Pigskin’s Night One Draft observations

By | April 29, 2016

You cannot accuse the first day of the Draft as being boring. In too many cases it was a little too chaotic and active.

LAREMY TUNSIL was the most distracting and disturbing figure of the evening. A tweeted video before the process began was most disturbing. Speculation has been that his step-father was behind the bong smoking video, of a clearly younger TUNSIL, than the one sitting in the Green Room.
I also found it disturbing that ESPN, with Susie Kolber as their rep, had to press the tweet issue on stage with TUNSIL after he was finally selected by the DOLPHINS. Shame on you ESPN for trying to turn a young man’s selection into a journalistic moment of truth.

My biggest surprises of the night were the selections of 2 Safeties in the middle of Round 1. Two good players, KEANU NEAL & KARL JOSEPH found themselves selected in spots usually reserved for stars. My most immediate observation on both picks is ‘don’t tell me all teams draft based on best player available’. As team execs and coaches struggle every year to win and keep their jobs, picks to fill big needs are becoming more commonplace. And I get it. You play the game to win and stockpiling players at positions of strength isn’t going to outweigh real needs when push comes to shove in today’s immediate gratification world.

I would say my biggest puzzlement is that we will enter Round 2 this evening with the three highly regarded, and effective, ALABAMA defenders who are all still on the Draft Board: JARRAN REED, A’SHAWN ROBINSON & REGGIE RAGLAND. Adding to the dismay is that the only ‘BAMA player taken in Round 1 was OC/RYAN KELLY, a solid player but clearly a need pick by the COLTS to protect QB/ANDREW LUCK. It should also be noted that bruising Heisman RB DERRICK HENRY is still on the Board for picking today as well. Despite being National Champs it’s clear the NFL was not as impressed by the Crimson Tide draft class as some of us were.

As expected though, the BUCKEYES were a very popular source of supply for NFL franchises. As expected 5 Buckeyes were taken in Round 1, meaning THE U remains in the record books for most players from one school in an NFL Draft first round. But the guys taken from Ohio State were impressive. In order they were: JOEY BOSA/DE/#3; EZEKIEL ELLIOTT/RB/#4; ELI APPLE/CB/#10; TAYLOR DECKER/OT/#16; DARRON LEE/LB/#20.
They should be a popular source of supply again tonight with BRAXTON MILLER/WR, MICHAEL THOMAS/WR, ADOLPHUS WASHINGTON/DT, VONN BELL/S & JOSHUA PERRY/LB all expected to go by Pick 100, and a decent chance for CARDALE JONES/QB, NICK VANNETT/TE & TYVIS POWELL/S also having shots to be Top 100 selections.

How ’bout them COWBOYS! They took EZEKIEL ELLIOTT/RB at that No. 4 spot, and secured their RB position for the foreseeable future. The more they can run, and less they have to pass, the better their chances of keeping TONY ROMO healthy for a couple more years. From this point on however they need to drafting defensive talent for a unit that needs a serious and massive infusion on help. I will be watching their picks from now ’til Saturday very closely for a major defensive effort. My only negative comment on this move might be that they may have wasted some valuable Cap dollars be signing VFA ALFRED MORRIS back in early March.
I’m looking at guys like EMMANUEL OGBAH, KEVIN DODD, JONATHAN BULLARD and of course NOAH SPENCE as the Dallas second round pick to start filling their DE needs.

There were a significant number of deals in Round 1, with teams clearly having targeted players they were prepared to move around to secure. But in most cases the price tags for moving up for Picks were not excessive.

Biggest move of the night, from a publicity standpoint had to be the BRONCOS moving up a handful of Picks to snag their QB of the future in PAXTON LYNCH. I continue to be impressed with the acumen of JOHN ELWAY as a GM. He waited until he only had to move up 5 slots, at little cost, to get a guy who is likely to take over the controls in Denver by 2017, IMO.

Their selection in Round 1 didn’t impress me, but it must seem like progress to BROWNS fans that the team finally selected a WR in Round 1 of a Draft. COERY COLEMAN is a serious deep threat who has a lot to learn about the details of pass catching and route running in the NFL. But I too am delighted that the team finally made a move to fix the WR position.

It sure seems to me that there are just a lot if veteran NFL writers and reporters who will never miss a chance to heap some criticism on CHIP KELLY. I was watching ESPN coverage of he Draft Thursday night and their trade up to select OG/JOSH GARNETT/STANFORD late in Round 1 was widely criticized. And of course they all blamed 49’ers HC CHIP KELLY for a big reach. GARNETT is no more of a reach than guys like RYAN KELLY/OC & KEANU NEAL/S both taken well ahead of GARNETT. But what I really want to point out is that KELLY is not making all the personnel decisions in San Fran like he was in Phily, his last year there. It has been made known, quite loudly, that TRENT BAALKE is still the team’s GM, and even though he consults with his new Head Coach, he is leading this Draft effort. I have found KELLY to be personable and approachable in my interactions with him at All-Star venues, and a funny, thoughtful guy. Why are so many NFL media personalities so threatened and critical of CHIP KELLY?!

The MYLES JACK knee injury situation is clearly a very big deal around the League.It was predicted he would drop, but all the way out of the 1st Round? NOT! My expectation is still that he will go in Round 2, and JAYLON SMITH will be a tag line at the end of Round 3, tonight.

The run on a very talented group of DT started late last night, and might be a big story in Chicago tonight as a good group is still around. Here is my list at that position and my ranking of the players:
#10 A’SAHWN ROBINSON/ALABAMA
#17 JARRAN REED/ALABAMA
#35 ANDREW BILLINGS/BAYLOR
#46 AUSTIN JOHNSON/PENN STATE
#53 CHRIS JONES/MISS STATE

Another name missing last night from Round One was NOAH SPENCE, the former Buckeye who doesn’t have an NFL position right now, but is a highly desired Edge Rusher. Someone may have woken up this morning in some NFL organization and jumped with delight that SPENCE was still around.

Logic would dictate that there may be a trade to open tonight’s festivities when some teams realize that they have guys ranked very high on their team Draft Boards who are still waiting to be drafted.

It is looking more and more like the battle for being the next QB drafted could boil down to a waiting game between CONNOR COOK & CHRIS HACKENBERG. Three more names may come into play in Round 3; DAK PRESCOTT/MISS STATE, CARDALE JONES/OHIO STATE & KEVIN HOGAN/STANFORD.

Draftniks keep your eyes peeled for action this afternoon prior to the Draft proceedings getting under way.

PIGSKIN

PS Too bad EZEKIEL ELLIOTT”s tailor ran out of fabric to make him a full length shirt for last night’s red carpet affair.