Count on articles all week long reflecting on the 2016 Draft. Contrary to what many millennials think being 2-4 days old does not make the Draft ancient history to be stored in an archives section. For starters, it was noted in an earlier article today that out of 107 underclassmen to declare for the 2016 NFL Draft 77 were indeed drafted leaving 30 young men to sign on with NFL teams as Undrafted Rookie Free Agents. There have been many cries over the past decade or so ranting against what has become the annual right of passage to leave college with eligibility remaining. Once the actual Draft has concluded the hue and cry goes up about the unfortunate 25-33% who were not part of the Draftee list. Let us not forget that even though 30 players were not drafted this year the vast majority of them will sign contracts and show up for Summer Training Camps. And by the way for those who did not get drafted early and will not receive millions of dollars in signing bonuses just making an NFL roster by September will bring with it an NFL minimum salary, which is now more than $400,000. In fact, even a kid sticking with an NFL Practice Squad for an entire season will collect over $100,000 for that gig.
Without getting too preachy here let me ask you how many of those 30 undrafted underclassmen would find a job in the real world at those kind of starting wages? College is not for everyone. Some of these players could go to college for 10 years and not earn a degree. College is comparable to minor league baseball for these athletes, often masquerading as students. Let’s not throw a pity party for these young men, or decry the entire system based on Draft results in this instance. In most cases it’s just the big bad world rearing it’s, at times, ugly head, with a huge dose of financial reality.
For those of you who read my stuff on a regular basis I write the following at the risk of being called a hypocrite. After several years of moaning about the BROWNS seeming refusal to acknowledge their need for WR help, yet refusing to draft for that position I am going the opposite direction this year. The BROWNS traded their way to a Draft high of 14 selections over the weekend. Of those 14 picks, 5 were for WR. Really guys, have you ever heard of over- saturation? Having that many drafted players at one position may take the concept of competition to a whole new level. You can’t atone for all the past sins in one fell swoop people. Coaches will be too busy sorting through daily progress reports to do a whole lot of teaching with all these new guys. But you do get some credit for not sticking your head in the sand and ignoring a glaring area of need.
Speaking of WR numbers, by my count there were a position group high of 33 Wideouts selected in the 7 Round, 253 Pick, process. Appropriately enough 29 CB were drafted to try to cover all of those new wideouts. Not to mention another 22 S taken, to help cover an additional 10 TE. That’s 94 0f 253 total player selections dedicated to the guys who primarily make the passing attacks go, or not go, as the case may be. That’s 37% of the entire Draft.
Although the cases have become few and far between, don’t count your team’s URFA list as gospel until they show up in an OTA of some sort in the next couple of weeks. Every year a few guys give a verbal over the phone while their agent says yes to someone else. It all gets sorted out, but at times those website posted lists are as binding as verbal commitments from high school recruits to a college a year ahead of time.
OHIO STATE led all colleges with 12 Buckeyes drafted in the 253 man field of prospects. And that number was a bit lower than many expected. Count me among those who was surprised to not see S/TYVIS POWELL or WR/JALIN MARSHALL taken. I had POWELL in my Top 100 and would truly like to know what came up that left him on the outside looking in.
QB almost always get a bit more ink than most of them deserve, but it’s a high profile position and Fantasy Fans are obsessed with sleeper QB and their effect on the output of their new teams. ONe of the bigger mysteries to me will be how CARDALE JONES fares in the REX RYAN carnival in Buffalo. Could this be the final straw to break the back of former 1st Round Pick E.J. MANUEL, at least in Buffalo? WE shall see soon enough.
Nice work by the TEXANS of getting some fresh receiving blood onto their roster for new QB BROCK OSWEILER. They selected WILL FULLER (the fast guy) and BRAXTON MILLER, as well as RB/TYLER ERVIN who will help their running corps group. But I would have felt a bit better for BROCK if they had drafted another OL to go with NICK MARTIN on the interior. An OT try might have been helpful. But like I always preach, you can’t fix everything in one Draft with only a handful of selections.
With a record number of QB (15) taken in this Draft it pretty much confirms most scouting reports as the Draft approached, that indicated this was a very deep draft for QB from top to bottom. Not many past the first rounders are projected as potential NFL starters, but the feeling is more than half of them may develop into solid career back-up types. With all due respect to all parties involved, my award as the most surprising QB to be drafted was MICHIGAN’s JAKE RUDOCK. I recall RUDOCK from SHRINE Week and I remember being struck at what a slight frame he had. He’s a great young man, with a high FBI, who should give a big thanks to the work JIM HARBAUGH put in with him this past season. No way the QB he was when he finished his career at IOWA, would get drafted by the NFL.
A very late Pick (#225) who I really like is DEVIN LUCIEN/WR from Arizona State who really blossomed after transferring from UCLA, where he was in the crowd. The PATS have had a lot of trouble finding receivers to fit their schemes and make TOM BRADY happy. LUCIEN is the lone WR in this Draft for the PATRIOTS.
I’ll have more for you to chew on tomorrow my friends.