As is the norm the 2016 NFL Draft was a total mash of varying team needs, philosophies and performance under pressure. Each team walked away with a feeling unique to their circumstance.
For some the entire process was an uphill battle as targeted players were snapped up tantalizingly close to the needed selection as round after round they were forced into plan B or even plan C scenarios. Other organizations were able to let the draft “come to them” as preferred round/value talents were seemingly available each pick. For a great many one round it would all come together while having to scramble for options the rest of the draft.
Superior planning? Inside information? Beginners luck? Dumb luck? Luck of the Irish? Who’s to say? History teaches us the NFL Draft is a crap shoot. The roulette wheel in Vegas can give you better odds than an elite QB with a bad brain pan who loves to party.
Ed Note: Envision most recent drunk Johnny Manziel pic here.
The dust has settled. Emotions have ebbed. Team spin doctors are in full bloom as they attempt to frame public perception. Regardless of proclamations, exclamations or any faux-logic the real truth of any teams performance won’t be known for years. Until that fated time here are my thoughts (in no particular order) on various selections as I reviewed the 2016 NFL Draft over a good cup of joe.
The San Diego Chargers kept it fairly quiet. However when the first non-QB pick of the 2016 NFL Draft came up with the third selection of the first round the Boltz passed on the sports car and went all in with the pick up truck.
Focus was on what Bosa was not. He wasn’t J.J. Watt. He wasn’t Von Miller. He wasn’t DeMarcus Ware. All valid observations that entice one to miss a serious truth. Joey Bosa is a very good football player who will help your team in multiple ways.
Bosa will get you sacks, stuff the run and demand excellence from those around him in the locker room and on the practice field. Talented enough to be effective at any position along the trenches you can play him up and down the line like a piano, even having him pick his hand up and cover in the flats and short zones. A defensive coordinator can easily take advantage of mismatches by moving Bosa around and letting him use his natural quickness and hand skills to make splash plays behind the line of scrimmage. Sacks, tackles for loss, fumble recoveries and key down performance. The Charger defense got a lot better.
The Dallas Cowboys have an identity. With the most invested offensive line in the NFL this is a dominant running team. At least it was in 2014. In 2015 the wheels fell off. It’s now 2016 and the team went against conventional wisdom and spent a top five pick on a running back. No pick is a bad one if you select a winner. The Cowboys hit the bulls eye.
The 2016 season will put forth a Dallas team that will be able to run effectively on second and long. The team will get splash plays with regularity from their running game. It will be old school and a blast to watch. That’s a good thing in my book.
Josh Doctson ended up being drafted by Washington with the 22nd pick of the first round. Sometimes it just all comes together. Laquon Treadwell was still on the board but GM Scot McCloughan is a team builder. Right now Kirk Cousins has DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon to blow the top off a defense. They won’t be there many more seasons. Enter Doctson. Great hands, runs precise routes, 4.5 second speed, 6’2″, 202 lbs, ability to use gears to throw coverage out of sync, not put off by physical play and has a nose for the end zone. A technician who fits perfectly with Kirk Cousins skill set and the teams offensive philosophy. Being tutored by savvy vet Pierre Garcon can only help as Dotson’s presence on the field instantly makes the Washington offense a matchup problem on passing downs. Well done.
Perhaps the best QB in the draft was obtained by the Denver Broncos at a modicum of expense with the 26th pick of the first round. Paxton Lynch is a Bronco and one has to believe it was fated. Dallas was rumored at the time (since verified) to be on the phone with the Seahawks contemplating a better offer. The Cowboys declined to up the ante, the Seahawks pulled the trigger and John Elway swooped in and got his man. In my opinion Elway is a better GM than he was a QB. That’s saying a lot.
Perhaps the best QB in the draft was obtained (v2.0) by the New England Patriots in the third round. I was enamored with Jacoby Brissett leading up to the draft and having resident NFL wizard Bill Belichick agree with the assessment is never a bad thing.
Certain teams keep a QB in the queue, build them up then trade them for value and do it all over again. This keeps a “QB of the future” on tab in case of a catastrophic happenstance to the starter, keeps the teams “QB training apparatus” in tune and moves draft value down the pike as the team often recoups their initial investment and sometimes more. Bottom line? Keep your eye on the Pats third round QB. Brady isn’t getting any younger. Garoppolo and Brissett will be locked in a battle for succession rights. If Garoppolo was “the man” in Belichick’s eyes Brissett would have gone elsewhere.
It’s the modern era in the NFL and you need a gunslinger to compete in today’s passing league. There are outliers however the largest number of QB’s who are considered “hits” on draft day come in the first round and they come early. I get that.
The Los Angeles Rams and the Philadelphia Eagles have joined the recent example from Washington in the soon to be time honored tradition of absolutely destroying Peter in order to draft Paul. This just in, no matter how talented a QB is they need talent around them. Look no further than Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys if you want to see what happens when an elite QB is surrounded with chorus girls instead of head liners. The show closes early. Every season.
Both the Rams and Eagles got their men. The Rams were the recipients of such largess from Washington going so far as sending out all of the players they received in the lopsided trade that netted Washington RGIII as team captains before a game between the two clubs. They obviously didn’t learn the lesson. There are as many hits as misses when drafting a QB in the top five. Giving up a teams future for a chance at getting a guy while almost guaranteeing your team isn’t able to improve through the draft over the coming years is not good football math. It’s bad.
The Minnesota Vikings did some good things in the draft. Spending a fourth round pick on the second lowest graded tackle in college football isn’t one of them. Perhaps the team drafted Willie Beavers for jersey sales upside in the rural state? I understand Beaver’s upside. No, I did not keep a straight face typing that sentence. This is a pick made at the end or more likely through an UDFA signing. This is one bad pick.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded up for the rights to the 28th pick of the second round. With a ton of talent available on the board the club selected Kicker Roberto Aguayo. Let that sink in. The club selected Kicker Roberto Aguayo with a second round pick they TRADED UP for.
You can’t fix stupid.
I get it the Bucs only hit on 64% of their field goals over the last two seasons. It’s a problem. Last I checked Tampa wasn’t in the Super Bowl last year. They weren’t even one game away. They aren’t one player away either. As every fantasy football player knows you take kickers at the end of the draft. Or from free agency. Or from Europe. Or from the local grocery store. You DON’T draft one with a second round pick.
I understand Al Davis drafted a kicker (Sebastian Janikowski) in the first round and made it work (there have been four). He’s Al Freaking Davis, Malcom Glazer isn’t. No doubt the kid is good. However spending a second round pick in response to the kicking issues speaks more to the inability of the team to address a problem most in the NFL can solve with much less currency than the skill of the player. Ugly pick.
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