The NFL Draft is finally here, kicking off tomorrow night. I’ve got a few closing thoughts before Roger Goodell opens things up at Radio City Music Hall.
Jadeveon Clowney will be the first pick in the draft. I understand that Khalil Mack may fit their scheme better, and I’m sure he will be a very good player, but Clowney is the best talent in this draft, it’s as simple as that. Houston can get a Quarterback later on, and while Clowney isn’t a 3-4 OLB by trade, he’s got such incredible physical traits that he can make it all work out. And besides, I’ve always been a part of the camp that says coaches should try to fit the scheme to the players, not the other way around. I’m sick of the baseless questions about his effort, his drive, etc. He is the best player in this draft, he’s a great pass rusher, one of Houston’s biggest needs, and he should be taken by the Texans with the top pick.
I’ve made my view on Quarterbacks in this draft pretty well known here, on Twitter, etc. Teddy Bridgewater is the best QB in this draft. However, if you take what the analysts are saying at face value, he’s going to be falling. If Cleveland scoops him up at 26 (assuming they don’t take a QB at 4), they would be huge winners in this draft and definitely would have a future franchise quarterback on their hands. That being said, he deserves to be taken by any team who needs a quarterback early on. If I were to rank the quarterbacks in this class, I’d say Bridgewater is at the top, followed by Manziel, Jimmy Garoppolo, Bortles, and honestly I’d put Aaron Murray as my fifth best. While he will not be taken ahead of the likes of Derek Carr, Zach Mettenberger (although his draft stock may be falling after his recent incident) and possibly even Tom Savage (which I personally feel would be insane), Aaron Murray has got the skill, he’s a great leader and he oozes charisma. He’s going to be a real steal. As will the aforementioned Jimmy Garoppolo. Watch game film of the Eastern Illinois product, you will be impressed. He’s going to be a great draft pick and a great player one day. Whoever takes Garoppolo will have a player who can get in the game after a short period of learning from the bench.
The skill positions this year (for the record, I hate that term but you know what it means) have some great depth. The wide receivers this year are just great. Sammy Watkins will be fantastic, Mike Evans should be a good player, the same with Odell Beckham. The one thing I will say is that any team that takes Kelvin Benjamin in the first round is making a mistake. I would grade him even below the second round, but he’s much more of a value in the second as compared to the first. Brandin Cooks, Jordan Matthews and Allen Robinson are amongst those who would be a much better pick earlier than Benjamin. In terms of running backs, while nobody will be going in the first round more than likely, there are some very good backs in this draft. Top prospects Bishop Sankey and Carlos Hyde can be a very solid players, and watch out for UCF’s Storm Johnson in the late rounds, he could be a great pickup. As for Tight Ends, beware Eric Ebron. He’s got plenty of potential and I know he’s the top prospect (allegedly), but after watching the tape on him, I can’t say that he would be a top-16 value in this draft, where many so-called “experts” are projecting him.
Anything can happen during the NFL Draft, and we will see that once again tomorrow night and throughout the weekend. For me, I’ll be happy if the Packers take the likes of Ryan Shazier, CJ Mosely, or maybe a top safety will fall to them. You really never know who will trade up, trade down, what players will fall and who will be reached for, and that is what makes the draft exciting. That, and seeing how incorrect Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay are. Enjoy the draft.