a RB over the best safety coming out since 2010 (Eric Berry). I understand it on several levels: Jerruh loves running backs, and they were also a little gun shy from the last time they went after a heralded DB (bust Morris Claiborne). Ezekiel Elliot is a damn good player…but he’s a running back. They’ve been devalued in recent years because they found out you can get these guys anywhere. Even Demarco Murray was a 3rd rounder. For as good as Zeke is, he also would bitch about touches on his social media while at Ohio State. Romo is closer to the end of his career than the beginning, and once he’s gone the team will likely go through the down phase every team experiences when you’re between Qbs. Zeke doesn’t strike you as the type of cat who’s going to be a fun or supportive guy to be around when the teams going 3-13. Speaking of Qbs, Dak Prescott was the QB Dallas reportedly wanted all along (aside from Paxton Lynch). Dak is better than Lynch. He’s raw but I think Dallas got the best young project guy they could’ve hoped for. Get him in the building and start preparing him now. So long as Romo is healthy, Dallas will be contenders. Behind that Oline, Zeke should be expected to put in an OROTY candidate season this year.
Most surprising pick in the 2016 NFL Draft/Jerruh trying to barter his way into Heaven via good deeds award:
LB Jaylon Smith, 2nd round. Rumor is Jaylon have nerve damage in his reconstructed knee. Whether or not he’s able to come back or not is a total 50-50. If he does heal up 100%, they just got a walk-in all-pro. Problem is their current all-pro Sean Lee is constantly injured, so it’s like they’re collecting the most talented trainers room squad in the league. Respect to that front office either way. Took some real chutzpah to make this pick and I hope Jaylon is able to come back and be the beast he is.
Washington Redskins: B
Su’a Cravens might turn out to be the best pick of the Skins draft class. This a copycat league and he is that new age “Deone Bucannon” dollar-backer that all teams are looking for nowadays. He’s already been playing that role at USC for a year, so he’s already hit the ground running. Prior to the start of this last college season, Kendall Fuller was projected to be the #1 CB in the nation. He was injured most of the year and was inconsistent, but the talent is still in there. Tremendous bloodlines in the Fuller family, many think he will be better than his brother Kyle Fuller (Bears CB). I don’t pan the Josh Doctson pick nearly as much as many I hear. It wasn’t a need, but no good team drafts by needs. The pick would’ve been William Jackson III or Artie Burns had they not signed Josh Norman. If they felt he was the best player available, than good on em for making the pick. Josh is an end zone weapon and should be a good fit in that offense.
“Who?”, trust me he’s an animal award:
Steven Daniels LB 7th round. Good heavens, go Google yourself some Steven Daniels BC highlight videos. This dude is an animal. Its really a damn shame. He’s lumped in with Tyler Matakevich and Scooby Wright. Proven, productive, game impacting stud linebackers who aren’t tall enough to ride this ride. Its absolute BS. There is not a more unknown-should-be-known guy in this draft. Skins fans are going to love this guy, mark my words.
Philadelphia Eagles: B-
Wentz was the 2nd pick in the draft, but not the 2nd best talent. Sometimes its hard to separate the two, but Philly was desperate for a QB, fell in love with Wentz, and here we are. He has the ceiling to be a franchise QB, but it wont be in 2016. This draft provided a foundation for coming years to build on with Wentz being the centerpiece and depth in several areas. Underrated pick is T/G Halapoulivaati Vaitai. This guy is stout and provides dependable depth on a line that almost always has a hurt T every season. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jalen Mills becomes a starter soon rather than later. If not for injury concerns Isaac Seumalo is a starter caliber center they snagged in the 3rd round. Aside from Wentz, a somewhat middling draft class.
God help him award:
Carson Wentz QB. He’s already behind on strikes, he smiles entirely way too much. They will hate you regardless, but don’t give them more ammunition. Its Philly. He could’ve been a walk-on like Vince Papale, and they will still try to bean you with D batteries out the tunnel; and so consider that they wagered the next 5 years in order to come up and get him. Wentz has the talent, but I’m not sure if he has the disposition to handle Philly. Those fans will not be patient with him either. Had the Rams just taken Wentz, it would’ve worked out better for everybody. Wentz was a better fit for the hippie culture of LA. Goff has just enough asshole vibe to ingratiate himself to the Philly hateful.
New York Giants: C+
Came in hot in the end with the strong finish. Jerrel Adams, Darian Thompson, and Paul Perkins are all guys who should’ve been drafted earlier than when they went. Thompson in particular should be a heavy contributor. He’s somewhat comparable to Antrel Rolle, a love-hate guy for some, but a game changer who gets those turnovers (and they will come). Paul Perkins and Sterling Shepard will both be tremendously helpful to Eli Manning. I feel bad for his dumb face a lot of the time. He’s had no O-line (and still don’t, they took no lineman in the draft), aside from Weston Richburg who’s turning into a stud. Flowers is coming along, but the right side of the line has been atrocious. Rashad Jennings had an OK year, but I expect Paul Perkins to eventually be starter; he’s just more versatile. Shepard will make a good tandem with ODB, so long as O’dell isn’t getting suspended for assaulting Josh Norman again (who’s now in the division, if you hadn’t heard). This a good draft for New York, in total. That grade of a C+ should be higher, if not for:
Worst pick of the first round award:
Eli Apple CB. He’s a first round CB, he’s just not a #10 overall CB. Eli Apple is sticky in coverage; about as an encouraging description of a CB you’ll ever find. Why is he so sticky? Because he’s grabbier than Pepe Le Pew. He drew a lot of flags in College, and the NFL is even more strict on those types of calls. Eli has huge upside, if he ever reaches it. But NY does not have a good reputation for developing its CB talent. Prince Amukamara, a guy of similar talent who was much more polished coming out, didn’t even make it to his second contract in NY. Real talk, I like Darian Thompson better than Eli Apple. I expect Darian to have a bigger impact on the Giants D.
Minnesota Vikings: A
Stack those drafts Minnesota. They are on a roll. Another draft killed. Laquan Treadwell is a poor mans Larry Fitzgerald and just the dude to help Teddy Bridgewater take that next step into becoming the upper echelon QB we all know he can be. Mackensie Alexander is a top 15 talent and arguably 2nd best CB in the draft who fell a little bit because he’s a cocky-son-of-a-gun and reportedly has diva-esque traits that coaches find difficult to manage. Listen, Primetime didn’t get inducted into the Hall of Fame for his legendary modesty. The best Cbs in this game have to be bullet proof to survive at that position. Being overly confident is critically important, and Mackensie is that dude. He’s a press-man specialist who doesn’t have any ball skills (zero interceptions) but he erases his side of the field. A+ pick right there in the 2nd round. Kentrell Brothers is a personal favorite of mine. This guy is a machine. He’s not especially athletic, and that’s why you respect his impact on the game even moreso. He’s out there getting 20 tackles a game against guys who can run circles around but he still gets the job done.
Good Feels moment of the draft:
Moritz Boehringer WR. This was phenomenal if you saw it. What happened: Moritz is from Germany where apparently American style FB exists. He’s 6’5 and runs a 4.43 (Germans make good stuff). With those numbers, you will get drafted. He was on NFL Network with the panel of guys, including Mike Mayock, where he mentioned he’s a Vikings fan. Mayock jokingly mentioned he’s buds with Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer, and would put in a good word for him. Mayock then addresses Zimmer through the TV and gives a brief breakdown of Moritz and why he’d be a good fit on the Vikings. During a commercial break, Mike Zimmer then called Mike Mayock after having watched the segment from the Vikings draft room. Not long thereafter……the Vikings draft Moritz with the 180th pick. The “awwww’s” were deafening. Whether or not this entire sequence had anything to do with why the Vikings took Moritz is irrelevant, it was an amazing bit of television.
Chicago Bears: A-
Leonard Floyd has the explosion and bend to be an elite pass rusher. But the guy is so lanky that he’s a liability in run defense. So currently he looks like a 3rd down pass rush specialist. If he can bulk up, and maintain that speed, then the Giants have themselves a bookend with JPP. Cody Whitehair was a steal at #56. A G/C, I prefer him at C. The fact they got him after trading down makes his value all the better. He should be an immediate starter, wherever that may be. Jonathan Bullard is a 1st round talent who’s a tweener. Kind of an odd size, teams weren’t sure where to play him and so he fell a little bit. Jon was one of the top rated run defenders in the draft (per PFF). Braverman is Wes Welker-esque and will be much more productive than you expect.
Looking for a come-up award:
Daaaaah Bears. Whitehair, Bullard, Hall, Howard, and Braverman were all bargains. Chicago did the best of any team at getting value out of every round.
Green Bay Packers: B-
I was going to lose it if Green Bay came out of this draft without an inside linebacker. They seem almost content with their franchise pass rusher, Clay Matthews, toiling away at ILB doing garbage work, rather than what he’s paid to do: attack the QB. Fackrell is an OLB, but he has the size to play ILB. Martinez is a true ILB so that’s encouraging. One of these guys has to fill the void, and both are talented enough to do so. Kenny Clark is a good player, but it felt too early at #27, especially when you consider Reggie Ragland was available. I’m probably just jaded because I had Ragland to GB since day 1, shocked they didn’t take him considering they could’ve addressed Dline in later rounds. I’m not sure if Jason Spriggs is meant to start immediately or not. For sure he’s not ready, but if he does, it’ll just be more of the same for Aaron (sack city). He is athletically impressive, so he has the ability to develop into a franchise type T. Odd they didn’t take a couple WRs. After Jordy Nelson was injured, that WR corps was of no help.
We don’t need no stinkin draftees award:
Aaron Rogers/Packers. When you have the best QB in the game (based on pure talent, not winning, calm down Brady, you’re still the GOAT), you don’t ever really NEED anything. Healthy Aaron, with a healthy Jordy , with a svelte Eddie Lacy are enough to win games, so they weren’t especially dependent on the draft picks coming in and carrying the team. Its part of the reason GM Ted Thompson never really makes any splash in free agency. Why bother? Whether or not you spend $40 million on this dude or that, Arod will still go out there and win regardless.
Detroit Lions: C+
Who is Matt Stafford going to throw the ball to? Megatron just retired, along with 68% of the total offense.
They took a T, Taylor Decker, to protect Stafford as he throws to…..? Golden Tate and Marvin Jones scare no defense. They had several shots at promising, young Wrs and instead took a long snapper. A’Shawn Robinson is a good, not great, player. Its unreal how old he looks for a 19 year old, and acts for that matter. Keeping with that trend he’s literally a man among boys. He’s a safe player who is a plug and play contributor day 1. Offers no pass rush, but he does everything else at a high level, and will allow guys like Ansah to go eat. Mostly though, these picks felt random and unfocused. Almost every round I can go and look at the guys taken after the Lions pick and say “he would’ve been a better choice here”.
The Jennifer Aniston Peoples Most Beautiful Woman of The Year so we pretending old people are young award:
A’ Shawn Robinson. Google him. Just do it. Clear your mind, forget how old he is, and look at that face. Its medically unbelievable. During the broadcast, his mom mentioned she had to bring his birth certificate to day care because they didn’t believe he was a 9 year old, who just appeared to be 38. I’m not busting his balls, A’ Shawn is a respectful guy who brings maturity to a locker room that will inevitably call him grandpa something or another.
New Orleans Saints: A-
Sheldon Rankins is a poor mans Aaron Donald; slightly undersized but an explosive penetrator in the pass rush. Michael Thomas could’ve been the first WR taken, so to get him at #47 was an absolute steal. He is the gem of this Saints draft class. He will really help Brees be Brees again. He reminds me of Michael Crabtree, which is a compliment, despite Crabtrees up and down career so far. Vonn Bell has a shot to partner up with Kenny Vaccaro and create a fire 1-2 safety tandem. That final pick, RB Lasco, is a combine freak. The Saints have a successful history of taking combine freaks. Notably LT Terron Armstead. This team has the talent to unseat the Panthers in this division. It all depends on Brees and that defense. The defense added 2 solid pieces, and the offense added a big time WR. It should be fun to see what they do this year.
Token Canadian Player Appreciation Award:
David Onyemata DT. Almost sounds like a Brooklyn accent saying “on your mother”.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: B-
I don’t know why Spence fell as far as he did, I thought he was one of the safer players available. His off field is no worse than most guys, and he’s been much more mature and intelligent in his handling of those off field questions. On field, he was the best natural pass rusher in the draft. Tampa is getting a specialist who’s good for 8-10 sacks his first year, only to improve from there. Huge need filled by the best available. Hargreaves was arguably the best pure corner (Ramsay is more of a Safety) in the draft. Tampa was wise to snap him up after New York took Eli Apple for some dumb-choice reason. Aside from those 2 picks, they didn’t address their Oline at all. Considering you are a year removed from being the worst team in the NFL, taking QB Jameis Winston #1 overall, you should prioritize the line and protecting your franchise player.
The Sebastian Janikowski Kickers are people too award:
Roberto Aguayo K. Hang in there Jason Licht, don’t let them break you. I know people are going in on him for taking a kicker in the 2nd round. Listen, ever since they moved the extra point back, kickers have become more valuable. Games have been won and lost on those extra points. Roberto has never missed within 40 yards. That’s not to say he never will, but dammit the boy has a resume. His knock is they say he’s got a weak leg, and over 50 yards he cant do much for you. If you’re reliant on a kicker who can boot it from 60, then you deserve to lose. Have some respect and at least get the ball to the 30 before you go for 3, its shameful enough already.
Carolina Panthers: C+
This was difficult to grade. The players they took are good picks. Vernon Butler is one of the best Dts in a strong DT class. Monstrous dude at 320. He will really be the X factor in that defense at the point of attack. They had a need at CB, and so they took 3 Cbs. All good players. Notably Zach Sanchez. But the reason they needed Cbs is because they let Josh Norman leave. Now it seems like they are trying to fill that unfillable void by taking as many shots as possible, the strategy being “maybe one of these guys will be a Josh Norman?” No they wont. So this draft felt dedicated to fixing a problem they created. One step backward, one step forward. They’ve gone nowhere as a result.
Get your priorities straight award:
Panthers. No olineman, the #1 priority. No safety. No running back. Only 1 Dline. Like I said, it seemed like they spent this draft trying to fill Normans spot, when they had so many other pressing needs. Now all they can do is wait for preseason and pick over the roster cuts of other teams. Not an enviable position for a defending conference champion.
Atlanta Falcons: D+
Keanu Neal is a good pick, albeit a reach. There were better choices there, but talent is talent. The best comparison I’ve heard is “a smaller Adrian Wilson, but with better coverage skills”. Meaning he’s going to get called for a lot unnecessary roughness penalties for taking lives across the middle, but he’s also a tempo setter and chess piece for his DC. He can support the run or man up TE’s. Not to say he’ll have the same career, but they have similar styles. Physical in run support. Underrated ball skills and turnover ability. Hooper is also a solid pick. Well done on both of them. The rest of the draft felt manufactured. Dimitroff is up there saying “I want fast guys with mediocre production”. Nailed it bro. Jones, Campbell, and Fuller. You wont find a faster group of draft picks who wont significantly help you win games.
The “I hate our GM” award:
Atlanta fans. Y’all got Dimitroff’d .At least he’s consistent in disappointing you. He could be cruel and get your hopes up first. Nah, keeping them low constantly is kindness.
Arizona Cardinals: B
The Nkemdiche pick is an A/F, but since AZ is a good team, I‘ll give them the benefit of the doubt. He may have the most talent of any DT in the draft, but he’s been frustratingly inconsistent his entire career. This is a 100% projection pick, with the team hoping he becomes something special. Currently he’s hardly a 5th rounder. Harlan Miller in the 6th round was a steal. Smaller school CB who went to the senior bowl and held his own against heralded Wrs like Sterling Shepard. Evan Boehm is likely a day 1 starter given they have zero Centers on the roster. The 3rd round pick of Brandon Williams was odd. He’s a RB turned CB 1 year ago. So he’s coming into the NFL with 1 year experience at CB. If you want a CB, then just take a CB. I don’t like conversion guys like Braxton Miller. There have been other players who’ve been playing that position much longer, and thus do it better. Cardinals are another team that didn’t NEED anything, they will be contenders regardless.
Perfect Fit Award:
Robert Nkemdiche DT. On any other team, this is an F. You don’t take a maniac like this in the first round. Unless you’re the Arizona Cardinals, who have a long history of turning problem guys into all-pros. Nkemdiche is a near clone of long time AZ DT Darnell Dockett. Play style is the same and personalities
(turnt) is nearly identical. Nkemdiche needs a strong locker room to control him, and AZ has among the strongest in the league with Larry Fitzgerald and Tyrann Mathieu.
San Francisco 49ers: B
This should be an A but they shot themselves in the foot in the end of the 1st. Deforest Buckner, possibly the best defensive player in the draft. He’s a more polished Calais Cambell coming out and will have a similar impact as Justin Smith. Joshua Garnett in his own right his a helluva player. Best run blocking guard in the draft. It’ll be like having Mike Iupati back. The thing that drops this grade is what San Fran gave up to move back down to make this pick. From #28 to #37 if you go team-by-team and look at the roster needs, nobody was going to take Garnett. San Fran could’ve sat and waited and just taken him in the 2nd round. That was a total headscratcher. WR Aaron Burbridge helps fill the WR need, but they really could’ve used 2 guys at least.
It doesn’t matter dejected face award:
49er Fans. So long as Jed York is running that team, nothing you do really matters. It’ll always fail. That’s how it is with bad owners. They meddle. I’m not going to get into the Trent Baalke/Jim Harbaugh situation, but you know what it is. Chip Kelly? Because he did such a bang up job in Philly. You don’t have a QB on top of all of this.
Seattle Seahawks: B-
T/G Germain Ifedi was a need-reach, albeit an understandable one. That line last year was among the worst in the league, and they had to address it early, for Ciara’s roommates-sake. Jarran Reed was the gem of the weekend. Its funny, I want to include the Seahawks as a team that doesn’t need its picks to contend, but they kind of do. Especially on Oline, because Russ couldn’t survive another season of that. The majority of this class was bleh, but Ifedi and Jarran were homeruns.
Steal of the draft:
Jarran Reed, DT. Aside from a healthy Myles Jack/Jaylon Smith, Jarran Reed 2nd round was the steal of the draft. This guy almost single handedly can shut down a run game. “But he cant rush the passer”, who’s cares? While he’s eating up the running plays, there’s 10 other guys around him who can go get the QB.
Los Angeles Rams: C+
I wouldn’t have pulled that trade to move up to #1 overall, but I respect the Rams for doing it. Back in LA, want to make a splash, need a QB, take a local kid. It makes sense. Of the two Qbs in the running, Goff and Wentz, Goff is more game ready right now. However, Wentz has a higher ceiling. No matter who they took, the kid was going to struggle year 1. Especially in the NFC West with these defenses. They are going to eat Goff’s lunch. The Rams are unique for a #1 overall pick team, in that they don’t suck. They had to trade way up from the teens, meaning they are a middle of the road team. With a QB, they would be very dangerous right now. Todd Gurley is an emerging superstar. That Dline is the best in the league. Aaron Donald is a DPOTY candidate every season. Linebackers and secondary are underrated. This is a damn good team, aside from the QB and head coach.
The reaper award:
Jared Goff, QB. No player can fire an entire coaching staff and GM faster than a #1 overall pick. If you miss on the guy, you’re gonzos. The beauty of this pick was that HC Jeff Fisher and GM Les Snead were playing with house money. Both should’ve been fired awhile ago. They had nothing to lose by going all in and mortgaging this franchises future to move up and take Goff #1 overall.
Kansas City Chiefs: B
Set aside Chris Jones for the moment. Keivarae Russell was the best CB in college football 2 years ago until he got into some academic circumstances that saw him get suspended. Its my belief that when a player is “the best” at anything, that talent is still in there somewhere. Dadi Nicolas is reedy but wicked quick. I like how Kansas City is constantly feeding their pass rush group. DJ White is an underrated CB, good depth guy, especially for the 6th round. Hogan isn’t the QB of the future, but he might be the backup QB of the future. He has just enough to fill the void if the starter goes down.
Alright enough of this, let me get to the show: Underrated Player of the Draft.
Chris Jones DT. His “on” is elite. His speed to power is unmatched at 6’6 310. He moves like a guy half his size. He’s too long, too strong, and too fast for interior blockers. His upside comparison is JJ Watt. Now that we’re all hard, let me bring you down. Problem is he’s not always “on”. This guy is so hot/cold it’ll drive you crazy. Because he should be the 1st DT taken in this draft. That’s where his talent is. But he’s so inconsistent, that coaches and draftniks question his passion for the game. Just like Albert Haynesworth, some guys have the ability, but not the want; and that makes all the difference.
Oakland Raiders: B-
The Raiders are a young team and just juiced to the tits with talents. They didn’t necessarily need any more players, so much as the team just needs more experience playing together. So there were no bad picks in this draft. Karl Joseph filled a major need after Charles Woodsons retirement. He is coming off a knee, so that’s a slight concern given the Raiders got bit the last time they took an injury risk DB (DJ Hayden). Ward and Calhoun are just fuel on the fire. That Dline and pass rush cant get more stacked. The reason this grade isn’t an A is because they didn’t take any Cbs, which I had as their #1 need.
The Welcome Back Award:
Raaaaiddas. Awarded to the team rejoining the ranks of contenders. Love what they are building out there in Oakland. Ill never see it in person because I’m not about to go into Oakland, but I admire it from afar. I’ll for sure check them out when they move to Las Vegas. They have the QB, the receivers, a solid Oline, a solid D line, 1 Khalil Mack, and with Joseph an improving secondary. Just win baby.
Denver Broncos: C
Booker, Simmons and Mcgovern are each ’A’ picks. Gotsis was a strange pick. With all the Dline talent on the board at the time, they take Adam Gotsis in the 2nd round. Elway seems to have a knack at finding good dlineman, but this one was a total headscratcher. Maybe he’s starting to feel himself a little too much, and try to outthink the room. The Broncos defense alone is enough to win most of their games. Peyton showed that all they need is a game manager on offense, and they apparently can win superbowls. Maybe that’s why they felt comfortable taking “not even close to competent NFL QB” Paxton Lynch. Big ups to Elway not paying Osweiler, he wasn’t worth it. Bad teams sign mediocre players like that to big deals out of desperation (I see you Houston). But that left Denver without a QB, and no good options in the draft beyond Lynch; even though he hardly qualifies as a good option.
Reach of the Draft Award:
Paxton Lynch QB. The definition of a reach is taking a guy you need, over the guy who will be the best player, when you pick. The Broncos were the most desperate team in the NFL for a QB, and so it was expected they’d do everything they could to get Lynch, and they did. He’s not remotely a 1st round QB. He’s never been under center. He’s never commanded a huddle. He only has experience doing half the things necessary to be a professional QB. This guy is as raw as they come. That’d be like going to The Masters as a golfer whose never putted before. Its going to be a rough season.
San Diego Chargers: C-
From a talent standpoint, Bosa is a top 5 player. He was the single most disruptive defensive player in college football. He’s got a douche factor to him, but more importantly, his fit in the Chargers 3-4 defense is currently unknown. He’s best in a 4-3 so it seems like he’s going to line up at OLB. He’ll be a good player regardless, but that was definitely surprising. The chargers D is heavily dependent on strong secondary play, which they got for years behind Weddle. Jalen Ramsay would’ve been the perfect guy here. The rest of the picks were underwhelming. Both linebackers seem to be a precursor to moving on from Manti Teo, which is a shame because I had high hopes for that guy. The punter, Drew Kaser, in an underrated pick. Guy can really launch it.
Butterfly Effect Award:
Bosa. No pick had more of a ripple effect on the rest of the draft as #3 overall, no matter who they took. But the fact it was a total shocker in Bosa, instead of Ramsay, doubly impacted the path this draft took thereafter.
Jacksonville Jaguars: A+
Good for you Jacksonville. I like seeing long suffering franchises not named the Browns pull themselves out of the pit. The current Raiders are a shining example of that, and its fun to see. Ramsay is an absolute savage. Soon to be Charles Woodson. He has virtually no downside, which means he’s probably black Dexter on the low because nobody is that clean. Myles Jack is a hybrid Luke Kuechly type talent who will probably be the best pass coverage backer in the league. I’m not worried about his knee. All the concerns the pundits keep talking about is “eventually” someday. But not today Satan. He’s going to ball out in the meantime. Sheldon Day was menace on the DL at Notre Dame. Per PFF one of the most consistent interior pass rushers this past season. If not for being undersized, his talent is late 1st round. Yannick Ngakoue is a sleeper. Posted some of the top pass rush numbers in college football, despite getting almost no national acknowledgement. All of their success is based on the QB play of Blake Bortles. They have the pieces at every other position to contend right now.
Overall Winner of the 2016 Draft:
Jacksonville Jaguars. Best Draft Class in the 2016 Draft.
Indianapolis Colts: A
Excellent draft. They addressed their biggest need, Oline, with smart picks. Clark and Haeg are blue collar brawlers with high upside. Morrison is an underrated ILB out of Florida who could’ve gone earlier if he were a little bigger. Hassan Ridgeway is a guy who came out of school too early. Had he gone back, he likely would’ve dominated at Texas in 2016. But that also means he has a year head start in the NFL. The guy is tremendously talented, and a real good influence to have in the locker room. TJ Green was a late riser in the scouting process after putting up a 4.34 40. At 6’2 210, he’s got elite measurables. He’s slightly contact averse, not especially liking getting knocked around. On a side note, I’m a football fan, obviously. I follow every team, but I have my favorite team that I grew up supporting, and still do. I wont say who, but you can figure it out if you read close enough. The Colts stole my picks 5 times this weekend. Ryan Kelly, TJ Green, Hassan Ridgeway, Le’Raven Clark, and Antonio Morrison. I got annoyed, then pissed, then it got funny, then I got mad again when it kept happening.
Safest Player in the Draft:
Ryan Kelly C. He looks like a day 1 10 year starter with a handful of pro bowls. With that said, there is no such thing as a sure thing. And given it’s the Colts, maybe you shouldn’t get so confident regarding any Olineman.
Tennessee Titans: B
They nearly pulled a Kevin Costner in “Draft Day” and came back to take the original guy they wanted all along. Problem is they took Conklin instead of Tunsil. Had they taken Tunsil, it would’ve been one of the most impressive trade maneuvers in draft history. But they didn’t, so lets talk about it. Conklin is a good player, but he’s not Tunsil. I understand everybody was scared away from Tunsil at that point, but the talent was still there. The Titans originally had the #1 pick because they were the worst team in the league. Worst teams in the league need to take risks like that to get better, and you don’t do that by side stepping the best player in the draft. The rest of the draft was OK, although not exciting. It was a very Tennessee Titans draft in that sense. Few surprises. Mostly vanilla picks. G Sebastian Tretola is my favorite of the bunch. Violent, powerful. I like maulers like that. He’s similar to Chance Warmack.
Getting hot when it matters (Hype man of the year) award:
Kevin Dodd DE. Dodd is not a 1 year wonder, like many players are. He’s a 1 game wonder. He blew up Alabama for 3 sacks in the 2016 National Championship game. Alabama has one of the best Olines in college football, so that performance by Dodd on that stage was legendary. Other than that 1 game, he had a quiet season. Just like the one before it, quiet. The fact he got himself drafted in the 2nd round off one game is unbelievable.
Houston Texans: B-
William Fuller is like that 2nd puppy you buy so that your original puppy isn’t sad and lonely when you leave. He’s was taken for Deandre Hopkins. So the value is sky high. Fuller by himself is a burner who gets behind defenses. But his presence on the field with Hopkins, and vice versa, opens it up for both guys to eat. Nick Martin was the 2nd best Center behind Ryan Kelly and should slide right into the starting spot. I’m not as excited by Braxton Miller as most are. He does have world class athleticism, but that’s not what makes a WR great. This is the NFL. The best of the best. The Wrs at this level have been playing WR all their lives. They are just as athletic as you. Same as the Dbs. They’ve been defending life-long Wrs all their lives. What makes you think a guy playing WR for half a lunch break is going to come in and dominate? Everybody in the NFL is fast. Physical tools are moot in the pros.
You don’t know it yet, but you goofed award:
Texans. Brock Osweiler was not worth that contract. Now you’re married to him. Why cant teams just take an L and go into the season knowing they’ll get their guy next year? I bring it up because they could’ve gone without Osweiler, taken any QB in this draft as a stop gap/maybe get lucky and find a Russell Wilson. But nah, they wanted a QB now. So its irrelevant that they are probably drafting top 10 next year, they cant take a QB because of this awful corner they’ve backed themselves into.
Baltimore Ravens: A+
Ozzie Newsome is not the best General Manager in the NFL. He just does the obvious right things, and thus he rarely gets bit. Baltimore needed a LT. They took the best LT available who wasn’t actively having a meltdown. Stanley is every bit the talent Tonsil is; and he’s twice as smart having not getting caught
taking mondo bong rips. Kamalei Correa was a combine freak and a fast riser in recent weeks. Some projected him to be a late first rounder. Tavon Young and Chris Moore are complimentary players, so these were well balanced choices for Wrs. Bronson Kaufusi is an enormous DE who excels in run D. Matt Judon only had 20 sacks last year. He’s a small school guy, but I don’t see why that matters. Dominant players should dominate. Khalil Mack did so at Buffalo. Judon did it at Grand Valley State. Kenneth Dixon was the 3rd best RB in the class, and they took him in the 4th. He’s going to have a big role in the offense early.
Runners Up Award:
Ravens. 2nd best draft class, which deserves recognition.
Cleveland Browns: A-
With Josh Gordon flushing his career down the toilet, and Travis Benjamin splitting for the Chargers, Cleveland desperately needed a WR. Corey Coleman was a helluva great pick. Coleman is a freak. Joy- stick quick and difficult to tackle. They had the first choice of a WR and they took the best of the bunch. Manny Ogbah is a flashing talent. He occasionally shows you a pass rush move that makes you think he’s special, then it’ll disappear. But its in there. They just got to get it out of him. Spencer Drango last year was projected to be a first round T. Why he fell so far in this draft, I don’t know. He’s a steal in the 5th round. They currently have 2 ace guards in there so Id imagine he’s coming in to be a depth guy. He does have position flexibility so he can step in if either G or T goes down.
Most talented player in the draft:
Scooby Wright III, LB. His 2014 was legendary. 2015 he was hurt all the time, but Scoobys talent is Hall of Fame caliber. He was born with the wrong body. If he were 6’3 250 he’d be better than every LB in this draft. He’d come in the league and immediately go head to head with Luke Kuechly as the best LB in the world. He’d be in a 3 way battle with Kuechly and JJ Watt every year for “Defensive Player of the Year”. You think I’m exaggerating? I’m not. Scooby Wright is one of the most talented football players in the world, he’s just too short and too slow according to the NFL.
Cincinnati Bengals: A-
Bengals are one of the best drafting teams out there. Solid every year it seems. William Jackson III is a high upside baller. Fits right into the secondary day 1. Tyler Boyd is a high production guy. Similar style to Keenan Allen in San Diego. He mostly just takes pressure off AJ Green. Andrew Billings was a prototype “Bengals” pick. He fell so far down the draft because he’s got some personality issues. The Bengals love personality issues. Billings is the most powerful guy in the draft. Immovable NT in the middle. Nick Vigil doesn’t get nearly as much recognition as he deserves. Another high production guy who doesn’t test especially well athletically. This guy is great in pass coverage. One of the best in the nation over his career. Lbs in coverage has been a weakness of the Bengals for a long time, its part of the reason they targeted Karlos Dansby in free agency this year.
The One and Done regular season champions award:
Bengals. Great draft class will contribute to another rousing 12-4 season filled with optimism and misplaced “this year is different” water cooler conversations. No, its not different. You’ll enter the playoffs and leave the playoffs on the same day, again.
Pittsburgh Steelers: C-
I’ve been projecting 1st round Dbs to Pittsburg for I don’t know how long. Finally they take one, and he’s the wrong one. Artie Burns was a need pick, that’s a sin in itself. Its compounded by the fact they could’ve taken Mackensie Alexander instead. Artie is extremely raw, and raw guys don’t help you when your window to contend is rapidly closing. I like the 2nd CB taken, Sean Davis, moreso than Burns. When the last player in your draft is your last pick, you know you goofed. Tyler Matakevich is the best pick in this crew. The Bully of Broad street. With Ryan Shazier constantly injured, Tyler is going to end up starting and not relinquish that job. He’s undersized but he’s special. If he were 6’3 250 he’d be a top 15 pick.
Enjoy it now award:
Steeler Fans. When Ben retires, get ready for the pain, because this team does not draft well. The last 3 years consecutively have been mediocre.
Buffalo Bills: B+
The consistent factor in Rex Ryans HC career is that he’s never had a QB. Sanchez had that one good year, but otherwise, he’s never had a guy. And still doesn’t, Cardale isn’t the answer. Cardale tweeted out the equivalent of “what’s the point of school, they bring us here to play football”. Yeah, we know that. What he said isn’t the issue so much as the fact that he doesn’t have the societal awareness to know you don’t say that out loud. That’s a different level of dumb. The B+ is from Lawson (ferocious pass rusher in the Rex Ryan D). Ragland, old dependable manning the middle for the next 8 years. Washington who’s an underrated interior pass rusher, which is hard to find. And Kolby Listenbee. You can never have too many 4.3 guys to break the top off.
Best value 1-2 punch in the draft: Lawson and Ragland. From a value standpoint, this is the best 1-2 combo in the draft. At #19 and #41, I didn’t think either of these guys would be available. Smart teams make smart choices, good for the Bills. If only Rex had a QB, he could really put together a contender. Always strong defenses.
New York Jets: B+
The Darron Lee pick has more thought to it than just “Jets got a LB”. What really happened is Todd Bowles got the X factor of his trademark defense. Darron Lee is Todds new Deone Bucannon. A tweener LB/S/weapon who’s ultra flexible and never comes off the field. Don’t be surprised if this cat leads the team in tackles. Charone Peake did something. We don’t know what, but there’s a reason this guy slid all the way to the 7th round. He’s a 3rd round talent. 6’2 4.37 out of the WR factory Clemson. If whatever that is doesn’t get him suspended this year, then the Jets just got a killer. Jordan Jenkins is an A selection. That guy tore up the combine, along with being a more consistent player than Leonard Floyd at Georgia. Floyd went top 10 because he has a higher ceiling, but Jenkins is the workhorse between the two. More dependable.
Most overrated player in the draft award:
Christian Hackenberg QB. I get it. He’s tall, he’s handsome (he’s even got those rosy flushed cheeks). He’s got the size, the strength, the pedigree, the big school program. Coaches and franchises so desperately want to make Hackenberg the face of their franchise, that they’ve aggressively reasoned away why he’s been atrocious the last 2 years. There’s more wrong with him than right. I know the Jets are having this stare down with Fitzpatrick, but going into the season with Geno Smith and Hackenberg is not the answer. And FYI, Geno is infinitely a better QB than Hackenberg. That tells you what a hack this cherub face is.
Miami Dolphins: B
First things first, that was not 5 years ago. Looks like it was filmed yesterday. Arguably the best player in the draft at a position of dire need. Part of the shocking freefall he endured from the video was that he seemed to be an extremely clean player from a character perspective. He seems like a good guy, and I wouldn’t worry about him getting into trouble. However, his repeated defense of the video saying “somebody hacked my account” was some of the dumbest PR strategy I’ve ever heard. “Yeah, I made a mistake, but in my defense, yall weren’t suppose to find out about that”. Xavien Howard. The ultimate ‘system’ guy. Much like Seattle’s Dbs whos dominance is heavily dependent on that system they have,
Howard will soar or fall based on how he’s used in Miami. He is the most physical DB in the draft. He’s got a powerful build with world class speed. He’s aggressive in coverage and sticks dudes in run support. 100% boom-or-bust, there will be no middle ground. WR Leonte Carroo was a TD machine in college. I think he’s got a sneaky shot at being a huge part of the Miami offense.
Biggest Slide /Tom Petty Free Fallin Memorial Award:
Laremy Tunsil. His crime was he got caught. Lets not act like every player in the draft also doesn’t own a WWII gas mask bong.
New England Patriots: D
Maybe its for the best New England didn’t have that first round pick, so as not to waste it. This is the most “C” list collection of “why?” players in this draft. The best pick, is the last pick, Devin Lucien. Only because his play will be elevated by the fact he is 1 degree from Tom Brady. A 3rd rounder on a QB who will never play a snap in New England? A couple of depth linebackers. A couple of guards when there were better guard options available. There’s not a single game-significant player in this class.
Worst Draft Class in the 2016 Draft:
New England Patriots. Not that it matters. Bradys still gonna Brady.
Now feel free to get mad in the comments if you didn’t agree with anything above.