NFL DRAFT – IS THIS THE MOST ANTI-CLIMACTIC 1st ROUND EVER?
The debate has raged on for months about who between Jamis Winston and Marcus Mariota would be the better NFL QB. So every analyst, expert and blogger weighed in, and the general public then had the luxury to decide which side of the fence they would reside on based on what they heard. So it was absolutely no surprise to see the two QBs go 1-2 in the draft, but what was the biggest shocker was the lack of movement by NFL teams to move up to get one of them. By lack of movement I mean NO movement, zip, zero, zilch, nada.
The most puzzling of all of the speculation is that NFL and draft experts kept the general public hanging on by a thread assuring us that something big was going to go down. ESPN’s Todd McShay, Mel Kiper, and Cris Carter, as well as Mike Mayock, and Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL network all eluded to the fact that a trade involving the Tennessee Titans 2nd overall pick would happen and as we all sat on the edge of our seats and Mariota was in fact selected with the 2nd pick the lack of drama that ensued carried over to the rest of the first round. In fact the first 5 picks of the draft were they most predictable in recent memory and all of those teams from Tampa Bay at #1 to Jacksonville at #3 and even Oakland picked the best possible value and filled their respective needs in doing so. It wasn’t until the NY Jets picked Leonard Williams at #6 overall that you see a real discrepancy in talent vs draft position. Here’s the thing, any other year Leonard Williams, would’ve been in the discussion to be a top 1-3 pick including the first overall pick. He has a greater or equal pedigree and skill set than Mario Williams and Jadeveon Clowny but the chips just didn’t fall his way in this draft. The big winner in this case is the Jets, who get top 2 overall talent at the 6th spot, save a few million dollars in guaranteed money and add the final piece in their front seven puzzle which makes them arguably the best defensive team in the AFC. So did the other 5 teams blow it by passing up on Leonard Williams? Absolutely not, they all picked up what they perceived to be the best player at their position, leaving Williams as the odd man out – come talk to me in 4 years, and the conversation about who drafted the best value will be much easier to have.
We eluded to the NY Jets snatching up some early value in a big way but they weren’t the only winners in the first round.
The Philadelphia Eagles appear to be all set on both sides of the football by rounding out their receiving core with the 2nd best route running wide receiver in the country. Nelson Agholor of USC went right where he should’ve gone, but he fills a hole for the Eagles that desperately needed to be filled. Agholor and Jordan Matthews will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come
The New England Patriots did it again. In fact there’s no way even Bill Belichek thought he was going to get talent this good this late. No one really knows who the Patriots would’ve taken here, but when Malcolm Brown fell into their lap they couldn’t pass him up. This beastly DT dominated the Big 12 and was projected to be a top 23 pick giving the Pats tremendous value here, while finding a viable replacement for Vince Wilfork.
It’s hard to assign the “loser” label on a team because almost everyone drafted to meet a specific needs. Yes some teams could’ve used their position to net more picks but at the end of the day the market clearly wasn’t there enough to justify teams giving up their position.
The Tampa Bay Bucs spent their first overall pick on a guy who has serious off the field character issues, and threw a boat load of interceptions in his final year of college. I’m not sure what’s more risky than that, so I’m going to go ahead and call it now as I did with Johnny Manziel, though the Manziel call was way easier. BUST!!! In fact Bryce Petty of Baylor will have a better professional career than both Winston and Mariota.
The San Diego Chargers, the St Louis Rams, and anyone who drafts a RB in the first round. I’ll admit RBs are NOT a dime a dozen, but historically most of the best RBs in the league right now were not drafted in the first round. There are just too many things that need to be in place for a RB to be successful in the league, and unless a team fields a tremendous O-line, 2 WRs that can catch the ball, and an above average QB – a running back’s talent is marginalized. This should be a concern for both Melvin Gordon and Todd Gurley who are the best of the best and could be the next Marshawn Lynch and LeSean McCoy respectively.
The Indianapolis Colts did not need a WR. They needed defense. Anyone on defense would’ve been better than another WR on a team with two great WRs, two RBs and two pass catching TEs. I don’t know how I can be more clear on this, as this was a huge miss by the Colts.