To borrow/modify a phrase or two, it occurred to me this week that the first thing Draftniks need to do at the end of April is to open up the GBN Report and head to Colin’s Picks by Team page and print it up, lest they not be able to tell the Picks without an updated prgoram. Then get some white out of some fashion, and be prepared to spend as much time changing team picks as you do analyzing picks, as they are made once the Draft begins. I truly do not recall in my decades of following the NFL Draft, so many pre-Draft trades taking place, especially this early in the process, around the League.
So what accounts for some much frenetic activity going on? I think the primary answer, relative to the top of Round 1, is the presence of at least 4 QB who are all seen, to one degree or another, as potential Franchise QB’s. And we all know that if your team hasn’t got a Franchise QB, they have got to go out and get one.
A less than subtle irony to this situation is the widely accepted concept that this year’s Draft contains at least 3 elite draft prospects who happen to not be QB’s. I am referring to, in alphabetical order SAQUON BARKLEY/RB, BRADLEY CHUBB/DE, QUENTON NELSON/OG. Even without the presence of these top QB prospects, the top of this upcoming Draft would be considered above average. Now throw in the reality that, as we watch trades transpire, it seems pretty certain that JOSH ALLEN, SAM DARNOLD, BAKER MAYFIELD and JOSH ROSEN are all likely to not only go in Round 1, but probably in the Top 10 pics overall. Maybe even all 4 in the Top 5 Picks.
It is also clear that more teams are trading some of their high priced veterans, if possible. The Pierre-Paul trade is a solid example. The G-Men of Dave Gettleman are both shy on roster talent, as well as light on Draft Picks for 2018. Before getting a pick (plus a swap of pick position) for JPP, the team had only 5 Picks. That’s not an ideal scenario for a team that has clearly indicated that they are looking ahead and retooling their talent base.
Seems like not a day goes by, including yesterday, when a pick or two is traded. A few days ago, as I perused Colin’s Picks by Team chart, (which can be found @ https://gbnreport.com/2018-picks-team/ ), I realized that not one team in the League has all 7 of their own original Picks, nothing less, nothing more. Even the conservative Bengals have been coaxed into a first round trade with the Bills. Is that Paul Brown rolling over in his grave that I hear?!
I also question whether the average football fan realizes how important having and using Draft Picks is, when trying to juggle the cursed annual Salary Cap. Even the healthy jump up to a $177million ceiling for player salaries in 2018 can get gobbled up quickly with vet Franchise QB’s going for over $20million per season, and heading for $30million. The clearest example of taking advantage of the CBA Rookie pay scale for 4 years, is what has transpired in Seattle over the past decade. The team of SCHNEIDER/CARROLL adroitly put together a solid team and capped it off with a cherry on top named Russell Wilson, who took over the starting QB job as a rookie. And he excelled at his job pretty much immediately. So for a number of years the Seahawks had their franchise QB in place and working for veritable peanuts. Then a few years ago WILSON reached the end of his indentured servitude contract and had to be paid like the big boys. That sudden Salary Cap hit, plus age and injury, now has Seattle on the verge of mediocrity. Just in the past month, stalwarts of the Seahawks roster base like RICHARD SHERMAN, MICHAEL BENNETT, THOMAS RAWLS, PAUL RICHARDSON, and JIMMY GRAHAM have all moved on. And now SCHNEIDER/CARROLL have to work some major Draft Magic again. Their work in the 2018 NFL Draft needs to watched very closely.
The Russell Wilson scenario should also help to clarify why 4 QB’s may go at, or near, the top of Round 1 next month. If teams are convinced their next franchise QB could be one of those four, then getting him on their roster and playing is, and should be, a very high priority. In principle, one could say that there is always another Franchise QB or two in the feeder pipeline that is College Football. That is true in the big overall picture, but there have been stretches of time where finding your guy is as tough as finding teeth on chickens. I expect the 2018 NFL Draft to be a veritable feeding frenzy on the QB position.
I intend to detail a lot more about the 2018 Draft Prospects in the coming month, but I thought I’d give you a quick snapshot of who/what will likely be taken in Round One this year.
QB – 4 for sure, (mentioned above), and at least one, if not two, later in Round 1: LAMAR JACKSON, MASON RUDOLPH.
RB – 2 : SAQUON BARKLEY, DERRIUS GUICE. Another 1-2 from RASHAAD PENNY, SONY MICHEL, RONALD JONES.
WR – 2 : CALVIN RIDLEy, CHRISTIAN KIRK, and 1 more from COURTLAND SUTTON, D.J. CHARK, D.J. MOORE.
TE – 0 for sure : 1 or 2 from the group of MIKE GESICKI, DALLAS GOEDERT, HAYDEN HURST.
OL – 3 for sure : QUENTON NELSON, MIKE McGLINCHEY, CONNOR WILLIAMS. 1-3 more from the group of TYRELL CROSBY, WILL HERNANDEZ, KOLTON MILLER, JAMES DANIELS, ISAIAH WYNN
ER – 1 : HAROLD LANDRY. Maybe ARDEN KEY, though he’s off my Draft Board.
DE – 2 for sure : BRADLEY CHUBB, MARCUS DAVENPORT. Maybe 1 from group of SAM HUBBARD, RASHEEM GREEN
DT – 2 for sure : VITA VEA, DA’RON PAYNE. 1 more between HARRISON PHILLIPS, TAVEN BRYAN.
LB – 4 : TREMAINE EDMUNDS, LEIGHTON VANDER ESCH, ROQUAN SMITH, RASHAAN EVANS. Maybe JEROME BAKER.
CB – 2 for sure : DENZEL WARD, JAIRE ALEXANDER. 1 more from DONTE JACKSON, ISAIAH OLIVER.
S – 2 for sure : MINKAH FITZPATRICK, DERWIN JAMES. Maybe RONNIE HARRISON.
PS: The answer to one of the most often asked questions I’ve heard so far Pre-Draft: Yes, BRADLEY and NICK, the CHUBB’s, are related. They are second cousins.
Not asked, but very interesting to me: LB/TREMAINE EDMUNDS and SS/TERRELL EDMUNDS, both of VA TECH, are brothers, and the sons of former NFL TE FERRELL EDMUNDS. Quite the gene pool I’d say.