Round 1 Random Thoughts

Round 1 is in the books from Chicago and overall not too many surprises.

Clearly despite all the disclaimers most teams did indeed see Marcus Mariota as a potential Franchise QB. The TITANS had calls to trade up but their king’s ransom requests were too much for other teams to stomach. I don’t think anyone wanted to repeat the disastrous trade bounty that the REDSKINS paid for RG3 3 years ago. And the TITANS themselves felt he was too good not to keep for themselves.

We did not see the trade-fest that many felt would happen. Even the trades that did transpire in mid-Round 1 were only to move up a few spots to grab players before a rival got them.
GM JOHN ELWAY/BRONCOS may have made one of the ballsiest trades of the Draft (unless we get something amazing tonight) when he moved up 5 slots to pick SHANE RAY. It’s ballsy because he also gave up OG/C/MANNY RAMIREZ from an OL unit that has taken a few hits already since the end of last season. But more importantly he traded for an Edge Rusher who was just cited for MJ possession by police and one who may face toe surgery, which could keep him out of contact into the Fall.
To make this trade a bit funkier the LIONS then selected LAKEN TOMLINSON/OG from Duke, who no one I know had ranked any higher than mid Round 2. Luv the person, like the player, but not high value at Pick 28 IMO.

The REDSKINS pretty much blew me away with their selection of IOWA/OL/BRANDON SCERFF up in the rarified air of Pick No. 5 overall. Nice, steady player who should start for them right away at OG or OT, but 5th best in the Draft?! And remember there is likely little to no upside with SCHERFF. Former NFL OL Coach KIRK FERENTZ coaches his OL up to the max while they are at Iowa. What you saw in his senior season in school is about as good as he’s going to ever be.

Clearly, part of the issue with the lack of big trades in Round 1 had to do with lack of interest to trade up in a draft class which is solid, but not filed with game breakers and guaranteed future Hall of Famers. To trade out you have to find a partner looking to move up. The lack of suitors was palpable.

So let’s cover the teams who made the most questionable selections in this man’s opinion. Not counting the guys I spoke about above.
RAVENS Breshard Perriman/WR Biggest thing everyone brings up is his propensity to drop balls. He is not likely to get an endorsement deal any time soon from the Good Hands people at All-State Insurance. BUCKY BROOKS on ESPN coverage went so far as to suggest a comprehensive eye exam for him on the part of the RAVENS. But hey, this is OZZIE NEWSOME making the pick and he doesn’t miss real often.
BENGALS Cedric Ogbuehi/OT Typical BENGALS pick for a guy most had in Round 2, and who blew out his knee in workouts. But OL Coach ANDERSON has a kind of guy he really likes and you must admit, barring injuries, the Cincy OL is annually a pretty solid group.
COWBOYS Byron Jones/CB JONES got tons of attention at the Combine when he owned the jumping segments. But he may end up at S based on my sources, and has played DB less than 2 years. Now that may cry out of potential, but Dallas needs some starters right away. KInd of a reach JONES Boys.
PACKERS Damarious Randall has been moving up Draft Boards since the Senior Bowl, but this is a team that has lost 3 of their top ILB since February. They also lost one starting CB. RANDALL was a slight reach in Round 1, but certainly does not represent a need area for a team trying to head to a Super Bowl really soon. By the way my choice for them (STEPHONE ANTHONY) was too big of a reach for them, but he went with the very next pick to the Saints.
COLTS Phillip Dorsett/WR You can never have too many weapons for ANDREW LUCK, but this speedster had limited productivity in college despite his sprinter’s speed. And the COLTS have plenty of needs on D as well as the OL. This is a luxury pick I don’t think they could afford to make.
49’ERS Arik Armstead/DL A big upside kid, who will need some patience to develop most likely. My biggest complaint is that DT/MALCOM BROWN was there for the taking to fill their biggest need defensively (IMO) at NT. PLus, why do you need to trade down when you’re already looking at 9 total picks for this Draft? What value, in the big picture, does adding Pick 117 bring to their roster. Maybe the Niners throw darts at their Big Board, while blind folded to make their selections. In that case the more picks the merrier.

How about some home run picks in this man’s eyes.
DONTE FOWLER/ER/JAGS As I have mentioned many times in projecting this pick, the Leo (edge rush) position is extremely important to GUS BRADLEY and his defensive scheme. FOWLER should fill that spot brilliantly. Also a local Florida boy might sell a few more season tickets if he plays well.
LEONARD WILLIAMS/DE/JETS The team was patient and got the guy many called the best overall player in this Draft. And in case you don’t look at rosters at this time of year the JETS are incredibly thin along that defensive front, even tho very talented. Good things may have come to those who waited.
MELVIN GORDON/RB/CHARGERS For a team that has a franchise QB (RIVERS still) they also want a strong running game. They did not have that last season and RYAN MATHEWS left town in VFA. GORDON will burn some AFC West defenses this Fall.
MALCOM BROWN/DT/PATRIOTS There may have been no one to trade with, but if this team was working on a trade-out of Round 1 then I’ll bet LITTLE BILL yelled “all phones down” when the SAINTS passed on BROWN at Pick 31. BROWN shoUld give them a big boost in filling the hole left by the departed VINCE WILFORK inside.

Clearly, I am not on the same mental page with BROWNS GM RAY FARMER and his selections again this year. I rationalized taking SHELTON/NT because he is indeed special and PHIL TAYLOR has had more than his share of missed games with injuries. But I do not understand CAM ERVING whose best position looks to be at OC where ALEX MACK sits atop the BROWNS depth chart. ERVING will have to beat out SCHWARTZ and play at RT to start. Unless his broken leg is not healing correctly this looks like redundancy to me.
And why, oh why, does FARMER seem to have such an aversion to drafting a WR early in the Draft process? Is he so naive that he thinks JOSH GORDON is going to conform to NFL guidelines and give up his recreational drugs?!

Media thoughts…. I watched ESPN and taped NFLN. I have not had time to watch the NFLN tape, but thought ESPN did well overall. They bragged about limited commercial interruption in hour one, but more than made up for it later, almost missing a couple of picks, trying to squeeze in 1 more 20-second ad. BOOMER was a bit more under control with less yelling than in recent years. Not sure I am sold on the GRUDEN/KIPER pairing on the left side of the screen. The chemistry looked strained some of the time. I am still wondering what ESPN has in mind long term for TODD McSHAY. BUCKY BROOKS is OK. Mort & Adam make a nice looking couple up there and clearly know way too many key people around the League to be wrong with their little rumor tidbits very often.

Overall, it seemed as though the overall message from teams around the League was, ‘If you want to be a bad boy, don’t be surprised if we don’t want you on our team’. Potential first rounders who came into Thursday night with some major issues are still waiting to be drafted. That includes noted tokers, RANDY GREGORY & JALEN COLLINS. And it also includes LA’EL COLLINS who is involved in what feels like a tragic episode of NCIS:New Orleans. I realize that a couple “Bad Boys” were taken last night, but clearly more than usual got snubbed League wide.

For what it’s worth the lowest ranked Draftees from Round 1, at least on my Big Board were as follows. PPP#- stands for Pigskin Paul Prospect ranking.
LAKEN TOMLINSON/G/LIONS PPP#61
PHILLIP DORSETT/WR/COLTS PPP#58
DAMARIOUS RANDALL/S/PACKERS PPP#56
CEDRIC OGBUEHI/OT/BENGALS PPP#51
BYRON JONES/CB/COWBOYS PPP#43

Now here are my Best Available for the start of action tonight with Round 2, overall Pick #33…
LA’EL COLLINS/OT/LSU PPP#18 murder case in LA
RANDY GREGORY/ER/NEBRASKA PPP#20 drug & declining weight issues
LANDON COLINS/SS/ALABAMA PPP#19 lack of speed
JAELEN STRONG/WR/ARIZONA STATE PPP#25 wrist injury
EDDIE GOLDMAN/DT/FSU PPP#29
JAKE FISHER/OT/OREGON PPP#32
DORIAL BECKHAM-GREEN/WR/OKLAHOMA PPP#34 drug issues
ELI HAROLD/ER/LB/VIRGINIA PPP#35
TJ CLEMMINGS/OT/PITT PPP#36
JORDAN PHILLIPS/DT/OKLAHOMA PPP#37
DEVIN SMITH/WR/OHIO STATE PPP#38
JALEN COLLINS/CB/LSU PPP#39 drug issues
MAXX WILLIAMS/TE/MINNESOTA PPP#40

Plenty of solid talent still out there in a deep Draft. Now let’s be alert to Friday afternoon activity around the League. Quite often a trade or two starts off Day 2 as teams study their remaining Draft Boards.

I’ll be back tonight blogging at you right here at the GBN Report.

Pigskin Paul