DRAFT THOTS 2022 Part 3

May 8, 2022

Attention please… I will try not to sound like a tattle-tale but, all of you NFL General Managers, who are the primary molder of Draft Pick trades, you need to beware of a rascal who’ll fleece you at the blink of an eye. His name is ” Trader Howie” Roseman and he works for the Philadelphia Eagles. He doesn’t mind whether he gets you to move up, or to move down. And he doesn’t mind mixing the present, with the future, Picks-wise that is. Luckily for Eagles fans and team owner JEFFREY  LURIE, ROSEMAN was brought back into a legit leadership role with the EAGLES after the failed attempt to translate college magic into pro magic with the brief CHIP KELLY regime. ROSEMAN has been with the Eagles in multiple roles since 2000 and was finally given the Title of Executive VP & General Manager in 2019 by  team owner Lurie. And it has been mostly the creativity of Roseman that has re-established the EAGLES as a serious NFC East Play-Off contender.

Trader HOWIE sprung into action this past off-season by acknowledging that having 3 Round One Picks in this year’s NFL Draft was not as ideal as it appeared on the surface. Though the 2022 Draft was deep with good, solid potential NFL players it was light on “star” material. In fact, only one QB was drafted in Round One last week. So Roseman got together with longtime SAINTS GM MICKEY LOOMIS and the two concocted a deal in which the Eagles gave up this year’s Picks 16, 19 & 194 to gain from the Saints their Picks 18, 101, and 237 in this year’s Draft and most importantly to Roseman the Saints Round 1 Pick in 2023, and Round 2 Pick in 2024. Wisely, Roseman had calculated that future Draft capitol in the Top 100 Picks for the next two years offset the loss of one 2022 First Rounder. And he had found a willing partner who is often willing to pull out his credit cards to pay for today’s purchase at a future date.

When the Draft rolled around Roseman made some calls and traded  up in Round One to make sure he got his highly desired DT anchor in Georgia’s 350 lb.+ JORDAN DAVIS. At about the same time he engaged in talks with TITANS GM ROBINSON and ended up giving the TITANS his Pick at 18 overall  as well as Pick 101, previously acquired from the Saints in that previously mentioned trade, and acquired disgruntled young receiver A.J. BROWN from said Titans. Then to top off his Top 100 mayhem he was able to draft OC/CAM JURGENS (who likely replaces the aging KELCE at OC in 2023) and NAKOBE DEAN, the slightly undersized LB who anchored the UGA D, but scared off some teams by having opted out of surgery for a pectoral muscle injury. No problem for Trader Howie however. This is how Roseman operates, and more often than not he wins the day for his team. BROWN was a big addition to the Eagles receiving corps, in year where JAELN HURTS needs to show the team that the is indeed capable of wearing the mantle of Franchise QB in Philadelphia.

Somebody, no it wasn’t editor Colin, asked me why I said I liked the JETS Draft better than the GIANTS effort. In a word I think, consistency, in favor of the JETS is the by-word here. As I have written here previously I thought the JETS drafted more consistently and found more potential starters among their Picks than the GIANTS did. By trading back into Round One, and snagging JERMAINE JOHNSON to bolster their pass-rush group it garnered 3 potential starters IMO. Then they  traded up again near the start of Day Two and grabbed the best young RB they have had in a long time, if ever, in BREECE HALL. The big irony of that trade as it came from the Giants and also included the Pick later used on RUCKERT. The GIANTS did just fine in drafting THIBODEAUX/ER & NEAL/OT. But then they reached for mighty mite WAN’DALE ROBINSON in Round 2. I liked ROBINSON but had moved him out of my Top 100 a week or so before the Draft based on his size and lack of pure speed, though excellent quickness. Then their next 2 Picks were EZEUDU/OG & FLOTT/CB. Yes, I have heard of them, which many Giants fans had not, but I felt both were Day 3 players, and combined may not contribute what the JETS will get from RUCKERT/TE late in Round 3. The GIANTS did quite well in Round 4 with TE/DANIEL BELLINGER & S/DAVID BELTON. But I had none of the GIANTS next 3 Picks in my Top 200, which is where they were all drafted. To my eyes their only potential hit after BELTON @ 114 wasLB/BEAVERS at 182.

To sum it all up in one statement… The GIANTS will be lucky to get any real help from more than half of their 11 Picks, while the JETS should find serious roles for all 7 of theirs.

Earlier this week I gave you my Draft bottom feeders. But I neglected to include one of my least favorite team drafts, which may have glaring consequences on their ability to escape the NFL lower ranks any time soon… JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS. Perhaps we all gave them too much grace for realizing the disaster that was URBAN MEYER near the end of last season, and the hiring of a solid head man in DOUG PEDERSON to take over. But in retrospect looking at their final Draft list they seem to have failed in the presumed quest to strengthen important segments of their roster. And that may be especially true, unfortunately, when it comes to adequately supporting their new Franchise QB TREVOR LAWRENCE.

First off, I have no problem at all with TRAVON WALKER being their selection at Pick 1. And to those crying over his lack of a statistical resume’ to warrant that selection, I throw my hands up in frustration. I have always been guided, when evaluating player talent,  by the tenant that what they did in college is just a foundation. That in fact, the biggest task for a scout is to project a college player’s translation into that of a pro at the highest level… the NFL. That includes primarily their athleticism, their motor to work, their heart to crave victory and their fit into a specific team’s schemes and designs. When I see WALKER film, I drool at the versatility and pace of his play. In a nutshell I see a player the caliber of a J.J. WATT coming into the NFL. He can be so much more than just an EDGE Rusher.Now it’s up to the JAGS to get the most production out of that large talent specimen.

So now let us move on to the remainder of the JAGS Draft Class. And herein lies the problem for the team moving forward. Who is LAWRENCE throwing to this coming season? In the team’s list of Draftees you will not find anyone who catches footballs for Lawrence. Not one WR, nor a TE, not even a RB who might excel as a receiving threat. So the only likely sources for improved receivers for LAWRENCE  are VFA CHRISTIAN KIRK who is a very effective slot receiver, and VFA EVAN ENGRAM  the former Giants TE, who is on a one-year, show-me contract. ZAY JONES/VFA from the Raiders and a somewhat unexpected source of receiver enrichment, might be stirred into this pot. They have two new receivers whom they signed as priority Rookie Free Agents who were both on my late prospects-to-watch list; LUJUAN WINNINGHAM/C. Arkansas & Notre Dame’s KEVIN AUSTIN, who both surprisingly went undrafted. I assume they are also expecting accelerated growth from LAVISKA SHENAULT who was their 2nd Round Pick in 2020. They no doubt are also looking within to RB TRAVIS ETIENNE last year’s second First Rounder from Clemson, who spent most of the season on IR. They might be banking a bit to much on the “addition by subtraction” factor of URBAN MEYER being gone.

In an era of diminishing significance in the NFL for the LB position the JAGS spent picks 27 & 70 for two of the best LB in this Draft; DEVIN LLOYD & CHAD MUMA. That comes after jettisoning their top 2 LB in JOE SCHOBERT and MYLES JACK in the past two seasons. So what gives with this team and their view of LB roles in their Defense? Even when they landed themselves a solid OC prospect in LUKE FORTNER it came at least 1 round too early for my taste at Pick 65. For a team that had the top pick in each round when things got under way, there seems to be little to show for it on their current roster sheet. If some of these new players don’t jump up and produce during the 2022 season GM Trent Baalke’s head could be the next head to roll in the next 0ff-season.

I wanted to add one more comment on Draft impressions for now. Needless to say the hubbub has been so great surrounding the BROWNS signing of DeSHAUN WATSON, and his guaranteed contract, while still facing almost two dozen civil suits and even if he ponies to get rid of them, a possible suspension from the League office, that their recent Draft efforts have been greatly overlooked. This is a mistake. Once we get past my surprise that they took CB MARTIN EMERSON with their first selection, I think their combination of matching their Picks with roster needs, while still getting value at the Pick was exemplary. Even their being able to get the only draftable PK in this Draft during Round 4, in Cade York was well calculated. I think they took a look down the Interstate and saw what their intrastate rival gained from drafting a quality Kicker last Draft, and decided they should follow suit. They look to have greatly improved their Defensive Front with their selections of ALEX WRIGHT/DE/ER, PERRION WINFREY/DT & ISAIAH THOMAS/DE/ER. Stir in ISAAC ROCHELL/VFA and RODERICK PERRY/PFA and their defensive front will look quite different, for the overall good, this coming season.  Assuming that they see their new QB MR. WATSON on the field this season, he is going to enjoy their additions at WR in R/DAVID BELL, Trade acquisition AMARI COOPER, RFA ISAIAH WESTON. This is a solid overall roster, and it will be a shame to waste it if their roll of the dice for Mr. Watson backfires on them.

Next question here is what happens to Mr. MAYFIELD now?