Grading Rd. 1

First, let me say that I agree with a lot of what Bry said. I think the eagles had, at best, a strange draft, and at worst a terrible draft. I have a really hard time getting to using a first round pick on Marcus Smith. If that’s your guy, why not trade back into the early second round with a team looking to come up and get a QB (or anything else really)? Was there really a big risk that Marcus Smith would have been gone at 38?

I wanted to get this up ranking the first 16 of the first round earlier, but I’ve been busy starting a law firm. No really: Stri’s Law Firm. If you live in the Charlotte, NC area and you get sexually harassed at work, I TOTALLY have you covered.

Anyway, here are my thoughts on the early part of Round 1.

Houston Texans: Jadeveon Clowney (Stri’s Mock, Jadeveon Clowney):

I still think they wanted to trade back and get a QB, but they were looking for the Redskins/Rams RGIII deal and nobody was biting. So they did the smart thing and took the best player. This grade would have been an A, except they never followed it up with the next obvious move, taking one of the available QB’s with their 2nd rd pick or trading up two spots for Bridgewater. If the Texans, who don’t have many holes, would have traded up TWO spots, they would have come away with Clowney and Bridewater (who was himself seen as a top 5 pick before his pro day). Why not do that Houston?!? It’s SO obvious.

Grade: B+

StL: Greg Robinson (Stri’s Mock: Greg Robinson)

I guess the Greg Robinson rumors to the Rams were as true as advertised. I don’t love the pick — as I said in the mock they should take Sammy Watkins and get a primary receiving threat to make Austin a dangerous slot guy. But Robinson’s a great prospect at a premium position, so it’s hard to get on them too much.

Grade: B+

Jacksonville Jags: Blake Bortles (Stri’s Mock: Sammy Watkins).

Honestly, what in the hell are the Jags doing? The worst franchise in the NFL makes yet another dumb move. Instead of trading down to fill their 100s of holes, or grabbing an impact position player, they take a QB so high that they’ll want to start him behind an atrocious offensive line with nobody to throw the ball to. What could go wrong? Bortles is about to have his whole career David Carr’ed.

Grade: D-

Buffalo Bills: Sammy Watkins (Stri’s Mock Taylor Lewan at 9)

The bills biggest needs were at O-line and WR and they trade up to get the best WR in the draft. I really like the move, but it came at a heavy heavy price.

Grade: B+

Raiders: Khalil Mack (Stri’s Mock: Blake Bortles).

Everyone is in love with Mack…except this guy. For some reason, I have never been a Mack fan. Just a feeling, but I don’t think he’s going to be the impact player at the next level that everyone thinks.

Grade: B

Falcons: Jake Matthews (Stri’s Mock: Jake Matthews).

A good team that needs to keep Matt Ryan upright does the smart thing and takes the most polished o-lineman in the draft.

Grade: A

Bucs: Mike Evans (Stri’s Mock: Mike Evans)

This was the right pick for the bucs all along. They needed to get another WR and when Evans fell into their laps, they did the right thing.

Grade: A

Browns: Justin Gilbert (Stri’s Mock: Johnny Manziel)

Now THIS is how you run a draft. I had the Browns taking Manziel at 4 and then coming back later in Rd. 1 to get their DB. Instead, they trade back, get the best DB in the draft, and STILL come away with Manziel. Great first round. Then their star wr Gordon gets suspended for the year. God really does hate Cleveland.

Grade A+++

Vikings: Anthony Barr (Stri’s Mock: Khalil Mack)

I think I blew this in the mock because I value Mack lower than pretty much everyone else in the universe. Truth be told, I’m not that high on Barr either. He seemed to gain a lot of momentum late in the draft process, but I don’t love him as a top 10 talent.

Grade: B-

Lions: Eric Ebron (Stri’s Mock, Justin Gilbert)

This pick really pissed me off because I wanted Ebron to be sitting there so the Giants could pass on him and I could write a I TOLD YOU SO to every so called draft expert who had the Giants taking Ebron. At least Jerry Reese said after the draft that Ebron “wasn’t really on our Board”, that made me feel better. In any event, this is an atrocious pick. Anytime you’re taking a tight end who doesn’t block in the top 10, you’re doing something wrong. And you can talk all you want about Jimmy Graham and Vernon Davis: when your pick HAS to turn into one of those two guys to justify it…let’s just say the odds aren’t great that you’re going to be happy in 5 years.

Grade: D

Titans: Taylor Lewan (Stri’s Mock, Darqueeze Dennard)

I really like Lewan, I think he’s a bruiser, but where does he play on this Titan’s line? Believe me, nobody subscribes to the idea of you can never have too many good offensive linemen more than I do. But the Titans just signed Michael Oher to play Lewan’s projected position. Do you move the 11th pick in the draft inside to guard? It seems a little odd to fortify a strength when there were so many other things to do with this pick, even if that strength is the critical o-line.

Grade: B

The NY Football Giants: Odell Beckham (Stri’s Mock: Aaron Donald).

Before the draft, I really wanted the Giants to take a first round WR to replace Nicks. But I knew Watkins and Evans would be gone and that the Giants wouldn’t get one of those guys because they rarely trade up, especially in the first round. I discounted Beckham as a possibility because I thought he was too similar to Cruz, and thought instead that the Giants would get their DT here and then pick up a bigger WR in a deep class in the later rounds. But they go with Beckham here, a great talent and a versatile WR, but not the big jump ball kind of WR1 that Nicks was and that Eli has always had (plaxico, nicks). I like the pick, but I’m still concerned about having two small WRs, even if the book on Beckham is that he plays bigger than his height.

Grade: B

Rams: Aaron Donald (Stri’s Mock: Clinton-Dix).

This is a tremendous value here…but with a very high bust risk. There is no doubting Donald’s production in college, but he is so small for a DT that he could get swallowed up at the next level. He almost projects better as a Justin Tuck type DE, but that’s a position he’s never really played. Hopefully for the Rams, he can bulk up while maintaining his devastatingly quick first step.

Grade: B+

Bears: Kyle Fuller (Stri’s Mock, Anthony Barr).

I have no problems with the Bears trying to go DB, but I think this was really high for Fuller with both Dennard and Pryor sitting there. Fuller is a guy whose stock rose late, and I’m not sure what the rise was based on. In any event, I can’t justify him over a guy like Dennard.

Grade: C-

Steelers: Ryan Shazier (Stri’s mock, Timmy Jernigan)

Shazier was a polarizing figure pre-draft. Either you love him or you think he’s terribly over-rated. I really like Shazier, and I think he fits well scheme wise with the Steelers. The only question is whether this was too high for him and the Steelers could have traded back a few spots and still got their man.

Grade: B

Cowboys: Zack Martin (Stri’s mock, Calvin Pryor)

I have no problem with Martin. Again, I think you can never have enough solid o-linemen. The problem is that this pick does nothing to address that secondary. You can’t keep getting beat over the top so much. How do you not take Pryor here and address that glaring problem? As a giants fan, I’m happy with this pick.

Grade: C+

Baltimore Ravens: C.J Mosely (Stri’s mock, Zach Martin)

I like C.J. Mosely and he seems like a good fit on the ravens. I thought pre-draft that they would look o-line, but they could also use a linebacker and this seems like good value here.

Grade: B

NY Jets: Calvin Pryor (Stri’s mock, Eric Ebron)

In mock 1, I had the Jets looking DB and then changed it because mock 2 had all of the elite DBs gone by this pick. In picking Pryor, the jets get arguably the best safety in the draft, which I think will help their depleted secondary. The problem, however, is that they still don’t have any corners, and Rex bases his entire D scheme on press corners. So what do they do? Play more zone? I have no idea, but so far I don’t think Idzik is hitting it out of the park in any facet of the GM job.

The Grade: B+

Dolphins: James JuWaun (stri’s mock: Xavier Su’a Filo)

So I was right about the dolphins taking an o-lineman, just missed on which one it would be. And for good reason, as this seems like a reach. And I am never a big fan of reaching for a need. Again, I wonder why if this was their guy, the Fins didn’t trade back and get some more picks.

Grade: D

Saints: Brandin Cooks (stri’s mock, Jason Verett at 27).

Cooks fits amazingly well into what the Saints do on offense as a Sproles type. While they had to come up to get him, they didn’t get completely fleeced in the deal. I love the aggressiveness, especially from a good team without a lot of wholes that can afford to give up draft picks.

Grade: A-

Packers: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (stri’s mock, CJ Mosely)

I really like Dix, I think he’s an impact player on the defensive side. As a giants fan, I was happy he didn’t fall to the eagles. Plus, the packers got value here.

Grade: B+

Browns: Johhny Manziel (stri’s mock, Bradley Roby)

I had Manziel mocked to the Browns at 4, and they pick him up at 22 after getting the best corner in the draft. How can you not like that? It’s weird to see Cleveland making smart moves.

Grade: A+++

Chiefs: Dee Ford (stri’s mock, Odell Beckham)

I don’t get this one. I know you can never have too many pass rushers and its fine value, but the Chiefs have Houston and Hali at DE already. I think they would have been much better served going after a weapon on offense. With few holes and a higher pick than the Saints, they could have done what New Orleans did and gotten Brandin Cooks.

Grade: C-

Bengals: Darqueeze Dennard (stri’s mock, Dee Ford)

I can’t figure out why so many teams with a need at corner (e.g. jets, cowboys) passed on Dennard or why the Bears too Kyle Fuller in front of him. In any event, the Bengals get great value here, as Dennard projects as one of the best cover corners in the draft.

Grade: B+

Chargers: Jason Verrett (stri’s mock, Louis Nix).

Something must of come out about Louis Nix pre-draft, because he plummeted. He was still on the Board when the Giants, who needed a DT, picked in the third round…and they passed. As for Verrett, he’s a solid corner and this is the range where he was projected to go. But he’s from a small school, which I think is usually riskier.

Grade: B

Eagles: Marcus Smith (stri’s mock, Kony Ealy).

Well, I was right about them going pass rusher, but Marcus Smith? That’s a hard one to figure. I know they traded back, but they could have traded back further, even into the second round, and still got him while acquiring more picks. Chip Kelly seems like a guy who knows what he’s doing, but I don’t get this pick.

Grade: D+

Arizona Cardinals: Deone Bucannon (stri’s mock, Cyrus Kouandjio)

A terrible pick on 3 fronts. First, it’s too high for Bucannon from a value point. Second, the Cardinals badly need offensive line help and Su’a Filo was sitting here for them. Finally, Bucannon wasn’t even the best player at his position left because Jimmy Ward was here. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Grade: D-

Carolina Panthers: Kelvin Benjamin (stri’s mock, Brandin Cooks)

So, I was right about them going WR, but the Saints moved up and stole Cooks so they settle for Benjamin. It’s a fine pick, but they have to be disappointed that one of the better WRs didn’t fall.

Grade: B

Pats: Dominique Easly (stri’s mock, Rasheed Hageman)

Again, I was right about them going DT, just picked the wrong DT. This is a boom or bust pick. Easly could be great and would have been a much higher pick if he didn’t injure both knees in college. Big DTs and knee injuries don’t mix well, so this pick will be dependent on how he holds up.

Grade: B

49ers: Jimmy Ward (stri’s mock, Kyle Fuller)

Since Fuller went about 15 picks too high, the 49ers went with Ward here. I think he was the best DB on the board at this point, which was a position of need. I like the pick.

Grade: B+

Broncos: Bradley Roby (stri’s mock, Ryan Shazier)

Roby falls a bit and the Broncos scoop him up. I think this is a great pick because they get the best player left on the board in a division where you need lots of corners. The smart teams keep doing smart things.

Grade: A-

Minnesota Vikings: Teddy Bridgewater (stri’s mock, seahawks taking Kelvin Benjamin)

I mentioned in the mock that the seahawks would look to move out of the first round to save themselves a bunch of salary cap dough, which is exactly what they did. With Bridegwater, the only elite QB left, falling to this point, the Seahawks were in a position to ransom the pick to someone trying to get in front of the Texans. Like I said, smart teams keep doing smart things. I love it for the Vikings. Bridgewater was once considered a potential first pick based on what he did in pads. He fell because of what he did in a t-shirt on his pro day. Personally, I don’t know what kind of NFL QB he’ll be, but he’s certainly worth the risk of a 32nd pick.

Like I said at the start, I can’t figure out why the Texans allowed this to happen. They should have trumped Minnesota’s offer using the first pick in the 2nd round and taken Bridgewater themselves. Moving up one pick and snagging Bridgewater would have put them in a FAR better position this year and beyond than standing pat and going with a bag of dirty socks at QB.

Ranking the First Round Picks

I will hold off on a full assessment of the Birds until after the whole draft plays out, but, as you will be able to tell from where I ranked their performance last night, I am not exactly thrilled with the situation of last night.  In short, I think a “reach” in the first round almost always equates to “bad pick.”  And, I think this for the simplest of reasons.  If you “reached,” that means that, by definition, that player would not have gone anywhere near that pick.  So, why not either (a) take another player and pick the “reach” with your next pick or (b) if you are that scared of losing him, trade down a couple spots, pick up an additional pick, and still get the guy.  Both seemed like options for the Birds last night, as it did not seem like teams were breaking down the doors to draft Marcus Smith, so they may have gotten him at #59.  BUT…at the very least, there are multiple reports that the Vikings wanted to do what the Browns did and trade up to #22.  That would have included the 40th pick, which is still probably safe for Smith there.  And, you could have netted at least another 2nd from Minnesota.  Anyway, like I said, I will wait until after the draft is complete to go in-depth with what Chip and Company have done, but they aren’t off to a blistering start, in my opinion…EVEN if Smith turns out to be very good.

But, that is not what this post is about.  I want to rank the First Round picks from last night based on the value they seem to have gotten from their spot.  Obviously, Jadeveon Clowney is the best player in this draft, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he was the best value.  If we were ranking the best players, we could just look at the draft order.  But, I wanted to capture the return on whatever it cost the team to get the player – basically the difference between what you possessed yesterday and what you possess today.  For instance, the Texans had the #1 pick yesterday, and today they have Clowney.  The Bills had the #9 pick, got Sammy Watkins, but lost a 5th and next year’s #1.  And, so on…  So, here is where I rank the “value gained” with each pick yesterday.

Elite Value

1. OAKLAND (5) – OLB Khalil Mack
The Oakland Raiders made the best draft pick of the night.  That is as surprising for me to write as it probably is for you to read, but I really believe it is true – and, it may not be close.  To get a guy with the ability of Mack at #5 is absolutely supreme value

2. HOUSTON (1) – DE Jadeveon Clowney
Trust me, I weighed the fact that it cost them the #1 overall pick to acquire Mr. Clowney.  But, I really think that this guy is a once-in-a-decade kind of a talent at a HIGH-impact position.

3. CLEVELAND (8) – CB Justin Gilbert
I actually thought Gilbert was taken a little too high (and, I have NO idea why they felt they had to swap with Minnesota – sounds like they got sold a bill of goods from the Vikes claiming that another team wanted to trade with them for Gilbert).  BUT…in the way we are judging it is what they had before and what they have now.  And, they invested the #4 pick for the return of a starting CB, a 5th-round pick, AND next year’s #1 pick from Buffalo (which could EASILY be another top 10 pick).  The Gilbert pick, alone, would have been middle of the pack – at best – but adding a potential Top-10 pick in 2015 is spectacular.

4. ST LOUIS (13) – DT Aaron Donald
I really thought Donald was a top-7 talent in this draft, so for the Rams to get him at #13 is pretty great.  They have a pretty spectacular D-line right now.  The best division in football got even better Thursday night.

5. GREEN BAY (21) – S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
My best-case Eagles scenario was one pick from becoming reality, when the Packers swooped in and – as they always do – maximized the value of their draft position.  There are certain teams that crush this process every single year.  If Green Bay isn’t the best drafting team in the league they are second to…

6. BALTIMORE (17) – ILB C.J. Mosely
Ho-hum, another Ravens draft, another stud at a need position falls into their laps.  This is getting old fast…

7. CINCINNATI (24) – CB Darqueze Dennard
How about sitting at #24 and getting potentially the best player at your top position of need?  That’s what the Bengals did – much to the dismay of this Eagles fan.

8. TAMPA BAY (7) – WR Mike Evans
This pick was set up from the beginning, and it could not have gone better for the Bucs.  They add a potential superstar at a need position without moving.  Defensive coordinators are getting heartburn having to deal with the sheer size of the two wideouts in Tampa right now.  And, Josh McCown is well-versed in having two huge receivers to throw to.

9. ATLANTA (6) – OL Jake Matthews
The Falcons stayed put and used their #6 pick on an O-tackle that will anchor that line for a dozen years.

10. ST LOUIS (2) – OL Greg Robinson
The second Rams pick that made my “elite” status.  I like Robinson better and think they made the right pick, but they are slightly behind the Falcons pick just because of the difference in pick value.

Good Value

11. NEW ORLEANS (20) – WR Brandin Cooks
The only reason this falls into the next category is because WR is so incredibly deep.  But, Cooks is a great fit in New Orleans and might be the front-runner for 2014 Offensive Rookie of the Year.

12. MINNESOTA (32) – QB Teddy Bridgewater
You’ll notice that this is the first QB pick that I have on this list.  And, I am actually surprised that I have it this high.  But, I really think that Minnesota did a great job jumping back into the 1st to get someone who very well could be the best QB in the past two drafts.  As of two months ago, it would have been laughable to suggest that Bridgewater might not be in the Top 5.  Now, Minnesota gets him at #32 – which, not unimportantly, is the last pick of the draft that comes with a 5th-year option – a perk that could pay offer massively if Bridgewater become a viable starting quarterback.

13. CLEVELAND (22) – QB Johnny Manziel
Even if this is a lottery ticket, the chance of hitting the jackpot on a quarterback at #22 gives this pick a lot of value…and, I don’t even think he’s gonna be good.  Still really nice spot to take a flyer on a potential superstar – in multiple ways.

14. NEW YORK JETS (18) – S Calvin Pryor
The Jets stood pat at #18 and got a big-hitting safety that plays the run awfully well.  His coverage skills may be lacking, but in Ryan’s blitz-heavy defense, he has the potential to be an incredible havoc-creating boomer.

15. NEW YORK GIANTS (12) – WR Odell Beckham, Jr.
I have heard people not liking this pick.  While it is the second-best pick in the city, I actually think it’s a good one.  What else should they have done here?  I probably would have gone Aaron Donald, but Stri convinced me that he wasn’t a scheme fit for the Giants D.  What about Zack Martin?  Definitely would have been okay because he will be productive and versatile, but he’s not going to be a star.  I think Beckham could be.  He also seems like the perfect fit for the personal demands of a Coughlin-coached team.  I think five years from now, people might look back on this pick with reverance.  The only knock against it is the same thing against Cooks – this was a pretty high price for a WR in a draft with so many of them.

16. DALLAS (16) – OL Zack Martin
I am not as high on Martin as others because he doesn’t seem to have the Pro Bowl upside.  He’s versatile and durable, though, and I applaud Jerry Jones for a second straight year with a boringly logical first round performance.

17. PITTSBURGH (15) – OLB Ryan Shazier
I hadn’t heard much about Shazier coming into the draft, but all the reviews seem to say that he’s the perfect fit in Dick LeBeau’s system.  And, if anyone can pick LBs and make them stars it’s that Hall of Fame coordinator.

Some Value

18. TENNESSEE (11) – OL Taylor Lewan
Maybe the least “sexy” pick of the draft could return solid value if Lewan has a long, solid career on an O-line that needs stability.

19. BUFFALO (4) – WR Sammy Watkins
The Bills may have drafted the best player in the draft…but it sure as hell cost them.  A 5th-rounder this year and next year’s #1?!?  That is a big gamble on a guy at a position they aren’t exactly desperate to fill (they might end up cutting Stevie Johnson because of this pick).  This should probably be lower, but they did add Sammy Watkins…

20. CHICAGO (14) – CB Kyle Fuller
It is strange for me to rank this pick so low because I really like Fuller and really wanted him for the Eagles at #22.  But, I just think that he screams the quintessential “guy that was underrated for so long that he has now become overrated.”  That being said, I think the Bears will be very happy with Fuller.

21. DENVER (31) – CB Bradley Roby
If you can add an athlete the caliber of Roby with the 31st pick, you have to be happy.  This may actually be low for this pick, I just think there’s a big downside here.

22. NEW ENGLAND (29) – DT Dominique Easley
I hear people not liking this pick, but I’m not sure what you expect to get at #29.  Easley – if healthy – might be the best interior lineman in the draft.  I think the Pats did pretty well here to take a chance on potential stud at the end of the first round.  But, then again, if anyone has experience picking at the end of the first round, it’s the mighty Pats.

23. KANSAS CITY (23) – DE Dee Ford
I don’t mind the Ford pick, though I probably would have gone WR here.  But, as I have been saying the whole time, WR is really deep, so if I’m holding that against teams that did take a WR, I guess I can’t hold it against teams that don’t.

24. SAN DIEGO (25) – CB Jason Verrett
A bit undersized in a division with a lot of big WRs, Verrett may only be a nickle-corner his whole career.  A fact that, 5-10 years ago, would have made this pick an incredible reach, isn’t such a bad thing anymore.  We may have arrived at a time where a really good nickle corner may actually be worth a first-round pick…which is shocking to even think.

25. ARIZONA (27) – S Deone Bucannon
Not sure why everyone said that safety was such a huge need for the Cards.  From an outside perspective, I would think that they could really use help on the offensive side more than a very good defensive unit.  And, didn’t they just lose Andre Roberts, too?  I guess I’m probably wrong here because everyone seems to applaud this pick, but if it were me, why not a WR here?  It’s not like Larry Fitzgerald is on the right side of that career mountain.  Whatever…

26. SAN FRANCISCO (30) – S Jimmie Ward
I guess I’m an easy grader because 26 of the 32 teams I felt got at least adequate value for their first-round investments.  I think San Fran got some depth here in their secondary, which is not a bad thing for a 30th pick.

Poor Value

27. MINNESOTA (9) – OLB Anthony Barr
I love taking a chance on a superstar in the late First Round.  I HATE it in the early First Round.  And, that’s what Minnesota did.  They took a chance on Barr being a stud when it is somewhat feasible to see him out of the league in 3-4 years.  Their only saving grace is that they picked up a 5th by moving down a spot.

28. MIAMI (19) – OL Ju’wain James
Hey, they took the best guy left at a position of dire need.  And, that is the price you pay for a poorly-run organization.  But, that doesn’t mean we should give them a pass and ignore the fact that they took a guy at #19 that probably should have been no higher than a mid-30’s pick…at BEST.

29. CAROLINA (28) – WR Calvin Benjamin
Everything I said about the Miami pick can also apply to Carolina here, except that they may not have even gotten the best player left at a position of dire need.  I guess the saving grace is that they really needed a WR and got one.  The lesson here – it doesn’t pay to go into the draft “really needing” anything.  It leads to really poor draft choices.

30. JACKSONVILLE (3) – QB Blake Bortles
I want to absolutely CRUSH them for this pick, but I can’t totally go that far because the only way to win in this league is by having a QB, and they don’t.  So, it’s hard to fault them too much for taking the guy they thought was best, who almost certainly wouldn’t have been there at #35.  That being said, I don’t think I’d have the stones to pull the trigger on a shaky QB prospect with Khalil Mack and Sammy Watkins sitting on the board.  I think their biggest mistake is not finding a trade partner to come up and get Watkins.  It seems to me that is something they could have done.  I mean even if they took the EXACT same offer that Buffalo gave Cleveland to go to #4, I would be praising them for grabbing next year’s #1.  And, they still probably would have had Bortles.  Actually, the more I think about it – why didn’t they do that?!?!?

Awful Value

31. PHILADELPHIA (26) – DE Marcus Smith
I’ll be brief here, but what I don’t understand is how they could take a player with a 3rd- or 4th-round grade at #26.  At the very least, trade down.  And, we KNOW that they could have.  They took Cleveland’s offer to come up and get Manziel and not Minnesota’s (which obviously would have been more and still would have netted them Smith).  Is it because they thought Dennard would still be there?  I hope not because I know nothing and knew that he wouldn’t get past Cincy at #24.  This is frustrating…even if he’s good.  In Chip We Trust…hey, at least it wasn’t the dumbest pick of the night.

32. DETROIT (10) – TE Eric Ebron
The new Lions…same as the old Lions.  As good as the Ravens and Packers are on draft day – that’s how bad the Jags and Lions are.  And, it’s not coincidence that the former win titles and the latter keep getting high picks to screw up.  This one made absolutely no sense for a million reasons, most notably that the player isn’t that good, they don’t exactly need more guys running patterns, and that they had solid fits at need positions like Taylor Lewan, Kyle Fuller, and Calvin Pryor still on the board.  Just a god-awful pick all-around.  Nice work, Lions, nice work.

Quick Notes on the Draft Tonight

As usual, I had higher ambitions.  I wanted to do a better write-up leading into one of the more interesting first rounds in a while, but things got in the way.  But, I do have some Eagle-centric thoughts entering tonight’s draft.

  • Under the assumption that Evans doesn’t fall past #7 (which is almost a given), no one in this draft is worth what it would take to move up to get them
  • I like Beckham, but is he really all that much better than Cooks or Lee – one of whom will be there at #22? 
  • They better not waste a pick on Johnny Football (which they won’t)  
  • I would have NO problem trading down – even out of the 1st.  I would JUMP at a swap of #22 for #33 from Houston.  I actually looked at the “draft pick value” chart for Houston to come in to grab #22 to get a QB that they will pass on with Clowney, and they would need to give their 2nd, 4th, and 5th (and it still wouldn’t be enough) – according to the chart.  OR (more likely)…they give #33 and next year’s 3rd.  Unless Clinton-Dix was on the board, i would JUMP at that.  Speaking of Ha-Ha… 
  • Here’s how I would rank the guys for the Eagles who are likely to be available at #22:
    A). Clinton-Dix
    B). One of the three 2nd-tier WRs (Beckham, Cooks, Lee – i think in that order, but it sounds very close
    C). Fuller
    D). Barr (though, i’m REALLY uncomfortable.  he seems VERY boom or bust, but he does potentially fill a real need)
    E). Trade down with whatever you can get (I don’t like anyone else enough to spend this pick on them – especially because there might only be 1 QB off the board at this point, so teams could be trading back in)  
  • DO NOT TRADE NEXT YEAR’S #1 FOR ANYONE!!!  (With three exceptions – Clowney, Mack, Watkins – all of whom would probably cost #1’s until 2020.) 
  • Let’s see if we can’t rekindle those Dion Jordan talks.  Brandon Graham and a 2nd-round pick?  Yes, please!

And, a couple overall draft thoughts:

  • Do not pay ANY attention to media reports…including those “mock drafts.”  These teams are in the business of misinformation because, well, THEY BENEFIT FROM IT!  It is really not that complicated.  Reports are that Cleveland doesn’t like Manziel.  Well, who controls the release of that information?  The Cleveland Browns.  And, who would benefit the most from people thinking the exact opposite?  The Cleveland Browns.  I am not saying they are going to take Johnny Football, but every time I hear that they are not interested makes me believe more that they ARE interested.  Same goes for everything else you hear.
  • Jadeveon Clowney will be the #1 pick.  Talent like that comes once a decade.  He will go #1.  Will Houston trade out for a king’s ransom?  Maybe.  But, Clowney will be the first player off the board.  Period.
  • I don’t think there is any way that any of these seven – Clowney, Mack, Watkins, Robinson, Matthews, Evans, and Donald – get out of the top 9.  Manziel and Lewan might sneak in, but that is pretty much the top tier.  There are 7 STARS in this draft and they won’t be around when Detroit picks at #10.

Mock Draft 2.0

Time to update the mock with the latest:

1. Texans — I still think they really want to take a QB…but not at number 1. The question is, do they take Clowney here and then try to trade back up into the first round to take their QB (what I would do) or do they trade the pick to a team that really wants clowney, move down a few spots, and then grab their QB? I could see either scenario, but the bottom line is that I now think that the first pick will be Clowney, either to the Texans or to someone else.

The pick: Jadeveon Clowney

2. St. Louis Rams — The Robinson rumors just won’t die and most people seem to think he’s the pick here. I still think that Watkins makes the most sense and should be the pick. But this mock isn’t what I think teams should do, but what they will do. So, I have to go with Robinson here.

The pick: Greg Robinson

3. Jacksonville Jags — Clowney is gone in this mock, but taking a QB here still makes no sense. They’ll just get him killed behind that line with this team.

The pick: Sammy Watkins

4. Cleveland Browns — I still think they want Johnny Football.

The pick: Johnny Manziel

5. Oakland Raiders — They still take a QB, only it’s a different QB.

The pick: Blake Bortles

6. Atlanta Falcons — I still think they need to go OL, but in this mock robinson is gone.

The pick: Jake Matthews

7. Tampa Bay — If nobody has traded up to snatch him, Evans is the pick.

The pick: Mike Evans

8. Minnesota Vikings — If it falls this way, I think they wait on their new QB until Round 2 or they try to trade back up into Round 1.

The pick: Khalil Mack

9. Buffalo Bills — I hear they’re targeting an offensive lineman based on how they think the draft will go.

The pick: Taylor Lewan

10. Detroit Lions — I still think Gilbert is the pick.

The pick: Justin Gilbert

11. Tennessee Titans — I think they want to go corner and are annoyed that Gilbert was taken right in front of them.

The pick: Darqueez Dennard

12. NY Football Giants — People are still talking Eric Ebron. Those people need to be shot.

The pick: Aaron Donald

13. St. Louis Rams — Still thinking it’s Dix.

The pick: Ha Ha Clinton Dix

14. Chicago Bears — In this mock, Barr falls to them, and I think they’re pretty happy about that.

The pick: Anthony Barr

15. Steelers — Their guy Lewan is gone in this mock.

The pick: Timmy Jernigan

16. Dallas Cowboys — Even with the draft falling very differently in Mock 2.0, this is still a pretty bad time to be drafting in terms of value. I would trade down. If not, get some secondary help.

The pick: Calvin Pryor

17. Baltimore Ravens — Still sticking Oline.

The pick: Zach Martin

18. NY Jets — all the elite DBs are gone. And I think this would just be hilarious.

The pick: Eric Ebron

From this point on, I’ve got it playing out the same was as 1.0 except with Kelvin Benjamin going to the Seahawks with Ebron gone. That puts Bridgewater and Derek Carr both out of the first round, which is very unlikely. Someone will come back into the mid to late 20s to get either one or both of those guys.

I’ll be back with more analysis after the draft.