Yeah, the Power 5 conferences accounted for almost 4 out of 5 players selected at last weekend’s draft (and its over 80% when Notre Dame is included in the total) but it’s a wealth that isn’t necessarily evenly Auburn, West Virginia, Arkansas, Kansas State, Baylor, California and Colorado have in common. They all had fewer players taken at this month’s draft (1) than both Northern Iowa and North Dakota State, a pair of FCS teams. They also had the same number of players selected (1) as did long-time college football factories Wisconsin-Whitewater, Central Arkansas, Central Missouri and Concodia-St. Paul! And it was even worse for Michigan State, which didn’t have a player selected for the first time in 80 years!
On the other hand, can we throw some credit at Central Florida of the AAC which led all non-Power 5 teams with 6 players selected this year, including a couple (FS Richie Grant to Atlanta in the second round) and CB Aaron Robinson to the Giants in the 3rd) of premium picks within the first three rounds. Indeed, those half dozen picks tied UCF for 7th in the entire country. At the same time, BYU had 5 picks, Cincinnati had 4 and Houston three. While we are at it, can someone tell me why Houston, the only major program in the 5th largest metro area in the U.S., is not in a Power 5 conference. (Note: Its a rhetorical question! I think I know the answer.)
What’s in a name or two? One of the draft’s oddities was that the NY Jets selected two players with the same name after selecting North Carolina RB Michael Carter in the 4th round and Duke DB Michael Carter in the 5th. There have been players with the same name in the same draft before, but this appears to be the first time they were selected by the same team. The Jets are also believed to be the first team ever to select an Alijah (USC G/T Vera-Tucker) and an Elijah (Ole Miss WR Moore) in the second. And that DE named Odafe Oweh Baltimore selected at the end of the first round is indeed former Penn State DE Jayson Oweh who announced changing his name to Odafe, his actual first name, just before the draft.
Oh Canada!! Great weekend for Canadians at the NFL draft as a record-tying 4 were selected including former Oregon FS Jevon Holland who was selected 36th overall in the second round by Miami, Tennessee WR Josh Palmer and Minnesota CB Ben St-Juste who were selected by the LA Chargers and Washington, respectively in the 3rd round, and RB Chuba Hubbard, a 4th round pick by Carolina. The latter pick, in particular, had some tongues wagging after Panthers’ head coach Matt Rhule told reporters that he had taken Hubbard at the urging of his wife. Meanwhile, 4 other Canadians have already signed as free agents including Hubbard’s Oklahoma State teammate LB Amen Ogbongbemiga, who also signed with the Chargers; Cincinanti TE Bruno Labelle, who signed with Arizona, Iowa G/T Alaric Jackson, who signed with the LA Rams, and Montreal OG Pier-Olivier Lestage, who signed with Seattle.
The Mahomes’ effect? Hard not to make the case that the over the next several years the road to the Super Bowl for AFC teams runs through Kansas City. And we aren’t sure if it was by design or just chance but just about every AFC team that is either a contender, or at least thinks they are a potential contender, drafted defense this year. Buffalo, for example, took pass-rushing DEs with both their first and second picks (Greg Rousseau and Carlos Basham); same for Indianapolis (Kwity Paye and Dayo Odeyingbo), while Baltimore added ER Odafe Oweh (yeah, the guy above) with one of their two first round picks. Meanwhile, both Cleveland (Greg Newsome) and Tennessee (Caleb Farley) took corners with their opening round picks.
Several commentators also gave Denver a lot of credit for passing on Ohio State QB Justin Fields and taking former Alabama CB Patrick Surtain with the 9th pick on the grounds that the Broncos will have to play KC and Patrick Mahomes twice a year and need people to at least maybe slow him down. To which we said ‘Huh! Yeah, the Broncos are going to play the Chiefs and Mahomes twice a year for the next decade (not to mention they also have to face the LA Chargers and Justin Herbert twice a year) and ain’t gonna compete with those teams until they have a QB that can compete with Mahomes and Herbert and right now Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater ain’t it!
Fav picks by round … The Buckeyes’ Fields of course went two picks after the Broncos were on the clock when Chicago traded up with the Giants and grabbed him with the 11th pick. Of course, Fields could flame out like so many Bears’ QB picks before him, but they aren’t going to get back to the Super Bowl without a good one and they went for the gusto here. Good for them. And they get our nod for our favorite pick in the first round. Meanwhile, our fav picks in the following rounds include:
Second: Carolina: LSU WR Terrace Marshall (with the caveat that Cleveland’s pick of Notre Dame LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramorah and the Giants’ pick of Georgia ER Az Ojulari will be great picks if those two guys end up being 100% healthy but don’t count here because of that).
Third: Minnesota: North Carolina LB Chazz Surratt
Fourth: Baltimore: Oklahoma State WR Tylan Wallace
Fifth: Minnesota: Iowa WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette
Sixth: Cleveland: UCLA RB/WR Demetric Felton
Seventh: Buffalo: Texas Tech OG Jack Anderson.
Maybe the most interesting pick of the whole draft, though, may have been Notre Dame QB Ian Book going to New Orleans with the 133rd pick in the 4th round. I mean, if there was a QB who plays the game more like the recently retired Drew Brees than Book, I am not sure I’ve seen him. Not to mention the fact that they both played at schools in Indiana.