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1st Round Blog

April 28, 2017

Alright here we go. Make sure to refresh regularly.

  1. Browns: Myles Garrett-It’s a no brainer to me. He’s the best pass rusher I’ve ever graded with the other two in consideration, Julius Peppers and Jadeveon Clowney, both being very productive players themselves. Garrett looks like a perennial Pro Bowler who will team with whomever settles in as the best of their two pass rushers they took last year (Emmanuel Ogbah, Carl Nassib) to form a very good pass rush. There are worse things to have than a good young nucleus of pass rushers when building a team. Good pick.
  2. Bear: Mitchell Trubisky-Well ESPN psyched me out as they were selling me that Solomon Thomas was the pick and I promptly criticized the Bears for moving up for a player that didn’t need to. I am fine with this pick. The Bears have a lot of holes on their roster and will be in the Top 7 in the draft next year so why not take a QB you believe in and start building a nucleus around him and Jordan Howard. Also this trade had to be made as the Browns, Jets and others were likely calling the 49ers. The 49ers made a smart move to go down just 1, get extra picks and still have all of their defensive studs on the board at #3 that would have been in discussion at #2. I like this trade and pick all around for Bears and 49ers.
  3. 49ers: Solomon Thomas-So Thomas on the phone with the 49ers was legit, just wrong pick number. I like this pick but would have taken Adams both because he is a better prospect IMO and he’s a better fit. Thomas with Armstead and Buckner is a weird DL, who is the DE who is the DT? He’ll be the best of the three but they have taken three straight tweeners. Not sure if that makes them extra versatile playing together or too much of the same way. Not a huge fan of the fit but again Thomas is the stud of those three and looks like a possible perennial Pro Bowler.
  4. Jaguars: Leonard Fournette-I like this pick. If you have a very good defense and a bad QB what do you do? You get a star RB and build up your OL as you can win with a great running game and great defense. Also let’s be honest, the Jags can’t cut bait on Bortles yet. He was bad last year but two years ago he was good. You have to play out the string with Bortles and in the meantime you can work on improving the RB (check) and OL (likely will be addressed in 2nd and/or 3rd round). He was the highest rated RB I’ve scouted in a decade so he’s the rare RB who deserves a Top 5 grade.
  5. Titans: Corey Davis-First shocker of the draft. Well I didn’t see this coming. I called for them to take Jonathan Allen at #5 and then saw Jamal Adams still on the board and thought they might go that route. Instead they had WR in their crosshairs the entire time. This is Jon Robinson saying I’m reaching a bit for a WR that can grow with my franchise QB. I wonder if Davis would have been available outside the Top 10 because if he would be then the Titans screwed up by not taking one of the elite defensive prospects as they could have moved up from #18 to get him. Also I think Mike Williams is the better WR prospect so not a fan of this pick.
  6. Jets: Jamal Adams-Well it took a bit longer than expected but this is a great pick and he’s a great fit. The Jets coach became a coach because he was such a good D coordinator for the Cardinals. He now has a weapon to scheme with as Adams can play all over the field, can cover, can blitz, can hit. He’ll be a perennial Pro Bowler and he’s one of the better prospects to come out of any draft in awhile. He was #2 on my board and #2 or #3 on pretty much every board I saw. Those unanimous blue chip prospects tend to not bust. He’s a safe pick and will be a star defender for the Jets 8-10 years from now.
  7. Chargers: Mike Williams-It might seem like a reach if you are going off the Mock Draft world but Williams was #11 on my board and #12 on Mayock’s so it’s not much of a reach and considering how good Rivers is at throwing jump balls and back shoulder fades then you understand the logic of the pick. Some guys just play like other guys and have eerie similarities. I think everyone sees the Mike Williams-Alshon Jeffrey comparison and I think Williams is a better version of Jeffrey. He’s quicker and has better body control to go with Jeffrey’s great catching radius and strength. Good pick though I would have paired Jonathan Allen with Joey Bosa.
  8. Panthers: Christian McCaffrey-Funny Thomas Davis accidentally said WR then RB for Christian as he’s such a versatile player that he could play full time at either. I really like Christian and this was a common link up with Mock Drafts but I just don’t see why he’s the perfect fit. The Panthers are a power running scheme. Fournette was the perfect fit. To me McCaffrey is a perfect fit for the Packers or Patriots. He’ll be a very good player but I wouldn’t take Christian in the Top 10 and definitely wouldn’t call him a perfect fit for the Panthers which is what EVERYONE is selling. Not a terrible pick but not my favorite either. Why not Marshon Lattimore to finally replace Josh Norman? Why not Jonathan Allen for the GM that likes DTs more than any other GM in the league?
  9. Bengals: John Ross-I’m blown away by this run on WRs. Who called this run? Also it puts to bed the rumors that he was dropping due to his shoulder and knee injuries. To me Ross has a high ceiling but he isn’t a Top 10 WR. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong, especially on the opposite side of AJ Green, but he just doesn’t seem like a future star, more of a very good #2 WR or average #1. You don’t take that type of guy in the Top 10.
  10. Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes-First off I’m drinking New Belgium Voodoo Ranger “8 hop Pale Ale.” I had to mention it as I got a text telling me to keep readers up to date on my drinking choices. Good call. Now on to the Chiefs pick. Wait the Chiefs are taking a QB? Oh wait, I thought them or the Bengals would do just that. You can’t win a championship with mediocre QB play like Alex Smith or Andy Dalton. I also love that it’s Mahomes not Watson as I had Trubisky/Mahomes as my #1/2. Not saying I’m right as if either are busts and Watson is a star I’m wrong in the end but it’s still fun to get the ratings “right” on draft day. Kiper just said he was the most fun QB he’s seen in a long time. I agree. His OU and Baylor tape from 2016 had me rewind more plays than any other prospect I can remember. His tape was sick. He is a combination of Brett Favre and Jeff Garcia. His feet are amazing and could really make him one of the most fun players in the league. At the same time he is atrocious with his footwork, his mechanics and his decision making. He fits perfectly on a team like the Jags with wideouts, a good D and no expectations. Unsure how he fits with the Chiefs who are looking to win a title NOW. Still though I like the pick. Chiefs had to know the Cardinals were taking him at #13 so they leapfrogged them. Have an opinion and go after your guy. I disagree Joe, I love trade ups!
  11. Saints: Marshon Lattimore-Great pick. He was my #4 player on my board but I knew I was a little higher on him than most. He has the chance to be this generation’s star CB ala Champ Bailey and Darrelle Revis. His catch up speed is rare. His hips, quickness and ball skills are rare. Will he be able to stay healthy? To me that is the only question. If he’s healthy he’s a star.
  12. Texans: Deshaun Watson-Let me just quote myself in 10 things I think I think which was published just 2 hours ago, “I’ve heard a lot of people say that the QBs will fall on draft day and all the QBs will be available at pick #12. I doubt it. QBs notoriously rise on draft day to a level higher than their ranking on scouts boards AND Trubisky is being unfairly criticized….every year the QBs and pass rushers come off the board quicker than people expect and I’m always surprised that others are um surprised.” Three QBs in the first 12 picks. It happens every year folks. Also it’s interesting to note that all three QBs were taken by teams that traded up for them. Also if Watson and Trubisky are successful it will be another nail in the Browns coffin as they traded the #2 pick instead of taking Wentz last year, Trubisky at #1 this year and they traded the #12 pick instead of taking Watson this year. The list of could have been Browns QB is growing.
  13. Cardinals: Haason Reddick-Okay let’s get back to the script shall we. 3 WR and 3 QB kind of threw this draft off the tracks for a bit, now we’re back on. Reddick is a good pass rusher but a great 3-4 OLB as his coverage skills are elite so if a team is willing to play a little disguise defense then he could be a huge player. To me they now just need to get a second versatile 3-4 OLB (TJ Watt?) and their matchups could really frustrate QBs. I like this pick. My lone criticism is a lot of guys that were expected to be Top 10 picks didn’t go there so why not take them (Jonathan Allen, OJ Howard, Malik Hooker). Still though Reddick in a 3-4 makes perfect sense.
  14. Eagles: Derek Barnett-And the run on pass rushers has begun…ahem just like I called it 2 hours ago, “Once the first team takes Haasan Reddick, Derek Barnett or Charles Harris the next two will go like lightning because there seems to be a noticeable drop off after these three (4 counting Garrett). Some like Jordan Willis, Takkarist McKinley  and Taco Charlton but these three have varying grades. Everyone seems to love Reddick, Barnett and Harris so teams seeking that obvious day 1 starting pass rusher will look to move up for these three.” Expect Harris to go in the next 5 picks. Barnett has great tape. I worry about him as he ran almost a 4.9 and the past two guys I failed on the most in my analysis are Jarvis Jones and Damontre Moore who both ran….about a 4.9. I worry about Barnett but he has great snap anticipation, strong hands, very good bend and a great motor. I have my worries but it’s not surprising that he went this high. Good pick, which worries me as the Eagles are building a good DL with Fletcher Cox, Timmy Jernigan, and Brandon Graham.
  15. Colts: Malik Hooker-I love this pick. He was the #6 Overall guy on my board and the #1 guy remaining. He and Budda Baker have the best two sets of ball skills in this draft (I said sets of balls haha). He reminds me of Earl Thomas with his speed, hands and instincts. He isn’t a great tackler and isn’t a big hitter but he has All-Pro skills as a centerfielder so you can put up with those negatives.
  16. Ravens: Marlon Humphrey-Drinking a New Belgium Juicy Watermelon (expected a little better from them. I brew my own watermelon wheat and it’s a lot better than this-humble brag). He’s a big, athletic and aggressive CB who could become great. I am a little worried about his tape as he doesn’t have good ball skills and is tightly built. He isn’t that instinctive, isn’t a ballhawk and isn’t smooth in his backpedal. Those are big traits for me on CBs so I wasn’t as big a fan of his as others were but he has rare size/speed. Interesting he went ahead of Jonathan Allen or OJ Howard not surprised by Reuben Foster or Cam Robinson as both of them have red flags as well.
  17. Redskins: Jonathan Allen-I said earlier that he could easily be one of the five best players in this entire draft when all is said and done. To get a guy like that at #17 is pretty impressive. Right now he’s probably the best pick in the 1st round. Not what I want to see from the Redskins as a Cowboys fan.
  18. Titans: Adoree Jackson-Well his “rise” that I kept hearing about was legit. I’m glad he’s off the board as I didn’t see 1st round tape when I watched him and didn’t want the Cowboys taking him at #28. He’s short, he isn’t a great tackler and he wasn’t even a good CB until this year. Yes he’s an elite punt returner but you aren’t drafting a special teams player you are drafting a defender and to me he wasn’t the stud many think he will be. We shall see but he’s not a pick I like at all. He was the #17 CB on my board, he was taken as the #3 CB. Obviously I think this is a HUGE reach.
  19. Bucs: OJ Howard-Well the best 1st round picks are likely going to be the Alabama kids sliding as Allen was the best pick in the draft so far at #17 and Howard at #19 is just as impressive. He could be one of the 3-5 best TEs in football. He is a rich man’s Martellus Bennett as he has elite speed to go with Howard’s crazy size/strength. Keep in mind Alabama didn’t throw to him very much and it’s the reason why he had so many long TDs with him being just wide open. He is one of the best athletes in this draft, he was productive, he can block, he has good hands. I just don’t understand why he slid. He’s the best TE I’ve graded in the past 10 years. To get him at #19 is mind boggling. What a steal.
  20. Broncos: Garrett Bolles-I thought he was going to be the first OT not Cam Robinson so this doesn’t surprise me. Bolles has elite athleticism and could become a star LT. He has some red flags as a character risk and is a little weak but he is the only “pure” LT in this draft. Robinson is a RT maybe even a RG and the Wisconsin kid is a guy I didn’t like. Bolles has quick feet and good speed so if he can get in the weight room and build his upper body a bit he’ll be an above average LT and possibly a Pro Bowler. Good pick in my eyes but one that is controversial and some will dislike it.
  21. Cowboys update: Interesting to see that Reuben Foster and David Njoku, two of the possible curveballs I mentioned earlier, are still on the board. Also interesting to see Charles Harris still on the board as I expected he’d go quickly as the #3 pass rusher in the draft. Lions: Jarrad Davis-I had a mid second grade on him so I think it’s a reach but a lot of people disagreed with me so I might be wrong. I also think it shows that people are worried about Foster more than the media reported. I read too many mock drafts of Foster staying in the Top 10. Why would a team take him in the Top 10 when he failed a drug test at the Combine, failed lots of drug tests at Alabama, got into it with a hospital worker at the Combine, was kicked out of the Combine-never seen that before, had 0 career INTs, had 0 career FF, has all sorts of hanger ons that could corrupt him. Of course he slid.
  22. Dolphins: Charles Harris-Well it took a few more picks than I expected but still all the Top 3 pass rushers didn’t come close to the Cowboys at #28. He’s an interesting kid as he hasn’t been playing football for very long and is raw. He has a good burst and great strength and bend though so I was interested. He has a very high ceiling but has some bust factor to him. He needs to mirror Cameron Wake all day long as there are few guys that would be better to work with in a mentorship role.
  23. Giants: Evan Engram-This worries me. I think he has Pro Bowl potential and he joins Beckham, Marshall and Shephard. Are you kidding me? I am surprised David Njoku didn’t go here but both have Pro Bowl potential and his hands, body control and ability to win the jump ball are impressive. He could be a good red zone threat for them. It’s funny as when I gave Engram a 1st round grade over a month ago I really worried he’d go in the 3rd round and make me look foolish. Instead he went in the 1st round to a team that could use his skill set and he could be one of the better TEs in football.
  24. Raiders: Gareon Conley-Well I am surprised he was taken in the 1st, especially at this spot. But hey it’s DA RAIDERS!!!!! He is such a good fit for Vegas. Women don’t say no in Vegas. Go Black and Gray!
  25. Browns: Jabrill Peppers-He has some red flags but he also has some Pro Bowl potential and you can’t underestimate the value of the Browns taking a fan favorite like Peppers. He was one of my favorite college players last year and just got a huge round of applause from the fans. Browns fans needed a win. This was a win…at least for tonight.
  26. Cowboys Update: My Top 10 available with 2 picks to go is below:
    1. Dalvin Cook RB
    2. Budda Baker FS
    3. Zach Cunningham LB
    4. DeMarcus Walker DT
    5. Cam Robinson OT
    6. David Njoku TE
    7. Kevin King CB
    8. Chidobe Awuzie CB
    9. Alvin Kamara RB
    10. Reuben Foster LB
      1. Falcons at #26 pick Takkarist McKinley-I am not a fan of him as he was my #48 Overall Player but it’s not shocking he was taken. Actually I’m happy the Falcons took him as he and Jordan Willis were two guys the Cowboys were linked to that I really didn’t want. Many will not see this as a reach. I of course do as I wasn’t really into a lot of this draft’s pass rushers other than the Top 4.
  27. Bills: Tre’Davious White-Some love this kid, I like him as he’s experienced, has good ball skills but he isn’t fast and isn’t that big. He looks like a safe pick who is a career #2 CB. Not a huge reach for late in the 1st and again he’s safe but I just don’t want guys in the 1st round who don’t look like potential Pro Bowlers and White doesn’t look like a potential Pro Bowler. Low ceiling, high polish.
  28. Cowboys: Please Budda Baker!!!! Taco Charlton-I had him as the #43 player in this draft and didn’t love his tape but was intrigued by him so this isn’t a horrific pick. That being said it’s the 5th lowest grade of any player taken so far so….not the best. He’s a big DE which to me doesn’t make sense for the Rod Marinelli scheme. I’m a little confused by the fit as much as for the value. So sad that it wasn’t Budda and would have been fine with Kevin King, Reuben Foster, Cam Robinson or David Njoku. There were a lot of good options here, reason why a trade down made sense too, so a little sad it ended with Taco Thursday Night. I just get the feeling that they REALLY wanted a pass rusher so anyone close on their board and they were going pass rusher. Taco is better than Jordan Willis though so I don’t want to get too negative as Charlton had a higher grade than Willis or Takkarist McKinley at pass rusher or Tre’Davious White or Adoree Jackson at CB.
    1. Taco Charlton Michigan 6’5 ⅝ 277 Sr. He ran a 4.92 40, ‘34 ¼ arms, ‘33 vertical, 9’8 broad, 4.39 shuttle and 7.17 3 cone with everything but the vertical being above average to good yet the 40 being atrocious. He barely played in 2013 (2 tackles), was a bit player in 2014 (19 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 5.5 TFL), had a solid year in 2015 (30 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 8.5 TFL, 1 FF) and a very good year in 2016 (42 tackles, 10 sacks, 13.5 TFL). I’m not usually a fan of huge DEs like this as their success rate isn’t very good (Will Clarke, William Gholston) as they usually just become glorified DTs and are good against the run but don’t make an impact as pass rushers. He also had a bad 40 time so I had to go back and view his tape to see if he really plays like a 4.9 athlete. One thing I do love about him is he has good bend for his frame, which is rare for a guy of his height, and he can bend around the corner at times when he gets the edge. I verified he plays faster than his 40 time though and I think he could stay at 4-3 DE on the strong side and then move down inside to DT on passing downs. He’d also be a great fit as a 3-4 DE so he actually fits either scheme. In either spot he’s a load as a run stopper, shows very good strength, has a non-stop motor and gives a team okay speed to go with elite length and surprising agility and bend. I know some scouts aren’t fans of his and I expected to be in agreement as I usually dislike the oversized DE but Taco has won me over. He has all the positives of a big DE with great size, strength and length yet has a decent burst and good enough bend to be a solid pass rusher. He still will likely move inside on money downs but should be effective on the edge when the opponent passes on early downs. Early 2nd as my #6 PR 4/23/17.
  29. Browns: David Njoku-I love this pick. I also love what the Browns are doing. Getting Myles Garrett, doing multiple trade downs, taking Jabrill Peppers and then trading up for David Njoku is a pretty impressive way to work the board. Garrett was my #1 , Peppers my #29 and Njoku was my #20 Overall. To get those three guys while finagling a 1st round in 2018 from the Texans is quite a 1st round for the nerds.
  30. Steelers: TJ Watt-Very interesting. Steelers love their linebackers and this is a good value (#31 Overall at #30). Watt has a very high ceiling but is raw. As a rookie though he’ll likely be better than their previous 1st rounders (Jarvis Jones and Bud Dupree) as he has a better feel than Dupree for rushing the passer and is a much better athlete than Jones. He could be a bust but I get the logic on this pick and think its a great fit so I’m all in on this. It could work out great.
  31. 49ers: They just traded up. Getting their QB (Davis Webb/Nathan Peterman) who I thought was a good fit for Shanahan’s system and coaching style? Reuben Foster-Well I was wrong but this is a solid pick. He lost $5-15 million this year depending on how far you feel he “dropped” and how much it was the media overrating a small 230 lb linebacker with 0 career INTs. Nonetheless this could be the best thing for him as a lot of people think he’s going to screw up his chance for fame and fortune by keeping his questionable childhood friends around him. Maybe this kicks him in the ass and makes himself more accountable than he would otherwise be.
  32. Wisconsin: Ryan Ramczyk-So the Saints traded Brandin Cooks to improve the defense so they could draft an OT? I wasn’t a big fan of this kid’s tape but Brees is notorious for helping his OL with his quick decision making so he could join Terron Armstead as bookend young tackles. Just don’t see how this really improves the Saints too much and continue to think Brees/Payton are fake “nice” guys who really are difficult to work with. They never make the playoffs and get rid of solid players one after another (Kenny Stills, Jimmy Graham, Brandin Cooks) when they complain about anything related to the offense. Makes me wonder if they even care about winning in New Orleans.

Further Cowboys analysis: Taco is a big 4-3 DE who seems like a duplication for the role Tyrone Crawford plays as he looks like he’ll play SDE on run downs and then slide down to DT on passing downs. Combining Taco with David Irving, DeMarcus Lawrence and Crawford on third down will give the Cowboys four guys with length, strength and burst. Unfortunately none project as double digit pass rushers and I think there is some duplication with Taco in Irving and Crawford so unless they expect to cut Crawford (not unreasonable to think with Crawford’s $9 mil a year salary being a bit undeserving) or not re-sign Irving next year I wonder why they went in this direction. The positive in taking a DE in the 1st round is that it sets up the draft extremely well for the Cowboys on Day 2. Their three biggest needs were DE, SS and CB. DE is done, so now they can look for a SS and CB in rounds 2 and 3 which surely will have plenty of options available for them when they are on the clock. I do like that as the 2nd round corners excite me and if they can get Justin Evans or Rayshawn Jenkins at safety in the 3rd round it would be amazing. That being said I don’t like preset drafts like this feels like. David Njoku and Reuben Foster were two kids that had a lot of Top 15 grades around the league and unexpectedly dropped in the Cowboys lap. They passed on both of them and then watched as both were taken 2 picks later. Also the Seahawks traded down from #31 a grand total of 3 spots and picked up a 4th rounder. You’re telling me that Taco Charlton wouldn’t be there at #34? Taco is a B- or C+ grade as he isn’t terrible by any means but there were some A+ picks on the board when they chose Taco so I can’t just grade the pick in a vacuum. Jon Gruden talked about how much he loved Budda Baker while the Cowboys were on the clock! The kid is an absolute ballhawk and the Cowboys have had fewer INTs than any team in the NFL the past five years yet we don’t make that connection Jerry? It’s the second straight year the Cowboys passed on a playmaker in the secondary (Jalen Ramsey in 2016). Last year we were bailed out by Ezekiel Elliott being an elite talent and diverting our attention with his amazing play. I doubt Taco has a similar soothing ability and think we will regret not trading down, passing on elite talents at non essential positions (David Njoku/Reuben Foster), or passing on DBs with Pro Bowl potential (Budda Baker, Kevin King). The draft wasn’t a disaster by any means but we missed a chance to REALLY improve our team and instead we added an intriguing player who could become impactful. Let’s hope the CB/SS duo picks tomorrow work out.


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One Comment
  1. peter permalink

    “Preset draft” I think also applies to so many teams passing on OJ Howard. He isn’t perfect, but it’s hard to believe that Adoree Jackson offers a better chance of success than Howard.

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