The 2016 NFL Draft is a few short weeks away on the NFL Calendar. Between now and April 28th teams will employ various tactics to obscure which players they are actually considering. Secrecy, misleading statements, negative player information released by anonymous sources and outright prevarication are all on the menu and the closer day one becomes the longer the buffet.
The period between now and the end of the draft is the official peak of lying season for NFL personnel. Coaches and owners give interviews at league meetings and upcoming OTA’s. Agents and front office contacts are on every publications speed dial. As grandma used to say “… the way you can tell if they’re lying is their lips are moving.”
In order to find anything approaching a realistic assessment of who a team may or should actually be looking at its best at this point to step back and consider the obvious when looking at possible strategies a team may employ come draft day.
- Washington Redskins, Pick 1/21 – Kirk Cousins is the man in DC. Is he a one year wonder? 2016 is when we find out however it won’t matter on draft day. Washington was the engine that could in 2015. They have skill position players. It’s time for them to work the pit on both sides of the ball. A lineman will probably be selected here. If the top linemen are gone a CB is next on the list. Washington is sitting pretty at 21.
- Minnesota Vikings, Pick 1/23 – WR Laquon Treadwell will not make it past the Vikings at 23. Josh Doctson and Sterling Shepard are also in play. A trade down into the second is a possibility as well with WR still the primary target. QB Teddy Bridgewater needs talent at the position. 23 is a great spot to get the job done.
- Seattle Seahawks, Pick 1/26 – Thomas Rawls behind (maybe) retired Marshawn Lynch should preclude Pete Carroll from taking projected high second round pick RB Derrick Henry late in the first. Again, I say should. Seattle (desperately) needs help along the offensive line. I get that. Acknowledged. However Pete Carrol understands the mechanism that allows his offense to work is the age/old rock hammer dilemma posed by an elite QB and power RB combination. If Derrick Henry is there at 26 I believe Carroll is going to be sorely tempted. It will all depend upon a remaining top tier OT being available. If there Ronnie Stanley or Jack Conklin would be the pick. If not Seattle is Henry’s best opportunity to be tabbed in the first.
- Carolina Panthers, Pick 1/30 – What the Panthers need and what’s available most likely aren’t going to coincide. That’s what happens when you’re the 30th pick. Carolina needs a top tier OT. To get one they will have to trade up. If that doesn’t work out trading down is their best option because Denver picks right behind them and pending the outcome of the trade negotiations for Kaepernick are almost assured to take the last of the top tier QB’s. If you want a top tier QB for your team Carolina may very well hold the last golden ticket. That should give the Panthers an excellent tier two draft haul for 2016.
- Denver Broncos, Pick 1/31 – Denver will almost assuredly take a QB here however a trade for QB Colin Kaepernick would change that requirement and Elway needs his options open. The highly poached team is looking for key replacements at OL, DL and LB. Welcome to post Super Bowl hell.
- New England Patriots, Pick 1/0 – I am not going to comment on the right/wrong aspect of New England being docked a first round draft pick. Rather I’m here to ponder if such a handicap isn’t warranted every year? Why you ask? Bill Belichick is that good. It works in golf.
Have your own draft strategy observations? Comment below!
What say you Sports Nation?
Another Left Coast Sports Post: on Twitter – Steven Van Over