If we never leave our comfort zone, how will we find what's out there?
I normally don´t like to get too bogged down in NFL draft pick analysis, not because I don´t love the draft, but I think none of us really know what teams had the best “grades” “steals” & “value” until a few years down the line. It´s silly to say who won and lost, because most of the time even the experts miss on picks.
We´ll roll-out these previews in a division by division format, starting with the NFC East. But first, instead of assigning draft grades and shooting into the wind, I want to share some thoughts on some players taken, and events that occurred during the draft.
Carson Wentz– This is such an intriguing pick, not because of his small school status, but rather his landing spot in Philadelphia. The Eagles already have a 22 million dollar per year QB in Sam Bradford (whether the money is justified is another issue), as well as a solid backup in Chase Daniel, who will receive roughly $7 million a year. Just talking numbers , it doesn´t add up to allocate so much money to one position. I´m in the old school train of thought regarding young QBs, you let them sit for a year or two, they learn, and then you play them when they´re actually ready to take the field. Today´s NFL doesn’t allow for sit and learn scenarios like it used to for QB´s , so lets see.
Regarding the case for sitting Carson Wentz, you have to think about where this kid is coming from: Fargo-by way of Bismark-North Dakota. That small town environment is going to be a world away once he steps on the field in Philadelphia, notorious for their passionate and ruthless fan-base. I´ll be interested to see how this kid adjusts to playing in that market, especially once the interceptions start to come. This is not to say I don´t think he´ll be a great player, I think he will be, however I´d urge on the side of caution before throwing him into the fire that is Lincoln Financial Field.
Outstanding talent, honest kid, doesn´t seem like the best decision maker. Following his photo which showcased him smoking marijuana in a gas mask, the consensus top player in the draft fell all the way to Miami at pick 13. Now, many people have argued:
“This kid fell because he smokes weed, the NFL is so old fashioned.”
Personally, I don´t think that was the issue at all. The issue is more about why would someone even have a video like that to potentially get leaked? So, just it case that actually does happen, you have to come out and say “-Yeah I screwed up, I was a college kid and I´ve learned from it”. You don´t blame the incident on a hacker, when the video shouldn´t of existed in the first place. Will Tunsil learn from this and be a stallworth offensive tackle for the next 10 years? Time will tell.
NFC East Team Previews
Key Additions (Free Agency): CB Josh Norman, TE Vernon Davis,
I narrowed it down to the two big names here. Norman, following Carolina´s removal of his franchise tag, moved on to Washington, and should help a once porous secondary. He will now have the pleasure of guarding his old friend, Odell Beckham Jr, twich a year. Vernon Davis, 32, may not be the player he once was, but will serve as a solid second TE, as well as a great mentor for rising star Jordan Reed, who recently received a contract extension which included 5 years $46.5 million.
This will help Kirk Cousins a lot, especially since he prefers to throw the short passes as seen below.
With this 2 tight end set, it will provide more opportunities for 1-on-1 match-ups for deep threat WR Desean Jackson.
22. WR Josh Doctson
52. SS Suá Cravens
84. CB Kendall Fuller
152. DT Matt Ioannidis
187. QB Nate Sudfield
From these picks alone, it appears the Redskins will have 3, maybe 4 immediate contributors. Fuller will help newly signed Josh Norman in a revamped secondary, partnered with hard hitting safety/linebacker Cravens. Washington has significantly improved their depth.
New York Giants
Tom Coughlin gear up for another- Oh wait, Ben McAdoo is in, Coughlin out… feels weird doesn´t it? The Giants head into the 2016 season with a new head coach for the first time since 2004 when Coughlin took over. So far it´s been an interesting offseason with the pricey acquisitions of : LB/DE Olivier Vernon , CB Janoris Jenkins, NT Damon “Snacks”Harrison, and resigning Jason Pierre-Paul.
On paper, this defense should be a force to be reckoned with.
But as the saying goes.. that´s why they play the game. The Giants are poised to be competitive in the NFC East once more, and Eli Manning will welcome the addition of Oklahome WR Sterling Shepard (see below) paired with Odell Beckham Jr. Will Victor Cruz be back like he was before? The Giants really need a number 2 wide-out, let´s hope they found their man in Shepard
Round 4 — LB B.J. Goodson
The Eli Apple pick, in my opinion, was a good one for two main reasons. First, being only 20 years old, he won´t be rushed into the lineup, as the Giants have Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. This will provide Apple with time to learn and develop. Second, with the 2 starting guys firmly set, Apple can excel in the slot position. In today´s game, with 3 and 4 wide receiver sets, the slot corner is of vital importance, Apple will see significant time in this role.
Sterling Shepard is another guy who can do well in the Giants´system. A solid route runner and slot guy, look for him to be the replacement for Victor Cruz, should he not return to form.
Another pick that could pay dividends is Paul Perkins in the 5th round. A scout described him as “a darting runner” something the Giants could use between Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams.
If you can say one thing about the Dallas Cowboys, it´s that they know how to keep things interesting. The draft was huge for them, why? Because Ezekiel Elliot can do it all: he can block , he can catch, and he can really run. He appears to be the complete back. On top of that, the Cowboys have probably the best offensive line in the NFL, which allowed Darren McFadden to rush for almost 1100 yards and averaged 4,5 yard per carry..not bad. Enter Elliot behind that line.. and as former cowboy Terrell Owens put it “get your popcorn ready”.
Round 3 — DT Maliek Collins
Round 6– CB Anthony Brown
Round 6– FS Kavon Frazier
Round 6– RB Darius Jackson
Round 6– TE Rico Gathers
As I´ve already discussed, I think Elliott will be a great player from the onset. I really like the Jaylon Smith selection, he may have to sit for a year, but when/if he gets healthy, is an elite talent. Dak Prescott can sit behind Tony Romo, barring injury, and learn how to be a mobile. strong-armed passer in the NFL for a few years before being thrown in. Their last pick is pretty interesting, a basketball player turned tight end.. the Cowboys hope to strike- Antonio Gates type- gold in Gathers in the 6th round.
I can already smell controversy brewing in the City of Brotherly Love. Bradford has ended his two week “hold out” (if we can call it that) and decided to bite the bullet (a 20 million dollar bullet) and compete for his job. New head coach Doug Peterson has said Bradford is the guy, at least for a while.
The eagles had an interesting offseason, trading away Kiko Alonso & Byron Maxwell, former Chip Kelly moves. They´re hoping young linebacker Marcus Smith will continue to build upon a nice rookie campaign. The defense should be stout with the likes of Smith, Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks, and Connor Barwin. The secondary will be the only question mark.
I´ll be excited to see how Pederson implements his offensive scheme. Bradford will have some weapons to work with in Jordan Matthews and an experience Nelson Algholor. Those guys paired with two solid tight ends in Kelce and Ertz, Bradford and Wentz will have nice safety valves.
Having traded a lot to move up and grab Wentz, I will say this about the Eagles picks.. they´d better hope it pans out.