Every fan base tingles with the excitement of new players brought to their team by the annual Draft process. But realistically all Draft efforts are not going to push teams over the hump. The opportunity is, in theory, equal, but results may vary. So at the risk of crushing fan base hopes the week after the Draft here are 3 teams that likely produced the least ammunition for a reload of their team’s roster. And please remember the basis for much of my evaluation is based on my Draft Board, which immediately makes it all very subjective.
CHIEFS 6 Picks This is the first Draft for the team without JOHN DORSEY as GM, and with ANDY REID realistically being the man in charge of final decisions of almost every sort. The team had no Round 1 Pick after trading up last year to grab QB PAT MAHOMES. Alex Smith is gone so it is time for young Mr. Mahomes to take over. Consensus around the league seems to be that he will be the real deal. But the team still managed to have 3 Picks in the Top 100, because of a Compensatory Pick at No. 100.
They made my jaw drop with the selection of BREELAND SPEAKS with their first selection at Pick 46. I didn’t even have Speaks in my Top 100 ranked players, but I will admit that following a solid Combine showing he had risen up more than a few Boards into their Top 100. I will also admit that because of age the team had to part ways with several of their pass-rush players, Tamba Hali being chief among them. But this pick is a reach this high, and Speaks has never been accused of being a locker room leader. Whether it was a mistake by League officials or not, SPEAKS was announced as being picked as a LB on Draft night.
Their selection of DT DERRICK NNADI at Pick 75 was a much better value. NNADI was the anchor of a very talented DL group at FSU. With Bennie Logan gone in VFA this Pick makes a lot of sense and is a solid value.
I felty the biggest reach of all was at Pick 100, when they took undersized LB DORIAN O’DANIEL from Clemson. At 6’1/215 most of his value will come on Special Teams, which is not valued in the Top 100 of any Draft.
ARMANI WATTS/S and TREMON SMITH/CB are likely solid picks to add sub-package depth back to their secondary after they traded MARCUS PETERS. KAHLIL McKENZIE/DL at Pick 198 is a roll of the dice on genetic greatness. He’s the son of Raiders GM Reggie and nephew of Raiders Scout Raleigh.
These guys should all make the roster and contribute, but some of that is by default of roster purging. Only 1 of their 6 Picks did I have in my Top 100 overall ranked prospects.
EAGLES 5 PICKS With only 5 Picks the team was limited by lack of volume but for my taste they played around with their later Picks and took a big gamble on DE/ER JOSH SWEAT who more than a few personnel people feel has never fully recovered from a knee injury early in his stay at FSU. There seems to be a bit of disconnect between his game tape last season and his outstanding postings at the Combine. Most scouts will favor game tape, but I must admit I had SWEAT ranked as prospect 82, and they got him at 130. Guess the Combine won me over on his physical potential.
I really liked their first two Picks from a value and pro potential standpoint. They got DALLAS GOEDERT/TE at Pick 49, and I had him ranked 10 spots higher. Then in Round 4, Pick 125 they took ANDRE MADDOX/CB who I had ranked as Prospect 145, but who really stood out at the Shrine Game and the Combine. He’s a cat-quick, aggressive, undersized Nickel Corner for the slot, and he may start right away in that role.
But then they got really cute (IMO) with later picks neither of whom I think helps them any time soon, if ever. They took man-mountain MATT PRYOR/OT (6’7/358) and Rugby star JORDAN MAILATA/OT (6’7/346) with their last two picks. I had neither even rated in my Top 300, and both picks made me think of the Andy Reid era in Phily when he talked about elephants on parade in reference to his penchant for huge OL players.
They needed more from this Draft than they likely got.
SAINTS 7 Picks The Saints handily won the 2017 Draft with LATTIMORE, RAMCZYK and KAMARA, but in their attempt to hit it big this year they may have over-stepped reality. I like MARCUS DAVENPORT and think his upside is huge. He could be the next Julius Peppers, but when the smoke cleared the Saints had given the Pacers their 1st Round Pick next year to jump up less than half a round. They got him exactly where I had him ranked (14) but are gonna miss that Pick next April. Of more concern to me are Picks they made for a couple of very questionable prospects. IMO, Rick Leonard/OT/Pick 127 and BOSTON SCOTT/RB/Pick 201 were throw aways and unlikely to meet NFL roster criteria.
Other than DAVENPORT the only Picks that interested me in the least were WR/TRE’QUAN SMITH and S/NATRELL JAMERSON. Both of those guys I had ranked higher than where they were selected and have a chance to see immediate, significant playing time to help this team as it goes all-in to advance in the Play-Offs as far as possible during Mr. Brees’ final seasons in New Orleans.
The most pleasant surprise of this Draft effort could be WILL CLAPP /OC Round 7 Pick 245. He could be a nice addition as a back-up all along the Interior OL. I had him ranked at 225, and almost moved him up another dozen slots last week.
To make this Draft effort a real solid event they now need to find 3-4 solid URFA who will make their roster. They usually do, but only time will tell. Those fans who reveled in the Saints 2017 Draft are likely to be moaning and groaning over this effort, at least in the short term.
Sorry to Saints, Eagles and Chiefs fans for raining on their Draft parade so soon, but for multiple reasons their results look pretty puny and/or of questionable quality to me.