First Round of the NFL Draft was last night and there was a flurry of action. Trades, shocking picks, great outfits. It was a rip-roaring good time, despite the fact that, for the fourth straight year, I was not drafted in the first round. Obviously, I’ve got some thoughts on the proceedings, but I want to start with a little complaint. This isn’t an uncommon take by any means, but I hate the Primetime NFL Draft. It works for the NBA because the entire draft takes like four hours. The NFL Draft shouldn’t get three separate giant blocks of programming. Give me the first three rounds on Saturday afternoon and 4-7 on Sunday afternoon. It was a winning formula, and I, for one, would like to see it return. Anyway…
O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Bucs-
After years of teasing it, the Bucs finally were kind of okay last year. Jameis looked decent, the defense looked borderline good, the kicking game was
highly drafted, they just didn’t have a lot of playmakers outside Mike Evans. Enter Howard, who somehow fell into their lap with the 19th pick. He’s a perfect fit for pretty much any offense, and will pair with Cameron Brate to form the new Gronk-Hernanez Gronk-Bennett tight end duo. Look for the Bucs to become the popular break out pick for the 1,000th year in a row.
Jonathan Allen, Washington Redskins-
I know there’s some serious concern about the fact that he has arthritis in his shoulders, but, in my mind, he was the best player in the draft and the R******* got him with the 17th pick. Unreal. For a team that was repeatedly gashed by opponents’ running games, this was like mana from Heaven. I know Reuben Foster fell, too, but this was the best value, in my mind. If I was picking in the top five I wouldn’t have hesitated to snatch him up. Yeah, it’s a huge bummer that his career will most likely get cut short, but he’s going to make an immediate impact and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him in the Pro Bowl next year. Besides, the leashes NFL coaches and executives get these days are microscopic. Even if he only plays four or five seasons, he’s going to be great for those four or five seasons. If your first round pick is a “bust” two years after being drafted, everyone in the front office is out on the street. I really don’t understand NFL teams’ thought processes sometimes.
Reuben Foster, San Francisco 49ers-
I’m sensing a theme here. I don’t really know why everyone decided Alabama players are actually bad at football, but that’s why they’re picking in the first half of the first round. I know there’s some character concerns, but they wouldn’t scare me away from another guy who should have gone in the top 10. Yeah, he fought with a hospital worker, but I’m going to cut him a little slack because it happened in the high-stress environment of America’s favorite meat market, the NFL Combine. Yeah, he failed a drug test. What was it for? Oh, it was a diluted sample? So he drank too much water? Probably to cover up for the fact that he had *gasp* smoked a little weed? Can’t have him on my team. Listen, I know everyone says this, but I’m confident I could be an NFL executive. Matter of fact, I could probably build a post-Patriots dynasty in a few years, and my only qualification is that I’m not a gigantic idiot. 49ers made out like gangbusters all night.
Other picks I liked but don’t need to go into:
Jamal Adams, New York Jets
Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers
Malik Hooker, Indianapolis Colts
Marshon Lattimore, New Orleans Saints
Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars-
This isn’t a knock against Fournette. He’s a beast and should be a great player until CTE catches up to him. But to take him at number 4? If you’re the Jaguars and have one of the worst offensive lines in the league? Why? Doing this works if you have the Cowboys’ Five Rulers of the Higher Plane at o-line. When you’ve got the Maginot Line blocking for him? Not so much. Why would you want your top five pick to constantly get punished and have to run into the line for no gain? Offensive line is their biggest need, and I get that there wasn’t a stud, top five lineman this year. Teams were obviously willing to trade up. You couldn’t just move down and get a few more picks? It’s not like the Jags are one player away or anything. If you don’t want to trade take one of the crazy talented defensive players available. This just feels like a huge waste.
Mike Williams, San Diego Chargers-
I could easily just copy and paste Fournette’s argument here. Williams is probably going to be a star. He’s a freak athlete who can dominate games on the outside. But the Chargers have so many more pressing needs. Their offensive line is worse than Jacksonville’s. They could use some defensive line help (if only someone like Jonathan Allen was available). Philip Rivers was fifth in the league in passing yards. Receivers weren’t the problem, especially if Keenan Allen can ever go a week without getting hurt. Add in the storied history of the other NFL receivers named Mike Williams and I can’t quite figure this out.
Besides not taking any of the Alabama guys, I actually think most teams made pretty good decisions. The NFL is all about quarterbacks. If you don’t have a good QB, you’re not winning, plain and simple. So I’ll never fault a team for drafting one, no matter the spot. If the Bears really think Trubisky is their guy, what choice did they have? It seems like a huge reach and a lot to give up, but if, five years from now, he’s a staple in the Pro Bowl those picks mean nothing. The Chiefs gave up a lot to take Mahomes, but if he fulfills his potential it’ll all be forgotten. Trades like these often get torn apart by hindsight, but if they pay off they’ll be some of the greatest trades in the history of their franchises.
Pick I’m Afraid to Comment On
Gareon Conley, Oakland Raiders
Best Available, According to Me
Dalvin Cook, RB, Flo Rida State
Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State
Budda Baker, S, Washington
Cam Robinson, T, Alabama
Zay Jones, WR, East Carolina
Who I Want the Pats to Get
Zach Cunningham, MLB, Vanderbilt
Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn
Tim Williams, DE, Alabama
Ryan Anderson, OLB, Alabama
Takkarist McKinley’s Grandma